“Stay Out of Syria,” by Joshua Landis in Foreign Policy

Stay Out of Syria
Foreign intervention to topple Bashar al-Assad’s bloody regime risks a fiasco on par with Iraq and Afghanistan.
BY JOSHUA LANDIS | JUNE 5, 2012 | Foreign Policy

Let’s be clear: Washington is pursuing regime change by civil war in Syria. The United States, Europe, and the Gulf states want regime change, so they are starving the regime in Damascus and feeding the opposition. They have sanctioned Syria to a fare-thee-well and are busy shoveling money and helping arms supplied by the Gulf get to the rebels. This will change the balance of power in favor of the revolution. It is also the most the United States can and should do.

President Barack Obama does not want to intervene directly in Syria for obvious reasons, and he is right to be cautious. The United States has failed at nation-building twice before in the Middle East. The Libyan example of limited intervention by using air power alone could suck the United States into a protracted and open-ended engagement. One cannot compare Libya to Syria. The former is a relatively small, homogeneous, and wealthy society. Syria has a population four times larger, which is poor and wracked by an increasingly violent civil war across religious lines. Moreover, the chance that the United States can end the killing in Syria by airpower alone is small.

The argument that the United States could have avoided radicalization and civil war in Iraq by toppling Saddam Hussein in 1991 is unconvincing. Similar arguments are now being offered to talk Americans into jumping into Syria. Iraq was not a mature nation-state and was likely to fall apart. The fact that it imploded into civil war when the United States roto-rootered Saddam’s regime should have been expected.

U.S. intervention in Syria will likely lead to something similar: civil war and radicalization. Syrians have never agreed on basic questions of identity and policy, and it is unlikely that they will decide these issues peacefully today.

With America’s economy in the dumps, its military badly bruised, its reputation among Muslims in tatters, and its people fatigued by foreign wars, this is no time to intervene in Syria. Washington has no staying power if things go wrong. It wants regime-change on the cheap — to bomb and withdraw. And if things go wrong, will we leave the Syrians in the lurch or get sucked into another complicated quagmire? The administration can ill afford to leave a failed state behind in Syria or to have it unfurl into civil war.

Even more pressing will be the need for post-conflict reconstruction. Syria is a nation the size of Iraq whose population has outstripped its water and economic resources. Unlike Iraq, it has insufficient sources of revenue to quickly rebuild its infrastructure. What if there is massive looting and chaos? Syria produces little the world wants to buy. It hardly produces enough electricity for three hours of power a day. The school system is in a shambles. Do Americans want to pay for putting Syria back together? More to the point, should they let Washington start what it would not finish?

If anyone tells you they are going to build democracy in Syria, don’t buy it. Democracy is unlikely to succeed there anytime soon. The two social indicators that predict the success of democratization with any accuracy are median population age and per capita gross domestic product. According to a recent study, autocracies with a median population age of over 30 years old are most likely to transition to liberal democracies — Syria has a median age of 21. This is the same as Iraq’s and just slightly older than Gaza’s and Yemen’s. Because of its poverty and youth, political scientists give it small chances of becoming democratic and stable any time soon. Beware of drinking the democratization Kool-Aid.

Anyone who believes that Syria will avoid the excesses of Iraq — where the military, government ministries, and Baath Party were dissolved and criminalized — is dreaming. Syrian government institutions and the security forces will fall apart once the revolution prevails. They are overwhelmingly staffed by Baathists, Alawites, and other minorities, recruited for loyalty to President Bashar al-Assad — no revolutionary government will keep them on. Their dismissal will provide fodder for a counterinsurgency, promoting greater chaos across the country.

Syria’s new rulers will also face a daunting set of challenges upon taking power. They will be obliged to employ the hundreds of thousands of jobless Syrians who have sacrificed for the revolution, lost family, and struggled in the face of tyranny.

If the United States becomes militarily involved — destroying the presidential palace in Damascus and military installations — it will own Syria. Will it discipline the dozens of militias that have sprung up to represent the revolutionary forces? If the death toll rises after the Assad regime is taken out, will the United States continue to dedicate itself to stopping the killing?

Syrian opposition figures have estimated that running the government for the first six months after the fall of Assad will cost $12 billion, and have made it clear that they will ask international donors for financial support. This is chicken feed. Anyone who knows anything about Syria knows that it will take a lot more than $12 billion to stabilize and rebuild the country. The United States currently spends $12 billion dollars every three months in Afghanistan. In 2010, the United States was spending $6.7 billion in Afghanistan every month, as well as $5.5 billion in Iraq. Few Americans believe this money was well spent. It is rash to expect Syria to cost less.

