Syria Dividing: Most Large Cities Calm. The Troubles in Latakia Lead to Army being Deployed

Shaykh Dahr: Downtown Latakia

Syria is dividing into sides – those that will fight the state and those that support the president or fear revolution. The silent majority is still sitting on the side lines, but they will not be able to do so for long if order collapses. The army is sticking by the President, a main difference with Egypt or Tunisia. So long as the army remains united and obeys the President, it will be hard for the opposition to take over parts of the country or bring down the regime.

There were pro-Bashar demonstrations in many cities yesterday, such as Hassake, Homs, Latakia, Damascus in several places, and Aleppo, but there were equally anti-government demonstrations in a number of places, which are now increasingly calling for an end to the Baath Party and the fall of the regime – isqat al-nizaam. I have spoken or corresponded with people in Latakia, Aleppo and Damascus today. Aleppo and Damascus are calm. Latakia is not. The Republican Guard and the army have entered the city to end violence. The people were cheering them on from the balconies in the Sunni neighborhood, I am told.

My wife’s family in Latakia is divided over what is going on. Her mother claimed that although they had not been able to go down town, she insisted that she was very confident in the wisdom of the Syrians. She said they would never be dragged into civil war. She said that in most parts of the city yesterday, people had been out and about.

My brother-in-law, Firas, who lives in American, a Christian quarter near Shaykh Dahr, the downtown area where the demonstrations and shooting took place yesterday, has left the city with his Christian wife and children. He was very anxious when we spoke to him in Latakia this morning at his work place. He said that all the Sunnis who work in his company were saying that there were foreign Sunni elements in town that no one recognized. He believed that they were involved in the fighting yesterday in center city. A number of Syrian military and police were taken to the hospital, having been shot. Firas said that they did not have arms because they were not supposed to shoot at the demonstrators due to the President’s orders. The opposition had arms.

A Sunni demonstrator from Latakia on Aljazeera just reported that the police shot at the demonstrators, but he also mentioned that there were foreign elements in town who were armed. It is unclear who these foreign elements were according to him. He did not specify. The Sunni demonstrator who spoke on Aljazeera claimed  that the police were responsible for stirring up the sectarian sentiments of the people.

Pro-government people believe that there is an organized and armed opposition that came into town to start a fight and spread false rumors about Alawites from the Mountains coming into town to attack Sunnis, etc.

See the Facebook site:   بلدي حبيبي … ممنوع الفتنة …ويلو اللي يعادينا ؟ In order to see how people are talking about the “Mukharabiin,” the foreign intruders who no one recognizes in Latakia. They say that the unknown intruders entered both Sunni and Alawi neighborhoods and yelled about how the opposite sect was coming to destroy them and “burn them down.” They claim that there was an organized effort to stir up sectarian distrust and violence.

In Jableh, a mixed city just south of Latakia on the coast, there was a big demonstration made up of the entire city (`an bikrati abiiha) on Saturday night. They chanted: “wahid, wahid, wahid, Sunni wa Alawi wahid.” “One, one, one – Sunnis and Alawis are one. ”

Another Christin friend from Latakia – no relation – said that there was a much more organized opposition in town and a lot of sniper shots going on still. There is a fire at the prison, he said. He pooh-pooed the notion that a foreign element was in town, but said that the organized opposition was home grown.

One Sunni Imam from Latakia spoke on the phone with Al Jazeera. He was asking for government and human rights groups to protect the civilians. He said that four policeman fired on the people. Then after prayers when we protested again, unknown people started shooting at us.

These rumors are not unlike those that emerged from Daraa. The leading imam there claimed that he had heard people speaking with a foreign accent, possibly Iranian, and that they had been sent to stir up the trouble.

Rumors continue to circulate in Damascus that Maher has either shot Farouq al-Sharaa or carried out a coup, etc. I would suggest not believing such rumors because I have heard so many like them over the last five years. The standard line is that members of the Assad family or inner circle have begun to shoot each other and that the regime is in extreme chaos verging on collapse.

