“It seems they got better in tracking satellite mobiles”

Communications have been key to the Arab Spring. The Syrian uprising is no exception. Facebook, Youtube and Twitter have been huge. The Syrian crackdown is compromising many of those medium. As more activists are arrested, passwords will be revealed and opposition networks exposed, allowing the government to arrest leaders of the uprising and track down opposition cells. Anthony Shadid reports that the satellite phones that provided the main secure link between activists and journalists in Beirut and those leading the revolution inside Syria are now falling quite.

Syria Broadens Deadly Military Crackdown on Protesters
Published: May 8, 2011

BEIRUT — A military crackdown on Syria’s seven-week uprising broadened Sunday, with reinforcements sent to two cities under siege and more forces deployed in a town in a restive region in the south of the country, activists and human rights groups said. Fourteen were killed in Homs, the groups said, and hundreds reported arrested.

The crackdown — from the Mediterranean coast to the poor steppe of southern Syria — seemed to mark a decisive turn in an uprising that has posed the gravest challenge to the 11-year rule of President Bashar al-Assad. Even though government officials have continued to hint at reforms, and even gingerly reached out to some dissidents last week, the crackdown seemed to signal the government’s intent to end the uprising by force.

At least 30 tanks were said to be inside Baniyas, one of Syria’s most restive locales, where the military entered Saturday. Activists and human rights groups said they had almost no information about the coastal town of 50,000, but one activist said at least six people were killed and 250 arrested since the operation began.

Fighting was also reported in Homs, Syria’s third-largest city, where tanks entered Friday. Wissam Tarif, the executive director of Insan, a Syrian human rights group, said that 14 people had been killed there, but he could not confirm the casualties in Baniyas. He said that the military had also entered Tafas, a town in southern Syria.

“This is a campaign that’s going to more cities,” he said. “It’s escalating and it’s very worrying because they’re also getting better at isolating these places.”

He said that his group had documented the arrest of 750 people, most of them in the suburbs of Damascus, but he had no precise figures for Homs and Baniyas.

Since the beginning of the uprising, Syria has barred most foreign journalists, and many accounts have relied on groups like Mr. Tarif’s and networks of activists inside the country. But Mr. Tarif complained that his group was almost entirely unable to speak with people in both Homs and Baniyas. Even satellite phones that protest organizers had sought to smuggle into towns and cities across Syria were not working, he said.

“It seems they got better in tracking satellite mobiles,” he said.

The uprising began last month with protests in Dara’a, a town near the border with Jordan. The protesters gathered after security forces had arrested and mistreated high school students for scrawling anti-government graffiti on walls. The protests soon spread across the country, with successive Fridays witnessing thousands in the streets in dozens of towns.

فعل بناء المواطنة وعدم حتمية انتصار الثورة السورية
التحدي الأكبر الذي تواجهه الثورة السورية هو عدم انضمام الطوائف الأخرى الأقل عدداً إلى صفوف المنادين بالحرية. ولنكن صريحين مع أنفسنا، ما زال الطابع السني يطغى على هذا الحراك (يوجد الكثير من الطوائف والأديان الأخرى منخرطة بالانتفاضة لكنهم لا يمثلون نسبة معتبرة من طوائفهم)، هذا لا يعني أنه يجب على كل ملايين الشعب السوري أن تخرج إلى الشوارع وتنادي بالحرية. ومهما ازداد عدد المتظاهرين تبقى الانتفاضة منقوصة في حال عدم تلونها بألوان الطيف السوري كله ويصبح هناك خطر حقيقي على انتصارها. هل قلنا مواطنة؟

Comments (146)

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101. jad said:

It’s a DRAFT and they are asking you and everybody else to write your opinion. Did you?
Why don’t you point out the exact points you disagree with and write it on that website.
Be active! 🙂

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May 9th, 2011, 4:59 pm


102. why-discuss said:


I know you can’t concentrate these days, but please read my post carefully before extracting pieces of a sentence to accuse me of a criminal mind set. Or maybe it is intentional to distort what I wrote to serve your demonization strategy

You call the army soldiers “mere numbers” … Do you realize that this is condescending and that you are insulting these young syrians who are the future of your country. You really have a low opinion of them and a high of you.. That’s maybe your problem, you need to feel superior.

“Speaking of the army, they are neither cowards nor morons, they are mere numbers that the higher ranking officer take advantage of, and try to humiliate them on a regular basis.”

With all the admiration you have for Hezbollah, first please give some credit to Syria for helping them and supply them with weapons (while the democracies of the world and the Sunni Arab countries were hoping they would be crushed) otherwise they would not be here for you to praise them
Second aren’t you surprised that the Hezbollah ( and all Lebanese Shia) are is in full support of Bashar Al Assad and his current policy?

Sorry, despite your convictions, try humility for a change, you are not the only one who knows what is best for Syria.

