“Is an Alawite State in Syria’s Future?,”Cecily Hilleary interviews Joshua Landis

Is an Alawite State in Syria’s Future?
December 20, 2012 By Cecily Hilleary @VOAHilleary

A man walks into the Syrian border after the road was blocked by Lebanese protesters at Arida town in northern Lebanon

It is an idea that was first introduced more than a year ago: If President Bashar al-Assad were to fall or be remove himself from power, would Alawites, for decades a ruling minority in Syria, retreat to their traditional western mountain enclaves and form a breakaway state?  As rebels gain more ground in Syria, so too does the idea of an Alawite homeland as an antidote against sectarian violence that could become, in the words of one former U.S. diplomat, “the world’s next genocide.”  Senior reporter Cecily Hilleary spoke about the prospects of an Alawite retreat from Syria’s capital, Damascus, with Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies and associate professor at the University of Oklahoma.

Landis:  Well, Assad hasn’t come to the conclusion that he has lost Damascus, and he’s not anywhere near there.  We’ve just heard Farouk al-Sharaa, his vice president, say that neither side could win – neither the rebels nor the government.  There would have to be a political solution; there could not be a military solution.

So,I think Bashar al-Assad is still thinking in terms of a draw here.   I don’t think he’ll be able to hold Damascus forever.  I think it’s going to be a lot longer and a more bitter struggle than most people predict.  Many have been saying that by this summer, in June, he’ll be out and finished.  I suspect it’s going to take longer than that.

Hilleary:  Well, he’s shown remarkable tenacity.

Landis:  He did, and in many ways, if you think about it, just cold-bloodedly.  He cannot afford to allow the rebels to take Damascus.  Damascus is the “goose that lays the golden egg.”  It is Syria.  And for the rebels to take it whole would be to empower them a great deal, and it would put Assad’s “rump” military and the Alawite region along the coast at a great disadvantage.

So it’s likely that he will hang on to Damascus and that the city will be destroyed, as Aleppo has been destroyed, before it is relinquished.

Hilleary:  That time may well come, and as we’ve seen in the case of Libya, Muammar Gadhafi, and in Iraq, Saddam Hussein, they both ran off to their ancestral, tribal homelands – why not Assad?

Landis:  Well, I think he will.  I think he will be forced into the coastal mountains.  Now, the question is whether he can set up a separate state there.  I don’t believe that the world will recognize a separate Alawite state on the coast of Syria.  That doesn’t mean that he’ll be defeated, in the same way that Hezbollah resides in southern Lebanon, where Shi’ite Lebanese are the majority, and that forms a social base and a protection for Hezbollah.  And it’s quite likely that the Alawites and the Syrian Army, which has now largely been turned into an Alawite militia, will be forced back into the coastal mountains.

Whether they can be defeated there as a military power or not depends on two things, really:  Whether Iran is willing to continue to invest and support them militarily by sending weapons and money, and whether the Sunni Arabs overcome their deep factionalism and unify.  If they do unify – they represent 70 percent of the population – they will defeat the Alawites.  If they remain divided and they fight amongst themselves over Damascus and other ideological reasons, spoils, then it’s quite likely that the Alawites may survive the military power along the coast.

“If Russia and Iran continue to support the Alawites along the coast, and the Arabs remain very divided and perhaps settle into civil war, well then they could pull it off, the same way the Kurds pulled it off in Iraq.” – Joshua Landis

Hilleary:  How likely is it that that kind of infighting will take place among the Sunnis and allow for the Alawites to survive?

Landis:  I think it is quite likely.  We see vast differences in ideology, country versus city, class, and also north and south, Aleppo versus Damascus, have traditionally separated Syrians, and these questions about Islam versus secularism, the role of minorities, and so forth, were never decided after independence.  Syria went straight from French rule to, really, dictatorship.  And they are all being debated today.

Hilleary:  Is there any truth to reports that Assad has been quietly preparing for some kind of an enclave along the Mediterranean?

Landis:  I have read these reports that that is what he’s been doing, which were largely aired on [… a] website that is rarely factual.  I don’t doubt that Alawites from every walk of life are preparing for a mountain defense.  I know my own family – my wife’s family, which is Alawite – has been adding rooms onto their mountain house, which is a summer house, because they don’t want to hang out in Latakia, which they believe will become a battleground because it’s half Sunni and half Alawite and Christian.  So these things make people fearful, and they are taking precautions, and I don’t doubt that Bashar al-Assad is also doing similar things.

Hilleary:  Well, there is a legitimate basis for fear.

Landis:  Of course there is a legitimate basis for fear, because this has turned into a sectarian war.  The government has so mistreated the Syrian people and used so much force, killing so many and making others homeless that revenge is going to be – there’s going to be revenge.

Hilleary: What about Russia?  Has it expressed any interest in support for a separate Alawite region?  I mean, if you look at it geographically, Iran and Russia could certainly access them from the Mediterranean and support them for a while.  Could they pull it off?

Landis:  Absolutely.  But it all depends on continuing support.  If Russia and Iran continue to support the Alawites along the coast, and the Arabs remain very divided and perhaps settle into civil war, well then they could pull it off, the same way the Kurds pulled it off in Iraq.  Unlike the Kurds, the Alawites would not have oil, which puts them at a grave disadvantage. Also, the Syrian Arabs are not going to let the Alawites take the coast if they can possibly avoid it. The coast is prime real-estate and Latakia is very vulnerable from the north. It is likely to become a battle ground as the war advances.

Hilleary:  Well, the survival of an Alawite enclave is another question—

Landis:  It will only happen over the dead bodies of the Sunni Arabs.   Obviously, it’s not something that any Syrian Sunni Arab is going to want.  It’s going to have to be taken from them.  And whether the Alawites, in the long run, can manage, that is questionable.  But so much of that depends on whether Sunni Arabs can unify.  If they can, they will overpower the Alawites, who just don’t have the numbers.

“[Syria’s militias] span the ideological spectrum from al-Qaida all the way to much more secular outfits that want democracy and are looking toward the West.’ – Joshua Landis

Hilleary:  Well, how is it looking for Sunni unity at this point?

Landis:  It’s looking bad.

Hilleary:  I’ve almost lost track of the number of different opposition groups blending, re-blending, re-naming themselves—

Landis:  There are hundreds of militias.  And there has been a Darwinian process taking place, where a few of the most powerful militias are sucking up a lot of the smaller ones.  But there are still dozens of very powerful militias, and they span the ideological spectrum from al-Qaida all the way to much more secular outfits that want democracy and are looking toward the West.

Hilleary:  What do you see happening?

Landis:  I see a long, long battle along the same lines we’ve seen, and unfortunately, both sides are radicalizing, and the radicals are taking over – not only among the Sunni Arabs but also within the Alawite community, and that means bad things because it’s going to destroy – it is destroying Syria.  And we’ve seen the north is so devastated, and I think that same devastation is going to be visited on the south in Damascus.  And we’re going to have rubble.  And unfortunately, unlike Iraq where there was an occupying power, which had, of course, its bad elements, but also it allowed the Maliki government to unify the Arabs because the Americans undermined all the competitor militias and built up a central Iraqi state before they left. That’s not going to happen in Syria.  The various militias are going to fight it out.  And, secondly, there’s no oil, or very little oil.  So the ability to rebuild is not, there’s just very little ability to rebuild, so it’s going to take a long time, and there are going to be tons of refugees, and there’s going to be lots of hunger and privation.

…. [end]

Also see Could an Alawite State in Syria Prevent Post-Assad Reprisals? – two Arab analysts argue that Alawites will ride themselves of the Assads for Syrian-Arab unity. They are:

Faisal al-Yafai, an award-winning journalist and essayist and chief columnist at the United Arab Emirate’s newspaper, The National,
and Jordanian political analyst, blogger and commentator Amer Sabaileh.

Comments (170)


Observer said:

Putin says he is concerned about the fate of Syria. Did anyone ask him for it?

December 20th, 2012, 3:38 pm

 

Dolly Buster said:

Putin is the one responsible for the war, because he provided the weapons and the political support to the Shiites to kill 44,000 people.

So, after Assad and Chavez die, it will be time for changes in Russia and China too. Professor Hugo de Garis predicts China will fall by 2020 or so.

When a country crosses a certain per capita income in dollars, citizens start demanding their rights.

December 20th, 2012, 3:55 pm

 
 
 
 

Visitor said:

Landis is very wrong. The Sunnis are by no means divided and will never allow an alawite enclave. They (enclavers) will be chased to the caves and not just to the mountains. They will either submit or be destroyed.

They chose existential fight and they will get existential fight. Have no doubts about it Landis.

December 20th, 2012, 4:35 pm

 

habib said:

6. Visitor

It’ll end like Lebanon. No doubt.

2. Dolly Buster

The number includes people on both sides, so I don’t see your point.

December 20th, 2012, 5:34 pm

 

Altair said:

2. Dolly Buster

This is very dangerous talk. I don’t know whether you say it out of ignorance or malice. What Shi’ites?

The “Shi’ites” are not a group to be blamed for the disaster in Syria. Far from it. This sectarian talk only serves to divide people and encourage sectarian warfare, not just in Syria but throughout the Middle East.

The Asads and their extended family can and should be blamed. They are Alawites, not Shi’ites (I would remind that even Shi’ites consider Alawites heterodox), but even then, I wouldn’t blame all Alawites either.

I hope and pray that Alawites themselves will put an end to this madness of destroying Syria, and get rid of the “leadership” that is putting their community at risk.

December 20th, 2012, 5:53 pm

 

zoo said:

I think JL is totally wrong in his predictions of the total destruction of Damascus. The Damascus war is coming to its end with the failure of the rebels to ‘liberate’ Yarmouk, that was their last chance to assault Damascus.

JL is right when he says the Sunnis are likely to fight against each others. That is obvious and should have happened a long time ago. The non-islamists rebels are seeing their revolution hijacked and increasingly discredited by the Islamists crimes. Either they’ll defect or they’ll fight to get rid of them. I believe that the consequences will be the weakening and the early collapse of the FSA. We may see an increase in terrorists bombing, a sign of the weakening of the military operations.

Without a no-fly zone and enormous humanitarian aid, the situation in the ‘liberated’ areas will rot as people will soon starve and lack basic necessities. The impotent rebels will be obliged to withdraw as they would not be able to administer these regions for long.

We have seen in Yarmouk that an external intervention can bring a ceasefire. It is possible that the weakening or collapse of the FSA will allow the international community to focus on the political wing, the coalition, who will accept the UN-Geneva-US-Russian plan as the last resort to save Syria.

Not all may be as bad as JL says…

December 20th, 2012, 6:04 pm

 

Syrialover said:

Russia acknowledges that Syrian leader may fall, renews call for negotiated end to civil war

EXCERPT:

President Vladimir Putin on Thursday further distanced his government from Syria’s leader, saying Russia would not back Bashar Assad’s regime “at any price” and recognized the need for a change in the Middle Eastern nation.

“We are not concerned with the fate of Assad’s regime,” Putin said during his annual news conference in Moscow. “We understand what is going on, given that the [Assad] family has been in power for 40 years and that the need of change is certainly on the agenda.”

Putin said the Kremlin’s “position is not to back Assad and his regime in power at any price.” However, he said that the Syrian conflict needed to be resolved by negotiation.

“I think agreements based on a military victory are out of place here and cannot be effective,” Putin said, adding: “What will happen there primarily depends on the Syrian people themselves.”

Russia, along with Iran, has been one of the Assad government’s few dependable international allies. However, there has been a change of tone in recent comments from Moscow.

On Dec. 13, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said the rebels might succeed in ousting Assad, a public acknowledgment that surprised international observers. The Russian government sought to backtrack the next day, insisting the diplomat was merely characterizing the views of Syrian rebels, not stating Moscow’s position.

The changing tone in Moscow reflects frustration on the part of the Kremlin, said one analyst.

“Obviously the Kremlin tried to assert its influence recently to compel Assad make some compromises in his unwavering stand based on violence and military pressure and even start some negotiations and make some other steps toward reconciliation, but to no avail,” said Andrei Kortunov, president of New Eurasia Foundation, a Moscow-based think tank, in an interview Wednesday.

“That certainly rubbed Putin the wrong way, and the Russian leader is having a hard time hiding his irritation with Assad,” Korutnov said.

http://www.latimes.com/news/world/worldnow/la-fg-wn-putin-syria-assad-20121220,0,250748.story

COMMENT: Hollow words, trying to save face.

Too late, all the damage has been done. More pointless failure, destruction, backwardness and waste by Putin’s regime.

Yet another occasion for Pussy Riot to sing their song Putin Wet His Pants.

December 20th, 2012, 6:09 pm

 

Ghufran said:

Sunni unity in the minds of many means uniting behind terrorists. Alawite unity in the mind of others means uniting behind Bashar and his thugs, the good news is that there is no unity on either side but the bad news is that there is plenty of hatred,fear and anger. Joshua is probably right,so go ahead and attack his blunt analysis the same way you attacked me, the only hope for Syria is to get rid of the gang headed by Bashar and unite aginst islamists, obviously, that is a tall order esoecially that there is no apetite to fund any credible peacevand rebuilding plan, GCC thugs will pay for guns but not for cement.
As for the future,most of you know that it is uncertain at best, that includes the idiots who advocated violence while many of us who wanted Assad to go warned against it , you only have yourselves to blame,enjoy the rubble.
( on a personal note, I can not but admire zoo’s ability to try to bring substance to this forum even that I happen to disagree with him on a number of issues, compare that to the garbage posted by people who claim to be doctors)

December 20th, 2012, 6:09 pm

 

Dolly Buster said:

8. Altair said:

They are Alawites, not Shi’ites

 
The word Alawite is derived from Ali.
And the term Shia is short for: Shia of Ali.
So, both are the same: Supporters of Ali.

They have a problem with the Sunni declaration: “No god worthy of worship except Allah.”
Instead, they argue that Ali and Bashar are more worthy to be worshipped.

