Ramadan Begins with Wide Spread Crack Down

Syrian Forces Renew Strike on Restive City of Hama
By NADA BAKRI and ANTHONY SHADID, August 1, 2011

BEIRUT — Syrian security forces bombed the Syrian city of Hama for a second day on Monday in as the government pressed its campaign to crush a four-month old popular uprising against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. On Sunday, at least 70 people were killed when the military and security forces assaulted Hama and other restive cities before dawn, in the broadest and fiercest crackdown yet.
The shelling resumed on Monday in the early hours of the morning as people were returning home from mosques where they performed dawn prayers, according to residents and protesters. At least three people were killed, according to activists.

Obada Arwany, an activist reached by telephone, said that tanks had entered two neighborhoods, Al-Qousour and Al-Hamidiya, and bombed residential buildings there. One man died as his was sleeping in his house from a bomb and another as he was getting in his car from a sniper’s bullet.

“The city is like a ghost town,” Mr. Arwany said. “We were not expecting this at all. Hama is getting massacred.”

One protester was also killed in Deir al-Zour in northwestern Syria, according to the Local Coordination Committees, an opposition group that helps organize and document protests.

The simultaneous raids on several cities on Sunday came a day before the holy month of Ramadan began, a time in which Syrian activists have vowed to escalate their uprising with nightly protests. The scale of the assault and the mounting death toll underlined the government’s intention to crush the uprising by force, despite international condemnation and its own tentative and mostly illusory reforms ostensibly aimed at placating protesters’ demands. ….

Since June, Hama has been largely free of security forces, allowing it to assert a measure of independence. In recent weeks, residents have built makeshift barricades, using streetlights, cinder blocks and sandbags to prevent security forces from re-entering. The defenses, however, stood little chance against tanks and armored vehicles, which began their assault from four directions before dawn.

Many in Syria had believed that the government would not dare try to retake Hama, given its bloody history with the government. …

Sobbing, Mr. Arwany said residents shouted “God is great” as they stood in the tanks’ paths. He said that he had seen dead and wounded scattered among the barricades in the streets, the shooting too ferocious for residents to retrieve or rescue them. The gunfire intersected with rallying cries broadcast from loudspeakers in the city’s mosques.

“They know that Hama is not armed,” Mr. Arwany added, “that is why they launched this campaign. “They are cowards. They are coming here to kill us because they know they can.”

The Syrian government offered a very different account of the events, which was contested by everyone reached by phone in the city. It said dozens of gunmen had set up on rooftops and were “shooting intensively to terrorize citizens,” the Syrian state news agency SANA reported. It said insurgent groups had set fire to police stations, vandalized public and private property and set up roadblocks and barricades.

“Army units are removing the barricades and roadblocks set up by the armed groups at the entrance of the city,” the news agency reported.

The version of events echoed the government’s longstanding contention that it faces an armed uprising led by militant Islamists and backed by foreign countries. This time, it said, armed men carried guns and rocket-propelled grenades, though not a single weapon was seen in the streets when a New York Times reporter visited last month.

J. J. Harder, the spokesman for the American Embassy in Damascus, termed the government’s account “nonsense” and called Syrian officials “delusional.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKW9QvJVwtU

Hamedieh Mosque in Hama with a large hole in it made by a large weapon

Paul Salem quoted by Blanford in CSM:

I don’t think either side is near the end of their capacities,” says Paul Salem, the director of the Carnegie Endowment’s Middle East Center in Beirut. “So I don’t think there will be any conclusion. Clearly the regime has a lot of fight and staying power. The population and the [general] mood is not at all about to end or throw in any towels. This will be a month that takes us more vigorously toward something resembling civil war.” “The frequency of protests certainly is important [but more important] is which towns decide to join,” says Mr. Salem. “If Aleppo and Damascus decide to join, then it’s all over. If they don’t join, then the regime survives. It doesn’t matter so much if Hama goes from three protests to nine protests, it’s still Hama.”

Syrian tanks launch fresh attack on city of Hama

The BBC’s Jim Muir, in Beirut, say Hama still seems to be largely under the control of its own inhabitants rather than the government.

Tanks and troops which had tried to take control of the city on Sunday, withdrew to the outskirts overnight but now seem to be pushing ahead again, he adds.

Intense shooting also broke out in the eastern city of Deir al-Zour overnight, Rami Abdul-Rahman, the head of the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said.

Government attempts to crush continuing protests across Syria has brought strong international condemnation.

Russia, in its strongest criticism yet of President Bashar al-Assad, called for an end to “repressions”.

“The use of force against both peaceful civilians and representatives of state structures is unacceptable and should be stopped immediately,” the foreign ministry said in a statement on Monday.

Interior Ministry: 8 Policemen Martyred during Confrontation with Armed Terorist Groups in Hama

DAMASCUS, (SANA) – In a statement on Sunday, the Ministry of Interior said that armed terrorist groups attacked at dawn official and security facilities and police stations in the city of Hama in an attempt to murder and kidnap policemen and vandalize and burn their contents, opening fire randomly around town to terrorize citizens and prevent them to going to work.

The statement said that law-enforcement forces engaged these groups to protect innocent civilians and preserve public and private properties and facilities, deploying in several areas in the city.

During these confrontations, 8 policemen were martyred and a number of police stations in Hama and its countryside were burned along with a number of police motorbikes. A number of gunmen were also killed.

The statement urged citizens to cooperate with security and police forces and provide information about the gunmen, warning against dealing with the armed terrorist groups and harboring them.

The statement stressed that the authorities will work hard to track down the terrorist wherever they are and arrest them and bring them to justice, and that they will continue work to restore security and stability in Hama.

Jerusalem Post: Barak: ‘Assad can hold out for a bit, but won’t last long’, 2011-08-01

Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Monday said the end of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s rule is likely near, Army Radio reported. “He can hold out a few more weeks, just on inertia,” he was quoted as telling members of his Atzmaut Knesset faction, …

Kurdwatch is an excellent site:

It is a well organized and balanced attempt to catalog how the uprising in Syria is affecting Kurds. The most recent updates explain how the new party law will affect Kurdish parties:

The provisions that a party may not be founded on a »regional basis«, that members must come from at least half of all Syrian provinces, and that the party must reflect the »national structure« of Syrian society make the foundation of an explicitly Kurdish-oriented party impossible.

