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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201. zoo said:

” لدولة بابا عمرو المستقلة

كتب طارق نركماني – حمص – عربي برس.
لا أسرار في حمص ، المدينة معتادة على الثرثرة وسنوات القمع والخوف من التعبير عما في النفس لم تؤدي سوى إلى عكس المطلوب ، فمع بدء فعاليات الإنتفاضة في المدينة في اذار من العام الماضي تحررت ألسن المواطنين وإرتقت نفوسهم وتمتعوا جميعا بشيء رائع إسمه الحرية.الحرية التي لا تزال هي محرك كل ما يجري في سورية من تظاهرات وإنتفاضات مسلحة .
حمص الفارغة من ستين بالمئة من سكانها بفعل تركهم للمدينة إلى مناطق آكثر أمنا يتسلى من بقوا فيها بقتال الجيش او بمساعدة الثوار لوجستيا وفي كل الحالات يتسلى الجميع بالثرثرة .
قتلى اليوم عرف العالم أسمائهم ، وأما قتلى الشهور الماضية فلم يسمع بهم أحد ، هي العنصرية الخاصة بالرجل الأبيض ، الأوروبي والاميركي ولا عزاء للشهداء السوريين
وقد قُتل اليوم في القصف على المركز الإعلامي بالحي المذكور مصور فرنسي وصحفية أميركية
وتسائل السكان هنا عن الطريقة التي وصل بها صحافيون أجانب وبعدد كبير إلى المركز الإعلامي ” لدولة بابا عمرو المستقلة ” وصدق أو لا تصدق المركز الإعلامي يحوي أجهزة بث مباشر عبر الأقمار الصناعية لا يملكها الجيش السوري النظامي نفسه بينما يملكها الجيش الحر كما يحلو للسكان الحماصنة تسميته مع أنهم أكثر من يعرف بأنه مجموعة ميليشاوية تتلقى معونات من أثرياء سوريين مدعومين من أمراء وشيوخ الخليج ومن تيارات سياسية في لبنان ولو وجهت تلك الجهات نفس المساعدات لحمص على شكل أموال لا أسلحة ولا معدات لإشترى كل منهم منزلا للشتاء ومنزلا للصيف في سواحل أسبانيا وجبالها . الناس تتحسر هنا على الأموال التي يسمعون عنها ولا يرون منها شيئا …الخوف والجوع يحلوان مع قناة أبو ضبي ودبي والحبل على الجرار ، تلك القنوات التي أشعرتنا للمرة الأولى أن الثورات قد تطيح أيضا بكراماتنا وهي تسعى لحفظها فصرنا دون أن ندري شحاذين ، تماما مثل تلك المرأة التي وضعت إبنها الكسيح في عربة كرو أمامها على الطريق لإستعطاف الناس فيدفعون المعلوم . هكذا وضعت قنوات الإمارات قبل أيام صورة اللاجئين السوريين للشحذ همم المتبرعين على الهواء مباشرة وأما السبب فهو أن السوريين يحتاجون لممرات إنسانية.
بالتأكيد حمص تعيش في أسواء أيامها ولكن المعارك هي المشكلة لا الغذاء ولا الدواء فكله متوفر حتى في بابا عمرو التي تملك في حصارها أكثر من عشرة مشافي ميدانية وثلاثة مراكز إعلامية ميدانية تكلفتها تزيد عن عشرات ملايين الدولارات وقد تفاجأ الصحافيون الذين أتوا إلى الحي بدعوة من الثورة على حد تعبير مصادر في وزارة إعلام بابا عمرو (ابو أنس الحمصي ) وهو الإسم الذي يتحدث عنه كل صحافي أجنبي زار حمص ، فهذا الشاب العشريني مسؤول عن كل النشاطات الصحافية في بابا عمرو وهو من أدخل الصحافيين الأجانب الذين قتلوا وجرحوا في حمص اليوم

صحيفة صنداي تايمز أشارت إلى أن ماري كولفين (28 عاما) كانت المراسلة الوحيدة لصحيفة بريطانية التي تنقل من داخل بابا عمرو الأحداث.

يشار إلى أن كولفين كانت على الهواء مباشرة مساء أمس مع محطة سي أن أن تتحدث عن مشهد لمقتل طفل بعد تدمير منزله بالكامل.


Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

February 25th, 2012, 11:48 pm


202. irritated said:

#202 Majedalkhaldoon

“if this is true, Assad should pack and leave soon”

You worry about Bashar’s safety now?