So if you watch that disgusting video of the Syrian Arab Army burying a person alive on YouTube, they shout: “There is no god but Bashar.”

December 20th, 2012, 6:16 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

Prof.Landis
There are many points you did not touch,basically,you need to answer ,How,What,Where questions, please think about those questions
How- Assad will have to fight in Damascus,with whom? with Alawi soldiers,how many will die before he will lose Damascus,how many of them will be left over?How much money and military loss he will suffer?how is the Moral of the Alawi when he lose Damascus, and how is he going to lose Damascus,how long can he fight?
2- where are the border of the Alawi state,where will he get the help from, to fight Sunni where is he going to get Oil and Gas to fight.
What – what would be the state of the Alawi,are they going to be united behind Assad that he lost,would there be rivals for him is he going to hide behind Baath party,or be calling for resistance against Israel,would he depend on Russia or the west,what would be his help to Iran? would Iran continue to support him since HA support will be their primary friend,,what would Turkey position be,what would the state of the Alawite army,what will be the state of the rest of Syria.and many other questions
Probably the most important question is, if he is unable to defeat his enemy now,how is he going to protect himself when Syria will fight him with regular army/
Syria will get help from the Gulf

December 20th, 2012, 6:23 pm

 

Syrialover said:

What a welcome taste of grown-up thinking, realism and sanity.

SHEILA in the last thread said:

“The Alawis of Syria are like every other Syrian. We are all very mixed, due to the fact that so many civilizations passed through, lived and died in Syria.

“The Alawis are An Islamic sect. I do not really care what they worship or what anybody else worships for that matter. I believe that religion is a special relationship between a person and his or her creator. It stays between these two and has nothing to do with country or citizenship.”

http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/?p=17052&cp=all#comment-339407

COMMENT:

Religion has nothing to do with country or citizenship.

News for some here!

Especially those who are barking for Syria to have an Islamic state while they are living in the west where an individual’s religion in never an issue and has no impact on their rights or opportunities.

December 20th, 2012, 6:25 pm

 

William Scott Scherk said:

A couple of contrasting stories. The first from All4Syria:

سوريا.. قوة خاصة لمنع الاقتتال الطائفي

قال أحد ضباط الجيش الحر إنه يتم تشكيل كتيبة من “أبناء الطائفة العلوية الكريمة” ومن القوى الثورية التابعة لتجمع حماة الثورة، بقبعات زرقاء كتلك التي تعتمرها قوات حفظ السلام الدولية بغية الانتشار في مناطق التماس بين القرى العلوية والسنية التي من المحتمل أن تشهد ردات فعل انتقامية.

وأضاف عضو تجمع حماية الثورة المقدم الركن، مسعف الصبوح، لموقع سكاي نيوز عربية “نعمل الآن على تشكيل الكتيبة من منشقي وناشطي الطائفة الكريمة ومن شباب ثوري لتكون قاعدة ونواة لاستقطاب كافة العلويين من الذين يمتلكون فكر مدني وثوري ديمقراطي بعيدا عن العصابة الحاكمة التي تستغل هذه الطائفة للبقاء في السلطة وتدمير البلد”.

وأكد الصبوح أنه يتم حاليا تشكيل “كتائب من العلويين ومن القوى الثورية الناشطة ميدانيا في الداخل السوري، تكون شبه مسلحة، أي تحمل الأسلحة الخفيفة فقط، وقد يرتدون مستقبلا القبعات الزرقاء، للانتشار في المناطق التي يحتمل أن يحدث فيها ردات فعل انتقامية”.
وأوضح “ستنتشر هذه الكتائب في مناطق التماس بين القرى العلوية والسنية لتكون عازلة ومانعة لوقوع أي صدامات مسلحة، وسيكون التدخل إما بالطريقة الديبلوماسية أو بالتدخل المباشر”.

وفيما يتعلق بأعداد العلويين الموجودين حاليا ضمن هذا التشكيل قال الصبوح إنهم “بالعشرات وقد يصلوا خلال فترة قصيرة إلى المئات، وفي حال انضم إليهم المثقفين من الطائفة العلوية الكريمة فسيصبحون بالآلاف”.

ومن المتوقع أن تبدأ هذه الكتائب بالعمل الحقيقي خلال الأسابيع القليلة المقبلة خلال المرحلة الانتقالية في البلاد، وفقا للصبوح.
وعن الجهة التي ستشرف على هذه الكتائب قال الصبوح إنها ستكون تحت إشراف سياسيين وعسكريين محترفيين.

ويهدف تشكيل هذه الكتائب وفقا للصبوح إلى “الاستعاضة بها عن دخول أي قوات أجنبية مسلحة إلى الأراضي السورية حتى لو كانت تحت مظلة الأمم المتحدة.. فالشعب السوري لا يقبل بدخول أي عنصر مسلح إلى أراضيه”.

(for English-speakers, a link to a Google translation)

This second story from The Daily Star:

Syrian President Bashar Assad is willing to hold early elections and favors a political solution in his crisis ridden country, only if the violence stops, according to Iran’s former Syrian ambassador, Hossein Sheikholeslam.

Sheikholeslam, who also serves as foreign policy adviser to Iranian parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani, added that the West was not interested in a political solution in Syria, but was intent on pursuing a military confrontation.

“It is the U.S. and Qatar who are supporting the outside opposition with arms and do not want a political solution,” he said in a telephone interview with The Daily Star from Tehran Wednesday.

Sheikholeslam, who has been privy to negotiations with Assad and other countries on how to end the 21-month conflict, detailed the six-point plan proposed by key Syrian ally Iran, presented Sunday following a two-day conference in Tehran.

He insisted that an interim government leading to elections could only be formed after a cease-fire was agreed between Assad and rebels fighting for his overthrow.

“The first thing is that there has to be a cease-fire. There needs to be a calm environment in the country to hold elections. We can’t go to elections while there are bombings and instability,” he said.

[ . . . ]

“He is ready to start discussions [with the opposition] and put in place the mechanisms to oversee fair elections, referring to a transition government that would lead to elections monitored by an “international body or an Islamic organization.”

Insisting Assad has agreed in principle to holding early elections, he said: “He will be willing to compromise, but only if everybody agrees to stop the violence first.”

It is good to know that Assad now speaks through a former Iranian ambassador, and that he is patiently waiting for the ‘ceasefire’ and then will proceed with ‘dialogue.’

Meanwhile, this:

December 20th, 2012, 6:27 pm

 

Majedkhaldoun said:

The one who is sitting on the fence is actually sitting on Khazooq in his ass

December 20th, 2012, 6:34 pm

 

Toro said:

In analyzing complex situations like wars, we tend to place more attention on the leaders: what they did, what they did not, what they should have done, and what they should not. But the fact is that such complex conditions are shaped by multitudes of people. So it is not just Hitler, for example, who was responsible for putting Germany on a war path, most Germans participated with him one way or the other. Same with Assad. He could not have pulled his entire Alawite community into such a disastrous situation without their active involvement.

In the beginning of the Syrian revolution, the hundreds of thousands of Sunni demonstrators who spilled into Syria’s streets did their utmost to try to dissuade the Alawites from backing Assad. They named one of their first Fridays after Saleh el Ali, the Alawite chief from the French mandate era. They appealed in another Friday to the Syrian army to act as a national army, not as an Assad militia. This and many more efforts were in vain. The majority of the Alawite community had gotten used to being in power (and what it provides) and could not stomach even the idea of sharing it. In my last visit to Syria in 2009 the suppressed sectarian tension was so intense you could touch it. Everywhere you went around Damascus, Alawites were acting like they owned the place. It was a ticking bomb. When the demonstrations began in March 2011, the well-armed Alawites in the army and security forces, and soon the Shabeeha, were more than happy to do Assad’s bidding and to kill their fellow Syrians in their thousands. I do not know if communities can, like individuals, review their actions in light of the consequences, but if they can they’d realize they had committed one hell of a mistake.

The Alawites are now facing massive retribution. Make no mistake about it. The rage among the Sunnis at what Assad and his men have done to Syria has reached irreversible levels. Assad’s brutal genocide and the international tolerance of it has radicalized the Sunnis to levels never seen before in Syria. The need for Sunni unity that Joshua is emphasizing is a condition for good governance, but is really irrelevant when it comes to unleashing violence. What Alawites are facing today is a totally different beast, one that draws its strength not from unity but from its sheer amorphousness. As we speak hundreds of Kataeb are surrounding Hama and will in the coming weeks and months push on to the Syrian coastal highlands. The Alawites options are getting less and less by the day. Their only chance in survival in a future Syria is if they kill the Assads themselves.

December 20th, 2012, 6:34 pm

 

Sheila said:

Dear Altair @8,
Thank you, thank you and thank you for that comment.

December 20th, 2012, 7:27 pm

 

Sheila said:

Dear Syriallover @14,
Thank you for the kind words and for reading my comments.

December 20th, 2012, 7:29 pm

 

William Scott Scherk said:

Contemptuous, hateful language is taking over as the norm in these comments again.

Can those who use belligerent and bigoted comments against Syrian groups not think before posting?

Thank you Syrialover and Sheila (and Zoo) for expressing revulsion at the vile rhetoric.

I have seen calls here for the extermination of “Nu-say-ri” in no uncertain terms, and other posts demonizing Shi’a and Sunni collectives, pretending a divine authority, condemning others to eternal damnation and suffering for their beliefs (or lack thereof) or their ethnic/confessional identity.

What is this for? Why this awful dehumanization and urge for collective judgements? This is only a step away from calling for sectarian reprisals and revenge attacks, one step away from incitement to murder. How far back to the Good Old Days do you bloodthirsty spectators want to go?

Meanwhile, for those with blindspots, a reminder of the best of the Syrian Arab Army, here kicking and slapping women and men in captivity. The previous video link of mine was to the glorious Syrian Arab Army field-executing two unarmed men. Add to your collection of See No Evil, Speak No Evil.

Syria’s President, somewhere in the Palace, waiting for the terrorists to offer a ceasefire, and signing orders for 350 daily air sorties. Shara’a back on the shelf. Shaba’an mute, avoiding arrest. Maqdissi on stress leave. SANA unable to get a quote from anyone in the upper administration, unsure whether or not to quote the Daily Star’s scoop.

So, we should be thankful that in the former Iranian ambassador Syria has an official voice of the House of Assad. The President evidently is unable to speak for himself, and lets the Syrian state talk through bombing runs, executions, torture, detention and starvation-siege.

December 20th, 2012, 7:46 pm

 

Observer said:

I love the way ZOO picks what he likes to hear and makes it a fact on the ground.

The facts my dear ZOO is that Homs is not under regime control, Rastan is not under regime control, all the crossings in the north and the east and the south are not under regime control. The fact is that the interior minister is being treated at the AMERICAN UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL not Moscow General Hospital. The fact is that the Athads have declared that they will destroy the country and they are now doing a scorched earth policy to keep the rebels occupied after they start fleeing to the mountains. Well the mountains are not secure anymore as there are many Alawite villages empty of its inhabitants.

Do not confuse facts with wishes. The battle of Damascus my foot. This army is only good at shooting against unarmed people.

Dr. Landis knows very well that there is no such thing as a Syrian Nation. The jest of his article is that there are sects and factions and groups and ethnicities but no such thing as Syria. Otherwise why talk about an Alawite enclave.

The regime chose violence and by violence it will be destroyed. It is unfortunate but this is the reality and by the way: NO ONE IS COMING TO THE RESCUE. FORGET IT THERE WILL BE NO ONE COMING TO RESCUE THE REGIME. Putin is the fist to defect and the Iranians are having bathroom discussions on how to get out of the mess. And oh by the way Man’a is in Baghdad discussing Syria as if the broken humpty dumpty called Iraq can help do anything.

This post is a disappointment.

December 20th, 2012, 7:58 pm

 

Ghufran said:

Many of us have asked for a political solution from day one when the regime was much stronger and there was no FSA and Jabhat Alnusra,etc, so it is a lie to suggest that the call for a cease fire is a life rope for the regime. Violence and the call to topple the regime and defeat the army by force led to vast destruction and tremendous loss of human lives, blaming that on the regime alone only convince those who are unable to accept the truth, also, to reduce the war to the popular Thawraji slogan ” an alawi massacre against Sunni” is an insult to our intelligence and to the families of thousands of alawites who were killed since March, 2011. The army despite all the theft and misuse for decades and the systematic attacks in the last 2 years by rebels and terrorists is still a formidable force that can only be brought down by a foreign invasion. Syrians who can look at the whole picture and are able to overcome their sectarian bias will agree that keeping things the same and feeding this war with more Syrian blood is a sure way to end the syrian state, those of you who insist on ” winning” this war and subjugating other Syrians are not different from the regime they are fighting aginst.

December 20th, 2012, 8:02 pm

 

Tara said:

Hama is following the step its sister Aleppo

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/12/20/uk-syria-crisis-idUKBRE8BI1JT20121220

Syrian rebels have captured at least six towns in the central province of Hama, according to a rebel commander. Speaking to Reuters from Syria, Qassem Saadeddine, a member of the rebel military command, said: “Three-quarters of western rural Hama is under our control.” He said the towns taken by rebels included Latamneh, Helfaya, Kfar Naboudah, Hasraya, Tibat al-Imn and Kfar Zita, and that fighting had also broken out in the city of Hama itself.

December 20th, 2012, 8:05 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

William Scott Scherk
As I read your comment I feel that you either avoid to understand Syrian culture,or you are unable mentally to understand such culture.
It amaze me when you permit words like Islamic thugs,or Islamic terrorists and you do not permit the word Nu-sa-y ri.
I am worried about your thinking when you allow stupid ideas to be stated as facts, and you express annoyance when facts are stated.
I found you out of reason when you interpret statements in an opposite way.
You agree that self defence is O.K. but you forbid it.
You are long way to act as ajudge.

