Idlib and Aleppo

Idlib province, which is only 45 minutes from Aleppo is the eye of the hurricane. The government is poring troops into the region to make sure it remains under firm control. Syria cannot afford to lose territory where an insurgency or rebel army might emerge. Damascus will do everything it can to preclude the formation of a Benghazi, which would allow foreign intelligence agencies and governments to begin arming and training a rebel army, as happened in Libya.

Aleppo is coming out to protest today in Bab al-Neirab and a few other highly conservative neighborhoods. Sources say that activists have been trying to get protests of 10,000 off the ground in Aleppo but have been beaten back badly by regime force.

There is growing pressure on Western governments to take a stand against the Syrian regime and do something. But what can they do? Sanctions hurt the people. The notion of mobilizing for regime-change in Syria is too daunting. It is too much to get one’s mind around. Only the US army forced out Saddam Hussein. It is now hunting Qaddafi in Libya. Strong regimes in which the military remains loyal are very difficult to overturn.

Hurriyet Daily News

A Syrian security officer who fled with the civilian refugees told the Hürriyet Daily News, “It was not the protesters who killed the soldiers; it was the commanders who killed them. Then most of the soldiers ran away with the protesters then.”

“We received a phone call from the center, and they ordered us to shoot and kill all the protesters,” said Ahmad Gavi, 21, a Syrian soldier who fled to Turkey following the deadly clashes in Jisr Al-Shughour.

“Five soldiers who refused to follow this order were killed immediately in front of me. Then commanders and some soldiers started to shoot each other,” Gavi said. “There were 180 soldiers at the security check post and 120 of them were killed.”

Today Zaman

“Erdoğan personally attacked Assad’s brother, Maher Assad, for the brutal clampdown and said that Syria, unlike Libya, is seen as akin to a Turkish domestic affair”. “Sadly, they don’t behave like humans,” Erdoğan said, referring to Maher Assad and his team, which has been ferocious in crushing the dissent.

“Now the barbarity… Now think [soldiers] pose [for a photo] in such an ugly way at the bedside of women who they killed… that these images cannot be digested,” Erdoğan said.

Turkey calls events in Syria “savagery’
Latest Update: 06.10.11, 13:44 / Israel News

PM Erdogan says Syrian forces ‘not acting in humane manner,’ suggests Istanbul could support UN Security Council decision against Damascus. US Defense Secretary Gates questions Assad’s legitimacy

Turkey’s prime minister has described Syria’s crackdown on protesters as “savagery” and accused the country’s president of taking the situation “too lightly.”

Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in an interview on ATV television late Thursday that some images coming out of Syria were “unpalatable” and suggested Turkey could support a UN Security Council decision against Syria. His comments were carried by the Anatolia news agency Friday….

Erdogan said: “They are not acting in a humane manner. This is savagery.”

Gates questions Assad’s legitimacy

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Friday the legitimacy of Assad’s rule was open to question after the killing of protesters by security forces.

“I would say the slaughter of innocent lives in Syria should be a problem and a concern for everybody,” Gates told a seminar in Brussels.

“Whether Assad still has the legitimacy to govern his own country, I think is a question everyone needs to consider,” he said. If it fails, and I’m sure it will, Syria will tidy up house and the Turkey/Iran/Syria axis is over.

The top UN human rights official, Navi Pillay, said on Thursday that more than 1,100 people may have been killed and up to 10,000 detained since March in protests against Assad’s rule, and urged Syria to halt its “assault on its own people”…..

Fox News: It’s Time to Bring an Assad’s Regime In Syria to an End

Believe it or not, there are protestors the Syrian regime has no desire to target. They are the hundreds of Palestinians bussed by the government to the Israeli border in a cynical effort to deflect attention from its campaign of murdering its own …

Syria must be treated as an urgent international priority. Stronger statements from the U.S., EU and others pointedly calling for Assad’s removal, the only possible option to resolving the crisis at this point, are needed as well as serious consideration of additional diplomatic, economic, and other measures that can help bring about an end to the regime and set the stage for a new era for the Syrian people….

Kenneth Bandler is the American Jewish Committee’s Director of Media Relations.

Always good to read Patrick Seale, who knows Syria so well and is always prescient, smart and wise.

