Demonstrations Grow

Momentum is building for the opposition. The demonstrations are getting bigger with each day. They started out gathering between 100 to 300. Today’s demonstration was well over 1,000 in Deraa. The New York Times is reporting that 20,000 joined the funeral march in Deraa. The killing of four in Deraa is new. Many Syrians claim that this is the first time President Assad has drawn blood with the shooting of demonstrators. The Kurdish intifada of 2004 in the Jazeera ended with the death of many but that occurred following the successful constitutional referendum in Iraq and was blamed on external factors. To many Syrians, this time seems different.

It is unclear where this can lead as the opposition has no leadership and Syria has no organized parties. All the same, we are in a new era. If demonstrations grow to the point that security forces are overwhelmed, the situation could change rapidly. Not all regions or cities of Syria would behave the same. The top brass of the armed forces are unlikely to abandon the leadership as they did in Tunisia or Egypt; all the same, loyalties would be divided for many. The next few days will be telling. The Deraa demonstrations were sparked by the arrest of 15 children for scrawling anti-regime graffiti. It is quite possible that they government can yet regain control of the momentum and protest movement. Syria lacks an organized internal leadership that can plan and administer continued demonstrations. There is a sophisticated, even if small, leadership abroad which could coordinate events on Facebook from afar.

Al-Jazeera coverage of the demonstrations of March 18 and 19. (in Arabic)

Dera’a Protesters calling for freedom – “Thousands of people attending the funerals of Akram al-Jawabra and Hussam Abdelwali Ayash were surrounded by large numbers of security men who fired tear gas at the mourners to disperse them”” the BBC and Reuters report.

(Reuters) – Thousands of mourners called on Saturday for “revolution” at the funeral of protesters killed by Syrian security forces, in the boldest challenge to Syria’s rulers since uprisings began sweeping the Arab world.

Security forces responded by firing tear gas to disperse crowds in Deraa, a region south of the capital where at least 10,000 people demonstrated on Saturday at the funeral of two protesters, among at least four who were killed on Friday.

“Revolution, revolution. Rise up Hauran,” chanted the mourners in Deraa, administrative capital of the Hauran plateau, as they marched behind the simple wooden coffins of Wissam Ayyash and Mahmoud al-Jawabra.

“God, Syria, Freedom. Whoever kills his own people is a traitor,” they said. Some of the mourners left a mosque and headed for the center to protest.

The two were killed when security forces opened fire on Friday on civilians taking part in a peaceful protest demanding political freedoms and an end to corruption in Syria, which has been ruled under emergency laws by President Bashar al-Assad’s Baath Party for nearly half a century.

A third man killed on Friday, Ayhem al-Hariri, was buried in a village near Deraa earlier on Saturday. A fourth protester, Adnan Akrad, died on Saturday from his wounds.

Deraa was less tense by late afternoon, with security forces using less force after a meeting at the main Omari mosque between the authorities and prominent figures in the city.

An activist who was at the meeting said officials were presented with a list of demands, most importantly for the release of political prisoners. Among them were 15 schoolchildren arrested in Deraa this month after writing slogans on walls, inspired by revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia that swept their autocratic leaders from power.

The list demands the dismantling of secret police headquarters in Deraa, dismissal of the governor, a public trial for those responsible for the killings, and scrapping of regulations requiring permission from the secret police to sell and buy property.

“If they do not respond the protests will only escalate,” the activist told Reuters.

An official statement said the interior ministry had formed a committee to investigate the “regrettable events” in Deraa.

The city is home to thousands of displaced people from eastern Syria, where up to a million people have left their homes because of a water crisis over the past six years. Experts say state mismanagement of resources has worsened the crisis.

The Hauran region, once a bread basket, has also been affected by diminishing water levels, with yields falling by a quarter in Deraa last year.


Protests against Syria’s ruling elite, inspired by revolts in the Arab world, have gathered momentum this week after a silent protest in Damascus by 150 people demanding the release of thousands of political prisoners…. In a move seen as an attempt to address the discontent, Assad issued a decree on Saturday shortening mandatory army conscription from 21 months to 18 months.

The long conscription period has generated discontent, especially among youth who resent state tactics to bring them into service, such as random ID checking, and the withholding of food aid from families whose members escape conscription.

Time: Arab Spring: Is the Revolution Starting up in Syria?

Has the wave of popular revolts rocking the Arab world finally reached Syria, one of the region’s most policed states, a country its young president boasted was “immune” from calls for freedom, democracy and accountable government? Or were the …

Egypt crowd attack ElBaradei at voting station – They call him an “American agent.” He is unable to vote.

What is at stake in Egypt’s referendum – a good summary by Gary C. Gambill
The Jurist (University of Pittsburgh Law School)
19 March 2011
Chris Phillips – ‘Syrian protesters killed in Deraa

PBS report on Syria today – PBS NewsHour

Syria News reports that the Syrian government has declared it will carry out a transparent investigation of the police in Deraa and the killings, promising to punish those guilty of wrongdoing.

تعتزم السلطات السورية فتح تحقيق لمعاقبة المسؤولين قبل المحرضين الذين تم توجيههم من جهات خارجية عن قتل ضحايا خلال تجمع شهدته مدينة درعا يوم الجمعة.

وقالت قناة الإخبارية السورية يوم السبت إن “السلطات السورية ستقوم بتحقيق شفاف لمعاقبة المسؤولين عن قتل الضحايا، والتخريب الذي حصل في درعا مهما علت رتبهم ومناصبهم قبل المحرضين الذين تم توجيههم من جهات خارجية”.

