Could Syria’s Current Predicament Have Been Avoided Over A Decade Ago? – By Ehsani

Like nearly 25 million other Syrians, one cannot help but feel stunned and exasperated by the events engulfing our country.  How did we get here? How can a country long associated with “stability” suddenly unravel and enter what seems to most like a black hole?

Things could not look more differently back in November 2000. Barely few months into his Presidency, the 34 year-old new leader declared the closing of the Mezze prison and the release of hundreds of political prisoners. Those hoping for the birth of a new Syria felt vindicated. Surely, the past thirty years of the heavy handedness of the much feared Moukhabarat agencies would soon give way to a new atmosphere of political, legal and economic reform.

Michele Kilo, Burhan Ghalioun, Riad Seif, Aref Dalila, Anwar al-Bunni, Kamal al-Labwani , Mamoun al-Homsi, Omar Amiralay, Suhair al-Atassi, Hussein al-Awdat, Antoun al-Makdisi, Fawaz Tillo, Habib Salih, Haitham al-Maleh and Radwan Ziadeh certainly all thought so as they made up the major figures of what later became known as the “Damascus Spring”.

Groups of like-minded people were suddenly meeting in private houses and discussing political matters and social questions. Such locations were soon referred to as “mundatat” or “salons”. Naturally, political demands soon grew into what was later referred to as the “Manifesto of the 99”. The principal demand consisted of the cancellation of the state of emergency and abolition of martial law and special courts; the release of all political prisoners; the return without fear of prosecution of political exiles; and the right to form political parties and civil organization. To these was often added the more precisely political demand that Article 8 of the Syrian constitution be repealed. The movement never called for regime change nor challenged the legitimacy of Bashar al-Assad’s succession to the presidency.

Participants of The Damascus Spring were ahead of their time. The Arab world was yet to experience a spring of any kind.  It is worth noting that the salons debated not only Article 8 but many political and social questions from the position of women to the nature of education methods and the Arab Israeli conflict.

How long did reforms last?

By February 2001, the security heads had seen enough.  The young President must have been warned of the slippery slope nature that his promised reforms were likely to morph into.

A sudden change of heart caused such Political forums to be forcibly closed.  Seif, Riad al-Turk, Mamoun Al-Homsi, Aref Dalila, and others were arrested and charged with “attempting to change the constitution by illegal means” and “inciting racial and sectarian strife” and were sentenced by the Damascus Criminal Court to five years in jail. The other eight activists including  Walid al-Bunni, Kamal al-Labwani, and Fawwaz Tello were referred to the Supreme State Security Court which issued prison sentences between two to 10 years.

Only one salon, the Jamal al-Atassi National Dialogue Forum, was still permitted to function. The Atassi forum was finally also shut down in 2005 after a member had read a statement from the banned Syrian Muslim Brotherhood. The final red line was crossed.

Set below is a quote from that period:

“Maybe there are some economic changes, a private bank, and so on, but the laws controlling political life, freedom, they haven’t changed at all. Any time the Government wants to, it can put people in jail. We have emergency laws, special courts, illegal arrests, and the security chiefs have a say in every Government decision, including economic ones. In practice, the charges and the sentence come to the judge in the same envelope” – Mr. Anwar al-Bounni, a lawyer active in the Human Rights Association of Syria

Human journeys are akin to making constant decisions about which direction to take when one faces a fork in the road. Destinies can be decided by such decisions. Bashar al-Assad’s very own destiny may well have been decided by that choice 18 months into his leadership. The new era of freedom and reform that started with the closure of the Mezze prison was on one side of the fork. The advice of the security agencies and the regime’s hawkish elements pointed to the other side of the road. Mr. Assad sided with his security men and he was soon to order the swift closing of that Damascus Spring now more than a decade old.

Back then, there were no armed terrorists, salafis or foreign conspirators. Syria was on the cusp of potentially leading the Arab world in political reform. The activists of the time saw their young 34 year old new President as the agent of change. Had he obliged, he would have arguably been a truly generational Arab figure who would lead his young nation into political freedom and economic prosperity.

Regrettably, the other side of the fork was chosen.

Many will take issue with the above note and claim that it is too simplistic. Surely, Syria’s current predicament cannot be related to events from a decade ago many will argue. While no one can dismiss the international geopolitical dimensions of the current crisis, it is simply not credible to argue that consistent domestic political and economic failures do not lie at the heart of this tsunami engulfing this nation and its people.

Comments (1,043)


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751. zoo said:

Jordanian camps: A “death camp” for Syrians refugees uprooted from their villages

Syrian refugees find new dangers in Jordanian camp
By DALE GAVLAK | Associated Press – 12 hrs ago

http://news.yahoo.com/syrian-refugees-dangers-jordanian-camp-064025467.html

ZATAARI, Jordan (AP) — No longer vulnerable to bombings, gunfire and mortar attacks in their homeland, Syrian refugees in Jordan’s new tent camp now face a new challenge: snakes, scorpions and dust storms.

Some contend that’s not much of an improvement.

