New Party Law Preserves Baath Power; Saudi – Iran – Turkey Vie For Syria

A BBC Documentary: Sue Lloyd Roberts goes among the Activists: What Does the Opposition Want? Who are they?

Syrian to Allow Organized OppositionWall Street Journal

Christian Science Monitory: Nicholas Blanford

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s cabinet yesterday approved a bill to allow independent political parties other than the Baath Party, which has ruled the country since 1963.

The draft law, which has been under consideration for many years, is due to be taken up by parliament Aug. 7. Its stated aim involves “enriching the political life, creating a new dynamic and allowing for a change in political power,” said the state-run news agency SANA.

The move is the latest in a number promises aimed at denting Syria’s popular four-month uprising, which represents an unprecedented challenge to the 40-year Assad regime. But even if the law goes into effect soon, its impact is likely to be limited.

SANA reported that the bill prohibits parties founded on the basis of “religion, tribal affiliation, regions, and professional organizations as well as those which discriminate on the basis of race, sex, or color.”

Those restrictions suggest that Kurdish nationalist parties may not be recognized, along with the Muslim Brotherhood, a Sunni Islamist party currently banned in Syria.

In addition, Article 8 of the constitution stipulates that the Baath Party is “the leading party in the society and the state.” Protesters have demanded that the article be appealed, but so far it remains in place.

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Activists greeted the news with indifference. “Who cares?” said Razan Zeitouneh, a human rights lawyer who has emerged as one of the most high profile figures in the pro-democracy movement. “We want to change them, not to change the party law.”

Iran draws the line with Turkey on Syria
By Kaveh L Afrasiabi

“Iran had to choose between Turkey and Syria, it would choose Syria”

In a sign of growing Iranian misgiving about Turkey’s role in Middle Eastern affairs, Tehran has decided to throw its weight behind the embattled Syrian regime, even if that translates into a setback in relations between Tehran and Ankara.

Iran’s move is bound to represent a new thorn in ties, with multiple potential side-effects, since it comes at a delicate time when Turkey is pressuring Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his government to adopt meaningful reforms and to give legitimacy to the Syrian opposition, which has repeatedly held meetings in Turkey.

Over the weekend, Tehran hosted Syrian Oil Minister Sufian Alaw for the signing of a major trilateral Iran-Iraq-Syria gas deal worth billions of dollars, while showering the Assad regime with unconditional praise as the “vanguard of resistance” that was subjected to psychological warfare and Western-Zionist conspiracy.

Articulating Iran’s steadfast support for its key Arab ally, Iranian first Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi used his meeting with Alaw to expel the slightest doubt about Iran’s stance on Syria, by stating that “Iran and Syria are two inseparable countries and allies, and Iran will stand by its friend and Muslim [neighboring] country, Syria, under all circumstances”.

In sharp contrast to Turkey’s support for the Syrian opposition, Rahimi dismissed the current unrest in Syria as “guided by arrogant powers and the meddling of enemies”.

Behind Iran’s new Syria move is a calculated gamble that contrary to some Western perceptions, the Assad regime is not completely isolated and still enjoys a considerable mass following. This is reflected in huge pro-government rallies consistently ignored by the Western media, and that with sufficient internal and regional support, Damascus could survive and ride out the current storm…..

it is not simply Iran but rather the triumvirate of Iran-Iraq-Syria that Turkey, a North Atlantic Treaty Organization member, has to reckon with.

Matthew Mainen, “Saudi Arabia’s role in Syria’s uprising.” – Institute for Gulf Affairs Policy Analyst

While Saudi Arabia’s involvement in suppressing Bahrain’s uprising is well documented, it’s behind the scenes role in Syria’s rebellion and Kuwaiti turmoil demonstrates that the monarchy seeks Arab-Islamic rather than Gulf hegemony. The collapse of the Syrian regime would albeit serve as the final blow to Iran’s quest for Mideast dominance, leaving Saudi Arabia the sole superpower. These prospects are troubling, given Saudi Arabia’s singular role in promoting Islamic extremism and its go-to move of creating sectarian tension.

For long it appeared that Iran was gaining the upper hand. By the end of 2008, Iraq’s Saudi-supported Sunni insurgency was defeated and Iraq’s Iranian backed Shia-majority asserted territorial control. In early January, Lebanon’s unity government collapsed, making Hezbollah a kingmaker. Then, on February 17th, Bahrain’s Shia majority, along with equally disgruntled Sunnis, rose up against the Sunni monarchy, presenting Iran with the perfect opportunity to attempt to backdoor into the Arab world.

Saudi Arabia acted swiftly, leading a contingent of over 2,000 Gulf troops to quell the uprising, but seeing a perfect opportunity to gain the initiative, Saudi Arabia went beyond Bahrain. Saudi affiliated members of Kuwait’s parliament, on the behest Saudi Arabia, called for a vote of no confidence on Kuwaiti Prime Minister Nasser Mohammed Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah, who has good relations with Iran.