December 20th, 2012, 8:11 pm

 

Tara said:

I have very close Christian friends in Kafr Bihm in Hama suburbs. A couple who were very close to my parents and myself all these years in the US. My parents met them in the supermarket and that was it. The two families were very close during the good times and during the bad times. They are nothing like the Christians on this site….They were forced to leave the US few years ago as they could not settle their immigration status. I visited them in their village 2 years ago and the whole extended family came to say Hello. I pray they stay safe. We have tried to contact them on multiple occasions to no avail. My heart aches for them and for all the Syrians threatened by what is happening.

December 20th, 2012, 8:29 pm

 

zoo said:

Imminent massacre of Christians and Alawites in Hama?
“The rebels have promised not to hurt anyone who stays at home,”

Syrian rebels fight for strategic town in Hama province

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/20/us-syria-crisis-idUSBRE8AJ1FK20121220

(Reuters) – Rebels began to push into a strategic town in Syria’s central Hama province on Thursday and laid siege to at least one town dominated by President Bashar al-Assad’s minority sect, activists said.

Activists said heavy army shelling had targeted the town of Halfaya, captured by rebels two days earlier. Seven people were killed, 30 were wounded, and dozens of homes were destroyed, said activist Safi al-Hamawi.
….
Activists in Hama said rebels were also surrounding the Christian town of al-Suqeilabiya and might enter the city to take out army positions as well as those of “shabbiha” – pro-Assad militias, the bulk of whom are usually Alawite but can also include Christians and even Sunnis.

“We have been in touch with Christian opposition activists in al-Suqeilabiya and we have told them to stay downstairs or on the lowest floor of their building as possible, and not to go outside. The rebels have promised not to hurt anyone who stays at home,” said activist Mousab al-Hamdee, speaking by Skype.

He said he was optimistic that potential sectarian tensions with Christians could be resolved but that Sunni-Alawite strife may be harder to suppress.

December 20th, 2012, 8:47 pm

 

zoo said:

Persecution of the Christians: Syrian minority fear the end of fighting more than war itself

Patrick Cockburn 17 december 2012

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/persecution-of-the-christians-syrian-minority-fear-the-end-of-fighting-more-than-war-itself-8422977.html

In his final dispatch from Syria, Patrick Cockburn reports from Maloula on the plight of the country’s Christian minority, who fear an end to the fighting more than the war itself


Father Mata Hadad, the priest of the Convent of St Tikla built into the mountain wall that towers over Maloula, tells the story to illustrate how life has become more dangerous for Christians, particularly for those thought to have money. The 10 per cent of the Syrian population who are Christians are debating with trepidation the likely outcome of the Syrian crisis and its effect on them.

The omens are not good. Every country in the Middle East seems to be becoming more Islamic and more sectarian.

So far the sufferings of the Christians of Syria are no worse than those of the Muslims, but they feel that whatever the outcome of the civil war, their future will most likely be worse than their past.

December 20th, 2012, 9:04 pm

 

Syrian said:

The sweetsest moment is the moment of freedom from Assad’s dungeons
A video of liberating prisoners by the mighty FSA
http://youtu.be/BSKTXy5JKJQ
Notice how many humans are packed in one room

December 20th, 2012, 9:20 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

Christians were warned at the begining of this conflict,and they were asked to stick to the good pricples,and not to tilt against freedom,and follow their hatred feeling.
In Lebanon Butros Sfeir was good person, Cardinal Raei stood against the good principles,even that his own sect warned him.
Christians sided 70% on the wrong side.however I can assure every one that they will be forgiven and will be treated very fair,even Alawis will be treated good,this revolution is for freedom it is not sectarian,it is Assad and his thugs who provoked sectarianism,because THEY are sectarians

December 20th, 2012, 9:26 pm

 
 

revenire said:

المقداد للإبراهيمي “لا لقاء مع الأسد انتهى الاتصال” :

اتصل الإبراهيمي بنائب وزير الخارجية فيصل المقداد وطلب مقابلة الرئيس الأسد..
قال له المقداد: ما هي المواضيع التي ستناقشها مع السيد الرئيس..
فكان الجوانب متابعة الحل السياسي..
قال المقداد: في اللقاء الماضي مع الرئيس الأسد اتفقت أنت معه على أن الحوار والحل السياسي لا يمكن أن يتم إلا إذا توقف دعم المسلحين بالمال والرجال والسلاح وأن يتوقف كافة أشكال الدعم اللوجستي, أليس كذلك؟؟
أجاب الإبراهيمي: نعم..
قال المقداد: هل أحضرت الموافقة من الدول الداعمة للإرهاب؟
فأجاب الإبراهيمي إنني أتابع الموضوع ولكن لم نصل إلى نتائج..
عندها طالب المقداد بساعات ليعطي الرد .
بعد ساعات كان الرد لا مقابلة مع الرئيس إلا بعد أن تحضر الموافقات الكاملة على توقف الدول الداعمة للإرهاب والمسلحين عن دعمها وإذا رفضت الدول.. يجب عليك التصريح العلني بذلك . انتهى الاتصال..
انتهــــــــــى

December 20th, 2012, 10:17 pm

 

revenire said:

I didn’t get uplifted seeing terrorists freed by other terrorists. Maybe it is not close enough to Christmas for me to feel the FSA spirit.

Did they go behead a few Christians to celebrate?

December 20th, 2012, 10:25 pm

 

Tara said:

“المقداد للإبراهيمي “لا لقاء مع الأسد انتهى الاتصال” :

This is called The Small Dog Syndrome”

The smallest dog barks the most.

December 20th, 2012, 10:29 pm

 

MarigoldRan said:

The war continues. The regime continues to lose. Most of Hamas is FSA-controlled.

December 20th, 2012, 10:38 pm

 

revenire said:

Have to laugh at Richard Engel’s story because if the FSA “controls” the area adjacent to Turkey how did he run into a checkpoint manned by militia loyal to Assad? This was how many kilometers from the Syrian-Turkish border?

December 20th, 2012, 10:43 pm

 

MarigoldRan said:

The secularists like Ghurfan are wrong. You cannot force a secular government on a religious population. The result will be dictatorship and disaster, as Syria and Iraq has proven to us.

When are the secularists going to realize that FORCING people to NOT be religious is just as bad as forcing people to be religious?

Syria, Libya, and Iraq had secular strong-men. Look at how those countries turned out. Don’t you silly secularists LEARN from history? Or are you like the regime, incapable of creative thought, and stuck forever in a rut?

December 20th, 2012, 10:44 pm

 

MarigoldRan said:

Then the militiamen that kidnapped Engel were shot dead by an FSA checkpoint. Please note that Engel is free. Freed by the FSA.

Nice argument, Revenire. Sarcasm intended.

December 20th, 2012, 10:47 pm

 

revenire said:

Not what I meant. Read his story of the capture.

“We were driving in Syria about five days ago in what we thought was a rebel-controlled area. We were with some of the rebels and as we were moving down the road, a group of gunman just literally jumped out of the trees and bushes on the side of the road.”

Story now is that Sunni FSA guys grabbed Engel and sold him to Shia.

December 20th, 2012, 10:48 pm

 

MarigoldRan said:

I always like how regime supporters pick and choose facts to support their argument. Unfortunately for them, most people are not as selectively blind as they are.

December 20th, 2012, 10:51 pm

 

revenire said:

How would you know Engel’s story is valid as he told it? Other than you want to believe him? Others have shot holes in it.

December 20th, 2012, 10:55 pm

 

MarigoldRan said:

Oh. Wasn’t Engel the person who was kidnapped? Does he not have a first-hand account of his OWN kidnapping experience?

If his story is not valid, then whose story is valid?

December 20th, 2012, 10:57 pm

 

Sheila said:

Dear Ghufran,
You keep on blaming the victim. The regime is the only one to blame for the destruction of Syria. The people spoke loud and clear and told their leader we are done with you. You need to go. His answer was: how dare you. I will show you what happens to those who dare raise their voices.
You keep insisting on a political solution, failing to admit that this was attempted seriously at the beginning of the conflict, only to be sabotaged by the regime on multiple occasions. You fail to see that this regime has no interest in a political solution, because it has no interest in relinquishing power. You also fail to see that the people have had enough and if you knew anything about history, which I can bet that you know a lot, you will understand that this regime is over.
You are hanging on to that rope trying to convince everyone around you about something that is a wish rather than a reality. Trying to somehow save those that you care about by repeating the same nonsense. Sorry Ghufran, it is over. That “formidable” army that you talk about, exists only in your dreams.
As much as I hate vulgarity, but I also have just about had enough with your signature statement, so please forgive me, but someone had to do it:
طز فيكن و بهالنظام تبعكن

December 20th, 2012, 10:59 pm

 

Syrialover said:

#35. MARIGOLDRAN

I’m sorry, this is getting too hard to make sense of.

Are you saying that the entire western world, Asia and Africa – which within them have some intensely religious communities, including huge Islamic populations – have been FORCED into secular government?

Er, I don’t think so.

I will respect your perspective only if you tell me you are living under a sectarian government by CHOICE. Iran? Saudi Arabia? – which is it?

The biggest and best gift human history has given religious people is freedom, choices and systems which respects their rights. AND the rights of others who do not share their particular religioun and construct on the world

December 20th, 2012, 11:05 pm

 

revenire said:

Engel’s story is not anymore believable than “Syrian Danny” Abdul Dayem’s was.

December 20th, 2012, 11:05 pm

 

revenire said:

Syrian people spoke loud and clear they support Assad or the whole thing would be over.

December 20th, 2012, 11:12 pm

 

Sheila said:

Dear Marigoldran,
You got that secular thing completely wrong. The idea of a secular government is that the government has no religion. It represents all the country and thus is neutral. Muslims are free to be as devout as they wish to be, Christians are free to be as religious as their hearts desire and Kurds can speak their language and teach it at their schools if they want. Women can wear hijab if they wish or mini skirt if they want. No one has the right to forbid either. The law of the land is fair for everyone, not just for one group.
So, you and I are fine with شريعة, but why would a Christian have to follow Islamic law? Christians have the same rights as Muslims. Not more and not less. This is what a secular nation means.
Look at Saudi Arabia or Iran. Both Islamic states. Do you really wish for Syria to be like either? Forcing people to follow the religion, is the worst thing that can happen to a religion. On the other hand, look at Turkey. It is a secular country with an Islamist government. It is doing great on most fronts.

December 20th, 2012, 11:13 pm

 

MarigoldRan said:

@Syrialover

No, I’ve been talking about the Middle East. Ever since the 19th century, there’s been this belief among the rich, well-educated, and the elite that the RIGHT way to reform the Arab world is by copying secular Europe, and making sure that rulers and nations of the Middle East will be secular.

All-in-all, with one exception (Turkey), this strategy has been DISASTROUS. What the elites did not realize was that Europe’s governments became secular AFTER its people became secular. It took several hundred years of religious war before, including a schism within the Catholic Church, and a period of Enlightenment, for Europe to make jump to secularism. It has to be a NATURAL process of change. Trying to FORCE this process will lead to disaster.

December 20th, 2012, 11:18 pm

 

MarigoldRan said:

Take a look at the Middle East:

In the Arab world, the more religious states have done better than the secular ones. Iran, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, and Qatar have been more successful than the “forced secular” states of Egypt, Libya, Syria Tunisia, and Iraq.

The idea of Arab socialism, Baathism, and forced secularism, has been disastrous for many countries of the Middle East.

December 20th, 2012, 11:21 pm

 

revenire said:

That’s ridiculous. You’re taking the world out of the picture. Most of the region was made up of colonies until the end of WW II and beyond.

Just a quick search gives this list of colonies:

Middle East

France
Hatay (Sanjak of Alexandretta, now called Hatay province)
Lebanon
Syria
Yemen (Cheik-Saïd peninsula)

Netherlands
Jemen, Al Mukha (Mocca)
Mesopotamia (Iraq, Al Basrah)

Britain
Aden Protectorate
Bahrain
Egypt
Kuwait
Oman
Palestine
Qatar
South Arabia
Transjordan
Trucial Coast (United Arab Emirates)

Portugal
Bandar Abbas
Hormuz
Manama
Muharraq Island
Muscat
Qeshm

December 20th, 2012, 11:27 pm

 

MarigoldRan said:

@Sheila

For hundreds of years, Muslims and Jews in Europe were forcibly converted to Christianity. It was a bad thing. But religious majorities have ALWAYS behaved badly in times of stress towards religious minorities. What’s happening in Syria right now is pretty normal once you compare it to other historical events.

It takes time and economic prosperity for communities to embrace secularism. The best solution for Syria after the war is to make the economy better. Once times are better, and people have jobs, the Islamic fundamentalism will die away. Don’t force things. Let it go away naturally.

December 20th, 2012, 11:27 pm

 

Johannes de Silentio said:

44. REVENIRE

“Syrian people spoke loud and clear, they support Assad”

Doesn’t Revie sound a lot like Baghdad Bob? I hope he’s got a safehouse ready and waiting in the hills above Latakia…

December 20th, 2012, 11:33 pm

 

MarigoldRan said:

People will always turn to religion in times of stress. The religious fundamentalism in Syria is a SYMPTOM of the civil war.

Once the civil war is over, the country will settle down, similar to Lebanon.

Syria is NOT Afghanistan. It’s in too good of a location to ever be poor. As long as a government is not actively trying to destroy the country, there is no reason why Syria cannot be prosperous.

December 20th, 2012, 11:33 pm

 

MarigoldRan said:

I prefer an Islamic democracy to a secular dictatorship. An Islamic democracy can BECOME secular over time. But a secular dictatorship will always remain a dictatorship unless it is overthrown in a disastrous civil war.

December 20th, 2012, 11:36 pm

 

revenire said:

“The religious fundamentalism in Syria is a SYMPTOM of the civil war.”

That is also ridiculous. The Gulf dictatorships sent thousands of jihadis to kill Syrians.

December 20th, 2012, 11:38 pm

 

revenire said:

“I hope he’s got a safehouse ready and waiting in the hills above Latakia”

Homs is nearly rat free and the weather is more suited to me than than the coast but thank you for the concern. If NATO ever starts an attack I will consider moving to the basement until it’s over.

