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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51. ann said:

More than hundred wanted people surrender near Syrian capital – 2012-04-12

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-04/12/c_131523074.htm

DAMASCUS, April 12 (Xinhua) — More than one hundred wanted people surrendered themselves Thursday to Syrian authorities in suburbs of the capital Damascus and coastal Latakia city, pledging not to traffic or use weapons again, state-run SANA news agency reported.

The wanted people turned themselves in, along with their weapons, to authorities in several suburban areas around the capital Damascus, such as Harasta and Zibdeen and suburbs of Latakia, said SANA.

More than 400 people have turned themselves in over the past week.

In another incident, one person was killed and four others injured when a bomb car was detonated before dawn on Thursday in Jaramana district in Damascus, Syria’s private media reported.

Residents in the area said a white Mercedes stuffed with assorted weaponries went off at a roundabout in Rawda’s street. The blast shattered the windows of nearby shops and houses.

After the blast, security forces set up a perimeter around the area before ambulances and firefighters reached the area.

A source told Xinhua that the Mercedes belonged to a secretary of the ruling Baath party and that the bomb was attached to his car.

There was no immediate word from officials regarding the blast circumstances.

[...]

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April 12th, 2012, 12:01 pm

 

52. bronco said:

47. jad

I have been observing the flip of the media for the last two weeks, just at the time the news of Islamists extremists in the rank of the opposition started to spread.

The UK as well as the US are terrified that al Qaeda reaches Israel’s borders in the eventuality of Bashar’s regime fall and the ensuing security void. Syria could easily become another Gaza.

Except for Turkey and possibly Qatar, the international community will be relieved if law and order prevails again in Syria whatever the political or humanitarian cost is. In view of the failure of the opposition to control the militarization of the opposition and to get support from the majority of the Syrians, the international community is forced to shift priority from changing the regime to ensuring that Al Qaeda and extremists Islamists are silenced and thrown out of the country. That can only be achieved by the current regime.

Of course if the ceasefire collapses in a big way, then we are back to square one and the media will switch in asking for a military intervention with ‘corridors etc..” not really to overthrow Bashar anymore but to ensure the protection of Israel and Jordan from Islamist extremists.

In addition the media have been strongly criticizing the opposition for its disunity and lack of vision in the last 2/3 weeks, reflecting the beginning of a flip.

Now the opposition is realizing that the ‘regime change’ they wanted will never happen and that they have to make a painful compromise and fully accept Annan’s plan, including the dreaded dialog with the regime.

If the ceasefire holds I guess the media will be moving in that direction too.

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April 12th, 2012, 12:02 pm

 

53. Tara said:

Cease fire? 11 killed by the regime so far.

The Local Coordination Committees in Syria: 11 martyrs have been reported in Syria thus far today: 6 martyrs in Homs, 2 of whom were martyred during shelling in Qusair and 2 by sniper fire in Bayada; 4 in Idlib; and 1 martyred under torture in Madaya in the Damascus Suburbs

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April 12th, 2012, 12:04 pm

 

54. Alan said:

Syrian rebels ‘using Turkish refugee camps as base’
http://rt.com/news/rebels-refugee-camp-attack-665/

Стремление сирийской армии повстанцев через турецкую границу пролил свет на требования повстанческих групп, использующих в лагерях беженцев в качестве убежищ. По сообщениям бесплатно сирийская армия может рассматривать их как трамплин для начала вторжения в Сирию.

RT корреспондент Сара Ферт интервью анонимного источника на сирийско-турецкой границы после инцидента, который сказал, что члены бесплатно сирийской армии, действующих в приграничных районах.

“Они [сирийский повстанцев] пересечь границу, то они идут обратно. Может быть, турецкая армия находит и выводит их обратно в лагерь, другие просто приходят сами по себе. Многие из этих людей работают с Бесплатный сирийской армии “, сказал он.

Он добавил, что турецкое правительство закрывает глаза на их движения и “позволяет им вернуться к бою.”
РТ также рассказал член бесплатно сирийской операционной армии в районе, который сказал ей, что оппозиция хочет оказать давление на турецкое правительство в предоставлении “вооружений и техники от НАТО”.

По сообщениям СМИ, сирийские войска режима, которые преследовали боевиков после того, как они напали на военный контрольно-пропускной пункт открыли огонь по ту сторону границы, убив одного и ранив несколько человек.
Турция была резкой критике режим Асада, и ранее обвиняли в укрывательстве и обучение сирийские мятежники на юге страны недалеко от границы области.

Бывший переводчик ФБР Сибел Эдмондс писала в декабре, что США и НАТО было обучение боевиков в Хаккари, на юге Турции.
Страна принимает у себя около 24 000 сирийских беженцев, в том числе сотни перебежчиков армии, которые бежали после восстания против Асада началось 13 месяцев назад. Во вторник Кофи Аннан посетил несколько лагерей, расположенных вдоль границы с Турцией, где он встретился с небольшой протеста осудил сирийского режима.

Турецкое правительство рассматривает создание буферной зоны между двумя странами, чтобы лучше контролировать приток повстанцев. Кроме того, глава Свободной сирийской армии полковник Риад аль-Асад, как полагают, проживающих в Турции.
Турция гремит саблей

В ответ на границе съемки, премьер-министр Турции Реджеп Тайип Эрдоган пригрозил принять “необходимые меры” против Сирии. Он назвал вторжение как “явное нарушение” границы между двумя странами в ходе официального визита в Пекин во вторник.

Эрдоган также обвинил Асада быть лично ответственен за убийство мирных жителей.

” Он продолжает убивать 60, 70, 80, 100 каждый день, “сказал он в ходе визита в Пекин.

Турецкий премьер не уточнил, какие меры Анкара рассматривает вопрос о принятии в отношении Дамаска. В любом случае, Турция, кажется, не планируют каких-либо односторонних шагов, как турецкие дипломаты сообщили министр иностранных дел России Сергей Лавров в телефонном разговоре.

[ + ... ]

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April 12th, 2012, 12:10 pm

 

55. irritated said:

Juergen

“I do believe that by agreeing on the Annan peace plan the OPPOSITION is digging their own grave.

It will have to accept the dialog with Bashar that they have rejected 100 times and they need to forget about Bashar resignation, the threats of bringing Bashar to the ICC, the calls to NATO etc. A very humiliating retreat, indeed, but the Opposition may have realized they have no chance anymore to win the battle militarily and they are now ready to accept to compromise.

