Quelling the Revolt: Will the Opposition Take up Arms?

Bashar al-Assad is determined to quell the Syrian revolt, which is why he has sent in the military with tanks and is now arresting the network of opposition activists and leaders that his intelligence agencies have been able to track.

There is an element of “shock and awe” to the operation. Tanks are clearly not useful for suppressing an urban rebellion, but they demonstrate the superior firepower of the state and the determination of the president. It is a classic military strategy – go hard and quick. Take out the opposition before t has a chance to harden and develop a durable command a reliable cell structure. This is precisely what the US military tried to do in Iraq. It is what it failed to do in Libya, when it allowed Qaddafi to regroup and regain control of Tripoli and Western Libya after his initial confusion and weakness.

I do not believe that the regime will be able to shut down the opposition. Unlike the Iranian opposition, which was successfully put down, the Syrian opposition is more revolutionary, even if, perhaps, not as numerous in the capital. The Green movement did not call for the overthrow of the regime and an end to the Islamic republic, but only reform. The Syrian opposition is revolutionary. Although it began by calling for reform, it quickly escalated to demand an end to the regime. It is convinced that reform of the Baathist regime is impossible and Syria must start over. It wants an end to the Baath Party, an end to Assad dynasty, an end to domination of the presidency and security forces by the Alawite religious community, and an end to the domination of the economy by the financial elite which has used nepotism, insider trading, and corruption to monopolize the ramparts of trade and industry. In short, the opposition abhors most aspects of the present regime and is working to uproot it. It is more determined and revolutionary than was the Iranian Green movement that Ahmadinejad and Ali Khamenei successfully suppressed.

There is no reason why it won’t do this. Some of the leadership of the opposition is dedicated to peaceful means, but this pacifism is not universal. Already we have witness the resort to arms by the opposition. In Banyas, nine soldiers were shot while driving down the main highway into the city by armed opposition elements. In Jable, demonstrators had armed themselves with clubs, shovels and other weapons. Although useless against firearms, these weapons demonstrated the mood of the crowd and willingness to oppose state violence with violence of their own. Syrian authorities have insisted from the beginning that opposition elements have been shooting at police and the military. Even if only a small percentage of these reports are true, it suggests that the opposition is willing to use force.

In the face of the state’s superior military and willingness to use force, the opposition will be forced to turn to military means itself. The opposition leadership has already been able to smuggle loads of satellite phones and electronic equipment in to reinforce their activists inside the country. Smuggling arms will not be hard. The Syrian government has reported stopping several truck loads of arms being smuggled in from Iraq already. Both Lebanon and Iraq are awash with arms and the smuggling routes between them and Syria are well traveled. The Gulf will be a source of money and support.

Militant groups in Iraq and elsewhere have long argued that Syria is a cockpit of the Middle East and a proper target for destabilization, etc.

A FEW QUESTIONS from a journalist and my responses:

Journalist: Do you think the protesters will breach the capital in large numbers? Do you think they HAVE to do that in order to overthrow Bashar?Landis: The opposition has yet to be successful in bringing out the middle classes and upper middle classes in the cities. The monied classes have too much to lose from prolonged instability, and the opposition cannot offer them any convincing scenario for a peaceful transition to democracy or regime change. They fear instability above above regime repression.

If the military and middle classes stay loyal to the government, the opposition will have an uphill battle.

A long grind to the bottom

But the opposition does not HAVE to bring Damascus and Aleppo onto the streets to bring down the regime. If they can do enough to paralyze the Syrian economy – as it is now paralyzed – the government will slowly fail. If business comes to a halt, tourism collapses, and foreign investment ceases, private enterprises and small businesses will go bankrupt and government revenue will dry up. Eventually the regime will be unable to pay salaries to state employees, and government services will stop. When this happens, the middle class will abandon the regime. It will be a long grind to the bottom.

Journalist: Given the relative disorganization of the opposition _ and the prospect that they’re taking up arms _ wont a power vacuum if Assad goes be potentially SERIOUSLY deadly?Landis: Yes.

Assad’s Crackdown Could Drive Syrian Opposition to Armed Revolt
Interview with Joshua Landis by Guy Taylor | 25 Apr 2011
World Politics Review | Trend Line

The sudden deployment of tanks and infantry into the Syrian city of Daraa on Monday has some observers wondering whether the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad may soon devolve into a civil war comparable to the one raging a few hundreds miles away in Libya.

“If the opposition wants to continue to press its cause, there’s only one way to do it, and that’s through armed struggle,” says Joshua Landis, a professor of Middle East studies at the University of Oklahoma.

Landis, who maintains Syria Comment, a leading English-language blog on Syrian politics and society, tells Trend Lines that such a development is “likely to happen.”

Groups opposing al-Assad’s government have already built an infrastructure that would allow for the emergence of a secret militarized movement, Landis told Trend Lines, while adding that a serious armed response by the opposition “will take some time, because the government is arresting people right now and trying to tear down those networks that have developed.”

The goal behind the government’s deployment of tanks was to create a “shock and awe” effect against the uprising, said Landis. “They’re going to try and go in hard and fast and bring this to an end.”

During recent weeks, al-Assad had “hoped that he could get on top of this by making a few concessions, and that failed, so now he’s going to try and stamp this out,” Landis explained. “So it’s going to have to go bloody, and if the opposition wants to continue, they’re going to have to meet force with force.”

Such a development would most likely involve the movement of weapons into Syria by elements loyal to the Muslim Brotherhood based outside of the country.

“The Muslim Brotherhood would have to play a role in arming the opposition, because [regional] governments are not going to do it,” said Landis, noting that Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria’s other neighbors in the Persian Gulf “will not want to see the Assad regime fall, because the danger is that it will empower Islamic groups that are in the best position to be able to fight the regime.”

He added that while Syrian opposition groups in the United States and Europe will call for support for an armed uprising if one breaks out, the likelihood of a U.S. or European intervention on the side of an armed opposition to al-Assad is unlikely.

“Many of the realists in Washington and Europe . . . are frightened about the fall of this regime, because they believe the outcome is going to be civil war, not democracy. And that means a lot of refugees.”

Landis said, “Europe is already choking on Muslim refugees, and they’re not going to want to take more in.” He added that “there are hard days ahead. America’s allies in the region — Turkey, Israel and Saudi Arabia — are going to be supporting al-Assad . . . because they fear a civil war in Syria, which will mean refugees and a rise of extremism in the region. They fear that they’ll get sucked in.”

* Joshua Landis recently wrote this analysis on Syria for Time magazine.

NEWS:

Ayman Abdalnour, the Syrian opposition activist that runs the site all4syria, did not traveled to Israel, as this news story, claims.

Ayman has published a denial:

رد على اكاذيب سليمان معروف وقناته الدنيا وفبركة زيارة ايمن عبد النور لاسرائيل

نشر فى: غير مصنف

المعارض السوري أيمن عبد النور يزور تل ابيب

سربت مصادر إعلامية إسرائيلية الثلاثاء 26/4/2011 معلومات عن زيارة الإعلامي السوري المعارض أيمن عبد النور إلى تل أبيب خلال الأسبوع الماضي.

وأكدت المصادر وفق ما ذكر موقع “أخبارسورية” أن عبد النور التقى خلال زيارته التي استمرت يومين عدداً من قادة الاستخبارات الإسرائيلية من بينهم (عوفي . ز) المسؤول السري عن الملف السوري في جهاز المخابرات الإسرائيلية، مبينة أن من رتب اللقاء هو محمد دحلان القيادي السابق في حركة فتح والذي يلعب دوراً هاماً في تنسيق اللقاءات الإسرائيلية مع أعضاء المعارضة السورية.

UAE Stands Alongside Syria Amid Current Crisis

Syria Crackdown May Signal Brutal New Phase
By: Anthony Shadid | The New York Times

The Syrian Army stormed the restive city of Dara’a with tanks and soldiers and helped detain dozens in towns across the country Monday in an escalation of the crackdown on Syria’s five-week-old uprising….. the United States State Department urged American citizens not to visit the country and said Americans already there should leave immediately.

The U.S. State Department issued a travel advisory late Monday calling for the evacuation of diplomats’ families and non-essential personnel at the U.S. embassy. It also urged U.S. citizens in Syria to leave the country immediately.

About 400 Syrians have already lost their lives in Syria’s unrest, and at least 25 people have been killed so far in Dara’a during Assad’s latest crackdown.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said that the U.N. Security Council was considering steps to punish Syria for its brutal suppression of dissent. European and U.S. officials have distributed a draft statement that condemns the crackdown, and supports U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s call for an independent investigation of events in Syria.

Daily Mail (GB): THIS COULD MAKE LIBYA LOOK LIKE A SIDESHOW
2011-04-26

In a further dramatic escalation, yesterday the Syrian army .. Amidst all the upheaval in the Middle East, the crisis in Syria is perhaps the most serious conflagration for the West – not only because of the country’s crucial strategic position as a neighbour of both Israel and Iran, but also because there is no possible outcome that is likely to benefit either Western interests or enhance the spirit of democracy.

