Has Russia Flipped? Clinton Says “Yes”

Hillary Clinton says that Russia is ready to turn on Assad in what is a potential “turning point” in the conflict. This is the third or fourth time she has insisted that Russia is prepared to discuss a post-Assad Syria and the modalities of regime-change. In the past, these announcements have been premature and designed to shame the Russians into dumping Damascus. Will this time be different? Has Russia concluded that Assad is losing it? Addendum: Since writing this Russia has responded that it rejects an ‘external solution’ for Syria and that Syrians should decide the fate of President Bashar al-Assad.

Syrian authorities continue to insist that they will never turn the country over to the Muslim Brotherhood or form a coalition government with rebels. They are ready to fight to the end to save the country from Islamists – at least that is what they are saying to friends. They seem undaunted by Russian posturing. This all means that we are unlikely to see any big breakthroughs anytime soon. Russian authorities must be getting nervous about Assad’s strategy and staying power – all the same what can they do but try to create avenues for a Syrian soft landing? Damascus is unlikely to take their nudging seriously for some time. The high-powered conference is probably meaningless at this point, as Russia will most likely continue to insist on “loyal opposition” joining in a transitional government packed with Assad loyalists – a non-starter for both Assad and opposition figures.

China has also agreed to encourage the formation of a “transitional government” in a June 30 meeting of World leaders. Both Iran and Saudi Arabia have been excluded from the meeting. This change of strategy among Syria’s allies takes place as frequent bombings and opposition attacks have rocked downtown Damascus, forcing President Assad to announce that Syria has entered into a “real state of war.”

“Not one drop of petrol” has been available in Aleppo for a week now, friends lament. Media sources report that three Iranian gas carriers have sailed to Syria with gas shipments, but that will be a drop in the bucket. All the taxi services have come to a stand-still in Aleppo. Friends say they are willing to pay ten-times the amount of a liter of gas for their car but there just isn’t any. They are stranded in the homes. Those who have moved out to villas in the suburbs are really at a loss because they cannot walk down town or to go shopping. A blue bottle of cooking gas in Damascus goes for 4,000 pounds or about 50 dollars.It is only a matter of time before electricity stops all together and food becomes scarce. Transportation will be disrupted and supplies irregular around the country.

The economic situation in Syria continues to deteriorate as Syrians close to Assad recognize that he is incapable of managing or finding a way out the crises.

The problem is in the details. No one can imagine how a transition would work

Smokes rises after an explosion was heard near the Palace of Justice in central Damascus June 28, 2012

Russia Said to Endorse Replacing Assad in Turn Away From Ally
Flavia Krause-Jackson and Indira A.R. Lakshmanan, ©2012 Bloomberg News, June 28, 2012

June 28 (Bloomberg) — Russia has endorsed a detailed United Nations road map for a political transition in Syria, a sign that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has lost the support of a key ally, according to three United Nations diplomats.

Persuading Assad to step aside and forming a transitional government to pave the way for elections will be at the core of a June 30 conference of top diplomats organized by Kofi Annan, the UN’s special envoy on Syria, the officials said. All three asked not to be identified because the talks are private.

The foreign ministers of the five permanent UN Security Council members — China, France, Russia, the U.K., and the U.S. — as well as Turkey, Qatar and Iraq will attend the meeting in Geneva.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton yesterday called the conference a potential “turning point” in the conflict that already has claimed more than 10,000 lives.

Annan earlier this week gave the parties to the talks a few days to respond to a set of recommendations entitled “On Guidelines and Principles of a Syrian-led transition.” By late on June 26, the Russians had accepted the paper in full, including language that spells out Assad’s departure, according to the three officials, who all were informed of the decision.

The Annan document, which was reviewed by Bloomberg News, says a transitional government may include members of Assad’s government and opposition and other groups, although not “those whose continued presence and participation would undermine the credibility of the transition and jeopardize stability and reconciliation.”

Veto Power

According to a U.S. official, who was briefed on Annan’s plan, representatives of both the regime and the opposition could veto proposed members of a national unity government. He asked not to be identified in order to discuss the negotiations.

The latest effort to end the 16-month battle between the Alawite-dominated Assad regime and a largely Sunni Muslim uprising comes as Assad said his country is in a state of war. It also follows the Syrian downing of a Turkish military jet and an attack yesterday on Syria’s pro-government television station that killed seven journalists.

Russia has realized that Assad is losing the battle to preserve his grip on power, the UN officials said, and now the government of President Vladimir Putin is seeking a leading role in paving a smooth exit for a longtime Soviet and Russian client and arms customer.

“When Assad went into total war footing, he lost the Russians,” said George Lopez, a former UN sanctions investigator who’s now at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana.

Iran Out

The Obama administration rejected Russia’s and Annan’s attempt to include Iran in the Geneva talks, and Russia in turn insisted that Saudi Arabia be excluded because the Sunni kingdom has funneled support to the Syrian opposition.

