News Round Up (July 8, 2012)

Syrian General Defects, Heads To France As Assad’s Opponents Meet There
NPR – Heard on All Things Considered
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Transcript

July 6, 2012 – ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Syrians Trying to Get into Lebanon July 8, 2012 (sent by a friend)

More now on that defection of a Syrian general. Not just any general, but Brigadier General Manaf Tlass. He’s the son of a former Syrian defense minister, Mustafa Tlass. It’s a Sunni Muslim family and one that is close to the ruling Assad family.

How important is this? Well, we’re going to ask Professor Joshua Landis, who’s a Syria expert who directs the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma. He’s joining us from Norman.

Welcome back to the program.

JOSHUA LANDIS: Good to be with you, Robert.

SIEGEL: What does it say here that Brigadier General Manaf Tlass has defected?

LANDIS: It’s very important. The Tlass family is a keystone of the Sunni Alawite alliance that’s been the bedrock of this regime for 40 years. The fact that they have bailed out says that this regime is falling apart and the essential alliances are falling apart. Increasingly, this struggle is becoming one of sectarian communities, the Alawites against the Sunnis.

In the beginning, this was – it seemed like – angry young men from the countryside. The Sunnis were low class. They were from rural districts. They had nothing to lose. For a long time, everybody has been saying, where’s the Sunni elite? How come they’re not defecting? Well, here is, you know, Mr. Sunni elite defecting.

SIEGEL: Now, there is a declaration of defection that’s posted on your website. You say it’s impossible to verify, but it looks reasonable. And, in it, Tlass says, I call for all my comrades in the armed forces, whatever their rank, who are dragged into this fight against their fellow Syrians and against their own ideas to stop supporting this regime. Would you expect others to follow him?

LANDIS: I do. I think that this sends a signal that Bashar al-Assad doesn’t have the confidence of his top generals. The place is falling apart. Everybody’s going to begin looking for the exit. The problem is that Manaf Tlass is a man of great wealth. His family has got power. He can take a golden parachute and land in Paris. He’s fine. Most generals in the Syrian army don’t have much money. They don’t have bodyguards. They don’t have a way out. They can’t get their families out and Manaf is able to get his wife out. His brother and father got out before him. His sister is out. His son, we believe, was at AUB, the American University in Beirut. He has been able to really manage this exit very gracefully.

SIEGEL: Manaf Tlass also wrote in that declaration of defection, I was – I’m quoting from the translation – “progressively dismissed from my place of duty in the armed forces.” That suggests that his misgivings about what the regime was doing were known to his superiors and it implies that there is at least some kind of debate that’s been going on among senior officers, doesn’t it?

LANDIS: It does. And friends who’ve recently been with him in Damascus, had dinner with him, say he that he was very bitter. He had been given the task of trying to bring Harasta and Duma, two neighborhoods of Damascus in the suburbs that had led this revolutionary process to heal. And he had gone out to the opposition. He talked with them. He got them to back off, but he also negotiated this and agreed that the regime would back off.

The regime center said, we’re not going to do it this way. They came down like a ton of bricks, breaking heads and we’ve seen the violence that’s ensued. And, in a sense, the people like Tlass, who were looking for a softer landing for the regime, got pushed aside. And he was sidelined. That’s the word and that’s certainly the word he’s putting out and bitter about it.

SIEGEL: Professor Landis, would Manaf Tlass strike Syrian opposition forces as either a possible leader of their cause or a transitional leader or is he too deeply associated with the old regime to be a credible leader of a new one?

LANDIS: You know, the opposition, I’m sure, are all celebrating. This is an important crack in the regime, but there is going to be tons of bitterness against him. This family has been an architect of this regime. They’re not going to embrace him.

There are others. Vice President Abdul Halim Khaddam, who defected in 2005 and joined the Muslim Brotherhood. That fell apart. And there’s Rifaat al-Assad, the uncle of the present president of Syria, who is also in Paris, but none of them have been embraced by the opposition. In fact, they’ve been forbidden to come to opposition meetings, so I think the Tlass family, although people will be very happy to see the regime crumbling, they’re going to have a very hard time ingratiating themselves with the opposition.

SIEGEL: Professor Landis, thanks for talking with us once again.

LANDIS: Well, it’s my pleasure. Thank you.

SIEGEL: Joshua Landis, who directs the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma.

Clinton: Assad’s fall is certain
2012-07-06 UPI

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton welcomed reports Friday that a high-level general had defected from Syria.

Clinton: With more defections, Syrian regime’s ‘days are numbered’ – CNN

Why Russia Supports Syria – New York Times

Report in Arabic about FSA fighters in Turkey – how they cross the border and fight. Reporter interviews (video) FSA sharpshooter who explains how he shoots at anyone from certain Idlib border villages because they are “all regime loyalists” .

A Young Syrian’s Evolution From a Carefree Tour Guide to a Revolutionary
By ANNE BARNARD: July 7, 2012 – New York Times

… Abu Zeid and several friends took up arms after security officers shot demonstrators in Tadmur, the modern town near Palmyra. Now, alternately passionate and confused, Abu Zeid has only the dimmest idea of an endgame, swept up in a wave heading nowhere clear.

He wavers, unsure whether joining the revolt was his life’s proudest moment or its ruin — or both.

His exploits, sometimes more Keystone Kops than Che Guevara, left him feeling empowered but morally conflicted. He stole money and weapons, something he struggles to justify to himself. He endangered his neighbors, beat up an informer and narrowly escaped a raid that killed some of his friends after one drew attention to their hide-out by getting stuck in an elevator. Even his beloved camel ended up dead.

Now he is a jobless fugitive in a country bordering Syria, heartsick for a life in which, he said, “I felt like a king in my own way.

Like someone who grew up near the sea and is drawn to water, Abu Zeid spends hours visiting ancient ruins, quizzing people about his new country’s tourist industry. He worries that unrest will harm his family, or Palmyra’s antiquities. One moment he vows to go back and fight; the next he disavows violence.

“I hate my life this way,” he told a friend in a recent message….. In a recent meeting, he and one fellow fighter spoke little about democracy, offering no opinion on who or what should replace Mr. Assad. They said they acted in solidarity with the dead, and “for dignity.” … Recently, Abu Zeid received a French visa. He will be safe in his girlfriend’s mountain village, but he is vaulting further into the unknown.

Posted: 06 Jul 2012
BBC News reports: Sources close to Brigadier General Manaf Tlas, who met him days before he deserted, told the BBC he was very angry about what was happening in Syria and accused the regime of “taking the country to Hell”. “If I were him, I would have done an [former Turkish leader and political reformer […]

Newsweek: Champagne Flows While Syria Burns
2012-07-09

By the pool, glistening, oiled, and muscular bodies gyrated to a juiced-up version of Adele’s “Someone Like You.” Atop huge speakers, a Russian dancer swayed suggestively in front of the young, beautiful Syrian set drinking imported Lebanese ….

Considering a Palace Coup in Syria
Stratfor –  July 5, 2012 |

Summary: Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s regime has maintained its hold on power amid escalating violence and international criticism over the past year. However, pressure on the regime could eventually increase to a point that other members of the inner circle may attempt to supplant the al Assad clan. This small group of elites could even receive backing from Syria’s allies, Russia and Iran. While such a coup scenario appears unlikely at present, the threats the al Assad clan faces from within the regime are at least as serious as the threats from external powers or the opposition.

Analysis: Though the al Assad family is the public face of the Syrian regime and controls some of its most important positions, the regime also comprises other Alawites as well as Christians, Druze, other religious minorities and members of the country’s Sunni majority. This inner circle includes Syria’s most powerful and experienced political, military and civilian leaders, and these individuals view their own survival as tied to the fate of the regime. However, if al Assad began to lose his ability to hold together the disparate elements that form the Syrian regime, a group of regime elites could try to stage a palace coup and forcibly remove the family from power.

Another potential scenario involves coordination with external parties, likely Iran and Russia, both of which have deep intelligence networks in Syria. Although Iran and Russia provide significant financial and military backing for al Assad and the Syrian regime, they have contingency plans for a new regime if a power transfer becomes necessary. The imperative for these allies is not to keep the al Assad clan in power but to maintain a government in Syria that will remain friendly to their interests and does not deviate too far from the status quo.

The ability of Syria’s allies to engineer a coup is questionable. Moreover, a coup is unlikely at present because the regime does not show external signs of cracking and still possesses a largely united military and intelligence apparatus. However, if the situation calls for such action, Iran and Russia will work to maintain the overall structure of the regime. This could be pursued by brokering an official power transfer between al Assad and other top members of the regime, similar to the power transfer in Yemen. Because al Assad clan members are at the core of the president’s inner circle, his close family would likely not be welcome to join the putative new government.

If al Assad were removed from the inside with or without foreign backing, key Sunni figures and allied minorities in the current regime would likely take over leadership. A more inclusive and diverse regime could use its sectarian composition to quell some of the opposition while still maintaining the overall regime structure and avoiding a power vacuum that could lead to greater instability.

Of the minority inner circle members, some of the most prominent include the heads of Syria’s four intelligence agencies: Jamil Hassan, Abdel-Fatah Qudsiyeh, Ali Mamlouk and Muhammad Deeb Zaitoon. Aside from these intelligence leaders, an important minority leader to watch is Hisham Bakhtiar, a Shi’i in charge of the National Security Council who serves as a security and intelligence adviser to al Assad.

Prominent Sunni figures who could play a role in a post-al Assad government include Interior Minister Mohammad Ibrahim al-Shaar, commander of the elite Republican Guard forces Manaf Tlas, army Chief of Staff Fahd Jasem al-Farij and Assistant Regional Secretary of the Baath Arab Socialist Party Muhammad Said Bukhaytan.

Profiled below are figures with experience in managing the security and intelligence affairs of the state, and all except Bashar al Assad’s close relatives could emerge as members of a new regime in the event of a palace coup or negotiated power transfer.

Minority Members of al Assad’s Inner Circle

Deputy Defense Minister Gen. Assef Shawkat (Alawite)

  • Considered one of al Assad’s top security chiefs
  • Formerly head of military intelligence and deputy chief of staff.
  • Joined the army in the late 1970s
  • The regime is rumored to hold him partly responsible for failing to prevent the 2008 assassination of Hezbollah military commander Imad Mughniyah
  • Married to al Assad’s sister, Bushra
  • Maintains close relationship with Bashar but has a more difficult relationship with his Bashar’s brother, Maher al Assad

Shabiha leader Namir al Assad (Alawite)

  • Bashar al Assad’s cousin
  • One of the top leaders of Shabiha, the Syrian mercenary force frequently used in crackdowns against the opposition

The Republican Guard and 4th Armored Division head Maher al Assad (Alawite)

  • Bashar al Assad’s youngest brother
  • Rumored to be Syria’s second-most powerful man
  • Longtime member of the Syrian military and a member of the Baath Party’s second highest body, the Central Committee
  • Known for his use of brute force
  • Allegedly shot Shawkat in the stomach in 1999
  • Commands the most elite and loyal forces

General Security Directorate head in Damascus Col. Hafez Makhlouf (Alawite)

  • Cousin and childhood friend of Bashar al Assad, close friend of Maher al Assad
  • Survivor of the 1994 car crash that killed the president’s brother, Basil

Deputy Vice President for Security Affairs Muhammad Nasif Kheirbek (Alawite)

  •  Member of the Kalabiya tribe, the same Alawite tribe as the president
  • Connected to the al Assad family through his marriage to one of the daughters of former President Hafez al Assad’s brother, Rifaat al Assad
  • Adviser and ally to Bashar al Assad
  • Former head of the General Security Directorate, the civilian intelligence service

Rami Makhlouf (Alawite)

  • Bashar al Assad’s first cousin and Hafez Makhlouf’s brother
  • One of the most powerful businessmen in Syria
  • Owns a wide variety of companies, including the Syriatel communications company, and is involved in many foreign companies’ business deals within Syria
  • Allegedly uses much of the income from his business dealings to aid the regime’s suppression of Syrian protests and rebel forces

Air Force Intelligence head Gen. Jamil Hassan (Alawite)

Added to the EU sanctions list in May 2011 for his involvement in the crackdown on the civilian population
Air Force Intelligence is an elite agency in Syria’s intelligence apparatus and was used extensively by Hafez al Assad
The agency has played a direct role in the crackdown against protesters

Military Intelligence head Abdel-Fatah Qudsiyeh (Alawite)

  • Added to the EU sanctions list in May 2011 for the Military Intelligence’s role in the crackdown on the Syrian opposition
  • Former head of the Air Force Intelligence, personal secretary to al Assad and head of the Republican Guard’s security office
  • Led the investigation on Mughniyah’s assassination

Political Security Directorate head Muhammad Deeb Zaitoon (Alawite)

  • Added to the EU sanctions list in May 2011 for the Political Security Directorate’s role in the suppression of protesters
  • Former deputy head of the General Security Directorate
  • Assisted in the investigation of Mughniyah’s assassination

Syrian General Intelligence Directorate head Ali Mamlouk (Alawite)

  • Former deputy head of Air Force Intelligence
  • Close ties with the Political Security Directorate
  • Was placed on the U.S. sanctions list in April 2011 for human rights abuses and the use of violence against civilians
  • The General Intelligence Directorate has allegedly used deadly force when cracking down on anti-government protesters
  • His religion is disputed because Syrian authorities have at times presented him as a Sunni from Rif Damascus

Presidential Security chief Gen. Dhu al-Himma Shalish (Alawite)

  • Al Assad’s first cousin
  • Formerly served as al Assad’s personal bodyguard
  • Allegedly provided military resources to former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s regime

Special Forces Commander Gen. Juma al-Ahmad (Alawite)

  • Placed on the German sanctions list in December 2011 for violence against peaceful protesters
  • Defense Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Lt. Gen. Dawoud Rajiha (Christian)
  • Former chief of staff and deputy chief of staff for the Syrian army
  • Artillery specialist in the military academy
  • His inclusion in the inner circle is considered to be politically motivated, rather than merit-based, in order to garner the support of the Christian minority

National Security Council head Maj. Gen. Hisham Bakhtiar (Shiite)

  • Provides security and intelligence advice directly to al Assad
  • Former head of the General Security Directorate
  • The United States accused him of funding terrorist organizations
  • Added to EU sanctions list for Daraa crackdown in May 2011

Sunni Members of al Assad’s Inner Circle:

Interior Minister Lt. Gen. Mohammad Ibrahim al-Shaar

  • Former chief of the military police in Aleppo, director of Sednaya Prison and appointed interior minister during the 2011 unrest
  • Joined armed forces in 1971
  • Reportedly maintains a good relationship with the Alawites and also has contacts with members of the Sunni-led rebel insurgency
  • The regime has deliberately allowed al-Shaar to maintain contact with some armed opposition groups to secure knowledge of their activities and to have a conduit for dialogue
  • Rumored to have secured safe exit for anti-al Assad militant groups

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Fahd Jasem al-Farij

  • Former deputy chief of staff of the Syrian army
  • From Hama, ethnically BedouinAllegedly appointed to his current post in order to appease residents of Hama after the crackdown in mid-20

Vice President Farouk al-Shara

  • Member of the Baath Party Regional Committee since 2000
  • Some believe his position is more symbolic and that unlike other inner circle members, he has not played a large role in quelling the uprising
Former Syrian Defense Minister Lt. Gen. Hasan Turkmani
  • Joined the Syrian army in 1954
  • Ethnically Turkish and reportedly anti-Arab
  • Believed to be one of al Assad’s strategists

Republican Guard Commander Brig. Manaf Tlas

  • Son of former Defense Minister Gen. Mustafa Tlas and brother-in-law to Shawkat
  • Considered one of al Assad’s closest friends and helped al Assad develop a support base among the Sunni merchant class.
  • Commands a battalion of the Alawite-dominated Republican Guard and is a member of the Baath Party Central Committee.

Air Force head Gen. Isam Hallaq

  • Not viewed as powerful enough to restore law and order to Syria, despite his position

Military Intelligence chief in Damascus Rustum Ghazali

  • Former chief of Syrian military intelligence in Lebanon and reportedly wielded great influence in Lebanese internal affairs
  • Placed on the EU sanctions list in May 2011 for the repression of the opposition in Syria

Baath Arab Socialist Party Assistant Regional Secretary Muhammad Said Bukhaytan

  • Served as the assistant regional secretary of the Baath Arab Socialist Party since 2005
  • Former director for the national security of the regional Baath Party and Hama governor from 1998 to 2000
  • Considered a close associate of Bashar and Maher al Assad and a high-level decision-maker in the regime

Deputy Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Munir Adanov

  • Deputy chief of staff and commander of the regular army’s military campaign in Rastan, where several crackdowns have occurred
  • Reportedly accompanied al Assad on several high-level foreign visits
  • Placed on the EU sanctions list in August 2011 for his direct involvement in the repression and use of violence against the civilian population in Syria

The tide begins to turn
Diplomacy is being overtaken by the armed struggle. But on both scores, Syria’s embattled president, Bashar Assad, is steadily losing ground
Jul 7th 2012 | BEIRUT AND CAIRO | Economist

…. the Free Syrian Army (FSA), the main group of armed rebel factions, shunned a subsequent meeting of Mr Assad’s opponents in Cairo on July 1st. The Syrian Revolution General Commission, the leading network of political activists inside Syria, left early in a huff. The biggest such event to date, it was intended to forge a common blueprint for the wider opposition and to give at least the impression of unity. But the factions from within Syria suspected that exile groups were seeking to curry favour with foreign diplomats and donors by endorsing the Geneva plan at the expense of the revolution that they are battling to expand back home.

