Syria Accepts the Annan Plan if the Opposition Remains Quiet and UN Observers Follow Strict Rules

Syria has accepted the Annan plan in principle and claims that its guns will fall quiet tomorrow – Thursday April 12, 2012. It is difficult to see how a truce can hold for long, but one must give Annan his due. He has worked hard to get both Russia and China to back the plan and placed considerable pressure on both sides to go along with his six points, at least on the face of it.

The problem with the plan is that it resolves none of the political demands of the revolutionaries or the Syrian regime. Both sides continue to believe that time is on their side and that they can only win this struggle on the battle field. For this reason the renewal of the conflict would seem to be only a matter of time. But no one has a better plan to avoid Syria’s downward spiral toward greater levels of violence and civil war.

In the following video, Syrian opposition members demonstrate in the heart of Damascus in front of the Four Seasons Hotel. They denounce Assad’s crimes and vow to defeat him.

Clashes between Arab tribes and Kurds in Northern Aleppo
Relation between the two have always been tense but as the regime gets weaker clashes break out.
Written by a Friend in Syria on Syria Comment

In Shak Maksoud and Ashrafia areas north of aleppo city, clashes between kurds (PKK affiliates) and arabs (Bakkara tribe) have erupted for the second time in less than a month. The clashes began when a member of the Bakkara tribe allegedly killed a journalist affiliated with the PKK and the tribe refused to hand him over to the Kurds The Shak Maksoud and Ashrafia areas have a majority Kurd population and a minority arab population (most of them belong to the Bakkara tribe). The PKK has a strong influence among kurds while the Bakkara has strong connections to the regime In the first occasion the clashes started withd light weapons but when the Kurds succeeded in driving the Bakkars out of the area it turned into vandalism. Kurds started burning the houses of the defeated Bakkaras but spared the houses of those who did not fight.

Regime forces didn’t intervene because they didn’t want to take sides (since they have good relations with both sides) but rather tried to reconcile them. The situation is calm now but it could erupt at any moment.

Syria says it will comply with truce deadline – Al-Jazeera English

Damascus agrees to “cease all military fighting” as of Thursday, but reserves right to respond to “terrorist attacks”….

We asked the Brookings Institution’s Daniel Byman, director of research at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy. Here’s what a blown deadline can mean:

Increased American involvement First off, the authorization for Annan’s U.N. mission in Syria doesn’t talk about specific consequences if Syria doesn’t cooperate but that doesn’t mean there won’t be indirect geopolitical ramifications. One of these is the U.S. playing a greater roll in supporting the Syrian rebels. “We’re almost backing into this,” he said. “Initially it was diplomacy, then a concerted diplomatic campaign and now humanitarian aid. Each step is an escalation.” Already, the U.S. has given the rebels $25 million in humanitarian support, satellite communications equipment and night-vision goggles. “The next step is military aid,” said Byman. “You can see the progression moving here.” The Los Angeles Times has indicated that the implementation of a no-fly zone or “pinpoint airstrikes on Syrian artillery” are both possibilites….

Syrian foreign ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi said Syria is committed to the peace plan brokered by special envoy Kofi Annan.

“We are fully committed to have a successful mission for Mr. Annan, but at the same time people should know that I can say optimistically that 40% of the keys to solve the crisis is in our hands as government but the other 60% is in the hands of those who are harboring, channeling weapons, instigating in the media, against Syria,” said Makdissi.

Makdissi also said it will take more than Syrian forces to stop the violence, adding the presence of United Nation observers on the ground will be essential to verify the cessation of violence. “If you read thoroughly the plan of Mr. Annan you will find out there will be observers, military unarmed observers sent to Syria these observers will be operating according to a protocol that we are now negotiating with the technical team of Mr. Annan. Those people will be telling you the truth as other observers did before and nobody believed them. We are not afraid of the reality of the Syrian story,” he said. “We want them to be on the ground and see for themselves who is violating this.

GORANI: So you think in a few days, and you’re being optimistic, your own words, that a UN observer team will be on the ground to observe the cessation of violence across Syria?

MAKDASSI: No, Hala, I am very accurate in what I am saying. I am saying that the Syrian team is ready to finalize the protocol that we have already begun negotiating. But it’s not up to us, it’s UN observers. I can’t tell you when they will come. What I can tell you is that they are very essential to monitor any violations.

GORANI: Alright well let me ask you then about what is going on today. This is a few hours before this agreement with the Annan plan that you say will lead to the cessation of military activity at 6am Damascus time on Thursday. We are hearing reports there are tanks in the center of Hamas today. That there has been shelling in Hamas province as well today. Can you confirm that?

MAKDASSI: I can’t verify anything. What I can verify to you Hala, you have to know that my hat is foreign ministry spokesman. What I can tell you is that there is a clear instruction to be on the defensive mode by our  army what I can tell you is even according to the Annan plan…

GORANI: Yes, but in the end it’s the Syrian army, Jihad Makdissi, against opposition, some of whom may be armed, but then you have peaceful demonstrators as well as the shelling of civilian areas. Has that not happened?