December 20th, 2012, 11:40 pm

 

revenire said:

If the “opposition” is so confident they have support in Syria let them run in elections and let the people decide. I can guarantee a cessation of violence if this is agreed to.

December 20th, 2012, 11:42 pm

 

Johannes de Silentio said:

48. REVENIRE

“Most of the region was made up of colonies until the end of WW II and beyond. Just a quick search gives this list of colonies:

France – bla bla bla

Netherlands – bla bla bla

Britain – bla bla bla

Portugal – bla bla bla”

You conveniently forgot the BIGGEST Middle East colonialist of them all, little man. You forgot the Ottoman Empire. Also, you forgot the colonialist expansion of the Moors into Spain.

You are a fake, a fraud and a liar, Revie. I hope you’re cashing those checks Bashar is sending you…

December 20th, 2012, 11:42 pm

 

MarigoldRan said:

Revenire, please note how the religious dictatorships in Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar have done a BETTER JOB in running their country than the secular dictatorship in Syria.

Assad opened the doors to hell by bombing and shelling the country. This opened the door for jihadis to flood in. Before the war started, there were few jihadis in Syria. Two years later, after much regime bombing and shelling, jihadists like Al Nusra are rapidly gaining in popularity.

The more the regime bombs the “terrorists,” the more the people will turn to groups like Al Nusra to fight back.

December 20th, 2012, 11:42 pm

 

MarigoldRan said:

Elections are impossible in Syria right now, Revenire. There is too much hate in the country for that.

I still don’t understand secularists. Why are they defending the Assad regime? Isn’t the Assad regime a PERFECT EXAMPLE of why secularism DOESN’T WORK in the Middle East? Hasn’t Assad’s regime been a TOTAL DISASTER for Syria?

And yet secularists continue to defend the regime, despite the disaster it has inflicted on the country. Look, even IRAN, a religious theocracy, has done a better job running its country than the “secular” Syrian government.

December 20th, 2012, 11:45 pm

 

revenire said:

The biggest empire was the British Empire. The worst kingdom for the Middle East has been the Saudi one. The Saudis and British are allies and their alliance makes Assad look like Santa Claus compared. Assad looks like a humanist prince compared to the British.

Syria will never fall to your fantasies. They are your fantasies. You spend all day, every day here posting ridiculous claims of FSA victories. I can’t name a single city the FSA controls can you? Not one they hide behind women and children in but one they control.

Nothing.

December 20th, 2012, 11:53 pm

 

MarigoldRan said:

The Sauds, by the way, have done a better job running their country than the Assads. Please note how the other Middle East countries are doing better than Syria because THE OTHER GOVERNMENTS ARE NOT STUPID ENOUGH TO START A CIVIL WAR.

What cities does the regime control in force? Both Damascus and Aleppo are in play. Aleppo is split 60-40 for the rebels, as is Deir El Ezzor. Idlib is almost entirely rebel-controlled at this point. Hama will be up for play soon too.

The FSA has made tremendous progress over the last year, militarily. Do you deny this? The regime has tried its best to crush the rebellion, and yet the regime grows weaker every day, and the FSA grows stronger.

I post a lot because I get pissed off by people like you who can’t see facts even when they’re staring at you in the face.

December 20th, 2012, 11:56 pm

 

revenire said:

Again, let’s go back on Josh’s blog to one year ago when the US, Israel and Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood all said Assad would be gone within weeks. They went on record to say this.

They look like idiots now.

It is a year later and what did the “revolution” accomplish except 10s of 1000s of dead Syrians? If that was the goal of the FSA I’d say well done but if it wasn’t they’ve failed in every other area.

December 21st, 2012, 12:01 am

 

MarigoldRan said:

Revenire, you’re a secularist, right?

If so, why are you defending this stupid Assad regime? Isn’t Assad’s regime a PERFECT EXAMPLE of why secularism DOES NOT WORK in the Middle East?

The “secular” government of Syria has led the country into disaster.

December 21st, 2012, 12:02 am

 

MarigoldRan said:

Yes, people have made premature predictions. But Assad’s regime has promised that it could crush the revolt within weeks too.

BOTH sides have made stupid statements. Neither side thought the war would go as long as it has. Is this a fair point?

December 21st, 2012, 12:03 am

 

revenire said:

Women can’t even drive cars in Saudi Arabia. It is a dictatorship. Are you high? That is your example of a well run state? A dictatorship? Why bother mouthing “we are for freedom” when all you want to do is impose a Muslim Brotherhood dictatorship?

Let’s do a hypothetical and say this is brought to peace by negotiation and elections are held and Assad wins. What would you say then? I think you’d cry fraud and want to shoot more Syrians.

December 21st, 2012, 12:05 am

 

Syrian said:

Cowered Alawies soldiers in Latakia hitting women’s including slapping and dragging a little girl
http://youtu.be/JJ9mVKxvk0s

December 21st, 2012, 12:07 am

 

revenire said:

No, PEOPLE didn’t make premature predictions. These were the GOVERNMENTS. You say the US has power well they were WRONG and Assad is still standing.

I don’t care what you say Assad says. I go by direct quotes not some guy on the web. What did Assad say? He said Syria was fighting terrorism. Two years later the US agreed with Bashar and labeled the al-Nusra Front terrorists.

December 21st, 2012, 12:07 am

 

MarigoldRan said:

You’re assuming Assad will win the election. What do you think he will do if he loses?

Women can’t drive cars in Saudi Arabia, but at least Saudi Arabia HAS cars that can be driven. In contrast, Syria is running out of both functional cars AND food. What is the point of being able to drive cars, if there are no cars to be driven?

The Sauds have done a better job running their country than the Syrian government. At least the Saudis provide FOOD for their citizens, in contrast to the Syrian government, who likes to BOMB bakeries.

December 21st, 2012, 12:08 am

 

revenire said:

Posting all these idiotic “activist” videos is stupid. Who cares? If you feel so strong about it can I suggest you go get a gun and join the FSA on the battlefield?

December 21st, 2012, 12:09 am

 

MarigoldRan said:

I’ve thought about it, but there are other ways to fight the regime than to pick up a gun.

How about you? This argument cuts both ways. Why don’t YOU go to Syria and join Assad’s army?

December 21st, 2012, 12:12 am

 

MarigoldRan said:

I don’t understand why you hate the Saudis so much. I mean, at least there’s FOOD in Saudi Arabia. Unlike Syria, which is beginning to starve.

Isn’t it the job of the government to provide FOOD to its citizens?

I mean, does this make sense? Why are you defending a regime that cannot even provide food to its people?

December 21st, 2012, 12:14 am

 

Syrian said:

It is videos like these that exposes your lies about women’s wrights in Syria. And making more people joins the revelution.
Hafez made one Hama and people did not forget. Bashar is making a Hama in every town, village and the Sunnis part of mixed cities.
They will all come after you, it is only a matter of time. But this time it will not take 30 years I assure you

December 21st, 2012, 12:18 am

 

revenire said:

I hate any dictatorship. You seem to love the bearded apes of Saudi Arabia. Perhaps you should move there?

Tell the FSA not to steal food and maybe less Syrians will starve:

“Just two days before the “food crise” in Aleppo, I hear many of my friends from Hatay that they started to see some Syrians are selling the bread in the city. Turkish breads are not same those in Syria even in Hatay. And I have to give you a name. Abdulqader As Salah a commander of Tawheed Brigades who has very close ties with Turkish intelligence. He is now selling “wheat” in Gaziantep province of Turkey. I am a Turkish journalist at the very beginning of this crisis I hear same thing from the Kurds in Ceylanpinar (a border town near Ras Al Ayn) The Kurds who escaped from the battle between FSA and Kurdish militias told me that they saw some FSA members looting the wheat silos. But I did not aware unless I started to see these news. Perhaps thats why people of Aleppo are now protesting FSA as “Army of Harami (Thieves)”. Now I am trying to understand whats going on and why people in Hatay started to see Syrian breads in Hatay. When I cover it I will send you too. In Hatay people are very much looking with Syrians, and get used to Syrian culture… I saw some photos in Reuters that shows FSA members on the wheat silos in Aleppo. But as usual their describtion “Forces loyal to Assad bombs the silos and FSA members” sth like this. I may send you the photo. I first hear the rumors about it in Ceylanpinar/Sanliurfa. Kurds told me that… But I did not pay attention unfortunately. Then I saw this photo.Then I see the news about the famine in Syria. Now I am checking it. And one of my journalist friend informed me about the “Abdulqader As Salah” I didn’t check him completely but it is said that he is the leader of Tawheed brigade and lives in Gaziantep and now selling wheat and second hand cars. Tawheed is one of the most close group to Turkish intelligence. Everyone knows it. I am now working on it, when I finished I will send you a copy…Yes for sure… FSA militiants are stealing wheat from Syria and bringing them to Turkey to sell. They even stole oil excavators from Syria and brought them Turkey…. Yes for sure… FSA militiants are stealing wheat from Syria and bringing them to Turkey to sell. They even stole oil excavators from Syria and brought them Turkey…. I checked the resources and talked with many people both in Hatay and Sanliurfa province. They told me that the some of FSA members (who are speaking Syrian Arabic) are now selling spares for cars and in Gaziantep they have a store for grain. One of my reliable friend has told me that this begun in September… An pro-Assad journalist in Hatay told me that everything was in accordance with Turkish authorities. The rebels are bringing wheat, car and even furnitures from Syria via Bab Al Hava border-crossing which is the other side of Hatay-Cilvegozu gate… The FSA militants took control of this border crossing since June.
They also loot the Kurdish villages when they attack from Turkish side like what they did in Ras Al Ayn… That’s why Kurds never want them in their areas.”

December 21st, 2012, 12:19 am

 

MarigoldRan said:

If you hate dictatorship, why do you support the regime?

Isn’t the Syrian regime a dictatorship? Please explain. I don’t understand. Do you think Assad’s government is a dictatorship or not?

I don’t like the Saudis, but they ARE better than the Syrian regime. That’s been my argument. If you hate the Saudis so much, why do you not also hate the regime?

Look, if you say “I hate both the Assads and the Saudis,” that is a logical argument. I can understand. But how can you hate the Saudis but not the Assads, when the Assad regime has done a MUCH worse job running their country than the Saudis?

December 21st, 2012, 12:20 am

 

revenire said:

“Syrian” I support what Hafez did in Hama. It was what any government would do when faced with the Muslim Brotherhood.

You can crow like a rooster that this will happen and that will happen but we want action and we want it from the SAA.

December 21st, 2012, 12:21 am

 

MarigoldRan said:

How can you say “I hate dictatorships,” while arguing in support of the regime?

Isn’t the regime a dictatorship? Do you deny this fact?

December 21st, 2012, 12:24 am

 

MarigoldRan said:

So you support mass slaughter and the razing of cities. Duly noted. How typical of a regime supporter. They think the best solution to everything is violence, and more violence.

Once again, I don’t understand. You say you hate dictatorships. But you support the regime. Please explain.

December 21st, 2012, 12:25 am

 

revenire said:

This is war. Don’t complain about cities being destroyed. If that is what it takes to defeat the enemy then by God raze the cities.

Syria will rebuild her cities.

The SAA is not fighting people waving flowers at them. They fight foreign terrorists and mercenaries.

Russia Delivers 24 Iskander 9K720 Anti-Patriot Missile to Syria
http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=1cd_1355935895

December 21st, 2012, 12:32 am

 

MarigoldRan said:

So your answer is “violence is the solution to everything?”

Once again, how typical of a regime supporter. They are like mad dogs, that violently attack anyone who disagrees with them.

@Ghurfan and Zoo and Everyone Else

This is what the regime is like. If you’re still reading this, then you have read Revenire’s comments. How are you supposed to negotiate with a mad dog that thinks violence is the solution to everything?

December 21st, 2012, 12:34 am

 

revenire said:

This is war isn’t it? The aim of war is to defeat the enemy.

I am in favor of a harsher response from the SAA. I feel they’ve been too easy on Syria’s enemies.

The Salafist apes must be sent back to Libya in pieces.

December 21st, 2012, 12:37 am

 

Syria no kandahar said:

For the past weeks, CNN’s Arwa Damon and Wolf Blitzer have formed what amounts to a two-person vaudeville show in support of Syria’s most extreme Islamist rebels, the Nusra Front, which has been labeled a terrorist organization by the Obama administration. Damon, especially, has gotten so deeply enmeshed with the rebel fighters that she has lost all traces of objective reporting, and in recent days she has sharply criticized the fact that the administration has called the gangsters from Al Nusra “terrorists.”

But terrorists they are.

That doesn’t mean that the administration is handling Syria properly. The revolt against President Assad is so fluid and complex that the United States is struggling to distinguish one rebel from another, and its designation of the Nusra Front may have little or no consequences in the real world. That’s because right-wing Arab Islamist billionaires in the Persian Gulf and ultraconservative kleptocracies such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar are supporting Muslim extremists in Syria as part of an anti-Iran, Sunni power play that fears not using everyone from Al Nusra to the Muslim Brotherhood in its frenzy to topple Assad.

http://www.thenation.com/blog/171703/calling-syrian-terrorists-terrorists#

December 21st, 2012, 12:39 am

 

MarigoldRan said:

Yes, Revenire, yes. We know your position. You think violence is the answer to everything. How typical of a regime supporter.

December 21st, 2012, 12:39 am

 

MarigoldRan said:

No, the Syrian regime is MOST DEFINITELY not handling the situation properly. On this point I agree with you, Kandahar.

But look, if you call Al Nusra terrorist, then the regime must be called terrorist too, right? After all, the regime has launched terror shellings and bombings of villages and cities throughout Syria. They have done much more damage to the country than Al Nusra. Is this a fair point?

December 21st, 2012, 12:42 am

 

revenire said:

Even the UN has warned of foreign fighters.

They must be wiped out, cleansed, vaporized and destroyed. No nation would allow foreign enemies to attack her people and cities.

