Opposition Meets in Tunisia as Arab Observers Enter Syria and Deathrate Rises

As the economic situation in Syria deteriorates steadily and the death-rate rises with an increasingly militant opposition, there seems no resolution in sight to the fighting in Syria. The Arab League is sending observers to report on the violence, but it is unclear whether they will act as a balm or catalyst to the conflict. Both regime supporters and opposition may well try to demonstrate wherever the observers turn up.

The SNC has met in Tunisia in order to announce a unified opposition statement, which is carried in full below. The opposition has shown increasing unity, although many important differences over strategy and objectives continue to divide its ranks.

Law and order are slowly collapsing in Syria, along with reliable supplies of basic goods and services. The opposition is becoming more capable, more numerous, and better armed; more Syrians are despairing of the Assad regime and believe the president lives in a cocoon. The international community has isolated Syria and continues to tighten sanctions and force western companies to withdraw from the country, which is causing the economy to contract rapidly. Syria’s GDP has shrunk by almost 30% in dollar terms since the start of the year — from $55 billion to $37 billion dollars, as the Syrian pound has collapsed from 47 to 62 to a dollar. Heating oil has all but disappeared from the market place; people are cold. Cooking oil is scarce and electricity in many cities is cut for hours on end during peek usage periods. Municipal elections, by all accounts, were a bust. It is hard to see how they can change much so long as article 8 of the constitution – the article guaranteeing the supremacy of the Baath in society and politics – remains in force. Syrian opposition forces asked their followers to boycott them. The notion of reform is dead. The opposition is determined to bring down the regime, not reform it. Anyway, Assad has shown no inclination to cut the authority of the patronage network and security forces that sustain his regime in power. One must assume he will fight to the end, that was the thrust of his recent ABC interview with Barbara Walters.

What we are witnessing in Syria, is not the clash of two titanic and centralized bodies: the state and the opposition. Instead, we are seeing the steady erosion of state authority and national institutions, as the opposition, which remains largely organized on a local basis undermines central authority at many points. Neighborhood committees and armed groups are forming in ever greater number. Most use the word “coordinating” in their title, but few relinquish local authority. They prefer to keep decision-making local and in their own hands. Some of this is for practical reasons. Spies are everywhere. I am told by good sources that one of the leading reasons why Aleppo has been so quite is that the local coordinating committees recently discovered that their efforts to put together surprise demonstrations were being foiled by informants. One recent opposition statement admitted that their ranks have been riddled with informers.

The opposition remains divided over central issues of strategy – especially over how to deal with the armed opposition to the regime. The Syrian National Council claims to have gained control over the Free Syrian Army, which claims, in turn, to have control over some 15,000 defectors and armed elements in Syria. This alleged hierarchy is by most accounts fictional. The opposition groups and cells in Syria – whether peaceful or armed – are working on their own. According to the New York Times “factionalism has been hindering the drive to topple Assad.”

Current Events in Syria
Illinois Public Radio, Host: David Inge
Radio Show – Go to six minutes to start interview about current situation in Syria

Pro-Assad demonstrators on Monday after announcement of Arab League Deal. Notice that they are fewer than in the past, when the square and side roads were packed

Qatari Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jassim (C) is now a key figure at the League

Members of the Free Syrian Army at a safe-house on northern Lebanon’s border with Syria.

Syria To Cut Public Spending To Head Off Crisis

DAMASCUS (AFP)–Syria has decided to slash public sector spending in a bid to head off a crisis for an economy that has taken a beating due to months of unrest and sanctions, media said Tuesday.

Prime Minister Adel Safar has issued an order for the public sector to reduce spending by 25% in a move designed at “limiting waste,” Al-Baath newspaper reported.

The cuts would be included in the 2012 budget and concern “fuel, maintenance, bonuses and transport expenses” that are usually allocated to civil servants, the report said.  Western powers have imposed sweeping economic sanctions on Syria, where the United Nations estimates more than 5,000 people have been killed since March asthe regime cracks down on a popular revolt.

Syrian Unemployment at Twice Previously Estimated Level – Syria Report

The Syrian Minister of Labour and Social Affair said last week that unemployment in the country stood at between 22 and 30 percent, a rate more than twice previously estimated levels….

Radwan Habib made this statement at the end of a Government meeting last week saying the new findings were the result of a field survey conducted by his administration. Until now, the Government put unemployment rate at 9 percent, well below the estimates of most independent analysts.

Gathering data on unemployment in Syria is difficult because few workers are registered with Social Security and Job houses but also because of cultural differences. In rural areas for instance, women working on cultivating land are rarely counted as workers, rather they consider themselves house wives.

Mr Habib did not give more details on the finding of the survey and did not say for instance whether the figure had been impacted by the current crisis engulfing the country. He did not say either why for so long the Government admitted to much lower figures. The fact that the margin is so high – between 22 and 30 percent – also casts serious doubts about the quality of the survey.

Syria Imposes Death Penalty For Arming “Terrorists”, 2011-12-20

DAMASCUS (AFP)–Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has signed into effect a law imposing the death penalty on anyone arming “terrorists,” state media said Tuesday, amid mounting clashes with rebel troops.

“The law provides for the death penalty for anyone providing weapons or helping to provide weapons intended for the carrying out of terrorist acts,” the official SANA news agency said. The Syrian authorities contend that nine-month-old protests are the work of “armed terrorists” not civilian demonstrators as maintained by Western governments and human rights groups.


The Syrian National Council (SNC) held its first plenary meeting and conference in Tunis in December 17-18, 2011. The participants paid tribute to the Syrian people’s patience and the heroes who continue to demonstrate peacefully for dignity and freedom. The regime’s tactics, including the darkest of scenarios, to drag the nation into a civil war, have failed.
The council also called upon members of the Army and concerned citizens, who have yet to join the Revolution, to get involved in this cause.The SNC discussed key issues, including its own responsibilities, and concluded with the following outcomes:

At the Organizational Level:

  • The conference discussed and approved the Political Program of the SNC and the bylaws and regulations governing the ongoing relationships among its various institutions. The conference also restructured the SNC offices to promote the active participation of all political entities, including the driving forces of the Revolution and the independent national figures that have joined the SNC. The role of women in the SNC was also emphasized.
  • The SNC vowed to continue all efforts to promote national unity, and to expand national efforts to guarantee the success of the Revolution and provide a means to achieve its humanitarian objectives, including freedom and dignity.

At the Domestic Level: 
The SNC renewed its commitment to the Syrian people and to the achievement of their goals. This includes the primary objectives of the Revolution:

  • First, the ouster of the regime and its figures, along with all of its symbols and pillars.
  • Second, the establishment of a new Syria as a democratic, pluralistic, civil state, where all citizens – men and women – are treated equally under the rule of law.
  • The SNC reaffirmed its commitment to recognize the Kurdish national identity under the constitution. The Kurdish cause is an important part of a national issue of concern to the country as a whole.  Within the framework of unity in Syria, the SNC will resolve the injustices toward the Kurdish people by recognizing their national rights and compensating those affected.
  • The SNC stressed its commitment to recognizing the national identity of the Assyrian Syrians under the constitution, and called for a solution to this issue within the framework of national unity.
  • The SNC emphasized its rejection of any discrimination against any components of Syrian society, regardless of religious sect or ethnicity (including Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen, Assyrian, Syriacs, and others), in the context of national citizenship.
  • The SNC pledged to make every effort to meet the demands of the Syrian people, including relief requirements in disaster areas, as they continue their peaceful Revolution and successful civil disobedience such as the Strike for Dignity.
  • The SNC and its institutions call on the Arab League, the United Nations, and the international community to take urgent action with regard to the protection of Syrian civilians and activists by creating safe havens and protected zones.
  • The SNC pledged to support the Free Syrian Army, recognizing its honorable role in protecting the peaceful Revolution of our people.
  • The SNC emphasized its commitment at all levels – media, economic, political, and diplomatic – to stifling the regime until its ouster.
  • The SNC reaffirmed its vision of the transitional period and the general principles for the new Syria, which seek to realize a general consensus. The SNC called on all Syrians to unite in confronting injustice and tyranny and to join the Revolution in crafting the future of Syria.

At the International Level:

  • The SNC emphasized its concerns with regard to cooperation with the members of the Arab League, the international community, and other international organizations to achieve the objectives and wishes of the Syrian Revolution. The SNC warned that the regime continues to disregard and circumvent the initiatives and sanctions imposed upon it. The SNC also stressed that the regime must not be granted any additional deadlines or chances.
  • Moreover, the SNC urged that all countries and citizens bear a moral and humanitarian responsibility toward the Syrian people, who are facing the worst of crimes against humanity. The SNC emphasized that it is in the best interest of foreign countries to stand with the Syrian people and not with a faltering regime.
  • The SNC stressed that the new Syria will restore national sovereignty to the occupied Golan Heights and support the complete and legitimate rights of the Palestinian people. This will lead to true stability in the region, as opposed to the repressive regime that threatens the stability and unity of the state, and prompts international intervention in Syria’s internal issues. The regime alone bears responsibility for the events in the country.

Burhan Ghalioun, leader of the SNC, recently ran into harsh criticism from supporters for stating that the future government of Syria would cut ties with Iran and Hizbullah and would “bank on our special relationship with the Europeans and western powers in helping us in reclaiming the Golan as fast as possible.” None of those statements appear in the latest policy statement. When the SNC was formed three months ago, it was stated that the executive – Ghalioun would serve a three month term. It is unclear whether the SNC has cleared up this sitution. A recent Wall Street Journal interview with Ghalioun carried this on the topic:

WSJ: The council’s leadership is assigned for three months terms. When does the current term end and who will lead a transitional government?

Mr. Ghalioun: To respect democratic principles, the president has a three months term, and it can be extended. My term began in October for three months. Extension is something that will be discussed—it’s a possibility.

Syria’s Opposition: What If We Offered Assad Immunity…?
By Rania Abouzeid / Time, Tunis Sunday, Dec. 18, 2011

…..The FSA was not represented at the Tunisian conference. “What for?” said one conference organizer, when asked about the rebels’ absence. “Riad al-As’ad is in charge of maybe five guys.” (See why Syria’s dissidents fear for their safety.)

“The FSA is an empty cardboard box,” said another participant. “It means nothing. And besides, if we want to try and win over the army, why would we bring the FSA here?”

Still, the FSA, unlike the SNC, has tremendous support inside Syria. There are increasing calls by protesters and defectors alike for weapons to take on Assad’s ruthless forces. Unless the SNC presents a viable alternative, the Syrian uprising may slip out of the political realm and into an all-out civil conflict, with dangerous sectarian undertones. “What difference can the SNC make if it gets international recognition and loses its legitimacy among the protesters? And what difference can the FSA make, if it fails to get all the emerging paramilitary groups to accept the authority of its Military Council and its leader?” Ammar Abdulhamid, a U.S.-based Syrian dissident who has been critical of the SNC said recently. Abdulhamid has criticized the SNC’s “lack of transparency” and claimed that several independent Syrians who wanted to attend the conference in Tunisia “as monitors” were not allowed in. “So long as SNC leaders remain more preoccupied with winning international recognition than they are with internal cohesion or outreach to their own people, they are destined to become as irrelevant and cut-off from realities as Assad is today,” he said.

Interview with Louay Hussein on FSA, civil war, sanctions, Turkey and an opposition upcoming conference: Louay is a long time opposition activist. He was first arrested in 1984 while finishing his fourth year of philosophy studies at Damascus University. He was released from jail in 1991. Earlier this year he successfully organized the first opposition conference to be held in Damascus (Samiramis conference) and launched “Building the Syrian State” political current (تيار بناء الدولة السورية)


Stratfor Challenges Narratives on Syria, December 20, 2011,
By Sharmine Narwani, Senior Associate, St. Antony’s College, Oxford University

… Inherent Bias in Syrian Data?

The problem with information that originates from opposition groups is that there is a clear interest in disseminating “beneficial” data and underplaying “damaging” statistics. And that dynamic applies to the government too – which is why we take Syrian regime pronouncements with a grain of salt.

You don’t see the Syrian opposition taking an active role in publicizing the slaughter of rank-and-file soldiers, for instance – except to claim these forces are being shot for deserting the army. Twitter is abuzz right now with news that more than 70 of today’s 100+ dead are “deserters.”

Nor do you hear about the numbers of pro-regime civilians killed by the armed opposition – some of them allegedly while “demonstrating” in support of the Syrian regime.

Now, this does not mean that the Syrian opposition lies outright to gain sympathy and foreign support – mostly because the “opposition” is not homogenous and comes in different shapes, sizes and flavors.

But Strafor clearly questions the intent of some of these groups based on very recent evidence of disinformation campaigns:

The Stratfor article focuses primarily on opposition efforts to create the impression in the past few weeks that there is a significant split within President Assad’s own clan and within his Alawite minority sect, members of which man the top jobs in the country’s armed forces and key government positions.

Among these high-profile gaffs are a December 10 report alleging that “Syrian Deputy Defense Minister and former chief of military intelligence Asef Shawkat had been killed by his aide and former General Security Directorate chief, Gen. Ali Mamlouk.”

Stratfor posits that the unfounded “image of two senior-ranking Sunni members of the regime drawing guns on each other” helps to create ” a compelling narrative” for groups that wish “to undermine the perception that al Assad’s inner circle is united in the effort to suppress the opposition and save the regime.”

In yet another example, a December 9 statement published in the Saudi-owned Asharq al Awsat by the previously-unknown “Alawite League of Coordinating Committees” which claims to represent the Alawite community in Syria, “rejected any attempt to hold the Alawite sect responsible for the ‘barbarism’ of the al Assad regime.” Stratfor says the planted story gives “the impression that the Alawite community is fracturing and that the al Assad regime is facing a serious loss of support within its own minority sect.”……….

Three videos that have been circulating

Syria Observatory of  Human Rights accused of false reporting by Nizar Nayouf. Its leader was long a major source for Western reporters on Syria.


Inside Syria: the rebel call for arms and ammunition
Exclusive: With Syrian rebels desperate for arms, Ghaith Abdul-Ahad finds smugglers doing a roaring trade selling guns and bullets

Hussam is a soldier in the Syrian army. His brother and two cousins are fighting for the rebels.

“I would defect tomorrow if you could protect my family,” Hussam said. “But if I defected they would arrest my father and my brothers and the whole family wuld have no income. The regime is still in control.

“I am as low as I can be, my morale is below zero. I don’t know what to do, my family and people are getting killed – yet still there are no defections in the army.

“When they say the Syrian army is an ideological army they are right. The political officers and the Ba’ath party and the Assad family control the army. Even if a general did defect, he wouldn’t defect with his tanks and soldiers, he would defect on his own. So arming of the revolution is a mistake, it will not be strong enough to stand against the army and resist properly.

“With my artillery unit I could sweep through Benish in one hour. When the officers and the regime tell the soldiers that the villagers are armed, they will come in scared and shoot at everything.

“But when soldiers know that they are facing unarmed civilians, they are human beings after all. How many bullets were fired when they toppled Mubarak? Zero. Now everyone is armed, fine. But what’s next?

“If you want officers to defect give them a no-fly zone, give them a safe haven, where they can take their families.”….

Hameed: He later joined the Free Syrian Army under the command of Colonel Reyadh Assad.

“We did nothing there [in Turkey], just sat in our tents and watched TV and sometimes gave press interviews. I told them I hadn’t defected to sit in a tent, I wanted to fight. They kept telling me to wait, that they had a plan, but nothing happened.”

After three months in Turkey Hameed ran away again; this time he arranged for the rebels to smuggle him back into Syria.

“There is no such thing as a Free Syria Army,” he said. “It’s a joke. The real revolutionaries are here in Syria in the mountains.”

On Zawiya mountain, I met another defected officer. He had taken leave from the army to see his family, and when he reached his village he joined the fighters in the mountains.

“The regime can’t reach my family,” he said. “That’s why I could run away.” Most soldiers couldn’t defect because they feared for their families if they did. “The army is under the strict control of the political officers, who ensure we live in cocoon where we can’t see what’s happening outside.” Soldiers were not allowed to watch the Arabic news channels, just the propaganda served up by state TV, he said. “The political officers tell us every day that we are fighting armed gangs paid by the Americans and the Saudis.

“If only they would impose a no fly zone,” he said, “then the whole army would split.”

