Brotherhood Figures Block Yaqoubi’s Appointment, Post-Confirmation

Appointment of New Members Reversed

 

The opposition talks in Turkey have ended in disappointment for many. A Reuters article reports:

A crisis in Syria’s opposition deepened on Monday when liberals were offered only token representation, undermining international efforts to lend the Islamist-dominated alliance greater support.

To the dismay of envoys of Western and Arab nations monitoring four days of opposition talks in Istanbul, the 60-member Syrian National Coalition thwarted a deal to admit a liberal bloc headed by opposition campaigner Michel Kilo.

Liberals were not the only ones disappointed. In the last post, I revealed Sheikh Muhammad al-Yaqoubi’s appointment to the National Council as its first major Sufi figure. This appointment was a fact over a month ago, confirmed by the NC’s Membership Committee, and this was reaffirmed to Sheikh Ya’qoubi personally in April by both Mu’az al-Khatib and Riad Seif, but it was not announced publicly. The announcement was to be made officially at a meeting of the General Assembly. Later, the Coalition’s Political Council met in early May and confirmed a total of 31 new members. Some new members traveled to Turkey at that time for a meeting of the General Assembly, but the meeting was postponed due to political arguments. For the current talks that have just been held, the 31 members traveled again to Istanbul, had rooms booked for them and were officially hosted in anticipation of the announcement of their membership. Ostensibly for the preparation ahead of the Geneva 2 conference (in which the regime and opposition could actually sit at the same table, if both would agree to such), the talks descended into significant intrigue regarding the expansion of the Coalition. Scheduled for Thursday through Saturday, the quarreling didn’t end until early Monday morning. In a major reversal of earlier decisions, the membership of many new members was denied (or revoked). Pending confirmation, it seems that only 8 of the original 31 have been publicly designated as new members, despite previous affirmations of membership. Though it seems unsurprising that the Coalition would go back on its word, it is nevertheless striking that it would occur to this degree. Such a sweeping, last-minute reversal was unexpected by many.

At least one new Muslim Brotherhood figure has been appointed, and consistent with the previous pattern, there is no representation of the Sufi, Sunni ‘ulema who would represent far greater numbers of Syrians.

Syrian opposition shake-up falters ahead of peace conference – Reuters

The failure to broaden the coalition, in which Qatar and a bloc largely influenced by the Muslim Brotherhood has been playing the driving role, could undermine Saudi Arabian support for the revolt and raise the specter of a rivalry among Gulf powers that could further weaken the opposition.

Its Western backers have pressured the Coalition to resolve its divisions and expand to include more liberals to counter domination by Islamists. The plan also had support from Saudi Arabia, which had been preparing to assume a bigger role in coalition politics and has been uneasy about the rise of Qatar’s influence, coalition insiders said.

Its apparent failure to do so came hours before the European Union was scheduled at a meeting in Brussels to discuss lifting an arms embargo that could allow weapons to reach rebel fighters in Syria seeking to oust President Bashar al-Assad.

… Kilo’s group received an offer of only five seats – instead of the more than 20 it had been looking for – after a session in Turkey that stretched nearly to dawn, coalition sources said.

The move left the Coalition controlled by a faction loyal to Qatari-backed Secretary-General Mustafa al-Sabbagh, and a bloc largely influenced by the Muslim Brotherhood. That group led resistance to the rule of Assad’s late father in the 1980s, when thousands of its members were tortured and executed.

“We were talking about 25 names as the basis for our negotiations, then there was agreement on 22 and then the number dropped to 20, then to 18, then to 15, then to five,” Kilo said, addressing the Coalition. “I do not think you have a desire to cooperate and hold our extended hand. … We wish you all the best.”

A member of the Kilo camp said his bloc would meet later to decide whether to withdraw from the opposition meeting, although he said the coalition may still make a better offer.

Please see this good article by Hassan Hassan: Inside Syrian opposition’s talks in Turkey:

The Syrian opposition is holding talks in Turkey to restructure and expand the National Coalition (NC). As I reported earlier this month, the talks follow a visit by 12 members of the NC to Riyadh this month. It’s important to remember here that the Muslim Brotherhood’s deputy leader, Mohammed Tayfour, met the Saudi foreign minister in one-to-one talks and agreed to the expansion plans – the members even suggested that Ahmed Touma becomes the NC but of course after “election”.

On Thursday the NC members, including Tayfour and the NC’s secretary general Mustafa Al Sabbagh, agreed to include some 32 new members into the coalition as part of the expansion. The new members would represent individuals and forces from outside the coalition, mainly Michel Kilo and allies.

But on Friday, Al Sabbagh came back and said that he and others refused the plan. They offered an alternative plan: 21 new seats will be added; seven for Michel Kilo and his allies, seven for representatives of “local councils”, and seven for the Muslim Brotherhood. That means the Muslim Brotherhood will effectively get two thirds of the new expansion plan. Not only does the MB want to reduce the number of new seats but it also wants to use the occasion to expand its influence further. How is that?

“Local councils” are already represented in the NC by Al Sabbagh, a Syrian businessman and Islamist backed by Qatar and MB. He was appointed as the Coalition’s Secretary General in November after he claimed that he and a group of men represented various areas in Syria. I wrote this before: “The appointment of Mustafa Sabbagh as the National Coalition’s secretary general came after he showed up in Doha, before the formation of the coalition in November, with 16 people he falsely claimed represented provincial councils across Syria. In fact many of them were his employees in Saudi Arabia, or his relatives.”

It gets better. Qatar, Turkey and MB are insisting that Al Sabbagh heads the NC. Syrians know who Al Sabbagh is and, if that happens, the move will be self-defeating – the point is to make the coalition more representative to help it to build credibility as the world consider options for solving the Syrian conflict. American, French and Gulf representatives are still trying to push the coalition to let go of Al Sabbagh and accept the expansion plan. The MB, Qatar and Turkey are digging in their heels.

The MB can insist on saving its influence within the coalition but one thing is clear: support for the Syrian opposition is on hold until the coalition is expanded. The core group of the Friends of Syria insists that the coalition must be expanded and representative if any help is to be provided or steps are to be taken.

This is not the first time that Qatar’s allies within the National Coalition go back on their words shortly after they agree on something. During talks in Cairo to restructure the Syrian National Council in July last year, Tayfour sat with US ambassador Robert Ford for two hours. He finally agreed to the plan but went back on his word shortly after – apparently after he spoke to Qatar.

The Brotherhood has consistently opposed any plan to reform the political bodies, for a rundown of how it has done so, read my article here. The dominance of the Brotherhood over the political and military bodies was made possible by interferences from countries like Qatar and Turkey. The Brotherhood has not dominated these entities because of its popular base or because Syrians chose them.

It seems that pressure from outside powers to reverse that dominance will not work unless the Brotherhood has no choice, in the same way that any political solution will not work unless Assad has no choice.

Addendum

Saturday: The talks are expected to be finalised tonight  (Saturday) or probably tomorrow morning.  Still, the talks can drag on, even be shelved for now. No progress has been made. But two important developments are worth mentioning.

The first one is that 12 prominent members of the non-Brotherhood groups signed a document/ultimatum yesterday vowing to withdraw from the Coalition if the Brotherhood and its allies do not agree to the expansion plan.

