Al-Qaida Targets Syria; Military Uses Hostages; World Fumbles for Syria Policy

Aleppo after two car bombs: Ehsani writes on Sunday, “Aleppo back to normal today. People learning to live with this stuff. Becoming like the Lebanese.”

Ayman al-Zawahri addresses Syrias, urging Muslims to fight for their Syrian brothers and urging Syrians to fight for freedom and liberation and to take heart in the support of the Muslim Umma against the cancerous and deeply sectarian regime of the Assads. “Wounded Syria is still bleeding day after day, and the butcher (Assad) isn’t deterred and doesn’t stop,” said Zawahri,

al-Qaida’s Plans for Syria: It is worth reading what al-Qaida strategists planned for Syria back in 2006. They believed that Syria would become the battleground after Iraq. Here are a few excerpts from the Quoted Wright article:

Al Qaeda, he writes, also expects the Americans to go after Iran’s principal ally in the region, Syria. The removal of the Assad regime—a longtime goal of jihadis—will allow the country to be infiltrated by Al Qaeda, putting the terrorists within reach, at last, of Israel….

The third stage, “Arising and Standing Up,” will last from 2007 to 2010. Al Qaeda’s focus will be on Syria and Turkey, but it will also begin to directly confront Israel, in order to gain more credibility among the Muslim population.

U.S. officials: Al Qaida behind Syria bombings
By Jonathan S. Landay | McClatchy Newspapers,February 10, 2012

WASHINGTON — The Iraqi branch of al Qaida, seeking to exploit the bloody turmoil in Syria to reassert its potency, carried out two recent bombings in the Syrian capital, Damascus, and likely was behind suicide bombings Friday that killed at least 28 people in the largest city, Aleppo, U.S. officials told McClatchy.

The officials cited U.S. intelligence reports on the incidents, which appear to verify Syrian President Bashar Assad’s charges of al Qaida involvement in the 11-month uprising against his rule. The Syrian opposition has claimed that Assad’s regime, which has responded with massive force against the uprising, staged the bombings to discredit the pro-democracy movement calling for his ouster.

The international terrorist network’s presence in Syria also raises the possibility that Islamic extremists will try to hijack the uprising, which would seriously complicate efforts by the United States and its European and Arab partners to force Assad’s regime from power. On Friday, President Barack Obama repeated his call for Assad to step down, accusing his forces of “outrageous bloodshed.”…

The U.S. officials said that AQI and Zawahiri apparently see Syria’s turmoil as an opportunity to reassert themselves after the battering the core group has taken with the death of bin Laden and the killing and capture of key operatives in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

They “are seeing space, seeing a vacuum, and opportunity to bounce back and they are taking advantage of it,” said the first U.S. official.

The U.S. intelligence reports indicate that the bombings came on the orders of Ayman al Zawahiri, the Egyptian extremist who assumed leadership of al Qaida’s Pakistan-based central command after the May 2011 death of Osama bin Laden. They suggest that Zawahiri still wields considerable influence over the network’s affiliates despite the losses the Pakistan-based core group has suffered from missile-firing CIA drones and other intensified U.S. counterterrorism operations.

Jihadist Opportunities in Syria
By Kamran Bokhari | February 14, 2012
Security Weekly, Strafor

In an eight-minute video clip titled “Onward, Lions of Syria” disseminated on the Internet Feb. 12, al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri expressed al Qaeda’s support for the popular unrest in Syria. In it, al-Zawahiri urged Muslims in Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan to aid the Syrian rebels battling Damascus. The statement comes just days after a McClatchy report quoted unnamed American intelligence officials as saying that the Iraqi node of the global jihadist network carried out two attacks against Syrian intelligence facilities in Damascus, while Iraqi Deputy Interior Minister Adnan al-Assadi said in a recent interview with AFP that Iraqi jihadists were moving fighters and weapons into neighboring Syria.

Al Qaeda’s long-term goal has been to oust Arab governments to facilitate the return of a transnational caliphate. Its tactics have involved mainly terrorism intended to cause U.S. intervention in the region. Al Qaeda has hoped such interventions would in turn incite popular uprisings that would bring down the Arab regimes, opening the way for the jihadists to eventually take power. But the jihadist network’s efforts have failed and they have remained a marginal player in the Arab world. By addressing Syria, al Qaeda hopes to tap into the past year of Arab unrest, a movement in which it played little to no part….

It is by no means inevitable that jihadists will flourish in Syria and use it as a launching pad to undermine regional security. The Syrian state is still very much holding, and rebel forces remain divided and do not appear capable of serious advances against the government….

Al Qaeda’s Zawahiri calls for war to oust Syria’s Assad
By Elizabeth A. Kennedy, Associated Press / February 12, 2012

In a video message, Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri called for Muslims to rally for a war to oust Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. …The regime has long blamed terrorists for the 11-month-old revolt, and Zawahiri’s endorsement creates new difficulties for the US, its Western allies and Arab states trying to figure out a way to help force Assad from power….

After Friday’s bombings in Aleppo, Zuheir al-Atasi, a member of the opposition Syrian National Council, accused the government of staging the attacks. “After the heavy explosions, members of the opposition went to the site to film it. There were ambulances but no corpses. We documented that on tape,” he said in Vienna during a gathering of Syrian opposition groups. “When the Syrian National TV arrived they started to bring out corpses. Once again we witnessed a theater play.”…

Thomas Pierret writes:
A video released yesterday on Youtube shows civilians walking beside a tank in a street of Saqba (eastern suburbs of Damascus) earlier in February. That the civilians are unarmed, and that they stand in the middle of the road while soldiers shelter on the sides lead to one obvious conclusion: they are used as human shields. Since such an advanced tank is extremely well protected (it is impenetrable to RPGs), one of the only ways to destroy it is to detonate a massive roadside bomb (as Syrian insurgents did with some success in Homs, Rastan and Zabadani), but in this case it would kill all the hostages.

