Former Secretary James Baker Commenting On Syria – The Charlie Rose Show

James Baker, Former Secretary of State appeared on the Charlie Rose Show last night. His comments on Syria start on the 16-minute mark. Mr. Baker is always worth listening to. Set below are some quotes from the interview:

“I am not a big fan of what we did in Libya even though I am glad to see Gaddafi gone.  We don’t know who these people are, the Free Syrian Army and all those people.  Syria is a whole lot of a different case than Libya. We need to proceed very cautiously. We are broke. We don’t need another major engagement that we cannot fund. Assad has lost legitimacy. You can’t murder your own people and expect to survive for very long and when he goes, and my view ultimately he will go. That is not all that bad for us from the standpoint of the situation with Iran. “


Ousting Syria’s Assad through a ‘soft landing  – By David Ignatius

“Maybe it’s time for Syrian revolutionaries to take “yes” for an answer from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and back a U.N.-sponsored “managed transition” of power there, rather than rolling on toward a civil war that will bring more death and destruction for the region.

We should learn from recent Middle East history and seek a non-military solution in Syria — even with the inevitable fuzziness and need for compromise with unpleasant people.

The alternative to a diplomatic soft landing is a war that shatters the ethnic mosaic in Syria. It’s easy to imagine Sunni militias gaining control of central cities such as Homs, Hama and Idlib, while Alawites retreat to parts of Damascus and Latakia province in the north. Assad might still claim to be president in this scenario, but he would be little more than a warlord (albeit one with access to chemical weapons). It’s a grim scenario in which Western air power would have limited effect.”

Arab Spring Turns to Economic Winter on More Joblessness  – Bloomberg

To create jobs for their young populations, Arab economies need to integrate, according to an Oxford University study published in December by Adeel Malik and Bassem Awadallah, a former Jordanian finance minister. It highlights restrictions on the movement of investment, goods and people across borders.

The result, in an Arab world with a population of 350 million, is “insignificant” levels of internal trade and regional markets that are “cut off from each other and from the rest of the world,” they wrote. It can be cheaper for a Jordanian company to import from the U.K. than from nearby Lebanon, while “visa requirements for traveling within the region can sometimes be as cumbersome as the journey itself.

Whoever takes office will have to win back people like Mohammed, Ahmed and the others camped outside the Libyan Embassy trying to flee Egypt. Poverty and unemployment have clouded their view of the revolution they supported.

“There is no change,” said Mohammed. “We want to feel that we have rights in our own country. Who feels that way?” he asked, looking at the men gathered around him. Most replied: “No one!”

Threat to Assad remains despite claims of victory – Financial Times

Bashar al-Assad is acting victorious, marching under the gaze of state television crews into the ruins of the Baba Amr district of Homs, the city bombarded by his forces for nearly a month. In TV footage this week, the Syrian leader is seen surrounded by loyalists described as residents, though most of the inhabitants have fled. He blames his enemies for the devastation and promises to rebuild Baba Amr.

Mr Assad’s tour was another grotesque show of force aimed at humiliating the rebellious people of the district, who faced collective punishment for allowing Free Syrian Army fighters to protect them. It was also a manifestation of a renewed self-confidence following the regime’s seizure of a series of strongholds that had fallen under rebel control and brought the armed opposition dangerously close to the gates of Damascus.

The problem for Mr Assad, however, is that the Annan plan gives no relief from the most dangerous threat he faces. That threat has never been from the armed rebels but from the peaceful demonstrators who continue to stage protests more than a year after the eruption of the revolt. “As soon as a ceasefire takes hold, Bashar falls because the people will be on the streets in millions, even in Damascus,” says Samir Seifan, a Syrian economist who has joined the opposition. “There will be no need for the FSA whose members know that demonstrations are what will bring down the regime.” Mr Assad, insists Mr Seifan, can score military gains but he cannot win the war against the popular uprising.


Comments (598)

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451. Norman said:


Erdogan is stupid enough not to know that religious and ethnic parties are banned in Turkey too, what i do not know is , why doesn’t he call for the opposition to join the process with international monitors.

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March 31st, 2012, 5:31 pm


452. Mawal95 said:

Here’s a litany of evidence that Syria’s tribal organizations do not object to the ban on tribally-based political parties in parliamentary and local council elections. I take all this information from SANA, except for the last paragraph. The last paragraph is my own.