If the United States has learned anything, it is that it cannot sort out issues of power-sharing and national identity for Middle Eastern countries. The road to national unity does not go through Washington. In the end, Syrians must find their own way and choose their own national leaders. Ahmad Chalabi and Hamid Karzai turned out to be bad choices for Iraq and Afghanistan, respectively.

There is no indication that the United States could do a better job of picking winners in Syria. Burhan Ghalioun, the original leader of the Syrian National Council (SNC), seemed to have all the qualities of a future Syrian president, but his own party members attacked him for treason within months of confirming him as leader. He was forced to resign on May 17, setting the stage for a showdown between the powerful Muslim Brotherhood and its political rivals over who will be the SNC’s new leader. Militias, the names of which we don’t even know and with ideologies that could turn out to be closer to Osama bin Laden’s than George Washington’s, are competing on the ground for cash and Kalashnikovs.

Syrians are divided because they have no tradition of unity and the Baathists have destroyed politics for a half-century. Nothing the United States can do will erase that legacy of political underdevelopment.

It seems heartless to stand by and do so little as massacres, such as the atrocity carried out at Houla, continue. More than 13,000 Syrians have been killed in the last 14 months of revolution. But there is no reason to believe U.S. intervention can staunch the violence. American troops killed over 10,000 Iraqis in the first month of invasion in 2003. A further 100,000 Iraqis were killed by the time they left — and even now, Iraq remains in turmoil and a new dictatorship seems to be taking shape. Car bombs are a regular occurrence in Baghdad, and the government cleaves to Iran rather than the United States.

The cost in Iraq was high. The chances that the United States would end the killing by destroying Syria’s Baathist regime is not good.

In all likelihood, the Syrian revolution will be less bloody if Syrians carry it out for themselves. A new generation of national leaders will emerge from the struggle. They will not emerge with any legitimacy if America hands them Syria on a golden platter. How will they claim that they won the struggle for dignity, freedom, and democracy? America cannot give these things. Syrians must take them.

The United States can play a role with aid, arms, and intelligence — but it cannot and should not try to decide Syria’s future and determine the victors of this conflict. If Syrians want to own Syria in the future, they must take charge of their revolution and figure out how to win it. It is better for Syria, and it is better for America.

Why US Intervention in Syria Could Spell Deep Trouble

By Joyce Hackel ⋅ June 6, 2012 ⋅ PRI-BBC Radio

Joshua Landis, director of the Middle Eastern Studies program at the University of Oklahoma, tells host Marco Werman that more assertive US intervention in Syria is unlikely to quell the violence there.

“About 13,000 Syrians have been killed in the last 14 months, according to UN statistics. And in invading Iraq, a country the same size and the same population, we killed that many in one month,” he says. “If this is about saving lives, we have to think about what is likely to happen if we destroy this regime.”

Landis has limited expectations for a new plan former UN secretary general Kofi Annan is expected to present to the Security Council this week. The new “road map” would reportedly chart a plan for political transition that would be negotiated through a “contact group” — including Russia and Iran.

“The Americans are trying to float this idea now that the Russians will abandon [Syria], but I’m not sure they’re ready to do that, which means Syria would be in for a much longer civil war,” Landis says.

Landis is steeped in all things Syrian as a scholar, and because he is married to a Syrian. His wife is of the same minority group as President Bashar al-Assad. Landis says Assad’s Alawite supporters are likely to remain loyal.

“There are many cousins who go on Facebook, 14 or 15 [year-olds], in Syria and they’re wearing t-shirts that say: ‘Assad Special Forces.’ And they’re carrying guns on their Facebook page and they’re totally mobilized for this fight,” says Landis. “That’s what’s scary.”

Comments (348)


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1. Alan said:

The United States, Europe, and the Gulf states want regime change, so they are starving the regime in Damascus and feeding the opposition. They have sanctioned Syria to a fare-thee-well and are busy shoveling money and helping arms supplied by the Gulf get to the rebels. This will change the balance of power in favor of the revolution. It is also the most the United States can and should do.

Whether it is surprising that impudent intervention in affairs of the sovereign states became simplicity!

