Homs: The Capital of Syrian Uprising

Homs: The Capital of Syrian Uprising

By a Syrian expat originally from Homs for Syria Comment
Posted by Camille Otrakji.

This article is an attempt to provide a brief synopsis of the history and the socio-economic fabric of the city. This will help explain why Homs is the center of anti-government demonstrations and potentially the future site of intense sectarian violence.

Homs before the 1900s
Homs was a small city with less than 50,000 inhabitants (Now around 1 million) . The city was largely homogenous (Sunni Muslim) albeit having an affluent Christian minority (<10%). The city and its neighboring countryside was under the Ottoman rule which was facilitated by cooperation between the city’s religious and commercial elite on one hand, and Ottoman governors and garrisons (mostly Turkmen and in general foreign to the city) as well as countryside Aghas and their men (The Dandachies in Talkalakh and the Sweidans in Hesyieh) on the other hand. Intermarriages between the two groups helped diminish conflict between them.

Homs from the Arab Revolt through independence
Upon the great Arab Revolt, the city’s local and traditional leadership broke away from the Ottoman patronage. Families that once represented religious leaderships (most notably the Atassis) allied themselves with Sharif Hussien and recruited the tribal strong men of Dandachi and Bani Khalid to their cause. The same commercial and religious elite thrived. Affluence was largely a family business while social mobility was achieved though public office and/or marriage among landowning, religious and commercial families. This continued to be the case through the French Mandate and early independence years and the city social and power makeup remained unchanged. Economically, the city was largely a market to the surrounding countryside.

The Arab Socialist era and the new social fabric
The creation of the Syrian army by the French, which was made up mostly by minorities, the advancement of Arab socialist ideologies, and the creation and expansion of government bureaucracy and civil servant class, helped weaken the traditional social order in the city. An alliance was forged between low-level civil servants, army officers, and countryside peasantry (from all sects), all under the umbrella of socialism, helped create a hybrid socialist-military rule.

People from the countryside flooded the city creating new neighborhoods. The Alawis occupied the south-eastern quarters. Christian newcomers occupied large parts of the old city and the Sunni settled west, north, and east of the old city walls. Civil service and access to education became the new vehicle to social mobility (for example a teacher’s salary in the 60s-70s was enough for a family to live a middle class life).

Sectarian Tensions
Things changed in the late 70s aspower became more and more concentrated in the hands of minority army officers and it became evident that minorities and Baathists were favored for government jobs. This and other factors of regional politics created sectarian tensions in the country and the city and the clashes between the Mulsim Brothers and the government were largely sectarian and very violent.

The defeat of the Muslim brotherhood in 1982 in Hamah, and the government’s retaliatory policies that followed, created a sense of defeat in the Sunni community. Also, the economic collapse 1980s facilitated the return of traditional social dynamics in the community: commerce, marriage, and working abroad (mostly in the Persian Gulf States) became the vehicle for social mobility in that community. The traditional Sunni community was punished and was no longer an active participant in the state.

Homs in the last 20 years
Sunnis from the countryside who had occupied the vast poor neighborhoods east and north of the city integrated well into Homsi society. They quickly adopted the city’s social norms and developed antipathy towards the state for the same reasons that the indigenous inhabitants of the city’s core had. This created a unified “Sunni” identity across all city neighborhoods whether rich or poor, religious or not.

Alawites on the other hand didn’t integrate as well. They retained their distinct accent and their links to their home villages, and are active participants in the hated government agencies (Army, Mukhabarat, and civil service).

Feelings of deep mistrust characterize the relationship between the Sunni and Alawi communities.

The risk of Civil War
Unlike the events with the Muslim Brotherhood in the 80s, the demonstrations in Homs are not fueled by religious hatred or Salafi extremism; instead it’s fueled by the desire for a more political participation in the country and equal opportunity. All said, the brutal crackdown on demonstrators is intensifying resent in the Sunni community and its putting it at odds with the Alawi community that largely supports the regime. As a result, Homs is the likely candidate for neighborhood-to-neighborhood civil war similar to that of Lebanon’s civil war.

Comments (396)

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352. Tara said:


UN General Assembly: Condemn the Violence in Syria
OCTOBER 20, 2011
To: All Member States of the UN General Assembly

Dear Ambassador,

In light of the Security Council’s failure to address the violence by Syria’s security forces against their own people, we call on the UN General Assembly urgently to adopt a resolution demanding that the Syrian government immediately halt all unlawful use of lethal and excessive force against demonstrators, end the arbitrary arrest and torture of detainees, account for all those who have been subject to enforced disappearances, cooperate with the Commission of Inquiry established by the UN Human Rights Council, allow the unrestricted deployment of human rights monitors, and grant access to humanitarian organizations and independent journalists.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, has raised “credible allegations of crimes against humanity in Syria”and has encouraged the Security Council to refer the situation to the International Criminal Court. The Syrian Government “has consistently used excessive force to crush peaceful protests,” Pillay said, denouncing “a devastatingly remorseless toll of human lives.” According to the UN, since March, more than 3,000 people have been killed, including at least 187 children, while thousands more have been arrested, detained, forcibly disappeared, and tortured.

On October 4, after seven months of near complete inaction, Russia and China vetoed a Security Council resolution calling on Syria to end the violence against its citizens. India, Brazil, and South Africa abstained from the vote, invoking concerns that the condemnatory resolution might lead to the imposition of sanctions, while claiming to be deeply concerned with the plight of the Syrian people.

It is incumbent upon the General Assembly to take action where the Security Council has failed to do so. Resolution 377A of the UN General Assembly states that “if the Security Council, because of lack of unanimity of the permanent members, fails to exercise its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security […], the General Assembly shall consider the matter immediately.”

The General Assembly resolution should also ask the UN Secretary-General to name a special envoy for Syria, as well as refer the upcoming report of the Commission of Inquiry back to the UN Security Council for further consideration.

We believe the time has come for the General Assembly to play its part by making clear the world body will no longer stay silent, while Syrians are the victims of government-orchestrated violence and grave human rights violations.


With highest regards,

The African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies (ACDHRS)

The African Democracy Forum (ADF)

Algerian League for the Defense of Human Rights (LADDH)

Amnesty International

Arab Foundation for Civil Society and Human Rights Support, Egypt

The Arab Penal Reform Organization (APRO), Egypt

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI)

Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)

Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC)

Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE), Egypt

Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)

CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation

Conectas Direitos Humanos

Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies (DCHRS), Syria

East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project (EHAHRDP)

The Egyptian Association for Community Participation Enhancement

Egyptian Foundation for Advancement of the Childhood Condition (EFACC)

Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR)

Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect (GCR2P)

The Human Rights Center for the Assistance of Prisoners (HRCAP), Egypt

Human Rights First Society, Saudi Arabia

Human Rights Watch

International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)

International Refugee Rights Initiative (IRRI)

International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)

The Iraqi Human Right Society in Denmark

Moroccan Organization for Human Rights

Palestinian Human Rights Organization, Lebanon

Yemeni Organization for Defending Rights and Democratic Freedoms 

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October 20th, 2011, 8:25 pm


353. Tara said:

In Praise of Robert Ford, the Saving Grace of America’s Syria Policy
The EditorsOctober 20, 2011 | 12:00 am


Since the Syrian people began their uprising against the rule of Bashar al-Assad, Americans have been told repeatedly that there is little they can do about the situation. Experts in think tanks, universities, and the halls of U.S. government have been eager to remind us that the conditions in Syria—with its fractured opposition, brutal and loyal military forces, and fragile regional neighborhood—simply didn’t leave much room for Americans to make a difference.

But Robert Ford, our ambassador in Damascus, never seemed to accept this simplistic line of thinking. By bearing witness and speaking out relentlessly from inside the country, Ford has, at great personal risk, kept world attention focused on the crimes of the Syrian government. More so than either President Obama or Secretary of State Clinton, both of whom have been far too tepid in their public pronouncements, Ford has been an exemplary spokesman for liberal values and human rights.

Now, Ford is facing the prospect of being forced to return to the United States, not because the Syrian government might throw him out, but because Republicans in Congress might essentially recall him. This is insanity.

FORD’S WORK HAS BEEN invaluable for any number of reasons. For one thing, the directness of his rhetoric has helped to clarify what is taking place in Syria: “What the government is doing now is, it’s literally going house to house and it’s rounding up people,” Ford told Christiane Amanpour in August. “It’s frightful. It’s abominable.”

He has also made uniquely powerful gestures of solidarity with the opposition. On July 7, Ford made an unscheduled visit to the western city of Hama, where in the preceding week, tens of thousands had taken to the streets to protest, and more than a dozen had been murdered by government security forces. As the ambassador’s car inched down a mobbed street, protestors greeted him with roses and olive branches. (Pro-Assad thugs, in response, attempted an attack on the U.S. embassy in Damascus a couple days later.)

Moreover, Ford has worked to counteract the regime’s propaganda by communicating directly with Syrians through Facebook and Twitter. “This isn’t about Western military intervention,” he wrote in a September Facebook note. “This isn’t about oil (many governments have banned its import). This isn’t about Israel or the West wanting to dominate the Arab world (an old, discredited government line). This is about basic political freedoms from the United Nations’ Human Rights Charter—signed by Syria, don’t forget—which calls for freedom of speech and freedom of peaceful assembly.”

