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 Already he has withdrawn from the Kurdish parts of Syria.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)


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

 

51. Aldendeshe said:

Thanks Joshua, We appreciate your blog, it has been one of the best forum for Syrians and those Jews pretending to be ones. Last night I browsed posts back in 2004 before we came on board. One of the very first comment someone left is this in 04′:

Anonymous said…
It is very surprising that no comments are mentioned to the massive confiscations of lands by the Syrian governments over the past 40 years which has passed without any sort of compensation under the pretext of socialism which we see nothing of it today.
12/30/2004 04:46:00 AM

Then we came on and this is how you treated our first few comments:

Comment deleted
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
8/17/2005 12:41:00 AM
Comment deleted
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
6/01/2005 08:17:00 PM
Comment deleted
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
6/01/2005 08:18:00 PM
Comment deleted
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
6/01/2005 08:18:00 PM

The blog was really civilized back then, commenters used own real full name etc. It was way to academia, can call it(un-effective)in term of a communication tool, boring and cold, sort of like Cole’s today. Top Ten…LOL…

But after going through the old pages and reading comments posted here and there, it dawned on me that someone, if has the time and interests can write a dozen good books about Syria just by reading the posts and comments on this blog.

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August 10th, 2012, 7:17 pm

 

52. ann said:

Jerusalem Patriarch Makes Visit to Refugee Camp in Jordan – August 10, 2012

On Monday, August 6, 2012, Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem, and President of the Middle East Council of Churches, made a visit, presumably of a pastoral nature to the Syrian families who have sought sanctuary in the Al-Zaitari Refugee Camp, located a few miles north of the Jordanian city of Mafraq.

The well-known Greek patriarch, of a majority Arab church, heading a Middle Eastern ecumenical organization, visiting Syrian refugees in the Hashemite Kingdom (or dictatorship) of Jordan is an interesting event.

Obviously, on one situation in Syria, wherein government forces continue to battle Western supported Al-Quaeda ‘freedom’ fighter, has caused a great deal of instability in the region. Was Patriarch Theophilos’ visit purely a ‘moral duty’ as he claims?

[...]

http://nftu.net/jerusalem-patriarch-makes-visit-to-refugee-camp-in-jordan/

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August 10th, 2012, 7:18 pm

 

53. Warren said:

Jihadists Vie for Supremacy in Syria

But, as the Guardian reports, hundreds of foreign jihadists have infiltrated into Syria over the last few months in order to fight Assad’s forces in the name of Allah. Many have attached themselves to units of the Free Syrian Army (FSA). Others have sought out domestic Syrian jihadist groups, independent of the FSA, who are just now starting to organize themselves into a fighting force. If they are successful, the Islamist fighters could challenge the FSA for supremacy and replace them as the main group of fighters battling the Syrian army.

Already there are signs that the jihadists are receiving plenty of money with which to purchase arms and equipment from wealthy donors in Saudi Arabia and Qatar. And while the US, the West, the Gulf States, and Turkey are all refusing to supply the FSA with tanks, artillery, and other heavy weapons out of fear that they would eventually fall into the hands of extremists, the FSA is in danger of eventually being absorbed into an Islamist army that would be in an excellent position to dominate a post-Assad Syria.

http://frontpagemag.com/2012/rick-moran/jihadists-vie-for-supremacy-in-syria/

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August 10th, 2012, 7:20 pm

 

54. Tara said:

Firepower: Syrian regime v Free Syrian army
A graphic breakdown of the fighters and weaponry at hand for the Syrian government and opposition rebels
,,,
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/graphic/2012/aug/10/firepower-regime-free-syrian-army
Friday 10 August 2012 06.29 EDT

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August 10th, 2012, 7:22 pm

 

55. Warren said:

Analyis: Israel fears new generation of jihadists on its borders

“I think we’re finally starting to wake up and understand that the instability, in Syria even more than in Egypt, is allowing jihadi groups to come in,” said David Bukay, a professor of Middle East studies at Israel’s Haifa University. “People have to understand that the alternative to Bashar al-Assad is al-Qaeda,” he said.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/journalists/the-daily-beast/9465946/Analyis-Israel-fears-new-generation-of-jihadists-on-its-borders.html#

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August 10th, 2012, 7:28 pm

 

56. Warren said:

Far-flung foreign jihadists enter Syrian fray

When a Dutch journalist was kidnapped in Syria last month, he discovered his captors hailed from countries as far-flung as Britain. An increasing number of foreign jihadists are setting up operations in Syria.

Comedies about British lads with working class Birmingham accents playing jihadists in some exotic Muslim land have been made in the past. Except this time, it was real, not remotely funny, and it happened in Syria — just as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad predicted.

http://www.france24.com/en/20120808-foreign-jihadists-enter-syrian-fray-british-islamists-syria-uprising-jeroen-oerlemans

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August 10th, 2012, 7:36 pm

 

57. bronco said:

47. Observer said:

NO NEGOTIATIONS UNTIL AND UNLESS THE JUNTA LEAVES POWER.

Then forget about South Africa model…

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August 10th, 2012, 7:48 pm

 

58. Tara said:

  Fear follows the ‘martyrs’ on the roads to Damascus
A hospital in Syria’s capital sees the number of military casualties mount, as ambushes take their toll

Friday 10 August 2012 17.21 BST
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/aug/10/damascus-syrian-military-hospital
….
..”martyrs”, the standard term used by all sides in Syria’s civil war for military and civilian dead. 

The lethal encounter was typical of a conflict in which a growing number of government troops and police are dying. Hundreds of police and soldiers are losing their lives in ambushes and other attacks along Syria’s roads as they try to contain the opposition and bring reinforcements to areas of fighting.
..
Compared with the scene in February when I last visited Damascus, the mood is clearly tenser. At that time it was sometimes hard to believe that war was raging elsewhere in Syria. The capital itself, with its tree-lined streets in the city centre, looked completely normal, with children playing in parks and women walking unescorted even after dark. The streets are emptier now and fewer shops stay open in the late evening, even though after a day of blistering 100-degree temperatures, it is the best time to be outside. “Normally in Ramadan after iftar, the streets are full of people enjoying the cool air. Look at it now. This is the reaction to what’s going on,” said a government official.
….

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August 10th, 2012, 8:00 pm

 

59. zoo said:

Can Assad Regime, Kurds Create Safe Havens in Syria?
By David Arnold, VOA

http://news.payvand.netdna-cdn.com/news/12/aug/Origins-of-the-Alawi-and-Kurds-of-Syria.jpg

As the civil war intensifies in Syria, officials and experts in the region are increasingly concerned the fighting could lead to redefining the nation’s political boundaries, possibly including autonomous regions or safe havens for Alawite and Kurdish factions.

​​Origins of the Alawi and Kurds of Syria

Those concerns have increased in recent days as the Sunni-dominated Free Syrian Army on an urban corridor in the west and Kurdish rebels in the north have scored one success after another against President Bashar al-Assad’s army and his Alawite followers.

​​Neighboring Turkey is paying especially close attention, worried that the success of Syria’s Kurds might further enflame separatist sentiments among its own Kurdish minority.

Aram Nerguizian, a Syria expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, says the concerns are not ill-founded. He says if the safety and the interests of Syria’s Alawi and Kurds are not addressed, “they will opt at least for the effort to produce some kind of autonomy and if not, a territorially contiguous space where they feel they have command and control.”

Restless Kurds unite on the Jazirah Plain

Syria’s Kurdish militias have been especially successful, taking advantage of the Assad government’s military emphasis on battling the Free Syrian Army fighters in Damascus and Aleppo. In recent weeks, the Kurds have taken control of at least five towns on the Jazirah Plain in the north – Efrin, Kobani, Amuda, Sari Kana and Derek – though Syria government forces continue to hold Qamlishi, the largest Kurdish city.

But Ercan Citioglu of Turkey’s Bahcesehir University told VOA’s Kurdish Service that the government in Ankara is worried that if Syria’s Kurds establish an autonomous region in the area, it could be used to stage attacks on Turkish targets just across the northern border. That, he warns, would trigger a swift reaction from Turkey’s military.

The fate of Syria’s Alawite religious/ethnic minority could be even more problematical.

Security for Damascus Alawi elite in question

For centuries, the Alawites were a poor and largely uneducated minority living in the al-Alawiyin Mountains near the Mediterranean coast. That began to change when the Ottoman Empire collapsed during World War I. Under a post-war colonial mandate, the French recruited Alawites into the military, passing over many urban Sunni.

And when Hafez Assad rose to power 42 years ago, his Ba’ath Party put many Alawites on a fast track to scholarships, college educations and government jobs.

And though Alawites now make up less than 13 percent or so of Syria’s 22 million people, under the Assad family’s ruthless rule, they have dominated the government, the military and Syrian culture.

Now, President Assad and his Alawite followers fear that if they lose control, they will be overrun by Sunnis, who make up more than 70 percent of the population.

“The fate of our people and our nation, past, present and future, depends on this battle,” Assad said in a statement released as government forces began their attack on Aleppo last week.

Could Bashar al-Assad retreat to al-Alawiyin Mountains?

http://www.payvand.com/news/12/aug/1070.html

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August 10th, 2012, 8:03 pm

 

60. Tara said:

Robert Fisk: Syria welcomed them – now it has spat them out

The story of Palestinian refugee named Syria. 

Syria – the country – was a welcome place when Syria the refugee arrived there with her young husband as a refugee from the Lebanese civil war. The early Hafez el-Assad years – how quickly the West and Syria’s Arab enemies forget this today – assured homes, equal rights as citizens, employment and free hospital services to the half million Palestinians who lived under the Baathist regime: better conditions than any other Arab nation offered. “The government was ‘strict’ but treated us the same as Syrians,” Syria says. “We were neutral in Syria.

“Things started to go wrong 18 months ago. We were treated well, but the shooting started in Deraa and we sympathised with the Syrian people. We tried to bring them medical supplies and to help the wounded. Then the armed rebels came to our camp last month and the word went round that the Syrians wanted us Palestinians to leave our homes.

“Some left, some stayed. Then helicopters came and started to bombard the houses. I ran away with my family, so quickly I even left the key in the house and the door unlocked. When I returned briefly, I found the house destroyed and all our furniture and property looted – stolen by the rebels, by the regime, even by our own neighbours.”

Syria has sat through Um Hassan’s account in silence. “The government thought some Palestinians were with the protesters and some were arrested. They took one of my sons to the prison and tortured him for two or three weeks. Then he died from the torture.” There is silence in the room.
….
Ehud Barak, the Israeli Defence Minister, says that his country will accept no refugees from Syria. The Palestinians of Syria – there are more than half a million of them – believe that Mr Barak’s comment was directed at them. The homeland of the Palestinians will remain forbidden territory.

um Khaled:
“I suppose we were sympathetic to the protesters in the streets and we were probably upset that unarmed people were being killed. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Command were with the regime, but some of their officers were not. Even some of the Palestine Liberation Army (part of the Syrian armed forces) are not with the regime. Violence began in Yarmouk two weeks ago. PLA men came to protect the camp. Shells landed on the camp – we don’t know who fired them.

“Then Syrian helicopters flew over us and dropped leaflets. They showed a picture of a boy smiling, and the caption said: ‘If you want to keep your son smiling, evacuate the area’.”

More..

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-syria-welcomed-them–now-it-has-spat-them-out-8031926.html

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August 10th, 2012, 8:16 pm

 

61. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Irritated said 40:

“..We heard not days but months ago”…

Not from me. Dig SC’s archive. Wait and see.
.

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August 10th, 2012, 8:23 pm

 

62. bronco said:

#49 Tara

I think it is early to say if Michel Samaha is a criminal working for Bashar Al Assad or he had his own agenda or he was setup. The investigation is going on and rumors will fly as they always do in our part of the world.
In any case, while this could be a blow to the regime, it seems to have stood very well to worse blows recently and until now, in view of the circumstances and the geopolitics of the region, I don’t see any viable alternative to this regime, reformed but not toppled.

The ‘Let’s get rid of Bashar then we’ll see” does not convince me, neither the vague ‘post-bashar’ plans that the pathetic SNC is building up with the USA, neither the military transition government with the Islamists extremist waiting for their prey.

I see nothing that will guarantee the unity, security and freedom of the Syrians in these plans, unless there are negotiations, ceasefire and popular reconciliation between the pro-regime and the anti-regime.
That’s what the UN wants with the continuation of its mission and that’s what I also want.
The responsible of the perpetuation of the crisis are on both sides. With the absence of a political breakthrough, they both have their own reasons to continue the fights.
The price of this messy revolution is paid mostly by the civilians, displaced, fearful and dispossessed, who lost the freedom, security and dignity they had for vague unfulfilled promises.