MAKDASSI: You are simplifying. You are simplifying the crisis in Syria, Hala.  If you read very well the Annan peace plan you will notice that the cessation of violence by all parties, so not the cessation of violence by the Syrian government, by all parties. That’s why I’m telling you the problem part in the hands of Syria we are committed to solve this part, but the other are in the hands of those people who have for geo-political reasons, for sectarian reasons, for I don’t know which reasons they call on themselves in destabilizing Syria.

National Jrnl: Syria’s Consequences for Blowing Tomorrow’s U.N. Deadline, 2012-04-11

All eyes will be on Syria tomorrow as the country promises to “cease all military fighting throughout Syrian territory as of 6 a.m.” If the pledge is broken, it will be mean the collapse of the United Nations peace plan brokered by special envoy …

U.S. discusses possible buffer zone for Syria, By Elise Labott for CNN

With the Syria deal in jeopardy and questions as to whether Syria will truly cease its military operations, particularly after Syrian troops fired across the border into Turkey, discussions within the Obama administration about creating a Syria-Turkey border “buffer zone” have intensified, State Department officials tell CNN.

“It would be correct to say this idea is getting another look in the last week or so,” one official said about the buffer zone.

WINEP recommendations by Tabler

Third, Washington should immediately expand contingency planning… supporting the creation, with allies such as Turkey, of safe havens inside Syria.

Non-Syrian Islamists have Growing Influence over the Process of Naming the Syrian Revolution’s Fridays

A friend writes: “islamists around the world are now voting (with a large margin) for the name of this Friday in Syria to be “Armies of Islam save Cham”! The naming is an media process that takes place on Facebook that feeds into policy making. It is representative of Syrian wishes. It’s a weekly process that can have devastating results for the revolutionaries of Syria because every week the naming process is being hijacked by Islamists (mostly non Syrians). Here is the Facebook page

With Syria peace plan in disarray, what next?

The failure of President Bashar Assad to abide by the U.N.-backed plan will force the international community to reconsider more aggressive options.

By Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times


April 11, 2012,


Der Spiegel: Siemens Allegedly Sold Surveillance Gear to Syria, 2012-04-11

German engineering giant Siemens and a spinoff company allegedly sold surveillance technology to the Syrian regime, according to a German television report. The government could be using the equipment to crack down on opposition supporters, human ..

133 killed as Yemen troops battle Qaeda, Gulf Times – 11 April, 2012

At least 133 people were killed in 48 hours of clashes pitting Yemeni soldiers backed by tribesmen against Al Qaeda militants, officials said yesterday, as the extremists vowed to retake a strategic town.

Iran oil flow to top Asia customers slows as US, Europe tighten curbs, Gulf Times – 11 April, 2012

….China, the world’s second-largest oil consumer, is Iran’s largest trading partner and biggest oil client that buys up 20% of Iran’s total crude exports. Iran is China’s No3 supplier after Saudi Arabia and Angola.

Arthur Bowring, managing director of the Hong Kong Shipowners Association, said that as more insurers confirm they will soon halt or sharply reduce coverage to tankers operating in Iran, China’s government may need to step in and take the risk to get contracted crude supplies from Tehran.

The EU sanctions on Tehran will close off the European re-insurance market for all tankers carrying Iranian oil anywhere in the world. Reinsurance helps spread the risk when the coverage surpasses what commercial insurers can handle.

Japan and South Korea have lobbied for exemptions to the EU sanctions, but insurance and shipping executives say a complete ban looks likely.

Omen writes in the comment section:

There is something weird going on. i tried to pull up a cnn segment from jan 24th where anderson cooper interviewed former cia agent bob baer. mr. baer said he talks to the syrian faction of Muslim brotherhood frequently. They ask him why the US doesn’t do more to help. Mr. Baer asked in return what the Muslim Brothers planned to do with Bashar Assad? The Syrian Brothers said they would kill him.

But that’s not what the transcript says. (the original video i tried to pull has been “expired” when other videos in a similar timeline are still active.)

Here is the CNN Jan 24 transcript:

BAER: Absolutely. Well, you know, I talk to the Muslim brotherhood a lot. And I ask — and they ask me. They say why doesn’t the United States do something? And I said, they’re worried about the sectarian problems. And I said for instance, what are you going to do about the — and the Syrian brothers say we’re going to kill them. What do you think? And I said, well, what do you expect?

See the dash in the paragraph? Baer asked what are you going to do about “Assad” in the live segment but in the transcript, Bashar’s name got blanked out. I know Baer said Assad and that the brotherhood would “kill him” because i was skeptical of the claim at the time and tweeted about it.

A few days later, in a separate ABC write up, this Baer account of a promised Brotherhood reprisal against a singular figure turns plural:

Baer says the situation in Syria can be illustrated by a conversation he had recently with a Syrian Muslim brother who wanted to know why the U.S. won’t do more to help. Baer told him it was because the U.S. fears a civil war in Syria.

“And he said, ‘Well you know just get rid of the regime and everything will be OK,’ and I said, ‘What are you going to do with the minority ruling sect,’ and he said, half jokingly, ‘We’re going to kill them,’” Baer said.

