Christian Militia and Political Dynamics in Syria

By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi

Introduction

When it comes to news reports on Christians in Syria, the general focus is on the concerns Christian civilians have about their future, if any, in the country. Though such anxieties are not invalid, reports rarely break new ground. Here I intend to explore how Christians play a role on the ground in the civil war, both on the political and military level.

Christians in Syria fall under a number of different sects, including Antiochian Greek Orthodox, Melkite Greek Catholic (which split from the Antiochian Greek Orthodox in the 18th century and aligned with Rome), Syriac Orthodox, Assyrian Church of the East, Armenian churches, Maronites and Chaldeans. To a degree, sect affiliation corresponds with geography, with more Melkites and Greek Orthodox found in western Syria, particularly the major urban centers like Damascus. Though many Syriac Orthodox are also found in the western urban areas, Christians from the Syriac and Assyrian denominations have been the primary Christian demographic in the east of Syria.

Sect affiliation also has implications for ethnic identity, which has been a hot topic for contention among the region’s Christians more generally. The main competing terms are Arab, Syriac, Aramean, and Assyrian (and of course, Armenian naturally comes among the Armenian Christians). The Arab identity tends to prevail particularly amongst the Melkites and Antiochian Greek Orthodox, for whom Arabic plays a fundamental role as a liturgical language.

Arab Christians and Western Syria

Given the Assad regime’s own emphasis on Arab identity in line with the Ba’athist ideology, it follows that there is some affiliation with the regime on an ideological foundation. Note, for example, my prior overview here of statements by the Melkite Patriarch Gregory III Laham, who in aligning with the regime has placed emphasis on traditional pan-Arab causes such as the Palestinian issue.

Another important figure in this context to bear in mind is Mother Agnes Mariam, a Melkite nun of Palestinian origin espousing similar politics and conception of identity to those of Gregory III Laham. Though Jonathan Steele and others may claim that she is a mere figure for reconciliation among Syrians, it is quite apparent that she is with the regime. Besides considering the article linked to over her name, it should be noted that Mother Agnes maintains close ties with regime and regime-linked figures, and her apparent reconciliation efforts are merely designed to give the regime a face of legitimacy.

On the ground, Melkites and Antiochian Greek Orthodox are particularly concentrated in the Wadi al-Nasara (“Valley of Christians”) area of rural west Homs governorate, in proximity to jihadi groups such as Jamaat Jund ash-Sham: a battalion founded by Lebanese muhajireen that subscribes to the same ideology as that of the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS), which as regards Christians would mean subjugation to second-class status as dhimmis-paying an extortionist jizya tax- or conversion or death. Unsurprisingly, pro-regime Christian circles in Wadi al-Nasara have not failed to notice the presence of Jamaat Jund ash-Sham.

In addition to forming local defense militias first through the Popular Committees and now the National Defense Force (NDF), Christians in Wadi al-Nasara have been drafted into the Syrian armed forces with little resistance. Similar phenomena have been observed as regards the enlistment and martyrdoms of Suwayda and Jabal al-Sheikh-based Druze. In short, Wadi al-Nasara remains a staunchly Assad loyalist area.

AgnesKayali
Figure 1: Mother Agnes in Latakia with Ali Kayali, the leader of the pro-regime militia The Syrian Resistance. Photo from autumn 2013.

KayaliCross
Figure 2: Reflecting traditional Alawite-Christian solidarity, Ali Kayali stands with a Christian clergyman and holds a cross and a Qur’an in solidarity with the Christian victims of the massacre by rebels at Sadad in Homs governorate in late November 2013. The rebels were led by the Green Battalion, ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra.

ChristianAlexandretta
Figure 3: Ali Kayali has also tried to show a Christian component to his particular cause and associated ideologies (namely, liberating the Sanjak of Alexandretta from Turkish control, and a leftist ‘resistance’ outlook in opposition to American and Israeli influence in the wider region). In this video from November, he commemorates martyrs from the Sanjak who fought for “the Palestinian cause” against the Israeli occupation of Lebanon. Here, he notes one Hanna Mabtun, a Christian from Antakya, who died fighting the “Zionist enemy” in Lebanon.

AntounDibah
Figure 4: Antoun Nasri Dibah, a martyr from Wadi al-Nasara for Syrian army special forces in Aleppo in mid-November.

TwoChristians
Figure 5: Two more martyrs for the Syrian army from Wadi al-Nasara: Elias Mikhail Nader and Rami Na’im Farah.

AbdalKarim
Figure 6: Abd al-Karim Jarji Ta’amah, a regime soldier from Wadi al-Nasara killed during the regime-Hezbollah offensive on Qusayr in late May last year.

EliasOthman
Figure 7: Elias Othman Jarjous, an army officer from Wadi al-Nasara killed in mid-June last year.

3ChristianNDF
Figure 8: Commemorating 3 Christian fighters for the NDF in Wadi al-Nasara, killed in late August of last year.

SamirWatafa
Figure 9: One of the NDF Christian martyrs of Wadi al-Nasara: Samir Aabad Watafa.

DeathAnnouncement
Figure 10: Announcement circulated in Wadi al-Nasara in late January this year on the martyrdom of Tony Sami al-Sahli.

This is not to deny that there are Christians who have joined the rebel ranks in western Syria, but as with the Druze, the same rule applies: of those who have taken up arms, the majority have done so on the side of the regime.

Syriac Identity and Eastern Syria

Out towards the east of Syria (mostly Hasakah province in the north-east, which has absorbed many internally displaced Christians from Deir az-Zor governorate), the situation is somewhat more complicated, as there is much less propensity to identifying as Arab. Traditionally, Christians in Syria who have not identified as Arabs have had problems with the Ba’athist regime’s lack of acceptance of open expression of non-Arab identity.

The primary competing identities in the east of Syria are Syriac, Aramean and Assyrian, with the common element being the primacy of the use of Syriac in liturgy. There are also some political organizations representing these identity interests, such as the Assyrian Democratic Organization (ADO) and the Syriac Union Party (SUP).

An additional bolster to the non-Arab identity is the use of the Eastern neo-Aramaic language Turoyo. Observers will have noted the use of Western neo-Aramaic (the nearest relative of the language of Jesus) in the village of Maaloula in Damascus province, but this phenomenon was in fact co-opted by the Assad regime to promote the Arabist narrative.

However, like the inhabitants of Wadi al-Nasara, the Christians in Hasakah province must face the reality that the rebels leading offensives on regime and Kurdish-held territory in the province are primarily of jihadi orientation. The most notable of the groups in operation is ISIS, which has recently consolidated its hold in most rebel-held territory in Hasaah province, having subjugated its two main rivals- Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar ash-Sham- in the north and central areas with nominal pledges of bay’ah to ISIS, besides seizing the southern border locality of al-Markadah from these two groups.

The locality of al-Markadah is strategically important as an entry point into Deir az-Zor province, and so Jabhat al-Nusra has sent up reinforcements from Deir az-Zor province to take al-Markadah, but with no success so far. This reflects the overall strategic stalemate emerging between ISIS and its rivals, whereby ISIS has strengthened its hold on areas where it was previously well-established: namely, Raqqa and Hasakah provinces as well as northeastern Aleppo province.

Coming back to Hasakah province, ISIS does have some real allies among other rebel groups: most notably, according to a local pro-ISIS contact, the various groups in the province going by the name of Liwa Ansar al-Khilafa. I have discussed Liwa Ansar al-Khilafa before in my article on fighting on the Qamishli Front. In early January, even as infighting broke out between ISIS and other rebels elsewhere, at least one Liwa Ansar al-Khilafa grouping was part of a joint offensive with ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar ash-Sham on the Qamishli countryside.

Thus, a key question facing Christians in Hasakah province is: which actor, if any, can guarantee their protection and interests?

Churchblasphemy
Figure 11: Graphic circulated in ISIS circles last summer denouncing churches as houses of blasphemy against God, in contrast to the mosque as a house of monotheism.

LiwaAnsarKhilafa
Figure 12: Logo of Liwa Ansar al-Khilafa for western Aleppo countryside, which has participated in fighting against Kurdish and regime forces in Hasakah province, coordinating with ISIS.

For the SUP, the answer has been to form its own self-defense militias from youth volunteers, cooperating and training where necessary with the Kurdish YPG (some Christians have gone further and simply joined the PYD’s YPG or Asayish police force altogether). This defense militia is known as ‘Sutoro’, and began in the town of al-Qahtaniya following the withdrawal of regime forces, spreading subsequently to the towns of al-Malikiya (from which regime forces also withdrew) and Qamishli by spring 2013. Politically, the SUP sees the PYD as the most viable political force to turn towards, and has accordingly declared support for the PYD’s unilaterally announced autonomous interim administration. Operationally, Sutoro plays a strictly defensive role.

Sutoro
Figure 13: The emblem of Sutoro. Note that the specific Roman spelling ‘Sutoro’ (as opposed to ‘Sootoro’, as we will subsequently see) indicates affiliation with the SUP.

However, in Qamishli, where a regime presence still remained, events took a different course, as over the course of the summer and fall of last year, the Sutoro branch evolved to become Sootoro, taken over by regime loyalists affiliated with the Civil Peace Committee for Syriac Orthodox in Qamishli. This Sootoro, also known as the “Syriac Protection Office,” takes on a strictly defensive role like the SUP Sutoro. However, not only does it have a different emblem from the SUP Sutoro, but the Qamishli Sootoro also claims that the SUP Sutoro to be observed in al-Qahtaniya, al-Hasakah city and al-Malikiya has appropriated its name.

QamishliSootoro
Figure 14: The emblem of the Qamishli Sootoro. Commenting on a query in November 2013 asking about Figure 13, the media office for the Qamishli Sootoro stated: “We have previously issued a statement in which we mentioned and confirmed that we have no connection with any armed faction or office bearing our name outside of the city of Qamishli” (for that statement see the URL in the previous paragraph).

An explicit affirmation of the split between the SUP Sutoro and the Qamishli Sootoro (i.e. where the latter mentioned the SUP by name) came in a statement released at the end of December 2013, in which the following was stated:

“Stories have proliferated recently about the arrival of material support for the Sootoro protection office. We in the Syriac Protection Office of Sootoro are affiliated with the Civil Peace Committee for Syriac Orthodox and the committee is the one that offers us support from a headquarters and mechanics (thanks for their efforts).

But we are suffering from a lack of possibilities as the current ammunition in the office is from collections that have been gathered at the beginning of the crisis. We would like to emphasize that it is possible that wealthy persons have sent us support but it arrived by a mistaken path to ‘Sutoro affiliated with the Syriac Union Party.’

So until this moment nothing has reached us. To offer immediate material support to the Syriac Protection Officer of Sootoro, we have set up a bank account number in Germany and it is in the name of a well-known Syriac working man living in Qamishli.”