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August 10th, 2012, 8:24 pm

 

63. Tara said:

And the Gold Medal goes to….. Hillary for the most frequent flyer of US secretaries of state yet achieving nothing.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/aug/10/us-sanctions-syria-assad-clinton
US planning new sanctions on Syria and Assad as Clinton travels to Turkey
Like those currently in place, new sanctions are expected to target Assad’s cabinet members and Iranians who support them
Friday 10 August 2012 12.04 EDT


US secretary of state Hillary Clinton heads to Turkey for weekend talks with top Turkish officials and Syrian opposition activists, and senior officials travelling with her said fresh sanctions aimed at hastening the downfall of the Assad regime were imminent.

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August 10th, 2012, 8:36 pm

 

64. Tara said:

Nasrallah has personally overseen the assistance: 

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/11/world/middleeast/assault-on-rebels-in-aleppo-syria-continues.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

The United States accused the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah on Friday of a deep involvement in the Syria government’s violent campaign to crush the uprising there, asserting that Hezbollah has trained and advised government forces inside Syria and helped to expel opposition fighters from areas of the country.

The American accusations, which were contained in coordinated announcements by the Treasury and State Departments announcing new sanctions on Syria, also accused Hezbollah of helping operatives of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Quds Force in training Syrian forces inside Syria. A Treasury statement said Hezbollah’s secretary general, Hassan Nasrallah, had overseen these activities, which it called part of the Syria government’s “increasingly ruthless efforts to fight against the opposition.”
..
 American officials would not provide evidence for the new accusations against Hezbollah, and they avoided specifying whether its operatives were engaged in combat inside Syria, as some anti-Assad fighters have asserted. But the accusations appeared to open a new avenue of American pressure on Syria’s government and to try to embarrass Mr. Nasrallah, a powerful figure whose unwavering public support for Mr. Assad has created resentments and political strains in his home base of Lebanon.

Despite repeated questioning, however, neither official would provide details to support the accusations, or  specific evidence of how they had reached their conclusions. “This is not a matter of idle speculation or press reports,” Mr. Benjamin said. “This is based on a great deal of information gathering that we have done and we’ve synthesized and we’ve put it together in an authoritative document, and we believe that it will be taken seriously by many around the world.”
…..
“The sanction effect of this is minimal,” he said. “This is a name and shame expose type of an action.”

 

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August 10th, 2012, 8:56 pm

 

65. Dale Andersen said:

Thank you, Joshua

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August 10th, 2012, 9:16 pm

 

66. ANDERSEN COMMA DALE said:

Thank you, Joshua

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August 10th, 2012, 9:17 pm

 

67. ANDERSEN COMMA DALE said:

Thank you, Joshua, for releasing the inmates from the asylum….

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August 10th, 2012, 9:19 pm

 

68. VISITOR said:

A journey through Liberated North Syrian cities and towns shows happy people without regime thugs around,

http://www.nowlebanon.com/Arabic/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=426780

……………………………………………

Dr. Landis,

The moderation-free blog could be a good experiment. But what will happen to the comments that so often get stuck in the filter? Plus, we do have one or two commentators who insist on using very vulgar language. Something needs to be done about that.

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August 10th, 2012, 9:28 pm

 

69. Syrialover said:

#6 Observer.

And here is my thanks again. Those are thoughtful comments worth sharing.

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August 10th, 2012, 10:46 pm

 

70. Observer said:

Bronco
The regime is CRIMINAL TO THE nTH degree. You do not understand or you deliberately refuse to recognize that
1. The regime is incapable of reform
2. Reform means the END of the regime

The regime has to step down first before any initiative to take hold.

Now there are reports that at the military hospital the detainees are having their corneas removed for use in transplants.
If this is true and I doubt it until truly verified then the regime is digging the graves of the Alawi community with its own hands.

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August 10th, 2012, 10:59 pm

 

71. Syrialover said:

Dear Joshua,

It’s a shame about the loss of a moderator.

I am concerned to hear that moderators were made to feel uncomfortable by those who threw a tantrun at being moderated.

Those who complained were very often big babies or unbalanced people. If they were moderated, they had every chance to come back and say it again in a less hotheaded and more rational fashion.

The fact that a moderator checked them should be a big wake up call. The moderator is a chance for them to sober up and see how others saw them.

The moderators have done a first-rate job. They have (in my mind generously) cleaned up after people who had not been able to control themselves and said inappropriate things in a tantrum that they would probably not want to stay there after they had cooled down.

Or they have correctly excised things put by troubled people who were ranting ugly, obscene or hate-filled things and were vandalising this forum.

I’m very afraid the forum will suffer from a free for all from the last category.

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August 10th, 2012, 11:04 pm

 

72. Ghufran said:

The Guardian in Aleppo:

“Maybe our victory will come after Eid [the three-day festival to mark the end of Ramadan]“, said Abu Nour, an Aleppo rebel whose unit was forced to flee Salahedin. “I don’t want to have to think too much about what will happen next. All I know is that what we are doing is right.”
As she helped neighbours pick through the ruins of the house bombed by jets, one woman didn’t seem so sure. “What have they done to Aleppo?” she said. “What are they doing to Syria. How will it end?”

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August 10th, 2012, 11:12 pm

 

73. bronco said:

#67 Observer

If this is what the opposition is insisting on, then I don’t see any solution that the one you have been promoted from day one: the dismembering of Syria according to religion and ethnicity.

Welcome not to the South African model but to the ex-Yougoslavia model that will rejoice you and all the regional neighbors
Pleas save us from the black rumors.. we have enough of the real news.

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August 10th, 2012, 11:48 pm

 

74. ann said:

On Syria, ICPPuts Ban’s Letter Online, No Answer on Brahimi & Feltman

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, August 10 — More than a week after the Syria report of top UN Peacekeeper Herve Ladsous, who seems to have gone missing, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on August 10 turned in a bilingual update to the UN Security Council. Inner City Press is putting it online before 10 pm, here.

Meanwhile 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 exclusive told Inner City Press: Brahimi will be discussed.

And so at Friday UN noon briefing Inner City Press asked Ban’s deputy spokesman Eduardo Del Buey

Inner City Press; I was just in the North Lawn and I was told that Mr. Jeffrey Feltman of DPA [Department of Political Affairs] is meeting…I saw Bashar Ja’afari go in. I’m told that the topic is Mr. Brahimi. So my question to you is: because Martin Nesirky was willing to say that there are consultations with the permanent members of the Security Council about such an appointment, is Syria and its permanent representative, will they be conferred with prior to an announcement, whoever the name is?

Deputy Spokesperson Del Buey: I will have to check on that. I don’t know exactly who the consultation list is comprised of.

Nine hours later, no response. But a well place Gulf source tells Inner City Press Brahimi is the Arab League’s nominee, and will a more anti-Assad mandate than Kofi Annan had or acted under.

It is still 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.

[...]

http://www.innercitypress.com/syria2brahimi081012.html

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August 11th, 2012, 12:01 am

 

75. Citizen said:

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August 11th, 2012, 12:06 am

 

76. Ghufran said:

أصدر رجلا الدين الشيعيان اللبنانيان البارزان العلامة هاني فحص والسيد محمد حسن الأمين بيانا أكدا فيه وقوفهما مع ثورة الشعب السوري.
وقال رجلا الدين في بيان مشترك “إننا نناصر هذه الثورة كما ناصرنا الثورة الفلسطينية والإيرانية والليبية وباقي الثورات والحركات المطالبة بالإصلاح في كل الدول العربية”.

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August 11th, 2012, 12:10 am

 

77. Johannes de Silentio said:

Thank you for freeing the slaves, Joshua….

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August 11th, 2012, 12:36 am

 

78. zoo said:

Survey shows majority of Turks are devout believers

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/survey-shows-majority-of-turks-are-devout-believers.aspx?pageID=238&nID=27561&NewsCatID=339

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
According to the survey, 67 percent of Muslim Turkish people say religion is very important to them, while 84 percent say they abstain from eating or drinking in the daytime during Ramadan. Some 40 percent say they visit a mosque every week. AA photo

According to the survey, 67 percent of Muslim Turkish people say religion is very important to them, while 84 percent say they abstain from eating or drinking in the daytime during Ramadan. Some 40 percent say they visit a mosque every week. AA photo
Some 84 percent of Muslims in Turkey say they abstain from eating or drinking in the daytime during Ramadan
….
Just over four in 10 Turkish Muslims, 44 percent, say they visit their local mosque once a week or more, according to the report.

Turkey is the only country surveyed in which a majority, 72 percent, believes the devotional dancing of the “whirling dervishes,” falls within the bounds of Islam.

The report also revealed that 96 percent of Turkish Muslims believe in angels. They were also asked about the existence of heaven and hell. Some 92 percent of responders believe in heaven while 87 percent believe in hell, the results showed.

The study said the Middle East and North Africa was the most religious region in the Islamic world. The percentage of believers in God and the Prophet Muhammad in these regions ranked at 100 percent, according to the survey results.

Alevis ‘not Muslim’: Report
The report also indicated that Turkish Muslims are 91 percent Sunnis. Meanwhile, 17 percent of the participants do not acknowledge Alevis as Muslims, the report said.

“Alevis fall within the Shiite tradition, and they are most numerous in Turkey. A 69-percent majority of Turkish Muslims accept Alevis as fellow members of the Islamic faith; only 17 percent disagree, while 14 percent said they were unsure,” the report said.

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August 11th, 2012, 12:38 am

 

79. Johannes de Silentio said:

Re: #73

I thought the moderation was over…

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August 11th, 2012, 12:42 am

 

80. Juergen said:

“One can probably cut all the flowers. But one can not prevent spring.”

Pablo Neruda

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August 11th, 2012, 12:49 am

 
 

82. omen said:

Bush thinks he can use Iraq against us. But Iraq is not a nation. We will help turn its factions against the US.

in other words, assad regime coordinated with alqaeda or armed insurgents.

was the regime’s sponsorship of terrorists responsible for killing nick berg?

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August 11th, 2012, 1:00 am

 

83. omen said:

according to this, assad is harboring a terrorist responsible for killing israeli athletes during ’72 olympics.

includes only interview with Jamal Al-Gashey, who’s believed to be in Syria

he is the main person that Israel wants inside Syria

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August 11th, 2012, 1:05 am

 

84. omen said:

according to this, regime is harboring a terrorist responsible for killing israeli athletes during ’72 olympics.

includes only interview with Jamal Al-Gashey, who’s believed to be in Syria

he is the main person that Israel wants inside Syria

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August 11th, 2012, 1:09 am

 

85. Juergen said:

Omen
All this talking abour foreign terrorists, AQ in Syria ect, this regime knows very well how to terrorize not only their own country.

I like this cartoon

it says: Bye,we are with the rebels now!

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=479518445410642&set=a.201716413190848.57037.201686009860555&type=1&theater

Shabiha doing shopping

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=401924789869474&set=a.165234353538520.41239.163993716995917&type=1&theater

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August 11th, 2012, 1:16 am

 

86. omen said:

934. GHUFRAN said:
أعلنت مصادر دبلوماسية في الأمم المتحدة أن ممثل روسيا في مجلس الامن اقترح إدراج أزمة البحرين على جدول أعمال مجلس الامن الدولي

are you bahraini?

you support freedom for bahrain but not for fellow syrians?

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August 11th, 2012, 1:23 am

 

87. omen said:

is bashar harboring a terrorist responsible for killing israeli athletes during ’72 olympics?

https://twitter.com/SultanAlQassemi/status/232583177170976769

includes only interview with Jamal Al-Gashey, who’s believed to be in Syria

he is the main person that Israel wants inside Syria

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August 11th, 2012, 1:31 am

 

88. richard said:

Re Creating a Syrian Swamp

It strikes me as grossly inaccurate to suggest that the Asad government bears responsibility for “sucking in” the US to Iraq and breaking up that country.

In 2004, with the US invasion under attack by all factions within Iraq, they came up with what Newsweek (in early 2005) called the “Salvador option”: death squads which would help break up the opposition. It is well documented here:
http://www.brussellstribunal.org/BritishBombers.htm

The US was not “sucked in” … they invaded a sovereign country and the whole world knew it was coming in advance.

How many Iraqi refugees found refuge of some sort in Syria?

And this is the “evidence” of the Syrian regime motives that you are suggesting? Outrageous.

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August 11th, 2012, 1:49 am

 

89. Syrialover said:

I hope removal of a moderator does not mean removal of an administrator to check the spam folder and other problem patches.

