“Syria in Fragments: Divided Minds, Divided Lives,” by an American in Syria

This is the best piece of writing on Syria since the uprising began. Read it.

Hello Dr. Landis,

Thanks for taking my call today, and sorry for interrupting your meal with your kids. I hope the hot dogs were good. …. I can tell you more about myself later, but I’d prefer that you not mention me or my name to anyone (hope I don’t sound too paranoid… feeling especially vulnerable these days). If you want to post this piece as a blog entry, please just post it as “From Damascus”.

I’m pasting below the text of what I’ve written. I don’t have the background in political analysis that seems to be the forte of many who post on your site. Instead, I focus on the face-to-face encounters that I have in Syria now, that is, the words and experiences coming from the Syrians I connect with. I have found these last few months that one can expend all his time and energy just trying to find out “what is really going on,” and at the end of the day there is so much conflicting information and perspective, not to mention a war of information and reports, that you can still wind up scratching your head in confusion, even if you’re right here in Syria. Because of this, I find it better to just offer a personal glimpse of interactions with people on the ground here.

Protest in Deraa as shown on Syrian TV

Themes in this article:

  • — the new phenomenon of Dera’an separateness
  • — the challenging experience of Shia minority in the Dera’a muhafiza
  • — effects of the suppression on the entire muhafiza, not just the city
  • — identity as geographical, not only tribal/sectarian
  • — new Damascene attitudes toward Dera’ans
  • — Christian passivity and approval for the suppression
  • — conservative trends in Sunni society vs. denial of Salafist presence
  • — Alawi movement from prior measured criticism of the regime to a new, fanatical patriotism
  • — reaction of Lebanese Shia, effect on large, extended family groups that span the Lebanon-Syria border
  • — Hizbullah’s rapidly declining popularity among opposition Syrians
  • — experience of opposition-oriented Syrian AUB students in Lebanon, threats

Syria in Fragments: Divided Minds, Divided Lives
By an American in Syria
for Syria Comment
May 29, 2011

About a week ago I sat with a good friend from the muhafiza (governorate or county) of Dera’a. The raw account of events in Dera’a that he presented to me bore striking contrast to the opinions of people outside that area, people of Damascus, confused people trying to weigh the injustices vs. necessity of the military action in Dera’a.

Details of our conversation that might have been news at the time I spoke with him are now known by most readers at this late date: electricity, water, mobile phone service, land line telephone service, all cut off; rooftop water tanks, common in this area, are shot by military personnel; anyone who moves in the streets is shot. Furthermore, people who have used their own generators to provide power to their homes are visited by the military and the generators are promptly confiscated.

This friend (let’s call him Adham) has a sister and brother who both live in the city of Dera’a with their families. For weeks, they have had no word from them. They don’t even know if they or their children are alive. Adham’s brother was working in Damascus when the occupation of Dera’a began. He was unable to return home to his family. He cannot communicate with or receive any news from his wife or children. He has traveled recently to the city, hoping that after these weeks he would finally be allowed to reunite with his family, but has been prevented from doing so by the military that is keeping the city sealed off.

News that does trickle out of Dera’a seems to be coming from people who have Jordanian cell phones that sometimes find coverage in the area. People are using their car batteries to charge their cell phones, among other devices.

Many Damascenes continue to look me in the eye and tell me that “There’s nothing happening in Syria! Everything is fine!” Consider that Adham’s village in the muhafiza of Dera’a is closer to Damascus than it is to the city of Dera’a, and yet his family is without cell phone service, or even land-line service. Phone service of all types has been cut off from the entire muhafiza. When he comes to work in Damascus, he and his family have no way of checking on each other. This treatment is having the effect of galvanizing oppositional sentiment in the muhafiza and the growing sense of Dera’an separateness.

*See Alex’s correction to this simplistic map of Syrian religions copied below

Adham is an atheist whose family is of Shia background. Being an atheist and coming from a Shia family, he is in no way sympathetic to Sunni Islamism. Therefore, it’s telling when he affirms that “there are no Salafiin in Dera’a. I can say for sure that any group of such people that exists is very, very small.”

Rather, he explains that the government’s siege has been effective in unifying the muhafiza of Dera’a against it. By treating the entire muhafiza as criminal, the sentiments of most of its inhabitants (not just those inside the city of Dera’a) have turned against the regime. It’s interesting that identity runs not only along religious, ethnic, and tribal lines, but also along geographical lines, in that the people of Dera’a—not only the city, but the entire muhafiza—are viewing themselves as a unit, separate from those who comprise the leadership of Syria. “I can say that 90% of people in the entire muhafiza are against the government,” Adham says. Rather than viewing the uprising as one of sectarian character, he explains that “my brother’s family in the city of Dera’a has Christian neighbors. There are many Christians in the city of Dera’a and in other villages who have joined in the protests.”

Dera’a is becoming a unit—I hesitate to say almost separate from Syria—not only in how people there are beginning to view themselves as separate from the state (an understandable effect after feeling attacked by the state), but in the way many other Syrians are reacting to Dera’ans. Adham tells me that in the hospital where he works in Damascus, he is experiencing a new, unmistakable resentment and coldness from his coworkers. “They say nothing, but I can see in their faces that they blame us for the current situation in Syria.” He says that he doesn’t feel safe responding to the opinions voiced by people in his workplace. He believes that people’s opinions are misled and mistaken, but if he defends “his own” Dera’ans, he fears reprisal.

“One Alawi girl who works in the hospital was very happy about the army entering the city. She said, ‘They must destroy the entire city and should kill everyone demonstrating.’” Her comments reflect the result of the government’s successful campaign to demonize the protesters; many people simply believe that there is an insidious cancer of extremism growing inside Syria, that threatens all life, security, and humane values, and that drastic measures are needed to thoroughly wipe it out.

In stark contrast to Adham’s understanding of the situation, I witnessed unreserved approval for the government crack down on a Thursday a week after the siege on Dera’a began. I visited some close Christian friends in Damascus who we can call Samer and Najwah. It was impossible not to broach the subject of the situation in Dera’a, knowing that the next day, Friday, would likely produce significant casualties. This household however, grimly viewed the army’s cordoning off and occupation of the city as necessity. I couldn’t help but begin to argue with them that even if there was a poisonous “Salafi” threat in the town, the siege and suppression would mean the suffering, trauma, and even killing of many innocent people as well. If some people from that area had indeed called for the establishment of an Islamic emirate (and it’s no surprise that some there would be oriented this way), I was just not convinced that the entire city, the many thousands protesting there, were all seeking such a goal.

For Najwah, however, the city of Dera’a has become a single entity containing one kind of people: bad. For her, the terrorist persuasion of the people in that community now justifies virtually any action against them. From her attitude, I felt that if the city was to be wiped off the map, she wouldn’t mind. I began to mention reports of the more grisly examples of violent killings there. “Good!” was her angry response.

I tried to think back and remember if I’d ever been in a country where serious atrocities were taking place and had looked in the eye of someone who rejoiced in them. I couldn’t, and I realized that I was witnessing the kind of passive approval for massacre that one reads about in history books, when individuals or groups become convinced of the evil of another and of the necessity of wiping them out. Najwah is not an evil woman, but the people of Dera’a have become completely vilified in her mind, and she fears them.

The son of Samer and Najwah is soon going to go and study in Europe. Samer has a Syrian friend there who will help their son get established when he arrives. A detail that Najwah seemed to have misplaced is that this man is from Dera’a! Samer told me, “He called me from Germany and asked me if I would try and obtain permission to give a generator to his family in Dera’a. So I called someone in the military and asked if I could take a generator to them. They told me ‘No, it is not allowed.’” After having heard the anti-Dera’a emotion in the house, I was surprised. “Wait, you called someone in the military and asked if you could help someone in Dera’a?” I asked. “I’m really impressed!”

“Hey man,” Samer responded, “I’m not without feeling.” Najwah entered the room and caught my last sentence about helping someone in Dera’a. She looked at her husband with a shocked expression and demanded an explanation which he rapidly unwound while I contemplated the fact that she wasn’t already aware of his attempt to intervene on behalf of this family. She seemed angry, so I asked her “What do you think about the fact that when your son goes to Europe, the man who will be helping your family is from Dera’a?” She looked bewildered and stuttered confusedly, “He is…not from Dera’a…he is in Europe…” Najwah didn’t want me to shatter the delicately constructed reality she was clinging to; dismantling it would mean surrendering to confusion and losing anything solid to hold on to, anything that makes sense. As I left, I told Samer, “I would never say that you are without feeling.”

I departed from this home and Damascus and set off to spend the weekend in an almost exclusively Sunni town where people are unabashedly expressing anti-regime sentiment. Upon arriving, I sat in the living room of a family no less close to me than Samer and Najwah. I was met by a barrage of emotion, words laced with livid rage toward the regime and those supporting its campaign in Dera’a. “What’s wrong with those Christians in Damascus?! Who are they?! Don’t they care about human rights?!” I tried to reason with this family, hoping to elicit some empathy regarding the fear that minorities often have, but to little avail. Interestingly, this is a liberal family, full of agnostics who regularly mock Islamist figures and thinking. Their commitment to the protesters, like Adham’s, is based on their belief in freedom, equity, and rights for people. They do not see a Salafist element in Syrian society or in the protests. Furthermore, they are unable to understand why the Christian community is so pro-regime at this time. Being of Sunni background has insulated them from the pressures felt by other groups.

I had a violent argument with one of the daughters in the family, who I’ll call Na’ima. “Have you ever thought of what it feels like to belong to a minority group in a region where ‘otherness’ is often not valued, and where historically, belonging to ‘the other’ often involved the threat of violence?” I reminded Na’ima of the origins of the Druze, when they fled the massacres of their native Egypt for the protection of the mountains of the Levant. I posited that Alawis operate with the same “never again” persecution complex that underpins Jewish Israeli injustices against Palestinian natives. I brought up the obvious example of Iraq and mentioned that the near annihilation of Christians there is still more than a “recent memory” for Syrian Christians who fear that the similar removal of their own dictator will leave them as vulnerable as were the Iraqi Christians after Saddam was vacated. And I even mentioned that life is looking troubled and uneasy for Christians in post-Mubarak Egypt, where there is supposedly less sectarianism than Syria and where Christians comprise a greater percentage of the total population.

(For some examples of this, these are links to articles sent to me by Egyptian Christian friends in Egypt:

Many of the Egyptian Christians I’m in touch with took part in the revolution and were very happy to see Mubarak go, but are now increasingly worried about their security and sectarian relations.)

Finally, I said to Na’ima,

“Don’t you remember about a year ago when I came to a wedding for someone in your family, here in your village? I was surprised to see an all-Muslim wedding with men and women dancing together. I told you that I knew that male-female dancing was common at Christian weddings, but that at all the Muslim weddings I’d ever attended, I had only ever seen men dancing together. You told me that in the past, this kind of dancing was very common in your village, but that through recent decades, rural culture has moved in an ever more conservative direction, and that now, the only weddings in your village in which one can see men and women dancing together are the weddings of your family. You told me a year ago that it was clear that fundamentalism was growing. No one used to wear the niqab, but now many women in your village are wearing it. In fact, you complained about these trends in society and expressed worry about future prospects of losing certain freedoms. If you, a liberal family of Sunni background, observe these trends and experience a certain amount of discomfort regarding them, can you not understand how much more troubling these times are to minorities, a time when Christians are rampantly killed next door in Iraq, and when Gulf-based sheikhs regularly disseminate hateful anti-Alawi rhetoric? Even if you’re right in asserting that the Syrian protest movement is secular and purely about securing rights, since you have noted the rise of fundamentalism in your own society and village, is it absurd to consider the possible emergence of so-called ‘Salafi’—in other words, violence-sanctioning—groups?”

But empathy was on short supply. In fact, the animosity I was hearing expressed toward Christians, even on the part of such non-religious Sunnis, was surprising, and almost resembled the kind of prejudice that the Syrian minority community is fearing. What surprised me most was the way that Na’ima referred to many Christians who are close friends of hers, both in Damascus and in her village. It was as though these people had become her enemies overnight, and I felt that my status as a foreigner only tenuously separated me from similar designation.

Back in Damascus, I wanted to visit one of my friends, an Alawi woman from Homs. I’ll call her Nisreen. Nisreen couldn’t represent a stronger antithesis to Na’ima. I’m finding that Alawi people who used to criticize the government six months ago now defend it at every turn. Whenever I call Nisreen, my ear is assaulted by a track she has selected to play (the waiting music before the recipient of the call answers), a clip of a speech of Hafez al-Assad about all the virtues and glory of the “watan.” Even most people who stand by Bashar acknowledge the uncontested brutality of Hafez, so it’s very strange that at a moment when statues of the father are falling around Syria, young, educated Alawis would display his words as an emblem of what they stand for today.

I sat with Nisreen at the restaurant table, anticipating that our views would differ, but also expecting that we would be able to understand each other and find some area of common agreement. It soon became apparent to me, however, that the chasm that separated our respective understandings of current events was too great to be bridged. Nisreen views the outside media as players in a malevolent scheme to destroy her country. She believes that they hate Syria.

There is a large billboard being displayed right now next to the Rotana café on Shariya Abu Roumaneh just above the Jesr Rais that is divided into two halves: the first half is dark, red, and blood splattered with a message saying “No to Fitna;” the second contains images of beauty and a mosque and church side by side with positive messages including “Yes to a Shared Life.” The item of interest here is that on the “Fitna” side there’s an image of the Al Jazeera logo inside a circle with a line through it.

Thanks to Casey Hogle for this photo

I would share some of Nisreen’s critical view of the media; Al Jazeera has disappointed me during the unrest in Syria with exaggerations, strong bias, unprofessional content, and just plain bad writing. But I’m also aware that despite their exaggeration of certain events (in favor of the protesters) there are a lot of abuses perpetrated by the government here that do not make it to the news. When I mention this to Nisreen, as well as the fact that the Syrian news that she digests is even less objective, she becomes hostile. In her view, the whole world is conspiring to destroy her revered nation state.

She begins by showing that there really aren’t many protests; it’s all a fictional campaign by outside media. Next, what people are calling protests are just mobs of vandals who have been paid to destroy property and create chaos. After that, any protests that are real are made up of violent people who want to create an Islamic state. Most of the deaths are Syrian security forces killed by terrorists while trying to peacefully protect neighborhoods from thugs. I tried to talk with Nisreen about the discontent experienced by many Syrians due to the mafia structure of the state’s economic system, decades of mukhabaraat brutality and antagonism, the lack of education and work opportunity, and in general, hunger. She shot each one of these down, offering strange explanations and justifications for every conceivable example I could provide of mistakes of the government. It was maddening to hear her defend 100% of the regime’s actions, values, and leadership, and after an hour of arguing, I wanted to pull my hair out.

What I learned from this encounter is that when pressure of the kind we’re facing now begins to build, people turn to their “imagined communities,” to the groups based around their smallest circle of identity. Most of the Alawi I know have entirely stopped criticizing the government and now stand fully behind the regime.

I am also learning that such conflicts can divide even the closest friends. Nisreen is one of my closer friends here, but as close as we have been, and as much faith as I put in the human commitment to friendship and the ability to reach across boundaries, I have experienced a rude awakening regarding the strain that times of conflict and conspiracy can create between people. On the one hand, only 5 minutes of conversation with Nisreen can now drive me almost insane as she presents the regime as an angelic victim of every manner of conspiracies and lies.

On the other hand, I become incensed at Na’ima’s inability to sympathize with the minorities and understand their fears. Her zealous anti-regime sentiments seem to drown out her ability to see the nuance of complexity in the situation or to listen to the variety of perspectives along the spectrum of opinion. Spending time with either Nisreen or Na’ima has become unpleasant, as I can’t bear to listen to their comments of judgment and lack of understanding for the other. When I open my mouth in defense of those they blame, I can almost feel a rift growing between us, because in their minds, so much is at stake. I am still somewhat neutral; this dynamic has greater effects on the relationships between Syrians.

Amidst the new voicing of patriotism and all this rhetoric about unity, Syrians are terribly divided. People like Nisreen are not trying to empathize with those who are protesting, to understand their difficulties and motivations, but instead cling to easy explanations that vilify them. And people like Na’ima are writing off the sectarian fears being experienced by many, without trying to understand their experience. These fears may or may not be justified, but they are certainly not absurd. The real tragedy that I observe is that different groups are not working to understand each other. This is the main problem of Syria today: Syrians do not understand each other. If only they could reach across the divide a little and consider the fears and concerns of the other side.

Even those who deny Islamist motivations for the protests can see that relations between groups can be strained, if not before now, then particularly during these politically volatile circumstances. Though Adham doesn’t believe that there is any Salafi element propelling the uprising in Dera’a, he acknowledges that an anti-Alawi sentiment is growing among the Sunni community, as would understandably be the case when the people watch an Alawi-controlled military roll tanks into their communities. “There are already 3 armies based near the city of Dera’a. But the government didn’t use them to attack the city. Why not? Because they contain many young men from around the country, including many young Sunni men, who wouldn’t want to attack the people.Instead they brought Maher’s special army all the way from Qatana. It is the special army that is loyal to him.” (Qatana is located a short distance west of Damascus.)

Adham doesn’t believe in God, so religion plays no role in his siding with the protesters of Dera’a. But because current events are fueling an increasing anti-Alawi attitude, complications have arisen for his family, which is Shia. Alawi beliefs do not closely resemble those of the Shia, and it is easy to see that Alawism is outside the fold of any commonly understood Islamic orthodoxy (though it’s sad that this matters so much to so many, and that belonging to such a sect means being a recipient of prejudice and bigotry). But among the poorly-educated Sunni majority of the muhafiza of Dera’a, many are not aware of the distinction between Shi’ism and Alawism, and do not draw lines between the Shia and the Alawi. The fact that Alawi are quickly becoming vilified for the people of Dera’a has placed Adham’s family in hot water recently, and the heads of the family are working overtime on local public relations and image management.

The complexities don’t stop there. While Dera’an Shia are trying to convince their neighbors that they are not Alawi, members of Adham’s family are experiencing another animosity on the international front. Adham has a cousin who lives in Belgium. He works there with Lebanese members of their same extended family. (It’s a large family group or clan that spans both sides of the Syrian-Lebanese border.) The Lebanese relative recently came to Adham’s cousin in Belgium and told him, “There’s no more business between you and me. We hate all you from Dera’a who are trying to ruin everything.” What is this Lebanese relative so upset about? Consider for a moment: The family is Shia. It makes sense that the Lebanese side, being Shia, would therefore be very supportive and loyal to Hizbullah. The protest movement in Syria is generally against the al-Assad government, which is the biggest sponsor of Hizbullah, its link to Iran, and without which Hizbullah would become near-powerless. Lebanese who love Hizbullah, therefore, are likely to view the Syrian protest movement as a direct attack, and this feeling is strong enough to divide families.

Another outcome of this situation is that Hizbullah has inadvertently been drying up its support among mainstream Syrian society. About a year ago I remember a young Sunni man telling me that he hated Hizbullah. “Because they are Shia?” I asked him. “Not at all,” he responded, “it’s because they are so close to our government here in Syria, and our government is so evil.” Hizbullah generally enjoys the affections of most Syrian people, but what I have come to realize is that loving Hizbullah is part of demonstrating one’s patriotism as a Syrian. Syrian national identity is intertwined with resistance to Zionism—the threat that justified the emergency laws all these years, right? And Hizbullah is the most thriving aspect of resistance that can be showcased today. So, supporting Hizbullah is less about a direct connection to Palestinian suffering and more about accepting the entire parcel of pre-packaged Syrian nationalist identity. Expressing affection for Nasrallah is just one of the many ingredients in the complicated recipe of proving that Syrian blood runs in one’s veins. This explains the tremendous irony that the most fervent support for Hizbullah that I have encountered comes from Christians, ever close to the regime these days.

All of this makes it understandable that revolutionary Syrians, desiring to cast off all the trappings of the cult-like Ba’ath system, would consequentially reject Hizbullah.

This becomes even easier when we add the fact that the majority of protesters are Sunni. Hence, some of the chants we heard early-on from Dera’an protesters: “No Iran, no Hizbullah, we want a Muslim ruler who fears God.” But Hizbullah has accelerated the expending of its popularity by coming out and denouncing the Syrian protest movement with verbal condemnation for the protesters. This was a move designed to demonstrate their allegiance to the Syrian regime, their primary support, but perhaps another layer to it is that Hizbullah doesn’t have anything to gain by seeing the growth or development of Sunni Islamism in the area—if the protests do in fact portend a new wave of Islamist energy.

My friend Samer is always liberal with the praise he sings for Nasrallah and Hizbullah. I confronted Samer recently, saying

“Don’t you find it at all ironic that you decry Islamism in Syria and support the regime’s campaign of suppression against the protesters because you believe them to be Islamists that will ultimately assault Christian communities with violence, while you simultaneously support an Islamist movement next door in Lebanon?”

He went on for a minute about Israel…

“But you must recognize that all Islamist movements on some level hold as a long term objective the establishment of an Islamic state, akin to the ‘Islamic emirate’ you were distressed to hear a few voices in Baniyas and Dera’a calling for. How do you as a Christian feel about a Hizbullah that in the future could become the major ruling power in Lebanon, displacing the only Christian-dominated Arab government?”

Samer replied simply,

“Look, I am Hizbullah’s number-one supporter as long as they oppose the injustices committed by Israel, but as soon as they try to take over Lebanon, I will be the first one against them.”

I described above a Lebanese reaction to Adham’s cousin working in Europe. The Lebanese response to the Syrian movement has further ramifications for Syrians living in Lebanon. Some Syrian students I know who study at the American University of Beirut explained to me how they are being threatened at the university. Discussions dealing with current events in the region have taken place in some of their classes, and some students have wanted to write papers expressing opinions and proposals for changes in Syria. Syrian students who side with the protesters have come under fire in Lebanon, by other Syrians as well as by some Lebanese. One student told me that a young Lebanese woman in his class who belongs to the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (Hizb al-Suri al-Qawmi al-Ijtima’i—a party that operates in Syria and Lebanon that holds that Lebanon should not be an independent country, but part of Greater Syria) threatened him that if he submitted a paper critical of the current Syrian regime, she would write a report on him and turn it in to the Syrian embassy in Lebanon.

This Syrian embassy is known as a doorway for a resurgence of Syrian mukhabaraat activity in Lebanon that had previously diminished after Syria pulled out of Lebanon following Rafik Hariri’s assassination in 2005. Many of the vendors selling flowers and trinkets in strategic locations of Beirut are believed by many Lebanese and Syrians to be planted by the mukhabaraat, and many Syrians in Lebanon still look over their shoulders when speaking. It’s sad that opinion would be censored (self-censored or peer-censored) on an American university campus. Another Syrian student at AUB was recently arrested as he tried to reenter his country from Lebanon.

It is interesting to see, as with Adham’s cousin, how people caught in regional conflicts can carry their respective sides abroad, perpetuating tension, and on a more sinister level, as with the Syrian AUB students, how power structures can continue to meddle with lives removed from the motherland. Toward the beginning of the recent uprising in Libya, one might remember the news stories about Libyan students in the U.S. who were threatened that if they didn’t turn out for the pro-regime demonstrations in Washington, they would lose their scholarships. The Syrian mukhabaraat has an even longer arm. Syrian Americans in the U.S. are sometimes visited and informed that if they don’t make a show of support for President Assad, bad things will happen to their families back in Syria. “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave”: when a nation’s process of coercion-maintained corruption is so endemic from the top to the bottom of the system, even living on the other side of the world is sometimes not enough to allow one to escape the mafia-cult, not as long as one has something of value or someone vulnerable still within their reach.

This speaks to the ongoing controversy over the freshly gushing patriotism and the question of the real level of support still enjoyed by the Syrian regime. The lesson is: whether a mafia or cult, outpourings of support for the leader cannot be considered entirely authentic or credible, since, just as with affirmations of conviction in a religion that proscribes death for apostasy, “a ‘yes’ is never truly a ‘yes’ unless ‘no’ is truly an option.”

I recently happened to encounter a busload of French tourists, still traversing the landscape of ancient ruins, oblivious to the newborn, infant landscape of rapid social change, and the seriousness of danger and abuse arising from its afterbirth. “There doesn’t seem to be much happening here, everything looks safe,” seems to be the conclusion of a number of outsiders.

But Adham, after meeting with me in my home and unloading on me the tension and grief surrounding his family’s situation in Dera’a, became nervous when preparing to walk out the door. “There are a lot of mukhabaraat in the street near your house. Because you are a foreigner, I am afraid of being arrested and questioned about my visit to you, because you are probably under surveillance.”

Correction to Maps by Alex

Interesting post but the maps are a bit too far from reality. A few examples:

1) religion: Christians in Deir Ezzore?

No, they are found almost everywhere in Syria, both in cities and villages. They represent all segments of Syrian society. But not in Deir Ezzore as the map shows. On the other hand, the area between Damascus and Homs (and villages east and south of Homs such as Fayrouzeh, Sadad, Zaydal …), near Hama (such as city of Mehardeh), in Horan, mount Hermon, Hassake … Damascus, Latattakia …

2) Languages: Armenian is in Kassab, near lattakia, Aleppo, and north eastern Syria … not in Deir Ezzore as the map shows. The only thing Armenian in Deir Ezzore is the Armenian monument for the Armenian victims of the 1915 genocide …. 1.5 million of them.

Assyrian (not Aramaic) is near Hassakeh and Qamishli and Malkieh. There are also present in Sadad, Maaloula …etc. Then you have Ashouri in Wadi el-khabour (near Hassakeh)

3) Arabic dialects: Northern Mesopotamian Arabic (jezrawi) is only confined to Hassakeh, Qamishli, Derbasieh, amouda, and other towns in north eastern Syria. The countryside is bedouin Arab and they have their own dialect. More over, Aleppo and Edlib to the west has nothing to do with that dialect.

Iraqi Arabic is mainly in the cities along eastern part of the valley of the Euphrates … Abu Kamal … Deir Ezzore and vicinity … Raqqa (though it has bedouin too)

Comments (610)

1. EHSANI2 said:

The above observations of the American citizen are spot on. Those who have long claimed that Syria is not sectarian have to face the new realities that have been exposed since March. Christians and Alawis support this leadership. All they need to do is to demonize anyone who is anti-regime before any action is justified in their eyes. Branding the “other side” as salafis and “extremists” makes life easy. Wealthy Sunnis are confused. They are aware that the removal of the leadership will also mean the removal of their privileged economic positions. Less fortunate Sunnis have had enough. They are economically destroyed. They blame all problems on the government, corruption and the Alawis who have grabbed a large piece of the cake. They are convinced that once this leadership is removed, their own fortunes cannot go anywhere but up. The whole secular identity of Syria has been shattered. It was a mirage and a lie from the beginning. Those that claim they are not sectarian are the most sectarian themselves but they either don’t know it or they don’t want to admit it.

Where do we go from here?

Syria has entered its own long dark tunnel.

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May 29th, 2011, 11:09 am


3. AIG said:


The Israeli government said it will not defend the company that allegedly traded with Iran. What is your point? You think that the Israeli government controls every company in Israel or that we have no idiots and criminals here?


Is there way to avert civil war in Syria?

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May 29th, 2011, 11:48 am


4. Syria no kandahar said:

I think that this is not an accurate reflection of the situation in Syria.we all have families there and I dont get this Grimm pictur outlined above.let us all be realistic pro and anti regime and in between:
-This system can’t be brought down internally,without ecoonomical collapse.
-if free elections are held today there is no one person which is liked by Syrian majorities.
-every one knows that Assad (as a person)is a good person,he is an educated physician,a fathers and married to his enemies tribes(pee today’s revolutionists inventions) he also docent have the revolutionists discusting sectarian bad breath.
-Not allowing the prsident to do what he promised by putting fires under his toes and not showing caring and responsibilty by the oppositions will make them responsible for the collapse of the dark tunnel which they are trying to drag Syria into,on evry ones head,which is there goal.

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May 29th, 2011, 12:22 pm


5. Observer said:

I agree with Ehsani on this blog.
My questions that I put forth in the previous blog remain. Would Ehsani care to share his ideas about these questions?

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May 29th, 2011, 1:02 pm


6. Shai said:


I know we have not exchanged comments in the past, but as I hope you know, I do respect you very much, and always learn tremendously from your comments.

Tell me, do you not think that all nations have an innate sectarianism to them? How, then, is Syria any different? Do we not know and feel that in the U.S. under-the-surface non-Christians are looked at differently? I don’t know about the Muslim or other minority perspective in the U.S. as well as I know the Jewish one, but few Jews in America (or in European countries for that matter) haven’t experienced anti-Semitism in some form or another in their lifetime. While they may have equality under the law, they know they haven’t always enjoyed true-equality everywhere they went.

Democracy isn’t a guarantee for non-sectarianism. It’s when the system breaks down, that the innate sectarianism of every society reveals its ugly head. But I think it’s always there, in almost every country on earth.

Do you agree?

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May 29th, 2011, 1:02 pm


7. Adam Simpson said:


I would agree with almost everything you write, yet you forgot to mention the dilemma facing the minority groups, especially the Alawite population. As numerous people here and elsewhere have noted, these groups have no reason to believe that ousting the current regime will fare any better for the country than it did in Iraq. No matter what anyone within the opposition says, these fears are rational, especially considering the experience of Iraqi Christians and other minorities.


The problems with what you said are too many to list. As an American who just returned from living in Syria for a number of years, I can say my experience there mirrored that of the author of this post. The suspicion between the various groups existed before the protests. As far as I’m concerned, they simply brought them to light for the world to see. Sorry, but your comments fell right into line (towing behind all of the prejudices and misunderstanding) with the others that the author wrote about.

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May 29th, 2011, 1:03 pm


8. Norman said:

Sectarianism is thee religois or otherwise only good laws and strong gov can protect people from each others even in a Jewish state people find other things to hate each other for like Sean Jews vs American ones only law and order protect prole from their animal instinct

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May 29th, 2011, 1:19 pm


9. Abdullah said:


I don\’t believe anyone who understand democracy actually said that it is a guarantee against sectarianism. In fact, The States isn\’t a democracy in the truest sense, it was designed to be a representative republic. A few people in Congress suggested that Iraq should probably have a similar layout, but this was publicly shot down by the Bush (and most likely Obama as well) before the ink was dry on that day\’s paper.

You raised a fantastic question. I\’m not sure if this has been tackled, in fact I suspect it has considering the degree to which this problem exists in Syria. But, what conclusions do more objective observers arrive at as they try to answer this question? Anyone?

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May 29th, 2011, 1:20 pm


10. AIG said:


Of course sectariansim exists in all societies, the question is its extent. Obviously Lebanon is much more sectarian than the US.
There are several dimensions to determine how sectarian a society is:
1) Is political power divided based on sectarian affiliation?
2) Are the political parties mostly sectarian or ideological?
3) Do people associate themselves primarily with the sect or with the country?

I am sure there are more. Ehsani’s point is that Syria is very on the more sectarian part of the spectrum and that Assad did nothing to solve these issues.

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May 29th, 2011, 1:29 pm


11. majedkhaldoon said:

Sectarianism does exist in Syria,and at a time of fear and high emotion,reasoning and rational thinking does not exist,but we are walking on moving sands,what we say and think today,we will say the opposite tomorrow,depends on new developments.there is a reason why Syria was controlled by foreign power for long time, it is because of our sectarian reality, we can not rule ourself,however the majority of syrian are sunni,democracy means Sunni will have the upper hand, unless we have a law that protect every minority.

Syria is going thru major convulsion,and the regime use of violent crackdown,this will invite foreign intervention,or the people will carry weapons and it will be real civil war,I say the way the regime is handling this crisis is defenitly wrong,Bashar either he will leads true reform, which he is incapable of doing, or he must leave at the end.he must realize 41 year is too long no progress was accomplished by his and his father rule.

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May 29th, 2011, 1:29 pm


12. Tara said:

“Syria in Fragments Divided Minds, Divided Lives,” by an American in Syria is BRILLIANT. I just can not agree more.

“I realized that I was witnessing the kind of passive approval for massacre that one reads about in history books, when individuals or groups become convinced of the evil of another and of the necessity of wiping them out. Najwah (Christian) is not an evil woman, but the people of Dera’a have become completely vilified in her mind, and she fears them….She didn’t want me to shatter the delicately constructed reality she was clinging to; dismantling it would mean surrendering to confusion and losing anything solid to hold on to, anything that makes sense.”

“Nisreen (Alawite) begins by showing that there really aren’t many protests; it’s all a fictional campaign by outside media. Next, what people are calling protests are just mobs of vandals…. After that, any protests that are real are made up of violent people who want to create an Islamic state. Most of the deaths are Syrian security forces killed by terrorists while trying to peacefully protect neighborhoods from thugs. I tried to talk with Nisreen about the discontent experienced by many Syrians due to the mafia structure of the state’s economic system, decades of Mukhabarats brutality and antagonism, the lack of education and work opportunity…. She shot each one of these down, offering strange explanations and justifications for every conceivable example I could provide of mistakes of the government.”

I say- This is exactly sounds like the regime supporters on this site. They are not evil but they have in their mind vilified all the demonstrators or bloggers that support the demonstrators’ call for freedom. I invite all on this site to “not turn to your imagined community, the group that is based around your smallest circle of identity. “Most of the Alawites I know have entirely stopped criticizing the government and now stand fully behind the regime.”

“On the other hand, I become incensed at Na’ima’s (Sunni) inability to sympathize with the minorities and understand their fears… Na’ima’s is writing off the sectarian fears being experienced by many, without trying to understand their experience. These fears may or may not be justified, but they are certainly not absurd.

I say- This sounds like most Syrian revolutionists that call for the downfall of the regime without considering the complexity of the situation and addressing the sectarian fear of annihilation if the regime to fall.

“Spending time with either Nisreen or Na’ima has become
unpleasant, as I can’t bear to listen to their comments of judgment and lack of understanding for the other. The real tragedy that I observe is that different groups are not working to understand each other. This is the main problem of Syria today: Syrians do not understand each other. If only they could reach across the divide a little and consider the fears and concerns of the other side.”

This definitely reflects my thoughts. The only solution for the Syrian crisis is perhaps an honest Alawite figure to topple Al-Assad and lead a reform that eventually culminates into free election while building infra-structure, free judiciary system, imposing term limit, dismantling all sort of Mukhabarats, abolishing Makhlouf mafia, changing the constitution, and guaranteeing the rights of all minorities.

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May 29th, 2011, 1:31 pm


13. trustquest said:

Ehsani, let me say that the observation that Syria is sectarian by nature is missing the factor of time. People may not be this way all the time and it is not a DNA thingy, it a law, economic and policy who affect this factor. The secular image the regime tried to build or to project showed its phony color, while on the other hand, if we were building open society, inflexible away from despotism we could have reach different point, because we live, for god sake, in a global world. As you said: “It was a mirage and a lie from the beginning” . But I disagree with you on the tunnel thingy; Syria is going out from its long dark tunnel, new birth for new ideas, openness, and recognitions of all segments of the society to achieve real secularism. Oppression can not live for ever, and minority ruling and tyranny now exposing its real ugly face, it is outdated. No one can stop change especially if big brother supporting it.

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May 29th, 2011, 1:36 pm


14. Shai said:


What I’m trying to say is that I’m not sure Syria is that much different from other nations, when the system breaks down.

We’ve had a few examples in the past century, where the system broke down (even in democracies – see Germany for example), and sectarianism unravelled its horrific potential.

A society where the minority rules over the majority, is clearly a better candidate for such a breakdown. Even in our case, we are de facto ruling over a majority non-Jewish population. The more we wait, the more likely we’ll one day experience a similar Arab Spring.

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May 29th, 2011, 1:37 pm


15. EHSANI2 said:


I have read your earlier comments on the subject. You raised a number of critical issues. In a way, we Syrians are taught how the British and French created artificial borders that ended up drawing nations with a map and a ruler. Almost 10 decades later, we find ourselves defending against the breakup of these nations that were forced upon us by foreign powers.


I do believe that “nations have an innate sectarianism to them” as you put it. The example that you cited has been expressed to me repeatedly by my Jewish neighbor.


Syria does not have to enter that dark tunnel if we learn to forget the past and look to the future. The need for revenge will unfortunately be too powerful to ignore. Syrians can avoid this if they forgive and stick to the objective of fixing all that is wrong. I must submit to you that I am not hopeful.

Dr. Landis,

In a major new development, Syria has just agreed to fully cooperate with U.N. attempts to probe evidence that it secretly built a nuclear reactor. This pledge was prompted by US-led efforts to report Syria to the security council.

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May 29th, 2011, 1:41 pm


16. AIG said:


What do you mean, we already had two Intifadas and a few wars. The difference is that our struggle with the Palestinians is a struggle between nations, not a civil war.

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May 29th, 2011, 1:41 pm


17. Sophia said:

# 1 Ehsani 2,

“Those who have long claimed that Syria is not sectarian have to face the new realities that have been exposed since March.”

You were quick in your judgement in this comment. I think identities are flexible entities and they only become entranched and radicalised when they are threatened. This doesn’t mean that Syrian society was always sectarian, but it means that extremists on both sides of this conflict have already succeeded in laying out the background for the resurgence of sectarianism. The secatrian identity is but one element of identity and it becomes the only one under threat because the nature of the threat targets this element of the identity.

I still maintain that Syria was not sectarian and this is probably the only positive achievement of the Baath party. However, it is quickly becoming sectarian under pressure and threat.

