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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351. Jad said:

Ghufran, you were faster than me today 🙂
Thank you!

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February 26th, 2012, 11:15 pm


352. Jad said:

Dear Ghufran
Don’t even bother about what NF wrote to you he is too emotional sometimes and it reflects bad on him not you.
You are the most respected and polite person on SC.
جاد فستق.

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February 26th, 2012, 11:22 pm


353. Ghufran said:

Here is what I was told about alhamidiyyah in Homs,I do not use larabiya or aljazeera for proof or lack of it because they are tools for their owner sheikhs,I also do not rely on Sana or the government tv. Some people are unable to process the truth and fall victims of group thinking,a term I read here,I never claimed that I own the truth,but this is how much I know:
1. The regime has little or no control of alhamidiyyah as of 4 hours ago
2. The area is full of armed thugs,almost all are the anti regime thugs
(notice,mr folder,that I know that there are regime thugs in Syria,they are not the ones who are terrorizing alhamidiyyah now)
3. The church,um azzinar,entrance was hit,I do not know if that was done on purpose or not.
4. A store next to the church that sells Christian religious items was burned and looted.
5. Many cars,stores and houses were looted and burned especially behind albaath HQ area which was attacked and that was caught on video.
6. At least one civilian was killed by bullets that came from armed thugs in the streets ,his family is blaming the rebels.
My source of information are Christian families from Homs,not aljazeera or alarabiya 🙂
The buttom line: I am not interested in pointing fingers or scoring points,I am too old for that. Violence in Syria has two parents: the regime and the rebels,the parents are divorced and decided to fight,and their kids,all Syrians,are paying the price.
To all underage posters (mental or otherwise) please focus on the message,not the messanger. Thanks

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February 26th, 2012, 11:39 pm


354. ann said:

The intelligent people of Damascus and Aleppo are frustrating Hillary 8)

Clinton: Arming Syria rebels could help Al-Qaeda – February 27, 2012

“We really don’t know who it is that would be armed,” the top US diplomat told CBS News during a visit to Morocco, as she noted that Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has expressed support for the Syrian rebels.
“Are we supporting Al-Qaeda in Syria?” she said. “Hamas is now supporting the opposition. Are we supporting Hamas in Syria?”
“This is not Libya, where you had a base of operations in Benghazi, where you had people who were representing the entire opposition” to Libyan strongman Moamer Kadhafi, whose regime fell last year.
“You’re not going to bring tanks over the borders of Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan. That’s not going to happen.”
“What about the people in Damascus, what about the people in Aleppo? Don’t they know that their fellow Syrian men, women, and children are being slaughtered by their government? What are they going to do about it? When are they going to start pulling the props out from under this illegitimate regime?”

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February 26th, 2012, 11:49 pm


355. PUNTROAD said:

Thank you Ghufran for the update.
An alarming development for Homs.

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February 26th, 2012, 11:54 pm


356. Ghufran said:

The new developments in Homs make most of old Homs under the control of armed thugs. More than half of the residents in affected areas have left,but until lately,alhamidiyyah was not as bad as other areas,not any more !!
Two restaurants are now being used as field hospitals by the rebels,and numerous houses were invaded and looted,this Homi nightmare does not want to end.
I hope the voting on the constitution went well !!!!

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February 27th, 2012, 12:07 am


357. bronco said:

#351 Darryl, Tara

Sorry for that, I checked on internet, you are right and I was wrong.

Curiously I have always used the word “Bible” to refer to the Old Testament that Christians share with Judaism and Islam and I used the word Gospels for the new Testament that Christians do not share neither with the Christians nor the Moslems. These books have anyway a gap of 2000 years.
It looked more logical to me as the word “Bible” is used for different combinations of holy scriptures and therefore refer to very different contents, that adds to the confusion.
Thanks for allowing me to clarify it for myself.

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February 27th, 2012, 12:10 am


358. irritated said:

#357 Ann

” The intelligent people of Damascus and Aleppo are frustrating Silly Hillary”

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February 27th, 2012, 12:13 am


359. jad said:

كلينتون تحذر من تسليح المعارضة … و«المجلس الوطني» يتشقق بعد مؤتمر تونس
الأسد في يوم الاستفتاء الحاد: نحن أقوى على أرض الواقع
زياد حيدر
أعلن الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد، خلال مشاركته في الاستفتاء على الدستور الجديد في دمشق امس، ان «الهجمة التي تتعرض لها سوريا هجمة إعلامية، ولكن الإعلام رغم أهميته لا يتفوق على الواقع ويمكن أن يكونوا أقوى في الفضاء لكننا أقوى على الأرض من الفضاء، ومع ذلك نريد أن نربح الأرض والفضاء».
في هذا الوقت، حذرت وزيرة الخارجية الاميركية هيلاري كلينتون من ان التدخل الاجنبي في سوريا «سيسرع من مخاطر اندلاع حرب اهلية»، مضيفة «لدينا مجموعة خطيرة جداً من العوامل في المنطقة: القاعدة وحماس وأولئك الذين على قائمتنا للإرهاب الذين يدّعون انهم يدعمون المعارضة. إذا جلبت اسلحة آلية، والتي ربما تستطيع تهريبها عبر الحدود، فما الذي ستفعله تلك الأسلحة أمام الدبابات والأسلحة الثقيلة؟».
وكشف وزير الخارجية التركي احمد داود أوغلو جانباً من كواليس المرحلة الحالية بعد مؤتمر «أصدقاء سوريا» في تونس الجمعة الماضي، معتبراً أن الأسد وصل إلى النهاية، وأن سوريا ليست ملكه الشخصي. وقال «إن من أهم ما تقرر في تونس اعتبار المجلس الوطني السوري ممثلاً شرعياً للسوريين. ونحن نريد أن يتمثل في المجلس الوطني السوري الأكراد والتركمان والدروز والعلويون». (تفاصيل صفحة 13)
وأدى فشل «المجلس الوطني» في الحصول على تعهد واضح من المشاركين في «مؤتمر أصدقاء سوريا» في تونس يتبنى الخيار العسكري، أو أي إجراء قهري يلزم النظام السوري بفتح معابر إنسانية والاعتراف بحصريته في تمثيل الشعب السوري، أو المعارضة، الى انقسامات عميقة كانت تتعايش تحت سقف «المجلس الوطني». وتفاوتت نتائج الإخفاق في تونس على بنية المجلس بين من فضل الاستقالة من عضويته، ومن فضل البقاء فيه ولكن ضمن تشكيلات جديدة. وأعلن المحامي نجاتي طيارة، استقالته من المجلس في رسالة وجهها إلى المكتب التنفيذي، «لأنه لم يحقق أي تقدم ملموس لوقف حمام الدم تجاه شعبنا السوري، وعدم ارتقاء المعارضة بأطرافها كافة، إلى مستوى الحدث وفشلي الشخصي والمجلس في ثني الإمارات عن قرارها إبعاد مواطنين سوريين بسبب تظاهراتهم ضد النظام السوري». وهاجمت رسالة استقالة بعث بها سبعة أعضاء، طريقة رئيس المجلس برهان غليون في إدارته. وأقدم 19 عضواً في تونس، على الإعلان عن تشكيل مجموعة العمل الوطني السوري، وإقامة مكاتب عمل موازية لمؤسسات المجلس الوطني، على الرغم من بقائها داخل المجلس.