“The Free Syrian Army: Syria’s Future Army of Liberation?”,
By Nicholas A. Heras in Siyese

Syria is in a state of civil war. Whether a de jure or a de facto civil war, an escalation of the civil conflict that has already cost the lives of over 4,000 Syrians is imminent. Thus far, the Syrian armed forces, and their appendage Alawite militia the Shabiha, have maintained a violent superiority over the protesters and rebellious population of Syria. Unfazed by this balance of violence, one opposition movement, the Free Syrian Army, is ready, willing, and able to take up arms to defeat the Al-Assad government.

The Free Syrian Army is composed of mainly Arab Sunni Muslim former soldiers from the Syrian army. Led by Col. Riad Al-Asaad, the Free Syrian Army claims to number between 10,000-20,000 members, and growing. Most of its rank-and-file defected from the Syrian army because of crises of conscience towards using lethal force against Syrian civilians protesting the Al-Assad government. It is organized into 22 “battalions” that operate throughout Syria, although recently the Free Syrian Army has been mobilizing with particular intensity in and around the front-line central-western cities of Homs and Hama, and in the northwestern region of Idlib….

The Free Syrian Army, acting upon the insistent advice of the Syrian National Council, has reduced its operations to defensive actions, in order to lessen the risk of an all-out civil war and put the burden of offensive actions and the bloodshed that would result from them on the Syrian military. This willing defensive tactical stance adopted by the Free Syrian Army indicates that it is ready to march to the same beat as the Syrian National Council,….

The rise of the Free Syrian Army,
By Chris Zambelis in Asia Times

Syrian Army Defectors Reportedly Kill 27 Soldiers.
By NADA BAKRI, December 15, 2011

BEIRUT, Lebanon — The armed insurgency against the government of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria has become more organized in recent weeks, with defectors launching attacks that have become bolder and in some cases more sophisticated, according to activists and residents inside the country and in exile.

The latest attack took place on Thursday at dawn, when military defectors killed at least 27 soldiers,…

One opposition leader in exile, whose assertions could not be immediately confirmed, said that weapons were also being smuggled to Syria from Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq, and that defectors were now better armed and financed.

The attacks in recent weeks have escalated around Dara’a, in the south, and in Hama, a tense city in central Syria where vast protests gathered earlier this year before security forces retook the city in August.

Discontent is greater in these areas, observers say, where a majority of the people are poor Sunni Muslims who have suffered under government neglect, a longstanding drought and a sense of disenfranchisement by a government dominated by Alawites, a heterodox Muslim sect to which Mr. Assad belongs.

This week alone, the observatory reported four deadly attacks against government troops in Hama and Dara’a Provinces, including an ambush on Wednesday that killed at least eight members of the security forces.

“Where else are we going to find government forces vulnerable?” said Ammar al-Wawi, a former soldier reached by phone in an area near the Syrian-Turkish border. “Confrontations will happen in hot spots and where there are protests, discontent and serious opposition to the regime.”

Mr. Wawi said he left the army in March, after the uprising started. He and some other fighters said their initial goal was to ambush and kill soldiers who were headed to crush protests. For months, the government has intermittently cracked down on restive cities, sending in tanks, killing civilians and making arrests, according to activists.

Though the Free Syrian Army — a group of mainly army defectors whose commanders are based in Turkey — claimed to have staged most of the recent attacks, some activists and American officials disagree over the degree of coordination. Many of the attacks themselves often seem haphazard.

Estimates of the numbers of defectors vary wildly. An Obama administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, estimated their total at 1,000 to 3,500. The official said that armed civilians had apparently joined some of the defectors.

Some activists have suggested that parts of Dara’a and Hama Provinces have become so hostile that security forces are finding it difficult to enter them.

A town near Dara’a called Hirak has witnessed daily antigovernment protests in recent weeks, and residents there say that it has become off limits for security forces.

An opposition activist who did not want to be identified said that about 800 fighters, mainly army defectors, were based there.

“The regime hasn’t attacked once in recent weeks,” said Anwar Fares, a human rights activist from Dara’a. “They have been attacked on the outskirts of the town several times, so they are now scared and stay away.”

Mr. Fares said an increasing number of Syrian civilians were joining the defectors, especially people who had lost family members in the government’s crackdown.

27 Dead After Syrian Government Forces, Defectors Clash

… Analyst Harling said, however, that growing ranks of defectors are now often inflicting casualties on government forces that “exceed the number of victims among protesters.” He added that the “dynamics on the ground appear to be shifting in favor of the insurgency.”

Harling insists that he sees “ominous trends” pointing to “regionalization of the Syrian conflict.” Despite those trends, though, he argues there is “no strong, tangible evidence that a regional proxy war has started yet.” Syrian forces, meanwhile, continue to target defectors whom they see as a growing threat.

Free Syria Army Will Retaliate if 21 Members are Executed

The Free Syrian Army, which has waged a rebellion against the government of President Bashar al-Assad since June, said it had received information that 21 of their number are to face a firing squad within the next 24 hours.

The rebels said they would retaliate against government forces and militiamen loyal to the regime in the city of Homs, an opposition stronghold, if the executions take place.

“I have a personal message for the army: If the army executes these men, there will be a very harsh retaliation against them here in Homs,” Abdul-Razaq Tlas, the commander of one of two rebel battalions in the city, told the Daily Telegraph.


Top story: U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay told the U.N. Security Council that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s crackdown against domestic protesters “constituted crimes against humanity,” and that Syria should be referred to the International Criminal Court. Pillay also revised the U.N. estimate for the death toll during the nine-month-old uprising, saying that more than 5,000 people had been killed, including 300 children. Another 14,000 people are believed to have been arrested, while 12,400 people had fled to other countries, she said.

Syrian workers hold general strike; voter turnout is low in local elections – From Foreign Policy

Syrian opposition activists said most of Syria’s capital of Damascus has been shutdown, and shops throughout the country were closed in the largest general strike since the protest movement began in March…. At the same time, the county is holding local elections for 17,588 seats in Syria’s 1,337 administrative units. Overall, voter turnout is expected to be very low as opposition activists have called for a boycott and many residents fear leaving their homes to go to the polls. The voting comes amid one of the fiercest clashes since the start of the uprisings between government forces and defectors loosely aligned into the Free Syria Army (FSA). Syria’s 12th Armored Brigade, based in Isra, a town 25 miles from Jordan in the south, stormed the town of Busra al-Harir, where the FSA was allegedly hiding and waging attacks. Inan escalation of international tensions, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe made a statement accusing Syrians of being behind the attack that wounded five UNIFIL peacekeepers in southern Lebanon last week, though he offered no evidence. Meanwhile, the Arab League will meet on Saturday to discuss Syria’s conditional acceptance of a peace plan involving international monitors.

Economic Impact of Strike Difficult to Assess – from Jihad Yazigi’s Syria Report

Business activity remained apparently normal in central parts of Damascus and Aleppo on Sunday, although other parts of the country appeared to be complying with calls for a general strike by the Syrian opposition.

The Struggle for Syria in 2011, Middle East Security Report 2, December 12, 2011
By Joseph Holliday
Executive Summary

This paper provides context for understanding the cycles of violence in Syria. The first section provides a brief historical overview of sectarianism in Syria in order to understand its role in the current conflict. The second section provides a framework for understanding the operations and strategy of the Assad regime. The paper then analyzes regime security operations in seven regions: Dera’a province; Damascus; Homs and Hama in central Syria; the coastal region; Idlib province; the Arab east; and the Kurdish northeast. The paper concludes with an examination of regional and international responses to the conflict…..

Syria Holds Local Polls as Violence Continues, By: Al Jazeera and Agencies | Al Jazeera

Syrian opposition officials in London reported that Deputy Minister of Defense of Syria Assef Shawkat, husband of Bushra Assad, was killed during an argument with his aide General Ali Mamlouk. Stratfor is reporting this, which seems like unreliable gossip or misinformation to me.

Blogger, Rami al-Jarrah, describes his escape from Syria, 12 Dec 2011

Rami al-Jarrah, who was blogging and tweeting from Syria under the pseudonym “Alexander Page,” just fled the country after his real identity became known to the intelligence services. Upon his arrival in Qatar he almost got sent back to Syria but thanks to a swift outpouring of support on Twitter, he was allowed in….

Syrian minister of petroleum claims smuggling and hording is main cause of scarcity.

العلاو: العامل النفسي للمواطنين وانخفاض السعر والتهريب من أسباب أزمة المازوت والغاز

Factional splits in Syrian opposition hinder drive to topple Assad New York Times
Posted: 10 Dec 2011 05:00 AM PST

The New York Times: Even as the government of President Bashar al-Assad intensifies its crackdown inside Syria, differences over tactics and strategy are generating serious divisions between political and armed opposition factions that are weakening the fight against him, senior activists say. Soldiers and activists close to the rebel Free Syrian Army, which is orchestrating […]

New Parties Announced

More and more opposition parties and groups are announcing themselves each week. For example, Murhaf Jouejati, a Washington DC based academic and member of the SNC, announced the formation of a new political party – The National Consensus Movement.  A new Islamic Front announced itself in Cairo a few days ago. The Kurdish parties are sitting on the sidelines. They don’t trust Turkey, which has been sponsoring opposition groups, and they don’t trust Arabs, who are suspicious that Kurdish demands for “national” recognition and autonomy are but a prelude to calls for independence. The minorities remain fearful of the possible tyranny of Islam. They insist that their liberties will be steamrolled by the growing strength of Islamic parties. Many see the Arab Spring to be a thinly disguised “revenge of the Sunnis.

إسلاميو سوريا يعلنون التيار الوطني السوري من القاهرة

السبت 14 من محرم1433هـ 10-12-2011م الساعة 08:18 م مكة المكرمة 05:18 م جرينتش

مفكرة الإسلام:‎ قرر إسلاميو سوريا تشكيل “التيار الوطني السوري” بهدف إيجاد صيغة سياسية لثورتهم تدافع عن مطالبهم بالتوازي مع العمل النضالي والثوري على الأراضي السورية، وذلك في خضم الشهر التاسع للثورة، وأكدوا أن النظام السوري فقد شرعيته ولا مجال للحوار معه ولا مناص عن رحيله.

وبحسب صحيفة “الأهرام” المصرية فإن التيار الاسلامي الوطني السوري – الذي تم تدشينه من نقابة الصحافيين ظهر اليوم – ينبثق من المقاصد الإسلامية الأصيلة التي أكدت المحتوى الأخلاقي والروحي للرسالات السماوية التي صبغت الثقافة الإنسانية وعبرت عن جوهر الثقافة السورية المتجددة.

وتشمل أهداف التيار تحرير الفرد والمجتمع من الاستبداد والفساد والسعي لتحقيق ذلك على أرض الواقع سياسيًا واجتماعيا وثقافيا، ودعم استقلال سوريا بالمحافظة على قيم الجمهورية والنظام الديمقراطي التعددي التداولي وإقامة دولة المؤسسات والمواطنة وسيادة القانون.

ومن أهداف التيار كذلك تعزيز الحريات المدنية والسياسية والاقتصادية والدينية لجميع السوريين والعمل لبناء وطن يحتضن الجميع ويوفر العيش الكريم الحر لكافة أبنائه، وتعزيز دور الشباب في المجتمع السوري لما يمتلكون من قدرات مبدعة ولما اثبتوه من دور رائد في الثورة السورية.

وقال الدكتور عماد الدين الرشيد، رئيس المكتب السياسي للتيار الوطني السوري: “التيار ليس محاكاة لتيار سابق أو موجود ولكنه تيار إسلامي بسيط هدفه حماية المواطنين وتوفير السلم لهم، والتيار يمثل ضمانه للسلم الأهلي”.

وأضاف الرشيد: “مضي 60 يومًا علي مبادرة الجامعة العربية ولكن مازال نظام الأسد يمارس “الافتراس” تجاه الشعب، ورؤية التيار تتعلق بالوضع السوري وخاصة الجيش الوطني الذي تحول إلى أداة قتل في يد النظام”.

وتابع أن الوطنيين من أبناء الجيش انشقوا عنه وشكلوا الجيش الحر، نافيًا أن يكون إسقاط النظام السوري بالضغط الأجنبى ولكنه من خلال الضغط الشعبى.

Jerusalem Post: ‘No substitute for US leadership on Syria’


WASHINGTON – Syria is too important a country for its crisis to be handled by any actor other than the United States, experts on Mideast geopolitics and national security said late last week at an annual policy conference in Washington. The US and …

Tony Badran – a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, the Washington think tank that organized the event – said neither the Arab League nor Turkey wield the necessary military or diplomatic clout to end a nearly nine-month government crackdown said to have killed at least 4,000 people.

“Syria is a pillar of the Iranian axis. Only the US can do this – it can’t be outsourced,” Badran said. “The US acting like a human-rights NGO just won’t cut it.”

Turkey, which shares a 900-km. border with Syria, has raised the possibility of creating a buffer zone along their the frontier, but has also shrunk from the prospect of large-scale military action.

Andrew Tabler, a Syria expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said military operations in the country would present difficulties not encountered in this year’s NATO intervention in Libya.

“Unlike Libya, Syria has a massive air defense system. The US could handle it, but not the Turks,” he said.

Current and former US officials from both sides of the aisle called for Washington to show greater leadership against Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Rep. Eliot Engel (D-New York) said America must honor its responsibility as the champion of freedom-seeking peoples worldwide.

“People care what the US says and look to it as a beacon of democracy. Shame on us if we shirk that duty,” said Engel, who in 2003 sponsored the Syria Accountability Act….

Bashar al-Assad Isn’t Going Anywhere (Voluntarily)

Max Fisher – Atlantic

Though some media critics were disappointed by Walters’ interview, it did lead Assad to reveal his intentions. His message to the world, delivered through one shrugging denial or smiling falsehood after another: I’m not going anywhere.

Friend Writes: Electric cuts in Aleppo now 6 hrs a day – three in morning and three in evening.

The weather in Aleppo is very cold. Since Mazzout is in short supply, many are trying to economize on use of heaters. They are buying electric ones for single rooms. Unused parts of the house are left without heat. So many people are doing the same that the electric grid cannot keep up with demand. Just now, Aleppo has been over three hours without electricity. My sister’s daughter is doing her school work under candle light. When i called they were so fed up staying home without light that they decided to park the car in the middle of the city and sit inside it to pass time till the electricity is back.

قال وزير الكهرباء عماد خميس:”لقد تجاوز الطلب على الطاقة الأولية لجميع حواملها لعام 2010 (24) مليون طن مكافئ نفط وتشير الدراسات إلى أن هذا الطلب سيتجاوز (70) مليون طن مكافئ نفط في عام 2030 وستكون الفجوة كبيرة بين هذه الكمية وكمية الإنتاج من المصادر الاحفورية والتقليدية المحلية والتي لن يتجاوز اجماليها (28) مليون طن مكافئ نفط في ضوء المعلومات والبيانات المتوفرة لدى وزارة النفط”.

 وأشار الوزير ان تعويض العجز بمصادر الطاقة بالاستيراد من الخارج سيكلف خزينة الدولة حوالي 1.7 تريليون ل.س بالقطع الأجنبي وسيكون تأمين هذا المبلغ من أهم وأصعب التحديات التي ستواجه أصحاب القرار وقد يستنزف أهم موارد سورية المالية، مما يبطئ معدلات الناتج القومي

Many argue that Syria is fine since it has low debt, but simply to upgrade the electric grid will cost the country $28 billion. This is more than 50% of GDP. Its like saying that the American economy needs $7 trillion to upgrade its electricity. Syria has low debt but that is largely because it has resisted making improvements to its antiquated infrastructure. Syria needs a massive modernization campaign.

Until the Tunisia conference Hytham Mannaa was against SNC. He’s with the NCC. Walid Bunni left the SNC. Those division seem to be on the mend.

Read Juan Cole’s Hizbullah Leader Condemns Syrian Opposition

Republicans Decry Obama Israel Policy in Bid for Jewish Vote

Gingrich called for the overthrow of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, saying the U.S. should push for regime change in Iran and Syria. He vowed to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a sensitive topic in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians. And, if elected, he promised to appoint John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, as secretary of state, prompting wild applause from the standing-room-only audience.

National Coordination Body for Democratic Change has produced a draft document of proposals for the creation of the Syrian General Congress. The NCB delegation is currently in Cairo working with the Arab League to unify the ranks of the Syrian opposition.

