From the Comment section:


Out of 220,000, the Syrian army has 140,000 Alawite soldiers. They are paid by the Syrian people to defend them against Israel, instead they are attacking and killing the Syrian people,… How could we be proud of such an army? I am ashamed of such army, whose sole job is to defend Assad not the people. Those who defend such an army are traitors.

the security of minorities in the post Assad regime must be the responsibility of the security forces. In democracy we must respect rule of law.

I am not for revenge, by killing. I am for compensation financially to the victims of Assad clan, and yes we must try the officers who participated in the killing, all of them not the high ranking one only, and those who were involved in corruptions must pay back everything they benefited from.


Majedkhaldoun, The Syrian army is sectarian army. The low ranking Sunnis do not count. It’s sole purpose is to defend one sect. It is not going to protect the people or to defend the borders. I share your contempt. In free Syria, it should be dismantled and reconstructed physically and ideologically, such that the main purpose of it is to protect the people.

Khalid Tlass

I’m looking forward to getting my hands on a few Shabeeh myself. I don’t smoke, but I like the cigarette becoz it would help in burning their devilish skin. And somebody should nuke Iran. Nahj al Balagha should be banned. Al Qardaha should be leveled with cluster bombs, SyAF should do the job.

Amir in Tel Aviv,

Kindly do us a favour and take out Hassan Nasrallah and the entire Hizbullah leadership with laser-guided missiles. Don’t tell me you guys don’t know his exact location. What’s stopping you, if you could do it with such noble leaders like Sheikh Yassin, whats stopping you guys from doing the same to these dirty faggots from Jnoob ?

Haytham Khoury

We should know we are Syrians above all. Even if we disagree with the regime politically, all the citizens of that country including, Bashar and Maher, are our compatriots. Hopefully, justice will prevail with no revenge (and particularly for Bashar, because I think he still has a good element in him). Even if we disagree with the regime, all the cities and towns of Syria, including Querdaha, are our cities and towns.

A reporter sent me this question:

I’m writing an article about why (some) Syrians are still supporting Bashar al Assad despite his brutality and violations (of Ramadan, for example)?

Landis Answers:

The minorities are fearful of any Islamic tinged government that might take the place of the Assad regime. The Christians have been squeezed out of most countries in the Middle East. Anatolia used to be 20% Christian, but by 1922, Turkey have either killed or deported its Christians. Iran has few Christians left since the Islamic Republic was established. Palestine used to have a large Christian population. No more. Caught between Zionism and Islamism, most decamped for less hostile homes. In Lebanon, the Christians took a beating during the civil war and lost their commanding influence in the Lebanese state. In Saudi Arabia, Christians are forbidden from permanent residence or citizenship. Most recently, Christians in Iraq have been preyed upon, causing many to flee; in Egypt, Christians are tasting the lash of Salifist anger; yesterday another church was burned. Christians see the authoritarian regime of the Assads as a last hold out for them in the region. Many are talking about not having anywhere left to run to in the Middle East. They are planning how they might escape and where they might escape to. Alawites are thinking in a similar vein. Of course, much of this fear may be imagined, but as the bloody repression of the uprising continues, the real specter of retribution grows among the average Christian and most particularly, Alawite.

The Reporter responds:

Thank you so much indeed. I thought these sentiments had disappeared after the crackdown but here is what a Christian friend told me, after I mentioned your response to him:

“What the American expert says is 100% true, and i think of my christian and Alawite friends who support the regime. and that exactly what they think. We, as Christians, are always prosecuted in the middle east and i think most of us would rather live under this bloody regime than to throw ourselves into the fire. in addition to that (and that’s my opinion) if the regime fell, there will be chaos, anarchy and civil war. people will pick up arms to take revenge for their dead and people will pick up arms to defend them selves. civil war, like the Iraq one is not far away from us. The only difference is that in Iraq they are roughly 40 – 60% so a bit more fair. in Syria it’s 70 against 10 10 5 5 % and the Christians will flee the country because they don’t have ties in this country anymore they feel it’s not theirs. No one wants them in the region.”

“Please mark the difference when i talk as a christian and when i talk as a Syria citizen. not every reason that i gave is related to my religion. we are Syrian citizens above all, then Christians, but when our existence is in danger, we only look out for ourselves. It hurts every time I say that I don’t want the regime to fall, because, deep down, i know it should go, but survival instinct tells me to support it.”

Currency flight fears mount in Syria
By an FT reporter in Damascus

Fears over the flight of foreign currency and a collapse in investor confidence are increasingly affecting Syria’s struggling economy amid the continued uprising against president Bashar al-Assad, now entering its sixth month.

In a sign of the regime’s concern over the supply of foreign currency, Syria’s central bank this week announced further restrictions on its sale, with Syrians now allowed to buy a maximum of $1,000 no more than twice a year, unless they give an “economic justification”.

Syrians travelling abroad are able to buy currency, but this has now been limited to three trips a year, and the currency must be bought the day before travel, with plane tickets in hand.

The official exchange rate remains at S£47.5 to the dollar, but the black market rate is persistently higher, with dealers asking S£52.5 to the dollar on Tuesday. They maintain they are doing brisk business despite recent attempts by the government to shut them down.

Adib Mayyaleh, Syria’s central bank governor, last month admitted the pound had come “under pressure” as a result of the crisis, while diplomats in Damascus have been among those suggesting that the regime’s foreign currency reserves are depleting rapidly.

Analysts say that growing calls for an embargo on Syria’s oil and gas industry is only increasing the regime’s currency concerns. Oil and gas exports account for up to a third of state revenues and is its single biggest provider of foreign currency.

Hillary Clinton, US secretary of state, has already called on European countries to consider ending its imports of Syrian oil, a call backed by advocacy group Human Rights Watch on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Syrian activists say they plan to put pressure on western oil companies still operating in Syria. The two biggest are Anglo-Dutch company Royal Dutch Shell and France’s Total.

Some analysts agree that an oil embargo will put pressure on a regime that is counting the financial costs of its expanding campaign of repression against anti-government protestors.

“Crackdowns are expensive, you need fuel and you need equipment,” said one analyst in Damascus, who asked not to be named. He also said the regime needed to continue paying the irregular pro-regime gangs, known as “Shabiha”, who take part in the crackdowns, as well as the army and security forces.

“They are not coming out to beat up protesters out of loyalty alone,” he sad. “When the money disappears, so will they.”

But others worry that such measures are not sufficiently targeted, and will damage the wider economy further, harming ordinary Syrians who are already struggling.

“What you are seeing is a lack of investor and consumer confidence, and there is a fear that things can only get worse,” said one local economist. “Investment is down tremendously, spending is down, and these are the biggest contributors to GDP.”

Figures released on Tuesday by the Syrian Investment Agency suggest a dramatic slump in investor confidence in the country. Just 131 private investment projects were licenced in the first half of this year, down more than 40 per cent on the same period in 2010.

