Syria’s Top Five Insurgent Leaders

Who are Syria’s BIG FIVE Insurgent leaders?
by Joshua Landis (with help from the SC experts)
October 1, 2013

If we confine our choices to leaders with broad appeal in the Arab and Islamist mainstream — excluding both al-Qaida and Kurdish leaders — we get the following five, listed in order.

Hassan Abboud

1. Hassan Abboud, the general head of the Islamic movement of Ahrar Al-Sham, spearheaded the joint position of what some are calling the Islamic Alliance, but which is looser than an alliance of mainly northern-based militias. They have rejected the SNC and US backed exile groups. Al-Nusra was one of the groups that signed the alliance, along with #3 and #4 below.

2. Zahran Alloush, the general Commander of Jaysh al-Islam or Islam Army, a group of more than 50 brigades. He is the son of a Saudi-based religious scholar named sheikh Abdullah Mohammed Alloush. Syrian authorities released him from prison in mid-2011. He was incarcerated for his Salafist opposition activities in Sidnaya prison along with #1 and #3. He states that the external opposition does not represent him or his group and that there is no chance at negotiations with the regime. His Islam Army flies the black flag and not the Syrian flag.

3. Ahmad `Aisa al-Shaykh, or Abu Aissa, commander of Suqour al-Sham Brigade, Falcons of Syria Brigade, based in Idlib.

4. Abdul Qader Al-Salih, the high Commander of Liwa al-Tawhid, Unity Brigade, in Aleppo. (the formal top leader is Abdelaziz Salame)

5: Bashar Al-Zoubi, the Commander of Liwa al-Yarmouk in the south of Syria around Deraa. The Supreme Military Command (the US backed leadership of the Free Syrian Army) has named him the commander of the Southern Front. He is the only member of this top-five who has not expressed a wish to see an Islamist Syria.

Ahmed Abu Issa, Abdel Qader Saleh, Zahran Alloush

Taken together, these leaders represent not even half of the insurgency. The top five are not enough to run the rebellion, but they are either major actors in their core areas or very big nationally, or both. A small group on the national level can be a superpower in its own hometown. There are many more powerful leaders in Syria. We look forward to adding and correcting.

These are people who have significant influence over the insurgency. They are swing voters.

Over the last several months, the insurgency has undergone a “Darwinian” shakedown. Powerful leaders are emerging and smaller militias are lining up with the larger sharks. All the same, we are only at the beginning of this process. The opposition remains extremely fragmented and volatile.

Any discussion of Geneva II talks to end the Syrian conflict will be sterile without these commanders at the table. The top four say they are unwilling to sit at the negotiation table with the regime. In fact, their main issue with the National Coalition is that the NC is considering negotiating with the regime.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, ISIS, according to US gov.

It is hard to imagine any of them backtracking on this position in the near future.

Other Powerful Commanders

If one is considering military might alone, one must add the head of ISIS – Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. In military terms, he is stronger than Bashar al-Zoubi, our #5. But he doesn’t have appeal outside the Islamist hardline segment. So here we go:

  • Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) – al-Qaida.
  • Abu Mohammad al-Golani of al-Nusra Front or Jabhat al-Nusra – al-Qaida
  • Sipan Hemo of YPG – Kurdish militia

    Salih Muslim Muhammad/Sipan Hemo, Hemo is commander of the Kurdish Peoples Defence Units (YPG) in Syria – See an interview with Hemo. The YPG is the military arm of the PYD (Partiya Yekîtiya Demokrat) the leader of which is Salih Muslim Muhammad. This is the Syrian branch of the PKK, which is kept under civilian control so Salih Muslim PYD and not Hemo is perhaps the correct listing. It has been battling Nusra and ISIS over the last several months for control of the North-east.
  • Abu Sayeh Juneidi of Farouq Brigades, one of the largest and well-known units of the FSA (Homs). It placed itself under Suquor al-Sham commander Ahmed Abu Issa in Sept 2012. (Farouq seems weakened of late).
  • Jamal Maarouf

    Jamal Maarouf (Abu Khalid) of Shuhada Souria, Syrian Martyrs’ Brigade, Idlib governate, FSA. Jamal claims to have 18 ,000 fighters between Idlib and Aleppo, but like all troop estimates, this should be taken with a grain of salt. He’s a non-Islamist leader. He is both religious and conservative, but not Ikhwan and not salafi, just not ideological.

  • Mohammed al-Khatib of Furqan Brigades, active west of Damascus down toward the Golan. also not irrelevant.
  • Ziad Haj Obaid commands Ahfad Rasoul with two others. The name meaning Grandsons of the Prophet. He is on the Arms Committee for the Supreme Military Command. Much of Ahfad’s funding came from Qatar, which may explain its recent weakness.
  • There are more who we lack info on.