“Death camp,” says the sign in Arabic stuck on a white tent bearing the U.N. refugee agency’s blue emblem.

“In Syria, it’s a quick death,” explained a refugee who gave his name as Abu Sami, as he and other Syrians gathered to protest the conditions at Jordan’s first tent camp for Syrians fleeing the civil war.

“But here in Zataari camp, it’s a slow death for us all,” said the 30-year-old former taxi driver from Daraa, where the Syrian revolution ignited 17 months ago demanding President Bashar Assad’s ouster. “We escaped shelling and bombardment of our homes and now face this torment.”

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August 8th, 2012, 4:28 pm

 

752. Akbar Palace said:

The difference is that your qualify these as ‘dictators’ while your greedy and corrupted leaders are elected by you.

It demonstrate that your problem is much worse as it is not related to these people but to the Israeli society that elected them.

Zoo,

Politicians are corrupt all over the free world. Some more than others. So you are saying we shouldn’t elect leaders? Most elected Israeli leaders have NEVER done anything illegal, but if you want to paint all Israeli leaders as being “greedy”, you’re welcome to do so, but you wouldn’t be accurate. I understand your need to make Israel look bad; I just suggest your wasting your energy. I suggest you do something to make Arab leaders look better than Israeli leaders.

The young man who immolated himself in Tunisia was sending a message about the dead-end of poor people in Tunisia and the despise poverty was getting from the government representatives.
I guess that’s the same message the self immolated people were sending in Israel.

Yes, most likely. People all over the world suffer, yet most do not try to commit suicide.

The difference is that in Israel, they represent a minority and as there is no solidarity with them and it’s an elected “democracy” , they are simply ignored.

Freedom and democracy doesn’t get rid of poverty. But it helps. Because social demonstrations in Israel are getting a lot of attention, their could be political parties that gain in the upcoming elections. The changes are slow, but their ARE changes. The US, because of democracy, ended the Vietnam war, provided equal rights and affrimative action for blacks, and increased mandates for the poor.

What would you prefer, a government that does nothing in 40 years except make empty promises? Tell me and the forum what it is YOU want for Syria: despotism or freedom?

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August 8th, 2012, 4:32 pm

 

753. Syrian Natonalist Party said:

624. SYRIAN NATONALIST PARTYSAID:
FSA teaches Russia a lesson, Kills Russian General in retaliation for killing Syrian children with Russian weapons and for supporting Nazi-like criminals.
__________________________________________________________________
Don’t listen to that fraud. No such event ever happened. General Kojev is alive in Russia.
7 13

13 Jews still cheating, deceiving and lying on this blog, go away, we know your deception,fraud, fake…fake…fake… Have some shame, just a bit will ya. Go dig more, for another 8000 years, see if you really can find (yeh sure) that ONE SINGLE EVIDENCE. Surprise Oded Golan is not the President of Israel, but again he will be charged with fraud, forgery and rape.

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August 8th, 2012, 4:33 pm

 

754. zoo said:

#749 Tara

I agree that the law can easily be abused and the women are still at a disadvantage.
In a way, it is similar to short term concubinage relations lived these days by modern liberated people in Western countries that are not completely regulated by law.
One example of the Iranian law is the obligation for the man to recognize any child conceived during the duration of the relation thus guaranteeing that the child will be taken care financially by his biologic father.
It is also for many divorcees or widows women who has no chance to find a husband to still enjoy an amorous affair in all legality with some protection. In fact there are many cases where the temporary relation became a marriage.
As prostitution has become illegal after the revolution, and brothels were closed, I guess it was a way to allow a form of legal prostitution that could be regulated and controlled.
There has been several attempts by the parliament to decriminalize prostitution and allow brothels but it was staunchly opposed by women lobbies.
While the law needs to be refined, it show pragmatism. I think the intention is good but it is very difficult to make it perfect and prevent abuses. It’ll take time.

Most countries in the world are grappling with prostitution, children without father, single mom, without finding the perfect solution. Many, like in the Arab world, prefer to ignore the problem even exists.

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August 8th, 2012, 4:34 pm

 

755. Juergen said:

robot curiosity has succesfully landed in Syria and has captured Assad. Apart from that no other form of live was found on the red planet.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=478742445488242&set=a.201716413190848.57037.201686009860555&type=1&theater

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August 8th, 2012, 4:50 pm

 

756. Tara said:

Zoo,

You made a compelling argument in general except that I find it unacceptable for married women. It should be restricted to the single divorced or widowed.. Given the presence of such a “relationship” in Iran, their rate of honor killing should be limited to adulterer married women…Poor Arab Christians..they can’t even get a divorce.

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August 8th, 2012, 4:54 pm

 

757. Uzair8 said:

Hopefully Riyad Hijab can share much intelligence with the opposition.

– Reveal weaknesses in the regime (financial, material? etc) which can be exploited by opposition.

– Reveal who is calling the shots.

And much more….

Also he can expose the so called reforms and the lack of real power held by ministers.

Looking forward to his interviews.