Pro-Saudi MPs such as Waleed al-Tabtabaie have called for political union with Saudi Arabia. While Kuwait is a Sunni majority state, it has a large and disenfranchised Shia minority. The second they protest for equality, and they eventually will, the calls for unification will grow louder as Saudi troops will be invited to “secure” Kuwait from an “Iranian plot.”

Already, Saudi Arabia and their Kuwait protégés are constructing a unified foreign policy, which is first emerging in Syria….

Using Saudi-owned television stations, the monarchy has opened the airwaves to carefully selected Sunni Syrian clerics. Adnan al-Arour, for example, has called on his Sunni counterparts to “grind the Alawites and feed them to the dogs.” His calls were recently answered, with Sunni-Alawite clashes in Homs.

These relatively small sectarian clashes are a precursor to what further Saudi involvement entails. A fullscale ethnic conflict has the potential of mirroring the Iraqi civil conflict, especially because what the Alawite minority lacks in numbers they make up for in arms and military training. This is to say nothing, of the possibility of Syria being flooded with Saudi-born jihadists as was the case in Iraq.

Prince Nayef, Saudi Arabia’s de facto crown prince, played a decisive operational role in Iraq’s Sunni insurgency, sending prominent terrorists such as Abdullah al-Rashoud to Iraq. His son has played a similar role. The clerical establishment also involved itself throughout the insurgency by collecting funds and even issuing a fatwa calling on Muslims to join the jihad in Iraq.

The United States cannot sit on the sidelines as Saudi Arabia helps shape Syria’s future. Regime change is desirable. Saudi-sponsored regime change is not. As things stand now, the most active Syrian opposition figures are Saudi-sympathizers. A progressive and democratic Syria aligned with the United States will do the most to contain Iran, not a Saudi proxy….

Syria protest leaders ‘to meet in Istanbul’ July 26

NICOSIA — Representatives of Syrian anti-regime protesters are to meet on Wednesday in Turkey to discuss coordination and strategy, a Syrian activist said.

Bahiya Mardini, who heads the Cairo-based Arab Free Speech Committee, told AFP in Nicosia on Tuesday that the meeting would be the first of its kind since dissent against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad erupted in mid-March.

Syrian dissidents have already met in Istanbul, but there has been no gathering of people directly connected to the almost daily protests that have shaken Syria since March 15.

The Istanbul meeting will run until Saturday and focus on “developing the coordination between activists and working groups of the revolution,” said Mardini.

She said training sessions will be held during the four-day gathering, as well as workshops covering several aspects of revolutionary work, from the legal, political and media aspects to logistics.

Lee Smith argues that it is unlikely Assad can maintain much of his power through Ramadan, which begins the first week of August.

Radwan Ziadeh argued that the stalemate in Syria will only be broken by the international community and the military.

New York Times editorial called for stronger sanctions

Observatory for Human Rights noted the heavy military presence in Homs, where sectarian violence has resulted in 50 (or more) deaths.

At least 45 were reported dead in Damascus and elsewhere as a result of fighting following protests.

The first reports of attacks on Kurds emerged.

Syria’s Best-Known Dissident Reflects On Uprising – NPR

Michel Kilo’s book-lined apartment in a Christian neighborhood in Damascus is a quiet contrast to streets where protesters demand an end to Syria’s repressive regime…..

Long banned from speaking out, Kilo was heard by the Syrian people for the first time last week in a government-sanctioned opposition meeting. Syrian state television broadcast the event. Kilo sent out tweets outlining his recommendations, saying the government must:

-Recognize political parties.

-Allow the opposition to publish a newspaper as a trust-building measure.

-First, send the army back to base.

“They are sending troops to places where we never imagined they would send troops,” says Kilo.

His participation in the opposition conference drew criticism on Facebook sites. Protest organizers said the meeting was a mistake. It gave credibility to the regime. But Kilo says the protest movement makes mistakes, too.

“I think they make a big mistake when they believe that some words are sacred — for example, ‘the people’ or ‘the street.’ They do not represent the whole street.”

Kilo lives in Damascus, where support for Assad is real, but even in the capital the demand for change, for reform, for a new system of governance, is strong. The protest movement opened that debate and there is no going back, he says.

So, is this gentle criticism from an older critic to a new generation?

Kilo’s jowly face breaks into a wide smile, his thick eyebrows move up his face and he laughs. “I am telling you, I am old, but mentally, I am very young. What the youth have managed to do is enormous. They have the right to criticize all of us.”

Kilo’s criticism is focused on a regime that he says still does not believe in reforms, but can no longer suppress a whole country.

