Is Aleppo Slipping out of Government Control?

A friend from Aleppo wrote me over the weekend that he believes that the northern suburbs of Aleppo are falling out of government control. In particular, the poorer towns of Azaz, Hreitan, and Anadan, which are on the road to Turkey, have been taken over by opposition groups. On February 27, a number of local residents were killed by the military, setting off protests and violent confrontations with local security. He does not believe the regime’s end is imminent because the armed groups are not centrally organized. All the same, the migration of neighborhoods out of government control is unceasing. Although the government has retaken Homs, it is losing Aleppo and the broader North, an area that has long been fertile ground for Islamist currents.

He writes:

I just had a long conversation with friends and family in Aleppo. It may not be long before the city joins the revolution, I believe. My father could not travel by car to the border with Turkey. No driver dares take the roads north any longer. The drive to Turkey is only a half-hour. The working-class neighborhoods of Azaz, Hreitan and Anadan have largely fallen out of government control. Friends who own factories in the industrial regions outside of Aleppo complain that for a week now they have been unable to visit them. Lack of security, frequent anti-regime demonstrations and clashes between militants and the army make the excursion impossible.

I am a partner in one Aleppo factory that was attacked Sunday night (March 4). The attackers beat up the two night security guards and bound them. They then lifted the whole safe box and carried it out of the factory. Thankfully, the safe only contained syp 350,000 and not more. Also thankfully they did not burn the place down, as has happened to some Aleppo factory owners.

The fact that neighborhoods, such as Azaz, Hreitan and Anadan have fallen out of government control is significant because cars can no longer travel, even in daylight, to Turkey from Aleppo. The entire boarder area is becoming unsafe. This is much worse than Baba Amr or Khaldiye falling out of government control from the point of view of security because Turkey is the base for the Free Syrian Army, arms exports into Syria, and most opposition groups.

To make maters worse, the Syrian Pound has fallen to 83 to the dollar. This means that the net worth of every Syrian has fallen by over 70% since the beginning of the uprising. People do not have enough to eat. More than half the country is living on two dollars a day or less. Hunger and fear are spreading.

Even the middle and upper classes that live in the city centers are beginning to panic and look for a way out of the country. Plane flights to Lebanon from Aleppo are booked for the next month. The exodus has begun.

This is the first real breakdown of Aleppo control. My sister says law and order is deteriorating in the center of Aleppo as well. Armed elements are kidnapping folks for ransom, breaking into houses, and beating people up and stealing their jewelry and money. My wife’s relative, the Gharo family, was invaded in Aleppo today.  A guy rang the intercom and said he was from the security service. He was buzzed in and went upstairs to their apartment. When the Gharos opened the door, a group of thugs went in, grabbed their young son and held a knife to his neck and demanded every valuable in the apartment. When they got their loot, they fled!

Government forces are doing their share of damage. Michael Aswad, a patriach of a prominent Christian family, was killed by the security service last week, apparently by accident when he didn’t stop the taxi he was in as he entered the security zone around his apartment. A high-ranking official lives in his apartment. His death has mortified upper-class Aleppines because he was killed in the city center.

The ability of the government to supply basic goods and services has crumbled. Now security is evaporating. More and more Syrians realize that the state is losing control and are taking maters into their own hands.

On Feb 27, fighting in Aleppo’s northern suburbs resulted in this news

Aleppo Suburbs: The number of martyrs for today has reached 11 martyrs as a result of the continuous shelling by regime’s army on several areas of the suburb. Helicopters are being used to bomb some of the areas.

Aleppo: Andan: Mr. Adnan Abu Ghafour was martyred due to the shelling by the security forces in the city.

Aleppo: Aazaz: Alaa Shawki Al-Shash was martyred by helicopter bombing in the city.

News Round Up

Bearing Witness in Syria: A Correspondent’s Last Days
The armed opposition in Syria is led by the under-equipped Free Syrian Army.
By TYLER HICKS, March 04, 2012

….

Here are some recent videos of militant brigades that have announced their formation in Syria. They are taking shape with growing frequency.

حلب – صوران إعزاز – 23 / 2 / 20

قسم كتائب الفرقان ان تكون رايتنا لا إلة إلا الله ومحمد رسول الله وان نحكم القران في اعمالنا

تشكيل كتيبة الشيخ حمد بن جاسم في ريف معرة النعمان.‬

إدلب كللي || الجيش السوري الحر || تشكيل كتيبة الفرقان
الأعلان عن تشكيل كتيبة صقور العقيدات في حمص العدية و ريفها التابعة الى الجيش السوري الحر توجه نداء الى الشعب السوري و الى عشائر جزيرة الشام للإنضمام الى صفوف الثوا

ريف ادلب 28 02 2012 اعلان تشكيل كتيبة عمار بن ياسر

U.S. sees ‘no fracturing’ of al-Assad regime
2012-03-02

(CNN) — After weeks of collecting intelligence on Syria and watching the attacks by the forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad, the U.S. sees “no fracturing” of the Syrian regime and assesses al-Assad could remain in power for some time to come if the …

The European Union announced its recognition of the Syrian National Council as a legitimate representative of the Syrian people, and called for other opposition factions to unite and work with the Council.

Senator McCain

the Arizona Republican said in an impassioned speech in the U.S. Senate. “The only realistic way to do so is with foreign air power.”

The goal, added the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, should be to establish and defend safe havens, primarily in northern Syria, where opposition forces could organize their efforts. “These safe havens could also help the Free Syrian Army and other armed groups in Syria to train and organize themselves into more cohesive and effective military forces, likely with the assistance of foreign partners,” he said.

McCain, a Vietnam War veteran, said that any such effort would require taking out Syria’s air-defense systems. “We’re the only ones who can do that,” he said.

But he predicted that some kind of intervention will happen, even if the United States does not act. “So the real question for U.S. policy is whether we will participate in this next phase of the conflict in Syria, and thereby increase our ability to shape an outcome that is beneficial to the Syrian people, and to us. I believe we must.”

McCain said that any effort must include other nations. “We should seek the active involvement of key Arab partners,” such as the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar “and willing allies” in the European Union, NATO and Turkey, he said.

McCain acknowledged that his proposal is a risky one, that the opposition lacks cohesion and that the American public has wearied of war, but said that should not dissuade U.S. officials from moving forward. “There are no ideal options in Syria,” he said. “We need to deal with reality as it is, not as we wish it to be.”

He added, “The Syrian people deserve to succeed. Shame on us if we fail to help them.”

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta was non-committal. “The secretary is interested in exploring options that could help end the brutal violence in Syria, but he also recognizes that this is an extremely complex crisis,” a senior Pentagon official said. “Intervention at this time could very well exacerbate problems inside the country.”

WHY DELAYED INTERVENTION IN SYRIA COULD CAUSE RADICALIZATION
By Soner Cagaptay
CNN Global Public Square
March 2, 2012
To view this article on our website, go to:
******************************

A new argument against intervention in Syria is that since the opposition consists of radical Islamist elements, the United States and other countries should shy away from supporting the rebellion against the Bashar al-Assad regime for fear that they might empower Islamists.

