New Syrian Leadership Electrifies Opposition: Ten Countries Promise Recognition

Ten countries promised recognition of the new “National Coalition for Revolutionary Forces and the Syrian Opposition”, including Saudi, UAE, Jordan, Egypt, US, German, Italy, France.

Mouaz al-Khatib, a former imam at the famous Umayyad mosque in Damascus, was voted as president. Riad Seif, who proposed the initiative to form the new group, and female activist Suhair al-Atassi were chosen as deputies. All three have served time in Syrian prisons and left the country recently. (See BBC’s Excellent profile of Khatib)

It is a big day for the Syrian opposition. Defying naysayers and skeptics, the opposition came together in Doha to follow the outlines of the Riad Seif plan. Opposition members the world over are electrified by the outcome and moving speeches given by the opposition’s new leadership. Assad regime must be worried, as it has survived for 42 years thanks to Syria’s fragmentation.

Now the challenge will be to unite the militias on the ground in Syria behind the new civilian leadership. The role of Qatar, the US, France and Britain have been central in encouraging unity.

Ahmad Moaz Al Khatib Al Hassani – official webpage with speeches given in the past

Video of Ahmad al-Khatib

George Sabra’s Speech on Youtube Very moving. One Syrian friend writes: “This speech made me feel proud to be a Syrian Christian for the first time in a long time.”

Names of the members of the ‘itilaf al-watani

معاذ الخطيب، رياض سيف،سهير الأتاسي، جورج صبرا كلهم معتقلين سابقين بسجون النظام،ورياض خسر ابنه ثمنا لانتقاده رامي مخلوف

Gulf States Recognize New Syrian Opposition Group,  2012-11-12

Dubai, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council says it has recognized the new broad-based Syrian opposition group as the legitimate representatives of the Syrian people. Monday’s statement is the first formal recognition for the newly united opposition group that seeks to topple President Bashar Assad. It also could be another step toward opening up greater military aid to the rebels from the Gulf states such as Qatar, which hosted the Syrian opposition meeting.

Reuters – Syria opposition seeks support

His assembly was recognized by the six Sunni Muslim-ruled kingdoms of the Gulf Cooperation Council as “the legitimate representative of the Syrian people”. Washington said it would back it “as it charts a course toward the end of Assad’s bloody rule and the start of the peaceful, just, democratic future”.

The Arab League welcomed the formation of the new body, called on other opposition groups to join it and described it as “a legitimate representative and a primary negotiator”, but fell short of calling it the new authority in Syria.

Syrian opposition agrees deal, chooses preacher as leader
By RANIA EL GAMAL, REUTERS November 12, 2012

DOHA – Syrian opposition leaders struck a hard-won deal on Sunday under intense international pressure to form a broad, new coalition to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad and chose a popular Islamist activist to head the body.

Mouaz al-Khatib, a former imam at the famous Umayyad mosque in Damascus, was voted as president. Riad Seif, who proposed the initiative to form the new group, and female activist Suhair al-Atassi were chosen as deputies.

Delegates, who had struggled for days in the Qatari capital Doha to find the unity their Western and Arab backers have long urged, said the coalition would ensure a voice for religious and ethnic minorities and for the rebels fighting on the ground, who have complained of being overlooked by exiled dissident groups.

U.S. hails creation of new Syrian exile opposition group
By Roy Gutman | McClatchy Newspapers – November 11, 2012

Riad Seif, a Syrian businessman who served in the Syrian Parliament and then spent several terms in jail as a political dissident, was the principal organizer of the new initiative and was elected a deputy president of the new group. Suhair al Atassi, a female anti-Assad activist, was elected as a second vice president.

Jones, the U.S. official, urged the new organization, whose full name is the Syrian National Coalition for the Forces of the Opposition and the Revolution, to set up a technical group with which the international community can “work quickly.” She said she was sending a top level official to London to attend an emergency aid meeting that the British government has called for Friday.

In late October, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton publicly called for the new group to supplant the Syrian National Council, which had been the biggest exile umbrella group. Founded little over a year ago, the SNC has been widely criticized for infighting, lackluster leadership, and a failure to raise sufficient funds or to establish close links with fighting groups inside Syria.

But the new coalition may face some of the same organizational problems that the Syrian National Council did. Syrian emigres do not have well-formed political parties, no surprise after four decades of a police state dictatorship, and the only group that appears able to develop a political strategy is the Muslim Brotherhood.

A second problem is the political constellation under which the new coalition was formed – public pressure from the United States, which is widely criticized by Syrians in and out of the country for giving plenty of advice but having done little to arm the rebels.

The new group also must determine how to incorporate the original Syrian National Council into its operation. The council this past week restructured itself and elected a Christian, George Sabra, as its president. Sabra immediately called for the international community to arm the rebels. “We need arms. We need arms. We need arms,” Sabra said, a distinctly more vigorous presentation than Khatib’s on Sunday night.

The government of Qatar, which hosted both the council’s organizational talks and the discussions that led to the creation of the Syrian National Coalition, invited both groups to stay in Doha until Nov. 25 in order to figure out how to meld their organizations.

Additionally, U.S. officials also may face difficulty rationalizing Khatib’s positions with U.S. policy. Western diplomats said Khatib has been a critic of twin accords agreed to in Cairo last July that Riad Seif was instrumental in drafting that specify that a post-Assad Syria should be secular in nature. Khatib has been critical of the documents because they make no reference to Islamic Shariah law.

Jones’ statement made clear that the U.S. government will not accept changes in the Cairo documents. “The basis of our cooperation remains the National Compact and the Transition plan announced in Cairo last July, as well as respect for human rights protections and equal treatment for all Syrian citizens,” the statement said.

Asked by e-mail whether she had made the statement out of concern for Khatib’s previous positions, Jones’ spokesman said he had no comment.

Syrian opposition groups strike reorganization deal
By Babak Dehghanpisheh, Wash Post

DOHA, Qatar — Fractious Syrian opposition groups finally struck a deal Sunday to form a new umbrella organization after a week of heated negotiations that were nearly derailed on several occasions.

The new organization, called the National Coalition for Revolutionary Forces and the Syrian Opposition, is intended to act as the single entity that manages the political and military affairs of the opposition and as the conduit for humanitarian and military aid.

At the end of October, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the Syrian National Council, the opposition group formed in August 2011, could no longer claim to be the credible leader of the opposition.

In recent months, the SNC has been criticized as an ineffectual organization out of touch with events on the ground in Syria.

Although many details of the structure of the new coalition and the timeline for achieving its political goals remained largely undefined Sunday, international supporters of the opposition praised the agreement and highlighted what appeared to be a new willingness of activists to work together.

A Syrian opposition conference held in Cairo in July led to fistfights between some activists.

“The regime fears most that the opposition unifies,” said Riyad Hijab, the former Syrian prime minister who defected in August and attended the opposition conference last week. “I know that. I was part of that regime.”

International backers of the opposition hope that a credible leadership for the group could win the support of ordinary Syrians and reduce the influence of extremist groups that are on the rise in the country….

Moaz Khatib, former imam of the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, was named president of the new coalition. Khatib, who appeared at the signing ceremony Sunday night wearing a gray suit rather than clerical robes, is viewed as a religious moderate and is widely respected by opposition members inside and outside Syria. Riad Seif, a longtime activist who led the initiative to start a new coalition, and Suhair Atassi, a prominent female activist, were named vice presidents.

“After long suffering, the multiple national forces have reached a coalition of one front to help our people who are being slaughtered every day on the watch of the world,” Khatib said at the signing ceremony, which was attended by Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davatoglu and Qatar’s prime minister, Hamad Bin Jasim al-Thani.

The leaders of the coalition said that gaining international recognition was a top priority and that Khatib may head to Cairo as soon as Monday to pursue recognition from the Arab League.

That would be followed by a push to get recognition from the Friends of Syria group, which includes the United States, followed by a pitch to the United Nations. Many prominent activists said they had received repeated assurances from their foreign backers that they would receive recognition quickly.

By Faisal Baatout (AFP) –

DOHA — …. After four days of marathon talks in Qatar, the Syrian National Council finally signed up to a wider, more representative bloc centred on a government-in-waiting, as demanded by Arab and Western states.

