Rockets Fall on Homs as West and Turkey Weigh Support for Opposition

Charlie Rose – Crisis in Syria

The crisis in Syria with Fouad Ajami; Thomas L. Friedman; Joshua Landis; and Anne-Marie Slaughter

By: Nicholas Blanford | The Christian Science Monitor
After diplomatic efforts at the UN failed Saturday, there is a growing consensus that supporting the rebel Free Syrian Army may be the only way to break the stalemate between Assad and his opponents….Still, there is little international appetite to replicate last year’s NATO mission in Libya, which helped topple Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi. Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clintonsaid on Sunday that a direct military intervention had been “absolutely ruled out.”…Leadership disputes aside, turning the FSA into a coherent military force will require “coordinated action by the intelligence services of a coalition of the willing,” says Jeffrey White, a military analyst with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.The FSA, he says, would need an assured supply of arms and ammunition, especially anti-tank missiles, secured means of communication, advice on how to coordinate operations across different regions of Syria, intelligence on Syrian Army operations and vulnerable military infrastructure.“The intelligence services of the US, the UK, France, Turkey, Jordan, and other states in the region have the know-how and capabilities to do these kinds of things,” Mr. White says. “It would be important to have cooperation from one or more of the states bordering Syria, especially Turkey, in order to establish base facilities, training camps, supply routes and infiltration routes.”On the other side of the equation, the Syrian Army has suffered from defections and desertions as well as low morale, especially among mainly Sunni conscripts in the regular brigades. But the elite units such as the Fourth Brigade and the Republican Guard remain strong and have spearheaded the crackdown against opposition hubs.

Why Syrians Fight, and Why Their Civil War May be a Long One
By Tony Karon | Time

The reason that there’s no plausible end-game in Syria anytime soon — and that thousands more Syrians may be fated to die before the conflict is ended — is that the Assad regime is fighting a very different war to the one envisaged by many of its opponents. For Arab and Western powers, and many Syrians, President Bashar Assad is a doomed despot desperately holding on by force to the power he can never hope to exercise by democratic consent. But for Assad — and more importantly, for the minority Allawite community on which his regime is based — this is an existential struggle against an implacable sectarian foe. A majority of Syrians may be fighting for their rights and dignity; for the ruling minority it’s a battle to avoid the fate that befell Iraq’s Sunnis after the fall of their brutal benefactor, Saddam Hussein.

There’s no way of establishing its veracity, but one anecdote from the tormented city of Homs speaks volumes about how Syria’s power struggle is likely to play out: As regime forces continue to exact an horrific toll in their bombardment of Bab Amr and other opposition-controlled Sunni neighborhoods, residents in adjacent Allawite communities allege that the rebels are retaliating for regime attacks by firing mortars into Allawite neighborhoods. The Allawites of Homs, so the tale goes, are livid that the regime hasn’t more forcefully crushed the uprising, accusing President Assad of being too fearful of foreign intervention to smash the rebel forces with the ruthlessness his father would have mustered…..

 Former Prime Minister Salim Hoss issued a stern rebuke to the Syrian regime Wednesday, holding it responsible for much of the violence in the country, and calling on it to end the bloodshed. (Daily Star)

اوغلو: تركيا تريد عقد مؤتمر دولي حول سورية Day Press – Daoud Oghlu, turkey’s foreign Minister calls for an intentional meeting about Syria

Iran’s Achilles’ Heel
February 7, 2012, Op-Ed Contributor

THE public debate in America and Israel these days is focused obsessively on whether to attack Iran in order to halt its nuclear weapons ambitions; hardly any attention is being paid to how events in Syria could result in a strategic debacle for the Iranian government. Iran’s foothold in Syria enables the mullahs in Tehran to pursue their reckless and violent regional policies — and its presence there must be ended.

Ensuring that Iran is evicted from its regional hub in Damascus would cut off Iran’s access to its proxies (Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza) and visibly dent its domestic and international prestige, possibly forcing a hemorrhaging regime in Tehran to suspend its nuclear policies. This would be a safer and more rewarding option than the military one

We’ll help rebels overthrow Syrian murderers: Hague’s warning to dictator Assad over escalation in violence
By Tim Shipman, 7th February 2012
Daily Mail

Britain is to send equipment to help the opposition oust Syrian dictator Bashar Assad after William Hague said there was ‘no limit on what resources we can provide’.

The Foreign Secretary announced plans for a dramatic escalation of support for the rebels as Syrian government forces launched yet another bloody attack on the rebel city of Homs, killing 50 more.

Mr Hague ruled out British military action but said the UK is poised to provide ‘strategic communications’ equipment to help different rebel groups work together against the ‘murderous’ regime in Damascus.

Diplomatic sources compared the situation to the war in Libya and said Britain will seek to provide radios and mobile phones and work with Turkey and other neighbouring nations to allow rebels to broadcast radio programmes into Syria.

The UK will also back fresh European Union sanctions later this month designed to ‘fracture the regime’.

That will see a new crackdown on activities by the Syrian Central Bank and imposing travel bans and asset freezes on regime officials to encourage them to abandon Assad.

Mr Hague recalled the British ambassador to Syria yesterday for talks as violence erupted again, which prompted the U.S. to withdraw all its embassy staff for security reasons.

Yesterday Syrian forces bombarded Homs, in the west of the country, killing 50 people in a sustained assault on several districts.

That followed a massacre of more than 200 people by tanks and artillery on Friday night, bringing the total death toll since last March to more than 5,400.

Yesterday’s assault saw government troops deploy multiple rocket launchers, as well as tanks and machine guns.

The Foreign Secretary said: ‘There is no limit on what resources we can provide.

We have provided training in documentation of human rights abuses, in strategic communications and so on. We may be able to do more in the future.’

Mr Hague also announced plans for a new contact group to help the Arab League plan to end the bloodshed

It will see the EU, the Arab League and other countries come together to ‘co-ordinate intensified diplomatic and economic pressure on the regime, and to engage with Syrian opposition groups committed to a democratic future’.

Syrian opposition group Free Syrian Army said 11 Iranian pilgrims, who were taken hostage, will be released, Tabnak reported Feb. 6. The group released a statement saying that the Turkish authorities had mediated the release of the kidnapped Iranians.

Israel: We will act to prevent Syria’s chemical weapons from reaching Hezbollah Telegraph

February 6, 2012
In Syria, We Need to Bargain With the Devil

It is not enough, then, to blame Russian and Chinese vetoes at the Security Council or even the murderous Assad regime for the danger that is gripping the region right now — even if they deserve much of the blame.

Instead, Washington should adopt a realistic, albeit distasteful, strategy that seeks to steadily defuse the conflict rather than watch it explode in everyone’s face. And that means dealing with Mr. Assad.

MR. ASSAD is a brutally repressive and dangerous leader who is responsible for most of the death and destruction that has plagued Syria in recent months, but the consequences of pushing Iran, Syria and Hezbollah beyond their red lines will most likely be far worse.

America must therefore dispense with the inconsistent maxim that bargaining is morally prohibited when a leader is deemed to have gone beyond the pale — especially when bargaining could actually mitigate future fallout, while eventually securing one’s interests and values.

The main reason for making a deal with Mr. Assad right now — even one where he is initially offered more carrots than sticks — is precisely that a Western-led process that steadily undermines his ability and desire to use violence would stabilize a quickly deteriorating regional situation, gradually opening up Syria’s political system and reducing repression over time.

Thankfully, America and its allies are far more powerful than Syria, which means they possess the tools and flexibility to see such a strategy of pre-emptive concessions through to a successful conclusion.

Might the Turkish Military Intervene in Syria?
by Dr. Can Kasapoglu

BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 163, February 8, 2012

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: With Russia and China vetoing a UN Security Council resolution seeking an end to the violent repression in Syria, there are almost no options left for a negotiated end to the crisis. This may bring Turkey to consider military intervention in Syria in coordination with the US and Saudi Arabia


The recently vetoed draft resolution of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) obligated the Syrian Army to return to their barracks, allow peaceful demonstrations, and swiftly hold democratic elections. The rejected offer also recognized the “sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity of Syria,” and would not “compel states to use force or threat of force.” This may have been the final opportunity for peaceful transition.

A December 2011 Turkish Supreme Military Council declaration indicates that one of the discussed agendas was “preparation of war capacity of the Turkish Armed Forces.” Considering Ankara’s hardening rhetoric towards Damascus’ violent crackdown, which has continued to intensify since the UNSC double veto, there looms the possibility of Turkish military intervention to end the turmoil in Syria.

In an Al-Arabiya interview, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that he hoped an intervention wouldn’t be required but “if there is a humanitarian tragedy, a disaster, of course the international community and the UN cannot be silent.” He added that if the Arab League (AL) initiative fails and killings continue, Turkey would not tolerate it.

Turkey has reportedly sought two major parameters for the legitimacy of a possible military operation: the full failure of the AL initiative and a UNSC decision. At this point, two critical questions should be raised: first, whether Moscow and China can be “convinced” at least to abstain in another UNSC vote, and second, if the bloody crackdown continues to intensify in Syria, whether Turkey can play a role in a non-UNSC approved military mission?

Encouraging Factors for Turkish Intervention

Ankara has already openly recognized the legitimacy of the Syrian National Council (SNC), indicating that it is a peaceful opposition platform. However, while the UNSC resolution draft was being vetoed by Russia and China, Damascus’ atrocity has cost additional lives. Given the current circumstances, Turkey’s shift to a rhetoric emphasizing the right of self-defense of the peaceful Syrian opposition would not be a surprise. There are four main factors that might pave the way for Turkish military intervention, even without a UNSC resolution.

The first parameter is Turkey’s position in the larger sectarian power struggle between the new-born Sunni bloc and the Shiite – Iran-Syria-Hizballah –alliance in the region. Anti- and pro-regime rallies in Syria have become a show of force by Sunni groups and pro-government Alawites. Other groups, such as the Christians and Druze, worry about possible religious oppression and much uncertainty after Assad’s potential demise. Electoral results in Egypt and domestic violence in Iraq consolidate these worries.

Second, Syria’s Kurdish presence in the PKK terrorist organization can be an exacerbating factor. One of four or five PKK militants is of Syrian-Kurdish origin and holds a significant place in the HPG, the armed wing of the PKK. HPG members include notorious figures like Fehman Hussein, who is in great part responsible for the recent violent activities against Turkey. Additional turmoil in Syria will allow greater freedom of action for the Syrian Kurds. The terrorist organization is ready to wage a proxy war against Turkey, and the Baathist regime is preparing to back this action. It should be emphasized that PKK violence has always provoked Turkey into cross-border military operations.

Third, the rising mistrust between Ankara and Damascus has greatly harmed the relations, so much so that an official Syrian news agency labeled the recent Turkey-GCC meeting a “conspiracy” against Syria. Under current circumstances, Turkey cannot allow the Baathist rule to continue running the country.