No bearded Takfiri apes will impose their perversions on secular Syria.

December 21st, 2012, 12:43 am

 

MarigoldRan said:

Yes, yes, Revenire. We know your positions. You think violence is the solution to everything.

Your enemies disagree with you. So you must bomb and vaporize them. Yes, we know how you think. You have explained yourself very clearly to all of us.

December 21st, 2012, 12:44 am

 

revenire said:

Marigoldran are you in favor of foreigners coming to Syria to murder Syrian soldiers?

If someone is shooting at you should you surrender? I don’t mean these foreign apes sent by bearded perverts but the national army.

December 21st, 2012, 12:45 am

 

Syrialover said:

MARIGOLDRAN #46. and #47.

The quick response is:

1. Manage politics in the ME without the gun and torture chamber and see what emerges. Close you eyes and imagine it.

2. The more “successful” countries in the ME you list have oil and gas. They buy in western skills and systems to keep their countries ticking over and the money coming in. End of story. But not quite – if Iran and Saudi Arabia (and Saddam’s Iraq) had economically and technically competent governments and non-corrupt and advanced systems they would be much richer, more developed and far more globally influential than they are now. They have pissed it away into the sand.

3. Much bigger and more complicated and more religiously and ethnically divided entities in Africa have taken on democracy and managed to stay standing and move forward. Far from perfect and quite messy, but the only game worth playing for them – as it is for Syria.

4. You seem to have a good knowledge of history. Why should Syria take the roundabout way and waste precious time, resources, economic opportunity and peoples lifespans in a cul-de-sac experimenting with a religious state? More than 60% of the population are under 30 or whatever it is; what the hell will they care about being “different” and “religious” while the rest of the world gets on with the 21st century?

p.s. #70 There’s food in Saudi Arabia because the oil enables them to buy it in; or the latest trick, to buy up land in other countries to ensure Saudis have food security while the local populations in those countries may go without. They can’t produce food, or anything else come to think of it. Syrians through history have done much better at farming and commerce and many other things.

December 21st, 2012, 12:46 am

 

Altair said:

I don’t see why I am unable to post a response to Dolly Buster’s comment (#12). My comment got marked as spam.

Anyway, about the secularism issue, I would remind everyone that Syria was a secular state before this regime and before the original Baath takeover in 1963. It was largely democratic too in the 40s and 50s (until the Nasserist crackdown). Secularism wasn’t forced on the people.

It wasn’t this regime that introduced secularism. On the contrary, it introduced sectarian discrimination. I believe that on the contrary, secularism has been harmed by this regime because it misrepresented itself as secular.

Again, I reiterate that the regime has no ethos. Its primarily goal is self-perpetuation, or in other words, staying in power whatever the cost. That’s what has made it so dangerous.

December 21st, 2012, 12:47 am

 

MarigoldRan said:

@Revenire

First of all, they’re not murdering Syrian soldiers. They’re fighting them. Both sides have guns and are shooting at one another, right? So how can it be murder? Murder is when someone shoots someone unarmed and defenseless.

Two, no I am NOT in favor of foreigners coming to Syria. But I am even MORE OPPOSED to a Syrian government that feels like it can bomb and terrorize the population at will. Syria is between TWO EVILS. But the regime is the GREATER EVIL.

December 21st, 2012, 12:49 am

 

Syrialover said:

REVENIRE is here to play games which are nothing to do with Syria.

You can see the excitment at having someone to play with.

December 21st, 2012, 12:52 am

 

revenire said:

It is well documented the FSA murders civilians and commits war crimes. You deny this?

If you support the FSA you support foreign fighters entering Syria to murder its people. Sorry there is no way around that. The FSA depends on the foreigners.

If you want the cities left untouched work to get the FSA out of them. Tell them to stop using human shields and child soldiers. If the FSA had not entered Aleppo the city would not have been destroyed.

December 21st, 2012, 12:53 am

 

Syrialover said:

ALTAIR #87

Correct. Thanks for the sip of sanity.

December 21st, 2012, 12:54 am

 

revenire said:

Lover maybe you have some sort of secret US mind reading gear but I rather doubt it. Please keep your personal insults to yourself or if you must insult the Qataris. Thank you.

December 21st, 2012, 12:54 am

 

MarigoldRan said:

@SyriaLover

If a secular democracy can rise out of Syria after the civil war, I am for it. I like secular democracies. But I don’t think that’s going to happen. So I will settle for an Islamic democracy or a Lebanese-solution, as will most Syrians at this point. The lesser evil is better than the greater evil. And the greater evil is the regime.

On Saudi Arabia:

I am NOT saying that Saudi Arabia is a shining example of good government. It is NOT. The Sauds got lucky with their oil.

BUT Saudi Arabia HAS done a better job running its country than their Baathist counterparts in Syria and Iraq. This does not mean Saudi Arabia has a good government. But it DOES mean that Syria and Iraq had AWFUL governments.

Look, if a country’s government is EVEN WORSE than the Sauds or the Pakistanis, that means they must have a TERRIBLE government. Does that make sense?

@Revenire

Why insult the Qataris? They’ve done a better job running their country than the Assads. At least the Qataris don’t randomly shell and bomb their peoples’ villages.

Any government that bombs its peoples’ villages is probably not a good government. Do you disagree?

December 21st, 2012, 12:57 am

 

MarigoldRan said:

@Altair

Syria has never been a true nation. It was all lies by the regime to justify their rule.

December 21st, 2012, 1:08 am

 

revenire said:

Never a true nation? I’ve read about the Salafist apes being drugged up bedore. Maybe it was true? Lots of pharmacies have been robbed in Aleppo.

Can you confirm or deny?

December 21st, 2012, 1:11 am

 

MarigoldRan said:

I can neither confirm nor deny. But I’m pretty confident that there are no “Salafist apes” in Syria. I’ve seen apes in the world before, and they don’t look religious to me. Apes, according to encyclopedias, are large hairy things that like to eat bananas and climb trees. They’re peaceful creatures, and pretty cute once you get to know them.

Also, apes don’t live in the Middle East. I thought they lived in Africa, or Asia.

I’ve never seen a Salafist ape before. Have you?

@Syrialover

I’m enjoying this conversation. Revenire is so easy to make fun of.

December 21st, 2012, 1:15 am

 

revenire said:

Oh you know them very well. The ones with funny looking beards that shout Allahu Akbar before shooting themselves in the foot. Those Salafist apes. The ones who want to make a caliphate in Syria.

December 21st, 2012, 1:23 am

 

MarigoldRan said:

They’re not apes. They’re human beings like you, Revenire.

Why do you call them apes when they’re human, like you?

December 21st, 2012, 1:24 am

 

revenire said:

Humans don’t behead people. Terrorists do. Drugged up Takfiri rats do.

December 21st, 2012, 1:27 am

 

MarigoldRan said:

What a silly statement. People behead each other all the time in the past. Look at history. Your regime has done it too.

Why do you call others rats and apes, when they are people, just like you?

December 21st, 2012, 1:29 am

 

Visitor said:

The only ones who are barking on this forum while thinking they are with the revolution are those who are calling for imposing so-called secularism on a largely good conservative Muslim society of Syria. That barking dog has zero knowledge of history and specifically of European history and zero knowledge of how and why secularism was adopted in that region of the world.

Syrians, being the good believing Muslims they are, will not accept to have their lives altered in a way that does not recognize Islam as an essential component of public, social and political life. The dogs who want to continue to bark against this simple fact will end up thrown out near garbage trash bins along with those so-called elites who before them attempted the same barking for the last 100 years or so and showed the truth of the so-called ‘virtues’ of secularism to Syrians and the Arab world. Once stupid is always stupid and once a dog is always a dog.

——————–

Habib,

NO. It will not end up like Lebanon. No enclave. No special rights to any group or subgroups. If so-called enclavers continue to fight they will be destroyed this time for good.

December 21st, 2012, 1:32 am

 

Syrian said:

Alawies are fascinated with apes even when they address each other they say “yo monkey”
قُرد ولو

December 21st, 2012, 1:38 am

 

revenire said:

No, they’re terrorists sent by corrupt Emirs to destroy Syria. Humans don’t do that. Stop playing semantic games. Have you beheaded someone? You support this stuff. I don’t. Says a lot about you as a man. If you live in the States and talk about beheading Christians the FBI will be knocking on your door and if you look like these Takfiri goons you will be on your way to someplace like Gitmo real fast.

December 21st, 2012, 1:42 am

 

revenire said:

Trust me. No one is even considering an Alawite enclave. It is a fantasy.

December 21st, 2012, 1:43 am

 

revenire said:

Your “revolution” would be as dead as the FSA rats the SAA wiped out in Yarmouk without foreign support from dictators in Qatar and KSA.

Take away the foreign fighters and foreign money and old Syrian women could finish this battle.

Anyone can occupy a city and hide behind civilians. That isn’t controlling the city. The SAA could wipe out the enemy in short order but doesn’t want to hurt civilians.

December 21st, 2012, 1:45 am

 

SYR.EXPAT said:

“The government has so mistreated the Syrian people and used so much force, killing so many and making others homeless that revenge is going to be – there’s going to be revenge.”

As time passes, the level of anger and desire for revenge keeps growing. Those who supported the regime will end up paying a heavy price.

The biggest loser will be the Alawite community. As an Alawite contributor to this blog noted at the beginning of this uprising, the Alawite community had decided to side with the regime right or wrong. It is very unfortunate. All they had to do is be neutral. All they had to do is ask their sons to act professionally and not abuse people. They didn’t.

Instead, the Alawite accent is now associated with oppression and tyranny in the minds of the people of Syria. It will remain so for generations to come. People will never forget the famous expression “bidkin herrieh!” being uttered by Alawi soldiers while stomping with their feet over Sunni protesters. People will never forget the images from the village of Baidhah back in March or April of 2011 where Alawite shabbihah ordered the Sunni men of the village to lay on the ground with their faces down and stomped over them and beat them.

The Alawite community cannot blame anyone but itself. There are exceptions, but the community as whole made the choice and will end up paying the price. They allowed themselves to be manipulated by Assad and now a gloomy future awaits them. It didn’t have to go down like that. It is so unfortunate.

But wait. There is still time. Those in the Alawite community who don’t have blood on their hands can still act. It is not over. They need extend their hands to their brethren and figure out a way to end this madness. I hope wise people amongst them act quickly before it’s too late.

December 21st, 2012, 2:10 am

 

Youssef Benlamlih said:

I think the Syrian regime will not retreat to Latakia and Tartus. It will be very difficult for the regime to govern the two provinces given its sectarian/ethnic mix. The best option that it has, if it wants to get through this in one piece so to speak, is to stay in Damascus and seek a negotiated settlement with the opposition. It knows that in Damascus it will still be relevant to its outsit supporters primarily Iran, and to a lesser extent, Russia. For more details on my take on the situation, please check out my article below.

http://youperspective.blogspot.com/2012/12/syrian-regime-pulls-out-negotiation.html#!/

December 21st, 2012, 2:18 am

 

Caradmon said:

All this stuff about Alawites being overwhelmed because they are fewer in number is nonsense. Assad and the Alawites will have the only organized military formations – the 4th armoured division and the republican guard. They will have the airforce and the ability to resupply from the sea which the Russians will secure. The Syrian military infrastructure is still intact and it sounds like it will be backed by an Alawite militia and Hezbollah, Iraqi Shiite and Iranian units. This is like the stupid argument about whether the Jews could hold Palestine in 1948 with the idiots responding that they can’t because there are fewer Jews than Arabs. There are at least 2M Alawites in Syria and another million or so people that have thrown their fortunes into their camp. That implies a fully mobilized military force of 400,000 or more, supplied with most of the firepower of the SAA and led by a professional officer corps. Organized units and professional officers wipe the floor with numbers, especially with modern battle conditions. Most importantly the Alawites will be fighting for their very lives while their Sunni Arab opponents will be fighting for what precisely? Another hill to take? Another village?

Come on Landis, go talk to high-ranking military officers before making claims like “they will overpower the Alawites, who just don’t have the numbers”. Have you seen how the disorganized rebels fight? Get a bunch of pick up trucks, fill them up with guys with guns, move closer to the enemy’s checkpoint, scream allahu akbar, fire a few times, have the other side fire back and take casualties, and then run away to deal with casualties. If the other side has armored units, artillery, missiles or an airforce even this isn’t a viable means of pressure. All the trucks will get hit before they are even within rifle range of the enemy checkpoint. And Assad has all of those things – armored units, artillery, missiles and an airforce. We are not talking about urban warfare where rebel tactics might work. We are talking about the mountain passes/highways that have nowhere to hide. All this talk about Sunnis in Latakia, Jableh, Baniyas being some kind of impossible roadblock is also silly. Does anyone really think that Assad would have issues about driving out the Sunnis? They are leaving slowly as it is, how hard do you think it would be to cause mass flight?

If the head of the snake isn’t removed and the Alawites/old regime aren’t brought into negotiations they can survive practically indefinitely as long as the Russians and the Iranians are willing to supply them with weapons and money respectively. The Syria rebels would need a modern Western airforce behind them like in Libya in order to dislodge them from the mountains.

December 21st, 2012, 2:20 am

 

SANDRO LOEWE said:

One of the problems in Syria is that is has been ruled for sectarian reasons (if not by sectarian logics) by a sect formed by people who mainly received no formation, no studies, who had no background as civil urban classes. They came from the mountains and they kept power for very well known sectarian reasons. They had nothing to offer but security and martial order. The result is clear. They are a type of nouveau riche of the political arena. They have no background, so their future is limited.

The most incredible thing is that most people got to the point of believing that Assad was going to give a brilliant future to syrians. Only a few kept ideas clear even in the worst moments.