Also interesting from the ABC piece cited above was this admission from Bob Baer:

“Let me put this very cynically, it’s probably in America’s interest that the current [assad] government subdues a rebellion and a civil war,” Baer said.

It’s not at all like Libya, where most Libyans are Sunni Muslims and getting rid of Muammar Gaddafi didn’t lead to a Sunni-Shia divide.

Who do Egypt’s villagers vote for? And why?
Yasmine Moataz Ahmed, Tue, 10/04/2012

……Rural dwellers constitute a large proportion of Egyptian voters; the majority of which are illiterate and poor. In the 2011-2012 parliamentary elections, they appeared as strong supporters of the Islamic parties mentioned above.

Why do rural dwellers vote for Islamic parties? Do they vote through coercion or incentives? Do they differentiate between different religious groups — in that case the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis?

Arab League’s Syrian Policy, Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Müjge Küçükkeleş
SETA Policy Brief, No : 56, April, 2012

Policy Brief : Arab League’s Syrian Policy

Comments (280)

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251. jad said:

The endless tries to escalate the situation, this time in Aleppo.

It said that the shooting last for more than one hour along destroying and burning public and private properties, isn’t it obvious that some players are behind this to worsen the situation?

حقيقة ما جرى بحلب بالصوت و بالصورة 14-4-2012

حرق كولبة شرطة من قبل المخربين حلب حي الاذاعة 14-4-2012

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April 14th, 2012, 10:34 am


252. Uzair8 said:


I will not apologise for echoing the call to arm the defenceless people in the face of this escalating state brutality. This idea is not new but something that has been in the pipeline for some time.

My comments were an instinctive response to the worrying comments by the former UK Ambassador to Syria, shortly after which Khalid Tlass reassured me that the FSA were fine.

I will try to avoid knee-jerk reactionary comments.

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April 14th, 2012, 10:45 am


253. jad said:

What really happened at the Syrian-Turkish border has nothing to do with what the Turks or the media report, it was an attack by the terrorists at the Syrian border and the Syrian army retaliate to them not at the ‘camp’ which is strangely built next to the border fence

NAS-E: The truth about what happened on the Syrian-Turkish borders.

“During the latest clashes that took place on the Syrian-Turkish borders, and accusing the Syrian army with breaching the borders and shooting on refugees, then they have showed dead bodies and injured people as they have been hit inside the camp, and many lies and fabrications.

But in this video, we will show you their lies and explain what really happened on the borders, and who are those injured people and dead people who were filmed as refugees… Watch the scene.

That’s all what happened on the Syrian-Turkish borders Kelles gate, but the armed terrorist groups who carries their wounded, were shooting on the camp and film the scene as the Syrian Arab army is shooting inside the Turkish territories, the we see Erdogan on TV asking the NATO to protect the borders, since Turkey is a member in the NATO, even this Erdogan fell in the trap of lies and fabrication.

Event the NATO won’t help you Erdogan, as in your words you have broken the Turkish army’s spirit which is already broken.

They are the Syrian army lions … Don’t mess with that.”

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April 14th, 2012, 11:00 am


254. Uzair8 said:

Regime supporters complain about opposition (esp foreigners)calling for ‘escalation’. They make it sound as though everything is fine and dandy in Syria. Do you not consider that the current situation has been made unbearable by the regime? Are you sure you’re concern is for the syrian people and not about the prospect of the fighting widening to affect yourselves too?

Silent readers wouldn’t be blamed for noticing indifference to the current suffering and coming to such a conclusion.

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April 14th, 2012, 11:04 am


255. Mina said:


The attack came from a fake jinaza, they say.

The FSA and their foreign PR supports must be really embarassed that the ceasefire actually works, because it prooves that the armed groups are a small number of people, and that does not fit in the legend of the desperate citizens who would have resorted to weapons after a long time being peaceful and in front of the escalating violence of the so-called regime.

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April 14th, 2012, 11:04 am


256. Uzair8 said:

Do you think muslims in general, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other regional muslim nations have tried to follow the guidance from the following Quranic Verses? They have tried to mediate and given Assad plenty of chances to behave even being accused of buying time for the regime.

“If two groups among the believers fall to fighting, make peace between them; but if one of the groups goes on acting wrongfully against the other, fight ye (all) against the one that acts wrongfully until it reverts to the command of God; and if it reverts then make peace between them with justice and be fair, for, God loves those who are fair. Believers are but brethren, so make peace among your brethren (whenever two parties among them are at odds), and remain conscious of God, so that you may receive mercy.” (49:9-10)

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April 14th, 2012, 11:13 am


257. SANDRO LOEWE said:

There are some lebanese Hizballah members getting back from Syria to their villages in Lebanon´s Bekaa Valley. The point is that they are getting back inside mortuary coffins. No reasons of their death are officially being given. Last week there were 7 or 8 more cases. Bashar must be very satisfied of lebanese patriots fighting against lebanese nationalists and syrian revolutionaries, who are no more than zionist actors. Sure.

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April 14th, 2012, 11:31 am


258. Mina said:

The UN has voted the resolution allowing 30 observers to be sent. Their number is obviously proportional to the actual size of the demos.

