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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201. jna said:

After Signing Arab League Protocol, Will the Media Be Allowed Back into Syria?

By: Wissam Kanaan

Published Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Arab League protocol that Syria signed stipulates that the government must allow international media into the country. Will Damascus give access to those outlets that it views as hostile to the regime?

Damascus – The media has found it almost impossible to cover events in Syria after the popular protests broke out. Some channels have resorted to broadcasting eyewitness reports while others depended mostly on the statements and reports aired by Syrian state media.

This situation could change now that the Syrian authorities have signed an Arab League initiative that would allow a group of observers to enter the country. This group will include a considerable number of journalists who will enter the country to evaluate the state of affairs.

However, the question remains, will the doors of Syria be open to everyone or only to specific media outlets?

Abdul Fattah Awad, an official in the government body that regulates media, said that the government does not have any say in determining which media representatives will enter Syria. But he added that “though the picture is not yet very clear, we believe that the doors will be open to all the media organizations who wish to come.”

Awad hopes that some of the media that have played a role in exacerbating the crisis will be encouraged by their presence in the country “to temper their views, be more fair, and stop their war on Syria.”

For his part, the chief editor of Baath newspaper, Adnan Abdel Rizk, confirmed that Syria will not ban any media outlets since it has pledged not to do so by signing the Arab League observers’ protocol.

While some believe that the media’s presence may help to resolve the Syrian crisis, others fear it would merely exacerbate an already tense situation.

“The men and women of the media will face a true challenge; they will have to rely solely on their cameras and not on social networking sites and such,” Abdel Rizk said.

“For this reason, if the media wants to play a positive role in resolving the crisis, many organizations will have to abandon the inflammatory words and stances they use in the service of their own political agendas.”

Meanwhile Johnny Ebbo, a reporter for the German Press Agency, claimed that “this is a very positive step. The Syrian people and the international public need to know what is going on in some Syrian regions that are more or less isolated from the outside world, after the media was banned from entering by the Syrian authorities.”

The protocol demands that the government grant credentials to the media and refrain from interfering in their work. Furthermore “the observers must be given the freedom to communicate and coordinate with non-governmental organizations, government officials, and any individual or family affected in one way or another by the recent events.”

The protocol grants observers “complete freedom of movement as well as the freedom to conduct visits and talk to anyone in the process of carrying out their mission.”

A source in the ministry of information explained that a panel should arrive in Syria soon to discuss the observers’ arrival. He also said that media workers who wish to enter Syria must send requests to the ministry, which will in turn decide whether or not to accept them, after verifying the “good intentions” of these representatives.

The source does not believe any media organization will be banned despite proof that certain Arab channels have “falsified facts and worked to incite people against Syria’s people and regime.”

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.
Wissam Kanaan
http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/after-signing-arab-league-protocol-will-media-be-allowed-back-syria

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December 25th, 2011, 12:02 pm

 

202. Revlon said:

The ALC was chosen to be compliant enough not to question any directive by Assad escort boys.

ALC Demo No1:
Title: The revolution is not peaceful. They are infiltrated by Alqaeda.
Stage and Scene: Damascus; aftermath of two terrorist car bomb attacks.

ALC Demo No2:
Title: Demonstrations have ceased in restive areas.
Stage and Scene: Faked Jasem (Tabneh); normal life, no demonstrations and pro-regime people available for interview.

Security forces have just changed the Road sign of the town of Tabneh to indicate Jasem.
Therefore,the ALC will find themselves visiting the mostly quiet, Christian town of Tabneh, thinking, as the sign tells, it is the restive town of Jasem!
25/12/2011

شبكة الكسوة الإخبارية K.N.N
هام || درعا – تبنة ::
قامت قوات الأمن بوضع لافته أول تبنه كتب عليها جاسم كي يقومو بإدخال اللجنه إلى تبنه على انها مدينه جاسم وقرية تبنة هي من القرى المسيحية في حوران ولا يوجد فيها اي مظاهرات

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=225918814150553&set=a.123017491107353.25451.122575681151534&type=1

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December 25th, 2011, 12:02 pm

 

203. anton said:

المجد لله في الأعالي وعلى الأرض السلام وفي الناس المسرة” ومعاّ سنصلّي من أجل إحلال السلام معاً سنصلّي من أجلك يا سورية معا سنصلّي من أجل أرواح ودماء شهدائنا معا سنصلّي من أجل جيشنا و شعبنا وأرضنا معا سنصلي وندعو أن احفظ سورية يارب و أحمها لتعود سورية السلام..سورية الأمان ..سورية المحبة عيـــــد ميــــــلاد مجيــــــــد..

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December 25th, 2011, 12:05 pm

 

204. Tara said:

Haytham

Please see Revlon post#197.

The SNC should be alerted and in turn alerts the AL and prince Hamad. May be you should contact Mr. Ghalioun via e mail?