15 Dec 2011. Tribal Leaders in Eastern Syria (Deir Ezzor, Hasaka and Raqqa provinces) gathered at a large meeting hall in Deir Ezzor on 15 Dec 2011. In a statement issued at the conclusion of the meeting, the tribal leaders condemned the Arab League’s actions against Syria. They said the comprehensive reform program led by President Bashar al-Assad is the sole exit pathway from the current political unrest in Syria. They underlined the importance of putting into effect the reform decrees and decisions. They called for comprehensive national engagement in the responsibility to build the country. The Syrian people look forward to an expansion of democracy that genuinely reflects the Syrian values and ethics, and not an imported European model, they said. They proclaimed their adherence to the spirit of national unity. . Update 22 dec 2011: Bashar Assad meets with these eastern tribal leaders and expresses his appreciation to the tribal leaders for helping to build the country.

8 Jan 2012: Various clan elders met in Aleppo and made the same type of statements as were made in Deir Ezzor on 15 Dec 2011. The Lebanese news reporter and commentator Nasser Qandil attended, and interpreted the proceedings as a message that Syrian clans support their State’s leadership. Another attendee was Omar Osi, head of the pro-regime “National Initiative of Syrian Kurds”.

29, 30 and 31 jan 2012. A pro-regime tribal conference was held in Raqqa city on Monday and Tuesday 30 and 31 jan 2012. Anticipatory reportage about it was aired on Syrian State TV on 29 Jan, . On 30 jan 2012 the participants in the forum stressed adherence to national unity and rejection of foreign interference and sedition attempts, emphasizing support for the comprehensive reform program and dialogue under the leadership of President Bashar al-Assad. They decried the acts of killings and vandalism perpetrated by armed terrorist groups, and they called for striking with an iron fist those who tamper with the homeland’s security and stability. The also endorsed calls for launching national reconciliation dialog that helps stop bloodshed. Participants in the conference underscored the importance of bolstering national unity among the Syrian people against foreign-supported subversives. They expressed trust that the political and media campaigns against Syria, led by the colonial West and the Arab reactionary powers, won’t weaken Syria’s steadfastness thanks to the awareness and faith of the Syrian people.

31 jan 2012. Second day of the 2-day tribal gathering in Raqqa. Concluding statement condemns internal violence, condemns foreign interference, condemns Arab League, supports President Assad’s leadership, supports dialog and mediation between State and Opposition, supports continuation of reforms. Affirmed that the unjust economic siege imposed on Syria by foreign countries doesn’t faze the Syrian people. A supplementary statement directly addressed to the UN Secretary General and the Arab League Secretary General said that the clans and tribes of Syria utterly reject foreign interference. . Addounia TV footage from the meeting:

9 feb 2012. A large delegation of Iraqi tribal and clan leaders had a meeting with Syria’s Information Minister in Damascus and expressed the same political view as the Syrian tribal leaders had expressed in Raqqa on 30 and 31 January. Some Iraqi tribal leaders had been among the participants in the tribal gathering in Raqqa.

13 feb 2012. Syrian and Iraqi tribal leaders had a tent meeting in Al-Hasaka city with the participation of Islamic and Christian clergymen. They called on the national opposition to participate in the reform process.

15 feb 2012. Leaders of a number of tribes located in Aleppo province held a forum in Damascus and issued a concluding statement in support of the Syrian army. “We are all one tribe in the face of the saboteurs and the conspirators,” said the statement.

MEANWHILE I’m unaware of any tribal gatherings to voice opposition to the regime anywhere on the ground in Syria. The Syrian National Council in Istanbul contains a number of individuals who claim to represent tribes in Syria. But on the ground in Syria there is no evidence of tribal organizations, as such, opposing the regime.

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March 31st, 2012, 5:33 pm


453. Syria no Kandahar said:

In any other country hijacking people and torturing them is a crime which is punished for by decades
Behind bars except in Syria where the (free world)
Is incoraging such crimes Islamists dark bats even against Syrian Christians .The(free world )is only caring about $ :

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March 31st, 2012, 5:36 pm


454. Syria no Kandahar said:

The Syrian Army will stay as a gate keeper for the Syrian unity.Thanks to the terrorists rats the Army is now much stronger and experienced especially
In Urban and subarban fights:

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March 31st, 2012, 5:44 pm


455. Syria no Kandahar said:

What would the US do if this was the George Washington Bridge:

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March 31st, 2012, 5:51 pm


456. Son of Damascus said:

Undergunned and Overwhelmed
Syria’s rebels have to bear hours of negotiations for every box of bullets that they haul across the border for their war against Bashar al-Assad. And their frustration is starting to show.


“Fouad,” a rail-thin Syrian in tight jeans who looks at least a decade older than his 25 years, leans forward in a black faux leather armchair in an unheated, sparsely furnished room in this southern Turkish city.

