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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151. Tara said:


Jealousy? From size 12 and up? Not me. I am much prettier. It is a genuine dislike to the father and the daughter. Actually the father more than the daughter.

On a serious note, thank you for the clarification. but is that applicable too to diplomat’s family?

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June 5th, 2012, 10:02 pm


152. Ghufran said:

The news from alhaffeh reflect the absence of accurate reporting,one source stated that the regime forces started the attack,another said the opposite.
The initial count of the dead was 29, six may not be Syrian, one public building, malliat alhaffeh,,was totally destroyed with at least 2 police stations. This escalation will definitely increase the army activities in that area especially that it is very close to Turkey and can easily serve as a corridor to Idleb and privides quick access to other parts in Latakia,another risk is its unique demographic mix which makes it a candidate to be a mini Homs. I doubt that regime supporters will allow the area to become another tender spot .

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June 5th, 2012, 10:30 pm


153. Tara said:


Great ideas. Register Shehrazad as a foreign agent or deport her. Restrict Bashsr Jaafari movement from home to office back and forth plus occasional trips to the supermarket, the gym, and to the mall.


It was interesting reading your reply… I like that Damascene women have such a reputation..let’s see if your statement will provoke any objection and let my stop at that.

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June 5th, 2012, 10:41 pm


154. Ghufran said:

I thought this is a political blog not a smell contest. Syrian women do not need a certificate to prove that they are pretty,dedicated and smart. Iranian women in general are more educated and liberated than most Arab women,especially the ones in the GCC,this talk about how Iranian women smell “stinks” ,no offense to the BO expert on SC.

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June 5th, 2012, 10:59 pm


155. ann said:

Russia says Syrian opposition’s withdrawal from ceasefire “dangerous” – 2012-06-06

MOSCOW, June 5 (Xinhua) — The withdrawal of a Syrian armed opposition group from the ceasefire was “impermissible” and ” dangerous”, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said Tuesday.

He told reporters at a press conference that Moscow was concerned over this situation.

“We view this as the wish to thwart international efforts in the promotion of a shift from confrontation to the political process,” Lukashevich said.

“That is a very bad and dangerous trend,” he added.

Taking note of a new armed opposition group established in Syria on June 4, Lukashevich said “such a scenario is possible only if the illegal armed units receive moral support from abroad and are supplied with arms, munitions and money.”

“We continue to call on the Syrian sides and the external forces to stick to the logic of the Annan plan,” Lukashevich said.

He also urged leading world powers to restrain from actions that may lead to bigger bloodshed or a civil war in the country, which may affect the whole Middle East region.


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June 5th, 2012, 11:06 pm


156. Ghufran said:

4 Syrians got arrested illegally
السجناء الأربعه اعتقلوا خلال مظاهرة في منطقة الطلياني بدمشق في 27 ايار وتم الإفراج عن كل من كان معهم والمعتقلون هم الشابة نوران الغميان ووالدتها لينا مهايني وأسامة مرشد ووالدته نجاة
Estimates of number of political prisoners who did not committ any violent crimes range between 10-15 thousands,opposition sources bring the number to 30,000
The fact is that the regime is unable and unwilling to change.

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June 5th, 2012, 11:59 pm


157. Juergen said:

I think those of you with an US citizenship should contact his/hers congressman/senatemember to question the legal status of Mrs Jaafari. I am quite sure that no one in the US government loves to see her mingling around any longer, sorry Asma, your Jimmy Choo distributor may soon can buy you the latest abayah style from Tehran…

Sorry I dont buy it,Taquiya is seen today as the formula of treacherous behaviour all Muslims seem to enjoy. I think that this term is just theological, and never gained much ground in the muslim community. In the eyes of islamophobics and right wing nationalists taquiyah is seen like Manna coming from the sky,a good way of focussing rascism on a religious group.

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June 6th, 2012, 12:23 am


158. mjabali said:

Majedkhaldoun said:

“most of Iranian women they disgust me with their bad smell”

Dude where do you live and what year do you live in?

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June 6th, 2012, 12:25 am


159. Dawoud said:

162. Juergen

I have already sent an email to my 2 NY Senators and to my Congresswoman informing them that Ms. Ja’afari should be registered as an “agent for a foreign power” (if she has US residency/citizenship), or deported if she was her on a student/visitation/temporary visa.