Arab League calls for joint mission with U.N. in Syria

BEIRUT — The Arab League called Sunday for the creation of a joint Arab-United Nations peacekeeping mission to halt the escalating violence in Syria, as Syrian government forces sustained their assault against protest strongholds in the city of Homs and elsewhere.

Syria ‘categorically’ rejects Arab League decisions
(AFP), 12 February 2012

CAIRO – Syria on Sunday “categorically” rejected the decision by Arab foreign ministers to back the Syrian opposition and call for a joint UN-Arab peacekeeping mission, the Syrian ambassador to Cairo said.

“The Syrian Arab Republic categorically rejects the decisions of the Arab League” which he said “reflects the hysteria of these governments” after failing to get foreign intervention at the UN Security Council, Yusef Ahmed said in a statement…

Bahrain King dismisses opposition as disunited
Kuwait Times – 13 February, 2012

Bahrain’s King Hamad dismissed the country’s opposition movement as disunited and said the threat of Iran had compelled him to call in foreign troops to crush last year’s uprising.

“In a sense there is no ‘opposition’ in Bahrain, as the phrase implies one unified block with the same views,” the king said extracts from an interview with Der Spiegel. “Such a phrase is not in our constitution, unlike say the United Kingdom….

The  Arab Peace Plan

CAIRO: Arabs will end their observer mission to Syria and will ask the UN Security Council to send an international peacekeeping force to end the bloodshed there, according to a draft resolution obtained by Reuters on Sunday.

Arab ministers met in Cairo to revive diplomatic efforts after Russia and China vetoed a UN resolution that called for President Bashar al-Assad to step aside. That resolution was based on an Arab peace plan and had Western backing.

The draft resolution also called for tighter implementation of economic sanctions Arabs previously imposed on Syria, halting diplomatic cooperation with Syria and called for providing aid and political support to the Syrian people.

As part of the Arab efforts, Tunisia said it would host the first meeting on Feb. 24 of a “Friends of Syria” contact group made up of Arab and other states and backed by Western powers.
“How long will we stay as onlookers to what is happening to the brotherly Syrian people, and how much longer will we grant the Syrian regime one period after another so it can commit more massacres against its people?” Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal asked ministers at the start of the League session.

“At our meeting today I call for decisive measures, after the failure of the half-solutions,” he said. “The Arab League should … open all channels of communication with the Syrian opposition and give all forms of support to it.”

The draft proposed scrapping the Arab monitoring mission which had been sent to Syria in late December but which was criticised by Syria’s opposition as ineffective from the outset. It also faced internal dissent and logistical problems.

The Sudanese general leading the observers quit on Sunday. “I won’t work one more time in the framework of the Arab League,” General Mohammed al-Dabi, whose appointment had been criticised because of Sudan’s own rights record, told Reuters. “I performed my job with full integrity and transparency but I won’t work here again as the situation is skewed,” he added.

The draft resolution instead called for “the UN Security Council to send an international peacekeeping force to Syria”.

Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby told the ministers he was proposing a new joint Arab-UN monitoring team to Syria, an idea he has already proposed to the UN secretary-general. That plan has drawn only lukewarm support from diplomats in New York.

Syria forces shell Homs, Saudis push U.N. resolution

Syrian state media: Gunmen assassinate army general in Damascus
By Associated Press, February 11, 6:10 AM

BEIRUT — Gunmen assassinated an army general in Damascus on Saturday in the first killing of a high ranking military officer in the Syrian capital since the uprising against President Bashar Assad’s regime began in March, the state-run news agency said.

SANA said three gunmen opened fire at Brig. Gen. Issa al-Khouli in the morning as he left his home in the Damascus neighborhood of Rukn-Eddine. Al-Khouli was a doctor and the chief of a military hospital in the capital. No one claimed responsibility for the killing.

Ehsani writes: “Egypt stocks largest rise globally in jan 2012. They were up 28 percent. I guess salafists are not so bad for business after all.

Farid Zakaria: Arming the Syrian Opposition is Risky

Journalist accompanied rebels

The American journalist Clarissa Ward has accompanied a group of rebels in an attack on a checkpoint:

In normal life, they are farmers or ordinary workers – many are young and inexperienced military – as well as Fouad. The 23-year-old mechanic. Now he’s fighting on the front line. “You’re surrounded,” says the rebel leader at the checkpoints. “Come out and join us!” The answer: shots.

Determined to take the post, the rebels pull a hand grenade. Suddenly, the advance is stopped abruptly: Fouad has been hit. They desperately try to get him out of the firing line. The assault fails. Now they are fighting for Fouads life. But when they arrived at the hospital, he is dead – just like many other fighters who are there taken to. “The Arab honor is not there anymore,” said a rebel and does Assad responsible for this. “He’s a dog,” complained one woman. “Assad is nothing more than a dog!”

As night falls, the families come to mourn their fathers, sons and brothers. Then, under cover of darkness, they carry the dead to the grave.

click on the player in the article to see the video

Video: Syrian soldiers defect to fight against government

Aleppo bears the brunt in another day of carnage and defiance
By Alastair Beach, Saturday 11 February 2012

At least 28 people were killed when two explosions ripped through state security buildings in Aleppo yesterday, widening Syria’s conflict to a regime stronghold which has so far escaped major unrest.

One of the blasts tore through a street outside the city’s Military Intelligence Directorate. Footage broadcast by state television showed rubble strewn over the road and five corpses lying under blankets to one side of the street.

According to a state TV presenter, who was filmed crying as the footage was beamed back, a number of children playing in a nearby park were killed in the attack. It was not possible to confirm the account.

The second blast hit a police headquarters in another part of the city. State media said at least 175 people were injured in the explosion.

The government blamed the blasts, the first since three similar attacks hit Damascus in December and January, killing dozens, on “terrorists”. Opposition figures, however, accused the Baathist regime of staging the incidents to try to undermine the opposition.