The ambassador’s willingness to anger Assad and put himself at risk has made him a hero among some protestors. As The New York Times quoted one activist saying during Ford’s July visit to Hama, “Residents feel a kind of protection with the presence of the ambassador. The authorities wouldn’t dare react with violence.” That sense of protection is sometimes quite literal. The turn of events at a September funeral for a murdered activist suggests the government is unwilling to act violently in his presence: Not typically shy about murdering mourners at public funerals, Assad’s security forces waited until Ford had left before raiding the wake.

Through it all, Ford has remained a steadfast advocate of non-violent protest. He has warned the opposition that if they choose to take up arms, it could lead to a civil war akin to the Sunni-Shia conflict that wracked Iraq in 2006. (Assad’s Alawite Shia minority is vastly outnumbered by the country’s Sunni population.)

The onus is now on Republican senators to allow Ford to remain in Syria. Because he was named to his post via recess appointment, Ford will have to give up his ambassadorship if the Senate does not confirm him by December. The GOP line coming from senators like Marco Rubio and Tom Coburn is that we should punish the Assad regime by removing Ford from Damascus. But by doing so, we’d only be punishing its opponents—and preventing a heroic American diplomat from continuing to do his important work.

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October 20th, 2011, 8:36 pm


354. ann said:


Lebanon’s Hariri warns ‘tyrants’ to face Kadhafi’s fate


Lebanon’s Western-backed opposition leader Saad Hariri warned that “despotic regimes” and “tyrants” across the region would face the fate of Libya’s Moamer Kadhafi, killed Thursday in his hometown Sirte.

“The end of Moamer Kadhafi is the inevitable end of all tyrants who have responded to the free, democratic will of their people with killing and oppression and blood,” said the former minister in a statement.

Kadhafi, 69, governed Libya with an iron grip for almost 42 years until a February 15 revolt challenged his rule and pushed the country into civil war which saw his capital overrun in August.

He was killed as former rebels — forces loyal to the internationally recognised National Transitional Council — took Sirte, the flamboyant strongman’s final bastion.

The dramatic death of Kadhafi in Libya offered “a lesson for despotic systems that have taken to tyranny to control their people,” Hariri said, adding that he now hoped to see the people of Syria “win freedom.”

“Any Arab citizen watching the events in Libya is now looking to the revolution of the people in Syria… who deserve to win freedom and democracy after a long fight against decades of repression.”

In Syria, protests calling for greater freedoms and the fall of the regime of Bashar al-Assad erupted mid-March but were met with violent crackdown on dissent that has killed more than 3,000 people, according to the UN.

Hariri, whose government collapsed in January when a rival alliance led by Hezbollah pulled their ministers from cabinet, has criticised the Lebanese state over its failure to back protesters in Syria.

“Lebanon has always been a pioneer of freedom and democracy in the Arab world … yet it is today standing by injustice, tyranny, murder and repression, especially in Syria,” he said, adding that the current government did not represent Lebanon.

Hariri rose to power after the 2005 assassination of his father, billionaire ex-premier Rafiq Hariri.

The bombing in a Beirut bombing was initially blamed on Syria, which pulled its troops in the aftermath of the murder, ending a 29-year deployment.

The powerful Shiite militant group Hezbollah, an ally of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, currently controls the majority of seats in cabinet with its allies.
Lebanon’s Hariri warns ‘tyrants’ to face Kadhafi’s fate

Lebanon leader Saad Hariri warned that “despotic regimes” and “tyrants” across the region would face the fate of Kadhafi

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October 20th, 2011, 8:52 pm


355. SYR.EXPAT said:

Syria, Yemen opposition warn dictators: You’re next

If I were to guess, I would say Yemen’s president is next.

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October 20th, 2011, 8:58 pm


356. William Scott Scherk said:

I would like to offer my name as a part-time moderator. I have no special qualities to offer, but hope that once the reforms to the moderation policy are implemented (perhaps before the Damascus meetings of the final National Dialogue), should I still be alive, I promise to implement whatever reformed policy comes from the democratic poll in the upper left. As the blog leader last told us, a clear majority are for hard moderation …

With that offer in mind, I would like to show what kind of comments raise my concern. According to the Rules here, the comments are monitored:

Messages containing any of the following elements will not be tolerated:

– Personal attacks against other contributors;
– Racist, sexist, obscene, or otherwise discriminatory or hateful language;
– Provocations designed to derail discussions away from substantive debate into dead-end arguments;
– Threats of death or violence;

Here are a few comments that appear on the surface to cross the lines established by Joshua Landis.

slobbering two hump Turkmen

When an Alawi says “qaf” the sound he makes is somewhere in that indefinable netherworld between a belch and a barf.

Once u and ur extremist jihadi sheiks are drunk well bring over the little boyz from tripoli, lebanon for use to rape

I’ll ship you some guns with sniperscopes.

You are Assassin Alawi, most Alawi are white, Arab are sun tanned, you are not arabic, and have never had anything to do with Arab, you keep mentioning about Sunni, the definition of Alawite are those who hate Sunni, and that is why your type of people assassinated Sunni

I say take Islam and shove it up the horse ass, what is left of that stinky garbage can anyway, just stinky foul odor and not much else

Islam was nothing more than an Ammonite seditious plot

as low of an intelligence as a baseball player, Orangutan and an Arab Moslem

the pretty 20 something blond with her leg spread, that would have done it. Tara

slobbering two hump Turkmen

dumb rag-head

two humps slobbering Camel

You think ANN and the other feminin user name TARA are real ladies? if they are, can we hear something about them, are they virgins, turks or what?

Alawi scum go to hell.


You are as dirty and filthy as the ungroomed moustacheless beardbearded donkeys…actually, you clearly are one. You are a shoe filled with snot, go drink out of a toilet you scum.

You clearly fell on your head when you were born.

You’d find a way to screw up a wet dream.

Retardation belongs to you and your likes.

Habib is a retarded Hezbollahi fool. Hey Rafidi, I hope your demigods Musa Sadr, Muhammad Baqir al Sadr, etc. are burning slowly in hellfire after the slow and torturous deaths they got. And I hope Muqtada al Sadr too gets a slow ansd violent death just like his father, grandfather and uncles.

I wish I was a Mukhabarat officer in Iraq during Saddam’s regime, so I could torture Shia and flush the Nahj al Balagha down the toilet !!!

Mufti Hassoun is a closet Shia.

you are a Shia and probably Lebanese

I must admit when i first lost my cool and started dissing Majousis and Alawis, I feared I wld be banned right away. But Alex is an Islamophobe himself so don’t expect him to edit my comments wither.

Aha, so ur an a secular Jnoobi ? Hhaha, that means you are another faggoty Maarouni Feeneeqi , we need another Khalid ibn al Walid to Arabize your stinking race.

I am not sectarian nor extremist, but I hate Shia and Alawi with a passion, they are of the worst kind of hypocrites and subhumans, I really hate them.

faggot Iranians like Habib

Islamophobic posts from the faggots here.

Tara, your father should have killed those couples with shotguns and dull saws and disposed of their bodies in the Assi.

We ned an Arab spring in KSA, one that will bring DEMOCRCAY albeit run by the Salafi masses, just like Apartheid South Africa.

I hope I get at least as many thumbs-downs as the lovely and talented Khaled Tlass has received thumbs-up.

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October 20th, 2011, 9:01 pm


357. Samara said:

This was in the Voice of America,on 19-10-2011

Syrian Demonstrations And Regime Violence

“Regimes of this type — autocratic, dictatorial regimes — are very capable of doing ‘rent-a-crowd’ when necessary:”

An unusual event happened in Syria recently. Tens of thousands of Syrian demonstrators took to the streets, and they were not met with bullets, batons or tear gas canisters wielded by Syrian security forces. They were able to shout slogans, recite poetry, and wave flags – all in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Commenting on the pro-Assad demonstration in Damascus, U.S. State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland said, “Regimes of this type — autocratic, dictatorial regimes — are very capable of doing ‘rent-a-crowd’ when necessary:”

“That doesn’t change the fact that, in cities across Syria, peaceful protesters are protesting against this regime. And those people are facing brutality on a daily basis, whether it is Syrian security forces firing on them, whether it is arrests, whether it is torture, imprisonment, et cetera.”


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October 20th, 2011, 9:17 pm


358. Samara said:

Again in the VOA

“The United States strongly rejects violence directed against peaceful political dissenters. We stand in solidarity with the courageous people of Syria who peacefully advocate for their universal rights.”

What about the hundreds, and hundreds of innocent people who have been murdered, mutilated, decapitated, dismembered, raped, tortured and sent in pieces to their families, by the excessively peaceful protesters and human rights activists?

What about the Grand Muftis son?
What about the innocent soldiers?
What about the innocent girls who died as a result of the bomb, planted by these wonderfully peaceful demonstrators?

They say that Bashar Al-Assad has committed crimes against humanity. What about the crimes committed by the revolutionists, and the many people they have killed and tortured? Or is that OK, because most of the people they target are those who oppose such a fundamentalist movement, and support the current secular government? Is it still OK when the malicious protesters kill their own peaceful protestors because they want to frame the government? Most likely the US will say, “Yep, that’s fine”.

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October 20th, 2011, 9:25 pm


359. Norman said:

It seems that the Syrian government is attracting the armed gang to Homs so it can get rid of all of them at the same time.