I have just had another comment disappear into a black hole.

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August 11th, 2012, 2:02 am

 

90. omen said:

western & arab governments only offering token aid but refusing to arm rebels with proper weapons necessary that would prove decisive in conflict – should tell you that the “international community” isn’t invested in regime change.

the longer the fighting goes on, the more it destabilizes the region.

who stands to benefit from allowing the conflict to descend into regional chaos?

exxon, bp, ksa, russia, iran.

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August 11th, 2012, 2:30 am

 

91. mjabali said:

Thank you Prof. Landis for getting rid of this last dirty moderator.

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August 11th, 2012, 2:33 am

 

92. mjabali said:

“The study said the Middle East and North Africa was the most religious region in the Islamic world.”

وراء در

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August 11th, 2012, 2:35 am

 

93. Katamon said:

Yep, Assad’s swamp strategy looks completely doable assuming he can continue to receive financing (read: Iran) and weapons (read: Russia) from abroad. He has sufficient territory and support in Syria to be a powerful warlord. Along with existing advantages in officers, intelligence, infrastructure and hardware he is likely to remain the most powerful warlord in Syria. It doesn’t seem like there is much the rebels can do to change this scenario. However, Assad is completely reliant on both Iran and Russia. If he loses either he ends up either without ammo for his soldiers or the money to pay them. In either case he ends his life in an unnaturally short time frame.
.

So, the real question that I have yet to see answered on this forum is what would cause Iran or Russia to stop providing support to Assad? Because it is this question that will determine whether Syria will go through very long years of swamp life or not.

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August 11th, 2012, 3:07 am

 

94. Juergen said:

Just got off the phone with a friend who lives in Dw’ella. They had a rough week. The FSA entered and killed an army officer who lived next to him. He said hell broke out after that, helicopters were shooting and the army came in. For two days he could not leave his house, nor anyone from his street. But he said, its still better than other areas, like Midan.

An other story i heard from an christian family who lives in Jaramana that their son who works for an cola company got arrested by FSA fighters while he was on a tour with his car to take the orders by shopowners. They arrested him and looked through his mobile if he had any pictures of Bashar with him. They told him, we wont kill you, if we kill you they say we kill Christians for being christians. They put him in the trunk of his car, and through the help of bypassers he got out after a while.

hmm dirty moderator, looks like the mice will make a party when the cat is out as we say.

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August 11th, 2012, 3:21 am

 

95. Syrialover said:

Joshua,

I hope the negative scenario you paint in the lead to this section proves to be way off the mark.

And I suspect you hope so, too.

First, I find it implausible that Bashar Assad would be able to strategize and carry off anything that his short-circuit brain imagines. His switch is cemented to the setting of self-inflicted damage, default and delusion.

(Besides, you’ll see the in latest photos that his head is actually shrinking further.)

Second, human beings everywhere in recent history have shown enormous faith and hunger for the ballot box.

We’ve witnessed extraordinary determination to participate in post-conflict elections by populations in some of the world’s most brutalized, underdeveloped, devastated and fiercely tribalized trouble spots.

And Syrians have much more to build on than many other places. A stronger human resources and skills base. Plus impressive communal and individual pride, dignity and values.

Millions of Syrians have felt and seen in this revolution something they want to keep and never relinquish. A refusal to be afraid and have their lives constricted by corruption and cruelty. Most will not have any trouble grasping the importance to survival of having trust and a shared vision, of somehow climbing beyond the hurt and loss.

People know and see things differently in this global cyber age. The Assad regimes’ actions have been much more shocking and seen in starker relief by Syrians than they would have been even a decade ago.

I believe Syrians have what it takes to regroup, rebuild and restore a functioning state. And the world will be cheering them on.

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August 11th, 2012, 3:25 am

 

96. Syrialover said:

The Libyans had a slogan during their conflict which I hope the FSA has picked up and is spreading with emphasis:

“Don’t dirty the revolution”

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August 11th, 2012, 3:35 am

 

97. Syrialover said:

Mjabali,

Let’s watch for some sanity and leadership emerging from younger educated Alawis (from story posted by Joshua Landis above):

“….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…”

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/10/opinion/in-the-shadow-of-assads-bombs.html

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August 11th, 2012, 3:45 am

 

98. Juergen said:

President of the Federal Intelligence Service(Germany) , Gerhard Schindler on Syria:

“There are many indications that for the regime the final phase has begun,” said the BND chief. Assad’s army had lost 50,000 of its former 320 000 soldiers. “Among many wounded, 2000-3000 defectors went to the militant opposition.” The erosion of the military is ongoing.

According to the findings of the BND, there are some 20,000 resistance fighters in Syria – and they make Assad’s troops to fight hard. “The resistance groups are small, have a regional base and are extremely agile. They can strike quickly and ambush the army,” said Schindler. “Because of their small size, they are not a good target for Assad’s army.”

After analysis of his intelligence service about the opposition, they are not dominated by Islamists. “They are in the minority,” said Schindler. However, there are radical groups like al-Nusrah-front, which apparently had links to al-Qaeda terrorist network. Al Nusrah recruits itself from Syrian Sunnis, some of them had withdrawn from foreign countries, such as Iraq.”

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.spiegel.de%2Fpolitik%2Fausland%2Fbnd-chef-schindler-endphase-des-assad-regimes-hat-begonnen-a-849480.html

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August 11th, 2012, 3:55 am

 

99. Badr said:

Professor Landis wrote: “Every moderator is attacked for being partisan and unfair. Their job becomes unsatisfying if not impossible. Attacking ideas is fine. Attacking people is not.”

Why wouldn’t applying this attack rule meticulously make a moderator’s job possible, and his/her ruling objective?

“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.”

Good luck with that!

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August 11th, 2012, 3:55 am

 

100. VISITOR said:

Commentators,

If you felt that the current (previous) Moderator was fair and contributed positively to the success of this blog, please make your voice heard by Dr, Landis.

I begin by myself and say yes, even though he edited one of my comments and I objected to that, he was fair and his moderation was instrumental in keeping every one in check on this blog. There was a tendency to derail the discussion by frequently uttering personal attacks by two commentators (well known and were quick to applaud Dr. Landis). The Moderator dealt with these persons effectively and without bias.

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August 11th, 2012, 5:35 am

 

101. Altair said:

I think Prof. Landis’ hypothesis needs a bit more elaboration because in the analogies of Lebanon and Iraq, there were occupying powers, namely Israelis and Americans respectively. In these scenarios, swamps were being created for them, and as occupiers they were forced out.

But in the Syrian case, the one acting as the occupier is the Syrian government itself, the one with the most firepower and the one bombing its own cities. So Asad is a creating a swamp for his own government? Making it unmanageable means it will be unmanageable for him and his government, meaning they have already given up any hope of putting the country back together, and ironically, forcing themselves out of the Syrian heartland.

This might be the case, but it would only make sense if Asad and his followers were indeed planning a separate coastal retreat. Prof. Landis has argued before that an Alawi state would be untenable. Does that mean it will be an “Alawistan” enclave like “Maronistan” in Lebanon, one where the law cannot reach them? And then they would join a federal Syria with a weak central government?

The truth, it’s hard to know what these guys are planning because their “Goetterdaemmerung”-style, to go out in a ball of flames, seems suicidal to me, unless they really think they can crush the opposition (which seems impossible now) It’s certainly hard to discern a rational strategy.

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August 11th, 2012, 5:53 am

 
 
 

104. Ales said:

Intelligence services say to public what further interest of their countries.

They are posting and monitoring this blog too.

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August 11th, 2012, 7:26 am

 

105. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

“Moderation” equals censorship and silencing.
Good riddance!
.

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August 11th, 2012, 7:34 am

 

106. Syrialover said:

# 91. Altair

Good comment. Also, Lebanon’s outcomes were distorted by the ongoing occupation by Syria, and although Iraq is usually discussed in terms of American interference, Iran was actually an equally significant factor and is now dominant there.

I would also argue Syrians are culturally different from both.

And as you point out, the situation of a country being smashed and burned by its internal government has no parallel.

Another driver for Syrians to regroup and get things ticking over from the centre is the fact so much of Syria’s employment and business is linked to government. It’s also going to be crucial for attracting post-crisis reconstruction assistance and investment.

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August 11th, 2012, 7:40 am

 

107. Syrialover said:

Amir in Tel Aviv said (#94) said:

“Moderation” equals censorship and silencing.

No it doesn’t. It means keeping this forum from being trashed and overrun by tantrum throwers and unbalanced and strange internet lurkers.

This forum is very generous, tolerant and open to all comers.

In return for that policy, those who run this blog have a right to keep it to certain norms and standard and control anonymous outsiders who want to hijack it to serve their own often crazy agendas. Otherwise it will continue to deteriorate and be abandoned by serious followers.

More to the point, it’s completely unnecessary for the moderator to pay attention to criticism and hassling by those who have been regulated.

Those people who get politely reined in are getting feedback on being inappropriate (ie how they appear to others), and they are free to re-state their arguments in civil and rational terms.

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August 11th, 2012, 8:13 am

 

108. Syria no Kandahar said:

أحقر وانذل إرهابيين في تاريخ البشرية
خنازير الوهابيه
Freedom fighters supported by the west

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August 11th, 2012, 8:26 am

 

109. Observer said:

Bronco
DeClerq stepped down and resigned and admitted the end of the apartheid regime why not the same for Syria?

Rumors are rife about many things from the stealing of organs to defections and I did point out my doubt until proven about the news that I read.

The point though is that if these rumors run amok then we will have many reasons for revenge and the cycle of violence will descend into hell.

Finally once again you refuse to address the issues I raised
1. The regime is incapable of reform and
2. If reform were to occur it would mean the end of the regime

If you do not agree then there is no point in any discussion you are 100% pro regime in my opinion.

As for Yugoslavia model I think it is much more likely than the one in South Africa and this is because there is no such thing as a Syrian National Identity that supersedes all and draws all the factions into buying into this entity. The divide and conquer policies of the last 40 years are coming home to roost.

Question for all on this blog
Do you consider yourself first as
1. Syrian
2. Arab Syrian
3. Christian Syrian
4. Sunni Syrian
5. Alawi Syrian
6. Kurdish Syrian
7. Purely based on your religion ethnicity sect

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August 11th, 2012, 8:36 am

 

110. irritated said:

#86 SL

Everyday they are more FSA dirty little stories of abductions, summary execution and tortures now officially reported in the media since the journalists are ‘allowed’ among the rebels.
Instead of government initiated massacres they are witnessing rebels initiated massacres. I guess their presence will not be tolerated long if they keep on reporting the excesses of the fighters for ‘justice’

Are we switching for organized thugs we know to disorganized thugs we don’t know?

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August 11th, 2012, 8:41 am

 

111. bronco said:

97. Observer

You agenda is clear from day one:
- You don’t believe in a Syrian identity
- Syria is an artificial country
- Syria should be divided according to ethnicity and religion
- That is not the consequence of the rebellion, but the real cause.

I believe the exact opposite.
There is no point in arguing anymore, as all your argumentation supposedly criticizing the regime is simply aimed at your agenda.
I guess among the opposition, we have many adepts. Enjoy.

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August 11th, 2012, 8:52 am

 

112. Citizen said:

96. SYRIA NO KANDAHAR
محمد مماد ليس نسيم دنيا و من الكنية مماد يبدو أنه كردي و من لهجة القتلة هذا ريف شمالي حلب ! لا تعليق على فظاعة الفيديو !

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August 11th, 2012, 8:52 am

 

113. ann said:

Qatar offered Syrian ambassador $5.8mn for defection – report – 11 August, 2012

Qatar’s ambassador in Mauritania allegedly offered his Syrian counterpart an advance payment of US$1 million and a monthly salary of $20,000 over 20 years, trying to convince the diplomat to defect and voice support for the opposition.

Hamad Seed Albni was also offered a permanent residence in the Qatari capital Doha, but refused the proposition, claims Lebanese-based Al-Manar TV. The diplomat reportedly called the offer a “blatant interference” in Syria’s affairs and warned not to come up with such initiatives anymore.

Bashar al-Assad’s government has endured a number of high-profile defections recently. Diplomats representing Syria in the United Arab Emirates and Iraq, Abdel Latif al-Dabbagh and Nawaf al-Fares, abandoned their positions and so did the country’s Prime Minister Riyad Hijab. The officials explained their defections, saying they could not work for a regime oppressing its own people

[...]

http://www.rt.com/news/syria-ambassador-qatar-defection-421/

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August 11th, 2012, 8:57 am

 

114. bronco said:

#83 Katamon

“However, Assad is more completely reliant on both Iran and Russia.”

