Preparing for Friday Demonstrations (5 May 2011)

A friend in Damascus writes:

Dear Joshua,

A friend of mine living in Kafar Batna (near Saqba) just told me that his wife called him to say that she can hear a lot of shooting going out in the street. Last night hundreds of people were detained in Saqba.
Today an Alawi businessman with connection to the establishment told me that around 1 million of people (between army, Alawi armed militia, bath party armed militia, police, security services etc…) will be deployed tomorrow to put a stop to any kind of demonstration or uprising. The use of violence or live fire have been permitted to all these forces. Perhaps it is an exaggeration they want to spread to terrorize the people and keep them home? I do not know (in any case i will stay home like all the 4 past Fridays). Today is the martyrs day.

A Sunni friend with connections to the Sunni “respected” shaikhs of Damascus (i do not want to tell their names) told me that some of them already asked their followers to go in the street and protest. Others, like Bouti are still trying to mediate but the blood of many of them is boiling. I heard from this side many times the word “war” … i do not know what to expect from tomorrow: a big calm or a big blood bath…
Suria Allah Hamiha…

Kuwaitis and Emiratis to the Rescue?

This Arab News article copied below states that business men from Kuwait and the Emirates are pouring millions into the Syrian economy in an effort to protect it.

على رأسهم الاماراتيون و الكويتيون .. رجال أعمال عرب يضخون مئات الملايين لحماية الاقتصاد السوري
عرب نيوز
عرب نيوز : على رأسهم الاماراتيون و الكويتيون .. رجال أعمال عرب يضخون مئات الملايين لحماية الاقتصاد السوري

قالت مصادر مطلعة أن تكتلات لرجال أعمال سوريين، يشاركهم رجال أعمال عرب وخليجيون، يستعدون للإعلان عن استثمارات ضخمة في سوريا خلال الفترة القريبة المقبلة، بما يساعد في توفير المزيد من فرص العمل على أكبر مساحة جغرافية ممكنة وتعزيز مقومات الأمن الغذائي، إذا إن الكثير من المشاريع التي سيتم طرحها ستوجه نحو القطاع الزراعي والغذائي وقدر حجم الاستثمارات التي سيعلن عنها في هذا السياق بنحو 500 مليون دولار. وأكدت المصادر أنها جاهزة مباشرة للضخ عبر مشاريع يجري إعدادها حاليا وتطلق قريبا . وقالت الشرق الأوسط أن زيارة أمير الكويت إلى سوريا الأحد المقبل ستحمل في شق منها جانبا اقتصاديا..يجري من خلاله الإعلان عن استثمارات مشتركة وإطلاق مشاريع كان متفقا عليها في زيارة الأمير الأخيرة إلى سوريا قبل أشهر. مع الإشارة هنا إلى أن من بين تكتلات رجال الأعمال التي تستعد للإعلان عن مشاريع استثمارية مجموعة مهمة من المستثمرين الكويتيين، كما أن هناك رجال أعمال إماراتيين

‘Bashar or chaos’: Syrian regime’s new mantra
Thursday, 05 May 2011 16:47 Mohideen Miftha

DAMASCUS, May 5, 2011 (AFP) – Bashar al-Assad or chaos. This is the new media mantra unleashed by the Syrian authorities to discredit the protest movement against the embattled president’s autocratic rule.
“We Syria,” “The collaborators are seeking discord,” “Yes to stability rather than chaos,” and “Freedom is not sabotage,” are some of the string of slogans screaming out on street posters and television clips in Damascus.
“The message of our campaign is simple. The word freedom as defined by protesters is not true freedom,” says Shaza Ferzli, 33, who heads the regime’s media account at United Group, the largest advertising company in Syria.
Wherever one turns one’s head in Damascus there is a slogan.

There are signs calling for “national unity” and “co-existence between communities” on buildings, bus stops and public transport alongside giant posters of President Bashar al-Assad.
One poster with the slogan “No to Dissent” is put up next to a picture of a church and a mosque under the slogan “Yes to coexistence.”It is evident that in this multi-confessional country, the authorities want to put across the message that the anti-government protesters are extremists who want to break the prevailing harmony.

For Zulfiqar Mohammed of United Group, the campaigns launched so far aim to “revive the national fabric which is confronted with an alien phenomenon. It’s a foreign conspiracy,” he says referring to the unprecedented demonstrations against Assad’s 11-year rule which began seven weeks ago as a wave of revolt swept the Arab world. Syrian and international human rights groups say that more than 600 civilians have been killed so far.

To show that the country is in danger, state television regularly broadcasts commercials glorifying the nation using slogans such as “Darling Syria,” or “Syria’s head is high,” alongside images of major tourist attractions.
The authorities also use derogatory terms to refer to the protesters like “terrorists”, “mercenaries” or “plotters.”Assad’s supporters, like their opponents, are also making full use of new media, like social networking sites, to drive home their message.

Ammar Ismail Shaie wages a relentless war on Facebook and Twitter against the young protesters of the so-called “Syrian Revolution 2011” group. “I spend sleepless nights,” says Shaie, browsing the DNN (Damascus News Network), one of the 15 pro-Assad pages on Facebook.

The main objective is to discredit the protesters by pointing to their “lies” and denounce the coverage of television channels such as Qatar-based network Al-Jazeera, the bete noire of the Syrian authorities.
“They broadcast only the view of the opposition, not that of the loyalists. There is no voice for those who love the president,” says Ammar.

“Look at these mock funerals shown by the media,” he says, showing a video on Youtube depicting two dead men rising to join an angry mob. The protesters too broadcast daily dozens of videos accusing government loyalists of fabricating lies aimed at discrediting them. In a country which forbids foreign journalists from going out to report on the protests, it is a cyberwar on YouTube between pro- and anti-government forces.

Thu, May. 05 2011 03:10 AM EDT
Christians Under Attack From Anti-Government Protesters in Syria
By Alison Matheson|Christian Post Correspondent

Christian communities across Syria have been attacked by anti-government protesters in recent weeks.

International Christian Concern says that protesters are being led by hard-line Islamists and that Christians have come under pressure to either join in protests demanding the resignation of President Bashir Assad, or else leave the country.

Eye witnesses report seeing around 20 masked men on motorcycles open fire on a home in a Christian village outside Dara’a, in southern Syria.

Another source told ICC that churches had received threatening letters over Easter, telling them either to join the protests or leave.

In Karak, Muslim Salafists forced villagers to join the protests and remove pictures of the president from their home. One man who refused was reportedly found hanged on his front porch the next morning.

One Syrian Christian leader told ICC: “People want to go out and peacefully ask for certain changes, but Muslim Salafi groups are sneaking in with their goal, which is not to make changes for the betterment of Syria, but to take over the country with their agenda.

“We want to improve life and rights in Syria under this president, but we do not want terrorism. Christians will be the first to pay the price of terrorism.”

ICC fears that the intimidation tactics may drive Christians out of Syria in a similar way to the exodus of believers from other parts of the Middle East, most notably Iraq.

Syrian Christians fear that if the hardliners succeed in taking over the government, they will try to drive Christians out of the country.

One Syrian Christian leader told ICC: “If Muslim Salafis gain political influence, they will make sure that there will be no trace of Christianity in Syria.”

Another source told ICC that protesters in Duma, a suburb of Damascus, were last week heard shouting: “Alawites to the grave and Christians to Beirut!”

ICC’s regional manager for the Middle East, Aidan Clay, urged the U.S. administration to take a cautious approach in its diplomatic relations with Syria.

“Unlike in Egypt, where Christians predominantly supported the revolution that removed President Hosni Mubarak from power, Syrian Christians have not participated in protests, anticipating that chaos and bloodshed will follow if radical Islam takes hold of the country,” he said.

“Throughout the Middle East, Christians have been fleeing their homeland in unprecedented numbers. Now, in a country where Christians have historically taken refuge from nearby purges in places like Turkey a century ago and Iraq in recent years, Islamists are threatening their existence.

“We urge the U.S. Government to act wisely and carefully when developing policies that have deep political ramifications for Syria’s minorities by not indirectly supporting a foothold to be used by radical Islamists to carry out their anti-Christian agenda.”

The Syrian constitution provides for freedom of religion but the government imposes restrictions on this right. Sunnis constitute 74 percent of the population while various Christian groups constitute 10 percent, although there are estimates that the Christian population, mostly due to migration, may have dropped to 8 percent, according to the U.S. State Department’s International Religious Freedom report.

Suicide Car Bomber Kills 18 Iraqi Policemen, Associated Press

The bombing in Hillah is the second significant attack in Iraq since the death of Osama bin Laden.

EU Moves Closer to Sanctions on Syria Over ‘Brutal Crackdown’ – Bloomberg 

St Andrews University clears itself over links to Syria: 05 May 2011
By FIONA MACLEOD – Scotsman

ONE of Scotland’s most prestigious universities has dismissed accusations of political influence over its research on Syria.

St Andrews University launched an investigation into its Centre for Syrian Studies (CSS) after it was criticised for taking £105,000 from a businessman with links to the Syrian government. The Middle East state’s regime has recently come under the spotlight for heavy-handed tactics against pro-democracy campaigners.

An internal review by the university concluded the research conducted by the centre maintained the highest levels of academic independence.