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May 9th, 2011, 5:15 pm


103. NK said:


Oh I will, and I’m pretty sure my comment won’t be censored, deleted or ignored!. I want to read the law thoroughly first though, trust me, there are many more outargues stuff in there, like these pearls for instance
الفصل الثاني – اختصاصات المحافظ
المادة 39
12- اقتراح الاستيلاء على المواد الاستهلاكية والمواد المنقولة ووسائط النقل والعقارات والمحلات والمنشآت التجارية والصناعية لضرورات التموين وإبداء الرأي بعد الاستيلاء حول ضرورة الاستمرار به أو عدمه مع الأسباب المبررة ورفعه إلى الجهات المختصة
17- القيام بوظيفة الضابطة العدلية فيما يتعلق بالجرم المشهود كما هو منصوص عليه في قانون أصول المحاكمات الجزائية ، وله أن يأمر بإجراء التحقيق في الجرم غير المشهود عند الاقتضاء . وهو يؤدي وظيفته المتعلقة بالضابطة الإدارية بواسطة موظفي الإدارة العامة وقوى الأمن الداخلي , على ألا يؤدي ذلك إلى مخالفة تعليمات الجهة المركزية المختصة
ثالثاً : في عقود الأجهزة المحلية والمركزية :
5- حرمان المتعهد من التعاقد مع الإدارة واقتراح حرمانه من التعاقد مع الجهات العامة وإعادة النظر في هذا الحرمان .
6- اعتبار المناقصة محصورة بمن تتوافر فيهم شروط وكفاءة مادية ومعنوية .
8- سحب تنفيذ التعهد والرجوع عن هذا السحب .
9- فسخ العقد والأمر بوقف تنفيذ الأعمال .


The point Jad, those coming up with such preposterous laws and propositions are clearly not keen on letting go of their powers, or at least are clueless to how democracy works. Regardless such people are not fit to lead the reform process in Syria.

Dear Why-Discuss

Glasses bro, thick ones !!! 😉

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May 9th, 2011, 5:24 pm


104. TM said:

Like the regime that accuses , arrests and tortures and frequently kills any and every Syrian that dares to appose the criminal regime ; some people on this blog also accuse the protestors as salafis and wahabies etccc . I participated in several protests in person, Iam not even a Muslim, we dont know each others religion, we dont even care.

Defending the criminal regime and discounting our aspiration for basic human rights and basic citizen rights is one thing. But defending the regime’ crimes and flipping reality on its head and accusing the unarmed protestors of being terrorists, that is another level of ignorance, that is pretty low.

We all know who is armed and criminal is Syria, they are the Mukhabarat and Assad’s thugs, period. TheAssad Mafia emptied the country from journalists so they can unleash the criminal mukhabarats to conduct an orgy of murders on their fellow citizens. If they dare, allow journalist, Reuters, AP or any independent news organization into Syria, but they cannt , the regime has something to hide, murder.

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May 9th, 2011, 5:57 pm


105. edward said:

Habeebatey, Syrians on the inside, expats and international spectators you’ve all been asking an important question of late. So in answer to all that assorted tomfoolery, buffoonery and general nonsense about the fate of Syria if the great chosen one should fall, heavens forbid of course, as such horrible notions can only be found in the twisted minds of people who’ve been spending most their lives living in the Salafi’s paradise.
Let me just state, unequivocally and on the record that If Satan himself took over after the Assads, it would be a step up for Syrians. I don’t see how, in the worst case scenario where let’s say the Muslim Brothers take over, any extreme measures being imposed other than shutting down a few bars and imposing a few archaic morality laws (I’m thinking Sharjha Emirates here). On the other hand, currently we’re stuck with a regime which has no problems murdering unarmed protesters on the streets, torturing children for writing graffiti on walls, imprisoning teenage bloggers, or starting a sectarian war so that it stays in power. Easy choice peeps, easy choice.

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May 9th, 2011, 6:17 pm


106. jad said:

1-“It seems to me that many decent pro-regime folks like yourself”
It’s not pro-regime to ask for protesters to go off the street and leave space for dialog instead of the language of violence.
Please respect people’s intelligence, talk to me with the language of reason and logic not the language of accusations, I fed up of this nonsense accusations whenever I state my opinion. Oh, your opinion doesn’t count because you are pro-regime. Well even pro-regime have the right to say what they want as much as pro-protests, it’s a matter of power balance and freedom of speech.
Regardless of all that and to make my position clear so neither you nor anybody else will try these nonsense accusations with me to shut me up again I state:

-I believe the regime did commit crimes against protesters, the regime is brutal and in some cases it used lethal power against peaceful protesters that I strongly condemn, the regime has no respect for human rights or for freedom, and the regime treat Syrians like sheep and all these crimes should be judged and paid for.

-I believe that many armed militia are hiding between the protesters and using them to promote violence and the killing of innocent military men during duty for no reason and those militia members are thugs, criminals and demons in human shape and everybody need to condemn and not to hide behind freedom or false story that the army killed them, it’s shameful that nobody mention those victims as if they never exist as human.

-I also believe that many faceless protest organizers are hiding behind false façade of freedom and they are using blood, sectarian and unethical techniques to convince people of their message just to get to power and they keep pushing young Syrians to go in the street therefore they are morally responsible for the killing of many innocent people as well.