“I need ammunition,” he tells Abu Mohammad, a stocky Turkish weapons dealer sitting impossibly upright on the stiff couch. “I’ll pay five and a half.” He quotes the price in Turkish liras — about $3 per bullet.
Abu Mohammad smirks. He carefully places his white, half-moon Turkish coffee cup on the small square table in front of him. “They’re seven each,” he says. “If you can get them for five and a half, I’ll buy them from you.”

Fouad shakes his head, takes another draw from his cigarette, and slowly capitulates on the price, but not before complaining that a bullet cost three lira about a month ago. “Just get them,” he finally says. “And what about weapons? I heard there’s a stockpile of 4,000 bullets and lots of guns, but it’s near an Alawite village [in southern Turkey].”

Abu Mohammad confirms the information, but says that it will be difficult to clandestinely buy any of the Turkish military supplies, and harder still to discretely ferry them out of the village, inhabited by Turkish co-religionists and assumed sympathizers of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“You know, I don’t want anything from you,” Abu Mohammad says. “I’m Sunni too, I just want to help.” It’s Fouad’s turn to smirk.


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March 31st, 2012, 6:03 pm


457. omen said:

457. Syria no Kandahar said:

What would the US do if this was the George Washington Bridge

the u.s. police force has escalated a wee bit in roughing up peaceful protesters of late, but i am pretty damn sure the government wouldn’t retaliate by indiscriminately pounding tank fire, mortar shells and katyusha rockets into civilian neighborhoods!

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March 31st, 2012, 6:14 pm


458. Afram said:

446. Alan said:

439. AFRAM Sorry missunderstanding ! Thump up !
Alan/I like your enthusiasm that stirred up many of the SC posters..keep up your zeal.

and may my god BAAL.god of rain&storm forgive your sins.hahaha
Amen bro

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March 31st, 2012, 6:22 pm


459. Syria no Kandahar said:

Alaaroor,HBJ victims:

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March 31st, 2012, 6:23 pm


460. omen said:

455. Syria no Kandahar said:

Islamists dark bats even against Syrian Christians.


syrian christians are fighting in the fsa.

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March 31st, 2012, 6:26 pm


461. Syria no Kandahar said:

The US knows all the crap and garbage inside this
Terrorist movement .It is a De ja vu from what the
US has delt with in Iraq.All what the US want is to
Dissociate Syria from Iran.In the US if you throw
Your sigarett from your car you will be fined 300$.
If you do what was in the clip you will be behind bars for many counts which you can figure .In Syria this should be counted as peaceful demonstration !!

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March 31st, 2012, 6:29 pm


462. Syria no Kandahar said:

Yeh right,is that why they have
كتيبة بولس الرسول
كتيبة مار افرام
كتيبة البابا شنوده

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March 31st, 2012, 6:33 pm


463. Mawal95 said:

I forgot to mention that Kurdish political parties are banned in Syria under the new Elections and Parties laws enacted last August.

Kurdish parties are not banned in Syria’s new Constitution. Article 8 of the Constitution says: “No political activity shall be practiced nor political party or group formed on a religious, sectarian, tribal, regional, or professional basis or according to discrimination because of sex, origin, race, or color.” The Parties and Elections laws have all those plus ethnic: “elections campaigns should not include any racial, sectarian, ethnic or tribal indications”.

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March 31st, 2012, 6:35 pm


464. jad said:

“Syria’s rebels have to bear hours of negotiations for every box of bullets that they haul across the border for their war against Bashar al-Assad. ”

Poor terrorists they are having hard time to kill, how sad!

Here are the main officers responsible for the fsa in each area in Syria:

رياض الاسعد قائد الجيش السوري الحر

اللواء مصطفى الشيخ رئاسة المجلس

الرائد ماهر اسماعيل النعيمي

ـ قيادة المجلس العسكري في حمص وريفها ـ العقيد الركن الطيار قاسم سعد الدين

ـ قيادة المجلس العسكري في محافظة حماة وريفها ـ العقيد المظلي عبد الحميد الشاوي

ـ قيادة المجلس العسكري في محافظة إدلب وريفها ـ العقيد الركن عفيف سليمان

ـ قيادة المجلس العسكري في محافظة دمشق وريفها ـ العقيد الركن خالد الحبوس ونائبه العقيد المعتصم بالله أبو الوليد

ـ قيادة المجلس العسكري في محافظة دير الزور وريفها ـ المقدم مهند الطلاع

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March 31st, 2012, 6:41 pm


465. Afram said:

464. Syria no Kandahar said:
Yeh right,is that why they have
كتيبة بولس الرسول
* كتيبة مار افرام
كتيبة البابا شنوده
حجي قندهار~~لا اريد كتيبة ان تسمى على اسمي -مار افرام السـيـرياني،هههههههههه

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March 31st, 2012, 6:48 pm


466. omen said:

458. Son of Damascus said:

damn, that was frustrating to read. where are the wealthy expat syrians willing to fund operations? surely snc could lobby such people.

