News Round Up (19 August 2011)

Ehsani on Why Europe’s Impending Petroleum Product sanctions Will Hurt Syria

You ask how the trade embargo will affect Syria.

The answer to this will depend on the EU tomorrow. A draft circulated today that the region will ban the exports of refined petroleum products to Syria. Why is this important? Because while Syria may find buyers for its exports of crude (heavy type), what it really needs is to import refined crude. Iran also suffers from such a deficiency. This is why you see cars lined up at its gas stations in spite of the ample oil that it exports.

By placing the five different Syrian oil companies and agencies on the OFAC list, many countries and financial institutions will find it problematic to trade and do business with them. Iran will be an exception of course as it is under similar sanctions already.

By all accounts, Syrian businessmen report near 40-50% drop in general activity. The stock market is down by a similar amount largely reflecting this sentiment.

Again, what the EU does tomorrow with the export ban on refined petroleum will be key. The U.S. and the EU are likely to keep adding to the list of sanctions as this standoff continues. The pressure on the economy and the country’s finances are likely to intensify. Iran has been under similar sanctions and survived. I guess one argue that Syria can do the same. But, one must not underestimate the repercussions of these actions. When such measures are put in place, they are very hard to cancel and do away with.

The Syria Expert at the Economist Intelligence Unit responds

Ehsani, you are right to pick up on the importance of refined products imports (mainly mazout/diesel/gasoil), but it would be a mistake to rule out Iran as a potential supplier. Iran was dependent on product imports, but has turned that situation round through abolishing subsidies and upgrading its refineries, and is now in a position to export significant volumes of gasoline and diesel.

Syria’s products consumption has also been distorted by subsidies, and we can assume that if imports are curtailed consumption would fall either through rationing or increased prices.

Syria’s requirement for petroleum products has also been eased somewhat by significant increases in natural gas production over the past two years.

Assad to address Syrians on crisis
Thu Aug 18, 2011, Iranian TV

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad reportedly plans to deliver a televised speech in the upcoming days to address the ongoing crisis in the country.

Informed sources say Assad plans to address the nation in the next two days about the months-long unrest in Syria that is feared to seriously harm the national unity in the country, a Press TV correspondent reported on Thursday….

Post Assad Syria will be Pro-Western Youtube

Syrian human rights activist Ammar Abdulhamid says democracy protesters are disgusted with Iran’s support of Assad regime.

Syria is disqualified from the next soccer World Cup.

Syria to allow UN investigators access
August 19, 2011 – AP

The United Nations said a humanitarian mission would go to Syria this weekend as European powers launched a campaign for UN Security Council sanctions against President Bashar al-Assad.

UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos announced the much delayed mission after a Security Council briefing which was told of a shoot-to-kill policy against protesters, stadium executions and children feared killed in Syrian government custody.

The civilian death toll from protests which erupted in mid-March has now passed 2,000, UN under secretary general B. Lynn Pascoe told the 15-nation body.
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Assad promised UN chief Ban Ki-moon in May that a UN humanitarian team could go to protest towns. His government had since blocked the mission. But Amos told reporters: “We have been guaranteed that we will have full access to where we want to go.”

Turkey and Syria – Economist
One problem with a neighbour: Turkey’s tough talk on Syria is unlikely to be matched by action

IN A small café outside Istanbul’s Fatih mosque, a slight bearded man lifts his shirt to reveal two deep bullet wounds. “Assad’s soldiers did this to me,” says Motee Albatee, who served as an imam at a Sunni mosque in the besieged Syrian town of Deraa until he fled the country several weeks ago. Mr Albatee is among a growing number of Syrian dissidents who have found sanctuary in Turkey, many of them in refugee camps near the border. Some are angry over the reluctance of Turkey’s government to get tougher with Bashar Assad, Syria’s president. “Turkey must set up a buffer zone [inside Syria]” to protect more refugees from the fighting, insists Yayha Bedir, a member of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood. Like many seated around the table, he believes only drastic action will force the Syrian army to defect en masse, bringing down Mr Assad’s brutal regime.

Such talk is particularly loud online, where Syrian tweeters have voiced disdain for Turkey’s attempts to get Mr Assad to end the bloodshed. Their fury grew earlier this month when Turkey’s foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, flew to Damascus to deliver what Turkish officials tautologically called a final ultimatum. “We are at the end of our tether,” roared Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s prime minister.
In this section

Mr Assad’s response was to intensify his assaults against unarmed civilians, notably in the Mediterranean port of Latakia (see article). This prompted Mr Davutoglu to issue yet another warning: Turkey would not, he said, “remain indifferent” to continuing massacres. Yet he also ruled out intervening to create a buffer zone. So what leverage does Turkey actually have over its erstwhile Ottoman dominion?

None whatsoever, say critics of Mr Davutoglu’s much-vaunted “zero problems with the neighbours” policy. That is unfair. But as Soli Ozel, a political scientist, puts it, the Syrian crisis has revealed that “Turkey isn’t as influential as it thought.”….

Turkey’s Western allies are not about to mount an invasion of Syria. But they are turning the diplomatic screws, and are eager for AK to sever political and trade links with Mr Assad. But a bigger prize would be to drive a wedge between Turkey and Iran. Turkey’s mollycoddling of the mullahs has angered America, most recently when Mr Erdogan’s government voted against imposing further sanctions on Iran at the United Nations last year. Turkey has since sought to make amends. It has agreed to NATO plans for a nuclear-defence missile shield that is clearly aimed at Iran. And after some dithering, it is co-operating with the alliance’s military operations in Libya.

Yet Turkey is understandably wary of openly confronting Iran, one of its main sources of natural gas and the primary transit route for Turkish exports to Central Asia. Iran has also helped Turkey in its battle against the PKK—though it continues to flirt with hardliners who oppose any deal with the Turkish government. Lately the PKK has been stepping up the fight—some 30 Turkish soldiers have been killed in the past month. On August 17th, in a bid to quell mounting public anger, Mr Erdogan authorised the bombing of hundreds of PKK targets inside Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq. But such actions have failed in the past and the last thing Turkey needs is a hostile Iran.

Besides, many of AK’s pious constituents see the unrest in Syria as yet another America-backed Zionist plot to pit Turkey against Iran. The ultimate goal, their thinking goes, is to cut Turkey down to size. Disappointingly, the same line is parroted by the main opposition Republican People’s Party, for all its claims of change under its new leader, Kemal Kilicdaroglu.

So what are Turkey’s options? It can withdraw its ambassador from Damascus, continue to intercept the flow of weapons to Syria and impose economic sanctions. Other than that, as Mr Ozel suggests, it should desist from promising any more than it can deliver.

Anderson Cooper Calls BS On Syrian Ambassador Bashar Ja’Afari

Iraq Leader Says the Arab Spring Benefits Israel
August 18, 2011, By MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT

BAGHDAD — While Western leaders including President Obama called on President Bashar al-Assad of Syria to step down, Iraq’s prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, warned Arab leaders in a speech on Thursday that Israel would benefit the most from the Arab Spring.

“There is no doubt that there is a country that is waiting for the Arab countries to be ripped and is waiting for internal corrosion,” he said in Baghdad. “Zionists and Israel are the first and biggest beneficiaries of this whole process.”

Mr. Maliki, the leader of Iraq’s Shiite government, rarely mentions Israel in speeches. But he warned that those Arab countries experiencing democratic revolutions should be wary of Israel’s taking advantage of the turmoil.

“We must take notice and be careful not to be the prey of the ambitions of this usurping country,” he said.

Mr. Maliki, who has maintained a far friendlier tone toward the Assad government than many Arab leaders, did not refer to Syria in the speech. He said that Arabs deserved to have more rights, but that they should gain them through the electoral process.

Since the uprising in Syria began, Mr. Maliki has invited many Syrian officials to Baghdad to discuss stronger economic ties between the two countries. He has also said far less about the Syrian government’s bloody crackdown on dissent than he did when there was similar unrest earlier in Bahrain, where a Sunni monarchy holds sway over a predominantly Shiite population.

Many analysts have said that Mr. Maliki’s stance on Syria reflects Iraq’s increasing tilt toward Iran, a Shiite theocracy and a strong supporter of Syria. In 2010, Mr. Maliki relied heavily on Iran’s political support to gain a second term as prime minister. Others have said that Mr. Maliki is concerned that unrest in Syria could spill over the border into Iraq and further destabilize the country.

Why the WikiLeaks cable about Syrian regime is spot on
US diplomats describe the Assad government as institutionally dishonest, brutal and defiant
Thursday 18 August 2011

In the Wikileaks cable the regime of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad is described as ‘nasty’ and ‘abrasive’ by US diplomats. Photograph: SANA / HO/EPA

Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s apparently disingenuous statement to the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-Moon, that military operations have ended comes as no surprise to diplomats with experience of working in Damascus.

Deceit is high on the list of qualities marking Syrian diplomatic relations, according to a frank US diplomatic cable from 2009 published by WikiLeaks this month.

“SARG [Syrian government] officials lie at every level,” wrote the US charge d’affaires in Damascus, Maura Connelly, as the US was beginning to re-engage with Syria after withdrawing its ambassador in 2005. “They persist in a lie even in the face of evidence to the contrary. They are not embarrassed to be caught in a lie.”

The portrait painted here fits with the behaviour of the regime towards its own people and the international community during the last five months: brutal and defiant.

In the cable the Syrian regime is described as willing to be “nasty” and using a style “at best abrasive and, at its worst, brutal” to achieve its aims.

This could involve anything from “harsh verbal attacks to intimidate and rattle foreign diplomats” to allegations made by Syrians abroad about harrassment by their own diplomatic staff. Other undesirable rules of engagement besides deceit are provided in the guide: “vanity and self-preservation” and the use of “non-sequitur” and “antagonism” as key strategies by officials, who are described as sticklers for protocol.

“The Syrians are not troubled by discord; they seek an upper hand in any relationship by relying on foreign diplomats’ instinctive desire to resolve problems,” Connelly wrote.

The cable suggests flattery may help lubricate meetings with Assad, whose weaknesses are described as vanity and abstraction – two hallmarks of his speeches during the current crisis.

The embattled president is described as less shrewd than his father, with a self-image as “a sort of philosopher king, the Pericles of Damascus” that influences policy to a “disproportionate” degree.

According to diplomats little has changed in the two years since the cable was written. “Syrian diplomats are a source of exasperation to all,” said one non-US western diplomat speaking on condition of anonymity. “The security state runs the show, officials are hard to get hold of and when you do, they repeat the latest regime line ad nauseum.”

The cable also exemplifies why the regime has been caught short by a generation of young people who use social media to disseminate information about the crackdown. At the time of writing the Syrian ministry of foreign affairs had no internal email system, relying solely on phone and fax.

The cable does note, however, that a few talented individuals allow the Syrian government to punch above its weight.

Nour Ali is a pseudonym for a journalist based in Damascus


Iranian aid boosts Syrian regime’s survival chances

Wednesday, August 17 2011, Oxford Analytica

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton yesterday urged regional powers Turkey and Saudi Arabia to call on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down, while Iran continued to stand by its Syrian ally, warning that Western interference in the country would stoke public hatred in the region. The close alliance between Syria and Iran is based on shared ideological and strategic interests, including anti-US and anti-Israeli postures and support for the Lebanon-based Hizbollah. Together they form the pillars of what has been described by concerned Sunni neighbours as the ‘Shia Crescent’ of countries stretching from Iran to Lebanon. Damascus is critical to Iran’s rising regional hegemony, and represents its most valuable ally. If the Assad regime collapsed, Iran would lose its corridor for arms shipments to the Levant, as well as its strongest ideological bulwark.
Impact
• Increasing international isolation of the Syrian regime will increase its dependence on regional ally Iran.
• Iranian military aid will boost the Syrian forces’ efficiency and prolong the regime’s survival.
• Tehran will be the major economic beneficiary of new international sanctions against Damascus.
• Iran’s promise of over 5 billion dollars in aid will compensate any loss Syria suffers in trade with Turkey.
• With Riyadh leading Arab efforts against the regime, Syria is set to become the newest battleground between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
What next
Iranian penetration into Syria will become more obvious in coming months, particularly on the military and economic fronts. Its recent offer of a short-term loan and free oil deliveries will be the first of several aid measures aimed at propping up Assad’s regime. Iran’s moves will balance any threats coming from Ankara to cut trade or engage militarily. The Alawi-dominated regime’s crackdown on its largely Sunni population and its increasing isolation alongside Iran will polarise the already tense standoff between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Sectarian tensions will increase in the region as both countries corral support for their respective Sunni and Shia constituencies.
Analysis
Syria’s violent crackdown on a five month civil uprising has increasingly isolated it from its Sunni neighbours in the Middle East. Amid mounting diplomatic pressure for an end to the violence, Iran has stood firmly in support of its Syrian ally, criticising any outside interference. In contrast to mainstream Arab TV stations, Iran’s media is providing only cursory coverage of events, adopting the Syrian regime’s line that ‘gangs and terrorists’ are the primary instigators of the violence (see SYRIA: Regime to hold firm against growing pressure – August 2, 2011).
Strengthening ties

Iran is contributing arms and military personnel to the Syrian secret service, as well as increasing its economic aid to the embattled Assad regime. …..

Outlook
International isolation will bring Iran and Syria closer together, increasing economic, military and political ties. With Iran’s support, the Assad regime will be able to withstand sanctions, and continue to attack the opposition. Having so far avoided serious reforms, the Assad regime is unlikely to undertake these now. With Riyadh bolstering the Sunni majority, and Iran the Alawi minority, a stand-off can be expected for some time to come.

U.S. favors Muslim Brotherhood over pro-democracy Syrian opposition
Wednesday, August 17, 2011 World Tribune

WASHINGTON — The administration of President Barack Obama has selected the Muslim Brotherhood over the pro-democracy opposition to lead Syria after the expected ouster of President Bashar Assad, a report said.

The Hudson Institute, a leading consultant to the Defense Department, asserted that the administration has decided to work with Turkey and the Brotherhood in Syria for a post-Assad government. In a report by Herbert London, the institute said Obama has dismissed the pro-democracy opposition as an alternative.

“It would seem far more desirable to back the democratic influences — the political organizations that require cultivation and support — despite their relative weakness at this moment,” the report, titled “U.S. Betrays Syria’s Opposition,” said. “It is these religious and secular groups that represent the real hope for the future and the counterweight to the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

London, president of Hudson until 2011, said the State Department has ignored non-Brotherhood opposition groups. In July, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton invited Brotherhood operatives and urged them to work with Turkey to help oust Assad.

“Missing from the invitations are Kurdish leaders, Sunni liberals, Assyrians and Christian spokesmen,” the report said. “According to various reports the State Department made a deal with Turkey and Muslim Brotherhood representatives either to share power with Assad to stabilize the government, or replace him if this effort fails.”

Hudson cited the Syrian Democracy Council, which contains a range of ethnic and religious minorities, including Alawites and Christians. SDC was not invited to the State Department.

Independent: Robert Fisk: It’s his fast-disappearing billions that will worry Assad, not words from Washington, 2011-08-18

Obama roars. World trembles. If only. Obama says Assad must “step aside”. Do we really think Damascus trembles? Or is going to? Indeed, the titan of the White House only dared to go this far after condemnation of Bashar al-Assad by Saudi Arabia, … A Swedish government agency recently concluded that Syria was largely unaffected by the world economic crisis – because it didn’t really have an economy……

UN report says brutal crackdown in Syria ‘may amount to crimes against humanity’
By FRANK JORDANS
Associated Press
18 August 2011

GENEVA (AP) – Government forces in Syria may have committed crimes against humanity by conducting summary executions, torturing prisoners and targeting children in their crackdown against opposition protesters, a high-level U.N. human rights team said Thursday.

Their report recommends that the U.N. Security Council refer Syria to the International Criminal Court for prosecution of alleged atrocities, a move that is likely to be discussed by the council at a closed-door session in New York later Thursday…..

Expert doubts Syrian leader has Swiss stash
Thelesklaf says it would be hard to prove a direct link between Assad and assets (Keystone)
by Simon Bradley, swissinfo.ch

Swiss financial crime expert Daniel Thelesklaf has told swissinfo.ch he seriously doubts Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has assets hidden in Swiss banks.

Switzerland announced on Tuesday it was extending sanctions against Syria to include travel bans and asset freezes against Assad and nine senior officials, in a move that follows the European Union and the United States.

Syria is Switzerland’s fifth major case of frozen assets this year.

So far it has frozen SFr60 million ($69 million) belonging to former Tunisian dictator Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali and his clan.

It has also identified about SFr400 million belonging to former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and his close entourage and some SFr360 ​​million belonging to Libya’s Moammar Gaddafi and his clan. Switzerland has also frozen SFr70 million in assets belonging to former Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo and his entourage.

Thelesklaf, who is executive director of the Basel Institute on Governance, recently accompanied a Swiss delegation to Egypt and Tunisia as an independent observer to discuss the return of any illicit funds held in Swiss banks.

swissinfo.ch: Do you think Assad and his clan have a secret Swiss fortune stashed away?

Daniel Thelesklaf: I would be very surprised if Assad held assets in Switzerland. That would be a very weak signal.

I have no idea about the possible size of the assets, but I would be surprised if a direct link to Assad could be detected. His negative track record is well known.

THREE WAYS TO HELP PUSH ASAD ASIDE, By Andrew J. Tabler, August 18, 2011, WINEP

Experts Skeptical Syria’s Assad Will Resign
By Cecily Hilleary, VOA, Washington

…. Five months into the Syrian uprisings, Bashar Al-Assad may have lost credibility, but he has not lost his stranglehold over the country.  “I think the main thing that is maintaining Bashar al Assad in power is the inability to see beyond him from Western policy makers,” says Nadim Shehadi, an Associate Fellow at the London-based think tank Chatham House. In other words, Shehadi explains, “Assad creates smokescreens that prevent the world from seeing beyond him, by creating the circumstances whereby people would be afraid of what comes after he falls.”What exactly are those smokescreens?  To Shehadi they are a myriad of Western worries he says the Syrian President deliberately feeds: “Iran would come in, Al Qaeda would take over, the Muslim Brotherhood, there would be civil war like Iraq…chaos in Lebanon, chaos in the whole region.”….

“The opposition is very fragmented,” says Shehadi. “There is no leadership. That’s because this regime doesn’t allow for an opposition to be united, coherent and credible.”

Stephen McInerney, Executive Director of the Washington, D.C.-basedProject on Middle East Democracy, agrees. “A lot of the key people that will emerge as leaders,” he says, “are keeping a low profile, and a lot of people who are being active in this protest movement don’t want to be known at this point, because if they are prominently known as leaders of the opposition and the protest movement, they are more likely to be targeted, and their work more likely to be eliminated.”

At a recent press conference in Washington, D.C, Radwan Ziadeh, who is also a Visiting Scholar at The Institute for Middle East Studies at George Washington University’s Elliot School of International Affairs, acknowledged the lack of unity among Assad’s opponents. “It’s not easy,” he said, “to come up with a united opposition after 47 years of dictatorship. But even though the Syrian opposition does not have a united leadership, they do have a united agenda: A free Syria, for all Syrians.”

Fears of Civil War

Ziadeh also addressed concerns about religious, ethnic and sectarian divisions. In a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and other diplomatic officials he stressed that the new Syria will be politically, ethnically and religiously inclusive. “We don’t want anybody to be excluded by the transition.”

Not even the Baath party, he adds.

Still, Washington has publicly stated that it is looking for clearer signs from the opposition. The State Department said this week said that U.S. Ambassador Robert Ford continues to meet with the Syrian government and the opposition on a daily basis.

“I think where we are in our discussions with the opposition,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters, “is to continue to encourage them to work together, to be unified in their message, and to come up with a clear roadmap of their own for a democratic future for Syria.”

Time: Syrian Regime Hunts Army Defectors Who Seek to Save Citizens, 2011-08-18

TIME’s reporter in Syria meets up with military defectors, even as the Assad regime rushes to find and exterminate them Syrian Regime Hunts Army Defectors Who Seek to Save Citizens…

The group of soldiers, all of whom were lieutenants from Rastan, had mainly been stationed in the southern city of Dara’a, where the antiregime uprising erupted in mid-March, as well as in the capital of Damascus. The men had each escaped from their various deployments and returned to their hometown. Two days before TIME visited them, they had donned their uniforms again to publicly announce their defection as a group in a brief, boilerplate video statement that was uploaded to YouTube and later aired on al-Jazeera. They made individual videos too, like a 48-second clip showing First Lieutenant Fadi Kism, a bearded man with dark eyes and plump lips, announcing his defection from the army’s Third Division. “I’m doing it because of the destruction that I saw in Rastan, and in Homs, in Dara’a and Hama,” the 23-year-old tells the camera. (See “A Visit to Hama, the Rebel Syrian City That Refused to Die.”)

The next day, around 1 p.m., shortly after his mother had watched the video of Rastan’s defectors on al-Jazeera, Kism was dead, killed in an ambush by loyalist soldiers who had tricked him and his colleagues into thinking they wanted to join them. A firefight broke out, the defectors say, in an account verified by several civilian witnesses interviewed independently. The official Syrian news agency SANA ran a short piece the next day saying that “an armed terrorist group” had “set an ambush, four kilometers east of Rastan city, opening fire on a convoy carrying officers to their workplaces.” An officer and two soldiers were killed, the report said, adding that three loyalists were wounded. “We only protected ourselves,” says Lieutenant Ibrahim Mohammad Ayoub, one of the remaining eight defectors. “We are not interested in attacking unless civilian lives, or our lives, are in danger.”

The defectors say they are being hunted down by a regime that won’t forgive disloyalty. They insist they are only protecting their townsfolk, but it seems like they themselves are in need of protection.

There are reports, difficult to verify, of soldiers being killed by their colleagues for refusing to shoot protesters. Low-level military defectors are breaking away in small numbers, but there have been very few high-ranking deserters, largely because the military’s upper echelon is made up of officers from the same Alawite minority sect that President Bashar Assad belongs to. TIME spoke to one of the most senior defectors, Colonel Hussein Harmoush, in northern Syria in June, just hours before he crossed into Turkey. Harmoush now claims to speak for the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA), a loose grouping of defectors that is reportedly headed by Colonel Riad al-As’ad, whose whereabouts are unclear. Still, beyond a few amateur video statements — which encourage other soldiers to desert and offer promises to protect civilians — there is precious little proof of the FSA’s existence, at least in any regimented form…..

SAC welcomes Obama’s call for Assad to ‘step aside’

Syrian American group urges Russia, China, Brazil, India to end support for Syrian dictator

(Washington, D.C., 8/18/11) – The Syrian American Council (SAC) welcomed the statement today from President Barack Obama calling for Syrian dictator Bashar Assad to “step aside,” and expressed optimism about new measures introduced to further isolate the Assad regime…….

In a statement, SAC Chairman Dr. Louay Safi said:

“We applaud President Obama and his administration for finally calling for Bashar Assad’s immediate resignation. We appreciate the leadership from the United States over the past month to further isolate the Assad regime, and we welcome the Executive Order from the President with hopes that it will hasten the end of the Assad regime and stop the bloodshed of innocent men, women and children.

“We urge the United Nations to follow with an immediate resolution that holds the Assad regime accountable for its crimes against humanity that President Obama referenced, which include the ‘imprisoning, torturing, and slaughtering’ of thousands of innocent Syrians.

“We specifically urge the leaders of Russia, China, Brazil, and India to immediately cease protecting the Assad regime, and to stand on the right side of history by supporting Syria’s peaceful revolution. By opposing a UN Security Council resolution, these governments are directly facilitating the massacres we have witnessed in the past month. Any government or organization that can exert pressure on the Assad regime to step aside and allow the Syrian people to take control of their destiny must do so immediately.

“Finally, we wish to commend President Obama for reminding all people that the fate of Syria is firmly in the hands of the millions of Syrians who have admirably taken to the streets ….

Comments (173)


Mango said:

тo analyse events occurring to Syria for five months it is possible to confirm:
* – is engaged in affairs of Syria:
The USA, Israel, England, France, Germany, Russia, China, India, Southern Africa, Brazil, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt, Lebanon, Iran, Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, League of the Arabian countries. And also the United Nations security council, all world organizations on (protection of human rights) and also the international court etc.
Hence means that Syria is the Hyper important country!
If throughout 40 years all so is bad, who has made it such Hyper important!
For reflection!!!

August 19th, 2011, 8:38 am

 

Kubbeh said:

Mango,
Syria isn’t important.
Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Israel are.
Syria just happens to sit in the middle

August 19th, 2011, 8:57 am

 

beaware said:

Markets prepared to handle Syrian oil loss
August 19, 2011 01:48 AM (Last updated: August 19, 2011 01:55 AM)
By David Sheppard, Ikuko Kurahone
Reuters
http://www.dailystar.com.lb/Business/International/2011/Aug-19/Markets-prepared-to-handle-Syrian-oil-loss.ashx#axzz1VTltRvyp
LONDON: Oil markets will quietly swallow the loss of Syrian supplies if Europe joins Washington in slapping new sanctions on the country, but prices would spike if Syria’s ally, and major oil producer Iran, becomes involved in a confrontation with the West.

Analysts and traders said it would take several weeks before the Syrian oil trade could grind to a halt, even if traders such as Vitol or Trafigura are forced to stop sending refined products for President Bashar Assad’s government and companies such as Shell are forced to stop producing and exporting oil from Syria.