The Philippines on Tuesday urged its 17,000 citizens in Syria to leave, in the face of growing violence there. MANILA (AFP)–

Comments (102)


1. Akbar Palace said:

Bashar Assad is lucky to have Professor Josh on his side…

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April 26th, 2011, 11:40 am

 

2. Sophia said:

With Dahlan on the side of the Syrian opposition, it is getting uglier for the Syrian opposition and giving the much reviled criminal and collaborationist Dahlan a new life in politics. They really couldn’t get lower…

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April 26th, 2011, 11:58 am

 

3. majedkhaldoon said:

With all civil wars there are refugee,if Syria has civil war, where would the refugee go,in the south they will go to jordan,which has very limited capacity to host them,in the north they will go to Turkey, Turkey will be forced to do something,Turkey is the only country that can interfere militarily,in Syria.,while Turkey has good relations with Assad, they have been pushing him for reform, and he has not been doing enough to satisfy Turkey.Turkey is the answer.
The opposition has been reluctant to arm themselves,they do not want to even mention it,if it happen,I think it will quickly cause split in the army,and tilt the balance of power.
Saudia would like to see someone (like Nehlawi,At the time of Nasser) to revolt,they do not like Bashar Assad, but have good relations with Rifaat Assad,who is not liked in Syria, I think whatever Saudia does,will fail.
The answer is Turkey

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April 26th, 2011, 12:11 pm

 

4. sami Othmani said:

I can tell Landis that the Revolution will not be using or calling for arms. the syrian government is even weaker that using the arms against. using tanks and army will not change anything on the ground. demos will keep erupting from different places and cities. syria will not be back to same state it was before March.

bashar will be going as he day by day loses credibility. the alwaites need to find a new face to represent them.

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April 26th, 2011, 12:25 pm

 

5. aron said:

Professor Landis – With all due respect, I think you should be more careful in passing along such accusations against opposition activists, especially at this moment. The stakes for the people involved are extremely high. Meeting with Israeli intelligence is a hanging offense in Syria, and God knows what sort of treatment could hit his family if he stays out of reach.

Also, I find it slightly hard to believe that Mohammed Dahlan is responsible for Israel’s contacts with the Syrian opposition…

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April 26th, 2011, 12:26 pm

 

6. why-discuss said:

“I do not believe that the regime will be able to shut down the opposition.”

It will not be able to shutdown the hardline opposition unless:

- The army remains on the side of the governemnt
- The army crushes the hardliners in Deraa and the few cities where they are trapped quickly enough to prevent it from arming and the economy to collapse.

It is a run against time. The outcome of the next few days is decisive

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April 26th, 2011, 12:27 pm

 

7. SALAH ADDIN said:

April 26th, 2011, 12:29 pm

 

8. Souri333 (formerly Souri) said:

The problem is that we don’t know how far the Americans will go in their game. Assad will need to use force for weeks if he is to quell the insurgency. Will the Americans let him do that? The possibility of Syria disintegrating is very high. Many Alawis have already left their homes in the inner regions to the Alawi Mountain. Also Christians are fleeing from unsafe areas to safer areas. There are Christians who have left to Lebanon already. Druze have escaped Hawran. The sectarian borders are already drawn. If the Americans pressure Assad too much and he feels that he is fighting a losing war against the Islamists, he will flee to the coastal region and entrench himself there with his clan. This is what the Islamists want, and it is not unlikely. This attack against Syria is unprecedented in its ferocity. The chances that Syria won’t survive are higher than the chances it will survive.

The Saudis will create a Wahhabi state in Deraa and Damascus to help them against Iran and Hizbullah. The Saudis will convince the Wahhabi state to recognize Israel and two independent states for the Alawis and Druze. Aleppo may become an independent state or may even fall in the hands of Turkey.

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April 26th, 2011, 12:33 pm

 

9. why-discuss said:

UAE Stands Alongside Syria Amid Current Crisis

United Arab Emirates (UAE) President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan said Sunday in a message to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that UAE stands alongside Syria facing the current situation, Syria’s official SANA news agency reported.

The message was conveyed by visiting UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan who talked with Assad over the overall reforms the Syrian leadership is undertaking, and the situation in the Gulf region, especially in Bahrain and Yemen.

Syria has been gripped by more than five weeks of protests, which it blamed on armed gangs and foreign conspiracy.

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April 26th, 2011, 12:42 pm

 

10. Question said:

Souri333, where are you getting from that Alawis, Christians and Druze are escaping?

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April 26th, 2011, 12:52 pm

 

11. vlad-the-syrian said:

to all of the contributors with my deepest respect,answer please this question :

QUI VEUT LE BAIN DE SANG EN SYRIE ? QUI POUSSE AU BAIN DE SANG ?

le régime ? ou bien les ZOMBIES assoiffés de sang ?

si vous avez les preuves indiscutables que c’est le régime qui joue cette stratégie macabre, donnez-les ces preuves !

sorry for my bad arabic

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April 26th, 2011, 12:56 pm

 

12. Sophia said:

From Syria with doubt, part II
Source, Angry Arab:
http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2011/04/from-syria-with-doubt-part-ii.html

I told comrade Ziad that his message which I posted here infuriated many people especially in Syria. He responded here: “The beauty of what happened in Tunisia and Egypt is that the U.S, Israel and Saudi Arabia were caught unprepared they were taken off-guard; reactionary and colonial powers did not have the time to plan.
Yes I know my opinion on this matter is always received negatively, even in here among my friends, nobody wants to believe that sometimes a gun might fire backward. I have a question to all those who discredit the talk of the role of Islamists in the demonstrations, why was a law forbidding the burqa3 in schools issued few years ago if it was not becoming a widespread problem?
Now they will deaf our ears with talks about the national unity, and the “secular Syrian society”; as if we did not live those lies in Lebanon back in 2005.
We have seen this movie before haven’t we? Let me predict: the regime falls…a bomb is planted in a Sunni neighborhood…another one in an alawite neighborhood…tribes loyalty bought by Saudi\U.S intelligence (does anybody remember “Abou elrich” in iraq? we’ll have feathers all over)….ethnic massacres….foreign intervention….resistance under siege…sunni and shia massacring each other from Lebanon to Iraq….and the whole dream of a better future that saw light with the Egyptian revolution shattered into pieces.
We don’t give colonial power any incentive to be creative….same plan…same trap…same result (we still brag about the Arab revolution against the ottoman empire…nobody broke it to us that we helped France and Britain to colonize the whole region – it was shareef Hussein and the familia no? all of our problems come from Mecca J)
Now, anyone who voices out those concerns will be categorized\labeled as a regime supporter and won’t be heard…..I know that voicing out those concerns will be received by many people as a support to the regime’s policies\corruption\dictatorship…yet it is not, it only intends to raise the question, will the total collapse of regime be beneficial to our aims and goals of a better future?
Same thing happened in 2005, many people tend to live in their own imaginary bubble thinking that a democratic society will emerge only to discover later on that they were fooled…once again.
Today the Syrian people is drawing the future of the whole region for a long coming period…one can only hope they don’t give us a surreal one J

Part I here:
http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2011/04/from-syria-with-doubt.html

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April 26th, 2011, 1:25 pm

 

13. Souri333 (formerly Souri) said:

Dr. Landis who told you that the opposition does not have weapons already? The Syrian army has been fighting in Deraa for 2 days. Who is fighting it? and with what?? With peaceful chants?

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April 26th, 2011, 1:28 pm

 

14. majedkhaldoon said:

ارتفعت القيمة الإجمالية لتداولات سوق دمشق للأوراق المالية، يوم الثلاثاء، حوالي 1,1 مليون ليرة سورية عن الجلسة الماضية لتسجل القيمة الإجمالية للتداولات 4,2 مليون ليرة ، بعدما كانت مسجلة 3,1 مليونا.

إلا أن مؤشر السوق انخفض بمقدار 12.54 نقطة عن الجلسة الماضية، حيث أغلق على قيمة 1,262.83 وبنسبة تغير سالبة قدرها 0.98-%.

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April 26th, 2011, 2:12 pm

 

15. EHSANI2 said:

majedkhaldoon,

The performance of the stock market is a complicated story. Many of the stocks do not trade given the maximum allowable 3% daily move. One has to be careful when looking at the “index”. Individual stock performances tell a better story. Since the end of January, the overall index is down 28%. If you look at the stock of Qatar National Bank for example (QNBS) which traded today, it is down close to 38% since the end of January 2011 and as much as 69% since its all time high trade of syp 1692 in January of 2010.

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April 26th, 2011, 2:34 pm

 

16. professional student said:

“Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria’s other neighbors in the Persian Gulf “will not want to see the Assad regime fall, because the danger is that it will empower Islamic groups that are in the best position to be able to fight the regime.”

Isn’t it possible that pro-Hariri and other anti-Syrian forces in Lebanon might want to see the Assad regime fall, and take steps to do it? Furthermore the Lebanese border is very porous (and let’s not even start with the Iraqi border), weapons can be easily smuggled into Syria, and there are plenty of weapons in both Lebanon and Iraq.

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April 26th, 2011, 2:52 pm

 

17. AIG said:

Ehsani2,

Since shares are quoted in Syrian pounds, and the pound has been devalued (at least in the unofficial market), the losses in dollar terms are greater. What did QNBS cost in dollars in the beginning of 2010 and now?

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April 26th, 2011, 2:55 pm

 

18. Mina said:

This is another provocation at Iran to respond, because of its defense agreement with Syria. Everything is in place for a summer war. Netanyahu was right: he could buy all the time he wanted without offering concessions. Remember that Sarkozy’s brother works for Carlye since 2008. Now we can understand the Libyan episode has another smoke screen in order to give time to Netanyahu and his thugs to pump up the pressure on Syria through Ghonim and a few cyber activists.
But Europe shouldn’t think people like Qardawi work for free. The next step will be for the MB to ask for Muslim political parties in Europe even more than they already do so, as they are being told to use this kind of pressures by their Wahhabi brokers.

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April 26th, 2011, 3:01 pm

 

19. EHSANI2 said:

AIG,

The currency has only moved by about 3.8% so far. The central bank has been supporting it of course.

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April 26th, 2011, 3:04 pm

 

20. AIG said:

EHSANI2,

Thanks. What is the “unofficial” rate? Was there a devaluation in the black market?

By the way, is there a way to bet against the Syrian pound? Can one get into a forward contract in some bank outside Syria?

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April 26th, 2011, 3:19 pm

 

21. EHSANI2 said:

Nope.

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April 26th, 2011, 3:42 pm

 

22. why-discuss said:

I am amazed by the naivety of the anti-regime educated people.
You may want to humiliate and weaken Bashar al Assad but there are people stronger than you who want to humiliate and weaken Syria.

