Creating a Syrian Swamp: Assad’s ‘Plan B’

Creating a Syrian Swamp: Assad’s ‘Plan B’
By Joshua Landis
August 10, 2012

Is the regime’s “end game” coming soon? I fear not. Assad is likely to treat Syria as he did Iraq and Lebanon: he will work to break them apart. In 2005, a friend who was close to the regime told me that Assad and those around him were convinced that they could defeat President Bush’s attempts to change the regime in Syria. They said:

Bush thinks he can use Iraq against us. But Iraq is not a nation. We will help turn its factions against the US. It will turn into a swamp and suck the US in. This is what we did to Israel and the US in Lebanon in the 1980s.

Today, Assad will treat Syria as he did Lebanon and Iraq earlier. He will gamble that it is not a nation and will work to tear it apart. Already he has withdrawn from the Kurdish parts of Syria. Friends in Aleppo tell me that Assad is arming the Kurds there. He will arm the Arab tribes in the hope that they will resist central control. I am told that a number of the tribes of Aleppo gathered to condemn the Free Syrian Army following the killing of a leader of the al-Berri tribe, Ali Zeineddin al-Berri, also known as Zeno, who was accused of leading a pro-regime shabiha militia group. Assad will arm those that fear the Free Syrian Army, such as the Aleppo tribes, which he has used to police Aleppo. As Damascus and Aleppo slip out of his control, he may well try to destroy them sooner than allow them to fall intact to the Free Syrian Army. Anyone who has ruled Syria knows that Damascus is its linchpin. By reducing it to ruins, Syria may become ungovernable. He will build up the rural groups that have chafed under Damascus’ control.

In order to survive, Assad and his Alawite generals will struggle to turn Syria into Lebanon – a fractured nation, where no one community can rule. He may lose Syria, but could still remain a player, and his Alawite minority will not be destroyed. Today, Junblatt, Geagea, Gemayyal, Franjia and other warlords are respected members of parliament and society. All might have been taken to the international court and charged with crimes against humanity two decades ago. After all, somewhere between 100,000 to 150,000 Lebanese were killed out of a population of three million during the civil war. When the Lebanese came to terms with the fact that no one camp could impose its rule over the others, they had no choice but to bury the hatchet and move forward.

If Assad surrenders, hundreds of regime leaders will be executed or tried for crimes against their fellow countrymen. The broader Alawite community fears the possibility of aimless retribution. To avoid this, Assad is likely to pursue the Lebanon option: turn Syria into a swamp and create chaos out of Syria’s sects and factions. It is a strategy of playing upon divisions to sow chaos. Already the Syrian Army has largely been transformed into an Alawite militia. If Assad must withdraw from Damascus, he will have nowhere to fall back on but Latakia and the coastal mountains. I have argued that the Alawite region cannot be turned into an independent state, but it does provide Assad and the remnants of the Syrian Army a social base. Just as Lebanon’s Maronites did not create an independent state in the Lebanon Mountains, they did use it to deny Muslim forces undivided supremacy over Lebanon. The Syrian opposition will have difficulty defeating Assad’s army. This is certainly true if opposition forces remain as fragmented as they are today. Assad is gambling on his enemies being unable to unite. He is working assiduously to turn Syria into a swamp in order to save what he can of his power and the lives of those around him.

If Assad is successful in this ambition, there will be no clear endgame to the fighting in Syria. Syria’s Baathist regime cannot survive. It is already collapsing. Most state institutions are no longer functioning. Order has broken down in many parts of the country. New authorities are springing up as the old disappear. But Assad’s army in its transformed state is likely to remain a powerful force. It is difficult to see how a clear winner will emerge in Syria. A new national pact will have to be hammered out between the forces on the ground. But those forces are only just beginning to take shape in their new forms today.

Syria Comment News (No moderation of comments)

I will try abandoning moderation of the comment section for several weeks as an experiment. I have been receiving numerous complaints. I have had great trouble keeping good moderators because people are angry. Every moderator is attacked for being partisan and unfair. Their job becomes unsatisfying if not impossible. Consequently, I will try not to moderate the comment section for several weeks and pray that all commentators remain civil and resist attacks on other commentators. Attacking ideas is fine. Attacking people is not. I want to keep the comment section useful and friendly to all. Ideally comments will add valuable information for our readers. This blog is a group effort. Best to you all. Joshua

News Round Up

Will Syria’s Kurds benefit from the crisis?
By Jonathan Marcus BBC Diplomatic Correspondent

Sowing chaos?

…. Noted Syria expert Joshua Landis of the University of Oklahoma says that while Syria’s Kurds are a compact minority they are not a majority even in the north eastern border area with Turkey – where they constitute some 30-40% of the population.

They have sometimes tense relations with local Sunni Arab tribes who see this as an integral part of Syrian territory, reinforced by the fact that this is an area rich in oil resources vital to the Syrian economy.

Prof Landis argues that what is going on in the Kurdish north-east offers a useful pointer to President Assad’s “Plan B” should his control over key cities like Damascus and Aleppo crumble

He says that the “embattled president withdrew government forces from the north-east because he couldn’t control it and wanted to focus on the most important battles in Aleppo and Damascus”.

“But in the back of the president’s mind, there may be the thought that empowering the Kurds is a way of weakening the Sunni Arab majority and underlining the risks of fragmentation should his government fall. It’s a strategy of playing upon divisions to sow chaos,” he said.

This way, says Prof Landis, “the Syrian Army – which is rapidly becoming an Alawite militia, whilst still the strongest military force – may lose control over large swathes of the country, but will remain a vital factor in determining the political outcome in Syria”.

It is a bleak prospect.

Prof Landis asserts that President Assad “may lose Syria, but could still remain a player, and his Alawite minority will not be destroyed”.

“That’s the future of Syria,” he says, with little enthusiasm. “It’s what Lebanon was and what Iraq became.”

Insight: Syria rebels see future fight with foreign radicals
By Erika Solomon, ALEPPO, Syria | Tue Aug 7, 2012

A Free Syrian Army fighter screams in pain after he was injured in a leg by shrapnel from a shell fired from a Syrian Army tank in the Salaheddine neighbourhood of central Aleppo August 7, 2012.
REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

(Reuters) – Abu Bakr, a Syrian rebel commander on the outskirts of Aleppo, is a devoted Islamist determined to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad. But the radical allies that have joined the rebels in recent months alarm even him.

“Let me be clear. I am an Islamist, my fighters are Islamists. But there is more than one type of Islamist,” he told Reuters. “These men coming fought in insurgencies like Iraq. They are too extreme, they want to blow up any symbol of the state, even schools.”

Seventeen months into the uprising against Assad, Syria’s rebels are grateful for the support of Islamist fighters from around the region. They bring weapons, money, expertise and determination to the fight.

But some worry that when the battle against Assad is over they may discover their allies – including fighters from the Gulf, Libya, Eastern Europe or as far as the Pakistan-Afghanistan border area – have different aims than most Syrians.

“Our goal is to make a new future, not destroy everything,” Abu Bakr said, sighing as he rattled his prayer beads. “As bloody as it is now, this stage is simple. We all have the same cause: topple the regime. When Bashar falls, we may find a new battlefront against our former allies.”

Abu Bakr and his comrades say they envision Syria as a conservative version of Turkey’s moderate Islamist rule, not an autocratic theocracy. They are unnerved by a recent kidnapping of foreign journalists and attacks on state infrastructure….

One of the most effective and elusive groups in Aleppo now sending reinforcements into Damascus is called Ahrar al-Sham, “The Free Men of Syria.” Its fighters accept the bulk of jihadist foreign fighters in Idlib and Aleppo, rebels say.