“The bigger problem could be if it provokes a wider confrontation with Iran as Assad moves closer toward Tehran. I would never discount Iran at some point taking some kind of retaliatory action,” said Paul Harris from Bank of Ireland.

The United States Thursday imposed fresh sanctions on Syria, freezing assets in the United States as well as banning Syrian-origin petroleum and petroleum products in response to weeks of Assad’s lethal crackdown on anti-government protesters.

Syria’s oil production declined to 385,000 barrels per day in 2010 from 581,000 bpd in 2001, or just a fraction of the 1.6 million bpd that OPEC-member Libya produced earlier this year.

Syria exports over one third of its output to Europe, and companies such as Shell, Total, China’s CNPC and India’s ONGC are responsible for a sizeable portion of its production together with the state’s Syrian Petroleum Company.

Shell and Total told Reuters Thursday they always comply with relevant sanctions, legislation and laws but declined to comment on whether they are ready to stop producing oil in Syria or buying its oil. Shell produces around 55,000 bpd in Syria.

A Vitol spokesman said the company was not commenting on individual transactions but added that if a contract has commenced and payment has been received, the delivery would go ahead.

“Trafigura is awaiting clarification of the situation following today’s announcements with respect to sanctions related to Syria. The company always operates in accordance with relevant national and international regulations,” the trading house said in a statement.

Analysts and traders said they would not lose sleep even if all Syrian supplies were lost.

“How big an issue is it with Syria when you have got Saudi Arabia acting as a potential backstop to any shortfalls?” said Michael Hewson from CMC Markets, referring to Riyadh’s decision to supply more oil from June to compensate for the loss of Libyan crude and moderate prices.

Both Bank of Ireland’s Harris and David Kirsch, director of markets and country strategies at PFC Energy, said they would not rule out that Europe could also impose oil sanctions soon given the toughening stance on Assad.

“Whether they are U.S.-based or not, oil firms are going to be very wary of crossing these sanctions,” said Kirsch.

Most U.S. companies have long stopped dealing with Syrian crude. U.S. firms such as ExxonMobil were also the first to walk away from Libyan oil dealings.

For international banks, the sanctions on Libya also made it difficult to finance export transactions involving Libyan crude.

In the case of Syria, the number of banks that are still providing export financing to firms dealing with Syrian oil has also shrunk dramatically in recent months, traders say.

Assad has been condemned by many Arab neighbors and can count only on one firm ally – Iran, the world’s fourth-largest oil producer and itself subject to years of U.S. sanctions, although it still exports oil to Europe and Asia.

“The main sanctions [on Syria] that are starting to bite are really coming from Saudi Arabia, which has cut off support for Assad,” Kirsch said.

“That’s going to push Assad closer to Iran for now,” he added.

Read more: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/Business/International/2011/Aug-19/Markets-prepared-to-handle-Syrian-oil-loss.ashx#ixzz1VTlw8YCr
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)

August 19th, 2011, 9:00 am

 

Aboud said:

Syrian army men abusing prisoners on a bus

And you menhebak turds wonder why I think some soldiers should be boiled in their own urine.

And apparently, Landis’ minorities are just fine with this of abuse going on. I don’t think the Christians of Syria much appreciate the professor painting them with the broad brush of moral
cowardice.

Besho, the man who can only cling to power by mass murder. I don’t think Asma can hope to go shopping in Paris anytime soon. Maybe Rami can smuggle in some shoes for her.

Remember, only another turd soldier could have taken this video. The shabiha (edited) would sell a porn video of their own mother for 10,000 liras LOL!

August 19th, 2011, 9:11 am

 

Tara said:

Who invented the term “Rabbit of Golan”?

I really like it and am using it a lot but would like to give credit to the source.

August 19th, 2011, 9:38 am

 

Haytham Khoury said:

The discussion regarding the importance of Syria is important, because Syria, indeed, is important. I still believe that Hafez Assad rightly understood that. However, Hafez Assad deficient vision was Syria can be regional power based only on his own personal shrewdness, resilience and patience. Hafez Assad did not understand that without a strong state and a strong people he could not sustain that for longtime. Without strong economy, cohesive society and creative individuals, Syria can’t be a real sustainable regional power. On the contrary, Hafez Assad built that regional importance on weak bases at the expense of the Syrian economy, the cohesiveness of the society and the personal freedom. Here was the deficient vision of Hafez Assad. Indeed, what we are experiencing now is the natural results of what Hafez Assad did: A state that hold a lot of important files in its hands, a president that lacks the major characteristics of his father (shrewdness, resilience and patience) and a people with very weak economy and destroyed social cohesiveness.

http://haytham-khoury2.blogspot.com/2011/08/bashar-and-mounting-pressure.html

August 19th, 2011, 9:45 am

 

Tara said:

I loved the humiliation tainted all Mnhebaks posts yesterday…Their responses were pathetic “Ah…Obama needs to fix his economy first. Ah..the call for him to step aside is just harmless. Or even better, Obama is interested in Syria wealth”…Let alone the discussion about KSA. Talking about women driving rights while their country women including pregnant ones get shot by the regime on daily basis. I call that mental bankruptcy.

August 19th, 2011, 9:46 am

 

Aboud said:

“Talking about women driving rights ”

Hehe yeah, and yet the menhebaks are strangely silent on Switzerland, Tunisia and Italy. Not a peep out of them on those countries.

And what about the hypocrisy of accusing Saudi Arabia of being a theocracy while at the same time taking handouts from the Iranian donkeys.

August 19th, 2011, 9:54 am

 

Haytham Khoury said:

Dear Aboud, Tara and other ma-menhibak people:

I have a personal wish. Let us use a less abrasive language. That will have three objectives:

1. The more abrasive and insulting the language is, the more violence in the streets we will see. That is because violence breeds violence. I understand what we practice is mainly abrasive language and what they practice is physical crimes. However, we should not let their boiling destructive emotions boil more.

2. The more refined our language is, the more likely we will attract the neutral people to our side.

3. By using a good language now, we are setting the tone for the post-Assad era.

Please this is not a criticism. This is just a suggestion.

August 19th, 2011, 10:00 am

 

some guy in damascus said:

@ali,
we’re talking about the highly -publicized evacuation of der ezzor, where reporters were accompanied by minders. the citizens could have been intimidated by the minders. Theyre scared of being locked up like *Najati Tayara* who got imprisoned after giving an interview to the bbc( that did not agree with the official story), that being said, i have also established the fact that SANA lies.
if you are a fan of the AFP lahore times heres a link of all their stories regarding syria:
http://www.lhrtimes.com/index.php?s=syria
i don’ think any story will fit your beautiful illusion of besho.
btw are you in syria?
@ haytham
“Please this is not a criticism. This is just a suggestion”
even if it was criticism i would adhere to what you said, the lack of positive criticism is mainly the reason syria is in the bad state it is now. if you pointed out the huge monopoly rami has, you’d be in trouble.

August 19th, 2011, 10:01 am

 

syau said:

#4, that’s rich, concern coming from a ‘revolutionist’ who is not fazed by the acts of terror these armed terrorist gangs unleased upon their victims.
Your outburst is desperate and ridiculous.

I’m sure the armed gang members on that bus did not give a second thought to their victims when they slaughtered and dumped their bodies into the Assi River Hama, or to the victims of the illegal blockades and checkpoints they imposed, not to mention the victims of their destructions, both private and public buildings. I’m sure they didn’t give a second thought to the family of their victims or the victims themselves when they were committing their acts of terror. I don’t think they thought twice when they slaughtered a man and publically hung him, then proceeded to ridicule and beat his corpse with sticks and shoes, or when they physically abused, terrorised and intimidated an elderly citizen for not stopping at their blockades when he was ordered to.

If this video is actually authentic and not a fabricated clip, then the members of the armed terrorist gangs in that bus deserve everything they got. I’m sure the families of the victims they slaughtered and mutilated would have preferred their loved ones were treated the same way as in that clip rather than the fate they were dealt. And By the way, that video has already been posted.

Mental bankruptcy is supporting this revolution with the terror it has unleashed in Syria and still deluding yourself into thinking, or falsely claiming it’s peaceful.

August 19th, 2011, 10:02 am

 

Aboud said:

Ah yes, and now we have the standard boilerplate menhebak excuse at #11, which can be summarized as follows

“They were armed terrorists, I know this without a shred of proof thanks to the psychic powers bestowed upon me by Besho. And anyway, this video is a fake.”

I sincerely hope to see those army turds hanging from the gallows in the not too distant future.

“not to mention the victims of their destructions, both private and public buildings”

The usual pathetic menhebak excuse for the invasion of cities that came out to demonstrate. Every independent reporter that went to Hama testified that they did not see a single armed gang, or burnt buildings.

Every time you menhebaks have been challenged to show proof to the contrary, you end up accusing Swiss journalists of having been bought by the MB, or you shut your mouths like a clam, hide for a few days, and then repeat the same pathetic lie in another post.

When this is over, Cro Magnum Maher should be lead, like a donkey, in his underwear, through the streets of every city and town invaded by this disgusting army, during which the relatives of those killed and imprisoned will get the chance to throw their shoes at him.

“And By the way, that video has already been posted. ”

What’s the matter habibi, afraid more people will see iron clad proof of the blatant abuse used by the shabiha turds? I’m posting it again;

Syrian army thugs beating prisoners on a bus.

Disband this so called army. As a deterrence against Israeli, it has proven pathetically useless. It is nothing more than a bunch of unprofessional thugs whose days would be better spent repainting all the towns and mosques they have shelled.

August 19th, 2011, 10:14 am

 

N.Z. said:

Today, protesters chanting:

BYE BYE YA BASHAR, BIDNA NSHOUFAK BI LAHAI!!!!!

August 19th, 2011, 10:17 am

 

Aboud said:

“The more refined our language is, the more likely we will attract the neutral people to our side.”

Neutral? How can anyone remain neutral after thousands of deaths, thousands of refugees and thousands of imprisonments? If people remain neutral they choose to do so out of cowardice.

Me calling the shabiha turds and (edited for bad language), is not going to influence people who are not moved to action by the sight of numerous towns and cities getting invaded by this rabble of a so called army, with its pathetic out of date 50s era weaponry that’s only good for murdering unarmed civilians.

I hope to see many more shabiha turds hanging from the gallows, and this is why

Syrian army thugs abusing prisoners on a bus

August 19th, 2011, 10:20 am

 

uzair8 said:

I condemn the state terror in Syria. This is a tragedy unfolding. Only God can help the people. This diabolical entity will be cleansed from the face of the earth leaving us with a better world. InshaAllah.

August 19th, 2011, 10:20 am

 

Abughassan said:

If Asad cares about Syria he will respond to calls fir him ti transfer power since the word “resignation” equals defeat in the dictionary of the regime. An orderly transfer of power to a council that represents all syrians until elections are held is the only civilized way out. There are people who prefer a collapse of the state and what they call a “start from scratch” approach which is effectively an invitation to civil war or a prolonged bloody conflict. For personal and political reasons,Bashar and his cabinet are not likely to grant the US and the EU a diplomatic victory by resigning now,but the reality of the situation and the pressure in the street will eventually force him to leave. My main disagreement with some of you is the lack of “what after” plan when this regime is out of the door. The idea that you can ignore the will of a sizable portion of syrians who are “sit in the middle” secularists is silly and incompatible with the democracy and freedom.Another dangerous idea is dissolving the army and sending hundreds of thousands of armed syrians home the Iraqi-style.

August 19th, 2011, 10:28 am

 

Haytham Khoury said:

We know that there are armed groups. We can trace them when the officer Tellawi was murdered near Homs. The questions is “are these groups at the origin of the revolution or related to the revolution?”. The answer “No”. These groups profited from the situation to practice what they like to practice “killing”. Let us not forget that most of these groups are bred by the regime itself. The regime established and encouraged most of them when the it wanted to send them to fight against the American in Iraq. Indeed, these groups have nothing to do with the revolution. These groups may be settling old accounts with the Assad regime.

August 19th, 2011, 10:30 am

 

uzair8 said:

The Arab and muslim street will not be able to take much more of this blood letting of their brethren.

Sooner or later the pressure will build and there will be demand for action.

A no fly zone will be declared and the people will be armed with anti tank weaponry, IED’s and other light arms to send these dogs to hell.

There will be tens of thousands of non Syrians cueing up to volunteer to fight in Syria. To watch a tragedy unfold and not act? Not a chance.

Your days are numbered scumbag regime.

Anyway. If the crackdown escalates beyond a certain point Turkey has already indicated it will not tolerate the crossing of this red line.

August 19th, 2011, 10:33 am

 

Aboud said:

Haytham, why hasn’t the regime’s security forces caught the people behind the killings of Tellawi and his relatives? Because everyone and their mother in Homs knows who actually killed him.

In the early days, the regime idiotically armed civilians in the Alawite neighborhoods of Homs. Right before Tellawi, there was a carload of shabihas. The civilians guarding that neighborhood fired into the air in salute. The shabiha thought they were getting fired at, and with usual lack of disciplined, fired at anything and everything around them. Tellawi was one of the casualties.

THAT is why soon afterwards, the regime took away the weapons from the Lejan Al Sha3bia. The menhebaks can call it a lie all they want, but everyone in Homs has known it to be the truth for months. Otherwise, like I said, why didn’t the regime catch the people behind it?

As for mutilating his body, it was a sick, perverted mind behind it, but the kind of low life propaganda we have gotten used to seeing from the menhebak turds.

August 19th, 2011, 10:44 am

 

Haytham Khoury said:

@ Aboud #19

Really, I am in conflict with myself regarding the armed groups. Sometimes, I do not want to believe that they exist. However, in other times, I suspect it. I am not sure what to say. I hope they do not exist. However, even if they exist, they have nothing to do with the revolution.

This is why I blame the opposition, too. If the revolution had a political leadership, that political leadership can clarify and set straight the records.

Anyway, I hope you are right.

August 19th, 2011, 10:57 am

 

Afram said:

HEY,Bozos When in doubt, mumble. When in trouble,delegate to gangsters to rectify youR foolishness.
Anything good in MB lives is either illegal or immoral.
my golden rule:Never argue with a bozo fool,people might not know the difference

August 19th, 2011, 11:06 am

 

Haytham Khoury said:

@ Aboud #14

I understand the extent of your surprise. However, the reality is the reality. The Assad regime still has its supporters inside the country. It may appear for you irrational (and probably it is). However, it is real and has reasons to be. What are these reasons?. This is what we should discuss. May be “Some Guy in Damascus” can help us answer that question.

August 19th, 2011, 11:09 am

 

Abu Umar said:

” 21. Afram said:

HEY,Bozos When in doubt, mumble. When in trouble,delegate to gangsters to rectify youR foolishness.
Anything good in MB lives is either illegal or immoral.
my golden rule:Never argue with a bozo fool,people might not know the difference”

Menhebek thug, you actually expect people to go to their graves like sheep. Why is that?

August 19th, 2011, 11:18 am

 

Observer said:

1. I do not wish revenge; I do ask for fair and independent judiciary to try the perpetrators. The law above everyone. No sides. If the officer beating people on the video is found guilty he should be tried in a court of law. If there are armed gangs then bring them in front of a judge and have them have a normal defence.
2. Syria’s regime is getting weaker by the day; there are ongoing protests and the repression is raising the demands not decreasing the demands. From a demand to release children in Daraa we now have demands for trying the president and his inner circle. There are movements of boycotting those business people associated with the regime.
3. The economy is in ruins; Iran cannot support the regime for more than a few months at the most.
4. The opposition is learning on the go; and they are adapting much better and faster than the Baath party for several reasons. One they have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Second it is truly popular with people innovating on the go.
Thirdly the heavy bureaucratic methods of decision making established by the regime have hampered any flexibility on the part of the organs of state. One example is the official propaganda machine that is really pathetic were not for being so laughable.
5. If the minorities and I mean by this the one minority from which the regime is issued continues to push the sectarian agenda; it will create a unifying response from the majority of Syrians.
6. Assad promised the world reforms; he is running out of time as every one of his previous decrees from abolishing the state of emergency to the courts has turned out to be hollow.
7. Once Ghaddafi flees Lybia, the screws will be applied to the regime

August 19th, 2011, 11:19 am

 

Tara said:

And also if armed gangs exist, how come they are so impotent? Except for Jisr al Shogur with the alleged 120 killed, few killings reported here and there were allegedly attributed to the “armed gangs”. In the interim, Tanks rolled in Daraa, Douma, Hama, Homs, Lattaki, Telkalkh, and Deir al Zor to fight the so called armed gangs. We have already watched a link of Shabeehas planning to plant weapons in different towns to make plausible the story of armed gangs.

If armed gangs were actually present, why weren’t their more casualties than what have been reported? Why haven’t they been exposed yet? Why no one exposed their sponsors? why haven’t the regime allowed free press?

August 19th, 2011, 11:26 am

 

N.Z. said:

HK,

There is a big difference, between, support and silent majority. But most importantly there is a brutal, zero tolerance crackdown in Damascus and Aleppo.

Khouri, wherever you stand keep your feet together, otherwise you make a fool out of yourself.

August 19th, 2011, 11:27 am

 

Aboud said:

“Once Ghaddafi flees Lybia, the screws will be applied to the regime”

Exactly, which explains the menhebaks new found love for Loony Tunes Qadafi. When a despot falls, another one becomes that much more nervous.

“The Assad regime still has its supporters inside the country”

Hitler still has supporters to this day. The fact that a few supporters are very vocal in their support is meaningless, when compared to the massive number of towns, villages and neighborhoods that have come out just as vocally against junior, despite tanks and army invasions.

“Really, I am in conflict with myself regarding the armed groups. Sometimes, I do not want to believe that they exist. However, in other times, I suspect it. ”

There are some few people who are armed, and who defend themselves and their families. But this is not the sort of armed insurrection that is looking to overthrow a government. Otherwise that hayawan Shalesh would have had his perverse line up of expensive cars burned long ago.

Any Syrian defending himself today, is no more a terrorist than the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto were when they defended themselves against Nazi liquidation.

August 19th, 2011, 11:30 am

 

Tara said:

19 killed as Syria presses crackdown on protest
AFP

http://news.yahoo.com/world-leaders-call-assad-step-down-003409154.html

Syrian forces killed at least 19 protesters as tens of thousands swarmed the streets after Friday prayers, activists said, a day after President Bashar al-Assad pledged that military assaults on civilians had been halted

…The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 11 people, including an 11-year-old and a 72-year-old, were killed in the southern province of Daraa, epicentre of the anti-regime protests that erupted March 15.

Three others were killed in the central city of Homs and one in the Harasta suburb of Damascus.

The Observatory said security forces opened fire on protesters, also wounding 16 people, in the Ghabagheb, Inkhil, Al-Herak and Nawa in Daraa, but the official SANA news agency blamed the shooting on “armed men.”

The agency said a policeman and a civilian were killed in Ghabagheb and six security forces wounded.

Tens of thousands of people flooded streets in major Syrian towns on Friday as they emerged from the weekly Muslim prayers, with the largest anti-regime demonstration reported in Homs.

Around 20,000 were on the streets of Al-Khalidiyeh demanding the ouster of Assad, said the Observatory, which also reported rallies in the eastern oil hub of Deir Ezzor, in the northern cities of Latakia and Banias.

Some 10,000 people marched in the Kurdish-populated cities of Qamishli and Amuda, according to an activist at the scene, while other protests were took place in and around Damascus and in Hama in the centre.

The Observatory said troops and security forces deployed in several areas to prevent protests from taking place, including in Latakia where pro-regime ‘shabiha’ militias pounced on worshippers as they emerged from a city mosque.

Security forces opened fire and conducted arrests to prevent protests from spilling into streets in Damascus neighbourhoods.

Friday’s rallies put to the test a commitment given by Assad to UN chief Ban Ki-moon the previous day that his security forces have ended operations against civilians.

The Syrian Revolution 2011 Facebook group, one of the drivers of the protests, had called for the demonstrations under the slogan, “Friday of the beginnings of victory.”

August 19th, 2011, 11:49 am

 

uzair8 said:

Oh Damascus! Oh Aleppo! Join your brethren!

Yesterday on BBC’s flagship Newsnight programme they had a feature on Syria. (See video below)

One person when asked whether a turning point had been reached said not yet (about 22 min). He said only when places like Damascus and Aleppo join in mass protests will the turning point be said to have arrived. I suspect he is right.

See the video below from 17.45 minutes. Its only about 10 minutes long.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b013n4h8/Newsnight_18_08_2011/

August 19th, 2011, 11:53 am

 

Atassi said:

Criminals ..

This is FOR “Norman The shabiha’ .., “Allah Souria Wa bashar wa bess”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9p47EP15UgQ&feature=share
Criminals ..
Criminals ..
Criminals .. can you all feel their wicked mind, full of hatred ..

August 19th, 2011, 12:15 pm

 

norman said:

Good acting to tarnish the army, so they can dismiss the army in the future, shame on them .

August 19th, 2011, 12:21 pm

 

uzair8 said:

How should revolutionaries and supporters deal with Iran?

It would be difficult to boycott Iranian products without hurting ordinary Iranians.

I hope the Iranian regime and Hezbollah go down in everyones estimation.

The Iranian regime’s support of the criminal regime in Damacus is disgusting.

August 19th, 2011, 12:32 pm

 

Tara said:

Norman

Your response summarizes minority’s complex disorder. Nothing more is really expected.

August 19th, 2011, 12:41 pm

 

Atassi said:

A government official in Ankara agreed and told AFP a call for Assad’s ouster must come from the Syrian people themselves.

“First and foremost the people of Syria must tell Assad to go. This has not been heard in the streets of Syria,” the official said. “The Syrian opposition is not united and we haven’t seen yet a collective call from Syrians to tell Assad to go, like in Egypt and Libya.”

Huh !!. Is Turkey deaf!! Can they hear the shouting in the streets …CAN you hear me now. !!!

August 19th, 2011, 12:45 pm

 

Aboud said:

Uzair8, I have no sympathy for any Iranian who continues to prefer docile living under a theocracy, rather than freedom. The Syrian people have taken on the region’s most brutal dictatorship, with nothing but their courage, so I have no patience for the excuses of other people who folded and surrendered with less of an excuse.

At the start, the world’s media ignored us, viewing our struggle as just another revolution in a bag of revolutions.

At the start, the countries of the world were silent, happy to give junior a free hand to crush the revolution in the name of stability. With time, it dawned on the world that a president whose only skills lay in X-Box was the biggest source of instability in the region.

The Syrian people have endured, and are still going strong into their sixth month of protests, while the Iranians didn’t last 6 weeks.

Apparently, the Chinese and Russians think they are irreplaceable, and that any post-junior government will have to forgive and forget. Bullshit. Russian weaponry is a drain on any military, not one thing that China produces cannot be obtained through alternative sources. In fact, Syrian labor costs are as cheap, if not cheaper, than Chinese ones.

August 19th, 2011, 12:47 pm

 

Mr.President said:

Bashar Assad still has 50%+1 support of the Syrian people. Muslim Brothers do not represent Syrian people. MB’s could claim to master 99% support as long as they want.

August 19th, 2011, 12:56 pm

 

jad said:

There are no thugs in the streets, not at all

فيديو اغتيال الشهيد رائد عاشور
https://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=10150268600257916

خاص شبكة أخبار حمص الأولى
http://www.facebook.com/HNN.SYRIA

فيديو يوضح عملية اغتيال الشهيد:
رائد عاشور

وهو في طريقه إلى منزله
في شارع الحميدية الرئيسي بالقرب فرن نقشو
حيث حاولت سيارة مجهولة فضية اللون
يركبها أربعة أِشخاص مسلحين اختطافه
وحين لم يتمكنوا من اجباره على الصعود إلى السيارة
قاموا باطلاق الرصاص الحي عليه
و الشهيد قد تعرض للتهديد لأكثر من مرة
وهو متزوج وله أربعة أبنا
ويسكن في حي المضابع القريب من شارع الستين
والفيديو تم تصويره من إحدى كاميرات المراقبة
في شارع الحميدية
الرجاء النشر والتعميم على جميع الصفحات
والرحمة لروحه الطاهرة
ولن نسكت حتى يتم القبض على هؤلاء الكفرة
الذين ظهروا في الفيديو
خاص شبكة أخبار حمص الأولى
http://www.facebook.com/HNN.SYRIA

August 19th, 2011, 12:57 pm

 

N.Z. said:

I thought I will share this with you. It is a telling story, that, those who are committing crimes, spewing hate or spreading fear, are not exclusive to a specific group.

حدث في مرمريتا
تعرض الشاب جوني سارة، من سكان مدينة حمص وعمره ١٧ سنة، للضرب المبرح وللاعتقال في مساء بوم الثلاثاء الماضي الواقع في 16 آب، وذلك على أيدي مجموعة من مؤيدي النظام في قرية مرمريتا. وفي التفاصيل كان السيد جوني يجلس في مقهى فينيس في مرمريتا ويتحدث مع إحدى قريباته عن مدى العنف الذي يُمارسه النظام السوري على شعبه واذا بإحدى فتيات القرية من العواينية تسمعه وتتصل بشبيحة القرية الذين حضروا مباشرة إلى المطعم قبل أن يعتدوا بوحشية على السيد جوني ويتهمونه بأنه اسرائيلي وخاين. ولم يكتفِ هؤلاء بهذا القدر بل وأرادوا إجبار السيد جوني على تقبيل صورة بشار الأسد، وبعد هذه الاعتداءات المهينة، قامت المجموعة بوضع جوني في سيارتهم واقتياده عنوة إلى فرع الأمن بمنطقة تلكلخ حيث بقي بالاحتجاز التعسفي عدّة أيام قبل أن يُطلق سراحه حديثا.