The second one is that the Brotherhood presented a new idea (like amazing idea): George Sabra becomes the lead of the National Coalition, Ghassan Hitto remains the prime minister of the interim government and Mustafa Al Sabbagh as the NC’s general secretary for another six months. So basically, if more members are to be added, these three must lead the coalition and the interim government.

Six months, an interesting period. The pressure from Geneva 2 organisers might be the reason for insisting on this for now. They probably think that by that time things would be clearer. Both the Qataris and the Brotherhood promised recently (first week of this month) that they would not stand against any expansion plan. It’s unclear what has changed since.

But there is still pressure on the Brotherhood and its allies to accept the expansion plan. Although far-fetched, they might agree on some plan tonight or tomorrow. Because all sides disagree deeply on all issues, the talks may drag on. But because many members threatened to withdraw, the talks might be delayed as a way to avoid such an outcome. We will see what happens over the coming days.

Sunday: (see tweets from @the_47th on this too) Al Sabbagh is now the one digging in his heels and blocking the expansion of the National Coalition. He insists on representing one third of the new seats. He wants to remain the  Coalition’s secretary general AND gets one third for any expansion according to this quota he set:  one seat for any two new seats.

His insistence upset most of the attendants. When he was asked in front of the foreign ambassadors: “What is your priority? Especially that we are facing the challenges of Geneva 2. These demands will lead to the failure of the plan or even the fracture of the coalition which might consequently lead to Bashar Al Assad staying in power”. He answered with this (literally): “My conditions are more important and urgent”.

There is also this update from @The_47th: “I heard that no decision will be made (or letting go from MB) until they see if EU really lifts ban on arming”. That could mean that Al Sabbagh, and the Qataris and Brotherhood behind him, want to postpone the talks to avoid the expansion. As I mentioned above, they are under so much pressure to include more forces and some 12 prominent members threatened to withdraw which will potentially lead to the collapse of the coalition; so one way to avoid this and avoid a campaign against them, they probably came up with that populist demand: we won’t accept any expansion until the EU lifts the embargo on arms to the opposition. What does that have to do with making the coalition more representative?

One final note for now: why are members insisting on “votes” to pass any plan. Isn’t the point that the current people who can vote represent a specific group and its allies? Just absurd.

The Shadow War Behind Syria’s Rebellion: Foreign Backers Jockey for Influence in Turkey – Rania Abouzeid

While the diplomatic grouping known as the Friends of Syria met in the Jordanian capital Amman on Wednesday to discuss a U.S.-Russian plan for peace talks, a low-key yet perhaps equally important gathering was being quietly held in Istanbul between Saudi officials and half of the 30 members of the Free Syrian Army’s Higher Military Command, which claims to represent most of the rebels fighting the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The informal talks, which were held at a seaside hotel, marked the first gathering of the rebel group’s Military Command and Saudi officials since, according to senior members of the Military Command, Saudi Arabia stepped up earlier this month to become the main source of arms to the rebels. In so doing they nudged aside the smaller Persian Gulf state of Qatar, which had been the main supplier of weapons to the opposition since early 2012. Saudi officials have simply been meeting with the rebels on their own, without involving the Qataris.

The change is significant because Qatar and Saudi Arabia each favor different rebel factions. The Qataris have backed more Islamist rebel groups, while the Saudis—despite Saudi Arabia’s ultraconservative form of government—have opted to support more moderate groups that may have an Islamist hue but are not considered conservative. The strong conservative Islamist current within rebel ranks may be weakened if support is increased to more moderate factions.

… All of the commanders TIME spoke to were optimistic that the Saudis would ferry more help to more moderate groups, but few thought the Qataris would stop supplying their favored battalions. “The difference is that the battalions who are against Jabhat al-Nusra will be strengthened,” said one young commander. “A fight with Jabhat al-Nusra is coming, we can no longer delay it.” That’s an unattractive prospect to many in the opposition, which was formed to fight the regime, not fellow rebels.

Both the regime and the opposition have suggested that they could participate in the Geneva 2 talks:

Syria confirms role in peace process – BBC

Syria’s foreign minister says President Bashar al-Assad’s government has agreed “in principle” to take part in peace talks in Geneva planned for June. Walid Muallem told reporters in Baghdad that the conference was “a good opportunity for a political solution to the crisis in Syria”. Russia and the US hope the talks will bring a negotiated end to the violence.

Syria’s main opposition coalition has said it is willing to take part if President Bashar al-Assad steps down.

Syria, opposition agree ‘in principle’ to attend peace conference – CNN

Both the Syrian government and the opposition Syrian National Coalition indicated Sunday they are interested in a peace conference next month in Geneva, Switzerland, though both sides tempered any optimism about the summit with caveats.

“We have in principle agreed to participate in Geneva, pending hearing more clarity about the purpose and the intentions of the Syrian regime — the Assad regime. So far, the signals have been not positive,” coalition spokesman Louay Safi said from Istanbul, where opposition leaders have been meeting to discuss the pending summit and to determine new leadership for the coalition.

“The Assad regime has to make it clear that they are there to engage in talks about transition to democracy, and as part of Geneva, understanding that would mean that all the powers that resides today with Bashar al-Assad will be given to the transitional government. Until this point, this is not clear,” he said.

Abdul Basit Seida, a senior member of the group meeting in Istanbul, said in a statement Sunday: “Talks are still ongoing with no final resolution. There is also no final decision yet on attending the conference in Geneva.”

The Syrian government has tentatively agreed to the June peace conference, Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said earlier Sunday.

Speaking at a joint news conference in Baghdad with his Iraqi counterpart, Hoshyar Zebari, he said, “I informed the Iraqi prime minister of Syria’s decision that the government agreed in principle to send an official delegation to the Geneva peace conference that will take place in June.”

SYRIA’S most powerful ally Russia says the Damascus regime has agreed “in principle” to attend an international peace conference on the crisis that world powers hope will take place in Geneva in June.But on Friday Moscow also criticised Syria’s various opposition groups for presenting tough demands that in some cases included the exclusion of President Bashar al-Assad’s representatives from the negotiations.

… But Lukashevich said reports of a specific date for the conference “cannot be taken seriously” because the ranks of Assad’s foes remained so split. “Demands to immediately name a specific date for the conference without having clarity about who – and with what authority – will speak in the name of the opposition, cannot be taken seriously,” Lukashevich said.

Syria’s main opposition group entered a second day of talks in Istanbul on Friday aimed at finding a joint approach to what has already been been dubbed as the “Geneva 2” conference. The first Geneva meeting in June last year ended in a broad agreement aimed at forming a transition government in Syria and introducing a long-lasting truce. But the deal was never implemented because of disagreements over Assad’s role in the new government and neither side’s decision to lay down their arms.

Lukashevich on Friday condemned some opposition leaders for declaring that no talks were possible with Assad still in power. Moscow has insisted that the talks be held without preconditions – a demand that appears to clash with the Damascus regime’s own insistence that Assad’s future not be addressed at the conference.

Lukashevich scorned attempts by the opposition to find a common voice, saying the reports he has seen thus far coming out of Istanbul “have not been encouraging”. “We are again hearing about the precondition that Bashar al-Assad leaves power, and that a government be formed under the auspices of the United Nations.”