As there will be anti-regime or anti-Annan demonstrations, there will probably be massive pro regime demonstrations too.

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April 12th, 2012, 12:12 pm

 

56. ann said:

Syria calls on displaced citizens to return home, pardoning gunmen with no homicide records – 2012-04-12

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-04/12/c_131523293.htm

DAMASCUS, April 12 (Xinhua) — Syria’s interior ministry on Thursday called on all displaced citizens who had fled the unrest to return home, and granted amnesty to armed men who hadn’t committed homicide, state-run SANA news agency reported.

The ministry called on the displaced citizens in and outside Syria not to listen to “fabricated news” and to return to their homes, stressing that the government will exert its earnest efforts to help them in the reparation and renovation process.

The ministry also granted amnesty to “all those who have carried weapons but hands were not smeared with Syrians’ blood” if they turned themselves in to the authorities. The ministry, however, stopped short of setting a timeframe to its amnesty.

Over the 13-month-old civil unrest in Syria, 24,500 Syrians have sought shelter in Turkey, 95,000 in Jordan and over 20,000 in Lebanon.

[...]

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April 12th, 2012, 12:14 pm

 

57. jad said:

Terrorists attack happened today:

An Officer Martyred, 24 Wounded in Explosive Device Blast in Aleppo… Law-enforcement Members Wounded in Blast in Idleb

PROVINCES, (SANA) – A First Lieutenant officer was martyred while 24 officers, non-commissioned officers and a number of civilians were wounded in an explosive device blast in Aleppo.

An official source told SANA correspondent that “The blast took place at 8:00 am as an armed terrorist group targeted a military bus with an explosive device at the Southern Bypass area, near al-Nirab Airport Bridge in Aleppo.”

The bus was carrying a number of officers and non-commissioned officers while on way to their workplace.

Director of Aleppo Military Hospital Brigadier General Dr. Mohammad Osama Qashqash said that the injuries varied in degrees of severity, adding that three presons are in a critical condition.

A Number of Law-enforcement Members Wounded in an Explosive Device Blast in Idleb

Another armed terrorist group targeted a law-enforcement vehicle with an explosive device at Wadi Haj Khaled region in Idleb.

An official source told SANA correspondent that an officer and a number of law-enforcement members were wounded in the explosion.

Armed Terrorist Group Assassinates Citizen in Daraa

In Daraa, an armed terrorist group assassinated Naser Bhkeit Naser, Secretary of al-Baath Party Department in al-Mazareeb town while he was heading to buy bread.

Witnesses told SANA correspondent that the terrorists opened fire on Naser from a black Kia car without license plates which caused his immediate death.

Forensic Doctor Mansour al-Hussein at Daraa National Hospital said that the martyr had eight bullet wounds in different parts of his body.

http://www.sana.sy/eng/337/2012/04/12/412228.htm

Fourteen Army, Law-enforcement Martyrs Laid to Rest

DAMASCUS/ LATTAKIA, (SANA) – The bodies of 14 army and law enforcement martyrs were escorted on Thursday from Tishreen and Zahi Azraq Military Hospitals in Damascus and Lattakia to their final resting place.

Solemn funeral processions were held for the martyrs who were targeted by armed terrorist groups while they were in the line of duty in Homs, Daraa, Lattakia and Damascus Countryside.

The martyrs are:

Brigadier General Jamal Salloum al-khaled, from Hama.

Lieutenant Moayad Ali Younes, from Hama.

First Lieutenant Ahmad Mohammad Qreinas, from Daraa.

Chief Warrant Officer Housam Ahmad Sa’adat, from Tartous.

Chief Warrant Officer Mounzer Ahmad Janoub, from Lattakia.

Sergeant Major Ammar Jalal al-Wazeh, from Lattakia.

Sergeant Yousef Ali Idris, from Tartous.

Conscript Mahmoud Mohammad al-Muhaeimed, from Raqqa.

Conscript Juneid al-Hussein al-Hammoud, from Aleppo.

ConscriptAbdel Rahman Ahmad, from Hama.

Conscript Fayed Ahmad Milhem, from Deir Ezzor.

Conscript Abdel Rahman Moustafa Ghazi, from Aleppo.

Conscript Said Mohammad Saleh, from Hasaka.

Private Ramez Moufid Bilal, from Hama.

The martyrs’ families stressed confidence in the ability of the Syrian people to overcome the crisis through their unity, condemning the criminal acts committed by the armed terrorist groups against the army, law-enforcement forces and innocent citizens.

They expressed readiness to sacrifice their lives to defend the homeland and protect its people.
http://www.sana.sy/eng/337/2012/04/12/412217.htm

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April 12th, 2012, 12:19 pm

 

58. Juergen said:

Amir

Are you still around?

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April 12th, 2012, 12:20 pm

 

59. jad said:

Aljazeera in Jordan is smuggling weapons to Syria:

مصدر أمني في عمان لـ عربي برس: المخابرات الأردنية إعتقلت عاملين في قناة الجزيرة أثناء تهريبهم أسلحة وأجهزة إتصال عسكرية متطورة إلى سورية

مكتب عمان – منيرة الرازي إربد – خاص عربي برس
ذكر مصدر امني مسؤول في مديرية شرطة اربد فضل عدم الكشف عن هويته أن العاملين في الإستخبارات الأردنية تمكنوا فجر أمس من ضبط (3) أشخاص سوريين من الموظفين في قناة الجزيرة القطرية وكانوا يحملون بطاقات عمل من القناة ، وكانوا داخل سيارة تحمل لوحة سورية وبداخلها أسلحة متطورة من طراز جي ام 3 – النوع الأحدث من جيل قناصات الأم 16 التي تعمل ليل نهار بنواظير حرارية ، كما ضبط في السيارة جهاز بث للإجتماعات عبر الدائرة الالكترونية المغلقة مثل تلك التي لا يمتلكها إلا حلف الأطلسي والاميركيين حيث يعقد اركانهم الميدانيين والمركزيين إجتماعاتهم عن بعد عبر بث الأقمار الصناعية . وقد جرت عملية الاعتقال خلال محاولتهم اجتياز الحدود بطريقة غير مشروعة ، لافتا الى أن معلومات وردت الى غرفة عمليات المديرية تفيد بدخول (3) أشخاص الى مدينة اربد داخل سيارة وبحوزتهم أجهزة إرسال في طريقهم الى سوريا بطريقة غير مشروعة وتم التعامل مع المعلومة ومتابعتها وضبط الأشخاص .
ولدى تفتيش السيارة ضبطت تلك المعدات والأسلحة ، لافتا الى انه بوشر بالتحقيق معهم على الفور .
http://arabi-press.com/?page=article&id=31700

