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Clinton Effort to Create Syrian Government in Exile Collapses

Shortly before the Doha effort to put together a Syrian government in exile collapsed, Ambassador Ford, the State Department’s ambassador to the Syrian opposition, inisted to exiles that Syrians must find a “political solution and not a military solution to their problem.” He reportedly told Syrian Opposition leaders that the international community will not create a “no fly zone” over Syria and that it will not support the Free Syrian Army militarily.” “There is no military solution to the Syrian problem,” he insisted. There is only a political solution.” This is what the Engineer Muti’a al-Batiin  مطيع البطين reports on his Face book page.

there will be no  لن يكون هنالك دعم عسكري ولن يكون هنالك حظر جوي ثم يقول:الصراحة راحة

Syrian opposition plans fall apart
Syria opposition on Wednesday night scuppered a Western-backed initiative to relaunch the movement with a broad-based and domestically focused leadership after the man lined up as its figurehead withdrew.
Syrian opposition plans fall apart
Riad Seif withdrew after he lost his seat in the executive council of the main opposition, SNC Photo: Karim Jaafar/AFP
By Ruth Sherlock in Doha, 07 Nov 2012

Key opposition factions with strong followings inside the country pulled out of the plan, which was due to be presented at a conference in Doha, Qatar, today.

Three of the dissident bodies seen as integral to the US-backed initiative said yesterday that they had refused to attend, diplomats and opposition figures told The Daily Telegraph.

“There are too many people against this initiative for it to work now,” said a Western diplomatic source in Doha.

The setback came as Turkey said it was in talks to deploy Nato-controlled Patriot missiles on its border with Syria to ward off the regime’s cross-border threat.

Ahmet Davutoglu, the Turkish foreign minister, said Nato had a responsibility to protect all member states from external attack, including Turkey.

Riad Seif, the Syria dissident who had championed the movement and was set to emerge as one of the new leaders, withdrew after he lost his seat in the executive council of the main opposition, the Syrian National Council (SNC).

Furious at being publicly side-lined by the conference, the SNC voted against the proposal at its separate convention.

Representatives from the National Coordinating Committee, the Syrian democratic platform, and the Kurdish ethnic minority had rejected the plan.

The plan’s failure is a blow to Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, who had announced it a week ago, and to Britain, which had strongly favoured it.

“The components that were not in the SNC are not coming. The idea of a bigger coalition initiative has failed,” said Jamal al-Wa’ard, a military representative on the SNC. The proposal, which was widely known as the “Seif-Ford” initiative, after Robert Ford, the US special envoy to Syria and Mr Seif, has lost ground amid resentment at foreign efforts to impose a solution on Syrians.

“Everyone feels that this initiative is imposed. They’ve weaved the cloth, but now there is no one to wear it,” said Ahmed Zaidan, the deputy head of the Revolutionary Council, a body that coordinates with armed groups inside Syria.

In a meeting held late last night, SNC members reportedly interrogated Mr Seif on the initiative, and the list of names proposed to lead it. “We asked him why some of the names were on the list and he said he didn’t know. The West pushed this on him. How can you endorse a plan when you can’t defend it?” said an SNC member who had been at the meetings.

The opposition meeting will go ahead, but any leadership body is likely to have a majority from the SNC, which has little influence on the ground. “It may secure more funding but [the conflict] is about winning the support of the street to regain control. And the street does not support them,” said a diplomatic source.

ABC News: Britain: Obama Victory an Opportunity for Syria

Britain called on the U.S. and other allies Wednesday to do more to shape the Syrian opposition into a coherent force, saying the re-election of President Barack Obama is an opportunity for the world to take stronger action to end the deadlocked …

David Cameron vows to work with Obama to end Syria violence

Prime minister pledges £14m increase in humanitarian aid after visiting UN refugee camp in Jordan

Britain to organise armed Syrian rebels into efficient fighting force, 07 Nov 2012

Cameron tours Syrian refugee camp, 07 Nov 2012

Brookings: Defeatism Cannot Be Allowed to Overcome Syria |

“Today our revolution enters its toughest stages and the cruelty of the regime against our people is proven limitless.” For all the issues that the Egyptian revolution has yet to resolve, Egyptians did not pen the above words. Representatives of …


In Jordan, which also borders Syria, visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met with Riad Hijab, the former Syrian prime minister who defected to Jordan in August. It was a rare high-level contact between Moscow and a Syrian opposition figure.

Lavrov said the talks were meant to get firsthand information from the Syrian opposition on how they view a solution to the civil war. “The idea of the meeting was to get an agreement or a roadmap on how to deal with opposition forces and save the Syrian people,” Lavrov told reporters.

Syrian defector says most bomber pilots grounded, DOHA, Qatar (AP) —

A former Syrian air force general who was also the country’s first astronaut said Tuesday that only about one-third of Syria’s fighter pilots are carrying out the daily bombing raids of rebel strongholds because President Bashar Assad’s regime cannot count on the loyalty of the rest.