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June 6th, 2012, 12:26 am


160. omen said:

why are you insulting iranians?
just because the government is vicious and corrupt doesn’t mean the people should be disparaged this way.

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June 6th, 2012, 12:32 am


161. ann said:

Moderator are you enjoying this filth about women?!

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June 6th, 2012, 12:39 am


162. ann said:

Humanitarian forum has “welcomed” agreement between UN, Syria: spokesman – 2012-06-06

UNITED NATIONS, June 5 (Xinhua) — The third Syria Humanitarian Forum in Geneva welcomed a new agreement between Syria and the UN that allows an expanded humanitarian presence in the Middle Eastern country, UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said here Tuesday.

“The forum welcomed the agreement secured by the United Nations with the government of Syria regarding the scale and scope of the humanitarian response,”said Nesirky at a daily news briefing here.

The agreement, announced on Tuesday, will include a scaling up the presence of nine UN humanitarian agencies in key areas of Syria, and speeding up and simplifying the administrative structure of the aid effort, including the issuance of visas.

“John Ging, the director of operations for the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said that this is very significant progress, but whether it constitutes a breakthrough or not will only become clear in the coming days and weeks through action on the ground,” Nesirky said.

The spokesman explained that the focus of the humanitarian community will now be “the implementation of a rapid and robust response to expand the delivery of food, medicine and other vital supplies to one million people in need in Syria.”

OCHA has noted that additional donors support will be critical for the scale-up, according to Nesirky, as the Humanitarian Response Plan for Syria is only 20 percent funded and the Regional Refugee Response Plan is only 36 percent funded.


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June 6th, 2012, 12:46 am


163. omen said:

the necktie might have iranian origins.

The tie may even have Iranian origins. Although there are many theories, the Netherlands-based Radiozamaneh cited the British historian Noel Malcolm who said the knotted neckerchief was first imported to Europe, and the Croatian mercenaries, from Iran during the Sassanid Empire.

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June 6th, 2012, 12:51 am


164. mjabali said:

So: al-Taqqiyyah was the result of the Sunni oppression to Shia ideas or not?

Why run away as usual from the real topic to attack me personally? Anyone can come up with an answer?

Again: al-Taqqiyyah appeared because of the oppression of the Shia at the hands of the Sunnis. Anyone can give us real argument like adults about this topic?

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June 6th, 2012, 1:00 am


165. omen said:

163. mjabali, you can’t call khaldoun “dude.”
that moniker has already been reserved for bashar.

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June 6th, 2012, 1:35 am


166. Wim Roffel said:

Why is the version of the Syrian regime of what happened in Houla not included in the literature overview? There are several inconsistencies in the opposition stories that should give reason to doubt them: why did they first claim that all victims were due to shelling and why do they claim that the targets of the killings were chosen random when two families constitute the overwhelming majority of the victims? (according to the regime one contained a police officer and the other a parliamentarian).

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June 6th, 2012, 1:58 am


167. Juergen said:

DER SPIEGEL on loyal businessmen to the regime and their profit of the war and the EU sanctions

“When Yousef Katt talks on the war in Syria , he calls it “al-Wada ‘, the situation. For the businessman, it’s not bad.

These days there is for him to constantly shops. Even on weekends, he always wears shirt and trousers, if someone calls and wants to offer him his house up for sale. If it is one of the best areas of Damascus, goes by Katt. He checked the building, says he wants to think about it and go again. He can choose.
There are many who have to sell, and few who could buy.”

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June 6th, 2012, 2:04 am


168. Juergen said:

I dont know if you remember, i posted this picture about a week ago. I think its one of those images which leaves one breathless for a moment.I know now more about the brave man who got hanged by the iranian regime.