هذا ويتعرض الكثير من أهالي قرى وادي النضارى المعروفين بوطنيتهم وتأييدهم لمطالب الشعب السوري بالحرية والكرامة للمضايقات والتهديدات المستمرة من طرف الأمن وبعض أعضاء حزب البعث بالإضافة إلى المتعاونين معهم والمنخرطين بما يُعرف بأسم “اللجان الشعبية”. حيث يتصرف هؤلاء بدون أية رقابة قانونية ولا يتورعون عن الاعتداء الجسدي وتوقيف المارة واستجواب الأشخاص بالإضافة إلى الاعتقال، الذي من المفترض من أن يكون من مهام رجال الأمن.
ويبدو بانّ هؤلاء تستغلهم وتشجعهم قوات الأمن السوري للمشاركة في قمع المظاهرات وترهيب المواطنين لمجرد التعبير عن آرائهم السلمية.

August 19th, 2011, 12:59 pm

 

Atassi said:

No Norman that was not an acting class
It was a music class .. The instructors where just trying to enforce the tune !! We have a sick doc in house..!! 🙂 anyone can help
see the music class again:

August 19th, 2011, 1:00 pm

 

jad said:

اوكامبو: المحكمة الجنائية الدولية لا تتمتع بالصلاحيات الضرورية للتحقيق في الوضع بسورية

اعلن لويس مورينو اوكامبو المدعي العام للمحكمة الجنائية الدولية يوم الجمعة 19 اغسطس/اب ان المحكمة لا تتمتع في المرحلة الراهنة بالصلاحيات الضرورية لاجراء التحقيق في الوضع بسورية.

وقال اوكامبو ان مختلف الجهات راجعت المحكمة مقدمة اليها المعلومات حول ارتكاب جرائم ضد الانسانية في سورية، بما في ذلك اعتقالات غير شرعية وقتل المتظاهرين السلميين والتعذيب. إلا ان المحكمة لا يحق لها التحقيق في ذلك لان سورية لم توقع نظام روما الاساسي الذي تعتمد عليه المحكمة في عملها.

ومع ذلك اكد اوكامبو ان “لدى مجلس الامن الدولي صلاحيات لاحالة القضية الى المحكمة الجنائية الدولية في حال قرر ان ذلك قد يساعد على احلال السلام والامن في سورية”.

وقال المدعي العام ان المحكمة تحقق حاليا في ست قضايا تتعلق بالوضع في جمهورية الكونغو الديمقراطية وشمال اوغندا ومنطقة دارفور بالسودان وجمهورية افريقيا الوسطى وكينيا وليبيا. وذكر ايضا ان “مكتب المدعي العام للمحكمة طلب من غرفتها التمهيدية السماح بفتح التحقيق في الوضع بساحل العاج”.

August 19th, 2011, 1:02 pm

 

uzair8 said:

Aboud I agree.

There is more than enough justification and desire to fight this regime. However I understand and agree with the wisdom of the commitment to peaceful revolution.

If this drags on gradually escalating for months then Iran (incl. Hezbollah) will be hated by over a billion muslims for prolonging this bloodshed by backing the Assad regime.

The Arab and muslim street are becoming agitated watching their brethren slaughtered. This anger will also be directed at Iran.

A public boycott of Iranian products may hurt Iranian people who may then pressure their government to change their stance regarding Syria. Im not sure about harming ordinary Iranians yet.

Products such as Persian rugs from Iran. Iranian dates.

August 19th, 2011, 1:02 pm

 

Revlon said:

سوريون نت تكشف تفاصيل خطة المجلس الانتقالي الموحد الذي سيضم كل مؤتمرات المعارضة الأخيرة وبمشاركة العلويين والدروز والاسماعيليين والتكنوقراط لإدارة المرحلة الانتقالية

2011/08/19
http://www.sooryoon.net/?p=31168
واشنطن ـ خاص بـ سوريون نت :

كشفت مصادر المعارضة السورية في واشنطن عن الانتهاء من تشكيل المجلس الانتقالي الموحد والذي من المقرر بحسب مصادر سوريون نت أن يتشكل من خمسة وخمسين شخصية ستتوزع على الشكل التالي
ستة عشر من التكنوقراط،
وعشرة شخصيات من مؤتمر أنطاليا،
وسبعة شخصيات من مؤتمر بروكسل،
وثمانية شخصيات من مؤتمر الانقاذ،
وأربعة شخصيات علمانية،
واثنان من العلماء
وثمانية من الشباب
وبحسب الوثيقة التي حصل عليها سوريون نت فإن كل جهة من هذه الجهات ستفرز شخصا مثل يمثل النساء واليسار والعلمانية والدروز الاسماعيلية والعلوية وغيرها من الشرائح الطائفية والمجتمعية، وهو الذي سيقود العملية الانتقالية..

لكن سوريون علم أن بعض طوائف المعارضة السورية لم توافق على هذا بعد، ولا تزال المشاورات مستمرة، ويتوقع أن يتولى المجلس مهمة الانتقال بسورية في المرحلة الانتقالية المؤقتة إلى مرحلة الديمقراطية والتحول السلمي الديمقراطي، وبمثابة الحكومة الانتقالية ..

وكان المراقب العام للإخوان المسلمين في سورية محمد رياض الشقفة تحدث عن قرب الإعلان عن مؤتمر وطني سوري وذلك في مقابلة له مع قناة الجزيرة بالامس، كما أعلن الناشط الحقوقى السورى محمد العبدالله عن اعتزام المعارضة السورية تأسيس مجلس انتقالى موحد يضم مختلف الطوائف المعارضة داخل سوريا وخارجها.

وقال العبد الله ـ فى تصريح لراديو “سوا ” الأمريكى اليوم الجمعة ـ إن تأسيس المجلس الانتقالى يهدف إلى الاستجابة للمطالب الدولية التى تدعو المعارضة إلى وضع رؤية محددة لمرحلة ما بعد الرئيس بشار الأسد.مضيفا ان المجلس سيمثل كتلة جديدة للمعارضة تضم مختلف اطياف المعارضة السياسية.

وأوضح انها محاولة لتشكيل ووضع رؤية محددة للثورة السورية، وتوضيح الفكر السورى للمجتمع الدولى.مشيرا إلى ان المجلس الانتقالى سيعتمد فى تشكيله على التكنوقراط، وان الكفاءة هى المعيار الوحيد الذى سيتم الاعتماد عليه فى تشكيل المجلس لوضع خارطة طريق للانتقال بسوريا إلى نظام ديمقراطى بأقل الخسائر الممكنة.

August 19th, 2011, 1:03 pm

 

jad said:

There are no thugs in the streets, not at all

فيديو اغتيال الشهيد رائد عاشور
https://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=10150268600257916

خاص شبكة أخبار حمص الأولى
http://www.facebook.com/HNN.SYRIA

فيديو يوضح عملية اغتيال الشهيد:
رائد عاشور

وهو في طريقه إلى منزله
في شارع الحميدية الرئيسي بالقرب فرن نقشو
حيث حاولت سيارة مجهولة فضية اللون
يركبها أربعة أِشخاص مسلحين اختطافه
وحين لم يتمكنوا من اجباره على الصعود إلى السيارة
قاموا باطلاق الرصاص الحي عليه
و الشهيد قد تعرض للتهديد لأكثر من مرة
وهو متزوج وله أربعة أبنا
ويسكن في حي المضابع القريب من شارع الستين
والفيديو تم تصويره من إحدى كاميرات المراقبة
في شارع الحميدية
الرجاء النشر والتعميم على جميع الصفحات
والرحمة لروحه الطاهرة
ولن نسكت حتى يتم القبض على هؤلاء الكفرة
الذين ظهروا في الفيديو
خاص شبكة أخبار حمص الأولى
http://www.facebook.com/HNN.SYRIA

August 19th, 2011, 1:03 pm

 

Haytham Khoury said:

dear N.Z. @26

I agree with you. That there is big difference between silent majority and supporting the regime (I may be wrongly formulated my intention @22). However, at this point any silence is an implicit support for the regime, because it is a prolongation of the regime’s life). Consequently, it means more dead people in the streets.
I know that 95% of the Syrian people wish the end of the regime (for this reason, I am supporting the revolution), however not 95% of the Syrian people are with the revolution. This is an important phenomenon. We, the ma-menhibek people, should address it. We should reduce that gap, because this is important for accelerating the regime’s demise and reducing the death toll. I hope you agree with me. If not, I am open for more discussions.

August 19th, 2011, 1:05 pm

 

Dale Andersen said:

Memo To: HAYTHAM KHOURY

RE: “…I have a personal wish. Let us use a less abrasive language…”

Why? Because let me assure you, the insults and angry words on SC reflect the reality on the ground in Syria. The country is a train wreck, thanks to the Assad Mafia, and is headed to a nasty, revenge-filled civil war. And everyone’s scared out of their minds. Forget about civil discussions. It’s not the time for that. That time passed the day Hafez Assad proclaimed himself dictator and set up the al-mukhabarat to ensure his hold on power.

Now is the time to get your gun and take back your rights. It’s not a task to be done with a bright smile and a courteous word…

As Jim Morrison so eloquently put it:

Can’t you see the wonder at your feet
Your life’s complete
Follow me down
Can’t you see me growing, get your gun
The time has come
To follow me down

August 19th, 2011, 1:09 pm

 

atassi said:

Jad
Why the security video shaking .. windy day !!
and one word for you
yea.. Shbiha ..

August 19th, 2011, 1:10 pm

 

jad said:

Attassi,
وأنت ليش مبعوص؟

Here, watch it again
فيديو اغتيال الشهيد رائد عاشور
http://youtu.be/U_C_2h6jwOs

August 19th, 2011, 1:15 pm

 

majedkhaldoon said:

Haytham
You are hematologist;
If you have bad antibodies in the blood ,that are destroying the normal tissue what do you do, you get rid of those antibodies, here we resort to what we call plasmapheresis, if you have bad soldiers in syria ,you need to get rid of them by removing them from the army,the same as plasmapheresis.

The regime is pushing hard for civil war ,it is to blame, no one should blame the demonstrators without evidence,did the demonstrators ,today carry and used weapons, NO.
did the regime oppression forces used guns and artillary to kill protestors, YES.

August 19th, 2011, 1:18 pm

 

Haytham Khoury said:

Dear majedkhaldoon:

Let us get rid of the regime first. After that, we will see.

August 19th, 2011, 1:28 pm

 

Revlon said:

37. Dear jad, here is my take on the video that you linked
http://www.facebook.com/HNN.SYRIA
فيديو يوضح عملية اغتيال الشهيد:
رائد عاشور

First the way the attackers dress and their demeanour is that of Shabbeeha!

Second, to assassinate some one, you do it discretely!
You do not show off on a main street where you and your car plate can be recognised and reported.
Any fool in Syria knows that knowing your license plate, Mukhabarat will get you in one hour, and if they do not find you they will arrest all of your family!
The only ones who can afford such a reckless self-exposure are the ones who are not at risk of being punished.
They are the ones above the law; jr and the bandits!

Third, the video is incomplete.
It shows no shot victim!
There must have been some one there that could have taken a video with sound to document the event.
Where is it?

August 19th, 2011, 1:34 pm

 

jad said:

حكومات الاتحاد الاوربي اتفقت على توسيع العقوبات على سوريا
نقلت “رويترز” عن دبلوماسي لم تسمه قوله إن حكومات الاتحاد الأوروبي اتفقت على توسيع العقوبات على سوريا

http://syria-news.com/

August 19th, 2011, 1:34 pm

 

uzair8 said:

Turning to arms at this point would only play into the hands of the regime who will position itself as ‘the good guy’ fighting an armed uprising. The regime will have an excuse to escalate its security action.

At the moment the pressure is building on the regime. With the eyes of the world on it the regime cannot freely use unjustified violence (at a greater level).

The people have passed the point of no return. I remember Shaykh Nazim of Cyprus saying how the people will be like wasps. Bees sting once and die but wasps can keep returning to sting. The Shaykh advised those who wanted to avoid harm to move to the countryside. He also advised people to recite something during demos and God would help them. ‘Hasbunallah, Rabbunallah’ (I think). The Shaykh said that if the people recited then the hearts of the security (soldiers, snipers etc) would explode.

Anyway. The point is that the description of the protestors during the Arab spring is spot on.

Mr Assad. The people will outlast you. You cant win.

August 19th, 2011, 1:35 pm

 

some guy in damascus said:

@ jad
there are thugs all over damascus, i see them when they gather at the kafer suseh mukhabarat area, around mosques, being bussed around damascus….attacking our demonstration in midan.
they are the regime’s thugs. they travel around in lime green buses or the red-stripped red buses, when this revolution started damascus was in a world of it’s own, the increased security presence changed all of that, if anyone is wondering why there relatively isn’t much activity in Damascus because of these overwhelming quantity of thugs, not because no one is willing to demonstrate.
@ haytham,
i no longer see cars around damascus praising bashar, whenver the government announces a pro-regime demonstration i see parts of the security forces being used to fill up the space( yes i saw them, they walked into their compound with their normal clothes and left wearing men7ibak shirts). the main bulk of regime-supporters are strictly besho supporters,( as one pro-besho friend put it: imagine bashar wearing a white suite walking down a dirty, dirty street, how would that affect him? the dirty street is the surrounding circle) they know the surrounding circle is bad :rami,maher, and the whole rest but they insist bashar will fix everything( just give him time). that being said, there are the minorities that are scared of a MB infested future, there are some minority opposition elements that are afraid to speak out for fear of being cast out form their society ( i asked one anti-regime christian why hes still hiding in the closet, he said hes scared of his parents rather than the regime!). and finally you have that very little portion that thinks every thing in the regime is fine and want everything as it is.
judging from my experiences it is lame to compare pro-regime demonstrations with anti-regime demonstrations and heres why:
the pro-regime demonstrations are or have
-state sponsored
-good video recording
– main gathering point provided
-some people are forced to go( i have witnessed this)
– many incentives are given( concerts, drink, food)
– transportation is provided
-SAFETY( the most important one here)
on the other hand the anti regime demonstrations are:
-“illegal”
– no incentives provided. no food, no drink and no concerts( excluding pre-ramadan hama)
-the shabeeha blocks off access to anyone trying to participate in these demonstrations
– most important all there is a chance of arrest, torture and DEATH
– nearly impossible to make a gathering point to enlarge numbers , its basically whats in the mosque, by whats going in qaboon the regime reacts rapidly whenever the demonstrators gather in huuuuge numbers.
– limited recording, all we got is mobile video footage. not professional cameras.
,
hope i helped

August 19th, 2011, 1:40 pm

 

Haytham Khoury said:

To Dale @45.

I know the reality is bad. The regime is a mafia regime. I know that the political opposition does not know what is the right political practice. If you do not agree with the regime, it means you are its enemy. If you have a different opinion from any person in the opposition, that person will call you a traitor. This is the reality in Syria. How to get out of it. This is why we discuss here. All of us are responsible to improve the Syrian society. All of us are responsible to build a better political life in Syria.

August 19th, 2011, 1:42 pm

 

Revlon said:

Ambulances with tinted galss, operated by Mukhabarat are luring wounded victims by offering them a safe transport to the Arabic medical center.
Instead, they are taking them to their headquarter in kafr Sooseh!

حركة سوريا شباب من أجل الحرية Youth Syria For Freedom
أموي مباشر #syria ◄ تتجول في أحياء دمشق سيارات إسعاف مكتوب عليها المجمع الطبي العربي، وهذه السيارات ذات زجاج معتم في غالبيتها (مفيّمة) وهي تابعة لفرع أمن الدولة الكائن في كفرسوسة حيث يتم نقل الجرحى إلى الفرع بدلاً من المشافي.. يرجى أخذ العلم والانتباه ونشر هذه المعلومة قدر المستطاع

5 hours ago •

August 19th, 2011, 1:49 pm

 

uzair8 said:

#53 SGID.

‘yes i saw them, they walked into their compound with their normal clothes and left wearing men7ibak shirts’

LOL. Menhabek clothes. LOL

Great post btw. The pro Assad demos are obviously orchestrated by the state.

August 19th, 2011, 1:50 pm

 

jad said:

Revlon, SGID
I didn’t take the video to know all the details, I’m simply sharing something I just saw.

Revlon,
About #42, the problem the MB facing is to attract the local oppositions, that happened to be more liberal and secular than what they like to see.
Besides, the MB want to have the upper hand in the national government that what Turkey is promising them with.
Will see, but it seems that this is the way things are going, a united national government that will lead the transition period, I personally hope it works.

August 19th, 2011, 1:53 pm

 

Revlon said:

Initial list of martyrs of Friday
AlFati7a upon their souls,
May God bless their families with solace, and empoer them with patience.

The Syrian Revolution 2011 الثورة السورية ضد بشار الاسد
أسماء شهداء جمعة بشائر النصر التي وصلتنا الى الأن :
_______________________________________________

1. محمد علي السمرة – درعا غباغب
2. جمال نظير العشيش – درعا غباغب
…3. عصام خليل عبود – درعا غباغب
4. باسل انور القاعد – درعا غباغب
5. الطفل محمد عمر شرف – 11 سنة – درعا غباغب
6. الطفل محمد بدر النجم – 15 سنة – درعا غباغب
7. شهيدة طفلة عمرها 3 سنوات – درعا غباغب
8. محمود محمد الجيرودي – درعا غباعب
9. الشهيد البطل حسام جادالله القداح – درعا الحراك
10. محمد ابراهيم سلامات – درعا الحراك
11. امير تر كماني – درعا الحراك
12. الشيهد البطل عماد قومان – درعا الحراك
13. محمد محمود عطية الحريري – درعا الحراك
14. الحاج مطلق قداح 72 عام – درعا نوى
15. نادر الفروان – درعا انخل
16. الشاب سمير الحافظ – حمص حي القرابيص
17. الشاب هيثم رفاعي وزير عمره 18 سنة – حمص جوبر
18. خالد عدنان البويضاني – حمص باباعمرو

August 19th, 2011, 1:59 pm

 

norman said:

Hey Atassi,

Since when you call yourself a Doc, as you are the only sick person i see so far here,

Tara,

And you seem to believe everything you see no critical thinking , and then nothing more expected from you and people like you, you believe what you want and disregard everything else , shame on you , i thought you think with that great brain of yours , i guess , i was mistaken,

August 19th, 2011, 2:03 pm

 

Haytham Khoury said:

Thank you SGID for the clarification. All these are good news. “Besho” supporters are not able to see how his mistakes led us to here. If he had real leadership, we would have not been in this situation.

August 19th, 2011, 2:07 pm

 

norman said:

Dr Landis,
Observor, Jad, DR Khoury, and others

do you think that the opposition has a (( Nelson Mandela ))

August 19th, 2011, 2:07 pm

 

EHSANI2 said:

As expected, the EU’s foreign policy committee has proposed adding 15 more Syrian officials and the five different Syrian oil companies to the existing sanctions lit. This would match the EU’s oil embargo to that announced by the U.S. yesterday. The formal vote will take place early next week.

What is critical is that the EU would broaden the definition of people covered by the sanctions from those “involved in the repression” to those “benefitting from the regime’s actions”. This is a much broader definition than the present time.

In addition to the ban on oil imports, technical assistance through the EIB will also be withdrawn.

In the past Europe was not in favor of restricting oil and gas exports for fear that energy shortages will place a heavy burden on the average Syrian citizen. This changed after the U.S. imposed its own sanctions on the sector. It is reported that the EU may soon add both the telecommunication as well as the banking industries to the list.

Incidentally, one recent source of refined petroleum imports to Syria has been the Ukraine. Early last year, a senior Syrian delegation led by Mohammed Hussein (ex Finance Minister) signed a free trade agreement with that country. It will be interesting to see how this relationship survives and prospers following the recent sanctions by the US and the EU.

August 19th, 2011, 2:10 pm

 

Observer said:

A rumor is circulating that the security services have rigged several cars to explode near minority worship sites and that there are members of security services that leaked the report in an act of defiance and protest against such tactics. It is meant to create more tension and to create chaos and to quell outside protests.

Did anyone hear or read of similar reports?

August 19th, 2011, 2:10 pm

 

Aboud said:

Thank you SGID for #53, especially this

“i asked one anti-regime christian why hes still hiding in the closet, he said hes scared of his parents rather than the regime!”

That really made me laugh 🙂

In the early days, there were only three places in Homs that we could go to demonstrate. Now, it’s impossible to go out on Friday or after taraweh and not run into a neighborhood shouting for junior’s removal.

August 19th, 2011, 2:19 pm

 

Real Syrian said:

to 61 Norman
My dear
I think that such barbaric revolution deserves a terrorist Salafii Sheikh like Al-Arour to be Nelson Mandila or if you prefer a photogenic person I nominate Radwan Ziadeh

August 19th, 2011, 2:25 pm

 

Mango said:

http://arabic.rt.com/news_all_news/news/564832/
مندوب روسيا في الناتو: الحلف يرى أحداث سورية باللونين الأبيض والأسود

اعتبر دميتري روغوزين، مندوب روسيا لدى حلف الشمال الأطلسي (الناتو) أن الحلف يتخذ سياسة غير متوازنة وآحادية الصبغة تجاه سورية.

وقال روغوزين في مقابلة مع قناة “روسيا ـ 24” يوم 19 أغسطس/آب “إن الحلف يغض النظر بشكل تام على الضحايا التي تخسرها القيادة السورية في صفوف قوات الأمن خلال مكافحتهم للعنف”.

وأشار روغوزين إلى أن الحلف يصمت على حقيقة أن عدد القتلى في صفوف قوات الأمن والجيش وصل الى مئات الأشخاص.

واستطرد قائلا “اعتقد ان على الناتو التوقف عن السياسة آحادية الجانب وعن النظر إلى الحياة بعيون كلب يرى ويتقبل الأمور إما باللون الأسود أو باللون الأبيض. فالحياة أصعب من ذلك بكثير لأنها تتكون من طيف من الألوان. لذلك اعتبار قيادة البلاد، التي تشهد أراضيها تهديد سياسي
حقيقي، على أنهم شباب سيئون امر غير عقلاني”.

http://arabic.rt.com/news_all_news/news/564787

August 19th, 2011, 2:33 pm

 

5 dancing shlomos said:

Death Squads in Syria Part of Intelligence Operation:

The UN announced that it would be removing non-essential staff from its offices in Syria amid growing concern over the violent crackdown by government forces on demonstrators. The Syrian government responded by inviting UN personnel to observe the situation on the ground.

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

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

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

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

August 19th, 2011, 2:38 pm

 

Haytham Khoury said:

To Norman @61

We have a person in Syria with the Nickname “Nelson Mandela”. It is Riad al-Turk. Indeed, he merits that name. I wish he can lead a transition council of 5-6 persons to lead the transition. Another person is Haitham al-Maleh. However, Riad al-Turk is a more shrewd and experienced politician than Haitham al-Maleh. Al-Maleh is a very honest and knowledgeable person, but he is not really a politician.

in Revlon #42. In the report of http://www.sooryoon.net/?p=31168, there are two different ideas. The first is the 55-persons council (by the way this is Radwan Ziadeh’s idea). This won’t work. It is too big to form a cohesive leading structure. The second idea is another conference for the opposition. I know that this idea is circulating now. However, with out good preparation and good organization it will be also a failure. Certainly, I support strongly the second to form 5 or 6-person council. I think this is a more realistic and less bureaucratic idea.

I still believe that the political dimension of the problem is important to end the current crisis shortly and to its better end. That is because, we need a council that can formulate a political agenda and if needed to negotiate with the regime (most likely the terms of its departure). We can’t push the people to demonstrate ( and getting killed) without a clear political agenda.

August 19th, 2011, 2:42 pm

 

N.Z. said:

Khoury,

Of course we all wish that a little huff will make our wishes come true, but when you have a sticky for 40 years, it is almost impossible to play nicety anymore. A speech, intentionally or not, drew the battlefield map, us or them, this is how I understood his infamous babbling, this is how the protesters, the opposition understood it.

The protesters insisted that they want to arrive to their goal, by declaring that Syrians are ONE, their movement is peaceful, and they will not stop, they’d rather die than live in humiliation.

As for you, you want a clean revolution?
Words, like “I wish”, never built a house. The revolutionaries in Syria are the most peaceful, keep in mind the brutality and disrespect for human lives, that they are faced with by the regime killers, and the orders they are given, shoot to kill. Shock and awe did not hinder the brave one bit, the day is soon and your likes will enjoy a `Syria free from tyranny, free from one family rule, hopefully then you will give the protesters some credit. To them however, they do not care what you think, they will share the fruitfulness of this revolution with all.

August 19th, 2011, 2:46 pm

 

Revlon said:

The “National Council”, a nucleus for transitional government will be announced on Sunday, from Istanbul.
Adib Sheeshakli
http://www.aawsat.com/details.asp?section=4&article=636490&issueno=11952

August 19th, 2011, 2:47 pm

 

jad said:

HK,
I agree with you on the second option which seems that many people are calling for at the moment.

August 19th, 2011, 2:48 pm

 

Haytham Khoury said:

Dear all ma-menhibek people:

I am so sorry. May be I came a little bit against you today. It is like this sometimes; you do not have the right tone or the right words. This is life. We are not always with the same. We do not have always the same control over ourselves and the exact preciseness of mind.

You should trust that I have believed in this revolution from its first day.