Just remember the 2005 international campaign after the Hariri murder, remember the international campaign after the bombing of the alleged nuclear weapon factory, remember the campaign accusing Syria to allow terrorist in Iraq, the campaign about weapon smuggling to Hezbollah, and the numerous sanctions.
Syria came out of all these and was able to developing its economical links with regional powers….

Ultimately you are being manipulated and you’ll probably become the collaterals of a war that is beyond you.

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April 26th, 2011, 3:50 pm

 

23. NK said:

Norman and WD

Since you asked if there were any demonstrations today

WD

The only reason the Syrian people had to suffer all these years is because we have a DICTATOR in control, we tolerated him because we thought we were heading toward something better, instead people are getting shot in the streets, what a glorious future he holds in store for us indeed!.

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April 26th, 2011, 3:57 pm

 

24. majedkhaldoon said:

Thank you Ehsani2.

The business,is suffering,A friend said they are not making the cost of electricity,when they open their stores,As Ehsani2 said the economy is very important factor,this uprising ,now, it is in the fivth week,how long the people can tolerate such problem,as Mr. Landis said,there comes a time the goverment may not be able to pay salaries,since it is a monthly payments,I think it is not a problem of the next two months,what happened in Deraa,is not similar to Hama in 1982,it may take long time,Damascus depends on Horan agriculture,and the jordan valley,the problem in Horan is bound to effect people in Damascus,I think the economy will have major effect on how to manage this crisis.

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April 26th, 2011, 4:02 pm

 

25. why-discuss said:

“Thanks, but no thanks, Mr. Obama”

From a “Gay Girl in Damascus blog” linked by the Figaro

http://damascusgaygirl.blogspot.com/2011/04/thanks-but-no-thanks-mr-obama.html

Le Figaro
La communauté internationale doit-elle intervenir en Syrie ?

http://www.lefigaro.fr/international/2011/04/25/01003-20110425QCMWWW00393-la-communaute-internationale-doit-elle-intervenir-en-syrie-a.php

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April 26th, 2011, 4:04 pm

 

26. why-discuss said:

NK

Thanks, it is comforting to see young Syrians in peaceful demonstrations with candles…

Majdelkhaldoon

“what happened in Deraa,is not similar to Hama in 1982,it may take long time”

What do you mean? I guess Deraa is much smaller than Hama, so why would it take longer?

The government fights back at Internet

Wissam Tarif, director of the Insan human rights organisation, told Al Jazeera on Tuesday that his website has been left hacked into and more than 2,000 spam messages left on it, effectively crippling the site.

Tarif said his Facebook and Twitter accounts had also been hacked into and hundreds of threatening and abusive messages left.

“The messages said that I am history, that they will kill me and they want to drink my blood,” he said. “They also seem to have a big problem with my mother and other members of my family.”

Hacking into activists’ social media accounts using “phishing” operations has been a tactic other governments in the region have used to try to prevent news of uprisings in their own countries from reaching the outside world.

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April 26th, 2011, 4:15 pm

 

27. ziadsoury said:

I do not want any censorship at all. Everyone has the right to speak their mind even the sick and deranged ones from all sides.

If Syria Almighty wants to kill half of the Syrian population, then we all should be aware of that.
If a salafi extremist wants to get rid of all Alawis, he is allowed to say so and we should be aware of that.

All what I asking for is to be free. Yes free. No one and I mean no one from Syria has the right to tell me “no”. I am no one’s slave. The Asad clan and their thugs don’t own me; don’t own any other Syrian and for sure don’t own Syria. We are born free and die free. So is our beautiful Syria.

If asking for and demanding my rights gives you a reason to call me a traitor. Then I say right back at you.

Ten (10) year olds were arrested and tortured for 2 weeks by your master’s cousin and you call me what? The traitors are the ones who applaud and defend that behavior.

You lumped everyone who is asking for freedom from 50 years of tyranny as traitors. Again nothing surprises me. Trying to dehumanize anyone who does not shout Suryah Alasad. That is not going to work. No one and I mean no one or family owns Syria. We all will die and Syria will be there and will outlast all the tyrants. Long live free Syria.

How long is your master going to last? 10, 15, 30 years or until death? Is his son or brother going to be the new master after his death? Do you guys think this is going to last forever? Don’t you worry about your grandkids? DO you think the Syrians who lost their beautiful sons in their primetime will forget the crimes of this regime? I will not.

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April 26th, 2011, 4:20 pm

 

28. MS said:

WHY-DISCUSS, I totally agree with you.
Furthermore, there is a media war going on, and nobody is asking questions or questioning sources.
Especially on Al-Jazeera, I am increasingly noticing journalists using their own conclusions as facts. They never speak of how they came to these facts and what was the evidence. Simple example is this blog piece by Cal Perry on Al Jazeera
http://blogs.aljazeera.net/middle-east/2011/04/24/no-humanity-left-syria-0
While it tries to touch on the humanistic feeling, I did not notice him once say what the people who shot looked like and if they were there on tanks or what.

Bashar Al-Assad does not look like a dumb-enough guy to not realize the repercussion of promising no more killings and safety for the population one week and shooting about a 100 the next week.
While this may make him look like he does not keep his word, it’s those who would profit behind the scenes in the Damascus regime that should be questioned as well for an answer.
I seriously hope he can still get himself out of this mess by pushing for an actual investigation and trial of those responsible for the killings, more freedom, to gain back stability.

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April 26th, 2011, 4:21 pm

 

29. Chris W said:

Incidentally, per the remark about tanks being used for ‘shock and awe’, there’s nothing unusual in using tanks in urban environments. The Americans found them essential in urban warfare during the insurgency in Iraq, the Jews too in their urban battles.

A tank is very vulnerable to anti-tank weapons in a city, but a soldier wearing nothing but a steel helmet is vulnerable to everything. Use of armour in this setting is quite a normal tactic.

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April 26th, 2011, 4:51 pm

 

30. ziadsoury said:

Asad and clan at work

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503543_162-20057082-503543.html

I am sure it is full of lies and made up stories..

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April 26th, 2011, 4:52 pm

 

31. NK said:

why-discuss

Thanks for the link in #23, an openly lesbian activist taking part in the demonstrations against this ruthless regime, that brought a tear into my eyes.

So much for the Salafi/MB uprising …

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April 26th, 2011, 4:53 pm

 

32. Solitarius said:

surprised by the title of this post. isn’t it already clear that there has been weapons involved and violence in the demonstrations? in Homs it’s already well known that since day when the demonstrators went unchecked to the general’s club (nadi al doubbat), attacked it, and killed the poor doorman (i also heard he was a soldier)

this is obviously the most minor incident in the whole series.. but just to demonstrate that it has been present since day one

the current situation needs SERIOUS analysis.. what kind of technology is present amongst the dissidents in Dar3a.. what kind of weaponry.. how did they get these satellite phones?

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April 26th, 2011, 5:14 pm

 

33. Majed97 said:

“I do not believe that the regime will be able to shut down the opposition.”

I agree; but shutting it down should not be the goal anyway. The objective, I think, should be to weaken it enough to allow the President sufficient time to implement his proposed reforms in a less panicky time table, and not allow the moslem brotherhood to hijack this movement. The oppositions have never been shut down anyway; they have always been operating underground, and outside the country, albeit ineffectively. As for arming them, I don’t see how this could possibly be a viable option, considering how fragmented they are, and how uncomfortable Syria’s neighbors will be with such a wild bunch roaming their boarders. Beside, although Syria’s military cannot match Israel advanced weapons, it still has powerful capability to deal with inexperienced insurgency. I don’t think the oppositions will risk it militarily, as they will have a lot to lose by alienating themselves domestically and internationally, not to mention validating the Syrian government’s claims that they are a terrorist organization.

This coming Friday may prove to be a decisive day. We should be able to measure the effectiveness of the Daraa “shock and awe” on the rest of demonstrators. We’ll see if fear will keep demonstrators in the other troubled cities (Homs, Hama, Banias) from coming out in significant numbers. More importantly, we’ll see how Aleppo and Damascus respond… if they respond at all. mobilizing those two cities is essential to both sides.

I think it would be a clever pre-emptive move by the government to call on its supporters this Friday, particularly in Aleppo and Damascus, to demonstrate their support in massive numbers. Such a powerful show of support for the government, coupled with fear of what happened in Daraa, could very well put this uprising to rest. It could also serve a response to the international community to legitimize the government’s action in Daraa; and give some cover to Syria’s friends with veto power (Russia and China) to veto any resolution against Syria. Time will tell but right now, Friday seems so far away…

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April 26th, 2011, 5:18 pm

 
 

35. Nur al-Cubicle said:

Nice chat with IR export Bertrand Badie in today’s Le Monde, where he explains that, sadly, the intervention of France, the UK and the USA (so-called “NATO”) gave carte blanche for Bashar’s excesses.

http://www.lemonde.fr/international/chat/2011/04/13/crises-en-monde-arabe-et-interventions-mise-a-l-ecart-ou-nouvelle-chance-pour-les-emergents_1507099_3210.html

I hope the opposition has the synthetic mindset and rock-hard determination and ruthlessness to withstand/reply to the oppression, because Bashar knows very well the West can’t do a damn thing about it.

BTW lets see what King Abdullah does about his bugbear, the Shi’a Crescent now. Time to put up or shut up.

