Suicide Bombing Changes Nature of the Syrian Revolution

From Foreign Affairs

Two suicide bombs outside of government security locations in Damascus killed 40 civilians and soldiers and wounded 100 according to Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad — as reported by the government’s Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA).

The attacks have come after one of the most violent weeks since the beginning of the Syrian regime’s crackdown on uprisings nearly ten months ago, and was the first such assault seen in the capital of Damascus.

Iraqi political leaders canceled crisis talks scheduled for today and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki threatened to end power sharing in the government after Baghdad saw a series of violent blasts.

Al Jazeera’s Rula Amin reported that: “The capital has been relatively quiet. If the government is trying to say this is the work of protesters or even al Qaeda sympathizers, the attack is in the heart of the capital and that makes the government look very vulnerable.”

Meanwhile, the British-based advocacy group, Avaaz, reported it has evidence that the death toll since the beginning of the government crackdown has reached 6,237civilians and soldiers, which includes 917 government forces, 400 children, and617 people whose deaths were a result of torture.

Opposition activists claim the government staged the attacks as part of a scheme to convince the Arab League delegation that arrived in Damascus on Thursday that there is no government crackdown, but that violence in the country has been the work of “armed terrorist gangs.”

I was asked by journalists today what I thought about the notion that the Syrian government planned the car bombs to provide a pretext for their increasingly violent crackdown on the opposition. It reminds me of the notion that Washington was behind the World Trade Center bombing to provide a pretext for invading Iraq. I don’t give either much credibility. Both fit a rather perverse “qui bono,” or “who benefits” text, but I shouldn’t think that either are likely. I am only surprised that we haven’t seen the use of suicide bombing sooner.

The context of the bombings are the growing frustration of the opposition. The Assad regime remains strong compared to opposition forces. The external opposition leaders – the NSC – do not have a strategy for bringing down the regime that is realistic. Following this week’s Tunis meeting, the SNC demanded immediate foreign intervention to protect the Syrian people and stop the regime. At the same time it demanded that opposition groups within the country forgo militarization. The SNC snubbed the Free Syrian Army which has been trying to put together a military option.  There is no likelihood that Western powers will intervene in Syria anytime soon. As the death-rate rises, opposition frustrations are also rising, increasing the probability that radical groups will begin to carry out suicide operations in an attempt to break the stalemate.

Law and order are also breaking down in Syria, which means that we should expect the spread of radical groups. The Syrian state, being one of the most intrusive and repressive in the Middle East, was able to thwart radical groups. As its capabilities decline, so will its ability to keep such groups from penetrating Syrian society. But the real reason for such bombings is the desperate political situation.  Until Syria produces an ability to resolve its conflicts by political means, the chances are that the daily diet of suicide bombings that have become a part of political life in Iraq, will also become common in Syria.

Benzene prices were raised in Syria from syp 44 to 50 (13.6 percent). This is further sign of the breakdown of the government’s ability to provide for the people as it used to. Sanctions are working.

Wash Post

…. Tabler added that the increasing militarization of the revolt and the exiled opposition’s growing support for armed action creates a policy dilemma for the United States. “We don’t have a policy for dealing with the fact that many people are taking up arms,” he said.

IRAN EMBASSY IN DAMASCUS CONFIRMS KIDNAPPING OF FIVE IRANIAN TECHNICIANS IN SYRIA – MEHR NEWS AGENCY REUTERS

The Syrian authorities detained the prominent figure Abdul Azeez Al-Khair for a day while he was leaving the country at Damascus airport to travel to Cairo. He was going to participate in discussion with the Arab League as a member of the delegation from the National Coordination Body – NCB, that includes Haytham Manna, Saleh Mohammed and Rajaa Al-Naser. Although released, he has had his passport taken from him to keep him from joining opposition members abroad.

Jerusalem Post: 50 US experts implore Obama to press Syria harder, 2011-12-21

Around 50 US-based experts on Middle East policy and strategy signed an open letter to President Barack Obama this week imploring him to demonstrate greater leadership on the Syria crisis. Their petition calls for tougher sanctions, greater contact …  Tony Badran issued the letter….

Seth Cropsey, a fellow at the Hudson Institute and a former US national security official, said he personally supports the deployment of special forces to the country. “Military intervention could be useful in the form of special operations forces that would help organize, train and equip groups that oppose Assad,” he told the Post. “I support the use of such forces, as well as intelligence assets” to help unseat the Syrian president,” said Cropsey, who also signed the petition….

Aljazeera doesn’t Broadcast SNC: After Syria signed the Doha agreement allowing the Arab League observers into Syria, Aljazeera didn’t broadcast the SNC conference form Tunis. The Aljazeera adviser on Syria who is close to the SNC is now also showing on Alarabiya.

