Posted by Joshua on Wednesday, January 4th, 2012
The Syrian Opposition tried to further unify its ranks this past week, but failed. Instead the various factions of Syrian National Council – the main opposition front that has met most frequently with Western government officials – fell into recriminations.
The problems started with the announcement of an agreement to unify both the NCB [sometimes call NCC] – National Coordination Body for Democratic Change [NCB] and the Syrian National Council [SNC] by Haytham Manaa and Burhan Ghaliun, the leaders of the two groups. Here is the first part of an announcement of the agreement put out by the NCB:
From the NCB – National Coordination Body for Democratic Change [NCB]
Agreement between the National Coordination Body for Democratic Change [NCB] and the Syrian National Council [SNC], to be submitted to the Secretariat of the Arab League as a joint political document for the Congress of the Syrian opposition that is expected to take place under the umbrella of the Arab League in January 2012.
Following talks lasting for more than a month involving the leadership of the NCB and the SNC, the parties agreed on the following:
1 – Rejection of any foreign military intervention that affects the sovereignty and independence of the country. The Arab intervention is not considered to be foreign.
2 – Protection of civilians by all legitimate means in the context of international human rights Law.
3 – Preservation and promotion of national unity of the Syrian people, and the refusal and condemnation of sectarianism, its mobilization, and all that leads to it.
4 – We are proud of the officers and Syrian soldiers who refused to obey the orders to kill civilians and peaceful demonstrators demanding freedom, and we understand the humanitarian and patriotic crisis of conscience which the regime has forced on them. We hold the regime fully responsible for this…
Following the announcement on Dec 31, there was a major movement to unseat Burhan within the SNC. Even some of his closest allies joined in the criticism. Members of the Muslim Brotherhood attacked him for being a “dictator” because he didn’t send the agreement to the appropriate SNC committees before announcing it. Ghalioun quickly began to back away from the agreement, calling it a draft. Haytham Manaa is being badly criticized by SNC members for being willing to talk to the regime.
Much of the criticism came from opposition members who reject that declarations renunciation of foreign intervention. Both Manaa and Ghalioun have been outspoken opponents of outright foreign intervention, but increasingly the Muslim Brothers and others within the SNC and local coordinating committees want foreign powers to bring down the Asad regime. They want action and fear the present stalemate will continue for a long time unless foreign governments get involved.
See this criticism on al-Jazeera English by Ashraf al-Muqdad of the Damascus Declaration. He claims most opposition want intervention.
A new SNC website in English. It provides profiles of the members, although there are many misleading names. Many members continue to use false names because they fear reprisals from the regime. Also see this “Report: Who is the Syrian-Kurdish opposition? The development of Kurdish parties, 1956-2011.” I have condensed some of the most important paragraphs below.
NEWS ROUND UP
Washington Times Commentary: Opposition leader: Most Syrians want foreign military action, 2012-01-02
By Ben Birnbaum, The Washington Times
ISTANBUL — A Syrian opposition leader says most of his colleagues now support international military action to oust President Bashar Assad “but they might not be brave enough to express it openly.” Samir Nashar, a member of the Syrian National ….
Divide and Rule in Syria
The schisms of the Syrian opposition
The Majalla: The Leading Arab Magazine, Wednesday, 4 Jan, 2012
The Syrian opposition has so far failed to unite in the face of government violence and repression….
Here The Majalla provides a comprehensive outline of the various political groups and individuals in opposition to the ruling Assad regime.
Forces Competing for the Rule of a New Syria
Ten months after the outset of the Syrian revolution, no political alternative with popular consensus has crystallized. Even the opposition appears at odds, divided into Islamists, liberals and youth leaders belonging to many groups and committees. These groups are leading the protest movement on the ground along with the Free Syrian Army (composed of defected Syrian Army officers).
The problem facing the Syrian opposition forces in a potential transition period is the form of transition itself, and the many perspectives of a post-Assad ruling system. In fact, the situation of the opposition may suggest a competition between forces and figures that have emerged during the revolution, particularly two bodies: The Syrian National Council and the National Coordination Committee.