Thumb up 11 Thumb down 5

February 25th, 2012, 11:52 pm


203. bronco said:


it seems that the reason why the armed men do not want to release the journalist is because these journalists are NOT wounded, it was a theatrical arrangement to appear in the media one day before the FOS meeting to force the meeting to take military action to rescue the journalists.
The plan failed when the Syrian government collaborated with the Red Cross/Red crecsent to rescue the journalists.
Now the armed activists are in trouble because if they release the journalists the whole hoax will be everywhere in the media.
The danger is that they may decide to kill the journalists and accuse the government.
In addition there is a possibility is that these journalists are actually spies and it would be very embarrassing for the French government if they are interrogated by the Syrians. The French ambassador, present in Damascus, did not accompany the ambulances in Bab Amr so it seems that the French government is confused on how to proceed and is probably negotiating with the Syrians a face saving outcome.
Are we going to see another Gay Girl in Homs hoax? This Khaled Abu Saleh is good actor, but the journalists were not very convincing as severely wounded patients.

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February 26th, 2012, 12:06 am


204. bronco said:


I have found several articles of Edith Bouvier in Le Figaro in December 2011. She had sneaked in Edlib during almost all december and reported about the FSA, the civilians ordeal, the high level Libyan commanders who are helping the Syrian rebels as well as the refugees in Hatay.
After December he has not published any article as she was probably back in France.
Her articles offer very detailed and dramatic descriptions. She is obviously a supporter of the FSA and it is not impossible that she is willingly trying to help them with that video in Homs and worried about being interrogated about her whereabouts by the Syrians. As she has entered the country twice illegally, she could face jail and prosecution as a spy.
I guess it is a headache for the French.

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February 26th, 2012, 12:43 am


205. Revlon said:

Minority Alawi families, including women and children have no more right to live than their Sunni neighbours.

Since the Alawi regime, and behind them the Alawi community have chosen and have been bent on the destruction of Sunni neighbourhoods it has become necessary for the attacked Sunnis who are under the real threat of annihilation to respond in kind, in order to deter Alawi forces from further atrocities

The Alawi militias who are involved in the siege and destruction, and the killing of every moving soul in Sunni neighbourhoods of Syria have to be deterred through the only way they can understand; inflict the same on their neighbourhoods across Syria.

Officers and soldiers should be made to think of what would happen to their own homes when they shell their Sunni neighbours’, and bear in mind the grave consequences to their own families every time they shell or snipe at their neighbours.

Holding the high moral ground has caused the Sunnis thousands of civilian lives and loss of livelihood of millions more.

[Warning: There is no room in these comments for provocative calls to reprisal killings or ‘deterrent’ attacks on Alawis areas.

This pointed discriminatory language is not acceptable:

– necessary to respond in kind
– inflict the same on their neighbourhoods
– grave consequences to thir own familes

This account is banned from posting to Syria Comment for one week. A reprise of these kinds of comments by any commentator will be followed by a two week ban.]

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February 26th, 2012, 12:44 am


206. admir said:

‘inflict the same on their neighbourhoods across Syria.’

and thus begins the iraqi-style sectarian war

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February 26th, 2012, 12:45 am


207. Revlon said:

Dear Moderator,
I have reposted my earlier comment to remove “Sectarian language”.
After reposting, I noticed your explanatory note for censoring the earlier version.
Your premise was it called for “reprisal killing”
I never mentioned the word reprisal or implied its meaning.
The purpose of such attacks would be deterrant, to make it harder for the others to continue the carnage.
I have decided to keep my revised post as is, notwithstanding your threat to ban me for two weeks.
Families of the perpetrating Assad formal militias and paramilitias, including women and children have no more right to live than their victimised neighbours.

Since the regime, and behind them their supportive community have chosen and have been bent on the destruction of their opposite’s neighbourhoods it has become necessary for the attacked who are under the threat of annihilation to respond in kind, in order to deter their forces from further atrocities

The Assad militias, and supportive community who are involved in the siege and destruction, and the killing of every moving soul in their opposite’s neighbourhoods of Syria have to be deterred through the only way left they have been proven to understand; inflict the same on their neighbourhoods across Syria.

Officers and soldiers should be made to think of what would happen to their own homes when they shell their neighbours’ and the grave consequences to their own families every time they shell or snipe at their neighbours.

Holding the high moral ground has caused the majority thousands of civilian lives and loss of livelihood of millions more.

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February 26th, 2012, 1:35 am


208. ann said:

Syrian troops kill 20 gunmen ahead of constitutional referendum – 2012-02-26

Private Sham FM radio reported that the Syrian troops clashed with an armed group in Saraqeb in Idlib’s countryside, killing 20 gunmen, arresting seven others and seizing their weapons.

