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
2011-12-20

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.

SYRIAN NATIONAL COUNCIL NEWS

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)

REPORTING ON SYRIA

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.

FREE SYRIA ARMY NEWS

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.

OTHER NEWS

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’

2011-12-12

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.

AL-ASSAD IN COMPLETE DENIAL, By Andrew J. Tabler

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:

“AL OULABI SAW THE FIRE UPON ARRIVAL, HE HAD A HEART ATTACK AND DIED ON THE SPOT. HE WAS ONE OF THE BEST KNOWN BUSINESS PEOPLE IN HALAB. HE WAS A MEMBER OF MAJLIS AL SHAAB AND “MAHSOUB AL NIZAM”

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.

 

INTERVENTION IN SYRIA: ASSESSING THE OPTIONS
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)


Pages: « 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 [9] 10 11 » Show All

401. Syria no kandahar said:

NK the funny
While 40syrians are dead and 100 injured this bastard is using the word funniest,tells much about him.

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December 23rd, 2011, 8:23 am

 

402. Juergen said:

NK

I am always quite sceptical when it comes to fast allegations,a real insight investigation should take longer, either they are 100%percent sure and know who has done it or they are just telling their view who is most likely involved in this, of course there rests a third option as well.

Syria no Kandahar

My name is Juergen….

I am against any form of allegation which is done so fast, even with the Haririmurder. But one may always ask who would benefit most from such actions.

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December 23rd, 2011, 8:25 am

 

403. Mina said:

“The timinig is odd”
For those who haven’t watched al-Aroor on Wesal TV, just watch him (with Youtube). You think these guys don’t succeed in brainwashing people? Since the AL has been demonized by the opposition itself (Friday of “the AL is killing us”, last friday), why should it be different? Oh yes, the Syrian expats in the US know only Four Season hotels in Syria, they never thought there was any Sunni djihadist around… The Salafis and al Qaeda have always been against the Gulf goat-kings, so why being surprised? How this alliance of the FB rich leftish kids with the Idleb and Homs Islamists and the US think-tanks opportunists was supposed to succeed anyway?

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December 23rd, 2011, 8:26 am

 

404. Juergen said:

Bill

can i choose what i am ? Zionist or israeli colonist?if i could laugh today, that would be the laugh of the day…

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December 23rd, 2011, 8:29 am

 

405. norman said:

They are showing their real face,

…………………….Syria: Twin suicide bombs shake capital, 40 dead
Syria says more than 40 killed in twin suicide car bombs in capital day after observers arrive

By Albert Aji, Associated Press | AP – 7 minutes ago
….
Share0EmailPrint……Related Content.
…In this image made from video broadcast by Syrian state television on Friday, Dec. 23, 2011, purports to show damage from a suicide bombing in Damascus, Syria. A Syrian military official says scores were killed in a twin suicide car bombing in Damascus. The military official says more than a hundred people were wounded in the explosions targeting security and intelligence headquarters in the Syrian capital. (AP Photo/Syrian state TV) TV OUT
….

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Twin suicide car bomb blasts ripped through an upscale Damascus district Friday, targeting heavily guarded intelligence buildings and killing at least 40 people, Syrian authorities said.

The blasts came a day after an advance team of Arab League observers arrived in the country to monitor Syria’s promise to end its crackdown on protesters demanding the ouster of President Bashar Assad. Government officials took the observers to the scene of the explosions and said it backed their longtime claims that the turmoil is not a popular uprising but the work of terrorists.

The blasts were the first such suicide bombing in Syria since the uprising began in March.

“We said it from the beginning, this is terrorism. They are killing the army and civilians,” Deputy Foreign Minister Faysal Mekdad told reporters outside the headquarters of the General Intelligence Agency, where bodies still littered the ground. State TV said initial investigations indicated possible involvement by the al-Qaida terror network.

Alongside him, the head of the observer advance team Sameer Seif el-Yazal said, “We are here to see the facts on the ground… What we are seeing today is regretful, the important thing is for things to calm down.”

An opposition leader raised doubts over the authorities’ version of the events, suggesting the regime was trying to make its case to the observers.

Omar Idilbi, a member of the Syrian National Council, an umbrella group of regime opponents, called the explosions “very mysterious because they happened in heavily guarded areas that are difficult to be penetrated by a car.”

“The presence of the Arab League advance team of observers pushed the regime to give this story in order to scare the committee from moving around Syria,” he said, though he stopped short of accusing the regime in the blasts. “The second message is an attempt to make the Arab League and international public opinion believe that Syria is being subjected to acts of terrorism by members of al-Qaida.”

The blasts went off outside the main headquarters of the General Intelligence Agency and a branch of the military intelligence, two of the most powerful of Syria’s multiple intelligence bodies. Outside the two buildings, mutilated and torn bodies lay amid rubble, twisted debris and burned cars in Damascus’ upscale Kfar Sousa district. Bystanders and ambulance workers used blankets and stretchers to carry bloodstained bodies into vehicles. All the windows were shattered in the military intelligence building.

The two blasts went off within moments of each other in the morning Friday, a weekend day, echoing across the city.

“The explosions shook the house, it was frightful,” said Nidal Hamidi, 34, a Syrian journalist who lives in Kfar Sousa. He said gunfire was heard immediately following the explosion and said apartment windows in a 200-yard (meter) radius from the explosions were shattered.

A military official told reporters that more than 40 people were killed and more than 100 wounded. He spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity in accordance with military rules. Earlier, state TV said the dead were mostly civilians but included military and security personnel.

The blasts came as the Syrian government escalated its crackdown ahead of the arrival Thursday of the Arab League observers. More than 200 were killed in two days this week.