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December 25th, 2011, 12:44 pm

 

205. jna said:

Syrian Christians seek only Christmas peace
By Sammy Ketz (AFP) – 53 minutes ago
MISHTAYA, Syria — Escaping a city wracked by incessant violence, Syrian Christians from Homs flocked to a nearby monastery on Sunday to celebrate Christmas away from a place that “has gone mad.”

The Saint George de Mishtaya monastery, parts of which were built in the sixth century, lies in a lush valley some 50 kilometres (30 miles) from Homs which has become a major frontline in the uprising against the regime.

The famous Krak des Chevaliers, a remarkably well-preserved Crusades-era castle, is visible across the valley, and the green, peaceful region serves as the cradle of Christianity in a country that is now threatening to unravel.

“At the start, the unrest didn’t affect certain neighbourhoods of Homs, but today madness has seized the city,” said Rami, 37, who crossed herself as the bishop passed along the aisles of the church, blessing those in attendance.

Rami, who lives with his wife in Homs, said armed men are now visible “everywhere” in the city.

“It’s very dangerous,” he added.

“I have three storage units in Baba Amro (district), but I haven’t been there in three months.

“The last time, an armed man asked for my identity card and in seeing my name swore that I had been very lucky. ‘If you had been an Alawite, I would have cut you through,’ making a gesture with his thumb,” recalled the engineer, who also has a shop in the city centre.

Sectarian killings in Homs have increased and the victims have primarily been Sunni Muslims and members of the Alawite Shiite sect, to which Syria’s defiant President Bashar al-Assad also belongs.

While regime forces increased their presence in Homs as the uprising there intensified, no one praying at the monastery on Christmas Day was prepared to identify the other groups of armed men now patrolling the streets of the industrial city 160 kilometres north of Damascus.

The regime’s opponents and the Local Coordinating Committees, a group that organises many of the anti-Assad protests, say the non-government forces are army deserters who refused orders to fire on protesters.

The regime insists that they are “armed gangs” or radical Islamists who want to plunge Syria into chaos, rather than usher in a new era of democratic governance, as the opposition claims.

Rami’s wife Mara, a lecturer at the pharmacy faculty in Homs university who was cradling their five-month-old baby in her arms, decided to stop teaching there at the end of the semester.

“It is out of the question to spend Christmas, a holiday of peace, in that city. Now we are seriously planning to stay here,” added Mara, 27.

The sound of automatic gunfire and explosions could be heard on Christmas Day from 0400 GMT, according to reports from the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Tonya, a schoolteacher in a Homs neighbourhood affected by the relentless violence, said she and her colleagues have tried to continue working, even if their efforts sometimes prove to be futile.

“The school is open. We are 35 teachers who come in turns, but there are no students. What parent would be crazy enough to send their children to class while there are daily battles between soldiers and armed men?” the 48-year-old asked.

Some 200,000 Christians live in Homs, which also has 16 churches.

Half are Greek Orthodox, but most other branches of Christianity are also represented, according to George Abu Zakhem, metropolitan of the Orthodox church in Homs.

“Since the start of the events in March, 80 Christians have been killed, including 20 soldiers. We count three children among them,” the clergyman said.

This is a relative figure, as the hospital coroner has previously said an average of 200 people are killed in Homs each month.

In the monastery’s basilica, built in the sixth century, Norma, her head covered by a shawl, asked God to restore peace in Syria, where the United Nations says more than 5,000 people have been killed since the unrest began.

“My husband has stayed here in this village since April after having closed his office in Bab Sebaa (in Homs). To feed my family, I spend half the week in Homs and the other half here,” said the 45-year-old dentist.

“It is truly terrifying every time, but if you want, you can overcome it. There is no other choice,” she added. Norma said she had an uncle who was violently killed and another who was kidnapped four months ago.

“Every night there is shooting” in Homs, she said. “That city has gone mad.”
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gU3kKmgbWPWqbfN87unI6X1Pl9IQ?docId=CNG.431d160fa93418c30143dfed9ffaa2e1.41

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December 25th, 2011, 1:00 pm

 

206. N.Z. said:

188. Ghufran

An older Syrian walking and chanting “Allah-u-Akbar”, simply, expressing his disagreement.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8y15jvY-z0k

Ghufran, please enlighten us. This elderly man, a Muslim, perhaps your age. Is his chanting advocating “violence as a tool to achieve political goals” or, perhaps “Allah-u-Akbar” is what you describe as “the problems in Islam today is Muslims themselves not their external enemies.”

Does this Syrian deserves to be treated by Assad henchmen as such?
Depicting Syrian Muslims as “problems” worse than external enemies. Your hatred toward Muslims is non-existent among my people. You should be ashamed of yourself, the end never justifies the mean. Unless, Islam and Muslims is your end goal.

