“Exclusive: Secret Assad Emails Lift Lid on Life of Leader’s Inner Circle,” in Guardian

The Assad emails
Exclusive: secret Assad emails lift lid on life of leader’s inner circle
BY Robert Booth, Mona Mahmood and Luke Harding – Guardian

• Messages show Bashar al-Assad took advice from Iran
• Leader made light of promised reforms
• Wife spent thousands on jewellery and furniture

Assad emails: ‘If we are strong together …’

Date: 28 December 2011
A simple supportive message from Asma al-Assad to her husband.

If we are strong together, we will overcome this together…I love you…

 

Bashar al-Assad took advice from Iran on how to handle the uprising against his rule, according to a cache of what appear to be several thousand emails received and sent by the Syrian leader and his wife.

The Syrian leader was also briefed in detail about the presence of western journalists in the Baba Amr district of Homs and urged to “tighten the security grip” on the opposition-held city in November.

The revelations are contained in more than 3,000 documents that activists say are emails downloaded from private accounts belonging to Assad and his wife, Asma.

The messages, which have been obtained by the Guardian, are said to have been intercepted by members of the opposition Supreme Council of the Revolution group between June and early February.

The documents, which emerge on the first anniversary of the rebellion that has seen more than 8,000 Syrians killed, paint a portrait of a first family remarkably insulated from the mounting crisis and continuing to enjoy a luxurious lifestyle.

They appear to show the president’s wife spending thousands of dollars over the internet for designer goods while he swaps entertaining internet links on his iPad and downloads music from iTunes.

As the world watched in horror at the brutal suppression of protests across the country and many Syrians faced food shortages and other hardships, Mrs Assad spent more than £10,000 on candlesticks, tables and chandeliers from Paris and instructed an aide to order a fondue set from Amazon.

The Guardian has made extensive efforts to authenticate the emails by checking their contents against established facts and contacting 10 individuals whose correspondence appears in the cache. These checks suggest the messages are genuine, but it has not been possible to verify every one.

The emails also appear to show that:

• Assad established a network of trusted aides who reported directly to him through his “private” email account – bypassing both his powerful clan and the country’s security apparatus.

• Assad made light of reforms he had promised in an attempt to defuse the crisis, referring to “rubbish laws of parties, elections, media”.

• A daughter of the emir of Qatar, Hamid bin Khalifa al-Thani, this year advised Mr and Mrs Assad to leave Syria and suggested Doha may offer them exile.

• Assad sidestepped extensive US sanctions against him by using a third party with a US address to make purchases of music and apps from Apple’s iTunes.

• A Dubai-based company, al-Shahba, with a registered office in London is used as a key conduit for Syrian government business and private purchases by the Syrian first lady.

Activists say they were passed username and password details believed to have been used by the couple by a mole in the president’s inner circle. The email addresses used the domain name alshahba.com, a conglomerate of companies used by the regime. They say the details allowed uninterrupted access to the two inboxes until the leak was discovered in February.

The emails appear to show how Assad assembled a team of aides to advise him on media strategy and how to position himself in the face of increasing international criticism of his regime’s attempts to crush the uprising, which is now thought to have claimed more than 10,000 lives.

Activists say they were able to monitor the inboxes of Assad and his wife in real time for several months. In several cases they claim to have used fresh information to warn colleagues in Damascus of imminent regime moves against them.

The access continued until 7 February when a threatening email arrived in the inbox thought to be used by Assad after the account’s existence was revealed when the Anonymous group separately hacked into a number of Syrian government email addresses. All correspondence to and from the two addresses ceased on the same day.

The emails appear to show that Assad received advice from Iran or its proxies on several occasions during the crisis. Ahead of a speech in December his media consultant prepared a long list of themes, reporting that the advice was based on “consultations with a good number of people in addition to the media and political adviser for the Iranian ambassador”.

The memo advised the president to use “powerful and violent” language and to show appreciation for support from “friendly states”. It also advised that the regime should “leak more information related to our military capability” to convince the public that it could withstand a military challenge.

The president also received advice from Hussein Mortada, an influential Lebanese businessman with strong connections to Iran. In December, Mortada urged Assad to stop blaming al-Qaida for an apparent twin car bombing in Damascus, which took place the day before an Arab League observer mission arrived in the country. He said he had been in contact with Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon who shared the same view.

“It is not out of our interest to say that al-Qaida organisation is behind the operation because this claim will [indemnify] the US administration and Syrian opposition,” Mortada wrote not long after the blasts. “I have received contacts from Iran and Hezbollah in my role as director of many Iranian-Lebanese channels and they directed me to not mention that al-Qaida is behind the operation. It is a blatant tactical media mistake.”

In another email Mortada advised the president that the regime needed to take control of public squares between 3pm and 9pm to deny opposition groups the opportunity to gather there.

Iran and Hezbollah have been accused throughout the year-long uprising of providing on-the-ground support to the regime crackdown, including sending soldiers to fight alongside regime forces and technical experts to help identify activists using the internet. Iran and Hezbollah both deny offering anything more than moral support.

Among others who communicated with the president’s account were Khaled al-Ahmed, who it is believed was tasked with providing advice about Homs and Idlib. In November Ahmed wrote to Assad urging him to “tighten the security grip to start [the] operation to restore state control and authority in Idlib and Hama countryside”.

He also told Assad he had been told that European reporters had “entered the area by crossing the Lebanese borders illegally”. In another mail he warned the president that “a tested source who met with leaders of groups in Baba Amr today said that a big shipment of weapons is coming from Libya will arrive to the seashores of one of the neighbouring states within three days to be smuggled to Syria.”

Link to this videoThe emails offer a rare window on the state of mind of the isolated Syrian leader, apparently lurching between self-pity, defiance and flippancy as he swapped links to amusing video footage with his aides and wife. On one occasion he forwards to an aide a link to YouTube footage of a crude re-enactment of the siege of Homs using toys and biscuits.

Throughout 2011, his wife appears to have kept up regular correspondence with the Qatar emir’s daughter, Mayassa al-Thani. But relations appear to have chilled early this year when Thani directly suggested that the Syrian leader step down.

“My father regards President Bashar as a friend, despite the current tensions – he always gave him genuine advice,” she wrote on 11 December. “The opportunity for real change and development was lost a long time ago. Nevertheless, one opportunity closes, others open up – and I hope its not too late for reflection and coming out of the state of denial.”

A second email on 30 January was even more forthright and including a tacit offer of exile. “Just been following the latest developments in Syria … in all honesty – looking at the tide of history and the escalation of recent events – we’ve seen two results – leaders stepping down and getting political asylum or leaders being brutally attacked. I honestly think this is a good opportunity to leave and re-start a normal life.