“If other countries don’t want the benefits of Iran’s cooperation, it is up to them,” Iran’s UN Ambassador Mohammed Khazaee told reporters in New York yesterday.

Aware of Putin’s sensitivity on the question of regime change in Syria, the U.S. accepted Russia’s demand that some Assad loyalists must be part of an interim government, according to two of the UN diplomats.

The UN officials also said that all the parties to the talks, as well as other nations such as Saudi Arabia and Iran, are in rare agreement that action is needed to prevent radical Sunni Islamists from filling a power vacuum in Syria.

Civil War

“We have made it clear to the Russians that the outcome they are most concerned about, which would be a sectarian civil war, is made more likely, not less likely, by the international community’s failure to take a strong position vis-a-vis the Assad regime,” Clinton said yesterday in Helsinki.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, a former UN ambassador, will outline his country’s position in a news conference today in Moscow.

Landis answers questions on the Turkish issue:

1. Question: “Will the jet dispute change Turkey’s policy on Syria? Why? What is the primary concern for Turkey on Syria crisis?”

Turkey and Syria are in an undeclared state of war. Turkey is taking charge of the Western and Gulf led effort to carry out regime-change in Syria and strengthen the Syrian opposition.

In all likelihood, Turkey has been probing Syrian airspace for some time. Syria was undoubtedly trying to put a limit to Turkish aggressiveness and show that it has some defensive capability.

Turkey has smartly escalated and shown its own teeth and that it will not be intimidated or deterred by Syria.

2. Turkey is one of the most important mediators between Syria and West. Why will Syria attack the Turkish jet? Did it mean Syria has already lost the patience because Turkey hosts its opposition?

Syria no longer believes that Turkey is a mediator, but a combatant.

3. Many people thought the jet dispute will trigger NATO’s military move to Syria. But after a meet, NATO showed its caution on military intervention. In your opinion, what are NATO’s major concerns now? What will be the decisive factors on NATO decision making process?

Nato and the West believe that the Syrian insurgency is getting stronger and more capable by the month. They do not want to intervene directly and believe that they can change the balance of power in Syria and ultimately win by arming and training the opposition. For the West, the situation is Syria is moving in the right direction. Assad has announced that Syria is in a “real state of war” for the first time. He is beginning to understand what a predicament he is in. The chances of his being able to beat this are diminishing every day. Even he has begun to recognize this.

Blasts erupt near Syrian Justice Ministry

(CNN) — A day after attackers bombed a pro-government TV station, massive explosions shook the heart of Damascus near the Justice Ministry, the state-run media said.

Two blasts occurred in a parking lot Thursday outside the Palace of Justice, which houses the ministry, Syrian state TV said. The Local Coordination Committees of Syria confirmed the blast and said it occurred in the Marja neighborhood of central Damascus.

At least three people were injured and 20 cars were damaged, state TV said.

On Wednesday, bombers killed at least seven people in the headquarters of al-Ikhbaria, near Damascus, killing three journalists and four security guards, the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency reported. The attackers also ransacked and destroyed studios, the news outlet said.

There have been a flurry of attacks in Syria’s major cities of Damascus and Aleppo in recent months, strikes that President Bashar al-Assad’s regime has blamed on terrorists. Opposition groups have said the government itself has been behind such attacks to discredit the anti-regime forces.

In other provinces on Thursday, at least 50 people were killed, the LCC said. They include 22 in the Damascus suburbs and 11 people in Deir Ezzor.

opposition fighters attacked the headquarters of the pro-Assad television channel al-Ikhbariya outside Damascus — as violence once again engulfs the capital. The Syrian Arab News Agency has published images from the attack, which the state-run news outlet says killed several people and destroyed the station’s offices.

The Civil War in the Syrian Opposition: How Long Can the Free Syrian Army Hold Off Its Islamist Rivals?
Tyler Golson in the New Republic

If you want to know where the fourteen month-old Syrian revolution against President Bashar al-Assad is headed, the case of Walid al-Boustani provides a useful rubric. Al-Boustani led an ill-fated “Islamic Emirate of Homs” that lasted only a few weeks. Apparently the locals did not appreciate having an “Emir” who kidnapped and murdered their people while claiming to wage jihad against the regime of Bashar al-Assad. And so in March 2012 a local brigade of the Free Syrian Army executed the Lebanese-born al-Boustani, amidst accusations that the jihadist was not only a traitor to the Syrian revolution but also, in fact, an agent of the Syrian regime.