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April 12th, 2012, 12:20 pm

 

60. Juergen said:

Irritated

yes i agree we will see big demonstrations for the regime soon, the question lies only how the regime will react if anti regime protesters camp on Omayad square. I wonder how long pro regime supporters are willing to come out in big numbers, all voluntarily of course as always in past 40 years. What if Hama, Homs, Idleb, Derraa all will fall towards the opposition, i doubt that this regime can give its own people what the constitution is granting each citizen in Syria.

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April 12th, 2012, 12:40 pm

 

61. Alan said:

http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c154/391056.html

Russian, French FMs meet to discuss Syria & Iran

MOSCOW, April 12 (Itar-Tass) — Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his French opposite number Alain Juppe have discussed the situation in Syria and the forthcoming talks of six broker countries with Iran. The conversation took place on the sidelines of a meeting of the G-8 foreign ministers in Washington.

“Special attention was focused on development of the situation in Syria and the forthcoming talks of six international brokers and Iran on the Iranian nuclear program,” the Russian Foreign Ministry went on to say.

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April 12th, 2012, 1:47 pm

 

62. anwar said:

Demonstrations for the regime ?? you mean those ultra organized regime orchestrated acting classes ? I d say they would rival those North Korean govt parades and dancing. They force public school & university student and public sector workers to go out and “demonstrate”. Then they report MILLIONS demonstration when it is barely more than 100,000 people. Just like when the monster Hafez died and they had everyone out in teh streets

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April 12th, 2012, 1:59 pm

 

63. Mina said:

Since this post mentions the Egyptian elections, I took a chance to look for an article that would mention the very low turnout to the Shura Council (Upper chamber) elections in January. Of course, this does not exist, as the main political figures were so ashamed of the score that they did not really boast about and it was just mentioned with the official results.

But here is a trace: the wikipedia article has the figures for the number of voters:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shura_Council

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egyptian_Shura_Council_election,_2012

The number of voters would have been 6,427,666

To get an idea of the total number of voters, one has to turn to this other article

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egyptian_parliamentary_election,_2011%E2%80%932012

“About 50 million people were eligible to vote out of a population in excess of 85 million – with candidates from 50 registered political parties. The overall voter turnout is 54%.”

The number of voters for the parliamentary elections was 27,065,135.

By the way, the “turnout” section of the Wiki article does not mention the fee that would theorically be applied if someone fails to vote. Locals think that this fee may be applied for example when one sould go to the hospital and be considered as having a due fine. But this element of the voting law as it was decided by the ruling military power is well attested.

http://ahwatalk.com/2011/12/01/compulsory-voting-in-egypt/

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/27/egypt-elections-military-ruler-tantawi

Question: what happened to 21 million voters? From what I saw on the ground, most people didn’t know when the elections was going on (even in Cairo). They didn’t have any information on the candidates. They were afraid of spending money to go to the poll stations and bring their relatives because of the complete economic turmoil.

The minimum to ask for is that candidates get time on public televisions and radios to speak about their programmes, and that the time they speak would be equal for all.

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April 12th, 2012, 2:33 pm

 

64. ann said:

Paper tiger Erdogan hiding under NATO’s skirt now :D

Turkey calls on NATO to protect its borders from Syria – 12 April, 2012

http://rt.com/news/turkey-nato-syria-912/

“NATO has responsibilities to do with Turkey’s borders, according to Article 5 [of the NATO Treaty],” said Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday.

Hisham Ghassib, a political analyst from Jordan, thinks Erdogan’s statement is simply “acrobatics” – and that Turkey is not serious about the call.

“It is inertia of the situation that is driving them towards this absurdity,” he said.

The analyst asserts that oil-rich and Western countries have realized that the Assad government is not going to be toppled.

“The regime is too strong for these methods, they [Western countries] know that the regime is there to stay, but of course now the regime should reform itself to prepare itself for any extended aggression,” Ghassib explained.

However, journalist Patrick Hayes told RT the West might be working on more creative ways to bring down the Assad government.

“You have the Turkish prime minister who’s come back today from China, and he’s talking about evoking Charter Five of the NATO treaty – which would allow them to sidestep the United Nations and to take action against Syria because of the alleged disrespect of the Turkish borders.”

Hayes also said that Turkey could use the 1998 Adana Agreement, which states that “Syria, on the basis of the principle of reciprocity, will not permit any activity that emanates from its territory aimed at jeopardizing the security and stability of Turkey,” as a trump card.

“There is already some talk in some quarters about the idea that Turkey in particular could recognize the Syrian National Council as a government in exile and effectively see the Assad regime as terrorists,” he said. Hayes continued that Turkey could “then use the 1998 Adana Agreement, or other agreements that Turkey has with Syria, in order to try and use force against the Assad regime.”

[...]

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April 12th, 2012, 2:52 pm

 

65. mjabali said:

Jeurgen:

I am going to be polite and not use the same language. I am not going to say that “only the ignorant does not know,” because you may know and chose not to confirm with ideas you do not like. Nevertheless here some info for you about Syria the topic of our conversation.

So far the major Sufi groups are with al-Assad. The Sufis have a history of sleeping with the ruler. This is a fact and waiting for you or anyone to challenge me on this.

Here is a link to Sheikh al-3Ar3ur speaking about the position of the Sufis of Syria and al-Assad in this events. He, even indirectly call them infidels for supporting the “Alawi regime” of Bashar:

Enjoy that nice talk, and in the meantime here is the meaning of Sufism:

Sufism and militant fighting jihad do not meet.

In Sufism Jihad is inner. It is spiritual.

Sufis leave this world and its problems, at least they try to.

Sufism does not have a political jihadi literature, even if some of its adherents were caught in some fights here and there.

Sufism is not and was not for violence. This is a very simple fact.