“I only pray that you will convince the president to take this an opportunity to exit without having to face charges. The region needs to stabilise, but not more than you need peace of mind. I am sure you have many places to turn to, including Doha.”

The direct line of reporting to Assad, independent of the police state’s military and intelligence agencies, was a trait of his father, Hafez al-Assad, who ruled Syria for three decades until his death in 2000 ushered the then 36-year-old scion into the presidency.

Assad Sr was renowned for establishing multiple reporting lines from security chiefs and trusted aides in the belief that it would deny the opportunity for any one agency to become powerful enough to pose a threat to him.

His son has reputedly shown the same instincts through his decade of rule. The year-long uprising against his decade of rule appeared to be faltering this week as forces loyal to Assad retook the key northern city of Idlib.

Much of Assad’s media advice comes from two young US-educated Syrian women, Sheherazad Jaafari and Hadeel al-Al. Both regularly stress to Assad, who uses the address sam@alshahba, the importance of social media, and particularly the importance of intervening in online discussions. At one point, Jaafari boasts that CNN has fallen for a nom-de-guerre that she set up to post pro-regime remarks. The emails also reveal that the media team has convinced Twitter to close accounts that purport to represent the Syrian regime.

Several weeks after the sam@alshahba.com email was compromised in February, a new Syrian state television channel broadcast two segments denying that the email address had been used by Assad.

Opposition activists claim that this was a pre-emptive move to discredit any future leaking of the emails.

The US president, Barack Obama, signed an executive order last May imposing sanctions against Assad and other Syrian government officials.

In addition to freezing their US assets, the order prohibited “US persons” from engaging in transactions with them. The EU adopted similar measures against Assad last year. They include an EU-wide travel ban for the Syrian president and an embargo on military exports to Syria.

Syrian National Council is an “Illusion”

(AP) — “Two prominent Syrian dissidents said Wednesday they have quit the main opposition group that emerged from the year-old uprising against the regime in Damascus, predicting more would soon abandon what one of the men described as an “autocratic” organization.

The resignations from the Syrian National Council dealt another blow to the opposition, which has been hobbled by disorganization and infighting …. One of the dissidents who resigned, Kamal al-Labwani, accused the leadership of the Syrian National Council of controlling the body’s work while sidelining most of its 270 members.
“There is no council, it’s an illusion,” said al-Labwani, who worked for years against the Assad family regime before being jailed in 2005. He joined the council soon after being released in November.

He accused council chief Burhan Ghalioun and a few others of running the organization autocratically, even comparing it to Assad’s ruling Baath party….
He said that another council member, Catherine al-Talli, has also quit and said he expected many more to quit soon to pressure the council leadership. Al-Labwani called for an international conference in Turkey to give the council a new charter and make it more democratic.

Another dissident, 80 year-old lawyer Haitham al-Maleh, said he too had quit the council, but did not say why. He has accused the group in the past of being out of touch and not consulting those long opposed to the regime…. “

The Rafiq Hariri brigade demonstrates in this video how many soldiers they killed and captured prior to the military assault of Idlib. It also shows the tanks they captured.

By Sharmine Narwani - Tue, 2012-03-13 15:12- The Sandbox – Al-Akhbar
Last October I was asked to write an article on the direction of the crisis in Syria – a month later, I had still not made it beyond an introductory paragraph. Syria was confusing. The public discourse about events in the country appeared to be more hyperbole than fact. But even behind the scene, sources strained to provide informed analyses, and it was fairly evident that a lot of guesswork was being employed.
By December, it occurred to me that a big part of the problem was the external-based opposition and their disproportionately loud voices. If you were actually in the business of digging for “verified” information on Syria last year, you would have also quickly copped on to the fact that this wing of the Syrian opposition lies – and lies big.
This discovery coincided with a new report by US intelligence analyst Stratfor that claimed: “most of the opposition’s more serious claims have turned out to be grossly exaggerated or simply untrue, thereby revealing more about the opposition’s weaknesses than the level of instability inside the Syrian regime.”
I had another niggling feeling that just wouldn’t quit: given the amount of regime-initiated violence and widespread popular dissent being reported in the mainstream media, why was the Syrian death toll so low after 10 months of alleged brutality?
Because, if the regime was not engaging in the kind of reckless slaughter suggested by activists, it would appear that they were, in fact, exercising considerable restraint.
Stratfor said that too. The risk analysis group argues that allegations of massacres against civilians were unlikely because the “regime has calibrated its crackdowns to avoid just such a scenario. Regime forces,” Stratfor argues, “have been careful to avoid the high casualty numbers that could lead to an intervention based on humanitarian grounds.”
For me, the events in Homs in February confirmed rather than contradicted this view. The general media narrative was very certain: there was a widescale civilian massacre in Baba Amr caused by relentless, indiscriminate shelling by government forces that pounded the neighborhood for weeks.
The videos pouring out of the besieged city were incriminating in the extreme. Black smoke plumes from shelling choked the city, piled up bodies spoke of brutal slaughter; the sound of mass wailing was only interrupted by explosions, gunfire and cries of “Allahu Akbar.”
But when it was over, we learned a few things. Contrary to reports during the “siege,” there were only a few thousand civilians in Baba Amr at the time – all others had already evacuated the area. The International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) and its local partner, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC), had been administering assistance at nine separate points in Homs for the duration. They would not enter the neighborhoods of Baba Amr and Insha’at because of continuing violence on “both sides.”
The armed opposition fighters holed up in Homs during that month were, therefore, unlikely to be there in a purely “protective” capacity. As American journalist Nir Rosen points out, what happened in Homs on February 3 was a government response to direct and repeated “provocation:”
“Yesterday opposition fighters defeated the regime checkpoint at the Qahira roundabout and they seized a tank or armored personnel carrier. This followed similar successes against the Bab Dreib checkpoint and the Bustan al Diwan checkpoint. In response to this last provocation yesterday the regime started shelling with mortars from the Qalaa on the high ground and the State Security headquarters in Ghota.”
This account contrasts starkly with the oft-repeated notion that armed opposition groups act primarily to protect “peaceful demonstrators” and civilians.
Homs also marks the point in the Syrian crisis when I noticed a quiet cynicism developing in the professional media about sources and information from Syria. Cracks are bound to appear in a story this widely broadcast, especially when there is little actual verifiable information in this highly competitive industry.
Cue the now infamous video by Syrian activist Danny Abdul Dayem – dubbed by the Washington Post as “the voice of Homs” – where he dazzles CNN’s Anderson Cooper with little more than bad 1950s-style sound effects, blurry scenes of fires and a breathless rendition of “facts.” Of all the media-fraud videos Syrian TV broadcast two weeks ago, none were as compelling as Danny’s – his credibility stock plummeting almost as fast as his meteoric rise to media “darling.”
It reminds me of August 2011 news reports of warships shelling the coastal city of Latakia. Three separate sources – two opposition figures from the city and an independent western journalist – later insisted there were no signs of shelling. It was also the first time I learned from Syrians that you can burn rubber tires on rooftops to simulate the after-effects of exploded shells.
Question: Why would activists have to resort to stage-crafting scenesand sound effects of violence if the regime was already “pounding Homs” to bits?
What have we actually seen in Homs? Explosions. Fires. Dead bodies. Injured civilians. Men with weapons. The government has openly admitted to shelling, so we know that is a fact. But how much shelling, and is it indiscriminate? Observers afterward have said Baba Amr resembles a destroyed ghost town. How much of this was done by the regime? And how much was done by the opposition?
Turkish publication Today’s Zaman reported on Sunday: “Last week, a Pentagon report stated that IED usage by the opposition has more than doubled since December.” How are these Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) – used mainly in unconventional warfare – being employed? As roadside bombs, targeting security forces, inside towns and cities?
On Sunday I was included in a private messaging thread with seven Syrians who I have communicated with over the course of some months. Most are known to me either directly or with one degree of separation. This was not a usual thread on Syria – the initiating participant, who I will call Ziad, was informing the others privately about what was taking place in Idlib as government forces moved into the area.
Ziad’s family is from Idlib, and although I wasn’t a participant in the conversation, it appears that he had spent much of the weekend making phone calls to family members who were reporting the following. I have changed the names of participants to protect their identities. Two things strike me about this chat – the first is the information that armed groups are rigging the town with IEDs before the army arrives, either to target security forces or to create material damage to buildings. The second is that there is a malaise among the message participants about this information. As in, so what? Who is going to believe this? Who is going to do anything about this?
Ziad:
Today the Army went into the city of Idleb (the city itself not the province).
There was no random shelling, they were slowly moving into neighborhoods, starting from the east and southern.
The militants had seeded IEDs (improvised explosive devices, basically remote detonated landmines) across the city, one of them was under my uncles balcony , who now lost half his home, his living room got bigger and has a panoramic view.
They had set up machine gun nests on a few mosques and communication towers.
Around 200 militants were gathered near my grandmother’s house and took refuge in the building right next to them. The neighborhood is a Christian neighborhood (cant confirm or deny it’s a coincidence).
The battle lasted all day, my family is safe but both my grandmother’s house and my uncle’s house got damaged. The first by the IED and the second by exchange of fire, largely done by the militants and the army was returning fire.
The army was moving in slowly and checked Idleb neighborhood by neighborhood. They searched most houses but there were no mass random arrests. Mainly they asked adult men out before searching and they were released after. I assume at this point they have a list of who to arrest so there was no surprise there.
The rumors of electricity and water cuts are not true. The entire country is suffering from electricity cuts, so Idleb will not be an exception. There is no cell phone coverage but landlines are working, though there is heavy pressure and you have to attempt several times for the call to go through.Ziad:
The plan will probably be pushing them into what is called “the northern quarter” an area already emptied from civilians and largely a militant stronghold. Once they corner them in the northern area the army will take them out decisively. Most people expect this to end within the next two days.

