Ghalioun Resigns; Can the SNC Recapture Center Stage; Is Shawkat Dead? No Cooking Gas

Bourhan Ghalioun has officially resigned from his post, a statement issued by the Syrian National Council said Thursday after a two-day meeting in Istanbul. The SNC “office decided to accept the resignation and to ask the council president to pursue his work until the election of a new president at a meeting on June 9-10,” it said. If the SNC can establish a mechanism for transparent and regular elections, it will have done Syrians a great favor.

Ghalioun has been a success. He represents the best that Syrians living abroad have to offer. He is a deeply cultured and honest man, who could not put his heart into the military option that the opposition is now pursuing. However, he was able to give an inspiring and intelligent face to the Syrian revolution, one that the West and many Syrians living in the West needed to see  in order to get organized and throw their weight behind the international effort to condemn the Assad regime and make the decision to isolate and sanction it. He played a tremendously important role in mobilizing international opinion behind the revolutionary effort. No one can minimize the importance of that achievement.

The fact that Syrians inside distrust those outside the country is perhaps natural, but it is also a product of years of indoctrination, xenophobia and anti-Westernism that has been preached by the Baath Party. It is unfair to blame only the Baath. Arab nationalism as a movement has preached distrust of the West and those Arabs who have lived in the West for decades. That ideology is coming back to haunt the revolutionary movement today.  It will be very hard for Syrians living in the West to gain the trust of those inside the country. The Assad regime has driven or expelled many of the best and brightest from the country. It has then denigrated them as traitors and agents of the West.

The center of gravity of the opposition has now moved to the fighters and coordinators inside Syria. The SNC needs a major overhaul to preserve its usefulness and regain its public support. By stepping down, Burhan Ghalioun is demonstrating that not all Syrian leaders must cling to power in the face of opposition. He should be championed for what he is: a man who has sought to do the best he could in an extremely difficult situation. He has been a beacon of reason and champion of democracy for decades and his is living by his word.

The Assef Shawkat controversy continues to gain traction. Was he assassinated? Not since JR of Dallas fame, has murder been so mysterious and talked about. Chances are, however, that he is alive and kicking. Assef Shawkat’s town-folks deny that he is dead, according to the on-line news site, “Syria Politic.” When their journalist, called people in the town, townfolks laughed at the news, claiming that they don’t even have a tradition of raising a black flag for the dead. Opposition sources claimed that the people of Madhale had raised a black flag for him. The townsfolk interviewed by Syria Politic say the news about his death is bunkum. This doesn’t prove much, but it does suggest that opposition members who write about the assassination are making parts of the story up.

Those who argue that the fact that he hasn’t come on TV to denounce the story is proof of his death forget that the last time there were rumors about Shawkat’s demise – that he was under house arrest and that this wife had fled to Dubai - the rumors were false, but Assef never went on TV to denounce the rumors. The rumors persisted from February to August of 2008. Friends of mine had a chalet on the beach next to his, where he was frequently seen swimming with his wife and children.

Cooking gas is just not available in Aleppo, as I reported a few days ago. The energy minister is finally admitting that sanctions are killing them. For the longest time, they blustered about finding other buyers and sources.

 Antoine writes in the comment section of my commentary of the SNC and external opposition:

Nothing can be more insulting to the “real” Syrian opposition, Dr. Landis. The Syrian opposition, unlike the oppositions of someother authoritarian regimes, is almost totally locally based, with a very, very strong grassroots presence.

The Syrian opposition is NOT the SNC, the Syrian opposition is certainly not the NCB, the Syrian opposition is not some Ahmad Chalabi-like scam artists, the Syrian opposition is not a Masoud Rajavi’s MKO or PLO / PFLP -like external terrorist group.

The Syrian opposition is Abdel Razzaq Tlass, it is Khaled Abu Salah, it is Abdel baset Sarout, Captain Qais Qataaneh, and Lieutenant Khabir. It is the people who bring out every week’s edition of Oxygen (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/22/syria-local-newspapers-revolution) in Zabadani. It is the thousands of young men and women who chant in Aleppo University, and the millions of faceless individuals who bare their chests to bullets every day. It is the people Martin Chulov writes about in Guardian.

The Syrian Revolution is NOT SNC. Let me say this on record, and this the view of 90 % of the people in FSA and the LCCs. The Syrian Revolution is not even Riad al Asaad and other officers cooling their heels in Turkey.

Dr. Landis pretends as if the LCCs don’t even exist. He only sees suited individuals like Ghalioun and Kodmani and Manaa and Abdulhamid and some other names as “the Opposition.” and most of his posts on SC have a strong bias in showing these individuals as “Opposition” and ignoring to a very large extent the Local Coordination Comittee activists and the FSA foot-soldiers.

Fortunately, the Western media has focused on the grassroots local opposition and not these external non-oppositions….

