News Round UP (23 March 2012)

Islamists seek influence in Syria uprising, By LEE KEATH and ZEINA KARAM | AP

BEIRUT (AP) — The gunmen in eastern Syria, wielding grenade launchers and assault rifles, announced on the Internet they were forming the “God is Great” Brigade and joining the country’s rebellion. They swore allegiance to the Free Syrian Army and vowed to topple President Bashar Assad.

But unlike many other rebel bands, they wrapped their proclamation in hard-line Islamic language, declaring their fight to be a “jihad,” or holy war, and urging others to do the same.

“To our fellow revolutionaries, don’t be afraid to declare jihad in the path of God. Seek victory from the One God. God is the greatest champion,” the brigade’s spokesman said in the January video. “Instead of fighting for a faction, fight for your nation, and instead of fighting for your nation, fight for God.”

As Syria’s uprising evolves into an armed insurgency, parts of the movement are taking on overt religious overtones. Islamic movements in and out of the country are vying to gain influence over the revolt in hopes of gathering power if Assad falls.

The Islamists’ role complicates choices for the United States and other nations who say they want to help the opposition without empowering radicals; a string of anti-regime suicide bombings have raised fears of al-Qaida involvement.

The groups diverge from violent jihadi movements to political moderates like the Muslim Brotherhood, which has already used the Arab Spring revolutions to vault to power in Tunisia and Egypt elections.

Their growing influence is seeding divisions within an already fractured opposition. A week ago, several prominent figures quit the Syrian National Council, the body of exiles that has tried to emerge as the opposition’s political leadership. They complained the fundamentalist Brotherhood dominates the group.

The council is “a liberal front for the Muslim Brotherhood,” said Kamal Labwani, a veteran secular dissident, who broke away. He said the Brotherhood was trying to build allegiances on the ground in Syria.

“One day we will wake up to find an armed militia … controlling the country through their weapons,” Labwani said.

The U.S. has rejected sending arms to rebels, fearing a sectarian civil war. U.S. officials also warn that al-Qaida’s militants in Iraq are infiltrating Syria — worries heightened by attacks in Damascus and Aleppo using al-Qaida’s signature tactic, suicide bombings.

An Islamic militant group, the Al-Nusra Front, on Tuesday claimed responsibility for a double suicide bombing that killed 27 people in Damascus over the weekend. The group appears to be a front for al-Qaida’s Iraq branch, said a U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss matters of intelligence…

Some brigade videos feature no Islamic rhetoric, while others are rich with the rhetoric of ultraconservative movements — suggesting they back hard-line agendas.

The Free Syrian Army’s leadership in Turkey is secular-leaning, and there have been reports of frictions with the Brotherhood that have made the army reluctant to work closely with the council.

Ultraconservative Islamists known as Salafis are gaining ground among some factions. Salafis preach a strict doctrine similar to that in Saudi Arabia and contend that no law but Islamic Shariah law is permissible.

Sheikh Adnan al-Arour, a Syrian Salafi cleric based in the Gulf, regularly appears in fiery monologues on Saudi TV channels calling for jihad against the “infidel” Assad regime.

His influence is shown by the open allegiance declared by several rebel brigades. One, called the “Supporters of God Brigade” in Hama, praised him as “the leader of the revolution” in February.

— Finally, there is the Syrian National Council, the 270-member group made up mainly of exiles headed by secular dissident Burhan Ghalioun. It has tried with little success to gather the opposition under its umbrella.

A video posted on YouTube last week showed a former Syrian Brotherhood leader, Ali Sadr el-Din Bayanouni, admitting the Brotherhood nominated Ghalioun as council leader merely as a “front” more easily accepted by the West.

“We did not want the Syrian regime to take advantage of the fact that Islamists are leading the SNC,” Bayanouni says in the video.

A London-based Brotherhood spokesman, Zuhair Salem, denied the group was trying to dominate.

“We joined the revolution to bolster it, not to control it,” he said.

The Brotherhood has had no organization on the ground since the 1980s, when it waged a violent campaign, assassinating regime figures. Assad’s father Hafez Assad retaliated by almost destroying their main stronghold, the city of Hama, killing thousands and sending members fleeing abroad. Since then, mere Brotherhood membership has been punishable by death.

Ex-council member Labwani and others in the opposition say the Brotherhood is using the council to rebuild by distributing money and weapons, key levers for influence. The Brotherhood has a powerful donor network among members in exile and supporters in oil-rich Gulf countries…

Syrian rebels running out of ammunition as government presses offensive,
By Liz Sly, March 22 in Wash Post

ANTAKYA, Turkey — Syrian rebels battling the regime led by President Bashar al-Assad are running out of ammunition as black market supplies dry up, neighboring countries tighten their borders and international promises of help fail to materialize, according to rebel commanders and defected soldiers who have crossed into this Turkish border town in recent days in a quest for money to buy arms.

They describe what appear to be desperate conditions for the already lightly armed and loosely organized rebel force, made up of defected soldiers and civilians who in recent months have banded together in the name of the Free Syrian Army, transforming what had been an overwhelmingly peaceful uprising into an armed revolt.

Protesters opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad face violent responses from security forces, and the United States has closed its embassy in the country as the violence grows.

The rebels have long been appealing to the outside world for military intervention and weapons to help their struggle. But they are acknowledging for the first time that the rebellion, at least the armed portion of it, might be faltering in the face of a concerted government offensive aimed at definitively crushing the year-old revolt.

“Day after day, the Free Syrian Army keeps fighting and fighting, but day after day, we are running out of ammunition, and, eventually, we just have to leave our area,” said Abu Yazen, 26, a defected soldier who joined the rebels in the summer but fled to Turkey this month with five comrades after they ran out of bullets in the northern province of Idlib.

He is living at one of the civilian refugee camps set up by the Turkish government, among scores of dejected fighters who have been showing up on a daily basis in and around the frontier town of Antakya as their ammunition runs out and hope fades that the international community will come to their rescue.

Since the highly publicized rout of Free Syrian Army fighters from the Baba Amr neighborhood of Homs three weeks ago, rebels also have been on the run within the country, staging retreats across a swath of territory in Idlib and from the eastern city of Deir al-Zour.

The withdrawals were prompted in part by a realization that the effort to hold ground in Baba Amr had been a strategic mistake for the heavily outgunned rebel force, said Capt. Ayham al-Kurdi, a Free Syrian Army spokesman and coordinator living in Antakya.

“In Baba Amr, the fighters put up a good fight,” he said. “But it caused major destruction, and many civilians died. Now we are strategizing to make sure we don’t make the same mistake again.”

Fighters now are withdrawing at the first sign that the government is preparing an offensive, he said, to spare civilians and conserve resources. They plan to focus instead on guerrilla tactics, such as roadside bombings and ambushes.

Kamal Al-Labwani: Syria’s Revolution at Year One: A Plan for Reorganizing the Opposition Fikra Forum, March 22, 2012

One year has passed since the onset of the Syrian Revolution, caused by the accumulation of continued corruption and authoritarian rule for half a century and from additional instigation by the wave of revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen. However, the revolution would not have erupted without two factors: the media and online social networking. This technology gave rise to a new form of alliance, assembly, and information sharing, which the security apparatus failed to prevent…..

Due to the oppressive security apparatus and the military, protesters were forced to adopt a different set of values to defy death and enable themselves to combat the violence and the use of ammunition against them. Some of the values were derived from religious customs, a trend that has now created an inconsistent mixture of beliefs and value systems among the opposition. Therefore, Syrian protestors are now at a crossroads between upholding the values of modernity, freedom, individual rights, democracy and liberalism on one hand and dealing with values of martyrdom, sacrifice, and religious principles on the other. This combination of beliefs is without a philosophical foundation and remains unresolved within mainstream culture.

Consequently, religious movements benefited from this environment and seized on the opportunity to name the protests as their own, while the minorities distanced themselves further from the movement they gradually felt alienated from. The well-organized religious movements, financed primarily from abroad, have been able to represent the revolution to the international community as well as within Syria. They paralyzed the liberal face of the Syrian National Council, taking them out of the equation. The religious movements also controlled the financing of relief efforts, the supply of weapons, and some of the armed battalions. They began buying loyalties from the armed groups in exchange for their support, while gradually ruling out other active actors from the scene.

Furthermore, the religious forces have continued to prepare themselves to assume exclusive power after the collapse of the state, monopolizing the revolution in which they had no original role, though they maintain the appearance of a civilian force. Thus, the revolution has been stolen and is no longer a catalyst towards a state of democracy and modernity. Instead, the future state of Syria will head towards a renewed form of despotism with a religious embodiment rather than secularism. This could lead to chaos and civil war should the new regime attempt to stay using forceful means of destruction and organized extermination as they perpetuate societal divides.