For Iraqis, Aid to Rebels in Syria Repays a Debt
By TIM ARANGO and DURAID ADNAN

FALLUJA, Iraq — Not so long ago, Syrians worked to send weapons and fighters into Iraq to help Sunnis fighting a sectarian conflict; suddenly, it is the other way around.

A belated celebration of the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday on the outskirts of this western Iraqi city on Saturday quickly took on the trappings of a rally for Syria’s rebels. Young boys waved the old green, black and white flag Syria adopted in the 1930s after declaring independence from the French. Others collected money to send aid and weapons to the fighters opposing President Bashar al-Assad’s government across the border.

“I wish I could go there with my gun and fight,” said Sheik Hamid al-Hais, a tribal leader interviewed at his compound in Ramadi, the capital of Anbar Province.

It is increasingly clear that Syria’s sectarian war is becoming the regional conflict that analysts have long feared. The rush of recent events — including bombings and assassinations in Damascus and Aleppo, and intensifying violence in northern Lebanon coming directly out of the sectarian hostilities in Syria — suggest that the Assad government now also faces antagonists across its borders.

Like Iraq and Afghanistan before it, analysts say, Syria is likely to become the training ground for a new era of international conflict, and jihadists are already signing up. This weekend, Al Qaeda’s ideological leadership and, more troublingly, the more mainstream Jordanian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, called for jihadists around the world to fight Mr. Assad’s government.

Nowhere is the cross-border nature of sectarian hostilities more clear than in Iraq’s western desert, where Sunni Arabs are beginning to rally to the cause of the Syrian opposition and, in the process, perhaps strengthen their hand in dealings with an antagonistic Shiite-led national government in Baghdad.

A weapons dealer who operates in Anbar, who said he goes by the alias Ahmed al-Masri, said, “Five months ago I was told that the Syrian brothers are in need of weapons. I started to buy the weapons from the same guys that I previously sold to — the fighters of Anbar and Mosul. I used to bring them from Syria; now it’s the other way around.”

A New Transition Council is to be Established, according to “Syria Politic”. It will call for Jihad

General Mustafa al-Sheikh, the highest ranked military defector who set up a military leadership under the name of the “Higher Military Council,” is part of it. He is trying to push aside Col Asaad of the Free Syrian Army and seems to have gotten the backing of the SNC, or at least some of it.

Other prominent members of this new “Transitional Council” are Shaikh Ibrahim bin Abd al-Aziz al-Z’ubi, the Director General of “The Liberal Syrian Party,” and Ausama Mardini, Director General of “The National Front for Salvation and Change.”

الإعلان خلال أيام عن “مجلس انتقالي” يسعى لـ”الجهاد”

13 فبراير 2012 : خاص ، سيريا بوليتيك

الشيخ الزعبي وأسامة مارديني

علم “سيريا بوليتيك” أنه سيتم الإعلان خلال الأيام القليلة القادمة عن مجلس جديد لبعض أطراف وجهات المعارضة السورية تحت اسم “المجلس الإنتقالي” وأن من أبرز أهداف المجلس “الجهاد”، على حد تعبير المصدر الذي كشف هذه المعلومات.

وقال المصدر “سينضم إلى المجلس العميد المنشق مصطفى الشيخ الذي أسس المجلس العسكري الأعلى، وضباط أخرون منهم الرائد ماهر النعيمي الذي انشق مؤخرا عن الجيش الحر”، وأضاف “سيضم المجلس أيضا إسلاميين ممن يؤمنون بالجهاد ويدعون إليه”، كما قال المصدر.

وكشف المصدر لـ”سيريا بوليتيك” أن من “أبرز من يقف وراء المجلس الشيخ ابراهيم بن عبدالعزيز الزعبي الأمين العام لحزب الأحرار السوري، وأسامة مارديني أمين عام الجبهة الوطنية للإنقاذ والتغيير”، وقال إنهما “وقّعا منذ يومين وثيقة لتأسيس جبهة عمل موحدة تدعو لتحرير سوريا والوقوف في وجه كل أشكال التفاوض مع النظام، ورفض أي جهة معارضة تقبل بالحوار مع النظام، ومشروعية حمل السلاح، والجهاد ضد النظام وحلفائه الفرس (كما جاء حرفيا في البيان المشترك)، ودعم قرارات مجلس التعاون الخليجي”، وفق البيان.

MEMRI

#3315 – Syrian Opposition Cleric Al-’Ar’our Appeals to Israel for Help in Treating Wounded Syrians
Safa TV (Kuwait) – February 10, 2012

Syria’s Kurds Could Lose Out in Post-Assad Scenario

By Idris Ahmedi | 13 Feb 2012

Although Syria’s Kurds have a long history of opposing the central government in Damascus, they have so far refrained from widespread, proactive participation in the ongoing rebellion against President Bashar al-Assad’s Baathist regime. However, if they continue to limit themselves to being mere spectators to the unfolding drama, they may well find themselves deprived of any long-term political gains in a post-Assad Syria.
..
Adding to this fear is the Kurds’ unease with Turkey’s influence over the Syrian National Council, the rebels’ Istanbul-based government-in-exile. As long as the Kurdish issue in Turkey is not resolved and decades-old fears on the part of the Turkish political establishment of a pan-Kurdish drive for independence are not ameliorated, Syria’s Kurds cannot look upon Ankara’s role favorably. Absent unequivocal guarantees from Syria’s Sunni elites, the Kurds in Syria appear to have concluded that it would be irrational to back the council wholeheartedly.

It is possible, however, that the Syrian Kurds are making a strategic miscalculation.