Subject: (NS8) Ya Libnan: Assad’s brother-in-law Assef Shawkat
Ya Libnan: Assad’s brother-in-law Assef Shawkat buried, report
2012-05-23

According to anti-Syrian regime activists, President Bashar al-Assad’s brother-in-law Assef Shawkat who was Syria’s deputy defense minister was buried on Wednesday in his hometown, which they identified as Madhale, near the …

قرية “المدحلة” تنفي وفاة آصف شوكت..وتسخر من قصة رفع الأعلام السوداء
23 مايو 2012 -  PM : سيريا بوليتيك

آصف شوكت في مدارس أبناء الشهداء عام 2010

نفى أهالي قرية “المدحلة” في “ريف طرطوس” رفعهم الأعلام السوداء، كما نفوا وفاة العماد آصف شوكت نائب وزير الدفاع، بحسب عدد من مراسلي “سيريا بوليتيك” الذين اتصلوا ببعض أبناء القرية. وكانت مواقع معارضة، إضافة إلى مواقع إخبارية عربية، زعمت أن قرية المدحلة، التي ينحدر منها شوكت، رفعت الأعلام السوداء حدادا على وفاته بعد أن وصل من دمشق بحوامة إلى طرطوس، حيث تم إفراغ مشفى الباسل من المرضى بالكامل

Foreign Policy: Wednesday

Up to 25 people were killed across Syria on Tuesday. Government troops bombarded the central city of Rastan on Wednesday, shelling at the rate of “one shell a minute.” Additionally, a bombing in Damascus killed five people. According to Syrian authorities, the bomb hit a police station. However photos indicate that in fact a restaurant was targeted. Meanwhile, the kidnapping of 11 to 13 Lebanese Shiite pilgrims near Aleppo has raised fears that the Syrian conflict is spreading into Lebanon, and has aggravated sectarian tensions in Beirut. The Lebanese pilgrims were traveling from Iran when their bus was intercepted. The Syrian government and opposition have traded accusations over the abductions. Hezbollah has said that it has been in communication with a Syrian fundamentalist group that has promised the release of the pilgrims.

A bomb planted under a military bus exploded Wednesday near the Damascus airport, killing one soldier and wounding 23 others, a military official at the site said on condition of anonymity under army rules. Anti-regime activist reported government rocket attacks on parts of the central city of Homs and clashes between rebels and government troops in the central town of Rastan, outside of Damascus and elsewhere.

Egypt holds elections today. Many voters say the election is not about religion or politics, but rather “who can put food on the table.” Egyptians must count themselves lucky to be settling their disputes in the fairer manner.

Fox News: Sanctions on Syria have cost country $4 billion, oil minister says
2012-05-23

DAMASCUS, Syria – Syria’s oil minister acknowledged the heavy toll international sanctions have taken on the country’s oil sector, saying Wednesday that they had sucked about $4 billion from the economy.

Sufian Allaw said the sanctions levied by the United States and the European Union to put pressure on President Bashar Assad were to blame for the shortages that have left Syrians across the country standing in long lines to pay inflated prices for cooking gas and other products.

Allaw’s comments are part of a delicate rhetorical balancing act by the Damascus regime 14 months into the crisis that has posed the biggest threat to Assad family rule in four decades. The regime must acknowledge that international measures are squeezing the populace while denying that Assad’s control of the country has been shaken.

Before the Syrian uprising began in March 2011, the oil sector was a pillar of Syria’s economy, with oil exports — mostly to Europe — bringing in $7-8 million per day, according to David Schenker of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. This income was key to maintaining the $17 billion in foreign reserves that the government had at the start of the uprising.

Speaking to reporters in Damascus Wednesday, Allaw said sanctions had cost Syria’s oil sector about $4 billion. Prices for a tank of cooking gas have more than quadrupled as shortages have spread across the country, and Allaw said Syria’s gas production covers only half of the country’s needs.

To fill the gap, officials are seeking imports from countries not party to the sanctions. A Venezuelan tanker carrying 35,000 tons of fuel docked in Syria on Tuesday, Allaw said. Another is supposed to follow. He said officials were seeking to arrange further gas imports from Algeria and Iran..

أثرياء حلب يواجهون أزمة الغاز بالوجبات السريعة والفقراء بالكاز وسرقة الكهرباء

تاريخ المقال: 2012-05-23

واجه سكان مدينة حلب من الأثرياء أزمة الغاز بالاعتماد على الوجبات السريعة الجاهزة، التي زاد الطلب عليها بمقدار الضعف، في حين اعتمد الفقراء على الكاز والتيار الكهربائي «المسروق» للحد من اتكالهم على المادة في المطبخ المنزلي لقناعتهم بأن الأزمة آخذة بالتصاعد مستشهدين بقول أحد المسؤولين المعنيين «دبروا راسكم

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Feltman Leaving Key Post

Yesterday, Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman, the top U.S. diplomat for the Middle East was reported to be stepping down from his post to take on a senior role at the United Nations (potentially as deputy to UN chief Ban Ki-moon). It is unclear when Feltman will step down or who will replace him, but with Hillary Clinton also leaving the administration at the end of this term, it looks like U.S. policy toward the Middle East will undergo a significant change next year, regardless of who wins the election.