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February 27th, 2012, 12:17 am


360. Tara said:

Dear Darryl

I appreciate your answer and Anton’s too, but coming to think about it, to me, the Bible is what most Christians refer to as the Old Testement only. The New Testement or the Gospel is what most Christians refer to as the Injil. And that is that.

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February 27th, 2012, 12:25 am


361. Darryl said:

356. GHUFRAN said:
“3. The church,um azzinar,entrance was hit,I do not know if that was done on purpose or not.”

What a shameful way this has turned out. For those who are not familiar with it, the Church of Um-Azzinar is called as such because it houses a belt that was supposedly worn by the Virgin Mary and it is a landmark church.

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February 27th, 2012, 12:26 am


362. jad said:

An article about Damascus’ life nowadays..depressing

دمشق: Zoom out Zoom in
دمشق عشية الاستفتاء على الدستور الجديد قلقة، ليس على مصير الاستفتاء، فمقاطعة المعارضة هي عامّة، لكنها قلقة على نفسها وأهلها وباقي المدن السورية. التعب موجود في كل مكان. الغلاء واحد على الجميع. هناك لبننة لسوريا في انقطاع الكهرباء والسؤال عن المكان والطائفة. دمشق «سوريا مصغّرة»، أحاديث أهلها مليئة بالرموز

أرنست خوري
دمشق | النظرة من بعيد إلى دمشق وبعض ريفها تختلف تماماً عن التوغُّل بين ناسها والاستماع إلى وشوشاتهم وأحاديثهم وهمومهم الكثيرة. مشهد «الزوم أوت» يوحي بالهدوء. أما الزحمة التي تختلف درجتها بين حي وآخر وبين باب وآخر من الأبواب السبعة لدمشق (الادارية) حتى يومَي العطلة (الجمعة والسبت)، تجعل المراقب يشكّ بأنّ ما يحصل في البلاد قريب جداً من العاصمة.

لكن التنقُّل بتاكسيات الشام ومحاولة استنطاق سائقيها والتحرُّش بأهلها المتعبين سرعان ما يزيل الغشاوة، إذ إنّ حديثين لا ثالث لهما يهيمنان على سكان دمشق التي يمكن اعتبارها اليوم، أكثر من أي وقت مضى، سوريا مصغَّرة، وخصوصاً بعدما زاد عدد قاطنيها مع موجات النزوح والهرب التي تشهدها أحياء دمشق وريفها:
سؤال تعجيزي أول: ما مصير «الأحداث» بلغة «المحايدين»، أو«الثورة» بمصطلحات المعارضين، و«الفتنة» بمفردات الموالين؟ سؤال تعجيزي ثانٍ: كيف سنعيش إلى أن ينتهي كل شيء، سواء كان ذلك بسقوط النظام أو بتمكنه من إنهاء الحراك، وخصوصاً في حال طالت الأحداث وتطورت أشهراً أو سنوات؟
بكلام آخر، حتى في حال ظلّ قلب دمشق بعيداً عن المعارك العسكرية وإطلاق النيران وسقوط القتلى، وحتى لو تمّت السيطرة بالكامل على شرارة التظاهرات، ولو خمدت نهائياً نشاطات المعارضة في حيّ الميدان الشاسع، حتى لو لم تتكرر التفجيرات الاجرامية التي ضربت منطقة كفرسوسة، كيف سيتمكن المواطن السوري من التعايش مع كارثة الغلاء والشح المالي وانقطاع الكهرباء وتوقف عجلة الاقتصاد في معظم القطاعات؟ كيف سيعيش الملايين الستة القاطنون في دمشق (معدل وسطي لكون العدد يختلف بين المساء والنهار) حتى ينتهي كل شيء؟ لا جواب طبعاً.

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February 27th, 2012, 12:29 am


363. jad said:

A la 6a6rour, anybody who dares to vote will be killed:

الديمقراطية على مذهب الشيخ الداعية برهات غليون والبروفيسور عدنان العرعور في إدلب : من يصوت سنقتله
كتب أديب جاموس – إدلب

إذا كان مقياس الديمقراطية التي سنتنعم بها في ظل الشيخ العرعور وحليفه برهان غليون هو يوم الإستفتاء في إدلب على الدستور فإن مستقبل الشعب السوري مع هكذا معارضة يشبه إستبدال كحل النظام بعمى السلطة الكالح ، السلطة حين كانت تريد الضغط على المواطنين كانت تستخدم الضغوط المعنوية أو الوظيفية أو الأمنية التي تتمثل بالتحقيق والإستدعاء إلى مقابلة (المعلم ) بينما يبدع مسلحو المعارضة في فنون التهديد والوعيد ومن لم يرتدع من التهديد له الذبح والقتل .
مساجد الله عادة هي للصلاة والدعاء والتهجد والإعتكاف وحتى للتجمع قبل الإنطلاق في التظاهرات المعارضة ، أما أن يصبح المسجد مركز بث إذاعة التهديدات بقتل أي مواطن يشارك أو ينوي المشاركة في الإستفتاء فذاك ما وعدنا به شيخ الثورة عدنان العرعور وقد صدق وعده وربما هذا هو ما قصده البروفيسور المثقف برهان غليون عن الدولة المدنية في سورية .

