Friends of Syria Meeting in Tunis Accused of “inactivity”

The Friends of Syria meeting in Tunis is a “challenge” to Assad, not an “ultimatum”, US officials are saying. This means that it will be another exercise in raising the rhetorical bar of condemnation against Syria but will probably not do much damage to the regime or rescue the Syrian opposition in Homs. The Saudi delegation has pulled out of the conference, accusing it of “inactivity.”

Representatives from more than 60 Western and Arab countries are meeting in Tunis, Tunisia today to call for the Syrian government to implement an immediate ceasefire and to allow humanitarian assistance for civilians and people wounded in violence. The group is not expected to discuss military options. They will increase sanctions. Former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan has been appointed as a special envoy by the United Nations and the Arab League to represent them in finding a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis.

“One of the things you are going to see coming out of the meeting tomorrow are concrete proposals on how we, the international community, plan to support humanitarian organizations … within days, meaning that the challenge is on the Syrian regime to respond to this,” said a senior U.S. official.

Asked if the group’s call would amount to an ultimatum, a second U.S. official told reporters: “It is a challenge.”

The Syrian opposition council announced it would ask the “Friends of Syria” to prioritize the creation of humanitarian corridors….

News Round Up


….At a news conference on Thursday, Mrs. Clinton moved the United States a step closer to recognizing the Syrian National Council though a formal recognition is not expected in Tunis. She also said later, discussing growing pressure on Mr. Assad: “There will be increasingly capable opposition forces. They will — from somewhere, somehow — find the means to defend themselves as well as begin offensive measures. And the pressure will build on countries like Russia and China because world opinion is not going to stand idly by.”

On Friday, Mr. Hague, the British official, urged Moscow and Beijing to revise their pro-Assad policies. “I think the Chinese government is constantly assessing the position and so I hope they will change their position,” he told reporters.

Foreign Policy

Syrian state TV referred to the conference as a meeting of “symbols of colonialism” and said the countries attending were “historic enemies of the Arabs.” Neither Russia nor China, who vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution based on an Arab League plan aimed to end the Syrian violence, attended the conference. The “Friends of Syria” seem to be favoring the opposition Syrian National Council, but are not giving the group exclusive recognition. The other main opposition group, the National Coordination Committee, is boycotting the conference. They lay out their reasons for the boycott, here.

‘Q&A: Nir Rosen’s predictions for Syria’ (Nir Rosen, Al Jazeera English)

“If the struggle drags on, the local civilian “political” leadership of the revolution will lose influence, and the more moderate Sufi sheikhs who exercise an influence over armed groups will also lose control. The insurgency and its supporters will become increasingly radicalised. They will condemn those leaders who looked to the outside world for support, and those who called for restraint. Those voices who say Islam is the only solution will become loudest; those voices calling for a declaration of jihad will be raised, and they will, in my opinion, target Sunni rivals as well as Alawites and other minorities. This scenario is also possible if the regime kills or captures enough senior leaders of the revolution. On the other hand, even if Assad and his family wanted to leave power – or even leave Syria – how would they explain this sudden about face to their supporters? The regime’s fans, especially its base among the Alawites, may also be radicalised, embracing maximalist violence out of fear. And what happens to the cronies who benefit from the system as it is, and to the security forces who have nowhere to go? Do they just go home — or do they fight to the death out of fear of extermination, and then hang on as some kind of insurgency against any new regime installed with the help of the West, Turkey and the Arab League?…

The insurgency will gradually carve out autonomous zones, from Idlib to Hama to Homs and approaching the suburbs of Damascus. Foreign intelligence agencies will eventually provide covert assistance to the insurgency. But Iranian – and possibly Russian – advisers will likely provide advice to the regime in counter-insurgency. So parts of the country will fall into opposition hands, and parts will remain in the hands of the regime. Alawites in Homs may flee to the villages they originally came from. Christians will flee to their former villages or to Damascus. Both of these trends have already started. Sunni remaining in Latakia will be vulnerable, and in the event of Alawites returning to Latakia’s mountain villages, fleeing from other parts of the country, the region’s Sunni may also be forcibly displaced….

Syria is crumbling before our eyes, and a thoroughly modern nation is likely to be set back many decades.

Human rights in Syria – Commission of Inquiry report published

….20. The activity of the Free Syria Army (FSA) groups resulted in the temporary withdrawal of State forces from cities or areas in the Rif Dimashq, Idlib and Homs governorates. Since December 2011, the army has attacked these areas with heavy weapons, leading to massive casualties and the destruction of homes and infrastructure (see paragraphs 38-46 below).

21. The Government stated that other armed non-State actors not affiliated to the FSA are operating in the country, including Al-Qaida and other religious extremists. In its report, the League of Arab States also makes a distinction between the FSA and “other opposition armed groups”. Numerous sources report the presence of extremist groups in the country. The commission was unable to verify information on the membership, background and operations of such groups.

22. On 23 December 2011, 50 people were reportedly killed in two bombings next to the offices of security agencies in Damascus, which the Government attributed to Al-Qaida. No one, including Al-Qaida, claimed responsibility. In its report, the League of Arab States mentioned that its observers in Homs, Hama and Idlib reported the bombing of a civilian bus (with eight casualties), a police bus (two casualties), a train loaded with diesel fuel, an oil pipeline and small bridges. In other cases, League observers found that alleged bombings were falsely reported. On 10 February 2012, 28 people were reportedly killed and 235 injured in two large explosions at Military Intelligence and police buildings in Aleppo. The Government and other sources attributed these explosions to terrorists. On 14 February, a major pipeline near Homs exploded. The Government blamed “terrorist saboteurs”, while opposition activists attributed the act to State forces shelling in the area.

23. According to all accounts, casualties rose steeply as the violence intensified; thousands of lives have been lost.

24. On 27 December 2011, the Government informed the commission that, according to hospital and police reports, at least 2,131 civilians had been killed in the period from 15 March to 19 December 2011. The Government added that a total of 913 soldiers and 215 police officers (1,128 people in total) were killed during the same period.9 According to the Government, from 23 December 2011 to 10 February 2012, a further 651 members of the army and security forces were killed and 2,292 injured.10 In addition, 519 unidentified bodies were found. On 15 February 2012, the Government provided additional figures, according to which 2,493 civilians and 1,345 soldiers and police officers had been killed in the Syrian Arab Republic in the period from 15 March 2011 to 18 January 2012.

25. The Violations Documenting Centre, affiliated to the local coordination committees, counted 6,399 civilians and 1,680 army defectors killed in the period from 15 March 2011 to 15 February 2012.11 The victims included 244 adult women, 115 girls and 425 boys…..

After a year, deep divisions hobble Syria’s opposition
by Neil MacFarquhar, New York Times, February 24, 2012

“Nearly a year after the uprising began, the opposition remains a fractious collection of political groups, longtime exiles, grass-roots organizers and armed militants, all deeply divided along ideological, ethnic or sectarian lines, and too disjointed to agree on even the rudiments of a strategy to topple President Bashar al-Assad’s government…..

“This is a manufactured problem,” said Burhan Ghalioun, the council president, in a brief interview outside an executive committee meeting last week. “Some independent people don’t want to join the S.N.C., but there is no strong opposition power outside the national council.” …..

Scores killed in wave of al-Qaeda bombings across Iraq – Wash Post (Asaad Alazawi, Ernesto Londoño)

BAGHDAD — A wave of bombings across Iraq killed dozens of people Thursday morning, security officials said, in a grim indication of the strength of the insurgency two months after the U.S. military completed its withdrawal….

Syrian opposition will ‘somehow’ carry out offensive operations against Assad, Clinton says

LONDON — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Thursday that Syrian opposition forces will become “increasingly capable” of carrying out offensive operations against the government of President Bashar al-Assad….