“They’re extremely effective and secretive. They coordinate with us to attack the regime but they don’t take orders from anyone. They get weapons and explosives smuggled from abroad that are much better,” said a rebel in Aleppo called Anwar.

Other groups are amateurs working alone, and it shows…

ISLAMIC STATE

But most rebels don’t have clear answers for what they mean when they say they are Islamist or want an Islamic state.

“We want to build a state where our citizens are equal, Muslims and minorities,” said the young rebel Anwar, as he watched an Islamic TV station from a safe house in Aleppo.

“We want to be able to choose our own future, not have it be determined by poverty or our religion.”

The fighters from Syria are mostly poor, uneducated young men from rural areas. Decades of repressed anger have helped shape their ideas. Most say that as members of the country’s Sunni Muslim majority, their families were harassed and discriminated against by security forces.

….Commander Abu Bakr says that while he objects to the severe radical approach, he too hopes for an Islamic state.

“Let’s first get rid of the regime, re-establish stability, have national dialogue, and then gradually try to create the Islamic state and give people time to get used to it,” he said.

“I don’t want to immediately impose Sharia law and start cutting off people’s hands for stealing. I believe in Sharia. But if we force it on people, we will create fear. We have to assure minorities we will treat them well.”

Rebel fighters are exhausted and can’t afford to take on new opponents, said fighters from northern Idlib, in a convoy heading to the battle in neighboring Aleppo. Amr, a 20-year-old rebel, said his comrades had their hands full trying to topple the government and maintain order in areas they control.

“We already are fighting the regime and now we’re fighting crime. We just don’t have time to deal with these extremists,” he sighed. “But don’t worry, their day will come.”

On Damascus Streets, Front Lines Multiply
Neighborhood Patrols in Syrian Capital Take Up Arms for the Regime; In Some Areas, Rebels Are Manning the Checkpoints.
By NOUR MALAS

Syrian army fighters in Damascus in July. Regime backers have asserted control over much of the capital.

DAMASCUS—Syria’s capital, once a haven from the violence tearing through much of the country, now has multiple front lines and bears battle scars of its own.

A maze of checkpoints and neighborhood patrols run by the most hardened supporters of President Bashar al-Assad has allowed the government to reassert control in most areas—after rebel fighters stunned soldiers and residents last month.

Local councils of regime supporters, called Popular Committees, were months ago given the task by municipalities to guard their respective neighborhoods. Now, their members—mostly men in their 20s and 30s—have been armed with rifles and handguns, issued ID cards and given monthly salaries.

New license plates that read “protection of order” are displayed on a growing number of cars around the capital. The word for “order” in Arabic, locals point out, can also mean “regime,” a pun not lost on Syrians on both sides of the conflict.

But the weeklong government bombardment of crowded neighborhoods last month also gained rebel fighters some sympathy in other corners of the capital, making regime opponents out of displaced civilians and turning rebellious southern districts into nearly lawless enclaves. Still, many regime opponents say it was premature or reckless of rebels to bring the fight to the capital…..

Assad appears on TV with Iranian security chief
Washington Post

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad made a rare appearance with the head of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council on Tuesday in video footage broadcast on state television. Assad has made one appearance since the assassination of four top security officials on July 18. In video footage broadcast the following day, he was shown swearing in a new defense minister.

Saeed Jalili, a top security official in Iran and the country’s lead nuclear negotiator, visited Damascus on Tuesday to discuss the fate of 48 Iranians captured by rebels just outside the capital on Saturday, as well as the ongoing crisis in Syria.

“Kidnapping innocent people is not acceptable anywhere in the world,” Jalili said, according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency. He said Iran would do what it could to “secure release of the 48 innocent pilgrims kidnapped in Syria.”

He also said the only way to resolve the unrest in the country would be to find a “Syrian solution.”

LBC: Samaha confesses involvement in bombing plans
August 9, 2012

LBC television reported Thursday that detained ex-Information Minister Michel Samaha confessed under interrogation that he had transferred “explosives from Syria to Lebanon in order to carry out bombings in North Lebanon, particularly in the area of Akkar, with Syria’s knowledge.”

Guardian (GB): The Muslim Brotherhood wants a future for all Syrians2012-08-06

The future of democracy in Syria is the subject of many concerns: people are worried about the treatment of minorities and women, possible acts of revenge, and the likelihood of transitional justice. Some ask about universal human rights. Others …

State Department and Pentagon Plan for Post-Assad Syria By STEVEN LEE MYERS and THOM SHANKER, August 4, 2012

WASHINGTON — Even with fighting raging in Syria and President Bashar al-Assad digging in, the State Department and Pentagon are quietly sharpening plans to cope with a flood of refugees, help maintain basic health and municipal services, restart a shattered economy and avoid a security vacuum in the wake of Mr. Assad’s fall, administration officials…

State Department Spokesman Patrick Ventrell said at a daily press briefing Monday:

“What we’re focused on and our concern is that as the opposition comes together with the remaining elements of the regime that don’t have blood on their hands, that they create an inclusive Syria where the rights of all Syrians are respected. And so that’s our focus and that’s what we’re directly communicating to the opposition, and that’s certainly where our feelings are.”..

 Daily Caller: Behind the White House’s secret Syria plan 2012-08-07

 The White House won’t keep its own secrets, never mind those of the SEALs, Pentagon, or Israel — especially if leaking secrets helps President Obama look like a tough guy in his uphill re-election campaign. The latest leak is a gusher, and …

