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)

Pages: [1] 2 3 4 5 6 » Show All

1. Aboud said:

“The minorities are fearful of any Islamic tinged government that might take the place of the Assad regime”

Really professor? Just what are the minorities afraid of exactly?

Are they afraid they will be gunned down in the streets by the dozens?

Are they afraid that their places of worship will be mercilessly shelled?

Are they afraid they will be rounded up by the hundreds in mass night time arrests?

Are they bloody well afraid that their villages will be invaded by militias, their stores and homes burnt?


Enough is enough. I have absolutely no patience whatsoever with people who will cling to any excuse to cower under rocks while the country burns. People like that don’t need their minority status as an excuse, they will just find some other reason to cowardly stay on the sidelines while thousands of Syrians are killed and arrested.

If they find that the rest of Syria resents them, it is not because they follow a different religion; it’s because they were so gutless as to support a regime that committed atrocities not since in almost 30 years.

And that goes as well for Sunnis who disgracefully still give support and comfort to the the Assad mafia.

Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 27 Thumb down 39

August 16th, 2011, 9:34 pm


2. Husam said:


The reporter asked you the following 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)?

You turned his question around cleverly using your Islamphobic nature (you can’t help it) and blamed it on Christians fearing Muslims. Perhaps this may be the case, that some Christians are fearful of retribution, but that not the whole story. What about the Damascene and Alepin Sunnis and atheist who fear of being shot point blank or loosing their family or business? Don’t you think that forms a bigger part of the “some” that the reporter was looking for? Don’t you think everyone is scared shitless from the white buses that keep circling Damascus? But, you waste no opportunity to depict Islam as the enemy of us all. From the pictures of Niqabis, to supporting those who bash Islam and now this. Your game is lame and low. You try to paint a picture that you are fair and balanced, but since I am back reading your blogs for the latest news, your statements still have anti-Islamic undercurrents. Muslims, every sect of us, who live in Syria are part and parcel of the Syrian pie. Stop spreading unnecessary fear. Syrians, including myself, my whole family and friends have nothing but love for our fellow Christians. Syria is not KSA and not Egypt. What happened by Ottomans occupation against the Christians in Syria was not done by Syrian hearts. You are taking part in target journalism depicting Islam always, always in the negative.

Not one positive piece on Islam, Muslims in the past years on SC, only ones painting the worst and uggliest. Why?

Thumb up 19 Thumb down 29

August 16th, 2011, 9:45 pm


3. Abughassan said:

Violence is the mother off all evil. Even on this forum,discussions turn ugly and personal with every bloody crackdown. The country needs a healer,and Bashar is unequipped and untrustworthy to do that job. Minorities suffered under this regime too,and many Sunnis benefited from the corrupt regime for years.it is unfair to paint every non Sunni with the wide brush as a regime loyalist as much as it is unfair to classify all Sunnis as victims of the regime. Because Syria is a third world country that is ready to “iraqanize” , I am opposed to a swift and disorganized toppling of this regime especially that it still has a considerable support and a lot of fire power. The decent thing to do,like it or not,is to change the leadership under the protection of the army,not because the army is impartial but because there is nobody else to do the job unless we want Turkish and NATO tanks to invade Syria. There is zero chance for a relatively peaceful change until the regime stops its bloody campaign,only then,Syrians may have a chance to talk instead of shooting at each other.

Thumb up 14 Thumb down 15

August 16th, 2011, 9:48 pm


4. Observer said:

Well despite all of the news and reports above I cannot discern a real strategy on the part of the regime.
All of the blog posts have focused repeatedly on the reaction of others to the regime: what are the Turks Saudis Americans Russians Brazilians saying thinking doing. Where does Iraq stand and what kind of support can it lend. How about Iran and does it support the regime or not. Did HA send troops or not.

I am not sure whether this is intended or not or is simply the fact that there is no official declarations or speeches or positions on the part of the regime. It has shielded the regime from the real discussion of the consequences of its actions. I do think that the regime was preparing its response and had Junior deliver lame and stupid speeches with people pouring over what he did or did not say while his inner circle was preparing for a military security response. This stupid minorities post does not address the fact that the majority of the people are fed up with oppression and corruption and brutality. Who gives a hoot about the feelings and fears of the minorities these days. I said before, divide the country if its constituents cannot live together. Get the minorities their security with NATO troops if need be and get them out of our hair.

Nowadays we have low ranking mouth pieces continue to regurgitate the armed infiltrating conspiratorial Salafi Zionist CIA trained Wahabi funded gangs. Even on this blog we have commentators that have diluted the real debate; the real news; the real issues into personal attacks, declaration of total loyalty and devotion to the “dear leader” oops I meant ” the President Leader”; and continued to post SANA and Press TV reports as if they are real news.

Let us assume that the regime will crush the revolt against it the real questions I would like to debate are
1. What kind of country will Syria be
2. What real reforms can be accomplished
3. How can the economy be restored to health
4. How can the bruised and bloodied sects live together again
5. How can the 10% of the population that live above the law and use the institutions of the regime to continue exploiting the majority of Syrians to no end
6. How can the role of Syria in the resistance camp remain credible after it lost its ability to influence the Palestinian cause
7. What role will the traditional allies of the regime be namely Iran and Russia. Can Iran support the financial burden of supporting the regime and for how long.
8. Now that Israel has seen the performance of the Syrian army in action it has a clear understanding of its capabilities and therefore knows that it is no threat except against unarmed civilians
9. How can the regime provide economic future to the tune of 500 000 new jobs per year and a growth rate of 5% per year at least.
10. The exchange rate of the pound to the dollar is more like 70 rather than 52 as stated above how long can the economy sustain this bleeding.

Thumb up 13 Thumb down 22

August 16th, 2011, 9:52 pm


5. Husam said:


You beat me to to it, my message got stuck somewhere. I found it odd too the way Joshua turned his answer around and avoided the full truths.

Actually, I will accept less: my vote has been casted for your left toe-“nail” and Hamster’s tail-“clippings” as V.P.


Thumb up 13 Thumb down 30

August 16th, 2011, 9:52 pm


6. Husam said:


I don’t understand, how do you get NATO to protect minorities in Bab Touma? Are you suggesting NATO intervention? If you don’t have an inclusive policy, you will have sectarian clashes. I am disappointed because your past comments did make some sense.

Thumb up 7 Thumb down 21

August 16th, 2011, 10:04 pm


7. Afram said:

“judging whether someone will go to heaven or hell is impermissible, except those who have already been designated by God and his prophet”

people of the world,now is the moment to study and understand why muslims are backwards and contribute nothing to modern civilization.

their retard clergy men are fighting among themselves to Decide
who is gonna go to islamic hell so he/she can be burned up in japanese made ovens and who is going up to have sex with 72 virgins “Houston, we have a problem” beam up the terroristas.

Religion began,when the desert Con artist tricked the bedouin and swindled&scamed him out of his money
religion is a fraud Economics › Con artists can trick you out of your money by taking advantage of any weaknesses so does the prophet for prophit

religion is a crutch for the weak minded people

Thumb up 25 Thumb down 16

August 16th, 2011, 10:09 pm


8. Abughassan said:

What do you guys expect from Joshua or any other western scholar or academia figure when the subject is how peaceful Islam is today? Just look around you and give me examples of how peaceful our religion has become today. Denying the fact that Muslim countries are among the most corrupt and most violent societies in the world today may serve as a good PR position or an ego booster to some but I would rather stick to the facts.
Religion does not belong to politics,what seems as religious slogans in the west is actually a civilized expression of freedom of speech,no violence or discrimination is allowed under the law.This is the country that elected a black president with the middle name of Hussein as president while many educated Syrians are calling for collective punishment of minorities because they did not revolt !!
Changing this regime is necessary and is desired by most Syrians but not until we agree on certain principles that protects the rights off all Syrians in the new Syria,and that change is not possible without a force that keeps civil peace,and that force is either the army or a foreign occupying force.nobody on this forum has articulated an alternative plan yet,all of what we hear is angry messages from mostly expats,including a full time blogger who speaks perfect English and uses slang American language and responds within seconds but insists that he lives in Homs (no disrespect,my friend).
My point is,Syria should not have to go through the Iraqi model or the Libyan model to move forward,there is a third way,kiiling that third option is essentially an endorsement of a civil war and foreign occupation. Pity a nation that has two choices: a thuggish regime or a civil war,we all should fight for a third option.