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April 26th, 2011, 5:31 pm

 

36. Verls laguerre civile en Syrie? « Mounadil al Djazaïri said:

[...] Répression de la révolte: l’opposition prendra-t-elle les armes? Par Joshua Landis, Syria Comment (USA) 26 avril 2011 Bachar al-Assad est déterminé à mater la révolte syrienne, c’est pourquoi il a fait appel à l’armée et à ses blindés et procède maintenant à l’arrestation des réseaux de militants et de leaders de l’opposition que ses services de renseignements ont pu localiser. Il y a un aspect “choc et effroi” dans cette opération. Les tanks ne sont à l’évidence pas utiles pour réprimer une rébellion urbaine, mais ils montrent la puissance de feu supérieure de l’Etat et la détermination du président. C’est une stratégie militaire classique – vite et fort. Dominer l’opposition  avant qu’elle ait la possibilité de se renforcer et de se structurer durablement en termes de commandement. C’est précisément ce que l’armée US avait essayé de faire en Irak. C’est ce qu’elle n’a pas fait en Libye, quand elle a permis aux forces de Kadhafi de se regrouper et de reprendre le contrôle de Tripoli et de l’ouest libyen après son état initial de faiblesse et de confusion. Je ne pense pas que le régime parviendra à réduire l’opposition au silence. A la différence de l’opposition iranienne, qui a pu être muselée, l’opposition syrienne est plus révolutionnaire même si, peut-être, pas aussi nombreuse dans la capitale. Le mouvement Vert [en Iran] n’appelait pas à renverser le régime et à mettre fin à la république islamique, mais demandait seulement des réformes. L’opposition syrienne est révolutionnaire. Même s elle a commencé par appeler à des réformes, elle en est vite venue à exiger la fin du régime. Elle est convaincue qu’il est impossible de réformer le régime baathiste et que la Syrie doit partir sur de nouvelles bases. Elle veut la fin du régime baathiste, la fin de la dynastie Assad, la fin de la domination de la présidence et des forces de sécurité par la communauté religieuse alaouite, et la fin de la domination de l’économie par l’élite financière qui a recouru au népotisme, aux échanges entre initiés et à la corruption pour monopoliser  des pans entiers du commerce et de l’industrie. En bref, l’opposition abhorre la plupart des aspects du régime actuel et s’attelle à le déraciner. Elle est plus déterminée et révolutionnaire que ne l’était le mouvement Vert en Iran qu’Ahmadinedjad et Khamenei ont réussi à réprimer. Il n’y a aucune raison pour qu’elle ne le fasse pas. Certains des dirigeants de l’opposition prônent des moyens pacifiques, mais cette approche ne fait pas l’unanimité. Nous avons déjà constaté le recours à la violence armée par l’opposition. A Banias, 9 soldats avaient été tués par des opposants armés alors que leur véhicule roulait sur l’autoroute principale en direction de la ville. A Jable, des manifestants s’étaient armés de bâtons, de pelles et d’autres armes [des armes de fortune, des outils… NdT]. Quoiqu’inutiles devant des armes à feu, ces armes montraient l’état d’esprit de la foule et sa volonté d’opposer sa propre violence à la violence d’Etat. Les autorités syriennes ont insisté dès le début pour dire que des éléments d’opposition avaient tiré sur des policiers et des soldats. Même si très peu d’informations de ce genre sont avérées, elles sous-entendent que l’opposition est prête à recourir à la force. Face à la supériorité militaire de l’Etat et à sa volonté de recourir à la force, l’opposition sera elle-même contrainte de recourir à l’action armée. La direction de l’opposition a déjà pu introduire clandestinement des lots de téléphones satellitaires et de matériel électronique pour renforcer les militants à l’intérieur du pays. Faire passer des armes ne sera pas difficile. Le gouvernement syrien a déjà annoncé avoir intercepté plusieurs camions chargés d’armes en provenance d’Irak. Le Liban et l’Irak regorgent d’armes et les itinéraires de contrebande entre ces pays et la Syrie sont très fréquentés. Les pays du Golfe apporteront argent et soutien. Des organisations militantes en Irak et ailleurs soutiennent depuis longtemps que la Syrie est un poste de pilotage du Moyen Orient et une cible adéquate pour la déstabilisation, etc. Quelques questions d’un journaliste et mes réponses: Journaliste: “Pensez-vous que les manifestants vont submerger la capitale ? Pensez-vous qu’ils doivent le  faire pour renverser Bachar ?  Les classes possédantes ont trop à perdre avec une instabilité prolongée, et l’opposition ne peut leur offrir aucun scénario convaincant pour une transition pacifique vers la démocratie ou un changement de régime. Elles craignent l’instabilité par-dessus tout, encore plus que la répression du régime. Landis : L’opposition doit d’abord réussir à faire sortir dans la rue les classes moyennes et les classes moyennes supérieures. Si l’armée et les classes moyennes restent fidèles au gouvernement, la bataille sera difficile pour l’opposition. Une longue spirale descendante Mais l’opposition n’a pas à faire descendre Alep et Damas dans les rues pour faire tomber le régime. S’ils peuvent faire  suffisamment pour paralyser l’économie syrienne – comme c’est le cas actuellement – le gouvernement tombera de lui-même. Si les entreprises s’arrêtent, si le tourisme s’effondre et si l’investissement étranger s’interrompt, les entreprises privées et les petits commerces feront faillite et les sources de revenus du gouvernement se tariront. A la fin, le régime ne pourra plus payer les salaires des fonctionnaires, et les services publics cesseront de fonctionner. A ce moment là, les classes moyennes abandonneront le régime. Ce sera une lente spirale descendante. Journaliste: Compte tenu de la relative désorganisation de l’opposition  – et l’éventualité qu’elle prenne les armes – une vacance du pouvoir en cas de départ d’Assad ne risque-t-elle pas d’être très meurtrière ? Landis : Oui [...]

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April 26th, 2011, 5:31 pm

 

37. Abū Tammām said:

Chris W said;
“The Americans found them essential in urban warfare during the insurgency in Iraq, the Jews too in their urban battles.”

In what urban battles did the “Jews” use tanks? Was there a uprising in New York or London that I was not aware of?

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April 26th, 2011, 5:33 pm

 

38. Off the Wall said:

Nothing to say today. Watching realities sink, fought off by self imposed illusions.

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April 26th, 2011, 5:39 pm

 

39. Renegade said:

Mr. Landis,

To credit your blog, it allows voices on both ends of the spectrum to express opinions vociferously; nevertheless, your analysis over the current upheaval sweeping the country, has fallen shy on open critique to the government unleashed force against protesters.

It only reinforces the perception of your systematic bias towards the regime, not only hails Mrs. Landis from the Alawite minority as an influence, but also a few of her family members have enlisted in the Syrian army, similar to its preponderance of Alawite high-ranking officers. Hopefully, they have not been directly involved in the recent military campaigns against Syrians.

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April 26th, 2011, 6:08 pm

 

40. Solitarius said:

I’m usually a very calm person, but lately I have been truly feeling the stress. Today must be the peak as the reality of the situation in Syria is sinking in as the above commentator rightly describes. I worry because I know even though people in high command might know what to do, the low ranks and the people on the ground, combined with sectarian hatred and international plots might spiral things out of control. In the absence of a supportive neighborhood this would be catastrophic. Now I truly understand the meaning of stability and to have a big brother. Even though Syria fucked up in Lebanon, it was still an effective safety monitor that would not let things go down the bloody path. Who would play this role if Syria is weakened?

I feel like the decision to send regime supports onto the streets is unwise. it’s provocative for those who have lost loved ones. What happened to the calls for everybody to stay at home? It was working nicely. Homs haven’t seen much protests if any since Friday while last week there were some during the weekday.

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April 26th, 2011, 6:10 pm

 

41. Chris W said:

#35,
Haha, that’s pretty funny, ‘Abu’.
It’s true, you could sometimes be forgiven for thinking the Jewish homeland was the USA with its capital at New York (or LA, or Washington), but I was thinking of urban battles fought by the the army of the *other* Jewish homeland. ;)

How many of the other commentors on this site with Arabic-sounding pseudonyms are really Americans or Israelis??

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April 26th, 2011, 6:14 pm

 

42. suri-amreki said:

The tanks are effective when the civilians have no RPG but will become useless if the people were able to capture RPGs from the soldiers themselves. I doubt that the Syrian people have access to RPGs (smuggled from outside) but if some of the Syrian Army decided to defect it will be a civil sectarian war! The Asad regime is approaching the point of no return and its end!

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April 26th, 2011, 6:20 pm

 

43. jad said:

Dear SOLITARIUS,
Everything will be fine, God willing!

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April 26th, 2011, 6:23 pm

 

44. s.s said:

UK, USA, and France understand well the vacuum they may create if they decided to attempt to bring the regime down. Not that they will be successful. France even declared today that they will not intervene. The opposition hope of western aid is just smoke now. The opposition is cornered in their cities. The Syrian security seems to have discovered the terrorist network behind the opposition.

They are doing a laparoscopic surgery to extract the pockets of terror. I would disagree with the media exaggeration of the brutality of the army. Well 25, 35, or even 100 is nothing compared to what the media is describing. If the army is shooting randomly we should have heard of thousands of deaths. I think the army wants to grab the ones on their list.

Assad has nothing to fear. The time in his hands to complete his surgery. The west is too week to get involved in Syria. The regime is backed up by a strong allies that can bring the Saudi axis to ground if they want.

The coming Fridays are going to be the Fridays of Lions not opposition anymore. The people got a great boost from the intervention. I see the surgery successful by all means. Need not to forget that Assad is a surgeon and a great one. Love the ground you walk on chief Assad.

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April 26th, 2011, 6:30 pm

 

45. Chris W said:

#41,
I really hope it doesn’t come down to urban warfare. As the Israelis, Americans, and many others since WWII have shown, it isn’t impossible for an army to defeat a smaller opponent in an urban environment; not at all, but it’s horribly destructive.

Is the current Assad regime that intractable that armed uprising is the best solution? Do you hope that Western forces will bomb Syria as ineffectually as they have the Libyans?

Isn’t a period of perestroika – ongoing liberalisation, lifting of restrictions and eventually democracy – a reasonable compromise? It worked very well in ending Communism in Europe.