Outside the city there was a clash on the Turkish border with militants attempting to come from turkey to Idleb to reinforce the militants.
Ziad:
Just to make it clear the Army did not finish sweeping the entire city
Joumana:
I don’t know what to say Ziad. Should I be happy or sad? I feel sorry for the people caught in the middle, but this has to be done! So is the city clean?
Ziad:
No its not clean. Operation started yesterday from 5 am till around 6. The same thing today but today the army went in deeper. They are doing it progressively and trying to avoid the most damages.
Most damages are caused by the IEDs (some up to 50kgs of explosives) and random firing by militants (using PKT/PKC and DUSHKA/DShk machine guns), with the army returning fire when attacked, but no excessive use of force i.e no artillery barrages as reported by al Jazeera and other channels)
Ziad:
Also, contrary to what is being reported, the town of Benech (بنش ) was not shelled today and was not even attacked.
Oh and since the morning the army was asking people to go down to the shelters and take refuge using speakers across the city.
I just heard on Aljazeera that the army dragged over 20 civilians and executed them in “Dabbit neighborhood”(ضبيط ), that is not true because I have family there too and that did not happen.
Hanan:
Ziad, they are using the propaganda of the 80′s. Want to lead people’s brains to the Hama massacre. To make it look believable
Joumana:
The MB are insisting on getting their revenge. Linking the events to what happened in Hama. Many people will believe.
Ziad:
Just to give you a perspective on the scale of irresponsibility and damage by the militants. Just under my uncles house there were 4 IEDs, one of them exploded damaging a BMP (and the building) as the army was approaching and the army stopped there and pulled back to reassemble for another try. In that single spot there was over 60 kgs of explosives. Once large one was planted in a 2×2 hole. Right now the army reached their neighborhood and is still there.
These militants don’t even live there and are just making those neighborhoods their front using civilians as shields. Once they are pushed back into the open fields the army will mow them down like grass.
I’m optimistic this will be over in the coming two days.
Jouwana:
But Ziad, why isn’t there anyone reporting this to the media?
Mohammad:
if they report it no one (outside Syria) will believe it …
Ziad:
I think by now we can all agree the pro Syrian media has limited clout and the anti Syria media just doesn’t do any fact checking and research and is resorting to sectarian tone and hysteria.
The government I think it focusing its energy and resources on finishing the security element of the crisis while juggling the economy and foreign diplomacy. They realize they cannot win the media war and might as well focus on what they are good at and what is more important. Syria never was “popular” and it certainly won’t be done during this crisis.
Ziad is not a reporter, he relies entirely on his family’s accounts and estimates in Idlib, and his claims cannot be verified at this point. But these are important testimonies – the anecdotal evidence that provides the basis for further investigation. We used to hear many more of these accounts from all sides in the first few months of the Syrian crisis, before the pressure of the dominant narratives intimidated even the best bloggers into toeing a hyper-cautious line.
Conjecture and hysteria aside, there is plenty of indication that the Syrian government is pursuing a policy of eliminating armed groups in a slow, measured sweep of the country, particularly focusing on towns and neighborhoods where they have allowed these elements to swell in recent months.
There are many who would find this offensive enough to continue raging against the Syrian regime – it is unnecessary to concoct daily stories of civilian slaughters to keep Syria in the headlines.
There is also increasing evidence that armed opposition groups are targeting civilians, security forces and property with violence in ever greater numbers. Is there absolute evidence of this? Not yet. Is there absolute evidence for the allegations against the regime? Not yet. I doubt that there has been a recent conflict with this much finger-pointing, and this little established fact.
Today, reporting from inside Idlib, Al Jazeera’s Anita McNaught described the bombing as “earth-shaking and relentless.” Bombing caused by who?
“Hollywood” in Syria? Oh yes. Scene-setting the likes of which we have not yet seen outside of celluloid fiction. Delivering lines to a rapt audience that seems incapable of questioning the plot. Some of what transpires in Syria in the future will depend on this: Do people want to go behind the velvet curtain and see the strings – or are they content to be simply led by the entertainment.
Sharmine Narwani is a commentary writer and political analyst covering the Middle East. You can follow Sharmine on twitter @snarwani.