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May 29th, 2011, 1:45 pm


18. Sophia said:

The weak foundations of Arab democracies by Timur Kuran

“THE protesters who have toppled or endangered Arab dictators are demanding more freedoms, fair elections and a crackdown on corruption. But they have not promoted a distinct ideology, let alone a coherent one. This is because private organizations have played only a peripheral role and the demonstrations have lacked leaders of stature.

Both limitations are due to the longstanding dearth, across the Arab world, of autonomous nongovernmental associations serving as intermediaries between the individual and the state. This chronic weakness of civil society suggests that viable Arab democracies — or leaders who could govern them — will not emerge anytime soon. The more likely immediate outcome of the current turmoil is a new set of dictators or single-party regimes.”


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May 29th, 2011, 1:59 pm


19. Innocent Criminal said:

This piece is VERY long, probably TOO long. and yet i find so much of it holding true to my own readings of the situation in syria. the wide-spread dillusion and turning a blind eye to serious abuses just because some feel the ends justify the means are repulsive. Sectarniasm is on the rise but certainly has not come out of nowhere. I also share Ehsani’s pessimistic view.

The situation might not turn really ugly yet, but between the upcoming economic sanctions, the growing unrest, or the possibility of violence flaring up in other parts of the region in direct response to the ‘perceived’ conspieracy against Syria is posing just too many what ifs to be anything but pessimistic.

that said, i still don’t feel the international community nor the majority of syrians have turned fully against the regime. so if the situation does not escalate further i only see econmic and social woes but not the wide spread chaos that large conflicts such as civil war would bring.

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May 29th, 2011, 2:13 pm


20. 873 said:

Sectarianism in Syria is NOT the cause of the latest unrest. It is outside agitators using “freedom” to incite mob-generated coup d’tats around the reigon. Sectarianism is one of their most successful weapons. Isnt it interesting how only the area govts that defy US/Israel seem to be having trouble? Saudi, Kuwait, Bahrain and Jordan- every bit as brutal, even more so, are given a free hand by the NWO junta.
It is the same western/zionist intelligence agencies that have been attempting to overthrow Assad govt for over a DECADE using various means. First by framing Syria for Hariri’s death, then by accusing them of atomic bomb-making plant in Deir Ez Zor, and now the Second phony “Arab Spring.”

The Syrians are VERY saavy folk and know this quite well. They are doing what the writer of this article would do if an outside enemy attacked HIS country to destabilize it and install new rulers(albeit under the usual bogus ‘freedom/democracy/human rights/fake NGO cover’).

Syrians are uniting behind their President and closing ranks to preserve their nation’s survival.

This sophomoric article is filled with gullibility and unexamined cliches. Shallow, and lacking any recognition of real politique, it is a very predictably limited analysis.

One of the top oil CEO’s in the world divulged that TPTB would be setting off regime change rioting and broad crises all across the middle east. He announced this publically back in Sept 2010, insisting that it would begin no later than within 4-5 months time; early 2011. “Coincidentally” Arab Spring 2 ‘erupted’ (w/ no convincing casus belli) exactly as he “predicted”. Imagine that!
(edit button doesnt work)

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May 29th, 2011, 2:36 pm


21. Jihad said:

This “long” article, based on casual discussions with Syrian individuals, does not reflect what is happening in Syria. It also mimics Western Orientalist and Neo-Orientalist tendencies to divide people along ethnic and religious lines. Such an approach is profoundly racist.

Western discourse on Arab and Muslim societies, and especially the Arab world, has not change since the advent of colonialism. It tries nowadays to be more sophisticated by resorting to vague concepts and methodologies that are curiously only applied to these societies, including the overuse of dubious geographical colored maps.

The sole purpose of using such maps is to highlight divisions and to show that, in the end, these societies are the only ones to be faulted for their problems. It is as if color, religion and ethnicity do not explain why racist policies still do exist in many Western countries or how such factors influence social and economic mobility and thus political domination. Forget about colonialism, foreign occupation and Western state sponsored terrorism through their rabid Zionists in Occupied Palestine or through their special forces. Native informants living in these societies or in the West, who have internalized and assimilated this racism into their own worldview, cannot but be happy about such racist analysis.

Yes, in the ongoing events in different Arab countries there are many elements to be taken into account, including religion or ethnicity. But continue to hammer on such issues serves only one thing: Keep people divided.

The frightening sectarian tone is not solely due to economic and political grievances. This ugly sectarianism is also funded and propagated by the Wahhabi regime in Saudi Arabia. I come from Lebanon. I have never witnessed in my life the amount of sectarianism and hate that seeped in the public and political discourse since the arrival to power of the Wahhabi Rafiq Hariri in 1992, flourished till 2004 and exploded after his assassination in 2005. Not even at the height of the civil war(s) did anyone call for boycotting the businesses of a whole community as the Wahhabi Harrirites have done in Lebanon by publishing and circulating a boycott list. If the events that shook the Arab world since December 2010 have taught anything is that there can only be positive and permanent change in the Arab world when the Wahhabi regime in Riyad is torn down.

Finally, as someone from Lebanon who never studied in a Syrian school or university, and who is not fond of the Baathist ideology, I firmly believe that the shitty states of “Isreal”, Lebanon and Jordan were created in order to prevent the emergence of a big power in Syria after the fall of the Ottoman Empire. No need to read Baathist textbooks to come to this conclusion.

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May 29th, 2011, 2:59 pm


22. Syria Comment » Archives » “Syria in Fragments: Divided Minds, Divided Lives,” by an American in Syria said:

[…] “Syria in Fragments: Divided Minds, Divided Lives,” by an American in Syria […]

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May 29th, 2011, 3:00 pm


23. gregorylent said:

ego … ego … ego

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May 29th, 2011, 3:06 pm


24. Nafdik said:

Thank you joshua for sharing this extremely useful testimony, that matches with my limited personal observations.

I think that your american friend being an outsider put his finger on the real problem.

Once you peel the rhetoric and the accusations what shows below is that various groups in syria are so worried abiut their survival that they have stopped considering the ‘other’ as more than an obstacle or instrument to their security.

I will add my own spin here but the assad family has managed to turn a country with a strong and growing national identity into a country that views itself in terms of sect 1st.

This is the painful truth and every day where the assads order the killing and torture of another child is adding for all syrians another decade of work to recover from the hatred that will naturally ensue.

I really ask all syrians to open their hearts and to think about this. This family is taking us to our ruin in order to maintain what we all know is a mafia business. This family will not stay for ever and when it leave our children will have to live with consequences of all the atrocities and injustices committed.

In particular those who believe that the status quo is safer from an unkwon future. The status quo is finished and the earlier we solve the problem with dialog (meaning free elections) the less damage we will have to repair.

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May 29th, 2011, 3:09 pm


25. Syria no kandahar said:

Aroor Artooz and Karadawi’s revolution achievements today:
-Dr صخر حلاق body was found with evidence of tortur and strangulation in Aleppo.
-Tow girls were kidnapped in Edlib due to there villages refusing to demonstrate.
Of cours the revolutionary terrorists will have orgasm and then blame the regime.if this is the kind of a country you want you can have it all,will just have to live with the fact that god wants another Somalia or another Liberia or another Afganstan or another hell.Islamic extremist in Syria will be the Harvard of terrorism in the world,stupid west,Israel,Turky and US , will find out that when it is too late.

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May 29th, 2011, 3:19 pm


26. abughassan said:

It does not change anything if we deny the fact that a lot of people carry sectarian views in Syria,the question is what to do about it,and the answer is true representation of people through fair elections and the strengthening of the judicial system. It is not fair to only blame the MB, Al-Qaida and similar religious or militant groups,Arab regimes:Iraq,Syria, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia,Lebanon,to name a few,had a major role in making a lot of Arabs feel sidelined because of their religious affiliation,and that is a disease that affects many third world countries. we may not be able to reason with militant groups but we have the responsibility to pressure the regime to help us fight this dangerous phenomenon.the truth is,the regime has to act or get out. Much of that pressure on the regime should come from minorities themselves because they have a lot to lose if militant groups take over the government in Syria. If I was an Alewite or a Christian,I would be pushing for reform at least as hard as everybody else. Ehsani is too pessimistic and I would like to believe that he is wrong but not until I see what the regime is going to do next.There is no shortage of good writers on this blog even if we do not always agree.

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May 29th, 2011, 3:19 pm


27. Qifa Nabki said:

I agree, as usual, with my friend Ehsani.

The secular nature of “Syrian” culture (whatever that means these days) is not self-evident. However, sectarianism is just one lens through which identity might be viewed. There are myriad other lenses, and this article has identified several of them: class, geography, cross-border familial relations, etc.

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May 29th, 2011, 3:55 pm


28. majedkhaldoon said:

the Alawis who have grabbed a large piece of the cake. They are convinced that once this leadership is removed, their own fortunes cannot go anywhere but up.
I think it is the opposite,it can not go anywhere but down

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May 29th, 2011, 3:58 pm


29. Syria no kandahar said:

هبو يا أحرار بلدي
عرعور فداك كبدي
وروحي ومالي وولدي
أنا سني ولست اسدي

عرعور نحن فداك
الجنة سبيلها يداك
نكبر كل خميس
ضد حاكم إبليس

بلدنا معك تكون
جنة الله في الكون
تزهو بالف لون ولون

صلات نحن نتوق
محبه والفه وشوق
كما حيث انت سعود
تعلم العالم الحقوق

نريد ك انت هدانا
في حلكة ظلمانا
تخلصنا من نصيرانا
وكل مشرك نصرانا

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May 29th, 2011, 4:09 pm


30. aboali said:

This was probably written before tanks stormed Rastan and Talbieseh. Rastan is a game changer, the regime has been contemplating whether or not to go in for weeks, as it’s a hot bed of well armed Sunnis allied to the once powerful Tlas family. As it stands, the governates of Daraa, Homs, Hama and Dier ez Zour are almost in full scale revolt. It’s a precarious situation, if the regime pushes on with more force, it could risk plunging the country into an all out civil war. That’s not something the regime can survive, and it will be long and bloody leading to horrible sectarian tit for tat massacres Lebanon civil-war style. The refusal of the regime to start any meaningful dialogue or instigate any real reforms is making this an increasingly likely scenario.

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May 29th, 2011, 4:27 pm


31. vlad-the-syrian said:


kamashou al3frit zombie


at 2.57″

i whish that they’ll make him suffer … slowly

cry REVLON 🙂

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May 29th, 2011, 4:34 pm


32. Shami said:

If we read the history of Syria before Asad ,sectarianism was a marginal phenomenon ,the majority of Syrians,christians and muslims lived together in a very smart and civilized manner.
Paradoxally ,the most integrated christian community is that of Hama which had the most conservative muslim population.
For example members of minorities(alawites included) who collaborated with the french ,were not harmed and they remained in their works after the independance even those in the army and the police.
Even during the Ottoman era ,the christians aleppines were the wealthiest community in the city ,most of the big houses and palaces were found in al Judaydeh which was 100 % inhabited by rich christian merchants ,the equivalent of the aristocratic quarter of al Farafra ,that concentrated the houses of the muslim elite of the city.(half of this very historic quarter destroyed in the 70’s by this stupid regime)
In the 17th century ,the maronites did establish the most famous school in the middle east ,which produced great minds like Farhat Germanos,pioneer of the arab renaissance ,he wrote the first reform of arab language and a dictionary ,he was one of the founders(all aleppines) of the most important maronite instution in Lebanon today which was known under the name “ordre alepin maronite” ,the city saw the first arabic printing house in the middle east ,the most renowed icon artists were from this city.
The most sectarian people are those who feal threatened by their environment ,and unfortunately most of them are the alevis of turkey,the shias of lebanon and the nusayris of Syria.
They commited the most hideous sectarian crimes in History.
For example : the genocide of the Sunnis in Iran committed by the Alevis Kizilbash with the help of Lebanese shias from Amil mountain ,Shah Ismail al Safawi who is considered as a saint by them.
We could add the massacre of Hama..and prior to this date ,their involvment in the massacres of Timur Lank.
The hatred of their environment is well inculcalted in their culture …such culture of hatred and revenge is weak or unknown among the Syrian christians and muslims ,it’s very present in shia messianism.
I’m sure that when Syria will return to its people as whole ,sectarianism will be restricted again.
What we call sectarianism today is a product of Asad system .

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May 29th, 2011, 4:47 pm


33. aboali said:

There has always been sectarianism in Syria, and there always will be, anyone who tells you otherwise is lying. However, the mantra is just because we don’t like each other, doesn’t mean we have to start killing one another. Unfortunately, this long-term unspoken social truce is being seriously challenged by a hysterical regime unleashing violence on towns and cities across the country.

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May 29th, 2011, 4:56 pm


34. ss said:

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May 29th, 2011, 5:13 pm


35. Shami said:

Aboali,you should understand how the anatolian armenians(80 000 in a city of 200 000 in 1920) and syriacs who came to Aleppo as desolated refugies and in few years they became affluent ,living among us,respected and liked.
In the 1950’s ,one of the wealthiest syrians was Georges Maarmabatchi of Aleppo ,son of syriac refugees from Mardin.And in that time ,corruption was not the key of economic success as it’s today in Syria.
Such integration of christians in muslim majority cities shows that sectarianism was a marginal phenomenon.

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May 29th, 2011, 5:14 pm


36. ss said:

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May 29th, 2011, 5:18 pm


37. Shami said:

SS,enough of Makhlouf cocaine.
Be ready to change over !
The fate of the regime is in the hand of the aleppines.

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May 29th, 2011, 5:21 pm


38. ss said:


take this one and sit on 7’azzoq

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May 29th, 2011, 5:22 pm


39. ss said:

Another 7’aaaaazzzzzzoq for you Shami

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May 29th, 2011, 5:24 pm


40. Shami said:

SS,your qardahi media are not better than Qaddafi’s ones.
They look the same.
Syria will retrieve its sophisticated culture.

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May 29th, 2011, 5:28 pm


41. ss said:

These are the real Syrians, they want to speak to you Shami and say “you are not the real Shami, we are”

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May 29th, 2011, 5:31 pm


42. ss said:

Unfortunately Shami, I have nothing to say to you. I am sure this will not satisfy you. people like yourself are calling for more blood

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May 29th, 2011, 5:33 pm


43. aboali said:

#30 true, Syrians have been co-habitating for many centuries without any inter-communal violence, despite mutual suspicions and varying degrees of just below the surface tension. This is pretty apparent when you take a closer look at relations between Aleppo’s Christians and Muslims, they don’t really like one another, but they get along without any incitement or violence. Other parts of the country have this in varying degrees, and some towns and cities are more integrated than others. However, ultimately Syrians still define themselves in terms of their religious and sectarian backgrounds, and their ultimate allegiances are not to country, but to sect and region.

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May 29th, 2011, 5:35 pm


44. Shami said:

SS ,asad-makhlouf style lies will not stop the dynamic of history.
Political Change over and Accountability are inescapable.
I only hope that you will be enough brave to show your pro Asad stance after the road turns in Al Marjeh square for example.

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May 29th, 2011, 5:35 pm


45. Louai said:

@122. majedkhaldoon thank you for your answer ,

I do not deny torturer in Syria and I do not approve it, but my question is about this specific case of the poor kid 7amza
I asked you if you believe he was tortured BEFORE of AFTER he was shot, obviously and according the doctor and according to the photos the body condition did not show signs of torture after the death.
‘the revolution need a victim symbol a scandal to boost its supporter and make them yet even more angry . like Buazizi or khalid sa3eed


As you said every thing started after the arrest of the children in Daraa (I have no details to confirm that ) but this is the story every one is repeating
Providing the security forces are beasts and sick criminals and they did torture him. Whey they kept the body all this time? Why they returned the body to his parents in this condition? There is no prove that he was arrested in front of his family as some one here said..
The burden of proof of the torture is on the family not on the government, the government showed photos that could be examined in more details by his own family or their lawyer, the case now went to public and all the media is talking about.

The opposition do not care if this story challenged by the government and the government proved that the kis was not tortured as long as it dose its purpose of getting people more ungry ,example the mass graves in Daraa that we didn’t hear about it after the government showed that this story was fabricated.

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May 29th, 2011, 5:40 pm


46. Shami said:

Aboali,you are speaking on the Aleppo of today,the old established christian aleppine families have mostly left the city during the 5 last decades.(to Lebanon,Venezuela,Brazil ,Europe and the USA)
There is a continious decline in quality of education,today christians in Aleppo are less educated than the christian community of the 50’s.
It’s today difficult to find a christian who spreak french.
In 1950 ,the city had newspapers in french(and tens in arabic) for example ,Said Freiha and the former president of Lebanon ,Charles Helou worked as journalists in Aleppo because the salaries were higher in Aleppo than in Beirut ,the City had more lawyers per 10 000 inhabitants than Lyon in France thanks to its christian population.

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May 29th, 2011, 5:48 pm


47. ss said:


I want you to go back to all Shami comments. He has a major in Christian communities, where they lived, how percent they represent pre versus post Assad era….he can educate you as he educated all of us the last few months now….He continuous to view the Christians as brutally suppressed community in Syria ignoring the facts that this regime celebrates christmass, and we all in Syria under Assad regime celebrate Christians holidays (take days off). Does Saudi Arabia celebrate the birth of Jesus???Do you think that the future Syria under the 6ar6our (3ar3oor) model will celebrate Christian holidays???

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May 29th, 2011, 5:56 pm


48. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Singapore has the same ingredients as Syria’s: multi ethnic, multi cultural, multi religious, Multilingual. So why is Singapore successful while Syria fails? Because of corruption and partiality.

In Singapore, if you seek to climb the social ladder, what you need is the proper education, qualifications, needed skills, the required abilities and proven achievements. In Syria what you need is to be a member of a certain sect, or have a family member at the top, or money to bribe.

This has nothing to do with Islam. It has to do with the human nature, corruption of power and greed.

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May 29th, 2011, 6:01 pm


49. Syria no kandahar said:

If there was a medicine which can be specifically wiping extremist(wahabi,salafi) from Syria,sectarianism will be cured.
As far as Shami playing favors for not killing Christians (Syriac and Armenians)he has to take notice that Syriac people are the original inhabitants of this land and he is the guest in it,so by him not killing them in the 50s and 60s that tells you what kind of crooked mind is trying to take control of this land.Any way Sunni wahabi in Iraq have caused jammed traffic in heaven by obtaining VIP tickets to heaven for slaughtering minorities ,Egyptian Sunni muslim extremist are fighting tooth and nail to liberate sister Muslims from Imbaba churches ….should you blame Bashar for all that?Wahabi Sunni are going to hijack this trash revolution from every one,and educated peole like you should’t gamble there nation future in the hands of non-educated,تكفيرين.
All of us will die(including Assad)but we have to make sure that our kids will think of all of us as wise parents and grand parents who didn’t tunnell vision and did’t allow a once great nation to be a SECTARIAN TRASH.

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May 29th, 2011, 6:04 pm


50. Shami said:

It’s all relative.
We should compare equivalent societies.
For example ,Turkey Vs Syria.
Despite all corruption /bad managment ,backward religious regime,there is a continious evolution towards the better ….Saudi Arabia has known major change from beduin and illeterate society few years ago ,today they reached an HDI wich is higher than many european countries.
It’s not the case of Syria …check the HDI,the human development index of Syria and compare it to that of Turkey ,Saudi Arabia ,Bahrain …and even to the Libyan or Tunisian ones..
I dont think that there worse performance than that of Syria.(by taking into account the relative place of Syria ,which came second after Lebanon in the 50’s compared to other arab countries).

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May 29th, 2011, 6:06 pm


51. aboali said:

#42 SS you’re ignoring the fact that the mass exodus of Christians out of Syria accelerated dramatically during the Assad era. If they had it so good, why did they leave? As a percentage of the population, Christians are half what they were in the 1950’s. And no, Christmas in not celebrated in Saudi just as Eid el Fitr is not celebrated in the Vatican, stop being silly.

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May 29th, 2011, 6:07 pm


52. Syrian Christian said:

“hope I don’t sound too paranoid…”

Obviously you are.

Stop spreading your secterian poison. Your FRIENDS in syria will be ashamed having you as a FRIEND.

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May 29th, 2011, 6:09 pm


53. Shami said:

No Kandahar,could you explain why the syrian christians are leaving Syria under asad regime in big number ?
According to the best estimation (from the syrian churches),the remaining christians are less than 5% of total syrian population.For the first time in history ,the christian community in Syria is in danger of being decimated in only few decades of Asad regime.
This is an historical and cultural massacre.

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May 29th, 2011, 6:18 pm


54. Syria no kandahar said:

You are a perfect exampl of the origin of the problem,you have all the symptoms,yet you deny that you have the wahabi disease:
-Christians are always demographically losers because they dont get married 4 and don’t have 49 kids(I know a family where the man had 49kids from 4 wides,6of them were Mohammad and 5Ahmads).stop blaming Assad for that ,it is stupid.
-when you compare Saudi Arabia to Vatican you look like a real idiot,let Saudi Arabia have a big church like the big mosqu in Rome and let foreigners in Saudi Arabia have Saudi girlfriends in the beaches and turning them into Christians like Muslim immigrants are doing in Italy,or els SHUT UP.

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May 29th, 2011, 6:27 pm


55. Shami said:

Aboali ,are you from Aleppo too?

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May 29th, 2011, 6:27 pm


56. ss said:

Abo Ali,

The Christmas is not celebrated in Saudi Arabia and yes Eid Alfitr is not celebrated in Vatican

Guess what; in Syria we celebrate all. In Syria all religions are welcomed. You cannot ignore the religious freedom people enjoy in Syria, so perhaps Syria is better than Vatican, and way above Wahabi Saudi Arabia. For that I see Syria unique. This will never ever happen if your Jihadist friends take over

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May 29th, 2011, 6:31 pm


57. ss said:


See above note by SYRIA NO KANDAHAR. Looking for your opinion

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May 29th, 2011, 6:33 pm


58. Shami said:

The jihadists and extremist islamists are everywhere small marginalized minorities and they wont be able to rule Syria.
Majority of Syrians are conservative muslims but they are open minded and tolerant muslims.

SS,if we shall believe what you repeating you and kandahar ,it means that you are doomed,because you can not bind your fate to the fates of dictatorial regimes,regimes die,change over is not possible to escape even by dictatoris who were 100 times stronger than the minority scared regime of bashar ,only the people remain.

are you going to stop being syrian ,when this regime ends ?

Or if you like go live in the theocratic Iran (if the theocratic regime still exists )that you and your regime praise so much,they share may be more things with you in common than with the non qardahi syrian people and take the shabiha with you.

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May 29th, 2011, 6:43 pm


59. Jad said:

Christians left Syria in three periods, under the Islamic Ottoman Turks after the 1860 massacre then again when the Kurds massacred the Assyrians and Armenians and after the MB troubles in the 80s, afterward they did get lower in percentage because of high birth rate of the muslims comparing to others in Syria and not because of Asad dictatorship, but because of the dictatorship economical failure, so don’t fool the people on SC with your primitive tries of showing how lovely a radical society can be. BS! Radicals are the only reasons for any person looking for freedom to leave or be killed and prosecuted in any place in the world.
Sarsour is a Sarsour however and whichever angle you look at.

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May 29th, 2011, 6:45 pm


60. majedkhaldoon said:

Torture is by definition occurs during life, you cannot torture dead body.
The doctor you mentioned, I do not believe him, his exam is useless,medically,further he did not mentioned when the kid died,and when was his body released, and no mention when he was arrested,no Xray no open his body,it is very incompetent exam,obviously medically he is not qualified to do that,let alone that he is relative of M Ibrahim Sha33AR, THE MINISTER OF INTERIOR.

There is proof when he was arrested,he was not alone he was with several people with him, however, where is his father?, why he was arrested?,as some said, why we did not hear from his father or his mother?, are they under gag order? how could you say that the burden of proof is on his family, when his father was arrested?,what is the goverment official statement?

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May 29th, 2011, 6:48 pm


61. why-discuss said:

I wonder if this young American speaks arabic, because it seems his conversations were limited to a certain category of Syrians, open to the west and speaking some english. If this is true then while these observations would a good document on the reaction of the educated syrian middle class to the situation, in no way it would represent the whole syrian society. What is the percentage of these syrians over the whole population: 20%?
So generalization is far fetched.
In Syria, while most communities tend to stick to their own kind and somehow compete for their superiority, I don’t think there is a real antagonism unless it is caused by injustice, discrimination and evil manipulation propaganda.
In this war, the protesters as well as the government have used propaganda ,one to demonize the Salafists, the other the Alawites. Basically all communities have basis suspicious of the other communities, whether ethnical or religions, but these are not necessarily violent unless they are stimulated by events that show injustice and discrimination.
I don’t think Syrians are sectarian by nature and this antagonism is only temporary, they will come back to their senses when the country will wake up of this nightmare, like they did in Lebanon, in shorter time I hope.

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May 29th, 2011, 6:48 pm


62. Shami said:

kandahar,there is very few cases of polygamy among the Syrian muslims,according to a study on ottoman damascus in the 18th century , only 3% of the damascenes were polygams.

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May 29th, 2011, 6:50 pm


63. Thanks said:

Thanks again for sharing this very good article, and for the good comments i always read here.

From Damascus, I can say more than 50% of who i know, thoes in their 20s and 30s educated middle class Sunni, Alawi, Druze, Shia, Christians have views that match the writer views and are experiencing similar difficulties.

However, what drives the people on ground are the mafia businessmen of the regime, the mafia used their criminal groups and military loyalists, charging them with minority fears toward majority, to target Sunnis (who were the first to reject bad treatment of 15 boys arrested) especially less educated less wealthy who know they are Muslims more than anything else. As a matter of life, when people feel their existence is threatened, they hold to what is dearest to them, their existence connects directly to their view of the world which is their sect view, thus the need to protect and fear from others escalate on both sides.

Syria is heading toward a long dark tunnel but i still see the light far but existed, perhaps through a civil war.

The new reality of this time is the empowerment of normal people to do things which thought once to be impossible, and the next big thing is enlightenment of masses of the necessity to live a fair life!

(too optimistic to be true)

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May 29th, 2011, 6:55 pm


64. Shami said:

Jad ,despite the 1840-1860 (proxy war between british and french powers)the british used the druzes and the french the maronites.
Christians still represented more than 50% of total pop of Lebanon in 1950 ,despite the war ,the christian lebanese are still above the 30%.(in part thanks to the syrian christian migration ).
As for the MB eternal alibi,more christians left in the 1990’s than in the 1980’s ,it’s very obvious if we take the exodus of the christians of eastern Syria(al jazeera) in the 90’s and 2000’s as example.

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May 29th, 2011, 6:58 pm


65. Shami said:

Also above the economic failure ,Jad ,i would add moral failure…of course these new syrian christian refugies who tell the european authorities that they are persecuted by muslims in Syria in order to gain their regularization are lying.
People like to preserve their dignity(christians and others) ,they hate to be obliged to bribe or to be corrupted for basic services.

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May 29th, 2011, 7:09 pm


66. abughassan said:

Who killed 5 army and security officers in Talbisa? are we going to hear the same charges that Shabiha or al-nizaam did that?
I do not know what some people expect from the Syrian army, or any army,when it is fighting armed thugs who shoot at everybody, destroy properties,block highways,etc. A civil war or a major bloody conflict in Syria is only possible with foreign intervention,some are praying for it,or continuous killings by armed thugs which will draw a response from the army,and the cycle continues. I can not understand how people can call for a Friday for “Humat Al-dyar” and then they shoot at them the next day?
I was skeptical like a lot of people about those stories regarding violence against the Syrian army until I got their names,saw their funerals,watched their kids speak and personally talked to some of their relatives. Syrians who shoot at the army are IDF soldiers with a Syrian ID card,period.If this army collapses or is divided,like what happened in Iraq, you will regret ever asking for a regime change because you will be busy trying to stay alive.
I share many people’s desire for a regime change but I will not give my vote or support to anybody who uses violence especially against the army. Since foreign intervention is off the table,at least for a while,the only hope for those thugs,and their sympathizers,is to keep the blood spilling. I was never a supporter of this regime and was not happy when Syria was transformed into a kingdom by Al-Asad family,but what some Syrians are doing is trying to turn Syria into another Lebanon or Iraq. if you use arms against any regime or any army you should not complain if you get arrested or killed,violence breed violence,and that is true for both sides.

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May 29th, 2011, 7:14 pm


67. EHSANI2 said:

Christians leaving is directly correlated with the health (or lack thereof) of the economy. Many undocumented studies have been done on the subject. The conclusions are unmistakable

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May 29th, 2011, 7:20 pm


68. Habib said:

Not a regular poster, but just need to counter Shami’s spam. Syrian Christians are a smaller percentage today not because they are fewer, but because Muslim birthrates are higher.

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May 29th, 2011, 7:23 pm


69. daleandersen said:

Great article!

When the shit is about to hit the fan and all the locals are buying extra bullets and sending the women and children to the basement, the best source of balanced commentary is from a FOREIGNER.

The best part of the above article is the anger of the women. Arab women (doesn’t matter if they’re Alawi, Christian or Sunni) really know how to stir the pot.

Too bad about Syria. The unfortunate thing is, there’s nothing there to engage the foreign community. No oil like Iraq, no financial center like Dubai, no pyramids like Egypt. Looks like Syria’s all alone on a train ride to nowhere.


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May 29th, 2011, 7:23 pm


70. syau said:

Vlad the Syrian,

I’m glad they caught some of those behind the murder and mutilation of Nidal Jannoud. Hopefully this will lead to the rest of the gang members being apprehended. I’m sure it will be somewhat a relief to his family.

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May 29th, 2011, 7:29 pm


71. Shami said:

Habib,yes the natural growth of the population is higher among the muslims ,but for Aleppo ,the christian population from the 50’s till this day stagnated to arround 150 000(many of today christians in Aleppo are not originally aleppines ,there is an internal migration from the country side towards the cities) ,so we can say that the original aleppine christian population has known a negative natural growth.(this is very obvious for the armenians for example),this decline is also known in the syrian jazeera and wadi al nassara.(migration to the cities ,then to abroad)
The natural growth of poor christians is not very different from the muslims,they also have large families.

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May 29th, 2011, 7:43 pm


72. Syria no kandahar said:

Knowing so many Christian families which immigrated from Syria I can tell you that most of them were wealthy .The number one reason for Christian migration is future uncertainty in a Muslim nation,it can be considered psychological factor.
The decline In Christian population is true all across the middle east:
-Turkey was 30% at the beginning of the century,today it is less than 1%
-Palestine,Iraq,and Lebanon had large Christian population,which has slowly vanished.
Assad has been good to Christians,the only Christians In the opposition are either x socialist or crazy.

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May 29th, 2011, 7:47 pm


73. Shami said:

Syria no kandahar ,who was better for the syrian christians ,Nazem Qudsi ,Quwatli and Hashem Atassi(the democratically elected presidents) or Asad-Makhlouf?

Take into account ,the psychology,co existence, influence ,the culture, values and dignity !

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May 29th, 2011, 7:55 pm


74. why-discuss said:


Your compassion is really touching..

“The unfortunate thing is, there’s nothing there to engage the foreign community.”

Come on, dear, Syria could just renounce to the alliance with
YOUR dreaded arch-enemy Iran, and here comes the money from the foreign community.

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May 29th, 2011, 8:03 pm


75. democracynow said:


The truth is, in Syria, like all over the Arab world, everyone wants to migrate. Muslims, Christians, etc.

It’s because western countries have unspoken preferences for religious minorities –on the assumption that they’re usually persecuted, or that they’ll assimilate better in case of the Christians– it’s because of this that you will see more Christians migrating.


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May 29th, 2011, 8:06 pm


76. ISABELLE said:

Thanx Ebhsani for your great long article !
Here is another story about fragmented minds :

I live in France.
At the beginning of this year, I became friend with a Syrian from the coast ( an Alawite) who had come to France to study litterature.
Exactly at the same time, I met one guy from Jable (athiest, from alawite background), and another from Salamie (athiest, from ismalian background), who have been both living in France for more than 10 years. They are friends with a close friend of mine, and since they knew I wanted to know more about their country, they prepared “faté” for me and invited me over!

Very first thing they told me is that they and other members of their family had been sent to jail for many years, because some twenty years ago, they had founded a small party which goal was to overthrow the regime.
They said there was no freedom in this country, but only humiliation and corruption. That’s why they had decided to do this party (that had about one thousand members) destined to destitute the party by force ( for – so they said – the regime would never become more democratic by reforms ).
They said they were inspired by Trotsky.
They also said there never had any real activity, nor detained any weapons. They said they had been arrested because they were giving anti-regime leaflets in the streets.
They said they whised they had realized the danger before being sentanced to jail : it had costed a lot to them.
They told me about torture, arrests at nights, lack of real trial etc.
They told me those things were still going on in Syria.

Back home, I sent a mail to my student friend to tell him about that ( at that time, I had no idea what his reaction could be).
He answered those men were wrong.

We had a few talks about that.
I could tell you in detail his arguments if you’re interested. In short : he loves his innocent president, he loves in country. His country has been facing severe problems : Israel, war in Iran…
I told him politics and moral were two different things. And I told him you can agree with your government on its external policy and disagree with its internal policy.
He agreed on the fact that society was changing but said the president couldn’t do the reforms he wanted to do because of his political surrounding.

I was taken aback by this way of thinking.
Here in France, we don’t know about Middle East, but we know it s a difficult place to live in because of western imperialism and inner authoritarism.
But when i heard him speak,I thought about one concept we study about URSS : cult of personnality.

I was really astounded, because he is a really smart guy, so to me it meant that pro-regime propaganda in Syria was very very strong.

When the problems started in Deraa, and when Badia was surrounded, I told my student friend : “I told you, they don’t want you to have freedom of speech ! ” To which he answered ” Everything is ok in Syria, or will soon be ok. And look at your western democraties, are they better?? You don’t have democracy neither!”
…Of course it s not totally wrong! So I told him a bit about our system, and the problems it is facing.

At the same time, I started spending more time with my other Syrian friends. They were spending hours on facebook every day.
They got more and more exhausted and scared as more arrests took place in Syria.
I remember one envening, one of them was systematically confusing the two words “despair” and “hope”…(see, inner division)

I told one of them to go to tell my student friend about what he had been through. But he refused, saying first this sudient was only taking the profits of his schoolarship, thinking only for himself. Secondly, he could be given away to police services if i did that.
I knew it was possible : his friend had been prevented to go back to Syria for 10 long years for having demonstate before the Syrian ambassy here in France. And others opponents in exile simply get caught at the airport when they come back to Syria to spend a week with their parents : they re sent to jail right away !
So once again, I thougt about another concept we use here to define totalitarism – we, champions of freedom, are so good at that ; ) : totalitarism penalizes social relationships.

My student friend told me to stop talking about “politics”.
He said something pretty unforgettable : “everyone has his own ideas and his own notion of human rights”.
…Need I say that observing the cynism of American, French, English, Russian and Chinese decisions about “the Arab spring” made me think this guy was terribly right…
So, of course, somehow I felt I had no right to talk about that.

What’s more, it made our relationship worse and worse.
From spending time listening to music together, we barely said “hello’ to each other at that time.
Actually, before snipers started shouting in Deraa, we wrote every day to each other. But at that time, I was the only one writing e-mails, less than once a week.
Now I have to tell you : meanwhile I had felt deeply in love with this guy.
So I tried to be wise, and shut up. Because keeping in touch with him was my priority !!

… But I just couldn’t shut up.
The day before the army entered Deraa, I sent him a mail, saying that of course he was free to think what he wanted, but he had to be wise, because tension was growing in his country, so he d better wait and see if it was safe enough to come back to Syria in July.
To which he answered : “Stop talking about politics. You come back every single time with a new idea but it s not going to work on me.”

When I read that mail, I understood, for the time, we were just on two different planets. Strange feeling.

I came across him a few weeks ago, by chance.
I felt a strange mix between sadness and self-anger. I don’t know what was on his mind but i know i could never understand it.

We French people realize this regime could have appeared to some of you as the symbol of hope, being both in a kind of continuity and both willing for a change. But we don’t see what economical and social change you could hope from such corrupted people ready to do everything to “keep the cake”.
That’s why I, just like most of the French, don’t see why you don’t see that, whatever it can take, it could never be worse than the physical and mental torture you are undergoing.

We know about the risks of instability and the risk of our countries taking profits on your revolution – for this will happen for sure.
But since your regime refuses the smallest change, why don’t people understand they have to rally the oppposition?

By priviledging only a few while provoking indignation among the others, by refusing releasing the citizens from jail, by refusing any dialogue with the political liberals, this gouvernement will get this country to a situation that will be close to civil war. And when it will reach this point, the most desperated ones will say : only the Al Assads can handle this, and make Syria regain stabiliy.

Anyway, here was my story about “fragmented minds”.
As you can see, these events have intimate repercussions all over the world !

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May 29th, 2011, 8:09 pm


77. Syria no Kandahar said:

The psychological factor comes from the massacr
Done by Erdogan grandparents 95 years ago to 2 millions Christians .
The point is that no one Christian was religiously prosecuted during this secular government , a religious government will be a disaster for them.

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May 29th, 2011, 8:12 pm


78. Shami said:

Democracy ,i agree with you,in fact ,in absolute numbers again ,more muslims are leaving Syria.
Young syrians from all communities are trying to migrate and the important reasons is the lack of dignity (the economical factor is related to it too) to escape closed horizon, humiliation,the culture of corruption bribery,military service…

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May 29th, 2011, 8:16 pm


79. why-discuss said:

Syria no kandahar

Most often people emigrate because of the lack of job opportunities in their country, either because of poor economy or insecurity, or both.
Christians easily emigrate in christian countries where they feel comfortable in countries with similar traditions and values (and often language). Western countries who are mostly christian are open to immigration and provide the citizenship after a few years.