Madjid Kawussifar * 1979 + 2007 in Tehran

Madjid Kawussifar is reported that he allegedly shot and killed along with his nephew, Hossein Hassan Moghadass the judge who is one of the most feared judges of the Islamic Republic of Iran, who sentenced numerous opponents to death. On a motorcycle, they waited outside the court in the Irschad Ahmad-Qasir Street, the old road of Tehran-Bucharest. One of the two young men fired two bullets to the head of the judge, of which the first is reported to have been fatal, according to the BBC report of 2 August 2005, citing the police chief of Tehran. Exactly two years after the attack the two were publicly excecuted at the scene of the murder. Only Madjid has grinned, while Hassan seemed intimidated, lost, and there was no smile, no indifference, and it was a laugh a real laugh, in this as in the other images, sometimes a gentle smile as on the way through a lot by masked police to the gallows, sometimes a cheerful hello. The audience: two, maybe three hundred. From a window looking down two in white coats, doctors. Some smile, most just stare, including the police, which block the site. No one intervenes, no one is outraged. The mother is said to have shouted, “God, give me back my son,” the mother of Hassan and Majid. Even children are in the audience, a girl anyway, not five years old. What barbarism, I think, not only the execution itself, the whole situation, a modern city, a wide road, asphalt, trees, skyscrapers, two trucks with lift arm as the fire department, but the hook is almost as big as a head made out of a blue rope, plastic as I recognize. Mostly available in the hardware stores. The Iranian photographers look so westernized with their wests and basecaps, you could find them in front of the german Chancellery ,how barbaric is this country. Prior to the execution the Quran is recited, with an amplifier, perhaps even on a tape, the beautiful recitation in fact, Iranian style, elegiac, yet i want to puke. When the stool is pushed away under Madjid’s feet one could hear Allaho Akbar calls, at least not many. True, most viewers will have Madjid and Hassan Kawussifar held for ordinary murderers. The angry judge enumerated before the execution, the murders, kidnappings, burglaries and bank robberies, which they were accused. The internet newspaper Rooz counted later on the absurd contradictions, in which the Iranian judiciary involved itself in the effort to maintain a conspiracy of American intelligence and the two nevertheless were dismissed as ordinary criminals. But Madjid Kawussifar – how could he only manage to spit in the face of his excecutioner with his laughter?

No, I can not swear that he was a hero. I repeat: I know almost nothing about him. Maybe he killed the judge, because he wanted to have a plausible reason in the West to seek asylum. I can not imagine that after what I learned about his story. And whatever his real motive was – at least under the gallows, he was a hero, after which in the future streets will be named in Tehran, just like the Scholl siblings in Germany or films will be made like in Berlin,the one about Graf Stauffenberg played by Tom Cruise. “I have no regrets,” he insisted, as a fat bearded man and a masked policeman put the rope around his neck: “I would kill that judge again.” That sounds like a passion and it is. Madjid Kawussifar has made his final walk in the footsteps of the martyrs, which runs through the Shiite Iranian history. The cult of the heroes who dare to fight against overwhelming odds, they certainly loose, and that has such deep roots in Iran, that it no longer needs religion. The History of Madjid is not completed if I dont write that he had actually been in safety. After the attack he made his way to Dubai and sought refuge at the American Embassy. The Americans handed him over to the authorities of the United Arab Emirates, or more precisely, the Americans have given the hint that so he might got arrested outside the embassy and was delivered to Iran. The Ambassador, which is said to have previously received Madjid Kawussifar personally was Michele J. Sison, just for the records. May God also punish her with nightmares. May Madjid Kawussifar remain in her,in our memory.

Navid Kermani, author Munich 2011

Note Michele J. Sison was ambassador to Lebanon after her work in the Emirates. Currently she awaits approval to be ambassador to Sri Lanka.

the photo again:

a video of his trial and his hanging ( they dont show actually the hanging, just before)

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June 6th, 2012, 2:53 am


169. Juergen said:

video of father Paolo of Mar Mousa eating with revolutionary people of Homs.

this is syria as we know it and want it.

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June 6th, 2012, 3:21 am


170. Syrialover said:

Sorry, Miss Jaafari does not look classy. Her extreme theatrical makeup and painted-on eyebrows (at age 22!) and her dress is not fashionable. She looks very strange for her age. She is trying to look “sexy” and she instead looks cheap, artificial and tasteless. Compare her with the young educated, elegant, stylish professional women who she wants to be like.