ويأتي ذلك عقب سقوط ضحايا خلال تجمع عدد من المواطنين في مدينة درعا البلد بالقرب من الجامع العمري بعد ظهر اليوم الجمعة حيث استغل بعض المندسين هذا الموقف وعمدوا إلى إحداث الفوضى والشغب ملحقين أضراراً بالممتلكات العامة والخاصة, وذلك بحسب وكالة الأنباء السورية الرسمية (سانا).

كما شهدت مدينة درعا تحطيم وحرق عدد من السيارات والمحلات العامة ما استدعى تدخل عناصر حفظ الأمن حرصا على سلامة المواطنين والممتلكات فاعتدى عليهم مثيرو الشغب ثم تفرقوا.

وشهدت مدينة بانياس في محافظة طرطوس يوم الجمعة تجمعا للعشرات رافعين شعارات بضرورة إلغاء التعليم المختلط وإعادة المنقبات إلى المدارس بعد فصلهم، وفتح ثانوية شرعية في بانياس.

وكانت دمشق قد شهدت الاسبوع الماضي تجمع محدود لمواطنين يوم الثلاثاء في سوق الحميدية ، فيما تجمع العشرات أمام مبنى وزارة الداخلية بساحة المرجة في دمشق يوم الأربعاء مطالبين بالإفراج عن سجناء قال المجتمعون بانهم “معتقلي رأي”.


Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper suggested that outside powers hoped their intervention would be enough to turn the tide against Gaddafi and allow Libyans to force him out.

“It is our belief that if Mr. Gaddafi loses the capacity to enforce his will through vastly superior armed forces, he simply will not be able to sustain his grip on the country.”

Comments (91)

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51. Jihad said:

The pathetic Amr Moussa, the so-called secretaty general of the Arab League and expcted Presidential candidate in Egypt, who should have received hundreds of shoes on his head during his recent meeting with a group of Egyptian students, said after legitimizing Western neo-colonialism:

عمرو موسى: ما يجري في ليبيا يختلف عن الحظر الذي طلبناه.

Even more pathetic was the declaration made by Syrian Foreign Minister, Walid Al-Mu’alem, regarding the killings in Bahrain. Cozying up to the illiterate Wahhabis in the Occupied Arabian Peninsula will not do you or Syria any good. He thinks that he is being smart by playing with words. It is like playing with fire. Does he really think that Syria’s enemies will look the other way if the security apparatus is ordered to do what the Wahhabis and their allies are doing to the people of Bahrain?

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March 20th, 2011, 11:21 am


52. Norman said:


I am so glad that you asked ,

I would love Syria to have the American system of government as i see that the only way to have democratic reform in Syria, we saw representative democracy in Iraq, people in that System tend to vote for the religion or the ethnicity of their representatives, instead of voting for the man from their neighborhood that they know and like, Syria like the US has many kinds of people and our system of government in the US is the right one for Syria, The US can help, if it wants, have districts of about 100,000 people of mixed people to elect a representative and have 2 senators from each County (( Muhafaza )) to protect the rights of the population of the small counties ,

Free movement and anti discrimination laws, as in the US, in housing and employment and voting where people live not where they come from is essential I still vote in Hama, where i have not been in any significant part of my life, The Syrian system of voting where you come from is tribal and meant to divide Syria into tribes and regions instead of a state for all.

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March 20th, 2011, 11:29 am


53. Akbar Palace said:


Your past assertions that Israel is the most “dangerous” country in the ME seems silly now, don’t you think?

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March 20th, 2011, 11:32 am


54. jad said:

20 آذار , 2011

صرح مصدر مسؤول بأن بعض الأشخاص المدسوسين يقومون بجولات على عدد من المراكز الأمنية والجهات الأخرى منتحلين صفات شخصيات أمنية وضباط رفيعي المستوى ومدعين أنهم يحملون توجيهات صارمة إلى عناصر الشرطة باستخدام العنف والرصاص الحي لاستهداف أي تجمع مشبوه.

وإن المصدر إذ يؤكد أن عمل الجهات الأمنية ومراكز الشرطة هو حماية المواطنين والممتلكات العامة يدعو الجميع من مواطنين ومسؤولين إلى التحقق مما يصلهم من معلومات عبر مراجعة المسؤولين عنهم مباشرة والتأكد من هوية هؤلاء الأشخاص والابلاغ عنهم.

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March 20th, 2011, 11:38 am


55. Shami said:

Jihad ,it’s not nice to attack a whole people as you are doing.
The Saudis,Wahhabies and non Wahhabies are our eternal brothers ,regardless of the nature of the regimes they and we have.

And instead of vomitting your hatred ,i invite you to check the evolution of the HDI indicator of these countries and tp compare it with the syrian HDI.
The best weapon against extremism is liberal education ,and such education is dominant in the Gulf.The conservative Wahhabies will become marginalized in few decades because a growing part of the Saudi society evolve towards modernity and reason.
In Syria ,they imposed on us the opposite direction,after decades of decline we are now surprised by supra natural slogans around the person of the dictator ,that are external to the Syrian culture.

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March 20th, 2011, 11:45 am


56. MONTAGNARD said:

GK #43
I am tired of listening to your insults to the Syrian people. If you have a good idea say it without your condescending attitude and tone. You are damned right the Syrian people are smart enough to know what they want and they don’t need your sarcastic mocking lecturing comments. Your methods of discourse might go well within some of your Lebanese sociopathic circles, but certainly not amongst us Syrians.

When you say: “Are you saying the proud Syrian people are not smart enough to know what they want or are dumb to be guided by outsiders?”

Are you really asking me this question you dumb Lebanese?
How do you feel now? Are you insulted? Have I made my point?
I hope that you are smart enough to get my point and maybe you can contribute in a positive manner.