Syria’s downtrodden flock to Lebanon for work By Erika Solomon and Laila Bassam
BEIRUT | Wed May 23, 2012

(Reuters) – Huddled under Beirut’s concrete bridges and around street corners are thousands of Syrian men who have left home and crossed the border in recent months in the hope of finding work as day laborers.

From 13-year-old schoolboys to limping elderly men, most of them represent impoverished families from Syria’s rural regions who are suffering the brunt of a deepening economic crisis as a 14-month-old revolt against President Bashar al-Assad drags on.

“We could barely buy a pack of bread. We’re suffering from hunger, so I had to come here and do whatever I can,” said Mohammed Mahou, 23, a father of three from an eastern farming town called al-Qamishli.

Syrians who once headed for day work in Aleppo and Damascus have found construction projects halted. Farmers like Mahou say they are unable to work their fields because prices of fertilizer have risen sharply and some areas are unsafe to farm. Meanwhile, prices for basic food staples in Syria have nearly tripled, they say….

Analysis: Rifts widen in Syrian opposition
By Khaled Yacoub Oweis

AMMAN | Mon May 21, 2012 6:56pm EDT
(Reuters) – A power struggle within Syria’s main opposition group is pitting Islamists against secular politicians and exiled leaders against activists at home, further undermining its claim to be an alternative to President Bashar al-Assad.

Fourteen months into an uprising, the squabbling in the Syrian National Council makes it even less likely to be able to win international recognition or to get more than half-hearted foreign support against Assad. On the ground, the council shows no sign of exerting control as grassroots activists organize protests themselves and rebel fighters operate under nobody’s orders but their own.

More than anything, critics say, the disarray within the opposition mirrors the chaos of Syria itself. “You have a classic situation in the SNC, not much different from the four-decade old totalitarian Assad family rule the uprising aims to topple,” said veteran opposition figure Fawaz Tello.

The internal conflicts have come to a head over the position of Burhan Ghalioun, who offered to step down as leader of the 313-member council last week if a replacement can be found – not that there is guarantee one will be. Some critics brand the 67-year-old liberal sociologist a stooge of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood and say he was chosen because he would attract Western support.

Some criticize him for monopolizing the position of council leader, which is meant to rotate every three months. Others fault him for failing to back the armed rebellion against Assad.

“DYING”

“Burhan Ghalioun: the Syrian National Council is dying… We accept your resignation,” read placards at an anti-Assad rally in the eastern city of Deir al-Zor on Friday. There are signs that foreign patience with the council is running thin too. That does not bode well for the opposition’s chances of getting diplomatic or military support. The Western and Arab countries which recognized Libyan rebels within weeks of them taking up arms against Muammar Gaddafi are still holding back when it comes to Syria.

A military source in France, one of Assad’s most vocal opponents, said the opposition needed to be better organized. “We don’t have that and now it’s playing into the hands of Islamist groups and making it even more difficult for the opposition to organize itself,” the French source said.

The first step is sorting out the leadership position and the Islamists who dominate the council say they are trying to convince Ghalioun to stay on. “If he insists on leaving it will be time to convene the whole council and choose a new leadership on every level,” said Mulhem Droubi, a high-level Muslim Brotherhood official.

Ghalioun is well-connected with France and with Qatar so may still be as close as possible to a consensus figure. But counting against Ghalioun is opposition from inside Syria because of his skepticism over armed resistance by majority Sunni Muslims to the rule of Assad, who is from the minority Alawite sect.

“The rift between the SNC and those inside is growing,” said Yasser Saadeldine, an opposition leaning commentator living in the Gulf. “Ghalioun lacks charisma and he has not embraced armed struggle after Assad killed thousands of his peaceful opponents.”

A senior member of the Free Syrian Army rebel group said Ghalioun was not even “in the equation” but did acknowledge that the Islamists who support him were trying to build serious links with the rebels.

Another candidate for leader could be George Sabra, who came second to Ghalioun in the last leadership vote. Sabra is an ally of Syria’s top dissident Riad al-Turk, an 81-year-old former leftist who spent 25 years as a political prisoner and operates underground inside Syria. The Islamists might also put forward another candidate of their own.

BIGGER CHANGE

But demands are growing for a more radical change than simply a new leader. “There is an elite in the SNC who have brought their own cohorts into the council. They will essentially re-elect themselves unless the SNC is seriously restructured,” said Tello, jailed for five years after a brief period of openness in 200, when Assad inherited power from his father.

Critics say the council needs to better articulate its policy on a U.N. and Arab League peace plan that envisages talks with the authorities on a transition, but not removing Assad’s family or dismantling the police state. Some believe the council will fall apart if it does not undergo a radical overhaul.

“The SNC is on the verge of collapse unless it becomes representative of the whole opposition,” said Rima Fleihan, a human rights campaigner who quit the SNC last year. “It needs to become democratic from A to Z. What is needed now is a broad opposition meeting to escape the vicious cycle of infighting and division.”

How Washington Lost Syria
By Gary C. Gambill
Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI) E-note, May 2012

With the failure of former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to broker a ceasefire in Syria, Western policymakers and pundits are increasingly coming to acknowledge that the country’s descent into civil war is all but inevitable. But this begs the question of when and why it became so. Was it a foregone conclusion when the uprising against President Bashar Assad began last year?

