“A Syrian Drama: A Taxonomy of a Revolution” by Omar Dahi

Omar S Dahi

[The News Round Up for Saturday, Aug. 13, follows this article]

A Syrian Drama
by Omar S. Dahi, Assistant Professor of Economics, Hampshire College
for Syria Comment
August 13, 2011

The Syrian regime is in big trouble. Absent an economic collapse, its downfall may not be imminent, but Most indicators lead to the conclusion that the regime is effectively done, and the only remaining questions are how bloody the transition will be and what type of Syria will emerge. On the domestic front, the social base of the regime is stagnant or shrinking. The regime immediately mobilized its entire social support structure to ‘million-man’ marches. Though many attending are government workers made to go (pro-regime marches are always on workdays), many of those attending do so willingly. However that mobilization has reached its limit: the regime has no new social base to draw on and mobilize. Most of those who willingly attend the “mnhibak” (literally: we love you) pro-regime rallies know very well that there will not be any violence otherwise they would stay home. On the other hand, the anti-regime demonstrations are steadily increasing, both in numbers and in geographic size. Three weeks ago roughly 1.2 million or 5.5% of the population demonstrated all over the country. Economically, the country is in dire straits. The tourist industry has been decimated. The increased deficit spending, from raised salaries, support for fuels, lower import tariffs are large enough, without taking into account the spending on Army mobilization, and military and security personnel. Externally, the regime is getting more, not less isolated. Just yesterday, the Russian President warned his Syrian counterpart of a ‘sad fate’, unless reforms are implemented. It was given a long leash by the West to deal with the protests, but its main asset as a guarantor of ‘stability’ is now turning into a liability.

I traveled to Syria in July to observe first-hand what is taking place inside the country. Most of my time was spent in Damascus and its suburbs, with a brief trips elsewhere, in particular a two day stint in Hama just days before the government’s massacre. What follows is a series of vignettes, hastily put together, of life inside Syria this past month. These stories represent my own understanding and readers should take all stories emerging from the country as a partial truth, but will hopefully help give a clearer picture of Syria in the midst of the revolution. I have left out the names and identifying details of many wonderful people who have helped me shape my views for obvious reasons. I am solely responsible for this article’s content.

Everyday life in Damascus

The first thing that strikes a traveler when entering Syria straight into Damascus in the past month is that life appears to be normal. This false sense of normalcy have allowed certain sectors of Damascenes to live in a fairy tale of ‘everything’s fine, it’ll be over soon’, something I heard repeatedly during my stay. There are signs of course that things are not quite as they seem: there is increased security presence everywhere, especially the now infamous security buses which are used to herd arrested protestors to unknown destinations. From time to time cars or trucks full of pro-regime supporters tour the city carrying flags and shouting pro-Bashar slogans. The tourist industry has declined as mentioned earlier which means that many hotels, restaurants, and cafes which had become an important source of income and employment are almost empty. If Damascus had been relatively subdued in terms of protests, politics is on everyone’s minds and all taboo subjects, including what five months ago seemed unspeakable topics such as the regime’s downfall and direct criticism of the President are now commonplace. When entering an ongoing conversation one is immediately asked if s/he is pro- (muwalat) or anti-regime (mu’arada) (or in the derogatory terms booq (trumpet) or mundass (infiltrator).

When discussing the ongoing events with someone against the demonstrations (incidentally, very few people I spoke with identified as ‘pro-regime’, they preferred to say they are ‘with reform’ I will identify them in this article as against the revolts, the most neutral term I could find to describe their position). Conversations with those against the revolts can quickly descend into farce. Many I spoke with maintained that everyone who supports the revolution from outside the country is either a coward, a traitor, or does not genuinely care about Syria’s fate (this third category is where some people placed me, thankfully). As for those opposing the regime on the inside: Dar’a are a bunch of no-good smugglers, Hama is vindictive and full of hate, Homs are all extremist Salafis, the Northwest are separatist Kurds, and the Northeast are drug dealers, etc. The discussion then turns into a description of the atrocities committed by the protestors.

One typical story: “a women went to her neighbor’s house and asked them to stop protesting. When she turned around to leave, they shot her in the back. Somehow she didn’t die and was taken to the hospital. The neighbors then followed her to the hospital, kidnapped her, and cut her to pieces.” Depending on the source this story took place in ‘Arbin, Qatana, Dar’a, or Hama. The punch line was “and this is her own neighbors who did this. You see, these people are monsters, they don’t know what freedom means.” Regime violence is either denied or taken as a given (‘what do you expect, to insult them and be rewarded with flowers?’ or ‘this regime hasn’t done anything yet, if they really wanted to kill, they can do a lot more’). One reason that’s given for not opposing the regime is that this regime is lunatic and capable of mass murder and therefore it should not be pressured.

The more I talked with people who hold these views the more I realized that they genuinely believe them, with one slight caveat: many of these did not decide on their stand against the revolt based on the stories of criminal gangs, and Muslim extremists, and so forth. Just the opposite: most of those I spoke with who held this view clearly had made up their minds from day one of the revolts and then decided to believe the government’s stories. On the other hand, there were many who changed their beliefs when they clearly saw the government had chosen the violent approach, and many who were literally traumatized by the President’s first speech.

Contrary to what many have claimed, demonstrations have been taking place well within the center of a month before Ramadan. Demonstrations have taken place in Qaboon, Rukn al-Deen, Barzeh, Duma, Harasta, Daraya, ‘Arbeen, Zamalka, Hajar al Aswad, (Zabadani), Qatana, Kiswe, , Qadam, Jdeida, as well as the Midan district: all well inside Damascus. If these were lights on a map they would form a circle around city. Since the government’s main concern now is Damascus and Aleppo, it is concentrating a huge security presence in those two cities. Hot spots such as Rukn al-Din, al-Qaboon, Harasta, and Duma are cordoned off entirely starting Thursday night. I walked through those areas on several occasions on a Friday and traffic was completely blocked with checkpoints on each major street entrance.

In the last few days before Ramadan there was a particularly heavy security presence in Damascus. In Khalid bin Walid street two days before Ramadan three flatbed military vehicles passed by pedestrian traffic, each with about 30 soldiers carrying machine guns and chanting pro-Maher (President’s brother) slogans. This seemed to be a warning to Damascenes not to dare protest during Ramadan. Like most regime actions you could see in the faces of passers by that this only increased people’s hostility. As I left the scene an old lady whispered to me ‘dear, do you think they are going to the Golan?’. A few days later in the exact same spot, a silent funeral march for a protestor who had been shot the day before was attacked by police, only for the police themselves to be beaten up by the people in the neighborhood.

Who Are the Protestors? What are their tactics?

Syria’s internal opposition movement is not unified and one should not speak about it in the singular. One can identify five distinct opposition groups. Burhan Ghaliun has stated they are unified by the three “No’s”: no to violence, no to sectarianism, and no to outside intervention (although I would exclude from this what I identify as the fifth group).

  1. The first group consists of traditional oppositional parties: the socialist, Nasserist, and communist parties.
  2. Second are the dissident intellectuals (such as Michel Kilo, Tayeb Tizini, Fayez Sara, Aref Dalila, and Burhan Ghalioun (on the outside). In my view the writings and words of these dissident intellectuals carry much greater weight among the revolutionary youth than the traditional oppositional parties, although, neither of the first two categories has a large ‘social base.
  3. Third is the youth movement itself (youth here is used liberally, including teenagers to people in their 40s) which is the moving force of the revolution. The leaders of the Local Coordination Committees are in this group. While the uprising started off with demonstrations of marginalized and lower class youth, it has expanded to include youth from all sectors of society.
  4. The fourth category is the social base of the youth movement that is an unorganized civil society composed of socially conservative Muslims but which is mistakenly referred to as Islamist. These are the people who bore the brunt of regime repression for decades. These are the primary carriers of the social revolt — that is the Syrian society itself and the reason in my view why the regime cannot survive.
  5. The fifth category, which the regime claims is the main obstacle, but which is in fact a very small fraction, is the armed Salafi groups. Some may have traveled to Iraq to fight the US invasion. (They do not fit into Ghalioun’s three “no’s”, because they espouse violent revolution, are overtly sectarian, and welcome intervention by fellow Salafists, whether Syrian or not.)

These groups do not neatly fit into either class or regional categories. Most of those who have taken to the streets are from lower economic classes and rural or middle sized-cities. However, there is still a much larger group which has not taken to the streets and does not fall into the categories I have outlined above, but which is just as resentful of the regime: this is the upper-class and middle-class youth of Syria’s two major cities.

It has been conventional wisdom to assume that well-to-do Syrians are pro-regime. This is not accurate. Many who have brushed up against the regime and have experienced its humiliations and observed its brutality first hand. They may not take to the streets, but may contribute in other ways that are not obvious to the casual observer. Given the forbidding security environment, the protestors are organizing at the neighborhood level. Paranoia and fear of secret police make establishing ties between local organizations difficult, although organization is improving at all levels slowly but surely.

Since the start of the revolt, the government’s actions have been arbitrary and improvised. The government was caught flat footed by the protests and has had to change tactics over time. Its response has been to employ two main tracks: the first a campaign of psychological and physical terror against the demonstrators, the second, a series of political liberalization measures meant to both absorb or appease a section of the protestors as well as present to the outside world a semblance of change. Both of these tracks have one main common denominator: they are meant to preserve as much of the political status quo as possible. They are also designed to insist on complete governmental control over events and government reforms. Five months into the uprising, the government still acts as if it holds all the cards; all ‘reform’ measures are issued as decrees by the government. In other words, it has recognized –in its own words- legitimate grievances, but has yet to recognize a legitimate opposition to be negotiated with.

Thus, the “democratic transition,” such as the crafting of new political reform legislation, such as new ‘parties’ and ‘media’ laws, has been handed down by government fiat. Even the call for ‘dialogue’ which manifested itself in a two day summit in early July ended with a pre-fabricated statement which ignored the discussion that had taken place. Since then, the government’s response to opposition demands has been largely one of violence.

The protests themselves have not been uniform. Given the terror and live ammunition used by the regime, the protest movement’s tactics have been varied and creative. Resistance by the opposition ranges from political satire, rumors and gossip, guerrilla demonstrations, mass demonstrations, in-house demonstrations later broadcast on the internet, sit-ins, as well as acts of sabotage and violence. Since some quarters of Damascus and other areas are under Army siege or lock-down, demonstrators come out in rapid demonstrations and withdraw before the security forces can gather. When I visited Hama, days before the massacre (more on this below) each day over 100,000 people gathered in the main square (Sahet al-‘Asi) to discuss the day’s events and exchange information about events taking place elsewhere in Syria. One of the more creative tactics has been the ‘white demonstrations’ on Hamra street. A group ranging from 500 to 2000 all wearing white shirts or hats in groups of no more than three, but usually one or two walk back and forth on Hamra street without saying a word or even acknowledging each other. The security forces see them and know something is up but simply don’t know on what pretext to arrest them. As to the question of violence, it undoubtedly exists among the protest movement, though to a very small degree, as opposed to the regime’s actions which have been overwhelmingly violent, and increasingly so. It is quite amazing that the protest movement has not been as violent as one would expect given the brutality and sectarianism of the regime.

I attended several pro-regime rallies (masira) because I was curious to see who attends and what exactly takes place there. During my stay there were two large demonstrations, one in Omayyad (capped by the wildly popular singer George Wassouf) and the other in Hijaz Square. I attended the latter, but went twice to a rally in Bab Touma, the traditionally Christian part of town. As I approached the main square, which had several hundred people in white shirts all carrying or wearing Syrian flags, with loud pro-Bashar music blaring from loudspeakers, I finally realized what fascism really looks like.

The belief or claim by some opposition members outside the country that pro-regime demonstrations are entirely forced is not accurate. Many state (and private sector) employees are made to go, but many show up on their own and do not fit neatly into categories such as ‘regime beneficiary’ which some members of the opposition like to throw around. These were people, on their own will, coming to support a regime’s brutal crackdown by security forces that they themselves have long dreaded and despised. I saw and spoke with several people in attendance, all of whom insisted the events were necessary to ‘confront the conspiracy,’ to ‘preserve national unity’, and to ‘oppose extremists.’ The event was emceed skillfully by a man who alternated between leading chants and reading gut-wrenching accounts of the last moments and words of brave soldiers and military officers. In one such case, the commanding officer of a security post that had been ambushed called his superior and said: “the ammunition is done, I ask you to continue the fight. The homeland is a trust under your hands. Defend it and defend the leader.” The last words of all dying soldiers always involved: a) happiness in their sacrifice, b) devotion to the homeland and the president, c) request that those left behind take up the cause/fight.

Of course, no one has been hurt in a pro-regime rally and the ‘roving criminal gangs’ and ‘terrorist groups’ are absent. The rallies are guarded and streets are blocked. My own impression is that a large number of those attending would not take to the streets if there were any chance of violence.

Homage to Hama

I will describe my trip to Hama in a bit more detail because what I experienced there and what took place in the days after I left sums up what is beautiful about the revolution, just as it underscores the dark side of the regime. We left Damascus around 7.30am heading on a Pullman towards Hama. I was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to get into the city. I had heard horrendous stories about violence in and around the city. There were only 12 passengers on the bus and some were to continue to Aleppo. From the capital until Homs there were very few signs of any disturbances or security presence, however after passing Homs in the environs of Talbeesa and Rastan there were about 20 tanks or so. Upon reaching Hama we were stopped by a new security unit I had not seen or heard of before. They wore black and dark green uniforms and had “counter terrorism unit” (C.T.U.) written on their back. They boarded the bus and to my surprise asked if there were any soldiers on board. They did not ask for our IDs. We had heard of soldier defections taking place and I can only speculate that they were looking for them. I should note that there have not been any high ranking defections in the Syrian Army that I know of, though there are numerous conscripts that have been fleeing military service. (The Army has not released any soldier from service, including those whose normal service term has expired). That checkpoint was the last symbol of government control and from then on we were in a liberated city, with no army or security presence whatsoever and no traffic police either.

After the mass demonstrations the security had withdrawn and left the town to its own affairs although everyone was anticipating an attack at any moment (which would later come the day before Ramadan). To try and slow down an attack the Hamwis had set up makeshift barriers throughout the city made of trash cans, cinder blocks, metal bars, even overturned buses and a huge caterpillar truck meant to deter or slow down an attack by security services. These were manned by boys and men ranging from teenagers to men in their forties, two or three at a time directing traffic. They were not armed, very friendly and allowed me to freely take pictures (on a slightly depressing note, some thought I was a foreigner and greeted me with “hello mr. welcome to hama.”). The teenagers and young men in particular were taking their traffic policing job quite seriously (‘better than the actual traffic cops’ I heard time and again), despite spending the day under a blistering sun. At night during the daily demonstrations, and when there was a strike, all the checkpoints would be closed. The barriers could not really deter any attack, and the Hamwis knew this of course. At best they were hoping to slow it down so that the city would not be caught unprepared. I was told that some villagers bringing down milk and yogurt were turned back due to the strike and did not return since their products had spoiled and were afraid this would occur again.

I was also informed that some Alawi civil servants and employees had not come to work from the villages out of fear, although I was assured their fear was unfounded and that no sectarian attack had taken place (Incidentally, I did not hear any sectarian chants during my stay and there was only one anti-Shiite sectarian slogan painted way outside on the periphery of the city. All other slogans around it had been painted over except this one perhaps left to show evidence of sectarianism).

The city itself was full of life and the markets were busy, after several days of a general strike; the markets and shops stayed open until well past 1am. We walked through the city passing by the world famous Norias, the Old souq and the many markets. Life did not stop in Hama, there were no armed gangs or armed presence within the city. We passed by several liquor stores that were open for business. I made sure to take a picture and show my Christian friends back in Damascus who thought that Hama was under some sort of Salafi rule.! Passing through a park near the center of the city, we heard a few men murmur ‘the people want to topple the regime’ as we passed people in a park. Anti-regime graffiti could be seen on some walls, although some of it was painted over. There was no sign of vandalism and damage of public property, and many pro-regime banners set up at the start of the uprisings in Syria had been left intact. I heard many stories throughout the day of the corruption and theft of the regime, particularly illegal land acquisition by people in the upper circles of power, including partners of the presidents infamous cousin. There is a ‘takbeer’ (chant of God is Great) when a checkpoint is attacked or neighborhood is attacked and the entire block or passersby rush to help. Things of course were a bit more complex than they appeared on the surface.

A source told us of an ambush of demonstrators which took place in front of his house. A masked informant led the demonstrators into the security officers waiting around a street corner who opened fire and immediately killed at least 10 people. Our host told us that the informant was later killed and his body dumped into the Orontes. This has been done a few times with people identified as informants, their names have been posted on the Mosque’s door, although inevitably were some mistakes and one person had to plead with his friends to come out in his defense and clear his name.

The nightly demonstrations were the fullest expression of the city’s freedom. They also acted as a social space for different sectors of Hamwis to gather. It became the location in which the day’s events were planned, grievances are aired, and news of events taking place in Syria discussed. I headed to the demonstration from the neighborhood of the Hama Castle, passing by the café of Apamea hotel. The café is located on a beautiful view, right on the Orontes river overlooking the Sohoniya, Qadriyya, and Sultaniyya Norias (water-wheels). However it has a tragic history. It was built on the ruins of the former Kaylaniyya district, which was beautiful. This entire historic district was razed to the ground during the 1982 massacres after being one of the most architecturally beautiful sites in Syria. The insurgents had taken refuge there believing — mistakenly as it turned out — that the government would not shell the district because of its historic value.

I approached the main square right around the end of the evening prayers. Along the way I passed on the left the only two buildings left in town which prominently displayed the pictures of the President, the first was the police HQ and the second was the Ba’ath party HQ. The Ba’ath Party HQ had been burned down after the massacre which took place on 6/6. A group of people took flowers and headed in that direction. When they approached, gunmen on top of the building had opened fire. The protestors tried to escape through another street only to find that it had been blocked the night before by the security. My informant said that several dozen people were killed that day. The next day Hama started demonstrating en masse and had not stopped since.

As we approached Sahet al-‘Asi (Orontes square) we saw several dozen people finishing the evening prayers in the square itself. The young men at the checkpoints had increased and were rerouting traffic. I first decided to hang out at the edge of the square, in front of the park through which Orontes river ran. The number of people arriving began to pick up. Whether by foot, taxi, or micro-bus, loads of men and women, young and old started arriving. It seemed like the whole town was arriving to take part. Even as the square was getting full I saw a huge crowd marching down from the South of the city. Groups of kids were clapping and chanting anti-regime slogans. Cafes and markets which opened the day before were still open and there was a hustle and bustle in the streets all night long. By the time about 100,000 gathered in the square all checkpoints leading to the square were closed to all but pedestrians, and the demonstration started in full force.

With chants blaring from loudspeakers, the event was more than just an anti-regime demonstration, it was an event were people gathered to talk about the day’s news, exchange information and make requests. One such request was that the checkpoints were becoming a burden on the population, especially the kids wanting to take the dreaded baccalaureate exam. Others asked that the villagers be allowed to bring down their food. A lawyer was recently released from custody and said he was one of the last remaining detainees. Solidarity with other cities as well as individuals who had spoken out against the regime’s violence (such as actress May Skaff) was a particular theme that night. Most chants mentioned unity among Christians, Alawis, Sunnis, Kurds, (more on the tricky sectarian issue below)and many Christians were in attendance and were saluted by the crowd. Outside the square, markets were still open and people were going about their business as if this was the most normal thing in the world.

Hama has always been a conservative city. All but a few women on the streets were wearing headscarves (there were almost no niqabs -which is mostly a phenomenon in other cities such as Damascus). But I saw absolutely no signs of fundamentalism inside the city. It is a mistake to think Hama’s intifada can simply be reduced to the 1982 massacre. They have shared grievances with every other city in Syria. In my opinion it’s more accurate to say that this is a city with a history of collective mobilization against injustice and defiance since before the Ba’ath regime came to power, and because of their defiance they have repeatedly paid a heavy price. And they were willing to do so again. This was not a vindictive or hateful city as I kept hearing from people in Damascus. The genuine happiness of achieving freedom far outweighed the supposed desire for revenge against the regime. The chant I heard most frequently throughout the day and night was ya mahlaha al hurriya (freedom is beautiful).

A few days after I left, the government attacked the city. It killed over 100 people in the first two days of its assault. Syrian television reports on the days of the attack repeated stories of armed criminals terrorizing the population and destroying daily life in the city. They claimed that the Hamwis had called for government intervention. I saw first-hand that all those stories were a blatant lie. Hamwis knew what the regime was capable of and what it was planning. They nevertheless showed unbending courage and defiance in the face of terrible odds. The regime will not emerge triumphant from this bloodbath as it did in the past. Rather than turning their backs on Hama, as they did in the past, Syria’s other cities are championing it. Hama’s cause with neither sectarian nor violent. This time around, Hama expressed the sentiments of the Syrian people in a peaceful way.

The Issue of Minorities

Most of my time in Syria was spent in the Christian quarters of Damascus. Despite personal familiarity with the inhabitants of these quarters, nothing in my upbringing prepared me for the level of vitriol and hatred I heard there toward the protestors. The most depressing aspect of my trip to Syria was to see many (and I fear most) of its Christians rallying in support of the regime.

I heard the same language used to describe my fellow Syrians and the brave protestors as I have so often heard used by Israelis to describe the struggles of Palestinian people:  They are monsters, if they get their rights they will kill us’, ‘why are they sending their children to die?’, ‘they don’t want democracy, they are Islamic extremists who will kill us or oppress all us’, ‘no country can tolerate armed groups seeking to overthrow it’ etc. I was infuriated to consistently hear my heroes slandered and despised in their own country. And this by people who know only too well how brutal the regime is.

However if one is patient and overlooks the provocative slurs, one can detect a common theme among those who criticize the uprising: a genuine fear of the unknown. I believe that many who claim that the regime ‘protects minorities’ in fact fear retribution. Minorities which believe that they have benefited from the regime’s brutality and corruption over the past forty years believe that they are implicated in the eyes of the Sunni majority in its crimes. This is true not only of the Christians but even more so of the Isma’ilis and Alawis. I fear that the longer the regime clings to power and the more brutal it gets, the more sectarian feelings will intensify. Many feel the cross-sectarian chants (such as “Christians and Muslims are brothers” etc.) are disingenuous. This may be true, but I believe the criticism is a too harsh. At the start of the protests the demonstrators were viciously attacked by some as hiding a radical Islamist agenda. they responded in the best way they could: we have no such intentions, in fact we are all one, we love our Christian, Kurdish, and Alawi brothers etc. They were then attacked for saying this as well. In other words, it’s a no-win situation for these demonstrators who, apparently, like their Palestinian brethren, must prove the purity of their intentions.  All they are doing, after all, is insist that they they be granted their elemental civil rights.

The regime has in fact been the biggest enemy of minorities, including most Alawis. Alawis must navigate a treacherous and difficult political path. The opposition needs to pay special attention to the sectarian issue and the social wounds after the fall of the regime. National reconciliation will be so important if Syria is to find unity and social peace. It is not enough to make the claim that most Alawis (or other minorities) are not with the regime, and that being a Alawi or Christian or Isma’ili has nothing to do with this regime. Unlike Tunisia and Egypt, what seems to be on the table in Syria is a genuine revolutionary change and radical societal transformation that inevitably leaves many people fearful of the unknown. The gradualism, peacefulness, and decentralization of the Syrian revolution have been a major asset, although many I spoke with see the lack of an organized opposition they trust (and the Muslim Brotherhood definitely does not fall into this category for the people I am referring to) as potentially disastrous for the country.

Leaving Damascus

I left Damascus three days into Ramadan with the general feeling that it was on the verge of a major escalation. The pro- and anti- regime demonstrations are headed in opposite directions numbers wise. After starting off as a militant movement to demand basic civil rights, the protests seem to have reached a zero-sum game, but this has still emboldened even more people to take to the streets.

The high death toll of the attack on Hama carried out on the day before Ramadan demonstrates that the regime has more or less given up the call for dialogue. Syria’s rulers believe that they can still crush the protest movement. At the same time, they have issued several political reform measures meant to placate foreign countries, who hope that Syria might emerge as a ‘liberal autocracy’ on the model of Egypt in the 1980s and 1990s. The opposition will not accept such thin gruel now that it has sacrificed so much and mobilized so many. Neither side is likely to back down.

Syria might very well descend into fighting and repression that becomes quite bloody. But even if it does, the revolution must be driven completely from the inside for moral as well as practical reasons. So far, despite government claims, it has been overwhelmingly non-violent, internally driven, and de-centralized, which explains its success. However this can only continue for so long. I fear that increased regime terror will lead to an increasingly armed response. After priding itself on maintaining stability, the regime will have to accept the responsibility for the destruction of Syria for the sake of maintaining power.

* Omar S. Dahi is Assistant Professor of Economics at Hampshire College. His email address is odahi at hampshire dot edu. His cell phone number is 413-313-2492.

Comments (260)

uzair8 said:

Khamenei won’t support Assad to the end

Iran and Syria have long been allies, yet as if Khameni realises Assad’s situation is not salvageable, he will abandon him

Meir Javedanfar guardian.co.uk,
Saturday 13 August 2011 14.00 BST

For President Bashar al-Assad, the situation in Syria is becoming worse every day. In the middle of the biggest crisis his regime has faced, he has had one friend on whom he could rely: Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei.

Khamenei has been Assad’s steadfast friend, providing him with political as well as material support. But as Assad’s position worsens, he will need to rely on Khamenei’s regime more, especially since an increasing number of Assad’s neighbours are turning against him.

First was Turkey, which used to be a close ally. Now, the Turkish government is putting pressure on Assad and warning him to stop killing demonstrators and to implement reforms as soon as possible. And then the Saudis joined in by telling Assad to stop “his killing machine” and withdrawing their ambassador. A number of other Gulf states followed suit.

Assad has good reason to rely on Khamenei. The two regimes have been allies for many years. They have common interests with regard to Israel, Palestine, and groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas. In fact Assad would be right to assume that the Iranian government owes his family. While most of the Middle East backed Iraq in its eight-year war against Iran, it was Bashar’s father, Hafez al-Assad who stood against the tide.

Despite the closeness between the two leaders and the regimes, Syria’s president should be under no illusion: Ali Khamenei is his friend, but he will not sink with Assad’s ship. The moment the Iranian leader realises that Assad’s situation is not salvageable, he will leave him. This will most probably be done privately. In public, Khamenei and the rest of the Iranian regime will continue their support. They may even offer Bashar refuge in Iran. But, behind the scenes, it would be another story.

The reason is very simple: many have said that the Iranian regime is extremist. This is true. It is extremist about its own wellbeing. To Khamenei there is nothing more important and sacred than this. He is ready to sacrifice anything that would pose a risk to it – including Bashar al-Assad. And one day, if the political and economic costs of Iran’s nuclear programme start threatening the regime’s stability and interests, he would give that up too.

Khamenei will not commit political suicide by staying with Assad until the last moment. Doing so would be very damaging for the regime’s interests. Iran is becoming more isolated every day. It does not need a new enemy in Damascus in the event of Assad’s fall, especially when this could impact on its ability to supply weapons to Hezbollah through Syrian territory (not to mention relations with Hamas and Islamic Jihad, which it conducts through its offices in Damascus). It could also lose access to its economic interests in Syria.

These interests are all important to Khamenei, and he will want to protect them. Therefore Assad should not be surprised if one day he finds that, while Iran supports him publicly, behind the scenes its leaders are anticipating his demise by cavorting with members of the Syrian opposition.

For now, we don’t know if the Iranian government is doing this but the noted change in Iran’s English-language government press – especially since the clashes started in Homs province – may indicate how things inside Iran’s corridors of power are changing.

At an official level, the state-owned PressTV continues to support Assad’s regime. PressTV has been full of reports about demonstrators being backed by foreign powers (Israel, the UK and the US are the usual suspects). However, after the clashes started in Homs, PressTV also started reporting Syrian forces firing on crowds, as well as quoting human rights activists who openly state that the Syrian army has been attacking civilians.

When the protests in Syria first broke out many Persian media outlets in Iran stayed mute on the demonstrations. However, these days they are not only reporting on them but many are openly critical of Assad – much more than the English-language government-owned press.

A good example appeared on 28 July in the Jomhouri Eslami newspaper, a publication which has been close to Khamenei over the years. In an article headed “Assad’s salvation is in reforms and not in the barrel of the guns”, it said:

“A question which Assad and his advisers have to answer is: how long can they continue with armed confrontation and violence? Can they use more violence than Gaddafi and bombard demonstrators like him? Did Gaddafi’s use of violence return the people to their homes?”

The article went on to say that the Syrian army had killed hundreds in the cities of Dera’a and Homs. This is a far cry from the early days of the Syrian uprising when civilian casualties were ignored, while news agencies such as Mehr reported on “millions of demonstrators” supporting Assad.

According to Masoud Adrisi, Iran’s former ambassador to Lebanon, Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, has now changed his position and is asking Assad to respond to his population’s demands. The change in tone of reports from Iran could indicate that Khamenei is following Nasrallah, albeit at a slower pace. Sometimes a teacher can learn from his student.

August 13th, 2011, 12:34 pm


Observer said:

Very nice accounting of the situation.
One question I have: who is in charge and what is the strategy? If it is to have the current power structure remain in place and the reforms to be decreed from above God help us. If Syria is to have the same clan in charge then the country is finished.

It is interesting to me that comments on this blog from the pro regime supporters are now totally devoid of any arguments; just propaganda and quotations from the official and semi official news sources. This is clearly the case with the pro regime fascist like crowds described in this post.

I am surprised that the Christian community seem to be so rabidly anti revolution ( that does not mean pro regime automatically ) because the previous rebellion by the MB in the 80’s targeted the Alawi community almost exclusively and not the Christian one. I guess and this is only a guess that the events over the last 10 years across the Muslim world has traumatized them to no end. The combined fiasco of the US in Iraq and the retreat of the West in general and the increasing economic and military weakness of the traditional powers protecting the Christian communities in the Levant is sending shivers down their spine and yet, I genuinely believe that there contributions and the diversity of the communities in Syria is a wonderful asset to all. What a shame that this regime has brought on the people of Syria and the region. I do not believe that they have anything to fear; the young driving this revolution are already forging a new Arab and Syrian identity finally after years of wandering the desert of confessions clans tribes family and religious division and pettiness.

Any fanatical movement and conservative backlash is ultimately the result of fear rather than hope: notice the atrocity in Norway and the rise of right wing parties in Europe and the parallel similarity of the discourse with the fanatical fundamentalists in Jewish Christian and Islamic circles. There is now even a fundamentalist secularist political fanaticism that is also driven by fear. Whether it is the movement to ban mosque building in Geneva or the movement to ban girl schools in Kandahar I see the same loathsome fear at work.

I quote Ernest Renan again: nationalism is a mythic view of oneself combined with hatred and loathing of the other.

August 13th, 2011, 12:39 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Omar S Dahi describes a rather large movement of people.

Let’s see how many votes Bashar Assad gets when he institutes free elections.

August 13th, 2011, 12:41 pm


beaware said:

Arab autocrats get hit by legitimacy
August 13, 2011 12:36 AM
By Rami G. Khouri
The Daily Star

It has been eight months this week since that the first wave of citizen revolts across the Arab world was initiated in Tunisia. Two very important trends in that process now need to be better assessed and dealt with politically.