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October 20th, 2011, 9:30 pm


360. Akbar Palace said:

William Scott Scherk,

Just FYI, your list isn’t totally complete.

Good job,


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October 20th, 2011, 9:52 pm


361. bronco said:

Tara #351
Ford Confirmation: Too Little, Too Late

By Samer Araabi, October 18, 2011

In early October, Senate Republicans reversed a yearlong policy of deflection and unanimously confirmed Robert Ford as the U.S. ambassador to Syria. Though Ford has served in the post since his recess appointment by President Obama in early 2010, Republicans had balked at the idea of “rewarding” the Syrian government with the presence of an official U.S. ambassador, a position that had previously remained unfilled since the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri in 2005. Since the Syrian uprising began earlier this year, Ford has been a persistent and vocal supporter of the opposition, and has issued a number of scathing indictments against the regime of Bashar Al-Assad.

His confirmation – and its implications for the prioritization of diplomatic channels – is doubtless a positive development, especially after nearly a decade of Washington’s schoolyard policy of ignoring its opponents. Ford’s vantage point from inside Syria has provided Washington with unprecedented access to the uprising and its instigators, information that would have likely been unobtainable without his direct and visible presence. Furthermore, Ford’s unabashed support for the opposition has doubtless been an encouragement to a movement that is slowly losing momentum.

However, general U.S. policy toward the Middle East still fatally undermines any support Ford may give to Syria’s struggling revolutionaries. The United States has simply been too tainted by its handling of the other Arab Spring revolutions, especially in Bahrain and Yemen. In this context, the ambassador’s actions in many ways actually benefit the Syrian regime, rather than the opposition.
Hollow Words

Videos abound of Ambassador Ford observing anti-Assad demonstrations, attending funerals for slain activists, and even inciting spontaneous rallies merely by his presence, demonstrating that the domestic Syrian opposition does value U.S. attention. However, equally prevalent are the videos of Syrian mobs attacking Ford’s diplomatic convoys, and of angry Damascenes pelting the ambassador with eggs and tomatoes while hurling insults at the U.S. government. Many take it for granted that these attacks are staged by the Syrian government, but as with most things pertaining to the Syrian uprising, the truth is far more complex.

Though the Syrian regime is certainly attempting to discredit Robert Ford and malign Washington’s ostensible support for the uprising, Syrians have no shortage of other reasons to be angry. U.S. claims of support for the revolution have not been matched by any substantive shifts in policy, which have focused instead on tightening inefficient and collectively harmful sanctions.

In addition, policymakers have also tacitly endorsed a small of number of Syrian expats who have styled themselves as leaders of the uprising, despite enjoying virtually no domestic support in Syria itself. Several prominent opposition figures in Syria have roundly condemned expat leaders such as Radwan Ziadeh, not only for his tendency to make unrepresentative claims and utter occasional factual inaccuracies, but also for his dealings with the U.S. government. Even Robert Ford himself has a dubious history in the Middle East, particularly in his capacity as a political affairs adviser to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq in 2004.

Though these factors have certainly eroded the legitimacy of the United States in Syria, it is U.S. policy toward the Arab Spring in general that has fatally undermined its ability to affect change in Syria.
Taking Diplomacy Seriously

The United States has demonstrated a callous lack of regard for the democratic aspirations of citizens in “friendly” states. Washington’s words about Syria tend to ring hollow, for example, while it selectively ignores the bloodshed in Yemen and Bahrain, where protestors continue to battle security forces even in the face of massive casualties. Clashes in other U.S.-friendly states, such as Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and even Kuwait, have effectively been ignored altogether. As’ad Abu-Khalil, proprietor of the popular Angry Arab News Service, pointedly asked, “Since the U.S. ambassador in Syria is making a point of visiting protesters, will the U.S. ambassador in Saudi Arabia be ordered by his superiors at State Department to visit the protesters in Saudi Arabia? Will he take flowers to the victims of beheadings in Riyadh?” Under such circumstances, popular anger in Syria at the U.S. ambassador is hardly surprising, and although it unfortunately feeds into the narrative of the regime, it is not necessarily an entirely scripted affair.

The lesson of Ford’s nomination is therefore twofold. First, the presence of diplomatic personnel should never be considered a “gift” to bestow on friendly states, but instead a fundamental component of any smart international strategy. The opportunities for dialogue and communication generated by such positions can be invaluable for preventing bloodshed, bridging disparate interests, and empowering popular movements.

Such benefits, however, are qualified by the broader policy framework in which any diplomat must operate, a framework that determines the legitimacy—and by extension, the efficacy—of state personnel. No foreign policy decisions occur in a vacuum. Washington’s poor response to the Arab Spring has severely damaged its ability to mediate the situation in Syria, and though the presence of Ford might be helpful, the government he represents must prove itself worthy of being heard.

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October 20th, 2011, 9:55 pm


362. ann said:


German blogger portrays a different kind of Syria – 15 hours ago

The ongoing violence against Syrians opposing the regime has been making headlines for months, painting a bleak picture of a country that is engulfed in conflict. However, an eyewitness report by Christian Kopp, a German travelling through Damascus, Hama and Aleppo, gives the impression of a very different country, one where al-Assad still garners huge support, and where life continues with at least an appearance of calm despite the bloody conflict.


Wednesday saw a large pro-regime demonstration in the northern city Aleppo where Syrians rallied in support of president Basher al-Assad, though there were reports that some had been coerced to join. Kopp recorded the masses waving flags in support, on the same day that 7 opposition protesters were reportedly shot – eight in Homes and a further eight in Qusayr:


On his blog Kopp described his journey through Syria from Damascus to Aleppo:

En route from Damascus to Aleppo lie both Homs and Hama, two areas which are not yet particularly safe although the situation has vastly improved over recent weeks and days. During the journey the air was tense on the bus despite things being very quiet outside. When the bus pulled into the side of the road approximately 50 km outside of Homs to allow two people to alight, one passenger asked why we were stopping.

It was very calm around Homs and Hama although you would see the occassional tank. A few soldiers were positioned around the towns and had pitched tents and stacked sandbags for protection. Farmers went about their business next to the tanks. Some burnt-out cars and buses (no more than three or four) reminded one of the conflict. The streets we drove down inside Hama also appeared calm.

According to Kopp many Syrians blame Salafists and the Muslim Brotherhood for much of the violence in Syria claiming that many of them are armed and engaging police in violent clashes:

Friends of ours, Christians, said that they want security and clearly only the government can provide that, even if many of the ministers are disliked. The added that Bashar al-Assad had lost support because he responded too late to the protests and allowed the old guards to take control for too long. Nevertheless, the majority of Syrians still support him, and not because they’re forced to but because he can provide security.

One thing that has struck me during my trip through Syria is that pictures of Hafiz al-Assad have almost completely disappeared while there are also far few pictures of Bashar al-Assad. The President himself has ordered that his image may not be put up everywhere. He did not want to add fuel to the fire, especially after the outbreak of the violence.

This video was taken while driving through Hama where Kopp said life continued as usual, countering some media claims that it had been turned into a ghost town by the presence of security forces:


Kopp’s account paints a different picture to the Syria emerging from a stream of news since protests first began here over eight months ago. Just last month security forces stormed the central town of Rastan to crack down on army deserters who defected to build a rebel military unit. The town saw some of the worst fighting witnessed since the start of the rebellion and Assad’s forces reportedly rounded up and arrested 3,000 people in the source of three days.

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October 20th, 2011, 9:57 pm


363. Friend in America said:

Samara at #356
The claim that revolutionists have committed crimes against humanity does not exculpate the Assad government’s crimes, and as best can be in the present circumstances there is substantial evidence of such crimes by the government. Whether others have committed such crimes will have to be sorted out after matters settle down and an impartial international tribunal orders an investigation.
If you or others wish the offenses of the revolutionists you claim to have occurred be thoroughly investigated, nothing can be better than the international tribunal. There are good reasons for everyone that such a tribunal be convened. It is step one on healing emotional wounds.

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October 20th, 2011, 10:01 pm


364. zoo said:

Turkish booming economy?

Central Bank bleeding heavily in fight for lira

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Central Bank sells $6.45 billion out of its moderate reserves in daily auctions since Aug 5 to defend the Turkish Lira. As a further effort, the bank also increases overnight lending rate to 12.5 percent from 9 percent. However, dollar sales, which have accelareted this week, are not sustainable, economists say
Unidentified people shop at a traditional bazaar in Istanbul in this photo. The Central Bank warns in a statement yesterday about a hike in inflation by the end of the year.

Unidentified people shop at a traditional bazaar in Istanbul in this photo. The Central Bank warns in a statement yesterday about a hike in inflation by the end of the year.

The Turkish Central Bank’s already moderate foreign exchange reserves, which fell to $85.9 billion Turkish Liras as of Oct. 14 down from $93 billion at the end of July, signal a risky shrink as the bank continues to sell U.S. dollars in a bid to defend the value of the lira.

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October 20th, 2011, 10:02 pm


365. zoo said:

Syria to receive Arab League committee – agency
Thu Oct 20, 2011 6:05pm GMT

CAIRO Oct 20 (Reuters) – Syria has agreed to receive next week an Arab League committee that was set up after Arab states called for an end to violence and for dialogue between the government and the opposition, Egypt’s state news agency MENA said on Thursday.