Which countries can Moslems emigrate where they feel totally comfortable because of similar traditions, values and language? No rich arab countries is opened to immigration. If Saudi Arabia was offering saudi citizenship to arabs residents, don’t you think much more moslems would emigrate there and settle?

Therefore it is logical than there are more christians emigrating than moslems from syria or any other country with a troubled economy.

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May 29th, 2011, 8:23 pm


80. Shami said:

No Kandahar ,Erdogan ,is not of Turkish origin ,he is himself son of muslim refugees from the Caucasus,his people had been massacred even prior to the armenian massacre in Anatolia.The massacres of muslims in the caucasus began in the begining of the 18th century,the Tcherckess for example are one of these communities who were the first to endure this ethnic/religious cleansing.
Erevan for example had a muslim majority.
Untill the last years of the Ottoman effective rule,the christians represented 50 % of the inhabitant of the Capital of the empire,Konstantinoupolis.
Those who homogenized Turkey were those who were influenced by the European nationalist ideologies.
And btw ,the nationalist armenians,the tashnaq were allies of those who erased the armenian presence in Antolia when they dismissed the Sultan.
In Syria ,the christian population has known an increase under the Ottomans.(for Aleppo from 5% in 1550 to 20% in the late ottoman era)
add to them the jews ,for Aleppo ,most of them were of spanish origin.
I invite you to read the opinion of contemporary lebanese christian historians such as Abdelnour,Antoine Sfeir or the economist Georges Corm.

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May 29th, 2011, 8:30 pm


81. Akbar Palace said:

Daleandersen is spot on.

Compassion is difficult when Syria has done nothing but support terrorists and proxies to fight her battles for her. The compassion is for the protesters who are sick of their inept leaders who don’t have to perform to lead.

The reason Syria has sectarian tendencies is because the government rules by fear, division, and privledge. Rule of law, and justice has yet to be discovered in the 40+ years of the Assad “legacy”. The solution is simple.

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May 29th, 2011, 8:39 pm


82. Shami said:

in the caucasus began in the begining of the 18th century,

correction :begining of the 19th century.

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May 29th, 2011, 8:39 pm


83. vlad-the-syrian said:

#79 fake SHAMI

Abdelnour is syrian and you are turkish

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May 29th, 2011, 8:41 pm


84. Shami said:


Kemani Tatyos Ekserciyan

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May 29th, 2011, 8:43 pm


86. Shami said:

I’m not a turk ,i’m son of arabs.

But Turkey and Syria are united by the will of God for ever.

Qaradeeh hate anything that sound like Abdelnour.

This one is a lebanese historian,Antoine Abdelnour.

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May 29th, 2011, 8:55 pm


87. daleandersen said:

Amazing how ALL the Syrians on the message board here stereotype Syrian Christians as “rich” or “wealthy.” What happened? Does a Muslim, when he gets rich, thank God by converting to the true faith? Or maybe God likes Christians more than Muslims and gives them cash. Oh wait! I know. Bashar bribed them. The Assad mafia is laundering its ill-gotten gains through Christian businesses. It’s obvious…


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May 29th, 2011, 9:06 pm


88. why-discuss said:


Yes, very much like your corrupted, senile or sexually obsessed leaders.

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May 29th, 2011, 9:19 pm


89. daleandersen said:

Memo to WHY:

So it’s Yes? Muslims, when they hit the jackpot, actually convert to Christianity? You mean I’m right? Cool!


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May 29th, 2011, 9:25 pm


90. Averroes said:

Organized religion brings little other than conflict. Syria is undergoing a major challenge: grow up, or break up. I’m betting money it will grow up, and these weeks are just growing pains.

Hold together, my beloved land: this too shall pass.

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May 29th, 2011, 9:54 pm


91. am231 said:

This one of the anti-Al-Jazeera break that had been done by Syrians, depending on an origin one from the Qatari channel:
It says: “The Blood, and the other Blood”, instead of the real one on Al-Jazeera “The opinion, and the other opinion”

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May 29th, 2011, 10:06 pm


92. darryl said:

Adding to Habib’s comment. Many Christians left decades ago. as an example, My uncles left Syria in the early 30s. Most of my relatives now live in west indies and US. Whereas, Muslim immigration is very recent.

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May 29th, 2011, 10:25 pm


93. Shami said:


This is the cultural level of this regime.

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May 29th, 2011, 10:42 pm


94. louai said:

Dear majedkhaldoon

I ask you a question you answer me with many 🙂 iwill try to answer you

We do not know who was with him when arrested nor if those who were with him knew him or not .

You said’ Torture is by definition occurs during life, you cannot torture dead body.’
That means he was tortured then they shot him three bullets at least one of them to his arm ! then broke his neck? why would they do that it make no since to me .and then after he died the Mukhabarat cut his genital ?

The doctor dose not need to mention when and why he was arrested or who shot at him ,he only attended AFTER the death took place ,as for the x-ray its irrelevant here because the singe of torture are clear (according to Al Jazeera) and the reason of death is the bullets but to be frank I don’t know if an X-ray should have been done or not but as I said its irrelevant
As for his father ,the government has all the right to arrest and get him to justice if it believes that he received his son body in a condition that is different from the condition he presented on AlJazeera ,he most be brought to justice and if it was proved guilty he deserves what the judge would say .
This boy was killed three times,

1- when he was allowed to demonstrate 2-when he was shot at 3-when the opposition is trying desperately to make him a victim of torture when the people who shot him are still unknown

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May 29th, 2011, 10:52 pm


95. EHSANI2 said:

The decline of the Christian population in Syria started when the doors of Damascus were opened to Khaled bin Alwaleed during the Arab conquests. Christians made up 90% of the population at the time. Christianity of course predates Islam in Syria. However, through a combination of conversion, immigration and simple demographics the relative number of Christians has declined to no more than 5-6 percent of today’s population. The studies I referred to earlier concern the youth. Most have been leaving due to the lack of economic opportunities.

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May 29th, 2011, 10:55 pm


96. Badi said:

Clearly, the writes of these unverifiable stories has biased agendas.
He writes\” when the occupation of Dera’a began\”: occupation? do you understand the meaning of occupation, compared to the ameriacn occupation of Iraq and the zionist occupation of palestine.
Frankly, I do not believe in anything that is based on he/she told me.
Produce a proof or your masterpiece is total yellow writing.
I was also surprised at your assertion that \”
Syrian Americans in the U.S. are sometimes visited and informed that if they don’t make a show of support for President Assad, bad things will happen to their families back in Syria. “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave”.

As a syrian american, I can attest, in my case, no one evermade any such request. I can speculate, that people who hate the regime tend to lie and fabricate to justify their argument.

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May 29th, 2011, 10:57 pm


97. nafdik said:

I have a nagging feeling that the atrocities committed are not only a way to stop the protesters but actually more targeted to make the allawi community and the army hostages to the regime.

By associating them with these horrible acts the regime is ensuring that they can not join the freedom movement and their fate becomes more closely tied to the survival of the Assad Mafia.

Those who think bashar too stupid to come up with such a strategy should remember that it could have been a general principle devised by his father.

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May 29th, 2011, 11:25 pm


98. Norman said:

I just want everybody to remember that the violent uprising against the secular Baathist regime in Syria started years before Hafiz Assad took control and started just 2 years after the Baath party changed Syria to a secular state, That was in 1965 1966 during the time of president Amin Al Hafiz, Salah AL din AL bitar and Micheal Aflaq, at that time Amin Al Hafiz destroyed the down town Mosque in Hama where my Grandparents lived so for some people to blame Hafiz Assad for the sectarian divide is wrong, They always wanted to apply Sharia law in Syria and yes the Baath party is the only power standing in thier way.

I am still waiting for an opposition figure who will stand up and say that he disagrees with president Assad policies and goals , but he is as Syrian as anybody else with the same right to lead if he gets the vote, but knowing who they are , we will not hear that.

As long as minority and majority is dependent on ones religion , i believe that Syria is doomed,

By the way rich Syrians did not leave Syria, they sent thier kids for higher education who stayed out and took foreign nationalities, we should not blame them as Christians have no future in Syria or any other Arab country .

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May 29th, 2011, 11:33 pm


100. Louai said:

The fact is not only minorities are scared every one excluding the brave demonstrators..
If some one is not scared that the revolution will succeed to take the country to the nowhere it means that sectarianism blinded his vision and he can not see throw his burring desire of revenge
In Iraq the Shia are suffering not more that the Sunni but no one is suffering as much as the Christians!! Why??? They did not do any thing to any one !!!!
Saddam’s sadistic days were heavenly comparing to post-saddam days .

you can smell see and touch the burning desire for revenge, this revenge will be ugly and the other side revenge will be much uglier!!
the opposition trying to inflame the sectarian war ,its only one example of its stupidity , they think 76% can win over 15% easily ..With this thinking they are loosing the 80%.

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May 29th, 2011, 11:45 pm


101. Abughassan said:

I do not see how a revolution that succeeds in the quick demise of the regime as a whole can help Syria. Theory is something but reality is something else. The example of Iraq and possibly Egypt is more powerful than any analysis or article. Most revolutions are bloody and we better remember that and decide if we are willing to take the ride, I am not.Iraq is a failed state by all standards because of foreign intervention that dislocated every part of the government and replaced a dictatorship with a sectarian theocracy that is worse than the previous regime. Syrian Christians in particular are likely to suffer the same fate as the iraqi’s because nobody in Syria except fundamental muslims can fill the vacuum. Leftists and young liberals are not able to lead , just look at Iran after the revolution. The revolution in Egypt is slowly but steadily being hijacked by political Islam while original revolutionizes can only protest and give tv interviews. The best way ti prevent a blood bath and a thuggish theocracy in Syria is gradual and peaceful change. Do not give a break to the regime but keep your kids at home,for god’s sake , and try going to work for a change. It is obvious now that most educated syrians and syrians with real jobs ,not to mention minorities,are not in the streets today because they know better.

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May 29th, 2011, 11:45 pm


102. Jad said:

‘but no one is suffering as much as the Christians!! Why??? They did not do any thing to any one !!!!’
Radicals don’t need any reason, and the fact that our Syrian christians community didn’t do anything to any one is enough reason to kill them, they cant defend themselves.
How pathetic is this region letting radicals to lead the whole society to suicide. She Be2aref!!!

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May 30th, 2011, 12:02 am


103. Jad said:

Even the states is playing this fashinable game in Egypt, the next american ambassador in egypt is a veiled woman.

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May 30th, 2011, 12:08 am


104. Shami said:

Islamophobic christians are receptive to the propaganda of the regime and there are some here.
Even if the regime kills thousands of syrian muslims under any incredible makhloufian excuse they will take it and they will even applause.

What would they say if a crazy criminal kills 25 000 alawites or christians in few days under the silly pretext of shabiha past or neo crusader?

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May 30th, 2011, 12:12 am


105. sufian Kardahi said:

Shami, you were twice correct on the ethnic cleansing of the tcherkess, chechen etc. The war against them lasted 1763-1870. Then there were various waves culminating of the mass deportation of Chechen to Siberia by Stalin. 90% of tcherkess were killed or starved to death. This holocaust have been removed from the collective memory of humanity.

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May 30th, 2011, 12:28 am


106. Wa7ed Ghero said:

The claim that all christians in Damascus are pro-regime is just wrong. I personally know a lot of christians who are pro-revolution that are being bullied by their friends/families daily, they just don’t speak out loud for the revolution. Not a majority, but they exist and they are in a terrible situation. They are extremely disappointed by the attitude of their close community and by the pathetic rhetoric they have to deal with everyday.
Same applies to other communities in Damascus but to a lesser extent. I know sunnies who have expressed the same things ..

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May 30th, 2011, 12:33 am


107. why-discuss said:


“Muslims, when they hit the jackpot, actually convert to Christianity?

They don’t have much choice, do they? It is impossible to convert to your religion! It is a pity because they could have benefited well from your powerful and rich US lobby.

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May 30th, 2011, 12:34 am


108. louai said:

‘Islamophobic christians are receptive to the propaganda of the regime and there are some here.’
Its not propaganda its facts
Iraq is not a History yet, you can watch it live on every channel for free

1.5 million of Iraqi refuges a significant percentage of them were christens and other minorities
‘Even if the regime kills thousands of Syrian Muslims under any incredible excuse they will take it and they will even applause.’ That is totally not true!! I am sorry you think like that and sorry you are saying it .
‘What would they say if a crazy criminal kills 25 000 alawites or christians in few days under the silly pretext of shabiha past or neo crusader?’
They would say : you see? we knew it 🙂 !! or they would be probably among the dead ones and say nothing

I think the term Islam-phobic is a term that one can give to westerners more than to Christian Syrians who lived together with Muslims for 16 hundreds years.
The phobia is not of Islam the phobia is of the civil war (lead by islamists not Muslims)

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May 30th, 2011, 12:39 am


109. Alex said:

Interesting post but the maps are a bit too far from reality. A few examples:

1) religion:
Christians in Deir Ezzore?
No, they are found almost everywhere in Syria, both in cities and villages. They represent all segments of Syrian society. But not in Deir Ezzore as the map shows. On the other hand, the area between Damascus and Homs (and villages east and south of Homs such as Fayrouzeh, Sadad, Zaydal …), near Hama (such as city of Mehardeh), in Horan, mount Hermon, Hassake … Damascus, Latattakia …

2) Languages:

Armenian is in Kassab, near lattakia, Aleppo, and north eastern Syria … not in Deir Ezzore as the map shows. The only thing Armenian in Deir Ezzore is the Armenian monument for the Armenian victims of the 1915 genocide …. 1.5 million of them.

Assyrian (not Aramaic) is near Hassakeh and Qamishli and Malkieh. There are also present in Sadad, Maaloula …etc. Then you have Ashouri in Wadi el-khabour (near Hassakeh)

3) Arabic dialects:

Northern Mesopotamian Arabic (jezrawi) is only confined to Hassakeh, Qamishli, Derbasieh, amouda, and other towns in north eastern Syria. The countryside is bedouin Arab and they have their own dialect. More over, Aleppo and Edlib to the west has nothing to do with that dialect.

Iraqi Arabic is mainly in the cities along eastern part of the valley of the Euphrates … Abu Kamal … Deir Ezzore and vicinity … Raqqa (though it has bedouin too)

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May 30th, 2011, 12:46 am


110. Shamati said:

This American person from Damascus is reasoning subjectively and it is irresponsible in this period of great instability; and dangerous. Why is it so popular to go and ask common “Christians” or ask “Sunnis” or “Allawis” about what they think of the events or of the other group? This is hopeless.

These are common people, as shown by the article, and they are just answering according to what bias they originally had prior to the events in Syria. It is again emphasized by their community’s fear, for Christians, pains being a controlled majority, for Sunnis or power loss – post-Assad violence, for Alawites. These are also fueled by propaganda circulated by their respective news sources…

In the Damascus of the end of the 19th century, it didn’t take more than some rumors from the mountains that left thousands of Christians killed in riots attacks, neighborhoods destroyed. Believe me things haven’t changed much since, just have a look at Lebanon (can explode anytime), Iraq (sectarian violence is continuous), Egypt (Copts have had it since Amr ibn al Ass)…

In a country like Syria, where many religious communities cohabit, where we see a mosaic of surviving cultures and languages, it is irresponsible to ask how such group regards that other group because this is how fitna is fueled. People will follow their communities whatever the cost. Final.

Dear Mr. Landis, SyriaComment is today more than ever a source for news and analysis about the events in Syria, I find it not correct to post this content here as it fuels what we don’t want in Syria: fitna

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May 30th, 2011, 12:48 am


111. Syria no kandahar said:

Few facts my friend:
-christians never applause any killing to any one,killing goes against there core beliefs and religion.
-Syrian Christians have alway been good citizens from فارس الخوري to جول جمال to many of them who died in October war and in 1982 war against Israel in Lebanon.you even see them coming back from there soccer teams in europ to join the Syrian national team these days when the media is showing Syria as if it is burning.they don’t ask for a credit for that because they see that as a duty.
-So let us talk about islamophobia,do you blame Christians for that?the name islamophobia is wrong,a good Muslim is a good person if he was not extremist or wahabi or salafi,so it should be called:Wahabiphobia,Salafiphobia or islamicextremistphobia,let us use WISphobia for abrevetion.it is not only Christians who are scared from this WIS phobia,every other minority gets the chill when they think of WIS as being in power,even the majority of peaceful god loving and educated Sunni don’t like it.
-Christians built wealth not because of Assad but because of many reasons:1-education 2-technology(example most of mechanics in Aleppo ,Damascus and Aljazera were Armenians)3-low birth rates(if you have 10 kids it is harder to make them rich).
-Any way it is a loosing game and christianity will vanish from Syria as it did from Palestine (almost).so for the jihadist to clean up Syria from Christians it is a simple jobe,blow up few churches and behead few bishops and hijack few rich business men and ask for 500grands then give there bodies to there families,you will see them running away like scared rabbits,just follow the Iraqi manual.

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May 30th, 2011, 1:02 am


112. Alex said:

By the way, it is one thing to have thoughts, but a totally different thing to act on them.

the past few years most of Lebanon was CLOSE TO going back to civil war … the Saudis tried their best to push the country into civil war … Asharq Alawsat and Alarabyia were doing the same thing they (and Aljazeera) are doing today to Syria
But the Lebanese did not go for it. They were furious at each other (along sectarian lines) .. but they did not take the final step.

We are seeing the same thing in Syria … very few are willing to take it all the way. The rest are on Facebook posting videoclips and links to Erdogan’s latest comments…

Sophia is our resident psychologist and she had the most accurate comment on sectarianism.

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May 30th, 2011, 1:02 am


113. Alex said:

Another thing … At the time of independence Syrian Christians numbered 420,000 (14% of the population of 3 millions)

Today they are between 1.5 to 2 million … 6 to 8%

They did not disappear, their numbers increased … but they don’t grow as fast as Muslims.

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May 30th, 2011, 1:11 am


114. Abughassan said:

Sectarianism is the product of oppression,poverty,and corruption.replacing one bad regime with another will not solve the problem especially if that replacement takes the form of a bloody revolution. Another myth is that the rule of majority sect reduces sectarian feelings,just look at Iraq and find the answer. Some have even suggested that the rights of Syrian minorities may have to be violated to keep the majority happy. The truth is that the most reliable indicator of how free and democratic a society is how minorities are treated not the other way around. Having said that,I realize that people are eager to see that the office of presidency is not reserved to any particular sect.most Syrians,I hope,will support a future government that is headed by a moderate president,from any sect, as long as there are checks and balances in the new constitution ,which is long over due.

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May 30th, 2011, 1:22 am


115. jad said:

لجنة الانتخابات أنجزت أعمالها.. والمشروع يطرح قريباً في ندوة للتلفزيون السوري…قانون انتخابات جديد يضع الإشراف بيد السلطة القضائية وينهي عهد الصناديق الطيارة

كشفت مصادر ذات صلة بلجنة وضع قانون انتخابات عامة جديدة في سورية أن «العمل في وضع مشروع القانون المقترح قد انتهى قبل الموعد المحدد له بيوم، وتم تسليم المشروع للجهة التي كلفت وضعه».
وأعلن رئيس الحكومة السورية عادل سفر في الحادي عشر من الشهر الجاري تشكيل لجنة «مهمتها إعداد مشروع قانون جديد للانتخابات العامة يتوافق مع أفضل المعايير المتعارف عليها عالمياً، على أن ترفع اللجنة نتائج عملها إلى رئيس المجلس خلال مدة لا تتجاوز أسبوعين».
وقالت المصادر لـ«الوطن»: إن «الكشف عن تفاصيل مشروع القانون الجديد سيتم عبر ندوة للفضائية السورية، أما أبرز ملامح المشروع فهي الإشراف القضائي الكامل على العملية الانتخابية بما فيها الاقتراع وفرز الأصوات، أي سحب هذا الإجراء من السلطة التنفيذية إلى القضائية، إضافة إلى تعديل بعض قواعد الترشح».
وبينت المصادر أن «حجم الدوائر الانتخابية ظلت على حالها أي اعتبار المحافظة دائرة واحدة، (باستثناء حلب) وبالتالي يبقى هذا النص في القانون الجديد كما كان في المعمول به حالياً»، وتابعت: «إن اللجنة درست هذه المادة كثيراً سواء باتجاه تصغير الدائرة أو تكبيرها، واستعرضت تجارب كل الدول المحيطة بسورية لتستنتج أن النص الحالي هو الأفضل تحت قاعدة أن عضو مجلس الشعب يعبر عن الأمة كافة، ولكن اللجنة أوصت باقتراحها ضبط الإجراءات بشكل أكثر لتخفيف معاناة عضو المجلس ومنها على سبيل المثال عمليات الترشح».
وإن كان ذلك يعني انتهاء عهد «الصناديق الطيارة» التي كانت تستخدم للتأثير على نتائج الانتخابات بحجة فتح باب المشاركة بالاقتراع أمام سكان الريف والبادية عبر صناديق متحركة، أوضحت المصادر «أن هذا العهد قد انتهى»، مشددة على أن «الجداول الانتخابية ستعلن كل سنة ويمكن الاعتراض عليها حتى قبل العملية الانتخابية».
وفي الدورة الأخيرة المنتهية لمجلس الشعب، لم يتم الالتزام بالبطاقة والجداول الانتخابية خلال عملية الاقتراع التي تمت، بل فتح الباب لأي مواطن أتم الثامنة عشرة ويحمل أي وثيقة تثبت شخصيته بالاقتراع دون النظر إذا ما كان اسمه في الجداول الانتخابية للدائرة التي ينتخب فيها أم لا.
وبينت المصادر أن مشروع القانون الجديد ينظم انتخابات الإدارة المحلية وانتخابات مجلس الشعب، لكن الدوائر الانتخابية في انتخابات الإدارة المحلية تختلف من حيث الحجم، وهناك قرارات وزارية تصدر قبل موعد الانتخابات المحلية لتضبط العملية الانتخابية.
وعن عدد أعضاء مجلس الشعب البالغ حالياً 250 عضواً وإن كان سيرتفع، أوضحت المصادر أن «هذا يصدر عبر مرسوم في بداية كل دورة انتخابية وهو يرتبط بزيادات عدد سكان سورية».
وتابعت: «أما فيما يتعلق ونسب توزيع المقاعد ما بين فئة الفلاحين والعمال وباقي فئات الشعب فقد بقيت على حالها لأنها مرتبطة أيضاً بنص دستوري يؤكد أن نسبة العمال والفلاحين في مجلس الشعب يجب أن تكون 50 بالمئة على الأقل من مجموع مقاعده».
وأضافت المصادر: «إن اللجنة تمنت لو استطاعت تعديل بعض الفقرات الخاصة بانتخابات مجلس الشعب لكن وجود نص دستوري حال دون ذلك، وإن هذه الفقرات يمكن أن تعدل بسهولة عند تعديل الدستور».
وعبرت المصادر عن قناعتها بأن «عدد المستقلين في الدورة القادمة من مجلس الشعب سيكون أكثر على حساب عدد أعضاء الجبهة الوطنية التقدمية (167) التي شكل البعثيون وحدهم أكثر من نصف عدد أعضاء المجلس (126) خلال الدورات الأخيرة».
وتابعت: إن «قوائم الجبهة التي تظهر خلال عمليات الاقتراع هي قوائم لائتلافات سياسية بين الأحزاب ولا علاقة للقانون بها وهي إشكالية قلما فهمها الناس»، وشددت المصادر على أن «المقترعين ليسوا ملزمين بالتصويت لهذه القوائم والقانون يؤكد على ذلك على اعتبار أن القوائم في سورية ليست مغلقة ويستطيع المقترع أن يختار من القائمة ما يريد».
وتعليقاً على إن كانت قوائم الجبهة ستكون مفروضة على ائتلافات المستقلين كما كان يحدث في الدورات السابقة، قالت المصادر: إن «هذه القضية لا علاقة للقانون بها، وإنما يرتبط بأداء المقترعين خلال عملية التصويت، وبالتالي فإن وضع هذه القوائم أو عدم وضعها أمر يخص المقترع حصراً ولا علاقة للقانون من قريب ولا من بعيد بقصة القوائم».
ومن المفترض أن يطرح مشروع القانون الجديد على النقاش العام من خلال عرضه على موقع التشاركية الخاص برئاسة الوزراء، وقالت المصادر: إن «اللجنة أنجزت قانوناً من أفضل القوانين العالمية وقامت بدراسة قوانين لنحو 40 دولة لتخلص بمشروعها الذي قدمته لرئاسة الوزراء، وقد يعرض للنقاش العام كما تم الإعلان عنه، وقد يتم تعديل بعض الفقرات جراء ذلك، والأمر متروك لحجم الرضا أو الانتقادات التي يمكن أن توجه لمشروع القانون الجديد».
وذكرت المصادر أن «الأمور ليست محسومة مئة بالمئة فيما يتعلق وبعض الفقرات وخصوصاً ما يتعلق بتحديد حجم الدائرة الانتخابية وربطها بالمحافظة، حيث دار جدل في اللجنة حول إمكان تصغير الدوائر الانتخابية لفتح الباب أمام الأحزاب الصغيرة والناشئة للمنافسة على مقاعد المجلس وذلك لأسباب تتعلق بكل محافظة على حدة دون اعتبار ذلك بمثابة مبدأ، أي يمكن مثلا تصغير كل من محافظتي ريف دمشق وحمص بسبب مساحتهما الكبيرة والواسعة».
وبينت المصادر أن «إبقاء حجم الدوائر الانتخابية على حالها في مشروع القانون مرده هو منع دخول أحزاب صغيرة لا تمتلك جماهير عريضة إلى داخل المجلس ما يمنحها نفوذا أكثر مما هي تستحق».
وقالت إن البعض في اللجنة اقترح تقسيم الدائرة الواحدة (المحافظة) إلى دائرتين وآخرون اقترحوا أن الدائرة الواحدة أفضل، بل ظهرت بعد الأصوات التي قالت: إن بعض القوانين تعتبر أن الدولة كلها دائرة واحدة»، موضحة أن «بلورة فكرة تقسيم الدوائر الانتخابية يرتبط بقانون الأحزاب المزمع إصداره خلال الفترة المقبلة، والأحزاب التي يمكن أن تظهر على الساحة السورية وعددها وحجمها، وبناء على ذلك يمكن إعادة النظر بهذا الموضوع».
وختمت المصادر بالقول: إن «التعديل الجوهري في مشروع القانون هو وضع الإشراف على عمليات الاقتراع والفرز بيد القضاء، بعد أن كان تحت يد السلطة التنفيذية، وهنا تم التخلص من خطأ كبير مازال موجوداً في مرافق أخرى مثل إتباع الهيئة المركزية للرقابة والتفتيش لرئاسة الوزراء، لأن مثل هذه الأجهزة الرقابية لابد أن تتبع إما لرئاسة الجمهورية أو مجلس الشعب».


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May 30th, 2011, 1:50 am


116. louai said:

Finally!! the peaceful demonstrators who killed NIDAL JANOUD are caught !!

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May 30th, 2011, 1:54 am


117. jad said:

القبض على قتلة نضال جنود والتلفزيون يبث اعترافاتهم…قوات الأمن تدخل تلبيسة بحثاً عن مجرمين…استشهاد ملازم أول وطفلة بعمر 11 عاماً على يد عصابات مسلحة في الرستن

استهدفت مجموعات إرهابية أمس بالرصاص الحي باص نقل صغير متجه من الرستن إلى حمص كان يقل طلاب مدارس وركاباً آخرين من بينهم ضابط برتبة ملازم أول كان متوجها إلى مكان عمله ما أدى إلى استشهاده الملازم أول وطفلة كانت جالسة بقربه تبلغ من العمر 11 عاماً، ثم قامت بخطف الركاب. ولدى اشتباك قوات الأمن مع المسلحين استشهد 4 من أفراد القوى الأمنية، الأمر الذي استدعى تدخل وحدات من الجيش على الفور وحسمت الوضع واستعادت المختطفين، في حين أسفرت الملاحقات التي قامت بها وحدات الجيش للمجموعات المسلحة في تلبيسة عن استشهاد أربعة عناصر بينهم ضابط وجرح أربعة عشر آخرين، وسقوط عدد من القتلى والجرحى بين الإرهابيين والقبض على عدد منهم. وتزامنت تحركات المجموعة المسلحة في الرستن مع أخرى في تلبيسة،
في حين قامت مجموعة أخرى بعمليات تخريب في منطقة الخالدية بحمص أيضاً.
وبينما استمرت ليل أمس تظاهرات «التكبير والاستفزاز» في حمص واللاذقية ودير الزور وعدة مدن في ضواحي دمشق حتى وقت متأخر، خرج الآلاف من المؤيدين للرئيس بشار الأسد في شوارع دمشق واللاذقية وحمص.
وأكد مراسل «الوطن» في حمص نقلاً عن جرحى تم نقلهم إلى المشفى العسكري أنه في تمام الساعة السادسة والنصف من صباح أمس وخلال توجه باص صغير (فان) من الرستن باتجاه حمص كان يقل طلاباً متوجهين إلى مدرستهم ومعهم الملازم أول بسام محمود طلاس بلباسه العسكري كان متوجهاً إلى كلية الشؤون الفنية حيث يتابع دورة عسكرية، وقبل مدينة تلبيسة بحوالي كليومتر واحد قامت مجموعة مسلحة بفتح النار على الفان واستشهد على الفور الملازم أول بسام محمود طلاس وطفلة كانت جالسة قربه (هـ.خ) تبلغ من العمر 11 عاما، ونتيجة إطلاق النار الكثيف توقف «الفان» فخرج المسلحون وخطفوا الأولاد وكل من كان في «الفان» واصطحبوهم إلى منزل المدعو (ز.ك) في تلبيسة بعد أن قطعوا الطريق الدولي وأشعلوا الدواليب وتمترسوا خلف سواتر ترابية مستخدمين رشاشات ثقيلة وبدؤوا بفتح النار على كل السيارات التي تعبر على الطريق الدولية، وعلى الفور توجهت مجموعة من عناصر الأمن إلى تلبيسة وبعد مواجهة مع المسلحين استمرت أكثر من 4 ساعات واستشهد خلالها 4 عناصر هم: المساعد هاني حمود والمجند محمد قطيش والمجند طارق عبد الكريم أحمد، وعلى الفور تدخلت وحدات من الجيش لمساندة قوات الأمن الذي حسم المعركة ودخل المنزل وأخرج الأطفال وجثة الطفلة والملازم أول وتم إسعافهم إلى المشفى العسكري في حمص وحماة حيث قدمت لهم الإسعافات الأولية.
وبقيت وحدات من الجيش تحاصر مدينتي تلبيسة والرستن التي تحتمي فيها مجموعات مسلحة، وقال مراسل «الوطن» نقلاً عن الجرحى إن الجيش يملك لائحة بأسماء المطلوبين والمجرمين وأنذر الأهالي بتسليمهم فوراً في حين لا تزال معارك عنيفة تدور بين قوات الأمن والعناصر المسلحة داخل تلبيسة.
وصرح مصدر عسكري مسؤول أن عمليات الملاحقة والتعقب لعناصر المجموعات الإرهابية المسلحة في بلدة تلبيسة بحمص أسفرت عن استشهاد أربعة عناصر بينهم ضابط وجرح أربعة عشر آخرين.
وأضاف المصدر إن عمليات الملاحقة والتعقب أدت إلى سقوط عدد من القتلى والجرحى في صفوف المجموعات الإرهابية وإلقاء القبض على عدد منهم ومصادرة كميات كبيرة من الأسلحة والذخائر المتنوعة.
وأشار المصدر إلى أن وحدات الجيش والقوى الأمنية تواصل ملاحقة فلول العناصر الإرهابية المسلحة لإلقاء القبض عليهم وتقديمهم إلى العدالة.
وفي مدينة حمص قامت مجموعة من المخربين بحرق مستوصف طبي في منطقة الخالدية وقطعوا الطرق واعتدوا على ممتلكات خاصة والعامة كما قاموا بترويع السكان في أكثر من منطقة، وحسب مراسل «الوطن» أغلقت كل المرافق العامة والخاصة عند الساعة الخامسة من بعد ظهر أمس والتزم السكان منازلهم.
وفي ليل أول من أمس استبسل الشرطي محمد عيد ياسين في الدفاع عن نفسه وعن أولاده حين هاجمه مجموعة من المسلحين فقاومهم محاولاً حماية أولاده وتمكن من قتل اثنين من العناصر المسلحة في حين استشهد ابنه ماهر.
وحسب ما بثته القنوات التلفزيونية «المتضامنة» مع المجرمين والقتلة، فإن أهالي تلبيسة والرستن قاموا بقطع الطريق الدولية لحماية أنفسهم من تدخل عسكري!
إلى ذلك استمرت ليل أمس مظاهرات «التكبير والاستفزاز» في حمص واللاذقية ودير الزور وعدة مدن في ضواحي دمشق حتى وقت متأخر من الليل إلى أن سقطت الأمطار الغزيرة وأجبرت المتظاهرين إلى العودة إلى منازلهم.
وأمس خرج الآلاف من المؤيدين للرئيس بشار الأسد في شوارع اللاذقية وحمص في مسيرات كما تشهد العاصمة دمشق أيضاً مسيرات تأييد، وقال عدد من المشاركين لـ«الوطن»: لن نصبر أكثر من ذلك ولن نترك الساحة للإسلاميين وأتباع عدنان عرعور الذي يوجههم عن بعد، نحن أيضاً بإمكاننا التحرك وسنفعل.
وفي نبأ سار أعلنت عائلة الشهيد نضال جنود أن عقيلته أنجبت منذ يومين «نضال» ومع ولادة نضال كشفت السلطات السورية أمس اعترافات قتلة الشهيد نضال جنود وبثت بعض من اعترافاتهم وهم: عمر علي عيروط ويحيى الريس.

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May 30th, 2011, 1:56 am


118. Syria no kandahar said:

ثورتنا ثوره سلفيه
سلميه يابا سلميه
كلاشنكوف وضرب حجار
حبر احمر وكفن طيار
يوم الجمعه اجمل يوم
حرق وقتل كوم بكوم
الله اكبر بدنا نصيح
وبالاسد بدنا نطيح
لا ونوس ولا طنوس
وحدتنا اسلاميه

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May 30th, 2011, 1:56 am


119. jad said:

دولة الامارات تطرد من يسميان نفسيهما بالمعارضان السوريان أيمن عبد النور وغسان عبود من أراضيها

قامت دولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة بترحيل من يسميان نفسيهما بالمعارضان السوريان أيمن عبد النور إلى كندا و غسان عبود إلى مصر وذلك بعد أيام على اجتماع وزير الخارجية السوري وليد المعلم مع سفراء الدول العربية.

وفي هذا إشارة على أن المتورطين في الأحداث التي تجري داخل سورية والذين يقومون بنشاطات معادية للوطن من الدول العربية باتوا في القبضة السورية وبدأت الدول وفي مقدمتها العربية بطردهم واحدا تلو الآخر.

وتسابق السفراء خلال الاجتماع مع المعلم والذي تم في منزل السفير القطري بدمشق إلى الاشادة بسورية والاعراب عن وقوفهم الى جانبها في وجه المؤامرة فضلا عن شعور بعضهم بالذنب والخوف من فشل المؤامرة وتحمل التبعات المقبلة وأعرب السفير القطري عن أمنياته لسورية بالاستقرار في ظل القيادة الحكيمة للرئيس بشار الأسد معتبرا أن استقرار سورية هو من استقرار الوطن العربي إلا انه لم يتطرق لما تبثه قناة الجزيرة من اخبار اكدت مصادرها ان معظمها كان ملفقا.

وقال سفير دولة الإمارات سالم عيسى القطام الزعابي إن بلاده الإمارات حريصة على أمن واستقرار سورية، والاتصالات التي جرت بين صاحب السمو رئيس دولة الإمارات وزيارة وزير الخارجية الشيخ عبد اللـه بن زايد إلى سورية دليل على أن سورية في قلب كل مواطن في دولة الإمارات وأمن سورية من أمن دولة الإمارات.

وبين سفير السعودية أن المملكة تبدي حرصاً واهتماماً على الإخوة في سورية الشقيقة ويتمنون لسورية كل الخير وأن تتجاوز هذه المحنة في أسرع وقت ممكن وعودة سورية الشقيقة لممارسة دورها الهام والطبيعي في وطننا العربي…

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May 30th, 2011, 1:58 am


120. jad said:

Where did you get this ‘poem’ it’s hilarious.

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May 30th, 2011, 2:03 am


121. Revlon said:

#114, Dear Louai, those responsible for killing Mr Nidal jannoud should have the right to due process.
They should be tried in a court of civil justice, along with Jr, Brother, Cousin, and all perpetrators and accomplices that participated in all of the killings of Syrians, since the begining of this revolution.

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May 30th, 2011, 2:12 am


122. Beirut Spring: If You Want To Read Only One Thing About Syria said:

[…] essential post by “an American in Syria” at Landis’ blog provides very good insight into the […]

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May 30th, 2011, 2:19 am


123. vlad-the-syrian said:

ALEX 108

you are right

i’ll add that the dialectal HAKI ADABI which is a major social reference is spoken everywhere except in the rural areas although with various accents and this is true even in big provincial towns like Deir-ezzor, Tartous, Idlib, etc…

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May 30th, 2011, 2:21 am


124. Syria no kandahar said:

Wait a minute we thought that the shabiha did this,what happened ? I gues the peaceful demonstrators were not so peaceful this time.
As far as the taking the military to trials it is fine when the peaceful gangs friends of عيروط stop and allow any process to happen.Do you really believe what you say any more?why would the government kill people in bab alsba and not even wound or scratch one person in kamishli or hassaka or amoda or Derek or rasaleen?what is your opinion about Talbisa’s events today.your comment today is not heroic nor balanced because you have been doing your best to protect criminals and you only condemned them when you were cought lying,shame on you.