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December 25th, 2011, 1:40 pm

 

207. jna said:

On Dec. 20, 2011 Joshua Landis posted:
REPORTING ON SYRIA
Stratfor Challenges Narratives on Syria, December 20, 2011,
By Sharmine Narwani, Senior Associate, St. Antony’s College, Oxford University
… Inherent Bias in Syrian Data?

http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/?p=12927

On Dec. 25:

Anonymous hacks and discredits STRATFOR intelligence company

­The global intelligence company Strategic Forecasting, Inc has been hacked by Anonymous group. Anonymous claim to have dumped a heap of information from the server, including internal correspondence and credit card data. AnonymouSabu tweeted “Over 90,000 Credit cards from LEA, journalists, intelligence community and whitehats leaked and used for over a million dollars in donations.” Hackers also defaced Stratfor’s website, forcing the administrators to shut down the web server for some 40 minutes. Stratfor has released a statement to its clients about the security breach, saying that they are “diligently investigating the extent to which the subscriber information may have been obtained.” A number of large corporations and government agencies are among the clients of Strategic Forecasting, which provides strategic intelligence on global business, economic, security and geopolitical affairs. Anonymous have not released the complete list of Stratfor’s clients yet, but mentioned that the United States Air Force, Goldman Sachs investment bank, and financial broker MF Global were on the list.
http://rt.com/news/line/2011-12-25/#id24021

Coincidence or another example of the revolutionary idea of freedom of speech?

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December 25th, 2011, 1:43 pm

 

208. majedkhaldoun said:

During American civil war america population were around 31 million the union had 22 million, and the confiderACY HAD 9 MILLION, DURING THE CIVIL WAR 600,000 AMERICAN DIED, IT WAS 2%
IF WE APPLY THE SAME PERCENTAGE TO SYRIA WHICH HAS 23MILLION, WE SHOULD EXPECT 450,000 WHO WILL LOSE THEIR LIVES .THE HISTORY TELLS US THE MAJORITY ALWAYS WIN AGAINST MINORITIES.

Today in Moscow another demonstrations that has at least 30,000 against Putin, these demonstration have the potential to change Russia.
Russia suggested that Bashar resign and Farooq Al Shar3 take over a transitional goverment.

Today as we talk Homs is under sever military attack with all kinds of weapons , a crime under the eye of Al and the whole world.

this revolution is very important ,it is about what we will bequearh to the next generation, our generation accepted to live under Assad dictatorship, we either be called cowards, or we go on to get rid of dictatorship and give our children freedom so they will be proud of us.

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December 25th, 2011, 1:50 pm

 

209. defender said:

David Riff – the American political scientist and the publicist, the senior research assistant of Institute of world politics, the councilor under the international relations, specializing on studying of modern humanitarian conflicts, international and ethnic. The author of the monography «A Bed for the Night: Humanitarianism in Crisis» (2003). David Riffa’s last articles are devoted situation development in the Near East.
David Riff is the unique son of the American writer-feminist and эссеистки left views of Sjuzen Zontag (1933-2004) and conservative sociologist Phillip Riffa (1922–2006). David has devoted to memory of mother the book «Swimming in a Sea of Death: A Son’s Memoir» (2008).

– Dear sir Riff how, in your opinion, the situation will develop in Syria? Whether it is necessary the world to prepare for civil war, or you suppose possibility of the political permission of this conflict?

– It is important to note another – any role taken on the USA, it will be a little limited, until government Asada remains in power. But if (I underline “if”) mode change nevertheless occurs, a role of America will raise. Till this time a position of the USA in this region rather маргинальна. However military intrusion is absolutely excluded, and the geographical position of this country does not allow to carry out high-grade blockade or the effective policy of embargo.

In general in relation to the Syrian problem it is necessary to argue it is realistic. In Washington publicists can tell everything, coming out with the assumption that Barack Obama and US State Secretary Hillari Clinton could offer «any variants» successions of events. However as a matter of fact the choice, in my opinion, is not great.

– How to you the situation in Near-Eastern region in the whole ambassador of a train of the Arabian revolutions sees?

– Extremely a difficult situation. On a scene it is too much the characters, even more different interests. At the USA in the Near East, for example, the whole complex of interests, but some of them directly contradict each other. There are no bases to believe as if now States are not so capable to spread Pax Americana from Washington, but all the matter is that it cannot long proceed.

Let’s remember the eightieth – already it is impossible to name Reagan’s expedition to Lebanon very successful. But me present grumble apropos ostensibly decrease in influence of the USA in the Near East also is not clear.

Near-Eastern diplomacy reminds three-dimensional chess. The Arabian spring the phenomenon non-uniform, in Egypt, for example, is yet clear who from opponents of Mubaraka will come to power. And I am not assured that the USA can affect this decision. But matter is not that it only our weakness. The Arabian spring is important as a phenomenon, but for the USA it is not more important than trade relations with China or prospects of the European economy. It is not necessary to transform the Arabian spring into a certain fetish, whose symbolical value, in my opinion, rather doubtfully.

– The voices are how much influential, calling to solve the Syrian problem the Libyan way?