Thomas Pierret writes “Un nouveau billet sur son blog: Islam et politique en Syrie: Les mystérieuses Qoubeysiyyat divisées face à la révolution

Syria Steps -corruption and import tariffs. الشهابي: مشكلتنا في الفساد الجمركي..وقدمنا رؤية واضحة لتطوير الصناعة

Corruption at Commercial Bank: See this article by Sham Times

A friend writes: “4 years ago, I met the general manager of one of the new private banks in Aleppo. We talked about staffing. He said his problem was recruiting senior people from the commercial bank of Syria. Why I asked. He said that their salaries are around syp 20,000 a year. He would entice them by paying them between syp 75,000 and 100,000 a month. None would come because they make multiples of that at the commercial bank of Syria outside their salaries. Every loan they make, they get paid a chunk personally.”

الحرب تُعلن رسمياً على مدير التجاري السوري War between Mayale and Dergham people at the Commercial Bank واقتراح بمناظرة تلفزيونية تجمع درغام وميالة وجليلاتي…كي نفهم…!؟

Azmi Bishara shreds the SNC to pieces (without mentioning it) for how it begs for Arab and international intervention and how it uses tashbee7 against other opposition.

Assessing Assad – Foreign Affairs
The Syrian leader isn’t crazy. He’s just doing whatever it takes to survive.
BY BRUCE BUENO DE MESQUITA, ALASTAIR SMITH | DECEMBER 20, 2011

….Following the logic we set out in The Dictator’s Handbook, we believe Assad has been misunderstood and maybe, just maybe, even misjudged. In the book, we argue that no leader — not even a Louis XIV, an Adolf Hitler, or a Joseph Stalin — can rule alone. Each must rely on a coalition of essential supporters without whom power will be lost. That coalition, in turn, counts on a mutually beneficial relationship with the leader. They keep the ruler in office, and the ruler keeps them in the money. If either fails to deliver what the other wants, the government falls.

Assad is no exception. Just as he said, it is not his government. He cannot do whatever he wants. He might even be a true reformer, as many in the Western media believed prior to the Arab Spring, or he may be the brute he now appears to be. The truth is, he is doing what he must to maintain the loyalty of those who keep him in power. …

The Alawites make up 70 percent of Syria’s career military, 80 percent of the officers, and nearly 100 percent of the elite Republican Guard and the 4th Armored Division, led by the president’s brother Maher. In a survey of country experts we conducted in 2007, we found that Assad’s key backers — those without whose support he would have to leave power — consisted of only about 3,600 members out of a population of about 23 million. That is less than 0.02 percent….

CFR: Why Syria’s Regime Is Doomed, 2011-12-22
Dennis Ross

Amid mounting violence that has killed more than five thousand in Syria, it is “almost inevitable” the regime of President Bashar al-Assad will collapse, says Dennis Ross, a former senior Middle East adviser to President Obama. “When a regime is ..,.

 

 

Comments (496)


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151. SANDRO LOEWE said:

Syria Kaindofhara,

I am not sunna, I am christian and anyway you do not have anything to do with my religion. This is not a question of religion. This is more important than religion. This is about freedom and dignity. Something you are unable to understand. Your game is over. You would like people fighting sectarian wars like in Lebanon and Irak. Your are trying hard to get it because this is your last chance. But do not hesitate, time is on our side and you are done. Sooner or later you will fall. God, not sunna nor christian, nor Assad, but universal one, has began the countdown.
Do not panic.

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December 24th, 2011, 6:28 pm

 

152. ann said:

Turkey suspends all ties with France after approval of Armenian genocide bill

It is estimated that between 600,000 and 1.5 million people of the Armenian population were killed by the Ottoman Empire between 1915 and 1923, but Turkey has refused to use the word ‘genocide’ to describe the events. Numerous countries have officially recognized the Armenian Genocide, including France.

http://lincolntribune.com/?p=24989

ANKARA/PARIS (BNO NEWS) — The Turkish government on Thursday suspended all ties with France after the lower chamber of its parliament approved a draft bill which would criminalize the denial of the Armenian genocide during World War I, officials said.

Lawmakers in France’s National Assembly voted overwhelmingly in favor of the draft law, which proposes a prison sentence of up to one year and a fine of 45,000 euros ($58,000) for those who deny or ‘outrageously minimize’ the ‘genocide’ of Armenians by the Ottoman government during World War I. It also criminalizes other genocides recognized by France.

Turkey has reacted with outrage to the approval of the draft bill and immediately suspended all economic, political and military meetings with France. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also said Ankara would cancel permission for French military planes to land and warships to dock in Turkey.

Erdogan said the proposed law is ‘too heavy and difficult’ and opens old wounds. “There is no such thing as a genocide in our history,” the prime minister said, claiming the bill is based on ‘racism, discrimination and xenophobia.’

“I ask the following question: Is there freedom of thought in France, is there freedom of expression? I am giving the answer: no. This is a free discussion environment being eliminated,” Erdogan added. “Unfortunately, the French Revolution, known as a symbol of liberty, equality and fraternity, has been trampled on by the parliament of France today.”

Meanwhile, the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs accused France of using the genocide bill for ‘electoral purposes’ ahead of next year’s presidential elections in which President Nicolas Sarkozy faces a tough re-election battle.