-Syria unity, its independence, its army and the safety of each and every Syrian are untouchable and when any of these elements get threatened by whoever and whatever, I have no choice but to stand against and fight without the need to be rational.

This is where I stand, if you disagree with me, it’s your own problem not mine and I appreciate if you don’t use any term on me since I’m not pro-anything but dialog, peace and Syria.

2-“is if the protests are allowed to continue peacefully.”
In fact many protests did happen without any casualties when they were peaceful, YouTube is full of examples for peaceful protests with no casualties so the regime is actually did allow them to happen with no interference, why not use those as example of success and build something meaningful and some trust upon as a base for negotiations.
When there is a will to solve a conflict any conflict the solution are there, but when we are not looking for any solution then there is no way out of the cycle of violence we all stuck in.
Start the negotiations.

One last word, I wish you Mr. Democracy and all of the pro-protests to have the courage and the dignity to admit and condemn the horrific crimes done and still happening in your names hiding behind your banners of freedom by thugs and criminals against the Syrian army and against many innocent people before you go yelling ‘freedom’ and the regime is the only criminal.

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May 9th, 2011, 6:20 pm


107. N.Z. said:

If you are asking for humility, then show me your humanity.

The credit is theirs, Hizbullah’s alone.

Who killed Mughniyeh in Damascus?

Assad the father sent a message to Emile Lahoud then Chief of staff in the army, to find those who successfully ambushed Israeli soldiers, he refused. No one knew, then who this resistant party is.

In fact, if anything, Hizbullah highlighted the treachery of all the Arab regimes combined. So your ruling party in Damascus owes nothing to anyone.

Bashar is an Alawite whom the majority liked before his infamous speech. Syrians are not sectarian they are first and foremost nationalistic, peaceful and unwilling to start a fight. The oldest city in the world is for a reason.

Humiliating a people for 40 years is enough. Constant lies, corruption and indiscriminate killings had reached a threshold level.

When the chief of staff points his guns inwards and subjugate his army and population to terror he has no ones respect. Questions are awaiting answers, these soldiers are shot to die, not one wounded soldier, WHY?

The declared enemy for this mafia is Israel, not the Arab Syrians.
The guns must point outward not INWARD.

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May 9th, 2011, 6:28 pm


108. Akbar Palace said:

The Criminality of Speaking your Mind NewZ

TM, Edward,

If you’re with the protestors and against regime (for some strange reason because Assad is a wonderful leader and your president-for-Life), does that make you:

a.) A Zionist

b.) A Salafi

c.) A Wahhabi

d.) An “armed gang” member

e.) A “terrorist”

f.) A Saudi

g.) A Muslim Brotherhood Member or Jihadist like Hezbollah

h.) All of the Above?

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May 9th, 2011, 6:28 pm


109. edward said:

#107 wallah ya Habeeby I’m agnostic by “faith”, ultra liberal by politics (yes, gay rights and minority campaigner) western educated, upper middle class well connected urbanite currently living in rich-fat-merchant-i-don’t-give-a-flying-f**k-sunni-heartland-Aleppo, and I’m firmly against the regime and with the protesters. If I don’t fit into any of your convenient ready-made labels it’s because this uprising is broad based and popular, and a lot of people with differing convictions support it.

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May 9th, 2011, 7:05 pm


110. Abughassan said:

In the interest of Syria, calm and security must be restored, then citizens can and should hold the regime accountable. If we do not see the promised reform measures and if nobody is taken to court for breaking the law in the last 2 months,then we will have nothing to say to those who accuse the regime of buying time and playing games. Any effort to keep things the same is an insult to those who died during peaceful demonstrations. As for those thugs who killed soldiers and innocent syrians, hell is big enough for them.

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May 9th, 2011, 7:26 pm


111. jad said:

I agree with you.

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May 9th, 2011, 7:50 pm


112. Norman said:

NK ,

Can you please tell them not to reinvent the wheel and just adopt the American system.

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May 9th, 2011, 8:32 pm


113. edward said:

#109 AbuGhassan and #100 JAD, do you honestly think that if the protests stopped today, there won’t be a massive campaign to punish everyone who protested and all the towns and cities that rebelled? Do you have any doubt that the regime would use this period of calm to crackdown ruthlessly on all it’s opponents, including many activists being disappeared forever? Do you honestly think a regime that bases and enforces it’s authority on violence and intimidation would put it’s own enforcers and henchmen on trial? If you still believe this regime can implement meaningful reforms then you’re very naive and simple. It’s the same tactic used by all the Arab regimes at times of revolution, Egypt, Tunis, Libya, Bahrain , Yemen etc etc …. and in the words of one prominent Egyptian activist, if we had stopped our revolution then we really would have all been Khalid Said …. literally …i.e: DEAD

There is no negotiation with this regime, no compromise and no second chances. Either it enacts deep reforms immediately and creases to kill and arrest protesters, or it will be overthrown, probably violently and chaotically.