Hence, the urgent need has arisen to depart from this volatile scene. Immediate reforms are called upon to properly represent the revolution, its leadership, its slogans, and methods of support. These reforms are coupled with the insistence on the continuation of the revolution in line with its inherent cultural values, mandating the reproduction of religious values to reconcile them with the values ​​of modernity, freedoms, and democracy.

We, a group of non-partisan activists writing from within Syria, seek to properly reproduce the political representation in a balanced way that is in line with internal concerns through the establishment of a Transitional National Assembly (TNA). This assembly will adopt a constitutional declaration that will define the powers and functions of the opposition to organize them and determine the new identity of the state and its future system. We also seek to elect a General Secretariat of the Assembly to oversee the formation of a Government in Exile to represent the executive authority, which is responsible for organizing all local and external events abroad and is accountable and monitored by the Transitional National Assembly (TNA).

We submit this request to the Friends of Syria as a clear plan to bring down the current system by adopting an organized armed struggle that is national and non-partisan, with financial, logistical and political support of friends. We are also presenting a general plan for the interim period, including preparation to face the immediate concerns that will impose themselves on the morning of the fall of the regime in terms of constitutional, political, security, economic, and humanitarian issues…..

Syrian Cleric Sheikh Muhammad Badi’ Moussa: We Ruled It Is Permissible to Kill ‘Alawite Women and Children, but Advised the Free Syrian Army to Warn ‘Alawites before Raiding Their Villages – MEMRI

Following are excerpts from an interview with Syrian cleric Sheikh Muhammad Badi’ Moussa, which aired on Al-Hekma TV on March 14, 2012.

Arab Clerics Call to Kill Assad, Fight His ‘Illegitimate’ Regime

Senior clerics across the Arab world have issued fatwas stating that jihad against the Syrian regime is a duty incumbent upon every Muslim, and even permitting to kill Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. Some of the clerics also called to support the Free Syrian Army (FSA), which is fighting Assad’s regime.

Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi: Assad Must be Opposed and Killed

Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi, head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, told Al-Jazeera that clerics across the Muslim world agree that Assad must be fought against and even killed, because he is using his weapons against the peaceful Syrian people. Therefore, he said, the Muslims must wage jihad against him in their hearts, with their tongues (i.e., with words), or with weapons, as the FSA is doing. He added that it is a duty to fight this arrogant and tyrannical regime that is behaving as though it is God, and that the task of fighting it belongs first of all to the Syrians themselves, though the rest of the Muslims must assist them. It should be noted that in August 2011, Al-Qaradhawi signed his name to a fatwa that was published in the Gulf, which called to sever all official ties with the “heretical” Assad regime.

The Vatican condemns the “ethnic Cleansing in Homs by the Farouq Brigade. This Story in Arabic copied below

إعلام الفاتيكان: تطهير عرقي للمسيحيين في حمص من قبل “كتيبة الفاروق”

22 مارس 2012 – 9:21 PM : وكالة الأنباء الفاتيكانية ” فيدس”

“دير مارجرجس” في حمص (منتديات صافيتا)

قالت وكالة الأنباء الفاتيكانية ” فيدس” في تقرير نشرته “يتواصل تطهيرٌ عرقي للمسيحيين من قبل أعضاء كتيبة الفاروق ذات العلاقة بالقاعدة”، على حد تعبيرها.

وأضافت الوكالة أن هذا ما أكّده بيان “أرسلته الكنيسة الارثوذكسية السورية التي تضمّ 60% من المؤمنين المسيحيين في سوريا لوكالة فيدس. وقام متشددون إسلاميون مسلحون – يقول النصّ – بطرد 90% من مسيحيي حمص واحتجزوا بيوتهم بالقوّة”.

وبحسب مصادر المترابوليتية الأرثوذكسية، “ذهب المتشددون من منزل إلى منزل في أحياء الحميدية وبستان الديوان، وأجبروا المسيحيين على المغادرة دون إعطائهم الفرصة لأخذ أي شيء من ممتلكاتهم”.

وبحسب تقرير الوكالة المسيحية “كتيبة الفاروق عناصرُ مسلحة من القاعدة ومرتزقة أتوا من ليبيا والعراق”.

CFR: The Great Syrian Divide, 2012-03-22

Joshua Landis and Interviewer: Bernard Gwertzman discuss the Syrian National Council, led by westernized Syrians, which succeeded in getting sanctions imposed on the Assad regime, failed to get Western military intervention. But it does not trust the more militant Islamists who are actually in combat within Syria, and are refusing to provide them with money and weapons. The chances for the just-passed UN Security Council …

Why Washington Didn’t Intervene In Syria Last Time,by Richard W. Murphy – Foreign Affairs

In 1982, the United States said very little about Hafez al-Assad’s shelling of Hama and no one suggested that the United States intervene. In the wake of the Arab Spring, Washington is willing to speak out against Bashar al-Assad’s crackdown in Homs, but is not yet willing to send in troops.

Wickedness of the human mind cloaked in pop lyrics,  Theodore Dalrymple March 24, 2012, Telegraph

SOME men are born evil, some achieve evil, and some have evil thrust upon them. Bashar al-Assad of Syria falls into the third category; but from the point of view of his victims, it hardly matters. For them, evil is evil and death is death. The psychological origins of a man’s crimes don’t make them less real or horrible to those who suffer from them.

The now-public emails exchanged between the Syrian dictator, his wife and their immediate circle are those of a band of people physically insulated from the hardships and horrors of their own country and who are given alternately to self-pitying sentimentality and callous flippancy. In other words, the emails are entirely plausible as a picture of the life in the court of Bashar al-Assad.

When you look at pictures of Assad you see a weak man, whom you would expect to be a pettifogger rather than a brute. But push a pettifogger to the wall and he is capable of the greatest obduracy, which is the strength of the weak. A cornered rat, that normally resides incognito, is a ferocious and dangerous beast, even if he remains in essence weak and highly vulnerable.

Bashar al-Assad was never intended for the dictatorship. That role was reserved for his far more extrovert, flashy and outwardly vicious brother who was killed in a car accident caused by his typically intemperate driving. A man who knows from an early age that he will inherit supreme power is inclined to believe that even the laws of physics will bend to his will, and that he can therefore drive like a lunatic with impunity. Bashar was not like this; on the contrary, he was shy, retiring and anxious to succeed in his own profession, that of ophthalmology.

When he was in London learning his profession, therefore, he made no waves; he lived modestly, if comfortably; by all accounts he was a quiet, polite and careful doctor who was nice to his patients and respectful of his seniors. It is even probable that when he returned to Syria as heir-apparent he harboured genuinely reformist ideas and intentions. But once he returned home, the logic of the situation was all against him. His father was a brutal, vicious mass murderer, the leader of a brutal, vicious, mass-murdering political movement. If Bashar had been a strong, brave man, he would have refused the poisoned chalice; but, having accepted it, he had to drain it to the dregs. Latin American gangsters give people a choice: plata o plomo, silver or lead, money or the bullet; for Bashar al-Assad, it was power or total extinction, not only for himself, but for his entire group.

His wife, the beautiful, educated, Anglicised daughter of a successful Syrian physician exiled in London, was no more destined by nature for the role of dictator’s wife than he for that of dictator. Her metamorphosis from Mrs Assad to Eva Peron and then to Elena Ceausescu was by a process not altogether of her choosing. Furthermore, power not only corrupts but insulates from reality, both physical and moral. Bad actions come to be rationalised as necessary and then even as good.

Syria: Asma al-Assad cannot be barred entry to Britain, William Hague admits, Daily Telegraph by Bruno Waterfield,  23 Mar 2012

Asma al-Assad, the British-born wife of Syrian President Bashar, cannot be barred entry to Britain, despite an EU Travel ban, but is not expected to head there given the current circumstances, William Hague has admitted.

Mrs Assad, as well as her husband’s mother, sister and sister-in-law, have been banned from travelling to European Union countries and freezing any assets she may have there. The foreign ministers also imposed a ban on eight government ministers, while the assets of two Syrian companies were frozen.

“British passport holders do obviously have a right of entry to the United Kingdom,” Mr Hague said. “But given that we are imposing an asset freeze on all of these individuals and a travel ban on other members of the same family and the regime, we are not expecting Mrs Assad to try to travel to the United Kingdom at the moment.”

Under Home Office guidelines however, Mrs Assad would be allowed back intro Britain if she so wished.

“If you are a UK citizen then you can’t be refused entry to the UK”, the Home Office says.

The Home Office added: “It is important to note that sanctions are imposed on individuals to encourage them to change their behaviour. While this is based on evidence, sanctions are not the results of a criminal conviction and therefore the imposition of sanctions would not lead to automatic arrest or action to deprive someone of their nationality.”