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April 14th, 2012, 11:42 am


259. bronco said:

#250 Jad

Turkey and Qatar are pushing their allies to sabotage Annan’s peace plan so they can resort to the invasion via the ‘corridors’ option.

Russia wants Annan’s plan ‘as is’ to become a UNSC resolution that would officilally block the ‘friends of Syria”s attempts to resort to the military option.

It seems that Iran has decided that Erdogan and Qatar needs to be reminded that it does not appreciate their sabotage and warmongering attempts against Syria.

Iran has started very subtly to send reminders: The visit of Ahmadinejad to the contested Gulf islands has created a havock in the GCC whose members met in emergency. By that, Iran is sending a message to the GCC that they are weak militarily and that they need to respect and fear Iran, despite the ‘defense’ weapons contracts that Hillary came to sell them.

As for Turkey, I think Iran will soon send another strong message of ‘hands off Syria” and ‘hands off Shia’ to Erdogan, just after the end of the nuclear meeting in Istanbul.

On the ground Sunni mercenaries under Turkey and Qatar’s control are retaliating by attacking Shia pilgrims and religious figures. A cold war is going on between Turkey-Qatar Sunnis against Iraq-Iran Shias by proxy in Syria.

The ‘friends of Syria’ are trying all they can to delay the UNSC resolution of sending observers so the activists could continue spreading false information about the army breaking the ‘ceasefire’. The UNSC resolution they are proposing contains hidden threats that could be interpreted later as a greenlight for military intervention. Russia and China, already fooled in the Libyan resolution, will never accept that. If they are forced to veto it, they will.

The media is already jumping in to repeat ” The Annan plan failed” so as to push for the long desired ‘humanitarian’ corridors, the prelude to the military invasion.

Would Russia succeed in passing their version of the UNSC, it is difficult to tell.

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April 14th, 2012, 11:54 am


260. zoo said:

Annan is winning…

UN Security Council authorizes deployment of unarmed truce observer team to Syria
Published: 14 April, 2012, 19:26
The United Nations Security Council has unanimously agreed to send an initial team of unarmed truce observers to Syria.

The resolution, which authorizes an advance team of up to 30 unarmed military observers to Syria to watch compliance with the ceasefire agreement, passed 15-0.

The observers will be tasked with establishing contact and interaction with the sides and making reports on compliance with the ceasefire regime by all parties to the conflict until a full mission is deployed in the country.

The observer team is expected to arrive within a few days of the resolution’s passing.

The resolution also calls on both sides to immediately “cease all armed violence in all its forms”, and for the Syrian government to implement the demand by international envoy Kofi Annan to pull troops and heavy weapons out of cities and towns.

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April 14th, 2012, 12:00 pm


261. zoo said:

The showdown is maybe only postponed

UN Resolution 2042 approved the first 30 unarmed military monitors, who are expected to to leave within days. A new resolution with a full mandate will be required for the full monitoring mission of more than 200 observers.


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April 14th, 2012, 12:20 pm


262. Tara said:


We welcome the international observers to Syria. The mission hopefully will ensure people demonstrate without fear of being killed and that future election is held under International supervision. The regime must abide by the 6 points plan otherwise it is cosidered a failure.

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April 14th, 2012, 12:27 pm


263. zoo said:

This is the full text of the draft resolution agreed upon that enterinate the Six Point Annan plan

Colombia, France, Germany, Morocco, Portugal, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and United States of America: draft resolution

Recalling its Presidential Statements of 3 August 2011, 21 March 2012 and 5 April 2012, and also recalling all relevant resolutions of the General Assembly,

Reaffirming its support to the Joint Special Envoy for the United Nations and the League of Arab States, Kofi Annan, and his work, following General Assembly resolution A/RES/66/253 of 16 February 2012 and relevant resolutions of the League of Arab States,
Reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria, and to the purposes and principles of the Charter,

Condemning the widespread violations of human rights by the Syrian authorities, as well as any human rights abuses by armed groups, recalling that those responsible shall be held accountable, and expressing its profound regret at the death of many thousands of people in Syria,

Noting the Syrian government’s commitment on 25 March 2012 to implement the six-point proposal of the Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States, and to implement urgently and visibly its commitments, as it agreed to do in its communication to the Envoy of 1 April 2012, to (a) cease troop movements towards population centres, (b) cease all use of heavy weapons in such centres, and (c) begin pullback of military concentrations in and around population centres, and to implement these in their entirety by no later than 10 April 2012, and noting also the Syrian opposition’s expressed commitment to respect the cessation of violence, provided the government does so,

Noting the Envoy’s assessment that, as of 12 April 2012, the parties appeared to be observing a cessation of fire and that the Syrian government had started to implement its commitments, and supporting the Envoy’s call for an immediate and visible implementation by the Syrian government of all elements of the Envoy’s six-point proposal in their entirety to achieve a sustained cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties,

1. Reaffirms its full support for and calls for the urgent, comprehensive, and immediate implementation of all elements of the Envoy’s six-point proposal (annex) aimed at bringing an immediate end to all violence and human rights violations, securing humanitarian access and facilitating a Syrian-led political transition leading to a democratic, plural political system, in which citizens are equal regardless of their affiliations, ethnicities or beliefs, including through commencing a comprehensive political dialogue between the Syrian government and the whole spectrum of the Syrian opposition;