Bassam Al-Khouri wrote on his Face book:

الصفحة الرسمية للمهندس مطيع البطين

في لقاء أمس مع فورد السفير الامريكي هو ومساعدة وزيرة الخارجية الامريكية كانا يتحدثان معنا عن الهيئه الجديدة المنتظر ولادتها،سألنهم ماهو الذي ستقدمه أمريكا للشعب السوري بعد ذلك ؟ فصار يتحدث عن المساعدات الاغاثية،وعندما تكلمنا عن دعم الجيش الحر من المجتمع الدولي فقال لن يكون هنالك دعم عسكري ولن يكون هنالك حظر جوي ثم يقول:الصراحة راحة…
وعند الكلام عن سقف مطالبنا قال: معنى هذا أنكم مرتهنون بقرار الشارع عندكم ..قلنا له فكيف نكون معارضة تمثل الشعب إن لم نتبن مطالب شعبنا فقال :أنتم لازم أن تؤثروا على الشعب حتى يخفض سقف مطالبه.وقال ايضاً: الحل لن يكون عسكريا في سوريا لا يوجد إلا حل سياسي.
لم يكن اللقاء الا موضحا لموقف لا يبالي بدم الشعب السوري والحقيقة التي يقرؤها أي متأمل هنا وعن دعوات هؤلاء لتوحيد المعارضة ماهي الا شماعة لتعليق وتبرير مواقف هذه الدول المناقضة لكل فضيلة
إن شعبنا في سوريا داخلا وخارجا عليه أن يعتمد أولاً على الله ثم يسعى الصادقون والمخلصون لتوحيد جهودهم والثبات حتى يأتي الله بالنصر والفرج.
بالمختصر الدعوة للتوحيد بما فيها الهيئة المنتظرة أمر محمود لكن لا يريد منه هؤلاء إلا تقطيع الوقت وانتظار أن ينهك الشعب السوري حتى يضطر للقبول بأي حل يطرح فيما بعد لانعرف مالحد الذي يمكن أن تصل اليه الأمور عند هؤلاء..

أحببت أن أكتب هذا صراحة حتى يكون شعبنا وإخوتنا على بصيرة وعلم ومعرفة فيما يجري وما يعد

After quiet revolt, power struggle looms for Syria’s Kurds
Wed, Nov 07, By Patrick Markey

DERIK, Syria (Reuters) – In the northeast corner of Syria a power struggle is developing over the promise of oil riches in the remote Kurdish region, threatening to drag Kurdish rivals, Arab rebels and Turkey into a messy new front in an already complex civil war.

Quietly and with little of the bloodshed seen elsewhere in Syria’s 19-month popular revolt against President Bashar al-Assad, the Kurdish minority is grabbing the chance to secure self-rule and the rights denied them for decades.

With Syrian forces and Arab rebels entangled in fighting to their west, a Syrian Kurdish party tied to Turkish Kurd separatists has exploited a vacuum to start Kurdish schools, cultural centers, police stations and armed militias.

But the growing influence of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) is concerning not only Turkey, which is worried that border areas will become a foothold for Turkish Kurd PKK rebels, but also Syrian Arab fighters who see the Kurdish militias as a threat.

At the PYD’s office in the Syrian Kurdish town of Derik, where walls bear a portrait of Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan and pictures of members the party says were killed by the Assad regime, the mood is defiant.

“We have our rights, we have our land. We are not refugees here and we will protect ourselves,” said PYD activist Mohammed Said. “We cannot accept any force from outside coming here.”

Along Syria’s border with Iraq, Kurdish militants in jeans and armed with Kalashnikov rifles now guard a frontier post where Assad’s army once patrolled the sparse hillsides dotted with now lifeless oil pumps.

In a classroom in nearby Derik, teenage girls practice reading their own Kurdish language, banned in schools until a few months ago, and Syrian Kurdish leaders express ideological loyalty to Ocalan who is jailed in Turkey.

Under Assad’s rule and his father’s before him, Syrian Kurds were forbidden to learn their language or even to hold Syrian identity and often forced from their land, while their activists were targeted by Syrian intelligence agents.

But after Assad’s forces pulled out from the Kurdish region to fight elsewhere six months ago the PYD and its allied People’s Defense Units or YPG militia began to claim control of towns up against the Turkish border – Derik, Efrin, Kobane and Amuda.

In Derik, a town of 70,000 sitting amid parched fields, daily life appears normal apart from long lines of people waiting for cooking gas.

Kurdish militia forces man improvised checkpoints made of boulders and tires. Committees run a Kurdish court and services such as fuel deliveries. At the city’s one open school, Syria’s Kurmanji Kurdish dialect is openly taught.

“We could never say we were Kurdish before,” said Palashin Omar, 18, in the classroom running through grammar drills. “We were never respected before now.”

But there is also a clear co-existence with the Syrian state.

The Syrian army maintains its own checkpoint unmolested. The PYD party office is 100 meters from the Syrian intelligence agency office and Assad’s Baath party headquarters where portraits of Assad are still on the wall.

PYD activists say they allow a limited government presence for now so they can receive gasoline from Damascus, and that government forces just stay where they are, unable to act.

But suspicions have sharpened dangerous splits with other Syrian Kurdish parties who believe Assad allowed the PYD to consolidate its power and flout an agreement brokered with the smaller Kurdish National Council, or KNC alliance.

“We can say the Kurdish region is liberated once the Syrian army cannot reach it,” KNC leader Abdul Hakim Bashar told Reuters. “Right now there is not a single place they couldn’t reach if they wanted.”


…. “This area will be just like Kirkuk,” said one Syrian activist in Derik pointing to the oil derricks just outside the city. “Everyone will come to fight for this.”

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451. Syrialover said:

Female Kurdish militia leader widely reported as killed by Syrian rebels turns up alive

– Expresses her support for Syrian resistance

– Kurdish rebel battalions to get involved in struggle in Kurdish suburbs in Aleppo


ANTAKYA, Turkey — A female Syrian militia leader widely reported 10 days ago as killed by anti-government rebels has turned up alive and apparently well, according to a video posted on the Internet Sunday.

Nujin Derik was captured by rebels fighting to topple the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad late last month when rebels entered Kurdish neighborhoods in Aleppo and clashed with the militia she led – evidence of the complexities of Syria’s ethnic fault lines.