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May 30th, 2011, 2:32 am


125. vlad-the-syrian said:


you say “But Turkey and Syria are united by the will of God for ever”

Keep your God and Turkey for yourself and leave Syria alone.

Find another place for your neo-ottoman propaganda.

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May 30th, 2011, 2:37 am


126. syau said:

Syria no Kandahar,

#109, Excellent abbreviation, WISphobia is spot on!

#116, Jad’s right, it’s hilarious. It should be turned into a song.

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May 30th, 2011, 2:39 am


127. Revlon said:

#121, Do not jump to conclusions!
The people in the video clip are accused by the regime to have perpetrated the murder.
The regime has no credibility in gathering evidence or obtaining a testimony.

This is why I said; whoever they are, they should have the right to due process, like Jr and the rest of the clan should, after the revolutioon prevails.

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May 30th, 2011, 2:58 am


128. syau said:

Reports emerging of 4 Security personnel martyred and 14 injured while tracking terrorist groups in Talbiseh.

A number of gang members were arrested and a large amount of weapons an ammunition confiscated.

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May 30th, 2011, 3:00 am


129. syau said:

Syria no Kandahar,

God forbid Revlon actually acknowledges that members affiliated with the revolution were behind the murder of Nidal Jannoud and any of the other victims of the murders and mutilations.

Denials from the pro revolutionists will happen even when these people caught on camera making their victim endure a parade walk until he finally succumbed to his injuries before continuing to mutilate his body. They will always find someone else to blame.

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May 30th, 2011, 3:06 am


130. Abdo said:

This article is sectarian and completely avoids the core issue: Do we as Syrians want true representative democracy or do we want minority based dictatorship. Your insights and conversations are divisive. After libration from France, between 1945 through 1966, minorities in Syria were in much better conditions than now. Fear mongering about Sunni hegemony is an ugly instrument to perpetuate dictatorship, corruption and economical and social decay. In the long run, and by supporting the dictatorship, Syrian minorities may get all what they wished for.

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May 30th, 2011, 3:15 am


131. Syria no kandahar said:

So let me rephrase that:
-Someone who is cought on vidio committing a crime should’t be blamed for it.
Can you explain to me the way you reach your conclusions on all the other situations where all you have as evidence is nothing,and you start cursing the government befor reading Alfateha?why don’t you allow the (due process )then?
By the way if (god forbid)(the revolution prevail)would we the same jurisdiction which they have in Iraq now?or the Sharia they are planning in Egypt?or will you adopt the American one and tell Maher:you have the right to remain silent and you have the right to have a lawyer.I bit you will be so much tempted to do to him what عيروط did to Nidal.I can see the smile in your face and I can see. Your teeth shunning between your beard,it is so tempting is’t it?

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May 30th, 2011, 3:23 am


132. Corky said:

I too thought the article was brilliant. But may I add a hopeful comment from someone who has been living and loving every day in Damascus for the last 6 months.

Right now, people are confused, this has been thrust on them suddenly even if they have known about the abuses and even felt them in the simple things like bakshish and slow lines to have useless papers stamped.

But there is something wonderful about Syrian people. They just shine with a loving light. Each day I met more loving people than I thought was possible. Even the ragged little girls who begged came running down the street, to get my daily little offering to them,with great smiles. (I wanted them not to have to beg me but to receive a gift from a friend.) The shopkeepers would ask about my husband if he hadn’t been in their shops for a couple of days. Everyone gave me more than I paid for and if I didn’t bargain well and paid too much, I’d know it because they would give me a “gift”.

The people we met at the University who work for pittance, worked hard and lovingly for their students and for their research because it was the right thing to do for their country and themselves.

The wonderful extended families who welcomed “enjabia Amerikias” into thier homes and loaded us with presents when we left showed us how family life should be.

We have met “forever friends”. We admire their strength, their prayers, their kindness, their politeness and their intellectual capacity.

When this comes to a conclusion, their inate strength, love and courage will allow them to build a wonderful Syria.

I realize I have just written a love letter to my beloved Damascus and my beloved friends, but in the end if we are all loving then, Insh’allah, there will be a Syria which is worthy of it’s wonderful citizens.

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May 30th, 2011, 3:28 am


133. democracynow said:

“From her attitude, I felt that if the city was to be wiped off the map, she wouldn’t mind. I began to mention reports of the more grisly examples of violent killings there. “Good!” was her angry response”……..”I realized that I was witnessing the kind of passive approval for massacre that one reads about in history books, when individuals or groups become convinced of the evil of another and of the necessity of wiping them out. Najwah is not an evil woman, but the people of Dera’a have become completely vilified in her mind, and she fears them.”

This is the most fascinating and revealing part of the article. To me, at least. After discussing the humanitarian situation in Daraa with pro-regime people for many times, and for long exhaustive hours, I came to the same conclusion: as far as they’re concerned, whether mass graves or indiscriminate killing, the regime could get away with anything in order to restore the old order.

I tried to envisage an opposite scenario in my mind: one where the target of this oppression is a minority in Syria. And I asked myself: would I really be oblivious to it? would I simply justify it in order to, as the article puts it, insulate myself from the moral failure and the pangs of conscience?

The problem lies with the discourse and the propaganda. The regime, regardless of its secular facade, is responsible for the growth of sectarianism. If you read between the lines in the article, you’d realize the writer have experienced a change in the people around him since the events started: more polarization, more hostility towards differing opinions..etc.. The problem with this regime (its discourse, propaganda and slogans) is that those hostile camps of differing opinions were further separated by the regime’s own incitement and lies. By touting the salafist armed gangs story, it immediately drew lines in the sand and separated its own people. The regime’s initial failure to accommodate and contain the dissent in Daraa is just a microcosm of its behavior overall: going for gun instead of the handshake. But once that dissent grew out of hand and spread to other regions, the regime couldn’t see a way out unless it waged a silent war of sectarian incitement on its own people. What else would you call the salafist armed gangs claims? other than a scarecrow to frighten the minorities and evoke their loyalty and hate to the other camp?
What I’m trying to say is, sectarianism might be an intrinsic component of the society, but the regime’s behavior have certainly helped to make it worse.

It’s a sad conclusion, but I believe it is true: There will come a time when civil war would be more likely to break out in Syria if this regime stayed in power, not if it got toppled.

As for the fears and concerns (logical or not) of minorities (Christians, Alawites and Druze): I believe it’s a quintessential for the opposition figures, as well as the youth on the ground, to work to allay these fears. Some commenters here suggest that the pact of loyalty is binding and won’t change. I disagree. I’ve been picking up signs of discontent and anger from the majority of my christian friends over what’s happening in Daraa. But that position never materialized into a full blown political stand. The fear of unknown is a powerful, powerful thing. And it will take a while before a more clear understanding of a Syria without this regime takes place. If one were to speak dispassionately about the long term prospects: would it really be healthy in the future of Syria for the minorities’ safety to be ensured by a repressive regime? do you really think this regime could last forever or reform? people are ready to cite the example of Iraq, but do you really think that Saddam would have been a guarantoor of Iraq’s Christian safety on the long term? (for the record, I was and still am against the Iraq war)..

I think the only way to sneak out of the sectarian trench is for everyone to think long term and be mindful of the principles and essence of universal human rights rather than be distracted by regime propaganda or extremist turban heads abroad.

How do you want Syria to look like 10 years from now? 20 years? Draw up a vision and work on it.

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May 30th, 2011, 4:45 am


134. Usama said:

Majed, #60

Luckily, we don’t need to convince people like you. If someone thinks that security forces will mutilate a dead body and castrate it, then that person already has radical views about the regime that can’t be changed even with logic. It’s interesting you bring up the parents. Are we going to see their corpses next friday also mutilated and castrated because they “spoke out” about 7amza? I can already see it now. What a farce!

Isabelle, #76

Thank you for sharing your story. I can relate to your student friend, and I can tell you that it seems like you’re believing everything you’re told. You said “we don’t see what economical and social change you could hope from such corrupted people ready to do everything to “keep the cake””, and of course there are always corrupted people trying to keep the cake, but those are everywhere, even in France. If I’m not mistaken, Chirac’s past is catching up with him today, but there are many others who don’t get caught. But let’s keep this in regional perspective. Were there ever any sanctions against Jordan? Against Mubarak’s Egypt? Against the Arab Persian Gulf countries? Are their human rights records better than Syria’s? Are they more democratic than Syria? Are their officials less corrupt than Syrian officials? Syria is unique in that it had consistently resisted Western hegemony and dictations. Someone who always says “no” to the west is not a corrupted person trying to keep the cake. Most people know that to keep the cake, the best thing to do is say “yes sir!” to the west. Despite intense pressures that Hafez and Bashar went through, they refused and always stood for what Syrians believe in. This is why we are seeing sanctions today, like we have been since the 70s, it’s nothing new. Think about it, they put economic sanctions which hurt the people first, the regime second, and then they say “reform faster!!” and by “reform” they mean “say yes sir!”

For your student friend’s stubbornness, I think you need to understand that the whole world is attacking something he strongly believes in, and they’re doing it with false news, fabricated videos, phony eyewitnesses, and foreign-funded “human rights” “activists”. To us, it feels like all eyes are on Syria and they’re seeing such an ugly picture that is not real! When the media was still inside Syria, it largely ignored more than a million people demonstrating for Asad in Damascus alone. In contrast, they completely exaggerated everything else and blamed all deaths on security forces no matter what. They even claim that the army is shooting at civilians while completely ignoring the presence of armed terrorist groups, and that is just ridiculous. They even said security forces and army are killing each other!! There is a clear conspiracy against Syria and everyone who truly loves Syria, and has a stake in its well-being, whether pro-regime or opposition, should say “wait a minute, there’s something fishy going on here” but instead you see many of them asking for foreign intervention. That is a clear sign of people without a cause, without vision, without reason, and most importantly, without support from fellow Syrians!

Your point about “cult of personality” in the USSR (URSS) is intriguing but you should remember that the USSR was based on expansion of land and influence through force. In constrast, Syria is a small country with a powerful Arab identity and a much more powerful national identity and pride. It does not include land occupied or stolen from others. In fact, it used to be much bigger but persistent occupation split it into what it is today. Look, if there were a lot of people on the streets, like Egypt, who am I to say they’re wrong? The people want what the people want. But there isn’t. There’s only some tens of thousands in a country of 23 million, so I am with the people, and the people are with Bashar al-Asad. A couple of months ago, 250 thousand people in the UK protested against austerity measures. Good thing they didn’t call for toppling the ceremonial monarchy which is maintained with hundreds of millions of pounds of public funds.

One last note, there is a law that was passed by Bashar and it allows people who are wanted for certain reasons to apply for an “exception” for a 3-month visit. You can look into this yourself at the Syrian embassy website (I think). Can you ask your friends if they tried to get that exception before travelling and getting arrested?

Nafdik, #97

Irrelevant. Sunnis make up almost 75% of the population. How does keeping just Alawis and Christians pro-regime keep the regime afloat? This regime is not sectarian, nor does it survive on division. It clearly survives on national unity. Sectarian division is clearly against the regime’s interests. If you can’t explain why not even a significant number of Sunnis are out on the streets, then please stop making clearly misleading declarations. You make al-Jazeera look good! Oh and by the way, don’t give me that “fear” crap. Syrians are not less brave than Egyptians.

Norman, #98

Very good point. But can you please clarify what you meant by saying that Christians have no future in Syria? Syria has consistently been one of the most Christian-friendly Arab countries; even more than in Lebanon if you think about it.

Alex, #110

Gold, just gold. People are aware of sectarian differences, but it doesn’t mean they treat each other differently. Even in this time where sectarian differences are more pronounced doesn’t mean they will kill each other. Sectarian civil wars are caused by small groups (often foreign-funded) that begin the fighting and drag everyone in with them. It is really not that hard to do and it’s what scares me the most today, but the fact that it doesn’t seem to be heading that way shows the Syrian people are aware of deliberate provocations, in my opinion.

Revlon, #119, 124

Yes, due process. Confessions, pictures (one explicitly showing `Ayrout holding an explosive), and others from before that pointed to those two men in the pictures directly as being the killers. What else do you want? Well-deserved executions. They look in good health, and all their nails are where they belong! Why Jannoud though? I hope it’s not because of this, but he is Alawi.

Jad, #117

This might be why Abdel-Nour was kicked out: http://addounia.tv/web/full.php?fullid=188 I was hoping he’d be sent to Syria 😉

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May 30th, 2011, 5:18 am


135. Shami said:

Vlad call it neo ottomanism ,neo romanism or neo umayyadism ,it’s an union on the image of the European Union ,an integration of democratic states.
This is not an utopia.

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May 30th, 2011, 5:24 am


136. Sophia said:

# 110 Alex,

Thanks for your comment.

As for Lebanese, to borrow Ms Clinton’s words, they have ‘no appetite’ right now for a civil war because they still live the effects of the last one both on the individual and on the national levels. At the individual level, new ailments and diseases have appeared among Lebanese at an epidemiological level never seen before: pathological obesity, diabetes, depression, etc…These are things I have witnessed in small communities I have known well. I am not sure they are backed by scientific studies because funding for this kind of research is not possible in Lebanon.

I remember at the start of the civil war in Lebanon, militia on both sides set armed barricades and blindly shot people crossing the barricades on the basis of their religious identity (in Lebanon, religion is written on the ID card). This was a quick and sure way to hightening sectarian tensions.

I remember tearing up my ID card in protest and disgust in front of the rest of my family members (luckily I had a passport and was able to leave Lebanon after six years of civil war). To this day I still don’t have a Lebanese ID card and I refuse to have one on which they write my religion. I refuse to be coerced into inhabiting a particular component of my identity which is, for me, historical, and not one of choice. My identity is much more rich, complex and sophisticated than my belonging to a particular religion.

I hope young Syrians will come to understand this in the current emotional climate prevailing in Syria.

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May 30th, 2011, 5:30 am


137. Bassam said:

Dr. Landis; you have cultivated for a long time a reputation that you are defending this dictatorial regime of the Assad Family, and it is not a surprise now to me to find that you site is full of those commentators that belong to this regime. I salute this American who wrote this article, and find it very interesting, and true. Inside my own Alawite family, we are so divided that we hate each other after this revolution. I profoundly believe that this revolution will win and that the retarded and highly criminal Assad regime will be finished soon. The Syrian people have suffered for 41 years from this gang that calls itself a political regime. It is the number one murderer in the whole world!

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May 30th, 2011, 5:39 am


138. 873 said:

The M.E. nations have been in disarray for decades, no doubt. More recently, post-2008 financial crash, worsening poverty and induced food shortages are being harnessed to good effect by the West, which seizes the mass desparation to light the conflagration. Not to mention the ever-combustible latent Sectarian Weapon. Deployed with the aid of some very efficient Mista’aravim.
Never let a good crisis go to waste…

And Suddenly, for no convincing casus belli, all across the region, regimes just begin to topple, ‘NEOCON Domino’ style. In fact RIGHT off their think tank papers onto the Arab Street!?
Wow that’s alot of ‘gov-in-training’ for the west to implement. Follow the $$$.

Now all the noncompliant enemies of the zionists are out of the way. No matter that other worse, core sadists like Bahrain (home of 5th Fleet) which used SARIN GAS on protestors is off the hook. So are our allies Kuwait, The Great Beheaders and global Salafi supporters Saudi Arabia, and torturers for CIA Jordan.

This is about as false-flagged as 911. Same beneficiaries too. Allahu Netanyahu Akbar, as they say in Hebrew! LOLOL

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May 30th, 2011, 5:59 am


139. Observer from Greece said:

I have to agree with you Mr Landis: One of the most well-written descriptions of the situation in Syria.

The man who wrote it might not be a political scientist or a sociologist but he puts to shame many political scientists and sociologists with his crystal clear description of the multi-dimensioned nature of the unrest that is taking place in Syria. What such a description can offer to the reader is that it compells him to think.

By the way, congratulations for your blog. It’s very informative and it contains many subtle analyses and assessments of the current situation in Syria (by you, the readers, or others), two qualities that unfortunately are in short supply.

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May 30th, 2011, 6:03 am


140. Usama said:


I believe Baroud passed a law, not that long ago, which removed that requirement from Lebanese ID cards.

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May 30th, 2011, 6:38 am


141. Deyaa said:

#128. Thanks a million!
Your thoughts are exactly what I have been trying to explain to many friends!

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May 30th, 2011, 7:17 am


142. mjabali said:


You want a union between the Sunni states. This is what is coming out of these events in Syria. I have heard and seen this through the logic of many Sunnis. It is obvious that Sunnis from other Arabic states are helping fight al-Assad. The problem with your argument mr. Shami is that there are no democracies and those arguing for this solution are calling for the toppling of kings like Abd Allahs (Jordan and Saudia Arabia) and the rest of them princes/kings/sultans! is is a very interesting point in the situation we are living.

As for the situation the article had described: Syria today is showing no signs of progress: protests continues, no dialogue and from bad to worse. If this will continue Syria will no longer be able to function as a state encompassing all.

The next month/months is/are very important because if al-Hiwar al-Watani (the National Dialogue) did not start and this chaos persists; the state of Syria is going to be split according to sectarian and religious line. Christians and Alawis in one state and the Sunnis in the other, while the Druze may follow.

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May 30th, 2011, 7:33 am


143. Sophia said:

# 133, Usama,

Thanks. I am gald this is done. It took such a long time.

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May 30th, 2011, 7:44 am


144. JS said:

This is pure fiction! discrepancies in the story of the fictious Shia’ (who’s conveniently an athiest) character “Adham”. He lives in the city of Dera’a but he lives in a village within the province of dera’a tha’s nearer to Damascus; and the same goes for his brother. The city maybe sealed off but not the province; why can’t they get home?

The main Charecter( probably based on Landis himself!)continues in his endeavour to gauge sectarian sentiments in Syria by conveniently finding an Alawi girl who’s eager to express incredibley scant disregard to human life or civilized values and who is readily willing to talk politics (fiction!)

Our Charles Dickens moves on to find a Christian family (close friends); who are even more blasé about the value of human life and who are again willing to talk politics so openly and to express such incredibly antagonistic views! (again fiction)

This had to be followed (yes you guessed it) by a sojourn with a ‘Sunni’ family this time and a heated discussion with the daughter who obviously read Edward Said’s ‘Orientalism’ but who basically hates all existence outside her sect! (fiction)

And finally another encounter with another uncompromising Alawi (this time from Homs)who is willing to openly talk politics; even in a restaurant! (fiction)

It appears that we’ve become very liberal indeed!

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May 30th, 2011, 7:45 am


145. Shami said:

Mjabali ,the arab world is changing nothing can remain as it was.We are leaving the era of brutal one party dictatorships.
Democracy and the rule of law is the objective to reach for all arabs ,it will be a difficult path but only the essentialist islamophobic say that muslims can not be democrats ,this is what some weak minds from the christians and alawite here like to repeat.
Jordan and the Gulf arab countries can not resist change for ever when the people want it otherwise.As for the religious divide ,it’s a marginal problem ,the overwhelming majority of arabs and muslims are Sunnis.Hezbollah or Hakim militia will not be able to compete with their environment for ever,Iraq will remain part of the Arab nation and Iran will become a democracy sooner or later.
Alawites even if 100 % of them wanted so can not claim independance ,it’s geographically impossible for them ,despite the paranoia of some of them ,they have no other options,they live among us.
The same is true for the christians …i dont see them wanting to leave Damascus ,Aleppo,Hama,Homs,their history in order to be Qardahians.They never were isolated minorities.
So a syrian christian must never consider himself as member of a minority.
Minority/Majority logic is of cultural nature.

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May 30th, 2011, 8:40 am


146. Shami said:

Mjabali ,this is sample of a national dialogue wanted by Asad,it’s always according to sectarian logic.
A paranoid regime will never be able to reform.

The dialogue of munafiqin :

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May 30th, 2011, 8:51 am


147. Norman said:


The People not the government what make christian feel unequal,

Christians in Syria do not feel that they can serve Syria in all capacities, it is better than other Arab states but do not feel accepted in high positions, for God sake the president is being rejected for being Alawi Muslim not for his policies,

Jad, having quotas and set aside in election laws makes these laws obsolete, they should not have certain numbers for the farmers, workers, Christians Muslims and so on , have small districts and elect representatives from each ,

What we all should agree on is that the last Friday call to split the army failed ,and for that i am hopeful,

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May 30th, 2011, 9:20 am


148. Norman said:


I think that there are many Aramaic, not just Assyrian in the Has aka and Kamishli areas , many came for Mardine, then they spread to the rest of Syria,

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May 30th, 2011, 9:24 am


149. why-discuss said:


“To this day I still don’t have a Lebanese ID card and I refuse to have one on which they write my religion.”

Since more than 6 years the lebanese id does not bear the religion, didn’t you know?

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May 30th, 2011, 9:31 am


151. Helena Cobban said:

Josh and the author of the piece– Thanks so much for publishing this important and insightful account. I blogged a short commentary on it here: Syria: The strong risk of fitna, and how to prevent it

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May 30th, 2011, 9:41 am


152. Observer said:

It is clear from the comments that this article about divisions in Syrian society is very real as we see very divided opinions about the subject; reflecting exactly this division.

I still do not see but one narrative from the regime: there are foreign and local terrorist elements aiming to topple the regime by force coming from outside.

This is a big problem as I hear that from a logistical point of view, the army troops are not getting enough food, that once they invest a town they have to scavenge for food in the homes and shops.

This is also a big problem, someone was reporting to RT from the Baath party that about 150 saboteurs travel around the country inciting people to violence and ambushing the security forces. If this is true, then a mere 150 can create such havoc means that the huge 17 security groups are a failure. If one thinks that Damascus has at least 400 000 security personnel in one form or another and they cannot come to grips with 150 terrorists then this is a problem.

There is also a big problem as the regime is clutching at straws of news about Lebanese conspirators “listening in on Syrian cell phone systems” as a justification for its narrative of ongoing conspiracy.

There is more and more emphasis on the great number of “reforms coming down the pike” which indicates a beginning of exhaustion of the regime in the use of force.

Keeping all of these security forces mobilized for such a long time and over such a wide area of dissent and discontent is not working.

I see no long term strategy; the regime is against the wall and is aiming to crush the people to the maximum.

I know of one country that is like that and that is North Korea.

I do not believe that once the crushing is done and if and this is a big if it is successful will there be a forgiveness and forget attitude among the rest of the world. There will be deep anger and resentment in the local population and there will be a reckoning to come.

My sources tell me that the level of economic activity has now dwindled to about 25% meaning that selling of basic food and commodities is all that is active. There are numerous small businesses and local industries on the verge of collapse and bankruptcy and some shops and factories are working at most 3 days a week.
The heating fuel is scarce as the lowering of the price has made it profitable to smuggle to other countries at a staggering profit, buying it in Syria and selling it in Turkey and Lebanon for a profit.

There are reports of the army calling in reservists and if this is true then they are running out of forces to crush the uprising. Turkey is planning on having refugee areas inside Syria to protect the population in case of massive flight to avoid having to deal with them in Turkey, just as they had the problem after the first Gulf war with Kurds flooding into Turkey.

Finally, this piece clearly shows that all the minorities want a secular Syria provided they keep their religious sectarian privileges intact at the expense of the majority. “Sunnis should be secular while the rest of us should remain xyz”.

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May 30th, 2011, 9:47 am


153. Mohamed kanj said:

Let’s get our facts right. After 2-3 months of turmoil I’n Syria the pro and anti government sides have formed. The anti government side tried on numerous occasions to call for mass demonatrations on specific Fridays . Once was from the Kurdish population – 1.5million ( they got nomore than 10,000 Kurds demonstrating ) . The second time they tried to make the army split and side with them ( they failed again – 0 soldiers defected ). Nomore than 0.000001 % of Christians, 0% allawi, 1% Druze , 20% Sunni have sided with the opposition. They have shown their true colors for what they are. Racist, radical Islamist fundamentalists.

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May 30th, 2011, 9:51 am


154. Atassi said:

Dr. Lands.
Thank you for publishing this story, I see myself, my dear friends “both Christian and Alawaits” truly being portrayed in this story, it’s descriptions of the situation in Syria and aboard is amazingly true, We all can see that both side of this conflict entrenched and digging deeper, both decided on an exit strategy of elimination of the other side, no truthful dialogue, with emotions reaching a boiling point, trust and good faith became a rare commodity.
Are we going form and from bad to worse? Are seeing Dr. Bashar cult status “key to his rule” rabidly diminishing? Possibly becoming a Warlord leader!!
We all temporarily lost some of my dear friends..I know this for fact..God bless souria

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May 30th, 2011, 9:52 am


155. aboali said:

All repressive dictatorships come to an end when people get fed up with living with all the abuse and poverty, Syria is no different. The fact that the dictatorship is Syria is also a minority sectarian one also means that the power will shift to the majority Sunnis after the revolution is over, this is inevitable. However, this will not necessarily mean religious extremists will take over, nor does it necessitate any sectarian backlash, except maybe for those who served in the security services, but the again I’m sure just as many Sunni officers would be killed in revenge as members of any other sect. I have no doubt in my mind that there will be a purge of the armed forces and the mukhabarat, as well as prominent Baathist politicians, the only possible reason more Alawis will be killed or exiled during this is their larger proportional representation in those institutions.

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May 30th, 2011, 9:53 am


156. Observer said:

This is from Robert Fisk, brilliant as usual in his dissection of the latest low in US policy towards the ME
It is worth reading to the end

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May 30th, 2011, 9:57 am


157. richard said:

I have spent a very long time reading, rereading and rereading again the original article and all of the comment and counter comments with a genuine desire to try and understand the issues and the nuances in this wholly regrettable tragedy that is currently afflicting Syria and have come the conclusion that the root of the problem is that, despite protestations to the contrary from every perspective in the debate, not a single voice have I heard is from someone, anyone, who is first, foremost and exclusively a SYRIAN.

I live in a country whose population is rooted in diverse civilizations from all over the world, of all colors, religions and beliefs, 99% of whom came to live here to escape from secularism, sectarianism, fundamentalism and just about any other kind of “..ism” you care to name, so that they could escape from such divisive history and bigotry. In this country we call ourselves AUSTRALIANS, that all the definition we need, we are simply AUSTRALIANS.

Sadly I fear, NONE of you will ever find peace or security until such time as ALL of you become SYRIANS, just that – SYRIANS.

Good luck!

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May 30th, 2011, 9:57 am


158. Qifa Nabki said:

Some things never change. 🙂

My friend Alex still believes that “the Saudis tried their best to push [Lebanon] into civil war … Asharq Alawsat and Alarabyia were doing the same thing they (and Aljazeera) are doing today to Syria.”

If Lebanon truly was on the precipice of civil war between 2005-08, it wasn’t because of the Saudi media. There were plenty factors threatening to push the country toward armed conflict (including but not limited to the assassination of political figures associated with one of the two main coalitions; a shutdown and blockade of the central government; hard-ball tactics being played by the American and Syrian governments [actually the Saudis were much more moderate in that respect, if Wikileaks is to be believed]; and the 2006 war with Israel).

Alarabiyya and Asharq al-Awsat were piggybacking on the tension, Alex; they weren’t producing it. In Syria today, al-Jazeera may be playing a similar role of hyping the protests and the grievances of demonstrators, but that doesn’t mean that the protests and grievances aren’t real.

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May 30th, 2011, 9:58 am


160. MGB said:

@# 110 shamati and 144 JS

I thought exactly the same as you did and wrote a comment yesterday, albeit not as clearly worded as yours, but either Dr Landis or the moderator of this forum decided not to print it. I will repeat it:

Nice try Dr Landis, but very naughty indeed.

And I might add now that you must have been watching too much of that Dooonia channel.

Let’s see if it gets printed this time.

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May 30th, 2011, 10:09 am


161. Revlon said:

The army position is expected to undergo a decisive change in the coming weeks.
It is expected to play a role in the peaceful transition to free Syria.

Statement made by Sheik Al Sheyookh of the Syrian tribes, Mr Nawaf Al Basheer in an interview with AlJazeera, from Damascus


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May 30th, 2011, 10:11 am


162. Revlon said:

An attempt at initiating unsolicited dialogue, by Doctor Rami Abdera7man, lead to his arreast on the charge of “hurting the national sentiment”!

في سياق متصل قال رئيس المرصد السوري لحقوق الإنسان رامي عبد الرحمن إن القضاء السوري اتهم الأحد الطبيب محمد عوض العمار “بالمساس بهيبة الدولة ونشر أنباء كاذبة”.

والتقى أخيرا هذا الطبيب الذي يعمل في مستشفى الجاسم في درعا مع شخصية عسكرية رفيعة وعرض عليه وساطة لتسوية ديمقراطية في سوريا، لكنه اعتقل بعيد ذلك في التاسع والعشرين من أبريل/ نيسان

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May 30th, 2011, 10:24 am


163. Akbar Palace said:


In the not too distant future, Arabs like yourself will have to stop pointing fingers at imaginary Zionists, Neocons, salafis, and other phantoms, and place the blame and responsibility on those who are really at fault: non-elected Arab “leaders”.

Until that day, Arabs will continue to suffer.

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May 30th, 2011, 10:26 am


164. Revlon said:

Mr Khaled Sayed Muhannad, an Algerian Journalist was tortured and threatenned in kafr Sooseh prison by an interrogator that his genitals would be wacked in case he did not answer questions
Le Mond May 29th
نشرت صحيفة “لوموند” الفرنسية الأحد 29-5-2011، شهادة الصحافي الجزائري “خالد سيد مهنّد” الذي اعتقل في معتقل المقر العام لجهاز الاستخبارات في كفرسوسة طيلة خمسة وعشرين يوما بعد دخوله إلى سوريا في بداية شهر أبريل/نيسان الماضي لتغطية أخبار الاحتجاجات، تعرض خلالها للضرب والإهانة والتعذيب.

اقتيد خالد في التاسع من أبريل/نيسان من مقهى في باب توما بدمشق، على يد سبعة عناصر أمنية إلى مركز عسكري حيث أُخضع لتحقيق أولي، بعدها سيق إلى معتقل في المقر العام للاستخبارات السورية في كفرسوسة، حيث تعرض للضرب وهدّده أحد المحققين باقتلاع أعضائه التناسلية وحتى باقتلاع قلبه من صدره إن لم يجب على أسئلة المحققين.

ويروي خالد أنه من أول لطمة على وجهه سقط جسر أسنانه الاصطناعي من فمه، كما وضع سجّانوه أسلاكا كهربائية على أنحاء مختلفة من جسده لترويعه، وكلما كان يُجيب على سؤال كان المحقق يضربه وينعته بالكاذب، كما عرض عليه التعامل مع الاستخبارات كجاسوس، لكنه رفض.

وبعد تحقيقات متكررة معه ساقوه إلى الزنزانة رقم (22) حيث أصبح اسمه في المعتقل وفقا لرقم الزنزانة.

وفي السجن التقى خالد عشرات الموقوفين من المعارضة وقد بدت عليهم آثار التعذيب نتيجة مشاركتهم في الاحتجاجات.

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May 30th, 2011, 10:31 am


165. Revlon said:

11 martyrs fell victims to regime violence today, including one child in Talbeeseh and Rastan of Homs Governerate.
Al Fati7a upon their soul,
May God bless their families with solace, and empower them with patience.

قتل 11 مدنيا بينهم طفلة خلال اقتحام قوات ودبابات الجيش السوري عدة قرى ومدن وسط البلاد في محاولة بشار الأسدلإخماد الاحتجاجات ضد نظام الرئيس،
من جهتهم أكد ناشطون سوريون على شبكة الإنترنت مقتل طفلة تدعى هاجر الخطيب وإصابة خمسة آخرين
لدى إطلاق رجال الأمن النار على حافلة كانت تقل 12 طفلا قرب الرستن.
كما قال ناشط حقوقي رفض الكشف عن هويته لوكالة الأنباء الفرنسية إنه تم نقل أكثر من مائة جريح إلى المستشفى الوطني والمستشفى العسكري في حمص ثالث كبرى المدن السورية

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May 30th, 2011, 10:36 am


166. 'Just World News' with Helena Cobban: Syria: The strong risk of fitna, and how to prevent it said:

[…] Landis has a truly excellent piece on his blog today. It is a lengthy account that he's publishing there, that was written by someone […]

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May 30th, 2011, 10:41 am


167. why-discuss said:

Distorting the Syrian Uprising With the Help of the (UK) Independent


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May 30th, 2011, 10:49 am


168. jad said:

حسن عبد العظيم: يوميّات عجوز معتقل
لا تصنع السجون مؤيدين للسلطة. سبع مرات أوقف حسن عبد العظيم، أولها عام 1963 وآخرها مطلع هذا الشهر. في الثمانين من عمره، المبادئ واضحة والنضال مستمر. تصنع السجون أبطالاً. حفيده لا يريد أن يصبح رئيس جمهورية ولا ضابط أمن، بل أن يكون مثل جده

غسان سعود
دمشق | في القبو حيث الزنزانة التي أودع فيها، يحاول مصباح أربعين شمعة أداء دور الشمس، ويحاول آمر السجن أداء دور الله، فيُشرق «الشمس» ويغربها ساعة يريد. عند الثالثة ظهراً، يصل صحن المجدرة و«كاسة» اللبن. سبت، أحد، اثنين، ثلاثاء، كل أيام الأسبوع: الغداء مجدرة والعشاء «راس» بطاطا مسلوق و«دوش» بندورة. لذتهما في كشفهما الوقت للمساجين: حظر الساعة في الزنزانة، يجعل صحن المجدرة ساعة.
من أطول، النهار أم الليل؟ يسأل حسن عبد العظيم نفسه. عنده ثمانون عاماً ليفكر فيها: الطفولة في التل، إنهاؤه في السابعة عشرة دراسته الثانوية وعمله مديراً لمدرسة ابتدائية بموازاة دراسته الحقوق. ولاحقاً انطلاقه في العمل محامياً. يقطع الصور ببعض التمارين الرياضية، منشطاً ذاكرته بترداد أرقام هواتف أصدقائه الأرضية والخلوية.
يفكر بزوجته، الجلطة الدماغية التي أصابتها في 12 رمضان الماضي شلتها جزئياً. يبكي أو لا يبكي؟ ينادي الله ـــــ الله لا السجّان ـــــ أن لا يفجعه بعائلته. ويكمل عدّ الأيام، متفرجاً على نفسه في قبو لا مرآة فيه.
يوم السبت 30 نيسان تأخر عبد العظيم في مغادرة منزله إلى مكتبه باعتبار السبت يوم إجازة. عند الحادية عشرة ودع زوجته ومشى. ما إن أوقف سيارته في المرأب التابع لمؤسسة المياه، حتى هرع إليه جاره يخبره أن «الأمن» سأل عنه. فطمأنه بابتسامته الدائمة إلى أن الإجراء روتينيّ، وغالباً ما يمر رجال الأمن بالمكتب. لكن لم يكد عبد العظيم يجد المفتاح والمكان المخصص له في الباب وينير مكتبه، حتى أطل ثلاثة «عناصر» من خلفه، اثنان منهم يتأبطان رشاشاً أو «ساموبال»، وطلبوا منه أن «تشرف معنا».
إلى أين؟ سأل عبد العظيم. فأجابه أحدهم: «المعلم عازمك ع فنجان قهوة». أي معلم؟ سأل مجدداً. فسمع ما يثنيه عن الأسئلة الإضافية: «بس توصل بتعرف».
وهكذا، بابتسامته نفسها، ودع عبد العظيم جاره وصعد في السيارة البوليسية بين العنصرين المسلحين، فيما جلس الثالث في المقعد الأمامي إلى جانب السائق. وبعد تجوال في مدينة عبد العظيم، اتجه السائق صوب منطقة حرستا، تمهيداً لتوقفه في مركز استخبارات المنطقة الجنوبية.
أنزل من السيارة، قيّد معصماه واقتيد عند مدير السجن ليحجز غرفة. ثم عُصبت عيناه ليدخل عند العميد. أمامه، احتج عبد العظيم على تعصيب العينين. أخبره أنه حين اعتنق مبادئه كان يعلم أنها ستوصله إلى الاعتقال، ولا يفترض بشيء أن يحول دون وضع المحقق، إذا كان يثق بمبادئه، عيناه في عيني من يحقق معه.
سأله المحقق عن نشاطه السياسي، فروى له المسار الطويل منذ انضمامه إلى الاتحاد الاشتراكي العربي برئاسة جمال الأتاسي عام 1964 وحتى انتخابه أميناً عاماً للحزب عام 2010، إضافة إلى انتخابه في العام نفسه ناطقاً باسم التجمع الوطني الديموقراطي، الذي يضم خمسة أحزاب: الحزب الشيوعي السوري برئاسة رياض الترك، حزب الاتحاد الاشتراكي العربي الديموقراطي برئاسة عبد العظيم، حزب العمال الثوري، حركة الاشتراكيين العرب وحزب البعث العربي الديموقراطي. بقي المحقق هادئاً، لم يتدخل مرة مقاطعاً أو مستفهماً، «طمأنني ذلك إلى سلامة منطقي وصحته»، يقول عبد العظيم. ويروي كيف أخبر المحقق أن التغيير في سوريا حتمي بعد التغيير في مصر، كيف أعلم الأمنيين، الذين فرقوا اعتصامات حزب الاتحاد الاشتراكي تضامناً مع الشعب المصري في مواجهة «الطاغية عراب التسوية مع إسرائيل والانقسام الفلسطيني»، أن الثورة السورية آتية.
لاحقاً في اليوم نفسه، طلب المحقق من عبد العظيم كتابة تقرير عن حزبه ورؤيته لمعالجة الأزمة الحاصلة. فكتب ست صفحات وتوجه إلى الزنزانة. يرى أن وصف الزنزانة بالوسخة أمر كاف. يتغطى وجهه بملامح القرف حين يتذكّر بقايا الأحرمة التي احتفل بعيده الثمانين فوقها. المهم أن الله ألهمه يوم اعتقل فارتدى «كندرة» (حذاء) سميكة، فحول الفردتين لاحقاً بعدما لفهما بسترته إلى وسادة. ما أبشع ما في السجن؟
يسأل نفسه ويصمت مع نفسه. تمر دقائق. يتسلل التوتر إلى أصابع قدميه، فتتحرك «المشاية» التي يرتديها نزولاً وصعوداً. ونوعها بالمناسبة Zilo رغم رسم الـ«بوما» عليها.
يردد أخيراً: «معاملتنا كالحشرات، نعت الموقوفين بالحقراء والكلاب… ضربهم وجلدهم. يُسجن صدى أصوات المعذبين في رؤوس سائر المساجين. كأنها الجدران تؤنبنا: «بدك حرية ولاه كلب؟».
يغرق في الصمت: «حرية، إيه حرية، طالما حذفتم الوحدة والاشتراكية من دولة الوحدة والحرية والاشتراكية، لم يبق لنا ولكم إلا الحرية».
بعد عشرة أيام، حان موعد المغادرة. جالت عيناه في الزنزانة تجمعان الذكريات. تذكر مبادئه: مواجهة الاستبداد أبداً، لكن ثانياً.
أولاً كان وسيبقى في مواجهة إسرائيل ومن يقف في صفها ورفض الاستعانة بالخارج.
خرج كما دخل، لا بل أقوى، يقول عبد العظيم. ابتسم لإشادة رئيس فرع الأمن بوطنيته، نظر في عينيه قائلاً: «نحن وأنتم على مركب واحد، كل له طابقه، لكن إن حاول أحدنا إغراق الآخر نغرق جميعاً». لا هم «طلبوا أن أوقع تعهداً بإيقاف نشاطي السياسي، ولا أنا أوقع».
يستمع حفيد عبد العظيم بشغف لرواية جده. «أنا لست ناصرياً، لكني من حزب جدّي: أريد الحرية».