Finally, Turkey’s new foreign policy paradigm promotes “geocultural integrity” with the societies in Turkey’s historical hinterland and emphasizes a soft power concept, which aims to win hearts and minds on the Muslim street. Thus, Ankara cannot allow Damascus to create a more deadly version of the 1982 Hama massacre right on its borders, as it will be tantamount to the collapse of the perception of Turkish guardianship over the “oppressed” Muslim communities and to the fall of Turkey’s political-military leadership in the Sunni bloc.

Abstention from Military Intervention

There are also several considerations that would lead Turkey to abstain from military intervention in Syria.

First, preserving national and territorial unity has always been Ankara’s most critical security agenda. The 2003 establishment of the regional government in Northern Iraq has caused significant worries among the Turkish strategic community, as this could produce a viable autonomy model for Kurdish separatism. A possible Turkish military intervention in Syria might actually create the second Kurdish autonomy in Qamishli, which would encourage Kurdish separatist movements and augment Turkish concerns.

Second, Turkey would not commission its armed forces to overthrow the Baathist regime and then simply stand aside. After the Libya operations, Ankara was displeased with the surprise joint visit of French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron, just one day before Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s scheduled visit. Moreover, Turkey would have preferred greater economic and political shares of post-Gaddafi Libya. According to some analysts, the Arab Gulf states are now encouraging Turkey to launch a military intervention in Syria by promising economic rewards. However, Ankara would expect more than economic guarantees from the Gulf States or the West – it would demand political influence over the next regime in Syria.

Finally, Turkey is concerned over whether such an intervention will exacerbate a regional war, especially when Turkish-Israeli relations are poor and the Gulf states are “military dwarfs” and cannot provide effective security cooperation. Clearly, Turkey is becoming hawkish in its indirect rivalry with Tehran – Syria and Iraq – but is still hesitant and indecisive in the direct confrontation. Ankara would not like to see its military efforts overlap a possible Israeli strike against Iran and certainly does not want to be perceived as aiding Israel by destroying a key ally of Iran.


Without Turkey’s cooperation, any military intervention in Syria would be impossible, as such an operation cannot exclude the second largest land force in NATO and its 877 km-long border with Syria. Furthermore, the Gulf states would still need a regional guarantor to counterbalance Iran, Syria’s close ally, in military and geostrategic aspects.

Will Turkey await a UNSC resolution for military intervention? This would be preferable, though any non-UNSC approved action would likely force such a resolution. However, if Russia or China insist on vetoing UNSC decisions, and if the Assad dictatorship continues to physically destroy the opposition, then Turkey can deploy its armed forces to stop the humanitarian tragedy. Again, Turkey’s preference is not for unilateral action, thus it would probably seek cooperation from the US and the Gulf states.

At this juncture, the activities of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and Ankara’s relations with it are expected to become more important. The first meeting between the SNC and FSA took place in late 2011 near Turkey’s Hatay province, where Syrian refugees have settled and Colonel Riyad Al-Asaad of the FSA resides. Integrating the SNC and FSA was a critical move, as peaceful demonstrations had no viable chance against Assad’s security apparatus, which was familiar with leveling guns to its own citizens.

Now Turkey will probably foster its support of the FSA in order to prevent the destruction of the opposition groups. However, such a move could provoke Damascus to engage in heavier crackdowns on the Syrian people. In turn, the humanitarian tragedy may trigger a Turkish military intervention. Actually, it is argued, this scenario is not far from becoming a reality.

Can Kasapoglu, who holds a Ph.D. from the Strategic Research Institute at the Turkish War College, is a visiting post-doctoral researcher at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies.

BESA Perspectives is published through the generosity of the Greg Rosshandler Family

U.S., allies weigh options in Syria,  By Patrick J. McDonnell and Paul Richter, Los Angeles Times

It’s titled “Economic Clouds Darken Turkey’s Diplomatic Horizon in the Middle East”
Region: Middle East
By Nader  Habibi

The “Silent Bloc”.. Acquiescing to Tyranny Willingly or Out of Fear
Ghassan Al-Mufleh – Arab Reform Initiative

Syria-revolution1.jpgThree months after the onset of the Syrian revolution, Arab intellectual Burhan Ghalioun said in response to a question about the silent majority, “I believe that there actually is a significant, not-so-small group of Syrians who remain silent. One of the main reasons for their silence is their concern for stability. Here, we are speaking of businessmen, professionals, manufacturers, and economists. The livelihoods of these people require stability, and they believe that the Assad regime secures this stability.” Syrian journalist Ghassan Al-Imam defines the latter as “a passive, conservative group bound by its traditions, by church on Sundays and the mosque on Fridays. It is financially comfortable and its main concern is the preservation of security and stability.” Yemeni activist Khaled Mukrad Al-Muqattari says, “in order to stoke up the revolution, we need to mobilise the silent blocs and define the revolution not as a crisis between the opposition Joint Meeting Parties and the central authorities, but as a revolution aimed at uprooting corruption, i.e., the people’s revolution.”  To read the whole paper, click here

Comments (200)

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151. Syrian Nationalist Party said:

“…..In Syria, it is the same strategy, the western world wants to give a chance to the islamists to take power and to be hooked by the consumer world. They hope they will become ‘moderate’ bourgeois. The Arab nation ideology is obsolete, let’s move on to a new one. Let’ enter into the new era of islamo-capitalism and forget all about socialism!…..”


Such a brilliant strategy huuuh… and Obama got it from Moslem Turkmen and Qataris. Did he toss this concept of Islamo-Capitalism / Islamo-Consumerism around with other experts in the U.S., I don’t mean those living in Deecceland and lalangleyland, nor shopping mall and every brandname owning Khazzaro-Capitalists who would jump on the idea of taking all the Moslem consumer cash they can, I mean people having experience in Syria and Syrian society.

So did Obama, think with his other head when he approved the plan, I mean, did it ever crossed to his mind once that this Moslem Bourgeois / capitalism is somehow flawed talk, considering that the majority of Wahabbis and Salafis kids of AlQaida came out of well to do Islamic societies, having a well to do family, not short of anything, unlike the majority of Syrians who immigrate to live in their societies to make a living. Did Obama question that Osama bin Laden is a millionaire from the wealthiest Wahabi family that spent its wealth all over the world to the point is called by world’s media “disgusting Islamo-consumerism?”

Why do I have a feeling that this concept is really the product of Yale-Harvard school kids, recently recruited by the Maxwell Smart Agency, or a bunch of ladies who recently recruited out of the Nationally run radio-Ad paid for by Al-Ciada promising an exciting career for unemployed housewife.

Anyway, your combative fighters / future bourgeois Islamo-Consumers have no chance at what you sent them to do in Syria, they will be Islamo-Consumers for sure, but not at the local Mall in Homs, just for coffins and the funeral service. And that Mall in Homs your Obama promising his Moslem hordes, is it going to be built before the one planned for Baghdad in 2289 or a Century after, if ever.

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February 9th, 2012, 9:05 pm


152. Mawal95 said:

My thanks to Antoine #52 above for the video where the crowd at an anti-regime rally take an oath of “Victory or Death”.

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February 9th, 2012, 9:08 pm


153. Norman said:

You might want to know what Erdogan wants ,


رئيس الوزراء التركي يثير قلق المدافعين عن العلمانية

أ. ف. ب. GMT 1:00:00 2012 الجمعة 10 فبراير

اثارت تصريحات رئيس الوزراء التركي رجب طيب اردوغان حول رغبة حزبه في ظهور نشء متدين حفيظة العلمانيين، وعلق رئيس حزب الشعب الجمهوري الذي أسسه اتاتورك على ذلك بالقول: “ماذا على أن افعل إذا كنت لا أريد ان ينشأ طفلي على الدين والتربية المحافظة.


اردوغان يقول إن حزبه يرغب في ظهور جيل متدين
انقرة: اثار رئيس الوزراء التركي رجب طيب اردوغان مخاوف المدافعين عن العلمانية، الذين يتهمونه بالعمل شيئا فشيئا على اسلمة المجتمع التركي، وذلك بعد ان ابدى رغبته في ظهور “نشء متدين”.

وكان اردوغان، الاسلامي التربية الذي يتزعم حزبا منبثقا عن التيار الاسلامي، قال في كلمة امام النواب الاسبوع الماضي “نريد تربية نشء متدين”.

واضاف متوجها الى المعارضة “هل تنتظرون من حزب محافظ وديموقراطي مثل العدالة والتنمية (الحاكم) ان ينشىء جيلا من الملحدين؟ ربما يكون هذا شانكم ورسالتكم، لكنه ليس شأننا. سننشىء جيلا ديموقراطيا محافظا يؤمن بقيم ومبادىء امتنا”.

ولم يتاخر رد حزب المعارضة الرئيسي، حزب الشعب الجمهوري، الذي اسسه اتاتورك والذي يدافع عن المبادىء العلمانية على هذا الخطاب.

وقال زعيم هذا الحزب كمال كيلشدار اوغلو ان “اجتذاب الاصوات باستخدام الدين خطيئة” واصفا اردوغان بانه “احد تجار الهيكل”.

من جانبه كتب الصحافي الشهير حسان جمال في صحيفة ميلييت الليبرالية هذا الاسبوع متسائلا “اطرح السؤال على رئيس الوزراء: ماذا علي ان افعل اذا كنت لا اريد ان ينشأ طفلي على الدين والتربية المحافظة؟”.

كما تساءل الكاتب الصحافي المعروف محمد علي بيراند في صحيفة حرييت ديلي نيوز الثلاثاء “ماذا يعني القول بان الدولة ستنشىء جيلا متدينا؟ هل يكون ذلك الخطوة الاولى نحو دولة دينية؟”.

من جهة اخرى اعتبر سميح ايديز في صحيفة حرييت انه لا يمكن فرض اي قالب سياسي او ديني على تركيا مشيرا الى ان ملايين الاتراك “اتبعوا اسلوب حياة علمانيا” حتى قبل قيام الجمهورية عام 1923.

وقد بدأ حزب العدالة والتنمية، الذي يتولى الحكم منذ 2002، ولاية تشريعية ثالثة بعد فوزه الكاسح في انتخابات حزيران/يونيو الماضي.

وفي السنوات الاخيرة فقد العسكريون، الذين يعتبرون انفسهم حماة الاسس العلمانية للجمهورية، وزنهم السياسي مع اعتقال العشرات من كبار الضباط بتهمة التامر على النظام.

وتتهم المعارضة السلطة بالاستبداد وبالعمل في الخفاء على اسلمة المجتمع التركي.

وكشفت ان العديد من المطاعم ترفض تقديم الخمور خلال شهر رمضان. كما تحتج على تعديل للقانون يسمح لخريجي المدارس الدينية بالالتحاق بجميع الكليات في حين ان دراستهم تقتصر حتى الان على العلوم الفقهية.

وتساءل محمد علي بيراند عن المدى الذي يمكن ان تذهب اليه هذه التغييرات.

وابدى تخوفه من ان تتعرض هيئة الرقابة على البرامج الاذاعية والتلفزيونية التركية قريبا ل”الممثلين الذين يتبادلون القبلات” امام عدسات الكامير.

واضاف “بعد ذلك سياتي دور المؤسسات الدينية ثم البلديات وستشهد كل اشكال تعليم القرآن، المشروعة وغير المشروعة، ازدهارا”.