August 19th, 2011, 2:54 pm

 

5 dancing shlomos said:

khaddamists worms, zionist parasites, colonized syrian minds, zionized western policies: such a bucket of slop.

August 19th, 2011, 3:07 pm

 

BEAWARE PLUS said:

The War with Syria

Posted By Michael Ledeen On August 18, 2011

So the president finally swallowed hard and pronounced the three words:  “Assad must go.”

Well, not exactly.  That would have been too simple.  Here’s [1] what he actually emitted:

“The future of Syria must be determined by its people, but President Bashar al-Assad is standing in their way. His calls for dialogue and reform have rung hollow while he is imprisoning, torturing, and slaughtering his own people,” Obama said. “We have consistently said that President Assad must lead a democratic transition or get out of the way. He has not led. For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside.”

E.B. White is thrashing in his grave at the overuse of the passive voice, but we get the point.  The Administration, following in the footsteps of its predecessors (as far back as I can remember), had convinced itself that Assad was somehow a pal of ours, and, in the face of the Syrian Spring and Summer, would of course “reform.” After months of slaughter, as jaws dropped all over what used to be called The Western World at the spectacle of an American leader who danced all around one of the clearest moral and strategic imperatives EVER, we finally get this.

But not to worry;  he’s not really going to get involved in a serious way:  “The United States cannot and will not impose this transition upon Syria,” Obama said.

It’s like Libya 4.0:  First he clucks his tongue.  Then he laments the killing, calling on the killers to act reasonably.  Then he pronounces himself “appalled.”  All of this creates one of those policy vacuums that nature so famously abhors, and various countries (the Saudis, for example) withdraw their diplomats to show their disgust.  Meanwhile, Hillary whispers to journalists that they shouldn’t worry, that of course the United States is going to say “Assad Must Go,” but it will mean ever so much more if other countries join in.

In the end, other countries — the Brits, the French, the Germans and “the European Union” (which I thought already included the previously mentioned trinity, so there may be a missing few words — “the other members” — between “the” and “European,” but it’s probably a typo) didn’t so much join in as pile on.  Their announcements followed ours.  Is it significant?  Could be.  Maybe, in the end, our allies wanted America to take the lead (which would suggest an end to the Obama Doctrine of Leading with the Behind [2]).  Or maybe they were unwilling to join in the sort of sanctions we favored.

Since Hillary unfortunately called the mass murderer of Damascus a “reformer” it was left to her to parse the presidential message.  As so often happens, however, the “explanation” raises lots of questions.  Maybe there are some  journalists around Washington, D.C., and maybe one of them will ask some of the most important matters.

The obvious question is “now that you’ve come out against Assad, how are you going to win?”  This might be asked with a reference to a previous announcement that “Qadaffi must go.”  And, by the way, recent reports suggest that he may indeed have to go, or be killed. Suppose that happy thought comes true;  would it become the template for Syria?  And beyond Syria?

Does the president intend to organize or support a NATO military action against Assad?  Remember he only said that “the United States cannot and will not impose” the “Assad must go” policy;  he didn’t say he wouldn’t join a broader effort to impose it.

Hillary said it would take “words and actions to produce results.” Check.  And Obama has instituted  “unprecedented sanctions,” including a freeze on Syrian government assets under U.S. jurisdiction, a ban on American citizens from having dealings with the Assad regime, and on all Syrian petroleum and petroleum products.

Fine.  But such actions don’t warrant adjectives like “unprecedented.”  You might try asking Saddam about sanctions.  There are plenty of precedents.  Sanctions can bite, even against a big, rich country like Iran, and they carry an unmistakable political rebuke.  But they are not a silver bullet, as my tireless colleague Mark Dubowitz likes to say, and there is no case, so far as I know, where sanctions have forced a hostile regime to either reform or “go.”  And the journalists have been told as much:  “Though the moves may not have any immediate impact on the Syrian regime’s behavior, officials hope it sends a powerful signal that Assad is no longer welcome in the international community.”

So we’re hitting Assad with words and actions to “send a powerful signal.”  That’s where we’re at, at least officially and openly.  And it’s a good thing.  I’ve been calling for it for months.  Those signals matter, as we learned from Soviet dissidents in and after the latter years of the Cold War.  When Reagan gave his Evil Empire speech, it had a real effect inside the Soviet Empire, and previous declarations of “x must go” have proven consequential as well.  Just ask Hosni Mubarack.  Or Muammar Qadaffi.

But it’s not enough to send signals;  if we’re going to be taken seriously, we have to support the nonviolent revolution under way in Syria, and also in its patron state, Iran.  For there is little doubt that the slaughter in Syria has been greatly assisted, and perhaps even micromanaged, from Tehran.  Iranian sharpshooters are hard at work [3], gunning down Syrian protesters.  Chinese-trained Iranian cyber experts have taught Assad’s security forces how to block the social networks, and track down users.  Syria has created a new domestic security force explicitly modeled on Iran’s hated Basij, and there are thousands of Quds Force officers and killers in Syria, aiding, abetting and encouraging the Syrian Army, and doing a bit of slaughter on their own.

Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei knows the stakes are very high in Syria, both because it would inspire the Iranian opposition to challenge him more openly, and because it would deprive the Iranian state of the Syrian base of its most important terrorist proxies, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, and Hamas.  A few weeks ago he warned the Turks that if Iran were forced to choose between Syria and Turkey, he would choose Syria.  And not a day goes by without some high official in Tehran warning the world of very dire consequences if anyone acts against Assad.

Whatever Obama may think, and whatever Hillary may say, we are now at war with the Assad regime, and there is now an added dimension to the thirty-plus year war that the Islamic Republic of Iran declared in 1979. Do we have a strategy to win that war?  For extras:  there are other members of the Syriana axis of malevolence.  Venezuela, for one, and Russia for another.  The two cases are enormously different, needless to say, but if we’re going to war, we’d best have a clear view of the full battlefield.

Finally, as others have cautioned, it’s always possible to make bad things even worse.  If Assad survives, it will further confirm the region’s conviction that Obama is a wimp, although the fall of Qadaffi would mitigate things at least a bit, at least for a while.  Moreover, if Assad survives, the world will see it as an Iranian victory and an American defeat.  And the world will be right. Moreover again, the “new Syria” might turn out to be even more hostile to us than the old one.  I tend to doubt this, but I doubt that we know for sure, or even for probable…

We should not want Libya 4.0 in Syria and Iran.  We should not want to send NATO forces into those countries, a move that would be morally and strategically wrong.  Obama was right when he said that such decisions should be made by the people of the countries in question.  But he failed to pronounce the next sentence:  “they have indeed decided:  they do not want their regime, and so we will do what we can to help them get there.”

Faster, please.

August 19th, 2011, 3:10 pm

 

walid said:

the Assad regime can not survive, the recent internal and external pressures will eventually lead to treason within the regime itself, the motivation being distancing yourself from Assad is a good chance for survival and the earlier the better. This has happened in Libya and it is hard to believe that the regime in Syria is immune. Up until last week there was still some room for maneuvoring, but after the recent US position there is really no going back.

The poll you have on the site: “will the regime fall in ramaadan” is not the right question. I expect the regime falling by the end of the year. I would not be at all suprised if the libyan scenario starts to take place albeit in different terms. At the end of the day the regime does not have one single major city where it enjoys demographics. It is really doomed.

August 19th, 2011, 3:28 pm

 

Atassi said:

Only poor Jad and Sick Dr.Norman still on the “Men Hebak” side..:-)

Pelosi Statement on Syria
18 August 2011
Targeted News Service
SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 18 — Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. (8th CD), issued the following news release:

Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today on Syria:

“When President Assad came to power, his leadership was met with some hope. When Assad started firing on his own people, he was warned of serious consequences by world leaders.

“Clearly, Assad is not only on the wrong side of history, but on the wrong side of the future.

“I commend President Obama for calling on Assad to step down and for issuing sanctions against Assad and his regime; this call has been echoed by other world leaders. Today’s announcement will be welcomed by freedom-loving people within Syria and many Syrian Americans.”

August 19th, 2011, 3:32 pm

 

Revlon said:

68. Dear Haytham Khoury:
You said:
“In the report of http://www.sooryoon.net/?p=31168, there are two different ideas.
The first is the 55-persons council (by the way this is Radwan Ziadeh’s idea). This won’t work. It is too big to form a cohesive leading structure.
The second idea is another conference for the opposition. I know that this idea is circulating now.
However, with out good preparation and good organization it will be also a failure. Certainly, I support strongly the second to form 5 or 6-person council. I think this is a more realistic and less bureaucratic idea”
___________________________________________________________________

Here is my take on this issue:

The opposition is still evolving.
The previous conferences have served to establish communication networks and formulate a concensus political platform.

I believe the goals of the upcomming conference should be to form the following:

First: A United Oppositional Front, under any other name.
– It should be representive of the revolutionary, political, and independant forces of the Syrian society.
– It should have as many members as adequate representation would require.
– It provides the strategy and legal framework for action in the transitional period, until the collapse of the regime.
– After the collapse of the regime it would serve as the transitional parliament.

Second: The executive committee
– It would be charged with managing the crisis, untill the fall of the regime.
– It should be staffed by a handful of energetic, doer’s type personalities,not the detailed or the visinories.
The latter while invaluable as advisors, can be an obstacle to the smooth running of day to day business.
– Youth need to be represented in this committee.
– They should be media saavy and known for their good communication and organisational skills.
– It would become the transitional mini-government after the fall of the regime.

August 19th, 2011, 3:39 pm

 

Jad said:

(edited for insult)

August 19th, 2011, 3:39 pm

 

Aboud said:

Allah hayee bayt el Atassi 🙂

Atassi, I’m jealous of you, you made the generic menhebak really mad. It’s been a long time since anyone used such gutter language towards me. Mabruk on the menhebak whine 🙂

Jad that’s not what you said before you edited your comment. You used the word “garbage can” and “shit”. Chicken out did you?

August 19th, 2011, 3:47 pm

 

Haytham Khoury said:

to Revlon @68.

Anything that works is fine. However, the most important it should be practical.
Let us see what the coming days will unveil.

August 19th, 2011, 4:07 pm

 

eman said:

U.S. Betrays Syria’s Opposition

http://www.hudson-ny.org/2345/us-betrays-syria-opposition

U.S. Betrays Syria’s Opposition
by Herbert I. London
August 15, 2011 at 3:15 am

http://www.hudson-ny.org/2345/us-betrays-syria-opposition

As Reuters headlines indicate, dozens die and thousands flee a Syrian tank assault in Hama. At least 45 civilians were killed the first week in August, a sharp escalation in President Bashar al-Assad’s campaign to crush the political opposition that has already claimed over 2000 people.

So violent have been Assad’s assaults that even the U.N. Security Council condemned the use of force – its first substantive response to five months of unrest.

Assad has given his security forces a virtual blank check, the same Assad Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called “a reformer.” As a diplomat in Syria noted, “The Security apparatus thinks it can wrap this uprising up by relying on the security option and killing as many Syrians as it thinks it will take.”

After the bloodshed made international headlines, the White House finally responded by noting “Syria would be a better place without President Assad.”

In an effort to understand and placate Syrian opposition groups, Secretary Clinton invited them to a meeting in Washington. Most of those invited, however, have links to the Muslim Brotherhood. Missing from the invitations are Kurdish leaders, Sunni liberals, Assyrians and Christian spokesmen. According to various reports the State Department made a deal with Turkey and Muslim Brotherhood representatives either to share power with Assad to stabilize the government, or replace him if this effort fails.

One organization, the Syrian Democracy Council (SDC), an opposition group composed of diverse ethnic and religious organizations, including Alawis, Aramaic Christians, Druze and Assyrians was conspicuously — and no coincidentally — omitted from the invitation list.

From the standpoint of Foggy Bottom it is far better to promote stability even if this means aligning oneself with the goals of presumptive enemies. This, however, is a dangerous game that not only holds U.S. interests hostage to the Muslim Brotherhood, but also suggests that the withdrawal of American forces from the region affords the U.S. very few policy options.

It would seem far more desirable to back the democratic influences — the political organizations that require cultivation and support — despite their relative weakness at this moment. It is these religious and secular groups that represent the real hope for the future and the counterweight to the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood.

At the very least Secretary Clinton should hear the SDC argument. Leaving this body out of the Syrian conversation is an insult to what America purports to care about. Assad should see that his opponents are not merely those complicit in stabilizing a murderous regime, but those with genuine democratic impulses and who represent a significant portion of the Syrian people.

The killing in Syria will not end because of these State Department sponsored talks. Nonetheless a message should be delivered that the U.S. stands behind the one organization that represents democracy in a regime that invariably opposes this political view.

It is telling that the Obama administration stated unequivocally that President Mubarak of Egypt, ostensibly an ally of the United States, had to vacate his position, yet no such comment has been made about President Assad, a person whose interests are diametrically opposed to those of the United States.

Why is what is good for the goose n­ot good for the gander? Only President Obama can answer that question.

August 19th, 2011, 4:24 pm

 

Atassi said:

Aboud
LOL… Thank you.. and Tahya Souria for all syrians…

Jad,
Atassi’s are (edited for insult)

August 19th, 2011, 4:25 pm

 

SYR.EXPAT said:

من عجائب الدنيا الثمانية
عصابات مسلحة تظهر فجأة وتحارب ضد أحد أقوى الأنظمة الأمنية في العالم على مدى شهور..والغريب أن المسلحين في أفغانستان يسمون القاعدة وبإسبانيا إيتا وبألمانيا النازيين الجدد و و و..إلا أن عصاباتنا رغم تنظيمها العالي بدليل عدم السيطرة عليها وتنقلها بسهولة على مدى 5 شهور فهي لم تختر لنفسها اسما حتى الآن ولا شعار ولا هدف ولا زلنا نستعمل كلمة نكرة لوصفهاعصابات..أما إذا كانت عصابات غير منظمةفراطةفهذا أكبر دليل على أن هذا الجهاز الأمني ليس قادرا على حماية الشعب ويجب أن يسقطعن صفحة الله بريطانيا اليزابيث و بس
http://www.ali-ferzat.com/ar/من-عجائب-الدنيا-الثمانية.html

August 19th, 2011, 4:31 pm

 

SyR.EXPAT said:

أقرئ سلامي للشعوب الثائرة
أقرئ سلامي للشعوب الثائرة- عبر الزمن- عبر المحن- أين الطغاة أيا ترى ؟- أين الجناة .. أفوق أم تحت الثرى- هل يذكر التاريخ منهم مأثرة ؟- نحن الشعوب الثائرة- وعلى الكفاح مثابرة- وإلى الخلاص مهاجرة- ——————- نحن البقاء إلى الأبد- نحن الأبد- نحن الضمائر عبر أنات الزمن- نحن الوطن- يا من طرأت على الشعوب الراسخة- يا من ظهرت كطفرة بين الرؤوس الشامخة- انزع قناع البأس .. لست مقاتلاً- يا من سرقت سلاحنا .. وأدرته- واغتلت شعباً باسلاً- اليوم قد أحييته- ——————- لوح بسيفك يمنةً أو يسرةً- هل تـقـتل التاريخ أم تفني الزمن ؟- فلتـنـتظر- من شعبنا أن ينكسر ..- فلتـنـتظر .. ولتـنـتظر ..- لن ينكسر ..- وسيستجير السيف منك وينتحر- لن ننكسر ..- وستشرب الكأس المرير وتــنـدحر- سيقـيؤك التاريخ ..طرداً من هنا ..- وستبلع الأرض الدماء .. وتزدهر- وستطلق الأزهار عبقاً منتشر- وسننتصر
بثلم : Omar Syriana
http://www.ali-ferzat.com/ar/أقرئ-سلامي-للشعوب-الثائرة.html

August 19th, 2011, 4:32 pm

 

jad said:

(edited for personal attack)

August 19th, 2011, 4:34 pm

 

jad said:

عربي ودولي – سفير تركيا في لبنان: لا يمكن أن نكون جزءا من أي مؤامرة ضد سوريا

أوضح السفير التركي في لبنان أنان أوزيلديز، خلال استقباله وفدا من “لقاء الأحزاب والقوى والشخصيات الوطنية اللبنانية”، أن “سياسة تركيا لم تتغير تجاه سوريا وان الثقة المتبادلة بين البلدين الجارين لا تزال موجودة، وأن تركيا كانت ولا تزال حريصة على الاستقرار في سوريا وهي تدعم برنامج الاصلاح الداخلي الذي أعلنه الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد ولكنها تشجع على الاسراع في تطبيقه في أقرب وقت قطعا للطريق على كل التدخلات الخارجية في الشؤون الداخلية والتي تخضع لأجندات مختلفة لا تصب في مصلحة سوريا بل في خدمة مصالح دولها”. واكد أن “ما يشاع حول
تباعد تركي سوري غير صحيح، مشددا على أن “تركيا لا يمكن أن تكون جزءا من أي
مؤامرة خارجية تحاك ضد سوريا”.

August 19th, 2011, 4:57 pm

 

Dale Andersen said:

Memo To: 5 DANCING SHLOMOS

RE: “…khaddamist worms, zionist parasites, colonized syrian minds, zionized western policies…”

You forgot “thuggish criminal scum”.

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-z4d2zmViGwo/Tf-uTYaLB0I/AAAAAAAAAbk/dBuUSPn_u18/s320/ventriloquist.JPG

August 19th, 2011, 5:06 pm

 

majedkhaldoon said:

Haytham Khoury said
You should trust that I have believed in this revolution from its first day.

You must be salafist or wahhabi,then.I knew it, your name is wahhabi

August 19th, 2011, 5:11 pm

 

Tara said:

I am puzzled with Turkey’s behavior. Alternating between harsh and soft rhetoric. Any good explanation for this? Mnhebak, spare me your religious conviction thoughts but please feel free to reply if you have good answer.

August 19th, 2011, 5:24 pm

 

Majed97 said:

Let’s say the champions of the Arab cause (America and Western Europe) prevail in toppling Bashar and his government, and replacing them with the MB, as they seem to want to do…I think it is fair to say that the first thing the new Syrian government will do is sever its strategic ties with Iran, Hizb and Hamas, which is what our champions have been desperately trying to force Syria to do for a long time (I’m sure such deal has already been worked out with the MB in exchange for their support). If so, what bargaining chips will Syria be left with to get the Golan back?? And what would become of the Palestinian cause? Are these issues being sacrificed as a price the MB willing to pay Israel and the west in exchange for their support?!

For some odd reason, Arabs never fail to shoot themselves in the foot, as they consistently sabotage relationships with their allies, while glorify their enemies. They did it to the Soviets under the anti communism/atheism banner, and they’re doing it now to Iran under the Sunni versus Shiaa banner. The outcome is always the same: weaker and weaker position for the Arabs, leading to more humiliation and further losses; yet, they never stop crying about being victimized by Israel and the west. Hypocrisy through religious ideology seems to be our guideline and recipe for failure; a status we seem to be very comfortable in. Well deserved…

August 19th, 2011, 5:34 pm

 

Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Dear Revlon,

Thank you for #76. Your outline is pragmatic and doable. Who do you see serving in the Executive Committee? Do you have favorite names ?

SGID #53,

Thank you for your report. This pretty much covers it all, and confirms the realities on the ground.
.

August 19th, 2011, 5:35 pm

 

SYRIAN HAMSTER said:

COMPAIGN

Aboud, here is our election campaign song

One toe
One tail
In the end
Shall prevail

From Facebook

Obama’s translation of Qashoush’s Song

Get lost O Bashar
Get lost O Bashar

O Bashar screw you … and screw those saluting you

Get lost O Bashar
Get lost O Bashar

Silly Questions

Should the secret service now protect the president’s (a real one) throat ?

Why does Jad always revert to Arabic when he cusses?

When Angry At the Hamster

For register my impotent rage button lovers

lots of mouse clicking with the added benefit of tormenting the hamster.

August 19th, 2011, 5:46 pm

 

Haytham Khoury said:

Dear majedkhaldoon:

I was preparing to write a letter to the Muslim Brotherhood asking them if they can accept me as member in their movement. Of course. I do not intend to change my last name.

You should know I have a cousin with the name Mahmoud Khoury. During the late 70s events he was imprisoned for few days, because on one of the checkpoints they thought that he was mocking them with his name. This is areal story.

August 19th, 2011, 5:54 pm

 

Abu Umar said:

“91. Majed97 said:”

Who are you kidding? Your Iraqi and Iranian allies both collaborated with the Americans in Afghanistan and Iraq which was handed to the Iraqi Shi’ites on a silver platter by the Jewish Neocons and your criminal Asad regime also collaborated with the Americans in Gulf War I and the CIA in renditioning jihadists. Both the pro-Saudi axis and the pro-Iranian axis are frauds on this issue.

August 19th, 2011, 5:57 pm

 

Tara said:

Dear Hamster,

Would love to have you strolling with us in Homs starting at the Falafel stand. I also have a soft heart for fine writings. I guess it would be one in a lifetime stroll.

August 19th, 2011, 5:59 pm

 

Aboud said:

Homsi joke

اتنين من جماعة منحبك عم يتناقشو
الأول: دخلك الأرض كروية ؟؟؟
الثاني: إي كروية!!
الأول: قرد … وبتدور ؟؟؟؟
الثاني: إي بتدور ..
الأول: قريييييد …. كيف بتدور وآآبنقع من عليّا ؟؟؟؟
الثاني: قرد .. هيك قانون الجازبية …
الأول : قرييييد ….. الله يخليلنا سيادتو على هيك قانون……

“If so, what bargaining chips will Syria be left with to get the Golan back??”

The bargaining chip will come when we build up a professional, dedicated armed forces with equipment made in this century, rather than relying on Lebanese and Palestinians to do the dying to get back the Golan.

The bargaining chip will come when we have ambassadors worth the title, to help sway neutral countries.

The bargaining chip will come when our strengthening economy gives us ties and leverage far beyond the size of our population.

Thanks Hamster, all movements need an inspiring song 🙂

August 19th, 2011, 5:59 pm

 

SYRIAN HAMSTER said:

RESIGNATION

Dear all (those who care), having read Dr. Khouri’s posts for a few weeks now, I believe Syria can use a real healing hand for a PM. So, my tail yeilds the nomination for Prime Minister post to Dr. Khouri’s healing hand. The song shall be

One toe
A healing hand
we all know
we shall stand.

With thanks to all who put their confidence in my tail

Tara, I will be honored

August 19th, 2011, 6:01 pm

 

jad said:

23 قتيلاًً في «جمعة بشائر النصر» وموسكو تواصل دعم الأسد

لأمن يحجّم الاحتجاجات ودرعا تستعيد المشهد

أعادت «جمعة بشائر النصر» في سوريا، أمس، محافظة درعا ومحيطها إلى واجهة الأحداث، بعدما سجل سقوط 15 قتيلاً فيها، بينما غابت التظاهرات الكبرى عن عدد من المدن، بسبب لجوء السلطات إلى محاصرة المساجد، بحسب المعارضين
لم يترجم إعلان السلطات السورية توقف العمليات العسكرية انحساراً في حصيلة قتلى المتظاهرين، بعدما سقط عدد إضافي منهم في «جمعة بشائر النصر» التي أحياها المحتجون المطالبون بتغيير النظام، بينما أطلت المستشارة الإعلامية للرئاسة السورية، بثينة شعبان، لتؤكد أن «المطلوب من الحملة الدولية تفتيت سوريا وتقسيمها من خلال حرب إعلامية بكل ما تحمل الكلمة من معنى»، مؤكدةً في الوقت نفسه أن «الشعب السوري عبّر عن وعي لا مثيل له».