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May 30th, 2011, 10:51 am


169. jad said:

قصة هاجر

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May 30th, 2011, 11:01 am


170. Revlon said:

Weapons of the Syrian security forces
السوري الخاصة بفض التظاهر العصي المستخدمة للأمن

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May 30th, 2011, 11:01 am


171. Syria no kandahar said:

I see that Binladen is coming back from the dead and spreading his news all over this site today,his 70 virgins are getting impation.The SC binladen does’t need a (due process)when he talked about the child and the officers killed in Talbissa yesterday,but the same maniac is asking for a (due process)when talking about the janood killers.
Prof Landis
There is very fine line between free speech and between allowing a speech which can cause harm.

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May 30th, 2011, 11:04 am


172. Activists admit the opposition has taken up arms | Syria News Wire said:

[…] been rejecting since March. It also means the opposition may alienate some of the Syrian population who blame protestors for the chaos engulfing […]

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May 30th, 2011, 11:09 am


173. Sophia said:

# 149 WD,

No I didn’t know. Actually, I dont go often to Lebanon and I live outside the Lebanese diaspora. But that’s good news.

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May 30th, 2011, 11:24 am


174. 873 said:

Those who false-flagged 911 are coordinating the present Arab Revolt false flag revolutions, using the people’s legit grievances for their own ends.

Odigo says workers were warned of attack
26.09.01 Haaretz By Yuval Dror

Odigo, the instant messaging service, says that two of its workers received messages two hours before the Twin Towers attack on September 11 predicting the attack would happen, and the company has been cooperating with Israeli and American law enforcement, including the FBI, in trying to find the original sender of the message predicting the attack.

Micha Macover, CEO of the Herzliya company, said the two workers received the messages and immediately after the terror attack informed the company’s management, which immediately contacted the Israeli security services, which brought in the FBI.

“I have no idea why the message was sent to these two workers, who don’t know the sender. It may just have been someone who was joking and turned out they accidentally got it right. And I don’t know if our information was useful in any of the arrests the FBI has made,” said Macover. Odigo is a U.S.-based company whose headquarters are in New York, with offices in Herzliya.

Here are a few hints:
Iz Art students LIVING in North Tower before 911- one of whom turned out to be a Mossad agent



Gelitin B “The B Thing” site- note their pix on left hand links

Larry Silverstein explains that he ordered (the obviously pre-rigged) WTC 7 to be demolished

BBC annouces WTC 7 collapse 20 min beforehand

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May 30th, 2011, 11:26 am


175. Abdo said:

To #134 Usama
The supporters of the regime are so unsophisticated it is amusing. To justify every single action by the regime as if it has been made by supernatural iconic hands is an obvious cause for the lack of any credibility by the regime and it’s supporters. Azmi Besharh, a Palestinean Christian thinker phrased it this way: Supporters of the regime fall into three groups only.
1- Those who have vested economic interests based on wide corruption.
2- Those hypocrites who verbalize and pronounce statements completely different from how they truly feel
3- Those who are utterly ignorant of other forms of governments and freedom available in other places on this earth.
A fourth alternative is not feasible.

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May 30th, 2011, 11:55 am


176. SANDRO LOEWE said:

Please do not try to bring arguments from Syria TV just for one reason:

Syria TV is owned and managed by authoritarian regime. Dictatorship. Their contents are never controlled by a serious organism.

The syrian TV should stop spreading lies. They have been doing it and cheating their people, hiding massive criminals in the regime, hiding 20 years long crimes and massacres in Lebanon, hiding flagrant violation of every human right in prison and outside prisons.

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May 30th, 2011, 12:00 pm


177. Syria no kandahar said:

Azmi Besharh is SHARMOTA.

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May 30th, 2011, 12:09 pm


178. aflatoon_francia said:

The whole story is nauseating. But realize the impact of consistent brutality on people. It disfigures the psyche more than depleted uranium or white phosphor ever would!
I see people with 2 legs, 2 hands, a heart and a mind.
Why have you all continued with this treacherous “I belong to this” & “you belong to that”?
Now the beasts that got brewed with this recipe have got tanks & utter brutality–raw, mindless.
Yes, few can stop. But those could are no less brutes.
Our American friend in Damascus on the other hand cannot recognize the same attitudes among people in his own land!
Why else have they waged so many brutal devastation on all people for decades all the while mouthing sweetness a rose will find matter of envy?
Is their brutality worse and yours better?
If not, there lies the price of belonging.
How does this brutality end?
The way it ended when they buried alive 10,000 in Hama: forget about it!
How could it end otherwise?
Castrate the brutal power of the regime: sell them no weapons, wage war on them! Hunt them down outside their Gomorrah.

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May 30th, 2011, 12:12 pm


179. jad said:

بعد فشل المراهنة على انشقاقات في صفوف الجيش السوري .. فرنسا و رحلة البحث عن “انشقاقات” في السلك الدبلوماسي السوري

المسعى الفرنسي الجديد لإضعاف صورة النظام السياسي في سورية كما حصل في الحالة الليبية ..

الخريطة البشرية للعقوبات المقبلة ستطال رجال اعمال واقتصاد سوريين من الصف الثاني ..

باريس ..
ذكرت مصادر فرنسية عليمة أن السلطات في قصر الإليزيه طلبت معلومات مفصلة عن السلك الدبلوماسي السوري في الخارج.
وحسب المصادر فإن هذه المعلومات تشمل جميع أعضاء السلك الدبلوماسي السوري في الخارج وانتماءاتهم المناطقية والعشائرية والطائفية، فضلا عن مدى تأثرهم وأقاربهم بالأحداث الأخيرة التي عصفت بسورية.
وقد طلب من السفارات الفرنسية في كل من دمشق وبيروت وعمان و”تل أبيب” معلومات تفصيلية عن الحالات التي يمكن التواصل معها للانشقاق عن الحكومة السورية، كما أن جماعة المعارضة السورية قد حركت لهذا الأمر فضلا عن جماعة 14 آذار في لبنان، على أن يتم التركيز على أعضاء السلك الدبلوماسي الذين ينتمون الى المناطق التي شهدت احتجاجات وسقط فيها ضحايا خصوصا الدبلوماسيين الذين ينتمون الى محافظة درعا والى مدينتي بانياس وحمص.
وتأمل فرنسا بحسب المصادر لصحيفة “البناء”اللبنانية من هذا التحرك التمكن من خلق حالة انشقاقات في السلك الدبلوماسي تساهم في إضعاف صورة النظام السياسي في سورية كما حصل في الحالة الليبية، خصوصا أن التعويل على انشقاقات في صفوف الجيش السوري أثبت فشله وعدم صدقيته رغم الشائعات التي أطلقتها مواقع الفيسبوك والتي تحدثت عن انشقاقات كبيرة وعلى مستويات عالية ثبت أنها عارية من الصحة باعتراف رجالات من المعارضة نفسها الذين اعتبروا أن كثرة الدعايات الكاذبة على الانترنت أفقدت المعارضة مصداقيتها.
وكان (جيرار بابت) النائب عن الحزب الاشتراكي الفرنسي ورئيس لجنة الصداقة الفرنسية السورية في مجلس النواب الفرنسي قد قال حول موانع التدخل العسكري في سورية “لم ولن يحصل تدخل غربي لأن الجيش السوري لم ينشق”.

الخريطة البشرية للعقوبات المقبلة ستطاول رجال اعمال واقتصاد سوريين من الصف الثاني ..
كما أن عملية البحث والتحري هذه تشمل فيما تشمل رجال أعمال سوريين يعتقد أنهم يقدمون الدعم المالي لبلادهم ويساهمون في صموده اقتصاديا، ويمكن أن تكون مرحلة العقوبات المقبلة عبارة عن توسع في الخريطة البشرية للعقوبات لتطاول رجال اعمال واقتصاد سوريين من الصف الثاني فضلا عن شركات سورية كمؤسسات الصناعة العسكرية هذا مع العلم أن هناك عقوبات غربية ضد سورية تعود لسنوات طويلة وتشمل أجهزة التقنية العالية والتسلح وقطع غيار الطائرات المدنية التي يشتريها السوريون من السوق السوداء.

منظمة المؤتمر الإسلامي توضح و”تطلب” ..
في غضون ذلك أعادت رويترز أمس التذكير بمشروع قرار اوروبي في مجلس الامن يطالب سورية على حد وصفها بإنهاء العنف ضد المحتجين، والمشروع الذي حصلت رويترز على نسخة منه “يدين الانتهاك المنظم لحقوق الانسان” وأن بريطانيا وفرنسا والمانيا والبرتغال قدمت مشروع القرار الي المجلس المؤلف من 15 دولة.
من جهتها اعربت منظمة المؤتمر الإسلامي عن شكوكها حيال مسودة القرار الأوروبي الداعي إلى “إدانة” سورية من قبل مجلس الأمن الدولي، وطالبت بحذف جزء من النص.
وبعث افق جوكجين مبعوث منظمة المؤتمر الإسلامي في الامم المتحدة يوم 26 أيار رسالة الى جيرار ارود سفير فرنسا لدى الامم المتحدة بشأن تلك المسودة التي تشير الى بيان صحافي اصدرته منظمة المؤتمر الإسلامي في 22 الجاري.
وقال جوكجين في رسالته ان الاشارة الى بيان منظمة المؤتمر الاسلامي الذي اعرب عن “القلق العميق بشأن العنف المتصاعد في سورية” وحث “قوات الامن على ضبط النفس” هي اشارة مضللة.
واوضح “ان الإشارة، التي جاءت خارج السياق، في مسودة القرار الى البيان الصحافي لمنظمة المؤتمر الإسلامي غير مثمرة وتشكل تدخلا في الشؤون الداخلية لسورية بالإضافة الى الحوار بين منظمة المؤتمر الاسلامي وأحد اعضائها البارزين”.
وطلب جوكجين من السفير الفرنسي الذي يرأس مجلس الامن الدولي هذا الشهر حذف ذلك الجزء من مسودة القرار لتفادي ذكر أي اشارة الى بيان منظمة المؤتمر الإسلامي في القرار المتعلق بسورية.

( شام برس – البناء )

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May 30th, 2011, 12:19 pm


180. Christine said:

Dear Sirs -‘American in Syria’ and Dr. Landis,

1- “I tried to think back and remember if I’d ever been in a country where serious atrocities were taking place and had looked in the eye of someone who rejoiced in them. I couldn’t, and I realized that I was witnessing the kind of passive approval for massacre that one reads about in history books, when individuals or groups become convinced of the evil of another and of the necessity of wiping them out. Najwah is not an evil woman, but the …”
I’m afraid this is the long sentence for ‘Collateral Damage’, introduced and used ON DAILY BASIS by a row of Presidents/Foreign Secretaries of the US and its CIVILIZED allies. Am I dreaming or just heard someone say at Deauville ‘…let’s finish the Job'(in Lybia)??? In this case the ‘Job’ involves more innocent killings/massacre, but it sounds so easy, trivial… One would say ‘what’s wrong with it?’. So I feel to say, but you must have already witnessed this ‘kind of passive approval’ not only in History books, but in your very country, nowadays….

2- As for the map for languages spoken in Syria, pls tell me where on earth, in these times of Google et al.., did y find Armenian spoken in the Desert and not Aleppo / Kessab ? I really would like to know and do a research. I tend not to conclude that some of your interviews are as serious as this info… And nobody reiveiwed your maps before posting….

Syrians or not, in and abroad, are very sad with the nightmare in our beloved country, and I think that y did a good job, but I have the impression that y began with a fixed theory that y tried to prove over and over, through your interviews and article. Maybe when things calm down, y should take some time and get to know better the whole country, not just Damascus and its countryside.

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May 30th, 2011, 12:23 pm


181. jad said:

Those guys are begging for attention:

قال مراسل عكس السير في ادلب إن متظاهرين يقطعون طريق حلب اللاذقية عند جسر الشغور منذ ساعات الصباح الاولى .

و أضاف المراسل أن مجموعة من المتظاهرين قاموا منذ الساعة الخامسة صباحا بقطع الطريق بشكل جزئي عند دوار المشفى في منطقة جسر الشغور ، إذ يمنعون مرور الشاحنات في الطريق .

وو أوضح أنه لا وجود لقوات الشرطة و الأمن في المنطقة ، حتى ساعة اعداد الخبر .

This is good, the 60.000 protests of Hama we discussed the other day ends up even less than the 4000 I gave it:

فضح مظاهرات سورية

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May 30th, 2011, 12:36 pm


182. Sophia said:

# 180 Christine,

I agree with you that there are some shocking statements in the account published here, most notably the attitude assuming that evil is only the other and not ourselves as if the narrator comes from an ideal country where these attitudes are totally alien, the kind of premise we usually find in western accounts of colonised countries.

The account serves however the purpose of presenting a first person unifying perspective on what is going on at the level of individual Syrians representing the main sects and it is sometimes difficult to see by ourselves through these different lenses at the same time. For this same reason, the story may appear more like a construct than a real life narrative. It also presents an american as the only link between these seemingly different people undifferent to each other.

However, I am sure the intention behind it is a good intention and if it serves to explain the alienation that is going on between the different communities, it is still worth reading.

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May 30th, 2011, 12:42 pm


183. 873 said:

The beauty of this round of “Spring Revolts” is that you instigate multi-regime changes with a min of money and a few covert troops of your own being expended, then incite the “savage natives” to kill each other off en mass to further your ends. Afterwards stand back and ensure that it ‘spreads’. For humanitarianism, freedom, liberty and democracy, of course. From tweets to the streets.

Ops went off a bit in Libya, where West was forced to show its hand. Israel contracted to send Gaddafi mercs to fight NATO, and the west spending mega treasure to also fight those same mercs and loyalists. Fund both sides. Like Iraq-Iran War and many others. Hegelian chaos with a synthesized win for Illuminati.
Destabilization leading to coup etats by the natives. After training the opposition abroad as gov-in-waiting. Chams Chalabis. Slick alright.

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May 30th, 2011, 12:42 pm


184. Ss said:

I am a daily reader of the SC, and I found the title , divided minds and divided lives interesting one. I would add divided SC. What I read on daily basis is people with the regime trying to counteract people on the opposition. I am a supporter to the current regime as well but I asked myself today what is the end of all that fighting and fighting back. Indeed we are deeply divided. Many of the comments on the opposition are very true: it is the state of corruption, inequality in job opportunities, suppression, hopelessness of many youth in syria, low economic levels, and I can go on and on. Alll that has lead to the current situation. People are ready to be influenced and recruited by evil because there living situation is evil itself. I have to say that Assad tried to fight corrupt but that is already a culture in Syria and it would take ages to correct. I think he failed in facing this culture. The best the gowverment did is replacing a thief with another one. For all that I cannot deny the right of the Syrian people for reform. The opposition was transformed from a peacful to a bloody killer one. I do not understand how people in SC deny the accuracy of these bloody killers who killed Janood. Guys compare the pics of the two thugs that were taken immediately when Janood was killed, hey are the same as the ones on the Syrian TV. Whay the opposition continue to lie lie, and lie accusing the Syrian TV of fabricating this story. That is totally radiculus. For hat I do not see he opposition a peaceful and these thugs are not helping the cause of the syrian people in the opposition which I believe it is a legit one.

I have many questions to the opposition here,

We have seen these ruthless killers of an Alawi Janood. How can you still say that the opposition is respectin the alawi, but not the regime. How you dare to lie that the alawi will have a better life post Assad era. The alawi are seeing in their own eyes how brutLly some fellows are being beheaded, killed, and mutillated.

With the sectarian division in our society, alawite, kurds, droooz, christians and sunni, how is it possible for presumed post Assad democracy to occur. I mean if he goes Alawite will never ever have a pesident in the future.
I see the current goverment a balance one where there is a share of leading among all sectors in our society. I have to say it is very difficult o implement a democracy in Syria and if this is wha you are looking for then I see no alternative than division, alawite country, sunni country etc.

I am with the current goverment and vivid supporte of the Assad becaue I believe he has done a lot of things to get syria from being a closed society in he 70, 80′ and 90s to an open one, many good things happened however the west, lebanon, and the wahabis did not gove him a chance o rest. They keep creating issues and problems for him. Once he close on door another one is opened.

I mean it is great to live in a democratic society and examples a many, India, where they elected a muslim paresident on time, Usa, uk, Turkey, etc..
…but how to implement tha in Syria. Any thoughts

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May 30th, 2011, 12:52 pm


185. William Scott Scherk said:

شارك برأيك !

— says the Arabic side of DayPress News, and some fitful dialogue has resulted following some DayPress stories. But as I wrote in a comment still moderated:

لماذا لا يوجد رد من الكتاب والمحررين؟

I might have suggested, as I did on the English side, in a comment still moderated, that the government of Syria is not talking to even Syrian media. When was the last time a Syrian journalist of any stripe got a quote from Shabban, or one of the vice-presidents? Where is the story from a journalist listing and explaining the roles of the people in government who are charged with national dialogue?

Of course, many here have raised the question of the hidden government, the leader of which has spoken only to small groups of picked participants and which meetings are not covered by any press: these are for all intents and purposes private meetings between a head of state and some unnamed folks of uncertain opinion.

Where are the communiques from these meetings? Where is the journalism that informs on the details?

If there is indeed a regime committed to deep structural reforms in justice, policing, political freedom, media liberty, free demonstrations, retraining of the security forces, corruption crackdown, where is this presented to the people? Is it just a hodge-podge of state TV and media, excerpts, as-told-to third-hand tellings . . . ?

I see no leadership in Syria. The government is essentially silent and hidden, the opposite of transparent. Contrast the Turkish experience: the candidates are sought out daily and speak daily, unmediated, to media. No Turkish state media says, “the prime minister had a telephone conversation with the President of Syria and then went back into the palace’s many rooms to confer with his committees . . . ”

But this is the news from Syria — Assad will not speak to the Syrian people using the tools of communication that any other leader would use to advantage.

Assad will not speak to Syria. Why? Why the uncertainty, the hesitation, the hidden dimension?

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May 30th, 2011, 12:53 pm


186. jad said:

I agree with you and Christine comments about the post, it’s the typical ‘we know better’ attitude the ‘colored’ countries are used to. Nothing new!
BTW, Please check Helena Cobban article about SC post she linked in #151, it’s excellent.

Ponytail is so funny, as his production company, making fatal jokes in these times, hilarious indeed, especially if the smart Syrian security and police in the streets mistake the fireworks with real gun shots…

27 5 Homs أوغاريت عااااجل أكتشاف أسلحة في مدينة حمص ههههه لله دركم ما اطرفكم

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May 30th, 2011, 12:56 pm


187. Aboud said:

@Observer 152

What you said about the shortage of heating oil, and the army’s scavenging for food, are spot on and correct. In large parts of Syria the Internet was cut off over the weekend. Strong, confident governments don’t need to resort to such measures.

The article Landis posted was excellent, but I seriously doubt it was written by an American. Sorry Yanks, but it shows too deep an understanding and instinct for Syria to be the work of an outsider.

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May 30th, 2011, 12:58 pm


188. abughassan said:

Any proposed new law that governs elections will be meaningless if article 8 in the constitution is not abolished along with Al-Jabha Al-wataniya. Reserving 50% of the PA for albaath party and allowing al-mukhabarat to choose members must end if we are serious about immunizing Syria from future unrest. The silence of Bashar is not healthy and the fact that no measures have been taken or proposed to control security forces will further reduce confidence in the seriousness of the regime. Yes,we realize that much of what we see today is not a true pro-democracy movement,but armed rebellion and plain criminal activities,but initial demands for freedom,dignity and the rule of law are not just demonstrators demands,they are national demands. The regime is fully able,but may not be fully willing,to fight those thugs while enact much needed reform.

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May 30th, 2011, 1:01 pm


189. Sophia said:

# 183, 873,

The neocons didn’t hide that chaos is creative and creating chaos is the main feature of their foreign policy. For them chaos in the middle east create civil wars and small states along sectarian lines, states that wil be warring with each other, leaving Israel in peace.

Even the US senate voted to partition Iraq and the plan was promoted by current VP Biden.


But what the neocons don’t understand is that even if they restructure the whole middle east, the end product will not be what they envisaged but something else and hopefully something that will not please them (look at Lebanon as an example). History is made by the people and not by some nutty zionists in the US admminsitration that have been wreaking havock on the ME for a while…

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May 30th, 2011, 1:06 pm


190. 873 said:


Syria is Iraq in progress. Here is the projected scorecard:

2006 Col Ralph Peters of the Army War College, “Blood Borders” Map using ethnic tension to redraw borders, outlines subject to change.


2008 The Atlantic Monthly, map still holds…

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May 30th, 2011, 1:12 pm


191. Abdullah said:


I’m glad you pointed out how most of the folks commenting here are falling into the same trap the author just described…”I’m this and the others are evil, and to blame for all of our problems.”

However, the point of the author is not social problems in America. I hate to break the news to you but these are well known. I’m hoping you haven’t been oblivious to the fact that the previous presidents party was destroyed in two consecutive elections, mostly because of the wars you mentioned. The social and ethnic divides in the States (and Europe) are well documented, yet in both places no one is describing the possibility of a civil war. I hope you notice the difference.

As I already said the problems in the States ( or Europe for that matter) are not the subject of the post, so there is no reason to bring them into a blog strictly devoted to life in Syria.

The author wrote very accurately about the sectarian divide in Syria. After living there for a number of years I can confidently say that the divide was obvious before the start of the uprising. You simply had to actually discuss the details with almost any Syrian. Many would try to say how wonderful it is that they are able to live in such harmony with one another. Yet when you look a little deeper you find out they all live in districts surrounded by people of their own ethnicity and/or religion. If you were a little more persistent, as I happened to be, you find out they don’t trust one another, and frankly, all they know of one another are what they heard from other like themselves.

One author described the mentality in Syria (and Iraq, Egypt, Lebanon) as a “ghetto mentality”. To date I haven’t found a better term to describe the way Syrians view one another. The current conflict simply brought all of this to the surface.

Christians always felt closer to Kurds and Alawites for many of the same reasons the author experienced the conversations described above. If people bothered to ask common Syrians the correct questions I’m sure they would have discovered the same thing.

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May 30th, 2011, 1:19 pm


192. AIG said:

Hey, its is the Israelis! No, its the neocons and the Israelis! No, its the neocons and the Israelis and the Saudis and UFOs.

Halas, stop being delusional. What is happening in Syria is simple. People want freedom and dignity. Assad will not deliver and threatens with sectarian chaos.

The more you spew the conspiracy theories the more ridiculous you look.

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May 30th, 2011, 1:20 pm


193. Jihad said:

Helena Cobban writes on her websites: “This piece is part of a fine tradition of great descriptions of how it feels to be inside a country that is undergoing a social fragmentation that is speedy, deep, and often comes as a huge surprise to the people who are undergoing/participating in the process, themselves.”

She is right. It is in the “great tradition” of racist writers like Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul.

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May 30th, 2011, 1:35 pm


194. EX3LAWI said:

I’m going to have to agree with AIG here – the amount of conspiracy nonsense being spread here from the pro-Assad squad is ridiculous. It’s about time to acknowledge the reality that the current dictatorship is unsustainable on the long term and should be replaced by something that grants the people appropriate representation, preferably without the Assad family, instead of making silly excuses for a fundamentally defective system.

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May 30th, 2011, 1:38 pm


195. William Scott Scherk said:

Like Sophia and a few others, I reside in a Western democracy with strong rule of law and traditions of freedom of expression. I like to read Sophia’s analyses closely, for she is recipient of the bounty of freedom and has strong emotional and political ties to Syria — a Syria of boundless dreams, strong moral purpose, engaged in historical justice.

I also closely watch the analyses of Jad — I think Jad is a key figure in SC comments, as his root concerns are increasingly the same as the more ‘revlon-utionaries’ on SC — his heart is with the little people, those under stress and fear. I am intrigued by the way Jad’s field of expression has widened; he has had fruitful exchanges of understanding with otherwise opponents.

There has been a shift in opinion among folks like Jad, bellwether folks who no longer use the terminology of ‘real Syrians’ or ‘US and THEM.’ Jad is more realistic and cognitive of dissent, righteous dissent, and he keeps his best comments keyed closely to events in Syria.

There is a common project underlying the Syrians here (and, with respect, I exclude the Mina’s and the Sophie’s and the AIGs and the WSSs) and some of the Syrians are groping toward mutual ethics and understandings. It has become apparent that deep structural reforms to Syrian political society are not only long overdue, but essentially agreed-upon in skeleton. I read detailed comments that have taken me through the Syrian Constitution, the government decrees and announcements and I see a consensus forming on the After plan, the Best design.

If I could offer any assistance to this consensus, to its flowering and to its issues in common policies and plans, I would do so only after underlining that the choices are utterly and entirely Syrian to make and to justify.

I would love to see a sustained dialogue between those like Jad on one side, and those like Revlon on the other, without the needless and sometimes confusing tutelage of non-Syrians (such as Sophie and such as me!). There is a network of on-the-ground Syrian folks here, who should be brought into the dialoques. They are there, have been there, are in touch with there, have observations from there. They are, in my estimation, the most important contributors to a realistic perception of Syria’s challenges. My own and other non-Syrian, non-ME citizen contribution is far far more limited in value.

The second most important sources of information are those who have unmediated access to reports from inside Syria. Not a Damascene reporting his or her opinions on events in Banias, but someone who passes on news from Banias folks themselves.

There is a developing core of realism and mutual respect and acknowledgement here on SC. I hope it can grow and be nurtured. There are so many common urges and solutions and perceptions now, they should be built upon for Syria’s sake.

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May 30th, 2011, 1:42 pm


196. aboali said:

If the regime was genuine in it’s desire for reform then I would be the first to call for the end of protests, but it isn’t. I mean look at the draft proposal for the new election law, it’s exactly the same as the old one, with 50% of parliament seats guaranteed for the Baath and the National Progressive Front:


Complete sham, the regime is only trying to buy time with these meaningless gestures in order to quell the unrest, then a massive wave of arrests and disappearances will take place and it’s back to business as usual. No way Jose, we’re gonna bring down this regime.

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May 30th, 2011, 1:50 pm


197. Jihad said:

Having a very selective memory, some people try to gloss over the Saudi role in Lebanon that might have led to civil war in the last few years. Describing the Wahhabi role in Lebanon is rather convenient and self-serving. What about the tens of Wahhabis from Saudi Arabia that were deployed in the Nahr El-Barid camp and in apartments in Tripoli UNDER THE FULL PROTECTION of the Hariri militia in the “Lebanese” Internal Forces.

What about the security companies that the Wahhabis in the Hariri family tried to form in Beirut and were routed in a few hours by Amala, the SSNP and Hizbullah.

What about what Bahiya Hariri, whose only qualifications is that she is the sister of the Wahhabi billionaire Rafiq Hariri, was trying to do in Sidon with Jund al-Sham (or Jund al-sit – referring to Bahiyya, as the Palestinians in the Ain el-Helwe camp call them).

What about encouraging the Zionist state and the US to try to completely destroy Hizbullah and Shiite villages in South Lebanon and occupy them.

What about the whole xenophobic media campaign launched by the Wahhabi Hariri media in Lebanon and the boycott lists against the Muslim Shiite community that they shamelessly circulated in Beirut.

What about the serious things that were written in al-Akhbar and elsewhere about some of the boming that took place in Beirut and the assassination for example of the (racist) Jubran Tueni and who really might have been behind them.

Selective memory…

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May 30th, 2011, 1:51 pm


198. Syria no kandahar said:

The opposition is chewing the conspiracy theory much more than the regime,just review your own posts as evidence,every one knows that Syria is on the edge of CIVIL WAR.you computer nurd revolutionists are so empty,you want to brake the Syrian house on every Syrian head,you can’t promise them even a tent after that(if they dont die),you don’t even want to talk about any renovations(adding a floor,new kitchen ,updating bathrooms,painting,roof etc).your problem is you don’t live in the house and you could’t care less,if some one trys to prevent you from knocking the house ,digging under it ,burning it,etc… Your accusations are ready:conspiracy,mokabarat etc.who care about mokabarat any more you scombaks.

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May 30th, 2011, 1:59 pm


199. 873 said:

Conspiracy is no longer ‘theory’ when the perps certify their own schematic. The consistency is undeniable.

From Israel’s 1996 “Clean Break Strategy for Securing the Realm” under Netanyahu. The following have been enforced incrementally since its authorship by US Sayanim and AIPAC traitors infiltrated into US govt, military and media.

We have for four years pursued peace based on a New Middle East.
Securing the Northern Border

* Syria challenges Israel on Lebanese soil. An effective approach, and one with which American can sympathize, would be if Israel seized the strategic initiative along its northern borders by engaging Hizballah, Syria, and Iran, as the principal agents of aggression in Lebanon, including by:

* striking Syria’s drug-money and counterfeiting infrastructure in Lebanon, all of which focuses on Razi Qanan.

* paralleling Syria’s behavior by establishing the precedent that Syrian territory is not immune to attacks emanating from Lebanon by Israeli proxy forces.

* striking Syrian military targets in Lebanon, and should that prove insufficient, striking at select targets in Syria proper.
Israel also can take this opportunity to remind the world of the nature of the Syrian regime. Syria repeatedly breaks its word. It violated numerous agreements with the Turks, and has betrayed the United States by continuing to occupy Lebanon in violation of the Taef agreement in 1989. Instead, Syria staged a sham election, installed a quisling regime, and forced Lebanon to sign a “Brotherhood Agreement” in 1991, that terminated Lebanese sovereignty. And Syria has begun colonizing Lebanon with hundreds of thousands of Syrians, while killing tens of thousands of its own citizens at a time, as it did in only three days in 1983 in Hama.

Given the nature of the regime in Damascus, it is both natural and moral that Israel abandon the slogan “comprehensive peace” and move to contain Syria, drawing attention to its weapons of mass destruction program, and rejecting “land for peace” deals on the Golan Heights.

Moving to a Traditional Balance of Power Strategy

Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria. This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq — an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right — as a means of foiling Syria’s regional ambitions. Jordan has challenged Syria’s regional ambitions recently by suggesting the restoration of the Hashemites in Iraq. This has triggered a Jordanian-Syrian rivalry to which Asad has responded by stepping up efforts to destabilize the Hashemite Kingdom, including using infiltrations. Syria recently signaled that it and Iran might prefer a weak, but barely surviving Saddam, if only to undermine and humiliate Jordan in its efforts to remove Saddam.

But Syria enters this conflict with potential weaknesses: Damascus is too preoccupied with dealing with the threatened new regional equation to permit distractions of the Lebanese flank. And Damascus fears that the ‘natural axis’ with Israel on one side, central Iraq and Turkey on the other, and Jordan, in the center would squeeze and detach Syria from the Saudi Peninsula. For Syria, this could be the prelude to a redrawing of the map of the Middle East which would threaten Syria’s territorial integrity.

Since Iraq’s future could affect the strategic balance in the Middle East profoundly, it would be understandable that Israel has an interest in supporting the Hashemites in their efforts to redefine Iraq, including such measures as: visiting Jordan as the first official state visit, even before a visit to the United States, of the new Netanyahu government; supporting King Hussein by providing him with some tangible security measures to protect his regime against Syrian subversion; encouraging — through influence in the U.S. business community — investment in Jordan to structurally shift Jordan’s economy away from dependence on Iraq; and diverting Syria’s attention by using Lebanese opposition elements to destabilize Syrian control of Lebanon.

Most important, it is understandable that Israel has an interest supporting diplomatically, militarily and operationally Turkey’s and Jordan’s actions against Syria, such as securing tribal alliances with Arab tribes that cross into Syrian territory and are hostile to the Syrian ruling elite.

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May 30th, 2011, 2:05 pm


200. Souri333 (formerly Souri) said:

I didn’t finish the article and I didn’t read the comments, but one thing that the writer of this article does not understand is that a “sect” in Syria (and Lebanon) is not only about religious belief. It is about culture in general. Being a Sunni atheist, agnostic, etc. does not change the fact that you are Sunni. You will still think, feel, and react like a Sunni in most cases. This is something that Alawis (and other minorities) knew very long ago. They treat all Sunnis the same way, because it is impossible to tell who is bigoted and who is not by just asking them what they believe on religion. Many of the extremely fanatic Sunnis happen to be atheists or nonreligious.

These events in Syria proved many Western “experts” on Syria to be clueless about Syria. Syrians who grew up and lived in Syria know the country and the people better than anybody else. I didn’t grow up in Syria but I lived in the country long enough to understand it. I am glad that Assad and his regime ignored the flood of poisonous advice that they were receiving during the crisis. Assad proved to be a very strong and determined man. He is a great a leader. He has saved the country a great disaster.

Things are going to be fine. If the West wants to isolate Syria and starve its people, then we will have no option but to go to war against the occupation. To die in war against the enemy is good (it can be even great), but to do in a nasty civil war is not good at all. What happened was the best possible scenario for Syria. Things could not have gone better. This Wahhabi uprising was going to happen sooner or later. It was inevitable.

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May 30th, 2011, 2:08 pm


201. AIG said:

Syria no Democracy,

Bashar had 11 years to reform and improve Syria. He couldn’t. If Syria is on the verge of civil war, it is because of Bashar and his failed regime. He held power for 11 years. How can you blame anyone else? He frittered away the future of Syria based on stupid strategies and incorrect reading of future trends.

And if he plans to reform, well, let’s see reforms.

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May 30th, 2011, 2:10 pm


202. 873 said:

A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties
by Oded Yinon, 1982

“Every kind of inter-Arab confrontation will assist us in the short run and will shorten the way to the more important aim of breaking up Iraq into denominations as in Syria and in Lebanon. In Iraq, a division into provinces along ethnic/religious lines as in Syria during Ottoman times is possible. So, three (or more) states will exist around the three major cities: Basra, Baghdad and Mosul, and Shi’ite areas in the south will separate from the Sunni and Kurdish north.”

Breaking Egypt down territorially into distinct geographical regions is the political aim of Israel in the Nineteen Eighties on its Western front.
Egypt is divided and torn apart into many foci of authority. If Egypt falls apart, countries like Libya, Sudan or even the more distant states will not continue to exist in their present form and will join the downfall and dissolution of Egypt. The vision of a Christian Coptic State in Upper Egypt alongside a number of weak states with very localized power and without a centralized government as to date, is the key to a historical development which was only set back by the peace agreement but which seems inevitable in the long run.

The Western front, which on the surface appears more problematic, is in fact less complicated than the Eastern front, in which most of the events that make the headlines have been taking place recently. Lebanon’s total dissolution into five provinces serves as a precendent for the entire Arab world including Egypt, Syria, Iraq and the Arabian peninsula and is already following that track. The dissolution of Syria and Iraq later on into ethnically or religiously unqiue areas such as in Lebanon, is Israel’s primary target on the Eastern front in the long run, while the dissolution of the military power of those states serves as the primary short term target. Syria will fall apart, in accordance with its ethnic and religious structure, into several states such as in present day Lebanon, so that there will be a Shi’ite Alawi state along its coast, a Sunni state in the Aleppo area, another Sunni state in Damascus hostile to its northern neighbor, and the Druzes who will set up a state, maybe even in our Golan, and certainly in the Hauran and in northern Jordan. This state of affairs will be the guarantee for peace and security in the area in the long run, and that aim is already within our reach today.