The Syria Report’s Evelyn Aissa provides a roundup of international reportage and commentary on Syria with close to 100 links! (free access)
UN Accuses Syria of Crimes Against Humanity as Foreign Leaders Prepare for ‘Friends of Syria’ Meeting in Tunisia – Syria Report

Today, a report released by the United Nations and submitted to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, accuses the Syrian government of committing “gross human rights violations” tantamount to “crimes against humanity”. The report, derived from 360 interviews with individuals inside Syria, also charges that security crackdowns constituted state policy from coming from “the highest levels of the armed forces and the government”. The same report, however, also charges the Free Syrian Army, an armed element of the opposition, of committing serious abuses. To that end, as violence continues to deepen across the country, Syrian officials continue to adamantly charge that they are fighting against armed terrorist groups – an allegation now partially echoed in some parts of Washington, as a number of senior American officials claim that the terrorist group Al-Qaeda is behind some of the country’s violence. The same US officials did not publicly put forth related evidence. …

‘How to halt the butchery in Syria’ (Anne-Marie Slaughter, New York Times)

“The key condition for all such assistance, inside or outside Syria, is that it be used defensively — only to stop attacks by the Syrian military or to clear out government forces that dare to attack the no-kill zones. Although keeping intervention limited is always hard, international assistance could be curtailed if the Free Syrian Army took the offensive. The absolute priority within no-kill zones would be public safety and humanitarian aid; revenge attacks would not be tolerated.”

The U.S. and other ‘Friends of Syria’ still search for a strategy to oust Assad
Posted: 22 Feb 2012

Tony Karon writes: “It is time we gave them the wherewithal to fight back and stop the slaughter,” said Senator John McCain on Monday, referring to Syria’s opposition amid the carnage being wrought by the Assad regime’s efforts to quash a year-old rebellion. But McCain’s call is unlikely to be heeded by the Obama Administration or other Western governments as they prepare for Friday’s inaugural meeting in Tunis of a “Friends of Syria” forum established to coordinate an international response to the crisis. That’s because Western decision-makers are not quite sure just who the Syrian opposition would be — there is no single leadership that speaks on behalf of those fighting the regime on the ground in cities across Syria, and there are certainly signs that its ranks may include elements deemed hostile to the West. And also, because it’s far from clear just how arming rebel forces would, in fact, “stop the slaughter” and not intensify it.

The problem confronting international stakeholders as they grapple for a response to the slow-moving bloodbath is that there at least three different narratives playing out at the same time in Syria, each of them complicating the others. There’s the narrative of the brutal authoritarian regime confronted by a popular citizens’ rebellion that it has been unable to crush despite a year of slowly escalating repression — a crackdown that has wrecked the country’s economy and made it impossible for the regime to restore stability, much less regain its legitimacy. (Nobody’s expecting the constitutional referendum to be staged by the regime on Sunday to yield a credible popular mandate for Assad’s rule.)

Then there’s the narrative of sectarian warfare, in which Syria’s ethnic and confessional minorities — the ruling Alawites who dominate the regime and its security forces, but also the Christians, the Kurds, the Druze and smaller sects — shudder in the face of a predominantly Sunni rebellion in which they see a specter of sectarian retribution that prompts many of them to remain on the sidelines or support the regime for fear of the alternative.

And finally, there are the geopolitical stakes, as the Sunni monarchies of the Gulf see an opportunity to hobble their Iranian nemesis by helping their indigenous allies overthrow a Tehran-backed regime. Syria also becomes an arena for China and Russia to block the expansion of Western influence in the Middle East through toppling regimes. [Continue reading…]

New Opposition battalions take on overtly sectarian nature to combat Assad’s shabiha

The Yazid ibn Muawiyah Battalion announces its formation in Biyada, Homs. This video suggests the rise of anti-Shiite militias in Syria.

‘Yazīd ibn Mu‘āwiya ibn Abī Sufyān: يزيد بن معاوية بن أبي سفيان‎  commonly known as Yazid I, was the second Caliph of the Umayyad Caliphate based in Damascus. Many Muslims condemn Yazid’s rule as contentious and unjust because he was appointed by his father, Muawiyah, and because he killed the Imam, Husayn at Karbala in an effort to stamp out the gathering Shiite movement that looked to the house of the prophet for Caliphs as opposed to the emerging Umayyid dynasty that had moved the capital of the Empire to Damascus.

Salafist Muslims, mostly living in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Egypt, in sharp defiance to Shia Muslim belief, maintain that Yazid was a just, noble, religious and administratively efficient ruler.

Husayn ibn Ali, the son of the forth Caliph and grandson of the prophet Muhammad, along with many other sahaba among the Muslims, disapproved of Yazid’s appointment to the caliphate, declaring it a usurpation of power and against the spirit of Islam. They rode forth to contest his rule and were cut down at Karbala.

The dead are regarded as martyrs by Shi’ah Muslims, and the battle has a central place in Shi’ah history and tradition, and has frequently been recounted in Shi’ah Islamic literature.

Mock Homs at Your Own Risk
The epicenter of Syria’s revolt has long been the butt of jokes. But Homs may get the last laugh.

The negative stereotypes about Homsis returned in force during the 11th century, when the Mirdasid dynasty recaptured the city and converted it to Shia Islam. Homsis very soon became victims of the polemical debates between Sunni and Shia clerics. The famous Sunni cleric Ibn al-Jawzi recorded many ironic narratives about the strange habits of Homsi religious officials and the supposed stupidity of their followers.

According to one anecdote, three Homsi religious students were discussing a hadith – a saying of Prophet Muhammad — about the parts of the human body. “The nose is for smelling, the mouth is for eating, the tongue is for speaking,” they concluded. “But what is the ear for?” As the hadith did not give the answer, they decided to ask their sheikh. On their way to the sheikh’s house, however, they saw a tailor patching a cloth. The tailor was cutting pieces of yarn and hanging them on his ear. “God has sent us the answer,” the students concluded, and returned to the mosque.

Homs has long been a bastion of resistance — first as a Muslim stronghold in the efforts to repel European invaders during the Crusades, and then as a base for Mamluk commanders’ war against the Mongols. But such heroism did not rid Homsis of their age-old stigma. Rather, many linked Homsis’ victories to their alleged simple-mindedness…..[This is a lovely article… read it all]

The Ordeal of Syria. Hoover Institution, Stanford University

Now nearly a full year into a terrible struggle between a dictatorial regime and a rebellion determined to overthrow it, what can be done? What follows is a range of opinions and preferences. This is the first of what we envisage to be a periodic online symposium on the contemporary dilemmas of the Greater Middle East. We will draw on the membership of Hoover’s Working Group on Islamism and the International Order….

INSTABILITY IN SYRIA: Assessing the Risks of Military Intervention – CSIS

….A number of countries – including US NATO allies such as France and Turkey – increasingly entertain the prospect of creating a “humanitarian corridor” in Syria, potentially along the border with Turkey, to provide relief to both the Syrian population and dissident groups opposed to the Asad regime. These calls are echoed by Syrian opposition forces both in and outside Syria, including the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the Istanbul-based Syrian National Council (SNC).

These calls do not address the real world challenges of creating such a “humanitarian corridor”: joint and combined military operations to suppress Syria’s air defense network, the need to neutralize the country’s air force, eliminating Syria’s asymmetric deterrence by containing unconventional threats from long range missiles (potentially armed with chemical or biological agents) and instability along the Golan Heights. They also do not address the risk of eventually having to engage loyal Syrian ground forces (including large concentrations of Alawites) that see few prospects in a post-Asad Syria.

Some consider military intervention in Syria to be a potential next step in shifting the regional balance in favor of the US and its allies. There is little question that sustained military operations in Libya would have been impossible without American logistics, targeting, command and control and sheer military capacity. In the case of Syria, military intervention is similarly unlikely to succeed without US involvement. However, military intervention, in the Middle East, let alone near the epicenter of the Arab-Israeli conflict, always involves serious risks and the impact of the law of unintended consequences…..

Washington’s Syria policy is imaginary
February 23, 2012
By Michael Young, The Daily Star

The administration of President Barack Obama has often been ridiculed for what it describes as “leading from behind.” More often than not this has been an excuse for not leading at all, and nowhere has American vacillation been more on display than in Syria.

For instance, it is the United States that has lent credence to accusations by the Syrian regime that Al-Qaeda is assisting the Syrian opposition. Last week, the director of national intelligence, James Clapper, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he believed Al-Qaeda in Iraq had infiltrated Syrian opposition groups, and was behind bombings in Damascus and Aleppo. Clapper needn’t have made that statement publicly. Not surprisingly, the Syrian opposition read it as a sign of American hostility toward its aspirations

Politically as well, Washington has been all over the place. In an interview with France 24 just over a week ago, the U.S. ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, said that the Obama administration was looking for a “peaceful political solution” in Syria. “Even the Syrian people do not want a military solution to this crisis,” he said, before adding: “We believe [President Bashar] Assad should step down, but at the end of the day the Syrian people will make the decision, not the U.S.”