The draft proposals present a critical opportunity to put an end to the multiple and various voices of the democratic opposition, to build a core foundation for the struggle to overthrow the regime with all the supporting infrastructure, and a program for transition and the building of the pluralist democracy based on citizenship, law and respect for the rights of persons and groups, and to ensure the preservation of fundamental freedoms, social justice and territorial integrity within the homeland of Syria, which is part of the Arab world.

The National Coordination Body for Democratic Change refuses the call for external military intervention, and will not accept the participation of any person involved in economic or political crimes. Participants in this conference should agree to reject and resist any form of sectarianism or the mobilization of sectarian violence, militarism and exclusion. The conference is presented as the basis upon which to unite the efforts of the opposition forces and figures across a broad base upon the principles of consensus and democracy.

The National Coordination Body for Democratic Change proposes that the Preparatory Committee will include members of the SNC, NBC, Kurdish representatives, trades unions and public figures.


How Turkish perceive women and religion: a revealing survey of modern Turkey.

“The findings of a 2011 survey by a team of academics from Istanbul’s Bahçesehir University revealed hints about the related Turkish mental paradigm: 33 percent of Turks think women deserve to be beaten; 60 percent (both male and female) think women should obey men and surprise, surprise, 81 percent identify themselves as religiously devout. A separate study in 2010 had found that 25 percent of Turks think it would amount to sinning if women and men worked in the same office.”

In Syria, Expelling the Peacemakers
By STEPHANIE SALDAÑA, Op-Ed Contributor, Published: December 8, 2011, New York Times

SEVEN years ago, I stood in the chapel of a monastery in the Syrian desert and stared up at a wall of frescoes from the 13th century.

Nearby, a burly man in a gray habit was explaining the paintings to a family visiting from a neighboring village. “That’s Mariam, may peace be upon her,” he said, pointing up. He moved his hand toward the bearded portrait of a man. “And that’s Ibrahim al-Khalil, may peace be upon him.”

Though it may seem like a mundane story, it was anything but ordinary. The visitors, who had climbed a flight of some 350 stairs to arrive there, were Muslims. The man describing the frescoes to them was Father Paolo Dall’Oglio, an Italian Jesuit priest who was speaking to them in the local Arabic dialect.

The frescoes he was pointing to were Christian, but he was identifying the figures using their Arabic names from the Koran. It was a remarkable moment, and the message it contained was simple: Despite their differences, Muslims and Christians believe in the same God.

Last week, the Syrian government issued an order that after 30 years in the country, Father Dall’Oglio would be expelled.

Father Dall’Oglio founded the community of Deir Mar Musa in 1982, at the height of the Lebanese Civil War. He had hiked out into the desert in search of a ruined Byzantine monastery. After spending 10 days praying in the rubble, he was inspired to rebuild the monastery and to found a community of monks and nuns dedicated to prayer, silence and hospitality. The Syrian monastery, situated between Iraq, Lebanon, Israel and the West Bank, would symbolize peace. The community would welcome each Muslim visitor as a sacred guest, just as Abraham, in both the Bible and the Koran, had welcomed the angels of God. ….The devastating fate of the Christians in Iraq has already served as a warning. Father Dall’Oglio’s expulsion, if it is carried out as planned, will send a clear message to all of them — that the regime’s support of Christians is not unconditional. Those who dare mention the oppression of the Assad regime or who advocate for a dialogue to change the country will be deemed members of the opposition.

This puts local Christians in a bind. To seek change may put their community at risk. Yet to remain silent in the face of injustice will surely reduce Christianity to an identity, a sect, and not a living faith seeking to follow the message of the gospels. It will also strain a relationship between Muslims and Christians in Syria that has existed for over a thousand years. ….

Syria Added to Higher-Risk Shipping Zones By Marine Insurers

Raising the stakes: Russian military support for Syria, By James M. Dorsey

Russia is stepping up military support for Syria; reinforcing its opposition to international efforts to force President Bashar al-Assad to halt his eight-month-old crackdown on anti-government protesters. In so doing, Russia is turning the Syrian crisis into an international test of wills….

CFR.org: Assad’s Revelations, 2011-12-08

Jerusalem Post: Analysis: Word of caution on Assad’s fall, 2011-12-13

Defense Minister Ehud Barak was reported this week as predicting that the regime of Bashar Assad would fall within weeks. Certainly things are not going well for the Assad family dictatorship. The bloodletting continues as the Free Syrian Army and …

Pro-regime Aleppo Industrialist has Factory Burned Down an Aleppine writes:


المؤشرات تؤكد أنه بفعل فاعل ومخطط بعناية لهُ

حريق ثانٍ في معامل ( علبي تكس)..الخسائر مليار و 500 مليون ليرة..ولقمة مئات العمال, 13/12/2011 – syriasteps

 حلب- خاص– سيرياستيبس:

 شب صباح اليوم حريق ثانٍ في معمل ( علبي تكس) بعد أقل من أسبوع على الحريق الذي طال صالة النسيج ( البرادي).

ويبدو أن الحريق الجديد بفعل فاعل ومخطط له وبما يؤكد أيضاً أن الحريق الأول أيضاً مفتعل .   هذا وساد مدينة حلب جو من الاستنكار والحزن , إذ أن معامل ( علبي تكس) تشغّل آلاف الموظفين وتتمتع عائلة علبي بسمعة طيبة في المدينة, كما أن إنتاجها يغطي عشرات المصانع التي ستتضرر بشكل مباشر من جراء الحريق.


By Steven Beasley, Michael Eisenstadt, and Jeffrey White

Without external intercession, the violence in Syria is likely to escalate, with destabilizing consequences for its neighbors, particularly Lebanon and Iraq…..

Syria Added to Higher-Risk Shipping Zones By Marine Insurers, 2011-12-13

By Michelle Wiese Bockmann

Dec. 13 (Bloomberg) — Marine insurers added Syria to a list of countries deemed higher-risk for shipping, and removed Qatar, the Ivory Coast, and parts of Mindanao, the Philippines.

The Joint War Committee, which represents Lloyd’s of London underwriters and other insurers, listed Syria as a higher risk on a notice to members published Dec. 8. The declaration lets underwriters charge an additional premium based on the value of ships calling in the area.

(CNN) — Pressure is growing for world leaders to respond to Syria’s brutal crackdown on anti-regime protests.

Alawite political figure speaks out against sectarian violence

Amman: A Syrian Alawite centrist political figure said on Tuesday that four of his relatives were shot or kidnapped in sectarian violence threatening to undermine a nine-month pro-democracy uprising.

In a rare named testimony about sectarian killings that have racked the central city of Homs in the last few weeks, Mohammad Saleh told Reuters the four were targeted because they were Alawites, the same sect as President Bashar Al Assad.

“The violence by the regime has provoked counter violence. But a crime is a crime and it has to be condemned,” said Saleh, a former political prisoner, by phone from Homs, a city of one million, 140km north of Damascus.

“I went to jail for a civilised Syria, not to replicate the values of the regime,” said Saleh, who spent 12 years in jail for his opposition to Al Assad’s father, the late president Hafez Al Assad, from whom Bashar inherited power in 2000.

A FORMER senior diplomat yesterday became one of the most senior Syrian regime insiders to openly denounce the government of President Bashar al-Assad, calling on the international community to protect civilians.

Mohammad Bassam Imadi, previously Syria’s ambassador to Sweden, fled to Turkey with his family 10 days ago. He told The Times that many inside the Syrian government secretly wanted Mr Assad to fall.

“People even high up aren’t loyal to the government, but they can’t do anything,” he said. “They are scared for their lives and families. I have so many friends who have said this to me.”

He said their resentment had been driven by the regime’s failure to grant reforms in the early stages of the uprising.

Obama, Arab allies eye no-fly zone that could ‘paralyze’ Syrian military

US says Assad regime in Syria is doomed, urges opposition to prevent sectarian strife,
By MATTHEW LEE, 14 December 2011, Associated Press Newswires

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Obama administration is predicting the downfall of Syrian President Bashar Assad with a senior official likening his authoritarian regime to a “dead man walking” over its brutal crackdown on pro-reform demonstrators and increasing international isolation.

The State Department official, Frederic Hof, told Congress on Wednesday that Assad’s repression may allow him to hang on to power but only for a short time. And, he urged the Syrian opposition to prepare for the day when it takes control of the state in order to prevent chaos and sectarian conflict.

“Our view is that this regime is the equivalent of dead man walking,” said Hof, the State Department’s pointman on Syria, which he said was turning into “Pyongyang in the Levant,” a reference to the North Korean capital. He said it was difficult to determine how much time Assad has left in power but stressed “I do not see this regime surviving.”

The Syria Crisis: Assessing Foreign Intervention
December 15, 2011 | By Scott Stewart, Stratfor

The ongoing unrest, violence and security crackdowns in Syria have been the subject of major international attention since February. Our current assessment is that the government and opposition forces have reached a stalemate in which the government cannot quell the unrest and the opposition cannot bring down the regime without outside intervention…..

US interference in Syria could bring about another Iraq
By Charles Glass, The Evening Standard 15/12/11

The withdrawal of most United States forces from Iraq this week is anything but the end of American military involvement in the Middle East. The latest focus of Washington’s attention is Syria, where the United Nations says 5,000 people have been killed since the uprising erupted in March. Before American (and probably British) soldiers are asked to give their lives in another Arab country, they are entitled to ask important questions. Is Washington attempting to install a democratic government in Damascus? Or is it seizing the opportunity to bring down Iran’s main Arab ally in advance of an American or Israeli attack on Iran?

History has not been kind to Syria’s desire for change
The National 16/12/11, Charles Glass

A dog in Lebanon, an old joke goes, was so hungry, mangy and tired of civil war that he escaped to Syria. To the surprise of the other dogs, he returned a few months later. Seeing him better groomed and fatter than before, they asked whether the Syrians had been good to him. “Very good.” “Did they feed and wash you?” “Yes.” “Then why did you come back?” “I want to bark.” It is impossible not to sympathise with Syrians’ desire to be treated like adults. The Syrian regime is not alone, of course, among Middle East dictatorships in regarding their people as subjects rather than citizens. Under the portrait of the great dictator, little dictators grant some supplicants permits, demand bribes from others and abuse the rest. Syrians can identify with what Italians under Mussolini used to say: “The problem is no

t the big dictator. It is all the little dictators.” Little dictators, though, thrive under the big dictator. But all dictators are at risk from changed international circumstances, a spark (like a self-immolation in Tunisia) or the sudden realisation that the regime is vulnerable. People in Syria have reasons to demand change, as they have in the past. I hope, for their sake, that things turn out better this time.

Syrie : l’islam dans la révolution
Par Thomas Pierret

Syrian blogger Razan Ghazzawi’s release came after an international campaign

Comments (507)

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251. Ghufran said:

روت الناشطة السياسية غادة كمال عبد الخالق تفاصيل سحلها وتعرية أجزاء من جسدها على يد قوات من الجيش خلال أحداث مجلس الوزراء، مؤكدة أنها تعرضت لأبشع أنواع التعذيب. 

وقالت غادة ، العضوة في حركة 6 أبريل ، وهي خريجة كلية الصيدلة ، في تصريحات نشرتها جريدة “الأخبار” في عددها الصادر اليوم الاثنين “عند محاولتي الهرب  فوجئت بأربعة من جنود الجيش يقومون بضربي وأحدهم جذبني من شعري فوقعت علي الأرض بينما آخر جذبني من ملابسي الأمر الذي ظهرت عليه في جميع المواقع  وبعض الصحف وهو منظر غير أخلاقي بالمرة”.

تابعت قائلة  “قاموا بسحلي أمام الجميع ولم يلتفتوا إلي استغاثتي أو هتافات المتظاهرين وحدث هذا علي مرأي امام مجلس الشعب حتي تعريت من ملابسي واحتجزوني داخل المبني”.
وقالت إن هذا الكلام كان أمام أحد اللواءات وعدد من الضباط حيث قال أحدهم ”هي دي البنت اللي بتشتم عليكم” حتي شعرت إنني سأموت داخل المكان.
وأكملت: “بعد لحظات رأيت الدكتور زياد طبيب بأحد المستشفيات الميدانية واقتربت منه ورجوته ألا أن يتركني وحدي في هذا المكان وقلت له إن الضباط لا يريدون خروجي من هذا المكان وبعد ذلك أكد الدكتور زياد من أنه مسئول عن علاجي بالمستشفى الميداني ووافق اللواء علي خروجي مما أدي إلي غضب الضابط الملثم وقام بسبي بألفاظ خارجة وقال لي ”هتخرجي من هنا وهضربك بالنار” ثم أخذ هاتفي المحمول.

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December 21st, 2011, 10:36 pm


252. jad said:

He wasn’t accused in Darfour crimes, he was working as a negotiator between the Sudanese government and the rebels, the take against him is that he is a Qatari agent.

الخرطوم تنفي اتهام رئيس “المراقبين” إلى سوريا بجرائم ضد الإنسانية آخر تحديث:الخميس ,22/12/2011
القاهرة، دمشق – “الخليج”:

استبعد السفير السوداني في القاهرة كمال حسن علي، أن يكون الفريق أول “ركن” محمد أحمد الدابي رئيس بعثة المراقبين العرب إلى سورياً، موجوداً على أي قوائم، تتهمه بارتكاب جرائم ضد الإنسانية إبان عمله في دارفور .

وقال إن “الدابي كان ينسق مع القوات الإفريقية الأممية لحفظ السلام في دارفور “يوناميد” في السنوات الأخيرة، وإنه رجل دبلوماسي عمل سفيراً لبلاده في قطر، ولديه خبرات دبلوماسية وعسكرية واسعة واستطاع التعامل بحنكة مع قوات حفظ السلام في دارفور، ولديه كل الخبرات التي تؤهله لقيادة وفد الجامعة في سوريا .

وأضاف السفير السوداني أن بلاده لديها رأي آخر في المحكمة الجنائية الدولية، التي يرى أنها تتحرك بأجندة سياسية، وليس وفقاً لمعايير العدالة .

وكان عبد الكريم ريحاوي رئيس الرابطة السورية للدفاع عن حقوق الإنسان ومدير مركز “لاهاي” لملاحقة المجرمين ضد الإنسانية في سوريا، قال “إن رئيس البعثة العسكرية للمراقبين العرب، التي ستتوجه إلى دمشق اليوم للتحضير لتطبيق اتفاقية المراقبين، مطلوب للجنائية الدولية بتهم ارتكاب جرائم ضد الإنسانية إبان عمله في دارفور” .

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December 21st, 2011, 10:41 pm


253. ann said:

Sanctioning Syria: Who Is Rhe Real Loser? – December 22, 2011

Economic sanctions are arrogant open acts of war against other nations. Their goal is to devastate the lower and middle classes and to weaken the country. The regime of the imposing country believes that its economy is superior and is so influential that other countries are so dependent on it and could not survive without it.

Economic sanctions are deceitfully justified as punishing a ruthless political regime and protecting human rights of an oppressed people. Such people are the most devastated when their economy is hurt while the ruling regime may become more oppressive in its reaction in order to protect and to preserve itself. Case in point is the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children who died due to lack of medicine during the economic embargo after the Gulf War while the Iraqi regime had its own reserve of all kinds of medications stored for itself.

The sanctioning regime hopes that the sanctioned population would hurt so bad that, with some external encouragement and hope for economic relief; they would rise up and topple their own regime. The other scenario is that the military industry of the sanctioned regime becomes so weak and ineffective that the regime would not stand a chance in any military confrontation, similar to what happened in Iraq.

Such scenarios take place in a country that is faced with sanctions by the majority of the international community. On the other hand countries facing partial sanctions rise up to the challenge and become more self-sufficient and more independent. Cuba, with the longest economic embargo, North Korea and Iran are examples of such countries. Due to its large size and important natural resources, Iran had advanced its industry even to achieve nuclear technology.

Due to its leadership in resisting the Zionist expansionist plans in the Middle East, and for supporting the national resistance and liberation groups of Lebanese Hezbollah and Palestinian Hamas, and due to its alliance with Iran, Syria was subjected to many Western schemes of regime change. The whole Arab Spring movement has been primarily orchestrated and geared towards regime change in Syria, that is meant eventually to lead to a regime change in Iran; a frontier for Russia and China. Under the justification of protecting the lives of Syrian civilians rebelling against their government and protecting their humanitarian rights, Syria is subjected to economic sanctions imposed first by Western countries then by the Arab League.