Bahrain’s King Says Assad Should Listen to His People

Israel hedges its bets on Syria

Roxanne Horesh…al-Jazeera

…”[Israel] should look at Syria and see Syria as the Achilles heel of Iran. It is a great opportunity, an enormous opportunity, and this is where the strategy of the Israeli government should be,” former Mossad Chief Ephraim Halevy said at the Herzliya conference, the annual confab of Middle East security players and watchers, held in early February…

Trojan horse for the Syrian regime!
By Abdul Rahman al-Rashed – al-Arabiya
Monday, 13 February 2012

… The Arab League was used to prevent the European movement. It was used to conspire against Turkey during the Rabat meeting under the title of the “Arab solution” that aimed at keeping the Turks away. The Turks got angry and said frankly “we will leave you to resolve it”, although they were aware that no country is capable of confronting the Syrian regime except Turkey.

Is Israel being deliberately indecisive on whether or not to support the Syrian opposition?

Save Us from the Liberal Hawks
Syria’s a tragedy. But it’s not our problem.
BY DAVID RIEFF | FEBRUARY 13, 2012

Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of (humanitarian) war. That, at least, is what much of the U.S. policy elite seems to be pushing for these days in Syria. That many of the “permahawks,” like Fouad Ajami, Max Boot, and Elliott Abrams, who championed the George W. Bush administration’s decision to overthrow Saddam Hussein, are now calling for supporting the uprising against Bashar al-Assad’s dictatorship should come as no surprise to anyone….

Comments (142)


Pages: « 1 2 [3] Show All

101. Mina said:

Jad is banned until 21st Feb??
Who then can I ask for -a link to the Russian and Emirati foreign affairs ministers press conference in Moscow 2 days ago and -Mahmud Abbas’s spech at the Arab league council in Cairo 4 days ago ?
Please Jad, log in with another email!!

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February 15th, 2012, 10:07 am

 

102. Tara said:

It is heartbreaking. No doubt.

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February 15th, 2012, 10:11 am

 

103. Juergen said:

Mina

how is Cairo these days? I am planning a trip this week.

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February 15th, 2012, 10:11 am

 

104. Juergen said:

Mina
The moderator asked for JAD to come back after 48 hours now.

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February 15th, 2012, 10:13 am

 
 

106. Mawal95 said:

The text of the Constitution that is to be submitted to referendum is online in Arabic at http://www.moi.gov.sy/ar/aid23744.html

One of its provisions is that a candidate for President must get the endorsements of 35 MEMBERS of parliament not 35 percent of the members of parliament as previously leaked. The parliament has 250 members today. Article 60 of the new Constitution says ordinary law shall determine the number of members of parliament.

Article 60 also says that at least half the members of parliament shall be representatives of “workers and small farmers” and ordinary law shall define what that shall mean in practice. Can any of you experts explain what that is intending to say?

PS: Thank you moderator for your kindness towards JAD.

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February 15th, 2012, 10:33 am

 

107. Majed97 said:

The new constitution is a major disappointment and filled with contradictions. I was hoping Syria will finally join the rest of the civilized world by becoming completely secular. I think the government has dropped the ball on this by making religion a center piece for the executive and judicial branches. Article 3 and article 8 clearly contradict each other. On one hand, the president has to be Moslem and the source of legislation must be Islam; but on the other hand parties cannot be organized based on religious principles?!?

لايجوز مباشرة اي نشاط سياسي او قيام احزاب او تجمعات سياسية على اساس ديني او طائفي او قبلي او مناطقي او فئوي او مهني او بناء على التفرقة بسبب الجنس او الاصل او العرق او اللون

دين رئيس الجمهورية الاسلام والفقه الاسلامي مصدر رئيسي للتشريع وتحترم الدولة جميع الاديان وتكفل حرية شعائرها واحوالها الشخصية مصونة ومرعية

If the government thinks accommodating religious elements will make them happy, they must not know Islamist well. The ciaos in Syria is as bad as it has ever been and nothing will make the Islamists happy, short of complete annihilations of “Kuffars”, so why not go all the way and make a constitution that will satisfy secularists, minorities and rational Moslems. They should have just adopted the American constitution, word for word. It’s the best in the world. I’m voting against it, unless they drop those regressive articles.

http://syrianow.sy/index.php?d=34&id=47488

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February 15th, 2012, 10:35 am

 

108. Juergen said:

majed

and those articles which are the most important are kept under chapter 2 and can therefore be changed in the parlament. The majority of constitutions in the world do sanction the change of those basic human rights.

As much as the Assads progressed their own sunnisation, the article which asks that the president must be a muslim is absurd.

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February 15th, 2012, 10:48 am

 

109. irritated said:

Colonel Ryad al Assad “groomed” for the 24th february meeting

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February 15th, 2012, 11:02 am

 

110. Uzair8 said:

[Note: I posted this in the wrong post earlier. I couldn't find the comment and was suspecting it got deleted for some reason..lol.]

Without belittling the sacrifices made by the Bahrainis, would it be fair to say that if they showed half of the determination, commitment and willingness to sacrifice that the syrians have shown, they may have achieved alot more than they have? At least it wouldn’t have been as easy for the rulers and Saudi to suppress the uprising.

Having said that it is unfair to criticise or expect such huge demands.

In fact we should aknowledge the praiseworthiness of the sacrifices of the Syrian people. MashaAllah.

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February 15th, 2012, 11:02 am

 

111. irritated said:

#110 Uzair8

You mean you regret the Bahrainis chose to remain peaceful?

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February 15th, 2012, 11:05 am

 

112. ann said:

Syria won’t accept peacekeepers: Syrian Ambassador to China – 2012-02-15

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-02/15/c_122707430.htm

BEIJING, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) — Syria staunchly opposed the use of international peacekeepers but would welcome observers to its troubled territory, the newly appointed Syrian Ambassador to China said on Wednesday.

Replacing the withdrawn Arab League observer mission to Syria with a joint peacekeeping force comprised of Arab and United Nations forces to monitor a ceasefire between the rival sides was totally unacceptable, Ambassador Imad Moustapha told Xinhua.

But he said Syria welcomed observer missions from the international community to conduct a fair and objective investigation of what was going on in Syria.