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June 7th, 2012, 2:28 am

 

2. Alan said:

Syrian security forces kill up to 100 people near Hama – opposition
http://www.rt.com/news/syria-hama-massacre-civilians-223/
The Syrian opposition claims that as many as 100 people have been killed by government forces in the Hama region. The Syrian government claims terrorists are responsible for the slayings.
Reports from the Free Syrian Army, the Local Coordination Committees, Syrian National Council and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights differ on the exact number of casualties.
The Syrian government called the Hama massacre a “monstrous crime,” and said its special forces were in the area to combat the “terrorists” behind the killings, according to Syrian State TV. Authorities reported that all of the militants have been killed, with Syrian forces seizing weapons including rocket-propelled grenades…./…/….

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June 7th, 2012, 2:30 am

 

3. omen said:

congratulations, professor, on landing fp.

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June 7th, 2012, 3:33 am

 

4. Mina said:

“Arming the opposition” as they did against the Soviets in Afghanistan, with the success that followed and the creation of al Qaeda to help the Gulf bags export their extremists far from the palaces. Plus they let Qatar establish a new emirate in Northern Mali (South Sudan partition model). Why is Qatar so oil and gas thirsty these days? Oil-peak?

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June 7th, 2012, 3:40 am

 

5. Osama said:

Another Massacre – Alqubair

Unfortunately the massacres are looking increasingly like the work of the “FSA”

Its becoming increasingly difficult to believe that the massacres keep happening on very critical timings, the worst possible timings for the Syrian Government, allowing the western press to fill the sheets of its news papers with “eyewitness” accounts quotes from politicians demanding action.

Annan is due to address the UN tomorrow…

Already the main-stream media machine has started – somehow I doubt that either Houla or Qubair will ever be investigated…

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June 7th, 2012, 7:24 am

 

6. Tara said:

Why shooting children in the face?  Kill them humanely.  A gun shot to the heart is a better and a bit more humane way.  Have shabeehat al Assad not satisfied their blood thirst yet? When is a historical hate get fulfilled?  Is their a cut off number of the dead above which a desire for revenge for Imam Ali can be fulfilled?  Wasn’t that what shsbbehat al Assad said slaughtering children at Houla?  Isn’t time yet? 

Syria accused of massacring 100
Women and children said to be among the dead as pro-Assad forces allegedly storm a small village near the city of Hama

Syria’s government was accused on Wednesday of carrying out a new massacre in a small village near the central city of Hama, with an opposition group claiming 100 people, including many women and children, had been killed.

“We have 100 deaths in the village of al-Qubair, among them 20 women and 20 children,” said Mohammed Sermini, spokesman for the Syrian National Council, who accused the regime of being behind the incident.

The news looked certain to fuel a bitter debate about the increasingly bloody Syrian crisis and to underline the limits of what a deeply divided international community can achieve.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said the massacre was carried out at a farm by pro-regime shabiha militiamen armed with guns and knives after regular troops had shelled the area.

Reports and images of the incident spread rapidly on Twitter and other social networks but were impossible to verify independently given the lack of media access to much of Syria.

Online pictures showed charred corpses lying amid rubble and a dead child who had apparently been shot in the face.

The Local Co-ordination Committees (LCC), an activist network, had earlier reported shelling in al-Qubair and neighbouring Maazarif, with “dozens martyred and wounded.” The villages are about 12 miles from Hama.

Opposition activists said women and children were among the dead when al-Qubair came under heavy tank fire before shabiha fighters moved in on the ground and shot and stabbed dozens of people to death. The LCC counted 78 victims, 35 of whom were said to be from one family.

“Qubair was stormed with very heavy and random gunfire, houses were broken into and the residents were killed, some with knives,” said a Hama-based source. “There are also burnt bodies.”

Read more: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jun/07/syria-accused-massacring-100

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June 7th, 2012, 7:28 am

 

7. Osama said:

Here’s a link from the WSJ – clearly pointing out who beenfits:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303665904577450241196981150.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

a republican senator no less…

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June 7th, 2012, 7:30 am

 

8. ann said:

Thank you professor for posting a picture proving child soldiers are fighting with the mercenary terrorists in Syria

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June 7th, 2012, 7:58 am

 

9. majedkhaldoun said:

It is strange
Joshua is saying US is helping the opposition, suggesting that US is arming the FSA, while the FSA has denied receiving specific weapons from USA, and infact they have very simple weapons only, the most they have is simple guns and RPG, I was told that their weapons are inferior to Assad army weapons.they said SNC got the money from KSA but trickle got to the FSA.
Who should we believe?
The facts on ground suggest the FSA is not getting enough help from outside.
USA is talking,only talking,and it is for purpose of winning political campaign only.