Economic sanctions are not new to Syria, who was subjected to such sanctions since mid 1970’s imposed by the US. Since then Syria had risen to this challenge and had developed immunity against sanctions. What is new today is that the Arab League, with many of its member countries, joined by Turkey, had also imposed economic sanctions against Syria. The Arab League, with the leadership of Qatar, has been manipulated and used as a Trojan horse by an American/British/French triad to topple Syrian regime and to inflict the country with a civil war, similar to Libya, in the service of terrorist Israel and the expansionist Zionist plan in the Middle East.

Syrian economy is not dependent nor tied to any Western economy, thus these sanctions have no real effect on Syria. Syria is mainly an agricultural country and thus is mostly self-sufficient except in the technological sector which is filled mainly by Asian countries such as China, India, Russia and Iran. Also Syria has good economic trade with some Latin American countries.

Many neighboring Arab countries such as the Gulf States, Jordan, Iraq, and Lebanon import and are dependent on Syrian agricultural products. Lebanon and Iraq rejected the Arab League sanction and continue trade with Syria. The mostly desert Jordan shares borders with Syria and is heavily dependent on Syrian food products and water resources. Many Jordanian students study in Syrian universities. Jordan will hurt greatly by the sanctions. So the Jordanian king requested the Arab League to relief Jordan and to be treated as an exception in the sanctions.

Expecting the sanction Syria had withdrawn its money from the rest of the Arab central banks, especially the Jordanian Central Bank, causing a shortage and crises in these banks. Gulf States, especially Qatar and Saudi Arabia, have to compensate these shortages. Food prices in Syrian neighboring countries may double to cover the extra expenses of importing food from other resources. Tourism industry will also suffer greatly. Tourists, who used to travel to neighboring Syria, have now to pay extra for travelling to farther countries.

Some energy companies, who are invested in Syria and now withdrawing, will also suffer greatly for abiding with the sanction. French companies are the largest losers in these sanctions. French Total Oil Company, Lafarge Construction Company, and Airbus Company will lost millions of dollars worth of investment in Syria.

Royal Dutch Shell had also announced its withdrawal from Syria with a loss of 40% shares of oil production; a huge investment in the industry.

Canadian Suncor Energy, the second largest Canadian oil company, had announced cessation of its oil, gas and electricity production in Syria. Suncor had big investments that include 50-50 joint venture with the Syrian General Petroleum Corporation producing about 80 million cubic feet of natural gas per day, and roughly 1,000 barrels of oil per day. Suncor’s cessation will cost the company a lot of money and privileges.

Syria used to export about 150,000 oil barrel per day to European countries, whose revenue comprised roughly 30% of Syria total revenue. The withdrawal of these energy companies and the ban on oil imports from Syria are planned to have a great impact on Syria’s ability to produce and export oil and gas, and thus devastate the country’s economy. Fortunately this is far away from reality and the real loss was to these energy companies and to European consumers, who have now to pay more money to compensate for these losses and to cover the cost of importing oil from more expensive sources.

The withdrawal of these European energy companies had created a golden opportunity for other eager energy companies to fill this vacancy. State-owned companies of countries, who rejected the sanctions, including the China National Petroleum Corporation and India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, had made significant investments in Syrian energy industry offering Syria better deals than their European counterparts. Russia and Iran are expected soon to follow. Iran had already signed an all inclusive trade agreement with Syria last Tuesday December 13th.

Turkey’s role in the Syrian crisis draws a special attention. In the recent past Turkey has improved its trade dealing with Syria tremendously. Now-a-days Turkey had turned its face complete 180 degrees and started criticizing and even directly attacking the Syrian regime. It also seemed that Turkey, a non-Arab country, had occupied the Syrian seat in the Arab League. Turkey had played a great role with Qatar in persuading the Arab League to declare the sanctions against Syria. Turkey was the first to adopt the sanctions by freezing $110 million of Syrian money in its banks, by imposing high taxes on imported Syrian products, and by declaring a safe zone on its Syrian borders to protect what is called Free Syrian Army (FSA).

Turkey’s slap had returned to its face. Turkey has more than $250 million worth of investment in Syria that will be lost. Syria had countered with banning Turkish goods. Turkish sanction came as blessings in disguise to the Syria, whose industry, comprising 27% of its economy, had suffered by the past Turkish/Syrian trade agreement due to the cheap Turkish goods that were favored over the local Syrian goods. After the Turkish sanction the local Syrian industries got revived. Recep Tayyip Ordogan, the Turkish Prime Minister, is faced now with huge criticism from oppositional parties as well as his own accusing him of harboring FSA in Turkey.

The economic sanctions have important political awakening in the Arab nation in general and the Syrians in particular. The decisions of the Arab League in dealing with the Syrian crisis in particular and with the Arab Spring movement in general, particularly in Libya, Yemen, and Bahrain, had shown the League without any further doubt as a political tool manipulated by the West to oppress Arabs, keep their land divided, and to open their natural resources for theft. It had never served any of the Arab’s national causes. In the primary Arab cause; the Israeli occupation of Palestine, the League had given Israel 10 long years, so far, to respond to the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative while not giving Syria more than just one week to deal with its rebels before imposing sanctions. For rebuffing their Peace Initiative major Arab leaders had welcomed Israel to open embassies in the capitals rather than fighting Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.

While aggressively and hastily supporting the alleged popular Syrian revolution against the ruling regime the League refuse to accept support petition letters from leaders of genuine popular revolution against very oppressive regimes of Yemen and Bahrain.

When Syrian citizens rallied behind their leadership, the president of the supposed Syrian National Council, Burhan Ghalioun, hurried back to his Western handlers licking their hands begging for more support. He declared that once receiving Syrian leadership he would cut ties with Iran, end arms supplies to Lebanese Hezbollah and Palestinian Hamas, and would negotiate with Israel over Golan Heights.

Economic sanctions against Syria are blessings in disguise. Economically they challenged Syrians to become more independent and look for other avenues for trade. The sanctions rather than splitting Syrian from Iran have really pushed Syria deeper into Iran’s arms. They have also awakened Syrian national pride and loyalty to their country and leadership. The realities of many Arab leaders and the Arab League have been clearly exposed as Western puppets.

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December 21st, 2011, 10:43 pm


254. Ghufran said:

أصدر وزير المالية الدكتور محمد الجليلاتي, قراراً بالحجز الإحتياطي على الأموال المنقولة وغير المنقولة للمدير العام للمصرف التجاري السوري دريد درغام إضافة إلى مجموعة من الأسماء على خلفية نتائج التدقيق بالتسهيلات الممنوحة لدى فرع المصرف التجاري رقم 8 بحلب.
ويستند قرار تعديل الحجز الاحتياطي رقم 2305 و الذي يخص القرار رقم 3570و تاريخ 7/11/2010 إلى كتاب الهيئة المركزية للرقابة والتفتيش رقم 6/7429/7/4 م.أ.ف المعتبر بمثابة تقرير أولي الصادر بحق أحد الأشخاص وزوجتيه ورفاقه وذلك حول نتائج تدقيق التسهيلات الممنوحة لدى فرع المصرف التجاري السوري رقم 8 بحلب.
ويتضمن قرار التعديل الصادر في 5/12/2011 في مادته الأولى إلقاء الحجز الإحتياطي على الأموال المنقولة وغير المنقولة العائدة لعشرات المقترضين بمبالغ تتراوح بين تسعة ملايين إلى 250 مليون.
إضافة إلى دريد درغام «مدير عام المصرف التجاري» وزوجته بالتكافل والتضامن مع عشرات المقترضين ضماناً لمبلغ مليار ليرة و73 مليوناً و984 ألف ليرة سورية.

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December 21st, 2011, 10:47 pm


255. Norman said:

The AL observers are not independent, they are just an excuse to call for Foreign intervention, I hope that i am wrong.

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December 21st, 2011, 10:47 pm


256. Bill said:

For your own good, Get mental health. This is the last time ever reply to you. YOU ARE MENTALLY TROUBLED. PLEASE GET MENTAL HEALTH.

Mental treatment for Dale Andersen (whom I don’t believe is using his real name, unless he really, really, really needs URGENT mental care)! AND


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December 21st, 2011, 10:49 pm


257. Ghufran said:

Is this guy lying?

أكد عبد الكريم الريحاوى رئيس الرابطة السورية للدفاع عن حقوق الانسان ومدير مركز “لاهاى” لملاحقة المجرمين ضد الانسانية فى سوريا ان الفريق أول الركن “محمد أحمد الدابي” رئيس البعثة العسكرية للمراقبين العرب التى ستتوجة لدمشق غداً للتحضير لتطبيق اتفاقية المراقبين مطلوب للمحاكمة أمام المحكمة الجنائية الدولية بتهم ارتكاب “جرائم ضد الانسانية” إبان عمله في دارفور.
وأضاف الريحاوى في تصريح نشره “المكتب الإعلامي للثورة السورية”: من المنطقي وفقا لتاريخ “الدابى” وباعتباره متهما بارتكاب جرائم ضد الانسانية ومطلوباً للمثول امام العدالة الدولية إلا يكون محايداً وان يتعاطف مع من يماثلونه في موقفه القانوني!
لذلك لن يكون مستغرباً ان يؤيد أو يتعاطف مع النظام السورى واتباعه الذين يرتكبون جرائم ضد الانسانيةعلى مدار الساعة فى سوريا.
وشدد الريحاوى على رفض الرابطة والمركز لتسمية الدابي رئيساً للبعثة العسكرية للمراقبين العرب وطالب بتسمية بديل يملك سجلاً ناصعاً فى مجال احترام حقوق الانسان واشار انه فى حال عدم اسناد المهمة لشخص اَخر فانه سيلاحق الدابي قانونياً وسيسعى امام كافة الجهات الدولية
المفضلة إرسال إلى صديق

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December 21st, 2011, 10:53 pm


258. jad said:

I bet that Durgham will go on YouTube and ‘defect’ to become another clean ‘patriot’ of the revolution. It’s a trend lately.
Besides, the amount of money he stole can cover any cost he need to live as a ‘hero’ anywhere he wants in the gulf or the west.

Regarding Ri7awi, I wont call his statement a lie as yet since the Sudanese denial I linked state إستبعد which makes it a bit vague..but even if he is a war criminal nobody will mention anything at the moment since everybody want his to do the job, which is to claim that Syria didn’t comply..

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December 21st, 2011, 10:55 pm


259. ann said:

Russian Navy In Syria: Thorn In US Side – December 22, 2011


The US-based intelligence-gathering firm Stratfor says most of the claims by the Syrian opposition about the seriousness of the country’s crisis are untrue. The company insists protesters are exaggerating, to win support from powers like the US.

­Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, a former Reagan administration official, told RT he believes Washington is doing more than simply backing the rebels diplomatically.

“The United States is bold in stirring up the opposition and in arming it. They used the cover of the Arab Spring and Arab protests as they did in Libya,” he said. “These are not spontaneous protests, and certainly in an authoritarian state like Syria you wouldn’t find people in opposition able to readily supply themselves with arms, with military weapons.”

Besides, Roberts continued, it makes no sense for ordinary Syrians to create an opportunity for the country to be destroyed like Libya, Iraq, or Afghanistan.

“What’s involved here is that the Russians have a naval base in Syria, and the Americans don’t want a Russian naval presence in the Mediterranean. And, just as in Libya, the problem was the Chinese oil investments. If Syria goes, Iran is in the target sites, and Lebanon,” he concluded.

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December 21st, 2011, 11:03 pm


260. Norman said:

This is what this revolution brought Syria, Chaos,

a childhood friend of mine was shot in the head and the chest in Homs, he is in the intensive care unit, his brother is a cardiologist in the US, he elected to stay in Syria, that was his reward, it is sad ,


سواتر ترابية تفصل الأحياء المختلفة طائفياً بإيعاز من بعض زعماء الطوائف
مافيات تسيطر على حمص و’الاختطاف’ أبرز المهن

دمشق ـ ‘القدس العربي’ ـ من كامل صقر: حتى لو ذهب المرء إلى حمص ومكث فيها لأيام عدة، يصعب عليه تفهّم ما يجري هناك، في حمص تتضارب الأنباء وتختلف الروايات من أقصى اليمين إلى أقصى اليسار، يقول البعض ان علم ما يجري في حمص عند الله فقط، لا عند الدولة الرسمية ولا عند المناوئين للنظام هناك.
يؤكد الرواة استناداً لمشاهداتهم أن قوات الجيش ليست منتشرة في شوارع المناطق الملتهبة في حمص بل تتمركز فقط على مداخل تلك المناطق في حواجز عسكرية أقيمت لهذا الغرض، فيما يبقى العمق متروكاً لنزاعات وأعمال فوضى وانتقام واختطاف متبادل.
تقول مصادر محلية في مدينة حمص لـ’القدس العربي’ ان مافيات دينية واقتصادية وأخرى سلطوية (تعمل كطابورخامس) تتحكم في مصير المدينة الجريحة، السواتر الترابية تفصل بين الأحياء المختلفة طائفياً، بإيعاز وتشجيع من ‘بعض’ زعماء تلك الطوائف ومباركتهم، وتُضيف المصادر ذاتها أن جهات في داخل الدولة ضمن مستويات قيادية مهمة ترغب في الإبقاءعلى حالة الفوضى المطلقة للمدينة متحالفة مع أقطاب ‘بعض’ أقطاب المدينة الدينيين وأصحاب النفوذ والمال وتجار السلاح.
وتزيد المصادر أن الاختطاف في مراحل سابقة ‘ربما’ كان يجري تحت غاية طائفية، لكن الأشهر الأخيرة تؤكد ألا علاقة للجانب الطائفي بمعظم حالات الاختطاف التي تجري وأن الدافع مالي بحت تحركه عصابات امتهنت تلك المهنة.
اللافت في حديث تلك المصادر إشارتها إلى أنه ورغم حالات الخطف اليومية التي تجري على مدار الساعة، فإن المدينة لم تشهد حتى الآن اختطاف شخصية محسوبة على أحد من مسؤولي المدينة أو من كبار رجالاتها أو من أحد قياداتها الميدانيين أومن أحد زعاماتها، سواء كان هؤلاء مؤيدين للنظام أم مناهضين له، فيما تشهد المدينة حالات اختطاف متبادل بين الأحياء الحمصية لأشخاص هم من عامة الناس ويجري ابتزاز ذويهم للحصول على فدية، والكلام للمصادر المحلية في حمص.
وتتابع المصادر بالقول ان مهنة جديدة واستراتيجية تولّدت في الأشهر الأخيرة بحمص وهي مهنة الاختطاف وصار لها شيوخها وعرّابوها، ويتبع لهم مرتزقة من البلطجية وقطاع الطرق وخريجي السجون وأصحاب السوابق والمهربين، والفدية تتجاوز المليون ليرة سورية فما فوق وقد تصل قيمتها إلى خمسة ملايين (100 ألف دولار) إذا كانت عائلة الشخصية المخطوفة قادرة على تأمين هذا المبلغ.
وتؤكد تلك المصادر أن مهــــنة أخرى ملازمة لمهنة الاختطــــاف قد تشكلت مؤخراً أيضاً وهي ‘الوساطة’، إذ ثمة مجموعات جاهزة على مدار الساعة لأداء دور الوسيط والسمسرة بين الخاطفين وأهل الضحية المخطوفة.
السلاح منتشر ومتوفر في حمص أكثر من توفّر مادتي الغاز والمازوت، يقول حمصي استقرت به الحال مؤخراً في العاصمة دمشق تاركاً وعائلته حي النزهة الحمصي منذ عدة أيام، ويُضيف: مرت أيام في حمص كان فيها تأمين مسدس فردي أسهل من تأمين اسطوانة غاز للمنزل.

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December 21st, 2011, 11:08 pm


261. Darryl said:

Merry Christmas to all and Happy 2012. I am away for the next 3 weeks.

To my friend Khalid, I will check on you from time to time, to get a needed dose of amusement. Do not let your personal devil get the best of you and I hope your fate is not that of Charlie the salesman.

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December 21st, 2011, 11:08 pm


262. ann said:

259. Norman said:

“””This is what this revolution brought Syria, Chaos,

a childhood friend of mine was shot in the head and the chest in Homs, he is in the intensive care unit, his brother is a cardiologist in the US, he elected to stay in Syria, that was his reward, it is sad. “””

I’m sorry to hear about your friend Norman

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December 21st, 2011, 11:12 pm


263. Bill said:

261. ann

Although you and I have different views about the ongoing Syrian Revolt, I am really sorry for your friend and any Syrian loss of life (loyalist and opposition).