The first is the situation of stalemate between two equally strong forces representing the incumbent regime and the popular national opposition in several Arab countries. The second, in such situations and others, is the question of how and when foreign intervention is appropriate and can be effective. We may face these questions in the Arab world for some years to come.

The speedy collapse of the regimes in Tunisia and Egypt clearly cautioned other vulnerable Arab leaders who prepared tougher responses to their own domestic challenges. The four most glaring examples are Libya, Syria, Yemen and Bahrain. The active use of international military force in Libya and the presence of an alternative Libyan government probably seal the fate of Moammar Gadhafi’s regime. However, in the other three situations the confrontations between the regime and the opposition could drag on for many months. Syria is the state of most immediate concern and interest, because of the consequences of a regime collapse or internal strife in the wake of such an eventuality.

In Yemen, Syria and Bahrain, the government and opposition are both strong, determined, patient and, most importantly, legitimate in the eyes of their own constituency. It is possible that we could see in these countries weekly pro- and anti-government demonstrations for months ahead, without a resolution to the basic conflict. We have already witnessed about six months of such a situation in Yemen and Bahrain. If domestic challenges do not change or sufficiently modify an Arab regime, what then is the appropriate role for external intervention?

This question has again come to the fore with several international calls for the Syrian regime headed by President Bashar Assad to leave office or make a serious transition to democracy. This reached a new peak Thursday when the American president and the Turkish prime minister issued a statement calling on Assad to stop military actions against his people and start responding to the citizenry’s legitimate demands for a democratic transformation. This followed gestures last week by key Arab parties, including Saudi Arabia and the Arab League, in the same vein.

Syria is likely to ignore these statements and admonitions in the short run, but further down the road it would be wise to heed the experience of Libya and also Syria’s own history, especially its forced retreat from Lebanon in April 2005. Both those situations clarify the critical elements that must come together to force a country into a certain course of action. The critical pivot is the convergence among domestic popular sentiment, the positions of key regional actors, and legitimate international pressure via the United Nations Security Council. When those conditions are met, the pressure on an Arab regime becomes too strong to resist. It then collapses, leaves, or changes radically.

Those conditions were met in the Libyan case, when the Arab League and the U.N. both responded to indigenous Libyan demands and sanctioned the use of force to stop the Gadhafi regime from assaulting its own people. The same conditions were met in Lebanon in spring 2005, after the assassination of the former prime minister, Rafik Hariri, and 22 other people sparked a spontaneous popular uprising against Syria’s military and political domination of the country. The Syrians had felt and resisted Lebanese and international demands to withdraw from Lebanon before that, but they only realized they had to do so when Saudi Arabia and Egypt both told Damascus that they could not support its continued Lebanese presence. The result: Syria could not withstand the combined pressure of Lebanese, Arab and international pressure, so it headed for the exit.

Those conditions do not fully pertain in Syria, Yemen or Bahrain, so the regimes in place feel they can continue to rule while they explore means of staying in power. The Syrian situation is the closest to what is required to achieve compliance, particularly since this week’s clarity in the important positions of Turkey and Saudi Arabia, and the slow motion, low-intensity moral stirrings of the Arab League. It is particularly telling, and correct, that the United States has declared the need for powers like China and India to join the drive to intensify sanctions against Syria, so that the call for the Assad regime to step aside is not seen mainly as an American exercise.

As the international consensus against Assad rule solidifies, the days of Assad will, correspondingly, be numbered. Bahrain and Yemen remain susceptible to the same equation, with Saudi Arabia’s role being the dominant one.

Syria learned the importance of “legitimacy” the hard way in 2005 in Lebanon, and now the same lesson seems to be coming through in the country’s domestic politics.

Read more: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/Opinion/Columnist/2011/Aug-13/Arab-autocrats-get-hit-by-legitimacy.ashx#ixzz1UvawzzHS
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)

August 13th, 2011, 12:42 pm


Abughassan said:

We know by now that the regime inflated stories of armed thugs and failed to convince most Syrians that security forces only shoot those who have guns and use them, i see this post by mr Dahi to be more of a personal testimony than an actual analysis of the situation in Syria. I certainly enjoyed it despite finding few holes in his stories,I guess there was holes in my stories too.I expected an explanation about the fact that almost every government building in Hama was burnt or destroyed and that many goods and weapons were looted. He said nothing about the famous video where thugs threw dead bodies in alaasi river. Street justice was certainly practiced in Hama against suspected informants and security officers,and a number of minority families received threats and ran away. We need to get out of the two naive fantasies the first :this uprising is pure and totally peaceful ,and the second: the regime is only targeting armed thugs,
we need to unite under the Syrian flag to change this regime and treat our citizens with dignity.

August 13th, 2011, 12:51 pm


uzair8 said:

Thank You. I enjoyed the lates post.

Btw. I remember earlier on in the revolution I read a report that claimed the people of Hama, Homs etc were going to refuse to pay electricity, gas bills and taxes.

Have they carried out this threat?

Can they get away with this or will the regime hunt down anyone who doesnt pay their bills and taxes?

I read somewhere else that the government has found a new source of income. It arrests people and then charges families $1000 to release the arrested person. This is disgusting if true. It may earn them some money but that will be cancelled out by creating further enemies and hatred of the regime.

August 13th, 2011, 1:09 pm


AJ said:

This is the best account I have read on the situation in Syria!

August 13th, 2011, 1:19 pm


Aboud said:


Yes, many people have stopped paying electricity and water bills. So far I haven’t heard of anyone getting their electricity cut.

Also, we don’t have gas bills in Syria. We heat our homes using kerosene, and we cook using gas cylinders.

Abughassan, I’d like to see some proof from you when you claim that every single police station was burned down in Hama. Show us just a few police stations that were burned down before the army came in.

Every single impartial observer who was in Hama contradicts the government’s narrative.

And the Alassi is dry, you have yet to show evidence that it is otherwise.

August 13th, 2011, 1:42 pm


adal said:

is nt it quite interesting that writer do not even try to understand the position or the stand of the pro regime specially christian and other minority but from fear and sectarian/religious point of view? I found it absurd that those views, political views n reading of reality are completely dismissed n they r directly or indirectly described as pple who r blinded by their fear and devoid of vision…I think this entrance lacks objectivity and falls again into the same fault of maintainning a politically correct view of the revolution…unfortunately it adopts a typical western or more diaspora reading of reality in the ME and does not reflects a profound understanding of the socio political challenges facing not only syrians but many other arab countries after the ‘revolution’…

August 13th, 2011, 1:55 pm


Aboud said:

Must see video

This video was bought from one of the security men for 15,000 Syrian Liras (around $300). It shows security men in Hama taking weapons out of packages and discussing planting them in homes.

August 13th, 2011, 1:58 pm


Syria no kandahar said:

Prof Landis
You made the ikwan so happy today,they will eat double during iftar today,especially Aboud he likes boiled soldiers soup(read his Nazist comments yesterday about boiling souldiers).
Accourding to this guy all ikwan should make reservations and go back to Damascus next week.They should buy insurance on their tickets,because it is not going to happen.

August 13th, 2011, 1:59 pm


uzair8 said:


Someone should send that video to Al Jazeera.

Btw. What channel is that?

August 13th, 2011, 2:09 pm


Syria no kandahar said:

Pony tail
This vidio is done by your terrorists friends,as they are keeping their weapons in order.
Add garlic and lemon to the boiled soldiers soup it will taste better.

August 13th, 2011, 2:13 pm


beaware said:

SYRIA: Chaos erupts on streets of Aleppo [Video]
August 12, 2011 | 7:56 am
Chaos was reported on the streets of Aleppo, Syria’s second-largest city, during another day of intense confrontations between security forces and anti-government protesters.

Some have speculated that the city’s residents have been reluctant to take to the streets because they’ve developed too cozy a relationship with the regime of President Bashar Assad.

But new video posted to the Internet suggests another possible rationale: that unlike in Hama, Dair Alzour or Homs — where the regime allowed protesters to congregate before moving in and opening fire, killing many — security forces are brooking no dissent in Aleppo.

In the videos above and below, young men can be seen running through a poor district of the city as gunfire is heard in the distance.

There were also reports and video footage of protests in villages just outside of the cities.

The largest demonstrations Friday, including a big march in the town of Harasta, appeared to be in the suburbs of Damascus, which have been the scenes of near-daily clashes and nightly protests, as well as in the coastal city of Lattakia, where protesters unfurled a huge flag.

There were also protests in Jibleh, which like Lattakia is on the religiously mixed coastline that could serve as a weather vane for the country’s future social cohesion.

Video also showed what was said to be large demonstrations in Qamishli, the heart of Syria’s Kurdish ethnic minority.

Many of the protests appear to have gone off peacefully, but Syrian security forces seem determined not to let large protests erupt in the country’s five largest cities, including the besieged city of Homs.

— Los Angeles Times

August 13th, 2011, 2:26 pm


Aboud said:


That channel is Al-Arabiya, it’s as widely watched as Al-Jazeera. Al-Jazeera is funded by Qatar, while Al-Arabiya is owned by the Saudi Al-Ibrahim family.

If the opposition had that much arms to throw about, then it begs the question;

1) Why is the chief of customs and border security still in his job?

2) Why haven’t the casualties among the security men been in the thousands? That looks like a very potent arsenal.

3) What idiot of an insurgent would use those arms to make a “fake” video, and show his face?

Much more likely, it was shot by thugs who thought they were accountable to no one. I sincerely hope their heads are on a spike in the not too distant future.

August 13th, 2011, 2:26 pm


beaware said:

Iraqi Leader Backs Syria, With a Nudge From Iran
BAGHDAD — As leaders in the Arab world and other countries condemn President Bashar al-Assad’s violent crackdown on demonstrators in Syria, Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki of Iraq has struck a far friendlier tone, urging the protesters not to “sabotage” the state and hosting an official Syrian delegation.

Mr. Maliki’s support for Mr. Assad has illustrated how much Iraq’s position in the Middle East has shifted toward an axis led by Iran. And it has also aggravated the fault line between Iraq’s Shiite majority, whose leaders have accepted Mr. Assad’s account that Al Qaeda is behind the uprising, and the Sunni minority, whose leaders have condemned the Syrian crackdown.

“The unrest in Syria has exacerbated the old sectarian divides in Iraq because the Shiite leaders have grown close to Assad and the Sunnis identify with the people,” said Joost Hiltermann, the International Crisis Group’s deputy program director for the Middle East.

He added: “Maliki is very reliant on Iran for his power and Iran is backing Syria all the way. The Iranians and the Syrians were all critical to bringing him to power a year ago and keeping him in power so he finds himself in a difficult position.”

Iraq and Syria have not had close relations for years, long before the American invasion. During the sectarian violence here that broke out after the invasion, Iraqi leaders blamed Syria for allowing suicide bombers and other militants to enter the country.

But Syria and Iran have had close ties, a factor in the recalibration of relations between Syria and Iraq. Last year, Iran pressured Mr. Assad into supporting Mr. Maliki for prime minister, which eventually helped him gain a second term. Since then, Mr. Maliki and Mr. Assad have strengthened relations, signing trade deals and increasing Syrian investment in Iraq.

But the speaker of Parliament, Osama al-Najafi, a Sunni, said this week that the Assad government was suppressing the freedoms of the Syrian people and that it was unacceptable for it to use violence to halt protests.

“For the sake of the Syrian people we demand the government, out of its responsibility to safeguard the lives of its people and their property, take the bold and courageous steps to stop the bleeding,” Mr. Najafi said.

For months, Mr. Assad has faced a protest movement that has spread through much of the country. His response has been to use the police and the military against the protesters, killing about 2,000 people so far, activists say. Thousands more have been arrested. At first, Arab leaders were largely silent, concerned that the collapse of the government would add another layer of chaos to a region reeling from uprisings. But recently some have begun to speak out, condemning the killings.

Syria’s allies in Turkey have also called for an end to the bloodshed, as have leaders in Western capitals.

But Mr. Maliki last month hosted a delegation of Syrian government officials and businessmen to discuss closer economic ties, including the construction of a gas pipeline that would run from Iran through Iraq to Syria. A month earlier, Syria’s foreign minister visited Baghdad.

In a television interview this week, Mr. Maliki said that the protesters should use the democratic process, not riots, to voice their displeasure, though Syria does not allow competitive, free elections.

He put most of the blame on the protesters and said little about the government’s ending the bloodshed. This contrasted with a position his alliance took against the Sunni monarchy in Bahrain when it stifled a pro-democracy movement among the Shiite majority there.

To protest the crackdown in Bahrain, members of Mr. Maliki’s alliance walked out of a session of Parliament, sent a ship with supplies to the protesters and called on the government to step down.

Before the Syrian uprising, Shiite and Sunni leaders in Iraq were beginning to work together again after months of paralysis that had undermined the functioning of the government. That cooperation has not yet been derailed, but the conflict over Syria threatens to strain relations.

Shaker Darraji, a member of Mr. Maliki’s State of Law bloc, said the Syrian protesters were members of Al Qaeda and that the Israelis and the Arab Persian Gulf states were behind the demonstrations. If the Assad government is overthrown, he said, it will be replaced by members of Al Qaeda, who will use Syria as a base to launch attacks in Iraq and the region.

The agenda of Israel and the Arab gulf states “is to use the sectarian differences between the Shiite ruling family in Syria and the Sunni majority” to their own advantage, Mr. Darraji said.

But Jaber al-Jabri, a member of the Sunni-dominated Iraqiya bloc, objected to that assessment.

“What is happening in Syria is not because of a terrorist group, as some say, that is not accurate,” he said. “There are whole towns rising up to demonstrate against the regime. We call on the Syrian government to listen to the people’s demands and to stop violence against their people.”

August 13th, 2011, 2:30 pm



Add garlic and lemon to the boiled soldiers soup it will taste better.

How dare you, Aboud may be chided for his poor choice of imagery about what informants and soldiers who committed treason by firing on bereaved non violent mourners and citizens of their own country deserve (which I do not agree with), but you carrying that poor angry imagery into a new realm of tastelessness only to score a point with your fan club, only exposes your true feeling about the soldiers you claim to love, as nothing more than tools to enforce the rule of your mafia gang. You and your fan club are not supporters of the regime, you are an integral part of it, of its vulgar mentality, and a part that represent every failure in reaching true enlightenment and progress, the part that signifies the worst examples of regress in culture, in art, in literature, in taste, and above all, in decency. Shame on you, if you know what shame is.

August 13th, 2011, 2:39 pm


SYR.Expat said:

Exclusive: A Visit to Hama, the Rebel Syrian City That Refused to Die
By Rania Abouzeid / Hama
Hama’s streets are deserted. They are strewn with debris, not so much from the shelling that left gaping holes in many of the four- and five-story residential buildings along the city’s main thoroughfares, several of which are now blackened, but from the desperate, makeshift barricades set up by residents in a bid to block Syrian President Bashar Assad’s tanks. There are piles of broken cinderblocks, doors torn from their hinges, sheets of decorative wrought iron. At Roundabout 40, along a main road, there are even two fire trucks, now burned. “It didn’t stop them,” says a resident as he surveys the damage. “It didn’t even slow them down.”
Much of the army that stormed this scarred, proudly rebellious city almost two weeks ago withdrew to its outskirts on Aug. 9. Although most foreign journalists are barred from entering Syria, TIME did so clandestinely. Convoys of dozens of tanks, transported on flatbed trucks, rolled out of Hama along the main highway toward Homs, some 25 miles (40 km) away, followed by ramshackle trucks full of troops flying the Syrian flag, with weapons haphazardly pointed at passing civilian cars.
Still, there remain military units in Hama’s Assi Square, scene of the massive protests that roiled Assad’s regime for weeks. It’s a no-go zone for civilians. There are also clusters of tanks at several key locations around Hama, including in front of the city’s two main hospitals, Al-Hourani and Al-Bader, which residents say have been emptied of patients. TIME could not verify the claim because troops were rigorously checking the IDs of anyone who attempted to enter the medical facilities. By some accounts, security forces were killing wounded protesters in the hospitals. Em Mahmoud, who has been a nursing veteran for 22 years and who works at a private 30-bed hospital not far from Roundabout 40, says several injured protesters were brought into her facility, too afraid to seek treatment in the main facilities. One was shot in the chest, another in the knee. “Soldiers came into the hospital looking for wounded protesters,” she says. “We hid the three that we had. We moved them on gurneys and in wheelchairs toward the back entrance, and from there we drove them to a safe house.”
Residents speak of being unable to reach bodies in the streets, of snipers targeting people in their homes, of house-to-house searches, mass indiscriminate detentions, looting and even rape. There are cars in the streets that have been shot up, several with bullet holes that pierced the windscreens on the driver’s side, at head level. It’s unclear how many people were killed, although residents speak of hundreds dead. In the coming days, there will be an accounting, as families slowly return and the numbers of missing, detained and dead are ascertained.
But perhaps even more painful than the physical damage, residents say, is the humiliation: the graffiti Assad’s troops left all over the main streets, much of which is considered blasphemous and deeply offensive to this religiously conservative majority-Sunni Muslim city. “There is no God but Bashar” is scrawled in black paint in Souk al-Farwatiye, across the street from the vast, imposing white stone structure that is the ruling Baath Party headquarters in the city. “God Bashar and Maher Mohammad,” reads another sign, referring to Assad’s younger brother Maher, commander of the despised 4th Division, responsible for much of the bloodshed over the past five months. The graffiti equates Bashar Assad to God and his brother to the Prophet Muhammad. “God wants Bashar,” “Assad’s lions passed through here” and “We choose three: God, Bashar and Maher,” read other signs, near anti-regime graffiti that has been scribbled over. Some messages are chilling in their simplicity: “If you return, we return.”
Hama was a city under siege for almost a month until July 31, the eve of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, when the military stormed the city. Residents say that day was the bloodiest. “They shelled us continuously from 5 a.m. until 10 a.m. every day, and then again from the afternoon to all night,” says one resident, a young man in a white singlet who refused to give his name. He asks me to wait before returning after several minutes with a plastic bag full of empty bullet casings and at least 15 14.5-caliber anti-aircraft shells, weaponry not supposed to be used on civilians.
The people of Hama buried their dead in public gardens, unable to reach the city’s cemeteries because of the heavy shelling. Still, despite what was clearly a large assault, there is no talk of revenge or anger toward the soldiers. In dozens of conversations with Hamwis, as the residents call themselves, over the past few days, all said the same thing: the soldiers were forced to follow orders, on pain of death. “They are all our children,” says one man, 55, who gave his name as Abu Ali. The city’s ire is directed toward the security and intelligence forces as well as to the clumps of black-clad armed thugs known as shabiha, who still man checkpoints all over the city. “Our dispute isn’t with the army. It’s with the regime,” said Abu Abdo, a 30-year-old whose home was shelled. “They have been told we are armed gangs. We want this regime to fall.”
Abu Ali, 25, has a broken, bloody nose. On Aug. 5, he was home with his mother when shabiha and security forces kicked down his door. “I didn’t have time to hear them say anything,” he says. “There were about five of them. They walked in and started hitting me.” He says he doesn’t know the reason of the assault or how long it lasted. A short, hairy man, he lifts his gray T-shirt to reveal two still raw diagonal cuts across his right abdomen before turning around to reveal seven circular burns on his back, made by cigarettes, he says. “They took our money, our TV and my mother’s gold. May God damn them,” he says bitterly.
The electricity and phone lines are now working, although both were cut for the first five days of the siege. Food ran low, but the community did not run out, thanks to the efforts of nearby towns whose people smuggled in supplies that were quickly distributed to those in need.
This is a city used to adversity. The bloody events of 1982 — when the President’s father and predecessor, Hafez Assad, destroyed the city for its Islamist insurrection — are still vivid. Almost every family in this city of some 800,000 lost relatives during that blood-soaked period. Hafez blamed the assault on his brother Rifaat, a military commander, and the two were estranged until Hafez’s death in 2000. The people of Hama say this time, they will not allow Bashar to get away with what he has done to their city or to blame it on Maher, also a military commander. They plan to renew their protests on Friday. Indeed, there were protests in several neighborhoods the same night that the military pulled out to the perimeter of the city. “On Friday, we will protest in our neighborhoods, because we can’t reach Assi,” says a resident. “We will continue protesting. If we didn’t want to before, we want to now.”

August 13th, 2011, 2:42 pm


Abughassan said:

Like many of you,I live outside Syria . I have to collect info from a number of sources to form an opinion. It is getting harder to find the truth but I think i have to be suspicious of any story teller who claims to own the whole truth.
Opinions and facts are not usually identical.
Do not expect me to post bits from YouTube or the Internet to support my opinion,you guys are doing an excellent job in that venue. I was wrong in the past and I never claimed to “own the truth” , it is an insult to our intelligence to expect us to believe that hundreds of army and security officers were killed by the regime,and that all the destruction of public and private properties were committed by the regime Shabeeha. The issue of who is committing violence is the subject of intense PR campaign by both sides for political reasons,but I maintain my position that syria’s biggest problem is the regime and that unarmed and non violent protestors and opposition people have the higher moral ground.

August 13th, 2011, 2:44 pm


SYR.Expat said:

“As to the question of violence, it undoubtedly exists among the protest movement, though to a very small degree, as opposed to the regime’s actions which have been overwhelmingly violent, and increasingly so. It is quite amazing that the protest movement has not been as violent as one would expect given the brutality and sectarianism of the regime.”

August 13th, 2011, 2:44 pm


Aboud said:

Abughassan, I’d just like to know what your source is. If it turns out to be credible, then I will be forced to reexamine my own beliefs and assumptions.

But I have yet to see one impartial account of events in Hama, that remotely collaborated the regime’s version.

August 13th, 2011, 2:47 pm



Dear Omar

(I have been trying to post this for nearly 30 minutes now)

Thank you very much for bringing some realism to the “Main Post” on Syria comment. Your excellent article did not venture much into analysis but has been very successful in portraying and confirming what many of us here have been sensing.

As early as February, when the first few calls for uprising went without response, I argued that the youth will learn from every failure and that every single demonstration, even if composed of 10 people is a step toward maturity. I found in every word of your article confirmation for the confidence and trust, I have managed to develop in Syrian youth despite of my long absence from Syria.

What I appreciated the most in you highly cognizant writing were first the recognition that this is a social revolution, and second illuminating the fascist attributes of anti-revolution forces both at the intellectual and practical levels. These two issues are most fundamental. In addition, your description of events in liberated Hama not only confirmed my belief that this is a social revolution, by gave me relative comfort and confidence in its direction. There is a fundamental shift in Syrian Psych and it seems that it is much less friendly to fascism and totalitarian ideologies than it was in the 50s when the seeds of totalitarianism were sown into Syria’s young and fertile political life by the Baath and its rival totalitarian SNP under the guise of Secularism.
Yes there were incidents of street justice as described in the article, but given the atrocities of the regime, their limited number is surprising if one is to believe the regime’s stories of armed gangs roaming the streets and terrorizing the people. It is obvious that the primary terror inflicted is by the regime, aiming first at attempting to stampede the revolution, and second to scare those siding against the revolution freckoning-day and to herd them into a fully fledged fascist movement and sectarian warfare.

I do not know if you have been following SC while in Syria, the fascism and racist attitude of anti-revolution commentary has been very evident and it has now deteriorated, as described by OBSERVER into, cut and paste from conspiracy theories press and mere childish and sloganeering.

The presence of anecdotal street justice, while harmful to any social revolution, does not give anyone the right to equate between the masses who are rising for their freedom and to end tyranny, stagnation, murder, and treason (yes treason) with those fighting to maintain evil.

There is much symbolism in the way the regime has been acting. And this is not its own invention, Nazi and Fascist parties thrive on symbolism. But deciphering the symbolism one can glean a glimps of the dark minds that moves the regime. Think of removing the Larynx of a singer, the reproductive organs of a child, the blowing up of a mosque minaret, writing what is purely blasphemous provocations in place of worship in manners not even crusaders did, all indicate that the rulers of Syria are at best mafia gangs, and at worst bands of barbaric thugs reverting to dark ages and who have no reason to exist in our twenty first century. Syria will be free, and they will fizzle like any occupier. I am sad, but i am also hopeful and optimistic, what I see is the birth of a great nation. And the prophecy of the lunatic Muallem may eventually come through, Syria will teach the region a new meaning of freedom, once it gets rid of him and his mafia bosses.

August 13th, 2011, 2:48 pm



Dear All
Sorry for the multiple postings. Moderator please feel free to remove duplicates.

August 13th, 2011, 3:10 pm


majedkhaldoon said:

Mr. Omar Dahi
Thank you for giving us such post,you are economist, could you tell us more about the current economic conditions and your expectations for the future economy ,in the next two months.and when you visited Hamah,was the Asi river almost dry as some said? I think you did not follow SC while you were there.

To all
Do you expect Bashar is safe to go to Eid Salat at the end of Ramadan?are we to expect look alike Bashar there?

August 13th, 2011, 3:24 pm


uzair8 said:

#15 AND #23.

Yes. Syria isnt a country. It is Mafia turf.

August 13th, 2011, 3:24 pm


Taztooz said:


I think you are a clever patriot, and would vote for your left toe:) Let me pick your brain:

1) I know it is unlikely, but how can we rule out that this video was not fabricated in Beirut or KSA? Even the accent, the Assad picture can be created anywhere.

2) What idiot (thug) would sell this video for $300 and avoid reprecussion or execution from the other guys in the room or Maher himself?

August 13th, 2011, 3:37 pm


Syria no kandahar said:

Aboud,or his new title Arboodعربود(he is half عرعور)
Should be banned from this site and any respected site,by you attacking me and standing by his side you are practically supporting his Nazist statements.He is an actual example of what we are dealing with in Syria .He:
-Always lies
-Supports boiling soldiers(which you don’t seem to condem)
-Supports the barbaric killing of soldiers in Alassi and dumping them in Alassi.

So who is standing in the wrong side here,it is you and him.you are supporting terrorism,those soldiers are doing all the humanity a favor by fighting those Islamic terrorists.I am against any criminal activity done by any one,and every one should be accountable,but let’s not have double standards.wher was the accountability in Iraq?the largest refugee status in the middle east history,and hundreds of thousands of civilians death,who was accountable for that?was it a war on terrorism?why it is Alqada in Iraq,but when it comes to Syria it is peaceful monsters cutting necks and dumping them in the river and calling them sharamet. You and Arboud are part of that action by supporting it,and all I do is expose you and make it clear that of the wall is actually standing by Arbood and Aroor side,which is the wrong side of the wall.let’s be honest and try to stop our mother Syria from this multiple raping done do her constantly by every one around us ..and by some of us.

August 13th, 2011, 3:54 pm


MM said:

I don’t think he meant for you to publish his cell phone number. 🙂

August 13th, 2011, 3:59 pm


Afram said:

Assistant Professor Dahi says:”These stories represent my own understanding and readers should take all stories emerging from the country as a (((partial truth)))?the teacher Professor says all what he just diddled here is Phony-baloney nonsense,Colorful Tabloid-news Gossip!!
I am & Hillary Clinton are solely responsible for this article’s content.long live the Dollar!

August 13th, 2011, 4:08 pm


AB said:


Dahi said these were his personnel observations, not in depth analysis of the situation. He wrote about informant names being posted at the Masjid and some being executed. He narrated how the Baath party headquarters came to be burned down. He stated that members of the opposition, albeit being small are armed.

He is stating that the regime is overwhelming responsible for the violence and mayhem taking place. If you don’t share this view, then generally speaking, what percentage of the fault do you assign to the regime?, to the protesters?

August 13th, 2011, 4:16 pm


Aboud said:

@26 Sorry, I can’t say your name, I think the moderator might ban you for it.

1) If it was a fabrication, it must have been fabricated by someone with access to a veritable arsenal of diverse weapons. Who, in your opinion, do you believe has access to such weapons and has an interest in fabricating such a video?

2) If it was a fabrication, its shock value is weak, after we’ve seen more shocking videos of minirats bombed and of people shot dead in the streets. Seriously, I’m guessing there must be a million dollars worth of weapons there, fresh from their packages. With that budget, one could have made a movie.

After the France Ambassador story, all satellite channels have been extra careful in confirming the authenticity of such stories. You can be sure that Al-Arabiya have done their due diligence in this case. But if anyone has any proof to the contrary, they are welcome to come forward with it.

“What idiot (thug) would sell this video for $300 and avoid reprecussion or execution from the other guys in the room or Maher himself?”

No idea. We have seen countless videos whose authenticity has never been in doubt, but which could only have been taken by thugs taking part in the atrocities. Shall I name a few? The baggy panted shabiha (the Athad family’s ill disciplined equivalent of the Nazi brownshirts) stepping all over prisoners in Al-Baida. The army men disgracefully kicking an old man in the head. The turds taking a group photo while standing on prisoners.

But if you’d like me to guess, then I highly doubt that the person who shot the video was the one who gave it to al-Arabiya. More likely, this video was passed around among friends, as a way for these perverted minds to show off. Most likely, someone who saw the video had the presence of mind to make some easy money.

@27 Would you like some cheese with that whine? 🙂

I support anyone’s right to self defense. The bastards who shot up a funeral should expect no mercy whatsoever. They deserve what they get.

August 13th, 2011, 4:18 pm


SYR.Expat said:

حسين شبكشي – الشرق الأوسط

لم يكن أكثر المتفائلين بنهاية النظام السوري يعتقد أن مشاهد النهاية ستكون بهذا الشكل، وبهذا الوهج الحاصل للثورة السورية وهي تنال الدعم الداخلي المتصاعد، والمباركة والتأييد الدولي، وكذلك لم يكن أشد حلفاء ومؤيدي النظام السوري يعتقد أن النظام بهذه الهشاشة وبهذا الحماقة، ولكن هذا ما حصل. وكل ما يحصل هو نتاج طبيعي لمحصلات تراكمية قام عليها هذا النظام.

بشار الأسد حاول بكل الوسائل والطرق «إقناع» العالم والشعب السوري أنه خيار الإصلاح الوحيد، ولكنه لم يكن هو شخصيا مقتنعا بهذه المقولة، فبالتالي خرج على شعبه بمجموعة من الخطابات التي هي أشبه بالمحاضرات الأكاديمية، لا يحمل نفسه ولا أباه ولا حزبه ولا حكومته مسؤولية ما حصل من جرائم وإخفاقات عبر أكثر من أربعة عقود من الحكم الاستبدادي، وكأن ما حدث في سوريا كان نتاج غزو من كواكب فضائية مثلا.

النظام السوري لم يكن يوما في تاريخه صادقا وواضحا ولا قادرا على المواجهة، كان دوما جبانا وخادعا في التعامل مع القضايا التي تواجهه. كان ماهرا في تقديم قرابين يحملهم مسؤولية أي إخفاق أو غضب، وذلك كتخدير كلي مؤقت يمتص به نقمة شعبية ما، مثلما حدث مع رفعت الأسد وغازي كنعان ومحمود الزعبي وعبد الحليم خدام وعلي حبيب، وكثير من الأسماء الأخرى التي باتت معروفة.

فشلت كل وسائل القمع والقتل، فشلت كل وسائل الترويع المذهلة التي قام بها الجيش السوري بحق شعبه، من سحل بالدبابات والسير بها فوق الجثث، وحرق المستشفيات وقتل الأطفال، ونسف المساجد وغيرها من الأساليب المتوحشة.