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August 8th, 2012, 4:55 pm

 

758. zoo said:

#756 Tara

Most young Christians and Moslems living in Arab countries where only religious marriage exist prefer to get married in Cyprus or Turkey in a “civilian only” marriage.
I do not know about any Arab country that allows civil marriage only.

By the way divorce is allowed for Coptic and Orthodox christians

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August 8th, 2012, 5:17 pm

 

759. Juergen said:

Moscow writers give the Syrian dictator Assad, the price of “imperial culture”. Blessed is this’ perseverance in the fight against global hegemony. ” The justification lies the Orthodox Church.

The prize was founded in 2001 and is in the public never played a big role, because he has nothing to do with culture. The Russian Writers’ Union stands out with particular religious nationalism and anti-Western rhetoric. In May 2011 he was one of the founders of the Russian Public Committee solidarity with the peoples of Libya and Syria . The price of “Imperial culture” have already received Slobodan Milosevic and Tariq Aziz, Foreign Minister of Saddam Hussein. Russian writers who are interested in artistic creation, are

http://translate.google.de/translate?sl=de&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=de&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.sueddeutsche.de%2Fkultur%2Fauszeichnung-fuer-syriens-diktator-assad-russlands-letzte-kolonie-1.1435105

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August 8th, 2012, 5:21 pm

 

760. zoo said:

756. Tara

Sigheh is not wide spread. While it presents some advantages to widows or divorcee women, it is still not looked upon with high regards by all classes of the Iranian society.

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August 8th, 2012, 5:22 pm

 

761. omen said:

735. GHUFRAN said: dead men walking !! A Russian general has denied rebel claims that he was assassinated in Syria. Itar-Tass news agency quoted reserve officer called Vladimir Kuzheyev as “I want to confirm that I am alive and well.”

a manufactured quote isn’t proof of life.

the bigger story is that russians are helping to kill syrians. what happened to your antipathy against foreigners? where is your outrage? where are you denunciations?

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August 8th, 2012, 5:26 pm

 

762. zoo said:

Syrians in refugees camps discover the horrors of exile

http://news.yahoo.com/syrian-refugee-camps-swell-frustrations-rise-202841777.html


In Kilis, another Turkish border town, authorities responded to a protest about camp conditions by deporting some refugees to a desert camp near Urfa, where living conditions are more austere, refugees said.

“Turkish people are hospitable and generous. Still, our lives in the camps are difficult,” said a woman in Yayladagi, who identified herself as Um Ahmad. “The most important thing for me is to return to my country, even if I am going to be eating sand there.”

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August 8th, 2012, 5:33 pm

 

763. Tara said:

Zoo,

Same with polygamy. It is also not widespread and looked at inferiorly by the society, at least in Syria. I do not know about other Arab countries. I wonder if there is any statistics?

I doubt the Arabs are ready to tackle the issues of sexuality in the Arab society. Arab expats with children born and raised in the west are facing this problem and it is difficult to handle. What does one do with a teenage daughter with friends and schoolmates who all have boyfriends?

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August 8th, 2012, 5:35 pm

 

764. Michal said:

Just a technical note: my comment @ 693. was actually directed @ 688.

That is, not at Amir.

The comment numbers must have shifted or something. Well I did include Warren’s name. My apologies if there was any confusion.

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August 8th, 2012, 5:41 pm

 

765. zoo said:

#752 AP

Israel is more corrupted now than it was in 1997

In 1997, it was 165, now it is 32 …

The lower the ranking, the more corrupt a country is considered to be.

“According to the study, Israel has been on a fast and steady decline since the the ranking began in 1997. Then, Israel was considered among 15 countries with the least amount of political corruption.”

Israel ranks No. 32 least corrupt country in the world
http://www.haaretz.com/news/israel-ranks-no-32-least-corrupt-country-in-the-world-1.3992

Countries listed lower than Israel include Poland, Italy, China, Syria, and Iran; New Zealand least corrupt.
By TheMarker and Lior Detel | Nov.17, 2009 | 1:17 PM
The ranking is one spot lower than last year’s, apparently due to the election of a new government and the incarceration of former ministers Shlomo Benizri and Abraham Hirchson.

In 2007 the country was ranked 30, and in 2006, 34 – the lower the ranking, the more corrupt a country is considered to be.

The study defined corruption as misuse of a position of public influence to further one’s personal interests.

According to the study, Israel has been on a fast and steady decline since the the ranking began in 1997. Then, Israel was considered among 15 countries with the least amount of political corruption.

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August 8th, 2012, 5:55 pm

 

766. zoo said:

763. Tara

Among the Arab countries, it seems only Tunisia has abolished officially polygamy ( who knows now if it will remain).
In other countries, its cost and lack of practicality seem to be a deterrent.
Is it just a rumor that Nawaf Fares has 3 wives?

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August 8th, 2012, 6:00 pm

 

767. zoo said:

Will Davutoglu’s “advices” to Iran have the wanted effect especially when the the SNC and the FSA heavily supported by Turkey are loosing the military and political battle for the regime change on the ground?