I recently visited Turkey, stopping in cities near the Syrian border such as Antakya and Gaziantep. During this trip, I talked to people who are in daily contact with Syrians, including professors at Zirve University in Gaziantep, an international school that has Syrian students, and American journalists who had just returned from Syria. I did not find any evidence that Islamists run the uprising, yet I left Turkey thinking that delayed intervention against the al-Assad regime could surely lead to building Islamist resentment towards al-Assad to the point of empowering radicals in Syria.

In this regard, there is a lesson to be learned from the war in Bosnia in the 1990s. When the Yugoslav Army started its attack on Bosnia in 1992, Bosnian Muslims (also known as Bosniacs) held the distinction of being the world’s “most secular Muslims.” The Bosniacs’ embrace of Islam was non-political, and one’s level of religiosity was a personal matter. The Bosniacs even ate pork liberally, a violation of orthodox Islam that shocked even their fellow liberal Muslims in Turkey.

Only a couple of years after the onslaught against the Bosniacs began, though, Bosnia’s “pork-eating” Muslims were flirting with radical Islamists, including Iranian agents and jihadists. As the outside world watched Serbian forces slaughter Bosniacs, these people increasingly came to view their persecution through a religious lens. They started to believe that (Christian) Serbs were targeting them because of their (Muslim) faith and that the outside world turned a blind eye to their persecution because of their Islamic religion. This process led to a rapid politicization of the Bosniacs’ Muslim identity. Previously secular and even irreligious Bosniacs started to view the world through a religiously-guided Manichean perspective.

This persecution-driven metamorphosis — a historical phenomenon not uncommon among Muslim communities — transformed the Bosnian political landscape quickly and radically. Jihadists, previously considered alien and shunned by Bosniacs, could now find refugee in Bosnia. In fact, when the outside world, led by the United States, decided to intervene in Bosnia in 1995, it was justified by the fear of speedy Bosniac radicalization.

Even though the conflict in Syria lacks an inter-religious dimension, it has a sectarian overtone that could lead to Islamic politicization in Syria akin to that in Bosnia.

The al-Assad regime’s inner circle is composed of Alawites, an offshoot of Islam, while the opposition is mostly made up of Sunni Muslims. Even if the protestors’ demand for democracy is non-religious, the fact that the al-Assad regime and its (Alawite) supporters are brutally killing (Sunni) demonstrators is already giving the conflict in Syria a sectarian hue. Persecution-driven metamorphosis of Islamic identity can reshape the conflict as a religious one — one pitting Alawites against Sunnis, and Sunnis against Alawites.

As anecdotal evidence suggests, some protestors already view their persecution through a religious lens, believing that the regime is targeting them not because they demand democracy, but because it is an Alawite machine trying to massacre the Sunnis. And the more the outside world sits idly by as Syrians are slaughtered, the more the Sunnis in Syria will believe that the world turns a blind eye to such horrors because of their religion.

Add to this the fact that some orthodox Sunnis do not consider Alawites rightful Muslims, and it could be a matter of months before radical elements such as al Qaeda start a propaganda war to depict the Syrian conflict as one of “non-Muslim” Alawites killing Muslims. This perception would transform the fighting as well as send sectarian waves across the Middle East’s fragile landscape. At the same time, it could lead to the radicalization of Syria, turning the country into a fertile recruitment ground for radical groups.

The sooner the international community is able to help end the killing in Syria, the more likely it will be able to prevent the radicalization of the country’s population along sectarian and even religious lines. In Bosnia, after some soul searching, the international community concluded that intervention was the way to end the radicalization of Muslims. What was true in Bosnia appears to also be true in Syria.

Now, An Intervention Must Take Place in Syria
Bernard-Henri Lévy: 02/28/2012

On March 19th, it will be a year, day for day, since squadrons of French planes, later followed by British, American and Arab aircraft, saved Benghazi from what would have been its inevitable destruction.

Well, things being what they are and if the international community does not pull itself together, this anniversary may have the bitter taste of ashes and failure.
For today, there is a new Benghazi.

There is a city in the region that is in precisely the same situation as was Benghazi. To be exact, there is a city that finds itself in even more dire straits than Benghazi was, since the same type of tanks, stationed in the same manner, at the same distance from unarmed civilian populations have, this time, already gone into action, and this for the past several months.

This city is Homs. This is the Syrian capital of pain, where they target journalists and massacre civilians indiscriminately.

And the fact is: what we did there, we are not doing here; the same tanks our aviators nailed to the ground in Libya, just hours before they let loose their fire, are operating in Syrian with complete impunity. Of course, I am aware that the two situations are not identical…..

India refuses government guarantee on Syria oil imports: sources
NEW DELHI | Fri Mar 2, 2012 6:49am EST

(Reuters) – India has refused to provide its sovereign guarantee for oil imports from Syria, two government sources said, frustrating refiners looking for alternative sources of crude to hedge against possible supply disruptions from sanctions-hit Iran.

The Oil Ministry had hoped that the government would underwrite Syrian oil cargoes after Indian insurance firms failed to find re-insurers for shipments from the Middle East nation, which is also targeted by Western sanctions.

New Delhi’s stand on Syrian oil comes after it voted last month in favor of a U.N. resolution endorsing an Arab League plan calling on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down.

“This is true that the government has denied sovereign guarantee for import of Syrian oil. This was done because of India’s vote against Syria in the United Nations,” said one of the sources.

Both sources had direct knowledge of the decision and declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter.

Indian refiner Hindustan Petroleum Corp and explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corp, which has a stake in Syrian fields, wanted to import oil from Syria but insurance problems halted their plans.

HPCL had even engaged the Shipping Corp of India to hire a vessel to import Syrian crude. The India government is now weighing options, including extending sovereign guarantees for its shipping lines and buying Iranian oil on a delivered basis to ensure cargoes from July.

Iran is India’s second-largest crude oil supplier, meeting about 11 percent of the South Asian country’s imports. Tehran is facing Western sanctions over its nuclear plans that many say is aimed at making a bomb. Iran says it wants to produce power.

The sanctions have made it difficult for its Asian customers to pay for oil imports. India currently pays Iran for its imports through a bank in Turkey but that conduit is vulnerable to Western sanctions. India currently does not buy any crude oil from Syria.

France announces it’s closing embassy in Syria

Nick Heras, “The Revolution Will Be Uploaded: Citizen Journalism in Homs.” It is published in Fair Observer and it explores how Syrian citizen journalists are taking the leading role in reporting the battle for control in Homs.

Greg Djerejian of Belgravia Dispatch discusses several recent op-eds recommending intervention in Syria, especially Nakleh’s op-ed in the FT

Economy

EU De-lists Ghreiwati, Names Seven Blacklisted Ministers: The seven new Syrian individuals on whom the European Union imposed sanctions on Monday have been named, while a prominent businessman has been taken off the blacklist.

Syria to Conduct Barter Deals for the Purchase of Key Food Commodities
: The Syrian Government has decided to carry barter deals to circumvent the impact of international sanctions on the Syrian economy, according to a local newspaper.

