Clinton Calls Bashar al-Assad a “Reformer” -Syria Lifts Emergency Law

“Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said …. members of the U.S. Congress from both parties say they believe Assad is “a reformer.

U.S. Won’t Intervene in Syria as Assad Differs From Qaddafi, Clinton Says

By Nicole Gaouette – Mar 27, 2011

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the U.S. won’t enter into the internal conflict in Syria the way it has in Libya.

“No,” Clinton said, when asked on the CBS “Face the Nation” program if the U.S. would intervene in Syria’s unrest. Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s security forces clashed with protesters in several cities yesterday after his promises of freedoms and pay increases failed to prevent dissent from spreading across the country.

Clinton said the elements that led to international intervention in Libya — international condemnation, an Arab League call for action, a United Nations Security Council Resolution — are “not going to happen” with Syria, in part because members of the U.S. Congress from both parties say they believe Assad is “a reformer.”

My guess is that Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Israel have all asked the US not to push on Syria. They fear instability. This has little to do with congress.

Syria has announced that it has lifted emergency rule. What this actually means is unclear. There are many laws on the books to limit constitutional freedoms of assembly and freedom of expression.

Senate Homeland Security chairman Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) said

the U.S. should intervene to help Syrian protesters if officials there turn weapons on the public as took place in Libya on Fox News Sunday.

Lieberman told host Chris Wallace that if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad begins to slaughter his own people he could face an international coalition willing to implement a no-fly zone as they have done in Libya.

Lieberman said he would support U.S. intervention “if Assad does what Qaddafi was doing, which is to threaten to go house to house and kill anyone who’s not on his side.”

“There’s a precedent now that the world community has set in Libya and it’s the right one,” Lieberman said. “We’re not going to stand by and allow this Assad to slaughter his people like his father did years ago and in doing so we’re being consistent with our American values and we’re also on the side of the Arab people who want a better chance for a decent life.”

Steven Hadley, Bush NSC head:

The US should win in libya to send a message to Syria and Iran. He also said the US should help topple Assad. To send a message to IRAN. He also said that in Jordan and KSA we should support these gov because they have introduced reforms and are on the way to more democratic societies.

Comments (195)

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151. OFF THE WALL said:

Dearest Jad,
So let us think what could be this WA7I Elahi

1. I will not run for a third term
2. I am dissolving the Baath Party and its affiliated junior’s baath
3. I am dissolving the National Progressive Front, time for real parties
4. Starting tomorrow, no Mukhabarat, I will only focus security agencies on external enemies and on real terrorists, and by the way, you.. my man, … yup, the one with the leather jacket and dark sunglasses, you are fired, .,,,, you too, and you too.
5. No one will be called for coffee any longer, and no one will be asked to write their life story in a dark room at the airport
6. If we call you, you are free to reject our invitation or to ask for a letter with questions or phone interview.

Anyone care to add more creative wa7i to the list, i told you I am running low on brain today 🙂

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March 28th, 2011, 9:58 pm


152. Jad said:

Dear OTW,
Have you read ‘Reading Lolita in Tehran’ ? It’s old but excellent story to read.
I’m not sure why I remembered this book in the middle of all this grim days, probably because of my schizophrenia between being peaceful and promoting the collaboration approach in conflicts, trying to be objective toward everything I read/hear/see without letting my emotion out and my strong wish to see a stable democratic system in Syria without the need for anybody to die, it’s very very hard to do that and I’m struggling seeing all this unjust, brutality and manipulation and stupidity by all sides.
Are you having any problem similar to mine OTW?
I love the Wa7i you are talking about, that would be something, but I’m not holding my breath for anything.

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March 28th, 2011, 10:01 pm


153. NK said:


Of course I don’t want Syrians to re invent the wheel, although you probably want to pass that message to Dr. Bashar who wants re invent democracy so it’s Syrian and refuses to adapt “western democracy”.

what I was trying to say earlier, when you have true constitutional democracy you’ll be able to achieve social justice, take honor killing for instance, I myself signed more than five petitions asking to treat those killers as murderers instead of giving them reduced sentences, if we had constitutional democracy we would’ve been able to also hold rallies to promote our cause and present it to the public, instead 10 years passed and we still made no progress. It wasn’t because of Islamists and Sharia law.

Anyways, if Bashar goes on TV tomorrow and adapts the current U.S constitution/laws I would put the biggest “menhebak” poster in the middle of my front yard for an entire month 😉


You shouldn’t lock anyone up for what he said, says or might say, that’s democracy 101.


Hats off, the regime is indeed have a lot of experience and maybe their experience is playing against them now, hence the contradicting statements and the semi-chaotic actions.