The incident is part of a larger clash that has mostly gone overlooked in the Western media—namely, the struggle between Syria’s two main armed opposition groups, groups that represent two radically different visions for Syria’s future. In that way, it’s not enough to simply know—as a recent article in the New York Times pointed out—that Saudi Arabia and Qatar, with assistance from the CIA, are funneling arms and cash to certain Syrian rebel groups via intermediaries in Turkey. It’s also important to know that the other rebel groups—those with an Islamist political agenda—that the United States and its allies have decided not to support are distrusted by the Syrian people themselves. Indeed, Washington’s largely hands-off approach to the Syria crisis has so far been greatly assisted by the Syrian public’s broad rejection of the hardcore Islamist rebels. But there’s no telling how much longer America’s strategic interests and the Syrian people’s sympathies will remain in sync.

THE FACTION OF the Syrian opposition that has been the main recipient of foreign arms is the Free Syrian Army (FSA), an umbrella organization headquartered in Turkey and encompassing upwards of a hundred semi-autonomous battalions of defected Syrian soldiers and armed civilians. Though many individual units and fighters loyal to the FSA adopt a conservative Islamic idiom and may express their struggle as “jihad,” the FSA central leadership espouses pluralist, nationalist, and even democratic ideals, reflecting its broad base of support in Syria, as well as the influence of its international sponsors.

The second group (broadly construed) vying for primacy of the Syrian armed opposition is the constellation of independent, hardcore Islamist “kata’ib” (brigades) claiming to wage violent jihad against the infidel Assad regime and its Shia backers, Iran and Hezbollah. The independent jihadist opposition draws from an expanding domestic pool of young men who feel abandoned by the international community and emboldened by the popularity of their radical Islamist cause beyond Syria’s borders and over social media.

The good news is that, Syrians mostly distrust the hardcore Islamists. While much of the public is liable to celebrate any attack against government forces, they remain deeply suspicious of the numerous, independent jihadist groups taking root throughout the country. A public opinion survey conducted by the US Institute of Peace in September 2011 found that only 35 percent of Syrians see religion as an important issue in the anti-government demonstrations, with less than 14 percent preferring religious leaders or parties to lead a post-Assad Syria as compared to 66 percent who viewed “democratically-elected leaders” as the most qualified.

Compounding Syrians’ ideological unease with jihadists is the widespread concern that Islamist groups have either been infiltrated by, or are directly working for the Syrian regime. Western media mostly overlooked the story of Walid al-Boustani, the would-be Emir of Homs, but the video of Boustani’s “trial” and execution by the FSA stirred considerable speculation among Arab audiences, who focused not on Boustani’s specific crimes but rather on his ties to a discredited Al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group back in Lebanon, Fatah al-Islam, which is widely believed to be a tool of Syrian intelligence.

It is well-established that the Syrian government in the past facilitated the transit of fighters to Al-Qaeda in Iraq through Syria in order to fight American coalition forces—and some of these battle-hardened jihadists have likely come back to Syria. But the Assad regime’s understanding with Islamic extremists has always been to allow them to attack their common enemy as long as they did not operate within Syria itself…..

Assad Foreign Policy (II): Strategies of Confrontation
By: Amal Saad-Ghorayeb,  June 27, 2012 – al-Akhbar

Amal Saad-Ghorayeb places Assad foreign policy in context, particularly – “Syria’s intervention on behalf of right-wing Christian militias in Lebanon in 1976; its war against Palestinian groups in Lebanon in the 1980s; its decision to join the Gulf War coalition against Saddam Hussein in 1991; its reluctance to engage Israel militarily; and its participation in so-called peace negotiations with Israel since 1991.”


Comments (373)

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352. Alan said:

your facebook links lovers ?The Chita’s …….s ?

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July 1st, 2012, 4:27 am


353. Juergen said:

The special envoy Annan said at a news conference when asked whether it was right, “people with blood on their hands”like Assad take part in the proposed transitional government, “I hope that people with blood on their hands are not the only people in Syria. “He doubts that the Syrians would like to participate with such persons.

At the beginning Annan had advertised in plain words to resolve the differences. The veto powers should finally begin to “make themselves useful.” Otherwise, the consequences would threaten the entire Middle East region and “a new frontier for international terrorism,” could be established, warned the broker.

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July 1st, 2012, 4:31 am


354. Juergen said:


I see only a grapefruit.

I kind of like this one too, reminds me somehow of those who still think all is halweh in Basharland…


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July 1st, 2012, 4:44 am


355. Atheist Syrian Salafist Against Dictatorships said:

It is not a pure coincidence or mistake that many commentators when talking about Syria and Russia nowadays (especially when doing it in Arabic) tend to make a common slip of the tongue and swap the s for the r using “rusi” for “suri” and vice versa; more like a Freudian slip, just listen to wazeer-el-kharijia al-SURI Sergei Lavrov give his interpretation of the “agreement” reached by the Geneva conference!