Divisions may hinder Muslim Brotherhood in Syria
© Oxford Analytica 2012 – Thursday, August 9 2012
At the start of the uprising in March 2011, the Muslim Brotherhood was not well placed to claim the leadership of post-Assad Syria: it had no organised presence inside the country and was beset by long-standing rivalries. However, the uprising has enabled it to bolster its credibility and re-establish a foothold among the domestic opposition. It is now on course to play a prominent role in the conflict — and the political system that follows the Assad family’s 40-year rule.
Impact
•The fall of the Assad regime will remove obstacles to increased Turkish, Qatari, and possibly Egyptian support.
•Both Iran and Saudi Arabia will resent the Brotherhood’s rise, with Riyadh trying to curtail its influence by supporting rival forces.
•The movement’s moderate positions are likely to make it appear as a ‘reasonable’ alternative to more radical Islamic forces.
What next
As soon as security conditions allow, the Muslim Brotherhood will return to Syria to claim a place within the new political order. This will not be an easy task. Although it will benefit from its connections with armed groups and foreign governments, it will face strong opposition from both Islamist and secular rivals. The movement will also need to address internal divisions, and rebuild its Damascus branch.
Analysis
For decades, the Brotherhood has dominated the exiled opposition. This is a result of the mass exodus of its members that occurred between the 1963 Ba’athist coup that brought the Assads to power, and the regime’s final eradication of the movement’s presence inside Syria following the 1979-1982 Islamic uprising.
The Brotherhood played a leading role in the conferences held by exiled opponents in Turkey in the first half of 2011. It rapidly became the leading force within the main exiled opposition body, the Syrian National Council (SNC) that was created in Istanbul last August. It took about one-quarter of the seats and established alliances with many other members, including secular figures such as the SNC’s first president, Burhan Ghalioun. In addition to its size and experience, the Brotherhood has been able to influence the SNC’s decisions thanks to its close relations with the latter’s two main supporters, Turkey and Qatar (see QATAR: Foreign policy activism meets constraints – February 3, 2012).
Factionalism issues
However, the movement remains handicapped by factionalism based on long-running regional divisions. In the early 1970s, the Damascus branch seceded from the organisation and gradually ceased to play any significant role, even in exile. During the following decades, endemic rivalry persisted between the Aleppo and Hama branches. In 2010, the Brotherhood’s secretary-general, Aleppo branch member Ali Sadr al-Din al-Bayanuni, was replaced with a new leadership entirely composed of members of the Hama branch. This followed a number of leadership failures by Bayanuni, including his unfruitful alliance in 2006 with former Vice-President Abd al-Halim Khaddam, who by then was in exile.
The new leadership is headed by Riyad Shaqfa and his deputy Faruq Tayfur, the most senior Brotherhood representative within the SNC. Although the two branches have recently reconciled, the Aleppo branch has continued to act autonomously, to the extent that it runs its own coalition within the SNC, the National Action Group led by Ahmad Ramadan.
Rebuilding grass-root networks
The creation of a ‘liberated zone’ in the north could facilitate the Brotherhood’s return this year
After establishing its hegemony over the exiled opposition, the Brotherhood’s top priority has been to rebuild bridges with Syrian society. It has attempted to do this by channeling funds into the country, first for humanitarian purposes, then from late 2011 onwards, in support of armed groups. The reconstruction of the movement’s base inside Syria has thus been carried out on a clientelist basis rather than through the recruitment of genuine followers.
Its attempt to re-enter the Syrian political scene has relied on the movement’s own structures such as the Committee for the Protection of Civilians. The latter is an umbrella organisation that was created in December 2011 and subsequently secured the allegiance of several insurgent groups, the most powerful of which is the Khalid Bin al-Walid Brigade in Homs province.
Islamist competition
The Brotherhood’s rise may exacerbate Syria’s regional and ideological divisions
However, the Brotherhood has also been accused of using the SNC’s resources for its own purposes, in particular through its control of the Relief and Development Office. This issue has been a source of tensions not only with secular opponents, but also with other Islamist groups such as the Syrian National Movement. The latter constitutes a serious potential rival for the Brotherhood given that its leaders left Syria only after March 2011 and thus command a much fresher network of supporters on the ground.
Inside Syria, pro-Brotherhood brigades also compete with Saudi-backed military coalitions such as the Front of the Revolutionaries of Syria, and at least some branches of the Free Syrian Army that have reportedly distanced themselves from the Brotherhood-SNC-Qatar nexus (see SYRIA: Opposition splits cloud transition prospects – May 14, 2012).
Despite past tactical alliances with the Muslim Brothers, the Saudi monarchy is worried about the fact that their recent electoral victories in the region might encourage its own citizens to demand political reforms. In Syria, therefore, Riyadh has tended to support the Brotherhood’s rivals, particularly politically conservative forces such as Bedouin tribes and defected officers.
Policy agenda
Pragmatism would likely determine the movement’s actions once in power
In ideological terms, the Syrian Brotherhood espouses moderate positions in line with the regional movement. It has always advocated a form of ‘Islamic democracy’ that combines the institutions of a liberal democratic state (free multi-party elections, a powerful parliament, separation of power) with the ‘gradual Islamisation of law’. Over the last decade the organisation has clarified its position on religious minorities by rejecting any form of discrimination against them.
The Brotherhood’s economic policies advocate a radical break with the incumbent regime state-centred approach in favour of a liberal system characterised by minimal state intervention and maximum private initiative (see NORTH AFRICA: Islamists to be pragmatic on economy – April 10, 2012).
In the realm of foreign policy, the Brotherhood will have to walk a fine line between the advocacy of a nationalist agenda, which will be key to the movement’s legitimacy, and the need to follow a realistic course of action in order to preserve its relations with pro-Western states in the region
Nicholas D. Kristof: Obama AWOL in Syria
….As I see it, there are three main reasons for action in Syria.
First, the longer the fighting goes on, the more it destabilizes the region. Syria is now in a civil war linked to the Sunni-Shiite divide in the region. The more deaths, the more refugees, the more revenge killing, the tougher it will be to put Humpty Dumpty together. The longer the war persists, the more risk of spillover into Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan.
Second, Assad is believed to have many tons of sarin and VX nerve agents. Those chemical weapons could end up in the hands of jihadis or on the global black market, and we should work with Syrian rebels to help secure them if necessary.
Third, there’s a humanitarian imperative. It appears that several times more people have been killed in Syria than in Libya when that intervention began, and the toll is rising steeply.
Syrian rebels driven by religion, but on their own terms,” Wash Post
By Roula Khalaf and Abigail Fielding-Smith, Published: August 9

….Abu Berri says he became a committed member of the Salafists, the ultraconservative Sunni sect, after spending nine years in Saudi Arabia.

Many of his peers, he says, are also becoming Salafists, even those who have little understanding of this brand of puritanical Islam. Abdelr Razzaq Tlass, the charismatic leader of a brigade in the city of Homs, traded his mustache for a beard, he notes. “They grow beards to defy the regime,” he says. “In fact, we’re even willing to say we’re al-Qaeda to annoy the regime.”

Syrian activists often play down the religious aspect of the country’s revolution, insisting that in a conservative society it is only natural that people who are suffering should seek refuge in religion. But as the regime’s brutality has intensified, the rebel movement has become more radicalized. In this overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim struggle against a minority Alawite regime, Salafists and other Islamists say they are fighting a jihad against the Assads.

Crime Wave Engulfs Syria as Its Cities Reel From War
By an employee of THE NEW YORK TIMES and DAMIEN CAVE
Published: August 9, 2012

….Kidnapping, rare before, is now rampant, as a man named Hur discovered here last month. He simply wanted to drive home. The man shoving a pistol into his back had other plans. “Keep walking,” the gunman told Hur, 40, a successful businessman, as they approached his car. “Get in.”

Hur said he initially thought he was being arrested by government agents. But then, after blindfolding him, his three captors made a phone call that revealed baser motives.

“They asked my family to ransom me with 15 million Syrian pounds,” Hur said of the abductors’ demand for about $200,000. “They were criminals, not a political group. They told me they knew me and they knew my family could pay.”….

It was Iraq, circa 2003, in miniature: in areas where decades of suppressive government have suddenly been lifted, looting, violence and sectarianism have begun to thrive.

But the lawlessness may be more systemic. For years, the Assad government relied for control on private militias called shabiha that were paid by the government or by its wealthy supporters. With the government stretched financially and many businessmen fleeing or switching sides, those payments appear to have stopped, Ms. Hanano and others said, leading many militia members to pay themselves however they can, often with violence as a byproduct….

“In the Shadow of Assad’s Bombs
by Samar Yazbek, a novelist and journalist, who is als the authorof “A Woman in the Crossfire: Diaries of the Syrian Revolution.” Powerful personal account from an embattled village, written by an Alawi woman who has renounced the regime.
New York Times op-ed

….I was the only woman among them, and the young F.S.A. men treated me like part of the group. During that meeting it became clear that it’s a mistake to consider the F.S.A. as a single bloc. It is a hodgepodge of battalions, including secularists, moderate Islamists and all-too-ordinary people who joined up to defend their lives and their families.

At the end of our journey back to Saraqib, the commander told me, “We are one people, we and the Alawites are brothers. We had never thought about the sort of things that the regime is trying to stir up.”

I was silent for a moment, until I realized what he was telling me, the daughter of a well-known Alawite family that supports President Bashar al-Assad unconditionally. Some of my relatives have publicly disowned me for turning my back on the regime as many others have, announcing on Facebook that I am no longer considered one of them.

I squeezed the commander’s hand. ….