How Kurdish parties stood on the Istanbul and Damascus “National Salvation” opposition meetings:

The other Kurdish parties declined to participate in Damascus because, according to Salih Gedo, member of the politburo of the Kurdish Left Party in Syria, they were not represented on the preparation committee. Nor did any party members take part in the Istanbul conference, though a few independent Kurds in exile did. They left the event shortly after the beginning however, when it was discovered the rights of Kurds would not be considered.

Additionally, on July 16, 2011, Mishʿal at-Tammu announced the withdrawal of the Kurdish Future Movement from the »National Rescue Conference«. At-Tammu legitimized this step by the fact that the participants in the Istanbul conference would not have adhered to decisions reached in Damascus. He criticized the fact in the closing statement from Istanbul, the existence and rights of the Kurds in that »part of Kurdistan which has become attached to Syria« were not mentioned.

It also lists the number of Kurds arrested, killed, and disappeared and gives reasons, places and other vital information that provides an overarching picture of teh extent to which Kurds are participating in demonstrations and being .

UN Security Council Will Discuss Syria Today, Britain Says
Aug. 1 (Bloomberg) —

The United Nations Security Council will meet to discuss Syria today, Britain said, after at least 150 people were reported killed yesterday as troops sought to reassert control over anti-government protesters.

The council will meet in New York, a spokeswoman for the U.K. Foreign Office in London said by telephone, declining to be identified in line with government practice. Foreign Secretary William Hague said today securing a resolution condemning the violence will be “difficult work.” China and Russia have been blocking a U.S. and European-backed draft in the 15-member body since late May.

“I would like to see a United Nations Security Council resolution to condemn this violence, to call for the release of political prisoners and to call for legitimate grievances to be responded to,” Hague told BBC Radio 4’s “Today” program. “We want to see stronger international pressure all round.”

Syria’s security forces, (AFP), 1 August 2011

DAMASCUS — Here is a breakdown of Syria’s armed forces, after President Bashar al-Assad praised troops for “foiling the enemies”, a day after security forces reportedly killed nearly 140 in a crackdown on protests.

According to the latest edition of the Military Balance, published by the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, the country’s defence budget in 2009 was at $1.87 billion/1.29 billion euros for a gross domestic product of $53.3 billion.

· Troops: The Syrian army consists of 325,000 troops, of which 220,000 are in the army, 5,000 in the navy, 40,000 in the air force and 60,000 in air defences.

Paramilitary forces are estimated at 108,000, of which 8,000 are in the gendarmerie, under the authority of the interior ministry, and 100,000 in the popular militia of the Baath party, which has been in power since 1963.

As regards reservists Syria’s army has 314,000 troops, while there are 4,000 in the navy, 10,000 in the air force and 20,000 in the air defences.

· Structure: The ground army has seven armoured divisions, three mechanised infantry divisions, a special forces division and a Republican Guard, created in 1976 and charged with state security.

The efficiency of the special forces and the Republican Guard is considered to be superior to that of the army in general.

· Equipment: the army is equipped with mainly Russian-made material, and includes 4,950 tanks. It has a large arsenal of missiles, whose command is based in the northern city of Aleppo.

The navy has two frigates. The air force has 555, mainly Soviet-built, fighter planes.

Even if its material is globally considered obsolete since the disappearance of the Soviet Union, its main ally and supplier, Syria’s military is one of the biggest in the Arab world.

Amal Hanano’s lates post on Jadaliyya, “Its not him, it’s them.”

Comments (88)


Pages: « 1 [2] Show All

51. aboali said:

I think the people of Damascus, several thousand of them in Midan tonight have spoken, and their message is very clear:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBQyU7U7sBI

By the way menhibaks and Assad fanatics, just because our revolution has been peaceful thus far, purely by our own choice, does not mean it will stay so for ever. The more atrocities your regime commits, the more it will convince us that taking up arms is the only way to get rid of it. Already, it is taking the utmost, maximum restraint from our side to keep it peaceful. But you may get your wish if you continue your murderous provocation, and you realize what that means? an eye for an eye. What you’ve done in Daraa, Banyas, Tal Kalakh, Jisr el Shughur, Homs, Hama, Dier Ezzour will be done to you. Vengeance, not liberation will be the new order. You have been warned.

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August 1st, 2011, 9:22 pm

 

52. Khalid Tlass said:

The people will not be intimidated. 150 people killed means 150 ppl less for a demonstration. The people will come out in even larger numbers. The people of Hama have nothing more to lose. If Bashar and his suporters hope to win, they’ll have to wipe out whole of Hama, something even his father couldn’t achieve.

And no, there were no defectors in Hama nor did any defections occur there. Most of the defections are in Idlib (Governorate), Deir Al Zour – Euphrates region and in and around the Homs-Rastan belt. Many defections also happened in Rif Dimashq and Dera’a early in June.

And yes, stop the atrocites for your own sake, Shabbiha. They do not want to end up as the Royalists in Iran after 1979, or as the Sunnis and Ba’athsts in Iraq after 2003.

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August 1st, 2011, 9:22 pm

 

53. ATASSI said:

International

When Dictators Shoot Back; Gaddafi and Assad are unyielding and murderous. Has the Arab Spring turned into an Arab Hell?

By Tahar Ben Jelloun

8 August 2011

Newsweek

Newsweek – Print and Online

Aug. 1 & Aug 8, 2011; ; U.S. Edition

English

Copyright (C) 2011 Newsweek Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Muammar Gaddafi and Bashar al-Assad agree on at least one point: Spring must be eliminated; the year should have just three seasons. The demand for dignity and freedom by those willing to die for those values—that is what they cannot bear, and strive to curb ruthlessly. Gaddafi and Assad are the same kind of people as Saddam Hussein. Like him, they can’t tolerate opposition, and answer it with weapons. Like him, they cling to their positions, which they occupy without legitimacy. Like him, they count on tribalism to fortify their power. Like him, they are afraid of justice. Like him, they are convinced they are right.