Here are some video’s of the pro-government demonstrations that have been sent to me. To see the anti government video’s and those of anti-government demonstrations go to Ammar Abdulhamid’s site, here.  or the Syria Revolution 2011 page, which now has been renamed the “Revolution against Bashar al-Assad.

Guardian

“… While anger continues to grow, many Syrians remain unwilling to declare their loyalties, according to analysts in Damascus. “There is not yet the critical mass needed,”  said one activist, who asked not to be named. Counter-demonstrations have been manned by loyalist groups and Syria’s tightly controlled state media is not covering the protest activity in detail.

My Friend in Aleppo writes:

As an addendum to yesterday, I can certainly understand why a lot of Syrians are upset with foreign coverage of the crisis (going so far as to besiege the Al Jazeera studios in Damascus). The events in Deraa, Latakia and elsewhere are indeed critical and deserve wide attention.

But for maybe 90% of the Syrian population, the reality they are living is the sort of pro-regime support that was witnessed yesterday in Damascus, Aleppo and other cities. The festivities in Aleppo, Syria’s second largest city, lasted a good 12 hours and involved I would guess in the low tens of thousands of people–but this was not covered or even mentioned by a single news outlet that I have seen. This isn’t to say that all those people are diehard Bashar fans; it was a beautiful day Friday and there were many families out just to see what was going on. That these demonstrations are “organised by the regime” is kind of a cliché, however, seeing that any thinkable civil group involved (unions, youth clubs, etc.) is tied to the regime on some level; but “fabricated,” as a recent comment posted to your blog suggests, they most certainly are not.

Pro-regime Demonstration in Hasseke in the North East

Demonstrations for Bashar in major cities

The following is an email exchange I had three years ago in 2008 with a Syrian, named “Independent”. It is haunting today because we were discussing whether Syria would crash in three years, 2011, due to economic hardship. It was sent to me this morning by “Independent.” Here is is:

Independent wrote in 2008:

Josh, I always enjoy reading your commentaries and thoughts about Syria and its environs.

Yes you are absolutely right, “The battle between Washington and Damascus is largely an economic one.” Both Israel and the U.S. and its allies in the region fear any kind of regime change in Syria (as the March 14 side would like)and therefore have not acted yet directly against the regime.

While Lebanon is sinking into an economic abyss, you painted too rosy a picture about Syria’s highly subsidized economy (Syria’s economy is growing at almost 6%). In a matter of years, Syria will be a net importer of oil, if it hasn’t happened already (data is not available or otherwise top secret). Any enhanced oil recovery they attempt on their archaic fields will not help in the short run. So today they rely heavily on cheap Iranian oil.

What about prices for flour, sugar, coffee, etc..? These staples of the majority of Syrian society will soon lose government subsidies and will and are becoming more expensive day by day.

All this smells like inflation to me, even though the highly edited official numbers may not state so.

You paint too rosy a picture Josh!

Landis responded:

Independent, You may be correct about the coming Syrian crash. Most people in Washington and Israelis that I talk to believe that Syria will sink into a deep economic abyss in about three years when oil begins to run out.

My sense is that Syria is making the right moves to avoid this in the fields of private banking, foreign investment, privatization, issuing private and government debt, opening a stock market, introducing a VAT tax, parking meters, etc. Whether it can complete this “modernization” process in time to avoid the crash is not clear, but I am more optimistic that most.

Some believe that none of these reforms will matter so long as there is not regime change or the introduction of an independent judiciary.

I was just talking with Ehsani who was expressing his amazement that Syria has not been able to attract more Gulf investment than it has. “This is a bad sign,” he said. He pointed out that the rise of Dubai is a clear sign of Syria’s and Lebanon’s failure. They have the resources, climate, human capital, etc. that should have made them the obvious “Dubai” of the Middle East, but they screwed it up and have been by-passed. “Opportunities like that come along only once in a hundred years,” Ehsani said.

It is commonly said that oil is a curse to those who have it. The Middle East has avoided reform because of oil. Running out of oil is forcing Syria to confront hard choices it has put off, but it is now globalizing, in large measure, because oil is running out, a fact that is forcing the regime’s hand on modernization. I think it can make the shift. In any case, we will see very soon. Thanks for the nice words – and the skepticism.