The Cairo meeting did not mention the Geneva document but instead issued a vague set of constitutional principles, along with its own plan for a transitional government. Moreover, the intended show of unity was marred by rows over the composition of a joint committee to follow things up. Representatives of the Kurds, who make up around 15% of Syrians, walked out in protest against being termed an ethnic group rather than a people, and some left-wingers and secularists reiterated charges against the Syrian National Council, the largest exile group, that it was dominated by Islamists (in particular, the Muslim Brotherhood) and beholden to such foreign backers as Turkey, Qatar and the CIA.

For his part, Mr Assad had upped the ante on June 26th by announcing for the first time that Syria was indeed “at war”, decreeing new laws to punish his opponents (all lumped together as “terrorists”). State television broadcast a call for soldiers to seek “martyrdom” in service to the fatherland. His government voiced tepid approval of the Geneva plan, but as with Mr Annan’s previous plan, which it formally accepted but largely ignored in practice, suggested that its opponents should first drop their weapons.

This is not going to happen. The military pressure against Mr Assad is mounting. Day by day, town by town, the balance of power seesaws between the regime’s forces and its loosely organised but increasingly better-armed opponents. But the tide is running against Mr Assad. In the hilly north-western province of Idleb, almost incessant shelling by government forces has not prevented rebels from keeping de facto control over swathes of territory, including parts of the border with Turkey which is 900km (560 miles) long…..

Antoun Issa in al-Akhbar with a proposal for a third anti-war option on Syria.

General Fayez Amro of the Free Syrian Army [FSA] : A single foreign air strike is the solution.
al-Sharq al-Awsat

…He added “if the regime was subject to a single [foreign] air strike, this would save a lot of lives in Syria. This has become an international humanitarian crisis, and it is clear that what is happening in Syria is the result of the blatant Russian and Iranian interference, supporting the al-Assad regime with ammunition and manpower, not to mention the Hezbollah mercenaries…so what is wrong with international intervention?”

Jerusalem Post: Assad: Peoples’ support saves me from Shah’s fate
2012-07-05

ANKARA – Syrian President Bashar Assad said in an interview published on Thursday that he would have been toppled long ago like the shah of Iran if his people did not support him. “Everybody was calculating that I would fall in a small amount of …

Shenkar at WINEP

For Washington and the Syrian opposition, then, the key in the coming weeks will be to leverage Tlass’ defection to foment a decisive fissure in the military. While Tlass may not hold the key to Syria’s future, if properly handled, he could help close a gruesome chapter of Syria’s past.

Egypt on the path of Turkey in the 80s – Reuters

The power play since Mubarak’s overthrow suggests Egypt is moving steadily towards a Turkey-style accommodation between a powerful army and an Islamist movement that gradually shifts its people into the institutions of government.

Egyptian General Mamdouh Shahin said there was no question that the army would decide the future balance of power.

“The constitutional decree remains the exclusive authority of the military council. Nothing will change this,” he told Reuters, adding that, for now, the army would act as a balance between the government and the president.…

Sunni Islamism Stirs In Lebanon
By Jonathan Spyer in GLORIA

As the civil war in Syria grinds on and assumes an increasingly sectarian character, echoes of the strife are being heard across the border in Lebanon. The main beneficiary of the Arab uprisings of the last year has been Sunni Islamism. In Syria, Sunnis are playing an increasingly important role in the rebellion against President Bashar Assad. In […]

Comments (181)


ghufran said:

Even that I support Manaf’s right to quit the army and oppose Bashar, I still,until I have different information that leads me to believe otherwise, find his “defection” to be more about his own future than the future of his country, the Tlas family was part of the regime since 1970 and it is too late to try to beautify their face. As for a potential role for Manaf, I think that the guy’s main strength is his Sunni credentials and that he came from a large family in Alrastan. The attemps by some, including our own JL,to portray the guy as a principled,smart and charming individual is part of a larger theme that fits the years-long dream of many about a virtuos sunni leader who revolts against an evil alawi-led regime and comes out to build a free and clean political system. the regime lasted 42 years mostly due to the support of Sunnis,and the future of Syria requires a new alliance of a similar type but based on different principles, freedom and the rule of law,any other approach especially a sectarian one,is doomed to fail and will drag the country into a long civil war that can only produce losers.
If Manaf is worried about Syria,he needs to build a multi ethnic and muti religious group that helps the transitional period,failing to do so,means he is only after saving his own behind.

July 8th, 2012, 12:22 pm

 

ghufran said:

أعلنت مصادر سورية الأحد8/7/2012 اختطاف سليم دعبول نجل مدير مكتب الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد وذلك في منطقة القلمون ويملك المهندس دعبول مع شركاء له جامعة القلمون.
وقالت المصادر لوكالة الأنباء الألمانية “د ب أ” إنه عثر على سائق سليم مقتولا، إضافة إلى إصابة ثلاثة من حراسه وهم يتلقون العلاج في المستشفى.
يذكر أن والد سليم الذائع الصيت “أبو سليم” هو مدير مكتب الرئيس السوري الراحل حافظ الأسد والحالي بشار الأسد ،ولم تعلن أي جهة تبنيها لاختطافه.

July 8th, 2012, 12:25 pm

 

ghufran said:

a good article about alawis in syria today
http://alhayat.com/Details/415654

July 8th, 2012, 12:40 pm

 

ghufran said:

ونشرت صحيفة “الصنداي تايمز” مقالا بعنوان “مدام (ع) تخدع الأسد”.
وجاء في تقرير مراسليها ماثيو كامبل، وأوزي ماهاماني أن المليونيرة الباريسية ناهد عجة هي الشخصية الغامضة التي كانت وراء هروب العميد مناف طلاس إلى تركيا.
وتعتبر عجة (52 عاما) من أجمل السيدات الباريسيات وأكثرهن أناقة.ً وهي شقيقة العميد مناف طلاس، وتسكن في باريس منذ 33 عاما كما قال التقرير.

ويضيف التقرير أن ناهد عجة هي أرملة الملياردير السعودي أكرم عجة الذي كان يعمل تاجراً للأسلحة. وكانت ناهد قد تزوجت عجة وهي في الثامنة عشرة من العمر بينما كان هو في الستينيات.

وتقدر ثروتها بحوالي مليار دولار أميركي. وبحسب التقربر فإن عجة سهلت خروج كل من والدها وزير الدفاع السوري السابق مصطفى طلاس، وشقيقها رجل الأعمال فراس إلى باريس.

July 8th, 2012, 1:12 pm

 

irritated said:

A variation of the same year old theme by “oh so creative” Miss Globetrotter Piggy

“The sand is running out of the hour glass.”
Besides the usual babbling..

http://news.yahoo.com/syrias-fighting-spills-lebanon-five-killed-131636033.html

July 8th, 2012, 1:17 pm

 

bronco said:

The people who have predicted the ‘imminent’ fall months ago of Bashar al Assad got their shot of adrenaline: Munaf Tllass’s defection, desertion, “take the money and run to Paris”, repentance, call it what you want. It’s a “victory” for the opposition: They now have on their side the son of their worst enemy and a criminal himself as advisor and future leader.

Now a new ‘optimistic’ wave of predictions is flowing.
– Hillary: “There is a chance to save the Syrian state from a catastrophic assault that would be very dangerous not only to Syria but to the region. Clinton appeared to be referring to the possibility of Syrian rebels launching such an assault on state institutions rather than to any outside intervention.”

Does she mean that an assault from the rebels will be a catastrophy? Is it Israel and Jordan she is worried about?

After her hysterical outburst of frustration at the FOS in Paris, she is on medication.

– J Landis repeats the mantra “game is up” together with Michael Weiss, Fouad Ajami and others.

– Hollande assures that Bashar will go before he goes. Didn’t Sarkozy predicted the same?

– It seems that Erdogan does not follow the trend of hysteria. Probably because he has 40,000 costly ‘guests’ and because of Russia’s accusation that his ‘innocent’ plane was spying for NATO.
Erdogan does not like to be caught lying. It’s bad for his pride.

All this while the Syrian army (supposedly breaking apart) is making naval maneouvers in the sea and regaining gradually the “70%” territories occupied by the FSA and their Islamists allies.

July 8th, 2012, 1:39 pm

 

Uzair8 said:

Came across a tweet mentioning wikileaks regarding Iranian, Hezb and co. involvement in Syria. Have to wait and see.

http://yallasouriya.wordpress.com/2012/07/08/according-to-wikileaks-there-are-in-syria-about/

July 8th, 2012, 1:41 pm

 

zoo said:

Is honeymoon already over in Egypt?

Defiant Egyptian president orders dissolved parliament back
\http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/defiant-egyptian-president-orders-dissolved-parliament-back.aspx?pageID=238&nID=25050&NewsCatID=352

CAIRO – The Associated Press
Egypt’s president on ordered today the country’s Islamist-dominated parliament to reconvene in defiance of a military decree dissolving the legislature last month following a court ruling that a third of its members were illegally elected, the state news agency reported.

The surprise move by the Islamist Mohammed Morsi will almost certainly lead to a clash with the powerful generals who formally handed power to him on June 30 after spending 16 months at the nation’s helm following the ouster of Hosni Mubarak in a popular uprising.

July 8th, 2012, 1:47 pm

 

irritated said:

Uzair8

The Wikileaks era is over… No one is really interested

July 8th, 2012, 1:48 pm

 

Uzair8 said:

9. Irritated

The new Syria related wikileaks.

It would be ironic if the Assad supporters including media such as RT and Press Tv, usually the champions of wikileak and Julian Assange, now flip-flopped on the new leaks.

The other day I saw on RT the main story was about Assange and how his detractors were after him. I think he also has a show on RT.

July 8th, 2012, 2:15 pm

 

zoo said:

The murder of the eminent researcher in aeronautics Samir Ali Raqyat from Aleppo University.

لتضليل الاعلامي 5-7-2012 الشهيد سمير علي رقية

July 8th, 2012, 2:27 pm

 
 
 
 

zoo said:

قدري جميل: الجامعة العربية فقدت مصداقيتها، وهي طرف في الأزمة السورية

قدري جميل: الجامعة العربية فقدت مصداقيتها، وهي طرف في الأزمة السورية

ضيف برنامج ” حديث اليوم” أمين عام حزب الإرادة الشعبية، عضو رئاسة الجبهة الشعبية ،نائب رئيس الوزراء السوري للشؤون الاقتصادية الدكتور قدري جميل، الذي حدثنا عن الوضع العام في سورية، وموقف أطياف المعارضة الداخلية من لقاء القاهرة ونتائج مؤتمر جنيف:

س- سعادة الوزير سورية الآن أمام حكومة جديدة، ما أهم التحديات التي تواجهها هذه الحكومة؟

04.07.2012

http://arabic.rt.com/prg/telecast/657480/

July 8th, 2012, 2:50 pm

 

zoo said:

Assad blames Syrian violence on US rebel support – report

­Syrian president Bashar Assad has accused Washington of supporting rebels and fueling a violent uprising against his government, in an interview with German ARD radio. Assad said he will not step down “in the face of national challenges” because the president “cannot escape in such a situation.” The full version in of the interview, which ARD said was conducted Thursday in Damascus and recorded by Syria’s state television, is to be released later. This is only the third interview Assad has given to a Western news outlet since Syria’s uprising broke out in March 2011.

http://www.rt.com/news/line/2012-07-08/#id33937

July 8th, 2012, 3:37 pm

 

omen said:

general akil hashem on aje inside syria:

I believe this defection will encourage other Sunni high-rank officers or officials to defect from this regime.” – Akil Hashem

i was reading another piece that suggested despite high command being dominated by alawites, the army was highly dependent on sunni officers to lead conscripts.

without sunni officers, would the regime military be crippled?

July 8th, 2012, 3:42 pm

 

Ghufran said:

In his 3rd interview with western media since March,2011, Bashar in an interview with ARD-Germany seemed as defiant as ever,he accused the US for being a partner with Qatar,KSA and Turkey in the killing of thousands of syrians refusing to resign or take responsibility for the bloodshed.
Further proof that Syria is more likely to see an escalation of violence instead of a national dialogue,the rhetoric from both sides contradicts the hopeful suggestion that the time for a political solution has come,I think we are not at this point yet,be prepared for more reports of daily death from Syria. Lebanon is also ready for more unrest while rumors about a dying king in KSA are spreading quickly,if Abdullah is not dead,he needs to show his dyed beard to those who are worried about him.
الأعمار بيد الله

July 8th, 2012, 3:47 pm

 

bronco said:

#18 Ghufran

Bashar is going on the offensive in the Western media.
After having accused, in a Turkish newspaper, Erdogan of hyprocritically supporting the rebels while officially denying it, he is now opening accusing the USA of the same and more.

I think he got the greenlight from the Russians who are fed up with the accusations popping up everyday in the media that they are responsible for the death in Syrians because of their ‘stubborness’ in not accepting a forced regime change. The last excess came from Hillary threatening Russia and China of a “price to pay”.
Now that the Syrian government has learn the ropes of the media from the experts in the opposition, they will try to make us of them to their advantage.
That Turkish and German media give the opportunity to a supposedly ’embattled’ and ‘isolated’ president on the “edge of a cliff” to express himself and openly criticize the enemies of Syria, just show he is none of that.

July 8th, 2012, 4:03 pm

 

irritated said:

Omen

the army was highly dependent on sunni officers to lead conscripts.

OMG.. Hush… Don’t say that! You’ll have all the anti-alawites against you. It’s a truth hard to hear from them.

The moto is that the leaders of the army are all alawites who are forcing the Sunni soldiers to kill and if they refuse to kill, they are shot.
At least allow the anti-regime to live in their fantasy…

July 8th, 2012, 4:09 pm

 

Amjad said:

“That Turkish and German media give the opportunity to a supposedly ‘embattled’ and ‘isolated’ president on the “edge of a cliff” to express himself and openly criticize the enemies of Syria, just show he is none of that.”

Seriously? That’s what passes for “analysis” these days? A previously aloof dictator suddenly feels the need to plead and beg his case, and that’s supposed to be a sign of strength? Saddam was much like him, the weaker he got, the more speeches he made. Same as Mubarak. The smaller the dictators get, the more they feel the need to make the world listen to them.

A free press, like which exists in Turkey and Germany, find it completely normal to give even the most odious and dispicable personalities a platform to express their views. I look forward to the day when Al-Dunya or Al-akhbaria or Syrian state TV are allowed to carry an interview with Hillary Clinton. As it is, Robert Fisk has gone on record as saying that he deeply regrets giving an interview to the regime’s propaganda outlets, after seeing how they distorted his words.

July 8th, 2012, 4:22 pm

 

Bruno said:

@bronco
(- Hillary: “There is a chance to save the Syrian state from a catastrophic assault that would be very dangerous not only to Syria but to the region. Clinton appeared to be referring to the possibility of Syrian rebels launching such an assault on state institutions rather than to any outside intervention.” )

I think she was referring to an outside intervention, i dont think nor believe that the rebels have gone that effective, a catastrophic assault means a like huge either Nuke blast, Air bombing or an ground invasion.

Ironically how the western mainstream media news outlets have been trying to spin her comment around by claiming it will be an rebel assault.

And bronco i dont believe the Free Sryian Army has the control of 70% of the country in Syria if they did, the conflict would have been over months ago.

So in a way thats a lie as well.

July 8th, 2012, 4:26 pm

 

AIG said:

Assad and the delusional regime supporters remind me of the Black Knight in the Mony Python movie:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2eMkth8FWno

Assad cannot win. Even in the unlikely case that he subdues the opposition the sanctions will remain and the awful relations with Turkey and the Gulf Arabs will remain. How exactly will he be able to rebuild Syria and create jobs for millions of young Syrians without investments and tourism and without trade with the West and most of the Arab world? The more Assad stays, the weaker Syria becomes.

July 8th, 2012, 4:27 pm

 

Bruno said:

@AIG
Is that best you got? insults and you cant handle even a rational conversation without accusing users as Assad Supporter? and what are you then? American,NATO Saudi Arabian qatar supporter?

On twitter i have been trying to have a rational conversation but couldn’t do the due the fact the rebel supporters always turn to insults or they just block you.

Aig from most of the YouTube videos that i have seen ordinary Syrians in Homs and elsewhere want to return and want there lives to return to normal, but they cant, because your rebel Islmaists are blocking roads, using child soldiers and forcing them to protest.