2. Calls upon the Syrian government to implement visibly its commitments in their entirety, as it agreed to do in its communication to the Envoy of 1 April 2012, to (a) cease troop movements towards population centres, (b) cease all use of heavy weapons in such centres, and (c) begin pullback of military concentrations in and around population centres;

3. Underlines the importance attached by the Envoy to the withdrawal of all Syrian government troops and heavy weapons from population centres to their barracks to facilitate a sustained cessation of violence;

4. Calls upon all parties in Syria, including the opposition, immediately to cease all armed violence in all its forms;

5. Expresses its intention, subject to a sustained cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties, to establish immediately, after consultations between the Secretary-General and the Syrian government, a United Nations supervision mission in Syria to monitor a cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties and relevant aspects of the Envoy’s six-point proposal, on the basis of a formal proposal from the Secretary-General, which the Security Council requests to receive by 18 April 2012;

6. Calls upon the Syrian government to ensure the effective operation of the mission, including its advance team, by: facilitating the expeditious and unhindered deployment of its personnel and capabilities as required to fulfil its mandate; ensuring its full, unimpeded, and immediate freedom of movement and access as necessary to fulfil its mandate; allowing its unobstructed communications; and allowing it to freely and privately communicate with individuals throughout Syria without retaliation against any person as a result of interaction with the mission;

7. Decides to authorize an advance team of up to 30 unarmed military observers to liaise with the parties and to begin to report on the implementation of a full cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties, pending the deployment of the mission referred to in paragraph 5 and calls upon the Syrian government and all other parties to ensure that the advance team is able to carry out its functions according to the terms set forth in paragraph 6;

8. Calls upon the parties to guarantee the safety of the advance team without prejudice to its freedom of movement and access, and stresses that the primary responsibility in this regard lies with the Syrian authorities;

9. Requests the Secretary-General to report immediately to the Security Council any obstructions to the effective operation of the team by any party;

10. Reiterates its call for the Syrian authorities to allow immediate, full and unimpeded access of humanitarian personnel to all populations in need of assistance, in accordance with international law and guiding principles of humanitarian assistance and calls upon all parties in Syria, in particular the Syrian authorities, to cooperate fully with the United Nations and relevant humanitarian organizations to facilitate the provision of humanitarian assistance;

11. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council on the implementation of this resolution by 19 April 2012;

12. Expresses its intention to assess the implementation of this resolution and to consider further steps as appropriate;

13. Decides to remain seized of the matter.


Six-Point Proposal of the Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States

(1) commit to work with the Envoy in an inclusive Syrian-led political process to address the legitimate aspirations and concerns of the Syrian people, and, to this end, commit to appoint an empowered interlocutor when invited to do so by the Envoy;

(2) commit to stop the fighting and achieve urgently an effective United Nations supervised cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties to protect civilians and stabilize the country;

To this end, the Syrian government should immediately cease troop movements towards, and end the use of heavy weapons in, population centres, and begin pullback of military concentrations in and around population centres;

As these actions are being taken on the ground, the Syrian government should work with the Envoy to bring about a sustained cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties with an effective United Nations supervision mechanism. Similar commitments would be sought by the Envoy from the opposition and all relevant elements to stop the fighting and work with him to bring about a sustained cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties with an effective United Nations supervision mechanism;

(3) ensure timely provision of humanitarian assistance to all areas affected by the fighting, and to this end, as immediate steps, to accept and implement a daily two hour humanitarian pause and to coordinate exact time and modalities of the daily pause through an efficient mechanism, including at local level;

(4) intensify the pace and scale of release of arbitrarily detained persons, including especially vulnerable categories of persons, and persons involved in peaceful political activities, provide without delay through appropriate channels a list of all places in which such persons are being detained, immediately begin organizing access to such locations and through appropriate channels respond promptly to all written requests for information, access or release regarding such persons;

(5) ensure freedom of movement throughout the country for journalists and a non discriminatory visa policy for them;

(6) respect freedom of association and the right to demonstrate peacefully as legally guaranteed.

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April 14th, 2012, 12:28 pm


264. zoo said:

The fight is not over at the UN…

“With the passage of a resolution, a small sigh of relief is emanating from the Council chambers. But the battle over Syria is in no way over. The fight among the Security Council members is likely to continue anew once the Secretary-General gives his report in five days. Likewise, the ceasefire itself is tenuous at best; reports are still coming in of Syrian government attacks on protesters, and heavy weapons still remain within cities across the state. It is certain too that the Russian Mission will jump at the chance to lay blame at the feet of the Free Syrian Army should they launch an attack on the Syrian government. All told, the fire may not be blazing anymore, but a spark could easily turn the embers into an inferno once again.

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April 14th, 2012, 12:32 pm


265. Uzair8 said:

The critical element in Syria
By Rami G. Khouri

Saturday, 14 April 2012

[Selected quote]

The reality of the Assad regime’s response to domestic revolts since the early 1980s has been very clear: smash the opposition and punish their towns and neighbourhoods, so they never dare to revolt again. This is one important way in which Syria is different from other Arab revolutions.