المطران لوقا الخوري : السفيرالأميركي أراد إثارة النعرات الطائفية والمذهبية فطردته من الكنيسة

The Priest who expelled US Ambassador Ford from his church defends his actions and explains his stand against the revolution. (Champress)

WSJ [Reg]: Why Harry Potter’s Latest Trick Is to Speak a Syrian Dialect, 2011-07-26

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates—When Khulud Abu-Homos, a television producer at OSN network here, decided to dub the Harry Potter movies into Arabic for distribution in the Middle East, she faced a quandary: which Arabic? The Arab world, it turns out, …

U.S. softens its criticism of Syria
By Paul Richter, Los Angeles Times, July 20, 2011

Since Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s sharp words last week, the Obama administration has stopped short of calling for President Bashar Assad to resign and has toned down its rhetoric.

….But Clinton backed off on Saturday, saying the administration still hopes that Assad’s regime will stop the violence and work with protesters to carry out political reforms. On Monday, European Union ministers also called on Assad to implement reforms and made it clear they still hoped he would do so.

The change in tone reflects the continuing debate over whether Syria’s ruler is likely to survive the current turmoil, and how best to use the limited diplomatic tools available to pressure him.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton emphasized that democratic transitions in the Arab world must be led from within.  A State Department spokesperson condemned the travel restrictions on the U.S. ambassador.

Germans court Syrian uprising amid crackdown

The spokesman, Martin Schäfer, said that Berlin’s coordinator for Middle East policy, Boris Ruge, had held talks with opposition members as well as Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem on two occasions.

…Germany is one of the first Western countries to announce direct contacts with the Syrian opposition, which has held several meetings in Turkey.

…Germany, which holds the rotating presidency of the United Nations Security Council this month, has stepped up diplomatic efforts in the Middle East and North Africa in recent weeks in response to the wave of uprisings.

New Loyalties and Old Feuds Collide in Syria: New York Times

“If this regime lasts, there’s absolutely going to be a civil war, absolutely,” said Iyad. Quoted by Anthony Shadid. Syria is awash in stories of solidarity, but older forces — geography, class and, in particular, religious sect — can also tear it apart.

The Corrections 0 Jul 25 2011 by Amal Hanano – Jadaliyya

[This is the eighth part of Amal Hanano’s diary of her trip back to Aleppo. You can read previous posts here] By coincidence, I was reading Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections while in Aleppo, although it may not have been pure coincidence, as sometimes books seem to possess magically perfect timing. (Last year’s Freedom may have been the more appropriate title for my trip, but I have a habit of reading books out of sequence.)

the people’s desire to un-correct his family’s corrections. For what is Arab Spring but the struggle to undo the sabotage and abuse of power, inflicted upon the people by their dictators? In the age of the people’s corrections, the salty refusal to deny reality and the bloody refusal to fear the future, have become the strongest tastes on our palette, but we have an intense craving for another, sweeter taste.

The Syrian Revolution is a massive red, reset button for justice, equality, and liberty. We are the corrections, united in our history, diversity, and even dysfunctionality.

nuffsilence writes in the comment section of last post:

It is deeply ironic that the new party law demands that all processes and deliberations within a party be transparent and democratic.

Deeply ironic that the Syrian regime would stipulate this when the regime itself has never practiced democracy at national level or even within the Baath party itself.

فاقد الشيء لا يعطيه

True writes:

“A victorious rebellion can put into place the structures it has built in opposition, changing the institutional quality of the whole state. Therefore, a rebellion with strong and coherent authority can be a significant boost to state building if it wins its civil war. However, when a rebel army assumes formal control, it also assumes new constraints and opportunities, deriving from the capture of territory and from the acquisition of membership in the international system, which can reformulate its authority” Theodore McLauchlin

3:16الشريط الكامل لمجزرة جسر الشغور بحق المفرزة الأ… Grisley footage of the dead police and security kill at jisr al Shaghour before they were placed in the mass grave. This footage is much like that famous video of the dead rebel supporters in Deraa who were killed on the rooftop. In both cases the killers feel compelled to kick their victims and denigrate them by calling them bad names. I suppose it helps to assure the killers that they have not committed a crime.

Nicholas Blanford writes in today’s Christian Scientist Monitor that “More than 120 soldiers have also reportedly been killed, although it is unclear whether they were killed by armed gangs and extremists, as the government says, or were shot by fellow soldiers for refusing to fire on protesters.” It is not clear whether this footage proves that rebels and not security forces shot the soldiers in Jisr, but like most of these videos, it would seem to be what it purports to be: video of the recently killed taken by the rebels to commemorate their job.

Half of Syrians Fleeing to Turkey Have Returned Home, Today’s Zaman

Syria in the shadow of Libyan parallels
By Victor Kotsev

TEL AVIV – The clearer and neater the narratives presented by the international media, the more suspicious they are. This rule of thumb has retrospectively proved its value in numerous conflicts and uprisings in the past decades, including the color revolutions of Eastern Europe, the conflicts surrounding the break up of the former Yugoslavia, various African civil wars, and the Arab Spring this year in countries such as Libya, Egypt and Yemen.