July 8th, 2012, 4:30 pm

 

omen said:

Most generals in the Syrian army don’t have much money. They don’t have bodyguards. They don’t have a way out.

penniless women and children manage to find their way to jordan.
but officers are too hapless to manage to plot their escape?

July 8th, 2012, 4:32 pm

 
 

Amjad said:

AIG

And “brave brave Sir Robin”, sitting in the West and DARING the USA and Turkey to attack.

“Assad cannot win. Even in the unlikely case that he subdues the opposition the sanctions will remain and the awful relations with Turkey and the Gulf Arabs will remain”

Exactly. I always get a good laugh when I hear the pro-regimists scream that “Assad will emerge stronger!!!!!” How, exactly? Anyone who thinks that Bashar can emerge “stronger” from the mess he made is utterly ignorant of economics, politics and history. The best he can hope for is a Zimbabwe and North Korea kind of isolation; the Charlie Sheen definition of “wining”.

“and what are you then? American,NATO Saudi Arabian qatar supporter”

I’m going to butt in, but YES, on all four counts. God bless the USA, they have proven better friends to the Syrian people than our so called “rejectionist friends”. Were it not for NATO Libyans would have been massacred in their tens of thousands. Saudi Arabia has gone above and beyond the call of duty in accommodating Syrians, and Qatar has taken the moral lead in isolating and beating down this immoral junta. It is amazing how a country the small size of Qatar can exert such immense influence, while Bashar watches every tool his daddy give him break in his hands.

July 8th, 2012, 4:34 pm

 

AIG said:

Bruno,

It is hard to know what most Syrians want. But it is clear that they don’t want Assad. If Assad was so popular and so loved he would have given Syrians freedom of speech and free elections many years ago. But Assad did not do so. The small reforms he made, he closed down quickly. Why? Because he knows what you don’t, that people do not like him. That he has been a dismal failure. That his regime is ultra corrupt. That the only reason he is in power is because of fear.

Of course Syrians want peace and quiet. But that is the last thing Assad can give. He has isolated himself so much that Syria under him can only be a hell hole.

July 8th, 2012, 4:47 pm

 

Amjad said:

“If Assad was so popular and so loved he would have given Syrians freedom of speech and free elections many years ago”

Not just that, but before the UN Observers arrived, Assad had cut off the Internet, mobile networks and international phone calls in Homs, Homs province, Idlib, Dar’a, Deir el Zour, Damascus countryside, Aleppo countryside, and Hama and its countryside. Someone who thinks it necessary to cut off essential utilities to so much of the country, cannot be described as “legitimate” by any stretch of the imagination.

July 8th, 2012, 4:52 pm

 

Bruno said:

@Aig

Your proving to be an internet troll or more rather a rebel supporter more and more.

“If Assad was so popular and so loved he would have given Syrians freedom of speech and free elections many years ago”

Free Elections my behind if you think America has any free elections or the so called free elections in Europe your sadly quite wrong, those elections have been nothing more then an a elitist show.

Electing the same person with the same agenda but a different party, just like here in Canada.

Yeah thats why Canadians hate Harper now.

Whats the difference between Romney or Obama Aig? none they are all same elites.

Expect in Romney case he wants a war on Iran because he claims as with Saddam that Iran is a threat to global peace which is nothing more then a pure lie but i am sure you believe that.

July 8th, 2012, 5:03 pm

 

Bruno said:

For you War Mongers on here.
War is a Racket, its clear what Hillary Clinton stated when she mentioned.

“Catastrophic assault”
Think coordinated simultaneous airstrikes such as seen on March 19th 2003 in Iraq in order to break the backbone of the regime.

July 8th, 2012, 5:06 pm

 

AIG said:

Bruno,

So tell me, what is the best way to elect a government if not by free elections? Why did your family move to Canada and not Iran?

There is no ideal system, but I am sure no Canadian would agree that Harper would designate his son as the next PM. In Canada you can say that Harper is an idiot in a public place. In Syria that would land you in prison. That you don’t see any difference between Canada and Syria shows the level of regime supporter analysis.

July 8th, 2012, 5:09 pm

 

AIG said:

Bruno,

If there is no difference between Canada and Syria, why did your family move to Canada instead of staying Syria? Your hypocrisy knows no end.

Canada is a free country. Syria is a dictatorship based on fear. It is as simple as that.

July 8th, 2012, 5:12 pm

 

AIG said:

Bruno,

You wanted a rational debate didn’t you? Why don’t you explain to us how Syria can survive under Assad with the sanctions and dreadful relations with Turkey and the rich Arab countries?

July 8th, 2012, 5:14 pm

 

IHTP said:

@BRUNO:

Now that you are present, would you care to own up to something you said in the previous blog entry’s comment section, I’m going to copy paste a part of my message directed to you from that comment-thread:

258. IHTP said:

Hello everyone!

Before saying anything, I’d like to thank Joshua Landis for running this blog and also of course to all others who’ve shared their views and expertise via this platform. It has been an indispensable contributor in trying to get a grasp of this multilayered, confusing and exceedingly tragic conflict that is unfolding in the Levant.

I’ve also been following the comments section, but have yet to refrain from posting. However, after reading through the above six pages concerning the latest blog entry, I feel like I Had To Post a few words concerning the unconstructive direction the conversation has taken:

—————————————-

@BRUNO:

Why on earth are you making the claim of Mr. Landis’ membership or association with the Council on Foreign Relations the sole factor through which you suggest we should judge his whole professional credibility on a subject that he has obviously dedicated his academic career.

This seems pretty ridiculous in light of the fact that the CoFR is one of the oldest and most prestigious and central non-governmental foreign policy institution thats been active since the first decades of the last century ie. the whole time when the US has been the other or the single most important actor in international relations.

I can’t find Mr. Landis on the CoFR’s member list now, so he has either been a term member (not a lifetime member) or just simply spoken at the council or worked in association with it.
http://www.cfr.org/about/membership/roster.html?letter=L

A search on the Council’s website yields interviews with Mr. Landis where he is, not surprisingly, consulted as an expert on Syria. He is also, among others included as a reference on analysis concerning Syria.

Wouldn’t the most likely and logical explanation be that Mr Landis and the CoFR are interlinked due to the fact that one party is probably the most important foreign policy think tank in Washington and the other is a leading academic on a subject of importance to the direction of US foreign policy?

Is this really so unbelievable that the first thing that should come to one’s mind is some sort of conspiracy involving almost the whole American foreign policy community and discourse, NGOs, Academics and most of the political establishment?

Seriously?!

————————————–

By the way, just out of curiousity I noticed that you seemed to post in tandem with someone called Norman. I did a few keyword searches and I’m wondering whether you are this Bruno: http://www.sixdegrees.fi/6d/index.php/wemet/37-wemet/326-bruno-jaentti-researching-for-a-solution

And Norman is this Norman: http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/

I’m probably wrong, but it would be a funny, but oddly fitting coincidence.

July 8th, 2012, 5:17 pm

 

Bruno said:

My goodness you are showing your real agendas on this comment section.

@IHTP
(Why on earth are you making the claim of Mr. Landis’ membership or association with the Council on Foreign Relations the sole factor through which you suggest we should judge his whole professional credibility on a subject that he has obviously dedicated his academic career.)
He has been given interviews to the CFR and he has been a CFR member

He has spoken at the Brookings Institute, USIP, Middle East Institute, and Council on Foreign Relations.

You cant speak at the Council on Foreign Relations. Unless your not a member, nice to see that your trying desperately to defend him.

(By the way, just out of curiousity I noticed that you seemed to post in tandem with someone called Norman. I did a few keyword searches and I’m wondering whether you are this Bruno: http://www.sixdegrees.fi/6d/index.php/wemet/37-wemet/326-bruno-jaentti-researching-for-a-solution)

No i am not that Bruno.

(A search on the Council’s website yields interviews with Mr. Landis where he is, not surprisingly, consulted as an expert on Syria. He is also, among others included as a reference on analysis concerning Syria.)

Yes the same analysis on what how America wants to hear.

July 8th, 2012, 5:29 pm

 

zoo said:

Reposted
Contrary to Egypt and Tunisia, the Libyan Moslem Brotherhood is tainted by its collaboration with Seif El Islam since 2003 and its recent suspicious cozyness with Qatar. The early election results show that it has less chances to take a prominent role in the future of the country.

An imminent failure for Qatar’s MB candidates and a sigh of relief for Western countries.

Libyan election hints at blow to Islamists
By MAGGIE MICHAEL | Associated Press – 37 mins ago
http://news.yahoo.com/libyan-election-hints-blow-islamists-195714554.html

…..
Since Gadhafi’s fall, the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya also has faced questions about its close ties to the wealthy Gulf state of Qatar, which funneled weapons and funds to the anti-Gadhafi forces. Some critics accuse Qatar’s rulers of trying to exert influence through Libya’s Brotherhood as a bridge between Egypt and Tunisia.

In December, influential Egyptian cleric Youssef al-Qaradawi, who is based in Qatar, flew to Libya aboard a Qatari royal jet and was given a feast by a senior Brotherhood leader, Bashir al-Kebti.

Later, al-Qaradawi and Tunisian Brotherhood leader Rashid al-Ghannoushi traveled to Tripoli to attend a National Reconciliation conference. But members of the rebel-led National Transition Council withdrew in protest “because they only saw it as a promotion and propaganda for the Brotherhood,” said Fathi Baja, head of political committee in the NTC.

“Qatar for the Brotherhood is like a shrine,” he added. “Twenty-four hour visits, around the clock, members coming and going to Qatar.”

July 8th, 2012, 5:31 pm

 

Bruno said:

@Aig
(If there is no difference between Canada and Syria, why did your family move to Canada instead of staying Syria? Your hypocrisy knows no end.

Canada is a free country. Syria is a dictatorship based on fear. It is as simple as that.)

Oh yes there no difference between Canada and Syria, Canada is slowy becoming a two state dictatorship with all the martial law based laws and bills which Harper is putting in place, slowly the free Canada wont be any longer free.

If you aren’t a troll surely you would have had followed the news out of Canada and its current bills.

July 8th, 2012, 5:32 pm

 

Amjad said:

“Free Elections my behind if you think America has any free elections or the so called free elections in Europe your sadly quite wrong, those elections have been nothing more then an a elitist show. ”

I wish that every person who has spent so much as 10 minutes on this forum, would read and forward that tidbit. It illustrates the depth of cynicism and hypocrisy of the regime’s supporters. How could anyone with such a cynical mentality ever hope to lead a country? Any major endeavor requires a degree of optimism. The future is made by people with (sometimes) unrealistic dreams and goals far beyond them. When we pursue our dreams, the journey makes us better and greater than when we first started. Nations should be led by John Kennedys, Martin Luther Kings, not people who would find an excuse to collectively trash Canada, the best place in the world to live in.

Is it any wonder than the regimists can offer nothing but doom and gloom? Such a mentality sucks the life and spirit out of a people, and keeps them lacking in self confidence or initiative. Aimless serfs, exactly how the Assadans would like things to be.

July 8th, 2012, 5:32 pm

 

Stick To The Truth said:

The fact that they have bailed out says that this regime is falling apart and the essential alliances are falling apart.

How many times we must hear that Mr. Landis?
I will read the users comments on the Spiegel I certain, many of them will be amusing
I guess the next interview will be granted to the Bild-Zeitung.

July 8th, 2012, 5:38 pm

 

Amjad said:

The juntas line: Everything in the world sucks. Even democracy sucks. Capitalism sucks, all you can look forward to is a world that sucks, so be grateful for whatever crumbs we deign to give you.

The new attitude of the Syrian people; we take our future in our own hands. No mare za3ems. No more Big Brother telling us what to think or what to do or whose picture to hang on our cars. If the future is uncertain, it will be our future, our mistakes will be our own ones. We will not be like the proverbial 30 year old man too scared to move out of home. The battered wife who stays with her abusive husband is not Syrian. The kid who meekly puts up with an abusive parent is not Syrian. The people who feed the crocodile in the hope that they will be the last to be eaten, are not Syrian.

July 8th, 2012, 5:43 pm

 

AIG said:

Bruno,

“Oh yes there no difference between Canada and Syria”

So we have moved to the realm of crazy. Each year numerous organizations rank countries based on their freedoms and human development. Canada is at the top of the list and Syria at the bottom.

So why did your family leave Syria? You want a rational debate, then answer this simple question. If you claim Canada is no better than Syria, and you claim to be a Syrian patriot, why would you leave Syria? There is a contradiction between what you say and your actions, and that seems irrational. Care to explain?

July 8th, 2012, 5:45 pm

 

AIG said:

And Bruno,

You still have not explained how Assad will make Syria better in the face of sanctions and international isolation. It seems that for you “rational debate” is ignoring the points you do not have answers for.

July 8th, 2012, 5:49 pm

 

Stick to the truth said:

Now, there is a declaration of defection that’s posted on your website. You say it’s impossible to verify, but it looks reasonable

Reasonable does not mean verified. I will believe it when I hear it from M. Talss on TV.

Even the “FREE SYRIAN ARMY” has doubts why M. Tlass went to Paris.
So lets wait. If it proof wrong, it will be a great desaster for SC.

A similar desaster as the desater after the naive posting of the “The Gay Girl”

July 8th, 2012, 5:49 pm

 

bronco said:

#21 Amjad

“Saddam was much like him, the weaker he got, the more speeches he made. Same as Mubarak.”

Can you remind me interviews to foreign press by Saddam and Mubarak before they fell?
It seems you are unable to make a difference between a speech to a nation and an interview targeting foreign countries. In view of the depth of your ‘analysis’ I am not surprised by your confusion.

The foreign press has been harassed and manipulated by the opposition racketeers with false witnesses, fake videos, rumors, and urban legends. It’s time that the foreign audience have a chance to listen to another point of view, without intermediates .
I’d like to see an interview of Abdel Baset Siada on foreign press. I guess the SNC would be too worried to do that, as they know it would be a PR disaster.
Obviously, on the “expat” opposition side, there is no one who has any charisma or knows how to express clear ideas .
The SNC is a traveling circus, and this why they are going from failure to failure as they travel from one glamorous Friend of Syria meeting to the other.

July 8th, 2012, 5:53 pm

 

Amjad said:

“A similar desaster as the desater after the naive posting of the “The Gay Girl””

Oh dear God, where do I begin. First, guess who exposed that *d-i-s-a-s-t-e-r* ? The Western MSM that you despise so much.

Second, if the dude didn’t defect, he has had enough time by now to go on the nearest news station and express his love and adoration and blah for el doktor el munadil el ra’es bashar hafez al assad abu hafez the first lawyer and general of the armed forces ramz el thouwra el 3arabia el ra’es ela el abad etc etc etc.

July 8th, 2012, 5:56 pm

 

Amjad said:

“It seems you are unable to make a difference between a speech to a nation and a interview targeting foreign countries”

Wow, talk about splitting hairs. Not even that, splitting God particles even. Have CERN offered you a job yet? For months your president didn’t show himself, and remained so hidden that rumors spread that he had had a stroke. Now all of a sudden he feels the need to plead his case to all and sundry, giving a rash of interviews. Anyone living in a democracy will recognize it as the same way a politician trailing in the opinion polls resorts to an avalanche of TV-attack ads.

And FYI, your president has until now not addressed the nation. Not once. Of course, someone who considers himself a feudal lord would not deign to address his *subjects*. Less King Arthur and more like Lord Oblivious.

July 8th, 2012, 6:02 pm

 

zoo said:

After Tlass’s defection earthquake, the KSA’s mouthpiece predicts more fatal aftershocks

http://www.menafn.com/menafn/1093531002/Syria-Is-Tlass-defection-not-important
….
Therefore the defection of Manaf Tlass, which is accompanied by other defections from the Damascus regime, means that Assad is no longer in full control of all of Syrian territory. More importantly than this, Assad is no longer even in control of his own military leadership, and this automatically means that the Assad police state is incapable of differentiating between who is with it and who is against it, even in the circles closest to Assad personally.

Therefore, the claim that Manaf Tlass’s defection from the Assad regime is not important is nonsense. This is nothing more than an attempt to absorb this shocking earthquake, which will no doubt be followed by other fatal aftershocks.

– The author is editor in chief of Asharq Al-Awsat.
tariq@asharqalawsat.com

July 8th, 2012, 6:05 pm

 

IHTP said:

@Bruno #35:
Your claim that “only CoFR members can speak at the CoFR or take part in its activities” is completely bogus. This only applies to specific member meetings, that believe it or not are reserved for the Council’s Members! And even some of those provide public transcripts of the discussions. This is clearly stated in their FAQ and should be pretty obvious to anyone with a shred of deductive ability; What kind of a think tank would if all it activities were limited to member-only meetings that take place a few times a year?

Wow, this is really sketchy! Forget the Masons and the Illumnati.. CoFR is obviously the nerve centre of the global conspiracy… I bet they print copies of Foreign Affairs with invisible ink that can only be seen by those well versed in their mystical dark arts…of powerpoint, memos and mailing-lists..

Wallah, we haven’t passed the 50 comment mark yet, and here we go again. .