Saudia Arabia and the GCC have been completely reliant on the USA for decades. Their whole country is managed and protected by the USA.

Yet for Syria it is new, as it was self-reliant and debt-free for decades.

Instead this new reliance could be seem as a positive and effective factor to pressure the regime for reforms and political transition to a more democratic system.

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August 11th, 2012, 9:01 am

 

115. ann said:

Syria’s new PM sworn in before president Assad – 2012-08-11

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/photo/2012-08/11/c_131778368_3.htm

DAMASCUS, Aug. 11 (Xinhua) — Syria’s newly appointed Prime Minister Wael al-Halki was sworn in Saturday before the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the state-run SANA news agency said.

Assad appointed al-Halki Thursday after sacking the former breakaway Prime Minister Riad Hijab, who defected last Sunday and sought refuge in Jordan.

Halki, a 48-year-old gynecologist, acted as secretary-general of the Baath party’s branch in the southern Daraa province between 2000 and 2004. He was appointed as head of the doctors’ syndicate in 2010 and later served as health minister.

[...]

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-08/11/c_131778217.htm

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August 11th, 2012, 9:05 am

 

116. Norman said:

With the people of Syria having no concern of their fellow Syrians, Syria lacks the qualities to be one nation, so does Lebanon and Iraq, the question about having one Syria with people hating each other or dividing it into states, that makes me think of marriages, would it better for the children if the parents who hate each other stay together for the sake of the children or would it be better if they get divorce,

If we look at history and i don’t mean recent history but the old Aramaic history, Syria had city states and will probably return to that,

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August 11th, 2012, 9:05 am

 

117. irritated said:

101. ann

Qatar’s foreign diplomacy: show them the money.

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August 11th, 2012, 9:08 am

 

118. Observer said:

Irritated
you say that the FSA are now conducting abductions and practicing torture and that the people will not tolerate this much longer. I agree and the people will then revolt and go on to demonstrate and demand justice and the FSA will then attack the demonstrators and the people will then bear arms to overthrow the tyranny of the FSA. Well this is exactly what has happened over the last 18 months in Syria.
Bronco
I will answer and tell you that I for one consider myself
Arab first and Syrian second even though my ancestors are a melange of ethnic groups and the difference between my Arab identity and Syrian one is very thin and narrow for I grew up with the true feeling that Syria is the Arab nation’s beating heart.
However like Majbali I do recognize that the policies and events of the last forty years including the events of the 80′s have fractured the country.

Luxembourg demanded to separate from Belgium and it was done peacefully without bloodshed; the same can be done with regard to Alawis and Kurds and Druze.
This is how it works and I will spell it for you
You have an apple and I have a knife and we wish to share the apple, I cut the apple and you choose the first piece. This is the essence of how to start the separation negotiation.

As for the accusation that I wish the break up of the country that is not true, like Majbali I think the countries in the ME are non viable and the 21st century will witness the redrawing of artificial borders inherited from the colonials.

I am for all of the regions of the ME to federate and create a union that is economic and cultural and religious and leave politics out of it.

As a matter of fact when people ask me where are you from I say I am from Damascus not from Syria or Lebanon for I do not recognize those borders in the first place. In this I am exactly like Hassan Nasrallah and Aytalloh Khomeni and alas Usama Ben Laden but also Michel Aflak and Bitar and the late Hafez and the late Saddam. All wanted this unity without borders and all with their corruption of power have screwed up royally.

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August 11th, 2012, 9:10 am

 

119. Citizen said:

Some info about NATO’s Secret Armies
In 1990, alarming evidence of NATO-sponsored terrorist attacks came to light. This is the shocking story of Operation Gladio; a tale of espionage, conspiracy and political violence
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/07/09/18653266.php

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August 11th, 2012, 9:11 am

 

120. bronco said:

104. Norman

Al countries will different religion and ethnicity go through such crisis. If you logic is true, why didn’t the USA split officially between Black, White and Latino states?
I think the Syrians have a strong common identity, despite the ethnical and religious differences. This is why these countries are unique and multicolored.

It is certainly harder to live with people with differences but ultimately it enriched the country in its diversity. Sharing of power and a good economical system can make this coexistence a rich experience. That’s what Syria must achieve.
Syria needs a marriage counselor, not a divorce

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August 11th, 2012, 9:18 am

 

121. Tara said:

An OB/GYN doctor as a thug PM. An ophthalmologist thug and now a GYN thug. That is creepy.

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August 11th, 2012, 9:18 am

 

122. Syrialover said:

#98 Irritated

Here’s a grown up reality to chew on and come to grips with: this is war.

People are fighting for their lives. Physically and emotionally.

And in Syria the rules and norms of this conflict have been set by Assad’s vicius and out of control state forces. Military forces that are doing something unprecedented: mass slaughtering citizens and smashing up the country they are meant to be serving.

Until you have actually physically fought in a war or been a victim of fullscale military attack you really don’t know anything about it.

You really don’t.

They are out exposed in a wild, raging ocean and the rest of us are sitting in a comfortable armchair in a calm, safe, position far inland.

The shame falls on those who are not comprehending their reality or even thinking about them at all, except to make debating points.

And shame beyond shame: debating points in support of the Assad regime.

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August 11th, 2012, 9:19 am

 

123. Observer said:

I agree with Norman that city states will be a realistic outcome of that.

One more point

The mirror image of Wahabi Takfiri Salfist racism is the Baath Party Secular Fundamentalist racism. They are mirror images of each other and both create hatred and violence without bounds be it the use of chemical weapons on the Kurds or the the leveling off of Hama and now Homs today.

By the way the first to use chemical weapons in the ME is Winston Churchill in Iraq in 1920 and when objections were raised he was surprised that anyone would care about the “savages of the marshes” being bombed with chemical weapons.

For your information Irritated the 1920 revolt by the Iraqis was to protest heavy taxation by the Brits. Something we are seeing today in Syria.

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August 11th, 2012, 9:23 am

 

124. Norman said:

Observer,

You know that i happen to be Christian Syrian orthodox, but i consider myself first as

Syrian Arab, I do that because i feel with my fellow Syrians and Arabs more than i feel with Christians from the West, and that is what Arab nationalism is.

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August 11th, 2012, 9:24 am

 

125. bronco said:

#106 Observer

Maybe late in the 21th, who knows? For our generation this is science fiction.

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August 11th, 2012, 9:25 am

 

126. bronco said:

112. Norman

I guess that for Observer who denies a common identity for the Syrians, you are an oddity.
I am sure there are dozen of millions of oddities like you in Syria.

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August 11th, 2012, 9:28 am

 

127. Syrialover said:

Hey Bronco (#108), I agree with you!

It’s a strange feeling.

And Observer (#106), I find it hard to buy into your pessimistic scenario. Again, the opposite to how I usually react to your excellent comments.

This forum is confusing me. I need to go and look at http://www.aljazeera.net/defectortracker or something to clear my head.

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August 11th, 2012, 9:29 am

 

128. ann said:

Military showdown continues in Syria’s Aleppo, Damascus’ suburb – 2012-08-11

DAMASCUS, Aug. 11 (Xinhua) — Military showdown between the armed insurgents and the Syrian troops have continued Saturday, mainly in northern Aleppo and a Damascus’ suburb.

Syrian troops continued their pursuit of armed insurgent groups at several districts in the northern province of Aleppo, state media said, adding that the troops have cleared the square of al- Mashhad district from “terrorist mercenaries.”

The official news agency SANA said an RPG shell launched by an armed group fell on Bawabet al-Qassab area in Aleppo and caused damages to the Armenian Orthodox archbishopric. It added that the armed groups suffered a shortage of ammunition following the Syrian army’s success in besieging them and destroying their headquarters and arsenals.

In Homs province, SANA said the Syrian forces clashed with an armed group in al-Sultaniya area in the city’s outskirts and killed all their members.

Also in Homs, 10 people of one family were killed in al-Dmeineh al-Sharqiya village on Friday when armed groups launched missiles and mortar shells on the village and hit their house.

In the southern province of Daraa, SANA said that the Syrian forces chased armed groups in Izraa, Dael and Bassra al-Shar and killed and wounded several terrorists.

Also in al-Tal, four staffers of the pro-government al-Ekhbaria TV were kidnapped Friday while covering the military operation in parts of the area.

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

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

[...]

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-08/11/c_131778195.htm

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August 11th, 2012, 9:30 am

 

129. ann said:

Prof. Landis, I have a post in the SPAM Que :D

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August 11th, 2012, 9:32 am

 

130. Citizen said:

http://www.japanfocus.org/-Peter_Dale-Scott/3578
America is in the midst of an unprecedented budget crisis, brought on in large part by its multiple wars. Nevertheless it is also on the point of several further interventions: in Yemen, Somalia, possibly Syria or Iran (where the CIA is said to be in contact with the drug-trafficking al-Qaeda offshoot Jundallah),68 and most assuredly in Libya.
Only the American public can stop them. But in order for the people to rise up and cry Stop! there must first be a better understanding of the dark alliances underlying America’s alleged humanitarian interventions.
This awareness may increase when Americans finally realize that there is domestic blowback from assisting terrorists as well. The long elaborate dance between Mohamed and his Justice Department overseers makes it clear that the handling of terrorists for corrupt purposes corrupts the handlers as well as the terrorists. Eventually both the handlers and the handled become in effect co-conspirators, with secrets about their collusion both parties need to conceal.
Until the public takes notice, that concealment of collusion will continue. And as long as it continues, we will continue to be denied the truth about what collusions underlay 9/11.
Worse, we are likely to see more terrorist attacks, at home as well as abroad, along with more illegal, costly, and unnecessary wars.

Peter Dale Scott, a former Canadian diplomat and English Professor at the University of California

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August 11th, 2012, 9:35 am

 

131. Syrialover said:

Now here’s a mysterious mystery.

I have now put in two separate comments about the SC moderator situation (both actually pro-moderator and criticizing the critics), but neither have appeared.

I wonder if this will.

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August 11th, 2012, 9:35 am

 

132. irritated said:

#110 SL

People are fighting for their lives. Physically and emotionally.

I guess all your reasoning applies also the soldiers of the Syrian army. Or you consider them as insensitive robots?

There is a difference of being in an attack and killing in cold blood individuals or whole families in a revenge frenzy.
Thugs are the ones who couldn’t care less about justice as they think they own the truth.
If there are many of these among the supporters of the regime, there seem to be proportionally as much among the FSA.

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August 11th, 2012, 9:41 am

 

133. Citizen said:

the moderation pushing to be nervous!

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August 11th, 2012, 9:42 am

 

134. Norman said:

Bronco,Observer,

The US is going to have a problem in the future if it does not find a way to integrate the Latino and diverse where they live, they concentrate in California and the southern states, they are keeping their language and sooner or later the US will not have the quality of a nation state, as more and more of these Latino have more affinity to Mexico than to the US ,

When Syrians push out of Damascus neighbourhood Alawat and people from the country side as not local, i see a major problem that some people think already of segregation instead of integration,
Free movement and anti discrimination laws in housing so people can be denied housing for their religion or ethnic background is essential for one state, Syria does not have this and does not have anti discrimination laws in employment so people can find jobs and settle in other areas than where they were born, registration where people live is essential to participate in their local decision making and decentralization so the people can rule themselves,

Observer, the problem withe Baath party is that it fell in the trap of one party system that attract opportunists and profiteers and deny good people from joining a corrupt system.

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August 11th, 2012, 9:43 am

 

135. ann said:

U.S., Turkey worry about possible chemical attack in Syria – 2012-08-11

ISTANBUL, Aug. 11 (Xinhua) — Visiting U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Saturday they are worried about a possible chemical weapons attack by the Syrian regime against the opposition.

The two officials made the remarks at a press conference shortly after their meeting in Istanbul, noting that the two countries are ready to intensify their coordination and work together for the worst scenarios in Syria.

“We have serious concerns about the possibility that Syrian government forces could use chemical weapons,” Davutoglu said.

The United States and Turkey will set up a working group to respond to the crisis in Syria as situation deteriorate there, they said.

The group will coordinate in the fields of military and intelligence and make political responses to the potential fallout in case of chemical attack, which would result in medical emergencies and a likely rise in the number of refugees fleeing Syria.

[...]

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-08/11/c_131778466.htm

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August 11th, 2012, 10:00 am

 

136. Syrialover said:

Observer #111.

Chemical weapons were introduced and used in a big way by Germany against its European opponents on the battlefields of the first World War.