The pattern is repeating itself in Syria. On the surface, the fault lines appear simple, even though this makes the conflict no less of a quagmire. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is sticking to his guns even as the pressure on him escalates and his legitimacy seemingly declines.

…..Conversely, al-Jazeera and other protest-friendly media may have labeled the pro-Assad demonstrators as “mnhebak” (“we love you,” or political Hare Krishnas of sorts), but this does not erase the fact that said “mnhebak” represent a legitimate Syrian political voice. There is every indication that they are not simply regime-paid thugs, as some accusations against them have it. Neither is the opposition as democratic and unified, and nor is the conflict as simple as many reports have it. [7]

….The most optimistic scenario currently being discussed involves some sort of a gradual transition to democracy in Syria and a broad and lengthy reform implemented by the Assad government and accepted by the protesters. Such a reform would necessarily require the removal, and perhaps exile, of key regime figures such as the president’s brother Maher, the hardline commander of the feared 4th Armored Division.

….Such simplistic narratives have been known to serve very well complex geostrategic games and foreign interests. Judging from ample past examples, this will bring nothing good to Syria and to the region; it may, however, signal the onset of a new international stage in the Syrian conflict.

Comments (139)


Pages: « 1 2 [3] Show All

101. hsyrian said:

As one commentator nicely asked for the reference on the fake video of the Deraa roof,
I made very lengthy researchs during my rare spare time and found it :
http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/?p=10092&cp=all#comment-254517

“””””
The video of the defector broadcasted by Al Jazeera http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VaDmBX51TM has been proved fake by am231 in his comment # 27 on June 7th, 2011, 3:42 am .

The video of the Syrian security forces standing over the dead displayed on a roof top http://blogs.aljazeera.net/liveblog/syria-jun-4-2011-2212
also broadcasted by Al Jazeera has been proved fake by myself and others in my comment on June 5th, 2011, 5:32 pm .

May I suggest that before using a video issued by Al Jazeera for writing your definite statement, you wait for our comments on the document.

This way, you will not have to issue an addendum the next morning.

The true test of impartiality is when the two conflicting parties are claiming your partiality.

I appreciate your link to The Final Declaration of the Antalya Opposition Conference which can be completed for comparison purpose by the link to President al-Assad’s Speech to the New Government
http://www.sana.sy/eng/337/2011/04/18/pr-341923.htm

“”””

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July 27th, 2011, 5:14 pm

 

102. Tara said:

Amir

Why are you interested in Syria? Was any member of your family a Syrian Jew?

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July 27th, 2011, 5:16 pm

 

103. mjabali said:

Mr. Abu Umar comment#81

Thanks mr. Abu Umar for admitting your thuggish behavior. You can not escape your threatening words and calls for violence so you try to blame your thuggish behavior on others: that is childish as you know.

Nevertheless, here are my points to your response:

Note: I will never forget that you, the non-Syrian, threatened to kick me out of my country of birth Syria. You said this to me on numerous posts.

1- You are trying to link me to the words of others that is wrong. I told you many times (you seem to neglect this fact) that these men you are trying to bring into the conversations are responsible for their ideas and words. I am responsible for my own. I, as evidenced from all of my comments, am against all types of violence, weather it is by the Assad troops or the demonstrators. I see the ills of both sides. I want order to be restored as soon as possible as well democracy. You are not interested in that. You have my posts on this site and you can go through it all.

2- You told us many times that everyone is sectarian and that is why you are this HUGE unabashed sectarian. You are wrong again Mr. Abu Umar and I advise you to wake up and see that there are many who are not sectarian. I for example do not believe in religions so therefore I do not know what a sect is except when I come across sectarian kokos like you. Secularism is the remedy for this disease.

3- I am not pro Assad and this little fact seem not to get to your head. You keep on calling me something I am not. See; this is another childish trait of yours’ mr. Abu Umar. You can not discourse like adults. Children deny things. Adults argue and discuss things. Children can not take criticism. Adults can take criticism.

4- You seem to see every Alawi in the world as responsible for crimes against Sunnis. You know you seem like a joke when you claim that. I know some Alawis who went to fight for your cause 1948, why you seem to be interested more into making them all with no exception just interested into the killing of Palestinians and other Sunnis. This is another childish claim of yours. You are even worst than al-3Arur. Funny when you claimed that you are an “open minded,” I almost fell from the chair laughing, whom are you kidding. You consider yourself an executioner سياف with the keys to paradise. You think you can judge people because of their religions and sects, who are you? who gives you the right to say that?

As for the Alawis and France, you seem to forget, as usual, that the Alawis were fast to rebel against the French, even though the French gave the Alawis a state. Saleh al-Ali rebelled against the French and was for a united Syria. Have you heard of him? And as for the “document” that the “Alawi notables” send France: I am still waiting to see it. I have heard Sunnis talk about it for years and never seen one copy of it. Do you have a link to that document mr. Aby Umar, or is it another lie of yours?