Now, if you really don’t believe me how about attending one of their many conferences, roundtables or seminars. Just pick one from the list that suits your calendar:

http://www.cfr.org/about/meetings/projects.html

Are we finally done with this issue or do you wish to embarrass yourself even further?

July 8th, 2012, 6:09 pm

 

Stick to the Truth said:

45. Amjad said:

“A similar desaster as the desater after the naive posting of the “The Gay Girl””

Oh dear God, where do I begin. First, guess who exposed that *d-i-s-a-s-t-e-r* ? The Western MSM that you despise so much.

You seem to be one of these BELIEVER….
I am not.

July 8th, 2012, 6:10 pm

 

zoo said:

Another view of Manaf’s Tlass motives for departure: he was made irrelevant and had no choice than to leave

Syrian General Manaf Tlass: Neither Here Nor There Sunday, Jul 8 2012
By Sharmine Narwani
http://mideastshuffle.com/2012/07/08/syrian-general-manaf-tlass-neither-here-nor-there/

The departure of Brigadier General Manaf Tlass from Syria continues to make headlines around the world. But amidst the fanfare, the question of whether this latest development has lasting significance is not at all clear. There are several points to consider:

First, gaining the “defection” of important members of the Sunni community and senior commanders of the Syrian Army has been a central goal of the external opposition and their foreign backers since the onset of protests in 2011. This is the Assad-must-go-no-matter-what crowd, and splitting key pro-regime communities (major cities, secular Sunnis, business elite, government officials, armed forces and minority groups) has been their only strategy to provoke regime change, outside of foreign military assistance.

Second, the regime-changers have gone to great lengths to actively promote “cracks” in these communities. This includes widespread misinformation campaigns as outlined by Stratfor last December, and through carefully calibrated unconventional warfare tactics as explained in this article. A slew of current and former regime officials/confidantes have been approached by external parties this past year to – if necessary – manufacture these fissures. One former senior government official who is known to be dissatisfied with Assad’s performance has told me personally that he was offered a specific large sum of money by the US Congress – brokered by a third nation – just to show up at a critical “Friends of Syria” opposition meeting. Gaining key defections from Syria has become that important.

Third, Brigadier General Tlass is, frankly, not that important from either a military or political perspective.

Since the news of his departure broke a few days ago, Tlass has stayed quiet. It is unlikely that he has “defected” – that would suggest he is joining the opposition, and it is doubtful that any but the most opportunistic of them would embrace a figure so closely associated with the Assad history in Syria.

But here’s a tidbit that hasn’t made the rounds yet in this well-hyped story: until very recently, Tlass was telling members of Basher al-Assad’s inner circle that he wanted the post of Minister of Defense.

“He believed he could help push forth a reform agenda, as he had envisioned with his old friend Bassel (al-Assad),” says an acquaintance of Tlass’.

A well-informed source close to the Syrian government tells me that Tlass had tested those waters last Spring before Assad announced a new cabinet in April 2011, from which he was excluded. In the early months of unrest in Syria, he had attempted to stem the crisis by mediating between the government and its opponents in various towns and cities, but had by most accounts not succeeded.
……

The fact is, after almost a year of inactivity and relative isolation, Manaf was in political no-man’s land in Syria. Scorned by people in Rastan for his continued allegiance to Assad, and marginalized by the regime in both the political and military spheres, Tlass had nothing to gain or lose by sitting tight.

“I don’t blame him. He had to make a choice,” says a Syrian who knows Tlass. “Nobody stopped him from leaving and nobody worked on him to stay,” says another, who knows the elder Tlass well.

So he went to France. End of story.

July 8th, 2012, 6:18 pm

 

omen said:

bruno, war monger? what do you call this regime’s daily killing of unarmed civilians?

i’m still waiting for you cite a source where a regime official is quoted pining the blame for houla on the rebels.

a bbc reporter doesn’t count as a regime official.

insinuation doesn’t count as direct accusation.

July 8th, 2012, 6:25 pm

 

Stick to the truth said:

“I don’t blame him. He had to make a choice,” says a Syrian who knows Tlass. “Nobody stopped him from leaving and nobody worked on him to stay,” says another, who knows the elder Tlass well.

So he went to France. End of story.</blockquote

Thank you for the posting. It sound more like an early retirement rather than defection.

July 8th, 2012, 6:38 pm

 

Amjad said:

I have a comment that hasn’t shown up. Meantime;

“has told me personally that he was offered a specific large sum of money by the US Congress”

What an amateur writer. Seriously? The US Congress goes about offering sums of money? Anyone who knows anything about how Congress works would laugh hysterically at the notion. Was it the Senate or the House? Which committee? Which party? Seriously, so many things wrong with that one phrase. Show me one instance where someone authorized to speak on behalf of “The US Congress” ever offered a bribe to anyone. Was it the Speaker? The minority leader? No really, I want to know in which seedy back office sits the guy whose job it is to offer bribes on behalf of “The US Congress” LOL!

“Thank you for the posting. It sound more like an early retirement rather than defection.”

In which case he would have retired the same way the former minister of defense did; with loud and noxious phrases of love and adoration for el doktor bashar. And yet he hasn’t done so.

July 8th, 2012, 6:38 pm

 

omen said:

that’s right, stick, everybody whose left syria simply went on vacation. that’s the ticket. ok, folks, move along, nothing to see here.

July 8th, 2012, 6:49 pm

 

Stick to the Truth said:

52. Amjad said:

In which case he would have retired the same way the former minister of defense did; with loud and noxious phrases of love and adoration for el doktor bashar. And yet he hasn’t done so.

And since he is not loud tells you that he has defected???

The “FREE SYRIAN ARMY” usually celebrates defectors with loud phrases and thousand of Youtube videos?
Why not in this case?

July 8th, 2012, 6:49 pm

 

zoo said:

“Mr Morsi is unlikely to serve long as president because the adoption of a new constitution later this year is expected to result in new parliamentary and presidential elections.”

Islamist vigilantes raise fears in Egypt
Youssef Hamza
Jul 9, 2012
http://www.thenational.ae/news/world/africa/islamist-vigilantes-raise-fears-in-egypt

Nehad Abul-Omsan, an activist from the Egyptian Centre for Women’s Rights, said Islamist political parties need to publicly assert their commitment to basic freedoms and rights to discourage their supporters, or radical Muslims, from assuming the role of morality police.

“It is a blow to the values of the state and the law. It will turn our society into a jungle,” she said of instances of “rogue” Islamists stopping couples to ask whether they are related or married and questioning women not wearing the hijab.

Mr Morsi is unlikely to serve long as president because the adoption of a new constitution later this year is expected to result in new parliamentary and presidential elections.

July 8th, 2012, 6:55 pm

 

Amjad said:

“Why not in this case?”

Sometimes I feel like the “debates” with the pro-junta camp consists of explaining why the sky is blue and why poo is the color it is.

Why are rank and file defections videoed on Youtube? To get the word out. Because you are unlikely to see a crew from the BBC come into Syria just to witness the defection of a junior officer or conscript. But Tlass’ defection made headline news all over the world. It was confirmed by the French foreign minister on down. Seriously, all it takes to refute the story is one tiny sentence from Tlass expressing his adoration for el presidente.

And yet…nothing. Not a whisper. Not by him nor his family. And the regime’s media are already calling him all manners of names. They dont do that if the guy had “gone on vacation”.

July 8th, 2012, 6:57 pm

 

Stick to The Truth said:

53. omen said:

that’s right, stick, everybody whose left syria simply went on vacation. that’s the ticket. move along, nothing to see here.

No everybody who left Syria is either a defector or joined the “FREE SYRIAN ARMY”
The Opposition is starving for defectors.

By the Way, no news recently from Colonel Riad al-Asaad. Did he re-defect or has been sent in vacation?

July 8th, 2012, 6:58 pm

 

zoo said:

Thousands of Palestinians to be forced into Israeli military service

Published Sunday, July 8, 2012
http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/thousands-palestinians-be-forced-israeli-army

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians will be forced to complete military or community service with the Israeli army, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party announced it would back a controversial plan for reforming the country’s laws.

Meeting in Jerusalem, the party said it would support the recommendations proposed by the so-called Plesner committee last week which also include forcing orthodox Jews to serve.

July 8th, 2012, 7:02 pm

 

Shami said:

Majbali ,what you are told in your environment ,your family are not based on scientific historical studies but on weak stories that have been swallowed by generations of ignorant people.

This is the situation i faced with you when you attack the Ottomans ,presented by you as an intolerant rule towards the minorities ,these lies are very repeated by the majority alawis ,some christians and some arab nationalists,whereas it is not backed by a consensus of the ottomanists(i think that Dr Landis can confirm it) ,who see the ottoman caliphat from the begining till the last years of its effecitve rule as one of the most tolerant empire in history.

I also face this problem with you when i told you that Shah Ismail the sefevi was an heterodox sufi kizilbash(turkish alevi)and is considered as a saint by the alevis.

Now for the alawite demography in north Syria and the Hamdanit state in north Syria and north Iraq.

Let me underline what the historical studies tell us on these matters:

Sayf al Dawla was a shiite ,we are not sure of which trend but he was likely an heteredox Ismaili close to the Qaramita(according the biography of al Mutanabi) ,but in this time ,the shiite theology was not fixed and there were many trends among it,most of them ,the majority was from the Zaidi moderate shiites,they were the facto rulers in the Abbasid Baghdad(Buyyids),the Hamdanids as the Buyyids recognized the Abbasid caliphat and were sent to Syria by them in order to fight the Fatimid influence(Ismaili shiites).

But from my own knowledge ,i know many great thinkers ,poets and philsophers ,who were shiites ,but Majbali could you give me the name of 5 great alawite men of science from this era?

The shiites ,as i said were mostly moderates and liberals ,the trend who is inclined to attack the sahaba for example was not dominant,the first important shiite rafidite scholars appeared in the end of the Hamdanid rule and lived in Abbasid Iraq,Sheikh Al Mufid,Sheikh Al Radhi and this trend will become dominant among the shiites ,when the Safavids(alevis)will impose shiisme on the iranians and the the iraqi lands who were under their control.The most influent religious figure was Al Majlisi (17th century) who fixed the supranatural beliefs of the shiites and who put the central belief around the cult of the messiah,the hidden imam who is the twelfth imam who according their belief entered in occultation in the end of the 10th century and since then is still living hidden from the common of the people but only meet some big ayatollah(that’s why nasrollah call Khomaini and Khamainey the deputies of the hidden imam).

It’s also a fact that some important shiite scholars in the abassid time were from Aleppines ,as the famous family of al Khashab http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibn_al-Khashshab_(died_1125)
who are among the rare praised shiites in the islamic orthodox literature.

and it’s also true after the destruction of Aleppo by the Byzantine Emperor Nicéphorus II Phocas ,that the majority of Aleppo inhabitants and the villages arround were shiites(such as Sarmin,M3ara but we do not have any proof that they were alawites ,as we do not have names of scholars and scientists from this golden era ,who are alawites .

Also Sayf al Dawla ,true ,he was a patron of art and science ,but so was only his proximity and his palace was a copy of the caliphal palace Baghdad but only smaller ,and was located between qoweik river and the hill Jabal Jawshan.

As for the shiite population ,it reverted to Sunni Islam without violence through the propaganda schools called Medressa built by the Saldjukids whose Persian Vizir Nizam al Mulk was the man who founded the first one in Baghdad the famous Nizamiya and the return to Islamic orthodoxy happened very quiclly ,as it was confirmed that in the end of the 13th century,only Sarmin had the a remain of a shiite minority with some importance.

So Majbali ,when the Ottomans and even the Mameluks before them arrived in Aleppo ,there were not signifacant alawite presence in Aleppo nor a Shiite one.(they were concentrated in the alawite mountains and Jabal Sinjar in North Iraq).

As for the shiites ,there were signifant presence in the today Kisrawan and the today maronite inhabited parts in north Lebanon (Tripoli had also a shiite majority(but dependent to the Fatimid caliphat) till the 13th century)when the Mameluk arrived.

Mjbali so my advice to you ,never swallow what you are told by the surrounding environment but always refer to history books that are composed according a scientific method.

One of the good current scholars of this era is a Lebanese historian in France whose name is Anne-Marie Eddé.

July 8th, 2012, 7:23 pm

 

Syrialover said:

Amjad #52

Sharmine Narwini, the pseudo-journalist whose make-it-up-as-you-go along drivel is not only dumb but sinister.

You probably read how respected commentator Max Blumenthal stopped blogging at Al Akhbar because of his disgust at her pro-Assad tendencies.

Of course she then screamed at him in print like a mad witch, but hasn’t changed as you can see from that article above you are commenting on.

Zoo likes her though.

July 8th, 2012, 7:31 pm

 

Tara said:

Congratulation for al Assad for how history is going to judge him and his supporters.

Syria – destination for tourism and torture
guardian.co.uk, Sunday 8 July 2012 16.00 EDT

Attention has rightly been focused on the appalling plight of those caught up in what is now regarded as a civil war in Syria (Reports, 7 July). Many of your reports refer to the build-up of the Free Syrian Army close to the Turkish border north of Aleppo and the deployment of helicopter gunships by the Syrian government in the region. As the FSA fights for control of this area, we might also remember the wealth of ancient sites located there and throughout the country.

The neo-Hittite temple of Ain Dara lies 40 miles north-west of Aleppo, with its massive black basalt lion guarding the entrance. Closer still is the magnificent basilica of St Simeon Stylites, the ascetic who lived for years on top of a 12m column, the remains of which lie in the centre of the site. To the south of Aleppo lie the ghostly remains of deserted Byzantine cities, and Aleppo itself is a storehouse of Islamic, pre-Christian and early Christian history. These sites and dozens of others are critical to the future of Syria, testimony to its complex and unique history and a vast potential for tourism, once peace returns and some form of democratic government is established. From our position of apparently helpless observers, let us hope that the ravages of civil war do not destroy these crucial elements of the country’s identity.
Dr Roger Booker
Dunsfold, Surrey

• It is well known that Syria engages in systematic torture. That is precisely why the US took Canadian citizen Maher Arar there, in one infamous and well-documented case of extraordinary rendition. Former CIA officer Robert Baer has explicitly stated that if you want detainees tortured, you send them to Syria. It is an egregious breach of international law and of human rights that Syria practises torture in this way. Let us not, however, have hypocrisy from western powers that have also done so, or been complicit with this.
Scott Poynting
Manchester Metropolitan University

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jul/08/syria-tourism-and-torture

July 8th, 2012, 7:35 pm

 

Shami said:

I’m sorry for the bad spelling i had not time to correct what i could

July 8th, 2012, 7:38 pm

 

Syrialover said:

Reading the list from Stratfor that Joshua Landis posted above of those who could potentially oust Assad, what a roll call of dirty dogs in very dirty jobs.

Sunni or Alawi, it doesn’t matter, the very jobs they have been doing have made them too filthy for all the whitewashing and disinfectant in the world. They will have to be all thrown out with trash as permanently damaged goods.

Just like Rifaat Assad and the hypocrite Khaddam are on the list of those too tainted, guilty and debased to be allowed access to clean spaces.

July 8th, 2012, 7:47 pm

 

omen said:

even this marine veteran, turned reporter, with tours of duty under his belt, finds this intolerable:

The people in Khan Sheikhoun and surrounding towns are my friends. They welcomed me in their homes and protected me. I can’t handle this.


I
lived in Walid’s house; one of his little daughters is wounded by a shell. And one of my friends is dead. Just make it stop.

.

make

it

stop

July 8th, 2012, 7:52 pm

 

Shami said:

I have to correct this part of my previous comment.
Also Sayf al Dawla ,true ,he was a patron of art and science ,but it’s mostly limited to his proximity and his palace,his palace was on the rare architecural jewel in Aleppo in that time (it was a modest city) ,it was a smaller copy of the circular caliphial palace of Baghdad(built in terra-cota bricks) ,and was located between qoweik river and the hill Jabal Jawshan.(sacred for the shiites in which can still be seen the oldest shiite buildings in the world ,built by Nuraldin Zanki and the Ayyubids on a former Hamdanid structure for the aleppine shiite community)
But the Hamdanid were bad administrators and their territory was badly managed ,it felt in extreme poverty and chaos ,till when the better rulers ,also shiites ,Bani Mirdass took over.
Sayf Al Dawla ,is more a legendary figure who was after prestige than a man of state ,this is said ,he is praised for his patronage of the arts ,that attracted the greatest philosopher of his time ,Al Farabi(Ismaili) and the best gramarians an poets such as Ibn Khalawayh,Abul Faraj al Isfahani ,Mutanabi and of course the family member Abu Firas.

July 8th, 2012, 7:53 pm

 

Son of Damascus said:

Canada enjoys freedoms and rights that 99% of the world would dream of having (including many Americans), and thats what makes Canada one of the top destinations for immigrants. And thats why their major cities consistently top the UN’s index of top places to live.