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March 20th, 2011, 12:01 pm


57. Shami said:

Ziad you said:The real power is with the corrupt oligarchs, the Mafiosi old guard in the army and the party

Do you have any name ? and are those you meant ,part of the inner circle of Bashar ,family members ?old guard ,what about Maher,Bashar,Rami,Asif,Bushra …. ???
Do you still drink the mukhabarati slogan that goes back to Hafez,he is good and the people around him are not ?
Is that possible ?

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March 20th, 2011, 12:05 pm


58. SOURI said:

What SHAMI #55 says is what Bashar says Syria needs. We need to reform education. The funny thing is the Islamists will agree that democracy won’t work now in Saudi Arabia, but still they want to implement it in Syria!

If we do what NORMAN said in #52, the result will be that the first elected congress will decide to implement Sharia (or change the laws to others heavily influenced by Sharia), which means the end of democracy before it starts. Much worse than that, Sharia will mean the end of the Syrian national identity and we will be back to the age of sects, when every person identified by his religion rather by his country.

Religious discrimination will be institutionalized, and we will be back to the Ottoman millet system. There will be no human rights, no freedom of speech, and the worse than all is that there will be no hope in sight for change.

Syria under the Baath moved a good deal towards becoming a national state. Most Syrians now (inside Syria but not outside it) have some sort of national identity. If we apply ‘democracy’ in Syria now, this national identity will smash completely into pieces. Syria will be thrown 100 years back.

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March 20th, 2011, 12:13 pm


59. jad said:

GK, has nothing to say but what you read from him, do you think any of these people care of the welfare of Syrians and they truly support the Syrian advancement and progress? They don’t, what they care about is to see Syria suffer what they did before and become another failure country like theirs and this is why you see these attacks.
Even with all these protests, it’s very obvious by now that those who are behind it are not looking for any conversation or solution they are looking for confrontation otherwise how do you explain that even when the government are doing them exactly what they are asking for they are still calling for more attacks and more violence, I can’t find any other explanation. They are not interested in any grapes, they just want to kill al natour and destroy the field..

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March 20th, 2011, 12:16 pm


60. Ziad said:


I like Bashar, and his government. I agree with their approach to the economy and foreign policy. Like you, I hate the corruption and the slow pace of reform.

This revolution is being planned, financed and orchestrated by people who wish ill to the Syrian people. If it manages to unsettle a little the corrupt Mafiosi, and speeds up the pace of reform then I feel happy, but I do not wish it to topple Bashar’s government.

I am fairly certain that the majority of Syrians feels like me.

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March 20th, 2011, 12:35 pm


61. Jihad said:

The Wahhabis in the Occupied Arabian Peninsula refer to the ugly regimes in Riyad and its satellites in Bahrain and UAE. We can also add those in Al-Jazeera (also known as the State of Qatar).

As for the Human Development Index, sure when you are able to spend overnight more than 100 billion USD on “housing, education and health projects” (regardless of their long term or real impact on people’s lives, because a lot of those billions will get embezzled by illiterate Wahhabi princes. Do you also count that each year in Jadda, the second biggest city in the Wahhabi kingdom, dozens go dead and missing and thousands flee their houses because there is no sewage system. And this is a city called “The Pearl of the Red Sea.” What a smelly pearl indeed!), like the illiterate Wahhabi king said he will do, KSA place on the HDI will balloon. I bet that in 2011, its HDI will surpass that of Norway and Canada!

My congragulations on such “brothers” who never stopped funding American and Wahhabi terrorism all over the world and who stopped at nothing to stiffle the emergence of a vigorous and independent Arab world.

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March 20th, 2011, 12:36 pm


62. Ghat Al Bird said:

ALEX. Calling Eretz Israel the most dangerous country in the ME is not quite fair. It has been on the road to peace for over 50 years.

The facts that it is the only country that occupies land by conquest (Golan) indiscriminately bombs Palestenians in an open air gulag; boards “peace” ships 200 miles way from its coast line and daily violates the air space of a neighboring country are acts conducive to the “peace process” between all its neighbors.

You and others ALEX would be surprised to read that oher nations have acted silly in the past. Here is a case in point that can be easily Googled.

“On 18 July 1290 every professing Jew in England was ordered out of the Realm, for ever, by King Edward I. Between sixteen and seventeen thousand Jews had to flee, and none dared return until four hundred years later .”

The Edict of Expulsion of 1290

A catalogue of recorded history surrounding Jewry under Angevin Kings of England, leading up to the Edict of Expulsion by King Edward I

Geoffrey H. Smith and Arnold S. Leese

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March 20th, 2011, 1:00 pm


63. NK said:

Dear Souri et al

You’re so afraid of Islamists and Sharia law, you can’t see that Islamists have been WINNING the battle on the streets for the past 50 years.

Back in the 60s and 70s, you could barely see any women with head scarves at Syrian universities, you used to see women with short skirts on the streets, you could even see kisses in those old black&white movies. Now 50 years later, you can count women without scarves (most if not all of them are Christians) on your finger tips, a girl wearing a skirt showing any skin would be labeled a whore, and god forbid an actor touches an actress in most of your TV series.

Your so loved regime, with it’s emergency law, enforced police state and fighting of any/all western influences effectively crushed the Syrian liberal society, and silenced the secular majority who no longer have any means to promote their progressive ideas while creating a perfect atmosphere for conservatives to work in the shade.
I mean God forbid we have any “Evil” American influence in Syria, they’re only better than us in … pfft … everything. Education: better, Human rights: better, Women rights: better, Science: better, Economy: better, (…fill the blank…): better.

The regime have been trying to promote secularism for how long now ? IT’S NOT WORKING!!!. Please stop deluding yourself into thinking 40 more years of the same will produce better results, if anything it’ll turn Syria into another Afghanistan.