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December 21st, 2011, 11:17 pm


264. Norman said:


So it is true that your wife will not let you Blog when on vacation, and i thought i am the only one.

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December 21st, 2011, 11:18 pm


265. jad said:

I’m sorry to hear that, hopefully he will get better soon.
Syrians and Syria are the victims of this ugly chaos.

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December 21st, 2011, 11:23 pm


266. ann said:

262. Bill said:

“””261. ann
Although you and I have different views about the ongoing Syrian Revolt, I am really sorry for your friend and any Syrian loss of life (loyalist and opposition). “””

Bill, that was not my friend. It’s Norman’s friend. I was just conveying my sorry feelings about what happened to his childhood friend

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December 21st, 2011, 11:23 pm


267. Bill said:

265. ann

Thanks Ann. I am sorry for Norman’s friend and all innocent Syrian loss of life

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December 21st, 2011, 11:27 pm


268. jad said:

This report claims that they have information about some plans to assassinate some of the Arab observers to escalate the situation further.
The american ‘Filthy-man’ in a very sneaky way is threatening the Syrians that if they don’t get rid of Assad then the civil war will start.
It feels like the politics in Lebanon in the 70s-80s

مهمة المراقبين العرب تبدأ اليوم ، ومعلومات مؤكدة لـ”الحقيقة” عن استعدادات لاغتيال بعضهم

“الحقيقة” أبلغت إحدى السفارات العربية في أوربا بالمعلومات التي حصلت عليها ، وواشطن تعتقد أن رحيل الأسد هو الطريق الوحيد إلى حصول تغيير

دمشق ، القاهرة ـ الحقيقة (+ رويترز + أ ف ب) : تبدأ اليوم مهمة “المراقبين العرب” في مناخ تهيمن عليه جولة عنف تكاد لا تكون مسبوقة منذ بداية الانتفاضة، لاسيما المواجهات التي حصلت بين الجيش والأجهزة الأمنية من جهة ، والمسلحين الذين يتلطون خلف اسم “الجيش السوري الحر” الذي يقوده العميل رياض الأسعد. وجاء في آخر المعلومات على هذا الصعيد أن أكثر من مئتين وخمسين مسلحا قتلوا في إدلب وجبل الزاوية منذ ” عملية الإثنين” التي استبقت سيطرة المسلحين على إدلب وجسر الشغور وإعلانها ” منطقة محررة”، وفق اتفاق مسبق بين برهان غليون ورياض أسعد ، كما كشف ضابط يعمل مع هذا الأخير نشرنا تصريحاته يوم أمس. وكان سقط أكثر من عشرين بين قتيل للمسلحين وشهيد للجيش في محافظة درعا.

على هذه الخلفية ، وفي هذا المناخ ، تنطلق اليوم عملية تنفيذ بروتوكول المراقبين، عبر وصول الوفد التحضيري برئاسة المصري سمير سيف اليزل، فيما أكد رئيس بعثة المراقبة العربية الفريق السوداني محمد احمد مصطفى الدابي أن البعثة ستعمل بكل شفافية في مراقبة الوضع على الأرض.
وقال الدابي، في تصريح لمركز السودان الصحافي، إن «السقف الزمني لتوجه البعثة إلى دمشق سيتم تحديده عقب اجتماعه بأمين عام جامعة الدول العربية نبيل العربي غدا (اليوم) في القاهرة»، موضحا انه سيبحث مع العربي الترتيبات الإدارية والفنية الخاصة بعمل البعثة.
وأضاف أن «بعثة المراقبة العربية ستعمل بكل شفافية في مراقبة الوضع بسوريا عقب لقاءات ميدانية متواصلة مع كافة أطراف القضية السورية من قوات مسلحة ومعارضة وأجهزة أمن ومنظمات إنسانية، وذلك خدمة للأهداف الكلية لعمل البعثة لما يخدم المصلحة العامة».
وناشد العربي، في بيان، «الحكومة السورية تحمل مسؤولياتها إزاء توفير الحماية للمدنيين السوريين تنفيذا لتعهداتها بموجب خطة العمل العربية، وفي مقدمتها الوقف الفوري لجميع أعمال العنف وإطلاق سراح المعتقلين، وسحب جميع المظاهر العسكرية من المدن والأحياء السكنية السورية التي تشهد تظاهرات وحركات احتجاج سلمية».
وعبر العربي «عن قلقه الشديد من تواتر الأنباء حول تصاعد أعمال العنف في العديد من المدن السورية، وخاصة في أنحاء مختلفة من محافظات ادلب وحمص ودرعا ودير الزور». وشدد على «ضرورة التحرك السريع من أجل توفير الأجواء الملائمة لمباشرة بعثة مراقبي الجامعة لمهامها في سوريا».
ومن المنتظر أن يصل وفد المقدمة لهذه البعثة إلى دمشق اليوم برئاسة سيف اليزل وعضوية السفير وجيه حنفي وعدد من كبار موظفي الأمانة العامة لجامعة الدول العربية للتباحث مع المسؤولين السوريين خطوات تنفيذ البروتوكول والترتيبات المتعلقة بنشر المراقبين العرب .
والتقى العربي مع وفد من المعارضة السورية برئاسة الإسلامي ـ الأصولي تيسير بيريص، عضو جماعة الأخوان المسلمين وزعيم ” الشبيحة” الذين اعتدوا بالضرب على أعضاء ” هيئة التنسيق الوطني” الشهر الماضي أمام الجامعة العربية، لاطلاعهم على تفاصيل بروتوكول المراقبين ومهام بعثة الجامعة العربية.
وحول ما إذا كانت السلطات السورية هي التي ستنظم تحركات الوفود العربية، قال بيريص إن «الأمين العام أبلغنا أن القرار بالذهاب إلى الأماكن وتحديد مواعيدها سيكون عن طريق الوفد وليس من قبل سوريا، وأن الإبلاغ عن المكان الذي سيتم التوجه إليه سيكون قبل تحرك الوفد بساعة فقط، كما أن الوفد سينسق مع المعارضة السورية لتحديد الأماكن ومراقبة التظاهرات”.
وقال نائب الأمين العام أحمد بن حلي، في تصريح لراديو «سوا» الأميركي، إن الفريق الأول من المراقبين العرب سيصل اليوم لمباشرة عمله في دمشق. وأضاف «نرى أنه لا بد من الإسراع بكل قوة حتى تكون هذه الفرق في عين المكان وتبدأ فورا القيام بمهامها على الأرض”.

معلومات لـ”الحقيقة” عن استعدادات لاغتيال مراقبين

على صعيد متصل، حصلت”الحقيقة” على معلومات دقيقة ومن مصادر موثوق بها في أوساط السوريين اللاجئين إلى تركيا (..) تفيد بأن هناك “استعدادات جدية في ثلاث محافظات سورية على الأقل لاغتيال عدد من المراقبين العرب ، بمن فيهم رئيس البعثة “. وقالت هذه المصادر” هناك قرار اتخذ في جهة ما(..) لاغتيال بعض هؤلاء المراقبين ، وهناك تركيز على رئيس البعثة شخصيا ومساعديه ، بهدف إفشال بعثة المراقبين وإحالة القضية إلى مجلس الأمن الدولي” . وقد اتصلت”الحقيقة” بالسفارة العربية المعنية في إحدى الدول العربية ووضعت بين يديها المعلومات التي حصلنا عليها ، حيث طلبت منا السفارة ” عدم نشر أية معلومات تفصيلية بهذا الخصوص في المرحلة الراهنة وريثما تقوم السفارة بإجراء اتصالاتها اللازمة”. كما عملت “الحقيقة” على وضع هذه المعلومات المفصلة في تقرير خاص بـ”سيرفر ” الموقع بتاريخ يوم أمس الأربعاء، لكن لن يكون متاحا الوصول إليه من قبل القراء إلا في الوقت المناسب ، حيث سيصار إلى وضعه ” أون لاين”.

واشنطن : الطريقة الوحيدة للتغيير في سوريا .. رحيل الأسد

بالتوازي مع ذلك ، ومع جولة العنف يوم أمس ، أصدر البيت الأبيض بيانان قال فيه إن الولايات المتحدة ” لا تزال على اقتناعها بأن الطريقة الوحيدة لتحقيق التغيير الذي يستحقه الشعب السوري هي ان يتنحى بشار الاسد عن السلطة”. وقال البيان: “كلمات نظام الاسد لا تتمتع بالصدقية عندما تتبعها الاعمال الوحشية والمؤسفة فقط بعد يومين من قرار نظام الاسد توقيع مبادرة الجامعة العربية، بدأوا بالانتهاكات الفاضحة لالتزامهم إنهاء العنف وسحب قواتهم من المناطق السكنية” . وأضاف “ان الولايات المتحدة تشعر بالاستياء العميق “من التقارير التي تتمتع بالصدقية والتي تقول ان نظام الاسد يواصل القتل العشوائي لعشرات المدنيين والمنشقين عن الجيش، الى تدمير المنازل والمحال التجارية واعتقال المتظاهرين خارج سياق الاجراءات القضائية”.
ومع ان البيان أشار الى ان القوات الحكومية “تعرضت لخسائر، إلا ان الاكثرية الساحقة من أعمال العنف والخسائر في الارواح ناتجة من أعمال نظام الاسد، ونحن ندعو جميع الاطراف الى انهاء العنف”. علما بأن هذا الكلام ليس صحيحا. فالأغلبية الساحقة ممن سقطوا خلال اليوميين الماضيين هي من المسلحين والجيش والأجهزة الأمنية.
ولاحظ البيان ان “نظام الاسد، المرة تلو المرة، يظهر انه لا يستحق ان يحكم سوريا، ولقد حان الوقت لانهاء العذاب والقتل. حان الوقت للتنفيذ الكامل والفوري لجميع بنود اتفاق الجامعة العربية، بما في ذلك الانسحاب الكامل لقوى الامن، والافراج عن السجناء السياسيين، واعطاء الحرية الكاملة للمراقبين ووسائل الاعلام العالمية للتحرك في أنحاء سوريا. لقد حان الوقت للشعب السوري ان يتمتع بالحقوق الدولية المشروعة التي يستحقها”.
وأكد ان نظام الاسد “يواجه عزلة متنامية وعقوبات بدأت تخنق موارده، ونحن نحض البقية الصغيرة من مؤيدي سوريا في المجتمع الدولي على تحذير دمشق من انه اذا لم تطبق مبادرة الجامعة العربية كاملة، فان المجتمع الدولي سوف يتخذ خطوات اضافية للضغط على نظام الاسد لوقف قمعه”. وخلص الى انه “يجب ألا يكون هناك أي شك لدى بشار الاسد في ان العالم يراقب، وانه لا المجتمع الدولي ولا الشعب السوري يقبل بشرعيته”.
وفي مؤشر لافت، قال مساعد وزيرة الخارجية لشؤون الشرق الاوسط السفير جيفري فيلتمان في مقابلة مع قناة “العربية” الفضائية ان الحكومة الاميركية تعتبر “المجلس الوطني السوري” المعارض ممثلاً مهماً وشرعياً للشعب السوري” مع انه اشار ايضا الى وجود أطراف سوريين معارضين آخرين خارج اطار المجلس. وأشاد بالتقدم السريع الذي أحرزه المجلس منذ تأسيسه في تشرين الاول الماضي حتى مؤتمره الاخير في تونس. واضاف ان “المجلس الوطني السوري” طرح رؤية لسوريا تكون فيها مختلف فئات الشعب متساوية لا ان تكون سوريا كما هي الان خاضعة لسيطرة “عائلة مافيوية”. ورأى ان الذين يقولون انهم قلقون من احتمال انزلاق سوريا الى الحرب الاهلية عليهم حض الاسد على وقف العنف والتنحي عن السلطة. وشكك في جدوى الحوار حين تساءل كيف يمكن ان يتحاور احد مع “النظام في وقت يصعّد ما وصفته دول مجلس التعاون الخليجي بأعمال آلة القتل” ضد المتظاهرين.

طبعا كان لا بد لفيلتمان أن ينهي حديثه بهذه المسخرة المقرفة، فهو لم يجد سوى دول “مجلس التعاون الخليجي” ليستشهد بها! وبعد ذلك يريد غليون ورهطه أن يقنعوا الناس بأن واشنطن تسعى لخير الشعب السوري وأن مصلحتها الوحيدة في موقفها من النظام السورية هي حبها للشعب السوري وحرصها على حريته وحصوله على الديمقراطية!؟

هذا وكان الآلاف من السوريين أزاحوا الستار ظهر اليوم عن نصب تذكاري ضخم في ساحة الأمويين يمثل جندي سوري. وقال المبادرون إلى هذا العمل إنه ” تكريم للجيش السوري وتضحياته ، لاسيما في هذه الفترة العصيبة التي تمر بها سوريا”.

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December 21st, 2011, 11:34 pm


269. jad said:

This uprising should get into Guinness book of wonders for the unlimited fake and false stories and clips they produce…man..the lies they produce are endless.

مدرس في ثانوية”الجزيرة الشرقية” بدير الزور يعمل مدرسا خلال الدوام المدرسي وقائدا لـ”كتيبة القعقاع” في “الجيش الحر”.. خارج أوقات الدوام!؟

دير الزور ، الحقيقة (خاص): منذ بضعة أيام ومواقع الإنترنت ، ومعها التنسيقيات ، تحتفي بالمدرس السوري أحمد العلي الذي يعمل في ” ثانوية الجزيرة الشرقية” بمنطقة “القورية” التابعة لمحافظة دير الزور شرقي سوريا. لم يتركوا وصفا إلا وأسبغوه عليه حتى أصبح ” رمزا من رموز الثورة”! بل إن صيته وصل إلى السعودية ، حيث قامت صحيفة ” الشرق” اليومية الصادرة في مملكة الوهابية الليكودية بوضع صورة مكبرة له في صدر الصفحة الأولى من عددها الصادر بتاريخ 16 من الشهر الجاري تحت عنوان ” معلم سوري وتلاميذه : حرية للأمام غصبا عنك يا بشار”! وكم كان هذا العنوان رائعا وجميلا لولا أنه يصدر عن صحافة دولة لا يزال حلم نصف شعبها على الأقل ينحصر في أن يركب الناقة ، وليس السيارة، دون فتوى شرعية ؛ ولو أن هذا المدرس “مدرس” وحسب ، ولا يعمل خارج دوامه المدرسي ” قائدا لكتيبة القعقاع” فيما يسمى “الجيش السوري الحر”!؟

نعم ، إن أحمد العلي هو كذلك. وقد وقعنا على حقيقته بفضل أحد قراء الموقع الذي أرسل لنا مجموعة من أشرطة الفيديو التي تظهر هذا المدرس في ” جميع حالاته الوظيفية .. المدنية ـ التربوية والعسكرية”!

الصور الحية أبلغ من أي تعليق . ومع ذلك لا بد من التذكير بحفلة النكران والكذب الرخيص التي نعيشها منذ بداية الانتفاضة لجهة ما يتعلق بالسلاح والمسلحين. فقبل حوالي خمسة أشهر من اليوم نشرنا شريطا لاجتماع “سري” عقده رجال قبائل في إحدى ضواحي دير الزور وأعلنوا خلال “الثورة المسلحة”! نذكر أن عشرات من الرسائل البريدية وصلتنا مليئة بالشتائم المشفوعة بالتأكيد على “السلمية” وأنه لا أحد يحمل السلاح في سوريا سوى السلطة وشبيحتها! هذا رغم أن المئات من عناصر الجيش وحفظ النظام كانوا قد اغتيلوا ومثل بجثثهم قبل ذللك بكثير ، سواء في جسر الشغور أو بانياس أو في حماة ، قبل أن تلقى جثثهم من فوق الجسور بطريقة همجية لم يقدم عليها سوى صاحب هذه المدرسة الإجرامية ،” أبو مصعب الزرقاوي”، حين كان يعلق جثث الجنود الأميركيين في شوارع العراق ويقطعها بالبلطة أو يشعل من تحتها النار!؟

أهمية الأشرطة التي بين أيدينا اليوم تقع في سياق آخر يتعلق بما يسمى “الجيش السوري الحر” … الكذبة الأكبر في مسار الانتفاضة منذ بدايتها وحتى الآن.فرغم أننا ، ومنذ تأسيسه، أكدنا مرارا وتكرارا على أنه مجرد” واجهة لمدنيين مسلحين ولأصوليين من داخل سوريا وخارجها” ، وأن آلاف المسلحين اليوم الذين ينشطون تحت هذا الاسم لا علاقة لهم بالجيش ، ولم ينشقوا عنه ، ما يزال الكثيرون يرفضون تصديق هذه الحقيقة.

