Military Casualties Rise; President Spreech; Houla

Syrian military casualties rose in May while death toll overall dropped

The United Nations observer team based in Hama, Syria, met with rebel leaders Thursday in Latamneh. The team’s commander, Danish Lt. Col. Peter Dahl, expressed frustration with the lack of a cease-fire.
By David Enders | McClatchy Newspapers

ANTAKYA, Turkey — Despite the international outcry over recent massacres allegedly committed by backers of President Bashar Assad, statistics compiled by human rights activists show that violence in Syria has dropped since a United Nations peace plan went into effect in April and is down sharply from its peak in March.

One measure of violence, however, seems to have increased appreciably: More Syrian soldiers were killed in clashes with rebels in May than in any month since the 14-month-old uprising began.

There were also reports that arrests by Syrian security forces have increased, a violation of the U.N. plan that appears to be a major factor in the violence.

“Every day the Free Syrian Army is becoming stronger,” said Alaa Kaikooni, a fighter who referred to the rebels by the name for most of the loosely organized groups that have taken up arms against Assad….. violence is off 36 percent from its peak and has dropped in each of the months that the plan has been in place.

Those numbers are still incredibly high – the Syrian Network for Human Rights recorded 1,344 deaths in May, including 55 noted after the report was posted on the network’s website Tuesday. Still, that’s far fewer than the 2,101 deaths the network tracked in March or the 1,610 it recorded in April. It’s lower than any month so far this year – with the exception of January, when the network reported that 1,179 people were killed – and below the monthly average of 1,616 deaths from January to May……

Syria President Bashar Assad denies role in massacres
By Rima Marrouch and Patrick J. McDonnell, Los Angeles Times

… “We are facing a real war from outside,” Assad told the Syrian people. “Everyone is responsible for defending the homeland.”

Assad, whose family has ruled Syria for more than 40 years, mocked opposition calls for democracy, declaring: “This democracy that they talked about is soaked with our blood.”

The president, formerly a practicing ophthalmologist, invoked the metaphor of a surgeon in the operating theater as an apparent justification for harsh counterinsurgency tactics in a brutal conflict that has cost more than 10,000 lives.

“Who is the wise man who loves blood?” Assad asked. “When a surgeon enters the operating room and opens a wound, it bleeds. He cuts and extracts. Do we tell him: ‘Your hands are cursed as they are contaminated with blood?’ Or do we thank him for saving the patient?”

…. The Syrian leader assails what he calls a ‘foreign war with internal tools’ and offers no new initiatives to revive the U.N. peace plan.

a majority of 58% in France want to see UN military intervention in Syria. 50% want France to take part. Both figures are significantly higher compared to results of a poll published last February.

I saw massacre of children, says defecting Syrian air force officer

Houla Massacre of 108 Marks New Low in Syria
By: Liz Sly and Joby Warrick | The Washington Post

In a speech Sunday, Assad denied that his government was responsible and blamed the massacre on his opponents, saying it was unimaginable that security forces could do such a thing.

“Whoever did this in Houla could not be a human being but a monster. And even a monster could not carry out such an act,” he told a session of the nation’s newly chosen parliament….

“The people want to execute Bashar,” they chanted, according to a video of one demonstration. Held above the crowd was a big black banner, emblazoned in white with words that are chilling in light of what unfolded later in the day. “Let the world know we die with a smile on our faces,” it said.

And, as was typical on a Friday here and in many other parts of the country, shortly before 1 o’clock in the afternoon, as the protests began, Syrian troops positioned around the area began firing artillery and heavy machine guns to break up the demonstrations.

What happened next is murky, but according to at least two activists in Houla, rebel fighters attacked a Syrian army position overlooking the area. Nine soldiers were killed, including three officers, according to Ahmad Qassem, one of the activists, who said he was given the number by the local hospital. The government, in its account of the killings that day, has said that “several” of its troops were killed in an attack on a checkpoint. The rebel force also suffered casualties, Qassem said….

Houla residents give a very different account. They blame the Syrian army and the loyalist militias known as the shabiha, which they say came from surrounding villages inhabited by members of Assad’s Shiite-affiliated Alawite sect. It is also clear that many questions remain unanswered.

The day began, as is typical on a Friday, with the men of the town gathering after prayers in at least two locations to hold demonstrations against the government. They left Away from the shelling, on the southwestern edge of Houla, a more sinister development began to unfold. A 25-year-old woman who gave her name as Fatima said she saw men in uniforms arriving in the late afternoon in a nearby street where members of the extended Abdel-Razzaq family lived.