Syria opposition demands ‘goodwill gestures’ from Assad

Syria’s opposition called Friday on President Bashar al-Assad to prove it is working for a transition of power in the war-torn country, as they gathered in Istanbul to discuss a US-Russian initiative for peace.

“We want to stop the bloodshed. It’s very important for us to have goodwill gestures, and from both sides,” Khaled al-Saleh, spokesman for the Western-backed National Coalition — the main opposition group — told reporters in Istanbul.

“We want to make sure that when we enter those negotiations the bloodshed in Syria will stop,” he added. The call comes hours after key Assad backer Moscow said the Syrian regime is “in principle” willing to join the peace conference proposed by the United States and Russia dubbed “Geneva 2”.

Syria opposition’s Khatib proposes Assad ‘safe exit’

Syria’s outgoing opposition chief published an initiative for his war-torn country on Thursday that would grant President Bashar al-Assad a safe exit, and urged dissident factions to adopt his plan.

Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib published his initiative on Facebook, as the main National Coalition he headed until March gathered in Istanbul to choose a new leader and discuss a US-Russian peace initiative dubbed Geneva 2.

Under Khatib’s initiative, Assad would have 20 days from Thursday to give “his acceptance of a peaceful transition of authority”.

After accepting, Assad would have one month to hand over power to either Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi or Vice President Faruq al-Sharaa, who would then govern Syria for a transitional period of 100 days.

As part of the transition Khatib envisages, Assad would “leave the country along with five hundred people whom he will select, along with their families and children, to any other country that may choose to host them”.

This is the first time one of Syria’s opposition chiefs has made an offer of political immunity to Assad and key members of his regime.

Syria opposition struggles to forge transition plan – Reuters

Syria’s divided opposition leaders have failed to back a plan by their outgoing leader for President Bashar Al Assad to cede power gradually to end the country’s civil war, highlighting the obstacles to international peace talks expected next month.

The 16-point plan proposed by Muath Al Khatib, who resigned as head of the Western-backed opposition National Coalition in March, urges Al Assad to hand power to his deputy or prime minister and then go abroad with 500 members of his entourage.

Al Khatib’s proposal appeared to win little support from other Syrian opposition figures at a three-day meeting in Istanbul to decide how to respond to a US-Russian proposal to convene peace talks involving Al Assad’s government next month.

The coalition is under international pressure to resolve internal divisions ahead of a conference Washington and Moscow see as crucial to hopes of ending two years of civil war which has allowed Al Qaida linked militants a growing role in Syria.

Syria’s fractious opposition scrambled to agree a new leadership on Friday in a bid to present a coherent front at peace talks which the United States and Russia are convening to seek an end to more than two years of civil war.

A major assault by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces on a rebel held town over the past week is shaping into a pivotal battle. It has drawn in fighters from Assad’s Lebanese allies Hezbollah, justifying fears that a war that has killed 80,000 people would cross borders at the heart of the Middle East.

Washington and Moscow have been compelled to revive diplomacy by developments in recent months, which include new reports of atrocities, accusations chemical weapons were used and the rise of al Qaeda-linked fighters among rebels.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will meet privately in Paris on Monday to discuss their efforts to bring Syria’s warring parties together, U.S. and Russian officials said.

Russia said the Syrian government had agreed in principle to attend the planned peace conference, which could take part in Geneva in the coming weeks, and had “expressed readiness” to find a political solution.

Under intense international pressure to resolve internal divisions so it can play a meaningful role in the talks, Syria’s Western-backed opposition National Coalition met in Istanbul to elect new leaders and broaden its membership.

Senior opposition figures said the coalition was likely to attend the conference, but doubted it would produce any immediate deal for Assad to leave power – their central demand.

“We are faced with a situation where everyone thinks there will be a marriage when the bride is refusing. The regime has to show a minimum of will that it is ready to stop the bloodshed,” said Haitham al-Maleh, an elder statesman of the coalition. …

COALITION STRUGGLES TO AGREE

Much to the frustration of its backers, the coalition has struggled to agree on a leader since the resignation in March of respected cleric Moaz Alkhatib, who had floated two initiatives for Assad to leave power peacefully.

Alkhatib’s latest proposal – a 16-point plan which foresees Assad handing power to his deputy or prime minister then going abroad with 500 members of his entourage – won little support in Istanbul, highlighting the obstacles to wider negotiations.

 

Israel

Israel’s air force chief warned Wednesday that tensions with Syria could escalate into a “surprise war” and that Israel needs to be ready. The remarks by Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel Wednesday echoed statements by Israel’s military chief of staff a day earlier.“A surprise war could take shape today in many configurations,” Eshel said at a strategy conference in Herzliya, near Tel Aviv. “Isolated incidents can escalate very quickly and require us to be prepared in a matter of hours to operate throughout the entire spectrum … to utilize all the capabilities of the air force,” he said.He said Russian S-300 air defense systems are “on their way” to Syria, though Israel asked Russia not to supply the advanced air defense system to Syria.

Syria, Israel Exchange Fire Over Border – AP

Syria said Tuesday it destroyed an Israeli vehicle that crossed the ceasefire line in the Golan Heights overnight, while the Israeli military said gunfire from Syria had hit an Israeli patrol, damaging a vehicle and prompting its troops to fire back. The two sides appeared to be referring to the same incident.

Syria: Attacked Israeli Vehicle Was Heading to Rebel Village

The Tuesday exchange of fire between Israeli and Syrian troops along the 1973 ceasefire line  centered on the shooting of an Israeli military jeep. Syria has provided a letter to the UN Security Council detailing their side of the story.

According to those familiar with its contents, Syria says the jeep they attacked crossed the ceasefire line a 1:10 AM on Tuesday morning and headed in the direction of B’ir Ajam, a village in Syria that is currently held by the rebels.

Syrian officials said that the attempt to reach the village was part of ongoing Israeli support for the rebels along their frontier, and that the attack on the jeep was “self-defense.” They urged the UN Security Council to stop Israel from future cross-border operations, and complained about Israel firing missiles into southern Syria after the jeep was “destroyed.”

Israel told a completely different story on Tuesday, claiming the jeep was on the Israeli side of the ceasefire line, that it suffered only minor damage, and that they retaliated with missiles that scored “direct hits” on the Syrian military.

Miscellaneous

 

Decadence and death inside Damascus city walls – Telegraph

Damascus is a schizophrenic place, writes Ruth Sherlock. It is a city hunkered down in war, blighted by shellfire, blitzed by warplanes – and a thriving capital where business continues and the parties go on.

The party at the Damas Rose hotel in Damascus was in full swing. The ladies had coiffed their hair, applied blusher to their cheeks, and wore corsets and tight, silky, dresses with stiletto heels. At the edges of the grand parlour, groups of friends sat in booths upholstered with red velvet. Lovers wandered out to the poolside and rested on loungers below the starlit sky.

A few streets away Red Crescent volunteers washed the blood from a stretcher and hosed down an ambulance. A sniper’s bullet had smashed the taillight. They had just returned to base after delivering the lifeless body of a young man, shrapnel in his brain, back to his parents.

Scowcroft Argues for Diplomacy in Syria – WSJ

Former national security adviser Brent Scowcroft said the top U.S. priority in Syria should be to work with Russia to arrange a cease-fire rather than to arm Syrian rebels or establish a no-fly zone in the country, as some in Washington are advocating.