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March 28th, 2011, 10:17 pm


154. SOURI said:

صعود التيار السلفي والأصولي في مصر بعد سقوط مبارك

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March 28th, 2011, 10:18 pm


155. NK said:

سقط جدار الخوف
الياس خوري

منذ ثلاثة أشهر والعالم العربي من مغربه الى مشرقه يعيش عصفاً ثورياً لا سابق له. فجأة بدأت الأنظمة الديكتاتورية تتهاوى. انطلقت صيحة الحرية من جسد يحترق في سيدي بو زيد في تونس، لتشتعل القارة العربية بأسرها. سقط بن علي وتهاوى مبارك، القذافي يترنّح، وعلي عبد الله الصالح يبحث عن مخرج. البحرين اشتعلت ودخلتها جيوش القمع السعودية، وفي الجزائر والمغرب بدأت نار التغيير. الملكيات مذعورة، من عماّن التي تتظاهر، الى الرياض التي يعتقد مليكها انه يستطيع بالرشوة ان يعبر كأس التغيير!
فجأة تهاوى نظام عربي كامل أخذ العرب الى هاوية الخمول والضِعة، واسس لتقاليد قمعية متمادية، من قوانين الطوارىء الى خطف الناس واعتقالهم، ومن كمّ الأفواه وابادة الحريات العامة، الى الغاء النقابات والأحزاب السياسية، بحيث صارت المجتمعات العربية مسوّرة بالصمت، وفقد الناس كراماتهم الفردية والجماعية.
النظام السوري لا يشذّ عن هذه القاعدة العامة، بل ربما كان الأكثر فتكاً وترويعاً، يلعب مع شعبه لعبة الخوف والتخويف، ويحتمي من التغيير عبر تحالفات معقّدة تبدأ بدعم المقاومة وتنتهي بالالتزام الدقيق بالاتفاقات مع اسرائيل. بحيث يخال المراقب ان لا وجود لأرض سورية محتلة، وان النظام السوري لا همّ له سوى دعم تحرير لبنان وفلسطين!
لعبة بالغة التعقيد تبني اسواراً من الحمايات من حول النظام، من التحالف السوري- السعودي الى التحالف السوري- الايراني، وصولا الى علاقة ممتازة مع تركيا.
تركيبة معقّدة، اسست لنظام راسخ استطاع تمرير قطوع التوريث بأقل الخسائر الممكنة، ونجح في الامساك دائماً بالعصا الاقليمية من وسطها.
لكن ما فات العائلة الحاكمة السورية تبصّره هو ان الزمن انقلب. الزمن الذي كان فيه النظام يجتاح حماة، بالقوات الخاصة التي صنعت واحدة من اكثر مذابح زمننا هولاً، بينما يتابع خطابه القومي الذي صعد على الدم الفلسطيني واللبناني المسفوك في تل الزعتر، هذا الزمن انطوى الى الأبد.
ما لم تستوعبه الآلة الأمنية الحاكمة ان زمن الخوف قد ولّى، لقد سقط جدار الصمت عندما اطلق المناضل الكبير رياض الترك صيحته من اعماق سجنه المديد، معلناً سقوط مملكة الخوف. الشعب السوري يريد الحرية والكرامة والعدالة، وضاق ذرعا بالمفسدين والفاسدين، وزمن هيمنة الرعب يجب ان يزول.
غريب امر حكّام هذه اللحظة العربية، يقلّدون بعضهم البعض، يوزعون المال ويعدون بالاصلاح، معتقدين ان الشعب يصدّقهم، وانهم يستطيعون بَلْف الناس مرة جديدة.
عندما وقف بن علي في الليلة الأخيرة من حكمه، ليخاطب التونسيين بأنه فهمهم، فهمنا ان الرجل لم يفهم شيئاً. وهذا ما فعله حسني مبارك. اما القذافي فانه لم يكن يريد ان يفهم، ولم يدعِّ انه فهم. بدأ المجزرة منذ اليوم الأول، لأنه تعوّد على احتقار الشعب.
لا ادري ماذا ستكون خيارات الرئيس السوري بشّار الأسد، هل سيفهم على طريقة بن علي، ام سيطلق النار على طريقة السفّاح الليبي.
اغلب الظن انه سيلجأ الى التكتيكين معاً، وهذا ما شهدته درعا، التي كان لها شرف اطلاق شرارة الثورة السورية. اطلاق نار وقتل من جهة ووعود من جهة ثانية.
لقد اثبت الشعب السوري انه شعب حكيم، فالشعب يعرف فداحة الجريمة التي قد تكون في انتظاره، لذا افسح للنظام فترة ثلاثة اشهر كي يتعظ بما يجري من ثورات في العالم العربي، ويبدأ في فك القيود عن الشعب. لكن احدى خصائص الأنظمة الديكتاتورية انها تصاب بالعماء والطرش حين يتعلق الأمر بها. فالديكتاتور ليس محاطاً سوى بالمرايا التي تعكس صورته، ولا يستمع الا الى اصوات المتزلفين والمستفيدين. لذا يفقد قدرته على فهم رياح الزمن.
ميزة الديكتاتوريات انها لا تعترف بوجود الزمن. كلنا يذكر تلك اليافطات التي كانت ترتفع كي تقول ‘رئيسنا الى الأبد حافظ الأسد’. تكشف هذه العبارة معنى العلاقة بالزمن، ولا يمكن فهمها الا في سياق رفض الاعتراف بالتاريخ، والدخول في ابدية الجمود. لكن ما استعصى على ادراكي هو تلك اليافطة التي ارتفعت على احد مداخل طرابلس في الشمال اللبناني والتي تقول ‘الى الأبد والى ما بعد الأبد’، وكان ذلك بالطبع زمن الوصاية السورية على لبنان. اعترف انني لحظة قراءتي لهذه اليافطة شعرت بأنني لم اعد أفهم، وبأن الهذيان استولى على الكلام.
فالاستبداد لا يكتفي بعدم الاعتراف بوجود الزمن، بل يحتقره ويدّعي انه يستطيع البقاء الى ما بعده!
الشعب السوري الذي جعل من عاصمته دمشق-الشام، قلب العرب ونبضهم، صبر واحتمل كثيراً. وكان صبره جزءاً من زمن الركود الذي عاشه العالم العربي خلال العقود الأربعة الماضية.
لكن حين ينتفض العرب في كل مكان، وحين تؤسس مصر ميدان تحريرها، وحين تهب رياح الحرية، فلا يعقل ان تبقى سورية مملكة الصمت والحزب الواحد وقانون الطوارىء وسحق الحريات العامة والخاصة.
لذا ‘طلعت من صوب سورية الجنوب’، كما غنت فيروز يوماً. من الجنوب، من حوران، من خصوبة الأرض بالقمح والحرية، من بلاد الثورة السورية الكبرى، من درعا، بدأت رحلة الشعب السوري الى الحرية.
لا ليست فتنة طائفية ولن تكون، مثلما ادّعت السيدة بثينة شعبان، فإذا كانت الاشارة الى الطائفية على لسان المستشارة هي شكل من اشكال التهديد بها، فان الشعب السوري، يعرف من تجربته ان اللعبة الطائفية هي وسيلة النظام من اجل سحق جميع الطوائف، وان الكلام عن هيمنة العلويين ليس سوى وسيلة لتغطية حكم المافيا العائلية. الشعب السوري بمختلف اطيافه، من عرب وكرد، وبمختلف طوائفه من مسلمين ومسيحيين وعلويين ودروز هو الضحية، ولعبة التحريض الطائفي قد تطيل في عمر النظام قليلاً لكنها لا تستطيع ان تنقذه من عصف الحرية الذي يجتاح سورية من جنوبها الى شمالها.
في دمشق، سوف يزهر ياسمين ربيع العرب، وعلى ذرى قاسيون سوف يستعيد الشعب السوري حريته.
قلب العروبة النابض هي اليوم في قلوب كل العرب. فإذا كانت مصر هي مركز المشرق العربي، فان الشام هي روحه.
وحين تنتفض الروح تبدأ الحرية.