Civil war was always the most likely end to the saga. Syria is the only majority Sunni Muslim country of the modern era to be governed by a largely heterodox Muslim elite, a peculiar historical anomaly that Daniel Pipes likens to “an untouchable becoming maharajah in India or a Jew becoming Tsar in Russia.”[1] The Alawite-dominated Assad regime survived for over four decades in the heart of the Sunni Arab Levant in much the same way that Saddam Hussein’s Sunni-led government endured in the heart of the Shiite Crescent—through brute force. As Iraq’s recent history illustrates, minoritarian autocracies cannot be peacefully unmade.

If there was a window of opportunity for avoiding a full-blown civil war, it came early in the uprising,….

Palestinian writer describes Syrian prisons as ‘slaughterhouses’
Associated Press – May 23, 2012

AMMAN // A prominent Palestinian writer who spent nearly three weeks in jail in Syria described the prisons as “human slaughterhouses”, saying security agents beat detainees with batons, crammed them into stinking cells and tied them to beds at night.

World not doing enough for Syria, says Turkey’s president
22 May 2012

AFP reports: The international community is not doing enough to help resolve the Syrian crisis, Turkish President Abdullah Gul said Tuesday as he urged an orderly transition to democracy. “The international community as whole has so far performed poorly in providing an effective response to the crisis at hand,” Gul said in a public address [...]

UN Observers Concede Presence of Terrorist Groups in Syria

UN peacekeeping observers have acknowledged the presence of terrorist groups in Syria, which are hindering the peace process between the government and the opposition, China’s Xinhua agency has reported, quoting UN peacekeeping head Herve Ladsous.

“We know that there are … a third party (of the conflict), terrorist groups, who are trying to gain advantage for themselves… but we have to see this as an issue within Syria, between the Syrians,” Ladsous said at a news conference held in Damascus.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said that foreign fighters, some of them Al-Qaeda members, are fighting in extremist groups operating in Syria. Ladsous added that 270 observers are working in six cities across Syria. According to him, observers will arrive in four more cities. {…}

Why Assad shouldn’t worry about NATO
By Elise Labott

As NATO leaders discuss the winding down of its 10-year war in Afghanistan and pat themselves on the back for helping in the bloody ouster of Moammar Gadhafi in Libya, there is one increasingly deadly conflict that is taboo for the alliance to even think about wading into: Syria.

Practically every NATO leader has publicly condemned the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and called for him to step down and make way for a democratic transition in Syria. Yet U.S. ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder said Sunday that not one leader even raised the issue of Syria during the opening day of the summit.

While saying NATO is “very much concerned about the situation of Syria,” NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen made clear the alliance has “no intention whatsoever to intervene.”

NATO’s radio silence has prompted criticism among human rights groups and on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers for question why the alliance supported military intervention in Libya but has ruled out similar action in Syria. One congressional source called the refusal to even talk about the issue “pretty shocking.”…

Comments (190)


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151. zoo said:

Brotherhood man promises Islamic law in Egypt
By Tom Perry
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/25/us-egypt-election-mursi-idUSBRE84O0CZ20120525
CAIRO | Fri May 25, 2012 4:23am EDT

CAIRO (Reuters) – When he joined the race for Egypt’s presidency just five weeks ago, Mohamed Mursi was mocked as the Muslim Brotherhood’s uncharismatic “spare tyre” after its first-choice candidate was disqualified.

But the 60-year-old engineer came first in the opening round, according to a Brotherhood tally after most votes were counted, thanks to a campaign that showed off the unequalled political muscle of Egypt’s oldest Islamist movement.

The run-off on June 16 and 17 with second-placed Ahmed Shafiq, who served as deposed leader Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister, gives Egyptians a stark choice between a military man linked to the past and an Islamist whose conservative message appeals to some and alarms others in this nation of 82 million.
..
He has promised to implement Islamic sharia during rallies peppered with references to the Koran, God and the Prophet Mohammad and occasionally interrupted by pauses for mass prayer.

But he has seldom spelt out what that would mean for Egypt, where piety runs deep and the constitution already defines the principles of Islamic law as the main source of legislation.

Mursi has called for a review of Cairo’s 1979 peace treaty with Israel, saying Egypt’s neighbor has not respected the agreement, a line mirroring that of most of the other candidates in the race. The group has said it will not tear up the deal.

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May 25th, 2012, 5:53 pm

 

152. Tara said:

Bronco @149

Jan 2013. I want to visit my town Bronco. I missed her. I want to smell Yasmeen, ear fatayer in Shaalan, swim at the Sheraton, chat with Muna Wassif at the pool side, go to Bloudan, eat late dinner in the old city, watch some good looking women dancing on Seeret hub of Um Kalthoum, she can’t be fat though, and look for someone in the Hamidieh…I want to see no pictures of anyone (don’t mind handsome actors) and read no mnhebak banners.

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May 25th, 2012, 6:04 pm

 

153. zoo said:

The elections in Egypt may sign the failure of the revolution’s ideals as a new fascist regime may emerge that may snowball in the region.