By the way, the writer you were talking about: her name is Samar and not Samah, so please get your information right before showing it to those who are not that “ignorant” about these issue.

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April 12th, 2012, 3:16 pm

 

66. Alan said:

now it is clear that observers of the Russian Federation at the
most professional and technological level will scan the Syrian truth!

Russian observer to join the international team in Syria – Churkin
http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_04_12/71551249/

The UN Security Council could adopt a resolution on sending a team of observers to Syria on Friday, Russia’s permanent representative at the UN Vitaly Churkin declared on Thursday.

He said that Russia would participate in the mission of observers in Syria, sending a Russian peacemaker from the UN mission on the Golan Heights there.

Churkin spoke to journalists after a session of the UN Security Council at which special envoy of the UN and the League of Arab States Kofi Annan informed the Security Council about his efforts at the Syrian settlement in the video-conference mode from Geneva.

The agreement on ceasefire between the government troops and the opposition in Syria came into effect at 6:00 a.m. local time on Thursday. No more clashes occurred in Syria after that.

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April 12th, 2012, 3:37 pm

 

67. mjabali said:

Uzair:

Take responsibility for your words. I brought samples of what you said. What other people say is another story.

Do not assume things about my position: you can go and see what I write. I call for peace in my country and you call to arm a group to raise the level of violence. There is a big difference between our positions, but for real do not give me morality cliche boring lessons.

Syria need people to sit and talk politics and not foreigners calling to import weapons and destroy the country more that it got recently. Cheif general Uzair the great if we listen to your logic we would lose, let us say, 200,000 to 500,000 Syrians? These are real people and not actors like your films. There should be a difference between fantasy and reality.

Syria now, if parties did not respect the cease fire agreement, is going to a dangerous path with the multiplying of the different armed factions. This is dangerous.

As for your duty as a Muslim, I say do whatever you want but do not call for violence in my country. Go help and fight and do whatever, that is your business, but do not call for violence in my country. That is bad: do you want me to start calling to arm the Shia or the Chrisitans in Pakistan to face the onslaught that is exacted on them?

I am an ordinary citizen, and wish international law deal with this and not me.

As for the meaning of Sufism and its relation to violence if you do not know that what can I say?

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April 12th, 2012, 3:40 pm

 

68. Alan said:

[blue diamond Alan, this Global Research/Julien Teil/Voltaire.net video was posted yesterday.]

Syria: Intervention or Mediation?
http://tv.globalresearch.ca/2012/04/syria-intervention-or-mediation

[ ... ]

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April 12th, 2012, 3:40 pm

 

69. irritated said:

#62 Anwar

Too easy .. The opposition demonstrations are much more orchestrated than any of the pro-regime’s.

Anyone going to the mosque to pray on friday is automatically enrolled and forced into the anti-regime demonstrations and who dares to disobey and run away?

In view of the total absence of turnout for the multitude of call for “massive strikes”, I doubt there will be much people demonstrating on a Tuesday for example.

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April 12th, 2012, 3:57 pm

 

70. irritated said:

60. Juergen

“the question lies only how the regime will react if anti regime protesters camp on Omayad square.”

I doubt very much that anti-regime protests will be massive and repetitive and I am sure they will not camp on Ommayad square: Tahrir Square idealism is now obsolete.

Most Syrians have gotten tired of chaos and see no hopes in continuing confrontations. Most are disgusted with the SNC, the West and Turkey who let them down after having boosted them and promised the moon.

They may protest out of bitterness but without any hope that their protests will change anything. It is now in the hands of the UN not in theirs.

There are some die-hard but I think it is a shrinking minority.

One year has shown that Bashar al Assad may have succeeded in pushing back a historical and ruthless assault from Islamist Arab and several powerful Western countries to overthrow him. In that, he has proven to be another brand of leader than Ben Ali, Mobarak or Qaddafi.

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April 12th, 2012, 4:14 pm

 

71. zoo said:

U.N. could approve Syria monitors Friday, envoys say

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/47031621/ns/world_news-mideast_n_africa/#.T4c4jHlATvY

UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. Security Council could approve on Friday a resolution to send unarmed U.N. observers to Syria to monitor a fragile ceasefire in the 13-month conflict that has brought the country to the brink of civil war, diplomats said.

U.N. Arab League peace envoy Kofi Annan has called for 200 to 250 unarmed U.N.-mandated observers to monitor the ceasefire. The Security Council is due to meet later on Thursday to discuss a draft resolution to approve the monitoring mission.

“We hope that even tomorrow we might adopt a Security Council resolution on the deployment of that advance group of monitors,” Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said.

“The full-fledged mission will take some time to deploy … If we are able to put 20 or 30 monitors (there) early next week, very good. If we are able to put more in the next few days that’s even better,” he said.
(..)

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April 12th, 2012, 4:19 pm

 

72. Tara said:

Syria hasn’t fully met truce terms, Annan tells UN
 
 BY LOUIS CHARBONNEAU AND MICHELLE NICHOLS, REUTERS APRIL 12, 2012 1:02 PM
http://www.theprovince.com/news/Syria%20hasn%20fully%20truce%20terms%20Annan%20tells/6448913/story.html

 UNITED NATIONS — UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan told the Security Council on Thursday that Syria has not fully complied with the terms of his peace plan but called for the swift deployment of a UN truce-monitoring force to the country, council diplomats said.

A fragile UN-backed ceasefire aimed at halting more than a year of bloodshed in Syria appeared to be holding on Thursday but there were no signs that President Bashar al-Assad was pulling his forces out of restive cities.

Annan told council members that the precarious truce needed support and called for the early arrival of a first wave of unarmed observers to monitor implementation of his six-point peace plan, to be followed by a second wave of observers later.

“Mr. Annan confirmed that what has happened today does not constitute full compliance by the Syrian government . . . as Syrian forces and weapons remain in and around population centers,” said U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, the Security Council president for April.

“He emphasized that Syrian troops and armor must return to their barracks immediately,” she told reporters after a closed-door council meeting which Annan addressed via video link from Geneva.

Syrian UN envoy Bashar Ja’afari complained that “eight violations took place this morning by the armed (rebel) groups.”