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March 31st, 2012, 6:54 pm


467. Syria no Kandahar said:

Sorry,you have precious name.

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March 31st, 2012, 6:54 pm


468. Syrialover said:

#407 Jad:

“It’s not my problem that people don’t like khaldoun’s comments.”

It IS a big problem for everyone who values this blog (as I have for 6 years) that its quality forum is being destroyed by teams doing phantom block voting, orchestrated propaganda and cut-pasting.

(And now trying crude sledgehammer destruction tactics eg the weird instant 50+ votes against someone for making a general comment on pro-regime media in #8!).

I admire you as an impressively well-informed, articulate and agile debater. And I occasionally respect you for showing an authentic Syrian agenda and feelings I can identify with.

But when you congratulate and cheer and have supportive chats with that team I see you have picked up a hammer and joined in the destruction here.

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March 31st, 2012, 6:56 pm


469. Hopeful said:

#362 Bronco

In my opinion, this fifth option is not longer realistic. Again it has less to do with the regime’s intentions and more with its ability to execute. For the regime to succeed in this “fifth” option, it needs to have a broad-base trust and support – BOTH internally and externally, something that I believe it lacks today.

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March 31st, 2012, 7:34 pm


470. Dale Andersen said:


RE: “…it has less to do with the regime’s intentions and more with its ability to execute…”

Well said! Execute. Good word, that. You wanna know about execute, Besho’s your guy…

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March 31st, 2012, 7:44 pm


471. Mina said:

Annan seems to be a specialist of fishy plans. Rwanda, Bosnia, he was at the UN then…

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March 31st, 2012, 8:06 pm


472. jad said:


I honestly have no clue why that comment got so much thumbs down, to be honest I find it funny, since I don’t understand what’s so provocative in it that it deserve such high record rating.

I also have no problem with Majed whatsoever, yes I attack him and get annoyed with what he writes most of the times because of his sectarian comments but I have no hard feeling whatsoever toward him or toward anybody else on SC, I’m just very surprised that someone like Majed who used to be very respectful and careful not to hurt other people’s feeling to write some of the worst sectarian comments lately.

I have couple issues with comments lately which makes me sound either silly or rude:
Sectarianism, I don’t care what is the religion or sect or belief or non-belief of anybody as long as they are respectful to other people’s religion and sects and write within the political views/debate and not to be provocative about blaming someone being inhumane and immoral just because he belongs to a certain religion/sect.

I support secularism and I find it too hard for me to stay quite when I read comments like KT or others with the worst discrimination langue available against sects and religious.

I also have big issues with hate and ill wishes toward Syria and Syrians in any way especially coming from non-Syrians.

That I found the worst, and again, I really can’t stop not to reply in the same manner and sometimes even worse to show that person that he/she crossed the line.

We can be against political parties and criminals and brutality and terrorism, but we should always keep it in the perspective and not to wish ill to every person in Syria just because we disagree with the criminals on the top, that is wrong.

The third thing I also worry about is that through our disagreement we are either forgetting the radical terrorists, covering their crimes and avoiding the reality that those criminals are actually using people’s cause for their own agenda and this is why I keep pointing out the existence of radical groups inside the movement that we should never agree with or be quite about, if we do they will take over our country and turn it into a worse hell than it is right now.

I do understand your frustration with me Syrialover, I really do, and I may agree with you on my short temper and rudeness toward others, but to be honest, this is really tough times for all of us, and if we can’t show others the seriousness of the situation and reality of both sides regardless how painful and horrible it may sound, we are going to loose touch with what’s really happening in our homeland and if we decided to keep reading one side, we will become radicalized in our own world without even noticing.

I do appreciate SC for bringing almost all sides together, I do appreciate the cut&paste related comments, articles, stories and opinions, they all help most of us to stay sane and aware of the other side, not everybody though, but just enough.

I used to read 7ee6an every day until last month when I noticed that it is a total one sided world, that people their don’t even realize the reality anymore, they radicalized themselves on purpose, you can tell from the last couple comments of Sheila that she become unable to understand that there is another world outside hers on 7ee6an where people actually have different views, so I stopped going there that often and decided to stay on SC and to go through this struggle regardless how much I’ll attack or get attacked or get mad or hated, instead of leaving and stay in the back seat while others speaks on my behalf. No, I’m staying here, and I’ll keep writing and cut&pat and chat and make jokes and curse…Sorry SCM.