A journey into Syria’s nightmare

Reuters By Zohra Bensemra | Reuters

Zohra Bensemra is a news photographer for Reuters. Based in Algiers, she traveled on assignment to Syria in February. This is her account of that journey:

…. Smoke was still rising from some buildings as we entered through back roads. Local people kept approaching us: “Come and see my father, he was killed!” one would say; “Come down this road, there are two bodies!”; “Come and see my house that was destroyed.”

The shelling seemed to have been indiscriminate. Houses in different parts of town had been hit. It was as if a blind man had been firing the guns and could not see or did not care where the shells fell.

Local people took us to a house where they said a woman of 70 had died. A shell had hit it. The mirror in her bedroom was spattered in blood, and flesh. It was as if she had exploded…..

Monastery in Sednayya attacked

Syrian Kurds get cold reception from Iraqi Kurds
By LARA JAKES and YAHYA BARZANJI | Associated Press

QAMISHLI, Iraq (AP) — Kurdish Syrians fleeing their nation’s bloody uprising are all but prisoners in northern Iraqi refugee camps, though they seek shelter in a region that was created specifically as a safe haven for ethnic Kurds.

Local Kurdish officials in the Iraqi province of Dahuk, which borders Syria, voted Wednesday to open a second refugee camp for the growing number of Syrian Kurds who are arriving every day. But they are not allowed to leave the first, spartan camp at Qamishli, and have been told they must apply for residency before they may live freely in the region widely referred to as, simply, Kurdistan.

It’s a twofold irony: Kurds are Syria’s largest ethnic minority but long have been considered illegal immigrants there. Moreover, Iraqis used Syria as a safe haven during the worst of the sectarian violence that nearly plunged their nation in civil war just a few years ago.

“We can’t move or work freely, and our family can’t send us money,” Qamishli refugee Radhwan Nadhum al-Ali said in an interview this week. He compared the small camp to “living in a big prison cell.”

“I’m mulling whether to go back and face death rather than staying here,” al-Ali said.

Iraqi Kurdish soldiers guard the camp at Qamishli, about 60 kilometers (30 miles) from the border. Dahuk provincial immigration director Mohammed Abdullah Hammo said its Syrian Kurdish residents “are not allowed to leave the camps.”

“They need security approval and residency permission to be in Kurdistan, just like anyone else,” he said Wednesday. He estimated that process would take a month. (…)

Comments (856)


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551. ann said:

News Analysis: Deadly blasts aim to thwart Annan’s efforts to solve Syrian crisis – 2012-03-18

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-03/18/c_122847575.htm

George Gabbour, a political analyst, said that what happened today is “an entire criminality” that aims only to thwart the efforts of Kofi Annan in finding a solution to the yearlong crisis.

“Annan had informed the UN Security Council about the Syrian government’s cooperation with his mission,” Gabbour said, noting that “the blasts aim to deliver a message that the language of violence will dominate now.”

Annan, the special envoy of the UN and Arab League on the Syrian issue, told the UN Security Council Friday that “we need to handle the situation in Syria very carefully. Any miscalculation that leads to major escalation will have impact in the region which will be extremely difficult to manage.”

Meanwhile, Hamdi Abdullah, another analyst, agreed with Jabbour, suggesting that foiling Annan’s efforts is one of the main goals behind the explosions “because Annan called on resolving the Syrian crisis on the dialogue table,” which the opposition had refused.

Singling out the United States, Qatar and Saudi for criticism, Abdullah said those countries “do not want a political settlement to Syria’s crisis. Rather they want to impose humanitarian corridors in order to arm the rebels inside Syria.”

[...]

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March 17th, 2012, 5:19 pm

 

552. Ghufran said:

The FSA is as vague and heterogeneous as anything else in Syria, and their slogan that they are protecting civilians by killing soldiers and attacking security check points make them a natural enemy for anybody who still wants to preserve whatever is left of the Syrian state.

Another problem with the FSA is that it is a wide umbrella that covers elements that are incapable of negotiating a political solution to the crisis, thus, thinking that the FSA is willing or able to sit down and help fighting parties reach a political deal with the regime is more of a wish than a doable plan. The same can be said about the SNC, the LCC and most opposition parties, I see no chance of a unified opposition that can speak with one voice,not now and not in the future, that leaves the door open to political parties that may have support among armed rebels but not dominated by those rebels or the GCC, the demand that the opposition unite before a political settlement is negotiated means that there will not be any such settlement.

Let each party that is willing to use dialogue join a process monitored by the UN and forget about forming one front to represent all opposition forces, that unity “thing” was a trap and it helped the regime and advocates of chaos and Libya-ization of Syria.

We will be better off including the MB in the process than inviting armed rebels who are only interested in using guns but lack any political vision for a diverse country like Syria.

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March 17th, 2012, 5:32 pm

 

553. Ghufran said:

نبيل العربي للأهرام
[edited link to Ahram]

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March 17th, 2012, 5:47 pm

 

554. Juergen said:

Tara

Der Spiegel writes that rumors spread since years that Assads marriage isnt happy anymore.

Have you heard of that before?

About the pro Assad demonstration, I asked some folks and they said the outcome is much lesser now than back in October. It seems to me that the pro Assad supporters have a hard time to find enough people running around with President posters. I saw a London video today, and the regime supporters also gathered in front of their embassy. There is a weird demonstration from last summer here in Berlin when they marched through one of our main boulevards, as the painter Liebermann said it, i cant eat as much as i would like to puke.

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March 17th, 2012, 6:00 pm

 

555. Juergen said:

I dont like to quote an total opposer of freedom and human rights in Germany, but there is some truth in what he said:

“People never lie so much as during a war, before an election or after a hunt.”

“Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied.”