I strongly recommend the ill-informed commentator that equated the freedoms and rights that all Canadians enjoy and cherish to that of Assad’s callous, inhuman, barbaric and sadistic take on what Syrians should enjoy, to go and see a doctor immediately for his sanity is questionable. Good thing for him healthcare is free in Canada…

July 8th, 2012, 7:57 pm

 

Uzair8 said:

I hope this is true:

@alnajjar6

#Breaking: Repub.Guard units in Ya’four confirmed defection of 1200 soldiers from 105th brigade led by Brig. Manaf Tlas to join #FSA! #Syria

http://yallasouriya.wordpress.com/2012/07/08/alnajjar6-breaking-repub-guard-units-in-yafour-confirmed/

July 8th, 2012, 8:07 pm

 

Amjad said:

Syrialover, Narwini is indeed neither an intellectual nor is she a journalist. She routinely lifts entire passages off from Professor Landis’ writings and passes them off as her own. The most blatant example is when she claimed that no army could survive if part of it shot the other part to keep discipline. Bull-crap. Shooting one’s own is a time honored tradition. It’s how the Russians kept discipline during WW 2. In fact, a sizeable chunk of their casualties at Stalingrad was execution of deserters.

The British did the same during WW 1. And Hitler threatened to shoot any officer who so much as moved a sentry from a door to a window. Shooting a hundred to keep a thousand in line is common practice in armies where moral threatens to break at any moment.

Narwini and her fellow “I’m mad at daddy even though Im a grown adult” analyst As’ad Abu Khalil have never even been to Syria. In fact, how many years total have they spent in the Arab world in the past decade? They despise the West, the very society that has provided them with employment and safety, and pretend to be experts about a region they have scant first hand experience of. Narwini and Angry Batekh are as Arab as I am Brazilian; just because I watch alot of Brazilian football, doesn’t make me an expert on the country.

July 8th, 2012, 8:21 pm

 

Bruno said:

@Uzair8
So you believe everything that blog tells you?\

(@alnajjar6

#Breaking: Repub.Guard units in Ya’four confirmed defection of 1200 soldiers from 105th brigade led by Brig. Manaf Tlas to join #FSA! #Syria

—————————

I wonder if this is true, it would be very good news if it is.)

Yeah i wonder reliable those YouTube videos have been i gues nott.

July 8th, 2012, 8:28 pm

 

zoo said:

#60 Syria Lover

I don’t post an article because I like the author.
I posted Michael Weiss and other neo-cons and Ashark Al Awsat, the mouthpiece of KSA.
I prefer to share articles that give interesting, different and opposite points of views that the ones that parrot the AFP, CNN, FOX, Jazeera news and predictions.

July 8th, 2012, 8:32 pm

 

Bruno said:

@Son of Damascus

Its pretty clear your attentions are and but you should know that your rebel propaganda isn’t working, people aren’t believing the Syrian propaganda its falling.

I guess if someone posts something that is against Israel he or they will get a thumb down to eh? i see how you guys operate, as for Canada yeah Freedom for Some not all.
If your the wealthy class.

You will be treated as the best class in Canada, but if your the poor the poorer will get poorer.

July 8th, 2012, 8:34 pm

 

Uzair8 said:

69. Bruno

I don’t share everything from there or twitter sources. If it’s big news and I get excited I do share even before it’s verified. Perhaps others can then look into it.

I believe it’s a trustworthy source and they do provide evidence where possible. I’ve seen them caution each other about posting rumours.

After AJE closed down it’s blog comment sections some of the users set up a new home YallaSouriya.

July 8th, 2012, 8:54 pm

 

Tara said:

“Supporters days are numbered”

Annan in Syria hoping to save peace plan
AFP – 2 hrs 4 mins ago

“It should be abundantly clear to those who support the Assad regime their days are numbered.”
Clinton was speaking after talks in Paris on Friday where countries pledged to increase pressure on Assad to step down by seeking a tough UN resolution backed by a threat of sanctions.
….
http://news.yahoo.com/annan-syria-hoping-save-peace-plan-164324248.html

July 8th, 2012, 8:55 pm

 

Son of Damascus said:

bruno,

I am still waiting on your answer for those callous lies you posted, why do you keep sidestepping that?

Until then, go find someone else to converse with that might take your childish trolling seriously.

July 8th, 2012, 8:59 pm

 

Aldendeshe said:

73. Tara said:
“Supporters days are numbered”
Annan in Syria hoping to save peace plan
___________________________________________________________________

I am sitting here reading a 55 page devastating report from SNP military analyst saying that Assad has won big, even ready to party now. That there is one final assault left, which ASSAD WILL FLY SWIPE IT and afterward the enemies of Syria are quiting should they fail. And here TARA keeps on bluffing from the bluffers mouth. I keep reading how Assad is so running out of forces, yet the report state that he just disbanded the entire Baathist criminal escapee, what is his name, help me here, LOL..already forgot his name. Anyway, Assad apparently had no need for, oh yah Tlass brigade, he sent them to the street with no pay after he picked the Alawites from it and attached them to the loyal brigades. No need to have a whole brigade to show Sunni they are in power under Tlass. Assad is now confident of Syria’s Sunni support to him directly.

July 8th, 2012, 9:06 pm

 

omen said:

what? no convoluted hair brained conspiracy as root to all the madness?

aldendeshe, you’re slipping.

July 8th, 2012, 9:16 pm

 

Aldendeshe said:

“…Annan in Syria hoping to save peace plan…”

He is wasting his time. Assad is going to tell him to shove it. Plain and simple. NOW WHAT, the final assult, he is ready for that too, half of Aleppo will be in pot holes.

July 8th, 2012, 9:19 pm

 

Aldendeshe said:

LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSERS.LOL & LOL.

July 8th, 2012, 9:22 pm

 

Uzair8 said:

69. Bruno

To be fair I didn’t notice the part lower down:

‘I wonder if this is true, it would be very good news if it is’

I should pay more attention. Thanks for pointing that out.

Anyway, I hope it is true.

July 8th, 2012, 9:25 pm

 

Tara said:

Who is Lamis Omar?  She writes him “My life is no longer my own.  I willingly dedicate it for all the meanings I find in you”.  Now, that is very profound…and laughable.  

Syria: Lord recruited to design garden for Assad family, emails show
A hereditary peer was recruited to design a luxurious country garden for Syria’s Assad family, leaked emails have shown.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/9384976/Syria-Lord-recruited-to-design-garden-for-Assad-family-emails-show.html

Randle Siddeley, the 4th Baron Kenilworth, charged thousands of pounds after he laid down a new garden at the ruling family’s country residence near the coastal city of Latakia on the Mediterranean Sea.
Lord Kenilworth, a noted landscape architect, flew to Damascus to brief Asma al-Assad, the Syrian first lady, in person about his design plans, according to emails obtained by the WikiLeaks website.
The collaboration between the Assads and Lord Kenilworth appears to have begun in 2010 and the early costs of the project were estimated at £176,500.
But as the uprising against Mr Assad’s rule began 16 months ago, the relationship appears to have soured. One email sent last September, reminding Mr Assad’s office that £24,000 pounds was still outstanding, suggests that Lord Kenilworth struggled to receive full payment.
The peer insisted that all work ended before the violence in Syria began.

The latest tranche to be released showed that Mr Assad provided money to a female aide, Lamis Omar, a doctorate student at the University of Durham.
Emails released earlier this year have demonstrated a surprisingly affectionate relationship between the Syrian president and a number of young women, and Miss Omar wrote effusively about Mr Assad in her emails.
“My life is no longer my own,” she declared in one. “I willingly dedicate it for all the meanings I find in you and in all those loved by you. Please allow me to further prove it.”

More…

July 8th, 2012, 9:26 pm

 

Norman said:

It seems that both sides think they can and will win, so both are hoping for the demise of Annan plan,

Dandashy is right, the Syrian Arab army is winning and taking over Homs, Next Qusayr and Rustan, they are moving decisively, they are even better in Damascus suburb,

July 8th, 2012, 9:32 pm

 

omen said:

which children’s throats would jesus slash, norman?

July 8th, 2012, 9:39 pm

 

Uzair8 said:

81 Norman

I suspected this while closely following recent news coming out of Syria.

The regime knows it doesn’t have much time as things begin to unravel. It is also taking a beating and cannot continue on this path.

The only thing it still has is the strong core of the military. I suspect it has decided that while it still has this advantage it will send in mass armour into the rebel areas in a decisive attempt to massively weaken the opposition if not crush it and deprive it of much territory. To show wavering syrians it is still in control and regain confidence by flexing it’s mucles.

Problem is it wont be able to hold territory as it doesn’t have enough men to operate elsewhere. The opposition will pick off regime forces and chip away.

With Ramadan coming it will face even more trouble. During the heat of the day. Post Taraweeh prayer activity (protests and armed). Maybe even around the dawn Ramadan meal time.

This action by the regime doesn’t worry me at the least. I was expecting it. It won’t change anything.

July 8th, 2012, 9:50 pm

 

Ghufran said:

I do not take the predictions of an eminent regime collapse seriously,I actually think the armed rebels are worse off today than a month ago,however,Bashar’s policy of trying to crush the rebels can only give him so much time ,more and more people want him out even though they do not necessarily trust the opposition. Somehow the fighting parties need to stop and accept a compromise,the dirty game people with guns are playing is trying to win as much as possible before they are forced to sit own and talk,force is just another face of politics in the Middle East and elsewhere,but what if Bashar actually wins militariily then refuse to step down or allow clean elections?
Anyway you look at it,the situation in Syria will get even uglier before there is a chance of any breakthrough but not before next January unless the president himself is out of the picture physically or politically. Manaf’s desertion or defection is significant but is not enough to deal a fatal blow to the regime,my contacts in Syria believe that Manaf was not as tight with the royal family as political pundits say,he was a member of a club that can afford losing few members as long as the doors for new members are still open, he obviously was out of the job for more than 3 months before he reportedly fled the country.

July 8th, 2012, 9:55 pm

 

Norman said:

Omen,

The same ones that the prophet would,

July 8th, 2012, 9:56 pm

 

omen said:

wrong answer, norman.

is this a sign? a quote i just spotted ( i swear)

love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.- matthew 5:44

why do i feel guilty?

July 8th, 2012, 10:01 pm

 

omen said:

67. uzair, do you know this poster? i don’t know all of the activists, of course, but this isn’t a name i recognize before as having given insider information in the past that later panned out to be true.

July 8th, 2012, 10:07 pm

 

Norman said:

Omen,

Because you knew that he would not and insinuated that he would,

July 8th, 2012, 10:08 pm

 

omen said:

asking a trick question isn’t a sin, norman.

July 8th, 2012, 10:10 pm

 

Uzair8 said:

#87 Omen

I just happened to look for the original tweet and was going to respond to Bruno with a follow up tweet.

I think (vaguely) I have come across the name once or twice before but don’t know much else about this activist.

Here is the follow-up tweet in response to a request for source and confirmation(#67):

@alnajjar6

@SyriaTweetEn @FreeFalasteen It’s a pretty trustworthy source, and it happened after they confirmed their chief Manaf Tlas had really fled!

http://twitter.com/alnajjar6/status/222105429554110464

Bruno

Anyway why shouldn’t operative 8 trust operative 6…lol

July 8th, 2012, 10:18 pm

 

Norman said:

Omen,

You insulted Christianity, I would not do that to Islam.

July 8th, 2012, 10:26 pm

 

omen said:

sure i did, norman.

July 8th, 2012, 10:42 pm

 

aldendeshe said:

@OMEN

Oh you like the conspiracies don’t you. Sitting bored on Sunday paid to be on blog. Here, this is a massive conspiracy:

http://www.marsanomalyresearch.com/evidence-reports/2012/221/real-mars.htm

July 8th, 2012, 11:46 pm

 

omen said:

i shouldn’t have gone there, al.

July 9th, 2012, 12:07 am

 

Son of Damascus said:

A live feed into Homs on Bambuser went up recently, for over a month now Assad forces keep bombarding it relentlessly and mercilessly.

http://bambuser.com/v/2813860

July 9th, 2012, 12:13 am

 

Aldendeshe said:

@OMEN
Are you going to say that this is a concpiracy too.

July 9th, 2012, 12:26 am

 

Ghufran said:

This is Bashar’s interview with ARD:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LtzY-fk2L4U
My own reading of his answers is that he is not likely to step back and give concessions after realizing that the happy trio, Qatar,KSA and Turkey,with western support, are after his neck and not interested in a negotiated solution.
As of now,hawks on both sides are calling the shots,the rest are just babbling, we have a very intense 6 weeks ahead if us.

July 9th, 2012, 12:46 am

 

Karabennemsi said:

Jürgen Todenhöfer, the Journalist who conducted the interview above, published an opinion piece today, in which he said:

“Concerning Assad, I have a lot of criticism. He is responsible that security forces shot into the crowd and killed civilians during the first protests in Deraa.
He also has to take responsibility for attacks with heavy weaponry by his security forces on residential areas, in which armed rebels are entrenching behind civilians.”

But he also writes, that he conducted a long interview with a refugee from Hula, and that this refugee clearly stated that people who he had protested with before against Assad killed the inhabitants of hula, and that they planned to kill him too, since they thought he had converted to shia, but he could convince them that he had not done so. But then the murderers went into his brothers house next door, who actually had converted, and the rebels killed him and his family.

Todenhöfer says furtheron that the “massacre-marketing-strategy” is along the most disgusting things he has ever witnessed in any war. He says the rebels systematically kill civilians and then pretend the dead are victims of the regime.

He also says he has talked long to a captured AQ-fighter, who was involved in a bomb attack in Damascus which killed 70 people.

61. Tara said:

Congratulation for al Assad for how history is going to judge him and his supporters.

Well I would rather say congrats to all these people who showed so much blind support for the rebels, historians soon will have a very clear standing on the “FSA” and co.

July 9th, 2012, 1:18 am

 

Syrialover said:

# 95. Son of Damascus

Thanks for that webcam link showing the continuous shelling of Homs.

Pointless evil bastardry.

A “government” deliberately destroying the infrastructure of a country it is meant to be running and terrorizing and killing its citizens.

And for what?

Every day this lunatic regime keeps further smashing up the country. Making more reconstruction and repairs to do, more lives to mend, more physical and psychological injuries to heal, more trust to rebuild.

They are showing more appetite for this than they ever had for constructing a functional (as opposed to dysfunctional) government and getting to grips with the economy.

The sordid and catastrophic legacy of the criminal Assad gang.

Who will bother referring to Ceauceacu, Saddam Hussein and Gaddafi – all shamed, hated and executed – as examples of vile, stupid and vicious “leaders” now that Bashar Assad has upstaged them.

July 9th, 2012, 2:55 am

 

Syrialover said:

Apologies if someone has already re-run it, but here is that interesting Tlass comment several weeks ago (#675 June 17th, 2012, 10:13 am)

MOUNA SAID

Ok someone mentioned a family member of mine on this board, while I understand the need to speculate and all please try to speculate without mentioning peoples family.

Ghufran, mentioning someone’s name (especially someone like Tlass) and speculating that he is contacting the opposition is dangerous on many levels. While Firas and Abu Firas (and the two sisters) are out of the country Manaf and his wife and kids are not, so someone speculating about his intentions can cause major harm to either him directly or his children (that are not involved in anything).

Whatever side the Tlass family is on (publicly or privately) they are not relevant for any authority they might have had, has been stripped away over 15 months ago. The father is retired, Firas in the Gulf, and Manaf under close supervision in Damascus.

July 9th, 2012, 3:12 am

 

Syrialover said:

More amazing facts on that amazing Tlas family and their wonderful lives.

Excerpt from article on Al Araybiya News:

– Manaf Tlas, 48, is known to be one of Damascus’s most famous “spoilt youth.” He is handsome, elegant, loves expensive cars, smokes the cigar and likes to spend his summer vacation in France’s Cote d’Azur.

– Manaf Tlas’s father (Mustafa) and Hafez al-Assad were both based in Cairo between 1958 and 1961 during the union between Egypt and Syria, also known as the Arab United Republic. They were both members of the Baath Party and objected to the union. When Assad came to power in 1970, he appointed Mustafa Tlas minister of defense.

– Manaf’s brother Feras used to run the For Syria Group, which supplied the Syrian army with clothes, food, and medicine.

– Mustafa Tlas was very smart to involve one of his sons in business with the regime and another in the country’s most sophisticated military unit, the Republican Guard.

– Mustafa Tlas’s duties as a minister did not stop him from writing a book about the flora of Syria, several books categorized as anti-Semitic, and poems to Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida.

– Abdul Razak Tlas, a cousin of Manaf Tlas, is currently the leader of al-Farouk Brigade, which is affiliated to the Free Syrian Army in Homs.

Full story:
http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/07/08/225199.html

July 9th, 2012, 3:29 am

 

Amjad said:

“That there is one final assault left”

*facepalm* You know the regimists are desperate for good news when they keep going back to the “el ma3raka el hasmi” line. I thought the assault on Baba Amr was supposed to be the “decisive battle”, and yet last week a helicopter was shot down over there.