– To such voices in America do not listen. They rustle from own powerlessness. In America there was a considerable opposition on the right (left it is not counted) to that happens in Libya. But these people do not consider that against Kaddafi and really popular uprising has risen originally. Always there are people of type of John Boltona who repeat aggressive phrases as the learned text, but all their words – no more than pre-election rhetoric as you understand. As to mass support of military operation in Syria it is absent from both parties – both with republican, and with democratic.

– Whether it seems to you, what the reform of political system offered by the Syrian management quite comprehensible variant of an overcoming the crisis? Whether serious political players (including the USA) show interest to situation settlement according to the plan of Assada?

I at all do not trust in this plan. It is impossible to accept seriously statements for readiness for reforms from the person constantly killing own citizens. About reforms do not speak, firing at own cities from tanks.

But even if Asad will keep the power and will finish with “rebels”, at the USA as any great power, still has interests in region where Syria plays not last role. There are no eternal enemies just as there are no also eternal friends. The USA for today basically not in forces completely to define a situation, to influence falling or preservation of any mode.

But to play the, start up marginal, a role we can. At present time the event in Syria depends on success of reprisals of a mode, from, whether of Assad still trust of the generals and other representatives of the Syrian elite enjoys, whether the Islamic clergy is ready to be silent. All the rest, believe, it is minor.

– What new foreign policy doctrine the American management can accept in the near future? Whether you think, what if the policy of restraint concerning Iran elimination of Asada to it will be quite conformable will be its key element?

– No, it is not essential. The policy of the USA concerning Iran remains same what it was when in Syria against Asada anybody and did not think of excitements. Your preconditions – are unacceptable. The question of restraint of Iran is not connected in any way with presence of a mode of Asada in Damascus. Yes, Asad is the ally of Iran, is on friendly terms with Teheran, but strategically Americans are excited with the Iranian nuclear program. The rest is minor. And mode change in Damascus will not be reflected in any way in our nuclear opposition with Iranians. Allow to remind that at Bush the Syrian channel considered useful in respect of the arabo-Israeli dialogue. But also then we as were disturbed by Iran …

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December 25th, 2011, 2:06 pm

 

210. Halabi said:

A few thins I am sure about:

– the bombings in Damascus were orchestrated by the regime
– Mr. Assad is delusional
– the earlier the regime goes, the better for Syria
– there is limited foreign involvement in what is going on
– Alawis will be much better off if they understand they will have less of a future the longer Assad stays on
– Israel does not want change
– Syrian economy is being seriously affected by the crisis, brain drain will continue
– Christians have very little future in most ME countries, unfortunately

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December 25th, 2011, 2:20 pm

 

211. ghufran said:

NZ,
read your post and mine again and tell me how the post and your response are related !!
the majority of Muslims killed after the Iraq war,for example, are murdered by fellow Muslims and not by external powers,violence is almost a daily ritual in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc,and now Syria. Regardless of who is committing more violence,most aggressors are Muslims and most victims are Muslims too,the truth is not always pleasant. oppression by corrupt Arab governments and the negative role religion plays in Muslim countries have a lot to do with the sad state of those countries,so the fix is a secular democracy especially in a diverse society like Syria,but any time you say the word “secular” here you are added to the regime supporters list !!

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December 25th, 2011, 2:46 pm

 

212. majedkhaldoun said:

Ghufran told us that Iraq will not allow trucks to go through Jordan to Turkey through Iraq.
today we hear the opposite
http://www.aawsat.com//details.asp?section=4&article=656034&issueno=12081

It seems Ghufran opinion as always worthless,and not correct.

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December 25th, 2011, 3:12 pm

 

213. N.Z. said:

Ghufran did you watch the link? I did read your post thoroughly and responded accordingly.

It is in Syria.

Assad secular “insecurity forces” are beating this elderly man who is walking and chanting “Allah-u-Akbar”.

Why?

These are secular Baathist. Over 6,000 people killed by your secular forces, who are to defend the country from outside enemies, not those who are opposing their deity.

Are these henchmen secular?

I will respond, after you comment on the link, unfortunately I have leave.

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December 25th, 2011, 3:22 pm

 

214. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

‘Refugees”
http://www.youtube.com/user/DannyAyalon
.

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December 25th, 2011, 3:24 pm

 

215. Syrian Commando said:

Put a sock in it William Scott Scherk.

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December 25th, 2011, 3:31 pm

 

216. Khalid Tlass said:

97. JAD said:

“I personally don’t buy the claim that MB did the attack, they are similar to the regime that both are too easy to accuse.:”

So who do you accuse, SANA boy ? Btw, have u finally accepted that your masters are liars and swindlers ?

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December 25th, 2011, 3:54 pm

 

217. Khalid Tlass said:

Syrian Commando, fils de pute, you gotta face us physically, man-to-man. Send your Special Forces to Homs if u have the guts fils de pute. Lets finish this hand-to-hand, street-by-street, don’t run away with your dicks in your mouths the way Rifaat Assad’s men did in the first few days at Hama 1982 and came back with 155 mm Artillery. Bring it on you eunuchs !!! Fils de putes, we will make you eat ur own shit, from a spoon ; and ur sister will be my right hands possession ; and I will have her on Hafez’s grave in Qurdaha.

