Ehsani: What About The Regime?

By Ehsani for Syria Comment

You’ve shown your true colors, “Ehsani”.

Of course, you conveniently consider and accept the irrational killing
automata of the regime as a fact that we must accept in order to
present a sound analysis, while not affording the protesters such
convenience in their irrational and emotional response as having any
influence on your analysis. That’s the scandalous premise that I can’t
possibly agree with.

Moral and ethical questions aside, this is a flawed logic. Would this
be a policy paper that you’d present to the president?

Ehsani,

You yourself mentioned the activist that asked Ghalioun to step down without properly laying out how the opposition can move forward and what Ghalioun should be doing now. In the same way, you have not just proposed but actually argued in your last article that we should work on 2014 elections, without detailing how this can be realistic. You somehow managed to do what Mr. Al-Abdullah did, even as you correctly explained what he didn’t do.

“….he offers no precise prescription of what to do next.”

This is a sample of the many emails that I received following my last note entitled “Syria’s opposition must find a different way”. This was not surprising.

It is hard to argue with the fact that my suggestion to the opposition to play Ghandi came with a free pass to the Syrian leadership to continue business as usual at least till 2014. To many, this was unrealistic, naïve and outright irrational.

The premise behind my recommendation is perhaps the realization (defeatist?) that the regime will not give in and hand the rein of power unilaterally. There are three reasons for that:

  1. The leadership still thinks it can win.
  2. The leadership thinks that giving up power is akin to signing its own death sentence.
  3. The leadership thinks it is fighting evil.

 

Why does the leadership think it can still win?

Put simply, the daily morning decision making process may go as follows:

“Does anyone think that foreign military intervention (especially U.S.) is near”?

Answer: A unanimous negative.

Thank you all for coming. Meeting dismissed.

Asking the Syrian President to step down while giving near zero indication that a “credible” military option is on the table is the definition of weak and confused foreign policy by the international community. No, I am not personally advocating foreign intervention here but stating a fact.

Giving up power now is akin to signing your death sentence:

Nearly one year into this crisis, calls for revenge and holding people accountable for murder is natural. However, this also means that the leadership knows that it gains little by unilaterally giving up power. Indeed, giving up power now is like taking your loss upfront. Fighting till the end is seen as a better option as something may still happen to bail you out. This dynamic is all too familiar to those of us in the investment-trading world. Cut your losing position and take your loss now or stick with it and hope for a market turnaround. Human nature invariably chooses the latter.

The leadership is fighting evil:   

Both the regime and its supporters are convinced that the ultimate winners from the opposition will be religious zealots who will take Syria back to the 7th century. Moreover, the country will become a puppet in the hands of more powerful regional and western countries who will dictate its future geopolitical aspirations. Regardless of the shortcomings of this leadership, its successor is likely to be far worse is the assumption here. While many Syrians dislike discussing sectarian issues, the country is far more sectarian than many want to admit. Religious minorities are far more likely to believe in the above dynamic.

When I called on the opposition to find a different way than arming itself, I did indeed give the leadership a pass till 2014. I did so because I am convinced that the regime goes through the above three-point rationale constantly and that up to this point it comes up with the same conclusions described above.

For the regime to break the impasse and offer their own Ghandi approach, one or all three things have to happen:

1-      The U.S. and the West threaten with a credible and specific timeline on military action to back their “you have to step down” rhetoric.

2-      Damascus sees significant upside potential (lots of carrots) to stepping down now in contrast to carrying on fighting.

3-      A significant core of the regime supporters start to accept the fact that the alternative will indeed be better than the present.

Even the strongest supporters of the regime readily admit that governing this country will be a formidable challenge should the leadership survive and manage to sail out of the eye of the storm.  This regime has been able to survive for nearly half a century against all odds. With every passing day, those betting on it to extend this run need their prayers answered by the almighty.

Let me conclude by quoting one of my dearest friends who wrote to me this morning:

“I pray Syrians are safe, and somehow by a miracle and the grace of god come out of this dark place”

 

Comments (208)


Pages: « 1 2 3 [4] 5 » Show All

151. Syrialover said:

122. Humanist

I agree. I often wish that people sitting in the west idly cutting and pasting all day to flood the SC comments section with whatever catches their eye (regardless of its information value) would instead devote a small portion of that energy to cutting and pasting and flooding the office of Senator Lieberman and others who fanatically support Israel at their expense. Now THERE’S a challenge for them!