Wait, did I just say Suri instead of Rusi? Oh, what the heck, they’re one and the same now, ain’t they? No need to bother making the distinction anymore…

As to the “agreement” itself, well, is there anything new? Washington back-tracking on all they insisted on and caving in to the Russians and the Chinese ? Clinton just mouthed words and more words before; now she just mixes in other words and puts her own interpretation on them, as if by just mouthing the words, like some magic charm or a voodoo mumbo-jumbo incantation, their interpretation will somehow be the one that is the final outcome.

Syrians cannot depend on anyone to help them wrest their country back from the claws of the criminal AsMAA, only themselves.

والنصر آت لامحال غصباً عن رأس كل أسدي مجرم حقير

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July 1st, 2012, 5:42 am


356. Observer said:

Here is the text:

As I noted before it leaves the situation the same. If the regime were to implement a few of the provisions it will mean its end. The paragraph about having members of the current regime in the new transition is simply a non starter.

Annan can now hide behind this document lest he be accused of allowing another Rwanda

Action Group for Syria
Final Communiqué
1. On 30 June 2012, the Secretaries-General of the United Nations and the League
of Arab States, the Foreign Ministers of China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United
States, Turkey, Iraq (Chair of the Summit of the League of Arab States), Kuwait (Chair
of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the League of Arab States) and Qatar (Chair of
the Arab Follow-up Committee on Syria of the League of Arab States), and the
European Union High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy met at the United
Nations Office at Geneva as the Action Group for Syria, chaired by the Joint Special
Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States for Syria.
2. Action Group members came together out of grave alarm at the situation in
Syria. They strongly condemn the continued and escalating killing, destruction and
human rights abuses. They are deeply concerned at the failure to protect civilians, the
intensification of the violence, the potential for even deeper conflict in the country, and
the regional dimensions of the problem. The unacceptable nature and magnitude of the
crisis demands a common position and joint international action.
3. Action Group members are committed to the sovereignty, independence,
national unity and territorial integrity of Syria. They are determined to work urgently
and intensively to bring about an end to the violence and human rights abuses and the
launch of a Syrian-led political process leading to a transition that meets the legitimate
aspirations of the Syrian people and enables them independently and democratically to
determine their own future.
4. To secure these common objectives, the Action Group members (i) identified
steps and measures by the parties to secure full implementation of the six-point plan and
Security Council resolutions 2042 and 2043, including an immediate cessation of
violence in all its forms; (ii) agreed on guidelines and principles for a political transition
that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people; and (iii) agreed on actions
they would take to implement the above in support of the Joint Special Envoy’s efforts
to facilitate a Syrian-led political process. They are convinced that this can encourage
and support progress on the ground and will help to facilitate and support a Syrian-led
Identified steps and measures by the parties to secure full implementation of the
six-point plan and Security Council resolutions 2042 and 2043, including an
immediate cessation of violence in all its forms
5. The parties must fully implement the six-point plan and Security Council
resolutions 2042 and 2043. To this end:
o All parties must re-commit to a sustained cessation of armed violence in all its
forms and implementation of the six-point plan immediately and without waiting
for the actions of others. The government and armed opposition groups must
cooperate with UNSMIS with a view to furthering the implementation of the
above in accordance with its mandate.2
o A cessation of armed violence must be sustained with immediate, credible and
visible actions by the Government of Syria to implement the other items of the
six-point plan including:
o Intensification of the pace and scale of release of arbitrarily detained
persons, including especially vulnerable categories of persons, and
persons involved in peaceful political activities; provision without delay
through appropriate channels of a list of all places in which such persons
are being detained; the immediate organization of access to such
locations; and the provision through appropriate channels of prompt
responses to all written requests for information, access or release
regarding such persons;
o Ensuring freedom of movement throughout the country for journalists
and a non-discriminatory visa policy for them;
o Respecting freedom of association and the right to demonstrate
peacefully as legally guaranteed.
o In all circumstances, all parties must show full respect for UNSMIS’ safety and
security and fully cooperate with and facilitate the Mission in all respects.
o In all circumstances, the Government must allow immediate and full
humanitarian access to humanitarian organizations to all areas affected by the
fighting. The Government and all parties must enable the evacuation of the
wounded, and all civilians who wish to leave to do so. All parties must fully
adhere to their obligations under international law, including in relation to the
protection of civilians.
Agreed Principles and Guide-lines for a Syrian-led transition
6. Action Group members agreed on the following ‘Principles and Guide-lines on a
Syrian-led transition’:
Any political settlement must deliver to the people of Syria a transition
• Offers a perspective for the future that can be shared by all in Syria;
• Establishes clear steps according to a firm time-table towards the
realization of that perspective;
• Can be implemented in a climate of safety for all, stability and calm;
•Is reached rapidly without further bloodshed and violence and is credible.3
I. Perspective for the Future
The aspirations of the people of Syria have been clearly expressed by the
wide range of Syrians consulted. There is an overwhelming wish for a
state that:
• Is genuinely democratic and pluralistic, giving space to established and
newly emerging political actors to compete fairly and equally in elections.
This also means that the commitment to multi-party democracy must be a
lasting one, going beyond an initial round of elections.
• Complies with international standards on human rights, the
independence of the judiciary, accountability of those in government and