Q&A: Patrick Seale: author of The Struggle for Syria and Asad: The Struggle for the Middle East shares his views on Syria’s current crisis. By Dalia Haider for Syria Today

Time to Talk? Challenges to starting a political dialogue that can bring an end to Syria’s crisis.
By Dalia Haidar & Muhammad Atef Fares

After two months of protests and violence that has left hundreds dead across Syrian towns and cities, the government announced in May that it was time to talk.

Bouthaina Shaaban, President Bashar al-Assad’s political and media adviser, told the New York Times that the government was “gaining the upper hand” in quelling protests, which authorities mainly blamed on unidentified “armed criminal elements”.

On May 31, President Assad issued a decision forming a committee to set up a basis for a national dialogue, according to SANA.

A way out

Despite taking the initiative to engage the opposition, the Syrian government seems to have a long way to go before reaching a political solution. Halting military and security action is just the first step, opposition figures say….


Syrian Commando

Turkey’s stability is finished, in a year’s time its economic growth will halt. It will only make gains if the UNSC resolution is passed.


Turkey will gain the most in post Asad Syria. She is the natural ally of democratic Syria.


Dr. Landis:

The site named Revolution Intelligence that you posted on is indeed extremely concerning and dangerous. From the main page, one can click on the arkan al nizam (pillars of the regime) tab on the left. It lists of 54 people. Particularly noteworthy are the names that appear under the heading of financiers for the so-called shabbiha. It lists some of the most established business people in Syria: Imad Ghreiwati, Mourtada Aldandashi, Saeb Nahhas and Ayman Asfari in particular come to mind. That the people behind this website list such names and claim that they finance the Shabbiha is beyond dangerous.

This so-called revolution is likely to soon morph into a war on the haves in the country. Every wealthy business man and industrialist is likely to be targeted soon. It is conceivable that we start to see their factories and businesses become a target of arson and attacks.

The final chapter of this tragedy will likely point to economics as main driver to what has transpired in front of our eyes since March. Many in the opposition side are already referring to the past 5 years as a “war on the poor”. The lifting of the subsidies while the rich were getting richer is likely to be seen as the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Comments (529)

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501. Vedat The Turk said:

@ MINA & Why Discuss

FYI All Turkish court rulings are appealable to the EU court of human rights. I know of no case which the EU courts have ruled that have not been upheld by Turkey. Also Turkey is signatory to several European legal protocols and conventions. Since the mid 1990’s Turkish courts have implemented significant reforms. Court rulings today are compliant with European standards of equity and justice.

As an attorney who has practiced law / worked on cases in Turkish, EU, US, Canada the problem most observers make is that they confuse US / UK Common Law notions of equity and fairness with the much harsher civil law doctrines practiced in Civil Law jurisdictions which most European countries practice. Under European Civil Law doctrine there is not as much liberties provided. Most harsh laws which are found in Turkey have a comparable law in European countries.

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June 13th, 2011, 5:37 pm


502. 873 said:

Vedat the Turk,

Turks may be getting their wish of US intervention sooner than you think. After that, the door and the floodgates to your backyard are wide open…

Another dual-national AIPAC traitor; straight out from his ugly treasonous mouth:
No fly zones next? They’re now even doing it in Texas!

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June 13th, 2011, 5:50 pm


503. mjabali said:

Erdugan and his party are going to drag Turkey to the bad troubles of the area after years of steering towards Europe, relative stability and economic growth. The Compass had changed now from Greenwich to Mecca as evident.

Erdugan seems to be going on route to join the Saudi and Wahabi Co. that seemed to have given him some money or invested in Turkey coupled with the increase of the shared vision among the Sunnis of the Middle East.

Time will tell if his move to host the Muslim Brothers of Syria was a mistake or not. His actions show that his party is coordinating and just another branch of the Muslim Brothers and the Sunni collective that wants nothing but a Khilafa/Muslim State. They state this in the open.

Erdugan and Turkey had started trouble they could have stayed clear of, unless there is a price and probably heaven somewhere.