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February 12th, 2012, 4:49 pm

 

152. Equus said:

There was an article in the BBC that mourners have to bury their dead at night to escape the government forces. If you look at the http://www.nytimes.com/ just now before they change the main picture it shows no tanks, no government forces and bright day light.
The picture says: Mourners attended a funeral in Idib for a Syrian rebel.

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February 12th, 2012, 4:56 pm

 

153. irritated said:

#141 Tara

Sorry, that’s what the AL said about the opposition:

“Arab League diplomats “will open channels of communication with the Syrian opposition and offer full political and financial support, urging (the opposition) to unify its ranks,” said a League statement obtained by AFP.”

There isn’t a single reference or promises of recognition to the SNC as it announced it earlier and that you were so sure of. That’s another slap to the already red cheek of the SNC.

The AL and western countries’ mantra to the opposition (the 4 or 5 groups) has been and still is UNIFY, UNIFY.
We have seen that these greedy, arrogant and egomaniac SNC would never unify as they believe they are THE opposition.
Unless someone twist their hands, nothing will happen and the regime will continue in the path it has set to itself.

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February 12th, 2012, 5:06 pm

 

154. bronco said:

@151. jad said:

I read that the new constitution decreases tremendously the power of the president in favor of the prime minister. Then it is interesting to find out if the same ban applies to the prime minister too.
If the prime minister can be of any ethnic or religious group, then restricting the presidency to an Arab Moslem part of the country majority is not such a big deal.

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February 12th, 2012, 5:14 pm

 

155. Mawal95 said:

@ Irritated: You said earier “The Saudis already said they will NOT recognize the SNC as THE opposition group REPRESENTING THE SYRIANS but they MAY recognize it as AN opposition group among others. I doubt the Saudi will be stupid enough to change that position.”

I know very little about how the Saudis think and I intend to keep it that way. But I feel the Saudis are capable of changing their position, and I feel that the change wouldn’t necessarily be a stupid move from their point of view, inside their framework of thinking. The following item published this evening at Ahram.org.eg is reporting from an anonymous “informed source”. I don’t know whether it’s true, but I don’t see why at this stage you should be suprised if it is true.

Date: 12 feb 2012. A press conference scheduled to follow a day of intensive Arab League meetings on Syria was cancelled on Sunday evening due to a lack of consensus among league member states on a proposal by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to recognise the opposition Syrian Transitional Council (STC) as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people, informed sources told Al-Ahram Online. The lack of league support for the GCC proposal reportedly prompted Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hammed Ben Jassim to cancel the scheduled conference, with the consent of Arab League Secretary-General Nabil El-Arabi.

Arab foreign ministers also failed to agree on a draft resolution to be presented to the UN Security Council on a proposed peacekeeping mission in Syria.

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/34383/World/Region/Arab-League-presser-called-off-due-to-disagreement.aspx

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February 12th, 2012, 5:22 pm

 

156. jad said:

Bronco
There is no specific ban on the prime minister, however, traditionally the Syrian PM has been always a Sunni, except Fares Alkhouri.
Besides, if the future president is just a position without much power what’s the point of excluding non-Arabs and non-Muslims, it doesn’t make sense. No?

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February 12th, 2012, 5:22 pm

 

157. ghufran said:

http://www.aljazeera.net/Portal/KServices/supportPages/vote/vote.aspx?voteID=3661&yourAnswer=0&actionType=0&dispType=1
only 6% of aljazeera.net readers think that sending observers to Syria will stop the blood shed.

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February 12th, 2012, 5:23 pm

 

158. ann said:

154. irritated said:

The AL and western countries’ mantra to the opposition (the 4 or 5 groups) has been and still is UNIFY, UNIFY.

We already heard from 2 different Syrian opposition parties in the article I posted earlier:

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-02/13/c_122690760.htm

1. Loai Hussain, head of the opposition “Building Syria State Party,”

2. Qadri Jammil, head of the opposing Popular Front for Change and Liberation and leader of a Syrian Communist Party

They both rejected the arab league dictates.

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February 12th, 2012, 5:28 pm

 

159. jad said:

Irritated, Mawal,
Add this to the ‘strange’ news collection:

After the GCC meeting was canceled KSA is giving Bashar 72 hours to stop military actions or KSA will invade Syria!…(From where? they have to either invade Jordan or Iraq before they reach Syria)

عاجل : ملك السعودية يمهل الاسد 72 ساعة والا سيتدخل عسكريا

اعلنت القناة السعودية الاولى ان الملك عبد الله عاهل السعودية قد امهل بشار الاسد مهله قدرها 72 ساعة للتوقف عن قتل الشعب السورى او اعلان دخول القوات البرية السعودية الى سوريا .