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May 9th, 2011, 8:47 pm


114. Norman said:


They can do all what you fear now so what is the harm of showing that they care about the country because of all the violence and see what happens in few weeks ,

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May 9th, 2011, 8:56 pm


115. Abughassan said:

More people now are coming out and admitting that violence in Syria is not only due to security forces. This includes a known anti regime journalist in alsharq alawsat. Violence needs to end and security needs to be restored. The regime does not have many friends and will not be able to keep 23 million Syrians in a cage regardless of how many activists it arrests. A climate of violence is actually helping hardliners in the regime more than the opposition. Syrians need to understand that the regime learned a valuable lesson and many lives from all sides were lost and the price must be a better government not chaos.
Those who think it is ok to allow thugs to use demonstrators are wrong.no more blood shed.

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May 9th, 2011, 9:03 pm


116. Norman said:

This copy is for your personal, noncommercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers here or use the “Reprints” tool that appears next to any article. Visit http://www.nytreprints.com for samples and additional information. Order a reprint of this article now.


May 9, 2011
Syria Proclaims It Now Has Upper Hand Over Uprising
DAMASCUS, Syria — The Syrian government has gained the upper hand over a seven-week uprising against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad, a senior official declared Monday, in the clearest sign yet that the leadership believes its crackdown will crush protests that have begun to falter in the face of hundreds of deaths and mass arrests.

The remarks by Bouthaina Shaaban, an adviser to Mr. Assad who often serves as an official spokeswoman, suggested that a government accustomed to adapting in the face of crises was prepared to weather international condemnation and sanctions. Her confidence came in stark contrast to appearances just two weeks ago, when the government seemed to stagger before the breadth and resilience of protests in dozens of towns and cities.

“I hope we are witnessing the end of the story,” she said in an hourlong interview, for which a reporter was allowed in Syria for only a few hours. “I think now we’ve passed the most dangerous moment. I hope so, I think so.”

Her comments were a rare window on the thinking of a government that has barred most foreign journalists from Syria since the start of the uprising, which has threatened 40 years of rule by the Assad family. While much of the world has viewed the unrest as a popular demand for sweeping change in one of the region’s most authoritarian countries, Ms. Shaaban cast it as an armed uprising, a characterization the government has relied on to justify a ferocious crackdown.

That crackdown intensified Monday on the outskirts of Damascus, and in three other towns and cities across the country, with security forces raiding hundreds of houses and arresting men between the ages of 18 and 45, human rights groups and activists said. The military has deployed tanks in Baniyas, on the Mediterranean coast; Homs in central Syria, near the Lebanese border; and Tafas, in a restive region in the south, they said.

Baniyas has emerged as a focus of the crackdown. Amnesty International said Monday that more than 350 people, including 48 women and a 10-year-old child, were arrested there over the previous three days, with scores detained in a soccer field. More raids were carried out in Homs, a city that has proved among the most restive. At least nine soldiers were said to have defected there, though the reports could not be confirmed.

“They want to finish everything this week,” a human rights advocate in the city, Syria’s third largest, said by telephone. “No one in the regime has a clear policy. They cannot keep this strategy for a long time. We need political solutions, not more tanks.”

The tumult in parts of the country that have long been neglected by a government short of cash and beholden to unaccountable security forces contrasted with the scenes Monday in Damascus. There were few signs in the capital of a military buildup, except a few extra guards at some embassies and government buildings. Posters echoed the government’s contention that the uprising threatened Syria’s fragile mosaic of a Sunni Muslim majority and minorities of Christians, Kurds and heterodox Muslim sects, a theme often repeated by officials seeking to rally popular support for the broadening crackdown.

“No to discord,” one poster proclaimed. “Freedom doesn’t begin with ignorance, it begins with awareness,” another read.

Amnesty International said it had documented the names of 580 people killed since the uprising began in mid-March. Ms. Shaaban said nearly 100 soldiers and members of security forces were also killed by armed militants, whom she accused of manipulating “the legitimate demands of the people.” While administration officials in the United States and even some activists have acknowledged that some protesters have resorted to arms, they call them a minority.

Ms. Shaaban said, “We think these people are a combination of fundamentalists, extremists, smugglers, people who are ex-convicts and are being used to make trouble.”

She added later, “You can’t be very nice to people who are leading an armed rebellion, in a sense,” while acknowledging they were not the only factor in the tumult. In a sign that the government remained uncertain over the nature of the uprising, she declined to specify who was behind them, saying only that officials were still investigating.

Administration officials have said that Ms. Shaaban and Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa have seemed more receptive to calls for reform, though their influence appears to pale before more aggressive voices in the ruling elite, particularly Mr. Assad’s brother Maher, who heads the elite Republican Guard and Fourth Division.

Ms. Shaaban said she had been asked to open talks with dissidents. Last week, she said, she met with Michel Kilo, Aref Dalila, Salim Kheirbek and Louay Hussein, all veteran activists, and held out the prospect of a freer press, political parties and an electoral law.