Fatima said she assumed that the soldiers were conducting a routine raid, but then she began to hear shooting, which continued for at least an hour.

According to the videotaped testimony of the few survivors, the soldiers were accompanied by irregular shabiha militiamen from surrounding villages and moved through the homes shooting everyone they found…..

A suicide car bomber targeted government offices in the Iraqi capitol of Baghdad at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, killing up to 23 people, and injuring more than 100. The explosion blew up the facade of Iraq’s main religious affairs office for Shiite Muslims,…

Calls for Jihad Split Salafist Movement
By Mona Alami, IPS, AMMAN, Jun 3, 2012

The Arab Spring brought a host of new actors to the political stage. In Jordan, it pushed the Salafists to the fore, where some of the group’s more radical elements are now calling for holy war in neighbouring Syria.

… Jihadist-Salafists, a loosely structured faction who only number around 1,500 in Jordan, have recently begun to stage several demonstrations, the largest of which was held on Apr. 15 this year in the city of Zarqa and drew around 350 protesters. The protest resulted in a violent clash with the police, leaving dozens of wounded policemen and numerous civilian causalities.

In response, the Jordanian regime unleashed a harsh crackdown on the community, raiding several Jihadists’ homes in Zarqa and nearby towns and charging 146 with terrorist activities.

…”Reformers are coming to understand that the community has a greater role to play, whether politically, economically or socially,” said Ibrahim Hamad, himself a Salafist reformist.

The Salafist reformists have also begun coordinating aid to Syrian refugees who have fled the ongoing violence in their country to Jordan.

“They (reformists) are growing in areas where Syrian refugees are present. Up until now they have distributed about five million dollars in aid, 60 percent of which is provided through countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar or Kuwait,” Smadi explained.

Alain Gresh sums up the debate on Syria on his blog at Le Monde Diplo. Andrew Tabler outlined five steps the US should take against the Assad regime. Henry Kissinger raised his concerns for military intervention in Syria. ”In Syria, calls for humanitarian and strategic intervention merge …On the other hand, not every strategic interest rises to a cause for war; were it otherwise, no room would be left for diplomacy.” Randa Slim argued that military aid would prolong the fight, while Zbigniew Brzezinski said the crisis “is not as horrible or as dramatic as it is portrayed.”  [from Pomed]

Patrick Cockburn: Why war is marching on the road to Damascus
Sunday 03 June 2012, Telegraph

Damascus feels like a city expecting the worst to happen and seeing no way to avoid it. War is spreading across the country and is unlikely to spare the capital. Rebels speak of stepping up attacks in the city and could easily do so in the next few weeks.

I spent the last week in Damascus and the atmosphere reminds me of Beirut in 1975 at the start of the 15-year civil war. Again and again in conversations, people realistically laid out for me the nasty things that are all too likely to happen, but few were able to produce plausible ideas on how disaster might be averted.

“I wish people abroad would stop talking about a civil war starting here because it is still the people against the government,” said one committed member of the opposition as we sat in a café in Damascus (everybody I spoke to has to be nameless, for obvious reasons). She believed that it was only the heavy presence of the security forces that were suppressing mass popular protest in the days after the Houla massacre.

She may have been right, but in practice not a lot was happening. There was less traffic on the streets and foreign TV stations made much play of YouTube postings showing merchants shutting their shops in protest at the Houla slaughter. But, driving around Damascus, the strike’s success was difficult to judge since so many shops and restaurants are shut anyway because of the lack of tourists and the impact of sanctions.

Ibrahim Saif wrote about the economic agenda of the Islamist parties across the region.

They do not call for the nationalization of industries or the renationalization of privatized state-owned enterprises and demonstrate respect for private property rights. All of the parties welcome partnerships with the private sector to implement their proposed projects, particularly when it comes to public utilities and infrastructure. They consistently agree on the need to combat corruption, strengthen the foundations of good governance, eliminate financial and economic waste, and enact socially just policies. And all demonstrate a commitment to international economic agreements, with Morocco and Tunisia in particular focusing on relations with Europe….. Some gray policy zones still exist, in three areas in particular: the role of the state in the economy, which proposals will be prioritized given limited time and resources, and the timetable according to which the parties will deliver promised economic results to the public. And overall, Ennahda, the Freedom and Justice Party, the Justice and Development Party, and the Islamic Action Front all fall short of presenting comprehensive and integrated programs that can realistically transform these states’ economies. Lacking experience, clear priorities, and ways to build and finance ambitious growth plans, all four will face serious challenges in translating their generally reasonable and well-intentioned economic agendas into results….