Her death, supposedly at the hands of the rebels, was widely circulated by news agencies after it was reported Nov. 2 by the PYD Kurdish militia and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based organization that tracks Syria’s casualties.

But on Saturday she was welcomed with tears and celebratory gunfire in the Kurdish town of Afrin, north of Aleppo. While she provided no details of her two weeks in rebel hands or how she came to be released, she offered support for the rebel cause in the video.

“I bless your struggle, I’m happy for you,” she said. “I thank the resistance and I like them and I will do whatever they want.”

Fighting between the rebels and the PYD broke out in Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, two weeks ago. The PYD said the clashes began when rebels fired on a demonstration against their presence in two neighborhoods. Kurdish supporters of the rebels claim the PYD manufactured the claims because of pressure from the Syrian government.

Whatever the truth, many Syrian Kurds are suspicious of the Arab rebels and their close ties to the Turkish government.

Kurdish opposition to the rebels is important strategically. The two neighborhoods in question, Sheikh Maqsoud and Ashrafiyeh, are all that stand between the rebel-held rural areas north of the city and contested neighborhoods in the city’s center and south.

A PYD decision to allow the rebels to occupy Aleppo’s Kurdish neighborhoods could be a major victory for the rebels.

“For a long time, the (rebels) delayed the battle in Ashrafiyeh and Sheikh Maqsoud because they realize what kind of tension there could be,” said Abdo, a pro-rebel Kurdish activist from Aleppo who declined to give his last name. “Many Kurds are neutral, not supporting any side. If the Kurds join, it could speed up the fighting.”

The leader of one Kurdish group fighting with the rebels said Sunday that the PYD has been given an ultimatum.

“They can fight with us against the regime or fight against us. They recognize we have good fighters, and they will be under siege if they try to fight us,” said Piwar Mustafa, a defected Syrian army officer and a leader of the Salahedeen al Ayoubi rebel battalion. Mustafa is from Anadan, north of Aleppo, and his battalion fights in Aleppo and the surrounding rural areas.

“We will go to Ashrafiyeh and Sheikh Maqsoud, but we are planning to go with Kurdish battalions,” Mustafa said.


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November 12th, 2012, 3:47 am


452. ann said:

RAF SET FOR SYRIA NO-FLY OP – November 11, 2012

According to Whitehall sources, British special forces are helping to train rebel assassination squads to target President Assad


RAF Top Guns could soon be patrolling the skies over Syria under a new Cameron-Obama plan.

The Prime Minister is preparing to use the RAF to enforce no-fly zones across President Assad’s trouble-torn country in a bid to stop mass slaughter.

At this week’s National Security Council meeting in Downing Street Syria will be number one on the agenda.

According to Whitehall sources, British special forces are helping to train rebel assassination squads to target President Assad and his warlords.

Troops from the SAS, SBS and Paras from the Special Reconnaisance Regiment are in Syria helping show insurgents how to use new weapons and explosives.

Mr Cameron and newly re-elected US President Barack Obama are also ­considering military action and officially arming rebels.

The first stage of the plan involves a no-fly zone that will be patrolled by British, US and French forces. Safe havens will be set up in ­Syria, Turkey and Jordan.



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November 12th, 2012, 3:47 am


453. ann said:

Britain Prepares Squads to Assassinate Assad in Syria – November 11, 2012


Saudi and Qatari funded Free Syria Army and al-Qaeda terrorists are being trained to assassinate Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad and his military leaders, the Daily Star reports today.

The newspaper reports British SAS, SBS and troops from the Special Reconnaissance Regiment are inside Syria “helping show insurgents how to use new weapons and explosives” and “train rebel assassination squads to target President Assad and his warlords.”

The British Chief of the Defense Staff, General Sir David Richards, said contingency plans are being drafted, including “limited” intervention by British troops in “areas where assistance was being provided,” the Press Association reports.

Britain considers itself a “full-spectrum player” in the Middle East. It was at the forefront of the military intervention in Libya that resulted in the death of more than 30,000 people.

The Telegraph reported on Saturday that the United States has balked at prime minister David Cameron’s proposal to further assist the FSA and al-Qaeda following reports that the CIA and MI6 supported mercenaries are killing unarmed civilians. The FSA has admitted killing civilians and captured Syrian soldiers.

According to the CIA-engineered propaganda outfit, the Voice of America, U.S. intervention in Syria is more urgent now that “extremist Islamist elements” are taking a more active role in Syria.

“The balance of forces in the Syrian opposition is such, that as time goes by and the radical Islamists are the ones who always seem to have the money and always seem to have the weapons, they will become much more dominant in terms of that opposition. That does not serve American interests and it certainly doesn’t serve the interests of stability in the region,” Dennis Ross told VOA.

Ross is a member of both the CFR and the Trilateral Commission. He works with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, an Israel-centric think tank closely related to the American Enterprise Institute and other neocon organizations.

In September, al-Qaeda and the FSA offered a reward of $25 million for the assassination of al-Assad. Turkey’s Anadolou news agency quoted FSA commander Ahmad Hijazi as saying the money would be paid by “supporters and businessmen” abroad.

Saudi Arabia and Qatar are spending tens of millions of dollars to support the effort to depose and kill al-Assad. Military aid is brokered through Turkey and “a secretive group operates something like a command center in Istanbul, directing the distribution of vital military supplies believed to be provided by Saudi Arabia and Qatar and transported with the help of Turkish intelligence to the Syrian border and then to the rebels.”