Syrialover, please understand that we have our beloved families and friends are still under fire in Syria, they are targets to every devil in Syria and we MUST defend them in every way possible, they are living in a big prison, made not only by the regime but also by every ‘humane’ European and American and kahliji hypocrites using Syrians’ suffering for their own agendas and those ‘humane’ powers wont stop until they break the Syrian man in all of us, as they did to Lebanon and Iraq before us.

I will feel that I’m betraying them if I let them down and I will keep trying to show their views to whoever is reading SC. Syria crisis is way bigger than all of us and it’s very much twisted in the media to fill the big powers agenda, not what is really happening, I think that we all are writing history the way we are seeing not the way they want to write it.

I’m not sorry at all for any bad word I wrote against any body on SC because I know that they deserve it and either if it was deleted or not, that doesn’t matter, I made my point clear and I’ll keep doing and reacting in the same manners as long as they repeat their provocations.

God bless Syria and Syrians every day and protect them from all harms…Oul ameen 🙂

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March 31st, 2012, 8:08 pm


473. omen said:

oh, but, mr. andersen, the opposition are corrupt.
assad is at least a mass murderer with integrity!

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March 31st, 2012, 8:16 pm


474. Norman said:

BEIRUT — Syria rejected international envoy Kofi Annan’s call for the regime to halt violence first just days after the government agreed to a cease-fire plan. A senior official declared victory over the opposition.

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March 31st, 2012, 8:18 pm


475. jad said:

What did you choose of the 4 options?

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March 31st, 2012, 8:34 pm


476. Hopeful said:


I chose option #4. As I state in my blog, I believe this is the best long-term outcome for Syria. Easy for me to say though: I am not interested in ideology or religion, and I have not personally suffered like many have.

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March 31st, 2012, 8:55 pm


477. jad said:

I agree with that choice, however, I have little hope that it may happen.

With your permission I’ll list the 4 options here for other commentators to know what we are talking about:

What would you like to see happen in Syria?

1-The regime stays on its current course of crushing the rebels, restraining free speech, restricting demonstrations, and introducing political reforms

2-The Free Syrian Army and Islamists are sufficiently armed to continue the fight, topple the regime and establish a new government

3-The West intervenes militarily, topples the regime and helps establish a democratic liberal government

4-The regime agrees to step aside and negotiates the creation of a transitional government and a safe exit for its leaders and supporters

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March 31st, 2012, 9:04 pm


478. Syrialover said:

Mawal #454

“I’m unaware of any tribal gatherings to voice opposition to the regime anywhere on the ground in Syria. The Syrian National Council in Istanbul contains a number of individuals who claim to represent tribes in Syria. But on the ground in Syria there is no evidence of tribal organizations, as such, opposing the regime.”

Well Sana isn’t going to report it.

But I have seen fragmented things about tribal community leaders accused and punished as a warning. Others here might have the references. It’s happened, and is sure to be documented and revealed when the terrible toll is added up.

Why play at being naive about the bloody and terrible price which will be paid on the ground if any tribal groups persisted in announcing opposition to the regime?

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March 31st, 2012, 9:04 pm


479. Hopeful said:

Jad, you agreeing with choice # 4 gives me hope. Why do you think there is little hope that it may happen?

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March 31st, 2012, 9:22 pm


480. majedkhaldoun said:

You said Nobody will help the FSA
Did you mean Israel and USA? I am sure the word nobody is not accurate, KSA and Qatar are willing to help the FSA.

You also said FSA are commiting fatal decision, Do you mean that FSA are already dead,or will be dead in the near future?

As for the friends of Syria, I think 70 countries are way too many,at this stage, the fewer the number the more effective the meeting will be, I wish Turkey limited the number to ten. or less.

Norman said to Ghufran
Can you give a list of foreign and Syrian people you feel responsible for the violence and the massacres in Syria

Norman it is not what Ghufran feel, his feeling may not be neutral, the list should include documented, not what he feels.

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March 31st, 2012, 9:31 pm


481. Mawal95 said:

@ #480: There are thousands of videos of protests against the regime, of which I’ve personally seen hundreds, and I’ve never come across a video of a tribally organized protest. The right to protest is explicitly guaranteed in the Syrian Constitution and the senior spokespeople of the regime have said again and again that peaceful protest is respectable. There is no reason why we wouldn’t’ve seen tribal assemblies against the regime by now if a majority of the individuals with a certain tribal alliegance wanted “Down with the System” politics.

