Posted by Joshua on Tuesday, August 16th, 2011
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.
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 ?
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)?
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…..
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.”….
IRAQ DUE TO EARN $80 BILLION IN OIL EXPORT REVENUE THIS YEAR, 2011-08-16
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,
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.
…. 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…