There was no formal international condemnation of chemical weapons until the mid-1920s.

As a result of those treaties, chemical weapons were then not used again in combat, including during WWII, until the 1980s when Saddam Hussein used them on a large scale against Iran and then the Kurds.

There is also a strong case made by some that these were also used in the Syrian Hama massacre of 1982.

This is why chemical weapons are now seen as more likely to be used by Middle Eastern dictators than anywhere else in the world.

Ugly and very scary, isn’t it.

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August 11th, 2012, 10:06 am

 

137. ann said:

Hillary Clinton puts forward U.S. priorities in tackling Syrian crisis – 2012-08-11

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

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August 11th, 2012, 10:13 am

 

138. Syrialover said:

# 118. Irritated

What I say also applies to the ordinary soldiers serving in the Syrian army.

I have enormous sympathy and concern for them, and have expressed this repeatedly on this forum.

This conflict is a terrible experience that their criminal and lunatic “leaders”, or rather self-appointed owners, have inflicted on their lives.

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August 11th, 2012, 10:16 am

 

139. Tara said:

I would like Ambassador Ford to be the next Secretary of State.

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August 11th, 2012, 10:17 am

 

140. bronco said:

120. Norman

Syria has a background of mixed religions and ethnicity. Contrary to the USA and most immigration countries, the Syrian society is not a country of immigration, thus it is culturally cohesive and tolerant.

Yet recently, the Islamist culture imported by Syrians working in the Gulf have started to grow and is looking for a place in Syria.
As their tenets are opposed by many Syrians’ and by the government, the antagonism became more apparent. It is a new phenomenon for Syria. Being an ‘alien’ culture, it can threaten the equilibrium of the country.
In my view, this is the main challenge of Syria: How to deal with this Islamist culture sneaking in the country? Tame it? oppose it? Destroy it? As this culture is finding some echos among sunni Moslems, it is very hard to deal with it efficiently without hurting the feelings of the average sunni.
If the Christian and Shia presence in Lebanon have denied the prominence of Islamists sunnis, in Syria, the Christian, Alawite, Kurds and Druze presence are doing the same.
If these communities influences weaken, the door will be open to Islamists to claim proeminence in Syria with little resistance from the other confused Sunnis.
These are some of the hidden challenges of the present war in Syria.

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August 11th, 2012, 10:20 am

 

141. Syrialover said:

#125 Tara

Yeah, me too. Ford would be very Syria-aware and supportive to the legitimate government that replaces the illegitimate one Syria has been suffering for 42 years.

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August 11th, 2012, 10:22 am

 

142. Tara said:

SL,

Plus he is humane, kind, and with completely different and innovative style than any other American Ambassador. He would make a great Secretary of State.

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August 11th, 2012, 10:25 am

 

143. omen said:

frederick douglas: Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are people who want crops without ploughing the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning; they want the ocean without the roar of its many waters. The struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, or it may be both. But it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.

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August 11th, 2012, 10:29 am

 

144. irritated said:

They seem so happy and relaxed taking about chemical weapons: Miss Piggy went to her turkish hairdresser and took her botox shot

Syria must not become a haven for PKK: Clinton

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/images/news/201208/n_27582_4.jpg

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August 11th, 2012, 10:35 am

 

145. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Your daily Amid and Akid
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9oEHe-HzjcU
.

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August 11th, 2012, 10:35 am

 

146. Ghufran said:

وقع الطلاق النهائي بين المجالس العسكرية التي تشرف على القتال في الأراضي السورية، وقيادة ميليشيا الجيش السوري الحر المتواجدة في المخيمات بمدينة هاتاي التركية، بعد إصدار المجلس العسكري في مدينة حمص وريفها بيانا يشير إلى أن “المجلس العسكري هو المظلة الثورية الضامنة لأهداف الثورة، والتأكيد على ضرروة العمل المشترك بين جميع الكتائب ضمن إطار المجالس العسكرية من أجل التصدي للإنتهازيين الذين سيحاولون الإستيلاء على الثورة بعد سقوط النظام”.

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August 11th, 2012, 10:37 am

 

147. Syrialover said:

Irritated,

Perhaps Syrian-people-hating Bashar Assad could try botox to stop his head getting smaller and smaller.

Those latest photos with his Iranian buddies reveal it’s definitely shrinking.

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August 11th, 2012, 10:38 am

 

148. habib said:

126. bronco

Apart from obvious Palestinians, Syria does actually have a recent history of immigration, many Sunni families were settled in Syria by the Ottomans (partially to counter the Shias), and many Christians, mainly Armenians, fled to Syria from Turkish persecution after WW1.

Not to mention Kurds, Circassians and Greeks.

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August 11th, 2012, 10:40 am

 

149. Citizen said:

NATO exercises “Sea Breeze” in Ukraine, the Syrian crisis and Russia’s role – expert opinion
http://translate.google.de/translate?hl=de&sl=ru&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fnovoross.info%2Fpolitiks%2F13326-natovskie-ucheniya-si-briz-na-ukraine-siriyskiy-krizis-i-rol-rossii-vzglyad-eksperta.html
Operation Center at the Heart of Sea Breeze 2012

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August 11th, 2012, 10:50 am

 

150. ann said:

Photos of U.S. new military airships disclosed – 2012-08-11

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/photo/2012-08/11/c_131777840_2.htm

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August 11th, 2012, 10:51 am

 

151. zoo said:

Those who would like Assad to fall are now confronted with the old Machiavelli vs. Kant philosophical dilemma: does the end justify the means or do the means determine the end? A comprehensive study, published by Columbia University Press and analyzing dozens of past cases, suggests that the latter is true.

It indicates that if a dictator is overthrown through peaceful struggle, there is a 51 percent chance of a successful democratic transition after five years. In case of an armed struggle, the chances are only three percent.

http://www.bitterlemons-international.org/inside.php?id=1491

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August 11th, 2012, 10:57 am

 

152. Citizen said:

Syrian opposition in Germany, learned the basics of building democracy
More than 40 leaders of the opposition movement Syria participated in the workshop, which aimed at training in the construction of democracy.

According to RBC, the event was classified a few days ago in Berlin. But the press still leaked information about the lectures, which listened to the representatives of the Syrian protest movement.

According to the Israeli publication Haaretz, the Syrian opposition, in particular, became acquainted with the German experience in reforming the security services, visit the agency, which is the successor to the famous “Stasi” – the GDR’s secret police.

The mystery – a mystery, and the German Foreign Ministry confirmed the trainings.

“This is our clearly expressed political line – to promote understanding within the Syrian opposition and ensure that its personnel is becoming more professional,” – said the representative office, while stressing that Germany is not the organizer of the program.

According to the magazine, helping the Syrian opposition in learning the basics of building democracy in one country has a U.S. Institute of Peace, the U.S. State Department and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland. Germany is involved with the project only as an observer.

According to one of those responsible for conducting training Heydemanna Stephen, the purpose of training future leaders of the Syrian – they are learning how to avoid the chaos immediately after the fall of the Assad regime. In connection with this program was a resounding name of “The next day, assistance in the transition to democracy, Syria.
http://translate.google.de/translate?hl=de&sl=ru&tl=en&u=http://www.km.ru/world/2012/07/28/siriiskii-krizis/siriiskaya-oppozitsiya-nauchilas-v-germanii-azam-stroitelstva-demo

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August 11th, 2012, 11:00 am

 

153. ann said:

Clashes erupt near UN observers’ hotel in Damascus – RT report – 11 August, 2012

More clashes and street fighting are being reported in Syria’s capital. RT’s Oksana Boyko reports of “new intense clashes being heard” in Damascus “just outside the steps of the hotel UN observers are staying at.”

Boyko reports “shelling right next to Four Seasons [hotel] in Damascus”, which is just some 200 meters away from where the UN monitors are accommodated.

The explosion, which caused no casualties, went off about 100 meters away from the Four Seasons.

Gunmen simultaneously detonated two roadside bombs and clashed with police in central Damascus, AP reports.

RT’s Boyko correspondent on the ground in Damascus also tweeted about “several explosive devices detonated in central Damascus,” adding that they were “small enough to kill, but big enough to spread panic.”

One of the blasts went off in central Damascus’ Marjeh district, on a major square in downtown, when an explosive device planted under a tree was detonated by remote control as a vehicle carrying soldiers passed by, the Associated Press reported referring to an official at the scene.

Local state-run SANA news agency reports gunmen opened fire on civilians “to provoke panic” after that attack.

The other explosion went off near Tishrin Stadium, less than a kilometer away from the first one, SANA reported.

There are also “reports of militants targeting Parliament building in the center of Damascus,” RT’s Boyko says.

[...]

http://www.rt.com/news/syria-clashes-un-damascus-431/

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August 11th, 2012, 11:08 am

 

154. Norman said:

Bronco,

I wish i could agree with you, but Syrians have conflicting loyalties, between Islamic Nation, Arab Nation, Syrian Nation and their local cities, it is hard to find one loyalty that they agree on , many Sunni thinks that you have to be Muslim to have equal rights and the extreme of them thinks that Alawi should go back to the mountains and go back to be the servants in the Sunni families houses, many of them have more affinity to a Muslim in Kashmir and the US and want equal rights for him while denying the same for their fellow Christian Syrian, the problems that Syria has and was suppressed by the secular Baath party, the crises is making these feeling more obvious with killing people for their ethnic or religious association.

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August 11th, 2012, 11:11 am

 

155. omen said:

Two prominent Shiite clerics in Lebanon, Mohammad Hassan al-Amin and Hani Fahs, issued a joint statement on Thursday calling on Lebanon’s Shiites to support the popular uprising in neighboring Syria.

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August 11th, 2012, 11:11 am

 

156. jna said:

“I love the pure, peaceable, and impartial Christianity of Christ: I therefore hate the corrupt, slaveholding, women-whipping, cradle-plundering, partial and hypocritical Christianity of the land. Indeed, I can see no reason, but the most deceitful one, for calling the religion of this land Christianity. I look upon it as the climax of all misnomers, the boldest of all frauds, and the grossest of all libels. Never was there a clearer case of ‘stealing the livery of the court of heaven to serve the devil in.’ I am filled with unutterable loathing when I contemplate the religious pomp and show, together with the horrible inconsistencies, which every where surround me. We have men-stealers for ministers, women-whippers for missionaries, and cradle-plunderers for church members. The man who wields the blood-clotted cowskin during the week fills the pulpit on Sunday, and claims to be a minister of the meek and lowly Jesus. . . . The slave auctioneer’s bell and the church-going bell chime in with each other, and the bitter cries of the heart-broken slave are drowned in the religious shouts of his pious master. Revivals of religion and revivals in the slave-trade go hand in hand together. The slave prison and the church stand near each other. The clanking of fetters and the rattling of chains in the prison, and the pious psalm and solemn prayer in the church, may be heard at the same time. The dealers in the bodies and souls of men erect their stand in the presence of the pulpit, and they mutually help each other. The dealer gives his blood-stained gold to support the pulpit, and the pulpit, in return, covers his infernal business with the garb of Christianity. Here we have religion and robbery the allies of each other—devils dressed in angels’ robes, and hell presenting the semblance of paradise.”
― Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

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August 11th, 2012, 11:11 am

 

157. bronco said:

134. habib

I agree. Yet there is another sort of “immigration” to Syria. It is the religious ideology brought by the Syrians workers coming from Saudi Arabia and the GCC where Islamism is flourishing together with a rich economy. It is easy for them to associate these two especially as the economy of Syria is not in a good shape.
I am convinced that for many poor Syrians, beyond the cliche of freedom and justice, they believe that in an Islamist Syria they’ll be richer.

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August 11th, 2012, 11:14 am

 

158. Ghufran said:

علمت صحيفة “الحياة” أن “مساعد الامين العام للامم المتحدة جيفري فيلتمان أجرى مشاورات مع السفير السوري في الأمم المتحدة بشار الجعفري تناولت احتمال اختيار الأخضر الإبراهيمي خلفاً لكوفي أنان، وأن الحكومة السورية لم تحدد موقفها بعد حيال تعيينه”.

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August 11th, 2012, 11:15 am

 

159. ann said:

Govt troops regain control of Aleppo – 11 August, 2012

­The Syrian army says its forces have also taken control of a large part of the central neighborhood of Bab al-Hadid in Aleppo.

Syrian troops and rebels fought fierce battles earlier on Friday.

Government troops have managed to repel a rebel attack on Aleppo’s international airport, state news agency SANA reported. Free Syrian Army fighters had tried to attack it, blocked the road leading to the air hub, but the “army hit back and killed most of them.”