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December 25th, 2011, 4:01 pm

 

218. Tara said:

The bombing of the churches in Nigeria on Christmas day is outrageous. US should amend its list of terrorist organizations in 2012 and add the party responsible for the bombing in Nigeria and the Syrian regime/ Bashar al Assad.

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December 25th, 2011, 4:01 pm

 

219. ghufran said:

NZ
I watched the video,twice,and I still think you are dancing around the issue. it is old news that security forces are brutal,but what does that have to do with my claim that Muslims are more harmful to their own countries than external enemies?
after all,security forces and rulers are not brought from Mars,they are citizens of their countries and abuse their own people,the same is true for anti regime thugs and terrorists in Muslim countries.

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December 25th, 2011, 4:07 pm

 

220. Khalid Tlass said:

GHUFRAN

Secularists in Muslim countries are most harmful for their own countries. Now u will see Sunni Islamist regimes get to power in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Morocco, Syria soon, Algeria, Turkey. Let me tell u , if u are secular, live as u like in the new Islamist Middle East, nobody gonna interfere in ur lifestyle, but if u try to impose ur beliefs on Muslims, or ridicule the Sunni slogans, the popular Islamist regimes will BREAK UR NECKS.

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December 25th, 2011, 4:17 pm

 

221. ghufran said:

I do not think that secular thugs are blowing themselves up in Iraq,Afghanistan,etc,however,secular criminals, who are mostly Muslims and not also from Mars,are as bad as those who claim to be religious. As we can see, this conversation is going nowhere despite the fact that the initial statement was simple,so,I will have to move on.
on a more serious note,I am a believer that Islamists have the same rights as seculars in getting elected to public office,then I will be the first to cheer if they actually manage to improve the life of their citizens and respect women and minorities,I am not sold on this rosy promise yet.

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December 25th, 2011, 4:38 pm

 

222. Khalid Tlass said:

As I said, Ghufran, a new dawn has arrived in the Mid East, and I’m afraid secularists will not have any PUBLIC LIFE in the new Middle East.

GHUFRAN, why do we never see u commenting on the state of minorities and women in the Islamic Republic of IRAN ? Five us uour thoughts on that topic, in a few words, if you please. Are u satisfied with the way minorities, or women, or secularists are treated in IRAN ?

And what about Iraq ? Please tell us ur thoughts about the Sunni minority in Iraq, do you think they have been treated fairly ?

You are an interesting charcter, and I enjoy angaging you in a fruitful conversation, just like I like to exchange a few thoughts with NORMAN my good friend, though I disagree a lot with what he says.

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December 25th, 2011, 4:46 pm

 

223. Norman said:

Ghufran said,
((so the fix is a secular democracy especially in a diverse society like Syria,but any time you say the word “secular” here you are added to the regime supporters list ))

I agree but do not think that all the Syrian people agree, They are divided between an Islamic state and a secular state, it started by having two different flags,

Khalid,

people who fear God and have faith are trustworthy, but they have to delver on promises and not interfere in other people’s lives, the question is going to be, would they leave if they fail and the people vote them out or use their faith as a reason to stay as we have now with Baath party,

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December 25th, 2011, 5:10 pm

 

224. Haytham Khoury said:

خطاب رئيس المجلس الوطني الدكتور برهان غليون الى الشعب السوري بمناسبة عيد الميلاد 24 12 201

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December 25th, 2011, 5:56 pm

 

225. ghufran said:

I have on a number of occasions spoke critically about the Mullahs and the Iranian regime,I have also clearly stated that Iran has ambitions and is not playing clean in the Mideast,but so does Turkey and most foreign powers.My Iranian friends tell me that the Mullahs stole public land and are up to their knees in corruption.
Sunnis in Iran are not much different from Shia in Saudi Arabia,both are deprived of fair political representation. as for women in Iran,I have to say that they are way better than women in Saudi Arabia but they are still under the unforgiving rule of the Mullahs,keep in mind that Iranian women ,even today, are doctors,teachers,etc and are allowed to drive,I think that Saudi Arabia is the last country to speak about political freedom or women rights.Those of you who have already believed the Islamists promises about freedom and minority rights should at least wait a year or two before they can tell if the new rulers are as tolerant as they say,I am certainly skeptical.