Turkish FM Urges Iran to Change Policy on Syria

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

http://www.turkishweekly.net/news/139963/turkish-fm-urges-iran-to-change-policy-on-syria.html

Turkey’s top diplomat on Wednesday called on Iranian officials to stop supporting the Assad regime in Syria.

“There are disagreements between Turkey and Iran over the Syrian crisis for which the Syrian regime bears the whole responsibility. It is our right to expect Iran to assume a constructive attitude in the face of the blood of Muslims spilled in Syria in the holy month of Ramadan. Blaming Turkey or other countries would produce no positive result,” Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters before leaving for Myanmar.

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August 8th, 2012, 6:15 pm

 

768. zoo said:

The FSA welcomes the Bahraini Salafists in Aleppo, encouraging an Islamic caliphate in Syria

Bahraini (Salafists) MPs meet with Syrian Salafis

08-08-2012
http://www.muslimnews.co.uk/news/news.php?article=23018

MPs Adel al-Maawda and Abdulhalim Murad along with former MP Hamad al-Mohanadi and judge Faisal al-Ghurair, all members of the Salafi Asala political association, had said they visited Aleppo and met radical Salafi rebels on Sunday.

Bahrain’s government on Tuesday admitted two of its MPs had visited Syria over the weekend and met with Islamist fighters trying to bring about the downfall of President Bashar al-Assad.

The Gulf state, which has suppressed an 18-month-long uprising against the ruling government, said it had not sanctioned the trip by the Salafi MPs.

“The entry into Syria by a number of Bahraini MPs took place without notifying the foreign ministry,” the ministry said in a statement carried by BNA official news agency.
..
They posted pictures of their meeting on the Twitter microblogging website, with Murad saying “we held a press conference in(side) Syria with a commander from the Brigade of the Hawks of Sham (Damascus)” – a group known to favor the creation of an Islamic caliphate in Syria.

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August 8th, 2012, 6:23 pm

 

769. Tara said:

Zoo

3 Syrian wives? I do not know how he can handle it? Syrian women are vey jealous and protective when it comes to their significant others. I am afraid he may die early.

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August 8th, 2012, 6:25 pm

 

770. Aldendeshe said:

Landis should start charging $2.95 per comment posted here. Then not only comments quality improves, but then he can afford to move from dumpy city of Norman to Edmond where his kids will graduate from high school and can actually write their names. But then again:

“Nine times out of ten “Sam’s Club republicans” will choose Edmond, while well-to-do, educated democrats will pick Norman any day of the week”

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August 8th, 2012, 6:30 pm

 

771. DAWOUD said:

769. TARA

First “DEFECT” FROM 2 wives :-) , and then defect from the regime! This way you live with dignity and honor!

Tara, how do you translate the Shia practice of زواج المتعه http://ar.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D8%B2%D9%88%D8%A7%D8%AC_%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%AA%D8%B9%D8%A9? What do you think about it? Do you think Bashar’s Lebanese propagandist Hasan Nasrillat has practiced it?

Free Syria, Free Palestine!

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August 8th, 2012, 6:41 pm

 

772. Observer said:

Who is attending the conference in Tehran
Let me guess
Chavez from Venezuela
Kim something from North Korea
Mugabe from Zimbabwe
Putin from Russia
China
Castro from Cuba
Iran
Syria
That makes eight I cannot think of any other country perhaps India and South Africa and perhaps Brazil, the last three would count the others do not count at all.

Mirror mirror who is the fairest of them all? That is the kind of conference we will have

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August 8th, 2012, 6:58 pm

 

773. Tara said:

Dawoud,

“First “DEFECT” FROM 2 wives , and then defect from the regime! This way you live with dignity and honor!”

You forgot freedom! Dignity and honor AND some freedom.

My opinion? it appears that it solves some problems. Better than just living with someone without marriage. Most importantly is that the biological father is responsible for the children. I can kind of digest it for single men and women, or divorced or widowed people but not married men. See Zoo’s post at 754. He made very valid points. Nevertheless, I definitely would not agree that Yara marries someone who has this right while she is his wife.

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August 8th, 2012, 7:03 pm

 

774. DAWOUD said:

773. TARA

Gracias, Sister Tara!

I still disagree with you because Zawaj al-Muta’ah is in many ways similar to prostitution. Here in the United States, a man is liable for child support (and child’s college tuition), regardless of whether he is legally married or illegally unmarried to the mother! Although divorce is understandable and happens frequently, one cannot marry with intention of divorcing in a day or a week or month! Paying the mullah’s, ayatollahs, allamahs, et al. does not make it anything other than beautified prostitution!

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August 8th, 2012, 7:52 pm

 

775. Ghufran said:

The regime is allowing Salaheddin to become another baba amr and Aleppo to become another Homs,
They believe the time is on their side, people are less sympathetic to the rebels and many will eventually blame them as much as the regime for the destruction.
The attack on Aleppo by the rebels was first class idiocy unless they indeed want to destroy Aleppo, then it is pure evil.