Rebels kill 80 Syrian soldiers at weekend: watchdog
BEIRUT | Mon Jun 4, 2012

(Reuters) – Syrian rebels killed at least 80 army soldiers at the weekend, an opposition watchdog said on Monday, in a surge of attacks that followed their threat to resume fighting if President Bashar al-Assad failed to observe a U.N.-backed ceasefire.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said local doctors had confirmed the names of 80 dead government soldiers.

Insurgents told the group they had killed more than 100 soldiers and destroyed some tanks in clashes across Syria, including Damascus and Idlib province i rebel Free Syrian Army had announced they would be “free of any commitment” to international envoy Kofi Annan’s peace plan if Assad did not end violence by Friday.

of at least 108 people, nearly half of them children, in the Houla area of Homs province dealt a possibly fatal blow to Annan’s proposed ceasefire, which was supposed to take effect on April 12, but never did.

Rami Abdelrahman, the head of the Observatory, told Reuters that many army checkpoints were destroy in heavy clashes overnight in Idlib province, where many rebels operate.

“A minimum of 4 to 6 checkpoints in the village of Ariha were attacked and destroyed in the last 24 hours,” he said.

The 15-month-old uprising against Assad’s 11-year rule began with peaceful protests, but Syria is now slipping into civil war as rebels fight back against a violent government crackdown.

As UN envoy warns of all-out war, a major has provided crucial evidence on the Houla killings
Martin Chulov, Guardian, Saturday 2 June 2012

Les Français favorables à une intervention militaire en Syrie – Le Monde

Une majorité de 58 % de Français se déclarent favorables à une intervention militaire des Nations unies en Syrie, soit 7 points de plus que lors d’une précédente enquête réalisée en février dernier (51 %), selon un sondage Ifop pour l’hebdomadaire régional Dimanche Ouest France.

Cette hausse a “sans doute un rapport avec la multiplication des crimes de guerre attribués au régime de Bachar Al-Assad, et leur médiatisation ces derniers jours”, analyse l’institut.

Les hommes (65 %) se déclarent davantage favorables à l’intervention que les femmes (52 %). 70% des partisans de la droite l’approuvent, devant les sympatisants de gauche (65 %). Les sympatisants du Front national, le parti d’extrême droite, se disent majoritairement (55 %) contre une intervention des Nations unies en Syrie.

A la question de savoir si la France doit s’engager dans cette intervention militaire, les Français semblent également partagés : 50 % pour et 50 % contre, note l’Ifop. “Ces résultats assez mitigés témoignent néanmoins d’une hausse de 12 points en faveur de l’engagement de l’armée française en Syrie sous l’égide des Nations unies, comparé à février dernier (seulement 38 % des Français se disaient alors favorables à cette proposition”, selon l’Ifop).

Le président français, François Hollande, a déclaré mardi ne pas exclure une intervention armée en Syrie à condition qu’elle soit décidée dans le cadre de l’ONU.

Comments (261)

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101. Amjad said:

Alan #100

The Russians are the world’s biggest sellers of snake oil. NATO has time and again said that military action is not even being contemplated. When America went to war in Iraq and Afghanistan, it loudly announced months before hand what its intentions were. When NATO attacked Qadafi’s forces, everyone including the Russians knew what UN Resolution 1973 meant. If military action was on the table, then NATO has no need to hide that fact.

But of course, the Russians need Bashar feeble and reliant on them. He’s the last person around who is willing to buy their outdated crap they call weapons. 36 Yak-130? Seriously? Who the hell needs 36 Yak-130? Algeria bought 3, Vietnam only eight, and even the Russian Airforce only has 11. But apparently the Russians overproduced this particular model. Good thing they have Bashar to pick up the tab. Russian veto support doesn’t come cheap you know.

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June 5th, 2012, 2:25 pm


102. Aldendeshe said:

Reading this blog and the comment section is like reading Althawra Baathist rag and Mossad whish list. This is just a copy and paste of both really.