و بعيداً عن اليوم المنشود والاستفتاء على مشروع الدستور الجديد ، وقريباً من الوضع الميداني في محافظة ادلب في الشمال السوري، فإن الوضع يختلف عما هو عليه في بقية المحافظات ، فادلب التي ما زالت تعيش على وقع التهديدات التي يمارسها ما يسمى بالجيش السوري الحر ، وما يفعله من ممارسات شنيعة بحق المخالفين له بدء من القتل نهاية بتهديد المواطنين في حال مشاركتهم في الاستفتاء اليوم .
وبالرغم من قيام الجهات الأمنية بالكثير من العمليات للتطهير المدينة من المسلحين ، حيث نفذت الجهات الأمنية في محافظة ادلب أمس عملية نوعية خلال ملاحقتها للمجموعات المسلحة في بلدة آفس والمزارع التابعة لها بناحية سراقب أسفرت عن قتل وجرح عدد منهم والقت القبض على آخرين ممن كانوا يعتدون على قوات حفظ النظام والأهالي ويقومون بتخريب الممتلكات العامة والخاصة.

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February 27th, 2012, 12:41 am


364. zoo said:

The NYT lies shamelessly when all the media repeated that the armed rebels were the ones not allowing the evacuation of the wounded journalists. What else is the NYT lying on ?

“Meanwhile, there was no progress on Sunday in getting the government to allow the evacuation of two wounded foreign correspondents and the bodies of two others who had been killed in an attack on the besieged neighborhood of Baba Amr in Homs last Wednesday, the International Committee of the Red Cross said on its Web site.”

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February 27th, 2012, 12:44 am


365. jad said:

Watching Alqaeda footage-planning clip linked earlier of the terrorist attack in Almidan can be recognized as step by step in this analysis of Stratfor (CIA agents)

Defining the Terrorist Attack Cycle
Terrorist attacks and criminal operations often require meticulous planning and preparation. This process takes place in a six-stage attack cycle: target selection, planning, deployment, the attack, escape and exploitation. During the target selection and planning stages, terrorists conduct pre-operational surveillance to determine the target’s patterns of behavior if it is an individual or possible weaknesses and attack methods if the target is a building or facility. After a target is selected and surveilled, operational planning for the actual attack begins. During this phase, the who, how, where and when of the attack are determined. To make these decisions, the plotters must conduct more surveillance, initiate logistic support and assemble the attack team. When the planning stage is complete, the terrorists deploy for the actual attack — the point of no return. In the deployment stage, the attackers will leave their safe houses, collect any weapons, assemble any improvised explosive devices being used, form into teams and move to the location of the target. If counterterrorism and law enforcement personnel have not stopped them by this point, the terrorists will press home their attack. In the beginning phases of the terrorist attack cycle, planners must determine the method of escape and the precise timing for implementing the escape plan. Without such planning, those carrying out attacks are further vulnerable to detection and capture — an eventuality that risks limiting future operations due to the loss of the operatives and also to the intelligence that law enforcement can glean from the detainees. (In suicide attacks, militants obviously do not need to take into account an escape route.) After the perpetrators successfully stage an attack and escape, they will attempt to derive additional value from it by generating publicity. The goal — beyond flaunting the success and spreading terror — is to gain wider support and sympathy from those most inclined to agree with the perpetrators’ goals and tactics. The best way to elicit widespread coverage, of course, is to carry out spectacular, brazen and particularly violent acts or attacks against prominent people — meaning potential media reaction is considered during the target selection phase of the attack cycle.

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February 27th, 2012, 12:51 am


366. jad said:

“What else is the NYT lying on?”

Syrian SNC Official: A Free Syria Will Never Attack Israel

Syria’s revolution strives to liberate the Syrian people from the dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad, not to establish a government that will attack Israel, according to Riad Muasses, the France-based Syrian National Council (SNC) press spokesman.

“We lost the Golan Heights in 1967 the last time we attacked Israel, and since then the Syrian Army has never had the capacity to attack Israel,” Muasses said.

“The only thing that would happen if we attacked Israel is that we would lose more land. Israel really has nothing to fear about a free Syria,” he went on.

Muasses added that the SNC will not be the government that replaces the al-Assad regime but an organization that facilitates a democratic transition culminating in a free and fair election after which a new parliament would govern a post-al-Assad Syria.

While Muasses said that Syria’s new foreign policy vis-à-vis Russia, Iran and Hezbollah should be decided by a forthcoming parliament, he believed it likely that the new Syrian government would want to distance itself from those parties. “We should have nothing to do with Hezbollah, what have they done for Syria?” Muasses asked.

He added that the post-revolution government would deliberate on the possibility that the revolution would be an opportunity for a new Syria to “liberate the Golan Heights with negotiations with Israel.”

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February 27th, 2012, 12:52 am


367. jad said:

Some Syrians never learn how to play according to the rules they always want to shout instead, hence the humiliation…

[برنامج خاص عن “سوريا ومستقبل الأزمة” على قناة روسية ضخمة لمدة ساعة, شارك فيه 8 أكاديميين روس مخضرمين(ليسوا كلهم شبيحة)

الضيوف: رئيس مدير مركز لدراسة رجب الحديثة سافاروف إيران، رئيس اللجنة الإسلامية في روسيا حيدر جمال، نائب الرئيس الأول للأكاديمية المشكلات الجيوسياسية، كونستانتين Sivkov، الكاتب شخصية عامة يسرائيل شامير، نائب مدير معهد الولايات المتحدة وكندا بافل Zolotarev، المدير العلمي للمعهد Gafurov، خبير استشاري في دائرة العامة، ودكتوراه في الحقوق فلاديمير Ovchinsky؛ مجلس الدوما Bagdasarov، منسق لجنة لدعم الثورة السورية، صالح سليمان.

في الثلث الأول من البرنامج, تم قطع البث بالدعاية وعند العودة مقدم البرنامج فاجئ الجمهور بإعلان التصويت على طرد الفورجي
طرد المعارض السوري سببه ان الروس الباحثون يقولون انه مستاجر وانه قال انه لا يوجد احد ساعد الثورة السورية سوة هاتين اليدين ويشير الى يديه ومن ثم تاقض نفسه وقال ان اميركا دعمتهم بالسلاح
والنتيجة جاءت مذهلة… فتم طرده ولم يعرف كيف يتصرف,
فما كان الا الصراخ ” أين الديمقراطية]

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February 27th, 2012, 1:11 am


368. majedkhaldoun said:

Sorry I was watching the Oscar,I missed all these nonsense.

Bronco there is another mistake you made, The Sabeaa are not the Ahl Alkitab, Ahl Alkitab is a name refer to the jews, Sabeaa are the people who follow Noah, they are very good people who mostly now live in southern Iraq and they are peaceful people, they denounce all kind of violence and they have a treaty with the Shiite to protect them,they are against killing, and while they do not follow Muhammad,they are considered in Islam as good people.