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March 31st, 2012, 9:35 pm


482. Son of Damascus said:


“damn, that was frustrating to read. where are the wealthy expat syrians willing to fund operations? surely snc could lobby such people.”

It is frustrating to read, but sheds light on more exaggerations by the regime or out right lies. If rebels are low on ammo and are counting every bullet it would defeat their purpose to indiscriminately fire at civilians and civilian targets as the regime is trying to make everyone believe (since they need every bullet to defend themselves). It also expands on the lack of wholesale arming of the rebels from the GCC (and western nations) as some commentators here keep proclaiming is the undeniable truth.

Personally I don’t see an armed rebellion as the way to take down this regime, but at the same time I can’t in good faith say that someone cannot defend his family against state sanctioned criminality and barbarity.

Would I ever (as a wealthy expat) give money towards an armed struggle, No.

I don’t ever expect Bashar to step down (As in Tunisia and Egypt), that decision should not be left for him to make because he won’t ever make it, the authority must be stripped away from him. The revolution won’t be won in Idlib or Homs, Dier Ezzor or Dara’a, it will be won in Damascus and Aleppo and if those two foundations are stripped from the regime they won’t have the authority nor the legitimacy to call themselves our representatives and won’t be able to further deiced our fate.

The biggest failure of the SNC in my eyes is not their inner squabbling, but their lack of appeal to the minorities in Syria. For the minority protection is one of the lies that the regime is trumpeting as its greatest achievement (that and the so-called resistance) and is an integral part of their survival, the Alawites, Christians, and Kurds need to be part of this revolution in large numbers, and so far the SNC has not done enough to appeal to them, to make them all join (especially the Alawites).


Salam is Peace Selmieh is peaceful

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March 31st, 2012, 9:41 pm


483. Son of Damascus said:


While I find what you wrote to be very informative and well written, may I ask you to add another option in the poll you are conducting.

I would have voted for number 4 but I don’t ever believe that Bashar and Co. will ever agree to hand over their power, if you may can you add a non military option of forcing Bashar and Co. out as an option?

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March 31st, 2012, 9:52 pm


484. Mawal95 said:

The Syrian National Council consists predominantly of émigrés in the West. A French diplomat opines: “The leaders of the SNC excel in the West, because they speak our language, and tell us what we want to hear. But they are increasingly disconnected from the reality on the ground. The perception of the Syrians inside Syria is very negative regarding the SNC. Syrians are likely to agree that the SNC leaders do not represent them. The SNC leaders only show themselves before the TV cameras in foreign hotels, they bring us nothing, they say…. We in France are still in favor of “Down With The System” in Syria. We did not realize this was not feasible. On the other hand, what can we do now? We adopted a hardline position early on that we cannot now change. We are condemned to camp in alignment with the hardline SNC.”

I disagree with that opinion. The calls for “Down with the System” in Syria have been equally as blind and futile as similar calls coming year after year from fringe elements in politics in the Western countries. If the French “diplomats” would now come around to appreciating the truth, there’s no good honest reason for them to not just say they were wrong, they made a mistake about a foreign country whose political culture they didn’t understand, they’re sorry, they won’t be so arrogant in future, etc., etc. Personally I think I’m capable of forgiving the foreign “diplomats” for their bigotry, though I’ll never forgive the foreign news media for as long as I live.

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March 31st, 2012, 9:52 pm


485. ghufran said:

I do not do lists and I am not qualified to sentence somebody to death or even suggest that he or she must die. A credible court with lawyers for both sides is the civilized way to prosecute crimes but that may never happen in Syria. Street justice and tribal revenge seem to be more palatable to many Syrians nowadays.

Criticizing some sections of the opposition does not mean supporting the regime,one of my biggest disappoinments with this uprising is the violent and sectarian route it took,that route is prolonging the life of the regime and dividing Syrians.

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March 31st, 2012, 9:57 pm


486. jad said:

Hollywood is looking for ‘heroes’
الرستن 31-3-2012 عملية للجيش الحر بقيادة النقيب اياد الديك

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March 31st, 2012, 10:00 pm


487. jad said:

Bronco, Zoo, Mawal,
What do you think of this move by the Sultan’s army, the Syrian refugees were taken to the new camp to be evacuated the next day? Strange!
الفقاعة اوردغان يطرد اللاجئين من المخيمات بالقوة

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March 31st, 2012, 10:04 pm


488. Hopeful said:

#485 Son of Damascus re:

At the end of my blog post, I explain how option #4 might be accomplished. I admit that it is a long shot, but I am an optimist by nature. It is realistic to expect that, with enough pressure AND with guarantees of safe and face-saving exit, the world *maybe* able to convince the regime to step aside.