Iraq, rich in oil on the one hand and internally torn on the other, is guaranteed as a candidate for Israel’s targets. Its dissolution is even more important for us than that of Syria. Iraq is stronger than Syria. In the short run it is Iraqi power which constitutes the greatest threat to Israel. An Iraqi-Iranian war will tear Iraq apart and cause its downfall at home even before it is able to organize a struggle on a wide front against us. Every kind of inter-Arab confrontation will assist us in the short run and will shorten the way to the more important aim of breaking up Iraq into denominations as in Syria and in Lebanon. In Iraq, a division into provinces along ethnic/religious lines as in Syria during Ottoman times is possible. So, three (or more) states will exist around the three major cities: Basra, Baghdad and Mosul, and Shi’ite areas in the south will separate from the Sunni and Kurdish north. It is possible that the present Iranian-Iraqi confrontation will deepen this polarization.

The entire Arabian peninsula is a natural candidate for dissolution due to internal and external pressures, and the matter is inevitable especially in Saudi Arabia. Regardless of whether its economic might based on oil remains intact or whether it is diminished in the long run, the internal rifts and breakdowns are a clear and natural development in light of the present political structure.

Jordan constitutes an immediate strategic target in the short run but not in the long run, for it does not constitute a real threat in the long run after its dissolution, the termination of the lengthy rule of King Hussein and the transfer of power to the Palestinians in the short run.

There is no chance that Jordan will continue to exist in its present structure for a long time, and Israel’s policy, both in war and in peace, ought to be directed at the liquidation of Jordan under the present regime and the transfer of power to the Palestinian majority. Changing the regime east of the river will also cause the termination of the problem of the territories densely populated with Arabs west of the Jordan. Whether in war or under conditions of peace, emigration from the territories and economic demographic freeze in them, are the guarantees for the coming change on both banks of the river, and we ought to be active in order to accelerate this process in the nearest future. The autonomy plan ought also to be rejected, as well as any compromise or division of the territories for, given the plans of the PLO and those of the Israeli Arabs themselves, the Shefa’amr plan of September 1980, it is not possible to go on living in this country in the present situation without separating the two nations, the Arabs to Jordan and the Jews to the areas west of the river. Genuine coexistence and peace will reign over the land only when the Arabs understand that without Jewish rule between the Jordan and the sea they will have neither existence nor security. A nation of their own and security will be theirs only in Jordan.

Three important points have to be clarified in order to be able to understand the significant possibilities of realization of this Zionist plan for the Middle East, and also why it had to be published.
The Military Background of The Plan

It is obvious that the above military assumptions, and the whole plan too, depend also on the Arabs continuing to be even more divided than they are now, and on the lack of any truly progressive mass movement among them. It may be that those two conditions will be removed only when the plan will be well advanced, with consequences which can not be foreseen.
Why is it assumed that there is no special risk from the outside in the publication of such plans?
Such risks can come from two sources, so long as the principled opposition inside Israel is very weak (a situation which may change as a consequence of the war on Lebanon) : The Arab World, including the Palestinians, and the United States. The Arab World has shown itself so far quite incapable of a detailed and rational analysis of Israeli-Jewish society, and the Palestinians have been, on the average, no better than the rest. In such a situation, even those who are shouting about the dangers of Israeli expansionism (which are real enough) are doing this not because of factual and detailed knowledge, but because of belief in myth. A good example is the very persistent belief in the non-existent writing on the wall of the Knesset of the Biblical verse about the Nile and the Euphrates. Another example is the persistent, and completely false declarations, which were made by some of the most important Arab leaders, that the two blue stripes of the Israeli flag symbolize the Nile and the Euphrates, while in fact they are taken from the stripes of the Jewish praying shawl (Talit). The Israeli specialists assume that, on the whole, the Arabs will pay no attention to their serious discussions of the future, and the Lebanon war has proved them right. So why should they not continue with their old methods of persuading other Israelis?
In the United States a very similar situation exists, at least until now. The more or less serious commentators take their information about Israel, and much of their opinions about it, from two sources. The first is from articles in the “liberal” American press, written almost totally by Jewish admirers of Israel who, even if they are critical of some aspects of the Israeli state, practice loyally what Stalin used to call “the constructive criticism.” (In fact those among them who claim also to be “Anti-Stalinist” are in reality more Stalinist than Stalin, with Israel being their god which has not yet failed). In the framework of such critical worship it must be assumed that Israel has always “good intentions” and only “makes mistakes,” and therefore such a plan would not be a matter for discussion–exactly as the Biblical genocides committed by Jews are not mentioned. The other source of information, The Jerusalem Post, has similar policies. So long, therefore, as the situation exists in which Israel is really a “closed society” to the rest of the world, because the world wants to close its eyes, the publication and even the beginning of the realization of such a plan is realistic and feasible.

Israel Shahak June 17, 1982 Jerusalem
About the Translator
Israel Shahak is a professor of organic chemistry at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the chairman of the Israeli League for Human and Civil Rights.

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May 30th, 2011, 2:26 pm


203. Sophia said:

# 195, WSC

Revlon is not Syrian.

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May 30th, 2011, 2:26 pm


204. 873 said:

194. EX3LAWI said:
I’m going to have to agree with AIG here – the amount of conspiracy nonsense being spread here from the pro-Assad squad is ridiculous.

You have zero intellectual integrity or perhaps you’re just dense. Tactic of using smears like ‘antisemite’, ‘denier’, ‘conspiracy theory’ etc etc instead of actually addressing the evidence presented are the mark of an unthinking conformist and or/ low IQ. Namecalling is not a substitute for informed debate, no matter if you are in the majority on this pro-Israel site.

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May 30th, 2011, 2:37 pm


205. Mission Accomplished said:

Shorter abstract:

February 1982: Article in Israeli Journal Says Israel Should Exploit Internal Tensions of Arab States

The winter issue of Kivunim, a “A Journal for Judaism and Zionism,” publishes “A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties” by Oded Yinon. The paper, published in Hebrew, rejects the idea that Israel should carry through with the Camp David accords and seek peace. Instead, Yinon suggests that the Arab States should be destroyed from within by exploiting their internal religious and ethnic tensions: “Lebanon’s total dissolution into five provinces serves as a precedent for the entire Arab world including Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and the Arabian peninsula and is already following that track. The dissolution of Syria and Iraq later on into ethnically or religiously unique areas such as in Lebanon, is Israel’s primary target on the Eastern front in the long run, while the dissolution of the military power of those states serves as the primary short term target. Syria will fall apart, in accordance with its ethnic and religious structure, into several states such as in present day Lebanon.”

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May 30th, 2011, 2:49 pm


206. Sophia said:

# 205 MA,

Yes the Yinon paper exists and it is exactly this vision that is being carried on by the neocons. But the problem is: once we are aware of this, it becomes our responsibility to counter this vision of the ME.

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May 30th, 2011, 2:56 pm


207. Alex said:

Qifa Nabki,

As usual … you love to reduce my opinion to some silly Baathist sounding distorted version so that you can laugh at it.

Tension in Lebanon between 2005 and 2008 was due to a hundred accumulated events, in Lebanon and around it. Did you catch me suggesting anything different?

I hope you know that Asharq Alawasat and Al-Arabyia, where Abdel Rahman ElRashed plays the major role, are not exactly independent. They are the media outlets that represent the more liberal views among Saudi leaders. “Liberal” as is Pro American against UBL types …

I have a nice collection of their campaign to start civil war in Lebanon. I uploaded one sample here for you to understand the difference between the Saudis and the Syrians.


Look at the photo and read what it says under that photo …

That’s what they were doing non stop at that time … they would receive phone calls from “a Sunni” who is crying that “shia” soldiers are raping their “Sunni” women!

I hope you understand and you agree that these cheap sectarian tactics have one purpose only… and it ain’t to calm things down.

If not, let me remind you of another difference between Syria and Saudi Arabia: Syria is never this stupid:

WikiLeaks cables: Saudis proposed Arab force to invade Lebanon


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May 30th, 2011, 3:07 pm


208. Sophia said:

Egyptian military summon journalists for denouncing the torture of activists.


Plus ça change…

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May 30th, 2011, 3:09 pm


209. Alex said:

In fact, This post by my friend Averroes was written specifically to warn Syria that it must develop its media skills and resources to counter the dangerous sectarian fever that the Saudis were working on:


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May 30th, 2011, 3:15 pm


210. AIG said:


Syria is drowning and the best you can do is blame KSA?
It is time to look INWARD not to play the blame game. Assad is eating the soup he has been making the last 11 years. Open your eyes.

The Syrian press has been inflaming Arabs against Israel and Jews for decades. We also remember the Assad threats to inflame the Arab street and his “half men” speech. So? What exactly are you complaining about? Can’t handle your own methods?

The truth is simple. Assad could not build a strong Syrian society with robust institutions and now you and him are blaming the Saudis. Come on.

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May 30th, 2011, 3:52 pm


211. Alex said:


My answer to you is simple:

Stop distorting my words. My interview with Elias was full of criticism for Syria. I don’t need your help to show me how to look INWARD.

But working intentionally on starting sectarian fires is the work of Saudi Arabia and Israel. Israel does it indirectly, Saudi Arabia is stupid.

The two countries (and Iran to a lesser extent) are the source of most problems in the Middle East because their raison d’etre is religion and they want the whole region to match them.

Anyway .. I’m going back to work. Have fun propaganda-ing in my absence.

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May 30th, 2011, 3:59 pm


212. daleandersen said:

File this under “I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore”

A newspaper just reported the following:

People in two Syrian towns used automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenades today to repel advancing troops. Activists say at least four civilians were killed. One resident says they decided to fight rather than sit back and pray for God…

God help Bashar if this is true.


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May 30th, 2011, 4:07 pm


213. Sophia said:

# 209, Alex,

Great article by Averroes. Premonitory. When will Saudi Arabia come to its senses?

At the end of the day those jihadists are going to come after the kings…This strategy, if Saudis keep promoting it, will lead to many Bin Laden clones. It is totally irrational as it is only based on resentment.

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May 30th, 2011, 4:13 pm


214. Bassam said:

I am Alawi and am very much against this criminal regime. I am so shocked when I see people praising or defending this so called president, who had spent few months in Britain and because of those months, he was described as Western Educated, something that can not even be true with other Arab people who spent most of their lives in the West, but he was given all of the titles that promoted him as the open minded, modern, progressive, reformist, etc… of which he is none. This man is not even intelligent, nor educated in the sense of true education. He is pompuous, arrogant, ignorant, has no human feelings, and yes, criminal in every respect. He accepted to inherit the presidency of Syria at the age of 34 years old, and soon after becoming the new heridatory dictator, he put the most educated and brave Syrians in Jail in what was called Damascus Spring. He then started to teach us all, and among us those who are his father’s age the meanings of words, and acted and still does as a teacher in an elementary school. He thinks so highly of himself. What gives him any special qualifications to become the president except that he was forced on us? But he bought it, and he believed himself to be special and to be the most qualified. In all his discourses, I can not but hate this man as I see in him the Devil himself. Why does he think that he must stay eternally as the president of a country? When he talks about reform, he never intends it to be the acceptance of the simple idea of free election and that he is not to stay forever as his father proclaimed and wanted> The reforms that this regime speaks about is still economic reform, as bringing down the price of Mazout. In all their talks about reforms we are still to hear the word free elections,and term limits. He wants to stay forever as the president of Syria, and to pass Syria with all its inhabitants to his son Hafez after him. Syria is his private property, and he can not see it in any other fashion. Yes, unfortunately, Alawis in their majority as I see, still support him. I am so ashamed of Alawis, but whatever happens or will happen to Alawis, Syria with its majority should not accept to be the slaves of the Assad family. The fear that minorities may have now should not stand against the real freedom of the majority of the Syrian people who want to be free and are eager to be free. Freedom must be above all fears that any minority may be experiencing. We want freedom for every body, but the fear that minorities may have, should not stand as an obstacle against the freedom of most Syrians. Freedom is more important that the exaggerated fear that this regime pumps in the hearts of Alawis, and others. We must free ourselves of this evil family that has stolen tens of billions of dollars from Syria, and killed hundreds of thousands of Syrians and Lebanese. The future will not forgive Alawis if they stand agaisnt the freedom of the Syrian people for the sake of one criminal family as they kill children and infants for its survival’s sake!

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May 30th, 2011, 4:31 pm


215. jad said:

حمص: تشييع جثمان الطفلة الشهيدة هاجر الخطيب

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May 30th, 2011, 4:32 pm


216. Abughassan said:

I do not know what Bashar is waiting for. He has been MIA for most of the last 10 weeks. What is being circulated as proposed new laws will not win him any new support,he is actually likely to lose many people in the center. Most Syrians ,outside his hard-core support circle,are silent because they are hoping for those promised reform measures to become the law of the land ,and they also do not want the security situation to get worse and increase sectarian tension. Syria’s future will be gloomy if extremists on both sides are allowed to control events on the ground,and the only way out is for Bashar to govern from the center until there is a new president. Albaath is unable to get the magical 51% majority of the votes in any free parliamentary elections,and that is why his “advisors” are nervous about changing election laws,however ,it may be time for albaath to go back to the days when it received votes and won seats by genuine support,not appointments by al-mukhabarat. Albaath today needs to shape in or shape out.we do not want to tell the Syrian regime يطعمك الحج و الناس راجعه..the time to act is now.

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May 30th, 2011, 4:40 pm


217. ziadsoury said:

Next steps……….
The article above hit on many nerves. Even if it is fiction, it resembles reality on the ground. When I talk to the family, they acknowledge that most 3alwiis have not benefited from this gang. However, because most of the people in charge are 3lawiis, they all need to be punished.

In order to move forward, we have to list our shortcomings and issues that are dividing us:

Syria has many problems including:
Corrupt government
Severe poverty
A ruthless dictator
Sectarian people
Fundamentalist of all kinds
Lawless security apparatus
Atrocious education and healthcare
Legal system in shambles
Minimal technical infrastructure
Basic infrastructure
Basic financial services
Brain drain
Occupied land by a superior power
Very bad image thanks to the government. Armed gangs and salafis all over the country
And the list goes on……

It is the Titanic heading toward icebergs and needs to be rescued. How do we do that?

1- Leadership has to be removed PEACEFULLY. No one in their right mind believes that Asad and CO can bring any beneficial and meaningful changes. The Asad clan and their thugs need to move on. After 40 years of corruption, theft, criminal activities and ………..etc, the people had enough.
2- A power sharing and national unity government needs to be put in place that includes 2 representatives from each sect in Syria. For example, Druze, Christians, Shia, Sunni and Alawi each get 2 members. Additionally, the Baath and MB get to have 2 members each. None of these members can be associated with the current regime. Additionally there will be 7 women added to the committee to make sure women are represented. This committee governs the country for 3 years. That brings the total to 21 members. This committee needs to do (technocrat and subject matter specialist sub committees and NGO will be assigned work as needed) the following in these 3 years:
First six months:
a. Form a new government and nominate a care taker prime minister
b. Place Asad, the next 2 layers of the current government and security and his immediate circle of thugs under house arrest and freeze their assets.
c. Suspend the constitution. Establish a committee of scholars from all sects to come up with a new one that protects minorities (all kinds – atheist for example) in 18 months. Their work must be done in secret and coordinated with the unity government but the end result must be published and is final. No vote on the new constitution because democracy alone does not guarantee the right of minorities.
d. Abolish the Emergency law (for real)
e. Establish freedom of press
f. Release all political prisoners
g. Establish political parties law
h. Declare freedom of religion
i. Form new judicial system – old one is so corrupt
j. Establish hate crime, revenge and anti discrimination laws
k. Establish employment laws
l. Establish new taxation system
m. Establish educational programs on coexistence
n. Restructure the mukhabarat and amin into an intelligence unit through training and heavy education. Focus on homeland security instead of protecting and ensuring regime monopoly on power. Some members will be let go
o. Declare that all people died are martyrs and honor them with a memorial in Daraa
p. Start an inquiry into the deaths of all (army and civilians). We need to know who did the killings and who gave the orders. No exemption
q. Start an inquiry into past corruptions

The next year:
a. Educate the population about coexistence and tolerance
b. Educate the population about political process
c. Establish business and antitrust laws
d. Entice all expats to come back (waive their military service and ..)
e. Establish business centers – not operate
f. Establish R&D centers – not operate
g. Establish anti-corruption laws
h. Establish welfare, social security, national healthcare, unemployment systems
a. Establish Government asset committee to over see the liquidations of government agencies and businesses
i. Overhauls the educational system
j. Overhaul the judicial system
k. Enact economic reforms
l. Hold local elections by the end of the year
m. Hold Majles Al Shaaeb election at the same time

The last 18 months
a. Publish the findings of the inquiries
b. Arrest and establish trial dates for all accused
c. Start trials in an open and transparent environment
d. Declare presidential elections to be held 28 months after formations. One person, one vote.
e. Allow for at least 9 months of campaign time
f. To be continued…..

After elections this committee is dissolved and honored.

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May 30th, 2011, 4:42 pm


218. Qifa Nabki said:


First of all, I’m not laughing at you. I’m disagreeing with you in a civil way. My smiley faces do not signify derision.

Secondly, yes, you did seem to suggest that tension in Lebanon was due primarily to the Saudi media. Here’s what you said:

the past few years most of Lebanon was CLOSE TO going back to civil war … the Saudis tried their best to push the country into civil war … Asharq Alawsat and Alarabyia were doing the same thing they (and Aljazeera) are doing today to Syria. But the Lebanese did not go for it. They were furious at each other (along sectarian lines) .. but they did not take the final step.

My point is simple: while the Saudis may have tried to mobilize political action among Sunnis in Lebanon by using cheap sectarian propaganda, this was also true among the March 8th media outlets. So if the Saudis can be accused of “trying their best to push the country into civil war” simply on the basis of their photo captions, can we say that Hizbullah was “trying its best to push the country into civil war” on the basis of its embargo of the Saniora government?

I prefer not to use such overblown assessments, and I know that you are a moderate person (which is one of your best qualities [among many]).

Finally on the issue of Aljazeera’s role in Syria today. Tell me who is guilty of the worse crime: (1) a regime that is (if we are to believe the article above) denying its citizens in Dar’aa electricity, phone service, water, and the freedom to walk in the streets; or (2) a TV network that reports on the situation? What is worse: (1) a regime that is torturing children by way of intimidating protesters, or (2) a TV network that reports on this torture?

And before you say that we have no way of knowing who actually killed Hamza Ali al-Khateeb, let me remind you that one of the reasons that we don’t have good information is because Syria is not allowing journalists into the country. If the regime has nothing to hide about the way it is handling the situation, why must every foreign journalist cover this story from Beirut?

In friendship,

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May 30th, 2011, 4:54 pm


219. Averroes said:


Thank you for linking to that article. It’s 3 years old and not much has been done on the Syrian media front.

AIG, you will not see the day when Syria drowns because She will never drown. Syria will bounce back on her feet sooner than you think. In fact, Israel is the one that’s going to be on the hot seat as soon as the Palestinians learn to organize large, peaceful demonstrations asking for their rights, and I think that’s coming pretty soon.

The main complaint I had in that article, and still have today over Saudi funded media, is the raw hate messages directed against Shiites and Alawis in the region. That is hate that’s projected at these groups for who they are. The reckless use of religion and sect to make a political point is what Syria (and everyone else) is vulnerable to.

Syria never ever incited hate against Jews for who they are. The official Syrian stand on that subject is actually very clear. We are against Israel for all the injustices it has done, not because its people are Jewish. Some movies or TV shows cross that line occasionally but it is NOT the official stance at all.

The Saudi media you are defending is exactly the media that you should not be so proud of. Jews are not immune to religious-based hate, as I think you would agree. It can come and bite you any time, just like it is biting Syria today.

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May 30th, 2011, 5:01 pm


220. Syria in fragments: divided minds, divided lives — War in Context said:

[…] not be disclosed and that the piece simply be given the byline “From Damascus.” He writes: About a week ago I sat with a good friend from the muhafiza (governorate or county) of Dera’a. […]

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May 30th, 2011, 5:01 pm


221. aflatoon_francia said:

RE: 183. 873 position of “regime supporter” and asking , begging, “any thoughts”
What thoughts, dear, do you want if you have already declared sides?
Aflatoon-francia already made it clear in a small country as big as a can of sardines, packed, stifled, morbid, dark colors hanging off the buildings since the bigger Lion got off the tiger he was riding, the recipe you have followed for centuries to feed a beast, has come to live it through guns and tanks. These were futile to fend off the real enemy. It took a pound of flesh off this beast. It had no hot air to do any more than growl. But the red eyed-monster can surely petrify the smaller fish who condoles itself as being the “supporter ” of the regime!
What else could you be?
A bullet ridden cadavre?
Not a clever option.
All regimes do good. A lot of it. To a lot of people.
But then why this lugubrious turn of events?
What spice is missing from this recipe you been brewing, dear 183. 873?
Demokrattia in these lands?
First, look at your own shadow!
If yours is no different from the others-dead, tortured or still breathing, and you can pronounce it without facing the muzzle from the Straight of Hormuz, we can put on the autopsy table an approach.
But I find nobodies around listening: dead ears or what?

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May 30th, 2011, 5:05 pm


222. Averroes said:

The more closely I look at this article, the more it smells of deliberate disinformation. I can’t prove it, but it’s a gut feeling.

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May 30th, 2011, 5:20 pm


223. vlad-the-syrian said:

irrelevant comment from Vlad the syrian especially dedicated for foreign ladies in love with syrian men 🙂

i would like to venture some questions about syrian identity :

is Duraid Laham a nusayree ? (i mean alawi but i prefer the former original word)

those who know who this man is, know also that he voluntereed to be the most visible public defensor of the nizam (the regime)
his posters are in many public spaces and bus stops in Damacus Aleppo etc.. etc..

Basem Yaghoor and other artists have taken similar positions in different manners

Is Basem Yaghour alawite ?
Is Ayman Reda alawite ?
Is Geroge Wassouf alawite ?

and many other syrian artists

But my interest here goes to the comedians.

Duraid, Basem and Ayman are comedians (Ayman is also a good folk musician)

one has to refer to the earlier Duraid’s TV comedies like Wain el Ghalat and Hammam al Hana (with the late famous Abo Antar i dont remember his real name). These comedies are really wonderful
from a syriant point of view and they are yet more wonderful if you watch them having a double culture let’s say syrian and english. Especially for the expatriates who have some interest in theater.

Hamam al Hana is a story of 12 antique chairs (karasi) and a lost heritage. The treasure is retrieved at the end of the serie after many adventures but it has no value at all.

Later in the same inspiration we have some of those incredible TV sketches from the serie Bukaat Dow (Spot light). Not all of them are good, but some are really excellent.

I have to add that these comedies are strictly internal and strictly secular. They are intended only to a syrian public (by accident lebanese in some extent) You’ll never find in them anything about religion, islamm, sectarism, israel, arabism, palestinian cause etc…
They deal only with syrian reality.

These comedies were and are still appreciated by many syrians. They make laugh everybody the sunni as well as the alawi, the druse, the christian etc.. even the syrian jews of Brooklin.
The public is the simple average citizen (al mowaten albassit) whatever be his or her religion or race

What do these comedies have in common ? Well first The syrian wit. Then a very balanced and calculated mix of social criticism against corruption, arbitrary, dumb obscurantism and often underneath a sharp religious criticism.
These comedies have a kind of that special objectivity that is hard to comprehend if you are not syrian. There is no other country in the regions that have this unique tradition
of lets say TV “moral” comedy.

So my advice to the scholars who want to understand Syria mentality or even syrian politics, turn first your interest towards what is the most representative of the syrian mentality : that is the syrian comedy.
And having immersed yourself into it as much as possible, then try to translate it for yourself as a simple citizen (though with some interest to theater) alongside with your own criterias and culture.

But as usual, scholars take the exact opposite direction. They start form abstract principles derived from a rather poor practical expericence (if not any) and then turn to the facts and hence they become confused, disappointed
and angry when they feel that something isnt square. The pattern does not fit to reality. The facts are stubborn and the cold pattern is irrelevant.

I’m sorry to say that those linguistic maps above are inacurate and so is the article. Its scientific value is near zero and i found it rather tedious.

Nikolaus Van Dam has written a very well documented exposé about the different accents and
grammatical peculiarities from various areas in Syria with audio excerpts. Unfortunately
i dont remember where i found that. You can ask him. At least i am sure that there is an audio database available on the internet. I think it is german. I dont have enough time to search.

After all, May be etymologically speaking Duraid Laham and his fellows are nusayrees

By the way :

from NVD interview


i quote

What I found really interesting is a story in 1984, when the brother of Hafez al-Assad, Rifaat al-Assad, wanted to take over power. He wanted to use his reliable defence platoons, where he had some 3,000 Alawites of the Murshidiyin sect in key positions. But according to both Talas and Muhammed Ibrahim al-‘Ali, Hafez al-Assad persuaded them to refuse any orders from Rifaat al-Assad, and from one moment to the next, the brother of the Syrian president was left toothless. The Murshidiyin military left their units, as a result of which Rifaat’s tanks and other armoured vehicles could not move into action. This was an inside story that I didn’t come across in any other books. It shows that sectarianism, or relying on certain groups within, in this case, the armed forces, can give you strength, but at the same time if all those people join you, they may also be induced to leave you.

The Murshidiyin are not a sect and they are not all alawites and this only can prove that Tlass was not one of them.. NVD quotes Tlass as if he believes in what Tlass says, hence his conclusion. But this man Tlass is well known to be a braggart and a liar. His testimony is thus very suspect.


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May 30th, 2011, 5:30 pm


224. Amir in Tel Aviv said:


“…The two countries (and Iran to a lesser extent) are the source of most problems in the Middle East because their raison d’etre is religion and they want the whole region to match them”.

What’s religious about Israel?
All civil and defense positions are being held by secular men and women: PMs, FMs, ministers of defense, most Knesset members, heads of the judiciary, heads of the Shabak, heads of Mossad, chiefs of staff. Show me one religious person in those positions.
Israeli law is secular. Gay marriage is secured, gay rights are guarantied. Is this Saudi Arabia? Iran?

You again and again confuse the Jewish religion with the Jewish nationality. I, for example, am a secular atheist godless non believer Jew. Yet the Jewishness is the main part of my identity. This has nothing to do with religion. I read the Bible as a history book, not as a word of god. I cherish the HolyLand not in a spiritual way, but in a practical and national.

You referring to KSA, Iran and Israel as one, is offending. And you know it’s offending. Your whole aim is to offend.

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May 30th, 2011, 5:33 pm


225. AIG said:


You want me to respect what you say, then stop repeating that Israel is a state based on religion. The Jews are a nation, but you can’t just accept this truth which we have discussed many times. Why is that?

The problems in the mideast are not Israel and KSA. The problems are regimes that do not provide dignity and freedom to their people. The Assad regime exactly. As for fanning war and sectarianism, the Syrian press is way up there. Do I need to give links to the innumerable antisemitic statements from it?

As long as you are blaming KSA and Israel for Syrian sectarianism you are not looking INWARD. You are making excuses for a drowning regime.

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May 30th, 2011, 5:35 pm


226. vlad-the-syrian said:


you are lying. And what is really funny is that in fine you are lying to yourself and to your own people.

Continue my friend 🙂

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May 30th, 2011, 5:42 pm


227. AIG said:


Syrian is drowning because Assad is holding Syria’s head under water. But you do not realize that. Assad has the power and is the only one that can bring Syria from the abyss by accepting serious reforms. But he will not leave without a fight because he has no moral fiber in his body. If he goes, he wants to burn Syria. Just like Machlouf said in the WSJ article.

Do you think that by wishing bad on Israel you are going to make Syria’s position better? Don’t be childish. As for the antisemitism in Syria’s media, of course it is government approved. Do you want us to believe that they can do things the government does not approve? The regime uses antisemitism like any other weapon it has, in a cynical and calculating manner.

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May 30th, 2011, 5:43 pm


228. vlad-the-syrian said:


You keep repeating the words FREE and FREEDOM so much that i wonder if you are really free 🙂


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May 30th, 2011, 5:44 pm


229. vlad-the-syrian said:


“The Jews are a nation”

why not ! but surely not YOUR way AIG 🙂


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May 30th, 2011, 5:47 pm


230. vlad-the-syrian said:


“that has stolen tens of billions of dollars from Syria, and killed hundreds of thousands of Syrians and Lebanese”

where are they ? prove it

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May 30th, 2011, 5:54 pm


231. Akbar Palace said:

More from the “apartheid state” we could all benefit from:


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May 30th, 2011, 6:02 pm


232. daleandersen said:

I hope when AVERROES wrote his pathetic little defense of the regime that he looked down to make sure the chain around his ankle was securely locked in place…


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May 30th, 2011, 6:02 pm


233. vlad-the-syrian said:


n’importe quoi.

Comment les petits diablotins peuvent-ils effrayer le grand Maitre Diable ? C’est lui qui les a créés. Bin Laden et cie c’est du 100% saoudien (+cia). Tout ce mic-mac c’est de la mise en scène de la poudre aux yeux.

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May 30th, 2011, 6:04 pm


234. vlad-the-syrian said:


yes but you did help the once apartheid state called South Afrika with your high-tech weapons

when was that should i recall ?

and you are in almost every filthy game where weapons are involved


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May 30th, 2011, 6:09 pm


235. Averroes said:


So when the Saudis advocate sectarian hatred, it’s music to your ears, but when anyone criticizes Israel’s policies you cry fowl.

I challenge you to find any clip where any Syrian official says anything that is anti-Jewish. I challenge you.

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May 30th, 2011, 6:22 pm


236. vlad-the-syrian said:



de temps en temps ils sortent quelques repris de justice de taule les arment et leur commandent de tirer où bon leur semble pour dire aux naifs “vous voyez nous sommes aussi victime d’Al Qaeda”.
Al Qaeda n’existe pas ou plutot c’est eux El Qaeda, eux et leurs complices.

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May 30th, 2011, 6:28 pm


237. vlad-the-syrian said:


i agree with you (although some where antisemitc, ex. Salah Jedid but that was before and Tlass among some others, Assad himself wasnt at all)

help subscribe to the following demand :

Dear Dr Landis

with all my respect, since some recent posts you have been promoting silly articles and silly maps about the post-assad era and splitting syria and the denial of syrian identity even of syrian language

i urge you : to be really fair and honest you should promote prdicments and maps without KSA and Qatar. Let’s imagine what the area would look like. If there would be peace or no peace.


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May 30th, 2011, 6:51 pm


238. jad said:

More depressing news:
When are ,both sides, going to understand that if they fucked up their own times there is no need to destroy our kids’ future..it’s the most hideous crime to take our kids hostage with your failure, leave the Syrian kids outside this brutal conflict.

From Syria news:
“كما أشار المراسل إلى أن “المدينة شيعت اليوم في حي العباسيين فتى في الرابعة عشرة من عمره بعد أن وجد مشنوقا في دمشق”، دون معرفة تفاصيل أخرى حول الحادث الذي أودى بحياته.”

The details:
مجموعة تكفيرية تشنق طفلاً حتى الموت في قطنا بسبب رفعه صورة للسيد الرئيس بشار الأسد
شيعت حمص اليوم الطفل الشهيد مالك ياسين من مدينة قطنا إلى مثواه الأخير في مقبرة حمص
و كان الطفل قد استشهد بعد إختطافه من أمام منزل والده في قطنا و عثر عليه بعدها معلقاً مشنوقاً (بقشاط بنطال)
و كانت والدة الشهيد الطفل قالت أن ذنب طفلها الوحيد هو قيامه برفع صورة للسيد الرئيس بشار الأسد على منزله و كتابته تحتها ..(شهيد ورا شهيد غير الأسد ما منريد )
كنوع من التحية لابن عمه الذي استشهد منذ حوالي الأسبوع في حمص على أيدي عصابات مسلحة
و على إثر رفع الصورة قامت مجموعة بتهديد العائلة و تمت الجريمة في اليوم ال ثاني
يذكر أن مجموعة من الشباب السوريين الناشطين على الفيسبوك . قاموا بإنشاء صفحة على الفيسبوك تضامنا مع الطفل و تتضمن الصفحة مطالبة من السلطات السورية بإلقاء القبض على العصابات المسلحة التي قامت بالجريمة المشينة و إنزال أقسى العقوبات بها”

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May 30th, 2011, 6:57 pm


239. vlad-the-syrian said:


“that has stolen tens of billions of dollars from Syria, and killed hundreds of thousands of Syrians and Lebanese”

where are they ? prove it

if you were free you should rather say

“that has spared tens of billions of dollars for Syria, and spared the life and freedom of hundreds of thousands of Syrians and Lebanese”

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May 30th, 2011, 6:58 pm


240. vlad-the-syrian said:


unfortunately we have a lot of Ze3ran. People here dont understand.

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May 30th, 2011, 7:02 pm


241. Mohammed Kanj said:

BASSAM 214 –


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May 30th, 2011, 7:11 pm


242. why-discuss said:


“For this same reason, the story may appear more like a construct than a real life narrative. It also presents an american as the only link between these seemingly different people undifferent to each other. ”

Yes, I agree, the syrians described seem to have no connection to each others, except suspicion. It ignores the strong yet hidden pride of being Syrian that I always have observed. Compared to Lebanese, Syrians have no identity issue; they are arab syrians. None of the syrians, christians, alawi, sunni or druze, Kurds, Assyrians, Armenians, Tcherkess try to dig in their past to deny they are arabs. This is a very strong bond that ties them, beyond these episodical crisis where religion stands up between them. That’s is why I disliked that article, because it ignores that, and concentrate instead on anecdotal interviews where he obviously want divisions to become obvious, instead of trying to show their commonness in history, culture, arts.
Americans are so brainwashed about the pride of being americans that they are prevented from remembering the horrors of their history, from the massacre of the indians, the theft of their lands and rights, the horrors of the civil war, the abuses of the blacks to the monstruosity of Abu Graib. .
Syria does not have such a past of massive abuse and injustice. In the contrary they fought the colonial powers, they hosted the fleeing armenians, the fleeing million of iraqis not just because they wanted to fill up an empty country.
Syrians do not need to forget their past, they are neither guilty nor ashamed of it, they are proud. This gives them an inner strength..
That is a common quality that they have and whatever happens this will remain a trait of their character.
So all these petty discussions about sectarianism are just tabloid subjects, not at all the essential of the syrian psyche.

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May 30th, 2011, 7:27 pm


243. aboali said:

yeah, you gotta love the way all the Syrian expats and westerners on this blog who enjoy freedom of speech, civil liberties and basic human rights where they live, chastise us Syrians living on the inside for our revolution to demand those things because it might, conceivably, possibly, almost, once in a lifetime, in theory, slight chance of, i heard my friend say, well Dunia T.V says lead to persecution of minorities. Well I have news for you, we’re not stopping our revolution for your irrational paranoia, it’s going right on ahead till we unseat the despots and murderers who have ruled us for far to long.

Greetings from the sunny side of the revolution 🙂

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May 30th, 2011, 7:28 pm


244. AIG said:


Here you go:


This guy was the deputy minister of religious affairs when he said this.

What about the antisemitic series you guys watch on Ramadan? You want to tell me the government does not approve that?
You do realize that Tlas wrote an antisemitic book that was a bestseller in Syria? Do you think he could publish his book without government approval?
From http://www.icjs-online.org/indarch.php?article=2096 :

In 1983, Syria’s Minister of Defense, Mustafa Tlass, wrote a book entitled The Matzah of Zion, supporting the Damascus accusations.

The book is published by the Syrian government’s printing house, and it has been in continuous print for over 20 years. During a session in the U.N. Security Council Arab representatives distributed the book to “prove” what the Israelis are capable of doing, while a Syrian delegate cited the book at a United Nations conference in 1991, Yisraeli notes.

The Matzah of Zion has become a best-seller in the Arab world and has been translated into many languages. Despite the fact that the Damascus allegations have long been refuted and the book is full of lies, according to its cover blurb, “This study describes in fine detail and with scientific precision the blood rites of the Jews, who slaughter Christians and Muslims so they can mix their
blood into the matzos they use on Yom Kippur (!).”

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May 30th, 2011, 7:34 pm


245. vlad-the-syrian said:

WD 242

what about Kurds, Assyrians, Armenians, Tcherkess ? are not they syrians ?

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May 30th, 2011, 7:34 pm


246. why-discuss said:

Amir in Tel Aviv

If Israel is not based on religion, why are your leaders insisting on naming it “the Jewish state of Israel’ exactly like the “Islamic republic or Iran”.

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May 30th, 2011, 7:36 pm


247. why-discuss said:

Vlad, thks, of course! I added them

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May 30th, 2011, 7:37 pm


248. vlad-the-syrian said:


i agree that Tlass was antisemitic but not all of them.
I think that the majority rejected that. The fact that Tlass book was a best-seller besides being exagerated proves nothing.

The Bible is also a best seller that doesnt proof that all the readers believe in god.

“What about the antisemitic series you guys watch on Ramadan”

again a lie. These series are not popular.

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May 30th, 2011, 7:40 pm


249. AIG said:

Why Discuss,

Sometimes you wax completely delusional. What about the thousands or tens of thousands that died in Syrian jails just for opposing the regime? What about Hama? What about all the Lebanese missing in Syria?
Yes, Syria is a police state and very little gets reported. But once Assad goes, the terror and inhumanity of the Assad regime will surface. People will speak out and the truth will come out.