Because of these two men, what has been called the Arab Spring is in the process of clouding over and becoming more like an Arab hell.

The Tunisian and Egyptian revolts succeeded because the armies abandoned the heads of state. Without the courage and daring of a few superior officers, both those countries would still be burying their dead.

What happened? Why and how did a dream become reality, even if as I write this reality is riddled with disappointment and impatience? The genius of a people is unpredictable. No one knows why, one day, people took to the streets and courageously confronted the bullets of the police or the army. That remains a mystery. The Arab people are known for their extroverted natures, for their love of peace. The funerals of Nasser and Sadat were spectacular. So were those of Umm Kulthum and Farid al-Atrash, two singers adored by the public. When you see a mass of people mourning the death of a president, you don’t imagine them someday coming out and demanding the departure of another president, Mubarak—one who had been in power for 30 years.

Humiliation is a common technique with dictators. Scorning, crushing the citizen is a way to govern and to guarantee the consolidation of power. The raïs—head of state—becomes the father of the nation. He is incontestable, free to do what he likes and to have anything he desires; Arab tradition and mentality teach absolute respect for the father. You never criticize your father, never raise your voice in front of him; you obey him and thank him for being there. That is why not only Mubarak but also Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, Gaddafi, and Bashar al-Assad blithely confuse their countries and resources with their own property, and present themselves as the fathers of their nations. When they are reproached for this, they appear not to understand what is being demanded of them. This confusion between the money of the state and that of the leader is one consequence of dictatorship. The Mubarak family is said to possess $70 billion, and Ben Ali’s $17 billion.

In the West this notion of the omnipotent father does not exist. Why is it so strong in the Arab and Muslim world? In these countries there is one constant: the individual as a unique, singular entity is not recognized; it is the family, the clan, and the tribe that matter. The individual is drowned in this magma, and everything is done to prevent him from emerging from it. The early demonstrations in Tunisia, then Egypt, however, were marked by a new phenomenon: the emergence of the individual. The people in the streets were not calling for an increase in wages, but demanding universal values like freedom, dignity, and respect for human rights. They were asserting themselves as individuals having rights and duties, refusing to be regarded as subjects of the chief of state. This notion of the individual was born with the French Revolution of 1789.

People have often wondered why the novel as a literary genre came to life so late in the Arab world (Zaynab, the first novel, by Muhammad Haykal, appeared in serialized form in 1913 in an Egyptian magazine). The novel is the portrayal of one or several characters who are individuals. The writer bears witness to his time. The delayed birth of the Arabic novel was a direct consequence of the Arab disdain for the individual.

When the young Tunisian Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire last Dec. 17, he could not imagine that his fatal, tragic gesture would have historic consequences. How did he come to that point, knowing that Islam forbids suicide and that immolation by fire is alien to Arab and Muslim culture? All the great rebellions in history begin with a symbolic deed that sets off irreversible consequences. Bouazizi’s sacrifice was experienced by the entire Arab world as a call for uprising. Everyone said to himself, if he gave his life, the least we can do is take to the streets in protest.

Hamza Ali Al-Khateeb was 13 years old. He was arrested in Daraa, in Syria, on April 29 for chanting “Down with the Syrian regime.” He was tortured and given electric shocks; his feet, elbows, and knees were burned; then they slashed his face and cut off his penis. They finished him off with three bullets, one in mid-lung. On May 25, he was returned to his parents; the body was in a state of decomposition. The father was arrested and forced to accuse the Salafi extremists of committing the crime. Like the Tunisian Bouazizi, the Syrian boy Hamza has become the symbol for a revolt in which the blood keeps flowing.

These revolts are not revolutions. They have been spontaneous, without leaders, without ideology, without any political party. They have been driven by a yearning to stop living in submission, to stop being denied human dignity. These obstinate rebellions will stop only with the departure of those who practice—and symbolize—repression, theft, corruption, and the exercise of absolute power.

At present we are in a period of transition. It is a difficult time, marked by the impatience and disappointment of the people in rebellion. How to explain to them that it takes time to rebuild a country and put the state back on its feet when a dictator has pillaged, spoiled, and dishonored it? Despite the present disorder, though, and the more or less fortunate improvisations in Tunisia and Egypt, the wind of this spring continues to blow over all of the Arab world. It so happens that both countries where the battles against dictatorship result daily in the deaths of dozens of unarmed civilians are in the grips of a system whose roots are ancient and organized. Syria has always been a police state with a solid Army capitalizing on the proximity of Israel and Lebanon, a country from which it was chased out in 2005, but which the Syrian regime has sought to keep as a vassal.

As for Libya, Gaddafi has no future. The day his mercenaries grow weary, he will fall. All negotiations for surrender have failed (South African President Jacob Zuma felt that the mediation of the African Union was “undermined” by NATO raids). There have been 10,000 deaths since the beginning of the uprising.

What does that matter, Gaddafi says to himself. He will leave Libya only by divine will, he has reportedly said. But divine will did not tell him to massacre his own people. That is why the U.N. Security Council voted on its “no-fly zone” resolution and why NATO intervenes daily. You don’t know Gaddafi if you think he’ll give in to international pressure and take the path of a negotiated exile. His pathology didn’t just appear today. He is a hunted man who does not understand that his people are clamoring mightily for his departure. He is convinced he is in the right, that he is a victim of the West and of elements of Al Qaeda. When you have been in power for 42 years, you forget what’s real; you think normality is whatever you decide it is. At no time has Gaddafi thought he is a dictator, even if he blithely confuses the immense resources of his country with his own wealth. He is not crazy; he is sick, and has been for a long time. As Philippe Gros, a researcher at the Foundation for Strategic Research, stated recently in Le Monde: “Unlike Milosevic, Gaddafi has nothing to negotiate other than his departure, which makes his abdication more uncertain.”

The Arab Spring continues even now in midsummer. One of its major victories is the failure of Islamism, the alibi that had allowed Ben Ali and Mubarak to remain in charge and to do business with the West. Now we see that it was an illusion. Islamism was completely eclipsed by these revolts in which it played no part. The Islamists did not merely miss the boat: they didn’t even see it arrive. Their software is out of date. Bin Laden is dead, and along with him a whole phantasmagoria that does not correspond to reality. In Egypt the Muslim Brotherhood has formed a political party. It will accept the laws of a democracy that could make it politically redundant. Islamism is one movement among many others. It has the right to exist, but within the rules and laws of democratic respect.