جدير بالذكر ان اخر مهمه عسكرية قامت بها القوات السعودية كانت فى اخماد ثورة البحرين ومهاجمه ميدان الؤلؤة

http://www.akhbarak.net/articles/7047144-%D8%B9%D8%A7%D8%AC%D9%84_-_%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B3%D8%B9%D9%88%D8%AF%D9%8A%D8%A9_%D8%AA%D9%85%D9%87%D9%84_%EF%BA%8D%EF%BB%B7%EF%BA%B3%EF%BA%AA_72_%EF%BA%B3%EF%BA%8E%EF%BB%8B%EF%BB%AA_%D9%84%D9%84%D8%AA%D9%88%D9%82%D9%81_%EF%BB%8B%EF%BB%A6_

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February 12th, 2012, 5:32 pm

 

160. ann said:

160. jad said:

KSA will invade Syria!

If that news is accurate, oil futures will go through the roof derailing the fragile economic recovery.

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February 12th, 2012, 5:41 pm

 

161. irritated said:

MAWAL #155

Isn’t surprising that NO western country (except France) and NO Arab country (except Libya and Tunisia) has given ANY recognition to the SNC, not even as AN opposition group?
The SNC has been snubbed by just everybody for the good reason that it is clear that it has no credibility whatsoever within Syria.
The SNC has a strong lobby in the US, France and Turkey, so I am not surprised these lobbies are pressuring some Arab countries (probably Tunisia, Qatar and Saudi Arabia) to push for an exclusive recognition to the SNC.
Yet I doubt Qatar and Saudi Arabia will make any unilateral move in favor of the SNC.

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February 12th, 2012, 5:44 pm

 

162. Tara said:

Irritated @144

144. IRRITATED said:

“crimes against humanity are taking place in Syria”
The question would be to find out who is perpetrating them.
It won’t be a surprise, its both sides.
——
Sorry Irritated, it is crystal clear to the Amnesty International who are the perpetrators.  This is from their web page.  I have provided the link in my previous post.  

Amnesty International has concluded that crimes against humanity are taking place in Syria – a finding also made by a UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry in November – and called for the situation to be referred to Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, as well as for a comprehensive arms embargo to be imposed on Syria and an assets freeze against President Bashar al-Assad and his close associates. 

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February 12th, 2012, 5:52 pm

 

163. Majed97 said:

Our freedom champion, Saudi Arabia, used Interpol’s system to get journalist arrested in Malaysia for insulting the Prophet Muhammad on Twitter.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/feb/10/interpol-journalist-arrested-muhammad-tweet

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February 12th, 2012, 5:53 pm

 

164. ann said:

SANA: Syria draft constitution submitted to Assad – February 12, 2012

A commission tasked with drafting a new Syrian constitution submitted a draft charter to President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday, the official SANA news agency reported.

“Assad on Sunday received a copy of the new draft constitution from the head of the national committee charged with drafting a new constitution for the Syrian Arab Republic,” SANA said.

“Assad is to review the draft constitution and refer it to the People’s Assembly before putting it to referendum,” it added.

http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=363954

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February 12th, 2012, 5:58 pm

 

165. Tara said:

Irritated @153

“Arab League diplomats “will open channels of communication with the Syrian opposition and offer full political and financial support, urging (the opposition) to unify its ranks,” said a League statement obtained by AFP.”

There isn’t a single reference or promises of recognition to the SNC as it announced it earlier and that you were so sure of. That’s another slap to the already red cheek of the SNC.
——

I agree that formally establishing communication with the opposition and offering FULL political and financial support is a real slap, but not on the opposition face, rather on Bashar al Assad’s face.  Twist it all you want, it is in effect is a declaration of war against the regime…While SNC was not mentioned by name, I believe the SNC is what the AL and the western media mean when they mention the opposition.  All other pseudo-opposition who are willing to negotiate with Bushbush are not recognized by anyone except Bushbush himself and his patrons.

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February 12th, 2012, 6:05 pm

 

166. bronco said:

#157 Jad

As long as the official religion of Syria is Islam, it is logical that the president be a Moslem.
While I disagree on the exclusion based on ethnicity (Kurds, Tcherkes), I think that the historical identity of Syria is Arab and the official language is Arabic therefore should be excluded only individuals whose mother language is not Arabic.

The Tunisian debate on this subject:

“When asked about the exclusion of non-Muslims he referenced the overwhelming Muslim character of Tunisia. “Islam is the religion of the majority of Tunisians, and the official religion of Tunisia is Islam. It is normal for the president of the country to be Muslim.”