Her status is somewhat unclear however. Nigel Kusher, a British lawyer who is an expert on sanctions, said he believed Mrs Assad is now effectively banned from traveling to the UK.

“No EU national and no EU company can make any funds or any economic resources available to Asma al-Assad, nor can anyone receive funds or economic resources from her,” Mr Kushner said. “And that means that, essentially, she won’t be able to go on any shopping trips in the EU or via third parties.”….

Assad Family Values, by Patrick Seale – Foreign Affairs

In February 1982, Hafez al-Assad put down a rebellion in the city of Hama by his Islamist opponents. Three decades later his son faced down a similar rebellion in Homs. These two events were remarkably similar — both Hafez and Bashar believed they were wrestling not only with internal dissent but with a large-scale American and Israeli conspiracy.

Preparing for Failure in Syria by Daniel Byman – Foreign Affairs

Washington wants to see Assad go, but it will be hard to unclench his hold without breaking Syria.The United States must prepare for state collapse now, so that it can try to prevent it later.

Al Arabiya: EU slaps travel ban, assets freeze on Assad’s wife and his entourage, 2012-03-23

The European Union on Friday banned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s wife Asma, and his mother, sister and sister-in-law, from travelling in the EU, aiming to pressure him into ending a crackdown on popular unrest and restrict his family’s …

One year of Syrian uprising: where is the Arab Spring? by Anthony A. Zeitouni

The Syrian uprising has just entered its second year with two big NO’s: NO political solution and NO military solution. The Military/Security option adopted by Assad’s regime a year ago failed to cool down the uprising, and failed to save the lives of civilians. But, why Assad’s regime look more unified than its opposition? Why The Syrian National Council, SNC has not yet launched a political discussion with the Syrians people, neither with ethnic, religious nor political groups? Assad and SNC are at loggerheads. Also, Assad’s regime and SNC have reached a fork in the road. But, there is still a road not yet travelled…..

From the great new service at Syria Reportkj: the blog Written by: Evelyn Aissa

Five Syrian Opposition Groups Form New Coalition” – Naharnet – Excerpt: “Five Syrian opposition groups on Saturday [March 17] announced the formation of a new coalition, a sign of how difficult opponents of the Damascus regime find it to cooperate, a year after the start of the protest movement. The five groups, meeting here, said their yet unnamed coalition would act independently from the Syrian National Council (SNC), the main opposition coalition which was set up in August to fight President Bashar Assad’s regime.”
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On the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria
Self Defense” – Majalla – “In an extensive interview with The Majalla the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria, Mohammed Riad Al- Shaqfa, insists that compromise with Assad regime is impossible and advocates the arming of opposition fighters.”
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On international intervention, diplomacy & disengagement 
Saving Syria: Assessing Options for Regime Change”  – The Brookings Institution – By Daniel L. Byman, Michael Doran, Kenneth M. Pollack, and Salman Shaikh. Excerpt: “This memo lays out six options for the United States to consider to achieve Asad’s overthrow, should it choose to do so: removing the regime via diplomacy; coercing the regime via sanctions and diplomatic isolation; arming the Syrian opposition to overthrow the regime; engaging in a Libya-like air campaign to help an opposition army gain victory; invading Syria with US-led forces and toppling the regime directly; and participating in a multilateral, NATO-led effort to oust Asad and rebuild Syria…For each course of action, this memo describes the strategy inherent to the option and what it would entail in practice. It also assesses the option’s advantages and disadvantages.”
What Assad Wants in Syria: Unsanctioned International Military Action” – Brookings Institution – By Salman Shaikh. Excerpt: “The Middle East region has seen too much international military intervention that does not advance the principles of legality, justice, and the promotion of human rights. Now is the time for the international community to act collectively according to such principles. In Syria, it has the ultimate responsibility to protect civilians and to save lives by preventing the most egregious mass violations of human rights in Homs and other towns and cities. Indeed, it is precisely by following these principles that the international community distinguishes itself from the Assad regime.”
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Advantages of a Syrian War” – The National Interest – By Morton Abramowitz. Abramowitx advocates for waging war in Syria for the purpose of strategic gains over Iran. Excerpt: “Iran likely believes this kind of an American-led attack on Syria will not happen. An attack on Syria, however, could constitute a truly defining moment for the much bigger Iranian nuclear issue. Tehran would find it highly difficult to intervene directly in Syria and would face a humiliating loss and greater isolation in the region. It would be a huge political shock with possibly vast internal repercussions.”
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Syria’s Crisis and the Future of R2P” – Foreign Policy – By Zack Beauchamp. Excerpt: “As the brutal crackdown in Syria turns one year old with little sign of a solution on the horizon, skeptics and defenders of invoking the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine can agree: Syria has put the doctrine, which obligates states to be concerned about the welfare of those outside its borders, in crisis.”

Tony Karon writes: The Kofi Annan peace plan unanimously endorsed Wednesday by the U.N. Security Council may pose an even greater dilemma for the Syrian opposition than it does for the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. That’s because while it demands a halt to the regime’s military operations against opposition strongholds, it also retreats from the previous insistence by Western and Arab countries — and the Syrian opposition — that Assad immediately step down and hand power to a unity government as the starting point of a political solution to the year-long uprising. Instead, the Security Council statement calls for

  • both the regime’s forces and armed opposition groups to accept a U.N.-supervised cease-fire;
  • daily pauses for humanitarian assistance;
  • the regime to release prisoners;
  • freedom of access for journalists;
  • freedom of assembly for peaceful protest; and for
  • “the Syrian government and opposition to work in good faith with the Envoy [Annan] towards a peaceful settlement of the Syrian crisis” by engaging “in an inclusive Syrian-led political process to address the legitimate aspirations and concerns of the Syrian people”.

It remains to be seen whether the regime will honor its stated willingness to engage in a political dialogue if the opposition puts down its weapons. It would certainly face massive peaceful protests if it honored Annan’s terms, and it has no intention of ceding power even if it talks of constitutional reform while shelling opposition strongholds. But the Council statement carries considerable weigh by the fact that it was endorsed by Russia and China, which had vetoed previous resolutions precisely because they demanded that Assad step down. The new resolution, and Assad’s mission, appears to reflect an acceptance that he’ll be at the table in any political dialogue to resolve the conflict.

But the demand that the opposition negotiate with the regime on the terms laid down by Annan poses a dilemma for the fractured Syrian rebellion, some of whose leaders are set to convene in Turkey on Thursday and Friday: What is won at the negotiating table typically reflects the balance of power on the ground. And the reality, there, is that the Assad regime has proven far more resilient than its domestic and foreign opponents had assumed it would be.

The lost stars: Why civil wars happen in Syria and Lebanon, March 22, 2012

Malik Al-Abdeh writes: How do we explain the de facto civil war unfolding in Syria today? How do we predict what course it will take? How do we come up with a viable and long-term solution?

A good starting point is to compare Syria with a country that bears a striking resemblance: Lebanon. This may seem surprising because the two countries (and two peoples) appear to be somewhat different.

Women, and particularly minority women, are surprisingly loyal to the Assad regime. The Assad emails leaked to the Guardian and al-Arabiyya demonstrate just how Westernized and “women friendly” the culture at the top has been. The emails showed how much the president preferred to email in English, prefered Western pop music, and liked his assistants young and sexy.   It may be a perverse culture that suffers from the “Rose in the Desert” syndrome, but it has its attractions to the young Westernized upper class women of Syria. The president has surrounded himself with women who are well educated, sexy, professional and competent. Doubtlessly, minority women fear that the next president may cultivate a “Black Robe in the Desert” syndrome…..

Allawi cites ‘dictatorship,’ Iranian control in Iraq, By Ben Birnbaum, The Washington Times, Thursday, March 22, 2012

Iraq’s former prime minister says the United States is ignoring an “emerging dictatorship” in his country, telling The Washington Times that Iran is “swallowing” Iraq and dictating its strategic policies. “To be honest, people speak about Arab Spring,” Mr. Allawi said. “What spring is this?

Comments (472)


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351. Uzair8 said:

#307 Jad

“Patrick Cockburn: The attempt to topple President Assad has failed”

Mr Cockburn, the attempt to topple the Assad regime is ongoing.

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March 25th, 2012, 11:37 am

 

352. Juergen said:

Omar Offendum

Straight street- how i miss it!

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March 25th, 2012, 11:37 am

 

353. Ghufran said:

There is no doubt that the SNC and the FSA leaders outside Syria are receiving financial support, nobody knows how much and by whom, but you can not send tens of politicians to 5 stars hotels for free, he GCC dirty money was and always be a corrupting force all over the globe especially in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, the GCC leaders have money but they lack the ability to fight and have no cultural or moral authority except when it comes to some regressive sheikhs who send messages of hate and violence to their uneducated and confused followers.