ثمة أهمية أخرى أيضا لما تظهره هذه الأشرطة ، وهي اللباس العسكري وجعب الصدر الجديدة وملحاقتها، والتي تبدو كما لو أنها خرجت من بين يدي خياط للتو!؟ من أين لمدنيين هذه اللوازم!؟ هذا يعيد إلى الأذهان فصة السطو على أحد مصانع مؤسسة معامل الدفاع في حماة ، متخصص بإنتاج الملابس العسكرية وتوابعها. ففي ذلك اليوم ، الذي يعود إلى أواخر أيار / مايو الماضي، سطا ” ثوار” على المعمل وسرقوا أكثر من 800 بدلة عسكرية ” مموهة” ومعها ملحقاتها من ” جعب الصدر” وحمالات القنابل اليدوية .. إلخ . ولعلها هي التي نشاهدها اليوم في أشرطة فيديو لـ”جنود وضباط منشقين” ، ولو أن أحدهم ضابط في كلية الإشارة ، كما يقدم نفسه ، لا يعرف أين تقع الكلية! فهو يقول عن نفسه ” ضابط في كلية الإشارة بالشام” رغم أن كلية الإشارة في منطقة “الوعر” بحمص ، وسورها مشترك مع سور الكلية الحربية!!؟

قضية المدرس أحمد العلي تشكل برهانا ساطعا على حقيقة الأمر ، ولستم بحاجة إلا لأن تشاهدوا هذه الأشرطة . فهي لا تظهر حقيقته فقط ، بل حقيقة أن جميع المسلحين في دير الزور ، أو على الأقل من يظهر منهم في هذه الأشرطة ، كي لا نقول في بقية المحافظات الأخرى، هم مدنيون يتقمصون اسم ” الجيش السوري الحر” ، لا لشيء إلا لخداع الناس والعالم بأن ما يحصل من مجازر ” ناجم عن مواجهات بين الجيش والمنشقين” ، كما يحلو للنصاب الدولي رامي عبد الرحمن “ومرصده” المأجور أن يرددا باستمرار!

ترى ماذا لو حوصر هذا المدرس ذات مرة من قبل الأجهزة الأمنية فلجأ إلى حرم المدرسة واتخذ من الأطفال والفتية دروعا بشرية!؟ أو ماذا لو استخدم حرم المدرسة مخبأ للسلاح أو متراسا أو معسكرا وأدى اشتباك بينه وبين السلطة إلى مصرع طالب أو أكثر لا سمح الله!؟ ألن يخرج إعلام العالم كله ليقول إن “الجيش السوري ارتكب مجزرة في ثانوية الجزيرة الشرقية بحق التلاميذ”!؟ نحن كنا ولا زلنا وسنبقى ضد عقوبة الإعدام ، لكن هذا الصنف من السفلة لا يستحق أقل من تدق عنقه في رابعة النهار ليكون عبرة لمن يعتبر. فمستقبل التلاميذ أهم وأعظم من أن يقوم على “رعايته” سفلة من هذا الطراز!

ـ اضغط هنــأ لمشاهدة المدرس أحمد العلي في مدرسته وبين طلابه
ـ واضغط هنا لمشاهدته وهو ” يقود كتيبة القعقاع”!

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December 21st, 2011, 11:57 pm


270. Dale Andersen said:

Memo To: ANN

RE: Paul Craig Roberts

Typical of the garbage you post on here, girl. Paul Craig Roberts is one of those nutcases who’s convinced the Jews and/or the CIA orchestrated the World Trade Center attack. He’s a voice crying in the wilderness. For good reason.
He’s the type who finds plots and conspiracies where there are none. Perfect for your agenda, Ann…

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December 22nd, 2011, 12:04 am


271. jad said:

Bill, Ann,
This may be of an interest to you:

Columbia U book on Iraq war suggests Wolfie, Feith, Wurmser and Perle had ‘Israeli interests, not just U.S. interests at heart’
Written by Philip Weiss

Mondoweiss – An important new book on the Iraq war published by Columbia University Press, written by a former longtime CIA official, contains a dual loyalty charge against the neoconservatives, saying that some of them had Israeli interests and not just American interests “at heart” in pushing the war. The charge concludes a section that names Douglas Feith, Richard Perle, David Wurmser and Paul Wolfowitz as former Bush officials who cared about Israel.

Author Paul Pillar has a stellar Establishment reputation. He held several senior positions at the CIA and National Intelligence Council, serving during the Iraq war. Now a professor at the Edmund Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown, he has published a sharp critique of the war effort, titled Intelligence and US Foreign Policy: Iraq, 9/11, and Misguided Reform.


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December 22nd, 2011, 12:14 am


272. jad said:

You linked Geneva meeting text between SNC and Clinton from Assafir newspaper but you didn’t tell us your opinion of it?

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December 22nd, 2011, 12:36 am


273. Uzair8 said:

Interview with Prof. Landis on BBC World Service. Came across it after 3 AM UK time. Listen from 2 minutes (0:02:00):


I’ve attempted a transcript. Please correct an forgive any errors. I’ve double checked it:


Q:‘…what’s the likely outcome of this political conflict?’

JL: It’s likely that the regime will be in power a year from now. The Opposition is not organised. It’s gotten much more organised but for 40 years there’s been no politics in Syria so it’s hard tosee how it can become unified in a short period of time. It doesn’t have a military wing. It hasn’t liberated any part of the territory. We’re not anywhere near a Libya type situation yet. There haven’t been major defections at the top of the Syrian regime. The Syrian military remains fairly strong. There have been a lot of defections at the lower levels but the core, the Alawite, Baathist core, the Officer core has remained solid and is still in charge of tanks and heavy weaponry. How the Syrian Opposition is going to face this is unclear and the external powers europe and the United States don’t seem to be ready to intervene.

Q: So when we have the Obama administration saying yet again that Bashar al-Assad’s rule is past it’s sell by date they’re simply what, huffing and puffing and failing to blow the house down?

JL: That seems to be the situation right now. Everybody is trying to raise the rhetorical bar. The Arab League. We see this in the United Nations but of course the Security Council has not been able to to come to condemnation because Russia and China and even the BRIC countries are against it so we’ve reached the limits here.

We’ve got very severe economic sanctions on Syria. The economy is really spinning downwards. It’s shrunk by, in dollar terms, the syrian economy GDP has shrunk by 30% since the beginning of this uprising. The situation has gotten quite dire for many Syrians. There’s no heating oil. Cooking gas is hard to find. Electricity shortages all the time. Energy is really running out and the state institutions are not being able to provide. They cut salaries and lay off extra people. So the Syrians are going to go through a very difficult winter. It’s gonna be a cold and long winter.

Q: Does that undermine any support that Bashar al-Assad’s regime enjoyed at the beginning of this year within the country because we were told in previous months back in the beginning of the summer, say that there was a large number of people in Damascus and Aleppo especially who’d rather go with the status quo than see it upset. Have they had grounds to change their minds now with this deprivation?

JL:Why I think people are changing their minds but what can they really do? People are dissatisfied. It used to be that the upper classes and even the middle classes had , in a sense, an implicit deal with the Assad regime. They would get a piece of the pie. They would get stability and they sacrificed liberty and freedom. But they didn’t have Iraq and instability. Today there is no more piece of pie to go around and there is no more stability. The regime can offer very little and it looks like it will never regain its footing again so people are frightened. They dont know what the future is going to bring.

What is a middle class or a businessman supposed to do in this situation? They are caught in a terrible mind because a number of important businessmen in Aleppo have been assassinated and some have had their factories burned down. The opposition is trying to tell them ‘do not continue to co-operate with the regime’ but the regime at the same time has warned businessmen ‘you step over the line and we’ll put you into jail and close your businesses down’. So they’re paralyzed. They’re very anxious and can’t get their money out of the country. And so the whole country is sitting there in a sense shuddering between this growing opposition which is becoming more militarized and the syrian army which is still very lethal.

Q: You mentioned a moment ago the AL amongst what appeared to be a list of diplomatic initiatives going nowhere. Do you include in that pessimistic overview this observer mission. Will that come to anything?

JL: Well it’s hard to see. We’re in the middle of a revolution. What are a bunch of observers going to do? They may even make it worse in a sense that where ever they go they’re going to be a flashpoint for controversy because pro-Bashar people are going to demonstrate to try to show Syria is with him and the Opposition who’s going to be galvanized to demonstrate aswell in order to broadcast to the outside world ‘they need help’. So it’s not clear this is going to calm the situation. It may in fact only rile it up.

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December 22nd, 2011, 3:00 am



of Naivety and حقير شحاطة



What we hear on SC by some commenters ,need to verify, many of them turned out to be pure lies, naive people quickly believe them most of us know they are lies.


I guess we have here on SC sharif Shahadeh,,,,taleb Ibrahim and butheinah Shaaban, along with Dunia channel feeding their lies to SC

Partially correct. The stories are believed by naive people, but they are made by expert liars and propagated through cut and paste by disgusting army of few mostly volunteer anti-historical reactionaries imbeciles.

One minute, the Syrian army conducts maneuvers showing that betho’s henchmen are capable of defending the every centimeter of his kingdom of horror, the other minute, American planes, unopposed, drops supplies for the FSA. Then, victims of a massacre were purely FSA forces misled by Burhan Gahlyoun who told them to declare their own state, but wait a second, the FSA does not exist, it is a fake force as we are now told that one of its major battalions is a fake force,created for propaganda, and that its is led it is a fake organization led by a school teacher from a village near Diar-El-Zor.

Looks like the genius SCRATCHY is doing exactly what he is accusing KSA of doing, jumping from one خازوق to another.

There has been no split in the army
Betho was elected in a pluralistic election
The regime is secular, everyone else is sectarian
Syria is the most democratic country on….
The Syrian press never lies
Bassam alqadi is a human being
and SCRATCHY is ……

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December 22nd, 2011, 3:26 am


275. Mina said:

Well, don’t be so paranoid, it is your “certified opponent” Haytham Khouri who mentioned that the uprising was planned since last autumn and even provided a link to the Homsi involved! And of course, it sure have nothing to do with the Hariri tribunal!!

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December 22nd, 2011, 3:44 am


276. Juergen said:

here is an mp3 of an new interview with Joshua Landis.

Arab League Intervenes as Syrian Uprising on Verge of Civil War


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December 22nd, 2011, 4:06 am


277. Mina said:

I have a “humanitarian” idea for the defectors: just send them to Guantanamo as “unlawful combatants”.

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December 22nd, 2011, 4:13 am


278. Mina said:

I don’t see a “regime”. I see the Baath vs the local governors and their militias who have their own interest vs Maher and the military guys and their mafias who have their own interest vs the exiled Islamists vs the progressive city-dwellers vs the mukhabaraat who don’t want to be ever judged.
The only way out is the one they are working out, I mean Bashar + Mu’allim + the Russians and a bunch of friendly states (even among those who voted the AL sanctions).
Observers if only AL will be freaked and useless, maybe UN peace corps and “truth and reconciliation committees”. It will take a while and I doubt you can plan elections during this period. I don’t know what is the solution against local mafias. Look at Italy, Mexico, Japan… Money rules. Sanctions target only the poor, everybody else can cross the border and go to Jordan or Turkey, catch a plane to whatever African remote country, enjoy exile in the Gulf, etc.

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December 22nd, 2011, 5:36 am


279. Mina said:

Seems hard to find a lawyer in Lybia these days


Libya must let Seif have lawyer, says rights group


TRIPOLI — Human Rights Watch on Wednesday called on the Libyan authorities to grant Seif al-Islam, son of slain leader Moamer Kadhafi, immediate access to a lawyer, noting he appeared to be held in good conditions.

“Libyan authorities appear to be holding Seif al-Islam Kadhafi in good physical conditions but should allow him immediate access to a lawyer,” the New York-based watchdog said in a statement.

The rights group said it had visited Seif al-Islam on December 18 in Zintan, 180 kilometres (112 miles) southwest of Tripoli, after obtaining permission from general prosecutor Abdelaziz al-Hasadi, who is investigating the case.

“Seif al-Islam says he is getting good food and medical care — he had no complaints about the physical conditions of his detention,” said HRW special adviser Fred Abrahams, who saw him in private for 30 minutes.

“His main concern was the lack of access to family and to a lawyer who can help his case,” he said, urging the government to grant him legal access, a right mandated by Libya’s penal code.

The prosecutor general is investigating alleged corruption-related crimes committed by Seif al-Islam before this year?s conflict began, as well as crimes committed during the 2011 conflict, the rights group said.

Hasadi was quoted as saying that he would allow Seif access to a lawyer as soon as the government prepared a secure detention facility in Tripoli, where there would be no risk of attack by those wishing to free or harm him.

“The world is watching how Libya handles this case, and Libya should prove that it will grant Kadhafi all the rights that were too often denied in the past,” Abrahams said.

Seif, who was arrested on November 19 — almost a month to the day after his father was captured and killed — is now in the custody of the Zintan military council, which has forbidden family visits citing security concerns.

“Kadhafi said he had no complaints about his physical treatment by his captors, both those who apprehended him outside of Obari in southern Libya on November 19 and those holding him in Zintan,” HRW said.

But he complained of his “total isolation” from the outside world, it added.

Seif was also quoted as saying that he had not been tortured and was receiving regular medical attention, including an operation on his right hand which was wounded in a NATO air strike near Bani Walid.

He also reportedly gave details on the fate of other family members.

“Kadhafi also confirmed that a NATO strike in late April had killed his brother Seif al-Arabi, as well as one guard… and two grandchildren of Moamer Kadhafi were also killed… in another strike,” the statement read.

The International Criminal Court issued a warrant in June for Seif al-Islam on charges of crimes against humanity, but after his capture the National Transitional Council said it wanted to try him on Libyan soil.

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December 22nd, 2011, 6:02 am


280. Observer said:

SC has degenerated lately into a reflection of the civil war that is Syria today.
I do not see one ounce of agreement between pro and anti regime commentators.
Meantime the Syrian people have moved beyond these petty tit for tat and even beyond the regime and the opposition.
Landis is in denial that the regime is finished, even if it survives for a year for it leaves it isolated, weakened, with a wrecked economy and a scarred population.
Some who advocate dialogue like JAD do not even concede that the army should be withdrawn especially after the suspension of the state of emergency whereby the legislative is reinforced at the expense of the executive.
This regime needs to be uprooted but that does not mean that all the institutions need to be destroyed.
The Security House of Cards created by the father is incompatible with life in Syria.
Get it in your head.

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December 22nd, 2011, 7:26 am



Moving ON
Meantime the Syrian people have moved beyond these petty tit for tat and even beyond the regime and the opposition.

As usual, you are correct.

Let us move one with the Syrian People. However, I still have one last tat.

257. GHUFRAN said:

Is this guy lying?

SCRATCHY the lie detector?

haha ha hahaha haha hahaaaa hhahhhaa hhaa hahahahahahahahahahahaha
ha ha ha
ha ha ha hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha
ha ha ha

happy now Mr. Ghufran, you just killed my cousin by making the ultimate joke. Friend, you should have stuck with fine poetry. My solace, he died laughing

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December 22nd, 2011, 7:37 am


282. SANDROLOEWE said:

Comrades crying for the death of JONG KIM-IL


It reminds me of something very familiar.