the rule of law. It is not enough just to enunciate such a commitment.
There must be mechanisms available to the people to ensure that these
commitments are kept by those in authority.
• Offers equal opportunities and chances for all. There is no room for
sectarianism or discrimination on ethnic, religious, linguistic or any other
grounds. Numerically smaller communities must be assured that their
rights will be respected.
II. Clear Steps in the Transition
The conflict in Syria will only end when all sides are assured that there is a
peaceful way towards a common future for all in Syria. It is therefore
essential that any settlement provides for clear and irreversible steps in the
transition according to a fixed time frame. The key steps in any transition
• The establishment of a transitional governing body which can establish a
neutral environment in which the transition can take place. That means that
the transitional governing body would exercise full executive powers. It
could include members of the present government and the opposition and
other groups and shall be formed on the basis of mutual consent.
• It is for the Syrian people to determine the future of the country. All
groups and segments of society in Syria must be enabled to participate in a
National Dialogue process. That process must not only be inclusive, it
must also be meaningful—that is to say, its key outcomes must be
• On this basis, there can be a review of the constitutional order and the
legal system. The result of constitutional drafting would be subject to
popular approval.
• Once the new constitutional order is established, it is necessary to
prepare for and conduct free and fair multi-party elections for the new
institutions and offices that have been established.
• Women must be fully represented in all aspects of the transition.4
III. Safety, stability and calm
Any transition involves change. However, it is essential to ensure that the
transition can be implemented in a way that assures the safety of all in an
atmosphere of stability and calm. This requires:
• Consolidation of full calm and stability. All parties must cooperate with
the transitional governing body in ensuring the permanent cessation of
violence. This includes completion of withdrawals and addressing the
issue of the disarming, demobilization and reintegration of armed groups.
• Effective steps to ensure that vulnerable groups are protected and
immediate action is taken to address humanitarian issues in areas of need.
It is also necessary to ensure that the release of the detained is completed
• Continuity of governmental institutions and qualified staff. The public
services must be preserved or restored. This includes the military forces
and security services. However, all governmental institutions, including
the intelligence services, have to perform according to human rights and
professional standards and operate under a top leadership that inspires
public confidence, under the control of the transitional governing body.
• Commitment to Accountability and National Reconciliation.
Accountability for acts committed during the present conflict must be
addressed. There also needs to be a comprehensive package for transitional
justice, including compensation or rehabilitation for victims of the present
conflict, steps towards national reconciliation and forgiveness.
IV. Rapid steps to come to a Credible Political Agreement
It is for the people of Syria to come to a political agreement, but time is
running out. It is clear that:
• The sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria
must be respected.
• The conflict must be resolved through peaceful dialogue and negotiation
alone. Conditions conducive to a political settlement must now be put in
• There must be an end to bloodshed. All parties must re-commit
themselves credibly to the six-point plan. This must include a cessation of
armed violence in all its forms and immediate, credible and visible actions
to implement items 2-6 of the six-point plan.
• All parties must now engage genuinely with the Joint Special Envoy.
The parties must be prepared to put forward effective interlocutors to work
expeditiously towards a Syrian-led settlement that meets the legitimate
aspirations of the people. The process must be fully inclusive to ensure
that the views of all segments of Syrian society are heard in shaping the
political settlement for the transition.
The organized international community, including the members of the
Action Group stands ready to offer significant support for the
implementation of an agreement reached by the parties. This may include 5
an international assistance presence under a United Nations Mandate if
requested. Significant funds will be available to support reconstruction and
Agreed actions Group members will take to implement the above in support of the
Joint Special Envoy’s efforts to facilitate a Syrian-led political process
7. Action Group members will engage as appropriate, and apply joint and sustained
pressure on, the parties in Syria to take the steps and measures outlined in paragraph 5.
8. Action Group members are opposed to any further militarization of the conflict.
9. Action Group members underscore to the Government of Syria the importance
of the appointment of an effective empowered interlocutor, when requested by the Joint
Special Envoy to do so, to work on the basis of the six-point plan and this communiqué.
10. Action Group members urge the opposition to increase cohesion and be in a
position to ensure effective representative interlocutors to work on the basis of the sixpoint plan and this communiqué.
11. Action Group members will give full support to the Joint Special Envoy and his
team as they immediately engage the Government and opposition, and consult widely
with Syrian society, as well as other international actors, to further develop the way
12. Action Group members would welcome the Joint Special Envoy’s further
convening of a meeting of the Action Group should he deem it necessary to review the
concrete progress taken on all points agreed in this communiqué, and to determine what
further and additional steps and actions are needed from the Action Group to address the
crisis. The Joint Special Envoy will also keep the United Nations and the League of
Arab States informed

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July 1st, 2012, 7:35 am


357. Observer said:

I am sorry for posting the whole document but I felt that it is essential reading and I know that each side will find elements to its satisfaction

The meeting was like the AL and the Majlis. It met like the muscles of the pelvic floor when conducting their daily routine

The mountain delivered a mouse

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July 1st, 2012, 7:40 am


358. majedkhaldoun said:

Is this deal going to Security Council to be approved under chapter seven?to make it enforceable?or this is just talk?