The death of bin Laden is not the end of terrorism. There will always somewhere be a lunatic, a madman, a group of sick people to plant bombs and kill innocent people, as in Marrakech on April 27. Terrorism will experience difficulties simply because the people have become vigilant and the police have made security their priority—unless certain governments decide to manipulate splinter groups in order to thwart democracy in the countries where the revolts took place.

Anything is possible. The Arab world is an entity like no other; there is no unity, no common philosophy. There are Arab states that do not like each other despite their shared conferences, meetings, and protests. Hypocrisy is evident. Morocco and Algeria do not agree with each other. Their borders are closed. Tunisia is afraid of neighboring Libya. Syria is hedging all its bets while consolidating its repressive police regime, and hopes to put Lebanon, a country living under permanent tension about its security, back on its feet. Iraq is bandaging its wounds, and terrorism continues to kill people there. Jordan is calm for now; it has gone through some difficult days. Sudan is in the grip of unrest. Yemen risks getting lost in a civil war. And Israel is watching this upheaval and hardening its colonial policies, refusing integration with the Palestinians and shelving Barack Obama’s propositions. Israel mistrusts these revolts; it wants to preserve its monopoly on democracy in the region. But the Tunisian and Egyptian demonstrators did not attack Israel, which turns its back on peace and neurotically refuses any solution. Fortunately, Israelis and Palestinians have demonstrated together to demand peace negotiations. But the present leaders maintain and continue the colonization of Palestinian lands.

This is my survey of a tumultuous landscape, done with all the uncertainty of a cartographer who does not know exactly where the boundaries of revolt begin and end. To be sure, the awakening of the Arab people is not over. But fear has changed sides. The dictators in power, men without legitimacy, are now the fearful ones. They will be tossed out. Sooner or later, the Arab world will rid itself of these furious madmen, who cling to power even if it means multiple massacres. There comes a point where even massacres must die out.

Tahar Ben Jelloun is today’s most significant Francophone Moroccan novelist and poet. His work straddles Arab cultures throughout the world, chronicling hopes and impasses, whether through the eyes of desperate immigrants (in his book Leaving Tangiers) or political prisoners (This Blinding Absence of Light).

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August 1st, 2011, 9:25 pm

 

54. Aboud said:

True @50, for years the Baathists have gotten used to getting away with saying the most outlandish things (Zionist-Indian fighter pilots in the 1973 war come to mind). They have never had to defend their point of view, nor endure the torment of having their most cherished myths and assumptions challenged.

When put to the test, they have proven themselves incapable of carrying on a discussion with people of differing views, or participating in an exchange of opinions. As a result, many of them have left this website for greener, more menhebak friendly pastures, and the rest have severely cut down on the quantity of their contributions.

It says alot that they were incapable of sustaining a dialogue on this, the most accommodating website on the Internet to their views. Professor Landis bent over backwards to create an oasis of discussion, but even he can’t force the menhebaks to grow in political and intellectual maturity.

They will blame the insults, the snide remarks, the sarcasm, everything under the sun, except of course the system that did not prepare them for the shock of a democratic debate.

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August 1st, 2011, 9:29 pm

 

55. Norman said:

Many things are going to change in Syria, what surprises me is that the opposition do not seem to understand that to have a multiparty system and cancel article 8 and free presidential and parliamentary elections is going to lead in reality to the demise of the Syrian regime that was put together by president Hafiz Assad , they keep calling for the downfall of the regime but fail to see that president Bashar Assad is doing that for them more than any foreign power can, or willing to do.

Their hatred is blinding their eyes.

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August 1st, 2011, 9:30 pm

 

56. Syria no kandahar said:

I am talking about insults,look on how many posts he had edited in the last 24 hours.he needs to go to his mom,he needs to be raised well,then you can talk with him.it is not a heated discussion with him,he discuss things by his tong,his words don’t get filtered by a viable brain.Almost all his posts are the same words in different ordes:
Scum
F..k
Menhabak
Mukabarat
Heck
Besho
Scum bags
Hahahahaha
Hehehehehehehehe
If that is a real discussion,your very False,mr true.

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August 1st, 2011, 9:31 pm

 

57. ss said:

56 by SNK:

Unfortunately this is the level of discussions and repetitive words we all got used to. He is indeed a child and I would agree with you, he needs to go his his momy. I would care less about his posts and I would continue to enjoy the Assad crushing these thugs and MB elements.

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August 1st, 2011, 9:36 pm

 

58. aboali said:

#55 you must be seriously delusional, or outright trolling/lying if you believe for one instant that Bashar is willing to cede power via democratic elections.

You honestly believe a reformer who believes in democracy would have waited 11 years till a revolution took place, then killed 1700 protesters and put another 12000 in jail and sent his army to occupy cities which have revolted against his family’s authoritarian rule?

You’re a delusional fool, Bashar is just another Saddam, Gaddafi clone. A murderous dictator who cares nothing for his people, and sees them only as objects, to be toyed with at will.

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August 1st, 2011, 9:40 pm

 

59. Aboud said:

@56 “,look on how many posts he had edited in the last 24 hours.”

Exactly two edits. Two, out of numerous comments. Most of you menhebaks get twice that many edited out in just one post 🙂 Then you sulk and whine and accuse Professor Landis of being anti-regime, and we never hear from you again.

“,he discuss things by his tong”

Tongue. How else would you like me to “discuss things”? Sign language doesn’t work so well on the Internet 🙂

Moderator, if I just quote back what they said, does that count as insults? Hehehehe

“Scum
F..k
Menhabak
Mukabarat
Heck
Besho
Scum bags
Hahahahaha
Hehehehehehehehe”

You forgot Besho Brigades, junior, the eye doctor, Besho B** Kissers (that’s one that got edited out). I’m quite happy how many of these terms have entered the vocabulary of the discussions here.