There are numerous ideological differences among today’s Syrian opposition, in spite of the coalitions forced upon them due to the developments of the Arab Spring and the current necessities of unity.
High-ranking Syrian official announces defection, January 4, 2012, Now Lebanon
Mahmoud Sleiman Hajj Hamad, head inspector at the Syrian Defense Ministry and first inspector at the Monetary Center of the Interior Ministry, told Al-Jazeera television that he split from the regime.
مؤتمر صحفي للمنشق السوري سليمان الترن
A high-ranking Syrian official announced on Wednesday his defection from the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
Syrian Uprising Raises The Specter Of Sectarian War
NPR – Deb Amos
It’s Time for Turkish Leadership on Syria, December 31, 2011
Sami Moubayed - Observers court controversy in Syria
… What we do know is that certain heavyweights in the Arab League, like Saudi Arabia, are not playing games in the Syrian crisis. What is also apparent is that the world has given Russia a green light to find a solution for Syria, in accordance with the US. This solution — loosely coined “the Russian Initiative” — will try to hammer out a deal for Syria, similar to the Yemeni one. The Syrians will not accept giving the glory of a solution to the Americans, Qataris, or Turks, and that is why this deal will be packaged and marketed as a Russian project, from A to Z. In Yemen, what happened was a win-win situation wherein neither side won or lost completely. The Russians are thinking of a similar outcome for Syria, but that can only see the light of day after the observer mission comes out with a report that perhaps — just perhaps — is satisfying for both the Syrian government, and the Syrian opposition. Only then will the Russians get real room to manoeuvre.
Iran sought to broker Syria deal between Assad, Muslim Brotherhood
By Ben Birnbaum, The Washington Times, January 3, 2012
ISTANBUL — A leader of Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood says Iran has sought to coax the Islamist group’s support for President Bashar Assad in exchange for four high-ranking positions in the Syrian government.
Mohammed Farouk Tayfour, the top political leader in Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood, told The Washington Times on Tuesday that Iran’s supreme leader — Ayatollah Ali Khamenei — sent three emissaries to Istanbul in late October to try to broker the deal.
“We refused to meet with them,” said Mr. Tayfour, one of nine members of the Syrian National Council’s executive committee, which is leading opposition to the Assad regime. “We told them [through a Turkish mediator] that Iran has been taking sides against the Syrian people…..
Time – (BEIRUT) — The Arab League on Tuesday called for an emergency meeting to discuss whether to withdraw the group’s monitors from Syria, where security forces are still killing protesters despite the observers’ presence, an Arab official said. The …
Syrian opposition groups plan for post-Assad era, December 31, 2011
Most Syrians ‘supportive of Assad’ – according to opinion poll of Doha Debates
Although the majority of Arabs believe Syria’s President Basher al-Assad should resign in the wake of the regime’s brutal treatment of protesters, fewer Syrians are supportive of an immediate leadership change.
According to the latest opinion poll commissioned by The Doha Debates, Syrians are more supportive of their president with 55% not wanting him to resign. One of the main reasons given by those wanting the president to stay in power was fear for the future of the country.
That level of support is not mirrored elsewhere in the region with 81% of Arabs wanting President Assad to step down. They believe Syria would be better off if free democratic elections were held under the supervision of a transitional government.
The poll’s finding support the result of November’s Doha Debate in which 91% of the audience called for President Assad to resign. If President Assad resigns, Syria’s relations with Turkey, Lebanon and the United States are expected to improve while relations with Iran and Israel will worsen, according to the opinion poll findings. The poll conducted by YouGov Siraj questioned more than 1,000 people in the Arab world between December 14 and 19.
أبلغت الحكومة السورية مساء اليوم غرف الصناعة في كافة المحافظات السورية، أن الكهرباء ستنقطع يوماً كاملاً في الاسبوع عن جميع المدن والمناطق والتجمعات الصناعية.