I would be happy to add the option of a non-military option to “force” Bashar out of power, if you can help me understand how this might be accomplished!

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March 31st, 2012, 10:09 pm


489. Mawal95 said:

@ JAD #488: By now I’ve seen many videos like that, and I often wonder what the guys in those types of videos are shooting at. More often than not, they seem to me to be shooting to create civil disturbance and destroy law and order; whereas they don’t seem to be in an actual firefight with army targets.

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March 31st, 2012, 10:16 pm


490. jad said:


I don’t think that the government will do number 4 in this volatile situation, it’s suicidal.

While I do understand your explanation to Bronco’s fifth choice, I think that his option to be more workable than number 4 at the moment.

“- The regime stays on its current course of ensuring security in the whole country by disarming armed gangs and negotiating with rebels for a full ceasefire under the UN umbrella, allowing legal demonstrations under observers surveillance, allowing a certain level of freedom of speech, introducing political reforms and planning for elections””

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March 31st, 2012, 10:18 pm


491. jad said:


This is why I put it under ‘Hollywood’ category, it’s obvious that no body is firing back at them, and that they are shooting for disturbance nothing more, yet they play poor and that they don’t have bullets and weapons.

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March 31st, 2012, 10:21 pm


492. Mawal95 said:

@ JAD #489: I read today that officials in Turkey say Turkey has 18,158 Syrian refugees, of whom 9,186 stay in Hatay province, 6,188 in the adjacent Kilis province, and 2,731 in the adjacent Gaziantep province. Thus, none of the refugees are being located in any other provinces in Turkey, including none in Şanlıurfa, Mardin and Şırnak provinces along the Syrian border. . Thus, Turkey, for some reason or no reason, has a policy of locating the refugees in one limited area in Turkey.

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March 31st, 2012, 10:25 pm


493. Syrialover said:

[ARROW Updated from spam. ]

408. JAD :

“I wonder how would you react when we celebrate if something get burned and people get killed in your city”

You’re seeing right here on this forum how I react.

With anger and disgust and nausea at those here who don’t stop at just celebrating at burning and killing, they chant ugly stupid lies and insults about it.

Like others here I have to be careful. I am living in shock and 24/7 anxiety at how my [ and ] are suffering, stranded inside in hell, and worry what will be left for the future. I want to finish my nightmare where I can’t go in and they can’t come out. One side of me is relieved we can struggle and find money for mukhrabat ransoms and protection and exile, but the other side is very frustrated this money is not sent to homeless, and hungry Syrians forced to run for their lives from their own “leaders”.

That is why I am repulsed by posters who systematically sneer and mock at all Syrians who suffer so much and have their lives destroyed by Assad regime thugs, idiotically calling all victims and anyone who stands with them as al-quaeda, pawns of foreigners and other garbage.

It’s creepy those posting here who have no stake in Syria or detectable agenda except to squawk hatred at the west. Interestingly, this puts them on the same team as the real al qaeda (not the phantom joke one they talk about).

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March 31st, 2012, 10:25 pm


494. Sunny said:

Of course, that is the best Mr. Baker can say at this point:0)He still live in the 1980’s mentality. Who gives Mr. Baker or any American politician the legal right to legitimize any leader in the world!? Wise up! Syria and President Bashar Alassad have prevailed due to his integrity, and the support of the majority of his people. How does Mr. Baker know that president Bashar Alassad killed his people? Unless he was there watching in his own eyes! Otherwise, his statement is not credible and not trustworthy at this point.

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March 31st, 2012, 10:39 pm


495. abbas said:

Many are wondering why the silent majority are still silent, I am one of the majority and I can say about myself is that I will stay silent because I don’t like what I see from both sides, what we needed in Syria is an upgrade of the system we have and it seems that we are getting a downgrade, I believe what Syria was missing was the rule of law and what the revolution gave us was the complete break down of law and order.

Last year I posted a comment with a sad face that the tourist season is lost in Syria and that is going to affect the lively hood of a lot of people, little I knew that some people are planning for the whole of Syria to be lost

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March 31st, 2012, 10:49 pm


496. Hopeful said:

@Jad # 492 – re:

The two scenarios call for a “transitional” period where security is established, demonstrations are allowed, and preparations for national elections are underway.