… Reservations in SNC ranks about what many members saw as a move to sideline it had prompted repeated delays in the Doha talks and mounting frustration among other dissident groups and the opposition’s Arab and Western supporters. But after negotiations ran into the early hours of Sunday and resumed in the afternoon, the anti-Assad factions agreed to form a “National Coalition of Forces of the Syrian Revolution and Opposition.”

“We signed a 12-point agreement to establish a coalition,” said leading dissident Riad Seif, who drew up the US-backed reform proposals on which Sunday’s agreement was based. In a copy of the document obtained by AFP, the parties “agree to work for the fall of the regime and of all its symbols and pillars,” and rule out any dialogue with the regime….

They agreed to unify the fighting forces under a supreme military council and to set up a national judicial commission for rebel-held areas….A provisional government would be formed after the coalition gains international recognition, and a transitional government formed after the regime has fallen.

The deal came after the SNC, which had formerly been seen as the main opposition group, heeded Arab and Western pressure to agree to a new structure embracing groups that had been unwilling to join its ranks.

Former prime minister Riad Hijab, who fled to neighbouring Jordan in August in the highest-ranking defection from Assad’s government, hailed the agreement as “an advanced step towards toppling the regime.”

Anti-Assad Syria National Council picks a Christian to be its new leader
By Roy Gutman
McClatchy Newspapers

DOHA, Qatar — Syria’s biggest political opposition bloc Friday elected a Christian, George Sabra, as president, a move Sabra said showed that the Muslim-majority nation will not allow its national uprising to descend into sectarian war.

Sabra, a geography teacher who once wrote for the Arabic version of “Sesame Street,” immediately demanded that the international community provide arms to the rebels so that they can protect Syrian civilians from regime attack.

Western nations, he told reporters after the vote by the Syrian National Council, should “support our right to survival.” He added, “To protect ourselves, we need weapons.”

Tens of thousands of Syrians have died in the uprising, which began as peaceful demonstrations against the government of President Bashar Assad. But it has become a bloody civil war pitting the Syrian army and air force against rebels who despite a lack of heavy weapons have seized large swaths of Syrian countryside and have fought loyalist forces to a standstill in Aleppo, the country’s largest city.

Sabra seemed stunned by his sudden elevation to the council’s top post. “It is an unbelievable moment in my life,” he told reporters. “I promise to become a representative for all the Syrian people.”

It was uncertain whether Sabra’s selection would rehabilitate the Syrian National Council in the eyes of the United States. Last week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that the U.S. no longer would recognize the council as the primary anti-Assad organization, saying too many of its members had lived in exile for decades and that a new opposition group should include more representation from people fighting inside Syria.

Sabra may help fit that requirement. A longtime member of Syria’s communist party, which renamed itself the Syrian Democratic People’s Party in 2005, Sabra went into exile only in October after serving two months in prison for inciting dissent. Previously, he had served eight years in prison during the regime of Bashar Assad’s father, Hafez Assad.

Sabra credited his election to the intervention of a conservative Islamist from Homs, a Sunni Muslim city that has been the scene of brutal fighting between rebels and pro-Assad forces for most of this year.

Until the Islamist, Wasal al Shamali, who was here representing the Supreme Council for Revolutionary Commands, a collection of rebel-held cities in Syria, spoke on Sabra’s behalf, Sabra wasn’t even a member of the group’s top governing committee, the general secretariat. The Syrian National Council has been criticized because its 41-member secretariat includes no women or Alawites, the religious offshoot of Shiite Islam to which Assad belongs.

Shamali, however, said that Sabra should have his place on the general secretariat.

“I didn’t even know his name,” Sabra told McClatchy. “He was in tears.”

Added Sabra: “After that, who can talk about sectarianism when a Muslim sacrifices his place for a Christian?”

The group later elected Sabra its president, 28-13, over Hisham Marwah, an Islamic legal scholar.

Sabra said his selection should signal to the international community: “Look at Syria. There is no sectarianism inside Syria. All the people here, Muslims, voted for Christians.”

He said the Syria that he and others are fighting for “doesn’t have minorities and majorities. We have citizenship. And as I am a citizen, my colleagues elected me.”

Whether that sentiment translates inside Syria is less clear. In recent weeks, fighting has broken out between Arab rebels and Kurdish militias in Aleppo, and some Sunni Muslims have vowed revenge on Alawites for their support of Assad. The country’s organized Christian religious groups have to date remained firmly allied with the Assad government, saying they fear that the mostly Sunni Muslim rebels won’t protect their rights once Assad is gone. There are also concerns that Islamist militants are playing a growing role in the rebellion.

Concerns of the growing influence of Islamists among the rebels are often cited by U.S. officials for their hesitancy to provide weapons, though many in the opposition argue that the U.S. failure to provide weapons is strengthening the Islamists.

Still to be determined is how Sabra’s election might affect plans, backed by the United States, the Arab League and Qatar, to restructure the opposition.

Under the U.S-backed move, dissident Riad Seif, a successful industrialist from Damascus and former member of the Syrian Parliament, had proposed setting up a new organization, the Syrian National Initiative, with a majority of members not from the Syrian National Council. The Syrian National Initiativewould set up a smaller body of technocrats, who would deal directly with the international community and help funnel humanitarian aid into the country.

Sabra said the SNC would discuss under what conditions it would participate in the new group on Saturday. Sabra said the SNC also would consider an alternative plan that would set up a 300-member assembly primarily of fighters and officials inside Syria to elect a transitional government.

“Our main goal is to unite the opposition to bring down the regime,” Sabra said.

One surprise aspect of the Syrian National Council’s vote Friday was that it was conducted in the open, following a more or less democratic process under which its membership base of 425 voted first for a general secretariat of 41, which then selected the executive committee and the president.

When it came time to vote for the president, the council allowed reporters to witness the process.

Syria’s main opposition bloc elects Christian former teacher as new president
By Associated Press, Published: November 9

DOHA, Qatar — Syria’s main opposition group in exile elected a left-wing veteran dissident born into a Christian family as its new president on Friday, a choice that could help counter Western concerns about possible Islamist influence over the group.

George Sabra, a Communist-turned-social-democrat and former high school teacher who once wrote for the Arabic version of Sesame Street, said his election as head of the Syrian National Council is proof that Syrians are not beholden to sectarianism.

“This day is a victory of the Syrian people to prove all over the world the reality of the Syrians … as young people shouted in the streets, ‘Syrian people are one, one, one,’” he said moments after his victory was announced at a conference in Doha, Qatar. Sabra’s election came on the eve of a crucial decision for the SNC.

Jordan Said to Help Arm Syria Rebels
Wall Street Journal, November 9, 2012
Shipments Are Routed Through Border as Kingdom Steps Up Aid, Opposition Members Say; Amman Denies Connection

AMMAN, Jordan—Jordan has stepped up its support for neighboring Syria’s political and military opposition, including allowing some light arms to flow across the border, according to Syrian rebels and an Arab official familiar with the operation.

Several shipments of arms—including assault rifles, Russian-designed antitank missiles and ammunition—have been delivered to the border in Jordanian military trucks and then taken into Syria by rebel brigades, according to Syrian rebel fighters. Dozens of other shipments have been smuggled to Syria with the covert support of Jordanian border officials, these people say. Saudi Arabia and Qatar pay for these arms and transport them to Jordan, say rebel fighters based along the Syria-Jordan border and a person involved in arms procurement for the rebels….

The Syrian groups receiving arms from the Jordanian border are now connected to the military councils that have been vetted by Washington and others, say people involved in the transaction.
Some of the light weapons said to be entering Syria through Jordan are destined for the southern Syrian border town of Dera’a, where the popular uprising kicked off last year. Most of the arms, though, were pushed north to the suburbs of Damascus, 60 miles north, in possible preparation for a push on the capital, according to rebel leaders.

I was born here and I will die here

Mr Assad also rejected calls that he seek a safe exit, vowing he would “live and die in Syria”. “I am not a puppet…. I am Syrian and I must live and die in Syria,” Assad, who is facing a nearly 20-month revolt against his rule, told Russian Arabic-language channel Rusiya Al-Yaum.