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May 30th, 2011, 7:40 pm


250. daleandersen said:

Memo to jad:

Re: “There is no need to destroy our kids’ future..”

Excellent point! And the model for how adults totally fuck up their kids’ futures can be found in recent Palestinian history. As we all know, the Palestinians lost their land in 1948 to the Jews…oops, I’m sorry…I mean the Israelis. And over the next three generations, instead of moving on, emigrating, making a new life, they hung around on the fringes and made up stories about how bad it all was and engaged in bushwhackings and hit-and-run operations.

Losing land, being dispossessed, being told to get out has happened all through history. Do you think, when the Arabs came out of the desert and settled in Persia, Palestine, Syria and Egypt, the locals didn’t get kicked off some nice prime land without compensation?

Lesson: the wise ones suck it up and move on so their kids can grow and thrive. The not-so-wise ones hang around and cry, cuss and moan and let the wounds fester.


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May 30th, 2011, 7:40 pm


251. AIG said:

The Tlass book was printed by the Syrian government press proving that the government is antisemitic. If they weren’t they wouldn’t print the book. Tons of books are banned in Syria. The Tlass book isn’t. Why?

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May 30th, 2011, 7:42 pm


252. Akbar Palace said:

#981 – Syrian Foreign Minister Farouq Al-Shar’a: Israeli Targeted Killings Worse Than the “Ovens” of the Holocaust
Al-Jazeera TV (Qatar) – December 28, 2005 – 01:22

#786 – Syrian MP Muhammad Habash on the Prophet Muhammad’s Ecological Project of Cleaning Al-Madina from the Garbage Thrown by the Jews
Syrian TV – July 29, 2005 – 01:12

#797 – Syrian MP Muhammad Habash: Modern Jews Are Partly Responsible for the Killing of the Prophets by Their Forefathers
– August 4, 2005 – 02:08

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May 30th, 2011, 7:43 pm


253. vlad-the-syrian said:

247 WD

but they arent arabs are they ? and consequently less syrians maybe ?

Syria is the unique arab country that has the word arab in its official denomination. This is amazing … as if there is the need to assert that syrians are more arabs than the arabs

this is an old stance

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May 30th, 2011, 7:44 pm


254. why-discuss said:


Can’t you understand? Arabs do not like you country. It is perceived as a foreign body forced on them when they were weak.
So don’t expect that your description of how wonderful your country is will convince anyone. No Arab would want his/her country to be like yours, be sure of that.

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May 30th, 2011, 7:46 pm


255. AIG said:

Why Discuss,

Israel is the state of the Jews like Hungary is the state of Hungarians and Japan is the state of Japanese or the Japanese state. Enough with the cheap propaganda.

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May 30th, 2011, 7:46 pm


256. Akbar Palace said:


Perhaps this is what JAD was referring to:


No Arab would want his/her country to be like yours, be sure of that.


And no Jew would want Israel to be like any Arab country. Obviously;)

So there!

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May 30th, 2011, 7:47 pm


257. vlad-the-syrian said:


this again dont prove that the regime is by essence antisemitic

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May 30th, 2011, 7:47 pm


258. vlad-the-syrian said:

255 AIG

again why not ! but not YOUR way 🙂

no peace with israelis of your kind

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May 30th, 2011, 7:50 pm


259. AIG said:

Why Discuss,

Many Arabs with sense in their heads look at what Israel has achieved in 63 years and what their dismal governments have and know that Arab dictators like the Assads have been a huge failure.

You will use every excuse in the world except admit the truth: Dictatorship is bad and Assad is a criminal that is holding back the Syrian people. The Syrians could have been just as successful as Israelis if they had followed democratic norms instead of strangling the huge human potential of their country. And you want to continue this strangulation of freedom and dignity. You are the real enemy of the Syrian people!

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May 30th, 2011, 7:52 pm


260. why-discuss said:

For me being Arab is beyond the strict ethnicity, as most of the Arabs at not strictly Arabs but mixed, especially around the mediterranean sea. Yet there is a common culture and a common language and a common recent history. It is equivalent to when we talk about “anglo-saxon”, or “south american or latino”, there is a common language and a culture..
Putting it in the name of the state is a reaffirmation (maybe awkward) of that belonging.

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May 30th, 2011, 7:55 pm


261. vlad-the-syrian said:

250. daleandersen

Jad was talking about Syria. No use waving the palestinian puppet.
Suppose he is not concerned and come to the facts.

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May 30th, 2011, 7:57 pm


262. Norman said:


What you said is a good note for the Israeli to pick and follow , when the time comes.

Israel can never win a decisive war against the Arabs and the Palestinians, The Arabs will , with time.

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May 30th, 2011, 7:59 pm


263. vlad-the-syrian said:

WD 260

do you meddle with arabs or do you prefer to stay among syrians ?

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May 30th, 2011, 7:59 pm


264. why-discuss said:


You don’t seem to understand. I am wondering if a hypocrite ‘successful democracy’ because it steals the lands, the water and the rights of millions of people that it also kills in thousands is so much better than a dictatorship !

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May 30th, 2011, 8:02 pm


265. vlad-the-syrian said:


i’m afraid that this time will be very very very long my friend

whereas peace between Syria and Israel was at the hands reach and it didnt happen. You should ask why objectively.

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May 30th, 2011, 8:02 pm


266. why-discuss said:


Strange question! Of course, I certainly feel more comfortable with an Arab than with an Israeli! ( no common culture, no common language and antagonistic history!)

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May 30th, 2011, 8:06 pm


267. vlad-the-syrian said:


but i did not mention israelis

can yu answer the question ?

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May 30th, 2011, 8:09 pm


268. AIG said:


Back to your fantasies?
Why can’t Israel win a decisive war? Because Arabs are more cruel than Jews? Wasn’t the 67 war decisive?

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May 30th, 2011, 8:10 pm


269. Ghassan Karam said:

Norman #262
What isthe basis for your assertion besides wishful thinking? Is it that you are so convinced of the womb as a weapon? What are the scientific principles that make you comfortable in making such predictions?

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May 30th, 2011, 8:12 pm


270. Norman said:

We are Arabs and we are Syrians, get over it , not all Arabs are Syrian but all Syrians are Arabs because Syria is part of the Arab world and Nation, and Syrians live in that world.

By the way,
All semitic people came from Arabia ,

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May 30th, 2011, 8:12 pm


271. AIG said:


You are hopeless. On the one hand you are not happy that Syria is weak, on the other hand you support the dictatorship that is keeping Syria weak! Israel’s democracy has made it strong relative to its neighbors. If you don’t understand that, you are blind.

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May 30th, 2011, 8:14 pm


272. vlad-the-syrian said:


“All semitic people came from Arabia”

no sir this is untrue sorry

at least the Bible has no reason to lie upon that. According to the bible Who were the sons of Sem and who was Ismael ?

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May 30th, 2011, 8:18 pm


273. vlad-the-syrian said:


YOUR Israel is not a democracy. It is a mlitary oligarchy. You know that 🙂

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May 30th, 2011, 8:20 pm


274. Norman said:


That was a battle, The Arabs did not surrender as did the Japanese and the Germans,


Nobody thought that the Barbarians will win against the Romans and destroy Rome, nobody thought that the Bedouin Arabs will win against the two major empires , the Persians and the Romans at the same time and they did, you do not have to have the most advanced weapons or society to win , you just have to have the determination and the tolerance for a long war.and that they will have, with time

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May 30th, 2011, 8:20 pm


275. jad said:

You are correct, I was talking about Syria, however, I’m against using kids by adults in any conflict in the world as means, they must be kept out of danger.
It’s interesting that the moment you write the word ‘Jew’ the whole tribe of Israel shows up screaming and kicking ‘Holocaust’ and ‘anti-antisemitism’.

Why don’t they call it Judea instead of Israel then, it’s more appropriate according to the Japanese and Hungarian example, besides, the kingdom of Israel didn’t include Judea, and I suggest you go back to the original borders of Judea without the Samaria nor the Galilee.

P.S. Regarding Tlass’s book, MATZO OF ZION, it wasn’t printed by the government press as claimed, it’s published and printed by Dar Tlass for Studies, Translation and Publication, a private company owned by Mustafa Tlass, but good try to blame the book on the Syrian government, next time you guys want to lie try to do some research.

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May 30th, 2011, 8:21 pm


276. vlad-the-syrian said:

275 JAD

regarding Tlass book you are correct. I was also wondering but no time to verifiy.

In one of my quotations in a previous post i mentioned a split between Juda and Israel. That was predicted by Solomon the wise.

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May 30th, 2011, 8:26 pm


277. AIG said:


I gave a link that claims otherwise. What evidence do you have?

You copied this of the English version from 1991. But who published the book in Arabic in 1983? The Syrian government press.

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May 30th, 2011, 8:35 pm


278. vlad-the-syrian said:


they’d like so much to be what they dream of being but they cant achieve that and there will always be a gap between their ideals of a better world and what they actually are. This is their tragedy and eternal problem. And we should help them ? behaving like they do ?

Besides i’m againt monotheism. Be it jewish, christian or muslim.

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May 30th, 2011, 8:36 pm


279. syrian said:

way too simplistic a view
many syrians today are divided about the government response to the events. this division is across all geographic areas and all the religious groups.

i know many alawis, christians, and sunni who are fed up with the current regime. and many others who still support it.

it is true however that many syrians fear that the unfolding events could lead to a future similar to that of in Iraq lebanon

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May 30th, 2011, 8:38 pm


280. vlad-the-syrian said:


add “schizophrenic” to the word gap that will be more accurate.


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May 30th, 2011, 8:42 pm


281. Sophia said:

# 255, AIG,

What is the state of Palestinians?

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May 30th, 2011, 8:44 pm


282. Norman said:

Ismael is the son of Abraham, the semitic and therefore he is semitic, all the migrations of the semitic people came from Arabia , including the Hebrews,

the people of Syria are Semitics came from Arabia at different time and when Islam came they did not bring settlers, the people there converted for economical reasons or out of beliefs, as Islam at that time was more inclusive and understanding of other religions especially Christianity and Judaism.

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May 30th, 2011, 8:46 pm


283. jad said:

Mustafa TLASS
Ph.D. (History)
Member of the Syrian Academy
Dar Tlass for Studies, Translation and Publication
78, Mazzeh autostrad
First print 1991 (301 p.)

فطير صهيون – دراسة سياسية- دار طلاس- دمشق 1987.

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May 30th, 2011, 8:48 pm


284. Abughassan said:

More infirmation coming on the dangerous escalation in Lebanon where the security chief, a Harriri ally,refused to evacuate a building holding sensitive information that may uncover a secret communication system that operated without the knowledge of the government and had the ability to cover parts of Syria.

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May 30th, 2011, 8:51 pm


285. vlad-the-syrian said:


Ismael son of Abraham and Agar but Agar wasnt semitic.

sons of Shem :

Arpaxad Assur Aram Loud Elam

if i’m not mistaken

the last comers in Syria were the arabs from arabia. A that time they were multiple tribes speaking diffrent arabic (Sabean, Nabatean, etc..)

After Muhammad arab language was unified and the Quran arabic became the canonical arabic.

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May 30th, 2011, 8:55 pm


286. Norman said:


look at this and you will see that things are closer than you think,


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May 30th, 2011, 9:01 pm


287. Tara said:

SS, # 183 great questions

“The opposition was transformed from a peaceful to a bloody killer one. I do not understand how people in SC deny the accuracy of these bloody killers who killed Janood.”

Syria has never allowed free press therefore some of us find it very difficult to give any credibility to anything reported by the Syrian government. Janood killing could be very much the work of armed gangs but I can not be certain. If they have nothing to hide, why are they not allowing international press?

”How can you still say that the opposition is respecting the Alawite, but not the regime? “

I agree with you. I would also be concerned the Alawites might be targeted with revenge if Assad regime to suddenly falls. The shabiha phenomena is making the matter worse. Those plain-clothed armed security forces are perceived by the majority of the revolution supporters to be consistent of mostly Alawites. I am sure this is not true and probably many Sunnis work as security forces too. I am reflecting on my personal feelings here but for one reason or the other, I am more terrorized by armed shabiha compared to armed men in uniform. The invention of Shabiha has hurt Alawite tremendously in my opinion. I believe what Syria needs is more Alawites intellectual to come out and ask for real substantial measures of reform to end the blood shed. We heard some but any others?

Also, Syria can not just wake up and find itself democratic and free. We have no infra-structure. We have no civil society. We have no institutions.

That is why I thought one solution might be an Alawite figure unrelated to Assad/Makhlouf family to emerge somehow and lead the country into the transition. Alawites will be very suspicious and perhaps not supportive with any other scenarios.

Bashar has failed (beyond reasonable doubt). Regime supporters can not blindly continue to support the current ruling elite. The revolution is not going to just disappear. Bashar had squandered his chance. He could have been a national hero had he taken a real step toward reform after the first demonstrator was killed. Instead, he gave an embarrassing first speech to very embarrassing MPs. SS, you must agree with me on the following: We can no longer live in a society where all MP clap to the president the way our Parliament behaves. We can no longer live in a society filled by pictures and statues of the father and the son wherever you go. We can no longer have a media that all what is does is worshiping the regime. We in the future should perhaps fine any one repeating a slogan calling to “bilrouh bildam nafdeek ya XYZ. We should fine any one thinking of or inviting people to vote using their own blood to mark yes box.

We Sunni and Alawites must start a meaningful discussion. We must bring out those emotions that make us suspicious of each other and try to see through them otherwise it really appears very bleak.

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May 30th, 2011, 9:01 pm


288. vlad-the-syrian said:


the answer is : JORDAN

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May 30th, 2011, 9:05 pm


289. vlad-the-syrian said:


i liked “ruling elite” in your comment

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May 30th, 2011, 9:06 pm


290. jad said:

“Janood killing could be very much the work of armed gangs but I can not be certain.’
Ofcourse you can’t be certain the pictures of Janoud with his killers on the street are photoshoped!!!!!!
Stop defending those thugs who killed him it’s sickening reading your stupid excuses when the pictures are that clear.

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May 30th, 2011, 9:21 pm


291. Tara said:


if using the word “stupid” makes you feel good about yourself, then feel free.

You are entirely missing the point!

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May 30th, 2011, 9:27 pm


292. Revlon said:

203. Sophia said:
# 195, WSC
” Revlon is not Syrian”

Dear Sophia, thank you for your provocative statement, for it has prompted me to reflect on the Question: How do I feel to be a Syrian?

The answer: Nothing special at all!

I do feel special for being a human being with a free mind!
I do feel special for being able to make free choices and succed in life
I do feel special for being gifted with a beautiful family, that I can cherish and support
I do feel special for being able to feel the warmth of my extended family
I do feel special for having the pleasure to sit with friends in a side walk cafe and smoke shisha and have a finjan coffee
I do feel special when I am able to have a positive contribution to the future of my loved ones

You see,
To me, Syria the name is meaningless. It came without a choice!
Syria, the geography is meaningles. It was was cut and tailored by S&P to the fit the needs of UFO’s

In the end, Syria to me is the family, the extended family, the neighbours, childhood playgrounds, favourite hangouts, favourite dishes, and the entire heritage and culture, with all of its imperfections.

Dictator’s concept of nationhood, as is thi regime’s, is state-centered.
What threatens the regime, threatens the nationhood.
People are elements, that can be expended for serving this higher purpose.
Therefore, the loss of the Golan, the massacre thousands of civilians in Hama and in prisons all around Syria, and the ongoing slaughter and torture of civilians were easily justified and even celebrated, including by some regime supporters on this blog, as victories of The ” Syrian nation”.

I invite all of us to build a people-centered nationhood,
Where the state and its laws are subservient to the people they serve.

Now! Am I Syrian?
Well, I can not change your mind about who I am!
So I have settled for letting you know how I feel!

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May 30th, 2011, 9:32 pm


293. Jad said:

Listen, describing irrational excuses for a photographed crime, by you or by any other person, as stupid, is very polite.
And no I didn’t miss your valuable points but I’ll let SS to answer you.

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May 30th, 2011, 9:42 pm


294. why-discuss said:

La page Facebook du Monde.fr attaquée par des soutiens du régime syrien


…Le groupe, visiblement bien organisé – il dispose de comptes Twitter, Youtube et d’une autre page Facebook que celle utilisée pour l’attaque -, n’en est pas à son coup d’essai. Sur son site internet sont mentionnées plusieurs attaques précédentes, notamment contre des sites isaréliens.

Dans la rubrique “Qui sommes nous ?” , l’organisation explique que “la page de l’armée électronique syrienne a été fondée par une équipes de jeunes Syriens impulsifs, qui ne veulent pas rester les bras croisés face à l’injustice et la distorsion flagrante de ce qui se passe en Syrie opérée par les pages de la sédition, qui cherchent à propager la haine via Facebook….”. Un compte à rebours prévoit même une opération “surprise”, prévue dans cinq jours et ayant trait au plateau du Golan.

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May 30th, 2011, 9:42 pm


295. Usama said:

Going back to the topic, I read the article again and I do feel there are some fictional aspects to the story. The fiction is not as obvious as in Damascus Gay Girl’s story, but since I don’t have proof, let’s treat this article as real. There is something critical that I noticed and it is that Adham’s view of Dar`a is exactly like al-Jazeera’s reporting: “electricity, water, mobile phone service, land line telephone service, all cut off; rooftop water tanks, common in this area, are shot by military personnel; anyone who moves in the streets is shot.” The people of Dar`a already spoke out and some said that electricity was cut off for 2 days while others said 3 days, but all were in agreement that water was never cut off. Shooting rooftop water tanks makes no sense. Unless Syrians are now different, water tanks are used for washing and bathing and not for drinking, especially since they’re on the roof top so they would be too warm to drink. So what’s the point of shooting those? If water was not available during the 2 weeks of “siege”, why are there living people in Dar`a? Why ignore the residents that said soldiers came to their doors everyday with bread, milk, food, medicine, and anything else they needed? If everyone who moved in the streets got shot, why did we see anti-regime videos of people on the streets during the operations? The videos were so ridiculous. They had titles like “tanks shell Daraa” then when you watch you see…. tank moving and you hear gunshots. Wow.

So anyway, if this author’s article is not a work of fiction, what it tells me is that al-Jazeera and western propaganda is still significantly affecting the way people think and feel despite their reporting being proven as misleading, fraudulent, and even deliberately inciting of hatred among Syrians. Even I started looking suspiciously at Kurds now even though they have been nothing but good members of society. In fact, we can thank the Kurds for their role in making Turkey think twice before “diplomatically” cutting off our water supplies.

I would also like to point out the fact that although Adham supposedly has no contact with his family back home, and doesn’t know if they are even still alive, somehow he told the author that “heads of the family are working overtime on local public relations and image management.” Can Dr. Landis please ask the author about this? It really feels like the author determined his conclusions before writing the story.

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May 30th, 2011, 9:43 pm


296. syau said:


How can you not be certain that Nidal Jannoud was killed by and armed gang? It was caught on camera and broadcast on tv. The two men that were part of that gang were finally caught and admitted to stabbing him numerous times. What more evidence do you need?

Unfortunately because of the ugly path of sectarianism he was killed purely because he was Alawi. Others who met the same fate, (murdered and mutilated) were also Alawi. As I have said before, three of the many victims were acquaintances. They went to Damascus to purchase wholesale fruit. Their van had Tartous numberplates. These men were sought out because of that. When their murderers confirmed they were Alawi, they slaughtered and mutilated them. Two of the men were first cousins and one was a friend. One of the cousins had a tattoo that said Ya Ali on his arm. That entire piece of flesh was mutilated. Their genitals were cut off and stuffed in their mouths as a final blow to the victims and their families. The sheikhs affiliated with this revolution are condoning such acts. The revolutionists either do not acknowledge or deny any involvement by these gangs in the murders and mutilations. The revolution is sectarian, not the government.

Corruption does exist in Syria, but I would ask you, which country does not have the infestation of corruption? The Syrian government has made some mistakes, they admit it. Which country around the world is free of mistakes? Bashar has not failed, neither has he squandered his chance. He is dealing with the mounting internal and external pressures as any leader would, but he is doing it without bowing down to the US and Israel.

Once this violent revolution is over, he will emerge upright and more powerful and loved than before, mark my words. And please, no more silly talk about another Alawi becoming president. It’s not about belonging to a particular sect, it’s about being a leader of a country. Religion does not and should not matter.

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May 30th, 2011, 9:49 pm


297. why-discuss said:


“If you don’t understand that, you are blind.”

Israel is militarily strong out of necessity, because simply put, it neighbors don’t want it on its stolen land.
Arab countries don’t need Iron Dome paid by US to protect it against its neighbours. Who’s weak?

Your country is a paranocracy… Believe me, no Syrian or any Arab neither admires you nor envies you!

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May 30th, 2011, 9:57 pm


298. Usama said:

Richard, #157

I hate to burst your bubble but I have Syrian citizenship because I’m Syrian and I have my other citizenship because they were giving it away. It works the same way in Australia.

Abdo, #175

Let’s assume for a moment that `Azmi Bshara is more trustable than al-Jazeera. I still wouldn’t fall under the 3 groups he mentioned. So I guess I fall under not feasible? Besides, look where Bshara is speaking from. His credibility is as questionable as the odour of wet used socks.

I work off this one simple indicator, the number of people on the street. It’s very clear who has the upper hand. Hint: not the “opposition”.

AbuGhassan, #188

What do you want the security forces and the army to be doing when there are armed terrorist groups roaming around killing people? You want them to go home? First situation gets controlled, THEN they go home. Not the other way around.

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May 30th, 2011, 10:01 pm


299. why-discuss said:


my reply is implied… tu veux un dessin?

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May 30th, 2011, 10:04 pm


300. Tara said:


Armed thugs can easily infiltrate the demonstrators. Armed thugs probably killed him. They should be brought to justice and tried.

I am curious. Do you personally support term limit or Assad forever?

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May 30th, 2011, 10:06 pm


301. why-discuss said:

“And no Jew would want Israel to be like any Arab country. Obviously;)”

Of course! Israel is so “strong” and “economically successful” and Arab countries are so weak and underdeveloped!
Yet no Arab would exchange his place with an Israeli.

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May 30th, 2011, 10:14 pm


302. syau said:


Armed gangs did infiltrate any legitimate demonstrators, where do you think the violence began?

I support Assad for as long as he has the interest of Syria and it’s people. That I think will be forever. That is also my right. I will never support an Islamist state or a revolution filled with murder, lies and fabrication. That does not hold the interest of the Syrian people. I am interested, do you have the welfare of Syrians at heart, if you did, you would want an end to this violent revolution and peace that was a fact prior to this revolution to return.

The voices of legitimate protesters were heard by the president and reforms are in the process of being implemented. Everything after that is sinister and definately not legitimate.

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May 30th, 2011, 10:15 pm


303. Norman said:

And that is why they should stop the demonstrations and let the army clean the streets , Then ask for permit and demonstrate, now people are being killed and armed groups are in the streets,

There should not be term limit in Syria as the people should have the right to elect president Assad if they want as long as it is done freely and under judicial supervision,

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May 30th, 2011, 10:16 pm


304. TARA said:

Syau, 2 questions:

How many total death (demonstrators+ army+ security forces + innocent bystanders) are you willing to accept before you lable the regime as failure?

What if everything goes back to a pre-revolution status and Bashar dies from natural causes say in 15 years, what is then? his son Hafez?

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May 30th, 2011, 10:26 pm


305. Averroes said:


Who is that guy? My challenge is for you to find a Syrian official that has said something anti Jewish. I don’t use the battered term anti-Semitic because we are Semites way more than 90% of Israelis.

Find me a president, a PM, an ambassador that has ever said anything anti-Jewish. You won’t be able to because in all honesty, we have nothing against Jews per se. The grand Mufti is well known for his openness has allowed a US Rabbi to give a Friday sermon in Syria. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JfziGnhDukE

Our problem is with Israelis who have stolen our land and who think they can get away with it for good.

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May 30th, 2011, 10:36 pm


306. Averroes said:

And to the Israelis who are acting like they’re immune to domestic unrest:

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May 30th, 2011, 10:40 pm


307. WhatIsThis? said:

This whole post sounds completely fake. Who is this magical man that manages to know a perfect stereotype for every sect?

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May 30th, 2011, 11:15 pm


308. ss said:

Tara comment 287

“Janood killing could be very much the work of armed gangs but I can not be certain. If they have nothing to hide, why are they not allowing international press?”

Tara, I am shocked again how the opposition like yourself who appears to be intelligent gives me a very STUPID answer. Again Tara, you fell in the trap of supporting awful thugs and killers. How can you do that Tara? How can you support these people? By ignoring the fact that they are real, you are indeed supporting them and perhaps feel sympathy for them. For god sakes are you human, have you seen how they cut the man pieces.
Why are they not allowing international press? That is laughable. Who do you want? Aljazeera? Alarabia?….These channels are worse than a foreign invasion. Actually I would take a foreign invasion which is easier to deal with than having some dishonest biased people making designing stories for money. I disagree with you on that. I agree with you that the Syrian TV has always been the last channel one ever wants to watch but during this crisis, the Syrian TV proved to be the best honest and reliable source

“I believe what Syria needs is more Alawites intellectual to come out and ask for real substantial measures of reform to end the bloodshed. We heard some but any others?”

Well why you are asking for more Alawites intellectual to come out. We Alawite have one who represents most of us, meaning 99% of us. The Alawite have never ever been behind Assad as they are now in this Crisis. Many Alawite disapprove corruption, lake of jobs, ……but this crisis, with intellect people like yourself defending ruthless killers; cutting the body of an Alawite man, had brought the Alawite community tight, very tight. We are all behind Assad; one word Tara, one word. You talk about Shabiha. Shabiha was a big culture in Lattakia in the 80s till late 90s, but they were destroyed. I tell you what, if you were driving the streets in Lattakia and a Shabiha car was behind you, you should pray for the rd light to turn green so you give that car a pass. I agree, it was awful even for us Alawite. We suffered the most from them, but the shabiha phenomenon has been dead for more than 10 years. I do not know why you guys blame everything on Shabiha. Where are the Shabih?????. I advise you not to mistake Shabiha with young Alawite people who are holding arms and defending their villages, people, and their homes from the ghosts shooting randomly.

“Also, Syria can not just wake up and find itself democratic and free. We have no infra-structure. We have no civil society. We have no institutions.”

I assure you with your acts of killing and mass destruction there will be no infrastructures left to have your dream democracy.

Tara, although I find many flaws in the current regime, but I am totally against the way this opposition is behaving; killing kids, mutilating them for an evil cause. This is your new recipe, your new menu; killing innocent kids. For that reason I hope the army works hard to restore order. Order and logic is the best infrastructure for all of us

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May 30th, 2011, 11:19 pm


309. Ollie said:

Syria’s a scary place right now, with a lot of people in pain. I feel the American needs to open up her heart more deeply to this fact.
When we don’t hear people’s pain, it keeps coming out in ways that make empathy even harder.
Certain kinds of negotiations, which have never been attempted, would be more protective than any use of force. Our only option is communication of a radically different sort. We are getting to a point where our best protection is to communicate with the people we’re most afraid of. Nothing else will work.

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May 30th, 2011, 11:23 pm


310. AIG said:


The guy is a Syrian official, the deputy religious minister. Your government is antisemitic but you keep deluding yourself. They allow antisemitic books, television series etc.

As for domestic unrest in Israel, of course we have demonstrations. It is a free country, you have demonstrations in most countries. But we resolve our differences in the ballot box and do not have presidents for life that strangle the potential of the country.
Why are you so afraid of freedom of speech and free elections? Where does your fear come from? Do you have so little trust in your fellow countrymen? Or do you think you know best what is best for all Syrians? If you accept them as countrymen then trust their choice at the ballot. If not, Syria is not a country and you should break it up.

Here are some more antisemitism links for you:

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May 30th, 2011, 11:27 pm


311. AIG said:

Let’s not forget who is lying here and not letting the free press in to cover the events and see the truth. The regime should let in the Russian, Chinese, American, all the press in the world if it thinks it is doing the right thing. But the Assad regime is lying through its teeth without any shame. That is why they will not allow free press. That is why they will not allow UN observers. The actions clearly point out who the criminals are.

Why are you afraid of the free press??? Everybody is a liar except Assad?

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May 30th, 2011, 11:35 pm


312. ss said:


I posted these two links for your attention. I know you have seen them, but to refresh your memory. Do you really need an international press to confirm this crime. The photos were taken at the time of the crime is the same during the interview. This is called evidence


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May 30th, 2011, 11:36 pm


313. Syria: The strong risk of fitna, and how to prevent it | A New Worlds in Birth said:

[…] Landis has a truly excellent piece on his blog today. It is a lengthy account that he’s publishing there, that was written by […]

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May 30th, 2011, 11:37 pm


314. Averroes said:


Antisemitic blah blah blah antisemitic blah blah blah blah. Antisemitic blah blah antisemitic blah antisemitic blah blah Antisemitic blah blah blah blah blah.

That’s the essence of your argument.

Syrians are Semites, and we are not anti-Jewish.

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May 30th, 2011, 11:38 pm


315. ss said:


This is for your attention.
We may not allow journalist in. You allow them in but it looks like you beat them and arrest them. This link if FYI only

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May 30th, 2011, 11:43 pm


316. AIG said:


Yes, we beat every journalist that comes into Israel. Yeah, right. Israel has free press. Journalists from all over the world can report from Israel. They can go talk to anybody in Israel. They can talk to Arabs, to Jews to whomever they want. What are you afraid off? Why won’t you allow free press unless you are murdering liars that want to hide what is being done to the Syrian people? Let the free press in, or accept the fact that you are liars. There is no middle ground. You are afraid of the truth. Why?

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May 30th, 2011, 11:53 pm


317. AIG said:


If you want to disregard the conclusive evidence that the Assad regime is anti-Jewish, be my guest. As for the Syrian public, after being fed for years a diet of anti-Jewish propaganda, it is also largely anti-Jewish. Hopefully with free press this will change.

Antisemitism means racism against Jews. It is a euphemism coined in Germany and has nothing to do with semitic people, just as the word “dogma” has nothing to do with dog or with ma.

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May 31st, 2011, 12:02 am


318. jad said:

Is Mr. Ziade the smartest of the revolution leaders and the star of american academia? Good luck!
Try not to sleep reading the ‘important’ article or you can go directly to the last 2 paragraphs to learn NOTHING:

هل يوقف الجيش آلة القتل بسوريا؟

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May 31st, 2011, 12:05 am


319. Jihad said:

To the rabid Zionist liar on this site:


Such a coward and colonizer should be ignored.

With or without Bushama, your day will come.

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May 31st, 2011, 12:21 am


320. jad said:

To those who miss Damascus as much as I do, this is a car drive in Damascus street this morning.

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May 31st, 2011, 12:23 am


321. Jihad said:

It appears that rabid Zionists are also dog-ma-tics.

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May 31st, 2011, 12:25 am


322. Tara said:

SS, and all

“By ignoring the fact that they are real, you are indeed supporting them and perhaps feel sympathy for them”

The problem of the regime supporters on this site is that they lump sum any one who dares to dissent as evil. I DO NOT support Janood’ Killers. I DO NOT feel sympathy for them in any way, shape, or form. You are accusing me of some things I never said. I do not watch the Syrian media because I do not have any respect for it. The same media lied about Bayda and said the clip happened in Iraq by the Bashmirga (sp?). I am sorry but in my mind (you lie once, you lie always). I have been told about fabricated clips and fabricated pictures over the last 2 month. That is why I said I can not be certain.

Let me be clear here. I am very disturbed in regard to Janoood killing. It incites the same anger and sadness in my mind as the killing of any peaceful demonstrator in this crisis. It does desecrate the revolution I support and I can understand your pain when a killing like that is not acknowledged and I agree it needs to be acknowledged.

On the other hand, the regime supporters on this site (at least in my opinion) have completely failed to see the aspirations of the others. And again I am not obviously including the “armed gangs” here. All what was heard from you guys is: Yes, the regime committed some mistakes. We need better jobs, housing, less corruption etc. Some legit demonstrators in this revolution may be looking for measure to enhance their socioeconomic status. A lot in this revolution are looking for serious reform that build our infra structure. Can anyone tell me what Bashar accomplishments over the last 11 years are? All what I see is that he opens the country financially by turning a bind eye on his cousin illegal dealings. The resistance is not Bashar-made. It is genetically incorporated in the Syrian soul.

I am very surprised that all of you support him so blindly in this crisis.

Finally I want to say that not all mistakes are created equal. The regime committed murders and until I hear about Maher and Rami being exiled to Marbella, I would not believe in any serious reform.

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May 31st, 2011, 12:30 am


323. AIG said:


The facts are so simple. Does Syria allow a representative from Al-Jazeera, NY Times, European newspapers, AP, AFP etc. into Syria? No. Israel does. Do the Israeli security organizations follow journalists around like in Syria? No. Do you get thrown into prison for writing your opinion in an Israeli newspaper? No.

The liars are the people who are afraid of the free press. It is the Syrian regime that does not want the world to see how it tortures its people. Why are you so afraid of the free press? Because the regime is a regime of murdering thugs.

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May 31st, 2011, 12:33 am


324. Syria no kandahar said:

Some Examples of failed democracy in Islamic nations:
1-Iraq:After trillions of dollars of US money,5000 American soldiers lost,hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed,the largest displacement and refugee situation in the recent human history,the country democracy status and the quality of living SUCKS.
2-Afghanstan:As above.
3-Gaza:Hamas hijacked the elections using the cheep religion card,transformed Gaza into sem-Kandahar.
4-Egypt:Nice revolution over all by good hearted Egyptian youth,stolen by MB (Islamic Democracy Merchants Incorporated).Egypt is 20 years backward ,the mummies are laughing at there ancestor for this virgin revolution raped publically in the middle of the day,by MB,with the world clapping and having fun watching
And waiting for the red virginity blood evidence.
5-Tunisia:All signs are that this was for the birds,Boazizi burned bones are chilling from the impotence of this revolution.Tunis had the best quality of living indicators between all Arab countries befor the revolution.
6-Libya:Democracy is being born,you need to be able to turn stool to cake for this to turn into any meaningful product.
7-Yemen :you need the same machine above(which can convert stool to cake)
8-Iran:Mollah rule disliked by most Iranians ,police arresting girls if pants don’t touch the ground,you get stoned if you have intercourse the mollah don’t like.
9-Turkey:pseudo-democracy,you can disappear the mokabarat way,you get jailed if you admit the genocide,As a Kurd you are a Turk or else Kurk,you will get spit at if you walk in most of the cities of turkey with a cross in your neck(except Istanbul ).trying hard to show of but ذنب الكلب اعوج
10-SYRIA:???????????????????????????????????????يارب استر

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May 31st, 2011, 12:54 am


325. abughassan said:

Bashar was appointed president in 2000 because top Generals and key people in the regime did not want a non Asad to be president,that was a signal the regime was not ready for any real political change,however, many Syrians supported Asad because he was seen as an educated open-minded man with no history of being involved in the dirty business of politics,corruption and oppression,and to be fair,many Syrians still support him,some do so out of fear of the alternative,namely an Islamist regime that will take the country backward and oppress minorities.
Syria is supposed to be a republic but the late Asad ruled it for 30 years and Bashar has been in power for 11 years. Albaath captured power in 1963 and prevented any real opposition to its domination of political life. Those who want Syria to be a kingdom and keep albaath monopoly must say so in plain English,or Arabic and tell us if they are ready for a national referendum, not like the ones with a guaranteed 99% approval.
I do not want Bashar to be removed now by force or by any other mean,this will lead to a civil war,but I want him to try to correct the mistakes of the past,open a new page,enact those darn reforms and pave the way for a new president.I will never support using violence against peaceful demonstration and I am even more opposed to using violence against the army.
Syrians deserve a better government but they also should not committ violent acts to make their voice heard,by doing so,they are giving more credibility to the regime and losing valuable support,this is why I believe what may have started as a civilized protest for dignity,freedom and democracy is becoming an uprising by thugs and militant people who deserve the title of third world residents for their behavior not because of where they live or how much money they make.as for sectarianism,it can only be treated by a strong judicial system and a healthy dose of freedom and equal opportunity. The road is long and tiresome but Syrians do not have a choice.

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May 31st, 2011, 12:59 am


326. Maryam said:

#314 AIG,

I’m curious, did Israel let reporters in Gaza when they bombed the hell out of it in 2008?

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May 31st, 2011, 1:05 am


327. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

The best of luck Antalya.

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May 31st, 2011, 1:42 am


328. syau said:

Tara #305,

I’ll answer your question with a question, how many deaths are you willing to see before you label this revolution nothing but a violent failure which is shamefully using the name of a revolution?

Question 2 – nothing can ever go back to the pre revolution status. No one lives forever and that bridge will be crossed when we come to it.

#320, the difference between Assad supporters and the revolution supporters is that we do not “lump sum” everything, mistakes are acknowledged, corruption is acknowledged and we look for positives, whereas revolutionists do not acknowledge the facts or anything accomplished by the Bashar, they deny what is starring them right in the face, they do not look to any positive scenario, their sectarianism and hatred is evident in the comments and they don’t have any plans other than to commit as many crimes, destroy as much infrastructure and terrorise as many people as possible to make their point. Nothing is sacred to them, they have even moved on to burning graves.

Assad supporters will stand beside all different sects and religions and live peacefully. I attended a rally in support of President Assad, I stood beside my Sunni, Christian and Alawi friends, chanted beside those I do not know, some wearing traditional headscarfs and some wearing crosses. It was positive, a concept I don’t think supporters of this hate filled revolution are familiar with.