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April 26th, 2011, 6:38 pm

 

46. s.s said:

SURI-AMREKI

“Asad regime is approaching the point of no return and its end!”

You think so. On what you based your assumptions. I see everything working for the great Assad. Wait and you will witness the birth of a Great Leader. Not that he was not, but this crises will make him the strongest most powerful leader in the region.

Why do you see his end. What you see that I do not see. Do you see the west coming for your help: I do not see that. UK army is bankrupt. USA is so stretched in Afghanistan, Iraq, and now in Libya that another war would be a political execution to Mr. Obama.

Do you see the opposition is strong enough to overcome the government?……….I do not see that. The army will defeat the opposition and I see them on the run.

Your Great Friday was a total failure. The coming Fridays are not yours. IT IS OURS SIR, so step aside and let us do our business.

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April 26th, 2011, 6:39 pm

 

47. Off the Wall said:

SOLITARIUS
A criminal regime, vulgar supporters, check your common sense if you expect civility from the regime’s gang. This is not the Godfather movie, where the Corleones listen to Opera before bullets fly and still get to show som so-called gang code of conduct. This is a struggle between the basest of animal urges, survival and dominance, and the loftiest of human desires, freedom and dignity.

I can only expect dances on the corps of innocent victims. It already happened on this blog and elsewhere. This is part of the sinking reality.

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April 26th, 2011, 6:49 pm

 

48. syau said:

Nk – #31 seems to think that because of 1 open lesbian activist, there is not mb/salafi uprising,

Nk knows very well that there definately is a mb uprising as he knows very well that an Islamist rule will not let allow this open lesbian or any other gay person see the light of day in a country they govern.

With an Islamist government, everybody loses.

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April 26th, 2011, 6:53 pm

 

49. Chris W said:

It’s such a mistake for the West to be encouraging revolution in the Arab world. I struggle to think of a situation – ever in history – where violent revolution has led to a government better than the one it overthrew.

President Assad seems to have a genuine desire to liberalise Syria. He’s lived at peace with his neighbours – Israel included. Syria is a dictatorship, but since the death of Assad the elder, it’s been a relatively benign one: a far cry from the Butcher of Baghdad or Mullahs of Iran.

It sickens me to see Americans, especially, on their high horse about dictatorship in Syria. Stupidity is as destructive as wickedness in this world; and American stupidity has caused more suffering than the wrongdoing of 100 regimes like the current one in Syria.

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April 26th, 2011, 6:55 pm

 

50. abraham said:

The Syrian regime is acting shamelessly. I didn’t think Bashar would let it come to this and I always had a high level of respect for him, in the hope and anticipation that he would eventually find the wisdom and courage to open up Syria to free enterprise and a more republican form of government. That respect is now replaced with disdain, and a desire to see the regime go. And this coming from an Alawite (albeit outside of Syria).

Bashar could have done the one sensible thing, the only thing that would ensure his survival, as well as his enshrine him forever as the creator of a new Syria, which was to bring true liberty to the Middle East by opening society and letting the Syrian people run their own lives. This would be the boldest and most defiant move against Israel that any Middle Eastern leader could commit, yet none have the courage to take that step. Instead, they fall back on the comfortable lives of privilege that they have inherited and to which they are addicted. They will always choose their own selfish desires over the real needs of those over which they rule.

And so now we see the Syrian regime using the same disgusting and despicable tactics as its zionist enemy, raging through villages with tanks, sniping at anything that moves and shooting out rooftop water tanks. It’s hard to tell who the zionists are anymore.

And so thus, Bashar will be just another overthrown A-rab thug, to be forgotten in time as that moron that could have had it all but chose to die over a fraction of it instead.

Good riddance.

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April 26th, 2011, 7:11 pm

 

51. Off the Wall said:

CHRIS-W

President Assad seems to have a genuine desire to liberalise Syria. He’s lived at peace with his neighbours – Israel included. Syria is a dictatorship, but since the death of Assad the elder, it’s been a relatively benign one: a far cry from the Butcher of Baghdad or Mullahs of Iran

Then I invite you to emigrate to this benign dictatorship and seek its citizenship.

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April 26th, 2011, 7:12 pm

 

52. Charles F said:

I am usually just a reader and do no comment…but I have found it compelling now after reading such crazy propaganda put forth on this board.

Taking a step back and looking at the events, I do not understand how people can stand against those asking for freedom. Freedom does not equal civil war! Freedom does not equal sectarian strife! Sunnis, Christains, Alawitws have all lives in peace for decades now in Syria. It is obvious from these message boards that the Syrian people do not want instability and civil war…well if most of the people do not want this then why would democracy bring this on? After all, is democracy not the people’s will?

The other issue is the foreign intervention. Some have argued that the Assad regime is singled out by the West because of its resistance towards Israel and its close alliance with Iran. What has the Assad resistance brought the Syrian people other than losing the Golan? If the majority of the people want to support Iran and Hizbollah…why would democracy bring an end to this??

Please stop accepting the lies and brainwashing machine of the government. We must support those giving their lives for a better Syria!

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April 26th, 2011, 7:13 pm

 

53. EHSANI2 said:

Chris,
As i wrote yesterday, damascus has its many shortcomings. This does not mean that we must blindly trust the alternative. Many who wanted the shah of iran gone soon realized that the alternative was not exactly what their dream was about. The bolshevik revolution was not much different. The admin gentleman behind the facebok revolution page is not exactly my idea of syria’s future for example.

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April 26th, 2011, 7:13 pm

 

54. Charles F said:

II am usually just a reader and do no comment…but I have found it compelling now after reading such crazy propaganda put forth on this board.

Taking a step back and looking at the events, I do not understand how people can stand against those asking for freedom. Freedom does not equal civil war! Freedom does not equal sectarian strife! Sunnis, Christains, Alawitws have all lives in peace for decades now in Syria. It is obvious from these message boards that the Syrian people do not want instability and civil war…well if most of the people do not want this then why would democracy bring this on? After all, is democracy not the people’s will?

The other issue is the foreign intervention. Some have argued that the Assad regime is singled out by the West because of its resistance towards Israel and its close alliance with Iran. What has the Assad resistance brought the Syrian people other than losing the Golan? If the majority of the people want to support Iran and Hizbollah…why would democracy bring an end to this??

Please stop accepting the lies and brainwashing machine of the government. We must support those giving their lives for a better Syria!

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April 26th, 2011, 7:14 pm

 

55. syau said:

Reports have surfaced that the religious leaders behind these uprisings have, in their mosques told their followers (the armed rebels behind the violence) that it is HALAL to kill fellow Syrians for their cause.

No true religious leader will ever endorse killing of innocent civilians. I feel for the followers of such religious leaders because they believe that their Imams/Sheikhs actually worship God when in actual fact, for someone to sanction such killings and mutilation to further their cause, can only worship Satan.

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April 26th, 2011, 7:16 pm

 

56. S.S said:

The admin gentleman behind the facebok revolution page is what the US and its allies have been fighting for years. Idiots are those who think for a minute that any one with logic would let this guy and his groups control a secular country like Syria.

We do not want a radical or even conservative Islamic government in Syria period

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April 26th, 2011, 7:24 pm

 

57. trustquest said:

NK, you did not say much about the link you put:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rt6UWvg47ZM&feature=player_embedded

This video is one of the most powerful videos and it shows the real weapon for those wonderful people who actually functioned not because of the Syrian regime hand out but because the people of Daraa are all over the world and build their region by their hands.

The power of the video is that those women, came out after two days incursion by army into their city, after cutting electricity, water, bread and after killing their children, they broke curfew and start chanting: people and army are one hand.
This is beyond imagination for peaceful protest, this is something unheard of by all other revolutions. I bow to these women and I’m sure no tyrant in the world can win against them.

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April 26th, 2011, 7:28 pm

 

58. ziadsoury said:

Dear OTW,

I thought you had nothing to say today or just you couldn’t take it anymore. I wonder if you are a traitor just like me and the rest of us.

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April 26th, 2011, 7:28 pm

 

59. Off the Wall said:

Ehsani
Many shortcomings! don’t you think it is a gross understatement.

ZIADSOURY
ana mundass happy to see mundasseen.

TRUSTQUEST
Good to see you back

Same thing to you dearest Jad

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April 26th, 2011, 7:31 pm

 

60. why-discuss said:

I just heard that mobile network is working Deraa, any one can confirm? If this true, I guess the army is having the upper hand in restoring peace in that ‘restive’ city.
Aljzeera English continue with its scoop titles that do not match what the correspondent is saying. I think this channel is going down the drain in credibility. The trouble is that all other media use Al Jazeera as their only source.
I guess the emir or Qatar and his Al Jazeera team deserves a royal suite in a donjon in Deraa when this will be over.

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April 26th, 2011, 7:33 pm

 

61. Akbar Palace said:

It’s such a mistake for the West to be encouraging revolution in the Arab world.

Chris W.,

In this regard, it doesn’t matter what you or the US thinks. It is a basic human right to “have a voice in government”. Every human being deserves it.

http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_rights

I am glad the US promotes freedom and democracy. I wish she would do it more often.

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April 26th, 2011, 7:42 pm

 

62. Alex said:

Off the wall,

If those many shortcomings are too much for you to take, your civil war option is a million times worse.

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April 26th, 2011, 7:46 pm

 

63. From Damascus said:

I lunched today with a Christian family who bore bright smiles on their faces. Because they know me well and know my views and opinions, they greeted me with a challenge: “You think the situation in Syria will be bad? Wait and see! Everything will be good in Syria now! The army has the situation under control!” It was heartbreaking, in a way. Last Friday was Syria’s most violent day of protests to date, and they believe that next Friday will be different? It would be nice, but it was impossible for me to share their mood. I couldn’t shake the sense that they were very vulnerable, in denial about the reality of the situation, and trying to bolster their spirits with false hopes, and for this, I felt genuine pity.