Prime Minister David Cameron this week floated the idea of granting Mr Assad safe passage from the country, saying it “could be arranged” though he wanted the Syrian leader to face international justice. Mr Assad also warned against a foreign intervention to deal with Syria’s escalating conflict, saying such a move would have “global consequences” and shake regional stability.

Missteps by Rebels Erode Their Support Among Syrians
By Anne Barnard | The New York Times

The Syrian public is increasingly disgusted with the actions of some rebels, including poorly planned missions, senseless destruction, criminal behavior and the coldblooded killing of prisoners.

Post Election, Obama Gambles on Syrian Rebels
Nov 10, 2012- DailyBeast, Michael G

The U.S. has made its boldest move yet on Syria to date, pushing to create a new and better opposition that it can trust—and that it hopes Syrians will too.

In the wake of Barack Obama’s reelection, the United States has decided to take what seasoned observers call its boldest move yet in the conflict in Syria. In Doha this week—the elegant seaside capital of Qatar, the tiny Persian Gulf nation ranked as the world’s wealthiest by Forbes—America, in collaboration with its Qatari ally, is trying to shape a better and more credible opposition to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, following more than a year of infighting between Syria’s notoriously fractious and ineffective resistance.

Wading so directly into Syria’s bloody conflict is fraught with pitfalls for the U.S. government. “It’s a gamble by the State Department to stake such a strong claim in efforts to restructure the opposition,” says Steven Heydemann of the United States Institute for Peace, who has tracked the conflict from the start and who has been part of transition talks with Syrian opposition members. “I think it was a dramatic and risky move. If it works, it will be seen as having been a stroke of diplomatic genius.”

In London, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said talks with rebel military leaders would not involve advice on military tactics or support for their operations. Hague also insisted that Britain would not consider offering weapons to Assad’s opponents.

Syria: leader of rebels warns they might ‘turn into terrorists’
The leader of the Free Syrian Army has called on the outside world to back the rebels before they all “turn into terrorists”.
Syria: leader of rebels warns they might ‘turn into terrorists’
By Richard Spencer, Idlib Province, Syria, and Ruth Sherlock in Doha, 09 Nov 2012

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph in his base in rebel-occupied Syria, Gen. Mustafa al-Sheikh unveiled a new leadership of the Higher Military Council of the FSA, which he heads.

He also said he welcomed David Cameron’s decision to engage with the rebels and even consider organising arms supplies, but he added that war was spreading to surrounding countries, the rebels were fractured and speed was of the essence.

“If there’s no quick decision to support us, we will all turn into terrorists,” he said. “If you apply the pressure that’s been applied to Syria, it will explode in all directions. Terrorism will grow quickly.”

Gen Sheikh was the first of a number of regime army generals to defect to the rebels, joining Col Riad al-Assad at the head of the FSA. The rebels fighting the battles on the ground though are not only divided among themselves but often refuse to recognise his leadership.

Aware that this is a major reason for the reluctance of Western powers to arm them or encourage their Middle Eastern allies to supply rebel forces, on Friday announced a new unified command structure, dividing Syria into five commands each with a defected general at its head.

Assad says only ‘ballot box’ can decide his future
Khaleej Times – 10 November, 2012

Syrian President Bashar Al Assad said his future could only be decided through the ballot box, in an interview with Russian television where he warned the country could face a protracted war.

Assad told Russia Today that whether the president can “stay or leave” is a “popular issue” and “the only way (it) can be done (is) through the ballot boxes”. He denied Syria was in “civil war” but said the conflict with rebels could be “a long-term war” if they continued to receive support from abroad.

Syria in Ruins
Nov 8, 2012 |

While much recent media attention has been focused on Hurricane Sandy and America’s presidential election, Syria’s horrific civil war continues. In some places, it has worsened. Aerial bombardment of civilian neighborhoods, deadly sniper fire, brutal street fighting, assassinations, and summary executions have become the norm in Syria. Cease-fire agreements have collapsed, rebel forces remain disorganized, foreign intervention is still hamstrung, and no path to peace appears to be forming yet. Britain is now reportedly looking for options to circumvent an arms embargo in order to supply rebels with weaponry. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad remains defiant, stating in an interview with Russia Today that he planned “live and die in Syria,” adding, “I am tougher than Gaddafi.” Collected here are images of this bloody conflict from just the past few weeks. [48 photos]

Beware of the Islamist Trap
By Monte Palmer

Speaking Freely is an Asia Times Online feature that allows guest writers to have their say. Please click here if you are interested in contributing.

Islamists, judging by the use of the term in the global press, is a simplified way of referring to all Muslim groups seeking some form of Islamic rule in the Middle East.

Like most simplistic expressions, “Islamist,” is laden with hidden traps. The first Islamist trap is believing that all Muslim groups seeking some form of Islamic rule in the Middle East are of one mind and body. They are not. The second Islamist trap is assuming that all groups seeking some form of Islamist rule are inherently hostile to the interests of the United States and its allies. Some are, and some are not. The third Islamist trap is thinking that the US and its allies can stop the Islamist surge now sweeping the Middle East by diplomacy, sanctions, and covert action. The verdict on this supposition has yet to be rendered, but the outlook is not promising. The fourth and most lethal Islamist trap is the belief that force alone can stop the Islamists. Iraq and Afghanistan suggest otherwise.

The dangers of assuming that all Islamists are the same is easily illustrated by a brief review of the four main Sunni Islamist currents competing for control of the Middle East.

Islam lite
The most liberal of the four main Islamist currents is Islam Lite, the sarcastic Turkish nickname for the Justice and Development Party that has ruled Turkey within a secular framework for more than a decade. Islam Lite, the most forward looking of the four Islamic currents, has built Turkey into the world’s seventeenth largest economy, consolidated Turkish democracy, brought Turkey to the doorstep of membership in the European Union, reaffirmed Turkey membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and established Turkey as the dominant Muslim power in the Middle East and beyond.

This is not to deny that the Justice and Development Party does have an Islamic agenda that seeks to create a more Islamic state in Turkey and the Arab world. At the domestic level, the Justice and Development Party has implemented sweeping Islamic reforms that promote veiling (head scarfs), prayer in schools, and other Islamic practices outlawed by Turkey’s revolutionary leaders in the aftermath of World War I. While these Islamic reforms are hardly earth shaking, seculars worry that they are but the first step in the Party’s much deeper Islamic agenda.

At the regional and international levels, the Justice and Development Party’s Islamic agenda includes support for Muslim Brotherhood rule in Egypt, Tunisia, and the Gaza Strip. It also calls for an independent Palestinian state in the Occupied Territories. All have soured Turkey’s relations with Israel, but war between the two former allies is not in the picture.

Partnership with the US and EU is an essential component of Islam Lite. Subservience is not. Some observers accuse Turkey of using Islam to extend its regional influence. The Israelis, by contrast, worry that Turkey will use its military power to extend its Islamic reach.

While neither thought can be discounted, the Islamic Lite model practiced in Turkey does demonstrate that moderate Islamic rule is compatible with democracy and development. Much like Turkey itself, the Justice and Development Party provides an avenue for cooperation and dialogue between the West and Muslim currents throughout the Middle East.

Things, however, may not be as simple as they seem. The Turkish model is deeply rooted in Turkish history and culture and may not be exportable to either the Arab world or the Islamic regions of Central Asia. Also problematic is the weakness of Islamic Lite currents in other areas of the Middle East, All, with rare exceptions lack a firm organizational network and their popular support base pales in comparison to those of the Muslim Brotherhood and even the more extremist Salafis.

The Muslim Brotherhood
Next in the hierarchy of religious extremism comes the Muslim Brotherhood, the world’s largest and most powerful Islamic organization. The Brotherhood now rules in Egypt and Tunisia and exercises profound influence throughout the region. The name may differ from place to place, but they are all Brotherhood offshoots…..

Syria border fighting sends 8,000 fleeing to Turkey
The total of 11,000 who fled the country in 24 hours is one of the largest since the Syrian conflict began, underscoring the crisis for civilians.

Video of TNT bomb being dumped of the back of a helicopter in Syria.