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December 25th, 2011, 6:04 pm

 

226. majedkhaldoun said:

It happened several times ,Comments jump as if it was written earlier.as in comment #206

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December 25th, 2011, 8:15 pm

 

227. Tars said:

The rift between Turkey and France: Is it Armenians or Syrians?
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/the-rift-between-turkey-and-france-is-it-armenians-or-syrians.aspx?PageID=238&NID=9972&NewsCatID=406

Turkey was infuriated by France when the French Parliament passed a bill criminalizing “denials of the 1915 events as genocide.” The bill may be highly controversial and the French move seems to be the product of a more political decision rather than a matter of humanistic principals. Yet, the Turkish reaction is also debatable since, first of all, it turned out to be a bitter personal attack on Nicolas Sarkozy, so much so that even the Jewishness of the president has been mentioned. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reminded him that it was the Ottomans who rescued many Jews from the Spanish Inquisition. Moreover, the French are reminded how Süleyman the Magnificent helped the French king at the time. Finally, Turkish politicians and journalists threatened France by recognizing France’s oppression in Algeria as genocide. It means that Turkey also behaves in accordance with political concerns on historical and humanistic issues and that if France were to turn a blind eye to the Armenian events, Turkey would be ready to do the same over what happened in Algeria and elsewhere. 

The argument in terms of freedom of speech is even more open to debate. Those who claim that penalizing the denial of the “Armenian genocide” is a contradiction with the principle of free speech and violates the freedom of historical research forget the fact that Turkey penalizes talk of the Armenian genocide by the infamous article 301. Besides, the other limitations on freedom of speech concerning many other issues in Turkey could also be mentioned if we intended to genuinely discuss the issue of freedom of speech.

Unfortunately, the debates and political measures concerning historical “crimes against humanity” have always been more a matter of political interest rather than universal humanistic principles in all countries and at all times. France is no exception. That is why, I think, the latest French move should be evaluated more in terms of international politics rather than being seen as a whim of Sarkozy or even as a result of his domestic political concerns. 

Only a month ago, we witnessed Turkey-France rapprochement over Syria. The French foreign minister visited Turkey in November and held a press conference with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu. Alain Juppe said France could cooperate with Turkey on Syria and emphasized the importance of imposing serious sanctions on Syria. Then, Juppe stated that France favored Turkey’s participation in the EU’s meeting on Syria, which was held Nov. 30. In the end, it was believed that Turkey was not invited to the EU meeting because of Cyprus’ veto. Later it was claimed that Cyprus had, in fact, withdrawn its veto, but that it was Egypt that did not want Turkey to participate (Milliyet, Aslı Aydıntaşbaş, Dec. 15). Meanwhile, Turkey has also been excluded from the recent agreement brokered between the Arab League and Syria. 

What happens and what is the meaning of all these developments, one wonders. Is it a disagreement over Syria among those actors which led to the recent developments? Leaving aside the changing directions in Turkey’s relations with Arab countries, why is it that France, which seemed to encourage Turkish engagement in Syria, has come to the point of confrontation with Turkey? Is it possible to think that Sarkozy dared to confront Turkey over the Armenian issue without considering possible Turkish-French cooperation over Syria? If not, we have to focus more on negotiations over Syria to be able to understand what is happening between Turkey and France rather than remembering the times of Süleyman the Magnificent.
December/26/2011

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December 25th, 2011, 8:48 pm

 

228. habib said:

212. Tara

Lol, why not go all the way, Bashar bombed the Nigerian church!

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December 25th, 2011, 8:54 pm

 

229. Tara said:

Habib

Hi. Is there more than one Habib? One Habib said he is not Syrian and another Habib refers to Syria as “us” Are you Syrian or not? I’d believe what you say but be consistent.

No I don’t think Besho bombed the churches in Nigeria. I am not a regime supporters. I don’t believe in conspiracy, remember?

BTW, how come the regime figured out the that al Quaeda is behind Damascus bombing in 13 minutes and could not figure out who is behind the “armed gangs” for the last 10 months? Selective intelligence?

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December 25th, 2011, 9:07 pm

 

230. Habib said:

There was actually another Habib before me on SC, but I don’t believe he posts anymore. My nationality is not Syrian, but I have very close blood ties to the country.

Al-Qaeda has only been accused of the bombings, no one has said they did it for sure. And as for the armed gangs, it has been claimed they were homegrown and foreign Salafists for months now.

And if you don’t believe in conspiracy theories, how come you believe the regime is behind the Damascus bombs? That is, after all, pretty much a conspiracy theory, no?

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December 25th, 2011, 9:27 pm

 

231. Norman said:

Tara,

Syria knows who is behind the attack on Syria and who is financing it, it is just not the right time to make it public as there will be no return at that time, That is something they learned from Iran, be cool and prepare to fight back .

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December 25th, 2011, 9:33 pm

 

232. Ghufran said:

One more worthless post
أعلن مسؤول أردني، يوم الأحد، أن العراق وافق على الطلب الأردني بالسماح للشاحنات الأردنية بالعبور (ترانزيت) عبر الأراضي العراقية إلى تركيا ودول أوروبا، وذلك عقب يوم واحد على نقل وسائل إعلام أردنية تصريح لمسؤول عراقي أعرب فيه عن رفض بلاده مرور شاحنات الأردن عبر أراضيه إلى تركيا “لكيلا يلحق الضرر بالشعب السوري

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December 25th, 2011, 9:35 pm

 

233. Tara said:

Habib

Ok. You are the non-Syrian Habib. My guess is that you are Iraqi but it doesn’t really matter. I am intrigued by the reasons why some non-Syrians support the regime. In case of Iraqi Shiaa, it hurts a lot. I hated Saddam very much and was wholeheartedly against Shiaa and Kurds oppression, and although I was against the American invasion of Iraq under the pretext of WMD, I felt Saddams and his family deserved their destiny, and always hailed the day Saddam was executed although I did not like it to be in Ramadan. I always thought the oppressed sympathize with each other. It looks like I always thought wrong…Iraqi Shiaa easily forgot their dark days… and you know the rest.