“There was an apple seller who came to Saraqib today. He was killed by that sniper up on the radio building. An army patrol passed by, took the apple cart and they all started eating the apples even as the merchant’s corpse was sprawled out on the ground,” she recounted. “The apple seller’s son was shouting and crying for someone to help him move his father so that he could give him a decent burial. One of them motioned at the son to go and ask the neighbors for help.”

Before the sound of a fighter jet flying overhead boomed, the woman said, “Poor guy. He was just a stranger who wanted to sell his apples.”

Comments (219)


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1. ghufran said:

Many of us wanted a soft landing and did not want Bashar to be president in 2000,those who studied Syria’s history and understand and respect its diversity never believed in a military solution or a civil war to solve an internal political conflict,but when you add Iran,Israel,Turkey,the GCC ,Islamic militants and an incompetent leadership you get what we have in Syria today,we are doomed as a nation,let Israel join the Arab League and let us declare those evil Persians as our new enemy !!

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August 10th, 2012, 10:57 am

 

2. bronco said:

It’s a strategy of playing upon divisions to sow chaos,” he said.

Bashar al Assad does not have to work hard to play on divisions, they are so deep among the opposition that it’s a very easy task.
I guess the chaos is also what many in the opposition want in order to ascertain their power in a void.

Big colonial powers have perfected this approach during centuries on the Arab world and the USA is still using as one of its key foreign diplomacy. Examples abound. They don’t have the monopoly. They only denounce it when it counters their own game of divisions.
I think Bashar al Assad is playing according to the same methods as the Western powers and this is what infuriates them.

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August 10th, 2012, 11:08 am

 

3. ghufran said:

Peter Beaumont-The Guardian:

Both the US state department and Britain’s Foreign Office – which recently announced increased support for the rebels – need to be unequivocal in their condemnation of all abuses that are committed and not just those which are the responsibility of the regime, including warning the FSA that there are concrete consequences contingent on both abuses and also the failure of local leaders to act when abuses are committed.
It should be made explicitly clear that murder, kidnapping and torture by the opposition will not only endanger the support that they are currently receiving but that individuals responsible will be pursued and prosecuted for their crimes. Because if humanitarian law is to have any real meaning, it must be applied both thoroughly and evenhandedly – not only to regimes the west disapproves of.

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August 10th, 2012, 11:11 am

 

4. zoo said:

When Sci-Fi meets Sharia

No man’s land: Women-only city planned for Saudi Arabia

http://www.rt.com/news/women-city-saudi-sharia-339/

Saudi Arabia is to build a new city exclusively for women. The Gulf kingdom is working on the narrow junction between strict Sharia law and the aspirations of active females who wish to pursue their own careers.

­The new plan is to combine women’s desire to work in the modern age and provide a job environment that would go hand-in-hand with the country’s Sharia law. The Saudi Industrial Property Authority (Modon) has been charged to lead the country into a new era.

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August 10th, 2012, 11:23 am

 

5. zoo said:

‘Alternative UN presence in Syria’

Rice said that the US is willing to consider an alternative UN presence in Syria, stating that there was no point renewing the observer mission as there was no longer a ceasefire for the monitors to observe.

“That portion of UN activity is not able to function, so that will not continue as far as we are concerned,” she told reporters, as quoted by Reuters. “We would certainly be willing to entertain other conceptions of a UN presence.”

“There will be a country team, there will be a humanitarian presence, and perhaps there will be recommendations that are more political in nature that we can consider favorably.”

Meanwhile the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, has once again stressed the gravity of the situation in Syria, warning of the prospect of a long-term civil war there and urging the international community to work together to resolve the ongoing crisis.

“All of us have a responsibility to the people of Syria. We must use all of the peaceful means in the UN Charter to help them unite around a Syrian-led transition process that is based on dialogue and compromise by all sides on the ground – not bullets, arrests, abductions and intimidation,” he said in a message delivered on his behalf to an international consultative meeting on Syria, which took place in the Iranian capital, Tehran, on Thursday.

http://www.rt.com/news/syria-un-envoy-brahimi-308/

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August 10th, 2012, 11:25 am

 

6. Observer said:

Here is my post from the previous section.
I think this current post points to the fact that Fredo has become a warlord and is no longer the President of Syria and his institutions are crumbling and he would not mind having the place destroyed

So let me posit as what situation we are in right now.

First and foremost, the state institutions are crumbling for the reports now show that the regular police is nearly non existent. In areas the police cannot go and impose law and order and in others they are not trusted by the regime with their weapons.
Likewise, the current prime minister and ministers are there just as props with a decreasing ability to carry their daily tasks and to manage the affairs of state. This part of the regime that has seen defections at the highest level is now being used as just a cover and the decision process has moved even more into the very inner circle of the regime

Second, the inner circle of the regime is now acting just like a warlord with reliance on local committees and thugs and recruitment from the minority to preserve the areas where control is important and has abandoned the pretense of wanting to control the country this is manifested by the fact that destruction of whole areas is now the norm where the fate of the general population is not in the cards or in the concern of the regime.

Third, the armed forces have become weaker with increasing defections and with an inability to trust the loyalty of the troops and is relying on heavier weapons. I am sure the use of training aircraft is due to the fact that it has two pilots one of which is a security agent to insure no defections. I am also seeing less helicopters and people have now sent me the names and mobile phone numbers of those pilots that have been bombarding civilians. These people may very well now realize that their names are public and their lives in jeopardy.
The inability of the regime to sweep into Salahaddin without destroying it is telling.

Fourth, the news today from RT and the lack of any Russian pronouncements for the last 10 days tells me that the Russians are distancing themselves from the regime and they are cutting their losses. Today RT had a piece about Russia threatening Iran with changing its position on the nuclear issue if the later does not withdraw a lawsuit for cancellation of an arms deal.

Fifth, Iran is scrambling to have plan B and the meeting delivered a mouse without a common declaration or anything and the Iranian are proposing a three month ceasefire probably to allow the regime to scramble from the brink as the momentum is not on its side.

Sixth, Samaha arrest and the leaked documents that he was preparing massive bombing in the north of Lebanon to implicate the presence of Al Qaeda and to ignite sectarian killings in the country and this from a regime in Lebanon that is trying very hard to keep its distance from every one and where the HA is a major player tells me that the evidence is so strong that there was no way for the security services not to act. This is an indication that the Syrian regime’s security services are in shambles and are penetrated fully.

So the situation we are in is that Fredo has become a warlord and that his Alawi community is now between a rock and a hard place and they have a very narrow window to bail out or to join in his fate. I think Ghadaffi’s fate is written on the wall in Damascus.

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August 10th, 2012, 11:32 am

 

7. zoo said:

Defecting from Syrian regime made Riad Hijab the people’s bureaucrat

Mark Seddon
Aug 10, 2012
http://www.thenational.ae/news/world/middle-east/defecting-from-syrian-regime-made-riad-hijab-the-peoples-bureaucrat#page2


Naturally in the Levantine context, the rumour is that the Saudis will reward him generously for his courage, and that is why he left. However, against that is the pragmatic argument that Syrian ministers could and would reward themselves quite adequately at home if the regime had any serious prospects. Hijab has presumably decided Assad’s regime does not, and that the Gulf offers better prospects to himself, wife and four children.

Abandoning cynicism, it is entirely possible that Riad finally deduced that the regime’s expedient nationalism held nothing for him and his compatriots but was reduced to a struggle first for power, and secondly (and sadly) for survival by the Alawi elites.