At the end of last month it was reported that funding for the centre from British- Syrian businessman Ayman Asfari had been “arranged” by the Syrian ambassador to the UK, Sami Kiyami, and that the university was too close to figures inside the controversial regime.

However, the deputy principal of St Andrews last night said his investigation had found “no evidence” of prejudice in the centre’s research or any inappropriate links with Syria.

Professor Chris Hawkesworth said: “We have found no evidence that the source of funding for the CSS prejudices the outcome of our research, and we robustly refute the allegation that we should be in any way embarrassed by the Asfari Foundation’s support of the Centre for Syrian Studies or the centre’s contacts.”……

Comments (50)


1. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

I won’t be surprised if tomorrow will be relatively quiet. After all this crackdown, mass intimidation and arrests (Israeli channel 10 says there are more than 8,500 detainees).

And from YouTube channels, it looks like this junta is adopting an Iranian method, occupying main squares and main roads, in advance, so protesters cannot gather. It works well in Tehran.

But this is Pyrrhic victory. This junta is doomed. Nothing now can bring it from the dead. It’ll take more time, that’s all.
.

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May 5th, 2011, 2:57 pm

 

2. Mina said:

The Wahhabis preparing for Friday in Syria:
http://twitter.com/#!/AdnanAlarour

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May 5th, 2011, 3:09 pm

 

3. SANDRO LOEWE said:

Does anybody know if this new is correct? I cannot believe that syrian ambassador to Turkey has been expelled from the Turkey after assassination atempt on Prime Minister Erdogan. If it was true I wonder who in hell is the brain behind international relations and exterior politics in Syria..

Can anybody confirm the new?

CEDRA NEWS AGENCY (TURKEY). SORRY IN ARABIC.

سيدار التركية: طرد السفير السوري من انقرة بعد محالة اغتيال اردوغان واحتجاجا على قمع دمشق للمحتجين كشفت صحيفة “سيدار” التركية إن السلطات التركية قامت بطرد السفير السوري في أنقرة وذلك بعد ساعات من محاولة فاشلة من مجهولين لاغتيال رئيس الوزراء التركي زعيم حزب العدالة والتنمية الحاكم رجب طيب أردوغان.

وأضاف الصحيفة التركية أن السلطات اتخذت هذا القرار أيضا اعتراضا على ما يلاقيه الشعب السورى من قمع وقتل على أيدى قوات الجيش السوري منذ منتصف آذار الماضي في موجة احتجاجات شعبية غير مسبوقة ضد نظام بشار الأسد.

ويأتي قرار الطرد بعد ساعات من محاولة فاشلة لاغتيال أردوغان، حيث ألقى مجهولون عبوة ناسفة وفتحوا النار على حافلة تقل رجال شرطة أتراكا مما أسفر عن مقتل ضابط في شمال تركيا قرب مكان تجمع انتخابي حضره رئيس الوزراء التركي.

وذكرت قناة تلفزيون “ان.تي.في.” الإخبارية أن أردوغان غادر مدينة كاستامونو بشمال تركيا بطائرة هليكوبتر لحظة وقوع الهجوم. وقالت إن مركبة الشرطة كانت ترافق حافلة لحزب العدالة والتنمية الحاكم.

وأضافت أن قنبلة ألقيت على مركبة الشرطة وفتح مسلحون النار لدى انفجارها واشتعال النار بها.

وذكرت مصادر تركية أن سوريا قد تكون خلف محاولة اغتيال أردوغان خصوصا بعد تصريحاته قبل يومين والتي هاجم فيها بشار الأسد.

يذكر ان أردوغان ذكر في مقابلة تلفزيونيّة الإثنين إنه لا يريد أن يرى مذبحة حماة تحدث مرة أخرى في سوريا، وحذر من أن حدوث مثل هذه الأمور سيجبر المجتمع الدولي على اتخاذ موقف من سوريا، مؤكداً أن بلاده ستتخذ الموقف نفسه في هذه الحالة.

ونبّه أردوغان الرئيس السوري إلى عواقب الاستمرار في قتل المدنيين. كذلك حذر من أن سوريا لن تنهض مرة أخرى إن وقعت فيها مثل هذه المذابح.

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May 5th, 2011, 3:19 pm

 

4. atassi said:

Handing Jihadis Cause; Assad says fundamentalists are behind the unrest. They’re not. But his iron fist could bring them home.

By Nibras Kazimi; Kazimi is the author of Syria Through Jihadist Eyes: A Perfect Enemy (Hoover Press).
9 May 2011
Newsweek International
May 9, 2011; ; International Edition
Volume 157, Number 19, ISSN 0163-7053
English
Copyright (C) 2011 Newsweek Inc. All Rights Reserved.
When Syrian army tanks stormed the southern town of Daraa last week, a military spokesman explained that the assault targeted “extremist terrorist groups.” The justification fell in line with the media campaign propagated by President Bashar al-Assad’s regime ever since countrywide protests began more than a month ago: behind the demonstrations are jihadists.
The reality is anything but. In fact, the popular uprising has followed on the wider revolt that has rocked the Middle East since January. In Syria, too, it has erupted, in large part spontaneously. What little coordination that has happened has come from human-rights activists and young, Internet-savvy professionals taking their cues from the astonishingly effective model on display in Egypt. The human face of it all, as evidenced by the left-leaning intellectuals and spokespersons talking to the outside world, has been secular and democratic. If there was indeed a jihadist element active in all this—as the regime claims—any role it has played has been nothing more than marginal. Even the former long-serving leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Ali al-Bayanouni, said last week in a television interview with Alhurra that “none of the opposition groups can claim ownership of this youthful revolution.”
That is hardly the message Assad’s Damascus wants the fence-sitters to see. His regime would like to face these protests with the same coalition—urban Sunni bourgeoisie, Christians, and heterodox Muslim sects—that his father cobbled together almost 30 years ago to face down a threatening Islamic fundamentalist insurgency. That showdown culminated with the smashing of the central city of Hama during a three-week battle in February 1982, leaving tens of thousands killed. Hafez Assad’s triumph brought on nearly three decades of stability.
It is ironic that the regime has worked assiduously to erase the battle over Hama from the country’s collective memory, as it would like nothing more than what happened there to be remembered now. Today, Bashar al-Assad would like to go to battle against the very same fundamentalist bogeymen his father fought back in the 1980s. Such a specter would sufficiently scare vested interests and confessional groups within the country, bringing them around to his side. And if the enemy were just an ideological shade away from Al Qaeda, the West would not intervene, but instead would let Damascus do its dirty work.
That’s not to say there aren’t Syrian jihadists. To the contrary, actually. In the years following Hama, successive generations of Syrian fundamentalists joined the jihad; they just did so abroad. Abu Musab al-Suri became Al Qaeda’s chief tactical theorist, bouncing around the globe before he was arrested in Pakistan. The prolific London-based writer Abu Baseer al-Tartousi turned out to be one of Al Qaeda’s leading ideologues. Many young Syrians joined Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi in Afghanistan and later in Iraq, helping him rise to infamous heights—some even became Zarqawi’s top aides. There’s no doubt much of this happened with the connivance of Syrian authorities, which allowed jihadists to wreak havoc in places where their nihilism converged with the regime’s own interests in fomenting mayhem: radical Syrians abroad were able to stick a wrench in Iraqi and Lebanese affairs when it saw fit.
Damascus, meanwhile, figured the risk of blowback was minimal, or, at worst, manageable. So far it has been. Save for the attack on the U.S. Embassy in September 2006 and a car bomb at a security checkpoint two years later, news from Syria has been devoid of any jihadist-inspired headlines.
What’s most important, though, is that by invoking the threat of jihadists as cover for his crackdown on Arab Spring protesters, Assad risks drawing jihadists back into his country. Further brutality on demonstrators may look, on television screens in the West, like just another Arab strongman squashing dissent. But to militant expatriates, the scene is different: officers from the minority Alawite Shia sect beating down on a Sunni majority. The perception will drive anti-Shia jihadists back to Syria. Meanwhile, the regime will work to draw frightened minorities and urban Sunni merchants into its fold. Sectarianism, historically rife in Syria and known to anyone who has experienced life under the Assads, is the fast-burning fuel that could quickly spark what would surely be a vicious civil war.
The jihadists, should they return, would come with a fury. In past years, security sweeps have kept control over most Islamic fundamentalists who had come home to roost. Take the shadowy outfit that called itself by the same name that al-Zarqawi had adopted for himself at the onset of his jihad. It made two audio releases a few months apart in 2007 laden with threats and grandiose visions. But it couldn’t galvanize followers (perhaps there weren’t enough to be rallied in the first place). In the end it was all smoke, no fire.
But a new crop of militants has been battle-hardened by Iraq. And the arid lands of western Iraq, abutting the Syrian border, could quickly become a Waziristan-like haven from which they could restock munitions, raise funds, and train new recruits. Sunni Iraq has ejected Al Qaeda but will likely sympathize with these Syrian insurgents for sectarian and cultural reasons. After all, the people on either side of the border of the Euphrates Valley, and farther north toward the lands west of Mosul, are indistinguishable by accent, tribal affiliation, and sect.
According to a well-placed Iraqi security source, the man who seems poised to lead a potential jihad in Syria—the 43-year-old Abdel-Hakim Ali Ashayish al-Ugaili—is a native of the Syrian town of Dayr az Zawr, which lies a short drive from Iraq’s Anbar province. He is a veteran of Chechnya, Bosnia, and a bunch of other jihadist hotspots. For the last few years he’s been working between Syria and Baghdad.
These ties matter. Daraa lies on the northwestern rim of the Hawran plain, mirrored by the lands of northern Jordan in the southeast. It was in that corner of Jordan that al-Zarqawi was born and reared in a cultural ecosystem that is itself indistinguishable from Daraa’s.
What happens in Syria won’t be easily confined to its own borders. The spillover effect would mean that Jordan, where a shaky monarchy is trying to stay a step ahead of popular demonstrations, would be pulled into the chaos. Another flash point would be the Sunni enclaves in Lebanon that border Syria. Lebanon has been simmering with Sunni-Shia tensions for a while, and in the last few years Sunnis and Alawites have sporadically clashed in the north with light arms and mortar barrages. All more than enough for serious concern.
Assad has called out the jihadists as his enemy of choice. The rhetoric may not represent reality, but the jihadists would like nothing more than to oblige. Strategically, Syria would be an ideal cauldron in which militants could fan the flames of a jihad that is dying out in Iraq and Afghanistan. What Damascus doesn’t realize is that the rougher the repression on the Arab Spring, the more it is instigating a jihadist campaign of violent vengeance. It has a real chance at success. And the West, despite its reluctance, will then have to contend with multiple Fallujahs sprouting within striking distance of the Israeli-held Golan Heights.
Kazimi is the author of Syria Through Jihadist Eyes: A Perfect Enemy (Hoover Press).