By all means, please continue to whine to each other about Aboud Pony Tail 🙂

@55 Yours is a very unique view. Every serious analyst has, after examining the proposed “reforms”, come to the not-so-surprising conclusion that they are as tangible as junior’s fantasies of Salafi gangs.

However, if you think otherwise, then explain to me why, if junior is so serious about reforms, Najati Tayara has been jailed for the past two months? It should be a simple question, and I’ve been asking it for weeks, and yet the menhebaks would rather whine to each other 🙂

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August 1st, 2011, 9:59 pm

 

60. Mick said:

I have decided to pursue my inner NYT/Anthony Shadid level of reporting and tell you about what is going on in Hamah.

I did not call anyone in Hamah who did not have at least 10 guns. An RPG. I did not talk to a single person who had not attacked a police station. No one I talked to had not kidnapped and killed an ‘Alawi. In fact, i did not a call a single person who did not go the Mosque and yell “Jihad ‘Ali Al Jaysh!”

But since I’m an American. I care about American politics. I started calling Chicago politicians about the well-known corruption in Chicago politics. After hours of calling, I can safely say there is no corruption in Chicago. They told me over phone. And when I drove through the city a few months ago, I didn’t see a single politician taking a bribe.

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August 1st, 2011, 9:59 pm

 

61. Syria no kandahar said:

What amazes me is that no TV or newspaper had any interest in the killing and dumping of the Syrian soldiers.if you kill a cat and dump it in a river it will be a major news in the west,you will actually have some jail time.
If it was the army doing something of that sort,it would have been all over the universe,thousands of times.Amazing how cheep the Syrian blood have become,all kind of blood protesters and soldiers,it has become cheeper than urine,Amazing how stupid syrians have become where they clap for seeing ther own blood dumped and traded.Amazing how much politics all over are blood mixed.Amazing how oil can be more important than blood.Amazing how a nation who is the mother of all nations is being slaughtered by the international consciousness ,anesthetized by oil and money,using it’s own people stupidity as the knife.

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August 1st, 2011, 10:06 pm

 

62. atassi said:

Time is running out rapidly for this wicked warlord basher and his gangs …. Yella Souria Yella Souria
Yella Souria
Yella Souria
Yella Souria
Yella Souria
We are witnessing history in the making fellow Syrians, the age of Assad directorship roaring down …Mabrook

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August 1st, 2011, 10:15 pm

 

63. ATASSI said:

BASHAR THE KILLER..BASHAR THE KILLER..BASHAR THE KILLER..BASHAR THE KILLER..BASHAR THE KILLER..BASHAR THE KILLER..BASHAR THE KILLER..BASHAR THE KILLER..BASHAR THE KILLER..BASHAR THE KILLER..BASHAR THE KILLER..BASHAR THE KILLER..BASHAR THE KILLER..BASHAR THE KILLER..BASHAR THE KILLER..BASHAR THE KILLER..BASHAR THE KILLER..
عيد ميلاد حافظ الأسد في تدمر 1 رمضان

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August 1st, 2011, 10:18 pm

 

64. SALAH ADDIN said:

ABOUD
I am still waiting on you to answer the question: What is your craft that you bragged at being so good at? Are you a professional (paid) agent of Syria’s enemies? You sure come across as a hard working agent?

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August 1st, 2011, 10:19 pm

 

65. Ya Mara Ghalba said:

The video linked to by “Real Syrian” # 16 must be watched:

It was broadcast tonight (Monday) on Syrian State TV.
It shows the armed dissidents in Hama using their guns.
As “Real Syrian” said, it is necessary to immediately clean all Hama’s streets of these people.

Joshua quoted The New York Times reporter saying: “J. J. Harder, the spokesman for the American Embassy in Damascus, termed the government’s account “nonsense” and called Syrian officials “delusional.”” From the above video, clearly it is the USA people who are full of delusional nonsense. They were delusional about Libya and Iraq and Afghanistan, and they are delusional right now about Syria.

The officials of the Syrian government are spot on, they have all the truth and good virtue on their side, and http://WWW.SANA.SY once again proves it is the world’s best informed and most reliable news source about Syria. Real Syrians know it.

@ NORMAN #55: I kept this statement from NORMAN back on 12 July: “It is apparent that the opposition won, now that the president wants a free election and multiparty system. The regime as we know it is no more. I just do not understand why the opposition do not declare victory and enjoy their winnings.” Today NORMAN gives the answer: “their hatred is blinding their eyes”. That’s not a bad answer, but here’s my answer: The Assad party is going to trounce the rest of the field in the free elections, and hence the effective change is going to be a formal change in institutional trappings with the same old government. (The formal democratizaiton is important in the long term but not in the short and medium term). The dissidents want the fall of the government, and they don’t want to compete against the Assad party in an election.

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August 1st, 2011, 10:20 pm

 

66. ziadsoury said:

Norman,

150 of your fellow Hamwi citizens were murdered in cold blod and all you can say is King Hafez and Master Bashar.

No Sir, you are the blind.

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August 1st, 2011, 10:22 pm

 

67. MM said:

To me, there’s no way I would let up any revolutionary activities at this point no matter the amount of military oppression. Just as in the so-called “thawra” that put Baath in power, we will have ours. We will continue openly working for a free Syria. With the increased isolation that the international community has placed on Syria and the continued defiance of the mafia regime killing it’s own, it’s only a matter of time before they are removed. It is they who have chosen the path of war. The amount of blood that has been spilled so far cannot be all in vain and we will not forget the sacrifices of those who were most brave. Therefore, the only thing at this point that will suffice is Bashar’s head on a platter. And there are plenty more like myself.

There will be no amnesty for Bashar al-Assad or Maher al-Assad. We will hunt them down for justice – if they surrender peacefully that would be preferable – we will have a trial, there will more than likely be a conviction. The death penalty is certainly on the table, as it is for Mubarak. If they do not surrender, then they’ve made their dignified choice and ours’ easier sealing this darkest chapter in our proud Syrian history.

I was ambivalent to Bashar’s presidency up until a few months ago. I waited patiently speech after speech waiting for a breakthrough, waiting for acknowledgment of responsibility, a mea culpa. I had an open mind. The excuses, open lying, and contempt he had for the Syrian people has enraged me as well as many others. I know it’s hard to get rid of this government. I realize that his regime is a cancer. It is a cancer in the minds of all his agents, and the vast network around Syria. What Syria needs now is akin to chemotherapy – a period in which will be very difficult, but in the long run, will rid us of disease and allow us to prosper once again.