“This law proposal constitutes a grave example of politicization of history on account of narrow political calculations and stifling of freedom of expression by a democratic institution,” a spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. “France has thus preferred to ignore the universal values which it had a share in developing.”

The spokesperson pointed out that the proposed law restricts the freedom of expression of all academics and researchers who are looking at historical events from different perspectives. The Ministry said the law will be unable to prevent the expression of views developed on scientific bases, and said Turkey cannot accept the ‘unilateral imposition of memory.’

The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it has recalled its Ambassador to France for consultations in Ankara. “In the forthcoming period, which constitutes a test for France, we expect that necessary actions will be taken before the damage caused by this initiative on our bilateral relations reaches more severe dimensions, and we hope that ultimately common sense and reason will prevail,” the spokesperson added.

Others have also expressed concern about France’s plans to criminalize genocide denial. “I fully acknowledge the humanitarian intentions of those members of the National Assembly who authored and supported this proposal,” said Dunja Mijatović, the Representative on Freedom of the Media at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). “However, I believe that the final adoption of these legal amendments would raise serious concerns with regard to international standards of freedom of expression.”

Mijatović said the French bill could also have international effects. “It could set a precedent internationally for politically construed, ad-hoc criminalization of public debates,” she said. “Criminalization of debates on history’s true course, even of obviously false and offensive statements about a nation’s tragic moment, is not conducive to a better understanding among people, communities and authorities of OSCE participating States.”

Mijatović further said she fears the passing of this law by a nation with a great history of press freedom might prompt other countries in the OSCE region to follow France’s example and similarly criminalize historical statements in violation of their OSCE commitments which aim at encouraging free discussion on issues of public interest.

“A proliferation of national prohibitions on particular statements related to the culture and history of different nations and regions would render international free-speech standards inapplicable and subordinate them to a plethora of fragmented national strategies on regulation of speech and expression,” she added.

The French Senate, the upper house of parliament, will debate the bill next year before it goes before a vote.

It is estimated that between 600,000 and 1.5 million people of the Armenian population were killed by the Ottoman Empire between 1915 and 1923, but Turkey has refused to use the word ‘genocide’ to describe the events. Numerous countries have officially recognized the Armenian Genocide, including France.

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December 24th, 2011, 6:29 pm

 

153. Son of Damascus said:

Dear fellow Syrian Commentariat,

Merry Christmas to whomever is celebrating, may you celebrate this holiday surrounded by loved ones.

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December 24th, 2011, 6:36 pm

 

154. Tars said:

SNK

Yes, dear SNK. You think you are a Christian but you are not. You are just disillusioned that you are. You can have a tree, go to church every Sunday, declare Jesus your savior, call his name, read the Injil. leave santa some cookie and milk, exchange gift, fast the lint, do this and do that. all that does not matter a bit. Not a small bit. You remain disillusioned. Religion is not about any above. It is how you relate to god through your relation to people. So yes, leave Jesus alone. I think I am more “Christian” than you can you can ever be.

If you stay good, I can give you some lessons if you are interested.

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December 24th, 2011, 6:43 pm

 

155. Syria no kandahar said:

Sandra Bandra
You are a Christian !!!
وحياة العرعور عم تكزب

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December 24th, 2011, 6:47 pm

 

156. William Scott Scherk said:

My heart is with Syrians who are wounded and bereft from the blasts in Damascus. It is terrible that so little information on the dead and the plot has been published. In Norway, the media and authorities intensively investigated those terrible events, and made public the facts as they developed. It was a dreadful story fully opened to public scrutiny and discussion.

In Syria it seems the murder book is already closed on the events in Kafr Sousah, without full investigation.

Who are the people who died? Where are their names and their stories? In Norway, each dead person became known via the media, where they stood, how they were herded, when they were shot dead. There were witnesses and survivors. There was a careful forensic investigation, and a reconstruction with the actor … mourning and funerals were postponed until the forensic work was done.

In Syria bags of flesh have already been disposed before a list of names has been released by official media or morgue or investigator. Who is the investigator of this horrible event? Who is charged with that task, who is charged with briefing the world on the details? Where is the Crisis Desk?

I want to know several things above all.

– where is the map or maps of the operation: who has seen an animation of the blast areas that shows clearly from where and how the two huge cargos of explosives (300lbs each) were put in place? Where were the bodies found in the blast zone? How many rooms were damaged? How many died inside and who outside? Within the boundary walls and without? Which hospitals were wounded taken to? What happened to the purported drivers of the two vehicles — were they disintegrated in place, did they leave the precincts or attempt to? What are the details?

Where was the suspect captured, and when, by whom. Who is he, and where is he now?

Why do events surrounding the blasts seem to be enveloped by a Syrian cloak?

I really expect more eyewitness reports to go beyond the sketchy official chronology and placement of events — surely someone was standing across the street when the blast occurred. What did he or she experience? There were hundreds, if not thousands to interview in the neighbourhood, survivors from the building, ‘lucky survivors’ close to initial events. Where are they? Why haven’t these people’s witness been pieced together to tell the story in depth? Where is the Syrian media foremost, and where are official spokespersons who put up maps and answer all questions of the curious and concerned and horrified?