Ja’afari said that Syria is committed to co-operating with Annan and fulfilling his peace plan, adding that Damascus had already complied with calls to withdraw troops from Syrian towns. He said others inside the country and abroad should comply with Annan’s peace plan as well.
…………..
Rice said Annan told the council there were “unconfirmed reports” of some violence though he noted that this was not unusual in the early stages of a ceasefire.

The former UN secretary-general said earlier in a statement that “Syria is experiencing a rare moment of calm on the ground,” adding that it “must be sustained.”
……………
Annan has called for 200 to 250 unarmed UN-mandated observers to monitor the ceasefire.

Rice said negotiations on a resolution authorizing the deployment of a UN observer force would begin “as early as this afternoon.” Russia’s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said the council could adopt it as early as on Friday.

“The full-fledged mission will take some time to deploy . . . If we are able to put 20 or 30 monitors (there) early next week, very good,” Churkin said. “If we are able to put more in the next few days that’s even better.”

(..}

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April 12th, 2012, 4:20 pm

 

73. Shami said:

[alert Shami -- this is a warning that you will be subject to moderation if you repeat the personal attack in the post below.

Personal attacks (veiled or open, sniggering or comtemptuous) are intolerable. No one may use Syria Comment to abuse another commentator.

Ann, you are also under warning. Do NOT make unfunny little asides about commentators' presumed affiliations with Israeli forces. We have been over this ground before.

SCModeration@gmail.com]

Jad you and your brave ila al abad people,will be put in a cage in public parks and invited to shout menhebekjiyeh and mukhabarati songs in front of all.
I will request a cage in al sabeel for you.

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April 12th, 2012, 4:30 pm

 

74. Juergen said:

Mjabali

I did not write about the sufi orders of today and of those present in Syria. I was giving an example in history and i wanted to straighten up the belief that Sufis had an vital impact on the decolonization of the arabic states and they were in many parts the only organized social and religious order. May I point out to you some facts:

Abd al-Qadir in Algeria fought also against colonial rule and established an independent state.
Sheikh Ibrahim fought in 1857 against the english colonial regime in Egypt.

The so called Mahdi movement in Sudan 1819 challenged the English rule tremendously for almost a decade.

Also important is the role of the Sanussia order in Libya, which also resulted in the formation of two independant states or provinces, some remained in that status until 1911.

The sufi orders in Turkey were also an counterpart against Kemalism and helped to eliminate the most severe consequences of this dictatorship. ( islamic education, teaching of the Quran in secret locations as for years the study of the Quran was forbidden in Turkey)

I leave out the role of the Sufis in Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Tadjikistan, Chechnya and Indonesia, all of those countries have a vital record of armed rebellion with the help of armed sufis.

To state that Jihad is unknown to Sufis is wrong, most of those mentioned wars and rebellions were declared “jihads”. I think Uzair puts it right when he states that self defense is allowed to every muslim.

When you say modern day sufi orders play no political role thats not true, the Naqshibandiya order which has many followers in Syria has their stand forward the nationhood of kurdish and their fight against the turkish government in its neglection of the Kurdish quest.
Thank you for pointing out my mispelling of Samar Yazbek.

Anwar

I believe we all know how sincere such gatherings are, its all manipulated with the utmost care. This regime knows well how to force people to show their love for the supreme family. I really have doubts that they can manage to bring them in big numbers for a long period, but may be Iran or Lebanon will send in their busloads to do so.

I am sure that cities like Idleb, Hama, Homs, Deir az Zohr, Deraa will soon fall under total control of the peaceful demonstrators. The question will only remain how this regime will react to this manifestation of constitutional rights by its own citizen.

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April 12th, 2012, 6:18 pm

 

75. Hopeful said:

Charlie Rose’s interview with Bashar Jaafari can be found here: http://www.charlierose.com/

Charlie Rose is a master and I have to say that Bashar Jaafari held his own – not an easy task. Although the rants against Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey were not necessary in my opinion.

Everyone seems to be ignoring the big elephant in the room! There is NO WAY that Assad will be elected president IF real democratic elections are held in Syria. Even if the guy walks on water (which he does not), he is from a minority sect. The enlightened politically-sophisticated people in Syria who would vote based on political agenda, as opposed to sectarian/religious affiliation, do not represent more than 10% of Syrians. It took the US ~250 years to produce a president from the “minority”, and European countries are probably still decades behind. A democratic transition in Syria WILL mean the end of the Assad rule and it will be the last time a non-sunni or a non-Arab will be president of Syria for decades to come! Unfortunate reality, but it is what it is, so let’s stop pretending!

I wish that the intelligent regime’ supporters, who may truly believe that Assad is the best man to lead Syria (like Mr. Ja’afari and many on this forum), can at least acknowledge this fact and stop pretending that a true democracy and the continuation of Assad’s rule can indeed happen at the same time in Syria. They simply can’t!

If the regime is indeed interested in helping Syria move towards democracy, it should understand that, at the end of this path, it is putting itself out of the job (like Mr. Gorbachev did in the Soviet Union). Either that, or simply start working on convincing Syrians, and the world, that Syria is better off under Assad than under a true democracy- a claim that one can at least make some intelligent arguments to support!

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April 12th, 2012, 6:43 pm

 

76. jna said:

Juergen, do you mean via elections? How else could five cities fall under total control of peaceful demonstrators using their constitutional rights? Are you wishing that now the peaceful demonstrators enter into a serious political electoral process?

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April 12th, 2012, 6:51 pm

 

77. Tara said:

How can Syrians take up to the street in massive demonstrations when shabeeha’s check points are sequestering towns and city into isolated sections?  

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/middle-east-live/2012/apr/12/syria-ceasefire-begins#block-24

Burhan Ghalioun, exiled head of SNC said a test will be tomorrow when large demonstrations are expected after Friday prayers. Ghalioun said he did not trust the authorities who he said had their “hand on the trigger”.

The Syrian people will go out tomorrow in the biggest possible numbers so that the Syrian people can express their will. While we call on the Syrian people to protest strongly… we ask them to be cautious because the regime will not respect the ceasefire and will shoot.

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April 12th, 2012, 7:27 pm

 

78. Observer said:

Next step is observers. Russia cannot say no and it wants to already pre empt any true evaluation of the ground by hinting at observers amenable to the Syrian regime and they are going to have their Russian observers.

