News Round UP (7 march 2011)

A number of ex-Syrian military hired on in Libya and remain fighting for Qaddafi. This has created numerous accusations that Syria is officially supporting Qaddafi. There is no proof of this, but it has caught on in Twitterland and places like neoconservative journal, Commentary (See Quote below).

One Syrian friend wrote:

The headlines are: “Al-Jazeera: Two fighter jets shot down in Libya by revolutionists today had Syrian pilots!”

Could this be true!? How stupid if it is!! Can’t verify it but Al-Jazeera has enormous credibility now. Most Arabs are now of the opinion that: “If Al-Jazeera says it then it’s true”.

Angry young Arabs (and Syrians) are going mad about this on Twitter/Facebook. If it is true, then Syria should expect a lot of shit online after Libya settles down.

Nice post today. A neo-Pan Arabism is thriving in the virtual world among the 70% of the population in the Arab world. It’s driven by a freedom/dignity, not anti-Israel sentiments. Millions of young Arabs in Egypt and Tunisia are now considering themselves as the guardians of freedom in the Arab world and they are the ones that are shaping public opinion today.

Because of stupid things such as detaining young bloggers or rumors such as the Syrian pilots bombing revolutionists in Libya, Syria is currently getting a large dose of hate sentiments from young angry Arabs. This could escalate and spill-over to inside the country. Somebody in the Syrian government should take note and take concrete actions to alter public opinions.

Syrian Pilots Shot Down in Libya?
Michael Rubin, Commentary, 03.06.2011

The civil war in Libya has become essentially a tribal conflict, with Qaddafi’s Qadhadfa tribe versus everyone else. For example, Al-Jazeera is reporting that Qadhadfa officers have executed 20 officers from the Firjan tribe who had refused to fire on their fellow Libyans. As Qaddafi has lost the support of the Qadhadfas’ long-time allies, there have been increasingly frequent reports that he is turning to mercenaries to help put down the Libyan people.

Overnight, these reports have taken a new twist: Al Jazeera is reporting that free Libyan forces have downed two Syrian planes in Ras Lanuf, about 400 kilometers west of Benghazi. Unconfirmed reports had earlier suggested that the free Libyans had downed two Sukhoi SU-22s, which is what the Libyans train on in Syria.

If these reports are true, it is time for President Obama to bring home Robert Ford, his recess appointment as ambassador to Syria. Successful engagement requires sincerity of both partners. Obama may be sincere, but it is clear that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is not….

Now David Feith is jumping on board the “We-are-outraged-at-Vogue” club. His WSJ article decry’s Vogue for puffing Asma al-Assad because she is married to the son of Hafiz al-Assad who “killed 20,000 Syrians to put down an uprising in Hama.” This is just a tad ironic coming from the son of Douglas J. Feith, who helped propel the US to invade Iraq where over 100,000 Iraqis have been killed and 4 million turned into refugees.

He supervised the Pentagon Office of Special Plans, which “disseminated alternative intelligence assessments on the Iraq and al Qaida relationship, which included conclusions that were inconsistent with the consensus of the Intelligence Community, to senior decision-makers.” Feith helped convince president Bush that Iraq would be easy and that Saddam had links with al-Qaida.

The Dictator’s Wife Wears Louboutins
Vogue magazine missed the trend: Middle Eastern tyrants are out this season.

Maybe it takes a fashion dictator to know a fashionable dictator. How else to explain Vogue editor Anna Wintour’s decision this month to publish a 3,000-word paean to that “freshest and most magnetic of first ladies,” Syria’s Asma al-Assad?

That’s right. As Libyans braved fighter jets and machine-gun fire in their drive to overthrow the tyrant Moammar Gadhafi in Tripoli, the queen of Condé Nast thought it was in good taste to feature the beautiful wife of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. Apparently Vogue missed the trend: Dictators are out this season.

The Assad family—first Hafez and now his son Bashar—has ruled Syria since 1970. In that time, they’ve killed 20,000 Syrians to put down an uprising in Hama, provoked civil war in Lebanon and then occupied the country to “keep peace,” built a secret nuclear-weapons facility modeled on North Korea’s, and established Damascus as a hub for terrorists from Hezbollah to Hamas and Islamic Jihad. All part of keeping their countrymen under foot for 40 years……

13 Jailed Syrian Human Rights Activists Hunger Strike

Thirteen jailed Syrian human rights activists, including lawyers Haytham Maleh and Anwar Bunni, are staging a hunger strike at Adra prison, near Damascus, the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights announced Monday.