Arab foreign ministers, who met this week in Cairo to discuss the crisis in Syria, called on both sides to hold dialogue within 15 days. They formed a committee of five ministers to visit the country.

“After the Arab League council’s decision on the situation in Syria, Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby called the Syrian leadership and asked for a response,” MENA quoted the League’s assistant secretary-general, Wagih Hanafy, as saying.

“The Syrian response welcomed receiving the committee,” Hanafy was quoted a saying. The group is due to travel to Damascus on Wednesday, the agency added.

Syria is witnessing a wave of protests demanding an end to 41 years of repressive Assad family rule that was met by a violent crackdown from authorities, leaving hundreds dead.

The Arab League committee is headed by Qatar and is made up of the foreign ministers of Egypt, Oman, Algeria and Sudan, alongside League head Elaraby, the news agency said.

Arab foreign ministers stopped short of suspending Syria from the Arab League as demanded by Syrian protesters suggesting a national dialogue instead. (Reporting By Tamim Elyan; Editing by Karolina Tagaris)


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October 20th, 2011, 10:09 pm


366. ann said:

William Scott Scherk,

Here’s a direct threats of death or violence you missed:

711. SYR.EXPAT said:


Those who support the terrorist Syrian regime will pay the price regardless of their religion or ethnicity. We will not forget.


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October 20th, 2011, 10:27 pm


367. Hans said:

The SC becoming a replicate of the sociopolitical fabric of the Arabs and for the Syrians in particular…
some are lying all the time to prove themselves or to make other believe them.
Others, are fighting each other using foul language at times as if that makes them more legit or a more convincing in their argument.
Islamists who hate everyone else here and they want to kill or throw out the others if they get a chance, ironically supported by their conventional enemy; the western countries who are hunting the Alqaida all over the creation with Drons… It is weird that someone like ambassador Ford is meeting and supporting the radicals MB in Syria but his boss is hunting them like rats in Iraq, Yemen, Somlie, Pakistan, Afangistan, not in Egypt or KSA though bc the latter two are the puppets of his boss…

hypo critics who are calling for the western world to save civilians but their groups are the one killing civilians and the best of Syrians.
and finally some opportunists who are using this turmoils to benefit at the end by appealing as they are the roots and the champions of the revolution and the leaders of the oppressed people therefore, one of them will be the next dictator of Syria for the next forty years….
if you agree with this then you understand why Syria will never have democratic regime for the coming hundreds of years.

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October 20th, 2011, 10:39 pm


368. Ghufran said:

العنف كان و لا يزال دستورا في العالم العربي و اوله يبدأ في الحكام و آخره ينتهي في الثوار
اذا كان للحرية الحمراء باب فلماذا لا يدق الا في الدول الناميه؟اكل الحكام و لم يشبعوا و جاع الناس و لن يشبعوا
و كنتم خير أمة اخرجت للناس
و لكن هل تامرون بالمعروف و تنهون عن المنكر؟

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October 20th, 2011, 10:41 pm


369. Syrian Nationalist Party said:


Proud of the language used by SNP, will use it on CNN global as well, reality and facts.

But should you want to implement the policy please add:

1- No cut and paste six feet long articles into the comment section, the person can edit an intro, add his (forget about her) comment and put the link to the article. Otherwise, it is called spamming and drowning intentionally the comment section, or a particular comment that is not in favor to the spammer.

2- Landis did not moderate comments fairly, he was selective, which cause upset, that is not called moderation, that is taking sides. Moderation should be on all comments

3- Being called “anti-Semitic” when you were married to a Jew, spent since 83’ peddling Syrian-Israeli peace (what a waste) and have almost all business dealing with Jews is very, very offending. SO PLEASE BAN THIS INSULT OUT OF THE COMMENTS

4- What else Amen/Marduk wants to hide in his plot? He has no chance and neither his stooges.

5-Would be nice if you can establish a positive id for posting, so robo-inflamers out of Herzalia cannot post those comments.

6- You consider derogatory comment regarding Islam, please moderate any derogatory comment when of our “Atheist” religion and GOD (the only true one) as well. All religions, gods and beliefs should be respected, not just Islam and Allah.

7- All comments promoting violence, terrorism and destruction of properties in Syria or other places, or labeling terrorists as martyrs should be moderated as well, this is syriacommnet.com not terroristcomment.com

Will point out more for better implementation of the blog policy fairly.

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October 20th, 2011, 10:48 pm


370. Ghufran said:

درر سعدو
بيروت ـ إعتبر رئيس الحكومة اللبنانية السابق سعد الحريري، أن نهاية الزعيم الليبي معمر القذافي هي النهاية المحتّمة لكل الطغاة.
وقال الحريري الذي يتزعّم “تيار المستقبل” في لبنان، في بيان تعليقاً على مقتل القذافي، إن نهايته “هي النهاية المحتمة لكل الطغاة الذين يواجهون إرادة الحرية والديمقراطية عند شعوبهم بالقتل والقمع والدم”.
لم يبق الا الاستئناس بالغلمان و المهجنين لتشخيص امراض الوطن
كان زعيم الحءيءه يدفع ٧٠٠ دولارا لشراء الصوت الانتخابي في طرابلس
يأتي زمان لا يقرب فيه الا الماحل و لا يظرف فيه الا الفاجر
بين ديمقراطية الحريري و رعاية الحزب القائد ضاعت الطاسه و انسطل الناس
نصيحة العبد الفقير ان تكثروا من الفجل و تقاطعوا الفريز لانه فاكهه رجعيه و يفاقم الإحساس الثورجي

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October 20th, 2011, 10:56 pm


371. Syrian Nationalist Party said:

“….We ned an Arab spring in KSA, one that will bring DEMOCRCAY albeit run by the Salafi masses, just like Apartheid South Africa….”

I am too dumb, what is wrong with that comment? Somebody expressing a valid argument. Soon you will ban criticism of Al Jazzira and CNN, looks like. They have free pass to lie, fabricate and incite mayhem and bloodshed all over the Middle East and here on syriacomment suppose to respect the Bedouins because the U.S. and Europe in desperate need for their cash.

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October 20th, 2011, 11:02 pm


372. jad said:

Basma Qdmani interview, WHAT AN INTERVIEW!!!! Haytham to the rescue soon….:)

مقابلة | بسمة قُضماني

• لا ثورة سوريّة بلا الضغط الدولي
• لسنا الثورة بل نحمل مطالبها
• لا أدّعي امتلاك تاريخ نضالي معارِض

“وبمجرد ذكر اسم قُضماني، ينهال عليها وابل من الاتهامات الأخرى من خصومها من المعارضين الباريسيين، أبرزها أنها، وهي المقربة من شخصيات مرموقة في الادارة الفرنسية، توسّطت لدى السلطات الفرنسية لعرقلة انعقاد المؤتمر الصحافي لميشال كيلو وفايز سارة في باريس الأسبوع الماضي. هنا أيضاً، لا تتردد في الاعتراف بأن السلطات الفرنسية «سألتني إن كان هؤلاء يضايقوننا ويخرّبون عملنا في المجلس الوطني، فتشاورتُ مع الدكتور برهان (غليون)، وأجبتُ وزارة الخارجية الفرنسية بأنهم بالفعل يزعجوننا ويشوشون علينا، لكن لا تمنعوهم، واتفقنا مع الفرنسيين على أن هذا المؤتمر الصحافي يجب أن يعقد بكل حرية».”

We only told the french that those domestic opposition ‘disturb’ and ‘bother’ us but let them go ahead with their news conference

” ورداً على سؤال حول الملابسات الداخلية والخارجية لولادة المجلس الوطني السوري، فتجزم بأنه كان «حاجة داخلية حصراً، فالمسألة السورية مدوَّلة أصلاً، فبلا الضغط الدولي والتصريحات والعقوبات، لا وجود لثورة سورية أصلاً»،”

The Syrian Revolution wouldn’t exist without the international sanctions and pressures…….

” «صحيح أن تحرك الشباب المتظاهر أسطوري ولولاهم لما أتى شيء من الخارج، لكنهم وحدهم أمام جبروت النظام، لا يمكنهم فعل شيء، فالأمل الوحيد المتاح هو أن يضغط العالم ويعزل النظام ويرفع الغطاء الشرعي والحماية عنه ليسقط». وبالانتقال إلى «تدويل القضية السورية»، ترى أن النظام «هو من جلب الخارج ووضع ايران في قلب سوريا، من هنا فإن الشعب السوري لا يمكنه مقاومة النظام وحده بلا تغطية اعلامية وضغط دولي، فبلا هذا الضغط الدولي والتصريحات والعقوبات، لا وجود لثورة سورية أصلاً».”

The Syrian regime brought Iran in!
AND: The Syrian Revolution wouldn’t exist without the international sanctions and pressures…….

“كلام ينقلنا إلى محاولة معرفة ما إذا كانت قُضماني وزملاؤها في المجلس الوطني يملكون تعريفاً موحداً للحماية الدولية التي يطالبون بها، فتجيب بأنه عندما يرفع الشارع المنتفض شعار الحماية الدولية، «فعلينا حينها أن نترجم هذا المطلب، وعلينا أن ندرس أشكال هذه الحماية الدولية، من مراقبين دوليين ومنظمات إغاثة وصولاً إلى التدخل العسكري الذي لا يزال المجلس الوطني لا يطرحه، وهذا دورنا في تحريك المجتمع الدولي واستخدام جميع الوسائل القانونية والسياسية والاقتصادية».”