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March 28th, 2011, 10:23 pm


156. majedkhaldoon said:

Now that we no longer have dictator in Egypt,and possibly we have democracy, don’t we all dream of new democratic regime in Syria that work on reuniting Syria and Egypt again.Dictatorship in Syria must ends to achieve this dream.

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March 28th, 2011, 10:27 pm


157. SOURI said:

Bashar spends more money on “houses of worship”:

Bashar will try now to buy the loyalty of the Islamists, which means undoing many of the secularization measures (many of them were already undone before the crisis, which proved now to have been a wise decision) and wasting more of Syria’s limited money on supporting Islamization instead of secularization.

This is what I’ve been saying. Syria is becoming now another Egypt. This is the worst scenario ever. The civil war scenario is far less destructive than this scenario.

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March 28th, 2011, 10:29 pm


158. Off the Wall said:

Dearest Jad

Yes, I am having problems big time?. remember my post a couple of days when I asked why isn’t anyone in the internal opposition or at least civil rights advocates (which are the true opposition on the inside) consulted.. So it is not you, me,Mrs Attassi, Mr. Maleh, Dalila, Kilo, or others who refused collaboration. The regime is doing everything solo again..

We are peaceful men Jad, we are so peaceful that both you and I sometime blind ourselves to real ills. But over the past 18+ months, both of us have been transformed to look the truth in the face, and we do not like what we see.

I am not holding much hopes either. But as long as Alex is optimistic 🙂 , I will continue to convince myself into having a shred of optimism. May be it is self delusion, but in two days, we will know what shape Syria will take…. It can not remain the same.. Everyone knows that.. It can not also be cosmetic, and everyone knows that. Whether the regime would be a risk taker and bet on the history or foolish and bet against history, I really do not know, only time will tell. I am afraid it is now a zero sum game. It was not a year or two ago, but indecision made it so now.

I will check the book.

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March 28th, 2011, 10:30 pm


159. Norman said:


I hope he can see your promise, That might make him adopt my plan so he can get your support, he will sure like it,

The reason that president Assad did not call for equal treatment to women in inheritance and civil laws is because of the culture that we have in Syria and i supported that as i felt if women want more rights then they should ask for them and be ahead of the government but what you said about emergency law not allowing the free expression of the people hit me, it seems true that because of that law we do not know where people stand on many issues and i am glad that it will be out so heated debate on where Syria is going will take place,

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March 28th, 2011, 10:32 pm


160. trustquest said:

Call for protest from Germany,

Thanks for #25
Thanks for regime defenders who at least respect our intelligent since me too having hard time with the regime supporters on FB and their limited intelligence. They are using the worst foul language ever, they want to proof that all videos are fake; their propaganda came late and trashy. The lady in a video after the Omayad protest would shout and say that they have freedom in Syria since they can walk at 12 at night.
NK, #136 correction, it is not couples of dozens it is in the hundreds now.
The theme the regime built the country on in the last 10 years, God, Souria, Bashar Wbuss, is going to generate massacres never thought of. The army supporters, special troops, the closed eye on Shabeeha militia, the way the loyalty built, now going to be solved unfortunately by a lot of unnecessary blood. The regime repulsive sectarian face has been uncovered in one historical moment and I hope from my heart to pass these terrible moments without bloodshed.
Our heart is bleeding seeing those videos and pictures where machine guns harvest young kids in the streets. Comparing with the same stage of Libyan revolution, they surpassed it. Did they leave anything for Israel as the eternal villain as they built support for themselves on it during Gaza war, I don’t think so. The old can of warm now opened, with each another person killed now, Hama is back alive and demanding justice. God bless Syria and save the Syrians.
This video just came, they still can not say the name of the killers:

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March 28th, 2011, 10:44 pm


161. Norman said:

مجلس الشعب يناقش قانون تملك غير السوريين.. وأعضائه يؤكدون ألا يكون على حساب الطبقة الوسطى والفقيرة

With no real taxation on real estate more money available to buy real Estate will only push the prices higher and higher , The condo in Damascus is more than in Manhattan, I am all for free market but Syria should be careful not to sell the country to people who have money while Syrians can not compete .

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March 28th, 2011, 10:46 pm


162. Shami said:

Dear OTW ,what kind of book would you like to read in this moment?

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March 28th, 2011, 10:56 pm


163. Nafdik said:

Off the wall,

My prediction for bashar speach:

– he will remove emergency law
– he will free all the prisoners from daraa and recent events
– he will promise press freedom
– he will promise free parties
– we will investigate errors commited by security forces


– new anti terrorism law
– only parties that are wataniee and non sectarian (ie baath stooges)
– no to foreigners so aljazeera, reuters, cnn are out, free press is teshreen and thawra
– they will allow few token reform demonstrators led by so called converted baathis

The people will spit in his face and the he will move to stage 2 where unkowns will create chaos and the army will move in to secure the citizens and we are back to saying the regime is better than civil war.