Meanwhile, Syria’s Red Crescent was able to enter restive Baba Amr neighborhood in central Homs, Syria’s official news agency SANA said, quoting a resident as saying armed groups had been shelling their houses and preventing them from going out.

Syrian Interior Minister Lt. Gen Mohammad al-Shaar said recently that necessary measures had been taken to make sure the referendum would be a success, and that the draft constitution is a “qualitative leap” in Syria’s history.

According to the interior ministry, there will be 14.6 million eligible voters and 13,835 ballot centers across the country.


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February 26th, 2012, 1:54 am


209. ann said:

Syria starts referendum on new Constitution – 2012-02-26

The referendum begun at 7:00 a.m. (0500 GMT) and over 14 million Syrians are eligible to vote at 13,835 ballot centers across the country.

The new Constitution, if approved, will allow Syrian citizens to enjoy more freedom, end the monopoly on power of President Bashar al-Assad’s Baath Party and set a timetable for multiparty elections.

Under the Constitution, al-Assad will end his two seven-year terms in 2014 at the latest and, with it, his family’s 40-odd years of control over the country.


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February 26th, 2012, 2:02 am


210. ann said:

Russia questions credibility of Syrian Observatory for Human Rights – 25 February, 2012

“As far as we know, this organization employs only two people (its head and secretary-translator). It is headed by Rami Abdulrahman, who has no training either in journalism or law or even a complete secondary education,” Lukashevich said.

“The fact that representatives of the ‘observatory’ have been avoiding contact with our diplomats speaks for itself,” the spokesman added. “We think that these facts allow one to judge how trustworthy the information provided by this structure is.”


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February 26th, 2012, 2:11 am


211. Alan said:

Syria gears up for referendum

Red Cross corridor to Homs paves way for intervention in Syria?

In Search of Syria’s True Friends

‘Friends of Syria Conf after replay of Libya scenario’ Tarpley on PressTV

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February 26th, 2012, 2:28 am


212. ann said:

Why is Obama in bed with the Muslim Brotherhood? – February 26, 2012

Dr. Essam Abdallah, an Egyptian liberal intellectual, in an article published last October in the leading liberal pan-Arab journal Elaph, refers to certain reports coming out of Washington:

These reports reveal the depth of the below-the-surface coordination between the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), Hamas, Hezbollah, the Iranian regime and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Syria, Tunisia, Libya and Jordan. This bloc of regimes and organizations is now becoming the greatest Islamist radical lobby ever to penetrate and infiltrate the White House, Congress, the State Department and the main decision making centers of the US government. All of this is happening at a time when the US government is going through its most strategically dangerous period in modern times because of its need to confront the Iranian Mullahs regime, which is expanding in the Middle East, as well as penetrating the United States, via powerful and influential allies.

Abdallah alleged that “the popular revolts in the Arab world — and the Obama Administration’s position towards them — were determined by political battles between various pressure groups in Washington.”

The most damning bit of evidence was reported by Herb London in his article, “U.S. Betrays Syria’s Opposition”:

In an effort to understand and placate Syrian opposition groups, Secretary Clinton invited them to a meeting in Washington. Most of those invited, however, have links to the Muslim Brotherhood. Missing from the invitations are Kurdish leaders, Sunni liberals, Assyrians and Christian spokesmen. According to various reports the State Department made a deal with Turkey and Muslim Brotherhood representatives either to share power with Assad to stabilize the government, or replace him if this effort fails. One organization, the Syrian Democracy Council (SDC), an opposition group composed of diverse ethnic and religious organizations, including Alawis, Aramaic Christians, Druze and Assyrians was conspicuously — and no coincidentally — omitted from the invitation list.

For the last six months at least, Obama has been cultivating a relationship with PM Erdoğan of Turkey. The budding relationship prompted Barry Rubin to ask, “Why Is an Anti-American Islamist, Obama’s Favorite ME Leader?”

According to Sherkoh Abbas, one faction of the SDC had family connections in various Gulf States at the highest level and went to them for financial support. They were turned down, as Obama had instructed them to give money only to the SNC.


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February 26th, 2012, 2:33 am


213. Alan said:

“UN must prosecute Israel for war crimes,” says Bloody Sunday lawyer

‘US, Saudis started arming Syrian gangs eight months ago’

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February 26th, 2012, 2:43 am


214. ann said:

On Syria, of Kofi & “Mission Impossible,” Double Pensions & Boutros, Baker

UNITED NATIONS, February 24 — Around the UN in New York the day after former Secretary General Kofi Annan was appointed joint Arab League – UN special envoy to Syria, diplomats and staff were abuzz about other candidates considered, and what the naming of “Kofi” meant.