Without the active participation of neighboring countries, money alone will not be enough to smuggle heavy weapons to armed rebels, that participation is in doubt in the case of Lebanon,Iraq and Jordan,but everybody in the Middle East has a price. Without a major defection in the army, has not heppened after a year, and a clear US position in support of a violent regime change, small players’ ability to drastically change the power balance in Syria will be minimal,this means a long and bloody fight if Anan and Russia fail in the next few weeks, as for Turkey and the GCC, they are not relevant any more unless the Turks decide to do something stupid in the name of fighting the PKK.

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March 25th, 2012, 11:39 am

 

354. irritated said:

#350 MajedAlkhadoon

Absence of important Arab players will have several immediate effects:

– Discredit the AL and weaken even further the “Syria plan”
– Humiliate Iraq that would prefer to get closer to Iran
– Possible sneaky military actions from the GCC on Syria
– Strengthen the UN intervention through Annan

It also show that that Arabs are incapable to agree on anything, nothing new.

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March 25th, 2012, 11:46 am

 

355. Afram said:

345. Juergen said:
Afram

Desert cowboys, can i borrow that from you?
=======
NO YOU CAN’T// I complain in the strongest possible terms and I am loading my AK47 as I write.

HAHAHA LOL!…Without question you may boss man, feel free, Danke Schoen

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March 25th, 2012, 11:47 am

 

356. irritated said:

352. Uzair8 said:

“Mr Cockburn, the attempt to topple the Assad regime is ongoing.”

In 2013, it would be no longer necessary, his term will be over

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March 25th, 2012, 11:49 am

 

357. zoo said:

Opposition blames a government conspiracy.

Amid chaos of uprising, crime wave hits Syria

http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/story/2012-03-24/syria-violence/53747466/1

BEIRUT (AP) – Streets of Damascus that were crowded until late at night stand mostly empty after sunset as Syrians stay home, fearing robberies and kidnapping. Reports of thefts, armed robberies and house break-ins have swelled, an apparent sign of criminals taking advantage of the turmoil as the regime of President Bashar Assad wages a bloody, nationwide crackdown against an opposition demanding his ouster.

The government blames members of the opposition or army defectors for much of the crime. The opposition, in turn, blames the regime, saying it is allowing the lawlessness so it can tell the public that the uprising has brought chaos.

(..)

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March 25th, 2012, 11:57 am

 

358. Son of Damascus said:

Dear Jad,

I don’t see the LCC as being a political party, it is a movement that represents different facets of Syrian society, a grass roots movement that is composed of local committees that organize protests, film them, treat the injured (that would be at the very least arrested if they go to public hospitals, if not tortured to death), get supplies to the make shift hospitals, bury the dead under the scope of sniper fire, document the deaths. Not to mention tremendous gumption that people like the late Syrian Pioneer do to film the crimes of the regimes, many of them die and there only crime was holding a video camera.

These LCCs are filling in what the state is denying it own people, getting the message out to the under sieged cities that we haven’t forgotten you. Ever notice how every friday every protest has the same theme, or that the songs of protest echo the same tune from one end of the country to the other, this is not by coincidence. They have filled many of the civil aspects that have been denied, and doing so under extremely harsh and deadly circumstances, to me these types of actions mean so much more than the empty rhetoric coming out of all the “political” groups (NCB, SNC, and the regime). I trust them not for their political platform, but for their humanistic and civil platform.

I am in full agreement that a political solution is what is best for Syria, and that a national dialogue is the only way for us to turn off the bloody faucet. But at the same time I can’t see Bashar and his inner circle able to deliver on that, for they are the main reason that faucet has been pouring out the blood of 10,000 Syrians. He must be forced out whether by the Syrian people, Military coup, or the Russians buying him and his family a one way ticket out Syria. Before that happens I doubt anyone will be willing to sit with the regime to hammer out a deal to better the future of Syria, for as long as Assad in the helm he has no qualms in burning Syria down for his family’s illegitimate throne.

I fully agree with you when it comes to the GCC, Western Powers and I would add to that list Russia, China, and Iran. All are playing dirty politics while Syrian blood is being spilled, for them a weakened divided Syria suits their interests just fine.

Amal Hanano wrote a wonderful piece about the some of the activists that worked and are still working hard to spread the message of Freedom and Dignity. I won’t copy & Paste an excerpt for the entire article is great and interesting read, she explains things in ways I wish I can only articulate (Guess thats why she is paid to write, while I am not).

http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/4788/the-real-me-and-the-hypothetical-syrian-revolution

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March 25th, 2012, 12:00 pm

 

359. Mina said:

Zoo #358
And for the same situation in Egypt and Libya, they blame who?

http://www.euronews.com/newswires/1454520-libyan-militiamen-storm-luxury-tripoli-hotel/

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March 25th, 2012, 12:04 pm

 

360. DAWOUD said:

كسر اصابع بشار وحسن مثل ما كسروا اصابع علي فرزات

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-17491184

Ali Ferzat: Revolution redefines art in Syria
By Sebastian Usher
BBC News

Ali Ferzat’s hands sweep and glide and conjure shapes as he sits in a small art gallery behind Sloane Square in London where his sly deconstructions of authoritarianism are on show.

These are the hands that pricked and provoked the mukhabarat – the security police – in Syria into trying to smash them into silence.

It was last August when he was attacked by masked men in what he describes as one of the most secure parts of Damascus.

“I was beaten here, here and here,” he gestures. “My arms were black from the beating.”

He was dumped by the side of the road. The attack made headlines across the world.

Getting personal
Wiry and angular like Ferzat himself, his hands are now almost 90% back to normal, he says.

Continue reading the main story

Start Quote

“The uprising has redefined art in Syria… it’s exposed the gulf between real artists and mercenaries in the pay of the state”

Ali Ferzat
The beating came as his style changed from general ridicule of the political system in Syria to specific caricatures of President Bashar al-Assad and his circle.

Ferzat says the switch had begun several months before the protest movement erupted last year.

“I started to get personal,” he explains. “Before, I made sure not to draw any official that could be recognised, even though my cartoons were based on real people. And even if someone in power felt they were being targeted, they wouldn’t say anything, because that would be like confirming it really was them.”

The change is evident from looking at one of his best-known cartoons where a brutish – but generic – apparatchik scrawls a smile on the bandaged face of a beaten prisoner.

Compare that to one of the drawings he did just before his beating.

It shows President Assad himself sweatily clutching a suitcase as he tries to hitch a ride with Colonel Muammar Gaddafi of Libya, who’s furiously driving a getaway car.

Stinging wasp
[…]

p.s., some of Ali Farzat’s must-see work is shown by clicking on the BBC link above!

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March 25th, 2012, 12:06 pm

 

361. Son of Damascus said:

Syria: Local Residents Used as Human Shields
Reports of Residents Forced to March in Front of Soldiers in Idlib

MARCH 25, 2012

(Antakya, Turkey) – Syrian government forces have endangered local residents by forcing them to march in front of the army during recent arrest operations, troop movements, and attacks on towns and villages in northern Syria, Human Rights Watch said today.

Witnesses from the towns of al-Janoudyah, Kafr Nabl, Kafr Rouma, and Ayn Larouz in the Idlib governorate in northern Syria told Human Rights Watch that they saw the army and pro-government armed men, referred to locally as shabeeha, force people to march in front of the advancing army during the March 2012 offensive to retake control of areas that had fallen into the hands of the opposition. From the circumstances of these incidents, it was clear to the witnesses that the purpose of this was to protect the army from attack.

“By using civilians as human shields, the Syrian army is showing blatant disregard for their safety,” said Ole Solvang, emergencies researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The Syrian army should immediately stop this abhorrent practice.”

[…]

http://www.hrw.org/node/106060

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March 25th, 2012, 12:09 pm

 

362. Uzair8 said:

Any truth to the following story from YaLibnan?

Syria negotiated with Al Qaeda affiliate to assassinate Lebanese Druze leader Jumblatt

March 19, 2012

The Al-Qaeda affiliated Abdallah Azzam Brigades on Saturday issued a statement that Syria “offered to release some of our Jihadist leaders imprisoned in the jails of the Syrian regime in exchange for assassinating Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt.” No further details were offered.

Read more:

http://www.yalibnan.com/2012/03/19/syria-negotiated-with-al-qaeda-affiliate-to-assassinate-lebanese-druze-leader-jumblatt/

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March 25th, 2012, 12:30 pm

 

363. Son of Damascus said:

Dawoud,

I understand your anger and distrust of the Russian government, however that should not be an excuse to equate the Russian cultures to prostitution and weapons transactions.