ونقلت وكالة «فرانس برس»عن ناشطين تأكيدهم أنّ 23 مدنياً، بينهم طفلان، قتلوا برصاص قوات الأمن السورية. وأشار «المرصد السوري لحقوق الإنسان» إلى أنّ «15 شخصاً قتلوا في ريف درعا، بينهم ستة بالغين وطفلان في مدينة غباغب وشخص في نوى وخمسة أشخاص في الحراك وشخص في أنخل»، فضلاً عن سقوط «جرحى حالة أكثرهم حرجة في الحراك التي تشهد إطلاق نار كثيفاً وفي أنخل». وتحدث «المرصد» كذلك عن مقتل «شخص في حرستا (ريف دمشق)، فيما قال ناشط آخر من مدينة حمص إن «ثلاثة أشخاص قتلوا في حمص».
أما على الساحل السوري الغربي، فقد ذكر «المرصد» أن «المصلّين خرجوا من جامع الفتاحي في اللاذقية في تظاهرة «انقضّت عليها مجموعات الشبيحة بسرعة لتفريقها»، بينما خرجت تظاهرة في حي الميدان في بانياس تطالب بإسقاط النظام «رغم الوجود الأمني الكثيف». وتحدث المرصد نفسه عن انتشار أمني كثيف في دير الزور شرق البلاد، التي أعلن الجيش السوري خروجه منها، بهدف منع خروج المصلين في تظاهرات، بينما شهد شارع التكايا تظاهرة فرقتها أجهزة الأمن بإطلاق الرصاص، ولم تسجل أي إصابات.
وفي دمشق، أشار المرصد إلى أن «رجال الأمن اطلقوا النار بكثافة على تظاهرة خرجت في حي القدم»، لافتاً إلى سقوط جرحى. وأوضح أيضاً أن «وحدات من الجيش والأمن دخلت حي القابون وانتشرت بكثافة أمام مساجدها، فضلاً عن القيام بدوريات لمنع خروج التظاهرات». كذلك الحال في ريف دمشق حيث «أطلقت أجهزة الأمن الرصاص الحي والغاز المسيل للدموع لتفريق تظاهرة خرجت بعد صلاة الجمعة في داريا والكسوة وبلدات التل وحرستا وقدسيا تهتف لحماه واللاذقية وتطالب بإسقاط النظام». وأكّد «المرصد» أيضاً حصول «إطلاق نار كثيف في حيَّي باب الدريب والميدان وأحياء أخرى لم يمكن تحديدها»، مشدداً على حصول «حملة دهم للمنازل واعتقال متظاهرين في حي الميدان وكرم الشامي». من جهة ثانية، ذكر الناشط الحقوقي حسن برو لوكالة «فرانس برس»، أن «خمسة آلاف متظاهر خرجوا في مدينة القامشلي وأربعة آلاف في مدينة عامودا للمطالبة بإسقاط النظام».
بدوره، كشف طبيب في الزبداني لوكالة «رويترز» أن عربات الجيش منتشرة في البلدة والقناصة فوق أسطح المباني لمنع الحشود من الخروج في مسيرات. على المقلب الآخر، أعلنت وكالة الأنباء الرسمية «سانا» مقتل شرطي ومدني وجرح اثنين من عناصر مخفر غباغب (ريف درعا) «بنيران مسلحين هاجموا المخفر، بالإضافة إلى سقوط شهيدين من عناصر قوات حفظ النظام وإصابة أربعة آخرين برصاص مسلحين يطلقون النار عشوائياً في شوارع حرستا». وأضافت الوكالة أن «أربعة من عناصر قوات حفظ النظام أُصيبوا برصاص مسلّحين وقنابل أُلقيت عليهم من منزل مهجور في أنخل».
في هذه الأثناء، لا يزال الانقسام هو سيد الموقف تجاه المواقف الدولية من سوريا. وفيما حسمت الولايات المتحدة ومن خلفها العديد من دول الاتحاد الأوروبي موقفها بدعوة الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد صراحةً إلى التنحي، يبدو أن المسؤولين الأتراك، رغم التصعيد الذي اتسمت به لهجتهم تجاه سوريا خلال الأيام القليلة الماضية، لم يقرروا بعد الانتقال إلى هذه المرحلة. وأعلن مصدر حكومي تركي لوكالة «فرانس برس» طالباً عدم الكشف عن هويته، أن أنقرة غير مستعدة حتى الآن للدعوة إلى تنحي الرئيس السوري، مضيفاً: «لم نصل إلى هذا الحد بعد». ومضى يقول: «على الشعب السوري أولاً أن يقول للأسد أن يرحل، المعارضة السورية غير موحدة، ولم نسمع إلى الآن أي دعوة جماعية من السوريين تقول للأسد أن يرحل، كما حصل في مصر وليبيا». بدوره، امتنع مجلس الأمن الوطني التركي الذي يضم كبار المسؤولين السياسيين والعسكريين خلال اجتماع أول من أمس، عن دعوة الرئيس السوري إلى التنحي، مطالباً بالوقف «الفوري لاستخدام القوة والعنف ضد المدنيين».
إلا أنّ هذا الكلام لم يمنع الولايات المتحدة من التشديد على أهمية التنسيق مع تركيا في ما يتعلق بالأحداث في سوريا؛ فقد نقلت وكالة أنباء الأناضول عن مسؤولين أميركيين لم تذكر أسماءهم، تشديدهم على أهمية الشراكة بين تركيا والولايات المتحدة في ما يتعلق بسوريا، مشيرين إلى أن التشاور بين الجانبين «قوي ومستمر». وكشف المصدر أن «أوباما ورئيس الوزراء التركي رجب طيب أردوغان اتفقا على أن يواصل فريقاهما التشاور يومياً بشأن الأوضاع في سوريا».
من جهتها، بدت روسيا أكثر حزماً في معارضة الدعوات التي صدرت للأسد للتنحي، بتأكيد الناطق باسم وزارة الخارجية الروسية ألكسندر لوكاشيفيتش أن روسيا «لا تشاطر الولايات المتحدة والاتحاد الأوروبي وجهة نظرهما حيال الرئيس بشار الأسد، وسنواصل الدفاع عن موقفنا المبدئي بشأن سوريا». بدوره، رأى مندوب روسيا لدى حلف شماليّ الأطلسي، ديميتري روغوزين، أنّ الحلف يتّخذ سياسة غير متوازنة وأحادية الصبغة تجاه سوريا، فيما تستعد «مجموعة من السياسيين الروس وأعضاء في مجلس الاتحاد بالتوافق مع وزارة الخارجية الروسية للتوجه إلى سوريا في الأيام المقبلة بهدف معرفة ما يجري في البلاد».
في غضون ذلك، كشف مصدر أوروبي «مطلع»، أنّ ممثلي الاتحاد الأوروبي توصّلوا إلى توافق على إضافة أسماء 15 شخصية سورية جديدة على لائحة العقوبات الأوروبية المفروضة على النظام السوري، مضيفاً أنّ «هؤلاء الأشخاص يرتبطون بالنظام السوري، وليس بالضرورة بعمليات القمع».
(أ ف ب، رويترز، أ ب، يو بي آي)

http://www.al-akhbar.com/node/19465

August 19th, 2011, 6:07 pm

 

DIGGING FOR GOLD IN BOSRA said:

So we have all by now heard the latest message from the Syrian American Council denouncing the Syrian President and expressing solidarity with the protestors. However, we have yet to hear anything from the Syrian American Business Council, funny that.

Ghreiwati, Joud, Shami, Hamwi, Nahas, and friends, your silence is deafening.

Don’t think that Syrians have failed to pick up on your reticence.

August 19th, 2011, 6:30 pm

 

Norman said:

This is what DR Landis said in May , 2005, what do you think and what Dr Landis think?,

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Would it be Better for Syria to have Regime-Change Now or in 5 Years?

The other evening I argued with a Syrian friend – a smart and established journalist – over whether Syria should have regime-change now, or sometime in the future, let’s say in five years.

I argued that regime-change now would be a mistake and would hold many unforeseen and unpredictable dangers. My friend argued the opposite. He said the sooner there is regime-change the better. “You are out of touch with real Syria,” he said. “Who do you see? The wealthy and well off. Look at the growing number of poor in the suburbs of Damascus” he suggested. “Look at the poverty in the countryside, the growing number of unemployed, etc.”

I argued that Syria has no organized opposition that has any experience. The ethnic and sectarian divisions among Syrians are real and wide. There is very little “liberal” consciousness among the broad masses. “If there is revolution or regime-change now,” I argued, the chance of Syria heading toward chaos or even civil war is high – too high to risk.”

I came home and looked up the numbers. In Syria there is a growing absolute number of poor, but a declining number of poor as a percentage of the population. Anyway, the elites are more important than the poor in governing the country successfully. They must be prepared to take power.

In a report written six years ago, the poverty in all MENA (Middle East and Near East) countries was summed up like this:

We calculated the number of poor people in MENA in 1985 and 1994 according to different poverty lines ranging from spending per-capita of $21 to $60 per month. One conclusion that emerges is that, irrespective of the choice of the poverty line, the actual number of poor in MENA has increased between 1985 and 1994. If instead of measuring the number of poor, we measure the proportion of poor in the population, we observe that the percentage of poor people has decreased between 1985 and 1994, again irrespective of the choice of the poverty line.
In conclusion, my friend is right: there are more poor people. But he is wrong to argue that the problem is getting worse. It isn’t. The percentage is declining, although too slowly.

In terms of the rate of annual growth, Syria has been in the middle of the MENA pack since the Baath revolution of 1963, but much of that growth has been wiped out by the high population increase. (Syrian growth rate in the 1950s was much higher.) Here is what FAO has to say:

During the last four decades economic growth in Syria has advanced at a rate of 4.6 percent per year on average (between endpoints of the 1963-1999 period). This is a good rate of growth in the long term for many countries. Unfortunately, the growth in population in Syria is also quite high (3.3 percent average over the same period). Growth has accompanied the rapid growth in population, which is a real achievement, but per capita income has remained stagnant in the long-term, alternating ups and downs. The economy has progressed on a cyclical pattern of periods of rapid growth followed by periods of stagnation or decline. The 1990s have been a period of growth, but a decreasing rate,
More up to date figures (1990-2001) also give a fairly high rate of growth. Here is what the UN says according to the Globalis World Indicator Information on Syria

Indicator: GDP per capita annual growth rate – 1990-2001
Description: GDP per capita annual growth rate: Annual GDP growth per person. Least squares annual growth rate, calculated from constant price GDP per capita in local currency units.
Source: Human Development Report (UNDP)
Syria is squarely in the middle of GDP per capita annual growth rates for 1990-2001 at 1.9%
Syria is below the following countries (the figure is the rate of growth)
Lebanon 3.6
Sudan 3.2
Tunisia 3.1
Egypt 2.5
United Kingdom 2.5
Yemen 2.4
Canada 2.1
United States 2.1
Iran 2
Syria 1.9
Turkey 1.7
France 1.5
Germany 1.2
Jordan .9
Morocco .7
Oman .6
Algeria .1
Chad -.5
Kuwait -1.0
Saudi -1.1
UAR -1.6

It should be added that Syria’s population growth rate has been falling sharply in the last decade. Today it is 2.7% and not 3.3%, as it used to be.

Growth in the last few years has also been down. In 2002 it was around 4%. It fell dramatically to 2.5% in 2003 because of the US invasion of Iraq, but picked up again to 3.9 estimated in 2004 and is supposed to grow even faster in 2005 (projected 4.3).

The basic picture for Syria is improving because the country is getting population growth under control. Non-oil growth should be good in the coming years because of Asad’s financial, tourist, diplomatic (think Turkey) and investment reforms. It should be added that the withdrawal from Lebanon may also end up having a positive effect on the Syrian economy in the long term. Remittances are sharply down because of the return of Syrian workers, but overall foreign investment is growing.

The UAE investment firm, Majid al-Futtaim, is beginning the single largest investment project in Syria – a series of hotels, Mall, restaurants, playgrounds for kids, movie theaters, etc. on the road to Beirut. Initial investment is 300 million dollars, but the plan is to eventually invest 1 billion in the coming years. The firm’s outlook is good because tourism was up this spring by 30%. Syria’s withdrawal from Lebanon should not hurt the project, which will rely heavily on Gulf and Lebanese consumer tourism. As one person, knowledgeable about the project, suggested to me, “these sorts of mega-projects will transform the face of the Syrian economy in five years. Syrians will develop a new consumer culture.”

Of course, Syrian oil production is due to decline in the coming decade, so that is bad news, but it isn’t perhaps as dire as some suggest it will be.

All the same, Syria’s per capita income is not good. The country is poor compared to other MENA countries. This is due to bad management. Here are the UN figures provided by Gobalis. Indicator: GDP per capita – 2002

Syria is ranked country 96 out of 152 countries listed. Its adjusted GDP per capita is $3,620

Egypt is #94 and Morocco is #95 on the list. They are immediately above Syria at $3,800. Jordan is country #91, Lebanon is #89 at $4,360 GDP per capita.

The only Arab countries that are poorer per person are Sudan and Yemen, which are well below Syria. This is why Congressman Tom Lantos (D-California) told Yale University students recently
that Syria is now the third poorest country in the region, behind only the Sudan and Yemen, and that its economy is “desperately” in need of foreign investment. “What Syria has is disinvestment,” Lantos said. “Any Syrian with money gets it out of the country.”
Another reason to expect Syrian growth rates to be below potential is its on-going battle with the US.
About US-Syrian relations, Lantos was not as optimistic as he was about US-Libyan relations. He recounted a visit he made to the country in the spring of 2003, in which he met with President Bashar Assad and proposed a “road map” for stabilizing relations with the United States. Lantos urged Assad to close down terrorist offices in the country, withdraw its 17,000 troops from Lebanon, quell “vicious” anti-American propaganda in Syria and
close down its border with Iraq.

“He was shown evidence of Syrians supplying everything anti-American forces need,” Lantos said.

Unfortunately, said Lantos, “Assad has chosen not to follow the path of Libya.” Hence, he told his audience, he is recommending that U.S. policy toward the country be “the exact opposite course” of what he proposed for Libya.
The point I am arguing here is that the state of the Syrian economy is not a reason to wish immediate regime-change. It is growing, contrary to the belief of many.

The reason for sticking with President Asad is because of Syria’s institutional and ideological weaknesses. If change comes before Syria has real institutions, capable of guiding the country, the government may collapse as did Iraq’s. There would be chaos and possibly civil war as we saw in Lebanon.

The counter-example is Egypt. Egypt’s state institutions are growing in strength and independence. They are exploiting the political opening being offered the country by President Mubarak to assert their corporate identity and independence. A week ago, 2000 Egyptian judges said they would not oversee the elections unless they were given independence and legal autonomy. Read this article in today’s NYTimes by Hassan Fattah:
Egyptian Judges Are Entering Growing Reform Movement

CAIRO, May 19 – When thousands of Egyptian judges gathered in Cairo last week to demand greater independence from the government, they highlighted the entry of a powerful new force in the country’s growing reform movement: official institutions.

Long taken for granted as appendages of the government, some institutions are less willing to tolerate business as usual this election year. The judges’ extraordinarily public step is perhaps the most obvious display of resistance, and builds on a similar call by judges in Alexandria weeks earlier.

In small ways, institutions like Parliament and the state-controlled news media have begun to show a degree of independence too. While small groups of protesters demanding greater democracy and an end to President Hosni Mubarak’s government are now taking to the streets, the greatest potential for change may lie in those official institutions.

“The return of real politics has put many institutions back in the limelight, and these institutions are beginning to work for change,” said Abdel Monem Said, director of the Ahram Center for Strategic Studies, a government-backed research and policy organization.

The institutions are presenting Mr. Mubarak with an unexpected challenge from within, one that will be difficult to dismiss. “The fact is, major changes in this country are going to come out of those institutions, not from the streets,” Mr. Said said.
Syria is at least 5 years behind Egypt in developing independent institutions, maybe ten years. Some will argue that as long as the Baath is in power in Syria, the country will never be allowed to develop independent institutions or free thinkers.

I disagree. This last month we witnessed a minor uprising in the ranks of the Baath Party itself over the irregularities of the Party elections. A petition was circulated by Party members such as Ayman Abdul Nour and signed by many highly placed Baathists complaining about the corruption of the elections and demanding that 100 qualified reformers be added to the Party Congress, which has roughly 1,200 members, and from which the Command Council of 21 members will be selected.

Many argue, and I think convincingly, that Bashar is trying to build more professional ministries – that he is, in effect, an institution builder, who is trying to replace patronage and clientele networks with well qualified personnel in legally based institutions.

Bashar’s distaste for the security institutions of the country and his veering away from reliance on the military is evident. I will recount one story which underlines his alienation from the Military and traditional pillars of the regime.

A good friend recently retuned to Syria for a three week visit to see if he wants to bring his family here and start a business. He has lived abroad for nine years and is a successful engineer working for a multinational corporation. He is Alawite and a son of a retired minister.

He said he visited 14 school friends when he traveled up the coast to Tartus and Banyas, and added:
You know how most everyone on the coast (Alawites) depends on the Army, either directly or indirectly? Well, they all said that the present regime no longer respects the army, and people follow suit. In the old days everyone knew that Hafiz was “ta’ifi,” sectarian. They supported him because they knew he was pulling for them and was helping them. They no longer feel that way. They said the moral in the army was zero. They said that this president might as well be a Kurd or Sunni because he no longer favors the military and doesn’t reach out to his people (Alawites).
I have heard similar stories from many others. When I asked my mother-in-law (wife of a retired general) if this was true, she raised her eyebrows, as if to suggest I was an idiot son-in-law for asking such a stupid question. “Yes, of course. They used to respect the army but now people look at us with dislike and sometimes even loathing.”

I asked why.

“Because we lost 4 wars,” she quickly answered. “We haven’t received any new arms in ten years. The training is nothing. No one cares about the army anymore. People don’t believe in Baathism or in the government. The officers are not like they used to be. There are no longer any great men among them whom people respect; they are corrupt. It is not like the old days when everyone looked up to the military and the officers sacrificed to build their country and believed in Syria.”

I have no clue whether this “Golden Age” of military heroism ever existed, but I suspect there is something to Umm Firas’ comments. She is smart and a keen judge of men. A picture of Abu Firas shaking President Nasser’s hand on the day of his graduation from the UAE Naval Academy in 1960 hangs proudly in their living room. They look at the 1960s as a time when military men were giants. Of course, they were young then and idealistic. But I doubt many young men going into the army today are as idealistic.

Anyway, the moral of this story is that Bashar has abandoned the military. My friend and mother-in-law believe this is dangerous. It probably is, although, I don’t believe the dispirited military is likely to cause Bashar real problems. It does suggest, however, that the president is not doing business as usual. He was not brought up in the military like his father and brother, Basil. He is counting on the work of his reformist ministers – Planning, Economy, Tourism, Finance, etc. – and not on the security forces to build a new Syria and create support for his presidency and regime.

Many believe Bashar’s strategy is foolish and will lead to eventual collapse. It may be, but it should be supported. The longer he gives reformers a chance and keeps the intellectual environment open for people to criticize, question and debate, the better off Syria will be.

If the West squeezes Syria too hard and too quickly, causing premature collapse, Syria may end up in chaos. The new institutions are not ready to take on the responsibility of running the country or guiding it through real turbulence. They are not as mature as Egypt’s institutions. All the same, they are headed in that direction. Very few people in government believe in Baathism. Given time, they will chose independence and honesty over corruption and slavish obeisance to the regime. There are many good people in the government. Syria needs them working on its side. They will in time.

Ideology

The bankruptcy of present ideological thinking in Syria is the second reason why regime-change today is a bad idea. Syria has no developed national consciousness or clearly articulated national idea. Having a developed and well defined sense of the nation is crucial to the success of democracy. There can be no setting the “rules of the game” of democracy or establishing a national social contract if citizens cannot agree what game they are playing. They must know where their borders are and embrace fellow citizens as legal equals. Syrians must want to be Syrians.

Since its inception in 1918 following WWI, Syrians have denied the legitimacy of their national borders and a Syrian national identity. Instead they chose Arab nationalism – the unity of the Arab countries. This has failed. In the meantime, all reference to a Syrian national identity has been practically outlawed. Schoolbooks from grades 1 to 12 do not include the word Syria. I wrote an article about Islamic education in Syria for which I read the required books students must read in every grade. There is not one mention of Syria. The word does not appear in the curriculum.

The Syrian National Party was outlawed until last week. It has been since 1955. President Quwatli in 1946, when the French left the country, stated that he “would never raise the Syrian flag above the flag of Arab nationalism.” Every Syrian president has made good on that promise since. The Syrian constitution says that Syria is a “region” of the “Arab nation.” Syria exists as a geographical entity, but not as a national identity. Syrians love their country, but they deny that there is such a thing as a Syrian nation or particularity that is Syria.

As Karfan (an Alawite) recently wrote on his blog:

No one believes in the Arab identity joke anymore and our Kings have made all efforts to erase and destroy any attempt of creating a Syrian Identity that gathers all of us. Eventually people find that those stupid sectarian and religious identities are the only way to belong… What is left for them to believe or belong to? Nothing.
Karfan is right. Without Arabism, Syrians have only their sectarian communities to fall back on, because Syrianism has been denied to them. The strength of sectarian identities in Syria is potentially very dangerous should there be sudden regime-change. Syrians would do well to work out a national identity that is at peace with their borders before facing into political uncertainty.

Syrians are beginning to back into a Syrian national identity. The withdrawal from Lebanon has forced the issue. So has Bush’s campaign against Arabism; so has the “me first” campaigns of Jordan and all the other countries of the Arab world. The Jordan first, Egypt first, etc. campaigns are killing political Arabism. Syria is not far behind, but it is behind.

If the present Damascus Spring is accomplishing anything, it is changing the way Syrians see themselves, the way they relate to other Arab countries, and the way they see their own destiny.

The political opposition in Syria has failed to articulate a Syrian national identity and is still caught in the web of Arabism, although there are some nascent parties that have adopted a purely Syrian-democratic platform. (Riad al-Turk’s old Communist wing just renamed itself the “Syrian Democratic Popular Party” three days ago to great fanfare. It is happening.

But there is still no real opposition. There are only talking heads and mini groups. They are not organized, nor are they ready to lead a country.

Syria needs time. The West should squeeze but not break.

posted by Joshua Landis @ 5/22/2005 01:31:00 AM 21 commentslinks to this post

Change is Coming – but How?

Change is coming to Syria – there is no way to deny it. How it will happen and how controlled it will be, no one can say. As one Syrian friend said to me, “Will it be in five years, ten years, or next year? I cannot say, but it is coming.”

The signs are everywhere.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

This is the Web site, from that time ,It is interesting,

http://faculty-staff.ou.edu/L/Joshua.M.Landis-1/syriablog/

August 19th, 2011, 6:48 pm

 

beaware said:

Syria dissidents eye unity in Istanbul
Friday, August 19, 2011
Sevil Küçükkoşum
ANKARA- Hürriyet Daily News
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/n.php?n=syria-dissidents-eye-unity-in-istanbul-2011-08-19
Syrian opposition plans to gather in Istanbul on Sunday in order to select a national council among all Syrian opposition committees. Ankara is not contributing to their gatherings but will be watching it closely, according to an official

Members of the Syrian opposition are expected to form a national council Sunday as an alternative to embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during a gathering in Istanbul, according to likely participants.

The task of the Syrian national council is to organize opposition parties and formulate “a road map to transform Syria into a democratic system,” Local Coordination Committees of Syria spokesperson Mohammad al-Abdullah told Radio Sawa on Friday. “The [national] council is an attempt to represent the opposition and [show] the aims of the Syrian revolution to the international community.”

The Syrian opposition has already held meetings in Istanbul; the national council that is expected to be elected Sunday would include all committees elected at previous conferences, Omar al-Muqdad, head of the Legislative and Consultative Committee mandated by Syrian opposition group the Conference of Change, told the Hürriyet Daily News on Friday.

There have been a number of discussions on the election of the national council, and the initiative is still being negotiated, Ammar Qurabi, head of Syria’s National Organization for Human Rights, told the Daily News.

More than 40 Syrian “revolution blocs” have forged a coalition to unite their efforts against the Assad regime, according to a statement received Friday by Agence France-Presse. “We announce today the establishment of [the] ‘Syrian Revolution General Commission,’ the result of merging all the signatory Syrian Revolution blocs both inside and outside Syria and those who are invited to join as well in order to have, through this commission, a representation of the revolutionaries all over our beloved Syria,” the statement said.

Members of Syrian opposition to President Bashar al-Assad are expected to meet in Istanbul on Sunday for a meeting intended to elect a national council, according to an opposition member who will take part in the meeting.

“The [national] council is an attempt to represent the opposition and [show] the aims of the Syrian revolution to the international community,” Local Coordination Committees of Syria spokesperson Mohammad al-Abdullah said Friday. More than 40 Syrian “revolution blocs” have forged a coalition to unite their efforts against Assad’s regime, according to a statement received by media outlets on Friday.

Turkey is reluctant to follow the United States and European powers in calling for Assad to step down. Ankara has been consistent in its position that the Syrian people must make the call first, but the situation is made difficult by the lack of a cohesive opposition party.

Turkey biding time on Assad departure call

Ankara, meanwhile, has been reluctant to follow U.S. President Barack Obama’s call on Assad to step down, yet has still been remaining in contact with the Syrian opposition.

The Syrian people must first say “go” to Assad, but, pending Sunday, there is not yet any uniform Syrian opposition asking the president to quit, a Turkish official told the Daily News.

“It’s open to debate in terms of what the Syrian people on the streets are opposing. Some of them want change and ask for reforms, some demand a change of regime. But there has not been a uniform structure [in the Syrian opposition on the streets],” the official said.

Turkey does not rule out calling on Assad to quit, but says it is too early to call for the president’s departure.

Turkey has contacts with the Syrian opposition both within Syria and outside the country, the official said.