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June 5th, 2012, 2:45 pm


103. Tara said:

Waleed al Moualem morbid obesity and probable sleep apnea is clouding his judgment. His tit for tat foreign policy is pitiful. His announcement of expelling Western diplomats that have long left Syria is an indication of bankruptcy. His refusal to allow the Arab assistant of Annan, Mr. Nasser kadwa into Syria as a tit for tat in reaction to the AL shunning the regime is another bankrupted maneuver. Have they gotten any original thoughts?

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June 5th, 2012, 2:54 pm


104. DAWOUD said:

RE: # 63.

Dear Moderator:

Thank you for standing up to the copy-and-paste pro-regimers/commentators. Yes, you have to end space-eating spam on this blog.

ENOUGH IS enough!

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June 5th, 2012, 2:55 pm


105. Alan said:

The Real Reason to Intervene in Syria

101. AMJAD
Russian Crap maybe for fuck !

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June 5th, 2012, 3:02 pm


106. DAWOUD said:

103. Tara

Is the fat *** Walid al-Moualim Sunni?

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June 5th, 2012, 3:21 pm


107. Amjad said:

105 Alan

“Russian Crap maybe for f-word”

Um….what? My English is good, but I’m afraid someone is going to have to help me out on this one. Could someone smarter than me help me understand what “maybe for f-word” means? Is the writer agreeing or disagreeing? Is he stating that Russian weaponry is good only for sex acts? Or is it his position that Russian Weaponry is the most pew-pew-pew weaponry in the history of weaponry? Regime-speak can be so confusing 🙂

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June 5th, 2012, 3:24 pm


108. Alan said:

that Russian Weaponry is the most pew-pew-pew weaponry in the history of weaponry?
so confusing 🙂

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June 5th, 2012, 3:39 pm


109. Karabennemsi said:

@98 Amjad

I can see why you would object to a citing of Ms Narwani in a serious discussion.

She is not dear to me and there are a lot of other articles basically getting to the same point – the cruelty of the farook brigade and the rivalties between rebel groups especially in Homs – so, granted, lets take that article out the discussion.
I regret posting it now because it gives possibility to flee the real question at hand: the llcs.

Also I gotta be honest with you: I don’t believe in the Assad mails, i have personally met Mrs Assad and have seen her work in surprising and provenly effective ways with the poor, and i do still regard her as the rose of dimasq. I know that a lot of people might object to that, but even if it would turn out that she personally was involved in some murderous planning, i would never regret my believing in her, because she was a well of hope and inspiration to me as well as to a lot of other people, and back then before the demonstrations and so on there were not a lot of female rolemodels one could have in the Arab world.
Especially as a man i was astonished when i first heard her speak, since it was of such extraordinary perspective on an highly abstract topic. For me she has been the single most remarkable arab women in the 21st century so far, and i will never be able to accept this personal well of inspiration being poisened by the lies of war.
In war almost every “news” is somehow fabricated or overinterpretated of course, but that doesn’t mean that a man can’t stand at his principles.

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June 5th, 2012, 3:41 pm


110. Juergen said:

“A single principle will give you courage, namely, that no evil lasts forever.”

Epikur of Samos

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June 5th, 2012, 3:42 pm


112. Tara said:


Waleed al Moualem is Sunni.

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June 5th, 2012, 4:13 pm


113. ann said:

On Syria, Arab League No Longer to Meet UN SC, ICP Learns, Why?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 5 — In a telling split, Arab League chief Araby is now NOT asking to meet with the UN Security Council. Inner City Press first reported this change, via Twitter, at 9:32 am.

At the end of his June 4 press briefing on the Council’s program of work for June, Chinese Permanent Representative Li Baodong came back to the podium to say that a request had been received from Mr. Araby of the League of Arab States for an informal interactive dialogue with the Security Council, of the time for example done with the head of the African Union High Level Panel on the Sudans, Thabo Mbeki.

But at 9:15 am on June 5, Inner City Press reliably learned that Araby has no intention anymore to address the Council or have an interactive with its members. After confirming and tweeting it, Inner City Press ran to the Security Council itself where it was multiply confirmed.

But why did Araby change his mind? Most diplomats consulted by Inner City Press link it, rather obviously, with the Syrian opposition either saying there is no ceasefire, or no more Annan plan.

Meanwhile another “Syria Superbowl” is slated for Thursday.


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June 5th, 2012, 4:14 pm


114. Uzair8 said:

AJE has put up the Inside Story episode mentioned in #18


Is Syria’s conflict being fought in Lebanon?