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March 28th, 2011, 10:59 pm


164. OFF THE WALL said:

I think you are right.

however, the following is very intriguing
they will allow few token reform demonstrators led by so called converted baathis.

I do not know if anyone is aware that LAW 49, which punishes MB members with death also exacts the same punishment on Baathists who have membership in any other party, including the stooges….. This may require exodus or repealing 49….

Also, split parties are very dangerous to their mother party, This is especially the case since there are always those idealists who joined the Baath party because it is the only legally available political group. These may split in droves leaving the baath to be similar to the Watani in Egypt…. I do not know if this is the impression he wants to give to the workers and peasants at least at the base. The leadership does not matter herein, it is always known to be corrupt and rich. The base, however, is full of poor and middle class folks.

As for stage 2, some people on FB have argued that it is not as successful in Latakia as it is being claimed, any verification… either way.

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March 28th, 2011, 11:23 pm


165. Ziadsoury said:


Read “Empy Sky” and “A Civil Action”

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March 28th, 2011, 11:29 pm


166. Off the Wall said:

Dear Shami, thanks for asking.

I re-read Alkawakibi Taba23 Al Istibdad again this evening to quote from. But I am really looking for something on democracy, its practices, and its future. I have read Zakarya, but I am looking for something a bit different.

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March 28th, 2011, 11:34 pm


167. Nafdik said:

Intriguing reading list otw. I should check these authors.

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March 29th, 2011, 12:14 am


168. majedkhaldoon said:

There has to be connection between Hilary Clinton saying that Bashar is reformer,and they do not need to do,in Syria, the same thing they did in Libya,and what Buthaina Shaaban saying that some of the trouble in Syria is due to the palastinians,may be there is a deal,may be that Syria is planing to get rid of pro Hamas from Syria.

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March 29th, 2011, 12:17 am


169. Nafdik said:

I just listened to urdugan talk about syria:
– turkey chief of security is in damascus
– urdugan spoke to assad 3 times
– he urged him to act on reforms
– he wants to avoid a situation like libya

I am not sure exactly how to read his position but one interpretation is that he is telling assad there will be no hama this time.

The other is that he is helping him stay in power to avoid problems with the kurds.

Possibly both.

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March 29th, 2011, 12:45 am


170. Averroes said:


Thank you too for admitting you raging hate. I promise you that I do not hate you, sir. You are so “sure” of so much about what most people feel in Syria. I wonder if any facts on the ground might challenge your assertions.

Shami, the pressure that you and others have exerted in the last couple of weeks has propelled Syria forward. We are all winning because of that. I reiterate that the regime needed a good shake and that it got it. Unless you were hoping for a kill, there is really no need for you to feel so bitter today. The fear barrier has been irreversibly shattered and there is no going back. Syria has moved forward at a great speed.

P.S. Try drinking some water after reading my posts. For some reason, you keep getting these hiccups every time you type my alias.

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March 29th, 2011, 1:34 am


171. Averroes said:


Over the top exaggerations and melodramatic figures of speech are signature facets of the Arab psyche, unfortunately. It used to be much worse two generations ago, but it’s not completely gone yet. Far from it.

Some statements of adoration used by supporters are just despicable:
مطرح ما بتمشي منركع
and similar slogans. I am really interested in studying the formula that leads to such extreme feelings and expressions.

We seem to also exhibit equally extreme feelings of hate, conviction, and rejection.

I think it may have to do with the ideological and absolutist models we were taught as children.

I always say:
لسه بدنا فت خبز كتير

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March 29th, 2011, 1:50 am


172. NK said:


“I am really interested in studying the formula that leads to such extreme feelings and expressions.”

After rewarding such expressions for a few times an intermittent reinforcement pattern develops, the desired behavior then becomes very easy to maintain and very hard to eliminate.

As for the extreme nature of the expressions, I highly doubt people who write such things comprehend the meaning of what they’re writing.

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March 29th, 2011, 2:16 am


173. Alia said:


You state:

[I reiterate that the regime needed a good shake and that it got it]

you are making 2 assertions here that are difficult to prove/disprove: 1) that the regime needed a shake ??!! Is that all the regime needed ?, 2) AND that it got it- How do you know that? what evidence do you have to prove that it got the shake that you claim it needed ? Seems to me you are also indulging in vague statements.

They are going to come out unscathed and nothing is going to change, not because of anything that they have learnt but because no one outside will allow this and “the barrier of fear” contrary to your benign assertions is not down- the Syrians have been traumatized for decades and will need substantial outside help and it is not going to come. The defile of support started from all and sundry, the answer to the Syrian people is NO- and they will not need to change one bit.


If you have not read it already, I recommend Frantz Fannon “the wretched of the earth” Les damnes de la terre” although a classic of anicolonialist struggle, its descriptions of the abuse of power dynamics are unsurpassed.

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March 29th, 2011, 3:32 am


174. Shami said:

Aver roes,
I can only despise the people with few dignity.

Dear OTW ,
If not already read ,i advice you the famous book of John Rawls :

A Theory of Justice (and critics).

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March 29th, 2011, 6:09 am


175. trustquest said:

OTW, The book that will always comes to mind that reminds us what we have been missing and what was at work in the last 40 years, and if the Alice in wonderland can stay there for ever in her dream, is Ambiguity of Domination, for the great Lisa Wedeen.
The heart breaking stories inside for a nation stolen its soul and a criminal too strong and too powerful that he caught the sun in one hand and squashed it, turn the whole universe to darkness, then he open his hand and lighten the whole universe (from the book).

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March 29th, 2011, 7:27 am


176. Averroes said:

NK, Shami,

You are making a personal attack. That’s fine. All I’m saying is that we are today in a better position and are moving forward. But it seems that’s not what you really want. You want the kill, and are now bitter because you did not get it.

I can understand. I am not shamtaan. I just invite you to take another look.

As for my statements on the methods of communications we use in Syria, they stem from an interest in sociology that I have, and I wanted to throw some thoughts across. Thanks, NK, for your encouragement.