Along with the other defections and no matter how uncharismatic his record before his defection, he is now a prize for the opposition as it assembles an alternative government from more rational and less bloodthirsty officials and politicians. He has the authority to enhance the rebel position and show other Baathist officials that despite Assad’s calumnies about the resistance being comprised of “fundamentalists and terrorists”, they are safe to defect.

It cannot be too quick. If he has contacts among the Alawi elements of the Baath and can reassure them of their safety, it will be of immeasurable help in bringing down the regime more quickly and safely without a descent into sectarian chaos, not just for Syria but for the region, as other powers from Iran to Israel circle around like vultures seeing what they can pull from the eviscerated corpse of the once proud Arab state.

Riad Hijab might yet be a name to make the history books – and not just some transient headlines.

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August 10th, 2012, 11:33 am

 

8. ghufran said:

اعلن وزير الخارجية الايراني علي اكبر صالحي، يوم الخميس، عبر البيان الختامي الذي تلاه عقب انتهاء الاجتماع التشاوري الذي استضافته طهران بمشاركة 30 دولة آسيوية وافريقية، ان “بلاده اقترحت على طرفي الصراع في سوريا وقف النزاع بينهما لمدة ثلاثة اشهر”.
وقال صالحي في البيان ان “الدول المشاركة في الاجتماع رحبت بالمقترح الذي قدمته ايران بشأن وقف النزاع والعنف لمدة ثلاثة اشهر من قبل طرفي الصراع بهدف متابعة الحوار والحلول السلمية بمناسبة عيد الفطر السعيد”.
despite the fact that Iran is not a neutral party in this conflict,a cease fire is the only way out of this mess as long as it is followed by an international peace-keeping force and a political process. Honestly,I do not see fighting parties accepting this plan and I am not sure that Syrians can agree on any plan,the only thing that unites Syrians today is fear and misery.

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August 10th, 2012, 11:42 am

 

9. VISITOR said:

Western and non-western media, analysts and some governments should stop whining and complaining about extremist Jihadist infiltrating the Syrian Revolution.

Having acted with utter callousness and preferred to be spectators in the unfolding events, Western governments have opened the door wide for these so-called jihadists to fill the void. The pathetic CIA role in deciding who can and cannot get weapons is even more ludicrous knowing that these same jihadists they seek to block out are resourceful, dedicated and will not lack the means to get into the battle.

That’s what you get when you become a spectator rather than an actor. As a side benefit Obama may get re-elected for another term. WOW, Hilalry Clinton really knows the world and how to answer a 3:00 AM call!!

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August 10th, 2012, 11:46 am

 

10. Juergen said:

Interview with author stephen starr

author of Revolt in Syria: Eye-witness to the Uprising

among with the book of Samar Yazbek, its the best book i have read about the revolution in Syria

http://www.france24.com/en/20120808-syria-bachar-al-assad-war-conflict-rebels

Amir

this one is for you

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151072272715053&set=a.101568150052.90009.85596685052&type=1&theater

christians among FSA

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August 10th, 2012, 11:55 am

 

11. bronco said:

Ghufran

In Lebanon, to end the civil war, they said لا غالب و لا مغلوب

When the Syrians will think in these terms, that would be good start.

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August 10th, 2012, 12:00 pm

 

12. ann said:

Families of kidnapped Lebanese pilgrims convey warning to Qatar – 2012-08-10

BEIRUT, Aug. 10 (Xinhua) — The spokesman of the families of the 11 Lebanese pilgrims abducted in Syria in May conveyed Friday a warning message to the Qatari authorities, threatening to turn the Qatari citizens in Lebanon to “guests” in case the issue is not solved.

Sheikh Abbas Zogheib, who has also been tasked by the Higher Islamic Shiite Council of Lebanon to follow up the case, urged Doha to cooperate to resolve the case during a sit-in in front of the Qatari embassy in Beirut.

A total of 11 Lebanese pilgrims were kidnapped in Syrian northern Aleppo province in May while returning from a religious visit to the holy sites in Iran.

“Qatar is concerned with ending this humanitarian issue and should understand our peaceful message, or its citizens will be our guests,” Zogheib said.

Zogheib has previously conveyed a similar message to the Turkish authorities on Monday.

[...]

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-08/10/c_131776994.htm

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August 10th, 2012, 12:18 pm

 

13. zoo said:

Robert Satloff from WINEP: USA should warm Morsi that it is paying him enough billions to make sure that he remains obedient and quell any attempts by his citizens to threaten Israel

Terrorism in Sinai: Tests for President Morsi and the Egyptian Military
Robert Satloff and Eric Trager
August 6, 2012
http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/terrorism-in-sinai-tests-for-president-morsi-and-the-egyptian-military

This is the moment for private but firm communication to Morsi that a responsible leader, one who wants international support to bolster his flagging economy, cannot play childish games that pander to the worst instincts of Egyptian public opinion. Indeed, any serious effort to prevent terrorist infiltration in Sinai requires coordination with Israel, which — even if kept in the shadows — cannot proceed in an environment of public vilification.

Second, U.S. policymakers should reaffirm to the Egyptian military that Washington views securing Sinai as an essential aspect of Egyptian-Israeli peace, and that continued provision of substantial military aid is contingent on good-faith efforts to invest adequate personnel and resources to do the job. Last year, under an annex to the treaty with Israel, Egypt was permitted to move an additional seven battalions into the Sinai. Yet these forces are reportedly underequipped and have avoided patrolling terrorist hotspots, particularly al-Arish and Rafah, where yesterday’s attack occurred. Moreover, according to reports, Egypt’s security presence along the border with Israel is dangerously deficient — so much so that Israeli patrols are occasionally obliged to provide food and other essentials to their Egyptian counterparts.

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August 10th, 2012, 12:20 pm

 

14. Citizen said:

The second phase of Arab political revolutions is inevitable; this time the Persian Gulf «oil monarchies» will be the targets. The process could be slowed down but it cannot be prevented. The involvement of some Persian Gulf states leaders into the Syrian conflict just speeds up the denouement – the «regime change» in the Gulf countries, dismantling other state structures in the «Greater Middle East» drawn on US maps and (political) fading away of a number of leaders (Western clients ) that are in power now…

Syrian Conundrum and Evolution of World System
http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2012/08/10/syrian-conundrum-and-evolution-of-world-system.html

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August 10th, 2012, 12:27 pm

 

15. Observer said:

Bronco the Lebanon model is not acceptable for it short changes JUSTICE

40 years of the worst of the worst torture and oppression should be fairly judged and a TRUTH and reconciliation commission established.

No justice no peace

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August 10th, 2012, 12:54 pm

 

16. VISITOR said:

15 OBSERVER,

You beat me to that.

But you can also say, in Lebanon it wasn’t the regime that was doing the killing.

I guess BRONCO’s main concern is that al-Athad aw la a7had. That is the constant theme of his comments if you have enough time to review his comments. BRONCO, get over it. Your Athad is finished.

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August 10th, 2012, 1:05 pm

 

17. ann said:

U.S. experts warn about sectarian conflict in possible post-Assad Syria – 2012-08-10

WASHINGTON, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) — U.S. experts on Thursday looked ahead to a possible Syria without President Bashar al-Assad, warning of sectarian conflict and emphasizing that little is known of the rebels.

Topping the list of U.S. and international worries is the possibility of sectarian conflict, should the current government be deposed.

Ed Husain, a research fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), contended Thursday in a conference call hosted by the CFR that such a split has already begun.

“The sectarian dimension to the conflict inside Syria has been alive and vibrant for at least the last 12 months,” he said.

That stands in a sharp contrast to the early days, when Christian and other minority groups openly joined street demonstrations against the Assad government, he said.