I don’t know who was behind Damascus bombing but I can’t rule out the regime involvement. A regime that tortured a 12 year old can do anything.

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December 25th, 2011, 9:48 pm

 

234. Ghufran said:

Just in case you are not dizzy yet:
اعلنت الحكومة العراقية عن رفضها السماح لمرور الشاحنات الاردنية عبر ألاراضي العراقية الى تركيا، تجاوزا لسوريا وفق اطار قرار العقوبات العربية، وبررت ذلك بهدف عدم الحاق الضرر بالشعب السوري.
وقال المستشار الاقتصادي في الحكومة العراقية سلام القريشي ان “تحويل الخط البري من سوريا الى العراق باتجاه تركيا يعد جزءا من وسائل الضغط على النظام السوري، والمتضرر من ذلك هو الشعب السوري”، مشددا على ان “المسألة تنطوي على جانب سياسي أكثر من كونه اقتصاديا”.
واوضح انه “لو كان الوضع طبيعيا لوافق العراق على هذا المشروع، لكنه لايريد ان يشارك في مشاريع تؤثر على اقتصاد الشعب السوري، خاصة في هذه المرحلة الحرجة من تاريخه”.
ونوه القريشي بأن “الحدود العراقية مفتوحة امام جميع الدول الاقليمية التي تريد ان تطور اقتصادها، وهذا من حقها الطبيعي، لكن العراق لن يسهم في أي مشروع يضر الشعب السوري”.
Translation: nobody has a clue about the subject,including the Iraqi government .
Welcome to the middle east
Thanks majed for the counter post, your contribution is always valuable :)

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December 25th, 2011, 9:49 pm

 

235. Tara said:

Ya Norman

Syria knows nothing. The revolution is home-grown and was inevitable. It was a destiny waiting to happen.

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December 25th, 2011, 9:53 pm

 

236. Norman said:

Hey Tara,

I know that is what you think, You are wrong.

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December 25th, 2011, 10:01 pm

 

237. Tara said:

Norman

Isn’t a natural evolution for people to revolt against oppression?

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December 25th, 2011, 10:05 pm

 

238. Norman said:

Tara,

President Assad is not an op presser, he was securing the safety of the Syrian people in a very hostile neighborhood, and providing for more than a million Iraqi free health care and education without any assistant from the country that is responsible for that disaster, that is equal to more than 15 million crossing the border into the US, can you imagine the problems that the US would have faced in such case.

About the bombing in Syria, it is obvious that the US believe Syria, otherwise it would have not condemned the bombing and we would have heard more from the Gulf states who seem to be quite as they did after 9/11/2001.

By the way, do you know that Syria / president Assad was the first country to condemn that attack.

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December 25th, 2011, 10:24 pm

 

239. Ghufran said:

Almaliki is a joke, he should have not done this in the first place
بغداد- قرر مجلس القضاء الأعلى في العراق إعادة التحقيق في الاتهامات الموجهة الى نائب رئيس الجمهورية طارق الهاشمي بسبب إجرائه من قبل قاضٍ منفرد.

ولم يتضح في أي اتجاه ستمضي إعادة التحقيق، غير ان مراقبين للشأن العراقي مالوا الى اعتبار ذلك بوادر تراجع من حكومة المالكي عن قضية الهاشمي بعد ضغوط محلية واقليمية ودولية شديدة.

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December 25th, 2011, 10:35 pm

 

240. Ghufran said:

Norman
What Syrians did to their Iraqi neighbors since 2003 is something only Syria could have done,and those who deny the obvious are dishonest and ungrateful,but that does not mean we have to accept Bashar forever. He had 11 years as a president and there is nothing wrong in allowing others to run,if he is what his supporters think of him,he must put Syria’s interests above his ego,his family and his regime.

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December 25th, 2011, 10:43 pm

 

241. sf94123 said:

127. Tara said:
“Since we moved to the US, I miss going to churches on Christmas eve. My dad used to take me on Christmas eve late at night to a church in Bab Touma or Qassa to attend the mass. I still until now like the prayer music. It was very comforting”

Yep, also your dad taught you how to blow up churches.