These are terrible days for Syria in the season of the Holiday Birth. I am not Christian, but I hear the plaintive best wishes and my heart sinks at each Merry Christmas hope that will be dashed. Christmas will only be sombrely celebrated this year in Damascus, at the Palace and in the streets, and in the homes of the fearful and horrified.

To the odious Syrian Commando, shame on you. Shame on your death cult, shame on your hysteria and your heartlessness. You epitomize the pitiless authoritarianism of expat anonymous Syrians in bed with Dictatorship. Your comment is much more revolting than the worst of Khaled Tlass’s sectarian hysteria, because you address real people to personally wish them the grave.

President Assad has brought this sombre, fearful, horrified Holiday Birth upon his country. May he pray or not, listen to holy advice or not, may he please have mercy, may he show pity on his subjects, may he still the guns of the regime and step away from the apex of dictatorial power.

Troops to the barracks, torture rooms disbanded, tanks to the depots. Detainees to justice and to freedom. Demonstrators free to express their needs and demands without facing guns, beatings, threats or detention.

My only hopes today are for the Arab League to insert itself as the seed of peace between the out-of-control repression of the regime, and the militant hostility of the opposition. May they be brave and effective …

Damascus has been hit with two enormous explosions and resultant heightened terror and foreboding. These explosions must not be repeated. Investigate this crime and expose its planners lest it happen again in the near future.

To the authors of the explosions: Why? What possible benefit can these gouts of blood give to Syria? Who have you harmed and who have you aided with the bags of flesh thrown under the cloak?

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December 24th, 2011, 6:50 pm

 

157. SYRIAN HAMSTER said:

May everyone’s Christmas wishes to others become true for her/him as well. I wish you all the serenity that only comes from being honest with yourselves.

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December 24th, 2011, 6:52 pm

 

158. sf94123 said:

Yes, SANDRO LOEWE is a Christian MB who goes to Church with Tara Bin Jassim every Sunday.

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December 24th, 2011, 6:53 pm

 

159. ss said:

Who is Tara bin Jasim?????.

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December 24th, 2011, 6:58 pm

 

160. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

The mnhebaks lost it completely on Xmas eve. They see Xmas wishes as a conspiracy against the junta. Paranoia is a mental issue.

Who is Tara bin Jasem.. hahaha that is great…
.

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December 24th, 2011, 7:17 pm

 

161. Syria no kandahar said:

Amir
Tara bin Jassim works with Revlon bin gorion
To try to achieve Israel dream:from the Nile to
Euphrates it is isreal land,without occupation
Just by having Sunni and Shia fight each other
And by irradicating every lightened Christian from
The middl east,so you can be the only brains left
Here.you diched the Americans in Iraq,you are trying to ditch them and the europians in Syria
For no real American interests just pure Israeli
Interests….you have to kill the Rissian bears or make them drunk,then you can do it.

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December 24th, 2011, 7:31 pm

 

162. Ghat Al Bird said:

Good news for all non-chosen people especially in the US.

According to media reports Rabbi Ovadia Yusef, famous in recent memory for having said the following –

“Goyim were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no place in the world; only to serve the People of Israel…Why are gentiles needed? They will work, they will plow, they will reap. We will sit like an effendi and eat…With gentiles, it will be like any person: They need to die, but God will give them longevity. Why? Imagine that one’s donkey would die, they’d lose their money. This is his servant. That’s why he gets a long life, to work well for the Jews…”

Is reported to be interested in establishing a presence in New York to be able to increase donations to his cause in 2012.

Happy New Year one and all.

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December 24th, 2011, 7:38 pm

 

163. SANDRO LOEWE said:

Tonight I have discovered how much it can hurt the fact that a christian can be against Assad mafia. Great. This is a good sign.

I know too many people in Syria who are good human beings above all. I think 70 % of them are sunnas, 13 % of them are alawis, 10 % are christians and the rest are among druze, alawis and other.

This is the aproximate distribution of syrian religions.
It means that I never judge other by their religion but for their acts. I apreciate very much the things I have learnt from muslims, and of course most of them were sunnis, but all good humans, be druze, alawis, ismailis or followers of evil let me learn too much too.

I pray in this special night for all syrians to fight state crime, bribery and corruption and forget their neighbour´s religion while the change in ongoing.

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December 24th, 2011, 7:40 pm

 

164. Haytham Khoury said:

Dear SANDRO LOEWE

There are many good Syrians like you. To the surprise of Menhebak people!!!

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December 24th, 2011, 8:33 pm

 

165. Syria no kandahar said:

Sandal low
الصندل الواطي
كل عام وكلاب الاخوان بغير خير

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December 24th, 2011, 8:42 pm

 

166. Aia said:

To consider the scenario of Syrian government staging the Damascus bombing as similar to the scenario of the CIA or other US entity staging the 9/11 attacks on WTC is a rediculous simile. Not that the government of W Bush was an example of honest angels but the government of Bashar Assad is one of scores of thugs working for Mafia godfathers supported by armies of spin doctors. They hold nothing sacred except their selfish desires and will gladly stoop to any low and criminal acts necessary to maintain power and wealth.