When Zine Al Abidine Ben Ali faced a popular revolt in Tunisia, he fled the country. When Hosni Mubarak of Egypt faced a revolt, he sent a bunch of camel-riding thugs to Tahrir Square to quell it. When Assad faced a revolt, however, he unleashed thousands of tanks, artillery, snipers, torturers, rapists and roaming killer gangs across the entire country.

Assad’s track record since April 2011 has been consistent and unambiguous: strike hard to punish demonstrators and deter their supporters, and engage in any available diplomatic process only as a secondary track.

Assad’s problem is that his strategy of using extensive force, reflecting his father’s legacy from the 1970s and 80s, no longer works. The more he assaults and ravages his largely unarmed civilian demonstrators who challenge his legitimacy the greater the intensity and breadth of the revolt, and the parallel support for removing him from around the region and the world.

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April 14th, 2012, 12:33 pm


266. Mawal95 said:

As linked to by Juergen #190, an Al-Arabiya TV crew went to Taftnaz in Idlib province in the wake of the recent army fight against rebels there. They recorded civilian workers removing rubble from wrecked buildings. They asked a nine-year-old boy: “Why did the army kill the people?” The boy replied with concision: “Because they are traitors”. Despite that being the notoriously prejudiced Al-Arabiya, I’ve no doubt the boy is saying the killed people were traitors, as I believe it’s impossible for him to think the Syrian army are traitors.

A point an anti-regime commentator recently made about the Syria-based news media is — — “The Syrian media, in all its components, constitutes an integral part of the crisis…. One year after the introduction of the “new and modern” media law, the official and private media continues to polish the image of the authorities, straying away from objectivity while ignoring the people’s demands and their revolution. The media has painted the uprising as terrorist acts carried out by armed groups, funded by foreign parties in an attempt to hatch an international plot against Syria.” — Yes, and more concisely, painted as traitors.

Syria’s information media law enacted last year is specifically intended among other things to further the expansion of political pluralism in news outlets. Nonetheless the Syrian media, government owned and privately owned, in all its components, has been unanimously and straight-up pro-regime and anti-uprising. In recent months it has been even more whole-heartedly and emphatically and unanimously so.

The state of the Syrian media constitutes an item of evidence that strong anti-government political opinion doesn’t have a broad base. It is impossible to have a broad base without information-dissemination outlets reaching the minds of a broad base.

Some dissidents have the notion that a broad base exists, or else could be created, but is invisible to us because the government doesn’t permit this base to have information-dissemination outlets. That notion is refuted by the laws of the land, including last year’s information media law, the text of which is in Arabic at . The law doesn’t permit advocacy of violent overthrow of the government, but Syria has a political system whereby the government can be voted out of office in free and fair elections (religious and tribal parties banned). Regarding the notional or hypothetical political base that would want to vote against the government, this base is not in evidence in any Syrian information media outlet reaching a non-tiny number of Syrians. Which implies the base does not exist.

Regarding those who want to violently overthrow the government, how much of a political base can “traitors” have?

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April 14th, 2012, 1:05 pm


267. Mawal95 said:

@ ZOO #263, 264: Thank you for those, and thank you in general.

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April 14th, 2012, 1:08 pm


268. Uzair8 said:

Remember an earlier comment describing Kofi Annan as a ‘wily old fox’?

a nice title come to my mind:

‘Wily old Fox corners Rabbit of Golan’

The sort of post title you see on ‘the Walls’.

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April 14th, 2012, 1:10 pm


269. jad said:

كلمة الدكتور بشار الجعفري في مجلس الأمن 14 4 2012

Check out at 15:00min.. excellent point!
In April 17th the Syrian people will celebrate the Independence from the ‘french’ occupation.

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April 14th, 2012, 1:13 pm


270. jad said:

Zoo, Mawal

They did the changes that the Russian wanted, no wonder Rice, American Amb. was looked pissed at the end.

As Bronco predicted, Annan won over the trio amigos of ‘TSAQ’

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April 14th, 2012, 1:28 pm


271. Mina said:

Jad, #269

He says that the two men who killed the son of the Grand Mufti Hassun were paid 800 dollars. It probably means they also know who paid.

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April 14th, 2012, 1:50 pm


272. bronco said:

#270 Jad

There is another meeting of the UNSC in 5 days where Annan will report the progress and call for a new resolution to send more observers. Therefore the “TSAQ” could theoretically have five days to create as much provocations as they can to trigger a reaction from the Syrian armed forces. But I don’t think they will.

As the nuclear negotiations with Iran seem to make some progress, I think the US and the international community do not want its Arab allies to provoke the Iranians about Syria. The visit of Ahmadinejad to the litigious Gulf island is a sign that Iran will not let itself bullied by the GCC’s threats.

So I think KSA and Qatar will wait and see.

As for Erdogan, he may be ready to accept his defeat in pushing Bashar out of power. His priority is now that peace prevails in Syria so he can send back all these ‘syrians under temporary protection’ back home as their presence in the Hatay region are becoming a source of problems. The ‘refugees’ are mostly Sunnis and anti-Bashar while the Hatay Turks are mostly Arab alevis (alawite) and pro-Bashar. In addition the FSA is becoming another burden to control. Moreover the difficulty of transiting merchandise through Syria is creating a slow down in Turkey’s trading not only with Syria but Jordan and Lebanon.