The peacekeeper plan was proposed by an Arab League foreign ministers meeting to the U.N. Security Council earlier this month.

As the only Arab country adopting secularism, Syria was ahead of most Arab countries in terms of democracy. It implemented freedom of religion and its vice president was a woman, Moustapha said.

[...]

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February 15th, 2012, 11:07 am

 

113. Revlon said:

5 year old Aya bakkour is another victim of Wa2dulfitnah operation that was declared by Jr as early as late march 2011.

Her mother sid families were encouraged by government forces to leave there homes for safety reasons, and in order for them to search and destroy, but once on the streets they were sprayed with bullets by Assad forces.

AlFatiha upon Aya’s soul,
May God bless her family with solace and empower them with fortitude.

حماة الشهيدة الطفلة آيه بكور 12-02-2012

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February 15th, 2012, 11:08 am

 

114. irritated said:

Majed97

“They should have just adopted the American constitution, word for word. It’s the best in the world.”

The founding fathers of the USA constitution were Christians and the US Constitution reflect judeo-christians values that are not necessarily universal.
Maybe the Syrians living in Syria are more attached to their arabic and moslem roots than the ones who are living in the USA and who would prefer to return to an americanized version of Syria.

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February 15th, 2012, 11:16 am

 

115. ann said:

Assad will not resign in any circumstances: Syrian diplomat – 2012-02-15

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-02/15/c_131412701.htm

MOSCOW, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) — President Bashar al-Assad would not resign under any circumstances, Syrian Ambassador to Russia Riad Haddad said here Wednesday.

There was no possibility Assad would step down because “the president is legitimate and was elected by a majority of the Syrian population,” Haddad told reporters.

“We are ready to hold talks with the systemic opposition, but for those who carry weapons, we consider them terrorist groups and mercenaries. They should be talked to with the use of weapons”.

[...]

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February 15th, 2012, 11:18 am

 

116. zoo said:

Wakeup West! Syria is not Libya, it’s KOSOVO say SNC’s Radwan Ziadeh

Kosovo shows how the west can intervene in Syria

By Radwan Ziadeh

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/745bf824-5701-11e1-be5e-00144feabdc0.html#ixzz1mT5CClvv

The writer is a senior fellow at the US Institute of Peace and a member of the opposition Syrian National Council

As it is not copyrighted like the article, this is a comment from a reader

“Under Serbia Kosovo was run as an apartheid system where non-Serbs (the majority occupants) were discriminated against in every area. That is what led directly to the conflict. There were attempts to gain a peaceful and negotiated settlement at Ramboiullet – that failed, mostly due to intransigence from Milosevic. The US led intervention was designed to try and stop a guerilla campaign that was spiralling into an all out war. The power to stop the conflict was always with Milosevic, and he refused.

Kosovo was about as successful as a peace intervention can be, and the economic challenges facing Kosovo now are not much different to what it faced before the war. It is bordering the most poor countries of South Eastern Europe and is still in a transition phase. It would be better for it to have full recognition as a sovereign state globally, and for Serbia to accept this.

Anybody who thinks the International Community has the means energise the economy of a war-torn country with ongoing ethnic tensions is living in a fantasy world. The best we can do is nip small scale conflicts before they spiral out of control into full scale wars. After that, you’re looking at about two decades or more of peace-building within the country where younger generations are raised without hatred for their neighbours. Kosovo, Serbia and the broader region there have a long hard road ahead of them, and only they can improve – or detiortate – the situation for themselves.”

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February 15th, 2012, 11:22 am

 

117. Juergen said:

An interessting read:

An economic blockade can defeat President Bashar al-Assad
Syria’s critics should not be mesmerised by the Russian and Chinese UN vetoes.

By Malcolm Rifkind

quote:

“I have had to meet some really nasty dictators over the years. Most of them, such as Fidel Castro and Robert Mugabe, could be unexpectedly amiable, with an infectious sense of humour, and I had to remind myself of their vicious treatment of their own people. The most sinister, however, was Hafez al-Assad, whom I met in Damascus in 1995. ”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/9082067/An-economic-blockade-can-defeat-President-Bashar-al-Assad.html

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February 15th, 2012, 11:24 am

 

118. Uzair8 said:

@111 Irritated

The Bahrainis weren’t as fed up as the syrians. The peaceful protests refused to buckle to the brutal onslaught.

Understand one thing. Lets go along with this idea of ‘armed gangs’ and ‘terrorists’ for a minute. These are not a threat to the regimes grip on power and not for one second does anyone believe that the regime regards ‘them’ as a threat to its rule. A nuisance at worst. A security issue.

What was and still is a real threat to the regimes grip on power is the growing peaceful protests. Even the regime knows this deep down. It talks about terrorism and armed gangs yet it’s actions are all about suppressing the peaceful protests in the towns and cities aswell as beating civilians on the street and imprisoning tens of thousands.

Right from the start there was no doubt the regime was going to respond in any way other than the violent, fascist and brutal one. The tried and tested method of over 40 years. A formula that has been very successful and one they (the security services) are immensely proud of and have great confidence in (arrogance). While the other uprisings were taking place the regime already planned its responce but realised it would need a pretext/justification so it already prepared this armed gang/terrorist narrative.

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February 15th, 2012, 11:25 am

 

119. norman said:

Majed 97,

I agree,

Irritated, Muslims should be treated in the West the way Christians are treated in the Mideast their homes,

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February 15th, 2012, 11:28 am

 

120. Syria no Kandahar said:

تعا لعنا ياناتو

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February 15th, 2012, 11:31 am

 

121. zoo said:

IBOPE Zogby Poll: Two-Thirds of Voters Believe Syria in Throes of Civil War
http://www.ibopezogby.com/news/2012/02/14/ibope-zogby-poll-two-thirds-voters-believe-syria-throes-civil-war/
Opinion Split on US Military Action

UTICA, NY – While 65% of likely US voters think that the situation in Syria has become a civil war, support of US military action as part of a collation is split, a new IBOPE Zogby survey finds.