If she was at a social event in America or anywhere else in the west looking like that hoping to impress and get a professional job she would fail.

I think she is dressing to attract an old sugar daddy as desirable younger men would think she is tacky.

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June 6th, 2012, 3:27 am


171. Juergen said:

“The best way to predict the future is to shape it.”
Willy Brandt

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June 6th, 2012, 3:37 am


172. Syrialover said:

Yeah, I see Sheherazad Jaafari being “employed” by some pot-bellied Sheikh from the Gulf and competing with his other mistresses until she catches someone older, fatter and richer.

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June 6th, 2012, 3:40 am


173. Amjad said:

So, how long has it been since the massacre at Al-Houlla? Since the regime claims it was carried out by 800 “terrorists”, how is it that the Syrian Army and its 15 security services haven’t been able to capture or kill a single one of the perpetrators?

We all know the answer to that. The regime has no interest in arresting or killing its own shabiha mercenaries.

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June 6th, 2012, 4:37 am


174. Alan said:

Russia urges to have special int’l meeting on Syria
“This meeting in contrast to the meetings of the so-called Group of Syrian Friends, which were devoted to the support for only the Syrian National Council, was that at the first stage without Syrians all foreign players will agree to fulfil Kofi Annan’s peace plan fairly and without double standards ,” Lavrov noted. He added that Moscow and Beijing find the appeals to foreign interference as the way to a catastrophe.

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June 6th, 2012, 6:44 am


175. Antoine said:

These are the real Syrians and real representatives of the LCCs.

Salah Addin and Karabennmesi, tell me what problems do you have with the people in the above video, that makes them worse than the regime ?

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June 6th, 2012, 6:48 am


176. Alan said:

101. AMJAD said:

Alan #100
Russian veto support doesn’t come cheap you know.
Exactly so ! not cheap !Russia will fight! I was warned many times on this blog that Syria (Country) is geoplitical interest of particular importance to Russia! and played with thimbles not help to change the situation!

Russia prepares for war in Syria, army units
Russian Defense Ministry launched an intensive training units for operations abroad, including in Syria. Preparation for combat operations in this country, may lead Pskov 76th air assault division of Airborne, the 15th Brigade combined arms in Samara, as well as special units staffed by the Chechens, who had previously served in the GRU spetsbatalonah “West” and “East” writes, “Nezavisimaya Gazeta”, citing anonymous sources in the military.

Pskov Airborne Division – one of the most combat-ready connections in the Russian army, the newspaper notes. Its officers, NCOs and men participated in the peacekeeping operation in Kosovo in 1999-2001, in both Chechen wars in 1994-1996 and 1999-2007, and in the war with Georgia in August 2008.

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June 6th, 2012, 7:46 am


177. Alan said:

PRESSURES ON RUSSIA: US Attempts to Mass-Murder Its Way to Victory in Syria.
US to Russia: “Give Up” or Swim in Sea of Syrian Blood
عل مكشـــــــــــــــــــــــــوف

As revelations emerge that the violence in Syria has been premeditated by Western planners years before the Arab Spring unfolded, and as the facade of “democratic aspirations” collapse in the face of a sectarian-driven bloodbath, US officials and Western think-tank policy makers speaking with Bloomberg have stated that their final message to Russia in order to begin regime change is essentially this: the violence will continue to be purposefully escalated until regime change is accomplished – Russia can capitulate now and have a say in how a transition occurs, or capitulate later and suffer exclusion as was the case in Libya…/../..

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June 6th, 2012, 8:15 am


178. majedkhaldoun said:

Alan #186
Are you hoping that Russia will defend Bashar by going to war?

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June 6th, 2012, 8:19 am


179. Alan said:

Do you have information about the Nuclear pollution of Afghanistan? Iraq? Libya? If you have a view on the scale of the disaster stop hide behind the fairy tale (Bashar)!

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June 6th, 2012, 8:37 am


180. Uzair8 said:

What Are Iranian Special Forces Doing In Syria?

June 4, 2012

[Selected quotes]

Knowing that Zabadani is strategically important for both Syria and Iran because of its proximity to Lebanon, less than 10 miles from the border, Assad’s generals called in the Quds, as well as another Iranian ally, the Lebanon-based Shiite movement Hezbollah, for help.