ولكن شيئا ما حدث الجمعة القبل الماضية عندما أطلق عليها مسمى «جمعة الله معنا»، فأخذت الثورة تتحرك بشكل نوعي، فتحركت الدول بتصريحات تأخذ مواقف واضحة ضد النظام ومع الثورة، وتدعو بصريح العبارة للانتقال السلمي للسلطة، ولم يعد أهم يطالب النظام بالإصلاح، لأنهم يعلمون أن من أفسدها غير قادر على إصلاحها، وأن من يكذب لا يمكن تصديقه، حتى أبلغ وأشد مؤيدي هذا النظام الدموي التزموا الصمت التام.

الحديث الآن عن «متى سيرحل بشار الأسد؟ وكيف؟»، هل سيترك البلد مع مجموعة عصابته الحاكمة؟ هل سيغتال؟ هل سينقلب الجيش على النظام؟ هل سيلقى القبض عليه أم لا؟

هذا النظام المجرم الدموي يحاصر أهل الشيخين الجليلين: محمد سعيد رمضان البوطي والمفتي أحمد الحسون، ويهدد بقتلهما إذا ما نطقا بأي شيء ضد النظام؛ لعلمه أنهما أيضا لديهما حضور في الشارع، ولكن هناك علماء آخرين في سوريا تبرأوا من هذا النظام الجبان الذي لم يعرف الصدق ولا الصراحة، وباتت مسألة رحيله مسألة وقت قصير جدا، ويصبح بالتالي مفهوما جدا مدى التوتر في صفوف النظام بالقتل العشوائي المتوحش، والكتابة على الجدران، كما حصل في حماه بالمساجد «لا إله إلا بشار وماهر رسوله» و«الأسد أو لا أحد».

هذه العقلية التي تحكم سوريا اليوم، ولكنه حاكم انتهي وقته وفقد أي مصداقية أو أي احترام أو أي آدمية، وبات رحيله مسألة حتمية لا يمكن أن يرفضها أي أحد له حس إنساني مسؤول وضمير يقظ ووازع ديني.

نحن نرى الفصل الأخير في نهاية نظام جبان، وهو فصل ستكون نهايته سعيدة ومباركة للثورة السورية وللعالم بأسره.

August 13th, 2011, 4:21 pm



You can repeat you indignation till the end of days and it is from now on nothing more than pathetic search for popularity and attention. How many times did you condemn the mass murdering violence by the regime. Your refusal to recognize the legitimacy of the street movement, their generally non-violent behavior mirrors that of the regime, which as I mentioned above indicates that you are part of it and that you, like those pathetic souls who participated in the regime sponsored singing and dancing parties care not for the soldiers, nor for civilians.

I deplore every death. I want this to be a non-violent revolution that takes the mafia gang out. You on the other hand, keep bringing up the same subject over and over again because you have nothing, nothing to build your support for this junta of thugs on except claims that I support terrorism.

It is really surprising that this revolution managed to contain the urge to lash back with violence at every thug and thief who invaded their cities, bombed their homes, shattered their lives, stole their properties, and murdered and sniped their sons, daughters, fathers, and neighbors. I am proud to be Syrian because of their ability to contain anger and vengeance, you, on the other hand, seem to be afraid to be Syrian because someone told you to be afraid.

Bashar and his mafia will end in the trash bin of history. You may survive that, but in your mind, and when you grow up beyond your sophomoric need for attention, you will have that trash bin in your own life. It will follow you in every place you go.

Alqaida fighters in Iraq and other militants are gathering their forces and waiting to enter Syria. They are vultures ready to thrive on blood. When they do, it will be chicken comes to roost since they have been sponsored by your regime who played every single card and slept with every single militant organization. Where was your indignation when that was happening. Sorry for asking, the real question for me is, where the hell was mine?.

August 13th, 2011, 4:23 pm


SYR.Expat said:

Syrian Uprising – BBC World Interviews Sheikh Muhammad al-Yaqoubi http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xSCLhdf-QLg

August 13th, 2011, 4:23 pm


Tara said:

Turkey gave Besho 2 weeks to ” reform”.  Obsma gave Besho until next Thursday.  I was afraid that Besho, the thug in chief, or one of his family council might be able to read the writing on the wall and curb the killings and the army invading Syrian cities, a move that could be perceived by the international opinion as a step towards reform.  I am afraid no more…The regime is capable of seeing nothing and does not seem to understand the depth of the problem.  It is digging its grave by its own hands.  The army is invading Sunni areas in Lattakia.


Syrian army operations in coastal city of Latakia and central town kill 3
Bassem Mroue, The Associated Press : Saturday, August 13, 2011 11:2 AM

BEIRUT – Syrian tanks, security agents and pro-regime gunmen fanned out into the streets of two towns to root out protesters demanding the ouster of President Bashar Assad in a sweep Saturday that killed at least three people.

The heaviest assault was in the Mediterranean coastal city of Latakia, where a day earlier thousands had turned out in protests. At least 20 tanks and armoured personnel carriers rolled into the city’s el-Ramel neighbourhood amid intense gunfire that sent many residents fleeing the area, according to Rami Abdul-Rahman, head of the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Later in the day, shooting and explosions were heard in another neighbourhood, Slaibeh, according to the Observatory and the Local Coordination Committees, an activist group that documents protests in Syria.

Two people were killed in the shooting, the LCC and the observatory reported. Amateur videos posted on the Internet by activists showed armoured personnel carriers moving down what was said to be the streets of Latakia.

Also on Saturday, scores of security agents and pro-government gunmen, known as Shabiha, entered the town of Qusair near the border with Lebanon and several nearby villages, arresting scores of residents, Abdul-Rahman said. The LCC said one person was killed in the shooting.

The army also conducted an operation in the nearby towns of Hawla and Taldaw, in the central Homs province, and deployed tanks in the area, activists said. They also reported 10 people wounded by gunfire during sweeps in the northwestern town of Sarmin.

Both the al-Ramel section of Latakia and Qusair have seen large protests against Assad’s regime since demonstrations broke out throughout the country in mid-March. The government’s crackdown intensified over the past weeks, with troops storming several towns and cities.


August 13th, 2011, 4:26 pm


Aboud said:

Just occurred to me that the menhebaks have given me more titles than Queen Victoria had 🙂

Well said OTW. Alas, apparently we have to put up with juvenile cravings for attention in the form of silly stories which frequently cross the line into bad taste (the stupid line about professor Landis’ wife comes to mind).

If this person could answer just one of the numerous questions I posted, he might be taken more seriously. Instead, half his posts seem to be “Why do you love Aboud more than me?”. It’s painful to watch.

Why is Najati Tayara in jail? This question goes to the very heart of the credibility of this junta. While Najati Tayara is imprisoned, no menhebak here has the right to bring up the word “reforms”.

August 13th, 2011, 4:31 pm


Mustafa said:

Many thanks for the valuable insight of Hama. But there is some apparent exaggerations which must be corrected.

(1) The Asi Square is 50 meters x 140 meters. So the theoretical maximum population in the square should be around 14,000 people (population density is 2 person/m2).

I often check YouTube videos of Asi square, and am sure that there have always been a considerable amount of free space even at the peak of the demonstrations. So the actual max population in the square is estimated at around 5,000 (density is 0.7 person/m2), and cannot exceed 7,000 (density is 1 person/m2) by any means.

My estimate for number of protesters in Ask Square is 2,500 – 5000, far below from 100,000 – 500,000 in western media.

If you push 100,000 people in the Asi Square by force, the population density will record 14 persons/m2, which is impossible.

(2) Legend of “unarmed” protesters
Oppositions and western newspapers always state that the demonstration are unarmed. But this is not true.

The following 2 videos are taken in Aug. 5 in al-Sakhour district of Aleppo (northwestern part of the famous old quarters, around a hundred meters north of Bab al-Hadid).

At 00:19, two adults are holding big stones in their hands during the protest well before any shooting began.
At 00:13, children are busy collecting stones on the road well before any shooting began.

Actually no shooting happened on Aug 5 (though happened on Aug 12). There are similar videos from many other cities.

Therefore, I can say with confidence that they were collecting stones WITH THE AIM TO throw them FROM THE FIRST. And I believe that all the participants here know that it is quite natural for Syrian children to throw stones against unknown people. Stone-throwing is banned in both Syria’s criminal code and law of demonstrations.nd.

(3) If we observe the world standard, a general election without police presence is unthinkable. With or without corruption, the Syrian police should spread all over Syria including Hama. Even if there is a serious problem in the police, they should be there. The problem must be tackled but still, it is wrong to hold an election under the protection of unauthorized civil? militant? groups.

It is wrong for the international community to demand withdrawal of the police or the army unit from a particular city of a foreign country. What the international community can do is to attack the corruption or manipulation of police over the management of election, but not more than that.

August 13th, 2011, 4:49 pm


Syria no kandahar said:

Najati would rather be in prison than be with you.

August 13th, 2011, 4:52 pm


Aboud said:

I expected a juvenile answer. #38 did not disappoint.

Let it be remembered, that when Syria was going through the most critical time in its history, the menhebaks choose to indulge in juvenile, attention craving stories, and equally juvenile responses to very serious questions, such as ;

1) How many of the more than 2000 Syrians who were killed by the regime, actually armed insurgents?

2) Why hasn’t the regime tracked down and arrested the so call saboteurs behind the alleged pipeline bombing, the train derailment, and the attack on the military academy?

3) Why is Najati Tayara in jail? Is Besho afraid of a 60 year old humans rights activist?

August 13th, 2011, 4:56 pm


uzair8 said:

Just been reading about tanks entering various areas on a blog (see below).

This is exactly the type of army that will be swallowed up by the desert (Islamic end time prophecy).

The comments section of the blog ‘Diary of a besieged Syrian town’ on Al Jazeera English is a good place for updates on Syria. Some devoted people on there. Switch to ‘Newest’ comments.


August 13th, 2011, 5:01 pm


SQI said:

The professor is living in his bubble.

A- “neither of the first two categories” i,e , the socialist, Nasserist, and communist parties, as well as the dissident “Intellectuals”, has a large ‘social base.

It is nice to talk to them, but that won’t solve any immediate problems. before there are Elections, it is hard to determine how small their social base is.

B-The third and fourth categories are more the Arour ‘social base’, they are mainly driven by sectarian or communtarian feelings.

the third and fourth categories don’t listen to Michel Kilo, Tayeb Tizini, Fayez Sara, Aref Dalila, and Burhan Ghalioun etc .. that is a joke. they listen more to Arour , the Salais and maybe the MB.

The third and fourth categories are the ecosystem for the fifth category.

August 13th, 2011, 5:07 pm


Khalid Tlass said:


what about your suggestion about small highly motivatd, highly trained units of civilians be deployed against Security forces entering neighbourhoods ?

I’m not asking for any details, but do you know of this being put into practice, or about to be put into practize, anywhere in Syria ? That would ne great.

Also, are you sure the 120 soldiers killed at Jisr were pro-regime. Because as far as I know they were defectors who were shot by the menhebaks. But if indeed they were pro-regime, then a cause to celebrate !!!

August 13th, 2011, 5:09 pm


Syria no kandahar said:

Arboud=50%Aroor=soldiers boiling advocate
From the 2000 killed,1672 were armed
From MB peaceful demonstrators 100% are armed

August 13th, 2011, 5:11 pm


Abughassan said:

Read Khalid last post and see why I have reasons to be doubtful about some in the opposition. This mentality will serve the regime a lot more than the opposition.

August 13th, 2011, 5:19 pm


Aboud said:


“what about your suggestion about small highly motivatd, highly trained units of civilians be deployed against Security forces entering neighbourhoods ? ”

It would be very foolish for someone to talk about such things on the Internet. Because if it is an idea that is being implemented, it would give the thugs advanced warning. And if it wasn’t being implemented, that would embolden them even more.

“Also, are you sure the 120 soldiers killed at Jisr were pro-regime. Because as far as I know they were defectors who were shot by the menhebaks. ”

First, no one knows for sure how many security men died at Jisr al Shoghour. The town came out in repeated, massive demonstrations. People were killed by the security men. During their funerals the next day, firing from the police station killed even more.

This was too much for the most patient of saints. Some elements of the security forces turned on the killers, and perhaps some civilians (armed from smuggling, for which Jisr al Shoghour is known to have) also attacked the police station. In either case, I shed no tears for thugs who shoot up funerals. May their stay in hell be everything I imagine it to be.

“From the 2000 killed,1672 were armed”

Kindly quote the source for such a precise figure. I imagine you made it up.

August 13th, 2011, 5:27 pm


Abughassan said:

Mustafa, we need to hear more from you even if many of us disagree with your conclusion.I like reading posts like yours whether they fit into my line of thinking or not.
Tara,I spoke with three friends in Latakia today. There is a second half of the story that is being largely ignored: most latakians are sick and tired of thuggish activities in alraml alfilastini,check your sources. Syria is a mess today,force and violence will open the door to bigger problems. I have more to say on Latakia later on.
There is no credible peaceful opposition in Latakia in the streets today. Early demonstrations are different from what is taking place now in three troubled spots in Latakia. Do not shoot the messenger,correct me if I was wrong.
Shabeeha is a growing problem in Latakia along with common thugs who are anti regime now but will be ready to switch sides later. The regime in Latakia is still strong for a number of reasons but support for Bashar among Sunnis is falling rapidly.Bashar lost the trust of most Syrians as far as I know,but many are wondering what is next..
A conference in Germany is not likely to change much,and I expect the attendees to be less diverse than earlier meetings.

August 13th, 2011, 5:43 pm


Aboud said:

“There is a second half of the story that is being largely ignored: most latakians are sick and tired of thuggish activities in alraml alfilastini”

Amazing that the regime only discovers “thugish behavior” the very next day after a massive protest in that same area. It happens every single time.

In Telkelakh, in Baniyas, in Idlib, in Hama, in Deir el Zour, in Homs, in Dar’a and now in Latakia. Every single time tanks are sent in, the regime apologists tell us it is because of “thugish behavior”, even though not a hint, not a whisper, not a word of such thugs was even hinted at before massive demonstrations there.

August 13th, 2011, 5:54 pm


AB said:


I have asked you this earlier and I am really interested to know where you place blame in this mess. Generally speaking, what percentage of the blame do you assigned to the regime? to the protesters?

Bashar said the securities made mistakes in the beginning. Given the regime’s recent actions, it can only mean they were not crushing the protesters hard enough in the early days of the uprising. How do you expect to reason with this regime?

August 13th, 2011, 6:13 pm


annie said:

Professor Dahi, that was a captivating narration of your stay in Syria. I have a clearer view of the opposition make up. I remember Hama so vividly I can picture the scenes you describe. Hama, my favorite city after Damascus.

27. Syria no kandahar ; if anyone should be banned here it is certainly not Aboud. You are not in mafia occupied territory here;this is free country.

August 13th, 2011, 6:16 pm


SYR.Expat said:

“Stone-throwing is banned in both Syria’s criminal code and law of demonstrations.”
So is torture, which is a much worse offense. Ask your friends to stop torturing people, then you can complain about some kids in some city collecting stones to throw at security forces armed with tanks and machine guns.

August 13th, 2011, 6:29 pm


beaware said:

Turkish and foreign journalists enter Syria for Hama
Thursday, August 11th, 2011 | Posted by Editor
A group of journalists including an A.A cameraman and a reporter who would follow the recent situation in Syrian city of Hama entered from Turkey to Syria from Bab al-Hawa border crossing on Thursday.

The journalists left for Syria following the statement that Syrian army withdrew tanks and heavy weapons.

Turkish police escorted the journalists till Cilvegozu border pass and later officials of Syrian Consulate General in Hatay welcomed the journalists after they passed the buffer zone.

The team of journalists are on their way to Hama.

A.A cameraman Vural Elibol and A.A reporter Mustafa Keles are among the 10 journalists of Turkish and foreign press organizations who would follow the situation in Hama.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu made a statement on Wednesday and said Turkey’s Ambassador in Damascus Omer Onhon reaffirmed that tanks and heavy weapons had withdrawn from Hama and journalists would be accepted to Hama.

August 13th, 2011, 6:32 pm


Aboud said:

“Hama, my favorite city after Damascus. ”

And here I sit, a sulking Homsi


Best grilled meat I ever ate was in Hama.

August 13th, 2011, 6:35 pm


Tara said:


I have a soft heart for Hama. Although I really really love Homs, I am voting for Hama as the new capital of Syria.

August 13th, 2011, 6:37 pm


Tara said:

In regard to the article in #51

Sure. The tank left Hama to enter Lattakia. This is called redistribution of tanks, Syrian style.

The elusive armed gangs are now being used again as a context to invade parts of Lattakia.

Can’t wait till the tanks get redistributed to.. Damascus.

August 13th, 2011, 6:45 pm


SYR.Expat said:

My friend, walking in Damascus, was arrested for wearing white
After Karim’s disappearance for peacefully walking the streets I was left feeling helpless in a city that is turning grey

reddit this
Comments (34)

Bassem al-Dimashki
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 11 August 2011 17.46 BST
Article history
Karim, a 23-year-old student and one of my closest friends, has been arrested. On 4 August he was one of almost 30 people who decided to wear white and walk in one of the main streets of Damascus. It wasn’t a demonstration as such – there were no placards or slogans, just white clothes and a silent walk. White was a colour with no political connotations, and walking in the same clothes helped them express their shared sadness at the turn of events in Syria. Despite that, Karim and couple of other friends disappeared.

I was at home when John, a mutual friend, called to inform me of Karim’s arrest. “You shouldn’t try calling him,” he told me whisperingly on the phone, as if lowering his voice would hide it from the tapping devices rumoured to be placed on all mobile phones in Syria. “Let’s try to see if we can get him out tonight.”

My father, eavesdropping on the conversation, asked me what was wrong. When I told him what had happened he announced in his matter-of-fact tone that my friend “deserves it” for joining the criminal forces attacking “peaceful and beautiful Syria”. He continued that my friend should have been concentrating on his studies or his work rather than bothering his brain with politics.

My father is a fan of the national Syrian TV channels and their reports about “criminal gangs” disturbing the cities of Syria. He sees nothing wrong with the army taking over the cities; his logic is that the army would never attack the honest people of Syria but is simply bringing peace to cities disturbed by the conspiracies surrounding our country.

Our group of friends, regardless of their political affiliations, went into crisis mode after Karim’s arrest; contacts were called and people started working to get him out. But with the first Friday of Ramadan just a few hours away, all the people in power were busy preparing for the awaited day and no one was interested in working to get our friend out.

Many of our contacts thought it was some kind of sick joke. “He was arrested for what exactly?” a well-connected relative of mine asked. There was a moment of silence when I told him it was for wearing white and walking the streets, before he pulled himself together and continued the conversation.

On Friday evening I meet Karim’s mother for the first time. She is seated behind her laptop wearing her reading glasses and her phone doesn’t stop ringing. She keeps a brave face for a while, welcoming us to her house and presenting us with sweets while calling her son a batal (hero).

She jokes with us about extra sweets when her son gets out, but suddenly, her voice breaks and her eyes filled with tears.

Saturday morning comes and still Karim is missing. John is tired after a sleepless night getting phone calls from the mother of Mohamed, another friend who got arrested for the same reason in the same street. Mohamed’s mother knows nobody and has no contacts; she cries every time she hears John’s voice. John can find no words to make her feel better; he listens to her, telling her that there is no news, she cries, he listens, she hangs up then calls again 15 minutes later.

Karim’s mother is roaming her house silently, tired from hearing one lie after the other. Everyone is spreading rumours. Some say our arrested friends are being treated well, others speak of blindfolded eyes and violence.

“He is not getting out today,” John tells me and I agree. We have a quiet hope that maybe Karim will be out by Sunday – but Sunday comes and goes and our friend is not out.

Karim’s mother tells me she might be able to send clothes and food to her son through a contact. We wait for the contact to call and the hours linger.

The phone rings but it’s only a relative. As Karim’s mother speaks, I see the tears slowly sliding down her face and I think of my own mother: how would react she if she was in the same position, who would she call?

I excuse myself and lock myself in the shower, crying for her and for my friend that I miss so much, for my city that is turning grey and for my feeling that I can’t do a thing to help him.

Locked inside my own thoughts, I find myself overwhelmed and I excuse myself. I leave the house and walk out into the streets of Damascus, empty like a ghost city, put a song on my iPod and sing along to it.

I did not notice how high my voice was getting singing a silly sad song until some security informant stopped me and asked me, in his deep voice, while putting a heavy hand on my shoulder, what I’m singing about. I explain that I lost the love of my life and I’m singing my sorrows. Thinking that I’m hopelessly romantic, the security guy makes fun of me then lets me go.

On Monday, Karim’s mother is roaming her house screaming and chanting slogans asking for the regime to fall; she wants her son back and she wants her revenge.

We wait for a phone call telling us that Karim is soon to be released, but all of our phones are silent and all our hopes are crashing. As I leave her house after hours waiting for news, I pass a clothes shop and stare at a white T-shirt for a while. Then I go inside and buy it.

August 13th, 2011, 6:54 pm


Syria no kandahar said:

Your best grilled meat,was that the soldiers(الخنزير).and did you boil them after that and made your boiled soldiers soup.
Conclusions:Arbood iftar grilled Hamawi soldiers meat with boiled soldiers soup.Tara you can join him on iftar.

August 13th, 2011, 6:56 pm


SQI said:

#12 UZAIR8 Someone should send that video to Al Jazeera.

that is not a very brilliant idea, you don’t know or recognise Al-Arabiya channel !? who are you ?

#2 Read Edward Said on Ernest Renan and his likes, and you would stop quoting him, unless you are a klingon of course.


August 13th, 2011, 7:11 pm


SQI said:


you could make a movie out of this guardian story, its got all the dramatic ingredients.

I am just wondering whether the movie would appeal more to those who prefer the company of dogs, or those who prefer Cats !? hehe …

August 13th, 2011, 7:39 pm


Aboud said:

@58 People have been known to be arrested just for walking in the streets an hour after a demonstration. If you knew anything about your president’s thugs, you’d know that much.

No Klue, your ongoing psychotic breakdown is painful to watch. Fun though hehehe 🙂

August 13th, 2011, 7:47 pm


Abughassan said:

Ab, I made it clear that most of the blame for syria’s problems today fall on the shoulders of the regime. Syrians have to get used to dissent, speaking the truth is a virtue not a sin.
Aboud,it is much easier for thugs to operate when there is violence and chaos. Thugs on both sides are having a ball in Syria today .I am not trying to win a popularity contest here, this regime is not good for Syria and it must be changed but do not expect me to look the other way when the opposition committs mistakes.the thugs in Latakia always existed and many of them are pro regime.
Selling guns is now a profitable trade in Syria,and so is banners and flags making .I wonder who is going to suffer if Syria can not sell its oil and natural gas. Sanctions will strengthen the regime the same way it did with Saddam who stayed in power until iraq was invaded and destroyed.

August 13th, 2011, 7:49 pm


SQI said:


“You shouldn’t try calling him,” he told me whisperingly on the phone, as if lowering his voice would hide it from the tapping devices rumoured to be placed on all mobile phones in Syria.

what an hypocricy from a British journal who chooses to totally forget that in Britain even journalists hack into people’s phones, never mind the police or MI6.

August 13th, 2011, 7:55 pm


Sheila said:

To all,

Freedom of speech in Syria:

August 13th, 2011, 8:05 pm


Syria no kandahar said:

I am just repeating your boiling and grilling ideas.
You have fallen like your terrorists friends.

August 13th, 2011, 8:13 pm


Sheila said:

To #52. Aboud,

“Best grilled meat I ever ate was in Hama”???????

Excuse me, but when it comes to food it is Aleppo and only Aleppo.
Now I will start sulking.

August 13th, 2011, 8:18 pm


Syria no kandahar said:

Arbood was talking about soldier’s meat.
He told every one that Alassi was dry so no one will go and share the meat with him.
PS:Arbood is the official name of Abood,also known as pony tail,this was rewarded to him due to his research in boiling soldiers,he will share Noble price for science with Alaaroor who invented the :koffar grinding machine.Aboud is working on Soldiers boiling machine and soldiers grill.

August 13th, 2011, 8:31 pm


SQI said:

meet kawthar al bashrawi , an inspiring woman.!!

August 13th, 2011, 8:31 pm


Sheila said:

Please don’t you get it?. It is not funny anymore.

August 13th, 2011, 8:40 pm


Aboud said:

“what an hypocricy from a British journal who chooses to totally forget that in Britain even journalists hack into people’s phones”

Was the phone hacking done by the government? Not at all. And the two most senior police officials in the UK resigned over that fiasco, an example of accountability we will never see under the Baathist regime.

And everyone will note how No Klue has been reduced to a sad state of obsession 🙂

It’s prize, not “price” LOL!

August 13th, 2011, 8:42 pm


majedkhaldoon said:

You are right, Halab is famous for Kabob Halabi,and Kubbeh halabieh, but can you tell me how good their tabboleh.lebanese are good for Kubbeh and Tabboleh.I am fasting and food what i like to talk about now.

August 13th, 2011, 8:52 pm


Norman said:

The Syrian president has to address the people of Syria and declare the end to article 8, announce new elections in November for a parliament that will discuss a new political system , might include two houses, congress and senate and establish a committee from parliament that will write a new constitution that will be debated in public before agreed on by the parliament and put to general referendum, announce that he will not run for another term in 2014 ,

He really needs to move fast and the opposition need to accept or even pushed to accept with guarantees the reforms as planned, otherwise the country will end up with a civil war, and probably breakup .

August 13th, 2011, 8:53 pm


Tara said:

Sheila @ 62

The clip you linked is very sad. It is obvious that all these people hate the regime but are afraid of expressing their emotions on TV in fear of retaliation.

I used to say Bashar should be granted safety in exile. I no longer hold the same views….Justice should be served and Bashar al Assad and his circle should be tried for all their crimes in the international court of justice.

August 13th, 2011, 9:09 pm


SYR.Expat said:

58. SQI
Your pathetic attempt at humor has been noted.

61. SQI
Your equally pathetic attempt at comparing Syria with the UK has also been noted.

August 13th, 2011, 9:25 pm


Sheila said:

To dear #69. majedkhaldoon,

You are right, Tabouleh is not Halab’s forte. But we have a lot more than Kabob Halabi,and Kubbeh halabieh.

August 13th, 2011, 9:34 pm


SQI said:

and now Gaddafi running after his enemies , Zenga Zenga …

what was supposed to be funny and far-fetched is quickly coming through , !? .. Zenga Zenga …

Gaddafi has Al Qaeda on the run

Al Qaeda fighters have been fleeing from Benghazi and other areas of Libya following a bloody military offensive to dislodge them from the area, which has been under siege both from terrorist attacks on land and terrorist attacks from NATO aircraft.

It was kind of NATO to put Libya under siege from terrorists…a collection of al Qaeda, other islamic extremists, paid mercenaries, monarchists and traitorous riff raff who proceeded to torture, rape, execute, lynch, mutilate, burn, loot, steal, and turn everything upside down. All across the country where these terrorists operate, the local population either has had to flee or hide.

As they would approach, their first order of business was to break into banks to steal. They also strangely enough had as their priority to take over Libyan oil fields so that they might steal that resource from the Libyan people.

Way to run a genuine revolution! Every revolutionary wants an oil field of his very own. Shows a real concern for freedom and democracy.

During this aggression by terrorists on land and in the sky, Colonel Gaddafi has trained and armed the local population to defend themselves and their country. Everywhere, the women of Libya are bearing arms, knowing that their emancipation is in jeopardy as well.

Women can do anything in Libya under the current government, unlike neighboring countries that NATO is all friendly with and unlike al Qaeda terrorists if they had their way.

For those that don’t know, Muammar Gaddafi was the first international leader to issue an arrest warrant for Osama Bin Laden and al Qaeda.

The Warfallah Tribe – loyal to Gaddafi – has taken over Benghazi. Terrorists that were not fleeing were going on killing sprees with their NATO masters and beheaded at least 120 persons whose bodies later disappeared.

The tribe had become incensed after “rebel” leader Younis had been mysteriously killed. The National Transitional Council al Qaeda elements are suspected of the killing. Everywhere, these terrorists are on the run.

Meanwhile NATO helicopters fired on anything that moved. However, they were not able to prevent the city from coming under control of loyal Gaddafi forces.

Gaddafi received the support of the 2,000 Libyan tribes who rejected NATO, rejected al Qaeda and the National Transitional Council totally and completely.

AQIM (al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb) has been able to get weapons, such as surface to air missles, Kalashnikovs, ammunition and explosives from Libya since the terrorist uprising, and may be planning a high profile attack.

This is another thing that the world has to thank NATO for…allowing al Qaeda terrorists, by their terrorist assisting bombing attacks, to seize weapons from Libya and transport them to parts unknown.

Chad’s president, Idriss Déby, said that al Qaeda has become “a real army, the best-equipped in the region.” But they are on the run in Libya.


Lisa Karpova

August 13th, 2011, 9:39 pm


SYR.Expat said:

70. NORMAN said:

“The Syrian president has to address the people of Syria and declare the end to article 8, announce new elections in November for a parliament that will discuss a new political system , might include two houses, congress and senate and establish a committee from parliament that will write a new constitution that will be debated in public before agreed on by the parliament and put to general referendum, announce that he will not run for another term in 2014 ,

He really needs to move fast and the opposition need to accept or even pushed to accept with guarantees the reforms as planned, otherwise the country will end up with a civil war, and probably breakup.”

While this is wishful thinking (no disrespect intended) given the increasing brutality of the regime and the absolute lack of real reforms after more than five months of unrest, if the initiative presented by Norman were to take place, I’ll support it, as long as it is accompanied by the immediate release of all political prisoners and the thousands of demonstrators that were arrested over the course of uprising. In addition, torture and the thuggish behavior of security forces must stop. Finally, real guarantees must be presented, not promises.

August 13th, 2011, 9:40 pm


Abughassan said:

Majed,صياما مقبولا يا اخي
Thanks for the clip,Sheila . Syrians are new to free speech,the future belongs to Syrian youth who will create a better Syria.
The burden of proof is not on the opposition,we only want syrians to abandon violence,most of which was committed by the regime,no doubt.
Tara, there will be time for justice after the blood shed stops and the regime is changed. Details will be worked out by an elected parliament and a free judiciary. I personally prefer mercy over justice but I am more focused on stopping the bleeding now.

August 13th, 2011, 9:45 pm


Abughassan said:

Syrexpat, I agree
I do not believe the regime is capable of reform .
I shared norman’s opinion until I realize that Bashar is merely a front for a brutal and corrupt regime. He made too many wrong decisions that he really needs to quit his office.

August 13th, 2011, 9:52 pm


SYR.Expat said:

“I personally prefer mercy over justice but I am more focused on stopping the bleeding now”

That’s my preference too. We all need God’s mercy. However, mercy is meaningful only when one has the upper hand.

August 13th, 2011, 9:53 pm


Norman said:

Syrian ex pat, Abu Ghassan,

Don’t you think that the regime lost, I do, they are being forced into reform that they do not want or like but the people want and deserve, if they move on the reform as i outlined and with releasing the prisoners as Ex Pat said, things should move toward ending the regime as we know it, I disagree with you Abu Ghassan about the president quiting now as i think that will make Syria headless and put fear in his supporters while making the change and running in the next election will open the Syria to peaceful transition,

August 13th, 2011, 10:08 pm


SYR.Expat said:

True. The regime is not capable of reform. The only way out is to negotiate a peaceful transfer of power to spare Syria an ugly civil war. Compromises will have to be made and the safety of all Syrian has to be guaranteed.