Thumb up 24 Thumb down 6

August 16th, 2011, 10:20 pm


9. Norman said:

Some notes from the opposition seems to indicate that what they want is not reform but the destruction of the Syrian army Iraqi style, So far it seems that the army is fighting back as it seems to understand that,

I do not know if the minorities of Syria will follow the rest of the minorities in the Mideast and run or will feel cornered and fight, I think that they will fight back,

If Turkey wants tranquility in Syria and their borders then they will be advised to call on the opposition to seek a solution with president Assad, and yes Abu Ghassan, president Assad as he is the only one that is keeping Syria together and preventing the people from defending themselves by using the army to defend them, we all know what happened in Iraq and before that in Lebanon when the armies were not there to help the people,
For those who think that the Syrian minorities will not be attacked, we all saw what happened to the Christians in Iraq, even the all mighty US could not protect them ,

The spirit of revenge is taking over Syria and might break it up,,,, I hope that i am wrong.

Thumb up 34 Thumb down 15

August 16th, 2011, 10:36 pm


10. Husam said:

Ya AbuGhassan:

You made a couple errors:

1) Islam has nothing to do with Muslim’s behavior or dictators in Muslim countries. I respect you as an atheist, respect me as a Syrian Sunni. So lets blame atheist for all ills of the world or every Christian Texan for Bush’s crimes in Iraq (1 Million Dead later).

2) I actually like to read your comments and look for them, but the “Hussien” thing with Obama was just laughable. You believe that crap a black muslim man got elected? He was not elected. If you want to take your mind off of Syria for a break have a look at this almost 10,000,000 million views documentary (yes “TEN” million) on youtube alone http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAaQNACwaLw

3) You live in a country that needs to prove “beyond the reasonable doubt”. Prove to us that Aboud is Wyoming please. Don’t you think before we need to make a future plan for Syria, we got to get rid of (including you) the “I am smarter, better, more/less religious than you” mentality that is in the mindset of every Syrian-Arab first?

Thumb up 9 Thumb down 21

August 16th, 2011, 10:41 pm


11. eman said:


Stop the Islamization of America: A Practical Guide To The Resistance

Here is just a small sampling of what you’ll find in this book:

* Startling new information about the full extent of Muslim Brotherhood infiltration in the Department of Justice, and its brazen pro-Muslim activities, including its “Monthly Outreach Meetings” with Muslim and Arab groups at the Civil Rights Division — and the 14,000 documents the DOJ won’t release that reveal the full, shocking extent of this cooperation.

* A primer for protest against Islamic supremacist mosques and other initiatives in your local area.

* A primer for how freedom fighters can deal with an adversarial media.

* The shocking details of the travesty that is the 9/11 victims memorial, which is planning to put the unidentified remains of 9/11 victims seven stories underground inside a museum that charges admission — and which will include lavish profiles (above ground, of course) of the 9/11 hijackers.

* The Sheepshead Bay mosque initiative and other mega-mosque initiatives nationwide: the sinister forces behind them and their insidious agenda.

* Never-before-released details of the Islamic honor murders of the Texas teenagers Amina and Sarah Said.

* The American Bar Association’s coverup of its work to resist anti-Sharia initiatives.

* The Islamic schools that receive public money.

* The truth behind Virginia’s failing to mail military ballots in time for them to be counted in the election of 2008.

* Links between the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the Islamic Society of North America, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, and the Muslim Students Association.

Thumb up 10 Thumb down 9

August 16th, 2011, 10:45 pm


12. Tara said:


I propose coining a new phrase  called “minority complex” to describe a psychological syndrome affecting most Christian and Alawites in Syria.

Minority complex is pervasive fear of real or phantom danger.  It affects any group of people living in a non-democratic country when their religion, sect, or ethnicity constitute a minority. The affected minority perceives that its existence is in danger if the majority to rule itself.  The survival instinct of the affected minority causes a double thinking.  It justifies in the mind of the minority the subjugation and the brutal oppression of the vast majority of people.  It makes them turn a blind eye on killing women, torturing children, and murdering civilians as long as the minority maintains its privileged status.  They look out for themselves only and become unable to see the suffering of the others.  It eventually deprives them from their humanity..and unfortunately, there is nothing the vast majority can do to alleviate that fear.  

The minorities therefore would never stand by the underdog, in this case the majority.  The only solution or treatment for that complex is for a democratic state to be ” forced” on every one somehow, where the rule of law prevails and everyone becomes equal under the law.  

Syrian Sunnis need to understand this complex very well and to not fool themselves hoping for future defection within the army with it’s Alawi majority or for a spontaneous collapse of the regime that is mostly Alawis.  Their tactics and future strategy need to be reshaped accordingly.     

Thumb up 17 Thumb down 18

August 16th, 2011, 10:51 pm


13. ss said:

9# Norman;

You are right Norman in every word you said. The opposition made a huge mistake by siding with the gangs and criminals. Terror will lead to nothing except failure. The minorities are afraid and extremely anxious about their future. Thankfully, the army is there to protect us from the evil, from the radicals. The opposition sided with the radicals and who will trust them; no one. THere is no single one in the minorities who would trust any of the opposition. Congrats; the army did a wonderful job in Latakia and liberated the are from these dangerous evils. I heard they arrested. This net will be caught. Minorities with regime, army with regime, regime is going no where, and still has the support of many Syrians.

Thumb up 25 Thumb down 12

August 16th, 2011, 10:54 pm


14. umniyya said:

this syrian christian sounds like he considers himself some guest in the country not An owner of the land. when they guy believes deep inside that he has rights in this country like any other syrian,he will stand up against any stupid telling him to leave, and he will response YOU Fuck off this is my land.

why we damasenes r silent.. watching tanks is not an easy thing.. tell him to witjdraw tanks and see what will happen
second. his majesty and alhizb nevr let us in any way to see othr option but this family.. this
z our main concer, if he left we have no idea who is next… we never done this before..
third.. ppl are so sure that he will turn syria to another libya.. they wont leave it green .. we would rAther die before seeing any foreign plan or troop entering syria.. and he knows that these facts are stopping the rest from moving.. but we hate him. we hate his father.. we will tell our genration the dead end he pushed us into. the martyrs will deal with him .he will never show his face to us .

Thumb up 11 Thumb down 18

August 16th, 2011, 10:56 pm


15. MM said:

We did not have overt sectarianism in Syria. We never did until the uprising. Even Allawis, the non-connected ones, were treated equally with mutual respect. At least I gave them my respect. Most of the time I don’t know someone is an Allawi, christian or Sunni. How can you tell? Syria is a mixed up nation of various skin tones, hair and eye colors. Anyone could be anything.

The regime has done well in dividing the people and solidifying its last remaining power base by scaring the bejesus out of two minority groups: Allawis and Christians.

I am particularly disappointed in the Syrian Christian population. I think they would fare better in a Post-Assad Syria if they were to aim their sails with the winds of change. Instead, they’ve anchored themselves to Assad’s sinking regime. Disappointed does not mean I hate them. I’m just surprised that a usually progressive portion of the population is not embracing change, and is not engaging in any sort of dialogue. I am sure that when the time comes they will be fine partners in a democratic and free Syria, particularly in drafting the new Syrian constitution. However, they would gain more credibility in the hypothetical constitutional convention if they were to support it now rather than hitching a free ride on the backs of other Syrians. I don’t know anyone personally who harbors animosity towards the Syrian Christian population. They should remain and I am convinced they are safe from any sort of perceived “retribution.” Retribution is a deserved punishment in response to some other bad act – I know of none served by the Christians that would warrant this.

I cannot say the same for the Allawi population. There is deep rooted animosity that only time will heal. The onus is on them to prove that they are willing partners in a free state. They need acknowledge the abuse of power that they usurped. Even I harbor these feelings. The fact is is that they are the security forces, and army corp. They make up the killing machine behind Assad. I’m sorry but many of your fellow Allawis will need to face trial, and possible death. This cleansing of the perpetrators of this ongoing massacre will be necessary.

Joshua does seem to blame Syria’s ills on the stubborn Sunni population. For whatever reason, he suggests that they should remain disenfranchised indefinitely. Or accept the slow paced “enfranchisement” that might take 50 years or so. I think I’ll die before seeing anything. I have concluded that his views in this regard are tainted by his own familial connections.