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December 22nd, 2011, 7:44 am


283. Bill said:

271. jad
الاخ جاد

That neo-cons like Wolfitz, Feith, Wurmser, Perle, etc. had Israeli, rather than U.S., interests as their top priority prior to the invasion of Iraq; is no longer a surprise to anybody. Those of us who make a living teaching and researching foreign policy and the ME have known this for a long time.
Feith, Wurmser, et al. authored a well-known and disturbing policy paper in 1996 to advise the then-incoming PM Netanyahu. They basically advised him to keep Israeli occupation/colonization, attack Iraq, and undermine Syria through right-wing Christian Lebanese militias, etc.
You may remember that in 2003 after the fall of Baghdad, pro-Israeli agents and lobbyists wanted the United States to march to Damascus and occupy Syria. The first person to speak out and stop this madness wasn’t a Democrat (who were still cheering Bush). The late and former U.S. Secretary of State, Eagelburger courageously went on TV and newspapers and said that if GW Bush were to move on Syria, he should be impeached.
This argument refutes the argument of ANN (whom I like for her posts and pro-Palestinian principles) and others on this blog who say “THIS IS SYRIA COMMENT, NOT “PALESTINE COMMENT.” NO, we hardly can separate Syria and other Arab countries from Palestine.

ON the neo-cons’ Israeli bias and their 1996 paper, please see this article in Israel’s Haaretz newspaper:
“Ending the neoconservative nightmare”



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December 22nd, 2011, 8:17 am


284. Bill said:

Sorry, I meant to say TARA not ANN in my previous comment. I still like both, although I don’t agree with ANN all the time.

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December 22nd, 2011, 8:22 am


285. Akbar Palace said:


With respect to your call yesterday for posters to focus solely on the crisis going on in Syria, does that only apply to Amir in Tel Aviv and I, or does that include everyone?


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December 22nd, 2011, 8:42 am


286. zoo said:

Egypt Downward spiral
December 22, 2011 01:39 AM
The Daily Star

The latest news coming out of Egypt reveals that the country is experiencing nothing short of a catastrophe.
The immediate euphoria which followed the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak in February has proven short-lived.

Read more: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/Opinion/Editorial/2011/Dec-22/157586-downward-spiral.ashx#ixzz1hGuWwPwL
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)

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December 22nd, 2011, 8:59 am


287. majedkhaldoun said:

Iraq is in big turmoil,Maliki arrogant and want to be dictator,did not learn the lesson, time for dictatorship is going away,57 dead

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December 22nd, 2011, 9:08 am


288. zoo said:

مليونية دمشق ساحة الأمويين 21-12-2011

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December 22nd, 2011, 9:16 am


289. norman said:

Thank you for your concern,please pray for him .

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December 22nd, 2011, 9:20 am


290. Bill said:


Thanks Majed for posting on Iraq. I guess I am not the only one posting on countries other than Syria!!!!!! Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Occupied Palestine are ALL part of the Arab nation! Only in the dream of Zionists, and mentally-disturbed (DALE), on this blog that I would ignore Israeli threats to Syria and Arabs in general!!!!!!!

That neo-cons like Wolfitz, Feith, Wurmser, Perle, etc. had Israeli, rather than U.S., interests as their top priority prior to the invasion of Iraq; is no longer a surprise to anybody. Those of us who make a living teaching and researching foreign policy and the ME have known this for a long time.
Feith, Wurmser, et al. authored a well-known and disturbing policy paper in 1996 to advise the then-incoming PM Netanyahu. They basically advised him to keep Israeli occupation/colonization, attack Iraq, and undermine Syria through right-wing Christian Lebanese militias, etc.
You may remember that in 2003 after the fall of Baghdad, pro-Israeli agents and lobbyists wanted the United States to march to Damascus and occupy Syria. The first person to speak out and stop this madness wasn’t a Democrat (who were still cheering Bush). The late and former U.S. Secretary of State, Eagelburger courageously went on TV and newspapers and said that if GW Bush were to move on Syria, he should be impeached.
This argument refutes the argument of ANN (whom I like for her posts and pro-Palestinian principles) and others on this blog who say “THIS IS SYRIA COMMENT, NOT “PALESTINE COMMENT.” NO, we hardly can separate Syria and other Arab countries from Palestine.

ON the neo-cons’ Israeli bias and their 1996 paper, please see this article in Israel’s Haaretz newspaper:
“Ending the neoconservative nightmare”



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December 22nd, 2011, 9:28 am


291. Halabi said:

Thank you UZAIR8 for the transcript. I really would love it if Landis could elaborate about this: “[businessmen] are caught in a terrible bind because a number of important businessmen in Aleppo have been assassinated and some have had their factories burnt down.”

First, what’s the number? One is a number, five is a number, so is zero. What are the name/names of the assassinated “important” businessmen in Aleppo? If they are important they surely have names.
Same with the factories. We all know of one factory that was burned twice. Are there any others?

No need to answer. I will just review Sana and Mou3alek’s video, I’m sure it’s all there.

To be fair, right after giving a bone to the menhebaks, Landis brings it back to reality.

“The opposition is trying to tell them ‘do not continue to co-operate with the regime,’ but the regime at the same time has warned businessmen ‘you step over the line and we’ll put you into jail and close your businesses down.’”

It’s true, we [the opposition] are trying to “tell” merchants, businessmen and all of Syrian society to stop working with the regime, because it’s authoritarian, corrupt and can never deliver a state that we all deserve. We ask everyone to join us in civil disobedience and protests, and not support the killers.

Win or lose, history will remember the beauty of this revolution, the bravery of Syrians who said no to humiliation and paid the ultimate price for freedom.

On the other hand, the regime threatens businessmen with jail and violence in order to keep them in line, so they can look forward to living in a weakened, isolated country with no freedom and no stability. But at least in that future we can still worship our great leader Bashar, so menhebaks would have all they need to be happy.

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December 22nd, 2011, 9:41 am


292. Bill said:

286. ZOO

Thanks Zoo for posting on Egypt. I guess I am not the only one posting on countries other than Syria. Syria, Egypt, Occupied Palestine, etc. are ALL part of the Arab World. Zionists will always be a threat to Syria and Arabs.
That neo-cons like Wolfowitz, Feith, Wurmser, Perle, etc. had Israeli, rather than U.S., interests as their top priority prior to the invasion of Iraq; is no longer a surprise to anybody. Those of us who make a living teaching and researching foreign policy and the ME have known this for a long time.
Feith, Wurmser, et al. authored a well-known and disturbing policy paper in 1996 to advise the then-incoming PM Netanyahu. They basically advised him to keep Israeli occupation/colonization, attack Iraq, and undermine Syria through right-wing Christian Lebanese militias, etc.
You may remember that in 2003 after the fall of Baghdad, pro-Israeli agents and lobbyists wanted the United States to march to Damascus and occupy Syria. The first person to speak out and stop this madness wasn’t a Democrat (who were still cheering Bush). The late and former U.S. Secretary of State, Eagelburger courageously went on TV and newspapers and said that if GW Bush were to move on Syria, he should be impeached.
This argument refutes the argument of TARA (whom I like for her posts and pro-Palestinian principles) and others on this blog who say “THIS IS SYRIA COMMENT, NOT “PALESTINE COMMENT.” NO, we hardly can separate Syria and other Arab countries from Palestine.

ON the neo-cons’ Israeli bias and their 1996 paper, please see this article in Israel’s Haaretz newspaper:
“Ending the neoconservative nightmare”



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December 22nd, 2011, 9:45 am


293. N.Z. said:

Spammer, you know who you are. STOP!

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December 22nd, 2011, 9:52 am


294. jad said:

Meer ، Nazel Ala Homs نازل على حمص

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December 22nd, 2011, 10:14 am


295. Syria no kandahar said:

الجرذ السوري الحكاك
سرية القعقاع
Will be getting 70virgin female rats and one male rat,in the RATS HEAVEN,next to his godly rat masters Alaaroor and Karadawi:

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December 22nd, 2011, 10:26 am


296. Revlon said:

Leaks on Regime’s plan to stage desired scenes wherever the AL commission goes, thanks to a forged agreement on 24hr advance notice for their movements.

Hamid Aldhary
تسربت تأكيدات أن نظام الأسد سيجبر المراقبين العرب على إعطاءه جدول تحركاتهم قبل 24 ساعة من تنفيذ أي خطوة بسيطة بحجة حمايتهم بينما الحقيقية
هي حتى ينفذ المسرحية المطلوبة في المكان والوقت المناسب , وسيدرس الجدول وينفذ لهم البرنامج ,

وسيكون الجدول والمسرحيات معدة كالتالي :

1- الشارع الذي سيمر عبره المراقب العربي سيبث فيه الأمن قبل وصول المراقب بأربع ساعات وسيكونون بعيداً عن أعين المراقب أي في أطراف الشارع
وسيغلقونه بألياتهم بعيداً عن نظر المراقب أيضاً ويمنعون كلياً دخول أي مواطن عادي للشارع وحتى يعطوا إنطباع أن الوضع طبيعي سيأتون بأعداد تقارب 200 شبيح وشبيحة
مدني وحتى بأطفالهم الصغار جداً فقط الذين لايتكلمون ويمرون عبر هذا الشارع كأنهم مواطنيين عاديين يمشون في هذا الشارع وسيتم السماح للمراقب بسؤالهم وبالطبع ستكون الاجوبة
مدروسه ومعدة ومفصلة حسب رغبة النظام , وهنا ينتهي النظام من مشكلة إلتقاء المراقب بالمواطنين العاديين المظلومين والمقموعين والمهانة كرامتهم .
1. Visits to restive neighbourhoods shall be staged as follows: streets shall be sealed for native residents. Shabbeha and their families will instead be bussed into the area to give a facad of normal life.

2- سيعد النظام مخطط آخر لتنفيذ طلبات المراقبين وهو الإلتقاء بمظاهرة احتجاج وسيعدها للمراقبين كالتالي إغلاق الشارع الذي يعلم أن المراقب سيمر منه
بنفس الطريقة السابقة وعدم السماح لإي مواطن بالمرور والسماح فقط بالمظاهرة المدبرة والتي يحمل أعضاءها أعلام الستقلال للتمويه ويطلقون شعارات الثوار وسيسمح للمراقب العربي
بالإلتقاء بهم وسؤالهم وستكون إجاباتهم ايضاً مدروسة ومفصلة من نوع أن الجيش لايطلق عليهم النار وأن هناك من يندس وسطهم ويطلق النار على الجيش كذلك أنهم لايريدون التدخل الدولي
الذي سيدمر البلد الى آخر هذه الإجوبة المدروسة , وسيستفاد من قلة عددهم أن المظاهرات قليلة , وبهذا ينتهي النظام من مشكلة التقاء المراقب بمظاهرة إحتجاج .
2. Visits to watch and interview people in anti-regime demonstration: The area is pre-sealed. Shabbeha demonstrators masqarading as real antiregime protestors scahnt ant-regime slogans. Upon questioning they would claim that army and security forces do not fire at them and that armed gangs do!

3- سيثبت النظام للمراقب العربي أن هناك عصابات مسلحة بطرق عديدة منها , عند معرفة أن المراقب سيمر في شارع معين وأمام مظاهرة احتجاج حقيقية ولأنه يعلم كل
خطوة من خطوات المراقب وحمايتهم العسكريين التابعين للنظام , فسيأمر عدد معين بالدخول لمظاهرة الإحتجاج ويجعلهم أمام أعين المراقب يطلقون النار على حواجز الجيش
ويعطي الجيش أمر أن لايردون على إطلاق النار وربما يذهب بالمراقب الى حاجز الجيش ويريهم جثة جديدة لمواطن مسكين مقتول على يد الشبيحة والإيهام أنه قتل في إطلاق النار
وذلك بوضع ملابس عسكرية عليه , وبهذا يثبت دموية المظاهرات الإحتجاجية وحتى بالدليل الملموس وهي الجثة الجديدة , كذلك يثبت ضبط الجيش لننفسه
وكأنهم لايعلمون ان المراقب يراقبهم !!!
3. Stage shooting at police checkpoints by plain clothes security forces that infiltrate anti-regime demonstrators.

4- عدم السماح للمراقب لو أصر على الدخول لأي مظاهرة إحتجاج حقيقية وذلك بدخول شبيحة لقلب هذه المظاهرة وإطلاق النار على سيارة المراقبين التي تضم عسكر
تابعين للنظام أيضاً , وقول الحماية العسكرية للمراقب أن الوضع خطر وأنهم لن ينتحروا وتخويف المراقب وذلك بإطلاق مزيد من الرصاص عليهم من داخل أو من خلف المظاهرة .
وهذا يفيد النظام في امرين بسمح له بإثبات دموية مظاهرات الإحتجاج كذلك يسمح بعدم الإلتقاء بإي مظاهرة إحتجاج حقيقية , ولو كابر المراقب وغامر سيكون مصيره طلقة نارية
في الرأس وسيقول النظام أن الحماية حذرته وسيطلب شهادة المراقبين العرب الآخرين الذي كانوا موجدين في المكان .
4. Not allowing observers to mingle in real anti-regime demonstrations by asking Shabbeeha infiltrators to fire at police or even at the observers car to scare them off.

5- إختيار سجناء يقابلهم المراقبين , وبالطبع كلنا نعرف جحيم أقبية السجون المافيوية الأسدية وأن الخروج منها غاية أماني المعتقل نتيجة لصنوف العذاب التي يكابدها ,
وسيساوم النظام المعتقلين على حريتهم وسيغريهم بذلك وأعتقد أن من كابد جحيم المعتقلات الرهيبة لن يمانع في قول مايمليه عليه النظام , وستتم الإعدادات للسجناء بوضع مساحيق تخفي
العذاب وآثار التعذيب , وسيقول السجين للمراقب عن أجوبة يمليها عليه النظام مثل حسن معاملة النظام للسجناء وأنهم لايعذبون وأنهم بالفعل خربوا وكسروا الدوائر الحكومية وأحرقوا
وربما اطلقوا النار وأنهم يعرفون سجناء قتلوا وأغتصبوا ألى غيرها من أجوبة ملقنة سابقاً , يحصل عليها النظام بمساومة السجناء المساكين بين حريتهم التي هي غاية أحلامهم أو
العودة للمعتقل وربما الإعدام لو تفوه بغير مايمليه عليه النظام , وبهذا ينتهي النظام من مشكلة التقاء المراقبين العرب بالسجناء .
5.Arranging interviews with blackmailed prisoners who volunteer a script dictated by security forces in the hope of getting released.

6- اصطناع تفجيرات وهمية وأصوات قنابل شديدة وتدمير سيارات وبعض المباني المدنية أو أجزاء من الدوائر الحكومية وإحضار المراقبين لها لإثبات حقيقية العصابات المسلحة
6. stage acts of anarchy.

7- النظام سيقيّد تحركات المراقبين كلياً ولن يسمح لهم بالتحرك الا حسب مايخطط له وهو ناضل طويلاً حتى يحصل على ( معرفة تحركات المراقبين ) واصراره لايدع
مجال للشك أنه سيكون من أجل تنفيذ هذه السيناريوهات وإبعاد أعين المراقبين عن كل شئ حقيقي في سوريا وصنع مسرح لكنه على الواقع لإثبات هذه الأكاذيب , كذلك تقليصه
لعدد المراقبين من 700 مراقب الى 120 مراقب حتى يسهل احتواءهم وصنع مسرحيات مناسبة لهم بعكس العدد الكبير الذي سيجعل المهمة شبه مستحيله وهذا يفسر إصرار النظام
على ( تقليص عدد المراقبين ) .
The number of observers have been reduced from 700 to 120!

See Translation

6 hours ago.

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December 22nd, 2011, 10:45 am


297. jad said:

-أعلن التلفزيون التركي أنّ تركيا قامت باستدعاء سفيرها في باريس احتجاجاً على إقرار قانون تجريم إنكار الابادة الأرمنية الذي أقرّه النواب الفرنسيون اليوم الخميس.

-أعلن رئيس الوزراء التركي رجب طيب اردوغان أن تركيا قررت الغاء جميع الاجتماعات السياسية والاقتصادية والعسكرية مع فرنسا، ووقف الاتصالات الرسمية وتجميد الاتفاقات العسكرية، عقب اقرار قانون تجريم انكار الابادة الجماعية للأرمن.
ورأى اردوغان أن القرار سيفتح جروحا مع فرنسا يصعب أن تندمل، معتبرا أنه تم على اسس العنصرية والتمييز.