“The roots go very deep, and Iran is very invested,” said Achilov. “We cannot expect Iran to let Syria go without a fight.”

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June 6th, 2012, 8:45 am


181. DAWOUD said:

192. Uzair8

Their presence in Syria shows their sectarian desire to persecute Sunnis. Isn’t it enough for the Iranian government to prohibit Sunnis from building mosques in Iran!

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June 6th, 2012, 8:52 am


182. majedkhaldoun said:

Dear Dawood
The difference between Sunni and Shiite started political , later it became religious, and that where they became wrong

BTW I am not against women I have a mother and a daughter. I am strongly for equality between women and men.

I do not understand exatly what you meant, please clarify what you said, and I am not hiding behind anything.

when you address me as Dude, you seem to show your inferiority complex, do I have to remind you?

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June 6th, 2012, 9:12 am


183. irritated said:

#187 Majed

Please can stop your Sunni against Shia propaganda. It’s shameful.
All religious sects and all religions should be respected.
Feel free to criticize own own not the others.

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June 6th, 2012, 9:17 am


184. irritated said:

#183 Amjad

“We all know the answer to that.”

Please speak for yourself. There is no ‘we’

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June 6th, 2012, 9:20 am


185. Uzair8 said:

#194 Dawoud

We have to ask. As an upholder of a brutal dictatorship is Iran any better than America?

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June 6th, 2012, 9:21 am


186. irritated said:

#179 Syria lover

“Yeah, I see Sheherazad Jaafari being “employed” by some pot-bellied Sheikh from the Gulf and competing with his other mistresses until she catches someone older, fatter and richer.”

Are you 15 years old?

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June 6th, 2012, 9:21 am


187. DAWOUD said:


I know that you are decent and NOT against women. The dictator-lovers here on SC just want any opportunity to twist your words in order to rhetorically assault you.

P.S., just like the intellectually-talented TARA, I am NOT a cut-and-paste commentator. I have a great knowledge of the Arab World and politics/IR in general. Accordingly, I will make a prediction regarding Egypt’s run-off elections between Shafik, the “foloul’s” candidate, and Mohammad Mursi. According to Aljazeera (, Egypt’s constitutional court (which is staffed by Mubarak’s foloul) will make a decision regarding the law-which passed in the democratically elected parliament-to ban Mubarak’s high officials from running for political office. Given the the huge backlash if Shafik would win (he only would win through fraud), I think that the constitutional court (which be severely delegitimized if it sides with the Mubarak foloul) would uphold the law, which would disqualify Shafik and lead to one of two scenarios:

1) The third place finisher in the first round, Sabahi, would be eligible to challenge Mursi in the run-off. This would be a could contest for the revolution. Both Mursi and Sabahi opposed Mubarak’s dictatorship and oppose Israeli policies.

2) The first round results would be disqualified, and the entire elections would have to be repeated. This is less favorable to the revolution than option 1, but it is not a negative possibility-mainly because the folouls would be excluded!

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June 6th, 2012, 9:33 am


188. zoo said:

“These demonstrations did not start over a question of democracy. They started over the questions of bread and unemployment, poverty. This is not just about roses – this is about bread,” he said.

Egypt: A hijacked revolution

Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians flooded Cairo’s Tahrir Square ahead of the upcoming presidential runoff as voters voice frustration with the choice of candidates. Many fear the military plans to use the disorder in the country to stay in power.

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June 6th, 2012, 9:35 am


189. Uzair8 said:

Syrian reporter attacked by shoe-wielding youth during live broadcast.

A longer version (biting my tongue sharing MEMRI).

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June 6th, 2012, 9:38 am


190. zoo said:

Despite the high hopes and rumors carried by the media about the demise of Kofi Annan’s peace plan and the withdrawal of support to Bashar Al Assad from China and Russia. These countries stay firm:

NO forced regime change and NO foreign intervention in Syria.
Its’ Kofi Annan’s plan only.