I say all observers from the BRIC are welcome and we should include South Africa and Indonesia and Malaysia and Japan and Morocco and Norway and Denmark and Sweden and Austria and Poland and Estonia and Lithuania and Latvia and Nepal and Australia or New Zealand and Canada. I strongly support observers from Bosnia and Croatia as well as they have good experience in this type of situation.

They have a tradition of serving and they have no beef one way or the other with either side.

Bets I will wager:

1. We will see a new campaign of disappear the opposition
2. We will see a great increase in the number of raids and detentions
3. We will see excuses pop up to keep the tanks and heavy weapons in
4. We will see an explosion here and there at extremely well fortified security areas and there will be claims by Al Qaeda
5. There will be purges of wishy washy and so so supporters and a consolidation of power in fewer people
6. There will be no significant speeches as of yet
7. There will be several claims of armed gangs still active

I see this already on this blog. The are those who have opted for a dialogue mantra who now see only evil in any opposition to the regime. It is again mind boggling at the self delusion that these people suffer from and their refusal to realize that this system of rule and this diabolical regime are obsolete and destined to the dustbins of history.

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April 12th, 2012, 7:36 pm

 

79. Tara said:

For its own part, Turkey’s economic growth and emergence as a regional giant under the Justice and Development Party (AKP) have made it a Middle East power. The Turks were, initially, not interested in competition with the Iranians and relations between Ankara and Tehran seemed quite warm. However, from the Syrian uprising to Iraq’s sectarian convulsions, recent developments have made Ankara the main challenger to Tehran’s desire to dominate the region.

How Iran and Turkey See Each Other
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/how-iran-and-turkey-see-each-other.aspx?pageID=238&nID=18329&NewsCatID=396

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is visiting Riyadh on Friday. The Syrian crisis will dominate the agenda in Riyadh, and Iran will scrutinize every statement made by Erdoğan and his Saudi hosts. Welcome to the new Middle East which increasingly looks too small to accommodate both Turkey and Iran.
….
Despite Syria, the Iranians know that Turkey can still be helpful in the context of Iran’s standoff with the West. First, in a world where Iran has few friends, Turkish willingness to act as a mediator is recognized by seasoned diplomats in Tehran as valuable. 

Second, Turkey has so far mainly implemented U.N. sanctions resolutions against Iran. Though there are signs that Ankara is moving to join U.S.-supported sanctions, Tehran, nevertheless, maintains hope. From Ankara’s perspective, the Turkish stance on sanctions is about self-interest given economic ties between the two countries. From Tehran’s perspective, this is a useful tool with which to circumvent Western pressures. 
 
The Iranian debate about where to go from here in relations with Ankara has two principle strands. The first group is made up largely by hardliners around the Supreme Leader Ali Khamanei. They see the rivalry with Turkey as a zero-sum-game and warn of further tensions with Ankara. For example, they warn that Turkey and Sunni Arab states are mobilizing to weaken the Shiite political elite in Baghdad who back Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and instead want to empower a coalition comprised of Iraqi Sunni Arab and (Sunni) Kurdish interests. In other words, Ankara’s challenge to Iranian interests is not limited to Syria but extends to Iraq and beyond.
 
The second group is made up of Iranian bureaucrats who shun the zero-sum-game approach, and they also do not recommend Iran’s regional jockeying be based on sectarian calculations. They tend to emphasize Turkey’s usefulness as a mediator and economic partner and stress that it is foolish for Tehran to expect Turkish accommodation of Iranian interests at all times. In other words, Tehran should be realistic in its demands and above all avoid pushing Turkey away.
(…)  

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April 12th, 2012, 8:28 pm

 

80. Ghufran said:

I am surprised that some of you expected a total cease fire on April 12th. There are credible forces that want Annan to fail, but that will not be good for Syria:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/apr/12/syria-annan-plan-nato

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April 12th, 2012, 8:28 pm

 

81. ann said:

On Syria, As UN Moves Toward Monitors, Turkey Talks NATO

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 12 — As the UN Security Council moves to negotiation a resolution to send an advance team of monitors to Syria, the “incidents” on the Syrian border with Turkey continue to reverberate. US Ambassador Susan Rice, as president of the Security Council for April, began her read out of Kofi Annan’s closed door video briefing by referring to the April 9 cross border firing.

Inner City Press asked Ambassador Rice about Turkey’s letter to the Security Council reporting the incident, and Turkish leadership’s talk that NATO Article 5 might be invoked, that an attack on one NATO member is an attack on all.

Rice replied that Turkey has not yet formally invoked Article 5, only notified of the incident. She was asked about Syria’s criticism of the US providing communications equipment to the opposition, and replied that only Syria is violating Annan’s Six Point Plan.

But what about Saudi Arabia and Qatar moving to pay the salaries of the Free Syrian Army?

Inner City Press asked Syrian Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari about Turkey’s NATO argument. He replied that Turkey is hosting armed groups. He said that a group came across the border and attacked a police station “over there,” and the Syrian forces “retaliated.” We’ll see – watch this site.

[...]

http://www.innercitypress.com/syria1nato041212.html

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April 12th, 2012, 9:00 pm

 

82. ann said:

At UN, South Sudan Says Won’t Leave Heglig Until Monitors, SC All Syria

http://www.innercitypress.com/un3heglig041212.html

Even after South Sudan’s statement, the Security Council remained focused on Syria — even as a coup d’etat was reported in Guinea-Bissau. A non-Western diplomat leaving the Council told Inner City Press, “Now you see this is useless,” pointing back at the Security Council. Another, told of the Guinea Bissau coup, quipped “congratulations!” Still another said, “We need another Security Council.”

One Council member with an eye on Bissau, Togo, appeared at the Council at 6:15 pm. But they left at 6:20, telling Inner City Press, “We have to know more.” Some call it coup fatigue.

Meanwhile on the Syria draft resolution, even after hours, negotiations remained on the initial Operative Paragraphs, with a fight predicted over “freedom of movement.” This comes just after the re-release of Ban Ki-moon’s report on Western Sahara, where the UN mission clearly does not have freedom of movement. A European diplomat pointed out that more people are being killed in Syria. So that’s the standard?

[...]

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April 12th, 2012, 9:22 pm

 

83. Sunny said:

So who is the Lawrence of the Arabs in 2012?!

http://revfacts.blogspot.com/2012/04/blog-post.html

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April 12th, 2012, 9:30 pm

 

84. bronco said:

#75 Hopeful

Excellent interview with Bashar al Jaafari. He is a very intelligent, eloquent and credible man. Charlie Rose was obviously impressed and almost convinced.
Thanks for posting it.