Further Notes on Commanders:

Addendum (Oct 2, 2013): Hassan Hassan published an important article “The Army of Islam Is Winning in Syria” arguing that the Islamic Army led by Zahran Alloush is probably now stronger than Hassan Abboud’s Ahrar al-Sham. This is hard to tell, but it is worth quoting him at length.

But today, Salafi-leaning insurgents are the single most dominant force in liberated areas. Liwa al-Islam, which is the central player in the Army of Islam, now dwarfs both the FSA and radical militias such as Ahrar al-Sham and Jabhat al-Nusra, which long played a prominent role in the region. These groups had coordinated with each other through a Damascus military council, but Ahrar al-Sham pulled out of the council shortly after the merger, issuing an angry statement that criticized “the hegemony of certain factions and the exclusion of [other] effective ones.”

Saudi Arabia appears to be central to the merger of rebel groups around Damascus. Liwa al-Islam chief Zahran Alloush is backed by Riyadh, while both Ahrar al-Sham, which is supported by Qatar, and Jabhat al-Nusra have been excluded from the new grouping. Although Liwa al-Islam had been part of the Saudi-backed FSA, the spokesman of the new grouping told an Arabic television channel that the Army of Islam is not part of the FSA. This is likely because the FSA has lost the trust of many rebel groups, and adopting a religious language will be more effective in countering the appeal of radical groups — which is what happened after the announcement of the merger, as various Islamists and moderate groups welcomed the move.

Zahran Alloush, Liwa al-Islam, who founded the Islam Army a week ago. He peaks of the resurrection of the Omayyad Empire and cleansing of the Majous or crypto-Iranians: Rafida (Shiites) and Nusayri (Alawites) from Damascus (minute 5). He does not have much faith in democracy, claiming that a committee of Islamic scholars will decide on the form of government and the role that minorities will play in a future state. He calls for Muslims from the world over to come do their duty in Syria and fight Jihad. He claims that every insurgent commander is an Islamist and argues that the reason the Assad regime surrounded Damascus and suppressed its people is because the people’s natural inclination is to build an Islamic state following the spirit of the Ommayad state. For this reason, the Majousi regime was frightened of the people. In his interview with Aljazeera, he is asked about his relationship with Idriss, Commander in Chief of the FSA and SMC member; Alloush said

Idriss should be more serious and active in helping the mujahidiin and not listen to orders he gets from here and there to favor certain groups with aid in order to advance foreign agendas that are being promoted for our umma

Abdul Qadir al-Salih

Abdul Qader Saleh is powerful as things stand today, but should Aleppo fall entirely into rebel hands and should Liwa al-Tawhid remain dominant there, Abdul Qader will become powerful indeed. Aleppo is the capital of the North and it and its suburbs include about half the population under rebel control.

Abdul Qader Saleh’s relationship with the Turks. One story about the fall of Aleppo centers around the defection of Mohammad Miflih, who at the time was head of air-force intelligence in Aleppo. Miflih was infamous for massacring protestors in Hama early in the revolution, so when he decided to defect, he knew that he wouldn’t be received very well by the opposition.  The story has it that Miflih coordinated his defection with the Turks, who offered to provide him protection but in return Miflih had to allow the rebels into the city. In the meantime, the Turks had the rebels assemble their forces and entered the city, starting with the Salahaldin neighborhood. They named the battle for Aleppo – Furqan. Here is the video of that announcement from August 2012. It shows a group of rebel commanders including Abdul Qader Saleh and a Nusra commander.
.

Bashar al-Zoubi

Bashar Zoubi, Liwa Yarmouk: This militia is not huge, Zoubi says around 5,000, but if you want a southern faction, it’s probably the biggest. He seems much less Islamist & more SMC/Western linked than the brigades that have linked up with Zahran Alloush’s Islam Army around Damascus. The Deraa front in general seems less Islamist, with weapons coming in from Jordan and Saudi. The US, Jordan and Saudi are working together to avoid building up Islamists. Although a Daraa source suggests that many of the Daraa militias are placing themselves under Zahran Alloush since his dramatic announcement of the formation of the Army of Islam, Liwa Yarmouk and several other power hitters around Deraa have not. See this list for those that have joined Islam Army http://justpaste.it/d81t – I think a few more have joined since.

Hassan Abboud of حركة أحرار الشام الإسلامية ‎  Ahrār ash-Shām, meaning “Islamic Movement of the Freemen of Syria.” It is the principal organization operating under the umbrella of the Syrian Islamic Front.[1]  or SIF. On Sept. 24, 2013, Aboud spearheaded the formation of what was called the Islamic Alliance. Liwa al-Tawhid, Liwa al-Islam and Suqour al-Sham were included in this loose “alliance,” as well as Jabhat al-Nusra, the al-Qaida linked group.