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August 8th, 2012, 7:56 pm

 

776. Uzair8 said:

The following video claims:

Syria – Assad Damages Bosra Shams “Bahira” House Where Christian Monk Met Mohammed {Sallalahu Alaihi Wa Salam} 8-8-12

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August 8th, 2012, 8:19 pm

 

777. Tara said:

I am very proud of the rebels.  Something Assad never learned despite his “western education”

Rebel commanders sign up to human rights charter
Some of the most highest profile rebel battalions and commanders have signed up to code of conduct to respect human rights, activists claim. 

Under the charter the rebels agree to “respect human rights in accordance with our legal principles, our tolerant religious principles, and the international laws governing human rights”.

The 11-point document includes a commitment to treat any captors as prisoners of war.

It comes after rebels were filmed executing alleged militia leaders in Aleppo earlier this month.

One of the articles in the new document states: “I pledge not to practice any form of torture, rape, mutilation, or degradation. I will preserve prisoners’ rights and will not exercise any of the above practices in order to obtain confessions.”

The activist group the Local Coordination Committees in Syria has a list of signatories to the document. They include Colonel Qassim Saadeddin from Homs, who is one of most prominent rebel leaders. Battalions and commanders in Hama, Dier el-Zour, Damascus and Dera’a have also signed up. But the current list only includes one rebel commander in Aleppo.

From the Guardian blog

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August 8th, 2012, 8:37 pm

 

778. Uzair8 said:

As the regime is busy elsewhere…..

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

zaidbenjamin
#BREAKING: Defectors say they have encircled the last 3 government military outpost in Deir ez-Zor countryside – Statement #Syria #Assad

http://yallasouriya.wordpress.com/2012/08/08/zaidbenjamin-breaking-defectors-say-they-have-encircled-the/

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August 8th, 2012, 8:38 pm

 

779. Tara said:

Salehi: Some Iranians seized in Syria are retired Guards Or from other departments. I personally do not believe they were pilgrims.  Their kidnapping forced Iran to step down it’s arrogance to reach to the “little” Qatar for their release.  It is good to get lessons in humility from time to time.
 
8 August 2012 / REUTERS, DUBAI
Iran’s foreign minister said some of the Iranians kidnapped by Syrian rebels last week are retired soldiers or Revolutionary Guards, Iranian media reported on Wednesday.  
“Some of these beloved ones were on IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) and military pensions … and others were from other different departments,” Ali Akbar Salehi said, according to Iran’s student news agency ISNA. He denied they now had any military connection.

Syrian rebels said they kidnapped a busload of 48 Iranians on Saturday on suspicion of being military personnel. Tehran has said they were pilgrims visiting a Shi’ite shrine…

Salehi’s comments were published after he visited Tuesday to Turkey to ask Ankara to use its links with Syria rebels to secure the Iranians’ release.

Salehi said retired government employees from a number of agencies had signed up to make pilgrimages to Damascus after recent fighting in the Syrian capital had subsided.

“After some time in which pilgrims from Iran were not being dispatched to Syria…we took steps to send retired forces from various organisations,” Iran’s state news agency IRNA quoted Salehi as saying.

“Some retired individuals from the Guards and army were dispatched to Syria to make a pilgrimage.”
,,,,,,,
http://www.todayszaman.com/newsDetail_getNewsById.action?newsId=288918

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August 8th, 2012, 8:47 pm

 

780. VISITOR said:

Hussein abd al-Hussein, the well known journalist and veteran of the Iraq war, eloquently rips apart the political transition argument and along with it the misguided US Administration Syria policy,

http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=425404

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August 8th, 2012, 8:49 pm

 

781. irritated said:

#776 Uzair8

It would take 5 minutes to fix that ‘destruction’

What a ridiculous claim…

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August 8th, 2012, 9:00 pm

 

782. Tara said:

I agree with the analysis.  I am convinced that Qatar is doing it out of benevolence and morality.  

What is Qatar doing in Syria?
Qatar’s emir is putting his money where his mouth is, and Syria’s opposition fighters are reaping the benefits
 
Michael Stephens for Open Democracy, part of the Guardian Comment Network
Wednesday 8 August 2012 05.30 EDT
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/aug/08/qatar-syria-opposition
….
In recent weeks more information has emerged as to who is helping the rebel forces, how they are helping and the depth of the assistance provided. Time and again the same three countries are named: Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

The motivations for two of these countries are clear. Turkey is a neighbouring state and as such faces critical stability and security concerns. Saudi Arabia largely views the conflict through the Iranian lens, and the larger geostrategic game that plays out between the two purported leaders of the Muslim world.

But what of Qatar, a tiny Gulf state whose main strategic goal is to keep the Strait of Hormuz open so that it can export its liquefied natural gas across the world, bringing it untold riches? Syria plays no part in Qatar’s strategic calculations, so why is Qatar getting so deeply entangled in a conflict into which even the great powers seem afraid to tread?