Sources told Inner City Press that the other candidates considered included not only Finland’s Martti Ahtisaari, who garnered Russian opposition for his Ahtisaari plan for Kosovo independence from Serbia, but another former UN Secretary General, Boutros Boutros Ghali, vetoed by the US for a second time.

An American, James Baker, was in the mix, as was Algerian former prime minister Mawloud Hamrouch and Kuwaiti former foreign minister Mohammad Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah.

Annan was selected. Inner City Press asked his former chief of communications Edward Mortimer, who replied, “I salute Kofi for his courage in undertaking what looks like the ultimate ‘mission impossible.'”

Another long time UN source told Inner City Press that this work might be a way of “making Kofi pay for his two pensions,” referring to his double dipping of pensions as former UN staffer and then Secretary General. Inner City Press has asked Ban Ki-moon’s top two spokesmen about this, and how Annan’s mission will be funded, after for an answer before noon.


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February 26th, 2012, 2:49 am


215. Mina said:

Thanks Zoo #198, I take the liberty to re-post it here (“spread the word”):

The multiple dramatic faces of activist Khaled Abu Saleh in Homs.

As a doctor who seems to have given such strong drugs to Edith Bouvier that despite her hidden ‘multiple broken’ leg, she is relaxed and smiling. No apparent wounds.

As a wounded witness of the spectacular pipeline burn on 15 February, he has his left hand covered and he is accusing Bashar al Assad of the sabotage :

As a dying man on 6th february calling for help to the international community!

As another dying man on the 19th of february strong enough to throw imprecations applauded by the “hospital staff”

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February 26th, 2012, 4:37 am


216. Alan said:

الدكتور عدنان منصور وزير خارجية لبنان

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February 26th, 2012, 4:57 am



An Eye for an Ear????

REVLON @ 206
I am glad that FSA as well as many others disagree with your comment Below is a comment from OTW on WALLS

While regime propagandists continue to deny the atrocities and paint the revolution with the worst. A single item in the new report by the Human Rights Council, in which the report hinted at potential human rights abuses by the FSA, drew the attention of FSA command who condemned all these types of actions and promptly initiated investigation. FSA is now working SNC to provide training on Geneva convention to all of its members. I served in the Syrian army, and the only thing we learned about the Geneva convention was that a released prisoner of war can be executed if captured again. We were never taught neither our rights nor our responsibilities.

with This is unheard of in the history of this regime. I think this is excellent thing and a good promising start. I will be waiting for the results of the investigations, which I hope will be honest and made public.

الجيش السوري الحر
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم:
بيان هام صادرعن قيادة الجيش السوري الحر
إن الجيش السوري الحر يدين الإنتهاكات التي يقوم بها النظام ويؤكد على حرصه بالإلتزام على المعايير الدولية الأنسانية لجهة الحفاظ على سلامة المدنيين الأمنين والإلتزام بالقوانين الدولية التي ترعى الحروب وقواعد الإشتباك والجيش السوري الحر يدين حالات الإنتهاك لحقوق الإنسان وحياة المدنين وإرتكاب مجازر ضد الإنسانية من قبل كتائب الأسد كما يدين محاولة هذه الكتائب إلصاق بعض جرائمها ومجازرها بالجيش السوري الحرو الكل يعلم أن الجيش السوري الحر لا علاقة له بهذه الإرتكابات لا من قريب ولا من بعيد فقد أدناها ومازلنا ندينها و ندين النظام السوري الذي يرعاها ويرتكبها ويفبرك الأكاذيب حولها وقد أخذ الجيش السوري الحر علماً بالفقرة 133 بتقرير حقوق الإنسان الصادر عن الأمم المتحدة والتي تحدثت عن بعض الإنتهاكات لحقوق الإنسان ونسبت جزءاً منها إلى الجيش السوري الحر وبناءً عليه قام الجيش السوري الحر بفتح تحقيق على أعلى المستويات للتحقق من حدوث أي انتهاكات من قبل أفراده وذلك من أجل محاسبة المسؤولين عنها في حال حدوثها علماً أن قيادة الجيش السوري الحر تقوم بالتنسيق مع المجلس الوطني السوري بتدريب عناصر الجيش كافةً على قواعد أتفاقيات جنيف المتعلقة بحالات الحروب .
العقيد رياض موسى الأسعد
قائد الجيش السوري الحر

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February 26th, 2012, 5:17 am


218. Mina said:

Another philanthropist war soon

Alan, thanks for this clip, splits in the AL are getting wider by the day. Still looking for the foreign minister of the Emirates conference in Moscow (it was on RT, any link?)