Russia, China ‘decisively against’ Syria intervention
BEIJING – Agence France-Presse
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Hu Jintao shakes hands during a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Beijing, on June 6, 2012. AFP photo

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Hu Jintao shakes hands during a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Beijing, on June 6, 2012. AFP photo
Russia and China strongly opposed intervention and regime change in Syria, said a joint statement released on Wednesday after Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Chinese leaders.

“Russia and China are decisively against attempts to regulate the Syrian crisis with outside military intervention, as well as imposing a policy of regime change, including within the Security Council,” the statement said.

Developments in Syria “are significant for peace and stability in the Middle East and the entire world” and should be regulated through political dialogue among all participants of the conflict, it added.

The two countries also urged support for the peace plan put forward by UN special envoy Kofi Annan.

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June 6th, 2012, 9:43 am


191. zoo said:

A discreet, unofficial, high level, and exclusive FOS meeting?

Western, Arab foreign ministers to convene in Istanbul to discuss Syria

ISTANBUL – Anatolia News Agency
Foreign ministers from several Western and Arab countries will hold an unofficial meeting in Istanbul today to discuss the ongoing crisis in Syria.

Diplomatic sources have confirmed that Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will participate in today’s meeting, as well as officials from France, Germany, Italy and several Arab countries.

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June 6th, 2012, 9:55 am


192. SC Moderation Team said:

A reminder of the rules at Syria Comment:

Messages containing any of the following elements will not be tolerated:

Personal attacks against other contributors;
Racist, sexist, obscene, or otherwise discriminatory or hateful language;
Provocations designed to derail discussions away from substantive debate into dead-end arguments;
Links to commercial sites or posting of commercial messages;
Threats of death or violence;
Persistent violations of Syria Comment’s fair-use policy.

Comments that violate these rules and guidelines may be edited or deleted at the discretion of the moderating team. Furthermore, commentators who repeatedly violate the site regulations may be warned, temporarily suspended from posting, limited to a set quantity of daily posts, or permanently banned.

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June 6th, 2012, 9:56 am


193. Mina said:

Shafiq doesn’t need a fraud to win: Tahrir was almost empty yesterday. (Compare with just after the verdict last week)

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June 6th, 2012, 10:10 am


194. bronco said:

#195 Mina

Saudi Arabia and all western countries, including China and Russia prefer Shafiq in power as Abdel Foutouh, a candidate favored by the liberals, has been eliminated.
Among other things, Shafiq will not be such a threat to Israel and he will be as secular as Mobarak.

Only Qatar and Turkey are trying to force their MB candidate.

Money must be pouring from both sides.

If Shafiq is elected, there is too much danger that Egypt falls in the 1990 Algeria pattern and turns into a civil war with the frustrated MB and Salafists resorting to violence.

I think the SCAF may opt to postpone the second round of the elections.

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June 6th, 2012, 10:30 am


195. Alan said:
‘Bring Iran and Turkey on board Syrian summit’ – Russia
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has called on Iran and Turkey to be included in an upcoming international meeting dedicated to ending the crisis in Syria.
“We believe it is necessary to assemble a meeting of states with real influence on different opposition groups. There are not that many,”
Lavrov said in Beijing, where he is accompanying President Vladimir Putin at a security meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
“It is all permanent members of the UN Security Council, leading countries in the region, it is Turkey; one should not forget Iran, the Arab League, Organization of the Islamic Conference; the EU could contribute, I think,”
he added.
The United Nations has been working to get both loyalists to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the political opposition to accept the so-called Annan Plan, which calls for both sides to immediately recognize a ceasefire followed by diplomatic dialogue.

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June 6th, 2012, 11:02 am


196. zoo said:

Annan coming up with a new plan.

A Road Map for Syria
By David Ignatius

ISTANBUL — Kofi Annan is tinkering with a radical idea for reviving his moribund peace plan for Syria — a road map for political transition there that would be negotiated through a “contact group” that could include, among other nations, Russia and Iran.

The former secretary-general’s new plan was outlined Tuesday by a diplomat who is familiar with the U.N. mission. The proposal, which is expected to be presented to the Security Council later this week, comes as Annan’s peace mediation with President Bashar al-Assad appears to have hit a dead end in Damascus, leading to growing concerns that the Syria crisis will spiral into all-out civil war.