In option #4 listed in my blog post, the Syrian opposition, backed by the Arabs and many in the world, will be able to convince the regime to agree to step aside and allow a transitional government to form and lead the process, while guaranteeing the regime’s safety, face saving, and even the opportunity to participate in future elections. This is far from a suicidal proposition if presented and implemented correctly.

In Bronco’s proposed option #5, the Syrian regime will be able to convince the opposition, the Arabs, and many in the world that it has the credibility and ability to lead such transition (of course the regime can push forward with this without buy-in, but this is exactly what it has been doing in the past 12 months, with no success).

Which scenario has a better chance of going through? I think option #4 has the better chance.

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March 31st, 2012, 11:07 pm


497. Tara said:

Ambassador Ford back into the lime light again.

Ambassador to Syria, three American hikers held hostage in Iran speak at Amnesty meeting 
UPDATED:   03/31/2012 03:35:21 PM MDT By Kristen Leigh Painter
The Denver Post
Ford, a longtime supporter of the human rights organization Amnesty International, acknowledged that both the Syrian government and the opposition have been guilty of violence.

“But the great majority of those 9,000 dead are civilians killed in government assaults, bombardments, and detention,” Ford said.
In 2009, three young Americans who were hiking in Northern Iraq’s Kurdistan region were captured by Iranian troops near the unmarked national border. Sarah Shourd, Shane Bauer, and Josh Fattal spoke on Saturday just six months after the two men were released.

“The reason for being here at Amnesty is to advocate for other people who are still locked up,” Fattal said. “Our case was political, and with with politics ramping up between the two countries, we believe war would be catastrophic for the people of Iran.”

Shroud was released before the other two, but spent the entire 13 and a half months of her captivity in solitary confinement, a practice she says is torture and advocates against.

“There needs to be a regime change, but the change needs to be homegrown,” Shourd said. “We can support them from here. There is a huge human rights movement there that has been pushed underground.”

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March 31st, 2012, 11:13 pm


498. Son of Damascus said:


“I would be happy to add the option of a non-military option to “force” Bashar out of power, if you can help me understand how this might be accomplished!”

I am a big fan of the non violent movements, and have been tremendously influenced by the likes of Thoreau, Gandhi, and Gene Sharp’s writings. So my political ‘solution’ would be based on civil disobedience that forces the very foundations that secure the power of the regime to switch side and help develop a democratic future for Syria.

The regime is doing its best currently to prevent a Tahrir square moment (or the repeat of Clock Square in Homs, and Hama pre Ramadan) in its two most important cities, Aleppo and Damascus. If these two heavy weight giants wake up and come out in numbers (along with the rest of the country) and maintain the pressure needed, Bashar and Co. won’t have a chance to counter it.

The key is figuring out a way for the people to come out in numbers in a way to help safe guard the lives of the protesters, for so far whenever they come out in numbers the regimes response has been to mow them down.

In order to accomplish that in my opinion the opposition needs to unite all the different Syrian factions, appeal to the minorities and guarantee their individual rights, categorically state that they want the fall of the regime and not the State, help alleviate the fears of retribution or revenge killings (especially towards the Alawite community) and come up with a truth and reconciliation project that is fair and a testament to the backing our Judicial system so deservedly needs.

The only safe way out from this crisis won’t ever come from this regime, for they are the main culprits of the violence and bloodshed, it will come when the overwhelming majority of Syrians come out in such numbers that a military option would be rendered useless.

One of the most violent and brutal dictators of the 90’s was forced out the very same way, and Serbia is much better off today than when Milosevic was forced out in September of 2000.

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March 31st, 2012, 11:18 pm


499. Son of Damascus said:

Activist Ali Othman who is a citizen journalist from Homs who has helped broadcast countless Assadist crimes has been detained by the Syrian regime, he is a true Syrian hero that his crime is exposing the lies and hypocrisy of this regime, and now he is in the torturer’s chamber.

If exposing the Assadist barbarity is a crime, how can we ever expect them to reform?

Paul Conroy speaks to CNN about Ali Othman, one of the heroes that risked their lives to save his.

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March 31st, 2012, 11:37 pm


500. omen said:

gandhi didn’t liberate india all by himself. at the same time, as he was preaching non-violence and doing civil resistance, there were rebel resistance groups, running around doing guerilla tactics, blowing things up and killing british soldiers.

what freed india was a pincher approach. on one side was nonviolent protest which applied certain pressure. on the other side was armed rebellion, also applying pressure. the british got squeezed out.

i don’t know why the option being offered is a limited choice, that it has to be one or the other. an all of the above approach is what is needed. use every tool available. something andrew tabler effectively advocates here.

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March 31st, 2012, 11:50 pm


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