The state-run agency oversees investment in Syria’s infrastructure, transport and agriculture sectors, and is seen by local economists as a good indicator of broader investor confidence.

Meanwhile, Syria’s five largest banks saw their assets decline by nearly 17 per cent during the same period, a further sign of the deteriorating business environment. Lebanese banks operating in Syria also report that deposits in their Syrian businesses are down 20 per cent from 2010, as Syrians worried about the impact of the unrest pull their money from banks.

Omar Dahi on Chicago Public Radio today: He gives us a sense of the mood on the ground and whether Syrians will continue to risk their lives for democratic reforms. His lengthy article was published on Syria Comment this weekend.

Emboldened by uprising, Syrian clerics speak out
By Suleiman Al-Khalidi, AMMAN | Tue Aug 16, 2011 10:53am EDT

(Reuters) – Inside an old Damascus mosque, Sheikh Sariya al-Rifai departs from state-sanctioned sermons to warn President Bashar al-Assad that the whole country will rise up against him if he does not halt a bloody clampdown against protesters.

“Beware … all of Syria will erupt if you don’t stop. I hold the leadership responsible for every drop of spilled blood,” Rifai said in a sermon marking dawn prayers on the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, just as tanks rolled into the Sunni Muslim bastion of Hama.

“I never imagined that the leadership of this country would give such a gift to its people and country … blood spilling into the streets of Hama and other provinces.”

Rifai’s comments earlier this month inside the Zaid bin Thabet mosque were seen on an Internet video and confirmed to Reuters by worshippers who attended the prayer service.

A pillar of a conservative religious establishment linked to the state, Rifai comes from a long line of Koran scholars who have taught generations of devout followers and refrained from challenging the iron rule of the Assad family.

But as the civilian death toll from a crackdown on five months of protests rose past 1,700, Rifai joined 19 leading clerics to sign a rare petition, a copy of which was seen by Reuters, blaming Assad for wreaking carnage on the eve of Ramadan, “the month of mercy and compassion.”

The onset of the holy month on August 1 coincided with the start of the bloodiest week in the uprising, helping drive some clerics to break their silence, clerics and analysts say.

Their new boldness could pile more pressure on Assad and give extra momentum to protests against Assad’s minority Alawite rule over the mainly Sunni Muslim country.

Clinton defends Syria policy
By Joby Warrick, Wash Post, 08/16/2011

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Tuesday strongly defended her department’s incremental response to the slayings of protesters in Syria, arguing that demands for the ouster of Syria’s president would accomplish little without the support of key allies in the region.

Clinton also sought to portray the Obama administration’s policy in both Syria and Libya as examples of “smart power,” an approach she said emphasizes collective action and international consensus over unilateral solutions that rely disproportionately on American troops and treasure.

“It’s not just brute force, it’s not just unilateralism, it’s being smart enough to say, ‘You know what? We want a bunch of people singing out of the same hymn book,” said Clinton, who appeared with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta at a national security forum at National Defense University.

In some of her bluntest language to date on the administration’s relatively cautious response to the Syrian uprising, Clinton acknowledged the limited U.S. ability to directly influence Syria, a country with few economic or political ties to the United States. And she struck back at critics who have accused the United States of failing Syria’s pro-democracy movement by refusing so far to publicly call for the removal of President Bashar al-Assad. Administration officials said last week that such a call might come within days.

“It’s not going to be any news if the United States says ‘Assad needs to go.’ OK, fine, what’s next?” asked Clinton, who spoke before a room packed with service members, academics and journalists. “If Turkey says it, if [Saudi] King Abdullah says it, if other people say it, there is no way the Assad regime can ignore it.”

Clinton pointed to fresh successes in building a “chorus of condemnation” against Assad, noting strong statements last week by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states as well as by Turkey, Syria’s neighbor and major trading partner.

Clinton was questioned about Syria during an hour-long discussion that focused heavily on declining U.S. influence during a time of military draw-downs and shrinking budgets. Clinton was asked by one audience member whether the more limited U.S. responses to recent Middle East unrest suggests that the United States is no longer prepared to preserve stability in troubled corners of the globe.

Clinton insisted that Americans would still lead, but she said the administration’s message to the world was that the United States would not consent to carry the burden alone.

“It’s a message that the United States stands for our values, our interests and our security, but that we have a very clear view that others need to be taking the same steps to enforce a universal set of values and interests,” Clinton said.

Both Clinton and Panetta warned of furthering shrinking of U.S. influence and weakened U.S. security if Congress enacts even deeper cuts to the budgets for defense and diplomacy. Noting that both the State and Defense departments already face billions of dollars in cuts….

Clinton says more international pressure needed on Assad
2011-08-16, From Lalit K Jha

Aug. 17 (PTI) — US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today asked the international community, particularly countries having economic ties with Syria, to act against the authoritarian regime of Bashar-al Assad, though she stopped short of asking the Syrian President to leave power. Clinton said the “international chorus of condemnation” against Syria was growing and pointed out that Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries had also joined in the chorus against Assad.

“I am a big believer in results over rhetoric. I think what we’re doing is putting together a very careful set of actions and statements that will make our views very clear….

US Urges Turks, Saudis To Press Assad To Step Down
2011-08-16 17:44:39.935 GMT

WASHINGTON (AFP)–A call by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and others for Syrian President Bashar al Assad to step down would be more effective than one from the United States, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday.

Before canceling Article 8, the Baath Party plans to ‘purchase’ its real estate
By Sami Moubayed, in the Forward

According to media sources, an unannounced Baath Party meeting took place in early August, aimed at taking pre-emptive measures to solidify the party’s standing in the future, once it is no longer “leader of state and society.” That status, after all, is given to the Baath by Article 8 of the Syrian Constitution, which is expected to be canceled soon. Once it does, the party’s privileged status in society will also be canceled, meaning, the Baathists will have to secure land, real estate, and income for their party—whose membership will likely drop from the current 2.8 million.

One measure is to purchase all property that the party currently holds free-of-charge, which was given to it by the Syrian government since the Baathists came to power in March 1963. This would apply to the party headquarters in Mazraa in the heart of the Syrian capital, and the 14-floor building that houses the party daily al-Baath, along with the Ministry of Information on the Mezzeh Autostrade. Other buildings that would be bought by the party are the offices of its Regional Command in the posh Abu Rummaneh district, and headquarters of its National Command in Baramkeh.

Additionally, media sources said that the Baath Party recently bought a plot of land in rural Damascus, with the aim of establishing a university that would generate revenue—and help the Baathists recruit members and indoctrinate young people with their trinity of “Unity, Freedom, and Socialism.” That property cost 150 million SP ($3 million USD). Finally, the Baathists toyed with the idea of establishing a satellite channel carrying their name, al-Baath, aimed at reaching a wider Arab audience with Baathist ideology.

‘Rebels want no talks with govt in Syria’ – expert
Aug 16, 2011 16:58 Moscow Time

Information warfare in Syria has reached its peak, Mr. Oleg Fomin, deputy chief of the Russian Committee for Solidarity with Syria and Libya, said during a conference held by the RIA-Novosti news agency.