-اعتبر وزير الخارجية التركي أحمد داود أوغلو ان “إقرار مشروع القانون الذي يجرّم إنكار “الإبادة الأرمنية” في البرلمان الفرنسي، مهين للشعب التركي”.
وذكرت شبكة “تي آر تي” التركية ان “وزير الخارجية الفرنسي ألان جوبيه اتصل هاتفياً بداوود أوغلو وقال له “إنكم تعلمون موقفنا حيال مشروع القانون المتعلق بالإدعاءات الأرمنية، ويجب ألا تتدهور علاقاتنا الثنائية”.
وأجاب الوزير التركي بالسؤال “لو ذهبت إلى باريس ووجه إليّ سؤال بشأن تلك الإدعاءات، هل ألتزم الصمت، أو أقول أن البرلمان الفرنسي أعلم منا بهذا الأمر؟”، مضيفا “بطبيعة الحال لن أصمت وسأتحدث عن الحقائق”.
وسأل “ماذا لو لم يصمت رجال الأعمال والأكاديميين الأتراك والمواطنين الفرنسيين المنحدرين من أصل تركي؟ هل ستلقون القبض عليهم؟”.
وأشار داوود أوغلو في لقاء إعلامي إلى انه أبلغ جوبيه بأن “إقرار مشروع القانون المذكور سيكون بمثابة عدم احترام للشعب التركي”.
وفي ما يتعلق بامتناع الرئيس الفرنسي نيكولا ساركوزي عن الرد على الاتصالات الهاتفية للرئيس التركي عبد الله غول، أشار أوغلو إلى إننا “نعيش في عالم متحضر، ويمكن تبادل الآراء حتى في ظروف الحرب”، معتبرا أن “رفضهم الرد على هذه الاتصالات دليل على أنه ليس لديهم شيء يقولونه لنا”.


أوغلو: ساركوزي وعد أنقرة بالتخلي عن مشروعه بشأن إبادة الأرمن

أكد وزير الخارجية التركي أحمد داوود أوغلو أن “الرئيس الفرنسي نيكولا ساركوزي، كان قد وعد رئيس الوزراء التركي رجب طيب أردوغان بالتخلي عن مشروعه بشأن تجريم إنكار الإبادة الجماعية التي تعرض لها الأرمن في العام 1915”.
وأوضح أوغلو، في حديث نشرته صحيفة “لوموند” الفرنسية على موقعها الإلكتروني، “لقد فوجئت حقا لأن ساركوزي وعد من خلال مستشاره للشؤون الدبلوماسية جون – ديفيد لوفيت بأنه سيلتزم بالتخلي عن تلك المبادرة”، موضحا أن “بلاده تعتبر مشروع القانون المعروض على البرلمان الفرنسي بمثابة الهجوم على تاريخ تركيا”، معربا عن تعجبه من أن تمنع باريس عاصمة النور النقاش الفكري وأن تعاقب رأيا”.
ووصف المبادرة الفرنسية بأنها “سبة للتاريخ الفكري ولقيم فرنسا”، مصرحا بتهكم، “لو تخيلنا أن رئيس الوزراء التركي سيزور فرنسا ويوجه إليه سؤالا حول رأيه في إبادة الأرمن، فإذا قال إن بلادنا لا تعترف بها فإننا سنواجه خطر المثول أمام محكمة”، مشيرا إلى أن مشروع القانون الفرنسي قد يؤثر سلبا على فتح الحوار بين تركيا وأرمينيا “لأنه لا أحد سيقبل النقاش في مثل هذا الأمر تحت التهديد”، مشددا على أن “المبادرة الفرنسية “تقتل الحوار” بين أنقرة ويريفان”.
وقرر البرلمان الفرنسي، الإبقاء على مناقشة اقتراح قانون يدين إنكار “إبادة” الأرمن ومناقشته، غدا الخميس، وهو الأمر الذي يثير غضب تركيا التي قد ترد على ذلك بفرض عقوبات دبلوماسية واقتصادية.

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December 22nd, 2011, 10:54 am


299. Mina said:


Here about Egypt, a good analysis

http://www.mediapart.fr/print/162198 (with subscription)
Elections bâclées, répression, torture… L’armée égyptienne à visage découvert

19 décembre 2011 | Par Pierre Puchot – Mediapart.fr

C’était il y a deux semaines : la presse internationale se réjouissait du déroulement des élections, titrait à l’envi sur «le test de démocratie réussi», quelques jours seulement après avoir couvert abondamment les affrontements de la place Tahrir au Caire, mais aussi d’Alexandrie et de Suez, où les forces de l’ordre avaient tué plus de quarante manifestants.

Démocratie d’un côté, répression meurtrière de l’autre… L’improbable dichotomie pouvait encore se tenir si l’on entrait dans le jeu des autorités, stigmatisant la méchante police d’un côté (condamnant même un policier coupable de tir à balles réelles sur la foule), poussée à bout par les casseurs et «forces antirévolutionnaires»; et l’armée protectrice de la révolution et du peuple de l’autre.

Ce week-end, après la mort de dix manifestants, le doute n’est pourtant plus permis. Et à voir les agents de la police militaire prêter main forte aux policiers des forces anti-émeutes pour pourchasser et tabasser à mort les manifestants de la place Tahrir, le discours officiel a quelque peu perdu de sa force de persuasion.
Comment comprendre ce décalage entre d’un côté une impression de démocratie naissante et de l’autre la répression la plus sauvage, et ce en plein centre de la capitale ? Dans le détail, les résultats du scrutin sont fidèles aux prévisions, laissant penser qu’ils reflètent le paysage égyptien de la fin 2011. Les partis musulmans conservateurs et islamistes ont remporté le premier tour des élections législatives en Égypte. Selon les chiffres fournis par la Haute commission électorale, les listes des Frères musulmans, du parti salafiste An-Nour et du parti Wassat ont cumulé 65,25 % des voix pour cette première phase des législatives, organisée dans un tiers des gouvernorats, notamment les deux plus grandes villes, Le Caire et Alexandrie.

Pourtant, la désorganisation du scrutin – absence d’isoloirs, d’observateurs internationaux, confusions favorisées par la mixité d’un scrutin à la fois de liste et uninominal – ne devrait tromper personne : songeons que la Tunisie, aux ressources infiniment moins importantes que l’Egypte, est parvenue en un délai (huit mois) de temps équivalent à organiser un scrutin libre et transparent. Pourquoi la puissante Egypte n’en serait-elle pas capable ? Tout simplement parce que, aux yeux des militaires, ce n’est finalement pas cela qui compte. C’est davantage l’image superficielle d’un scrutin démocratique, porté par une majorité de la population égyptienne, qui intéresse le CSFA, qui a même délégué aux citoyens, dans plusieurs localités (dont Zamalek, au Caire), l’organisation du scrutin. En l’occurrence, une participation de 62% – chiffre qui apparaît somme toute assez faible si l’on se rappelle que les Egyptiens ont l’obligation de se rendre aux urnes, sous peine de subir une amende de 500 livres (pour beaucoup, l’équivalent d’un salaire mensuel).

Dans le même temps, l’utilisation de la police pour réprimer les éléments contestataires a permis de sauver les apparences et de préserver quelque peu l’image du CSFA sur le plan international, comme auprès de la population égyptienne, davantage inquiète de la situation économique que de la répression. «La police est sous l’autorité totale de l’armée», nous confiait fin novembre Mohamed, réalisateur qui consacre son premier long métrage, un documentaire de 90 minutes, à la police égyptienne. Le jeune cinéaste décrit une hiérarchie policière frustrée, soumise à l’armée. Comment imaginer que cette police soumise soit à l’origine du climat de chaos, de cette répression retransmise en direct par les caméras des télévisions internationales, qui menace les efforts d’une armée impuissante face aux dérives des policiers?

Cette double dichotomie – police contre armée, répression contre processus démocratique – a pourtant fonctionné à plein tout au long de l’année, pour justifier aux yeux des diplomaties internationales, comme de la population, la permanence du Conseil supérieur des forces armées au sommet de l’Etat. Un léger retour en arrière permet de prendre la mesure du travail effectué depuis un an par l’armée pour marquer de son empreinte le prochain régime égyptien.

Vers un scénario à l’algérienne?

Depuis le début du mois de février, l’armée égyptienne a fait sienne la thématique du double discours que l’on prête si souvent aux organisations musulmanes. D’un côté, l’armée promet d’être la garante du processus de transition vers la démocratie. De l’autre, elle fait tout pour rester maître le plus longtemps possible des affaires publiques, et négocie depuis des mois avec les représentations des institutions (dont le président de la Haute cour constitutionnelle, un juge réformateur arrivé à ce poste grâce à son ancienneté) et les représentants des partis politiques qui formeront le gouvernement issu des législatives. De là proviennent les gesticulations désordonnées des Frères musulmans, d’abord favorables aux manifestations place Tahrir, appelant ensuite leurs partisans à rester chez eux.

Pour tous, le message est clair : l’armée souhaite garder un pied en politique, échapper aux lois votées par le futur parlement, et conserver le pouvoir de déclarer ou non la guerre à un autre Etat. Pour le faire passer à la société civile, le Conseil supérieur des forces armées s’est employé, dès le lendemain de la révolution, à mater tout début d’opposition. Ce furent les tortures et «tests de virginité» pratiqués sur les militants de la place Tahrir à partir de la fin février, dénoncés en mars par les ONG de défense des droits de l’homme, quand le monde entier avait reporté son attention sur le conflit libyen. (Lire ici le premier communiqué d’Amnesty international sur ce thème.)

Ce fut ensuite le détournement – au profit d’une déclaration élaborée en son sein et promulgué selon sa volonté – du référendum populaire sur la réforme constitutionnelle, dont l’armée s’est affranchie en partie malgré une large victoire du «oui» en faveur des amendements proposés par le CSFA. Ainsi, après notre série de reportages sur cette Egypte en mutation, nous nous demandions dès le mois de mars si l’armée n’avait pas déjà trahi la révolution…

Avant le départ de l’ancien président Moubarak, l’armée contrôlait entre 15% et 20% de l’économie égyptienne selon les estimations. L’intérêt pour le CSFA de demeurer aux commandes du pays est donc essentiellement économique, pour construire un scénario à l’algérienne avec un président pour la façade, un processus électoral en trompe-l’œil, l’apparence d’une opposition politique et d’une presse libre et, surtout, des lignes rouges incertaines qui maintiennent la société civile constamment sous pression et sujette à l’autocensure.

Cette stratégie est déjà à l’œuvre : pour «insulte envers l’armée», plusieurs journalistes et blogueurs, dont l’emblématique Alaa Abdel Fattah, ont été condamnés à des peines supérieures à trois années de prison ferme. Ce sont en tout plus de 12.000 prisonniers qui ont été jugés de manière expéditive par les tribunaux militaires depuis la fin février. Perceptible au lendemain de la révolution, la reprise en main de l’armée égyptienne est aujourd’hui une certitude, qui laisse craindre que ne s’installe, comme en Algérie, une parodie de démocratie, où le gouvernement et le parlement ne sont que les caisses d’enregistrement des volontés d’une junte bien décidée à accroître peu à peu son emprise sur le pays.

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December 22nd, 2011, 11:19 am


300. Mina said:

Photoshop works in Egypt too

The Ministry of Interior has issued an apology for publishing defamatory photos of the Egyptian women’s march on its official Facebook page.

The photoshopped images showed the female protesters holding posters of blue and pink bras, even though in the original images, the posters were holding posters with the slogan “down with military rule,” written on them.

The march, which included 10,000 women, took place on 20 December and was staged against military rule and in response to military brutality against women.(…)

for the picture: http://english.ahram.org.eg/~/NewsContent/1/64/29956/Egypt/Politics-/Egypt-Ministry-of-Interior-apologises-for-defamato.aspx

Problem: The military owns Egypt, and the US owns the military.


Smoke from three Fayoum factories officially inaugurated last October by Egypt’s de-facto ruler Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi is creating an environmental disaster, not only ruining agricultural production but also killing scores of animals, according to residents of the area surrounding the factories.

The inauguration of the factories, which produce phosphoric acid, aluminum sulfate and fertilizers in the industrial region of Kum Osheem off the Cairo–Fayoum Road, was part of celebrations for the 38th anniversary of Egypt’s 6th of October military victory over Israel.

All three factories belong to the military-owned Nasr Company for Chemicals, which was established in 1975 to produce chemicals, fertilizers and household pesticides.

Tantawi’s visit was the the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) chief’s first since the 25 January uprising.

However, residents of the area say that while the factories have actually been operating for the past three years, their disastrous environmental impact has only recently become apparent.

Egypt Independent’s reporter was not allowed inside the factories, and officials at the Environmental Affairs office in Fayoum denied that these factories are polluting the environment.

The pollution emitted by the factories is threatening nearby agricultural lands and has irrevocably damaged the harvests of nearly 15,000 feddans of land, according to Ibrahim Khaled Ammar, a livestock dealer who lives in the village of Asfar, located just 500 meters from the factories.

Farmers in five Kum Osheem villages have complained about the deterioration of their olive harvests, one of Fayoum’s leading agricultural products. Fayoum, an oasis governorate located 76km southwest of Cairo, has a population of over 2.5 million and relies on agriculture as its main source of income.

Badawy Gomaa Mohamed, a farmer from the village of Tahoon, summarizes the problem: “People have been suffering from the factories’ smoke for a year now. But following the Tantawi inauguration, the smoke has increased and my entire olive harvest is now lost.”

Mohamed Abdel Aty Sedawy, another farmer hailing from the village of Mofatesh, details the harm inflicted by the factories, explaining that all the branches on his olive trees have dried up.

“The olives should be green at this time of year, but due to the factories’ smoke, all the branches are dry. This means that this harvest is not going to be sold anywhere,” he laments.

Palm trees are another of Fayoum’s important crops that are regularly sold to other governorates. However, the production of hundreds of trees in villages near the industrial zone was also hindered by the smoke.

Gomaa Abdel Hady Ruby, a farmer from the village of Deeba, speaks about his ruined harvest of palm trees.

“My sole source of income is from palm trees. Recently, and for the first time ever, I don’t have a harvest to sell. All the dates are rotten; they have been cracked and damaged by the smoke from the factories. My village is 5km away from the factories but the smoke reaches us easily,” Ruby says.

When the farmers tried to obtain more pesticides to mitigate the negative effects of the smoke, they were disappointed.

“We’ve tried everything that was advised by the agricultural engineer that came to help, but the situation didn’t change,” says Mohamed, the farmer from Tahoon. “He eventually told us that no pesticide could reverse the effects of air pollution on our crops.”

The farmers say that they can deal with this year’s loss, “but we can’t afford it for two years. This is our main source of income and we can’t live without it,” complains Ruby.

Moreover, the smoke has had a negative impact on animals, which have repeatedly fainted in the area surrounding the factories. Scores of animals have also reportedly died because of the smoke.

Ammar, the livestock dealer, argues that the factories’ pollution has had a harsh impact on local animals.

Pointing to two of his cows that had fainted from smoke inhalation, Ammar says, “The price of each of these cows will not reach LE1000. A healthy cow costs around LE10,000.”

The problem is chronic, Ammar adds, as livestock are a major source for income for many families in the area. He also says that cows provide families with milk and cheese, which comprise almost all of local families’ meals.

Residents can also make extra money by selling fresh produce in the local village market, but their crops have been damaged. “That’s why the problem is threatening our lives here,” Ammar continues.

Farmers against the SCAF?

Ruby, the farmer from Deeba, says that Egypt’s military rulers are now turning against the people.

They are destroying us,” he angrily exclaims. “Their job is to protect us, not harm us with these factories.”

But Ammar, who has tried many times to gather the people and raise awareness about the pollution, feels constrained.

“We are poor people and most of us are not educated. People still fear the authorities. We are not in Damietta,” he says, referring to the massive demonstrations by residents of the Mediterranean governorate to protest a fertilizer plant they accuse of polluting the environment.

Fayoum residents seem unable to initiate such collective action.

“At first, some people suggested blocking the Cairo–Fayoum Road to send a message to the army. But we refused to do that because we are afraid of the consequences,” says Sedawy, the farmer from Mofatesh.

Fayoum is one of the poorest governorates in Egypt, ranking at low according to all human development indicators.

Farmers in the area recently contacted the local office of the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency (EEAA) but received no response. And after going directly to the office of the Fayoum governor, they were told that since the factories were military-owned, there was nothing the governor could do.

According to Sedawy, the farmers also tried to contact parliamentary candidates about the problem, but none took up the cause.

Ammar says that when Tantawi came to inaugurate the factories, some went to protest their construction.

“He promised us he would solve our problem,” Ammar recalls. “But nothing has been solved yet.”

He follows with a plea for help: “We don’t know what to do here. We are desperate and have no idea what else can be done.”

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December 22nd, 2011, 11:31 am


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