August 19th, 2011, 7:01 pm

 

jad said:

سوريا بعد الثمانينيات

ساطع نور الدين
أصدر الغرب حكمه النهائي على نظام الرئيس السوري بشار الاسد، بعد تسامح وتمهل وتردد. الإجماع الاميركي الاوروبي الغربي لم يتشكل بسهولة. كان الاوروبيون أول المبادرين، وكان الاميركيون آخر الملتحقين، بعدما اغلقت دمشق النافذة التركية بقوة، ولم تفتح اي نوافذ عربية او دولية بديلة، واظهرت براعة استثنائية في كسب المزيد والمزيد من الاعداء والخصوم، وفي اختراع الاوهام وتصديقها.
ما سمي بالخيار الامني كان حاسما في بلورة ذلك الاجماع. ارتفع عدد القتلى والجرحى الى ارقام قياسية غير مقبولة حسب معايير الحاضر، التي تختلف بشكل جوهري عن معايير الثمانينيات. وتحولت ملاعب كرة القدم في العاصمة وفي مختلف المدن الكبرى الى معتقلات جماعية لم يخرج منها حتى الان الا الجثث او الجرحى. واجريت تصنيفات خيالية للمعارضين، كادت تحول شخصا معتوها مثل الشيخ عدنان العرعور الى اسطورة، وحكمت على الشعب السوري بانه قطيع مسير من الخارج، الذي غرر به ودس بين صفوفه ارهابيين.. انضم اليهم اللاجئون الفلسطينيون الذين كانوا منذ اللحظة الاولى للانتفاضة السورية في منتصف آذار الماضي موضع شبهة واتهام وتحولوا في الايام القليلة الماضية الى هدف.
ما سمي بالاصلاح كان مجرد خداع. لم يعط النظام الانطباع بانه راغب او قادر على القيام بالعملية الجراحية التي تقتضيها ظروف المرحلة. كان يميل بين الحين والاخر الى عمليات تجميلية، لكنه سرعان ما كان يتراجع عنها. ولعل الاجتماع الاخير للرئيس الاسد مع قيادة حزب البعث، كان السبب الرئيسي في ذلك التحول الجذري في الموقف الاميركي والغربي. تحدث عن مؤامرة خارجية تشبه مؤامرة العام 2005، التي كان مصدرها لبنان حسب التعريف السوري المعروف.. مع ان الادلة على هاتين المؤامرتين واهية، تماما مثلما هي الادلة على ان التمديد للرئيس اميل لحود كان قرارا حكيما .
والاسوأ من الربط بين المؤامرتين واتهام الشارع السوري نفسه هذه المرة بانه متآمر مع الخارج، هو ذلك الاستنفار للحزب المنقرض من اجل الانخراط اكثر فاكثر في معركة النظام، وحثه على العودة الى القواعد وسؤالها رأيها في المسيرة الاصلاحية، مع ان الجواب قاله البعثيون قبل الاجتماع وبعده، وهو انهم يرفضون بشدة إلغاء المادة الثامنة من الدستور، ويصرون على عدم التخلي عن مكتسبات القرن الماضي، في قيادة الدولة والمجتمع.. الى الخراب.
الاجتماع بحد ذاته كان استفزازا للشارع السوري وللخارج العربي والغربي. والاعلان عن المؤتمر القطري في الخريف المقبل كان تحديا، واستخفافا لا مثيل له بعقول السوريين وافكار جميع الوسطاء الذين كانت نصيحتهم الاولى والدائمة الى النظام هي التضحية بالحزب، غير الموجود اصلا، كعلامة على حسن النية والعزم على الاصلاح والتغيير، والدخول في معركة انتخابات نيابية ورئاسية مبكرة كان يمكن، قبل الحملة العسكرية الرمضانية على المدن، ان تضمن للاسد وللنظام الفوز بغالبية مريحة!
قاتل النظام السوري بأفكار الثمانينيات وادواتها واساليبها، لكنه خسر المعركة.. وهو يظن انه لم يخسر الحرب.

http://www.assafir.com/Article.aspx?EditionId=1926&ChannelId=45450&ArticleId=2533&Author=%D8%B3%D8%A7%D8%B7%D8%B9%20%D9%86%D9%88%D8%B1%20%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AF%D9%8A%D9%86

August 19th, 2011, 7:08 pm

 

Ali said:

Observer,

I heard more along the lines of this report.

Terrorist groups in Homs are wearing army clothing. Citizens are urged to be very careful not to mistake them for the army and actually communicate with them. Especially in areas of Karm Al-Shami and Zuhra.

August 19th, 2011, 7:14 pm

 

SYR.EXPAT said:

Even Japan is calling for Assad to step down.

الكاتب وطن
الجمعة, 19 أغسطس 2011 20:54

دعا وزير الخارجية الياباني ماتسوموتو تيكاكي الحكومة السورية الى الكف فورا عن استخدام القوة ضد المدنيين قائلا ان طوكيو ستسدعي سفيرها في سوريا لاجراء مشاورات حول الوضع في البلاد.
واعلن ماتسوموتو في بيان “من المؤسف للغاية أنه على الرغم من الطلبات التي قدمتها اليابان ودول أخرى كثيرة بالمجتمع الدولي فان الاستخدام الواسع النطاق للقوة من جانب السلطات الأمنية السورية يواصل التسبب في سقوط العديد
من الوفيات والاصابات في صفوف عامة الناس”.
وأضاف ماتسوموتو “تعتقد اليابان بأن الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد قد فقد بالفعل ثقة المجتمع الدولي ولم يعد قادرا على حكم البلاد بصورة مشروعة ويجب عليه أن يتنحى”.
وتابع “نولي اهتماما كبيرا باتفاق توصل اليه الرئيس بشار الاسد مع السكرتير العام للامم المتحدة بان كي مون في 17 اغسطس لوقف العمليات التي تشنها قوات الجيش والشرطة واجراء اصلاحات في الدستور واصلاحات أخرى وقبول دخول بعثة للأمم المتحدة لتقييم الأوضاع الإنسانية في البلاد”.

Read more: حتى وزير الخارجية الياباني: الاسد فقد ثقة المجتمع الدولي وعليه ان يتنحى http://www.watan.com/news/حتى-وزير-الخارجية-الياباني-الاسد-فقد-ثقة-المجتمع-الدولي-وعليه-ان-يتنحى.html#ixzz1VWG3BJ46

August 19th, 2011, 7:15 pm

 

beaware said:

An uncertain Arab transition
By David Ignatius, Published: August 18
http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/an-uncertain-arab-transition/2011/08/18/gIQA16IWOJ_story.html
American intelligence analysts, like most U.S. observers, have often referred to the process unfolding in the Middle East as the “Arab Spring,” with its implicit message of democratic birth and freedom. But some senior analysts are said to have argued for a more neutral term, such as “Arab transition” — which conveys the essential truth that nobody can predict just where this upheaval is heading.

The uncertain transition rumbled on last week in Syria: President Bashar al-Assad’s hold on power appeared to weaken, with his military stretched to the breaking point in an attempt to control the protests. On Thursday, President Obama, evidently sensing that the endgame is near, called on Assad to step down.

Syria illustrates the paradox of the Arab transition. The courage of the Syrian people in defying Assad’s tanks is breathtaking. Yet this is a movement without clear leadership or an agenda beyond toppling Assad. It could bend toward the hard-line Sunni fundamentalists who have led the street fighting in Daraa and Homs, or to the sophisticated pro-democracy activists of Damascus. The truth is that nobody can predict the face of a post-Assad Syria.

The Syrian confrontation is already devolving into a regional proxy war. Iran has been rushing assistance to Assad, who is Tehran’s key Arab ally and provides a lifeline to the Hezbollah militia in Lebanon. To counter the Iranians, a newly emboldened Saudi Arabia has been pumping money to Sunni fighters in Syria. Damascus is the fault line — for Sunni-Shiite tensions, and for the confrontation between Iran and the United States and Israel.

Despite these uncertainties, Obama is right to demand that Assad must go. Some commentators have chided the White House’s hyper-caution. (Saudi Arabia, hardly a beacon of change, denounced Assad a week ago.) But I think Obama has been wise to move carefully — and avoid the facile embrace of a rebel movement whose trajectory is unknown. America’s goal should be an inclusive democracy that enfranchises the Sunni fighters in the streets, yes, but also protects Alawites, Christians and Druze who fear a bloodbath.

As the Arab transition moves through summer toward fall, it’s a good time to take stock — and to remind ourselves that there won’t be any automatic movement toward prosperity and rule of law. The citizen revolt that began in Tunisia is surely a positive trend — and it’s unstoppable, in any event. But analysts offer some important cautionary points:

●The Arab movements for change will probably retard the process of economic reform that was underway in nations such as Egypt. President Hosni Mubarak was an arrogant leader, but over the past decade he did encourage free-market policies that helped boost Egypt’s growth rate over 5 percent. Two architects of those pro-market policies were Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif and Trade Minister Rachid Mohamed Rachid. Both have now been charged with corruption. The populist anger is understandable, but it won’t help Egypt get much-needed international investment.

●Democracy is likely to disappoint the protesters. They went into the streets to demand a better life — jobs, freedom from the secret police, personal dignity — and they want these rights now. Hopefully, citizens in Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, Yemen and the rest will soon be able to vote for democratic governments. But struggling democracies often aren’t very good at meeting the basic demands that spawned the revolutions. Asia put economic reform first, with political reform gradually following. The Arabs have decided to go the other direction — with uncertain consequences.

●The Arab transition needs to embrace the tolerance of secular societies rather than the intolerance of theocracy. That’s one lesson this generation could learn from the “Arab Renaissance” movements of the last century. The Baath Party and the Nasserites are rightly rejected now, but in celebrating “Arab nationalism” they gave an identity to citizens that was broader than religion, sect or tribe. That spirit of inclusive identity will be essential for a happy Arab future.

Viewing events in the Arab world, President Obama has talked often of being “on the right side of history.” But frankly, that’s an incoherent concept. History doesn’t have a side; it isn’t a straight line that moves inexorably toward progress. Movements that start off calling for liberation often produce the opposite.

What should guide U.S. policy in this time of transition is to be on the right side of America’s own interests and values. Sometimes those two will conflict, requiring difficult choices, but they coincide powerfully in the departure of Syrian President Assad.

davidignatius@washpost.com

August 19th, 2011, 7:17 pm

 

Ali said:

@63 Observer,

I heard more along the lines of this report.

Terrorist groups in Homs are wearing army clothing. Citizens are urged to be very careful not to mistake them for the army and actually communicate with them. Especially in areas of Karm Al-Shami and Zuhra.
Clashes are taking place in:

Khalidiya (Khaled Bin Alwalid Mosque), Bab Amr, Bayada roundabout, Jouret Al-Arayes near the national hospital and Bab Dreib.

Additionally, even heavier gunfire in Bab Sba’.

August 19th, 2011, 7:22 pm

 

Aboud said:

More appalling abuse by the Syrian “Army” in Hama. An army of rabbits that would piss its pants if a single Israeli squadron flew over head.

August 19th, 2011, 7:40 pm

 

Haytham Khoury said:

Dear Hamster:

I wish I could be the next Prime Minster of Syria, but I can’t. If I could, I would have promised you to save the life of every Syrian. If I could, I would have promised you to protect the living of every Syrian. If I could, I would have promised you to restore the dignity of every Syrian.

I like politics because if you practice the real one, it is about human beings. It is about protecting their lives, their living and their dignity. I like the real politics, because it is noble.

Further, I like politics, because it is about dancing on fine strings. It is about manoeuvring to reach your noble goals. It is about building alliances even with your ideological opponents.

I hope all Syrians one day will learn how to be politicians. May be that day Dale Anderson will change his opinion and will say “The Syrians like everybody”.

August 19th, 2011, 7:42 pm

 

beaware said:

Syrian opposition to announce “National Council” – Source
19/08/2011
By Raghida Bahnam
http://www.asharq-e.com/news.asp?section=1&id=26288
London, Asharq Al-Awsat – Asharq Al-Awsat has learnt that the Syrian opposition is preparing to announce the establishment of a “National Council”, which will form the nucleus of a future Syrian government, following the ouster of the al-Assad regime.

In a telephone interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Syrian political activist Adib Shishakly said that the announcement of the “National Council” will be made from Istanbul on Sunday, 21 August 2011. He also revealed that he will be a member of this “National Council” which will be made up of between 115 and 125 members.

Shishakly confirmed that the “National Council” will represent all of Syrian society, and bring together the different strands of the Syrian opposition. He revealed that the Syrian opposition figures who took part in the Antalya Conference and the National Salvation Congress in Istanbul, will participate in the “National Council”, adding that efforts are also being exerted to include the Syrian opposition who met in Brussels in June.

Shishakly, who is a member of the National Salvation Congress that was held in Istanbul in mid-July, also told Asharq Al-Awsat that coordination is taking place with the Syrian opposition inside Syria to ensure that the “National Council” represents the Syrian people, of all different backgrounds and sectarian affiliation. He said “we formed an internal committee to consult on this issue” adding that “there will be no icons [within the National Council], but rather technocrats and opposition figures that have been chosen in a scientific manner based upon the geographic distribution of the [Syrian] provinces to ensure that all ethnicities and sects are represented.”

The Syrian political activist denied that the announcement of this “National Council” was in any way tied to the EU and Washington’s recent calls for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down from power. Shishakly stressed that the forthcoming opposition conference in Istanbul – where the “National Council” will be announced – will be different than previous opposition conferences, as it will a “unified conference for the Syrian opposition.” He also revealed that invitations had been sent to Syrian opposition figures at home and abroad, and that the formation of a Syrian opposition human rights committee, and media committee, would also be announced during this conference.

August 19th, 2011, 7:44 pm

 

beaware said:

Statement by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan on the Situation in Syria
August 19, 2011
http://www.mofa.go.jp/announce/announce/2011/8/0819_01.html

1. Japan has for some time been calling upon the Government of Syria to listen to the wishes of its people and voices of the international community and immediately cease the use of force against civilians, progress toward urgent and practical dialogue with the public – including the opposition – and quickly start fundamental reforms toward democratization.

2. It is highly regrettable that despite requests by Japan and many other members of the international community, the wide-scale use of force by Syrian security authorities has continued to cause many deaths and injuries among the general populace. Japan firmly reproaches the Syrian security authorities that have used force against civilians and call for the immediate halting of such activities.

3. Japan shares the serious concerns of the international community regarding the situation in Syria. Japan believes Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad has already lost the trust of the international community, can no longer legitimately govern the country and should step aside.

4. Japan holds great interest in the agreement President Al-Assad made with United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on August 17 to halt military and police operations, carry out reforms of the constitution and other reforms, and accept a United Nations mission to evaluate humanitarian conditions in the country.

5. In relation to the above, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the Syrian Arab Republic Toshiro Suzuki will temporarily be back to Japan for a consultation on the situation in the country.

August 19th, 2011, 7:47 pm

 

Abughassan said:

Qadhafi is reportedly preparing to leave Libya. This symbolic move can give a shot in the arm to Arab springs advocates. I do not want to see another Libya in Syria or any other country,and I hope that a peaceful transitional of power in Syria is still possible.Daraa is again losing lives..
(jad,I always liked your style despite disagreeing with your support of Bashar, I would love to see you staying away from verbal insults,I want to hear your opinion, ignore those who use a language that reflects their upbringing,I am probably older than you and I hope that you do not see this as a lecture,it is an advice from a fellow Syrian who appreciates your contribution to this forum).

August 19th, 2011, 7:55 pm

 

Tara said:

I am very hopeful.  This week was a very good week.   US and EU called on Assad to step down.  US imposed oil and gas sanctions on Syria.  EU to vote on similar sanctions on Monday. UN Human Rights Council meeting on Monday to mandate a televised hearings for Syrian victims to testify.  Most importantly however is the announcement that the opposition is meeting in Istanbul on Sunday to form a united national council and to establish a road map and perhaps elect a transitional exec committee.  The youth is heavily participating for the first time as per the article cited above.   Muhamad al Abdalla, the local coordination committee spokesperson will be part of it.  The united opposition will certainly answer the open question posted by Turkey and even by Obama when both declared that “decisions should be made by the people of Syria and that the US cannot and will not impose this transition upon Syria”. While it is so clear to the mamnhebaks that the Syrian people have already spoken, I do not believe that this message was as clear enough to the world so far due to a fragmented and non- homogenized opposition.

After hopefully a successful meeting in Istanbul on Sunday, both Turkey and US would be able to say that the Syrian people have already decided: down with the regime and both will do what they can to help.  I expect a united opposition, with a unified message that the Syrian people do not want the regime, and a solid road map with a goal of building a democracy inclusive of all sects and ethnicities would also help rallying BRIC to follow the western block to condemn the regime and hasten it’s fall.     

August 19th, 2011, 8:00 pm

 

Abughassan said:

Let us see who will attend,their plan and who the leaders are,Tara ليجي الصبي منصلي عالنبي
A political solution is best for Syria ..

August 19th, 2011, 8:08 pm

 

beaware said:

Thursday, August 11, 2011
A New Syrian Regime Might Be Better for Israel
by Prof. Eyal Zisser
Published August 2011
http://uprootedpalestinians.blogspot.com/2011/08/new-syrian-regime-might-be-better-for.html
The Syrian Uprising: Implications for Israel
Eyal Zisser

* In Syria, the story is the emergence of social groups from the periphery and their struggle to gain access to power and take over the center. The emergence of the Baath party and the Assad dynasty in the 1960s involved a coalition of peripheral forces led by the Alawites, but many others joined who came from the periphery. Now, because of socioeconomic reasons, the periphery has turned against the regime.

* Before the uprising, Bashar al-Assad was supported by the Islamic and radical movements in the Middle East. Most Muslim Brothers supported him – in Jordan, Egypt, and Hamas. Now they have turned their back on him, led by Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, leader of the Muslim Brotherhood on a global scale, who reminds them that, after all, Bashar is an Alawite and supported by the Shiite camp.

* Turkey, under Prime Minister Erdogan, had become a close ally of Syria. But Erdogan has no reservations regarding the possibility that Muslim radicals might come to power in Syria if Bashar falls. On the contrary, the Sunni radicals and the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood are Erdogan’s close allies, as is Hamas. So Turkey has nothing to lose if Bashar falls.

* If Bashar falls, the situation is likely to be similar to that of earlier decades, with a very weak central regime. This could lead to border incidents with Israel, but not a war, with terrorist acts that a weak regime cannot prevent.

* The Syrian opposition will eventually take over and, as in the case of Egypt, they know that their interests lie with friendship with Western countries like the United States, and not with Iran. So in the long run, a new Syrian regime might be better for Israel than this current regime.

…………

A New Syrian Regime Might Be Better for Israel

The weaker Syria is, the stronger Lebanon will be. Any regime change in Syria could be a blow to Hizbullah, even though Hizbullah does represent many of the Shiites. It is a deeply rooted, authentic Lebanese Shiite power center. However, it was the help of Syria and Iran that turned Hizbullah into a regional power. Taking Syria out of the equation could reduce Hizbullah to a more reasonable size – to become a strong Lebanese party but not more than that.

Syria supported the Shiites in Lebanon, but at the same time gave some backing to the Sunnis because the logic behind Syrian intervention in Lebanon has always been: divide and rule. A Sunni regime in Syria might change the balance in Lebanon in favor of the Sunnis.

A new regime in Syria could mean a return to the 1950s and 1960s when there was a weak, decentralized Syrian government with strong regions. Each region has its own ethnic and communal characteristics, and there may be a coup d’état from time to time and a lack of stability. The worst scenario is that Syria will turn into a new Iraq, because there are now not only historical accounts to settle but current accounts as well. There have been 2,000 Syrians killed and the families will ask for revenge, not from Bashar but from their Alawite and Christian neighbors.

I do not think it is in Israel’s interest to have Bashar in power. Certainly, as in Egypt, it is always possible that the Muslim Brotherhood might take over in Syria, but I am not sure that this will be the case. If Bashar falls, the situation is likely to be similar to that of earlier decades, with a very weak central regime. This could lead to border incidents with Israel, but not a war, with terrorist acts that a weak regime cannot prevent. The Syrian opposition will eventually take over and, as in the case of Egypt, they know that their interests lie with friendship with Western countries like the United States, and not with Iran. So in the long run, a new Syrian regime might be better for Israel than this current regime.

August 19th, 2011, 8:13 pm

 

beaware said:

Report: U.S. favors Muslim Brotherhood over pro-democracy Syrian opposition
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
http://www.worldtribune.com/worldtribune/WTARC/2011/me_syria1033_08_17.asp

WASHINGTON — The administration of President Barack Obama has selected the Muslim Brotherhood over the pro-democracy opposition to lead Syria after the expected ouster of President Bashar Assad, a report said.
The Hudson Institute, a leading consultant to the Defense Department, asserted that the administration has decided to work with Turkey and the Brotherhood in Syria for a post-Assad government. In a report by Herbert London, the institute said Obama has dismissed the pro-democracy opposition as an alternative.

“It would seem far more desirable to back the democratic influences — the political organizations that require cultivation and support — despite their relative weakness at this moment,” the report, titled “U.S. Betrays Syria’s Opposition,” said. “It is these religious and secular groups that represent the real hope for the future and the counterweight to the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

London, president of Hudson until 2011, said the State Department has ignored non-Brotherhood opposition groups. In July, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton invited Brotherhood operatives and urged them to work with Turkey to help oust Assad.

“Missing from the invitations are Kurdish leaders, Sunni liberals, Assyrians and Christian spokesmen,” the report said. “According to various reports the State Department made a deal with Turkey and Muslim Brotherhood representatives either to share power with Assad to stabilize the government, or replace him if this effort fails.”

Hudson cited the Syrian Democracy Council, which contains a range of ethnic and religious minorities, including Alawites and Christians. SDC was not invited to the State Department.

“From the standpoint of Foggy Bottom [State Department] it is far better to promote stability even if this means aligning oneself with the goals of presumptive enemies,” the report said. “This, however, is a dangerous game that not only holds U.S. interests hostage to the Muslim Brotherhood, but also suggests that the withdrawal of American forces from the region affords the U.S. very few policy options.”

Officials confirmed the State Department invitation to Brotherhood-aligned opposition groups. They said the Brotherhood has often boycotted U.S.-sponsored sessions that included organizations opposed by the Islamist movement.

London said the U.S. ban on SDC represented an insult to pro-democracy forces in Syria. He cited reports that the Brotherhood was playing a major role in attacks on Syrian security forces in a campaign supported by Iran, Jordan and Turkey.

“At the very least Secretary Clinton should hear the SDC argument,” the report said. “Leaving this body out of the Syrian conversation is an insult to what America purports to care about. Assad should see that his opponents are not merely those complicit in stabilizing a murderous regime, but those with genuine democratic impulses and who represent a significant portion of the Syrian people.”

August 19th, 2011, 8:17 pm

 

Tara said:

Abughassan

Inshallah يجي هالصبي صرنا عم نستنا كتير

Fetal ultrasound indicating he is alive and well. I am really hopeful. I met Muhamad al Abdallah personally and he is awesome. The Istanbul meeting is going to be different than all others. The key word here is the youth participation. They need to be assertive enough. I hope the youth has matured by now. We do not want anyone with an agenda of reserving a seat in a future government. We want genuine patriots.

August 19th, 2011, 8:20 pm

 

beaware said:

Bashar Ja’afari (Syria) on Syria – Security Council Media Stakeout
18 August 2011
A very thorough presentation with Q/A

Informal comments to the media by H.E. Dr. Bashar Ja’afari, Permanent Representative of the Syrian Arab Republic to the United Nations, on the situation in Syria.

[English, Arabic and French]
Running time: 00:23:24

http://www.unmultimedia.org/tv/webcast/2011/08/bashar-jaafari-syria-on-syria-security-council-media-stakeout.html

August 19th, 2011, 8:32 pm

 

jad said:

Dear Abughassan,
I’m don’t support this ugly regime and will never do, my only crime is that I want dialogue between all parties, and I want things to get calm so people start to get organized in political parties so they can make the changes all of us want, unfortunately, some people on this site are blind and like to throw accusation when you disagree with them without reading what you actually write.
It’s annoying to keep wasting your comment on trying to explain yourself.

When I link an article it doesn’t mean that I stand with everything written in the article it’s a way to give another view of the story otherwise we will be posting and linking the same materials.
Go read all my comments you wont find one comment I wrote in supporting of this brutality and crimes that is taking place in Syria.

Regarding that low life provocative person called Atassi, he has no right to attack me out of the blue without any reason, he always do that and he’s been asked not to communicate with me at all, so he’d better stick to that rule.

Please don’t worry about writing to me or even lecturing me, I don’t mind 🙂

August 19th, 2011, 8:34 pm

 

syau said:

Tara,

Imperialistic powers have no leverage in Syria. All they can do is impose sanctions, a reinforcement of previous and an extension of recent sanction. As I have said before, Syria is accustomed to living with sanctions. Although any sanctions imposed on Syria harm none other than the very people they are falsely claiming to want the best for, the Syrian people, they will get by just as they have done before.

Endorsing sanctions against Syria, therefore its people highlights the true colours of the revolution and those affiliated with it.

#106, Terrorists deserve everything they get. Your ridiculous rant is laughable.
God protect the Syrian Arab Army and hasten their efforts in eradicating all terrorists in Syria.

عاشت سورية وجيشا وشعبا وقائدا المفدى

August 19th, 2011, 8:40 pm

 

Abughassan said:

Syrian events as seen by a leftist opposition Turkish journalist.

August 19th, 2011, 8:45 pm

 

SYR.EXPAT said:

Syria might allow the Red Cross to see people who were arrested during the protests. Not free access to see all those who were arrested, but only those the Syrian government allows to be seen. For example, they can have some of their informants pose as prisoners and say how well they were treated.

The time is up. Sooner or later, the torturers will have pay the price for their crimes.

سوريا من الممكن ان تسمح للصليب الاحمر مقابلة معتقلين
نقلت وكالات انباء عن اللجنة الدولية للصليب الاحمر يوم الجمعة بان “سوريا على وشك منح اللجنة الدولية للصليب الاحمر امكانية الوصول الى سجونها وذلك للمرة الاولى لمقابلة اشخاص اعتقلو خلال الاحتجاجات”
http://www.syria-news.com/

August 19th, 2011, 8:48 pm

 

Tara said:

Sayuياعيني يا

I am very saddened every time you write a post and address it to me. To tell you the truth I skip lots of ” mnhebaks” posts. I do not skip yours. I do truly believe you are a decent person ( I just see it through the computer screen, Tara has a psychic ability) and it saddens me very much how you continued to deny the legitimacy of this revolution. I know Sayu you live in Australia now but I am sure if you have lived in Syria before, you must have witnessed what I have witnessed living in Syria. I have said my family was well connected and “never oppressed” but all other people were. The revolution was long due. Any one could see it coming. All of us are surprised it took that long. I also know that you know I am not a terrorist and I am not sectarian. I do not hate Alawites or Christians or anyone. I am not in this revolution for any reason other than a genuine sympathy towards the oppressed. How can you deny this?