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November 12th, 2012, 3:57 am


454. ann said:

Britain could intervene in Syria within months – top UK general – 11 November, 2012


The UK’s most senior general said on a BBC interview Sunday that Britain had in place contingency plans for a “very limited” response in the case of a worsening humanitarian situation in Syria within the next few months.

The admission from Chief of the Defense Staff General Sir David Richards is the most serious warning yet that Britain is preparing for some kind of military involvement in Syria.

It seems that British policy has now shifted from trying to support and organize the disparate rebel groups to considering full-blown military action.

“The situation this winter I think may deteriorate and may well provoke calls to intervene in a limited way,” General Richards told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.

“It’s my job, amongst other people in my sort of position, to make sure these options are continually brushed over to make sure we can deliver them,” he continued.

Defense Secretary Phillip Hammond, who was interviewed on the BBC’s Sunday Politics program, also confirmed that the UK had not ruled out military intervention – but was still focused on trying to overcome objections from Russia and China to get a strong UN Security Council resolution condemning the Bashar al-Assad government.

“At the moment we don’t have a legal basis for delivering military assistance to the rebels. This is something the Prime Minster keeps asking us to test – the legal position, the practical military position, and we will continue to look at all options.” he said.

However, he stressed that Britain’s main focus at the moment was making sure the crisis in Syria doesn’t spill into any neighboring countries like Lebanon, Turkey or Jordan.

General Richards added that there could be British troops posted in countries neighboring Syria.

“They’re allies of ours – we have small numbers of people routinely deployed there, and in the meanwhile we’re preparing plans to make sure that when some disaster happens, we’re able to deal with it.”

However, Marcus Papadopoulos, editor of magazine Politics First, told RT that he didn’t think the British announcement should be taken too seriously.

“I think it’s more designed to actually invigorate the Syrian militants – who are of course the proxies of the West – and at the same time to try and scare the government of President Assad and try and demoralize the Syrian armed forces, which of course are fighting a very long, protracted, bloody war,” he said.

Another option that London is considering includes amending a 2011 European Union trade embargo that would allow weapons to be sent to the rebels, for “humanitarian” reasons.

David Cameron wants to push for an end to the embargo, which does not allow either said to receive military aid from abroad. Cameron also wants to put more pressure on Washington to help the Syrian rebels, and if he is successful, it could see the UK supplying weapons directly to the Syrian resistance.

“Safe havens” for refugees are also being considered, but there are no plans to try and impose no-fly zones over Syria. Without a no-fly zone, a safe haven for refugees would be almost impossible to enforce.

Britain already has troops in Afghanistan, while its overstretched army, navy and air force face increasing budget cuts, so any credible military intervention would need to be in support of a larger US operation, or independently but on a minor scale.

British public opinion would also likely be firmly opposed to any new military intervention.



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November 12th, 2012, 4:05 am


455. ann said:

Syria Says Had UN “Oral Approval” For Tanks in Golan, UNDOF Caught a Jordanian

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, November 9 — Syria has filed another “urgent” letter with the UN Security Council, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous, explaining its tanks’ entry into and withdrawal from the Golan Area of Separation.

Syria stated that it got approval from the UN for “conducting a limited military operation to free two villages from terrorist groups.” The villages are Breiqa and Beir Ajam.

“As a result of this oral approval from UNDOF,” says the unofficial translation of Syria’s letter exclusively obtained by Inner City Press, “a small military force entered the mentioned area and chased the terrorists.”

Numerous statements of UN officials and diplomats have omitted this “oral approval from UNDOF.”

The letter recounts how “during the second half of October 2012, armed terrorist elements started to appear” in the two villages… Due to calls from the inhabitants of those two villages for the army to assist in chasing the terrorists out…. there was a need for a limited military operation to restore security to the area.”

UNDOF was contacted, and according to Syria gave its approval “after few hours.”

Syria’s letter says that “at 17:00 hours on Thursday November 8th, 2012, the tanks were withdrawn… while our law enforcement members remained inside the village of Beir Ajam… within the next 72 hours the military operation will be completed there.”

The letter concludes that “if some bullets crossed over to the Israeli side, those should be stray bullets, or bullets from the guns used by the armed groups.”

There is also a UN / UNDOF “Agenda Point” in which Maj. Gen. I.S. Singha, the Force Commander of UNDOF, states to Syrian Commanding Colonel Engineer Mazen Ibrahim Younes that “the only available information we received from A-Side is that they apprehended one JORDANIAN citizen on 20 September 2012


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November 12th, 2012, 4:28 am


456. ann said:

Syria’s Assad warns of Apocalyptic war – 12.11.2012


In a rare interview with Russia Today TV, President Bashar Assad vigorously clarified his stance on the current Syrian crisis created by the West and some regional states including Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar and warned them of the apocalyptic consequences of any foreign intervention in Syria.

“I do not think the West is going [to intervene], but if they do so, nobody can tell what is next. I think the price of this [foreign] invasion if it happened is going to be more than the whole world can afford,” Assad said in a Thursday interview with Russia Today TV network.

Assad warned that the domino effect of any military attack on the country “will affect the world from the Atlantic to the Pacific and you know the implication on the rest of the world.”

Assad is well aware of what the West and their Arab allies are up to and what kind of scenario they are planning to follow in his country.

Syrian crisis has been dragging on for months now and a large number of people including civilians have been killed. The sabotaging efforts of the West and the financial funding of the insurgents by the regional states have not yet yielded any fruits whatsoever in helping these antagonistic forces to achieve their goals in Syria.