A few days later, Victoria Nuland, the State Department spokeswoman, sounded less affirmative. While also defending a political solution, she observed, “[I]f we can’t get Assad to yield to the pressure that we are all bringing to bear, we may have to consider additional measures.” To many people this suggested that the U.S. might possibly endorse arming Syria’s opposition if that became necessary. Evidently, the Obama administration – amid the carnage in Homs and elsewhere in Syria, and rising calls in the Arab world and even in the U.S. Congress for Assad’s opponents to be supplied with better weapons – feared that it would fall behind the policy curve.

There are no easy answers in Syria, but Washington’s trouble is that it has no strategy for the country. This is proving very damaging indeed, given that the Russians and Iranians do have one, and it can be summarized quite simply: Actively support the repression by the Syrian army and security services, bringing the opposition, or a portion of the opposition, to the negotiating table….

Nikolaos van Dam interview on Syria – “Any Western military intervention will be a disaster”….

…ومع ذلك فإن أي تدخل عسكري غربي سيكون كارثياً كما يرى الدبلوماسي الهولندي السابق ومؤلف الكتاب ذائع الصيت الصراع على السلطة في سوريا نيكولاس فان دام. كسفير هولندي سابق في عراق صدام حسين, يدرك فان دام جيداً مدى قسوة وسوء الديكتاتورية ولكنه يرى أن هناك ماهو أقسى وأسوأ من ذلك وهي الحرب الأهلية كالصراع الطائفي الذي عايشه وخَبِرَهُ في لبنان عندما بدأ عمله بالسلك الدبلوماسي هناك. عندما تتصادم الطوائف ضد بعضها البعض يصبح الجميع معرضين لخطر الموت وفي سوريا المنقسمة دينياً فإن حرباً طائفية تلوح في الأفق كما يرى فان دام. يهمين بعض أعضاء الطائفة العلوية على النظام في سوريا وهم فرقة من الشيعة يشكلون ما نسبته 12% من مجموع السكان بينما تَتَشَكل المعارضة من خليط من جميع الطوائف ولكن السنة والذين يشكلون أكثر من 60% من مجموع السكان يلعبون الدور الأهم داخل المعارضة. يخشى العلويون من العودة إلى فترة الخمسينات والستينات حيث كانوا مضطهدين ومهمشين بينما يتجه الإستياء والسَخط داخل السنة نحو الإنفجار وهذا ما يؤجج الصراع. لا يزال النظام متشبثاً بالسلطة, بدأت المعارضة بمظاهرات سلمية ولكنها مالبثت أن رفعت سقف مطالبها وبدأت ترد على النار بالنار. إذا ما أراد الغرب دعم المعارضة عن طريق تسليحها مثلا فإنه بذلك يكون كَمَن يصب الزيت على النار يخشى فان دام. قد تكون المعارضة أقوى عددياً ولكن النظام يملك وحدات النخبة المسلحة بالأسلحة الثقيلة

وهذا قد يؤدي الى سفك دماء قد يستمر لسنوات وهذا مانراه في العراق. ولذلك لايزال السفير السابق يدعو لحوار مع بشار الأسد. يجب إقناع النظام بالتخلي عن سلطاته ولكن فرصة حوار كهذا تتضائل يوماً بعد يوم يُقر فان دام ولكنه رغم ذلك لايرى بديلاً مباشراً ماعدا استمرار الصراع الدموي والذي سيُخلف نتيجة مغايرة تماماً لما هو مُنتَطر. مايجري في حمص يخلق شعوراً بأن على أحدهم أن يتدخل ولكن يجب عليك أن لا تفكر فقط بأنك تشعر بأنك مسؤول وأن الحالة سيئة وأن عَلَيكَ أن تَتَدخل ولكن عَليكَ أيضاً أن تفكر بما سينتُج عن مثل هكذا تدخل وهنا تكمن المُصيبة. إذا أدى التدخل العسكري إلى حرب أهلية على نطاق أوسع ستقول ” لقد قمنا بالخطوة الصحيحة أخلاقياً ولكن هناك مئات الأف من الضحايا الذين سقطوا نعم للأسف ولكن لم نكن نقصد ذلك   “…..

Comments (450)

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101. irritated said:

99. Tara

On an individual point of view, it is difficult to accept and revenge is the first reaction. Yet in a time of war, consideration must be given to the safety of the whole community and try to prevent other occurrences by deflating the tensions and remove the reasons of such behavior.
In war, you don’t negotiate with an friend but with a hated enemy, responsible of crimes.
Your view is not to negotiate, to let the violence escalate until one wins and one looses, whatever the death toll on the innocents becomes.
I don’t buy these heroic ideas of the middle age. In an obvious power stalemate, the survival of the community is the first priority, not the ego of some individuals.

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February 25th, 2012, 11:01 am


102. Ghufran said:

Describing the tragedy in Homs as a one sided assault on unarmed civilian population is dishonest. Even after 3 weeks of fighting,there are still armed militias in Bab Amr,those militias enjoy some,or a lot of,support among the people in that area and many areas in Homs,and most of those groups use regular houses to hide and launch their attacks.
Any negotiations that do not include representative of average people will not lead to any sustainable truce,when people want to make peace,they have to talk to other people they hate,it is a choice between fighting to death or peace. Civilized people try to make peace until the last breath,savage people take a different course,at the end of the day,we need to remember that Assad is not Syria,and that other Syrians who are different from us politically or culturally are still Syrian and are more interested in living than dying.

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February 25th, 2012, 11:04 am


103. bronco said:

@100. majedkhaldoun

During Lebanese civil war, hundred thousands Lebanese moved out of the city center and dangerous areas of the city that were heavily shelled. Many never went back to their homes and stayed in other places. That’s one of the consequences of a civil war, people prefer to relocate where they feel safe.
When you are attacked, you look for safety first. If safety means leaving your home, you’ll do it.
The crime would be not to allow the people to leave and suffer the shelling.
I read that 2/3 of the area of Bab Amr is already emptied of civilians who moved to other locations. I don’t know where you got the 50,000 figure.
It’s time the UN moves the civilians out for safety.

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February 25th, 2012, 11:12 am


104. zoo said:

“Up to 20% of Syrians actively support al-Assad, approximately 40% are against any change, believing that the current regime is better than the alternatives, about 10% are radically opposed to the government, and about 30% are in favor of some form of change. This is a classic split”

Why Does Russia’s Stance on Syria Baffle Everyone?
23 february 2012
Fyodor Lukyanov is editor in chief of the journal Russia in Global Affairs.

The situation in Syria was discussed at the third meeting of the Middle East Section of the Valdai International Discussion Club entitled Transformation in the Arab World and Interests of Russia. It was held in Sochi on the Black Sea coast at the end of last week. Given the impressive list of experts from the region and around the world who attended the meeting in Sochi, it can be viewed as a good illustration of the general attitude to the Syrian issue.
It is worth noting that, unlike the Arab countries, the West has changed its position slightly, something which the debates in Sochi confirmed. The general opinion is that the events cannot be reversed, but they have clearly taken a wrong turn and it would be dangerous to become actively involved in them.

It is becoming clear that the potential consequences of the overthrow of al-Assad are dramatic. Given the vague composition and unclear intentions of the opposition, obvious interference from outside, and the interests of the Sunni monarchies from all directions, the outcome could spell disaster for the Alawi, Christian, Kurdish and possibly Coptic minorities. The possibility of a bloody internecine conflict is frighteningly real.

The Russian experts in Sochi said that the current mood in Syria is creating the ideal conditions for a large-scale and lengthy civil war. Up to 20% of Syrians actively support al-Assad, approximately 40% are against any change, believing that the current regime is better than the alternatives, about 10% are radically opposed to the government, and about 30% are in favor of some form of change. This is a classic split

No one wants to see a repeat of Libya in Syria, or of the war in Iraq, which went against a decision by the UN Security Council. Any decision on Syria will require the support and shared responsibility of Moscow to make it legitimate.

One suggestion is for Russia to guarantee the interests and security of the minorities in Syria, Lebanon and Egypt, who fear reprisals by the Sunni majority if Assad’s government (a privileged minority) were to fall. This would be a way for Moscow to take a morally correct and a politically promising stance.