New Jihadi Group, Liwa Al-Mujahideen, Established In Syria
Three video clips pertaining to a new jihadi group in Syria, Liwa Al-Mujahideen, were circulated on YouTube during October 2012. The first was an announcement of the group’s establishment; in the second, the group’s commander explained its raison d’etre; and in the third, the group announced that it had formed the Al-Sahaba Battalion, which would operate in the rural region around Damascus.

L’inversement des rôles entre Damas et Téhéran
BY wassim NASR in (L’Express)  shift of roles between Damascus and Tehran :



Comments (238)

Pages: « 1 2 [3] 4 5 » Show All

101. MarigoldRan said:

Agreed, Sheila. A year ago the regime (with Russian and Iranian support) said, “no dialogue.” Now that they’re losing, the regime and the Russians and Iranians are screaming, “let’s talk!”

So stupid. At every point of the revolution, the regime and their foreign backers have miscalculated.

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November 12th, 2012, 10:04 pm


102. Visitor said:

Marigoldran 98,

Right now we are not at the stage of presenting proposals and counter proposals. We have our objectives and we keep focused on achieving those objectives with available means. As many have observed already, the balance of power has shifted dramatically in favor of the revolution since it started some twenty months ago.

For now the war will continue and the FSA will continue to advance, get more weapons, training and more recruits from the defecting soldiers as well as the civilian population. We as expatriates must continue to support it with all means available to us. That is the least we can do.

When the time comes for proposals, then you should become aware of what we say in Arabic:

لكل حادث حديث
If you do not know Arabic, let me know and I will try to convey the meaning.

In the meantime, the objectives remain our focus.

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November 12th, 2012, 10:19 pm


103. MarigoldRan said:

Agreed. Assad is still in power, right?

He leaves first. Then perhaps talk. It’s not the right time, yet.

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November 12th, 2012, 10:25 pm


104. mjabali said:

Observer, old money:

With all honesty, I see your anger towards the Alawis grow by the day.

A while back, you were trying to pretend that you are progressive and for the rights of minorities, but with time I see that you are increasing the dose of hatred, especially against the Alawis.

Granted that you hate me, but it is obvious that you are going postal regarding the Alawis in general, and me in particular.

If you are pissed as some poster on this blog, you try to bring me to that person. What is your story dude?

Dude, I see that you are behaving in an immature manner, in Syrian : عم تتولدن

For real, if I introduced your labels and adjectives, coupled with your phrases regarding the Alawis to a neutral group they would see clearly that you are RACIST. Plain and simple. There are samples of your writings on this blog.

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November 12th, 2012, 10:34 pm


105. zoo said:


“if the deeds that follow do not contradict the words. ”

In politics they often do.
So let’s wait calmly.

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November 12th, 2012, 10:48 pm


106. Ghufran said:

أكد عضو “المنبر الديمقراطي” المعارض السوري ميشال كيلو أن موقفه من تشكيل “الائتلاف الوطني لقوى الثورة والمعارضة السورية” الذي أُعلن عنه من الدوحة يرتبط “بما سيفعله (هذا الائتلاف) ونحن ننتظر وسنبني موقفنا على النتائج التي تترتب على ذلك، وليس المهم التنظيمات وإنما الأفعال”.
ولفت كيلو في حديث صحافي الى أن الاجتماعات التي أجراها المجلس الوطني السوري الأسبوع الماضي “لا علاقة لنا بها لسنا جزءاً منها، نحن ديمقراطيون، والمجلس إسلامي، نحن مستقلون والمجلس تابع لدول أجنبية تموّله وتسهر على استمراره بعدما شكّلته. ونعتقد على كل حال أن المجلس يلهو في القضية السورية ويراهن على خراب البلد، وهو جزء من هذا الخراب”.
Kilo also looked optimistic about the threat of the collapse of the Syrian army and the somalization of syria saying that regional and international powers do not want another Somalia in Syria.
( I am not sure I agree with kilo, Syria is quickly becoming a haven for thugs and criminals)
What you see is a political circus,that is why I broadcasted my Tozz and my big yawn, I indeed have respect for a number of people who signed the accord but I think that they hurt their cause by going to Qatar. The real fight is on the ground and so far the rebels have not captured any major Syrian city, they are still trying to “liberate” Aleppo and have not managed to keep their bases around Damascus, even in Idleb, rebels are now fighting to save Muarrat Alnumaan, I am not celebrating the rebels lack of progress or the regime’s resistance but I find it necessary to separate facts from fiction since many of you seem to be trapped in a fantasy that may never materialize: winning this conflict militarily. I challenge thawrajiyyeh to prove to us, the confused and the “less informed” , that the rebels have more support among Syrians today compared to 4 months ago when angry thugs decided to destroy Aleppo. Syria is being destroyed while you guys are arguing about who should sit at the front in a future imaginary car that may never be built.

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November 12th, 2012, 11:02 pm


107. Ghufran said:

They allow terrorists to go to Syria but they arrest them if they come back:

Police investigating individuals travelling to Syria in support of alleged terrorist activity have arrested a man at Heathrow airport following his arrival on a flight from Bahrain.
The 24-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism, Scotland Yard said.
Officers from the Metropolitan police’s counter-terrorism command detained him at 8.45am on Monday after he was stopped by immigration officials 45 minutes earlier.
“Today’s arrest forms part of an investigation into travel to Syria in support of alleged terrorist activity,” said a police spokesman.
Another man, Shajul Islam, was charged on 16 October in connection with the same investigation following his arrest at Heathrow last month. The 26-year old trainee NHS doctor was charged with the kidnap of a British journalist and a Dutch colleague in Syria.

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November 12th, 2012, 11:34 pm


108. Ghufran said:

Samir Sattouf-SNC:

هل يمكن وصف ما حدث بالدوحة بأنه كلّل بالنجاح أم أنه اتفاق لإنقاذ ماء الوجه ؟
ما حدث بالدوحة هو جزء من كل هذا، هو إنقاذ لماء الوجه واجتماع كلّل بالنجاح لأن الأمرين لا ينفصلان باعتبار أن الثغرات كبيرة لتوحيد المعارضة السورية بمختلف أطيافها. لم تكن المعارضة السورية غير موحدة بل كان الموقف الدولي غير موحد. لو كان الموقف الدولي موحدا تجاه المعارضة لكانت المسألة السورية قد وجدت حلا منذ فترة طويلة.

هناك نقطة خلاف محورية حول تشكيل الحكومة. مبادرة سمير سيف كانت تدعو إلى تشكيل حكومة في المنفى، أما المجلس الوطني فكان يريد تشكيل هذه الحكومة في الأراضي التي باتت تخضع لسيطرة مسلحي المعارضة. إلى أين وصلت الأمور حول هذه النقطة بالذات ؟   
ليست هذه نقطة الخلاف الوحيدة. هناك نقاط خلاف أخرى منها أولا أن المجتمع الدولي لا يريد تقديم ضمانات للمعارضة. هو يريد انجاز وحدة المعارضة بدون التزامات مسبقة منه. نحن نخشى أن تقود إرادة الموقف الدولي إلى تدحرج الأمور نحو حل تفاوضي وسطي مع النظام.
ثانيا هل الاعتراف السياسي سيكون بالائتلاف الذي شكل أم بالحكومة ؟ هل المرجعية السياسية هي للائتلاف أم أن الحكومة هي التي ستقوم بالتفاوض ؟ هل يمتلك الائتلاف صلاحية عزل الحكومة أو عزل أحد من أفرادها ؟ هنالك نقطة أخرى تتمثل في تقديم المساعدة وإغاثة المواطنين وتسليح الجيش السوري الحر. يجب أن نكون متواجدين في سوريا. هناك أراض محررة يجب أن يتم الدخول والخروج منها بحرية كاملة لنكون على تماس مباشر مع معاناة شعبنا في الداخل والتعرف على ما يحتاجه.
مطالبة المجتمع الدولي بتقديم ضمانات حقيقية للاعتراف الرسمي وليس الدعم الإعلامي والسياسي النظري فقط. وقبل تشكيل الحكومة فإننا نحتاج إلى كل هذه الضمانات.