There was an initial assumption that President Assad would soon realize that a propitious escape would be the wisest choice. However, the speculation never transcended a merely idle notion. Thanks to Iran, China and Russia, Syria stood firm and a West-prescribed recipe for the so-called peaceful transition of power never materialized in the country. Quite unexpectedly, the plans of Syrian opposition fell apart on the eve of Doha conference. The initiative so vehemently backed by the West to form a united Syrian opposition practically went to waste on Wednesday night as the key opposition movements from inside the country pulled out. Opposition groups were scheduled to meet in Doha, the capital of Qatar on Thursday in order to appoint a new and strong leadership. However, three dissident bodies suddenly decided not to attend the meeting.

“There are too many people against this initiative for it to work now,” said a western diplomatic source in Doha.

Needless to say, the failure of the plan dealt a humiliating blow to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who was the one to announce it so unexpectedly as well as to Britain which had strongly supported the initiative.

It seems that the West and its regional allies are incapable of building a united front against the government of Bashar Assad.

In addition to the efforts of the West and its allies to take control of Syria, there is yet another danger which gravely threatens the country to an inconceivable degree: the influx of the Salafi-Jihadists into the country. Last February, al-Qaeda’s leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, who is reportedly in Jordan, urged his followers in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey to rise up and support what he called ‘their brothers in Syria’. Also, Abu Muhammad al-Tahawi, a leading figure in Jordan’s Salafi-Jihadist movement, told the BBC that “jihad in Syria is obligatory for any able Muslim in order to help his brothers there.”

The fact is that the al-Qaeda-affiliated Salafi-Jihadists have already swarmed into the country and are already fighting against Bashar Assad’s government; among the killed, some have been identified to belong to the Salafi cult. The grand plan is to turn Syria into a safe haven for the Salafis who are responsible for beheading Syrian troops and civilians. Ghastly videos have recently circulated on the internet, showing the Salafi-Jihadists beheading Syrian troops and civilians in cold blood.

Parenthetically, beheading is a ritual act rather than a way of killing in war. The act of beheading contains a symbolic meaning: the victim is relegated to the degree of a beast and he should be treated likewise. Further to that, this act of brutality inspires an atmosphere of horror and commotion in the viewer and quenches the bestial thirst within the decapitator.

From an anthropological point of view, many societies used to revere the head as the seat of wisdom and consciousness and believed it must be connected to the body in order for the soul to travel into the hereafter. Without it, the spirit would keep wandering restlessly. Based on this perception, the act of beheading is to be taken to imply that the victim would never regain peace as his/her spirit would wander for all the time to come.

After all, a display of atrocities has manifested itself in grisly different forms on the part of the insurgents in Syria. On Saturday, humanitarian organizations condemned video images of rebels executing captured Syrian soldiers after insurgents overran army checkpoints near the town of Saraqeb on the strategic highway linking Damascus and the port city of Latakia to Aleppo.

“This shocking footage depicts a potential war crime in progress, and demonstrates an utter disregard for international humanitarian law by the armed group in question,” Amnesty International said.

Rupert Colville, spokesman for UN human rights chief Navi Pillay, said this could amount to a “war crime” and that the video footage, showing soldiers pushed to the ground and kicked before being shot, can be presented as evidence.

In any event, a Syria without Assad would mean a country in the hands of the Salafi-Jihadists who will undoubtedly turn the country into a graveyard for the Alawites and the moderate Sunnis and a breeding ground for terrorism and extremism in the region. It goes without saying that the Middle East region is being systematically and consciously devoured by an act of extremism funded and promoted by Washington and some Arab regimes.



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November 12th, 2012, 4:45 am


457. habib said:

The commenter here I respect the most is Ghufran. He critisises both sides equally, and never preaches to the choir.

I will follow his example from now on, though my earlier comments might have come off as pro-regime.

I have never found it defensible to be “pro-Bashar”, since I don’t follow men, but ideologies.

Syria needs 100% secularism, and foreign backing by religious fundamentalists on either side is completely at odds with this.

A strong secular group free of Muslim Brotherhood and Ba’ath members is needed if Syria is to continue existing.

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November 12th, 2012, 4:56 am


458. Albo said:

Habib, I agree.

About people discussing the merits of Arab states, one shouldn’t conveniently forget where the biggest oil reserves in the world are located and to which mini-state belongs half of the largest field of conventional gas on this planet…

Here are the scores of young Qataris at school in international assessments, and I have other data showing that the native Qataris score in fact even lower (ie the children of migrants raise the scores) http://www.oecd.org/pisa/46643496.pdf
no comment.

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November 12th, 2012, 6:16 am


459. Observer said:

I just returned from the ME and I will share with you some facts.

There are at least 9 check points between the Lebanese border and Damascus

Searchers have lists of wanted persons and the names are checked against those lists.

A person I knew in his youth and now in his fifties was shot dead as he was distributing aid to the displaced populations around Damascus. His belongings were returned to the family by the rebels.

Nightly explosions are heard throughout Damascus.

The price of food is at least double what it was a year ago and some staples are lacking.

Damascus has been cut into four military districts to prevent a coordinated assault on it.

A Syrian worker working in the ME that I met told me that he is from Idlib province.

I asked about his family and he said that they are fine for the fact that the last 6 months the town where he comes from has been quiet and under the control of the FSA. Since regime troops left the area the situation is stable.

I also noticed since my return that there is a lot more anger and hate on this site and I am concerned about it. I think some calling names is a reflection of deep seated fear.

I agree with Ghufran that the situation is very bad but could get worse and there is a possibility that the security situation may become significantly worse and the country degenerate further into a Somalia like situation.

My questions though are as follows
1. What plan B does the Alawi community have in place?

2. How many of them overtly and how many of them covertly are against the regime tying their physical survival with its political survival.