ويشير بعض المعلقين الى وجود تعارض بين خطاب اردوغان هذا وبين الخطاب الذي اتبعه خلال زيارته الى مصر في ايلول/سبتمبر الماضي.

وكان اردوغان قال انذاك في حديث لقناة تلفزيونية مصرية نشرته صحيفة وطن التركية “بصفتي الشخصية فانا مسلم ولست علمانيا. لكنني رئيس وزراء دولة علمانية. وللناس في النظام العلماني حرية الاختيار بين ان يكونوا متدينين ام لا”.

واضاف ان “الدستور التركي يعرف العلمانية على ان الدولة تقف على مسافة واحدة من كل الاديان” وهو ما اثار غضب الاخوان المسلمين في القاهرة والدهشة في تركيا.

إغلاق النافذة

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February 9th, 2012, 9:16 pm


154. bronco said:

145. Son of Damascus

You’re putting words in my mouth, I never said that Wahhabism was representing Islam. I don’t understand what is that you don’t agree with in what I said about the way Islamic countries are today.
I am not talking about the Islamic Civilisation hundred year ago, I am talking about the ‘modern’ Islamic countries today, Indonesia, Iran, Soudan, KSA, Jordan, Egypt, Pakistan, China etc… Do you deny that these restrictions exist in these countries in a form or another?
You are talking about the Catholic church and I am talking about Jesus-Christ gospels. Sorry, but I do not consider the Catholic church a good example for Christians to follow: The Borgias are not really what I like my children to imitate. In addition read well what I said about protestantism before jumping and putting words in my mouth.

In any case this is a large and complex subject and I was just answering to Antoine very schematically with my personal interpretation. Fell free to disagree, I won’t argue

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February 9th, 2012, 9:17 pm


155. Mawal95 said:

In a sitution of civil disturbances in any country, if moral, political and rhetorical support is given to the rebels by the Western powers and the international community, it weakens the established government’s position and it elevates the expectations of the rebels in their battle against the government. Foreign interventions of this political kind can make a conflict harder to resolve because they distort the domestic mechanisms which exist inside any country for resolving the conflict. Sergei Lavrov said in October: “If the international community promotes the theory that “the government is so bad it cannot orchestrate a National Dialog and it should resign from office no matter what the consequences”, of course, that would be incitement to violence and unrest in Syria.” Vladimir Putin said yesterday: “We must provide to the Syrian people the possibility to resolve their problems on their own… our task is limited to helping them do that without any foreign interference.” The Western powers and the Arab League are not aiming at helping the Syrians to resolve their problems on their own. They are aiming at supporting the rebels against the government. The rebels are much weaker than the government on the ground in Syria. The foreigners’ moral support to the rebels fans the flames of violence and incivility. The only good pathway out of the crisis is the comprehensive reform program being introduced by the regime, plus attacking the violent rebels with an iron fist; and anybody who is advocating for a different pathway is faning the flames of hell.

That’s my view. Here’s the view of the foreign minister of the UK a few days ago: “This is a doomed regime as well as a murdering regime. There is no way it can get its credibility back internationally or with its own people. When you realise that, you see what a mistake Russia is making by backing this regime.” Here then is another way to say what my perspective is: “This is a decent and sensible regime, it is not a murdering regime, and it has the support of most Syrians. The rebels are benighted working class people who have no ideas and no agenda other than to rage at the establishment. When you realise that, you see what a mistake the UK is making in backing the rebels.”

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February 9th, 2012, 9:21 pm


156. Norman said:

الخميس 17 ربيع الأول 1433هـ – 09 فبراير 2012م


طالبت بتسليم عناصر “الجيش السوري الحر” إلى السلطات السورية والكف عن تدريبهم
دمشق تشترط إشراف إيران على إطلاق سراح ضباط أتراك

أردوغان وبشار الأسد (أرشيفية)

دبي – سعود الزاهد

ذكرت وكالة أنباء فارس شبه الرسمية القريبة من الحرس الثوري الإيراني في نبأ لها نقلا إذاعة “شام أف أم” السورية الخاصة إن سوريا قدمت شروطها لإطلاق سراح 49 ضابط أمن تركي احتجزتهم على أراضيها مؤكدة ضرورة إشراف إيراني على هذه الصفقة. ونشرت وكالة أنباء “أ. ف. ب” من دمشق يوم الثلاثاء أن المفاوضات بدأت فعليا بين الجانبين لإطلاق سراح 49 ضابط استخبارات تركي “كانوا ينشطون بشكل غير شرعي” في سوريا حسب إذاعة “شام أف إم”. وحسب هذا المصدر الإعلامي فإن السلطات السورية وضعت ثلاثة شروط للإفراج عن هؤلاء الضباط، هي تسليم عناصر من “الجيش السوري الحر” الى السلطات السورية، ووضع حد لتسلل عناصره إلى الأراضي السورية انطلاقا من الأراضي التركية، والكف عن تدريبهم.

تحت إشراف إيراني

هذا وأضافت الإذاعة السورية أن دمشق اشترطت على أنقرة أن تكون إيران شاهدا على الاتفاق بين الطرفين.

وتؤكد هذه الإذاعة السورية التي تشير وسائل الإعلام بأنها قريبة من السلطات أن المفاوضات التي بدأت منذ فترة لم تتوصل إلى نتيجة تذكر بعد.

يذكر أن العلاقات الإيرانية التركية يسودها التوتر بسبب الموقف من الثورة السورية وفي الثامن من أكتوبر 2011 هدد الجنرال رحيم صفوي، القائد السابق للحرس الثوري الإيراني والمستشار العسكري للمرشد الإيراني، تركيا بخفض العلاقات السياسية والاقتصادية إذا استمرت في سياساتها تجاه سوريا أهم حليف للجمهورية الإسلامية الإيرانية في العالم العربي.

زيارة سرية لوفد استخباراتي تركي

وكانت أسبوعية “آيدنليك” التركية كشفت النقاب قبل أسبوعين عن إلقاء القبض على 49 ضابطا تركيا من جهاز الاستخبارات على الأراضي السورية وأضافت: “قام وفد استخباراتي تركي بزيارة سرية لسوريا قبل شهر بغية إطلاق سراح الضباط إلا أنه عاد من دمشق دون التوصل إلى أي نتيجة”.

وقال مسؤولون سوريون لمراسل الأسبوعية التركية إن دمشق على استعداد لإطلاق سراح الضباط الأتراك المحتجزين شريطة طرد كافة المعارضين السوريين الناشطين من خلال “المجلس الوطني السوري” وإغلاق مكاتب هذا المجلس على الأراضي التركية.


جميع الحقوق محفوظة لقناة العربية © 2010

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February 9th, 2012, 9:22 pm


157. Ghufran said:

This video was sent to aljazeera English:

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February 9th, 2012, 9:25 pm


158. Mohammad said:

Report by Human Rights Watch about the shelling on Homs:
Mjabali, they got arms experts to view the some of the videos coming out of Homs.
It’s indiscriminate bombardment by the criminal Assad on Homs is undeniable, unless you believe Addounia and state TV.

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February 9th, 2012, 9:25 pm


159. zoo said:

Before the Arab FM meeting, the AL shows a refreshing realism and determination to find a “Syrian-Syrian” political solution to the Syrian crisis.

Russia, China seek coordination with Arab League after Syria veto – AL deputy
By Sawsan Abu Hussein
Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat – Deputy Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Bin Helli informed Asharq Al-Awsat that the Arab League has been in communication with both Russia and China following their veto of the UN Security Council draft resolution backing the Arab League initiative on Syria.

Bin Helli revealed that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is in constant contact with Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby, and that he was in contact with Elaraby both prior to his recent visit to Damascus to meet with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and following this meeting. Bin Helli stressed that Lavrov kept the Arab League Secretary-General in the picture with regards to his talks with al-Assad, whilst Elaraby will also keep Lavrov informed regarding the outcome of the meeting of Arab Foreign Ministers that is scheduled to take place on Sunday.

Bin Helli told Asharq Al-Awsat that “I also received a message from the Chinese Ambassador clarifying Beijing’s position with regards to resolving the Syrian crisis.” He revealed that Beijing had confirmed the necessity of coordination taking place between China and the Arab states to reach an agreement. This comes after both Russia and China vetoed a UN Security Council draft resolution calling for an end to violence in Syria and backing the Arab League initiative in this regard.

As for whether there are opportunities for dialogue and talks to take place to resolve the Syrian crisis, Arab League Deputy Secretary-General Ahmed Bin Helli stressed that dialogue is imperative to stop the violence that is taking place in Syria today and in order to achieve the demands of the Syrian people.

He said “we are gambling on the achievement of reform and change which serves the interests of the Syrian people.”

He added “there are ongoing Arab efforts in this regard, and everybody is committed to this, because we do not want to see things moving in any other direction.”

Asked about whether Arab states intend to officially recognize the Syrian opposition during the forthcoming meeting of Arab foreign ministers, Bin Helli said “so far, the Arab League is committed to communicating and working with the [Syrian] opposition in order to reach genuine dialogue between the opposition and the Syrian government, in order to allow them to reach a solution to the crisis.”

As for the possibility of Syria following the Yemeni model, where former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh eventually signed an agreement relinquishing his authority and securing the peaceful transfer of power, Bin Helli stressed that the situation in Syria is different than that in Yemen, and that any solution must be a “Syrian – Syrian” one.

As for whether Arab States could exert political pressure on the al-Assad regime to push it to reach such a “Syrian – Syrian” solution, the Arab League deputy chief said “I cannot comment on this…the Arab League Secretary-General will reveal all the latest developments and communications during the ministerial meeting….whilst the president of the committee on Syria will put forward the latest development about the future of the Arab initiative, particularly following the UN Security Council meeting” adding “any decisions will be based on this.”

Bin Helli stressed that it has become clear to everybody that the security solution is not an option, and that all Arab states are concerned by and working to halt the violence that is taking place in Syria.

As for the Turkish statements regarding an initiative being put forward in coordination between Ankara and the Arab States, particularly following the Russian and Chinese veto of the UN Security Council resolution on Syria, Bin Helli revealed that “we have yet to see any Turkish initiative.” He added “the Arab League Secretary-General is scheduled to meet with the Turkish ambassador, and we stress that the Arab League support…any efforts to assist the Arab states.”

Asked about the Gulf States decision to expel Syria’s ambassadors to their countries and whether this will make it easier or more difficult to reach a solution, Bin Helli stressed that this was an old decision taken during the Arab League meeting of foreign ministers in December. He stressed that the Arab League will work to build consensus amongst the Arab states regarding a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis at the next Arab League meeting, scheduled to take place next week.

Bin Helli refused to comment on whether the Arab states intend to increase pressure on the al-Assad regime, but stressed that any country has the sovereignty to withdraw its ambassadors from another country.

On the fate of the Arab League’s observer mission to Syria, Bin Helli said that the mission is on leave until the Arab League Council can agree on its assignments and tasks. He also revealed that the observer mission’s personnel will not change, however the nature of its work may change to ensure that it is more effective.