December 21st, 2012, 3:31 am

 

Johannes de Silentio said:

VOTE FOR THE STUPIDEST STATEMENT OF THE WEEK ON SC

1. Syrians, being the good believing Muslims they are (Visitor)

2. Old Syrian women could finish this battle (Revenire)

December 21st, 2012, 4:48 am

 

basel said:

“Alawies are fascinated with apes even when they address each other they say “yo monkey”

Shame on you kiddo, seems like your mummy didn’t teach you manners

December 21st, 2012, 4:52 am

 

basel said:

The FSA was lured to the best meticulously engineered trap in Yarmouk camp.

Chapter One:

1- The PFLP-GC was in full control in and around camp with no sign of lacking of supplies or manpower to push the terrorists away.
2- During the last three months the PFLP-GC and Yarmouk municipality were 24×7 busy digging a network of tunnels across the camp with the cover of “Sarf alse7i” something like water disposal
3- At the beginning of last week 1800 armed and highly trained members of the PFLP-GC in Lebanon joined their order in Yarmouk camp
4- On the evening of THE day (when Yarmouk was seized by the terrorists) a one checkpoint from the side of Arouba was “mysteriously” evacuated and opened to the herds of terrorists to pour inside Yarmouk camp. This action was coordinated by Hadi Alsahli who claimed taking the side of FSA but suddenly vanished after completing his task
5- While the terrorists were getting inside the camp, the PFLP-GC members were ordered to evict the other checkpoints
6- To their surprise the terrorists did not cross the checkpoint of Hajr Alaswad even after the disappearance of the PFLP-GC
7- The camp was handed to terrorists with minimal fight and casualties and that was the end of chapter one

Chapter Two:

1. For the first time the SAA sends warning and a note to evict
2. Every resident of Yarmouk camp has received a customized txt message urging them to evict on both 093 and 094
3. SAA started surrounding the camp but from far proximity to avoid any fire exchange with terrorists leaving a good space to civilians to evict peacefully
4. SAA and the PFLP-GC started planning the on ground battle with terrorists

Chapter Three:

Yet to come but surely if the terrorist rats don’t run away from Yarmouk then it will be a wipe out stage of terrorists.

95% of civilians have already evicted Yarmouk, and I’m sure Palestinians would not mind paying 5% in return of hosting them for the last 60 years and for the good of their case against the Israeli occupation.

December 21st, 2012, 4:56 am

 

Syria conflict: Assad fires more Scuds | Regurgitated Russian News From Russia said:

[…] The Assad regime is likely to last beyond next summer but eventually the president and his Alawite c… Speaking to Voice of America, he said the Assad could form a separate Alawite enclave but only if […]

December 21st, 2012, 5:21 am

 

Dolly Buster said:

104. revenire said:

Trust me. No one is even considering an Alawite enclave. It is a fantasy.

 
I too hope that there will be no Place for Alawites to exist.

After what these Shiite monsters have done, they deserve to be retaliated against.

December 21st, 2012, 5:40 am

 

basel said:

“I too hope that there will be no Place for Alawites to exist.

After what these Shiite monsters have done, they deserve to be retaliated against.”

Stop being racist, double shame on you.

December 21st, 2012, 5:47 am

 

Badr said:

IMHO,

“a secular democracy”: “secular” here is gratuitous. If it is a democracy, then it must be secular by definition.

“an Islamic democracy”: I feel uneasy when reading such a qualification. It depends on what is understood as Islam.

December 21st, 2012, 5:51 am

 

Dolly Buster said:

77. revenire said:

This is war. Don’t complain about cities being destroyed.

Russia Delivers 24 Iskander 9K720 Anti-Patriot Missile to Syria

 
Right, but in this case those cities are in the same country.

It would be like Obama striking Los Angeles with airplanes.

So, Syria is not launching missiles at another country (e.g. Qatar). Instead: we have Russia arming Assad to bomb Damascus itself.

One could say → it is an Axis of Evil consisting of Russians and Magian Shia.

December 21st, 2012, 5:59 am

 

basel said:

“an Islamic democracy” ….. “a secular democracy”

Either way democracy is wrong and unsuitable for Syrians, as by nature Syrians love to be lead like cows whether by a religious figure or a great leader.

December 21st, 2012, 6:01 am

 

William Scott Scherk said:

Since Revenire and heckler are having a hate-fit and since ZOO is absent from duty, and since ANN and Citizen/Allan are napping or queueing for bread, here’s this morning’s Voice of Russia story on the latest exciting meeting between Russia and the UN/AL envoy Brahimi. Perhaps the most jarring note is this: “Russia doesn’t recognize Syria’s National Opposition Coalition but is ready to work with it”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the UN and Arab League envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi have had a telephone conversation to discuss prospects for a political and diplomatic settlement in Syria.

When interacting with the warring factions, emphasis should be laid on the need to abide by the Geneva communiqué on Syria, the Russian Foreign Minister said.

According to him, this would help put an end to the bloodshed and start a substantive inter-Syrian dialogue. Brahimi reiterated readiness for further contacts with Moscow on the Syrian problem.

There were chances not to escalate the conflict in Syria, but to put it to an end, but they are gone, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told in an exclusive interview with a Russian channel. According to the top official, Russia has tried its best to help find a diplomatic solution for the violence, but was undermined by those countries pushing for immediate intervention.

We are “not in the business of regime change”, Lavrov clarified Russia’s position over the issue once again.

Those who suggest President Assad should leave the country, should address the Syrian president directly, not Russia, Lavrov said.

In response to a question whether the Patriot system deployed in Turkey targets Iran, Lavrov said that “the configuration as it is being presented in the media really looks like it could be used against Iran.”

The full version of the interview will be available next week.

Russia doesn’t recognize Syria’s National Opposition Coalition but is ready to work with it, the country’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.

He added that Russia is now interacting with all representatives of the Syrian opposition and is trying to push them towards a dialogue.

Lavrov believes that there would be no winner in the conflict and urged not to drag Palestinians who appeared to be in Syria at the moment into the conflict.

It might come as a surprise that Russia has deigned to mention the National Coalition. The regime in Damascus has another name for them: the Terrorists.

December 21st, 2012, 6:19 am

 
 

William Scott Scherk said:

@ 111. Dolly Buster said:

I too hope that there will be no Place for Alawites to exist.

After what these Shiite monsters have done, they deserve to be retaliated against.

No Place for Alawites to exist? What about revolution figures with Alawite labels? What about courageous detainees under torture?

Please, Dolly Buster, tone down these hateful remarks. They strike horror into the heart. They smack of the worst atrocities of history. Extermination. Cleansing. Depopulation. They are as chilling and reprehensible as regime nutterzone posters calling for destruction of ‘rat’ cities.

Retaliation? Please, please think about what you are saying. Think about telling it directly to Professor Landis’s face, to his wife, to his children, to Mjabali, to Ali, to Alawites here afraid to admit to their identity — to the innocent children who did not ask for the label Alawite to be applied to them.

Can these Syrian Alawite children find only reprisal killing in your future Kingdom of Hatred?

December 21st, 2012, 6:37 am

 

Hamoudeh al-Halabi said:

Visitor [previous post I think, one of those sections], the Hadith is in Sahih Muslim, in Kitab al-Zakat under the heading of the Sifat of the Khawarij. Please refer to Imam al-Nawawi’s Sharh. Your explanation of it sadly reflects the state of religious knowledge on this comment section, which is especially painful when it comes from a practising Muslim. This was obvious on your part before when you wanted to discuss Sufism and Wahhabism while ridiculing the work of Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir `Isa yet at the same time asking me to read Shaykh `Abd al-Hafiz Makki’s work. If you don’t know why I’m saying this, then it’s hard to imagine you’ve actually read any of the two works or know who those authors are. In that case, leave both and go with Shaykh Ibn `Alawis Mafahim Yajib An Tusahhah.

But if you’re not very bothered with scholarship here or there, it can be easily pointed out why your explanation of the Hadith is wrong and why it refers to the Khawarij instead. If however you are a Salafi, please refer to the Salafi scholars and their understanding of the Ahadith regarding the Khawarij and their manifestation in modern times. You can go to any one of them with the exception of Takfiri-Jihadis since they are the topic, and they aren’t anywhere near any scholarship to begin with. Shaykh Araour actually brings it up in his discussion on Jabhat al-Nusra, it’s on my blog. I wouldn’t ask you at this point to ascribe it to your favourite group Jabhat al-Nusra, he isn’t either. I’m asking you however to learn about what all scholars of our times, including the Salafis, have to say about modern day Khawarij, the Takfiri-Jihadi movement and al-Qaeda. But only if you care such much about Saudi and all that like you used to say. If what this movement has caused for the past decades in the Islamic world and beyond is something that bothers you, we can continue to have an actual discussion.

In the meantime, good news:

Shaykh Sariya al-Rifa`i visits the FSA in Aleppo
http://freehalab.wordpress.com/2012/12/21/shaykh-sariya-al-rifai-visits-the-fsa-in-aleppo/

Jumu`a mubarak

Wassalamu `alaykum

December 21st, 2012, 6:43 am

 

Visitor said:

HH 119,

Your claim to scholarship begs the question. Do you subscribe to it? Your response proves otherwise.

I am not going to talk about shaykh Sariya or any other scholar. (infact Sariya is a distant relative of mine).

There were no khawarij in the time of the Prophet (PBUH). We know they appeared in the time of Ali. But there were hypocrites in the Prophet’s (PBUH) time.

Neverheless, even the khawarij may be described as hypocrite and as such the hadith may apply to them.

But to say that the Nusra fighters are khawarij of modern time is a big stretch to the hadith and as they say in your mother tongue: تحميله ما لا يحتمل

The Tawheed brigade commaders today declared the Nusra fighters as brothers in arms and in faith. Even al-Akidi maintains they are part of the revolution and that they are excellent and disciplned fighters.

When you or anyone else labels them in any label whatsoever (khawarij, terrorists or whatever) you are commiting a major sin. Period.

I never said any disrespectful things about shaykh abd al-Qadir. In fact I think he is a good example to follow. But, I wouldn’t trust any of the so-called master shaykhs of today who are eager to form their own tariqa and mislead others. If you can follow Abd Al-Qadir properly then that is all the better for you. But please do not refer to any modern so-called Sufi Shaykhs.

December 21st, 2012, 7:08 am

 

Syrialover said:

Those brilliant brave people in Kafranbel with their latest poster showing a vision of Syria movng on:

http://twitter.com/SyrianSmurf/status/282077734245642240/photo/1

December 21st, 2012, 7:26 am

 

Visitor said:

HH,

You did not mention anything about what i said with regards to Robert Ford or the US administration’s attempt to set the agenda for Muslims the way they (US) wish.

In my opinion this is more important than all the talk about scholarship or shaykh’s like Sariya or others.

You also did not say anything about the so-called secular nonesense that some would like to make the new ‘religion’ of Syria by using the revolution as a vehicle and even worse by permitting themselves to benefit from such groups like Nusra help in the battlefield then dispose of them if and when they can.

I find such people to be more khawarij or hypocrites than any other group we may be aware of in modern times or even the distant past.

December 21st, 2012, 7:31 am

 

Citizen said:

‘Brilliant’ work by US Administration turns Syria into yet another terror hotspot – Pushkov
Like Iraq and Libya, Syria has been turned into yet another crazy hotspot of terror attacks and kidnappings, Chairman of the Russian State Duma Committee Alexei Pushkov wrote on his Twitter blog on Thursday.

December 21st, 2012, 7:37 am

 

William Scott Scherk said:

If you enjoy the mordant wit of Syrians in Kafranbel:

http://i.imm.io/PUck.jpeg

If you wonder what the Syrian government is doing sending Scud missiles, no clue to motive from the Guardian:

CBS News claims that Syria launched six Scud missiles from Damascus at a rebel-held base near Aleppo. It claimed it was almost an exact repeat of an attack reported last week by US and Nato officials, but denied by Syria.

It is unclear whether the notoriously inaccurate missiles hit their targets. Activists pointed to craters in rural areas both last week, and on Thursday, where they claim two of the missiles struck.

Here is another strong article from the brilliant Syrian ‘Maysaloon,’ a cool-headed rebuke to those who see a credible dialogue ever having been proposed by the regime:

When Seumas Milne writes article after article lamenting the lack of ‘dialogue’ between the parties in Syria, he perpetuates a myth that the Assad regime, along with its Russian and Iranian backers, has been advocating a negotiated settlement all along. The truth could not be further from the reality, and there is a real danger that the story of the Syrian revolution is being re-spun into some nefarious Western plot to eliminate the ‘last bastion of Arabism’ as one anti-imperialist commentator described it.

Because of the failure of some movements and countries to unequivocally and consistently condemn the Assad regime’s brutality from the outset, the Syrian people were left to – rightly – seek assistance from anywhere they could receive it. They did not have time to listen to people such as Milne lecturing them about how necessary it was that they should die with their families in the thousands in order to reach some indigenous solution without involving the ‘White Devil’. Better, the likes of Milne were telling Syrians, to die for, and in doing so satisfy, the intellectual vanity of the Western Anti-imperialist vanguard.

Milne, rightly, warns of Western military adventures in the Middle East but he claims that Syria is next on the list. What he does not mention is that the West has, for over twenty months, sought every excuse _not_ to intervene in Syria. He is so eager to portray events as a NATO conspiracy that he conveniently ignores the fact that NATO’s Secretary General Rasmussen has become a Syrian joke with his steady stream of statements that NATO will not intervene in Syria. Therefore this idea that Syria will be the target of a mass invasion of the type we saw in 2003 with Iraq belies the completely different context and restraints that exist today. Yes, the West and the Gulf states are aiding the rebels, but the majority of these rebels are Syrians who have quickly become battle hardened through no choice of their own. It was the relentless killing by Assad’s war machine which prompted them to seek and carry arms, and to ask for help from wherever they could.

Where, one can rightly ask, was Milne when the revolution was still a protest movement, like the overnight sit-in protest occupying the former Homs Clock square which was brutally dispersed with live fire? Did Milne see those countless other unarmed protestors with their faces blown off by Assad’s snipers? Or was he too busy deriding the grainy mobile phone footage as unworthy of his attention?