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May 5th, 2011, 3:43 pm

 

5. Jad said:

‘Majority of Syrians don’t want regime change’ – blogger

5 May 2011 Last updated at 06:56 ET Help
Syrian blogger Camille Otrakji says most Syrians “sympathise with most of the demands of the peaceful demonstrators” who have participated in the protests of the last seven weeks.

Mr Otrakji, who lives in Montreal, Canada, told the BBC World Service that a silent majority want “sweeping reforms” but realise that regime change “is not doable”.

Hundreds of Syrian troops have stormed the Damascus suburb of Saqba, the scene of a big, peaceful protest last week.

Tanks and troops are also reported to have been sent to other trouble spots.

Mr Otrakji told the BBC that despite the crackdown on the protesters, President Bashar al-Assad “is very popular in Syria” and regarded as “a reformer”.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-13294520

It’s pathatic that in the picture of this article the protest organizers are showing the Turkish flag bigger than the Syrian flag,

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May 5th, 2011, 3:44 pm

 

6. Majed97 said:

Just for the sake of argument, let’s assume we all wake up tomorrow morning and find that all of the protesters’ demands for reform are met, including term limit for the president and ending the Baath party’s majority rule (article 8). Does anyone really believe that will stop them from protesting? I’m betting nothing short of toppling the government will satisfy them. Well, let’s go ahead and assume they succeeded in toppling the government; what would Syria be like then? Just imagine the outcome of such scenario… Will the sun look any brighter? Will the sky open up any wider? Will the water flow any faster? Will poverty disappears? And, more importantly, what would happen to the last line of defense against Israel? Let’s face it folks, Assad is Syria’s best option right now. He must be giving an opportunity to implement his proposed reforms. Orderly and gradual reform is how the rest of the world does reform.

Not unlike the rest of the Arab world, corruption is a major problem in Syria, but Syria’s biggest problems are deeply rooted in its citizens’ bad cultural habits, rather than in its leadership. No revolution or leader in the world is capable of changing the fact that Syria’s explosive population rate is unsustainable. People, particularly those with the most modest means, do not hesitate to have unlimited number of children with no concerns at all about the cost of caring for them properly. The only family planning they practice is the “God will take care of them” plan. But when God disappoints them, as he usually does, then it becomes the government’s problem. No revolution or system of government in the world is capable of keeping up with such irresponsible behavior, particularly in a country with limited and rapidly dwindling natural resources.

Poverty in Syria is the main culprit behind this uprising, which started in the poorest regions in the country (Daraa and Douma), but poverty cannot be entirely blamed on poor government management of the economy. In fact, the Syrian economy has done well in recent years, thanks to Bashar’s economic reform initiatives. Whose failure is it that Syria’s population has tripled over the past three decades? Whose fault is it that Syria has endured four straight years of drought? Whose fault is it that oil supply is depleting rapidly? And finally, should we blame Bashar for the international isolation and pressure on Syria due to its resistance stance against Israel?

Before Syrians run to the street calling for government change, freedom and democracy, they need to first look at themselves and realize that they need to change their behavior and become responsible in managing their personal resources more realistically.

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May 5th, 2011, 3:51 pm

 

7. Mina said:

Does anyone know who is this US expert?
http://youtu.be/DRIqs3rSaVA

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May 5th, 2011, 3:52 pm

 

8. gk said:

A quote: “…there are “bullies in the world and people who’re oppressed in the world. And he said, ‘Sometimes they have to be taken care of,'” she said.”

Bashar will be taken care of soon!

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May 5th, 2011, 3:52 pm

 

9. atassi said:

Syria troops exit one protest hub, enter another
Rana Moussaoui and Sammy Ketz

5 May 2011
15:20
Agence France Presse
English
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011 All reproduction and presentation rights reserved.

Syria pulled its troops from a 10-day clampdown in Daraa on Thursday and deployed them in another protest hub as activists vowed a “Day of Defiance” to press their anti-regime campaign.

And as President Bashar al-Assad’s regime arrested 300 people on another front in Damascus, the United Nations said it was sending a team to access the situation in the southern flashpoint town of Daraa.

Dozens of armoured vehicles, including tanks and troops reinforcements, were deployed meanwhile near the Mediterranean coastal town of Banias, an activist told AFP, contacted by telephone.

In Daraa, where the seven-week-old protest movement was born, about 350 soldiers in armoured personnel carriers and trucks plastered with portraits of Assad drove out of the town at around 10:00 am (0700 GMT), an AFP reporter said.

“We have begun our withdrawal after having completed our mission in Daraa,” said General Riad Haddad, the military’s political department chief. “The army will have pulled out of Daraa completely by the end of the day.”

Dozens of people were killed during military assaults in Daraa, launched with what activists termed “indiscriminate” shelling of the town.

But Haddad insisted that troops “did not confront the protesters. We continue searching for terrorists hidden in several places. As the army, we never confronted the protesters.”

Twenty-five soldiers were killed in Daraa and 177 wounded, he said.

In the wake of the pullout, residents stepped out of their houses for the first time on Friday, most of them mute with fear as reporters toured the town accompanied by security forces.

“We didn’t dare venture outside. I saw a sniper on a roof and a bullet passed within inches of me. Thank God, my life was saved,” Najah Abdallah, a young mother wearing a black headscarf and holding her son by the hand, told AFP.

Frightened by the presence of cameras and supervised reporters, one man timidly offered his view: “Hopefully, everything is normal.”

Suddenly, another man closer to the protesters joined in: “How can you say nothing is happening? Lies. Me, I’m not afraid to speak out. They just came to massacre us. They ransacked my house, stole my money.”

Others, however, recounted the official version of events.

“It was terror. There were hooded men with guns. They set up roadblocks and were taking passers-by off the streets. It was like a state within a state but we’ve been set free,” said Abu Mohammed, a shopkeeper.

The arrests in the Damascus suburb of Saqba came despite appeals from UN chief Ban Ki-moon, the United States and Italy for Assad to end the deadly crackdown.

Meanwhile, activists vowed a “Day of Defiance” on Friday to press the campaign in which rights groups say 607 people have died, while 8,000 people have been jailed or gone missing.

In Banias, an activist told AFP by telephone that dozens of armoured vehicles were deployed near the town.

“It looks like they are preparing to attack the town, like they did in Daraa,” he said.

And in northern Syria, regime supporters forcibly dispersed a student sit-in at Aleppo University calling for the release of detained colleagues, activists said.

“Security service agents backed by troops detained more than 300 people in Saqba, among them a number of clerics,” an activist told AFP on condition of anonymity.

He said at least one of those arrested was shot and wounded before being dragged off by security forces.

Troops “tore down a banner in the main square renaming it ‘Martyrs’ Square,’ with photos of those killed attached to it,” the activist said, adding seven Saqba residents had died since the protests erupted on March 15.

The activist said more than 2,000 troops and security agents had taken part in the sweep and that those detained were driven away in waiting coaches.

The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights said security forces had also arrested protesters who were admitted in hospitals after injuries suffered in demonstrations at Banias.

UN chief Ban has appealed to Assad to end the deadly crackdown.

“The secretary general reiterated his calls for an immediate end to violence against, and mass arrests of, peaceful demonstrators,” spokesman Martin Nesirky said on Wednesday.

The United States and Italy also called for an end to the bloodshed.

“The Syrian government must immediately stop the violence and resume a path of dialogue,” Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said at a news conference in Rome with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Clinton said she supported planned EU sanctions on Syria and spoke of her “deep concern about the alarming situation in Syria.”