The United Nations says more than 5,000 people have been killed in the crackdown waged since March by the Syrian regime against protesters. With the arrival of Arab observers, the government has been eager to make its case, saying Thursday that 2,000 of its security personnel and soldiers have been killed in the turmoil.

The regime has said the observer team will vindicate its claims that terrorists are behind the violence. Earlier this week, Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said it is in the interests of Syria for the observers to come and see what is really happening in the country.

Throughout the turmoil, Assad’s regime has insisted the uprising is the work of terrorists and armed gangs backed by foreign powers trying to topple the state. It has also warned that the upheaval will throw the country into chaos, religious extremism and sectarian divisions. Assad and his inner circle belong to Syria’s Alawite minority, and that community — a Shiite offshoot — and minority Christians particularly fear reprisals from the Sunni majority.

Haifa Nashar, a 45-year-old Alawite living in Kfar Sousa, was shocked and wailing and she stood taking in the scene outside the building.

“I’ve never seen anything like this in my life, may God curse their souls!” she cried. She denounced Qatar, the Arab Gulf nation that has been at the forefront of criticism of Syria and pushed for Arab League sanctions against it.

“This is what Hamad wants,” she said, referring to Qatar’s prime minister. “There was never any difference between Syrians, Sunnis, Christians and Alawites. But if this is what they want, then I say Alawites before anyone else.”

___

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December 23rd, 2011, 8:30 am

 

406. Tara said:

#401

The regime that killed 5000 civilians including 400 children can easily stage a suicide bombing and kill it’s own security forces to stay in power. The timing gives it all. The motive is there. Don’t kid yourself.

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December 23rd, 2011, 8:34 am

 

407. Syria no kandahar said:

Mehshi with garlic,PHD
You forgot that many of the spiritual leaders in Alqaeda are your MB friends,may be the garlic fumes are affecting your poor memory.

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December 23rd, 2011, 8:38 am

 

408. jna said:

The parallel universe of the Syrian Human Rights League:

Al-Qaida Members among Syrian Refugees in Lebanon: Media
2011-12-22 01:24:46 Xinhua

The Lebanese army raised concerns at a security meeting that some “Syrian refugees” fleeing to Lebanon are actually al-Qaida members, the English-language The Daily Star reported on Wednesday.

At the meeting chaired by Prime Minister Najib Mikati, Lebanese Army Commander Jean Kahwagi said that illegal smuggling of weapons and fighters is taking place in the Lebanese border town of Arsal, The Daily Star said.

Kahwagi echoed comments made earlier by Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn that members of terrorist groups are entering Arsal under the guise of Syrian opposition to establish a base.

Syrian refugees have been fleeing to northern Lebanon’s Wadi Khaled since the anti-government protests broke out in March. But in the past few months, attention has been focused on Arsal in the northeast, where weapon smuggling is suspected through the mountains that mark the Syria-Lebanon border.

At the meeting, Kahwagi confirmed to sources close to the prime minister that some weapon smugglers who claim to be Syrian opposition are in fact al-Qaida members, The Daily Star said.

Kahwagi added that when the army attempted to confront these people, groups in Lebanon opposed such a move in defense of freedom.

According to The Daily Star, Kahwagi told those present at the meeting that the military needs the political support to carry out operations against the terrorists and cannot act in this alone.
http://english.cri.cn/6966/2011/12/22/189s672692.htm

………………………………………………….

LEBANON WARNED DAMASCUS TWO DAYS AGO OF AL QAEDA‎

Chicago Tribune
Reuters

LEBANON WARNED DAMASCUS TWO DAYS AGO OF AL QAEDA INFILTRATION INTO SYRIA FROM ITS TERRITORY – SYRIA’S FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESMAN.
http://www.chicagotribune.com/sns-rt-lebanon-warned-damascus-two-days-ago-of-al-qaeda-20111223,0,4245848.story
………………………………………………….

Abdelkarim Al Rihawi, the head of the Syrian Human Rights League, called the attack “the work of the Assad regime and a message to the Arab League that the regime is fighting terrorists.” … “There is no al Qaeda in Syria”.
http://www.cnn.com/2011/12/23/world/meast/syria-bombings/index.html

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December 23rd, 2011, 8:48 am

 

409. Bill said:

402. JUERGEN

“Zionism” was/is premised on the idea that Jews, and only Jews, had/have the right to have land in occupied Palestine. This is why the Jewish Agency is entrusted to own/give land only to the Jewish people. It is a racist idea.
As to Israeli colonialists, their views are racist because they think that it’s ok to colonize and build on Palestinians’ land. Thus, it’s not really much different to be “Zionist” or “Israeli colonialist” because in both ideas/ideals you rationalize stealing and occupying somebody else’s lands. You can see that all of Israeli colonies “cities,” “colonies,” etc. were built because of al-Nakbah and al-Naksa:http://palestineremembered.com/
P.S., I originally joined this blog to comment ONLY on Syria and its ongoing and tragic reality. I love Syria so much. My Father went from the United States to marry my mother in Jerusalem. Their honeymoon was in Syria and Damascus. I still have the black and white pictures of their Syrian vacation. I have strong opinions on Syria, which I earlier had expressed. However, after seeing Zionists and Israeli colonialists are here to hypocritically advice Syrians and get free information while stirring conflict among Syrians and Syria-lovers on this blog, I have decided not to give them any information and arguments; which they would utilize to stir فتنه
YES, YOU ZIONISTS AND ISRAELI COLONIALISTS DO HAVE THE RIGHT TO READ THIS BLOG AND COMMENT ON IT. I respect your right to do so. But, I will not assist you in stirring conflict and فتنه among Syrians and Syria-lovers.