She called it the start of a national dialogue, although some in the opposition have branded it an insincere effort to simply co-opt as many of them as possible. “In the next week or so, we will broaden it,” Ms. Shaaban said.

“We want to use what happened to Syria as an opportunity,” she added. “We see it as an opportunity to try to move forward on many levels, especially the political level.”

President Assad has long frustrated allies and even foes by promising reforms, then seeming unable or unwilling to carry them out. Despite Ms. Shaaban’s promises, one administration official contended that the government was still fighting for its survival. Even if it wins the upper hand, the official suggested, any change would prove limited.

“Assad is not capable of implementing these reforms,” the official said. “He’s not capable. He knows that if he did, it would be the end of him. He would fall.”

But in contrast to Libya, where the United States insists that Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi step down, American officials have simply repeated calls for Mr. Assad to meet popular demands, and Ms. Shaaban’s outreach seemed aimed at addressing some calls for change. But even if the government fails to placate the opposition, she suggested that international condemnation had so far been muted.

She described the statements from President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton as “not too bad” and said that the sanctions themselves — imposed by the United States last month and the European Union this week — were manageable.

“This is a weapon used against us many times,” she said. “Once security is back, everything can be arranged. We’re not going to live in this crisis forever.”

Employees of The New York Times in Beirut, Lebanon, and Damascus contributed reporting.

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May 9th, 2011, 9:31 pm


117. Sophia said:

Excellent journalism by Anthony Shadid, as always…

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May 9th, 2011, 9:44 pm


118. NK said:


I would tell them not to reinvent the wheel, but I doubt any of them can read one sentence in English, actually I’ll be surprised if they can read at all. LOL
One more gem in the “new & improved” law

Article 53
يختص مجلس القضاء الأعلى بمحاكمة المحافظ من الناحية المسلكية بعد إحالته إليه بمرسوم بناءً على اقتراح الوزير ولا تحرك الدعوى العامة عليه لجرم ناشئ عن الوظيفة إلا بقرار من مجلس القضاء الأعلى .

Just to remind everyone, the prisedent is the head of the Supreme Judiciary Council. So to sum things up, the prisedent is the only one who can appoint, relieve and punish … Long live the king.

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May 9th, 2011, 9:45 pm


119. why-discuss said:


The opposition used the “arab spring” to ask for reforms, but the real aim of many was a coup d’etat , a revolution, a complete destruction of the present system and building a new system from scratch.
Now, despite the crackdown, they just can’t accept to stop because they believe that, if they do, the momentum will be lost and all will return as it was before and there will never be another such opportunity.
I understand their concern but I just don’t see how they thought the system can be torn down and started from zero when there is no real consensus in the population and no leadership in the opposition except a Facebook page calling for more and more demonstrations and counting the dead but proposing nothing in exchange. Obviously it was very badly planned and managed and they lost the control.
This is why I believe they will be ultimately totally silenced. Perhaps they have missed a slight chance that maybe the regime was going to listen to them and make the necessary reforms. Now, as there won’t be any internal pressures on it, the government would have free hand to do what it wants and it may or may nor make the requested reforms.
The error of the opposition has been to miss the moments when they should have called off the demonstrations to show they were in control and threatened to restart them if they saw that nothing was happening. They got carried away by hardliners and anarchists who lead them to believe that, like Egypt, tBashar al Assad would resign and the army would take over! They had a surprisingly poor understanding of the present government determination. It did not happen.
Yes, it was an opportunity for major reforms if the opposition had played it well. Unfortunately they didn’t and now they are offering the country on a golden plate to the current government.

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May 9th, 2011, 10:02 pm


120. edward said:

There are no armed gangs, salafist terrorists or foreign infiltrators in Syria, these are all regime lies to justify a brutal crackdown. When violence has occurred, it has been in retaliation for security forces killing protesters, especially in tribal places where blood feuds and honor killings are common. Relatives out seeking revenge make little distinction between mukhabarat, the army or the police force, as far as they’re concerned they’re all part of the same regime and valid targets. These cases remain isolated and rare, the overwhelming nature of the uprising in Syria has been peaceful in nature. Stop being mislead by a regime who’s modus operandi for decades has been murder and torture. What makes you think the boy that cried wolf is telling the truth this time?

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May 9th, 2011, 10:10 pm


121. why-discuss said:

Why the world is quiet as Syria crackdown continues (The US is stating its conditions to Syria)


Washington – The United States on Monday suggested it is using the current weak position of the Syrian government on the world stage to try to pressure it into dropping its support for Hezbollah, the extremist organization in Lebanon.

In an interview with the US-funded Radio Sawa, US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford said the US is demanding from the Syrian government that it immediately cease its assistance to Hezbollah and treat Lebanon as a friendly and sovereign country.

Aside from that development, however, the US – like much of the international community – appears to have adopted a muted response to Syria in the wake of its continuing crackdown on dissidents.