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June 7th, 2012, 8:00 am

 

10. Uzair8 said:

#8 Ann

Children? I see some youth.

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June 7th, 2012, 8:06 am

 

11. Uzair8 said:

A Sh. Yaqoubi tweet from 1 hour ago:

يجب علينا جميعا في سورية أن نحمل السلاح ونقاتل للدفاع عن أعراضنا وأطفالنا ومساجدنا وبيوتنا، إلى أن تتوقف هذه المجازر ونتخلص من هذا النظام.

Google translation:

We must all in Syria that carry arms and fight to defend Oaradhana and our children and our mosques and our homes, to stop these massacres and get rid of this system.

http://twitter.com/#!/Shaykhabulhuda

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June 7th, 2012, 8:09 am

 

12. Dawoud said:

I favor “staying out of Syria” if the anti-regime FSA has the same access to weapons as the regime. Russia and Iran are constantly transporting weapons to Bashar (War Criminal) al-Assad’s regime. The FSA need weapons to defend Syrians. Today, the regime has committed another massacre and is preventing the U.N. monitors to enter the site of this massacre.

Free Syria, Free Palestine!

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June 7th, 2012, 8:14 am

 

13. majedkhaldoun said:

Whether Abdulbaset Seida or George Sabra,wins the presidence of SNC,is of little importance, as long as there is vice president, who I believe should be Burhan Ghallion.

Do we believe that Ahmad Shafiq got the second position in the first Egyptian election,only by the coptic vote?I think the military junta has somthing to do with it, both Mursi and Shafiq did not get 50% of the vote, Hamadain Sabahi got the third position and close to Shafiq and Mursi, Mursi must offer Sabahi the prime minister job.
In a previous comment, that got deleted , I said I am looking forward for Egypt and Libya to get some kind of union,this is what the Arab spring is for,on the same line I hope the Syrian revolution wins so Syria and Iraq unite, I hope Iraq got rid of Malki and Syria and Iraq unite.

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June 7th, 2012, 8:49 am

 

14. Alan said:

11. UZAIR8
to be at war with whom? with our army which consists of our children? for this purpose Yaakubi a suitable place in caves of Tibet with the Lama to make debate!

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June 7th, 2012, 8:49 am

 

15. majedkhaldoun said:

If the minorities wants assurances and guarantees from the revolution , they must join the revolution,.
If Russia wants to keep Syria as an ally, Russia must support the revolution.
Join the bandwagon or you will be excluded in the future.the revolution will win.

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June 7th, 2012, 8:59 am

 

16. bronco said:

Who’ll send the boots to deal with the inevitable counterinsurgency after the ‘fall’ of the regime?

Joshua Landis said:

“They are overwhelmingly staffed by Baathists, Alawites, and other minorities, recruited for loyalty to President Bashar al-Assad — no revolutionary government will keep them on. Their dismissal will provide fodder for a counterinsurgency, promoting greater chaos across the country.”

I say:

Talking about post Bashar’s Syria JL mentionned the cost of the ‘reconstruction’ as the more pressing task. He discreetly avoids dwelling in the post Bashar’s security daunting task.
‘Counterinsurgency’ will undoubtedly develop if the regime falls and with it, all its military and security institutions.
How could the ‘revolutionary’ government made of expats technocrats and an army, the FSA, of allegedly 20,000 “soldiers” ensure the security of the country?

Iraq was controlled by hundred of thousands of trained and equipped US soldiers as well as billions of army equipments after the fall of Saddam, and despite that it has been and still is a daily carnage. The whole post Saddam’s Iraq was managed at 100% by the USA, logistics and boots.
Is it Qatar’s or Saudi’s or the Turkish army who will play the police, when the regime police would have gone?
A coalition of EU troops to protect every village and towns in Syria? When all the EU troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, would they want to get into another costly quagmire?

Maybe the hopeful thinking is that by magic, the army loyal to the regime for 15 months will suddenly switch side. There is a strong doubt it will. Left without leadership, most soldiers will prefer to protect their families and clans, not their crumbling country.
As usual, the US short sighted and unrealistic plans stop at getting rid of the leader who dares defy the proud USA. Then what?
The only worry the USA had in Iraq was the oil and they were ready to spend billions on “securing” the oil , knowing that they will get their money back. Syria is not economically strategic for the USA, they wont empty their pocket to help.
They will count on the Arab countries to provide the billions of dollar necessary for the ‘pacifying mission’, but who’ll send the boots?