How about international protection? It covers international supervisors all the way to the MILITARY INTERVENTION……

“وتصل واقعية قُضماني إلى ذروتها حين تجيب عن سؤال حول اتهام البعض للمجلس الوطني باحتكار تمثيل الشعب السوري، فتقول «نحن لا نمثل، أنا ماذا أمثل؟ لا أمثّلُ شيئاً ولا أحد بيننا يمثّل، نحن نقول إننا أشخاص قادرون على دعم الثورة، وليكن كل شيء واضحاً، نحن لسنا الثورة ولا قيادتها، بل مجلس ثوري يدعم الثورة ويحمل مطالبها ويجسد تطلعاتها».”

We don’t represent the Syrian people we are only supporting the revolution….


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October 20th, 2011, 11:07 pm


373. Son of Damascus said:

@ Akbar Palace
I had a feeling you had an American upbringing.

I am not saying Israel has no right to exist, and defend it self (It does). What I am saying is that Israel is protected (blindly) by the US even in instances were the whole world agree’s what it is doing is wrong (Just look at the numerous vetoes the US has done on behalf of Israel in the UNSC). All I am saying is that the US should have a more balanced foreign policy in the Mid-East, in my opinion it would actually be more constructive to the peace process if they were more balanced.

you said:
“The “apartheid” label is rather tiresome. When Arabs in Syria are afforded the same rights as Israeli Arabs, your accusations would carry a lot more weight”

I never compared Israel to any arab country, I merely pointed out the hypocrisy of Israeli policy when it says they are the protectors of freedom in the Mid-East.
I know what crimes and injustice the Baathist and Assads have done to Syrians, and i am trying to do something about it (and many others as well).

I know Bashar is a murderer, do you know that Netanyahu is made of the same cloth? Him and Sharon’s crimes in Southern Lebanon would even make Havez blush.

you said:
Maybe that’s what YOU think, but it is not how Israelis think. Israelis are quite free and safe, much more than the typical American city dweller.

Maybe you misunderstood my question, Israel has been dealing with the same circle of dictators for about 40 years now, are they not worried that the change of the guard might effect Israel adversely in ways that it has not expected before? (In terms of peace, cease fire, business and other agreements)

you said:
I have learned that “Israel” and “Zionism” are dirty words in most Arab circles

You are correct with that observation, however for me personally the word Israel does not invoke any negativity, but Zionism does (Since it is inherently racist, no people are the chosen people, we are all same), but I understand it is your belief and I will not only respect that but support you as long as your personal beliefs don’t interfere with my life (or any other Syrian) once it does you have crossed a line.

I respect your choice to visit this blog and learn more about Syria, the more we know about each other the easier it is to bridge the gap between us.

Without going into specifics what line of work are you in (other than getting paid to comment on blogs 🙂 )? When you visited Kuwait and UAE was it as an American citizen?

Son of Damascus

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October 20th, 2011, 11:09 pm


374. Haytham Khoury said:

@ JAD #370.

She is delirious.

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October 20th, 2011, 11:23 pm


375. jad said:

Good one 🙂
Seriously, would you consider this as a serious interview? Would you say stuff like that in the first ever interview with Syrians?…come on…that was horrible…this sentence is the worst of all:
“The Syrian Revolution wouldn’t exist without the international sanctions and pressures”

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October 20th, 2011, 11:31 pm


376. jad said:

دمشق توافق على استضافة لجنة عربية بشأن الأوضاع في سورية

القاهرة – ، د ب أ – أعلنت جامعة الدول العربية انها تلقت موافقة الحكومة السورية على استقبال اللجنة الوزارية العربية التي شكلها مجلس الجامعة العربية بشأن الاوضاع فى سورية برئاسة دولة قطر يوم الاربعاء المقبل.

وقال السفير وجيه حنفي، الأمين العام المساعد رئيس مكتب الامين العام للجامعة العربية، إنه بعد صدور قرار مجلس الجامعة العربية الخاص بالوضع في سورية أجرى الامين العام للجامعة العربية نبيل العربي اتصالا مع القيادة السورية والمسؤولين السوريين لابلاغهم بمضمون القرار وطلب منهم ابلاغه بالرد فيما يتعلق بما يتضمنه هذا القرار.

وأضاف: “لقد جاء رد سوريا بالترحيب باستقبال اللجنة الوزارية العربية التى شكلها المجلس برئاسة دولة قطر في دمشق يوم 26 من الشهر الجاري”.

واوضح الامين العام المساعد ان الامانة العامة قامت على التو بإبلاغ الدول العربية اعضاء اللجنة الوزارية بهذه الرسالة السورية للاتفاق على اتمام الزيارة فى نفس اليوم الذى حددته دمشق.

واكد ان الغرض من هذه الزيارة هو “تنفيذ ما جاء فى قرار المجلس الوزاري ، موضحا ان هذا القرار ينص على تنظيم مؤتمر للحوار الوطني السوري بين القيادة السورية وبين المعارضة السورية بجميع اطيافها فى الداخل والخارج والاتفاق على الاعداد لهذا المؤتمر الوطني خلال خمسة عشر يوما من تاريخ صدور القرار”.

وفي معرض رده على سؤال حول ما اذا كانت الجامعة العربية قد بدأت الاتصالات مع المعارضة السورية مثلما بدأتها مع القيادة السورية للاعداد لهذا المؤتمر، قال حنفي ان الامين العام للجامعة قد بدأ وقبل صدور القرار اتصالات مع شخصيات من المعارضة السورية.

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October 20th, 2011, 11:36 pm


377. jad said:

المعلم للوفد الروسي : التحضيرات جارية لعقد مؤتمر الحوار الوطني الشامل ومؤتمر اقتصادي لمواجهة العقوبات

قدم وليد المعلم وزير الخارجية والمغتربين أمس لوفد إعلامي روسي شرحا عن حقيقة الأحداث التي تشهدها سورية مؤكدا أن قوى خارجية تسعى لاستهداف دور سورية المحوري في المنطقة وقرارها المستقل الداعم للقضايا العربية.
وأكد الوزير المعلم أن سورية تواجه مجموعات إرهابية مسلحة تسعى لزعزعة الأمن والاستقرار وتتلقى الدعم والتمويل من تنظيمات مماثلة في الدول المجاورة موضحا أن بعض عناصر هذه المجموعات تسللوا إلى سورية عبر الحدود وهم ينتمون إلى تنظيمات متطرفة مماثلة.
وأشار الوزير المعلم إلى قيام الجهات المختصة بضبط كميات كبيرة من الأسلحة المهربة التي استخدمتها المجموعات الإرهابية ضد قوات حفظ النظام التي تعمل على حفظ الأمن انطلاقاً من واجبها في حماية أمن الوطن والمواطن.
وبصدد برنامج الإصلاح الشامل أكد الوزير المعلم أن القيادة السورية مصممة على مواصلة إنجاز هذا البرنامج مستعرضاً ما تم إنجازه من خطوات تمثلت في رفع حالة الطوارئ وإصدار سلسلة من التشريعات الناظمة لتشكيل الأحزاب السياسية والانتخابات البرلمانية الحرة وانتخابات المجالس المحلية وحرية الإعلام مشيراً إلى أن الرئيس بشار الأسد حدد جدولاً زمنياً لتنفيذ هذه الإصلاحات وأن التحضيرات جارية لعقد مؤتمر الحوار الوطني الشامل الذي سيضم جميع مكونات الشعب السوري والمعارضة الوطنية.
وأوضح وزير الخارجية والمغتربين أن هناك نية أيضا لعقد مؤتمر حوار اقتصادي تشارك فيه الفعاليات الاقتصادية السورية لبحث الواقع الاقتصادي السوري وسبل تطويره ومواجهة العقوبات الاقتصادية التي تؤثر بشكل سلبي في معيشة المواطنين.
وشكر الوزير المعلم الشعب الروسي الصديق وقيادته على موقفها الداعم لسورية واستخدامها والصين الصديقة حق النقض في مجلس الأمن للحيلولة دون استخدام الدول الغربية لهذا المجلس للتدخل في الشؤون الداخلية السورية.
وأضاف الوزير المعلم أن سورية تعمل على مواصلة تعزيز وتفعيل العلاقات الاقتصادية وتبادلاتها التجارية والاستثمارات مع الدول الصديقة.
من جهته أشار الوفد الإعلامي الروسي إلى أن الأوضاع في سورية ليست كما تصورها بعض وسائل الإعلام المغرضة وأن الحياة في مختلف أوجه النشاط فيها تسير بشكل طبيعي.

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October 20th, 2011, 11:41 pm


378. ann said:

A cold war re-emerges – 10/21/2011

The underlying strategic contours of the Middle East remain largely unchanged; the contest between Iran and Saudi Arabia remains central.


In Syria, the Saudis see the uprising as an attempt by a Sunni Arab people to throw off the yoke of an Iran-backed, heretical regime.

Through his maternal line, Saudi King Abdullah has close kinship ties with Sunni clans in Syria.

Riyadh discerns a strategic opportunity in Assad’s current travails.

The Iranians too understand the disastrous implications for them of the danger to the Assad regime, and are consequently making every effort to preserve it. The Saudis were the first Arab country to remove their ambassador from Syria, and to denounce Assad.