Would Russia veto this deal in the SC?

Who will enforce this deal?who will choose the new government and when?the deal says that Assad must pull his military machine without waiting to the other side as said by Annan, would he comply?
The new deal says the new transitional government have full executive power,and must be neutral,this clearly says that Assad lost his executive authority.

Before anyone feels elated or depressed we must wait and see what will happen in the SC.

I strongly believe that Lavrov was tricked.

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July 1st, 2012, 7:55 am


359. Juergen said:

Regarding the Contact Group meeting in Geneva on 30 June 2012

What has happened in Geneva is a farce in every sense of the word. The members of the Security Council have accepted the Russian dictates abandoning the Syrian people and leaving them completely on their own in the face of their victimizes. On its part, the regime has responded to this ‘salutation’ with an even more startling response yesterday by breaking the record of the number of martyrs who fall for its massacres and which have become the national policy it uses.
The Contact Group has asked the Syrian people to engage in dialogue with its victimizer who has not for 16 months ceased to kill its people, mutilate their children, rape their women. It has further called on the Syrian people to come to an understanding for a transitional period without foreign intervention.
What a farce!
The Syrian people are left with no other option than to engage in a popular liberation war to claim its own victory counting on God, Syrian heroes and sisterly countries which have openly expressed their active support to the Syrian people’s right to uproot the tyrannical regime and establish a civil democratic independent sovereign state.
I call upon my brothers and sisters in media pages to call next Friday ‘Popular Liberation War’. All categories of the Syrian people will take part in this holy war which is going to purge our homeland of tyranny, corruption and dictatorship and liberate us forever from the rule of criminals and murderers.

Burhan Ghalyoun

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July 1st, 2012, 8:35 am


360. Observer said:

Just one perspective.

When the revolt started in Damascus with the merchants of Harika chanting the Syrian people will not be humiliated, they also chanted to sacrifice themselves for Fredo (Bashar). This is because they wanted reform without appearing to challenge the very existence of the regime.

When the children in Daraa wrote graffiti demanding the end of the regime it was in imitation of others in the Arab world and when they were arrested their parents and the leaders of the community asked for their release arguing that this was child’s play.

In both instances the regime reacted with utter contempt and extreme brutality and now the people have moved inexorably towards a complete uprooting of the regime.

In essence the meeting in Geneva is meant to try to snatch survival of the regime from defeat but in my opinion the people in Syria have moved beyond this meeting just as they moved beyond the external opposition’s divisiveness and bickering

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July 1st, 2012, 8:46 am


361. Atheist Syrian Salafist Against Dictatorships said:

@Observer: I think mastery of “Intentionally Ambiguous Language” is a necessary requirement for anyone contemplating a career as a diplomat, and particularly so at the UN.

@Majedkhaldoun: “I strongly believe that Lavrov was tricked.”

Will have to disagree on that one. Lavrov and Putin are determined to spoil any solution that has even the slightest chance of seeing Jr ousted; the upcoming russian and chinese veto at the SC will prove this, if any such resolution were to reach it in the first place.

I don’t say this because I want it to be so, but from my conviction that Putin is a very stubborn Cold War warrior intent on winning this battle, a decision he made way back: slug it out to the very end, come what may, and regardless of how many Syrians perish. The west, too, wants the country in absolute tatters and will step in only if the FSA and the LCCs have got the upper hand, not to help them finish the regime off but to make sure that they don’t win a complete and total victory…sort of like in Bosnia.

Pessimistic, cynical, conspiratorial! you may say, but the treachery of the west knows no limits, imo. Russia isn’t much better, but at least it is showing its true face.

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July 1st, 2012, 8:59 am


362. zoo said:

As expected.. but this is no more a UN plan, it is a plan also agreed by the “allies” of the opposition: Qatar and Turkey.

Syrian opposition rejects UN transition plan
By ZEINA KARAM | Associated Press – 1 hr 39 mins ago
BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian opposition groups on Sunday rejected a U.N.-brokered peace plan for a political transition in Syria, calling it ambiguous and a waste of time and vowing not to negotiate with President Bashar Assad or members of his “murderous” regime.

The disappointed reaction underlined the seemingly intractable nature of the Syrian conflict, which this week saw some of the bloodiest violence since the start of the uprising against Assad’s regime in March 2011.