Americans think “instinctively” they ought help put an end to the civil war, Mr. Scowcroft said in a video interview on WSJ.com. But, he added, “I don’t see how we can help. If we actively participate, as many say, in Syria, then we’re going to own Syria. And we don’t know how to solve the Syrian problem.”

Asked whether he is advocating arming rebels or setting up a no-fly zone, Mr. Scowcroft replied, “No, I’m not. This is a very difficult situation. If (Syrian President Bashar al-Assad) left tomorrow, it would not be all peace and quiet.”

Instead, he endorsed an effort by Secretary of State John Kerry to work with Moscow, an ally of and arms supplier to the Syrian government, to work out an end to the violence.

Turkey builds wall at Syria border crossing – Reuters

Turkey is constructing 2.5-km-long (1.5 mile) twin walls at a border crossing with Syria to increase security at the frontier following three deadly bombings this year.

Jordanian authorities turn away Syrian refugees – McClatchy

The flow of refugees crossing from Syria into Jordan has all but stopped in the last six days amid heavy fighting in the area and claims by Syrians that Jordanian border guards are preventing them from entering.

The Jordanian foreign minister has denied that his government had closed the border, but Syrians said Jordanian soldiers had turned them back.

A decision by the Jordanian government to block the flow of people across the border not only would exacerbate the humanitarian crisis that’s unfolding in Syria – thousands had been fleeing into Jordan every day, seeking refuge from the civil war there – but also would complicate efforts to supply the rebel groups that are fighting to topple the regime of President Bashar Assad.

“When we asked the border guards why they won’t let us in, they gave no reason,” said Abu Mohammed, a Syrian rebel who used a nom de guerre that means “Father of Mohammed” in Arabic. He makes regular trips to Jordan in order to ferry weapons and other supplies into Syria and take refugees and the wounded out.

As has happened on Syria’s northern border with Turkey, the Jordanian government has been allowing fighters, supplies and refugees to pass in and out of Syria through unofficial crossings into rebel-held areas. These unofficial crossing points are crucial to the rebellion.

Saudis overtaking Qatar in sponsoring Syrian rebels – The National

Last week, a 12-member delegation from the Syrian opposition visited Saudi Arabia, for an unprecedented two-day official meeting.

Saudi authorities had consistently declined to meet the opposition, despite repeated requests. This was partly because the kingdom has opposed Muslim Brotherhood dominance in the Syrian National Council and then the National Coalition, owing to the Brotherhood’s alliance with Qatar and Turkey and opposition to inclusivity.

But last week, surprisingly, the Saudi foreign minister, Saud Al Faisal, met Syrian Brotherhood deputy leader Mahmoud Farouq Tayfour, in one-to-one talks.

The Brotherhood had previously been confident in its alliance with Qatar and Turkey, and saw no need to offer concessions to engage other countries, including Saudi Arabia. So this meeting, which came after an “eager appeal” from the Brotherhood, suggests a shift in regional dynamics.

Two separate sources close to the opposition say Mr Tayfour assured the Saudi minister that “Syria’s Brotherhood will definitely not be like Egypt’s Brotherhood”.

He also “harshly” criticised Qatar’s role, even though Qatar had helped revive the Brotherhood in Syria after the Baathists massacred it out of existence in 1982.

Regime Demolishes Illegal Slums in Hama, Displacing Thousands – Syria Deeply

Twenty thousand residents of Wadi al-Jouz, a destitute neighborhood of the hard-hit city of Hama, have lost their homes. This was not the result of bombings or gun battles, but an unlikely culprit in a time of war: urban planning.

Activists said the Syrian army spearheaded the demolition of Wadi al-Jouz’s slums, shelling homes indiscriminately, before sending in bulldozers to raze structures as people fled. More than one-quarter of all Syrians have been displaced by violence over the past two years.

Opposition activists view the demolition as a form of collective punishment, aimed to crush the revolting neighborhoods in Hama, a city that defied the Baath Party for 50 years.

Comments (159)


Pages: [1] 2 3 4 » Show All

1. dawoud said:

Free Syria, Free Paletine, Stop the occupation of al-Qasir by the Shia Lebanese Terrorist party Hizbass!

Reuters: BREAKING NEWS: Senator Mccain met with rebels in Syria on Monday: spokesman

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May 27th, 2013, 2:22 pm

 

2. revenire said:

No real surprise at the SNC meeting. After all, they’re just puppets and corrupt expats who haven’t visited Syria in decades. They represent no one in Syria, not even the terrorists.

I wonder if they served liver for lunch.

🙂

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May 27th, 2013, 2:31 pm

 

3. majoos said:

WIKIPEDIA: Graham Fuller
Fuller left the CIA in 1988 for the RAND Corporation, remaining as a senior political scientist until 2000.[8][10] An active author and media spokesman, Fuller is an adjunct history professor at Simon Fraser University.[10] After the Boston Marathon bombings, it was revealed that Fuller’s daughter Samantha Ankara Fuller was married to Ruslan Tsarnaev (Tsarni), the terrorists’ uncle.

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May 27th, 2013, 2:40 pm

 

4. majoos said:

1. Erdogan is as Barzani a devout member of the Naqshabandi Sufi Order, whose chief “Sheik” Nazim proclaimed that “King” Hüsseyin should be the next Khalifa. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qoRGawgBWnM

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May 27th, 2013, 2:40 pm

 

5. majoos said:

One of the funnier episods of SNL: with “McCain”

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May 27th, 2013, 2:43 pm

 
 

7. Hopeful said:

So Hizballah is now fighting foreign jihadis in Syria which is bearly surviving economically through financial support fom Iran, and politically though aid from Russia, all the while a US congressman enters Syria without the knowledge of the Syrian government.

So much for sovereignty and independence Mr. Assad. Supporters, why the hell are you still hanging your hopes on this loser of a leader? what a joke!

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May 27th, 2013, 2:52 pm

 

8. zoo said:

If anyone has doubts of the political incompetence of Arab countries in dealing with Syria, Iran or any regional political issues, these continuous and fruitless meetings prove it.

Arab FMs meet on Syria June 5
27/05/2013 |

(With photos) CAIRO, May 27 (KUNA) — Arab foreign ministers are poised to hold an extraordinary meeting here on June 5 to discuss the Syrian crisis, Kuwait’s Permanent Representative at the Arab League Jamal Al-Ghunaim said on Monday.
The meeting will come just a few days of an international conference due in Geneva next month in an effort to find a political solution to the Syrian predicament, he told KUNA.
The Arab foreign ministerial meeting is scheduled to focus on a concerted Arab position on a peaceful transition in Syria and the fulfillment of the expectations and hopes of the Syrian people, Al-Ghunaim added.
During the meeting, Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem Al-Thani, who is the head of the Arab ministerial committee on Syria, and Secretary General of the Arab League Nabil Al-Araby are expected to present a report on the outcomes of their contacts and consultations with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and UN-Arab Envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi on the planned Geneva II Conference on Syria, the Kuwaiti diplomat said.
On the same subject, Deputy Secretary General of the Arab League Ahmad bin Helli said the extraordinary meeting of Arab foreign ministers, presided by Egypt, will mainly revolve around the volatile Syrian situation, involvement of Lebanon’s Hezbollah in Syria and an Arab vision for the Geneva II Conference on Syria.
The gathering will be preceded by a preparatory meeting of Arab permanent delegates on the same day, he pointed out.
The Arab foreign ministers will also discuss the serious reflections of the Syrian cul-de-sac on Lebanon’s security and stability, the Arab League’s official added.