The Sunni Muslim religious demographic of Tunisia accounts for more than 98% of the country’s population.

Mohamed Benour, spokesperson of the center-left party Ettakatol, said that theoretically non-Muslims should have the right to run for presidency. However, in reality, the president of Tunisia cannot be a Jew or a Christian while the majority of Tunisians are Muslims. “I don’t think the Tunisian president will make an oath on the Bible or Torah. The constitution states that Tunisia’s official religion is Islam.”

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February 12th, 2012, 6:11 pm

 

167. SANDRO LOEWE said:

I am sorry because civil war is yet a fact. Many syrians will pay with his life to get to destroy or to defend the Assads falacy. But since this is the only possible way Assad left for liberation or for status quo remaining, then this is the only way that can be chosen. Martyrdom for nothing is not a way many can chose.

Assad is going to bite the dust soon. But on the way to defeat Assad will kill as many as he can to try to delay his defeat. Today Assad can be considered done. Arab League declaration and decissions make impossible to the syrian dictatorship to turn down the situation. Arms and aids are going to be sent massively to the syrian people under attack and repression. UN General Assembly is on the way. Assad is encircled by his worse nightmares and due to a serie of incredible mistakes.

Minhebbaks can write whatever they like, critize whoever they need, insult and call pigs the same nations they adored some years ago. But the fact is that syrian regime is falling to pieces in a limited period of time. The fall can take months or even one year or more but Assad is against the ropes. I guess Hafez was a political Lion but Bashar is a domesticated cat who believed himself a Lion. His final will be terrible.

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February 12th, 2012, 6:16 pm

 

168. irritated said:

Tara #165

What you say is your own assumptions, if I don’t say fruits of your
own hopeful imagination. The text and the facts do not say that.

“I believe the SNC is what the AL and the western media mean when they mention the opposition. I believe the SNC is what the AL and the western media mean when they mention the opposition.”

So why does the AL ask the opposition to UNIFY? Unify with itself?

Why is the AL resolution calls for a dialog of all “the different groups of the opposition”?

“Twist it all you want, it is in effect is a declaration of war against the regime…”

The AL plan calling for Bashar al Assad was already a declaration of war, this one is nothing new, just words to cover the emptiness of the new plan.

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February 12th, 2012, 6:17 pm

 

169. ann said:

Arab League’s plan for joint force difficult to be realized – 2012-02-13

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-02/13/c_122690939.htm

“To form a joint force may help stop bloodshed in the Syrian lands, but it has to be based on certain conditions,” said Noha Bakr, political science professor at the American University in Cairo.

“The first condition to get such peacekeeping missions in work is to send them into the lands where violence has already stopped, but the violence is still going on in Syria, so the decision is useless,” said Bakr.

“The second is the approval of the host country. (Syrian President Bashar al-Assad won’t accept such a mission,”

The 22-member AL urged the Arab countries to tighten economic sanctions on Syria and to stop any diplomatic cooperation with those who represent the Syrian regime.

“I don’t think all these sanctions will lead to an end to the Syrian crisis,” Noha said.

Saed Lawendy, political analyst with Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, slammed the AL stance towards the Syrian crisis .

“The decision on AL-UN troops was an attempt by the AL to cover its disgraceful sin, as it wants to refer the issue to the UN by any means,” he said.

“The AL pretends as if it is an active figure in the picture, but in fact it isn’t at all,” he added.

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February 12th, 2012, 6:19 pm

 

170. Majed97 said:

Secular Syrians need to voice strong objection to any constitution that has any religious biases. It would be a shame for Syria to miss this opportunity to show real progress. Such constitution will only embolden the Islamists, and alienate the secularists, leaving the government with more unhappy citizens (oppositions); not a wise move…

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February 12th, 2012, 6:23 pm

 

171. SANDRO LOEWE said:

ANN

Just the link, remeber. When we see it´s a XINHUANET or RUSSIANMAFIA link we simply do not open. Anyway I do not believe a non-minhebbak reads the posted article. Maybe it serves the aim of reaffirming your own position or having the warm feeling that China or Russia will save you. Well if it can serve you to cross through this bad nightmare you are suffering then we can pass it for once. But please do not abuse.

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February 12th, 2012, 6:25 pm

 

172. Tara said:

Irritated

There is 2 version for each political statement. One version is for public consumption and the other is the real intention. Of course, the AL would ask the opposition to unify. But, in the interim, who do you think the political and financial support will pour on? Haytham Manaa or the SNC?