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February 9th, 2012, 9:35 pm


160. Mawal95 said:

Joshua linked to a video — — which he describes as depicting “rockets falling on Bab al-Amr in Homs”. But what the video shows — it is clear to me at time 4:30 to 4:40 — is explosions of bombs planted in buildings by rebels. The same sort of thing goes for all the videos posted by Mohammed at #13, i.e. what they depict is all the work of rebels. Like MJabali #9 I am not an expert in explosives. I draw my confidence mainly from my knowledge that the stuff depicted in the videos would be contrary to Syrian government policy and military strategy if it were what Joshua and Mohammed are fooled into thinking it is.

The regime tells the truth. The rebels are liars.

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February 9th, 2012, 9:44 pm


161. Tara said:

Mawal 95

Kindly say Hello to Ya Mara Ghalbana.

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February 9th, 2012, 10:01 pm


162. Mohammad said:

159. MAWAL95

Are you being sarcastic Mawal?

If not, then I’m dumbfounded.

Did you read the HRW report?
Of course the regime is waaaaaaaay more credible than HRW and most of the world for that matter.(Note: sarcasm intended)

There’s no such thing as rebels, it’s people vs. criminal regime.

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February 9th, 2012, 10:26 pm


163. Aldendeshe said:

“…..Islam is a religion that has a positive view of rich people as long as they acquired their richness honestly. There is no special danger of sin associated with wealth and in showing off your success….”

Honestly!! You mean through Al Anfal right سورة الأ نفال Here is some of the Holly Quran text as stated by the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) about obtaining richness and getting rich quick honestly:

Al-Anfal (Spoils of War, Battle Booty, Concubine Slaves – The Holy Quran – Yusuf Ali Translation

“…….it is clear to me at time 4:30 to 4:40 — is explosions of bombs planted in buildings by rebels. The same sort of thing goes for all the videos….”

Don’t trust this poster. I have various reports from relatives of the army amassing and ongoing shelling, from Mahatta, Inshaat and Waar areas. I have nothing against taking out these foreign fighters who are responsible for mayhem and suffering, they have zero chance at liberating Syria from Baathist mafia. Therefore, they are purely used for terror tactics and not as liberation force. The net results of their ops are purely negative and destructive to Syria, just like the Baathist. We need other options, and those that are shedding croc tears needs to come up with it fast if they are sincere, which I doubt. I think all they wanted is this mayhem in Homs specifically and not push the Baathist out of Syria.

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February 9th, 2012, 10:42 pm


164. Ghufran said:

This is a web poll on aljazeera:
ما السبيل لوقف العنف المتصاعد في سوريا ضد الثوار والمدنيين؟
الخيارات النسبة عدد الأصوات
التدخل العسكري
العزلة وفرض مزيد من العقوبات
الحوار والتفاوض
إجمالي المصوتين

[Link added by Moderator: ]

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February 9th, 2012, 11:21 pm


165. jad said:

A report from ALzabadani:

مراسل عربي برس بين نيران الجيش والمسلحين في ريف دمشق الغربي
خاص عربي برس – الزبداني

يبدو أن الساعات القليلة القادمة ستحمل معها “الحسم” في ريف دمشق الغربي (الزبداني وما حولها)، أياً كان شكل هذا الحسم، فالمعلومات الواردة من المنطقة التي تشهد عمليات عسكرية واشتباكات مكثفة منذ أسبوع وحتى اليوم، ترجح أن تشهد ساعات الغد واحداً من ثلاث سيناريوهات..

حيث تشير المعلومات العسكرية أن الجيش قام بإنهاك المسلحين في المنطقة، ووجه لهم ضربات كبيرة، تمثلت بخسارتهم غالبية مراكزهم، وقطع الإمداد عنهم، وفقدانهم لجزء كبير من عتادهم وذخيرتهم، دون وقوع قتلى كُثر في صفوفهم، حيث أكدت مصادر متعددة أن عدد المسلحين الذين سقطوا حتى اليوم (مساء الأربعاء 8 – 2)، وبعد ما يقارب الأسبوع على بدء العملية العسكرية، لم يتجاوز العشرة في مدينة الزبداني وبلدة مضايا القريبة منها، أما ما تتناقله المعارضة المسلحة عبر صفحاتها على مواقع التواصل الاجتماعي ليست سوى حرب نفسية، بحسب مصدر أهلي واسع الإطلاع.

ويشير المصدر إلى أن المعارضة تستخدم أسماء مدنيين ماتوا بشكل طبيعي وليس بإصابات نارية، وتصويرهم على أنهم ضحايا الحملة العسكرية، ويستدل المصدر على ذلك بأن صفحات المعارضة على الفايس بوك لم تتناقل سوى تسجيل فيديو واحد لشاب من مضايا وآخر من الزبداني؛ الأول من عائلة أسعد والثاني من عائلة الكويفي، بينما ذكرت أسماء أشخاص آخرين ولم تقم بتصويرهم، وهم مدنيون توفوا بحالات مرضية، كشخص من عائلة “ناصيف” (في العقد السابع من العمر)، وشخص آخر من آل إسماعيل (في العقد السادس) من بلدة مضايا توفوا بأمراض قلبية، وهم غير متواجدين في البلدة بل نازحين إلى القرى الأخرى.
ويشير المصدر إلى أن الوضع الإنساني في المنطقة سيء للغاية، حيث لا تستطيع شحنات الطحين والأغذية والحاجات الأساسية المرور بسبب اشتداد الاشتباكات، وبسبب خشية السلطات من قيام المسلحين بالاستيلاء على هذه الشحنات وتقديمها للأهالي على أنها أعطيات من قبلهم..

أما ما يقال عن قصفٍ للمنطقة من قبل الجيش السوري يقول المصدر أن المسلحين تحصنوا في الأماكن المأهولة وأجبروا السكان على الخروج منها، عبر تخويفهم من المجازر التي سيرتكبها الجيش السوري، وهم يستخدمونها بعض هذه المنازل حالياً لاستهداف قوات الجيش ومنعها من دخول الأحياء السكنية عبر ضربها بقذائف الهاون أو “الآر بي جي”، ما يضطر القوات العسكرية لتوجيه ضربات تجبرهم على ترك مواقعهم، ولكن بعد أن توجه لهم تحذيرات بضرورة إخلاء المباني السكنية.
ويشير المصدر العارف بخبايا المنطقة أن بعض المسلحين قاموا بتفخيف مداخل البلدات حتى يمنع الجيش من التقدم، وعند اقتراب قوات الجيش يقوم بتفجيرها، ما يؤدي لتضرر المباني القريبة.
وقد حدثنا المصدر عن أمر خطير تقوم به الجماعات المسلحة وهو تفخيخ بعض المساجد ومآذنها وتفجيرها، للإيحاء بأنها تهدمت بسبب قصف الجيش السوري، وقد أفاد أن مسجداً واحداً في بلدة مضايا قد تضرر بالفعل، ومسجدين في الزبداني تم تفخيخ مآذنها وضربها، وقد استطاع المسلحون تمرير هذه الكذبة على الأهالي الذين يخافون من مغادرة منازلهم ولا يعلمون حقيقة ما يجري في الخارج، إلا بمقدار ما يخبرهم المسلحون.

وتشير المعلومات أن الجيش لم يعد موجوداً على تخوم مدينة الزبداني وبلدة مضايا، بل تمكن فعلاً من دخولها ويسيطر على أحياء منها، ويعمل على استكمال مواجهته للمسلحين. ويقوم أحياناً بعمليات كر وفر حيث يدخل منطقة ويستكشفها، ولا يلبث أن يتراجع قليلاً حتى يخرج المسلحون من أماكن اختبائهم ويعاود الدخول مرة أخرى.

هذا الوضع على الأرض، أما في السيناريوهات المحتملة فهي تُبنى انطلاقاً من واقع ميداني ومفاوضات تجري للحيلولة دون خسارة المزيد من الدماء، من قبل وجهاء يتدخلون لنزع فتيل المواجهات:

يقضي السيناريو الأول وهو الأرجح، أن يرفض المسلحون كل الدعوات والوساطات ويتابع الجيش العربي السوري تقدمه ليقضي على المسلحين، وهو أمر تفرضه الحقيقة على الأرض، بسبب سيطرة القوات الحكومية على الميدان وتحكمها بشروطه، وسهولة حصولها على الإمداد، بينما تعرض المسلحون لضربات قوية وبدأت تنفذ مؤنهم وذخيرتهم، وترجح المصادر المطلعة على الواقع الميداني، أنه في حال المضي في هذا الخيار، فإن الجيش سيحسم المعركة لمصلحته وبغضون يومين، ومساء يوم الجمعة 10 شباط هو موعد أقصى لهذا السيناريو..

أما السيناريو الثاني، فقد بدأ يتبلور يوم الأربعاء 8 شباط مع قيام وفد من وجهاء المنطقة بالتدخل بوساطة جديدة لتجنب إراقة المزيد من الدماء والحفاظ على الممتلكات، وهي وساطة تنشط في الساعات القليلة الماضية، وتتركز بشكل أساسي في بلدة مضايا، حيث تقدم الوجهاء باقتراح عُرض على الطرفين مفاده أن يقوم المسلحون بالانسحاب من مراكز المدن والقرى، ودخول الجيش إليها دون قتال، والسماح للأهالي النازحين بالعودة إلى منازلهم وتسهيل دخول المواد الأساسية للأهالي.
وفي حين يبدي الداخلون في الوساطة تفاؤلهم بموافقة قيادة العمليات على هذا الاقتراح لا يرون أن المسلحين ميالين للقبول به، نظراً لرفضهم مقترحات مشابهة من قبل.

أما السيناريو الثالث، والذي يبدو الأكثر بعداً ولكنه يبقى قائماً؛ فيقضي بالعودة إلى مفاوضات جرت من قبل، طلبت فيها السلطات الحكومية أن يقوم قادة المجموعات المسلحة بتسليم أنفسهم وسلاحهم (ويقدر عددهم بحوالي الخمسين فرداً)، بينما يلقي باقي المسلحين أسلحتهم، ويتم العفو عنهم، ولكنه أمر قبلته قيادة العمليات ولم يقبل به قادة المجموعات المسلحة…

يتبع… (أسرار مفاوضات ما قبل الحسم وعروض السلطة للمسلحين في الزبداني)

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February 9th, 2012, 11:35 pm


166. mjabali said:


I read the Human Rights Watch’s report and it is very emotional and not based on facts. They are taking sides as obvious and that is not good because they should present both sides of the argument. They are taking what one side has said as facts and this is laughable in this tragic moment. They either should shut up or sent monitors and tell the truth.

They do not have monitors on the ground to verify numbers and events.

They have no way on earth to confirm their claims. It is based on he said/she said. We both know that people lie for their political gains.

