News Round Up (Jan 5, 2013)

President Bashar al-Assad to deliver a speech on Sunday. Jean Aziz at Lebanon Pulse on writes about “a new proposal to resolve the crisis in Syria,” and the “roadmap to a solution” that Assad is expected to provide.

Andoni Lubaki/Associated Press A destroyed home in Aleppo, Syria. Some Syrians say they feel trapped by the government and the violence engulfing the country, but are afraid to take sides in the rebellion.

Syria Deeply – January 02, 2013
Q&A with Michel Kilo: Some Hope for a Solution

Michel Kilo is one of Syria’s famous dissidents, a political opponent of President Bashar al Assad. He rose to prominence in the Damascus Spring, a brief flourishing of political freedom and expression in 2000.

Kilo left Syria eight months into the revolution and now lives in Paris with his family. He answered questions from Syria Deeply via Skype. For more on his story we’ve included a link to a video interview about his time in prison, jailed for his prominent political dissent.

SD: Are you officially backing the Syrian National Coalition? What do you see as their strengths and weaknesses?

Kilo: I’m not a member of the Syrian National Coalition, because I think its weakness lies in the exaggerated representation of the Islamic movement. It does not represent the various trends of the opposition forces, especially democracy and secularism.

SD: When you look at the state of the war in Syria, what do you see?

Michel Kilo

Kilo: I see a slow shift in the power relations between the opposition and the regime, with a possibility of many surprise twists. That includes desperate operations [by the Assad regime], such as the use of internationally banned weapons, as it loses control of more Syrian land. Fighting has also arrived in Damascus, encircling the main centers of power.

SD: Do you have any hope for a negotiated solution? What is the best-case scenario?

Kilo: Yes, I have some limited hope of a negotiated solution. Some members of the system have disassociated themselves from the Assad regime and extended their reconciliation to the opposition, accepting a transition to a democratic system.

SD: How do you keep Sunnis and Alawites from fighting each other? Is there any way? Any hope?

Kilo: I do not know how we can prevent sectarian clashes without a national program that brings in all parties. This integrated program does not exist today, since the opposition had missed the opportunity of drafting and implementing it [early on]. Today I think we need a kind of program, that will encourage everyone to collaborate in a joint national project, in order to cut the route to a sectarian conflict or at least reduces the possibility [of it erupting].

SD: Are there members of the current system that you think could and should stay on in a future Syria?

Kilo: Yes, there are people in the system who can play a role in the future of Syria…some of those who are now in power, especially those who are defecting from power and Assad’s family to join the people.

SD: What is holding up the Assad regime today?

Kilo: The resilience of Assad’s military strength comes from Russian, Chinese, and Iranian support and the lack of a critical western position against it. That enables them to play that supporting role without real impediment, with a green light that allows Assad to oppress people and destroy Syria.

SD: Do you think the Assad regime would really use chemical weapons for its political survival?

Kilo: Yes, there is no doubt that he would use all kinds of weapons, including chemical weapons, because he does not respect the lives and rights of human beings. Otherwise he wouldn’t have destroyed his country.

SD: How do you think Assad will exit the picture?

Kilo: My fear is that we will move from a crisis to overthrow the regime to a new crisis, extending civil war and chaos, political and armed. Plus we shouldn’t forget that Syria is destroyed, and much of the people are homeless, hungry, or displaced, and this atmosphere will encourage chaos.

SD: What is your biggest fear in the coming phase in Syria?

Kilo: Assad wants to make a decisive victory over his people, this is the goal of the war waged since nearly two years ago. It excludes all kinds of political solutions that had been offered by the opposition. He fancies that he can still win the war.

SD: What does the international community need to do for Syria?

Kilo: The international community should develop clear, practical and applicable positions to stop the killing in Syria and work on a political solution to the crisis without hesitation. [World powers] have demonstrated their inability to do anything, abandoning their responsibilities under the pretext of a weak opposition and divided Syrian society.

SD: If you could tell US President Obama to make one change on Syria policy, what would it be?

Kilo: I’ll tell him committed to what I said repeatedly, that U.S. policy must be based on respect for human rights for people, everywhere.

SD: Should the international community enforce a no-fly zone over northern Syria? Should the world intervene to take out Assad’s forces from the skies?

Kilo: But I do not think we need it. The Syrian people have proved over the past two years that they can [defend] their homes without external interference and are supported by the minimum of weapons needed for victory. They no longer depend on foreign countries to get their freedom. They believe that Western countries don’t want Assad to leave, and that he’ll stay until he destroys the whole society and what holds it together.

العالم العربي > كانون الثاني/يناير > 2013
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المصير الغريب للعلويين السوريين
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في العام 1903، قام الأب اليسوعي البلجيكي هنري لامنس بزيارة إلى رجل دينٍ نصيريّ مرموق في نواحي أنطاكية -في لواء الإسكندريون الذي ضمّ إلى تركيا – لـ”حمله على الكلام”. على غرار سواه من المستشرقين قبله، كان لديه اهتمام بهذا الشعب ذي الأصول الغامضة، الذي كان متمسّكاً بعقائد دينية متأثرة بالتركيبات القديمة والتأليف بين مذاهب متعارضة، كتقمّص الأرواح أو الإيمان بثالوث (النبيّ محمد، وصهره علي بن ابي طالب وسلمان الفارسيّ، أحد أـصحابه). كما كان يحتفل بطقوسٍ مسيحيّة، ولكن أيضاً يقيم أعياداً ذات مظاهر أكثر وثنيّة. وكان يقوم بزيارات لأولياء محليّين في مزارات، ولم تكن لديهم مساجد. وبما أن أسرار دين النصيريين لا تكشف إلّا لأصحاب المعرفة بينهم، ظلّت تشكّل لغزاً سعى المستشرقون أو الإرساليّون إلى فكّها [1].

Rebellion at Stalemate, Waiting for Undecided Syrians to Make a Move
Published: January 4, 2013, NYTimes

BEIRUT, Lebanon — At his government office in the Syrian capital, Damascus, the civil servant avoids discussing what Syrians call “the situation.” But he quietly ponders his own private endgame, toying with defecting to the rebels, yet clinging to his post, increasingly sure there are no fighters worth joining.

A multilingual former military officer, he says he is among many friends and colleagues who feel trapped: disenchanted with President Bashar al-Assad, disgusted by the violence engulfing Syria and equally afraid of the government and the rebels, with both sides, as he puts it, ready to sacrifice “the innocents.”

Mr. Assad remains in power in part because two years into the uprising, a critical bloc of Syrians remains on the fence. Among them are business owners who drive the economy, bankers who finance it, and the security officials and government employees who hold the keys to the mundane but crucial business of maintaining an authoritarian state. If they abandoned the government or embraced the rebels en masse, they might change the tide. Instead, their uncertainty contributes to the stalemate….

Syria’s Alawites Under Siege
By: Ali Hashem for Al-Monitor. posted on Fri, Jan 4.

…His father interrupted him, saying “Let us cut it short. FSA are the army of the Sunnis and we don’t want the Alawites to rule us anymore! Let them go, we don’t want them here.”

Such rhetoric is getting common among lower-class Sunnis. They feel they were oppressed for the past 40 years, and it’s time to take over.

“Masaken Barzeh” is a middle-class suburb; clashes took place here when the rebels attacked Damascus. Rouba is an Alawite resident who lives with her mother and sister there: “I know not anywhere but here as my home, we don’t know where to go.” She is still at her flat but neighbors had to lie to militants when they asked if she was Alawite, “They came to the building for us, but when all the neighbors denied we are Alawite, they left, but who knows when will they come back,” she added. “The army succeeded this time in pushing them out but they are still around.”

The most dangerous incident was the assassination of Bassam Hussein, an Alawite movie director. He was killed at his place in the mixed neighborhood of Jdeidet Artouz by unknown militants, the incident came to fuel concerns within the ruling minority that an act of sectarian cleansing might be on the way in a country hit by civil war that seem uncontrollable to many.

According to Zaidon Alzoabi, an opposition activist, “The regime holds part of the responsibility for the sectarian incitement….A Syrian official told me, on the basis of anonymity, “The best thing that might happen now is federalism.“ He added, “We can’t live together anymore, hatred is much more than we can bear.”…

The most grisly video so far. (I cannot watch) A Syrian friend writes:

Regime soldier died in Hama. Had cell phone on him. In it, regime guys took videos of atrocities that go beyond the shocking videos we have seen so far. This includes cutting off a penis and stepping on heads and smashing skulls of rebels. …

On December 29, 2012, the oppositionist Islamic website cited “knowledgeable sources” as saying that over 150 field commanders in the Idlib area met and swore allegiance to a top commander in Jabhat Al-Nusra known as Ya’qoub Al-‘Umar.

Nusra Front reportedly leading Syrian rebels’ fight for key Damascus area
By David Enders
McClatchy Newspapers, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013

BEIRUT — An Islamist rebel group that the United States has listed as a terrorist organization has taken the lead in fighting in Damascus, according to residents who’ve recently fled the violence there.

The reports that the Nusra Front, which the Obama administration last month declared to be an affiliate of al Qaida in Iraq, is at the forefront of the fighting in Syria’s capital underscores the deepening sectarianism inside Syria that many analysts feel is likely to thwart new U.N. efforts to promote a negotiated settlement to the conflict.

Residents of the southern Damascus neighborhood of Yarmouk said that fighters from Nusra, whose name in Arabic is Jabhat al Nusra, were at the forefront of a battle that has driven hundreds of thousands of people from the district since Nusra launched its offensive about two weeks ago. Other Islamist rebel groups also are playing a role in the combat, the residents said.