“We have launched a hunger strike because we demand an end to political detention and injustice, as well as the recovery of stolen civil and political rights,” said the activists in a joint statement published by the rights monitor.

Syrian President Pardons Petty Criminals, Old, Sick
Monday, Mar 07, 2011

DAMASCUS (AFP)–Syrian President Bashar al-Assad Monday pardoned criminals serving time in jail for minor crimes as well as some elderly and ill prisoners, official Syrian news agency Sana reported.

The pardon comes on the eve of the 48th anniversary of Syria’s ruling Baath Party coming to power on March 8, 1963.

The presidential decree, which contains various caveats, “applies to those who committed minor offences before March 7 as well as to the elderly and sick,” Sana said.

“The decree does not apply to political detainees,” said Abdel Karim Rehaoui, president of the Syrian Human Rights League, which estimates that several thousand people could be included in the pardon.

Friend in America writes (in comment section):

A dynamic around the world is unfolding. It has to do with the future of the political power of central governments, particularly in countries with authoritarian rulers. Events in Tunisia and Egypt and those in process in Libya, Bahrain and possibly Yemen mark the end of 20th century political power (or as typified by Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein, ugly 17th century political power). Those power structures have been cracked by the rise of what will be called the new political power of the 21st century, which is characterized by the internet, YouTube, Facebook, WikiLeaks, etc. People who have never met each other now share their grievances and discover they have opinions in common. Bonds are made. The new means of communication has encouraged political demonstration and facilitate coordination of diverse groups which central governments are challenged to control.

21st century political power has broken the #1 20th century tool used by authoritarian governments to control their population – fear and isolation. Why did the young in Syria not mount large demonstrations on the “days of rage?” Because the communications between themselves is not as well developed as in Egypt, Tunisia or Bahrain, and the young adults feel isolated. Fear remains strong in Syria. There are many reasons to commend President Assad and his wife, but no one should think that respect for the first family and a claimed “universal hatred of Israel” will ever temper the despair that drives a man to pour petrol over his head and set fire to himself or the public outrage that ensues.

Syria has 3 to 5 years but the train is leaving the station. Syria can be the leader in peaceful reform. It was tried in Lybia 5 years ago but the conservatives close to Gaddafi put a stop to it.

General Collings (Quoted in NYTimes) said that while he was posted in Egypt senior Egyptian military officials told him of a corruption scheme in which Mr. Mubarak handed out cash to the generals leading each branch of the armed forces — army, navy, air force and air defense force. “There was a systematic process by which money was given and distributed through the top ranks of the regime,” General Collings said.

A former high-ranking Egyptian officer confirmed General Collings’s account. He spoke on the condition of anonymity because of concerns for his safety.


The Vat Tax which was scheduled to come on line this year has now been delayed indefinitely, or until the “appropriate Time and Conditions.” We must presume this is because of the revolutionary fervor in the Arab World.

The next big test for the government is coming up on April 1. That date is when fuel subsidies are scheduled to be lifted – a decision that was made before Tunisia blew up. If it is carried out, it will hit industry very hard. Industry is a big beneficiary of subsidized energy. The fuel subsidies are very expensive for the Syrian government and cannot be sustained for long. A few months ago, I was told that Abdullah Dardari was sure they would be eliminated. Of course this was pre Tunisia.

Some of the leading banks in Syria are down close to 16% from highs in February because of the popular revolts. Since trading limits have been extended to 3% from 2%, some of these stocks are falling 3% a day.

Other economic News is supplied by Syria Report put out by Jihad Yazigi

  • Agriculture: Syrian President Lays Foundation Stone of USD 3 billion Tigris River Project

The Syrian President on March 7 laid the foundation stone of the Tigris River project, a USD 3 billion scheme that is expected to revive water supply and agriculture production in the north east.

  • Syrian Companies Banned from Recruiting Foreign Nationals with no Working Permits

The Syrian Government has issued a decision requesting all state and private sector companies and institutions in Syria not to work with any foreign national without him or her having proper working and residence permits, according to a local daily.