Qatar, it seems, is driven in this particular endeavour by the force of the emir and his prime minister, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani. Both men feel that Qatar has a role to play in reconstructing the Arab world after the upheavals it has experienced. Wherever and whenever it can, Qatar then will seek to have an influence on the process of events in the region around it.
….
So here is my guess. The emir wants to secure a legacy for himself as the man who took the Arab world into a more activist phase of multilateral action. As the man who pushed a lethargic, divided region to stand up and solve Arab problems with Arab action, backed by the use of force for those who don’t seem to get the message. A certain Mr Gaddafi and Mr Assad being the primary targets who needed “education”.

For what it’s worth, I do believe that Qatar sees both the Syrian and Libyan interventions in a moral light. Many Qataris are deeply angry that Syrians are being shot and shelled by their own government and don’t possess the means to defend themselves. While I cannot speak for the emir, this is certainly a factor in the thinking of Sheikh Hamad.

There are some who think Qatar has bitten off more than it can chew. A tiny state whose entire civil service numbers less than the staff of Saudi Arabia’s interior ministry cannot surely be expected to make the correct strategic calculations in such a complex and violent conflict. But persevere it has, and now Qatar is deeply engaged on a number of fronts, supporting disparate groups comprising the Free Syrian Army along with its Turkish and Saudi allies.

More…

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August 8th, 2012, 9:00 pm

 

783. bronco said:

#77 Tara

That’s look like a PR coup under the advices of their PR office in Qatar.
The media have so much discredited the rebels with the massacres they perpetrated and their intimate association with suspicious Islamists extremists and terrorist acts than they’ll sign just anything to appear clean.

What they should sign is a document committing to eliminate the extremists islamists and the foreigners from their ranks and fight them if necessary, but maybe if they do that, there won’t get any more money coming from Saudi Arabia and maybe not many soldiers will be left in their ranks.

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August 8th, 2012, 9:09 pm

 

784. Tara said:

Bronco

Even if true, they outsmarted Bashar whose savagery and brutality stunned the world yet never bothered to sign or declare compliance with the most basic of human rights. Remember the Arabs are very new to human rights, they never experienced it before. Their rights stripped from them at birth. Signing the declaration and educating one’s self about human rights is a good first step.

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August 8th, 2012, 9:28 pm

 

785. Uzair8 said:

I share this as I think it reminds of the importance of rulers keeping in touch with the people and scholars. Sometimes the gap can become too large.

Shaykh Yaqoubi, after leaving Syria, is based in Morocco now.

The Shaykh, yesterday, addressed the King and Ulema of the country in the annual Ramadan ‘Durus al-Hassaniyyah’. The Noble Shaykh was teaching about the Mufti and the Qadi and their prerequisites, manners and conditions.

News report:

The King and the Shaykh meet at . Both personalities are descendants of The Prophet Sallalahu Alaihi Wa Salam.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnClLReU12k

Full address:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5E-UnyEpqJU

Transcript:

http://www.facebook.com/shaykhabulhuda/posts/10151075065477580

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August 8th, 2012, 9:29 pm

 

786. bronco said:

780. VISITOR said:

Hussein abd al-Hussein’s analysis has many flaws. He destroys the argument of a smooth transition in Syria by comparing it to the ‘smooth transition’ that he claimed the US used in Iraq. Was Iraq messy post Saddam a smooth transition?
In Iraq the USA eliminated all the regime institutions and imposed a US leadership to continue violently crushing the regime die-hard to build a nation under perpetual tension. What counts is not the daily civilian killed but it’s the oil flowing.
In Syria, there is no oil to flow to the USA but the prospect of a continuous instability in Syria is dangerous for the neighbors, principally Israel that the author totally ignores in the equation.
That’s why the USA is ready to compromise to ensure a return to stability.
For that Syria needs to preserve all its institutions, principally the army and that can’t happen without negotiations with the regime who, with the loyalty of the army is pacifying the country counting on the apparent support of the population of the two large cities at least.
The author stops short of proposing any alternative solution to total destruction of the regime institutions and the subsequent chaos
Actually what he wants if what the USA wants in order to save their face: That Bashar goes.. than we’ll see.

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August 8th, 2012, 9:42 pm

 

787. bronco said:

#784. Tara

Sorry Tara, I don’t trust neither the SNC nor the FSA. They have rejected Annan’s plan just as it was announced, promised hell to the army, threatened to kill the president, feeling invincible with the strong verbal support they got from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the USA, France promising them help and victory at the condition they always refuse to enter in a dialog with the regime.

Now they are feel abandoned, loosing ground, dying and discredited.
They have just to say officially: We are ready to lay down our arms and negotiate a ceasefire under the control of the UN.
But they have no leader, they are divided and impotent, so who can make that decision?
I worry they will all die humiliated by their defeat, having been mislead to that dead-end

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August 8th, 2012, 9:54 pm

 

788. zoo said:

Now that Egypt has an Islamist government, it finds itself bombing Egyptians who are more Islamists.

In Egypt’s chaotic Sinai, militants grow stronger
By AYA BATRAWY | Associated Press – 5 hrs ago

http://news.yahoo.com/egypts-chaotic-sinai-militants-grow-stronger-205826396.html?_esi=1

El-ARISH, Egypt (AP) — After decades of neglect and with the collapse of government authority the past 18 months, Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula has become fertile ground for Islamic extremists. Militant groups have taken root, carrying out attacks against neighboring Israel and now turning their guns against Egypt’s military as they vow to set up a puritanical Islamic state.