Mr. Fomin stressed that western media focus more on details rather than the roots of the crisis in Syria.

He warned against the Libyan scenario in Syria.

Many experts who took part in the conference agreed that armed gangs now active in Syria are not interested in dialogue with the authorities…..

Saudi Arabia Moves to Take Down Syria, Iran and Hezbollah
By: Bruce Riedel | The National Interest

After months of protests and regime violence, King Abdallah of Saudi Arabia, one of the last absolute monarchs in the world, has called on Syria?s embattled president, Bashar al-Assad, to stop the ?killing machine? …. The Saudis sense a strategic opportunity has opened in Syria, a unique chance to deal a mortal blow to one of their enemies, the Shia terror group Hezbollah, and a serious blow to their regional adversary Iran. Since Israel’s foolish invasion of Lebanon in 1982, the Syrian regime of Hafez and Bashar Assad has been Iran’s key partner in creating Hezbollah, arming it to the teeth with thousands of rockets and missiles and sending it to create terror throughout the region. For decades Damascus has allowed Tehran to use its airports and ports to transfer arms to Hezbollah, and more recently it has provided much of its own equipment directly to the Shia group. Iranian Revolutionary Guards have been based in Syria and thousands of Iranian tourists and spies have come to worship at Damascus’ Sayyidah Zaynab mosque, a traditional Shia holy site and an excellent place for extremists to get together under the protective eye of Syrian intelligence.

Iran banks all on Assad’s survival
By Mahan Abedin

The continuing unrest in Syria presents Iran with multiple challenges straddling the strategic, political and ideological spheres. While officially Iran is committed to the survival of the Syrian regime, the perceived gravity of the situation has led an increasing number of former Iranian diplomats and academics to voice concern over the Islamic Republic’s failure to hedge its bets in Syria.

The fear – expressed in its most extreme form – is that the downfall of President Bashar al-Assad may lead to the collapse of the Iranian-Syrian strategic alliance, thus undermining the “resistance axis” in the region.

While these fears are exaggerated, nonetheless there is a widespread feeling in the country that the lack of nuance in Iran’s

position – and specifically the absence of any contact with Syrian opposition groups – is not configured to protect Iran’s interests in what is by all accounts a highly significant political and strategic moment in the region.

Nevertheless, the Iranian government is confident that the Syrian regime can weather the storm, and that the situation is being deliberately exaggerated by Western media and intelligence services, who hope to extract strategic concessions from Assad further down the road.

Iran is also concerned by regional reactions to the crisis, especially by the pro-active Turkish position, which from an Iranian point of view is exploiting a putative humanitarian crisis to expand Turkish influence in the region. The real fear is not so much centered on Turkish influence (which is viewed as relatively benign) but that Turkey is working at the behest of Washington and key European states to re-align Syria away from Iran.

CFR: Cranking up Pressure on Syria
2011-08-16, Interviewee: Andrew Tabler

…He says that at this point, any gestures Assad makes toward reform are no longer credible, and the international community should invoke tough sanctions against Syria’s oil exports, 96 percent of which are purchased Europe. He also notes that the Saudis, in particular, are concerned about the potential for Iran to increase its backing of Assad against the opposition…..

Irony of Iraq: American ‘Ally’ Supports Bloody Syrian Repression

The grim realities of the Iraq war, from its multi-trillion-dollar expense to its awful cost in American and Iraqi lives, was supposed to be mitigated by progress toward democracy in the Mideast – or so the neoconservative politicians and pundits who promoted the invasion have long told us. Now the credibility of that argument, which was never very persuasive, has been decisively undermined by the latest developments in Baghdad, where President Nouri Kamal al-Maliki is lending support to the Assad regime’s bloody repression of non-violent democracy protesters in neighboring Syria. Troubling questions about the nature of the Shia parties that came to power following the fall of Saddam Hussein – and especially their relationship with the Iranian government — have long been voiced by critics of the war. Yet today, as Maliki and members of his ruling party openly attack the Syrian protesters while promoting economic deals with both Iran and Syria, those questions seem to have been answered. The Iraqi regime has at last delivered a verdict on the neoconservative justification for the war – and that verdict could scarcely be more negative. READ MORE

Slain Syrian protestors are Martyrs – Al-Obeikan
By Mohamed al-Qushairi

Jeddah, Asharq Al-Awsat- Sheikh Mohamed Abdul-Mohsen al-Obeikan, a renowned Saudi scholar, has put an end to the controversy over whether or not the slain Syrians protestors who were killed during anti-government demonstrations can be generally considered as “martyrs”. He deemed that they could be considered as “martyrs” because “they were killed unjustly”. The statement was made amidst a state of controversy among sheikhs and scholars, with regards to the status of the dead Syrian protestors. Some have labeled them as martyrs, whereas others have declined this description because their demands are material and have caused internal conflicts”.

Sheikh Abdul-Mohsen al-Obeikan, a consultant at the Saudi Royal Council, told Asharq al-Awsat in a telephone interview that “judging whether someone will go to heaven or hell is impermissible, except those who have already been designated by God and his prophet (PBUH). As for those who have died as a result of what is happening in Syria, they are martyrs, God willing, because they were killed unjustly.” He added that “without a doubt, they were killed unjustly and without committing a sin; they were killed only because they demanded their rights.” Al-Obeikan believed their killers were tyrants and corrupt.

When asked about the Syrian army’s practices against its own people, tightening its security grip, and preventing them from going to mosques to perform religious rituals during Ramadan – especially the Taraweeh prayers – with the aim of preventing gatherings, al-Obeikan said, “this is one of the most dreadful crimes, because Allah said “And who is more unjust than he who forbids that in places for the worship of Allah, Allah’s name should be celebrated?-whose zeal is (in fact) to ruin them? It was not fitting that such should themselves enter them except in fear. For them there is nothing but disgrace in this world, and in the world to come, an exceeding torment”, Surat al-Baqara; Verse 114.

The incidents in Syria have indeed sparked a lively debate about whether those who protested against the Syrian regime should be called protestors, terrorists, martyrs, or any other name. The internet websites of some sheikhs and scholars have posted numerous reactions about whether or not the slain Syrian protestors should be considered martyrs, in view of some claims that the state of tension there has revolved around material demands, whereas others have said that the protestors, by taking to streets, have caused a state of sedition.

Renowned Muslim scholar Sheikh Aaidh al-Qarni had previously urged Muslim scholars everywhere to issue a statement to the entire Muslim nation, to emphasize that “Jihad and the act of deterring a tyrant are both legitimate duties”. He said that “what is happening in Syria is unprecedented; the regime is bombarding mosques, and the prayers inside supplicate assistance from God to protect them against the deeds which even Zionists would not dare commit.” Sheikh al-Qarni described what the protestors are suffering at the hands of the regime as “no less brutal than the crimes committed by the Mongolian leader Hulagu Khan.”….