Thumb up 13 Thumb down 28

August 16th, 2011, 10:59 pm


16. Abughassan said:

This is aljazeera: الراي و الراي الاخر:
اللاذقيه تعيش في رعب
اللاذقيه مدينه شبه مهجوره
لم يكن هناك أية مظاهر مسلحه في الرمل الجنوبي
استمرار قصف اللاذقيه من كل الجهات و من البحر
Daily calls to Latakia and personal testimonies from foreign Christian clergies in Latakia and palestinian residents clearly indicate that all of these statements are fabrications. Everybody I called went to work and sent their kids to school except in that area.
Gunfire and throwing dynamites along with illegal checkpoints have been the norm in that section of Latakia for weeks.
This is not to minimize the damage and the bloodshed that was inflicted on alraml alfilastini,and certainly not an attempt to get the regime off the hook,but is a reflection of the fact that aljazeera is not a news organization any more.

Thumb up 28 Thumb down 8

August 16th, 2011, 11:00 pm


17. ss said:

To 12 comment#

Unfortunately the opposition lost the trust of the Syrian people and minorities in particular. The opposition are clearly declaring themselves as Sunni who wants to bring the regime down. The opposition, instead of resurring and reaching out to the minority, went so far in chanting the crime acts of the gangs in the streets. So if you do not reach out, you want to fight, and you justify the killing of your gangs,how you want the minorities totruts you. No one can deny the aggressive and religious nature of the opposition. These videos of people shouting Allah wa Akbar has a negative impact worldwide; these pics has been seen in Afghanistan, pakistan…and the west is not thrilled by the content of these people. It brings nightmares. The opposition sided with them.

Why the west is not offering a serious help? we have not seen so far any real actions on part of the west. I believe the west is not thrilled by the Alah Wa Akbar agenda, and for that is careful about taking any supportive actions that they may regret it in the future. I believe Assad is the way to go for SECULAR Syria and he will stay.

Congratulation on liberating Lattakia from the evil. It is such a great day.

Thumb up 29 Thumb down 13

August 16th, 2011, 11:04 pm


18. Norman said:

Tara Said,

(( The minorities therefore would never stand by the underdog, in this case the majority. The only solution or treatment for that complex is for a democratic state to be ” forced” on every one somehow, where the rule of law prevails and everyone becomes equal under the law.

Syrian Sunnis need to understand this complex very well and to not fool themselves hoping for future defection within the army with it’s Alawi majority or for a spontaneous collapse of the regime that is mostly Alawis. Their tactics and future strategy need to be reshaped accordingly ))

I agree, and as you can see, your Majority is seeking revenge not equality,

Ignorants do not learn from their mistakes, Smart people learn from their mistakes, but only people who learn from other people mistakes will survive and after what happened to the Christians in Iraq and before that in Lebanon, I see no chance for the Syrian Christians to take that chance.

Thumb up 23 Thumb down 7

August 16th, 2011, 11:04 pm


19. umniyya said:

and the remaining majority silent.. if they were truely with him they would show up in the streets.. no one will stop them.. on the contrary.. but they are not with him but they cant say it.. coz if they say it.. hhe will kill us.. he will drag the people to carry arms.. no one wants to see syria burning .. we adore our land.. we dont want its destruction.

Thumb up 10 Thumb down 15

August 16th, 2011, 11:06 pm


20. ss said:

16. Abughassan#

Thank you for seeing the fabrications.Although I do not agree with you but I respect your opinion in regard to the regime and I truly consider you a great Syrian, and a great opposition who deserve to be a leader. This is the type of opposition who bring logic and security to the so called minority. This is the type of opposition who a minority may say: wait a minute, he might be right!
The opposition leaders lack the style, logic, and reassurance that minorities are in great need to and for that they lost the minority for ever. Well Abughassan has been always the exception and yes I do not agree with him in regard to regime resignation.

Thumb up 24 Thumb down 10

August 16th, 2011, 11:10 pm


21. Norman said:

I agree with you about Abu Ghassan, and yeas the opposition lack common sense leaders that inspire the Syrians to a better Syria,

Thumb up 20 Thumb down 10

August 16th, 2011, 11:14 pm


22. Tara said:


I do not agree that the majority is looking for revenge. However,

I am most certain though that most Christians and Alawi will continue to watch the Sunnis being slaughtered by the regime at a rate of 20 to 30 a day and they will not blink. But you know what? We will do it, and alone and we’ll prevail and we will ask for no revenge.

How we and you will be written in history is good enough for us.

Thumb up 16 Thumb down 27

August 16th, 2011, 11:15 pm


23. Norman said:


There is no indiscriminate killing of Sunni in Syria there is a goal of restoring peace and security, I did not hear anything from you or others while the Christians were being killed by AL Qaeda in Iraq,

By the way , do you read what Maged and Atassi write, you might want to read their notes again,

Thumb up 26 Thumb down 11

August 16th, 2011, 11:27 pm


24. ss said:

I would say the majority may not be looking for revenge, but unfortunately instead of giving reassurance they aknowledge the criminal thugs, and made them a legit. By doing so they lost the respect from the minorities. By siding behind the animals in Raml Filastini; they will for sure lose the respect of the minorities. By not aknoweldeging the massacars that happended to the 120 army men in JIst ALshoogor; they lost the respect of the minorities. By broadcasting fabricating news and videos; they lost the support of the minorities. Clearly the majority saw a hope in the armed movement and they gave them the full support similar to their support of MBs back in the 80s. Shiela stated once on this forum that Sunnis did not like the MBs in the 1980s but sided by them because they felt it was the only hope to bring the regime down. They fell into the same mistake. Minorities needs reassurance, minorities need people like Abughassan not Tara, Aboud, Syrian Expact who spread their venoms on SC and show us their radical views.

Thumb up 26 Thumb down 9

August 16th, 2011, 11:29 pm


25. William Scott Scherk said:

The link and story above — “Church burning deepens tumult of Egypt transition” appears to be from May 9th (from Hurriyet). The relevance of this story to today’s Syria is unclear; perhaps this three-month old news can be set aside . . .

In other sad/kooky/disturbing news, an anonymous group has posted a Rogues Gallery of traitors and other terrorist-supporting enemies of Syria — The Plot Against Syria. Included in the list of enemies of Syria are such folks as Radwan Ziadeh, Haitham al Malleh, and Rime Allaf.


Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

August 16th, 2011, 11:31 pm


26. Tara said:


“no indiscriminate killing of Sunnis”. For real?

And the 80 some children killed were discriminate killing?

The last one was a 2 1/2 yo baby girl from Lattakia shot in her eye. Would you like me to post a link? Was she threatening peace and security?

What about the pregnant woman in Douma? Was she al Qaeda operative?

Please Norman, you only can fool yourself. You can’t fool the world.

Thumb up 8 Thumb down 21

August 16th, 2011, 11:38 pm


27. SYR.EXPAT said:

What does Islamophobia have to do with what’s going on in Syria? For the record, since I started visiting this forum, I don’t recall having ever gotten the impression that Prof. Landis is Islamophobic. I find Prof. Landis to be fair and balanced and he does provide his take on the events in Syria, which is just fine with me, even if I might disagree.

However, it seems that Eman at 11 is an Islamophobe and may be a friend of the Norweigian mass killer Berevic. To Eman I say that this forum is about Syria. You can go somewhere else to spread your venom.

Please let’s stick to the topic at hand.

Thumb up 7 Thumb down 18

August 16th, 2011, 11:41 pm


28. Abughassan said:

I oppose political Islam and maltreatment of women,and I support the freedom to choose your life style as long as you are not stepping on somebody’s foot or breaking the law,but I am not an atheist ,not even by a long shot,and my sunni side is more prominent in my daily life than my alawi side,some friends think I am lost 🙂
I have not changed my mind about this regime but I am less confident that the opposition is ready to take over,let us say tomorrow. I am also against efforts to divide,attack or dissolve army for practical,not ideological reasons. Nobody in my family earned a penny from the regime or volunteered in the army or security forces. I will only support a leader who has a plan not just slogans. I want Bashar out but I think most expat opposition leaders are deformed versions of Iraqi Jalabi,a Shia who with his friends made Saddam’s iraq look very good compared to a majority Shia-ruled iraq today.The ” contradictions” you may see in my posts are a reflection of the complexity of the syrian situation and the real fear of a civil war,this fear is well-founded to say the least,and the urge for vengeance,not just justice, is oozing from many statements I read daily,this is Syria not Switzerland,and political Islam is a danger and not a healthy civil movement.
There are people on this forum who got mad and personal the minute I expressed my disagreement with them about how to get from point-A to point-B despite the fact that I denounced the regime and supported their call for Bashar to resign,how do you think somebody like me will be treated in real life if I oppose their views publicly ?
Half of my relatives are alawis,many of my Sunni relatives are “liberal” and few are not religious at all,I should be worried about their future as much as I have to worry about the rest of Syrians if the violence continues and no political solution is found.
As for aboud,whom I admire but disagree with,I just expressed my amusement at his ability to act American while he is in Homs ,I obviously do not care where he is and I support his right to express his opinion.