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August 8th, 2012, 10:03 pm

 

789. omen said:

how come the fact that rebels were able to negotiate a truce with the berri clan (prior to the shabiha breaking it) doesn’t get any credit?

weren’t you surprised that such a truce had been prearranged? there was another one with the kurds that tara pointed to. how many more arrangements are there like this?

reckless thugs bent on violence don’t bother to negotiate truces.

787. BRONCO: They have rejected Annan’s plan just as it was announced, promised hell to the army, threatened to kill the president

who struck first blood? it’s called self defense. it’s the regime who has proven themselves to be untrustworthy. bashar didn’t abide by the kofi plan.

they always refuse to enter in a dialog with the regime.

not true. opposition offered to negotiate how bashar would step down.

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August 8th, 2012, 10:23 pm

 

790. ann said:

Turkish battalion upgrades security measures in Lebanon – 2012-08-09

BEIRUT, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) — A security source confirmed to Xinhua Wednesday that the Turkish battalion participating in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) has upgraded its security measures following the warning conveyed by the families of the 11 kidnapped pilgrims in Syria.

The spokesman for the families of the kidnapped Sheikh Abbas Zogheib warned Tuesday the Turkish authorities that “if the issue of the kidnapped was not solved soon, the embassy staff and the Turkish soldiers in the UNIFIL could become our hosts”.

The source told Xinhua that the Turkish battalion is dealing with the warning seriously as many in Lebanon consider the Turkish authorities capable of finding an end to the kidnapping issue.

It added that soon after hearing about the warning, the Turkish battalion upgraded the security measures around its headquarters as the soldiers feel that their security is endangered and are obsessed with the idea of being kidnapped in south Lebanon”.

The Turkish battalion of composed of 265 officers and soldiers.

[…]

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-08/09/c_131771541.htm

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August 8th, 2012, 10:40 pm

 

791. DAMASCUSROSE said:

FSA rebels still in Salah Al Din but seem very frustrated, it confirms my suspicion that they were set up to this blunder of plan without much knowledge or understanding of the make up of Aleppo and its residents.

Astounding damage shown in this video:

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August 8th, 2012, 10:44 pm

 

792. Syrialover said:

Bronco #787 said:

“I don’t trust neither the SNC nor the FSA”

Sorry, somebody has to start trusting somebody at some stage in this post-dictator era (without being bribed or related to them) – and Syrians could do a lot worse than starting there.

It’s the only way any form of legitimate government can emerge in the Arab world.

Sure, it’ll be imperfect and take time to evolve, but I think the vision is already formed in the minds of those who want to be free of the Assads.

Time to get on board the future by trying to be constructive.

Incidentally, Annan’s plan was neither feasible or appropriate. All it did was buy time for Assad. (Read: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/07/2012722142912211975.html)

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August 8th, 2012, 10:45 pm

 

793. ann said:

UN chief condemns all hostage-taking acts: spokesman – 2012-08-09

UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) — UN Secretary-general Ban Ki- moon, who has just received a letter from Iran on kidnapped Iranians in Syria, opposes any act of hostage-taking, a UN spokesman told reporters here on Wednesday.

“A letter from the government of Iran requesting the assistance of the secretary-general has been received,” said Martin Nesirky, spokesperson for Ban, at a daily briefing when asked about the Iranian citizens being held in Syria.

“As a matter of principle, the secretary-general condemns any taking of hostages, and calls for the humane treatment, prompt and unconditional release, and safe return of any abductees, Iranians or others, being held against their will,” he said.

A total of 48 Iranian pilgrims were reportedly abducted on Saturday by militants in the Syrian capital Damascus.

According to the letter sent by Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali- Akbar Salehi to the UN secretary-general on Tuesday and obtained by Xinhua, three of the Iranian captives have reportedly been killed.

“I would like to draw your attention to the media reports indicating the killing of three Iranian captives in Syria,” Salehi said in the letter to Ban. “The three captives were among 48 Iranian pilgrims who were abducted by the fighters from the so- called ‘Free Syrian Army’ on their way to the Damascus Airport on Aug. 4, 2012.”

[…]

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-08/09/c_131771536.htm

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August 8th, 2012, 11:05 pm

 

794. Syrialover said:

#791. DAMASCUSROSE

C’mon. This is real war actually happening, not a place for speculative pronouncements, blame and selective approval.

By definition, a popular rebellion isn’t going to be planned, led and orchestrated in the way onlookers might think it should be.

And Syria’s rebel movement has achieved extraordinary things under extreme difficulties.

They are heroes fighting to open up Syria’s future. A war they have already successfully won, even as the battles continue.

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August 8th, 2012, 11:13 pm

 

795. ann said:

Can Someone Remind This Little Napoleon Monster Loser He’s a nobody now 8)

Sarkozy urges Libyan scenario in Syria – 09 August, 2012

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, the spearhead of last year’s campaign to oust Muammar Gaddafi, has called for rapid international action on Syria, comparing the current crisis with the situation in Libya.