Therefore for now I think the TSAQ will play low key, waiting to see the developments on the ground and the region.

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April 14th, 2012, 1:57 pm


273. Mawal95 said:

I cannot find an official source for the text of the UNSC statement that was agreed upon at the UNSC today. According to the text quoted by ZOO #163 and also quoted at it contains the statement:

“The Security Council… condemning the widespread violations of human rights by the Syrian authorities, as well as any human rights abuses by armed groups, recalling that those responsible shall be held accountable.”

That is baldly asserting that the Syrian authorities have committed human rights violations. There is no respectable evidence that the Syrian authorities committed human rights violations, and I counterassert that any such allegations are falsehoods. But any rational and fair-minded person must concede that, at the minimum, it has not been established as the truth.

I repeat, it is unacceptable for any fair-minded person to condemn the Syrian authorities for human rights violations when there is no high quality evidence to establish it and the Syrian authorities deny it.

Furthermore the above text is saying that those Syrians who commit human rights violations “shall be held accountable”. That insinuates a violation of Syrian sovereignty unless the accountability is wholly under Syrian law.

The statement drafted by Russia, dated 13 Apr 2012 is at . It makes no allegation or assertion that the Syrian authorities have committed any human rights violations.

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April 14th, 2012, 2:03 pm


274. Mina said:

Excellent speech by Jaafari at the UN, thanks for the link
The new redux of “political Islam” he mentions that is attemptedly sold to replace “political Arabity” makes me think of what Zionism is to Judaism. The Gulf tries to develop a version of Islam where everything turns around Mecca, although the ground of Wahhabism was precisely to reject the cult of Mohammad as shirk…

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April 14th, 2012, 2:03 pm


275. jad said:

Dear Mina,
This is the thing, the killers didn’t really know who is behind it or who is the person they were supposed to kill.

An interesting interview with JL 🙂
CrossTalk: Still Syria?

“How high are the chances that Kofi Annan’s plan will be met? Will Annan’s peace efforts lead to any diplomatic solution? If there is regime change in Syria, who will fill the power vacuum? How fragmented is the Syrian opposition, and will the death toll go up if there’s outside military intervention? CrossTalking with Diana Johnstone, Joshua Landis and Josef Olmert.”

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April 14th, 2012, 2:10 pm


276. oab said:

To: @Athiest Syrian Salafist Against Dictatorship

Thanks for your reply, I do however feel that your anger and frustration is getting the better of you in your argument (which probably applies to many people here on both sides).

It is clear you are right to feel anger towards the regime and all those that act in its behalf. But I assure you that it is not only Syrians who feel the that way.

Your also right in saying that half measures are inadequate to address the issues facing Syria and all of the Arab world. But anything short of a gradual transition may not result in your wishes to come true. Despite all my misgivings about what I am seeing in Egypt, it is better than a civil war (where everybody loses and we have no guarantees on how things will look once we come out the other end).

My concern is that the chaos that will come after a collapse will only result in far more death and violations of human rights than we have already seen. We all witnessed the collapse of the Soviet Union and the results of that collapse are clear for all to see. And a strong argument can be made to avoid such a fate. Syria is not living in a vacuum, and its enemies and even its friends will not sit by and not try and meddle and all of it will be at the expense of Syria and Syrians.

You may hate what I am saying, but I hope you can see the reality beyond your immediate need to see the end of the Syrian Regime.

I am not advocating anything beyond talking, you don’t have to commit to anything and you still have the full backing of all the major players (even China and Russia). Unfortunately, the US and its allies seem to be the ones pushing the opposition not to accept any talks. Also, talking does not mean you accept the legitimacy of the regime, and with all the pressure on the regime today, your chances of getting maximum concessions are at their highest, before the US and its allies are distracted by another issue and they try to make a deal with the regime at the expense of the opposition (have no doubt they will do that if they feel its worth it)

The problem, which becomes clear once you even accept this approach, who can talk in your name. Does the SNC represent you? or is it only their oft repeated mantra “Assad must go” that brings the opposition together. Can they agree on concessions on your behalf? or will you call them traitors if they did not come back with enough concessions?

Right now I suspect that many in Syria see Asaad coming out on top, and if I may use the Iraqi example again, Saddam survived just fine under sanctions for 12 years putting down multiple rebellions and coupe attempts. And then with the final US invasion and collapse another decade of death and destruction followed…. that’s 20 years… a whole generation lost.

I just think that an agreement that would allow parties to organize and operate freely and even to challenge for the presidency in internationally monitored free and fair elections is a half measure than we can all LIVE with. And right now is the best time to get these concessions, because the other road is too unpredictable and dangerous even if you were following someone you really trusted.