In New York, the United Nations said it would send a mission to Daraa after getting the go-ahead from Syrian authorities for a humanitarian team to enter the town.

“I’m told that we have received that access and that in the coming days a humanitarian assessment team will be going to Daraa,” a UN deputy spokesman, Farhan Haq, told reporters.

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May 5th, 2011, 4:02 pm

 

10. AIG said:

MAJED97,

How is the Assad regime which has ruled Syria for 40 years not responsible for poverty in Syria?

How is it not responsible for putting in place a population control policy?

If Assad is popular, let him stand for free elections, what is he afraid of?

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May 5th, 2011, 4:08 pm

 

11. Mina said:

#6
I fully share your view. What you state is now very clear in Egypt too, where the protests are now for housing and jobs.
http://thedailynewsegypt.com/crime-a-accidents/extortion-bid-causes-gun-battle-in-cairo-89-wounded-dp1.html
But the Egyptians and the Tunisians were far more politicized than the Syrians, where the state is younger (at least in modern times).
But I wonder why Bashar did not make a long and friendly speech to explain all that. It seems that he, his advisor Buthaina, Faruq Shara and others, are not in power anymore for at least 10 days.

The games of bankers all around the world are the cause of the economic crisis we live in. The crisis is so bad that Europe is begging money from China and attacking the two richest countries of Africa (Ivory Coast and Libya).
As for Turkey, it plays a dirty game. They would be happy to get rid of their own extremists, by sending them abroad, I suspect, and the conservative muslims I have met were usually more found of Iran, for its anti-Israeli stance, than of the Ataturk model. Now it is possible that it is to curb the Iranian influence that the Turks are playing against Syria.
I have never seen the so called model democracy in Turkey: journalists are in prison for having dared speaking of Armenia or the Kurds, the mukhabaraat are everywhere, most Turks don’t know anything about the medieval history of their country or the very ancient Christian communities that were massacred in the East, etc.

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May 5th, 2011, 4:09 pm

 

12. jad said:

The situation in Banias seems to be worse than in Daraa, and the intervention sounds necessary:

“أولاً : إن هذا البيان عارٍ عن الصحة والحقيقة ، وهو مجرد مجموعة من الأكاذيب والتهم المكذبة بالأدلة اليقينية والصور ومقاطع الفيديو المصورة ، ومكذبة بواقع حال مدينة بانياس أيضاً حيث أنه ومنذ تاريخ 9/4/2011 وحتى تاريخ هذا الرد يعتبر الجزء الجنوبي الغربي من مدينة بانياس (( حي رأس النبع + حي القبيات + حي الميدان + حي الكورنيش + حي البازار .. )) هي أحياء خارجة عن سلطة الدولة والقانون (( إمارة بكل ما تعنيه هذه الكلمة من معنى )) وقد تم عزلها من قبل أهل تلك الأحياء بمجموعة من الحواجز الأسمنتية والحديدية ، وأصبحت مغلقة تماماً ولا يستطيع أي شخص من خارج تلك الأحياء الدخول إليها إلاّ بعد إبراز هويته فإن كان من سكان تلك الأحياء سمح له بالدخول أو الخروج منها ، كما أنه لا يستطيع أي موظف حكومي (( من عناصر الشرطة أو موظفي الكهرباء أو الماء أو الهاتف أو محضري المحاكم أو أي موظف كان .. )) الدخول إلى تلك الأحياء للقيام بواجباتهم الوظيفية .

According to this announcement by Banias citizens there are parts of the city are already outside the government reach since April 9th. Is there any country in the world will tolerate that? NO!

For the full article check it out here, it’s published under three parts.

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=159351737462797&set=a.159351594129478.39885.125766864154618&type=1&theater

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May 5th, 2011, 4:17 pm

 

13. Souri333 (formerly Souri) said:

It does not matter how many people will go out tomorrow. The media will say that demonstrations swept across the country even if each demonstration had only 10 persons. This is what has been happening from the beginning. It has become boring.

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May 5th, 2011, 5:02 pm

 

14. Ghat Al Bird said:

6. MAJED97 said:

Before Syrians run to the street calling for government change, freedom and democracy, they need to first look at themselves and realize that they need to change their behavior and become responsible in managing their personal resources more realistically.

Why not copy the AIPAC WAY MAJED97?

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May 5th, 2011, 5:20 pm

 

15. majedkhaldoon said:

Yes it matter, and the videos will tell us how many and where, are those demonstrators,Syria has not allowed human right committee to send investigating group,it only allowed UN team to check on the availability of bread and milk,
Souri333,previously SNP,and previously Souri,You can run but you can not hide,you will be responsible for every threat, here in USA and in the future in Syria,stop threatening,and state your opinion only,neither threat , nor bad foul words will help, stick to respectful discussions.

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May 5th, 2011, 5:32 pm

 

16. Nour said:

الوضع في الشام: قراءة في السياسة الاقليمية
by Milad Sebaaly on Thursday, May 5, 2011 at 12:49am

كثر الحديث مؤخراً عن تدخلات وتفاوض تركي وخليجي في الوضع الشامي. وكثر الحديث عن عروض قدمت للقيادة الشامية، ابرزها من الموفد الخليجي، وزير الخارجية الامارتي، يدعو الشام فيها للإنضمام إلى المحور العربي الجديد الذي بدأت بوادره تظهر مع ما سمي عودة “مصر ما بعد الثورة” إلى تشكيل قطب عربي مرةً أخرى. ومن الواضح أن الحكومة المصرية التي تلت سقوط نظام مبارك تسعى جاهدةً إلى تلميع صورة مصر في وجدان الشعوب العربية، بعد أن شكّل نظام مبارك مع ما عرف بأنظمة الإعتدال العربي، نموذجاً فاقعاً للتخاذل العربي أمام الصلف الصهيوني والغربي، في ظل نظام متسلط وفاسد وعميل. وقد كانت هذه أسباب رئيسية لعدم قدرته على الإستمرار، ولثورة الشباب المصري عليه، وبالتالي عدم منفعته لأسياده الاميركيين أيضاً. ففقد صلاحيته ومبرر وجوده.

وكانت المرحلة السابقة للثورة العربية قد شهدت تنافساً على المستوى العربي و إستقطاباً شديداً بين خط الممانعة الداعم لحركات المقاومة في المنطقة، ممثلاً بسورية وإيران من جهة، وبين خط الإعتدال العربي من جهة أخرى، الذي شكلت مصر والسعودية عصبه، وتونس واجهته العصرية المواكبة للحداثة والتنمية، إنتهى إلى سقوط الخط الثاني في ساحات مدنه ووجدان شعوبه. وقد سارعت أميركا راعية هذا الخط إلى تحييد الجيوش حيث أمكن، لتقليل الخسائر وإنتاج أنظمة بديلة أقرب إلى وجدان الشعوب ولكن تحت السقف المقبول أمريكياً، أي أدنى بكثير من خط الممانعة. كما سعت أمريكا جاهدةً كي تمنع إستثمار إيران لهذه الثورة ومحاولة إجتذاب مصر إلى خط الممانعة، فكان اللعب على وتر المذهبية السنية-الشيعية، إضافةً إلى العصبية العربية في وجه “المد الفارسي”.

وقد لعبت تركية دوراً مركزياً في رسم سقف جديد، عربي سني تقوده “السلفية المعتدلة”، على شاكلة حزب العادلة والتنمية التركي. فاحتضنت تركية الاخوان المسلمين وسوقتهم لدى الغرب كبديل عن الأنظمة العربية التسلطية شبه العلمانية، التي أصبحت ممقوتة من شعوبها، على إعتبار أن الإسلام السياسي لم يجرب بعد في الدول العربية، وهو أقرب إلى نبض الشارع، وهو كفيل بإنتاج نظام عربي “سني” متناقض مع إيران الشيعية وخطها الممانع، وبنفس الوقت لا يشكل خطراً على المصالح الأمريكية في المنطقة، ويستطيع إنتاج إتفاق سلام مع إسرائيل بشروط يعتبرها الغرب معقولة من كل الأطراف.

غير أن ذلك لم يمنع تاثيرات إيران في الخليج، خاصةً في البحرين واليمن، وتشكيل خطر من إمكانية تحريك الشارع السعودي. وهذا يعزز موقع إيران التفاوضي على شكل النظام الإقليمي الجديد، ويفرض تنازلات على أمريكا في العراق كحد أدنى، وفي الخليج عامةً كحد أعلى، مع إحتفاظ إيران بحلفائها الإستراتيجيين على المتوسط، وتحديداً سورية وحزب الله وحماس، الذين يشكلون عبئاً وخطراً على الكيان اليهودي.

