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.


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251. jad said:

Negotiations and dialogue is the only solution, it’s the time for a regional deal in the ME, Patrick Seale

حان وقت إبرام صفقة كبيرة في الشرق الأوسط .. بقلم : باتريك سيل
ومن شأن “الصفقة الكبيرة” إطلاق حوار بنّاء بين واشنطن وطهران، الأمر الذي قد يؤدي إلى قرار بوضع الخلافات الماضية جانباً وإعادة إحياء العلاقات الديبلوماسية وإلغاء العقوبات وإعادة إطلاق العلاقة بين الدولتين على أساس الاحترام المتبادل. وسيفيد تطوّر مماثل المنطقة برمّتها في شكل كبير. والأهم أنه سيفتح الطريق أمام إمكان إجراء حوار استراتيجي بين المملكة العربية السعودية وإيران، اللتين تملكان نفوذاً إقليمياً كبيراً، الأمر الذي سيساهم في تخفيف حدّة التوترات بين السنّة والشيعة في الخليج والعراق ولبنان واليمن وفي امكنة اخرى، وإبعاد شبح اندلاع حرب اخرى في الخليج. وستقرّ السعودية وإيران من موقعهما كشريكين وليس كخصمين بمسؤوليتهما المشتركة من أجل فرض الاستقرار والأمن في المنطقة الغنية بالنفط.
وحين يتمّ إشراك إيران في المنظومة الأمنية في الخليج، سيكون ممكناً تخيّل العاهل السعودي والمرشد الأعلى الإيراني يحضران معاً قمة مستقبلية في مجلس التعاون الخليجي في جوّ يطغى عليه السلام والازدهار والمصالحة.
هل هذا حلم وهمي؟ ليس بالضرورة. تحاول كاثرين آشتون، مسؤولة الشؤون الخارجية في الاتحاد الأوروبي إعادة إحياء المفاوضات في المسألة النووية بين إيران والدول الخمس الدائمة العضوية في مجلس الأمن زائداً ألمانيا. في الوقت نفسه، يحاول أمين عام الأمم المتحدّة السابق كوفي أنان إقناع النظام والمعارضة في سورية بالتوصل إلى اتفاق لوقف إطلاق النار كشرط أساسي للحوار. وفي كلتا الحالتين، يقرّ الطرفان بعدم إمكان حلّ النزاعات الحالية عسكرياً وبضرورة إجراء المفاوضات لإعادة الحياة إلى مجراها الطبيعي.
تحتاج سورية إلى تأثير علاجي مثل قيام لجنة للحقيقة والمصالحة لعلاج الجروح العميقة الجسدية والنفسية التي حصلت في الأشهر الأخيرة. ويجب أن يعمل النظام وخصومه على التوصّل إلى تغيير عميق للنظام السياسي في سورية الذي يحتاج إليه البلد والأزمة. وحين يسكت أزيز الرصاص، يحين وقت قيام دولة حقيقية والتوصل الى تسوية مشتركة. فسورية تعد بلداً عربياً مهماً جداً على صعيد التاريخ والضمير العربي إلى حدّ أنه لن يتمّ السماح لها بالغرق في أتون حرب أهلية.
وسيكون من الأسهل حلّ كل هذه المشاكل سواء كانت طائفية وسياسية وسواء في سورية وإيران وإسرائيل وقطاع غزة والضفة الغربية والعراق والخليج وواشنطن في إطار “صفقة كبيرة” تتفاوض عليها القوى العظمى وتدفعها قدماً وتراقبها. ويقوم الهدف الأكبر على إنقاذ المنطقة من إراقة المزيد من الدماء. والطريق إلى تحقيق هذا الهدف يكون عبر تقديم التنازلات.
طالما تمّ الإقرار بأنّ مبدأ الأخذ والعطاء سواء في حلّ الخلافات العائلية أو النزاعات الدولية يعدّ مفتاحاً للسلام.

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March 30th, 2012, 2:49 pm


252. Alan said:

248. OMEN
you repeated a question! if once again a question put, it is necessary to prove their presence and at what mission they they are to understand on what lawful basis are present!

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March 30th, 2012, 2:52 pm


253. zoo said:

Foreign Fighters Join Syrian Rebels
Jihadists Declare Holy War Against Assad Regime

By Ulrike Putz in Beirut,1518,824875,00.html

Abu Rami hails from Lebanon, but his heart is in Syria these days. The 40-year-old is one of hundreds of Arabs who are fighting against the Assad regime at the side of Syrian insurgents. Many of these volunteer fighters are veterans of the Iraq war, who have now brought their holy war to Syria.

Abu Rami’s last foray into war wasn’t much of a success. Just after his unit had crossed over the border, one of his men lost his wits. The young man cowered in the undergrowth, trembled and didn’t budge. Out of necessity, the whole unit had to come to a stop: Ten Lebanese, armed with 10 Kalashnikovs loaded with 65 magazines of ammunition, had come to a standstill inside the Syrian border, without any backup.

It was pure luck that the group wasn’t spotted by a Syrian border patrol and that they didn’t come under fire. “We sent the man with the weak nerves back to Lebanon. The rest of us made it as far as Homs,” a 40-year-old man who goes by the nom de guerre Abu Rami said, two days after his return from Syria.