I asked an informed Syrians to update me about the status of the Syrian military/intelligence apparatus. He says: The Army is different in its composition from the security apparatuses> The critical security apparatuses are led by `Alawite officers while the army is different in its sectarian composition but suffers from the same problems that afflict the security apparatuses in terms of the loyalty of many of its officers to mafias of corruption. The Syrian Army is certainly not a combat army and has lost much of its preparedness due to the internal Syrian situation especially after the withdrawal from Lebanon. Most officers were transformed into protectors of corruption and partners with it. And there local officers (in various provinces who occupy senior administrative positions) who are business agents for Mr. Rami Makhluf in the various provinces…..
DJ Syria’s Assad Has Only ‘Few Weeks’ Left In Control – Israel
JERUSALEM (AFP)–The family of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has only “a few weeks” left in control of the strife-torn country, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak told laswmakers on Monday. “The Assad family has no more than a few weeks to remain in control in Syria,” Barak told the parliament’s prestigious foreign affairs and defence committee in remarks quoted by the committee spokesman. …
Time for a Rethink in Syria
By: Ibrahim al-Amin
Thursday, December 22, 2011 , Al-Akhbar
Rather than trying to formulate reasonable demands, or a mechanism for translating the protest movement’s achievements into concrete gains; rather than taking account of sectarian, ethnic, tribal, political, and regional sensitivities, and pursuing dialogue even if accompanied by protests and clashes with the regime; these forces, especially those based offshore, looked for foreign assistance.
They did so with a single-minded fixation on Libya and the foreign intervention that took place there. They have worked tirelessly to mobilize international and regional support for a similar march of folly in Syria. Yet they avoid discussing it directly, and even make a point of denying that it is what they seek.
They know that it is not the option the Syrian people want. To be more precise, there is no consensus in favor of it. But one could confidently assert that the majority of Syrians reject it.
Yet the offshore opposition has tried shamelessly to replicate the Libyan model: The Syrian National Council was named with Libya’s Transitional National Council in mind.
They supported supplying weapons into the countryside on the pretext of protecting civilians, but had the rebels of eastern Libya in mind.
They were quick to call for protected areas, with Benghazi in mind. And they demanded international protection, hoping for another UN mandate for regional and international powers to provide that protection via military intervention.
Inspired by Libya’s revolutionary brigades, they blessed the creation of the Free Syrian Army. And they remain at the service of any foreign army that may be willing to join a war aimed at toppling Bashar Assad’s regime.
With characteristic irresponsibility, they have no qualms about exhorting the Syrian people to engage in a bloody confrontation with the regime. Their leaders can scarcely conceal their delight when announcing the rising numbers of fellow Syrians who have been killed, injured, or arrested.
‘World should bomb Syria’, Ynetnews Special
In first interview with Israeli media, two Syrian exiles urge world to wake up
Orly Azoulay, 12.28.11,
Why are you telling your story to the Israeli media? Do you wish to convey a message to the government in Jerusalem?
“We do it so that you bomb Assad’s palace,” Amar quips. “But seriously now: I’m not a captive of the myth that Jews run the world and America, but Israel does have power and influence. We are engaged in a public relations campaign worldwide to put Bashar Assad on trial for crimes against humanity and for war crimes. If Israel supports the move, it would be greatly helpful.
“The Syrian opposition and Israel share a joint interest. We have no ideological hatred for Israel or for Jews. I know that’s what you think, but it’s not the case. It’s true that for years they taught us to hate Israel and fight is, but many Syrians already realized that they are being taught to hate Israel to divert attention away from the oppression in the country. We realized that Assad senior and junior educated people to hate Israel in order to stay in power; to blind us with hate for Israel so that we don’t channel our energies to the fact that we live with no freedom or future.
“This is over. People got it. Assad still has his supporters, the Alawites who depend on him, because if he falls they will fall too. Yet among other groups, and there are very diverse ethnic groups in Syria, he lost support. In the army too there are thousands of defectors by now, and they left with their weapons. They are hiding away, getting organized, and at the right moment they will act.”
‘Most Syrians despise Iran’
We head to the computer. Amar opens his encrypted files, which contain photographs and videos smuggled by the rebels. On the screen we see protestors in the city of Homs burning Hezbollah flags with fury and also burning Hassan Nasrallah’s photos. This is a new phenomenon in Syria, which for years allowed the group to arm itself.