This resource shortage has comes in spite of the attempts of multiple declarations by the Qamishli Sootoro to expand beyond Qamishli and set up Sootoro branches in other towns. Besides a statement noted in my previous article on Qamishli, one should also note a “clarification statement” released at the beginning of December 2013 and in the Turoyo language, making it clear that Sootoro does not distinguish between Christians of different sects- whether Chaldean, Assyrian or the like- as all deserve protection; and that this protection will soon be expanded. It should be noted that the statement is in Turoyo, showing that the issue of identity or language suppression feared in past times is quite irrelevant now and the regime can be looked to as a guarantor of Christian interests in the northeast of Syria. For now, however, the Qamishli Sootoro remains confined to its own town and lacks resources for expansion.

Turoyostatement
Figure 15: Clarification statement in Turoyo released by the Qamishli Sootoro in December 2013. Note the regime flag in their office.

QamishliDemo
Figure 16: Pro-regime demonstration in Qamishli on 19th February (h/t: Wladimir Van Wilgenburg). 

QamishliStatement
Figure 17: The ADO’s leadership- officially against the regime and opposed to the PYD administration- is affiliated with the opposition-in-exile, and on 19th December 2013, regime forces in Qamishli arrested the head of the ADO’s political office. However, there is disconnect to an extent on the ground between the leadership and members on the ground. In Qamishli, members of the rival Assyrian Democratic Party– generally seen as pro-regime from the beginning and active since the 1970s- seem to have reached an accommodation with the Qamishli Sootoro and the Civil Peace Committee, both of whom publicized this statement to which it is  a signatory. In this statement, the signatories affirm their belief in the need for the unity of Syria’s land and people; rejection of foreign intervention in all forms [NB: contrary to the opposition-in-exile], belief in the “necessity of peaceful democratic change,” and the rejection of violence and partisanship in all forms [h/t: Hans Scholl for correction; I initially read this as ADO a signatory].

The last main Christian military organization in the northeast to consider is the Syriac Military Council. This body was announced in a video at the beginning of last year, declaring its opposition to the Assad regime and calling for the “liberation of Syria and the fall of the despotic Ba’athist regime and fighting for a just, pluralist, democratic and secular state,” while emphasizing no partisan affiliation and repeatedly stressing the need to defend “our people” with their cultural and historical rights. This goes back to the earlier theme I mentioned of the regime’s traditional non-acceptance of non-Arab-Christian identity. At the time, the Syriac Military Council had the support of the global Syriac Union Party.

SyriacMilitaryCouncil
Figure 18: Emblem of the Syriac Military Council.

However, with the rise of ISIS and other jihadi groups in Hasakah province, it is clear that the Syriac Military Council’s focus has shifted entirely to combating jihadis. Indeed, the group had largely been dormant for much of 2013 but emerged as an active player towards the end of the year, eventually announcing its full joining of the YPG in January 2014. Since then, the Syriac Military Council has not only played a role in defending Christian areas but has also worked with the YPG in its offensives to retake territory from the jihadis.

SyriacStatement
Figure 19: Syriac Military Council statement joining the YPG. The key part to note is: “We have considered the attempt by the extremist takfiri battalions- among them ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra and others- to enter the towns and villages in the al-Jazira region to be among the greatest of threats facing the region with all its people of Syriacs, Kurds, Arabs and others, and its aim was not to fight the regime since most of the areas have been freed.” The statement describes the jihadis’ conduct as “far removed from the Islamic religion”: including the “targeting and destruction of churches, taking Christian religious symbols to terrorize the people.” So to unite defense forces fighting the jihadis, the Syriac Military Council joined the YPG.

TelHamees1
Figure 20: Syriac Military Council fighters in Tel Hamees as part of the recent YPG operations against ISIS in the area.

TelHamees2
Figure 21: Another photo of Syriac Military Council fighters in Tel Hamees area.

Syriacrecruits
Figure 22: Syriac Military Council recruits.

Syriacfighters
Figure 23: Syriac Military Council fighters.

SyriacFlag
Figure 24: Syriac Military Council flag.

Syriacexercises
Figure 25: Training exercises for the Syriac Military Council.

Not all Christians in the area look favorably on the Syriac Military Council. Indeed, the group has drawn particular condemnation from pro-regime Christian circles, with regime and Qamishli Sootoro supporters from the town of al-Malikiya releasing a statement in late January condemning the Syriac Military Council for joining the YPG in offensive operations, seeing it as a mere front for the SUP:

“This council was established with the sponsorship of the Syriac Union Party…it is trying to recruit youth with a salary of 20,000 Syrian liras of unknown financial sourcing. This council claims that it was founded to protect Christians in the areas they are found in Hasakah province.

It has recently undertaken to create fitna between Arabs and Christians in Hasakah province by fighting against them in the villages of Tel Hamees despite knowing that the villages of Tel Hamees are solely Arab and there are no Christians or churches found in the area.

As Christian people we totally reject this conduct and it will never represent us since we call for peace and not transgressing on other people’s areas. We protect our regions and resist any attack from foreigners against us but we do not attack others. We as Christian people affirm that this Syriac Military Council will never represent us but it only represents the forces that support it in the Syriac Union Party.”

It is certainly true that SUP members know of the Syriac Military Council’s activities and offered support for the group when it was first established. When the Syriac Military Council re-emerged, an activist for the “Syrian Syriac Union” said in an interview with Iraqi outlet Sumaria News: “The Syriac Military Council began its activities recently in the establishment of a military forces comprising 300 members of both genders. The establishment of the force aims to protect our lands and defend Syriac citizens and the Syriac cause in the al-Jazira region. All members of the force are volunteers, receive professional military training and carry Russian rifles and weapons. The force is affiliated with the Syrian Syriac Union.”

However, it should be noted that the Syrian Syriac Union is not the same as the SUP, as both the head of the SUP and a representative of the European Syriac Union made clear to me that the Syriac Military Council is independent of the SUP.  That said, it is evident that the Syriac Military Council coordinates with the SUP loyalist Sutoro, and the SUP maintains cordial relations with the Syriac Military Council, perhaps even offering some kind of financial support.

Sutorotruck
Figure 26: Syriac Military Council photo featuring a Sutoro truck.


Conclusion

Christian militia and political dynamics in Syria are by no means as simple as notions that all Christians side with the regime or look to the regime as their protector. As we have seen, sect affiliation and geography matter here, and divisions in alignments are particularly sharp in northeastern Syria.

However, one common thread is apparent: the rebel forces on the ground have overwhelmingly failed to attract Christian support for their cause, however many Christians may be in the opposition-in-exile. Christians on the ground look to the regime, Kurds or have formed their own independent groupings generally working with the latter while opposed to the regime, but they have not joined the various FSA-banner formations or other main rebel groupings in significant numbers. One of the biggest failings of the rebels in this regard is the degree to which they have allowed jihadi groups to grow, particularly Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS.

Of these two groups, the former is still the subject of much praise from rebels of all kinds in light of the fighting between ISIS and other rebel groups. Though Jabhat al-Nusra has been hailed as somehow magnanimous towards Christians because it protected the churches in Raqqa following the fall of the city to rebels in March 2013, this narrative is deeply flawed.

As al-Qa’ida envisions it, preventing Christian places of worship from being harmed is to be expected provided Christians accept second-class dhimmi status as accorded by Qur’an 9:29. Even once ISIS came into being in Raqqa, the churches were not harmed for some months. That they were eventually taken over by ISIS and converted into da’wah offices is simply the culmination of the dwindling of the Christian community in the city to negligible size. Indicative of the importance of dhimmi status is the case of Tel Abyad, which saw its Armenian church desecrated by ISIS on the grounds of violation of dhimmi conditions.

Elsewhere, al-Qa’ida’s ideals have not always translated into reality. In Tabqa, the situation was somewhat different, as desecration and looting of Christian property, with the destruction of local churches, began in earnest once rebels including Jabhat al-Nusra took over the city. This happened, it should be noted, before the announcement of ISIS. In any event, Jabhat al-Nusra was also a participant in the Sadad massacre of Christians, and is accused by the Syriac Military Council of being behind the burning down a specific church in Qamishli countryside. Simply blaming any abuses that happen against Christians on ISIS- typically characterized as a foreign-dominated group- is a distortion of the record that diverts attention from the rebels who abetted the rise of the jihadi groups.

MarMalki
Figure 27: Syriac Military Council fighters outside what was the Mar Malki church in Qamishli countryside, said to have been burnt down and desecrated by Jabhat al-Nusra.

Linked to the point on the growth of jihadi groups is another key rebel failing: namely, the obsession with the YPG as a supposed agent of the regime and the desire to take over its areas of control. Whatever the supposed rights or wrongs of the YPG, strategically for the rebels, fighting with the YPG has proven to be merely a waste of resources, particularly on the Hasakah front. Even now, the fighting with the YPG produces an odd cognitive dissonance in the discourse of rebels and pro-FSA-banner activists in particular: namely, despite the fact that ISIS-widely accused by FSA-banner rebels and their supporters of being a regime agent- dominates the rebel front in Hasakah province, there is nonetheless condemnation of the YPG as it makes advances against ISIS, with accusations of the YPG being a regime agent.

Thus did prominent pro-FSA Twitter activist “Jad Bantha” decry the “pro-Assad YPG Kurdish militias” for a supposed “massacre in Tal Barek [Tel Barak].” Unless one wants to suppose an elaborate game devised by the regime to set its agents off against each other, one wonders how it can be claimed, as Bantha constantly tries to insinuate, that ISIS is a regime agent if it is fighting the YPG, a supposed agent of Assad (and indeed, unlike ISIS, the YPG does have a de facto though nebulous territorial accommodation with the regime in Qamishli). Yet this hostility to the YPG extends beyond the realms of social media: one should note the opposition-in-exile’s condemnation of the YPG for the takeover of the border town of Yaroubiya despite the fact that the takeover involved the expulsion of ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra.

The point is that this enduring rebel hostility to the YPG- when considered along with the growth of the jihadi groups- has prevented the reaching of any kind of cordial understanding with the YPG and the PYD, which in turn might have been able to persuade more Christians in the east of Syria of the validity of the rebel cause. Instead, all that has happened is the boosting of the PYD’s and regime’s status as protectors of Christians.

Thus far, the current attempts in opposition circles to try to counter the regime’s narrative of its being protector of Christians consist of pointing to incidents of regime bombing that have struck Christian areas and led to damage of churches. One example is the bombing of Tel Nasri in Hasakah province in November 2012, which damaged the village church. However, the opposition counter-narrative is ultimately unconvincing and hardly equates to a supposed persecution campaign against Christians by the regime, for the incidents in question are exceptional in nature, and merely reveal that the regime has scant regard for civilian casualties or historical heritage sites when it bombards areas in attempts to flush out rebels. One should compare with the regime’s willingness to bombard the Krek des Chevaliers area to rid it of Jamaat Jund ash-Sham, which uses the site as a base.