In 2000, Syria witnessed something called, Damascus spring, nobody went into the streets and started killed minorities left and right, no, people started gathering in forums and discussing different ideas peacefully, and what did Bashar do ? yup, the same old tactic (Nip it in the bud).

Anyways, why don’t the president call for a constitutional assembly, have them draft a true democratic/secular constitution under the watchful eye of the “reforming” and “secular” regime ? oh sorry I forgot, we have to wait for the next generation.

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March 20th, 2011, 1:17 pm


64. trustquest said:

If the situation as described in this video, it seems very bad

and it seems to me that dictatorship can do except what is naturally built on. I hope for Syria peaceful transition even all indicators showing otherwise.

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March 20th, 2011, 1:43 pm


65. Nour said:

بيان رئاسة الحزب السوري القومي الاجتماعي

لم نكن يوماً نتمنى أن يراق دم بين أبناء الوطن الواحد لأي سبب كان، فدماء السوريين غالية على أهلها، فللأهل العزاء، و”الأهل”، هم كل السوريين العاملين على قاعدة وحدة الشعب السوري وحريته ، الشعب الذي يعمل لمصلحة عليا هي فوق كل مصلحة…
إننا اليوم وفي هذه المناسبة الحزينة ، مصممون أكثر من اي وقت مضى على العمل بأعلى وتيرة ممكنة والتأكيد على ترسيخ مبدأ وحدة الشعب السوري، هذه الوحدة التي تحاول قوى ظلامية خارجية وداخلية تتقاطع مصالحها مع قوى فساد وتخريب للعبث بها.
الوحدة التي نعنيها، هي الوحدة القائمة على المشاركة في حمل همّ الشأن العام والقيام بالواجب الوطني.
هي الوحده التي تعيقها قوى سدّت المنافذ أمام أصحاب الرأي الآخر، واعتبرته نشاذاً يجب إسكاته.
الوحدة التي نعنيها، تعتمد مبدأ محاربة الفساد واجتثاث المفسدين، صيانةً لمصلحة الشعب والدولة..
ومعيقي الوحدة اللذين نعنيهم هم أصحاب المصالح الفرديه والانتهازيون اللذين التفوا واستغلوا كل المراسيم والقرارات والإجراءات المتخذة لإحداث إصلاحات اقتصادية وإدارية واجتماعية في المجتمع، وجيروها لخصوصياتهم فاستشرت ظاهرة الفساد أكثر وفرّخت الإفساد والمفسدين، أكثر من أية مرحلة أخرى .
الوحدة التي نعنيها، تستمد قوتها من تأمين مصالح الشعب وتحسين وضعه الاقتصادي،وتأمين حاجات الحياة الحرة الكريمة له ولمستقبل أجياله ،فهو أبداً السند الحقيقي لكل قيادة تريد النجاح .
“سوريا” اليوم، وهي في عين الإعصار معنية أكثر من اي وقت مضى، بالعمل جدياً وسريعاً على اتّخاذ إجراءات عاجلة ترفع مستوى حياة الشعب بتغييرات جذرية تؤدّي إلى الإصلاحات المطلوبة … وفي مقدمتها الإصلاح السياسي،لأنه المدخل إلى كل إصلاح أكان اقتصادياً أو اجتماعياً أو إدارياً. و نؤكد هنا إلى أنه لم تعد الآجال الزمنية مريحه لانجاز هذه الإجراءات .
الظرف مؤاتٍ، والمجال معدٌّ للخروج من حالة الفساد إلى الإصلاح والتغيير وإحداث حراكٍ سياسي وطني يشارك فيه كل أبناء الوطن. فالشعب يساند الذين يقودونه إلى المستقبل المضيء والحياة الحرة الكريمة دون اكراه واستبداد واستغلال وافقار .

المركز في 19.3.2011

رئيس الحزب السوري القومي الاجتماعي
د.علي حيدر

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March 20th, 2011, 1:55 pm


66. Shami said:

Ziad ,so if most of syrian people think like you,why do you fear democracy ?.
And btw ,about the foreign policy,did you hear about the likudist Jack Avital visit prior 2005,the AIPAC members regular visits to the dictator’s palace?
What is the aim of such meetings?
On the ground ,i dont think that the israelis are unhappy with decades of bankruptcy and weak human developpment and mass humiliation of Syrians by sectcorrupt security apparatuses.
The israelis i’m sure like such slogan addict dictatorial and totalitarian regimes,in which the dictaror is magnified day and night when the people is weakened.
Jihad ,you should take a look to the number of scientific publications that the Saudi universities produce,they are in the top at the regional level which gives them a relative good ranking at the asian level.
And here it’s not a soviet style exhibition,the modernization of the Saudi Society during these last decades is impressive on the ground.The conservative wahhabies will have to adapt themselves to the new social realities or they will be marginalized for good and the pressure for a parliemantary monarchy will increase.
On the contrary ,in Syria,we took the opposite direction when the regimes adopted the soviet style propaganda machine which is disconnected with the overall reality ,the result is that,the liberal trend has been badly altered in Syria by this regime.
Jad,dont underestimate the intelligence of the Syrian beduins and their capacity and readiness to reach an highly civilized status as they reached during the Umayyad empire and prior Islam,Those in Howran gave an Emperor to Rome ,and the eastern Beduins gave Zenobia.(this extraordinary capacity has not been hidden by an anti-islam orientalist ,Henri Lammens).
This youth is the future we have to build modern Syria with it,Asad regime is a black page in Syrian history.
You are aware that an uprising could happen in all parts of Syria ,not only in Deraa,Banias and Deir Zor.
Bashar and alikes are those who share similar syndroms of the sectarian people in Iraq and Lebanon,fortunately for Syria and the Arab World,such sectarian paranoid people are a small minority in Syria as they are a minority in the Arab and Islamic worlds , the political competition in Syria and most countries in the Arab world will be of political nature and not religious,ethnical or sectarian.