The Bible is the Injil,and it is old and new testement.

There are many wrong and misleading informations that are mentioned by Ghufran, please verify before you believe anything, the first victim of war is THE TRUTH.

The christians in Homs may turn against Bashar,after this bombardment by the regime at the church in Homs.

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February 27th, 2012, 1:19 am


369. majedkhaldoun said:

Ahl Al Kitab are jews and christians.

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February 27th, 2012, 1:25 am


370. ann said:

PROF. LANDIS in The News

No clear successor to Assad’s “coup-proof” rule in Syria – 27 Feb 2012

* No heir apparent within or outside ruling circle

* Assads spent 40 years planning against coup

* US probes divisions, but elite remains together for now

“The ruling establishment there is so entrenched and it is so self-interested, even if, and this is purely speculative, even if they overthrew Assad, it’s not clear that we would like his successor much more,” said a U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity. “There is no heir apparent.”

“The Assads have been planning for this for 40 years, for a Sunni uprising against them. And that’s why they’ve poured family members and sectarian members into the top upper ranks. It’s all about loyalty to coup-proof this regime,” said Joshua Landis, a professor at the University of Oklahoma who writes a newsletter on Syrian politics.

“The place is one exercise in nepotism,” Landis said.

“Almost anyone in the security services as of today would have good reason to fear for their future in a Syria in which the regime has fallen,” said Paul Pillar, a Georgetown University professor and former top CIA analyst.

“Syria is a police state with a very strong military and intelligence capability inside Syria,” the U.S. official said.

“They are pervasive throughout Syria, they have sophisticated means of obtaining information and that is something the opposition has to battle,” the official said.

“They are heavily networked, literally and figuratively, inside the country. They use a variety of collection means at their disposal to obtain information. It is your classic police state,” he said.

U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told a recent congressional hearing that one factor to watch is the “cohesion of the elites.”

“And while we’ve seen signs of some of the seniors in the Assad regime making contingency plans to evacuate, move families, move financial resources, to this point they’ve held together,” he said.

“Assad himself probably because of his psychological need to emulate his father, sees no other option, but to continue to try to crush the opposition,” Clapper said. “Short of a coup or something like that, Assad will hang in there and continue to do as he’s done.”


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February 27th, 2012, 1:36 am


371. jad said:

As if the Russians need another reason to be against similar background terrorists in Syria:

Putin assassination plan foiled

Russian and Ukrainian intelligence services have successfully foiled terrorist plans to assassinate Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, according to Russia’s Channel One.
Russia’s Channel One said on Monday the internationally-wanted criminals detained in Ukrainian city of Odessa confessed they had intended to assassinate Putin. The attack was supposed to be carried out in Moscow right after the presidential elections of March 4.
One of the two initially detained revealed they had flown into Ukraine from the United Arab Emirates via Turkey. They got all the instructions from Russia’s most-wanted terrorist Doku Umarov. According to the detained, they were instructed to carry out a number of attacks in Moscow and to plan a further attack on Putin.
The detained also informed about another group participant, who was later arrested in Ukraine. The suspect is now cooperating with investigators in fear of possible extradition to Russia.
The information on the detention of the alleged terrorists in Ukraine became known at the beginning of February. However the details of the detention and the goals of the suspects have not been disclosed.
The press-secretary of Russia’s head of government and presidential hopeful has confirmed the report.
“I confirm the information, but make no comment on it,” Russia’s Itar-Tass news agency quotes Dmitry Peskov as saying on Monday.

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February 27th, 2012, 1:40 am


372. ann said:

Prof Landis said:

“””He is doomed because he’s the LAST minoritarian regime in the Middle East,” Landis said. “One presumes that they will eventually fall in this age of democratic revolution and popular revolt.”””

Are you forgetting the minoritarian ruler of Bahrain Prof. Landis?!

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February 27th, 2012, 1:41 am


373. jad said:

I’m sure the Syrian Christians trust Alsha2fe so much they will believe every thing he says, especially with a ‘peaceful’ ‘non-sectarian’ and ‘tolerant’ ‘piece’ of work like him, his MB history is his ‘bright’ witness:

رفض مراقب عام “الإخوان المسلمين” بسوريا رياض الشقفة، كلام رئيس أساقفة حلب للكلدان المطران أنطوان أودو بأن “المسيحيين هم الأقلية الأكثر تهديدا من جراء الحرب الأهلية، وهم يحاولون الفرار من البلاد، وهم يشعرون بالعجز في مواجهة تصاعد العنف المستمر منذ أشهر عدة”، معتبرا أنه بالنسبة إلى أن “عددا كبيرا من المسيحيين، يمثل الهرب السبيل الوحيد للخلاص، على غرار ما يحدث في بلدان الشرق الأوسط الأخرى، وفي العراق بشكل خصوصي”، فإنه كلام يصدر على لسان من يجهل التاريخ.
وأشار الشقفة، في حديث لصحيفة “الشرق الأوسط” الى أن “الجميع يعرف أنه عندما كان المسيحيون يضطهدون كانوا يلجأون إلى سوريا، والطائفية لم يعرفها بلدنا إلا في عهد حزب “البعث”، مؤكدا أن هذه المخاوف غير حقيقية ولا تمت إلى الواقع بصلة، وهي من صنع النظام الذي يلعب لعبته لتخويف الطوائف من بعضها والتلويح بحرب أهلية، ولا سيما الأقليات منهم.
ولفت الشقفة إلى أن جزءا من المسيحيين – كغيرهم من الطوائف – يشاركون في الثورة، موضحا أنهم يتعرضون لضغوط كبيرة من النظام وأعوانه.
وأكد الشقفة أنه “إذا استطاعت المعارضة أن تحصل على الأكثرية في المجلس النيابي لن نكرر سياسة النظام ولن نقصي أحدا، سنتعاون مع الجميع لأن الوطن بحاجة إلى سواعد كل الأفرقاء في الوطن”، مشيرا الى أن “المجلس الوطني الذي يمثل كل الطوائف خير دليل على سياستنا ونهجنا في العمل الذي نعتمده في المرحلة القادمة”.

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February 27th, 2012, 1:55 am


374. ann said:

China calls US critique on Syria “super arrogant” – 27 February 2012

The official newspaper of China’s Communist Party has described US criticism of Beijing’s stance on Syria as “super arrogant”.