After gun battles left 15 dead in the Lebanese city of Tripoli, we ask if Syria’s conflict has seeped across the border.

05 Jun 2012

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June 5th, 2012, 4:29 pm


115. DAWOUD said:

113. Tara

Thanks Tara, now I think that he is still publicly with the regime either because he is an opportunist/unprincipled fat *** (*** can be the A word or “cow,” which ever you lilke), or because he knows that if he shows any sign of disloyalty his days (and family’s days) would be numbered! Sorry to say it, sectarianism is the reason why most Syrians are still outside the revolt!

P.S., I like you so much Tara because not only you can post sort article, but also you have the intellect/knowledge of Syria to write your own words/paragraphs/comments/facts/etc.


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June 5th, 2012, 4:40 pm


116. DAWOUD said:


I did NOT mean most Syrians are outside the rebellion, they are with it. I meant to say that the minority of those who are still silent or with the dictator are so mostly because of sectarianism (Sunniphobia).

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June 5th, 2012, 4:46 pm


117. Uzair8 said:

Barbara Walters apologises over links to Syrian aide of Bashar al-Assad

Barbara Walters, the grande dame of American television news, has been forced to apologise after it emerged that she had tried to use her influence to further the career of a former leading aide of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

05 Jun 2012

Emails seen by The Daily Telegraph show that Walters tried to help Sheherazad Jaafari, the daughter of Syria’s UN ambassador, secure a place at an Ivy League university and an internship with Piers Morgan’s CNN programme.

Read more:

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June 5th, 2012, 5:06 pm


118. omen said:

re regime military casualties,

i can’t find it now but ran across a piece that noted how the regime was not giving full disclosure or trying to keep a lid on the numbers. plausible when you consider how debilitating for morale this kind of news can be.

it’s possible the number killed could be higher than what they are disclosing.

another factor is we don’t know what percentage of the soldiers were killed by the regime itself upon suspicion that they were considering defecting.

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June 5th, 2012, 5:08 pm


119. Uzair8 said:

‘The Dude’!


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June 5th, 2012, 5:08 pm


120. omen said:

117. DAWOUD said:
I meant to say that the minority of those who are still silent or with the dictator are so mostly because of sectarianism (Sunniphobia).


is it true regime tv is fearmongering its supporters by saying the sunnis will slaughter them all?

you hear that day after day, that’s going to mess up people’s psyche.

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June 5th, 2012, 5:17 pm


121. Uzair8 said:

Robert Fisk: Hosni Mubarak has fallen. Assad clings on. Yet the fate of their nations is anyone’s guess

Monday 04 June 2012

[Selected quote]

Ahmed Shafik, the Mubarak loyalist, has the support of the Christian Copts, and Assad has the support of the Syrian Christians. The Christians support the dictators. Not much of a line, is it?

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June 5th, 2012, 5:40 pm


122. Anwar said:

“Ahmed Shafik, the Mubarak loyalist, has the support of the Christian Copts, and Assad has the support of the Syrian Christians.”

Bunch of lies. He has the support of some bought off priests. The rest are afraid to say anything. Christians outside of Syria are all against him. Go walk in a kasa’a and you will see plenty of unemployed youth mouthing him off.

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June 5th, 2012, 5:43 pm


123. habib said:

121. omen

The regime doesn’t mention sectarianism ever.

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June 5th, 2012, 6:06 pm


124. majedkhaldoun said:

Bashar said ,every demonstrator receive 2000 lira to demonstrate,
The truth is, that what he is paying his Shabiha.

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June 5th, 2012, 6:09 pm


125. SANDRO LOEWE said:

Best Tv arabic fightings. Laugh or cry.
Very interesting to observe the body language that clearly show who is with dictatorships, with use of force or absolutist ideas.

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June 5th, 2012, 6:20 pm


126. SANDRO LOEWE said:

¨Ahmed Shafik, the Mubarak loyalist, has the support of the Christian Copts, and Assad has the support of the Syrian Christians. The Christians support the dictators. Not much of a line, is it?¨

Who is the ignorant who said this? Most christians as most syrians prefer democracy to the Assad nightmare.

All corrupt priests and corrupt muslim sheikhs should go to hell right now. Those who were not corrupt or false with their true beliefs could have not reached any position in the religious status quo. There are many of them but out of power.

No, don´t say I am a ¨kafir¨ for saying this. The more I believe in the true message of religions the louder I would cry ¨Religious politicians go to hell¨.