فكان لا بد من ضرب الحلقة الوسطى في خط الممانعة، سورية، التي تشكل الرابط الجامع لهذا الخط، والظهير الإستراتيجي الوازن الذي يعطي إيران بعدها الإقليمي الحقيقي، ويشكل الغطاء المباشر لحركات المقاومة في لبنان وفلسطين والعراق. وللتوقيت أهمية قصوى قبل أن تضطر أمريكا للتفاوض مع إيران على تهدئة الخليج مقابل تنازلات كدور أكبر لإيران في تشكيل النظام الأمني الإقليمي الجديد، وفي العراق وأميركا على وشك الانسحاب منه. وكان الهدف الأول إسقاط النظام الشامي وإستبداله بالسلفية المعتدلة، المجهزة تركياً. وإذا لم يحصل ذلك، ولم توفّق الحملة الأجنبية في استثمار التظاهرات وشق الجيش وإسقاط النظام، يكون البديل تخريب الأمن، والتفاوض مع النظام على قطع علاقته مع إيران والإنضمام إلى المحور العربي الجديد الناشئ، الذي يمتلك سقفاً أعلى من أنظمة الإعتدال العربي، لكنه تحت مظلة مبادرة السلام العربية، مقابل سلامة النظام في الشام. وهذا العرض هو ما حمله في البداية الموفد الخليجي. وإذا لم يمشِ النظام الشامي بهذا العرض، وصمد ولم يسقط، تعود أمريكا للتفاوض مع إيران لترتيب أوضاع البحرين واليمن بدون خربطة ايرانية مقابل سلامة النظام الشامي وعلى تسليم بعض أوراقه.

وبذلك تكون أميركا قد نجحت في نقل التفاوض من تنازلات لها في العراق الى سلامة النظام في الشام، مقابل تسهيل ايران للحلول في الخليج!

وتكون قد ساهمت أيضاً في بناء نظام إقليمي جديد، بدون أي تنازل منها في العراق أو الخليج لإيران، وفي إضعاف خط الممانعة، ومحاولة إلهاء الشام بأمورها الداخلية وسحب أوراقها الإقليمية واحدة تلو الأخرى، وحصر منطقة النفوذ الإيراني في الخليج وفرض انحساره من شواطئ المتوسط. من جهة أخرى، تعمل على تعزيز خط الإعتدال السلفي العربي التركي، كبديل عن خط الإعتدال العربي الساقط، على أساس اعتبارها أن هذا الخط الجديد يؤمن الغطاء الكافي لتسوية نهائية للصراع العربي الإسرائيلي، ونقل العداء العربي والسني عامةً إلى إيران.

وكان من اللافت إنقلاب قطر وتركية على خط الممانعة وانخراطهم بحملة التحريض لتنفيذ هذا المخطط، والتأسيس للخط السلفي المعتدل الجديد. وتأتي في هذا السياق المصالحة الفلسطينية-الفلسطينية برعاية مصرية.

يجب أن نؤكد أولاً اننا مع وحدة الصف في فلسطين وعلى مساحة الأمة كلها، لكن على قاعدة المواجهة والدفاع عن حقوقنا القومية لا على قاعدة التنازل عن المواقف والمقاومة. لذلك ما نتمناه هو أن تجتذب حماس فتح إلى موقفها الرافض للتنازلات، لا العكس.

لكن ما نظن أنه حاصل، هو رفع سقف مواقف فتح من مستوى أنظمة الإعتدال العربي إلى مستوى ما نسميه هنا “الإعتدال السلفي”، وبالمقابل تخفيض سقف حماس من مستوى سقف خط الممانعة والمقاومة، الرافض للتسوية والتنازلات، إلى مستوى سقف “الإعتدال السلفي”، وتسويق فكرة دولة أمر واقع فلسطينية مستقلة في قطاع غزة والضفة الغربية أو ما تبقى منها. وقد تجلى ذلك البارحة في رفع أبو مازن لشعار “لا سلام مع الإستيطان” ورفع خالد مشعل شعار “الدولة الفلسطينية المستقلة”. وقد بدأ التمهيد لهذا الطرح منذ فترة عبر إعتراف عدد من دول أمريكا اللاتينية بدولة فلسطين، والحديث هذه الأيام عن إعتراف اوروبي وشيك بها. وبهذه المصالحة إذا تمت وصمدت بالشكل المخطط له أمريكياً، تكون الأهداف التالية قد تحققت: 1- إجتذاب حماس إلى الخط الجديد الناشئ، وسحبها من خط الممانعة، 2- إعطاء الخط الجديد شرعية فلسطينية كاملة للمضي في المفاوضات، عكس ما كان حاصلاً لخط الإعتدال العربي، 3- محاولة عزل الشام عن التأثير في مسار التفاوض الفلسطيني وبالتالي ترسيخ مبدأ فصل المسارات الذي تطالب به إسرائيل.

ويأتي أيضاً في هذا السياق، تأخير تشكيل الحكومة في لبنان، والهجوم على سلاح المقاومة، لمحاولة ضم لبنان إلى الخط الجديد الناشئ، عبر إعادة الحريري إلى السلطة، أو عبر إستمالة ميقاتي-سليمان، ومحاصرة حزب الله، خاصةً في ظل إلهاء الشام بشؤونها الداخلية، وأيهام اللبنانيين أن النظام في الشام أضعف من أن يستعيد زمام المبادرة وبالتالي تأثيره على الوضع الداخلي اللبناني. وقد لوحظ في بدايات المشاكل في سورية توجس من قبل البعض من مسيحيي 14 أذار من خطر نشوء نظام سلفي متطرف في الشام كبديل عن النظام الحالي، وما قد يحصل للأقليات، وخاصةً المسيحيين من جراء ذلك، وما قد تكون تأثيرات ذلك حتى على الوضع في لبنان. لكن هذا التوجس سرعان ما أزيل نتيجة التدخلات والتطمينات العربية والغربية بأن أي نظام بديل في الشام سيكون من ضمن منظومة عربية متكاملة شكلها سلفي لكن مضمونها معتدل، على الطريقة التركية!

إلى هذا الحد من التفاصيل تعمل أمريكا وحلفاؤها لتشكيل خط الإعتدال السلفي وتسويقه حتى عند الأقليات العربية، كبديل أكثر فعالية لخدمة مصالحها في المنطقة من خط الإعتدال العربي السابق.

وقد واجهت الشام كل هذه التطورات بنوع من التردد والبطء في البداية، إذ توهم البعض أن الثورات العربية لن تصل إلى الشام، لأن الموقف الممانع والداعم للمقاومة، ووجود رئيس شاب متطور وإصلاحي هي أسباب كافية لإبقاء الشباب في بيوتهم. غير أن الواقع كان مختلفاً مع تأخر تنفيذ الإصلاحات التي تحدث عنها الرئيس لسنوات، واستشراء الفساد خاصةً مع الإنفتاح الإقتصادي الذي ترافق مع تبني نظرية إقتصاد السوق الإجتماعي، واهمال الجانب الإجتماعي من هذه النظرية، فيما تركز التشجيع على إجتذاب المشاريع والاستثمارات الكبيرة، والتي عادةً ما تترافق مع أخبار الصفقات المشبوهة الكبيرة التي يقوم بها مقربون من النظام. كما أن السياسات الإقتصادية التي تم تبنيها في السنوات العشر الاخيرة أنتجت نموأً حسابياً غير متوازن، لم يحل مشكلات الفقر والبطالة والفساد بل فاقمها. وترافق ذلك مع غياب الحياة السياسية الحقيقية والحريات الإعلامية، ومسايرة الحالة السلفية على مدى سنوات لتغض النظر عن النظام وامتيازاته، مما ولد إحتقاناً لدى العامة من الناس وتوق لتغيير الواقع المعاش من جهة، وولّد شعوراً بالجشع واستثمار الامتيازات الى الحد الأقصى حتى البطش من قبل عدد كبير المستفيدين سواء من داخل النظام أو من المتحلقين حوله.

وقد أصبح هؤلاء يستشعرون خطراً على مصالحهم وامتيازاتهم من طروحات الرئيس الاصلاحية، فراحوا يسوقون فكرة ان الاصلاح ليس سوى املاءات غربية ما على النظام سوى رفضها للحفاظ على الكرامة الوطنية. بينما الحقيقة الفاقعة أن الغرب لا يأبه بالاصلاح، بل يريد تغيير سياسة النظام لا إصلاحه وتطويره من الداخل! فها هو يتحالف مع أنظمة لا تقل فساداً وتخلفاً وامتيازات في السعودية ودول الخليج أو مصر مبارك دون أن يرف له جفن، لأن سياستها موالية له ولمصالحه!

لا بل ان المفارقة هي أن الاصلاح في ظل سياسة الممانعة هو بحد ذاته تحصين لخط الممانعة وخطر على مصالح الغرب! ووجود رئيس كبشار الاسد يسعى الى الاصلاح في ظل سياسة الممانعة هو مسألة غير مرغوبة من قبل الغرب. والافضل للغرب تغيير سياسات النظام، أو بقائه على تخلفه وفساده طالما هو يتبنى سياسات تهدد مصالحه، لأن في ذلك تآكل للنظام من داخله كمقدمة لسقوطه أو لانتفاضة شعبه عليه. بهذا المعنى برأينا يتلاقى رافضو الاصلاح بحجة الكرامة مع الغرب الرافض للإصلاح بكرامة دون التخلي عن سياسة الممانعة. ولهذا كان الحزب السوري القةمي الاجتماعي من أول المطالبين بالإصلاح الحقيقي المبكر قيل تفاقم الضغوط الخارجية أو الشعبية كما هو واضح من بيانات الحزب ورئيسه الدكتور علي حيدر منذ سنوات عديدة وليس الان فقط.