Here is what your clueless “analyst” who wrote your 55 page report doesn’t realize; there is no such thing as a “decisive battle” against a guerrilla force. You either win the hearts and minds of the population, or spend all your time running across the country chasing down small groups of fighters that simultaneously seem to be nowhere, and everywhere. The FSA has rewritten the book on urban and guerrilla warfare.

55 page analysis? Sounds more to me like mental masturbation. And by the way, that’s the first time ever I’ve seen that family name written that way.

July 9th, 2012, 3:34 am

 

Amjad said:

“Sitting bored on Sunday paid to be on blog.”

Moderator, I believe it is against the rules to accuse someone of being a paid agent. And I still have a comment that you haven’t released.

July 9th, 2012, 3:38 am

 

Syrialover said:

Wait, there’s MORE insider Tlas gossip in a new article on Al Arabiya. By a journalist who is the closest friend of Manaf’s brother Firas Tlas (the businessman whose business was supplying the Syrian army).

Excerpts:

– There was a time when Manaf was being groomed to become the defence minister, like his father Lt. General Mustafa Tlas before him. Manaf had become eligible owing to his rank in the Republican Guard and the ruling party, and I believe the delay was only because of his young age.

– Mustafa Tlas was one of the main pillars of the regime, perhaps even its backbone. In truth, he is the only person in Syria whom I know (and heard) address Hafez al-Assad on the phone by his first name, without saying Mr. President or any other title.

– Since the beginning of the Syrian revolution, Mustafa Tlas has been ‘brooding’, sitting alone at his home or visiting his daughter Nahid in Paris for treatment or to escape the miserable situation.

– Firas Tlas, the eldest son, is the best friend I have in Syria. He is a businessman and has nothing to do with the regime [huh? except for getting filthy rich on army contracts]

– unlike his brother Manaf, who was a committed man, sometimes speaking to me in the language of the sixties as he dreamt of a role in liberating Palestine and achieving Arab unity. [Not with that sissy Bashar he couldn’t. And wasn’t rejecting Arab unity the shared ticket of his and Bashar’s daddies?]

The writer goes on to give details of Manaf’s breakup with Bashar.

Then adds:

– I almost cannot believe that the regime has lost the family of Mustafa Tlas and only has Iran left on its side. The regime does not realize that Russia and China are not allies, but that they have strategic interests.

– Russia in particular will sell Dr. Bashar al-Assad and his regime as soon as tomorrow, if the Obama administration offers the right price – for example cancelling the deployment of the missile shield in northern Europe

Full article:
http://english.alarabiya.net/views/2012/07/09/225307.html

July 9th, 2012, 3:53 am

 

Bruno said:

@Syrialover

Syrialover the problem i have with Al Araybiya News is this its based in Saudi Arabia and mostly it is not very reliable. Nor trusty worthy for news for example as you posted the article.

(- I almost cannot believe that the regime has lost the family of Mustafa Tlas and only has Iran left on its side. The regime does not realize that Russia and China are not allies, but that they have strategic interests.

– Russia in particular will sell Dr. Bashar al-Assad and his regime as soon as tomorrow, if the Obama administration offers the right price – for example cancelling the deployment of the missile shield in northern Europe)

That is nothing pure then simple lie and propaganda by no other then Araybiya News.

Think Araybiya News as CNN of the middle east.

(for example cancelling the deployment of the missile shield in northern Europe)

Well so far that hasn’t happened.

(Russia and China are not allies, but that they have strategic interests.)

So whats Sryia to America then? an strategic interest to ? if this was really written by Tlas.

How come that article has forgotten to mention the Russian Naval port in Syria? yeah i doubt the russians are that stupid, as this article claims.

If China or Russia wanted it Sryialover they would have sell out 12 months ago.

July 9th, 2012, 4:28 am

 

SimoHurtta said:

23. AIG said:

Assad cannot win. Even in the unlikely case that he subdues the opposition the sanctions will remain and the awful relations with Turkey and the Gulf Arabs will remain. How exactly will he be able to rebuild Syria and create jobs for millions of young Syrians without investments and tourism and without trade with the West and most of the Arab world? The more Assad stays, the weaker Syria becomes.

Well AIG as an Israeli you should be more worried what Turkey and Gulf Arabs will do with Syria, than celebrating the present regime’s destruction. Do you AIG believe that Turkey and Gulf Arabs will let Israel to be the big boy on the block and let Syria become like Lebanon in the 80’s? Even a less visible political /military union between Turkey and Saudis would put Israel between a sledgehammer and block anvil. Huge modern armies in north and south. And one less friendly in the west. Hmmmm is it time to activate the second passport …

Destroying the present order in Syria doesn’t mean that Syria will become like Iraq is now (de facto defenceless). Turkey has interests and needs in taking Syria under its military and economical “umbrella” and when it does that it means also Lebanon. Turkey and Arabs need a peaceful Syria, Israel doesn’t. A couple of Turkish divisions on Israeli northern border will calm yours and your countrymen’s “Syrian human rights” worries and make to miss the old days.

July 9th, 2012, 5:35 am

 

majedkhaldoun said:

There are signs to indicate that Russia is calling Assad to run new election, and asked Bashar not to run.Assad in the german interview seems to be depressed and worried. he is realizing that it is close to the end.

Al Dendeshi is wrong, The Assad troops are not winning except in displacing the civilians,who are still against Assad

July 9th, 2012, 6:12 am

 

Karabennemsi said:

107. majedkhaldoun said:

“he is realizing that it is close to the end.”

Is that a phrase or an observation? Can you point to any behaviour of Assad during the vid which let you to that interpretation? Thx in advance.

July 9th, 2012, 6:21 am

 

Tara said:

Syria’s Assad doesn’t fear Gaddafi or Mubarak fate.  I think he does…

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/07/09/uk-syria-crisis-assad-idUKBRE8680BH20120709

Asked if he feared that he might share the fate of Gaddafi, who was killed shortly after his capture, Assad said:

“Describing what happened to Al Gaddafi, this is savage, this is crime. Whatever he did, whatever he was, nobody in the world can accept what happened, to kill somebody like this.”

“What happened to Mubarak is different. It’s a trial. Any citizen, when he watches a trial on TV – he would think that he won’t to be in that position. The answer is: Don’t do like him. Don’t do like him,” the 46-year-old leader said.

“But to be scared, you have to compare. Do we have something in common? It’s a completely different situation … You cannot compare. You cannot feel scared – maybe feel sorry or a pity whatever.”
….

July 9th, 2012, 7:47 am

 

Tara said:

Kofi Annan to put new Syria ‘approach’ to rebels after Assad talks

11:38AM BST 09 Jul 2012

Stepping up political efforts to halt the carnage which monitors say has cost more than 17,000 lives, the UN-Arab League envoy was reportedly to travel on to Iran, Syria’s close ally.
“We discussed the need to end the violence and ways and means of doing so. We agreed an approach which I will share with the armed opposition,” Annan said after meeting Assad in Damascus.
The former UN chief said he had a “constructive” meeting with Assad, on his third such mission…”I had constructive and candid talks with President Assad,” he told reporters at a Damascus hotel, echoing Syrian foreign ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi who termed the meeting “constructive and good”.

The meeting came a day after nearly 100 people were reportedly killed in Syria and at a time of apparently uncompromising anger from the opposition.  The opposition Syrian National Council (SNC) slammed Annan’s decision to meet Assad, saying thousands have been killed in the country despite an April ceasefire that is a key point of the envoy’s plan.
….
And, in an defiant interview late on Sunday, Assad told German public broadcaster ARD that many countries were undermining Annan’s initiative.
The United States is “part of the conflict. They offer the umbrella and political support to those gangs to … destabilise Syria,” said the embattled Syrian leader.
Assad said the Annan plan had failed because “many countries don’t want it to succeed.”
His decision to travel to Damascus and hold talks with Assad was criticised by the SNC, the main opposition group in exile which cited the high death toll since they agreed an April 12 ceasefire.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group based in Britain, estimates that 5,898 people have been killed since the truce was announced.
“In this context, Annan chose to meet with the symbols of the Syrian regime, while abstaining from the Friends of Syria conference in Paris,” the SNC said, asserting that Syrians “cannot justify these steps”.
It also questioned Annan’s support for Iran to play a diplomatic role, saying that “Tehran’s support for its allies in the Syrian regime makes them partners in the aggression on the Syrian people.”
….
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/9386379/Kofi-Annan-to-put-new-Syria-approach-to-rebels-after-Assad-talks.html

July 9th, 2012, 7:52 am

 

Amir in Tel Aviv said:

SimoHurtta,

Your hate towards Israel (and probably the heat wave that hits Europe) makes you hallucinate.

Israel’s position in the ME was never as secure and as safe, as it is becoming after the revolutions settle.

The gulf statelets and Turkey seek stability. Do you really see Turkey, risking it’s blooming economy for Ottoman adventures?

Turkish divisions in Syria and in Lebanon ??? Turkish (a member of NATO) divisions attacking Israel ??? Are you sane, Simo?

A second passport? What’s wrong with my Israeli one?
.

July 9th, 2012, 7:54 am

 

Antoine said:

Aldendeshi,

FSA are ready to confront Assad best men militarily.

July 9th, 2012, 8:03 am

 

zoo said:

Turkey admits that its policy toward Syria failed and backlashed.

Applause for Davutoğlu…
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/applause-for-davutoglu-.aspx?pageID=449&nID=25020&NewsCatID=425
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu must be congratulated for being courageous enough to confess that Turkey has failed in its policies regarding Syria. It is not at all easy for a politician to admit failure of any sort.

He accepted “failure” in bringing an end to the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria. Is it Turkey’s duty, or is it compatible with international law, for neighboring or brotherly countries to dictate to each other what kind of government they should have? Has the world, for the sake of the “right to protect,” brushed aside completely the terms of the Westphalian code of conduct?

Anyhow, it was good to see the foreign minister conceding, albeit insufficiently, that his approaches on Syria have failed. Unfortunately, under Davutoğlu Turkey has engaged in a hasty foreign policy adventure without making any sort of cost analysis, without basing strategies on the reality on the ground or the potential course of developments.

Turkey started with a “zero problems” with neighbors strategy, but ended up having no friends around.

July 9th, 2012, 8:26 am

 

zoo said:

“Turkey will do “whatever great states do”

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/youll-see-what-well-do-when-we-do-it-turkish-army.aspx?pageID=238&nID=25051&NewsCatID=338

You’ll see what we’ll do when we do it: Turkish army

The world will see Turkey’s plan of action on Syria when the country puts it into practice, Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel said recently during an interview with daily Akşam’s İsmail Küçükkaya.

“It’s not like we will start a war,” Özel said. “But we are following everything very closely. We have every capability of doing so.”

Turkey will do “whatever great states do,” Özel added.
s damaf

July 9th, 2012, 8:29 am

 

Jamil Hanna said:

Many mistakes in classifying the confessions of the military and security leaders are committed to show thw Alawi dominance.Deeb Zayton ,Ali Mamlook,Said Bkheitan ,Hisham Bakhtiar,Hasan Torkmani ,Fahed Elfreige among many are Sunnis which undermines the basis of your analysis.
The Alawist are not wealthy,they are either poor or from the middle class ,the business and the money are in Damascus and Aleppo with the Sunnis,that is why Asad will stay in power and unlike the analysis-wishes of Mr Landez

July 9th, 2012, 8:34 am

 

bronco said:

#107 Majedalkhaldoon

The idea of a early presidential elections has been floating in Washington for a while. We read James Baker recommending it in an interview in the presence of Hilary Clinton. I am glad the idea is working its way as this is the only way to know what the Syrian people really want after 15 months of bloodshed and conflicting reports.
I don’t see a reason why Bashar al Assad should not be a candidate.

If the opposition is convinced from their own estimation that the majority of the ‘Syrian people’ do not want him, why would they worry if he is a candidate?

July 9th, 2012, 8:40 am

 

zoo said:

Morsi challenging the SCAF: A bluff in a new Egyptian dramatic game of cat and mouse.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/10/world/middleeast/egypt-tension-after-order-to-reconvene-parliament.html?_r=1&ref=global-home

“Some analysts said it seemed likely that the army knew of Mr. Morsi’s plans, while others found it hard to believe the generals would tolerate such an open challenge to their power. “The decree could create a political crisis,” said Gamal Eid, a prominent human rights lawyer. “He has been waiting to make a decision to prove he is president of a republic.”
..
Anwar el-Sadat, a nephew of the former president and a member of the dissolved Parliament, said the decision “was a surprise for everyone.”

He said of Mr. Morsi and the military: “I don’t think he could have taken that decision without consulting with them. If there was a consultation, there will be no confrontation.”

July 9th, 2012, 8:53 am

 

majedkhaldoun said:

Bronco
I am not against Assad runs as a candidate,He should not be in power however, so the election must be fair and people are completely free to elect their own choice, the previous elections were farce,there was never free election in Syria since Assads came to power, international monitoring and certifying that the election was fair,as Dr. Norman said is what we want.

Bashar himself said in the german interview, ” the question whether Bashar runs or not” this is change in his position, and would not comes unless Russia has told him that.

July 9th, 2012, 9:07 am

 

Antoine said:

Majedkhaldoun,

Bashar and all the Assad, Makhlouf, Shalish family will be DEAD before that.

July 9th, 2012, 9:25 am

 

zoo said:

The Syrian Army without Manaf Tlass

القوى البرية تبدأ مشروعها التكتيكي 8 7 2012

July 9th, 2012, 9:35 am

 

Amjad said:

“A couple of Turkish divisions on Israeli northern border will calm yours and your countrymen’s “Syrian human rights” worries and make to miss the old days.”

And what’s stopping Bashar from putting a couple of Syrian divisions on Israel’s northern border to make Israelis activate their second passports?

Israelis have proven more compassionate and humane in their attitude and actions towards events in Syria than many Palestinians I could name.

July 9th, 2012, 9:37 am

 

Antoine said:

Gotta watch this breathtaking video :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4EIfW2PZqbU&feature=g-u-u

^ This is the Syrian people we are talking about, getting ready to march to Damascus and drag all the criminals to the Court.

Anybody inside Syria who still plans to oppose this popular will better look at this video and then contemplate, whether they have the guts to fire a single bullet at these people.

July 9th, 2012, 9:41 am

 

bronco said:

117. majedkhaldoun

In the german interview, Bashar seems to accept the idea of an early presidential election to validate his public support.
Of course the elections should happen with international observers.
Yet it can only happen if the opposition and the Syrian government agree on a ceasefire.

While Bashar is under Russia’ pressure to do so, the rebels and the opposition do not seem to listen to anyone and as they are not sure to win the election, they would certainly resist the deal.
The only country that has the real power to pressure the opposition to accept the deal is Turkey and all signs show that Turkey wants to get out of the confrontational policy with Syria.
If Erdogan agrees with the concept of early elections, it will be his duty to exert pressure on the opposition to accept it too.
Let’s see.

July 9th, 2012, 9:45 am

 

Observer said:

TARA

Fredo says in the telegraph report about Ghadafi that what happened to him is savage and is a crime; well what would he say to the mother of Hamza Alkhatib from Deraa? What does he think happened to her son while the custody of his and his cousin’s secret service criminals?

ZOO

Don’t you think that Morsi is creating a constitutional crisis in Egypt to actually bring the military under civilian control a sine qua none for the development of a modern civil society?

Don’t you wish the same for Syria?

Long live Federated Syria for all Syrians.

The antibiotics of Dr. Marshal Commander in Chief Secretary General Eternal leader Fredo are not effective anymore.

The news round up should have waited till today, with Putin coughing up the inevitable about trying to salvage something and Lavrov talking about a transitional regime and Annnan going to Tehran to make them swallow one of the bitter pills and then on to the opposition to try to make them swallow as well another bitter pill and in all of this suitcases are being prepared for

Moscow?
Tehran?
Caracass?
Pyong Yang?

Cheers.

July 9th, 2012, 9:53 am

 

majedkhaldoun said:

Bronco
I don’t accept your analysis, The reason Turkey has not respoded to the downing of Turkish plane is that Turkey is part of Nato, a war with Syria means Nato involvement, they are not ready, and they are putting pressure on Turkey not to fight Syria,Turkey will get involved militarily if another incident developed.
The best friend of Syrian people is Hamad bin Jassem, the heart and spirit of the Syrian revolution,Syrian will not stop their revolution till Assad is ousted, they lost too many Martyrs to stop, Assad use of brutal criminal oppression(security policy) has dug his tomb, Qatar will continue its support to the FSA and will never put pressure on the FSA, you need to give up this idea.

There are those who say that if Obama feels he may lose the election, he will open the Iran crisis, and this means change in his current policy,this means that september or october may be a decissive period,if Obama feels he may win then he will wait till November, only if Mit Romney wins then Assad will be lucky,he will survive few more months.

July 9th, 2012, 10:11 am

 

Amir in Tel Aviv said:

A (wants to be seen as delusional) lier
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NBJlpY1qX28&feature=player_embedded#!
.