Of course there would still be Christians supporting the regime- particularly among the senior clergymen- regardless of whether the rebels strike an accord with the PYD, but to state it more generally, the most sensible policy for rebel groups to pursue would be simply to leave Christian areas alone (just as they should leave Druze areas alone), though given the overall lack of rebel unity and the prominence of jihadi groups, it seems doubtful whether such an approach can be implemented at this stage.

BlviKSvCUAA3NAp
Update (and correction), 25th April 2014: As regards Figure 16, it should be noted that the Qamishli Sootoro deny the blue flags are associated with them. On closer observation, the denial is correct, hence I have updated accordingly. However, note this photo released by Sootoro with the regime flag on parade in Holy Week this year, guarded by members of Sootoro (at the very front).

Comments (118)


Ghufran said:

For most Christians it is a choice between bad and worse and the choice for most was the regime with all of its ills. A major factor was how rebels targeted churches and Christian religious leaders and the response those acts of thuggery received from the opposition which ranged between silence to denial to accusing the regime of those crimes.
There is a reason why George Sabra and Micael Kilo are more popular among Islamists than they are among Christians !!

February 23rd, 2014, 12:17 pm

 

Alan said:

Only here in SC Published work plumber wanted him to be a goldsmith!

February 23rd, 2014, 12:42 pm

 

SANDRO LOEWE said:

All Christian authorities in Syria are working for the regime. I mean they got their bread and salary from them. In the same way all muslim authorities worked for long years covering Assad atrocities.

We, Christian and muslims should not look at what popes, muftis and infamous people like Sister Agnes say. We should look at our values and consciences and act.

February 23rd, 2014, 1:17 pm

 

norman said:

The Syrian Christians , beside the Assyrians are Arab nationalist, they reused a Christian state because they thought that the way early Islam protected Christians it will continue to do so, unfortunately what was protected in early Islam is being destroyed in Saudi Islam, if things continue the way it is I will not be surprised if the Syrian Christians will favor a separate state alone or with the Alawat, the way the opposition behaved has a lot to do with that,

February 23rd, 2014, 1:24 pm

 

jo6pac said:

I was reading the other day that the Syrian Christians had joined forces with the Kurds and both are being supplied by the Syrian Army. Just saying.

Alan 2 —yep

February 23rd, 2014, 1:32 pm

 

Alan said:

JO6PAC: (handshake)

February 23rd, 2014, 2:09 pm

 

Alan said:

Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi
Appropriate to provide for Syria Comment study of Zionist Islam and the role of Saudi Arabia in it creation!

February 23rd, 2014, 2:33 pm

 

Gus said:

Many Christians in Wadi Alnasara traditionally were associated with Syrian nationalism and SSNP, so many of them will not support the terrorists and will be more alined with the resistance movements.
The Christians in east Syria despite having issues with the Baath and not trusting the Kurds but are forced into supporting the syrian government because it is the only sane position.

February 23rd, 2014, 3:08 pm

 

Alan said:

Juergen

Speaking at a public event in Hamburg, hours after returning from Ukraine, German Foreign Minister Frank -Walter Steinmeier (SPD), called on both the West and East to stay out of Ukraine. He said the agreement was very “fragile.”

“This is all very fragile, and the slightest error can return to the bloodshed we have in recent days. Ukraine has for many years been the subject of a geopolitical chess game,” Steinmeier said.

Both the European Union and Russia kept trying to pull the country on their own page. But after all the bloodshed, all the sacrifices and the efforts that have tested it, the country returned to a political process could not go on like that.

“I think we have the damned duty, now not to enter into a competition of who pulls Ukraine over to it, but we have the damned duty and responsibility … that we leave this country alone.”
(SPD)

February 23rd, 2014, 4:06 pm

 

Uzair8 said:

Posted on Al Jazeera’s Syria blog earlier today. Also saw it reported on Press Tv:

‘Saudi Arabia is in talks with Pakistan to provide anti-aircraft and anti-tank rockets to Syrian rebels to try to tip the balance in the war to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, a Saudi source said.

Pakistan makes its own version of Chinese shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles, known as Anza, and anti-tank rockets, both of which Riyadh is trying to get for the rebels, said the source, who is close to Saudi decision-makers, requesting anonymity.

The source pointed to a visit to Riyadh earlier this month by Pakistan’s army chief of staff, General Raheel Sharif, who met Crown Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz.

Rebels have long said that anti-aircraft and anti-tank rockets would help tip the balance in the battle against Assad’s forces, which enjoy air superiority.’
[AFP]

http://live.aljazeera.com/Event/Syria_Live_Blog/107070344

February 23rd, 2014, 4:25 pm

 

Alan said:

Mr. Putin!
UZAIR Requests Russian NAVI to visit Tartus! Representative English Pakistani bored!

February 23rd, 2014, 4:35 pm

 

Syrialover said:

Homs as reformed by Assad. The mass destruction that the world doesn’t classify as terrorism.

https://twitter.com/RevolutionSyria/status/419992696220950528/photo/1

COMMENT: That image is a reality check.

Look at it and realise there’s no way Assad will suddenly stop denying what he’s done and lying about promising to comply with international decisions.

His “fail” performance on chemical weapons destruction, Geneva talks and humanitarian aid (all of which have been accompanied by a rising surge in regime killing of civilians) is proving that Bashar Assad and his Iranian handlers have zero intention to stop burning the country. They have no off switch or Plan B.

February 23rd, 2014, 5:05 pm

 

Syrialover said:

ALAN, Here’s a genuine Russian writing sincere heartfelt things about Russia. I’m worried you might have missed it while millions of westerners knew about it.

“Maria Alyokhina of Pussy Riot on the Olympics’ Deceptive Face”

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/21/opinion/maria-alyokhina-of-pussy-riot-on-the-olympics-deceptive-face.html?_r=0

February 23rd, 2014, 5:20 pm

 

ghufran said:

Some of you may find comfort in blaming the other side for the destruction in areas like Homs and parts of Aleppo, among others, but the whole truth has to be told if the goal is honest historical reporting of what really happened in the Syrian war.
It was clear to many from day one that the brutal Syrian regime and its powerful friends will not surrender to the GCC and the West without a big fight, it was also obvious that preemptive attacks on the army will not go unanswered and most of us warned that the invasion of whole towns was a bad idea because it exposes residential areas to the evil of war especially when attacks on government troops are initiated from those areas.
Many honest reporters and analysts warned that Islamists will only make a bad war worse and much harder to stop, but despite all of that many Syrians chose the path of violence and most rebel groups accepted Takfiri fighters and Islamist terrorists in their midst. People on this forum were assuring their audience that “victory” is near because Sunnis outnumber non Sunnis in Syria by a 5/1 margin but failed to tell us why they needed foreign terrorists to help them if that was the case and how come Israel which is outnumbered by Arabs by a margin of 50/1 survived and thrived for 66 years while its Arab neighbors states were swimming in a sea of ignorance, oppression and unemployment.The same people who advocated violence and were cheering the death of Syrian soldiers are the same ones who are complaining about how violent the regime and how destructive this war have been !!
Take these simple facts home, or not, and stop pretending that this is simply a war between good and evil:
1. using violence especially to preemptively attack army units was wrong.
2. occupying towns was a big mistake
3. partnering with Islamist terrorists was a major strategic error
4. most Sunnis simply prefer the bad regime they knew to Nusra et al and the other armed groups (more than 1,000 of them)
5. a “revolution” financed by the GCC Bedouins can never be expected to produce freedom and democracy.

February 23rd, 2014, 5:36 pm

 

Syrialover said:

Article: “Mohamed Morsi accused of passing state secrets to Iran”

Egypt’s ex-president and Muslim Brotherhood figurehead could face capital punishment if found guilty of espionage.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/23/mohamed-morsi-secrets-iran-egypt

Comment: Imagine if the post-Assad government in Syria adds that to the list of charges!

February 23rd, 2014, 5:50 pm

 

SANDRO LOEWE said:

ALAN,

I suggest you should go to Ucrania where Putin Mafia is losing ground. They are in need of brave men. Great Russia is in real danger. I wonder why Putin does not conquere China…?

February 23rd, 2014, 5:58 pm

 

Matthew Barber said:

To SL, #195 previous thread:

I’m saying that Zoo, who was a regular poster here for so long, has been posting with several different identities, and I have banned all of these.

Zoo wasn’t banned when he stopped posting in December; that was voluntary. His final post was a kind of New Year’s blessing/curse, i.e. “have a great year to those who are with me; if you’re a Salafi then may you have the worst year of your life.” He then started posting as “Andrew” but also with other identities. If he had remained a single user who contributed to conversation (which he did occasionally, between posting articles) he would have been welcome to stay. He wouldn’t respond when I confronted him about the multiple identities, so, bye-bye.

February 23rd, 2014, 5:59 pm

 

Syrialover said:

See GHUFRAN’s interpretation of the situation in Syria. His take on why the regime is savagely killing ordinary Syrians, has millions running for their lives and is destroying the country (#13):

“…it was obvious that brutal Syrian regime and its powerful friends will not surrender to the GCC and the West without a big fight”

There it is, GHUFRAN’S serious explanation and excuse for the Assad regime’s actions!

Read that statement and the rest of the post to see a script lifted straight out of the basic textbook for closet shabiha.

Does the writer realise that’s how it looks? Or care?

Quick, here’s a healthy antidote: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/wendy-pearlman/us-syria-intervention_b_4823932.html?utm_hp_ref=tw

February 23rd, 2014, 6:20 pm

 

Matthew Barber said:

Hamster is right that Ann (“Don” incarnation) was banned the same day that Zoo stopped messaging (as “Zoo,” that is), but he actually wrote his final send-off before I banned Don, and in the previous thread.

February 23rd, 2014, 6:20 pm

 

Syrialover said:

Thankyou MATTHEW for the explanation. Important mystery solved, on the disappearance of ZOO.

But it’s still strange behaviour for one who was pretty much fulltime here for such a long time.

Hey, maybe some bad guy called Andrew broke into his pad, biffed him aside and took over his computer. Or maybe it was a more orderly team arrangement as ZOO moved onto another assignment.

Anyway, thanks again for responding to my questions from the last thread.

February 23rd, 2014, 6:32 pm

 

Syrialover said:

Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi’s lead post on Christians in the current situation in Syria is a good read. I’ll be circulating it.

It helps fills an information gap, and it’s a worthy job of pulling together and analysing the tangled and incomplete threads.

February 23rd, 2014, 6:42 pm

 

Syrialover said:

Who knows or cares what the moronic Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood was allegedly up to with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard (#15).

Instead, here’s more of the really rotten legacy and betrayal Morsi and co delivered to all Eqyptians who desperately wished for change:

“The Crooks Return to Cairo”

Egypt’s government is happily letting exiled billionaires and convicted Mubarak cronies buy their way back home.

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2014/02/07/the_crooks_return_to_cairo_hussein_salem_egypt

February 23rd, 2014, 6:56 pm

 

atassi said:

Norman,
I hope the Christians enjoy the new life with the alawaits “enclave” as you said.. LOL ..They may need entertainers in Qerdaha..