There are reports of Saudi links to radical Sunni preachers in Syria.

n Lebanon, of course, members of the Iranian client Hezbollah organization are wanted by the tribunal investigating the 2005 murder of Saudi citizen and former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq al- Hariri. The Saudi-backed March 14 movement in the country was eclipsed by the pro-Iranian forces after a brief clash in May/June 2008. Yet, by backing the opposition to the Assad regime in Syria, Riyadh hopes to cut Hezbollah off from its hinterland and source of weaponry, leaving it dangerously isolated on the Mediterranean.

In Iraq, with the US set to leave, the Saudis and the Iranians are once again set to face each other.

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October 21st, 2011, 12:07 am


379. ann said:

Syria is not another Libya – 2011-10-21


The Western media have been sensationalizing China’s stance on Syria, with one of them saying: “China demanded that Syria’s leader President Bashar al-Assad move toward faster political reform, a rare change of policy and a deviation from its usual refusal to intervene in the affairs of strategic allies.”

That is a wrong analysis, for China’s actions are aimed at restoring normalcy in the lives of the Syrian people as soon as possible and bringing back peace and stability in the Middle East.

After the change of governments in Egypt and Libya, Syria has been in the eye of the storm sweeping the Middle East. Thanks to the intervention of Western powers, especially the United States, violent conflicts between different groups in Syria have intensified, greatly raising the risk of civil war in the country.

With a population of 22.25 million and a territory of 185,000 square kilometers, Syria is a middle-sized country in the Middle East but plays a big role in the region because of its geographic importance. Since it shares its borders with countries like Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Israel, it has had to bear the brunt of Arab-Israeli conflicts and even lose its territory, the Golan Heights, to Israel.

Given these factors, it is impossible to restore peace in the region without the active participation of Syria. Besides, its cooperation with Iran, influence on Lebanon’s Hezbollah party and the presence of 2 million Kurdish people within its territory make its stability especially important.

No wonder, it has become a target of the West’s selective intervention policy in the “democratization” wave that is sweeping across the Arab world. As soon as anti-government protests started in Syria in March this year, Western countries began supporting opposition forces through every possible means – imposing economic sanctions, limiting senior officials’ travels abroad, and even directly telling Bashar al-Assad to resign.

The West has tried to treat Syria in the same way that it treated Libya. It tried to propel the UN Security Council to impose further sanctions and even launch an attack on Syria.

The US and its Western allies are dreaming of turning the Mediterranean Sea into “NATO’s internal lake”. If the Western powers can topple Bashar al-Assad, they can isolate Iran further and take forward their plan to establish a “Great Middle East”.

By intervening selectively in the Middle East, Western countries are in fact fulfilling their own interests instead of promoting their avowed universal values. They identify a country where they want to intervene not because it is undemocratic but because it threatens or is deemed to threaten their interests. And the Western media never hesitate in advocating mass protests in the countries that hinder or are deemed to hinder Western interests.

Syria and Libya (during Muammar Gadhafi’s rule) have both been thorns in America’s side for opposing its wider “democracy” plan in the Middle East and NATO’s ambition to include the whole of the Mediterranean region in its orbit. Now that Gadhafi has been ousted from power in Libya, the Western alliance has turned to Syria.

But Syria is not Libya. Although armed conflicts have occurred between different groups in the country, Qadri Jamil, leader of the Popular Front for Change, has declared openly that he and his party reject all forms of foreign intervention and the Syrian people should decide the country’s future. On Oct 12, thousands of people demonstrated in support of Bashar al-Assad in Syria and expressed opposition to foreign intervention.

As a responsible country which believes in non-intervention in the internal affairs of a country, China on Oct 5 vetoed a move in the United Nations Security Council to intervene in Syria. For long, China has advocated political dialogue between different groups to maintain peace and stability in the Middle East. It expects the Syrian government to make good its promises on reform and start the process of inclusive politics, and supports the negotiation efforts of all.

China’s actions best illustrate its principle of peaceful diplomacy and pursuit of a harmonious world.

China does have interests in the region, but they are in accordance with those of Middle East countries. Peace and stability mean lower risks and less threat to the lives of people in the Middle East.

China and the Middle East countries have to continue promoting economic cooperation and oil trade, which will not only secure China’s oil supply, but also help oil-producing countries stabilize oil prices. Moreover, peace and stability will help eliminate terrorism, separatism and extremism, which is the common pursuit of most countries.

If the UN had passed the proposal to intervene in Syria, not only Syria, but also the entire Middle East would have soon become mired in chaos and people of the region would have been subjected to even greater suffering.

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October 21st, 2011, 12:13 am


380. Syrian Nationalist Party said:

المعلم للوفد الروسي : التحضيرات جارية لعقد مؤتمر الحوار الوطني الشامل ومؤتمر اقتصادي لمواجهة العقوبات
قدم وليد المعلم وزير الخارجية والمغتربين

Well, I like to be part of both meetings, Polycom can arrange for the link (they did not think comes under sanctions). Otherwise, we can present papers or have a local representative attend if we are invited, and if not, will just have to join the Revolutionary bandwagon. There are more than 15 million Syrians in exile or immigrants and they ought to have a say in how their country is run, so what if we were exiled 4 decades ago, we are Syrians. Would the Baathists like to takes their kids and be exiled, I am sure they would love to, but will work hard on not letting you live in European Luxuries or the Penthouse floor of Al Sheikh whatever tower, stay in the mess you made and please fix it first. We are willing to help you fix it. So let me know if you need instruction on sending an invitation to SNP.

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October 21st, 2011, 12:18 am


381. Syrian Nationalist Party said:

“………..In a statement, the two institutions “urged the former Libyan leader’s son Seif to give himself up and for the national authorities of the country where he is hiding to guarantee and facilitate his safe transfer to The Netherlands to face justice.”

NATO Gold thieves are desperate to get this kid safely, should he dies on the hand of mercenaries or get caught by them first; they may get all the gold and billions in cash hidden by Kaddafi or dye under torture and leave the Holy Grail in secret for millennia’s. Getting this kid safely to NATO is priory one now; his stash is a hundred fold more than Leo Wanta stash and hell gone over that for decades in the struggle to control those secret global accounts.

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October 21st, 2011, 12:34 am


382. Dale Andersen said:


RE: “…I became religous after studying the lectures of Dr. Zakir Naik and Abdul Raheem Green…”

Isn’t Abdul Raheem Green the dude who was arrested in Athens with a crossdresser and a naked underage boy? I think I have a mug shot of him somewhere…

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October 21st, 2011, 12:51 am


383. majedkhaldoun said:

Syrian regime said they will allow AL foreign ministers to visit Syria, the regime did not say it is acceptable to meet the opposition in Cairo,and the regime contiues to kill peaceful demonstrators,and any reform the regime is talking about it is taylored according to Assad,and ignore the demands of the people.

AL statement did not include that the demonstrations must stop, they said it should be allowed to continue as long as it is peaceful.an observers must be there to judge, the regime is just buying time.how long can he do it?

I expect another meeting of AL friday,in 8 days,then AL will condemn the regime and expose him.

Hariri statement is good one and those who criticise it are supporting the oppression.

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October 21st, 2011, 1:14 am


384. NK said:

Norman #359

Will you please share with us the statement you prepared to post here right after the Assads commit another massacre like the 1982 one. I’m sure Just like you described that one this too will be a necessity to protect the Syrian people, how many do you suggest they slaughter this time 100,000 – 200,000 ?

Jad #372

Does it really matter what she said in that interview ? wouldn’t you be criticizing her regardless of the content of her answers ?

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October 21st, 2011, 2:07 am


385. NK said:

So remember the investigative committee that were formed to investigate the death of 100 Hamwis back in April ? well they came to the conclusion that brigadier-general Muhammad Mufleh was indeed responsible and recommended that he should be punished and sent to jail. Instead Bashar Assad promoted him to major-general and sent him back to carry out his duties in slaughtering innocent civilians, in a clear message to army and security officers that they will not be held accountable for the atrocities they commit while quelling this revolution.
And people wonder why Syrians are calling for his execution!