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March 20th, 2011, 1:57 pm


67. Vedat The Turk said:

The Irony of It All!

The irony of what is going on is hard to escape.

The Assad regime has spent years isolating itself from the rest of the countries in the region proclaiming it represents the will of the people. Now it desperately needs the assistance of countries like Jordan and Saudi Arabia to help appease its Sunni tribes. Yet it has terrible relations with them and there is no hope they would expend political capitol for the Baathists who so openly mocked them in the past.

Moreover it’s support for Iran and Hezbollah has come at the expense of Damascus being viewed as a pariah state in the eyes of the West. If it were to take harsh actions against the protestors the countries of Europe would punish it like they have Libya rather than tolerate it like Bahrain.

Finally the only relations Bashar has cultivated during his reign, Iran and Hezbollah, are of no use to it in this crisis. Indeed the Shia influence can actually be viewed as a detriment. Can you imagine what would happen if Iranian or Hezbollah Shia fighters were to come into the country to crush the demonstrators?

The most glaring thing about the above is that Assad has openly gloated as he has further isolated himself and the regime. Can anyone remember how he went over the top with Ahmadinejad last year? How about the “monkey” insult he made to the Saudis? WHat did any of those public statements do for him? Maybe he should have tried to emulate his father more reserved foreign policy. Hafez Assad, now there was a leader! Reserved, calculated and thoughtful. He was always careful to not insult or isolate anyone, let alone appear on the cover of Vogue for a lifestyle of the rich article while his fellow Syrians can barely survive.

Au revoir Bashar.

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March 20th, 2011, 2:11 pm


68. Halabi said:

Don’t you think that the people want freedom and end of corruption not fidya money!

Don’t you think that the people like to exercise their rights and vote in an election! Look at the Egyptian yesterday, more than 80% of them went and voted on the changes for the constitution. I think it is time for the Syrians to enjoy the freedom to vote!!!

Whoever blame the outsiders don’t know the real Syrian society! The children of the people who resisted the French and fought to liberate their occupied territory (Golan) will not take it anymore and demand FREEDOM. The people want freedom! The current regime did nothing to liberate Golan and did nothing to stop the corruption and did nothing to allow more freedom! Time for him to go!!! Let him go and join kaddafi, Ben Ali or even Mubarak.

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March 20th, 2011, 2:12 pm


69. GK said:

لقد ولى زمن السكوت: لن تبقى سورية مملكة الصمت
رياض الترك
السبت 12 آذار (مارس) 2011


في سورية اليوم طيف اسمه الحرية يهيمن على كل أرجاء الوطن، ورياح التغيير التي هبت في الشهور الثلاثة الأخيرة على كل العالم العربي من أقصاه إلى أقصاه، لا يمكن لها في النهاية إلا أن تطرق باب السجن السوري الكبير. فنحن لا نعيش في جزيرة معزولة، والتاريخ لن يتوقف عند أعتاب دولتنا العتيدة.

لقد سقط حاجز الخوف الذي جثم على كاهل الشعوب العربية لعقود طويلة، وانطوى معه نصف قرن، طويل ومديد، من الإنقلابات العسكرية وتسلط الجيش على السياسة ومصادرة الحريات العامة وممارسة الوصاية على الناس، تارة بإسم التقدم والإشتراكية، وتارة بإسم الدين، وتارة أخرى بإسم الإستقرار ومحاربة التطرف الإسلامي.

التغيير آت لا محالة، وسورية لم ولن تكون أبداً الإستثناء. أما التخويف من الفوضى والحرب الأهلية، والتخويف من وصول الإسلاميين إلى الحكم، والتخويف من أن شعبنا غير مؤهل بعد للممارسة تجربته الديموقراطية، فهذه كلها إدعاءات لن تجدي نفعاً عندما تدق ساعة الحقيقة ويستعيد الناس زمام المبادرة.

إن الشعب السوري بلغ سن الرشد، وعلى سلطته أن تعي ذلك قبل فوات الأوان. فالمطلوب اليوم ليس خطوات تجميلية على الصعيد الإقتصادي والمعيشي، بقدر ما أن المطلوب خطوات جدية وواضحة المعالم لنقل سورية بشكل سلمي من الإستبداد إلى الديموقراطية. خطوات قلناها وكررناها مراراً، مثل الإفراج عن المعتقلين السياسيين، وإلغاء حالة الطوارئ، وشرعنة التعددية الحزبية، وترسيخ مبدأ فصل السلطات، واستقلالية القضاء، وطي صفحة الحزب القائد، وتحقيق المساواة بين المواطنين دون أي إقصاء أو تمييز. فبمثل هذه الخطوات، لا بالمزيد من القمع وكم الأفواه ومسرحيات التأييد الجوفاء، يمكن للسلطة السورية، إن هي أرادت ووعت، أن تستبق التغيير وتتحضر له.

لقد غيّر الخوف من وجهته، وانتقل من طرف الشعب إلى طرف السلطة. أما من يحذّر من القلاقل والفوضى، ويهوّل بتفكك الدولة وتفسخ النسيج الوطني، ويجهد للمحافظة على هذا الإستقرار الإستبدادي الكاذب بأي ثمن، فإننا نذكّره بأن الشعب السوري منذ بداية تاريخه الحديث ، استطاع أن يتجاوز، بوحدة أبنائه ونضالهم المشترك، الانقسامات المذهبية والدويلات المصطنعة التي فرضها عليه المستعمر الفرنسي، وتمكن في النهاية أن ينال استقلاله الكامل بضريبة الدم التي دفعها من خيرة أبنائه. لا بل أن هذا الشعب تمكن بوعيه وحكمته أن يبعد مخاطر الحرب الأهلية التي كاد يجره إليها عنف السلطة وتهور بعض الجماعات الإسلامية المسلحة.