February 23rd, 2014, 8:08 pm

 

Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Thank you Aymenn Al-Tamimi for a great read!

It surprises me that Christians around the world (Europeans, Americans, Australians, Africans etc) don’t go to Syria / Iraq, to help their brothers and sisters. If not from governments, I would expect some solidarity from Christian individuals.
.

February 23rd, 2014, 8:46 pm

 

Ghufran said:

I am not responsible for the unfortunate situation where many anti regime posters are unable to see the whole picture and thus are unable to admit that the use of violence, hiding in civilian areas and using terrorism was a colossal mistake that magnified the loss of lives and the destruction of many areas in Syria. I never said that rebels shoulder the full responsibility of the disaster we have today.
قال احدهم لابي تمام لم تقول ما لا يفهم فأجاب لم لا تفهم ما يقال

February 23rd, 2014, 9:38 pm

 

Sami said:

Blaming the rebels or the armed insurrection for the damages caused by the Assadist militia is very much like blaming a battered wife for getting out of line.

Many major US urban centres suffer from “armed gangs” whereby whole neighbourhoods are deemed out of the control of the authorities. Take Chicago and Los Angeles for instance both have a combined roughly 300,000 gang members. When was the last time a barrel bomb was dropped on either Englewood?

February 23rd, 2014, 10:11 pm

 

Sami said:

While I always enjoy reading Aymenn’s contributions, I just find it rather cryptic the fact he posts so many pictures of dead people.

February 23rd, 2014, 10:24 pm

 

apple_mini said:

NYT reports Brig. Gen. Abdul-Ilah al-Bashir was baffled when he was named as the new chief of SMC by SNC because no one had been in touch with him regarding his new post.

You gotta admit this is really a hilarious freak show.

February 23rd, 2014, 10:28 pm

 

Matthew Barber said:

Amir in TA,

You’re suggesting volunteers go and support a single segment of the Syrian population in militarized capacities just because of Christian identity? Christian “mujahideen” in solidarity with a Christian “umma”?

There are a number of online religious Christian magazines that have frequently published articles of concern about the welfare of Christian communities in Syria, and the destruction to their ancient places of residence/worship. You can also find gestures of solidarity in the form of funds raised for relief, some of which might be directed toward Christians in trouble, though most of which has been directed toward alleviation of refugees generally, since Christians are not the group that has sustained the greatest amount of suffering in Syria (even if the conflict will serve to erase their presence in many places, as has happened in Iraq–something other groups are less vulnerable to).

I would hope that attitudes of care and concern would extend to all Syrians affected by the conflict, and not be limited to members of one’s own confessional/ethnic/national group. Your message (I may be misreading it) seemed to suggest that people should respond with a kind of global sectarian motivation.

February 23rd, 2014, 11:09 pm

 

Ghufran said:

I am not sure my message is getting thru, Sami
We all know how those cities and neighborhoods were destroyed but we disagree on whether the 3 steps taken by rebels made things worse or not, I yet have to hear a meaningful argument against what I said. There is no military solution, there was never one from day one, but that belief was obviously not shared by militants on both sides, I was simply getting attacked for daring to criticize the holy rebels.

February 23rd, 2014, 11:32 pm

 

Ghufran said:

Someone is lying, it is either the Jordanian government or the NC
نفى مسؤولون أردنيون بارزون نفيا قاطعا أنباء وجود آلاف المقاتلين السوريين المُدربين في الأردن، والذين يتجهزون لدخول الأراضي السورية من أجل ما سموها “معركة دمشق”
حيث أكد وزير الداخلية الأردني حسين هزاع المجالي في تصريحات لصحيفة “الشرق الأوسط” أن “القوات المسلحة الأردنية لن تسمح قطعيا بدخول المسلحين إلى الأراضي الأردنية أو العبور من الأردن إلى أي اتجاه كان”
كما قال وزير الدولة لشؤون الإعلام والاتصال، الناطق الرسمي باسم الحكومة الأردنية، الدكتور محمد المومني، إن “هذه الأنباء عارية عن الصحة، وتتعارض مع الموقف الأردني الثابت منذ بداية الأزمة السورية والذي التزم بعدم إذكاء الصراع والعنف والتمسك بالحل السياسي”.
وأضاف لصحيفة “الشرق الأوسط” أن “من لديه البراهين على ذلك فليتقدم بنشرها وتقديمها”. وجدد موقف بلاده الرافض لأي تدخل عسكري في سوريا، والداعي إلى حل سلمي للأزمة التي تمر بها سوريا منذ ثلاث سنوات.
فيما أكد الائتلاف السوري المعارض على لسان ممثله في امريكا نجيب الغضبان إن هؤلاء المقاتلين دربوا من قبل اختصاصيين في وكالة الاستخبارات الأميركية “سي آي .إيه” في معسكرات داخل الأراضي الأردنية.
ورجح الغضبان أن يشارك المقاتلون المدربون في الأردن بمعركة درعا المتوقع انطلاقها قريبا للوصول إلى العاصمة، و طالب بتوسيع دائرة التدريب ليصبح على نطاق أوسع، مشددا على ضرورة نقل رعاية هذه التدريبات من وكالة الاستخبارات إلى وزارة الدفاع الأميركية، لأن الوكالة قد تسعى إلى تسخيرها لمصالحها.
My personal opinion is that the much awaited Damascus battle will not take place and the only thing GCC rebels can do is get more people killed on both sides. Changing the picture around Damscus will take a lot more than a couple of thousand fighters, this is probably another tool to win concessions at the negotiating table but for that table to produce anything it needs to include all players not just the ones accepted by the GCC.
The main concern for all should be the possible acquisition of SAMs which are on paper being sought to down Syrian army planes but in reality it can, and probably will, shoot down civilian planes too. The US is reportedly against this acquisition.

February 24th, 2014, 12:13 am

 

Alan said:

“It is a tragedy and a blow to the basic pride of Arab Islamic civilisation. It is one of the most horrific developments of recent years. If Islamic civilisation has anything to show for itself, it is its record of pluralism and coexistence. I said the other day that if the Nobel Peace Prize had existed hundreds of years ago, it would be awarded to Islamic civilisation. But now the barbarians are at the gates, Christians are killed, nuns are kidnapped” – Tarif is referring to the nuns taken from the Christian Syrian town of Maaloula – “and bishops disappear. This strikes at the very heart of what we stood for.”
http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/robert-fisk-pluralism-was-once-the-hallmark-of-the-arab-world-so-the-exodus-of-christians-from-the-middle-east-is-painful-to-one-islamic-scholar-9147720.html
Any study about The role of Zionist-Wahhabi Islam In the destruction of the historical coexistence between the components of communities of Arab States?

February 24th, 2014, 3:09 am

 

Hopeful said:

#25 Ghufran

“… unable to admit that the use of violence, hiding in civilian areas and using terrorism was a colossal mistake that magnified the loss of lives..”

I tend to agree with you on this, but I also always try to be open minded about the circumstances that force people to use these tactics when they feel that the other party is much stronger than they are. Both Hizbullah and Hamas followed these tactics in their wars against Israel while the Syrian regime and its supporters were cheering them. So why is it that these tactics are acceptable when they are directed towards one enemy and NOT acceptable when directed towards a different enemy?

And btw, the IRA followed the same tactics, and so did many leftist movements in the past century.

If you watch the PBS documentary “Children of Aleppo” http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/syrias-second-front/#b, you will realize that this is not a matter of black and white. Someone who carries arms to defend the neighborhood where his family lives is NOT a terrorist hiding among civilians. One can argue that it is best for his family that he takes his fight to a far-away land so that his family can stay safe, but one cannot argue against the “we live together and die together” sentiment. I am only glad I am fortunate enough to not have to make such choices in life. My heart goes out to all Syrians who have to make tough choices like these every day (on both sides). And for what? so that an idiotic arrogant corrupt family hangs on to power.

Assad’s fight with the “opposition” (however you want to define it) is the easy part for him, his real tough fight is with his own people. For Syria to have any hope in a future, he needs to go, and quickly.

February 24th, 2014, 6:12 am

 

Observer said:

Here for the closet regime insider on this blog

Here is the Syrian Chart of power in this mafia organization

http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/uploads/Maps/Syria-Regime-Chart-20130826_2

February 24th, 2014, 7:56 am

 

Amir in Tel Aviv said:

#29 Matthew Barber,

I was suggesting exactly that. This is a sectarian civil war. The Shi’i sphere is helping the Shites, Sunni communities and kingdoms are involved in fighting for their Sunni brothers and sisters. Only the Christians are being abandoned to their tragic fate by the Christan world. You mentioned Iraqi Christians, and rightly so. Syria’s Christians are next in line.

Can you imagine an attack on a Jewish community, no matter where in the world, without an Israeli response, using all means available to us, including military, to protect those Jews?
.

February 24th, 2014, 9:11 am

 

Matthew Barber said:

Amir,

I can imagine a world where people’s concern extends equally to all who experience suffering and death, rather than disproportionately applied to members of one’s group. Such a vision of radical compassion may be unrealistic, but imagination is a powerful thing.

I believe it is everyone’s responsibility to help everyone. It is not Sunnis’ responsibility to help Sunnis, Shi’is’ responsibility to help Shi’is, Christians’ responsibility to help Christians, and Jews’ responsibility to help Jews.

You seem to advocate the kind of motivation for action that undergirds some of the systemic roots of the Syrian conflict itself.

February 24th, 2014, 9:49 am

 

Alan said:

Obama – Kerry – Rice: Stop incursion in failure, in Daraa!!! Proceeding from Jordan! Do you think yourselves alone in this world! We can cause pain to you! Do you understand the language of human beings! Stop the madness!

February 24th, 2014, 11:25 am

 

Alan said:

I put the big BOLT on your Sunni help, what you’re talking about! it is an inverted picture! your assistance to Sunni in practice prove a curse! stop misleading people!
by the way, What is the temperature in the Galilee?

February 24th, 2014, 11:51 am

 

Juergen said:

Oh Nasrallah, dig your own grave in Yabroud!

February 24th, 2014, 12:03 pm

 

Alan said:

39. JUERGEN
Topic: Hezbollah + Hassan Nasrallah
The reason: Israel’s failure to win upon
Occasion: Friends desire biased Germans in solidarity
Audio: Syrian zombie
Class: leave it to a vote!