Russian Companies Stop Operations in Syria
: Russian companies have interrupted their operations in Syria because of the security situation in the country, according to Georgy Petrov, Vice President of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Libya Offers USD 100 million to Syrian Opposition: The Libyan Government has announced that it would give USD 100 million in humanitarian help to Syria’s opposition.

Comments (179)


Pages: « 1 2 [3] 4 » Show All

101. Alan said:

US Government budget

Schools CANCELED

Hospitals CANCELED

Roads CANCELED

Bridges CANCELED

Flood control CANCELED

Veteran’s benefits CANCELED

Bombs for Israel $1923648264729831

Warplanes for Israel $02347503247598043

Cruise Missiles for Israel $2340957230475

Harpoon Missiles for Israel $9864598236498752

Chemical weapons for Israel $2937452374805720

Radars for Israel $239475370458

Missile defense systems for Israel $2390845720375

Warships for Israel $203945238

Surveillance satellites for Israel $29348572964988

US will ensure Israel’s “military superiority”: Panetta
http://alethonews.wordpress.com/2012/03/06/us-will-ensure-israels-military-superiority-panetta/

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March 6th, 2012, 5:06 pm

 

102. Syrialover said:

# 98. Jad

I know all about Finklestein, and I don’t believe you would know more about the Israel lobby and be more opposed to it than I am. I heard Finklestein successfully sued the university in question.

But the Piccinin case is not on the same bus. After all, a couple of Gaddfi boosters and apologists are still holding down good posts in American Universities. Along with others whose careers are based on vigorously bashing America over Iraq and Afghanistan.

Piccinin’s problems with his employers would have to go far beyond the odd article calling for fairer treatment of Basher Assad.

If anyone wants to see the “power of Counterpunch”, just look at the headlines and you will picture the audience it resonates with. It has a place and I respect it, and I have read things there I agree with at times. But it dilutes the fuel in its tanks with poor quality, negative and extremist fuel too much to make it go far.

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March 6th, 2012, 5:41 pm

 

103. Alan said:

nice dreams ! here is too late.
Kyrie Eleison – Anti-War Music Video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2R8R8xgZ88
Anti-war statement based on traditional prayer for mercy and forgiveness.
Newer version to fix mistakes

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March 6th, 2012, 5:42 pm

 

104. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Tara & Jad,

You are so sweet I’m getting a diabetes seizure.
.

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March 6th, 2012, 5:48 pm

 

105. irritated said:

#83 MajedAlkhladoon

“That driver was mukhabarat”

That means a “vile” mokhabarat tried to defend the life of Dr Michel Aswad against an attack or maybe a kidnapping?
I thought they were all heartless thugs.

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March 6th, 2012, 5:56 pm

 

106. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Dear Tara,

It was my full intention to shock you. And I was delighted by your genuine outrage :) Any way, and seriously. You mentioned the myth about the almighty Jewish lobby. We the Jews, are so used now to constantly apologize, and we always try to convince the rest of non-Jews that we are just the same. Our blood is as red as yours. That if you tickle us, we laugh as you do. Nothing helped and we will always be viewed as different, as a threat, and we’ll be hated.

So I’m trying a different approach. No apologizing any more.
.

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March 6th, 2012, 6:03 pm

 

107. jad said:

Good point irritated :)
————————

About the ‘trio’ warmonger in the US:

Three Blind Mice?
http://youtu.be/AsI9EaIIS_E
“Senators John McCain, Joseph Lieberman and Lindsey Graham are just about as close as anyone in the U.S. Senate. They travel together, make joint media appearances and seem to sing the same song in their appeals to the American people. That song often revolves around the need for more war.”

Are pro-war and pro-democracy the same?
http://youtu.be/NJN9ZThXlk4
“The three amigos, Senators John McCain, Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham have been building up the rhetoric when it comes to the US going to war with Iran. But when you take a closer look, these same characters have a history of befriending dictators before the US overthrows them. It is easy to confuse pro-war with pro-democracy lately and Ben Barber, journalist and photographer for McClatchy Newspapers, helps take a closer looker at differentiating the two.”

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March 6th, 2012, 6:05 pm

 

108. zoo said:

Mobayed’s “high” esteeem for the Russians

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/NC07Ak01.html

….
Money of course would also likely change Russia’s position, clearly from all the courting currently underway between the Kremlin and heavyweight countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), who are planning to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Serge Lavrov this month. If politics doesn’t persuade the Russians to support regime change in Damascus, then money will.

The more the Russians distance themselves, either economically or politically, from Damascus, the more likely this will damage the Syrian economy, where the pound now stands at a historic 83 to the US dollar, threatening the state – and ordinary Syrians – with bankruptcy.

Nobody realizes that better than Putin himself, who needs a success story “the day after” he returns to power in Moscow. It needs to make him and his country feel relevant, strong, democratic, and accepted within the international community. That success story can be Syria.

On a separate track, US diplomats seem to have finally realized what it takes to strengthen cooperation with the Russians on Syria, and are doing it rather aggressively.

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March 6th, 2012, 6:05 pm

 

109. bronco said:

@106 Amir In Tel aviv

While Jews were mistreated in Christian Europe for centuries, they have never been a threat in the Middle east and they were treated just like other religious minorities in Egypt, Tunisia, Lebanon, Morroco, Syria etc…
They became a threat when, helped by the same Europe that persecuted them, they threatened and attack the Arabs in Palestine to take their lands and create a racist entity.
The day the Jews in Israel will regain the trust of the Arabs by showing that they believe in justice, then they will cease to be a threat.
Until them you’ll have to live with that well deserved feeling of being distrusted and rejected by the Arabs

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March 6th, 2012, 6:17 pm

 

110. zoo said:

AIPAC’s Victory
5 March 201
http://www.worldaffairsjournal.org/blog/michael-j-totten/aipacs-victory

Barack Obama delivered the most pro-Israel speech of his presidency to a bipartisan round of applause. I objected to one or two lines, but that was it. He seemed to relish picking public fights with the Jewish state and its prime minister early in his presidency, but he hasn’t been doing it lately. So there’s a case to be made that he really has changed, that his caustic relationship with Jerusalem is a thing of the past
..
For decades public opinion polls in the United States have shown that Americans sympathize with the Israelis more than the Palestinians by nearly four to one. Barack Obama may not have always sided with the majority on this question, but he appears to have been mainstreamed in the meantime.
(…)

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March 6th, 2012, 6:24 pm

 

111. zoo said:

The Salafists at work in Egyptian parliament: very promising.

http://transitions.foreignpolicy.com/files/salafis_0.jpg

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March 6th, 2012, 6:29 pm

 

112. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Bronco,

I have to admit that there’s a point in what you say. BUT:
“…they were treated just like other religious minorities in Egypt, Tunisia, Lebanon, Morocco, Syria etc…”.

How are religious minorities being treated in the ME? as equal citizens?

If you ask me, I prefer to keep my independence and freedom, and be considered as a threat, rather than become an unprotected minority, and get threatened and bullied.
.