Details on the journalists’death

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February 26th, 2012, 5:21 am


219. Alan said:

218. MINA

Moscow seeks full Arab League Syrian peacekeeper brief

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February 26th, 2012, 5:36 am


220. Mina said:

Thanks for the link, it mentions the press conference which I had watched on air on RT. The journalists’s questions at the end of the joint conference showed really good professionals who all spoke a perfect Arabic.

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February 26th, 2012, 6:23 am


221. PUNTROAD said:

This is apparently the work of the FSA, in Hamidiya, Homs. Nothing more than terrorism and fanaticism.

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February 26th, 2012, 6:26 am


222. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

February 26th, 2012, 6:37 am


223. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Dear Revlon #208,

I’m against banning you, though I don’t agree with what you call for.
You said “officers and soldiers should be made to think of what would happen to their own homes when they shell their neighbours’ and the grave consequences to their own families every time they shell or snipe at their neighbors”.

If you want to be different than this junta and their policies, you should not adopt their methods.
I would add that the heads of this murderous junta, the entire Assad and Ma7louf families, are a legit target. NOT the whole Alawi sect / soldiers and officers.

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February 26th, 2012, 6:49 am


224. Alan said:

Funeral of Temple Mount rioter provokes further clashes (VIDEO)

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February 26th, 2012, 7:20 am


225. Alan said:

High turnout registered at polling stations in Syria

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February 26th, 2012, 7:40 am


226. Alan said:

خاص توب نيوز | خلاف كلينتون – الفيصل

سببان رئيسيان وراء الخلاف الأمريكي السعودي الذي عبر عنه وزير الخارجية السعودي بالانسحاب من مؤتمر تونس، بعدما لمس من هيلاري كلينتون عدم استعداد حكومتها للانضمام الى الاطراف الداعية لتدخل عسكري في سوريا وطلبها منه الاستمرار في الضغط مع تحذيرها من التمادي كشركاء في التصرف بعيداً عن الموقف الأمريكي.
أول هذه الأسباب هو أن المخابرات الأمريكية أبلغت وزارة خارجيتها أن ٩ شبكات تابعة لتنظيمات يسارية متطرفة في اميركا وأوروبا عادت لممارسة نشاطات تثير الريبة خاصة انها تمتلك عقول الكترونية مدربة تدريباً جيداً ولديها قدرات وخبرات في التملص من المتابعات الأمنية، وربطت اجهزة المخابرات تحركات هذه الشبكات بتقرير سابق وصل لمكتب التحقيقات الفدرالي عن استعداد مجموعات لارسال رسائل كيميائية صغيرة الحجم لأكثر من ألف شخصية عربية وعالمية ومحاولتها الحصول على تلك المواد من مصادر شرق اوسطية لكنها جوبهت بالرفض، كما ابلغت اجهزة المخابرات تلك وزارة خارجيتها بمضمون التقارير الواردة عن المناورات السورية الصاروخية ونجاح تلك الصواريخ في الافلات من ملاحقة الباتريوت وفشله في اسقاطها.
أما الثاني فوصول معلومات متقاطعة من بكين وموسكو وطهران تؤكد أن تقنيات الطائرة التي اسقطت فوق سوريا أصبحت بحوزة المؤسسات المعنية فيها، بعدما استطاع السوريون انزالها سالمة والسيطرة على ما تحتويه من معلومات سرية عن مواقع اغلب المجموعات المسلحة وخطوط الاتصال التي كانت هذه الطائرة بمثابة غرفة عمليات لها.

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February 26th, 2012, 8:01 am


227. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Look at this funny photo, which is illustrating the farcical nature of the “referendum”.
Could you imagine a referendum in any normal country, let’s say Germany, with the photo of Angela Merkel hanging on the wall in the polling station?

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February 26th, 2012, 8:16 am


228. Tara said:

Reading some of the posts and links on SC makes me wonder how wide some people imagination is and how talented of a conspiracy theorists they are. Is it a genuine talent or have they had little too much Scotch to drink?

Come on. It really is a stretch.

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February 26th, 2012, 8:20 am


229. majedkhaldoun said:

The referendum,where a person can vote several times,THE Id, the DRIVER LICENSE,tHE HEALTH CERTIFICATE, HIS JOB id, HIS BIRTH CERTIFICATE, also his family minibook,his passport AND SO ON,

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February 26th, 2012, 8:28 am


230. Tara said:


I am going go miss you dearly. I am know left with members of عيلة فستق “dear-ing” and complementing each others.

Only Damascenes would understand whatعيلة فستق is.

Revlon, please come back in one week. You are the rare voice of truth on SC.