February 24th, 2014, 12:17 pm

 

Alan said:

Any NFZ would be very different from what is currently being promoted and advertised by certain war-mongers in Washington, Tel Aviv and several European capitals as well as among elements of the Gulf Cooperation Council and the League of Arab States. Post Round Two of Geneva II, the White House and the usual “bomb the bastards” coterie in Congress and among the US Zionist lobby, are said to be re-thinking the idea of a No Fly Zone (NFZ) for Syria. It would be planned and executed with US and a yet to be specified, “Coalition of the willing” using aircraft now at the ready in Jordan and Turkey to begin with.
http://www.almanar.com.lb/english/adetails.php?fromval=1&cid=41&frid=41&eid=136970

February 24th, 2014, 12:32 pm

 

Alan said:

تغيرات دراماتيكية للأزمة في سوريا سواء كانت سياسية أو ميدانية، وظهور جبهة جديدة سميت بالجبهة الجنوبية بالتوازي مع طرد مايسمى بالائتلاف السوري المعارض حسب الأنباء الواردة من تركيا وتحضيرات وتجييشات على الحدود الأردنية السورية وعمليات استباقية للجيش السوري، كيف يمكن أن نفسر كل ما يجري؟
http://arabic.ruvr.ru/2014_02_24/129128371/

February 24th, 2014, 2:55 pm

 

Alan said:

Jordan must cut US Cancer out of its Foreign Policy: Israel, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria

Jordan needs to reevaluate its foreign policy with America because issues related to Israel, Palestine, Syria and the Muslim Brotherhood are all problematic. The current elites in the Obama administration are intent on imposing their “colonial mindsets” by dictating to others. Therefore, Jordan should break free from the patronizing and dangerous policies of Washington in order to focus on internal security issues.
Issues related to Israel, Palestine and regional dynamics are extremely complex but for Jordan and Lebanon it is clear that both these nations are deemed expendable by America. In Lebanon the delicate Christian-Muslim balance was altered by mainly Muslim Palestinian immigration. Similarly, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israel didn’t worry about dragging their conflict to the people of Lebanon several decades ago. This reality was a nail in the coffin for Lebanon during the civil war period and once more international intrigues against Syria is lighting fires in the land of the Cedars….
http://www.moderntokyotimes.com/2014/02/09/jordan-must-cut-us-cancer-out-of-its-foreign-policy-israel-lebanon-palestine-and-syria/

February 24th, 2014, 3:11 pm

 

Uzair8 said:

Retweeted by Aboud Dandachi:

kenneth katzman @6number6 ·2h
#syria today’s rebel gains in Daraa, Quneitra, Aleppo, likely causing Assad trolls to need oxygen to revive themselves…

https://twitter.com/6number6/status/438027785651896320

February 24th, 2014, 3:55 pm

 

Syrialover said:

Lyse Doucet of the BBC is a wonderful woman. She deeply cares about and understands Syria and its people, and courageously keeps reporting from the front line, always giving top quality reports.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-26330014

I remember reading how she described Syria and its culture as a “sweet, refined, sophisticated country” when she was introducing Syrian writers.

A true friend when Syria needs it most.

February 24th, 2014, 3:56 pm

 

Syrialover said:

HOPEFUL,

Your sensible and calm comments in #33 drive home how frantically negative and irrational some people are towards Assad’s victims, always wording things to criticize and blame them.

Only a person with ugly hate noises in their head will fail to have sympathy and understanding for ALL Syrians who have been caught up in the nightmare and suffered terrible loss, fear and permanent trauma.

I have always been aware that Assad also has many victims who are wearing the SAA uniform. I think about their situation and perspective, and worry about them, knowing their biggest problem was to have been born in Assad Syria. The same as those who are fighting to survive in areas being terrorized, shelled and starved by the regime.

February 24th, 2014, 4:25 pm

 

habib said:

23. atassi s

Better than being burned alive by your Salafists, no?

By the way, when will Saudi fly their Jihad-tourists into Ukraine?

February 24th, 2014, 4:48 pm

 

Syrialover said:

MATTHEW BARBER #36

A great comment. Thanks for making the point.

I see Christian churches across the west collecting funds and contributing generous assistance to projects helping Syrian refugees, but most of their members would not know if there were any Christians in Syria or not.

And even if they knew I do not believe they would single them out for special assistance ahead of refugees of other religions.

This is after all the 21st century.

February 24th, 2014, 5:18 pm

 

Syrialover said:

OBSERVER #34

I like that excellent detailed chart of who’s who in the Assad regime.

I’d seen it before but forgotten about it.

I’ll be printing it out large size for the wall so I can take the red pen and strike through the names one by one when the time comes.

There will be lots of good moments, but one of my favourite bits to mark off will be the Assad cousins directing the Shabiha units.

There obviously isn’t room, but they could have lines from Bouthaina Shaaban’s name to some prominent expatriate ‘Closet Shabiha’.

For those who missed it, here’s the page where it sits.

“All the tyrants men”

https://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/all-the-tyrants-men-chipping-away-at-the-assad-regimes-core

February 24th, 2014, 5:32 pm

 

jo6pac said:

49. Syrialover said:

That’s one nice web site link you have there nothing but war loving neo-conns, how sad.

February 24th, 2014, 5:42 pm

 

Observer said:

Well well it is not going anywhere any time soon.
Here is the NYT on the status of the opposition supreme military council. It is in chaos and in disarray. If the regime cannot even fight such weak and inept opposition leadership then it too is a pathetic failure.

Here it is

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/24/world/middleeast/top-military-body-against-syrias-assad-is-in-chaos-undermining-fight.html?ref=middleeast&gwh=D4DC410AAE6CF738371332D780ECFB7A&gwt=pay

February 24th, 2014, 5:47 pm

 

Syrialover said:

J06PAC #60

No, that chart shows those who DO love the war and are very busy keeping things as they are. There is nothing in the world today sadder and more sinister than that chart.

Things cannot change until most of those dictator-serving roles on the chart disappear along with those who have been occupying them like fat parasites feeding off their fellow Syrians.

Do you have retirement plan suggestions for any of them?

February 24th, 2014, 6:14 pm

 

habib said:

51. Observer

Lol, you’re conveniently forgetting that the SNC is controlling no fighters on the ground.

The Syrian Army is fighting the same groups (and more) that fought the biggest military machine in the world (US and allies) over in Iraq for years (stalemate), yet are doing a much better job at it.

Pathetic, how?

February 24th, 2014, 6:16 pm

 

Syrialover said:

Come on HABIB (#53), stop making ridiculous comparisons.

The Syrian Army, intelligence services and militia are heavily supported and directed by the “governments” of Iran and Russia.

And I’m sure you think they are among the most magnificent, brilliant and powerful governments human history has ever seen.

I think you will find the US’s main underminers and saboteurs in Iraq were the Iranian puppets in the post-Saddam “government” there.

Yet despite the mullahs putting their best effort into it, Iran and its proxies are doing a pretty poor job of winning against the amateur groups fighting Assad and Maliki in Syria and Iraq.

February 24th, 2014, 7:06 pm

 

habib said:

54. Syrialover

Lol, are you seriously suggesting that the Syrian army, even with Hezbollah support and Russian “guidance”, are comparable to the combined force of the US Army and the half of NATO they dragged into Iraq?

I guess that’s a compliment to the Syrian army. No wonder your morale is bad.

Furthermore, the insurgents in Syria are heavily funded and controlled by the US and Gulf countries, yet that didn’t help them much, did it? So Russia and Iran must be doing a better job?

February 24th, 2014, 7:33 pm

 

Ghufran said:

A murder in Qudsayya shows how fragile any cease fire can be. An army officer and his child were killed at a checkpoint staffed by the newly formed local security forces, in another incident officers from political security forces ( which were supposed to be dissolved when a political deal is reached) were arrested by LSFs and then handed to the army ( notice how things have changed in Qudsayya). Locals are trying to stop an escalation after the murder by convincing the armed guy from LSFs to surrender if a joint investigation can be guaranteed. The outcome of this incident may make or break the infantile agreement in Qudsayya:
استكمالاً لملف المصالحات في ريف دمشق، برز تحدّ لأول مرة في مدينة قدسيا، حيث أقدم أحد مسلّحي «اللجان الشعبية المشتركة»، التي جرى تشكيلها بموجب المصالحة، على قتل المقدّم في الجيش السوري يونس مصطفى، وابنه (14 عاماً)، على أحد حواجز المسلّحين في الشارع العام في البلدة.
وأغلق الجيش إثر هذه الحادثة جميع مداخل البلدة، وأعطى المسلّحين مهلة 48 ساعة لتسليم المسلّح الذي قام بقتل الضابط. وتنقضي المهلة اليوم.
ولم يتّخذ المسلّحون قرارهم بشأن تسليم القاتل للجيش. مصدر عسكري قال «إذا لم يقم المسلّحون بتسليم القتلة إلى الجيش، فسنرد باقتحام الأحياء التابعة لإدارتهم، وعندها تكون التسوية لاغية. الجيش وافق على التسوية حقناً لدماء الأهالي، ولتجنيب عدد كبير من السكان (200 ألف) آلام الصراع، ولكنه لن يقبل بغدر المسلّحين». في المقابل، تعدّدت روايات المسلّحين حول الحادثة، فبعد وقوعها مباشرة نشرت صفحات «التنسيقيات»، على «فايسبوك»، رواية مفادها أن المسلّح قتل الضابط بعد قيامه بدهس طفل أثناء قيادته لسيارته، ولكّن الطفل الذي أشير إليه في تلك الرواية هو ابن الضابط نفسه الذي كان معه في السيارة أثناء الحادثة.
 ونفى مسلّح من قدسيا في اتصال مع «الأخبار» رواية «التنسيقيات»، وقدّم رواية مختلفة: «الضابط أخطأ في الطريق، ودخل إلى الشارع العام مع ابنه وأدرك خطأه لدى وصوله إلى الحاجز. أمره المسلحون بتوقيف سيارته جانباً، بعدما تأكّدوا من أنه عسكري في الجيش، لكن الضابط انطلق بسيارته بسرعة كبيرة فأطلق عليه أحد المسلّحين النار، ما أدّى إلى مقتله مع ابنه». أثارت الحادثة استياء الأهالي في قدسيا، يقول سمير تمّام، نازح مقيم في قدسيا، لـ«الأخبار»: «لم نلحق أن نتمتّع بقليل من الاستقرار حتى سارع الزعران إلى خرق التسوية». ويرى تمّام أن الذي يقف وراء هذه الحادثة هو الروح الثأرية، «حتّى قبل هذه الحادثة، كانت الحساسيات واضحة بين الطرفين، ففي إحدى المرّات، اعتقل المسلّحون عناصر من الأمن السياسي، بدون سبب، ثم سلّموهم لاحقاً إلى الجيش»، والغاية فقط هي أنّ «يعلّم طرف» على الآخر.

February 24th, 2014, 8:10 pm

 

norman said:

Amir, The Christian Arabs are Arabs first then Christians and they do not associate with the Western Christians and if they are given the choice they will chose a Muslim Arab to a Christian westerner, The Crusades failed because they the Christian Arabs looked at the as invaders not saviors,

Attasi, with you around we do not need any more entertainers, you are up to the task.

February 24th, 2014, 10:03 pm

 
 

Mina said:

There are so many parallels between the unfolding of the events in Ukraine and what happened during the early months in Syria not to be noticed. Hope some people will write reports about it.