“In all protests thus far, an Israeli flag wasn’t burned even once,” Amar says. “This uprising demonstrates that the Syrian people’s hatred is reserved for Assad’s tyrannical regime and for those who support it and safeguard it. They realize that Hezbollah caused Syria grave damage.”
“They also burned Iranian flags in the protests. I can promise you that the alliance between Syria and Iran that threatens the Middle East will come to an end after Assad is gone. Most Syrians despise Iran, because it dragged Syria into becoming an ostracized state. The protestors are also burning Russian flags, because Russia supports Assad in the United Nations,” he says. “It’s not as though there are no disagreements with Israel. There are. A dispute over borders. The Golan is ours and we shall demand it back under any regime. Yet there is no hatred for Israel and for the Jews. We, the young people’ proved it.”
Iran has played a key role in assisting Assad. Both Rahim and Amar tell of Iranian-speaking snipers who do not speak Arabic being deployed across Damascus and helping in repressing the protests. Rahim adds that other Arab world protests, in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain and Libya inspired Syrian’s citizens…..
A few weeks ago, Amar met with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He presented to her, among other things, information about soldiers who defected and plan to launch a guerilla fight against the army. “To my surprise, she asked that the defectors lay down their arms,” he says. “That’s an odd request. Why didn’t they ask the rebels in Libya to lay down their arms? How can they do it if at any moment they can be fired at and murdered? It’s impractical.”
“I can’t understand why the Americans are silent,” Amar says. “We expected them to intervene. Militarily. To bomb the Syrian army from the air. They intervened in Libya and managed to prompt Gaddafi’s removal, and that is what we expect them to do to Assad now. Thus far, more people were killed in Syria than in Libya at the point where Obama decided to launch a military offensive in order to avert a greater massacre. NATO also bombed in Kosovo when it was necessary. Why this hypocrisy?”
“Obama urged Assad to leave, but he won’t leave out of his own accord. He’s a coward, he’s naïve, and he is convinced that he has support. He boasts that his children support him. His wife benefited him greatly over the years by providing, with her very presence, a moderate image in the eyes of the world, yet people who met her said she is very shallow and we don’t count on her to influence him to leave.”
Meanwhile, Rahim stresses that Syria is a secular state and that the West should not fear a radical Islamic takeover. “We have many groups, but we live with respect for each other. What’s clear is that the oppressive regime must pass from this world. Our slogan is freedom and dignity. This is what Syria deserves, and we hope that the world will help us, including Israel.”
These voices reached Israel too. Knesset Member Isaac Herzog, who is a member of the Knesset’s Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee, met with Syrian exiles in Washington in recent weeks and he suggests that we listen to them.
“We in Israel often complain that they don’t know us and don’t understand us. We should know that we too do not possess sufficient understanding of our neighbors, and when it comes to Syria we see total ignorance. Following these and other meetings, I can say that what’s happening there does not resemble any other change taking place in our region. The Syrians are a secular nation comprising a fascinating coalition of ethnicities.”
“In my view, following the Assad era there is a chance for positive processes vis-à-vis Israel as well, and they will require us to meet the challenge,” Herzog says. “The US and its partners, along with human rights groups, must grant the protestors more massive support, so that these processes mature as quickly as possible. Otherwise Syria will be plunged into chaos.”….
Report: Who is the Syrian-Kurdish opposition? The development of Kurdish parties, 1956-2011
KURDWATCH, December 31, 2011—The purpose of this essay is to analyze the current landscape of Kurdish political parties in Syria, including their protagonists, their political goals, their concrete political actions, and their significance for society. Given the current situation, a political analysis of the Kurdish parties, which form a significant part of the Syrian opposition, is of considerable importance. …
If President Bashar al‑Assad and the Baʿth regime fall, the Kurdish parties will try to implement their political visions of a »new Syria.« What do these visions actually look like? Do they extend beyond Kurd-specific demands? Who is leading the Kurdish parties, and which supporters do they have at their disposal? What roll have the Kurdish parties thus far played in the revolution and within the Syrian opposition as a whole? ….