“The United States’ motive in parading as a ‘protector’ of the Arab peoples is not difficult to imagine,” the People’s Daily said in a commentary.

“The problem is, what moral basis does it have for this patronising and egotistical super-arrogance and self-confidence?”

“Even now, violence continues unabated in Iraq and ordinary people enjoy no security. This alone is enough for us to draw a huge question mark over the sincerity and efficacy of US policy,” it added.


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February 27th, 2012, 2:01 am


375. ann said:

Putin to West: Calm ‘militarist itch’ through cooperation – 27 February, 2012

Arab Spring

­Prime Minister Putin insists that people in Russia sympathized with those who were seeking democratic reforms in the Arab countries. However, it eventually became clear that events in many of those countries “were not following a civilized scenario.”

“Instead of asserting democracy and protecting the rights of the minority, attempts were being made to depose an enemy and to stage a coup, which only resulted in the replacement of one dominant force with another, even more aggressive dominant force,” he said.

Putin believes that the biased position of the foreign powers that were interfering in such conflicts gave developments a negative aura.

“A number of countries did away with the Libyan regime by using air power in the name of humanitarian support. The revolting slaughter of Muammar Gaddafi – not just medieval but primeval – was the incarnation of these actions,” he said, adding that, “No one should be allowed to use the Libyan scenario in Syria.”

The international community must work to achieve an internal Syrian reconciliation, Putin stressed, pointing out that Russia is against the adoption of any resolutions at the UN Security Council that could be interpreted as a signal to armed interference in Syria’s domestic developments.

In the light of the reaction to the Russian-Chinese UN veto, which he called “almost hysterical,” Putin warned the West against the temptation to resort to a “simple, previously used tactic: If the UN Security Council approves of a given action – fine; if not – we will establish a coalition of the states concerned and strike anyway.”

“I cannot understand what causes this itch for military intervention” he wondered.

“It appears that with the Arab Spring countries, as with Iraq, Russian companies are losing their decades-long positions in local commercial markets and are being deprived of large commercial contracts,” he observed. “The niches thus vacated are being filled by the economic operatives of the states that had a hand in the change of the ruling regime.”

With that in mind, Putin says, it would be reasonable to conclude that the tragic events have been encouraged by someone’s interest in a re-division of the commercial market, rather than a concern for human rights.

Mentioning the Arab-Israeli conflict, the prime minister regretted that the “magic recipe” for a final settlement has not been invented yet, but, he believes, it would be unacceptable to give up on this issue.

“Considering our close ties with the Israeli and Palestinian leaders, Russian diplomacy will continue to work for the resumption of the peace process both on a bilateral basis and within the format of the Quartet on the Middle East, while coordinating its steps with the Arab League,” he continued.


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February 27th, 2012, 2:24 am


376. jad said:

From FB
(و تتوالى الإنشقاقات و الذي منو 
العرعور يهاجم مجلس أسطنبول و يسألهم :
من فوضكم بأن تتحدثو بإسمنا ؟؟ و يتابع نحن لا يمثلنا لا مجلس وطني ولا عفريتي ولا شيطاني 
على الهامش : معو حق حتى الشياطين ما بترضى تكون قادة لهالفوار )
عدنان ” الجربوع ” يهاجم المجلس اللاوطني

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February 27th, 2012, 2:24 am


377. ann said:

Analysis: Oil price rise raises specter of global recession – Sun Feb 26, 2012

A jump in energy prices is jamming the slow-turning cogs of an economic recovery in the West, but that may be nothing compared to the economic shock an Israeli attack on Iran would cause.

Oil rose to a 10-month high above $125 a barrel Friday, prompting responses from policymakers around the world including U.S. President Barack Obama, watching U.S. gasoline prices follow crude to push toward $4 a gallon in an election year.

Europe may have more to fear as its fragile economic growth falters and Greece, Italy and Spain look for alternative sources to the crude they currently import from Iran, where an EU oil embargo, intended to make Iran abandon what the West fears are efforts to develop nuclear weapons, comes into force in June.


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February 27th, 2012, 2:56 am


378. Mina said:

And the Sabeans, Majed (see Quran, 2:62).

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February 27th, 2012, 3:23 am


379. Antoine said:

GHUFRAN said : “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.”

I’m sorry but I did not quite get what you’re trying to say. What “message” are you talking about, GHufran ?

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February 27th, 2012, 3:53 am


380. Antoine said:

356. GHUFRAN said:

“Here is what I was told about alhamidiyyah in Homs……”

I am sorry sir, but it seems you have been a victim of misinformation from biased sources. The information you got was clouded by the fog of war. Christian support for the opposition was highest in Homs over all other places in the country. Of late tyhe Christians have been less prominent in the oppsoition in Homs, and the reason is the fear caused by the massive artilery shelling of Homs and the presence of large numbers of regime snipers in al Hamidiyah. FSA presence in al Hamididyah was not too great, as a result the Christians of the area were feeling very unsecure. The Baath Party HQ was used as a base ofr Air Force Intelligence and was used to detain and interrogate a number of Christian youth who are active in the LCCs. Their parents, and other Christian residents sent an appeal to the FSA to clear the neighborhood of the regime thugs. The FSA launched a concerted attack at the Baath HQ and other regime bases. A fierce gunfight ensued in which the Church was shot up, and FYI the shell that landed on the Church was a 105 mm shell used by a BMP-2 armoured personell carier. The regime thugs were driven out, the prisoners were released and the Baath HQ was not burned down, but suffered damage from RPG hits fired by rebels. A lone civilan was shot by a stray bullet.

Al Hamidiyeh is now totally in safe hands of the FSA and the residents at last got relief after 11 months of bullying and intimidation from the regime. Indeed, many resiednts have had to flee the neighborhood, but those were known mukhabarati families.

That, my friend, is the truth, and my sources are from Christian families in Homs as well. The truth has come out more clearly only when the confusion due to the fog of war was cleared.

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February 27th, 2012, 4:05 am


381. Antoine said:

I should also add, Ghufran, that your account was a sort of cruel joke for the residents of al Hamidyeh who have been living under constant regime bullying for past 11 months. al Hamidyeh was well-known for being an anti-regime neighborhood and had observed a complete shutdown and strike when the SNC gave a strike call for Dignity.

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February 27th, 2012, 4:09 am


382. VOLK said:

“A fierce gunfight ensued in which the Church was shot up, and FYI the shell that landed on the Church was a 105 mm shell used by a BMP-2 armoured personell carier.”