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May 9th, 2011, 10:21 pm


122. NAJIB said:


If you’re with the protestors and against regime (for some strange reason because Assad is a wonderful leader and your president-for-Life), does that make you:

a.) A Zionist

b.) A Salafi

c.) A Wahhabi

d.) An “armed gang” member

e.) A “terrorist”

f.) A Saudi

g.) A Muslim Brotherhood Member or Jihadist like Hezbollah

h.) All of the Above?

ANSWER : Amongst all of the above, you look like an idiot.

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May 9th, 2011, 10:21 pm


123. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

See you on Friday, Bouthaina, et al.

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May 9th, 2011, 10:28 pm


124. Norman said:

I do think that this is the right time for a major reform now that the government seems to have the upper hand, Reform done under duress by the government will only lead to more demands by the protesters, I always said that the Baath party and the Syrian army will never surrender after what they saw happened in Iraq, i join your fear that the reform will be patches and will be short lived and Syria will be back to a future of civil war, a real reform that is secured by the secular army and Syria that has the laws of the West is the only way to save Syria, the minorities and the Baath party, I hope that the government and the leadership do not think that they can do half reform ,

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May 9th, 2011, 10:38 pm


125. Observer said:

There is an incredible group on this blog that are asking for “calm and quiet for now and ultimately the regime will be held accountable”. Pray tell me if the regime is going to be accountable would this mean an impeachment of the President? If not a court martial of the responsible officers who shot people at random? An open inquiry by the UN of crimes committed against civilians? Of the use of the armed forces to crush peaceful demonstrators?

I just checked Cham Press and the official SANA is claiming that the authorities arrested the “Amir of Homs and his Minister of Defense” referring to a Salafist Emirate being established in the city of Homs.

Grouchot himself and the three stooges could not come up with such fantastic tall tales!!!

How on earth can anyone continue to support such garbage; is it not telling that the Ghadafi regime came to the rescue of the Assad regime today?

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May 9th, 2011, 10:43 pm


126. why-discuss said:


By allowing the demonstrations to go wild and relentless, the leaders of the opposition triggered a more systematic crackdown and
therefore have lost any leverage they may have had on the reforms.
What pressure are there on the government to make significant reforms now that there won’t be any opposition left?

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May 9th, 2011, 10:53 pm


127. anton said:

Dear NK, Norman , Jad

I would like to debate with you and others in this form and provide a positives remarks to the new administartion law ( important milestone) , here my first observations :

First the ( muhafez ) is not a mayer ,he is the Governor , a mayer is the head of the ( city board of directories ) or the head of the “baladia” board of directors

Second you should start with art # 8 electing the city board, assume the province of Damascus will elect 100 board members, then those board members will be elected from the people and by the people, art # 13 . I suggest the art # 11 to limit the board term to 2 years rather than 4 ( as they will be very exposed/sensitive to the public )

then you need to jump to art # 18 appointing the Board of directors ( executives ) , half will be elected from the already elected board , and the other half will be appointed by the governor , if those second half are members of the board as well that will be great , if not then its not perfect but should be OK

then Jumping to art #35 appointing the Governor by the President should be OK that’s happened in a lot of western countries ( see Netherlands ) , and I agree it should be limited to 2 terms of 4 years.

I do not see how the mayors being elected / appointed .. do you ? as they are as much important as the Governors. I would like to see the same things as the ones for the Provinces ( muhafazat),with proper elected bodies by the people

All executive boards in all over the world are subjects to be corrupted nothing unusual, only we need to assume that the new communication law and free press, will be in place at the same time to guaranty proper accountability. ( do not forget the boards will be elected from the people and by the people )

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May 9th, 2011, 11:08 pm


128. Revlon said:

Human rights organizations regard many Syrian regime’s practices as, CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY..
Compiled evidene shall be presented to the United Nations next week.

رضوان زيادة : نعمل على اعداد ادلة للمحمكمة الدوليةا
about an hour ago

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May 9th, 2011, 11:08 pm


129. Abughassan said:

A goat even if it flies. That is what some bloggers are saying when they insist that all of the 500+ killed in Syria were slaughtered by the government. This denial and the failure of the opposition to isolate the violent elements are two reasons,among others,to why this uprising is getting weaker and coming to an end. I sadly suspect that armed thugs will not accept defeat and will take their anger at the people,like what they did in the 80s,and blame the government for every security breach and crime that take place. One size does not fit all,and what worked in Egypt and Tunisia did not work in Syria especially that no Syrian wants another Iraq or Libya. Pity the people who had to choose between brutal security forces and thuggish terrorists while we obviously had a third choice: a secular non violent opposition.

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May 9th, 2011, 11:09 pm


130. syria no kandahar said:

get a logical and realize that this is syria and not switzerland.this so called revolution has been hijaked by terrorist and is taking syria into a suicide cliff which ordinary syrians dislike.if in your imagination you feel that this is a pure revolution with all good intentions for every one riding it you must be blind or may be just opening one eye.iraq is a life example of where people like you are driving syria to.