لقد قالوا بالإشتراكية فجلبوا الجوع والفقر. ووعدونا بتحرير فلسطين، فأتوا بالذل والهوان. وتغنوا بالحرية والعدالة، فشيدوا السجون والمعتقلات. واليوم، إذا كان تفشي الظلم والعوز والفساد ووطأة الإستبداد لا يستثني أحداً من أبناء الشعب السوري،على تعدد مشاربهم وانتماءاتهم، فإن هذا الشعب قادر وعازم على استعادة حريته المسلوبة، وصون وحدته الوطنية، وحماية كيان دولته السورية.

إن الملايين التي تواجه اليوم بصمتها عسف الاستبداد وجبروته، في دمشق وحلب، في اللاذقية وطرطوس، في حمص وحماه، في القامشلي ودير الزور، في حوران وجبل العرب، لن تلبث أن تخرج عن صمتها وتواجه هذا الاستبداد بوقفاتها الاحتجاجية وتحركاتها السلمية، مستندة إلى تضامن أبناء المجتمع السوري وتكاتف الجيش مع الشعب. ومخطئ من يراهن أن الناس ستنزلق إلى العنف، أو أن الجيش سيوجه فوهات بنادقه إلى صدور الشعب السوري. لقد ولى زمن “معادلة مدينة حماه”، فلا الشعب ولا الجيش سيسمحان لأحد أن يسجنهما فيها من جديد. وليعِ كل من يحاول أن يصطاد في الماء العكر، أن الجيش من الشعب والشعب من الجيش، فداخل كل دبابة هناك حفيد من أحفاد يوسف العظمة، وعلى زناد كل بندقية يقبض ابن من أبناء وحدات الإنزال على مرصد جبل الشيخ.

لست أنا، اليوم، في موقع من يقترح الحلول ويضع السيناريوهات المستقبلية. فالتغيير آت بعزيمة الشباب وهمتهم، ليس فقط لأنهم يشكلون أغلبية المجتمع السوري، ولكن لأنهم أثبتوا أنهم أكثر وعياً لمتطلبات العصر من أحزاب المعارضة ورجال السياسة، الذين لا يزال الكثيرون منهم مكبلين بخطابهم التقليدي وممارساتهم البالية، يكاد الرقيب الأمني لا يغادر أدمغتهم أبداً.

كل ما اعرفه اليوم أن سورية لن تبقى مملكة الصمت، ولن يبقى الخوف مطبقا على الصدور، ولن يبقى الوطن سجنا كبيراً.

نعم “الشعب السوري ما بينذل”، كما هتف متظاهرون في قلب دمشق قبل أيام، وهو يريد الحياة الكريمة، ومن إرادته سينبثق فجر الحرية وستولد سورية الجديدة.

نعم “سورية الله حاميها” لأنها باقية بشعبها وجيشها ودولتها. أما الإستبداد فإلى زوال، قصر الزمن أو طال، وإن غداً لناظره لقريب.

(*) سياسي سوري وعضو قيادة حزب الشعب الديمقراطي وإعلان دمشق.

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March 20th, 2011, 2:27 pm


70. Ziad said:

SHAMI I am not afraid of democracy in Syria, but of what Syria’s enemies wish to do to Syria in the name of democracy.

If AIPAC, Zionists, and neocons are happy with the Syrian government, then why the stiff sanctions and all the hostilities?

BTW the 4icu list is beyond laughable. I do not know how they ranked those universities. A random number generator would give a more accurate ranking.

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March 20th, 2011, 2:35 pm


71. norman said:

I do not think that if the system i put up takes place that Sharia law will be the law of the land, Let us ask shami,


If the president calls for a new constitution that can be representatives to all Syrian and that is a SECULAR CNSTITUTION , Like the one in the US, I don’t even mind if they copy the American constitution,(( everybody of all religions want to come to the US)), that protect minority and small states rights, a Republic not a Democracy, that is what we have in the US ,

WOULD THAT BE acceptable to you and others in the opposition.

Please clear reply like , YES, or NO .

Any others can reply too ,

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March 20th, 2011, 2:46 pm


73. majedkhaldoon said:

I like that statement.

Bashar said Syria is immune to what happened in Tunis,He was talking to WallStreet Journalist,Does anyone agree with his statement anymore?Obviously his assesment was wrong.
For those who like Bashar and blame the Oligach arround him,if he can not overrule the security forces,for 11 years ,then he is impotant,and very weak,for that I think he must resign immidiately

Now that there are martyrs,it is sure the anger will snowball.
As Jashua said, things will get worse if the security forces can no longer control the angry demonstrators.The syrian army can not start killing people.
I think Bashar must appear on TV ,talk to the people,or talk to the crowd directly, he must release all political prisoners ,NOW .he must change the goverment,and put someone from the opposition to rule,and get rid of Rami Makhloof,abolish emergency law,if he does not then there will be another friday.

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March 20th, 2011, 3:03 pm


74. why-discuss said:

“The Syrian Gov has shut the office of Al-Jazeera in Damascus.”

Where did you get that from? I find this information nowhere.

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March 20th, 2011, 3:09 pm


75. jad said:

I agree, I didn’t read this news anywhere, where did Dr. landis get this news from?
This one is also strange one line of news to put:
‘Alawis are changing their profile photos on Facebook to Bashar’s.’