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December 24th, 2011, 8:56 pm

 

167. SANDRO LOEWE said:

SNK (not Seneca, of course)

People in Hama, Homs, Idleb and AlJazeera provinces are the base of Damascus and Aleppo inmigration. In the future urbanization is going to keep gaining momentum due to economical circumstances that far from improving will probably worsen.

So these syrian, mostly rural, many ¨arab¨ and kurds, are the future of syrian main cities. You can hear at them today or shoot to kill and silence their voices for a period of time but sooner or later they will be an overwhelming majority.

For me they do not represent the MB, they are the real syrian people. Pure people who does not understand about politics, but have 2 or 3 basic concepts about life and justice that you can silence but not change. In the long term they are Syria. Corrupt urban and wealthy classes are destroying the regime from the base.

I think you do not deserve these explanations, but let´s try to be reasonable one more time.

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December 24th, 2011, 9:05 pm

 

168. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

February is in 38 days from today.

Bashar promised that “elections will be held in February or March”.
Did you already make up your minds who to vote for?
.

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December 24th, 2011, 9:10 pm

 

169. majedkhaldoun said:

Haytham
Have a very merry christmass.

Over 30,000 demonstrators in Moscow.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/24/russia-protests_n_1168712.html

Arab spring will reach Jordan and Iraq

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December 24th, 2011, 9:12 pm

 

170. Haytham Khoury said:

Majedkhaldoun # 165.

Thank you.

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December 24th, 2011, 9:17 pm

 

171. Norman said:

In few years there will be no Christians in the Mideast to celebrate Christmas,

Tara, Muslims like Jews are buried within 24 hours for religous reasons,and Autopsies are restricted, as far as i know,

WSS,

Syria is a third or fourth world country, do you hear a lot about the investigations in similar attacks in Pakistan, No and Pakistan is much more advanced in technology, Syria does have a crime lab, they tend to beat people into giving up information, you expect a lot from the non intelligent services of Syria.

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December 24th, 2011, 9:28 pm

 

172. SYRIAN HAMSTER said:

@ 94
غبي ولا مستغبي

Only an ignoramus will try to peddle this counter argument among people who know the slightest about the internet.

It was beyond pathetic. And your attempt to pass it along was even more pathetic than your usual cut and paste propaganda.

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December 24th, 2011, 9:31 pm

 

173. SYRIAN HAMSTER said:

Comment above refers to 97 not 94 by same cut and paste regime propagandist, despite of the fact that comment 94 is also venomous propaganda, comment 97 takes the prize for the worst and most ridiculous incompetent propaganda attempt.

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December 24th, 2011, 9:39 pm

 

174. Syria no kandahar said:

جردون بيك
Think twice befor saying merry christmass:

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December 24th, 2011, 10:35 pm

 

175. Syria no kandahar said:

Merry christmass to all the jihadist in the wahabi revolution especially
الصندل الواطي and هيثم الاجدب

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December 24th, 2011, 10:45 pm

 

176. SYRIAN HAMSTER said:

يا حمار قندهار

تمنيت لك ما تمنيت أنت للاخرين

فاخافتك أمنيتي

كم بائس أنت


أيها الكاره الكريه

الميلاد مجيد. ولن يغير كرهك وحقدك مجده. ولن تغير طائفيتك السوداء من محبتي للسيد المسيح وللناس البسطاءالمسحوقين. فمحبتي لهم منه وليست منى.

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December 24th, 2011, 11:14 pm

 

177. Alescander said:

Observations I wanted to share with you, returning from a visit to Sooria, this predates the twin bombings by 24 hours, both sites I drove by at least twice a day while I was in damascus, commuting from the airport or from downtown to mezze:

in merely 8 days I found out how the Arabic Storm is still hitting my old world, in a way that puts all of my loved ones in direct danger. But freedom has a price they say, people are dying everyday, indeed. it is not if you die or not, it is how you die, and for what?
Death in the Middle East is quick, sudden, and forgettable. One’s life is not the blood racing in vessels, as heart will stop puming, but what is left behind? I know I don’t control my destiny, I know also I have choices, these choices will effect my destiny, and people will say: he or she has chosen to die for this cause,
unfortunately, as always our lives in the Middle East are traded as commodity, this practice is reaching a sharp peak
Syria, where death takes many forms, if you are a demonstrator, and you choose to go out, fighting for your dignity, you know you may not return home. If you are a “loyal” your choice also may get you assassinated if you live in Homs .
but what if you choose to be in the grey zone? this can be as deadly in times of war, and that is how Swiss-like citizens can die, a brief, forgettable departure…
the situation in Damascus proper is very secure, that is said, people are not taking any chances, some don’t leave their homes at night, some are carrying guns, otherwise you can roam the whole city and you will fail to see one soldier. if you travel on the highways to the suburbs, you will be stopped by patrols for ID and trunk inspections, nothing major.
I know a person who installed a video monitoring circuit after he saw an X on his door one day.