So we are calling for outside help now, are we.

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March 29th, 2011, 11:13 am


177. Ziadsoury said:

Just looking at these pro gov demos made me wonder…. How come these thugs only fire on the protestors demanding their rights? They have thousands and thousands of people to shoot at cramped into one square. They are much easier targets than people walking along main streets? Right? Or is it 7amya 7aramya?

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March 29th, 2011, 11:22 am


178. jad said:

Define ‘Dignity’ to me so I understand why you are attacking Averroes?
I thought that we agreed on calling for liberal and democratic society where everybody can express their views without harassment or personal attacks.

“So we are calling for outside help now, are we.”
The revolution FB page organizers were calling for outside help since the first days and they repeat that call in the last statement after Hillary Clinton slap them in the face with her statement, which make you question their goal, is it freedom or calling for chaos and new ‘Ist3mar’! For me that is the biggest and unforgivable mistake they did and it’s interesting how Ammar is tunning it down knowing that nobody with ‘Dignity’ will support such call.

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March 29th, 2011, 11:30 am


179. Averroes said:


The answer to your question is simple, if you want to hear it. Most of the energy the “Revolution” has gained has been drawn from events with bloodshed. They feed on blood, of course where blood can be blamed on the regime, or where it can ignite hysteria.

Look at this smiling, pios, Salafi sheikh here:
Forget the ridiculous claim that he make that 200,000 demonstrators have shown up in Dar3a. Concentrate on his advice about facing bullets. Please look carefully at his facial expressions when he says that the blood they spill will actually serve us.

Here’s a typical Islamist sheikh: Overweight, opportunist, and just can’t hide what’s really inside him. Living outside, receiving Petrodollar salaries, and lusting to have the misguided youth inside Syria to go and receive bullets with their bare chests so that their blood “will help us”.

How much dignity do you think this sheikh can claim, Shami?

So, blood is needed where it can be attributed to the regime. Shooting on PRO demonstrators could in no way be attributed to the regime, and thus it is not an option for those forces of darkness.

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March 29th, 2011, 12:35 pm


180. Ziadsoury said:

Averroes, All

All these conspiracy theories can be rebutted very easily. Some forensic work needs to be done. Independent (third party) experts can tell us if the bullets that killed the innocent protestors came from authority forces or the supposed thugs. Do you think the regime would allow that?
This is a scientific finding which I am all for.

I am also sure that tear gas came from the authority forces and not from protestors.

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March 29th, 2011, 1:08 pm


181. Alia said:

Averroes and Jad,

The regime spent the last few days receiving payback support from its allies and former and future enemies as the wind may blow…in addition to the fact that it controls the hundredS of thousands / millions/ of Mukhabarat and Bath members…the army and all resources, you think it would be undignified to ask for all the help in the world?

Did you go to the University in Syria? Were you forced to show up to every Maseera that the party organized? Were you “talked to” by the shabab if you decided you were having a headache on that day and rather stayed in the library…

The word dignity is just a word in Syria, you glimpse its meaning only when you get out. Rare are the people who have any dignity left in Syria.

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March 29th, 2011, 1:14 pm


182. Averroes said:


Stop living in the past. What you say is true about the past. It was extremely crude, stupid, and counter productive. Times have changed.

Syrians have always been a people of dignity and no one can take that away.

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March 29th, 2011, 1:23 pm


183. Alia said:


The past I am talking about was not so long ago believe me!!…:)

The pro-regime demonstrators are motivated by anything but the dignity that you are speaking of.

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March 29th, 2011, 1:31 pm


184. jad said:

Dear Alia,
How are you? Long time we didn’t read your excellent opinion on SC 🙂

“you think it would be undignified to ask for all the help in the world?”
From my side the answer is defiantly, absolutely and loud YES it is undignified and treason to even think of that.
I’m not more patriot than anybody but this is a principle of mine, I lived long enough in the western world to know how things work and how the same democratic western regimes in dealing with their subjects work with two heads and hypocrisy when it comes to the international level.
The way their administrations think and react toward Muslims, Arabs, Africans, Indians, Asians and anybody that doesn’t surrender to their rules.
Besides I refuse to put the west on higher level over us when it comes to human dignity and principles, Syrians with all and every bad habits we’ve got we still have the human heart, some wisdom and optimism that tomorrow is better and with people like that I can never ever loose hope of we become better one day otherwise I’m a man with no heart.
Finlay I know very well from our rosy history and experience with the west that the price I’ll pay for such treason will be high, so high that I’ll pay my soul for it and I refuse to even think of that.

“Did you go to the University in Syria?”

Yes I did go to school and university in Damascus, Syria and I never ever went to any demonstration whatsoever and nobody ever forced me or even pushed me to go, I guess I was lucky enough in my school not to be pushed for that, however, from what friends are telling me it sounds as if many people REALLY wanted to go out, they feel that they are threatened not the regime but them personally and they feel that they’ve been pushed aside, lied to and misrepresented by every newspaper and TV channels, you can’t insult people’s intelligence and attack them with fabricated and exaggerated news in the way we saw on the media and expect them not to react.

“The word dignity is just a word in Syria, you glimpse its meaning only when you get out. Rare are the people who have any dignity left in Syria.”
I strongly disagree, couple days ago I agreed with Souri that “Everybody thinks they are always right, everybody thinks that they know everything, and everybody thinks that what they know is the unquestionable truth and they will not change their beliefs no matter how much you try with them.”

But we, Syrians, and every human on this planet have lots of dignity that must be respected by everyone, and calling all of the Syrians as people with no dignity is an insult.

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March 29th, 2011, 1:56 pm


185. Alia said:

Hi Jad,

Thanks for the nice welcome !