Summing up the impressions of the discussions in Sochi, the conclusion seems to be that despite the sharp criticism, Moscow acted correctly in refusing to vote for the Syrian resolution. Its decision has raised the stakes, as now acting without Russia would be risky and ignoring its opinion impossible, despite the scathing criticism of its stance.

However, it now needs to readjust its position, because refusing to do anything will achieve nothing apart from escalating the civil war. All participants in the Sochi meeting said that Russia could play a key role in persuading Damascus to accept a transitional compromise.

However, the extent of Moscow’s influence on al-Assad should not be overestimated, particularly as the competence of the Syrian leadership is in question. But even the Arab representatives, who have reacted very negatively to Russia’s policy, admit that the room for maneuver has decreased dramatically since the collapse of the Soviet Union disturbed the balance of power in the Middle East.

If Russia acted as the balancing force, its prestige would soar. However, this would entail not only a firm stance but also flexibility, a creative attitude and political will, which Russia does not seem to have yet.

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February 25th, 2012, 11:24 am


105. zoo said:

Putin to Win Presidential Vote in First Round ( march 4), Polls Show

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Read more:

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February 25th, 2012, 11:31 am


106. Leo Syriacus said:

Help me understand your logic here:
You want the inhabitants of Homs to flee their city so the regime destroys it and who is left in it at will? You are calling for people to move to safer areas.
So with the same logic once the regime falls like all other dictatorship and minoritarian regimes ( double whammy here!) where will all the Basharophiles move? They will be slaughtered or be driven outside the country!! Aroor would not have dreamt of that!!
The solution is for the regime to stop the bombardment, withdraw the army, the armed groups put their weapons down, Bashar resigns,and all political Syrian powers to work on a transitory period where all Syrians are protected
Enough bloodshed!
And the families of seven thousand martyrs will insist on his resignation

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February 25th, 2012, 11:32 am


107. majedkhaldoun said:

You seem to be supporting civilian to leave and you are not against it, remember it is not only Baba Amr there are other places in Homs the people there are against the regime, there is bab sba3,Hamidieh Khaldeyyeh Qussour Karm alzeitoun.
Do I understand that you support such policy?remember things can turn around one day and you will be asking Basharon christians to leave too and the Alawis to leave, this policy is criminal ,

The FSA do not have missiles and artillary, they are not attacking the assad troops,they are defending the civilians,so your point is mute.

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February 25th, 2012, 11:33 am


108. zoo said:

Fewer Feel Safe in Several Arab Spring Countries
Egyptians feel least safe
by H.A. Hellyer

Do you feel safe walking alone?

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February 25th, 2012, 11:34 am


109. Ghufran said:

I did not believe the story of Captain Wasel from Air Force until I saw this video:
The guy was kidnapped,handcuffed ,and forced to read a statement from a Toshiba laptop declaring his “defection”. The producer of this video “forgot” to release Wasel’s hands 🙂

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February 25th, 2012, 11:39 am


110. bronco said:

#107 Majedalkhadoon

Yes, I strongly support that civilians temporary leave preferably than to die as violence is not stopping. I know it is easier said that done, as there are snipers, soldiers everywhere in the area, this is why I think the UN should find a way to save these civilians from their ordeal as I guess they all prefer to leave but cannot find a way.
As for the eventual movement of christians, alawites and other minorities regrouping in other areas where they feel safe, as I told you this is the logical consequences of the civil war and the distrust. It happened like that in Lebanon, Christians living in majoritarian Moslem areas, moved out in majoritarian Christian areas. The distrust seed is there and it can’t be cured. It is unavoidable that communities will attempt to regroup geographically, that it will happen in Syria too.

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February 25th, 2012, 11:49 am


111. Ghufran said:

“The FSA do not have missiles and artillary, they are not attacking the assad troops”
I do not know what weapons the militias have but the second part of the statement is not true. What is more dangerous than the FSA attacking the Syrian army is the presence of numerous militias in Syria,some of them use the name FSA for cover. Supporting armed resistance against the regime has weakened the opposition and will only increase the death toll and drive Syria off the cliff.

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February 25th, 2012, 11:50 am


112. Mina said:

No one should laugh at the exactions of the terrorists and their cousins in the mukhabarat, but if you haven’t see it, watch “We Are Four Lions”, a British fiction film of 2010 on young al-Qaeda sympathizers which is probably close to the truth.

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February 25th, 2012, 11:56 am


113. Tara said:


When Christian marries a Muslim, where do they move?

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February 25th, 2012, 11:57 am


114. bronco said:

#106 Leo

“The solution is for the regime to stop the bombardment, withdraw the army, the armed groups put their weapons down, Bashar resigns,and all political Syrian powers to work on a transitory period where all Syrians are protected”

After 10 months, more than 70 countries in Tunis could not find a way to reach the solution that you describe, so what is to be done? Watch the civilians shelled and killed and not attempt to rescue them.
If you had some of your family in Bab Amr now, do you think you’ll be telling them to wait and get killed until Hillary Clinton forces Bashar to resigns? You’ll them to get out as soon as possible.

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February 25th, 2012, 12:02 pm


115. bronco said:

#113 Tara

First they have to marry in Cyprus as no Arab countries allow civil marriage…

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February 25th, 2012, 12:07 pm


116. Equus said:

The so-called “activists” in Syria are wondering why the world is turning their collective backs on them. The simple answer to that question is that in spite of the propaganda being fed to them via the complicit corporate media and the fake dissident organizations like Democracy NOW!, Saloon, and Media Matters, the rest of the world has come to understand that the “activists” in Syria, like the “activists” in Libya, are greedy, self absorbed foreign mercenaries hired by NATO countries to destabilize Syria with violence and terrorist tactics targeting civilians and government employees alike.

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February 25th, 2012, 12:09 pm


117. irritated said:

66. jad said:

“Funny report about the “enemy of syria” conference Beat version since there will be Beta2 in the Ottomans’ Topkapi and Beta3 on top of Tour Eiffel!”

Jad, I think this was the first and the last “Friends of Syria’ meeting. It was such a disaster and photo-op waste of time that I doubt many of the 70 countries will come to the next one in Topkapi.

By the way, I think that HBJ looks like Big Bird, except that he wears white instead of yellow. A nice photo of him with Hillary Clinton when he did’nt look like Miss Piggy yet.

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February 25th, 2012, 12:18 pm


118. Tara said:


Then we need a marriage revolution. …I guess i will die from old age before fulfilling my revolutionary ambitions.

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February 25th, 2012, 12:26 pm


119. bronco said:

#118 tara

“Then we need a marriage revolution. …”

I agree with you … yes, it happens sometimes.

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February 25th, 2012, 12:34 pm


120. Revlon said:

109. Ghufran:
((I did not believe the story of Captain Wasel from Air Force until I saw this video:
The guy was kidnapped,handcuffed ,and forced to read a statement from a Toshiba laptop declaring his “defection”. The producer of this video “forgot” to release Wasel’s hands))

So you did not believe the story, but you were easily convinced that the defector was handcuffed??
Did you really see hand cuffs?
Play the video again!!
Some peple position their hands like that when the speak from behind a table or podium!
Try it your self!
No verifiable hand cuffs can be seen.

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February 25th, 2012, 12:52 pm


121. Tara said:

75 killed in Syria today.

Aleppo is waking up from a long hibernation.

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February 25th, 2012, 1:03 pm


123. Tara said:

Waleed Jounblat wants the Syrian revolution to be militarized and supports arming the FSA. Lebanese Druze are with the revolution.