August 19th, 2011, 9:02 pm

 

SQI said:

we have here two attitudes from Syrians on sanctions : one is frightened (expressed by Ehsani), the other is apprehensive , but confident (expressed by SOURI333). http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/?p=11456&cp=all#comment-268138

Dr. Landis why do you highlight or favor only the more frightened opinion ?? that is not fair. unless the Agenda is to reighten people , not to expose all opinions and attitudes towards the subject of sanctions

Ehsani: I guess one argue that Syria can do the same. But, one must not underestimate the repercussions of these actions. When such measures are put in place, they are very hard to cancel and do away with.

SOURI333

If we can endure a few years without trading with them it will be great because I am sure we will develop and find many alternatives to their products, thus we will become much less dependent on them.

August 19th, 2011, 9:30 pm

 

beaware said:

International Court lacks jurisdiction over Syria
By Colum Lynch
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/checkpoint-washington/post/international-court-lacks-jurisdiction-over-syria/2011/08/19/gIQAAu08PJ_blog.html
Facing a new U.N. call for an international investigation into alleged Syrian attacks on protesters, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court, issued a statement Friday reminding the world that he currently has no legal authority to open such a probe.

Only the U.N. Security Council, which is divided over how to respond to the Syrian crackdown by President Bashar al-Assad, can grant the prosecutor the authority to do so.

“The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has received communication from various parties alleging that crimes against humanity, including arbitrary detentions, killings of peaceful demonstrators and torture are being committed in Syria,” according to Florence Olara, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor. “The Office of the Prosecutor at this stage has no jurisdiction to investigate these allegations because Syria is not a State Party to the Rome Statute which governs the ICC.”

Navi Pillay, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, asked the U.N. Security Council Thursday to authorize an ICC investigation into alleged Syrian crimes, citing mounting evidence that the government has committed crimes against humanity during its five-month long military operation against mostly peaceful anti-government protesters.

Her office released a report Thursday that documented “widespread and systematic” abuses by Syrian security forces. It claims to have identified the names of 1900 civilians who have been killed since the upheaval began in mid-March. Her office has compiled a confidential list of 50 Syrian officials suspected of committing such crimes.

The United States, Britain, France, Germany and Portugal, have begun negotiating a resolution that would sanction Syria for its conduct. Philip Parham, the deputy ambassador for Britain, which is leading the drafting process, said it was not clear whether the draft would call for an ICC prosecution in Syria. But he said: “I don’t want to pre-empt discussion in the Council, but I would say that several members of the Council in the discussion we just had made the point very clearly that those responsible for the violence need to be held accountable.”

The U.N. Human Rights Council, meanwhile, will convene a special session on Monday to consider Syria’s human rights record in recent months. It remains unclear whether the rights council will recommend a role for the ICC, but a senior council diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said it was likely the council would make some statement calling for perpetrators of serious crimes to be held accountable.

The International Criminal Court was established in 2002 to prosecute the most serious crimes, including crimes against humanity and war crimes. It has jurisdiction only over countries that have signed and ratified the treaty, known as the Rome Statute, establishing the tribunal. The sole exception is when the U.N. Security Council decides to launch an investigation into abuses in countries that have not ratified the treaty, as it has done in Sudan and Libya.

The ICC is currently carrying out investigations into atrocities in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Northern Uganda, the Darfur region of Sudan, the Central African Republic, Kenya and Libya

August 19th, 2011, 9:38 pm

 

Abughassan said:

More indications that the Mideast is about to witness more violence. Candidates include :
Iraq (more violence),Lebanon,Gaza (started already),more border attacks by Kurds,more troubles in Egypt (especially the Sinai),and the obvious one:Libya.
You have to wonder how Europe managed to form the EU when european nations
in that block speak more than a dozen languages,fought a number of wars among themselves,have a diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds,etc. Compare that to
Arabs who contributed very little to the world in the last 8 centuries and became the laughing stock of the world. Arabism may be the biggest lie ever told,Syrians are well advised to divorce that idea and clean their house instead of waiting for some rich goat lovers to save their country. Islamic unity and the so-called
Islamic Umma only live in history books,and those who try to sell the idea are not much different from Baathists.
A friend commented by saying that nations ruled by corrupt dictatorships can not unite because they will fight over money and power,this is why,according to him,these two ideas have failed.

August 19th, 2011, 9:50 pm

 

Norman said:

Apparently, the US said that president Assad is standing in the way of the opposition and the Syrian people , still it said that it has no intention to any militery intervention,

The quest is : Will the opposition see that as a reason to continue what they are doing, knowing that with force they have no chance of winning, or see that as a support from the US for their cause, but no militery support, and move into talks to have a new political system,,,,,, I am not hopeful that they get it, or they want a peaceful solution.

August 19th, 2011, 9:54 pm

 

beaware said:

Analysis: Peril and promise in twin Syria, Libya crises
Reuters 19 Aug 2011
By Mark Hosenball and Laura MacInnis
http://news.yahoo.com/analysis-peril-promise-twin-syria-libya-crises-232225390.html
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Now that he has called for Syria’s leader to leave, President Barack Obama faces the daunting challenge of smoothing the way to a post-Assad era — just as another Arab strongman looks increasingly beleaguered in Libya.

The twin crises appear to offer opportunities for U.S. foreign policy — Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is an ally of Iran, foe of Israel and sponsor of the armed militant group Hezbollah, while Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has vexed U.S. officials for decades.

But they also bring grave risks at a time when Obama is focused on domestic affairs.

Between them, Assad and his late father have ruled Syria with iron fists for 41 years. U.S. and European officials privately concede that civil and political chaos in Syria might be the most likely result if Assad abruptly leaves power.

Syria’s political opposition is even more disorganized and fragmented than Libyan rebels who now appear to be closing in on Gaddafi’s stronghold in Tripoli.

After weeks of resisting, Obama, backed by the European Union, called on Thursday for Assad to go during the same week that Gaddafi’s position in Libya appeared to erode, as rebels seized the key western city of Zawiyeh.

With a war-weary U.S. public and tight budgets, the White House has made clear it has no plans to put troops on the ground in Libya or Syria, either to topple their leaders or engage in “nation-building” should they depart.

“The same concerns that apparently constrained the administration from calling for Assad’s ouster persist today: how do we force Assad out? Does the fall of the Alawite regime result in sectarian chaos? And what comes after this regime amid potential Islamist extremism?” said Juan Zarate, a White House counterterrorism adviser to former President George W. Bush.

Assad and much of his ruling circle are members of the minority Alawite sect, which makes up about 12 percent of Syria’s population.

“The calculus to call for Assad’s ouster has come too late, and it’s now time to find ways with our partners to shape the coming days in Damascus,” Zarate said.

The Syrian opposition, which ranges from secular reformers to Islamists in the Muslim Brotherhood, has made halting steps at unity.

On Friday, more than 40 “revolution blocs” announced they had forged a coalition to unite their efforts to overthrow Assad, according to news reports.

“The opposition, on its own and without international involvement, has made significant strides over the past several months to unify,” a senior U.S. official said this week.

“We can’t predict how long this transition will take. Nothing about it will be easy. But we’re certain that Assad is on the way out,” said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

STRUGGLE MAY DRAG ON

Former CIA Deputy Director John McLaughlin predicted the struggle in Syria would go on for some time “because of Bashar’s limited incentive to cry ‘uncle,'” but would result ultimately in Assad’s demise.

That might be followed by a weak, Sunni-dominated government and McLaughlin said such an outcome would itself present many challenges.

He said it would “transform Syria into a political battleground between competing regional players, mainly Shiite Iran — which will be losing its closest ally and the avenue through which it supplies its Hezbollah proxy in Lebanon — and Saudi Arabia, which will see an opportunity to checkmate Iran’s regional influence by aiding Syria’s Sunni majority.

“Just the usual simple Middle East equation — actually what is already three-dimensional chess will become more like a mosh pit.”

It is unclear how much planning the Obama administration has done for a post-Assad Syria. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met publicly for the first time this month with Syrian activists.

But in Libya, a rapid succession of rebel victories has accelerated Western postwar planning, even as officials discounted intelligence reports suggesting Gaddafi’s departure was imminent.

The NATO alliance on Friday authorized formal planning for post-Gaddafi Libya. Next week, rebels of the Transitional National Council will meet in Dubai with officials from the United States, Britain, Jordan, United Arab Emirates and perhaps others, “all devoted to the day-after planning,” an Obama administration official told Reuters.

The working idea is that the UAE, Jordan and Qatar would put together “a bridging force” of 1,000 to 2,000 personnel to be deployed in Libya just after Gaddafi goes, the official said.

White House officials are concerned that unless transition plans are firmed up now, post-Gaddafi Libya may be chaotic and it may be impossible to fulfill the West’s promise to protect Libya’s population from a humanitarian crisis.

Some U.S. and European officials say that despite its better organization and purported recent advances, Libya’s opposition movement is not ready to govern.

The optimistic scenario U.S. and European officials hope will develop in Libya is that Gaddafi will decide to go fairly soon but enough of his government and forces will remain intact to enable the formation of a transitional government that can maintain a measure of civil order.

(Additional reporting by Andrew Quinn, Arshad Mohammed and Susan Cornwell; Editing by Warren Strobel and Peter Cooney)

August 19th, 2011, 9:58 pm

 

Tara said:

Kandahar

Where are you?

I hope you are working on my story.. The one with a happy ending.

August 19th, 2011, 9:59 pm

 

SQI said:

#121. ABUGHASSAN
thanks for this link.

Syrian events as seen by a leftist opposition Turkish journalist.

August 19th, 2011, 10:05 pm

 

ann said:

*** THIS SO CALLED POLL IS RIGGED TO ANSWER “YES” EVEN IF YOUR CHOICE IS “NO”!!! ***

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/poll/2011/aug/18/syria-libya-military-poll

To run a test VOTE write down the results displayed after you VOTED

Purge your browser cash VOTE again and observe the “YES” tally increase and the “NO” tally decrease!!!

Repeat and review your results

August 19th, 2011, 10:28 pm

 

jad said:

Ann,
Almost all polls similar to this one are fixed.
Now cooper is having similar poll if the UN should act on Syria, the results are also YES, the hypocrisy is that all the almighty ‘revolutionists’ are saying that they don’t want any foreign intervention most of them will vote YES on such atrocities against the same people they pretend to talk for..
https://www.facebook.com/questions/10150751631440533/

I don’t know why the west is denying that it will attack Syria while they can’t wait to destroy our land with the help of the usual traitors. it’s striking how the Israelis halt all their protests the moment they felt that Israel having trouble while our ‘heroes’ are celebrating the destruction of their own country.

August 19th, 2011, 10:37 pm

 

SQI said:

Hugo Chavez to take Venezuela’s riches away from the West

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has decided to secretly transfer the gold reserves and financial accounts of the nation to Russia and China. The news was voiced by representatives of the Venezuelan opposition. This is not a hoax.

Chavez’s opponents refer to a certain document, which the president signed on August 12. Officials of the Venezuelan administration confirmed the intention. In the words from the President of the Central Bank of Venezuela, Nelson Merentes, the president hopes to diversify the currency reserves. The reserves are said to be invested in the markets of developing states, such as Brazil, China, India, Russia and South Africa.

http://english.pravda.ru/world/americas/19-08-2011/118801-chavez_venezuela-0/

August 19th, 2011, 10:40 pm

 

ann said:

Turkey’s double-standard policy on Syria

http://www.tehrantimes.com/index.php/component/content/article/1759

The Turkish military’s recent massive attacks on Kurdish separatists have raised the question of why Turkey is criticizing the Syrian government for its crackdown on armed terrorists.

In response to PKK terrorist attacks in which several militants were killed, the Turkish armed forces have conducted extensive operations against PKK bases in southern Turkey and northern Iraq over the past month.

Over twelve PKK commanders have been captured during 24 operations conducted in the Kurdish regions.

According to the Turkish security forces and Turkey’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, a number of people have been killed and many others injured in the recent operations.

Hundreds of tons of ammunition and bombs have been used by the Turkish military in the recent crackdown on the Kurds.

So how can Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticize the Syrian government for attacking armed terrorist groups while Turkey is conducting such massive operations in response to a few attacks by some PKK insurgents?

No one can deny that the Turkish government has the right to protect its territorial integrity. However, the Turkish government does not seem to recognize such a right for other neighboring countries like Syria.

Erdogan and his government should show more respect for others, and it would be better for them if they made a more precise analysis of the current situation in Syria, especially in regard to the U.S. and Israeli meddling in the country.

The recent incidents in Turkey and Syria have similar root causes. In other words, the hands of the U.S. and Israel are quite obvious behind the developments in both countries.

In recent years, the promotion of unity among Muslim countries has been one of the main priorities of Turkish foreign policy. Thus, Turkish officials are expected to adopt a more vigilant approach in dealing with the situation in Syria.

August 19th, 2011, 11:12 pm

 

ann said:

Syria sees FIFA World Cup ban as politically motivated
Sport 8/20/2011 12:44:00 AM

http://www.kuna.net.kw/NewsAgenciesPublicSite/ArticleDetails.aspx?id=2186012&Language=en

DAMASCUS, Aug 19 (KUNA) — FIFA said on Friday that the Syrian football team has been disqualified from the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, after fielding an ineligible Striker George Mourad.
In turn, FIFA reinstated Tajikistan in its place. Despite previously representing Sweden, Mourad played in last month’s qualifier against Tajikistan.

He scored in the first leg, which Syria won 6-1 on aggregate.
Mourad participated in the Swedish Olympic team during its participation in the Olympic qualification of 2003-05.
A statement by FIFA said that its Disciplinary Committee on 17 August declared the first-leg match of the Second Round (Syria-Tajikistan of 23 July 2011) to be lost by Syria by forfeit (0:3) due to an ineligible player in the Syrian team taking part in this match.

“The FIFA Disciplinary Committee reached the same decision regarding the second leg match (Tajikistan-Syria of 28 July 2011) due to the same ineligible player also taking part in this match,” the statement said.

“In conformity with Article 7 of the Regulations for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, the Bureau of the Organizing Committee for the FIFA World Cup took the following decisions,” the statement said, adding “Tajikistan will take Syria’s place in Group C of Asia qualifying along with Japan, Uzbekistan and North Korea.” Meanwhile, according to Syrian News Agency (SANA) which quoted the President of Syrian Football Federation Faruoq Saria as saying that the federation took all of the necessary procedures to ensure participation of the mentioned player in accordance with FIFA regulations.

“FIFA bylaw with regard to approval of player transfer from the Swedish federation, does not need approval from FIFA, only from the transferred to federation, according to FIFA bylaw, said Saria.
Saria asserted that the banning of the Syrian team from the second round of qualifications comes due to political unrest and developments in Syria.

The Syrian official added Mourad was born in Syria and has a Syrian and not Sweden nationality, and the player played in Swedish National Olympic team.

August 19th, 2011, 11:17 pm

 

sheila said:

To all,
I think this sentence that Ehsani wrote in the last discussion, sums up where Syria Alassad is today and the major accomplishments of this regime:

“Robert Fisk of the “Independent” just published an article where he wrote that a Swedish government agency recently concluded that Syria was largely unaffected by the world economic crisis – because it doesn’t really have an economy.”

August 19th, 2011, 11:18 pm

 

True said:

@ Menehbeks

Would you honestly keep supporting Besho if he, for some reason, decides to confiscate your dad’s luxurious cars (funded by taxpayer)?

August 19th, 2011, 11:20 pm

 

beaware said:

Activist: It’s Time For Syrian Opposition To Unify
by Kelly McEvers
August 19, 2011
http://www.npr.org/2011/08/19/139764406/activist-its-time-for-syrian-opposition-to-unify?ps=rs
President Obama has now called on Syrian President Bashar Assad to quit. But if he did, or if he is toppled, who would replace Assad?

There’s no clear answer. Assad and his late father, Hafez Assad, have ruled Syria for four decades and have not tolerated anything that resembles a genuine opposition inside the country’s borders.

“There is no opposition in Syria. There are opposition groups,” said Lebanon’s Wissam Tarif, who has been a prominent campaigner for democracy and human rights in the Middle East.

Divided Opposition

The problem, Tarif says, is that the emerging opposition groups are deeply divided, with no real plan of how the country would be run in a post-Assad era.

Tarif is currently in Beirut and has been documenting the deaths, injuries and detentions in Syria during Assad’s harsh crackdown on protesters over the past five months.

Tarif has been in touch with those leading the protests, and he used to work with anti-government groups inside Syria. Those groups made no real progress until the Arab Spring turned much of the region upside-down. And they still lack unity and direction.

By some counts, there are at least seven Syrian exile groups, each with its own leaders and its own ideas about how the country should go forward.

Then there’s the internal opposition, which has been criticized by some activists for being too close to the Assad regime.

And finally there are the young protesters who have taken to the streets. But Tarif says even they are divided and ill-equipped to provide real leadership.

“There’s millions of people taking to the streets, willing to die for freedom. And it’s a hell of a very difficult job. But it’s not enough,” he says, adding that the demonstrators “do not know how to do politics.”

Call For Unified Council

Tarif says all of these groups need to work together on a transitional council. It would be something of a shadow government, similar to what the rebels have created in Libya. However, that Libyan council has been filled with friction recently.

Still, Tarif says the important thing is to create a council and start working on how to get rid of Assad, maintain stability and run a new country.

“They have a lot of political differences, they have a lot of different political visions, and they have to overcome it,” he said.

Up to now, anti-government groups in Syria have preferred to remain decentralized. This made it more difficult for the Syrian security forces to track them down.

The Obama administration criticized the Assad regime for months, and on Thursday called for him to step down. Assad has given no indication that he’ll comply. But Tarif says it’s time for the opposition to step up, stop arguing and unify.

“Such leadership has to emerge. And it has to emerge yesterday. They don’t have time,” he says.

August 19th, 2011, 11:23 pm

 

beaware said:

Syria’s Crackdown Provokes Sharp Debate
by Kelly McEvers
August 19, 2011
http://www.npr.org/2011/08/19/139793733/syrias-crackdown-provokes-sharp-debate?ft=1&f=2&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NprProgramsATC+%28NPR+Programs%3A+All+Things+Considered%29&utm_content=Google+Feedfetcher
Over the past five months, the Syrian military has repeatedly used tanks and heavy weaponry on cities and towns that are centers of protest.

As has been the case most every Friday since March, demonstrators turned out in huge numbers after the midday prayers, and there was more violence. Activists said that Syrian security forces fired at protesters across the country, reportedly killing at least 20.
Assessing whether this Syrian strategy is working depends on whom you ask — and which version of the military crackdown in Syria you accept.
The anti-government version is that peaceful protesters are being attacked by the army.

The government version is that the military is battling an armed insurgency, led by terrorists.
Even in neighboring Lebanon — which was basically occupied by Syria for almost 30 years — people are divided on the subject. There, rallies in support of protesters and those championing the Syrian president are both common.

Amin Hotait, a retired general in the Lebanese army, remembers the lengthy Syrian presence in his country.
He says it’s no surprise that Syria is using tanks against its own people, saying that’s how forces around the world deal with terrorists and other armed opponents.

Hotait claims there is a parallel to NATO military operations in Afghanistan and Libya.
In Afghanistan, Hotait says, NATO is using aircraft and tanks, and in Libya, he says NATO is using aircraft against men armed with only rifles.
“That’s the rule of the military, and this is the rule of the operations,” he says.
But in the case of Syria, human-rights groups say the way civilians have been killed and injured — from indiscriminate shooting and shelling, and from forced disappearances — amounts to crimes against humanity. The U.N. is deciding whether to refer the case to the International Criminal Court.

But if the Syrian military is not actually fighting a large-scale insurgency but instead using its army to put down a mostly peaceful uprising, then what is the strategy?

“There is no strategy,” says Elias Hanna, another retired Lebanese general who has experience with the Syrians. “The strategy is the survival.”

“In Syria you cannot really differentiate between the regime itself, the intelligence apparatuses … as well as the army. If one loses the other loses,” he says.

If the goal is total regime survival, the enemy is the people who oppose the regime. And that means killing your own people, as a way to keep governing your own people.

In other words, Hanna says, it’s a strategy that’s eventually doomed.

The protesters in Syria hope that army commanders will realize this dilemma and begin refusing to shoot their own people — or that large numbers of soldiers will defect to the rebel side.

But one retired Syrian officer, who spoke to NPR by Skype, says this scenario is very unlikely. He did not want to give his name or his rank for fear of reprisals.

He says his fellow officers enjoy great perks, such as money, cars, houses, power, and impunity. So why would they want to defect?

What’s more, he says, what could they defect to? So far there’s no unified opposition in Syria and the punishment can be brutal.

One of his friends recently did defect and then left the country. Now the man’s father and two brothers in Syria have been thrown in jail.

The Syrian regime has spent four decades building a military bent on survival, the retired officer says. It’s not going to give up easily.

August 19th, 2011, 11:25 pm

 

sheila said:

To all,
Somebody (I think Either Haytham or Abughassan) suggested that we should explore why each one of us is pro or against regime. I think we should do just that. Each one of us can write about why they are taking their position. We should be very honest. Is it a result of bad experiences, fear of opposing your family, fear of chaos, genuinely believe in Bashar Alassad, fear of retaliation, economic fear.. Etc.
I think this will help us all understand.
There are always two sides to every argument. It is not always black and white. Most of the time, it is just different shades of gray. I have a feeling that most of us are in the gray zone: some in the dark gray and others in the very light gray.
What do you think? Would you like to try this exercise?

August 19th, 2011, 11:32 pm

 

ann said:

Washington’s growing PKK liability

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/n.php?n=washington8217s-growing-pkk-liability-2011-08-18

The United States may want Turkey to remain focused on Syria, now that there is a growing rift between Ankara and Damascus, but with 43 Turkish soldiers killed by the outlawed Kurdistan People’s Party, or PKK, in one month alone, this is unlikely to happen. Matters can, in fact, be expected to get worse from the U.S. perspective on a number of levels because of these attacks.

We already had a foretaste of this with Thursday’s air strikes against the terrorist group’s training camps in northern Iraq by the Turkish Air Force. Furiously angry Turks want the Turkish army to level these camps in the Kandil Mountains, and strong remarks from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan indicate he is listening.

While wishful thinking in the West, judging by the countless articles on the topic, many want Turkey to establish a buffer zone in Syria against Bashar al-Assad’s brutal military machine, but there is more likelihood that this will happen in Iraq instead, where the Turkish military already has a foothold.

Turkish incursions into northern Iraq will of course produce yet more negative fallout for Washington, since it will drive a wedge between Ankara and the Kurdish administration in northern Iraq at a time when the two sides have belatedly come around to laying the groundwork for good ties, especially after Erdoğan’s visit to Arbil in March.

Even worse for Washington is that there is no one left in Ankara who will listen to exhortations from the U.S., or warnings from Europe, aimed at stopping Turkey from doing what it feels is necessary in the face of the public outcry against the PKK.

To the contrary, most Turks believe – rightly or wrongly – that the U.S. military in northern Iraq is actually turning a blind eye to PKK members in the region, and that talk from Washington about “helping Turkey against the PKK through intelligence sharing” is merely a smokescreen designed to obscure this fact.

U.S. officials deny this vehemently, of course, but many Turks maintain that if this assistance was “meaningful” then these PKK attacks would not be taking place with such impunity. There is also a widespread notion that the U.S. is actually helping The Party for Free Life of Kurdistan, or PJAK, an Iranian offshoot of the PKK which also has camps in northern Iraq, in order to destabilize Tehran.

In the meantime, ties between Turkey and Iran may have soured somewhat because of radically divergent views over developments in Syria, but the latest PKK attacks are likely to force Ankara to cooperate more with Tehran against PKK/PJAK camps in northern Iraq, once again to the annoyance of Washington.

The bottom line is that the Turkish public is clamoring for retaliation and – just as it was after 9/11 and before the U.S. invasion of Iraq – facts matter little when this is the case. In the meantime, most Turks believe Washington does not want to bloody its hands against the PKK, while it expects Turkey to bloody its hands against Islamic terrorism.

We will never know the extent to which Washington is helping Turkey against the PKK, and how effective this is, since U.S. officials, when asked, say this is “classified information.” Given that this is the case, most Turks draw their own conclusions on the basis of what is actually happening.

But the situation that is unfolding now shows clearly that the PKK is becoming a serious liability for Washington as well, given its own expectations for a Middle East that is already in turmoil. It remains to be seen if this will push the Barack Obama administration into changing tack and getting involved more visibly against the PKK.

What is clear, however, is that Ankara is not going to wait for this to happen, given the successful way the PKK has agitated the Turkish public, leaving Erdoğan no choice but to put on his war paint.

August 19th, 2011, 11:37 pm

 

Revlon said:

92. Dear Amir,
I have no particular names as I do not have enough information to make an informed judgement.

In lieu, I would merely apply the basic principles of modern business in choosing the executive committee (executive board): A strong track record and successful carreer in management.

The United Oppositional front would merely be the benefactors (The board of trustees) They would set the targets and monitor the achievements of the EC by holding regular meetings.

It might be useful for members of the executive committee to sign a pledge not to join the future elected Government. Such will decrease the unnecessary competition to fill these posts.
Cheers

August 19th, 2011, 11:41 pm

 
 

Haytham Khoury said:

Sheila

The idea is excellent. I will do tomorrow. It is midnight here.