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June 7th, 2012, 9:11 am

 

17. irritated said:

The minorities’ choice according to “educated” revolutionists:

If the minorities do not join the revolution by force, then so be it, they will suffer and pay dearly for that, together with all the supporters of the regime. If they are not dead or have not renounced to their allegeance to the “devil”, then they will be deported to the great desert of Saudi Arabia. There will be a inquisition to extirpate the bad sheeps, be aware of that.
So come on, minorities, what are you waiting for, listen to the voice of reason, switch side and support the glorious and bloody revolution that will bring justice and peace to this country.

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June 7th, 2012, 9:26 am

 

18. irritated said:

The ME according to our local Moslem Brotherhood strategist

Iraq enters a new civil war to restore the power to Islamist Sunnis close to the Moslem brotherhood.
Syria gets a Moslem brotherhood government

Reunification of Egypt-Libya-Syria-Iraq under the banner of the Moslem Brotherhood, the IAR.

Join the new Zynga game.

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June 7th, 2012, 9:38 am

 

19. zoo said:

Is Libya Cracking Up?
June 21, 2012
Nicolas Pelham

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2012/jun/21/libya-cracking/?page=1

More sober voices caution that the root-and-branch elimination of all remnants of the old civil service and security forces will precipitate the country’s collapse, as happened for some years in Iraq. A poet I met at the Amazigh rally in Tripoli told me, “Everyone blames the vestiges of the old order for their woes, as if they had no association with it. But the truth is we were all complicit. We had to survive.” A Salafi car dealer, who spent years in Qaddafi’s torture chamber of Bu Salim and has a job in the Interior Ministry, warns of repeating the mistakes of France’s postrevolutionary reign of terror. Quoting an eighteenth-century revolutionary who was subsequently guillotined, he warns, “Like Saturn, the revolution is devouring its children.” And then he adds, “A small country cannot afford such a loss of qualified staff.”

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June 7th, 2012, 10:09 am

 

20. zoo said:

Hillary in a fish bowl:

http://www.jpost.com/HttpHandlers/ShowImage.ashx?ID=190486

Clinton tells Syria’s Assad to quit, leave country
By REUTERS
06/07/2012 15:24
After meeting with Arab, Western FMs in Istanbul, US secretary of state calls ongoing violence in Syria “unconscionable”; reaffirms dedication to Annan plan, potential action through UN Security Council.

ISTANBUL – US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Syrian President Bashar Assad on Thursday to hand over power and leave his country, condemning a massacre near the town of Hama that opponents have blamed on his supporters as “unconscionable.”

….
http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=273070

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June 7th, 2012, 10:13 am

 

21. Son of Damascus said:

Osama,

“Another Massacre – Alqubair

Unfortunately the massacres are looking increasingly like the work of the “FSA””

According to whom exactly?

Because from what I see and read the survivors are pointing the finger squarely on the government forces who were in the area bombarding them with tank and artillery barrages and then sent in the shabeeha to kill the innocent.

I trust the “eyewitness” accounts of the Western press any day and twice on Sunday over the sick and callous accounts the Syrian government keeps regurgitating. This government can’t even protect its citizens let alone investigate who killed them المجرم يحقق الجريمه.

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June 7th, 2012, 10:15 am

 

22. Son of Damascus said:

Irritated,

“The minorities’ choice according to “educated” revolutionists…”

As opposed to your choice of “clean up and disinfection” of dissidents?

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June 7th, 2012, 10:16 am

 

23. Tara said:

Bravo  Hillary.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has thrown cold water on a Russian proposal for a meeting on Syria that would include Iran, saying it was “a little hard to imagine inviting a country that is stage-managing Assad regime’s assault on its people”, Reuters reports.

Earlier today, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, accompanying Russian President Vladimir Putin on his visit to China, proposed a broad meeting of western and regional powers including Iran and Turkey to try to keep alive a peace plan brokered by international envoy Kofi Annan.

Lavrov cast the suggested meeting as a more constructive alternative to the “Friends of Syria” forum that groups mainly Western and Arab countries opposed to Assad’s rule.