February 18th, 2008, 5:36 pm

Syria’s Mufti Hassoon just told Al Jazeera (with a straight face) that Syria has reached Egypt & Tunisia reforms “without a shedding any blood”. He’s now being eaten alive on twitter.

السلطات السورية تفرج عن 260 معتقلا سياسيا بينهم إسلاميونSyria has released 260 political prisoners

Reuters

“….. Edward Walker, a former U.S. ambassador to Egypt, said sectarian friction made many in the establishment wary of giving ground to demands for political freedoms and economic reforms. “They are a basically reviled minority, the Alawites, and if they lose power, if they succumb to popular revolution, they will be hanging from the lamp posts,” he said. “They have absolutely no incentive to back off…..”

Syrian MB: Uprising will not stop until demands are met
23/03/2011
By Mohammed Al Shafey

London, Asharq Al-Awsat – The former leader of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, Ali Sadr al-Din al-Bayanouni AKA Abu Anas yesterday told Asharq Al-Awsat that reforms in Syria are long overdue, and stressed that there is a popular intifada [uprising] in the Syrian street today. Al-Bayanouni also clarified that he has been calling for serious and genuine reforms for months.

Al-Bayanouni told Asharq Al-Awsat that all the factors which led to revolutions in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya, are also present in Syria, from the absence of freedom to the presence of tyranny, corruption, poverty, and unemployment, not to mention the arrest of opposition figures and unfulfilled promises of reform.

al-Bayanouni told Asharq Al-Awsat that “the people are demanding the fall of the regime, the abolition of the emergency law that has been in place in Syria since March 1963, the granting of general freedoms, and an end to people being arrested for their political views or affiliations, as well as the abolition of laws and special courts, and the confrontation of corruption in a serious and effective manner.”

The former Syrian Muslim Brotherhood leader stressed to Asharq Al-Awsat that “the situation in Syria is much worse than the situation in Egypt [prior to the revolution].” He added “at least the Egyptians had media outlets, they could speak and talk about the situation in their country, whilst a mere whisper in Syria is enough for an individual to ensure his own destruction.”

Al-Bayanouni said that “in 1982 former Syrian President Hafiz al-Assad sent forces to the town of Hama to crush the armed wing of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood. The Syrian armed forces killed 30,000 people.”

Al-Bayanouni stressed that “all Syrian governorates will revolt, and there is an almost unanimous view that this regime is not viable, as the people do not want it.” He added that the Syrian regime is corrupt down to its core, and stressed that 60 percent of the Syrian population are suffering from poverty, whilst nearly a third of the Syrian workforce is unemployed. Al-Bayanouni said that Syria must rein in its security apparatus, release thousands of political prisoners, and allow freedom of expression, as well as reveal the fate of tens of thousands of political dissidents who disappeared in the 1980s.

Comments (77)


Pages: « 1 [2] Show All

51. Revlon said:

1# Shami,
I have played the video of the 3alawi Gang again and again.
1. Two Posters of H Asad were on the wall! None for B Asad
2 Most cars had no license plates. They looked stolen.
3 Around three had license plates. They were white in colour. None had a blue band on its left side.
Lebanese license plates are black, red, or white with left blue band.
Although the clip is, quite fittingly, of low quality, The license plates, looked more Syrian to me!
They spoke with accent that sounded more like coastal Syrian, than Lebanese.

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March 27th, 2011, 7:12 am

 

52. Revlon said:

Dear Mr Landis, The real value of Youtube videos of Pro-Assad demos, embedded atop this edition of Syriacomment is in what they fail to show!

“Pro-regime Demonstration in Hassake in the North East
Demonstrations for Bashar in major cities”

Watching them brought to mind similar images of Qaddafi’s supporters in besieged Tripolis. The mundane stops here.

However, what they failed to show proves the obvious to the People: Shooting, be it by official security forces, or Para-militia (infiltrators, thugs, Palestinians, spies) targets only anti-regime demonstrators.