P.S. (Again): Edward Said wrote an excellent article, which you can also find in “The Edward Said Reader,” entitled: “Zionism from the Standpoint of its Victims.” Please read it to know how Palestinians truly feel about Zionism and what it has done to them. This link may give you information on where to find this article: http://www.jstor.org/pss/466405

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December 23rd, 2011, 8:53 am

 

410. habib said:

:404

See, that line of thinking only works for people who even believe the regime “killed 5000 people”.

Please. Even the Americans are doubting opposition claims now. Is it really worth it?

It is really sad that so many news outlets are taking ridiculous opposition claims at face value. The government did it? Hell, if Bashar gets killed, they’ll probably claim it was suicide.

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December 23rd, 2011, 9:04 am

 

411. Juergen said:

Bill

i always had my opinions about bloggers, and i would never had joined this blog if not for my love for Syria and for the Syrians. I think that there are a lot of folks out there who happen to have their live in such blogs, i prefer having an life as well.

The palestinian cause is crucial, and to name me Zionist is really an offence, i do believe that you share some obsession about this theme, you may have good reasons to do so. What others have said before, the palestinian cause is an other fight and not the major issue here on this blog, as i see it. Calling names to each other does not help anyone, nor any cause.

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December 23rd, 2011, 9:19 am

 

412. N.Z. said:

The two cars had Usama Bin Laden posters on the windows, Bin Laden is taking full responsibility for the two suicide bombing, he was funded by Saudi Arabia, Ar’our and the whole world. He asserted that Syria is different, the latest to join the hate campaign waged against Assad, Qaida.

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December 23rd, 2011, 9:26 am

 

413. habib said:

:410.

So who else but Islamists would blow themselves up for something like this?

How stupid are people? These were suicide attacks, not mere bombings, someone had to do it.

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December 23rd, 2011, 9:32 am

 

414. Uzair8 said:

No comment.

Interested to know what Robert Fisk says about this.

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December 23rd, 2011, 9:42 am

 

415. ann said:

Russia and US clash over NATO bombing probe – 14 hours ago

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5i6Zorr9lHp38IHi5GBx8AprhK5UQ?docId=73e69b04b2b5492dbb40bc70c9179abf

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Russia urged the U.N. Security Council on Thursday to investigate civilian deaths in Libya from NATO’s bombing campaign, a move the United States immediately dismissed as “a cheap stunt” to distract from Moscow’s failure to condemn the Syrian government’s ongoing killing of protesters.

The sharp exchange reflected the deep division in the council over the NATO campaign which the U.S., France, Germany and others hailed for saving hundreds of thousands of Libyan lives, but which Russia, China and the African Union have strongly criticized.

Russia and its supporters argue that NATO misused the limited council resolution imposing a no-fly zone and authorizing the protection of civilians as a pretext to promote regime change in Libya. Libya’s longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi was ousted after 42 years, captured and killed in October.

Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said a council-mandated investigation is essential “given the fact that initially we were led to believe by NATO leaders there are zero civilian casualties of their bombing campaign.”

U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice, who stepped to the microphone after Churkin, said: “Oh, the bombast and bogus claims.”

“Is everyone sufficiently distracted from Syria now and the killing that is happening before our very eyes?” she said.

“I think it’s not an exaggeration to say that this is something of a cheap stunt to divert attention from other issues and to obscure the success of NATO and its partners — and indeed the Security Council — in protecting the people of Libya,” Rice said.

France’s U.N. Ambassador Gerard Araud, standing beside her, said there were two ongoing investigations of NATO’s actions in Libya, one by a U.N. Human Rights Council which is scheduled to report in March and the second by the International Criminal Court.

“We are not talking about years … and in the two cases they are absolutely competent to handle the NATO military operations,” he said. “So why ask for a third one while we don’t have any investigation committee in Syria, when in the last 3-4 days more than 250 people have been killed.”

Last month, NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu in Brussels said NATO is confident its forces carried out the campaign “in full compliance with international law.”

NATO leaders have hailed the precision with which the mission was carried out, citing the small number of civilian deaths caused by the bombing as evidence of its success. Representatives of the military alliance based in Brussels have said that all NATO air strikes in Libya were aimed at military targets.

Churkin, this month’s council president, insisted that he was not diverting attention because Thursday’s council meeting was on Libya and heard a briefing by videolink from U.N. envoy Ian Martin in Tripoli.

Martin said “the past few weeks have witnessed a series of armed clashes of varying seriousness, giving rise to growing popular pressure, in particular in Tripoli, to put in place security arrangements which do not rely heavily on the armed brigades” who fought in the uprising against Gadhafi.

Martin warned that unless the security situation is addressed quickly and effectively, “the legitimate authority of the state” could be undermined.

In what many saw as a backlash against the council’s authorization of military action to protect civilians in Libya, Russia and China vetoed a European-backed resolution in October threatening sanctions against Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime if it didn’t immediately halt its military crackdown against civilians.

Last week, Russia surprised fellow council members with a proposed new resolution calling for an end to the violence that the U.N. estimates has killed 5,000 people over nine months.

Western members welcomed the move, but said it didn’t go far enough because it didn’t mention sanctions and equated violence against civilians with violence against the government and its security forces.

Britain, France, Germany and the U.S. have proposed amendments to the Russian text and Churkin said he hopes to have a new version on Friday.

But he said the Western nations wanted to send “completely different messages” and diplomats were pessimistic about quick agreement on a Syria resolution.