Syria economy: Company law is tweaked

On February 16th Mr Assad signed a new company law, updating legislation that had been passed as recently as 2008. The economy and foreign trade minister, Lamiya Assi, said that the law needed to be revamped in light of issues that had arisen since the revisions were made three years ago. The new law, passed by Legislative Decree 29, incorporates many of the features of the previous law, but adds a number of new elements. One of these, which was highlighted by Ms Assi in an interview with Al Watan, a privately owned daily newspaper, is to allow public-sector companies to change their status to joint-stock companies, subject to the approval of the prime minister and on condition that the company has been profitable in each of the three years preceding such a conversion. This could pave the way for privatisation through listing some of the stock of such companies on the Damascus Securities Exchange. However, the government still adheres to a stated policy of ruling out privatisation for the time being. Ms Assi also said that the new law made a distinction between various forms of closed joint-stock companies, allowing some to be defined as private (implying that shares are not traded) and others as public. She said that under the earlier law there were about 360 family-owned companies that were not properly defined.

Economics Minister Mohammed al-Hussein Establishes Investment Company

أصدر السيد رئيس مجلس الوزراء القرار رقم /3332/ تاريخ 5/3/2011 المتضمن تشكيل أول مجلس إدارة للسورية للاستثمار كما يلي:

06/03/2011 دمشق – سيرياستيبس

1- الدكتور محمد الحسين وزير المالية رئيساً

2- الدكتور محمد سماق معاون وزير الصناعة عضواً

3- المهندس مهند كلش معاون وزير السياحة عضواً

4- الدكتور ملهم ديبو مدير عام المصرف العقاري عضواً

5- المهندس ياسر السباعي مدير عام هيئة التطوير والاستثمار العقاري عضواً

6- السيد احمد دياب مدير عام هيئة الاستثمار عضواً

7- السيد حسام فلوح مدير الخزينة المركزية في وزارة المالية عضواً

وذكر الدكتور محمد الحسين، أن الشركة أحدثت بالمرسوم التشريعي رقم /81/ تاريخ 30/9/2010 وتم انجاز وإصدار أنظمة الشركة ونظامها الأساسي و تشكيل مجلس الإدارة والذي سيقوم بتسمية رئيس تنفيذي للشركة خلال أيام، كما يجري تحضير مقر مؤقت للشركة في أحد العقارات التابعة لوزارة المالية في دمشق… وسيتم إشهار الشركة وانطلاق عملها خلال فترة قصيرة جداً… ومن المتوقع أن تمارس الشركة أنشطة استثمارية مختلفة في كافة المجالات… كما يشار إلى أن الشركة تملكها الخزينة العامة للدولة ولكنها تأسست حسب قوانين الشركات والتجارة وستعمل بأسلوب القطاع الخاص بشكل كامل…

Time: The Youth of Syria: The Rebels Are on Pause

Anonymity or an assumed name can be a protective cloak, but, in Damascus, those methods can’t shield against eavesdropping plainclothes police or their informants, omnipresent in cafes, workplaces, and on street corners. Syria is the kind of place …

Comments (120)

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101. Jad said:

Scary news:
جهات مختصة  تضبط شحنة كبيرة من الأسلحة قادمة من العراق لإثارة القلاقل والفوضى في سورية 
الاخبار المحلية

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March 10th, 2011, 3:41 pm


102. Alex said:

Scary indeed Jad.

But some interesting news too

بدوره وجه المشير طنطاوي شكره العميق للرئيس الأسد مؤكداً متانة العلاقة بين البلدين الشقيقين وحتمية فتح صفحة جديدة تكون قائمة على ثوابت العلاقة السورية المصرية المعروفة والمأمولة دائماً كما عبر المشير طنطاوي عن أمله بلقاء الرئيس الأسد في أقرب وقت ممكن.

The head of Egypt’s military council expressed his hope to meet President Assad soon and to open a new page of Egyptian Syrian relations.

Also, el-Baradei said during an interview on ON TV that Egypt’s relations with Israel were the master-slave type and he would never allow that again.

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March 10th, 2011, 6:15 pm


103. majedkhaldoon said:

Who would send arms ,across Syrian Iraqee border? I hope the goverment tell us who,they should know it.there is no need to say his name is a-d,we need his full name

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March 10th, 2011, 6:47 pm


104. Akbar Palace said:

that Egypt’s relations with Israel were the master-slave type and he would never allow that again


Two things:

1.) How is Israel enslaving the Egyptians? This sounds like “flowery” language.

2.) If you see Mr. el-Baradei (not sure what his title is in the new Egyptian government), tell him we Jews know all about slavery in Egypt.;)

BTW – Did you want to chime in on my Libya poll? Oust Gad-fly or leave him alone?