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February 25th, 2012, 1:17 pm


124. Alan said:

مجرد لفت لفت انتباه
الجزر السعوديه المحتلة من قِبل إسرائيل
الغالبية العظمى من الشعب السعودي ومن الامة العربيه والاسلامية لا يعرف أن هناك جزراً و ممرات بحرية سعودية محتلة من قبل اسرائيل منذ 1967
وحتى يومنا هذا، هاتان الجزيرتان هما صنافير و تيران
جزيرة تيران مساحتها: 80 كم مربع
جزيرة صنافير مساحتها: 33 كم مربع
هاتان الجزيرتان تقيم بهما اسرائيل في الوقت الحالي محطة كبيرة للانذار المبكر .. اما عن المياه الاقليمية في هذه المنطقة فحدث و لا حرج
الجزيرة الكبرى هي تيران والصغرى هي صنافير ولو وضعت أي دولة فيها معدات عسكرية لإستطاعت ان تشل حركة السفن الاسرائيلية عبر ميناء ايلات وخليج العقبة تماما
لأن أهميتهما كبيرةً جداً بسبب الموقع الاستراتيجي الحساس حيث يقعان في بوابة مضيق تيران وبهذا فموقعهم يُسيطر على بوابة خليج العقبة وإيلات الإسرائيلية وهما يُعادلان في الأهمية بالنسبة للموقع كجزر حنيش التي استرجعتها اليمن من أرتيريا عبر التحكيم الدولي
احتلتها اسرائيل عام 1967 لأهميتها الاستراتيجية
كان الملك فيصل ، قد قام بتأجيرهاتين الجزيرتين لمصر خلال فترة حربها مع اسرائيل ، نظراً لأهميتهما الإستراتيجية و الجغرافية و لقطع مرور السفن الى ميناء إيلات الإسرائيلي ، وبعد نكسة 67 و احتلال اسرائيل لأجزاء كبيرة من عدة دول عربية و من ضمنها هاتين الجزيرتين، صارت السعودية ومصر كل واحدة ترمي مسؤولية الجزر على الثانية وقال السادات عنهما
” لا ياعم الجزر مش بتاعتنا دول تبع أرض الحجاز” ورفض ضمها في اتفاقية كامب ديفد ، والحقيقة أنها فعلا اراضي سعودية %100
و الناظر الى خريطة المملكة العربية السعودية المعلقة في الدوائر الحكومية في السعودية، و كتب الجغرافيا السعودية يجد أن هاتين الجزيرتين تابعتين للسعودية
جزيرة تتبع في تقسيمها الى امارة منطقة تبوك في المملكة العربية السعودية ، ومسجلة رسمياً لدى الامم المتحدة بأنها تابعة للملكة العربية السعودية، طبعاً تم تعتيم الموضوع إعلامياً ، حيث أن إسرائيل تحتاج و بشدة الى الممر البحري لمرور السفن و المار بجانب هاتين الجزيرتين وصولاً الى ميناء إيلات الإسرائيلي

ودية دون أن يجرؤ أحد على قول كلمة واحدة


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February 25th, 2012, 1:45 pm


125. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

1500 reactionary Arabs demonstrated this evening in Haifa, in support of B. Assad, and against the “conspiracy” that is being waged on Syria.
I have no link. I heard it on the Israeli radio. Sorry. You’ll have to trust me on this.

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February 25th, 2012, 1:48 pm


126. jad said:

How I knew! Let’s bring the Druz subject to the discussion.

Russia raising the stinking credibility of Rami Adb Alrahman AGAIN:

موسكو تشكك في مصداقية المرصد السوري لحقوق الانسان
علق الكسندر لوكاشيفيتش، الناطق الرسمي باسم الخارجية الروسية يوم 25 فبراير/شباط، على نشاط المرصز السوري لحقوق الانسان الذي يقع مقره في لندن، مشيرا الى عدد العاملين فيه ومدى صحة المعلومات التي ينشرها.

وقال لوكاشيفيتش: “لقد انتبهنا الى ان عددا من وكالات الانباء الاجنبية وخاصة الغربية تستند في اخبارها وتقاريرها على المعلومات التي تحصل عليها مما يسمى بـ”المرصد السوري لحقوق الانسان” الذي يتخذ من لندن مقرا له.
واضاف “المعلومات المتوفرة لدينا تشير إلى أن شخصين فقط يعملان في هذا المرصد (مدير وسكرتير)، وأن مديره يدعى رامي عبد الرحمن وهو لا يحمل شهادة صحفية او حقوقية، بل وحتى لم يكمل الدراسة الثانوية. وكان هذا الشخص قد صرح في نوفمر/تشرين الثاني من السنة الماضية، بأنه يقيم بصورة دائمة في لندن، ويحمل الجنسية البريطانية وهو رجل اعمال ويملك مقصفا”.
واشار لوكاشيفيتش الى أن “تهرب ممثلي المرصد من لقاء دبلوماسيينا، هو خير شاهد على ذلك”. وقال: “اعتقد أن الحقائق المذكورة تسمح بالحكم على مدى صحة المعلومات التي ينشرها هذا المرصد

It’s Russia turn now, a Puttin support demonstration reported as an ANTI Putin demonstration in the Westerns’ and Khalijis’ media
موسكو تشهد مظاهرة مؤيدة لفلاديمير بوتين

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February 25th, 2012, 1:51 pm


127. jad said:

LOLOL…the Russian is telling the Tunisian president to ‘Shut it’

الكرملين ينصح الرئيس التونسي بعدم التحدث نيابة عن روسيا حول احتمال لجوء الرئيس الاسد

نصح الكرملين، الرئيس التونسي المنصف المرزوقي، الذي اقترح يوم الجمعة 24 فبراير/شباط، أن تكون روسيا ملجأ للرئيس السوري بشار الاسد، بأن يتحدث باسم بلده وأن يقترح حلولا تهدف الى تسوية سلمية للنزاع السوري.

وقال المرزوقي في مؤتمر “اصدقاء سورية” إن المطلوب “البحث عن حل سياسي وتمكين الرئيس السوري وعائلته وأركان حكمه من حصانة قضائية ومكان لجوء يمكن لروسيا أن توفره”.

وقال مصدر رفيع المستوى في الكرملين معلقا على هذا التصريح: “كان على الرئيس التونسي ان يقترح باسم بلاده، وليس دعوة دول اخرى الى أمر ما. ويجب أن تكون هذه المقترحات موجهة نحو التسوية السلمية للنزاع الداخلي في سورية”. واضاف: “خاصة وأن اكثر الدول العربية قد عاشت نتائج “تعزيز الديمقراطية”

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February 25th, 2012, 1:53 pm


128. jad said:

Not surprised that many Palestinians are still smart enough and have conscious to speak out against Tunis conference of ‘shame’!

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February 25th, 2012, 1:56 pm


129. Syrialover said:

#13. Tara

Thank you. Spoken from an honest and reasoning heart.

Sometimes reading some of the commentators here I wonder. If they are posting from outside Syria in a safe and civilized country with rule of law etc, how would they react if the government of that country sent the army to shoot civilians and rounded up people for torture and disappearances? They would be shocked and very uneasy, thinking of moving elsewhere.

But I guess if they are posting in a systematic campaign (the Assadist version of the Israeli Lobby), they have chosen this as a way of maintaining their own personal interests and beliefs at all costs, regardless of rationality and humanity.

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February 25th, 2012, 1:58 pm


130. jad said:

ديبلوماسي خليجي : أخطأ سمو الأمير فيصل في مواقفه من تسليح المعارضة السورية !

عربي برس – بيروت .

تخوف ديبلوماسي خليجي مخضرم من تبعات الموقف الذي أطلقه وزير الخارجية السعودي الأمير سعود الفيصل من تونس والذي قال فيه ” إن تسليح المعارضة فكرة ممتازة وعلى الأسد التنحي كرها أو طوعا ”
وكشف الرجل أن إتفاقا سعوديا إيرانيا كان يضبط حدود الصراع بين محوري الإعتدال والممانعة وخاصة في سورية وفي البحرين وهو ما إنعكس إيجابا على الإستقرار في لبنان وضبط ردود الأفعال التي كان يمكن أن تتحرك من قبل حلفاء النظام السوري في بلاد الأرز واليونيفيل وسوليدير والتوظيفات المالية والسياسية السعودية الهائلة.
وأضاف الرجل : حين قرر السوريون رفع يدهم عن مسؤولية الأمن في بيروت بعد خروجهم منها إثر الإجتياح الإسرائيلي ، إستطاعت مجموعات متفرقة وضعيفة من حزب الله طرد الأميركيين والغربيين والسعوديين من بيروت الغربية ، فما الذي يمكن أن يحصل لنفوذ السعوديين والأميركيين في لبنان أو في العراق أو اليمن إذا ما قررت إيران وقف العمل بشروط الإنفاق – الهدنة مع السعودية ؟
وأبدى الديبلوماسي الذي يزور العاصمة اللبنانية بيروت خلال حديثه مع عربي برس أبدى خشيته على المصالح السعودية خاصة والخليجية عامة في لبنان بعد ذهاب الموقف السعودي في معاداته لنظام الرئيس بشار الأسد إلى حدوده الأبعد ، وتسائل المصدر عما سيفعله السعوديون لو نجح الرسميون السوريون في دفع الملايين من شعبهم إلى المشاركة بكثافة في الإستفتاء على الدستور وبنسب ذات مصداقية تزيد عن الخمسين بالمئة مثلا ؟

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February 25th, 2012, 2:08 pm


131. irritated said:

123. Tara

Jumblatt is overdue to pass his crown to his son as planned. His head has been whirling too quickly in the last few months.
Syrian druzes are much more independant that the Lebanese ones eternally tied up to the Jumblatt family for almost a century.