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May 27th, 2013, 2:58 pm

 

9. revenire said:

Hopeful before you explode with orgasmic joy realize that borders are porous. Each day the “mighty” American government deals with thousand of illegal immigrants.

On another note, John McCain has the nickname of “hand grenade” because of his explosive personality. Putin was correct when he said McCain had been kept too long in a Viet Cong cage and went “batty” from it. I pray for Sen. McCain each night before bed.

Join me.

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May 27th, 2013, 3:03 pm

 

10. Uzair8 said:

Regimists on here will turn on each other when it’s time for Assad to pick his 500. Who will get picked and who will not?

LOL.

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May 27th, 2013, 3:04 pm

 

11. zoo said:

Syrian troops gain ground..

http://www.chron.com/news/world/article/Syrian-troops-gain-ground-TV-reporter-killed-4550736.php

In Syria, heavy fighting was reported Monday in the western town of Qusair, the target of a regime offensive that began May 19, and around the nearby Dabaa military base.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a pro-opposition group, said regime troops and allied fighters from the Lebanese militia Hezbollah captured the nearby town of Hamidiyeh, tightening their siege of Qusair. Observatory director Rami Abdul-Rahman said troops were trying to capture the village of Haret al-Turkumen in order to put Qusair under “complete siege.”

Syrian state TV said troops captured more parts of the northern and central rebel-held neighborhoods of Qusair. The town had been under rebel control almost from the start of the uprising against Assad in 2011.

Al-Mayadeen TV, which has several reporters embedded with Syrian troops, aired video from the town showing widespread destruction. At least three bodies could be seen on one of the streets.

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May 27th, 2013, 3:06 pm

 

12. revenire said:

Majoos that is pretty funny from SNL. Ha ha.

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May 27th, 2013, 3:07 pm

 

13. revenire said:

I am laughing at al-Ya’qoubi getting the shaft. This guy makes really crazy statements. He said the regime murdered al-Bouti and now he is saying Hezbollah will be buried in Syria. Ha ha. He must be smoking something other than tobacco in the hookah.

Where do they come up with these guys?

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May 27th, 2013, 3:11 pm

 

14. majoos said:

I think that all the recent “terror” attacs in the US, Britain, France and also the one in Turkey were fake and/or staged, in order to have a solid reason to stop further engagement for the salafi-army in Syria.
Turkey is already building a wall to stop the influx of rebels. This is probbalbly also the reason why pro-Assad media outlets such as al manar, press tv and rt did not cover the leak of redhack which shoved that the Turkish gouvernement knew in the forefront of the reyhanli attack.

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May 27th, 2013, 3:16 pm

 

15. Hopeful said:

#9 Rev

Joy? Nothing could be further from the truth. My heart is aching at the miserable state Syria finds itself in today, thanks to its glorious illigitimate leader who managed to ignite the worst and most brutal civil war in modern history!

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May 27th, 2013, 3:23 pm

 

16. Tara said:

McCain in Syria?

He He!

Sovereignty my shoes. The one from Souk al Haramieh.

Traitor he who kills his people.

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May 27th, 2013, 3:31 pm

 

17. majoos said:

@hopelessfull

Do you really think it s up to Assad to decide weather to step down or not?
Putin would have him replaced by someone else.
Assad and his counterparts are just pawns in a much bigger game.
The outcome of this war will shape the New World Order, nothing less!

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May 27th, 2013, 3:32 pm

 

18. majoos said:

Why on earth should Assad regard foreign merchaniers from Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi-Land, Lybia, Tunesia as “his people” – bc of his former “pan-arab” policies?
From your former coments I got the impression that you considered him as a sectarian Allawite, that would e.g. mean that non-Allawites are “not his people” right?

And by the way do you cherish presidents/kings/dictators killing other people?

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May 27th, 2013, 3:37 pm

 

19. zoo said:

Brilliant results after 5 days of bickering in Istanbul:

Power is back to the Moslem Brotherhood with the financial backing of Qatar bringing the opposition to a new level of disaster.
Saudi Arabia’s and Michel Kilo voices have been shut off. No response on the participation to the UN conference as Qatar is waiting to get the UN arms embargo lifted as a pre-condition.

Election results:

Mar Georges is the “Christian” facade to reassure the West
Hitto the Kurdish Kid is the PM without a country or a government to please Turkey.
Moustafa Al Sabbagh, nicknamed the “Qatari snake” is the powerful secretary to please the Al Thani’s, including Sheikha Moza
All is going according to plan…

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May 27th, 2013, 3:51 pm

 

20. zoo said:

EU talks on Syria arms embargo fail: Austria

27 May 2013

BRUSSELS (AFP)

European Union efforts to reach an agreement on whether to arm Syria’s rebels have failed, Austria’s Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger said Monday.

“I deplore it was not possible to find a compromise with France and Britain,” said the minister, whose country was sharply opposed to calls by London and Paris to lift an EU arms embargo in favour of the rebels.

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May 27th, 2013, 3:57 pm

 

21. ann said:

US Makes Syria an ‘Offer it Can’t Refuse’ – again | Finian CUNNINGHAM | 25.05.2013

In Mafia terms, it’s called “making an offer that can’t be refused”. The “offer” is not one of free choice between options that may benefit the object party. In reality, it is about setting up a scenario of duress, under which the object party is coerced to capitulate to detrimental terms of extreme prejudice determined cynically by the other party.

http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2013/05/25/us-makes-syria-an-offer-it-cant-refuse-again.html

This is the scenario that Washington and its NATO allies are contriving for the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad…

The so-called international peace conference that may take place in the coming weeks, at the behest of Washington and Moscow, is ostensibly aimed at finding a negotiated end to the conflict in Syria that is now in its third year and which has resulted in up to 80,000 deaths. At least half of these deaths are believed to be civilian.

Russian officials have confirmed that the Syrian government is willing to participate, in principle, in the conference with factions of the Syrian «opposition» – provided, says Damascus, that the latter participants do not have «blood on their hands».

That criterion may yet turn out to make the forthcoming conference a non-runner since the main opposition group – the Western-backed Syrian National Coalition (SNC) – is entwined with a host of mercenary forces on the ground that are drenched in blood from a relentless campaign of terrorism and sabotage.

However, it is not even clear if the fractious and mainly exile-based SNC has any authority over the motley crew of militant groups – more than 75 per cent of whom are foreign self-styled jihadi extremists that emanate from 30 or more Arab and other countries, according to United Nations reports.

Chief among these groups that comprise the so-called Free Syrian Army is the Al Nusra Front, the main fighting force, which is aligned with the Al Qaeda-affiliated network that stretches from Russia’s Caucus region, through Afghanistan and Iraq, to Libya, Mali and Niger.

It has to be said that Russia’s intentions for a negotiated peace settlement seem to be honourable – and based on the principle of arriving at some kind of internal Syrian consensus. To that end, Russia maintains the position of not setting preconditions about the political fate of the incumbent President Assad. Russia is supported in this view by Iran and China. It is not, they say, for foreign governments or their regional allies and proxies to determine the outcome of the conference and in particular the political future of Assad.