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March 6th, 2012, 6:29 pm

 

113. bronco said:

#112 Amir In Tel Aviv

Christians, Jews, Druzes and other minorities were treated very well in Arab countries, they were not bullied because of their religion. Many Jews made their fortunes in Arab countries and participated in all aspect of the society. In Egypt one of the most famous actress/singer Leyla Murad was jewish. The most elegant department stores in Cairo belong to Cicurel family, other famous egyptian actors were jews. Many journalist and governemnt officials were jews. There was no difference, and religion or ethnicity was never a problem.
Egyptians and in general Arab moslems are not naturally racists like the European christians are.
It all changed when the European Jews came to conquer Palestine and destroyed the whole friendly networks that existed between the jews and the arabs. The rest is history.

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March 6th, 2012, 6:42 pm

 

114. SYRIAN HAMSTER said:

SYRIA LOVER
Thanks, but I am merely a hit and run commenter. It is you, TARA, MAJEDKHALDOUN, Son Of Damascus, and Sheila and few others who have been tolerating the useless cynical distractions and anyone of you is far more qualified than me for public office.

Numbers Theory 101
Let us take one of the numbers presented in 101 (how fitting), put a comma every three numbers as we Americans (including Arab Americans) are used to, and try to read that number

Harpoon Missiles for Israel $9864598236498752
$9,864,598,236,498,752

Let us read the number now and write it using the American system,

Nine quadrillions eight hundreds and sixty four trillions five hundreds and ninety eight billions two hundreds and thirty six millions four hundreds and ninety eight thousands seven hundreds and fifty two dollars. This is only in harpoon missiles

Now, according to Wikipedia article on Harpoon Missiles , the cost of each harpoon missile block unit is $1,200,000 and there were seven thousand units plus built with total cost at

$8,400,000,000

Let us read the number, Eight billions four hundred million dollars.

Now let us see the numbers that were handed to Israel according to comment 101. This is done by dividing the number provided by the cost of a unit block, try yous calculator, mine gives

8220498530.4156266666666666666667

Remove the fractions,
8220498530

Add the commas
8,220,498,530

Israel has Eight billions two hundreds and twenty millions four hundreds and ninety eight thousands and five hundreds and thirty harpoon missiles blocks, a thousand missiles for every human living in Israel (including Arabs).

And before I forget, the US total annual budget for 2012 was $2,627,000,000,000 requested and $2,469,000,000,000 approved which means that we have given our 2012 budget requests to Israel for 3755 years only in harpoon missiles.

This is incompetent nonsense being peddled here and trying to pass as pro-Palestinian and resistance argument. Such load of non sense only make anyone defending it look not only ridiculous, but a pusher of ignorant antisemitic junk.

Anyone with some sense of decency should have blasted comment 101, and we have quite few here who would argue numbers like sharks when such serves the defense of the boy king but non to show up.

Of course, soon, I will be accused once more by non other than the three letter named person here that I am a zionist sympathizer. Brace yourselves.

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March 6th, 2012, 6:46 pm

 

115. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Bronco 113,

You describe (rightly so) the Jews in Arabia as successful, wealthy, have influence over the culture, academic, civil servants in high positions etc. This depiction will be as accurate to describe the German Jews: They were well educated, influential, wealthy, made a huge contribution to the German culture (music, arts, literature, architecture, psychology). Non of those made them likable in the eyes of the German folk. They always lived in fear and insecurity. Just as the Arabian Jews.
.

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March 6th, 2012, 7:00 pm

 

116. Juergen said:

Amir

I tried to visit the only operating synagogue in Damascus, its not far from the Talisman hotel. The muhabarat is sitting on chairs and block the entry of the house, no signs no menora signs, just a plain door. The muhabarat guys told me no synagoque is here its an family house… Anyway i entered and as it was a saturday the worship already started although only four members of the community were present. As we were 4 people visiting they all let us inside and celebrate with them. Afterwards we had an good conversation, and one could feel the tension in the community. Throughout the service the muhabarat guys try to look through the windows to see what we for do inside, and the leader of the congration later told me that they received a call asking why they accepted visitors. Of all synagogues there once were in Damascus only one survived and is operating, there is one they told me which is 5000 years old and under the lock of the ministry of interriour, noone is allowed to go there. One can seee the collection of the old Thor’as in the synagogue. By chance we found an other fine synagogue which is closed in Aleppo.From the rooftop of an nearby officebuilding we were able to make some pictures, we saw an magnificant graveyard next to the synagogue. I have just created an flickr page so you could see the images i took.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mashalllah/

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March 6th, 2012, 7:21 pm

 

117. Equus said:

Warmongering AIPAC Delegates Attack Peace Activists for Opposing War with Iran at AIPAC Event

Take a look: http://willyloman.wordpress.com/2012/03/06/warmongering-aipac-delegates-attack-peace-activists-for-opposing-war-with-iran-at-aipac-event/

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March 6th, 2012, 7:23 pm

 

118. Observer said:

Moubayed’s article on atimes is flawed with one big assumption.
He posits that Russia has a bargaining chip that it holds in its support for the Syrian regime. The reality is that the West does not give a hoot regarding Syria and they do not think that it is worth any bargaining or intervention. The northern frontier of Israel is secure that is what counts for the West. Oil is so small that it does not matter.
It is the regional players that are concerned hence Lavrov is going to GCC to discuss the bargaining and here he may have a combination of bribes and coercion. Putin also needs legitimacy after his questionable elections.
So, I do not think that Syria is a positive ally for Russia it is just a burden. Putin is too smart to tie his fate to that of Fredo.

Hamster’s post was eloquent and the lack of response from the pro regime posters is quite telling.

Eastern Libya is declaring autonomy. Good news as the country was only being held together by coercion just like Iraq was and just like Sudan was and just like Pakistan was and just like Syria is.

The quicker and cleaner the breakup the better for the communities clearly cannot stand each other.

Do you know how I know? I read SC every now and then

Germs and Rats are coming
Cheers.

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March 6th, 2012, 7:24 pm

 

119. Juergen said:

كل شيء أو لاشيء – عن الثورة السورية – وثائقي قصير مترجم

german tv report now translated into arabic

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March 6th, 2012, 7:27 pm

 

120. Syrialover said:

#114 SYRIAN HAMSTER

That’s more like the old SyriaComment!

Go Syrian Hamster, go. You’re on fire.

And lifting the game and lifting the mood here.

[Note: I see so far you scored 17 thumbs down for your great comment #39. The usual is 14. For my #89 response to you I have 13 red thumbs votes. Must be one of the team is on a break, or collapsed exhausted at the keyboard from doing 36-hour shifts.]

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March 6th, 2012, 8:17 pm

 

121. sheila said:

To #115. Amir in Tel Aviv:
You said:
“You describe (rightly so) the Jews in Arabia as successful, wealthy, have influence over the culture, academic, civil servants in high positions etc. This depiction will be as accurate to describe the German Jews: They were well educated, influential, wealthy, made a huge contribution to the German culture (music, arts, literature, architecture, psychology). Non of those made them likable in the eyes of the German folk. They always lived in fear and insecurity. Just as the Arabian Jews”.
You are very wrong and misinformed. The Arab Jews only started living in fear and insecurity after the establishment of the state of Israel. Before 1948, they lived like everybody else in the Arab countries. They were considered Arabs ethnically, just like the majority of Christians and Muslims. Our parents had Jewish friends and colleagues that they loved and respected and up till the present day the merchants of the old city of Aleppo remember with nostalgia their Jewish mentors that they claim taught them the art of commerce.