Forty five percent would support American military action in Syria as part of collation (11% strongly and 34% somewhat), and 46% would oppose (22% strongly and 24% somewhat), but voters overwhelmingly oppose the U.S. striking out alone (80% to 14%).

The February 10-13 interactive survey finds the level of awareness about current unrest in Syria is very high at 89%. Opinion about the current level of US involvement is split, with 30% saying it is just right, 29% saying it is not enough and 14% saying it is too much. More than one in four (26%) are not sure.

A total of 65% say Syria is important to US security, and 21% say it is either not at all important (7%) or somewhat unimportant (14%.)

There are partisan differences on some of these questions. For example, among Republicans 25% of Republicans would support US military action without participation of a coalition, compared to just 6% of Democrats. Twice as many Republicans (41%) as Democrats (22%) say current U.S. involvement is not great enough.

IBOPE Zogby International conducted an online survey of 2,218 adults. The margin of error is +/- 2.1 percentage points. A sampling of IBOPE Zogby International’s online panel, which is representative of the adult population of the US, was invited to participate. Slight weights were added to region, party, age, race, religion, gender and education to more accurately reflect the population.

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February 15th, 2012, 11:34 am

 

122. ann said:

Five army personnel killed in clashes with armed group – 2012-02-15

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-02/15/c_131412367.htm

DAMASCUS, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) — Five law-enforcement personnel, including a colonel and a first lieutenant, were killed Tuesday in clashes with an “armed terrorist group” in Syria’s northern province of Aleppo, state-run SANA news agency reported Wednesday.

The clashes, which occurred at the suburb of al-Attareb, also led to the killing of nine “terrorists” and the wounding of many others, said SANA.

In the central province of Homs, armed terrorist groups on Tuesday blew up a number of houses and attacked a college dormitory with mortars and guns, causing large damage to the buildings and spreading panic among the students, said SANA.

It said law-enforcement forces found a number of tunnels used by terrorists to smuggle weapons at Baba Amr neighborhood in Homs.

The terrorist groups exploded a number of houses to intimidate residents, the report said, adding that the blast was filmed and would be later broadcasted by some TV channels that were “partners in shedding the Syrian blood in an attempt to frame army men.”

[...]

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February 15th, 2012, 11:35 am

 

123. Uzair8 said:

This referendum and the election after 90 days. Russia and Iran travelled to Damascus to meet Assad after the UN veto. Perhaps they made clear to him the pressure they were feeling as a result of their maintaining the current support of his rule? He may have had to promise them something hence this referendum and the 90 day election.

Whatever. It’s gonna be rightly rejected for a number of reasons. On top of that it’ll give him another 3 months of breathing space.

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February 15th, 2012, 11:38 am

 

124. Revlon said:

بيان إدانة من أبناء الطائفة العلوية في حمص والساحل لمجازر النظام
Statement by members of Alawis community of Homs and the coastal region denouncing regime’s massacres.

موقع أخبار الشرق – الأربعاء، 08 شباط/فبراير 2012 06:14 بتوقيت دمشق
سورية اليوم – أهم الأخبار
http://www.levantnews.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=10991%3A2012-02-08-04-15-10&catid=81%3Asyria-politics-headlines&Itemid=55

أصدر مواطنون سوريون من الطائفة العلوية بياناً يدينون فيه المجازر التي ترتكب في حمص على يد قوات النظام السوري.

وجاء في بيان نشر على الفيسبوك:
“نحن مواطنون وناشطون سياسيون ومثقفون من منبت علوي وخصوصا من حمص وريف الساحل، ندين بقوة جرائم بشارالأسد وندين بالخصوص القصف الذي تعرضت له مدينتنا الباسلة مدينة حمص الذي راح ضحيته مئات الشهداء ومئات الجرحى، بينهم شبان وأطفال ونساء، كلهم أبرياء وكلهم سوريون وكلهم مظلومون وندين كل أنواع القتل والاجتياح التي يمارسها النظام في ريف دمشق وحماه وإدلب وكل مكان من سورية،

نحن ومن منطلق حرصنا على وطننا السوري المعذّب ندعو بشدة أهلنا السوريين من كل الطوائف والإثنيات للبقاء صفاً واحداً لتفويت الفتنة التي يحاول النظام الأسدي المجرم زرعها لجر البلاد إلى حرب أهلية لا يعرف أحد كيف أو أين تنتهي، نحن السوريون العلويون في كل مكان من سورية ننبّه أخواننا إلى أن الجيش الأسدي يستخدم أحياء العلويين في حمص ليمارس اعتداءه على بقية الأحياء محاولاً بهذه الوسيلة إثارة الاقتتال الطائفي بين أبناء الشعب السوري في حمص، لذلك فنحن نحمّل أفراد النظام الأسدي وكل المتعاملين معه من أشخاص وقوى وأحزاب في الداخل والخارج مسؤولية ما يجري في البلاد ونحملهم بالأخص مسؤولية أيقاد الفتنة الطائفية التي قد تؤدي إلى تقسيم سورية، كما ندعو كل العسكريين الشرفاء من ضباط وصف ضباط ورجال أمن الانشقاق عن آلة نظام العصابة القاتلة، هذه الآلة المدمّرة لبنيان الوطن السوري الحبيب، كما ندعوهم الوقوف في وجه هذا النظام اللاوطني في محاولته لزرع الفتنة الطائفية والمناطقية والقومية ومحاولة تقسيم سورية كي يبقى على أشلائها، كما إننا ندين الموقف الروسي اللامسؤول ونحمّل النظام الروسي القاتل مسؤولية كل طفل وامرأة ورجل يقتل برصاصه وأسلحته.