August 20th, 2011, 12:03 am

 

jad said:

It sounds that Homs is a war zone today:

HNN شبكة أخبار حمص
المواجهات العنيفه مستمره مع المسلحين في بابا عمرو

الاشتباكات المسلحه مع الارهابيين على طريق حماه بالقرب من حي القصور

-المسلحين يستعملون قنابل يدويية الصنع
في منطقة المريجة خلف جامع كعب الأحبار.

-الاشتباكات قائمة بين المسلحين وبين عناصر الأمن
في البياضة بالقرب من مستوصف البياضة.

المجموعات المسلحة تتمركز على أطراف
باب عمرو وحي السلطانية
وتطلق رصاصها الغادر والكافر باتجاه الأمن
والأمن يرد عليهم بقوة

اللهم احفظ أخوتنا في قوى الأمن من الغادرين

خاص شبكة أخبار حمص الأولى
http://www.facebook.com/HNN.SYRIA

تجدد الاشتباكات بشكل عنيف جداً في كل من :
الغوطة
الانشاءات
باب عمرو
باب السباع
حي النازحين
الشماس
ومناطق أخرى لا يمكن تحديدها
طالما أن صوت الرصاص عم يضرب من شمال حمص لجنوبها
والعكس صحيح

ولكن الرد يأتي قوياً جداً من الجيش

هل سنشهد اليوم حملة تطهير من العيار الثقيل
على غير ما شهدناه في المرات السابقة

الدعاء للجيش الباسل بانتصاره على هؤلاء الكفرة

جب الجندلي :

إصابة ثلاثة عناصر أمن بجروح
بعد أن قامت مجموعة مسلحة باطلاق الرصاص عليهم
مستخدمين سلاح بومباكشن

August 20th, 2011, 12:03 am

 

jad said:

عاجل||مصر:
مصر تسحب سفيرها من تل ابيب رسميا لحين الإنتهاء من التحقيقات

August 20th, 2011, 12:06 am

 

ann said:

*** THEY’RE BACK! ***

*** NeoCONS propaganda machine is back in full swing! ***

“Daniel Pipes discusses uncertain times in the Middle East”

http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2011/s3298064.htm

ALI MOORE, PRESENTER: American writer and often controversial commentator Daniel Pipes is president of the Middle East Forum and is visiting fellow of the Hoover institution of Stanford University.

He’s currently in Australia as a guest of the Australia and Israel Jewish Affairs Council.

He joined me from our Brisbane studio a short time ago.

Daniel Pipes, welcome to Lateline.

DANIEL PIPES, MIDDLE EAST COMMENTATOR: Thank you.

ALI MOORE: If we can go straight to those overnight attacks in Israel. Hamas denies involvement but Israel has already carried out airstrikes over the Gaza strip, Hamas has vowed revenge.

Are we now looking at a potential major military escalation between Hamas and Israel?

DANIEL PIPES: Indeed. And it has further complications because for the first time in many years the Sinai Desert, the Sinai Peninsula, which is next to Israel, seems to be anarchic. And it appears the Egyptian government is not fully controlling it.

And so this could be the first of many attacks, perhaps from Gaza, perhaps from Sinai itself, perhaps from Hamas, perhaps from other groups. So there is potential for much more trouble here.

ALI MOORE: Well indeed, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israeli sovereignty was harmed and he said Israel will respond accordingly; what does this mean for relations with Egypt?

DANIEL PIPES: Well Egypt is in transition now. Hosni Mubarak, who ruled the country for 30 years, was deposed in February by other military leaders. And it’s now another military leader, by the name of Tantawi, who’s in effect running the country.

We don’t know all that much about Tantawi, he’s only been in power for half a year, does he really want some major change with Israel or not? I tend to doubt it. Does he not want to control the Sinai Peninsula? I think he does.

So I’m inclined to see more continuity than change. But this certainly is a change and we will see how important it is. I worry that this could suggest that the Egyptians are not really willing to put in what it takes to control their own territory.

ALI MOORE: And, of course, Israel has been crucial to Israel’s security for what, three, four decades?

DANIEL PIPES: There was a peace treaty in 1979 between Israel and Egypt, correct.

ALI MOORE: So what happens now do you think?

DANIEL PIPES: Well as I say, Egypt’s in transition and we’re still, we the world and the Egyptians, are still finding out what exactly is happening in Egypt. As I suggested earlier, I think there’s more continuity than change. I think there’s likely to be crackdown eventually by the Egyptians, but in the meantime it could be a source of significant problems, a source of warfare.

I wouldn’t call what happened now terrorism, it was more a military assault. It was a pitched gun battle, it was explosives, it was an attack. This is something rather new, so we’re feeling our way in a new direction.

ALI MOORE: And we’ve seen Israel respond obviously in the Gaza Strip. But more broadly, how do they respond to this situation along this very long border in the Sinai Desert? I mean essentially they’re being forced to respond to the aftermath or the fallout from the Arab Spring?

DANIEL PIPES: Well what they’re doing is building a fence, a security fence, as they have in the West Bank. It’s not completed, but this incident has spurred them to move up the completion date to the end of 2012, roughly a little bit over a year from now.

It’s wild, there’s no real security there. And for years the Bedouin, the nomads of the Sinai, have been crossing between Egypt and Israel with impunity; smuggling, bringing in refugees from Africa.

This was an incident waiting to happen and now Israelis are taking steps to prevent it from happening in the future. But there’s still over a year of vulnerability before that fence is finished.

ALI MOORE: Well let’s turn to Syria. How significant is president Obama’s call for the Syrian president, Assad, to go; along of course with the leaders of the UK and France and Germany?

DANIEL PIPES: I think it is significant. I think the fact that the leaders of these four countries, plus the Saudi leader and a number of other Arab leaders, have come out and criticised the Syrian government, and now gone the extra step of calling for the removal of Bashar al-Assad, gives the Syrian population more hope, more expectation they can have help from the outside world.

It’s a serious step. It’s not exactly the same as helping them directly with arms or money or other benefits. But it is a serious sign of solidarity with the opposition in Syria. They are not alone.

ALI MOORE: Would you ever expect them to take that extra step, because it has to be said that President Assad has remained relatively resilient to outside pressure, and indeed is now saying that the military and police operations are over?

DANIEL PIPES: I can imagine, yes, that the outside world, the great powers, the western powers, will give aid to the Syrian opposition.

Now it’s a little difficult, because there’s not an organisation. But I can imagine sending them money, arms, perhaps through Lebanon, perhaps through Turkey. It could happen, perhaps through Iraq, perhaps through Jordan. It’s not inconceivable as this confrontation between the population and the government goes on month after month and it gets uglier and uglier.

Yes, president Bashar al-Assad has said that the operations are over, but he said a lot of things over the last half year that turned out not to be true. I would tend to not expect this one to be accurate either.

ALI MOORE: Would there really be appetite though, I suppose, to get involved to that extent? Of course the US has taken until now to even make this call for Assad to go, it’s been extremely hesitant to jump in. And of course everyone is well aware of the situation in Libya, which has gone for months and months when there was original talk of weeks and weeks?

DANIEL PIPES: Absolutely. The situation in Libya has turned out quite different from the expectations. There have by now, it’s worth noting, been 17,000 military sorties in Libya. Now I can’t see anything like that happening in Syria, but I can see more than what we’ve seen so far.

And it’s worth noting that, from the western point of view, the real strategic importance of Syria is not what’s happening in Syria itself, but the fact that the Syrian government has been aligned, allied even, with the Iranian government for 30 years.

The Iranian government is our main problem. Were the Syrian government to change hands, were the Assad regime to fall, then this would deal a significant blow to the Iranians, which is really the most important thing from our vantage point.

So there’s a lot at stake in Syria at this time.

ALI MOORE: That said, doesn’t it depend entirely on what follows, what a post-Assad regime or a post-Assad Syria would look like? We’ve just talked about what’s happening in Egypt, and it’s a country in transition, how certain can you be of what would follow president Assad?

DANIEL PIPES: I’m not at all certain. It could be something more liberal and it could be something more Islamist. And I think part of what I hope the west will do is to help the liberal forces.

But even if it were Islamist I believe, with some certainty, that there would be a break in relations with the Islamic republic of Iran. And that to me is of great importance. So I would rather have the devil I don’t know than the devil I do know in the case of Syria.

In Libya I’m more cautious.

ALI MOORE: I was going to say though, in Syria is there also a risk sectarian civil war though?

DANIEL PIPES: There is indeed, there is indeed. The big question in Syria is whether there will be a sense that the Syrian people as a whole rise, have risen up against their autocratic, brutal government; or whether this is ultimately a fight between the Sunni majority and the Alawene minority that has been ruling in Syria for four decades.

That’s an open question at this time and it’s dangerous, no question.

ALI MOORE: And in Libya, you said you’re more cautious?

DANIEL PIPES: In Libya more cautious, despite the fact that my government, the US government and others, have been trying to get rid of Gaddafi in effect for months now.

I’m not so quick to want him out. I have no, nothing to say good about Gaddafi, he’s a wretched, maniacal leader who’s done terrible injury to the country.

But he is an isolated leader, whereas were the Islamists to take over, the people who want to apply Islamic law, and that’s who might be really finally ultimately in charge in Benghazi, I worry they’ll be connected to the larger Islamist movement across the Middle East and the globe. And they could be even more dangerous than Gaddafi. And so I’m not so eager to have Gaddafi leave, until I know more about who’s there in Benghazi

ALI MOORE: That said though, that ball is already well and truly rolling, isn’t it?

DANIEL PIPES: It is indeed. And the fall of Zawiya just now and other developments suggest that there could be a collapse of the Gaddafi government in Tripoli. It does look more likely than not at this point. I’m worried about it.

ALI MOORE: You say that you’re concerned about what would take over, but as you also say, your government and many other governments have now recognised the rebels as the legitimate governing forces in Libya. What is the seed of your concern?

DANIEL PIPES: Well, it’s a very strange thing. We’ve gone to support the rebels and we’ve recognised the rebels and we don’t know who they are. We don’t know who we’re backing. This is not a very smart policy. Isn’t it better first to know who you’re working with before you support them?

It was done in a fit of emotion and worry and here we are. So I think it was one of the less cautious efforts by NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) or western powers.

ALI MOORE: Who do you think they’re working with?

DANIEL PIPES: I fear that these are ultimately Islamists who will take control.

ALI MOORE: On what grounds?

DANIEL PIPES: There’s plenty of indication to suggest that the Islamists have an important role in the rebel forces, that they’re being cautious about showing their face, but that when they succeed and Gaddafi’s gone, they will then emerge as the power behind the rebels. And the more friendly faces will be pushed to the side and the Islamists will be in charge of Libya. This is not a good development.

I would rather have Gaddafi there than the Islamists. I think he is more isolated and in the end less dangerous than the Islamists would be.

ALI MOORE: As we said, though, the ball is already well and truly rolling on the removal of Gaddafi …

DANIEL PIPES: Indeed.

ALI MOORE: … although it is taking a lot longer than everyone said.

August 20th, 2011, 12:08 am

 

Ali said:

The intelligent Pres Kalbama attempting to answer a STUDENTS question. Didn’t go down very well.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XwQt3J1sjfQ&feature=player_embedded#!

GREAT ANSWER KALBAMA!!! UMM…UMM…YOU REALLY ANSWERED THE UMM…QUESTION!!!

August 20th, 2011, 12:20 am

 

jad said:

ANN,
“*** THEY’RE BACK! ***”
They never left to come back..

August 20th, 2011, 12:22 am

 

N.Z. said:

Sheila, there is always two sides to each story, true. But when it comes to dignity, there are no shades to dignity.

To oppress a nation for forty plus years, deny them dignity, freedom of speech and any form of social justice, more to turn a nation into slavery, serving one leader, one ideology for 41 years, you become colour blind. To answer your question, you either accept living under slavery, or demand emancipation.

Those who invent excuses, ifs and buts, are either selfish or are affected by the Stockholm syndrome.

As you once quoted a Syrian woman, who rightly defined the protesters mindset, almout wala-elmazala, this is precisely the emancipators mentality. Their colour is my colour. Reclaiming our dignity, our nation, we will start rebuilding on a clean palette, knowing well ahead, “It is not always black and white. Most of the time, it is just different shades of gray.”

What are your thoughts.

August 20th, 2011, 12:24 am

 
 

Ali said:

I don’t admire Daniel Pipes. He writes articles and doesn’t have the proof to back it up. His arrogance rubs off on his work and his accusations couldn’t be further from the truth.

August 20th, 2011, 12:33 am

 
 

Gus said:

Thank you Jad for all the nice informations you provide.
This Friday was not that bad, the revolutionists talks like they are wining and they are not.
All these sanctions are going to make it difficult for average syrians but my guess is Syria is going to survive.
I no longer get surprised by what people who support this revolution say or do, they are lost somewhere.

August 20th, 2011, 12:50 am

 

Ali said:

America IS funding [edited for invective]

Need anymore proof?

August 20th, 2011, 12:51 am

 

Ali said:

God protect the Syrian army.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jKUZuEPVyeQ&feature=player_embedded#!

There’s nothing else to it. These animals need to be hunted down.

August 20th, 2011, 2:33 am

 

real syrian said:

أمين حطيط يكشف الحقائق
by شبكة أخبار دمشق | D.N.N
قال الخبير العسكري اللبناني الجنرال أمين حطيط إن الخطة التي أعدت لسوريا هي من أربع مراحل المرحلة الأولى كانت تقوم على ما يسمى التحريك المدني الاحتجاجي الجماهيري في الشارع و المرحلة الثانية كانت التحدي الأمني وإسقاط النظام امنياً عن طريقين عصيان مدني مسلح وانشقاق في الجيش والمرحلة الثالثة سياسية أمنية و خروج المناطق المستقلة أو المناطق المعزولة والمرحلة الربعة التدخل العسكري البارد في المنطقة، ولكن هذه الخطة فشلت مما أدى الى حرق المراحل حيث لم تتوفر لديهم القاعدة الشعبية التي كان يعول عليها كما لم يتمكنوا من تحريك الشريط الحدودي كله دفعة واحدة كما ان الحكومة استطاعت السيطرة على الأوضاع، والمفاجئ بالنسبة للغرب كان موقف الجيش العربي السوري الذي قال عنه السفير الأمريكي فورد أمام الكونغرس ان الجيش السوري أذهلنا فقد أظهر انه جيش لا يمكن المس بوحدته فهو جيش محترف وعقائدي وبالتالي الرهان على الموقف الشعبي و الرهان على الجيش السوري سقط.
وأضاف: لذلك أبدلت الولايات المتحدة المراحل وبدأت ما أسميه في كتاباتي الثورة السياسية الأمريكية التي ابتدأتها الولايات الأمريكية الأسبوع الماضي بعد استعادة الحكومة لمدينة حماة التي كان الغرب وما يسمى بالمعارضة السورية في الخارج تعول عليها حيث كانت المدينة تعتبر الخزان الشعبي للحراك، وتمثلت بالضغوط الخارجية من كافة الأطراف داخل مجلس الأمن ومن خارجه كموقف تركيا وموقف بعض الدول العربية واعتبر حطيط ان هذه الخطة واهية لأنها تتطلب إجماع من الدول كلها وهذا غير ممكن بسبب وجود سد من دول روسيا والصين والهند التي لا أرى أي تغير في مواقفها في المرحلة الراهنة لان أي تغيير في موقف روسيا سيؤدي إلى خسارة روسيا لأصدقائها في المنطقة، إذ ان الصين وروسيا تدافعان عن مصالحهما العالمية في المنطقة ودخول روسيا في أي اتفاق مع أمريكا سيعود عليها سلباً ولن يتم تنفيذه .
وحول موقف تركيا في المنطقة قال العميد حطيط ان إيران أبلغت تركيا ان أي قاعدة عسكرية تركية قد تستخدم لضرب سوريا ستكون في مرمى الأهداف الإيرانية، وبعد تبدل موقف تركيا الأسبوع الماضي أبلغت إيران تركيا ان كافة المناطق التركية ستكون في مرمى نيران إيران.

August 20th, 2011, 2:51 am

 

OFF THE WALL said:

SQI # 124

Because EHSANI is a real expert, well respected, and not an ideologue.

August 20th, 2011, 3:45 am

 

Ali said:

I already posted this one but didn’t appear. So here it is. Enjoy

August 20th, 2011, 3:59 am

 

OFF THE WALL said:

# 120

Imperialistic powers have no leverage in Syria.

Lack of self criticism causes one to make many conflicting argument. From day 1, pro-regime mouthpieces here argued that the whole thing is a conspiracy orchestrated by imperialistic powers . I like the term as it condenses an ever expanding list of conspirators (Bandar, US, Israel, Hariri, KSA, QATAR, ……) as well as the list mentioned in #74, which includes khaddamists worms, zionist parasites, colonized syrian minds, zionized western policies, into simply imperialistic powers , which makes the characteristically bad writing of regime supporters shorter and less painful to read.

So powers which, in your own repeated opinion, have been able to mobilize all of these protesters, notwithstanding the so-called armed gang equipped with weapons that may include star-trek tricorders, for nearly half a year have no leverage in Syria?

Off course I am not adopting either one of your fanciful arguments, but the statement in 124 contradicts the all of the ever-shifting theses you and the band of regime-proponent here have been building for more than five months now.

August 20th, 2011, 4:30 am

 

Aboud said:

The past five months has proven just what a bunch of ineffective, ill disciplined thugs the Syrian “Army” is. Five months and they can’t subdue a so called armed salafi insurrection that is leaderless? LOL!

No wonder that scared little rabbit Besho never fired a shot on the Golan and let the Lebanese do his fighting for him.

August 20th, 2011, 6:01 am

 

Aboud said:

OTW, don’t forget the Pope, Switzerland and Japan that are part of the imperialist plot to remove junior 🙂

August 20th, 2011, 6:03 am

 

Aboud said:

Now the pathetic menhebaks (whose only knowledge of forums is how to push the dislike button) will call Rami Khouri a Salafi LOL!

http://www.dailystar.com.lb/Opinion/Columnist/2011/Aug-20/Bashar-Assad-has-one-choice-how-to-exit.ashx#axzz1VZ5Dy79j

Bashar Assad has one choice: how to exit
August 20, 2011 01:53 AM
By Rami G. Khouri
The Daily Star

President Bashar Assad of Syria has painted himself into a corner from which he has options to determine only one thing: How does he leave office and start a democratic transition in the country?

The past week saw simultaneous and heightened American, Turkish, Arab and United Nations pressure on him to stop using military force against his demonstrating citizens who have challenged his regime across the entire country for five months. Thursday’s demand by leading Western powers that Assad step down immediately seals the imminent collapse of the Damascus regime that was initiated by Syrian citizens and hastened by Arab and Turkish pressure.

Having proved totally insincere in grasping the opportunity to reform in the past 10 years, and incompetent in responding to the domestic challenge he has faced since April, Assad now can only choose the manner of his departure – if he is lucky and is not forced out of office or killed trying to remain there. He might find some instruction in the manners in which three former Soviet-bloc leaders responded when they too faced demands from their people for more rights, dignity and prosperity: Mikhail Gorbachev in the Soviet Union, Wojciech Jaruzelski in Poland and Nicolae Ceausescu in Romania.

Assad can try to change the system by radically reforming it quickly from the top by his own unilateral decisions and then try to ride out the transformation, as Gorbachev did before he was voted out of office democratically (and is now largely remembered positively around the world). Assad can gradually negotiate a democratic transition with the opposition who have demonstrated against him for months or years, as Jaruzelski realized he had to do in Poland before he ultimately stepped aside in 1990 to allow Solidarity and Lech Walesa to lead the country. Or, he can use brute force to try and stay in power, only to find his regime overthrown by popular demand, and he and his colleagues subjected to severe reprisals. This is what happened to Ceausescu after his government was overthrown in December 1989, and he and his wife were executed following a speedy trial.

The performance of Assad to date suggests that his words and promises have very limited credibility in Syria and around the world. That is why key regional and Western powers finally lost patience with him in the past week and demanded that he change course. Assad’s telling U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Wednesday that military and police operations against demonstrators had ended was probably too little, too late. If Assad really does stop military operations, the subsequent rising tide of demonstrators will drive him from office. And if he continues applying force against his own citizens, the combination of a persistent revolt and rising regional and international pressures will also drive him from office.

Assad’s problem is that nobody believes him anymore, and his support base will quickly thin out and probably collapse soon, given the dramatically heightened diplomatic isolation he has experienced in the past 48 hours. Even if the Syrian president stops using force and explores a political transition to a more open, democratic system, very few credible Syrians will engage him in such an exercise. They see him as politically discredited for having acted so viciously against his own people when they demonstrated peacefully. Assad’s one chance to mobilize significant domestic support to engineer a peaceful transition to power-sharing probably ended last May 24.

That was the day when the horribly mutilated body of 13-year-old Hamza Khateeb was returned to his family near Deraa in south Syria, nearly a month after he had been arrested during a protest. That one incident, more than any other, captured for many Syrians and others around the world the gruesome deeds that the Syrian regime was prepared to carry out against its own people, including the torture of children. The demonstrations grew all across the country after that day, and people’s outrage was heightened to the point where it was greater than the fear of the retributions of the security services.

Assad’s opponents refrained from calling for his removal for a long time, and asked for the reforms that they thought he also wanted to implement. He and his aides proved to be totally incompetent in grasping how strong was the popular demand for real change towards a more open and humane governance system.

Assad’s brutal reply to the populist demonstrations was similar to the Soviet use of tanks, guns, torture chambers and prison camps in Russia, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Romania. So one of the few things the Syrian president can do now – after 40 years of rule by his family – is to study those countries’ histories and decide whether he wants to go down as a Gorbachev, a Jaruzelski or a Ceausescu, because the Assad era in Syria is at its end.

The implications of that for the entire Middle East will be enormous, indeed incalculable, as the consequences of a democratic Syria wash across the parched Arab region like a mighty river in the desert.

Read more: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/Opinion/Columnist/2011/Aug-20/Bashar-Assad-has-one-choice-how-to-exit.ashx#ixzz1VZ5tn7PB
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)

August 20th, 2011, 6:51 am

 

Ali said:

HOMS: Reports state that terrorists groups have stolen four martyred army bodies from the National Hospital in order to mutilate them. One of the stolen bodies was that of a Syrian Army Colonel.

August 20th, 2011, 8:04 am

 

OFF THE WALL said:

Aboud
I was worried, glad to see you posting. Please do not take unnecessary risk. We are not worth it.

August 20th, 2011, 8:08 am

 

Ali said:

1,Exactly what we have been saying all along. PROOF!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXrcsXE7lHU&feature=player_embedded

2,Great answer Mr. President! Couldn’t even answer a students question. How fantastic a student can shut that man up!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XwQt3J1sjfQ&feature=player_embedded

3,Something fishy going on?
http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Politics/2011/Aug-20/Envoy-Ankara-supports-Syrias-stability-reform.ashx#ixzz1VXKvaAfQ

August 20th, 2011, 8:09 am

 

Samara said:

156. Aboud ,

We havent ruled them out yet.

August 20th, 2011, 8:12 am

 

Aboud said:

@159

So when is Besho going to send the tanks to invade Japan? Hehehe.

August 20th, 2011, 8:19 am

 

Aboud said:

Ali, your first link shows Hillary Clinton talking infront of congress about Pakistan. Wow, such devastating PROOF! Ironclad, indisputable PROOF! PROOF with no shred of doubt…of your ineptitude in commenting on forums heheheh.

Do the menhebaks even look through a video or read an article before posting it?

August 20th, 2011, 8:47 am

 

Ali said:

@169 Aboud
“Do the menhebaks even look through a video or read an article before posting it?”

Did you even WATCH the video before commenting?
Did you not hear the part when she admitted to FUNDING WAHABIS?
Watch it again and then don’t comment because you wont have anything to say

August 20th, 2011, 8:53 am

 

sheila said:

To dear #149. N.Z.,
I completely see your point, however, we have to open our minds and eyes and recognize that there are legitimate concerns for some people to cling onto this regime. There is the old Christian woman living in a village, watching Syrian TV (because this is all she has) and believing everything they are telling her. She is imagining a new Syria without Assad, with bearded men running the show and preventing her from going to her church (which is really her life) or even bombing her church and leaving her with nothing. Imagine the Alawii peasant in a remote village thinking how his kids will be slaughtered if the regime falls as revenge for all the atrocities this regime committed. Imagine the street vendor supporting a family of seven, who can not take his cart out anymore and can not put food on the table. Imagine the owner of a factory, who has a big loan to pay back, who is having to lay off his workers and can not afford to make his loan payments anymore. There are a lot of legitimate reasons. Some people will sacrifice everything for freedom, some people do not see the rainbow at the end of the tunnel and some people will loose their livelihood with the fall of this regime. You and I might not see their point of view clearly or understand it, but for them it is genuine and true. We are looking at the big picture, the devil is in the details.

August 20th, 2011, 9:08 am

 

EHSANI2 said:

Off the wall,

Thank you for the kind words. I happen to enjoy your writings tremendously

August 20th, 2011, 2:26 pm

 

Khalid Tlass said:

Aboud, are you safe ? Is all quite in Bab sbaa and Baba Amr ?

August 20th, 2011, 4:55 pm

 

Dee Larry said:

Sometimes it is SO difficult to know what’s going on in the middle east! Since I have family there I’m always eager to hear the arab news !

August 25th, 2011, 10:26 am

 

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