Before the Baath party took over, Syria had a relatively healthy democracy. We need to go back to it. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel.

And as you have stated earlier, the focus should be on stopping the flow of blood in the streets and prisons of Syria.

To the agnets of the Syrian regime on this forum, I remind them with the following hadith:

الحديث الذي رواهُ الترمذيُّ وهو:” الرَّاحمُونَ يَرحمُهُم الرّحمنُ ارْحَموا مَنْ في الأرض يرحمْكُم من في السَّماءِ ”

If you want God’s mercy, have mercy on others. If not, then be warned of God’s wrath and eternal damnation.

August 13th, 2011, 10:11 pm


SYR.Expat said:


I would love to see what you’re talkin about happen. Really. No sane person wants civil war or foreign intervention. We’ve been saying this for a long time now, but it’s been falling on deaf ears.

Here’s a proposal to the regime. You’ve tried brutality and it backfired. How about you try love and kindness? I know it’s a tall order, but how about you try? How about you teach your shabiha and soldiers the meaning of love and mercy? What do you think the response will be if you started treating people with love and dignity, just like you like to be treated? If firmness is needed in some cases, then fine, as long as it’s done professionally and without exceeding the bounds. Just give that a try until the end of Ramadan and see what the response will be.

August 13th, 2011, 10:20 pm


Haytham Khoury said:

It seems the only way out is to bring the regime down.
For this reason mamenhebek group I encourage you to sign the following petition and to send it to other people.


I am so sorry for being blunt, but the regime is so vicious.

August 13th, 2011, 10:34 pm


Haytham Khoury said:

Regarding what should prevail mercy or justice, I think the answer is neither. What should be primary is the interest of the nation. I mean by nation the citizens that constitute the nation. After the second world war, France was deeply divided Vichy supporters with their collaborators and anti Vichy (anti Nazi) who believed in democratic and independent France. The second group won with the help of the Allies. The moment that De Gaule crossed the Arc de Triumph and made his first speech he declared that it is time to heal the nation. He tried only the very highly ranking offices who gave the major orders of mass persecutions and after that he said to the nation it is time to bury the divide and concentrate on building the nation. I hope the opposition will do so when they get to power and they will try only Bashar and Maher and leave the others to their own. I hope after the departure of the regime, the people will focus on building rather than vindication.

August 13th, 2011, 10:52 pm


majedkhaldoon said:

We need to fight revenge and avoid it by all possible means,The money must return to the people, but once this is over I do not want to see killing ,I hate prisons, we need to show the world the meaning of forgiveness,Mercy, and grace.

August 13th, 2011, 10:57 pm


uzair8 said:

#57 SQI.

“that is not a very brilliant idea, you don’t know or recognise Al-Arabiya channel !? who are you ?”

I didnt read the name on the video properly. I thought it said ‘Suriya’ in arabic. Looked at the video again now and yes it says ‘Al arabiya’ in arabic. I got confused.

I do know about Al Arabiya English and I visit their website regularly. However we dont get the news channel here in the UK.

August 13th, 2011, 10:59 pm


Haytham Khoury said:

If Bashar was a witty person, a person who has sense of the reality and a human being who knows the rightful shame and contrition,he would have apologized for his mistakes and his father’s mistakes with the first discourse and have done exactly what Norman said (#70). However, Bashar is not witty, has no sense of the reality and does not know the rightful shame and contrition. Therefore, it is too late.

August 13th, 2011, 11:05 pm


Gus said:

The regime is not going to fall and the terrorists are not wining.
3 weeks ago there was no 1 million protestors.
This analysis is similar to Fox News, you start with false data and you end up with result you like.
The situation is very difficult because many powerful countries are trying to destroy Syria and the system in Syria is not the best.
This time there was no massacre in Hama, the brutality came from the criminal gangs.

August 13th, 2011, 11:31 pm


N.Z. said:

If he really says what he really thinks, he should withdraw all tanks and security forces from the streets, release all political prisoners, give his resignation speech and exit with his criminal family from the Syrian stage. Syrians can deal with the aftermath of 40 years of tyranny. The remaining thugs will feel powerless once the edifice that nurtured them is gone.

It is foolish to think that this clique can bring a democratic transition, the faster its downfall, exit… lives will be saved.

The loss of lives lies squarely and fairly on the shoulders of this family.

Justice, dead or alive, it is up to those who lost their loved ones.

August 13th, 2011, 11:34 pm


N.Z. said:

If he really says what he really thinks, he should withdraw all tanks and security forces from the streets, release all political prisoners, give his resignation speech and exit with his criminal family from the Syrian stage. Syrians can deal with the aftermath of 40 years of tyranny. The remaining thugs will feel powerless once the edifice that nurtured them is gone.

It is foolish to think that there this clique can bring a democratic transition, the faster its downfall, exit… mor elives will be saved.

The loss of lives lies squarely and fairly on the shoulders of this family.

August 13th, 2011, 11:35 pm


Haytham Khoury said:

The time for Bashar to do is gone. He has chosen his path. Now, it is the time to see the outcome of the path he has chosen

August 13th, 2011, 11:44 pm


beaware said:

Egypt’s Islamists challenge military rulers
CAIRO (AP) — Egypt’s largest political group, the Muslim Brotherhood, warned the country’s military rulers Saturday not to interfere in the writing of a new constitution.

The statement from the Brotherhood marks the first time the Islamist group has directly challenged Egypt’s ruling military council since the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak in February.

The group’s stand was prompted by comments from a senior government official this week that the military council will soon set out certain principles outlining who is eligible to draft a new constitution. The Brotherhood also fears the military is trying to enshrine a political role for itself in the constitution.

The drawing up of a new constitution is a topic of intense debate in Egypt.

Parliamentary elections are slated for later this year, and the Brotherhood and its fellow Islamists are expected to do well at the polls. That would likely give them a dominant voice in appointing the committee that will draft a new constitution.

Liberals fear that an Islamist-dominated committee will produce a document that serves only the Islamists’ agenda.

Islamists, meanwhile, fear that specifying a political role for the army in the country’s public life would curb their own ability to shape Egypt’s future. Liberals are concerned by the prospect of a military role in public life because it would run counter to their hopes of having a country governed in full by civilian rulers.

August 13th, 2011, 11:50 pm


jad said:

طائفية خطاب “اللاطائفية”: مهزلة سورية المتجددة!
الكاتب بسام القاضي
13/ 08/ 2011
ربما لا يختلف عاقلين في سورية على الممارسات الطائفية للنظام السوري عبر عقود طويلة من حال الطوارئ واستيلاء الأجهزة الأمنية على حياتنا. وقد يختلفوا على مدى وعمق وسمات هذه الممارسات، وليس على وجودها.

لكن مفاجأة سورية اليوم، بالأحرى مفاجأة “نخبتها ومعارضتها” التي ادعت دائما “اللاطائفية” ما لم تدع العلمانية! هي خطابها الذي ينز طائفية بألف وجه ووجه، والقائم كليا على أن كل سلوك لأي سوري أو سورية، لا يطابق تصوراتهم “الديمقراطية”، هو مستند حكما إلى نزعة هذا الشخص “الطائفية”! ففقط من “يركع ويبوس” صكوك غفران “الثورة” هم اللاطائفيون حتى إن قتلوا على الهوية، فيما كل الباقين هم طائفيون بالضرورة حتى “إن لم يعوا ذلك”!

مناسبة هذا الحديث دخول ميشيل كيلو المأساوي على هذا الخط، بعد أن دخل من الأيام الأولى للأحداث “العلماني” العتيد، عضو مؤتمر الخيانة في إنطاليا: غسان المفلح! والكاتبة العظيمة روزا ياسين حسن التي اكتشفت أن كل أصدقائها الذين لا يوافقونها الرأي، وصدف أن ولدوا لآباء من “الأقليات”، يعبرون عن انتماءهم الأقلاوي رغما عن أنفوهم! ثم تبعتها صاحبة المواقف الخلابة، والجبانة بنفس الوقت، سمر يزبك، وهي تؤكد أن كل من لا يقف مع “الثوار” اليوم هو خائف من النظام أو ممالئ له أو أحمق.. داعية “الطائفة العلوية” إلى الخروج من أسرها التاريخي لتنضم إلى قافلة الثوار العظماء، أو تكون جبانة ورعديدة! وطبعا لا يخلو الأمر من الطائفيين أصلا مهما تزيوا بأشكال وألوان، مثل ياسين الحاج صالح، والدغيم، والسيد.. وغيرهم من شبيحة المعارضة الذين باتوا مكشوفين حتى للفضائيات التي مجدتهم قبل أن تكتشف أنها مصت دماءهم تماما، ولم يعودوا نافعين في معركتها الخسيسة.

مأساة اليوم أن ينضم ميشيل كيلو إلى هذا الخطاب!
ففي مقالته في السفير “دعوة المسيحية إلى العقل” يؤكد ميشيل دون أن يرف له جفن مواطنة، اتهامه لكل سوري صدف ولادته لأب مسيحي، أنه مسيحي غارق في ذيليته للنظام القمعي الوحشي القاتل! بل وخرج عن عباءة قبيلته “العربية/الإسلامية” التي باتت تفصل وتقاس عند عاهل الوهابية “عبد الناتو” بعد أن كانت تفصل عند خدام والشقفة والبيانوني والعبدة وغيرهم..

بل إن ميشيل، الذي انسحب من أحد النقاشات بوجه مشمئز لأن أحدا ما (كاتب هذه الكلمات) أصر على نقاش الوضع القائم، وليس على نقاش “كيفية الضغط على النظام” فيما كان هو، ميشيل، ولؤي حسين يؤكدون أن لا نقاش سوى على كيفية الضغط على النظام، لنفاجأ بعد أقل من 72 ساعة بخبر النقاشات الدائرة بين كل منهما (ميشيل ولؤي) مع بثينة شعبان، كما لو كانت نقاشات “أصدقاء في مقهى الروضة”.. ميشيل هذا، يختم مقالته بفتوى دينية بامتياز، وجهادية بامتياز، إذ يقول حرفيا:
“باختصار شديد: إما أن تغير الكنيسة مواقفها وتعود ثانية إلى كنف مجتمعها العربي / الإسلامي، أو أن يؤسس العلمانيون كنيسة مدنية تأخذ المسيحيين إلى حيث يجب أن يكونوا، مواطنين حريتهم جزء من حرية مجتمعهم وفي خدمتها. وللعلم، فإن التاريخ لن ولا يجوز أن يرحم أحدا: كنسيا كان أم علمانيا، إن هو وقف جانبا، أو رقص على جثث من يموتون من أجل حريته!”

فإذا! ميشيل اللاطائفي لا يرى سوريين ولدوا لآباء مسيحيين أو مسلمين او.. بل يرى فقط “مسيحيين” و”مسلمين” و…..

وميشيل اللاطائفي، وللاعنفي، يؤكد أنه لا يعترف بأي شخص سوري ولد لمسيحي إلا أن يكون معه، أو هو تابع “لرأس كنيسة ما”!

وميشيل اللاطائفي، وداعي الحرية والديمقراطية، يهدد بأن التاريخ (أي: قادة الثورة القادمة بعد أن يصيروا سلطة الموت الجديدة) بمحاسبة كل من لم ينضم إلى ثورتهم التي باعوها هم، أول من باعها، لتجار الدين والسلاح والمخربين، تاركن الشباب المنتفض وحيدا في الساحة، دون أن يمدوه حتى “بكأس شاي”!

ولا ينسى ميشيل طبعا، شأن الآخرين، أن يغلف حقيقة استيلاء الظلامية والإجرام على “الثورة”، بعد أن لم يعد بإمكانه أو إمكان غيره انكار ذلك، فيلجأ إلى المواربة باتهام كل من لم يوقع “صك غفران الثورة” بأنه سبب في استيلاء هؤلاء عليها!

للأسف الشديد، هذه هي النخبة التي وصفت مرات أنها لم تسقط فحسب، بل تحولت إلى شريك كامل الشراكة في العنف والموت الأسود والظلامية التي تحاصر سورية اليوم. فهم لا يختلفون بشعرة عن ضباط أمن مجرمون قتلوا المدنيين دون أن يرف لهم جفن. ولا يختلفون عن وهابيين وسلفيين قتلوا الناس بمتعة وتشفي، ولا عن مجرمين زعران وتجار سلاح لا قيمة عندهم لغير الفوضى…..

هذه النخبة، هي التي خانت فعلا شباب وشابات سورية.. خانتهم بدفعهم إلى الموت فيما هي قاعدة تشرب الويسكي وماء زمزم والماء المقدس.. وخانتهم بدفعها البلد إلى المزيد من العنف بإغماض عينيها عنه، وخانتهم بالتحريض المكشوف والصريح على الطائفية تحت ستار محاربة الطائفية!!

لذلك، لا مفر من الدعوة مجددا لشباب وشابات سورية، معارضة وموالاة وخط ثالث ورابع وخامس.. أن يرموا خلفهم كل الوجوه التي أثبتت استنزافها نفسها واستمراءها القتل والموت خدمة لتصوراتها المريضة، سواء لعبت ألعابها باسم الأمن والاستقرار، أو باسم الحرية والديمقراطية، أو بأي اسم آخر..

هذه هي الحقيقة المرة. جيل كامل قد سقط بعد أن كشفته أزمة لم تمر سورية بمثلها في تاريخها كله. وحان الوقت لتبوأ الشباب موقع النخبة، فيعبرون عن صوتهم هم بأنفسهم، دون تردد، ودون خوف من أساطير “مثقف” أو “مناضل” أو ما شابه.. فكلها ألقاب لا تساوي الحبر الذي كتبت به..

August 14th, 2011, 1:16 am


annie said:

Posting problems. Sorry if this is almost a duplicate

Dear all, I speak of Hama and you rush to the kitchen ! Hama is the obsessive song of the waterwheels. Where else in the world ?

Hama is that community of artists in what is left of the old town after 1982. I never stayed at the Afama hotel built on the corpses of the victims but at the Cairo where I had a friend called Anas. I am afraid of causing him problems by phoning but if you see him tell him I think of them every day.

As for Homs (here I hope to beat a record of thumbs down) : for the longest time I had been told it was not worth a visit; but I ended up venturing in that charming town. Now,except may be for food, it has nothing to rival the others unless one can take Aboud as a monument next to that big mosque which was off bounds for me as a woman. May be it was prayer time ? Seeing the enthusiasm of the Homsis here for their town I realize that I must give Homs a second chance as soon as my banishment is lifted. If it ever is under this regime.

August 14th, 2011, 2:41 am


N.Z. said:

السلفيين الحماصنة هتفوا اليوم “يا وزير الاوقاف.. قول للبوطي لا يخاف.. و يتعلم الحرية من مي سكاف”! ماأجمل السوريين وما أقبح نظامهم!

August 14th, 2011, 2:45 am


Syria no kandahar said:

Alaaroor angel appeared to OTW tonight
A:of the wall,my dear friend,finally I get to visit you,it is an honor.
O:it is an honor to me sheik
A:I always admire your posts at SC,you always managed to support our Sunni fight.
O:it is my duty sheik
A:you,Arboodi,Tara,NZ..are my unknown soldiers.
O:we all have the same beliefs.
A:I am especially proud of you supporting Arboodi with his boiling soldiers ideas.
O:I felt the same way about that
A:you were a man and stopped SNK attempts to expose my hard working kid Arboodi
O:That SNK should also be boiled
A:no my dear wall friend ,SNK is to be grinned.
O:I forgot about your magic grinding machine for none sunnis
A:it is ok my Wally,I will never even think of putting you in it,you are also to get some of my virgins
O:Thanks Aroori
A:you know Wally without me all this crimes and hell would not have opened in Syria
O:we are so grateful for you
A:I control these street gangs more than god
O:you don’t think that they read SC
A:hohohoho SC…
O:is that funny
A:yes.I will make sure that Syria will be free of all monkeys
O:That will be nice master
A:you know that every time some one dies in Syria I get a chill,I feel the day of revenge is coming soon
O:god willing master
A:don’t say god willing,I don’t stand him
O:sorry master
A:I will make sure that Alawis go back to be our servants or go on the poles or in my grinding machine,same thing for Christians
O:god willing master
A:you are irritating me,stop saying god willing,do you want me to call Arboodi to plug my grinding machine
O:I am sorry master I mean if my master Alaaroor is willing
A: now you are a good wall
O:Thanks master
A:you know that I hired Ubo Umer with me now
O:In addition to Arboodi
A:yes,Arboodi does the technical part
O:what abou Ubo Umer
A:I hired him to eat the grinned meat
O:that is brilliant
A:yes I know Ubo Umer is a good kid like Arboodi
O:god bless you master
A: I am pissed of would you stop insulting me
O:so sorry master
A: forgiven Wally I am going befor I lose my nerves
O:by Aroori
A:Arboodi ,Ubo umeri …we are going.by Wally

August 14th, 2011, 2:48 am


some guy in damascus said:

this story confirms everything i say about Damascus, it is very accurate( about Damascus, i don’t know about the rest). i strongly suggest samara and ali read this thoroughly. yesterday was the first time i felt insecure walking around the streets of Damascus, it was 1 am. any random shabeeha thug can have his way with you in the name of the stability of the nation.
@ Norman, your latest posts have logic in them, why wasn’t there any logic when you told me dissidents are getting imprisoned for their own protection? i feel ashamed about calling you a morann , but the answer you gave me then was like trying to justify the holocaust for me.i wish you no ill-will, but were you serious? do you really think najati tayara was imprisoned for his own protection?
@ khlaid tlass
Though we outnumber them, beating them up is not possible, here’s why
1)Initially we will beat them up but they will return with Armour, tear gas, sound grenades and firearms
2) Many protesters would like the revolution to remain peaceful( including i) we condone self defensive actions
3) Taking up arms gives them a pretext to attack us
4) These men have no mercy, there’s no prisoner of war protocol here, what can you expect from a regime that slices of boy’s genitals
@ aboud
Maybe we should thank israel, this is what would have happened if the golan stayed in syria’s hands
1) A huge resort would’ve opened for people to enjoy the sea of galilea owned by none other than rami.
2) The forest and lake would have shrivelled and went to ruins thanks to baath mismanagement
3) Instead of sea of galilea , we would have sea of Assad
what did the first shabeeh say to the second shabeeh?
nothing. they’re devoid of all intelligence and communicate via grunts.

August 14th, 2011, 3:38 am


some guy in damascus said:

Syria no Kandahar.
the comment section is made for us to discuss events in syria. not make plays, if you want to make plays, heres the link for Broadway :

August 14th, 2011, 3:51 am


Jasmine said:

May be a real analysis of History can reveal after all the pattern of behaviour of every Sectarian leader, and no they are not political leaders, this definition is reserved for a statesmen and not religious fanatics.
The war on Iraq was supported by Saudi Arabia hiding under the veil of Democracy, which killed 1.5 millions Iraqis,just to impress the Saudis and How Ironic,the Shiites are leading now.

Saudi Arabia has supported Saddam with his war against Iran because Iran is too much powerful Shiite sect for Al-Saoud.

The Armenian holocaust took place in Syria in 1915 by Turkey under the veil of fighting for the Arabs.

Turkey is continuing to massacre the Kurdish whenever the opportunity arise.
Just wondering how much the world can stay blind to see the intention of the sectarianism.

Are Saudi Arabia and Turkey planning a third Holocaust in Syria now?
Are they planning an ethnic cleansing for Christians and Allawites, Shiites and Kurdish as well?
May be this is not a Syrian uprising after all !!!

August 14th, 2011, 4:10 am


N.Z. said:

Jasmine are you an analyst or a historian?

August 14th, 2011, 4:13 am



Dear Parents of Syria No Kandahar:

Below please find our review form of your most recent submission on behalf of your child. We apologize for using our rarely used review form instead of a full review. We thank you for your submission to our reader-authored Teen-to-Teen magazine and urge you to submit your piece, with minor modification to our sister publication toddler-to-toddler which seems in the appropriate age group. We understand your confusion since both magazines have TTT as their logo. Despite of the prevalant imagery, we hope that you did not intend to submit to the adult-oriented publication Tramp-to-Tramp magazine, with which our corporate have no association whatsoever.

Review Form
Premise: Obsessive Compulsive Fantasy Play
Dialog : Poor
Imagery: Stale
Originality: Negative,
Readability Level: 2nd grade.
Comprehension Level: Not Applicable

Deputy Associate to Assistant Editor Comments:
Author lacks both creativity and skills of age group. The submission is highly repetitive of previous pieces by the same child who seems to be desperately attempting to follow the style of a relatively unknown rodent.

However, this seems like a good exercise to vent frustration, especially that which accompanies failure and embarrassment common in this age group. A good substitute for toddler tantrum.

Personal Note: Have you taken your child to see a psychologist recently. If not, our assistant editor, a child psychologist, recommends that you do so at the earliest possible opportunity. It may be helpful for Mr. No Kandahar Sr. or for Mrs. No Kandahar to pretend that they have kicked this Alaroor Monster from your child’s closet or from under the child’s bed. This may improve your child’s chances of recovery. Whatever you do, do not allow your child to sleep between you on your bed during psychotic episodes, as this may exacerbate your child’s dependency by associating your love and care for your child with the recurrent nightmares.

Truly Yours:
Grinned Grounder III.
Start with TTT, Grow up with TTT, and then avoid the other TTT

August 14th, 2011, 4:16 am


some guy in damascus said:

@ jasmine
“May be a real analysis of History can reveal after all the pattern of behavior”
you want history??
heres history:
all arab nations have similar grievances coming from similar sources
who has massacred the most syrians?
shabeeh logic 101:
bashar’s calendar goes straight from march 31st to the 2nd of april. NOBODY FOOLS WITH BASHAR!.

August 14th, 2011, 4:22 am



Glad you got it out of your system. Anything for my dear friend Jad.

August 14th, 2011, 4:23 am


Jasmine said:

TO # 96 N.Z, Why you are asking this question?

To # 98 Some Guy in Damascus.

I wish if it is really a revolution, and it is true how you are thinking,but I just can’t see it this way,it didn’t evolve naturally, and I hope that I am wrong.
And I don’t answer back at any personal insult.

August 14th, 2011, 5:11 am


some guy in damascus said:

@ jasmine,
i never insulted you, what are you talking about?

August 14th, 2011, 5:14 am



OK, let us take your disconnected events and look at them, briefly for now.

Saudi Arabia has supported Saddam with his war against Iran because Iran is too much powerful Shiite sect for Al-Saoud.

True, and so did most Arab countries, and the US and Israel who played both sides. Syria, on the other hand supported Iran.

The Armenian holocaust took place in Syria in 1915 by Turkey under the veil of fighting for the Arabs.

Partially correct. First, some killing took place in Syria, but a majority occurred in Armenia. Second, those who committed the Armenian holocaust were in fact openly Turkish Nationalists and Anti-Arab. There was nothing in their murderous campaign to justify your statement that it was done under the veil of fighting for the Arabs. It was an Ethnic Cleansing of Armenians by Turkish Ultra Nationalist (Young Turkey) with nothing related to Arabs.

Turkey is continuing to massacre the Kurdish whenever the opportunity arise.

True and False in the same time. The last two Turkish governments have embarked on a completely different strategy, albeit, very slowly, that attempts to address the Kurdish issue despite of the increased Turkish Nationalism among Turkish public. Why do you think all of these dams were built on the two major rivers. Development of the Krudish areas is paramount, and I am not saying that happily because Syrian farmers (including Kurds) are paying the price. Politically, things are not as clear yet, but many Kurdish parties in Turkey are now part of the political landscape, gaining more recognition and power, which is not something that can be said about Kurdish Parties in Iran and/or Syria. It could be done faster and better, but there is yet to be clear evidence of massacring Kurds as a continuing policy the way you are alluding to. We all stand for the rights of Kurds everywhere, same way we are in support of the rights of Arab Ahwazi and of all marginalized groups in Barhain, KSA, and in Syria (where 99.9% of citizens are marginalized with the exception of the ruling family and its small circle), independent of their religious leaning?

Just wondering how much the world can stay blind to see the intention of the sectarianism.

The world is not blind to sectarianism. Most developed countries are trying to address their own sectarian problems. However, many on Syria Comment are blinding themselves to the clear attempts by people like SNK and other components of the Syrian regime to incite sectarian in-fights, both on the streets of Syrian towns and on these pages. Anyone who does not praise the ugly regime is sectarian aroor follower against all evidence to the contrary. Their emphasis on a single issue, which is sectarianism indicate their obsession with it as they ignore all other ills and hide behind this pretense. If you follow their writing and the writing of their more capable writers in official and semi-official press you will easily recognize that they are the ones trying to incite sectarian warfare. The revolution, on the other hand has tried very hard to steer clear of sectarianism and has been largely successful. Continuing to shout wolf will get you no where, not anymore.

Are Saudi Arabia and Turkey planning a third Holocaust in Syria now? Are they planning an ethnic cleansing for Christians and Allawites, Shiites and Kurdish as well?

Turkey is planning a no-conflict zone. This has been the Turkish primary policy since Erdogan became PM, which is inline with an economic growth development strategy that can not survive if Turkey is to take a sectarian outlook. Turkey has grown up, it is a major state in the region. So far, it has shown restraint that is completely at odd with your statement/question.

Throwing unnecessary and unsubstantiated propaganda does not make your claim true.

KSA only plans what ensures the survival of its royal family and the interest of the US. Most analysts show that survival of the Syrian regime, at least for now is in the mutual interest of US-KSA. No defense of KSA is possible and non will be attempted.

May be this is not a Syrian uprising after all !!!
Ah-haaaa, as they say, here is whet the porter drops us. All of the previous insinuations aimed at getting to this point, which in addition to being false, aims to justify the criminal brutality of the regime under the pretense of fighting external forces (as the regime has claimed for decades now). No one can sustain five months of increasingly growing non-violent protest, despite of the regime’s criminal brutality, if it was not organic, home grown protest. The regime has made sure that anger against it grows every day. Its actions is what sustains this revolution.

August 14th, 2011, 6:01 am



I just wrote you a long answer. It may be stuck for a while in the spam filter.

August 14th, 2011, 6:03 am


Aboud said:

Comparing what is happening now, and the time Besho was in the political wilderness during the Bush era, is highly inaccurate. Then, junior could rely on no internal opposition, and the country was behind him.

Obviously, this is not the case now. Papa Assad was strong due to the strength of the Syrian people. The same strength saw junior through Bush’s attempts to isolate him. That same strength is now being turned against the regime.

Also, enough with the pessimistic forecasts for what a post-junior Syria will look like. The Syrian people have defied all expectations by keeping their protests peaceful, free of sectarianism, and have amazed the world with their resilience in the face of barbaric suppression.

They will continue to amaze the world long after the X-Box child and his clique have packed their bags to Iran.

August 14th, 2011, 6:23 am


Revlon said:

Dear Mr Dahi, thank you for sharing your first hand experience and insights on the Syrian Revolution. I would like to touch on two of your themes.

I agree with your taxonomic outlines
I also feel that the tribes share stronger ties and have been practicing more organised activism to be recognized as a distinct, semi-organised social force.
Its youth would make a subset of the third group “the youth movement”, while its social base would form a semi-organised subset in your fourth group “the so-called “social base of the youth movement that is an unorganized civil society”.

Their distinctness in their togetherness and history-old Tribal Counsel heritage have been demonstrated by many events, including the following:
– Their constituency were essentially the initial leaders of the revolution.
They were the first to go out in mass demonstrations and the first to force the regime to at least verbally submit to their stern ultimatums.
Their impact has been on the ascendancy since.
– They have managed to incite defections in the two bastions of the regime authority, namely the Baath party and Army. Small in number as they are, they have exposed the regime’s vulnerability and shattered their hard-earned image of being invincible. Defection is a much easier task for tribal members. They can much more easily find refuge in the vastness of the tribal territories.
– They are the only social group that can publicly call for and hold meetings of their constituency under the watchful eyes of the regime.

The Issue of “Minorities”
You said: “Minorities” which believe that they have benefited from the regime’s brutality and corruption over the past forty years believe that they are implicated in the eyes of the Sunni majority in its crimes. This is true not only of the Christians but even more so of the Isma’ilis and Alawis.”

Bab Toumah’s constituency is not a representative sample of the Christian Syrian communities.
This neighbourhood has a long-standing, heavy security presence.
A larger proportion of the Christian benefactors of the regime reside in that neighbourhood, much like Sunni benefactors in certain Sunni neighbourhoods.

Based on their benefit from loyalty to / or corruption of regime, Syrian citizens, regardless of their sect, largely fall into one of two categories
– Majority of Underprivileged: They are the rising citizens and their supporters. They aim to achieve equality in opportunity.
– Minority of Privileged. They are the “ante-revolt”. They seek to maintain their privileges that were built on loyalty and not on merit or equal opportunity.

The privileged, in absolute numbers, are probably largely Sunnis.
Their proportion in their respected sects is largest in 3alawi, smallest in Sunnis, and intermediate in remaining sects.

As such the main reason for being an anti-revolt is not fear of sectarian persecution!
It is the fear of relinquishing of long and unjustly held economical privileges.

Fear of reprisal only applies to an extremely small subset of the previliged of Syrian citizens who know that they committed criminal acts against their fellow citizens or the Syrian nation, regardless of their sect.

Do not expect a benefactor of the regime to tell you how his loyalty earned him privileges beyond what he truly merits.

Do not expect a benefactor of the regime to tell you that he was once responsible for writing vindictive reports and arresting, torturing, or killing fellow citizens, regardless of their sect.

August 14th, 2011, 6:28 am



Also, enough with the pessimistic forecasts for what a post-junior Syria will look like. The Syrian people have defied all expectations by keeping their protests peaceful, free of sectarianism, and have amazed the world with their resilience in the face of barbaric suppression.

Well said.

August 14th, 2011, 6:29 am



OK, let us take your disconnected events and look at them, briefly for now.

Saudi Arabia has supported Saddam with his war against Iran because Iran is too much powerful Shiite sect for Al-Saoud.

True, and so did most Arab countries, and the US and Israel who played both sides. Syria, on the other hand supported Iran.

The Armenian holocaust took place in Syria in 1915 by Turkey under the veil of fighting for the Arabs.

Partially correct. First, some killing took place in Syria, but a majority occurred in Armenia. Second, those who committed the Armenian holocaust were in fact openly Turkish Nationalists and Anti-Arab. There was nothing in their murderous campaign to justify your statement that it was done under the veil of fighting for the Arabs. It was an Ethnic Cleansing of Armenians by Turkish Ultra Nationalist (Young Turkey) with nothing related to Arabs.

Turkey is continuing to massacre the Kurdish whenever the opportunity arise.

True and False in the same time. The last two Turkish governments have embarked on a completely different strategy, albeit, very slowly, that attempts to address the Kurdish issue despite of the increased Turkish Nationalism among Turkish public. Why do you think all of these dams were built on the two major rivers. Development of the Krudish areas is paramount, and I am not saying that happily because Syrian farmers (including Kurds) are paying the price. Politically, things are not as clear yet, but many Kurdish parties in Turkey are now part of the political landscape, gaining more recognition and power, which is not something that can be said about Kurdish Parties in Iran and/or Syria. It could be done faster and better, but there is yet to be clear evidence of massacring Kurds as a continuing policy the way you are alluding to. We all stand for the rights of Kurds everywhere, same way we are in support of the rights of Arab Ahwazi and of all marginalized groups in Barhain, KSA, and in Syria (where 99.9% of citizens are marginalized with the exception of the ruling family and its small circle), independent of their religious leaning?