Contrast that with the position of the other broker – Washington. At a preliminary meeting in Jordan this past week, the US Secretary of State John Kerry insisted, along with NATO allies, Britain, France, Italy and Germany, as well as the Persian Gulf Arab sheikhdoms, that Assad «must go».

Kerry told the assembled «Friends of Syria» that the US was not dictating the outcome of the planned peace conference, but then contradicted himself flatly by repeating the assertion that President Assad would not be part of any Syrian political transition.

«Can a person who has used artillery shells and missiles and Scuds and tanks against women and children and university students – can that person possibly be judged by any reasonable person to have the credibility and legitimacy to lead that country in the future?» asked Kerry.

The veracity of these allegations against the Assad regime is more than a moot point. There is substantial evidence that the violations Kerry was attributing to Syrian government forces, such as the rocket attack on Aleppo University in January that resulted in more than 80 deaths, were in fact committed by Western-backed militants. The use of chemical weapons near Aleppo in March has also been shown recently by Russian RTR journalists to be the work of Western-backed militants, not the regime, as Western governments have been insinuating.

But that aside, the immediate point here is that Kerry and his «Enemies of Syria» coalition are very much trying to dictate terms on the anticipated political process. That same Western intransigence was largely why the Geneva accord reached last June by the UN Security Council came unstuck – and tens of thousands more Syrian deaths followed.

Adding to the warped framework of negotiations, the US, Britain and France are also insisting – in contrast to Russia and China – that Iran should not be permitted to take part in the process. Of course, the NATO powers can rely on their Sunni allies among the Persian Gulf monarchies of Saudi Arabia and Qatar to endorse that stipulation. Why the Western powers and their Arab dictator friends have any more right than Iran – an ally of Syria with vital interests at stake in the conflict – is beyond their permitted rationale or discussion.

So, the upshot is that Assad is being offered a poisoned political chalice. On one hand, he is being told to forfeit the sovereign rights of his people to have him as their leader, and by all accounts a leader with a popular mandate, to give way to a negotiation with «opposition» parties who are solely designated, funded and patronised by foreign powers.

The SNC’s Ghassan Hitto, a Texas-based Syrian businessman, is designated by Washington, London and the former colonial power Paris as Syria’s premier-in-waiting. It is fair to say that Hitto, as with many other American-accented members of the SNC, has negligible popular support within Syria. That is, without any mandate from the Syrian population, these exiles are being foisted to negotiate the political future of Syria – a future that is extremely prejudicial in favour of Western geopolitical interests.

On the other hand – and this is where the Mafia analogy takes hold – the Western powers are making thinly veiled threats that if Assad does not conform to the warped political framework, that is, drink from the poisoned chalice, then all hell will break lose on this country with an even greater escalation of Western-backed violence.

«The United States is lobbying European governments to back a British-led call to amend [lift] the EU arms embargo on Syria,» reported the British Guardian this week, as Washington and its friend were gathering in Jordan.

Up to now, Washington has at least been maintaining the fiction that it is not arming the anti-Assad militants. It has, of course, been plying the mercenaries covertly with weaponry and logistics, along with its NATO allies and the Gulf Arab dictatorships.

Militant commander Brigadier General Salim Idriss has been pleading for Washington to begin openly supplying anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles – not just the assault rifles and explosives that have come so far through the clandestine CIA/MI6 conduits of Turkey, Jordan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Since last month, Washington officials have begun briefing media outlets, such as the Washington Post and the New York Times, that the Obama administration is moving towards more direct military intervention in aid of the militants in Syria. «We’re clearly on an upward trajectory,» a senior US official said somewhat cryptically on 30 April. «We’ve moved over to assistance that has a direct military purpose.»

Days later, in the first week of May, US Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel hosted a press conference at the Pentagon with his British counterpart, Philip Hammond. «Arming the rebels, that’s an option,» said Hagel, indicating an apparent reversal of White House policy of ostensibly only sending «non-lethal aid».

And this week a US Senate committee voted in favour of Washington arming the «rebels» in Syria.

Secretary of State John Kerry is adding to this increasingly articulated threat. Voice of America reported from the Jordanian meeting last week: «Kerry says the Obama administration hopes President Assad ‘will understand the meaning of that’ [shift in US military policy towards Syria].»

This latent threat of greater aggression against Syria by the US, if it does not toe the political line as ordained by Washington, is not a new tactic in America’s underlying objective of regime change.

Last month, the Iranian FARS news agency reported that Syrian envoy to Iran, Adnan Mahmoud, disclosed that as far back as March 2011 – when the conflict was kicking off in Syria – that the then US Secretary of Defence, Robert Gates, had starkly told the Damascus government that it faced «a choice».

The Syrian envoy to Iran was quoted by FARS as saying: «Of course, in the very first weeks of the conflict in Syria, the US Secretary of Defence [Robert Gates] sent a message to the Syrian government, and said we should have cut our ties with the Islamic Republic of Iran if we wanted to stop the war, and stressed that if we did so, they [the US] would provide us with whatever we want». In other words, Washington was making Syria back then «an offer it couldn’t refuse». Well, Syria did refuse back in early 2011 to comply with US demands to cut its strategic ties with Iran, and as time has shown Damascus has since paid a heavy price in terms of human lives and the destruction of the country.

[…]

http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2013/05/25/us-makes-syria-an-offer-it-cant-refuse-again.html

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May 27th, 2013, 3:58 pm

 

22. zoo said:

The meeting in Istanbul is a “farce” . It is regrettable it was not videotaped: The black comedy of the year.

Syrian National Coalition on brink of collapse

Phil Sands
ISTANBUL // The opposition Syrian National Coalition was on the brink of collapse last night after five days of fractious wrangling.
What had been planned as a brief conference in Istanbul to deal with a host of pressing issues has become an embarrassing display of internal politicking and inefficiency.

An increasingly rancorous dispute over control of the alliance came to a head early yesterday when a diverse liberal bloc that could counter the Muslim Brotherhood and attract international funding was denied full membership of the coalition.

What is widely seen as the farce in Istanbul has undermined the alliance’s credibility both inside Syria and in the eyes of its international backers. “If we do not solve our internal problems here and now there will be no coalition left to speak of,” an SNC member said.
.
That deal appeared to have broken down yesterday, amid furious recriminations.

“There was a shouting match between the French and one element of the SNC,” said one opposition member who was at the session. “The French said, ‘Unless you expand you will get no support from any of us’, and was told, ‘Leave us alone, we don’t need your support’.