[...]

http://www.rt.com/news/syria-clashes-un-damascus-431/

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August 11th, 2012, 11:16 am

 

160. bronco said:

140. Norman

If the Baath ideology has imposed by force on them a common world view, it is natural that now, as the grip has fallen, that they realize and focus more on their differences.
Yet ultimately they can and will discover by themselves more what they have in common than what separates them.
This bloodbath can be seem as a temporary catharsis or all sorts of repressed frustrations. Its duration and its aftermath may bring back the Syrians together, like the civil war brought the Lebanese together.
I think they have much to loose if they split and with time passing, they are increasingly aware that they are alone to solve their problems.
Call me optimistic…

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August 11th, 2012, 11:27 am

 

161. Citizen said:

Qatar offered Syrian ambassador $5.8mn for defection – report
http://www.rt.com/news/syria-ambassador-qatar-defection-421/
Qatar’s ambassador in Mauritania allegedly offered his Syrian counterpart an advance payment of US$1 million and a monthly salary of $20,000 over 20 years, trying to convince the diplomat to defect and voice support for the opposition.
Hamad Seed Albni was also offered a permanent residence in the Qatari capital Doha, but refused the proposition, claims Lebanese-based Al-Manar TV. The diplomat reportedly called the offer a “blatant interference” in Syria’s affairs and warned not to come up with such initiatives anymore.
Bashar al-Assad’s government has endured a number of high-profile defections recently. Diplomats representing Syria in the United Arab Emirates and Iraq, Abdel Latif al-Dabbagh and Nawaf al-Fares, abandoned their positions and so did the country’s Prime Minister Riyad Hijab. The officials explained their defections, saying they could not work for a regime oppressing its own people..

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August 11th, 2012, 11:28 am

 

162. Citizen said:

“The West is smelling blood right now because of the recent events, including the fleeing of the prime minister. What the Clinton administration [sic] is trying to do right now is try to coordinate some sort of military approach with Turkey and possibly also with the help of Israel and other Atab countries because they feel the opposition has a chance to retain its stronghold in Aleppo,

US and Turkey to consider no-fly zones for Syria
http://www.rt.com/news/clinton-turkey-syria-damascus-aleppo-437/

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August 11th, 2012, 11:32 am

 

163. omen said:


Around noon
yesterday, the first such attack was launched on a prison near central Aleppo. Rebels claim the two-hour fight for control of the facility led to the deaths of guards and freedom for many inmates, some of whom then quickly joined their ranks.

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August 11th, 2012, 11:36 am

 

164. zoo said:

Jordanian minister denies Farouk al Shara defection

Amman – Osama Al Rantissi
Saturday, 11 August 2012 14:29 GMT
A Jordanian minister who wished to remain anonymous has told Arabstoday that there is no truth to reports by the Now TV satellite channel on Syrian Vice President Farouk al Shara’s alleged defection from the Syrian regime.
The television report said al Shara had fled for neighbouring Jordan, along with a number of Syrian officers.

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August 11th, 2012, 11:37 am

 

165. Syria no Kandahar said:

Analyzing Syria is always very complicated but this is the theory I believe is going on:
It is very clear that the intentions of all the major opposition supported external players is to divide Syria into states,but they want to do that very slowly,that way it comes as a reality factامر واقع at the end of this game.i think if the intention is to bring down the regime or kill the president,that could have been done in one month,we all know that.same thing if the intention was to let the terrorists and wahabists and the 1% none terrorists revolutionists win that could have been done a while ago,by supporting them by real actions not by hot air.so what really is being done
Is making Syrians (all Syrians ) bleed and sophicate slowly until the Syrian state body gets dismembered into pieces.

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August 11th, 2012, 11:38 am

 

166. zoo said:

The Syrian Spillover
Is anyone prepared for the unintended consequences of the war for Syria?
BY DANIEL L. BYMAN, KENNETH M. POLLACK | AUGUST 10, 2012

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/08/10/the_syrian_spillover

The Syrian civil war has gone from bad to worse, with casualties mounting and horrors multiplying. Civil wars like Syria’s are obviously tragedies for the countries they consume, but they can also be catastrophes for their neighbors. Long-lasting and bloody civil wars often overflow their borders, spreading war and misery.

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August 11th, 2012, 11:40 am

 

167. omen said:

150. zoo, i thought i read he was under house arrest.

snk: Syrian state body gets dismembered into pieces.

but it’s the apologists who call for a separate alawite state.

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August 11th, 2012, 11:40 am

 

168. Ales said:

Chemical weapons are just like other weapons, used to kill and scare. Israel had nuclear weapons, so Syria got chemical weapons as a mean of deterrence, using same “no mention” policy. In last time, these weapons are discussed only because they are now also deterrence against foreign plots ala No-Fly-Zone.

USA-Turkey is not concerned about Syrians (or human rights or anything touted at UN meetings), but about what could happen to Turkey and NATO military bases if they used for establishing no fly zone.

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August 11th, 2012, 11:40 am

 

169. Syria no Kandahar said:

Omen said:
Inmates joined the rebels.
Killers joined killers.

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August 11th, 2012, 11:43 am

 

170. zoo said:

Omen
house arrest
It was a rumor, some zealous TV decided to spread another one.
False news are flying high.

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August 11th, 2012, 11:44 am

 

171. bronco said:

138. Citizen said:

Syrian opposition in Germany

You mean the expats who are ready to return to manage the country after having watched from their comfortable homes the killings and destruction?
Will they be tolerated by the Syrians who were on the ground suffering? I doubt.

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August 11th, 2012, 12:04 pm

 

172. omen said:

the regime continues to stand because of sunni support.

The difference between a trickle of defections and a division or battalion changing sides could tip the scales in favour of the opposition, says Wayne White of the Washington-based Middle East Institute.

But the absence of mass army defections shows there are “still a sufficient number of Sunni Arabs throwing their lot in with the regime.”
“Of the officers above rank of colonel, I estimate that two thirds are not Alawites,” White says.

According to a Lebanese security official, there are about 1,200 brigadier generals in the Syrian army, and only about 40 have defected. In contrast, there are only about 100 senior-ranking generals, all of who remain loyal.

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August 11th, 2012, 12:08 pm

 

173. zoo said:

Syria and the Invisible Hand of Foreign Intervention

Eric S. Margolis
|
August 10, 2012

http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/syria-the-invisible-hand-foreign-intervention-7318?page=1

The Polish Zionist ideologue Vladimir Jabotinsky, the father of Israel’s right wing, observed nearly a century ago that much of the Arab world was a fragile mosaic. A few sharp blows, he wrote, would cause it to shatter, leaving Israel the region’s dominant power. Jabotinsky may have been right.

Even if the Bashar al-Assad regime manages to hang on in Syria, that country’s economy is being wrecked, its people driven into poverty and neighbors tempted to intervene. Israel just threatened to attack Syria’s modest store of chemical weapons. Turkey is stumbling into the morass, egged on by the Saudis and Gulf Arabs. Russia’s national prestige is increasingly involved in Syria—which is as close to its borders as northern Mexico is to the United States. Iran may yet get involved.
….
Fast-forward to today’s Syria. As a former soldier, I cannot believe that anti-Assad forces in Syria have made such great strides on their own. All armed forces require command and control, specialized training, communications and logistics. How have anti-Assad forces moved so quickly and pushed back Syria’s capable, well-equipped army? Where does all their ammo come from? Who is supplying all those modern assault rifles with optical sights?

Other unverified reports from the Mideast suggest that the U.S. mercenary firm formerly known as Blackwater (it recently changed its name to Academi) is training Syrian rebels in Turkey, moving in veteran mercenaries from Iraq, where there were once fifty thousand U.S.-paid private soldiers, and sending combat units into Syria.

Antiregime groups such as the Free Syrian Army probably would be ineffective without some kind of covert Western support. Whether they can grasp power from the jihadis who now dominate the streets remains to be seen. This gambit worked in Libya—at least so far. Syria, in contrast, is a very complex nation whose modern era has been marked by instability and coups.

After overthrowing one Syrian government in the late 1940s, Washington wisely backed off from Syria. Now it may get drawn back into the vortex of one of the Mideast’s most difficult nations.

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August 11th, 2012, 12:09 pm

 

174. zoo said:

The rebels agenda matches one of the USA’s

The Realist Prism: Grateful or Not, Syrian Rebels Likely to Advance U.S. Interests
By Nikolas Gvosdev, on 10 Aug 2012,

http://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articles/12251/the-realist-prism-grateful-or-not-syrian-rebels-likely-to-advance-u-s-interests

..
America’s prime geopolitical objective in Syria is to break once and for all the alliance between the Assad regime and the Islamic Republic of Iran, which has allowed Tehran to extend its influence into Lebanon and, via Hezbollah, to threaten Israel itself. To this end, and despite the claims that Washington is “doing nothing” in Syria, the United States has been providing communications and logistical support to the opposition, while U.S. allies in the region have been providing them with funds and weaponry. But even if America did not lift a finger to help the rebels defeat Assad, any successor government in Damascus — especially one that represented the interests of the country’s Sunni majority — would move to terminate the alliance with Shiite Iran.

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August 11th, 2012, 12:13 pm

 

175. zoo said:

U.S. fears extremists could highjack goals of anti-Assad rebels
August 11, 2012 |

http://www.freep.com/article/20120811/NEWS07/308110055/U-S-fears-extremists-could-highjack-goals-of-anti-Assad-rebels

WASHINGTON — 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 that the terrorists could be establishing a foothold that would be hard to defeat if rebels eventually oust President Bashar Assad.

At least a couple hundred al-Qaida-linked militants already are operating in Syria, and their ranks are growing as foreign fighters stream into the 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 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 hard-line 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.

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August 11th, 2012, 12:16 pm

 

176. VISITOR said:

The details of Samaha arrest, interrogations and confessions,

http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/08/11/231675.html

No one from outside of Syria is plotting for sectarian upheavals or breakups. It is only the Nazi-like criminals occupying Damascus who are doing that.

But their plots will fail as this horrible plot has failed.

Those who are calling for such divisions on this blog are of the same caliber as the Nazi-like criminals occupying Damascus. And they too will fail.

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August 11th, 2012, 12:36 pm

 

177. zoo said:

Syria for dummies: Why Bashar is far from having lost. (In french)
By Fabrice Balanche, Syria specialist
10/08/2012

http://www.sudouest.fr/2012/08/10/la-syrie-pour-les-nuls-pourquoi-bachar-el-assad-est-loin-d-avoir-perdu-791752-4803.php#xtor=EPR-260-Newsletter-20120811-zone_info

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August 11th, 2012, 12:46 pm

 

178. omen said:

159. ZOO

margolis doesn’t utter a single word about the regime’s crimes against humanity.

if he’s so curious, he should get down on the ground to syria to see what is what.

Now it may get drawn back into the vortex of one of the Mideast’s most difficult nations.

hucksters work to cover up simple truths by creating complexities. either that or their vision is marred by ideological blinders. this situation couldn’t be any clearer: the world either tolerates genocide or it doesn’t.

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August 11th, 2012, 12:59 pm

 

179. bronco said:

#162 Visitor

While the anti-Syria Arab press is commenting and throwing accusations based on leaks of the interrogation of Michel Samaha, the foreign press is still cautiously waiting for the official results of the investigation before joining in.

In my view, this story has more ramifications than it appears.
It is certain that it could be big PR blow to the regime if it is proven that it was a government directed Syrian plot that Samaha was executing.

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August 11th, 2012, 1:00 pm

 

180. zoo said:

Omen

The world either tolerates genocide or it doesn’t.

The USA has a long history of genocide, starting with the american Indians and continuing with Hiroshima and Vietnam.

It is doing the same now in Afghanistan under a new label: “National Security”
It is not to give lessons to anyone.

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August 11th, 2012, 1:06 pm

 

181. irritated said:

Thumbs spamming has started, watch it in action!

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August 11th, 2012, 1:09 pm

 

182. omen said:

the u.s. doesn’t constitute the world.

zoo, so you’re voting pro genocide?

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August 11th, 2012, 1:11 pm

 

183. Citizen said:

Russia to US: You’re Breaking Up (Too)
• Alaska would revert to Russia, and Hawaii would become Chinese or Japanese.
• The West Coast (the three Pacific states, joined with Idaho, Nevada, Utah and Arizona in a Californian Republic), would fall to China or at least be under Chinese influence.
• A Texas Republic, which would also include New Mexico, Oklahoma and all the other traditionally southern states (except the Carolinas, the Virginias, Kentucky and Tennessee), would similarly be either directly or indirectly under the sway of Mexico.
• The aforementioned southern exceptions would join the northeastern states in forming a bloc that might join the European Union.
• The rest – all midwestern and western states – would be at Canada‘s mercy.
http://bigthink.com/strange-maps/379-russia-to-us-youre-breaking-up-too

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August 11th, 2012, 1:14 pm

 

184. zoo said:

As the Syrian army regains control of Aleppo using heavy weapons, the Turkish army got control of Semdinli in Hakkari province occupied by Turkish Kurd rebels( conveniently called Kurdish militants) using intensive bombing for 3 weeks.