The protest stronghold of Homs is located around 30 kilometers (about 19 miles) from the border, and the Lebanese volunteers wanted to fight alongside Syrian rebels in the city’s Khaldiyeh district. But after they ran out of ammunition, the guerrillas had to retreat. Abu Rami says his unit is now waiting in the safety of Lebanon for its next deployment.

Abu Rami is a commander in the growing band of volunteer Lebanese fighters who are getting involved in the conflict in neighboring Syria. Most come from Tripoli, the northern Lebanese city that is largely home to a Sunni Muslim population. Their hatred of the Assad regime is rooted in the Syrian occupation of Lebanon, which only ended in 2005.

Despite the withdrawal of its troops, Syria still exercizes considerable influence over Beirut. The Shiites are also in power in the Lebanese capital, further fomenting the hatred of Lebanese Sunnis against Assad and his Lebanese allies, which including the Shiite militant group Hezbollah.

‘We Lebanese Are Part of the Syrian Revolution’

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March 30th, 2012, 2:54 pm


254. Juergen said:

Just a question, is Lebanon now a foreign nation? Interesting I always thought those syrian schoolbooks say it differently…

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March 30th, 2012, 3:04 pm


255. zoo said:

Sectarian Violence Is Raging in Syria

By John Hudson | The Atlantic Wire – Thu, Mar 29, 2012

Neighbor-on-neighbor violence between Sunnis and Shiites is breaking out across Syria, according to reports, and some fear sectarian strife could spread beyond the country’s borders.

Refugees fleeing Syria have begun speaking to reporters about the type of government-sponsored violence there, and the picture is grim. The New York Times’ Anne Barnard spoke with refugees in Lebanon who “described a worrying new element: what they see as an increasingly sectarian motive to the violence.”

In The Times, the refugees said that even in smaller villages, residents are falling victim to government crackdowns, shelling and sniper fire. “The refugees said they believed that a majority of Sunni residents of four villages, Rabli, Zahra, Joussi and Mazaria, had fled to other countries or other areas inside Syria.”

The paper says the accounts “reinforce reports from activists reached inside Syria by telephone and e-mail of displacement along sectarian lines, and interviews with people in Syria.” United Press International reports that there are at least 6,000 refugees in eastern Lebanon—a community that says they’ve been threatened by Sunni civilians armed by the government.

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March 30th, 2012, 3:08 pm


256. Juergen said:

Syria: The evil results of doing good

Robert Grenier
Former CIA station chief Robert Grenier heads ERG partners, a financial consultancy firm.

But does anyone honestly think that the Syrian regime, committed as it is to a programme of violent intimidation and collective punishment, will provide “full humanitarian access”, or a daily “humanitarian pause” for those whom it suspects of aiding its adversaries? What are the chances that the tender Mr Assad will release detainees who may promptly rejoin the struggle against him, or that he will permit foreign journalists to freely document his atrocities? Who would want to bet his life, or the lives of those dear to him, that Bashar and his generals will honour a ceasefire, or engage in good faith in a “political dialogue” with those who are challenging their power?

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March 30th, 2012, 3:14 pm


257. Juergen said:

Regime thugs at their best:

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March 30th, 2012, 3:20 pm


258. Ron said:

[alert Ron, the language edited below is not acceptable by the Rules and Regulations of Joshua Landis’s Syria Comment.]

I see the pro-regime propaganda machine is working at full power. Keep it up, make your money-mongering warlord proud. Every website I go to, the same comments are being repeated by surprisingly well versed Alawites with a strong mastery of the English language and seemingly enough spare time to argue forever.

I wonder if there is a third-party company that actually offers such as a service. Internet image clean-up while the dictator is busy “cleaning up” his own people. The premise is very simple and proved to be efficient throughout history. Repeat a lie enough times and it becomes a fact.

Propaganda 101. Salafi, Mossads, NWO, Vampires… but I just don’t see anyone buying it. Hard to portray in positive light a regime/clan that’s been terrifying its own people for more than 40 years while sucking the country of every penny, selling land to Israel and Turkey and filling their pockets and guts. Scheming, murdering, lying, humiliating, abusing…those are some of the “virtues” of this regime. And I don’t think we have seen the worse yet.

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March 30th, 2012, 3:21 pm


259. Aldendeshe said:

Anyone keeping tabs on Tlass and kid, is he back in Syria or took permanent residency in EU?

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March 30th, 2012, 3:39 pm


260. jad said:

Killing terrorists is something to curse the Syrian Army about and keep linking, but the terrorists Dabi7a of Dei Azzor to kill teachers is something we need not to mention otherwise we are immoral according to ‘alqaeda’ standards:

بسبب “حيونة “وزير التربية ، ولأسباب مذهبية ، مسلحو “الجيش الحر” يبدأون قتل المعلمين والمدرسين الموفدين إلى دير الزور من مناطق أخرى

الحقيقة ( خاص): فيما يبدو أنه بداية حملة دموية لتصفية المعلمين والمدرسين الموفدين من مناطق أخرى إلى دير الزور ، أقدم مسلحون من “كتيبة الله أكبر” الناشطة في المحافظة المذكورة على قتل ثلاثة مدرسين يوم أمس بطريقة وحشية ، قبل أن يمثلوا وينكلوا بجثثهم. وعلم أن المدرسين الثلاثة هم الشهيد صفوان اسماعيل (من بلدة القمصية في طرطوس) و المدرس وضاح حاتم من ريف اللاذقية ( قريب الأديبة والروائية دلال حاتم) و الشهيد وائل ابراهيم ( من جورة الشنبور في منطقة صافيتا بطرطوس).