Supporters of rebels fighting to topple the government of President Bashar Assad say that groups like Nusra make up only a small minority of the anti-Assad fighting force. But Nusra increasingly is leading the fighting across Syria, a development that raises the prospects of sectarian bloodletting as rebels move from areas where the population, like the rebels, is predominantly Sunni Muslim to cities and towns where the residents are Shiite Muslim or Alawites, the Shiite sect to which Assad and Syria’s governing elite belong……

The Nusra offensive two weeks ago, however, added new momentum to the battle, driving Yamouk residents to flee and triggering fierce government bombardment in response.

Ahmed said he had dealt with Nusra fighters on a daily basis in Yarmouk and viewed them as more professional than other rebel groups, who’ve been accused of widespread looting in some parts of the country where fuel and food are in short supply.

“They were very honest people,” Ahmed said.

Nidhal, another young activist who fled Yarmouk for Lebanon last week, also said that Nusra had assumed a leading role in the fighting. Like Ahmed, he said he saw little room for pro-democracy activists like himself who first rallied against the Assad government in peaceful protests 22 months ago….

“Yarmouk is going to be like Baba Amr,” Nidhal said, referring to a neighborhood in Homs, Syria’s third largest city, which was devastated as government troops laid siege for months before finally driving rebels out of the area six months ago.

Nidhal said the sectarianism had grown on both sides, with the government increasingly replacing soldiers with pro-government militiamen drawn from the Alawite sect. Civil order in much of Damascus, Nidhal said, had largely broken down, with kidnappings for both ransom and politics now rampant….

FSA Officer: The U.S. Designated Jabhat Al-Nusra A Terrorist Organization In Order To Prevent Assad’s Ouster, Sow Strife Among Rebels

In a December 30, 2012 report, the FSA website ( presented statements by Khaled Al-Hamoud, a lieutenant-colonel in one of its forces, in which he praises the jihad group Jabhat Al-Nusra (JN) and attacks the U.S. Al-Hamoud states that the U.S. wants to establish Sahwa groups in Syria, like those it established in Iraq. He claims further that the U.S. sent intelligence agents to Syria disguised as reporters, and they informed it that JN is the strongest force on the ground, and that it is capable of toppling the Assad regime thanks to the dedication of its men, their faith, their operational capabilities and their thinking and planning abilities. Hence, since America is not interested in the rapid elimination of the Syrian regime, it decided to designate JN a terrorist organization.

A race to the bottom in Syria
By Victor Kotsev- Asia Times

The past few weeks have seen a dramatic shift in reports coming out of Syria. Whereas a month ago the government appeared to be losing the battle on all fronts, the civil war now seems to have entered a new stage – that of a race to the bottom in which victory hinges on endurance rather than strength.

Both the regime and the rebels are facing major challenges which threaten gravely their ability to function, and this explains in part the vastly divergent prognoses of different analysts. Meanwhile, as winter sets in and the death toll climbs (the latest United Nations report sets it at 60,000), civilians are paying the heaviest price.

Many observers continue to insist that the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is on its last legs. ..

Syrian rebel leader talks victory and squalor
By Amir Ahmed and Ben Brumfield, CNN, January 5, 2013

  • Rebels go after government airbases one by one in the north
  • Numerous airbases in Idlib make it easy for the government to keep bombing
  • Al-Assad’s troops are cutting off food, medicine, money and ammunition to rebels in Damascus
  • As the death toll mounts, Syria’s opposition still feels abandoned by the world

(CNN) — Opposition fighters are celebrating success in Syria’s north but enduring cruel squalor in and around Damascus, where government forces are cutting off food and medical supplies, a rebel leader said Saturday.

Syrian rebels chipped away at President Bashar al-Assad’s air power in Idlib province Saturday as 800 fighters pummeled Taftanaz airbase for the fourth day with anti-aircraft guns and tanks.

They have taken control of 70% of the heliport, rebel leader Capt. Islam Aloush said from Damascus. Militia members killed the head of the base, he said. “There are still about 30 snipers and a few dozen regime forces, but the fight is closing in on them.”

Al-Assad’s forces use the base mainly to launch copter attacks on nearby towns. Syrian warplanes dropped cluster bombs on Taftanaz in a raid that led to the destruction of several buildings, the opposition Local Coordination Committees of Syria said Saturday.

Since the push on Taftanaz began, they have exacted retribution on the nearby city of Binnish, where amateur video posted on the Internet has shown dozens of smoke plumes marking where ordnance has struck.

“The trouble with Idlib is that it has many military airports.” Aloush said his Liwaa Islam militia and other groups want to knock the bases “to minimize the reach of the regime’s warplanes.”

Opposition and government sources have reported that the extremist al-Nusra Front, which the United States has designated as a terrorist group, was taking part in the assault on Taftanaz.

As al-Assad has lost some ground in the far north, he has tried to maintain the reach of his firepower by launching long-range Scud missiles at towns near Turkey’s border…..

Between Syria’s Fronts A Two-Year Travelogue from Hell
By Christoph Reuters, Marcel Mettelsiefen/ DER SPIEGEL

Since unrest began in Syria in the spring of 2011, reporting from the country has been difficult. Former contacts are now dead or can’t be located, and the country lies in ruins. Now, amid harrowing conditions, the balance of power appears to have shifted, with rebels beginning to gain the upper hand….

All armies – the Syrian regime, the FSA and Islamist – are thieves
Rita from Syria 27 December 2012, Open Democracy

….He was surprised to see a picture of Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri on the wall of the living room: but the greater shock was to hear the people of the village talking about the figureheads of al-Qaeda in glowing terms as if they were living saints.

Khaled’s village can be any of a number of conservative villages in Syria, but this does not necessarily mean that they support fundamentalist ideas in the mould of al-Qaeda. However, now the people of the village find themselves indebted to Jubhat al-Nusra – an armed group affiliated to al-Qaeda – which led the battle to liberate the village and its surrounding areas from the brutal bombing campaign of the  forces of the Syrian regime.

…..The events of last week in the Bostan al-Qasr neighbourhood of Aleppo, which saw Jubhat al-Nusra fighters attack peaceful protestors, is a scandalous indicator of the infighting between the armed groups – taking them away from the principles of the revolution. Witnesses at the protest told me that Jubhat al-Nusra combatants fired live bullets in the air and attempted to arrest an activist because the protesters were heard shouting “kull jaysh harami, nizami, hurr wa islami” [all armies are thieves: regime, FSA and Islamist’s]. The FSA failed to intervene despite being present at the protest. Social network forums were replete with angry criticism from both sides.

We need a great deal of maturity and awareness to overcome the differences and competing interests in Syria. It has become evident that the armed conflict in no shape or form is directed towards the interests of the Syrian people. We cling to the hope that time will eventually bring forth a genuine Syrian leadership which is able to save the revolution from the paralysis of opportunism.

A Syrian way out of the civil war
By David Ignatius, Published: January 4, Wash Post

To help oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, an opposition group has drafted a plan for a transitional justice system that would impose harsh penalties against die-hard members of his inner circle but provide amnesty for most of his Alawite supporters….

As with everything affecting Syria, time is running out before the country collapses into an anarchic failed state. As rebels take control of areas, such as the northern suburbs of Aleppo, some commanders are already taking the law into their own hands. “Some Free Syrian Army are acting more like the shabiha they used to fight,” says one Syrian source.

Kurds Watch

KurdWatch: What exactly are the Kurdish National Council’s substantive conditions for joining the National Alliance?

Faisal Yusuf: Our requirements are the constitutional recognition of the Kurdish people and its identity as well as the guarantee of its legitimate national rights in accordance with international norms and conventions. In addition, in accordance with its share of the total population of Syria, the Kurds should have approximately a fifteen percent share of representation in the Alliance and its committees. All discriminatory practices and decrees affecting the Kurds must be repealed, the victims must be compensated, and the status quo ante must be reinstated. Moreover, Syria should officially be called the »Republic of Syria«, not the »Syrian Arab Republic«. Furthermore, we demand that the Alliance commit itself to supporting all national armed groups, not only the Free Syrian Army. Those are our demands of the National Alliance.

Khaled Mahmoud: A Prisoner in Lebanon Turns Emir in Syria
al-Akhbar By: Radwan Mortada, January 4, 2013

In the same vein, a Salafi sheikh told Al-Akhbar that the majority of young Lebanese men who go to Syria fight for three groups: al-Nusra Front, Ahrar al-Sham Brigades, and al-Fajr Brigades. The sheikh said that the three groups had no ties to al-Qaeda, but they nonetheless adopt methods similar to those pursued by the global fundamentalist movement.

The Salafi sheikh, who is close to al-Qaeda, said that in the past, the fighters who came through Turkey would exclusively join al-Nusra Front, while those who came from Lebanon went on to fight in the ranks of Ahrar al-Sham or al-Fajr Brigades.The sheikh pointed out that things have changed today, with al-Nusra Front enjoying a strong presence in Homs and al-Qasir.

This, he said, “began six months ago when al-Nusra Front was endorsed by many who have had a long history of jihad in Afghanistan and Iraq.” It should be noted here that the three fundamentalist militant groups are closer in ideology to the Islamic State of Iraq, which is an organization led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, than al-Qaeda, which is led by Ayman al-Zawahiri.

According to security reports, large quantities of assault rifles were sent from an Arab country into Tripoli’s Bab al-Tabbaneh shortly after clashes with the neighboring Jabal Mohsen. Furthermore, large stocks of ammunition, particularly RPGs and mortar rounds, have also made their way to the area. According to the same reports, these weapons are stored deep in the area’s slums, even inside several mosques.

It is believed that a retired Lebanese army colonel is involved in funding such operations, and personally oversees the distribution of weapons to young fighters.