Embedded videos showed that, pro-regime demonstrators, including families and children, were relaxed, happy and in festive mood. They did not seem to be under any threat of bodily harm.
Security members were mingling with them.
There were no scenes or sounds of Foreign-accented-miltias /Infiltrators / Thugs.. firing on the crowd!

The System’s media coverage, exemplified by these embedded videos, underscores its naivety and deceitfulness.

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March 27th, 2011, 7:33 am

 

53. Solitarius said:

Quite an interesting experience getting caught up right in front of raging pro-Bashar demonstrators in Hamra/Beirut.. situation was rather funny actually when you are the only one in the street and suddenly the masses are rallying right behind you and start running towards the camera.

But now just saw this:
http://www.hounaloubnan.com/news/36844

إطلاق نار على سيارات خلال تجمّعات سورية في الحمرا
27-03-2011
أفادت محطة “أم.تي.في” ان الجيش اللبناني يعمل على تفريق عدد من التجمّعات السورية في الشوارع المؤدية الى السفارة السورية في الحمرا في بيروت وقد أطلق بعض المتظاهرين الرصاص على سيارة “هوندا سيفيك” ما أدى الى إصابة سائق السيارة ولكن إصابته طفيفة، كما ان متظاهرين سوريين أطلقوا النار على سيارات أخرى مما سبب بلبلة.

All I can say is what a f*cking liar!!!

There was Lebanese army indeed but they were just watching the demonstrators infront of the embassy and who then took a march down Bliss street and then back to the embassy.. there was no fire whatsoever.. this website is definitely spreading lies

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March 27th, 2011, 7:43 am

 

54. Alia said:

Shai,

Something like this….

http://www.aipac.org/694.asp#42823

more specifically from the same website the pdf of the letter sponsored by the 2 members of the house

http://www.aipac.org/Publications/SourceMaterialsCongressionalAction/Clinton_Egypt_Letter.pdf

note the language: “it is imperative that we work to ensure that US foreign policy interests..etc..”.( as usual you see the loss of identity that is insinuated as if the best interest of Israel is really the best interest of the US)

there is paranoia everywhere except that in the case of Israel it is an existential necessity while Syria exists despite the paranoia

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March 27th, 2011, 8:07 am

 

55. OFF THE WALL said:

عن العربيه عن مصدر حكومي
قرار الغاء قانون الطوارئ تم اتخاذه

Demand 1: Check (tentatively until we get the details).

What should be next, Article 8 or ……

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March 27th, 2011, 8:27 am

 

56. Jad said:

The Syrian government lift the Emergency Law 🙂

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March 27th, 2011, 8:28 am

 

57. Jad said:

REUTERSFLASH Clinton says one should not now expect U.S. to get involved in Syria in the same way as in Libya – CBS interview
7 minutes ago

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March 27th, 2011, 9:03 am

 

58. Vers la fin du régime baathiste en Syrie? « Mounadil al Djazaïri said:

[…] Landis d’autres acteurs sont également présents dont l’origine est cependant inconnue : des étrangers armés qui excitent les tensions entre les membres des diverses […]

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March 27th, 2011, 9:04 am

 

59. nafdik said:

Revlon #37. Thank you for posting this eye opening video.

Did anybody confirm this is happening in Syria now?

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March 27th, 2011, 9:29 am

 

60. jad said:

#59, Refer to #3 and #5 and to the comment under the same video:
لكل من يقول انهم سوريون انهم لبنانيون و المقطع شهير و مصور فديو من ايام الحرب الاهلية ام المقطع الثاني فهو في العراق اي مقطع السيارات يقول تعالى يا ايها اللذين امنوا اذا جائكم فاسق بنبأ … و الكلام موجه لمن كتب هذا المقطع له علاقة بالقرداحة لنه بالتأكيد اما جاهل باللهجة الساحلية و اما مدسوس لتشويه صورة اهل القرداحة

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March 27th, 2011, 9:42 am

 

61. Norman said:

Alia,
please stop mentioning my name, We still have the Patriot act in the US and Guantanamo is not pleasant in the summer,

Latakia because it could be a flash point for violence as it was in 1973,
It is diverse of christian Sunni Muslims and Shia Muslims,

It looks to me more and more as a war against the shia staged in Syria, I wonder if that is why the deal over Lebanon was vetod by the US, Commentaters on CNN are calling to bring down Syria to teach iran .