5- As for my heritage; it is secularism. My father did not care about religion and was more into books that mattered. He told me to judge people by their deeds and intentions for other people. He did not tell me that so and so is an infidel and could be killed. My heritage is criticism and science and not believing in the supernatural and if I could let you get into paradise or not. I respect people. This is my heritage mr. Abu Umar. Your heritage is that of killing and denying the other even exist.

6- AS for Ali ibn Abi Taleb, you want me to call him a criminal because he killed in his days. I tell you, I do not know if he killed anyone or not. The who history of the era of Ali Ibn Abi Taleb had been written in the Abbasid period. So we really are not sure of what had happened in his days. I do not know if he killed anyone because I do not believe the historiography of that period. As for the works we have of Ali Ibn Abi Taleb, like Nahj al-Balaghah (one of my favorite books) was written by al-Sharif al-Radi, according to one theory, or by others. All the knowledge we have about Ali ibn Abi Taleb is contested. I know his books that are nothing but philosophical writings about life and less about religion and sects. NOW TO COMPARE HIM TO THE CRIMINAL IBN TAYMIYAH: We have all the books of Ibn Taymiyah. He lived in a very well documented period. WE have the decrees of Ibn Taymiyah that calls the Christians, Jews, and every non Sunni an infidel. We have this document and many of you still believe in it. Ali Ibn Abi Taleb did not issue any decree. You lied when you said that.

Funny also the point you made when you said that Ali Ibn Abi Taleb is not on my side. How do you know? You called him and he told you that he was on the side on Ibn Taymiyah? Remember what did Ibn Taymiyah said about Ali and how he did not like him. Your Ibn Taymiyah did not like Ali. Do you want me to bring you the evidence?

How many times does the word kill is mentioned in the Decrees of Ibn Taymiyah? How many times in this multi volume book, that is the heart of many Sunni institutions (even states like Saudi Arabia) did Ibn Taymiyah call the Christians, Jews, and non-Sunnis infidels? Who are you Abu Umar to classify people like that? Who is Ibn Taymiyah to put himself the doorman to paradise?

7- AS for gay rights you did not answer what are your plans for gays in the Muslim World? AS for my village, I am from a city Abu Umar and if in my city there were gays who wanted to parade, I care less, let them do whatever they want. I am no one to judge them. I hate to see people hate on them because of their sexual orientation. It is not my business. What are your ideas about gays mr. Abu Umar?

8- As for Birth Control: you did not answer as expected and asked me to go and preach that to HuzbAllah and Iran. See how much of a child you are. I will talk about it to anyone, and I am sure that Huzballah and Iran and the Shia are more open minded any day than you and Sunnis with the same mental fabric like you.

9- Zionism in your scapegoat for all the failures you have in life. you fall from your bed and you blame Zionism, your soccer team loses you blame Zionism, you get sick you blame Zionism. Am I telling the truth here?

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July 27th, 2011, 5:21 pm

 

104. hsyrian said:

Answer about the fake video on the rooftop in Deraa

http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/?p=10087&cp=all#comment-254007
42. Mohamed Kanj said:

Has anybody seen the latest video supposedly showing syrian army soldiers standing on top on top of roof in deraa beside dead civilians

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYKUZFL5qVA&feature=player_embedded

I have made some obvious assumptions from this video. First look at the 50-60 seconds on the video. You will see the guy in the left of the screen wearing the lebanese internal security forces uniform with blue checkers. He forget that he was in the video http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/showthread.php?155875-Lebanese-Internal-Security-Forces-Photos/page6. Not professional enough Mr Harriri and Co.

Second, their is no syrian army emblems on the sleeves of the uniform. Third, only one soldier is wearing black boots. The others are wearing white sneakers, as if they had just come back from a disco. Third, the allawite accent that these soldiers try to fake is so obvious.To make up for his fake accent, on of the soldiers calls out to his friend “khoder”, a typical allawite name. Their dialect is typically lebanese. Too any syrian this
should be obvious.

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July 27th, 2011, 5:25 pm

 

105. True said:

• A modern Syrian State with

1. Democratically elected political system based on the foundation of “one-person one-vote”
2. Functional constitutional establishments
3. A genuine accountability process with no exception
4. A comprehensive economic strategy
5. The right to freedom of opinion and expression

The current regime and opposition are incapable to deliver these goals. So where to go from here?

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July 27th, 2011, 5:32 pm

 

106. Aliccie said:

@ Badre – 96

“how many years did it take France to become secular since its first monarch ? Is there hope Syria would do better ?”

Sorry I don’t know what you mean about ‘first monarch’, do you want to compare France’s ‘first monarch’ with Syria ? Wow, just check out on Wikepedia, as I’m not informed about the first monarchs of either countries !
What i know best, is that it took France from their revolution in 1789 that gave the human rights charter, until 1905 to get a final law that made the separation from church and state. It kicked the priests out of the state schools and stopped any relation between gvt and religion.