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February 26th, 2012, 8:33 am


231. Tara said:

Government employees are forced to vote. People walking in the street are also forced by the security officers to vote. This is a mockery. One person can vote 10 times…

Are they gonna show us photos of Emma and hubby voting? I am sure SC fans are patiently waiting..I wonder if they usually print out those photos and hang them all over their house and work place.

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February 26th, 2012, 8:40 am


232. Alan said:

انتصار في العالم الافتراضي وهزيمة في العالم الحقيقي
أظهرت هزيمة مجلس التعاون الخليجي والناتو توازن قوى جديد كان الجميع يرجّح وجوده لكن لم يتمكّن أحد من إثباته. فاز الغربيون في الحرب الإعلامية لكنّهم عجزوا عن خوض الحرب العسكرية وكما قال ماو تسي تونغ “باتوا نموراً ورقية”.
خلال الأزمة وحتى اليوم تمكّن الملوك العرب والقادة الغربيون من تضليل ليس فقط شعوبهم بل ومعظم الرأي العام العالمي. قاموا بتصوير ما يجري على أنه انتفاضة شعبية في سوريا على النظام وأن هذا الأخير يقمع هذا الاحتجاج السياسي بالنار والدم. لم تكتف قناواتهم الفضائية بتركيب التقارير الكاذبة بل قامت بتصوير مشاهد وهمية في استديوهاتها تخدم الغرض الأساسي للبروبغندا التي تعتمدها لتضليل الرأي العام. في المحصلة قام مجلس التعاون الخليجي والناتو بخلق ثورة وهمية وجعلا الرأي العام يتابع أحداثها المزعومة على امتداد عشرة أشهر في حين كانت سوريا تواجه على أرض الواقع حرباً منخفضة الوتيرة تقودها الفرق الوهابية ويدعمها حلف شمال الأطلسي.
لكن بما أن الصين وروسيا استخدمتا حقّ الفيتو وبما أن إيران أعلنت استعدادها لدخول الحرب إلى جانب سوريا إذا اقتضى الأمر ذلك، فهمت الولايات المتحدة وأتباعها أن الاستمرار في مشروعها قد يؤدي إلى اندلاع حربٍ عالمية. بعد أشهر من الضغط والمناورة اعترفت الولايات المتحدة أنها كانت تمارس خدعة وأن ما لديها لا يكفي لاستمرارها في اللعبة الخطرة.

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February 26th, 2012, 8:46 am


233. Antoine said:

REVLON my friend,

I advise you to heed the Moderator’s call and accept his decision. Please do not try to break the rules and circumvent the ban by trying to post before your 1 week ban is over. I really like your FSA videos and am going to miss them, please do not do anything that will get you permanently banned.

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February 26th, 2012, 8:52 am


234. Antoine said:


What is your opinion about the referendum ?

Are you aware that there is not one single polling station in the whole of Idleb Governorate, just a few polling stations in a few enclaves in Homs and Hama Governorates, and only 2 polling stations in Daraa Governorate ( near Interior Ministry HQ and Governor’s offices in Daraa City).

Also polling stations are absent over large stretches of Reef Damascus and Deir el Zour.

I would also like your opinion regarding these, and please keep obliging me, I like your views, they are interesting, and please do not ignore my questions as you have done a couple of times.

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February 26th, 2012, 8:57 am


235. Mina said:

Sorry Amir, we do have the picture of the president in every city hall in France. They can be used at polling stations in some places.
You know the best proof of democracy these days? Until we know what the Iranians vote on 5th of March (and if they vote, because they have been cheated last time by Ahmadinajad… but after him the Afghans and Iraqis were cheated too and the West did not find anything to say against it), we won’t see any progress in the Syrian situation either…

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February 26th, 2012, 9:00 am


236. majedkhaldoun said:

I like Joshua or the moderator to give Revlon my E-Mail

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February 26th, 2012, 9:00 am


237. Ghufran said:

I think the moderator was soft on Revlon,I do not see why a reputable site like SC would allow anybody to use it as a launching pad to incite violence and sectarian killings as if Syria does not have enough problems.
Antoine,my views on the const and the referendum were posted weeks ago,the const.does not represent me or any Syrian who wants this revolution to produce a civil and free political system,I am particularly opposed to article-3 which I think was a gift to albouti and the religious establishment,that const. was written to please the old and corrupt power houses in Damascus including albaath and its army of parasitic beneficiaries. The referendum is even more pathetic,it was done to give Russia the fig leaf it needs,Putin-style. In reality,this const-ref business smells bad and no perfume can take that smell away.