Even if I knew that the military action would restore peace and security, it’s difficult to feel a sense of joy knowing that the action will also involve the suffering of many and the violation of the rights of many. I asked my friends how they felt about young men being dragged out of their homes in the middle of the night. Despite their justified fears of ambitious Islamism in Syria, they do not hate Sunnis, and they know that even if the protest movements contain extremists who condone violence, military/security crackdowns will also not leave innocents untouched.

During my visit, a Sunni man was also visiting this particular Christian home, just before lunch. His cousin was killed recently near Jobar (a north-eastern Damascus neighborhood) during a protest. He just wanted to take a look—one peek around a corner, and a stray (or not) bullet entered his chest. What is the man’s opinion about who is responsible for the killing of his cousin—brutal security forces or violent extremist protesters? He says he honestly doesn’t know.

Two American diplomats have been arrested in the last week. One, just for riding in a service (small, public transportation van) that was heading out of Damascus. The other was driving through Damascus in his own car, and was stopped at a temporary checkpoint. He kept telling the mukhabaraat agents who were accosting him that he was a diplomat. It made no difference to them. This arrest was without cause or reason. His car was stopped and he was nabbed. They not only cuffed him, but placed a black bag over his head and whisked him away. They didn’t even respond to his demand that they contact his embassy. An arrest of a foreign national requires the contact of that individual’s respective embassy. Syria doesn’t respect that, apparently even in the case of diplomats.

He was later released, but a Syrian working at the embassy has not been so lucky. Most of the staff at any embassy are local citizens. This man was arrested simply for working with the American embassy. It’s been the better part of a week now, and no one has seen or heard a word from him. His family doesn’t know when he will resurface.

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April 26th, 2011, 7:49 pm

 

64. why-discuss said:

Some reactions of Arab countries to Syria’s recent events, please update…

Lebanon
Lebanon in the Security council will veto the resolution on Syria submitted by France, UK., Germany and Portugal

“Le ministre sortant des Affaires étrangères, Ali Chami, a demandé par courrier à l’ambassadeur libanais près de l’ONU, Nawaf Salam, « de ne pas approuver le projet de déclaration, parrainé par la Grande-Bretagne, la France, l’Allemagne et le Portugal, sur les événements en Syrie ».

The Arab league
“In the wake of the siege on Deraa, the Arab League has expressed concern over the situation in Syria. Referring to the escalated protests and repression thereof as a “serious dilemma,” the reaction falls short of the mounting condemnation from the UN and Western nations. The Arab League added that regimes should not resist such “historic” movements. Conversely, the regional organization has postponed its May meeting due to criticisms by Iraqi officials of the Bahraini government’s repression of its own protest movement.”

IRAQ

Khaled al-Assadi, a Shiite MP who is close to Maliki, told AFP he was convinced that “foreigners are intervening in the situation in Syria,” in reference to alleged support by Sunni Arab regimes for the protesters

Read more: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/Apr/25/Iraqs-Shiites-grudgingly-back-Syrias-Baath.ashx#ixzz1Kfz0uiH9
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)

Jordan

Jordan PM accuses Islamists of receiving orders from Egypt and Syria ( twitter)

all other arab countries appear mute probably waiting for the outcome of the crackdown

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April 26th, 2011, 7:56 pm

 

65. syau said:

#59 – From Damascus,

People riding the service are also vulnerable to attacks by these rebels. It is the absolute right of the security services to uphold the law and make sure people travelling to and from work etc.. arrive in safety.

There was a service travelling from Safita that was also stopped for routine checks that need to be undertaken for the safety of the people. They were merely asking people to show their ID cards, as it is evident that many insurgents in the country are from abroad. In that particular service, there were 3 non Syrians aboad. When questioned why they do not have an id card or able to provide reasonable identification, they were unable to and thus taken away for further questioning. It was later discovered that they were infact insurgents. The routine check on this vehicle saved many lives.

People travelling to and from places on public transport have the right to know they are travelling safely and will not be the victim of murderous rebels.

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April 26th, 2011, 8:25 pm

 

66. Revlon said:

Dear Joshua

You said: “ It is a classic military strategy – go hard and quick. Take out the opposition before t has a chance to harden and develop a durable command a reliable cell structure. This is precisely what the US military tried to do in Iraq. It is what it failed to do in Libya, when it allowed Qaddafi to regroup and regain control of Tripoli and Western Libya after his initial confusion and weakness”

I say: The parallel is inappropriate.
The duel in your example is between armies; Libyan and NATO. The opposition in your example is an army; Libya.
The opposition in the Syrian example is civilians.

Second” In Banyas, nine soldiers were shot while driving down the main highway into the city by armed opposition elements. In Jable, demonstrators had armed themselves with clubs, shovels and other weapons”

I say: Related video clip, posted on this blog, a while ago, seems to corroborate the revolution’s account and incriminate the black-shirt security forces. To my knowledge, there has been no independent account of the event. Your statement presents the case as an established fact!

“ The opposition leadership has already been able to smuggle loads of satellite phones and electronic equipment in to reinforce their activists inside the country. Smuggling arms will not be hard”

I say: There is a difference between bringing in a mobile phone in one’s pocket and bringing in a truck-load of weapons across the boarder. At a time of complete military and security mobilization, only staged smuggling operations make sense.

If the opposition wants to continue to press its cause, there’s only one way to do it, and that’s through armed struggle,” says Joshua Landis, a professor of Middle East studies at the University of Oklahoma.

I say: Without his will, even God would not be in a position to issue such an emphatic statement like yours; It would be at the expense of sacrificing the freedom of choice that he graciously given to the people.

Later…

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April 26th, 2011, 8:34 pm

 

67. syau said:

For those of you who are still under the notion that the ‘peaceful protesters’ are unarmed, open your minds. One of the insurgents captured admits that they are being paid money in return for the uprises and violents – he talks about the large sums of money they are offered. He admits to there being many weapons in the hands of the ‘revolutionists’. There is a picture of the weapons found with this particular group of rebels. They dont look like toy guns to me. There are also many more weapons in the hands of other armed gangs that have yet to be captured.

http://syria-news.com/readnews.php?sy_seq=131909

He goes on to say that some of their religious leaders are torn, with half of them asking them to settle the situation down, while the other half are asking for Jihad and stating that it is halal to kill their fellow syrians, stating that they likened to Israelies and if they are to murder them, their martyrdom will send them to heaven.

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April 26th, 2011, 8:44 pm

 

68. newfolder said:

and now they’re claiming protesters are taking halwasa pills (lsd). Libya Gaddafi style idiocy, will these people ever learn? no

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April 26th, 2011, 9:01 pm

 

69. Off the Wall said:

Dear Alex

It is Bashar’s and his family and close circle of beneficiaries’ civil war not mine. And for you to accuse me of instigating and owning a civil war is a major disappointment because it shows that you never really understood my posts not in the past or now.

You know well I am against violence not just on principle but through innate inexplicable character trait. I abhor verbal violence as much as i abhor physical violence, hence my detesting these characters, who all of a sudden popped up to spew hate and insults and call for murders and wholesale slaughter, so standing up for them is not out of character, I have done against openly sectarian, and against those now hiding behind secularism but advocating sectarian war. I have built a repuation on my prinicipled secularism and you know it before anyone else as well as you know of my defense of syria. I consider instigating civil war a treason and for you to accuse me of treason is again, at best disappointing.

It is more likely than not that neither one of us would have to live with what you call shortcoming nor with the civil war those you are defending have been trying to orchestrate for a while now. It seems to me that they thought they could do it on a mini-scale that suites their goals. However, i do not believe they will get their wish of mini civil war. In fact i am starting to suspect that when they recognized that the mass of Syrian people is not falling for their plan and that the majority of protesters are not falling for the bait, they opted to end the festering wound of dissent all over the country, which if contiued could lead to ever growing civilized peaceful protests, which is what scared the crap out of them for it completely exposes them for the criminal they are.

I am aware of conspiracies and of external threats and you an I stood side by side fighting these threats and exposing them for years now, but we now depart for you are now seeing conspiracy everywhere and willing to deprive the syrian poeple of the their rights to deal with any threat on their own terms because somehow you believe in the inexplicable genios of a single man, who had delivered nothing for 11 years but a return to personality cult he promissed to earradicate, a huge bloating corruption, a heartless band of thugs robbing the ecountrty blind, and a continuing jails and opression of freedom loging great syrians, while hiding behind execuses. I am too old to be foold again, again, and again, not even for you my dear friend.

It is demeaning to the humanity of those who I love in syria to have to chose beating and/or death and shouting the name of a mortal man next to their country’s name. To be kicked for refusing this intellectually, humanly, and ethically repulsive and oppressive choice is beyond comprehension and any one willing to tollerate that so that his name is shouted in this manner is a man I can never and will never trust to lead Syria into the 21 century. And yes it matters, for if they can not utter the name of freedom, they will never be allowed to have it with all the tallents that it will release. I suspect that you will tell me they are not ready, well then In that case, I have a bigger case than what thought, for who has done that to them over 50 years?. It may sound stupid to you, but it is just the tip of the dung pile.

You want me to sit down and silently accept being subjected to a psychological warfare, which is what was every single act of the regime and its media and its mouthpieces here and elsewhere over the past month aiming at instigating fear and creating a paranoid generation of syrians who see in their loved ones living outside the country and telling them that freedon is a legitimate desire as traitors. While the victims of bullets remain in the hundreds, the intellectual fearful, isolated, hateful zombies the enlightened-god-president media has created in the past month count in millions. Their comatoze intellectual state will only isolate them further from everything decent the world has to offer, and their will is beaten out of them in the most sinister, repulsive and ugly manner, We now have a middle class that sees in every great idea the world has to offer a threat and a conspiracy, How is that different from the slafism you claim to fight against. Or is it only selefism when the rigid mind wears a head scarf and does not drink. You see Alex, I am more secular than you think. It is my secular humanism that rejects this regime at its core not for what it is but for what it has done and will do to people I love.