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October 21st, 2011, 2:38 am


386. NK said:

What a great article


الأقليات السورية على قاعدة الخوف أم الاشتراط؟ بقلم: سلامة كيلة

إذا كانت هناك قطاعات اجتماعية مفقرة لم تشارك, فلأن الحراك ينجرف, كما يبدو لها, نحو تغيير السلطة فقط, وبالتالي ما همها إنْ ظلت أو تغيرت. وقد يبدو للبعض أن استمرار تلك السلطة أفضل من سيطرة أخرى أصولية, أو من ديمقراطية تأتي بقوى أصولية. ذلك هو موقف الأقليات الدينية, وهو مبرر لأنها لا ترى أن ما هو مطروح يلامس مشكلاتها. لذلك تفضل أن تبقى السلطة القائمة, وهو أمر أفضل من المجهول, حسب منطق تلك الأقليات. من مقال”أزمة المعارضة والبديل السياسي للسلطة في سورية” جريدة الأخبار اللبنانية لاشك بحقيقة وصدقية الباحث سلامة كيلة, ولكن قبل الدخول لمناقشة هذا الموضوع المطروح, حضرتني قضية بسيطة أحببت الاشارة إليها, وهي تتعلق بصحيفة الأخبار اللبنانية الآلهية, فرغم موقف حزب الله المناصر للنظام قلبا وقالبا, إلا أنها تنشر وجهات نظر لمعارضين سوريين, وتحاول نقل الحدث السوري بأقل انحياز, وهذه مهنية تسجل للصحيفة وللقائمين عليها, لكن لماذا لا يرى معارضونا هذا الأمر? ولماذا لايستطيع أي معارض سوري أن ينشر في صحف النظام ما تنشره صحيفة الأخبار? فإذا كان موضوع على هذا القدر من البساطة فكيف يمكن الحديث عن اصلاح والحديث عن حوار? إلا إذا اعتبرنا أن حزب الله مؤسسة سورية وليست لبنانية, وملك للنظام السوري, عندها يمكن رؤية أن هناك اصلاحاً في سورية!
في كل مرة أجد نفسي مدفوعا لنقاش هذا الموضوع ذي الحساسية البالغة, وهو موضوع الأقليات في سورية, لما له من حضور يبدو طاغيا في تقرير مستقبل بلدنا وثورتنا, التي يراد الغدر بها كما ذكرت في مقالة سابقة أن تختلف في الرؤية مع ما يطرح وفي كثير من الاحيان لاتتجرأ على طرح خلافك على الرأي العام هذا بحد ذاته معضلة وطنية, سببها الأساس السياسة والمصالح, ومن يحدد المصالح والسياسة هو النظام, ولم يكن للمعارضة رغم كل تضحياتها التي تحسب في تاريخها الأسدي على مدار أربعة عقود أي دور في تحديد هذه السياسة وهذه المصالح, المعارضة تتحمل مسؤولية التقصير والتشقق الذي كان سائدا داخلها, ومسؤولية اختراقها النخبوي ايديولوجيا ومصلحيا, لكن رغم ذلك لم تكن تمتلك القدرة في وضعيتها تلك على ان يكون لها دور في هذا التحديد.
لماذا يصر اصحاب الخوف الأقلياتي على تصوير الثورة أنها ثورة للأكثرية السنية بينما إذا تحدث أحد الثوار الشباب في تعليق ما على أنها ثورة أهل السنة, تقوم الدنيا عليه ولا تقعد, ويتهم أنه طائفي. ما اتضح من هذه الثورة أن التماسك الماقبل مدني موجود فقط لدى الأقليات وليس لدى الأكثرية السنية كما يشير هؤلاء المثقفون. وتعالوا لنتفحص المسألة بقليل من الموضوعية وكثير من الانفتاح الوطني والفكري, هذه الثورة التي تتهم علنا أو صراحة أنها ثورة أهل السنة شعاراتها واضحة إنها مع الحرية والدولة المدنية الديمقراطية وتداول السلطة, واصرارها على خطاب لاطائفي, وتستغرب ما يقال عن خوف الأقليات من هذه الأكثرية? الخوف من أكثرية الثورة أم من أكثرية السنة? هذا السؤال الأساسي الآن. إذا كان الخوف من أكثرية السنة, فسنة حلب وقسم كبير من سنة مناطق أخرى لم يخرجوا في التظاهر ضد النظام, ولم يعط الطرفان للإخوان المسلمين أي تفويض, اقصد الطرف الذي خرج في التظاهرات والطرف الذي لم يخرج, بل ان الطرف الذي خرج في التظاهرات انتخب عفويا ممثلين معروفة توجهاتهم الديمقراطية والليبرالية, من خلال بروز أسماء جامعة يرددها الشارع الشاب مثل الدكتور برهان غليون والدكتور عبد الرزاق عيد وهيثم المالح ومنتهى الاطرش ورياض الترك وياسين الحاج صالح وجورج صبرا ونجاتي طيارة والقائمة لايمكن حصرها, وباستثناء الشيخ عدنان عرعور الذي لا اعتبره أصوليا متشددا ولهذا نقاش خاص, اعطوني رمزا إسلاميا متشددا تم انتخابه من الشارع الشاب? أما فعاليات الأقليات وعلمانيي الإسلاموفوبيا, فهم موحدون على يافطة واحدة, خوف من الثورة ومن المجهول كما يشير سلامة كيلة, وأود هنا أن أشير كما أشرت سابقا, ليعطني هؤلاء المفكرون, لحظة تاريخية واحدة, مر بها أهل جبل حوران من الأقلية الدرزية كانوا يخافون فيها من أكثرية حوران السنية, مع أنه حدثت حوادث مع البدو الذين يحميهم النظام, ولكن ليس لها مطلقا بعد طائفي. وعندها أصدق مزاعم الخوف هذه. التخوفات التي انتشرت في العقدين الأخيرين ناتجة ليس عن تاريخ سورية بل هي ناتجة عن مشكلة غربية” الاسلامفوبيا” في التعاطي مع جملة مسائل منها الارهاب وخلافه, مشكلة غربية خلقت قاعدتها السياسية والمصلحية والفكرية وباتت لديها نخب ثقافية تكن الكراهية للمجتمع, والذي هو بحكم موضوعي لديه أكثرية سنية. والنتيجة لدى هؤلاء أن السنة في سورية غير علمانيين وارهابيون والأقليات علمانية مسالمة, وهذا محض تزوير لتاريخ سورية. والثورة السورية استطاعت أن تثبت للعالم عكس كل هذه الترهات. لهذا كنت قد كتبت مقالا قبل أكثر من أربعة أشهر وفي هذا السياق, أن سياق الحديث عن تخوف الأقليات في سورية يقتضي المطالبة بحماية الأكثرية مادام الموضوع يناقش بهذه الطريقة غير الموضوعية. لأن من يقع عليه القتل هم عموما من هذه الأكثرية. يريدون توحيد هذه الأكثرية بالقوة تحت يافطة أصولية من أجل شيطنتها, لكي يغطوا وجههم القبيح ببرقع يسمح لهم باستمرار دعم هذا النظام. لسبب بسيط أنهم يتحدثون لغة وئام وهاب وميشال عون ولغة النخب الإسرائيلية, التي اسفرت عن وجهها القميء, تحت شعار الخوف من البديل الاسلامي. هذا من جهة ومن جهة أخرى, يلفون ويدورون حول المشكلة نفسها التي تعاني منها سورية, وهي دولة جمهورية يراد أن تستمر لصيقة بمسمى الأسد” سورية الأسد” هنا جوهر المشكلة وهنا التاريخ وحول هذه النقطة نشهد أكبر عملية تزوير في تاريخ سورية. حيث تساهم في هذا التزوير نخب شتى ومصالح تنبطح باعتاب الاستخبارات والفساد. من يخاف لايخرج لدعم القاتل بل يبقى في بيته ومن يخاف لاينظر من أجل استمرار القاتل في الحكم! لاتضحكوا على انفسكم, لو كان عون ووهاب والراعي وهزيم يخافون, كما يصرحون, لكانوا أخذوا موقفا حياديا على الأقل! والنكتة الأجمل أن إسرائيل تخاف أيضا!
ليس من حق شعب سورية كجمهورية انتخاب رئيس جديد…هنا على بساطة هذا المطلب, تكمن مشكلة سورية. لهذا من منطق الشعور بالقوة المستندة إلى قوة عاملين العامل الأول هو القوة العسكرية القاتلة التي يمتلكها النظام, وقوة اللوبي الاسرائيلي في العالم في دعم النظام مضافا إليه قوة اللوبي المسيحي المشرقي في تسويق هذا النظام لدى الفضاء الغربي المسيحي واحزابه. لهذا يقولون بالخوف من البديل ومن الأكثرية السنية ويشييطوننها, لكن في العمق لديهم اشتراطات سياسة لأن في النهاية الموضوع وكل هذا اللغو عن هذه التخوفات لابد ان ينعكس مطالب سياسة وهذه المطالب بعكس كل دول العالم, هي اعدام الديمقراطية تحت أي مسمى وأي ضمانات, في كل دول العالم تعتبر الأقليات ان مصالحها تكمن في الديمقراطية إلا في سورية لأنهم يعتبرون النظام الأقلوي من وجهة نظرهم يمثلهم وهنا الطامة الكبرى..واعدام الديمقراطية هذا يعني أيضا استمرار التاريخ لاصقا سورية بآل الأسد. وإنني على ثقة كما يقال لو تخلت هذه الثورة عن كل مصاحف الأرض واناجيلها وتوراتها, وشرائعها الوضعية لن تزيح هذه المصالح وثقافتها عن الاصرار على مقولة أنهم ضد التغيير لأنهم يخافون من البديل. وهذا غدر واضح أو محاولة واضحة للغدر بالثورة ودماء شهدائها. وكما استغرب إذا كان الإخوان المسلمين لبيراليين, فكيف يمكن الخوف منهم? بقي أن اختم في مسألة تحتاج منا إلى جدية وهي تتلخص في ما عمل عليه النظام على مدار أربعة عقود لدى هذه الأقليات ومصالحها المقربة من النظام” بث كراهية الأكثرية, في ثقافة شفاهية ووصلت لكي تكون مكتوبة, وتحت يافطات شتى” وأهم يافطة في الواقع هي يافطة عدم الوقوف مع الثورة, لأنهم يخافون من بديل أكثري اسلامي متشدد, فيصبح الخوف لدى العامة مرافقا للكراهية, وهذه ما تحاول ثورتنا بدمها النقي أن تنشر ثقافة المدنية والقانون وحقوق الانسان والحرية. ولهذا مهمتها صعبة, ولكنها ستجنح في النهاية طال الزمن أم قصر, بقي نهر الدم الذي تعشقه رموز هذه السلطة ومن حولها من كل أطياف الشعب السوري, أم توقف, ولن يتوقف إلا بإسقاط آل الأسد. وليس أدل على ماسقته هنا في هذا المقال هو موقف هذه الفعاليات من مطلب التدخل الخارجي, فتاريخيا هذه الفعاليات كانت تطالب بهذا التدخل وتتعاطى معه وبخاصة في دول أخرى! لماذا في سورية الموضوع مختلف? إن السلطة تكثف لديهم كما يمارسها اصحابها الفعليون…سلطة” الله سورية وبشار وبس” ويخافون من التدخل الخارجي كي لايفكك هذا الشعار- السلطة. إنها قاعدة الاشتراط السياسي ليست قاعدة الخوف, ولنبحث في هذا الاشتراط السياسي وتفاصيله, تريدون نظاما سياسيا يكون فيه الٌأقليات ممثلة دينيا وسياسيا, يعجز فيها المجتمع السوري عن الانتظام في أكثريات وأقليات سياسية متغيرة حزبيا وبرنامجيا, هنا الاشتراط لإلغاء المفعول الديمقراطي وإنتاج نظام لبناني من نوع جديد.
كاتب سوري