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March 27th, 2011, 9:49 am

 

62. MONTAGNARD said:

Berlon @ Revlon
You seem to spend too much time trying to authenticate these tapes to justify your arguments in fanning the sectarian flames.

Here is a part of the collage used in editing the tape.
It was uploaded to the youtube site on March 3, 2010 by madridyy with a caption Hezboullah Lebanon juni 2008.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ZyagYXznPM&feature=related
If you read the comments under that clip on youtube you will read some of the comments by Lebanese commentators.
Explain your self please and tell us what is the connection with this SHAM video editing studio publishing all these unauthentic videos?!!

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March 27th, 2011, 10:21 am

 

63. nafdik said:

Thanks Jad.

And now for a truly authentic video of our own Sahhaf:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWnw2W9LEZ4

Not as comic as Hassoun as at least it is her job but still quite entertaining.

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March 27th, 2011, 10:22 am

 

64. OFF THE WALL said:

Dear Jad
I am as angry as you are with the posting of this video, and more so with the context it is posted and the attempts to analyze it.

Dear Shami, Revlon, and Nafdik
Posting this video, and discussing it and any attempt at analysis discredits a lot of the serious discussions we have been trying to have here, to which you have also contributed. I am confident that the truth about events in Latakia will emerge much sooner than it used to regardless of any attempt by any side to suppress the truth. At this stage, who is trying to instill sectarian violence in Syria is less important than stopping it dead in its place.

Let me be blunt, I am proud of the courage many Syrians are showing. It is relatively easy to participate in a demonstration for the president, being protected by agents, and even supplied, such as the case in Aleppo, with musical band and entertainment. But it takes courage to participate in a demonstration with political demands that challenges the status quo, known for being the one of the most repressive in the Arab world. I like courage, for it tells everyone that Syrians can no longer be pushed around or fooled. Courage is motivated primarily by recognition of ones rights, and belief in the justice of ones cause. Syrians asking for freedom, for the right to object and/or agree have both motivations, hence comes their courage. The numbers belie the official press that it is only very tiny groups of infiltrators.

However, Syrians, of all stripes, are likely to show even more of the same courage when confronted with an existential threat such as attempting to saw sectarian violence. And based on what I have been hearing, many in Latakia are confronting gangs and banding together despite of the stressful condition. Everyone I talked to is saying similar thing and they are willing to work with authorities to fight the gangs, no matter who these gangs are. Their priority again is to stop sectarian division dead in its place.

The video you are pushing here was initially presented to entice fear and to ferment hatred. Neither emotion induces courage. They only breed blood lust, and manufacture rage against innocent people. Is this what you want?, the death of courage and the victory of blood lust….? I hope not.

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March 27th, 2011, 10:27 am

 

65. Norman said:

This is where the US stands and her allies,

Print Back to story
How Syria Could Rattle the Region
Bruce Riedel Bruce Riedel
Fri Mar 25, 5:24 pm ET

NEW YORK – Last time there was a crushed, bloody uprising in Syria, former CIA official Bruce Riedel was there. If this revolt is successful, it will have major effects from Tehran to Washington.

Almost 30 years ago I was in Syria when Hafez al Assad and his brother Rifaat killed 30,000 Syrian Sunnis who had dared to defy their police state. Dissent was crushed mercilessly. Now the spring of Arab revolt has come to Syria.

The uprising led by the Muslim Brotherhood in Hamah in March 1982 was the largest protest movement in the Arab world in the wake of the Iranian revolution in 1979. The Brothers’ goal was to topple Assad’s Alawite minority dominated regime and create a Sunni majority Islamist state. As I watched the Assad brothers send the elite Republican Guard through Damascus that winter it was clear the Alawis were ready to fight to death to stay in power. They knew then and know now that the Sunni retribution for decades of Alawi rule and terror will be just as merciless. Hamah was pounded for days by tanks, the old city destroyed, the rebels hunted and killed. The Sunnis got the message.