“The worst possible scenario,” said Ahmed Khairy, spokesman for the Free Egyptians Party, one of the secular, liberal parties that emerged last year. Speaking to the Al-Ahram daily, he described Morsi as an “Islamic fascist” and Shafiq as a “military fascist.”

http://news.yahoo.com/egypt-results-point-deeply-divisive-runoff-race-155636452.html

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May 25th, 2012, 6:12 pm

 

154. Antoine said:

The high votes for Ahmad Shafiq should not be misinterpreted as a vote against the revolution, or even a vote for Mubarak.

That said, Egypt was doing quite well under Mubarak than Syria was doing under Bashar before 2011.

There is credible evidence that conservative Muslims who voted for Islamists in Parliament, shifted their vote to Shafiq, Moussa, and Sabbahi.

On the other hand a sizable chunk of secular votes went to the “moderate Islamist” Abul Fotouh.

Another interesting phenomenon is that the Nasserist, Hamadeen Sabahi, won most of his votes from heavily urban industrial big cities like Cairo, Giza, Alexandria, Suez.

Whereas the Brotherhood won decisively in rural Upper Egypt.

It seems the secular Left’s break with the countryside has been completed,

In the 1960s it was the other way round, Nasserists/Baathists could count on the countryside while the Islamist support was concentrated in the City.

This signals a significant demographic change in Arab countries over the last 40 years.

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May 25th, 2012, 6:14 pm

 

155. bronco said:

152. Tara

Maybe if the SNC takes over the reconstruction, these places will be gone. Hamidieh souk would be transformed into Hamidieh Tower with Baskin and Robbins instead of Bekdash, Sheraton swimming only twice a week for women and curfew at 8 p.m.

No pictures except Erdogan’s and a veiled Lady Gaga’s.

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May 25th, 2012, 6:19 pm

 

156. Antoine said:

155. BRONCO said:

“Maybe if the SNC takes over”

__________________________________________________________________

SNC won’t take over. The Local Coordination Comittees and the FSA will take over.

And you can bet they will impose Homsi Law on Damascus.

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May 25th, 2012, 6:52 pm

 

157. Tara said:

Antoin

What is the Homsi law?

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May 25th, 2012, 6:55 pm

 

158. Antoine said:

Today for the first time in 14 months, Tanks were deployed in Aleppo City.

The regime has lost one of its main weapons, namely that if deterrence through extreme violence. The people no longer are afraid of any level of violence.

While USA, Jordan, Turkey, et. al are still afraid of his stupid Trochka missiles.

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May 25th, 2012, 6:56 pm

 

159. zoo said:

The Qatari charged for the unrest in North Lebanon was discreetly released on bail and swiftly sent home. His identity has not been revealed. Did Al Jazeera mentioned him?.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/24/us-lebanon-islamist-idUSBRE84N1CQ20120524

Judicial sources said Moulawi – who still faces charges despite his release on bail – was one of six accused people including a relative of a senior official from the Gulf state of Qatar, which has called for arming Syria’s rebels.

They said the Qatari was allowed to leave Lebanon with his charge still pending. Moulawi denied any relationship with that person, saying: “From the very beginning of the interrogation this name was never mentioned to me, at all.”

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May 25th, 2012, 7:52 pm

 

160. bronco said:

#156 Antoine

Great! another military regime but this time made of defectors who in 3 years would have had the time to learn turkish and developed a devotion for Ataturk.

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May 25th, 2012, 8:01 pm

 

161. Tara said:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/turkey-foils-syrian-plot-to-kidnap-rebel-leader-riad-alassad-7778802.html

Turkey foils Syrian plot to kidnap rebel leader Riad al-Assad
 WEDNESDAY 23 MAY 2012

Turkish security forces have foiled a plot to kidnap Syrian rebel commander Riad al-Assad from his headquarters in a refugee camp along the Turkish-Syrian border.

Authorities arrested three men in Turkey’s southern Hatay province – one Syrian intelligence operative and two Turkish citizens – after the attempted attack last week and charged them with spying for Syria.

Turkey is hosting officers from the Free Syrian Army (FSA) – a loose collection of armed rebels factions – as the Syrian regime continues its 15-month crackdown on dissent. Around 10,000 people have died so far, according to estimates from the United Nations. Turkey has gone to great lengths to show it is protecting Riad al-Assad – a former colonel in the Syrian army who emerged as the head of the FSA in October – after corrupt Turkish intelligence agents who were apparently collaborating with the Syrian regime kidnapped his predecessor, a defected Syrian officer named Hussein Harmoush, from Turkey in August.
….more  

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May 25th, 2012, 8:06 pm

 

162. bronco said:

#163 Tara

I guess Riad Al Assad should be careful about his cook in the turkish camps. The alleged attempt by the FSA to use poison to kill its enemies could give ideas to some that are easier and more radical than kidnapping.