I must be missing something with this dignity business, I mean you can be dignified in your private sphere but when ultimately, as you say, you have been lied to, taken advantage of, taken for a fool all your life what dignity are we speaking of? You think it is dignified to stand in the middle of the road waving flags and swearing eternal allegiance to Bashar ? but OK whatever, we can call it anything you all like. Nelson Mandela was dignified for 25 years in jail but his eyes were always open.

As for outside help, well it is just a pragmatic issue, we cannot do it alone. I don’t disagree with your views on the Western views of the Other but who else is there to help?

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March 29th, 2011, 2:18 pm


186. Atassi said:

Bashar al-Assad’s day of reckoning
Simon Tisdall
30 March 2011
Guardian Unlimited

Simon Tisdall: The Syrian president’s televised address to the nation could be a moment of opportunity or a fatal step in his fall from grace

Bashar al-Assad’s address to the nation is easily the biggest moment of his young political life. Syria has faced multiple crises during the president’s 11-year rule, including a massive refugee influx after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the 2004 Kurdish uprising, a rift with Lebanon after the Hariri assassination in 2005 and Israel’s bombing of a supposed nuclear reactor in 2007. But none seriously threatened the 45-year-old Assad’s grip on power, nor the survival of the regime. This is different.

The protests that have shaken Syrian towns and cities in recent days are unprecedented in both scale and character. In many ways, they resemble the Egyptian and other Arab revolts – a roar of rage against lack of economic opportunity, a youthful population’s limited life chances, the lack of personal and social freedoms and the dead weight of official corruption. But there are differences, too. Syria’s regime, more than most, has relied on absolute obedience, enforced by a terrifying security apparatus. Dissent was not tolerated. The change now is that dissent has become open, pervasive and unquenchable. Dissent is a firestorm, burning up all Syria’s old certainties in its path.

“What we have in Syria is not yet a revolution. It is unrest in pursuit of legitimate reform,” a Syrian official said. “Assad is a popular president. If there was a vote tomorrow, I think he would win 60% or maybe more. We have the problem of economic corruption but not political corruption. Assad has a lot of credit in the bank. He needs to cash it in or else we are heading for the unknown … Whatever happens, Syria has changed. The wall of fear for expressing your views has collapsed.”

It’s certainly true Assad is no Hosni Mubarak, the octogenarian Egyptian president who came to symbolise a nation’s ossification. He has often spoken of reform and, briefly, during the so-called Damascus spring of 2000-01 following the death of his ultra-authoritarian father, Hafez, Syrian society seemed ready to break free from its historical and geographical shackles. The fact it did not was attributable in part to the baleful influence of the old guard inherited from his father.

All the same, Assad’s failure to bring about change was ultimately his own, raising doubts about his political courage and judgment. His apparent inability to modernise Syria’s economy, his continued reliance on emergency laws enacted by the Ba’ath party after the 1963 coup and the ongoing lack of political pluralism and media freedom poses the question: why should anyone believe him now when, back to the wall, he once again promises reforms? Has he left it too late?

Assad’s decision to sack his cabinet, even as pro-regime protesters filled the streets of many cities, may help answer these doubts – and help him achieve a clean break with Assad Sr’s era. But in his televised speech he will need to go further. His task is to convince the majority of Syrians who, if officials are to be believed, want reform rather than regime change, that the country can make a new beginning, that a new order is finally replacing the old.

“The security forces made great mistakes in Deraa [the southern city where the unrest began and more than 60 protesters were killed]. Instead of trying to find a solution, they were shooting in the square. For that reason, the president has ordered a halt to all violence by the security forces,” said Sami Khiyami, Syria’s ambassador in London. “The president intends to rectify these mistakes.”

His speech would include repeal of the emergency law, a stepped-up campaign against corruption and orders to the security forces “not to harm people freely expressing their views”, he said. Other reports suggest curbs on opposition political parties and media will be relaxed and political prisoners freed.

Khiyami insisted there was substance to regime claims that small groups of agitators, mostly foreign-backed, were responsible for provoking the most serious clashes. These groups included Islamist extremists from the indigenous Sunni majority, Syrian Kurds, and Iraqi, Lebanese and Algerian immigrants whose “agenda” was stirring up sectarian tension, he said. Their activities lay behind the recent violence in Latakia where 10 police were killed and 300 people arrested. Khiyami added that Syria remained the most secular, multi-ethnic and religiously tolerant country in the Middle East – and that outside powers were intent on undermining it.

Assad’s failure so far to pursue a reform agenda, and the crisis confronting him now, could be laid in part at the door of the US, Israel and European countries that were hostile to Syria and had weakened it through economic sanctions and trade embargoes, Khiyami said. Syria was a proud, dignified country that was “difficult to tame”. Despite what they claimed, the great powers would actually prefer the Middle East to remain a “buffer zone” between the west and Asia, an excluded, unrepresented, under-performing, second-class region with no real say in international affairs, he said.

Whatever the reasons, and they are many, Assad faces a great reckoning when he steps up to speak. It could be a moment of unparalleled opportunity. Or it could prove to be a fatal next phase in his inexorable fall from grace.

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March 29th, 2011, 2:23 pm


187. atassi said:

Syrian cabinet dissolved as thousands demonstrate; Region in Revolt
30 March 2011
International Herald Tribune
President Bashar al-Assad accepted the resignation of his cabinet Tuesday as thousands of government supporters took to the streets of Damascus, the capital, in an effort to counter a rising tide of democracy protests in several cities, news agencies reported.
The cabinet resignation, announced on state television, appeared to be a concession to protesters and came as the political crisis in Syria deepened, with the armed forces in the restive southern city of Dara’a on Monday firing live ammunition in the air to disperse hundreds of demonstrators.
The unrest poses a serious challenge to Mr. Assad and his Baath Party. Mr. Assad had been expected to announce as early as Tuesday the repeal of the country’s emergency law, in place since 1963, which effectively allows the security forces to detain citizens without charges. Whether the repeal — or the cabinet resignations — would quell the protests remains unclear. Other laws restrict freedoms and give immunity to the secret police.
The mixed signals sent by the government — promises of reforms that would have been unthinkable months ago, coupled with heavy-handed repression — may be indicative of deeper tensions, analysts said. Mr. Assad, 45, a British-educated eye doctor who was often described as a reformer early in his 11-year rule, relies on a largely Alawite state apparatus that has been resistant to reform and whose survival depends on the Assad family.
‘‘There must be a very harsh debate going on’’ around the president, said Elizabeth Picard, a political science professor and expert on Syria who is based in based in Aix-en-Provence, France. ‘‘We’re nearing a zero-sum game. Once you let go a little, you take the risk of losing everything. Some people are going to cling to power.
On Monday, marchers gathered in the city’s main square, chanting ‘‘Not Sunnis, not Alawis, we all want freedom’’ and ‘‘God, Syria and freedom only.’’ By late afternoon, hundreds of people had staged a sit-in, uncertain whether the army would try to disperse them during the night. More than 60 people have been killed since March 18, human rights groups say. It was unclear if there were any casualties Monday.
‘‘They were marching peacefully, asking for their rights, when the army opened fire at them,’’ said one witness who declined to be identified for fear of reprisals. ‘‘But this is not the end.’’
The armed forces had retreated from the city’s main arteries over the past few days, giving residents an uneasy sense of being in a standoff. The Associated Press reported that security forces were surrounding the city on Monday afternoon. The army also was still deployed in the northwestern city of Latakia, which had seen several days of violence.
The situation in Latakia is symbolic of the challenge facing the government. A traditionally Christian and Sunni coastal area north of Damascus, the town has seen an increase in its population of Alawites, a religious sect, since the 1960s, and resentment between the groups runs deep.
Latakia itself still has a Sunni and Christian majority, but the villages surrounding it are mostly Alawite and are considered a government stronghold. It was no accident that the offices of SyriaTel, a telephone company owned by an Assad cousin, Rami Makhlouf, who is widely perceived by demonstrators as a symbol of corruption, were burned down during protests Saturday, when 12 people were killed.
Latakia was calm Monday, but despite the army’s presence in and around the city, a resident who declined to be identified said he witnessed sporadic violence overnight.
He described civilians carrying rifles or knives, creating their own makeshift checkpoints. ‘‘Pro- and anti-government groups’’ fought, the witness said, ‘‘and tension was fueled by reports of foreigners bringing instability to the city.’’
The state news media have largely blamed foreigners and residents of a Palestinian camp near the city for the unrest in Latakia.
On Sunday, state radio reported multiple sightings of foreigners in the coastal town, including ‘‘a group of Lebanese women who said they wanted to rent an apartment but ran away when asked for identification.’’

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March 29th, 2011, 2:35 pm


188. jad said:

“You think it is dignified to stand in the middle of the road waving flags and swearing eternal allegiance to Bashar ?”
NO! However, what if that person do that in conviction like many over there, does that make them without dignity? aren’t we all calling for freedom of choice and respect the differences between us, then why not to accept the other side showing their views in the way they want.
Many of the banners I saw today are calling for unity, for refusing sectarianism, for equality, for freedom, and for a better future, is it fair to ignore all of those when seeing another banner thanking the President, (which is a bit stupid since we didn’t get anything yet) but regardless, I have no choice but to look, get a headache, disagree, take lots of Tylenol as NK suggested and move on.

I agree with you though, that Dignity is very difficult word to define especially when we start looking at all of it’s layers, Social and Political etc..but for me labeling anybody as a person without dignity because of his country’s regime or his political and social views is not sound.

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March 29th, 2011, 2:43 pm


189. Atassi said:

British dictatorship’ in Damascus the next diplomatic crisis for London
30 March 2011
The Australian

Unrest in Syria adds to Britain’s Middle Eastern problems

WHEN Bashar Assad was joined by his glamorous British bride in Syria’s presidential palace, there were hopes they would bring a breath of freedom for a country long oppressed by the rule of his father.

After a decade of power, during which the couple were wooed by Tony Blair and received by the Queen at Buckingham Palace, their very British dictatorship is becoming Westminster’s next diplomatic crisis.

Syrian security forces fired teargas on protesters yesterday; by coincidence, Asma Assad, the London schoolgirl who became Damascus’s first lady, appears in this month’s US edition of Vogue extolling the virtues of “empowerment in civil society”.

Britain had attempted to exert its influence over the new Assad regime within months of the President’s marriage. In November 2001, Tony Blair became the first British prime minister to visit Damascus. The following year, Mr Assad, who trained to be an eye surgeon in London, became the first Syrian leader to meet the Queen and was later accompanied by his wife for a visit to Prince Charles at St James’s Palace.

London has also been at the heart of Syria’s attempts to shed its reputation as a pariah state linked to international terrorism.

Mrs Assad’s father, Fawaz Akhras, 64, a consultant cardiologist, last year founded a British charity to promote his daughter’s vision of preserving Syria’s heritage for future generations. She is president of the Syria Heritage Foundation. Its trustees include her father, Wafic Said, the Syrian-born billionaire arms dealer, and Lord Powell of Bayswater, a foreign policy adviser to Margaret Thatcher and John Major.

Mrs Assad was born in London, the first child of Fawaz and his wife Sahar, a diplomat at the Syrian embassy. The family still live in the terrace house in Acton, West London, where she grew up. She called herself Emma while a pupil at Twyford Church of England High School in Acton.

She met her future husband during childhood holidays in Syria but became better acquainted when he moved to London to train as an ophthalmologist.

Mr Assad was suddenly recalled to Syria after the death of his elder brother, Basil, in a car crash in 1994. When Hafez al-Assad died in June 2000, the dictatorship duly passed to the son.

Most voters seemed ready to forgive the nepotism and the lack of the son’s political experience — even if the margin of support, at 97 per cent, pointed to a rigged ballot.