Tighter Iran Sanctions Hit Factories, Shops

A manager of Bam Shargh Isogam, an Iranian manufacturer of insulation sheets for rooftops, saw trouble ahead when a government official offered advice for surviving the crippling international sanctions: Reduce quality and cut back production. The manufacturer in Delijan, three hours south of Tehran, replaced the high-quality material imported from Europe with domestic material, dismissed more than half its 350 employees, and didn’t pay the remaining workers for four months, managers said. “From the owner to the line worker, no one is safe,” said Bijan, a manager, who asked that his last name not be used. “Our country is facing …

Independent: Syrian regime captures al-Qa’ida chief’s brother on ‘aid mission’
2013-01-04 19:35:38.590 GMT

A Message from Syrian Coalition President
In the name of God, the most Gracious, the most Merciful

World leaders,

Ending the massacre in Syria is the responsibility of the international community. It is not enough that the criminal regime is bombarding citizens by planes, rockets and heavy weapons, but has gone as far as to literally kneading the bread with the flesh and blood of innocent children. It has destroyed the bakeries, Mosques and fuel station, in addition to committing a mass genocide. There is no crime against humanity that this regime has committed.

You are all requested to hold international responsibility: politically and ethically. Meanwhile, we wish all the people of the world, a year full of tolerance, security and peace. May a bloodless dawn rise on us all.

Cairo 04-01-2013
President, Ahmad Mouaz AL KHATIB

Looking Past Assad
Joseph Eid/Agence France-Presse
By VOLKER PERTHES, NYTimes: January 4, 2013

AFTER almost two years of civil war, there are no longer two options for Syria, political or military. Both sides now rely on force.

The opposition activists who try to maintain the originally peaceful character of their uprising are still there, but the armed rebels are calling the shots. Those in the regime who wanted to engage the opposition in some form of dialogue were marginalized early on, when Bashar al-Assad chose to respond to the protests with force.

Eventually there will have to be a political process. But the conditions under which such a process will come about now largely depend on military developments on the ground — plus, to some extent, on the signals and actions of international players.

But if both sides are now using military means for political ends, the ends differ. For the opposition, the military struggle is a means to support the initially civilian uprising. It considers the civilian population, even in regime-controlled territory, as its base, and it aims to depose the regime by gaining military and political ground.

Many government officials are aware that the regime cannot win militarily — Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa said so much in a recent interview. But territorial losses and political setbacks have not made the regime core around Bashar al-Assad and his brother Maher more inclined to negotiate. Power sharing is simply not a concept in the Baathist world view.

Nor does Assad seem any more willing than a year ago to negotiate a safe exit from Syria. His political strategy is to stay, but it is no longer about the whole of Syria. Assad believes he can concentrate on retaining a few strategic areas — Damascus; the coastal mountains, which are mainly inhabited by members of his Alawite minority; the port of Tartus; and the land connections between these areas — while inflicting scorched-earth punishments on rebel-held territory.

Militarily, Assad is now relying almost totally on loyalists from his Alawite sect who dominate the senior officer corps. The mainly Alawite elite battalions and the air force are still largely intact, and supported on the ground by hastily recruited militias — the so-called shabiha — which have been responsible for most of the atrocities against civilians.

With the rising brutality, the war has increasingly turned into a sectarian conflict. Propaganda depicting the Alawites as the enemy has been on the increase among the majority Sunnis, and some extremist groups have targeted Alawites.

As a result, many Alawites are now prepared to fight on Assad’s side not out of conviction, but out of fear that if he falls they and their families will be slaughtered. Without assurances for their future, the elite battalions, air force, intelligence services and shabiha will fight on simply to secure the survival of their community, possibly in an Alawite enclave in the coastal mountains

Certainly the regime is to blame for the destruction of Syria’s social fabric, but this does not help to repair the damage. The more the opposition advances, the more it also becomes responsible for rescuing and rebuilding the state.

The opposition has taken an important step by forming the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces. It now has a credible leadership with better contacts to the Local Coordination Committees and other civilian groups inside Syria, and it has made progress toward unifying the diverse forces of the Free Syrian Army and other armed groups under one military command

Parallel with the military struggle, though, the opposition has to present itself as a credible alternative to the regime. Among other things, the Coalition needs to start providing services in liberated areas, particularly by distributing relief aid to residents and refugees.

At the same time, the Free Syrian Army needs to distance itself from extremist forces. Opposition leaders obviously appreciate the fighting power of these groups. Politically, however, the opposition cannot win with forces whose actions and propaganda exacerbate the fears of those Syrians who oppose the regime but fear that its fall will lead to more bloodshed and repression

Thanks to their personal histories, leaders of the Coalition such as Ahmad Moaz al-Khatib, Riad Seif and Suhair al-Atassi are well placed to offer a vision of coexistence to those, particularly Alawites, who have so far stuck with the regime. The appointment of an Alawite as ambassador to Paris was a good signal, but it is not enough to reassure the community that it will have a place in a post-Assad Syria.

International actors do have an impact in Syria, even in the opposition. The main means of strengthening those who want to build a democratic and inclusive post-Assad Syria is to unify the flow of money and material support. The better the Coalition and the Free Syrian Army are able to pay their soldiers and dispense the necessary equipment, other militias and groups will submit to their leadership.

This would increase civilian control over the military component of the rebellion, weaken extremist groups and improve chances for a political transition.

Volker Perthes is director of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), Berlin.

Open Democracy names Syria Comment “one of our best blogs of 2012”…— Arab Awakening (@openAwakening) January 4, 2013

Arabs are ‘losing faith’ in America: Lessons from Lebanon 1982
Ian Black – guardian

Exhibit A in How an Islamophobic Meme Can Spread Like Wildfire Across the Internet
AlterNet / By Sanam Naraghi Anderlini
The apparently fabricated story of a Saudi cleric issuing a fatwa condoning gang rapes in Syria is an object lesson in the pitfalls of breakneck online journalism.
January 2, 2013 |

Editor’s note: On January 2, AlterNet was one of several outlets that published what turned out to be an article based on a false report. We would like to apologize to our readers for the error.
On January 2nd, the story of a Saudi Sheikh issuing a fatwa that condoned ‘intercourse marriage’ or gang rape in Syria exploded over the internet.
According to various sources, Sheikh Mohammad Al-Arifi had stated that foreign fighters in Syria had the right to engage in short term marriages to satisfy their sexual desires and boost their determination to fight against the Assad regime. Syrian girls and women from age 14 upwards were considered fair game and apparently secured their own place in heaven if they participated in these ‘intercourse marriages’.
By the evening a simple Google search of the words, ‘Saudi Sheikh’ , Syrian, and ‘women’ brought up some 5 million references and at least 3 pages of links to articles spreading the news. Not surprisingly there was immediate online uproar too, though as one commentator put it, much of the discussion was about whether these arranged temporary marriages technically constituted ‘rape’. This in itself is worrying.

There was also skepticism from many quarters about the veracity of the report, particularly among savvy Mideast experts. Rightly so. The story, much like the one a few months ago about Egyptian Islamist MPs proposing laws that permitted sex with a deceased spouse up to 6 hours after his/her death, turned out to be a gross lie. Sheikh Al-Arifi has issued a denial via his Facebook page. Over the next few days, the various websites and media outlets that spread the story will no doubt issue their retractions. But the story also raises many questions. For starters, where did it come from? AlterNet inadvertently picked it up from the overtly anti-Islamic Clarion Fund site. Others pointed to the Iranian regime backed Press TV as the primary source on December 31 2012. But the earliest English language reporting comes on December 29 from an obscure YouTube news site called Eretz Zen, tagged as a YouTube channel by a “secular Syrian opposed to
having [his] country turned into a Taliban-like state.”….

Kurdish Iraq Considers Opening Border for Relief Supplies to Kurdish Syria – Rudaw

Kurdish groups had urged Robert Ford, the US ambassador in Damascus, to encourage and oversee the opening of a border crossing with Iraqi Kurdistan.The Kurdish National Council (KNC), an alliance of Kurdish groups in Syria, late last month officially asked the KRG to open its side of two border crossings with Syrian Kurdistan, saying people were deprived of basic needs and would be forced to evacuate cities without help.

While Kurdish Syrian refugees have flowed into Iraqi Kurdistan, getting food and urgent supplies to the other side has been more complicated.

Reports in recent months had said that armed members of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) — the dominant Kurdish party in Syria but with alleged ties to the Syrian regime — were imposing heavy taxes on food supplies, and that KRG authorities had closed borders in response.

TV Report On Foreign Jihad Fighters In Aleppo, Syria: Volunteers From France And Sweden Explain Why They Joined The Jihad – Memri

العالم العربي > كانون الثاني/يناير > 2013

صابرينا ميرفين



المصير الغريب للعلويين السوريين

ثقل التاريخ وذاكرة الاضطهاد

في العام 1903، قام الأب اليسوعي البلجيكي هنري لامنس بزيارة إلى رجل دينٍ نصيريّ مرموق في نواحي أنطاكية -في لواء الإسكندريون الذي ضمّ إلى تركيا – لـ”حمله على الكلام”. على غرار سواه من المستشرقين قبله، كان لديه اهتمام بهذا الشعب ذي الأصول الغامضة، الذي كان متمسّكاً بعقائد دينية متأثرة بالتركيبات القديمة والتأليف بين مذاهب متعارضة، كتقمّص الأرواح أو الإيمان بثالوث (النبيّ محمد، وصهره علي بن ابي طالب وسلمان الفارسيّ، أحد أـصحابه). كما كان يحتفل بطقوسٍ مسيحيّة، ولكن أيضاً يقيم أعياداً ذات مظاهر أكثر وثنيّة. وكان يقوم بزيارات لأولياء محليّين في مزارات، ولم تكن لديهم مساجد. وبما أن أسرار دين النصيريين لا تكشف إلّا لأصحاب المعرفة بينهم، ظلّت تشكّل لغزاً سعى المستشرقون أو الإرساليّون إلى فكّها [1].