Sarkozy has spoken with the Syrian opposition leader, Abdulbaset Sieda, and both agreed there is a need for foreign intervention in Syria in order to stop the ongoing crisis, Reuters reports.

“They noted a total convergence in their views on the seriousness of the Syrian crisis as well as the need for rapid action by the international community to avoid massacres,” said a statement signed by Sarkozy and Sieda, the president of the Istanbul-based Syrian National Council. “They agreed that there are great similarities with the Libyan crisis,” said the statement.

This is the first time Sarkozy has spoken on a significant issue since losing May’s presidential elections to his Socialist rival, Francois Hollande.

His move seems to be an attempt to put pressure on President Hollande, who has been much more moderate on the issue compared to his flamboyant predecessor.

Sarkozy was the first Western leader to recognize the Libyan rebels and led international efforts to organize the NATO-led operation to help Libyan rebels overthrow the Gaddafi regime.

His conservative UMP party has also lashed out at Hollande over his stance on Syria. “Why is Francois Hollande doing less than Sarkozy? Why has he decided not to intervene? Because of fear? Because of amateurism? Because he doesn’t know how to decide?” UMP official Philippe Juvin said in a statement.

Prominent French intellectual Bernard-Henri Levy, believed to be one of the masterminds of the last year’s intervention in Libya, also slammed Hollande’s approach in an interview with Le Parisien newspaper last week.

[…]

http://www.rt.com/news/sarkozy-urges-syria-intervention-208/

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August 8th, 2012, 11:16 pm

 

796. ann said:

Paradise or Bust :D

Syrian troops kill hundreds of insurgents in Aleppo: state media – 2012-08-09

DAMASCUS, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) — Syria’s state media said hundreds of armed insurgents were killed Wednesday in the northern Aleppo’s district of Salahuddien as a result of the ferocious clashes there, adding that the army has purged the area of armed insurgency and regained control of the area.

The state-run SANA news agency said hundreds of armed men were killed in Salahuddien, as pro-government media said that 70 gunmen were killed in the neighborhood of Mayer in the countryside of Aleppo.

Earlier in the day, SANA said Syrian troops dealt a “fatal blow ” to the armed insurgent groups in Salahuddien, adding that the army is now combing the sprawling district after killing most of the armed rebels there.

It said that many of the armed men have surrendered themselves to the authorities.

The Syrian army unleashed Wednesday a counter strike to regain control of the district, the first that has fallen in the hands of the armed rebels since two weeks ago.

[…]

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-08/09/c_131771440.htm

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August 8th, 2012, 11:26 pm

 

797. VISITOR said:

Besides the well-known fact that the regime is made up of despicable Nazi-like criminals, the videos linked by DAMASCUSROSE @ 791 show also that this regime is a shameless liar, and therefore none of its media outlet or its ‘subsidiaries’ such as RT, 3alam, Press, Xinhua, atimeofindia serve any useful purpose except for black comedy entertainment, if you have enough time on your hand.

……………………………………………

Another group of fighters with initiative and good improvisation tactics is achieving strategic gains with very little in protecting civilians in cities before they get attacked by the thugs of Nazi-likes. The embedded video is awesome,

http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/08/08/231158.html

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August 8th, 2012, 11:28 pm

 

798. ann said:

13,000,000 unemployed Americans and this is what our skinny secretary of state is doing about it!!! 8)

http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/world/2012/08/08/von-h-clinton-s-africa-dance.cnn?iref=allsearch

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August 8th, 2012, 11:32 pm

 

799. ann said:

Iraqi PM pledges support to peacefully achieving Syrians’ goals – 2012-08-08

BAGHDAD, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) — Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki reiterated Wednesday his country’s support to achieve the goals of Syrian people in a peaceful way.

“Iraq supports any effort to achieve the goals of the Syrian people in a peaceful way and avoid Syria and its people more tragedies,” Maliki said in a statement posted by his office after a meeting held here with Saeed Jalili, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council.

For his part, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari met with Jalili and discussed the latest developments in the region and the Iraqi-Iranian relationship in addition to the Syrian crisis.

On Wednesday morning, Jalili arrived in Baghdad to hold talks with Iraqi leaders over the latest developments in the region, particularly the Syrian crisis, following his visit to Damascus and Beirut.

[…]

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-08/08/c_131771274.htm

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August 8th, 2012, 11:40 pm

 

800. mjabali said:

Visitor Said:

“Ibn Nusayr is known to be the author of the Nusayri beliefs, whether you admit it or not
Who wants to engage anyway? You provided misinformation, we provided facts.

So, please refrain from corresponding until you are able to provide substance to your comments. My time is precious.”

Visitor: the type of logic in your response is weak and reflects little education. The choice of words in your response reflects poor imagination and of course poor education. I thank the elements that you are busy and can not engage me in a discussion about Mohammad Ibn Nusayer and the Alawis.

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August 8th, 2012, 11:41 pm

 

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