For the record, to the contrary of what you may believe, I do not have emotional ties to SNC in particular. I would support any opposition figure as long as two basic principals are respected, the first is absolutely NO negotiation with Bashar, and the second is Syria belongs to all Syrians.

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February 12th, 2012, 6:28 pm

 

173. Halabi said:

When your closest friends are a theocracy in Iran and an armed political group that calls itself the party of god, it makes sense to adopt a racist constitution based on Islamic laws… I won’t dwell on this because I’m sure Buthaina, Besho or perhaps one of their stooges are going to explain why having Islam in the constitution is secular, but having religious parties is forbidden.

Hypocrisy and double-speak, that’s all we get from Assad. Whatever the constitutions says, it can always be changed in five minutes if the regime wants – they might have to lower the age requirement for the presidency to 8 so Hafez Bashar can take over, or the IQ test to 70 so Maher can have a go.

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February 12th, 2012, 6:32 pm

 

174. ann said:

169. irritated

The so called “arab league” is completely irrelevant. All they’ve done so far (in football parlant) is “kick the ball” to the UNSC hoping the international community do their dirty work for them overthrowing the legitimate Syrian government and replacing it with Moslem brothers (SNC)

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February 12th, 2012, 6:36 pm

 

175. Tara said:

It feels that we are entering a new phase where regime supporters are clinging into wishful thinking trying to console each other.

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February 12th, 2012, 6:41 pm

 

176. Mawal95 said:

Commenter HUMANIST above asked a question: What do you think is the main reason why almost none of the people of Aleppo have joined the uprising? Nobody answered the question and I expect nobody will. I haven’t heard anyone in anti-regime quarters with an answer to it. I think they need an answer to it in order for them to understand their situation.

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February 12th, 2012, 6:41 pm

 

177. ann said:

177. Mawal95 said:

Commenter HUMANIST above asked a question: What do you think is the main reason why almost none of the people of Aleppo have joined the uprising?

I did. I gave him an answer but he didn’t like my answer, and was all worked up about it. Then, the moderator deleted my post!

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February 12th, 2012, 6:49 pm

 

178. Halabi said:

Mawal95

The answer is because everyone in Aleppo loves Bashar and the Baath party too. They are strong supporters of the خلصت theory. Even though it seems that I’m against Bashar, as a Halabi, I secretly adore him.

This revolution is all about the destruction of the utopia that is Syria so it can be delivered it Israel and Homsis can collect a few dollars. The people in Aleppo and Damascus figured it out. The killings are all fabricated, the only people dying are the brave soldiers and innocent minorities who are killed for supporting Bashar. Every pro-government rally is viciously attacked by armed gangs and terrorists.

That’s why “almost none” of the people of Aleppo are with the revolution.

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February 12th, 2012, 6:50 pm

 

179. Mawal95 said:

In a press conference on 11 Feb 2012 the Syrian deputy foreign minister Faisal Mikdad denied as “media fabrication” the reports that the Syrian army has used tanks to shell residential neighborhoods in Homs. And he said “law-enforcement officials [in Homs] are moving very cautiously and carefully not to cause any damage to civilians or properties.” — http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-02/12/c_131404986.htm

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February 12th, 2012, 6:51 pm

 

180. Tara said:

More bad news to Assad.

Turkey plans to lodge a formal request with the United Nations for a humanitarian operation to help Syrians suffering a “humanitarian tragedy” in their country, the Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said Feb. 11.

“I gave instructions today to lodge a request with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Geneva on the subject of humanitarian aid,” Anatolia News Agency quoted Davutoğlu as saying during a visit to Washington. “Turkey is launching an initiative at the U.N. office in Geneva to put in place a flow of humanitarian aid towards Syria,” he said. As the OHCHR does not have a humanitarian remit, the initiative would likely be taken up by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). 
…. 
Speaking of Turkey’s plans to lodge a request for a humanitarian operation, Ahmet Davutoğlu said Ankara would “bring the issue to the attention of the OHCHR” as well as other U.N. bodies specializing in humanitarian aid such as OCHA, which is also based in Geneva. “We will step up our initiatives both to bring the subject before the General Assembly [...] and to bring humanitarian aid to our Syrian brothers in the framework of the OHCHR,” he said.
 
(..)…more
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/arab-league-brings-syria-more-isolation.aspx?pageID=238&nID=13618&NewsCatID=352 

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February 12th, 2012, 6:52 pm

 

181. Mawal95 said:

@ ANN or @ moderator: Why did the moderator delete ANN’s post answering the question about why Aleppo has been quiet?

@ ANN: Why do you think Aleppo has been quiet?