I don’t know what to believe any more
Syria news has this to say:

أفاد مراسل سيريانيوز في درعا، يوم الأحد، نقلا عن شهود عيان، أن شخصا لقي حتفه وأصيب العشرات بجروح في المظاهرة التي شهدتها المدينة اليوم، في حين نفى مصدر مطلع صحة الأنباء حول مقتل شخص في المظاهرة، كما أشار إلى “إصابة 7 أفراد من الشرطة بجروح جراء إطلاق النار عليهم من قبل مجهولين”، مضيفا أن “هناك تعليمات مؤكدة لعناصر الشرطة بعدم استخدام الأسلحة أو إطلاق النار ضد المتظاهرين”.

وكانت مظاهرة انطلقت من أمام الجامع العمري في الجزء الجنوبي من مدينة درعا “درعا البلد” جابت شوارع المدينة، وصولا إلى بيت عزاء لإحدى الضحايا، الذين سقطوا في تجمعات يوم الجمعة في المدينة.

وردد المتظاهرون شعارات طالبوا في بعض منها بالقصاص ممن أطلقوا النار يوم الجمعة وأدت إلى سقوط “شهيدين” من أبناء المدينة، ومكافحة الفساد وطالب اخرى…

وقال أحد المتظاهرين، فضل عدم الكشف عن اسمه، لسيريانيوز إن “الحكومة تعلم إن الشعب يحب سيادة الرئيس بشار الأسد، ولكن هنالك عصابة فاسدة تقوم بتجارة الأراضي ونهب الوطن والمتاجرة بكل الممنوعات”، مضيفا “نريد محاسبة كثير من الاشخاص المعروفين والذين قامو باعمال سرقة استغلال للنفوذ وبعض المسؤولين”.

وكان الرئيس بشار الأسد كلف كل من وزير الإدارة المحلية تامر الحجة ونائب وزير الخارجية فيصل المقداد لأسرتي الشهيدين الذين سقطا يوم الجمعة الماضي.

في سياق متصل، نفى مصدر مطلع لسيريانيوز صحة الأنباء عن مقتل شخص في مظاهرة اليوم، فيما أشار إلى “إصابة 7 عناصر من الشرطة اليوم بجروح جراء إطلاق النار عليهم من قبل مجهولين”، مضيفا أن “هناك تعليمات مؤكدة لعناصر الشرطة بعدم استخدام الأسلحة أو إطلاق النار ضد المتجمعين”.

وأطلقت السلطات السورية سراح مجموعة من الشبان نتيجة عدم إدانتهم نتيجة ما أظهرته التحقيقات التي أجرتها اللجنة المكلفة بأحداث درعا التي حصلت يوم الجمعة الماضي.

وكان عدد من الضحايا سقطوا خلال تجمع عدد من المواطنين في مدينة درعا البلد بالقرب من الجامع العمري بعد ظهر يوم الجمعة الماضي، وذلك بعد أن شهدت المدينة تحطيم وحرق عدد من السيارات والمحلات العامة، ما استدعى تدخل عناصر حفظ الأمن، بحسب سانا.


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March 20th, 2011, 3:38 pm


76. MONTAGNARD said:

Majhool @#72
That clip is obviously staged. Whoever staged it missed the laughing guy at the end. Shame on you.

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March 20th, 2011, 4:38 pm


77. Shami said:

Ziad,this dualistic approach towards these regimes is common (Syria ,Libya and Iran)
go also understand how Haliburton was doing business in Iran despite sanctions or how Israel supported with weapons the theocracy in Iran.

About the ranking,check Shanghai ranking too.

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March 20th, 2011, 5:01 pm


78. Leo said:

ZIAD @ 48.

Are you seriously comparing Article 111 of the Syrian constitution to the American constitution and saying this article is found there? Article 111 grants the President of Syria the power to fully legislate whether parliament is in session or not. Where in the US constitution is the president given power to legislate? I said that the president in Syria holds more power under the constitution than some monarchs in the Gulf States because in Kuwait for example, the Emir does not have the power to legislate, at least not when parliament is in session. There was also a time in Kuwait when the parliament opposed a bill by the Emir, and the Emir had to wait 4 more years until a new parliament was in place to pass the bill. I am in no favor of monarchy, but what we have in Syria is a hereditary presidential dictatorship.

Furthermore, you said that Bashar is not Hafez, that he is not a dictator, that he’s good but the corrupt people around him are the bad ones, and so forth. For the dictator argument, any person who becomes a president under this constitution would be a dictator per se, unless they amend the article that grant him absolute powers. Bashar was not elected to power, he has taken the position given who his father was. He never proposed amending the constitution and it’s highly unlikely he does so anytime soon. Instead, he used his power to stifle dissent whenever it suited his interests, and the result was the dissolving of both Damascus Spring and Damascus declaration. Only one political party is allowed to form the majority of the parliament by law, and opposition parties are prohibited to exist by law. By all reasonable definitions, your beloved Bashar is not only a dictator, but a tyrant who is responsible for the oppression of his people.

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March 20th, 2011, 5:38 pm


79. Joshua said:

JAD, The news about al-Jazeera, I have taken down. It was sent to me by a friend, but does not seem to be true, as Why Discuss points out.

AS for Alawis changing their Facebook profile photos to that of Bashar, I only have anecdotal information.

My wife, who is an Alawiya from Latakia, told me last night that over 20 of her cousins, nieces and nephews have changed their Facebook photos. They all belong to only a few families living in Homs, Latakia and Jable. It is possible that it is only a family and not a sectarian phenomenon, but I bet it is more general as my wife’s family is not known for its devotion to the President and has no close connection to either Qurdaha or families related to the President. My wife’s mother’s family were Jadidists (Followers of Salah Jadid). Several uncles spent time in jail under Hafez and others fled abroad. Their kids have changed their photos.