Otto Graf von Bismarck
Prussian Prime Minister, Founder and Chancellor of the German Empire, 1815-1898

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March 17th, 2012, 6:18 pm

 

556. Tara said:

Jeurgen@558

Very much not true as far vas I know. They are happily married. The summer before last, he insisted that her whole family, parents, and two brothers accompany them when he visited in South Ameica (probably to the dismay of his sister). Had they not been happily married, he would’ve wanted to distance himself from her family.

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March 17th, 2012, 6:38 pm

 

557. Alan said:

528. OMEN said:

have you noticed how all the press critical of a free syria comes out of iran & russia?

iran who wages state sponsored terrorism defends fellow terrorist assad. the brotherhood of dictators stand united against freedom.

You have noticed as freedom and values leave the conveyor military-industrially a complex of the USA in the form of rockets cruise and a tomahawk and extend in on many countries of the world? You don’t wish to hear opinion of the different people of a planet on their opinion to your western freedom?

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March 17th, 2012, 6:44 pm

 

558. Juergen said:

Thanks Tara

I thought so too. I miss Revlon here. Will he come back?

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March 17th, 2012, 6:47 pm

 

559. jad said:

دم السوريين سوف بلاحقكم إلى قصوركم

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March 17th, 2012, 6:48 pm

 

560. Alan said:

http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c32/368452.html

Russia waiting for new group of Syrian opposition

PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKY, March 17 (Itar-Tass) — Russia is waiting for another group of the Syrian opposition in the near future, said on Saturday Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov live on the programme “News on Saturday” (Russia 1 channel).

“Russia called on the political opposition, during meetings with the self-same Burhan Ghalioun and other opposition leaders (incidentally, we are waiting for another group of the Syrian opposition in Moscow in the near future) to disassociate itself from those who try to lend the conflict a military dimension as well as from armed gangs, engineering provocations, to which the government responds very often disproportionately,” the minister said. “But militarization of opposition activities is now taking place to a definite extent.”

“At least, the Syrian National Council headed by Ghalioun, announced that it forms “a military wing” that will engage in collecting donations to purchase arms to continue struggle with the regime,” the minister noted.

“Sure, if events develop according to this scenario, it is difficult to count that any of our calls on the government will be received positively as far as a ceasefire is concerned,” Lavrov concluded.

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March 17th, 2012, 6:49 pm

 

561. jad said:

استنكار شعبي لتفجيري دمشق الارهابيين 17-3-2012

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March 17th, 2012, 6:49 pm

 

562. Alan said:

Damascus prepared for talks with unarmed opposition
http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_03_17/68772123/
Damascus is prepared for talks with the opposition that will refrain from using force, Syria’s representative at the UN Bashar al-Jafaari said in an interview with the Russian Arabic-language TV channel Rusiya Al-Yaum.

He said that the world community should differentiate between the peaceful political opposition and armed gangs which carry out subversive activities and commit crimes. It is their criminal activities that have made them outlaws. As for the law-abiding political opposition, the government is prepared to discuss the country’s future with it.

Al-Jafaari criticised Turkey’s intention to set up a buffer strip along the Syrian border. In his opinion, this is a provocation against Syria’s sovereignty and the UN Charter. Syria will not tolerate any buffer strips along its borders.

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March 17th, 2012, 6:53 pm

 

563. Alan said:

Pro Assad Syrian Demo London March 17
http://youtu.be/NJK34FDnUVU?t=2m19s
Two Syrian Doctors explain to us the situation, and there is some footage of the demo and just one of its speakers

Syria – Israeli-made Weapons seized in Homs 16-03-2012
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BY1CCHbJu6I
The competent authorities on Thursday seized a car loaded with a big quantity of different weapons, some of them of an Israeli-made, on Homs international highway.

SANA reporter in Homs quoted a source as saying that the weapons included four RPGs, five Israeli-made mortars, three anti-tank missiles, snipers and rifles.

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March 17th, 2012, 7:00 pm

 

564. jad said:

Montreal, preparation for a demonstration for Syria:
المسيرة العالمية لأجل سورية – مونتريال 17 3 2012 ج1

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March 17th, 2012, 7:06 pm

 

565. Ghufran said:

انصار الاسد
http://www.bbc.co.uk/arabic/middleeast/2012/03/120311_syria_assad_backers.shtml

I personally believe that those who support the regime are either misinformed or beneficiaries of the regime in a way or the other including those who have relatives in the army or security forces.

My opinion or your’s about who and why may not matter much because those “minhebaks” do exist and they are not all shabeehas, so trying to exclude those from a future government will only lead to further chaos,division and violence.

The big question is whether those supporters are willing to scarify Bashar to save the country, I think they should, Bashar should have never been appointed president and he must put his ego in the back seat by choice instead of staying a course that will lead to his forced departure and the destruction of the country, he is a liability to his own supporters and a major hindrance to any political settlement.

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March 17th, 2012, 7:09 pm

 

566. Juergen said:

“Syria has made progress in easing its heavy foreign debt burden through bilateral rescheduling deals with virtually all of its key creditors in Europe.”In December 2004, Syria and Poland reached an agreement by which Syria would pay $27 million out of the total $261.7 million debt. In January 2005, Russia and Syria signed a deal that wrote off nearly 80% of Syria’s debt to Russia, approximately €10.5 billion ($13 billion). The agreement left Syria with less than €3 billion (just over $3.6 billion) owed to Moscow. Half of it would be repaid over the next 10 years, while the rest would be paid into Russian accounts in Syrian banks and could be used for Russian investment projects in Syria and for buying Syrian products. This agreement was part of a weapons deal between Russia and Syria. ” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_Syria

So i think the doctor is wrong when he claims Syria has no debts. The cause of Russias support may be better understood now, who would be ineteressted to loose an good customer…

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March 17th, 2012, 7:12 pm

 

567. Alan said:

The western methods of distribution of democracy and value!
At least 27 killed as twin bombings strike Damascus security structures (VIDEO, PHOTOS)
http://rt.com/news/blasts-damascus-strike-bomb-799/

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March 17th, 2012, 7:12 pm

 

568. SANDRO LOEWE said:

Assad is using inside Syria the same terrorist tactics he used in the past in Lebanon, Iraq, Palestine and Turkey for its mafia regime´s political beneffits. Now that he has lost control over foreign affairs he is obliged to use terrorism inside Syria to try to keep Damascus and Aleppo population on his side. Of course no terrorist attack is going to take place in Raqqa, Deir, Idlib, Daraa, Hama or Homs, since everything is lost for the regime there.

But in today´s Assad terrorist attacks there are some signs that show the regime intended to keep christians afraid of the revolution aspirations. The car in Tahrir Sq. was allegedly a suicide terrorist. But why a suicide terrorist would blown himself in the opposite side of the street, where many inhabited christian buildings are located, instead of blowing himself up just in the right side of the street where the Air Inteligence HQ is located?