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April 12th, 2012, 9:32 pm

 

85. ann said:

Turkish opposition slams government over Syria warmongering – April 13, 2012

http://www.sundayszaman.com/sunday/newsDetail_getNewsById.action?newsId=277303

The Turkish opposition has slammed the government over warmongering in Syria as Turkey has intensified its calls on the international community to immediately act to avert escalating violence in Syria.

“The Turkish Republic has never done as much warmongering as it has today,” leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said at a CHP party meeting on Thursday. He said his party doesn’t endorse interfering in the domestic affairs of another country and said they reject intervening in a struggle between authorities and opposition in a foreign nation.

Criticizing Turkey’s Syrian policy, Kılıçdaroğlu asserted that the Turkish government was beating the war drum. He added that Turkey’s relations with Iraq, Iran and Syria have worsened because of the government’s interference in the domestic politics of these countries and that this in turn has downplayed Turkey’s ambition to become a regional power. The CHP leader accused the government of taking sides in the conflict and urged the ruling party to invite Iran, Russia and groups from Syria to Turkey for talks if it wants peace not war.

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Deputy Chairman Oktay Vural also harshly criticized Turkey’s foreign policy with respect to Syria and said it has become based on Washington’s occupation agenda. He added that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is warmongering over Syria and that this policy ignites ethnic and sectarian conflict. The Turkish prime minister said on March 16 that Turkey is considering setting up a “security” or “buffer” zone along its border with Syria.

Pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) parliamentary group Deputy Chairman Hasip Kaplan said on Thursday that it is a very critical and dangerous venture for Turkey to be on the brink of war with its neighbors. Kaplan also said Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu should brief Parliament and Erdoğan should brief political party leaders in detail over Turkey’s policy regarding Syria.

[...]

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April 12th, 2012, 9:33 pm

 

86. Ghufran said:

What is the point of hiding the fact that two high ranking army officers, one in Reef Dimashq and the second in Reef Halab, were assassinated AFTER the cease fire took effect?

FSA denied any involvement and until we have information that nullify that denial we have no choice but to accept the FSA claims. The regime should not be allowed to use small scale terrorist attacks as an excuse to end the cease fire, but nobody should prevent security forces, not the army, from investigating those attacks, and any future similar attacks and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Who will monitor the regime and make sure it does not exploit those incidents to arrest political dissidents? This is where a sizable UN unarmed force is needed. If the UN fails to receive the funds and the political support to do the job, we must assume that Annan mission was created to fail.

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April 12th, 2012, 9:41 pm

 

87. ann said:

UN draft calls for observers to monitor fragile Syria truce – 04/13/2012

US-drafted resolution calls on Security Council to authorize deployment of up to 30 unarmed inspectors to monitor Syrian compliance with ceasefire; includes vague threat of future action if Assad does not honor truce.

http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=265888

UNITED NATIONS – A US-drafted resolution would have the UN Security Council authorize an initial deployment to Syria of up to 30 unarmed observers to monitor compliance with a fragile UN-backed ceasefire that took hold earlier on Thursday.

The 2-page draft, obtained by Reuters, would have the 15-nation council say Damascus must “ensure full and unimpeded freedom of movement throughout Syria for all mission personnel, including access, without prior notice, to any place or establishment that the mission deems necessary.” [ Observers or Spies 8) ]

The draft also would have the council condemn “widespread, systematic, and gross violations of human rights … by the Syrian authorities (and urge that) those responsible for human rights violations shall be held accountable.”

It includes other demands on the Syrian government, which it says must fully comply with the Annan plan, “(a) cease troop movements towards population centers, (b) cease all use of heavy weapons in such centers, and (c) begin pullback of military concentrations in and around population centers.”

It also “demands further that the Syrian government withdraw its troops and heavy weapons from population centers to their barracks … calls upon all parties in Syria immediately to cease all armed violence in all its forms and to cease all arbitrary detentions, abductions, and torture.”

The draft includes a vague threat of future action against Damascus. It says the council “expresses its determination, in the event that the Syrian government does not implement its commitments to consider further measures as appropriate.”

It was not immediately clear how Russia and China, which vetoed two previous resolutions condemning the Syrian President Bashar Assad’s 13-month assault on anti-government protesters, reacted to the US draft, which council diplomats were discussing behind closed doors.

Most of the demands in the draft resolution are addressed to the Syrian government, which could irritate Moscow and Beijing. Both have urged the council to be balanced and to address both the Syrian government and opposition.

[...]

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April 12th, 2012, 9:54 pm

 

88. Juergen said:

Ann

There might be soon an open position as a spy detector available in Damascus.

JNA

I have no clue how this regime thinks that the parlamentary elections can take place as scheduled in May. I suggested that given the fact that for once the regime will give every syrian his constitutional rights, we will see the big demonstrations which we have witnessed in last summer in Homs and Hama. When there is no fear to get killed, when there are no arrests and torture chambers filled, i do believe that many will make their protest against this evil regime be heard.

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April 12th, 2012, 10:05 pm

 

89. Ghufran said:

Decent people have the right to disagree. Many anti regime Syrians would have accepted a half democracy before March 2011 and before thousands of Syrians died unnecessarily, but the majority of Syrians want a regime change, and efforts to introduce a half democracy will fail in the long term, only the regime can be blamed for this outcome.

Remember that Hamas was elected democratically in Gaza,and if similar elections are held in Syria, most PA seat will be won by people who are drastically different from the ones in charge today. This will make Syria more conservative, religiously, and less tolerant but that is a phase the country may have to go through, the only fight today worth fighting is making sure that seculars do not lose enough to become irrelevant, forget about preserving the regime or Assad or even a 50/50 power sharing. I as an expat can only wish for cessation of blood shed and a new system that keeps the minimal standards of individual freedom and the rule of the law, in relative terms, do not raise your expectations, you will be disappointed.