Just wondering how much the world can stay blind to see the intention of the sectarianism.

The world is not blind to sectarianism. Most developed countries are trying to address their own sectarian problems. However, many on Syria Comment are blinding themselves to the clear attempts by people like SNK and other components of the Syrian regime to incite sectarian in-fights, both on the streets of Syrian towns and on these pages. Anyone who does not praise the ugly regime is sectarian aroor follower against all evidence to the contrary. Their emphasis on a single issue, which is sectarianism indicate their obsession with it as they ignore all other ills and hide behind this pretense. If you follow their writing and the writing of their more capable writers in official and semi-official press you will easily recognize that they are the ones trying to incite sectarian warfare. The revolution, on the other hand has tried very hard to steer clear of sectarianism and has been largely successful. Continuing to shout wolf will get you no where, not anymore.

Are Saudi Arabia and Turkey planning a third Holocaust in Syria now? Are they planning an ethnic cleansing for Christians and Allawites, Shiites and Kurdish as well?

Turkey is planning a no-conflict zone. This has been the Turkish primary policy since Erdogan became PM, which is inline with an economic growth development strategy that can not survive if Turkey is to take a sectarian outlook. Turkey has grown up, it is a major state in the region. So far, it has shown restraint that is completely at odd with your statement/question.

Throwing unnecessary and unsubstantiated propaganda does not make your claim true.

KSA only plans what ensures the survival of its royal family and the interest of the US. Most analysts show that survival of the Syrian regime, at least for now is in the mutual interest of US-KSA. No defense of KSA is possible and non will be attempted.

May be this is not a Syrian uprising after all !!!

Ah-haaaa, as they say, here is whet the porter drops us. All of the previous insinuations aimed at getting to this point, which in addition to being false, aims to justify the criminal brutality of the regime under the pretense of fighting external forces (as the regime has claimed for decades now). No one can sustain five months of increasingly growing non-violent protest, despite of the regime’s criminal brutality, if it was not organic, home grown protest. The regime has made sure that anger against it grows every day. Its actions are partially what sustains this revolution.

August 14th, 2011, 6:32 am


some guy in damascus said:

Syrian warships have joined a military assault targeting protesters in the port of Latakia, activists say.

Warships shelled districts of the northern city on Sunday, killing at least six people, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The military attack began on Saturday, targeting the protesters’ stronghold of Ramleh in the city, it said.

More than 1,700 people have reportedly died in the six-month uprising against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad
Residents flee’

Some 20 tanks and personnel carriers were also said to be taking part in the Latakia assault, with heavy gunfire reported in the Ramleh neighbourhood.

One witness told Reuters news agency by telephone: “I can see the silhouettes of two grey [naval] vessels. They are firing their guns and the impact is landing on al-Ramleh, al-Filistini and al-Shaab neighbourhoods.”

A report on state television denied there had been any naval shelling.

Activists said at least two people were killed and 15 wounded in Saturday’s attacks.

They said a large number of residents had fled the city and that telephones and internet connections had been cut off.

International journalists face severe restrictions in operating in Syria, and it is hard to verify reports.

Thousands of people were said to have come on to the streets of Latakia on Friday to demonstrate against the government.

Amateur video footage posted on the Internet also showed what appeared to be armoured personnel in the streets.

Latakia has seen many anti-government protests in the past six months.

Tens of thousands of people had come out on to the streets across the country again on Friday to protest.

The Syrian Observatory said that a large number of troops had also moved into the Saqba and Hamriya districts of the capital Damascus on Sunday, with gunfire heard in both suburbs.
Crackdown ‘intensifying’

Syria has come under increased diplomatic pressure in the past week to stop its crackdown on dissent.

The US has imposed sanctions on Damascus and has said these could be increased, while calling on other countries to follow.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait have all recalled their ambassadors, while Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has described the methods used by the Syrian security forces as “unacceptable”.

However, it appears the crackdown has intensified, with troops storming several towns and cities.

Mr Assad has reiterated promises of political reform, while remaining adamant his government would continue to pursue the “terrorist groups” he has blamed for the unrest.

Protests have been targeted in Homs, Hama, Damascus, Deir al-Zour in the east and Aleppo and Idlib near Turkey’s border.

A doctor in Hama told the BBC that medical services there had been severely affected by recent government attacks. He said two hospitals were closed and one had been stormed by troops, injuring many of the medical staff.
source: bbc

August 14th, 2011, 6:49 am


Tara said:


I want to give you a challenge.

It is foggy, rainy and a little depressing this morning.  I have to go to work and I hate working the weekend but I have no choice once a month.  Since I like your stories (except the soup one) I thought you can take a request from me.  Can you please write a story about Syria that is rated PG-13, or better yet, G, with a wholesome plot, a happy ending, good looking actors or cartoon characters, lots of personal growth, and nobody can die at the end except the villains. And you know who is the villain in Tara’s eyes….Remember the happy ending, as the only ending Tara likes is a happy ending…

August 14th, 2011, 7:26 am


Habib said:

Unless I missed it in the article I dont see an account of the Amercan ambassadeur vist to brave Hama

August 14th, 2011, 7:55 am


Omar S. Dahi said:


@Observer, comment # 2: It is very hard to tell for certain ‘who is in charge’, and I heard wildly conflicting accounts about this. The strategy in my view is-and other people have referred to this as well- to violently subdue the protests and then emerge with a series of laws a la Egypt in the 1980s and 1990s whereby the government allows more freedoms but can manipulate elections to stay in power. However this has obviously backfired since the brutality has had a reverse effect. You are correct that US foreign policy-invasion and destruction of Iraq- has traumatized Syrians, including minorities who fear the Iraqi scenario. Given what I know about Syrian society I do not agree with the more pessimistic scenarios (ethnic cleansing, slaughter, etc.) but I do think the new Syria will be a reflection of its populace, which is largely socially conservative.

@AbuGhassan, comment #5. Not every government in Hama was burned or looted. Just one example, I went to the courts (Qasr al-‘Adl) while I was there and it was perfectly fine with people going about their business, with no signs of burns. (Unlike in Duma, I visited the courts there and you can still see the charred remains of the door and the burn effects on the walls).

@Adal, comment # 9. I believe I did try to understand the positions of christian minorities as best as I could. The main plausible (and legitimate in my view) explanation is that they are afraid that nothing good can come out of this revolt as far as they are concerned. That they will be oppressed by whomever takes power or even in the transition What other explanation can you provide?

@ Off The Wall, comment # 22. I basically agree with all your comments, thanks for sharing them. One small thing, I of course would not equate between regime violence and what you call ‘vigilante justice.’ However I also disagree with the idea that we should dismiss or deny those stories; simply that we should contextualize them. For example, it was simply not true that the Orontes was dry in Hama. In fact there were several Norias working quite well and some people were swimming. I have a few videos from the time spent there. I was stunned when I heard that some opposition members were denying the video of the bodies thrown into the river based on that claim. I have no way of knowing if that video is real, but it’s certainly plausible.

@MajedKhaldoon, Comment #24. Regarding economy, both current situation and future prospects. Current situation is very poor as I referred to. There is not a lot of transparency in terms of statistics obviously, but as Syria Report-a trusted source on the economy- put out on August 1st, there was an average decline of banking assets of the five largest banks by 16%. Cumulated customer’s deposits fell by 21%. These are all signs of a deep economic crisis. Regarding past & future economic situation. I had written a post on syria comment a couple years ago on this issue (you can look it up), where I argued that Syria’s economic policy was taking the country in the wrong direction. Dardari has been made the scapegoat for all of Syria’s economic ills. However a more balanced assessment of what went wrong and prospects for the future is still needed. Incidentally, Jamal Baroot has done some good research on this. The government’s plan to placate the protests has simply been to try and reverse all decisions made previously. This is not wise either. What is needed (in brief, as I said this is a bigger discussion) is a developmental model that prioritizes balanced & sustainable agricultural development, places industrial & manufacturing policy in the center, and reassesses free trade agreements.

@Revlon, Comment # 108. Thanks for your insights on tribes and minorities. Just a small comment, regarding minorities, I do not agree that it’s simply a fear of losing economic privileges. There are certainly those who worry about this, but they are not just among the minorities. The fear within the Christian community cuts across class lines, in fact the lower down the economic ladder you go, the more fearful people are because some may feel that the rich will always find a way to manage.

August 14th, 2011, 7:59 am


Jasmine said:

To # 105,110 Of the wall

As much as I value the academic discussion about the Syrian uprising,I am still finding it so hard to define it as a grass root,organic movement.
Historic events are connected always and are the base for any nation’s behaviour in the present and future.

You described the uprising as peaceful(some doubt) and purely against social elements of unfairness and mistreatment by the regime(which I am not a defender or one of them).

The power struggle between different sects of Islam has been a major element of unrest throughout the history of the Arabs world,and that is why I stated in my previous post, some historic facts.

How can you call it an organically evolved revolution?
The way I look at it:I think that the preparation for this uprising has started the first hour of the day, the city of Hama was bombarded in 1982 after the uprising of MB.

My worry is now:are we really giving too much credit to the real revolutionist or to the sectarian extremists who has hijacked the revolution from them(the insurgency is a real proof)?

Lastly,if you think that” survival of the Syrian regime, at least for now is in the mutual interest of US-KSA”.
So why the revolutionists are supplied with arms from these two sources?

I am afraid to say that:This uprising is built on Propaganda as much as facts and history,no matter how much you hate to admit it.

August 14th, 2011, 8:23 am



Dear Omar

Many thanks for your response. I do appreciate it very much as I appreciate putting the issue of water levels in the river to rest once and for all. I must apologize if you, or any reader, was under the impression that I considered you to equate the two sides. That part of my comment was more general and should probably have not been there to avoid such misunderstanding. I have tried to avoid getting involved in stories of incidents of vigilante justice not because I agree with it, but because I have no idea of confirming and denying, along with being rather distrustful of the regime’s propaganda, I would not have been able to provide any impartial answer in the absence of trusted third party confirmation wither way. Contextualization seems to be fully rejected by regime proponents as every single incident to them is a pre-planned action called for, or instigated by a dark ever expansive and shifting conspiracy. On the opposition side, the scale of the violence, its symbolism, and recurring pattern overshadow any other possible contextual framework.

I will go back and re-read your post on economic development. I urge you and other experts including myself to initiate discussion of post-Tyranny Syria with much weight attached to voices of inside experts who have experienced first hand both the construction and the follies of half-hazard reactive development strategies.

August 14th, 2011, 8:31 am



OK, so based on your logic, Syria’s support for Iran during the war is because Iraq was too powerful Sunni-state for Syria? If this is the case, then the Syrian regime has been heavily involved in a fermenting sectarian conflict contrary to its declaration of secularism…..

How can you call it an organically evolved revolution?
Because it started small, and got bigger as the regime continued to fumble its response demonstrating that it really has no interest in or intent for reform and only intends to retain its full control of Syria and Syrians. The regime’s reform continue to place all control in the hand of the regime, basically rendering all these laws it enacted meaningless.

Regime violence expanded the uprising into a revolution. It continues as we sit here and debate. And it will not stop until the regime is thrown out.

As for weapons.
Weapons are not absent from Syria. People in most rural areas own weapons both legally and illegally. For the US and KSA to provide support as you claim and expect me to answer your as a fact, heavy weapons would have been present. So far, can you count the number of armored vehicle or personnel carriers lost due to RPG’s and other advanced weaponry the regime claimed to have captured from the “Armed Gangs”?

I disagree that the seeds of this revolts were sown after the first massacre in Hama, they sown by every infraction on the dignity of Syrians, and were nurtured over 40 years of absolute corrupt tyrannical rule, to which you seem to be ambivalent. Most of the people getting killed by the regime were not born then, and most have been raised to sing for the greatness of the eternal leader and his father before him. Yet, their dignity, and opportunities were being violated day in day out. Enough putting your heads in the sand like ostrich just because this pathetic regime claimed resistance and secularism.

August 14th, 2011, 8:48 am


Afram said:

professor Landis:the opposition Bozos has transformed{syria comment}site into:”syria cooking” but they kept the Acronyms and initialism of your site -S.C- as I said Previously…U bozos need to go back to UR falafel stand,plus U kan keep UR lying Outbursts & Cursing.
professor change UR Technique/ Rename URsite to► syrian BBQ Galore.com
Bon Appétit bozos
I feel UR pain professor Landis!

August 14th, 2011, 9:00 am


Sheila said:

To dear #83. Haytham Khoury,
Do you see what I mean Haytham?. Here is your comment on #83 that makes a whole lot os sense. It is balanced and reasonable and yet you get (so far) 13 dislikes. I don’t get it? I think you are absolutely right: no revenge and no prisons for the little guys. We all know that for them it is kill or get killed. The heads should go to jail or be put to death, but we need national reconciliation. Many of the minhebaks also love the country and don’t want to see it destroyed. Some love their money, position and privileges and don’t give a d….about the country.

August 14th, 2011, 9:04 am


Syria no kandahar said:

A note to the parents of the only known MB Hamster
Just to let you know that I don’t blame you for bringing such a disaster to the Hamster’s world.I understand that you Hamsters have no condoms or contraceptives and you don’t even have a cycle . Also the lack of TV did not help.Any way will have to deal with the disaster of that pleasure moment you had.I do blame you for raising a little cute Hamster to be an ugly monster supporting destruction of his own country.

August 14th, 2011, 9:19 am


Amir in Tel Aviv said:

This is the first time in 5 months, that I worry that this, national in nature conflict, might turn to regional, and involve Israel. This junta is cornered, and it’s actions now are unpredictable. Turkey gave them 2 weeks (minus 3 days now). We are entering showdown. Fasten your seatbelts.

August 14th, 2011, 9:29 am


Syria no kandahar said:

You don’t get it. You are really moving to almost Arbood level by your lies.when did I ever supported the regime,or did I ever mentioned or praised the president.And why do you lie and state that I support sectarianism?is that because I fight sectarian people like Aroor,Arbood and Ubo Umer .you like all the opposition figures are pathetic you know that this is a Sunni uprising ,but you want to wrap it up with national fabric.The non-Sunni component of this is less than 1% .if I don’t like your ideas,you must have the mental capacity of accepting that.your calling people who don’t want the destruction of Syria Shabeha,makes you one.Syria 2010 was better than most Arab countries,and it can be molded instead of burning it by your Sunni sectarian uprising then building it from ashes with saud’s money.

August 14th, 2011, 9:37 am


Syria no kandahar said:

Some guy in Damascus
Don’t read what you don’t like(that is what I do with all stupid posts).plus you keep in touch with Revlon to find out which mosques have the best demonstrations in Damascus.God would not accept your prayers unless you follow them up with the new version of post-Taraweeh holy chanting:طر فيك يا بشار. يلعن روحك يابشار الشعب يطالب بإعدام الرييس
So fill your stomach,run to the mosq and then do your طز and يلعن party and your religious duties would be fulfilled.And if you can boil a soldier like Arboodi does, you may get some extra virgins.

August 14th, 2011, 9:48 am




Your obsession with vulgar sexual imagery is telling and obvious for the world to see. In the name of all decent Syrians, I thank you for showing the world the type of people the regime relies on. You make it very easy for us to convey and demonstrate to the world what syrian are fighting for when they reject your regime: The return of civility and intelligence to our beloved Syria.

Down with Vulgarity and Long Live Civility

August 14th, 2011, 9:54 am


Syria no kandahar said:

Premature Hamster
Let me use your 7 brain civilized cells to analyze this:
I am fighting Islamic extremists and Alaaroor mentality,you are fighting me.what does that make you?

August 14th, 2011, 10:10 am


mjabali said:

The situation in the Middle East is chaotic.

Syria is changing beyond repair through blood and violence. No one is able, as we are witnessing clearly, to stop this chaos.

Demos are continuing and army armored BMPs’ keep on rolling through cities. Death mount is rising from all sides, and the country is getting divided through sectarian and religious lines. People are not traveling through the land of people of other sects in almost all of rural Syria. This is BAD. The fragmentation of Syria is underway.

No one is listening and the future looks grim and bleak.

Besides the home grown huge list of problems the Syrians have with the Assad rule, What is happening in Syria now is also a reflection of what takes place in the Middle East as a whole, and of course the Sunni/Shia nasty fight.

The Iraq war was important in the near past. The departure of Iraq’s Sunnis from the seat of power made demands for change of the Syrian “Alawi” regime more urgent for the Sunnis, who are organized now more than ever thanks to always increasing petrodollars.

Iran constitutes a threat to the Gulf states and it would make sense for Saudi Arabia and Co. to help those wanting to dethrone al-Assad. The Sunnis of the other Arab States been helping the Sunnis of Syria all along.

Turkey in this equation want to play a bigger role to get closer to the Sunni agenda of their ruling party, which started chipping away from the secular leadership of the army.

There is no coexistence in the Shia/Sunni conflict. The bad blood is defeating any voice of reason.

August 14th, 2011, 10:14 am


Sheila said:

To Jasmine and Off the Wall,
Dear Off the Wall,
Your analysis is on the money and very accurate.
Dear Jasmine,
You analysis is flawed and shallow and your “historic facts” are unfortuanately anything but facts. Off the Wall is right about the Armenian massacre. It had nothing to do with Arabs, very small part of it happened on Syrian soil and had everything to do with Turkish politics (not religion).
Turkey has no love lost for the Arabs. They consider us traitors. Remember when we allied ourselves with France and England and put the final nail in the Ottoman Empire’s coffin?
I just want to remind you that politics have no religion. Every country is looking for its own interest and the interest of its people, of course, except countries like Syria, where politicians are looking for the most money they can make for themselves and the country can go to hell. Which is exactly where Syria is right now, hell.

August 14th, 2011, 10:27 am


Aboud said:

Napoleon once said “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake”


(that means you No Klue, your continued mental meltdown far exceeds my wildest dreams of the effect I thought I could have on the menhebaks LOL!)


“You described the uprising as peaceful(some doubt) ”

In last Friday’s demonstrations in Homs, not a single picture was torn down, nor a stone thrown. I have never, not once, seen any hint of MB influence on demonstrations or chants. You have to actually see the demonstrations close up before making such statements as “this revolution was being prepared by the MB since 1982”

August 14th, 2011, 10:28 am


mjabali said:

From what I have been hearing through conversations with people in Latakia that now it is almost 4 in the morning and gunshots still heard. The firing and explosions, according to witnesses, been going on since the morning. According to facebook pages of pro and anti Assad so far 20 demonstrators and 2 army reported dead.

August 14th, 2011, 10:39 am


Abu Umar said:

“122. Syria no kandahar said: ”

Yes, this is a Sunni uprising when your Alawi regime slaughters tens of thousands of Syrian Sunnis so it can stay in power. I know you and your fellow thugs expect the people to go to their graves like sheep, but that ain’t happening. And why are you ranting about “boiled soldiers” when your regime has done all sorts of terrible things including raping male prisoners with rubber hoses?!

August 14th, 2011, 10:44 am


Sheila said:

I was very amused at your statement:”Syria 2010 was better than most Arab countries”. Yes, it was better than Somalia, mauritania and maybe Yemen. I can not believe you actually believe this statement. Syria has been going down steadily in every aspect: education, law, agriculture, industry, commerce, ethics, organization …etc. however, I should admit that the number of restaurants and cafes is probably one of the largest in the world.
Unfortunately and like all backwords nations, we immitate the west the best we can, so we try to look like Americans or Europeans by the way we dress, talk and socialize and we always miss the important stuff like education, morals and work ethics.
If you thik that Syria was in good shape before this uprising, I do not know if one can debate or reason with you at all.

August 14th, 2011, 10:56 am


Haytham Khoury said:

Dear Sheila:

Thank you for your sympathy with me. You always do that. However, what I wrote in (#80)reflects my nature. I express my mind with caring about the polls. Thank you again.

August 14th, 2011, 10:58 am



One Cell is Enough
You are not fighting extremists, you only claim they are, that makes you dellusional.

You have always talked about sunnies this and sunnies that, so even if you are an atheist, that makes you a SECTARIAN extremist

You have no clue what is my religion, and yet you brand me an MB, that makes you ignorant

You are vulgar, rash, and you resort to violent outburst, that makes you dangerous

You keep making the same mistakes over and over again, that makes you…….

I am not fighting you, I am fighting a plethora of mental diseases you suffer, along with your bad writing, that makes me a rat with knack for psychology who is obsessed with fine writing.

Long Live Psychology

August 14th, 2011, 11:02 am


Revlon said:

Armed Syrian security forces use ambulances as camouflage to attack unwary demonstrating civilians!
Damascus, Duma 12-Aug-2011
Friday of “We bow down to no one except God”

Friday of “The Regime is Wanted for Justice” is long overdue

August 14th, 2011, 11:11 am


Afram said:

أبو الطيب المتنبي قال about the bozos
و جاهل مده في جهله ضحكي, حتى أتته يد فراسة وفم. إذا رأيت نيوب الليث بارزة … أغاية
الدين الإسلامي أن تحفوا شواربكم, يا أمة ضحكت من جهلها الأمم

August 14th, 2011, 11:18 am


newfolder said:

more of Bashar’s reforms. 2 year old Ola Jablawi shot in the eye in Lattakia today

August 14th, 2011, 11:37 am


Syria no kandahar said:

In Damascus 2010 ther was half a million Saudi tourists .how many tourists did Somalia had?what was the crime rate in Syria?

August 14th, 2011, 12:00 pm


Syria no kandahar said:

Psychotic Hamster
Read Ubo Umer post to find out who is delusional.

August 14th, 2011, 12:03 pm


Norman said:

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The Kingdom seems more ready than ever to harness its not inconsiderable economic and political assets to tackle Iran’s regional ambitions.

Saudi Arabia: Redrawing the Map of Regional Alliances

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By INSS Yoel Guzansky Sunday, August 14, 2011
In contrast to the international and Arab response toward Qaddafi, the Arab states have hesitated to adopt an assertive stance against Asad. Yet five months and two thousand dead later, different voices are starting to emerge: first, the joint statement by the Gulf Cooperation Council, which called for Syria to stop “the lethal oppression of its citizens,” and later the Saudi King’s statement, unusual for its severity, which declared that what is happening in Syria “is unacceptable to Saudi Arabia, which demands an end to the killing machine.”

This statement testifies to Saudi Arabia’s positioning itself against the radical front led by Iran – after it previously did so in Bahrain – as it understands that the events in Syria have reached a critical level that may tip the balance against the Asad dynasty. This joins Saudi Arabia’s adoption of a more assertive stance since the start of the uprisings in the Arab world and its attempt to redraw the map of regional alliances in accordance with its interests.

King Abdullah, who until now watched the regional upheaval from a distance, is at present eager to see Asad fall, if only because this would make Iran lose its primary ally, undermine the radical axis, and give Saudi Arabia the chance to lead a Sunni camp that is larger and more consolidated than in the past, should the Sunnis, who are the majority, rise to power in Syria. Until now, Saudi Arabia has failed to extricate Syria from Iran’s embrace and create a cohesive anti-Iranian front comprising pro-Western Sunni states. The current protests in Syria give Saudi Arabia an extraordinary opportunity to realize this drive.

Although Saudi Arabia borders on some of the most extreme areas of conflict in the Middle East, it has to date preferred to neutralize these risks to its national security by avoiding overt use of military means and leadership-based activity. Diplomacy and cold cash were its preferred methods. Since the beginning of the Arab spring, the aging Saudi elite has started to understand that within a few years, it may find itself in very different political surroundings in which on the one hand vassals slowly become citizens with equal rights, and on the other, sectarian confrontations and instability grow. In its view, the Kingdom’s traditional means to shape its strategic environment no longer suffice, and thus it must shed its relative passivity in order to overcome national security threats and even, if necessary, attempt to lead the Arab region.

In this context, Saudi Arabia is doing its utmost to prevent Egypt from forging closer ties with Iran. The concern in Riyadh is that the “new” Egyptian leadership will lean more towards Iran, in part to placate the masses inclined this way. In the months following Mubarak’s fall, voices in Cairo were calling for renewed diplomatic ties with Tehran. Senior Iranian officials warmly greeted the calls in Cairo for a clean slate in relations and went so far as to say that Egyptian resistance to Israel and “the adoption of the model of the Islamic Revolution” would create a common denominator between Egypt and Iran. In addition to assistance to the tune of $4 billion designed to help the Egyptian economy “float above water,” Riyadh also dusted off ideas on a series of joint ventures to strengthen bilateral ties, including an old proposal to construct a bridge over the Straits of Tiran to connect the two nations.

While it attempts to close ranks in the Gulf states, Saudi Arabia is also trying to bring Jordan (and maybe Morocco) into a bloc of monarchies in order to prevent reforms and perhaps, as Morocco’s Kings has started to do, establish the separation of powers and edge towards constitutional monarchies. Riyadh, seeking to inoculate the monarchies against possible dangers to their stability, is expected shortly to lead negotiations with Jordan in order to include the latter in some manner or another in the exclusive Gulf Cooperation Council club, despite the reservations of some member nations. Saudi Arabia has also given Jordan $1.5 billion.

It is unclear to what extent Saudi Arabia’s declarative assertiveness vis-à-vis Syria is backed by substantial support of the Syrian protest movement (Riyadh has for some time supported the Syrian opposition), but it certainly serves as an Arab and Islamic seal of approval for steps that have not yet been taken. Yet despite the positive contribution to consolidating an anti-Iranian camp, Abdullah’s efforts are liable to decrease his freedom to maneuver, both at home and abroad. He will find it hard to rebuild his relations with Syria should Asad and his cronies stay in power. Is the king hoping to deflect criticism aimed at him? Perhaps. However, should the protest come knocking at his door, he will be hard pressed to explain why he hasn’t implemented his own recommendations. Asad’s possible fall is liable to be another domino in a process that ultimately leads to the Kingdom itself.

In order to back up his declarations (called “historic” by the Saudi press), the King recalled his ambassador for consultations, a move that may give legitimacy to other states to intensify the pressure on Syria. Indeed, a day after King Abdullah’s speech, Bahrain and Kuwait – the two Gulf states closest to Saudi Arabia – announced they too were recalling their ambassadors from Damascus to protest the violent suppression of the demonstrations (thus joining Qatar, which had done so previously). The King’s speech has already generated a number of government-sponsored demonstrations in the Gulf against the Syrian regime and harsher critiques of Syria in the Sunni Arab world. Abdullah may also be paving the path for a change in America’s hesitant policy and give President Obama an opportunity to toughen the tone about the continuing massacres.

What prompted King Abdullah’s response at this time? The assertive position vis-à-vis Syria has to do with the King’s anger at the continuing killing of Sunnis during the sensitive period of Ramadan, especially among tribes close to the Kingdom, and possibly also his frustration at having failed to promote a behind-the-scenes deal with Asad to restore calm.

Saudi Arabia’s firm stance on Asad may be understood as an admission of its inability to affect the direction of events, in Lebanon as well as Syria, or as recognition that the balance is now, more than in the past, tilting in favor of the Syrian protesters. According to this rationale, Saudi Arabia sat on the sidelines until now in order to see which way the internal Syrian pendulum would swing. Abdullah was also slow to act because his concern of an Iranian reaction and uncertainty about America’s policy on Asad, but he changed his position because of the emerging ethnic nature of the protest. King Abdullah is hoping that this step will distance him from Asad, understanding that the Alawi minority regime (a heretical minority, because of its leanings to the Shi’a) has been significantly weakened and may even collapse, and that Saudi Arabia must prepare itself for such an eventuality.

This is a dramatic step, certainly for King Abdullah who is usually quite restrained, and has the potential to generate a new direction for Saudi Arabia in the Arab and Islamic world. It is not distress about human rights violations that is at the center of the King’s concerns; therefore, there is no contradiction between his support for the Syrian protests and the help he extended to suppress the protests in Bahrain. Rather, considerations of balance of power and ethnic rivalries are intertwined in Saudi “activism”: an attempt to stop Iran and consolidate a Sunni front as a counter-force to Iranian influence. The fall of Asad would be the best outcome for Abdullah, second only to the fall of the Islamic republic itself, even if he understands, as Tarqi al-Faisal said, that “Asad will fight till the last Syrian standing.” Either way, the Kingdom seems more ready than ever to harness its not inconsiderable economic and political assets to tackle Iran’s regional ambitions.

INSS : Yoel Guzansky Bio

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Institute for National Securities Studies, INSS is an independent academic institute.

The Institute is non-partisan, independent, and autonomous in its fields of research and expressed opinions. As an external institute of Tel Aviv University, it maintains a strong association with the academic environment. In addition, it has a strong association with the political and military establishment.

August 14th, 2011, 12:11 pm


Revlon said:

More than 20 Martyrs have fallen victims to Jr and his forces today in Latakia.
August 14

Friday of “The Regime is Wanted for Justice”is long overdue!

AlFati7a upon their souls.
May God bless their families with solace and empower them with patience.

The Syrian Revolution 2011 الثورة السورية ضد بشار الاسد
تحديث قائمة الشهداء الأبرار في اللاذقية الأبية ::
فراس محمد جمعة رفاعي 33 سنة إصابة بليغة في الرأس 1
2.محمد خالد زمو
3. تيسير الصعبي فلسطيني
4. محمد جمال بعجر 28 إصابة بالرأس
5. ماهر رحماني الملقب بالعجور 35 سنة إصابة بالرأس
6. نزار عبيد عبدالله
7. خالد عبيد عبد الله
8. اسماعيل زيتونة 32 سنة
9. هشام شماط
10. ماهر حسيب عمرو
11. مروان حلبي
12. فادي الشعار
13. محمد حماش
14. رامي عبيدي
15. فادي حلبي
16. يوسف راغب جود
17. نوار عبيد
18. محمد زمو
19. علي شبيب
20. مصطفى خلف
اللهم ارحم شهدائنا واسكنهم فسيح جنانك
اللهم الهم اهلهم الصبر والسلوان .. الله أكبر

4 hours ago

August 14th, 2011, 12:17 pm



NO Title, really no Title
And how many people agree with Abu Umar’s sectarianism or have carried any of his sectarian argument beyond ignoring them or objecting to them.

The only difference between you and Abu Umar is that your brand of Sectarian hate appears to have more “friends” on Syria comment. His has little or no support both here on Syria Comment and in real Syria including among the protesters.

August 14th, 2011, 12:24 pm


Syria no kandahar said:

Hossam Humphhh was running after Hassounhumph from one branch to the other,she did not want him.He was able to corner her at the bottom branch.He did what he wanted,and Hassounhumph fell on the floor on her stomach,she knew from that moment that her baby will have a mental problem.She went to Dr
Tahsseenhumph to have an abortion,but he was an MBhumph and refused to do it.She was stuck with a Hamster with head injury,caused by his dad Hossamhuph.since then the Humphs have been hating every one.The baby hamster since that fall has only seven brain cells and he can only write three posts,but he never makes any since.after three posts he enters energy saving mode and he can’t use any of his cells.

August 14th, 2011, 12:24 pm


SQI said:


it is the way you and your virtual friends try to keep up their morale which is pathetic.

but sooner or later you will smell the coffee and wake up to reality.

August 14th, 2011, 12:30 pm


SQI said:


it is the way you and your virtual friends try to keep up their morale which is pathetic.

August 14th, 2011, 12:39 pm


Revlon said:

A List of Regime forces personnel implicated in murdering civilians in Kisweh, Damascus.