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July 1st, 2012, 9:22 am


363. ann said:

Annan: Russia, West agree on transition government for Syria – 01 July, 2012



Prior to the conference, Annan had proposed a plan for a unity government in Syria excluding political figures that would compromise the country’s stability and effectively calling for the removal of President Bashar al-Assad. Moscow refused to back such a condition and also made sure the plan brokered in Geneva would not require Assad to step down.


“We consider it of the utmost importance that this document does not seek to dictate to the Syrian sides how the transition process should happen politically. How exactly this process will take place is up to the Syrian people. This document is very precise on that,” Lavrov told reporters.


However Patrick Henningsen, associate editor at Infowar.com, does not believe the Geneva meeting will have a positive outcome, saying it was set up to fail.

“As this meeting is going on in Geneva, the West are backing proxy guerilla armies of foreign fighters who are getting refuge in countries like Turkey over the border where Syria cannot hit them.”

Assad had earlier stated that he will not accept any transition plan that is “not Syrian,” “not national.” Henningsen believes that Assad has hinted in the media as to what Western plans for Syria really are.

“Ideally they would like to break the county up into separate regions and to balkanize this country for many reasons – energy pipeline project coming from Qatar, border disputes with Turkey, and also to minimize Russia’s influence not just in Tartus, but overall in the coastal region.”


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July 1st, 2012, 9:59 am


364. bronco said:

Obviously there has been a secret agreement between the USA and Russia.
Syria does not represent an economical interest for the USA: They have enough bases in the Gulf to protect the oil.
Syria has been a nuisance for Israel. It has helped Hezbollah rearm. It has allowed Iran to sneak in close to Israel borders. It has also hosted Hamas. It had a strong army. These are the real dangers it represented.

After 18 months of fights, the economy is a shamble, Iran is squeezed economically and has other priorities, Hamas is now supported by Moslem Brotherhood Egypt who will take over championing the Palestinian cause and Syria’s army is weakened.

Therefore Syria’s regime doesn’t presents any potential danger to Israel as long as there is a centralized law and order and that an Islamist government does not emerge. The fear it that, on the long term, it may ally with other Islamist governments in the region and threatened Israel again.

It seems that the USA has therefore lost interest in Syria.
It has conceded to Russia the task of rebuilding Syria politically with the conditions that it stops helping HA, limit its relation with Iran to economical relations and does not become Islamist. Today, Syria can easily meet these conditions. Its highest priority would be to rebuild their government and their economy, a daunting task after the carnage the country has lived through. It will takes years. The USA is assured of that.

The opposition must accept that they will never get the victory they were aiming at. Simply because they have been unable to present s single front, their goals are unclear, ambiguous and perceived as dangerous for the region (and Israel) by Western powers.
The Western countries as well as the staunch supporters of the opposition ( Qatar, KSA, Turkey) have reached that pragmatic conclusion:
Syria’s government has been crippled enough not to present a danger to the region for the short and medium term. The danger now comes from the numerous opposition’s armed groups that have many conflicting agendas that could create havock in the region.
They have to be stopped. This is the task of the UN with the help of Russia to do that. Russia has “carte blanche”

The Geneva meeting showed the flip of the USA and the FOS toward a more pragmatic and reasonable approach ( some will say cynical) to the situation in Syria.

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July 1st, 2012, 10:00 am


365. Mina said:

Ghalyoun would have been smart if he could understand before thousands were killed that a low-profile academic like him cannot make a good politician. As for the traitors who have helped fail any hope in Syria by bringing in fake videos from Iraq, Mexico, Lebanon, to help boast the crowd, they are now victims of their own lies, like in Peter and the Wolf. All this has been forecasted by many. No one will ever care about the soul of a Palestinian, an Iraqi or a Syrian. This is all about oil, refugees, partition of Iraq, and the so-called peace process. Now you are free to lose your time in wishful thinking, but people die everyday, from both sides.

Some news from Lybia? Regime change was supposed to be finally working out, unlike in Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq……………

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July 1st, 2012, 10:05 am


366. irritated said:

#366 Mina

Who cares about dead Libyans? The oil and business contracts with ‘the liberators’ are alive and well.

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July 1st, 2012, 10:45 am


367. Observer said:

Another wate of time.

Everybody got something

Russia can now hide behind this meeting to call for a transitional government when it knows full well that there is no way to implement that with Fredo in place.

The US and allies can claim that the transitional government is being blocked by the presence of Fredo and there will be no dialogue.

The regime is crumbling and the opposition will gain in power.

The flow of arms will continue, the rebels will become more lethal the regime more savage and the place will fall apart.

Without mechanisms to force both sides to stop the meeting was nothing more than posturing. I do not see anyone winning or losing.

In simple terms: so? Russia said this and the US said that and Annan said this and that. So? Where is the beef as Ronald Reagan said to Walter Mondale during the debate leaving him speechless.