if you want to travel between cities, you are adviced to fly, Syrian Air now flies 2 trips a day, a steep increase from twice a week.

prices are high, from mazot to cooking gas, losing power 4 to 6 hours a day, dollar is 62 syp in black market.

in Lattakia, I heard about detonating dynamite, a familiar act from the eighties, and rumors about people disappearing. Few demonstrators lit tires after announcing signing of the AL protocol.

overall, counterintuitively, corruption, and breaking the law , by law enforcement , is rampant,

People where frustrated with the delay by the regime in handling lawlessness

Now after the bombing , we return to the 80s era,

All Syrians should sit down on the dialogue table, Talib… Excuse me, MB EXCUTE….excuse me excluded.
 
 

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December 25th, 2011, 1:03 am

 

178. Revlon said:

Dear Joshua,
((The context of the bombings are the growing frustration of the opposition).

The “opposition” has indeed been frustrated with the regime intransigence, SNC ineptness, and AL weak stand for over nine months now.

The regime’s claim of presence of terrorist groups from day one, and their failure to eradicate these phantom groups in spite of over nine month of full deployment of their offcial and paramilitary forces would logically mean that the borders have been so porous, that semitruck loads of explosives should have been, as you Joshua rightly noted, a daily scene all over Syria!

Yet what we got in Damascus were two bombs, conveniently detonated in a highly controlled area, so that no unauthorised people could even approach the scene to make cell phone videos, or take photos and perfectly timed to coincide with AL commission’s first field visit!

The timing and context of the bombings is the arrival of the AL commission, whose mandate, as publicly announced by Mu3allem himself was the vindication of the narrative of terrorist undercurrents in the revolution.

Upon arrival, the ALC team was given a carefully planned orientation on their role and what to expect.

Next day, they were taken to Demo number 1: Damascus suicide bombings!

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December 25th, 2011, 1:44 am

 

179. Revlon said:

((Suicide Bombing Changes Nature of the Syrian Revolution))

Dear joshua,

That is what the regime wanted to achieve from staging the bombings; changing the Syrian public’s, Arab, and international views of the Syrian revolution, from peaceful to violent.

The nature of the revolution has been peaceful from day one; their first chanted slogan was Silmiyeh, Silmiyeh (peaceful, peaceful).

The nature of Jr’s response has been from day one; violent crackdown, at what ever price.

The peaceful nature and means of the revolting civilians shall continue.

The use of force by defecting soldiers shall continue to be in the vein of protection of rising, peaceful civilians.

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December 25th, 2011, 3:09 am

 

180. Revlon said:

نجل امين حزب البعث للعربية مقتل والديه على يد الامن
قامت قوات الأمن اليوم باغتيال غازي محمد خالد زعيب، الأمين العام السابق لفرع حزب البعث في حمص، وزوجته رجاء محمد الخالد بكار، حيث اقتحمت منزلهما وأطلقت عليهما النار في حي بابا عمرو ثم قامت بحرق المنزل. الشهيد كان مهددا من قبل النظام نتيجة مواقفه المؤيدة للثورة منذ بداياتها، بحسب “لجان التنسيق المحلية”، وشنت صفحات مؤيدة للنظام على “الفيس بوك” هجوما مستمرا عليه منذ شهرين

Abu Qusai to Al Arabia: My father Ghazi Z3aib, ex-secretary of Baath party branch of Homs, and his wife Rajaa Bakkar were shot dead and their house set on fire by Assad security forces.

Uploaded by masymona123 on Dec 24, 2011
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LgX7WgHQE1A&feature=player_embedded#!

On Friday, Assad forces invaded Baba Amr and its groves.
My father’s house was searched several times that day by security forces.
At 5:00 PM a security forces contingent in 10 pickup trucks escorted by three Armored vehicles ramsacked and blasted parts of my father’s house and shot him and his wife dead.
I telephoned current Baath party branch secretary Mr Subhi Harb complaining. He replied that he was looking into the matter!

My late father held the offcial post of member of the central committee of the Baath party. I therefore consider his assasination to have been a political decision taken at the highest of levels.

My father fell in disfavour with the regime in April for refusing to appear on TV to support the regime.
He was there remvoed from office and replaced by current secretary, Subhi harb.

He was summoned to Baath party branch for questioning a month ago.
The questioning was attended by the following high officials:
- Subhi Harb, current Homs Baath branch secretary
- Mohammad Al Shaar. Minister of interior
- Hisham Bakhtiar, member of the national committee of the Baath party
- Mohammad deeb Zeitoon, Head of Political Security Branch

He was then asked to hand over his son(myself)for interrogation in relation to revolution activities.
My father refused then, saying he won’t hand over his living son only to be handed back to him a dead body, like what happended with his nephew!