Ugarit News | أوغاريت الإخبارية
بيان من مصدر موثوق ومؤكد من بعض الضباط الشرفاء العلويين :
قائمة بأسماء الضباط الذين قاموا بقتل مواطنين مدنيين في مدينة الكسوة
1- (الرائد بشار حبيب //شؤون إدارية (يهودي
2- العميد الركن علي إسماعيل //ضابط أمن الفرقة الأولى
3- العميد الركن محمد ديب // قيادة اللواء 91/ د الفرقة الأولى
4- العقيد أديب مهنا //ضابط عمليات
5- الملازم ربيع احمد// مساكن البناية الفرقة الأولى
6- المقدم كمال إبراهيم //الفرقة الأولى مدرعات رئيس أركان كتيبة
7- المساعد سليمان سليمان //الفرقة الأولى
8- الرائد ماهر شحادة // الفرقة الأولى
9- العريف المتطوع رفعت محمود //القيادة الفرقة الأولى
10- الرائد تمام محمود الناع // اللواء 90 الفرقة الأولى
11- العقيد يوسف سليمان // قائد كتيبة دبابات الفرقة الأولى
12- ماهر جابر يهودي + احمد جابر مرافق وزير الدفاع
13- باسم زهور // متطوع فرع فلسطين
14- العقيد سلمان سلمان اختصاص إشارة يهودي الفرقة الأولى (دريكيش طرطوس )
15- مالك عطية سائق ضابط مسؤول
16- العقيد يائل سالم
17- المساعدان من المفرزة أبو خضر (علي داوود ) + أبو كنان
18- المقدم منيف منصور
نحذرهم وننبهم بأن كل الجرائم التي يقومون بها معرفة بالنسبة لنا وموثقة بالشهود ومن اقرب الناس إليهم
وهم لا يعلمون بأنهم معرفين لنا مع أماكن سكنهم وأنواع وأرقام سياراتهم وحتى هواتفهم وبان هذا النظام زائل
لا محالة بإذن الله وبأن الوطن باقي ويتسع للجميع ولكنه لا يتسع للمجرمين والقتلة

لجنة تنسيقية الكسوة
قتلة الشرفاء العزل في مدينة الكسوة ريف دمشق

about an hour ago

August 14th, 2011, 12:52 pm


Aboud said:

Somalia? The best you menhebaks can come up with is comparing Syria with Somalia?

Besho, desperation be thy name.

August 14th, 2011, 12:59 pm


Syria no kandahar said:

مجلط بشار وقاتل علي حبيب
Revlon killing fan
Make sure that الرمل الجنوبي terrorist go through an X ray machine befor you put them in heaven,they are all armed.
Alkasswa hit list is similar to the list you made for معرة النعمانand you killed sameer qantar SNP leader .god bless your efforts and reward you with virgins and viagras.
Also when you finish your arbitrary it is always nice to say:
شهدائنا في الجنه وقتلاهم في النار
So for example god will respond to you and put Nidal Janood killers in heaven,and of course being an Alawi he will put him in hell.
The last time I saw a picture of Bashar while he was with Dawodoglu I think he has Diabetes,can you ask your dr friend what he thinks.

August 14th, 2011, 1:12 pm



Revlon @ 143

I urge you to please re-consider your posting policy. While I am all for publishing the names of the victims of regime’s atrocities in order to recognize their humanity, publishing names of suspected murderers at this stage benefits no one other than vengeful people. At this stage, the most appropriate thing to do is to document both the accused and the name of their accusers, along with as many details regarding the circumstances of each incident. These names should be retained for fair and legitimate trials later and publishing them this way, even if they were published somewhere else will only encourage vengeful incidents and will not deter true culprits from continuing to participate in such atrocities.

Publishing a list of commercial entities, when their financial support is proven is a different issue. Companies that have been working with the regime and/or owned by regime members are well known, and boycotting them hurts the regime’s ability to sustain its campaign of terror. Even then, it is much better to let a guilty escape than to result in destroying the life or the livelihood of an innocent person.

Off course, many may disagree with my position, but I must declare it as it is.

August 14th, 2011, 1:14 pm


some guy in damascus said:

@syria no kandahar
Let’s open a new page, please give me a synopsis of your evaluation on what’s going on in syria? The shouting matches between pro and anti are going nowhere. I ask everyone to exercise restraint. Pure logic can be found with a civil discussion

August 14th, 2011, 1:19 pm


uzair8 said:

Shaykh Yaqoubi of Damascus was on Al Jazeera English a few hours ago. When the video is available I shall post it here.

Btw. The Shaykh will be leading the funeral prayer of the 3 muslims murdered in the UK riots on Thursday in Birmingham UK.

August 14th, 2011, 1:20 pm


Abughassan said:

Mr Dahi’s response was helpful at least to confirm that alaasi river was not dry and that not all public buildings were destroyed. This implies that the video of throwing bodies in alaasi may actually be believable and that there was destruction in Hama done by Hamwis,correct me if I was wrong.
Revoln published a second assassination list,the people he listed are already considered guilty by his standards and street justice is therefore being encouraged instead of allowing the rule of law to determine guilt and punishment when this mess is over.
The regime wants to stay in power and provide reform in small doses and on a controlled speed,I do not think that is going to work,Bashar must resign and a roadmap should be put on the table that ensures an organized peaceful transition of power.
Some suggested that they will accept another alawi as president but that is not what most Syrians want,and even as a secular,I support handing power to a moderate Sunni in the spirit of reconciliation and healing.
I am trying to verify whether reports of shelling alraml alfilastini from the sea are accurate or not,I stopped believing aljazeera a long time ago,the same can be said about government media.
A final note,it looks like Haitham Manna’ is not loved by the opposition any longer,do you guys know why? I am worried that educated and moderate opposition figures are increasingly becoming irrelevant,and that can not be good for the future.

August 14th, 2011, 1:28 pm



I know you are enjoying it, but it is painful to watch the mental melt. The kid is losing it…

Please have mercy.

August 14th, 2011, 1:30 pm


Haytham Khoury said:

In order to understand the nature of this uprising/revolution (you choose the term you want), we should go to the facts of the initial events.

– The expatriates when they saw the success of the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions, they thought it is time for the Syrian revolution. Some of the youth went in February to Syria installed and distributed some telecommunication equipments and set up the Facebook page of the Syrian revolution. They tried to ignite the uprising in February, but that was not effective. (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/28/world/middleeast/28syria.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2)

– In March, two girls in Dra’a were talking on the phone. One said to other: “Have you heard that Mubarak has abdicated”. The other answered: “I hope that will happen shortly in Syria”. Indeed, the secret service agents were listening to the phone call. They brought the two girls to the secret service station. They slapped them and cut the hair of one of them. The next day, kids (10-13 years old) relative to these girls wrote graffiti on the wall saying “It is your turn now, doctor”. The kids were taken the secret service station. Their parents went to look for them. They were shot at and four were killed. When the kids were released signs of torture were apparent, including their fingers that had their nails pulled out. This how the Dara’a events started. (http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/n.php?n=the-revenge-of-10-children-with-nails-taken-out-2011-04-27 ) (http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/04/us-syria-events-idUSTRE74357220110504)

– The expatriate youth picked up on the Dara’a events and started to organize the Fridays by giving names to them. With the extension of the uprising to the Banias and other western towns, youth from inside the country started to be involved and the revolution reached the point that it is now.

Let us analyze who contributed to the start of this unrest:

– The people of Dara’a who started the revolution were low-middle class people who suffered the most by failed economic and the repressive security policies of the regime and they could not take it anymore.

– The Sunni low middle class people of the Banias and other Western towns who suffered from the sectarian policies of the regime.

The expatriate youth who are other either followed by regime just for claiming their civil rights (Rami Nakhle), tortured on the hands (Oussama Monajed) of the regime or sons of forced exiled (Fidaa al-Said). Of note, these people have been being trained on how to conduct peaceful uprising for many years and are financed by the business class mentioned below.
http://www.alwatanonline.com/local_news.php?id=6302 http://newsblaze.com/story/20080809111904tsop.nb/topstory.html

– Very wealthy businessmen who felt that the informal deal that they had with Hafez Assad (security and business freedom in exchange for allegiances) was broken with Rami Makhlouf’s monopoly over the important business activities in Syria. These wealthy businessmen include, but not restrictive to, the Sankar family, the Quorabi family and Ghassan aboud (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/30/syrian-businessmen-back-opposition-conference?CMP=twt_fd).

– Human right activist who have been working on reporting the human right violations of the regime for many years. Thus, they learned how to speak to the media and they appear on frequently to denounce the regime (Radwan Ziadeh, Ammar Quorabi, Oubedah Nahass and others (http://ou.academia.edu/JoshuaLandis/Papers/290482/The_Syrian_Opposition ). Those have been mainly financed and encouraged by the Businessmen class mentioned-above. They motivation are real civil right claims or serving the businessmen financing them.

Now the people involved are so much varied and include many people with different motivations:
– Intellectuals and politicians who have suffered on the hand of the regime (Riad al-Turk, Riad Seif, George Sabra, Faiz Sarha and a lot others).
– Intellectual and high professionals who think the country is better off the regime.
– Youth who think that they want better life than the regime can afford.
– Low-middle class people who are motivated by sectarian and social injustice.

Certainly, the picture now is more varied and complex.

I believe this is a real revolution that has deep grass-root origin. In my opinion, it is evolution is somewhat similar to the Iranian revolution (1977-1979) (http://haytham-khoury2.blogspot.com/2011/07/scenario-of-syrian-revolution_23.html). However, there are many people who are counting on it to profit politically or economically without any care to the people’s interest. The question how to finish to its good end (real democracy) is hard to answer.

August 14th, 2011, 1:34 pm


Jad said:

Dearest OTW,
Please stay classy.
You told me to stick to my fine wine and I ask you the same, you are making the worst comments when you use personal attacks in the same level of SC new kids.
You lashed out at SNK because he pointed out the outrageous comment-call of Aboud about ‘boiling soldiers’ yet you came too short of condemning such ugly comment by Aboud, how can you with all the sophisticated talents you have not to direct your attack to the origin of such criminal call and concentrate on the person who pointed out?

Dear SNK,
You did nothing wrong in standing against those who are calling for more killing. Keep writing!

August 14th, 2011, 2:00 pm


N.Z. said:

If you read a headline like this in a newspaper:

Shelling The City Of Lattakia.

You will have never guessed by whom! Unless you are a 1982 survivor/witness of the first Hama Massacre. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me!

Only a real enemy will do what this clique is doing. Only fools will believe their propaganda. Only sadists will excuse their savage behaviour.

A miracle to bring an end their hegemony is what we plea.

August 14th, 2011, 2:00 pm


Sheila said:

To #137. Syria no kandahar,
The typical shallow analysis of third world countries. Both your questions, or for that matter observations, are connected. The reason why Syria has a low crime rate is because Syria is a police state. People can not speak their minds not even over the phone. Everything you say or do is under direct surveillance and supervision. The presence of Mukhabarat everywhere is another reason. there are people writing reports “takarir” against their friends and family every single day across Syria and even abroad. If I were you, I would not be very boastful about this kind of fake “stability”.
To go to your other point about the presence of Saudis in Damascus as tourists, I would like to ask you if you know how many tourists go to Thailand every year to take advantage of prostitution? You are again comparing apples to oranges. Saudis go to Syria for vacation because it is near by, cheap, of better climate, “stable” and has lots of restaurants and cafes. I would like you to answer this question: how many Saudis study in Syrian universities?. Having tourists in your country does not make your country advanced or one of the best Arab countries. Sorry to disappoint you.

August 14th, 2011, 2:16 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:

How can you explain the loyalty of the Syrian army? There were sporadic defections, but by and large, the army remains loyal. It’s almost half a year since this began. I find it hard to believe that the soldiers and officers believe the “armed terrorists” BS. Yet it’s the soldiers and officers in the lower ranks who execute the orders and kill and terrorize their brothers and sisters. The army is not only Alawi. How can you explain this phenomenon?

August 14th, 2011, 2:18 pm


Revlon said:

Dear Amir,
Here is my personal understanding, based on defecting soldiers’ accounts and own first hand experience with the Syrian system.

The top commanding officers take their command from Jr himself.
They are under 24/7 surveilance by top military security officers.
Their orders to lower ranks have to be approved by embedded military security commanders.
These top rank posts are largely reserved for Asad/Makhloof family and a few closely related 3alawi families.
Both of the military and security branches report separately to Jr.

Lower ranking officers and soldiers are predominently sunnis. Elements that play role in their allegiance or defection are as follows:
– Many have no access to radio or TV stations, and thus are blinded to the non-regime side of the story.
– The disillusioned ones have to consider consequences before they attempt defection:
First, they are closely monitored by the military security forces. They risk being discovered and shot on the spot.
Second, they may not have any other source of income and need to support their families.
Third, even if they can afford financially, they risk exposing their parents and families to the wrath of Jr’s Mukhabarat.
Tribal members, or those stationed and live in border towns are more likely to defect because they can guarantee refuge in the vast Syrian desert or in neighbouring countries.

August 14th, 2011, 2:47 pm


Abughassan said:

Can anybody comment on two pieces of financial news?
1. US$ exchange rate down to 47 sp
2. Revenue from syriatel and mtn for first half of 2011 is around $ 950 million

August 14th, 2011, 2:49 pm


Revlon said:

159 Dear Abughassan,
1. If this figure represents the official Exchange rate then it is irrelevant.
2. MTN and Syriatel are unreliable sources for their own financial status.

August 14th, 2011, 3:00 pm


syria no kandahar said:

low crime rate is never bad,regardless of what you think the reason for it is,and high crimre rate is never good no matter wher you live.So your analysis and attributing the low crime rate to the strong regime is useless.
Syria was ,is and will never be a perfect country.The reason being not only the regime,it is US.when you go to a goverment office it is not only the officer who is beig bribed,it is us who are bribing him.When i say that Syria last year was better than most of arab countries,I mean :
-low cost of living
-low crime rate
-Harmony and national unity between all syrians
-Economy was better than many other countries,and influence of global economical crisis was low
-9 million tourists(you think they all came for prostitution)
This is a foundation which you can build on and you dont have to destroy.Corruption,Abaath control,Security forces…all these can be modified through national dialogue.Every one knows that things will never be the same and the regime and political system has to undergoe a major shake up,the difference in opinions between people like me and you is that i am against destruction of the country while you do that.

August 14th, 2011, 3:02 pm


Abughassan said:

With the whole respect,revlon,I was asking people with better understanding of the economy to comment on the news.

August 14th, 2011, 3:04 pm


Revlon said:

162 Dear Abughassan, thank you for your respectful remark.
I obliged because you asked “anybody”!
I hereby withdraw my answer!

August 14th, 2011, 3:09 pm


Abughassan said:

US amb to Egypt confirmed that our government (US) gave $ 40 million to support democracy in Egypt. This figure does not of course include money given secretly and is classified,it also does not include money given by other foreign governments.
Any comments?

August 14th, 2011, 3:09 pm


Abughassan said:

Revoln,I just want an economist,not you or me,to enlighten us about the Syrian economy.

August 14th, 2011, 3:15 pm


Khalid Tlass said:

Low crime rate ? LOL. Saudi Arabia has an even lower crime rate than Syria. They chop off the hands of thieves and robbers, and the punishment for murder is qisas or proportional retaliation. Either that, or you pay the blood money. For other crimes, its beheading.

August 14th, 2011, 3:20 pm


Aboud said:

“-low cost of living”

Goes hand in hand with the ultra low wages. Syria with its 23 million people has less disposable income than Jordan and Lebanon with their populations less than half of that.

“-low crime rate”

Says who? Statistics from your usually-honest-and-reliable police force? If a car gets stolen, you have to bribe the police to find it. If your house gets burgled, half the time the crooks pay off the police.

As a force to investigate crimes, the police force in Syria are useless and corrupt. But I guess a traffic police man taking a bribe doesn’t count as crime in Baathist thinking.

“-Harmony and national unity between all syrians”

Bullshit. Just look at the disgraceful way the people of Baida were treated by the thugs from the Alawite villages around it. I hope to personally boil those turds in their own skins at the soonest possible chance.

“Economy was better than many other countries,and influence of global economical crisis was low”

Again you make absurd statements that you have absolutely no basis or proof for. Syria is for the most part cut off from the global economy. You cannot even get a credit card in Syria. The restrictions on foreign currency and transfer of money outside the country is Stalinist.

“-9 million tourists(you think they all came for prostitution)”

Nine million? What the bloody hell is nine million tourists, in a country with as many landmarks as Syria? Egypt has a few pyramids, and it gets 14 million. What does Morocco have? Why does it get 9.3 million? Turkey got 27 million. Heck, even Saudi Arabia got 10.8 million, and all it has is the Kaba. When will you Baathists stop comparing Syria with Somalia, or is that the standard you people set X-Box junior?

“Corruption,Abaath control,Security forces…all these can be modified through national dialogue”

Your pathetic president had 11 years to change these things. He failed, utterly. Now it’s time for a new system. After the thugs who robbed and murdered Syrians for decades have been boiled to a crisp.

“i am against destruction of the country while you do that.”

Then come back and stand shoulder to shoulder with the shabiha if you got the guts to back up the cheque your mouth is writing LOL!

August 14th, 2011, 3:27 pm


some guy in damascus said:

Who said the crime rate was low?
Syria lacks the resources to come up with this kind of information. You can’t trust government figures, they’re manipulated for political reasons.
@abu ghassan
The dollar at the black market currently stands at 51.5 sp , my dealer expects it to hit 60, hope I helped

August 14th, 2011, 3:29 pm


Aboud said:

Spam catcher is acting up again.

For the most part, people in Syria usually do not report crimes. The police are seen as utterly useless in finding criminals, and even to get them to move their butts, you need to pay them a bribe.

Baathist Nevada; low crime rates by the expediency of not reporting any in the first place LOL!

August 14th, 2011, 3:31 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Dear Revlon,

Thank you for your comprehensive and in depth answer. This explains Omar Dahi’s account from Hama. That the Hamwis do not blame the low ranking soldiers. At first I thought that Mr Dahi is (patriotically) exaggerating.

It’s sad that the Assads use the assets and powers that they stole from the Syrian people, against the people. This is a typical ‘divide and rule’ strategy.

And lastly, dear Revlon, I wanted to compliment you. You’re always kind and humble. Always respectful and well-mannered. Never rude or negative. I like you a lot. Cheers.

August 14th, 2011, 3:44 pm


Tara said:

Canada expands sanctions on Syria


Canada said Saturday it had expanded sanctions on Syria, including blacklisting a commercial bank and a mobile phone provider, to protest the government’s brutal crackdown on protests.
The new sanctions include travel bans on four officials, including Mohammed Mufleh, head of military security in the flashpoint city of Hama, and Mohammed Makhlouf, an uncle of President Bashar al-Assad.
Canada will also freeze the assets of the state-run Commercial Bank of Syria, the country’s largest commercial bank, and Syriatel, its largest mobile phone company.
The United States imposed sanctions on the two firms earlier in the week, and has joined European allies in sanctioning top officials close to Assad.
“Canada reiterates its strong condemnation of the ongoing violent military assault by the Assad regime against the Syrian people,” Foreign Minister John Baird said in a statement.
“The Assad regime has lost all legitimacy by killing Syrian men, women and children to stay in power. This campaign of terror must stop.”
Canada has faced calls from activists for it to sanction Syria’s oil and gas industry, a key source of revenues for Damascus.
Canadian energy firm Suncor, which halted operations in Libya following the uprising against Moamer Kadhafi, has continued operations in Syria, where it is producing oil and gas in partnership with a state-owned firm.

August 14th, 2011, 4:09 pm


Akbar Palace said:

The AP (opposition) is reporting a couple dozen dead terrorists after Syria bombards Latakia from Navy ships off the coast.



How are the protests doing in Israel? Are you participating? What has the Israeli gov’t promised, and what do you think the gov’t still needs to do?



August 14th, 2011, 4:12 pm


Aboud said:

“How can you explain the loyalty of the Syrian army”

Amir, if slaves in the South had it so bad, how come so few of them ran away?

*Wanting* to do something, and having the means to do so are two entirely different things. In areas where there were was a network and organization to smuggle run away slaves and help them, there were many, many more cases of such things.

Three months ago, the typical Syrian soldier wouldn’t have needed to even contemplate deserting. Libya is a different scenario because senior ranking officers (loyal to their tribe before the state) would desert with entire brigades (and yet precious few of them appear to have taken part in the fight against Gadafi).

It usually takes resistance movements a year to get off the ground. Syrians have come very far in a very short amount of time. I personally can vouch for numerous, numerous cases of desertions here in Homs (not going to give numbers, but the ones you hear about on Youtube are a fraction of the total number of actual desertions).

Three months ago, Landis was outright denying the existence of defectors. Two months ago, the Baathists were consoling themselves that the defectors weren’t high ranking. This month, we have seen colonels and majors take the plunge. Considering the fact that defectors will be shot on the spot if caught, it takes a massive amount of courage for them to do what they did.

The ordinary Syrian soldier, until a few months ago, expected to spend his military service displaying zero initiative, and just to be a cog in a machine. Now, they are being called upon to take momentous decisions very fast. It is not unnatural for the magnitude of such decisions to take its time to sink in. Deserting is not something to be done in a whim.

August 14th, 2011, 4:20 pm


norman said:


Is it possible that these soldiers really know what is going on on the ground and therefore supporting the government.


August 14th, 2011, 4:30 pm


Khalid Tlass said:

Aboud, what do you think Walid Jumblatt’s next move will be ? have you heard any news about him ? Who do you think he will support ? ( opportunist that he is )

August 14th, 2011, 4:44 pm


Aboud said:

Khaled, do you mean this?



He is the region’s weather vane, always has been. If he is openly turning against the regime, then behind the scenes not many people think junior will last very long.

August 14th, 2011, 4:53 pm


mjabali said:

Syria is a tourist gem that was getting more attention by the day. This is a fact.

8.5 million tourists visited Syria in 2011


Tourism generated billions of dollars to Syrian economy in 2010


Another estimate puts tourism up %55


August 14th, 2011, 4:59 pm


SQI said:

Samir Qanatri

كان الجميع في ذهول وحزن، لكن الصدمة اكبر عند الذين يعرفون سمير قناطري وشخصيته المميزة، ورقيه وأخلاقه الرفيعة، والذين تعاملوا معه عن قرب، هم يعرفون قيمة وجوده وعلمه وعمله وحيويته، ويعرفون كم أن الخسارة كبيرة على الحزب القومي وعلى الوطن كله.

الأمين الشهيد، تسلم المسؤولية في إدلب قبل سنوات قليلة، وفي فترة وجيزة جعل الحزب ينتشر ويتوسع في المدن والقرى، نظم القوميين وأطلق ورشة عمل لنشر العقيدة، فأقبل على الحزب مئات المواطنين السوريين، واقسموا يمين الانتماء والعمل لخير سورية وتقدمها ووحدة أرضها وشعبها، ولرفع مستوى الحياة لأبنائها جميعاً، ولصمودها في وجه الطامعين بها وبثرواتها في وجه أعدائها، ومع نشاطه الحزبي في إدلب كان له حضور فاعل في كل سورية، على الصعيد السياسي والنقابي، فهو دكتور صيدلي وأصبح نائباً لنقيب الصيادلة، وهو فاعل في الجبهة الوطنية التقدمية، وعندما اندلعت الاضطرابات في سورية تصدى لأعمال التخريب، وسعى جاهداً لتجنيب منطقته المخاطر، وتلقى تهديدات بالقتل، لكنه لم يهرب ولم يختبئ، إلى أن تمكن المجرمون منه وقتلوه.

خسرناه، والخسارة كبيرة، وخسرته عائلته وعائلات عديدة كان عوناً لها في الظروف الصعبة، خسرته الإنسانية، وسورية خسرت به الأخلاق والعطاء والكرم والعلم.

انه شهيد بكل معنى الشهادة، شهيد معركة وجود سورية وسلامتها وبقاء الحرية والنور والفكر المنفتح في وجه الظلام والتخلف والتكفير. وهو بشهادته هذه ينضم إلى ألوف الشهداء السوريين الذين سقطوا وما زالوا يسقطون كل يوم في معركة التصدي لمخطط تدمير سورية.

ان حزننا عليه كبير جداً، لكن افتخارنا واعتزازنا به كبير أيضاً، وسنشعر مع مرور الوقت بمقدار الفراغ الذي يتركه غيابه، لكننا في الحزب السوري القومي الاجتماعي نعرف كيف نحمل جراحنا وآلامنا لكي نضمد جراح أمتنا ونخفف الآلام عن شعبنا ونكمل المسيرة ونستمر في الصراع.

يرحمك الله يا رفيقي والبقاء للأمة.

الأمين كمال نادر

وكيل عميد الإذاعة والاعلام لشؤون الشام

August 14th, 2011, 5:04 pm


Tara said:


Hi. I agree with your post. No Arab country respects the sanctity of an Arab life. We are all worth 13 cents each, the price of a bullet.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and why interested in Syria. Thx.

August 14th, 2011, 5:19 pm


Aboud said:

Mjabli, the number of tourists to Syria was 8.5 million in 2010, not 2011.

Also, didn’t Ehsani post an article saying that Syria’s number of hotel rooms is much less than Lebanon’s? And yet Syria was supposed to have gotten over twice the number of tourists Lebanon did? The same number of tourists South Africa got during the 2010 World Cup? Where did all those tourists stay?

I think someone has screwed up the definition of “tourist”. Lebanese doing their once a month shopping in Damascus aren’t, strictly speaking, tourists. People in transit to Turkey or Lebanon can’t count as tourists. Syrians back on their annual leave from the Gulf? Not tourists.

August 14th, 2011, 5:32 pm


Abu Umar said:

” 138. Syria no kandahar said:

Psychotic Hamster
Read Ubo Umer post to find out who is delusional.”

Keep drinking your Kool-aid. When you slaughter tens of thousands of people, then we will be psychotic and you and your ilk are delusional if you think that the people will go to their graves smiling. Israel tried that many times and it didn’t work. Time and demographics aren’t on your side. You’ll be moving to Iran real soon.


NO Title, really no Title
And how many people agree with Abu Umar’s sectarianism or have carried any of his sectarian argument beyond ignoring them or objecting to them.

The only difference between you and Abu Umar is that your brand of Sectarian hate appears to have more “friends” on Syria comment. His has little or no support both here on Syria Comment and in real Syria including among the protesters.”

At least I admit my sectarianism and I guarantee you many Syrian Sunnis feel the same way I do. It is beyond a shadow of a doubt that the majority of Syrian Alawis will support the Asad regime, no matter what it does and that many of them are implicated in it’s oppression. The Syrian opposition tried “silmiyyah” for months and it didn’t work, and new approaches have to be considered like the armed intervention of the tribes of Iraq and Jordan.

August 14th, 2011, 5:43 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:


The protest movement is doing great, and sure, I’m in. Opinion polls show that 87% of Israelis support the protest, and it’s objectives (affordable housing, lowering the cost of living). A poll from today (channel 10) shows that Bibi’s approval rating dropped from 51% two months ago, to 29% – lowest ever. Israeli leaders read opinion polls mindfully.


OK, This is all very new to me. In Israel, deserters will go to a military prison for, say, 30 days. But no one will shoot them to death. And you’re right. It all happens very fast. And a decision to desert has a huge cost.


I don’t think so. I prefer Revlon’s claim, that Syrian soldiers don’t have access to YouTube and AJ, and don’t fully know what’s really going on.

August 14th, 2011, 5:44 pm


Abughassan said:

Thanks,guy in Damascus (can u come up with a shorter nick?)
Is 4 lira difference a sign of economic fatigue? At what level would you consider the diff to be ominous ? Any comments about syriatel and MTN?
Do u have a degree in economics,guy? Ehsani’s response will be appreciated.
Selective sanctions targeting regime figures is something but sanctions that will hurt average Syrians is something else even if the goal is toppling the regime.
Those who push for universal sanctions do not read history books.

August 14th, 2011, 5:52 pm


Tara said:

Mnhebaks are boring me to death. No concept to debate. Same old same old, MB, and armed gangs. No substance. No analysis. No outlook. No mental exchange. None of the supporters read any posted article or make any prediction. Nothing…just infinite emptiness….Most mnhebaks should be fired and replaced with new blood if any.

August 14th, 2011, 5:56 pm


SQI said:

… the same general said they planned to take out seven countries in five years: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran.

What do these seven countries have in common? In the context of banking, one that sticks out is that none of them is listed among the 56 member banks of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). That evidently puts them outside the long regulatory arm of the central bankers’ central bank in Switzerland.

In a 2002 article in Asia Times titled “The BIS vs National Banks,” Henry Liu maintained:

BIS regulations serve only the single purpose of strengthening the international private banking system, even at the peril of national economies. The BIS does to national banking systems what the IMF has done to national monetary regimes. National economies under financial globalization no longer serve national interests.

… FDI [foreign direct investment] denominated in foreign currencies, mostly dollars, has condemned many national economies into unbalanced development toward export, merely to make dollar-denominated interest payments to FDI, with little net benefit to the domestic economies.

He added, “Applying the State Theory of Money, any government can fund with its own currency all its domestic developmental needs to maintain full employment without inflation.” The “state theory of money” refers to money created by governments rather than private banks.

The presumption of the rule against borrowing from the government’s own central bank is that this will be inflationary, while borrowing existing money from foreign banks or the IMF will not. But all banks actually create the money they lend on their books, whether publicly owned or privately owned. Most new money today comes from bank loans. Borrowing it from the government’s own central bank has the advantage that the loan is effectively interest free. Eliminating interest has been shown to reduce the cost of public projects by an average of 50 percent.

full article here http://truthout.org/libya-all-about-oil-or-all-about-banking/1302678000

August 14th, 2011, 5:57 pm


Abughassan said:

Qantari’s death will be blamed on the regime because some of us have decided to only use one eye. One blogger have asked if I have a YouTube video documenting his murder!!

August 14th, 2011, 5:57 pm


Sheila said:

Dear Revlon,
As much as I agree with you position, I would like to declare that I am with Off the Wall on this one and completely disagree with the publishing of “guilty” names from the army and intelligence services.
Think about it for a second. You are in the middle of a demonstration. The army is in front of you, the Shabiha in the side street and some sharp shooters are perched on top of a few buildings around you. Somebody gets shot. How can you know for sure who did it? Plus, how do you know the names of the soldiers or officers for sure? You have to agree that this is very hard to verify. And, as OTW said, it is only a call for vengeance. Please remember that many of these poor soldiers have the gun aiming at their heads if they do not carry out orders. This has been confirmed by many parents who talked to their soldiers sons. Please do not condemn them twice. For the sake of our beloved Syria, please stop this practice.

August 14th, 2011, 6:00 pm


Aboud said:

Amir, I think the punishment in Israel for desertion in war time is probably stiffer than just 30 days. The regime considers itself at war with peaceful demonstrators.