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June 13th, 2011, 6:25 pm


504. why-discuss said:

Ankara revisits Syrian policy

Now that elections are over, Turkey must evaluate if it will stay on the side of Bashar al Assad or move in a confrontation that may undermine turkish investments in Syria and may also antagonize other arab countries (like Egypt) who observe with growing annoyance that Erdogan is seeing himself as the leader of the region.
Arab solidarity may prevail.
Le Monde:
“Erdogan se voit comme le leader de la Turquie, mais aussi de toute la région”
My opinion is that he will back off from criticizing the Syrian government, he has too much to loose.

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June 13th, 2011, 6:42 pm


505. SANDRO, LOEWE said:

Although the essence of the regime has been clearly unveiled by popular protests (brutal repression, media manipulation, many swears but no real reforms, inmovilism based on defence of rich corrupt classes and officials, systematically ignoring poor and rural people demands, etc) I believe that the nature of the corrupted machine does not accept any real reform from inside.

If this is true there are 2 clear choices:

1) Protest and international pressure keep momentum and Syria enters a low or high level civil conflict since the regime will never give up, but finally the regime colapses and falls.

2) The regime increases violence and repression and destroys the internal protests. Assad remains president but on the international scene Syria is near to zero and remains exposed to new protests, military coups, Cia operations,etc.

I see the only way to avoid both of these 2 dramatical options could be the figure of the President sending to prison all his family and most of the officials and corrupt bussinessmen in Damascus, and allying with the military and moderate opposition groups. Since the abolition of moukhabaraat is a sine qua non requirement, I am afraid this is an absolutely stupid or utopic idea but I prefer to believe that there is still a chance. More strange things have been seen in human history.

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June 13th, 2011, 6:50 pm


506. why-discuss said:

Erdogan victory speech: A middle eastern leader

…In his victory speech, which has come to be nicknamed the “balcony speech,” as he addressed his followers from his party headquarters’ balcony, the prime minister did not mention even once Europe, the European Union or the West.

Well aware that he will be watched by international audiences, he preferred to address the world as a Middle Eastern leader, rather than a European or Western leader.

He started his speech by saluting “all friendly and brotherly nations from Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut, Cairo, Sarajevo, Baku and Nicosia.”

Later on he said, “The hopes of the victims and the oppressed have won,” and, “Beirut has won as much as İzmir. West Bank, Gaza, Ramallah, Jerusalem have won as much as Diyarbakır. The Middle East, the Caucasus and the Balkans have won, just as Turkey has won.”

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June 13th, 2011, 6:59 pm


507. majedkhaldoon said:

The regime said the people ask for the army to interfere,the people became refugee in Turkey or they are in the area close to the border,they said the regime is lying,they never ask for that.
it has been lies and will be Idlib,and ma3arret al nu3man.
,Demonstration next to Turkish embassy in Damascus,
No one can verify the news because of Media blackout.
Who is resposible for the violence in Syria? the answer is clear,the regime in its arrogance and the use of oppression.Demonstrations are the people right to complain against the dictator.
Turkey stopped a plane with weapons coming from Iran to Syria.
Turkey has the moral responsibility to protect the syrian.
No where in the world that pictures and videos and eyewitness are not true except in Syria.

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June 13th, 2011, 7:23 pm


508. Mohamed Kanj said:

Erodogan is another Husni Mubabrak and Ben Ali in disguise. Turkey has an israeli embassy in istanbul. The turkish military has military training with the israelis. The israeli government slaughtered turkish citizens on route to Gaza, and what did Turkey do?????? Exactly, nothinggggggggggg. His response wasnt even as great as his response was for the syrian opposition. The israeli government summoned the turkish ambassador and sat him on a chair 2 metres lower than the israeli foreign minister. Is this the great Arab leader that the media tries to promote??????

Have a look at this picture taken with turkish ambassodor and the israelia foreign minister. You will see how the turkish diplomat is huddled up in the corner on his lowered sofa, facing the israelis. WHAT A HEROIC TURKISH LEADER ERODOGAN IS??????? JUDGE FOOR YOURSELF,7340,L-3833259,00.html

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June 13th, 2011, 7:29 pm


509. Mohamed Kanj said:

Another article showing the humiliation of the turkish government at the hands of the Israelis.

What was the response of this great Turkish leader erdogan, when turkish citizens were murdered at the hands of the israelis commandos????????? Another puppet of israel????? Is this the man that the Al jazeera and puppet gulf nations are trying to promote as the new leader of the middle east???????