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December 23rd, 2011, 9:50 am

 

416. Mina said:

On the Guardian live blog, they seem to give a lot of credit to “opponents” who tweet and explain that the bodies have been “planted” and taken from other places; and that the streets were closed before the bombing, as a proof it was “staged”.

During the early years in Iraq, many said it was the US once, Iran once, the Gulf most other time, but in the end, there are still people blowing up themselves every month, and we are still waiting for condemnations from Aroor or Qardawi. Suicide is forbidden in Islam, but who cares? Not the brainwashers.

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December 23rd, 2011, 9:55 am

 

417. Uzair8 said:

I break my silence.

On hearing this news I instinctively suspected the regime. A black operation. False-flag.

Nobody believes a word this regime says.

What the regime needs to do is immediately allow an independant UN investigation team to visit the scenes of the incidents and gather evidence. If need be they should be allowed to interview key figures such as Assef Shawkat, Ali Mamluk, Jamil Hassan etc and carry out lie detector tests.

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December 23rd, 2011, 9:56 am

 

418. Juergen said:

some notes about the leader of the monitoring misson to Syria.

General Mohammed al-Dabi was named as head of the monitoring misson to Syria. His nickname is “the snake”. He is 63 years old and is an close advisor to the President of Sudan, Omar Bashir who the UN court in Den Haag has filled charges. He became director of the military secret service soon after Bashir came to power in 1989. He was responsible for the crackdown of the revolt in the Darfur region from 1996-1999. He was shortly ambassador to Katar before joining the negotiations team which worked with the UN about the Darfur genocide which took part in Darfur beginning in February 2003.

One can only guess why such man was selected by the AL to lead this crucial investigation.

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December 23rd, 2011, 10:06 am

 

419. habib said:

415.

Bravo. No one would had expected you would come to that conclusion after hard thinking.

The Salafists are rubbing their hands. When the regime is gone, the liberals will be hunted down by their former Islamist allies. You reap what you sow.

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December 23rd, 2011, 10:07 am

 

420. ann said:

Two suicide bombers blast security centers in Damascus, leaving 40 dead, 100s injured – 2011-12-23

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2011-12/23/c_131324205.htm

DAMASCUS, Dec. 23 (Xinhua) — Two suicide bombers blasted two security centers in central Damascus Friday, leaving about 40 people dead and 100s injured, a senior local official told Xinhua.

This is the worst violence that hit the unrest-torn country since protests against President Bashar al-Assad erupted in mid- March.

The sound of explosions rattled Damascus Friday as wailing sirens could be heard at the nearby al-Mazzeh neighborhood. Ambulances were rushing towards the military hospital in al-Mazzeh.

A government official confirmed to Xinhua that there had been two explosions Friday.

Syria’s state TV said the attackers were driving two cars with bombs, adding that initial investigations show al-Qaida group behind the explosions.

The TV said the first attack was carried out against the headquarters of the State Security Department and the other hit one of the security branches, labeling the incidents as “terrorist act.”

The private-Sham FM said most of the centers’ guards were killed, adding that big material damages were caused.

The bombing came as the Arab League (AL) observers have arrived in Damascus to monitor the country’s unrest on ground.

Syria said Thursday that more than 2,000 army men have been killed by armed groups since the unrest began in March.

Two suicide bombers blasted two security centers in central Damascus Friday, causing many casualties, the Syrian state TV said, adding that preliminary investigations show al-Qaida group behind the explosions.

A government official confirmed to Xinhua that there had been two explosions Friday. The sound of explosions rattled Damascus as wailing sirens could be heard at the nearby al-Mazzeh neighborhood.

Syria’s state TV said the attackers were driving two cars with bombs.

The TV said the first attack was carried out against the headquarters of the State Security Department and the other hit one of the security branches.

A number of people were killed and some others were wounded ” due to this terrorist act,” the TV said, adding that initial investigations point out that al-Qaida groups was responsible for the two blasts.

The private-Sham FM said most of the centers’ guards were killed, adding that big material damages were caused.

Ambulances were rushing towards the military hospital in al- Mazzeh, according to Xinhua reporter.

The bombing came as the Arab League (AL) observers have arrived in Damascus to monitor the country’s unrest on ground.

Syria said Thursday that more than 2,000 army men have been killed by armed groups since the unrest began in March.

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December 23rd, 2011, 10:10 am

 

421. Revlon said:

Recent defecftion, including Colonel, Adnan Hallaq.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCir1WOhWRI&feature=player_embedded#!
شام حماه انشقاق العقيد عدنان محمد حلاق ومجموعة من الضباط وانضمامهم الى الجيش الحر

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December 23rd, 2011, 10:12 am

 

422. N.Z. said:

408,

For every 300 Syrian, one is either killed or tortured.

Will you blame the regime? of course not!

The observers will be taken to see the destruction, the two explosions left. They will be taken to hospitals to visit the injured.

My thoughts and prayers are with the injured and dead, and may this day bring the end of this despicable mafia. They will destroy what is left, we, the people.

By the way, the regime was told by the Lebanese intelligence 2 days ago, that few of Bin Laden men were able to cross to Syria from Lebanon. We were warned.

I hope they will find the two suicides’ ID, as the American were able to find Atta’s passport hours after the plane hit the world trade centre

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December 23rd, 2011, 10:15 am

 

423. norman said:

For all of you who think that the Syrian government staged this attack,
Aren’t all,the same ones who said that the US staged 9/11/2001 to attack Islamic countries,

Give me a break.