Clinton, speaking in Azerbaijan before departing for a conference on Syria in Istanbul, said participants would discuss “the essential elements of a democratic transition strategy (for Syria)”. She said: 
It is time for all of us to turn our attention to an orderly transition of power in Syria that paves the way for a democratic, tolerant, pluralistic future. It’s clear that President Assad cannot and has failed to bring peace, stability or positive change to the Syrian people, and in fact has worked against all three.

More

http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldmiddle-east-live/2012/jun/06/syria-egypt#block-28

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June 7th, 2012, 10:18 am

 

24. zoo said:

Turkey unwilling to deliver on its verbal threats to Syria. Neither the US according to Joshua Landis, nor the EU according to Merkel. Who is left? Qatar and Saudi Arabia?

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkeys-stance-on-the-civil-war-in-syria.aspx?pageID=449&nID=22562&NewsCatID=419

Turkey claimed that this civil war could be stopped through collective initiatives. In the beginning, some countries supported this idea and encouraged Turkey. However, they also reminded Turkey of the fact that they took all responsibility in Libya and said it was Turkey’s turn this time. It was quite a fantasy to expect an acceptance from Turkey to pay all the bills of these complex issues.
The conflict cannot be taken under control by the efforts of a single country. As the total cost of such an intervention apparently increases, Turkey seems to be less willing than it used to be.

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June 7th, 2012, 10:20 am

 

25. zoo said:

#23 Tara

I hope you don’t congratulate her for the facial expression she took to throw some water from her fish bowl?

These verbal threats are super deja vu. She is coming with zero new ideas, just the same fish babbling.

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June 7th, 2012, 10:24 am

 

26. irritated said:

#22 SOD

Yes, at least alive and free.

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June 7th, 2012, 10:27 am

 

27. zoo said:

Civilians stopped the UN observers from entering Hama’s massacre site and warn them about ‘safety risks’ while the Syrians troops, who are responsible for the security of the UN observers, blocked them to get in. Who is hiding what?

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/monitors-blocked-by-syrian-troops-from-entering-hama-massacre-site.aspx?pageID=238&nID=22606&NewsCatID=352

The chief of U.N. observers in Syria says his monitors have been blocked by Syrian troops from the site of a new mass killing.

Gen. Robert Mood said in a statement today that some U.N. patrols were also stopped by civilians in the area and that observers have been informed by residents that their safety will be at risk if they entered Mazraat al-Qubair in central Hama province.

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June 7th, 2012, 10:34 am

 

28. majedkhaldoun said:

Alive and free!!!!
People in Houleh are alive and free.
People in Qubair are alive and free.
People in Karm alzeitune are alive and free.
People in Bab Amr are alive and free.
Over thirteen thousand syrian dead at least , they are alive and free.
Only alive and free are Iran murderous roaming in Syria

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June 7th, 2012, 10:40 am

 

29. Tara said:

Zoo

We have just learned that the “looks” of foreign ministers of super powers do not matter much. It only matter to pride-less women making noises to attract “beloved leaders” or older sugar daddies..have we not?

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June 7th, 2012, 10:40 am

 

30. zoo said:

Freedom of speech, free education in Turkey?
8 years jail for a banner demanding free education.
In Syria education is free, not in Turkey.

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/students-sentenced-to-eight-years-for-unfurling-banner-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=22607&NewsCatID=341

Two students who staged a protest in 2010 to demand free education were sentenced to eight years and five months in prison today by a Turkish court.

Three students unfurled a banner that read “We want free education, we will get it,” during a meeting between Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Roma citizens on March 14, 2010.

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June 7th, 2012, 10:41 am

 

31. zoo said:

#29 Tara

Does your weakness for powerful people make you see them beautiful? HBJ, Hillary, Sarkozy..?

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June 7th, 2012, 10:48 am

 

32. zoo said:

Another rendez-vous in Paris on 6th July for the so called “Friends of Syria”. The original announced location was Washington.
Surprising agenda: Help support Annan plan (I thought it failed a long time ago)

http://news.yahoo.com/un-syria-blocks-monitors-killings-122948940.html

In Paris, French Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said ministers from the so-called “Friends of Syria” countries — many European and Arab nations — would meet in the French capital on July 6 to help support the Annan plan. He said the meeting would mobilize “all states and organizations that want to support the Syrian people” amid the repression.

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June 7th, 2012, 10:53 am

 

33. Tara said:

Zoo

My ” weakness” towards “certain” people absolutely makes me see them beautiful…I then see through many things.