واليوم، بعد كل هذه الاحداث، وبعد أن اضطر النظام في الشام الى اعتماد الحل الامني لكف يد التدخلات الاجنبية عن طريق “المخربين المدسوسين”، وفصل التخريب عن الاصلاح، نرى أن لا حل الا بتسريع الاصلاحات الحقيقية وتعزيز الحوار الداخلي واطلاق الحريات السياسة والاعلامية ومواجهة الاستحقاقات الداخلية بجبهة داخلية متراصة، والاسراع في اعادة ترميم خط الممانعة والمقاومة وتقليل خسائره، من فلسطين الى لبنان الى العراق، بعد ان انقلب عليه أقرب المقربين، التركي والقطري وربما الفلسطيني، وسارعوا الى إيجاد محور عربي – تركي بديل يسعى الى الصلح مع اسرائيل لإعادة تشكيل شرق أوسط أميركي جديد.

إن التأخير في الاصلاح والحوار وتحصين الجبهة الداخلية بحجج واهية لحماية بعض المصالح ما هو الا خدمة مجانية لمشروع الشرق الاوسط السلفي المعتدل الجديد!

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May 5th, 2011, 5:34 pm

 

17. SANDRO LOEWE said:

Yesterday I read that Syria Government was looking for an interlocutor but was unable to find any.

It is clear the regime has the will to hear the demands of the decent people since Syria is a democratic republic and every 7 years organize an election to know if acceptance of the whole regime is nearer to 90% or to 100 %, but how to do it if many of them have been killed, others are on exile, most relevant are in prison and most of the are afraid of even walking in front of any secret services headquarters. By the way where are Riad Seif and Mamoun Al-Homsi, the pioneers?. They are criminals according to laws of this democratic republic so the authorities cannot talk to them, it would be and ofense to the will of the people. Consequently there is no one to talk to but the people that accepts the status quo.

What about free elections that take place every 7 years? It seems there are people so happy with the regime that votes 10 and 20 times with the same identity card. Also people who votes do not dear to vote NO since it would mean an automatic report to the security services.

As AIG said why are they afraid of plural contidency for Presidency (accepting that this is a free election since nobody is obliged to vote), why ? Because they have the support of 80 or 90 % of the population. They have reports from secret services and they are sure about the acceptance of the people of Syria. If they accept because of fear it does not matter. When a plane is going to crash all passengers trust and give all their support to the pilot, even if, as they do not know, he is asleep.

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May 5th, 2011, 6:10 pm

 

18. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Some reactionaries here say that, Syria’s dealing with internal matters is perhaps shitty, but it’s foreign affairs policy is superb, excellent and marvelous.

If one of Syria’s only two allies is warning this junta in such an impolite way, http://www.sundayszaman.com/sunday/newsDetail_getNewsById.action?newsId=242612 then I would say this junta is in trouble.

No one knows exactly what’s going on in Dar’a and around. If this is true http://www.bbc.co.uk/arabic/middleeast/2011/05/110505_syria_deraa_massacre.shtml then Turkey’s strategy of ‘Zero Problems With Neighbors’, will be ‘One Big Problem With neighbor’.
.

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May 5th, 2011, 6:17 pm

 

19. sami othmani said:

in 2005 on the airport road from Damascus Intern’l airport, there was a road sign, massive in size with this scientific equation: Bashar+ syria= peace and security. asking my taxi driver what that means, he replied in clever way. if you took one part of the equation, it is death and pain, look at Iraq. bashar is blackmailing, killing and torturing his own people. if Israel decided to invade syria now, she will have the to work through the following equation. israelxsyria=20 million Syrian supporters. I think bashar will sell Golan heights to Israel very soon. soory not sell but give away for free.

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May 5th, 2011, 7:16 pm

 

20. jad said:

Good discussion:
-No red lines whatsoever
-More details about the right of protest in the coming days
-The need to educate security personnels and police (my guess: about the rights of citizens and how they have to behave)
-The necessity to upgrade the Syrian media
-The need to either upgrade Al Baath or dissolve it for a better political system
-Better national wealth distribution.

It sounds good to me, but I guess that nothing will happen until things cools down a little, hopefully it will.

الرئيس الأسد: تخفيض أسعار المازوت قريباً.. والتعليمات التنفيذية لقانون التظاهر السلمي خلال يومين

محطة أخبار سورية
أكد الرئيس بشار الأسد أن التعليمات التنفيذية لقانون التظاهر السلمي ستصدر في اليومين القادمين جاء ذلك خلال لقاء الرئيس بشار الأسد، الخميس، مجموعة من الشباب والشابات الذين يمثلون مختلف أطياف الشعب السوري.

وطلب الرئيس الأسد من الوفد الحديث بشفافية حيث لا يوجد خطوط حمراء أو مواضيع محّرمة لا يمكن الحديث عنها موضحاً أن اللقاء أخذ طابع الحوار المفتوح وتطرق إلى هموم الشباب ومشاكلهم ورؤيتهم للأوضاع وكيفية العمل للتطوير والتحديث ومكافحة الفساد.

وذكر الزميل نديم رشيدي الذي حضر اللقاء أن الجميع اتفقوا على أن هناك نوعان من المتظاهرين، الأول كانت مطالبه محقة وتمت تلبيتها والثاني حاول استغلال الأول لتحقيق أهدافه وعمل على تأزيم الأمور بالإضافة لبعض الأخطاء التي ارتكبت من قبل بعض المسؤولين وبعض عناصر الأمن التي أهانت بعض المواطنين في تعاملها.

وقال الرئيس الأسد في هذا الخصوص.. إن أي خطأ ارتكب من قبل بعض عناصر الأمن هو خطأ فردي يعبر عن أخلاق من قام به ومستوى تعليمه، مؤكداً أن هناك خطة لرفع المستوى العلمي والمعرفي لعناصر الأمن .. وأكد الوفد على ضرورة المحاسبة العلنية للمسؤولين وعدم الاكتفاء بإعفائهم من مهامهم.

وأكد الرئيس الأسد أن الأوضاع ستعود إلى ما كنت عليه تدريجياً حيث بدأ الجيش بالانسحاب من بعض المناطق بعد أن أنهى مهامه في إعادة الأمان، مشيراً إلى أن الأزمة حالياً بدأت تأخذ طابع التدخل الدولي بعد أن فشلت في مرحلتها الأولى والثانية في تحقيق غايتها في زعزعة الاستقرار وإصابتنا من الداخل، وقال الرئيس الأسد.. رغم هذا ننظر للأزمة من جانب إيجابي وقد كشفت لنا بعض العيوب والخلل وسنقوم بالمعالجة.

وانتقد أغلب الوفد السياسة التي ينتهجها الإعلام الرسمي والخاص في نقل ما يجري على الأرض مشيرين إلى أن المعركة الحالية هي إعلامية ويجب أن يقوم إعلامنا الوطني بإيصال الحقيقة كما هي لإعادة الثقة التي افتقدها، وهو ما اتفق معه الرئيس الأسد مبيناً أن على إعلامنا أن يتعلم من أخطائه وعلينا أن نتيح له الفرصة لإثبات ذلك.

وأشار الزميل رشيدي إلى أن الجانب الاقتصادي أخذ حيزاً واسعاً من النقاش حيث تم الاتفاق على أن السياسة الاقتصادية التي اتبعت في عهد الحكومة السابقة أدت إلى استياء شعبي من مختلف الشرائح والطبقات، وأكد الرئيس الأسد أن كل من التقاه حتى من الصناعيين والاقتصاديين لم يكن راضياً عن هذه السياسة وخاصة فيما يتعلق بزيادة أسعار المازوت .. وأضاف: سنصدر في الأسبوع القادم مرسوماً لتخفيضها للمزارعين والصناعيين ريثما يتم تأمين مصادر مالية نستطيع من خلالها إيصال الدعم لكل المواطنين.

ولفت الرئيس الأسد إلى أن السياسة الاقتصادية في الفترة الأخيرة ركزت على قطاع الأعمال وهو قطاع احتكاري مبيناً أن المرحلة القادمة ستشهد تشريعات تنظيم توزيع الثروة بشكل أكثر عدالة.

وجرى الحديث عن قانون الأحزاب وضرورة أن يصاغ هذا القانون بطريقة عصرية وبشكل يمنع الأحزاب الدينية أو العرقية ذات اللون الواحد، وبينما رأى أغلب أعضاء الوفد ضرورة أن يتم تفعيل دور حزب البعث وإعادة هيكلته ليلائم المرحلة القادمة طالب البعض بأن يلغى حزب البعث لتأمين فرص منافسة متساوية لباقي الأحزاب.

وتطرق الشباب في حوارهم مع الرئيس الأسد إلى ضرورة أن يكون شيوخ المساجد من خريجي كلية الشريعة، بالإضافة إلى الاهتمام بحصص التربية الدينية في المدارس للتعريف بالدين الصحيح والتوعية من أجل الابتعاد عن الطائفية ، وزيادة النشاطات الحوارية في الجامعات، كما أشار الشباب إلى ضرورة تأمين فرص العمل ومشاريع السكن الشبابي والتي ستساهم في معالجة مشاكل اجتماعية كثيرة أهمها مشكلة العنوسة وتأخر سن الزواج.