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June 5th, 2012, 6:29 pm


127. omen said:

125. habib

regime tv doesn’t bring inordinate focus on alqaeda or blame the influence of gulf state media for sowing unrest?

code words, as another poster pointed out, for sunni fundamentalism.

isn’t ginning up fear of outsiders or foreign influence another form of sectarianism?

regime tv didn’t run tape of the salafist cleric promising to turn alawites into dog food?

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June 5th, 2012, 6:35 pm


128. SANDRO LOEWE said:

What we are seeing in Syria today is how the country is victim of foreign intervention. Foreign intervention of Hezballah chiia from Lebanon, and chia political powers in Irak and Iran. Syria, a country where Chiia Twelvers represent no more than 0.5 % of the population, has been abducted by foreign chiaa entities from outside. Some alawites as ismailis or druzes could eventually agree with this strategy for the minority question but have nothing to do with Twelver Chiaa. What is happening in Syria today is one of the more flagrant foreign interventions in recent history.

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June 5th, 2012, 6:49 pm


129. omen said:

fisk, once again, as he did in iran, fails to give credence to election fraud.

how many pundits are there providing cover for assad by reinforcing the hackneyed dictator line of “me or deluge.” it is this regime who is responsible for sowing chaos.

and i really have to wonder about people who insist on calling this illegitimate monster “president.”

Now, President Assad said yesterday that his country’s “security” is a “red line” and implied – only implied, mind you – that the war in Syria (and he called it a war) could topple over into a neighbouring state (for which, read Lebanon). And so I am worried about Lebanon and the Alawites in Lebanon who support Assad, who deserve better.

the proud warrior king fighting terrorism:


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June 5th, 2012, 6:50 pm


130. Dawoud said:

131. OMEN

Thanks for sharing the anti-dictator cartoon. It accurately depicts Bashar as children/women-murderer!

Thanks to Palestinians’ and Syrians’ “stones vs. firearms” resistance to occupation and tyranny!

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June 5th, 2012, 7:08 pm


131. Gregory Carlin said:

The Syrian revolution, if such a thing there be, is not for the benefit of any Christians, it is difficult to see how Turkey, Qatar or Saudi Arabia could ever have a benign policy towards Christians.

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June 5th, 2012, 7:41 pm


132. bronco said:


Only original contributions? The Syrian does not try to be original, it follows the same goal from the beginning.

I can’t say the same about the opposition:
The humanitarian corridors, NATO, EU sanctions, Kofi Annan peace plan, SNC/no SNC, FSA/NO FSA, FOS/no FOS, AL/No AL, Civil war, no civil war etc…
A clear path indeed…

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June 5th, 2012, 7:47 pm


133. SANDRO LOEWE said:

131. Gregory Carlin

Your sectarian thinking reveals you do not know the syrian people at all. Syrians are not sectarian in normal circumstances, only when confronting a war criminal. Christians will be a minority with or without Assads but at least there will be some kind of freedom and dignity, we the christians, will enjoy too. Because before christians or muslims we are humans. And those who deny this fact are just trying to deal with humans like unrational animals for dark purposes or due to ignorance.

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June 5th, 2012, 8:01 pm


134. Tara said:

I know I do not have a man’s eyes, but I think beauty has universal appeal.  I simply do not find her beautiful.  I do not know how “proud” Bashar al Jaafari feels about his girl…what a pity!    

Sheherazad Jaafari: profile of the ‘brilliant and beautiful’ Assad aide

She was his confidante and his gatekeeper, speaking to him several times a day and sometimes referring to him as “the Dude” 
By Raf Sanchez, Washington8:00PM BST 05 Jun 2012

Aged only 22, Miss Jaafari returned to the heart of Bashar al-Assad’s court in Damascus last year to advise him on how to present his wave of repression to a horrified world.
She was his confidante and his gatekeeper, speaking to him several times a day and sometimes referring to him as “the Dude”. The in-box of her Hotmail account shows dozens of emails from the world’s major media groups, courting her and pleading for access to Mr Assad.
Despite her youth she appears to have handled the reporters with a breezy efficiency, often flirting and describing several of them as “my favourite journalist”.
On at least one occasion she picked a reporter up from his Damascus hotel in her own car and drove him straight to Mr Assad’s office. She was the only Syrian official present for the interview. She sent dozens of message expressing near fanatical loyalty but also deep personal affection for her president.