Christian Sci Mn: Seize the sanctions moment in Syria

When the United Nations Security Council meets on Thursday to discuss Syria, it should seize the moment to impose multiple sanctions on the Assad regime and its network of support. Such measures would be consistent with past council sanctions aimed …

DJ US Urges Turks, Saudis To Press Assad To Step Down
2011-08-16 17:44:39.935 GMT

WASHINGTON (AFP)–A call by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and others for Syrian President Bashar al Assad to step down would be more effective than one from the United States, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday. U.S. officials said privately last week that the United States was preparing to explicitly urge Assad to quit power over his regime’s deadly crackdown on protests, but Clinton suggested Washington was now not ready to do so. “It’s not going to be any news if the United States says Assad needs to go. Ok, fine. What’s next?” the chief U.S. diplomat told an audience at National Defense University. ” If Turkey says it, if King Abdullah [of Saudi Arabia] says it, if other people say it, there’s no way the Assad regime can ignore it,” Clinton said in a conversation with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta moderated by CNN.

Church burning deepens tumult of Egypt transition
CAIRO – The Associated Press

Egyptian Army soldiers stand guard outside the burned Virgin Mary church in the Imbaba neighborhood of Cairo. AP photo.

Relations between Egypt’s Muslims and Christians have degenerated to a new low after riots left 12 people dead and a church burned, adding to the disorder of the country’s post-revolution transition to democracy.

The attack on the church was the latest sign of assertiveness by an extreme, ultraconservative movement of Muslims known as Salafis, whose increasing hostility toward Egypt’s Coptic Christians over the past few months has met with little interference from the country’s military rulers.

Salafis have been blamed for other recent attacks on Christians and others they don’t approve of. In one attack, a Christian man had an ear cut off for renting an apartment to a Muslim woman suspected of involvement in prostitution.

The latest violence, which erupted in fresh clashes Sunday between Muslims and Christians who pelted each other with stones in another part of Cairo, also pointed to what many see as reluctance of the armed forces council to act. The council took temporary control of the country after President Hosni Mubarak was deposed on Feb. 11.

Syrian troops withdraws from E. province,
2011-08-16 21:20:52

DEIR AL-ZOUR, Syria, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) — Syrian army troops started a full withdrawal Tuesday from the eastern province of Deir al-Zour, which has become a flashpoint of the five-month protests in the country.

During a trip organized by the Syrian Information Ministry for Arab and foreign correspondents to Deir al-Zour, a Xinhua reporter witnessed the withdrawal of the troops amid cheerful mood of the residents as security and stability have been restored to the province.

“The situation in Deir al-Zour was difficult and disturbing until the army entered the city and carried out a number of missions to restore tranquility and security,” the reporter cited some local residents as saying.

Army troops entered Deir al-Zour on Aug. 8 for what the authorities said as “hunting down armed groups that terrorized people and committed atrocities in the city.”

Syria blames the five-month unrest on foreign conspiracy and armed groups.

However, opposition activists said the army was entering some restive cities nationwide to back the security apparatuses in cracking down anti-government protests.

Deir al-Zour, some 432 kilometers east of the capital Damascus, is known for its well-armed clans and tribes that have connections in neighboring Iraq. The area has been a scene of anti-government protests over the past weeks.

Iran is using the PKK to trap Turkey – Zaman

…. First, by launching an operation against PJAK, which had declared a cease-fire long before Iran’s offensive, Iran was hoping to ensure that PJAK will not be used as a destabilizing element in the coming months, because Iran calculates that if the Syrian regime falls, the next stop for the “Arab Spring” is Tehran.

Secondly, and most importantly, Turkey is distancing itself from the Assad regime, which Iran supports, and is getting closer to the West. Iran doesn’t like this because it considers Turkey a gateway to the rest of the world. By launching a military operation against PJAK and circulating the idea that it may have captured one of its leaders, Iran could be seeking to stir up the Turkish public’s anxiety against the PKK and create a political climate that would force the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government to conduct its own cross-border operations against the PKK.

If the AK Party government were to launch a cross-border operation targeting the Kandil Mountains and PKK camps in northern Iraq, Iran is well aware of the fact that the Kurdish population in Turkey would organize large public demonstrations in the streets, which in turn would force Turkey to launch a massive crackdown against Kurds and in the end have to potential to bring Turkey down to level of the Iranian regime and the Assad regime in Syria.

Unfortunately, the tone of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government seems to suggest that Turkey may make the mistake that Iran is excitedly waiting for.

Even Former Friends Abandon Syria’s Regime, Mideastwire.com, August 16, 2011 8:45 AM

Aug. 15, 2011 (Bloomberg) — As the death toll from unrest in Syria mounts, with perhaps as many as 2,000 killed in the past five months, Mideast commentators who support the Syrian regime have become increasingly rare.

Even the publications of Syria’s traditional allies, such as the Palestinian Hamas movement, whose top leadership is based in Damascus, are giving space to harsh indictments of those loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

In the pro-Hamas, Gaza-based daily Al-Resaleh last week, columnist Moumen Bseiso wrote that the Syrian regime “is extremely hostile to the aspirations and rights of its people” even though it enjoys “an honorable record at the foreign level” as a leader of resistance to Israeli and Western agendas in the region.

In an unsubtle reference to Assad’s confident pronouncement to the Wall Street Journal at the beginning of the year that Syria was immune to the uprisings in the rest of the Arab world because of its foreign policy, Bseiso concluded that coexistence between the “course of domestic tyranny and foreign dignity … cannot last forever.” The values of “freedom, dignity and justice are absolute values and strategic principles that cannot be traded.”

Some of the strongest criticism has come from Saudi owned media, especially in the wake of Saudi King Abdullah’s recent call for Assad to “stop the killing machine” followed by Saudi Arabia’s recall of its ambassador to Syria.

In the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat, one of the most widely circulated Saudi-owned dailies, 15 of the last 19 opinion pieces focused on Syria, with almost all arguing that the Syrian regime was unambiguously evil and would inevitably fall…

Comments (278)

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251. majedkhaldoon said:

As Surgeons we always think to justify our words and actions(state the indications) and seriously consider the consequences(complications) of our actions.
Bashar is not a good doctor(president),since he did not have good justifications for his actions, and never consider the consequences.
I see other doctors on this forum who are doing the same, some are pure supporters of Assad, and some say contradictory statements,to sound in the middle,but they are truely for the regime.
The UN is meeting today to view Bashar regime anti humanitarian crimes, and they have full right to turn him to the international court.

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August 18th, 2011, 10:13 am


252. newfolder said:

the U.S and E.U are now singing the Kashoush song “Yallah Ir7al Ya Bashar”!

Game Over Jr. take your shitty family and get the hell out.

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August 18th, 2011, 10:17 am


253. sheila said:

To dear #174. Ali ,
I hope you realize that for 400 women to be raped and 250 of them to turn out pregnant is statistically impossible.