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February 12th, 2012, 6:54 pm

 

182. ann said:

179. HALABI

That wasn’t so hard, was it?!

Thank you!

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February 12th, 2012, 6:54 pm

 

183. ann said:

182. Mawal95 said:

@ ANN: Why do you think Aleppo has been quiet?

I think HALABI just summed it up eloquently in 179.

Thank you HALABI. I gave you thumbs up.

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February 12th, 2012, 7:02 pm

 

184. Halabi said:

I’m not sure if this has been posted. Piers Morgan interviews Joan Juliet Buck, the Vogue journalist who wrote the infamous Asma Al-Assad profile last year.

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February 12th, 2012, 7:03 pm

 

185. William Scott Scherk said:

Ghufran raises the stark and obvious points about a Baathi crafted-in-secret revision of the Syrian constitution.

Constitution-crafting in secret is the old way, to my eyes. It won’t stick. Whatever lump of paper and slogans that comes out of the gnomic vastness of the Presidency next week will not be a constitution that lasts.

The much vaunted dialogue (not ‘consultation’) and comprehensive reform programme was all crafted by the Syrian version of the Kremlin. None of its work was public or part of open public debate. Nothing that Syrians pay for — government — was made transparent or able to be guided by citizens (aside from some pathetic one-way mirror E-Gov polls, and feeble one-way polls at Daypress. No Syrian official media paid any attention to the committee’s work, agenda. No open discussion. No rallies, no speeches. No ‘conference’ on TV. Nothing. The spell of absolute obedience to the party line is well apparent.

So, if it is safe to conclude that a strongly authoritarian government comes up with a secretly-blended document, and then puts it up for a Take It Or Leave it vote in the middle of a civil crisis — what kind of legitimate process is that? I think Ghufran is quite right:

No constitution will survive the corruption and brutality of this regime or any similar regime. without a radical change in the security forces and the judicial system, all of the work related to a new constitution is more like windows dressing.

Carrying a placard calling for constitutional change, gathering in groups to put pressure on government, denouncing the Syria justice, prison and detention system — all these are crimes in the Syrian Penal Code to this day. Anything you say or do can be used against you, and off to detention you may go.

No new party has been allowed that steps out from Mukhabarat dictates of red-lines. No unlicensed party is allowed to hold meetings, by law. All of the “new” licenced parties so far have been an Nth iteration on Socialist/Nationalist/Patriotic bumf, cousins to the Front — or else “new” assemblies of aged communist leadership willing to work under the roof of the nation (under Assad).

Political activity such as several here conduct is punishable by prison in Syria to this day, along with loss of civil rights (to vote, leave country, enter country, register children). By law. What kind of election can be held under this kind of suppression?

No new media outlet has been allowed to broadcast, distribute its printed material, open an office, accredit a reporter.

Official censorship and editorial direction and control rests with the Baathi state in all organs of communication in Syria.

How can a clean referendum, let alone any normal political life occur in today’s Syria? The official timetable for reform seems to me to be a cruel, cynical charade.

A familiar voice from the Xinhua, PressTV and SANA desk expounds that Amnesty International is beholden to Israel, allowing us to infer that a human rights organization that ignores oppressive Israeli practices cannot be an honest reporter of Syria’s woes.

The implication is false, as it turns out. Amnesty International has been accused repeatedly of anti-Israel bias or undue focus on Israeli detention practices, by a wide variety of Zionist and non-Zionist worthies. Ann, can you please post some non-SANAized Xinhua facts about Amnesty International work documenting and reporting Israel practices? AI has been charged (by Israelis) with “obsession with Israel” and “persistently condemns Israel while ignoring suffering elsewhere”.

Irritated raises some questions regarding ARTE reporting, and its journalist Sofia Amara — in response to Juergen’s post of a new report on ARTE’s German-language outlet (I watched the French version at ARTE Reportage).

A silence is a sign of complicity in the manipulation of the media. Not very ethical.

Does she know if Tllass is dead or not?

I asked Sofia Amara in a message via her Facebook page. Her broadcast footage shot in Syria is from December; we do not know if anyone on the December crew is currently holding silent or not, less that they ought be viewed as unethical, or worse, complicit in media manipulation.

As for ARTE being pro-Israel and thus suspect, is it not also true that ARTE, like Amnesty International, pokes its nose deep into the actions, policies, procedures and effects of occupation? See their special reportage on Palestine dated just last fall: La marche vers un État palestinien.

Irritated continues with a subtle demonizing line. If it’s not goat emirates, traitors and losers, fat sheiks, conspiring reporters, if its not an SNC stuffed with garbage, egomaniacs, greed and arrogance, it’s an SNC without a shred of support in Syria.