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May 9th, 2011, 11:12 pm


131. Norman said:

The government and the president should not move on reform for the sake and the demands of the opposition, they should do that because it is the right thing to do for Syria, yes events showed that many used violence, but does not say that there are many bad things going on in Syria from corruption to the heavy hand that the security services have and their control on people’s lives, it so so difficult to get ahead in Syria as if you are not connected you have no chance for a better life no matter how smart or educated you are , these are things which made people angry not at the president but the System that he promised to change but apparently has not be able to do for 11 years, I hope that demonstrations that Syria saw will give him the excuse to push the people who are against the reform aside and move forward to build a modern, secular and Western style state where the rule of laws and opportunity for all are common and the way of life.

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May 9th, 2011, 11:12 pm


132. why-discuss said:

Brotherhood enlists Salafists to do its ‘dirty work’ in Egypt



One of the Salafi sect Hizb ut Tahrir, present in North Lebanon, calls for a reinstatement of the Islamic Caliphate. They recently made a demonstration calling for the fall of the Syrian government
as too ‘pro western’. It is not a tale from Grouch Marx.


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May 9th, 2011, 11:15 pm


133. why-discuss said:


I hope he has the right strength to do that. I still wish there was some kind of relentless pressure, internal or external, to push these reforms forward and fast as I expect a lot of resistance from the insiders who want to keep their privileges intact and may become malevolent.

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May 9th, 2011, 11:21 pm


134. edward said:

hmmmm, y’all seem to be suffering amnesia and short term memory loss. Cast your minds back to March 30, when Bashar came out laughing in his clapping and poetic puppet parliament and proclaimed that there was no more corruption in Syria, the corrupt elements had all gone, and that there was no one in his regime holding him back from making reforms, on the contrary, he was stalling them!

Do you seriously expect this guy to bring about meaningful change? No way in hell, he and his regime must go. Sooner or later, peacefully or by force, they’re history.

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May 9th, 2011, 11:39 pm


135. Abughassan said:

Many understood from the beginning that the regime can not be toppled by force,those who thought otherwise either knew nothing about Syria or were driven by their emotions. I support keeping pressure on the regime but not through armed resistance,terrorism or international sanctions. Syrians are fully able to change the regime without firing a single bullet. The rules have changed, this is not 1982. If you think albaath can continue to dominate political life in Syria for another 48 years think again. As for Bashar,all bets are off. Those who support him think he will move faster on reform,and those who do not believe he is too weak to rule over his family and the security hawks around him. The next few weeks or months will tell. Damascus and Aleppo, for the most part,ignored calls for a regime change for obvious reasons and so did most Syrians.

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May 9th, 2011, 11:46 pm


136. jad said:

WD #118 I agree with your conclusion that the opposition lost their chance to come out as champions, I think they got carried away by two things; the wrong ideology of (win or die) (leaving no space for any solution) and by the international vocal support which led them to believe that the world will come to their rescue in no time, while many news channels helped exaggerating the situation by falling for many false stories and in some times loosing credibility.

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May 9th, 2011, 11:58 pm


137. Mina said:

Edward #108
Are you claiming you are currently living in Aleppo?
How funny!

WD #130
MB and Salafists want to be rewarded for the support they gave to the Tahrir movement (at least in the last 10 days). In Egypt you can’t deny their role and existence, but it is much more constructive than in Syria: they were taking care of inexistent social services for 2 decades in some poor areas.
So this is one of the big problems of these revolutions: as in any political process, every player want a slice of the cake, and without the pious masses, you don’t achieve a critical number, but then what ministry can you offer them? Defense? Education? LOL
Another problem I can identify is the necessity before we can talk broadly of human rights to speak of man/woman equality.
The only role I see for foreign activists and NGO is to collect names and cases and to fill up for cases with the international court and local courts in the West: this is how Israeli politicians are now scared to visit the UK or Belgium.
But that they think their role is to decide on the social media that “it is too little too late” or that you need to give gay rights by next week, is just a recipe for more chaos, and the people who play with that know it well.
The third problem again is that without adressing the symbolic influence of Saudi Arabia on the “pious masses” in every detail: equality, freedom of religion, representation (!), you cannot expect the conservative segments of the society to move forward and accept reforms or “freedom.” Therefore human rights are to be questioned in a regional and global context.

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May 10th, 2011, 12:06 am


138. Revlon said:

The “Interim Syrian Transitional National Council” has been formed. Here is the name list as per its facebook page:
المجلس الوطني الانتقالي السوري المؤقت
1. Lawyer: Mohammad Tayyeb Tizini
2. Doctor/Preacher: Munir AlGhadban
3. Sheikh (Asheera): Abudlilah AlMilhem
4. Lawyer: Abdallah Khalil
5. Activist: Khaled Saleh AlKhalaf
6. Activist: Akram Wajih AlBunni
7. Activist: Ms Nahed badawiyyeh
8. Artist: Hakam AlBaba
9. Activist Writer: Husein AlOwidat
10. Activist: Waleed Saffoor
11. Politician: Waheed saqr
12. Lawyer: Mohammad najati Tayyarah
13. Sheikh (Preacher): Mutazz AlKhateeb
14. Islam Religon Scholar: Mahmood Assayed Adghaim
15. Lawyer: Mohammad AlHasani
16. Activist: Mohammad Ali AlAbdallah
17. Activist: Mohammad Rasem Assayyed SSlaiman AlAtasi
18. Journalist: Ms. Razan Zaitooneh
19. Journalist: Muntaha AlAtrash
20. Sheikh (Preacher) Adnan AlAroor
21. Activist: Michel Kilo
22. Sheikh (Asheera) Nawwaf ragheb AlBasheer
23. Lawyer: Wael AlHafez
24. Dr Qasem Azzawi