Thumb up 19 Thumb down 8

August 16th, 2011, 11:46 pm


29. Norman said:

Hey Tara,

Did hear about collateral damage, do you really think that the Syrian army members are murderous enough to aim to kill pregnant women and children, I do not , i have more regards and faith in the Syrian army morals, apparently you do not.

Don’t you think that the causalities will be much more if there were indiscriminate killing, In Rwanda there was indiscriminate killing and more than 100000 died within few weeks, there is no such thing in Syria .

Thumb up 14 Thumb down 4

August 16th, 2011, 11:51 pm


30. Tara said:

William Scott Scherk

Thank you for pointing out that ” church burning deepens tumult of Eygypt” was an old article from May 9. It was first linked by BEAWARE who usually posts well balanced articles that cover different points of views. I did not pay attention to the date until you pointed it out. I thought that was a new ocurrance in Egypt and I was planning to comment on it.

I think linking it today was an oversight.

Thumb up 10 Thumb down 19

August 16th, 2011, 11:55 pm


31. Akbar Palace said:

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.

Professor Josh,

Please stop making excuses for Assad and equating Zionism to Islamism. If you really did your research, you’d find that the Christian population in Israel has always been INCREASING.

Thumb up 6 Thumb down 20

August 17th, 2011, 12:00 am


32. Darryl said:

24. SS said:

Firstly this is not an endorsement of what may or may not be occurring in Syria. It was once said, the “pen is mightier than the sword” and in the same America people say ” talk is cheap”. People when facing the last resort will “resort” to quite unusual things. I think, in Syria if freedom of speech was allowed, forget about political freedom, everyone would have benefited.

Freedom of speech would have allowed at least the behaviour of the “bad” elements to be exposed to everyone and all of a sudden everyone’s dirty laundry is in the open including the government’s and an almost playing field will be created.

The government has always tried to sanitise Syria from the so called bad elements from being seen like the MB, sectariasm corruption, incompetence etc, but this came at the cost of the people not seeing the bad execution of government daily business to deliver basic things that everyone expects for granted in the west.

We as minorities need to understand this fact. I dare not speak on behalf of some of the people you mentioned, but if I was in their position I would be happy to see freedom of speech as a least a basic right. I believe some of the key opposition people such as Michel Kilo have this same view as well as a writer Khalid “something” ( forget his surname).

In conclusion, the biggest mistake in the last 11 years was lots of steam escaped from the governments locomotive, but it was still standing in the same spot, but the people could not vent their steam.

One last point, all nations who are democratic, had to fight for free speech initially, the rest came in easy steps once this barrier was broken. Perhaps, that is where things should have started first. Unfortunately, Arabs have a way of putting the horse in front of the buggy more often than not.

Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

August 17th, 2011, 12:02 am


33. SYR.EXPAT said:

An old message from Michael Moore to the Syrian government and Syrian people. It’s still relevant.

Thumb up 5 Thumb down 15

August 17th, 2011, 12:04 am


34. SYR.EXPAT said:

غباء النظام…………….
غباء النظام البهيم..بظنه وهو ينظر من نافذته في القطار السريع..ان الأشجار ترحل وهو ثابت؟؟؟؟؟؟؟؟؟!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thumb up 2 Thumb down 12

August 17th, 2011, 12:13 am


35. Abughassan said:

Increased sectarianism in Syria is mostly due to the oppression of the Syrian regime,the rise of Iran and the Saudi religious establishment. From my own observations,i assure you that most syrian sunnis are not as sectarian as Bashar’s shabeehas,and their grievances with the regime are fully justified ,but those grievances are also shared by most Syrians, not just Sunnis. I will support a Sunni president just because this may help Syrians heal,but I do not think a majority rule will provide a magical solution to Syria’s problems,the system as a whole needs to be reformed,then it will matter less who is the president.
No fair observer can equate the brutality of the regime and the thuggishness of rogue elements on the opposition side,the regime,hands down,carry most of the blame. Cool minds,not hot guns,can still save Syria . If Bashar does not stop his violent security forces and start a transitional political process that ends with free elections he will be remembered as the accidental president who destroyed syria for his lack of vision and leadership.

Thumb up 6 Thumb down 6

August 17th, 2011, 12:21 am


36. beaware said:

Muslims attack Egyptian Copts; Again
Thursday, August 11, 2011 (4:09 am)
By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent

egypt_mapCAIRO, EGYPT (Worthy News)– Muslims attacked the Coptic Christians of Nazlet Faragallah village in Egypt’s Minya province Sunday evening; the assault continued unabated into the following morning.

One Copt was killed as homes were looted and torched by their Muslim neighbors, who also enlisted the aid of fellow Muslims from four neighboring villages; the attack began at approximately 8 p.m. after the daylight Ramadan fast ended.

According to eyewitnesses, thousands of Muslims attacked the village from all sides while firing automatic weapons and throwing Molotov Cocktails.

The home of Father Youanes, pastor of St. George Church, was the first to be attacked; he was beaten and his home looted and torched.

Maher Nassif Tobias was murdered in his own home, which was looted, along with all his livestock.

Security forces arrived four hours after the attack began, but their presence proved ineffective.

“They only had batons in their hands, and were unable to control the situation,” said a Copt resident. “Our village is surrounded by corn fields. The Muslims came into the village to loot and quickly disappeared in the fields, the police could not follow them. They were coming from all directions at the same time.”

The day before the attack, Muslims reportedly stoned St. George’s, breaking five of its windows. However, authorities in Minya claimed the attack on Nazlet was caused by Copts firing at Muslims as they emerged from a mosque that Sunday afternoon; Copts quickly denied the charge.

After the violence, three Muslims and three Copts were arrested, even though none of the Copts were involved in the incidents.

“Security is doing its balancing act again,” said one of the villagers. “They will use these Copts, who were arrested at random, to bargain for their freedom in exchange for village Copts giving up their rights during the ‘reconciliation meeting.'”

The “reconciliation meeting” was scheduled for Tuesday.

Thumb up 14 Thumb down 2

August 17th, 2011, 12:33 am


37. beaware said:

Turkey mulls radical moves on Syria policy
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Top Turkish leaders turn up the heat on Syria, expressing deep
frustration with the violence in giving their ‘final word’ to Damascus

Turkey will discuss radical changes to its Syrian policy when its top security council meets Thursday amid Damascus’ continued refusal to heed Ankara’s demands for reform.

“This is our final word to the Syrian authorities,” Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu told reporters late Monday in Ankara’s strongest warning yet to its southern neighbor. “If the operations do not stop, there will be nothing left to say about the steps that will be taken,” he added.

“We are not [meeting] in optimism but rather in frustration,” a Turkish diplomat told the Hürriyet Daily News on Tuesday. The National Security Council, or MGK, will meet Thursday to mull a sea change in Ankara’s attitude toward Syria and to plot a possible reaction to a number of scenarios that will depend on the actions of embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The meeting will convene under the leadership of President Abdullah Gül and include top civilian and military officials.

The minister said recent developments in the Syrian cities of Deir ez-Zor and Latakia could not be tolerated. “Turkey has never tolerated operations that could result in civilian casualties so far and we will not tolerate them in the future.”

In the worst scenario, Syrian forces could extend their military operations to the entire country, thus increasing both the bloodshed and the chance for a sectarian civil war that could even spread to other countries, especially Lebanon.

The second scenario posits a more cautious Assad listening to Ankara’s demands for reform and toning down the operations. The most desirable – but also most unlikely – scenario would involve a complete end to the operations and the commencement of a genuine reform process.

The MGK is set to draw its road map based on these scenarios but an additional factor that is likely to shape Ankara’s new policy will be the international community’s position on Syria. Ankara’s entire attitude could change in the event of any United Nations Security Council resolution against Damascus. In that case, Ankara would have to redraft its policies and, depending on the U.N.’s actions, could even launch a military operation – something Turkey has long opposed.