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December 23rd, 2011, 10:18 am

 

424. Observer said:

This news is another indication of the incredibly inept propaganda machine of the regime
1. The explosions were essentially fake, the smoke was white and not black.
2. The word from Lebanon is that there are Al Qaeda infiltrators coming two days ago
3. Within half an hour a “suicide” bomber was apprehended ( before or after he committed suicide is not clear )
4. There are 30 dead and more than a 100 wounded and yet knowing from my family that I called this morning who have several physicians there was no rush of wounded to the hospitals.
5. Al qaeda claimed responsibility immediately after the explosion

It really boggles my mind in what kind of world these people live.
The mantra like all dictatorial regimes with a propaganda tool is to lie and lie constantly and then the people will believe the lie to be true. Well they seem to have been the only ones affected by their own lies. This system works when there is complete blackout of the entire news by a single regime like the one in North Korea. In this day and age and with the regime refusing to deal with the reality except through its own prism and narrative they have fallen into their own trap. What a pitiful stupid retarded President boy Syria has now. Ghaddafi looks better than this twirp.

Now the important news: what is the central bank doing and is it true that the regime is not capable of having dollars and is buying on the black market? If so the economy is collapsing

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December 23rd, 2011, 10:19 am

 
 

426. habib said:

421:

And yet they expect unconditional US support. These folks are loyal to no-one but themselves.

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December 23rd, 2011, 10:22 am

 

427. habib said:

423.

No words? It’s about a thousand times milder than the way your friend Tantawi handles protesters.

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December 23rd, 2011, 10:24 am

 

428. Uzair8 said:

If the competent regime refuses to agree to the suggestion in #415 (UN team) then the SNC should make a statement reassuring the public that after toppling the competent regime it will make it a top priority to get to the bottom of this incident.

Btw Russia. Don’t think we don’t know you might be advising the competent regime. We know how you staged the Moscow flat bombings to justify the second Chechen war. We even hear you may have taken charge of the Assadistan foreign ministry.

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December 23rd, 2011, 10:31 am

 

429. habib said:

426.

The opposition has most to gain from such attack:

1: Weaken the security forces.

2: Punishing the Damascenes for not joining their cause.

3: Making ridiculous false-flag allegations.

That is far more powerful than any reason the regime might have.

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December 23rd, 2011, 10:37 am

 

430. jad said:

40 Syrians dead, more than 100 Syrians injured, many in critical condition as a result of this coward terrorist attack.
May God/Allah have mercy on the souls of the Syrians we lost.
The criminals who did this terrorist act don’t belong to human, they are nothing but beasts.

Bronco, you were right, this season will be the saddest one Syria will go through.

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December 23rd, 2011, 10:39 am

 

431. Revlon said:

This video clip shows Security Colonel Adnan Deeb, in casual jump suit, sitting atop a car giving thuggish briefing to his Shabbeeha zealots to kick start their daily routine in terrorising civilians.

At the end of the clip he lies in hospital bed, in vegetative state!

AlFatiha upon his victims
May God show him what he deserves!

العميد عدنان ديب قبل وبعد مقتله

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December 23rd, 2011, 10:41 am

 

432. Uzair8 said:

@427 Habib

This has not helped the opposition. It has allowed the regime and it’s supporters to sieze the initiative and somewhat silenced (temporarily) the opposition (as on here). It allows the regime greater breathing space and room to manouver regarding the observer mission. It would be unreasonable of the observer mission to expect the Syrian forces to withdraw from the towns and cities after this incident.

The competent regime can now rally its forces and supporters around itself. This incident will have stunned even the opposition and made them weary of demonstrating so soon after this incident with the risk of facing an angry military/Shabeeha. However this would be the best time to protest in order to take advantage of the presence of observers.

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December 23rd, 2011, 10:53 am

 

433. Revlon said:

Christmass of Freedom campaign

A promo featuring Mr Ziyadeh and other SNC members offering greetings to Syrians.
حملة ميلاد الحرية2011 12 24 – 31 ديسمبر الجزء الأول

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December 23rd, 2011, 10:55 am

 

434. habib said:

430.

The fact that the entire western media is parroting opposition claims about false-flag operations says it all.

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December 23rd, 2011, 11:00 am

 

435. Revlon said:

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
http://www.freesyrianarmy1.com/ar/node/146
بيان صادر عن الجيش السوري الحر كتيبة شهداء حماه
23 ديسمبر. 2011
قامت سرية شهداء الحرية من كتيبة شهداء حماه بتفجير مصفحه بعبوة ناسفة وتم القضاء على الطاقم وعددهم سته حيث كانت تطلق النار عشوائياً على المدنيين ومنازلهم
والنصر لشعبنا الحر الأبي

An Assad army armored vehicle shooting at civilians was blown up by Hama Martyrs battalion of the FSA, killing all of its 6 crew members.
23/12/2011

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December 23rd, 2011, 11:00 am

 

436. Uzair8 said:

The opposition was hoping to liberate the christian community from the regime by christmas but this seems very unlikely now. Instead lets hope that by Easter they will liberated.

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December 23rd, 2011, 11:01 am

 

437. Revlon said:

Syrian National Council المجلس الوطني السوري
http://www.facebook.com/TheSyrianNationalCouncil
23/12/2011

النظام يتحمل المسؤولية المباشرة عن التفجيرات الإجرامية في دمشق
The regime is directly responsible for the criminal bombings in Damascus today.

في خطوة تعبر عن سلوك النظام السوري وتفكيره الدموي والإجرامي شهدت العاصمة دمشق اليوم تفجيرين إرهابيين أوديا بحياة مواطنين سوريين أبرياء.

إن التفجيرين الذين حدثا في وقت متقارب، تزامنا مع بدء وصول المراقبين العرب للكشف عن جرائم النظام وعمليات القتل التي يقوم بها بحق المدنيين والمتظاهرين السلميين في سورية.