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March 17th, 2012, 7:19 pm

 

569. SANDRO LOEWE said:

571. ALAN

Your propaganda is so childish. You do not know what is happening inside Syria. You just read news and SC comments. And worse of all you do not know what has been happening in Syria for the last 40 to 50 years. If you had lived just 24 hours in the same conditions syrians live you would avoid a lot of suffering to us. And probably you would benefit the Syrian people future.

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March 17th, 2012, 7:22 pm

 

570. Dawoud said:

In about 35 minutes, you can watch this special CNN on Syria. Arwa Damon is a very experienced M.E. correspondent. She also speaks Arabic. I hope that everybody, including Bashar’s apologists, watch it.

http://cnnpresents.blogs.cnn.com/

CNN Presents: 72 Hours Under Fire
It’s likely among one of the most dangerous places a team of journalists has ever traveled for CNN. The random and indiscriminate killing of citizens in Homs, Syria made this a story the world had to see.
[...]
on’t miss CNN Presents: 72 Hours Under Fire this Sunday at 8:00 pm ET, reairing at 11:00 pm and 2:00 am ET.

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March 17th, 2012, 7:28 pm

 

571. Alan said:

P573. SANDRO LOEWE
Put 2 pictures Syria till March 2011 and Syria today and judge by results!!! I count on your objective analysis all-round!

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March 17th, 2012, 7:30 pm

 

572. Dawoud said:

560. TARA

Thanks sister Tara for keeping a voice of sanity and humanity audible while I am away and unable to comment. You and I are not working on anybody’s behalf! We neither know nor admire Luna al-Shibl, Hadeel al-Ali, Hasan Nasr something, et al.

Keep the voice of humanity audible!

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March 17th, 2012, 7:31 pm

 

573. Juergen said:

Sandro

if for a minute one would believe that terrorists were behind the bombings, Assad would not only feel the fear, he would leave his residence with his family immediately. Anyone capable of attacking this location can bomb the presidents house in ruins.

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March 17th, 2012, 7:35 pm

 

574. SANDRO LOEWE said:

569. Ghufran

Sadly the question is not so easy. Those who support the regime, are indeed as you said, are basically beneficiaries from the regime. But why do they keep on supporting the regime? There are many explanations that we could try to bring to explain the question.

The only thing we can assert is that many of them would lose their privileges if the regime fell. Some of them could even lose freedom (if there is any) and even their lives. Many could lose their social status since they are ¨respected¨ by many syrians they live with because these minhebaks can offer solutions and connections to solve plain people problems and difficulties with permissions, legal problems, etc, through their high level contacts whith the Intelligence, the Army and the Baath Party.

Also we should study the fact that those who have been living with good connections inside the regime are enjoying a level of live and freedoms in many democratic countries could never reach. Psychologically they consider they owe all they have to the regime. Changing positions against the regime would be not only a denial of themselves but also a great danger for their lives and properties. The regime would consider this bertrayal against the regime the worse thing a NO ONE that has made his whole life on behind of the regime’s favours can do.

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March 17th, 2012, 7:35 pm

 

575. zoo said:

“We see the SNC as a temporary structure which will disappear with time ”

Syrian opposition coalition formed without the SNC
Published Saturday, March 17, 2012
http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/rival-syrian-opposition-coalition-formed-without-snc

Five Syrian opposition groups on Saturday announced the formation of a new coalition, a sign of growing opposition to the Western-backed Syrian National Council (SNC) a year after the start of the protest movement.

The five groups said their yet unnamed coalition would act independently from the SNC, the main opposition coalition which was set up in August.

The new group is made up of the liberal National Movement for Change, the Islamist Movement for the Fatherland, the Bloc for Liberation and Development, the Turkmen National Bloc, and the Kurdish Movement for a New Life.

Asked about relations between the new coalition and the SNC, Ammar al-Qurabi, leader of the National Movement for Change, told AFP his “coalition was not set up in opposition to anyone, other than Assad’s regime, but rather to unite the opposition outside the SNC.”

“We see the SNC as a temporary structure which will disappear with time, while our own coalition is a more long-term entity that will be there after liberation” in Syria, according to Imamuddin al-Rashid, head of the Movement for the Fatherland.

The SNC has emerged as one of the main voices of the opposition, but is often criticized by activists inside Syria who say the mostly exiled leadership has little connection to protesters on the ground.

The SNC was dealt a blow earlier this week when three prominent members resigned in frustration.

“There is a small group that wants to monopolize the SNC and all the decision-making,” Kamal al-Labwani, one of those who quit, told AFP. “They are doing nothing for the opposition.

“Some are in it for personal gain and the Muslim Brotherhood is trying to monopolize aid and weapons to gain popular influence on the ground.”

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March 17th, 2012, 7:45 pm

 

576. SANDRO LOEWE said:

579. JAD

The regime is not bombarding itself but the people of Syria, be in opposition cities like Homs or Hama or in Qasaa and Kafr Susseh districts of Damascus, as today did. The people that died today are plain Syrians. No member of the Mafia or high rank from the Intelligence have been killed.

I think you missed Machiavelli´s ¨The Prince¨. One of the most important lessons to be learnt by a Prince like Assad is that the regime in power must be able to create a faken armed opposition. You can cheat a child but not people who have experience and knowledge about politics and terrorism issues.

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March 17th, 2012, 7:50 pm

 

577. Tara said:

رسالة من بشار الأثد إلى أثماء..يشرح فيها موقفه من “هدولة
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUZB_G1qS1k

above is a letter from Bashar to Asma explaining his relationship with Hadyla al Ali

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March 17th, 2012, 7:51 pm

 

578. SANDRO LOEWE said:

575. ALAN,

Please put a picture of Nazi Germany in 1.938 and another picture of the same country in 1.944. Does it mean that Hitler was good and the British and US army where bad?

First, the question is not so simple as to try to believe that where there is bad necessarily there is good. Although in today´s Syria the desire for dignity and freedom is the best could happen.

Second, the picture of today´s Syria is the result of an old Syria that has been 40 years under constant make up and plastic surgery. This is what you find at the end…

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March 17th, 2012, 7:56 pm

 

579. d said:

582. TARA

I just watched the YouTube video. It’s funny. For those who don’t know Arabic, including the brainwashed Americans in Hasan Nasr something basement, Bashar does not know how to spell the Arabic letter “seen!” That’s why Asma becomes “athma” :-)

P.S., Hasan Nasr something, leader of the Iranian puppet Hizb-something, also has the same spelling problem. They both should learn Persian because they would likely need to flee the Arab World.

Free Syria, Free Palestine!