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February 26th, 2012, 9:43 am


238. Ghufran said:

Qatar gave its blessing to open a mini embassy for the Taliban in Doha while they expelled Syrian diplomats. The Talibans have killed,and continue to kill,Americans who were sent to Afghanistan by the Neocons and their chief,GW Bush,to punish Taliban.
The US army went to Afghanistan in 2001 and may not leave until 2014.

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February 26th, 2012, 10:00 am


239. Ghufran said:

Brian Whitaker at The Guardian:
Syrians should beware of some of their foreign ‘friends’
Syrians should fear eastern, not western, intervention – especially autocratic ‘friends’ like Saudi Arabia.

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February 26th, 2012, 10:08 am


240. Antoine said:

Interesting Guardian report 12 years ago –

Saddam rallies for votes in Iraqi election

Share reddit this Staff and agencies, Tuesday 15 October 2002 18.06 BST Article history Saddam Hussein’s regime is pushing for a maximum number of votes in today’s presidential elections in Iraq – as it is hopes to signal his popularity to the west as the country faces a possible war against US-led forces.
Saddam faces no challenger as he seeks another seven-year term – it is up to the voters to approve or disapprove him for another seven years. However, the government is looking for a greater percentage of “yes” votes – in the last referendum, held on October 15 1995, Saddam received 99.96% of the “yes” vote.

The ruling Baath party has staged neighbourhood-by-neighbourhood rallies and vote drives, built around the slogan “Yes, Yes, Yes Saddam”. State television and radio has also aired a constant campaign pitch for Saddam.

Nearly 12 million people are expected to cast ballots at one of 1,905 polling stations spread across 72 districts. Voting booths are separate for men and women, in line with Islamic segregation of the sexes.

Most polling stations are schools, plastered with posters of the leader. To encourage voter turnout sorbet, biscuits and hot tea are served, and children put on shows of patriotic songs.

Iraq has sought to picture the vote as a national show of solidarity to counter US pressure for a war to drive Saddam from power. Yesterday, the US president, George Bush, called Iraq “part of the war on terror”, as he decried the attacks in Yemen, Kuwait and the resort island of Bali.

At an election eve rally in Baghdad’s people’s stadium, the Iraqi vice president, Taha Yassin Ramadan, condemned the US over reported plans for a post-Saddam military occupation of Iraq – saying it showed the Bush government as a “crazy and evil administration”.

In Iraq, where it’s unheard of to publicly criticise Saddam, it’s not hard to find average people speaking bitter words about the US and its allies along with flowery praise for the Iraqi president.

Sitting at the door of his house in Kerbala, 75 miles south of Baghdad, Ali Ahmed Abdul Munaim waited for the school across the road to open so he could vote “and get it over with”.

“I am voting not for Saddam, because my vote for Saddam was determined long ago, but I am voting against America and Britain,” Abdul Munaim told the Associated Press this morning.

A polling station in Mahmoudia, 25 miles south of Baghdad, was crowded already in the first hour of voting.

“We are voting for our country and our dignity. Saddam is one of us – he was not forced by international powers to run the country,” Hikmat Sadoun said while waiting to vote.

“When he became president in 1979, we looked at him as the young challenging man and we still do,” he said.

Polls opened at 8am and were due to close at 8pm, and the government organised tours for journalists to different parts of the country to witness the voting. More than half of the journalists went to Saddam’s hometown of Tikrit.

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February 26th, 2012, 10:08 am


241. majedkhaldoun said:

Do you speak and understand Arabic?

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February 26th, 2012, 10:10 am


242. Antoine said:

Ghufran, are you resentful of the fact that Syrian Diplomats have been expelled from a number of countries ?

If yes, I would like to know the reason.

I have been following your posts for a long time, i would like to elicit another post from you – one long post- that highlights your views on how to end the violence, how to convince the regime to cede power.

Also, I would like to know your personal opinion, whether satisfying both practising Sunni Muslims as well as Minorities at the same time is possible.

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February 26th, 2012, 10:13 am


243. Tara said:

Tonight is the Oscar’s night.  One can’t not help to pay tributes to all Arab’s film directors and producers who were not appropriately recognized before or after their death.