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March 6th, 2012, 8:42 pm

 

122. Tara said:

Amir,

It did occur to me you were just kidding and looking for a reaction…

I’m also trying a different approach.  No apologies any more from Tara….  I am tired of the rest of the world’s hate to Muslims and of associating their religion to few terrorists and radicals.  Radical are present in all religions.  I am particularly “repulsed” by some Syrian minorities and their Arab brethren taking advantage of the myth of the Muslim bogeymen/ bogeywomem to cast the revolution in a negative light, in order to make the world unwilling to seriously act in the name of humanity, in fear of the Day After Besho….  The irony is, they are playing with fire and fire will not discriminate.  The longer the struggle and the more the suffering, the higher the chance this will indeed become a self-fulfilling prophecy that will burn all.

I therefore have declared today that I would give myself the same rights and respond with the same exact kindness.  

Any how, in regard to the Jewish issue, I basically agree with the points mentioned in # 109 and #113.

However  للكلام بقية

It is just not the time now.  

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March 6th, 2012, 8:42 pm

 

123. Syrialover said:

# 118. Observer

I think you are too negative about the west and claiming it is indifferent to Syrians’ suffering. There has been a huge amount of energy and airspace devoted to the issue. They genuinely do not know what to do.

Unlike you, I will not cheer on the Libyans (and Syrians) to break up into smaller units. They will not be economically and politically viable, and end up being foreign aid cases and failed states. The people of those countries need a future and organised development, not more failure.

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March 6th, 2012, 8:52 pm

 

124. Ghufran said:

The Guardian:
Can the Syrian regime crush the uprising? Yes, suggests history
Bashar al-Assad’s fall is far from inevitable: past Middle Eastern uprisings have failed more often than succeeded.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/mar/06/can-syrian-regime-survive

Comment: any short term victory achieved by using overwhelming fire power will not lead to a long term victory over a large section of the Syrian society that wants to see an end to oppression and corruption.

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March 6th, 2012, 8:56 pm

 

125. Tara said:

#103 from previous thread,

Brute has in effect no loyalty to Caesar.  His genuine loyalty was to the Republic and it’s people.

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March 6th, 2012, 8:59 pm

 

126. Ghufran said:

بنغازي- (ا ف ب): أعلن زعماء قبائل وسياسيون ليبيون الثلاثاء في مدينة بنغازي منطقة برقة في شرق ليبيا “اقليما فدراليا اتحاديا” واختاروا الشيخ أحمد الزبير الشريف السنوسي رئيسا لمجلسه الاعلى.
http://www.alquds.co.uk/index.asp?fname=today%5C06z500.htm&arc=data%5C2012%5C03%5C03-06%5C06z500.htm

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March 6th, 2012, 9:06 pm

 

127. majedkhaldoun said:

Irritated

The mukhabarat driver was protecting himself

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March 6th, 2012, 9:08 pm

 

128. ann said:

At UN on Syria, US Says “Expect Nothing Specific,” Morocco Speaks of Promise, Amos on Way

http://www.innercitypress.com/syria3liP5mor030612.html

After China’s Permanent Representative Li Baodong twice told Inner City Press there would consultations on Syria by the Permanent Five members of the Security Council plus Morocco for the Arab League, this small meeting took place midday Tuesday.

While the meeting took place, other Council Ambassador left. Hardeep Sing Puri, the Permanent Representative of India — yes, “the world’s largest democracy” — told Inner City Press that maybe after Security Council reform his country would be in such meetings.

He again predicted no Council action until after the trips to Syria of envoy Kofi Annan and UN Humanitarian chief Valerie Amos, who it is now understood may brief the Council next Tuesday from Helsinki about her visit.

When the “P5 plus Morocco” meeting broken up, first out was US Ambassador Susan Rice. She was asked whether the press could expect a vote Monday on a draft resolution. “I don’t think you should expect anything specific,” she said and left.

China’s Permanent RepresentativeLi Baodong emerged and also stopped to speak, saying “We are still working on that.”

Morocco’s Permanent Representative Loulichki called it “promising,” but said that no date had been set for another meeting.

[...]

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March 6th, 2012, 9:15 pm

 

129. Son of Damascus said:

Tara,

A good song by a Syrian rapper named MC Revo.

The title is Neeyalak Ya Watan.

He wrote it about his friend Anas Al Tarsha whom recently died, his crime was filming the shabeeha.

http://soundcloud.com/mc-revo/neyalakyawatan

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March 6th, 2012, 9:47 pm

 

130. majedkhaldoun said:

Syrian hamster
You are wonderful,You are excellent speaker,and eloquent one,I hope for you the best.

As the revolution is gathering support from inside and outside
as Bashar is losing support from inside and outside,
I can not imagine someone saying that Bashar can crush the revolution

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March 6th, 2012, 9:54 pm

 

131. Alan said:

If You’re an American you should see THIS! for real
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWNMzMjXLJs

The Dirty Truth About Israel.

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March 6th, 2012, 9:56 pm

 

132. Syrialover said:

# 121. Sheila said:

“The Arab Jews only started living in fear and insecurity after the establishment of the state of Israel. Before 1948, they lived like everybody else in the Arab countries. They were considered Arabs ethnically, just like the majority of Christians and Muslims.”

I was going to write and say something similar. You will find plenty of accounts of ME Jewish people of that time saying they did not welcome the formation of Israel and saw it as a threat to how things were.

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March 6th, 2012, 9:59 pm

 

133. Observer said:

SyriaLover
The West cares about suffering but from the perspective of pure strategic interests Syria is not important to the West. It can stay a mafia state where the regime is a threat to its own people only and now weaker than ever. The point I am making is that it is not a good bargaining chip in the hands of Putin. He needs Western technology as the purchase of French frigates demonstrated and he needs Western investments as the trade between the US and Russia is a mere 1% of all of US trade with the world. He exports gas and energy and weapons and the latter is not doing well.
Syria if it emerges weaker will be a burden on Russia with an inability to rejoin the world economy anytime soon. With its internal unsustainable structure and with its own deep corruption it will collapse eventually and die of decay and bankruptcy.

As for the declaration of autonomy in the Brega I would say as it pertains to Syria the following:

The communities in Syria do nor like each other to say the least: the Alawi sect has a deep sense of historical injustice and persecution combined with a hatred of anything Sunni, the Sunnis for a long time had the haughty attitude of being in the right and disdained others as inferior, the Christians see the Muslims as Middle Age Barbarians and intrinsically incapable of progress, the Druze remain a mystery to me. There is a lack of national identity and a lack of an overriding idea of belonging to the same nation. Therefore forcing these communities to live together by force and to share in the fruits of the society according to pre conditions is a recipe for disaster. The entities that will emerge are not viable at all but as a group of federated states they will have to eventually put aside their old age hatred and cooperate in an economic free zone to solve their collective problems.