When you write in such ways it taints the message you are trying to convey, masks it with a message of hate, when I believe you are writing to express your feeling about Freedom for Syria which is not a hateful message.

As for anti-virus try Sophos, extremely reliable and extremely easy to remove.

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March 25th, 2012, 12:39 pm

 

364. DAWOUD said:

364. UZAIR8

Syria and Iran use al-Qa’ida terrorists whenever its advantageous for them to do so! They are both as bad as al-Qa’ida.

They now want to kill Walid Junblatt in the same way Hafez killed Kamal Junblatt. Also in the same way that Bashar and Hasan$$$ of the terrorist Hizb$$$ killed Rafiq al-Hariri! Syria, Iran, and Hizb$$# are bastions of terror against secular and Sunni Arabs!

This story is further evidence that the FBI should pay attention to Hizb$$$ supporters here in the United States!

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March 25th, 2012, 12:41 pm

 

365. Alan said:

http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c32/374245.html
RF calls on other countries to join convention on fighting nuke terrorism
WASHINGTON, March 24 (Itar-Tass) — Russia calls on countries that have not joined the conventions on physical protection of nuclear materials and on fighting acts of nuclear terrorism to ratify these documents at the earliest, says the article “Seoul summit – view from Moscow” by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, published in The Washington Times newspaper.

The article, printed on the eve of the nuclear security summit to be held in Seoul on March 25-27, says that Russia signed and ratified the convention on physical protection of nuclear materials and an amendment to it as well as the Russian-brokered convention on fighting acts of nuclear terrorism, adopted by the international community.

The article notes that Russia calls on other states that have not done this, to speed up domestic procedures on joining these important international instruments.

The minister notes that Russia and the US are now the most advanced states in using nuclear energy.

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March 25th, 2012, 1:00 pm

 

366. Alan said:

363. DAWOUD said:
Boycotting Russian productS!!!!!

The Proton-M rocket with a communication satellite started from Baikonur Cosmodrome
http://www.ria.ru/science/20120325/605652597.html
MOSCOW, 25 мар – RIA Novosti news agency. The carrier rocket “Proton-M” with the razgonny Briz-M block and the communication satellite Intelsat-22 started on Sunday from Baikonur Cosmodrome, the representative of Russian Federal Space Agency reported RIA Novosti news agency.
Start took place in an estimated time. The separation of the spacecraft from the razgonny Briz-M block is planned on 7.40 Moscow time Monday, – the interlocutor of agency told.

The contract on use of “Protona-M” for removal of the Intelsat 22 satellite was signed earlier by the International Launch Services Inc company. (ILS).
The Intelsat spacecraft in the 22nd mass of 6,4 tons is created by the Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems company by request of the international communications service provider Intelsat Corp. The satellite will be used for providing with communication of users of Africa, South East Asia, the Middle East with possibility of establishment of communication with Europe. In total onboard the satellite there will be 48 transponder of the S-range and 24 transponder of a Ku-range. Intelsat 22 will have also on the board special equipment of a microwave range for Armed forces of Australia.
The ILS company was registered in 1995 to the USA, its staff the apartment located in the city of Reston (Virzhiny’s staff, the USA). Since May, 2008 the controlling stake of ILS belongs to the Russian Center of a name of Khrunichev which develops and makes the carrier rocket “Proton-M” and the razgonny Briz-M block.

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March 25th, 2012, 1:10 pm

 

367. Alan said:

I don’t think that Putin is incited against the West. Henry Kissinger
12/03/201
http://www.itar-tass.com/c12/363752.html
The former US Secretary of State, and nowadays one of the most authoritative experts in the field of the international relations Henry Kissinger considers that Vladimir Putin doesn’t adhere to the anti-western views. “I don’t think that it is incited against the West, – Kissinger in CNN interview declared. – It first of all the Russian patriot who is offended that was created in Russia in the 90th years”. According to Kissinger, the elected president of Russia “is revolted that he perceives as intervention in internal affairs of the country, and also that he perceives as aspiration of Americans to support his political opponents on purpose to push him overthrow”. Dialogue with Russia is possible also very constructive, the American diplomat considers.
In the heat of Cold war from 1973 to 1977 Kissinger held a post of the US Secretary of State and was one of initiators of a discharge in the relations of America and the Soviet Union. Henry Kissinger came to Russia repeatedly. Its last meeting with Vladimir Putin took place at the end of January of this year.

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March 25th, 2012, 1:14 pm

 

368. Uzair8 said:

#365 Dawood

Thanks for the response. I wonder how YaLibnan is regarded. Would it easily be dismissed as a source by pro-regime supporters?

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March 25th, 2012, 1:25 pm

 

369. Uzair8 said:

2 things.

Firstly, I came across a statement of the Farouq Battalion (FSA) responding to an alleged report by a Vatican news agency claiming ‘ethnic cleansing of Christians in Homs’. Names of pro-Assad families and alleged activites have been mentioned so I won’t post the statement but you can visit the link for yourself.

If the statement can be believed then it sheds light on some of the things that have occurred in Homs and also the relationship between the opposition and the christian community.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=389620887723922&set=a.327485463937465.84934.327233413962670&type=1

Secondly. I just watched a video and wonder why the soldiers would want to die for Assad?

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March 25th, 2012, 1:39 pm

 

370. Uzair8 said:

@363

If this Abdallah Azzam Brigades statement is genuine, then have they just endangered the safety of their leaders held in Syrian prison by publicly revealing the Syrian offer?

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March 25th, 2012, 1:44 pm

 

371. Mawal95 said:

According to Agence France Presse today, a security official in Jordan told Agence France Presse that Jordan has arrested 10 Syrians who claimed they were army defectors. They were arrested because they had left a designated area in the city of Mafraq in northern Jordan. “They lived in a building in a Mafraq area that is designated for Syrians who flee to Jordan. They were not allowed to leave that area without permission,” the Jordanian security official said. The were arrested on the same day they left the compound, a few days ago. The Jordanian security officials do not know if they are civilian rebels from Daraa, or true army defectors, or what. Haaretz has a phoney take on this story at: http://www.haaretz.com/news/middle-east/jordan-arrests-10-syrian-army-defectors-on-charges-of-spying-for-assad-regime-1.420642
http://www.naharnet.com/stories/en/34516-official-jordan-arrested-10-alleged-syrian-defectors

Speaking of phoney journalism. I very rarely visit CNN.com because I hold the quality of its journalism in strong contempt. But recently my comrades at SANA and Addounia have turned their guns onto CNN as a part of their التضليل الاعلامي programming. In the spirit of comradeship I offer the following rubbish about Homs Bab Amr from CNN which I came across a month ago. Listen to what CNN’s reporter says from time 1:50 to time 2:10 (and forget about the rest of the video): http://edition.cnn.com/video/#/video/world/2012/02/17/damon-homs-devestation.cnn . Then see the truth as broadcasted by the Syrian TV station Al-Ikhbaria Al-Souria, from time 10:40 to time 10:55 at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jeaL_iV0io

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March 25th, 2012, 1:56 pm

 

372. Mawal95 said:

Lavrov, 20 Mar 2012: “An analysis of Russia’s statements on Syria will make it patently clear that the revision of Russia’s position is out of question…. Most statements by Western and some Arab countries showed a lack of insight into the Syrian crisis.”
http://twitter.com/#!/MFA_Russia

PS: Lavrov, 21 Mar 2012: “Unilateral sanctions against Iran do little to ensure non-proliferation and are simply strangling its economy.” http://twitter.com/#!/MFA_Russia . That right, the non-proliferation talk is a charade and the real motivator is blind bigotry against the Islamic Republic of Iran. Similarly, unilateral sanctions against Syria do little to ensure civic rights and are trying to sabotage Syria’s economy. The West is full of evil bigotry, as well as lack of insight and stupendous arrogance.

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March 25th, 2012, 2:09 pm

 

373. Uzair8 said:

We tend see on SANA show of support from some socialist organisation or another so I was wondering what the Socialist Worker UK was saying about Syria. I don’t think I’ve visitid their site since the Egyptian and Libyan uprisings.

Anyway, I came across a debate on there:

Debate: Should socialists support the revolt in Syria?
Tue 20 Mar 2012

Socialist Worker has supported the revolution in Syria—but not everyone on the left agrees. Here, Sami Ramadani argues that those leading the resistance are acting in the interests of the West. Simon Assaf, who writes regularly for Socialist Worker on the Middle East, responds by explaining why we should back the revolt and oppose Western intervention

Read more:

http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=27876

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March 25th, 2012, 2:10 pm

 

374. Uzair8 said:

I think Simon Assaf’s statement from the debate in previous post was brilliant.