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August 1st, 2011, 10:24 pm

 

68. atassi said:

Norman,
many of your fellow hamwi Christians “ I know them personally “are boiling in anger and will accept nothing less than seeing Basher and his thugs corny in the international criminal court .. you still astonish me sir.. how much blood are you willing to see!!

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August 1st, 2011, 10:30 pm

 

69. Norman said:

Aboali,

Until 3 months ago, most people felt that Syrians are lucky, they are safe their government listen to them on Iraq, Palestine and economic openness, so as they say , NOT BROKEN< WHY FIX IT ,

Now we know that it was broken but we did not know it and he is trying to fix it, so help him as he can help you .

Aboud,

I agree that the reforms as they are now are not enough or serious, but with canceling article 8 and announcing free election with multiparty system at a set time table should be enough to move the process forward without more blood being spilled ,

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August 1st, 2011, 10:39 pm

 

70. True said:

@ 56. Syria no Kandahar, you still all over the place and absolutely making no sense at ALL. Stop posting, no one could bother to decipher your creative thinking eh.

@ 59. Aboud, don’t listen to those empty noises and yeah mate you do own the copyrights © of “Menhebk” 

@ 62. atassi, Syria history unfolding indeed, a better era is emerging.

@ 40. Tara, no worries

@ 42. Ali, just let me get it right eh, which will you put first Syria or the killer “Besho” and his ancestors? I’m expecting one sentence answer no more!

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August 1st, 2011, 10:44 pm

 

71. beaware said:

Syrian state TV shows horrible footage on armed men in Hama
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-08/02/c_131023538.htm
DAMASCUS, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) — Syria’s state-run television aired late Monday an amateur video footage, showing armed men in the focal point city of Hama shooting at law-enforcement forces and dumping their bodies in the city’s Orontes River.

The footage showed armed men holding rifles, some of them were masked and dressed in rags, shooting at law-enforcement members in Hama and dumping their bodies in the Orontes River while shouting “God is great.”

In the same context, the official SANA news agency quoted an unnamed official as saying that armed groups have “started an intensive armed attack” on Monday’s eve using live ammunition and Molotov against a number of official headquarters and police stations in the central province of Hama.

The source said the gunmen are carrying guns and roaming the city on motorcycles, adding that army units are still carrying out their missions there in eliminating barricades and barriers set up by those “saboteurs.”

Meanwhile, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad visited Monday a number of wounded army officers and policemen at the Military Tishrin Hospital in Damascus, whom the authorities say were gunned down by “armed gangs.”

Syria said hundreds of policemen and security officers were killed and many others wounded by alleged armed groups it blames for the four-month-old unrest in the country.

Earlier Monday, Lt. Gen. Riyad Hadad, head of the political department in the Syrian army, said Syria is facing the “closing chapter” of the conspiracy.

In an interview published by al-Baath newspaper on Monday, Hadad said the army is ready to make every sacrifice to safeguard the security of the country.

Since the unrest began in mid March, Hama has been one of the hottest centers of the demonstrations, with thousands protesting every week to press demands for the downfall of the leadership.

The city has a storied history of rebellion against the Syrian leadership and was a stronghold of the banned Muslim Brotherhood, which staged a bloody rebellion in 1982.

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August 1st, 2011, 10:47 pm

 

72. EDJ said:

It would appear that Assad and his organized crime family has entered their final stages. Most people, who were peaceful, some days ago now today are screaming for blood. If Assad and company wished for blood then they will have one and very soon. In the end and there will be an end. It is either Syria and the Syrian people or Assad and his organized criminal goons…no going back now…no going back.

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August 1st, 2011, 10:49 pm

 

73. beaware said:

Turkey strongly condemns Syrian crackdown
Monday, August 1, 2011
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/n.php?n=turkey-strongly-condemns-syrian-crackdown-2011-08-01

Turkey has reacted strongly to Sunday’s bloody crackdown by the Syrian regime in the city of Hama, condemning the Syrian army’s operations that killed nearly 100 protesters.

“As expectations are underway for the restoration of tranquility in line with the spirit of Ramadan and for the fulfillment of radical reforms, beginning the holy month of Ramadan within a bloody environment is unacceptable,” President Abdullah Gül told Anatolia news agency Monday.

Gül emphasized that the recent operations in Syria had further deepened existing concerns. “I am calling on the Syrian administration to halt the violence against people and fulfill the reforms that will build the future of the country on the basis of peace and stability,” the Turkish president said.

“The use of heavy weapons against people in Hama when Ramadan began shocked me. It is not possible for us to remain indifferent to this violence,” Gül added.

Syrian tanks stormed the restive city of Hama on Sunday, killing at least 95 civilians in a move to crush demonstrations against President Bashar al-Assad’s rule.

Ankara’s first reaction against Syria’s operations came with a statement late Sunday. “The latest developments have brought into question the Syrian government’s intention and sincerity to resolve the conflict through peaceful means,” a Turkish Foreign Ministry statement said late Sunday. The ministry underlined Turkey had been “waiting with patience” and watching the developments in Syria closely over the last couple of months.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu also voiced concern Sunday over the Hama crackdown, saying Syria was passing through a very critical period. Following his first assessment, the foreign minister condemned Syria on Monday for its heavy assault on protesters.

“We were greatly disappointed over yesterday’s operations, especially the operations conducted in Hama. Both the timing and the way Syria conducted the operations were enormously wrong. We severely condemn these operations,” Davutoğlu told reporters Monday.

The foreign minister also joined other international actors in criticizing the timing of the massive operations on the eve of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which began Aug. 1 and lasts until Aug. 29 this year. Davutoğlu emphasized that the move was not appropriate to the spirit of Ramadan.

“The dimensions of the loss of civilian lives in an operation that deploys tanks and heavy weapons in a highly populated area should have been known to the Syrian authorities,” Davutoğlu said.