Take water and/or electricity. None of the current countries are capable of providing for the increasing demand of the modern style of life of their populations. Neither Jordan nor Lebanon nor Syria nor Iraq are capable of solving these problems and yet, if one puts aside stupid ethnic sectarian politics and allow the people to sit and discuss these issues directly there will be a forced unification of solutions and purpose by necessity and despite the political and sectarian and ethnic differences.

I have never recognized the artificial borders imposed by Sykes Picot and yet in our immaturity and narrow mindedness we continue to cling to these entities and try to make these systems and governments work for the people as best we can manage.

Now these entities have failed to provide for the basic necessities and hope has died a thousand times. One example of the tenacity of people relying of these archaic regimes is the preservation of the offices of identity during the Lebanese civil war by all the factions for each knew that some essential structures of the regime were needed by everybody to continue to work and survive and tender and barter and buy and sell.

Well now even such important basic building blocks of the regimes in place are not capable of this minimum guarantee as we see corrupt officials falsify property documents and sell them without the owner knowing, as we see bribes being paid for issuing passports and travel documents and even court ruling and building permits in a wild and unchecked manner.

Therefore in the face of the dissolution of the central authority it is only natural that we have a federation appear otherwise we will have factions establish states within states as we see HA emerge in lieu of an absent central authority and the Baath initially fulfilling that role when the previous regimes catered to the urban elite alone.

I do not wish misery or strife, but I challenge the common consensus to shock the reader into realizing that there is an alternative and that the road is painful and that the price is stiff and that an ideal and an ideology which liberates will always win over another that limits and stifles.

This is why it is so discouraging to see rot-learning comments in the worst of indoctrination schools around the world fill the pages of this SC blog. It is to stop the dialogue of the deaf; when the discourse is limited in its stupidity in trying to prove or disprove this or that information as fabricated or manipulated and in continuing to paint the world as a conspiracy of the East or the West.

I do not see any such discourse of a conspiracy happen even in small countries that enjoy true independence and sovereignty such as Switzerland or Belgium or Finland or Sweden or Norway. Yet they are much smaller and weaker than Russia or the US.
I also am not naive and abhor Western arrogance when they talk of this place or that country as being ” outside the international community” or ” not trustworthy to have a nuclear program ” or to ” seek economic and technological independence ” and to be free of the dictatorship of the international financial and banking system controlled by the West. I know that most commercial transactions happen either in NY or London and understand why Russia wants to have Moscow as an alternative. Yet, this does not mean that I do not recognize that the ills of the ME and Syria in particular are not made in space or in the US or France they are 95% made in Syria. And if it means federation or separation to solve them, I challenge anyone to come up with a better solution especially since there is no consensus whatsoever on the basic identity of Syria. Proof? The latest constitution.

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March 6th, 2012, 10:23 pm

 

134. Tara said:

Dear Syrian Hamster@39

Outstanding!  I too think a very interesting book can be written about the psychology behind  the regime supporters and their gross “moral, ethical, and intellectual failure”.  It has a potential to be a bestseller.   By referring to the “intellectual brutality and vulgarity of the persistent assault on intelligence being committed by the pro-regime crowd”, I think you defined rather a new term “the intellectual Tashbeeh”.   

I like to quote the following pertinent to the cut and paste artists.

“It is clear that the cut-paste strategy has dual use. First it allows the poster to pass the most vile, provocative collection of lies and innuendos as “respected” journalistic opinion through moderation, and second to shout back in fake and quire angry indignation “I did not say so, I merely presented opinion giving the other side of the story”. But more importantly, it demands the least effort, beyond burping sophomoric phrases and prepackaged childish classification and accusations from the side of the cut and paste artists…

I think …those who are getting paid to flood the blogsphere with regime propaganda are cheating their employers….”

Yes, Hamster for an emperor!

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March 6th, 2012, 10:27 pm

 

135. Ghufran said:

There are plenty of videos that exposed the brutality of the regime,this is a video about a child who was killed by a sniper and was used as a weapon in the PR war on you tube,but this time,it was not the regime who used the death of a child to win sympathy,it was the rebels ,watch if you care:

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March 6th, 2012, 10:29 pm

 

136. Tara said:

Assad is determined to fight until the last man and to rule over a burned Syria, Neron -style.  He burned Homs.  He is going to burn Daraa.  When is Damascus turn?  Is his crime, just like the father, will go unpunished ?    

http://news.yahoo.com/syrias-assad-says-determined-keep-fighting-foreign-backed-192032815.html

BEIRUT – Syria’s president defied mounting international pressure to end the year-old crackdown on an uprising against him and said Tuesday he was determined to go on fighting what he called “foreign-backed terrorism.”
… .
The military crackdown turned to southern Daraa province, where the uprising began a year ago. Troops shelled a village in Daraa and clashed with military defectors.

Activists said the military blasted a bridge and a tunnel near the border with Lebanon used as escape routes for the wounded and refugees fleeing central Homs province, an opposition stronghold which just endured a heavy, monthlong offensive.
Rupert Colville, spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, described video that has emerged of torture victims allegedly shot secretly in the Military Hospital in Homs as “truly shocking.”
… .

The top U.S. commander in the Middle East said the advanced air defence weapons Russia has provided to Syria would make it difficult to establish a no-fly zone there as part of an effort to help the rebellion. Marine Gen. James Mattis, head of U.S. Central Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee it would take a significant military commitment to create even safe havens in Syria where aid could be delivered, as McCain suggested.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Assad, unlike his father and predecessor, will not escape punishment for the violence he has inflicted. Turkey and Syria, which share a border, were allies before the uprising began.
“I would like to remind Bashar Assad: his father was not made to account for what he did in this world, but his son will sooner or later account for what he did, for the massacre and the oppression,” he said. “This time, the blood shed in Syrian cities will not go unpunished.”
… .

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March 6th, 2012, 10:39 pm

 

137. mick said:

Jad,

As soon as I saw that Ar Rastan video I knew it was fake.

A. The sound of the explosion

B. The location of the wounded in regard to the explosion.

But I guess it would be hard to have dead, mutilated bodies shown standing up prior to the flashbang bomb, then have them in pieces. So having a crowd hide both the explosion and the dead works to sell to CNN. They love this stuff. That’s why I quit watching them in 2002.

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March 6th, 2012, 10:40 pm

 

138. zoo said:

Imad Moustafa returns to blogging from China

http://imad_moustapha.blogs.com/

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March 6th, 2012, 10:55 pm

 

139. Ghufran said:

المندسه السوريه
تصحيح مسار الثورة : لا للتسليح
http://the-syrian.com/archives/70352

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March 6th, 2012, 10:57 pm

 

140. Tara said:

Sorry I much prefer to browse the new collection for shoes Spring 2012 than to read what Imad Mustafa has to say. The new collection is awsome. The trend is multicolor shoes with platform. Ah..Can’t wait when the weather permits.