What’s intriguing about Annan’s new approach is that it could give Russia and Iran, the two key supporters of Assad’s survival, some motivation to remove him from power, and also some leverage to protect their interests in a post-Assad Syria. This would also make the plan controversial, with Israel and Saudi Arabia asking why the U.N. would give the mullahs in Tehran a share of the diplomatic action.

The reason Annan is said to be considering this unconventional approach is that nothing else has worked. The United States and its key Western allies don’t want to intervene militarily, fearing that this could produce a highly unpredictable and unstable outcome. The West wants Russia to broker a deal but so far President Vladimir Putin hasn’t seen enough pragmatic benefit to embrace this course.

To break the deadlock, Annan would create his contact group, composed of the permanent members of the Security Council (Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States), plus Saudi Arabia and perhaps Qatar to represent the Arab League, plus Turkey and Iran. The idea is to bring together the countries with most influence on the situation.

This unwieldy group would then draft the transition plan and take it to Assad and the Syrian opposition. This road map would call for a presidential election to choose Assad’s successor, plus a parliamentary ballot and a new constitution — with a timeline for achieving these milestones.

Assad would presumably depart for Russia, which is said to have offered him exile; the Syrian dictator is rumored to have transferred $6 billion in Syrian reserves to Moscow already. Under this scenario, Assad presumably could avoid international prosecution for war crimes. Iran is also said to have offered exile to Assad and his family.

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June 6th, 2012, 11:11 am


197. karabennemsi said:

@175 Antoine:

In post 81 you asked:
“Please tell us what the LCC did in the last 14 months which makes it ‘not truly representative’. … Also please tell us how the LCCs has to offer is worse than what the regime has to offer.”
And in post 85 i answered you:
“What have the LCCs done to prevent this situation (in Qusayr and Homs)? What are they doing to ensure it doesn’t worsen?
Since the LLCs are not able to control or rather suppress such groups, they can not be an alternative to the regime.”
Then in post 89 you asked me for an interview with someone from Qusayr, and in post 94 i presented such an interview to you.
And now you present a video from last June, and ask the same question again as you asked in post 81.

I have no problem with the people in the video, and till last ramadan i thought that the uprising was extremly well managed by the LLCs, amongst others.
But then some rebel forces started using the same methods as the regime to promote a new political system in Syria, and it is not democracy they are fighting for.
Obviously the LLCs were not able to control such groups, and they were not able to form a new system in which peaceful life would be guaranteed. It is a shame that the world thinks nowadays that only a brutal system can keep Syria calm, and it is a shame that the LLCs, among others, were not able to stop this development.
That is why the LLCs are not better than the regime.

The regime guarantees one thing: security. It comes at the cost of poverty and political suppression.
The LLCs can evict the regime from some areas, but they can not provide a government. So once the regime is evicted, there still is no chance of democratic political participation, security is
gone and poverty continues.
And that is why the LLCs appear worse than the regime to me. It is sad though.

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June 6th, 2012, 11:16 am


199. irritated said:

#146 Saalh A eddine

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

You hit the right nerve, I would add frustration to that.
It’s not a question of a beauty competition but one of intelligence and fame.

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June 6th, 2012, 11:41 am


200. Amjad said:

The idea of a “combat ready” Russia is laughable. Half its weaponry is obsolete junk from the 50s which are no match whatsoever for NATO. The best weapons the Russians have are still a decade behind the West’s. Where is the Russian equivalent of the Challenger, Leopard 2 or M-1A2? The T-90 doesn’t even come close.

Also, the United States has vast experience in fighting wars in the Middle East, and has bases and allies it can call upon. What experience or capability do the Russians have in fighting a Middle East war? That bathtub rubber ducky base they have in Tartous?

That’s assuming the Russians are even willing to go to war for Bashar, something they have never done for a client state before. We all know that the Russians are in this only to squeeze Bashar for every penny he has. Once Bashar’s piggy bank is empty, the Russians will cut a deal with the GCC, who so far have not suffered in any shape, way or form from events in Syria despite all of the eye doctor’s impotent threats. That’s real political genius, when you let your enemy destroy himself.

What is it that Napoleon once said? Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.

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June 6th, 2012, 11:43 am


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