Meanwhile, Ankara is not considering calling on Assad to step down at the moment, the Daily News has learned. Similarly, the country is also not planning to withdraw its ambassador to Damascus, Ömer Önhon, as that option would only be considered as a last resort, according to one diplomat.

“We need our ambassador in Damascus to convey our messages if needed,” the diplomat said. Önhon is set to attend the MGK meeting to brief officials on recent developments. Meanwhile, Davutoğlu talked to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the phone about the developments in Syria.

Thumb up 1 Thumb down 12

August 17th, 2011, 12:37 am


38. Evan said:

#25 thanks for the link, it’s hilarious. of course AIPAC is behind the Syrian democracy movement, who else? lol. Also I agree with #30, Josh should stick to analyzing Syria. Anyone who has been to Israel or met an Israeli Christian arab knows that Israeli Christian arabs are often more Zionist than your average Israeli Jew. Back on topic, good luck to all the Syrians who just want a say in their own future. My question is, how do you move beyond the stalemate you have now? The regime won’t back down, and neither will the people. International intervention or armed insurrection would give the regime a new lease on life, would it not? So where do we go from here?

Thumb up 5 Thumb down 11

August 17th, 2011, 12:37 am


39. beaware said:

UAE to offer exit plan to Assad, Kuwaiti expert
Tuesday, August 16, 2011 İpek Yezdani
ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Sami Alfaraj, the president of the Kuwait Center for Strategic Studies, says an exit strategy cannot be feasible unless actors agree on Assad replacement.

The United Arab Emirates is preparing to offer an exit strategy to Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad similar to the plan they offered to former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, according to the president of the Kuwait Center for Strategic Studies.

“However, an exit strategy cannot be feasible unless regional actors really agree on his replacement,” said Sami Alfaraj. “We already know one of the conditions for the Arab countries – except Egypt – we will not accept an Islam-based party in Syria.”Alfaraj said when the Arab Spring took place, in the Tunisian and Egyptian cases, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates offered exits and sanctuary for the countries’ old regimes.

“Saudi Arabia is not willing to play this role with Assad now. But if you look at the situation of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, four nations out of six withdrew their ambassadors from Damascus, but the United Arab Emirates ambassador still remains. In the past, the UAE offered sanctuary for the Egyptian president, but he refused. They offered sanctuary for Saddam Hussein but he also refused. Now they are preparing to offer Mr. Assad an exit strategy,” Alfaraj said.

He said nobody wants to see Syria be divided, including Turkey, Syria, Israel, Iran and the Gulf states. “However, as regional powers we don’t want the situation in Syria to continue as it is, whereas Iran and Syria will fight for the continuation of the situation,” said Alfaraj.

The Gulf states would like to see the Assad regime withdraw, but they would not say this without coordinating with international powers first, he said. “For instance Saudi Arabia would not come out and say something without the support of the U.S. Our countries are not likely to do this,” Alfaraj said.

Thumb up 1 Thumb down 10

August 17th, 2011, 12:40 am


40. William Scott Scherk said:

From UAE’s National website:

Former regime insider says only democracy can save Syria

Phil Sands Aug 17, 2011

DAMASCUS // The safeguards of real democracy are all that can protect Syria’s minorities from Islamic extremism, a former regime insider has said.

Mohammad Suleman, who served for 13 years as a minister of state under the former president Hafez Al Assad, said a looming threat of sectarian violence could only be averted by a genuine shift to democracy, not by continuation of an authoritarian regime dominated by members of the minority Alawite sect.

“Democracy will give the guarantees, democracy will protect the minority communities,” he said on Monday. “No one sect in Syria can or should rule over the others, no sect need be afraid of democracy.”

Earlier this month Mr Suleman and 40 other former regime officials and senior Baath party figures launched a Democratic National Initiative. In it they called for an immediate halt to military operations and for representatives of street protesters to be included in a transitional coalition government.

The government would be tasked with drawing up a new constitution.

The proposals caused a stir in Syria because, rather than coming from familiar opposition figures, they were made from inside the country’s elite circles, including close allies of Hafez Al Assad, father of current president, Bashar Al Assad.

However the plan was not adopted by the authorities, which this week continued a Ramadan military offensive that activists say has killed more than 250 civilians, including residents of a Palestinian refugee camp in the port city of Latakia.

In the interview, Mr Suleman repeated his call for security operations to halt and for political prisoners to be freed. He also went further, urging Mr Al Assad to begin dismantling his regime immediately, saying it was a matter of survival for Syria and its minority communities.

“The country is bigger than any one sect or party, or any regime,” he said. “The security solution is not working and it will not work. The democratic solution is the only way now.”

“When I talk about regime change I am not talking about any individual figures, I am talking about the system itself,” he said. “The best way to change the regime is the legal way, a peaceful way and that starts with changing the constitution now, something the president personally has the authority to do.”

Mr Suleman’s remarks about minority rights touch on a sensitive issue in Syrian politics and a critical element in the current uprising. That he is a member of the ruling elite and an Alawite, coming from an impoverished rural Alawite family, as did Hafez al Assad, adds significant weight to his comments.

Opposition activists have been at pains to stress that the overwhelming majority of protesters are peacefully demanding rights and responsibilities, not following a narrow sectarian agenda. But they have struggled to overcome the fears minority communities have about the prospect of Sunni Muslim rule.

Largely secular in outlook and dominated by Alawites – an offshoot of Shia Islam – the Syrian authorities have long been viewed by many Christians, Druze, Alawites, Ismailis and Yezidis as a bulwark against Islamic extremism and domination by the country’s Sunni majority.

Officials have specifically presented the current uprising as a militant Islamic insurgency, adding to those fears by comparing it to the Muslim Brotherhood’s armed revolt of the 1980s. That was crushed with military force by Hafez al Assad, with 20,000 people estimated killed in an assault on Hama.

Mr Suleman flatly dismissed the comparison, however, saying that the uprising was overwhelmingly peaceful and, at the same time, posed a greater challenge to the country.

“In the 1980s we did not face a crisis this serious, it was not a crisis on this national scale,” he said. “It was a specific party, the Muslim Brotherhood, and it was a specific ideology that was not popularly accepted. This time the opposition is the masses, the uprising is from the people.
[full story at http://goo.gl/ztb7y ]

Thumb up 4 Thumb down 7

August 17th, 2011, 12:46 am


41. Pirouz said:

Not a big fan of Zaman. He consistently lacks objectivity and his record in providing reliable analyses is poor.

Have to say that so far, the SyA (Syrian Army) seems to be holding up well.

In many of the videos, command/control and discipline appears to be improving, not declining.

Many biased observers believe the tide will be determined by the duration of protests (and armed opposition elements operating alongside). I would caution that the SyA may be improving to a point where they could realize the upper hand in their efforts of suppression. The eventual outcome is far from clear.

Thumb up 9 Thumb down 6

August 17th, 2011, 1:02 am


42. Afram said:

Abrahamic religions:

Muslims believe that Muhammad was a descendant of Abraham through Ishmael…let us find out if they are right.
Abraham&wife Sarah Birth place in”Ur of the Chaldeans”in babylonia in todays iraq and spoke Aramaic:ܐܬܘܬܐ ܐܪܡܝܐ الابجدية الارامية‏
so he is not an arab.

Abraham departed for Canaan ..the Land of Canaan is in todays,Israel/palestine.

There was a severe famine in the land of Canaan, so Abram and his households, travelled south to Egypt. En route, Abram told his wife Sarai,to say that she was his sister, so that the Egyptians would not kill him.
captain Abraham meets Pharaoh they chit_chat/egyptian spoke ancient coptic (τὰ ἱερογλυφικά γράμματα]
Pharaoh rewards abraham a woman named:Hagar she is pharaonic NOT arab,Abraham off he goes back to land of Canaan.