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March 6th, 2012, 11:18 pm

 

141. Ghufran said:

Syria Danny,replayed
http://www.infowars.com/syria-danny-caught-staging-cnn-war-propaganda-stunt/
Any idea how those famous videos about Danny and other aljazeera ” super activists” were filmed?
A friend suggested that those videos proved that regime sympathizers / agents may have infiltrated the rebel forces in Homs.

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March 6th, 2012, 11:25 pm

 

142. son of Damascus said:

Jad and Mick,

We are back on this subject again. Ok please have a look at the two videos below and explain to me how a ‘sound bomb’ or a hand grenade, or a lone shooter on the roof with a rifle can do any of the damages you see in the videos (which was what the two different articles and one video tried to argue with no proof).

The first one shows you the front impact, and how the tank shell had gone through the buildings metal barring through the shop (where the deaths occurred) and through the wall. The second video shows you the back of said building were you see the shell had gone through the wall and embedded into the wall in the adjacent building.

Lets wait and see SyriaTruth try to explain these videos away.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AG95qPzgSR8&feature=youtu.be

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March 6th, 2012, 11:38 pm

 

143. jad said:

The government is meeting with the opposition in Aleppo suburbs in an attempt to calm down the situation, very good step I think:

وزير الداخلية يحاور وجهاء ريف حلب

زياد الرفاعي

حلب | ترقّب حذر يسود ريف حلب الشمالي، في انتظار ما ستسفر عنه لقاءات وزير الداخلية السوري، اللواء محمد إبراهيم الشعار، مع وجهاء وفعاليات المنطقة، ومن بينهم معارضون ومقربون من المجموعات التي حملت السلاح.
وينحصر جدول اعمال اللقاءات بإقناع المعنيين بإعادة الأمور في مناطقهم إلى ما كانت عليه قبل أشهر، والامتناع عن قطع الطرقات بقوة السلاح، مقابل تلبية مطالب لهم، منها وقف الاعتقال، ومطالب خدمية مختلفة . وقال مصدر مطلع لـ«الأخبار» إن لقاءً ضم الوزير مع العشرات من الوجهاء والفعاليات بهدف إنهاء مظاهر التسلح، والاخلال بالأمن، التي يشهدها ريف حلب الشمالي والغربي. وأضاف المصدر أنه «أبلغ الأهالي الحرص الشديد من قبل رئيس الجمهورية على كل قطرة دم سورية، وأن الاخلال بالامن خط أحمر، لن يتم التهاون فيه إطلاقاً».

المصدر أكد أن السلطات تعتبر أن السماح بالتظاهر لم يقابل باحترام التعهدات المقطوعة للحفاظ على الأمن، وعدم تخريب المنشآت العامة، حيث أحرقت مخافر واعتدي على مدارس ودوائر حكومية، وتعرض رجال أمن لرصاص كمائن، وعبوات ناسفة، ومنع الموظفون من أداء أعمالهم».
في المقابل، قال مصدر من تنسيقة تلرفعت إن السلطة ترفض الحوار مع الوجهاء الحقيقيين، الذين يمكنهم ضبط المتظاهرين، وعدم الاخلال بالأمن، وتصر على لقاء المقربين منها، غير القادرين على تنفيذ تعهداتهم. وأضاف أن رغبة المحتجين هي التفاوض وتحقيق مطالبهم بوقف الاعتقال واعادة العمال إلى أعمالهم وتأمين فرص عمل وغير ذلك من مطالب محقة، وأن السلاح استخدم فقط للدفاع عن النفس في مواجهة الأمن.
{…}
http://www.al-akhbar.com/node/44915

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March 6th, 2012, 11:42 pm

 

144. Equus said:

Leaked Email: Pentagon Admits Plan To Direct Terror Attacks Inside Syria

the Pentagon, along with other NATO powers, have already directed Special Forces troops stationed inside Syria to carry out terrorist attacks and assassinations in an effort to topple President President Bashar al-Assad.

I guess Syrians should stop blaming each other…third hand is the culprit.

http://www.infowars.com/leaked-email-pentagon-plans-to-direct-terror-attacks-inside-syria/

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March 6th, 2012, 11:49 pm

 

145. Syria no Kandahar said:

You didn’t shoot,it is god shooting :

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March 7th, 2012, 12:09 am

 

146. jad said:

Son of Damascus
I’m not sure what you want to prove in the video you linked. The roof is broken at the entry of the market where nobody got hurt, the victims killed ‘together’ at the far end of it.
In anyway, what we know that some people were killed either by the army as you are trying your best to prove or by the usual terrorists of fsa, which isn’t that far fetch from the crimes they did already or from the logical evidence put out by many.
So what you need to do is to get the names of those victims and add them in the data base of the project you are planning to do, doing inspector gadget is neither your job nor mine so I’ll let it go since I’m not interested in an endless debate about this one story out of many.

What you think of the story Ghufran linked, killing a 12 years old kid just for media purposes by the mighty terrorists, it’s Sari Sa3oud all over again. Bunch of criminals

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March 7th, 2012, 12:11 am

 

147. jad said:

Stratfor leaks: NATO commandos in illegal special ops in Syria

Undercover NATO troops are already in Syria despite denials from their parent governments, according to a leaked brief from a highly-placed analyst.

The information comes from a hacked email from leading private US intelligence agency Stratfor, whose correspondence has been released by Wikileaks since February 27. The email appears to be written from the address of Reva Bhalla (bhalla@stratfor.com), the company’s director of analysis, for internal use, and details a confidential Pentagon meeting in December. The consultation is alleged to have been attended by senior analysts from the US Air Force, and representatives from its chief allies, France and the United Kingdom.

Western powers have categorically denied military involvement in Syria’s internal conflict, for which they have no international mandate. But if the information contained in the letter is reliable, a radically different picture of Western activity in Syria emerges.

The author of the letter claims that US officials “said without saying that SOF [special operation forces] teams (presumably from the US, UK, France, Jordan and Turkey) are already on the ground, focused on recce [reconnaissance] missions and training opposition forces.” A little later the US army experts expand on the role of the undercover commandos: “the idea ‘hypothetically’ is to commit guerrilla attacks, assassination campaigns, try to break the back of the Alawite forces, elicit collapse from within.”

Alawites are a minority Islamic sect, to which Syrian President Bashar Assad and his support base belong. For the past year he has battled an insurrection that has united a range of opponents, from pro-democracy activists to radical Sunni Muslims.

There have been previous allegations of a Western presence on the side of the rebels and on Monday 13 French officers were reportedly captured by the loyalist forces.

Despite the commandos’ already wide remit, the email states that the US experts “stress that this is all being done as contingency planning, not as a move toward escalation.”

If confirmed, the information will give ammunition to Russia and China, who have accused Western powers of paving the way for an invasion of Syria. These fears have already been cited as the reasons the two countries vetoed the US-backed UN resolution on Syria in February.

{…}

http://rt.com/news/stratfor-syria-secret-wikileaks-989/

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March 7th, 2012, 12:17 am

 

148. ann said:

China backs political solution to Syrian crisis: envoy – 2012-03-07

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2012-03/07/c_131451817.htm

Li Baodong, the Chinese permanent representative to the United Nations, made the statement while speaking to the UN-based Chinese media.