Then there is the question of Islam in Syria – Sunni Islam to be specific. After writing many articles justifying ‘Muslim anger’ over Western foreign policy or episodes of Quran burning, he seems to find it astonishing that some Muslims would be equally and perhaps even more so incensed at the brutality of Assad’s forces and the documented desecration of mosques and religious insults sprayed on walls.

He raises the spectre of sectarianism as if it will be a direct consequence of the rebels winning and not of Bashar losing. Where was he, we must ask again, when the same newspaper he is writing for reported on Syria’s regime encouraging extremist Muslim fundamentalists to go across to Iraq and wreak havoc, that same havoc that anti-imperialists then blamed the United States for unleashing. Did Milne, and those who share his outlook, stop to think about this?

[…]

December 21st, 2012, 7:39 am

 

Syrian said:

109 Basel Son of Anisa.
Don’t bring my mom into this
I was merly explaining to the bewildered MARIGOLDRAN why REVENIRE had used the word Ape about 5 times in his posts while discribing the FSA
It is a known fact that you use that word قُرد in your lingo, I see that it did not bother you when Revenire used it, so the shame is all on you

December 21st, 2012, 8:33 am

 

Hanzala said:

is that a picture of Bashar walking towards the border gate?

December 21st, 2012, 8:52 am

 

zoo said:

Are the medias partials? An analysis of the situation in a mainstream french magazine

http://www.lepoint.fr/monde/syrie-les-medias-sont-ils-partiaux-20-12-2012-1604323_24.php

“It’s been a year and a half, since April 2011, that we’ve been hearing Western officials announcing the imminent end of President Bashar al-Assad”, reminds Rami Abdul Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory of Human rights, an NGO based in London, with a vast network of observers and activists in Syria. “Now, the Syrian regime may rely on an army of 400,000 soldiers and 200,000 security guards, knowing about 50 000 of them were arrested, injured or killed by the opposition, it remains to Assad at least 400,000 men, “said the Syrian activist.
….
But according to the researcher on Syria, Fabrice Balanche the latest advances of the rebels are also attributed to a deliberate strategy of the army of Bashar al-Assad. “The regular army adopts a method against insurgency,” he said. “It withdraws from areas where people are hostile, and where it could easily fall prey to the rebels to retreat to the cities.” Rami Abdul Rahman confirms that the regime still controls most of the major cities of the country: Al Hasaka, Idleb, Hama, Homs and Damascus, as well as the west coast, populated by Alawites populations (religious minority to which Assad belongs) .

“As for the contested cities like Aleppo, Deir Ezzor, the government still retains a military presence, allowing it to control certain parts,” says the director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. “This configuration allows the regime to launch offensives when he sees fit.” For Fabrice Balanche, Syria remains now divided into three areas: half the country in the hands of Bashar al-Assad, an area in rebel hands, and another disputed. “In terms of population, this translates into 50% for the regime, 15 to 20% for the rebels and 25% for the disputed areas, as we should not forget that 8% of the Syrian population in the hands of Kurdish militias” in the north, says the researcher.

Another strategy pursued by loyalist forces, the so-called decay. “The army waits that the rebels are rejected by the population before conducting their offensive.” Entering a city of fighters Free Syrian Army (SLA) is often followed by tanks shelling by loyalist forces, and now fighter jets. Despite the cold, people have no other choice but to flee, feeding the endless stream of refugees leaving the country.
“These people are not pro-Assad but they want a return to stability in the country,” said Fabrice Balanche. “So they welcome the return of the army

(*) Fabrice Balanche, maître de conférences à l’université Lyon-II et directeur du Groupe de recherches et d’études sur la Méditerranée et le Moyen-Orient (

December 21st, 2012, 9:07 am

 

zoo said:

105. revenire

A ‘violent thing’ aided by the traditional enemies of the countries, terrorists and foreign money, does not qualify for the noble word of “revolution”. It is a dirty war by proxy

December 21st, 2012, 9:16 am

 
 

zoo said:

Soon in Syria?

UN approves military force to combat Islamist terrorists in Mali

Published: 21 December, 2012, 12:59

The UN Security Council has given the green light for the use of military force to combat Islamist terrorists in northern Mali. The Council said that the 3,300 troops will use “all necessary measures” to pacify the northern territories.

All the permanent members of the UN body unanimously voted for a year-long mandate during which the African-led peace force will attempt to oust Islamist militants entrenched in the country’s north.

Al-Qaeda-affiliated militants and Tuareg rebels, along with other separatists, seized control of Mali’s northern territories during a military coup in March that left a power vacuum in the country. They have since enforced hardline Muslim law in the areas under their control.

December 21st, 2012, 9:45 am

 

Hamoudeh al-Halabi said:

Visitor:

I made no claim to scholarship, but I certainly do subscribe to it and it’s a bit childish to simply return the question since nearly 100 posts on my blog are about the scholars in this revolution. If you believe that what I say contradicts said scholarship please do point it out. From you I’ve not seen anything other than the discussions you’ve been having here. The question still stands: do you subscribe to Islamic scholarship, or not?

Your comments continue to suggest the same as they did before. First you deny that the Hadith refers to the historical Khawarij even though this is what Imam al-Nawawi, Imam Muslim and Sunni scholarship as a whole has held to be the case. Then you give them an opening, via your faulty Munafiqin analogy. Apparently, you’re not aware that there is a separate section for the Sifat of the Munafiqin. Moreover, nobody understands the Khawarij to be the same as them to begin with. Sayyidna `Ali karramAllah wajhu himself in fact called them brothers, and most scholars did not declare them to be disbelievers. Indeed there were no Khawarij at that time, these Ahadith about them are prophecies! Are you sure you have at least read them? They speak of the progeny of a man and people who would appear later.

But have your beliefs regardless of what Sunni scholarship has been saying for 1400 years, and consequentially how contemporary scholars from all across the board have been using this name to describe modern time groups who displayed such characteristics. The most important issue regards the groups themselves, and you did not respond to that. Instead you continue to defend al-Nusra.

Leave al-Nusra, there is no point whatsoever in discussing them if we cannot get beyond the international Takfiri-Jihadi movement and al-Qaeda. Khawarij or not Khawarij, do you support them or do you oppose them, their ideology, their methods? Are you familiar with them? Please answer.

These two questions are essential if there is to be any fruitful discussion. I don’t know why you ask me about Robert Ford or secularists and why you feel the need to bring them up instead of discussing the issue at hand. I need to agree with your complaints first, even though they have nothing to do with me, before you are willing to take a stand for your own words and beliefs? If you must know, I respect the people you have been attacking and referring to on this comment section while I neither agree with nor find your attacks on them respectable. Moreover, unlike yourself they do not speak in the name of Islam.

As for your calling them Khawarij and Munafiqin, do you not see that you are doing so while considering me to be a sinner for accusing your heroes of being merely the former? Moreover, you are talking about people who in your heart-piercing opinion are Muslim only “in name” whilst the Khawarij were strictly practicing and in fact known for declaring anyone who sins in their eyes a disbeliever. A Munafiq [and apparently in your understanding a Khariji as well] is a disbeliever, this is what you accuse people of. Moreover, the faith of a Munafiq is unknown to people, yet you believe it is known to you.

As for Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir `Isa, you had some issues with Sufism and I referred you to his book considering that he addressed them there. You responded by calling it child’s play or the like and told me to read Shaykh Abd al-Hafiz Makki’s book instead. This looked like a bad joke, as did your entire attitude towards Sufism, the Shaykhs as well as myself. If you don’t have these issues any longer that is great, though I don’t understand why you don’ include Shaykh Sariya and Shaykh `Abd al-Hafiz to your remaining issues with current Shaykhs since that’s what they are as well. Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir too (d. 1991) has living successors such as Shaykh Ahmad Jami, Shaykh Bakri Hayyani, Shaykh Abu Ghazaleh and so on.

But let’s get back to those two issues.

December 21st, 2012, 9:46 am

 

Citizen said:

Talking about RF , not about the sheep Dolly !
Russia matters for the defense and promotion of U.S. national interests in a way matched by few other countries in the world. Russia is the world’s largest country by landmass and is a key geopolitical player in the East Asia-Pacific region, Central Asia, the Caucasus, and Europe. Russia and the U.S. collectively control over 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons, and Russia is the world’s largest producer of hydrocarbons. It is a permanent member of the UN Security Council, a member of the G8 and G20, and a key player in the Quartet on Middle East peace, the P5+1 talks on Iran, and the Six-Party talks on North Korea.
http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/3183.htm#.UNIMq1HQESU

December 21st, 2012, 9:49 am

 

zoo said:

Sounds like Syria…

http://rt.com/news/mali-un-intervention-council-534/

French UN ambassador to the UN Gerard Araud emphasized the “complexity” of the operation to “restore the territorial integrity of Mali and to end the terrorist activities in the north of the country.”

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon previously said that the UN would be unable to fund the military force, angering African leaders. With the approval of the resolution, he is now under pressure to raise money to support the initiative.

Ban also raised concerns over the deployment of the military force, stressing that it should only be done in a worst-case scenario after all political avenues had been exhausted. Though specific tactics have not yet been finalized, the resolution states that ECOWAS forces will “reduce the impact of military action upon the civilian population,” and that safeguards will be introduced to prevent human rights abuses.

France urged the international community to intervene in the country’s conflict after the Malian Prime Minister was arrested and forced to resign at the beginning of December on the basis that he “doesn’t get along” with military leader Capt. Amadou Haya Sanogo, who led the military coup in March.

Thus far, the upheaval in Mali has displaced over 400,000 people, according to UN statistics.

December 21st, 2012, 9:50 am

 

Sheila said:

Dear Visitor,
It is very interesting how you feel that you are the most knowledgable and well-read person on this blog, yet your blinders are as thick and narrow as those of regime supporters. The only difference is that your blinders are showing you a different spectrum.
There are many on this blog that are far more educated than you my dear. You fail to see that your arrogance is actually a very good reflection of your ignorance.
You are the epitome of what Sheikh Mohamad Abdo described when he came back from Paris. You are the Muslim who does not understand Islam.
I would like to point out to you that the Islamic Empire in its golden ages looked exactly like what the United States looks like today, except the labels were different. Think about it. The Islamic Empire was actually exactly like what we are aspiring for today in what we are calling a “secular” state. I hope you can take off your blinders and think about this statement for a while.

December 21st, 2012, 10:13 am

 

revenire said:

Lavrov to RT: ‘We are not in the business of regime change’
http://rt.com/news/lavrov-interview-syria-iran-528/

Since the start of the uprising in Syria, Russia has been heavily criticized for blocking US attempts to sort out the conflict. But as Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told RT in an exclusive interview, Russia is “not in the business of regime change.”

Lavrov believes that West governments, which tend to pursue immediate intervention, have missed many opportunities to actually help end the conflict in Syria. This is as Russia made several bids to find a peaceful solution for the violence, but was undermined by those unwilling to respect the agreements.

“Some of the regional players were suggesting to us: ‘Why don’t you tell President Assad to leave? We will arrange for some safe haven for him,'” Lavrov revealed, adding that if indeed those who suggested this had this in mind, they should have taken it directly to Assad.

“Why shall they use us as a postman? If President Assad is interested – this must be discussed directly with him,” he stressed.

Lavrov also commented on why NATO was so eager to deploy Patriot missiles on Turkey’s border with Syria – and which country was the actual target.

While many analysts say the Patriot system’s deployment in Turkey suggests that it could be targeted at Iran, Lavrov confirmed that “the configuration as it is being presented in the media really looks like it could be used against Iran.”

Stay tuned for the full interview with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Monday, December 24.

December 21st, 2012, 10:17 am

 
 

zoo said:

Tunisian TV about Syria’s rebels
الجيش السوري الحر يقتل 124 تونسيا و ليبيا في حمص

December 21st, 2012, 10:43 am

 

revenire said:

Rats murder a rabbit and threaten to use this on people

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=kJigRd1KXTQ

SAA needs to show no mercy, no political settlement – just war.

December 21st, 2012, 10:44 am

 

Dolly Buster said:

Russia is a dictatorship, and fears for its own future in the event of the Syria domino falling. It would be an omen for Iran.

Fools & morons who support Russia claim that NATO is trying to “encircle” Russia.

This is only apparently correct, but the proper interpretation is that more and more dictatorships are ending. And thus Russia is losing its allies.

 
So, in the end → there will be only 1 country, called Globa.

This is where the world is inevitably heading.

December 21st, 2012, 10:49 am

 

revenire said:

Russia has stopped NATO from attacking Syria directly and will continue to do so. I am happy with the Russian dictators. Better them than Takfiri slime imposed by the West.

December 21st, 2012, 10:52 am

 

Dolly Buster said:

NATO is much stronger than Russia, and can act without any questions asked.

What actually happened is that Washington chose to lay back, and let Syrians fight on their own. An unethical choice imo, but I guess Americans are entitled to use their own soldiers as they see fit.

December 21st, 2012, 11:04 am

 

zoo said:

The Syrian artistic energy is still alive….
A dance troop coming straight from Damascus offers an exceptional and highly praised show in Beirut

“Dakaëk” (Minutes) is the title of the show on the stage of Theatre Babel (Marignan Centre) by the Syrian company Sima dance, who came straight from Damascus. Twelve young dancers for an exceptional performance of rigor, originality and boldness.

If on the roads and streets of Beirut there are license plates of cars marked Deraa, Homs or the shores of the Barada and do not surprise anybody, the theater just had a real storm of charm. And surprise. Very agreeably. From a group of young Syrians who offer the beauty of modern ballet not as a soft wreath, but as a tonic and breezy expression of life.