—–

Is the regime rubbing off on you lately? I get pretty disappointed when you do not honor your word.

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June 7th, 2012, 10:57 am

 

34. Son of Damascus said:

Irritated,

Alive and free? As I recall you used the terms back in February for the SF to go and finish of the dissidents in Baba Amr, many Syrians died and most of the survivors would not constitute as being free, since you know they lost all their worldly possessions and family members to the Assadi thugs “clean up and disinfection” operation of Baba Amr.

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June 7th, 2012, 10:57 am

 

35. zoo said:

Post Mobarak: Women are loosing the relative power they had

By SARAH EL DEEB, Associated Press – 16 hours ago
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5g1bZ00IPp8Qp-OcRdsUXfs9DrP3w?docId=a654a59cfe1f443f8060ec92bad38101

The post-Mubarak political reality for women also has deteriorated. They have lost political ground in the 16 months since Mubarak’s ouster — even winning fewer seats in parliament in the first free and fair elections in decades. The 508-member parliament has only eight female legislators, a sharp drop from the more than 60 in the 2010 parliament thanks to a Mubarak-era quota. Women’s rights groups also fear the growing power of Islamist groups will lead to new restrictions.

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June 7th, 2012, 11:05 am

 

36. Tara said:

Companies that supply weapon to Syria can be prosecuted for crime against humanity.  

Human Rights Watch has urged governments and companies around the world not to sign new contracts with arms suppliers such as the Russian firm Rosoboronexport that are providing weapons to the Syrian government.

In light of compelling evidence that the Syrian army is responsible for crimes against humanity against Syria’s people, the Russian state-owned arms trading company’s continued dealings with Syria place the company at risk of complicity in these crimes.

Under international law, providing weapons to Syria while crimes against humanity are being committed may translate into assisting in the commission of those crimes. Any arms supplier could bear potential criminal liability as an accessory to those crimes and could face prosecution.

More
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/middle-east-live/2012/jun/06/syria-egypt#block-7

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June 7th, 2012, 11:17 am

 

37. Mina said:

Phase 3: http://www.rt.com/news/assad-monitors-trying-reach-292/
If the official media first reported 9 victims, it probably means that no one reports to Damascus what is actually going on.
As Fisk was announcing a year ago, now the new mapping will start directly from Lattakie and through the border.

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June 7th, 2012, 11:20 am

 

38. Alan said:

http://rt.com/on-air/un-syria-annan-report-live/

UN officials talk Syria at General Assembly: live

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June 7th, 2012, 11:37 am

 

39. Son of Damascus said:

Wow if RT is reporting this I would love to see the regimists try to explain this away:

“Men, women, even children [in Houla] were executed at a point blank range; some had their throats slit or their skulls crushed. Any regime or leader that tolerates such a killing of innocents has lost its fundamental humanity,” said Ki-Moon.
UN monitors were also shot at with small arms while going to Mazraat al-Qubeir in Hama region, trying to assess the overnight slaughter, where over 75 people were killed. The monitors were initially denied entry at all, said the UN Secretary General.
“For many months it has been evident that President Assad and his government have lost all legitimacy,” he stressed.

Not only is the regime guilty of killing Syrians, they are guilty of trying to cover up the heinous crimes so far so that they even shot at the UN Observers that were trying to go and verify the deaths. And the parrots keep defending the indefensible, very sad and despicable…

http://www.rt.com/news/assad-monitors-trying-reach-292/

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June 7th, 2012, 11:39 am

 

40. zoo said:

Who shot at the UN monitors?

UN monitors shot at on way to Syria massacre site
By AFP | AFP – 1 hour 36 minutes ago

http://uk.news.yahoo.com/un-unable-reach-syria-massacre-114337095.html

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and delegtates hold a moment of silence before he addresses the General Assembly on the situation in Syria, in New York. UN monitors trying to get to the scene of a new massacre in Syria were shot at, Ban said, calling the latest atrocity “shocking and sickening.”

UN monitors trying to get to the scene of a new massacre in Syria were shot at, UN leader Ban Ki-moon said Thursday, calling the latest atrocity “shocking and sickening.”
more…

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June 7th, 2012, 11:43 am

 

41. bronco said:

Ban Ki Moon declaration about the ‘illegitimacy of the Syrian government’
“President Bashar Al-Assad’s regime has lost its legitimacy, said Ki-moon.”
http://www.rt.com/news/assad-monitors-trying-reach-292/
If Ban Ki Moon actually had said that the Syrian government has “lost all legitimacy”, then why is the UNSC calling again today for a continuation of the collaboration of an ‘illegitimate’ government with the UN observers under the Annan peace plan.