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August 18th, 2011, 10:17 am


254. Abughassan said:

The last time I checked,good surgeons like to stabilize patients before surgery. There is no sense in claiming that ” the surgery was successful but the patient died”..
There in nothing wrong in stopping the bleeding by putting an end to violence. I realize that this requires a change of the regime ,which i support,but that does not mean inciting more violence,throwing charges of treason against ordinary Syrians and insisting on an “everything or nothing” approach.
Nobody owns the whole truth except those who think that they are chosen by a higher power to guide the masses,Bashar et al are in this category,I will not support others who try to do the same.

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August 18th, 2011, 10:37 am


255. Ales said:

The Syria is now a playground for world realpolitik.
Assad can say anything, promise anything or even do almost anything except stepping down, but it won’t affect the chosen path of alliance made against him in last months. This alliance consists from USA, Qatar, SA, Turkey, almost entire West Europe and Australia. Also connected to this alliance are Jordan and Egypt, but keeping low profile.

We can expect coordinated effort to put pressure on Assad to resign, more sanctions and more covert support for protesters. Media will stay same as now, offering activists sum up of what is supposedly going on, daily disinformation (soon to come: chemical weapons, nuclear reactor, more human rights violations accusations, flight of Palestinian refugees to all states except their homeland Israel, …) and no arguments or events on the ground will change this course. We can see this in Libya, where it’s fairly sure at least 100 people are killed daily, because Gaddafi supposedly) continues to oppress and kill civilians.

Syria’s government knows all this and will not bow to pressure, counting on support of Russia and China. Many other countries in America, Africa and Asia (which can’t be bought or pressured by USA) are also uneasy with this obviously prepared scenario. It’s too obvious Iraq, Iran and Libya like. Expect Russia and China to continue to block any SC action, their fears about subverting it are real. Russia remembers well Georgia lesson, where a tiny state attacked them and enjoyed blind (organized, paid, dictated, …) media support, no matter the facts that Georgia attacked. I remember very well how at that time Russia called SC extra session to stop fighting, but USA with support of GB prevented resolution to stop fighting (they hoped Georgia will win). Almost same scenario happened in Lebanon in 2006, where they waited for Israel to win).

Assad will survive, if people of Syria keep supporting him..it will take about a year or two or three until pressure start to subside. I do believe majority of Syrians still support Assad as only realistic way forward. At this point I don’t believe anti Assad coalition wants elections. Did they allow it as solution in Libya? No, cause Gaddafi would won. Same story now, election is not enough for coalition now.

Please let independent media inside Syria. The Anti Assad will continue to publish same stories as now (babies in incubators killed, …) but there’s a part of of media that will also report facts as they are seen.

What does it seem to me? In country with Internet connection, millions of mobile phones, active opposition that is eager to publish any government caused destruction/death, all mosques are still standing and cities do not look Grozny like after months of army attacks.

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August 18th, 2011, 11:01 am


256. newfolder said:

AbuGhasan in your never-ending quest to be the peacemaker and the rational middle man, you’re making the time old mistake of not heeding the ancient “adage irad2 al nas ghaya la todrak” – you can’t please all of the people all of the time. I realize your intentions are good, and that you’re a decent man trying to do what’s right by a country which you left long ago. And herein lies the problem, you’re disconnected from Syria, hence your irrational insistence on equating the homicidal maniacs of the Assads with the people who took up sticks and light arms to defend their families and neighborhoods. You just can’t equate the two by any stretch of logic, and reaching out to the minhibak gang is an exercise in futility and madness. They don’t want to listen, they want to kill anyone who disagrees with their God Bashar, they want to burn down their homes and eat their kids too.

Please stop trying to make bridges between the killers and their victims, the same reasons that made you leave Syria are the same reasons this revolution happened in the first place. Poverty, humiliation, servitude and oppression.

Kahalas, everyone take sides now, there’s a war going on. We’re going to win and get rid of Assad and his killers.

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August 18th, 2011, 11:13 am


257. jad said:

Ya 7aram ya Doudeh, you totally lost it, you went from shitty attitude to marjeh attitude! LOLOL*
I thought that you will be happy about Abushama telling Besho to go away.
Any-who, just take your usual mental medication to get you back to the usual shitty attitude of yours, it’s funnier than the new crazy one.
Get well soon!

*I add OL at the end of your original LOL, it looks better.

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August 18th, 2011, 11:13 am


258. Haytham Khoury said:

Dear majedkhaldoon:

My be your comment target me. I never intended to be in the middle. I have been always supported the revolution with out reserve. If I called for no revenge few days ago, it was for the sake of the Syrian people, because the cycle of revenge will create situation like Iraq. We should not forget many of the early armed groups in Iraq were remenant of Iraqi military that was dissolved by the American. If really you want to see may contribution to the revolution please read the following document. I did not put the full text for reasons that you know, but I can send it to you.


Also please refer to the website below. All the posts with the nickname “Syrian Pride” are mine. Many of tactics that I advised to fight the regime were used.

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August 18th, 2011, 11:14 am


259. Abughassan said:

Newfolder,read my old folders before you decide that I equated regime brutality with anti regime violence. Yes I left Syria and I do not believe that expats matter much today but I can not accept violence and I will not support calls for more violence.
Asad and his regime will not be part of the future,but I do not see a “future” without engaging all Syrians in the trip ahead. We need a regime change not a game of musical chairs.

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August 18th, 2011, 11:22 am


260. jad said:

Change your last name to be accepted, you are not ‘good’ enough.
You will always be judged by the radicals according to your sect, being a Sunni, Alawite, Druz, Shia, Christian, Ismaili or Atheist (la sama7 Allah)..welcome to the middle east.

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August 18th, 2011, 11:22 am


261. Haytham Khoury said:

In a letter that I addressed to Burhan Ghaliou and I did not put on my blog, I said to him:

“I am a hematologist. When I have a patient with leukemia, I give my patient chemotherapy. I never say my patient will recover by himself. I take care of my patient everyday to limit the complications. In our case, the patient is Syria, the cancer is the regime, the chemotherapy is the demonstration and the physician should be the opposition.”

I maintain my metaphore; further, I will say too much chemotherapy may kill the patient, too.For this reason, all what I said about the neccessity of not making extreme meseaures, I did not mean from it to appear “moderate”, but because I have my own opinion and vision on how to cure my patient from the cancer without causing him or her unwantted damage.

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August 18th, 2011, 11:32 am


262. Haytham Khoury said:

Dear Jad:

I hope that you are wrong. However, I will not do that, beccause from now and on we should face the realities as they are in Syria. All Syrians whatever their sect or race are full Syrian citizens. For this reason, I have intended to put my full name and I will continue to do so. As you can see from all my correspondance with the people related to revolution, I never cared about their sects or race. That is because my only alllegiances are only to the Syrian people; it is not to any sect or any party. I will continue to do so till the last breathe in my life. I will fight till the end for my vision Syria.I will fight till the end for Syria that I am proud of. Please come join me guys.