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June 13th, 2011, 7:37 pm


510. EHSANI2 said:

Mohamed Kanj

Why did Syria sign a free trade agreement with Turkey?

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June 13th, 2011, 7:38 pm


511. Mohamed Kanj said:


that has nothing to do with my statement above. When you can answer my questions above i will give an answer to your lame question

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June 13th, 2011, 7:56 pm


512. why-discuss said:


I would like to see the figures of the trades Turkey/Syria. Was it beneficial to Syria. My observations is that it was great for Turkey and very bad for Syria. Do you have the figures?
Syria signed because it was probably seduced by the euphoria of friendship and promised investments offered by Erdogan and because it benefited financially the merchants community close to the regime. I think it turned out to be a very bad idea as it was killing the local national industries.
Your opinion?

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June 13th, 2011, 8:00 pm


513. Syria no kandahar said:

MB should’t trust Erdogan,he ditched his best friend(Assad),he will ditch them after he uses them.For 500 years nothing beneficial came to Syria from Turky.ماحك شعرك غير ظفرك

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June 13th, 2011, 8:07 pm


514. Maha said:

Mr Landis,

On April 28 you posted a blog supposedly by a girl named Amina. We came to find out by the creator of this Amina and by CNN today that this was not real. It was fiction, created by someone who lives in Turkey and has probably never been in Syria.
I would like to see an apology or at least an announcement to your reader that the story was not real. Mr. Landis, this is not the only fake story created about Syria and the Syrian government.
We all are responsible for the bloodshed in Syria if we don’t stop this kind of instigation that is very popular now days on the web. I urge you to please be careful and verify info before posting.
I thank you very much

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June 13th, 2011, 8:11 pm


515. aboali said:

the pro-regime dogs have been fully unleashed on Erdogan and Turkey now I see, perhaps they realize they’re the ones who’ll be kicking their asses very soon. While those dogs bark, the Syrian refugees forced to flee their homes and villages from Assad’s marauding death squads and thugs cheer and chant for Erdogan, the only leader with the balls to stand up for them, when their own government slaughters them by the hundreds.

If only Bashar was even one tenth the man Erdogan is, then the revolution never would have happened in the first place. But Syrians now realize they need to replace the idiot at the top real soon. That idiot won 99.9% of the “vote” by the way, while Erdogan, arguably one of the most brilliant leaders of Turkey in modern times won 50%. Just goes to show you democracy Syrian style.

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June 13th, 2011, 8:52 pm


516. Sophia said:


I think Landis has lost all credibility. Not only he posted on gay girl, he knew the people behind her as he is part of the center for Syrian studies where she works at St Andrews. Why do you think MacMaster who is not a Syria specialist is coming out and taking all the heat? To cover for his wife. And why do you think he wants to cover for his wife? Because if it is known that this is her doing it might spill on these respectable academics that are behind her. It is known that the US is financing academics as cover for their intelligence activities to cover for the lack of knowledgeable intelligence people on the terrain.

In my opinion, in this story, Froelich and her husband as well as others, are pawns of US intelligence activities in Syria. And it goes up, I don’t know how much but it goes further…They fooled many people…

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June 13th, 2011, 9:24 pm


517. 873 said:

These traitors have been gunning for Syria forever, but Sen Lindsey Graham’s recent feature on Sun Jun 12, 2011 morning talk shows agitating to spread the Libya mission to ‘liberate’ Syria is really sick/predictable, esp as Graham’s real loyalty to Israel over America was evident when US President Netanyahu gave marching orders to Congress during his despicable demagogue-fest.
Now others have picked up the thread of intervention also, and some even demanding No-Fly-Zones in Syria like Libya and Iraq.

–some history– note who he says we “must” defend. Its not America.

Ex-CIA chief: Bomb Syria!
Woolsey says Damascus, Iran think U.S. ‘nation of cowards’
July 17, 2006 By Joe Kovacs

As violence continues to escalate between Israel and Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon, the former head of the Central Intelligence Agency says the U.S. should now take military action against Syria, which, along with Iran, is believed to be backing Hezbollah.