Sarah then offered her Egyptian handmaid,Hagar,for Abraham to consort with her so that she may have a child by her,Abraham consented and had sexual intercourse with Hagar.The result of that Ishmael pops out.
then ISSAC pops out from sarah…then Jacob son of Issac.
Jacob has a dream wrestling and capturing god…then Jacob was named Israel.
El,IN HEBREW&Aramiac means God.
Ishmael is two words;ishma_el;ishma means listens and EL means god…god listens,,sarah was praying to god for a baby so he listend to her and voila ismael pops.
north of jerusalem there a village called beithel,,beith=house;el=god…house of god.
so far the languages has been spoken/hebrew,aramiac and coptic but no arabic.
Ishmael is half babylonian and half pharoanic egyptian NO arab blood in him.
all the biblical prophets..moses to jesus all were jews NO arabs among them.
this is hebrew אנטיפאדה
this is Aramaic ܐܬܘܬܐ ܐܪܡܝܐ
this is coptic τὰ ἱερογλυφικά γράμματα
this is arabicإنتفاضةمبدئيا
so muhamad escapes mecca and goes to YATHREB a jewish strong hold of 5000 people…so muhamad tried to market himself to them as a new prophet the jews rejected him,they told him all the prophets suppose to be jews..so he began muhamad to pray/QIBLA towards jerusalem for 18 month to please the jews,he was refused again,muhamad then switched to mecca kaaba where there was 100,s of idols SANAMS…was pagan place not house of god,allah was the largest idol/sanam represent the moon god…check out the crescent on top of mosques sympol of moon god.

finally muhamad killed all the jewish men[bani Quryza tribe]of yathreb/madina 900 of them the children sold to slave market and the women taken as sexual slaves..muhamad took SAFIYA A 17 years old,married her and had sex with her same night,after killing her father,brother and husband..a quranic verse says a woman widdow is forbiden to mary untill 4 months and 10 days passes on her husbands death,muhamad broke the rule married SAFIYA hours after the death of her husband,,,all quran is copy&paste of jewish and christian bibles plus bedouin paganism traditions…since the killing yathreb/madina jews..muslims and jews are not friendly,,i wonder why?/?

Thumb up 15 Thumb down 12

August 17th, 2011, 2:24 am


43. Mr.President said:

There are many Syrian Sunnis, myself included, who would like to see gradual reforms. We support the Syrian army in its protection of the mother land against the radical islamists. American army is filled with poor blacks and hispanic. Why should Syrian army not be packed with poor Syrian minorities? The Syrian army did a better job than the Palestinan army or the Iraqi army. The Syrians are still living in their cities and in in their homes and not in refuge camps. This is true despite many regional and international players trying to redraw our map for the last 50+ years.

Thumb up 24 Thumb down 8

August 17th, 2011, 2:37 am


44. Badr said:

“The decent thing to do,like it or not,is to change the leadership under the protection of the army,”

Abu Ghassan,

How do you propose this could be accomplished? Will the political leadership voluntarily step aside, or has the army been capable of overthrowing the regime in the past 40+ years? And still more, how can one be sure that the end result won’t be similar to many coups d’etat that Syria experienced since its independence?

Thumb up 14 Thumb down 2

August 17th, 2011, 3:55 am


45. Revlon said:

35 Dear AFRAM, as it is, we obviously do not agree about who is the aggressor in the current day Syrian conflict, in sopite of the thousands of bits of visuial and written facts offered by the thousands of Youtube videos and witness accounts, including the guy in Damascus, Abu Ali, and Aboud from my side and Jr, Bro., Coz. and the bandits from yours.

And you think your narrative of what happened thousands of years ago was the truth?

Your discourse suffers from advancing belief over logic, and wishful over critical thinking.

Thumb up 3 Thumb down 15

August 17th, 2011, 3:58 am


46. BEAWARE PLUS said:

Minorities should not derail uprisings

They should be wary of being exploited by autocratic Arab regimes as a leverage or tool against the majority

By Faisal Al Qasim, Special to Gulf News
Published: August 17, 2011

There is no doubt at all that ethnic and religious minorities in the Arab world or anywhere else, have the right to live peacefully, and to preserve their cultural, social and religious identities as full-fledged citizens. They should not suffer any kind of pressure, blackmail or persecution by the majority. But at the same time they should know that even democracy is always at the side of the majority.

That is why it hardly allows the followers of small ethnic or religious groups to occupy high positions such as the post of president, no matter how powerful those groups are politically or economically. For instance, certain minorities in the US are extremely powerful, especially financially, but none of their followers can become the US president, because the presidency is usually occupied by one from the Protestant majority.

The only Catholic American who managed to become president was John F. Kennedy, and he, strangely enough, was assassinated.

We have also seen the big hullabaloo raised in the American media during the last election campaign about the religious origins of Barack Obama. It tried to play on the Islamic name ‘Osama’ which rhymes with Obama to derail the latter’s campaign. Many Americans thought he had a Muslim background, which made a lot of them very unhappy. In a word, a large majority of Americans could not accept a Muslim as president of their country, although over seven million Muslims live in the US.

Article continues below

Obama himself tried hard to prove to the Americans that he is a Christian, and that there is no Muslim blood in his veins whatsoever. In fact, the first thing he planned to do on a visit to Ireland was to be seen by world media praying at a well known Protestant church.

Although western countries are thought to be secular, their constitutions provide that the president, the king or the prince should belong to the religion of the majority. In the UK, for instance, the king or the queen are the head of the Church of England.

The Greek constitution stipulates in clause 47 that anyone who ascends the Greek throne should be a follower of the Orthodox Eastern Church, even though there are millions of Catholics and Protestants in Greece, apart from millions of Muslims. Nobody has ever objected to clause 47 which insists that the ruler should belong to the religion of the majority.

Similarly, the seventh clause of the Spanish constitution provides that the king must be a follower of the Catholic church, as it is the faith of the majority.

Likewise, the first clause of the Danish constitution lays down as a condition that the king should be a member of the majority Lutheran Protestant church, even though there are a lot of Orthodox and Catholic Christians in Denmark.

Not far from Denmark, clause four in the Swedish constitution insists that the king must be a pure Protestant. We have never heard Catholics, or Orthodox Christians, or for that matter Muslims, call for the removal of clause four.

Arab secularists might argue that the democratic system is the best solution for Muslim countries which have ethnic minorities or religious sects as it protects their rights and prevent the majority from persecuting them. Nobody should object to that, but at the same time, the Muslim majority has the full right to prevail politically, socially, and culturally in Arab countries, as is the case with the western majorities.

And so, the minorities in the Arab world should never ever be a hindrance to the aspirations of the majority as is the case these days with their hostile attitude towards certain revolutions.

It is actually stupid and very unwise of certain minorities to unite in the face of the majority clamouring hard to topple autocratic regime, no matter if such rulers are quite suitable to and preferred by the minorities. This should in no way make the minorities derail the revolution being sought by the majority.

In actual fact, it is not at all in the interest of the minorities to antagonise the majority just to defend a hated regime, as this might appear very opportunistic. It might even lead to revenge attacks later against the minorities for allying themselves with a regime rejected by the majority, especially if the latter seizes power afterwards.

Minorities in the Arab world should think very carefully before blindly supporting this or that notorious regime to achieve short-term gains. They should not allow themselves also to be used as a leverage or a tool by some regimes against the majority.

Some shaky Arab rulers are frightening minorities these days that the Muslim majority might persecute them later if the regime fails. The rulers in question have been presenting themselves over the decades as secularists, and they claim that the new regimes might be Islamist, which is not true. Minorities should not even fear the emergence of an Islamic government, as the new regimes, unlike the toppled ones, will be really democratic, and everything will be decided at the ballot box. Therefore, minorities should be far-sighted and not allow some of the falling dictators to use them in their fight to remain in power. And had there been real wise people within the minorities and not just mercenary leaders, they would have sided with the rising majority to help the revolutions succeed, or at least they should have kept their mouths shut.

Dr Faisal Al Qasim is a Syrian journalist based in Doha.

Thumb up 4 Thumb down 8

August 17th, 2011, 4:03 am


47. Jasmine said:

After reading a few post above,I am finding it hard to agree with some of you who is doubting the objective thinking of Prof Landis and implying that he is Islamophobic.
With all my respect to all religions and personal believes which usually are inherited in the middle East,without a question or a debate,I find it so absurd for the human being to be ready to die for a religious thought, and defending it with such passion.

I think that the Syrian uprising has failed because of this strong sense of religious belonging in the society,it has overwhelmed the national feeling and sense for fighting for justice and basic human demands,it has simply challenged the national identity.

IMHO,The silence attitude of minorities has not contribute actively to the uprising because simply,they don’t believe in eye for eye and tooth for tooth,forgiveness has a big room in some religion and they consider hatred and revenge is self destructive.
May be the minorities like to stay topless !!! and may be they like their wine !!!