Here is the video of the formation of the Islam Army. Alloush was not at the conference. His deputy took the pledges of allegiance of the 49 other commanders on his behalf. He was not in the group photo. No point in having your top commander killed or captured.

Comments (1,841)


Pages: « 127 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 [37] Show All

1801. omen said:

1171. SimoHurtta said: You are simply absurd Omen with your naive propaganda. Is every US bomb and missile it drops a sign that Christianity is doctrinally violent? Or Judaism because what some Israeli Jewish settlers do?

you silly goof, that wasn’t for you, that was meant as a counter to mjabali.

he earlier set up a hostile and fallacious premise that, because of religious doctrine, sunnis were inherently more violent than shia. in other words, mjab was denouncing sunnis as terrorists. the inference of such an argument justifies regime brutality.

i waited to counter and didn’t do so directly because mjab had a meltdown last time i mildly challenged him. and in deference to his age, didn’t want to unduly stress him out again.

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November 11th, 2013, 7:42 am

 

1802. omen said:

1765. Ziad said: We Syrians, even disagreeing on support of the revolution…

sorry…ziad isn’t syrian.

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November 11th, 2013, 7:46 am

 

1803. SimoHurtta said:

1801. omen said:

1171. SimoHurtta said: You are simply absurd Omen with your naive propaganda. Is every US bomb and missile it drops a sign that Christianity is doctrinally violent? Or Judaism because what some Israeli Jewish settlers do?

you silly goof, that wasn’t for you, that was meant as a counter to mjabali.

he earlier set up a hostile and fallacious premise that, because of religious doctrine, sunnis were inherently more violent than shia. in other words, mjab was denouncing sunnis as terrorists. the inference of such an argument justifies regime brutality.

i waited to counter and didn’t do so directly because mjab had a meltdown last time i mildly challenged him. and in deference to his age, didn’t want to unduly stress him out again.

You naive, uneducated, old hag. Do not be offended or complain to the moderator. You started the name calling.

As a non-Muslim and American without any understanding of the culture, language, history, theology etc you are simply not qualified to claim any Islam’s religious sect having a more religious doctrine than the others. As a Christian (given that you are not a Jew) you can not explain convincingly has Catholicism more violent doctrines than the Protestant side (I by the way am a Protestant). Neither could I.

On the other hand the Sunni extremists have been behind the majority of suicide and car bombings against Christian “crusaders” and Shia population in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon and Pakistan. Though the reason for that are hardly the Sunni sides religious violent and less violent doctrines. Terrorism is a military tactics which has been used by Catholics, Protestants, Sunnis and Shias. Normally the side not in power (and militarily weaker) and wanting a political change uses terrorism. Like Jews in Palestine before 1948, like Catholic in North Ireland, like Sunni Muslim Palestinians in Israel against Jews, like Catholic South-Tirolians (Austrians until 1918) in North Italy against Catholics Italians, like Protestant Finns against Greek-Orthodox Russians before 1918 etc.

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November 11th, 2013, 8:43 am

 

1804. zoo said:

@1799 Omen

You said:
“The re-approachment between Turkey and Iraq, between Russia and Saudi Arabia, and between the US and Iran, all point to the same conclusion: Assad is history.”

I think it is quite the opposite: The opposition coalition puppet is history.
Bashar al Assad will remain the president of Syria until the elections in mid 2014 and possibly after if he decides to.
The main declared goal of the opposition to topple him since 2011, much before the end of his mandate has failed and has cost 100,00 death, millions of refugees and billions of destruction.

Why didn’t they accept the Geneva conference a year ago? It would have saved thousands of lives?
The expats opposition is a failure and there is nothing better we can expect from them in the conference.

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November 11th, 2013, 9:47 am

 

1805. zoo said:

Palestinians take steps to “clean up” Yarmouk from armed gangs so refugees can come back

PLO secures ‘safe passage’ agreement for Yarmouk refugees

DAMASCUS (Ma’an) — Zakariya al-Agha, a member of the executive committee of the PLO, said Monday that “the coming hours will determine the future of Yarmouk camp” as a Palestinian delegation seeks to ensure safe passage for Palestinians displaced by fighting in and around the Damascus refugee camp.

Al-Agha said in a statement that Monday afternoon will witness the transfer of weapons and armed men out of Yarmouk camp and the inflow of workers to rebuild the camp and make it ready for the return of refugees.

“We called on the Syrian government to open a security passage for residents to allow for medicine and food to pass urgently to people and to rebuild the camp,” said al-Agha, who is also the head of the Palestinian delegation currently visiting Syria.