وكان عشرات المعلمين والمدرسين ، والمعلمات والمدرسات ، من حمص والساحل السوري، أطلقوا حملة مناشدات منذ افتتاح العام الدراسي لوزير التربية ، الحيوان صالح الراشد، لإعادتهم إلى مناطقهم أو نقلهم إلى أي منطقة سورية آمنة ، بعد تعرضهم لتهديدات بالقتل على خلفية طائفية ومذهبية ، إلا أنه رفض ذلك. وكأنه أراد لهم أن يقتلوا فقط من أجل تسعير السعار الطائفي والمذهبي.

يشار إلى أن هناك سياسة في وزارة التربية منذ سنوات طويلة تعود إلى عشرات السنين تقضي بأن يخدم المعلمون والمدرسون المعينون حديثا ، والمنحدرون من محافظات تسمى ” متطورة تعليميا” ، بضع سنوات في المناطق المسماة ” نامية تعليميا”. ورغم أن جميع المحافظات ، لاسيما ” النامية تعليميا”، أصبحت متقاربة جدا في مستواها التعليمي ، ولم يعد هناك حاجة لتطبيق هذه السياسة، فإن الوزارة لاتزال ترسل آلاف المعلمين والمدرسين إلى تلك المناطق ، رغم أن قسما كبيرا من المعلمات والمدرسات متزوجات ويعمل أزواجهن في مناطق أخرى!

سؤال وجهه يوم أمس العديد من المواطنين على صفحات فيسبوك لوزير التربية بلغة بذيئة ، ولكنها في محلها ، تقول : لماذا ” يا جحش ” تركب رأسك منذ الصيف الماضي وترفض نقل هؤلاء رغم مئات الشكاوي التي أرسلوها لك؟ ألأنك أيها الحيوان تريد لهم أن يقتلوا ؟ أم لأنك ـ وانطلاقا من رأسك المليء بالديدان والحشرات ـ تريد المزيد من التسعير الطائفي والمذهبي؟

نأمل أن يسمع هذا الحيوان هذا النداء اليوم ، بعد أن خوطب باسمه الحقيقي الذي يفهمه!

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March 30th, 2012, 4:16 pm


261. Tara said:

The embattled illegitimate president trying to grasp at any straw of legitimacy by visiting a funeral. Any leaked email mocking the Druze too?

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March 30th, 2012, 4:34 pm


262. Alan said:

Moscow welcomes LAS support to Annan’s Syrian mission

MOSCOW, March 30 (Itar-Tass) —— Moscow welcomes the full support of the League of Arab States (LAS) to the Syrian mission of Kofi Annan, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Friday, in comment on the LAS summit held in Baghdad on March 29.

“We views as important and natural that the summit highlighted joint Arab efforts towards de-escalation of tensions and prevention of violence and bloodshed in the Middle East and North Africa. In this context the summit delegates discussed the situation in Syria, Libya and a number of other countries passing through a hard period of internal reforms and transformations,” the ministry said.

“The summit’s keynote idea was the appeal for peaceful settlement of conflicts and disputes on the basis of the national dialog, with the observation of international laws and without external interference,” the ministry said. “The summit voiced full support to the mission of UN/LAS Special Envoy for Syria Kofi Annan aimed to achieve peace settlement in that country through the termination of armed violence by all sides under the efficient control of the UN special mechanism, the rendering of humanitarian aid to the civilian population and the startup of the inclusive inter-Syrian dialog.”

“The Arab summit participants were unanimous about the need to preserve the integrity of Syria, to ensure its security and stability and to support the lawful aspirations of the Syrian people for freedom and democracy and their right to determine their future themselves. The Arab leaders also expressed support to the Palestinian membership in the UN and efforts to achieve inter-Palestinian reconciliation,” the ministry said.

“The LAS summit gave much attention to other problems of the Middle East, including the central problem of comprehensive and fair settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict on the universally acknowledged legal platform,” the ministry said.

“The forum documents, among them the Baghdad Declaration, confirmed the wish of the League of Arab States to play an active role in the strengthening of collective and legal foundations of the world politics and the search for political and diplomatic ways of settling pressing international and regional problems,” the ministry said.

“Moscow welcomes this attitude and confirms its interest in the mounting of interaction with the LAS aimed to ensure lasting peace and security,” the ministry said.

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March 30th, 2012, 4:41 pm


263. Alan said:
Saudi Arabia wants to back Syrian opposition with guns
Saudi Arabia wants Jordan to open its border with Syria to supply weapons to the Syrian opposition, BBC reports.

This information has also been confirmed by the Wall Street Journal Europe.