This is said so confidently, but I wonder: if the SNC membership is partly composed of representative LCCs (local coordinating committees) — who are a main engine of reporting atrocities and coordinating dissent — if LCCs are part of SNC, then how can SNC have, in Irritated’s words, “no credibility whatsoever within Syria.”

Such al or nothing talk! It is as if LCC representative Imad Hussari spoke to us and some cannot yet hear. It is as if we do not keep track of active SNC members inside and outside Syria, the ferment, the discussion, the sturm und drang of politics.

SNC may have low credibility in Syria, or medium, or high, but it hardly has zero level of support. The very nature of calls to Unify were what impelled the original (terrorist traitor MB/Liberal/Kurd/Leftist/Lcc) SNC to form, after fitful starts — as a response to calls for a representative opposition body.

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February 12th, 2012, 7:13 pm

 

186. Mawal95 said:

Here’s a question for pro-regime people which I bet they can’t answer. The new Constitution is the backbone of the reforms and it is still not published. Why not?

SANA, dated 7 Feb 2012: “The National Committee tasked with preparing the draft Constitution for the Syrian Arab Republic has finished its work. The Committee, according to a statement received by SANA, would submit the draft Constitution to President Bashar al-Assad.” http://www.sana.sy/eng/21/2012/02/07/398990.htm
SANA, dated 12 Feb 2012: “President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday received a copy of the new draft Constitution from the head of the National Committee charged with drafting a new constitution for the Syrian Arab Republic, during a meeting with the Committee’s members.” http://www.sana.sy/eng/21/2012/02/12/400003.htm

The Constitution is still not published as of today 12 Feb 2012. Why they delay? I have to presume the delay is motivated by something. But I’m clueless as to what. Bashar announced the intention to rewrite the Constitution on 20 Jun 2011 and he said on that date that Article 8 was kaput. Yasser Al-Houria, a senior member of the Baath Regional Leadership, said on 23 Aug 2011: “I hope that the President will soon make an announcement concerning Constitutional reforms. Reform is a national imperative. We all believe in reform.” Then on 15 Oct 2011 the President gave a new Committee four months to do redo the Constitution, which was a needlessly lengthy chunk of time. I think there must be a tactical explanation for why Constitutional reform has taken so long and has still not been published yet. I don’t think there can be an explanation in terms of the amount of labour or dialog required.

By the way, I mentioned a few days ago on this board that I’d heard a leak or rumour that under the newly drafted Constitution a person wanting to compete as a candidate in the Presidential election must receive the endorsements of 20 percent of the members of parliament, and another leak that it was 5 percent. I’ve since read another source, Qadri Jamil, who’s a member of the drafting Committee, who’s saying the percentage is 35 percent. http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/video/2012-02/10/c_131403182.htm

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February 12th, 2012, 7:19 pm

 

187. ann said:

Turkey plans to lodge a formal request with the United Nations for a humanitarian operation to help Syrians suffering a “humanitarian tragedy” in their country, the Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said Feb. 11.

No problems.

The turks already tried that approach with humanitarian aid for the Palestinians living in Gaza. israel said it will accept it first and then distribute it to the Palestinians after.

The Syrian government will just have to toe the israeli line.

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February 12th, 2012, 7:21 pm

 

188. ann said:

186. Mawal95

I think you don’t publish a DRAFT since it’s still a DRAFT (not the final version) and will probably still have amendments added to it.

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February 12th, 2012, 7:26 pm

 

189. Syrialover said:

#184

Thanks Halabi. She’s frank in describing how she now sees she was manipulated and makes clear her disgust at the Assads. She finds zero excuse for Asma, and remarks at how English she actually found her to be and the regime’s efforts to disguise that.

So Asma Assad: Fakeness within falseness.

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February 12th, 2012, 7:27 pm

 

190. Syrialover said:

Those who keep asking why Aleppo’s been quiet are revealing a lack of basic knowledge (or even recent reading) about Syria.

For those of us with people in Aleppo it is painful to see this on SC.