I love this bit about the Syrian people’s change from previous silence :

“Up until recently many Syrians held their tongue because they understood the danger of the West and Israel.

As the only country supporting resistance to imperialism in the region, they put their interests last.

The Arab revolutions removed this burden from their shoulders.”

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March 25th, 2012, 2:14 pm

 

375. syria no kandahar said:

i am back into fighting the Holakos and wahabis of 21st century.
i spoke to my family in syria,this is a true story from a christian
soldier kidnapped by the terrorists called revolutionists in Idleb.
His family was contacted to give one million dollar.He was a hostage with many others for 15 days.They were routinely given(falaka)twice a day.His family negotiated with the terrorists through a Kurdish family in Idleb which was known by a kurdish family in the city where he lives.The terrorists finally agreed on 350000 liras.He was tortured day and night by the terrorists so called revolutionists in Idlib.He is not able to walk now.
Any one who supports such people is criminal.

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March 25th, 2012, 2:20 pm

 

376. Uzair8 said:

Last post for now.

I’m listening to Simon Assaf right now. If anyones interested see below. I didn’t know of him before.

Can the Syrian Revolution Succeed – Simon Assaf – 1st March 2012

http://www.swp.org.uk/video/01/03/2012/can-syrian-revolution-succeed-simon-assa

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March 25th, 2012, 2:35 pm

 

377. Alan said:

Syrian Ambassador to the UN Bashar Ja’afari claims in exclusive interview with RT
‘US & UK seek revenge on Syria for opposing Iraq war’

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March 25th, 2012, 2:40 pm

 

378. omen said:

photo

rebels quoting poet samuel taylor coleridge.

via

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March 25th, 2012, 3:27 pm

 

379. omen said:

what is patriotism?

Contrary to conventional wisdom, no less Sunnis benefited from the regime than Alawaites. Indeed many if not most Alawaites remain marginal and poor in Assad’s Syria.

As the country slides into civil war, it’s high time to reverse the direction of loyalty. Instead of sacrificing clan, sect and country for the leader, the latter must give up his authority to save the country he claims to love and defend.

Ultimately, when the chips are down, personal sacrifice for public good is the test of patriotism.

Otherwise, clan and the Alawaite minority, and military must sacrifice the dictator for the sake of future unity, peace and justice in the country.

Indeed, they need to do it for their own sake.

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March 25th, 2012, 3:46 pm

 

380. Alan said:

http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c32/374832.html
Lavrov asks Annan to interact with Syrian authorities, opposition
MOSCOW, March 25 (Itar-Tass) —— Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has called on UN/LAS Special Envoy for Syria Kofi Annan to interact both with the Syrian authorities and the opposition, the Russian Foreign Ministry reported on Sunday.
“A broad range of Syrian affairs was discussed. The minister noted that Russia supported Annan’s appointment to the position from the very start due to his experience and authority in the settlement of crises,” the ministry said.
Lavrov “stressed that all the sides must stop violence and the Syrian political process must begin,” it said.
“It was noted that the UN Security Council’s approval of the proposals of the special envoy created an opportunity of progress towards peaceful settlement of internal Syrian problems. This task has special significance for stability in Syria and the whole Middle East region,” the ministry said.
The world “should render common support to the Annan mission. This implies non-interference in Syrian internal affairs and impermissibility of support to either side to the conflict,” Lavrov said.

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March 25th, 2012, 3:49 pm

 

381. Hans said:

welcome back SNK we missed your contribution, I am glad you decided to come back.
Have you seen the traitor name Danny Abdel Nayem recently, i haven’t see his last works on CNN.
May be he was promoted to a secretary of information in the Grande country of Qatar or he was given a permanent prime time spot on Al Jazeera!

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March 25th, 2012, 3:51 pm

 

382. jad said:

Mawal,
Thank you for linking this by CNN, it proves again that Addounia and Alikhbarya and the Syrian TV have more credibility than many so called ‘professional’ tv channels and their spy journalists.
I point out this in my earlier comment
http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/?p=14041&cp=all#comment-303171
This strategy of opening holes in the walls inside a dense urban area is an israeli strategy, this is a very suspicious move by the armed militias of fsa, because it means that they are getting lots of help and training by foreigners, either NATO or even Israelis since they are the ones who plan and use this strategy not the Americans
You can check a whole paper about this in here:
Eyal Weizman: Lethal Theory
http://www.skor.nl/_files/Files/OPEN18_P80-99(1).pdf
And in this news:
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/08/03/world/israelis-clamp-down-on-nablus-hunting-suspects.html

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March 25th, 2012, 3:58 pm

 

383. Alan said:

http://www.oneworldscam.com/?p=576
On the Brink of Third World War
…………(…)…
A new paradigm shift is needed, rather than beating the drums of war. Moscow under President Putin has a great role to deter the American war hawks, aided by the peace loving Chinese. The Germans and other anti war Europeans, besides the good people of USA must join hands to abort this global conflagration. Russia’s key role in global peace, security for Israel, no attack on Iran, establishment of Palestine State, US – NATO exodus from Afghanistan, no interference in Baluchistan, return of Kashmir to Pakistan, US – China amity, all have to be part of Geopolitical peacemaking and war avoidance.

The alternative global nuclear war is too apocalyptic to contemplate.

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March 25th, 2012, 3:59 pm

 

384. Afram said:

The Love Connection/operation code name:how to beat up your wife,Islamiclly!

‘Pull her by the ear, beat her by hand or stick': How the Islamic guide to a happy marriage advises husbands to treat their wives

An Islamic ‘marriage guide’ book has sparked outrage – by advising men on the best ways to beat their wives.

A Gift For Muslim Couple tells husbands that they should beat their wives with ‘hand or stick or pull her by the ears’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2119846/Muslim-guide-marriage-tells-husbands-beat-hand-stick.html#ixzz1q9zrioAv
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2119846/Muslim-guide-marriage-tells-husbands-beat-hand-stick.html#ixzz1q9ywxuuY

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March 25th, 2012, 4:06 pm

 

385. omen said:

thank you, uzair8 @ 2:35. appreciate the summary of attempted campaign to strike.

wish robert fisk had pointed this out on aljazzera’s empire.

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March 25th, 2012, 4:20 pm

 

386. ss said:

“There is no doubt that the SNC and the FSA leaders outside Syria are receiving financial support, nobody knows how much and by whom, but you can not send tens of politicians to 5 stars hotels for free, he GCC dirty money was and always be a corrupting force all over the globe especially in Lebanon”

True, money, support, and shelters in Turkey. This is not gona help them though. All the nasty players thought that the regime will end in few months. The political game changed now and the regime gave a slap on the face to all the big players. FSA was just a mean to reach the goal. It is a the weakest link. There is no future for FSA. The army is in full control of Syria and we are now 100% better compared to last year. No one can stop a Jihadist who wants to kill himself and take the lives of innocent Syrians.

I would like to say one more word on people who claim they do not like 3ar3oor and who claim that no one in Syria is Salafi and no one like 3ar3oor. That is not correct, 3ar3oor became the super star and the idol of the opposition. If you really dislikes 3ar3oor you should denounce the terrorist, jehadist attacks that killed people in Aleppo, qasa3, etc. If you do not feel sorry for that then you and 3ar3oor are on the same page.

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March 25th, 2012, 4:32 pm

 

387. ss said:

Dear moderator:

Till when my comments will await moderation????????????????
Can you explain to me why this discremination????????

“*Your comment is awaiting moderation.*”

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March 25th, 2012, 4:33 pm

 

388. jna said:

383. jadsaid:

This strategy of opening holes in the walls inside a dense urban area is an israeli strategy, this is a very suspicious move by the armed militias of fsa, because it means that they are getting lots of help and training by foreigners, either NATO or even Israelis since they are the ones who plan and use this strategy not the Americans.

I agree with most of your comments but I think your conclusion that this is evidence of NATO or Israeli training is a stretch. Israel’s use of hole punching buildings was very well publicized during the second Palestinian intifada. I’m sure many Syrians would remember the technique. There is also a difference in why Syrian opposition use it. They punch holes for fast safe exit. The Israelis punched holes to avoid boobytraps in alleyways.

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March 25th, 2012, 4:38 pm

 

389. Jad said:

Dear SNK
عم قول لحالي ليش الصفحة مضوية، مليووووون أهلين:).

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March 25th, 2012, 4:56 pm

 

390. Jad said:

Jna
It’s blackwater or other pro mercenaries then.
Which prove that Wikileaks and Stratford reports are actually true, no?

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March 25th, 2012, 4:58 pm

 

391. jad said:

تعليق على دعوة إلى ( مؤتمر المعارضة) في اسطنبول.