But still you could tell about few important things from it if you read between the lines and connect the dots. For example, this reports said:

“The Free Syrian Army (FSA) forces, which consist mainly of low-ranking soldiers who had defected from the Syrian army, had earlier this year taken several neighborhoods in Homs under their control, and launched attacks on the Syrian military. One of the video clips from the area, for example, shows FSA soldiers setting an armored vehicle on fire. One witness, “Khaled,” told Human Rights Watch that FSA soldiers, estimated by various witnesses as ranging from a few hundred to 2,000 people in Homs, controlled a few neighborhoods inside Homs, while the city remained surrounded by government forces. Mani, a French photographer based in Homs, reported that the FSA attacked two other positions of the security forces in Bayyada on the night of February 5.”

[ Link added by Moderator: ]

So, there are around 2000 anti Assad armed elements who conduct operations every day. They have attacked Assad’s positions and keep on doing this. They also conducts revenge killings (many beheadings as you know) of non Sunni Syrian citizens.
It is a war over there and Human Rights Watch still has a romantic version of the events.

If you understand English, I have said ALL parties in this chaos had proven themselves to be liars and manipulators. This is a fact.

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February 9th, 2012, 11:52 pm


167. zoo said:

Russia U.N. veto on Syria aimed at crushing West’s crusade
By Louis Charbonneau | Reuters – Wed, Feb 8, 2012
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Russia’s veto of a Security Council resolution on Syria goes far beyond mere protection for a close ally and arms buyer – it showed Moscow’s determination to crush what it sees as a Western crusade to use the United Nations to topple unfriendly regimes.

The same holds true for China, which followed Russia’s lead and joined Moscow in its second double veto to strike down a European-Arab draft resolution that would have endorsed an Arab League plan for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to transfer power to his deputy to prepare free elections.

Russia’s move, analysts and diplomats say, was a diplomatic counteroffensive responding to an unusually active period for the Security Council. Last year the 15-nation panel twice adopted resolutions authorizing “all necessary measures” – diplomatic code for military force – in Libya and Ivory Coast.

Libya and Ivory Coast were also the first time the council invoked the Western-backed notion of the “responsibility to protect” civilians threatened by their own governments.

In both cases U.N.-authorized military intervention led to the ouster of the countries’ leaders. Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi was killed at the hands of rebels who overthrew him during a six-month civil war and Ivory Coast’s Laurent Gbagbo is now in a holding cell at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Russia and China did not stand in the way of U.N. action in Ivory Coast or Libya, whose civil war was initially the bloodiest of last year’s Arab Spring uprisings.

But while Western governments and human rights groups welcomed enforcement of the concept of the “responsibility to protect” civilians, Moscow and Beijing did not hide their disdain for an idea they equate with violating states’ sovereignty, which the United Nations was founded to protect.

In the case of Libya, Moscow was infuriated by the decision of France and others to supply weapons to rebels in violation of a U.N. arms embargo, while NATO appeared to be providing crucial air support for rebel offensives against Gaddafi’s forces.

Russia accused the United States and its European allies of tricking fellow Security Council members and using a mandate to protect civilians as a cover for providing support to Libyan rebels and ousting Gaddafi. It was, in short, “regime change.”

Russia, which abstained from the March 17, 2011, vote authorizing the use of force in Libya and allowed it to pass, vowed not to let that happen again in Syria, a key weapons-export destination and host to Moscow’s only warm-water naval port outside the former Soviet Union.

“I see the Russian veto this week as the latest manifestation of their rejection of the pro-active, norm-enforcing Security Council that has emerged in the past decade,” said George Lopez, a professor at Notre Dame University.

“The Libyan case was the final straw for the Russians, hence their October veto of the first Syrian resolution,” he said. The second veto on Saturday was more of the same.

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February 10th, 2012, 12:12 am


168. Hans said:

Joe Liberman, McCain, Newt and others, are in support of arming the opposition of Syria.
Obama as well, I guess both the republicans and the Democrats have agreed on one thing finally.
The all in agreement in the killing of more Syrians and using the Same AlQaida prisoners who were released from Iraq prisons to move to Syria and kill more.
it is a lucrative deal for the Americans this terrorists who were attacking the Americans army at one time now they are attacking the Syrians and worse that the Syrian army is not suppose to retaliate or destroy them.
that’s what the Americans want in Syria.
eventually an Islamic regime supported by Alqaida and financed by the Wahabis KSA is the goal in Syria.
we know and everyone know that ASSAD is not the only problem in Syria, post Syria without Assad is worse than Syria with Assad.
example of Egypt, Libya, Tunisia all clear to everyone.
Iraq will go in a civil war when the next election or when the American leave it is a sectarian is the goal for most of the middle east.
Sarokousy told the the Arabs Christians to leave the middle east because they are going to blow the middles east in pieces this will make Israel feel very safe and can control most of the middle east.

[Edited for racist language]

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February 10th, 2012, 12:15 am


169. jad said:

They have plans already:

Syria: Pentagon Prepares Military “Options” for Obama
Kurt Nimmo

The Pentagon and the U.S. Central Command are preparing “options” for Obama as the United States transitions from diplomatic pressure to military action against Syria.
“Before we start talking about military options, we very much want to ensure that we have exhausted all the political, economic and diplomatic means at our disposal,” AmbassadorSusan Rice said on CNN’s “Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” on Wednesday.
The administration calls the preparation a “scooping exercise” designed to find out what military assets Obama will use when the signal is finally given to attack Syria. According to CNN, the planning exercise is typical Pentagon protocol.
“The Pentagon is closely monitoring developments in Syria. It wouldn’t be doing its job if it didn’t put some ideas on the table,” senior U.S. officials explained. “But absolutely no decisions have been made on military support for Syria.”
According to CNN, the options under consideration include military support for opposition groups supported by NATO, the CIA and MI6. Military strikes by the U.S. inside the country are also under consideration.
Most of the analysis is being done by the staff of Gen. James Mattis, head of U.S. Central Command. Mattis is working in collaboration with General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who will present options to the White House.

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February 10th, 2012, 12:52 am


170. Syrialover said:

Maybe because I’m so shocked and stressed and can’t think back. But can anyone come up with another case of a regime attacking its OWN citizens like this?

There was Saddam Hussein and the Kurds and Shias and the sustained attacks on demonstrators and mass arrests by the government of Uzbekistan and Iran. But no, even they were not like this, not across a country for endless months. And nothing like Homs has happened anywhere since Hama.

Those bleating for proof and accusing everyone of exaggerating, are out of touch with the situation and kidding themselves. The losses in Libya far exceeded what everyone thought was happening at the time. The reality of the full body count and massive damage in Syria will be revealed and those armchair speculators will pretend they never said otherwise.

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February 10th, 2012, 1:03 am


171. NK said:

La médecine, arme de la répression en Syrie
(Medicine, weapon of repression in Syria)

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February 10th, 2012, 1:17 am


172. Syria no kandahar said:

الظواهري يبارك الارهاب وثورة القاعده في سوريا

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February 10th, 2012, 1:18 am


173. Syria no kandahar said:

Computer nurd terrorist

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February 10th, 2012, 1:28 am


174. jad said:

The militias are now killing each others and acting like warlords while using civilians as human shields:

معارك عنيفة بين الجيش السوري ومئات المسلحين في حمص ، و مسلحو”الجيش الحر” بدأوا يقتلون بعضهم

سقوط العديد من الأبرياء المدنيين بسبب تحصن المسلحين وسط الأهالي، و مقتل العشرات من ضباط وعناصر ” كتيبة الفاروق” ومعهم العديد من المسلحين العرب

حمص ، الحقيقة ( خاص + وكالات): شهدت حمص يوم أمس الخميس معارك عنيفة بين وحدات الجيش والمئات من مسلحي”الجيش الإسلامي الحر” الذي يقوده العميل رياض الأسعد المقيم في حمى المخابرات التركية. وقالت أنباء واردة من حمص إن العشرات من المسلحين قتلوا في مواجهات أمس التي تركزت في ضاحية ” الإنشاءات ” و ” بابا عمرو”، بينما استسلم عشرات آخرون منهم . وأكدت معلومات متطابقة أن ما يسمى بـ” كتيبة الفاروق” ، التي تتولى الأعمال المسلحة في منطقة حمص وضواحيها ، تعرضت لضربات قاصمة خلال الايام الأخيرة ، لاسيما يوم أمس، حيث قتل العديد من ضباطها وعسكرييها الفارين وعلى رأسهم الضابط الأهم بينهم الملازم الأول عبد الرزاق طلاس ، المسؤول عن خطف الرهائن الإيرانيين وعن مقتل الصحفي الفرنسي جيل جاكييه. وقالت هذه المعلومات إن “حي الإنشاءات” أصبح الآن بكامله تحت سيطرة الجيش ، حيث تعمل الأجهزة الأمنية على تمشيط أقبيته وتنظيفها من مستوعات السلاح والذخيرة ووسائل الاتصال اللاسلكية التي تربطهم مع الخارج. وأشارت هذه المعلومات إلى مقتل 15 مسلحا إسلاميا على الأقل قدموا من الأردن والعراق والإمارات العربية وليبيا ، كانت “الحقيقة” نشرت أسماء وصور بعضهم خلال اليومين الماضيين، استنادا إلى مواقع إسلامية تدور في فلك ” القاعدة”. ونتيجة لهذه الضربات ، وفي محاولة منهم لايتزاز السلطة، عمد مسلحو ” الكتيبة” المذكورة إلى استهداف مصفاة حمص بهجمات متوالية من قذائف الهاون أدت الدفعة الأولى منها إلى اندلاع النيران في خزانين من خزاناتها، فيما سقطت القذائف اللاحقة في خلاء حرم المصفاة. كما عمدوا إلى أخذ العديد من العائلات دروعا بشرية والتحصن وسط الأماكن المأهولة ومنع المدنيين من مغادرة منطقة المواجهات، وهو ما أدى إلى استشهاد ما بين 20 إلى ثلاثين من المدنيين الأبرياء بينهم نساء وأطفال. وكان من الملاحظ أن صفحة ” كتيبة الفاروق” توقفت عن نشر أية أخبار منذ يوم الأحد الماضي ، وحتى لحظة نشر هذا التقرير ، الثانية صباحا بتوقيت دمشق. وهو ما يؤشر إلى عنف الضربات التي تلقاها مسلحوها.

على صعيد متصل ، قالت “لجان التنسيق المحلية ” في بيان نشره موقع “الجزيرة” إن طائرات هيبلوكبتر ساهمت في قصف أماكن تحصن المسلحين. وأشار البيان إلى أنها المرة الأولى التي تلجأ فيها السلطة إلى استخدام طائرات الهيلوكبتر في حمص ، علما بأن ” لجان التنسيق” كانت قالت خلال الأشهر الماضية مرات عديدة أن السلطة تستخدم طائرات الهيلوكبتر ، لكنها تؤكد اليوم أنها هذه الطائرات استخدمت يوم أمس للمرة الأولى!؟ وهذا ما يؤكد أن بيااناتها تفتقد للمصداقية ، وتلجأ إلى التهويل كلما رأت ضرورة في ذلك. وقال خبير عسكري إن اللجوء إلى طائرات الهيلوكبتر ، في حال تأكد ذلك، هو لتفادي الأخطاء التي قد تحصل عند اللجوء إلى الأسلحة البرية. بالنظر لأن طائرات الهيلوكبتر ، لاسيما MI24 التي يستخدمها سلاح الجو السوري، يمكنها تحقيق إصابة مباشرة ودقيقة في المكان المراد استهدافه ، حتى لو كان نافذة مبنى أو غرفة محددة في شقة يتحصن فيها مسلحون ، بالنظر لأن أسلحتها الرشاشة وقذائفها الصاروخية لا تتجاوز نسبة الخطأ فيها المتر الواحد أو المترين على أبعد تحديد، حتى وإن كانت في الطوابق الأرضية والأقبية ، بينما لا تستطيع الأسلحة البرية القيام بذلك ، لاسيما فيما يخص الطوابق الأرضية، دون أن تؤذي الطوابق العليا، نظرا للشكل القوسي الذي يتخذه مسار القذيفة. وجاء في معلومات لاحقة أن حوالي 35 نقطة من نقاط تجمع المسلحين ( شقق ، بنايات ، منازل…) استهدفت بصواريخ موجهة أدت إلى تدميرها بشكل كامل.