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February 12th, 2012, 7:35 pm

 

191. Norman said:

The policy of appeasement continue with the new constitution, Syria should just adopt the American constitution, works well,

For the people that think that the constitution should be written after the election, i disagree, the majority of the people should not have the right to deny the minorities their rights with a constitution that is difficult to change, The American constitution was written by few people, and still the best around,

The opposition does not think that the president is Muslim enough to be president, so what changes with the new constitution,

President Assad still has a chance to assert himself to his supporters and enemies by cancelling article 3, hope he does or he is going to lose his support, the sad thing is that Muslims need that in the constitution to be sure that the majority Syrians will not vote for a christian, Jew, Kurd or Armenian,

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February 12th, 2012, 7:37 pm

 

192. Mawal95 said:

The main thing about the new Constitution is that it eliminates Article 8 of the current Constitution. That elimination creates the “level playing field” that other political parties deserve in competing against the Baath Party in parliamentary and presidential elections.

Article 3 of the current Constitution is an excellent provision as I’ve argued before and it will be retained in the new Constitution and will continue to be very popular with the people of Syria. Article 3 says Islam is a moral anchor. It gives Muslims a concrete statement their morals and values will be upheld by the State. The great majority of the good people of Syria want that moral anchor and they are going to keep on getting it from this regime.

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February 12th, 2012, 7:43 pm

 

193. ann said:

191. Norman said
The policy of appeasement continue with the new constitution, Syria should just adopt the American constitution

You mean equal rights for all!

God forbid! The moslem brothers, saudis, qataris, turks and their aarours will have a fit!

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February 12th, 2012, 7:48 pm

 

194. Norman said:

Ann,

I wish that the Christians in the Mideast are treated the way Muslims and Jews are treated in the US, It might be time for the US to declare that the president has to be Christian and put that in the constitution, I am just tired of the discrimination that the Christians face in Muslim countries and in Israel.

Would you believe that Christians are not allowed to be Obstetricians or Urologists in Egypt, I hunk it might be the right time for the Christians to ask for their own country in the Mideast or be treated equally.

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February 12th, 2012, 8:00 pm

 
 

196. Halabi said:

Ann said: “The Syrian government will just have to toe the israeli line.”

If Israel is the world’s worst human rights offender, then why should Assad’s Syria become more like them? Shouldn’t that kind of behavior be opposed. If you want to win me to your side I need more consistency.

Right now the pro Assad position is: “Israel is the enemy, we hate it and want to destroy it, we will never attack directly, but when necessary we will adopt its worst oppressive and apartheid practices, massacre our enemies and deny the world to give them aid.”

As long as Assad wants to mimic Israel, how about bringing some freedom of speech, rule of law and free and fair elections – just for the chosen ones in Aleppo, Damascus and Latakia? I guess that’s the plan. Assad wants to make his regime to resemble Israel so he can show the world how bad Israel is. Brilliant.

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February 12th, 2012, 8:06 pm

 

197. Darryl said:

191. NORMAN said:

Dear Norman, if article 3 is cancelled, then Islam cannot be Islam with its core doctrine of being discriminatory against all non-Muslims. If the discrimination part is eliminated, then many will abandon the faith, so we should not be going at them too hard mate. They already have a tough life, give them a break.

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February 12th, 2012, 8:09 pm

 

198. irritated said:

@175. Tara

I would say that the pro-chaos are seeing a glimpse of hope from the apparent rebound of the Arab league after the humiliation and the rage on the double veto.
Yes, put all your hopes in the Arab League, the Qatar rising star and the decrepit Saudi foreign minister. It’s full of wind as were the previous plans.

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February 12th, 2012, 8:26 pm

 

199. Friend in America said:

Ephansi -
Thank you for your comment. Very interesting. But, consider two “realist” observations:
1. WillSyria will be subject to a dominating influence by the US or Europe should the Assad regime fall? This is a false assertion broadcasted by the present regime. The answer is no. A realistic assessment is the longer civil disturbance continues the more dependent the Assad regime will become on Iran and Russia. That is the outside dominance to anticipate. Iran has already stated dominance is one of its foreign policy goals. Russia holds too many loans from Syria to stand by quietly while its borrower fades away.

2. No coincidental convergence of circumstances will prompt the Assads to leave Syria. They will shoot it out in their bunkers. Several years ago I had a discussion on this site with a top ranking member of the Assad government on how to interpret Syria’s foreign policy. Simply put, the reply was ‘whatever it takes to keep the Assads in power.’ So it is now. Like Gadafi the Assad family will do whatever it takes to stay in power. It precludes any other alternative. Even the Russian diplomats will go home empty handed.

The FSA will have to grow to 15,000 well equipped and trained.
1 year. In the meantime look for assassinations and car bombs to keep the regime unstable and the supportive population anxious.

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February 12th, 2012, 8:30 pm

 

200. Norman said:

Mjabali,

Racism is wide spread in the Mideast.sad , really sad,

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February 12th, 2012, 8:31 pm

 

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