August 14th, 2011, 6:00 pm


mjabali said:

the latest from Latakia first from a pro Assad source:

منتصف الليل بتوقيت اللاذقية الحبيبة

حتى الآن ما زال صوت الرصاص يسمع بشكل متقطع من ناحية حي السكنتوري, بينما تتركز الإشتباكات القوية على طريق الحرش حيث تنتقل من شارع لآخر بيين الحين والآخر, أما في داخل منطقة الرمل الجنوبي فبعد انقطاع خط التوتر الكهربائي الرئيسي عن المنطقة تتركز الإشتباكات العنيفة التي يسمع صداها في مناطق عديدة خلف مدرسة الأونروا وفي المنطقة المحيطة بها

وبانتظار أجواء أفضل لمتابعة حقيقة ما يحصل نتمنى من الجميع الإبتعاد عن أي إساءة لأي شخص أو شيء في هذه المدينة, ونشكر الجميع على لهفتهتم وتعاونهم دائما, ونتمنى الإعتماد على المعلومات الواردة في البوست فقط مع شكر المشتركين على كل ما يقدموه ونحاول التأكد منه أولا بأول

نتمنى من الجميع المساعدة في نقل أحوال المناطق .. والإبتعاد عن الإشاعات وتداولها قدر الإمكان

رمضان كريم .. والرحمة لشهداء سورية في كل مكان وزمان .. ولأهلهم الصبر والسلوان

اللهمَّ آمِنّا في أوطَانِنا وجَنِّبنا الفِتَنْ .. ما ظَهَرَ مِنْها ومَا بَطنْ

Then from the anti Assad source:

اللاذقية :: منطقتي القصور ومشروع الصليبة وكأنها ساحة حرب جراء الانفجارات المتتالية وإطلاق النار الكثيف

اللاذقية إحراق الجسر الذي يصل الرمل بالمدينة

عاجل : اللاذقية : سماع دوي عدة انفجارات مع رصاص متقطع في منطقة الصليبة

اللاذقية – العوينة إطلاق نار كثيف 14-

اللاذقية: تحذير لجميع المواطنين من القناصة الموجودين على سطح فندق البديع المطل على سوق الخضار و شارع عمر بن الخطاب و شارع القوتلي

اللاذقية: سيارات الأمن والشبيحة تجوب الشوارع في اللاذقية وتطلق النار بشكل عشوائي على المنازل

If we look at both sources we see that we can say :

August 14th, 2011, 6:01 pm


beaware said:

Syria denies pounding district in coastal Latakia with gunboats
2011-08-15 00:23:28
DAMASCUS, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) — Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) denied Sunday media reports that Syrian gunboats pounded the impoverished al-Ramel neighborhood in Latakia with heavy machine guns.

Law-enforcement members are hunting down armed men, who responded with machine guns, grenades and explosive devices in al- Ramel neighborhood, SANA said.

Those armed men are terrorizing people, sabotaging public and private properties and firing machine guns and explosive from rooftops, it said.

The agency quoted the head of the health department in Latakia as saying that hospitals in the city had received bodies of two law-enforcement members as well as other four of unidentified gunmen.

Residents of al-Ramel neighborhood had made distress calls for the authorities to put an end to the gunmen practices, said SANA.

Meanwhile, the Doha-based al-Jazeera TV cited activists and witnesses as saying that Syrian gunboats firing heavy machine guns pounded the al-Ramel neighborhood in Latakia, killing at least 21 people.

It is difficult to verify the activists’ accounts as journalists are banned from heading to restive areas.

The Syrian leadership has come under a crescendo of international condemnation over its alleged crackdown on opposition protesters as well as its military operations in restive cities.

The U.S. broadened its sanctions on the Syrian leadership on Wednesday, which affected the state-run Commercial Bank of Syria and its Lebanon-based subsidiary, the Syrian Lebanese Commercial Bank.

Sanctions were also imposed on Syria’s largest Mobile phone provider Syriatel because, according to David Cohen, the U.S. Treasury Department’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, it is controlled by “one of the regime’s most corrupt insiders.”

Meanwhile, U.S. President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron on Saturday called for an “immediate halt of all bloodshed and violence” against the protesters in Syria, the White House said.

The Syrian authorities have repeatedly brushed off the international pressures as “interference in the country’s affairs” and blamed the violent acts on armed thugs and ultraconservative Muslims who want to establish Islamic emirates nationwide.

The Syrian government pledged that there would be no letup in its crackdown on those gunmen to restore stability and security to the country.

August 14th, 2011, 6:01 pm


Khalid Tlass said:

Interesting, Aboud. But I think the day Jumblatt will meet KSA leaders we can safely say Besho is all but finished.

Btw, do you seriously think Turkey will take any “action” against Syria after the end of the 2-week period ? I don’t think so, bcoz I’m afraid that by that time the Besho brigades would have killed and terrorised peole in so many cities that the size of the demonstrations might be reduced, and Besho will claim that “peace has been restored”.

August 14th, 2011, 6:02 pm


beaware said:

Israel stockpiling crowd-control weapons
Hugh Naylor (Foreign Correspondent)
Aug 15, 2011
JERUSALEM // Israel is stockpiling crowd-control weapons and preparing security forces for Palestinian protests planned to coincide with a push for statehood at the United Nations.

Israel’s police and military have reportedly gone on a spending spree in the past month importing everything from extra tear-gas launchers to Belgian-born stallions in anticipation of the Palestinian bid to win recognition at the United Nations.

The preparations come after a string of deadly responses to pro-Palestinian demonstrations that have left Israel sensitive to international scrutiny of its tactics. Israel is also fearful of inflaming widespread Palestinian anger.

While acknowledging the potential for violent confrontations, Palestinian officials, who have called for peaceful rallies in September, say the Israeli preparations are overblown.

“I haven’t seen any Palestinian individual or group planning at all for violent unrest,” said Ghassan Khatib, a spokesperson for the West Bank’s governing Palestinian Authority.

“So the question should be directed back to the Israelis: are they interested in pushing the Palestinians back to violence?


August 14th, 2011, 6:05 pm


Khalid Tlass said:

Amir, if any IDF soldier “defected” to Hamas during the Gaza War, or defected to the P.A during the second Intifada, or even if he refused to take part in a combat mission against Hamas positions, what would have been his punishment ? (I know this scenario is highly improbab;e, but hypothetically)

August 14th, 2011, 6:06 pm


Joshua said:


Just to set the record straight. You write: “Three months ago, Landis was outright denying the existence of defectors.”

This is not true. I have not denied the existence of defectors. I did post a video which appeared to effectively demonstrate that an early defector video posted by an activist was fabricated. That is not denying defectors. I have been happy to post credible defector videos. Activists do not need to tweak the evidence or deny blemishes, such as the Hamma bodies in the Assi or Jisr ash-Shaghour armed victory over the security forces in the town.

From the beginning of the uprising – Deraa – I have believed it was the beginning of the end for the Assad regime and that there was no soft landing for the regime, i.e. that it wouldn’t hand over power peacefully, establish a constitutional convention, (soft landing), etc.. I also believe it will take a longer time to topple the regime than most opposition leaders are saying. As you know, I am pessimistic about Syria being able to close ranks to produce a unified leadership anytime soon, just as I am pessimistic about the regime “collapsing.”

It will not surprise me if there has to be real fighting to dislodge the regime. This will entail the development of a military by the opposition, which will produce leaders that can command and who have the loyalty of their men and win battles on the ground. This will all take time but I don’t doubt that it will happen.

The regime is struggling to deny the opposition permanent “liberated” territory, where an insurgency could begin to take root, train, and establish a headquarters from which to begin confronting the Syrian Army. At some point, however, it will be unable to stop territory from slipping out of its control. Such an eventuality is still some way off. When this begins to happen, I have every expectation that we will see defections in earnest. Today, however, defecting remains very difficult. In most cases, it means leaving Syria. That will change, of course, but only once parts of Syria fall out of government control.

In 1949, Husni Zaim and the army took control of Syria from President Quwatli and the parliament because the Sunni upper class of Syria was too deeply divided to find a political solution to Syria’s problems. When massive and persistent demonstrations began to overtake Damascus in the fall of 1948 after the loss of the Palestine War, Quwatli refused to form a government of national unity. That was the only way to quell the unrest. But he refused to allow the Aleppines to form a government. He believed the leadership of the Peoples’ Party, Nadhim al-Qudsi and Kikhiya were “traitors,” as he called them. Thus, he declared emergency rule and formed a narrow government of Damascenes under Khalid al-Azm. He called the military on to the streets to arrest the demonstrators. Husni Zaim quickly learned that he could rule. When Quwatli tried to fire him, that was the end of democracy in Syria. At the time, Zaim won the support of Washington for his coup because he promised to make peace with Israel and settle 400,000 Palestinians in the Jazirah in exchange for gobs of US development funds. This was Washington’s first “peace plan” to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict. It was to come at the price of Syrian democracy.

Perhaps Syria’s Sunnis will not make the same mistake today as they did 50 years ago and will close ranks to build a democratic Syria.

August 14th, 2011, 6:10 pm


Syria no kandahar said:

The reason this site is losing intellectuals is very clear:ARBOOD
No one can stand being here with him.He is on call 24/7,today Hamster was covering him.I gues after his soldier boiling statements his employers slapped him and almost fired him.Boiling people and skinning them is his hobby .his answers are all lies and deceiving ,he keeps changing his answers,he Cont to insult every one.
If ARBOOD Cont to be MB or KARIRI representative on this site,this site will Cont to go down the drain.Ask all his victims:Why discus,Nour,Sophia….

August 14th, 2011, 6:16 pm


beaware said:

“West trying to depose ruling government in Syria”
Published: 4 August, 2011, 17:05
Edited: 5 August, 2011, 03:24
A new Syrian law allowing a multiparty government system in the country has met with a muted response from the local opposition and has been harshly criticized by France.

There are many reasons why it took President Assad so long to come up with this reform, says journalist Neil Clark from Oxford.

“What’s held back the reforms, I think, first of all there has been obviously opposition in the Syrian ruling elite to these reforms. But also I think the international situation and the fact that Syria has been under pressure by the US and its allies for many, many years. And I think that one of the worries that President Assad might have had was that introducing democratic reforms would actually be exploited by the West in an attempt to get rid of his government,” he said, adding that the western line on Syria has been “counterproductive”.

France has called the announcement of multiparty government system in Syria ‘’a provocation’’ – a statement Neil Clark has called “quite extraordinary.”

“What it is all about is that the West is trying to depose that ruling government in Syria,” he explained.

Late on Wednesday, the UN Security Council adopted its president’s official statement on Syria. The Security Council statement has once again condemned the violation of human rights and the use of force against civilians by the country’s army and police, calling for an end to the violence.

The UN is also urging the Syrians to start a comprehensive national political process and carry out reforms as soon as possible.

The president of the Arab Lawyers Association, Sabah Al-Mukhtar, believes that Bashar Assad’s offer is a step in the right direction, although he sees a major problem in implementing the law.

“I have read the full text of the law,” he said. “It’s quite a good law. I think it’s a step forward. The problem is not with the legislation, the problem is with the implementation. The law has problems in it. For instance, it still requires that the parties are formed under the constitution, while Article 8 of the constitution gives the Baath Party the leadership.”

more with an interview of Sabah Al-Mukhtar….

August 14th, 2011, 6:16 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:


Not really. There was a famous case of desertion when Israel occupied south Lebanon during the nineties. A soldier in an elite unit deserted his post during an ambush. 2 of his unit members got killed because of him deserting. When asked why he deserted, he said that he freaked out, and was afraid to die.
He was discharges from service, and not prosecuted. His punishment is the shame and guilt, that he’ll have to suffer for the rest of his life.

August 14th, 2011, 6:17 pm


beaware said:

Interview with The president of the Arab Lawyers Association, Sabah Al-Mukhtar


August 14th, 2011, 6:20 pm


SYR.Expat said:

شبيلات: نظام الأسد يسقط نفسه

ليث شبيلات تساءل لماذا يبقى سلب الحقوق سببا في حماية البلاد من التدخل (الجزيرة نت)
محمد النجار–عمان
اتهم المعارض الأردني ليث شبيلات -المعروف بصداقته للنظام السوري- أركانا داخل هذا النظام بالسعي لإحداث تدخل أجنبي في سوريا.

وقال في مقال طويل نشرته صحيفة العرب اليوم الأردنية الصادرة الأحد خصص معظمه للأوضاع في سوريا إن “أبسط الناس بات يدرك أن الأجنحة المتكلسة داخل السلطة والتي قد يكون بعضها على ارتباط مع مصالح أجنبية هي وحدها فيما عدا بعض المعارضة العميلة في الخارج التي تدفع بالأمر إلى وضع يفتح الباب على مصراعيه لتدخل أجنبي يزيد من تقزيم المنطقة بإدخال حدود إضافية جديدة تؤمن بقاء الكيان الصهيوني”.

وذهب إلى اعتبار أن “شعار النظام يريد إسقاط النظام” هو الأقرب واقعا لمعالجة الأوضاع في سوريا.

نهوض الشعب
ودافع شبيلات في مقاله عن “الثورة السورية” على الرغم من علاقة الصداقة التي تجمعه بالنظام السوري الذي كان قد التقى رموزا فيه مطلع مارس/آذار الماضي حيث قدم نصائح لمعالجة الأوضاع قبل فوات الأوان بمنح الشعب السوري حريته وفق ما ذكره في تصريحات سابقة للجزيرة نت.

وقال شبيلات في مقاله إن “نهوض الشعب السوري اليوم لا يمكن إلا أن يصب بأصالة في الخندق الثابت لمناهضة الصهيونية وليس في خندق الأجانب الأعداء! ومن المعيب على أية شخصية فكرية أو وطنية أن تجنح إلى هلوسة اتهام شعب بالميل نحو الخيانة”.

وأضاف أن “أي ادعاء بتباين الموقفين الرسمي والشعبي في ما يخص مقاومة الصهيونية وتحرير فلسطين لصالح الموقف الرسمي ادعاء خطأ، بل إن أي تباين في هذا الأمر هو بكل تأكيد لصالح الشعب مصدر السلطات”.

وزاد “الشعب الذي يصارع لتحقيق ما لم نتوان عن تكرار النصيحة بشأنه لإخواننا الرسميين في سوريا لن يسلم حريته لأي أجنبي وهو الذي يرفض تسليمها إلى شقيقه العربي السوري بالمغالبة والقهر، وكلنا يعلم بأن سقف الموقف الرسمي السوري من قضية فلسطين هذه الأيام هو التفاوض مع العدو بشروط أفضل من الغير، وهذا الموقف لا يرضينا إستراتيجيًّا ولا يرضي بكل تأكيد الشعب السوري المنتفض من أجل حريته لا من أجل المطالبة بالسلام”.

سلب الحقوق
واعتبر شبيلات أن المطالبين بحقوقهم الشرعية في سوريا “لم يتحركوا بتحريك أجنبي والسؤال الذي يجب أن نطرحه هو لماذا سلبت حقوقهم ابتداء ولماذا يبقى سلبها سببا في حماية البلاد من التدخل الأجنبي؟”.

وقال إن “سلب الحقوق والإصرار على عدم إعادتها إلا بأشكال كاريكاتورية صورية هو وحده الذي يهيئ الطريق أمام أي تدخل أجنبي محتمل وليست المطالبة بتلك الحقوق، فكيف تكون المطالبة بالحقوق مفضية إلى الخيانة ويكون سلبها والرتع في الفساد مفضيًّا إلى الوطنية؟”.

المقال حمل نقدا لاذعا لأصدقاء النظام السوري من الخارج الذين اتهموا المحتجين في سوريا بالخيانة والارتباط بالأجنبي

وحمل المقال نقدا لاذعا لأصدقاء النظام السوري من الخارج الذين اتهموا المحتجين في سوريا بالخيانة والارتباط بالأجنبي، وتساءل عن كون أمثال “حسن عبد العظيم والطيب تيزني وعارف دليلة والبني وحبيب عيسى وميشال كيلو ورجاء الناصر وأفاضل كثر غيرهم في خندق القوى المعادية عند هؤلاء لمجرد أن النظام رفض دومًا وما زال يرفض الجلوس إليهم بإيقافه الحملة العسكرية وإطلاقه المعتقلين والسماح بحرية التعبير؟”.

وقال إنه “لا يعقل أن تصل بنا السذاجة الوطنية إلى المناصرة العمياء لمرتكبي جرائم لمجرد أن الضحية تحظى بتعاطف إنساني عالمي قد يفضي بسبب ضعف تحرك المواطنين العرب في معظم أرجاء الوطن العربي إلى درجة تحريك تدخل خارجي”.

تعديلات الأردن
وفي الشأن المحلي الأردني وجه شبيلات نقدا للتعديلات الدستورية التي من المقرر إعلانها في حفل يرعاه الملك عبد الله الثاني مساء اليوم، ورغم إقراره بأن الأحوال في الأردن أفضل فإنه استبعد استمرارها “بكل أسف” كما قال.

وجاء في المقال “لنا في هذا مثال واحد يكفي للتدليل على تفكير الأنظمة الأحادية الملغية للآخر على اختلاف قمعها من قبضة حديدية إلى قبضة ناعمة فما زال الأخ الكبير كما سماه أورويل هو الذي يخطط لكل شيء من دون استشارة”.

وأضاف “فإجراء تعديلات على العقد الاجتماعي (الدستور) تجري دراستها بالكتمان وستعلن نتائجها من دون حوار مع صاحب الشأن، الشعب، الذي إنما وجدت الدساتير لحمايته ولرعايته ولمنع إهانته والاستبداد به وبثرواته ولتحقيق أمانيه القومية، فلا يمكن للمشتكى منه أن يكتب شروط المشتكي وفي

August 14th, 2011, 6:25 pm


Tara said:


I am sorry to tell you but most mnhebaks are not offering intellectual substance at all. Their theme is like a broken record. That we are all MBs or armed gangs. It is all what you hear. It is a tired line and is not working anymore. Of course, besides wallah mnhebak ya Bashar or personal attacks. No body is learning anything from the mnhebaks. It is not Aboud. Aboud adds a lot of substance. It is an inherent lack of substance in sectarian “secularists” and supporters arguments.

August 14th, 2011, 6:26 pm


Dale Andersen said:

Joshua –

RE: “…it will take a longer time to topple the regime than most opposition leaders are saying…”

Thank you for the analysis.

If the West steers clear of this train wreck, Syria could end up being the site of a proxy war involving Turkey, Iran and the Saudis, just as the Germanies were during the Thirty Years War with Sweden, France, Spain and Austria stirring the pot.

I can’t really see Turkey, Iran or KSA staying out. And I can’t see the West’s having enough clout to force any of them to stay out. Has anyone done a learned analysis of this?

August 14th, 2011, 6:30 pm


Abughassan said:

I sure hope you are wrong,Joshua
Something should happen by the end of august to tip the scale either way,otherwise,a prolonged conflict is very likely. I am not a conspiracy theorist but now I have to wonder if that is what is being planned for Syria from the beginning to bring “balance” to the region after the failure in Iraq, the fall of Mubarak and the increased influence of Iran.
This could have been avoided if Syria did not have a group of corrupt and power hungry autocrats in power. Yes,the regime is the main culprit but that is not the whole story.

August 14th, 2011, 6:37 pm


Aboud said:

Professor Landis

“This is not true. I have not denied the existence of defectors. I did post a video which appeared to effectively demonstrate that an early defector video posted by an activist was fabricated”

I believe it was in April when you said there was no evidence for defections (sorry, four months ago, not three). While it may have been a fair statement back then, my point was that events have moved in such a way, that what was highly questionable back then, is now not questioned today.

“Activists do not need to tweak the evidence or deny blemishes, such as the Hamma bodies in the Assi”

And yet the regime has had plenty of time to take pictures of that very same bridge, and prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is in Hama. They have not done so.

“or Jisr ash-Shaghour armed victory over the security forces in the town. ”

For that, the opposition has nothing to be sorry about in the least. A funeral was shot up by the security forces, it was a blatant provocation against a town that has been armed since its smuggling days.

I have time and again made my views clear about the contempt I have for the security men who shot up the funeral (if anyone needs reminding, look up someone with the initials SNK, he’s been helpfully repeating my stance for me), and I will cry no tears for them.

August 14th, 2011, 6:41 pm


Aboud said:

“The reason this site is losing intellectuals is very clear:ARBOOD”

Yes, I also make it rain on menhebak parades, I cause junior to giggle at the most inappropriate times, and I was the one who forced the Pope to denounce junior.

“Ask all his victims:Why discus,Nour,Sophia….”

You make me very, very happy indeed 🙂

The menhebaks here always run away from the easiest and most basic questions.

Like why is Najati Tayara in jail (which goes to the very heart of the credibility of the regime’s reforms)?

How many of the more than 2000 Syrians murdered were in a state of armed insurrection (important since it illuminates the callousness with which the regime treats Syrian lives)?

Why hasn’t the regime been successful in apprehending the people behind the so called pipeline blast, trail derailment, and attack on the military academy? In fact, they are not making the slightest effort to apprehend those people.

August 14th, 2011, 6:42 pm


Sheila said:

Again very shallow analysis ( no disrespect intended):
1- Your contention that low crime rate is good regardless, is inherently wrong. Police states are famous for having low crime rates, but at what price? It is always at the price of freedom (which incidently is what the demonstrators across Syria are calling for). If you want low crime rate at the expense of freedom, North Korea should be your country of choice.
2- I agree with you that Syria’s problems today are not only in the government, but also in the people, but the blame in my view should be put squarely on the government. Does the citizen who is having to bribe have any other choice? We all know the answer is no. The government is creating this environment of corruption.
3- Syria is cheap for foreigners, not for Syrians. Comparing what you make to what you have to spend, Syria can be one of the most expensive countries on earth. Look at housing as a case in point, not to mention cars, clothing etc…. An average American family can eat out at least 4 times a week without affecting its budget. An average Syrian family can only dream of going out to eat.
4- The economy in Syria can hardly be called an economy. It is fantastic for someone like Rami Makhlouf, but for the average Syrian, opening a business is like pulling teeth. To get your license through all the government agencies involved is a miracle of nature. Don’t compare the Syrian economy to other Arab countries, please compare it to its potential, then sit down and burst into tears. Jordan, who actually have nothing in terms of national wealth compared to Syria, is doing much better than Syiria in all aspects. That is sad.
5- Please do not put words into my mouth. I did not talk about Syria and prostitution. I talked about Thailand and prostitution to point out that there are many reasons why tourists flock to countires. And if you think that 9 million tourists is a great number, I beg to differ. Look at the number of tourists visiting Spain every year (in excess of 50 million). What does Spain have that we don’t have?. The answer is good governance.
6- The last thing I wish to happen is the destruction of Syria, I only wish for the dismantling of the current regime.

Please SNK. I am as scared as you are from what will happen next. I have no illusions about the next phase. It is very likely that it will be brutal and bloody. If I had the slightest hope that this regime can achieve any good, I would have hung on to it for dear life. Unfortunately, I don’t.

August 14th, 2011, 6:51 pm


Digging for gold in Bosra said:

Would somone who supports the current regime in Syria please explain to me why it is that they do so? I’m genuinely interested to hear an explanation.

August 14th, 2011, 6:52 pm


SQI said:


you summed it up well,

The regime is struggling to deny the opposition permanent “liberated” territory, where an insurgency could begin to take root,
train, and establish a headquarters from which to begin confronting the Syrian Army.

But this is wishfull thinking:

At some point, however, it will be unable to stop territory from slipping out of its control.

it’s like saying if you keep playing the lottery , At some point…

do you play the Lottery ? or go often to Casinos in Las Vegas ?

i expect a stronger mental effort from you .

August 14th, 2011, 6:55 pm


Syria no kandahar said:

The fact of the matter is that no one will be able to get to power without minorities support.so far the opposition have won <1% of minorities.so if you do the math :Alawis plus Christian plus Druz plus Kurds are almost 40% of Syria ,they are all not opposition supporters.The opposition is not acting smart,all they
Do is very disorganized and miscalculated:
-what have they done so far to win the minorities?
-why to meat in Turkey and act like Turkey's puppies,which they know that most of Syrian minorities especially the Kurds are very sensitive about.
-why be so stiff and not be flexible ,what would they lose from being flexible?they have been friends with Refaat and kaddam,right?
-why not liberate themselves from being run by other nations interests?does any one believe that Syria opposition is free?if they were free would't have they entered a political process by now?
-Does any one believe that opposition hands are clean?does any one believe that opposition refusal of dialogue is a correct political decision and in Syria's best interest.
-is it difficult for the opposition to go intoهدنهfor a month or tow and see what happened.can't they resume same activity levels after that?
Syrian oppositions are:
-not free in making decisions
-connected to non-Syrian agendas
-not minorities-compatible
-Poor vision

August 14th, 2011, 6:59 pm


Abughassan said:

Aboud’s response to Joshua about aljisr is disturbing to say the least and it gives us an example why random violence is the shortest way to doom and gloom.
How did those armed thugs know that the security officers they slaughtered were the same ones who allegedly shot people at the funeral? How many innocent low ranking service men were killed in that terrorist act in aljisr?
Nobody knows for sure,but instead of stating this simple fact,some people are still trying to justify the unjustified.losing the higher moral ground will be fatal for this uprising.
How God,any god if we are going to also argue about Who is God,will see and treat Syrians who killed innocent Syrians?
What is the difference between security thugs and those armed thugs in aljisr?
Aboud,you are usually witty and focused,but you messed up big time on this one.

August 14th, 2011, 7:11 pm


Aboud said:


“-what have they done so far to win the minorities?”

What has the regime done to win minorities? One of the main chants of the revolution is “El Sha3b el Souri Wahed”. The opposition has done nothing to anger minorities, in contrast to the heavy handed approach of the regime.

Have churches been attacked? Have Kurdish towns been harassed?
Now ask yourself how many mosques have been shelled by the regime.

“why to meat in Turkey and act like Turkey’s puppies,”

Where and how has Turkish influence been felt in the opposition’s agenda? It is the Turks that want to give junior ten more days, not the opposition. A “meating” (meeting) was held in Turkey for logistical purposes. It was the nearest place to Syria that opposition figures in Syria could travel to. To attach nefarious Turkish motives to the meeting, is to stretch facts beyond the breaking point.

“why be so stiff and not be flexible ,what would they lose from being flexible?they have been friends with Refaat and kaddam,right?”

Yes, we must be more flexible in how many prisoners and killed each week we find acceptable. And FYI, in all the tens of thousands of demonstrations held over the country, Khadam and Refaat’s names have not been uttered once. Not once have their pictures been raised. That is yet another weak fantasy of the regime’s fabrication.

“why not liberate themselves from being run by other nations interests?”

Again, kindly provide proof or analysis that a foreign country is influencing, financing, or promoting any opposition faction. The world was content to remain silent for months as Syrians, on their own, took on the Baathist regime.

Of course, there is no doubt whatsoever that the regime is influenced, and gets aid, from the despicable theocracy in Tehran.

“does any one believe that opposition refusal of dialogue is a correct political decision and in Syria’s best interest.”

Why is Najati Tayara and others like him in jail? The regime’s offers of dialogue will be taken seriously once political prisoners are freed, and the army withdrawn from the cities. As long as the regime continues to act as if it is on a war footing, that is how it will be treated.

“is it difficult for the opposition to go intoهدنهfor a month or tow and see what happened”

Is it so hard for the regime to tolerate a massive outpouring of genuine expressions for freedom without sending in the tanks? Demonstrating is a healthy part of any democracy. Demonstrations will continue long after junior and his disgraceful clique are long gone, as people continue to fight for new rights and to fix wrongs.

Demanding demonstrations stop is to demand that the life blood of a democratic and free society be cut off.

August 14th, 2011, 7:23 pm


Tara said:

Palestinian youth stage sit-in against Syria crackdown in Ramallah


15 August 2011 | 01:42 | FOCUS News Agency
Home / World
Ramallah. About 400 Palestinian youths staged a sit-in late Sunday in the West Bank city of Ramallah to protest Syria’s brutal crackdown on Syrian anti-regime protesters.Palestinian police did not intervene, an AFP correspondent at the scene reported.
Brandishing Syrian flags, the Palestinians, who organised the rally via the Facebook social network site, called Syrian President Bashar al-Assad “a coward” to attack his own people and should instead send his troops to the Golan Heights, a Syrian territory largely annexed by Israel in 1981.
The UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) earlier Sunday expressed “deep concerns” over the firing by Syrian forces towards the Ramel Palestinian refugee camp at the Syrian port of Latakia.
“Information from various sources indicates there have been deaths and injuries among the Palestinian refugees,” UNRWA said, adding that poor communications made it impossible to verify the number of victims.
The UN agency has demanded “access without restrictions to the camp.”
Syrian military vessels joined an assault that killed 26 people on Sunday in Latakia, activists said, the first attack from the sea since an anti-regime revolt erupted in mid-March.

August 14th, 2011, 7:29 pm


Aboud said:

“How did those armed thugs know that the security officers they slaughtered were the same ones who allegedly shot people at the funeral?”

Sorry Abughassan, but that is a ridiculous question.

1) In a small town like Jisr Al Shoghour, police officers are not faceless and anonymous, like they are in the big cities. They are known by name, especially if they have been posted there for a long time.

2) This was a *funeral*. Meaning, people had been killed before. More than enough time for the murdering turds to become known.

3) The attack on the police station happened in the immediate aftermath of the shooting at the funeral. Or do you imagine that people who have had friends get shot soon forget the face of those who killed them?

4) What exactly would your reaction have been when seeing your friends and family shot? I say bravo to the people who took out that police station. Some people would have us go to our deaths like sheep to a slaughter. People with a pro-regime agenda, of course.

Any armed opposition today, is as legitimate as the resistance of the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto in World War 2.

August 14th, 2011, 7:31 pm


Abughassan said:

Aboud,I do not know about others,but I think your defense of the jisr massacre is reprehensible and absolutely ridiculous,since you chose that word to describe a simple but valid question. You want us to believe that it took more than 100 officers to shoot at a funeral and that armed thugs knew all of the officers by name or face and practiced street justice only on those who actually shot innocent jisris?
Good luck getting any body to believe this story (except the few who are ready to believe anything they hear).
I will put that question to rest,I certainly learned something from our exchange.

August 14th, 2011, 8:00 pm


Aboud said:

“Complicit”, that’s the word I was stuck for.

If attacks are coming from a police station, and the commander doesn’t rein in the thugs firing, that makes him complicit in the murders. Just because Hitler never personally never fired a bullet in World War 2, doesn’t make him any less responsible for the atrocities the SS committed.

August 14th, 2011, 8:14 pm


Darryl said:

Dear Abu Umar,

I would not be so rude not to respond to your valid comment. But for me yesterday was Sunday and with all the talk about food, I could not be bothered as I was enjoying a barbecue of a slab of tender Australian aged grass fed beef washed down with a 2003 Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz wine. The only thing that would have been better is my own grown lamb that has been fattened on clean sweet rye grass that is so sweet, it can be eaten for desert. what a wonderful nature, which is what my response to you will be framed on.

Abu Umar, Nature is brutal as it is beautiful and everything must obey the laws of nature that has evolved over 4 billion years. Nature does not like to have voids or gaps, when a gap develops it is quickly filled by something more superior or more determined. This has occurred when Cro-Magnon displaced the Neanderthal, it occurred when the Greeks displaced the Persians, it occurred when the Islam defeated the declining Byzantine and Persian empires and it occurred when the British and Thomas Jefferson displaced the American Indians. It too occurred when the Spanish invaded South America.

It is all part of nature, you stand still, you either get superseded by something else or decay to be replaced by an emerging entity to fill the void. Remember nature does not like voids it must be balanced at all times. Sadly the middle east does not understand this principle, everything is either blamed on Allah or is caused by Allah and things just get accepted, it is what the sheikhs introduced to control you. This was not the wisdom of the messenger, he understood nature very well with his travel between that hell hole called Saudi Arabia and that heavenly place called Sham.