For years now i have argued that so called secular republics in the Arab world, including Syria have been incubating, not merely tolerating religious fanaticism. Their intellectual and political laziness, expediency and procrastination in addressing real problems is what got us all where we are. For that, please do not call the victim of gunshot wond a man with a dirty bloody shirt and forget the bloody hand that shot the bullet.

You are my friend, and you hurt me a great deal by ascribing a civil war to me, but for heaven’s sake, what is my feeling worth for a drop of blood from a poor man, bearded or not shouting Allah-Surriyah-Hurrieh wbass, a man willing to lose his life for his right and the right of all who I love that I left back in syria not to shout Allah-Hurrieh-Bashar-wbass. If you do not see what i see in that picture, then I am really sorry for both of us.

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April 26th, 2011, 9:24 pm

 

70. Equus said:

We all rejoiced when Christians and Muslims did their theatrical act in Tahrir square, thinking this is the new Egypt. Well, think again the comedy is over.

In Qena, Egypt, Friday evening, members of the Muslim Brotherhood as well as various Salafist groups had taken over the protests and began chanting anti-Coptic slogans. The flag of Saudi Arabia was erected in front of the governorate. Reported by Al Ahram English on Monday 18 Apr 2011.
One of the protesters Mahmoud Saad, a professor of philosophy said: Qena should have a Muslim leader.We don’t want him because he is Christian,” said Saad. “His history in the police force is not the main issue.”
Should Daraa too have a Muslim leader?

Soon I guess the rebels or should I say peaceful protesters will raise Saudi Arabia flags in Syria, Damscus becomes Kabul and the real democracy begins.Lovely scheme orchestrated.

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April 26th, 2011, 9:29 pm

 

71. Why said:

SYAU

These are weapons by the Syrian regime … even one person saw a box that contained these weapons written ma3amel al difa3.. these people are random people who were arrested and they forced them to come out on TV and say they were paid by this and that. Just like the egyptian guy who was arrested and came out on tv said he was mossad then he was released because his government told assad if they wont release him they will screw them up. Assad obliged because they know the man is innocent. This government is a fat liar..and so are you, yala roo7 l3ab b3eed

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April 26th, 2011, 9:30 pm

 

72. S.A. said:

On “Quelling the revolt”

Joshua, I dont quite understand why you’re saying that the opposition is mostly peaceful when it is obvious that they are armed, trying to stir trouble and shoot at people? I have talked to several different people in Syria and they all said the same thing and that is that there are people who are starting to shoot at protesters or to shoot up in the air so that people will blame the government for the shootings and that will stir even more violence naturaly. How can you also verify the fact that “Syrian authorities have insisted from the beginning that opposition elements have been shooting at police and the military. Even if only a small percentage of these reports are true, it suggests that the opposition is willing to use force.” On what basis are you assuming that only a small percentage of these reports are true? Everybody I know who I’ve talked to in Syria said that there are armed people who are trying to stir sectarianism and it is obvious that it’s not from the government. Plus you mentioned yourself that it was easy enough to smuggle arms to Syria from most of its borders. It is also obvious from even a few of your previous posts regarding the Muslim Brotherhood people and the likes of Abdulhamid that they are going to try to overthrow the government by any means that they can get their hands on.
It is not to the advantage of the government to stir sectarianism.

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April 26th, 2011, 9:58 pm

 

73. Norman said:

xxxx

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April 26th, 2011, 10:15 pm

 

74. Norman said:

Majed97,

I agree, What i think will happen is that the Syrian government and the president will show grace and push for cancelling article 8 and moving on other reforms and that will give the friends of Syria the excused they need to support Syria that at the end of the day do not want to disturb,

OTW,

Alex did not say that you want civil war he just wants to alert everybody that peaceful reform no matter how late is better than civil war especially that we are not there to suffer from it.Don’t you think?,

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April 26th, 2011, 10:18 pm

 

75. aqoul said:

Comment #64 of OTW is quite moving.

But is the addressee worth so much consideration?

Does he not sound like a member of the ‘shabihha’ when he says?

الى كل الخونة
الله سوريا بشار وبس

Anyone who utters the above must be terminally ill exactly like the ‘shabbiha’

I know that OTW has the above comment in mind when he talks about being accused of treason by the addressee. So, by no means I’m trying to draw his attention to something he is not aware of.

But the question then arises. Is the addresse really worth such ‘pearls’ or words of wisdom as in comment #64?

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April 26th, 2011, 10:18 pm

 

76. majedkhaldoon said:

For those who said a revolution brings people worse that before them, I say American revolution in the ninteenth century,brought better system than before the american revolution,and so in Egypt and Tunis,France revolution ends up in a democratic one,and in England, the british revolution,brought about better system,Poland too.
Revolution go through period of maturation,Freedom is what people are yerning for,equality and justice,and rule of law.not tyrany despotism corruption,and nepotism,we need free media that tells the truth,not media that resort to deceit and fabrication to suit the dicatator.

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April 26th, 2011, 10:37 pm

 

77. majedkhaldoon said:

Norman said
the president will show grace and push for cancelling article 8

He will do it ,not because he needs to, not because the syrian people deserve it, but he will do it out of GRACE.
WHAT KIND OF MENTALITY IS THIS?

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April 26th, 2011, 10:44 pm

 

78. nafdik said:

MAJEDKHALDOON,

I understand why Norman feels this way. When I was a child we had a few stadiums buit in Syria and they all had the inscription “a gift from the father-leader to the youth”.

This has been drilled into our head since childhood. Even poor Bashar had it drilled and I think he truly beleives we are his property.

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April 26th, 2011, 10:58 pm

 

79. Norman said:

Majid, Nfdik,

I probably was not clear in what i wanted to say, what i mean is that after showing force and that he is not pressured to offer concessions he will continue reform out of his own believes not under the pressure of the anarchy that the revolutionaries are putting Syria through. I did not mean that he or anybody owns Syria,

It is as the say,

Al afo enda al maqdara.

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April 26th, 2011, 11:16 pm

 

80. NK said:

Comment of the day

نقلاً عن إحدى المتصلات بالتلفزيون السوري: شفت بمنامي الرسول يضع يده على كتف بشار وقال له لا تحزن وبعدها رأييت الرسول يردد الله سوريا بشار وبس

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April 26th, 2011, 11:17 pm

 

81. S.S said:

No grace, nothing. The president will not be pushed. The army will restore order. People wants peace not another Iraq plus this whole revolution does not deserve to be named revolution. A real revolution is when millions of people (not hundreds) get out in the streets on a daily (not Fridays only) basis, and all people (not men with beards) participates in the revolution to bring the government down. what we have seen is the opposite; hundreds of people, all men with beards, and evil looking, who have no agenda, and wants to make chaos and bring NEZAM down. They even did not accept anything of what Assad has done. They only wants him out. They deserve everything going on with them now. We ask the president to punish them, capture them, and bring them to justice. This is Syria, do not mess with the country guys. You go and do another business. You are losers. Will see you this Friday.

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April 26th, 2011, 11:33 pm

 

82. Akbar Palace said:

It’s hard to tell who the unionists are anymore

Abraham,

That’s easy. The zionists are the ones that make Erdogan fume when they kill 9 people trying to beat the crap out of them.

It’s not fair. We’re alwAys getting yelled at!

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April 26th, 2011, 11:40 pm

 

83. mawal95 said:

Professor Josh wrote above that “Syrian authorities have insisted from the beginning that opposition elements have been shooting at police and the military.”

The English-language version of the official news website of the Syrian government is currently reporting that on Tuesday 26 April, fifteen members of the government’s security forces were buried. It names the 15 names, and each’s date of birth, place of birth, and marriage status at the time of death; and it says each was “killed by armed criminal groups” and each body was “escorted in solemn procession”. Those fifteen dead bodies are not something that could be faked as some sort of a perverted publicity stunt. They are real security forces deaths, killed by real armed opposition elements. They refute the scurrilous allegation made in some quarters that the regime has been opening fire to scare protestors.

The Syrian government’s English-language news website is at http://WWW.SANA.SY and this particular story is http://www.sana.sy/eng/21/2011/04/26/343402.htm

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April 26th, 2011, 11:44 pm

 

84. NAJIB said:

hehe , this is a ‘Landis of Syria’ fantasy
and who exactly are those ‘opposition leadership’?

anyway, it might be too late.

لقد وُضِعت القيادة السورية امام تحدٍ كبير اثر الحركة المسلحة وعدوانيتها، وبعد الفتوى السلفية التي اجازت قتل ثلث السكان (8 ملايين) من اجل حياة الثلثين، واختبرت القيادة في شجاعتها وحرصها على وحدة البلاد وسلامة الشعب، وهنا كان القرار الاستراتيجي الذي غير اتجاه الاحداث ووضع سورية على خط الامن ومنع الفتنة الطائفية والحرب الاهلية:انه القرار باجتثاث الحركة التخريبية وعدم التوقف عند التهويل الغربي او التلفيق والتباكي الاعلاميين التحريضيين.

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April 26th, 2011, 11:57 pm

 

85. ziadsoury said:

Norman,

Please read and answer my question. Also assume this is a true story and not a fabricated one.

From Aljazeera:
“Three doctors from the private-run Hamdan hospital in Douma, the town in the Damascus countryside that has been a centre of protest, were arrested by the secret service on Monday night, according to two trusted sources.
The arrested included the director of the hospital, Dr Hosam Hamdan.
According to the first source, an activist in the area, the doctors had been arrested because they had disobeyed orders from the secret police to refuse treatment to protesters wounded in the armed crackdown by security forces.”