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March 17th, 2012, 7:58 pm

 

580. Tara said:

It turns out that Batta (duck in Arabic) was used by a woman to express affection towards Bashar. A new FB was created to comemorate Bashar al Batta. Enjoy:

http://www.facebook.com/KlnaBtt

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March 17th, 2012, 7:59 pm

 

581. jad said:

Syria haters enjoy your crimes in this Black Saturday:
انفجار يستهدف عاصمة الياسمين

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March 17th, 2012, 8:00 pm

 

582. Dawoud said:

Bashar spells the Arabic letter “seen” as “theen.” Asma becomes “athma” :-)

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March 17th, 2012, 8:00 pm

 

583. SANDRO LOEWE said:

585. JAD

I can observe you are very hitten by Black Saturday, because 27 syrians got killed in Damascus. Just let me remind you that 25 syrians more killed all around Syria (most in Raqqa and Idleb).

What I do not understand is why you are not affected by black mondays, tuesdays, wednesdays, thursdays, fridays and sundays of the last 52 weeks when every day tens or hundreds of syrians lost their lifes. Your double standards are shocking.

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March 17th, 2012, 8:06 pm

 

584. jad said:

سورية تواجه الإرهاب

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March 17th, 2012, 8:09 pm

 

585. jad said:

Because people hey! like you have no shame supporting the terrorists in killing more Syrians.

Learn from this brave Syrian kid, apparently he has more wisdom than many adults, even in his saddest and weakest moments he is calling for the prosperity of Syria, what a ‘shocking’ difference listening to that kid and reading your words:

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March 17th, 2012, 8:41 pm

 

586. Tara said:

Watch the “Road to Damascus”  an hour long or skip to minute 14 - 17 to understand the judicial system in Syria.

http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3Dz5JrHzctPuY&v=z5JrHzctPuY&gl=US

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March 17th, 2012, 8:49 pm

 

587. 873 said:

http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/13/syrias-losing-battle-to-control-the-news/

Paul Conroy was accused by “conspiracy theorists” who were claiming he supports the terrorists transported from Libya into Syria:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-devon-17416705

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March 17th, 2012, 8:56 pm

 

588. jad said:

The first anniversary:

في سنوية الثورة الإسلامية في سوريا
رائد شما

“لا حرية لأعداء الحرية”
للحرية والديموقراطية حدود، وإلا لكان يحق لثلثي الشعب “الأغلبية” التصويت بنعم لإبادة الثلث الباقي “الأقلية” بشكل ديمقراطي وحر.
{…}
عندما تحمل أغنام “الحرية” بندقية
هل يحق للأغنام حمل السلاح وقتل وتصفية من يعارضها وينتقدها بدون أي ضوابط أو قواعد أو وجود قيادة واضحة تتحمل المسؤولية وتحاسب في المستقبل. هل إلصاق تهمة شبيح أو ربما “جزار” أصبح مبرراً كافياً للأغنام لتقتل وتنفذ “شرع الله” بمن تشاء.
{…}
احترموا غباءنا لنرحم عهركم
ولدت الثورة الإسلامية المباركة كما يحب أصدقاؤنا من أهل حوران القول في درعا وبسبب أطفالها الذين اقتلع عاطف نجيب “بحسب روايتهم” أظافرهم وأكلها. وفي درعا أيضاً بدأت قصة السلاح أي أن قضية أن الثورة بدأت سلمية تحتاج إلى مراجعة دقيقة وموضوعية بعيدة عن الهيجان المتبع من كل الأطراف المتصارعة. السلاح موجود منذ بداية الثورة “السلمية” الإسلامية المظفرة، والكذب والتحريض الطائفي ابتدأ منذ الأيام الأولى للثورة مع قصة دخول مقاتلين من حزب الله وتدنيس المساجد وكتابة عبارات “فارسية” فيها!!!
{…}
كوكي ….كيف اغتصبوكي؟!!!!
البطلة “المغتصبة” هديل الكوكي أدلت بشهادتها القيمة أمام لجنة حقوق الانسان في جنيف بعد ثلاثة أسابيع من الحادث الأليم الذي تعرضت له في القاهرة من قبل شبيحة النظام الأمر الذي ألزم دخولها إلى المستشفى نتيجة الكدمات “الشديدة” التي شوهت جمالها. اختفت الكدمات بسرعة مذهلة بعون الآب والابن والروح القدس، لتظهر الكوكي بكامل قوتها وعنفوانها وتشهد أنها تعرضت كباقي المعتقلات للضرب والتعذيب والاغتصاب.
{…}
من أطفأ الغليون؟!
نحن رشحناه ليكون واجهة لأنه وجه مقبول بالغرب ومقبول بالداخل …. نحن نتحرك كمجلس وطني وليس كإخوان مسلمين … نحن اخترناه…الرجل علماني وشيوعي “سابق”….( والعياذ بالله). هذا ملخص ما قاله صدر الدين البيانوني الحبر الأعظم السابق للإخوان المسلمين في سوريا والرجل الأقوى في التنظيم، لطمأنة شبيبة الإسلاميين في المهجر بأن اختيار غليون كان فقط لإرضاء الغرب ولتنفيذ مؤامرة الإخوان في الإستيلاء على السلطة…. لا داعي للخوف أحبتي، فالغليون ليس سوى “طرطور” مدفوع الأجر لتنفيذ المهمة.
{…}
الخلفان يصفع الإخوان
قائد شرطة دبي الفريق ضاحي الخلفان هو الرجل الوحيد في بلاد الخليج الذي تجرأ أخيراً على التحذير من خطر الإخوان المسلمين على دول الخليج وعلى البلاد العربية عامةً. وهو الوحيد الذي صفع القرضاوي ولجم وقاحته التي لا تعرف الحدود.
{…}
الثورة ليست طائفية أو دينية إطلاقاً
من آمن بالثورة الإسلامية وإن مات فسيجد الحور العين بانتظاره… هذا ما حصل فعلاً عندما أسلم “نصراني” على يد ثوار حمص قبل أن يموت بثواني. اللهم أعز الإسلام والمسلمين…. هي قصة حقيقية سمعتها في إحدى

الفيديوهات التي بثها “الثوار” في حمص ويظهر فيها “الناشط الإسلامي” التلاوي مع أحد المسلحين الذي يدلي بشهادته على وحشية النظام السوري. يقول المتحدث مشيراً إلى أحد الأبنية المقصوفة “هنا منزل الشهيد حسام مرة “نصراني” لكنه محسوب على أمة محمد لأنه نطق الشهادة وهو يلفظ أنفاسه الأخيرة … يجيب البطل التلاوي الله أكبر.
{…}
المجاهد

القتل هو الحل الوحيد لكل الأطراف….
المباراة في سوريا لا تقبل التعادل كنتيجة ….
الروح الرياضية معدومة فيها!……
لا بد من منتصر ولا بد من مهزوم…..
http://www.ahewar.org/debat/show.art.asp?aid=299492

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March 17th, 2012, 9:02 pm

 

589. Dawoud said:

I just finished watching the “CNN Present” that I mentioned above. Very horrible! Free Syria, Free Palestine!