I think Ban Ki Moon will soon deny he said that, but that will not make the headline.

We have heard that repeatedly by Obama, Clinton, Sarkozy, Hollande etc.. months ago with no avail

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June 7th, 2012, 11:53 am

 

42. Tara said:

Does that mean Syrians are 31% poorer?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/middle-east-live/2012/jun/06/syria-egypt#block-22

2.01pm: Syria: The regime’s Central Bureau of Statistics reports (in Arabic) that the annual rate of inflation was 31.45% in April.

more…

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June 7th, 2012, 12:02 pm

 

43. The Learned Dog said:

“The United States can play a role with aid, arms, and intelligence — but it cannot and should not try to decide Syria’s future and determine the victors of this conflict.”

Isn’t it the same?

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June 7th, 2012, 12:04 pm

 

44. annie said:

Mezraat al-Qubeir (Hama)
Heart breaking.

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June 7th, 2012, 12:06 pm

 

45. zoo said:

Erdogan’s arrogance more apparent by the day

Greece rebukes Erdoğan for ‘begging’ remark

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/greece-rebukes-erdogan-for-begging-remark.aspx?pageID=238&nID=22612&NewsCatID=338

Turkey should respect Greece’s troubles rather than “make noise,” a spokesman for the country’s government said today, firing back at Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who earlier said the Aegean nation was “begging” for bailouts.

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June 7th, 2012, 12:15 pm

 

46. majedkhaldoun said:

Ban qui moon and Kofi Annan, both clearly indict Assad forthe crimes in Houleh and Qubair.
Ja3fari said he will accept investigation committee as long as they are from neutral country, this to him ,they must be proSyrian regime, like Dabi from Sudan, he is not honest.

The USA can and should do more, US must not prevent arms from getting to the Syrian people to fight this murderous tyrant, Assad who is supported by the evil Iran and through HA, these are full of hate to the Syrian people, Iran has always been Syrian enemy, since thousands of years

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June 7th, 2012, 12:19 pm

 

47. Alan said:

to you and your supporting drummers won’t be permitted to take a policy guideline and will of the country! I assure you! and concerning Bann Ki-moon and Clinton that not to you to define governors legitimacy of people of the world! respect people and don’t interfere.

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June 7th, 2012, 12:19 pm

 

48. majedkhaldoun said:

Annan said what clearly meant that his plan has failed

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June 7th, 2012, 12:24 pm

 

49. Mina said:

Stepping up the rhetorics but taking some precautions:
“In such circumstances, it’s more important than ever that we report what we don’t know, not merely what we do. In Houla, and now in Qubair, the finger has been pointed at the shabiha, pro-government militia. But tragic death toll aside, the facts are few: it’s not clear who ordered the killings – or why.

Given the difficulties of reporting inside Syria, video filed by the opposition on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube may provide some insight into the story on the ground. But stories are never black and white – often shades of grey. Those opposed to President Assad have an agenda. One senior Western official went as far as to describe their YouTube communications strategy as “brilliant”. But he also likened it to so-called “psy-ops”, brainwashing techniques used by the US and other military to convince people of things that may not necessarily be true.

A healthy scepticism is one of the essential qualities of any journalist – never more so than in reporting conflict. The stakes are high – all may not always be as it seems.”
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors/2012/06/reporting_conflict_in_syria.html

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June 7th, 2012, 12:40 pm

 

50. irritated said:

Who love or hates the Syrian people according to our local historian

Iran has been the enemy of Syria for thousands of year and has always hated Syrian people, but they did not steal any of their lands and have not massacred them in recent history. Yet, they still hate Syrian people. It’s in their DNA.

The Hezbollah hates Syrian people and Syrian people hate Hezbollah maybe because HA is fighting Israel and the Syrian people love Israel.

The USA and the EU love Syrian people, this is why they apply sanctions that make them suffer enough so they take arms and fight each others.

Turkey has always love Syrians: In recent history, they massacred yrians and even they stole part of their land but now they love them.

Gulf Arab countries love Syrian people and want that Syrians gets a democracy like theirs.

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June 7th, 2012, 12:49 pm

 

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