July 9th, 2012, 10:20 am

 

Tara said:

Observer

I do not see how justice can be served without Fredo facing a fate similar to the one inflicted on thousands of Syrians. That would be only fair…unless… he “defects” then we may reconsider.

July 9th, 2012, 10:31 am

 

Aldendeshe said:

@ANTOINE

Free, fair and Internationally monitored election winners are the only legitimate leaders of Syria. Syrians are not going to replace one set of Baathist Terrorists junta with Islamic terrorists backed one, we are not going to elect the top nation thieves, the Baathist escapee with another. Anything outside this reasonable and legit line, the FSA will be long forgotten and the revolution still going for years until this demand is met, it will also drag the entire region to mayhem as it progress. The day the ALCIADA and or KGB/FSB can per-determine the winners are gone. Weapons/amo and Media are available for nearly gratis nowadays.

July 9th, 2012, 11:00 am

 

jna said:

Annan reaches new framework with Syrian president aimed at ending violence
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/special-envoy-kofi-annan-tries-to-salvage-his-peace-plan-in-talks-with-syrian-president/2012/07/09/gJQAO0GgXW_story.html

The Good: “We agreed on an approach…”

The Bad: “…which I will share with the armed opposition.”

The Ugly: “the U.S. has often refused to let the Islamic Republic attend conferences about the Syria crisis.”

July 9th, 2012, 11:24 am

 

ann said:

5.6 magnitude earthquake shakes Turkey – 09 July, 2012

http://www.rt.com/news/turkey-earthquake-kalkan-tremors-757/

A magnitude 5.6 quake has hit off the Turkish coastal town of Kalkan, with tremors felt as far away as the Egyptian capital Cairo.

Local media report a 6.0 magnitude quake.

The quake’s epicenter lies in the Mediterranean Sea, some 50 km from the town, which is a local tourist hotspot. The quake occurred around 15.45 local time (12.45 GMT) at a depth of 19.4 km.

In Kalkan, the ground rumbled, spreading anxiety among residents and tourists. No reports of deaths or damage have been filed thus far.

[…]

Israel was also affected.

[…]

July 9th, 2012, 11:24 am

 

Uzair8 said:

On 6th July Shaykh Yaqoubi updated his twitter with a fatwa in response to a question. It was in arabic and the google translation wasn’t great so I didn’t share. I came across this translation:

Fighting The Syrian Regime In Civilian Areas
An edict by Shaykh Muhammad Al-Yaqoubi

Question

Is fighting the regime in residential areas allowed? We can destroy tanks, armoured vehicles and buses of mercenaries while in crowded neighbourhoods. Is this allowed; considering that the regime would destroy the neighbourhood and take revenge from its tenants?

Answer

Read more:

http://www.yanabi.com/index.php?/topic/426126-fighting-in-the-syrian-regime-in-civilian-areas

July 9th, 2012, 12:07 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

In Egypt
The president wants to have a new goverment, and presidential advisory council,they have to be responsible to parliament,not constitutional court,since the court is not political entity, Mr. Mursi have consulted with the military council, and they agreed to return of the parliament on condition it will be temporary,so new goverment can start working.

July 9th, 2012, 12:10 pm

 

zoo said:

#123 Observer

Don’t you think that Morsi is creating a constitutional crisis in Egypt to actually bring the military under civilian control a sine qua none for the development of a modern civil society?

I think it is a staged act. It is tolerated by the SCAF just to give the impression to the Egyptians that the SCAF does not have full control of the country and that their elected president is more powerful than the media say. .
In my view, the SCAF has full control. These are gimmickal concessions with no real long term consequences. After the constitution is updated, Morsi may leave in new elections in less than a year. The SCAF is here to stay. With the huge involvement in the business and finance of Egypt ( 1 billion US dollars coming to the army and their enormous industrial empire), the army will never let go.

July 9th, 2012, 12:10 pm

 

zoo said:

It seems not easy to be an ex. Sarkozy and Chirac know it well. Olmert now, Netanyahu next?

Verdict near in trial of Israeli ex-premier
By ARON HELLER | Associated Press – 1 hr 19 mins ago

http://news.yahoo.com/verdict-near-trial-israeli-ex-premier-145221573.html

JERUSALEM (AP) — An Israeli court will deliver a verdict Tuesday in the corruption trial of former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, capping a five-year saga that has plunged the country into uncharted legal waters.

Olmert could become the first Israeli ex-premier to be convicted of a serious crime that carries a prison term. An acquittal, on the other hand, could raise questions about whether an overzealous prosecution hounded him from office.

July 9th, 2012, 12:24 pm

 

Halabi said:

It’s nice having Aboud, I mean Amjad, back. A witty and eloquent voice to counter the dissemblers and delusional.

Manaf’s defection video. http://youtu.be/_5_3bMiXZ-E

July 9th, 2012, 12:34 pm

 

Uzair8 said:

A post I wrote last night but I took so long that when I posted it it disappeared (or I accidentally deleted the window). A second attempt:

On a recent radio appearance* Prof JL said something very important. He said that with the recent defections the regimes guts or self confidence are dismantling because the regime is based on sectarian alliances, different groups getting along with one another.

This was the glue that held everything together. Now things will fall apart more easily.

We may now even see someone like Mufti Hassoun, using his inter-faith connections, have a word with religious leaders of all other faiths (even Alawite) and together visit Assad and tell him it’s over. The Mufti can finally win back favour amongst the masses.

* http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/?p=15242&cp=all#comment-316906

*******************************************************************

Today:

Catching up with the latest developments I see Mufti Hassoun has been talking to Kofi Annan:

Syria’s Mufti, Ahmad Bader al-Din Hassoun, said after meeting with UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan, they have reached an advanced phase to end the crisis in Syria.

He described his meeting with Annan “Wonderful”.

“It was wonderful. We have reached an advanced phase to end these bloods in Syria. We asked him to continue his efforts and thank you,” Hassoun told Reuters Television in Damascus on Monday (July 9).

http://blogs.aljazeera.com/topic/syria/syrias-mufti-ahmad-bader-al-din-hassoun-said-meeting-kofi-annan-was-wonderful

July 9th, 2012, 12:51 pm

 

Uzair8 said:

Test

Has the moderation glitch returned? A long post disappeared and a follow up.

July 9th, 2012, 1:04 pm

 

Observer said:

So here is my synopsis of reading the news.

1. Assad agrees to Kofi’s plan and the guy is going to Tehran to continue his mission and on to the opposition to convince them of the new effort

2, Putin is calling for a political solution, he is critical of the West delivering democracy through missiles and bombs as he claims.

3. Lavrov meets Kilo and is asking for speedy implementation of the Annan six point plan

4. The opposition is considering Tlas as the new head of the Republic

I read this as follows:

Scenaria one; the regime is again buying time and si confident of its ability to survive as shown by the defiant intervew with the Gemran TV and the military exercises on land and sea and in the air. While Annan is running around the army on the ground is going to bulldoze its way through every rebellious city. This is the pro regime scenario that will probably be promoted by ZOO and copy and paste ANN.

Scenaria two: the regime has fewer options left and its armed forces are exhausted and cannot go on any longer in conducting this high pace of activity without some serious breakdown of morale and of material. It needs some time to breath and catch its breath. Military exercises are a bluff and a message to internal and external foes to show cohesion in the face of the recent defections and setbacks

Scenario three: The end is near and it has agreed to allow Kofi to talk with the opposition as the Russians are trying to find an alternative in the opposition that would preserve the structure of the regime not entirely falling in to the oppostiion and giving Putin a face saving way7 out and a role in shaping the future that would preserve the role of Russia as a responsible world leader and player.

Now what did Kofi tell Fredo in such very short visit and with “candid” and constructive as he says discussions that would give him the green light to go talk to the “armed” opposition? Remember this is the same opposition that Fredo declared that he is at war with and the state media saying they have to be exterminated.
Why go to Tehran now and what is it that Kofi has to say to the clerics there? How to preserve their influence post Fredo? Or is it the game is up and you cannot save the regime? Or put pressure on him to concede to stay till 2014 and promise not to run again in return for a government run by the opposition?

What did Hillary mean about a catastrophic assault if he did not relent and did Kofi bring in the threat of this assault to convince Fredo to accepat talking to the “armed” opposition?

Now I would really like for JL to try to way in on these points please as he seems to have some inner circle information that we do not have as the NPR interview intimated

JL can you comment please?

July 9th, 2012, 1:57 pm

 

Bruno said:

@Halabi
That video seems staged and whats with the wires on the guys hands? no mean seriously?

July 9th, 2012, 2:06 pm

 

Aldendeshe said:

Free and fair election under International ( not U.N.) monitoring, Bashar can run as well. That should be all factions of Syrian Nationalists goal and should defend Syria from hostile take over by it’s enemies. Remember this: Since its founding, the party endorsed an open hostility to colonialism and advocated national self-determination. That is the key operative here, anything short of that, it is a call for action, get your guns ready and updated.
Remember this thug:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adnan_al-Malki

July 9th, 2012, 2:44 pm

 

Uzair8 said:

Assad can be as defiant as he wants.
The Opposition will not only match his defiance but outdo him.

July 9th, 2012, 3:01 pm

 

omen said:

found that piece about alawite dependance on sunni officers. it was listed up top:

senior sunni defections

Although Alawites, a heterodox Shiite offshoot, dominate the regime by controlling key military and security posts, they also rely on Sunnis such as Tlass to command or co- command various units, even elite divisions. The reason is simple: Alawites represent only about 10-12 percent of the population and cannot command the Sunni-majority rank-and-file alone. Accordingly, Alawites in Sunni-led divisions keep a watchful eye on the commander, both to stave off military coups and ensure that units follow regime orders.

Tlass and other officers like him are important because they have good knowledge of how the Syrian military and security services are wired — who reports to whom, formally and informally. Although they are not part of the regime’s inner circle, they are close to it. Therefore, any defections among their ranks would be key indicators that support for the Assads is waning, and that further splits could be on the way soon. Other Sunni officers would see that flight is possible, especially those commanding border units. For its part, the regime would see its suspicions of Sunnis in the ranks confirmed, especially following a number of reported brigade-size defections over the past two weeks. Defections could also be an intelligence windfall, providing insider information on both the military and political situations.

The regime will have to work hard to contain the dangerous effects of Tlass’s action. It will no doubt investigate how such a defection could have occurred and who else was involved or knew about it (reports already indicate that his house has been searched and its contents hauled away). Suspicion will likely extend to all of the brigade’s senior officers, the division command, and other units with Sunni officers. Such a witch hunt could have a serious impact on the cohesion and performance of units key to the regime’s survival. For these and other reasons, Tlass’s defection will shake the brigade, the division, and units beyond.

the tlass defection is like activating a virus. it’s going to set off a chain reaction where the regime itself seeds its own destruction.

July 9th, 2012, 3:07 pm

 

omen said:

re tara’s piece above (or maybe last thread) about sunni civil servants remaining in their jobs but “defecting from within”… sounds practical at first blush, but then i wonder if that is going to wind up prolonging the life of the regime instead, by providing it the semblance of normalcy.

from another piece:

Abu Mohammed did not believe there would be a bloody and prolonged civil war in Syria; the Alawites were too small a minority, 8 percent by his estimate (10 to 12 percent is more commonly cited). Sunnis would leave their government jobs in protest, he predicted, and “once they [in the regime] find themselves alone they will not fight us.” But he said the regime would only give up power if forced. “The regime is dying. It is in the final stages,” he said, citing the defections from the security forces to the Free Army. He said there were about 500 fighters in Bab Amr now, many former soldiers.

July 9th, 2012, 3:21 pm

 

SimoHurtta said:

SimoHurtta,

Your hate towards Israel (and probably the heat wave that hits Europe) makes you hallucinate.

Israel’s position in the ME was never as secure and as safe, as it is becoming after the revolutions settle.

The gulf statelets and Turkey seek stability. Do you really see Turkey, risking it’s blooming economy for Ottoman adventures?

Turkish divisions in Syria and in Lebanon ??? Turkish (a member of NATO) divisions attacking Israel ??? Are you sane, Simo?

A second passport? What’s wrong with my Israeli one?

AIG I suppose you do not “love” Islamic or Christian theocracies. Neither do I, but unlike you I also do not like the form of the racist Jewish theocracy.

You AIG seem not to understand geopolitics or politics per se. It is not the question of Ottoman adventures when Turkey reclaims its more ore less natural sphere of influence. You Israelis seem still hallucinating on a new era of King Salomon’s empire. Like the former this one will stay as Jewish folklores.

Who spoke about Turkish divisions attacking Israel? They need not to do that. Their existence on Israeli borders is a enough strong message. Do not mess with us or our protectorate. Israel will be eventually forced to shrink to its natural size. For the world Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iran are much more important than the 5 million Jews’ theocracy, which is de facto culturally and economically completely isolated from its neighbours.

AIG Israel is not a member of NATO and will never be a member. Israel’s standing as a Zionist entity has never been so bad as it is now. The country’s image is at all times low and the boycotts are getting increasing support. The chances to two state solution are little over nil because the Jewish side can not afford empting the settlements. The ending of the occupation would lead to a Jewish civil war. One state solution will eventually lead to end of the Jewish domination and to a decreasing Jewish population. Maybe AIG you should concentrate in Israel’s enormous internal problems and tensions in stead of making senseless hypocritical Israeli propaganda with Syria’s problems.

July 9th, 2012, 3:28 pm

 

Amir in Tel Aviv said:

The air force has fully joined the battle
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NYjj9qTsBqI

I’m positive that the moral among SyA is getting lower by the day
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=wr3P1MyCQdU
.

July 9th, 2012, 3:37 pm

 

omen said:

130 uzair,

it was distressing to hear mcclatchy reporter david enders say there have been incidences where rebels have killed regime military who had tried to surrender. he didn’t say whether they were shabiha or not, but still.

how do we protest this?

July 9th, 2012, 3:40 pm

 

Amir in Tel Aviv said:

SimoHurtta,

First, it was me who answered you, not AIG.

What is Israel’s (shrank) natural size, in your eyes?

Every country in today’s ME is isolated. Look at Turkey and it’s relations with it’s neighbors. Look at other ME states and their borders. There’s hardly a peaceful border across the whole of the ME. Israel’s borders aren’t exceptional.

Boycott? What boycott? The world watches the events here, and realizes that Israel is an island of stability, and that Israel is a part of the solution, and is definitely not the main problem, as commonly thought till not long ago.

The whole of your last paragraph (Jewish civil war) is total BS. No wish to comment.
.

July 9th, 2012, 3:55 pm

 

omen said:

143. amir,

what do you mean the air force has fully joined the battle?
was that a chopper or plane up in the air?
what was that facility bombed?

July 9th, 2012, 4:08 pm

 

Aldendeshe said:

The enemies of Syria hypes themselves delusionally, and then crash in severe depression when the hype fizzle and kaka hit the fan. As if this wishful thinking kept repeated as mantra, it will assuredly come to pass for real. Most, if not all that expressed this kind of delusional euphoria are obviously not Syrians, or they may have schooling about Syria at best. They are apparently Jewish Mossad hired or Americans working for the self interest conspirators, they are young, and are relying on past success of deception (9/11-Libya etc.) to think that these new ones will be believed. Syrians are far more logical and have deep political experience, enough to have refused to cooperate in cities like Damascus and Aleppo.

Well, with all that hypes, desperation and bluffing, it is just going to be so much harder when the fact of the truth come to pass. The hopeless, goes on what is next, and out of desperation and irrationality, they dig their own holes deeper, out of ignorance and hurried way to cover, to maintain that euphoria backed hypes and lies, they shown us consistent failures.

July 9th, 2012, 4:11 pm

 
 

Tara said:

Halabi

Peasants drinking Champagne. No offense to real peasants.

July 9th, 2012, 4:30 pm

 

Syrialover said:

# 105. Bruno

Oh I see. You are insisting your sources are always better than mine.

Well, nobody outside really knows the precise inner details of policies and agendas of the US and Russia. So how can you be so confident what I posted is wrong and what you claim is right?

You seem to be a raw newcomer to this issue. You ask: “How come that article has forgotten to mention the Russian Naval port in Syria?”.

The answer is that Tartus is not seen as critical to Russia’s agenda, it is a low grade base to collect food, water and do repairs – a point very widely made in quality articles and analysis, including on this site.

The main things driving Putin are more complex, and also very well analysed and discussed out there.

Go on, read up on it. I and others here have posted some good sources you could start with.

By the way, you need to slow down in your skim reading – those articles you refer to were not written by Tlas or quoting him.

Time to lift your game and do some reading and thinking.

July 9th, 2012, 5:17 pm

 

annie said:

Maysaloon on Tlass departure

…Tlass might be the least worst option, but this still isn’t good enough for a country that has given over fifteen thousand lives for its freedom, and tens of thousands of refugees and prisoners. I doubt that all these people died to replace an Alawite dictator with a Sunni one, but I’m confident about one thing, and that is that Syria’s freshly grown grass roots will now, and should remain, the final line of defence for the Syrian people’s liberties and fight against oppression.

http://www.maysaloon.org/2012/07/word-on-tlass-departure.html

July 9th, 2012, 5:26 pm

 

omen said:

138. hi al. when are you going to denounce the zionist assad regime?