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November 11th, 2013, 9:54 am

 

1806. zoo said:

For the desperate Sunni armed rebels who are about to be crushed, killing children, especially christian ones, is the latest strategy to ‘topple’ Bashar Al Assad

Mortar fire kills five children at Damascus school

(AFP) / 11 November 2013
http://www.khaleejtimes.com/kt-article-display-1.asp?xfile=/data/middleeast/2013/November/middleeast_November105.xml&section=middleeast

Five children were killed and 27 people wounded when mortar rounds hit a school in the Syrian capital Damascus on Monday, state television reported.

“The toll in the terrorist targeting of the St. John of Damascus school with mortar rounds has risen to five dead, all of them children, and 27 injured,” a news alert on Syrian state television said.

The regime of President Bashar al-Assad uses the blanket term “terrorists” to refer to the opposition.

Earlier, the interior minister told the official Al-Ikhbariya channel that 11 children had been hurt at the school in the majority Christian district of Qassaa, in central Damascus.

State news agency SANA also reported a second mortar hit a school bus in the Bab Touma neighbourhood, injuring five children.

Bab Touma is another central Damascus area that is majority Christian.

Rebel fighters arrayed in districts on the outskirts of the capital regularly launch rockets and mortar rounds at central neighbourhoods, causing damage and sometimes fatalities

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November 11th, 2013, 10:03 am

 

1807. Uzair8 said:

A few posts from Yalla Souriya:

hhassan140
Moaz al-Khatib to the Coalition: If I were you, I’d speak to the true occupier of Syria not its followers. (Iran?) http://t.co/RgMoROzeVB

Link

************

Ali Ferzat on Geneva 2

[Image]

Link

********

#Syria #Homs -

Nice collection of photos of the captured ammunition depot at Mahin in southern Homs province

[Video]

Link

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November 11th, 2013, 10:29 am

 

1808. ziad said:

Omen #1802 said:

sorry…ziad isn’t syrian.

HTF do you know that I am not Syrian?

On the other hand you are a clueless ignorant fool who has a single idea, that anything less than nuking Syria and Iran is an appeasement. How do I know? I read your utter nonsense for entertainment.

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November 11th, 2013, 10:31 am

 

1809. Sami said:

So what disqualifies an American somehow qualifies a Finn… And funny thing the Finn is disqualifying an American on an American blog that covers the very same subject they are somehow disqualified for.

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November 11th, 2013, 11:19 am

 

1810. zoo said:

Islamists based in North of Syria are now threatening Iraq’s stability. The only forces that can stop them are the Syrian and the Iraqi army. That’s a dilemma for the West, should they re-inforce the Syrian Army and the Kurds or the ‘good but weak’ Syrian rebels whose aim is to destroy… the Syrian army?

Their aim, analysts say, is to establish control of key border points to ensure easier transit of fighters and equipment.

The militant Islamists also see Iraq and Syria as one large, contiguous battlefield.

“It’s an ideological thing for them,” said Aymenn Al Tamimi of the Middle East Forum think tank.

Mr Al Tamimi said the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in particular “sees Iraq and Syria as one battleground. It’s part of the wider project of achieving the first goal of building an Islamic state in Iraq and Syria”.

He noted that borders had been a focus for militant rebel groups seeking to establish secure supply lines for reinforcements and military supplies.

And he warned that the Kurds’ seizure of Al Yaarubia did not mean the fighting was over.

“It’s not going to stop,” Mr Al Tamimi said. “It’s still going to be a pretty bad situation for the Iraqi government.

Read more: http://www.thenational.ae/world/middle-east/baghdad-keeps-eye-on-syrian-kurds#ixzz2kM1mIiRx
Follow us: @TheNationalUAE on Twitter | thenational.ae on Facebook

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November 11th, 2013, 11:20 am

 

1811. Uzair8 said:

Remember Zoo posted that Buzzfeed interview with an anonymous ‘prominent activist’? In the comment section of the piece there was a fitting response to the ‘anonymous activist’. It so happens the author of the comment went a little further on his blog:

“Repentant Activists” – Cry Me a F****** River
Nov 11

As the conflict in Syria dragged on, and the initially peaceful revolution turned increasingly into a bitter and horrific civil war, we started to see more and more activists bemoan the militarization of the revolution, and the dominant role taken on by hardline extremist Islamist groups such as Jabhat Al Nasra and the ISIS (no, not the Archer ISIS, this ISIS, The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham). Some even went so far as to call the revolution a mistake, and openly pine for the days of life under the brutal dictatorship of the Assads.

The most recent manifestation of this phenomenon was Buzzfeed’s recent interview with an anonymous “prominent activist”. Titled “Confessions Of A Syrian Activist: “I Want Assad To Win”, the article had this remarkable statement;

[...]