“I think we ought to execute some airstrikes against Syria, against the instruments of power of that state, against the airport, which is the place where weapons shuttle through from Iran to Hezbollah and Hamas,” James Woolsey said. “I think both Syria and Iran think that we’re cowards. They saw us leave Lebanon after the ’83 Marine Corps bombing. They saw us leave Mogadishu in ’93.”

The former CIA chief, now a vice president for the global consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton, said it is much too soon to talk about a realistic end to the fighting.

“I think the last thing we ought to do now is to start talking about cease-fires and a rest,” he said.

“Iran has drawn a line in the sand. They’ve sent Hezbollah and Hamas against Israel. They’re pushing their nuclear weapons program. They’re helping North Korea, working with them on a ballistic missile program. They’re doing their best to take over southern Iraq with [radical Shiite cleric] Muqtada al-Sadr and some of their other proxies. This is a very serious challenge from Iran and we need to weaken them badly, and undermining the Syrian government with airstrikes would help weaken them badly.”
Asked host John Gibson, “If taking Syria down a peg or two by actually hitting them with airstrikes would be effective, why not hit something in Iran?”

“One has to take things to some degree by steps,” Woolsey responded. “I think it would be a huge blow to Iran if the Israelis are able after a few more days’ effort to badly damage Hezbollah and Hamas as they are doing, and if we were able to help undermine the continuation of the Assad regime [in Syria] – without putting troops on the ground, I wouldn’t advocate that. We’ve got one major war in that part of the world on the ground in Iraq and that’s enough for right at this moment I think.”

Woolsey, a former undersecretary of the Navy, was President Clinton’s director of Central Intelligence from 1993 to 1995, and has been a proponent of the war in Iraq.

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June 13th, 2011, 9:25 pm


518. SYR.Expat said:

Great victory for Erdogan and a huge disappointment for Syria’s Baathists who were hoping he would pay dearly at the ballot box for daring to criticize the Syrian government.

Maybe they can learn a thing or two from him.

مبروك لأردوغان نصير المظلومين\201166-12\12qpt999.htm

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June 13th, 2011, 9:36 pm


519. Abughassan said:

Pro and anti regime people are not dogs,they are humans like all of us. Those who used violence,destroyed property or oppressed fellow Syrians are sinners and will eventually pay for their crimes.asking for a gradual transfer of power in Syria is not because I love the regime,actually 3 men in my family were political prisoners,and my call for calm and security was not because I want alawis to keep the office of presidency,half of my family are Sunnis. This uprising was supported by many,including myself,but I realized that things were starting to take a dangerous turn when the army was attacked,properties were destroyed and sectarian strife was taking shape. I never thought in my wildest dreams that Syria will export refugees instead of importing them but this is Syria today. Cooler heads must prevail if we want to save Syria. Throwing mud and bullets at each other will not solve our problems.

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June 13th, 2011, 9:38 pm


520. SYR.Expat said:

Dear Prof. Landis,

Thank you for your perspective on the events in Syria!

I tried to look at your posts above to see why you are being labeled a propagandist for the opposition and a con artist, but I couldn’t find the answer. At this rate, very soon you will be labeled a “mundass” and a closet salafi/wahabi.

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June 13th, 2011, 10:02 pm


521. Syria no kandahar said:

To all the wahabi who are proud of Adel Emam(Erdogan),they are like البغل they asked him:who are you?he said الحصان خالي.
As far the snake Erdogan and his ditching Assad,the egyptians say:
القرع لما ستوا ال للخيار يالوبيا

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June 13th, 2011, 10:14 pm


522. why-discuss said:


“huge disappointment for Syria’s Baathists who were hoping he would pay dearly at the ballot box for daring to criticize the Syrian government.”

Really? Huge? I think the Baathists didn’t give a damn about Erdogan election, it was clear for the whole world that his party would be elected again, no surprise.

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June 13th, 2011, 10:40 pm


523. SYR.Expat said:

Dear ABOALI (#515),

As much as I detest the Baath party for what it did to Syria, we should not use derogatory language and call people dogs and what not. You can make your point without insulting others.

We should not go down to the level of some of the pro-government commenters on this blog.