In 1976, the Syrian regime intervened militarily in Lebanon on the side of the Phalanges and Israel. The record is available (from Henry Kissinger’s memoirs to the memoirs of Israel leaders): Syria and Israel reached an understanding in Lebanon.

The understanding was that Syrian troops would enter Lebanon to defeat Israel’s enemies provided that the Syrian troops stay north of the Litani river.

The Syrian troops strictly adhered to the agreement all the way until their humiliating withdrawal from Lebanon in 2005. Never once did Syrian troops dare cross south of the Litani river no matter how brutal and savage Israeli attacks on South Lebanon were. The Syrian regime intervened to smash a promising revolutionary movement that would have changed the map of the Arab East.

also:

2:44:

Remember this: Since its founding, the party endorsed an open hostility to colonialism and advocated national self-determination.

stated ideals are nice but what matters more are actions. wonder how many snp members are going to be jailed for treason once free syria is established.

July 9th, 2012, 5:34 pm

 

omen said:

138. hi al. when are you going to denounce the zionist assad regime?

In 1976, the Syrian regime intervened militarily in Lebanon on the side of the Phalanges and Israel. The record is available (from Henry Kissinger’s memoirs to the memoirs of Israel leaders): Syria and Israel reached an understanding in Lebanon.

The understanding was that Syrian troops would enter Lebanon to defeat Israel’s enemies provided that the Syrian troops stay north of the Litani river.

The Syrian troops strictly adhered to the agreement all the way until their humiliating withdrawal from Lebanon in 2005. Never once did Syrian troops dare cross south of the Litani river no matter how brutal and savage Israeli attacks on South Lebanon were. The Syrian regime intervened to smash a promising revolutionary movement that would have changed the map of the Arab East.

July 9th, 2012, 5:39 pm

 

Tara said:

It appears that Hillary has indeed charmed Lavrov during St. Petersburg dinner.  Were Lavrov’s happy declarations after Geneva conference his way to save face?  Or … Is this Annan’s way to pressure KSA and Qatar not to arm the FSA?

Russia to suspend new arms to Syria: agencies
Reuters – Mon, 9th Jul 2012 03:02 PM

“While the situation in Syria is unstable, there will be no new deliveries of arms there,” Vyacheslav Dzirkaln told journalists at the Farnborough Airshow in Britain, Russia’s Interfax news agency reported.

The refusal to send more arms to Syria could signal the strongest move yet by Moscow to distance itself from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad whom it has defended in the U.N. Security Council from harsher sanctions.
….

http://m.yahoo.com/w/legobpengine/news/russia-not-deliver-fighter-jets-syria-ria-120423448.html?orig_host_hdr=news.yahoo.com&amp;.intl=US&.lang=en-US

July 9th, 2012, 5:39 pm

 

omen said:

(2:44)

al: Remember this: Since its founding, the party endorsed an open hostility to colonialism and advocated national self-determination.

stated ideals are nice but what matters more are actions. wonder how many snp members are going to be jailed for treason once free syria is established.

July 9th, 2012, 5:42 pm

 

zoo said:

Will this affect Syria? Not all Arab springs lead to Islam.
Election Results in Libya Break an Islamist Wave
Tomas Munita for The New York Times

By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK
Published: July 8, 2012

TRIPOLI, Libya — A coalition led by a Western-educated political scientist appeared on Sunday to be beating its Islamist rivals in Libya’s first election after Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, breaking an Islamist wave that swept across neighboring Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco in the aftermath of the Arab Spring uprisings.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/09/world/africa/libya-election-latest-results.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

July 9th, 2012, 5:46 pm

 

Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Omen 146,

It was a fighter jet. Clearly if wasn’t a training. A sane air-force will not conduct drills with live ammunition near to houses where people live.

Looks like they are being forced to use air power because (1) their tanks and armored vehicles are being torched one by one (2) their ground forces are overstretched and exhausted.
.

July 9th, 2012, 5:51 pm

 

zoo said:

Hillary is the spokeswoma of the bankrupcy of USA foreign policies in the ME.

In Search of a Middle East Policy

by Elliott Abrams
July 8, 2012
http://blogs.cfr.org/abrams/2012/07/08/in-search-of-a-middle-east-policy/

….
In all three of these theaters, Obama administration policy is frozen solid: no new ideas, no initiatives, and no acknowledgment that what has been tried for three and a half years has failed.
….
Consider what Mrs. Clinton said at the international meeting on Syria just held in Paris.

What can every nation and group represented here do? I ask you to reach out to Russia and China, and to not only urge but demand that they get off the sidelines and begin to support the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people
….
That summation of America’s policy and our situation today is far grimmer than Mrs. Clinton appears to recognize. The situation is “no longer tolerable” but there is nothing we plan to do about it except to ask other, smaller, weaker nations to plead with Russia and China to be nicer. With such leadership , and such refusal to acknowledge the bankruptcy of current policies in the Middle East, we can expect a grim summer indeed.

July 9th, 2012, 5:57 pm

 

Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Halabi Tara,

This is just normal. Don’t blame ordinary people who try to keep some normalcy. Tel Aviv, during the harsh times, when suicide bomber used to explode in buses, cafe’s and shopping malls, never stopped partying. This is the best way to vent mental pressures.
.

July 9th, 2012, 6:00 pm

 

zoo said:

Turkey’s influence on Syria fading away.

Syria and the AKP’s “learning curve”
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/syria-and-the-akps-learning-curve-.aspx?pageID=449&nID=25115&NewsCatID=416


It is becoming clearer, however, that Turkey is not going to be one of the leading global actors that shape the new Syria, but merely a relatively important regional player…
Put another way, the new Syria that emerges will not be one that is run exclusively by a Sunni-led Islamic Brotherhood-type regime, which is what the AKP obviously desires, but by a power-sharing arrangement which reflects the accords arrived at between the sides in the new East-West struggle.

That arrangement will also most likely preserve the Baathist secular nature of the administration, to protect Christian and other minorities. The West is overtly and Turkey covertly against Iran’s having a say in Syria, but it is likely that Tehran will not be entirely sidelined either in the long run, especially after having secured the support of Moscow and Beijing.

Even if the AKP’s foreign policy has demonstrated tangible solidarity with Sunni countries and groups in the Middle East, this new situation is nevertheless unlikely to please radical Sunni groups within Turkey and the Middle East.

A key message to come out of all this is that the Syrian crisis also represents a serious “learning curve” for the AKP government, given that the foreign policy it worked out on paper did not quite match the situation in the field.

July 9th, 2012, 6:11 pm

 

Syrialover said:

Omen #141.

I think you are referring to the very interesting interview with a defector, Syrian oil ministry official Abdo Husameddin, which I posted a couple of days ago.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303684004577508982056619046.html?mod=WSJ_hp_us_mostpop_read

The fact is that if Syria is to succeed post-Assad, the big revolution and after-shock for the mass of civil servants in state insitutions will be about competency and systems – not political alliances.

Tunisia must be already organizing for battle on that front, Egypt and Libya need to start at some stage, and Greece is facing something similar.

July 9th, 2012, 6:15 pm

 

Son of Damascus said:

Halabi,

Bruno said:
That video seems staged and whats with the wires on the guys hands? no mean seriously?

I do believe you owe Bruno an explanation, he seems to seriously mean it too!

The video was a laugh, the fact that your typical minhibaks don’t seem to understand Homsi comedy is just side splitting.

July 9th, 2012, 6:16 pm

 

zoo said:

The anti-regime media tries to read ‘shifts’ in Russia support of Syria in big headlines: “Russia stops arms shipment to Syria until situation settles”.
In fact only new jets will be delayed… For the rest, business as usual
The Russia are “delighted’ that this announcement is getting so much press coverage as it shows that Russia is doing its share in implementing Annan peace plan by ‘pressuring’ Bashar Al Assad. Now the ball is in the other camp, Qatar and KSA, to show their good will in “pressuring” the armed rebels and stopping arms deliveries.

Russia Sends Message of Impatience to Syria’s Assad
By DALAL MAWAD and RICK GLADSTONE
Published: July 9, 2012

Vyachislav N. Davidenko, a spokesman for Rosoboronexport, Russia’s state arms exporter, clarified in a telephone interview that Russia still intended to service old military contracts with Syria, as it did recently with the maintenance of Russian helicopters used by the Syrian army. But the message about a delay in new weapons, most notably planned shipments of the Yak-130, a new type of military jet, was a substantive change.

July 9th, 2012, 6:33 pm

 

Syrialover said:

Observer #136

Very good points and questions.

But I think some core factors are likely to disrupt all rational scenarios.

These are that Assad and his team are catastrophically poor decision makers, operate mainly with lies and deception, are deep in delusion, and will fight like crazy primitive beasts to continue their game.

Diplomacy and negotiations can’t have any impact on that, but Assad would be going through the motions as part of his game and delusions that he can manipulate the world, including buying time.

July 9th, 2012, 6:38 pm

 

Tara said:

Amir 

The situations are not comparable.  I can’t tell you how much contempt I feel towards people who only care about satisfying their animalistic basic desires even at the expense of dead children.  Damascus should be in agony and solemn sorrow over the death of 15,000 souls not having pool parties and mocking those who were killed.

July 9th, 2012, 6:43 pm

 

Aldendeshe said:

OMEN@
HEHEHHEHE, the losers can stick it up. They should have some dignity, but how undignified ones could muster that. Hitler, Stalin and the Devil could not think of the devastating evils that I can throw on my enemies. Well start work on the list, I already made the one SSS will have to get into Treason trials.

July 9th, 2012, 6:47 pm

 

Aldendeshe said:

LOL & LOL Bashar Assad, you made Syria’s enemy unhinged, gone crazy, uncontrollably frustrated, at a loss, hopeless, let’s see the big catastrophic assault you bragging and threatning about, let get it done and over with. Losers.

July 9th, 2012, 7:04 pm

 

Tara said:

“God destroy Mr Assad! God please arrest his sons! “. 

Running outside and pushing her way through the crowd to her son she pleaded with the captors; “I was begging them to stop beating him, I told them ‘he is disabled please hit me instead!’ I knelt down and kissed the legs of the commander.

“They threatened me; they told me they would burn him alive before my eyes if I didn’t leave.”
….
“God destroy Mr Assad! God please arrest his sons! They burnt my heart,” said Amina, her voice angry and tears streaming down her cheeks. Her relatives, two elderly women donning long colourfully embroidered local dress and who sat hunched at the bottom of a staircase stripping parsley from its stem, wept with her.
….
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/9387667/Syria-portrait-of-a-town-divided-and-gripped-by-civil-war.html

July 9th, 2012, 7:11 pm

 

Aldendeshe said:

112. Antoine said:
Aldendeshi,
FSA are ready to confront Assad best men militarily.

9 14
___________________________________________________________________

They are not Syrians!!!!! Either Jewish or Americans or both. All they do is brag, threaten, give altimatums and FIZZLE-POP-FART-FIZZLE. WHAT ARE YOU WAITNG FOR IF YOU READY. Assad is not buying your bluff, lets roll if you are ready. Maybe then we can in fact put and end to this slughter, negotiate a peaceful resolution, after he decimate you and the remnant go back to live in Herzalia camps like Lebanon Lahd Traitors.

July 9th, 2012, 7:29 pm

 

zoo said:

Putin says Syrians should be “forced” to start dialogue
(DP-News – agencies)

http://www.dp-news.com/en/detail.aspx?articleid=125768
MOSCOW- Russian President Vladimir Putin says that the Syrian government and opposition groups should be “forced” to start a dialogue.

He spoke Monday, the same day a Syrian opposition leader, Michel Kilo, met with Russia’s foreign minister.

Putin said that the dialogue Russia is helping facilitate is “more complicated and fine” that an armed solution to the conflict.

Syria needs a “peaceful solution”, as Russian president Vladimir Putin said during a meeting with the Russian diplomats, underlining the urgency of a dialogue between the parts in conflict and the need to avoid a foreign intervention to restore a permanent peace in the country

July 9th, 2012, 7:54 pm

 

omen said:

159. SYRIALOVER said: #141. think you are referring to the very interesting interview with a defector, Syrian oil ministry official Abdo Husameddin, which I posted a couple of days ago.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303684004577508982056619046.html?mod=WSJ_hp_us_mostpop_read

ah, yes, thank you, that was it.

the part i questioned:

Many state employees in Syria have turned against the regime but are staying in their jobs, he added, saying they are “defecting silently.”

“When the regime falls, we need these people,” he said. “We don’t want the state to collapse. In fact, they will be beneficial in the next phase.”

July 9th, 2012, 7:58 pm

 

omen said:

167. ALDENDESHE said: They are not Syrians!!!!! Either Jewish or Americans or both. All they do is brag, threaten, give altimatums and FIZZLE-POP-FART-FIZZLE. WHAT ARE YOU WAITNG FOR IF YOU READY. Assad is not buying your bluff, lets roll if you are ready. Maybe then we can in fact put and end to this slughter, negotiate a peaceful resolution, after he decimate you and the remnant go back to live in Herzalia camps like Lebanon Lahd Traitors.

it’s this regime you keep defending who is guilty of being traitors:

In 1976, the Syrian regime intervened militarily in Lebanon on the side of the Phalanges and Israel. The record is available (from Henry Kissinger’s memoirs to the memoirs of Israel leaders): Syria and Israel reached an understanding in Lebanon.

The understanding was that Syrian troops would enter Lebanon to defeat Israel’s enemies provided that the Syrian troops stay north of the Litani river.

The Syrian troops strictly adhered to the agreement all the way until their humiliating withdrawal from Lebanon in 2005. Never once did Syrian troops dare cross south of the Litani river no matter how brutal and savage Israeli attacks on South Lebanon were. The Syrian regime intervened to smash a promising revolutionary movement that would have changed the map of the Arab East.

what might have been.

July 9th, 2012, 8:25 pm

 

omen said:

167. al – read the above piece about hafez. that’s what a traitor looks like.

The Syrian regime intervened to smash a promising revolutionary movement that would have changed the map of the Arab East.

p.s. the link disappeared again.

here:

http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/6148/hafez-al-assad-in-1976

July 9th, 2012, 8:33 pm

 

omen said:

168. zoo

Syria needs a “peaceful solution”

has putin morphed into gandhi?

how absurd.

July 9th, 2012, 8:40 pm

 

omen said:

166. TARA said:

“God destroy Mr Assad! God please arrest his sons! “.

Running outside and pushing her way through the crowd to her son she pleaded with the captors; “I was begging them to stop beating him, I told them ‘he is disabled please hit me instead!’ I knelt down and kissed the legs of the commander.

another disabled child forced to flee:

http://twitpic.com/9tx0zn

who could harm this boy?

July 9th, 2012, 8:48 pm

 

omen said:

157. AMIR IN TEL AVIV said:

Halabi Tara,

This is just normal. Don’t blame ordinary people who try to keep some normalcy. Tel Aviv, during the harsh times, when suicide bomber used to explode in buses, cafe’s and shopping malls, never stopped partying. This is the best way to vent mental pressures.
.

amir, it is not the same. it’s just not.

i don’t believe for a minute that israelis in general would be partying in the street if the israeli government murdered their own people, including 500 or more children, many with their throats slashed.

external attack isn’t the same as a country slaughtering their own.

people drinking champagne are either corrupt sociopaths or heavily deluded and buy the regime line that the government is attacking “terrorists.”

July 10th, 2012, 11:15 am

 

Antoine said:

167. Aldendeshe said:

“They are not Syrians!!!!! Either Jewish or Americans or both. All they do is brag, threaten, give altimatums and FIZZLE-POP-FART-FIZZLE. WHAT ARE YOU WAITNG FOR IF YOU READY. Assad is not buying your bluff, lets roll if you are ready. Maybe then we can in fact put and end to this slughter, negotiate a peaceful resolution, after he decimate you and the remnant go back to live in Herzalia camps like Lebanon Lahd Traitors.”

________________________________________________________________

I am glad to tell you that FSA and LCC grassroots opposition in places like Homs, Hama, Idleb, Reef Halab, Deirezzor, daraa, Reef Dimashq, share the exact same attitudes and vision with that of SNP ;

No compromise with any regime element , F.U to the international community and its efforts to shaoe the “Syrian crisis” to its own advantage, total disregard for any international opinion or solutions or any international ( Western , Russian or Arab) initiative and utter contempt for these interests, faith only in their own GUNS and their capability and skill in using those Guns, infact we still asking Assad to face us in a pure military confrontation testing only pure military skills and capabilities on indivudal basis.

Moreover neither FSA nor LCC have any intention to accept the tutelage or advice of any external actors, even today FSA spokesmen openly call Turkey and Saudi traitors and gutless when needed.

FSA makes situations, does not react to them.

Now better ask the SNP team leader to get in touch with FSA leaders in Homs, Idleb and Aleppo.

July 10th, 2012, 12:59 pm

 

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