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May 25th, 2012, 8:16 pm

 

163. Ghufran said:

I say Bravo to our Egyptian friends,I hope to see this day coming to Syria by next year inshallah . Egyptian gave 53% of their votes to secular candidates,this makes it fairly possible that Egypt’s next president will not be from the MB. Even if an Islamist wins,it is obvious that the mood in Egypt is changing and that is a healthy sign. Sabahi,my guy,had a strong showing but he may not become president,however,his success is the biggest surprise to observers,sorry Antoine.
This election was also an opportunity to feel sorry at the status in Syria where a similar political revolution is still more of a hope than a reality.

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May 25th, 2012, 8:26 pm

 

164. Tara said:

Bronco

The poison story is difficult to believe and sounds medieval. I think it was a psych op. Stories that are coming from Syria are freaky.. The scariest one was the hospitals becoming torture centers and nurses and doctors taking part in torturing patients. I would have a panic attack if I need to be hospitalized in Syria. I would travel to Lebanon instead.

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May 25th, 2012, 8:28 pm

 

165. Juergen said:

Tara

We should say, Next year in Damascus!

Here is an nice documentary by a german filmaker who interviewed Syrians in Germany about what happens in Syria, 7 parts all on youtube. Its all in German except for an interesting young couple who speak in English. Especially the second part has much of their interview, but in all parts they speak up.

The women said in it that as a joke the regime probably by now wish they would have a time mashine to go back in time and just use paint to cover up the graffiti of those students in Darraa which started the whole revolution in Syria.

1st part

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pERy5806Gg

2nd part:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IclyMUT-t3E&feature=plcp

all other parts:

https://www.youtube.com/user/FilmSyrien2012

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May 25th, 2012, 8:38 pm

 

166. Juergen said:

Horrifying images appeared tonight of Al Houla, I could not watch all of what was shared. Like Samar Yazbek wrote it I see it: how can those killers sleep at night, how can they love their own children when they do their dirty work and slaughter the children of others.

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May 25th, 2012, 9:06 pm

 

167. Son of Damascus said:

Where are the UN observers? Where is the world?
How can they let this mad man keep killing our children? What posses a psychopath to do these horrible acts against defenceless CHILDREN?

Souria Al Assad and its sick and backwards mentality did this!!!!

(EXTREMELY GRAPHIC VIDEO)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jffUNQw8Fl8

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May 25th, 2012, 9:15 pm

 

168. Tara said:

SOD

Please tell me when did this happen? Is it new or old footage?

There shall be no reconciliation ever, never.

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May 25th, 2012, 9:27 pm

 

169. Son of Damascus said:

Tara,

It happened today in Houla Homs, regime forces massacred at least 50 civilians of those 13 children. Same sick method of operation that was done in Karam El Zeitoun, Idlib and else where, shell the town and massacre any one leaving.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-18216176

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May 25th, 2012, 9:32 pm

 
 

171. Son of Damascus said:

One of the injured survivors recounts what he witnessed in Houla.

(Graphic Content)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=DDmWZfYY2d8

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May 25th, 2012, 9:35 pm

 

172. Tara said:

Qatar and Turkey should ask the Security Council to meet urgently and declare Annan mission a failure and pull the observers. FOS must provide unlimited supply of weapons to the FSA to topple the regime. There is no watt out. The UN should feel ashamed that the massacre of the children is happening under it’s watch. Has Israelis bludgeoned Palestinian children to death?

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May 25th, 2012, 9:44 pm

 

173. Son of Damascus said:

Injured baby receiving treatment at a field hospital, this baby should be at a real hospital but in Souria Al Assad this baby does not deserve to live, ya heef.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWkbi2zhQ0M

A room full of corpses in shrouds.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Odcich5h88o

A video with about a dozen fallen children and women

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ly0WBt-wNl8

Video of a man that lost ihs arm because of the indiscriminate shelling

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3vNjq6peBw

All the videos above are graphic evidence of Assad’s crimes!

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May 25th, 2012, 9:49 pm

 

174. Juergen said:

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May 25th, 2012, 9:51 pm

 

175. Son of Damascus said:

Tara,

I read on twitter that Hadi Abdallah (an activist in Homs) called the UN monitors to come and witness the massacres and crimes being committed, the monitors replied him “the regime does not allow us to travel at night”.

https://twitter.com/Thanku4theAnger/status/206130897077014528

This massacre happened under the watchful eyes of the international community, and they can’t even be bothered to go witness it.

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May 25th, 2012, 9:55 pm

 

176. Juergen said:

SOD

the other day i saw a pic of an observer holding happily smiling an picture of Assad, cant find that anymore on FB. May be an exception, but who knows, it was Assad who choosed the nationalities.

Ban said today that he does not have an plan B for Syria, well lets have an other Bosnia, an other Rwanda.

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May 25th, 2012, 9:59 pm

 

177. Tara said:

WSS

Where are you? Please come and watch the link SOD provided and say something..anything that may make these images disappear. The image of bludgeoned children in tens is unbearable. I am afraid it will etch in my memory. When did this ever happen in history? Children? In Bosnia? In Nazi Germany? Aren’t these animals afraid of divine intervention? Are Fawaz, Sahar, and Asma watching? And where is God?