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November 11th, 2013, 12:07 pm

 

1812. zoo said:

Recognized, at last. Time to tackle it

Sunni-Shi’ite tension biggest threat to world security, Iran
Reuters
Dubai, November 11, 2013

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/sunni-shi-ite-tension-biggest-threat-to-world-security/article1-1149939.aspx

Tension between Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims is the biggest threat to world security, Iran’s foreign minister said in comments published on Monday, accusing Sunni Arab countries of “fanning the flames” of sectarian conflict. The increasingly sectarian civil war in Syria has drawn in regional powers with Shi’ite Iran backing President Bashar al-Assad and Sunni Gulf Arab states and mainly Sunni Turkey helping the rebels. The conflict threatens to spill over into countries split between Sunnis and Shi’ites such as Lebanon and Iraq.

The sectarian tension is “the most serious security threat not only to the region but to the world at large”, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told the BBC.
“I think we need to come to understand that a sectarian divide in the Islamic world is a threat to all of us.”

Zarif, a U.S.-educated former Iranian ambassador to the United Nations, called for regional powers to come together to try to solve the conflict in Syria. He is the point man of President Hassan Rouhani’s bid to ease tensions between Iran and the outside world.

“I think all of us,” he said, “regardless of our differences on Syria, we need to work together on the sectarian issue.” But, the BBC said, without naming any countries directly, Zarif accused Sunni Arab leaders of “fanning the flames” of sectarian violence.

“This business of fear-mongering has been a prevalent business,” he said. “Nobody should try to fan the flames of sectarian violence. We should reign it in, bring it to a close, try to avoid a conflict that would be detrimental to everybody’s security.”

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November 11th, 2013, 12:08 pm

 

1813. zoo said:

Al Qaeda is grateful to their ‘brother’ the Syrian Sunni opposition for allowing them to create a safe “Waziristan’ in Syria and spread their ideology.

Al Qaeda’s Most Dangerous Stronghold
by Bruce Riedel Nov 11, 2013 5:45 AM EST

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/11/11/al-qaeda-s-most-dangerous-stronghold.html

Two al Qaeda franchises are gaining strength on the border of Syria and Iraq by exploiting the region’s chaos—and the threat they pose to global security is ever more frightening.

Al Qaeda is building its most dangerous stronghold ever in the borderlands between Syria and Iraq. Hundreds of new jihadist fighters are flocking to this battlefield in the heartland of the Middle East. And with the civil wars in both countries all but certain to endure for the foreseeable future, the danger from this stronghold is growing.

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November 11th, 2013, 12:21 pm

 

1814. Akbar Palace said:

Power to the Despots

Sami,

Sim has spent years delegitimizing and defaming Israel and Jews. Now he has left us (all of a sudden) to delegitimize and defame the Syrian Opposition.

The common thread is, Sim doesn’t like freedom except for himself.

Sim always seems to support autocratic despots who want to take people’s freedoms away.

When Sim leaves the comfort of the US or Finland or whatever free country he lives in for Iran or Syria or Gaza, then I’ll take him seriously.

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November 11th, 2013, 1:12 pm

 

1815. Uzair8 said:

A couple of things from YS:

Maysaloon
@BSyria Mekdad might be a total tosser, but I think Jarba has effectively handed in his resignation. Silly behaviour.

Link

beirutreporter
#SYRIA (Nov11 #Beirut 1822) Diplomats:West to deny Syria request for equipment to move chemweapons;could be used to wage civil war.(SkyNews)

Link

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November 11th, 2013, 1:36 pm

 

1816. omen said:

1804. zoo said: @1799 Omen You said:
“The re-approachment between Turkey and Iraq, between Russia and Saudi Arabia, and between the US and Iran, all point to the same conclusion: Assad is history.”

that was wasn’t me but hopeful.

see?

1799. Hopeful said: The re-approachment between Turkey and Iraq, between Russia and Saudi Arabia, and between the US and Iran, all point to the same conclusion: Assad is history.

or did you intend to slight hopeful by misattributing?

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November 11th, 2013, 2:24 pm

 

1817. omen said:

1808. ziad said: HTF do you know that I am not Syrian?

thanks for the confession.

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November 11th, 2013, 2:33 pm

 

1818. omen said:

1803. simo has meltdown because i called him a goof. the mildest form of censure. what a big baby.

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November 11th, 2013, 2:44 pm

 

1819. Syrialover said:

Dear HOPEFUL, much as I admire and look forward to your comments, you are taking your name to unrealistic extremes when you write (#1690):

“If the intellectual opposition figures, like Kilo and Gallioun, have failed in anything, it is in convincing the regime to reform and change its ways before the country exploded. The question they should be asking themselves is “did we do enough before 2011 to convince Bashar that unless he makes dramatic changes, the country will fall apart.”

Intellectuals convince the Assad regime? Of anything?

You need to abandon the pointless illusion that the Assad regime was (i) interested in or capable of reform (ii) capable of making constructive and rational decisions or open to advice and (iii) cared what happened to the wider country and people beyond their immediate interests.