Comments (111)

Ghufran said:

The body of a political solution is being built and may actually be viable with functioning organs in the coming weeks but that body cannot walk yet because Assad is reportedly refusing to step down and insists on keeping his ” right” to run in 2014, the opposition also has not abandoned some of their “conditions” to jump start the process. I do not know how anybody with the slightest respect for Syrians as people can accept more years of Assad rule after all of that blood shed. If Assad was indeed sincere about protecting minorities’ rights,a secular government and keeping good relations with Russia and Iran he would have made it easier for a non Assad who shares his ” convictions” to be Syria’s next leader,but the truth is that the whole fiasco is about Assad ,his family and circle of friends and relatives, Syria is the victim of Syrians who are loving it to death,literally.

January 5th, 2013, 11:31 pm


Ghufran said:

A group of syrian expats and some western activists are preparing a law suit against Mouaz alleging ties with terrorism and support for illegal activities. The law suit will be launched in the EU and the US, I am not sure what those people are trying to achieve, I would rather focus on fining ways to stop the blood shed and start rebuilding Syria, this is according to a real estate and urban development expert:
«زمن عملية إعادة بناء الوحدات السكنية المتضررة بمختلف درجات تضررها يرتبط بفلسفة البناء التي سيتم
اعتمادها في هذه العملية التي ستتطلب وسطياً ووفق الذهنية والفلسفة العقارية السائدة حالياً عشرين سنة».

January 5th, 2013, 11:40 pm


revenire said:

It seems as if the entire world is focused on President Assad’s speech. While everyone waits patiently for the president to speak our boys have been busy. My associates on the front tell me many rats have been sent to Hell this past day.

We hope that the equally tasty news of Muhammad Al-Zawahiri’s (brother of Al-Qaeda head Ayman Al-Zawahiri) capture tides you over until the president’s speech. He surrendered to the SAA in Douma – his FSA rat friends ran away when they saw our boys coming. He is now in the hands of Air Force Intelligence.

Set your DVRs and turn off your phones during the president’s speech. History is going to be made.

January 5th, 2013, 11:51 pm


annie said:

A relatively new group

In a nutshell
Almost two years after Syrians started demonstrating for freedom and democracy, the violent repression of the movement has set the country in flames. Every new day of bloodshed makes hatred grow. Syria has tumbled into sectarian war. Whenever fighting will stop: huge efforts in terms of reconstruction and reconciliation are needed to build the new and united Syria as a free and inclusive country, based on democracy and human rights.

We, a group of people based both in Europe and the Middle East, feel compelled to take action. We have all worked in Syria or neighbouring countries and we share a rich expertise in peacebuilding, humanitarian aid and interfaith dialogue. With the direct involvement of local communities, we want to combine practical help with reconciliation and peacebuilding. Our immediate goal is to offer a space for the youth from Syria of all faiths and affiliations, women and men. We are going to unite moral authorities of different confessions around this common cause.

With your help, we are going to start working in Lebanon, where thousands of Syrians have stranded as refugees. As from the beginning of 2013, we want to establish our first Peace Centre in the border region to Syria: a house that will serve as safe place for young people from all confessions, where experienced psychologists will treat war traumas and where educational staff will help to develop skills and arts. We will also provide for material help and advocacy where needed.

Some of us are already on the ground, carrying out the necessary needs assessments. Winter is arriving and the conditions of Syrian refugees are dramatically worsening. We need your donation, as small as it might be, to offer relief and reconciliation.


January 6th, 2013, 2:17 am


Syrialover said:

Assad speaking

Stupid, insulting, hypocritical, lying, delusionary GARBAGE

No surprise.

Yawn. Shudder.

The head and mustache have definitely shrunk

January 6th, 2013, 5:18 am


Juergen said:

“Reform is not the solution for this problem”

Bashar you live in an other world than us!

Nice to see the whole stock of muhabarat fashion the regime holds

January 6th, 2013, 5:24 am


Hopeful said:

Oh boy! There is no hope. I feel sick in my stomach. Goodbye Syria!

January 6th, 2013, 5:27 am


Syrialover said:


No hope for Bashar – dead man quacking.

Things have already gone too far. There was no likelihood of anything different.

What a sick LIAR.

Reminds me of Gaddafi’s final orations, surreal.

January 6th, 2013, 5:34 am


Juergen said:

Hearing the spontanous started slogans and the simultanously stopped praises, I know why they choosed the opera house. This show needs an opera house!

January 6th, 2013, 5:39 am


Citizen said:

“No Fly Zone” Over Syria? U.S. Patriot Missile Batteries, Troops Arrive In Turkey
Iskander SRBM
This is what the Patriot crews will be up against. If it’s good enough for Mother Russia it’s good enough for Syria and you can bet the launch crews are most likely Russian.

January 6th, 2013, 5:48 am


Juergen said:

The eyedoctor is promising yet an other paper folding ceremony. Gee democracy is hitting hard on the regime. How many days did those muhabarat thugs had to practise? Quite an impressive spontanism displayed, Dr. Goebbels would be proud of the eyedoctor.

January 6th, 2013, 5:52 am


ann said:

Any new mossad letters from Assma’s cousin? 8)

January 6th, 2013, 6:08 am


annie said:

President Bashar al-Assad: “We will not have dialogue with a puppet made by the West.”

The Revolution “there is no dialogue with you”

Bel Trew – بل ترو ‏@Beltrew

Funny that #Assad says he will not have dialogue with those with foreign agenda but thanks China, Russia &Iran for its support #Syria

January 6th, 2013, 6:09 am


Juergen said:

Gee, mhnbaks rejoice, the Messias will give you yet an other new constitution, does Syria need one new constitution for each new year?

Here is the real spindoctor of Bashar, these days the saying of my old history teacher, “The only thing people have learned from history is that people dont learn from history.”

nice comment on twitter:

Summary of #Assadspeech: Beit Beit, dar dar, zenga zenga! Deja Vu

January 6th, 2013, 6:15 am


Juergen said:

Did you guys noticed his shocked face when after the speech the mhenbaks ran on the stage and he was pushed in the left corner? Hugged to death, what an end.

January 6th, 2013, 6:27 am


Syrialover said:


Good stuff, keep it coming.

Mockery and laughter is the only way to keep from dry retchng after that subhuman spectacle.

January 6th, 2013, 6:33 am


ann said:

Hysterical supporters of al-nusra front posting in overdrive today 8)

January 6th, 2013, 6:54 am


Juergen said:


I would say this is hysterical.

Is there yet an office for Mhenbaks to kill themselves in kamikaze missions? Sorry, but that cant be far after seeing so much staged love for the donkeyking.( I borrowed that term )

January 6th, 2013, 6:56 am


Syrialover said:

Don’t think Russia, China and Iran are going to be grateful for the special mention. Not a good look. Will leave awkward diplomatic aftertaste long after Assad and co. become dust and dog dung.

January 6th, 2013, 7:03 am


ann said:

Now, now, who is in charge here of posting fabricated mossad letters from Assma’s cousin?! 8)

January 6th, 2013, 7:04 am


Syrialover said:


That weird surge of hysteria you see after the speech is definitely staged. No way anyone selected to be in that room wasn’t acting on instructions.

Pathetic and silly. Goebbels would have cringed.

Roll on the day when Syrians are addressed by normal human beings with dignity and intelligence!

No more distasteful and insulting freak shows.

January 6th, 2013, 7:20 am


Uzair8 said:

Assad’s final speech.

January 6th, 2013, 7:32 am


Syrialover said:

Bashar Assad. A disgrace to the human race. His existence shames the world.

January 6th, 2013, 7:43 am


Uzair8 said:

It’s a pity the live television broadcast from the opera house ended after Assad’s speech. Walid Muallem was about to perform the aria ‘Nessun dorma’ (‘None shall sleep’).


During this crisis, with Muallem positioned behind him, Assad had his hopes in nobody seeing past him.

Muallem is the key. If he defects…….


Yes. I believe the hysteria at the end of the speech is staged. I haven’t seen it yet. I remember noticing it after one of his first speeches (library/University?) and feeling it was staged to give an impression of fanatic love and support. A case of overcompensating for the the actual lack of support.

January 6th, 2013, 7:45 am


Syrialover said:

Tweet from William Hague, British Foreign Secretary:

“Assad speech beyond hypocritical. Deaths, violence and oppression engulfing Syria are his own making, empty promises of reform fool no one”

January 6th, 2013, 7:50 am


Syrialover said:

#24. UZAIR8

You haven’t seen it? It’s so weird you’ll think you’re hallucinating. Thanks to JUERGEN for this link:

January 6th, 2013, 7:54 am


zoo said:

Teeth are grinding, and in view of the sudden flow of furious posts on SC, it seems that frustrated hysteria and hallucinations are back again on SC.
Calm down a bit.. it is only a speech and it’s only the beginning. Keep some of the bitterness for the desintegration of the FSA soon to be announced.

January 6th, 2013, 7:56 am


Syrialover said:

Come on ZOO, please, share your thoughts of praise and satisfaction at that speech.

We need a laugh.

January 6th, 2013, 7:59 am


Uzair8 said:

26 Syrialover

Wow! I was speechless and a little nauseous (the scene just didn’t compute).

At first I was thinking on the lines it was staged (which it probably was to some extent). However as I watched more and more I was beginning to think it could also be a real expression of a desperate and terrified people who know the writing is on the wall. Desperately reaching out for a final chance of some hope and a lift of morale.

Maybe they aren’t too far from despair? This could well be the last display of a defiant and confident spirit from them.

January 6th, 2013, 8:10 am


zoo said:

2. Ghufran

Moaz al Khatib turned out to be a zombie. I am certain the opposition wants to get rid of him. As he has just been elected, they are preparing a smearing campaign so he resigns.
This is going to happen sooner than we think.
He is discrediting and drowning the opposition at such a speed than one wonders if he has not be planted at his position by Bashar al Assad.