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May 25th, 2012, 10:06 pm

 

178. Son of Damascus said:

Juergen,

The worlds and UN reaction so far is deplorable, and I hold the UNSC responsible for this massacre this happened under their watchful eye, their presence in Syria is no longer valid if these kinds of massacres are happening.

Not only have they not been able to make Bashar and the regime adhere to a single point of the Annan plan, they have failed to stop them from committing horrendous acts of barbarity.

This massacre and this regime is the epitome of evil.

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May 25th, 2012, 10:08 pm

 

179. Syrialover said:

Tara – Devastating,and terrifying to think that Syria and the world has come to this.

But if you want a precedent, I am still haunted by similar images of dead children after Israeli actions against Palestinians and southern Lebanese.

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May 25th, 2012, 10:14 pm

 

180. Tara said:

Syrialover

It would have been easier if the regime just shelled them to death.

Murder is murder however the style is but again I can’t even begin to imagine the look on the face if a child or how a child feels while being slaughtered like this, or watching his brothers or sisters being slaughtered in front of him.

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May 25th, 2012, 10:21 pm

 

181. Tara said:

This footage should be sent to Kofi Annan. This has occurred under his watch. If he continues to endorse the sixth points plan after this massacre, he should be declared an accomplice. Annan must declare the mission a failure to prompt the UNSC to live up to it’s expectation.

On the other hand, the FSA must announce the ceasefire null and void.

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May 25th, 2012, 10:37 pm

 

182. bronco said:

#163 Ghufran

“Egyptian gave 53% of their votes to secular candidates”

The ‘secular’ candidate is also a military candidate, the same line of Nasser, Sadat, Mobarak. And also an ex-Mobarak actor. Nothing new.

The Moslem Brotherhood still have chances if Qatar puts enough money to get more votes in the second round.

In any case the divide is clear between the large cities and the rural areas. Large cities voted Shafiq , i.e secular, most rural areas voted Morsy, islamist.
The same divide exists in Syria.

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May 25th, 2012, 10:38 pm

 

183. zoo said:

Is the FSA protecting the civilians as they claim or simply exposing them to violence by hiding among them. Houla, a replica of Bab Amr?

http://news.yahoo.com/6-civilians-killed-demos-damascus-aleppo-ngo-085545332.html

A report by current UN leader by Ban Ki-moon said meanwhile that groups fighting President Bashar al-Assad now control “significant” parts of some cities and there is “considerable physical destruction” across the country.

“There is a continuing crisis on the ground, characterized by regular violence, deteriorating humanitarian conditions, human rights violations and continued political confrontation,” said the report, obtained by AFP on Friday. It is to be debated by the UN Security Council next week.

More than 50 civilians, including 13 children, were killed in army shelling of Houla, a town in the central province of Homs, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
more…

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May 25th, 2012, 10:50 pm

 

184. omen said:

@thebaghdaddy

A Syrian from Dara`a burned himself in front of the Syrian embassy in London in protest of the HoulaMassacre. He is in critical condition.

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May 25th, 2012, 10:55 pm

 

185. zoo said:

Inside Jordan, worries about Iran and Syria

Editor’s note: CNN’s Barbara Starr is covering the Eager Lion military exercise in Jordan.
By Barbara Starr
http://security.blogs.cnn.com/2012/05/25/inside-jordan-worries-about-iran-and-syria/

The tiny nation of Jordan may be one of the most important U.S. allies in the Middle East, but these days trouble is brewing from growing al Qaeda threats in the region.

In several days of talking here with senior U.S. military, diplomatic and Jordanian officials, the word most often heard is “instability.” What worries Jordan is that regional stability could be shaken even more by unrest in neighboring Syria and also by Iran’s nuclear intentions.

And the Syria and Iran problems increasingly may be linked.

These officials also informally believe that the Syrian crisis now essentially has distracted the Iranian leadership so much it may be lessening the immediacy of a nuclear weapons threat from Teheran. Up until a few months ago Jordanian leaders privately believed Israel was likely close to striking Iranian nuclear sites, but now they say, that seems to have eased.

But they also warn the Arab world sees the new Israeli government as a “war cabinet,” and Iran could make the decision yet to proceed with a nuclear agenda.

Still, the worries Jordan feels from Iran are significant.

“Iran is a problem for the whole region,” one official here said. Hezbollah ties to the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) are now virtually complete, Jordan feels, with the Iranian regime providing the group weapons and full financial and other support.

Jordan is in fact worried Hezbollah operations could target it.

But for the United States, the most direct worry still comes from al Quaeda in Yemen, also known as al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). The Jordanian assessment is that some Jordanian fighters have traveled to Yemen to join the group as well as fighters from the Palestinian territory, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE and Libya

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May 25th, 2012, 10:56 pm

 

186. Son of Damascus said:

Zoo,

“Is the FSA protecting the civilians as they claim or simply exposing them to violence by hiding among them. Houla, a replica of Bab Amr?”

The better question you should be asking Zoo is why is the regime and its security forces that swore to protect Syria committing such horrendous actions, it is the REGIME that killed those innocent children, NOT the FSA.

BTW the neighbourhood is called Baba Amr, since it has two doors leading into it, Bab would signify a single entrance.