وصلت رسائل ( غير إسمية ) عبر البريد الإلكتروني إلى عدد من الناشطين والشخصيات المعارضة السورية ، ومنهم بعض الناشطين والشخصيات من هيئة التنسيق الوطنية ، تدعو للمشاركة في (مؤتمر المعارضة) الذي سيعقد في استنبول في السادس والعشرين من آذار الجاري ، مذيلة باسم السيد خالد بن خلف العطية وزير الدولة للشؤون الخارجية في قطر والسيد خالد شفيق السفير في الخارجية التركية ، وتسوغ ذاتها بقرار اللجنة الوزارية العربية الصادر في 12/ 11/ 2011 وبالخلاصات الرئاسية لمؤتمر أصدقاء الشعب السوري الذي انعقد في تونس ، وتقول بأن (المؤتمر سيضم الأطراف الرئيسية في المعارضة والشخصيات الوطنية التي تعمل من أجل الانتقال السلمي للسلطة في سورية.)

تعقيبا على هذه الدعوة يهمنا أن نوضح ما يلي :

أولا ـ إن الدعوة الصادرة عن طرفين رسميين (أحدهما عربي )تخالف قرار الجامعة العربية ( في حين تقول إنها تأتي بالانسجام معه)، فالجامعة هي المسؤولة عن تنفيذ ذلك القرار وعن الدعوة لمؤتمر كهذا بالتالي ، وهي لم تكلف بلدا عربيا بمفرده ولا غير عربي بهذه المهمة ،ولم تتخل عن مسؤوليتها بهذا الشأن على حد علمنا، بل إنها أعطت إشارات متعددة على تمسكها بمهمتها هذه، مما يجعل هذه الدعوة تبدو كمحاولة للقفز فوق دور الجامعة ومصادرته لصالح شراكة متفردة وملفتة للانتباه بين قطر وتركيا، تستبق القمة العربية المزمعة في بغداد.

ثانيا ـ تقول الدعوة إن المؤتمر (سيضم الأطراف الرئيسية في المعارضة والشخصيات الوطنية التي … الخ )، الأمر الذي يشكل تجنيا كبيرا على الحقيقة والواقع، حيث لم توجه الدعوة لمعارضة الداخل وقواها المنظمة الرئيسية والشخصيات الوطنية التي تشكل مع قوى الثورة الجديدة الجسم الرئيسي والأساس في المعارضة الفعلية، واقتصرت الدعوات على عدد من الأفراد الذين اختارتهم الجهة الداعية بنفسها متجاهلة حق أحزابهم وتياراتهم ومجموعاتهم وتحالفاتهم التي ينتمون إليها في اختيار من يمثلها إذا قررت المشاركة، ومتجاهلة عددا من الأحزاب والتيارات والأطر التحالفية و شخصياتها تجاهلا تاما .

ثالثا ـ وأن تخول جهات غير سورية نفسها حق اختيار من يمثل المعارضة السورية في هذا المؤتمر أو في غيره ، وأن تدعوهم بعد هذا للمشاركة في مؤتمر تحدد هدفه السياسي مسبقا في ( الوصول إلى رؤية موحدة تتوافق مع ما يذهب إليه المجلس الوطني السوري ) لهو أمر لا يتنافى مع أبسط الأصول الواجبة المراعاة ومع أبسط مبادئ الديمقراطية فحسب ، وإنما يعبر في الوقت نفسه عن مسعى للوصاية السياسية على المعارضة السورية ، و حشرها تحت سقف خيارات معينة لن يكون مستغربا أن تنسجم مع رؤى ومصالح الجهات الداعية ، أكثر مما تنسجم مع رؤى و المصالح السورية الراهنة والمستقبلية التي تعبر عنها قوى الشعب الثائر والمعارضة الديمقراطية في الداخل السوري .

رابعا ـ إن وحدة المعارضة السورية باتت هما رئيسيا لكل أنصار ثورة الحرية والكرامة في سوريا ، وكذلك للجامعة العربية ودولها وللمجتمع الدولي كله. ولأن الواقع السوري وواقع الثورة وقواها بشكل خاص هو على درجة كبيرة من التعقيد والتنوع ، فإن توحيد المعارضة الذي تتسابق أطراف عديدة على ( رعايته ) لأسباب مختلفة، هو أمر يتطلب تحضيرا متقنا ومتأنيا تشارك فيه مختلف الأطراف المعارضة دون وصاية من أحد عليها ودون إلغاء أو إقصاء لأي منها ، بحيث يتم على أسس متينة وديمقراطية حقا ، و يعطي محصلة راسخة ومعبرة عن هذا الواقع الغني والمتنوع ،.

ومن غير المقبول أن تنطلق الدعوات ومحاولات تنظيم مؤتمرات لبعض أطراف المعارضة دون غيرها ( وبزعم أنها للمعارضة ككل ) في عجالة و تسرع دون إنضاج لعوامل التوحيد والانسجام الفعلي بين القوى الأساسية على الأقل، ودون شمول ومساهمة حقيقية منها جميعا في عملية التحضير السياسية والتنظيمية ، وبدون احترام صارم لمبادئ العمل الديمقراطي ، وبوصاية من هذا الطرف أو ذاك (مهما كانت غيرته على مصالح السوريين و حرصه عليها )، حيث يخشى أن تكون النتيجة في مثل هذه الحالات تعميق تمزق قوى المعارضة وزيادة حدة تناقضاتها ، و زيادة الشك في مصداقية اقتناع بعض الأطراف بقيم الديمقراطية، و بالتالي مصداقية التزامها بالتغيير الديمقراطي الحقيقي في البلاد.

لكل ما سبق فإننا وبكل أسف نرى أن مؤتمر (المعارضة) المزمع في اسطنبول هو مؤتمر لبعض قوى المعارضة فحسب وفيه كثير من التجاوزات التنظيمية والسياسية التي تحول دون المشاركة فيه . نتمنى لمن يرغب بالمشاركة التوفيق في خدمة الشعب السوري وثورته السلمية ،وأهدافه في نيل الحرية والكرامة وإقامة نظامه الديمقراطي المنشود، والمساهمة الإيجابية في توحيد رؤى المعارضة ومواقفها وفعالياتها على هذا الطريق.

المكتب الإعلامي
دمشق في 25 / 3 / 2012

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March 25th, 2012, 5:17 pm

 

392. jad said:

Jna,
One more thing about this point:
“Israel’s use of hole punching buildings was very well publicized during the second Palestinian intifada.”
You are correct that many read about idf punching and destroying buildings but for an average person those actions are not received as a warfare ‘strategy’ bu as a ‘result’ of aggression, therefore the use of this specific strategy as a way out for fighters can’t be understood as a simple ‘safe way out’ when it’s used on a bigger scale like in the report Mawal and me linked.
I may be wrong in my conclusion, however, I still find the similarity and the scale of the two actions to be suspicious especially when we connect it to wikileaks report.

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March 25th, 2012, 5:30 pm

 

393. Juergen said:

older interview with Father Paolo in Mar Musa
in arabic

just found this film, earliest film document of Jerusalem 1896

Syria’s First Family
An illustrated guide to the Assad clan. How long can it cling to power?

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/foreigners/2012/02/bashar_al_assad_syria_s_autocratic_ophthalmologist.html?fb_ref=sm_fb_like_chunky&fb_source=profile_oneline

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March 25th, 2012, 5:33 pm

 

394. Mawal95 said:

The National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change, abreviated as NCC or NCB, is a Syrian opposition bloc consisting of about 13 mostly left-leaning political parties and independent political activists; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Coordination_Committee_for_Democratic_Change

JAD at #209 linked to a video where it is emphasized that the NCC (aka NCB) has a peaceful opposition strategy, and opposes foreign military intervention, and JAD makes the comment: “this is why I respect and support NCB”.

It’s very possible for me to respect people who have a different political opinion from mine. I’m hardcore pro-Assad. I’d never support any other party. But I’ve very little respect for the NCB group. I will now give a few reasons why the NCB gets so little respect from me, with an emphasis on their incompetence.

Syrian dissident Haytham Manna, who is a spokesperson of the NCB group, said on 2 Jan 2012: “For the Syrian revolution to succeed we need three things. First, we need the massive popular mobilization. Secondly, we need people with historical legitimacy to be involved…. Thirdly, we need leadership on the streets. Without leadership, we face the danger of having the revolution hijacked by street thugs.” http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/haytham-al-manna-politics-behind-pact-ghalioun

Thus, as late as January 2012 the NCC still had the pipe dream of “massive” popular mobilization on the streets. Street protest turnout-size stopped growing on Friday 29 Apr 2011; see my comment on this board on that date at http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/?p=9450#comment-248464 . Overall growth stopped on 29 Apr 2011 and overall growth has never resumed since, although some localities did have growth after that date. After the escalation in violence by dissidents in the later part of year 2011, a “massive” popular mobilization became even more of a pipe dream.