ونعلن ما يلي:
1- وقوفنا العلني واللامشروط إلى جانب الثوار في سوريا
2- وقوفنا العلني واللامشروط ضد العصابات الحاكمة لسوريا وضد من يساندها أويدعمها مهما اختلفت التسميات والحجج
3- وقوفنا العلني واللامشروط ضد الذين يراهنون على قتل الشعب فهؤلاء هم أعداء سوريا المستقبل مهما اختلفت انتماءاتهم
عاشت سورية حرة واحدة ديمقراطية مستقلة”.

ووقع البيان كل من:
د. تماضر عبدالله، د.توفيق دنيا، د.رامي حسين، رشا عمران، نزار حمود، كفاح علي ديب، المحامي عُباب رياض خليل، عادل محفوظ، الفنانة لويز عبدالكريم، الفنانة ريم علي، يامن حسين، فؤاد ملا، عبدالكريم علي، فايق المير، فراس سعد، عُلا رمضان، ماهر إبراهيم، مرح وسّوف، نينار حسن، سارة صالح، علي بدرية، علي عبود، رامي كوسا، ربا حسن، غياث الجندي، راغدة حسين، روان مسعود، ميلاد أمين، علي نزير علي، سهير أسمر، خلدون الإبراهيم، محمود سلمان، محمود عبدالله، أسماء عمار، سوزان سلوم، تميم أحمد، أحمد م أحمد، شعبان وسّوف، سليمان علي، حسام وقّاف، حبيب محمد، نضال سعيد، ماهر اسماعيل، جميلة بركات، نضال س سلامه، ربى حداد، عادل سعود، عبير محمد، نهلة عباس.

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February 15th, 2012, 11:40 am

 

125. ann said:

Syrian president sets Feb. 26 for constitutional referendum – 2012-02-15

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-02/15/c_131412351.htm

DAMASCUS, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) — Syrian President Bashar al-Assad issued a presidential decree Wednesday, setting Feb. 26 as the date for the referendum on the new draft constitution, state-run SANA news agency reported.

Al-Assad received Sunday a copy of the draft constitution from the head of a national committee entrusted with drafting a new constitution, SANA said, adding that after the president review the draft it would be referred to the People’s Assembly before being put up for a referendum.

The Syrian president decreed the formation of a national committee on Oct. 15, 2011, to prepare a draft constitution within four months.

The committee members, including 29 academics, lawyers and opposition figures, have stressed that the new constitution was written in a way that would preserve the dignity and rights of the Syrian people, according to SANA.

According to the state television, the draft constitution contains 157 articles divided into six basic parts: rights and freedom, the rule of law, the state authorities, the constitutional court, the amendments of the constitution, and other general provisions.

It said the draft constitution stipulates that Syria’s political system is based on the principle of political pluralism and a democratic exercise of power through balloting boxes, and that any political activity or the establishment of parties and political gatherings should not be on religious, sectarian, tribal or factional basis.

[...]

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February 15th, 2012, 11:43 am

 

126. irritated said:

#118 UZAIR8
“The Bahrainis weren’t as fed up as the syrians.”

On what basis are you making this statement?

The sunni rulers in Bahrain persistently refused to share power with the majority Shias, they called for a sunni foreign army to help them quell the uprisings equipped with the best anti-riots that exists made in UK and USA, they rased the Pearl square, they fired, tortured and emprisonned doctors. Yet the protesters remain admirably relentless and peaceful and did not ask for foreign help or arms. That is a noble revolution.

Anyway I wonder how you can judge who was more fed up that the others. You are neither in Syria, nor in Bahrain and you rely on news channels and we all know how impartial they have been about Bahrain, an ally to the USA and a US military base.

“And he defended the high number of royal family members in the cabinet, saying they received their posts because of merit. In addition to the prime minister and three of four deputy prime ministers, the Khalifas hold eight other portfolios, including finance, foreign affairs, interior, justice, and the royal court.”

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February 15th, 2012, 11:46 am

 

127. irritated said:

#123 Uzair8

I am surprised no one used the cliche “too little too late” this time.

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February 15th, 2012, 11:48 am

 

128. Ghufran said:

I hope jad does not leave SC. Banning him for a week was clearly harsh and uncalled for,I understand the need to keep posts short and link articles and news to their original source.reducing the ban to 48 hours is a welcome compromise. Take a little break from posting,Jad,I did that few times.

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February 15th, 2012, 11:56 am

 

129. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Juergen,

This is the best time to go to Egypt! Hotel and flights prices are so low. I saw on booking.com that 5 stars hotels are around 40-50 US$. A year ago same hotels were at 150-200 US$ per night.
.

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February 15th, 2012, 12:09 pm

 

130. Uzair8 said:

@126 Irritated said:

“On what basis are you making this statement?”

Syrian regime is way worse than the Bahraini. I don’t have to list the comparisons.

The Syrians want it more (freedom). They have proved this by their persistence.

Btw it is ‘too little too late’. He has blood on his hands and the people want Assads execution. Anything else would be hard to swallow as it would feel like he (and the regime) have got away with it.

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February 15th, 2012, 12:13 pm

 

131. Juergen said:

Amir

I usually stay in a small hostel place, one of those near Tahrir, i feel they need customers.
I dont like to stay in those fancy places, but the garden restaurant in the Marriott hotel is a must, especially at night.
I am surprised though, flights are still full´at least on LH.

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February 15th, 2012, 12:19 pm

 

132. ann said:

‘Assad will fall, but not so quickly’ – February 15, 2012

http://www.jewishjournal.com/rosnersdomain/item/assad_will_fall_but_not_so_quickly_20120215/

So you think Assad is doomed, he cannot survive?

No. I would expect him to fall, but my analysis is that he is not going to fall so soon. I don’t know when, but I’ve been saying it time and again that the balance of power even now is still in his favor, unfortunately. He has the support of the military echelons, most of them are Alawite, but also Sunni and Christian [Syrians] support him, the middle classes, the new middle classes, also mostly Sunni, they support him because of interests, and many others who enjoy the reforms of the Baath party. Again, it’s a brutal regime, but it’s also good for the people and they support him. And many people don’t want chaos, and Christians for example are afraid that the Muslim Brotherhood will emerge and then they will be in trouble.