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December 25th, 2011, 10:58 pm

 

242. Norman said:

Ghufra,

President Assad had to face an American invasion of Iraq with intention of moving toward Syria in what they called move left to Damascus after the fall of Baghdad, then he had to face the Hariri assassination and the lack of maturity from the Syrian opposition that were undermining Syria’s foreign policy
President Assad intention was always political reform, he did not want to be president but was the consensus man for the job, he always wanted political reform but rightly he wanted to improve the economy to expand the middle class, so people will not vote out of anger or religion but out of self interest, it is unfortunate that the elite of Syria did not not want to share and lift the standard of living of the rest of Syria and he could not convince them to do that, so we have what we have , how many of these people who are dieing really wanted to be president, the leaders of the opposition who are using the Syrian people who just want respect and an opportunity to succeed , president Assad will probably not run the next time around but if his opponent see weakness they will ask for his blood and he will lose the support of the people who are counting on him to keep them safe.

if the opposition really want reform , they would have come to the table and ask that he does not run, not call for his execution then expect him to drop dead, that will never happen.

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December 25th, 2011, 11:00 pm

 

243. Ghufran said:

ممدوح عدوان قبل ثلاثين عاما
http://the-syrian.com/archives/58985

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December 25th, 2011, 11:01 pm

 

244. Norman said:

233. Ghufransaid:

Almaliki is a joke, he should have not done this in the first place
بغداد- قرر مجلس القضاء الأعلى في العراق إعادة التحقيق في الاتهامات الموجهة الى نائب رئيس الجمهورية طارق الهاشمي بسبب إجرائه من قبل قاضٍ منفرد.

ولم يتضح في أي اتجاه ستمضي إعادة التحقيق، غير ان مراقبين للشأن العراقي مالوا الى اعتبار ذلك بوادر تراجع من حكومة المالكي عن قضية الهاشمي بعد ضغوط محلية واقليمية ودولية شديدة.

Ghufran

the judiciary is independent from the executive branch in Iraq, AL Maliki made a mistake in being in the forefront of the accusation, he should have left the security court which is a federal court in Iraq to do it’s work, If we want to have a law and order country in Iraq and in Syria in the future we have to accept that leaders do not have immunity from prosecution and that they are under the same laws that the rest of the people under, otherwise corruption will stay in our countries forever.

I am glad that AL Maliki is leaving everything to the court and i hope that the VP will respect the court system in Iraq and fight within the system.

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December 25th, 2011, 11:25 pm

 

245. Revlon said:

The Syrian youth is in command of their destiny.
The FSA is a true people’s army.

A video clip of enthusiastic crowd welcoming a young officer defector in the hot bed of defiance of Baba AlSiba3, in Homs city.

حمص باب السباع مظاهرة رائعة بقيادة ملازم منشق 24 12 2011
http://www.facebook.com/Syria.Revolution.Intelligence

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December 25th, 2011, 11:34 pm

 

246. Revlon said:

238. Norman
((If we want to have a law and order country in Iraq and in Syria in the future we have to accept that leaders do not have immunity from prosecution and that they are under the same laws that the rest of the people under, otherwise corruption will stay in our countries forever.))

Amen

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December 25th, 2011, 11:36 pm

 

247. mjabali said:

Mr. Norman

Merry Xmas first of all (although I do not know if you celebrate Eastern)…

I second you on the call for the negotiation table to solve this bad situation in Syria ASAP…things are getting out of control…

check this out and you know what I mean…

http://syrianow.sy/index.php?d=34&id=43470

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December 25th, 2011, 11:39 pm

 

248. majedkhaldoun said:

I am going on vacation for a week,happy new year

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December 25th, 2011, 11:39 pm

 

249. habib said:

227. Tara

Shia Iraqis know that a government controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood will be the enemy of Shias and all non-Islamist Sunnis for that matter.

Such a government is inevitable now. So what choice do they have other than supporting the regime? The same for the Syrian minorities.

Yes, maybe a new government will be secular and fair. But too much is at stake if that bet is wrong, and it very much seems to be, judged on what happened in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt. The Copts, leftists and blacks learned it the hard way.

And no, I’m not Iraqi either.

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December 25th, 2011, 11:42 pm

 

250. mjabali said:

العلامة الاخلاقي الكبير ماجد خلدون

له له له يازلمة ليش تروح وتحرمنا من عقلك الراجح ياابن العائلة الراقية ذات الاصل الرفيع….

الاخلاقي المحترم

ابن السادة الكبار مالكو الخدم والحشم….؟

هل انت ذاهب إلى عطلة في بلاد الكفر والعياذ بالله؟

لماذا تحرمنا من عقلك الراجح وتفسيراتك العقلانية الفلسفية الاخلاقية؟

أعرف أن هناك من سيتسلم قيادة دفة سفينة العقلانية من بعدك ولكن يازلمة ليش تحرمنا من هل الطلة البهية المفرحة ياأبن الذوات؟

هل ستأخذ خدمك معك إلى رحلتك لأنني اعرفك رحيم وعطوف وطويل البال والعمر أم ستذهب لوحدك للتأمل والتعبد وجلسة من النقد الذاتي؟

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December 25th, 2011, 11:53 pm

 

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