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May 10th, 2011, 12:10 am


140. jad said:

I wonder what ministry Adnan AlAroor can fit in? I suggest him to be the sewerage minister.

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May 10th, 2011, 12:36 am


141. NK said:


You’re right, I meant governor and mistakenly typed mayor instead. Anyways, the governor has to be elected, it’s a must.
Right now the Governor of say Damascus could be someone from Hasakah, how do you expect this guy to understand the problems of the province?, what the people of the province complained about over the years ?. How will this guy ever be better than a resident from Damascus ?.
Also how would the prisedent know if this guy is even fit to be governor ? trail&error, personal relationship, or a recommendation from security agencies … all of these methods are equally bad. Plus notice how the law is being promoted as a major step away from central governance, appointing the most important figure in the province by the central government is exactly we have right now.

The second point about the board of directors. As I said in a previous post, when the mayor appoints 50% of the board members, he effectively guarantees the majority on his side, which makes the whole election rather pointless. Can you please elaborate on the benefits of such restrictions ? I mean why not elect 100% of the board. The way I see it, the whole point is to keep a monopoly on power.

About the third point, again appointed the governor makes him a representative of the prisedent and not of the people, so even with a term limit, it doesn’t really matters, since he’ll just be replaced by another guy/gal that doesn’t represent the people.

As for the Mayors, it’s better to have them elected every 4 years as well, the more the people represent themselves the better they’re equipped to solve their own problems, the key here is term limits to ensure no body has an absolute monopoly on power.

As for corruption, free press is useless on it’s own and won’t solve a thing, people have been talking about such corruption for years in newspapers and online websites like Syria-news and the like. The problem is the judicial system that is non existent, this law for instant gives the governor the powers of the district attorney. Art #39.17
It also renders him practically immune against prosecution for (literally) crimes he commits while in office, Art #53

The entire legal system in Syria needs to be thrown in the trash can and rebuilt from the ground up, as it’s common practice in Syria from a transgressor to tell his victim (روح اشتكي) go file a claim, but this is another topic all together.

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May 10th, 2011, 1:01 am


142. NK said:


Your comment is very insulting to Syrian scholars, painting them as subservient to Saudi Arabia, it’s also insulting to ordinary Muslims as apparently a devout Muslim is automatically too bloodthirsty or unpatriotic to be able to handle the responsibility of the defense ministry, and too ignorant and backward to know anything about education. Your language is disgusting to say the least.

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May 10th, 2011, 1:31 am


143. jad said:

Regarding Egypt sectarian issue;
The contrast of those two clips between the Egyptians and the American is way too painful:


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May 10th, 2011, 1:35 am


144. Revlon said:

Correction: I feel bad about this Guys! The list that I provided earlier, and this list are the proposed candidates for the council.
They have been neither approached nor selected yet.
There will be a web based voting followed by selection.
My sincere apologies.

Here is the rest of the names:

25. Dr Mohammad Kamal
26. Engineer Ghassan AlNajjar
27. Lawyer Hasan AbdulAzeem
28. Preacher Issam AlAttar
29. Businessman Maoon AlHomsi
30. Politician Riyad AlTurk
31. Preacher Mohammad Rateb AlNabulsi
32. Writer Jaber AlShoofi
33. Activist Ammar AlQurabi
34. Researcher Mohammad Rahhal
35. Activist Radwan Ziyadeh
36. Lawyer Mutaz AlSulaiman
37. Kurdish Activist: AbdulBaset Hamo
38. Dr Fida AlHorani
39. Reasearcher AbdulRazzaq Eed
40. Dr Aref Daleeleh
41. Engineer Muhammad Riyad AlShaqfeh
42. Activist Ms Suhair Atasi
43. Lawyer Haytham AlMaleh
44. Activist Haytham AlMannaa
45. Professor Burhan Ghalyoon

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May 10th, 2011, 1:48 am


145. Hashashji said:

Here is some Salafis in Damascus yesterday chanting the national anthem and some security personnel beating and packing them in vans…


Long live the king of reform!

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May 10th, 2011, 2:30 am


146. Muftah » Crawling Towards the Rubicon: Syria’s Growing Uprising – Part 4 said:

[…] of refugees into Turkey and Lebanon, arrests have increased, and the security forces have begun tracking and working against activists online. As of this writing, more than 1,400 people have been killed and thousands have been arrested. Yet, […]

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August 1st, 2011, 8:39 am


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