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August 18th, 2011, 11:47 am


263. beaware said:

EU and US say Syria’s Assad must step down
Aug 19, 2011
BRUSSELS // The European Union told Syrian President Bashar Al Assad today to step down, following a similar call by the United States, and threatened to toughen its sanctions against his regime.

“The EU has repeatedly emphasised that the brutal repression must be stopped … The Syrian leadership, however, has remained defiant,” the EU’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said in a statement.

“This shows that the Syrian regime is unwilling to change… The EU notes the complete loss of Bashar Al Assad’s legitimacy in the eyes of the Syrian people and the necessity for him to step aside,” she said.

Ms Ashton said the EU’s 27 governments were preparing to extend their list of Syrian entities targeted by EU sanctions and discussing ways to broaden the bloc’s measures against Mr Assad.

“The EU is moving ahead with discussing further restrictive measures that will broaden its sanctions against the Syrian regime. By these efforts we continue to aim at assisting the Syrian people to achieve their legitimate aspirations,” she said

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August 18th, 2011, 12:06 pm


264. Aboud said:

“I thought that you will be happy about Abushama telling Besho to go away.”

YES! The term Besho has infiltrated menhebak usage! Woooohooo! I’m a genius 🙂

And its not just Obama who told junior to take a hike, or maybe you haven’t noticed? The three most important European nations just told him the same thing. You remember Europe, right? The continent your foreign minister removed from the map? LOL! 🙂

And I like you are stealing my insults. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

“This alliance consists from USA, Qatar, SA, Turkey, almost entire West Europe and Australia. Also connected to this alliance are Jordan and Egypt, but keeping low profile.”

Again, kindly explain why junior is so important that half the world, which usually can’t agree on anything, somehow seem to be part of a nefarious plot to remove him. Is the Pope in on it too? And Switzerland? And Italy? And Tunisia?

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August 18th, 2011, 12:06 pm


265. beaware said:

“UN withdrawal is part of campaign to demonize Syria”
Published: 18 August, 2011, 03:13
The UN announced that it would be removing non-essential staff from its offices in Syria amid growing concern over the violent crackdown by government forces on demonstrators.

­The Syrian government responded by inviting UN personnel to observe the situation on the ground.

The director of the Canadian-based Center for Research on Globalization, Michel Chossudovsky, says much of the hype around the Syrian crisis originates from abroad.

“I think this is really part of the public relations campaign to demonize the Syrian government without addressing the fundamental causes of the crisis,” he stated. “This is not a peaceful protest movement. It is an armed insurrection by gunmen, well-organized mercenaries and it is confirmed not only by government sources. Let’s examine: Israeli and Lebanese sources say the protesters have heavy machine guns…Since when are peaceful civilian protesters armed with heavy machine guns?… And I think the United Nations decided to remove its non-essential staff essentially as a prelude to tomorrow’s [August 18] session at the UN Security Council.”

Chossudovsky says he spent a couple of months in Syria earlier this year and left the country shortly before the violence started in mid-March. He is sure the insurgency there is part of an intelligence operation.

“The question we have to ask ourselves: Who are the sources of this killing, what are the underlying causes of this insurrection?” he said. “We are dealing with a big lie as far as the media information is concerned. The media doesn’t even have access to Syria. They are drumming up the whole series of interpretations which are, from my point, totally biased.”

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August 18th, 2011, 12:09 pm


266. beaware said:

Syrian leader signals reconciliation
Fedoruk Vladimir
Aug 18, 2011 16:13 Moscow Time
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has told UN chief Ban Ki-moon that Syrian army and police have stopped all military operations against protesters, a UN spokesman said.

Mr. Assad was responding to a demand from the UN secretary general during a phone call that “all military operations and mass arrest must cease immediately”.

The UN secretary general expressed alarm at the latest reports of continued widespread violations of human rights and excessive use of force by Syrian security forces against civilians across Syria.

Qatar’s Al Jazeera cites local human rights groups as saying that troops are still deployed in the cities of Latakia and Deir al-Zour.

In contrast, reports by Syria’s Sana say that a delegation of 70 journalists from 43 Arab and western news agencies saw troops pulling out of Deir al-Zour, where an assault on opposition forces had been continuing since last Wednesday, killing 32 civilians. Reports say that more than 35 people were killed in Latakia, where anti-government protests had been the worst and the authorities had to bring in naval forces to quell the rebels.

Boris Dolgov, from the Oriental Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, comments:

“It looks like Damascus has succeeded in suppressing the uprising. President Bashar al-Assad based his statements on reality. In a way, he also wanted to convince the international community that the situation is back to normal and that Syria’s law enforcers have crushed whatever armed units have been operating on the territory of Syria.”

Mr.Assad is prepared to negotiate a peace settlement but not with all members of the opposition, Boris Dolgov says:

“Dialogue is possible and has been going on with opposition leaders who call for constructive, democratic changes. But there are armed opposition groups that are fighting against the government and will not negotiate any democratic freedoms as long as President Assad is in power. They aim at toppling the president and don’t care what will happen next. This is because these groups are so motley, consisting of members of the Muslim Brotherhood, and mercenaries from Afghanistan and Arab countries. Among them are Islamists who waged a war against the president’s father Hafez Assad in the 1980s.”

UN chief Ban Ki-moon urged Bashar al-Assad to embark on reforms which would bring about radical democratic changes. He called on the Syrian leader to exclude any military intervention in this process. Apparently, the arrival of a UN mission to Syria should provide a new incentive for resolving the crisis. Bashar al-Assad assured Ban Ki-moon that the United Nations would get access to various locations in Syria. Experts are required to assess the humanitarian situation and prepare recommendations for the forthcoming closed-door consultations in the UN Security Council.

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August 18th, 2011, 12:14 pm


267. beaware said:

Ramadan TV drama fuels sectarian fears in Iraq
Aug 18, 2011
BAGHDAD // A move by Iraqi legislators to ban a television drama about events leading up to the historic split in Islam into Sunni and Shiite sects lays bare the fears of anything that could ignite sectarian tensions as US troops prepare to leave.

Iraq’s parliament voted on Saturday to ask the Communication and Media Commission, a media regulator affiliated with parliament, to ban Al Hassan and Al Hussein on the grounds it incites sectarian tensions and misrepresents historical facts
The banned series, a joint Arab work with a Syrian director and Kuwait production company, revolves around the lives of Al Hassan and Al Hussein, grandsons of Prophet Mohammed, and depicts the infighting between Muslims over the Islamic caliphate after the death of the Prophet.

The two imams are revered by both Sunni and Shiite Muslims but their lives, and deaths, mark the start of a deep rift between Muslims – an era known by many as “the Great Sedition” after which Islam split into Sunni and Shiite.

Only one Iraqi channel, Baghdad TV, broadcast the show during the holy month of Ramadan. The channel is owned by a conservative Sunni party, which has a handful of seats in parliament.