Daniel Pipes is cautious:

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March 10th, 2011, 7:32 pm


106. Revlon said:

Hi Joshua,
I would like you or someone, with relevant background, to please draw a factual comparison between the legal powers of the of Syrian regime vested by the emergency rules on the one hand, and the powers of the Israeli occupying forces over Palestinians.
Thank you very much.

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March 10th, 2011, 8:04 pm


107. Off the Wall said:

And Daniel S…..-pipes is your credible thinker? I had no idea Israel lowered your Hasbara training budget that far….

Without the need to indicate my own position on no-fly zone or intervention, the man advocates attacking Iran, a country much stronger than Libya, with both real army and special forces, and he wants to be cautious now…. He must have been paid by Qaddafi or he may have drank Qaddafi’s cool-aid. What a deranged paranoid pseudo-intellectual.

Next time you go writing your adoration of him on his hate mongering site, tell him no one is seeking his advise, it is worth a squat. He should be preparing for King and Cantor lynch theatrics in congress, that is the only thing he is good for, being a racist like the two of them.

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March 10th, 2011, 8:21 pm


108. Akbar Palace said:

Another Day in Paradise NewZ


Is there any reason why you can’t render an opinion about US policy toward Gad-fly? We all know your feelings about Israel, Pipes, Cantor, ect, but that really wasn’t my question.

Oust Gad-fly or leave him alone?

So far, NO ONE on this website has advocated removing Gad-fly from power. Later today, I’ll make the obvious conclusion…

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March 11th, 2011, 7:26 am


109. Norman said:

There is a difference between letting Qaddafi be removed or remove Qaddafi, The Libyan should decide, things are more murky than they looks and today it seems that Qaddafi is taking back control .

Haas today on MSNBC said that leaders that fight back tend to stay in power and we do not want to on the wrong side if Qaddafi wins, he can make our lives miserable by going back to his old habits and supporting all our enemies and there are many.

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March 11th, 2011, 7:40 am


110. Akbar Palace said:


I didn’t intend to ask an easy question (especially on THIS forum). Of course the Libyan people should decide, but there is no voting or democracy in Libya. That SOB has been in power for over 40 years, and the people need help. Right now, it looks like Gad-fly is staying put, because he has the aircraft, the tanks, and the baksheesh.

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March 11th, 2011, 8:17 am


111. Shami said:

The stubborn Gaddafi would likely persist for months,Egypt and Tunisia,once they elect their governments,one of the possible scenarios and it’s the best one is that their armies would force Gaddafi to the exit door.
Thanks to the new popular dynamic in the arab world ,The Libyan people should avoid the humiliation of an asadian style transfer of dictatorship.
The stubbornnes of dictators like Gaddafi and Bashar will make their dismissal bloody,these dictators are a dying race as they are on the wrong side of the history.

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March 11th, 2011, 9:28 am


112. Ziad said:

It is in the interest of the US, EU (UK, France, and Italy) that Gadhafi remains in power. The oil is flowing, lucrative contracts and intensive investments in Europe where the oil money is returned to Europe. Letting Gadhafi win will have a chilling effect on revolutions in the countries that the US and the rest of the west really care about (KSA, Yemen, Bahrain …). It seems to me the strategy is to support the Libyan uprising in words only but let Gadhafi re-consolidate his power, for a happy ending for the west. They will have complete power over him by the threat of war crime tribunals.

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March 11th, 2011, 9:35 am


113. Akbar Palace said:

Simple Question NewZ

Shami, Ziad,

Would you like to see the US and the international community remove Gad-fly by force, or should it be left to the “Arab people” (which may or most probably will not succeed)?

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March 11th, 2011, 10:04 am


114. Ziad said:


Simple answer, I love to see fall of Gaddafi, but not with the help of US or EU. It is not in the interest of the US to see him go and they will not interfere.

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March 11th, 2011, 10:31 am


115. Akbar Palace said:


OK. So far, no one here wants any intervention to oust Gad-fly.

I got one person from QN’s site who WOULD like to see outside “intervention” (airstrikes, etc).

BTW – I’m going to ignore the “not in the interest of the US” stuff. Believe me, americans hate Gad-fly as much or more than you do. q:o)

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March 11th, 2011, 10:39 am


116. Ziad said:


Hating Qaddafi and toppling him through military intervention are two different things. Name one benefit the US gains by removing him.