January 6th, 2013, 8:10 am


zoo said:

#28 Syrialover

Reading your posts full of exasperation and despair, I am sure you and other need a laugh: Just watch Moaz al Khatib’s speech in Turkey next to Erdogan .
Remember he is supposed to be the “Sole Representative of the Syrian People”

January 6th, 2013, 8:14 am


Syrialover said:

ZOO #31, play the distraction game, but Moaz comes across as a world class leader and beacon of sanity and dignity when compared with Bashar Assad and his latest speech.

So stop changing the subject.

Come on ZOO, please, share your thoughts of praise and satisfaction at Assad’s speech.

Tell us what parts inspired and thrilled you.

Explain how it moves things forward.

January 6th, 2013, 8:28 am


zoo said:

The ‘liberated areas ‘ continue to empty from civilians fed-up with the rebels’ inability to feed them and insure their security.

Nearly 9,000 Syrians flee to Jordan in six days

Country is now hosting around 290,000 refugees, official says
Published: 16:59 January 6, 2013
Gulf News

Amman Nearly 9,000 Syrians, mostly women and children, fled to Jordan over the past six days to escape the bloodshed in their homeland, a government spokesman said on Sunday.

“Some 8,835 Syrians fled to the kingdom since January 1 this year,” said Anmar Hamoud, a government spokesman for Syrian refugee affairs.

“Most of them are women and children who came from Syrian southern areas, including Daraa.”

January 6th, 2013, 8:29 am


zoo said:


“Come on ZOO, please, share your thoughts of praise and satisfaction at Assad’s speech”

I certainly will if you share yours about the new leader of the Syrian People ( that includes you), Moaz al Khatib’s brilliant speech in Turkey last week.

It is fair game to compare the speeches of two leaders competing for the Syrian People’s trust, don’t you think ?

January 6th, 2013, 8:35 am


Observer said:

Nothing new, the mountain delivered a mouse.

The way I see it is staking out positions for negotiations. You start by posting your position from a so called maximalist strength so that you can climb down to the desired outcome.

The speech is an attempt to deflect all discussions about the fate of the regime. In other words, there is no discussion about resignation, there is no discussion about restructuring the security state, and there is no discussion about bringing all dissenting voices to the table.

This is a speech with himself and an internal propaganda to shore up the morale.

Let us move on to more serious things, this was a joke in very bad taste today.

Majbali wrote in the previous thread something that I think is important: here it is for those that wish to review it:

As for the Alawis; here are two important texts just came out fresh today. Those need to be translated and hope Edgar Allen Poe, or anyone else, would do this.

The first article is a letter to Mo’az al-Khatib, George Sabra and the FSA in general:

The other one appeared as an article in AllforSyria website.

I did read both texts, and I would like to say that if in those articles the word Sunni were substituted for Alawi, these two documents about the plight of the Alawi community and the fear that they have of the new Syria is a mirror image of the Sunni plight over the last 30 years and particularly since Hama and thereafter much much worse since this bunch of goons took over in 2001. There is a great fear on the part of the Sunnis that they are destined to be enslaved for another 100 years by the Alawis committed to the regime.

In both of those articles that actually clearly show that the regime took the Alawi community hostage, there is an appeal for a safe passage of this community to abandon the regime. A new Syria that guarantees them a safe passage would according to the articles deprive the regime of its internal cohesion and support.

My questions to Majbali and to Joshua are as follows;
1. Are there members of the Alawi community that can talk to the opposition without the threat of being slaughtered or imprisoned as the Khair was done for after returning from China?

2. The Alawi community has two fears now: the first is persecution under the new Syria and the fear of abandoning the regime; is there a “Saleh Alali” among the Alawites that can join the revolution as he did against French rule?

3. Is the community being forced to rally around the regime or is it voluntarily doing so? If so what are the factors allowing it? Is fear foremost, is hatred of the other more important, is racism, is patriotism as they see it, is it pure kinship and tribalism? I do not know but would like to have Joshua and Majbali give me their impressions.

Again, coming from Majbali whose tribal affiliation is secularism and coming from me an atheist who recognizes the influence of religious thinking in shaping identity I find it interesting that both of us have found ourselves more or less “trapped” by the sectarian discourse.

Both this thread and the one before it require a new way of looking at things. I think the question is how to restore Syria ( if we are to be stuck together that is ) as it has become Somalia now.

It is not becoming it has become Somalia with one warlord having more weapons than others.



January 6th, 2013, 8:35 am


Syrialover said:

ZOO, stop changing the subject.

Everybody else in the world is commenting on Assad’s speech, why aren’t you?

And I note the pro-Assad crowd have been immediately busy with instant multiple votes here.

January 6th, 2013, 8:36 am


Visitor said:

Zoo @27,

Where did you read the teeth grinding and desperation on SC?

I am only reading mockery and sarcasm.

Are you sure?

But, I will let you in to a secret for you to enjoy.

I had an electrical shock for 55 minutes during the speech, because I was not aware that electricity will be restored during that time, I was careless and, accidetally in touch with some electrical wires that I assumed will not be live.

January 6th, 2013, 8:40 am


Juergen said:


They did not want to show the meet and greet show outside the Opera house. It would have been an perfect spot to have thousands more outside, those who could not fit in the small opera.
One more thing I noticed, whenever I was in the opera house I remember people come and go whenever they heard the call of nature or took a phone call. This time manners have improved tremendously, thanks to the swapped opera personal for this special episode of Don Quixote, only as Uzair mentionen, Sancha Panza was missing.

January 6th, 2013, 8:41 am


zoo said:

In Syria like in Turkey…
General amnesty for terrorists impossible: PM

A general amnesty is impossible for those who have been engaged in terror, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said during a press conference

January 6th, 2013, 8:45 am


zoo said:

#37 Visitor

“I had an electrical shock for 55 minutes during the speech,”

Reading your post, I can see the effect it had on your brain.

An advice, not an order: Stop Prozac, and switch to hashish, it is easily available now in the ‘liberated areas’. One of your Al Nusra friend can send some to you through the Turkish borders that they control.

January 6th, 2013, 8:50 am


Juergen said:

This story was on twitter:

When Hafez Assad had a heart attack in the 80’s he spent his recovery at a farm belongs to a Homsi. The owner told us that Assad used to have a walk and imagine people cheering for him. He was often taken by his imagination and applauded back at the imaginary crowd.Dictators are addicted to cheering crowds and can not live without them. Assad’s speech today was a dose of confidence for the Dictator.
Just for the record. The owner of the farm I talked about in my previous tweets was an Atassi. Unfortunately.

It reminded me of what a nurse told me in Damascus. When she started to work in the Hospital,one day in the 80s she missed her lunch and stayed in her office. All her colleagues were at lunch. As she was on her way to the toilets she saw a group of men coming from the emergency stairs, among them was Hafez. He was constantly looking around and moved his eyea up and down at almost every direction. As she later learned he was visiting his sick mother. Well, he might suspected the Mossad to show up or the Ichuan to show him the way to hell, now the son has inherited the spell.


here Assad even got a friendly punch on his head, as I see the colour and style of the suit, I would say its someone of his lackeys.

January 6th, 2013, 8:52 am


zoo said:


Are you eluding the comparison? The net is packed with comments about Bashar’s speech, I find it presomptuous to add mine.

Yet, there has been no media analysis and comment about Al Khatib’s speech in Turky. I am not sure why.
It was his first appearance in front of Syrians with a single nationality.
To show your support of the opposition, you should make at least a productive gesture. The guy is about to be kicked out for incompetence, he needs some boosting.
Come on, make that effort…

January 6th, 2013, 8:57 am


zoo said:

As if we don’t have enough media analysis and SC angry comments, now some commenters feel compelled to dump on us a twitter wave….

January 6th, 2013, 9:01 am


zoo said:


“the mountain deliver a mouse”

I see that you consider Bashar al Assad as a ‘mountain’.

That’s a change…

January 6th, 2013, 9:04 am


Visitor said:

I see Zoo today is on hyper drive. Branch 225 must have rushed to him a huge supply of LSD for the shock and awe event.

So, what will be today’s score for Zoo on the SC comment section?

I am anticiptating close to 40% of the total comments will be produced in the Zoo?

January 6th, 2013, 9:08 am


Visitor said:

@ 41 Good catch for طرابلس الشام

But I am waiting for the assessment of Faysal Al-Qassim of the full impact of this latest shock and awe event.

January 6th, 2013, 9:11 am


zoo said:

#45 Visitor

I am only responding to the flow of frustrated commenters to cheer them up a bit.
But if you feel good enough already after your dose of electricity shock, I can easily stop answering the questions and enjoy the calm before the next storm

January 6th, 2013, 9:12 am


zoo said:

Israel’s getting ready for the Islamist wave at its borders

Israeli premier says country will build frontier fence with Syria to protect against jihadists

Article by: ARON HELLER , Associated Press
Updated: January 6, 2013 – 7:55 AM

JERUSALEM – Israel’s premier pledged Sunday to build a fortified fence along the frontier with Syria, warning that radical Islamist forces have taken over the area.

“We know that on the other side of our border with Syria today, the Syrian army has backed off, and global jihad operatives have taken its place,” he said.

January 6th, 2013, 9:17 am


Visitor said:

Zoo @48,

Are you saying that you care more about the well being of the SC contributors that enjoying LSD?

I am impressed!

Who is looking after your own well-being? Looks like you would need the care more than anyone else here!!

January 6th, 2013, 9:21 am


Syrialover said:

#34 ZOO,

OK, I will humor your distraction ploy.

I thought Moaz al-Khatib was fine. He was being a normal and authentic person. That situation was clearly Erdogan’s show where he was firing on all cylinders with his pronouncements and predictions about Assad. I felt it appropriate that Moaz had held back from being a co-performer in that particular Turkish moment.

He also continues to impress me with his interviews and statements.

So now, what about YOUR commment on Assad’s speech?