According to the newspaper, at their meetingin Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s King asked his Jordanian counterpart to permit weapons shipments to Syria in exchange for economic assistance to Jordan.

Riyadh’s position runs counter to the UN and the Arab League’s decision to support the mission of Kofi Annan aimed to stop bloodshed in Syria and to start talks.

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March 30th, 2012, 4:44 pm


264. Alan said:
Primakov gets his book republished as Mideast crisis unfolds
The way the situation in the Middle East developed in 2011 proved that the region’s crisis has turned even deeper. The number of people concerned about the issue has also increased. Russia’s prominent Oriental studies expert Yevgeny Primakov, who personally knows many Arab kings and princes, has recently had his book republished under the title “The Middle East: On the Stage and Behind the Scenes”.

A wave of Arab Spring uprisings hit the region in early 2011, toppling the regimes in Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen. Libya and Syria stood next in the line, but Mr. Primakov thinks that the way the events unfolded in these countries had little in common with the Arab Spring scenario. “From the very first moment anti-government protesters took up arms”, Mr. Primakov says…

“We have a reason to say that if anti-regime protests in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain and Yemen were sporadic and were not orchestrated by the US, then in Libya and Syria Washington and NATO decided to take control of the situation and prevent ‘unwanted’ Gaddafi and Assad from staying in power.

The Western countries will have to decide what is worse: totalitarian regime in the Arab states or the consequences of these regimes being overthrown. Long-serving authoritarian leaders have always opposed radical Islamists and any kind of extremist organizations seeking power. One way or another they fought against terrorists and did not shelter any extremist gangs like al-Qaida. The fact that authoritarian regimes had a positive impact on economic relations meant a lot to both Russia and the US.

The Arab Spring uprising in Tunisia and Egypt resulted in Islamist organizations seizing power there. Currently the future of these two countries depends greatly on relations between moderate and radical Islamists, Mr. Primakov thinks. Foreign countries are now seeking a new approach to dealing with the regional powers. The US, for example, is busy establishing official contacts with moderate Islamists.

Iraq`s tragedy has proved that democracy forced from within is doomed. The same holds true for post-Gaddafi Libya.

Despite all lessons learned from political, economic and human losses, a force method remains the most popular. Now public attention is drawn to Iran, with predictions being made on whether or not the country will be attacked amid Tehran`s refusal to stop its uranium enrichment program. Mr. Primakov thinks that the attack could have a counter-effect.

“This will just result in Iran becoming even more enthusiastic about the issue. Practically all intelligence services worldwide agree that Tehran has not yet decided to produce nuclear weapons. I am not sure about Mossad, but from media reports I`ve learned that the US shares this opinion. The problem is that an attack could force Iran to make this political decision and start seeking a nuclear bomb. If so, what will happen to Iraq and other Arab states? Undoubtedly, this will trigger terror activity.”

It does not realty matter whether these problems are discussed ‘behind the scenes’ or during high-profile international meetings. The main task is to prevent the entire Mideast region from turning into a hotbed of extremism, Yevgeny Primakov believes.

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March 30th, 2012, 4:46 pm


265. Son of Damascus said:

What joy does a sniper get from targeting a child’s head?
What sick barbaric person can do such a heinous and utterly gut wrenching crime?
For what PURPOSE?

(Extremely Graphic Content)

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March 30th, 2012, 4:50 pm


266. Alan said:

US State Department Hands Terror-Cult US Base in Iraq

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March 30th, 2012, 4:56 pm


267. Alan said:

Giuliani openly promotes terrorism as a way to stop Iranian nuclear program

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March 30th, 2012, 4:57 pm


268. Syria no Kandahar said:

Killing Teachers in Delarzor gives the terrorists
Revolutionary legitimacy?Wahabi sympathiezers
Have condtional vomitting reflux which gets prespitated on sectarian bases.

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March 30th, 2012, 5:12 pm


269. Syria no Kandahar said:

The Vatican will attend Syria’s enemies conference in Istanbul ,they will be sitting next to SA.On a side talks they will be discussing how to apply Saudi’s grand mufti plan to destroy churches.They also will listen to SA advises on how to protect minorities and women in Syria applying SA experience.

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March 30th, 2012, 5:18 pm


270. Tara said:

The Vatican attending the FOS conference?
Is he a Qaeda operative in disguise?

What a big slap on the face! Thank you Mr. pope. I’m visiting with you this summer.

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March 30th, 2012, 5:27 pm


271. jad said:


Why you even bothered with this news? The Vatican doesn’t have any power over the Syrian Christians, It’s all political and I’m glad that they will attend, let’s see if they will be impressed with the crap they will hear.

As far as I know the majority of the Syrian Christians do not follow the Vatican, is that correct? and if so, who will even listen to what the Vatican will say. When the Syrian Muslims are ignoring the SA, you think the Syrian Christians will listen to the Vatican under this circumstances and when Syria is under attack?