This is still the law today. No religion in public institutions – schools, courts, police, public medias, administrations etc.. But religion is free, meaning people can believe what they like.

I am very grateful for that, as I am also an immigrant from UK, where the the country is riddled with religion.

My son didn’t have to undergo religious instruction or ceremonies. We don’t get it thrown down our throat everyday.

However, it must be said that the Catholic church, as everywhere, always tries to get its say in things. Their influence plays out in things like media campaigns for AIDS prevention or other things like gay marriage etc.

So religion can linger on after even the best efforts to eradicate it from public life.

But I think, from my personal life here that not many people are religious today, most people are anti religious in any form. Education is science based and the youth today are more preoccupied, as all over the world with their studies and video games or their facebook etc.

I will dare say, despite the recent terrible events in Norway, that religion problems have flared up in the last few years only because of muslim immigration with their demands and lack of integration, that previously in France was pretty well a success.

Therefore, in France, the bastion of secularism, is now under threat, because of several radical groups that try to infiltrate our system and because of some of the over tolerant naive left, this has given rise to an extreme right who are the only ones to openly talk about this. This is a European problem that is certainly paying overtime to various ‘experts’ who are employed to advise the various gvts at this present time.

Now to the thousand dollar question :

“Is there hope Syria would do better ?”

No, but they can at least take note of the French experience, WHATEVER their past experience of French influence… Up to them, I wonder if they have real history taught to them ?

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July 27th, 2011, 5:42 pm

 

107. Tara said:

Aliccie

What happened to human rights concept when France colonized Syria and other countries. Cardiac arrest?

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July 27th, 2011, 5:55 pm

 

108. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Just returned from the “tents city” protest in Rothschild bv, and I have some insights. I think that the Israeli protest wouldn’t have happened if not the Arab spring. I see a direct connection. Israelis are deeply influenced and inspired by the Arab uprise.
While there, some people started a spontaneous march towards the Azrieli Towers, which I joined, and the chants where echoing the “Ash-sha`b yurid isqat an nitham”. It was “the people demand social justice”. In Hebrew it rhymes.

Kandahar,
Thank god you came back. You’re priceless!

Tara,
A good question. No, I have no Syrian Jewish background. Some thing about Syria intrigues me. I still didn’t quite decipher it fully. When I can answer myself, I’ll let you know!
.

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July 27th, 2011, 5:56 pm

 

109. Tara said:

Amir

SNk has a humorous style but

Do you really believe that Sunnis want to grind all others?

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July 27th, 2011, 6:04 pm

 

110. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Tara,

“…Do you really believe that Sunnis want to grind all others?”. Absolutely not. I couldn’t agree less with him. But I can appreciate a sense of humor and a stylish writing, even in people I differ with.
.

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July 27th, 2011, 6:16 pm

 

111. Aboud said:

@103 Sho habibi? Just what do you take us for? Those “proofs” were discussed and numerous rebuttals posted. Kindly stop trying to justify genocide with evidence so weak that not even the original poster (wherever he is) bought it up again.

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July 27th, 2011, 6:34 pm

 

112. Tara said:

Amir,

Since the site I quite today, there is a nice jewish song I always hear when I get invited to Bar/Bat mitzvah and Jewish weddings. It is a traditional song where people dance the debka. Do you know what I am talking about?

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July 27th, 2011, 6:36 pm

 

113. Aliccie said:

@ Tara

‘what happened’….

sorry, I admit my ignorance as to these events, I guess it was at the time when ‘human rights’ hadn’t been ratified by the UN

Ah, the UN, what is that ? who created it ? Pleezz, why talk about these ‘colons’ and not with the present tyrants that have reigned for many years… but then we forget the muslim wars, the otherwise tribal wars, whatever, what would have been worst, Why don’t those sheiks and famous imams, or Popes, look into the past and say what SHOULD/WOULD HAVE BEEN. !

If those colons has remained what would have happened ? In so many places, AFrica etc.. wouldn’t they have been better off today ?

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July 27th, 2011, 6:40 pm

 

114. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Tara,

There are quite many songs that you can dance Debka style. We call it “Hora” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hora_%28dance%29 , that is usually danced in circles or in lines. BTW, I don’t know where you’re from… If it’s not a chutzpa to ask…

Did you mean this song? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVPlXueRnoI
.

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July 27th, 2011, 6:45 pm

 

115. Tara said:

Alicce,

We once had a smart guy on SC who told us dictatorship is prevalent in the ME due to its history of colonialism and lack of women education. If that is true, then The French colonialism is partially to be blamed.

While I appreciate your looking out for us to be a free democratic country, I disagree with your answer to the question you posed if there is a hope for Syria.