Lack of Democracy
The inner organizational structure of the Syrian-Kurdish parties blatantly contradicts the commitment to democracy. The numerous splits — mostly personal, in a few cases motivated by the program — make it clear that the various parties still have not managed to establish a structure in which it is possible to resolve conflict through discussion or, in case of doubt, through a majority decision within the party. Some party leaders have held this office since the formation of the party, in other cases, a successor was only elected or appointed because his predecessor died.49 Party mergers or splits offer yet another way to become head of a party. Furthermore in the Middle East, there is the classic example of the son taking over the office of his father — as, for example, Jamal Muhammad Baqi….
The Yekîtî represent an exception insofar as the chairmanship rotates every three years. The PYD elects a new chairman every four years. The ways in which party leaders are chosen reflects the tradition of the »original KDPS« — which was characterized by a lack of democratic structures.
The influence of Syrian politics since independence is also visible: Until 1970, regime change largely took place through coups, followed by the de facto one-party rule of the Assads.
While the lack of democratic legitimacy does not seem to be an issue within the parties, policymakers are well aware that the extreme fragmentation of political parties weakens their importance and serves to make them susceptible to the Syrian regime’s divide-and-rule politics. This background helps explain a phenomenon, observable since the 1990s, that is quasi diametrically opposed to the various factions of the KDPS: the formation of party alliances that make joint declarations or organize single activities……
many Syrian Kurds, both those in exile and those in Syria, complain about the fragmentation of the Syrian-Kurdish movement and are of the opinion that the parties have achieved nothing for the Kurds….
It is striking, however, that none of the Kurdish parties implement social projects, for example, education projects for women and youth, aid projects for the poor, environmental projects, etc….
large portions of the Kurdish population explicitly consider themselves Kurds or part of the Kurdish nation. In this respect, the parties have successfully practiced »identity politics.«….
With the exception of the PYD, it is generally true that all parties are very active in the Jazirah, in other words in al‑Hasakah province, and are less active in ʿAfrin. The largest portion of the Kurdish population lives in the Jazirah; moreover, the center of the Kurdish movement was located there as early as the time of
the mandate. This in turn is connected to the fact that a large number of the Kurds who became politicized in Turkey settled in this region starting in the 1920s…..
There are no reliable figures on the number of supporters of the individual parties. We only have self-reported numbers from several parties from the year 2009….
To begin with, the goals of the Syrian-Kurdish parties are noteworthy for the demands they do not make: None of the parties demand an independent Syrian- Kurdish state or the inclusion of the Syrian-Kurdish regions in a united Kurdistan. None of the parties — and here the Kurdish movement in Syria differs from the Kurdish parties in Iraq and Turkey — wants to claim the rights of the Kurdish population by force of arms nor have they ever propagated this.
There are multiple reasons for this. First of all, the geographic and demographic conditions in Syria are poorly suited to supporting armed conflict or the demand for an independent state. With a share of approximately two41 out of twenty million, the Kurdish population is proportionately smaller than in Iraq and especially in Turkey. Moreover, the three main Kurdish settlement areas — the Jazirah, the Kurd Dagh (Çiyayê Kurmênc), and ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî) — are geographically separate, which runs contrary to at least the classical concepts of statehood. In addition, at least in the most populous Kurdish settlement region, the Jazirah, there are no mountainous regions that would be suitable as areas of retreat for armed fighters. Though it would be possible in principle to organize as »urban guerrillas«, there are hardly any models for this in the Kurdish context.
At the same time, Syrian Kurds have been taking part in the armed conflict for the liberation of the Kurds in Turkey and Iraq for decades. Already at the time of the French mandate, Khoybun supported the battle on Ararat both militarily and with propaganda. Later, Syrian Kurds fought for KDP and PUK in the Iraqi- Kurdish liberation movement, as well as in the PKK. President Hafiz al‑Assad allowed the Kurdish parties from neighboring Iraq and Turkey to operate with relative freedom in Syria. Until Öcalan’s arrest in 1998, the PKK held training camps for its guerrilla troops in what, at the time, was still Syrian-controlled Lebanon. To date, the KDP and PUK still have party offices in Damascus. In this way, Assad not only assured himself a means to apply pressure in negotiations with neighboring states, he also succeeded in channeling the engagement of Syrian Kurds towards Iraq and Turkey and away from the Syrian-Kurdish question.