هناك كلام من أن لواشنطن تأثير على مبادرة رياض سيف. هل أن واشنطن داخلة فعلا على الخط بقوة وهل أن نهاية
المجلس قد تقود إلى كل هذه المخاوف التي ذكرتها ؟
المجلس الوطني السوري ليس هدفا في حد ذاته. هو وسيلة للوصول إلى الهدف الذي نصبو إليه جميعا وهو انتصار الثورة. نحن لا نتخوف من انتهاء دور المجلس الوطني. تخوفنا يعود إلى أن الولايات المتحدة أعلنت صراحة أنه لن يكون هناك دعم عسكري ولا حظر جوي بل طلبت من المعارضة أن تخفض من سقف مطالبها وهذا غير مقبول لأن مطالب شعبنا محقة وهو يطالب بالحرية والكرامة والتحرر من ظلم هذا النظام.
المطالب الدولية واضحة وهي تدعو إلى حل سياسي، إذا تخوفاتنا مشروعة. لذلك قررنا أن يكون هناك ائتلاف بين المجلس الوطني وهيئة المبادرة، فإذا فشلت المبادرة سيبقى المجلس الوطني للمحافظة على مطالب الشعب السوري المشروعة أمام المجتمع الدولي وأمام جهات على الخط تحاول وجود حل يرضيها. المجلس الوطني ليس هدفا بل هو وسيلة، ومن الحنكة السياسية أن نحتاط لكل هذه الأمور ولكل الاحتمالات حتى لا نوقع ثورتا وشعبنا في الفراغ السياسي.
This is why that thing in Qatar was a circus

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November 12th, 2012, 11:51 pm


109. Amjad of Arabia said:

“Is it true in Saudi Arabia you need a permission from your guarantor “kafeel” to travel from your residence to another city within Saudi”

LOL! Your information is 15 years old. I’ve never needed anyone’s permission to travel from one Saudi city to another. You are so pathetic 🙂

And Aldendeshe, I’d sooner have a Jew be president of Syria than a Alawite. Not even a Mossad mole like Eli Cohen could have messed up Syria as badly as your beloved Batta has done. The Palestinians should be grateful they are facing an opponent as moral as Israel. Batta would have gassed them with Scud missiles from day one.

Syrian regime withdraws from Malikieh


“A bronze stature of the late Hafez Assad was defaced and elated residents and armed gunmen tore down and painted over images of President Bashar Assad and his father Hafez”

Aaaahahahaha! Ahahahahaah! Yeah, Batta is sooooo “loved” by his people. In every town and village, Syrians can’t wait to tear down pictures of his perverted family.

“When the state disappears, we risk anarchy”

Since you haven’t been to Syria, and are as clueless about it as you’ve shown yourself to be about the GCC, then this will come as a shock to you; what we have right now isn’t much better than anarchy. Your beloved Batta has totally failed to reimpose the writ of the state on any part of the country. For that reason alone, war-crime enablers like you should have turned on him. But you people are fanatics. Like Spammy Annie once said when Makhlouf’s Cyprus nationality was revoked, you people would support him even if he had Israeli citizenship.

“Turkey, with assistance from others, is responsible for most rebel advances.”

One more weary time you comment on things you have no idea about, just to hear yourself talk.

Erdogan was all set on withdrawing from the entire mess. The FSA was forced to move its HQ out of the country, refugees had been barred entry, and the opposition’s network in the south of Turkey was dismantled. And what did your idiotic Batta do then? He shelled the Turks, drawing them back in *sarcastic clapping*

“Ethnic cleansing, glorification of violence, very Nazi of you.”

Said the naughty little hypocrite glorifying in the rise of right-wing European extremists. We’ve seen your true colors; a neo-Nazi know it all who apparently knows very little of “it”.

“You know that practicality and realism rarely get in the way of religious fanaticism like that.”

Religious fanaticism, you disgusting little neo-Nazi? And why would Iran and Hizbollah support the squeaky voiced Alawite thug Batta, except out of narrow sectarian concerns? Tehran is a theocracy, something you overlook in your talk of “Jihadists”. Hizbollah is the world’s biggest exporter of terrorism. And you people are worried about a few hundred Libyans or Saudis? Better Qatar’s support than being allied with the Ayatollahs.

And how much more fanatic can you get than “Assad or we burn the country”, or murdering people for not saying that Assad is God. Fanaticism you ill informed “playing-at-world-politics” amateur?

Haha, “you need permission to travel from one Saudi city to another”…hahaha, if this is the kind of information that you rely on to debate, then we know exactly how little weight to give your (already imbecilic) statements and predictions. Now go argue with Mjabali about whose fatwa is bigger 🙂

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November 13th, 2012, 12:00 am


110. Amjad of Arabia said:

“With all honesty, I see your anger towards the Alawis grow by the day. ”

Gosh, how can I put this. If a certain sect have a propensity for rape, child murder, abductions, torture, etc, then yeah, expect to be hated, and with good justification. You people earned it many times over. Just as the Germans were loathed throughout Europe for years after WW 2, there is now a certain stigma associated with being a Qurdahan.

Heck, not even your formerly enthusiastic “anti-Imperial” Leftists can even be bothered to defend you people. All I hear from that camp are “Yes, Assad is bad and is a juddering psycopath, but we don’t want the unknoooooown! We are scared of the unknooooooooown!”. The change in the Left’s tone really doesn’t bode well for you people.

But anyway, may allow a few of you to eek out a living in Saudi, where apparently you “need permission to travel from one city to another” LOOOOOL! That hasn’t been the case in a decade and a half, imbeciles 🙂

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November 13th, 2012, 12:07 am


111. Amjad of Arabia said:

” However, why are you stripping minorities of their right of expression?!!”

Blah blah blah minorities blah blah. Ask the families of Basil Shehade or Meshaal Tammo how much protection being a minority affords one when they work against the regime. Or were they Salafi Jihadists on the Qatari payroll?

Basil Shehade’s funeral was disrupted by your beloved shabiha, and some funeral goers arrested. A disgusting incident that the neo-Nazi regime supporters are desperate not to have anyone bring up.

And judging from the celebrations by the Kurds, I’m guessing that’s one minority that wants nothing to do with your “secular” tyranny.

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November 13th, 2012, 12:13 am


112. Amjad of Arabia said:

“That supposes that the opposition leadership effectively controls what’s happening on the ground, which has been very far from being the case.”

Yeah, then explain how even the ICG and every reporter in Syria who isn’t on an Iranian or Russian payroll has confirmed that not one mass massacre of regime supporters occurred anywhere in the country over the past 20 months? Show me the revolution equivalent of Duraya or Houla? Or are you people still denying that the shabiha massacred civilians there just like you deny the Holocaust?

Batta’s antisemitism even when the Pope is in Damascus;

I remember a particularly disgusting menhebakji on this very forum, saying that the issue of “Douraya” was over. What he meant of course, was that Batta got away with it, and not that the “terrorists” were caught. That’s a mentality all too common among the regime’s enablers.

The wonderful thing about Saudi Arabia is that it has welcomed people of all religions to come and work, and sometimes spend decades there, raising their families, sending them off to college. And guess where 90% of those children choose to work? That’s right, back in the same places as their parents. Syrians have been working in the Gulf for several generations now. Doesn’t say much about the so called paradise your Batta failed to build in Syria.

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November 13th, 2012, 12:21 am


113. Juergen said:

The Survivor
Barack Obama called for Syrian’s Bashar al-Assad to step aside more than a year ago. Here’s why he’s still in power.

Dieser Artikel ist auf Deutsch vorhanden BETA

What’s This?

The Survivor
Barack Obama called for Syrian’s Bashar al-Assad to step aside more than a year ago. Here’s why he’s still in power.

On Aug. 18, 2011, U.S. President Barack Obama released a written statement that declared: “For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside.” It was his first explicit call for the Syrian leader to resign — but today, 452 days later, Bashar al-Assad is still in power. As he told Russian TV last week, “I am Syrian; I was made in Syria. I have to live in Syria and die in Syria.”,0

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November 13th, 2012, 1:00 am


114. Juergen said:

Interview with Rafif Jouejati:

“This week has enabled the Free Syrian Army, launch missiles in the direction of the presidential palace. A friend of mine, a commander in the FSA, told me they would check before the end of the presidential palace. If that’s true, yes, because it can actually might do this alone. But as long as Assad controls the airspace and terrorizing the population with bombs, it remains difficult.”