وإلى ذلك ، تكشف الأرقام المتباينة جدا التي توزعها جهات معارضة أنه لا يمكن الوثوق بأي من معلوماتها. ففي الوقت الذي تحدثت فيها “لجان التنسيق” في البيان المشار إليه عن سقوط 145 قتيلا يوم أمس في عموم أنحاء سوريا ، قال ” المرصد السوري” إن العدد هو 83 فقط! أي أن الفرق بين الرقمين يبلغ 60 ضحية ، وليس ثلاثة أو أربعة أو حتى عشرة!. وهذا لا يمكن أن يحصل في أي عمل يتمتع بالمهنية والمصداقية!!!؟

مسلحو ” الجيش الحر” يبدأون تصفية بعضهم :

على صعيد متصل ، أكدت معلومات ميدانية أن العديد من المسلحين الذين سقطوا يوم أمس في حمص وريف دمشق سقطوا بنيران بعضهم البعض بعد أن امتد الصراع بين العقيد رياض الأسعد و مصطفى الشيخ في تركيا إلى داخل سوريا. وقالت هذه المعلومات إن مسلحي الطرفين باتوا يتصرفون كأمراء الحرب وزعماء ميليشيات الزواريب التي شهدها لبنان خلال الحرب الأهلية. ويعود ذلك إلى أن هناك أربع مجموعات أساسية تنشط تحت اسم “الجيش الحر” ، ولكنها منفصلة عن بعضها تماما . وهذه المجموعات هي ” الجنود المنشقون ” الذين يشكلون ما بين 3 إلى 5 بالمئة فقط من عداد ” الجيش الحر”، و ” المسلحون الإسلاميون” القادمون من دول عربية وإسلامية ، والذين بدأت أسماء قتلاهم تنتشر على المواقع الإسلامية ، و المسلحون المدنيون المحليون المسيسون ( أغلبهم من مناصري الأخوان المسلمين و “المجلس الوطني السوري”) الذين حملوا السلاح ردا على عنف السلطة ، كما يقولون. أما المجموعة الرابعة فهي ” الخارجون على القانون” بالمعنى الجنائي للكلمة. وهؤلاء عبارة عن مهربين وسجناء جنائيين سابقين . ويشكل هؤلاء أكثر من نصف عدد مسلحي “الجيش الحر” ، لاسيما في مناطق التهريب التقليدية كالزبداني وتلكلخ وبعض الأماكن في ريف إدلب. وكانت صحيفة ” فايننشال تايمز” كشفت يوم أمس أن صراعا يدور بين الضابطين ، الأسعد والشيخ ، على تزعم ” الجيش الحر” . وقالت الصحيفة إن “زعماء المعارضة السورية يحاولون احتواء خلاف بين أرفع ضابطين سوريين ينشقان عن الجيش النظامي، في اطار مساعي دعم المعارضة المسلحة لنظام الرئيس بشار الأسد عقب انهيار الجهود الدبلوماسية بالأمم المتحدة”.وقالت الصحيفة إن العقيد رياض الأسعد، قائد ‘الجيش السوري الحر’ الموجود في تركيا والذي وقفت قواته مع نشطاء المعارضة بأنحاء مختلفة من سورية، يواجه الآن تحدياً على قيادته من قبل ضابط أرفع رتبة انشق مؤخراً ويقيم في تركيا أيضاً وهو العميد مصطفى أحمد الشيخ.
واضافت أن مسؤولين من المجلس الوطني السوري المعارض يعملون على التوصل إلى حل وسط من شأنه أن يبقي العقيد الأسعد قائداً للجيش السوري الحر ويستحدث مجلساً عسكرياً أعلى يضم الضباط المنشقين من الرتب العليا ويكون مفتوحاً أمام الضباط من الرتب نفسها الذين ينشقون في المستقبل.
واشارت إلى أن الاتفاق خرج عن مساره حين شجب العقيد الأسعد قبل أيام المجلس الوطني السوري ووصف اعضاءه بـ ‘الخونة’، واصدر الجيش السوري الحر الذي يقوده بياناً الإثنين الماضي نأى فيه بنفسه عن المجلس العسكري الأعلى بقيادة العميد الشيخ عقب الإعلان عن تشكيله.ونسبت ‘فايننشال تايمز’ إلى مصدر مقرّب من قائد الجيش السوري الحر قوله ‘إن العقيد الأسعد انشق في وقت مبكر وتخضع لقيادته الآن كافة الوحدات المنشقة عن الجيش النظامي السوري مع أن سلسلة القيادة غير واضحة الآن، لكن هذه الوحدات اعلنت ولاءها للجيش السوري الحر’.واضاف المصدر أن ‘لسان العقيد الأسعد يزل في بعض الأحيان، غير أن الجيش السوري الحر ليس جيشاً حقيقياً لذلك نرى أن الشخص المناسب هو الأعلى رتبة، لأن هذه ثورة”.

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February 10th, 2012, 1:50 am


175. jad said:

Even the SNC members are arguing about positions too, Mo is attacking Ghalyoun and asking him to go after failing his job:

Mohammad Al Abdallah
أعلم أن الوقت غير مناسب لهذا الكلام، لكني إن لم أتكلم سأنفجر:

د. برهان غليون، يا رئيس المجلس الموقر… أرجوك افتح موبايلك… مدينتك حمص تذبح ونحن والإعلام نريد التحدث إليك. والله رائع أنك طلعت قد المسؤولية تمام!!

أنت مسؤول عما يحصل ثلاث مرات: مرة بصفتك سوري، ومرة بصفتك حمصي، ومرة بصفتك رئيس المجلس.

رأيي أن تستقيل وتدع من هو أهل للقيادة أن يقوم بها. حتى لو كانت رغبة قطر أن تبقى في رئاسة المجلس، أرجوك احفظ ما تبقى من ماء وجهك واستقيل.

صاير فيك: لا برحمك ولا بخلي رحمة ربك تنزل عليك!

[Link added by Moderator: ]

آسف إنك اضطريتني أن أكتب هذا البوست، لكن نحن شعب لا يقبل الابتزاز عزيزي!

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February 10th, 2012, 1:52 am


176. jad said:

Syria Regime Change PR in High Gear: More ‘Newborn Baby Slaughter’ Propaganda

by Patrick Henningsen

This morning, reporter Alastair Beach of The Independent newspaper based in London, cited “evidence” in his article entitled “Assad’s slaughter of the innocents“, claiming that Syrian President Assad’s security forces have indiscriminately killed scores of newborn babies in Homs this week, as his article claims:

“Bashar al-Assad’s bloody siege of Homs intensified yesterday as clear evidence emerged that his indiscriminate shelling of the restive town had started claiming innocent victims, including at least 18 premature babies and three entire families. The evidence came as civilians in the besieged city endured a fifth day of incessant shellfire – the worst yet, according to eyewitnesses – with dozens of other people being killed as the brutal assault continued.”

Writer Beach’s source for his claims seem to originate from only one organization, not in Syria – but in London. Surprisingly, the Independent’s chief source for the alleged horrors in question is a nearly invisible organization known as the ”Syrian Observatory for Human Rights”(SOHR) (and to make matters worse, there are two competing SOHR orgs in London- with the same name although the Independent does not provide a link to either org), who claim to have an office based in London, but apparently have no address or contact phone number listed – only and email address. Even murkier however, is that fact that there are no names associated with the SOHR on their website, and many of its articles have been written under the fictitious pen name known as “Rami Abdul Rahman“.

It’s likely that “Rami Abdul Rahman” is in fact one Rami Abdelrahman, depicted in other online press coverage as head of the SOHR, and is reported to have met with Britain’s Foreign Secretary,William Hague at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on November 21, 2011.

One can only conclude that with no names or contact information, the SOHR is – by definition – a very well-hidden, clandestine lobbying organization, and in this case, it appears to be lobbying for regime change in Syria, from inside Britain’s Foreign Office.

Before regime change in Tripoli, the US, France and Britain relied on the likes of Soliman Bouchuiguir, the former Libyan League for Human Rights president with ties to NATO’s National Transitional Council (NTC), helped to generate numerous lies needed by the west to justify NATO’s now famously titled “humanitarian intervention” – allegedly to protect Libyans. This human rights impostor – like his present day Syrian counterpart Rami Abdelrahman who may very well have ties to the Paris-based rebel coalition known as Syrian National Council (SNC), made then Colonel Moumar Gaddafi a targeted by spreading lies of alleged state crimes – but with with no evidence, as outlined in documents released last October by the publication Voltaire. Syria’s President Assad is currently undergoing the exact same treatment, and in the exact same manner.

Babies in incubators: a recycled media hoax

Amazingly, this exact same story was also making the rounds recently in August of 2011, when a similar claim was busy circulating online through various social networks including Twitter in Arabic – the exact same tale of premature babies who died in their incubators when Syrian forces cut off electricity to hospitals during their assault, not in Homs, but on the city of Hama.

Even though it admits that it could not independently verify the account, CNN still ran with the SOHR rumor back in August, broadcasting: ”Rights Group: 8 babies die after power cut to Syrian hospital“.

Electronic Infidada reported on the August 2011 baby hoax, stating back then, “Evidence suggests it is a cruel hoax, and the pictures of the “dead babies” widely circulated online are false.” They went on to outline parallels between the August faux story and other past regime change PR campaigns:

“URGENT – Syria | The electricity was cut today from the city of Hama, and the outage included the hospitals. Following this, the Shabiha [state militia] deliberately destroyed the electricity generators in the hospitals which led to the deaths of all the premature babies (more than 40 in a single hospital).”

To me the story was immediately suspicious. First of all it sounded too much like the false reports of invading Iraqi troops throwing babies out of incubators in Kuwait in August 1990 — reports that were used to build public support and urgency for the 1991 Gulf War. These claims were part of an elaborate propaganda effort by the Washington PR consultancy Hill & Knowlton hired by the Kuwaiti government.

The fact that an award-winning newspaper like the UK’s Independent would use such a shadowy outfit to support one of its most shocking headlined stories on the crisis in Syria – is also surprising in itself. The biggest problem with both seperate claims of dying babies in incubators put forward by the SOHR, and circulated in the corporate media by the likes of The Independent and CNN, is that at no point along the line, has the SOHR been held accountable for what are patently unsubstantiated claims.