3. How would they fare in the new Syria? Will they be excluded from security jobs? Will they be denied government jobs? Will their children be able to seek higher education.

4. Is the corridor Hermel Homs province Alawi villages and Tartus becoming a reality and hence an enclave for Iran Alawistan HA axis to remain in place?

The new opposition unity is finally a welcome relief but is also a great mirror of the diversity of Syria and I am very pleased to see that the tactics used by the MB as a copy cat of the Baath infiltration of all groups has not worked to insure their supremacy over any body.

This is a double win, one against the regime and second against any one group dominating the others.

Thoughts, ideas, and hopefully a new thread soon.

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November 12th, 2012, 6:27 am


460. Syrialover said:

Well HABIB, a lot depends on what stake you have in what’s happening inside Syria, and your level of shock and anger about what Assad and the system he leads has done to Syrians and their country.

Ghufran can be a bad read because of his unrelenting pessimism and negativity about the fate of Syria, writing it off almost from the first shots fired by Assad.

While the MB issue is a complicated one, many see it as unlikely to emerge in Syria in the same way as in Egypt.

Mouaz al-Khatib is from a scholarly and moderate Muslim background which is very different from the Islamists. Listen to what he’s been saying all along and it seems doubtful he’d be interested in facilitating the MB.

But interestingly, I have heard cosmopolitan, non-sectarian Syrians say the MB would at least provide a correction to the social and economic distortions, corruptions and cruelty of the past decades.

Because, as some commentators here have pointed out, Syrians have suffered decades of an extreme form of sectarianism under the Assads. They feel a ballot-box conscious MB would be benign compared with that.

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November 12th, 2012, 6:33 am


461. Syrialover said:

Thanks OBSERVER for the report in #458.

After being close to the action, it must seem like lifetimes away and on another planet to make any connection between the postive new opposition initative and what is happening on the ground in Syria.

But now at least there is hope. And a sense of purpose and growing clarity.

On the Alawis, good questions. People recently out of Syria have said to me: “those people have made a choice, and they are now doing terrible things that will make it impossible for other Syrians to include them”.

Worrying words.

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November 12th, 2012, 6:56 am


462. habib said:

459. Syrialover

Like the Ba’ath, the MB is too divisive to be acceptable for much of the population to be part of a viable for leadership.

If the part of the population that has supported the government until now are going to abandon their leader, they will have to be assured that they are not opening their arms to groups that have committed atrocities to them in the past.

Just like opposition members reject any role of the Ba’ath in the future of Syria. There has to be made painful compromises, otherwise this war will never end.

460. Syrialover

Worrying, because they are useless. Almost 3 million Alawis are not going to disappear just because some people want them to. Either they fight forever, or they are accepted as equals.

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November 12th, 2012, 7:08 am


463. Mina said:

Thanks for underlining that what is needed is 100 percent secularism. Same is true in Egypt.
How can a country be built with people of different communities growing up together and not being able to marry because self proclaimed clerics (be they Muslim or Christian) forbid them to and have the law with them for doing that?
A non-secular state can only be a weak state, since real power remain in the hands of clerics/families.

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November 12th, 2012, 7:14 am


464. habib said:

459. Syrialover

For whatever reason, my reply is awaiting moderation.

But in short, the opposition has to make compromises if they truly want the war to end and the Ba’ath to go. Since the MB has committed atrocities against Alawites in the past, they are as divisive to Alawites as the Ba’ath is to the opposition.

As for comment 460, 3 million Alawites aren’t just gong to disappear, so either they are embraced as equals, or you fight them forever.

By the way, the reason for me softening up has nothing to do with any current developments. I simply met some western Socialists by chance (one of them half Maronite, we were in a bar, and started talking because he wore a Pink Floyd t-shirt) who were planning to go and fight alongside the insurgents. They already had their doubts, and after talking to them for hours, they assured me they would not go, since the opposition did not truly reflect their ideology (they had been inspired by those European Socialists who joined the Spanish civil war).

Talking to them, I had to define my own views in more detail, and I simply couldn’t get my own beliefs to fit with downright support of either side. The fact that they changed their position convinced me that flexibility is key to peace.

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November 12th, 2012, 7:16 am


465. Dolly Buster said:

Habib said:
• For whatever reason, my reply is awaiting moderation.•

I figured out that you have to keep the browser open for the 10 minutes, to ensure that your post is published. Took me about 50 times to figure that.

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November 12th, 2012, 7:19 am


466. Albo said:

” I think some calling names is a reflection of deep seated fear.

I agree with Ghufran that the situation is very bad but could get worse and there is a possibility that the security situation may become significantly worse and the country degenerate further into a Somalia like situation.

I think I see what you mean, Observer. If you pay attention you’ll see who initiate every name-calling spats here. Not very complicated, there are two certain posters. Your diagnosis of “deap seated fear” is certainly of interest.

Anyway, if you agree that Syria is taking the road to Somalia, then you must agree as well that Ghufran was right and that a political agreement is the only solution to save Syria. The sycophants in Qatar are not working to salvage the Syrian people, they just work with one warring faction.

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November 12th, 2012, 7:52 am


467. zoo said:

Brotherhood’s Syria Opposition Takeover –
Hassan Hassan, The National

The story shows how the Muslim Brotherhood – an Islamist group with little representation within Syrian society, due to decades of systematic cleansing by the Baathist regime – has successfully built influence over the emerging opposition forces.

The MB is viewed with profound suspicion by most Syrians. Despite 20 months of atrocious violence by the criminal regime, many Syrians – rightly or wrongly – still prefer the regime because they fear the Brotherhood more.