وطلب الوفد من الرئيس الأسد النظر بعقوبة بعض الطلاب الذين اعتصموا في كلية الطب بجامعة دمشق وتم اتخاذ قرار بفصلهم من الجامعة ووعد الرئيس بمعالجة المشكلة.

وفي نهاية اللقاء طلب الرئيس الأسد من وفد الشباب استمرار التواصل وإرسال أية أفكار أو ملاحظات إلى مكتبه في القصر الجمهوري.

http://sns.sy/sns/?path=news/read/33284

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May 5th, 2011, 7:20 pm

 

21. N.Z. said:

For those who are talking in sectarian terms and saying that Christians are not interested in regime change are wrong.

Every one wishes a free Syria without bloodshed. The way this regime dealt with the latest unrest will no doubt have an organized opposition. They can not be given the benefit of doubt, no more. Their actions spoke volume. The autocratic management style of this regime will end up uglier than any other.

Change is imminent. With millions, with or without tanks, they dug out there ending. They are exposed nationally and internationally.

Game over.

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May 5th, 2011, 9:47 pm

 

22. N.Z. said:

Some intruders are commenting in ways that suggest they are envious of what is happening in the Arab world. I hope they will be liberated from an ideology-Zionism-that turned them to eternal victims. Change is in your hands.

A world free of all “ism’s”.

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May 5th, 2011, 10:12 pm

 

23. John khouri said:

N.Z –

I’m a christian living in Homs and have relatives living in Aleppo And Damascus and Deir el Zor. I find it absolutely outrageous that people like yourself say that Christians want regime change. Stop speaking on behalf on the Christians of Syria. Come to Syria And see what is happening on the ground. My cousins wife I’n Daraa has packed up and movEd I’n with us in Homs. The Christians in Daraa have had their churches firebombed for not participating in the anti government demonstrations. Their priest has been threatened with his life. Wake up to ourselves. In Homs, all church ceremonies have been kept indoors due to the fact that thugs from khaldieh and bab el omr keep entering the Hamadieh christian area and screaming sectarian slogans throughout the night. 99.9% of Christians support the current Syrian government.All these so called freedom demonstrations have been hijacked by Islamists and Salafi’s. Stop being in denial and stop trying to promote these freedom demonstrations, which is completely opposite from the reality on the ground.

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May 5th, 2011, 10:36 pm

 

24. majedkhaldoon said:

“The source also said 81 bodies of soldiers and army officers had been received. Most were killed by a gunshot to the back.”

Shot from the back,it sure means they were shot by fellow officers,the demonstrators are shot in the head ,Human right activists must investigate these charges

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May 5th, 2011, 11:00 pm

 

25. N.Z. said:

John Khouri,

Stop talking about Salafist, MB and all the nonsense. Even if they are Salafist, are you hinting that Baath is reacting. Were the young students in Deraa Salafist? All sects have equally mixed feelings, and every religious group had their dark days under this regime. Being an apologist will not serve us. So you stop and do not generalize. You are a Syrian to me and I do not care what sect or religious group you belong to.

The moment you label yourself as a……you are playing in the hands of this brutal gang. Most probably you are.

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May 5th, 2011, 11:17 pm

 

26. John khouri said:

NZ ,

You are obviously a Islamic extremist I’n disguise,hiding behind your computer . Similar to the founder of the Syrian revolution Facebook page. what a great revolution Egypt achieved? All that crap that the youth were behind the egyptian revolution. Did u forget to mention that women I’n Egypt were assaulted and told to go back home and do the dishes when they stood in line to vote? Did u post the video of the american journalist who was savagely raped by 100’s of men during the egyptian revolution? N.Z u r a devil I’n disguise, just like the 10% of syrians demonstrAting against the government. If u r
Man enuf come and join the protests I’n Syria. Ah i forgot u can’t leave ur computer , it mite get lonely. God Bless the SYRIAN ARMY – it is the protector of the 90% of the Syrian population against these devils

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May 5th, 2011, 11:29 pm

 

27. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Majed,

Exactly what I thought when I read it. With your permission, I’d like to continue what you’ve started.
“Shot from the back,it sure means they were shot by fellow officers”, who, we can assume, to what sect they (the officers) belong, and to what sect those soldiers with wounds in their backs, belonged. My personal guess: only Sunnis are being massacred (..again) today in Syria.

So this junta regime, waving the flag of no-sectarianism in Syria, is the most sectarian mass murderer of all. Past and present.

What do you expect Mr. Erdogan to feel, when his brothers, belonging to the same brotherhood, are being massacred, just across the border?
Mr. Erdogan mentioned the UNSC in his warning. Expect the UNSC intervention in Syria, responding to Turkish appeal.
.

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May 5th, 2011, 11:31 pm

 

28. Abughassan said:

I never supported the regime and I still want albaath to return as one of Syria’s party and not the ONLY party. I also think there should be a gradual peaceful transition of power from Bashar to another ELECTED president.however, most of those who died were poor and not connected while the rich and the connected are fighting via Facebook and inciting violence and oppression. The real victims here are the unemployed and oppressed who wanted a better life and those soldiers and officers who were killed in cold blood. The regime is winning,like it or not, due to the use of violence by militant elements from both sides,especially the sectarian thugs. We need peace and order first,then we can demand the fulfillment of those reform measures. I attended a gathering of Egyptians today,most of whom are unhappy about what took place in Egypt.the MB and its sympathizers have a plan similar to Egypt: using the youth, toppling the regime,then taking over in a devilish and gradual way,and if this happens,Syria will become another Saudi Arabia without the money.

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May 5th, 2011, 11:48 pm

 

29. why-discuss said:

NZ

What a childish way to reply to a Syrian citizen who feel threatened by the ‘peaceful protesters’ ! I am sure he is not the only one. Instead of showing empathy, you shout at him, you are a real thug yourself! You are so blinded by your hatred that you lost all decency and respect. If the future Syria is people like you, thank you!

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May 6th, 2011, 12:00 am

 

30. Abughassan said:

It is increasingly evident that the less hawkish elements of the regime are losing after they felt powerless in the face of bloodshed which was started by security forces and then followed by violence from antigovernment forces. A temporary break in demonstrations is needed today and not tomorrow. Tomorrow should be relatively bloodless if we want an exit from this mess. Those who think they can topple the regime by force or by using the UN are daydreamers and hurting their own cause. Billions of dollars have already left the country and nobody now wants to risk their money in Syria, and the big losers will be those who need jobs and money. Welcome to the third world.

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May 6th, 2011, 12:03 am

 

31. why-discuss said:

Amir and Majedelkhaldoon

You make the perfect pair (Sherlock Holmes and Watson)! but you won’t be hired by Scotland Yard: You are too fast in jumping to the conclusions that suit you…
Even Erdogan will not recommend you!

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May 6th, 2011, 12:04 am

 

32. jad said:

John Khoury,
I’m very sorry for what is happening to your relatives in Daraa. Unfortunately, I read the same thing you mentioned about Christians living in Daraa of being verbally attacked and threatened.
I think Syrians living abroad still don’t get it that what is happening in Syria has nothing to do with freedom anymore, and that the mighty ‘revolution’ is already hijacked by criminals and sectarian thugs and not by real freedom lover.
————————
As every Friday, today things will stay quite until noon, then will read about some clashes during and after Friday prayers but we wont read anything serious and bloody until 7:30pm Syrian time.
I’m guessing that we might see some dramatic use of the bodies the ‘rebels’ in Daraa claimed that the regime stole from the container earlier this week, will see.

I also think that today is a very important day for both sides, because if the day pass fine with fewer victims and little blood it means that the regime actually won this round and things may get slowly better, if not we will see a tougher push by the regime and using more brutal repression against protesters and at the same time the sectarian criminal thugs will intensify their bloody attacks against the military.

Hopefully nobody will get hurt, God protect Syria and Syrians.

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May 6th, 2011, 12:06 am

 

33. John khouri said:

Ummmm did someone forget to mention that 70% of the Syrian soldiers killed belong to the alewife sect. So u can close the case of Blaming the Syrian government killing Only Sunni soldiers. stop trying to hide the fact that the gangs and extremists are killing the soldiers . Amir – let the unsc investigate the massacre that the ziOnist army carried out I’n gaza. Let the unsc investigate the massacre carried out by the Turkish army against the armenianS. Stop blabbering on with ur HATE

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May 6th, 2011, 12:11 am

 

34. jad said:

٦ ايار، عيد الشهداء
May 6, Martyr’s Day
لن ننساكم

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May 6th, 2011, 1:07 am

 

35. Mina said:

People who blame the Syrian governement for poverty should explain me how it is able to give accomodation to one million Iraqis who have pushed the prices up and the job market strained in some areas. In smaller numbers they even had an impact on rent prices in Amman and Cairo.
Didn’t we see demonstrations in Jordan from early December on? Weren’t they related to poverty, absence of jobs, and foor prices? Shall we blame the Jordanian model as being too similar to that of Syria? (joke)
I remember in one of the early demonstrations some locals with red kaffieh (Beduin I suppose) saying “we want a system like in Syria where all the segments of the society are represented in the parliament”.