LOL.. What rubbish .. BMP-2 is armed with 30mm automatic gun and can’t use 105mm shells 🙂

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February 27th, 2012, 4:16 am


383. PUNTROAD said:

If Volk’s rebuttal is true (I don’t know anything about BMP-2) then Antoine’s credibilty and that of his ‘Homsi’ sources is shot in the foot.

Eitherway, the sooner the FSA and other lawless armed militias disintegrate the better.

There is a significant difference between not supporting the one-party system and supporting the this armed terrorist rebellion – the former is harmless active citizenship, the latter treason. It seems some fail to appreciate this difference.

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February 27th, 2012, 4:49 am


385. John Khouri said:

@383 – ANTOINE – u say u speak for the residents of Hamidiyeh? Didnt u claim u were a maronite from lebanon months ago? And u were a staunch supporter of Samir Gaegae. My family is from hamidiyeh homs and all my relatives have fled to wadi nasara and mashta halou. How absurd for u to claim that christian homsi’s r with the terrorist revolution. Unlike lebanese who identify themselves by religion before their nationality, the majority of syrians (including christians ) identify themselves as syrian arabs before they classify themselves as christian. Sorry we are not like the maronite “phenocians” who dont claim to be arabs.The FSA terrorists have run out of laneways to control so they come to a christian area of homs and start looting and robbing stores. Christians of Syria are more fanatical with President Assad than any other sect. Why did the terrorists come to hamidiyeh? Who were they claiming to protect us from? Not a single bullet has been fired in hamidiyeh prior to these terrorists coming along. The real reason is that the christians chose to go about their normal day to day lives and that drove the terrorists crazy

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February 27th, 2012, 5:18 am


386. Tara said:

Truth eventually comes out.

The FSA did not block the evacuation of the wounded journalists.  The journalists refused to be evacuated because they mistrust the red crescent.  I mistrust anyone allowed to do anything by the regime.  You just don mot trust hyenas.

Injured British photographer ‘refused to be evacuated’

The wife of the British photographer injured in a rocket strike in Homs has said her husband refused to leave with the Syrian Red Crescent (SRC) ambulances because he was advised they could not be trusted.

Medics from the SRC, assisted by the International Committee of the Red Cross, had entered the city’s besieged Baba Amr district on Friday in hopes of rescuing the Sunday Times photographer Paul Conroy and the French journalist Edith Bouvier who are in need of medical attention. “They were advised that the Syrian Red Crescent were not to be trusted and so they refused to leave with them unless they had somebody from the British or French embassy with them,” Mr Conroy’s wife Kate told BBC Radio 4. The events are testament to the levels of distrust in the beleaguered city.

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February 27th, 2012, 6:55 am


387. majedkhaldoun said:

Ghufran admitted that he does not own the truth,I do not think that any informations should be said here till it is verified,but people like Ghufran and Jad do not abide with this idea,
Ghufran once said he did not know that Zennobia was Arabic,even that it is well known fact, how he went through studying in Syria and he did not know that, it is beyond any imagination.

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February 27th, 2012, 7:43 am


388. DAWOUD said:
سوريون يسخرون من “مسرحية الاستفتاء” على الدستور


سخرت أعداد كبيرة من المحتجين والمعارضين السوريين الذين يطالبون برحيل الرئيس بشار الأسد من الاستفتاء على الدستور الجديد وإعلان الإضراب احتجاجاً على ما أسموه “مسرحية الاستفتاء”، معبرين بذلك عن تشكيكهم بصدق نوايا النظام السوري حيال إجراء الاستفتاء على مشروع الدستور الجديد.

وتعددت الأساليب في التعبير عن امتعاض المعارضين واستنكارهم من الدعوة للاستفتاء على الدستور الجديد والذي يبقي على صلاحيات واسعة للرئيس.

وفي أحد المقاطع على “يوتيوب” يظهر مراسلو التلفزيون السوري أثناء تغطيتهم مراكز الاستفتاء وبثه أحد الناشطين، يبين فيه خلو مركز الاستفتاء في اللاذقية من المواطنين، ليعج المقطع بمئات التعليقات بعد دقائق من تحميله.
مؤامرة جزر “الواق واق”

ويسخر أحد المعلقين على خلو المركز من المشاركين مشيراً إلى أن ذلك عبارة عن مؤامرة من بعض الدول التي أطلق عليها أسماء مثل جزر الواق واق وسكان كوكب زحل على سوريا.

في حين يستهزئ آخر من كلمة أحد مراقبي الاستفتاء الذي عبر فيها عن ولائه للرئيس السوري منتقداً التناقض في افتقاد الحيادية في النتائج المعدة مسبقاً من “التمثيلية الغبية” على حد قوله.

ويشكك معلق في صدق مراقب حين أكد هذا المراقب جهوزية “صناديق الانتخابات” في حديثه الى التلفزيون مما دعا مذيعة التلفزيون بتذكيره أن الحدث هو استفتاء وليس انتخابا، متسائلاً عن صدقية من لا يعرف الانتخاب من الاستفتاء.

وصور مجموعة من الشباب السوري في بلدة حاس التابعة لمحافظة إدلب مشهداً قصيراً يسخرون فيه من الاستفتاء، حيث يظهر المشهد شباباً يرتدي بعضهم زياً عسكرياً، يجبرون أفراداً من الشعب على التصويت لصالح بشار، عبر ضربهم وشتمهم مقلدين اللهجة الساحلية وهي لهجة الرئيس بشار الأسد، في إشارة إلى أن النظام يُجبر الشعب على التصويت لصالحه، مُدعياً أنه يطبق الديمقراطية، في حين يرحب نفس الشباب بآخر يرغب بالتصويت لصالح النظام، حيث يُقبِّلونه ويمنحونه مبلغاً مالياً مقابل تصويته.
استفتاء “أبو عنتر”

بينما عبر أهالي منطقة عامودا وهي إحدى مدن محافظة الحسكة عن استيائهم على طريقتهم حيث نظم الأهالي “حفلا استفتائيا” وذلك من خلال إيداع بطاقات كتب عليها “ارحل” و”انقلع ياغبي” داخل صندوق وذلك على وقع بعض أغاني الثورة

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February 27th, 2012, 8:03 am


389. Anton said:

Dear John Khouri @ 387

your are totally right , the person @ 383 , couple days ago told us different story about Christians orthodox hates the Muslims Suni , which was totally untrue too , with all those thump down het got , he has been declared a persona non grata on this blog

And you are again right, although we are proud to be Christians , but we are Syrian first .. No one will change that in Syria, which also means we love all other Syrians regardless their faiths , we are all Syrians first.