For a more realistic view of Bashar Assad, see this transcript, starting where Volker Perthes is interviewed: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/rearvision/the-reluctant-president–bashar-al-assad/4915278#transcript

Also how can Syrian intellectual figures make their points if there is no civil society or public opinion forums in Syria? And by the way – a small detail – they risked dying prison. (which I recall Kilo very nearly did during his last stay in a dungeon from 2006-2009)

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November 11th, 2013, 3:56 pm

 

1820. Akbar Palace said:

Baathist Freedom Fighters NewZ

Omen,

Next time call him a “Baathist Freedom Fighter” (which, when you think about it, is a great example of a PARADOX).

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November 11th, 2013, 3:58 pm

 

1821. Hopeful said:

#1819 SL

Points well taken. I accept your criticism.

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November 11th, 2013, 4:09 pm

 

1822. Syrialover said:

SAMI, #1767 huge applause for summing up so much truth and reality in a few words when you said:

“For the record my enemies are those that have enslaved my country to a backwards ideology that has gradually stripped the core meaning of being a Syrian to become a story of tragedy. 40 years of culminated indoctrination of hate, torture, and blaming the world, 40 years of allowing ourselves to be duped into a crappy cringe worthy ideology where we sold our country for the false pretence of “resisting the enemy” when all we did was spy on each other, torture each other, and patted each other on the back for the great “accomplishments” of our dear leader which resulted in turning our country into a backwards hellhole we see today.”

I’ll file that statement to be recycled next time anyone suggests the Assad regime would have done anything differently “if only”.

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November 11th, 2013, 4:13 pm

 

1823. Syrialover said:

ALAN, please tell us, how do you feel about the brilliant idea of the Russians to include Rifaat Assad in peace talks?

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/07/world/middleeast/damascus.html?_r=0

Poor old Rifaat is worried and will try anything to dodge his inevitable indictment on war crimes for killing 30,000 people in Hama in the 1980s. The Europeans have already started chasing all his stolen millions in court.

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November 11th, 2013, 4:24 pm

 

1824. Syrialover said:

HOPEFUL #1821, thank you for being such a sane, decent and honest voice here.

I used to think a lot of “if only” scenarios but the exposed reality of Assad regime evil and rottenness has stopped me.

I think I was in denial trying to find something normal and rational and a sign of human civilization where there was none. The truth was too frightening, but now we live with it in the destruction of Syria and its people by the regime.

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November 11th, 2013, 4:40 pm

 

1825. zoo said:

After two days of meeting the opposition keep making contradictory announcements about the conditions of their attendance to Geneva, probably to confuse and hide their humiliation.
In one of them it accepts to go to Geneva with only humanitarian conditions while in the other it says it accept to go to Geneva at the condition Bashar al Assad is excluded from the future government.

It is clear that if they are making Bashar Al Assad’s exclusion as a condition they might as well forget about Geneva, as its is a condition they have set 2 years ago and that the UN and the Syrian government has consistently refused.

By putting unacceptable conditions to go to Geneva, the opposition would be playing a very dangerous card as Geneva is the last chance they have to have a word in the future of Syria.

Opposition sees last chance in peace conference
November 12, 2013

BEIRUT: Syria’s main opposition grouping said on Monday it was willing to attend peace talks on the condition that President Bashar Al Assad transfer power and be excluded from any transition process.

In a statement issued after two days of meetings in Istanbul, the key Syrian National Coalition (SNC) said it would take part in mooted peace talks in Geneva “on the basis of the full transfer of power.”

It also stipulated “that Bashar Al Assad and those with the blood of Syrians on their hands have no role in the transitional phase and Syria’s future.”
——————-

The Syrian Opposition coalition has conditionally agreed to attend the Geneva II conference designed to end the country’s bloody conflict, a statement said today.

“A consensus has been reached among the coalition members about the need to take part in the Geneva II conference,” the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) said in the statement issued after two days of talks in Istanbul between different Opposition groups.

The conditions put forth by the SNC for attending the conference are a guarantee from the Syrian government to allow relief agencies to enter besieged areas and release of political prisoners. The coalition also required a guarantee that any political conference should lead to a political transition in Syria, according to the statement.

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November 11th, 2013, 4:46 pm

 

1826. Syrialover said:

Hurrah! ZOO has finally been given a fresh packet of instructions now that Iran is officially occupying Syria. We can see it big time it in his post #1812.

There is nothing uglier and sillier than the sight of a someone working on behalf of Iran’s Shia sectarian strategy.

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November 11th, 2013, 4:52 pm

 

1827. zoo said:

Syrian turnaround and Assad’s survival
By Michael Collins, on November 11th, 2013

- See more at: http://agonist.org/syrian-turnaround-assads-survival/#sthash.i0qQsaQ5.dpuf

Presuming he isn’t assassinated, Syria’s President Bashar Al-Assad may survive as the chief executive of a unified Syria.