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October 21st, 2011, 2:52 am


387. Mina said:

337 Haytham Khouri
Hayy al Suryan in Aleppo is named so because when the Syriac (Suryani) refugees from the massacre committed by the Turks in the 1890s or 1910s (check on Google you’ll find, there were several waves) came to Aleppo, a benefactor gave them a piece of land, where they settled and started building the church that is now the big Syriac church in Hayy al Syrian. This is for the “syriac orthodox” denomination. The same refugees from Diyarbakir made their way to Mardin and Qamishli.

So the other denominations (Rum, etc) are ususally older than the “Surian” of “Hayy al Surian”.

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October 21st, 2011, 3:16 am


388. Dale Andersen said:

President Barack Obama hailed Muammar Gaddafi’s death on Thursday as a warning to authoritarian leaders across the Middle East that iron-fisted rule “inevitably comes to an end,” and as vindication for his cautious strategy toward Libya.

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October 21st, 2011, 3:42 am


389. habib said:


“Hariri statement is good one and those who criticise it are supporting the oppression.”

Or maybe, just maybe, they have noticed his extreme hypocrisy in not naming the leaders of Bahrain, Yemen, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

If you’re in this because of “oppression”, be consistent. Otherwise, come clean and admit you’re a hypocrite.

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October 21st, 2011, 3:50 am


390. Mina said:

Dale, Tara, why is it that the Americans are so obedient? How do they instil this military feeling in people that they end up using phrases such as “President Obama” or “Ambassador Ford”, don’t you feel like you sound a bit like “Dutchess of York” and “Prince Charles” ages? Who could ever believe you want a real democracy with participating citizens in it?

On another issue, the latest piece by Pepe Escobar is simply amazing (I didn’t realize when I mentioned the US “advisers” sent to Uganda last week that they were actually going to chase people in …… South Sudan)

As the awful regime writes everywhere for a couple of years “Syria, Allah yahmiha”. I’ve always thought it was a good slogan. Thanks God it has no oil.

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October 21st, 2011, 3:54 am


391. Akbar Palace said:

I am not saying Israel has no right to exist, and defend it self (It does).

Son of Damascus,

You’re already ahead of the crowd.

What I am saying is that Israel is protected (blindly) by the US even in instances were the whole world agree’s what it is doing is wrong (Just look at the numerous vetoes the US has done on behalf of Israel in the UNSC).

You have the right to believe that “Israel is protected (blindly) by the US”. And I the right to believe that Israel is treated unfairly in the UN, especially by the large quantity of the powerful Arab and Islamic block of countries and the indifference of many other nations.

Israel understands this indifference. It was the same indifference which prevented Jews from escaping Nazi Germany.

All I am saying is that the US should have a more balanced foreign policy in the Mid-East, in my opinion it would actually be more constructive to the peace process if they were more balanced.

Actually, IMHO, the US is the most balanced facilitator with respect to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Everyone turns to the US to try to help reach a final agreement. It is my contention that the Palestinians and the Israelis are fairly happy with the “status quo”. It is clear to me that the Palestinians do NOT want a final settlement as they contually find reasons not to negotiate.

I never compared Israel to any arab country, I merely pointed out the hypocrisy of Israeli policy when it says they are the protectors of freedom in the Mid-East.

Yes, if you want to compare Israel to any arab country, you’ll lose the argument, since Palestinians have more rights, freedom and opportunity in Israel than any other arab country.

“Hypocrisy”? You’ve just proved my point.

I know what crimes and injustice the Baathist and Assads have done to Syrians, and i am trying to do something about it (and many others as well).

Son of Damascus,

I think you have the right idea. But if this website is any indication, many of your Syrian brethren feel very different than you do. Apparently there are many Syrians who want the continued oppression of their self-appointed president, while at the same time they have the audacity to point fingers at the Israeli government. IMHO, arabs have to fix their homes first, then they can tackle issues outside of their respective countries.

I know Bashar is a murderer, do you know that Netanyahu is made of the same cloth?

Sorry, you can believe that, but the fact of the matter is that Netanyahu won free elections by the Israeli electorate.

Him and Sharon’s crimes in Southern Lebanon would even make Havez blush.

Son of Damascus,

Really? How so? I don’t recall the Government of Israel killing between 20 to 30 thousand Israelis? Recently, Syria has already killed more people in her own country than Israel killed in both the recent Gaza and Lebanon wars combined. The lebanese civil war amounted to at 150,000 deaths, of which, Israel was responsible for a relatively small percentage.

Meanwhile, Israel has virtually no border dispute with Gaza or Lebanon, yet, both these states prefer continued war. Why do you think that is? Is it Israeli intolerance or jihadist intolerance?


Maybe you misunderstood my question, Israel has been dealing with the same circle of dictators for about 40 years now, are they not worried that the change of the guard might effect Israel adversely in ways that it has not expected before? (In terms of peace, cease fire, business and other agreements)

The State of Israel spends a large percentage of her GDP on defense. Military planners take into account all scenarios. If it wasn’t for the IDF, Israel would have been gone long ago.

I have learned that “Israel” and “Zionism” are dirty words in most Arab circles

You are correct with that observation, however for me personally the word Israel does not invoke any negativity, but Zionism does (Since it is inherently racist, no people are the chosen people, we are all same), but I understand it is your belief and I will not only respect that but support you as long as your personal beliefs don’t interfere with my life (or any other Syrian) once it does you have crossed a line.

Son of Damascus,

Thanks for the honest answer. Zionism was once considered racism in the UN, and John Bolton helped to reverse that. One day, people will not be turned off by the term “Zionism”. Equally, one day people will understand what the term “Jewish People” means. It is not a religious term, it is a “people” term no different from the Italian, American, or Dutch people. You don’t have to be Jewish to be consider yourself a part of the Jewish People. Zionism is merely the self-determination of unique people. As you should already know, jews and non-jews have the same rights in Israel.


I respect your choice to visit this blog and learn more about Syria, the more we know about each other the easier it is to bridge the gap between us.

I agree with you 100%.

Without going into specifics what line of work are you in (other than getting paid to comment on blogs )? When you visited Kuwait and UAE was it as an American citizen?

I do not get paid 1 penny for participating here. I hope you believe me! My citizenship is American. I have no other citizenship, nor do I want any other citizenship. I’m an engineer.

SOD, I appreciate the dialogue. Now prepare yourself to become the newest arab “zionist” for having the chutzpah to dialogue with an evil Jew.;)



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October 21st, 2011, 7:43 am


392. Mina said:

Palace(s) are usually built with illegal money:

If you think Israel is a democracy, just read Haaretz any day like today:

(forced transfer of citizens)

(gender segregation in a city council)

(Ethiopian Jews feeling they live in a racist society).

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October 21st, 2011, 8:00 am


393. norman said:


I do not think that there are 100 to 200 thousands armed gangs in Syria, so no it will not be that bad.

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October 21st, 2011, 8:20 am


394. Haytham Khoury said:

@ 387. Mina

Thank you.

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October 21st, 2011, 7:11 pm


395. Haytham Khoury said:

@ Jad# 375

This is when you consider yourself technocrat with no past history of struggle for the people. You become disconnected with the reality and real people. Things for you become numbers and calculations.

If you have time, please read the paper that I sent (mainly, to Burhan Ghalioun and Haytham al-Maleh) to the National Salvage Conference on July 15.


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October 21st, 2011, 7:35 pm


396. jixiang said:

@Son of Damascus,

The expression “the chosen people” is an ancient one from the Jewish religion. It was not invented by the Zionist movement, but predates it by a few thousand years. It is in my opinion no better and no worse than the Muslim belief that anyone who isn’t Muslim will go to hell and that Arabic is the language of god.

It is unfair to call the Zionist movement racist because of this ancient idea that the Jews are “the chosen people”. The central idea of the Zionist movement was that the Jews should have a state like all other people, and the Zionist ideologues never said that the Jews are superior to others.

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February 21st, 2012, 9:01 pm


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