Islam was a practical religion for the Arabic society in the past and has stopped the aggression and wars ,but it is so sad to see it now defining the power struggle and becoming tool for greed.

The majority wants to lead but,if the majority is not adapting its attitudes to the 21 century and the rest of the world,then may be it is about time that the minorities should be given the chance to lead.
Leaders should be chosen according to their abilities and not to be classified by religions.

Thumb up 18 Thumb down 8

August 17th, 2011, 4:09 am


48. MNA said:


“Out of 220,000, the Syrian army has 140,000 Alawite soldiers.”

Would you care to share with us the source of your data?

Thumb up 24 Thumb down 3

August 17th, 2011, 4:18 am


49. OFF THE WALL said:

We were privileged to be invited to read the invective, violent, incomprehensible, meaningless, hateful, and megalomaniac diatribe from non other than “Mr. Follow me or you are traitors and I will authorize a surgical strike against you” Bassam Alqadi against an icon of Syria’s Civility and Civil Liberties, Michele Kilo, for daring to do what People like Mr fake human right advocate has been asking muslims to do for years, but has failed to ask Syrian Minorities to do, which is to retake their religion from those who sold it to the Assads. It is a travesty that people like Bassam even think of calling Michele Kilo a sectarian.

I am a little surprised that Prof. Landis, a fair and ballanced person, and in my opinion, very admirable, haveng been being invited like us to enjoy Bassam’s invective logic, did not look up Kilo’s article. Copied Below from Alsafir. I think that as one calls on Muslims (most of the sectarians here use Muslim to mean Sunni Muslims) to modernize their religion, one must recognize that Churches in the Arab world (Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Egypt) are in as bad position as the Wahabis in KSA. They have been a force against civil laws, they have not found a dictator they did not like and called a protector, and socially, minorities, including Christians, continue to be part and parcel of the ME backward mentality despite of appearances to the contrary. One must again distinguish between liberal life style, and liberal thinking. For example, I find people like Hussam, even with my disagreements with him regarding many many issues, to possess an open mind that I am yet to find among many who proclaim themselves “Secular”. If the only thing that comes out of this crisis is exposing so called Arab Secularism for what many of its followers are, which is Fascist, then the Syrians would have done a tremendous benefit to real secularism by allowing us to weed out pretenders. It is high time the church is reformed as much as the mosque. Anyone arguing otherwise would be fooling themselves, exactly like Bassam Alqadi is doing.

دعوة المسيحية إلى العقل

ميشيل كيلو

يبدو أن الخراب صار عاما إلى الدرجة التي تجلعنا نغادر ونحن سعداء خير ما كان في حياتنا من عادات وتقاليد تضامنية ومفيدة. في طفولتي الأولى، اصطحبني والدي من القرية التي كان يخدم فيها كدركي إلى اللاذقية. خلال سيرنا في الشارع، كنت ارتبك واخف عندما يترك يدي أو تمر واحدة من السيارات، النادرة جدا تلك الأيام. وبينما نحن على هذه الحال، بدأ الخلق يغلقون حوانيتهم ويقفون أمامها لتلاوة الفاتحة، بينما كان المسيحيون يرسمون إشارة الصليب، ووالدي يقف باستعداد رافعا يده نحو رأسه بتحية عسكرية نظامية، بعد أن جمع قدميه بعضهما إلى بعض في وقفة انضباطية رسمية. بعد مرور الجنازة، علمت أن المتوفى كان رجلا يهوديا من آل شيحا، الأسرة المعروفة والمحترمة في لاذقية ذلك الزمن، رغم أنه لم تكن تفصلنا فترة طويلة عن مأساة فلسطين وتخلي الصهاينة العرب عنها للصهاينة اليهود .

… واليوم، تعقد في مكان محدد من دمشق حلقات رقص ودبكة وغناء، يمجد خلالها النظام القائم وتعظم رموزه، مع أن رائحة الموت تزكم أنف سوريا من مكان الرقص السعيد إلى أبواب بيوت وأحياء كثيرة يقتلها الحزن. ما الذي جرى للناس ولسوريا، حتى انقسمت إلى هذا الحد، وفقد بعض ناسها الشعور بالتضامن مع غيرهم؟ ممن يطلبون شيئا يريدونه للجميع، يفتقر إليه السوريون – بمن فيهم هؤلاء الراقصون في حضرة الموت – هو الحرية، ويعلنون في كل مناسبة أنهم يرون حتى في الراقصين أخوة لهم، وأن حريتهم هم أيضا، يجب أن تكون مضمونة بقوانين الدولة المدنية الديموقراطية، التي تستحق أن يضحي المرء من أجلها؟ أين كنا وأين صرنا؟

هذا الذي قلته هو مجرد مدخل إلى المسألة التي أريد مناقشـتها. صحيح أن الراقصين يمثلون أنفسهم فقط، بدليل أن هناك نيفا وستين صبية وشاباً مسيحيين اعتقلوا خلال الأسبوع الفائت وحده في حي باب توما، حيث يرقص هؤلاء. وصحيح أن الراقصين أحرار في أن يحبوا ويكرهوا من وما يريدون، لكن موقفهم يتحول إلى مشكلة بقدر ما يوهم بأنه يعكس حصة المسيحية السورية الرسمية من الأحداث العربية عموما والحدث السوري بوجه خاص، ويعد خروجا على تقاليد مجتمع يحترم الموتى، بغض النظر عن دينهم، وضربا من سلوك غير إنساني يصل إلى حد الرقص على جثث الآخرين، لمجرد أنهم ليسوا من طينة الراقصين، أو لأن هؤلاء يرفضون مواقفهم، مع أن بينهم ضحايا يجب أن يمتنع الراقص عن إبداء سعادته لمقتلهم هم جنود الجيش وعناصر جهاز الأمن!.

هل فاتت الراقصين هذه الحقيقة، وهل فات من يستطيعون التأثير عليهم أن رقصهم قد يفضي إلى مزيد من القطيعة والعداء بين مكونات الشعب الواحد، التي عاشت متآلفة متآخية على مر تاريخ يمتد لنيف وألف وخمسمائة عام، احترم المسلمون خلالها الوجود المسيحي في دياره، وحموه ودافعوا عنه، واعتبروه جزءا من ديانتهم الخاصة ووجودهم الثقافي والحضاري، ومكنوه من تجاوز محن وتحديات تاريخية هائلة الخطورة كالحروب الصليبية، التي دأبوا إلى اللحظة على تسميتها «حروب الفرنجة « لفصلها عن الدين المسيحي، وكالاستعمار الأوروبي، الذي لعب التبشير الديني دورا تمهيديا خطيرا في الإعداد له، ودورا لا يقل خطورة في ديمومته وسطوته، بينما لعب المسيحيون العرب، بالمقابل، دورا لا يقل أهمية في بناء وتوطيد الدولة العربية / الإسلامية، وفي التأسيس الفكري والمعرفي للثقافة التي عرفتها حقبة الازدهار التي أعقبت انتشار الدين الحنيف في أرض العرب. في حين بلغ التسامح المتبادل درجة جعلت الفهارس العربية، التي تحدثت عن علماء المسلمين، تبدأ بأسماء بن بختيشوع وحنين ابن إسحاق وسواهما من علماء الدولة والحضارة المسيحيين، من دون أن يجد مسلم واحد غضاضة في ذلك أو يسجل التاريخ أن أحدا من المسلمين اعترض على اعتبار هؤلاء العلماء المسيحيين مسلمين .

كان المسيحيون جزءا من الجماعة العربية / الإسلامية، ولأنهم رأوا أنفسهم بدلالتها، وليس بأية دلالة سياسية ضيقة، تمكنوا من لعب دورهم في حاضنة واسعة وعامة اعتبرتهم جزءا تكوينيا من نسيجها، لا حياة لها بدونهم، وبالعكس، لذلك حرصت عليهم وأبقت على إيمانهم، الذي لم يحفظ التنوع داخلها وحسب، بل وازدهر أيضا بفضل التكامل والتفاعل مع مكوناتها الإسلامية وغير الإسلامية.