Lastly, I saw a recent rant of a Saudi sheikh about how good it was to drink the “sweet” blood of the Byzantines, maybe he understood nature. I don’t think you’re a person who spends much time with nature, you should, as it will open eyes.

August 14th, 2011, 8:22 pm


majedkhaldoon said:

Is Bengazi situation, is it possible in Syria? Libya is 8 times larger than Syria,Where could it happen if it was possible?,In Idlib,or Deraa or Albukamal?
I doubt very much it could repeat itself in Syria.
Turkey if it interfered in Syria,Iran will not interfere,Iran will not give any excuse to the west to start a war against Iran.that would be a dangerous thing for the Mulla regime.

We had democracy in Syria between 1954,untill 1958.
We do not have a proof that the video, where bodies were thrown in Al Assi river ,no proof it was in Hamah,yet.
I still believe that the revolution has the high moral ground.the regime brutal oppression has the low moral ground.because of its brutality.
The rebels in Libya seem to achieve real progress, Zawiyeh Braiqa,and Gharyan, are taken by the revolution troops.
No one can say with certainty how much time it will take for the syrian revolution to win or loose,history tells us that surprises may happen.

August 14th, 2011, 8:26 pm


SYR.Expat said:

The Bad Joke of the Day award goes to Fayssal Mekdad, Syrian Vice Foreign Minister.
He told CNN: “There’s no crackdown [by the Syrian government].”

August 14th, 2011, 8:33 pm


SQI said:


what about also

Syrian opposition turned out to be a Hodge-podge of clowns serving as cover for foreign agendas.

August 14th, 2011, 8:43 pm


Abughassan said:

My post on aljisr massacre disappeared.
The logic used by aboud is flawed and the explanation provided needs an explanation by itself (we are asked to believe that it took more than 100 officers to shoot at a funeral and that the jisri thugs knew all of those officers and only killed those who were confirmed to have killed jisris).If opposition forces use violence and revenge killing,then is it ok for the regime to do the same and revenge the killing of its soldiers and security officers?
Losing the higher moral ground is a free gift to the regime and will inflict fatal wounds on the opposition.no more from me on this “ridiculous” exchange.

August 14th, 2011, 8:49 pm


beaware said:

NATO to give rebels anti-tank weapons. Syrian fight Palestinians in Latakia
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 14, 2011, 11:08 PM (GMT+02:00)
For the first time in the five-month anti-Assad uprising, Syrian forces clashed with dissident Palestinians Sunday, Aug. 14, in the al-Raml a-Filistini district of Syria’s biggest port Latakia. As they moved toward the town center, the two Syrian tank divisions and armored infantry were challenged by Palestinians firing heavy machine guns, anti-tank RPGs and roadside bombs. Nineteen of the 24 dead Sunday were Palestinians.
debkafile’s military sources affirm that contrary to earlier reports, the Syrian missile ships cruising offshore took no part in the attack on Latakia. Their function is to blockade the port against arms smuggling. Nevertheless the weapons used by Palestinians fighting in Latakia Sunday came from Lebanon aboard smugglers’ boats. There are almost daily incidents of Syrian ships firing on suspect vessels.

August 14th, 2011, 8:51 pm


Aboud said:

“we are asked to believe that it took more than 100 officers to shoot at a funeral and that the jisri thugs knew all of those officers and only killed those who were confirmed to have killed jisris”

Read the second post I made. If firing comes from a police station, and no one stops it, everyone in it is complicit. You tried to make it seem doubtful that anyone could have known who was possibly behind the murders. I explained clearly how it was beyond dispute that it was police men, firing from a police station.

And what proof do you have that the regime’s tally of 120 dead security men is accurate? It would have taken an armed force of a thousand to overcome such a fortified building.

More likely, the numbers were less than half that, and like the reports said, not a few security men saw the horrors of what was happening, and turned on the security men firing on the funeral. This, in conjunction with an attack from outside, would have been enough to overcome the police station. Good for them!

“Losing the higher moral ground is a free gift to the regime and will inflict fatal wounds on the opposition”

Again, you selectively pick and choose what best suits your narrative. The opposition have no more lost the moral high ground than the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto lost theirs when they fought back when the Nazis came to liquidate them.

August 14th, 2011, 9:07 pm


Tara said:

Any news about Berlin’s conference?

August 14th, 2011, 9:23 pm


Aboud said:

I like the phrase “lost the moral high ground”. Here are a few more examples of how, according to the menhebak definition, others have lost the moral high ground;

1) Hizbollah lost the moral high ground when it drove the Israelis out of South Lebanon.

2) The Iranians lost the moral high ground when they fought back after Saddam invaded them.

3) Stalin should have just maintained the moral high ground and let Hitler take Stalingrad, instead of inflicting the most crushing defeat an army has ever suffered.

4) The Arabs should have just maintained the moral high ground and not launched the 1973 war to recover their lands.

From this point on, the opposition is well within its rights to defend itself. For five months, the murderous regime has been fighting an unrestrained war against its own people. The fact that the opposition has mostly not gone this route is something I disagree with, but then I’m just one guy.

If it were up to me, the boiling pots would have been lit for some of the more odious Baathists.

August 14th, 2011, 9:24 pm


N.Z. said:

Do we know exactly what happened in Jisr Al Shoghour? Yes, from eye witness’ who fled to Turkey. I can believe a victim, never a victimizer, nor a victimizer sympathizer. I believe someone who lived the horrors of that infamous day. I am not entitled to be a judge or an accuser. I was not there.

Several hundred of the soldiers deployed to the town defected. They were given clear orders shoot-to-kill. Some 120 security personnel were killed that day, the regime in Damascus denies there was a mutiny and says the deaths were at the hands of “armed gangs” and “terrorists” wearing stolen military uniforms.

The discrepancy between the two versions are being filled by some of the Syrian refugees on Turkish land. They spoke on the basis of being unidentified, for fear of reprisal.

what took place on that infamous day, thousands of people were gathered to bury the young man Basil al-Masry, who was killed by security forces the day before, bullets started raining from all government buildings and from helicopters using machine guns unto the crowd.

The killing was indiscriminate and widespread, according to more than half a dozen witnesses. The gathering scattered as security forces began shooting from the buildings.

One of the eyewitness said there were signs that something was brewing in Jisr al-Shughour days before Sunday’s carnage.

“He said that there were unfamiliar vehicles without license plates driving around his town, sometimes shooting indiscriminately at buildings and bystanders. The young men of Jisr al-Shughour had set up several unarmed checkpoints around their town to prevent the entry of strangers. But strangers entered, including a bearded man in military uniform who did not speak Arabic and was nabbed by Samir and a group of young men. (Syrian soldiers are not permitted to wear beards.) “I don’t know Iranian, I don’t have experience with Iranians, but the man didn’t speak Arabic,” says Samir. “Not a word.”

He denies government claims that the mourners gathered in the garden were armed. “If we had weapons, believe me, I would have been the first to use one, but we don’t,” Samir said. “And besides, what is a hunting rifle going to do against a machine gun, against a tank?”

His father told him later, who fled the town of 50,000 “honorable soldiers” started defending the people that Sunday, and that many of them were killed. Many of the townsfolk already knew that there had been isolated military defections elsewhere in the country, because some 20 days earlier, the body of a young conscript was returned to his parents in Jisr al-Shughour. He’d been shot in the back of the head, Samir said, presumably for failing to shoot at protesters. “We went to bury him, to honor him, the security forces prevented us.” His voice fails as he tears up at the memory. “They didn’t let us bury him in an honorable way.”

This incident is a recurrence every time there is a group defecting from the army. This town, like Hama is a conservative one.

August 14th, 2011, 9:27 pm


Mick said:



This has about as much truth to it as Aboud’s claim about the ‘dry’ river in Hamah.

I’m to believe that unarmed folks were able to kill 120 armed security people, security people that had no problem just shooting at random, that also had armor and helicopter support, and there wasn’t thousands killed in the melee?

That is about as about as believable as the U.S. claiming all the Predator attacks have killed only ‘terrorists’ and no civilians. They didn’t even care that civilians were killed.

August 14th, 2011, 9:49 pm


SQI said:

some relevant facts

From Wikipedia,

The Fateh-110 is a single-stage solid-propellant, surface-to-surface missile with at least a 200 km range, and it is produced domestically within Iran, including the solid fuel propellant. The initial range of the missile was 200km but in September 2004 it was announced that it had been extended to 250 km and if needed it could be increased further.

Syria has manufactured its own version of the Fateh-110, known as the M-600.

each these can deliver 250 kg of very high explosives to any roof you want in Tel-Aviv. believe it.

more M-600 are being made then Barazek.

Syria is Strong. by its people & its army , that should put many scenarios and fantasies to rest.

as for the armed gangs, it is a loosing gamble. for all the gamblers.

August 14th, 2011, 10:13 pm


Boss said:

Word for thought:

– The regime will not step down and never will. It is much stronger than a lot of people think. It enjoys a lot of support on a national scale.Its also absurd to think that some protesting with a few slogans will make it bow down.No one can expect a regime that has the army of the country by its side, and about 2,000,000 baathists in addition to loyalists and supporters on the streets to crumble.

– The only way the regime can crumble is through a foreign invasion or a civil war. Both leading to destructive ends and giving the golden opportunity for foreign powers to install a client state. The Syrian people will pay the biggest price.

– In April, the assistant of US Sec of Defense said that Syria can solve its internal crisis if it cuts its ties with Hezballah and Iran and other terrorist groups, and finishing it with the reforms note (a compliment to peaceful demonstrators)

– There are peaceful protesters, there are armed gangs and there are weapons in the country. The armed gangs inflitrate the protesters and they will not shoot in areas unless there is security/army otherwise it will blow their cover. Its called the “Sniper tactic”. A sniper stands on the roof, shoots between the demonstrations, blood is spilled, Security goes wild, demonstrators go wild and the media gives you its own story. – That’s what happened in Iran back in 2009, with Nada,a small Iranian girl who was going to a violin class, had nothing to do with the protests, but a sniper was there, took the shot and by some divine coincidence, the BBC camera was right on the spot…4 hours later its on the news worldwide and a spark for the revolution was created.

– The truth about Hama that the author mentioned is interesting because there are other authors who wrote otherwise about their visits to Hama. For example: Belgian journalist Pierre Piccinin:

Another reporter, is Gedi Francis but she writes for a Lebaneese newspaper ‘Al-Safir’ and got sacked two days later after publishing her report.

On a personal note, I got information from people living in Hama about the weapons arriving in crates and distributed. I also met a protester who told me he was amongst the people who were forced and threatened if he did not demonstrate against the regime.

– The media obviously had an agenda going on as always giving one side of the story. People on the outside would get an impression that Syria is swarming with protesters and that the regime is on the brink of a downfall but that is far from the truth. The media shows one side of the stories and insists on showing youtube clips that are uploaded by youtube users where several of the the clips proved to be fabricated (in terms of dates, locations, numbers of protestors – a few thousand reported as hundreds of thousands – and even content) False news reported about Omari mosque in Daraa getting bombed (none of that happened) and eye witness sitting in Kuwait who claim they’ve seen 400 tanks go into Daraa. (That’s a live interview with an eye witness that took place on Al-Jazeera). Additionally, the reports of the soldier deaths were never reported on those news. The media never apologized for the false content (only Reuters did on a few occasions). Those acts by the media (and all the media on the arab street reporting the same clips,same eye witnesses, same one sided news) definitely raise a lot of questions on how big this dirty game really is.

It is also interesting to note how all those media channels in addition to Amnesty International went all mute when Bahrain was cracking down its people with the help of Saudi troops while the Syrian army was being criticized for moving on its own soil. (Am I the only one seeing a pattern here?? )

Additionally, two more opposition satellite channels were introduced back in April (‘Safa’ and ‘Wisal’ ). You can find them on youtube as well. Those channels are pure opposition channels and emphasize on demonizing Alawis and Shia rather than discussing a new system or a rationale way to deal with the situation. Pure demonizing by religious individuals. They even use lies and blow things out of proportion like ‘Sabra and Chatila massacres were committed by Hizballah and Baath party’. Those channels are based in Saudi Arabia and funded probably by the Saudis. Their obvious goal is to ignite sectarian conflict in the region since all they talk about is the Alwais and Shia being demons and how they are enemies to the Sunnis and God and all that superstitious talk.

So if we really connect the dots together, this whole revolution thing looks like a scam for a bigger plan – Disregarding whether the regime is brutal or not, it is targeted by foreign forces who want it to fall and would want to turn it into chaos just like Iraq or into another puppet state. All this done under the name of freedom and democracy.

The US went under those labels in Iraq waging a war that killed more than 1,000,000 Iraqis, leaving more than a 1,000,000 refugees who were welcomed in Syria and they did not receive any sort or compensation or even a god damn apology from the US Administration. – and we all know where Iraq is now, no security, constant bombings, and the only freedom it enjoys is the freedom to kill. If the Iraqis had any dignity under Saddam’s rule, it has now perished.

Speaking of getting stuck between the rock and the hard place, and having mentioned that there is no way this regime could topple unless a Libyan or Iraq scenario take place, i think its more dignified for the Syrian in Syria to stick to the current devil in power.

The other options:
– A war killing much more people and putting the country into chaos with an unknown future like Iraq.

– Submission to a puppet state from the west as there in the case of a downfall, will leave a huge vaccuum to fill. Military/members of parliament/security agents/president, etc….
and that cannot be filled

People on the outside should stop talking in the name of the Syrian people as the Syrian street is clearly divided into two categories and its false to assume the majority are against the regime.

August 14th, 2011, 10:19 pm


Abughassan said:

I am not going to dwell on aljisr,I and most of us have made up our minds on the subject until new evidence emerges. I will speak on why revenge killings and targeting the army and security officers is not good for the opposition. the main grievance with this regime is its use of violence and that it killed many innocent Syrians. If the opposition does the same and the story gets out,it will be very difficult for anybody to exclusively denounce the regime and claim that this is a peaceful uprising being crushed by a violent regime. The fact that most opposition figures looked the other way or blamed the death of hundred of army and security officers on “defection” mean that they have accepted violence as a legitimate way to change this regime,if this continues,then joshua’s prediction will become a reality and Syria will go through a civil war with little chance of direct foreign intervention to save lives.

August 14th, 2011, 10:33 pm


Haytham Khoury said:

Dear Dr. Landis:

My pessimism extends beyond the fall of the regime. Even if the regime falls the revolution won’t systematically be a win. That is because of the miserable condition of the opposition. If we take a look at the opposition inside the country, it is overwhelmed by the events unable to provide a political leadership for the demonstrations on the ground. The lag of action is exemplified by the fact the Declaration of Damascus, the biggest political umbrella inside the country, took more than three months to set up their Facebook page and barely they have one post a day. The opposition outside the country is deeply divided and unfortunately each faction is making the calculation how to profit the most. Further, there are a lot of groups that are implicated in the revolution till now (the youth, the very wealthy businessmen, the human right activists, the intellectuals and the political party) as I pointed out in my previous post and all of these groups have their own interest. Further, the longer the unrest continues, the more lawless the situation will be. Moreover, let us not forget the foreign interests and interferences (Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran and others). Indeed, without a strong visionary and charismatic leadership, the situation will be unstable for long time. I do not see that leadership neither among the opposition inside or outside the country. The only politician who has the vision and the charisma is Riad al-Turk, but he is old (81) and most the people in his party are old. If you find one strong charismatic and visionary leader within the opposition, please tell me. I will vote for that person.

August 14th, 2011, 10:38 pm


Tara said:

I stopped reading Debkafile exclusive reports after we were told by an Israeli on SC how unreliable the site is. Do anyone believe otherwise?

Baathists are boasting about the “Fateh-110” being manufactured in Syria. I find this funny. How come the rabbit of Jolan did not use it to liberate the Jolan Heights? …saving it for what exactly?

August 14th, 2011, 10:38 pm


Revlon said:

148 and 187. Dears OTW and Sheila, thank you for your concerned and frank feedback!
This information was published on a Syrian revolution Website named: Ugarit News | أوغاريت
They quoted the following source for their information
بيان من مصدر موثوق ومؤكد من بعض الضباط الشرفاء العلويين :
قائمة بأسماء الضباط الذين قاموا بقتل مواطنين مدنيين في مدينة الكسوة

Their reason for publishing the list was provided at its end which was as follows:
نحذرهم وننبهم بأن كل الجرائم التي يقومون بها معرفة بالنسبة لنا وموثقة بالشهود ومن اقرب الناس إليهم
وهم لا يعلمون بأنهم معرفين لنا مع أماكن سكنهم وأنواع وأرقام سياراتهم وحتى هواتفهم وبان هذا النظام زائل
لا محالة بإذن الله وبأن الوطن باقي ويتسع للجميع ولكنه لا يتسع للمجرمين والقتلة

As you see, the statement amounts to a warning. It does not call for their assassination or attacking their families. Future court hearings will examine all of these lists, the sources of information, testimonies of the accused and witnesses and related hard evidence.

You Sheila and OTW did well by highlighting the potential downside of such practice!

Here is how I would view its potential upside:
-First, disseminating these names can be considered as a form of peaceful, counter state- terrorism. Such tactic could potential discourage these and other elements from further killings of innocent civilians by letting the them know that their atrocities are on record and that they are being watched.
– Second, Publishing a list of names serves also to focus the blame on the perpetrating individuals instead of letting it embroil a sect or an institution.
– Third, It provides comfort to the families and friends of the victims in letting them know that that killers of their loved ones are being persued and shall be brought to justice!

Comparing this revolution’s tactic with its ideal counterpart in peaceful times is both unfair and impractical.

A more fair and practical comparison would be to what the regime is doing with its versions of activist name lists.
The regime is using intelligence to compile lists of activists so their houses get ram-sacked, their families humiliated and terrified, and they get arrested, torured, or sniped in the head, eye or mouth.

August 14th, 2011, 10:45 pm


Abughassan said:

I disagree with boss that Syrians have to accept this regime,but I’d rather read posts like his instead of seeing a flood of “he said,she said” posts that do very little to educate the mind or elevate the spirit of the readers who seem to be increasingly unable to engage in an intelligent discussion that focuses on a way out with the least number of casualties. This way out,in my opinion, is through negotiating an exit for the regime with the help of mediators that have an interest in a stable Syria. The fear of ” losing it all” if the opposition sits down to talk is made up by forces that “wants it all” at any cost.

August 14th, 2011, 10:51 pm


ss said:

The news coming out of Lattakia is indeed disturbing. The army had a list of names and wants them out of RAML FILASTINI. The army also gave a 2 day window for the people to come out. Many women, children, and people who choose not to fight were moved to the sport city where they found a shelter. The army stormed the RAML FILASTINI neighborhood in Lattakia early Saturday and it is facing a fierce armed and highly organized resistance. The explosions, fires, are heard non stop the last 2 days. I called some friends who informed me that the fight is going on till the early morning hours nonstop. One of my friends is a physician who told me that the Syrian army lost 2 and there was 51 injured. The RAML FILASTINI is a very poor and sophisticated neighborhood with crowded homes and narrow roads, even people who live in Lattakia barely know the narrow roads of that neighborhood. The fight reminds many of the fight that took place few years ago between the Lebanese government and an Islamic group in NAB3 AL Bared. What is happening in Lattakia is beyond expectations. The opposition cannot fake the armed nature of their revolution. The fight is going on. Everyone is puzzled by the amount of arms, weapons, and sophistications these criminal-islamic-thugs have.

What is amazing though is the support of people behind the army and security men. Syria is the only country that did not follow Tunis and Egypt example of cutting the internet rather they used the internet and facebook in particular as a weapon against enemies. L.N.N for example gives an updated information by the second from people who see or hear anything. I believe the goverment is using these sites to its side. The people are extremely helpful and from all sectors; sunni, christians, alawite wants the army to win and bring order and peace to their lives again. God bless the army for the hard days ahead of them.

August 14th, 2011, 10:54 pm


Revlon said:

170. Dear AMIR:
Thank you for the complement.

August 14th, 2011, 11:04 pm


Norman said:

Few notes,

i know Alassi square and it is true that this are can not hold more than few thousands, so the news about 500,000 to 800,000 is most likely wrong

I do not know if i understood well what MR Dahi said but apparently the army seems to believe that it is fighting an attack against Syria manufactured by the West and others and they seem committed to the fight, The minorities are also committed and believe that the goal of the demonstrators is a civil war in Syria that will make what happened in Iraq to the Christians under the nose of the mighty US army is nothing in comparison to what will happen in Syria ,

The demonstrators apparently are as committed, so it is unfortunate but i believe that Syria is moving toward a civil war .

August 14th, 2011, 11:12 pm


True said:

“It is easier to do a job right than to explain why you didn’t” –Martin Van Buren

This is the Turkish message to Besho, to get the “cleansing” job done in 15 days!!

August 14th, 2011, 11:13 pm


ss said:

During the morning prayers (takbeer) coming out of some mosques declaring Jihad and asking people for Jihad. The army is facing armed and organized radical groups and the fight is fierce. The news coming out of the media is not accurate at all and it underestimates the power these groups have. The media is broadcasting the regime as the one who is shooting the people from air, see and land. That is bull-shit lie. The navy forces are there to capture any boats trying to flee the area. Tanks cannot enter the narrow roads of RAML FILASTINI but are on the borders. Inside the neighborhood is a street fighting between armed gangs who are native to the area and new it well, and between army men. The fight and explosions are non stop from Saturday morning till now. Rumors that the army caught 4 storages where Dynamite get produced (sort of mini factories) but no one knows for sure as the area is extremely dangerous and no access to it. It is taking the Syrian army so far two days to control this small area, this by itself tell facts about the highly organized, highly armed, highly trained, islamic radicals to execute their Jihadist plan. What kind of Islam does this group practice? I am just wondering!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

August 14th, 2011, 11:19 pm


majedkhaldoon said:

I,too, believe Syria is going toward civil war,but it will be short one.

August 14th, 2011, 11:34 pm


An armed ‘Salafi’ insurrection? | Syria Revolts said:

[…] Comment’ has published a very good article by Omar S. Dahi. The article contains the writer’s reflections and observations, from his visit […]

August 15th, 2011, 12:11 am


N.Z. said:


Are you a mouthpiece of the regime? at least you sound like one, I know you will not be offended. So tell me, are you trying to justify the attack on Latakia, by using the same empty words, every time this killing machine wreaks havoc in a city or a town? Instill fear and death…

Do you think they are aiming to replace Bashar with a Khalifa ?
Is their aim to create an Islamic Emirate in lieu of a Baathist one?

Are they chanting: yallah erhal ya bashar, Ya bashar ya jaban….

Do you see similarities between the assads’ treatment of Syrians and zionists treatment of Palestinians, ? No journalists were allowed in Gaza, neither in Syria, you want us to believe the official lies ?

Are there more terrorists in Syria than Palestine?

He who kills his people is a traitor.

I hope they will leave the minarets intact.

August 15th, 2011, 12:14 am


Darryl said:

With all this talk about civil war, I have to disagree.There will not be a civil war in Syria. Syria’s population has been living together for a very long time and there is no animosity among the people (especially the new generation), the religious leaders are still united and there are no trained militias in the country. You cannot have a civil war if these three conditions are not violated. Syrian Christians, Sunni, Alwites and Druz are ultra nationalist. This uniqueness does not exist in any Arab or Muslim country and it was there before the Baath came to power.

In Lebanon’s civil war, the militia’s played an irresponsible role as much as the religious leaders who fueled the rage and the people there always looked at each other with hatred. The Lebanese were always divided in terms of their national identity.

Right now, all external forces are engaging in low level brinkmanship. The Saudis want Syria to be the front for Shia wars, but I cannot see Turkey allowing this to happen given the shared history and culture. Turkey is making some threats here and there as they want to make the Saudi’s to be careful playing in Turkey’s backyard. The last think the Turks want is to go back to the Saudi stone ages after after a century of progress.

So there will be isolated incidence here and there but no civil war will occur. Stay cool!

August 15th, 2011, 12:16 am


Abughassan said:

According to press leaks,Asad asked Turkey for 10-14 days to finish what he called ” a war on the state” before he moves decisively on his reform promises. If that is true,the next week or two will probably be bloody with no guarantee of long term success. Bashar is likely to move the army from one spot to the other and insist that the army does not allow locals to create checkpoints or block roads. At best,this is a gamble,if he fails,civil war will get closer to Syria,and if he wins,that will come at the cost of losing whatever support he has left.
Either way,Bashar’s political future is bleak,and there is no alternative to a regime change. Optimists believe that Bashar has decided to quit after he fulfill what he thinks as his duty to prevent a breakup and chaos and prepare Syria for a new era. Others believe he is merely trying to save his head and the group around him from being sidelined or even tried in any future deal brokered by Turkey and the US by showing that he is still in charge and no deal can be reached without his approval.

August 15th, 2011, 12:23 am


Syria no kandahar said:

If you have a surgical abdomen,how do you know if the surgery will be one or ten hours befor opening.

August 15th, 2011, 12:23 am


Haytham Khoury said:

August 15th, 2011, 12:24 am


majedkhaldoon said:

Most operations take less that three hours, few will take more, pre operative diagnosis,is essential, long operations is predicted preoperation.
Syria is a small country,and poor one, it will not tolerate long civil war, short meaning three months.

August 15th, 2011, 12:45 am


Abughassan said:

Majed, the only way to shorten a civil war is to invade the country by a third party. Nobody wants to do it and most syrians are opposed to that solution. The army has to take over if things get worse . You may not like the Syrian army but I will take it over NATO..I have not lost hope yet.
I will surrender if the army breaks up and soldiers start fighting soldiers on a large scale.

August 15th, 2011, 12:56 am


majedkhaldoon said:

How do you define win,for Bashar?
If he was given 15 days,what is left is 10 days,it is not possible for him to win in 10 days.

August 15th, 2011, 12:57 am


N.Z. said:

Haitham khouri,

Thanks for sharing this youtube documentary,
Syria’s Youth Revolutionaries – وثائقي شباب الثورة السورية, I cried for being a coward, I cried for all the pain they’ve endured, their selflessness and nobility is beyond what words can express. Our youth, our future, Syria belongs to them. They will build it with love. I hope their ambitions will be fulfilled sooner than they think.

August 15th, 2011, 1:04 am


Abughassan said:

Personally,I do not think Bashar can win. What his supporters want is an end to any major demonstration and any Hama-like story. This regime is doomed either way.

August 15th, 2011, 1:16 am


Gus said:

There is very limited possibility for intellectual discussion.
The media and the peoples who run this revolution lie and fabricate. I know for a fact that some persons who refused to be part of this protest were stabbed and 1 person had his ears cut off.
Many believes the lies reported in the media, they are brain washed and they have great answer for every thing الشبيحه.
Egypt, Yaman or Libya are not better off after their own toxic revolutions.
I am not trying to change anybody mind because whoever support this revolution is beyond hope.
My only hope is the resilience of the Syrian people.

August 15th, 2011, 1:26 am


MNA said:

Some people keep on betting on a dead horse. There will be no army take over. NEVER. Ask your well connected sources in Syria, if they are familiar with the Syrian army. It is structured in a way that is immune from carrying out a coup d’etat. No army officer, including the defense minister, the army chief of staff, the Air Force commander, all the commanders of the different army divisions are capable of carrying out a coup d’etat and army take over of the state and the country. NOT EVEN MAHER ASSAD or ASSEF SHAWKAT would be capable of such. Remember Rifat Assad in the 80s, he was more powerful than both Assef Shawkat and Maher Assad now days. He tried to take over when Hafez Assad was sick and was unable to do so. He was crushed and exiled.
This regime will not fall anything short of full Iraq-like invasion, and this will never happen.
The only solution is for a negotiated reforms and transition to democracy a la South Africa style. Any hope of any other way to bring down this regime is delusional.

August 15th, 2011, 3:35 am


MNA said:

Civil war between who?? Sunni and Alawis?
How is that possible if the biggest Sunni concentration; Damascus and Aleppo are still backing the regime?
– The coastal region will stand no chance in any civil war
– Damascus and Aleppo are out and will remain to be so, not out of love to the regime, but b/c of intertwined interests and this is more solid than loyalty due to sectarian reasons or just pure loyalty
– The Eastern provinces are under control. Despite of what many think of the Kurds position toward the regime, they are not totally against the regime.. They are very suspicious of possible Turkish role if the regime were to fall or in an event of a civil war.
– Homs, Hama and Dar3a are incapable of launching and sustaining a civil war.

The only cause of a civil war in Syria would be if the army were to split along sectarian lines and this will never happen. All the army divisions that were sent to Hama, Jisr al shoughour, dar3a etcc were commanded and staffed by sunnis. The commanders of the army units who went to Rastan and Hama were both sunnis from Rastan and Hama.

August 15th, 2011, 4:02 am


uzair8 said:

An opinion piece on Al Jazeera English website:

Syria’s electronic army.


August 15th, 2011, 4:04 am


Akbar Palace said:


Thanks for the feedback.

So what has the GOI promised in order to create “affordable housing” and “lowering the cost of living”, and where is the government going to get the money? Will they have to decrease military expenditures or increase taxes?

I think the government missed the boat and should give huge tax benefits to companies, contactors and home buyers that locate outside of central Israel.

August 15th, 2011, 7:55 am


Munzer Sarakbi said:

Great Insightful article – Thank you Mr. Dahi

August 15th, 2011, 9:44 am


Sheila said:

To all those who think that Syria is strong. You are delusional. It will take Israel or Turkey less than a day to level the country. All these missiles you are so boastful about, they will be destroyed before they have a chance to fire one. Hizballah is much stronger than the Syrian army, even though it is a fraction of its size. Ask those who served in 1967 and 1973 wars. They will tell you how potent the Syrian army is. I am not happy to make these statements. It makes me sad, but unfortunately this is the truth.

August 15th, 2011, 9:59 am


ann said:

I am very sorry about your loss Prof. Landis!

August 16th, 2011, 9:19 am


BOSS said:



I agree with your analogy about the Syrian army. Indeed, it is a weak army and is not capable to achieve much against a Turkish or Israeli army or even any Gulf State army. Most of its good weapons are defensive ones and the rest are from the 1970s. Additionally, Israel, Turkey and Co. have much more powerful weapons and up to date.

As for Hizballah,Hamas and other militias, they definitely have proved to stand against organized armies and impose damage on them. The Americans couldnt defeat the groups in Iraq and Afghanistan – and Hizballah was able to free South Lebanon, impose damage on the Israeli army, and remain solid as a resistance group. The reason is simply because of the combat tactics that these groups practice which organized armies are not used to.

Because Syria knows this, it supports those militias and lets the enemy bleed on a long term and never letting them settle in peace.
A very smart way to act as resistance when having limited resources and not willing to bow down to the enemy’s demands.

Having said that, Syria would never be that stupid to enter Golan in a typical military fashion because its a definite loss that would not just be a national failure but would very likely backfire and allow Israel to expand its territories. After all, most of the territorial expansions take place through wars. Whoever is criticizing and bashing Syria for not using its army to go into Golan while using it on its own soil obviously has a kindergarten knowledge of political and military analogy. – There’s a fine line between bravery and stupidity.

Golan could be freed either through diplomacy or through and armed militia.( A scenario similar to how South of Lebanon was freed).

August 16th, 2011, 3:04 pm


The Sahel Front | The Syrian Intifada said:

[…] the very start of this the rebellion, in places as conservative as Hama, the opposition held out an olive branch to the minorities who were the most sullied by collusion […]

March 28th, 2014, 12:42 pm


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