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August 18th, 2011, 12:18 pm


268. beaware said:

Syria’s Deir Ezzor cheers army on exit
Published: August 16, 2011

DEIR EZZOR: Syrian troops pulled out from the flashpoint protest city of Deir Ezzor on Tuesday, capping a 15-day operation to expel “terrorists,” an AFP reporter on a government-sponsored tour said.

Hundreds of residents sprinkled troops with rice and flowers — in a traditional Arab greeting — as they withdrew from the city in a military convoy bearing a banner that read “Soldiers of Assad.”

“The people and Deir Ezzor want (President) Bashar al-Assad,” and “We will sacrifice our blood and soul for you,” the soldiers chanted in honour of the embattled leader.

“Allah, Syria and Bashar,” cried residents.

Several residents described to AFP days of “horror” at the hands of “armed terrorist groups,” echoing government charges that terrorists were to blame for the past five months of bloodshed in Syria.

Rights groups say a brutal crackdown on dissent by Assad’s security forces has killed more than 1,800 civilians since mid-March, while 416 security forces have also died.

According to activists, the operation in Deir Ezzor, the largest city in eastern city, cost 30 lives.

“The army conducted a quick and sensible operation in Deir Ezzor in order to restore stability and calm at the request of residents,” who had complained of armed groups, an army officer told reporters.

He said gunmen had encircled the city and erected checkpoints.

Journalists visited Deir Ezzor’s main square, the epicentre of local pro-democracy and anti-regime rallies that pro-democracy protesters have renamed “Freedom Square.”

“It started with peaceful protests. Then they took the central square and merchants shuttered their shops in a general strike. After that, armed fighters took over the city and put up checkpoints,” said resident Ahmed Nasr, 38.

He said local population had appealed for the army to intervene after the city was overtaken by “terrorists of all ages,” some as young as 12.

Ahmed Abdel Khazem, 40, said he “lived in terror of armed terrorist gangs who cut roads, prevented traffic in and out of the city, and pillaged shops,” many of which remained closed on Tuesday.

“Assad is the Eagle of the Arabs,” and “The conspiracy is over, America,” read fresh graffiti on city centre walls.

Deir Ezzor province governor Samir Osman, whose office bore the scars of gunfire, said armed groups waged a campaign of terror and intimidation against officials, security and police officers, and public buildings.

The aim of the campaign was to “ruin the reputation of the state” and “serve Israel,” he said, adding that soldiers were killed by snipers posted on the minaret of a mosque.

“I know personally that some people are plotting against Syria and they have named themselves the opposition,” he said. But “everything is now back to normal and citizens are getting on with their lives.”

The governor also promised to tackle the demands of pro-democracy protesters. “The people have demands which we will satisfy at the level of Deir Ezzor and the country,” he said.

Syrian troops last week withdrew from another hotbed of dissent, Hama, after a 10-day operation that fuelled outrage abroad as authorities press on with their deadly crackdown on dissent through the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

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August 18th, 2011, 12:25 pm


269. uzair8 said:

Wow! This is getting serious now. With Obama’s statement and sanctions on Syrian oil. I just watched Fawaz Gerges’ analysis on AJE and it reality of the situation dawned on me.

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August 18th, 2011, 12:35 pm


270. Jasmine said:

To #52
Dear Revlon
Although I am not fully convinced with your reply,but I do appreciate the politeness and precision with the answer provided.

When we inherit the religion from our parents,why do we have to accept it blindly with all the accessories attached to it?

doesn’t matter if India is doing that(by the way the Chinese are discovering the meaning of Christianity and Islam recently and I am sure that you know about it).

Don’t you think by criticising our faith sometimes will lead us into more peaceful acceptance and tolerance for the others from different religions?

Would you vote for a Christian lady,as a president in Syria in the future?

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August 18th, 2011, 12:52 pm


271. Revlon said:

I feel the issue of peaceful activism need to be revisited.

You said:
“As much as I would like the shabiha and criminal security forces get what they deserve, I remain convinced that taking up arms is a big mistake. The secret of success is in keeping it peaceful”. It’s easy for me to say that, but that’s what the demonstrators have been saying all along.

I say:
For a movement to survive and be successful it would need to continuously re-examine its principles and tactics to stay in sync with and adapt to emerging adverse changes, or risk to be overtaken by these changes. The falling regime is a case in point.

The principle of peaceful activism was declared as the chosen means for achieving the goals of the people in freedom.
It was the natural choice for non-organised, non-partisan members of the civil society.
It was strongly believed then, that it would effect the desired change based on the following preconceptions:
1. It largely worked in the Tunisian and Egyptian examples.
2. People truly believed that Jr would be different from his father in that he would be more accommodating to peaceful demonstrations.
3. There was a genuine desire to achieve a peaceful change that avoids loss of lives and preserves national unity.

Now, over five months later into the revolution, these preconceptions proved to have been wishful thinking.

The revolution is now at crossroads, and I feel it is time to re-examine its principles and tactics to stay viable, minimise its human losses and achieve its set goals.

The revolution could choose to:
1. Stay the course and maintain peaceful activism and refuse any direct foreign military intervention, counting on international sanctions, the trickle of defections, and divine intervention.
– The regime has no problem maintaining current level of brutality for several months, and probably years if continued to be logistically and operationally supported as they have been by Iran and Hizballah. The intention to build an air base in latakia and the lukewarm reception of Syrian refugees in Lebanon underscore the seriousness of such alliance.
– In the meanwhile, the livelihood of demonstrators, their families, and their supporters will go from bad to worse by the day. There is no real indication that imprisonment, torture, and killing will stop even if the demonstrators chose to protest in the privacy of their homes!
– In the meanwhile, there is a growing sense of injustice and the need to act in self defence. Such trend, once established shall herald the inception of civil armed resistance.

2. Adapt to adversities and change tactics to minimise losses and expedite the change, without the need for direct military intervention.
– Peaceful activism is a mean for achieving change. It is not a sacred goal by itself.
– On the other hand, human life is sacred. Every practical measure need to be wisely sought for and tapped to protect human life and livelihood.
– It is widely believed that encouraging defection amongst armed forces to be essential in breaking down Jr’s repressive armed forces.
– To achieve that, potential defectors need to have a viable alternative that secure them a safe haven, a living and the ability to defend their exposed families.
– Helping the burgeoning FSA to organise and take on the responsibility of guarding the perimeters of cities and towns would serve both to save civilian lives and weaken the argument and trend to the self arming of civilians.

3. Call for foreign intervention, Libya style.

I feel that there is still a concensus on avoiding the last choice.
I also feel there is concensus amongst Revolution advocates in exile to stick to the first choice.
I also notice growing calls amongst some ground activists to supplement their peaceful activism with life saving measures, including assigning combat roles to defecting FSA.

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August 18th, 2011, 1:03 pm


272. Revlon said:

206. Dear OFF THE WALL

You said:
“Your comment # 198 overlooks one of the most critical disadvantages of forming a revolutionary army using defectors as its core. Building a credible army resistance requires significant resources, weapons, ammo, and equipment. This requires both financing and supplies. Meaning that someone must provide resources, thus inviting external support, and logically interference or control.”