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February 25th, 2012, 2:09 pm


132. Amir in Tel Aviv said:


It’s one thing to express worries about Syria and the Syrian people, and a totally different thing to declare support for the murderous butcher in the palace overlooking Damascus.

Recent opinion polls show zero support for Assad among the Arabs. Those Arabs from Haifa are almost in a state of extinct species.

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February 25th, 2012, 2:14 pm


133. Majed97 said:

Now that the highly hyped “friends of Syria” gathering failed miserably, KSA and Qatar’s next conference may have to be called “the best of best friends of Syria” in order to qualify Israel to attend. They are determined to control Syria, or destroy it trying. They’re acting like a jealous lover who’s strategy is: if I can’t have you, no body else will…

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February 25th, 2012, 2:15 pm


134. Alan said:

‘US readies for possibility of intervention without UN resolution, Asharq Al-Awsat reports, citing US military official; plan to include humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees on Turkey’s border
Roi Kais

The Pentagon is readying for the possibility of intervention in Syria, aiming to halt Syrian President Bashsar Assad’s violent crackdown on protesters, the newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat reported Saturday, citing a US military offical.

According to the official, the intervention scenario calls for the establishment of a buffer zone on the Turkish border, in order to receive Syrian refugees. The Red Cross would then provide the civilians humanitarian aid, before NATO crews would arrive from Turkey and join the efforts.’

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February 25th, 2012, 2:16 pm


135. jad said:

A strong stand by Haytham Manna about the ‘enemies of Syria’ conference, he refuse the western and Khalijis’ undemocratic regimes to dictate on Syrians what to do using their ‘salafiests’ on us:

قناة فرنسا24: الدكتور هيثم مناع
“حول قرارات مؤتمر أصدقاء سوريا في تونس”

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February 25th, 2012, 2:16 pm


136. zoo said:

How Israel Could Remove Assad Diplomatically and Bring Peace to Syria
[Bruce Riedel, Daily Beast]

How could Netanyahu topple Assad and weaken Hizbullah in one fell swoop—a far more strategic opportunity than a strike on Iran? Hand over the Golan Heights with one condition, says Bruce Riedel.

If Israel is willing to think outside the box, it can deal Bashar al-Assad, Iran, and Hizbullah a body blow without firing a shot. Defense Minister Ehud Barak simply needs to convince Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu to put back on the table the offer Barak made to Assad’s father in 2000—return of the Golan Heights to Syria in return for peace with Israel.
And it should include one more issue. In return for full peace and full withdrawal, a post-Assad government would need to cease all military and intelligence cooperation with Iran and Hizbullah. Cooperation with parties still at war with Israel would be inconsistent with a Syrian-Israeli peace agreement.

The Syrian opposition, of course, already hates the Shiite Iranian regime and its terrorist ally Hizbullah for backing the Assads for the past three decades. Since the start of the Syrian uprising a year ago, Iran and Hizbullah have done all they can to help Bashar, so this would not be a hard sell.

By putting its peace offer back on the table, Israel can play a constructive role in the Syrian crisis. It can say that not only can a post-Assad Syria move toward freedom after decades of dictatorship, it also can move toward peace. Syria has been at war since 1947—it is the cold war with Israel that two Assad presidents have used to justify their brutal regimes.

Of course, Bashar and his allies will denounce the Israeli move as evidence the opposition is really just a Zionist conspiracy. Many in the opposition or its extremist allies, like al Qaeda, will denounce it as well. But it will get support from those Syrians who want an end to decades of war and a restoration of their national sovereignty over the Golan. Syria can never restore its territorial integrity by war; only negotiations offer a chance to do that.

The entire international community will applaud Israel’s initiative. The United States can help rally support behind it. Israel will be seen as a peacemaker and a friend of change.

Israel has nothing to lose. It has already made this offer before. If Assad survives, Israel keeps the Golan. If he is replaced by chaos, then there will be no negotiations and no peace. If a new Syrian government arises ready to make peace, then Israel has helped to isolate Hizbullah and broken the Syrian-Iranian axis.

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February 25th, 2012, 2:16 pm


137. Syria no Kandahar said:

Even In sports Aljazera carries on the evil spirit:

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February 25th, 2012, 2:18 pm


138. irritated said:

#133 Majed97

“They’re acting like a jealous lover”

I would say they are spoiled kids who can’t accept a “NO” and walk out sulking and furious.

Big Bird HBJ was very quiet in this conference, or I missed something?

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February 25th, 2012, 2:22 pm


139. zoo said:

What is preventing the Red Cross again from accessing the wounded journalists? The regular army soldiers or the armed rebels and the uncontrollable snipers? Where is the French ambassador?

Red Cross frustrated in Syria evacuation effort
Associated Press – 19 mins ago

GENEVA (AP) — The Red Cross says it has failed to gain access to a besieged neighborhood in the Syrian city of Homs.

The humanitarian group and its Syrian chapter are seeking safe passage to evacuate wounded and sick civilians from Baba Amr after managing to bring out 27 people Friday.

But a spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva says negotiations Saturday “yielded no concrete results.”

Hicham Hassan told The Associated Press that talks with the Syrian government and opposition forces would continue Sunday.

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February 25th, 2012, 2:30 pm


140. jad said:

An opinion about Jumblat hysteria ‘strategy’ when he stuck:

ثلاثة أسباب لعودة جنبلاط إلى «ساعة التخلّي»
جان عزيز

ماذا تعني المؤشرات الأميركية والفرنسية والتركية حيال الوضع في سوريا؟
بداية ثمة إجماع لدى المعنيين والمراقبين على قراءة واحدة لكلام واشنطن حول اختراق تنظيم «القاعدة» للمعارضة السورية. والقراءة الموحدة هي البحث الأميركي عن باب للخروج من التزامات معينة في الملعب السوري، ولتنفيذ إعادة انتشار في هذا التوقيت الانتخابي بالذات، وتحت ستار دخاني مفهوم من قبل الناخب الأميركي، وإن كان مرفوضاً من قبل مشاريع الحلفاء في الخارج أو أصحاب أوهام الاتكال على واشنطن. وفي القاموس الأميركي للألفية الثالثة، «القاعدة» هي الكلمة السحرية المرادفة لأمر العمليات التالي: اهربوا، او ابتعدوا. ولذلك لم يصدر كلام «القاعدة» عن سياسيين أميركيين، بل عن الجهتين الأكثر صلاحية ومرجعية: الاستخبارات وهيئة الأركان المشتركة.
تبقى ملاحظة عابرة بالنسبة الى الموقف الأميركي في أبعاده اللبنانية: ما هو السر في أن تنفلت كل ألسن الفريق الحريري بالشتم والقذف حيال كلمة واحدة عن اختراق «القاعدة» للوضع السوري، إذا كان مصدرها بلدياً مثل فايز غصن مثلاً، في مقابل أن تنعقد تلك الألسن نفسها وتُبلع وتخرس، إذا كانت الكلمة نفسها مصدرها خارجي مثل ديمبسي أو غيره؟؟ سؤال يستحق أكثر من تمعن …
أما في الجهة الأوروبية من الأطلسي، فكان لافتاً تنصّل باريس من استضافة ما سمي «مؤتمر أصدقاء سوريا». إذ يتساءل المراقبون: لو أن نيكولا ساركوزي، الغارق في حملته الانتخابية الشرسة، واللاهث خلف أي ورقة أو عنوان أو كلمة تساهم في ردم الهوة الاستطلاعية بينه وبين منافسه الاشتراكي فرنسوا هولاند، لو أن ساركوزي نفسه لا يزال يعتقد بربحية الورقة السورية أما كان تهافت لعقد المؤتمر في دياره ورحابه؟؟ اما كان كرر سابقته الليبية، يوم جاء بمسلحي طرابلس الغرب، من عشائر و«قاعدة»، وجمعهم بخليط من صهاينة هنري ليفي ومستثمري الماس الأسود، وولَّف منهم «ثورة» نموذجية من رحم أرض الثورة الفرنسية بالذات؟؟ أليس إدراك الرئيس المرشح لمدى تثقيل الورقة السورية على أي حامل لها، وتراجع ربحيتها، هو ما جعل باريس ترمي ثوارها الجدد على الشاطئ التونسي، رغم الإغراءات القطرية الهائلة لتمويل الاستضافة وإكرام كل من له علاقة بها، من حاجب فندق حتى رئيس قصر؟؟
أما على الجانب الآسيوي من عواصم العناية بالوضع السوري، فيقال إن أحمد داوود أوغلو قال لوليد جنبلاط في آخر لقاء بينهما في أنقرة ما معناه: هذا أقصى ما يمكننا فعله من الخارج لإسقاط النظام في دمشق، الباقي على معارضي الداخل. لم يعد ثمة ما يمكننا تقديمه. ويقال إن هذا الكلام التركي هو ما رفع منسوب الهستريا في المواقف الجنبلاطية حيال الوضع السوري، من كلام عن حلول سيبيرية أو رومانية أو «صَدَّامية»، وصولاً الى نقل الوردة الحمراء من ضريح كمال جنبلاط في المختارة الى مزار ضحايا حمص في سوليدير. وهو ما شكل نقلة متوقعة ضمن الرقصة الجنبلاطية التقليدية، بين «ساعة التخلي» و«ساعة الندم»، على وقع عقارب «ساعة الحقيقة» الضائعة… اندفاعة جنبلاطية تذكّر بمواقفه في 14 آذار 2006، يوم سمع من الأميركيين أنهم تحولوا في سياستهم حيال دمشق من مقولة «تغيير النظام» الى مستوى الاكتفاء بهدف «تغيير سلوكه»، ففجر يومها خطابه الزوولوجي الشهير على قبر رفيق الحريري. وهو تكتيك جنبلاطي معروف، يقال أن الهدف منه افتعال التغيير بالقوة، عبر محاولة إلزام الخارج بمواقف معينة ومنعه من التراجع عنها وتوريطه أكثر في الدفاع عن زبائنه المحليين والانخراط لإنقاذهم، بعد أن يكون هؤلاء قد ذهبوا الى خرق كل السقوف والانزلاق نحو خانة الانتحار…

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February 25th, 2012, 2:37 pm


141. zoo said:

Can loud Moncef Marzouki of Tunisia dare say the same to his rich “friend” Saudi Arabia hosting Ben Ali?

Libyan leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil on Saturday threatened to review diplomatic relations with neighbouring states sheltering former regime figures and “wanted criminals.”

“But he warned “the Libyan people will not forgive any country that delays the act of handing over these criminals.”

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February 25th, 2012, 2:38 pm


142. zoo said:

The role of mosques in the political landscape of a Moslem country

Algeria Elections Ignite Battle Over Mosques
By: Mourad Traboulsi

Published Friday, February 24, 2012

Algiers – In the run to upcoming parliamentary elections, tensions are on the rise in Algeria between pro-regime imams and the ministry for religious affairs on one hand, and radical Islamists who support the banned Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) on the other.

The rival parties are at odds over the control of the country’s mosques. Security and press reports describe daily verbal confrontations that sometimes turn into brawls and knife attacks.

The protagonists are political groups that have taken the country back to what it was like 20 years ago. At that time, mosques became political battlegrounds and Islamists eventually took almost complete control of them.

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February 25th, 2012, 2:43 pm


143. Tara said:

Syria’s Assad commits nearly all his forces in race to crush uprising, experts say  

WASHINGTON — Syrian President Bashar Assad is now using most of his regular ground forces in an intensified drive to crush the uprising against his family’s four-decade-long rule in what could be a critical test of his minority-run military’s cohesion, according to U.S. officials and experts.

Assad and his inner circle are apparently betting that their ferocious artillery-backed onslaught on the city of Homs will deal a crippling blow to the insurgency, which will quickly be followed by seizures of other rebellious cities and towns. Refugees arriving in Lebanon say Assad’s forces already have retaken the town of Zabadani.

The regime, however, may be in a race against time: The longer the insurgents hold out, the greater the risk of the army becoming overstretched; the more civilians killed and maimed in the wanton pummeling of opposition strongholds, the greater the threat of the army fraying, plunging the country into all-out sectarian war, some experts warn.

“We’ve been building up to a critical test over the last few months and that test is in the form of whether or not the regime can make significant gains in terms of taking back critical terrain,” said Aram Nerguizian of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank based in Washington.
… .
Moreover, the regime’s assaults on Homs and other rebel strongholds have primarily involved the army’s elite 4th Division and the Republican Guard, both commanded by Assad’s brother, Maher, and armed Alawite criminal gangs controlled by other family members, Slim said.

The loyalist formations “are the ones they (the regime) can count on and it brings them into cities like Homs to do the clear-and-hold operations and the real killing,” she said. “The Sunnis are kept outside and then are brought in after the … operations.”

This approach helps the Assads avert a coup because it makes Alawite officers who might otherwise conspire to topple them complicit in the shelling of civilian areas and other acts that U.N. human rights officials are publicly condemning as war crimes, Slim said.

“The strategy of the Assad family is to bloody the hands of every Alawite officer and the hands of all the Alawites … binding their fate and their survival to the survival of the Assads,” she said.

Assad, however, appears to be gambling that his scorched-earth strategy will succeed before the growing sectarian strains begin to seriously unravel his army, experts said.


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February 25th, 2012, 2:43 pm


144. Syrialover said:

All those pouring scorn and hostility on the “Friends of Syria” conference, for whatever reason, have their thinking on a closed loop.

They are like children sulking and saying to adults “I don’t want to play!”.

You get 60 countries together to make a statement of alarm and concern about what is happening in Syria, you are seeing historical evolution of how the world community is attempting to tackle its problems.

This hasn’t come from the Syrian situation alone, it’s come from Rwanda, Srebrenica and yes, Iraq and Afghanistan, and last century’s terrible wars.

Note the word evolution, and read the various comments on possible solutions and scenarios. They are trying to communally respond to the problem, explore what could save the Syrian people and their country from destruction. Maybe nothing can work, but they want to work on it.

You might not like some of those 60 countries and wish them ill. But that is not the point. Not the point at all. It’s 2012 with all its complicated geopolitical realities and they want to find a way to do something, rather than nothing.

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February 25th, 2012, 2:51 pm


145. zoo said:

Hamas Damage control.. waiting for Syria’s reaction

Hamas denies rupture of diplomatic relations with Syria

­Hamas leaders have now left Syria but they are not going to officially cut ties with Assad’s government, Hamas leader Salah al-Bardaweel told Xinhua news agency.
He said that top Hamas leaders are now in “Arab countries.” However, al-Bardaweel said that criticism of violence against civilians does not mean the rupture of diplomatic relations with Syria. Salah al-Bardaweel stressed that it is too early to say that Hamas and Assad had chosen different paths. He pointed out that since the violence began in Syria, Hamas has always called for the Syrian government to avoid the use of weapons. It also was against any foreign intervention into the country’s interior affairs.

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February 25th, 2012, 2:52 pm


146. Syrialover said:

# 136. Zoo

While in many ways I would rejoice to see the entire territory of Israel handed over to its neighbours, handing the Golan to the Assad regime is giving it to a decayed and dying dinosaur, whose rotting teeth couldn’t chew and digest it.

But let’s call for it put in under some kind of firm mandate to be handed over to a future Syrian government. Shoot another arrow at the dinosaur’s heart rather than just its hide.

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February 25th, 2012, 3:18 pm


147. Alan said:

‘CIA & Western media’s total fiasco in Syria’

Faysal: Syrian Vitnam is a good idea !!!

‘Israel has no capability to attack Iran’

, Israel rulers need to be removed. not killed, lets not get excited about political threats from a cornered animal. Iran hasn’t attacked anybody in 600 years. Israel, on the other hand is controlling the worlds, just as all scriptures said it would. the time of the golden age is upon us. hooray the humans. time of freedom is at hand 🙂

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February 25th, 2012, 3:23 pm


148. Pirouz said:

82. REVLON said:

That level of support wasn’t even provided to the Libyan militias. In fact, there was an effort to round up LyA MANPADs.