But hidden in her emails is another side of the smiling young woman nicknamed “Syria’s Kim Kardashian”. There are flashes of desperation and exhaustion at defending a regime that seemed close to collapse.

“—- the dude,” she wrote in February as the Syrian Army pounded Homs and as the West ramped up the diplomatic pressure. “He is not the country.. the country is distroyed now.. and nobody can fix it.. Syria is way bigger than the dude and way prouder than an American plane bombing it…”

Miss Jaafari helped secure the Barbara Walters interview but also seems to have taken much of the blame when the ABC broadcaster proved unexpectedly tough on the Syrian dictator.
A day after the interview aired in December, she emailed ABC in a panic asking for the unedited tapes of the interview. “I am in so much trouble here and I have to have the the links for other two tapes please today,” she wrote.

Soon afterwards, the hacking group Anonymous gained access to a memo she wrote before the interview. In it she expressed contempt for the American public, who she said could be easily “manipulated” and urged Mr Assad to blame the killings in Syria on terrorist groups.
The embarrassing leak seems to have ended her career in Damascus and she soon returned to New York where her father is the Syrian ambassador to the UN.
She quickly resumed a schedule of networking, lunches and trips to the beauty salon, leaving the brutality of Syria far behind.
In an email to a friend she described her time in Damascus as “a challenging experience but its good for my cv and thats all i care about now”.

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June 5th, 2012, 8:23 pm


135. Tara said:

Dawoud @115

“P.S., I like you so much Tara because..”

Dawoud, thank you very much. Kindness is not in many people vocabulary..

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June 5th, 2012, 8:27 pm


136. Tara said:

Syrian-Americans must write to their representatives, State Department, and Ambassador Ford to declare Shehrazad Jaafari (and perhaps her dad) persona non grata.

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June 5th, 2012, 8:35 pm


137. omen said:

a chinese academic was on bbc news last night defending china’s opposition against intervention.

that made me wonder how much oil china is going to get from the region. syria is going to be an important hub in its transportation.

and russia – i don’t think their stupid naval port is the extent of their interest. the opposition promised russia they could hold onto the port even after the regime falls. so that isn’t the reason for russia’s continued support for assad. russia also has ties to iraqi oil.

anybody have a map of the proposed pipeline the regime had planned to put in?

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June 5th, 2012, 8:41 pm


138. omen said:

The Syrian revolution, if such a thing there be, is not for the benefit of any Christians, it is difficult to see how Turkey, Qatar or Saudi Arabia could ever have a benign policy towards Christians.

if such a thing there be? that’s like saying there is no such thing as a palestinian.

do you even recognize how bigoted you’re being?

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June 5th, 2012, 8:51 pm


139. jna said:

136. Tarasaid: Syrian-Americans must write to their representatives, State Department, and Ambassador Ford to declare Shehrazad Jaafari (and perhaps her dad) persona non grata.

(Sorry, folks, for the cut and paste.) Tara, as far as I know
Shehrazad Jaafari is not a Syrian diplomat nor is she a Syrian official so I don’t see the relevance of declaring her “persona non grata”. And there is a rule of law in USA.

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June 5th, 2012, 9:17 pm


140. Tara said:


Assuming she is not an American citizen, and if the title persona non grata is only applicable to diplomats, then we should write to our representatives to deport her. She can live near her beloved leader.

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June 5th, 2012, 9:29 pm


141. jna said:

Tara, USA should deport her because Tara does not agree with her politics?

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June 5th, 2012, 9:33 pm


142. DAWOUD said:

135. Tara

You deserve all kindness Tara because you have been here a one-lady TRUTH institution! Nothing wins my love and admiration more than a person’s advocacy against tyranny and on behalf of justice. As I mentioned before, I had a couple of American friends who accepted Bashar’s/Nasrillat’s “mokawamah” claim. I don’t want to communicate with them FOREVER. Supporting a murderous dictatorship! What a turn off!

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June 5th, 2012, 9:44 pm


143. Tara said:


That would not be a good reason.

Because she has given material support to a tyrant who is killing women and children. A good reason in Tara’s opinion.

And will be doing her a favor. What better than living near or with someone for whom you hold intense personal affection..that what the article said. I would if I was her.. Wouldn’t you?