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November 13th, 2012, 1:03 am


115. ann said:

The `israeli lobby is in overdrive today! 8)

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November 13th, 2012, 1:10 am


116. ann said:

Cameron’s plan to send troops to Syria rejected – Nov 13, 2012

Prime Minister David Cameron is on collision course with his own military commanders over war-torn Syria.

He had ordered chiefs to draw up a raft of military options – including establishing “safe zones” to protect civilians. But he faces a major battle because top brass are dead set against the idea.

A military source said: “When one Brigadier heard the news Cameron wanted an armed solution his response was, ‘you and whose Army?’”

The source added: “They don’t want to get embroiled in another war when they’re already stretched beyond capacity.”

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond and Foreign Secretary William Hague are also thought to oppose military intervention.

They say Syria is a totally different prospect to Libya because Bashar al-Assad has formidable armed forces and backing.

But Mr Cameron – fresh back from a tour of Syrian refugee camps – is desperate to end the bloodshed.

General Sir David Richards, Chief of the Defence Staff, admitted yesterday it “was not impossible” troops would be sent.

Limited UK intervention in Syria possible – head of united opposition

Head of the Syrian opposition’s National Coalition Mahmoud al-Hamza has made a statement saying the UK may consider intervening into Syria in a limited way.

“Everything has been leading to this but we have no details yet,” he said.

Mr. Hamza didn’t say if he knew anything about a concrete srategy the West may pursue in its military intervention.

Russia turns down Syrian opposition ‘s ultimatum

Moscow considers unacceptable all ultimatums of the armed Syrian opposition concerning Russia’s position on Syria, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich has announced.

In his statement posted on the Russian Foreign Ministry website on Monday, the diplomat stresses that the future of Syria should not depend on those who stake on the use of force and terrorism.

An ultimatum of the so-called Military Council of the Free Syrian Army of Damascus and Its Environs was circulated on Sunday. It demands that all foreign diplomatic missions and the staff of foreign companies should leave Syria within 72 hours.

In addition, a spokesman of the council declared that Russia would be considered a hostile country unless it revised its position on the Syrian problem.


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November 13th, 2012, 1:15 am


117. ann said:

Syrian troops restore control over Damascus-Aleppo highway – Nov 13, 2012

The Syrian troops have restored control over the Damascus-Aleppo highway in the area of the town of Maarat-Naaman following bitter fighting with the rebels of the Jebhat an-Nousra extremist group.

A source in the Syrian Defence Ministry has refuted reports by Arab TV channels that the Khandarat Air Defence base, in the environs of Aleppo, has allegedly been captured.

The source confirmed that the area of the missile battalion deployment had indeed come under attack, but the Syrian military shattered the assault and imposed losses on the terrorists in personnel and equipment.

Syrian Air Force planes attacked the Islamists’ outposts in the city of Ras al-Ayn, near the Turkish border, killing at least seven rebel fighters.


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November 13th, 2012, 1:21 am


118. Badr said:

What do you think of this analysis?

What chance for new opposition coalition?

By Jim Muir
BBC Middle East correspondent

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November 13th, 2012, 1:25 am


119. ann said:

Syrian opposition figure rejects coalition of opposition abroad – 2012-11-13

“The world should bear the responsibility toward this crisis,” Hussain said, adding that the international decision makers should “stop lying about how helpless they are because they are the ones that are aggravating the crisis”

DAMASCUS, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) — A prominent Syrian opposition figure expressed his rejection to the unity agreement concluded among the exiled opposition groups, saying it will further complicate the situation on the ground instead of solving it.

“I don’t think this coalition will last for long and it won’t be conducive to solve the Syrian crisis,” Luai Hussain, head of the opposition Building Syria State Party, said Monday during an interview with Xinhua.

Syria’s exiled opposition groups signed a formal agreement in the Qatari capital of Doha on Sunday to form a new coalition called the Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces, in the hope of having a unified entity to face the administration of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Hussain said the agreement would further complicate the Syrian crisis because “it is trying to create a new pole to confront the regime not to confront all the challenges the country is facing.”

The new coalition will be mainly composed of opposition groups outside Syria and activists from inside the country as well as some rebel commanders, reports said.

Once the new coalition earns international approval, its members will form an interim government in exile and call for a national conference once the Syrian current administration is ousted, according to the agreement.

Hussain, however, said “a government in exile is an encroachment upon Syrians’ rights to determine their destiny and choose their leadership…”

“We reject any government in exile as we also reject the Syrian government, which are against our will,” Hussain stated, regarding the formation of an exiled government as “handing the country over to big capitals in return of ousting the current regime.”

He said his party will work to stir the Syrian public opinion to reject such a move and will also work to explain to many countries that forming an interim government in exile is “an aggression against our rights.”

He said the key for solving Syria’s 20-month-old crisis is the start of an international consensus because the international communities “should reach a consensus in order to have a cessation of violence to pave the way for unleashing a political process.”

Hussain said that his party is now having a new project under the slogan of “No to solving the Syrian crisis violently,” which aims to practice pressure on the decision makers worldwide with the help of some international NGOs to find peaceful means to solve the conflict.


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November 13th, 2012, 1:29 am


120. Mina said:

No Hizbullah leader killed in Homs

Difference between USA and KSA? In the USA, the women around Petraeus are named and their picture on every frontpage; in KSA, a famous cleric ho has tortured his daughter to death is not even named, be it by his wife or by the media. Fear of clanic revenge?
You can’t get a democracy when the society is based on clans.

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November 13th, 2012, 1:41 am


121. Juergen said:

Syrian exile: ‘My mother is dead. And it was my father who killed her’

When Loubna Mrie joined the revolution, she incurred the wrath of her father, an Assad loyalist
When revolution first came to Syria, Loubna Mrie decided she would break new ground to help it succeed.

Deeply affected by the images of dead protesters across the country, the 21-year-old Alawite – the daughter of a leader of the regime’s thuggish Shabiha militia and member of Syria’s most privileged minority – left her home in the regime heartland of Latak

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November 13th, 2012, 1:41 am


123. ann said:

110. Amjad of Arabia said:

“”” Batta’s antisemitism even when the Pope is in Damascus “””

Showing us your true colors `natanyahu of `israel 8)

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November 13th, 2012, 2:04 am


124. ann said:

United Kingdom openly supports terrorism in Syria – 08.11.2012

The United Kingdom intends to initiate talks with armed gangs who are fighting to overthrow the Syrian President, Bashar al-Asad, and provide advice. David Cameron, in what is a clear intervention in the Syrian crisis, gave the green light to British officials to advise the commanders of armed gangs.

The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, in what is a clear intervention in the Syrian crisis, gave the green light to British officials to advise the commanders of armed gangs who are fighting against the forces of the government of Damascus this fall.

The authorities indicate that the talks are designed to help the armed Syrian opposition to bring together an army in order to forcibly change the government.

However, Cameron, in a clear signal that he would like to go further, said in an interview with the Daily Mail newspaper, that he is frustrated by the embargo of the European Union (EU) on the shipment of arms to Syria, as the United Kingdom participated as an onlooker.

“We must ask ourselves what more can we do to help the opposition”, he declared, and also added that currently they do not supply weapons to Syrian insurgents.

The British Prime Minister, who is touring countries in the Middle East, is scheduled to visit a refugee camp on the border of Jordan with Syria, where the announcement that the United Kingdom will deliver 14.5 million pounds (18 million euros) of humanitarian aid to the agencies of the United Nations (UN) is expected Wednesday.

The talks with the heads of the armed gangs that put the United Kingdom one step from military intervention in the Arab country, will be announced this Wednesday to the British Parliament by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, William Hague. John Wilks, of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Special Envoy of Cameron in his contacts with the Syrian opposition, will be in charge.

Interference by some western and regional countries that openly provide financial, arms and logistical support to opponents, have aggravated the situation in the Arab country.