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May 25th, 2012, 11:10 pm

 

187. zoo said:

Israeli extremists go on anti-African pogrom

Published Thursday, May 24, 2012
http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/israeli-extremists-go-anti-african-pogrom

There were few black faces in HaTikva market in south Tel Aviv on Thursday, after a night of violence in which hordes of Israelis went on the rampage, smashing shops and property owned by Africans.

Wednesday night’s pogroms are a sign of growing racism among sections of Israelis towards rising numbers of African immigrants.

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May 25th, 2012, 11:12 pm

 

188. zoo said:

Official: 50% turnout through final day of Egypt’s historic presidential vote
http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/24/world/africa/egypt-elections/index.html

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May 25th, 2012, 11:17 pm

 

189. Ghufran said:

Kidnapping Lebanese pilgrims,even though they were released,and the growing influence of anti regime forces in N.Lebanon along with the embarrassing details about arms shipments to Syrian rebels through Lebanon are raising alarms in Lebanon,the simple reason is the realization that fighting parties want to use Lebanon to advance their influence. This is what Sulaiman said:
“إذا كان قائد الجيش السوري الحر رياض الأسعد متواجد على الأراضي اللبنانية، فسنقوم بإعتقاله”
A friend from northern Lebanon confirmed that the situation in that area is ready to explode to the dismay of most Lebanese who do not want another civil war even at a smaller scale.
The point is: only a regional agreement can stop the bleeding and prevent a catastrophe in Lebanon,forget about those little deals that act like a bandage.
Within 3 weeks,Egypt will have a new president,and that person may not be an MB but an ex official from Mubarak era,if this happens,Egypt will become a pioneer in revolting against a dictator ,then bringing one of his friends to replace him,this model may find its way to other countries if people starts to believe that security and stability are prerequisites for democracy,the trouble in Syria is that,unlike Egypt,the regime has not moved an inch closer to allowing people to vote freely but chose to let people “discover ” how much they are likely to lose if they chose a regime change. If Shafiq wins,that will be a vote for security and experience over the slogans of freedom and political renewal. This formula may work in Egypt as long as no party has an absolute power over national affairs,remember that the era when Egypt’s president can rely on the PA blind support is over,this new relatively balanced political reality has not found its path to Syria yet,accepting the “other” is still a foreign concept in the Syrian political dictionary.

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May 26th, 2012, 12:33 am

 

190. Uzair8 said:

177. Tara said:

Aren’t these animals afraid of divine intervention? Are Fawaz, Sahar, and Asma watching? And where is God?

*******************************************************************

I heard about this in the radio headlines last night and was reminded of a warning from Sheikh Nazim a couple of days ago. I decided not to share that warning video at the time as I want to post sparingly and selectively from religious scholars.

I dare not watch the images or videos of these massacres and reading the comments on here from #166 onwards I can feel the horror. I feel nauseous and trembling within.

Sheikh Nazim warning after the arrival of the month of Rajab (See video or see extracts from the transcript below):

Indeed, The Vengeance of your Lord Is Severe
May 21 2012

http://saltanat.org/videopage.php?id=4039&name=2012-05-21_ar_BatshaRabbika.mp4

***************************************************************

Extracts from transcript:

It arrived this month, it is blessed with Glory! Divine Glory. Not just any Glory but this year the month of Rajab arrived with a Glory a Divine Glory! And if a month starts with Divine Glory it means that The Lord of Heavens & Earth Will take His (swt) Vengeance from those who kill the servants of Allah (swt) with no.. with no reason, with no rights! The Lord of Majesty Will take His Vengeance on these people. He (swt) gave an order the first order from the beginning of this blessed month.

The Heavenly order to the people of the earth and especially to the Muslim world, an addressing.. A Heavenly addressing – »Stop killing! Otherwise »Inna Batsha Rabbika Lashadidun« (85:12) He (swt) Will take Vengeance! Those who do not stop killing Allah (awj) Will take revenge. This is the first order that was given the evening of the blessed month of Rajab Al Murajjab. O people stop killing in general and especially to the Muslim people. O Muslims stop the killing! Otherwise The Lord of Heavens Will take His revenge on you.

..Stop, put an end to killing immediately before there comes on you a vengeance – a severe vengeance from Heavens on all the nations. He (swt) Will take vengeance! Subhana Allah!

…Support us with Heavenly Support, O Lord of Heavens & earths. O our Lord for the sake of Your generous Prophet (saws) Sayyidi Al Awwalin wa Al Akhirin. Support us with Heavenly support. If they do not stop, these tyrants of the earth, tyrant people, If they do not stop a severe vengeance will come on them.

…Stop the killing & correct the situation between you. O Muslims this is the Order of Allah (swt).

…If you stop & leave the killing for the sake of Allah›s (swt) order, you will be saved. Otherwise »Indeed, The Vengeance of Your Lord Is Severe« (85:12) A strike will come that cannot be taken back, ever! Allah (swt) Will take His Vengeance.

http://sufi-zentrum-rabbaniyya.de/en/sohbet_sne_engl/sne_stop_the_killing.php

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May 26th, 2012, 3:50 am

 

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