It’s all a western game now lead by US and EU, didn’t you read Assafir article, they talked about this point:

مصادر غربية: العقوبات بلغت سقفها وآليات لمتابعة التزام مصارف لبنان بها
«الخطوة خطوة» للالتفاف على العقبة الروسية: رهان على فشل خطة أنان أو فتحها المجال للحراك الشعبي
وقال مصدر اميركي متابع للملف السوري «لقد أخطأنا في تقييم قدرة النظام على مقاومة الاحتجاج الشعبي. كما أن أكثرية سورية تلتزم الصمت في الصراع الدائر، وغير مطمئنة لبرنامج المعارضة، لا سيما في صفوف الأقليات. وتجري معالجة هذه العقدة عبر تشجيع المجلس على ضم المزيد من العلويين إلى المكتب التنفيذي، بعد ضم توفيق دنيا، وهو عضو في حركة صلاح جديد البعثية الديموقراطية المنشقة».

ولحرمان النظام من دعم الأقلية المسيحية والكنيسة، قال مصدر غربي في باريس، إنه في إطار التحضير لمؤتمر «اصدقاء سوريا» الذي ينعقد في الأول من نيسان المقبل في اسطنبول، وجهت دعوة إلى الفاتيكان لحضوره. وقال المصدر إن الفاتيكان لم يرد حتى الآن على الدعوة، ولكن حضوره الرمزي سيشكل رسالة قوية تتجاوز المسيحيين الذين يحيق بهم خوف عقلاني من صعود الإسلام السياسي إلى السلطة.

ويتركز الرهان الغربي اليوم على خطة أنان، لاستعادة المبادرة على الأرض لتفتيت الإعتراض الروسي، وضمه تدريجياً إلى إجماع غربي ملزم وفي إطار مشروع قرار يصدر عن مجلس الأمن. ويتباين الموقفان الفرنسي والأميركي بهذا الشأن، إذ يراهن الأميركيون على النظام نفسه لمساعدتهم في لف حبل المشنقة حول رقبته. ويوغل الأميركيون في الرهان المزدوج عليها فشلاً او نجاحاً. ويقول مصدر أميركي إن

«انقضاض النظام السوري على مهمة أنان ليس سوى مسألة وقت لا أكثر، ونحن ننتظر أن نرى أنان يعود خاوي الوفاض قريباً في مجلس الأمن لإعلان فشله، والتمهيد بذلك لاستصدار قرار ضده في المجلس، قد لا يستطيع الروس الاعتراض عليه، بعد انقلاب دمشق على الفرصة التي شكلتها خطة أنان، والتي دعموها».
«وإذا ما وافق السوريون على الخطة فإن الرهان الكبير والحقيقي خلفها، يقوم على إتاحتها

الفرصة امام الحراك الشعبي، لاستعادة نشاطه ولو جزئياً، لأنها تتضمن في نقاطها الست حق التظاهر وحريته، وهو ما سيؤدي إلى تحويل ساحة أمية إلى ساحة تحرير، فإسقاط النظام». ويتفق الأميركيون والفرنسيون، على القول إن عدم المطالبة بتنحي الرئيس الأسد في خطة أنان، وتقديم الشق الإنساني على الشق السياسي، والحوار بين المعارضة والنظام، يعود إلى الرغبة بترك هامش واسع أمام أنان للمناورة في المفاوضات مع نظام الأسد.

وقال المصدر الأميركي إن أحداً لن يقبل اي مفاوضات يكون عنوانها الإبقاء على الرئيس الأسد في سدة الحكم في دمشق، سواء من المعارضة ام من الأطراف الإقليمية والدولية الراعية لها. وتوقع المصدر الأميركي أن تشتد العمليات العسكرية للمعارضة في قلب المدن، وأن تطور مجموعاتها حرب عصابات ضد الجيش السوري، وحواجزه المنتشرة في المدن السورية المنتفضة، وثكناته التي تضم وحدات لم تتدخل حتى الآن في العمليات، لحث الجنود المترددين على الانشقاق والفرار. وتوقع المصدر الأميركي أن تضاعف مجموعات المعارضة المسلحة من عمليات الاغتيال التي تستهدف مسؤولين في النظام، وقال إن مسؤولين سوريين كباراً، عسكريين ومدنيين، يخافون الخروج من سوريا، لأن النظام يراقبهم، ولو كان لنائب الرئيس فاروق الشرع حرية الحركة، لغادر دمشق.

وقال مصدر غربي إن دخول الخطة حيز التنفيذ لا يزال ينتظر اتصالات يقوم بها فريق أنان مع السلطات السورية. كما أن موعداً لوقف إطلاق النار لم يتحدد بعد. ومن غير المتوقع أن يكون وقف إطلاق النار متزامناً، وعلى النظام أن يبدأ بوقف العمليات العسكرية في المرحلة الأولى بصفته المصدر الأول والأساسي للعنف، مما يؤدي تلقائياً إلى وقف لإطلاق النار لدى الأطراف الأخرى. وتحدث المصدر الغربي عن آلية المراقبة الدولية التي ستنطلق بالتزامن على وقف إطلاق النار، وأن كوفي أنان يقوم ببحثها والتحضير لها بالتنسيق مع بان كي مون الأمين العام للأمم المتحدة.

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March 30th, 2012, 5:51 pm


272. Tara said:


Venturing out of the script? How could you?