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November 13th, 2012, 2:12 am


125. Citizen said:

( Russia and China – believe they are fighting against the West. And Syria is one of their fronts.)

USA and west country in in alliance against all the world ! they fought and continue to fight with all sovereign nations ! Hands over from Syria! Glory to Syria, Russia and China !

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November 13th, 2012, 2:12 am


126. annie said:

Latest Maysaloon
Monday, November 12, 2012
The “New” New Opposition

I’d never seen a more euphoric attitude on Facebook and Twitter since the start of the revolution than I did yesterday evening. Muataz al Khatib, a former imam of the Ummayad mosque, is an articulate and skilled orator. His manner reminds me of that almost lost form of Islam that was the tradition in much of Syria, in a way he reminds me of my late grandfather. But will he have what it takes to overcome the difficulties of a divided and argumentative opposition? I don’t know what the next few days will bring, but I’ve learnt enough over the past eighteen months not to build my hopes up. The road to toppling Assad is going to be long, difficult and very bloody. The fact is many more people will, sadly, lose their lives before the dictator of Damascus finally falls. One thing that struck me was his conciliatory attitude to the Syrian regular army. He referred to its members as just as much victims of the regime as the people they were attacking. It was a good move and could help foster a more encouraging atmosphere for defections. He’s also climbing down from denouncing the army, and I suspect this is because much of it will be kept intact for the sake of stability and security.

Assad’s Russia Today Interview

I listened to the interview in full today and the only impression I got was of a man desperate for somebody to listen to his lies. More talk of armed gangs, Western conspiracies, terrorists, the battle between secularism and Islamism, and a stern warning that an attack on Syria will unleash problems from the Atlantic to Afghanistan. There were no jokes, however, and he did not laugh much. There were also no “hidden” messages that he seemed to be passing out to the West, no subtle hints at all which is unusual because the regime loves these things. If he did use them I didn’t notice them. He signalled a willingness to “discuss” with countries such as the Gulf, but on the condition that they stop “arming and funding” the armed groups, as he called them. This man isn’t planning to go anywhere. Interestingly, the interviewer, Sophie Shevardnadze, hinted that the presidential palace they were in was newly refurbished. I don’t know whether she meant anything more than what she said. Assad very clearly replied that she was “most welcome in Damascus” and this was to tell everybody that he was still in the capital. There were rumours that he might be in Lattakia. The conclusion of the interview was clear, he plans to live and die in Syria. I felt as if this was a man who wanted to show that he was still relevant and perhaps galvanize his followers by making an appearance.


They are watching events in Syria closely. The recent incidents at the border seem to me an attempt by somebody to draw Israel into the conflict, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. It would be remarkably stupid if Tel Aviv decided on another adventure and would play right into the hands of Hezbullah, Iran and Assad. For Assad it would be a godsend as it would fatally undermine the revolution against him. Ultimately I don’t think anybody, apart from Assad, wants a war right now.

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November 13th, 2012, 2:24 am


127. ann said:

Top US commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Allen, implicated in Petraeus scandal – 13 November, 2012

The FBI has found 20,000 to 30,000 pages of potentially inappropriate emails and documents between General John Allen and Jill Kelley, says the Pentagon.

Mrs. Kelley was implicated in the Petraeus affair after telling the FBI she received threatening emails from the former CIA chief’s mistress, Paula Broadwell


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November 13th, 2012, 2:25 am


128. Uzair8 said:

A Regime supporter seems downbeat. Losing heart? Fatigue?

Said user signed off last night with this tweet (5 hrs ago):

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November 13th, 2012, 2:25 am


129. Citizen said:

Britain training rebels to assassinate Syrian president: report
As British Prime Minister David Cameron prepares to use the Royal Air Force (RAF) in Syria to put an end to the massacres the Syrian regime is committing throughout the country, British Special Forces are training rebels to assassinate the Syrian president and his commanders, the London Daily Star reported.

UK government sources told the newspaper that British assassination squads are in Syria to train rebels on how to target President Bashar al-Assad and his warlords. Some troops hailing from Britain Special Air Service (SAS), Special Boat Section (SBS) and the Airborne Infantry of the British Army (Paras) are also in the country to teach Anti-Assad fighters techniques on the accurate use of weapons and explosives against Assad regime forces, the sources said.

Unlike the previous position of the United States and Western countries not to arm the Syrian rebels, U.S. president Barack Obama and Cameron are considering to intervene in Syria and to enforce a no-fly zone, the sources added.

Earlier this week, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad showed defiance when he appeared on Russian television warning against any intervention. Assad promised to take the fight till the end. “I’m Syrian, I was made in Syrian and I have to live in Syria and die in Syria,” he said.

During his visit to Syrian refugee camps in Jordan, Cameron urged the United States to pressure the international community to offer more help to Syrians who were forced to leave their country due to ongoing violence.

“Right here in Jordan I am hearing appalling stories of what has happened inside Syria and one of the first things I want to talk to Obama about is how we must do more to try and solve this crisis,” Cameron said.

Since March 2011, an overall death toll of more than 37,000 was recorded by the monitoring group, the Observatory of Human Rights. The New York Times said more than 20,000 members of the Syrian army have defected and joined the Free Syrian Army across the country

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November 13th, 2012, 2:30 am


130. ann said:

NATO Will Defend Turkey in Conflict with Syria, Says Chief – November 12, 2012

NATO will defend alliance member Turkey, which struck back after mortar rounds fired from Syria landed inside its border, the alliance’s Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said at a meeting in Prague on Monday.

“NATO as an organization will do what it takes to protect and defend Turkey, our ally. We have all plans in place to make sure that we can protect and defend Turkey and hopefully that way also deter so that attacks on Turkey will not take place,” he said.


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November 13th, 2012, 2:32 am


131. ann said:

British troops ‘may be flown to Syria’, head of armed forces admits –

British troops could be sent to Syria in the event of a major humanitarian crisis, the head of the armed forces has admitted

General Sir David Richards said plans were being drawn up in case winter made conditions on the ground worse.

Any intervention would be ‘limited’ and needed the support of people inside Syria, he said.

But it would be seen as a potential step towards a full-scale military intervention bringing British forces directly into conflict with Syria.

‘It would be a huge effort. We would be very cautious about it,’ the chief of the defence staff told the BBC.

‘There is no ultimately military reason why one shouldn’t and I know that all these options are quite rightly being examined. But we are some way off.’


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November 13th, 2012, 2:38 am


132. Uzair8 said:

Professor Paul Rogers, Department of Peace Studies at University of Bradford, UK, monthly global security briefing.

The Iranian and Syrian crises: The dangers of linkage
Oct 2012

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November 13th, 2012, 2:47 am


133. ann said:

Al-Qaeda Terrorists Deployed along Turkey-Syria Border – November 12, 2012

Tens of al-Qaeda terrorists have been deployed along the Turkish border with Syria in a region in the vicinity of the city of Aleppo, a bastion of armed rebels and terrorist groups fighting the Damascus government, dispatches said on Monday.

According to FNA dispatches, members of the al-Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al-Nasra (Victory Front) have been stationed in border areas North of Aleppo under the support of the Turkish troops.

Meantime, the Syrian army continued its operations in Sheikh Saeed neighborhood in Southern Aleppo and declared the area as “secured zone.”


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November 13th, 2012, 2:47 am


134. annie said:

A friend told me last night : when you come back you won’t recognize the country, to wit :

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November 13th, 2012, 2:55 am


135. Uzair8 said:

Are some newcomers on SC sincere in their suggestions and attempts to engage or is it the ‘second card’ being played?

12th August

“The Iranains would basically like the Assad regime to stay in power, but they recognise the ‘realpolitik’ that the rebels are getting more and more support from outside …. If the Iranians cannot ensure that [Assad stays in power], they must play a second card and that is indeed to try and ensure they have role in the transition to whatever will follow the Assad regime.”

Paul Rogers, a professor of Peace Studies at Bradford University

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November 13th, 2012, 2:56 am


136. Juergen said:


horrible images indeed

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November 13th, 2012, 3:06 am


137. habib said:

88. sheila

You’re pointing out the obvious, and yet you don’t understand what I say.