The Libyan militias used “technicals”, with Western support being provided by in the form of aerial ground attack and interdiction. That isn’t happening in Syria, as Russia and China feel they were taken advantage of by their yes vote in the UNSC with regard to Libya. It won’t happen again, to Syria.

In Libya, LyA armor was neutralized by NATO air power, not ATGMs. NATO also supplied small arms, ammunition, SF assistance and money.

Without a negotiated settlement, this is a slow agony for the Syrian people.

The Russians, Iranians and Chinese have each attempted to bring the two sides together, but a settlement is not in the interests of certain opposition elements and their Western backers. In fact, any opposition elements that enter into any sort of negotiation with the regime will, at this stage, automatically forfeit their credibility with the West. For the West, the present level of turmoil adequately suits their purposes for the region.

Meanwhile both sides in the conflict continue to lose family members in the violence.

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February 25th, 2012, 3:24 pm


149. Alan said:

UK Gov Ignore Pro-Assad Civilians, but Al Qaeda Confirmed In Opposition
Keelan Balderson, Contributing Writer
Activist Post

UK Foreign Secretary William Hague has announced today at the fluffily named “Friends of Syria” conference, that Britain will only recognise the anti-Assad side of the conflict, as “legitimate representatives” of the country’s people [1]; meaning hundreds of thousands of citizens loyal to the Assad Government will now be ignored and effectively treated as enemy combatants – typical of the biased reporting so far……( ..

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February 25th, 2012, 3:43 pm


150. jad said:

There is no contrast between Negotiation and Dialogue..political solutions is the only way out, violence is not the answer:

مجنون من يصدق وجود تناقض بين الحوار والتفاوض
ميشيل كيلو

“والآن، إلى الموضوع الرئيس.
الحوار: نعم، كنت من أوائل الداعين إلى الحوار داخل صفوف المعارضة الحزبية وبين التنسيقيات وبين المعارضة والمنخرطين في هذه التنسيقيات، فهل كانت الدعوة خاطئة؟. ألا ندفع اليوم ثمن عدم إجراء هذا الحوار الثلاثي الأركان والعام، الذي كان يجب أن يتم كي يتعرف المعارضون بعضهم على بعض، ويعرفوا آراء بعضهم، ويتفقوا على سياسات مشتركة تحدد خطواتهم في الحقبة التي تفصلنا عن سقوط النظام، وعلى مواقف دقيقة وعملية من عقبات مهمة تعترض سبيلا النضال الشعبي هي، بين أشياء أخرى: المشكلة الطائفية، ومشكلة العسكر، ومسألة التحالف بين المجتمعين المدني والأهلي اللذين حملا الانتفاضة والثورة، ومشكلة كسب وتنشيط الكتلة الشعبية المحايدة، التي تتفرج إلى اليوم على ما يحدث، يدفعها إلى ذلك خوفها من إسلاميين مزعومين، أرعبها النظام منهم طيلة قرابة نصف قرن، ولم يفعل الإسلاميون جميعهم شيئا حقيقيا وميدانيا لإزالة هذا الرعب، كما لم تحدد المعارضة المنظمة والتنسيقيات مواقفها من بعض هؤلاء الإسلاميين، الذين يتحولون اليوم إلى ظاهرة منفلتة من أي عقال، غامضة وخطيرة، تهدد بالإسهام من جانبها في تحويل معركة مجتمعية من أجل الحرية إلى معركة طوائف ومذاهب متنافية.
إلى هذا، دعوت أيضا إلى حوار مع النظام في ظل شروط ثلاثة لا مفر من التمسك بحرفيتها هي: إن كان الحوار يعزز الحراك الشعبي، وينزل الكتل المحايدة إلى الشارع للتظاهر، ويضعف النظام وينهكه ويؤدي إلى تفكيك وحدته. وقد قلت في نهاية كلمة ألقيتها في لقاء سمير أميس التشاوري: «بغير هذه الشروط، لن أحاور النظام ولو قطعوا رأسي»، وهو ما حدث بالفعل، فقد عملت على إقناع معارضين كثيرين بعدم المشاركة في لقاء صحارى، الذي نظمته السلطة، وأخبرت كل من تحدث معي بصدد الحوار مع السلطة أن هذه لا تريد الحوار، بل تسعى إلى تغطية سياسية للحل الأمني تريد أن تستدرج المعارضة إليها باسم الحوار، وان من يشارك في حوار كهذا يخون نفسه والشعب، لكونه يغطي حلا أمنيا هدفه القضاء على حراكه ومطالبه، يتمسك النظام بتطبيقه كي يغلق باب الحل السياسي، الذي لا مدخل له غير الحوار، فعلى أي شيء نحاور إن كان الحوار لا يفضي إلى حل سياسي يلبي مطالب مواطنينا المشروعة؟ وللعلم، فإن الأستاذ فاروق الشرع، نائب رئيس الجمهورية، خابرني قبل مؤتمر صحارى للحوار الوطني بيومين، وأخبرني أنه تقرر أن تكون كلمة اللقاء الأولى لي، وأن هذا سيكون حدثا تاريخيا مهما، فأعلمته برفضي الحضور وقلت له أسباب الرفض التي ذكرتها قبل قليل.
هل كان من الخطأ الدعوة إلى حوار بين فصائل المعارضة، وبين فصائل التنسيقيات، وبين المعارضة والأخيرة؟.
وهل كان من الخطأ الدعوة إلى حوار يعزز حراك الشارع ويقلل عدد المتفرجين والمحايدين وينهك النظام ويشق صفوفه؟.
يجب أن يكون المرء مجنونا كي يرى في حوار كهذا خطأ أو كي يرفضه. لكنه وجد في سوريا مجانين فعلوا ذلك، بثمن فادح دفعه الشعب وحده، وحجتهم أن الحوار، أي حوار، ينقذ النظام، كأن سقوطه كان في متناول أيديهم، أو كأن تعبئة الشعب وراء الحراك وإقلال أعداد المحايدين وإنزالهم إلى الشارع، وتفاهم المعارضة على سياسات مشتركة أو موحدة يقويه ويحسن مواقفه!.
بقي شيء أخير، هو أن هؤلاء فهموا من الدكتور عزمي بشارة أن هناك فارقا بين الحوار والتفاوض، فاستنتجوا أن التفاوض يقضي على النظام والحوار ينقذه. هل كان هناك ما يمنع الحوار بالقصد الذي تحدثت عنه من أن ينقلب، بعد ما سيترتب عليه من تحول في ميزان القوى لصالح الشعب، إلى تفاوض يطيح بالنظام؟. يجب أن يكون المرء مجنونا كي يصدق وجود تناف بين الحوار والتفاوض، وجدار يستحيل تجاوزه بينهما، وأن الحوار داخل الصف الوطني وتوضيح مواقفه وتنشيط دوره في قضايا يتوقف عليها مصير الصراع يؤذي الشعب وينقذ النظام، بينما يسقطه التفاوض معه. مثل هذه الترهات تسيطر على عقل متخلف، غير سياسي وغير ثوري، يعتقد حملته اليوم أن الحوار بين طرفين في المعارضة هما: المجلس الوطني وهيئة التنسيق يضر ب«الثورة» ويخدم النظام. وقد رأينا جميعنا رأي العين كيف انقض أتباعه على برهان غليون، الذي وقع باسم المجلس وبتفويض منه ما سمي «وثيقة القاهرة» مع الهيئة، التي لم يكن هناك أية علاقة للسلطة أو للنظام بها، وكيف اتهموه بالخيانة ورفعوا في وجهه «كرتونات ثورية» تقول له: «الشعب السوري ما بينباع «!.
هل قرر ثوريو آخر زمن أنه لم يعد هناك أي دور للسياسة بفرعيها الحواري والتفاوضي، في العمل السوري العام، وأن مطالب الشعب لا تتحقق إلا بوسيلة واحدة هي العنف ورفض أي حوار حتى مع أطراف تاريخية من المعارضة والشارع.
يا لتفاهة هذا العقل ومنظوراته!”

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February 25th, 2012, 3:43 pm


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