إن النظام السوري وحده يتحمل المسؤولية المباشرة عن التفجيرين الإرهابيين مع أجهزته الأمنية الدموية التي أرادت أن توجه رسالة تحذير للمراقبين بعدم الاقتراب من المقرات الأمنية وأخرى للعالم بأن النظام يواجه خطراً خارجياً وليس ثورة شعبية تطالب بالحرية والكرامة.

إن ماحدث جاء أيضاً مقترناً بإجراءات بدأها النظام منذ عدة أيام، حيث عمل على نقل آلاف المعتقلين إلى مقرات عسكرية محصنة، وتحذير الأطباء والعاملين في المشافي من الإدلاء بأي تصريحات للمراقبين العرب، ومحاولة إخفاء أي آثار تدل على حدوث عمليات قتل أو تعذيب أو مقابر جماعية يتم فيها إخفاء الذين يتم قتلهم على أيدي زبانية النظام.

إن الشهداء الذين سقطوا اليوم هم جزء من ثمن الحرية التي يدفعه السوريون للتخلص من نظام الاستبداد والجريمة، وسيحاسب الذين ارتكبوا تلك الأعمال أمام العدالة، ولن يجدي النظام نفعا أي محاولة للتعمية عن جرائمه، ونحذر من أن مسؤولي النظام يخططون لارتكاب مزيد من عمليات التفجير في سورية بهدف إشاعة أجواء من الرعب والفوضى، ومنع المراقبين العرب من الوصول إلى الحقائق التي باتت معروفة لدى الرأي العام في سورية وفي العالم أجمع.

المجلس الوطني السوري
المكتب الإعلامي

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December 23rd, 2011, 11:06 am

 

438. Juergen said:

Amir

This of course is a salafist who has killed dozen of military officers…. This regime has a sick mentality, i just hope noone thinks that Syrians are barbaric people in general, just this regime is barbaric.

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December 23rd, 2011, 11:12 am

 

439. habib said:

435.

The only way they’re responsible is by not guarding the border to Salafist-infested Northern Lebanon well enough.

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December 23rd, 2011, 11:12 am

 

440. Uzair8 said:

The regime will just ignore the opposition and western media. It will take advantage of this incident to reposition itself. It will claim the moral highground (as a victim) and justify a harsher crackdown in the name of fighting terrorism.

Before this the regime heads were dropping (eg Muallem fabricated video) and they were on shaky ground. Now, for the meantime they can pretend to hold their head up high, stand tall and build some momentum. The regime and its supporters have something to play with now. Even on SC the Menhabeks were hiding away to some extent. How quick the situation can turnaround.

If Al Qaeda did this then to what benefit?

Anyway. Lies and deception will not succeed in the face of truth and justice. If people sense something fish and unfair, they (protestors and volunteer counter propagandists etc) will redouble their efforts.

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December 23rd, 2011, 11:14 am

 

441. jna said:

Syria’s Letter to UN, UNHRC: Reports on Syria Politicized, Non-Professional, Selective, Non-Objective and Agree with Agendas for Destroying Syria
Dec 23, 2011

DAMASCUS, (SANA) – Syria on Thursday depicted the misleading reports provided by the High Commissioner for Human Rights (HCHR) and so-called International Commission of Inquiry on Syria as ” politicized, non-professional, selective and non-objective”.

In a letter to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and to the Human Rights Council (HRC), in response to the misleading reports on the situation in Syria, Syria said these reports agree with the agendas of certain countries that want to destroy Syria and militarily intervene in it under the pretext of protecting civilians.

The letter added these reports turned a blind eye to the dangerous violations of the human rights perpetrated by the terrorist groups and the millions of dollars that flow to them in the form of money, weapons and as logistic and media support to sabotage Syria and kill people.

“Syria has cooperated with all UN bodies and provided them with many documents and documented information about the situation in Syria, but all that was ignored and called as allegations, ” the letter included.

The letter stressed that Syria has formed a neutral, honest and independent judicial committee to investigate all the crimes committed within the framework of the current events.

“The committee is working tirelessly to unveil the truth for the rest of the victims’ souls and to punish perpetrators.We repeatedly made clear that the work of this committee is continuous and the government does not want to anticipate the committee work and provide non-objective outcomes or results that serve political goals, as the International Commission of Inquiry did in its report, ” the letter said.

The letter added:” We have reiterated our readiness to cooperate with the International Commission of Inquiry once the Syrian investigation committee achieves tangible results, but some refused and listened to politicians, journalists and non-governmental organizations and some outlaws,”

The letter inquired whether the committee listened to the martyr Sari Saoud’s family members, to the testimony of the deceased Zainab, who was listed as a civilian killed by the security forces according to journalist information, who later proved to be alive, or to the testimony of a family member of Brigadier General Abdo Khudr al-Tallawy who, along with his three children, were killed and mutilated in cold blood.

The letter asked why all the documented information offered by Syria about the child Hamza al-Khatib were rejected, preferring to depend on some false and misleading media reports to throw out dangerous charges against Syria?

The letter said the misleading reports about Syria based on interviews with politicians, journalists, some foreign citizens abroad and the beneficiaries of the destruction of Syria who are involved in the events that daily kill the Syrians, Some of those are directly concerned with fabricating news against Syria and hands of the others are stained with the Syrian blood.

“Some have closed their ears to the voice of the real victims. How some claim neutrality and objectivity and they did not meet any of the victims previously mentioned and many others who have suffered from the terrorism woes.”

The letter said hundreds of terrorists confessed to killing demonstrators, looting, mutilating bodies, horrifying people, and fabricating news for money received by some neighboring countries as they confessed to killing those who refused to demonstrate with them or participate in destroying Syria, as they boasted by perpetrating that.