Obviously, tactics are getting very hi-tech. That’s probably the new tool GCC beduins are trying to learn.
http://rt.com/news/five-eyes-online-manipulation-deception-564/

February 25th, 2014, 3:48 am

 
 

Mina said:

I hope next time the failed king won’t fancy beheading a witch or two!

http://news.sky.com/story/1213951/prince-charles-joins-sword-dance-in-saudi

February 25th, 2014, 5:07 am

 
 

Observer said:

SL

My point is that despite the many weaknesses of the Syrian Opposition and the many groups fighting the regime and the finicky aid that they get and the infiltration of these groups by numerous shady characters the revolution continues and the fighting continues and the regime cannot take Daraya or Moudamyeh and resorts to starving the whole population and barrel bombing them.
It tells me that it is and it was a militia like any other except that it had more weapons and a hierarchical structure over 60 years of oppression and corruption and graft and theft and money laundering.
Homs has been under siege for more than 2 years and this stupid slipper army cannot restore anything.

As for the Political Opposition not represented on the ground this is no mystery and they are striving to make sure that their position does not betray the sacrifices of the people.

As for the prospects of any resolution of the conflict anytime soon, it is clear that the only way is to shift the power on the ground. The problem is that it is too tempting to end the conflict so soon when you can make it an Iranian Vietnam.

Today, with the loss of Ukraine, Putin has got to review his foreign policy. Will he continue to be the spoiler of progress and cooperation to assert his authority and his sphere of influence or will he show statesmanship and join in stabilizing a country on his eastern border. Will he risk losing Ukraine to NATO ( and then using this to rally nationalistic feeling to stay in power like all dictators do by pretending an outside threat ) or will he join in lifting his country’s prospects by improving freedom and economic prosperity is a major question for where Russia will go.

The next loss may very well be Iran, not Syria. If the nuclear deal lifts the sanctions it will mean a disaster for Putin. It will mean the largest gas field in the world in Iran can be exploited and the pipeline built through Turkey bypassing Russia and it will mean a loss of Syria and the coastal gas fields that will be pumping gas to Europe rather sooner than later. That is why a deal was struck with the regime for gas exploration in the coast and the Tartus naval base as well.

Ukraine and Russia have a deal to keep the Black Fleet base in Sevastopol. If Ukraine rescinds that it will mean that Putin will push for break up of Ukraine. It will also mean that the Western Ukraine will join the EU and NATO eventually.

This is nightmare for Putin and it is entirely his own doing.

Slipper Army indeed it was and it will remain. Where is HA reaction to the latest Israeli raid? Even Alalam has admitted it was done yesterday but “without loss or casualties”/ Of course, the Israelis do not use barrel bombs but precision weapons you dumb ass.

February 25th, 2014, 7:16 am

 

Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Norman #57,

Right. This is exactly the reason why you (a Christian born in Syria) choose to live in Amrica and not in the KSA or other Muslim country.

About the Crusaders. They indeed “invaded” the ME, but the Crusader movement wasn’t about conquest, but it was about *retaking* Christian lands from those who took it by force (Arab Muslims who stormed from the Arabian desert) earlier. Let us not forget that the Levant was Roman, then it was Christian for about 1500 years, before the newly born Islamists, the successors of Mohamed took it by force.

BTW, you sound like the anachronistic and last national Arabist (Muslims and Christians unite under the banner of national Arabism). National Arabism is dead, if you haven’t noticed.
.

February 25th, 2014, 10:26 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

Amir,

Last I checked, the only country in the ME with a growing christian population is in Israel.

February 25th, 2014, 11:17 am

 

Uzair8 said:

Sunni Side Up: Saudi Arabia Seeking To Acquire Arms From Pakistan To Supply Syrian Rebels

By Palash Ghosh
February 24 2014

[…]

Dr. Dilshod Achilov, assistant professor of Political Science at East Tennessee State University and an expert on Middle Eastern affairs, explained that the Saudis are seeking wider support for the Syrian rebels from the Sunni Muslim world (Assad and his Iranian allies are Shia Muslims). “Pakistan is a large Sunni country with a sizable military industry,” he said. “Saudi Arabia views the Syrian war as a key conflict against the archenemy of Sunni Islam — the Shia Islam spearheaded by Iran. Saudi Arabia may [also] be looking for broader Sunni support against the threat of rising Shia influence in the region. And Pakistan would be one of the natural allies to bring in.”

Dr. Hasan Askari Rizvi, an independent Pakistani political and defense analyst, wrote in an op-ed piece for the Express Tribune newspaper that Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif appears to be favoring Saudi Arabia (and other conservative Arab states like Bahrain and Kuwait) with respect to Middle Eastern policy. In fact, Pakistan has relinquished its earlier neutrality on the Syrian civil war by supporting Saudi demands for the removal of Assad from power. Rizvi suggests that Pakistan’s principal motivation for endorsing the Saudis lies more with financial needs than religion or politics. “Pakistan expects to get financial support in the form of loans, aid, investment, more jobs for Pakistanis, and supply of oil and gas on favorable terms from conservative but rich [Arab] kingdoms,” he wrote. “Furthermore, Nawaz Sharif and his family have special reverence for the House of Saud because it saved them from the clutches of [former Pakistani president Pervez] Musharraf’s military government in December 2000.”

[…]

http://www.ibtimes.com/sunni-side-saudi-arabia-seeking-acquire-arms-pakistan-supply-syrian-rebels-1557572

February 25th, 2014, 11:40 am

 
 

Akbar Palace said:

Alan,

Zionism also forced the Syrian army to barrel -bomb Syrian cities and fire live ammunition into groups of unarmed demonstrators.

February 25th, 2014, 1:14 pm

 

Alan said:

Syria goes to the polls in their presidential election the first part of June.
The most stunning ideological defeat for the US would be for the Syrian people to vote for al-Assad, and re-elect him by a landslide: and the US government is looking for a way to save face!

http://original.antiwar.com/colleen-rowley/2014/02/24/calls-for-us-military-intervention-in-syria-re-surfacing/

February 25th, 2014, 1:22 pm

 

Alan said:

68. AKBAR PALACE
Is there an explanation for the use of white phosphorous over Gaza City, the densely populated is interpreted as genocide?
http://desertpeace.wordpress.com/2014/02/25/israeli-apartheid-documented/

February 25th, 2014, 1:27 pm

 

Syrialover said:

HABIB #55

Your point is not clear to me – and it’s not responding to what I said.

SYRIA

You put the alleged US and Gulf support of the opposition on an equal footing and scale to that provided to the Assad regime by Iran and Russia.

Really? Just imagine if either side of that equation was true. Assad would have had his bags packed and fled Syria by early 2012.

IRAQ

I don’t know how switched on you were back in 2003 and the years that immediately followed, but I have a very clear recollection of what unfolded in Iraq.

The Americans fought and defeated Saddam Hussein’s military, but then made a number of errors in moves to stabilize Iraq and facilitate the emergence of a new system of government. (Errors admitted and discussed publicly and forcefully among Americans – including a roll call of generals and leaders in the State Dept criticizing the-then American administration. Imagine that in Russia or Iran!)

A lot of credit for what has since happened in Iraq must go to the Iranians. Iraq’s current corruption, chaos, waste, economic paralysis and continuing destabilization by al Qaeda and displaced Sunni minorities is the masterful handiwork of the dumb thug “leadership” by Maliki, the Iranian puppet.

Maybe to impress you America should have “fixed” Iraq the way Putin sorted out Chechnya and with the mullahs is helping the Assad regime to sort out Syria (ie smashing the place to rubble and murdering civilians on an industrial scale).

February 25th, 2014, 2:31 pm

 

Syrialover said:

A glimpse of life in a safe regime-controlled area.

A beautiful young woman and her family murdered by Hezbollah-linked militia in a failed rape attempt – and the stupid sick lies and attempts to blame imaginary and invisible rebels.

A heartbreaking account by a man who loved her:

http://linkis.com/bit.ly/2Whxc

“In all times of war, a man with a weapon believed that he can get any woman her wants, this time the woman was Rahaf and the man with the weapon was another sick pathetic human raised to be a slave for Assad who don’t take No for an answer”

February 25th, 2014, 2:46 pm

 

habib said:

71. Syrialover

Ok, let me simplify then:

The Syrian army are fighting the exact same insurgent groups the Americans fought in Iraq (ISIL, Nusra, Qaeda, whatever). But they are doing a better job, with more limited equipment.

And if you claim Iran is the main reason for US defeat in Iraq, well, not even I would give them credit for that, and it is one of the few sources of pride for Salafists around the world.

They never hesitate to point out how the Shia “collaborated” with the US against the Sunnis of Iraq, so I guess your narrative will disappoint them, to say the least.

February 25th, 2014, 2:47 pm

 

Syrialover said:

OBSERVER #63 you are so right.

The delusionary stakes in Syria for Iran and Russia are much higher than for the rest of the world. Yet look at the unimagined disaster they have helped create and sustain, ensuring they will be well and truly locked out and humiliated in post-Assad Syria.

It could be argued they would have achieved their apparent agendas better if had they supported the moves against Assad and ended up with welcome seats at the table of those who succeeded him.

But the “leadership” of Iran and Russia are not very smart, and they are certainly not interested in serving the interests of their own citizens and countries.

As for Putin’s thinking, you might enjoy this:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/25/opinion/brooks-fake-putin-diary.html

February 25th, 2014, 3:11 pm

 

Alan said:

The Terrorism industry of US,KSA,Qatar,Turkey and Israel
Nearly 10,000 foreign terrorists backed by US,israel,Qatar,Turkey,KSA, killed Syria war.
US-Israel-Turkey-Qatar-KSA backed terrorists’ ‘Aleppo attack death toll climbs to 76’
US,israel,Turkey,Qatar,KSA’s FREEDOM for Syria: ISIL publically beheads 2 men with sword in Syria’s Raqqa
Great Satan U.S, Zionist Israel, Turkey, Qatar, S.Arabia-backed terrorist threatens to commit worse crimes in Syria
CIA ramping up covert training program for “us-israel-ksa-qatar-turkey backed” Terrorists
Exclusive:israel-uk-us-Turkey-Ksa-Qatar backed Slaughterer Al-Qaeda teaches on Twitter how to ‘kindly’ cut off human head
Crocodile Tears: Qatar, Turkey condemn(!) attack on pro-Morsi supporters
UN bows to zionist lobby of US-israel-Qatar-KSA-Turkey, withdraws Iran invitation to Syria talks

February 25th, 2014, 3:33 pm

 

Syrialover said:

HABIB #71, I think you have simplified the world far, far too much already.

The absence of an inclusive, properly functioning government and the resulting instability and chaos in Iraq is the best efforts of the Malaki government and its controllers in Tehran.