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February 27th, 2012, 8:14 am


390. DAWOUD said:

388. TARA said:

“Truth eventually comes out.”

Nice for the truth to come out despite the fact the King Murderer the Second (Bashar)yesterday said that he controls “land” and his goal was to conquer the space. He wasn’t talking about sending research and telecom. satellites to space, but rather on having his SANA (which is UNASHAMEDLY quoted by some on this blog)propaganda machine prevail over Satellite TV: Aljazeera, etc.
Below is an article in London’s al-Quds al-Arabi on Bashar’s desire to conquer space.
PS., his wife was standing with him and she seemed like wanting to sing Um-Kulthoum’s song: “give me my freedom, release by hands.” لأطلال ( مقطع أعطني حريتي ) – أم كلثوم\26z499.htm&arc=data\201222-26\26z499.htm
دمشق ـ ‘القدس العربي’ من كامل صقر ووكالات: قتل 34 مدنيا وجنديا سوريا على الاقل الأحد في قتال على مستقبل سورية تزامن مع تصويت على دستور جديد قد يبقي الرئيس بشار الأسد في السلطة حتى عام 2028، فيما اعلن المجلس الوطني السوري انه ‘يمد اليد’ الى الطائفة العلوية من اجل بناء ‘دولة المواطنة والقانون’.
وتباين مستوى إقبال السوريين على المشاركة في الاستفتاء بين منطقة وأخرى ومدينة وأخرى تبعاً لمواقفهم السياسية مؤيدة كانت أم معارِضة.
وشارك الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد وزوجته اسماء في الاستفتاء على الدستور في مركز للاقتراع في مبنى هيئة الإذاعة والتلفزيون في ساحة الأمويين في وسط العاصمة، وقال الاسد بعد ادلائه بصوته أن نظامه يحكم السيطرة على الأرض تماماً، بينما يفتقد السيطرة على الفضاء، في إشارة إلى الهجمة الإعلامية التي يتهمها بالتحريض على سورية، إلا أنه استدرك: ‘يمكن أن يكونوا أقوى في الفضاء لكننا أقوى على الأرض من الفضاء ومع ذلك نريد أن نربح الأرض والفضاء’.

الاسد: الاعلام يربح الفضاء.. لكننا نسيطر على الارض


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February 27th, 2012, 8:28 am


391. Anton said:

Dear Syrians

Please permit me to tell you a true story

In Holland they have an event called The International Four Day Marches Nijmegen (or Vierdaagse) is the largest marching event in the world. It is organised every year in Nijmegen in mid-July as a means of promoting sport and exercise. Participants walk 30, 40 or 50 kilometers daily, and, on completion, receive a royally approved medal (Vierdaagsekruis). The participants are mostly civilians, but there are also a few thousand military participants from USA calibrating the liberation of the City from the Germans.

After the US invasion to Iraq in 2003 , couple days from that year’s event ,, the Dutch news paper came with a story about a “terrorist” wants to kill the Americans those participating in the event has been arrested and criminal act being averted
Next day, on the first page of all news papers again with big bold letters said “ the arrested terrorist was a Syrian “ and start telling fake stories .

A day after the sensational story disappeared from the front pages to be a little story in the back pages, with the police declaration this time saying the following:

A “fake” Lebanese came to the police saying that he knew a Syrian wants to plan to kill the Americans during that event , the police has supervised the Syrian and has been arrested for interrogation , they found out that the “fake” Lebanese was entered illegally in Holland and for the last couple weeks has been given shelter by a friend Syrian’s family house , the Syrian was just emotionally upset about the whole invasion in the same way the whole world at that time and was only kind of talk around a cup of tea with his friend nothing more at that time… but the “fake” Lebanese attention was trying to prove to the police that he is a good citizen which could be awarded with a work permit and a legal status in the country.. Unfortunately for him, the Dutch police has arrested the “fake” Lebanese and deported him back to Lebanon immediately, and Syrian back to his family.

, truth always prevails

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February 27th, 2012, 8:37 am


392. majedkhaldoun said:

It was so funny from Bashar who said he wants to take the space too,this guy is a clown I am ashamed that he is Syria president,may be we should call those people who support him spacers

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February 27th, 2012, 8:51 am


393. ann said:

Prince Talal bin Abdul Aziz, the Brother of the King of Saudi Arabia Warns of Qatar’s Scheme to Divide Saudi Arabia and to Hit Syria, as a Service to the zionist Entity

Prince Talal admitted that “the sons of al-Thani (Qatar) will later on attempt to divide the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, confine Al Saud in the mini-state “of Mecca and Medina,” as well as take a part of the Kingdom on the borders with Jordan and use it for the resettlement of Palestinian refugees.”

The Arab figure added that “the USA will not keep the Kingdom’s territory united. It transformed Qatar into an arm to be used against the Arab world and the Gulf in particular. Chaos will reach the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Qatar has made an agreement with a number of princes in Saudi Arabia who have accepted an alliance with Qatar, following American instructions.”

The Saudi prince who will soon held a press conference disclosed the existence of “advanced security ties between Saudi officials and zionist officials that are planned to target the Arab identity of the region and to be used against Syria and Palestine. They also plan to use Saudi Arabia as the spearhead of the European-American-Israeli aggression against Iran.”


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February 27th, 2012, 9:01 am


394. DAWOUD said:

375. ANN said:

Prof Landis said:

“””He is doomed because he’s the LAST minoritarian regime in the Middle East,” Landis said. “One presumes that they will eventually fall in this age of democratic revolution and popular revolt.”””

Are you forgetting the minoritarian ruler of Bahrain Prof. Landis?!

I agree with Prof. Landis. As to Bahraini King, I support majority rule in Bahrain, which should give rights to ALL THOSE BORN IN BAHRAIN AND THOSE NATURALIZED THERE BECAUSE OF LONG RESIDENCY. My parents are Syrian-American and became naturalized U.S. citizens. I was born here and I am a U.S. citizen. When al-Wifaq, the sectarian Shi’a party talks about “naturalized” it reveals its sectarian intentions to create a Shia state, a puppet of Iran and Hizballah. Ali Salman, the Wifaq leader, seems like Hasan Nasrallah in-waiting. He is hiding behind “Tuqiah” (saying something and truly believing in something else, which is a common practice in Shia Islam) and his complaints about “naturalized” is only because they are NOT shias from Lebanon or Iraq, or Iran,

Free Bahrain for ALL, not just al-Wifaq’s favored people. It was recently reported that al-Wifaq is seeking counsel from Nasrallah and hiring the con artist, Ahmad Shalabi (who is a dual American-Iranian agent) to lobby the United States on behalf of Bahraini Shias.
Funny that those propagandists for Syria’s dictatorship champion Bahraini democracy. I support Bahraini democracy for ALL, including the naturalized and long residents. If I don’t my parents would be now U.S. citizens.