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April 12th, 2012, 10:26 pm

 

90. ann said:

Displaced Syrians in north Lebanon wish quick return – April 13, 2012

http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90777/7786096.html

TRIPOLI, Lebanon, April 12 (Xinhua) — Displaced Syrian families staying in the Lebanese northern city of Tripoli are looking for a quick return, after a ceasefire went into effect at about 6:00 a.m. (0300 GMT) Thursday in line with a deadline set by special envoy of the United Nations and Arab League, Kofi Annan, to end the year-long deadly unrest in Syria.

Many of these families told Xinhua that they will move back to their hometown as soon as they are sure of the commitment to the ceasefire and the withdrawal of both the Syrian army and the militants from streets and urban areas.

There are around 2,000 Syrian families currently staying in Tripoli. Some of them can pay the rent for the apartments they are living in, while the others are relying on the aid provided by charities or religious institutions funded by the Gulf Arab states, according to, Ahmad Moussa, spokesman of the Syrian Refugees Commission in Lebanon.

Khaled el Sheikh, who came from Syria’s central city of Homs and is now living in a rented apartment in Tripoli with his wife and three children, told Xinhua, “I will be back to Syria as soon as possible once I am sure the security situation has stabilized.”

“I will not hesitate to return as the living conditions in Lebanon are hard and there are no sufficient aid to cover all our needs. We were living in better conditions in Syria. The state provided us with health care and education for our children. In Lebanon the situation is different. You have to secure a monthly income not less than 1,000 (U.S.) dollars to survive,” the 45-year- old man said.

[...]

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April 12th, 2012, 10:40 pm

 

91. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Juergen,

Yep, I’m around. Though a bit tired of the daily bickering here. And of ANN. More of the same and the same and the same.

My deep admiration for the Syrian people who has to cope with all of this. They are so patient and adamant. I have no right to lose my patience. This ugly junta is really really getting on my nerves and pisses me off.
.

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April 12th, 2012, 11:16 pm

 

92. ann said:

‘Syrian ‘opposition’ – West-controlled proxy paramilitary’ – 13 April, 2012

http://rt.com/news/syria-opposition-proxy-paramilitary-948/

Michel Chossudovsky, Director of the Center for Research on Globalization, noted that Susan Rice, the US Ambassador to the UN, was wrong in saying that Russia and China had blood on their hands.

“NATO has blood on their hands,” he told RT. “The United States has blood on their hands. Why? Because they have supported an armed insurgency from the onset in March 2011. It is known and documented that this so-called opposition is, in fact, a proxy paramilitary formation, which is supported by the Western military alliance.”

He also noted that there is well-documented evidence to support the fact that most civilian casualties were attributable to terrorist acts by opposition gunmen and paramilitary forces.

[...]

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April 12th, 2012, 11:57 pm

 

93. zoo said:

Counter-demonstrations to fight anti-regime demonstrations?

The Annan-Moallem Letters: Deciphering Syria’s Six-Point Plan
http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/annan-moallem-letters-deciphering-syria%E2%80%99s-six-point-plan

On the other hand, the Syrian regime knows that Annan’s plan is full of pitfalls and could overturn military achievements on the ground. It therefore took measures to reduce the possibility of its enemies benefiting from the second point on ceasing armed violence, which would lead to an upsurge of peaceful demonstrations.

To this effect, the Syrian regime imposed a new law on peaceful demonstrations requiring a prior permit from the interior ministry. But this law will not protect the regime from the possibility of daily unlicensed protests so it is resorting to planning counter demonstrations in support of the regime.

The latest demonstration organized by the Baath in Damascus seems to be a model, with security forces intervening between demonstrators to avoid a clash.

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April 13th, 2012, 12:12 am

 

94. SC Moderation said:

Ann is under moderation, per the warning given at post 306549.

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April 13th, 2012, 12:51 am

 

95. jad said:

Jad is under moderation, per the warning given at post 305987.

W T F is that, you put ANN in moderation and you leave this dog called k hara Shami out for attacking people out of the blue for no fuc king reason!!!!!!!!!!

If you have a shred of respect or brain you would’ve deleted that sh it called comment, what a freaking site and shi tty moderation…

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April 13th, 2012, 1:15 am

 

96. Mina said:

Dear SC Moderator,

You are banning Jad for answering someone who had distorted what he had said, and proved it with a logical argumentation?

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April 13th, 2012, 3:40 am

 

97. Juergen said:

Amir

I do understand you, its like watching Groundhog Day allover the time.Let me know if you make it to Berlin this summer.

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April 13th, 2012, 4:18 am

 

98. Mina said:

Low-intensity until Saturday. Guess why?

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/ND13Ak02.html
“Nuclear chess in Istanbul
By Kaveh L Afrasiabi
NEW YORK – On Saturday, a new round of nuclear chess between Iran and representatives of the “Iran Six” nations will resume in Istanbul after a 13-month hiatus in talks on Tehran’s nuclear program. (…)”

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April 13th, 2012, 4:55 am

 

99. Mina said:

UNSC anyone?
10.35am: Tunisia: Following attacks on journalists by the police, the National Union of Tunisian Journalists has decided not to cover the interior minister’s activities for a week, Tunisia Live reports.

Aymen Rezgui, a member of the executive office of the union in charge of freedoms, stated that the reasons behind the decision are the repetitive attacks on journalists, whether physically or through insults, especially on April 9, when a number of journalists were assaulted and threatened.

“On April 9, policemen were attacking journalists and breaking their cameras. There is not respect for journalists, and the interior ministry did not take any measures to investigate the issue,” he stated.

The minister, in turn, has denounced “parts of the media” for having “added fuel to the flames” regarding a demonstration in Tunis on Monday that resulted in clashes between police and protesters, AFP reports.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/middle-east-live/2012/apr/13/syria-ceasefire-protests-bahrain#block-7

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April 13th, 2012, 6:04 am

 

100. mjabali said:

Jeurgen:

Hajji, you are running around from the main topic which is Sufism a believer of violent methods?

Are Sufis known to be the pawns of the rulers, in almost all of their history?

If the Sufis are this fighting creed, as you claim Mr. Jeurgen, why they never rebelled against any ruler in Syria?

Sufism, again, is spiritual and have nothing to do with violence.

If the Sanusis or Mahdawis went after colonial forces that is not stemming from their Sufi teachings. This is coming from a complex historical realities, but, AGAIN, not from their Sufi theories.

Non Sufi Muslims have that fight them all logic. Sufis’ Jihad is inner.

….etc…

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April 13th, 2012, 6:38 am

 

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