If he can end the revolution in days then all is lost, but if it extends for months, you will see massive Arabic support at the popular level (collections, arms, volunteers) but not at governmental level. The more he bombs and destroys the fiercer the revolt will get. The Aljazeera factor is very significant.

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March 11th, 2011, 10:52 am


117. Ghat Al Bird said:

The Bibi and the bar bouncer from Moldavia are now threatening western foreign diplomats with physical harm as well as demands to “Go home”.

Campaign of intimidation unleashed on diplomatic missions in east Jerusalem as settlers react against international condemnation of their illegal existence
AFP , Thursday 10 Mar 2011

Western diplomats working with the Palestinians have received letters warning them that they are “at risk” because of their nations’ criticism of settlements, sources told AFP on Thursday.

Sources at several foreign missions in east Jerusalem said a group of men who appeared to be Israeli settlers had handed threatening letters to diplomats as they went through a military checkpoint by the West Bank city of Ramallah.

The unsigned letter, a copy of which was obtained by AFP, warns diplomats to “Go home!”

“You are guests in our country! You are standing on the Holy Land of the Jewish nation. Do not interfere with the building of our country,” the letter says.

“The meddling by the American government and by the European Union is putting your stay at risk… We never will make peace with Palestinian terrorists!” the letter warns.

The one-page letter printed in capital letters is accompanied by a second sheet of paper printed with the words “President Barack Hussein Obama – with friends like you who needs enemies!!!”

An official at the US consulate in east Jerusalem, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the mission’s employees had received the letter last week.

“The US consulate can confirm that it has been a recipient,” he said, adding that no specific additional security measures were being prepared.

“We have precautions in place already, but there’s nothing new,” he said. “We would defer to the proper authorities to deal with it.”

A spokesman for the Israeli foreign ministry could not immediately be reached.

Other diplomatic missions in east Jerusalem said the letter was being discussed.

“Internally we are aware of this and we are looking into it,” EU mission spokeswoman Antonia Zafeiri told AFP.

Israeli settlement building in the West Bank and east Jerusalem is among the most contentious issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The international community considers Israeli settlements built on occupied land in the West Bank and east Jerusalem as illegal, and 14 of the 15 members of the United Nations Security Council last month backed a resolution condemning the Jewish state for continuing settlement activity.

Friday, March 11, 2011 3:43 PM Illegal settlers threat.

The illegal Israel settlers are the arm front of the group who believe that Israel should rule the greater Israel. There are up to 10 percent of the jewish citizens of Israel who are illegal settlers. The numbers are up to 1/2 million. They are unemployed and have not recorded source of funding. They are very dangerous thugs and if they make a threat they have a long history of being thugs. The big question in the light of this threat and other offensive conduct by the thugs is who are funding this army of rabble?

The rabble has been very successful at expanding the jewish influence by taking one arab home at a time. The defense director of Israel is presently asking for an additional 20 billion dollar in aid for Israel so we are clearly a major source of money for Israel. If he gets his wish the USA will be providing $175,000 for every IDF soldier. At the present an Israeli company is providing armed soldiers for Libya’s Ghadaffi.

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March 11th, 2011, 11:04 am


118. AKbar Palace said:

Hating Qaddafi and toppling him through military intervention are two different things. Name one benefit the US gains by removing him.


True. “Most” Americans both hate Gad-fly and wouldn’t mind toppling him.

One benefit: Libya would have a chance to be democratic instead of a supporter of terrorism. As AIG has stated many times, a truly democratic country more likely to act responsibly.

If he can end the revolution in days then all is lost, but if it extends for months, you will see massive Arabic support at the popular level (collections, arms, volunteers) but not at governmental level. The more he bombs and destroys the fiercer the revolt will get. The Aljazeera factor is very significant.

I hope your right.


Do you have an opinion on whether the US or some other outside force should topple Gad-fly? Can you answer the question without delving into theories?

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March 11th, 2011, 11:12 am


119. fawzia harakat said:

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March 17th, 2011, 5:46 am


120. Sunil said:

Luella, they are trying for one world govt, just like Hitler tried. The other world pwreos Russia and China and Iran will NOT let the Saudis Isreal Brits USA become one world power. The axis pwreos of Iran China and Russia are planning their own world order. Don’t underestimate either Axis or Allies. It’s already on.

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August 20th, 2012, 4:40 am


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