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March 20th, 2011, 5:41 pm


80. Nafdik said:


Regarding your question of what would be our position if bashar proposed a constitutional change.

Anything bashar proposes is refused from the outset before he ends emergency law and releases all prisoners. Once he does this then he is requested to take a plane and leave syria.

He is welcome to come back and be subject to a free justice system that can then evaluate his involvment in he corruption that syria has suffered during his reign. If he exonerated which is highly unlikly then he can propose changes to our constitution.

The syrian people have no desire to have suggestions from a thief whose last constitutional change was to eliminate our republic and turn it into his family property.

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March 20th, 2011, 5:48 pm


81. Norman said:

Do you think that what is going on in Daraa is going to galvanize the minorities including the Alawat and the Christians around the president and the Baath part push for significant secular laws.
Including abolishing the Sharia laws in civil matters.

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March 20th, 2011, 5:49 pm


82. Nafdik said:


As to changing fb photos my wife got an invitation from a bunch of her friends from various religious groups to do that.

There seem to be a whole class of people who like assad, and have confused patriotism with devotion to state, and i am still unable to comprehend this phenomenon but it definitely not allawi only.

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March 20th, 2011, 5:52 pm


83. Norman said:

Thank you, It is clear that there is no chance for compromise, you do not want to eat grapes from the vineyard, you want to kill the keeper and possibly his family,It is a survival mode for the Alawat and the other minorities.

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March 20th, 2011, 5:55 pm


84. Norman said:

Hey Nafdik,

Is it possible that the Syrian people really like him and trust him .

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March 20th, 2011, 5:58 pm


85. Nafdik said:

Norman, i do want to eat the grapes from MY vinyard and i want the thief who has been squatting there for 40years to leave. I do not care to kill him but i do not want to talk to him as if he became some sort of owner.

Please do not confuse desire for justice with hate for allawite which i definitely do not harbour.

I understand 100%why allawites and christian have developed fear from the syrian people. But this fear is unfounded and the communities and their leaders if any are left should help other syrians in their call for freedom.

If a few brave allawite generals and religious leaders stand up against the assad family they will have the eternal gratitude of the syrian people.

I predict that they will become martyrs, but they would have saved syria and would have paved the way for full reconciliatiin.

Same goes for christian religious leaders, declare your support of human dignity and make your churches sanctuaries, the syrian people will never forget.

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March 20th, 2011, 6:09 pm


86. Norman said:

Nafdik Said : (( I understand 100%why allawites and christian have developed fear from the syrian people. But this fear is unfounded and the communities and their leaders if any are left should help other syrians in their call for freedom ))

For you info , They are the Syrian people and that what you and the others you call opposition seem to forget,The are the real Syrians and They might forgive you if you declare your loyalty to the unity of Syria instead of being instrumental in destroying her.

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March 20th, 2011, 6:37 pm


87. Off the Wall said:

Joshua and Nafdik

There seem to be a whole class of people who like assad, and have confused patriotism with devotion to state, and i am still unable to comprehend this phenomenon but it definitely not allawi only.

I have been seeing the same non-sectarian thing. I am trying to understand the phenomenon, but from what I think it is related to social-status. It is more common to those who are able to enjoy some of the semblances of modernity and believing that it is progress. It is more evident among the children of upper middle class and the higher class. I asked one of them if he knows about the Human Development Index, and the answer was that he did not care for indices developed especially to malign Syria ?#$@#!@@#.

Bare in mind that internet penetration in Syria is still poor compared to other countries and only those who are doing reasonably well can afford a decent line. Despite of the tremendous growth of the number of users, 2010 stats on internet penetration shows Syria in the lower rung of the Eastern Arab States which includes Lebanon (24%), Syria (17%), Palestine (14%), Yemen (1.8%) and Iraq’s abysmal (1.1%) the upper ranks are occupied by Bahrain at 88% is followed by UAE at 75.9%.

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March 20th, 2011, 7:00 pm


88. Majhool said:


This is a great point. I have seen some affluent syrians support Bashar.. My take on this is that this class of people and due to the inflation that took place in the last 10 years have seen the value of these assets ( mostly homes) sky rocket.

Add to this the access to goods which was denied in the past. Private schools also added to the disconnect.

For them life is good. All said, what’s happening today is forcing them to rethink. I have seen less enthusiasm to change their profile pictures to that of Bashar in recent days.

The stupid regime is creating a permanent damage to the good faith some had for Bashar and Asma.

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March 20th, 2011, 7:20 pm


89. Tony said:

Dear Readers,
I love everyone’s enthusiasm and passion for freedom, watching the last few day’s the news over YouTube, TV, the internet and reading several Blogs, i can’t help but to say, how divided we are, and how far from reality we all are, Daraa is a spark in the eyes of our oppressors, where is the rest of Syria, where are the other minorities, where are the other Cities, do they need special invitations, where are the Kurds, again, why are we so divided.. is everyone asleep…
Wake up everyone, Mama is calling… Tony

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March 22nd, 2011, 2:25 pm


90. Umar said:

Bashar al-Asad threatened to invade Northern Lebanon to fight the Wahabis. Let’s see Jihad and Souri on the frontlines, if they really want to confront the Wahabis!

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March 23rd, 2011, 3:21 pm


91. Charble deen said:

I am very excited about the demonstrations in Syria. The voices of all the dead Lebanese Men, Women and Children who suffered and died at the hands of Syria are calling from beneath ground.

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April 2nd, 2011, 12:42 am


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