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February 26th, 2012, 10:20 am


244. Mina said:

Wonderful illustration of “how things go in the Arab world”:

Sunday, February 26, 2012
Aljazeera and Morocco
Yassine sent met this: “So al-Jazeera decided not to air the documentary on Morocco and the 20th of February Movement (nuqta sakhina), which they had been promoting for more than a week. Why not? Again? (In November the same thing happened (back then the al-Jazeera crew was forbidden to go to Tanger and the al-Hoceima area: two centers of the Moroccan uprising). The Moroccan king recently ‘gave’ the Qatari emir some 4 5.000 hectares (=450 km²) in the Guelmim area so that the Qatari emir could go hunt there. And also, these two weeks al-Jazeera has been negotiating a possible return to Morocco with the new minister of information. So I guess the negotiations are concluded. Perhaps the documentary was just a card in the negotiation-process. This is Gulf-media””

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February 26th, 2012, 10:25 am


245. Ghufran said:

Antoine,I am not resentful about imposing diplomatic sanctions against the regime as long as Syrian citizens abroad can continue to get the services they need,I was just exposing the hypocrisy of Qatar and other “brotherly” Arab countries ruled by Sheikhs and Sheikhs in disguise.
I do not have a formula to stop the violence but arming anti regime militias will not stop or reduce the violence. Doing no harm is necessary if there is no immediate cure.
The excitement about creating Syrian Binghazis is actually an invitation for a civil war and the collapse of the Syrian state not just the regime,if we allow those Binghazis to emerge in areas hostile to the regime,similar Binghazis will appear in areas less hostile to the regime and sectarian cleansing will follow.
I do not write long posts,Antoine.
BTW,I visit hitaan from time to time and I am not sure I hear the same message from you there,let me know if I am being unfair in my judgement.

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February 26th, 2012, 10:34 am


246. DAWOUD said:

# 226 Amir in colonial Tel Aviv

I agree with you that the referendum is preposterously silly. I think that the plane of the International Criminal Court, which would transport Bashar and his murderous enablers to the Hague, should (in order to save money and appear consistent, rather than hypocritical, to the entire world) also stop in occupied Jerusalem and colonial Tel Aviv to pick up Ehud Olmert, Ehud Barak, Tzipi Livni, Moshe Mofaz, comatose Sharon, etc. to try them for their war crimes against the Lebanese and Palestinians.

I admire your efforts and determination NOT to be silenced/intimidated by what you validly term “Basharons!”

To Ms. ANN:
Your earlier post on the U.S. and the MB makes me wonder whether Islamist movements are anti-democratic, unless they are Shia. Given your earlier replies, you seem to know a lot about Hizballah. Why do you think that Hasan supports Bashar? Does this reflect shia sectarianism? As to supporting the resistance, whose houses were open to the fleeing Lebanese Shias: Bashar’s palaces or ordinary Syrians’ houses? Didn’t Sunni Syrians open their houses and donate their gold to support the Shia refugees in 2006?

Dear TARA:
You and I can be, given the opinions you express in your comments, intellectual friends on this blog-particularly if you choose to denounce Zionism and what it has done to the Palestinians and the Lebanese.

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February 26th, 2012, 10:54 am


247. Equus said:

Home made elections are better than fast food imposed elections with one candidate ONLY. In lame terms, home made soup is better than Subway’s soup.

Barack Obama has issued a statement in support of a one candidate “election” in Yemen which will replace their brutal dictator of 30 years, Field Marshal Ali Abdullah Saleh, with Saleh’s vice president of 18 years, Major General Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.Replacing one military dictator for another from the exact same regime. Shockingly, Obama actually called this “a model for how peaceful transition in the Middle East can occur.

If you don’t see the hypocrisy of the White House… May God professionally help you.

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February 26th, 2012, 11:07 am


248. jna said:

FSA holding civilians hostage in Homs, caught lying about arrests

A Western journalist involved in Saturday’s negotiations said ambulances twice entered Baba Amr, the district in the flashpoint central city that has been pounded by Syrian troops for more than three weeks.

But each time they were blocked by members of the rebel Free Syrian Army.

The female journalist, requesting anonymity, said the FSA refused to allow the evacuations, alleging that the regime had arrested nine people who were evacuated on Friday, claims the ICRC investigated and said afterwards “were totally false.”

Dabbakeh confirmed on Friday that the Red Cross and the Red Crescent had evacuated seven Syrians wounded in shelling, as well as 20 sick women and children, from Baba Amr. They were taken to Homs’ Al-Amine hospital.

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February 26th, 2012, 11:25 am


249. zoo said:

Miss Piggy talks about honor…

Clinton appeals for all Syrians to abandon Assad
By MATTHEW LEE | Associated Press – 1 hr 8 mins ago

RABAT, Morocco (AP) — Syrians in the military and business who still support President Bashar Assad should turn against him, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Sunday.

“The longer you support the regime’s campaign of violence against your brothers and sisters, the more it will stain your honor.

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February 26th, 2012, 11:25 am


250. Tara said:

Dear Dawoud

Of course I denounce Zionism and what it has done to the Palestians and the Lebanese. I do support what Abu Ammar said to be a just peace or peace of the brave.

I am surprised why you would think otherwise!

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February 26th, 2012, 11:29 am


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