Turkey has called on Syria many times to make urgent reforms and urged it to abstain from bloody actions to quash protests, but the latest remarks are the strongest reaction yet from Ankara toward Assad’s regime.

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August 1st, 2011, 10:53 pm

 

74. Norman said:

Ya Mara Ghalba ,

I am flattered that my statement was saved ,i have to be careful not to change what i write so people will not say that i am a flip flop ,

Atassi,

It does not matter to me at all if many Christians are your friends or agree with you, they probably fear you more than love you,

Any way my loyalty is not and never will be to my religion, It is to my Arab nation and what is good in my opinion for our people,

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August 1st, 2011, 10:56 pm

 

75. Syria no kandahar said:

True
You need few brain cells to absorb my posts.your brain cells are below the minimal required number to digest my posts,don’t read them .you have more than the needed number required to absorb pony tail’s post,which is 0.

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August 1st, 2011, 10:56 pm

 

76. Mick said:

Syria no Kandahar

Syria is the next Iraq. You must realize that none of the liars that sold the world on the Iraq war paid a price for lying. And the people that wanted the war are all now rich as shit.

If you want to make money today, prostitute yourself against Syria. Just like the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has found out, sucking up to KSA and the anti-Democratic clan that is Washington, will reward you with millions. Both countries are scared as shit of the Arab Spring. America is so scared they have warmed to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Just ask Anthony Shadid. He probably already has more than enough money to retire.

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August 1st, 2011, 10:58 pm

 

77. Syria no kandahar said:

Norman
Attassi is right,Hamwi Christians were so flattered by the dumping of soldiers movie,done by her friends,they decided to join the criminal movement.They thought if that what they did to soldiers,they will make them كبه نيه and eat them.

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August 1st, 2011, 11:01 pm

 

78. True said:

@ Norman,

Are you an advocate of seeing the blood of 1700 Syrians (give or take) spilled by bunch of informal sectarian gangs?

Are you an advocate of seeing 30000 Syrians (give or take) arrested with no charges?

Are you an advocate of seeing 5000 Syrian (give or take) missing (I guess you know what does it mean “missing” in Hafez’ farm)?

Are you an advocate of seeing Syrian cities getting bombarded by their own Syrian fellows?

I’m expecting clear-cut answers, and please don’t try to counter-back with other questions. I really need to understand your foundation because I find your thoughts really disturbing.

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August 1st, 2011, 11:04 pm

 

79. majedkhaldoon said:

How there could be free election,when the people who demonstrate peaefully are killed and arrested, over 12000 people in jail, the security all over Syria, suppressing everyone.this is not a regime that will provide free election.
The video that Syau brought about Jisr Alshoughoor, and later Alex said it is in Hama, is not by the protesters, it is by the security forces, they killed protesters, and threw them in the river.enough false statement,

we are passed the midpoint in this uprising.it is all over Syria, and yes the people has full right to carry weapons,to defend themselves,I wish they do, but the leaders keep saying we have to keep it peacefull

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August 1st, 2011, 11:06 pm

 

80. Norman said:

SNK,

My cousins who lived in Hama left it weeks ago because of their fear,

True,

It did not have to happen if the opposition thought things through and did not listen to the instigators that want the destruction of Syria.

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August 1st, 2011, 11:12 pm

 

81. Atassi said:

Norman,
No fear between friends, They fear NO one, they are brave Syrians and don’t shy away from the truth.. Doc~~ amazing …

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August 1st, 2011, 11:26 pm

 

82. Syria no kandahar said:

Norman
Those soldiers dumpers,Attassi friends,don’t fear them.did you hear them they were so well mannered:
كس أختك اخو شرموطه
روح ياخنزير
شوف موديلو بخوف
They are our Syrian brave friends,they are our heroes,actually Attassi dosnt mind if they dump her too,it is a sport you know.
Those brave syrians,Attassi’s friends,after making Christians كبه نيه they will steal ther عرق and have it with it,to reach high levels of صحوه ثوريه

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August 1st, 2011, 11:38 pm

 

83. ss said:

79# Majedkhaldoon,

Whats the news about your Jama3at Islamia in Lattakia. Are they doing any business or they put to rest. Are you producing the news for Aljazeera….The video in Hama or Jisr Alshogoor (the city does not matter) clearly shows thugs, MBs, retartded people who are thirsty for blood and shouting ALAH WA AKBAR. That comes from only Salfia, Mbs, radical ones. This has nothing to do with army, and you know better that they do not look like Shabeeha since you had an experience with them in the past, perhaps, I am just guessing. You mentioned that the goverment and the regime will be down soon, and will fall. When it does, you should work on the Imara Islamia project in lattakia

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August 1st, 2011, 11:41 pm

 

84. Ali said:

true

@ 42. Ali, just let me get it right eh, which will you put first Syria or the killer “Besho” and his ancestors? I’m expecting one sentence answer no more!

do i really care what you expect??? nope!
your not going to like this answer but do i care??? nope!
your asking me if i would put Bashar first? well yes i would. Bashar is Syria. to choose Syria means choosing any President that rules. and fortunately i only support Bashar. who would you choose my dear salafi friend? wahabi khnazeer or salafi hameer?

Allah Yehmik wyehmi awladak ya habibna Bashar

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August 1st, 2011, 11:47 pm

 

85. NK said:

Dear Syrian Electronic Shabeeha, enjoy

and this is a special gift to Ali, from all free Syrians

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August 2nd, 2011, 1:25 am

 

86. NK said:

Norman

Oh yes it’s the slaves’ fault, why in hell would they rise against the vampires who have been sucking the blood out of every Syrian for 40 years now ? they should have stayed home and waited another 400-500 years for Hafez Assad MXXVIII to enact the reforms (slowly and carefully). I mean they need to be patient and realize reforms cannot be implemented in 4-5 months, only amending the constitution to fit the next Assad inline can be done in 5 minutes, everything else needs years of careful studying and planning before it can be translated into a law, and then this law needs years to actually take effect.

Meanwhile if (a very BIG if) we have an armed gang of 20 people we should destroy mosques, arrest/torture tens of thousands and kill thousands to “restore order”. Maybe they should just declare that for every dead scumbag shabeeh they are willing to kill 100 innocent civilians (children count as 1/2 a person).
You know what, I’m gonna stop here because I don’t want to say things I’d rather not say, take care.