This strategy was also successful because despite countless defeats, the KDP, PUK, and PKK were consistently able to score victories against their respective governments. When Öcalan joined the position of the Syrian government and declared that there was no Kurdish question in Syria, but rather that the Kurds in Syria were actually refugees from Turkey, his position contributed to minimizing the followers of the Syrian-Kurdish parties and integrating the more radical protagonists into his own armed movement.42 This weakened the Kurdish movement in Syria and helped prevent the development of an effective opposition — including one that moved beyond an armed conflict.
The Syrian-Kurdish parties seek a solution to the Kurdish question by democratic means, respecting Syria’s territorial integrity.43 The main demands are the constitutional recognition of the Kurdish people as a second nation within Syria, as well as the recognition that the Kurdish people in Syria are living on their historical territory.
The concrete rights that derive from this are not defined. Only the Progressive Party has a more careful formulation, describing the Kurds as a »part of the national Syrian structure.« In contrast, the Future Movement is the only party that explicitly points to the fact that Syria’s Kurds are “a part of the Kurdish people and their territory is a part of Kurdistan.” Furthermore almost all parties mention “self-administration” of the Kurdish regions as a goal, however, it is never explained what this self-administration actually entails. Only the Yekîtî demand “self-government”44 and explain that they are seeking an administrative unity of all Kurdish regions….
Although all of the parties claim to also have female members, politics in the Syrian-Kurdish parties remains a male domain…..
Until recently, the Syrian government has not accepted the Kurdish parties as negotiating partners. Talks have repeatedly took place between Kurdish figures, including party representatives, and Bashar al‑Assad.64 From the perspective of the government, these talks served first and foremost to control the Kurdish parties, and thus also the Kurdish population. In the context of the events in al‑Qamishli in March 2004, it becomes especially clear how the government tried to calm the »street« with the help of the Kurdish parties.65 Party leaders, however, were not invited to such talks as representatives of their parties. An invitation to appear as party representatives occurred for the first time in June 2011, after the continuing demonstrations had already put significant pressure on the government.66….
The fact that to date there have been almost no dissident demonstrations in ʿAfrin, the bastion of the PYD, can primarily be attributed to the influence of the PYD, and therefore also to the influence of the PKK. The PYD does not appear to want to spoil its relationship with the government; if the regime should survive, the party could point to its loyalty and possibly improve its position in Syria.77 At the same time there are hints that the PYD is preparing itself to fill a possible power vacuum in the Jazirah that could arise after the fall of the government. In several cases, activists critical of the PYD have been kidnapped and tortured; members of other parties have been threatened.78 Even though publicly the Syrian regime is held responsible for the assassination of Mishʿal at‑Tammu, there are indications that the PYD was not only responsible for the first, failed attempt against his life — as he himself suspected — but also for his assassination.79…
As far as contacts between the Arab and Kurdish opposition are concerned, these have been formalized in several oppositional coalitions. The oldest of these is the Damascus Declaration, which was formed in 2005. On the Kurdish side, the Democratic Yekîtî, the Patriotic Party, the Equality Party, the Progressive Party, ʿAbdulhakim Bashar’s el‑Partî, Nasruddin Ibrahim’s el‑Partî, the Left Party, and the Rêkeftin are represented. The Yekîtî, the Azadî, the Future Movement, and the PYD have stayed away from the Damascus Declaration because they do not believe its position on the Kurds goes far enough. The reservations rest primarily on the fact that the document does not contain a passage in which the Kurds are explicitly recognized as an independent nation along with the Arabs in Syria.80….