بكلمات أخرى: لم تكن الجماعة – الأمة – المسلمة ترى الآخر في مسيحييها، بل كانت ترى نفسها فيهم أيضا، فهم هي، في صيغة خاصة، مغايرة. وكل مساس بهم يعد مساسا بوجودها وتكاملها وطريقتها في العيش، كما في تسامحها، الذي كان معياره الرئيس الموقف من المسيحيين وديانتهم. بينما استعرت في الوقت على جبهات التنوع الإسلامي الخاص صراعات قاسية لم تعرف التسامح في أحيان وحالات كثيرة. بدورهم، اعتبر المسيحيون أنفسهم جزءا تكوينيا من جماعة تاريخية سابقة للدولة والسياسة، فلم يروا حقوقهم بدلالتهما، لأن الجماعة نفسها لم تكن تنكر عليهم حقهم في الصعود والارتقاء داخلها، دون تمييز اجتماعي أو أخلاقي، حتى أنها سمحت لهم في بعض الحالات باستثناءات تتعلق بدورهم العسكري في
الدولة، الذي كانوا عادة وتقليديا بمنأى عنه .

هل فقد مسيحيو العصور الحديثة هذا الدور وتحولوا من جزء في جماعة تاريخية إلى جزء من سلطة طارئة وعابرة، فبدلوا دورهم وغربوا أنفسهم عن حاضنتهم المجتمعية، التي كانت السلطة من خارجها معظم الوقت؟ وهل يعبر الرقص الحديث عن هذا الموقف بالطريقة الفظة التي يتقنها منخلعون عن الواقع يجهلون أو يزدرون تاريخهم، يظن من رباهم كنسيا على عنصرية دينية قاتلة أنهم يجب أن يكونوا كأسلافهم خدما للسلطة، وأن عليهم تمضية أعمارهم في اتقاء شرورها وخطب ودها ولعق قفاها؟

إذا كان هؤلاء قد أصبحوا جزءا من الســلطة، فما هي المزايا الـتي عادت عليهم من لذلك؟ هل يبرر التحاقهم بالسلطة انفكاكهم عن الجماعة التاريخية، التي لطالما انتموا إليـها وتكفلت باستــمرار وجودهم بينها، وبتمتعهم بقدر كبير من الحرية الدينية والمدنية، علما بأنها هزيمتها على يد السلطة الحالية ليست غير ضـرب من المحال أو من المصادفات العابرة؟ هل وازن هؤلاء بين الربح والخسارة، وقرروا الرقص على جثث الجماعة؟ وفي هذه الحـالة، ألا يرون ما وقع للمسيحيين في العراق، حيث كان ارتباطهم بالسلطة المسوغ الذي استخدمه مجانين الإسلاميين للقــضاء على وجودهــم في بلاد الرافدين؟ وهل فكر المسيحيون بالمعنى التاريخي الهائل للتغيير الذي يشهده العالم العربي الآن، وبانعكاساته على الجماعة التي ينتمون إليها وعليهم هم أنفسهم، ويرجح أن تعقبه حقبة نهوض غير مسبوقة ستبدل أوضاع المجتمعات والدول، ستكون قيمها متفقة لأول مرة في تاريخنا مع القيم التي يقوم عليها العالم الحديث، وستتيح مصالحة تاريخية تطوي صفحة الصراع بين عالمي الإسلام والمسيحية الأوروبية، الذي بدأ عند نهاية القرن السابع الميلادي واستمر إلى اليوم، دون أن يتأثروا هم بنتائجه، مع أنه شهد مراحل حلت خلالها هزائم جسيمة بالمسلمين؟ يبدو أن الكنائس المسيحية لا تفهم ما يجري، ولا تفكر بلعب أي دور جدي فيه، وأنها تفوت السانحة الفريدة على الجماعة التي تنتمي إليها، وهي في غالبيتها من المسلمين، وعلى نفسها، وتفضل البقاء حيث هي: إلى جانب الظلم والاستبداد، والرقص على أشلاء الأموات المظلومين.

والآن، وبما أن الدين ليس ملك الكنيسة، التي تبلد شعورها وفقدت علاقتها مع الواقع ومع حساسية المسيحية الإنسانية، ولأن للعلمانية الحق في ممارسة وفهم الدين بالطريقة التي تريدها، خارج وضد الكنيسة أيضا، فإنني أدعو العلمانيين من مسيحيي المولد إلى فتح نقاش أو عقد ندوة حول موضوع وحيد هو سبل إعادة المسيحيين إلى موقعهم الصحيح من الجماعة العربية / الإسلامية، وإلى دورهم الثقافي / المجتمعي في خدمتها، بعيدا عن أية سلطة غير سلطة الجوامع الإنسانية والمشتركات الروحية والمادية التي تربطهم بها، في زمن التحول الاستثنائي الذي لا سابقة له في تاريخ العرب، ويمثل فرصتها لامتلاك وبناء الدولة التي تعبر عن حريتها وحضورها في شأن عام عاشت المسيحية فيه وبفضله، لأنه كان مرتبطا بالدولة في مفهومها المجرد والسامي، ومنفصلا عن شأن سلطوي استبدادي الطابع والدور، مما حمى المسيحية من شرور وبطش السلطوية وغرسها بعمق حاضنتها الطبيعية، المستقلة نسبيا عن السلطة والسياسة، بفضل الإسلام وفضائه الإنساني: المتسامح والرحب .

إذا كان العلمانيون في الدول العربية المختلفة يدركون أهمية هذا التحول التاريخي، الذي يجب أن يرد المسيــحية إلى مكانها الصحيح من مجتمعاتها، فإن واجبهم يكون المبادرة إلى فتح هذا النقاش أو عقد هذا المؤتمر الذي لا بد أن يضم ممثلين عنهم يلتقون في بيــروت أو القاهرة، يتدارسون خلاله كل ما هو ضروري لرد المسيحية إلى موقعها التاريخي كجزء من المجتمع العربي / الإسلامي، يخوض معاركه ويشاركه مصيره، يفرح لفرحه ويحزن لحزنه، ويرفض اعتبار نفسه جزءا من سلطاته أو خادما لديها، فيتقاسم مع مواطنيه أقدراهم، سهلة كانت أم صعبة. بغير ذلك، لن تبقى المسيحية في هذه المنطقة، وسيكون مصيرهم كمصير النظم التي يخدمونها: على كف عفريت، خاصة إن انتصرت بالفعل جماعات الإسلام السياسي المتطرفة، التي ينتحرون اليوم انتحارا مؤكدا لشدة خوفهم غير المبرر منها، ولا يجدون طريقة يردون مخاطرها بواسطتها عن أنفسهم غير الارتباط المجنون باستبداد يعلمون تماما أنه إلى زوال مهما طال الوقت، وأن طريقهم إلى التوطن في قلوب وعقول مواطنيهم لا يمكن بحال من الأحوال أن يمر من خلاله أو على جثث ضحاياه .

باختصار شديد: إما أن تغير الكنيسة مواقفها وتعود ثانية إلى كنف مجتمعها العربي / الإسلامي، أو أن يؤسس العلمانيون كنيسة مدنية تأخذ المسيحيين إلى حيث يجب أن يكونوا، مواطنين حريتهم جزء من حرية مجتمعهم وفي خدمتها. وللعلم، فإن التاريخ لن ولا يجوز أن يرحم أحدا: كنسيا كان أم علمانيا، إن هو وقف جانبا، أو رقص على جثث من يموتون من أجل حريته!

Thumb up 8 Thumb down 14

August 17th, 2011, 5:01 am


50. OFF THE WALL said:

Jasmine @ 38
And the minorities are adapting to 21st century bu supporting murder of their own countrymen and women, and children, and by joining an increasingly Fascist movement? (which by the way includes many of those in the majority who think themselves more evolved than their brethren) . I thought freedom is a 21st century thing and that Tyranny is a bit older. Or have you forgotten that because it is in-convenient. The minorities are as backward as the majority. Their social life is no better, and I do not care if women do or do not cover their faces. The thinking style is the same, their resistance to mixed marriages is the same if not worst, and I have horror stories from the younger generation to tell about such backward attitude. So spare me the nonsense about majorities joining and adapting to the 21 century, NO one is joining and adapting to 21st century with dictators brandishing their sward above our necks. No one, not the Minorities, nor the Majority, independent of what sectarian terms and division are used to classify who is who. You keep supporting tyranny, and you are basically maintaining everyone in the 11th century (worst than the 7th).

Thumb up 9 Thumb down 15

August 17th, 2011, 5:08 am


Pages: [1] 2 3 4 5 6 » Show All

Post a comment