And incidentally, there are powerful Shia elements in Iraq who are angry with Maliki and the interference and involvement of Iran, warning that the “Iraqi spring” is coming – (see http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/02/world/middleeast/moktada-al-sadr-encourages-demonstrations-in-iraq.htm)

But as I said, to impress you and “win” in Iraq the Americans should have smashed the place up and tightly controlled it like Putin will probably attempt to do now in Ukraine.

HABIB, I cannot understand those who yearn and fantasize about the “victory” of sinister dictators like Assad, Putin and the mullahs who are incapable of running a country properly so its citizens can enjoy a dignified, fear-free and economically secure life.

February 25th, 2014, 3:37 pm

 

Syrialover said:

The murder of another brave and decent Syrian who wanted a peaceful revolution so things could be different and better:

http://syrianobserver.com/Who's/Opp_Who/Whos+Who+Bassam+AlBassleh

We won’t forget him.

February 25th, 2014, 3:45 pm

 

Syrialover said:

ALAN #69 wrote:

“The most stunning ideological defeat for the US would be for the Syrian people to vote for al-Assad, and re-elect him by a landslide”

ALAN, will this include absentee votes from the millions of refugee Syrians outside waiting to return and all those in areas not controlled by the regime?

Please explain. The Assad regime has no experience or know-how about proper elections. So how the hell would they be capable of organizing one with the above complications?

Also, you really think those who want Assad out are driven by “ideological” considerations? That’s not even true of those who want him to stay – what’s happening in Syria is about many more real issues which make “ideology” a fluffy irrelevance.

February 25th, 2014, 4:08 pm

 

Syrialover said:

PS ALAN

And a genuine election needs competing parties. Who would that be? People like the man murdered by the regime described in # 77?

You have raised a lot of questions.

February 25th, 2014, 4:12 pm

 

Alan said:

79. SYRIALOVER
Elections will be the stage of the crisis! And nothing will top the vote yes on the war against terrorism. It is a priority of all the Syrians at home and abroad!

February 25th, 2014, 4:23 pm

 

Syrialover said:

AMIR IN TEL AVIV, #64

cc: NORMAN

That’s a fair summary of what happened in the Middle East.

You’ll also find respectable historians from both the east and west who view the crusades as a chapter and side bar to the Sunni-Shia conflicts of the time.

And of course there are excitable sectarian Sunnis who like to accuse the Shia of siding with the Christians.

Plus the Kurds were in there somewhere too.

February 25th, 2014, 4:39 pm

 

Syrialover said:

ALAN #80

Any vote against terrorism would automatically bring a mass vote against the continued involvement in Syrian affairs by supreme terrorist Bashar Assad.

You still haven’t answered my critical questions in #78 and #79.

I suspect your dreams are ideology-driven, nothing to do with reality.

And which eager-voting Syrians are you referring to out there? Not closet shabihas, they won’t amount to much.

February 25th, 2014, 4:49 pm

 

Alan said:

Are not the facts of the crisis ideological products ? Is there any separation of the facts and ideology?
I think you are here in this forum practicing through discussion. Sorry no room here for the training!

February 25th, 2014, 5:15 pm

 

Observer said:

SL
Very nice op-ed about Putin from Brooks
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/25/opinion/brooks-fake-putin-diary.html?_r=0

I must disagree with him for Syria does not count for the West. They could not care less if millions more perish or are displaced.

As for Iran, Putin really does not want the sanctions lifted it will mean an inability for him to continue to fund his dream of a bigger Russia.

As a matter of fact his Russia is going to crash down on his head as the frog that drank so much water wanting to look like a bull that he exploded.

It reminds a little of Qatar and Turkey as they took on more than they can handle but still came out unscathed from it when their projects were cut to a realistic size.

Now we have a very dangerous Putin for he is not a statesman but a bully and bullies are prone to push the limit until someone smacks them in the nose.

Gronzny Georgia and SYria may tempt him to go for the Crimea.

Fine with me, break it up also and let him take on more burdens. Will see if he can hold the unholdable together.

The more he gambles on Russian nationalism in a Federated Russia the less likely the non Russians would want to stay in it.

As for population growth he and Russia are finished for within the next fifty years they will dwindle to 55 million only at this rate.

Cheers for the Spetnatz and the Olympics.

February 25th, 2014, 5:29 pm

 

Syrialover said:

ALAN, What’s happening in Syria is heartbreakingly and shockingly real for me, my family and friends.

Not like for you, where it’s fantasy computer game exercise where hero Putin gets rolled out with chung! chung! noises to to defeat the evil Americans.

February 25th, 2014, 5:56 pm

 

mjabali said:

Syrialover said:

“And of course there are excitable sectarian Sunnis who like to accuse the Shia of siding with the Christians. ”

The question here mr. lover: Who amongst your friends accuse the Shia of this? Try to guess?

February 25th, 2014, 6:21 pm

 

mjabali said:

News from Syria (Since this is Syria Comment)…

al-Nusra tells the Islamic State of al-Iraq and al-Sham, you have 5 days to leave Syria?

February 25th, 2014, 6:28 pm

 

Alan said:

You obviously vanquished throughout your life! All your dreams suffered a major setback! You think that life is pink filled with victories, right?
Cheers for Hero of illusion!

February 25th, 2014, 7:16 pm

 

Alan said:

Explosive: The US government removes the name of the leader of Nusrah Front from its Most Wanted list
As-Safir reveals that the US government’s Justice Department has removed the name of Abu Muhammad Al-Julani, the leader of the Nusrah Front, from its list of the Most Wanted list of terrorists. He used to occupy the number six on the list. Is this part of the rapprochement that the Obama administration is seeking with “reasonable” terrorists in Syria?
http://networkedblogs.com/U9LRS

February 25th, 2014, 7:57 pm

 

Alan said:

30 million dollars and Erdogan’s voice مسلم يتعامل بالحلال فقط ولا يأكل الحرام ، يبني الجوامع و يناصر المظلومين ،

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s cabinet disputed the authenticity of the telephone conversation between the Prime Minister and his eldest son, Bilal, circulating on the internet.
http://www.voltairenet.org/article182346.html

http://youtu.be/M3lFQxhaeDE?t=1s

February 25th, 2014, 8:03 pm

 

Alan said:

What do the terrorists want to achieve by means of violence and lawlessness? According to the online encyclopaedia Circumnavigation , the terrorists are striving to achieve desired developments, i.e., revolutions, destabilization of society, war with a foreign country, independence of a territory, lowering the prestige of the current regime, political concessions from the government, etc.
The United States was busy with all these things in Libya and it is now doing this in Syria.
Information about the severed heads, on the financing and arming of militants appeared during the events in Libya. Gaddafi decided to resist the Americans, and Washington, in addition to politically supporting the terrorists, began sabre-rattling. NATO then bombed Libya, killed civilians and armed the Islamist militants. NATO did everything possible to overthrow and murder Gaddafi.

The Libyan scenario was fully repeated in Syria, with only one difference. Being under the pressure of non-Western states, Obama abandoned his plans to bomb Syria. The unhappy American president looked so pathetic in St. Petersburg, in his loneliness – one wanted to give him a slingshot, so that he could at least shoot at Bashar Assad’s portrait.
Today, the revolutionary terror arrived in Ukraine. who is the organizer of the Ukrainian Maidan Revolution?
The organizer of events in Ukraine is the Obama Administration and it is under control of European governments. They support politically, train and arm Ukrainian Nazi organizations, which can be called nothing but terrorist organizations.
U.S. sources are spending $20 million a week for funding the opposition and the rebels, including supplying weapons. There is information that the militants are being trained and armed on the territory of the U.S. Embassy.”
Do you think that democracy, wealth and prosperity await you? Alas, there will be rampant drug abuse, childbirth refusal, police batons and a standard of living that will allow just keeping the body and soul together. There will be no general health care, pensions and education any longer, all these are too expensive and reduce the income of big companies. Nothing personal, this is just big business, the most important preoccupation is to reduce spending on labour and social needs.

February 25th, 2014, 8:31 pm

 

norman said:

Amir#64,

I am in the US because I do not want toleave the US for you, and I came to the US not because I was persecuted by fellow Muslim Arabs but for economic reasons, and the responsibility that I had and still have to take care of my family,

About the Arab nation and Arab nationalism, it might be ill and in the intensive care unit , but it is not dead, it just needs better doctors to resuscitate and that will be there , there is more to unite the Arab nation than France, Israel or even the US.

February 25th, 2014, 9:22 pm

 

Syrialover said:

MJABALI #86,

Sorry to disappoint, but I personally have never met anyone who wastes head space inventing a role for the Shia in the Christian crusades – and I wouldn’t want to. But if you look online I’m sure you’ll find childish sectarian idiots who do.

ALAN #91

Thanks for telling us the Americans are spending $20 million a week funding the opposition and rebels. Let’s see, that’s $80 million a month.

Pretty mean and pathetic compared with the $1 billion a month Tehran has been pouring into Hezbollah alone! Plus what it’s spending in direct assistance to the Assad regime and the SAA.

The Americans are obviously getting a much bigger bang for their bucks than the poor old mullahs.

February 25th, 2014, 9:25 pm

 

mjabali said:

Syrialover:

You said:

“Sorry to disappoint, but I personally have never met anyone who wastes head space inventing a role for the Shia in the Christian crusades – and I wouldn’t want to. But if you look online I’m sure you’ll find childish sectarian idiots who do.”

The question here: where were you when many on this blog said exactly this many times?

February 25th, 2014, 10:21 pm

 

Hopeful said:

#77 Syrialover

Thanks for sharing. One of the main tragedies of this conflict is that, in the name of fighting “terrorism” and “armed gangs”, the regime has been systematically killing Syria’s best and brightest, while its supporters cheer from the sidelines.

February 25th, 2014, 11:24 pm

 

Ghufran said:

Some 9.3 million Syrians – almost half the population – need help, the United Nations said. Some 2.4 million of those people have fled the country during the three-year civil war.
“Five years ago Syria was the world’s second-largest refugee hosting country. Syrians are now about to replace Afghans as the present biggest refugee population worldwide,” U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said.
“It breaks my heart to see this nation that for decades welcomed refugees from other countries, ripped apart and forced into exile itself,” Guterres told the 193-member U.N. assembly.

February 25th, 2014, 11:28 pm

 

habib said:

76. Syrialover

I don’t have much to say about your weird alternate reality view of Iraq, but as for Assad “victory”, I don’t care about Assad himself, it is the fight he spearheads that’s important.

Once the Salafists are removed, I’d be happy if he lost an election. I don’t care about him as a person, he’s just a front for anti-Salafism/Zionism.

Isn’t that the same logic you guys use? You constantly say that after you take care of Assad, you will kick the Jihadis out? I see no difference in these goals, though the latter is almost impossible to accomplish, since you’re fighting on the same side.

I think Bashar will leave the presidency to a Sunni member of the Ba’ath party if the insurgents are fought down, and then we’ll see peace.