So does the current unrest in the southern city of Daraa threaten to send Hafez’s son and heir Bashar Assad to the graveyard of dictators? It’s much too soon to call. The son may be just as ruthless as his father and probably judges he must act decisively fast. The secret police chiefs who back him and the key generals will demand repression. But the very nature of the regime—based on the support of the 15 percent Alawi population and some Christian support—makes it a brittle state. If it starts to come undone it could unwind.

Syria has a long tradition of coups that could also be revived. If the Sunni majority smells blood, Syria could make Libya look like child’s play. Syria’s allies Iran and Hezbollah must be very nervous. They need the Assads to have their access to Syria. A Sunni regime will have no love for the Shia Persians and Lebanese. Nor does Assad have other friends in the Arab world. The Saudis, Iraqis, and Jordanians will not lift a finger to help Bashar. Israel has seen little positive effects for it so far in the winter of Arab discontent.

But unrest in Syria is different especially if it disrupts the Tehran-Damascus axis and unsettles Hezbollah and Hamas. The Mossad must be watching carefully to assess Assad’s staying power. For the U.S. the Assads have been consistent disappointments. They have flirted with peace with Israel especially in 2000 but never jumped. We should hope this spring will be their last.

Bruce Riedel, a former long-time CIA officer, is a senior fellow in the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution. At Obama’s request, he chaired the strategic review of policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2009. He is author of the new book Deadly Embrace: Pakistan, America and the Future of the Global Jihad and The Search for Al Qaeda: Its Leadership, Ideology and Future.

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March 27th, 2011, 10:28 am

 

66. MONTAGNARD said:

ALIA @#48
I am afraid I don’t have the evidence you are requesting and that is why I referred to it as covert (clandestine) network.
It will be hard to defy the logic that a network doesn’t exist to support such complex and high risk operations in the past (assassinating Mughnia and taking pictures, samples and scouting Al-Kibar), when the chaotic environment didn’t even exist.

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March 27th, 2011, 11:00 am

 

67. jad said:

#63
Are you saying that we in Syria don’t have any potential for any sectarian clashes and nobody will use it against our social fabric to steer problems?
Isn’t it possible for any of the smugglers’ groups in the south (Jordan), the west (Lebanon), the coast and the north to do what Mm Shaaban said?
I say the possibility of her story on both issues to be true is high.
Check the videos of the ‘revolutionists’ themselves when it’s showing them burning cars, throwing stones and arguing between each others, how you think some of those young angry guys who have no clue of how things work will react if they have gun in their hands and being used by someone? It will be many folds more bloody and devastating than what we are seeing so far especially when they are charged with sectarian motives. It’s obvious that many elements are using those incidents for their advantages. Did you read Qaradawi speech?
Until today every sign I read is pointing toward chaos and blood and in this situation I better pause and evaluate before I take any decision, wisdom is necessary these days.
Denying an existing issue doesn’t make it disappear and looking at things in black and white is not good either.

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March 27th, 2011, 11:08 am

 

68. nafdik said:

off the wall,

While I agree that it is unfortunate that the video was fake, the blame falls 100% on the government.

When they open free access to journalists we will get the ability to verify sources and so on.

In the meantime we will have to rely on rumor and smuggled clips of dubious identity.

As for the constant call for fear of sectarian divide of the nation. Only a blind or a dishonest person will deny that the whole foundation of the regime is sectarian.

So please, please, please, please spare us the comical calls for unity and being careful from foreigners spreading sectarian division.

Self-delusion and incessant lying will not help the cause of the regime.

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March 27th, 2011, 11:13 am

 

69. OFF THE WALL said:

Nafdik #68
One please would have been enough. You have answered my question loud and clear.