Now, the government is also going after those with a Sunni background and using sectarian language against Sunnis, posing mocking questions such as “‘where is your God now,’” he said.

Some analysts have even discussed the possibility that Syria could be partitioned if the current government steps down.

CFR research fellow Robert Danin said that while Washington has called on Assad to step down, little is known about the rebels.

Some have criticized the United States for not involving itself in the conflict, as it did in last year’s NATO operation that toppled long-time Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi.

However, Danin insisted that Washington is reluctant to enter the conflict in a bid to avoid doing any harm. “It’s still not clear that the enemy of our enemy is our friend,” he said.

Indeed, the U.S. government still knows little about the rebel forces.

“We’re only now starting to get to know them better; we’re only now starting to get a better feel for what the situation on the ground is,” he said.

He warned those calling on Washington to provide sophisticated arms to the Syrian rebels to think twice before assuming that Assad’s ouster will inevitably lead to a better situation.

[...]

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-08/10/c_131775730.htm

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August 10th, 2012, 1:32 pm

 

18. ann said:

As Syria’s Ja’afari Meets UN Feltman About Brahimi, Views on EU & US Reviewed

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 10 — Amid reports that long time UN official Lakhdar Brahimi is to be named to replace Kofi Annan as envoy to Syria, Inner City Press at 11 am Friday witnessed the entry of Syrian Permanent Representative to the UN Bashar Ja’afari to meet with UN political chief Jeffrey Feltman.

A well placed source exclusively told Inner City Press: Brahimi will be discussed.

And so it seems time to speed through some of Brahimi’s positions. The US, Hillary Clinton in particular, opposed General Douglas Lute favoring Brahimi over Holbrooke on Afghanistan in 2010.

Brahimi also said, in a 2008 interview, that Europe is a political midget.

Brahimi to his credit in March 2009 wrote, of Sri Lanka, “being a spectator when 150,000 thousand people are trapped in a death zone is not an option.”

That is, sadly, what the UN did, and now even has as a Peacekeeping adviser to Ban Ki-moon and Herve Ladsous one of the generals responsible for the killing, even according to Ban’s own experts’ report: Shavendra Silva.

Brahimi is on the Advisory Council of the Sri Lanka Campaign, which of attacks on Inner City Press wrote this, about those who “played straight into the hands of the Government of Sri Lanka’s attempts to silence its critics.”

[...]

http://www.innercitypress.com/syria1brahimi081012.html

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August 10th, 2012, 1:42 pm

 

19. Citizen said:

Now interview with Bacradony ! live
http://arabic.rt.com/live/

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August 10th, 2012, 1:49 pm

 

20. bronco said:

15. Observer

Justice like an International Tribunal about the Bosnia and Kosovo wars after the defeat of the Serbians by NATO?
The UN does not seem going that way. They keep repeating ‘peaceful political transition’, not military intervention and NATO is out of the equation.

Justice like in South Africa? It was done through negotiations between the two warring parties and with a reconciliation process.
But I really don’t see in Ghaliun, Sayda or Manaf Tlass as the new Mandelas or in the Syrian government a De Clerk. Yet this is what I hope for.
Any suggestion?

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August 10th, 2012, 2:03 pm

 

21. Observer said:

Bronco
Justice like the South Africa model and justice like the Nuremberg trials and not justice like you find after a bloody revolution as we witnessed in Iran and in France and what have you.

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August 10th, 2012, 2:21 pm

 

22. bronco said:

In order to survive, Assad will gamble that he can turn Syria into Lebanon.

What’s wrong in turning Syria into Lebanon?

It is still much better than turning it into Iraq, Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen and certainly much much better than Saudi Arabia and Qatar minus the oil.

The proof is that all the western reporters feel safer there than in any of the ‘arab spring’ liberated countries.
If this is what he’ll do to survive that’s better than to see Syria turning into Mali.
He should be encouraged in that path.

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August 10th, 2012, 2:24 pm

 

23. Warren said:

Israel will stop any flood of Syrian refugees: Barak

“They (refugees) have not chosen to come close to us, but in the event of the regime’s downfall, which could happen…, (Israeli forces) here are alert and ready, and if we have to stop waves of refugees, we will stop them,” Barak said while gazing across the frontier, fighting visible in the distance.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/19/us-israel-syria-idUSBRE86I0MF20120719

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August 10th, 2012, 2:25 pm

 

24. Warren said:

Golan Heights May Become Another Sinai Due to Lawlessness in Syria

The Golan Heights is becoming a major threat to Israeli security as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad moves his forces from the mountainous area to Damascus, continuing the fight for his political survival.

http://www.algemeiner.com/2012/07/18/syria-israel-border-stability-endangered-as-assad-needs-forces-in-damascus/

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August 10th, 2012, 2:29 pm

 

25. bronco said:

#21 Observer

So you agree that there should be negotiations between the warring parties and a process of reconciliation. Both parties must make compromises and move into the state of mind to solve the issue together not just focusing on winning or toppling the regime.
There has been no ‘Nuremberg’ trials in South Africa. It defeats the whole purpose of reconciliation between two parties that have both perpetrated war crimes
Like the UN, I also hope for a South Africa approach as the new UN envoy may help in getting to that.

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August 10th, 2012, 2:29 pm

 

26. Warren said:

Soul-searching on Syria

If we’d given the Golan in return for peace in the 2000s, then today we’d already have bloodshed. If we had gone to bed with Assad a decade ago, today we’d be waking up with jihad.

http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/soul-searching-on-syria.premium-1.456951

Thank God Israel keept the Golan, and didn’t cede the land for “peace”. Otherwise the mess that we see now in the Sinai would be happening in the Golan.

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August 10th, 2012, 2:39 pm

 

27. ann said:

Syrian rebels low on guns, ammunition as government forces take back Aleppo – Posted: 6:37AM

“The warplanes and helicopters are killing us, they’re up there in the sky 15 hours a day,” said Mohammad al-Hassan, an activist in Aleppo’s main rebel stronghold of Salaheddine.

“It’s warplanes against Kalashnikovs, tanks fighting against rifles,” he said. “I don’t know how long this situation can be sustained.”

[...]

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/world/syrian-forces-fight-rebels-just-outside-damascus-as-aleppo-battles-continue-activists-say-165707816.html

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August 10th, 2012, 3:08 pm

 

28. ghufran said:

وقع نائب وزير الخارجية الإسرائيلية داني أيالون “تفكك سوريا إلى محافظات”، مرجحاً أن “يتعرض لبنان لذات المصير لاحقاً”، معتبراً ان “العالم العربي يمر حالياً بمرحلة ستعيده إلى ما كان عليه قبل الحرب العالمية الأولى وإفرازاتها الاستعمارية”.
وفي لقاء مع مجموعة من أعضاء قرية “غيفيم” التعاونية في النقب الغربي، إستبعد أيالون “نشوء تحالف عربي مناهض لإسرائيل خلال السنوات العشر أو الخمس عشرة المقبلة”، مبدياً تفاؤله بأن “الدول العربية ستدرك بعد الخضات الداخلية التي تشهدها أهمية التعاون مع إسرائيل”.
if those predictions of a divided Syria become true,one has to ask whether the medicine (armed uprising) was worse than the disease (dictatorship),if we end up with a divided Syria under corrupt dictatorships,then we are officially screwed.

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August 10th, 2012, 3:19 pm

 

29. Warren said:

IDF forces shoot Syrian trying to cut border fence

Suspect refuses to heed troops’ calls to stop, sustains injury in knee and evacuated to Syrian hospital. IDF official lauds soldiers’ conduct

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4264313,00.html

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August 10th, 2012, 3:29 pm

 

30. Aldendeshe said:

if those predictions of a divided Syria become true,one has to ask whether the medicine (armed uprising) was worse than the disease (dictatorship),if we end up with a divided Syria under corrupt dictatorships,then we are officially screwed.