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March 30th, 2012, 6:07 pm


273. Mawal95 said:

@ JAD #147: I did see that good clip about the “Al-Ansar” brigade. , . Nobody denies that radical Islamists fighters are present. What is denied — denied by Bashar Assad, Nir Rosen, and many others including me — is the notion that today the radical Islamists are dominating the armed militia groups.

Bashar said in an interview on 13 Dec 2011: “Those who conduct the armed struggle can be divided into three categories. The first one of them is a small group of al-Qaeda network, which does not have any influence among the Syrians. The second one is the Muslim Brotherhood, which is also a small group, although they have a serious influence among the radicals. The majority of the radical opposition are the people who do not hold the membership in such organizations.” . And in an interview on 7 Dec 2011 Bashar Assad used the word “militants” eight times but never used the word “Islamist” (nor “Islam” nor “Muslim”). One thing Bashar did say on 7 Dec 2011 was: “Not everybody in the street was fighting for freedom. You have different components… [including] religious extremists” (ABC TV News interview).

Nir Rosen was in Syria in January 2012 and he wrote in March 2012: “Syria’s uprising is not a secular one. Most participants are devout Sunni Muslims inspired by Islam. A minority is secular and another minority is comprised of ideological Islamists. But the majority of those participating in the uprising are religious-minded people with little ideology, like most Syrians. They are not fighting to defend secularism (nor is the regime) but they are also not fighting to establish a theocracy. But as the conflict grinds on, Islam is playing an increasing role in the uprising.”

I say the Islamists cannot be dominant by definition unless and until you hear clear Islamist sloganeering from a majority of the people who claim to be in the Free Syrian Army. You don’t hear that today. You can hear chanting for the Free Syrian Army at virtually all anti-regime protests. But you usually don’t hear Islamist chanting at the protests. Some cases of Islamist chanting can be found, but one shouldn’t overweight them.

Here’s a related comment posted above at #128 ZOO: “Muslim hardliners want to make religion the unifying basis of the revolt. Radical Islamist elements are still on the fringe, but that’s enough to make a headache for opposition activists who are struggling to convince Syrian minorities to support a revolt led mostly by the country’s Sunni majority.”

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March 30th, 2012, 6:08 pm


274. Son of Damascus said:

Annan with a plan
The UN’s plan could have short-term benefits but is unlikely to end Syria’s crisis
Mar 31st 2012 | BEIRUT |

OVER the 13 months of upheaval in Syria, President Bashar Assad has repeatedly promised to stop the violence. Earlier this year he dashed Arab League hopes of mediating a solution, unleashing his army to blast cities such as Homs, Syria’s third-biggest, and dragging the death toll over 9,000. Hardly surprising, then, that scepticism greeted reports, on March 27th, of Mr Assad’s agreement to the plan for a settlement recently devised by Kofi Annan, the joint UN-Arab League emissary.

Syria’s seemingly inexorable drift towards greater tragedy justifies doubt, but this time it may be slightly misplaced. For one thing, Mr Assad is not the only one to sign on to the Annan plan—his allies Iran, China and Russia have too. So, hesitantly, has Syria’s main opposition group, the Syrian National Council.


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March 30th, 2012, 6:43 pm


275. Tara said:

My friend is not feeling good but does not let me do anything to comfort him. I would if I could.. Some people are just very stubborn…I hope he feels better soon.

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March 30th, 2012, 6:43 pm


276. Tara said:

The US is trying to convince the Saudis not to arm the FSA.    

[ARROW Syria crisis: US urges Saudis to support diplomacy to end bloodshed]
Hillary Clinton in Riyadh for talks amid concern Saudi Arabia and Qatar are planning to arm anti-Assad regime rebels

Ian Black, Middle East editor, Friday 30 March 2012 12.48 EDT

In his first response to the plan the Syrian president made his agreement conditional on an end to support by unnamed countries for what he called “armed terrorist groups”. But Annan rejected this approach. “The government must stop first and then discuss a cessation of hostilities with the other side and with the mediator,” his spokesman, Ahmad Fawzi, insisted on Friday. “We expect him to implement this plan immediately.”

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March 30th, 2012, 6:57 pm


277. Tara said:


They are not peasants. They are animals!

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March 30th, 2012, 7:09 pm


278. jad said:


I understand and agree that the ‘radicals’ don’t make the majority of the armed militia, now, however those groups are responsible for almost every major attack happening in Syria, and they are by far the most dangerous and criminal of all of other groups within the armed militia of fsa.

I don’t really care what other said 4-5 months ago, what I see is an increase of the radical religious based presence within fsa with an obvious radical leadership of the militia on ground.

I think it’s matter of weeks before the local Alqaeda is official working inside the country and will see an increase of sectarian attacks directed to make a copy of how things started in Iraq, I even read that they are planning to attack a Shia shrines in Lebanon to stir the sectarian issue even further.


Here is the full interview with Jihad Makdissi:
المقابلة الكاملة للدكتور جهاد مقدسي 30 3 2012

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March 30th, 2012, 7:20 pm


279. jad said:

I think the animals are the terrorists which the National Syrian Army killed to protect us all.

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March 30th, 2012, 7:21 pm


280. majedkhaldoun said:

We do not have national syrian army in Syria, we have only Assad army, and the Free Syrian Army
The Assad Army is made of traitors thugs officers, those who serve Assad will be eliminated.