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December 25th, 2011, 4:22 am

 

181. Tara said:

Amir@ 179

I started to agree with you. The observers are physically present in Syria yet they have not visited Homs despite the SNC appeal to the AL for the observers to “observe” Homs. So why are they there? Their mission is supposed to be for one month and may be renewable. Shouldn’t they send daily report to the AL with their activities. I am afraid these people have no experience and they think they are going in an excursion. I am afraid they will like Damascus like all Arabs do and reflect their affection onto the regime. It is becoming a pathetic situation.

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December 25th, 2011, 4:24 am

 

182. Revlon said:

Christmass Dawn in Homs.
2011

May Peace be upon you, Homs people

حرب حقيقية في حمص الخالدية فجر يوم الاحد 25 12 2011

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December 25th, 2011, 5:22 am

 

183. Mina said:

http://www.angryarab.com ‘s picks:

http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?id=250410

http://www.almasryalyoum.com/node/561181

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/report-israeli-company-sold-surveillance-equipment-to-iran-1.403107

(Mazel Tov Turkey! Mazel Tov Egyptian Salafis! Mazel Tov Iran’s security! Peace and Love to all fundamentalists on this planet. You’ll behead witches, stone women, and achieve full employment for the degenerated remaining males, no doubt whatsoever.)

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December 25th, 2011, 6:30 am

 

184. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Has the mission of the AL preparation team, a timetable or a deadline?
I still think the AL monitoring will not happen.
.

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December 25th, 2011, 7:29 am

 

185. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sG8ArdCtf2s

Notice the flag.
.

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December 25th, 2011, 7:30 am

 

186. Uziar8 said:

Another explanation for the suspicious Damascus bombs.

Could this have been a training accident? Perhaps these locations were training bases for suicide bombers, as promised by Mufti Hassoun, being prepared to attack europe in response to any foreign military intervention.

SANA had stories of mosque Imams condemning suiced bombings as unislamic. Did Mufti Hassoun also condemn them as such?

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December 25th, 2011, 8:05 am

 

187. Uzair8 said:

An alternative explanation for the suspicious Damascus bombs.

Could this have been a training accident? Perhaps these locations were training bases for suicide bombers, as promised by Mufti Hassoun, being prepared to attack europe in response to any foreign military intervention.

SANA had stories of mosque Imams condemning suicide bombings as unislamic. Did Mufti Hassoun also condemn them as such?

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December 25th, 2011, 8:10 am

 

188. Observer said:

Now now you have all missed this most important news today in the NYT. This is the path that the boy wonder is planning for “my people” as he says in his speeches.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/25/world/asia/kim-jong-un-hailed-as-supreme-commander-of-north-koreas-military.html?_r=1&ref=world

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December 25th, 2011, 8:45 am

 

189. Uzair8 said:

Is the following video for real or is it a fake to make the opposition look bad? Someone elsewhere posted the video with his translation followed by his own comments.

‘ To Turn Syria Into The Graveyard Of Alawites’

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=2SKJQ3CwkZM

(Translation) :

Syrian Oppositionist Mamoun Al-Homsi

I salute the heroic Syrian people. I salute the heroes of Syria, the Sunnis of Syria. I salute you, brave men, defenders of your faith and your country.

From this day on, you despicable Alawites, either you renounce Al-Assad, or else Syria will become your graveyard. Enough of your silence, enough of killing of Sunnis. From this day on, we will not remain silent. An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.

I swear that if you do not renounce that gang and those killings, we will teach you a lesson that you will never forget. We will wipe you out from the land of Syria.

From this day on, we will not be silent. We will turn Syria into the graveyard of Alawites, if they do not stop the killing. Down with the despicable political Shia.

(Poster’s own comments) :

This is the opposition in Syria. They want all other people to die. A full massacre of Alawites and Shias. Where in the world have you seen where opposition groups come and name another sects and ethnics and declare war on them? Have you seen any opposition in Bahrain calling stuffs like these on Sunnis, even though Sunnis are supporting al-khalifa while in Syria it is not only Alawits but majority of Baathist minded Sunnis are supporting Assad as well. Have you seen in Iraq in the last 3 decades where Shias say something like this?

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December 25th, 2011, 8:51 am

 

190. Ghufran said:

رفض العراق مرور الشاحنات الأردنية عبر أراضيه إلى تركيا كي لا يلحق الضرر بالشعب السوري، معتبراً تحويل الخط البري من سورية إلى العراق باتجاه تركيا يعد جزءاً من وسائل الضغط على النظام السوري، مشدداً على أن المسألة تنطوي على جانب سياسي أكثر من كونه اقتصادياً.

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December 25th, 2011, 9:19 am

 

191. Ghufran said:

Now,abdulazerm must be ready to be called a traitor since he did not accuse almukhabarat of bombing its own people :

أدان المنسق العام لـ “هيئة التنسيق الوطنية المعارضة” حسن عبد العظيم الانفجارين، الذين استهدفها مركزين للأمن في دمشق، لكنه أوضح أن إصرار السلطات على الحل الأمني لإنهاء الأزمة السورية هو من ولد العنف المضاد، فيما اشار إلى أن الجامعة قدمت مبادرة أساسية وهامة تبدأ بوقف الحل الأمني والعسكري وصولا إلى إطلاق عملية سياسية تؤدي إلى قيام نظام وطني ديمقراطي.