وقع نائب وزير الخارجية الإسرائيلية داني أيالون “تفكك سوريا إلى محافظات”، مرجحاً أن “يتعرض لبنان لذات المصير لاحقاً”، معتبراً ان “العالم العربي يمر حالياً بمرحلة ستعيده إلى ما كان عليه قبل الحرب العالمية الأولى وإفرازاتها الاستعمارية”.
_________________________________________________________________

They have no chance, this strategy tried and failed in the 80’s, it’s a carbon copy without any intellect put into it. The pipe dream of splitting Lebanon and Syria into parts has been on the books for a century. It will in the end, say by next March at the latest, boil down to negotiation with the victor Assad. My concern now, will Assad then agree to negotiate since he defeated the opposition by force. Who is going to arm twist him to do so? Who will be in that position, he could just tell everyone to take a hike. That is where the militant MB failed. Beside the fact they made it into a sectarian conflict, they did not leverage the use of sanctions and force in an intelligent ways that they could use as means to force extract concession and negotiation from Assad. They arrogantly gone-ho in typically Zionistic-Bedouin shock and awe mind set, thinking Assad’s and his Alawites are just like Saddam and Kaddafi, used all the have and faced a dead end stone wall they cannot, and will not, be able to breach.

My advice to Assad is that, when this conflict is decisively over soon, to not act as an Alawi hard headed peasant, but as statesman, he can still have a chance at ruling Syria should he to start set up the institutions needed, allow for oppositions that have no blood on hand to power in Syria under his leadership, start build and collect all those Islamist he jailed, thousands of them, to be reprogrammed for the real Jihad, down south to liberate Arabia from the Zionist house of Saud. SNP now is working on complete program and strategy for freeing Arabia using no more than 3600 Jihadis.

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August 10th, 2012, 3:44 pm

 

31. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Again, comparing the situation in Syria to that which has existed in Lebanon and Iraq, is erroneous.

Unlike in Lebanon (no clear majority), and in Iraq (a very narrow Shi’i majority), in Syria there’s clear and unmistakable Sunni majority of three quarters of Syrians.

Even if some Sunni tribes aren’t happy with the revolutionary political and military bodies, they will eventually unite to preserve the Sunni upper hand.

The Alawi militia is overstretched, overwhelmed, in a state of a total disarray, the daily defections erode it’s structure, and it’s fighting spirit and moral are in a very low condition. They used to be the landlords, now they are fighting for their very lives.

It is a matter of days. Not months or years.
.

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August 10th, 2012, 3:47 pm

 

32. ann said:

if those predictions of a divided Syria become true,one has to ask whether the medicine (armed uprising) was worse than the disease (dictatorship),if we end up with a divided Syria under corrupt dictatorships,then we are officially screwed.

This is the oldest `israeli dream 8)

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August 10th, 2012, 3:48 pm

 

33. ann said:

Looks like Ford is history 8)

Czech diplomatic mission to represent U.S. in Syria – 2012-08-11

PRAGUE, Aug. 10 (Xinhua) — Czech Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Galuska and U.S. ambassador to Prague Norman Eisen Friday signed a memorandum on providing consular services for the United States in Syria by the Czech embassy in Damascus.

“The Czech Republic accepted the official request to act as the United States’ Protecting Power at the end of July,” said the Czech Foreign Ministry.

[...]

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-08/11/c_131777145.htm

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August 10th, 2012, 4:16 pm

 

34. ann said:

US officials: al-Qaida gaining foothold in Syria – Friday, August 10, 2012

WASHINGTON (AP) — Al-Qaida has advanced beyond isolated pockets of activity in Syria and now is building a network of well-organized cells, according to U.S. intelligence officials, who fear the terrorists could be on the verge of establishing an Iraq-like foothold that would be hard to defeat if rebels eventually oust President Bashar Assad.

At least a couple of hundred al-Qaida-linked militants are already operating in Syria, and their ranks are growing as foreign fighters stream into the Arab country daily, current and former U.S. intelligence officials say. The units are spreading from city to city, with veterans of the Iraq insurgency employing their expertise in bomb-building to carry out more than two dozen attacks so far. Others are using their experience in coordinating small units of fighters in Afghanistan to win new followers.

In Syria on Friday, rebel commanders appealed anew for new and better weapons from abroad, complaining that Assad’s forces have them badly outgunned from the air and on the ground. In fact, rebel leaders say that with so little aid coming to them from the U.S. and other nations, they are slowly losing the battle for influence against hardline militants. They say their fighters are sometimes siding with extremists who are better funded and armed so they can fight the far stronger Syrian army.

It all could point to a widening danger posed by extremists who have joined rebels fighting the Assad government. Although the extremists are ostensibly on the same side as Washington by opposing Assad, U.S. officials fear their presence could fundamentally reshape what began as a protest movement for reform composed of largely moderate or secular Syrians. The opposition expanded into a civil war pitting Assad’s four-decade dictatorship against a movement promising a new, democratic future for the country.

The intelligence also offers some explanation for the Obama administration’s reluctance to offer military aid to the anti-Assad insurgency, which Washington says it is still trying to better understand. U.S. officials have repeatedly rejected providing any lethal assistance to the conflict that has killed at least 19,000 people over the past 17 months. With the U.S. weighing its options, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will discuss the situation with top Turkish officials and Syrian opposition activists in Istanbul on Saturday.

Officials described the intelligence on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss confidential internal talks among intelligence and administration officials

[...]

http://www.seattlepi.com/news/article/US-officials-al-Qaida-gaining-foothold-in-Syria-3777840.php

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2012/08/08/hillary-clinton-dances-in-south-africa/?iref=allsearch

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August 10th, 2012, 4:50 pm

 

35. ann said:

Syria accuses Israel of supporting rebels from Turkey – 08/11/2012

UNITED NATIONS – Syria has accused Israel, the United States, Saudi Arabia and Qatar of running military operation centers in Turkey to support the rebels by overseeing battles in Syria’s 17-month conflict.

In a letter to the UN Security Council released on Friday, Syrian UN Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari also again blamed Qatar, Turkey and Saudi Arabia of “harboring, funding and arming the armed terrorist groups.”

“Turkey has established within its territory military operations centers that are run by the intelligence services of Israel, the United States, Saudi Arabia and Qatar,” Ja’afari wrote in the letter dated Aug. 2.

[...]

http://www.jpost.com/Headlines/Article.aspx?id=280825

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August 10th, 2012, 5:26 pm

 

36. mjabali said:

General Amjad of Arabia:

Again you lie.

I never posted one word in 7eetan (Walls the blog). I was a reader for a while and that is it. It became boring thanks to you. I stopped going there a long time ago. Last time I went was to read the Syrian Hamster article. I did not even bother reading the comments.

Yes, it is your habit to post under different names. You said that I post under different names, and this is another lie ya Hajji. I post under one name in Syria comment and never posted a word in 7eetan.

Dude, when I have time I am going to dig what you said about Alawite soldiers and how to boil them in urine.

As for secularism: your attitude about it say one thing loud and clear: Religious Agenda. Run as much as you want, your attitude and words screams religious agenda with no space for the other.

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August 10th, 2012, 5:30 pm

 

37. mjabali said:

Visitor:

Secularism is the enemy of religious agendas, that is why you hate it.

Still waiting for your prowess in history ya shredder?