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May 6th, 2011, 2:56 am

 

36. Revlon said:

Time is on the people’s side
A security agent confides to his brother of their suffering as a result of prolonged mobilisation and negative psychological impacy, including nightmares!
The Syrian Revolution 2011 الثورة السورية ضد بشار الاسد
أخوي بيخدم بالمخابرات العسكرية ولاكتر من شهر ماعاد يجي اجازات وبعد جهد جهيد وكونو متزوج سمحولو يجي اجازة … سألتو شو الوضع طمني … قال لي الوضع عنا تعبان كتير ورفقاتي ضايجة وما عاد تتحمل استنفار دائم وصوت الرصاص طرشني طرش ولما بنام بشوف كوابيس وضباطنا اعصابن تلفانة … ومو عارف شو بدي احكي .. ماعدت اتحمل

10 hours ago

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May 6th, 2011, 4:11 am

 
 

38. Revlon said:

Decadence and desperation; Security forces say to Dar3a bereft people” Pledge to rally tomorrow Fridy for Bashar, and get the body of your relative today for burial”

The Syrian Revolution 2011 الثورة السورية ضد بشار الاسد
الجزيرة عاجل: عرض لم يشهد له التاريخ مثيلاً ! القوى الأمنية السورية تقول لأهالي درعا من يريد أن يستلم جثث ابنائه عليه أن يمضي على تعهد بأن ينزل غداً في مظاهرات مؤيدة لبشار الأسد وأن يتعهد أن يقول للجنة حقوق الإنسان الدولية التي ستأتي إلى درعا بأن مجموعات ارهابية قتلت ابنائهم!
8 hours ago

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May 6th, 2011, 4:40 am

 

39. Sophia said:

More spin from The Guardian:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/blog/2011/may/06/syria-libya-middle-east-unrest-live

What will happen in Syria today? Lots of expectations from western journalists.

As of noon, Syria time, they are showing a picture from last week protests. News about ICRC entering Der’aa, quote from Mr. Abdulhamid and his eyewitnesses around Damascus and this:

”Wissam Tarif, of the human rights group Isan, said the regime is desperate to prevent the protesters taking control of a central square in Damascus.”

Surprised? Since when people who are supposed to be in charge of human rights in a given country provide this kind of political comments? I would expect Mr Tarif to comment on those who are in prison, or those who are being beaten, or those who lack bread and milk, and so on…These people are discrediting themselves…

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May 6th, 2011, 5:23 am

 

40. Mawal95 said:

Quote from http://www.sana.sy/eng/21/2011/05/05/345045.htm

“Interior Ministry on Thursday urged the Syrian citizens in the current circumstances to effectively contribute to laying the groundwork for stability and security, and to help the competent authorities to perform their tasks and achieve this national goal through abstaining from holding any rallies, demonstrations or sit-ins under any title without getting an official license.”

Please tell me whether I am right: I assume the Syrian government is not granting a demonstration license to anybody anywhere in Syria today, which means all the demonstrations videos you’ll be able to see at Youtube tonight will all be showing illegal demonstrations.

I asked this question last week too, and nobody answered me. I assume nobody was able to answer, because the regime keeps its cards so close to its chest that nobody really knows what the hell the regime is doing or thinks it’s doing.

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May 6th, 2011, 6:11 am

 

41. why-discuss said:

MAWAL95

Obviously all these demonstrations are illegal and encouraged by the leaders who want to defy the law.
In any case the reported demonstrations on Al jazeera look to me like a family thing, as many videos show father carrying their children on their arms and small children around.
Also most demonstrations are so aware they will end up on Youtube that they carry a poster with the date…

Listen to Radio Sham 1108 on internet reporting fully all demonstrations currently going on: scarce, peaceful with no casualties other than an army officer during an attack on the army in the suburbs of Homs .

http://shamfm.com/streaming_player/WMstreaming.asx

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May 6th, 2011, 8:19 am

 

42. Sophia said:

More Spin from The Guardian: What happened in Syria today as of 4 p.m. Syria time.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/blog/2011/may/06/syria-libya-middle-east-unrest-live

The picture posted is from the protests last week;
According to AP from the Syrian observatory for human rights: 5 killed today
However, on the website of the syrian observatory for human rights no deaths are reported for today and it is stated in Arabic that they are not responsible for any info that is attributed to them that does not figure on their website…Go and tell AP and The Guardian about that. They are maybe reading the future…
http://www.syriahr.com/

According to a US professor working in the UK people were chanting: ”The syrian regime is corrupt”
http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/heroes/staff/scott-lucas.aspx

Riad Seif was arrested and he has prostate cancer according to his daughter. Katherine Marsh, pseudonym for a Guardian journalist writing from Damascus who was the first to report on the security personnel shooting 9 army in Banias (which was a lie), and who will prove to be to the Guardian what Judith Miller was to the New York Times, will be reporting on this.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/katherine-marsh

Oh, and Wissam Tarif claims that troops are firing on protesters in Homs today. The same Mr. Tarif that pronounced earlier in the day:

”Wissam Tarif, of the human rights group Isan, said the regime is desperate to prevent the protesters taking control of a central square in Damascus.”

Meet Wissam Tarif, a hero among heroes:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/atlantic/20110423/wl_atlantic/meetwissamtarifmanupdatingussyria36965_1

Only the arrest of Mr. Seif is real news…Hopefully by the end of the day, few deaths, regime brutalities, and so on, would add more substance to The Guardian web page on Syria today…

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May 6th, 2011, 9:27 am

 

43. N.Z. said:

The brave Syrians are still defying 40 years of mafia rule.
Syrians can no longer be oppressed after today.

Long live the free people of Syria.

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May 6th, 2011, 10:46 am

 

44. SANDRO LOEWE said:

MAWAL,

Of course all demonstrations are illegal because they did not get a permission. When you are under a dictatorship you have to be illegal to break the system. Or do you pretend that the country will only stop being a dictatorship when Al Assad decides?

Also please notice that syrian press and official politicians have no value since there is no foreign press that can confirm or deny realities on the ground. Syrian regime do not need the outside world to believe anything. They just need the local people to here official ideas.

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May 6th, 2011, 11:44 am

 

45. SANDRO LOEWE said:

Riad Seif has been detained today.

Those of you who say that the regime is just detaining violent people like thugs, burglars and criminals what can you say? Maybe he was handling a kalashnikov, it is possible? It would be very clear then that he is the leader of the gang.

Or maybe after days and days looking for an interlocutor for friendly dialogue with opposition organizations the President has ordered to invite Riad Seif gently or by any means to visit him.

But nobody will know anything about this because there is no press to explain to the people this kind of problems.

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May 6th, 2011, 11:52 am

 

46. SANDRO LOEWE said:

SOPHIA,

You, that have been in Syria once, and long time ago, you can perfectly distinguish between real news and false news, just by reading them or hearing at them at the BBC. It really impresses me. Without being in the place of the new, without having a corresponsal and just hearing to official press you know everything…?

Pfff…. Impressing capabilities to know the truth in by divine intervention.

I imagine you should work at least for the XXX secret services.

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May 6th, 2011, 12:02 pm

 

47. michel nahas said:

to AIG #10

Of course, AIG, everyone is afraid of the Sunni majority imposing their way of life on everyone else. Would the Israelis allow FREE elections in Israel if ALL Palestinians come back to their houses taken by the Zionists and would be allowed to vote? No. So don´t state dumb questions !

Mike from Brazil.

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May 6th, 2011, 3:12 pm

 

48. AIG said:

Michel Nahas,

If you are that afraid of your fellow Syrians, then Syrian nationality is a joke. Last I heard, Sunni Syrians were also Syrians.

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May 6th, 2011, 3:31 pm

 

49. Majed97 said:

Sunni, Alawi, Christian, Durzi, Ismaali, Kurdi, Shiaa, etc…

As long as Syrians are using those terms to make their points and group themselves, they are not worthy of true democracy (not to be confused with the Lebanese and Iraqi style democracy). I look forward to the day when Syrians join the civilized world in liberating themselves as individuals from their hate and distrust of each other that they’ve been carrying on for centuries in the name of religion. They speak of democracy and freedom today, yet they insist on preserving and passing on the very same hate and distrust to their future generations, just to make sure they’ll be as miserable as they are. The cycle of ignorance goes on and on and on, while the rest of the world move forward and forward and forward.

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May 6th, 2011, 5:02 pm

 

50. TM said:

Like the regime that accuses , arrests and tortures any and every Syrian that dares to appose the criminal regime ; some people on this blog also accuse the protestors as salafis and wahabies etccc . I participated in several protests in person, Iam not even a Muslim, we dont know each others relegion, we dont even care.

Defending the criminal regime and discounting our asspiration for basic human rights and basic citizen rights is one thing. But defending the regime’ crimes and flipping reality on its head and accusing the unarmed protestors of being terrorists, that is another level of ignorance, that is pretty low.

We all kow who is armed and criminal is Syria , they are the Mukhabarat and Assad’s thugs, period. TheAssad Mafia emptied the country from journalists so they can unleash the criminal mukhabarats to conduct an orgy of murders on their fellow citizens. If they dare, let Reutor, AP or any independent news organization into Syria, but they cannt , the regime has something to hide, murder.

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May 9th, 2011, 12:05 am

 

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