January 6th, 2013, 9:22 am


zoo said:

#51 Syrialover

Moaz al Khatib was fine? He didn’t say a word…
A real leader stands and talks, not hide silently and pathetically like a slave behind his master.
Despite the threats on his life, and contrary to all predictions that he would do a televised speech because he ‘lives in fear’ Bashar stood in public, defiantly scorning the ‘slaves and masters” and spoke openly to the Syrians.

Sorry, I have no more comments about the content of Bashar’s speech, the media are full of them. He giving a speech in public is a sufficient sign that he is still calm and strong and that he is still able to infuriate his powerless enemies

January 6th, 2013, 9:35 am


AIG said:


You see, that is the difference between serious leaders and idiots. Serious leaders identify threats in advance and prepare for them. For example, Israel building a fence with Syria because of the chaotic nature of the situation there. Idiots do nothing for 11 years except make things worse and are surprised when things turn out worse.

The facts are that the islamists are in Syria, not in Israel. How did they get there? For 11 years Assad supported them. How stupid can you be? And how hypocritical can you be to complain about about a problem Assad himself contributed greatly to by funding and hosting the islmasits.

Assad will get you nowhere. He can’t win. Even in the remote chance that he subdues the rebellion he will be left with a country under sanctions from the West and with horrible relations with the Gulf and Turkey. He will not be able to rebuild Syria ever. Assad is a lose-lose proposition.

January 6th, 2013, 9:41 am


AIG said:

“he is still able to infuriate his powerless enemies”

How deluded can you be to call Assad’s enemies “powerless”? If his enemies are so “powerless”, why hasn’t Assad taken the Golan back yet? If his enemies are so “powerless”, why has Assad abandoned the Kurdish parts of Syria? Why is it taking him years to subdue the rebellion? Why has he lost control over so many parts of Syria? Why is the Syrian economy tanking?

All Assad is doing is wrecking Syria, killing his own people, bombing his own infrastructure, which of course he will not have money to rebuild. Assad is the worst of the worst. He is following the mantra: “Assad or we burn Syria”. What kind of “democratic” leader is that?

January 6th, 2013, 9:48 am


apple_mini said:

Apart from some delusional recapture of reality and sinister denials, plus theatrical rhetoric and tone, Bashar did offer some real initiatives.

As for the ”pre condition” as his departure insisted by the opposition, since it is not up to him or in his belief of national interest, he did not offer.

Just as much as a bunch of opposition members and Syrian expats hating Bashar’s regime, equally, there are many who worship him. Most importantly, large part of the active fighting force of the army is behind him fearing for existential threats and out of genuine devotion for their people and state.

So the opposition needs to make a painful and visionary change of thinking, feeling (yes, I do mean it), planning and action.

Bashar is NOT the man as the leader of the country. But his replacement is not on stage yet.

January 6th, 2013, 9:49 am


Syrialover said:

#52 Oh ZOO, don’t do a cop-out!

What’s brave about Assad appearing in an interior space packed with carefully vetted followers and security guys?

And why keep brushing off the issue of your opinion by pointing to all the other commentary on Assad, which is universally negative, outraged and disgusted?

Are you trying to say that it “says it all” for you and there is thus no need for you to add anything and comment further?

Hmmm. Interesting.

And your interpretation of that Turkish event is very different from mine. The media was ablaze with Erdogan’s comments, which is what the Turkish leader was aiming for. Moaz al-Khatib was showing good manners to his host by not trying to upstage or detract from this. And also, maybe, choosing not to play supporting act to the Erdogan show.

Khatib is different from what you seem to demand. He’s refeshingly authentic and upfront. If you look at his interviews you see someone who isn’t into posturing and playing political games.

January 6th, 2013, 9:57 am


AIG said:


What you say is reasonable except for one thing that regime supporters do not understand: It is the regime and its supporters that need the ” painful and visionary change of thinking, feeling (yes, I do mean it), planning and action”. Assad was in power 11 years before this mess started and he did nothing when he had the chance. Now, they need to wake up and smell the roses. There has been too much blood and torture for Assad to stay. Of course there is no “replacement on stage yet” because for 11 years Assad killed and imprisoned any possible replacement.

Your argument is cynical. You expect the other side to change but are unwilling to do so yourself given the fact that YOU were in power for 11 and could have brought on these changes peacefully. So why didn’t you do it? And why should you be trusted to do so now?

January 6th, 2013, 10:03 am


zoo said:

Al Khatib: self-promoted “president”

“There is no crime against humanity that this regime has committed.”

For once, I fully agree with him.

January 6th, 2013, 10:17 am


Syrialover said:

# 58. ZOO

No comfort there for you, sorry – that’s clearly just a typo when you read the rest of the paragraph.

He would have said “there is no crime against humanity that this regime has NOT committed”, but the person typing the statement made an error.

January 6th, 2013, 10:31 am


Visitor said:

FYI if you are curious,

Revenire is on Pacific Time

Zoo is on Central Time

So far today Zoo exceeded 30% of total comments score. His day has just started, however.

January 6th, 2013, 10:35 am


zoo said:


“Moaz al-Khatib was showing good manners to his host”

Oh yes, of course, he was concerned of not competing with his master’s brilliant speech in turkish

What about “showing good manners” to these desperate refugees who would have preferred to hear support in Arabic from a Syrian like them visiting their camp for the first time, rather than from a Turkish wannabe S.ultan in Turkish.

Come on, Al Khatib showed clearly once for all what he is: a pathetic puppet.
Whatever you try, he is undefendable and has become a liability to the opposition’s credibility. The sooner they kick him out, the better it is for them.
Yet, they tries the secular Ghaliun, then the Kurd Saida, then the preacher Al Khatib. What’s your guess for the next ‘president’ of the coalition: a Christian, an Alawi, a Druze, a woman?
They don’t seem to have much options left.

January 6th, 2013, 10:36 am


zoo said:

60. Visitor

Thanks for keeping the statistics.
Some are better with numbers than with ideas.

January 6th, 2013, 10:37 am


zoo said:

#59 Syrialover

I see, it’s a minor typo mistake in an important message addressed to the world…

You mean that no one of the “educated” Syrian expats proofread the first ever message the ‘president’ of the Coalitiion sent to the UN?

That’s not a good start for a ‘president’ representing the Syrian People and an insult to their intelligence.

January 6th, 2013, 10:43 am


Syrialover said:

# 61.ZOO

Ah see now who’s desperately wishing and predicting.

And none of the Opposition leadership illegitimately inherited their role from their father or gained and maintained their postion through use of the gun and torture chamber.

January 6th, 2013, 10:44 am


Syrialover said:

# 63. ZOO

Tut. Tut. Oh dear.

But they have a long way to go to match some of the crude howlers that have regularly appeared in official Syrian government statements.

January 6th, 2013, 10:47 am


apple_mini said:

#57 I have always believed Bashar and his regime are brutal, corrupted and impotent.

Feelings, emotions and sentiments are essential of what people truly are going to be/do from their past experiences and anticipation of future. But when a country and her people are facing crisis beyond any personal loss and suffer, people need to make sacrifice, a huge sacrifice in order to save homeland from the brink of hell.

Bashar’s regime still continues to arrest peaceful and non-violent dissidents. They have done many atrocities in the last decade. They systematically eliminated ”the opposition”.

Even so for the sake of Syria and her people, Bashar’s regime is needed to maintain and restore orders and help to foster the future of Syria.

And one crucial point that Bashar is needed because of sectarian calamity ahead of his forced removal.

January 6th, 2013, 10:48 am


revenire said:

I was very impressed with Assad’s speech. He is a rare leader on the world stage today.

The jubilant crowd at the end showed their love and why Syria will never be defeated.

January 6th, 2013, 10:52 am


zoo said:


“And none of the Opposition leadership gained and maintained their position through use of the gun and torture chamber.

Family, money, religion and recognized competence are the parameters that have always played an important role in grabbing and keeping get power in any country

We know on which of these parameters the opposition leadership has been ‘unanimously’ elected to be be replaced ‘unanimously’ less than a year later because of the shifts in the parameters.
They continue to have zero legitimacy

January 6th, 2013, 10:55 am


Sami said:

“Even so for the sake of Syria and her people, Bashar’s regime is needed to maintain and restore orders”

So for the sake of Syria we must keep the fool that brought Syria into this mess?

You make Revenire seem sane with such outrageous assertions…

January 6th, 2013, 10:58 am


Syrialover said:


Bashar Assad deliberately and recklessly broke Syria. He can’t be the one to fix it.

Things have gone too far for that. The regime has permanently lost legitimacy and international recognition.

More importantly, the seeds of what is happening today were sown 42 years ago and were growing underground and taking root, destined to erupt in a fight to the death to rid Syrians of the Assad regime so they could have the same rights and chances and freedoms as other people.

The Assads have strangled. terrorized and limited Syria for decades. It was never going to be sustainable. And definitely not in the 21st century.

Try to share my faith in the people of Syria.

January 6th, 2013, 11:01 am


zoo said:

Gradual change of tone in the media…

The endgame in Syria is nowhere in sight

By Kenneth Bandler
Published January 04, 2013

Wither Syria? Some observers interpreted UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi’s visit to Damascus and certain Russian statements as proof positive that the Syrian conflict will be resolved soon. It will not. Predicting that the endgame for Syria is imminent, it turns out, is wishful thinking.

Read more:

January 6th, 2013, 11:01 am


Sami said:

Spawn of SatANN,

“Now, now, who is in charge here of posting fabricated…”

Of course you are the master in posting fabricated news, no one else here has posted made up BS as much as you.

January 6th, 2013, 11:01 am


revenire said:

Key source for Syrian death toll questions accuracy of recent UN-sponsored report

BEIRUT — A new United Nations-sponsored report that estimates more than 60,000 people have died in Syria’s political violence has touched off a new dispute that underscores how little is truly known about the toll from a civil war just weeks from beginning its third year.