This is a far cry from the constant refrain that Assad must go by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her British and French counterparts in 2011.

Prior to the chemical weapons incident in Damascus, the Syria Arab Army, with help from Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance, began winning major battles against the rebels. The victories at Qusayr and Homs were major victories. After the U.S. – Russian deal to destroy chemical weapons, things changed on the ground and in the broader diplomatic storyline.

Syria’s cooperation with the location and removal of chemical weapons has been acknowledged and praised by the U.S. and the chemical weapons team from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Rebel factions insist they will not send representatives to the U.S.-Russia sponsored negotiations in Geneva.

The head of Al Qaeda just ordered its Iraqi fighters in Syria to break camp and return to Iraq, leaving Al Qaeda aligned Al Nusra as the remaining force in the Syrian battle. This represents a withdrawal of Al Qaeda personnel and firepower from the battles to come.

Syrian troops took a key rebel stronghold south of Damascus. In doing so, the army compromised the remaining rebel positions around Damascus.

The Syrian Arab Army took a key town at the gates of the nation’s largest city, Aleppo. The army is in the process of retaking Base 80 north of Aleppo. Both events are critical moves that could open up a supply line for a full-fledged attack on the rebel sector of the divided city.

Aleppo represents the greatest prize in the military conflict. If the rebels are forced out, the conflict is largely finished. Rebel disunity and weakening foreign support may create that opportunity.

The anti-Assad campaign of President Obama and Secretary Kerry faded quickly when the possibility of a rapprochement with Iran fell into their laps. If hostilities with Iran cease, the proxy war in Syria has little meaning for the U.S. The threat to Saudi Arabia’s royal elite by Iran and the restive Shia population of the Saudi’s richest energy reserves are not threats to the United States given an alliance with Iran.

There is no guarantee that negotiations with Iran will produce meaningful results but surely there will be an extended period of time when those negotiations are pursued. In the mean time, the gains of continued hot pursuit of a failed objective in Syria, regime change, diminish while the downside of that policy, backing jihadist rebels, is more apparent by the day.

The failed regime change effort in Syria is going nowhere. It’s an easy effort to abandon, no matter what happens with Iran.

- See more at: http://agonist.org/syrian-turnaround-assads-survival/#sthash.i0qQsaQ5.dpuf

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November 11th, 2013, 4:53 pm

 

1828. zoo said:

Deliberately or not, the Syrian Kurds are helping the Syrian Army, the Iraqis Shias and the West against the Sunni militias .

Syrian Kurds’ military gains stir unease

http://uk.news.yahoo.com/syrian-kurds-military-gains-stir-unease-105216068.html#AO8lAFB

….
To Assad and his Shi’ite allies, their gains mean more territory out of Sunni rebel hands two and a half years into a revolt against his rule.

Foreign powers supporting the opposition, meanwhile, hope they will deliver a blow to al Qaeda-linked fighters, whose rising power in northern Syria had gone unchecked for months.

“The advance has basically been accepted by all,” said Piroz Perik, a Kurdish activist from the town of Qamishli.

A Kurdish political source in Syria said that the PYD offensive was timed to coincide with a push by Assad’s forces to the northwest, near the city of Aleppo.

“Assad’s forces also organised Arab militias in the area, most of them tribesmen at odds with al Qaeda’s growing power here,” he said. “They fought alongside the Kurds.”

Xelil denied his fighters worked with outside groups.

But a senior Iraqi politician said Shi’ite power Iran, Assad’s main regional ally, was also actively backing the PYD.

“Iran supports these groups to guarantee having a powerful group in Syria in case things go out of control,” he said, adding that Tehran was creating a network of allies from minority groups across the country to bolster their interests and to create alternative partners should Assad fall.

The Iraqi politician said Baghdad’s Shi’ite government was supporting the Kurds to weaken cross-border ties among Sunnis.

“(They) may help them in cooperation with Iran to create an autonomous Kurdish region … to establish a buffer zone between Iraqi and Syrian Sunnis.”

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November 11th, 2013, 4:59 pm

 

1829. Syrialover said:

ALAN, are you just here to tease us?

Please, why don’t you help us understand why Russia is now promoting Rifaat Assad for peace talks.

Is this a way for Putin show he is now distant from Bashar? Or are the Russians grabbing at anything to play for time and disrupt planning for negotiations?

Or maybe Rifaat has put some of his offshore hidden money into Putin’s hidden bank accounts?

ALAN you must know more of the answer than anyone else here. Don’t make us think it’s not true, and you have only been pretending to represent Russia.