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July 27th, 2011, 6:50 pm

 

116. Aliccie said:

Well Tara, I can only say … ok, ok.. if you think so… etc.. who knows..

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July 27th, 2011, 6:56 pm

 

117. Tara said:

Amir

Yes. It is. Hava nagila. I like it I remembered the name now but it sounds better in the US. Different version?

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July 27th, 2011, 6:58 pm

 

118. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Tara,

There was a huge controversy when Ema Shah, the Kuwaiti, sang it in Kuwait, I believe. I like very much her interpretation:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VPVVWiMWQ_M&feature=related (wait till min 2:47).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPsaGszwuiI&feature=related
.

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July 27th, 2011, 7:06 pm

 

119. Darryl said:

Amir In Tel Aviv

Just don’t add cheese to the falafel sandwich. I was once visiting a Chinese colleague at Hughes Aircraft in Los Angeles and he took me for a “treat” to try this new joint he discovered. It was Falafel sandwich with Cheese. Next to Sushi, it was the most difficult thing for me to swallow.

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July 27th, 2011, 7:42 pm

 

120. Tara said:

Amir,

I don’t know what the song means. Do you care to translate? also, you did not know I am Syrian?

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July 27th, 2011, 8:10 pm

 

121. Darryl said:

114. TARA said:

I believe the reason the ME has the largest percentage of dictators (100%) is due the fact they want freedom for themselves and those around them from the alternative ________(I am leaving this blank space to see if someone knows what it is).

Everyone in the ME is always blaming the colonial powers and now the Jews and Israel have become the scapegoat while ignoring the biggest elephant in the room. Truth is if Israel did not exist in the ME, the Arabs and Islamic states will be fighting among themselves. Every Arab League conference, has produced a few fist fights, black eyes (from the punches of course not from crying for joy) and bruised body parts.

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July 27th, 2011, 8:37 pm

 

122. Tara said:

Daryl

If you mean Islam, I think it is the opposite. I think oppression breads radical Islam and not vice versa.

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July 27th, 2011, 8:58 pm

 

123. Darryl said:

Tara, no. But there is a relationship.

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July 27th, 2011, 9:09 pm

 

124. Tara said:

Daryl

Secret?

You lived in the US then moved to Australia?

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July 27th, 2011, 9:16 pm

 

125. Darryl said:

Tara, there is a far bigger oppression from this other source than the one supplied by the rulers.

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July 27th, 2011, 9:19 pm

 

126. Tara said:

Darryl

Enslaving of the mind and thoughts is the biggest oppression of all.

It is usually self-imposed.

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July 27th, 2011, 9:26 pm

 

127. Darryl said:

Tara, who is enslaving the minds?

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July 27th, 2011, 10:13 pm

 

128. Tara said:

Darryl

I believe it is self- imposed. The upbringing plays a major role.

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July 27th, 2011, 10:23 pm

 

129. Darryl said:

Tara, no no no. I might have to give you a clue. SNK keeps talking about some of it, it started during the Abbasaids and continues to this day, it exists in Iran (No not Shias), it is the second largest export from KSA.

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July 27th, 2011, 10:30 pm

 

130. Tara said:

Text?

If so, I disagree.

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July 27th, 2011, 10:37 pm

 

131. True said:

First of all I , personally, don’t believe that Mr.Buti should be trashed in such a manner; everyone, including the martyr “the kid” Hamza Alkatieb, should enjoy the right to express himself, so Mr.Buti did. A blind adopting for the old school of there’s only one way and it’s “MY WAY” is not healthy for both pro/anti regime groups.

Mr.Buti had enjoyed a great deal of respect from most Damascenes even after his famous vision of seeing junior the 1st “Basel” in the heaven after he has been murdered by his own inner circle mates.

@ “Menhbek” group, it seems you got the tap on the shoulder to appoint Mr.Buti as the head of clergymen in Syria. I have been following most of the commentators of “Menhebek” group (sadly they are the vast majority on SC) and most of them did claim being seculars!!! so why suddenly most of you feeling the pain for Mr.Buti? while you did not give a damn about thousands of normal people who were killed by the jounior’s thugs and gangs?

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July 27th, 2011, 10:42 pm

 

132. Darryl said:

Tara, here it is:

It is the zealous Sheikhs like Aroor, Karadawi, Hassan, Ibn Taymeih, Alwahab etc etc who control a Muslim’s mind through the gaseous Fatwas as Abu Ghassan said a few days ago. The Abbasaids were hypocrites who controlled through the clergy and now you have Tug of war between Khamanie and Ahmadenajad like the old days.

Most muslims have not read the Qur’an on their own and have been brain washed to think is is difficult to understand and comprehend. You have lots of people like Abu Umars who talk nonsense, Aldendeshe who said Jesus was a myth and did not realize that the Qur’an had a whole chapter discussing this Myth and off course many others who have no clue.