“China follows closely the developments of the situation in Syria, supports the political settlement of the Syrian crisis, and has made unremitting efforts to this end,” Li said.

The Syrian affairs have to be determined by the Syrian people themselves, any foreign forces should not intervene in the internal affairs of Syria by force, or push through “regime change” in the Middle East country, Li said.

“Sanctions or threat of sanctions are not conducive to a proper settlement of the Syrian problem,” he said.

On China’s veto last month of a draft on Syria at the UN Security Council, Li said, “the Chinese veto was intended to uphold the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and the basic norms governing international relations, and safeguard the rights of the Syrian people to determine their own affairs.”

[...]

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March 7th, 2012, 12:21 am

 

149. ann said:

NATO behaving like a law unto itself – 2012-03-07

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/indepth/2012-03/07/c_131451408.htm

BEIJING, March 7 (Xinhuanet) — Over the past decade, the overwhelming majority of NATO “kills” in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya have been unarmed civilians. A large number of Iraqi, Afghan and Libyan civilians have lost not just their limbs but also their lives, because of “mistakes” made by NATO personnel in the field.

A look at the diaries kept by alliance troops in the different theaters of war show the casual way in which human lives are taken, often on just the merest suspicion of hostile intent.

In both Iraq and Afghanistan, running was taken as evidence of hostile intent and troops would fire on the runner immediately, even in cases where the man shot and killed was unarmed.

The diaries and recollections of hundreds of soldiers, especially those of the US, but also those of other NATO countries, detail the “mistakes” made by NATO forces, all too often the “accidental” deaths of women and children furnish substantial evidence of war crimes and human rights violations.

However, so far there has been no serious effort to hold those responsible for deaths of innocent civilians accountable. Both the International Court of Justice and the UN Human Rights Council have yet to take action against a single NATO soldier. The lack of attention given by the UN to the growing number of innocents killed by NATO military action is a damning indictment of its ineffectiveness and subjugation to the will of the US.

The impunity with which NATO personnel have killed and injured civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya has resulted in a sense among its personnel that they are “superior” to the people of these countries, all three of which are outside the charmed circle of those countries NATO considers “civilized”.

As a result NATO soldiers have developed a casual disregard to the killing of civilians in combat zones. Aware that the chances of being punishment are so remote as to be non-existent, many are willing to act as both judge and executioner of “hostile” locals.

Since the Libyan operation, civilians also face a further threat, as a dangerous new policy has emerged, that of giving weapons to those disaffected with the government of a country that is a NATO target. In Libya, large numbers of civilians have been killed not only by the NATO bombardment but also by insurgents armed and funded by NATO. Indeed, to this day, people are being hunted down, tortured, arrested and killed in Libya in their hundreds, with no protest from Washington, London, Berlin or Paris.

So long as the companies of these Western countries can secure lucrative contracts from the medley of authorities that now rule Libya, it seems that these authorities are free to do whatever they want despite the UN resolution that specifically calls for the prevention of civilian casualties. Clearly such UN resolutions are interpreted by Western countries to suit themselves and thrown away once they have served NATO’s political and commercial objectives.

In Syria as well, armed gangs are being encouraged to kill not just security forces but elements of the population that favor the recognized regime in Damascus. Such a policy has the potential to wreak havoc throughout the Middle East. And while NATO may gain from such unethical actions, the rest of the world is the loser.

[...]

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March 7th, 2012, 12:26 am

 

150. jad said:

I lost tracks to what was linked or posted on SC, anyway, this is a Here is the latest report of the Crisis Group about Syria it repeats what many were calling for for almost a year now, NEGOTIATION and DIALOGUE is the best was out of this bloody mess, there will be no winner or loser, just Syrian VICTIMS with no Syria if we keep calling for violence and weapons, it’s suicidal:

Now or Never: A Negotiated Transition for Syria

One year into the Syrian uprising, the level of death and destruction is reaching new heights. Yet, outside actors – whether regime allies or opponents – remain wedded to behaviour that risks making an appalling situation worse. Growing international polarisation simultaneously gives the regime political space to maintain an approach – a mix of limited reforms and escalating repression – that in the longer run is doomed to fail; guarantees the opposition’s full militarisation, which could trigger all-out civil war; and heightens odds of a regional proxy war that might well precipitate a dangerous conflagration. Kofi Annan’s appointment as joint UN/Arab League Special Envoy arguably offers a chance to rescue fading prospects for a negotiated transition. It must not be squandered. For that, Russia and others must understand that, short of rapidly reviving a credible political track, only an intensifying military one will remain, with dire consequences for all.

Annan’s best hope lies in enlisting international and notably Russian support for a plan that:
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http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/middle-east-north-africa/egypt-syria-lebanon/syria/B032-now-or-never-a-negotiated-transition-for-syria.aspx

The same in Arabic in Assafir

تقرير يحذر من «المراوحة القاتلة» في سوريا:
القوى الخارجية تُفاقمها.. ولا حلّ إلا بالتفاوض

اعتبر تقرير نشرته «مجموعة الأزمات الدولية» أن كل يوم يمر على الأزمة السورية يزيد من خطر إجهاض فرص التوصل لحلّ سياسي من خلال التفاوض، محملاً المسؤولية للقوى الخارجية التي تصبّ الزيت على النار «نتيجة اختيارها النظر إلى المشكلة السورية من خلال حصصها الإستراتيجية والإقليمية، أي من يفوز ومن يخسر في حال انهيار النظام، فيما لم تقدّم أي باب للتغيير عن طريق التفاوض».
وأكد التقرير أن «تمسك اللاعبين الخارجيين، سواء من أعداء النظام أو حلفائه بالنهج نفسه في سياساتهم، يهدّد بتأزيم الأمور، فتزايد الاستقطاب الدولي على سوريا يعطي النظام الحجة والمساحة للحفاظ على سلوكه نفسه، كما يترك الباب أمام المعارضة للتسلح، ثم جرّ البلاد إلى حرب أهلية، ويفتح المجال أمام الدول الأخرى لتقوم بحروبها بالوكالة على الساحة السورية».
وفيما يرى التقرير، الذي ينشر قبل أيام على زيارة مبعوث الأمم المتحدة والجامعة العربية إلى سوريا كوفي أنان، أن «زيارة أنان بمثابة فرصة لإنقاذ آخر احتمالات حلّ الأزمة بالتفاوض السلمي لنقل السلطة»، يؤكد على وجوب وضع خطة تحظى بإجماع دولي وتتضمن: النقل المبكر للسلطة مع ضمان الحفاظ على المفاصل الرئيسية في المؤسسات الرسمية، إجراء إصلاح تدريجي لكن شامل للخدمات الأمنية، وضمان عملية انتقال عادلة في ظل عملية مصالحة وطنية تطمئن الدوائر السورية الخائفة من تصفية الحسابات في المرحلة المقبلة.
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http://assafir.com/Article.aspx?EditionID=2094&ChannelID=49897&ArticleID=705

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March 7th, 2012, 12:28 am

 

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