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April 14th, 2012, 2:21 pm


277. jad said:

A promising Syrian movement is just born, this is a great step forward, the names of the activists are public which is assuring and great improvement and their mission is clear too, we can do the change within working together and away from violence:

مجموعة من الشباب السوري، تعلن عن تأسيس ائتلاف سياسي يدعو إلى إنهاء الازمة
خارج السرب:
قامت مجموعة من الشباب السوري، من المستقلين والتيارات والتجمعات، بالإعلان عن تأسيس ائتلاف سياسي جديد، وبإصدار بيانِ صحافي يوضحون من خلاله هويتهم الفكرية والسياسية، والأطر التي سيعملون بناء عليها.

ومن خلال البيان الصحفي، يمكن وصف المجموعة بالمعارضة والنابذة للعنف، علمانية الفكر.

ومن الملفت للنظر في هذا البيان، أن المجموعة آثرت العمل العلني بالأسماء الصريحة للأعضاء المؤسسين، خلافاً لمعظم المجموعات المعارضة اليوم.

نص البيان:

بيان صحفي من “ائتلاف شباب التغيير السلمي”

9 – 4 – 2012
إيماناً منا، نحن مجموعة من الشباب السوري من تيارات وتجمعات ومستقلين، بضرورة العمل العلني السلمي بهدف إنهاء النظام الاستبدادي وبناء دولة ديمقراطية علمانية تعددية تكون لكل السوريين بعيداً عن فكرة الإقصاء والانتقام، نعلن عن تشكيل “ائتلاف شباب التغيير السلمي” الذي يعمل على خلق قوة ضغط سياسية باتجاه ايجاد حل سلمي ومخرج آمن يحافظ على مكتسبات البلاد ومؤسساتها ويرفض الانجرار إلى كافة دعوات التسليح ويرى أن السلاح هو مقبرة ثورة الحرية والكرامة ويدخل البلاد إلى أماكن مجهولة تضر بمصلحة السوريين سواء أكانوا من الموالاة أو من المعارضة.
إن السلمية والعلنية التي نعمل عليها في ائتلاف شباب التغيير السلمي تهدف إلى إعادة الثورة إلى مسارها الصحيح، وإعادة تفعيل دور الشباب وأهميته في المجتمع المدني حتى نكون قادرين على رسم مستقبلنا بأيدينا، ونقف حاجزا أمام انحراف ثورتنا، وكذلك العمل على بناء قدرات الكوادر الشبابية وتدريبها وتأهيلها لتفعيل وقيادة مؤسسات المجتمع المدني والدخول في العمل العام، وترسيخ مبدأ المواطنة و ثقافة اللاعنف، وانخراط الشباب بحملات إغاثية إنسانيّة، والتشجيع على استخدام كافة الوسائل السلمية للتعبير والنضال، كسبل أساسية للوصول إلى دولة الحق والقانون وبناء المواطن الواعي لحقوقه وواجباته، والمنتمي لمجتمعه والمؤهل لخدمته .
اللجنة الإدارية المؤقتة
1- محي الدين عيسو
2- ديما نقولا
3- طارق السواح
4- رودي أيو
5- عامر سابا
6- أنس جودة
7- أميرة مالك
8- ثائر حداد
9- حسن حميدوش
للتواصل والاستفسار : Email: –
محي الدين عيسو : الناطق الإعلامي 0947812313
رودي أيو : منسق 0955841095
حسن حميدوش : منسق 0944382418

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April 14th, 2012, 3:05 pm


278. Antoine said:

237. SANDRO LOEWE said:

“After having spent last 20 days in Lebanon and Syria and coming back to check SC……….Many interesting stories to be told about the drama of army members discovering how they killed civil population and some times even their own relatives.”

Please tell us about it. Does that mean that Army members were under the illsuion that they were really fighting “terrorists” ?

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April 14th, 2012, 3:11 pm


279. Mina said:

I really like some here lately who say “I was there, trust me”, but don’t send a detailed report to Joshua. They know it would be posted and they can simply change the names, no? Josh has posted several times reports from on the ground by some correspondents who were at time anonymous, and it is a very useful piece of information when it comes from insiders. The details enable one to verify it is not pure fancy, and it helps to have an accurate idea of what people are going through.

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April 14th, 2012, 3:16 pm


280. bronco said:

Jad #275

Joshua Landis was wrong in predicting that there will massive demonstrations on friday at the call of Ghaliun. That was the stance many anti-regime were predicting with certainty: “Once there’d be a ceasefire, millions will go the streets”. We have only seen a few thousands and it was a Friday.

I am really surprised that Joshua Landis still believes in Ghaliun’s influence on the opposition when everybody, including Juppe who was a early supporter, have expressed their deception in the SNC and its leadership. It is clear that the SNC have failed lamentably in all aspects. Where is the ” Opposition National Pact”? Where is the “military Bureau”…. Lots of noise for nothing.

The Syrian regime has been able to keep its cohesion despite the international medias attacks and the sanctions while the SNC pampered and financed by the West has shown total immaturity and ineptitude in getting a minimal acceptance from the Syrians.

It is yet to see how the regime will manage the dialog and the transition to democracy. If it shows the same political determination and astuteness as it has shown until now and keeps the same support from Russia, there is a chance it will succeed and baffle all the doom predictions.

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April 14th, 2012, 6:15 pm


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