“Confirmations of Syria and a number of news agencies ,which led the campaign against Syria, regarding the presence of armed groups that kill innocents and target army, security forces and scientists were ignored,” the letter added.

“On May, 22nd, 2011, Syria informed the Office of HCHR that 260 army and security forces’ members were martyred in armed attacks as to hold the attention to the non-peaceful events taking place in Syria… since that time, the number of martyrs has increased to 600 by August 20th, 2011 and 1100 martyrs by October 19th, 2011… To date, the number has exceeded 2000 army and security forces’ martyrs at a time some parties insist on their rejection of listening or believing that there are terrorist operations in Syria. Is there any place for those in the resolutions taken by the UNGA, UNSC and HRC ?

“No indication has been made on destroying railways and oil transfer pipelines, burning schools, hospitals and official institutions, or destroying economy and infrastructures, do not their victims deserve attention?” The letter woundered.

“In a flagrant violations of the right to life and prevent extrajudicial executions, Syrian citizens have been terrified, forced to flee their houses and properties to sectarian areas, killed and mutilated to divide the country into sectarian regions. Don’t they deserve to get attention?” The letter went on to say.

“Some parties used the international investigation committee’s politicized, selective and systematic report which lacks professionality and accuracy to make recommendations regarding intensifying the campaign launched against Syria. According to this, the Office of HCHR report or statements cannot be separated from the campaign,”

The international investigation committee has failed to commit to one of the UN Charter main articles which bans the use of military force or the threat to use force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state,”

The letter stressed that the only solution for the crisis is the national dialogue, regretting the failure of the HCHR and the International Commission of Inquiry in calling for national dialogue but it preferred to violate the Syrian people’s right to life through calling for foreign intervention in Syria.

Syria stressed that “it chooses to make reforms, respond to the people’s demands and investigate current events. Syria chose dialogue and we expected cooperation to achieve it and move the country into better future peacefully rather than calls for foreign interference under the guise of ‘protecting civilians’.

In the conclusion of the letter, Syria called for listening to the voice of right, justice, objectivity and conveying the reality according to the people who lived it not according to allegations of people who live thousands of miles from Syria and they are involved in killing and terrifying the Syrians.

Syria also called for not to be drawn by calls for foreign interference in Syria and to restore the real role of the UNGA and UNSC in investigating violations of human rights and supporting reform and dialogue in Syria to come out of the crisis which shed the Syrian blood serving foreign schemes which don’t contribute to enhancing or protecting human rights.
http://sana.sy/eng/337/2011/12/23/390106.htm

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December 23rd, 2011, 11:19 am

 

442. ann said:

Russian push to investigate Libyan civilian deaths “cheap stunt” – United States – 23 December, 2011

http://rt.com/politics/russia-us-syria-libya-nato-investigation-531/print/

As Russia submits a draft resolution on Syria to the UN Security Council, Washington’s response to a call by Moscow for an investigation into civilian deaths in Libya raises some eyebrows over the question of human rights.

The updated Russian draft resolution on Syria will be finally ready on Friday, according to Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin who said the draft is unlikely to satisfy particular members of the UN Security Council.

“Our intention and wish is to make the Council come out from a single position,” he told reporters.

Meanwhile, Churkin said a Security Council-mandated investigation is the only way to support NATO claims that it was not responsible for civilian deaths in Libya that occurred during a bombing campaign ostensibly designed under the aegis of the United Nations to protect civilians.

The United States dismissed Russia’s demand for an investigation as “a cheap stunt” to distract attention away from the Syrian government’s crackdown on protesters.

This is certainly not the first time a NATO aerial mission has gone awry. Last month, American fighter jets launched a deadly airstrike against Pakistani troops situated on the border with Afghanistan. Twenty-four Pakistani soldiers were killed in the incident, which has brought relations between Islamabad and Washington to all-time low.

Observers hope the heated rhetoric does not interfere with Russia’s revised draft, which urges opposing Syrian parties to immediately stop violence and calls for “a political process which is open for all and is governed by Syrians.”

Churkin said the draft is based on “the philosophy that was confirmed by recent positive events”, including Syrian agreement with the League of Arab States to let a mission of observers into the country.

“We hope they will begin the process as soon as possible and will display restraint,” he said.

The UN ambassador remained optimistic that the members of the Security Council will find a way out of the impasse despite the increased level of rhetoric in the ongoing debate.

“We believe there is the basis for discussion and we are set to continue stubbornly working on it,” he said.

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December 23rd, 2011, 11:23 am

 

443. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Juergen,

“…This of course is a salafist who has killed dozen of military officers”.

Yes, no doubt about this…

But what struck me about this video, is the absolute non-existing fear. What makes an adult man in his 60ies go in the street and shout in front of the security uniformed men, knowing that he’ll be arrested on the spot? Isn’t this insane?

This junta is bringing the Syrian people to a dangerous state of rageful insanity.
.

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December 23rd, 2011, 11:26 am

 

444. ann said:

Syrians rally in anger after terrorist attacks in Damascus – 2011-12-23

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2011-12/23/c_122476129.htm

DAMASCUS, Dec. 23 (Xinhua) — Crowds of people flocked Syrian main squares nationwide to express condemnation of the two terrorist attacks that have struck two security branches earlier in the day and killed at least 40 people and wounded a hundred others.

Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) said the demonstrators chanted pro-government slogans stressing adherence to national unity and the independence of Syria’s national decision.