Turkish forces end anti-PKK operation in Semdinli
Sat Aug 11, 2012 3:53pm GMT

http://af.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idAFBRE87A0AH20120811

HAKKARI, Turkey (Reuters) – Turkish armed forces have ended an almost three-week operation against Kurdish militants in the southeast region of Semdinli, bordering Iran and Iraq, and have killed “a large number” of fighters, the local governor said in a statement on Saturday.

Turkish jets have bombarded Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) positions around the mountainous region in one of most intense bouts of fighting in recent years in a decades-long conflict which has killed 40,000 people.

“The aerial-supported operations launched by our security forces on July 23, 2012 … were completed on August 11, 2012 morning,” said the governor’s office of Hakkari, the province where Semdinli is located.

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August 11th, 2012, 1:15 pm

 

185. Richard said:

KENNETH M. POLLACK has another thoughtful article on Syria:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/how-when-and-whether-to-end-the-war-in-syria/2012/08/10/6089d526-e0dd-11e1-a421-8bf0f0e5aa11_story.html

He seems to be saying that U.S. intervention of some sort is inevitable.

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August 11th, 2012, 1:22 pm

 

186. VISITOR said:

BRONCO,

Obviously, as a menhebek, you are not familiar with procedures regulating rule of law. So you jumped the gun into accusing a very well respected news organization, with dedicated reporters who often pay with their lives, of bias against the cronies occupying Damascus. Let me put it to you in plain Arabic. You only needed to read the title to know that these are no leaks and no rumors any longer,

القضاء اللبناني يتهم مدير الأمن القومي السوري علي المملوك بالتخطيط لارتكاب جنايات

You see when the judiciary moves, even in a dysfunctional state as in Lebanon, then invoking the mantra of rumors and leaks is no longer relevant.

So what are going to spin now? Israel supplied Samaha with the explosives and logistics to perform this heinous act?

Isn’t it becoming obvious that this despicable band of thugs and Nazi-like criminals occupying Damascus is behind all the sectarian violence that we witnessed first in Iraq and now in Syria not to mention the sectarian-instigated crimes committed in Lebanon over the last ten years?

What about this other source?

http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Politics/2012/Aug-11/184266-michel-samahas-case-referred-to-military-tribunal-over-terror-plot.ashx#axzz23G7f6uEk

This is even more detailed as it clearly says that the judge indicted Samaha along with the two Syrian Genrals, Mamlouk and Adnan.

You mean foreign press like SANA, Dunya, 3alam, RT, Xinhua, Press, atofindia? Right?

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August 11th, 2012, 1:24 pm

 

187. Citizen said:

170. RICHARD
what is the price issue?

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August 11th, 2012, 1:26 pm

 

188. VISITOR said:

Dear Administrator/Dr. Landis,

Why do I have a comment awaiting moderation?

Wasn’t moderation removed from this blog?

Besides this is not my first comment

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August 11th, 2012, 1:26 pm

 

189. VISITOR said:

So, I am posting again that same comment to make sure I didn’t type anything wrong like name or e-mail address.

……………………………..

164 BRONCO,

Obviously, as a menhebek, you are not familiar with procedures regulating rule of law. So you jumped the gun into accusing a very well respected news organization, with reporters who often pay with their lives, of bias against the cronies occupying Damascus. Let me put it to you in plain Arabic. You only needed to read the title to know that these are no leaks any longer,

القضاء اللبناني يتهم مدير الأمن القومي السوري علي المملوك بالتخطيط لارتكاب جنايات

You see when the judiciary moves, even in a dysfunctional state as in Lebanon, then invoking the mantra of rumors and leaks is no longer relevant.

This is even more detailed and clearly says the judge indicted Samaha and the two Syrian Generals, Mamlouk and Adnan,

http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Politics/2012/Aug-11/184266-michel-samahas-case-referred-to-military-tribunal-over-terror-plot.ashx#axzz23G7f6uEk

So what are you going to spin now.? Israel supplied Samaha with the explosives and logistics to perform this heinous act?

Isn’t it becoming clear that this despicable band of thugs and Nazi-like criminals occupying Damascus was behind all the sectarian violence that we witnessed first in Iraq and now in Syria not to mention the sectarian instigated crimes committed in Lebanon over the last ten years?

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August 11th, 2012, 1:31 pm

 

190. zoo said:

167. omen

“Genocide” is massively killing people because of their ethnicity, race or religion, I think this is without any doubt a terrible and unambigous crime
Example: The USA killing the Indians, the German killing the Jews, The Turks killing the Armenians. The European religious wars are full of such genocides.

When it has to do with killing a group made of nationals without a specific religion or ethnicity, then the question will be: Is this group outlawed? If it is, then killing its members is not genocide, it is self defense.
That’s what the Turks are doing with the PKK, made up of Turkish Kurds that they have labelled at outlaws and “Kurdish terrorists”.
That’s what the Syrian army is doing with the rebels they have labelled as ‘terrorists’

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August 11th, 2012, 1:31 pm

 

191. omen said:

170. richard, this so called expert, one of the cheerleaders of the stupendously idiotic iraq invasion, doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

I just got a copy of Ken Pollack’s latest book on Iran, The Persian Puzzle, and was shocked on flipping to page 429, the Author’s Note at the end of the book, to read that Pollack has never been to Iran and doesn’t speak Persian, has only dribs and drabs of Arabic.

either that or he twists facts in order to fulfill an ideological agenda.

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August 11th, 2012, 1:37 pm

 

192. Tara said:

Zoo,

Hamza al khateeb was killed and tortured because he was a terrorist? Sorry, this is called genocide if intellectual honesty is to be respected.

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August 11th, 2012, 1:38 pm

 

193. omen said:

zoo, most of the people regime has murdered were unarmed.
.

i had a comment for you, richard, re pollack, but it went on vacation.

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August 11th, 2012, 1:39 pm

 

194. bronco said:

Visitor

While Michel Samaha has admitted his crimes, I don’t understand how the Lebanese justice can “indict” the two Syrian counterparts as they have neither been interrogated nor admitted the felony.
Is their “indictment” relying exclusively on the declaration of Michel Samaha?
Isn’t the indictment a presumption of guilt to be determined during a trial?

There is more to come about that story, I am sure,

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August 11th, 2012, 1:58 pm

 

195. zoo said:

176. omen said:

zoo, most of the people regime has murdered were unarmed.

The accusation could be manslaughter, non assistance of people in danger etc… Yet an investigation would determine what it was.

It is not because they were unarmed that it is a ‘genocide’.

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August 11th, 2012, 2:02 pm

 

196. DAMASCUSROSE said:

Dr. Landis,

I think you’re oversimplifying the case for Syria by giving Bashar Assad a lot of credit for what he can do. Mr. Assad derives his power from the junta around him and the ba’ath national leadership and he’s their man to implement the major decisions, especially what’s happening these days. If Bashar decides to pack up with Maher and the fourth division and head up to the coast, he won’t be able (or allowed) to do it right now. That will only happen if they’re in full retreat mode and the major cities have fallen in the hands of FSA/rebels. Right now, the status quo continues for a short while as there’s still some dim hope that they can return the situation to normalcy and keep their power and protection, I’m talking about the whole regime. When those in power realize they’re no longer protected, they will start fleeing or going underground and that’s when things will unravel and I don’t think anyone knows what will happen then.

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August 11th, 2012, 2:02 pm

 

197. Tara said:

Visitor

Samaha’s arrest is the best thing that happen in the ME after the launch of the Syrian revolution. Slowly but surely, the criminality of Bashar’s regime will be exposed to the world. Where is the powerful HA in all of this? Has the other criminal Hassan NAsrallah made any statement in that regard?

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August 11th, 2012, 2:05 pm

 

198. irritated said:

Funny that no one of the Syrian pro-rebels have any objection that the PKK made up of Turkish-Kurds rebels who want “freedom” and “dignity” are called “terrorists”.
Neither they object that the Turkish army is violently killing them as the Turkish government say it does that to preserve the integrity of Turkey at any costs.

Double standard, isn’t?

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August 11th, 2012, 2:13 pm

 

199. VISITOR said:

180 TARA,

I agree 100%

………………………….

177 BRONCO,

Again your new comment reflects a deep lack of understanding for the rule of law, typical of a menhebek state of mind.

An indictment simply means that the judge has sufficient ground based on evidence of an investigation to proceed with the judiciary process. That evidence could be a confession, hard evidence, a testimony, corroboration of different testimonies, or in some cases circumstantial evidence. More than one of the above elements are present in Samaha’s case.

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August 11th, 2012, 2:33 pm

 

200. zoo said:

A rosy, dreamlike view of “Post-Assad” Syria, for a change

A peaceful post-Assad order is probable
August 11, 2012 12:48 AM
By Rami G. Khouri

The prevalent perceptions I refer to include that Syria will long remain locked in domestic strife; the Alawites will face eternal hostility and revenge; sectarian civil war is likely to break out; the post-Assad struggle for power will be chaotic and perhaps violent; Syria could easily break up into several smaller ethnic statelets linked to neighboring states or compatriots.

While some or all of this might happen, I suggest that we must keep open the possibility that Syria’s post-Assad transition will be much less chaotic or violent than many fear, for several reasons:

..
The Syrian people are too intelligent, sophisticated and cosmopolitan to allow themselves to sink into a dark pit of sectarian warfare, even if their sick Baathist-led, Alawite-run power elite uses sectarianism and the specter of post-Assad chaos as tools of intimidation – tools that have failed miserably, in any case.

Syrians of all identities will be so pleased to start a new life of normalcy, freedom, dignity and citizenship the day after Assad is toppled that they will be too busy re-creating their own country in their own image to be sidetracked into domestic warfare.

The day after Assad will not necessarily be a moment of chaos. A reasonably orderly transition could occur, because a credible, indigenous structure for governance already exists. The dozens, perhaps hundreds, of local committees across Syria that have been organizing the revolt against Assad family rule will emerge the day after with immense legitimacy, authority and logistical capability in governing at the local level.

They will maintain order and security, resume normal economic activity, provide basic services, and initiate a transitional justice mechanism that will satisfy the widespread and understandable need for justice and accountability for those officials who abused their power and humiliated – and recently slaughtered – their countrymen and women for so many years.

Syrians know .. that only some Alawites and other government and security officials are to blame for the violence and intemperance of the regime that has mismanaged the country for decades. Transitional justice mechanisms and respectable constitutional guarantees of equal citizenship for all in the new Syria could prevent an Alawite-Sunni war, or long-term Alawite isolation.

Many around the world – in Dubai, Beirut, Istanbul, Washington, Berlin and other cities – are now working on plans for a post-Assad transition. Most of these will have only minimal relevance, because the only really credible political management work will be done by the Syrians who emerge from the resistance committees to shape the new government.
..
I believe that will happen soon, and I will dance with joy for them when it does.

Read more: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/Opinion/Columnist/2012/Aug-11/184214-a-peaceful-post-assad-order-is-probable.ashx#ixzz23GPYgXpV
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)

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August 11th, 2012, 2:34 pm

 

201. bronco said:

182. VISITOR

OK. So Samaha and the others are suspects with enough evidences that they must go now on a judicial trial. This trial will determine if they are guilty or innocent.
How do you think they would bring the indicted Syrians to a trial in Lebanon or would they judge them in absentia?

I got it, so we are yet very far for the conclusion to that story.

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August 11th, 2012, 2:43 pm

 

202. bronco said:

While it is clear that Samaha is an unexpected operator of the plot, the motivations and who is really behind the plot are yet unclear.

Why would Bashar would want to have a terrorist attack in the North of Lebanon during the visit of Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai who has been a long time supporter of the Syrian government?

Why would Samaha say like a robot: That’s what Bashat wants?

Very weird.

“Further information about the would-be attacks indicated that the planting and the timing of the bombs were designed to coincide with a visit to the northern region of Akkar by the Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai

http://www.shiachat.com/forum/index.php?/topic/235004955-samaha-arrested/

Could it be that it is part of a smart coup by the Syrian intelligence against Bashar by framing Samaha ?
It is yet to see Bashar’s reaction.