Read more: http://www.thenational.ae/news/world/middle-east/syrian-national-coalition-on-brink-of-collapse#ixzz2UWcHU8Qd
Follow us: @TheNationalUAE on Twitter | thenational.ae on Facebook

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May 27th, 2013, 4:04 pm

 

23. Dawoud said:

As the picture after the link shows, the terrorist Iranian Revolutionary Guard is holding recruitment events to sign up NON-ARAB Iranian terrorist volunteers to travel and occupy and ARAB country, Syria:

http://www.alarabiya.net/ar/arab-and-world/syria/2013/05/27/%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AD%D8%B1%D8%B3-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AB%D9%88%D8%B1%D9%8A-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A5%D9%8A%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86%D9%8A-%D9%8A%D8%AD%D8%B4%D8%AF-%D9%85%D8%AA%D8%B7%D9%88%D8%B9%D9%8A%D9%86-%D9%84%D9%84%D9%82%D8%AA%D8%A7%D9%84-%D9%81%D9%8A-%D8%B3%D9%88%D8%B1%D9%8A%D8%A7-.html

الرئيسية
»
سوريا
آخر تحديث: الاثنين 17 رجب 1434هـ – 27 مايو 2013م KSA 20:23 – GMT 17:23
الحرس الثوري الإيراني يحشد متطوعين للقتال في سوريا
مواقع محافظة دعت لتشكيل وحدات عسكرية أطلق عليها اسم “كتائب أبا الفضل العباس”
الاثنين 17 رجب 1434هـ – 27 مايو 2013


نشرت وسائل إعلام إيرانية، اليوم، صوراً لمتطوعين يراجعون مقرات قوات التعبئة التابعة للحرس الثوري الإيراني الـ”باسيج” لتسجيل أسمائهم بغية القتال في سوريا إلى جانب القوات الموالية لبشار الأسد.
وأطلقت مواقع محافظة قريبة من قوات التعبئة حملة لتشكيل وحدات عسكرية مكونة من متطوعين للقتال في سوريا أطلق عليها اسم “كتائب أبا الفضل العباس”.
وكررت إحدى الدعوات المنشورة لهذا الغرض نفس الشعار الذي يرفعه حزب الله اللبناني و”كتائب الحق العراقية”، أي القتال في سوريا، “للدفاع عن العتبات العاليات”، في إشارة إلى مرقد “السيدة زينب”.
وبرر محمد صالحي جوكار، عضو لجنة الأمن القومي والسياسة الخارجية بالبرلمان الإيراني، هذه الدعوة على أنها تطلق من قبل “منظمات غير حكومية” (NGO)، وأكد أنها تسعى للحفاظ على “القيم والثقافة” في إيران، مؤكداً ضرورة “إطلاق يدها”، حسب تعبيره.
“لا يجوز أن نترك الشعب السوري وحده”
واستطرد قائلاً: “لا يجوز أن نترك الشعب السوري البريء وحده، ففي الوقت الذي يجمع الاتحاد الأوروبي كافة أنواع الأسلحة ويرسلها إلى سوريا، وتقوم دول بإرسال الأسلحة للإرهابيين دون انقطاع والخيانة مستمرة، لا يجوز اتخاذ موقف المتفرج، بل ينبغي على المتطوعين التوجه إلى هناك والبدء بالدعم”.
يذكر أن المعارضة السورية وجهات دولية وإقليمية عدة، تتهم إيران وحليفها في لبنان حزب الله بالتدخل المباشر في الشأن السوري، وتزويد نظام الأسد بالعدد والعدة.
[…]

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May 27th, 2013, 4:13 pm

 

24. Dawoud said:

Hizbass terrorist war against the Syrian people is de-stabilizing Lebanon, and sooner or later will reach the its Shia terrorist nest in Beirut’s Southern Dhahiyah!

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/hezbollahs-war-in-syria-threatens-to-engulf-lebanon-8632689.html

Robert Fisk
Sunday 26 May 2013
Hezbollah’s war in Syria threatens to engulf Lebanon
This is potentially the greatest danger to Lebanon’s people since the 1975-90 civil war

[..] Hassan Nasrallah [حسن نصر الشسيطان] has crossed the Rubicon.
The Hezbollah chairman who said exactly 13 years ago that his resistance movement would not cross the Israeli frontier – that it was for the Palestinians to “liberate” Jerusalem – has declared that Hezbollah has crossed the Syrian frontier. Not only that, but Nasrallah said at the weekend he would fight “to the end” to protect President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Hezbollah, he said, was entering “a completely new phase.” He can say that again.

I was standing on a rooftop in the south Lebanese town of Bint Jbeil when I heard that promise from Nasrallah all those years ago. Hezbollah would not be advancing into Palestine. We all sighed with relief. What happened? In those days, Nasrallah appeared in person, standing amid his adoring fighters and their families. Now he lives in hiding. Is there tunnel vision at work? He said he receives letters from families begging him to let their sons fight in Syria. Coffin vision, perhaps?

It was, of course, inevitable. Only last month, I discovered Hezbollah men “protecting” the Sayda Zeinab mosque in south Damascus. “Don’t say you saw me here,” one of them told me. A friendly soul who had pinned a picture of Nasrallah and of Iran’s supreme leader Khamenei to the wall of his office, he came from that very same town of Bint Jbeil.

Two days later, Hezbollah admitted their men were “guarding” the front-line shrine. Then they said 12 of them had been killed. I do not know if my interlocutor was among them. For several months, Hezbollah had been quietly admitting that their fighters were also “protecting” Shia villages inside Syria whose inhabitants were Lebanese. Then the bodies started to come home. One at first, then six, then they came by the dozen.

Once Hezbollah was committed to the battle for Qusayr alongside Syrian troops, a spokesman for this most efficient and ruthless militia claimed its fighters had been on their way to the shrine in Damascus but had been misdirected and found themselves in a firefight in no-man’s land. A likely story. Qusayr – just off from the highway to Latakia and the Syrian coast – is well over 100 miles from Damascus. Then 30 more bodies came home to Lebanon. So Nasrallah only said what he had to say. Much did he speak of Palestine and the al-Aqsa mosque. But his men were moving east into Syria, not south into Palestine, and history will judge Nasrallah on this speech.

He talked, of course, about the danger of “extremists” trying to overthrow Assad, claiming they were also a danger to Lebanon, that Assad’s Syria was a backbone of Hezbollah “and the resistance cannot stand with its arms folded while its back is broken”.

What he did not say was that his Shia militia was fighting Syrian Sunnis – whose co-religionists make up around 30 per cent of Lebanon’s population. Which is why the battle between the Sunnis and the Alawite Shias of the north Lebanese city of Tripoli broke out so ferociously on the day Hezbollah took up the fight for Qusayr alongside Assad’s men.

Quite simply, this is potentially the greatest danger to Lebanon’s people – not to mention the sovereignty of its sectarian state – since the 1975-90 civil war.

“If Syria falls into the hands of America, Israel and Takfiris [Sunni extremists], the resistance will be besieged and Israel will enter Lebanon and impose its will.” This is what Nasrallah said on the huge screen erected in the town of Mashgara on the 13th anniversary of south Lebanon’s liberation from Israeli occupation on Saturday night. What he meant was that if Assad falls, Hezbollah’s own political support and weaponry – originating in Iran – will come to an end. And then there will be no more Hezbollah to drive out the Israelis when they return.

And before we bellow with hollow laughter, let’s just remember that the destruction of the Islamic Republic of Iran – as a theological state created by Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979 – is currently the be-all and end-all of US and Israeli policy towards the country
[…]

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May 27th, 2013, 4:24 pm

 

25. Dawoud said:

Robert fisk (http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/hezbollahs-war-in-syria-threatens-to-engulf-lebanon-8632689.html): “The Hezbollah chairman who said exactly 13 years ago that his resistance movement would not cross the Israeli frontier – that it was for the Palestinians to “liberate” Jerusalem – has declared that Hezbollah has crossed the Syrian frontier. Not only that, but Nasrallah said at the weekend he would fight “to the end” to protect President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.”