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June 5th, 2012, 9:44 pm


144. irritated said:


Don’t be surprised.I have heard that before.
Some zealous commenters ( I think it was the fabulous Antoine) were requesting that after the ‘fall’ of Bashar Al Assad, the new regime should deport all the Syrians who were supportive of Bashar al Assad.
Maybe Saudi Arabia could spare a part of their desert for them and others ‘loyalists’ like Mrs Jaafari.

Reading the recent posts of some anti-regime commenters, I think they are approaching dangerously hysteria.

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June 5th, 2012, 9:46 pm


145. DAWOUD said:

136. Tara

What is Sherazad’s legal status here in the United States? Is she a legal resident or naturalized citizen? She had to have a legal status for her to work in any job here, not only the high profile CNN assignment that Baraba Walter’s “wasata’ won her. If she is a citizen, she should be a registered “foreign agent” because she is clearly advising Bashar in her email. The U.S. law would require here to register. Now, if she isn’t a citizen/legal resident the US gov’t may revoke her visa and expel her. As to her father, he is a diplomat the UN and has diplomatic immunity. The United States has limited options pertinent to his presence in NYC, although they can restrict his movement beyond a certain geographic area.

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June 5th, 2012, 9:53 pm


146. SALAH ADDIN said:

TARA #136

Do I sense a little jealousy there, or is it a blanket Jaafary dislike?

On a serious note though. Don’t waste your time writing to anyone.
When the USA asked that New York be the home of the UN, as opposed to Geneva where the League of Nations used to be, the US government had to guarantee unhindered access to UN diplomats and country representatives, while granting the UN a special sovereign status, with immunity to its members and diplomats.
That is why Che Guevara himself stood at the podium of the General Assembly and gave his famous address, and so did many who otherwise, would not be welcome in the USA.
Bashar Al-Jaafary can stand and say “j’accuse”, and all that Ambassador Suzan Rice can do, is walk off.

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June 5th, 2012, 9:55 pm


147. Tara said:

No. Let us be clear about this. I do not wish for all regime supporters to be exiled to a desert. Only those who gave material support like Shahrazad. I liked why-discuss and would not wish for him to live in a Saudi desert.

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June 5th, 2012, 9:56 pm


148. Ghufran said:

We spoke about this before,the regime is ready for a new campaign against armed rebels after realizing that the “cease fire” was an opportunity for rebels to get more weapons,recruit more fighters and kill scores of soldiers.
Expelling the western diplomats while allowing aid to come in is a signal for what is coming to areas like Idleb,Homs (especially Rastan) and Reef Halab. The attacks in Haffeh and Kinsabba convinced the less hawkish figures in the regime that the plan,as is,was a trap.
Hawks want to crush the rebels,then open the door to measured compromises,this plan was spelled out by Bashar few days ago,the big question is: will the regime succeed and is Russia playing along?
The problem now is that neither the regime,nor the armed rebels can be trusted,the regime is losing grounds every day and making its own supporters furious for giving away some of the gains they made in the spring. Russia holds the door but others have the key,without a real cease fire,nothing will be achieved except more blood shed

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June 5th, 2012, 9:58 pm


149. MICHEL said:

Irritated, it was me.

Yes, it is absolutely unfair that the thuwwar are paying with their blood to liberate the country from tyranny while the assadists do everything they can to discredit them, and when the regime will fall they will reap the benefits of the new free Syria.

We should definetely keep track of the weloveyous and relegate them to second-class citizens for at least 25 years. Strip them from their rights to vote and other services provided by free syria for 25 years. Or maybe impose a higher tax on them. This is only fair.

To let them profit of the new free syria is an insult to the sacrifices the thuwwar are doing.

EDIT: to support the regime is one thing, but to go as far as denying that the regime is killing innocent people, shooting on protesters, to say the opposition are terrorists, is a step beyond only supporting the regime. this is an insult to the intelligence of free syrians. they are denying what we have known from this regime for the past decades. the people who do these things are the one who should be punished in free syria.

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June 5th, 2012, 9:58 pm


150. jna said:

“We have decided to end our commitment to this (ceasefire),” said Free Syrian Army spokesman Major Sami al-Kurdi. “We have resumed our attacks but we are doing defensive attacks which means we are only attacking checkpoints in the cities.”” They haven’t wanted or respected the ceasefire since day one.


AP) GENEVA – Syria has agreed to allow humanitarian workers and supplies into four of its provinces hit hardest by violence, a promise of some relief in a nation where 1 million people need aid urgently due to the fighting, officials said Tuesday.

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June 5th, 2012, 10:02 pm


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