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August 2nd, 2011, 2:08 am

 

87. beaware said:

Russia against UN sanctions, outside pressure on Syria
2011-08-02 20:19:12
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-08/02/c_131025539.htm
MOSCOW, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) — Russia has been against UN sanctions against Syria because they would not settle the situation in this country, an official from the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

“We are not against everything; we categorically against all that does not work for a peaceful settlement. If there are unbalanced things like sanctions and pressure, such a set is really bad for attaining less blood and more democracy,” said Sergei Vershinin, head of the Foreign Ministry’s Middle East and North Africa Department.

Vershinin said that Russia has tried to avoid violence in Syria against both protesters and pro-government representatives. He noted that Syrian opposition should not dodge from the dialogue with the authorities about the country’s future.

“Reforms (in Syria) have been matured and they must be sped up,” he noted.

The diplomat stressed that the international community must learn from Libyan experience and not to adopt resolutions which later could be interpreted on a whim.

“(Such resolutions) lead not to the settlement but to the complicated situation on the ground,” the diplomat said, adding that military operation in Libya came into a deadend.

Vershinin also said that the frozen assets of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi abroad could be used only upon the UN Security Council’s permission. These assets should be evenly distributed to the east and the west of the country, the diplomat noted.

Related:

France rules out military intervention in Syria

PARIS, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) — The French authorities on Tuesday ruled out the possibility of military intervention in Syria, citing that the situation in Syria was different from Libya.

“The situation in Libya and Syria are not similar. No option of a military nature is considered,” said Christine Fages, deputy spokeswoman of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, during a regular press briefing. Full story

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August 2nd, 2011, 11:00 am

 

88. beaware said:

Iraqi president urges Assad to reform
02/08/2011
By Ma’ad Fayad
http://www.asharq-e.com/news.asp?section=1&id=26108

London, Asharq Al-Awsat- A source close to Adel Abdel Mahdi, a leading figure in the Iraqi Islamic Supreme Council [IISC], which is led by Ammar al-Hakim, and resigned first deputy of the Iraqi president, disclosed details of the meeting that took place between Abdel Mahdi and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad last week.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat by telephone from Baghdad, the source which spoke on the condition of anonymity said: “Abdel Mahdi met with Al-Assad in his capacity as a personal envoy of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani. The visit was not an official one at all as Abdel Mahdi holds no official post.”

The source explained: “Abdel Mahdi conveyed a written message from President Talabani to President Al-Assad. In his letter, President Talabani urged Al-Assad to carry out genuine political reforms and stop using security and military methods against the Syrian people. He warned that continuation of the situation as it is will open the door to foreign intervention in Syria and make the situation in the region more critical.”

The source that is close to the leading IISC figure said: “The proposal to send a personal, unofficial envoy [to Syria] was the idea of the Iraqi president who did not want to send an official envoy as was preferred by the US Administration, which considered this move a positive step to ensure that the situation in Syria and the region will not develop further.”

The source noted: “President Talabani trusts his former deputy, Abdel Mahdi, a great deal and has close relations with him. Moreover, Abdel Mahdi has positive relations with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.”

The source said: “Abdel Mahdi arrived in Damascus on board a private plane and was not received according to the protocol norms. He was not received by the Iraqi ambassador in Damascus either. Rather, he was received by officials of the Syrian Presidential Palace who accompanied their guest directly to President Al-Assad who received Iraqi President Talabani’s letter.”

The source added: “The Syrian president read the letter, reassured his guest that the situation is well, and told him that there is no worry over Syria, its people, and security in the region. He highly valued the Iraqi president’s initiative and Abdel Mahdi’s visit because it is the first visit by a high-ranking Iraqi politician.”

The source continued: “The Syrian president asked Abdel Mahdi to convey a verbal message to the Iraqi president in which he expressed his pleasure at the Iraqi president’s gesture and his concern for the fate of the Syrian people in these circumstances.”

The source disclosed: “Since May, the US Administration has been trying to persuade some Iraqi officials who have influential relations with the Syrian president to talk to him and reach a formula to stop taking military measures against Syrian demonstrators.”

The source said: “Former US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad conducted shuttle trips to Arbil and Al-Sulaymaniyah to persuade President Talabani to visit Damascus and he discussed this move with close aides to President Talabani who has good relations with Al-Assad and can influence him.”

The source added: “Zalmay even said at a closed meeting that President Talabani will deserve a Nobel peace prize if he conducts this mission and succeeds in it. However, sources close to President Talabani said that the president might move to intervene in the issue, but in his own way.”

The source continued: “It seems that President Talabani’s own move came through his personal envoy Adel Abdel Mahdi who, on the one hand, enjoys good relations with Arab leaders and, on the other hand, always seeks to play the role of the man of peace and reach solutions to crises in the region.”

The source noted: “Abdel Mahdi played an effective role during the crisis in Bahrain. Early in May, he visited Turkey and Kuwait t o ease the tension in Bahrain after he received information or messages indicating that Iran would intervene in Bahrain, as did the Peninsula Shield Forces. And indeed the Iraqi official’s mission contained the crisis.”

The source that is close to Abdel Mahdi was asked whether the Iraqi president’s letter or Abdel Mahdi’s remarks to the Syrian president included leaked information on the United States’ true stand toward the current events in Syria and whether Washington or Europe might forcefully intervene in this issue. The source replied: “I have no knowledge of this. However, what I can say is that the US Administration was not distant from this initiative.”

The source said: “Abdel Mahdi, by nature, is opposed to governments’ violence against their peoples, and his mission in Damascus fitted his policies. Abdel Mahdi explained these policies in the Iraqi Al-Adalah Newspaper, which is published by his office.”

The source added: “In one of the newspaper’s editorials that Abdel Mahdi wrote on the situation in the Arab region, he said: The lesson is that rulers must learn from what happened, seek to achieve justice and freedoms, and work with their peoples to achieve a democracy that will give the citizens the right to choose their rulers, because there can be no one and only leader, a leader party, or repressive regimes.”

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August 2nd, 2011, 11:11 am

 

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