Lobbying groups and their governments in-exile are traditionally the source of anti-regime “heart-string” reports which have in the past been passed on for broadcast by major media outlets, which naturally follows with favoring pre-emptive military strike, or as recently seen with Libya – a ‘humanitarian intervention’.


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February 10th, 2012, 2:01 am


177. Syria no kandahar said:

تحرير حمص ودخول الجيش العربي السوري

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February 10th, 2012, 2:04 am


178. Mohammad said:


Why is it emotional? Most of the report is accounts from witnesses. More importantly; “The witness accounts were corroborated by international journalists present in the city during the attacks.” and “Videos and photos of the attacks, reviewed by Human Rights Watch’s arms experts, and accounts from international journalists on the ground, confirm that government forces launched long-range indirect fire attacks into densely populated areas.” A Free-lance journalist reported for Aljazeera English from Homs:
The BBC also had a reporter in Homs:

I don’t know how much confirmation you need. My friend has family all over Homs and they confirm the what is being reported by the activists and journalists. So many videos and and witness accounts. Why has the regime been cutting off communications and electricity on the areas they’re attacking? The activists have to use small electricity generators and satellite phones/internet to reach the outside world.

About Anti Assad elements. Where do you think they came from? The moon? They’re army defectors and civilians who have chosen to defend themselves from the regime. It’s their right to defend themselves. They attack regime army checkpoints because it’s from these checkpoints that the regime bombards and shoots at civilian neighborhoods. The armed opposition is a reaction to the regime’s non-stop killing and oppression from day 1 of the revolution. I’ve never heard of beheadings carried out by the Free Army, but there have been many cases of whole families slaughtered by the regime’s Shabeeha. I don’t know, there may have been revenge beheadings carried out on the shabeeha and 3awainiyye. What did they expect? to kill people like sheep without someone retaliating.

The war is on the people by the regime. Don’t pretend it’s something new, the regime has survived the past 40 years with brutal oppression. It has been at war with the people ever since Hama 1982, and it

I disagree about all parties being liars and manipulators. The regime’s policy for ever has been lying and manipulating. Ever since day 1 of the revolution and before that.

Believe what you like, there’s no point arguing with you over who’s right and who’s wrong. At the end of the day, the revolution cannot be crushed because the Syrian people aren’t going to bow down to the Assad family and his gang ever again.

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February 10th, 2012, 2:08 am


179. Juergen said:


Sorry my time was limited yesterday.

I am sorry to read that you have lossed family members. I do not have a family in Syria just good friends whom i care about. Well i assume its a difficult task to write to someone whom one has not met or know better.
You dont like emotions, or expressing them in regard of Syria. I think there are no logical issues involved when people go on the streets and protest against a regime which controlled the hearts and minds of a nation for over 40 years. The logic would tell you to stay home and shut up, because the consequences are known and evident: you risk your health or even more by prostesting against this regime. Without emotions many of us wouldnt write here and most Syrians would not risk their lives if they would not feel anger or joy.

The regime claims that in every civilized country armed unrest would be faced with the utmost brutality of the government.
We had armed unrest in Germany in the 70s, but yet the measures taken by the government never included shelling an whole neighborhood. The armed unrest which we see since summer is due to the fact that the regime pulled the trigger on its own people in the most drastic and harsh way. I did just read these days the memoires of our late communist ruler, and he too was ready to use the military and tanks to stop people of revolting. The army convinced him that tanks in a city do not work well, and it was pure luck that no one was willing to die for this regime. Every factory had an weapon room filled with guns, it could have all ended in a bloody showdown, and in Romania it did so for some days.

You have your right to ask for facts, but which group, which organization would you trust? I think at the end the UN, will always be called by some as phonies and backers of zionism and all other sort of labels. The truth is that there is not one truth nowadays. Those baathist loyalists, those priviledged in government jobs, i understand that they feel afraid about loosing their position or worst their live because they support this regime.

The regime choosed this brutal crackdown, this senseless killing of its own people, thats a fact and i think thats the last nail to seal the coffin so to speak for this regime.

Reforms as other despotes have at least started would have saved this regime, by using brutal force it has lost already.

I think there are images and things no one should ever see and experience, war and those atrocities we see everyday are not making us better people. You are right both sides use violence, and we see the existence of anarchism in some parts of the country. But i think that the regime has more cards on the table than the opposition. I do believe reports that criminals use this time to get their hand on things. But i dont see a stop to all of that with just a call to both sides to stop. You call for investigations by military experts of the videos. What difference would that make? If an expert will tell you well this one is a fake, that one is good and just.

See, this regime has tried to get the international media out, one big mistake they did from day 1. If all allegations are true then what do they have against a world media showing just what they claim? By closing the door to the media the opposition had a monopoly on propagating their view and their pictures.

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February 10th, 2012, 2:40 am


180. Syrialover said:

# 177. Mohammad

Thank you. The sanest and clearest comment here.

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February 10th, 2012, 2:49 am


181. Syrialover said:

I am amazed at those judging and accusing and sneering at those who are fighting back. They have zero insight into others’ reality. They demand people in Syria behave like a different race from normal humans.

What would they do themselves if they were young men inside Syria in those communities under attack? Or in an army unit defecting from the Assad campaigns? Hide whimpering under the kitchen table? Probably.

Lucky them, safe in their armchairs outside Syria. How upsetting for them that their ideal Assad regime is having difficulties and being criticised. They are the ones who are a different race.

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February 10th, 2012, 3:12 am


182. Badr said:

The Asad regime would rather fight an armed opposition than a non-violent one.


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February 10th, 2012, 3:54 am


183. ann said:

Two Explosion Hit Northern Syrian City of Aleppo – February 10, 2012

Two explosions targeted security compounds in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on Friday, state media said, causing an unspecified number of casualties in a major city seen as key to President Bashar Assad’s grip on power.

State-TV said “civilians and members of the military were martyred and wounded in the terrorist explosions that targeted Aleppo.” It added that the targets of the blasts were a compound of the Military Security Directorate and another of a police force.

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February 10th, 2012, 4:07 am


184. ann said:

Syria: War prevented – 10 February, 2012

The Russo-Chinese veto in the UN Security Council effectively prevented a military operation against Syria. Writer and political scientist Igor Panarin believes France, Britain and the US have increased pressure against Moscow following the vote.

Moscow and Beijing have been absolutely reasonable in their concerns about a possible “Libya scenario” being imposed on Syria. A similar UN Security Council resolution on Libya triggered a NATO military operation in support of an armed coup in that country, which resulted in the toppling of a legitimate government. Notably, even with Muammar Gaddafi deposed and killed, there is still no stability in Libya to this day. Not to mention all the Libyan civilians killed by NATO air strikes – something the leaders in London, Paris and Washington are reluctant to admit.

Sergey Lavrov commented on his meeting in Damascus on February 7 with the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad by saying his trip to Syria was well-timed and helpful. “There is every reason to believe that the message we have brought with us [to Syria] for progressing on every track has been appreciated,” Lavrov said.

Kremlin has repeatedly contributed effort to refrain Syria’s civil disorder from escalating, prevent a foreign invasion, and facilitate a peaceful dialogue between Syria’s opposing political parties. Yet the Western powers, who have long pressed for a military intervention against Syria, expressed their utter resentment over the Russo-Chinese stance in the UNSC, and then reacted with outrage to the Russian officials’ visit to Damascus. An intense and comprehensive pressure campaign against Russia promptly ensued.

First, on February 5, a group of people presenting themselves as Syrian opposition activists stormed the Russian embassy in Tripoli, Libya. It is no secret that NATO spec op troops spearheaded the capture of Tripoli by rebel forces in the summer of 2011, and that the present Libyan government is under control of the West. Moreover, the reported “hundreds of Syrian activists” would have no particular reason or opportunity for being in Libya. Which means that the assault against the Russian diplomatic mission was a special operation pulled off by Western secret services. It is very reminiscent of the “stray” missile that hit the Chinese embassy in Belgrade during the NATO bombing campaign against Yugoslavia in 1999. The assault on the embassy is a blatant offense against Russia’s national security, which must be retaliated for adequately.

Secondly, US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice persistently refers to the “atrocities” allegedly committed by the Assad regime. No sound evidence of such atrocities has been presented so far, which reminds us of former US Secretary of State Colin Powell’s case against Saddam Hussein in 2003 and the alleged weapons of mass destruction, which were eventually never discovered in Iraq.

Thirdly, caving to American pressure, Spain, Italy, Germany, France and Britain recalled their ambassadors from Syria within three days. The US has shut down its embassy in Damascus and evacuated its staff. On February 7, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar similarly withdrew their ambassadors from Damascus. All six of these Arab nations are members of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
[ . . . ]

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February 10th, 2012, 4:13 am


185. ann said:

Haaretz exclusive: The Clinton-Assad meeting that never happened – 08.02.12

In part three of the Haaretz expose of emails leaked from the account of the Syrian president’s media adviser, former American Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk tried his best to bring President Bill Clinton to Syria in 2009 in an attempt to mend relations.

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February 10th, 2012, 4:18 am


186. ann said:

It’s the sovereignty, stupid – 10.02.12

Outrageous as their vetoes of the Security Council resolution on Syria might have seemed in the West, China and Russia had good reasons to oppose a UN condemnation of Assad.

The first inklings of such a coalition of the willing could be seen this week in French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s statements and in the harsh reaction to the vetoes by U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Such things have happened in the past: The United Nation’s paralysis at the time of the breakup of Yugoslavia ultimately nudged the United States and NATO into taking military action against Serbia to prevent massacres in Bosnia and subsequently in Kosovo. It is not impossible that something similar will ultimately happen in the Syrian case, in which paradoxically the key to actively help the uprising will be in the hands of Turkey, which has changed its tune from a supportive embrace of Assad to leading the criticism of his regime.

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February 10th, 2012, 4:29 am


187. ann said:

Medvedev warns France against hasty decisions on Syria – 2012-02-09

MOSCOW, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) — Russian President Dmitry Medvedev had a telephone conversation with his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy Wednesday, calling on members of the U.N. Security Council to avoid hasty unilateral actions on Syria, the Kremlin said on Thursday.

In the phone conversation initiated by Paris, the Russian leader stressed that the international community’s position on Syria should be objective and balanced.

“In context of continuing the difficult work, including by the U.N. Security Council, to regulate the Syrian crisis, Medvedev called on Russia’s partners to avoid any hasty unilateral steps,” the Kremlin press service said.

Medvedev informed the French president about Russian efforts to stop any violence in Syria as soon as possible through comprehensive dialogues between the confronting parties and facilitating democratic reforms in that country.

He also briefed Sarkozy on the results of the talks between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad held on Tuesday in Damascus.

“Moscow said it was ready to continue mediatory efforts but considered any bloodshed unacceptable,” the Kremlin said.