Activists downplay that fear, partly because the MB had acted behind the scenes. But its resistance to inclusiveness that would challenge its monopoly has become clear during the opposition’s meetings in Doha.

The Brotherhood has been resisting a US-backed initiative to form a more representative political entity, a plan that Syrians desperately need to reverse Brotherhood domination of the political process.

The Brotherhood will naturally cling to the influence it has built for itself over the past 20 months, because it realises the limits of its popular power and seeks to compensate by steering the political process, at least during the uprising and the coming transition.

Read more: http://www.thenational.ae/thenationalconversation/comment/how-the-brotherhood-builds-power-in-syrias-opposition#ixzz2C0rjycpx
Follow us: @TheNationalUAE on Twitter | thenational.ae on Facebook

In a democratic Syria, the Brotherhood would have the right to engage in politics and build support. But its current dominance is not justified by true representation and this is one of the major causes of rift and hesitation among Syria’s political and social forces. Its dominance needs to be addressed with urgency by activists and countries that have leverage in Syria.

Read more: http://www.thenational.ae/thenationalconversation/comment/how-the-brotherhood-builds-power-in-syrias-opposition#ixzz2C0r6VNCO
Follow us: @TheNationalUAE on Twitter | thenational.ae on Facebook

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November 12th, 2012, 8:01 am


468. zoo said:

As a Moslem Brotherhood Sheikh, a communist and a westernized woman are leading the heavily mediatized NCSROF, it is doubtful that KSA will willingly collaborate in helping this organization in weapon funding and in influencing the FSA to accept their control.

It seems that Qatar-KSA are now in a collision course and Turkey in a state of confusion as it is expected to act militarily in the absence of any alternative military force.

One clause of the agreement specifically forbids dialog with Bashar al Assad about a transition.

With Eye on Aid, Syria Opposition Signs Unity Deal


The hope among Western countries is that the new coalition, called the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, can give local opposition councils the legitimacy to bring fighters under their authority. That would give an important countervoice to the well-armed jihadist commanders who in many places have set the pace of the fighting and created worries that Islamists will gain a permanent hold.

An important change in the new agreement is that revolutionary councils from 14 Syrian provinces now each have a representative, though not all live in Syria. The hope is that will bind the coalition to those inside the country.

Perhaps the most important body the new group is expected to form is a Revolutionary Military Council to oversee the splintered fighting organizations and to funnel both lethal and nonlethal military aid to the rebels. It should unite units of the Free Syrian Army, various militias and brigades in each city and large groups of defectors.
Given the distrust and ancient feuds among members of the Syrian opposition, there was no guarantee that the agreement would hold. But the fact that the death toll of the civil war has reached almost 200 Syrians a day was an important factor. As a reminder of that, the Qataris decorated the massive meeting hall with huge pictures of Syrians, some wounded, standing in the rubble of their homes and neighborhoods.

Some of the last holdouts said they suspected that the agreement was a sly way for the international community to negotiate with Mr. Assad about a transition to a new government. So one clause in the agreement specifically bars such talks.
Some of the last holdouts said they suspected that the agreement was a sly way for the international community to negotiate with Mr. Assad about a transition to a new government. So one clause in the agreement specifically bars such talks.

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November 12th, 2012, 8:35 am


469. Dolly Buster said:

Albo says:
• The sycophants in Qatar are not working to salvage the Syrian people, they just work with one warring faction. •

That is because the other faction is The Bad Guys.
It is not a war between equals, you have a right side and a wrong side.

I saw some video of a guy being buried alive by the Bashar-KGB team.

As they buried him alive, one of the soldiers says: “Qul Laa ilaha illa Bashar, ya haywan!”
(“Say there is no god but Bashar, you animal!”)

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November 12th, 2012, 8:43 am


470. Tara said:

Biography of new opposition leader
Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib, the 52-year-old former cleric elected leader of the Syrian opposition, emerges as something of a renaissance man, according to his CV.

He has had stints as an imam, activist, lecturer and he is a trained geologist who worked for an oil company.

A biography of the new leader, circulated by opposition member Mulham al-Jundi, said Khatib was arrested four times for supporting the Syrian uprising before leaving the country. 

He was mostly recently arrested in April, it says.

In his opening speech as leader Khatib called on all sects in Syria to unite. “We demand freedom for every Sunni, Alawi, Ismaili (Shia), Christian, Druze, Assyrian … and rights for all parts of the harmonious Syrian people,” he said.

Khatib, who comes from a family of Islamic scholars, has a reputation for rejecting sectarianism, according to the biography. He is a former chairman of the Islamic Modernisation Organisation.

He was an imam at the Umayyad mosque in Damascus 20 years ago. But he also worked for six years as geologist for the al-Furat oil company.

He has lectured all over the world including in Britain and the US.


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November 12th, 2012, 8:44 am


471. Albo said:


as opposed to: beheadings, abductions, summary executions, terrorism against civilians, senseless guerilla in the midst of human shields etc… which as everyone knows, are the hallmark of “good guys”.

I support Ghufran’s position for a reason, if you paid attention.

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November 12th, 2012, 8:49 am


472. Warren said:

Prominent Saudi preacher tortures five-year-old daughter to death

A five-year old Saudi girl has died after she was tortured by her father, described as a “prominent” religious scholar who often preaches on numerous satellite television channels.

Lamaa breathed her last breath in an intensive care unit of a hospital in the Saudi capital Riyadh a few days ago, after weeks of suffering from broken arms, a skull fracture and head bruises, her mother told Al Arabiya.

“He used all sorts of torture and abuse against Lamaa,” the girl’s mother said, now divorced from her brutal husband.