I am beginning to get more thumbs down. It looks like wake up time in Syria and Lebanon for Luna al-Shibl’s and Hasan’s propagandists :-) Yes, Luna who told the dictator in one of the leaked emails that Bashar’s supporter are flooding blogs and Websites with favorable comments! Their thumbs down are my badge of honor :-)

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March 17th, 2012, 9:07 pm

 

590. Dawoud said:

I think that Bashar’s and Athma’s (Asma’s) leaked emails are much more important than WikiLeak’s U.S. diplomatic cables. Here, we have the dictator, Bashar and his family/propagandists, telling us exactly how they think and plot. This is the real thing! When the regime falls, which is a matter of time, historians and political scientists will not be able to teach about the Syrian Revolution without talking/writing about these leaked emails.

The regime knows that these leaked emails are the real thing, and that their effects are HUGE! Isn’t this one of the reason that Bashar M.D. (Murderous Dictator) tried to deflect attention from these leaked emails by fabricating and carrying out 2 terrorist bombing in Damascus today?!

Free Syria, Free Palestine!

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March 17th, 2012, 9:38 pm

 

591. Tara said:

Bronco

I was told today that Basma Qudmani is Ghalioun’s sister in law.

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March 17th, 2012, 9:48 pm

 

592. Dawoud said:

Tara:

It’s now almost 10PM in N.Y. Is it 5 or 6 PM in Syria and Lebanon? Wake up time for Ms. al-Shabil’s and Hasan’s folks! More thumbs down for you and I :-)

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March 17th, 2012, 9:54 pm

 

593. Dawoud said:

5 or 6 AM

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March 17th, 2012, 9:55 pm

 
 

595. Dawoud said:

Iran is already sending transport planes full of arms to Bashar’s murderous regime. Why is it wrong for Saudi Arabia to arm the free Syrian Army that is trying to protect Syrians from the massacres that Homs’ residents faced? I think that Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, and Tunisia should send an army of 1 million to free Syria from Bashar and Lebanon from Hasan Nasr something.
Free Syria, Free Palestine!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/us-wants-iraq-to-shut-airspace-to-any-iranian-flights-ferrying-arms-to-assad-regime-in-syria/2012/03/16/gIQAS7VsGS_story.html
US wants Iraq to shut airspace to any Iranian flights ferrying arms to Assad regime in Syria

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration expressed concern Friday that Iranian planes may be ferrying weapons over Iraq to Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime, and asked Baghdad to cut off its airspace to any such flights.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Iranian arms exports are banned by a U.N. Security Council resolution. She said Iranian cargo flights are crossing Iraq and that the U.S. is worried about possible weapons shipments.
[...]

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March 17th, 2012, 10:17 pm

 

596. jad said:

873

-Hopefully Syria will be the grave yard of those Libyan terrorists the moment they touch the noble Syrian soil.

-So the snipers’ stories were not a lie after all, those criminals where there from the beginning.

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March 17th, 2012, 10:19 pm

 
 

598. jad said:

For Iran to help the Syrian State Authorities to defend it’s land and it’s people is HARAM but for the khalayjeh to send weapons and terrorists to kill Syrians is HALAL and very KOSHER…

Saudi sends military gear to Syria rebels: diplomat

DUBAI — Saudi Arabia is delivering military equipment to Syrian rebels in an effort to stop bloodshed by President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, a top Arab diplomat said on Saturday.

“Saudi military equipment is on its way to Jordan to arm the Free Syrian Army,” the diplomat told AFP on condition of anonymity.
“This is a Saudi initiative to stop the massacres in Syria,” he added, saying that further “details will follow at a later time.”
The announcement came two days after the conservative Sunni-ruled kingdom said it had shut down its embassy in Syria and withdrawn all its staff.

It also followed a brief meeting on the Syrian crisis last week between Jordan’s King Abdullah II and the Saudi monarch King Abdullah in Riyadh.

There was no official reaction to the statement from the Saudi capital, but Jordan flatly rejected the report.
“Jordan categorically denies the report,” government spokesman and information minister Rakan Majali told AFP.
“This is completely baseless. Jordan has not discussed this issue with any parties or brought it up at all,” he said without elaborating, while adding that an official statement would be issued later on Saturday.

Amman had called for a diplomatic solution to the Syrian crisis earlier this month, arguing that the kingdom was among the worst affected by its repercussions.
{…}
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hMANTrvFn8RxQm71YvT4cVTTkS0w?docId=CNG.317408e1a1ef32c6b68bb1a68c883be2.701

URGENT – Syria: Foreign fighters amassing on Turkish and Jordanian borders

DDamascus, 5:50 p.m. – Several hundred Libyan Al-Qaeda fighters (former Libyan Islamic Fighting Group) have arrived in recent weeks at various hotels in Amman (Jordan). They suddenly moved out on Friday, 16 March 2012 to relocate to an unknown destination.

Simultaneously, a coming and going of buses, throughout the days of Friday the 16th and Saturday the 17th of March, transported at least 2,000 combatants to a “refugee” camp in Hatay (Turkey). This ferrying continues, and is managed by the Turkish Army.
Colonel Riyadh Al Asaad, who had been temporarily assigned to house arrest following the Syrian-Turkish agreement of 7 February, is again in full command of the Free “Syrian” Army from Turkey.

It is estimated that the forces already assembled are constituted by 500 to 1000 Takfirists at the Jordanian border and between 2000 and 3000 at the Turkish border. No significant jihadi group has been reported at the Lebanese border, the Lebanese Army having dismantled in recent weeks an assembly area and a communications base.
{…}
http://www.voltairenet.org/URGENT-Syria-Foreign-fighters

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March 17th, 2012, 10:44 pm

 

599. Dawoud said:

Wake up time in Beirut, Lebanon. I expect more pro-Bashar/Hasan to begin posting!

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March 17th, 2012, 10:54 pm

 

600. jad said:

Dear Bronco
It seems that the attack on SNC and the calls to dissolve it is lead by this ‘enlightened’ and ‘wise’ 6ar6our or SarSour…same thing:

العرعور يهاجم بشراسة مجلس أسطنبول و غليون (السكران)

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March 17th, 2012, 10:58 pm

 

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