When was the last time a sheikh preached forgiveness, gender equality, love to mankind, peace, leave the secret of God to your own personal life? Never isn’t. But a lot of talk about killing and abuse of power.

Why would a ME ruler step down after a few years only to have a two cent clergy become the new ruler for life?

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July 27th, 2011, 11:04 pm

 

133. louai said:

Daer True ,

You said

’@ “Menhbek” group, it seems you got the tap on the shoulder to appoint Mr.Buti as the head of clergymen in Syria. I have been following most of the commentators of “Menhebek” group (sadly they are the vast majority on SC) and most of them did claim being seculars!!! so why suddenly most of you feeling the pain for Mr.Buti? while you did not give a damn about thousands of normal people who were killed by the jounior’s thugs and gangs? ‘

Tap on the shoulder from whom?

‘“Menhebek” group (sadly they are the vast majority on SC’
Also I find it strange from you to use the word Menhebek and undermind your sound coments (most of them) but the fact that the majority of SC support their government dosnt tell you something about majority of the Syrians?
‘and most of them did claim being seculars!!!’
Is being secular means to fight religion and humiliate shaiks and priests? Al Buti represent tolerant Islam as al Aroor represents the islamists ,off course you would feel bad to see him attacked like that (in media and in mosques )

‘while you did not give a damn about thousands of normal people who were killed by the jounior’s thugs and gangs?’
May I ask you not to generalize and label every one in here as a blind supporter and a criminal?
Do you want me to tell you you didn’t give a damn about your soldiers and civilians killed by your Aroor’s thugs? I know you don’t support the armed terrorists in this revolution and you know we don’t support the killing of the peaceful demonstrators, so please be objective.

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July 27th, 2011, 11:29 pm

 

134. louai said:

Dear Darryl

‘When was the last time a sheikh preached forgiveness, gender equality, love to mankind, peace, leave the secret of God to your own personal life’
the last time that happend When I was but a little kid and the Syrian TV (channel one and the only ) put always Quraan before the cartoons and many time Al Buti preaching ,I was boared to death want him to finish to watch Reme treasure island or the white whale ,but I do remember him preaching about all what you just mentioned that’s why I feel offended when I see man like him treated that way .

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July 27th, 2011, 11:37 pm

 

135. Darryl said:

Dear Louai, I am so glad to hear your response and hope there will be more of that talk and for Arabs and Muslims to stop blaming the colonial powers. Perhaps Syria may have been the only Muslim country where this message has been attempting to bubble to the surface.

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July 28th, 2011, 12:42 am

 

136. Badr said:

“do you want to compare France’s ‘first monarch’ with Syria?”

ALICCIE #106,

No. I was asking a rhetoric question regarding how long it took the French to embrace secularism since the beginning of an entity known as a French nation.

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July 28th, 2011, 4:20 am

 
 

138. ann syla said:

Zawahri, Al Qaeda’s New Leader, Praises Syrian Protesters

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/29/world/asia/29zawahri.html

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July 29th, 2011, 12:21 am

 

139. Mango said:

عجبا من هؤلاء ! يتكلمون عن (ديمقراطية) وعن فرضها رغما و عنوة ! انكم لدى شعبنا مكروهوووووووووووووووون و غير مؤتمنون حتى على دورات مياهنا!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y36rXveXsdA

أعلن مايكل بوزنر وجيفري فيلتمان مساعدا وزيرة الخارجية الامريكية في كلمة مشتركة القيت باسمهما يوم 27 يوليو/تموز في الكونغرس الامريكي أعلنا ان الولايات المتحدة تعتزم مواصلة لعب دور حاسم في عملية إحلال الديمقراطية في سورية ووصفا الحضور الدبلوماسي وإبداء اليقظة في شتى المناطق السورية حيث تجرى تظاهرات الاحتجاج بانهما “وسيلة هامة لجمع المعلومات واظهار الدعم لحقوق الشعب السوري”. وشدد بوزنر و فيلتمان ايضا على أهمية “التحدث مع الحكومة السورية بصورة مباشرة عن وجوب تغيير النهج الذي تتبعه”.

ومن جهة اخرى اشار الدبلوماسيان الامريكيان الى ان القرار بشأن ما سيكون عليه الوضع سورية سيبقى بيد الشعب السوري نفسه. وبحسب قولهما فان الصفحات تقلب نحو المستقبل الجديد لهذا البلد. وبوسع الرئيس بشار الاسد ان يؤخر هذه العملية. لكن ليس بوسعه ايقافها.

وقال بوزنر و فيلتمان:”نحن نعول ،حين يقرر السوريون مستقبلهم ،ان تشارك فيه كافة الشرائح الاثنية والطوائف الدينية. وتريد الولايات المتحدة والمجتمع الدولي ان تكون سورية دولة موحدة تحترم فيها حقوق الانسان وان تكون المساواة بين المواطنين فيها قاعدة متبعة”.

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July 29th, 2011, 11:03 am

 

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