One Syrian activist who provided some of the numbers for the study says he believes the new numbers are inflated, while another says he believes they underrepresent the dead.

“They are being used as propaganda,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, who believes the new numbers overstate the number of dead. “The U.N. is not a human rights organization, it is a political one.”

Rahman said he believed the report, made public Wednesday, was being used to pressure countries into working harder to reach a political deal to stop the fighting.

Rahman’s criticism is notable. His organization’s numbers, gathered from informants on the ground in Syria, are the most widely quoted source for information on the daily violence inside Syria. His is also the only organization that attempts to record casualties from all sides of the conflict – rebels, the government and civilians. To date, he’s logged about 46,000 deaths since the uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad began in March 2011.

Megan Price, a senior statistician for Benetech, the California firm that compiled the report for the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, said Rahman had shared his concerns with the report’s authors. “We have nothing but the utmost respect for the groups doing this very hard work,” Price said, adding that Rahman’s concerns about the accuracy of some of the data used in the study “are valid.”

But she also said she still agreed with the report’s general conclusion that the data used to compile the report, gathered from six organizations and the Syrian government, almost certainly missed a number of deaths that have yet to be counted. “The statistics presented in this report should be considered minimum bounds,” the report said.

“Based on our experience in other countries, and really just thinking about the way that violence occurs, there will inevitably be violence that is not recorded, especially if it leaves behind only the perpetrators or witnesses who don’t feel safe enough to report or they don’t have any reason to,” she said.

That view was endorsed by Radwan Ziadeh, the director of the Syrian Center for Political and Strategic Studies, which is part of another group that tracks casualties, the Syrian Network for Human Rights. The network, which only records deaths of rebel fighters and civilians, has reported the deaths of 42,343 people since March 18, 2011.

The likelihood that many deaths have gone unreported should spur a push for international monitors to document the violence in Syria, said Ziadeh, a member of the Syrian National Council, an opposition exile group that has lobbied hard for international support for the rebels.

“This is why it’s important to have independent fact-finding on the ground,” he said.

Syria’s death toll has long been a hotly debated topic. The United Nations stopped publishing a death toll nearly a year ago after officials realized that they could not independently document the killings and that most of the groups purporting to have information were sympathetic to the rebels and did not delineate between civilian deaths and those of rebel combatants. For its part, the Syrian government provided statistics primarily for its supporters and police and soldiers killed in combat with the rebels. The government stopped publicizing those casualties late last spring as it became clear rebels were taking an ever greater toll on government forces.

The Benetech study was an effort to arrive at an accurate figure by comparing the reports provided by both Rahman’s and Ziadeh’s groups and four others as well as the Syrian government. The firm’s statisticians compared each of the databases with one another in an effort to weed out duplicates and insufficiently documented deaths. Researchers included only casualties that had been identified with a first and last name and a date and place of death.

The process yielded a list of 59,648 unduplicated death t reports from March 2011 through November. Of those, 76.1 percent were male and 7.5 percent were female. The sex of 16.4 percent could not be determined from the records, the report said.

But there were many questions that the report could not answer. For one, the analysis could not determine how many of those killed were civilians and how many were combatants. It also said that more than 70 percent of the records did not provide an age for the victim, meaning that the study could reach no conclusions about the death toll among children and the elderly.

The lack of information about whether the dead were bystanders or combatants also leaves open the debate over Syrian government tactics. Anti-Assad groups have consistently accused the government of targeting civilians in its bombardment of urban areas, a charge the Syrian government answers by claiming that the areas were occupied by armed rebels.

The way the various groups account for civilian casualties varies widely, underscoring the difficulty.

Ziadeh says his group’s numbers “indicate that 90 to 95 percent of those killed are civilians.” But Rahman’s Syrian Observatory sees a less lopsided ratio, with its numbers for November and December – 3,860 and 3,690, respectively – showing that only 42 percent of those were civilians.

Those variations exist even though both groups say they rely on the same basic methodology to gather their information: interviews with family members, photographic and video evidence, and evidence collected by activists on the ground to back up their statistics.

Both groups agree that violence peaked in August, when each counted for than 5,000 dead.

Rahman said, however, that he intends to present evidence to the United Nations that some of the death reports its study used included faked names and people who died from causes unrelated to the war.

He cited a recent attack on a gasoline station as example of the misrepresentation of some of the attacks that take place inside Syria.

“People said more than 30 people died,” Rahman said. “But no one had more than 12 names, or video of more than 12 bodies.”

January 6th, 2013, 11:02 am


Syrialover said:


I know you were laughing aloud when you wrote that.

You’ve got me laughing too.

January 6th, 2013, 11:06 am


AIG said:


“I have always believed Bashar and his regime are brutal, corrupted and impotent.”

And what have you done about it? Nothing much I venture. Yet, now you tell the people that want the regime gone that they should let it stay because the regime was so bad that it devastated Syria’s democratic and secular potential leadership and fomented a sectarian war. So in fact, the argument is that you need to reward the ruthless dictator because otherwise the bad things that he says will happen when he is gone, will happen. Do you understand why your argument is cynical and will fall on deaf ears?

“And one crucial point that Bashar is needed because of sectarian calamity ahead of his forced removal.”

Who made this into a sectarian conflict if not Assad? After claiming for 11 years that there are no sectarian issues in Syria…

Look, you can’t say in one post that “his regime are brutal, corrupted and impotent” and that “even so for the sake of Syria and her people, Bashar’s regime is needed to maintain and restore orders and help to foster the future of Syria.” and think you are making sense.

How can a “brutal, corrupted and impotent” “help to foster the future of Syria”? “brutal, corrupted and impotent” regimes do exactly the opposite. In fact the current situation is the fault of the Assad regime, and you want to give them another chance?

January 6th, 2013, 11:09 am


revenire said:

#74 You didn’t like the speech? Was’t that a given before he opened his mouth?

I was impressed and proud. Assad is strong, you can feel it emanating from him.

January 6th, 2013, 11:11 am


apple_mini said:

In an ideal world, the truth and justice always prevail and the evil gets crushed.

In a less ideal world,

Save the country first!

January 6th, 2013, 11:17 am


zoo said:


As you are the expert in statistics on SC, you can extend your observations to the frequencies of the cliches

– How many times AIG repeated the magic number “11 years”?
– How many times the word ‘delusion’ and ‘deluded’ the anti-Bashar have used
– How many times the ‘licence to kill’ has been used by Al Jazeera?
– How many times the word ‘brutal regime’ has been used by Western media?
– is 70% of Syria still under control of the armed rebels and al Nusra
– What % of the original population in the ‘liberated areas under the ‘protection’ of the FSA is still in their homes?

etc… That will allow your brain to recharge after the electrical shock and Bashar’s speech.

January 6th, 2013, 11:43 am


AIG said:


This is not about truth and justice. It is about common sense. Assad wrecked the country. You admit he is brutal, corrupt and impotent. If so, why do you think keeping him in power can save anything? It will make things worse. You do not “save” countries by keeping in power brutal, corrupt and impotent leaders. You do it be removing them.

Your argument is the same argument that supporters of Assad have been making for 11 years: He is bad but there is no good alternative. But now what can you say? Assad is bad and has wrecked Syria and if you had been more forceful in demanding change earlier, Syria would not be where it is now. Leaving Assad in power now will not solve anything just as leaving him in power for 11 years brought the current catastrophe.

If Assad stays in power it will not solve any problem internally nor allow for Syria to be rebuilt. He has made enemies of all the countries Syria needs to help it get back on its feet: the West, the Gulf countries and Turkey. He has made enemies of a huge portion of Syrian society and they will not accept his rule anymore. They will not forget how he bombed and tortured them. You want Assad to rule by fear again? It is the only option since a huge swath of Syria’s population will not accept him otherwise.

If you really want to save Syria, you will have to drastically change your attitudes, instead of preaching to others to do so.

January 6th, 2013, 11:46 am


AIG said:

Yes Zoo, we still haven’t heard from you why Assad did nothing for 11 years. We still haven’t heard how the current situation is not the responsibility of the person who was in power for 11 years before the mess started. 11 years in which he could have made reforms and didn’t. What suddenly caused him to change his mind? Why should he be trusted at all?

Of course, I don’t expect answers because that is not what propagandists like you do. You, like Assad blame the “Zionists” for what is happening in Syria. You cannot win, there is no strategy that ends well for you. None at all. You will never be able to rebuild Syria with Assad in power. You need the West, the Gulf and Turkey to do it, and they are Assad’s enemies now. Assad is the worst of the worst and must go.

January 6th, 2013, 11:53 am


zoo said:


Here’s 3 more..
Please update AIG’s statistics on the “11” mania

January 6th, 2013, 11:59 am


Visitor said:

Zoo said @78


As you are the expert in statistics on SC, you can extend your observations to the frequencies of the cliches

– How many times AIG repeated the magic number “11 years”?
– How many times the word ‘delusion’ and ‘deluded’ the anti-Bashar have used
– How many times the ‘licence to kill’ has been used by Al Jazeera?
– How many times the word ‘brutal regime’ has been used by Western media?
– is 70% of Syria still under control of the armed rebels and al Nusra
– What % of the original population in the ‘liberated areas under the ‘protection’ of the FSA is still in their homes?”

I thought you would never ask. Here are the answers to your questions in the order in which they appear:

– Not frequently enough considering the fact that 11 is a prime number
– Not frequently enough considering how deluded you are
– Not frequently enough considenring how Nazi-like the brutal regime is
– I would say very high. You can easily surmise based on the number of refugees

I am glad I was of assisstance.

January 6th, 2013, 12:03 pm


revenire said:

It has come to my attention that rabid anti-Syrian William Scott Scherk is a member of Ayn Rand’s cult of Objectivism.