Indeed my friend, financing and logistical and operational support are needed.
Such could be garnered without compromising the autonomy and independence of the revolution.
The parallel of peaceful activism is a case in point. It has been carried out from EU and US and has required financial, logistical and operational support from external sources.
That has been achieved without compromising the independence of the decision making of the revolution.
Off course, the price tag for supporting an able FSA shall be much higher.
The revolution can draw from the frozen assets of the Syrian state and blacklisted individuals.
Furthermore, regional powers, such as KSA, Kuwait, and Turkey who have vested interest in stable and friendly Syria would not hesitate to pitch in to secure future good relations.

Prolonging the instability in the country by itself carries risks for sewing the seeds for organised, externally dependant and supported Syrian political lobbies!

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August 18th, 2011, 1:13 pm


273. SYR.EXPAT said:

“260. JAD said:

Change your last name to be accepted, you are not ‘good’ enough.
You will always be judged by the radicals according to your sect, being a Sunni, Alawite, Druz, Shia, Christian, Ismaili or Atheist (la sama7 Allah)..welcome to the middle east.”

Dear Haytham,

You don’t need to change your last name because of some radical here or there. Radicals from every sect exist. However, the vast majority of people in Syria are not radicals. Some people are trying to push the government’s strategy of fear mongering. Hopefully it won’t work.

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August 18th, 2011, 1:14 pm


274. Revlon said:

You said: To #52 Dear Revlon
“Although I am not fully convinced with your reply,but I do appreciate the politeness and precision with the answer provided.”

– Thank you. That is my nature. I claim no virtue myself.

“When we inherit the religion from our parents, why do we have to accept it blindly with all the accessories attached to it?”

– No we do not!
– Actually from my own experience with my family, extended family, friends, and stories that I have heard over the years, the rule is that children do not embrace their parents choices and preferences in many things, including their interpretations of or adherence to their religious teachings.
– It has often been the case that Imams children chose to be non-pious or even communists, while communists had to endure having children holding deep religious beliefs.

“doesn’t matter if India is doing that(by the way the Chinese are discovering the meaning of Christianity and Islam recently and I am sure that you know about it)
Don’t you think by criticising our faith sometimes will lead us into more peaceful acceptance and tolerance for the others from different religions?”

– I could not agree more jasmine!

“Would you vote for a Christian lady, as a president in Syria in the future?”

– I have already voted for your comment!
– I believe that Syrian citizens should have equal opportunity to hold public posts, including Job 1, irrespective of their religion.
– I believe that women can be as successful in their jobs as men; my current boss is a lady and she is not Muslem.
– I personally feel that a Christian lady would be an ideal choice for the existing vacant presidency post.
– Such target, however can not and should not be imposed nor should it be expected to happen any time soon.
– It should be let to evolve as a natural result to social harmony.
– It should not be demanded or imposed as a measure to safeguard a sectarian interest.


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August 18th, 2011, 2:00 pm


275. Jihad said:

Answers to Landis’ dubious answers:

1. “Anatolia used to be 20% Christian, but by 1922, Turkey have either killed or deported its Christians.” Any person other than Ataturk whould have done the same when the French and the British wanted to partition Turkey with the help of the Greeks.

2. “Iran has few Christians left since the Islamic Republic was established.” No one obliged some of them to leave. Go to Iran and see for yourself that the Christians and Jews there live peacefully. Mots of the estimated 300,000 Iranian Christians there are ethnic Armenians.

3. “Palestine used to have a large Christian population. No more. Caught between Zionism and Islamism, most decamped for less hostile homes.” What an intellectual cowardice! The flight of the Palestinian Christians is solely due to the destruction and occupation of Palestine by rabid Western Zionists with the help of Western governments, on top of them the USA.

4. “In Lebanon, the Christians took a beating during the civil war and lost their commanding influence in the Lebanese state.” You can only blame the criminals and Zionist collaborators in the so-called Lebanese Front (i.e the killers in the Gemayel family and the thug Samir Geagea).

5. “In Saudi Arabia, Christians are forbidden from permanent residence or citizenship.” However, Christians coming from the West do not mind pocketing the billions they earn there for doing nothing. If they were really doing something useful for the amounts they are paid, Saudi Arabia would have been long ago an industrial giant. On the other hand, Muslims too cannot have permanent residency or itizenship in Saudi Arabia or other Gulf sheikhdoms protected by the most criminal state the world has ever known, i.e. the USA.

6. “Most recently, Christians in Iraq have been preyed upon, causing many to flee.” Why don’t you say that the occupation of Iraq by the criminal US and British forces opened the way for such a thing. Plus, what about the millions of Iraqis, especially Muslims, that died due to the criminal sanctions enforced by Washington between 1991 and 2003.

7.”In Egypt, Christians are tasting the lash of Salifist anger; yesterday another church was burned.” Did Barack Bushama apologize for the Egyptian people when he opened his foul mouth in December 2010 to denounce the attack against a Coptic Church in Alexandria, only to appear weeks later that this heinous attack was conducted under the eyes of the then-Minister of the Interior (Al-‘Adli who is in ‘prison’ nowadays) who was a close confident to the criminal Husni Mubarak, a darling of the USA for decades?

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August 18th, 2011, 3:35 pm


276. Aboud said:

Wait a second, what the heck is this crap

“In Saudi Arabia, Christians are forbidden from permanent residence or citizenship.”

Professor Landis, Christians are not denied permanent residence in Saudi Arabia because they are Christians. ANYONE who isn’t a Saudi is denied permanent residence in Saudi Arabia. I know a Lebanese Muslim lady who is married to a Lebanese Christian, and they have been living in Saudi Arabia since the 1970s, but they are under no illusion that they can permanently stay there. *No one can*

“Most recently, Christians in Iraq have been preyed upon, causing many to flee.”

Once more, the Iraqi scarecrow. Junior’s regime had a very large role in what happened in Iraq. And since the aim of this revolution is the removal of Besho and his clique, the same factors that destabilized Iraq will not get their chance in Syria.

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August 18th, 2011, 3:57 pm


277. Akbar Palace said:

“Palestine used to have a large Christian population. No more. Caught between Zionism and Islamism, most decamped for less hostile homes.”

What an intellectual cowardice! The flight of the Palestinian Christians is solely due to the destruction and occupation of Palestine by rabid Western Zionists with the help of Western governments, on top of them the USA.


The Christian community living in Israel has always been increasing. A little research (if one isn’t too lazy or biased) can easily verify this.



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August 18th, 2011, 4:01 pm


278. Sightseeing | A Decade Under The Influence said:

[…] On Syrian Minorities LD_AddCustomAttr("AdOpt", "1"); LD_AddCustomAttr("Origin", "other"); […]

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October 5th, 2011, 9:11 pm


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