The mother explained that after she was divorced she had an “agreement” with her former husband regarding the daughter they shared.

Recently, he took his daughter for two weeks as per “the agreement” but he never returned her back, the mother said, adding that she was “surprised” to receive a call from the public prosecutor in Hotat Bani Tamim, located 160 km south of Riyadh, asking her to go to Shamisi Hospital.

The medical report indicated that Lamaa was tortured with whips and electric shocks. She was even burned with an iron, the mother said.

The hospital matron said the man admitted to beating his daughter, but did not explain why.

“I was shocked and could not believe what happened to Lamaa when I saw her. I could not believe that is no mercy in people’s hearts,” Lamaa’s mother said.

When she asked her former husband at the hospital why he tortured Lamaa, he replied with a “chuckle only.”

The mother and the hospital refused to provide the name of the man and only described him as a “well known” television preacher.


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November 12th, 2012, 8:59 am


473. Warren said:

Saudi cleric backtracks on tweet describing Kuwait’s ruler as illegitimate

Controversial Saudi religious scholar Sheikh Mohammad al-Arifi who described the emir of Kuwait as an illegitimate ruler and who supported the pro-democracy protests in the oil-rich Gulf state surprised Kuwaitis in a recent tweet when he asked them to “let bygones be bygones.”

Arifi’s first tweet ignited various reactions in Kuwait after he encouraged anti-government demonstrations against the Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah’s decision to change the electoral law.

In a statement he published on his Twitter account, Arifi said “the Emir of Kuwait is not qualified,” and that the political struggle in Kuwait was “peaceful, permissible and a legitimate way of demanding one’s right.”

In another tweet, he questioned how “free Kuwaitis” were being opposed for demonstrating peacefully against a ruler who is not qualified for the job.

In his opinion, Emir Sheikh Sabah does not satisfy the religious conditions of an Islamic ruler.

Kuwaiti bloggers and activists on twitter have expressed resentment at what they called Arifi’s interference in Kuwait’s domestic affairs, which likely prompted the Saudi cleric to backtrack on his earlier tweets.

On Muslim holiday feast of Eid al-Adha last week, Arifi tweeted: “Eid Mubarak…For all Muslims everywhere, Eid Mubarak and for all Kuwaitis, their rulers and their people, Eid Mubarak let bygones be bygones.”

Last Sunday riot police used rubber bullets, tear gas and stun grenades and beat up hundreds of protesters in a bid to disperse what the opposition described as the largest demonstration in Kuwait’s history.

More than 100 protesters and 11 police were hurt in the unprecedented clashes in this oil-rich Gulf state. Around 70 activists were arrested, according to defense lawyer Mohammad al-Subaie.

The opposition said more than 100,000 people took part in the protest.

The opposition charged that “foreign personnel were part of the riot police” who clashed with protesters. The statement did not elaborate, but an opposition source said they were members of a foreign community in Kuwait.

The statement said the opposition was ready to wage a “long battle” for reforms, adding however that none of it is directed at the ruling family.

But the “popular protests are not directed against the Al-Sabah family,” which has ruled for more than 250 years unchallenged, the statement said.

“The demands of the Kuwaiti people are not confined to abolishing the (amendment of the electoral law) decree… but also include achieving political reforms that transform Kuwait into a democratic parliamentary state,” it added.

The new political crisis in the oil-rich emirate was sparked by a decision by the ruler to amend the electoral constituency law which the opposition says is aimed at electing a rubber-stamp parliament.

The opposition announced it will boycott snap parliamentary polls slated for December 1.


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November 12th, 2012, 9:03 am


474. zoo said:

Which party is teasing the Israelis to intervene?

Israel reports ‘direct hits’ on targets in Syria

Published November 12, 2012

Associated Press

JERUSALEM – An Israeli tank scored a “direct hit” Monday on a Syrian armored vehicle after a mortar shell landed on Israeli-held territory, the military said, in the first direct confrontation between the countries since the Syrian uprising broke out, sharpening fears that Israel could be drawn into the civil war next door.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/11/12/israel-fires-at-syria-for-second-consecutive-day/#ixzz2C1eKqvXa

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November 12th, 2012, 11:15 am


475. zoo said:

#469 Tara

This guy sounds like an honest and soft speaking intellectual but without any political or leadership background.
He may give humanist reassuring sermons to try to fix the mess the SNC and FSA have done with the minorities but I wonder if he’ll have the capabilities to deal with the wolves and snakes in Qatar, the humiliated SNC and the polluted FSA .

It is expected that Cairo Moslem Brotherhood will recognize the group and pressures from Qatar will force the AL to do so. Next will be the UN…

Reformist Damascus cleric Mouaz al-Khatib flew to Cairo to seek the Arab League’s blessing for the new assembly that unanimously elected him as its leader the day before.

“The first step towards recognition will take place at the Arab League,” he told a news conference. The body would then seek endorsement from Arab and Western foes of Assad known as the “Friends of Syria” and from the U.N. General Assembly.

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November 12th, 2012, 11:34 am


476. Tara said:


Yes. His leadership skills need to be determined and I am sure will be tested soon. The election of the trio made me pretty optimistic. Suhair will not let go on women’s rights and George should lay Christians’ fear to rest as he will make sure no institutionslized revengeful acts against minorities. Would have liked if someone like Samar Yazbek or Aref Dalilah being part of it as it appears to be missing Alawi representative. Their remains some, albeit small minorities, of Alawis who are against the killing and getting them included would’ve been a good thing as it may encourage future reconciliation.

There is a new post by JL.

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November 12th, 2012, 11:49 am


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