No one is equating Alawites with the regime (apart from the really desperate folk on both sides). I’m simply explaining the motives of many Alawites who still support it, and no, it is not about “privilege” in their minds, but about mere survival.

This is a truth, and no matter how you tap-dance and sing, it won’t change until the opposition isn’t dominated by their direct enemies in the form of the MB and other such groups.

Just like the opposition will never accept to negotiate with current Ba’ath members.

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November 13th, 2012, 3:53 am


138. habib said:

37. Visitor

Based on facts that everyone knows. But sure, if you have exact statistics, which we all know do not exist, be my guest.

First, Zahle is not Maronite, they are a minority there, the inhabitants are mainly other kinds of Eastern Christians. And these never fought Muslims in recent times because they are usually left leaning and pan-Arab. Your unfounded hubris astounds me.

And no, if we get a truly secular Syria, there is no need for a split, we need to exclude the MB and Ba’ath from a future unity government. Otherwise we’ll get another Lebanon.

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November 13th, 2012, 4:02 am


139. Albo said:

Amjad, get lost, you never make sense.

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November 13th, 2012, 4:07 am


140. Albo said:

The reality about those who praise Gulf countries; Qatar was stupid enough to participate in PISA, and had their 15 years olds compared to their international peers. There is little reason to think that other GCC coutries are any different, but at least they were smart enough not to have their youth tested

I’m not clueless about the GCC. I know very well that they are kingdoms of idiots, and it shows when you read their proponents.

That doesn’t bode well for Syria, which used to have a great civilization, to have its future decided in an idiocracy.

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November 13th, 2012, 4:15 am


141. Amjad of Arabia said:

“Showing us your true colors `natanyahu of `israel”

Batta has killed more Arabs in 20 months than Israel did in the past 20 years. “Muqawama” LOOOOL!

Al-Bong is going to be harping about that “test” way into his old age, as if one number on a graph can tell you everything about a society. Only a simplistic neo-Nazi could believe so. Qatar should be congratulated for taking part in that test, unlike the Iranians and Baathists who were probably too chicken to do so. Who is better, someone who comes in 9th out of 10 in a race, or the dude who wastes his life drinking and inhaling from “Al-Bong” LOL!

Oil is not a guarantee for wealth. Just look at Iran, a country where they aren’t even allowed to show chicken on TV anymore because it’s become such a luxury item.

It is a damning indictment of Batta’s rule that Jordan,Lebanon and Turkey all have higher per capita incomes than Syria, despite Syria’s wealth in resources. For that fact alone Batta should have been kicked out. But no, Al-Bong and co keep repeating the mantra “Batta or we burn the country”.

And their worship of the father. Oh…my…God! If my own father had lost every war he’d fought (including one with Jordan), caved in to the Turks over abdullah Ocalan, and left the country as backwards as he did, I’d be too ashamed to go into politics, nevermind putting his pictures up everywhere. Oh the shame, the terrible terrible shame that any normal person would feel. But of course, Qurdahans are mentality twisted individuals, who have proven that they cannot co-exist in a modern, civilized society.

“Need permission to travel from one Saudi city to another” hahahahaa. By the time we are finished with you Al-Bong, you people will need permission from Adnan ar’our to screw your wives. Think China’s “One child” policy is draconian? Just wait until you’ve seen my mandatory sterilization policy for anyone even suspected of being a shabih. Start cleaning your Facebook accounts, peasants.

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November 13th, 2012, 4:39 am


142. Albo said:

I only read the first paragraph of your ramblings, but I can tell you that your a dead wrong, as usual. Educative performance is the single best determinant of economic success and innovations.

Of course it doesn’t matter, oil and gas windfalls are there to make them rich, and to hell with the rest. We need better peoples and ideas for Syria than those parasites.

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November 13th, 2012, 4:45 am


143. Amjad of Arabia said:

“I’m not clueless about the GCC.”

Har har har Al-Bong, you are indeed clueless. Ever heard of the King Khaled Specialist Hospital in Riyadh? One of the world’s finest research hospitals. People come from around the world to be treated there. In sharp contrast to the filthy hospitals all named after Basel the drunk driver.

Generation after generation of Arabs, Indians, Pakistanis and Filipinios have all worked in the Gulf, raised their children in the Gulf, and had seen those children come back to the Gulf, to start the cycle anew. While the only thing generational in Syria have been all the Syrians who unfortunately have left the country for the Gulf or to work as menial laborers in Lebanon. And yet the neo-Nazi menhebakjis like Al-Bong continue to wave Batta’s picture and prostrate themselves before what few statues are left of his daddy “Batta or we burn the country snoooooooort like, muqawama, man,dude,like,mega-ohm resistance”

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November 13th, 2012, 4:45 am


144. Amjad of Arabia said:

“Educative performance is the single best determinent of economic success and innovations”

And only a stoned out neo-Nazi simpleton (like Al-Bong) could think that one number on a test can tell you everything you need to know about the entire Gulf’s educational system, hence their supposed primitiveness as societies. Why didn’t your beloved Iranian theocracy or failed Baathist state send students to the test? Were they afraid the questions would pollute the minds of the test takers with Imperialist Zionist doctrine?

But what do you expect from a people so primitive they claimed to have invented Hurricane Sandy

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November 13th, 2012, 4:49 am


145. Albo said:

And who are you calling Al-Bong, dipsh*t? The post about travels in Saudi Arabia wasn’t mine, cretin.

“, you people will need permission from Adnan ar’our to screw your wives. ”

Oh yeah? Your wives will sooner suck our dongs.

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November 13th, 2012, 4:49 am


146. Albo said:

“And only a stoned out neo-Nazi simpleton (like Al-Bong) could think that one number on a test can tell you everything you need to know about the entire Gulf’s educational system, hence their supposed primitiveness as societies. ”

Quite the contrary, their primitive character was well known, no need to look at their educative system.

But with these numbers, we now know that they perform as well as the stunted children of Kyrgystan, quite a feat.

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November 13th, 2012, 4:54 am


147. Amjad of Arabia said:

“I only read the first paragraph of your ramblings”

Yes, reading can be hard through all that bong smoke, and when your brain doesn’t function very well even when not under the influence of whatever it is you smoke.

“but I can tell you that your a dead wrong, as usual”

Uh, you can tell this even though I showed you up for the ignorant stoned out far-right extremist you are, thanks to your ridiculous “you need permission to travel between Saudi cities”.

This is how menhebakjis debate, by relying on information that aren’t facts, but myths and rumors passed along from one Qurdahan imbecile to the next, like a game of Chinese whisper. By the time their information reaches this forum, the phrase “Al-Jazera weather says it will be cold in Damascus today” has become “Al-Jazeera is sending coded signals via its weather coverage to the Zionist-Cia-Salafi-Wahabi-Ottoman terrorists in Damascus”.

Only a people totally stoned out everyday could come up with such a ridiculous “conspiracy”, right Al-Bong?

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November 13th, 2012, 4:54 am


148. Albo said:

“Uh, you can tell this even though I showed you up for the ignorant stoned out far-right extremist you are, thanks to your ridiculous “you need permission to travel between Saudi cities”.”

I have no words. Superb, really superb. You’re some piece of work.
Yes reading is hard, re-read 143, carefully, with your finger.

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November 13th, 2012, 4:57 am


149. Amjad of Arabia said:

“Oh yeah? Your wives will sooner suck our dongs.”

Pft, you wanna compare swords, little man? I know your “dong” was the template for CERN’s search for illusive particles, but I pack what I like to call my “Sixth Pillar of Islam”, hehehehehehehe.

Need permission to travel between Saudi cities, hahahaha. This is the quality of information menhebakjis bring to this forum, that and their obsession with a graph on which neither the Iranians nor Baathists even dared appear on. Kudos to the children of Qatar, for being part of the world community. Which is better than students unlucky enough to study in Assadstan, who are taught that the world community are conspiring against them. Poor souls, they are going to grow up to be paranoid stoned out junkies, like Al-Bong, who managed the feat without ever having lived in Syria.

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November 13th, 2012, 5:00 am


150. Albo said:

It was really nice from you to demonstrate my point about Gulf retardation. Real-life examples are always more telling than statistics.

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November 13th, 2012, 5:01 am


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