Under the direction of choreographer Alaa Kremid trained in classes at the Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts in Damascus (but it has nevertheless participated in “workshops” in Germany and Denmark), the show is a clever balance between boldness of modern body expression, free and liberated, and the redesign and resurrection, through ripple and swirl, of traditional Eastern values​​.

http://www.lorientlejour.com/category/Culture/article/793191/Le_langage_du_corps_entre_stridence_moderne_et_aspirations_%3C%3C+soufistes+%3E%3E_.html

December 21st, 2012, 11:04 am

 

Citizen said:

Sheep Dolly, The camel does not see his hump!
Christmas in Connecticut
http://original.antiwar.com/giraldi/2012/12/19/christmas-in-connecticut/

December 21st, 2012, 11:06 am

 

revenire said:

Actually Dolly the Americans wanted to bomb Syria many times but Russia said NYET! They said NYET! many times and Obama had to gnash his teeth and sit on his hands.

Russia is backed by China.

NATO can act alone sure and that is why Putin sent Iskanders to Syria. They are lovely missiles.

Perhaps Obama feels a few terrorist rats are worth going to WW III over but I doubt it.

December 21st, 2012, 11:23 am

 

Dolly Buster said:

People who live in Syria and support Assad should not feel safe.

The Sunni FSA will be imminently knocking down the doors of all Putin sympathizers in the country.

 
You heard the story of the brother who killed his Russian wife. Imagine the lack of mercy for total strangers.

December 21st, 2012, 11:28 am

 

revenire said:

I will laugh and laugh if NATO acts to impose al-Nusra on Syria and when the terrorist filth turn the weapons the West gave them – as they have done in Libya – on them I will laugh again.

If I am not mistaken the terrorists have just fired at a civilian plane in Aleppo. More to come…

December 21st, 2012, 11:32 am

 

revenire said:

We have a saying Dolly: two can play this game.

I can’t imagine what would happen if the FSA is stupid enough to start butchering Russian nationals as they’ve butchered Syrians.

December 21st, 2012, 11:35 am

 

Dolly Buster said:

 
Syria is the victim of external aggression from 3 sides:

The attack by Russia, the attack by Iran, and the attack by Hezbollah.

 
However, the unarmed Syrians are still kicking the ass of Russia single-handedly.
 

December 21st, 2012, 11:56 am

 

Mina said:

With all the technology available why can’t the West -so crazy about their new technology- do a nation poll by simply calling simultaneously all the phone numbers in Syria and ask people for which side they are?
I bet they wouldn’t like the answer.

December 21st, 2012, 12:02 pm

 

Citizen said:

Surrounded Turks and French in Damascus are negotiating surrender
The failure of the Clinton plan
http://oko-planet.su/oko-planet/politik/newsday/155872-okruzhennye-v-damaske-turki-i-francuzy-vedut-peregovory-o-sdache-v-plen.html

We returned from the contact line in the suburbs of Damascus Darayya. The commander assault squad that has captured the local command post militants in three days of fighting, only four of the wounded and no one killed, while his unit destroyed two or three dozen militants. Colonel struck me with his humane attitude to find themselves in the ranks of stupidity militants Syrians.

A key area of Al Zeitoun Darayya is now under the control of the Syrian army. By morning, the encirclement of the main group of militants near Damascus has narrowed to just 700 meters to go to – in a matter of days. Of the group was surrounded numbering 20-25 thousand fighters of Al Qaeda, foreign mercenaries and common criminals alive today is no more than 4-6 thousand. According to the officers and soldiers of the Republican Guard morale Islamists broke, until the last bullet is now fighting only a few fanatics. States that in addition to Turkish officers negotiate terms of surrender now started to keep the French, was trapped.

In the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk today was relatively quiet, at least when we were there. The army is preparing to sweep, wealthy people leave this southern district of Damascus. The militants came close to the command of PFLP, where we were a month ago their broadcasts.

For stolen evening December 16 employees Italian private steel company “Hmesho” Viktor Gorelov, the driver – a Syrian with dual citizenship and Italian fighters on the phone asked the management company based in Italy, a ransom of 50 million pounds.

December 21st, 2012, 12:04 pm

 

Citizen said:

UN: Syria’s Rebels Come From 29 Countries
Influx of Sunni Fighters Adds to Sectarian Tone of Civil War
http://news.antiwar.com/2012/12/20/un-syrias-rebels-come-from-29-countries/

Russian leadership calls for a soon settlement of the conflict in Syria.
http://www.syrianews.cc/taliban-militants-use-turkey-to-march-into-syria/

December 21st, 2012, 12:14 pm

 

Observer said:

Lavrov: we are not in the business of regime change!!!

This is exactly what Putin is afraid of: that regime change is coming his way.

Putin chastises the West and points the finger on the Benghazi attack as proof of chaos to come.

This is exactly what Putin and every dictator wants ( remember Morsi talking about stability ) order and stability and no dissention just as Ghaddafi and the Athads have had it for generations.

Birds of the same feather flock together.

By the way citizen, Russia has a shrinking population. Even with open immigration it will wither away slowly over the next fifty years and most of the East will revert back to a sphere of influence for China.

December 21st, 2012, 12:20 pm

 

revenire said:

Putin isn’t worried about Assad. Russia has said that over and over. He is worried about Syria and wider war.

Russia insists the West can’t decide who is president of other countries (not just Syria) from the barrel of a gun/use of force. That choice is up to Syrians (as in all nations). Syrians can decide their leaders via elections not by terrorism.

Russia made a mistake in Libya and they won’t repeat it in Syria. That is why they will never sanction NATO to intervene for “humanitarian” purposes.

Libya is worse today than before Gaddafi was murdered. The world sees that and outside of Salafist apes and Takfiri lice few would disagree – perhaps al-Nusra enjoys the new Libya but many Libyans have fled.

December 21st, 2012, 12:27 pm

 

Visitor said:

Sheila @134,

Since our last exchange when you failed to properly answer the simple question about your perceived misguided notion of the oppostion between faith and reason and your cryptic attempt to obscure the question, I stopped reading you.  This time, I felt obliged because you addressed me directly.

No, you are again utterly misguided and one thousand oercent wrong.  The Islamic Empire was in no way similar tp present day US.  The Islamic Empire was guided by the principles of Sharia Laws and not by secular inspired ones.  Unless you know this simple fact and unless you do not want me to tell you straight forward to shut up, I would say you should stay away from a subject you clearly do not understand.  I definitely advise you NOT to address me with any such stupid comments such as your latest.

It is incomprehensible how such misguided eager to lecture idiot would want to lecture about godless secularism while putting forward the notion of reason and Islamic faith being in complete opposiotion.  O’ yes!  He/she found the answer in today’s USA.

December 21st, 2012, 2:16 pm

 

Citizen said:

End of the world postponed. And soon will come up with a new date. In the global era and the global media A human stupidity is also becoming global.

December 21st, 2012, 2:40 pm

 

zoo said:

Who will bankrupt first the regime or the rebels?

Assad’s Cash Problem: Will Syria’s Dwindling Reserves Bring Down the Regime?
By Vivienne Walt

That tipping point, in which the government faces all-out financial collapse, seems to be drawing near—between three to six months from now, according to the calculations of Seifan and others who have examined Syria’s finances.

Despite help from Gulf countries, Syria’s rebels, too, say they face a severe cash crisis, as the war drags on longer than expected, and as entire neighborhoods are razed. In Morocco last week, an opposition spokesman Yasser Tabbara told TIME, “It will cost about $500 million a month for us to administer freed areas, just to keep things afloat.” So far, that money has yet to be found. This week, the U.N. appealed to governments for $1.5 billion to help Syrians through the bitter winter, warning that millions face growing hunger, as food stocks dwindle in the war zones.

But it is the Syrian leader who faces total collapse in the face of bankruptcy.

… But Assad’s close friend Iran, which Seifan believes has given more than $10 billion in wartime aid—some of it in desperately needed petroleum supplies is itself struggling to keep the help going.
“Iran itself is not able to support Assad a lot,” Seifan says. “It is under sanctions, and the economic situation for Iran’s government is deteriorating.” That makes the outlook for Assad seem even grimmer.

Read more: http://world.time.com/2012/12/21/assads-cash-problem-will-syrias-dwindling-reserves-bring-down-the-regime/#ixzz2Fj390DQz

December 21st, 2012, 4:51 pm

 

zoo said:

Losing Post-War Libya

Max Boot | @MaxBoot 12.21.2012 – 10:45 AM
http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2012/12/21/losing-post-war-libya/

I don’t often agree with Vladimir Putin, but he has a point when he condemns America’s lack of follow-through in Libya. Here is what he said:

Libya “is disintegrating,” Putin said at a major press conference in Moscow, pointing to the fractious groups that have been struggling for control of the country since longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi was ousted with NATO’s help last year….

“Interethnic, inter-clan, inter-tribal conflicts are continuing [in Libya]. Moreover, it’s come to a tragedy – the murder of a US ambassador. Was this the result of the work?” Putin said about foreign intervention in Libya.
“You’ve asked me about [my] mistakes, but wasn’t this a mistake? And do you want us to go on constantly repeating these mistakes in other countries?” Putin told reporters.

The conclusion Putin reaches–that it would be a mistake for the West to intervene in Syria–doesn’t follow from this statement: There is already growing chaos in Syria and it will get worse absent outside intervention. But he is right that lack of planning for post-Gaddafi Libya has undermined the Obama administration’s case, even it wanted to make it, for more action in Syria–and has threatened Western interests in the region.

December 21st, 2012, 4:55 pm

 

zoo said:

Still waiting for the opposition’s plan…

Syrian opposition rejects Iran’s plan as desperate attempt to save Assad

Friday, 21 December 2012
By Al Arabiya with Agencies

Syria’s main opposition group, the National Coalition, denounced on Friday an Iranian peace initiative as a “ddesperate attempt to prolong the life of the regime.”

Tehran, the most powerful regional ally of the embattled Assad regime, detailed a six-point peace initiative on Sunday, according to Iranian media reports.

The plan did not envisage the fall of the regime, but instead called for “an immediate halt to violence and armed actions under the supervision of the United Nations.”

It also called for sanctions against Syria to be lifted, the start of national dialogue, the establishment of a transitional government, and free elections.

December 21st, 2012, 4:58 pm

 

zoo said:

Students detained following protest against Turkish PM

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/students-detained-following-protest-against-turkish-pm.aspx?pageID=238&nID=37352&NewsCatID=339

Police used pepper gas and water cannon against the protesting students, who were not allowed to approach the ceremony hall.

A total of 26 students were detained while five were injured due to police’s use of tear gas.

Erdoğan reportedly attended the ceremony with 105 guard cars, 20 armored cars, one intervention tank and 2,500 police officers.

December 21st, 2012, 5:03 pm

 

zoo said:

What’s the fuss about sending Scud missiles on terrorists who occupy illegally and by force a part of a country whose borders and integrity are recognized by the UN ?
Are these missiles outlawed or is it because they are not made in the US, France or Germany?

December 21st, 2012, 5:17 pm

 

Syrian said:

A freelance journalist at the site of the Scud missile explosion just out side the city of Mares
http://youtu.be/yQogwJrkNIg
here is his observation from his site
http://m.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=10151308697357342

December 21st, 2012, 5:21 pm

 

zoo said:

The American Enterprise neocon Danielle Pletka hates Kerry and loved Miss Piggy… I guess Israel is not at ease with Kerry.

Danielle Pletka | December 21, 2012
http://www.aei-ideas.org/2012/12/sigh-john-kerry/


I’ve written on many occasions about Kerry’s own ineffectual and wrongheaded record on national security, here and here for a start.

His chairmanship of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has been an exercise in futility. But… he is not a loon. He is not a fool. That, apparently, is now the bar that must be leapt over for the Obama cabinet.

I don’t know about the rest of my compadres in the foreign policy community, but I for one will miss Hillary Clinton.

December 21st, 2012, 5:22 pm

 

zoo said:

#161
Are Scuds part of the psy-war of nerves?

“Both of missiles didn’t cause any casualties neither injuries to the population with the exception of a huge panic to the woman and children of the city, which most of them are displaced people from Aleppo region.”

December 21st, 2012, 5:25 pm

 

zoo said:

The word ‘desperate’ is been even more lately hammered in the Western media about the Syrian regime:

-The Scuds are used because the regime is “desperate”
-The Iran peace plan is a “desperate” attempt to save the regime
-The Syrians army is ‘desperate’ as the rebels added by al Nusra terrorists are eating up more of the North
– The Syrian economy is in a ‘desperate’ state

No one mention the ‘desperate’ rebels who had to make the umpsteenth ‘tactical withdrawal’ from Yarmouk and their humiliating defeat in Damascus.
No one mentions their “desperate” need for millions of dollars to rearm, survive and sustain the ever growing ‘liberated’ areas that are falling into starvation and decay.

Despite the parroting of the western media, no one really knows who is winning the ‘desperation’ contest.

December 21st, 2012, 5:37 pm

 

Matt Q said:

However it started, as the conflict becomes more sectarian (power, economic, rural versus urban, identity, who lives and who dies), the harder it becomes to avoid becoming involved.

The majority of the exodus of Alawites to Tartus and the mountains is probably less conspiracy than self preservation. White flight but with a ethnic cleansing twist. The neighborhood is going down hill so you move.

Imagine your average Alawite middle class family who benefits from the current government. Not terribly prejudice and against what the regime is doing but in favor of the system that has helped pull them up in the last two generations. Alarmist rumors begin about sectarian violence, civil war, that become self fulfilling, and now you are harassed and threatened or will be because in civil war you are either with us or against us.

A think an emergence of an de facto Alawite state of Tartus and rural Latakia is real possibility. Even if Assad dies, again as sectarianism grows, the war becomes less about Assad and more about who has or had what and who killed or wants to kill who. And given the terrain and overt and covert external support from Iran (like Hezbollah and Hamas) and maybe Russia (Abkhazia and South Ossetia), the region could hold out and become a thorn in Syria’s side indefinitely.

December 23rd, 2012, 11:24 am

 

Syria conflict: UN says 60,000 dead – Wednesday 2 January 2013 | Middle East News and North Africa News United News - Arab Social Network said:

[…] Syria watcher Joshua Landis comes closest to predicting that Assad will survive the year, or at least half of it. […]

January 4th, 2013, 11:40 am

 

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