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June 13th, 2011, 10:57 pm


524. Syria no kandahar said:

I think that if the so called(free world)were not practicing B word policy,Turky should be banned
From the united nations until they admit the Armenian and Assyrian genocide,and compensate the family of every one they killed.Unfortunately we are at the age of B word policies.why is Germany still paying the Jews for for Hitlers crimes?
1.5 human being were massacred by the Turks in the first genocide in recent human being history,there blood and spirits will hunt the Turks for ever.have they not butchered them,there would have been around 20 millions Armenians and Assyrians in Turky today.
Shame on any one who is proud of Turky,even if he was a Turk,befor they wash there hand from blood.

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June 13th, 2011, 11:11 pm


525. SYR.Expat said:


Search the net for an article by Nidal Na’eeseh in which he goes sectarian and predicts that the Alawites in Turkey will bring Erdogan down.

Nidal Na’eeseh claims to be an independent writer not affiliated with any government or political group, but he’s a staunch defender of the regime and does represent its thinking.

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June 13th, 2011, 11:21 pm


526. Syria no kandahar said:

Syria Ex
If you support killing soldiers,public hanging,mutilating dead bodies,burning citihalls…any other level will be up,you can’t be lower than that.Every one here -you label as progov-denounce killing of any Syrian,or any human beings,even killing of Syria cat or mouse,but some of the reveng filled haters,still living in the 80s revenge mode,don’t have the balls to denounce terrorist acts done by some cowards,unfortunately and shamefully, can’t go lower than that,don’t worry.

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June 13th, 2011, 11:28 pm


527. Averroes said:

Watch for the Syrian media backing off from criticizing Erdogan in the coming few days. Also watch for Erdogan backing down from his earlier fiery (and preposterous) comments.

The most important front is the internal front. With the new reforms out, and with the military operations registering success in the North, it is time for the president to come out and talk to the people of Syria.

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June 13th, 2011, 11:35 pm


528. Averroes said:

Points that I hope the the president will make in his upcoming speech:

I would like to see him acknowledge the past 10 years, and to go through the stages that the Syrian people stood by the regime: in 2001, 2003 after Iraq invasion, in 2005 with the Hariri saga and the tribunal, in 2006 taking in the Lebanese people, in taking in the Iraqis amongst us, in 2008 with Gaza. I would like to see him recount these times, and to acknowledge, in no ambiguous terms, that the regime owes the people a lot.

I would like him to acknowledge that after 2009, the regime had it easy for 2 years, and did not turn its attention to the inside as it should have been. True, there were many laws and projects initiated during that time, but it was not enough.

I would like to see him speaking humbly to the Syrian people and acknowledging that the regime took them for granted, and that it should not have, because the Syrian people are honorable and deserve better than that. He does not need to apologize. He can keep it positive, but I really wish he would come out and offer a big Thank You credit to the people for how they supported the regime in difficult times.

He can’t list everything, or go into everything, so I would like him to focus on the following issues:

1. The reforms are coming, and are for real. I would like him to encourage the people to understand them and to use them.
2. Corruption will not be tolerated. Period. Corruption devastates morale. People can endure hardship if they believe in you, but will never endure it so some corrupt thug operate above the law.
3. The economy can wreak the country. We have to learn how to become more productive, and no regime will be able to sustain 15 liras per liter on disel. People should understand that.

I would like him to be sincere and honest, and to speak from the heart, as people will pick that up and will give him another chance, because I strongly believe that he is a good man and that he can and will deliver.

Cold logic is necessary when calculating strategy. But nothing can take the place of sincere human emotion. The people need to see an acknowledgment that their patience, endurance, sacrifice, and support are appreciated and not taken for granted. Receiving this acknowledgement will carry the president a long.

Speak to us, Mr. President. Open up and level with us. Show leadership and we will stand with you yet again and take Syria out of this pit.

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June 14th, 2011, 12:04 am


529. 5 dancing shlomos said:

481. amspirnationalist, “Prof. Landis is a critic of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, a critic of America’s wars in large part fought for Israeli interests”

same could be said for u. avnery, n, chomsky, n finklestein, and the entire jewish “anti zionist” deception.

all are zionist. all defend zionism in their own little way.

left wing and right wing carry the bird to same destination.

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June 14th, 2011, 12:38 pm


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