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December 25th, 2011, 9:23 am

 

192. Tara said:

Amir

Read 177. It miraculously jumped to before your post.

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December 25th, 2011, 9:27 am

 

193. Ghufran said:

We may never know the real identity of the criminals who were behind the bombing but the political blame falls on those who advocates violence as a tool to achieve political goals, and this bloody ritual is becoming almost exclusive to Islamic countries which points to the undeniable fact that the problems in Islam today is Muslims themselves not their external enemies.
It is the 1980s all over again except that the usual crackdown by the regime or the violent reaction by militants will not work this time. Fighting factions must be isolated and forced to sit down and share power instead of prolonging this conflict to only reach the same conclusion after the loss of so many innocent lives, there is less appetite for war and I hope this helps to shorten the life of this crisis.

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December 25th, 2011, 9:59 am

 

194. Ghufran said:

Here is one more “devious” copy and paste post:
(Bahrain)
ففي جلسة مشتركة اعتادوا على مثيلاتها منذ اطلق سراحهم بكفالة. يسأل استشاري طب الاطفال محمود اصغر زميله علي العكري استشاري جراحة العظام “اتذكر عندما امرونا ان نقفل انوفنا باصابعنا ونهتف كما المتظاهرين سلمية. سلمية”. كان اصغر يشير بذلك الى احد الشعارات البارزة التي كان رددها المحتجون السلميون الذين تم قمع حركتهم المطالبة بالتغيير الديمقراطي بالقوة في منتصف اذار/مارس.

ويستذكر استشاري طب العائلة احمد عمران متوجها الى زملائه الذي شاركوه نفس الزنزانة “اصعب شيئ كان المناداة على احدنا خوفا من التعذيب المنتظر. اذكر عندما نادوا عليكم من الزنزانة. قلت الحمدلله لم ينادوا علي انا”. قبل ان يضحك. الا ان هذه اللحظات من الضحك ليست الا لمحة قصيرة في شهادة هؤلاء الاطباء عن تعرضهم لعمليات تعذيب مفترضة لم يتوقعوها في حياتهم.

فبينما كان استشاري طب الاطفال نادر دواني يسرد معاناته توقف فجأة وقال “صعب ان اتكلم”. كان يروي كيف اجبر على الوقوف لسبعة ايام مع تعرضه للضرب المتكرر. لاسيما من قبل محققة امرأة. وعن هذه المحققة. قال دواني “كانت اقسى واحدة. كانت تضربني بالهوز (الخرطوم) والعصى. كنت اسمع العصي تتكسر على ظهري”. قبل ان يتوقف عن الكلام ليمسح دموعه التي باغتته.

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December 25th, 2011, 10:16 am

 

195. Ghufran said:

An explosion ripped through a Catholic church during Christmas Mass near Nigeria’s capital Sunday, killing at least 25 people, officials said. A radical Muslim sect claimed the attack and another bombing near a church in the restive city of Jos, as explosions also struck the nation’s northeast.

The Christmas Day attacks show the growing national ambition of the sect known as Boko Haram, which is responsible for at least 491 killings this year alone, according to an Associated Press count. The assaults come a year after a series of Christmas Eve bombings in Jos claimed by the militants left at least 32 dead and 74 wounded.

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December 25th, 2011, 10:28 am

 

196. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Tara,

As I understand it, the AL delegation that is now present in Damascus, is not supposed to monitor the events, but to negotiate an agreement with the junta regarding the terms of the larger group of monitors.

I doubt the willingness of the junta to be “monitored”. We know exactly what is going on. The problem is that the documentation by the brave Syrian YouTubers who upload their clips onto YouTube, their material is useless in legal terms. It cannot be used as legal evidence.

The monitoring and documentation that is supposed to be done by the AL, will have legal value. The junta knows that this legal documentation might be used against them, even bring them to the ICC. They will never allow outsiders to expose their crimes and atrocities. The AL soon will have no alternative but to refer the Syria case to the UNSC.
.

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December 25th, 2011, 10:29 am

 
 

198. Atassi said:

OMG.. the Assad Shabiha’s still here!! Poor SC, it’s hitting new low and going down the drain …I feel bad for Dr. Landis.
Anyway..
Merry Christmas my fellow syrian brothers and sisters.

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December 25th, 2011, 10:39 am

 

199. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

And I don’t agree with JL that is might take a year or more. I would say weeks, maximum few months.
.

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December 25th, 2011, 10:42 am

 

200. Ghufran said:

SC is still going and is still read and quoted, a forum will have a variety of posts and this means reading posts we may not like and seeing one or two posters developing a fetish for Israelis, I have no problem with any of that, this is the nature of the trade.

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December 25th, 2011, 10:57 am

 

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