February 25th, 2014, 11:39 pm

 

Alan said:

Juergen ! I am waiting to hear ONLY from you!
Merkel’s Germany: More Capitulation to Apartheid Israel, Immoral Stance Toward the Palestinian People

Germany is always willing and ready to go to any extent, travel any distance and stoop to the basest level of immorality in order to appease the whimsical wishes of Zionist psychopaths in Israel, such as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Sometimes, Germany goes too far in cheapening itself before Zionist Jews to the extent of brazenly embracing Israel’s most rabidly criminal policies against the helpless Palestinians, the indirect but ultimate victims of German Nazism.
http://sabbah.biz/mt/archives/2014/02/26/merkels-germany-capitulation-apartheid-israel-immoral-stance-toward-palestinian-people/

February 26th, 2014, 3:01 am

 

Altair said:

#81 Syrialover and #64 Amir in Tel Abib

Amir spouts his Zionist nonsense revising Crusader and Islamic history and you have the temerity to agree with him? Did you read what he wrote?

He said “the Crusader movement wasn’t about conquest..but *retaking* Christian lands from those who took it by force”, asserting that the “Levant (a.k.a. natural Syria including Palestine) was Roman, then it was Christian for about 1500 years”.

So the west European Crusaders who cannibalized Ma’arrat al-Nu’man and slaughtered every living human being they could find in Jerusalem–Muslim and Jew alike, and even fellow Christians–were really just liberators, yes? I guess that’s easy to believe when you think east European Zionists “liberated” Palestine from its rightful owners.

Firstly, Syria (or the “Levant”) was NOT controlled by Romans or Christians for 1500 years. It was annexed in 64 BCE and lost in 636 CE (the Battle of Yarmouk). Count that up, about 700 years, and those years were not uninterrupted, by the way.

Secondly, the Crusaders were not welcomed as liberators any more than the Zionists are today. That they were delusional in thinking they were taking back the holy lands for Christianity doesn’t make it any more true than the delusion that Zionists took them back for Judaism. The fact is, they did conquer the lands from the indigenous inhabitants.

Many of these inhabitants were Christians or Jews who converted to Islam under Caliphal rule (there was no thing as an “Islamist” in those days, that is a French terminological invention from the 1980s), and those conversions didn’t happen overnight. They took hundreds of years, and many chose to remain Christian or Jewish, and were allowed to do so under Islamic rule, in marked contrast to what happened under Christian rule in Europe (ever hear about the Inquisition?).

Lastly, this goes to prove that sectarianism, especially Zionist sectarianism that absurdly claims the Jews as a nation, must be rejected firmly by all. Accepting it means the end of Syria, in all its constituent parts, and perpetual war, as we have seen in Palestine.

The sad fact today is that in Syria (meaning today’s smaller version since the Anglo-French partition), neither the government nor much of the opposition have rejected sectarianism. This is fact serves the sectarian Israeli/Zionist state and any outsider who wishes Syria, or the wider Middle East, harm.

February 26th, 2014, 5:12 am

 

Alan said:

Hezbollah: We will choose the time and place to respond to Israeli air strike
http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/hezbollah-we-will-choose-time-and-place-respond-israeli-air-strike

February 26th, 2014, 5:40 am

 
 
 
 
 

Syrialover said:

#99. ALTAIR

cc AMIR IN TEL AVIV

The crusades: Thank you for your interpretations and attempt at channelling back into the medieval mind and circumstances and events of the past. With a pro-Islamic twist and a surge of anti-Zionism. You are entitled to.

But so are expert historians who have studied closely the European side of the crusades. They don’t hold back on the atrocities, but their conclusions on motives and outcomes differ from yours. And they are non-sectarian and often sympathetic to those on the other side of the battlefield to the Christians.

You in contrast have just given a highly sectarian and oversimplified version of the past, aggressively defending and glorifying Islam although nobody attacked it.

And who said anywhere the crusaders were welcomed as liberators? First I’ve read of it.

You have also invented opinions and attitudes for me. If you are hungry for criticism of Israel use the famous search engine and check my comments on the subject. (http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/search-comments/).

It would have been more interesting to MJABALI and maybe others if you had commented on the blames and claims some stupid hothead sectarians today love to discuss about what Sunni and Shia did during the crusades.

February 26th, 2014, 8:45 am

 

Syrialover said:

HABIB just told me in #97:

“I think Bashar will leave the presidency to a Sunni member of the Ba’ath party if the insurgents are fought down, and then we’ll see peace.”

Hot information from an insider??

But it gets a bit weird. He reveals: “I don’t care about Assad himself, it is the fight he spearheads that’s important.

“Once the Salafists are removed, I’d be happy if he lost an election. I don’t care about him as a person, he’s just a front for anti-Salafism/Zionism.”

Habibi, if you are waiting for the salafists to be kicked out, the main fight against them at the moment is being fought by the rebel opposition. So why not give them some support?

In contrast, Bashar Assad is busy with vicious barrel bomb attacks on defenceless Syrian citizens in Aleppo. Don’t please tell us that’s that the important fight you are committed to.

February 26th, 2014, 9:15 am

 

Syrialover said:

MHABALI #94 I haven’t personally met anyone on this blog that I’m aware of. So what is it you are criticizing me for saying?

February 26th, 2014, 9:25 am

 

Amir in Tel Aviv said:

#99 Altair,

cc Syrialover

You repeat what I said, while bringing more details to it.
You brought the issue of the conquest of the Levant by the newly born (back then), the Muslims (Battle of Yarmouk). Unlike the Crusaders, who came to reclaim Christian lands, and unlike the evil-Zionists, who are reclaiming the Jewish independence of our lands,
The Muslims were plain occupiers, who followed Mohamed’s command to spread Islam using the sword (“Jihad”).

My question to you is, what makes the Islamic occupation of these lands more superior to the Crusader or the Jewish conquest?

Why do I have to reject the Christian and the Jewish reclaim, but accept the Muslim occupation?
.

February 26th, 2014, 9:48 am

 

Syrialover said:

Look at this picture. These are people the Assad regime has been shelling and starving to death and refusing for months to allow aid to reach.

They are just a small sample of what has been happening across Syria.

This is nothing to do with “war”, that term is dignifying what the Assad regime has been doing.

https://twitter.com/NicRobertsonCNN/status/438628536610328576/photo/1

February 26th, 2014, 9:49 am

 

Syrialover said:

A Ukrainian scene Syrians can look forward to.

https://twitter.com/monaeltahawy/status/438663310205272064/photo/1

February 26th, 2014, 9:56 am

 

Mina said:

It’s getting complicated. The “good” Nusra declares war on the “bad” isis because they’ve killed an al-Qaeda affiliate?
http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/syria-al-nusra-front-declares-war-isis
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/02/25/219367/killing-of-al-qaida-figure-in.html

February 26th, 2014, 10:07 am

 

mjabali said:

Syrialover:

Calling me MHABALI is not good. Stop insulting those who show that you really do not know what you are talking about and have no answer when you got caught. Answer: did you read in this blog some of your friends accusing the Alawites and the Shia of helping the crusades? See, you could not speak the truth about this and instead you resorted to insulting me.

Insulting me is not good mr.

Your true character is showing up. I have been seeing how you have been attacking other commentators here.

February 26th, 2014, 10:30 am

 

mjabali said:

Amir in Tell Aviv:

The Muslims think that the whole earth is theirs. This is not from me, it is in their teachings. الارض لله يورثها للمؤمنين فقط

The Muslims changed the demographic composition of the land they occupied.

The Ottomans who ruled from the days of the Crusades till now brought many people and killed many locals. They sanctioned this through Islam, this is documented.

You, as a minority, has to pay or get out. You have no rights. Read al-Quran, Surat al-Tawbah to be exact.

Unless there is a secular middle east, these ideas will flourish.

February 26th, 2014, 10:37 am

 

Syrialover said:

MJABALI #112

Calling you mhabali was a typing error (h and j sit together on the keyboard) which I noticed when it was too late to edit it. So nothing sinister to report there.

And no, I don’t recall reading some of my (anonymous and never-met cyber identity) “friends” accusing the Alawites and Shia of helping the crusades.

I skip nonsense like that and that’s what you should be doing too.

It would calm you down and stop you growling unnecessarily at people who are not interested in “insulting” or “attacking” you.

February 26th, 2014, 11:15 am

 

Syrialover said:

New thread started

February 26th, 2014, 11:39 am

 

Ghufran said:

Aljazeera is reporting that the army made more advances in Aleppo:
قال عمرو الحلبي مراسل قناة الجزيرة في حلب إن الجيش النظامي حقق تقدماً في جبهة المنطقة الصناعية بعد سيطرته على بعض المعامل و المستودعات على مشارفها.
و أكد الحلبي أن المدينة الصناعية شهدت خلال الساعات الماضية هجوماً مكثفاً من قبل قوات النظام التي ألقت 15 برميلاً متفجراً، مشيراً إلى استشهاد عدد من المقاتلين المعارضين دون أن يتم التمكن من الوصول إليهم بسبب رصد قوات النظام لكافة مناطق المدينة الصناعية بعد السيطرة على قرية الشيخ نجار.
و كان ناشطون أكدوا صباح اليوم أن جبهة المدينة الصناعية، شهدت ركوداً بالتزامن مع وصول أرتال مؤازرة إلى المرابطين في تلك الجبهة، قبل أن تندلع المعارك مجدداً.
و يسعى النظام من خلال محاولته السيطرة على المدينة الصناعية، فك الحصار المفروض على سجن حلب المركزي، و هو الأمر الذي سيؤدي إلى إطباق الحصار على أحياء حلب المحررة و عزلها عن الريف بشكل كامل.
However, there are a number of angry posts from sites sympathetic to the regime accusing the field commandors in Aleppo of giving up Al- Kindi hospital and expressing concerns that the same leadership may do the same with the upcoming battle around Aleppo central prison. I am not sure I buy the story, I think the army will do its best to break the siege on Aleppo prison and if they succeed that will put nusra and Isis in is very difficult position.
Isis seems to be focused now on northern Aleppo but the situation is fluid even that it does not look good for the rebels who are also divided and those outside the nusra- Isis circle may be ready for a cease fire, needless to say Islamists will not accept a cease fire.
On a political level I agree with mjabali that alawites, among others, care more about not allowing Islamists to win than seeing Assad staying as President, there is a genuine resentment in the coastal areas against the regime but not against the army who to most remain as the only available defense against terrorists who made it clear that they want to wipe out the infidels, alawites included. Before you blame the army you need to reflect on how stupid and evil the alliance with known terrorist groups was.

March 2nd, 2014, 11:06 pm

 

Ricardo Rivera said:

Are the people writing these blog posts physically in Syria?

March 12th, 2014, 6:57 am

 

Kremator said:

At all costs you are trying to show that, against as it is well knowed, christians in Syria are not totally sided with the regime. Former and upcoming news show us the other side..without the “regime” presence, christians will be totally erased from the map

April 13th, 2015, 7:52 pm

 

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