We wonder if Bill is advocating replacing “Assadism” with Objectivism? Somehow I doubt very many Syrians would go along with being led by the evil philosophy of a woman who was a totally insane drug addict – a speed freak.
“There was her 30-year use of amphetamines, beginning with Benzedrine in 1942, as she was rushing to complete The Fountainhead, and continuing with Dexedrine and Dexamyl into the 1970s. Until now it has been described as a two-pill-a-day prescription for weight control, but evidence in Heller’s book indicates that it wasn’t seen that way by everyone. As early as 1945, her then-close friend, journalist Isabel Paterson, was berating her in letters with passages such as, ‘Stop taking that benzedrine, you idiot. I don’t care what excuse you have — stop it.’ Heller presents other evidence that Rand had periods of heavy use in the 1950s and ’60s. But the exact extent of her dependence on amphetamines is peripheral here to the broader self-delusion. As anyone who has had the experience knows, a good way to get a really, really distorted sense of reality is to swallow a couple of Dexedrines. If you want to take them anyway, don’t go around bragging that you never ‘fake reality in any manner.'”

“Anthem” Bill doesn’t like to mention these uncomfortable facts about his life.

“Fountainhead” Bill isn’t even Syrian but he has developed a rather large hard-on for President Assad.
“William Scott Scherk @wsscherk
@rallaf — I felt that repulsion in my guts, and I am not Syrian. The arrogance was appalling, horrifying.”

What the heck is a Canadian ex-punk rock has-been who pretends to be an intellectual sticking his nose into Syria for? A hobby? An odd one. Passion? Not from a Rand devotee.

Ironic that some of the most jackal-like people that hate Syria are not even Syrian.

Now we know where the hubris comes from Bill: being a member of Rand’s cult.

January 6th, 2013, 12:04 pm


Visitor said:

Zoo @81,

You realize you’re becoming incoherent?

Are you sure you have not exceeded your LSD intake?

In any case see my replies above.

January 6th, 2013, 12:06 pm


AIG said:

Do you want to make fun of or make people forget that Assad was in power 11 years and had all the time in the world to make changes that would have saved Syria? Of course you do. Keep ignoring the obvious because it lays bear your ridiculous propaganda: Assad was in power for 11 years. He could have made changes. He did not. He pursued horrendous internal and external policies, he created a huge rich-poor divide and he made many enemies inside and outside Syria. He overplayed his hand and though he was invincible.

Assad is the worst of the worst and must go.

January 6th, 2013, 12:07 pm


zoo said:


ref: #86

2 more… When will it stop?

January 6th, 2013, 12:19 pm


zoo said:


You were so precise in statistics about my frequency of posting what made you so vague about the others?
Oh, maybe that was before the electric shock..

Take a double dose of Viagra that may help if Prozac did not

January 6th, 2013, 12:24 pm


Visitor said:

Zoo @86,

You’re talking to yourself again!

You definitely overdosed!

Do you want me to call 911?

January 6th, 2013, 12:25 pm


AIG said:

It will stop when you give a good explanation on why Assad did nothing for 11 years. He had all the time in the world for reforms, yet did nothing. Why? It will stop when you can explain how anyone but Assad is responsible for the current situation. He had all the power he needed for 11 years to make Syria a great place and he failed miserably. It will stop when you can explain why someone who was in power 11 years and failed so catastrophically and has humiliated Syria making it the prime example not to follow, should stay in power. Which leaders recently have devastated their country as much as Assad has? Which leader has humiliated his country, his regime and himself so much as Assad? And this is the person you support.

January 6th, 2013, 12:26 pm


zoo said:


So WSS is not Syrian! Sigh of relief as I never thought any Syrian, even in the highest state of hysteria could ever reach that level of intellectual pretense and mental confusion.

Now I understand the pseudo-philosophical connotations of his lengthy and boring posts.

January 6th, 2013, 12:30 pm


Visitor said:

Zoo @87,

Are you telling me you are a female looking for sex?

I understand from your question that you are not attractive enough to turn me on without Viagra! In other words you could be a turn off female!

If you are 5’11”, 39, 29, 39 with long flowing blond hair and with Betty Davies eyes then there is no need for Viagra. Otherwise, I am not interested. I have what turns me on with the flicker of an eye.

January 6th, 2013, 12:31 pm


zoo said:


ref #91

2 more, can you keep up?

January 6th, 2013, 12:32 pm


Juergen said:

revealing article about the role of Iran in Syria

Every Place is Khalidiya
by Jennifer Mackenzie

A trip to the Damascus grave of Dr. Ali Shariati, revolutionary, as the shelling in Homs, Syria began.

““Syria is part of Iran,” B. declares. “They will never let it go.”

January 6th, 2013, 12:35 pm


arab code said:

Shaykh al Arifi has directly denied the fake fatwa. Here is a last video about this topic
العريفي يكذب فتوى زواج المقاتلين في سوريا لعدة ساعات

January 6th, 2013, 12:38 pm


Visitor said:

Zoo 92,

Why shoud I keep up?

You are the only one who is irritated!

The question being asked is the most valid question.

Does that mean you get irritated when you are asked a most valid question?

I have no incentive, in this case, to relieve you of your discomfort.

Keep the magic number 11 coming AIG, until this idiot bugs off this site.

As a side note, do you measure up to specs as outlined in 91?

January 6th, 2013, 12:40 pm


Visitor said:

Thanks for the observation about Suhair. But, no thanks, she wouldn’t do.

By the way I never showed any attachement to the coalition. Where did you get that impression?

I thought I made myself clear. I am an FSA fan with all its components.

Do you not recall my first post on SC?

It has been ongoing since then.

January 6th, 2013, 12:44 pm


zoo said:

#97 Visitor

Even if I did, this is not a dating blog.
AIG has strange disease, I never encountered it before, the “11” mania.
I see, so you prefer S/M ..

January 6th, 2013, 12:46 pm


Juergen said:

These were Assad reforms in 2012.

What will be the outlook of Syria after his reforminitiative?

January 6th, 2013, 12:52 pm


Visitor said:

Zoo 96,

So you are a turn off female then making a stupid execuse about the site.

I shouldn’t have asked because you most likely have been in many muta3a escapdes which explains your attachement to mullah-stan and its mullah apes.

In this case, even if you met the specs, you would not qualify.

January 6th, 2013, 12:56 pm


Ghat Al Bird said:

To those who portend to be hollyer than the rest of us. Read the names and nationalities as reported in the UN.

Must be the financing abilities of The Saudi Prince!

January 6th, 2013, 12:59 pm


Husam said:


You say Assad must go, I disagree: He and his inner circle must hang.

Apple_Mini is asking not why there is no replacement, but stating that there is currently no cohesive front (despite claiming the contrary). One Khi’en goes, a dozen will spring up. Yes, his speech was a soap opera, but so are the dozen speeches and tit-for-tat meetings of old school Syrian-expats-wannabes in Turkey and elsewhere. We haven’t grown up. Syrians have a sense of aloofness and entitlement that is hindering real change.

The young are too busy being creative and driving the revolution. They are also too young to be taken seriously end up being marginalized by Khalo, A’mo and Saidati-wa-Sadati and worn out worthless clichés.

January 6th, 2013, 1:07 pm


Husam said:

I have no doubt that the Ba’athis have infiltrated the FSA & other political organizations at the highest level

I said and argued 2 years ago that Syria will be bloodier than Lebanon’s civil war and I have not changed my mind.

January 6th, 2013, 1:12 pm


zoo said:

What about the Palestinians?

While Palestinians “blasts Arab donors” for not honoring their financial commitments to the Resistance

In his speech, Bashar al Assad repeats his support to the resistance:

“Those who placed their bets on weakening Syria to forget Golan and its occupied lands are mistaken…Golan is ours and Palestine is our cause that we won’t give up on…We will remain the supporters of resistance against the one enemy. Resistance is a culture, not individual”

He addressed the “proud Palestinians’ to reaffirm ” Syria is your second home”. The others ” who only consider Syria as a luxury hotel”, let them go to hell.

January 6th, 2013, 1:13 pm


revenire said:

Husam you’re delusional. By saying Assad must hang all you’re doing is killing more Syrians.

You speak for no one but a gaggle of online terrorists jacked up on coffee.

January 6th, 2013, 1:13 pm


zoo said:

#101 Visitor

Thanks, sigh of relief..

January 6th, 2013, 1:16 pm


Visitor said:

Do we have two Revenire(s) on this blog?

See 103.

January 6th, 2013, 1:19 pm


zoo said:

#104 Hussam

In Lebanon it took 15 years and it came back to the same political setup (plus the shared rejection of starting a civil war again)

I hope that Syria won’t end up like that..

January 6th, 2013, 1:20 pm


Uzair8 said:

New post up.

January 6th, 2013, 1:29 pm


Badr said:


James Reynolds
BBC News

The most lasting image from Mr Assad’s appearance may come from the moments after his speech. Dozens of supporters surged towards the president – almost prefiguring the frenzy that might happen if the opposition got to him. The president waved, and struggled to leave the stage. For Syria’s opposition, that is the entire problem.

January 6th, 2013, 1:40 pm


Ghat Al Bird said:

Add to #99.

Saudi prince threw 2.4 billion customizing the world’s largest private jet (HD Photos)
Flying Palace: Prince aerwalide to spend 240 million pounds custom diagrams and some luxury in the cabin of the A380 configuration.
The Daily Mail website reported on December 20, 2012 that Saudi Arabia’s wangziaerwalide · · Talal · aleshate customized Airbus A380 will be delivered before and after new year ‘s, the aircraft worth 240 million pounds (about 2.43 billion yuan), is currently the world’s largest private jet. Designed in accordance with the Prince requested that this aircraft converted into a luxury “Flying Palace”.

January 6th, 2013, 2:49 pm


sam said:

God, Syria, Bashar, and nothing else!!

January 7th, 2013, 5:20 am


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