So, let me emphasize this again: the terrorist Hasan the Devil said that his terrorist militia would never ever enter a territory controlled by Israel to defend Palestine, but he is sending his terrorists to Syria to defend a murderous dictator 🙂 🙂 “Resistance” His As$ 🙂

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May 27th, 2013, 4:33 pm

 

26. revenire said:

Dave I think you should post that exact same article 10-20 more times. That way even you might find it believable.

We’re going with Nasrallah to “the end of the road” and will see who wins.

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May 27th, 2013, 4:38 pm

 

27. dawoud said:

Robert Fisk (http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/hezbollahs-war-in-syria-threatens-to-engulf-lebanon-8632689.html):
“Now he [Hasan Nasrass حسن نصر الشسيطان] lives in hiding. Is there tunnel vision at work? He said he receives letters from families begging him to let their sons fight in Syria. Coffin vision, perhaps?”

Thanks, Mr. Fisk, I could not have said it any better!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes, it’s a coffin vision!

Free Syria, Free Palestine!

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May 27th, 2013, 4:41 pm

 

28. Juergen said:

German NGO Clowns without borders has visited the Atmeh refugee camp and were able to end at least for the lenght of an show the misery of the children

http://www.clownsohnegrenzen.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=63&Itemid=137&lang=de

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May 27th, 2013, 4:51 pm

 

29. Matthew Barber said:

Majoos,

I’ve deleted your comment to Tara, and I’m offering you a single warning: no sexual remarks directed at other users. This is a forum for discussion, not for insults and outbursts.

You’ve contributed some thoughtful comments and links here. Please keep it that way.

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May 27th, 2013, 4:53 pm

 

30. Juergen said:

This 1999 tv documentary of Iraq shows has a lot of similarities with todays Syria.

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May 27th, 2013, 4:54 pm

 

31. SANDRO LOEWE said:

Reports via watsapp about chemical weapons being used right now in Al Qasaa quarter, in Damascus.

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May 27th, 2013, 4:56 pm

 

32. majoos said:

@32 Sandro

Could you please forward a link?

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May 27th, 2013, 4:59 pm

 

33. mjoos said:

@ Dawood

Why is that a surprise to you?
Doesn t it just confirm your old bias against Shiites?

“He who has no taqiyya has no faith”;
“he who forsakes taqiyya is like him who forsakes prayer”;
“taqiyya is the believers shield, but for taqiyya, God would not have been worshipped”

Kohlberg, Etan (1995). Secrecy and Concealment. Brill Academic Publishers. p. 373.

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May 27th, 2013, 5:09 pm

 

34. majoos said:

Does anyone know the difference between the shamsi and qamari Alawites and weather Assads family originates from?

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May 27th, 2013, 5:15 pm

 

35. Juergen said:

John McCain in Syria, meets rebels

“Sen. John McCain, one of the Senate’s loudest voices for further intervention in Syria, snuck into the country and met with rebel leaders Monday, his office confirmed to POLITICO.

The Arizona Republican made the trip from Turkey into Syria alongside Gen. Salam Idris, according to The Daily Beast, which first reported McCain’s visit. Idris leads the Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army and accompanied McCain as they met with rebel leaders from throughout the country.”

http://www.politico.com/story/2013/05/john-mccain-syria-91910.html

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May 27th, 2013, 5:19 pm

 

36. revenire said:

Chemical weapons are being used right now in Damascus? LOL Is someone washing their dishes or shaving?

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May 27th, 2013, 5:20 pm

 

37. revenire said:

Juergen did he bring Joe Lieberman with him?

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May 27th, 2013, 5:23 pm

 

38. SANDRO LOEWE said:

Assad supporters in LA and TEL AVIV deny the use of chemical weapons. Assad supporters inside Damascus are now testing the effects of chemical weapons in their lungs.

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May 27th, 2013, 5:26 pm

 

39. majoos said:

I hope no one missunderstands this as apolegetics for the use of WMD.

But can someone please try to exlain me the moral difference between “regular” weapons such as missiles, grenates, TNT and the chemical weapons, apparently used by Assad on such a smal scale that it killed less than a duzend?

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May 27th, 2013, 5:27 pm

 

40. SANDRO LOEWE said:

Assad and mafia could be near to the end.

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May 27th, 2013, 5:28 pm

 

41. ann said:

35. revenire

The smell of dead decomposing bodies of Al-Qaeda Islamist terrorists from Jobar

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May 27th, 2013, 5:34 pm

 

42. zoo said:

Juergen

The anti-Bashar should feel so proud that Mc Cain came to visit the Syria-Turkish border. It is so re-assuring that someone of that “high morals” makes a move to show support for the crumbling FSA.
I am sure he was deeply moved by Genrl Selim Idriss begging for heavy weapons to ‘protect’ the civilians.
Bashar al Assad would surely thank Senator Mc Cain as this visit will probably discredit even more the opposition in the eyes of most Syrians.

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May 27th, 2013, 5:40 pm

 

43. majoos said:

To the pro-assad fraction in here:
Your hatred against the radicalized islamic barbarians is understandable but you should not fall in the trap of letting your emotions being killed.
After all most of them are uneducated poor and hopeless young men who were systematic radicalized by corrupt governments and their media outlets. Most of them were given drugs from their commanders.
The ones now dying on the fields are definitely not the cause of this conflict.

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May 27th, 2013, 5:43 pm

 

44. revenire said:

It is ironic to see people claiming to support freedom for Syria cheer for this warmonger McCain.

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May 27th, 2013, 5:46 pm

 

45. Majoos said:

Is my religious affiliation the reason nobody answers my questions?
🙂

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May 27th, 2013, 5:49 pm

 

46. majoos said:

“– What, then, does one experience of the You?
— Nothing at all. For one does not experience it.
— What, then, does one know of the You?
— Only everything. For one no longer knows particulars.”

M.Buber

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May 27th, 2013, 5:51 pm

 

47. revenire said:

Majoos that may, or may not, be true but if it were true should Syria surrender to the thousands of foreign jihadis killing its citizens?

The enemy is at the gate. This is war. The time for discussion has passed. There is no one to negotiate with.

The only peace that will come is peace imposed by force of the Syrian Arab Army and its allies and the peace of the grave. If it costs 500,000 lives that is the price Syria we will pay for freedom.

No one is going to surrender to former colonial masters led by the Anglo-Americans.

We will fight to the end.

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May 27th, 2013, 5:53 pm

 

48. Tara said:

The EU AGREED to lift the sanctions on weapons to the opposition.

Congratulation Syria!!!

Allahu Akbar!

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May 27th, 2013, 5:59 pm

 

49. Ziad said:

Iraq violence: Baghdad car bombs kill at least 66

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-22682400

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May 27th, 2013, 6:03 pm

 

50. majoos said:

@Tara
The EU, or the two dominant powers within, are already delivering weapons and took part in the preparation of this “uprising” since the pullout of Syrian forces out of Lebanon after the staged assassination of Hariri.

@Revenire
As I said, it justified to fight and kill the insurgents but it s not honorable to make jokes as ” The smell of dead decomposing bodies”.
You should rather feel sorry for them.

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May 27th, 2013, 6:04 pm

 

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