…the Future Movement, with its previous speaker Mishʿal at‑Tammu, was significantly involved in preparations for the National Rescue Conference. After the conference was held in Istanbul, however, at‑Tammu too announced his party’s withdrawal. In a statement, he criticized, among other things, the fact that the participants did not keep toprearranged agreements and that in the closing statement in Istanbul the existence and the rights of the Kurds in that »part of Kurdistan that was annexed to Syria« were not mentioned….
This vagueness reflects not only the Arab opposition’s fear of making overly broad concessions to Kurdish nationalism, but also and above all the vagueness of the Kurdish positions themselves. This vagueness — especially with regard to an overthrow of the regime — is also responsible for the fact that even though Kurdish party representatives are members of the Syrian National Council, an oppositional coalition formed in October 2011 in Istanbul, their political action is not yet publicly visible….
As opinions and sentiments within the Kurdish parties lean more and more towards the endorsement of a regime change, Darwish apparently continues to play a leading role, even though his party previously advocated for a moderate policy towards the regime. Parallel to this development, the Syrian National Council presented a draft of a political program on November 20, 2011 in which it pledges, among other things, that the constitution of the »new Syria« will guarantee the Kurds their »national rights,« as well as a just solution to the Kurdish question within the framework of the unity of the Syrian state.90 On the Kurdish side, criticism immediately came, first and foremost, from the PYD,91 which accuses the National Council of pursuing policies towards the Kurds that are no different than those of the current Syrian regime.92 At the moment, it remains to be seen which concrete political rights the Kurds will be able to negotiate in the »new
Syria« as a result of this pledge. [Read the report]
Qraylan of the Kurdish Communist Party states that the PKK stands with the Syrian people for democracy against the Assad regime. He denies that the PKK is allied with Assad against Turkey. But he also states that the PKK stands against foreign intervention in Syria. He asks the Syrian opposition to unify its ranks and to continue peaceful opposition. He argues that armed opposition will complicate maters….
BY Abdullah ALghadawi, محرر الشؤون السياسية – صحيفة عكاظ, جدة – الممــــلكة العــربــيـــة الســعوديـــة
قائد الجناح العسكري في حزب العمال الكردستاني لـ «عكاظ» :
التحالف مع الأسد كذبة وجاهزون لحماية الأكراد
عبد الله الغضوي ـ جبال قنديل التركية ( هاتفيا)
[طباعة] [ اكتب رأيك] [اخبر صديقك] [أرسل ملاحظاتك]
أكد قائد الجناح العسكري في حزب العمال الكردستاني مراد قرايلان أن تركيا تروج عبر وسائل الإعلام أن ثمة تحالفا بين النظام السوري وحزب العمال الكردستاني، معتبرا هذا الترويج كذبة اخترقت وسائل الإعلام العربية.
وقال في أول حوار له مع صحيفة سعودية لـ «عكاظ» أن الحزب الكردستاني (PKK) جاهز لحماية الشعب الكردي في سورية، إذا تعرض للخطر، نافيا وجود عناصر من الحزب على الأراضي السورية.
ودعا قرايلان أكراد سورية إلى مساندة الثورة من أجل دولة ديمقراطية جديدة.. وإلى نص الحديث:
• هناك أوساط تركية وكردية تعتبر سورية ساحة صراع بين حزب العمال الكردستاني وتركيا، ماذا تقول؟
ــ سورية ليست ساحة صراع ومواجهة بيننا وبين تركيا، وقبل كل شيء لا توجد لنا قوات في سورية.
الدولة التركية تروج لهذه الأكاذيب، فهي تقول بأن سورية وإيران ليستا ديمقراطيتين وحزب العمال الكردستاني تحالف معهم أيضاً. وفي العام 2003 عقد اتفاق بين تركيا، إيران وسورية ضد حزبنا.
• إذا من أي زاوية تبنون موقفكم مما يجري في سورية؟
ـــــ نقف إلى جانب الشعب السوري في مطالبه الديمقراطية، لكننا لا نقبل التدخل العسكري الأوروبي في هذا البلد، وعلى هذه الثورة أن تلتزم الخيار السلمي ولا تستخدم السلاح بأية طريقة، لأن العنف سيزيد الأمور تعقيداً وانسداداً لأفاق الحل. فالكرد جزء من المعارضة وعليهم توحيد صفوفهم، فهم منقسمون بين المجلس الوطني وهيئة التنسيق، ونعتقد بأن توحيد صفوفهم شيء مهم للنضال من أجل سورية ديمقراطية وليس من أجل السلطة….