God bless FSA, long live Ryad Al Asaad,down with Bashar

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March 30th, 2012, 7:46 pm


281. Hopeful said:

Vote for the outcome you would like to see for Syria!

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March 30th, 2012, 7:47 pm


282. Ghufran said:

الشيخ من ج و ح ينتقد الاخوان

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March 30th, 2012, 7:50 pm


283. Mawal95 said:

@ JAD # 180: I agree with you that we’re seeing an increase of religious radicals in the armed militia. And you agree with me that the religious radicals don’t make the majority of the armed militia today. So we’re seeing the same reality.

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March 30th, 2012, 7:51 pm


284. Mawal95 said:

Yesterday Assad said that in return for a formal commitment by Syria for the implementation of Annan’s plan, it is necessary for Annan to obtain commitments from other parties to stop all acts of violent rebellion. Now today, as linked to by #278, a spokesman for Annan is rejecting this position: “The Syrian government must stop first and then discuss a cessation of hostilities with the other side and with the mediator,” Annan’s spokesman, Ahmad Fawzi, insisted on Friday. “We expect him to implement this plan immediately.”

That statement by Ahmad Fawzi is the same as innumerable statements in the past by Ban Ki-moon. The Syrian government has rejected them and ignored them and will continue to do so.

As I’ve said before, Annan’s enterprise makes no logical sense to me.

PS: Maqdisi in that 45-minute interview is asked almost no questions and there’s almost no dialog. Instead Maqdisi speaks ad lib for 45 minutes — a good sign of somebody who knows his game. He does have a few notes in front of him to remind him of what he wants to say.

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March 30th, 2012, 8:02 pm


285. Ghufran said:

Syrian government may sell oil to China at a discount
WTI crude is about $ 103 ,finer quality oil is over $ 120

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March 30th, 2012, 8:12 pm


286. Ghufran said:

Aljazeera decided not to air a video about the terrorist attack in France because it does not want to “sensationalize” violence (!!!!)

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March 30th, 2012, 8:21 pm


287. zoo said:

Next Egyptian president, an islamist sheikh?

Egypt Islamist registers for election amid fanfare
CAIRO, (AFP) — Egyptian Islamist sheikh Hazem Abu Ismail kicked off his candidacy for the presidency on Friday with a large motorcade that headed to the electoral committee headquarters in Cairo.

Witnesses said dozens of vehicles packed with the ultra-conservative’s supporters left a mosque with the statutory 30,000 endorsements from citizens required to register as a candidate.

Outside the mosque, they chanted “Look Obama, Sheikh Hazem is a knowledgeable cleric,” referring to US President Barack Obama.

Abu Ismail, who advocates a strict interpretation of Islam similar to the one practised in Saudi Arabia, has become a familiar sight in Cairo, with his posters adorning many cars and micro buses.

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March 30th, 2012, 9:12 pm


288. zoo said:

Can the Syrian Army be asked to stop military actions without any commitment for the same from the armed rebels?

Syria crisis: US urges Saudis to support diplomacy to end bloodshed

The US is urging Saudi Arabia to support international diplomatic efforts to resolve the bloody crisis in Syria amid concern that the Saudis and Qatar are planning to arm the rebels fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.
Clinton, the British foreign secretary William Hague, and dozens of other western and Arab foreign ministers will be in Istanbul on Sunday for a meeting of the Friends of Syria group, designed to demonstrate resolve and orchestrate action against the Damascus regime.

The last time the group met the Saudis said it was “a good idea” to arm the Syrian rebels and create a safe haven on the Turkish border. The US, UK and most western and Arab countries, which united to support the anti-Gaddafi Libyan rebels last year, disagreed.

Diplomats and analysts insist there is still no hard evidence of Saudi or Qatari supplies to the Free Syrian Army (FSA), the main armed wing of the opposition. “There is a lot of lobbying but little sign they have acted on it,” said one western official.

The Saudis have reportedly been pressing Jordan to allow weapons across their border into Syria, so far to no avail. Turkey is also preventing arms transfers.

For all the talk, the FSA is still only lightly armed. “They are organised locally and armed with nothing more sophisticated than AK-47 assault rifles, RPGs, and PK machine guns,” according to Malik al-Abdeh, a London-based supporter of the Syrian National Council.
In his first response to the plan the Syrian president made his agreement conditional on an end to support by unnamed countries for what he called “armed terrorist groups”. But Annan rejected this approach. “The government must stop first and then discuss a cessation of hostilities with the other side and with the mediator,” his spokesman, Ahmad Fawzi, insisted on Friday. “We expect him to implement this plan immediately.”

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March 30th, 2012, 9:21 pm


289. irritated said:

#288 Gufran

How can Al Jazeera show one of their friends committing murders on children?

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March 30th, 2012, 9:24 pm


290. Tara said:

Exclusive: Iran helps Syria ship oil to China: sources
By Jessica Donati | Reuters – 2 hrs 28 mins ago

LONDON (Reuters) – Iran is helping its ally Syria defy Western sanctions by providing a vessel to ship Syrian oil to a state-run company in China, potentially giving the government of President Bashar al-Assad a financial boost worth an estimated $80 million.