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February 10th, 2012, 4:35 am


188. ann said:

Syria Session of UN GA Predicted for Monday, P5 Perm Reps Met Thursday

UNITED NATIONS, February 9 — Amid buzz that Syria could soon be debated in the UN General Assembly, Inner City Press on Thursday asked the spokesperson for the GA about a report the debate would take place Friday.

The spokesperson denied it, but barely an hour later at a reception for Iran’s national day, the Permanent Representative most concerned told Inner City Press that “the Qatari, the President of the General Assembly, has already launched invitations to member states for a GA meeting on Monday.”

Inner City Press asked about the absence from Thursday afternoon’s Security Council session of Permanent Five members’ Permanent Representatives, which one Deputy told Inner City Press was a “PR level meeting on Syria.” (Inner City Press reported this earlier on Thursday; a Council diplomat said it was particularly noteworthy that “UK Perm Rep Lyall Grant wasn’t there for the Irish foreign minister” who spoke in the Council Thursday afternoon.) The answer was, it concerned Syria but not the General Assembly.

Ironically, the Security Council ambassadors are scheduled to travel to Haiti, which would have them missing a General Assembly session on Monday or even the next two days, a sort of Second Syria Superbowl.

Also at the Iranian reception, which featured Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s outgoing chief of staff Vijay Nambiar but not apparently Ban himself, a UN budget expert told Inner City Press that Ban has the flexibility to spend up to $8 million on an envoy or mission to Syria without seeking any approval.

At Thursday’s noon briefing, Inner City Press asked Ban’s spokesman Martin Nesirky the most recent date on which Ban spoke with is previous envoy, to Libya, Jordanian politician and businessness Al Khatib. Nesirky said he would get the date, but nine hours later and counting it had not been provided.

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February 10th, 2012, 4:44 am


189. ann said:

IMF Won’t Substantiate “Arab Spring” Spending, Downplays Military Spending

UNITED NATIONS, February 9 — While the International Monetary Fund bragged about committing $35 billion to the “Arab Spring,” now it has been questioned by area finance ministry officials and, although the IMF dodged the question, by the Press how many much has been disbursed.

Every two weeks the IMF holds a press briefing, for journalists in DC and online around the world. Spokesman Gerry Rice at the February 9 briefing purported to take online questions, one from a reporter usually there in person, and one each about Argentina and the Dominican Republic.

But the IMF ignored, and did not answer by deadline, questions about its Arab Spring pledge, about Yemen and Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Romania. Nor did the IMF explain its logic. It took question after question about Greece, and one about Bosnia not having a 2011 budget. Nothing on Ireland, either.

Inner City Press, as soon as the briefing began, asked three, four then five questions, including:

How much of the $35 billion “Arab Spring” pledge has the IMF disbursed, given this criticism?

There are directly in the IMF’s wheelhouse, but even more under Christine Lagarde, the IMF does not want to take or answer the questions. So this IMF brags about Arab Spring spending but won’t answer, misrepresents increased military spending it is now partially responsible for, and refuses to answer. Here is Mr. Aitken’s letter, that the IMF has refused to explain or substantiate.

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February 10th, 2012, 4:58 am


190. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

What is the name of this Friday ?

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February 10th, 2012, 5:58 am


191. Mohammad said:

“Russia is killing our children”

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February 10th, 2012, 6:00 am


192. Tara said:


The expelled Syrian diplomats fraternity should read and learn.

A note from Ambassador Ford on recent events in Syria
by U.S. Embassy Damascus on Thursday, February 9, 2012 at 5:52pm ·
Satellite image taken February 6, 2012

First, like people around the world, my colleagues and friends are watching the video coming out of Homs and some of the other Syrian cities in the last days with horror and revulsion.  I hear the devastating stories about newborns in Homs dying in hospitals where electricity has been cut and when we see disturbing photos offering proof that the regime is using mortars and artillery against residential neighborhoods, all of us become even more concerned about the tragic outcome for Syrian civilians. The Arab League protocol, which received wide support from the international community, called for the Syrian military to withdraw from residential areas, to stop firing at peaceful protests and to release prisoners arrested due to the unrest.  The film coming out of Homs and elsewhere in Syria shows the Syrian government’s real response.  And we have never heard of the armed opposition firing artillery for example.  It is odd to me that anyone would try to equate the actions of the Syrian army and armed opposition groups since the Syrian government consistently initiates the attacks on civilian areas, and it is using its heaviest weapons.  
I also want to say a word about our suspending the work of the American Embassy in Damascus.  I can say without exaggeration that February 6 was the most emotionally taxing day of my career as a Foreign Service Officer. Due to the elevated security risks we confronted in Syria, the Government of the United States had to suspend operations at our Embassy in Damascus, and I had to depart with my American colleagues and say goodbye to our Syrian colleagues and friends who face a very uncertain future. 
I left Damascus with immense sadness and regret—I wish our departure had not been necessary, but our Embassy, along with several other diplomatic missions in the area, was not sufficiently protected, given the new security concerns in the capital. We and those other embassies requested extra protection measures from the Syrian government, given the danger to both our citizens and the Syrian citizens that worked with and near us. Our concerns were not addressed.
As the United States’ Ambassador to Syria—a position that the Secretary of State and President are keeping me in —I will work with colleagues in Washington  to support a peaceful transition for the Syrian people.  We and our international partners hope to see a transition that reaches out and includes all of Syria’s communities and that gives all Syrians hope for a better future.  My year in Syria tells me such a transition is possible, but not when one side constantly initiates attacks against people taking shelter in their homes.

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February 10th, 2012, 6:30 am


193. VOLK said:

Russia Says West “Accomplice” to Violence in Syria

Russia accused the West on Friday of being an “accomplice” to the violence in Syria and said the country’s opposition bore full responsibility for ending the ongoing violence.
Speaking to ITAR-TASS news agency, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that “Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s promise to stage a new constitutional referendum meant that it was now up to the armed resistance movement to take the next step.”
He also warned that “Russia was ready to follow this month’s veto of a draft UN Security Council resolution on the crisis with additional strong measures if the West continues to refuse acknowledging the opposition’s role in the crisis.”
“The Syrian leadership has assured us of its readiness to quickly hold a referendum on a new constitution and move toward elections,” Ryabkov said.
“This means that the opposition bears full responsibility for improving the situation and finding a way to stop the bloodshed… Western states that push the Syrian opposition into uncompromising measures, which arm them and give them advice and instructions are accomplices in the process of inflaming the crisis,” he added.
“The responsibility rests with those who while holding the levers of influence over the opposition still fail to call it to order and demand that it accepts the Syrian government’s offers and begin real talks,” the Russian deputy foreign minister further pointed out, warning that “Russia will have to again and again resort to strong measures at the Security Council if Western states introduce new resolutions on the crisis that only blame Assad.”
In addition, Ryabkov dismissed joint efforts by the United States and Turkey to organize an international conference on the crisis and possible relief efforts for the opposition.
“Russia does not share the West’s views about so-called humanitarian intervention,” he said.

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February 10th, 2012, 6:57 am


194. VOLK said:

BEIRUT: France 24 reports that Colonel Arif Hamood of the Free Syrian Army claimed responsibility for two blasts on security buildings in Syria’s second city Aleppo earlier on Friday.

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February 10th, 2012, 7:29 am


195. bronco said:

#192 Tara

Don’t expect me to shed a tear for Heckle Ford’s long waited departure. I have no sympathy for US ambassadors. History show that few were useful to the country they were in. The good ones have usually torn loyalties, the others just cynically care about their future career in Washington.
Ford made very damaging moves in Syria. By publicly taking side too early without a proper understanding of the power the regime and the weakness of the opposition, he paralyzed the local opposition instead of trying to create a bridge of communication with the regime. The Syrian opposition is still suffering of the sequel of that paralysis.
Now about his immature ’emotional’ farewell text in Facebook:
He is shedding tears about the Kuwaiti-like hoax of the babies dying in the hospital in Homs. It just show that Heckle Ford is increasingly out of contact with the reality in Syria and it is much better he gets out and live his fantasies in the USA, at least he would have the excuse of later saying: I was on Facebook but not in Syria.

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February 10th, 2012, 7:37 am


196. irritated said:

@191. Mohammad

“Russia is killing our children”

What about China?
“Thanks China for the mobile phones”

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February 10th, 2012, 7:42 am


197. zoo said:

One Year Later, Egypt’s Multiple Revolutions Rage On: Roger Owen
By Roger Owen – Feb 9, 2012
Saturday marks the first anniversary of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s downfall, and it doesn’t look to be a happy one. Sure, there will be some celebrations in and around Tahrir Square by the battered, but still enthusiastic, remainder of the multitude of young people who launched the uprising itself on National Police Day: Jan. 25, 2011.

But this will be overshadowed by two dangerous divisions: between the army and the Egyptian people; and between the army and the Obama administration and Congress.

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February 10th, 2012, 7:49 am


198. zoo said:

Syria Stares Into the Abyss
By Hassan Mneimneh
February 10, 2012
The Syrian revolutionaries’ commitment to nonviolence was premised on expectations that they would be able to divide the security apparatus through insubordination and defections and that the world community would act to stop the massacres. Neither expectation was realized.

The revolutionaries have underestimated the ability of the regime to leverage ethnic and religious community cleavages. Recruits from the Alawi community are playing a key role in the repression. Defections are happening, but remain at about 10 percent of the military. The defectors, with no unified leadership, are unable to defeat the regime, but are used by it as proof of being engaged in combating “armed gangs.
Even more dramatically, the international community was unable to provide the revolutionaries the support they needed. Most observers remain wary as to the implications of regime change in Syria, and indeed the revolutionaries have yet to offer a convincing post-Assad scenario to alleviate these concerns (including those of the regime’s internal constituencies)

The Assad family’s decades-long stranglehold on power has been largely based on a fear-instilling aura of power. The Syrian revolutionaries have broken through the wall of fear. Their ultimate success depends on denying the regime the ability to re-erect it. They will not be able to succeed without Western help.

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February 10th, 2012, 7:53 am


199. Mawal95 said:

Note to “Syria No Kandahar” #177: That video you linked to dates from 12 Oct 2011, and not 8 Feb 2012. The original is at

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February 10th, 2012, 10:45 am


200. Mohammad said:


I don’t know how you can come up with lame jokes when Syrian blood is running in the streets.
Russia is supplying all the weapons and ammunition to the war criminal Assad, if you didn’t know. China is just tagging-along with Russia. The Russian Mafia government values money over the blood of Syrians. I don’t know how they can mediate for a solution when they themselves are big criminals. What happened in Chechnya? The Russian mafia gangsters will sorely regret supporting the dictator.
[10 Feb 2012] Taybat El-Imam, #Hama: A message to Russia and China from a large demonstration:. The protesters chant; “We will be victorious despite Russia and China!!”
[10 Feb 2012] #Homs, Karm Al-Zaytoon: The first child to get killed on “Russia is killing our children” Friday. Child martyr Marwa A’dil Bhar. The video was filmed at 7am.
The poster reads:
“Russia is a partner in the spilling of Syrian blood.
We demand a clear stance by the International community against Russia’s support for the killers in Syria”

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February 10th, 2012, 7:20 pm


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