The west has a duty to intervene in Syria
Those who continue to appease President Bashar al-Assad also have blood on their hands
by Nick Cohen
…The reason why is best explained by Michael Weiss, a …combative and unstoppably talkative New York intellectual with a loathing for totalitarians and their apologists in whatever form they come. Somehow, he ended up in the London offices of the Henry Jackson Society. The pro-democracy thinktank does much serious work but even its best friends would say that it is not always at the forefront of global political debate.
From this backwater, Weiss compiled a report (http://www.henryjacksonsociety.org/content.asp?pageid=35) on how American, British and French air power might combine with Turkish ground forces to create a safe haven in northern Syria, where mutinous troops from the Syrian army could build a fighting force. Nato officials have studied it, while Burhan Ghalioun, chairman of the Syrian National Council, described the report as a “crucial resource for understanding how a humanitarian intervention in Syria can still be carried out responsibly”….
The lazy talk about the Middle East being a unified “Arab world” or a part of a unified “Muslim world” ignores the real divisions. The region is a mess of competing sectarian and ethnic interests. In Syria, they have combined to produce an apartheid state, in which Assad’s Alawite Shia minority controls the police, army and intelligence agencies. The first weeks of the revolution were joyously anti-sectarian as the Syrian National Council refused to become a weapon for the avenging Sunni majority.
To beat the opposition and survive, Assad has to play his equivalent of the race card. He has to rally the support of his tribe by telling the Allawite and Christian minorities that they must unite behind him or face extermination. To make certain his prediction comes true he burns down the house just to make sure. He is organising the sectarian cleansing of Sunni neighbourhoods and trying to turn his desperate bid to hold on to power into a Sunni-Shia civil war……
Baath Party to have meeting in order to “change its leadership,” get ride of “opportunists,” and develop a new position about “new developments” in Syria…. spirit of renewal… The Baath is a strong party; one cannot generalize based on particular problems that arise here and there…”
من المستحسن تغيير كامل أعضاء القيادة
مصدر حزبي مسؤول : المؤتمر سيحدد موقف البعث من المشهد الجديد في سورية
“As the intensity of the anti-Syrian propaganda war picks up in the ‘mainstream’ media – which focuses on alleged atrocities committed by government forces while maintaining a soft focus on the violence of armed rebel groups…”
City Room: Little Syria (Now Tiny Syria) Finds New Advocates, 2012-01-02
By DAVID W. DUNLAP
Jan. 1 (New York Times) — In 1891, Yusuf Sadallah arrived in Lower Manhattan from the town of Baskinta, in the part of the Ottoman Empire that is now Lebanon. Going by the name of Joseph Sadallah, he set up a trading shop on Washington Street, where other immigrants from the Levant – Syrians, Lebanese and Palestinians – had created a vibrant Arab quarter known as Little…
John Kiriakou was a CIA officer from 1990 until 2004, and senior investigator on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 2009 until 2011.
Haytham Maleh speaks about torture in the Syrian prisons to “al-Hiwar” TV program. Talks about Muhammad Nasif, Muslim Brotherhood, life in various prisons of the 15 security branches, especially Kafrsouse, rape, humanity.
What drove the Arabs in their tens of thousands and then their millions on to the streets of Middle East capitals was a demand for dignity and a refusal to accept that the local family-ruled dictators actually owned their countries. The Mubaraks and the Ben Alis and the Gaddafis and the kings and emirs of the Gulf (and Jordan) and the Assads all believed that they had property rights to their entire nations. Egypt belonged to Mubarak Inc, Tunisia to Ben Ali Inc (and the Traboulsi family), Libya to Gaddafi Inc. And so on. The Arab martyrs against dictatorship died to prove that their countries belonged to their own people.