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August 11th, 2012, 3:03 pm

 

203. Tara said:

Bronco

Easy. To ignite chaos. To create the earthquakes and volcanos of regional spread he promised the world during his first interview. Doesn’t matter, whether those who are going to be affected are his supporters or not. He has no loyalty but to himself. The motive is very clear. Done and tried already in the past.

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August 11th, 2012, 3:09 pm

 

204. omen said:

181. IRRITATED: Funny that no one of the Syrian pro-rebels have any objection that the PKK made up of Turkish-Kurds rebels who want “freedom” and “dignity” are called “terrorists”. Neither they object that the Turkish army is violently killing them

i haven’t absorbed this story yet. is there footage?

regardless, you are misleadingly conflating factions. the assadist ppk doesn’t support the fsa.

i’d have more sympathy for the pkk if they hadn’t murdered both unarmed pro democracy kurdish activists & sunni rebels.

p.s. why do loyalists mock freedom, put it into quotes as if it were a suspect claim and dismiss it as a cliche while luxuriating in its benefits in the west?

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August 11th, 2012, 3:51 pm

 

205. omen said:

187. or in lebanon.

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August 11th, 2012, 4:20 pm

 

206. omen said:

who has the long record of robbery?
from april 19th, earlier on this blog:

The oppositionmilitias in the Idlib region are fight among themselves.
[...]
i must confess that this report seemed possible to me as I have reliable reports from friends and relatives who travel through the Idlib region being robbed. Two different co-workers of my brother-in-law stopped by gangs on the Aleppo-Idlib road. Both were Sunnis. They were beaten and robbed. None of them take the highway anymore or travel between the two cities because the roads are considered unsafe.

by ammar abdulhamid


The three
victims of yesterday’s execution, as reported by local activists, were high ranking members of the Berri Clan, including its leader Zeino Berri. The Clan is Sunni and is known for its involvement in drug-trafficking and gun-running, among other illicit activities. The Clan is known as well for its affiliation with Maher Al-Assad and, before him, with his late brother, Bassil. This connection has served to guarantee Berri elders at least one spot in the parliament, and has allowed them to make a mockery out of the legal system in Syria for decades. In fact, many of their members have multiple death sentences issued against them. Naturally, the sentences were never carried out. The worst thing that has ever happened to a Berri clansman, before yesterday, was spending few months in prison for offences that by law warrant execution. Zeino Berri himself is known to have had three death sentences issued against him. It was the fourth one that finally killed him.

Early in the revolution, members of the Berri Clan went to Damascus where they met Bashar Al-Assad and pledged their loyalty. Almost every member of the delegation had at least one sentence of one type or another hanging over his head. That didn’t seem to bother Assad who is said to have given a carte blanche to the Berris in Aleppo. On their return, the Berri Clan became more vicious than ever and served as the de facto pro-Assad militia in the city, spreading terror by jailing, torturing and killing activists, as well as extorting local businessmen and merchants. By the time the rebels entered Aleppo City and clashed with the Berris, the level of popular animosity against the Clan was simply too high.

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August 11th, 2012, 5:47 pm

 

207. William Scott Scherk said:

At #36, Mjabali ibn Fatwablahblah sez: “Dude, when I have time I am going to dig what you said about Alawite soldiers and how to boil them in urine.

Good. You will find what I found. At no time did Amjad/Aboud write what you attribute to him (ALAWITE SOLDIERS). Why make up this dishonest crap? Here is what your boogeyman actually wrote:

— I believe that soldiers who abuse and kill civilians should be boiled in their own urine [Sep 5th 2011]

— I will personally boil Cro Magnum Maher in his own urine [Aug 24th 2011]

— you menhebak turds wonder why I think some soldiers should be boiled in their own urine [Aug 19th 2011]

This same dishonest person — who repeats the canard about boiling Alawite soldiers in their own urine despite multiple correction, this same person had earlier faked-up another series of fake quotes from Aboud/Amjad. See http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/?p=11548&cp=all#comment-269299

TARA, you are an intuitive judge of human character. If you say Irritated is both Syrian and a good person, I accept that. If there is a heart in there that is in pain at deaths caused by indiscriminate regime bombing, we may see it. My basic beef with Irritated is not that he cloaks his citizenship(s) and interests and allegiances, it is the lack of empathy for those who have suffered death, dispossession, detention and torture at the hands of the regime. If you can tease out this empathy, good for you and good for Syria and good for Irritated.

Any reconciliation of opposing Syrian positions (pro-Bashar/anti-Bashar) will require that each side accept and understand the grief and horror in the heart of the Other. If Irritated and you can do that with each other, despite the gulf, you both deserve our utmost respect and support. In that light, I will never mention Irritated or his opinions here again. As a non-Syrian, I can understand why a Syrian like Irritated would reject anything I say about his country … and I forgive him anything nasty he has said about me. He is a player with roots. I am not.

ANN, while we all escape the hamfist of Moderation (including the inbuilt WordPress anti-spam filters) you should no longer feel it necessary to excerpt just the first 28 paragraphs from Chinese State Media or the nitwit Fully-Westernized Anti-Westerners on GlobalResearch.ca.

Go wild. Post every last word. No one cares. Landis’s release of us all from mod-bondage means you can go back to the old ways. No need to even add hyperlinks! Free zone, freedom-fighter.

Next, Syrian Commando will be back with his 19th announcement of World War Three. Yeehaw. Should be some fun three weeks.

_____________

PS. Ann, Amjad, English usage note. The word for the mile-long snake of bomb-victims lining up for bread in Homs is ‘queue,’ not que. As with the word ‘looser’ (as noun, not adjective), it is wrong.

For those who haven’t read it yet, the brilliant and moving report of Samar Yazbek: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/10/opinion/in-the-shadow-of-assads-bombs.html?pagewanted=all

She might be a terrorist Islamist urine-boiling haj-monster Saudi goat-lover like Aboudamjad, but she sure can write a human story.

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August 11th, 2012, 6:11 pm

 

208. DAMSCUSROSE said:

202. Bronco

“Why would Bashar would want to have a terrorist attack in the North of Lebanon during the visit of Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai who has been a long time supporter of the Syrian government?”

And to expand on Tara’s response, it’s not just that he(the junta) are interested in chaos for the sake of chaos or to start the “earthquake” he promised. His/their hope is that the power that be (U.S., Turkey, GCC, EU) will see how the situation is deteriorating and they’ll back off the pressure on the regime. He/they can care less about who they kill in the process, they have loyalty to no one – they’re in full survival mode right now, everything is possible and everything is acceptable.

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August 11th, 2012, 6:20 pm

 

209. Anti-Terrorism said:

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151150681002667

WATCH THIS DISTURBING VIDEO…This is the so called ‘freedom’ the so called ‘free’ syrian army justify…HOW IS THIS FREEDOM?? They are killing innocent civilians for their cause which is classified as terrorism! Thats the only word to describe their intentions. They should be called free terrorists. They are targeting the minority, they are cowards and criminals! They continue to shoot this poor man who is unarmed and tied up several times after they shot him dead…they shout God is Great! God is Great! How do they claim to believe in God??? Savagely killing an innocent human being is beyond the peace of God…watch this video and see for yourselves what the so called ‘free’ syrian army (fsa) are doing to the pro-government, pro-Bashar supporters…they shout for freedom, yet they themselves do not allow those who support the government the freedom to support the government of their choice…where is the liberty?? Where is this so called democracy??? There is nothing democratic about what the fsa are doing…this is anarchy!! This is no arab spring, this is no freedom quest, this is no revolution, this is the SPRING OF TERRORISM.. in ones own country! Watch this video and make a conclusion yourself on how foreign countries who support these FSA terrorists justify this as freedom and a good cause…anyone or any country who supports the fsa are terrorists themselves and are supporting the slaughtering of innocent syrian citizens..their blood is on all pro-fsa supporters!!! The actual syrian army are doing nothing but protecting the citizens of syria from the brutality of the so called fsa- the terror acts of the fsa cannot be justified in any manner, the acts of the real syrian army are wholly justified…im not asking anyone to agree with me…JUST FOLLOW THE LINK AND WATCH THE VIDEO AND SEE FOR YOURSELVES AND THEN TRY JUSTIFY THE SAVAGE ACTS OF THE FSA, AND THEN TRY ATTACK THE REAL SYRIAN ARMY AND BASHAR AL ASSAD

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August 12th, 2012, 3:28 am

 

210. Amjad said:

WSS #207

When they update the Oxford English Dictionary to include the term “epic pwnage”, your post at 207 will serve as the text book example. How is it possible that it only took you a few minutes to find something Mjabalite couldn’t after weeks? Because he *did not want to find it*. Or, more specifically, once he did find it, he discovered that his own recollection of what I supposedly said was so far off the mark, it made him look like the klutz he is.

Mbajalite, because he is indeed a “lite weight”.

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August 12th, 2012, 12:43 pm

 

211. Noor al-Deen al-Dimashqi said:

Well, Col. Muammar al-Gaddafi tried to play this game and ended up dead with a piece of wood in his ass. The problem with Arab dictators is that they do not learn neither from history nor from their peers. (Excepts for Muhammad the 6th of Morocco). It is clear ASSad is playing this game, but the international & regional atmosphere is hostile. The super power in the region, Turkey, will not allow anything like that. I am really happy ASSad is playing this game of Gaddafi, for he will end up a captive and dead with a piece of wood in his ass.

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August 12th, 2012, 3:11 pm

 

212. admir said:

@AMIR IN TEL AVIV (#31)

“…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…”

Yes but take away the 10% kurdish population from the ‘sunni majority’ (kurds are almost all sunni but dont identify through religion or syrian nationalism, just like kurds in iraq). then you have only a very narrow Sunni arab majority (60-65% – just like the very narrow Shi’i majority in iraq).

it should also be mentioned that in iraq arab sunnis make up only 12-15% of the iraqi population (the remaining 25-20% are mostly kurds and turkmen who dont identify strongly with iraqi nationalism). So the arab sunnis in iraq make up almost the same amount of the population in iraq as the alawites do in syria.

“…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…”

not if the elites and the densely populated sunni regions of aleppo and damascus steal their resources (like the small amount of resources in Deir Ez Zor) and fail to address their problem (dams, desertifaction, drought). Then those tribes could launch an insurgency, secede or even join with iraq (like south ossetia did defacto with russia).

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August 13th, 2012, 3:32 am

 

213. Uzair8 said:

Delete

Wrong thread

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August 13th, 2012, 4:31 am

 
 

215. Mou2amara If Plan A failed why have faith… « YALLA SOURIYA said:

[...] in Plan B? RT @Brian_Whit: Creating a Syrian swamp: Assad’s ‘Plan B’ — Joshua Landis http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/?p=15649 Share this:Like this:LikeBe the first to like this. [...]

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August 13th, 2012, 7:01 am

 

216. Taleb said:

The US and it’s allies the Saudi’s, Turkey, Qatar, France, Egypt, Israel and the rest failed dramatically in attracting any Syrian intellectuals to their proxy war against China, Russia and their allies in Syria! That is why they settled again on Al-Qaeda as they did in Afghanistan ! However, Syria is in the back yard of Europe and it’s geopolitical location is much more dangerous, this is why it will not take Al-Qaeda another 20 years to score another 9/11!! It will be imminent! Those who have been planning a contained regional Sunni-shia muslim war to implement Oil for weapons programs similar to the inhumane Oil for food one, are taking the world’s civilization into a disaster even if they think they have alleys in both the US and Russia!! It is time for wisdom to prevail on greed for once, before it is too late!

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August 14th, 2012, 12:27 am

 

217. Claude Salhani: Lebanon as the Example in War and Peace | Rumors and News.com said:

[...] informed and informative blog and one of the leading experts on what goes on in Syria: “Assad is likely to treat Syria as he did Iraq and Lebanon,” meaning that he will not hesitate to dismantle and break it apart if that is what it takes [...]

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August 17th, 2012, 6:41 pm

 

218. Claude Salhani: Lebanon as the Example in War and Peace | Political Ration said:

[...] informed and informative blog and one of the leading experts on what goes on in Syria: “Assad is likely to treat Syria as he did Iraq and Lebanon,” meaning that he will not hesitate to dismantle and break it apart if that is what it takes [...]

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August 18th, 2012, 10:19 am

 

219. Syrian war's got religion (and that ain't good) – CNN Belief Blog - CNN.com Blogs said:

[…] the same time, some Syrian fighters say they pretend to be al-Qaeda just to annoy the Assad […]

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September 4th, 2013, 1:10 pm

 

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