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July 1st, 2012, 11:40 am


368. Syrialover said:

329. Irritated

You prove my point with your double talk and nonesense!

You assert that YOU would fight if the army attacked where you live. “Fight back of course, protect your family even to death”

But whenever any ordinary Syrians fight back in your view they are all vicious al-qaeda-sponsored traitorous criminal scum.

And if they escape a roundup by heavily armed troops for mass arrest and torture they are cowards and letting their family down, according to you.

Well, here’s some really amazing NEWS for you: families in Syria desperately push their military-age men out the door and order them to hide because they know such men and family with them will be a target of the army. They want them to survive.

Any connections you have in Syria obviously belong to a well protected species.

Lucky you, lucky them.

For now.

I’m the one who is irritated now! Along with every other normal person who reads your entries.

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July 1st, 2012, 11:40 am


369. omen said:

349. BADR said: The professor would better not waste his time commenting on a nonsense story about a negotiated deal to transfer oil through Syria!

why is it nonsense?

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July 1st, 2012, 5:41 pm


370. sf94123 said:

Reading between the lines:

– Syrians will form a transitional government and genuine opposition groups will join
– Oppositions outside Syria are pragmatic and ambiguous and will continue to make noise. They have fallen out of favor and soon they will be forgotten
– KSA , Qatar, and Turkey will stop funding and arms transfer to SFA and other militants
– Turkey will monitor its border with Syria and will stop the flow of weapons and militants
– Border camp in Turkey will be a transitional point. Some of SFA/ militants will be permitted to live in Turkey, EU, and the US. The remaining will be deported back to their countries such as Libya, SA and etc.
– Constitution will be amended and election will be held at an agreeable date
– Election will be monitored by international observers and result will be certified accordingly
– Everyone is allowed to run for president. Candidates are required to meet the Constitution requirement

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July 1st, 2012, 5:53 pm


371. omen said:

342. SALAH ADDIN said: you live in the USA and can relate to the persecution of minorities there I hope. How about African Americans? American Natives? Jews? Irish Catholics? Muslims? Do we need to ask amnesty international or human rights watch to verify if there was any persecution? Your concern about Sunni persecution would have been considered genuine if you had condemned Israeli persecution of Palestinian Arab Sunnis. Alawites were persecuted, but not to the extent of murder and lynching, as you are well aware of these incidents in the history of the USA. The KKK or its equivalent did not exist in Syria. But still the Alawis suffered from persecution.


thank you for answering but i don’t understand why you took offense. i didn’t ask to be offensive but because i really didn’t know. it was an honest question. i’m sorry if i didn’t frame the question with more sensitivity.

the reference to amnesty international was not related to the historic question but to the list of murders snk had listed.

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July 1st, 2012, 5:54 pm


372. sf94123 said:


Comment 370- second point- I meant to say “Oppositions outside Syria are not pragmatic and ambiguous at best” .

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July 1st, 2012, 6:24 pm


373. Ryan Jamil said:

Reading Syria comment,listening to Turkish and Gulf leaders and watching dozens of SAT TVs for more than one year, makes us feel that the Syrian regime is falling,and the Syrian Army is breaking up.During this long time some facts arose:
1-That the so called peaceful revolution was only armed struggle by the opposition supported by Alqaeda 21 suicide attacks in the cities killing innocent people in the name of revolution ,which reduced the supporters of the opposition and showed it as terrorists killing their own people.
2-The attacks that the armed opposition launched against the rail ways, the bus stations(destroyed hundreds buses),and blowing up of gas pipes and oil pipes created a real living problem to the poor Syrians who blame the opposition for that.
3- After failing to gather huge numbers for peaceful demonstrations like Tunisia and Egypt(the cracking is the same in Syria ,Egypt and Tunisia)the opposition and its supporters resorted to arms in an attempt to create Bangazi like safe zones on the borders .They failed ,so they resorted to mobilize confessionalism and promote hatred between Syrian people through SAT TVs airing fanatic and racial speeches (if 10%aired in the US about black and white we would have seen a civil war).
4- The steadfastness of the regime supported by a majority inside(between 60 and 65%) and by Russia and Iran enabled it to survive this US, European ,Turkish and Gulf attack.Talking about the regime fall looks like a wish and the lie of Goha who promoted it and finally believed it.
5- Unfortunately the opposition is unable to go to dialogue with the regime ,so they refused it and made a condition to topple the regime before any talks.Yet the balance of power is in the favor of the regime and the super powers are aware of that and pushing them to the abyss.
6- Finally this soft war will not result in changing the Syrian regime ,instead people feel that the economic,financial ,political ,diplomatic , press and media ,confessional ,and terrorist attacks pressure(suicide bombers)will strengthen the regime and bring more support.

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July 3rd, 2012, 3:14 am


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