Haytham Al-Manna in January 2012 speaking in the present tense said: “Without leadership, we face the danger of having the revolution hijacked by street thugs.” That horse had already bolted well before January 2012.

There were a couple of significant tactics that the NCC could have done differently in year 2011 that would’ve helped them to keep the protests peaceful, and would’ve gotten them more turnout and more respectability in the eyes of the people of Syria. Under the 1973 Syrian Constitution, “Citizens have the right to meet and demonstrate peacefully within the principles of the Constitution. The law regulates the exercise of this right.” In Spring 2011 soon after the regime repealed the so-called “Emergency Law”, the regime enacted a new law regulating peaceful protesting on the streets. The new law was and is a liberal law, essentially the same as the law on the books throughout the European Union for instance. Under the law, the protest organizers have to apply to the police for a license to hold a demonstration in a particular public place on a particular day. The Syrian protest organizers made the tactical decision nationwide to not apply for any license to demonstrate. The Local Coordinating Committees issued a policy statement in early June that “peaceful protests… shall not seek permission and authorisation from the government” — http://www.lccsyria.org/2863 . Thus all protests were illegal, by policy decision of the organizers.

Later, the NCC dissident group made the tactical decision to not apply for a license to be a political party in Syria. All political parties have to be registered or licensed, so the NCC group is legally unable to compete in the parliamentary elections on 7 May 2012. Hassan Abdel Azim, who is another spokesperson for the NCC, said the NCC group “will not participate in future elections.” http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-02/27/c_122762055.htm

The NCC’s objective is a peaceful unconstitutional overthrow of the Assad regime. “Peaceful unconstitutional” is a contradiction in terms. As Joshua Landis has said repeatedly over the last year, it is totally unrealistic. In addition, the NCC also have no realistic ideas about what would happen after hypothetically the regime were overthrown.

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March 25th, 2012, 6:19 pm

 

395. majedkhaldoun said:

Islamization of this revolution means listening to what Islam says, it does not mean radicalism.slam taught us that we were born free, and no one has the right to enslave us, Omer Ibn Al Khattab said since when you enslave people and their mothers delivered them free.
I slam Taught us that tyrany is not accepted in Islam, The Pharoa of Egypt was condemned in Islam becaus he was tyrant,and the people who accepted tyrany are evil corrupt people.God said (Wa Ma Arsalnaka Alayhim Hafeeza)we never sent you to be a dictator over them.
Islam taught us that if we suffer injustice we have to do anything to turn things around and end up victorious,( Wa al lazina Iza Asabahumo Al Baghyo hom yantaseroun.
If that what Joshua meant by Islamization, we should all welcome Islamization.

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March 25th, 2012, 6:55 pm

 

396. jad said:

This piece from the ‘beloved’ Syriatruth is discussing the report that linked CNN to the terrorist attack on the fuel pipelines in Homs, it points out about the role of foreigners being involved in the Syrian crisis and knowing about some of the terrorist attacks happening there:
CNN Crew Linked With Homs Bombings
http://youtu.be/DfSwJi_LUWk

عاهرة الـ “CNN” ومجرموها
هيئة التحرير

عرض التلفزيون السوري أول أمس في برنامج خاص، وأعاد الحلقة مساء أمس، أدلة وقرائن بالصوت والصورة تثبت بما لا يدع مجالا للشك تورط فريق قناة CNN الأميركية في تفجير أنابيب النفط قرب “باباعمرو” في 15 من الشهر الماضي ( مرة أخرى عشية جلسة خاصة لمجلس الأمن!؟). وكان التلفزيون نفسه عرض نهاية الشهر الماضي جانبا من القصة أظهر عملية استعداد “مجهولين” لتفجير أنبوب النفط فجر ذلك اليوم ، ولحظة تفجيره ، ثم عملية بث الخبر بشكل مباشر إلى القناة الأميركية نفسها.

القصة أثارت في حينه أسئلة عديدة أهمها ما يتعلق بهوية الجهة التي وقفت وراء تفجير الأنبوب . وقد أجمعت القنوات الخليجية في حينه ، والعديد من القنوات الأجنبية ، على اتهام السلطة بالوقوف وراء عملية التفجير، رغم أنها بأمس الحاجة لكل قطرة نفط وكل دولار تحصل عليه من وراء بيعه في هذه المرحلة. لكن المواد التي جرى عرضها يوم أمس والذي قبله تقطع الشك باليقين ، وتحول المجرمين” المجهولين” إلى معلومين … لكنهم شقر بعيون زرقاء!
{…}
تظهر التسجيلات المعروضة مراسلة CNN أروى دامون (المولودة لأب أميركي وأم دمشقية تدعى جمانة) مع زميليها نيل هولسوورث Neil Hallsworth ( المصور) و تيم كروكيت Tim Crockett (المستشار الأمني للفريق) وهم يركبون الكاميرا الثابتة قبل فترة طويلة من عملية التفجير في أحد المنازل المطلة على المنطقة التي سيحصل فيها ، ثم ذهابهم إلى المنطقة وعودتهم منها لتصويب الكاميرا جيدا من نافذة المنزل ، ثم تراكضهم إلى المكان بعد حصول التفجير ، ثم عودتهم إلى الغرفة بعد أن التقطوا صورا له عن قرب.

القناة الأميركية كانت بثت يوم الجمعة الماضي ( 16 /3) فيلما وثائقيا تافها بعنوان ” 72 ساعة تحت النار” أعده ـ على عجل كما يبدو ـ فريق القناة نفسه ليظهر “بطولاته ومجازفاته” في باباعمرو ؛ لكن الغاية الأساسية منه كانت ـ كما هو واضح ـ تبرئة ساحة الفريق من اتهامات حفلت بها تسريبات ملأت الإنترنت قبل ذلك تتحدث عن امتلاك السلطات السورية أدلة على تورط فريق القناة الأميركية في عملية التفجير. وكان هذا جليا من خلال حديث الفريق خلال الفيلم ـ بهدف تبرير نصبهم الكاميرا بشكل مسبق في مواجهة مكان الانفجار ـ عن أنهم تلقوا معلومات مسبقة بحصول “عمل كبير في المنطقة”! وقد حرص معدو الفيلم على التلاعب بحجم ” كادر” الصورة من أجل إخفاء المكان الذي جرت منه عملية التصوير، ولكي لا يظهر أنه هو نفسه الذي عرضه التلفزيون السوري نهاية الشهر الماضي ، فيكون الأمر دليلا جنائيا ضدهم! إلا أن المادة الفيلمية التي عرضها التلفزيون السوري يوم أمس والذي قبله ، وهي ما لم يكن فريق القناة الأميركية يتوقع وصولها إلى أيدي السوريين ، كشفت أسرار القصة من أولها إلى آخرها ، وأظهرت أن الفريق نفسه هو الذي قام بعملية التفجير ، إما لدوافع تخريبية بحتة ، أو لمجرد اختلاق “قصة أكشن” ، أو لكليهما معا ، وهو المرجح. وإذا علمنا أن المستشار الأمني للفريق ، تيم كروكيت ، هو ضابط سابق في “القوات الخاصة” التابعة للمخابرات العسكرية البريطانية ( المخابرات الخارجية MI6 )، يصبح الكثير من أبعاد القصة واضحا! وحين نضيف ما كشفته وسائل إعلام ومراكز أبحاث غربية خلال الأشهر الأخيرة ( مركز “ستراتفور” الاستخباري مثلا) ، عن وجود قوات خاصة أجنبية تعمل على الأرض في حمص وأمكنة أخرى وتساعد المسلحين ، لن يكون الأمر بحاجة للاستعانة بمفردات و منطق “المؤامرة” لتفسير ما جرى!
{…}

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March 25th, 2012, 6:57 pm

 

397. omen said:

photo:

After the paint melted off walls in a fire caused by shelling, a message written in 1983 emerged in Homs

can somebody translate what this writing on the wall says? thank you, in advance.

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March 25th, 2012, 7:05 pm

 

398. omen said:

majedkhaldoun @ 6:55 pm

reminded me of this saying:

a word of truth against an oppressive ruler is considered to be the best of Jihad.

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March 25th, 2012, 7:14 pm

 

399. jad said:

الكرامه بطل الدوري 1983
Alkrameh (Homs soccer team) is the league champion of 1983

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March 25th, 2012, 7:18 pm

 

400. Tara said:

Omen@399

It says Alkarameh ( a name of the soccer team in Homs) is the champ for 1983.

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March 25th, 2012, 7:19 pm

 

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