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March 27th, 2011, 11:42 am

 

70. MONTAGNARD said:

NAFDIK @#68
While I understand what you mean, I take issue with your use of words “it is unfortunate that the video was fake”. I think we are very fortunate that the video was fake, unless you condone that things should go in a total chaos with armed gangs on the loose and a civil war which would replace a legitimate political protest.
I am certainly not accusing you of supporting such a turn of events because I know that you wouldn’t. It is just to draw your attention to how things could escalate. As far as your comment that we already have sectarian problems that exist in our society, you are right and that is why we have to make sure that while we achieve political change we do not end up with a civil war like Iraq did, and then the political change will be worth nothing with a failed state and a fractured society, not to mention the dead wounded and refugees and all the destruction and looting of property.

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March 27th, 2011, 11:43 am

 

71. nafdik said:

MONTAGNARD,

I agree with all you are saying.

I agree that we are facing a possibility of civil war.

But we should be clear why this is the case.

The reason civil war is a possibility is that because we have one party who wants freedom and the other that is willing to create genocide to avoid them reaching their goal.

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March 27th, 2011, 11:49 am

 

72. MONTAGNARD said:

NAFDIK
Here is where I disagree with you. A lot of the protesters demands and goals are being responded to, accepted or on the way of being implemented. It will take skillful leadership abilities on the part of the new leaders to complete this journey to where you see as the final goal, a free, democratic Syria with dignity for all. You don’t want to throw the baby with the bad water. The regime is giving concessions after concessions fast in order to survive, that is true. But the people of Syria have a higher vested interest in the future of Syria than a regime on the ropes. At this time they have little to loose if they lost Al-Sulta. Syrians have a lot more to loose if Syria slips into chaos and civil war. Maybe I am too confident that the revolution has already won, and what is critical is how you go from here to the next steps without loosing everything. We have never been at this stage before and the situation has changed faster than predicted. I would like to see some leadership that is wise and trustworthy to safeguard the achievements and navigate the country into the future while showing the regime the door without bloodshed.

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March 27th, 2011, 12:13 pm

 

73. Aboali said:

Mr. Landis, you’ve just lost any credibility you ever had with the Syrian people. Your unabashed towing of the pro-regime line and it’s propaganda machine makes you no less complicit in the murder of Syrian protesters from Daraa to Lattakia than the Security thugs who fired the bullets, shame on you.
Don’t ever set foot in my country again, you’re no longer welcome here.

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March 27th, 2011, 2:59 pm

 

74. AIG said:

Ehsani,

How will Syria convince the US to stop the sanctions? What will be the deal?

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March 27th, 2011, 3:09 pm

 

75. Blonde Arabist said:

As I haven’t been able to read everything above, I apologise if i am repeating comments from any previous posts.

However, have just seen a series of references in British (only Daily Telegraph) and Canadian media outlets mentioning the “Shabiha” gang (see link below).

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/8409870/Syria-feared-militia-kills-up-to-21-people-as-protests-continue.html

I’ve never heard of this group before (my knowledge of Syrian mafioso politics during the 1990s being nil), but could they really be actively undermining their own ‘Alawi regime? Henchmen of Maher, perhaps? Rather amusing then that a bunch of ‘Alawi gang-members were decidedly looked like “foreigners”, hey Joshua?

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March 28th, 2011, 4:25 pm

 

76. C L O S E R » Blog Archive » Closing the week 12 – Featuring the Syrian Uprising said:

[…] the Syrian Uprising Syria Comment » Archives » Syria Dividing: Most Large Cities Calm. The Troubles in Latakia Lead to… Syria is dividing into sides – those that will fight the state and those that support the […]

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March 29th, 2011, 7:29 am

 

77. News – Saudi Arabia – 2011-03-28 | ArabiaLink said:

[…] and Jeffrey Fleishman (LAT) reports. ANALYSIS: Joshua Landis (Syria Comment Blog) writes, “Syria is dividing into sides – those that will fight the state and those that support the presiden…. The army is sticking by the President, a main difference with Egypt or Tunisia. So long as the […]

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March 29th, 2011, 7:48 pm

 

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