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February 27th, 2012, 9:07 am


395. ann said:


al-Wifaq, Iran, Hizballah. Ali Salman, Hasan Nasrallah and Ahmad Shalabi did NOT attack us on 9/11. Al-Qaeda did.

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February 27th, 2012, 9:19 am


396. DAWOUD said:

To 396. ann:
I agree with you that al-Qaida is a terrorist group that attacked us, and I believe that it should be defeated.
Ms. Ann seems to resent al-Qaida but loves Shia terrorists who kill Americans. Isn’t strange that an American loves Shia terrorists and defends Syria’s King Murderer the Second (Bashar)?
On why one shouldn’t believe Hasan Nasrallah, Ali Salman, Ahmad Shalabi, see this on Taqiyya in Shia Islam:

Below are articles on Shia terror:

“Hezbollah-linked Lebanese prisoner in Iraq faces U.S. military charges”
February 25, 2012 02:00 AM
The Daily Star

Read more:
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News ::

2)Hizballah’s/Iran’s/shia Saudis’ role in the terrorist attack in Saudi Arabia:
“Khobar Towers indictments returned”

3) on Robert Fisk’s valid view that Iran and Syria hired on of Hafez al-Assad’s Palestinian agents to carry out the PAN AM 103 terorist attack, see:
NOTE from me: the dying Libyan is having a book very soon, watch out Iran and Syria.

4) Ahmad Chalabi indirectly “killed” many Americans when he lobbied for the invasion of Iraq, which resulted in the killing of many Americans and Iraqis
5) Iran was giving al-Sadr’s Shia “Mahdi Army” IEDs to kill Americans (in addition to sheltering al-Qa’ida’s terrorists who fled Afghanistan in 2001):
“Officials: Iran behind advanced, lethal IED”

PS, before you play the “resistance” card, I am against Zionism and what it has done to the Palestinians and the Lebanese. I am also critical of the U.S. foreign policy that supports Israeli colonialism.

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February 27th, 2012, 10:10 am


397. SyrianPatriot said:

Syrian democracy at its best:

“The Interior Ministry on Monday announced the results of the referendum on the new draft resolution of Syria, with 89.4% of voters agreeing to it.

In a press conference, Minister of Interior Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ibrahim al-Shaar said that that 8,376,447 citizens voted in the referendum on the new draft constitution, which constitutes 57.4% of the 14,589,954 eligible voters, with 7,490,319 (89.4% of voters) agreeing to it while 753,208 (9% of voters) didn’t agree.”

A nice interpretation I found on twitter on the Results states:
“57.4% of eligible voters have voted in favor for the new referendum… the rest are killed or arrested. ”!/KareemLailah/status/174138576374743042

Maybe someone did his math wrong. Usually, we get 99% in favor of tyranny.

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February 27th, 2012, 10:11 am


398. ann said:

Syria’s new draft constitution win 89.4 % support – 2012-02-27

DAMASCUS, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) – Syria’s Interior Minister Mohammad Chaar said Sunday that as many as 89.4 percent voters supported the new draft constitution.

The results showed that those who approved the draft constitution were 89.4 percent while 9 percent said “No” to it, Chaar said, adding that a total of 7,490,319 voters Okayed the constitution.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said that the new draft constitution would transit Syria to a new phase, stressing that “this is a historical day in the lives of Syrians.”


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February 27th, 2012, 10:12 am


399. ann said:

EU tightens sanctions against Syria – 2012-02-27

According to a conclusion adopted by the EU Foreign Minister who met in Brussels, trade in gold, precious metals and diamonds with Syrian public bodies and the central bank would no longer be permitted.

Cargo flights operated by Syrian carriers would no longer have access to EU airports, with the exception of mixed passenger and cargo flights.

The 27-member bloc also froze the assets of the Syrian central bank within the EU, but said legitimate trade could continue under strict conditions.

Meanwhile, seven ministers of the Syrian government who are associated with the human rights violations were subjected to asset freezes and visa bans.


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February 27th, 2012, 10:34 am


400. DAWOUD said:

To 396. ann:
I agree with you that al-Qaida is a terrorist group that attacked us, and I believe that it should be defeated.
Ms. Ann seems to resent al-Qaida but loves Shia terrorists who kill Americans. Isn’t strange that an American loves Shia terrorists and defends Syria’s King Murderer the Second (Bashar)?
On why one shouldn’t believe Hasan Nasrallah, Ali Salman, Ahmad Shalabi, see this on Taqiyya in Shia Islam:

Below are articles on Shia terror:

“Hezbollah-linked Lebanese prisoner in Iraq faces U.S. military charges”
February 25, 2012 02:00 AM
The Daily Star

Read more:
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News ::

2)Hizballah’s/Iran’s/shia Saudis’ role in the terrorist attack in Saudi Arabia:
“Khobar Towers indictments returned”

3) on Robert Fisk’s valid view that Iran and Syria hired one of Hafez al-Assad’s Palestinian agents to carry out the PAN AM 103 terorist attack, see:
NOTE from me: the dying Libyan is having a book very soon, watch out Iran and Syria.

4) Ahmad Chalabi indirectly “killed” many Americans when he lobbied for the invasion of Iraq, which resulted in the killing of many Americans and Iraqis
5) Iran was giving al-Sadr’s Shia “Mahdi Army” IEDs to kill Americans (in addition to sheltering al-Qa’ida’s terrorists who fled Afghanistan in 2001):
“Officials: Iran behind advanced, lethal IED”

PS, before you play the “resistance” card, I am against Zionism and what it has done to the Palestinians and the Lebanese. I am also critical of the U.S. foreign policy that supports Israeli colonialism.

Results of the fraudulent/silly Syrian Referendum:
“Syria says new constitution approved
Charter meant to end decades of one-party rule receives 89.4 per cent approval, state TV says.”

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February 27th, 2012, 10:39 am


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