Also Imams and preachers of mosques on Friday condemned the attacks and stressed in a statement carried by SANA that Islam has nothing to do with any terrorist attack that targets the security of the homeland and citizens and the unity and stability of the country.

Two suicide car bombers struck Friday the headquarters of the intelligence department building and the Region Security Branch in central Damascus, killing at least 40 people and wounding 150 others, Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi told Xinhua.

Maj. Gen Rustom Ghazali has reportedly said “this is a criminal and sinful act and confirms that there are agent tools that carry out the hostile foreign project.” But, he added, “this will not affect the morale of the security forces, the citizens and the army… Our morale will always remain high and we will resist this project till the last drop of our blood and will undermine the sedition.”

The state-TV said specialized authorities are examining the remains of a suicide bomber, adding that text messages were sent to the Syrians’ mobile phones to donate blood for the wounded.

The TV said security forces arrested a suspect, adding that terrorists have carried out the two blasts at sites with heavy traffic and near an orphanage.

It immediately apportioned blame on al-Qaida and said initial investigations point out that al-Qaida group is behind the two blasts.

The brazen bombing came as Arab League observers have arrived in Damascus to monitor the country’s unrest on ground.

Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister, Faisal Mekdad, who rushed to the scene along with an Arab League observers delegation, told reporters that “We have said since the start of unrest in the country that this is terrorism and a murder of army members.”

Seif al-Yazal, a member of the Arab League observers who have arrived in Damascus on Thursday to monitor an end to the government’s crackdown on protesters, said “this is regretful… we are here to see facts on ground.”

The blasts are the first deadly acts in the capital since the eruption of violence acts in mid March. Syria said Thursday that more than 2,000 army men were killed by armed groups since the unrest began in March.

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December 23rd, 2011, 11:31 am

 

445. Revlon said:

Swizerland freezes 50 Million Franks of Jr and his mob.

آخر تحديث: الجمعة 28 محرم 1433هـ – 23 ديسمبر 2011م KSA 13:24 – GMT 10:24
http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2011/12/23/184132.html

العقوبات تشمل شقيقه ماهر ووزير الداخلية

سويسرا تجمّد 53 مليون دولار من أموال الرئيس السوري ومسؤولين آخرين

زوريخ – رويترز
أعلنت الحكومة السويسرية إن سويسرا جمّدت 50 مليون فرنك سويسري (53 مليون دولار) من أموال الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد ومسؤولين سوريين كبار آخرين.

واستهدف التجميد أموال 12 شركة و54 فردا. وقالت المتحدثة باسم وزارة الدولة السويسرية للشؤون الاقتصادية إن التجميد يشمل أموالا للأسد وماهر الاسد شقيقه وهو قائد فرقة في الجيش ووزير الداخلية السوري ابراهيم الشعار

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December 23rd, 2011, 11:39 am

 

446. habib said:

“If Al Qaeda did this then to what benefit?”

That question doesn’t even warrant an answer. The benefits are legion.

441.

I’m more impressed by the Palestinian children who throw rocks at Israeli soldiers well-knowing they can get shot and killed.

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December 23rd, 2011, 11:44 am

 

447. Tara said:

Habib

I don’t think you really believe what you write.

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December 23rd, 2011, 11:48 am

 

448. Revlon said:

After all, Iran and proxy Syria have might have a hidden soft spot for AlQaeda; they finance their operations!

10 Million dollars for information on whereabouts of Iranian agent, Yasin Al-Suri.
He is accused by US treasury in financing AlQaeda operations from Iran.

آخر تحديث: الجمعة 28 محرم 1433هـ – 23 ديسمبر 2011م KSA 07:40 – GMT 04:40
http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2011/12/23/184082.html

تبلغ 10 ملايين دولار أمريكي

واشنطن ترصد مكافأة ضخمة لاعتقال عميل من إيران يمول أنشطة القاعدة
العربية.نت
أعلنت الولايات المتحدة أنها رصدت مكافأة تصل إلى 10 ملايين دولار لمن يُدلي بمعلومات تؤدي لاعتقال ياسين السوري، الذي تتهمه بالعمل من إيران على تسهيل أنشطة القاعدة وتمويلها، نقلاً عن تقرير لقناة “العربية” اليوم الجمعة.

وقال يتان فيش، المسؤول في وزارة الخزانة الأمريكيه، إن المكافأة هي الأولى التي تعرض بخصوص ممول للقاعدة، وإن هدفها تعطيل شبكة تمويل تعمل من داخل الحدود الإيرانية منذ عام 2005.

وأفاد روبرت هارتونغ، المسؤول في الوزارة، بأن ياسين السوري ساعد بموجب اتفاق بين القاعدة وطهران في نقل أموال ومجندين عبر إيران إلى زعماء القاعدة في بلدان مجاورة.

وأضاف أن ياسين – المنحدر من أصل سوري – يُعرف أيضاً باسم عز الدين عبدالعزيز خليل.

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December 23rd, 2011, 11:49 am

 

449. jad said:

Even the American statement has way better understanding and more morals than the Syrian oppositions disgusting ‘show’

الخارجية الاميركية: يجب ان لا تعرقل تفجيرات دمشق عمل المراقبين العرب

دانت الادارة الاميركية على لسان المتحدث باسمها مارك تونر تفجيرات دمشق، معتبرة انها “لا ينبغي ان تعيق عمل بعثة المراقبين العرب التي تتقصى الحقائق بشأن قمع حركة الاحتجاج في سوريا”.
ولفت تونر الى “ان الولايات المتحدة تدين الاعتداءات باقصى قوة، حيث لا شيء على الاطلاق يمكن ان يبرر الارهاب”.

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December 23rd, 2011, 12:12 pm

 
 

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