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August 10th, 2012, 5:32 pm

 

38. ann said:

Syrian and Jordanian troops clash at border – report – 11 August, 2012

Fighting involving armored vehicles broke out on Friday night between Jordanian and Syrian troops in a border region, Reuters cited unnamed Syrian opposition activist who witnessed the incident.

The Tel Shihab-Turra border area has been used as a passage by Syrian refugees fleeing the violence. The fighting reportedly occurred after a number of refugees attempted to cross into Jordan.

Jordanian source confirms the clash.

[...]

http://www.rt.com/news/syria-jordan-border-clash-401/

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August 10th, 2012, 5:42 pm

 

39. irritated said:

#33

Ref: Heckle Ford
Good riddance…

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August 10th, 2012, 5:57 pm

 

40. irritated said:

#31 Amir in Tel Aviv

it is a matter of days

We heard not days but months ago…

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August 10th, 2012, 6:00 pm

 

41. VISITOR said:

Please Moderator, release my comment.

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August 10th, 2012, 6:06 pm

 

42. zoo said:

Erdogan reaching new peaks of hysteria
Opposition leader about Erdogan: He is extremely detached from the current reality.”
Turkey is in a “swamp”

Fiery Erdogan Slams Assad, Iran

By: Mohammad Noureddine posted on Thursday, Aug 9, 2012
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/politics/2012/08/firery-erdogan-slams-assad-iran.html

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has unleashed all kinds of condemnations of Syria and Iran. He questioned whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was really a Muslim, which will likely provoke Alawites inside Turkey and abroad. Erdogan also accused Iran of disloyalty, vowing to fight “the enemies of Turkey” until the end.
….
Erdogan criticized Assad, asking: “Can we even say that he is a Muslim?”

Erdogan denied interfering in Syria’s internal affairs. He launched an attack on Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the opposition Republican People’s Party, describing him as part of an anti-Turkey campaign. He said that “just like there is the Baath Party in Syria, there is the Republican People’s Party in Turkey.”

Kilicdaroglu said in response that the current state of Turkey is depriving him of sleep.

“I am deeply saddened and concerned. I cannot sleep because of the situation in the country, while the prime minister is happy about it,” he said. “The prime minister is blind if he cannot see the dire situation facing the country. He is extremely detached from the current reality.”
…The new reality will not change the fact that Turkey is facing a dilemma. It is trying to operate in a swamp from which it cannot emerge to build a regional leadership.”
..
We have earned the enmity of Assad for no specific reason. He is now hitting us in a painful spot, that is, the Kurdish question. Why should we help Assad’s enemies inflict harm upon us? Do not cry out against the bloodshed of the Syrian people, as we should first work to prevent the bloodshed of our own. As the English proverb goes, charity begins at home.”

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August 10th, 2012, 6:06 pm

 

43. ann said:

4 Syrian TV staffers kidnapped by rebels near Damascus – 2012-08-11

DAMASCUS, Aug. 10 (Xinhua) — Four staffers of Syrian pro- government al-Ekhbaria TV were kidnapped Friday while covering unrest in a rebellious suburb of the capital Damascus.

Contact with the four staffers was cut while they were at al- Tal suburb, the TV said, accusing the armed insurgents of snitching the crew.

The TV urged what it described as “influential countries” that support the armed rebels in Syria to press the kidnappers to release the kidnapped crew and to honor the freedom of press.

A number of Syrian journalists working for the state establishment have been recently kidnapped. Some of them have reportedly been killed while the fate of others remains unknown.

[...]

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-08/11/c_131777260.htm

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August 10th, 2012, 6:08 pm

 

44. Amjad of Arabia said:

I really should have used the handle Amjad of Arabia long before, to differentiate me from all the other Amjads everywhere.

Mjabalite

“Dude, when I have time I am going to dig what you said”

Dude, that’s all you got? In the time it took you to subject this forum with your whining, you could have dug up my entire history going back ten years, and yet you can’t dig up one quote I allegedly made? You are so obsessed with me, following me all over the Internet, I’d have expected you to favorite that page LOL!

Come on menhebakjis, help this poor guy out, and show him where I said that I wanted to boil *ALAWITE* soldiers.

Now, you have yet to explain how it is possible for me to be the salafi hardcase you apparently need to believe I am, and yet at the same time I’ve gone on record as defending and admiring Daniel Pipes. In what convulted Mjabali universe is that even possible? The same one that produced Salafi-Zionists in Baba Amr?

People, notice how Mjabali’s posts and comments have been getting shorter and shorter. His last one could have been summed up very concisely as “Liar liar pants on fire nya nya nya”. Seriously, in all my years of Internet debating, I have yet to come across anyone so inconsistent, and so bad at hiding his inconsistencies.

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August 10th, 2012, 6:12 pm

 

45. zoo said:

Syrian refugees invade Turkey: Huge problems ahead to send them back.

Syria refugee crisis getting worse, Turkey and UN says
Friday,August 10 2012, Your time is 6:14:27 PM

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/syria-refugee-crisis-getting-worse-turkey-and-un-says.aspx?pageID=238&nID=27557&NewsCatID=359

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
As heavy clashes in Aleppo escalate, Turkish officials have begun to place the Syrian refugees in student dormitories due to a significant rise in the number of people seeking shelter in Turkey

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August 10th, 2012, 6:17 pm

 

46. Joshua said:

Syria Comment News (No moderation of comments)

I will try abandoning moderation of the comment section for several weeks as an experiment. I have been receiving numerous complaints. I have had great trouble keeping good moderators because people are angry. Every moderator is attacked for being partisan and unfair. Their job becomes unsatisfying if not impossible. Consequently, I will try not to moderate the comment section for several weeks and pray that all commentators remain civil and resist attacks on other commentators. Attacking ideas is fine. Attacking people is not. I want to keep the comment section useful and friendly to all. Ideally comments will add valuable information for our readers. This blog is a group effort. Best to you all. Joshua

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August 10th, 2012, 6:50 pm

 

47. Observer said:

NO NEGOTIATIONS UNTIL AND UNLESS THE JUNTA LEAVES POWER.
After that we can talk about tribunal and truth and reconciliation commission after all Syrians of every stripe and in all communities have victims.

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August 10th, 2012, 6:53 pm

 

48. VISITOR said:

mjabali,

I told you already go and ‘debate’ with your knowledgeable dog your alawi/nusayri dilemma. This is the most suitable debate you could engage in.

You ain’t getting nothing from here. I do not debate with characters like you.

…………………………………….

The Samaha interrogation is pretty much wrapped up, and could go to Judiciary in couple days. THIS IS WHAT BASHAR WANTS, Samaha said,

http://www.naharnet.com/stories/en/49565-samaha-reportedly-told-investigators-this-is-what-bashar-wants

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August 10th, 2012, 6:56 pm

 

49. Tara said:

Bronco

Kindly read the link posted by Visitor above and tell me if the charges against Samaha confirmed, would you still support the Syrian regime? I would love for you to defect. That would be the right thing to do.

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August 10th, 2012, 7:11 pm

 

50. Amjad of Arabia said:

Visitor

“I do not debate with characters like you”

A very sensible and mature way to deal with such types. It is quite impossible to have a debate with someone with whom 2+2 could equal whatever is convenient for the moment, and he won’t even admit as going on record as saying what he thought the answer was just an hour ago.

Mjabalite Math; 2 + 2 = “HE HATES ALAWIIIIIIIIIS NERD RAGE!!!!!”

“I would love for you to defect”

Please tell me we aren’t that desperate.

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August 10th, 2012, 7:14 pm

 

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