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November 11th, 2013, 5:02 pm

 

1830. zoo said:

@1826 SL

It is a no surprise reaction coming from for a die-hard supporter of Al Qaeda and other Islamist extremists fed by the “Guided and Demented Sunni Kingdom”

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November 11th, 2013, 5:02 pm

 

1831. zoo said:

Palestinians are “grateful” to the opposition who destroyed the home and the dignity that Bashar al Assad, contrary to other richer Arab countries had continuously secured for them in Syria

There is no Palestinian issue for Syrian rebels

http://rt.com/op-edge/palestine-conflict-syria-rebels-509/

The Palestinian issue has been uniting all Muslims for 65 years. Syrian rebels succeeded in their mission – they made the world forget about the Palestinian issue.

The militants pulled Palestinians out of refugee camps; they are killing them or using these people as human shields. And the media are silent about it, while the Syrian opposition keeps screaming about the “oppressive Assad regime.”

It’s been a year since Syrian rebels raided the largest Palestinian refugee camp in Syria – Yarmouk, near Damascus. Up until recently it was the duty of Israeli soldiers to persecute Palestinians, now this is done by Syrian rebels with their Muslim slogans. The media are not saying anything about it.

What is the life of Palestinians like, now that the Syrian conflict made them refugees again?
‘Nobody is helping us – neither Europe, nor the UN’

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November 11th, 2013, 5:11 pm

 

1832. zoo said:

Another big thank to the opposition who invited Sunni Pakistani fighters to help ‘topple’ Alawite Bashar al Assad.

Polio virus strain in Syria originated in Pakistan and spreading across Middle East: WHO

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/polio-virus-strain-in-syria-originated-in-pakistan-and-spreading-across-middle-east-who.aspx?pageID=238&nID=57766&NewsCatID=352

Polio that has crippled at least 13 children in Syria has been confirmed as being caused by a strain of the virus that originated in Pakistan and is spreading across the Middle East, the World Health Organization said.

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November 11th, 2013, 5:19 pm

 

1833. Syrialover said:

ZOO, #1830 now that Iran is controlling the Syrian “government” can’t you relax and take a couple of hours break away from SyriaComment?

You are getting alarmingly silly and tired in the head.

You know very well that on this forum I have consistently criticized al Qaeda and other Islamic extremists here 1,000 times more strongly and frequently than you have.

But I am a free and rational thinker. Unlike some here I don’t have to walk a shaky line and skid on thin ice with a scandalous duty of promoting and endorsing Shia Islamic extremism and Iran’s violent sectarian agendas.

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November 11th, 2013, 5:19 pm

 

1834. Syrialover said:

SAMI and HOPEFUL,

There is one “if only” I still think of. What would have happened to Bashar Assad if Iran and Russia hadn’t rushed in, rescued him and helped him burn the country.

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November 11th, 2013, 5:25 pm

 

1835. zoo said:

It seems that the opposition has finally set only 3 pre-conditions for attending Geneva. They also have a ‘demand’ that Bashar al Assad be excluded from the transitional and future government of Syria.
The ‘demand’ is just a wishful thinking that will be totally ignored.
That’s the trick the opposition has found as a face saving after having hammered for 2.5 years that they will never attend any dialog as long as Bashar Al Assad is in power.
Now, it is no more a condition, it is just a ‘hope’.
Their paranoiac stubbornness has resulted in 100,000 death and billions of destruction.

http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/15930144-syrian-opposition-would-attend-geneva-ii-peace-conference-with-conditions

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November 11th, 2013, 5:39 pm

 

1836. ziad said:

***NEW THREAD***

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November 11th, 2013, 5:41 pm

 

1837. zoo said:

@1833 SL

You sound very stressed that the situation is turning up in total opposition to your expectations…
I recommend you a short relaxing stay in Al Raqqa. There you can enjoy a place that Iran does not control.

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November 11th, 2013, 5:48 pm

 

1838. Uzair8 said:

1836. Ziad said:

***NEW THREAD***

I don’t believe you.

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November 12th, 2013, 10:04 am

 

1839. Latest on Syria For Foreign Policy: Rebels, Inc. | Syria in Transition said:

[…] fickle overseas backers. The consequence of this strategic shift is what some Syria-watchers have called a “Darwinian shake-down”: small groups have coalesced around larger ones to create […]

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November 22nd, 2013, 7:37 pm

 

1840. http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/11/21/rebels_inc?page=full | Angela Joya said:

[…] fickle overseas backers. The consequence of this strategic shift is what some Syria-watchers have called a “Darwinian shake-down”: small groups have coalesced around larger ones to create […]

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December 1st, 2013, 10:26 pm

 

1841. Syria Comment: Saudis and CIA agree to Arm Syrian “Moderates” with Advanced Weapons | GHSR SYRIA said:

[…] was included in my “Syria’s Top Five Insurgent Leaders.” He was #5. That ranking will now likely change. Here is what I wrote about him on Oct. 1, […]

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February 22nd, 2014, 5:58 am

 

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