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March 30th, 2012, 9:24 pm


291. Tara said:

Turkey switches from Iranian to Libyan oil
ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News

Turkey is planning to begin importing oil from Libya instead of Iran as it seeks to comply with U.S. demands that countries reduce their dependence on the Islamic republic’s natural resources, according to Energy Minister Taner Yıldız.
The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) described Erdoğan’s visit to Tehran as a “fiasco,” noting that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad delayed his meeting with Erdoğan on the grounds he was sick, but met with a delegation from Turkmenistan the dame day. 

“Erdoğan has returned empty-handed,” the CHP’s Faruk Loğoğlu said.

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March 30th, 2012, 9:28 pm


292. zoo said:

#286 Mawal95

This is the full declaration that Ahmad Fawzi said. The part about ‘gesture of good faith’ and the request for the opposition to lat down the arms has been skipped by the media.

“The government must stop first and then discuss a cessation of hostilities with the other side,” said Annan spokesman Ahmad Fawzi.

“We are appealing to the stronger party to make a gesture of good faith. … The deadline is now.”

Annan is dispatching a deputy, Nasser El-Kidwa, to meet with government opponents within the next several days and demand that they “lay down their arms and start talking,” Fawzi said.

Annan also is arranging visits to “key countries in the region” such as Iran and Saudi Arabia, but no dates have been fixed yet, Fawzi said. The aim of Annan’s visit is “to stress that this is the only plan in town” for resolving the crisis, the spokesman said.

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March 30th, 2012, 9:28 pm


293. bronco said:

Tara #293

Poor Erdogan, I worry for his health after all the successive drawbacks he is encountering.
The failure of the FOS to recognize his creation, the SNC, would be a final blow to his efforts to unseat Bashar.

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March 30th, 2012, 9:35 pm


294. jad said:

Great step by Iran!

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March 30th, 2012, 9:36 pm


295. majedkhaldoun said:

Sami moubayed wrote that unemployment in Syria reached 39%,young men are unemployed ,peeyless and angry, retired people are angry too,

the office of Annan said that Bashar is not complying with what he agreed to, Bashar thinks that he can deal with UN just like he dealt with AL.

Obama,will impose penalty for those who buy oil from Iran and Syria, tightening sanction.

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March 30th, 2012, 9:41 pm


296. Tara said:


You are worried for Erdogan’s health?

I too worry too much… for my loved ones’s health.

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March 30th, 2012, 9:50 pm


297. zoo said:

Delhi summit: BRICS says dialogue only answer for Syria, Iran
IANS | Mar 29, 2012, 03.54PM IST
We agreed that a lasting solution in Syria and Iran can only be found through dialogue,” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in a closing statement at the fourth BRICS summit of Brazil, Russia,
India, China and South Africa here.

The Delhi Declaration issued at the end of the summit reflected the shared perception of the BRICS countries, which account for 40 percent of global GDP and nearly half the world’s population, on these burning global issues that pit them against the Western approach of using sanctions and speculation about the use of force to resolve complex global issue
The declaration supported “a Syrian-led inclusive political process”, an explanation India had used to justify its vote on the UN’s Syria resolution, and welcomed the joint efforts of the UN and the Arab League.

The BRICS leaders also welcomed the appointment of Kofi Annan, a former UN secretary general, as the joint special envoy on the Syrian crisis and supported him in his efforts play a role in spurring a political resolution of the crisis.

Russian president Dmitry Medvedev warned against external interference, saying that it has the potential to destroy the dialogue process. Medvedev added that he has proposed a collective humanitarian aid by the BRICS countries to the Syrian people.

The BRICS’ stand on Syria and Iran will be viewed with unease by the West which has tended to see the five-nation grouping as an attempt at an alternate world order.

In this respect, the fourth BRICS summit in Delhi marked the evolution of a group focused on global economic governance issues to one which is trying to achieve greater political coherence.

This was reflected in the BRICS’ formulation on the festering crisis in the Middle East and North Africa.

“We agree that the period of transformation taking place in the Middle East and North Africa should not be used as a pretext to delay resolution of lasting conflicts but rather it should serve as an incentive to settle them, in particular the Arab-Israeli conflict,” said the declaration.

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March 30th, 2012, 10:11 pm


298. Tara said:

Egypt Islamist registers for election amid fanfare
CAIRO, (AFP) — Egyptian Islamist sheikh Hazem Abu Ismail kicked off his candidacy for the presidency on Friday with a large motorcade that headed to the electoral committee headquarters in Cairo.

Witnesses said dozens of vehicles packed with the ultra-conservative’s supporters left a mosque with the statutory 30,000 endorsements from citizens required to register as a candidate.
Outside the mosque, they chanted “Look Obama, Sheikh Hazem is a knowledgeable cleric,” referring to US President Barack Obama.

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March 30th, 2012, 10:19 pm


299. bronco said:

Tara #298

If it is not HBJ you worry about, I hope everybody you love is in a good health.

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March 30th, 2012, 10:20 pm


300. zoo said:

Tara #300

Are you are skipping my posts?

289. zoo

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March 30th, 2012, 10:22 pm


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