You are a doctor. As far as I know you take an oath to treat patients anywhere and anytime. Correct me if I am wrong. You are also required to treat enemy combatant and give them the best available care. Again, correct me if I am wrong.

My question to you, if you were one of those doctors at that hospital and you received these wounded protestors, would you have treated them or left them to die?

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April 27th, 2011, 12:04 am

 
 

87. syau said:

Why – 71,

I expected some peoples views to be narrow minded. I also expected the hardcore anti regime here to put their negative spin on it. The truth of the matter is that anti regime are so clouded by hate that they are blinded to the truth.

I also wonder if you thought Nidal Jannoud, the one who your ‘peaceful protesters’ slashed numerous times and paraded around with him in the streets before continuing with their slaughter of him and mutilating his body, was also a made up story.

Did you read what this man admitted to? Does that not strike you as sinister? The Islamists relligious leaders are calling for Jihad. Their own discusting version of Jihad. The true meaning of that is not murder and mutilation, it is not treason, violence or distruction of infrastructure. Or did you just look at the picture of the guns and made you own assumptions that they were the governments weapons? Its time to wake up.

Many others have been captured and have admitted to the same thing. Weapons have been seized coming in from the boarders. Proof of payments made to the opposition has surfaced. Video footage of their religious leaders calling for this violence to continue and stating that women who do not dress in the traditional headscarf are prostitutes. They have given their followers the green light and advised them that the violence, slaughter and mutilation of people is halal. It is not.

These are people who were paid to betray their country, cause chaos, destruction and as much violence against their fellow Syrians as possible.

They are inhuman, but worse are the people sanctioning and condoning such acts. Even worse are those who are happy to promote further uprisings, knowing very well what the intention of the ‘peaceful protesters’ are.

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April 27th, 2011, 12:37 am

 

88. syau said:

Ziadsouri,

I was just wondering if your sources are the same ones who reported one soldier was killed for not taking orders to shoot at protesters? The soldier that was supposed to be shot by his superiors magically appeared on tv along with another soldier who was apparently shot by his superiors aswell. He stated that he is definately alive and was on leave at his parents house when he heard the news of his untimely death. He also stated he is willing to die for his country in order to protect it for these ‘revolutionists’.

The media is a powerful tool. If they fabricate enough stories, people will eventually believe them – the narrow minded ones that dont look at the whole picture that is.

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April 27th, 2011, 1:01 am

 

89. abraham said:

And lest

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April 27th, 2011, 1:44 am

 

90. abraham said:

Ah yes, the resident hasbara stooge, Akbar Palace, chimes in as usual with his incoherent mumblings. Still keeping an eye on the niggers, are we?

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April 27th, 2011, 1:47 am

 

91. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Alex,

If a civil war erupts in Syria (I hope not), it will be because of arrogant people like yourself, who think they know better what’s good to others, and do dictate to those others, without asking for their consent.

Would you accept a political system, in which others decide for you, what is good to you, and without consulting you or asking for your permission to do so? I know I wouldn’t. We both live in democracies.
The Junta you admire chose not to listen, and to dictate. They will be responsible if a civil war breaks out, not the people of Syria, who refuse to be dictated.
.

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April 27th, 2011, 2:04 am

 

92. Averroes said:

OTW,

Emotions are running high, and that’s understandable. The scene is not simplistic. It is not pure white vs. pure black. There are peaceful demonstrators who are chanting for freedom and rights, there are other peaceful demonstrators who want to topple the regime, but there are also very real groups who are armed, motivated, and ruthless in the pursuit to topple the regime.

It is really unfortunate that the media noise is so severe, that we need blood to make a point, but, nevertheless,who is killing all those army, police, and security officers? It’s obvious that it’s not the peaceful slogans of the protestors.

When demonstrations take place, everyone is edgy and nervous. It is enough to have one bullet hit a security man, to ignite the scene. For a Wahabi extremist, he’s justified in targeting security, and it’s also justified that his action will cause the security to shoot at demonstrators and kill some … it’s for a good cause.

Here’s a link for you to support my argument that these people don’t mind to see Syrians getting killed:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfqG1MtXkIU
This sheikh Saleh Al-Luhaidan is an official member of the League of Grand Scholars هيئة كبار العلماء in Saudi Arabia. Listen to his appalling Fatwa on Syria. Listen especially at 6:10, where he says “no matter how many people die”, and that it’s alright to sacrifice the third [of the people] so that the other two thirds live happily ever after.

There are other links for Qaradawi inciting sectarian hatred in Syria and saying “so what, if they kill some of you”.

Sheikh Ar-Our, who is a Salafi Syrian living in Saudi Arabia also has clips saying “they can shoot 20, 30, that’s not a problem, you are 100,000″.

So back to my point that it’s highly justifiable in their minds to do anything to spill blood, as the regime is weakened either way: if security is killed and if protestors are killed. The beneficiary of this scenario is clear and the motive is there and the decreed justification is also there. The weapons, and the red-handed people caught shooting are also there.

So, there are armed people running amok and shooting, and if that does not justify a harsh response, I don’t know what does. Of course, with the chaos, there is bound to be innocent people falling on both sides, but that does not mean that any of us here supports seeing innocent people killed. Let’s not paint each other in this way.

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April 27th, 2011, 2:12 am

 

93. syau said:

Amir in Tel Aviv,

My question to you is Does the democratic nation of Israel know what is better for the palestinians?

I think not, otherwise the democratic nation of occupied Palestine would at least allow the Palestinians to live as normal human beings, allow them to have special medical attention when needed. Not to go through a mountain of red tape and have their children die before they are given that basic right.
The Palestinians would be free to travel across their country without having to wait hours on end to begin their journey, all to find it is too late to leave anyway. The list goes on and on, so there is no need to talk about a government knowing what is better for their people until the Israili government meets the basic need of the Palestinians.

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April 27th, 2011, 2:21 am

 

94. Off the Wall said:

Dear Aqoul
#96 was a response to #62. And yes, Alex deserves not only my time but also my loyal but principled friendship. I have heard and read the same words spoken to me, and to my family by some of our closest friends and some family members. I am not about to lose them, for we will all need each others when the guns stop. I happen to believe in the basic decency of humans, and in the destructive role fear plays in human relations. Will not yield to fear. Never again, and ignoring people I like or love for the sake of fear is not an option for me. I am very much like the peaceful protester, her/his best weapon is her love for country and a firm belief that the adversaries humanity or shame, both of which will eventually result in rejecting violence, will finally overwhelm their fear. Isn’t this the core of Gandhi’s and before him Christ’s philosophy?

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April 27th, 2011, 3:26 am

 

95. sean said:

For those saying that “reform” is the solution in Syria, I’d like to ask why they think it would be different this time around. The Damascus Spring folks went so far as to clear their requests for reform with the regime back in 2000 and 2001, and what happened to them?

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April 27th, 2011, 6:16 am

 

96. L'Islam en France : Points de vue sur le monde arabe : Vers la guerre civile en Syrie ? said:

[...] Répression de la révolte: l’opposition prendra-t-elle les armes? [...]

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April 27th, 2011, 6:22 am

 

97. Mina said:

Charles F, 54
Democracy means that you have to accept to let 55 percent rule on 45 percent of unhappy people. If you watch the videos, listen to the interviews, and discuss with Syrians abroad and inside, you will know that the people in the streets do not represent 55 or 51 percent of the Syrian population.
It would be quite immature after seeing Iraq and Libya, two of the richest Arab countries (but unfortunately for them, not monarchies) be turned to ashes on TV, and the Middle Eastern people have lived enough centuries of religious and civil wars to have maturity.
Tunisia and Egypt are homogenous country, the first, simply Sunni, the second, simply Sunni and with a Christian (still unhappy I suspect) component but at least the Coptic church is definitely a “national church”, with its own alphabet and a language which roots are the language of the pharaohs. In Syria’s mosaic of people and sects, the situation is far more complex. Some Christians became so at the hand of the Crusaders, some came from Iraq, from Turkey, from Greece, some were locals. As a result they have more than a dozen of different churches and bishops.

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April 27th, 2011, 7:23 am

 

98. why-discuss said:

Mina

I agree. Bashar al Assad should announce a referendum about confidence on his leadership supervised by the UN and then we’ll see the reality of the people of Syria. I guess all Alawis , all Christians, most Kurds and a large number of Sunnis will be on Bashar side. How much is that?

Now people just throw any numbers and predictions. What I see is a couple of thousands of hysterical protesters, some revengeful elements living in the West triggering the unrest, some computer nerds playing a new internet game, some idealists, a huge media machine manipulating and spreading images and texts, and lots of dead. I don’t call this a people revolution.

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April 27th, 2011, 10:01 am

 

99. What Next? | Syria said:

[...] how the current conflict could be drawn out over a much longer period. Just today Robert Fisk and Joshua Landis, two Syria watchers with much more experience than I, both wrote editorials outlining the [...]

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April 27th, 2011, 11:25 am

 

100. What next in Syria? 4 scenarios | Christopher Phillips said:

[...] prospect of civil war has been thrown around by commentators a lot without necessarily explaining what this would actually look like. The opposition would need [...]

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April 27th, 2011, 2:42 pm

 

101. Abdo said:

توقفوا عن هدا الهراء ان الحالة السورية هي مواجهة بين الكيان السوري الحالي بمكوناته شعب حضارة قيم اقتصاد اديان الخ و مخطط الظلام الغربي ! و لعل أكثر الامور سخرية أن يقوم مجلس الأمن و السلم الدولي بالمشاركة في تقويض الأمن و السلم بعينه ! عالم هراء يقوده أشرار ويلكم من عواقب أفعالكم ! عاشت سورية بلدي الحبيب عزيزة كريمة

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April 27th, 2011, 2:47 pm

 

102. News roundup — April 27 — War in Context said:

[...] Quelling the revolt: will the opposition take up arms? [...]

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April 27th, 2011, 8:36 pm

 

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