On the other hand, the opposition is very weak and divided. Say for example you have a mass defection of soldiers, most of them are Sunni – a defection with their tanks and artillery to the rebels, this can change the balance of power. But for the time being the Syrian free army is weak and divided, and there is no outside intervention as was the case with Libya. I want to remind you that in Iraq, Saddam Hussein was in a worse situation after ‘91. Kurdistan – also Iraq – was a no-fly zone, also the south was a no-fly zone and [Hussein] was in the middle and he survived; until 2002 when the Americans invaded, he was still there. And Bashar is in a better situation, he is also supported by Iran – a very powerful support, military and economic – also by military and diplomatic support of Russia, [and] Chinese diplomatic support. He is not in an ideal situation, but he can survive for quite a while. I don’t know for how long, it’s not a matter of weeks; it’s months, maybe a year or more. Again, if Turkey decides to intervene on behalf of NATO or something else, this can change the situation.

[...]

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February 15th, 2012, 12:20 pm

 
 

134. Uzair8 said:

@132.

I can think of at least 2 scenarios for Assad.

Firstly, the Humpty Dumpty scenario in which all his Shabeeha will not be able to put him together again.

Secondly, there is the ‘Leaning Tower of Piza’ scenario in which for a long time it will look like he is about to fall.

I say the humpty dumpty one.

EDIT: Actually I say both. For a while it will look like he is about to fall without falling and then all of a sudden …the humpty dumpty scenario. They wont be trying to put him together again as they will be running to the hills as fast as their legs can take them.

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February 15th, 2012, 12:36 pm

 

135. Jerusalem said:

<>

Rifat Assad executed Hama in 1982 and he is well hosted in London by NATO country I don’t see anyone from Hama or Human right activist or best the so called: The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition activist group prosecuting Rifat in International court. With all the commotion in Syria numbers are in the vicinity of 6,000. 1982 goes up to 20000. So who got away Bashar or Rifat? And Not to mention American got a way with a lot; but they are the greatest nation.

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February 15th, 2012, 12:40 pm

 

136. ann said:

Syria: Oil Pipeline Supplying Damascus Sabotaged in Homs

http://www.plenglish.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=478276&Itemid=1

Damascus, Feb 15 – An armed group attacked with explosives an oil pipeline in the Syrian city of Homs, which supplies Damascus, local media reported on Wednesday.

The TV channels Syria News and Addounia are broadcasting footage of the destruction caused by the explosion; and SANA news agency reported that the terrorist attack on the 12-inch-wide pipeline, near Baba Amr and al-Sultanieh neighborhoods, where armed gangs have taken cover in that city, occurred at 03:00 hours, local time.

Local authorities stressed that they are pursuing those groups, in which British and Qatari commandos operate, to restore security and stability in Syria, according to recent reports.

The oil pipeline is run by the Fuel Company of Homs and supplies the Adra stores, one of the main suppliers of the country that distributes diesel in Damascus and other towns in southern Syria.

In al-Zabadani, Harasta and in other areas in Damascus Countryside, peace and security have been restored, as Syrian forces completed a successful campaign against the armed groups. Meanwhile, the city of Homs is still a focal point of terrorist violence.

[...]

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February 15th, 2012, 12:43 pm

 

137. Equus said:

End of game in the Middle East
By Thierry Meyssan

For eleven months, the Western powers and the Gulf States have lead a campaign to destabilize Syria. Several thousand mercenaries infiltrated the country. Recruited by agencies in Saudi Arabia and Qatar within the Sunni extremist community, they came to overthrow the “usurper Alawite” Bashar al-Assad and impose a Wahhabi-inspired dictatorship.

http://counterpsyops.com/2012/02/15/end-of-game-in-the-middle-east/

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February 15th, 2012, 12:46 pm

 

138. Juergen said:

jerusalem

i agree, we should all work for an family reunion in Den Haag for those two criminals, but i am afraid that again some sort of deal will be made at the end.

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February 15th, 2012, 12:52 pm

 

139. irritated said:

UZAIR8

“I don’t have to list the comparisons.”

I wish you do otherwise your statements are hollow.

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February 15th, 2012, 1:40 pm

 

140. irritated said:

Juergen

“i am afraid that again some sort of deal will be made at the end.”

Do you have such a low trust on the UN, USA, the EU, Navy Pillay and the GCC-western ‘friends of Syria’ to follow on their ‘justice’ crusade?

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February 15th, 2012, 1:44 pm

 

141. Mina said:

#38 Shabbi,

Definitely it is an Egyptian who is talking… But don’t ask the Canadians to know the difference. Maybe a relative of Zawahiri?

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February 16th, 2012, 7:46 am

 

142. Leo Syriacus said:

Tara,
Thank you, love your wittiness and sense of humor
Clarification:
Aspirin 325 mg preferably chewed is administered during an acute coronoary heart attack and/or while in hospital, followed by Aspirin 81 mg daily as maintnenace dose…what this means for many of you who will suffer heart attacks when Bashar falls you may get a heart attack so invest in Aspirin it could save your life.

As for pharmacological therapies for Islamophobia, like all phobias these patients can respond very well to SSRI’s like Sertraline and Fluvoxamine…I have seen them cure fear of spiders and Yiikes spiders are definitely way more terrifying than all people including Muslims

on the treatment of the acute major depressive disorder that Basharophiles ( a term that I coined that is more powerful than Men7abakji )will suffer after his imminent fall I am affraid that even pharmacotherapy is not enough to help them , I can refer them to my brother who is a prominent psychiatrist in New York City..the million dollar question: Do they have insurance??

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February 16th, 2012, 10:52 pm

 

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