The new President promised so much: an opening-up of the economy, press freedom, political reform, warmer relations with the West, an end to the repression of his father’s one-party Baathist state.

When the Assads married on New Year’s Day 2001, the relationship was seen as further portent of a more tolerant regime. The President hails from the Alawite minority, an offshoot of Shia Islam, and his wife is a Sunni. She soon threw herself into a her role as an international stateswoman, travelling the world to promote women’s rights and literacy as well as raising three children.

Hollywood couple Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were guests in Damascus in 2009 and in December Mrs Assad attended a lunch in Paris with Carla Bruni.

As recently as two months ago, her husband felt confident enough to boast that while Egypt and Tunisia were convulsed by popular revolts, Syria was stable and would bring in reform. Instead, protest is sweeping the country and the regime is adopting the Gaddafi response to the Arab Spring.

The Vogue issue featuring Mrs Assad already appears historic. It describes the first lady as “a desert rose” and a “long-limbed beauty with a trained analytic mind”.

Her husband has floundered as the political initiative has slipped away. King Abdullah of Jordan, a former friend, once told The Times: “He is a prisoner in his father’s own prison.”

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March 29th, 2011, 2:43 pm


190. il Cubo di Rubik di Siria e Arabia Saudita « Gignosco's Blog said:

[…] molto interessante che la Clinton abbia dichiarato che in nessun caso gli Stati Uniti interverranno in Siria, paese il cui presidente Assad differisce enormemente da Gheddafi. Assad equilibrato e riformatore. […]

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March 30th, 2011, 8:28 am


191. Syria: the boldness of Bashar al-Assad | Brian Whitaker «ScrollPost said:

[…] day describing Assad as “Israel’s favourite Arab dictator”? Or Hillary Clinton praising him as a “reformer”?Contrary to the impression given in some of the news reports, Assad did talk about reform, and […]

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March 31st, 2011, 7:02 am


192. Allyy said:

I find it hard to belive how people are soo and completely burning with envy. Bashar is the best thing that has ever happened to Syria. His father, bless be his name, was the one who made Syria what it is. Without him, Syria would be a backward country, full of discrimination and hatred.

If you dont remember, Hafez al Assad too the place of a dictator, and changed the whole system of government, and in turn, changed the whole country. It used to be that on the people’s passports, it was sprcifically stated which sector of the Muslim religion they are. This created hatred and hostility in airports as the guards would be aware of the others’sects and thus treat them badly. When Hafez came into power, he changed that to crate equality. Now on passports, it only stated ‘Muslim’ or ‘Christian’ and not what specific muslim you are. This made millions of people love him. Not to mention that he was the one to intrroduce the internet. He gave freedon to the media. He loved his people and they loved, and still love, him!! Bashar is just the same. Loved by the people for his connections with them, and his understandings of the people.

How dare some people call him a dictator? He is democratically elected by the people of Syria. If they did not trust and love him, they would not be constantly voting him in. And no! The ballots are not rigged!! The oly people who think that are the ones who are in denial of the fact that Bashar IS LOVED!!! He has done so much for Syria, and everyone should be grateful!!


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April 1st, 2011, 1:33 am


193. Syria: the boldness of Bashar al-Assad said:

[…]  It was when Assad came to the now-obligatory section of his speech where embattled presidents blame foreign conspiracies for the demonstrations that I started to feel confused. Surely he had got it the wrong way round. Others have been saying that the aim of the "foreign conspiracy", if such it is, is to keep Assad in power, not to remove him. What about that article in Haaretz the other day describing Assad as "Israel's favourite Arab dictator"? Or Hillary Clinton praising him as a "reformer"? […]

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April 1st, 2011, 4:15 am


194. Allyy: Supporter of BASHAR said:

I think the fact that by calling Bashar a dictator, it only makes you seem really pathetic. Mate, as everyone knows, maybe not you in this case, that a dictator imposes himself on the people, and doesnt give them a choice to elect. Bashar is democratically elected by his people and the fact that they love him and will go to extremes to show their support for him, is infuriating people like you. His speech was heared by billions of people, and he still has their support. The majority want him, it’s the conspiring idiots who are threatened by him, that they want to get rid of him. We love you Bashar. And may Syria be ruled by Bashar al Assad for another hundred years!!!!!:)

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April 1st, 2011, 4:33 am


195. alexander said:

Bashar al Assad is the best thing that has ever happened to Syria. His father, bless be his name, was in the army when he got rid of the racist dictator controlling the Syrian people. Hafez al Assad was the one who turned Syria around, and made it the country it is today. Under the old President, people were publically known of what religious sector they belong to. This was very probelmatc for milliuons of people. On passports, it was forced that you have your religion stated, so the guards will know who you are. Hatred was publically displayed, and if you belonged to the minority sect, you were treated badly. Hafez changed this, thus creating equality. If you were muslim, on your passport it said ‘Muslim’ and if you were Christian, it said ‘Christian’. It did not specify your sect. Millions of people loved him for that, and continue to love him for that. Hafez, may he rest in peace, also introduced the internet to Syria, gave independance to the media, he built and created Syria!! He gave women rights! He allowed women to do what they were never able to do. They entered the army, the navy, the police force, government. He educated them, by building more schools and giving them the freedom to study. Hafez al Assad sponsored millions of children, feeding them and educating them. And the people are, and should be greatful. Bashar is a man like his father. an honerable and kind, loving man, who would do anything for his country and his people. Bashar is an educated man, who understands his people, and their needs. As like in other other countries, especially ones who are so backward, it takes years, and years for reform to actually begin, or to make progress. He has promissed something to his people, and he will follow through. All good things come to those who wait. You can’t expect Syria to become like New York, LA, or even Australia in just a few years. He even said that his main priority are his people, education and health. He wil follow through. He WILL. His speech was true. There are conspiritors trying to destroy Syria. That will never happen. NEVER.

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April 1st, 2011, 4:56 am


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