Assad supports embrace the measures for reforms; remember that was the initial demand. Immediately after reforms were announced, there were calls for toppling the regime. Normal people would call for the end of demonstrations, especially as they are violent in nature and allow the reforms to be implemented. They can see the conspiracy against their country and have the welfare of Syrians at heart when they express themselves. There seems to never be a light at the end of the tunnel for you people, as no matter what is put forward, it’s not enough.

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May 31st, 2011, 2:03 am


329. Jad said:

Be ready to hear a story about rape crimes conmitted by Syrian army officers against young girl in the coming days, my guess is Thursday.

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May 31st, 2011, 2:17 am


330. Usama said:

SS, #308

I remember those things you’re talking about and I agree with you. Basil used to keep Fawwaz and his gang in check. He knocked their heads together and put them in jail several times before “the mother” would step in. Although I was very young, I still remember when Basil died, Fawwaz and his gangs were celebrating publicly. But Bashar continued Basil’s work and things in Lattakia became much better after Bashar’s influence within the country increased.

Tara, #320

You’re still ignoring the numbers. The regime has the clear support of the people.
And what did Maher do? Some “eyewitness” says he saw Maher in Dar`a from 300 meters away with his binoculars, then in the next sentence he says he can hear Maher talking about “strategy”… from 300 meters. Binoculars also let you do that? From that moment on, all the news started saying that Maher was in Dar`a like it was fact, even the US and EU!!! But funny part is, he wasn’t there.

There are a few articles posted in the comments sections of this blog that discussed how the media has targeted specific individuals for destroying their image. Hafez’s kids have been nothing but respectful to the people of Syria. Hafez’s brothers, and their sons, are another story, but you don’t see them being attacked by the media… why not? Because they know people already hate them (and Rif`at is living in luxury with his kids in Europe), so it’s more convenient to attack the image of people who are not widely hated, and make them symbols of everything that is wrong with the country.

About Rami Makhluf, I’m sure he benefitted from being Bashar’s cousin, but here is how corruption was usually done: a “manager” would approve SYP 100 million for a project that actually needed only SYP 50 million. Then he’d take the 50 million, and split with others to keep quiet. Then you had people on the ground who would use less material (ie. weaker concrete mix) to keep another chunk out of the 50 million used. Then all their money would go to some foreign bank and sit there. Rami Makhluf actually invested money inside Syria, and whatever profit came out he would invest back in Syria and Syrians. The story you don’t hear about Rami Makhluf is that he has provided many poor families with expensive surgeries they required, for free. When the Syrian University was clearly mismanaged, he bought it out and set it back on track. The thing that most media like to concentrate on is his “monopoly” of SyriaTel. They don’t mention that SyriaTel provided thousands of unemployed youths with good, respectable, high-paying jobs. They don’t mention that Bashar addressed the “monopoly” concerns by allowing a second company for competition (MTN, from South Africa). They don’t mention that because people are still not happy, there is a current bidding process for a third company to enter the market and allow for more competition.

All I’m saying is I don’t doubt that Rami Makhluf is corrupt in some ways, but fact is he gives a lot back to Syria in one way or another while others before him, like Rif`at and Khaddam, had all the money in Europe where they both live in luxury villas today. Besides, did the US impose sanctions on Rami because he’s bad? The US never puts sanctions on bad people; it only puts sanctions on people who don’t do what it wants.

Tara, Syria can’t afford to have free media like others. I don’t think you realize how the west has done so much with media to destroy the image of presidents they don’t like. That goes for NGOs too. Syria has always been targeted and it’s nothing new. If we had Mubarak in Syria, the middle east would have been a very different Greater Israel and the west’s problems would be solved. Is it in the nature of Egyptians to be Israeli collaborators? No, but Mubarak took them that way and even helped a siege on Gaza for 4 years!!!!!!! It would be still on today if he hadn’t been ousted.

When al-Jazeera and BBC were in Damascus at the start, they ignored all the pro-Asad demonstrations, and especially the big one on March 29. They kept reporting about Dar`a, Lattakia, and Douma, making people think they were burning with anger. I kept asking myself, why don’t they report what they see instead of saying “activist said this” and “witness said that” and “lawyer from London with contacts in city x said this”? The answer is they’re not honest. Look at this refute of Cal Perry’s articles on Kana’an Online: http://kanaanonline.org/ebulletin-en/?p=337 . It has reached a point where a gunman on roof top is a “pro-regime sniper” and a terrorist thugs shooting their kalashnikovs randomly are “shabbiha”. Soldier died? Security killed him. Security officer died? Shabbiha killed him. Enough is enough, and media being allowed access won’t fix this. Just remember who is funding them! France24, BBC, al-Jazeera, al-Arabiya, Orient, Reuters, AP, AFP, etc etc etc you always need to follow the money trail. There is no such thing as “free and independent media”.

Also if you’re interested in what I was saying about covert ways in which western governments manipulated international leaders and citizens for their own interests, you can look at this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7t_103lkdA This will make you appreciate the fact we don’t have a national debt, while you see Egypt and Jordan with huge national debt without much development to show for it (especially Jordan!).

There is no doubt Syria isn’t perfect, but we have a president who agrees about the need for reform. Bashar is not an expert at everything, so committees must be formed and allowed time to arrive at the best possible solutions given certain criteria. It is the right way to go about change and reform. If the peaceful demonstrations law is implemented right, then people will be able to peacefully demand any other reforms they may want, and if they have the numbers to back up their demands, it is clear that the president will attempt to respond positively. But as long as armed terrorists are on the streets, and sneaking into protests (ie mundasseen), this just can’t happen right now.

To the Zionist guy,

Stop equating anti-Zionist and anti-Israel with anti-Jewish. Otherwise, you’d just be talking to anti-semetic semites.

Jad, #327

It already happened on youtube and on the facebook page from before. I’m surprised it didn’t go mainstream yet. It really feels like they’re saving stories for future use. I think their strategy is to keep protests going for as long as possible in the hopes of breaking down the economy because they care so much for Syrians.

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May 31st, 2011, 2:26 am


331. syau said:


I expected as much, especially after the child that they tried to accuse security forces of killing and mutilating. There have been previous attempts of attempted rapes, both of soldiers wifes and children and others I have heard about in Tal Kalakh by the gangs of the revolution. Thank God they didn’t materialise.

I assumed they would try to fabricate a story like that. I think people will be smart enough to know it is yet another fabrication in the revolutions never ending web of deceit. Thanks for the heads up.

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May 31st, 2011, 2:33 am


332. democracynow said:

May 31st, 2011, 2:47 am


333. Sophia said:

# 309 AIG,

Your country is not a democractic country.

1. You don’t try your religious men for abusing their wives and children
2. You have discriminatory laws
3. You don’t respect international law
4. Your multiparty democracy is not functional. Since 2000, your governments are coalition governments acting like emergency governments in order not to yield to international pressure toward peace with Palestinians and Arabs, agressively invade neighbouring countries trying to influence their internal politics, and maintain the state of Apartheid inside Israel and the territories it occupies, not to mention continual land theft.

You are a sham democracy.

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May 31st, 2011, 4:57 am


334. Sophia said:

“A surge of sectarian violence in Cairo has turned Christian-Muslim tensions into one of the gravest threats to the revolution’s stability”

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May 31st, 2011, 5:12 am


335. Usama said:

I accidentally came across a picture of a memorial for “7alba massacre” victims, and I haven’t heard about this before so I did some research and I found out it was a massacre that Future Movement members committed against SSNP members in 2008. The one site I came across (http://forum.tayyar.org/f8/halba-massacre-survivors-story-34085/) had a video that is VERY GRAPHIC… SERIOUSLY (http://www.ssnp.info/media/Halba023L.wmv). The facial “wound” on one of those victims is reminiscent of Jannood’s. Here we’re blaming “extremists” or “Islamists” for carving up Jannood, when just kilometers past the border with northern Lebanon, Hariri’s men have been doing similar things. Shooting someone is one thing, but using instruments like knives and axes is just so intimate and a sure sign of psychotic killers.

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May 31st, 2011, 5:15 am


336. Sophia said:

# 333, Usama,

All these psychotic killers roam now with impunity in Lebanon.

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May 31st, 2011, 5:28 am


337. Jonathan Levy said:

331. Sophia

I found your post very interesting. You say “[Israel] is not a democracy”. Then to try to prove this, you list Israeli policies with which you disagree, and describe them in pejorative terms.

Let me give you an example to explain what a democracy is.

After the second lebanon war, many people in Israel were displeased with the performance of the Olmert government, and organized protests against it. I went to some of these. We stood and shouted slogans, held signs, gave speeches, and applauded.

The policement stood next to us and did nothing. They did not shoot us. They did not hit us. They did not curse us. They did not bring plain-clothes thugs to do any of that. Our cellphones were not disconnected. No Mukhabarat broke into our homes in the middle of the night.

We did not throw stones. We did not loot shops. We did not have to worry that other people were raiding our homes when we couldn’t defend them. We did not molest foreign female journalists.

What we did do was stand and shout ‘Down with Olmert!’ and ‘Down with Peretz!’. And unlike Egypt, Syria, and Libya, when election day came, Olmert was voted out of office. And then he left. He did not extend his own term. He did not arrange for his son to inherit him. He did not outlaw the parties of his rivals. He did not have his own private army to keep him in power. He passed his job to his successor, and retired into the shame which he earned himself.

That is what “democracy” means. Now Sophia from (presumably) Syria says that because Olmert is an aggresive colonialist, (or maybe because Netanyahu defies international law?) Israel is not a democracy. That has nothing to do with it. The point is that Israeli citizens (including Arab citizens) don’t have to burn themselves alive in order to change their government.

“Sham” democracy?

I’ll take my “sham” democracy over your genuine tyranny any day.

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May 31st, 2011, 6:03 am


338. syau said:


Take a look at this, apparently Al Jazeera officials advised Fida Alsayed to work on pictures of women and children being tortured if he wantd to have an effect in Syria. This also ties into what you mentioned before.


Usama #333,

The animals who committed these crimes have the same deranged psychotic mind that Hariri has. Being connected to him, it doesn’t surprise me they would commit such atrocious acts.

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May 31st, 2011, 6:10 am


339. Akbar Palace said:

When Arab Governments kill their own, there’s only one thing to do NewZ

In Post 235, Averroes made a challenge:

I challenge you to find any clip where any Syrian official says anything that is anti-Jewish. I challenge you.

After posting several quotes from Syrian officials up to and including President Bashar Assad, Averroes responded in Post 312:

Antisemitic blah blah blah antisemitic blah blah blah blah. Antisemitic blah blah antisemitic blah antisemitic blah blah Antisemitic blah blah blah blah blah.

That’s the essence of your argument.

Syrians are Semites, and we are not anti-Jewish.

Need we say more?

Actually, Algerian Author Anwar Malek has:

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May 31st, 2011, 6:42 am


340. haz said:

Bashar should be allowed to remain president for as long as he has the interests of the nation at heart. If at any time he does not have the interests of the nation at heart, we are permitted to ask quietly and politely for him please to not be president any more. When the mukhabarat torture our children for speaking against the president in this way we should thank them for showing us the error of our ways and for helping us to understand that he really DOES have the interests of the nation at heart.
When he has earned his repose and is sleeping in Qardaha, we will learn that, hamdillah!, Hafez jr also has the best interests of the nation at heart! Insha’allah, Hafez jr will have a son and call him Bashar. Insha’allah. Insha’allah! But remember to tell your grandchildren about the events of today – they should never ask for anything, but if they do, always say please, and thank you for the kick in the balls.

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May 31st, 2011, 6:59 am


341. syau said:


It’s a deal, on the condition you promise to tell your grandchildren about the wonders of a violent revolution, where murders, destruction and division are a norm.

Be sure to tell them that Bashar stood up against outside influences when the revolutionists were in bed with them, and, make sure you tell your grandchildren that if they want protest for something and their wishes are adhered to, not to be satisfied, just to take up armes and commit the most horrific crimes under the banner of a revolution.

And by the way, let them know to add in the spice of sectarianism to attempt division because that will always create hate. You can also throw in that fabrications is a great way to get media attention.

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May 31st, 2011, 7:12 am


342. haz said:

Why would I do that?
I will of course tell them that they live in a country where the president has their best interests at heart and that everyone else in the world hates them, has always hated them and always will hate them, and spends every waking minute hatching ingenious plots to destroy them.
I will tell them they must not question the president as long as Israel, the US, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the EU, the Hariri family, wahabieen, Muslim Brotherhood, Jews, Free Masons exist anywhere in the world.
They must remember that even when they are being starved and punched repeatedly in the face, they cannot ask for freedom, bread or justice if anyone anywhere in the country is raising their voice, saying something mean, telling a lie, or if anyone gets hurt.
My grand children will ask nicely, say thank you for the punch in the face, and then wait patiently for Hafez jr, jr to begin his next ten year plan of reforms. Maybe he will ban cars from the Old City! And really, really mean it this time!

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May 31st, 2011, 7:40 am


343. Revlon said:

The autorities in HOMS have replaced Jr’s burnt poster at a large turnabout, with The Syrian National Flag.

The revolution has prevailed!
Homs has been liberated from all symbols of tyranny!
Another battle of will has been won!

http://www.facebook.com/Syrian.Revolution#!/photo.php?fbid=10150657332470727&set=a.10150397575815727.619133.420796315726&type=1&theaterThe Syrian Revolution 2011 الثورة السورية ضد بشار الاسد

الثورة السورية ..بعد المحاولات اليائسة للنظام البائد (بإذن الله) بقمع المظاهرات وإعادة هيبة النظام الفاسد … بدء النظام باستبدال صور بشار المحروقة بصور أعلام سوريا
اليوم وبحمد الله قام النظام باستبدال أكبر صورة لبشار الفاسد بصورة لعلم سوريا … وذلك بعد أن تم حرق صورة الطاغية من قبل ثوار حمص الأحرار عند دوار طرابلس في حمص
نرفق لكم الصورة … وهي تبين سيارة تقوم بتركيب صورة علم سوريا بعد إزالة صورة الطاغية المحروقة تاريخ 31/5/2011.
ولمن لا يريد أن يصدق فليذهب إلى دوار طرابلس ليرى صورة علم سوريا الحرة …. التي بدأت تحيا من جديد
الله أكبر الله أكبر الله أكبر
عاشت سورية

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May 31st, 2011, 7:48 am


344. FinalCountdown said:

Ali and Wassim Sanqar amongst businessmen joining the oppossition, apparently, attending the meetings in Turkey.

For those that don’t know, they are the exclusive distributors for Mercedes in Damascus. More on them in the report.


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May 31st, 2011, 7:54 am


345. 873 said:

310. AIG said:

“Let’s not forget who is lying here and not letting the free press in to cover the events and see the truth. The regime should let in the Russian, Chinese, American, all the press in the world if it thinks it is doing the right thing.”

Sure, like you hypocrites did during Cast Lead. An IDF sadist’s opinion on freedom and humanitarianism is fit for dogs only.

MK Kara: Syrian opposition asked for Israel’s help
By Jerusalem POST.COM STAFF 05/28/2011

Likud deputy minister says anti-regime figures in Syria wanted Netanyahu to use influence to convince int’l community to pressure Assad.

Deputy Minister for Galilee and Negev Development Ayoub Kara (Likud) on Saturday said that members of the Syrian opposition had turned to him to ask for Israel’s help in stopping the violence of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime against them. Kara made the statements at a cultural event in Beersheba.

“The Syrian opposition asked for my help because of my connections. They wanted me to go to the government for help, that we would ask the UN, the US and the EU to go against Assad.

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May 31st, 2011, 7:56 am


346. syau said:


Ok, if that’s what you really want, they are after all your grandchildren. I will give mine a lesson on how not to get involved in sectarianism, with anyone that resembles Hariri and his co conspirators.

I will also teach them how to respect all sects and advise them not to hate a president because of his religion, just to see that person as the leader of their country.

Most of all I will teach them to open their eyes and to know right from wrong, if a sheikh condones violence even though it goes against the core of all religions, and in his khitab’s gives fatwa’s to murders and mutilations, rape of selective sects, to know that they were raised to follow their own mind and know right from wrong.

Violent protests are wrong. Initially reforms were demanded, the president heard these demands, they are now in the process of being implemented, but somehow that wasn’t enough, it never is for violent people who care not for the people in harms way, just themselves.

If these activists have a shred of humanity in them, they would call for an end to the violent demonstrations instead of giving a different name to every Friday and asking gangs to mask themselves in order not to be recognised, codoning the violence happening while sitting behind their computers in safety not caring who is harmed. “Wa Malo, 40 or 50 thousand can die, wa malo” as long as they meet their agenda.

My children and grandchildren will be raised not to be traitors of their country for any amount of money. Basically, they will be raised well.

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May 31st, 2011, 8:07 am


347. Revlon said:

Hamza El Khatib and Syrian Revolution in the eyes of American media
CNN: AC360 5/30/2011

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May 31st, 2011, 8:08 am


348. USS Liberty said:

Israeli Minister says a military strike on Iran may be necessary
Posted on May 31, 2011 by Fox News

JERUSALEM – An Israeli Cabinet minister said the civilized world must take joint action to avert the Iranian nuclear threat, including a pre-emptive strike if necessary.

-Now that the West, working through mista’aravim and covert ops via Lebanon Mar 14 & Co have destabilized and ‘softened up’ Iran’s closest ally Syria? Attack Iran.

A nuclear false flag as casus belli for the west and NATO to assist in WW3 attack on Iran has been threatened repeatedly by Israeli sayanim and certain AIPAC traitors in US gov. Nuke NYC, Chicago, LA etc and blame it on Iran?

One treasonous dual-national quoted scripture to justify it as “Gods Wrath” due to Obama’s demand that Iz return to its legal 1967 borders. Funny how the atheists wield that religion card when handy.
Even weirder is how the FBI NEVER shows up at their doors for making such terrorist threats.

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May 31st, 2011, 8:11 am


349. Sophia said:

#336 Allahu Akbar Palace,

If the quotes you unearthed are anti-semites than what do you say of zionists quotes about Arabs?



Anti-semitism is a european concept. It does not have its place in the ME conflict because both people are of semitic origin, even better than that:


At the same time, Israel’s unashamedly best friends are real anti-semites:

Apartheid south Africa
American Christian zionists

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May 31st, 2011, 8:13 am


350. NearEnd said:

Reportedly, 4 Alawite clans (Nuwaliya, Kalbiya, Haddadiya, Khayyatiya) disassociate themselves from the Assad clan.


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May 31st, 2011, 8:14 am


351. Revlon said:

A spirited Nabti poem, By nayef Al3nezi

Ma3laish Dar3a,Ma3laish… (Let it be, Dar3a!)….
Karra7teehom Yom L Jum3a …( You have made them dread Friday)

Watch and listen

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May 31st, 2011, 8:26 am


352. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Yes, they don’t like Fridays. This is what they sing in their black BMW, when they take little 7afez (Kim Jong-un) to play Badminton, while other Syrian children are being used as ashtrays for the shabi7a cigarettes. (Asma:) Tell me why (Bashar:) I don’t like Fridays (Asma:) Tell me why (Bashar:) I don’t like Fridays….. I don’t like I don’t like I don’t like Fri-day-hey-s.

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May 31st, 2011, 9:21 am


353. aboali said:

well we seem to be moving into some sort of end game here in Syria. The protests are spreading rapidly everywhere, and it’s only a matter of time before Aleppo and central Damascus join in. The regime seems helpless to do anything about it. The security forces are outnumbered and unable to handle the protesting crowds, tanks and troops going in just makes the situation much worse as it risks fracturing an already fragile army. On the political front, decades of stagnation have rendered the regime unable to produce any real reforms – see the ridiculous election laws and retaining article 8. All in all a very gloomy picture, the regime most certainly will not be able to survive this, at least not in it’s current shape.

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May 31st, 2011, 9:45 am


354. syau said:

President Bashar Assad expected to speak to the public within the comming few days.


Amir in tel aviv,

When I listened to Netenyahu’s conversation with his wife, she was asking him if 1,400+ Palestinian children deaths was enough, at least until mid 2011, his response was that he loved children, but he didn’t count Palestinians as people, therefore he doesn’t think they have the right to life. She took a moment, then agreed with him. They then discussed in which way would be the most effective to raise the death toll of the Palestinians. It sounded like they enjoyed their conversation, the neighbours were complaining about an eerir noise which sounded like a witches laugh.

They also discussed how silly the activists are in the Syrian revolution to think that a fabrication such as a murder and mutilation of a child will be conducted by the armed forces and people will actually believe it. “CNN did broadcast the video” mrs Net said, but they did say “it couldn’t be independently varified and alleged” she said, Mr. Net told her that even though the activists know the paid revolutionist monsters mutilated his body, they dont care as long as the ends justifies the means and anyway, they might believe their own fabrications like Al Jazeera does.

Wake up.

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May 31st, 2011, 9:45 am


355. Akbar Palace said:

Anti-semitism is a european concept.


Thanks, but YOU do not define the english language. Anti-semitism is merely a form of racism that Arabs have perfected since the creation of the State of Israel.

Silly people like you and Averroes first claim anti-semitism doesn’t exist in Arab countries, and when proven otherwise you both seek to redefine “anti-semitism”!

I’m not here to change your mind, I’m here to show the readership and observers here how some Arabs feel better shutting off their minds than facing reality.

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May 31st, 2011, 9:46 am


356. Revlon said:

The regime to the people: Ma2soom La takol, w’s7i7 la ti2sem, w kol la tishba3!
( Don’t eat the uncut cake, you may not cut it either, but you can eact as much as you want!)

Bkhaitan of the Baath party:
– We have no intention to annul item 8 of the constitution (Which proclaims Bath party as leader of state and society)
– Amending the constitution requires 2/3ds of the votes in the Parliament.
– Baath party has more than half the votes in the parliament
– But ,you are free to try to lobby for amending the constitution in the parliament
– Plan for national dialogue will be announced in 48 hours.

The revolution shall not engage in dialogue for the sake of dialogue.
– The people of Syria want to regain their right to self determination, in their own country
– Their goal is the dismantling of the system, which includes its constitutional powers, and its security forces
– Negotiations shall only begin after the president submits to achieving this goal, in a peaceful manner.
– The subject of negotiations shall be to arrive at an agreeable road map, and a time frame to achieve that goal.

ASllah, Sooriya, 7urriyeh w Bass

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May 31st, 2011, 9:57 am


357. N.Z. said:


It will be more beneficial for Semite to unite, rather than disagreeing at this pivital moment in our shared history. AP, the truth is surfacing with every rolling/ruling head in the Arab world.

In short, those that were protecting the interests of the longest occupation,are falling one by one.
It is crystal clear at the moment how all these regimes were Zionist agents., The most telling, is how the regime in Syria did not cringe in pointing their guns inward after laying a siege on Deraa and other Syrian towns, one by one. The atrocities committed by, both, the Zionist junta and Arab juntas toward their subjects is appalling to say the least, with one major difference, Our dictators, as well previous occupiers with all their brutality were not successful to instill in our psyche the victimhood mentality. Instead of arguing for the sake of argument, let us hope for a future were Palestinians will regain their stolen properties and live side by side with their Jewish neighbor .

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May 31st, 2011, 10:45 am


358. Averroes said:


These three Israeli hate mongers have nothing to hide behind except the old (now torn and boring) accusation of antisemitism. What they want, in fact, is impunity. Impunity from crimes against humanity, impunity from prosecution, impunity from criticism, impunity from exposure of who they really are. If you dare cross any of those pampered barriers that they so hope to keep up forever, you’re slammed with antisemitism.

Well, it’s ridiculous, and nobody is buying it anymore, and the more they abuse the already battered term, the more punch it loses, so go ahead, knock yourselves out.

We know that we are Semites, and we know that we have nothing against any race or religion for who they are. I am more than happy to share a building with people from any religion, provided they are decent people who do not project hatred at me and my family, and obey the law.

In fact, if there are some elements in Arab society who are excessively anti-Jewish, these would be the fanatic Salafis (and Ikhwan to a lesser extent). But Amir, AIG, and AP have no problem chanting for those very same goones meeting in Antalia, just to get at Assad, even though they know well that A) They hate Jews with a passion, and B) they have no chance of succeeding.

Is it short sightedness? Absolutely not. They are insincere and are just blowing smoke screens. Well, have at it! We are in fact being immunized against sectarianism as a result of your hate. The current fever will pass, and Syria will be stronger than ever.

What an opportunist, lying, manipulative, and bigot bunch of people you three are.

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May 31st, 2011, 11:10 am


359. Syria no kandahar said:

Can you explain why do you say Allah souria …
In yesterday post you stated that Syria is meaningless for you .

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May 31st, 2011, 11:20 am


360. Akbar Palace said:

“Opportunist, Lying, Manipulative, and bigot” R Us


Since talking about the Assad Family’s legacy of killing thousands of Syrians while keeping them poor, destitute and freedomless is unpleasant for you, I was wondering if you could comment on the following article:


What specifically do you find racist or anti-Arab about it?

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May 31st, 2011, 11:25 am


361. 873 said:

“Antisemite” name calling is just more hasbara manipulation. Ignore it. The antisemetic slur has NO impact on me whatsoever. Couldnt care less if I’m called that or you’re called that. Total garbage. Even the manipulators are getting it, so they’re switching to broader smears like ‘hater’ and ‘denier’ etc. etc. to censor people and shut them up.

Antisemetic Smear/Trick

IDF death threat vs reporter

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May 31st, 2011, 11:28 am


362. (in Syria) Withheld said:

I applaud the author of this nuanced note. Amongst the few foreign journalists still living and trying to work in Syria this analysis has been very well received. The media coverage of the entire situation has been unfortunate. It ranges from the gung-ho and destructive parachute journalism of Martin Fletcher (London Times) through to the overtly biased but necessary reportage of Al Jazeera.

Ultimately, though, all errors we make in our reporting comes down to the government policy of not allowing us to function professionally here. Not to mention the threat of arrest – and more importantly the danger we bring to our contacts on the ground. I am sure, under pressure, I could not hope to ‘protect my sources’ which is a reality that ensures we must keep from being detained.

I would like to add something to this analysis. On two separate occasions, whilst discussing the Salafi situation with Christians here, I have received odd responses. The stories come from two Christian protestors both from Isra’ near Der’aa. Both have been arrested. Whilst being beaten the commanding officer screamed “you fu**ing Salafi dogs” at them. Both replied, rather surprised, that they were Christians. The officer then retorted with “You fu**ing Salafi Christian dogs” before resuming the physical assault.

These examples, and a number of others, have started me wondering whether the concept of Salafism is actually fully understood in Syria. It would seem from the testimony I have heard from Der’aa that Salafism exists there only as a government bogeyman. Yes, I have heard examples of sectarian sentiment – most of all by angry protest Sunnis aimed at Alawites. But I genuinely believe this is not an inherent religious hatred – but rather a socio-economic one. Though this is equally dangerous it means there are still opportunities for the protest community to try to convince the embattled Alawis that they do not seek their destruction – but this must be done before their siege mentality solidifies into a violent defensiveness.

Again, thank you for posting this comment. It is good to see some well reasoned debate emerging.

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May 31st, 2011, 11:49 am


363. jad said:

الرئيس الأسد يصدر عفوا عاما عن الجرائم المرتكبة قبل تاريخ 31/5/2011
الرئيس بشار الأسد يصدر المرسوم رقم 61 القاضي بمنح عفو عام عن الجرائم المرتكبة قبل تاريخ 31/5/2011، ويشمل العفو جميع المنتمين الى الأخوان المسلمين والمعتقلين السياسيين.

President Bashar al-Assad issued decree No. 61 to grant a general amnesty for crimes committed before the date of 05.31.2011, including amnesty for all individuals belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood and other political prisoners.

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May 31st, 2011, 11:55 am


364. Sophia said:

# 350 Akbar Palace,

“Anti-semitism is merely a form of racism that Arabs have perfected since the creation of the State of Israel.”

So you are telling me that Nazis were not anti-semites. How far are you removed from History and from Realiy?

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May 31st, 2011, 12:01 pm


365. Aboud said:

@349 “President Bashar Assad expected to speak to the public within the comming few days.”

And people’s reactions are….yaaaaaaaaaaawn.

Only Bashar and his lackeys think that anyone cares or trusts what he says anymore. This man is a pathological liar. He has lied to his own ministers as to his intentions, he has lied to Turkish delegations, he has lied to US Senators, and he has lied time and again to his own people. The only time he ever followed up on any commitment was his humiliating withdrawal from Lebanon.

Obviously, the man on all the posters is not in control, and his influence doesn’t extend past his front door. Whatever pathetic offering of a speech he attempts to make now (weeks after his lackeys have been telling us that the revolution is over) would be too little, too late.

@357 JAD, you say that Bashar has decreed a pardon for all crimes committed before May 31st. Link please, so we can read all the exceptions. Baathist decrees always come with mile long exceptions.

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May 31st, 2011, 12:06 pm


366. Syria no kandahar said:

New Revlun projects :
New face book page:justice for janood killers.
New face book page:Syria(7000years old)is meaningless.

Allah Aroor Sharia Obass

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May 31st, 2011, 12:07 pm


367. jad said:

It’s just out 5min ago, will wait for the full decree…but it sounds like a full political prisoners amnesty decree, including all political parties participants including the MB’s.

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May 31st, 2011, 12:14 pm


369. why-discuss said:


Stop mixing our anti-israeli feeling with anti-semitism!
Can’t you understand that once for all?

Are all Jews living in the world Israeli citizens?
We have no problem with non-Israeli Jews, in the contrary we have lots in common, being semites.

We do not like the Jews who are Israelis because they are illegally occupying land they have stolen and they keep bullying, starving and killing the people they have kicked out and they dare to claim they are a ‘democracy’, You country is a PARANOCRACY!

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May 31st, 2011, 12:21 pm


370. why-discuss said:


“This man is a pathological liar.”

Like Bush, Clinton etc..

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May 31st, 2011, 12:24 pm


371. jad said:

حدا يقول لهدول إنو يحلو عن ربنا هنن و قصة الهولوكست وانتيسميت واللهي ديؤلينا خلقنا

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May 31st, 2011, 12:28 pm


372. Akbar Palace said:

Sophie’s Choice


You said:

Anti-semitism is a european concept.

I replied by saying that “Anti-semitism is merely a form of racism that Arabs have perfected since the creation of the State of Israel.”

Somehow, my response prompted you to ask the following:

So you are telling me that Nazis were not anti-semites?


As we all know, the Nazis employed the worst anti-semitism and racism known to man. Not only was it a form government-sanctioned racism, but it was also a government-sanctioned death sentence.

Fortunately, state-sponsored nazism no longer exists in Germany, and the practice of Nazism in Germany is illegal. Today, Germany has good relations with Israel.

However, and believe it or not, anti-semitism continues, mostly in the Arab and Muslim world. In fact, many Arab, Muslim leaders, and terrorist organization either deny the Holocaust and/or demonize Jews. Not to say that there aren’t non-Arab and non-muslim anti-semites. There are!

I hope this doesn’t come as a surprise to you Sophia.

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May 31st, 2011, 12:28 pm


373. why-discuss said:


Israelis Jews are 42% of the world Jews.

We have no problem with 48% of Jews, are we anti-semite?


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May 31st, 2011, 12:34 pm


374. Sophia said:

# 350, Akbar Palace,

By using the word ‘perfect’ you are telling me that Arabs did worse than Nazis. This is really a schocking statement for many reasons:

1. There is no such a thing as ‘perfecting’ a horrible crime against humanity. And to speak of perfection is to adopt the Nazi perspective.

2. It is clear that the state of Israel has adopted the Nazi perspective toward Arabs and Palestinains because it is the Jews who are exterminating this time and not the ones to be exterminated, subjecting Palestinians to a low calorie regime and pushing them to live in ghettos in which the economy is not even an economy of subsistance but an economy of slow strangulation aided by regular murderous raids.

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May 31st, 2011, 12:39 pm


375. Akbar Palace said:

Anti-Israel “Mind-Lock” Syndrome

We do not like the Jews who are Israelis because they are illegally occupying land they have stolen and they keep bullying, starving and killing the people they have kicked out and they dare to claim they are a ‘democracy’, You country is a PARANOCRACY!


And if an Arab leaders “keep bullying, starving and killing the people” to orders of magnitude more than Israel, that’s just fine, right?

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May 31st, 2011, 12:40 pm


376. why-discuss said:


That is none of your business, correct your injustices, then worry about the other Arabs!

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May 31st, 2011, 12:59 pm


377. Louai said:

357. jad said:

‘President Bashar al-Assad issued decree No. 61 to grant a general amnesty for crimes committed before the date of 05.31.2011, including amnesty for all individuals belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood and other political prisoners.’

then we will see more horror from the opposition as we used to see after every reform , the worst terror was the very next day of lifting the emergency law ,now الله يستر
sometimes they remind me of the Israelis any move toward peace for them is singe of weakness , I see it as a very good message to whom who want to hear and listen .

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May 31st, 2011, 1:04 pm


378. vlad-the-syrian said:


laanno asha3b souri wa3i ! wa3i wa3i wa3i

this is very wise and i bet none of “them” expected it

amnisty is up to 31 may from now on we’ll see because the people have well understood

bre 3aleik ya bashar !


better than wikipedia


i hope that it will not be un travail d’arabe 🙂


what do u think about this guy ?


… and of course dear ladies :


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May 31st, 2011, 1:09 pm


379. jad said:

!فال الله ولا فالك يا لؤي.
I think this is a very smart and good move forward, since it takes out one of the cards put on the table for negotiation and it actually shows maturity not weakness, but as you wrote, it’s for those who want to hear and listen.
Will see, but until then this is the new ‘plan’, the ‘rebels’ are planning to start earlier than Friday this week, Thursday night:

شباب أنشالله هي الجمعة رح تكون بساحة الأمويين اعتصام مفتوح حتى اسقاط النظام ..الخطة للتجمع رح تكون على الشكل التالي :يوم الخميس 2\6\2011 بعد صلاة العصر مباشرة اخترنا يوم الخميس لئنو بتعرفو يوم الجمعة رح تكون مسكرة جميع البلدات والاحياء بلحواجز الامنية !! يوم الخميس رح نضب غراض السيران ماء واكل ووو … رح نتوجه بمجموعات تضم الحد الاعلى 10 اشخاص ونذهب الى حديقة تشرين او قاسيون طبعاً الاختيار حر حسب المنطقة الي رح يخرجو منها الشباب رح يتم حشد مجموعات متفرقة بقاسيون وحديقة تشرين والحديقة الي جانب الفور سيزنز والحديقة الي تحت جسر الرئيس ورح يتم تنسيق مع الطلبة بلمدينة الجامعية . ورح يصير التحرك الساعة 7 مساءً باتجاه ساحة الامويين . ونحنا بدورنا جهزنا كاميرات بث مباشر بكافة المناطق المطلة على ساحة الامويين ولا يعزب حالو الامن ولا الموساد لئنو ما رح يقدرو يكشفو مكان الكاميرات لئن معظمها مثبت بسفارات وهيئات تابعة لدول تانية واكيد الامن بهل حالة رح يكون مكشوف ومارح يسترجي يطلق رصاصة وحدة وكمان رح نستفيد من نفق ساحة الامويين بانزال المتظاهرين من وسائل النقل داخل النفق .

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May 31st, 2011, 1:14 pm


380. Jihad said:

Many of the Western Jews are the biggest anti-Semites the world has known. Zionist Jews collaborated with the Nazis. The infamous Haafara Accords are an example. Even inside the concentration camps, Zionist Jewish delegates used to pick the ones deemed fit to go to Palestine. And Zionist groupies were the only ones that were allowed by the Nazis to operate inside the Jewish community in Germany.

On Western Jewish collaboration with the Nazis, you can read the following:

LENNI BRENNER, 51 Documents: Zionist Collaboration with the Nazis

And Western Jewish Zionists, along with the lunatics and terrorists who came from Eastern Europe (from Shamir to Lieberman), encourage antisemitism and works with anti-Semites when it is in their interests.

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May 31st, 2011, 1:17 pm


381. jad said:

Allah yesam7k 🙁
عاجــــــل: حمص
في اول رد على العفو الذي اصدره السيد الرئيس مجموعة مخربة تقطع طريق الخالدية عند الاشارة و تعتدي على السيارات بقذائف مولوتوف .

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May 31st, 2011, 1:19 pm


382. Akbar Palace said:

The “Business” of white-washing Arab Thugs and Demonizing Israel

That is none of your business, correct your injustices, then worry about the other Arabs!


Oh I see, you can criticize Israel for treating her citizens equally, providing freedom, the right to vote and opportunity, but if I criticize your unelected murderers and thugs, suddenly is is “none of my business”.

WD, sorry, but you’ll just have to get used to “freedom of speech”.

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May 31st, 2011, 1:19 pm


383. vlad-the-syrian said:


sorry i forgot you (about corruption (if remember well)

“I see it as a very good message to whom who want to hear and listen”

of course


now they’ll have no excuse at all

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May 31st, 2011, 1:21 pm


384. Shami said:

Tahiyati for the brave syrian patriot bassam.
The amnesty is not enough,the people only want back their basic civil rights such as political freedom ,the election of their president and parliement members.
Baath system is rotten and dying ,the majority of the people want the end of this masquarade.(Baath as ruler of the society).

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May 31st, 2011, 1:22 pm


385. vlad-the-syrian said:


مجموعة مخربة تقطع طريق الخالدية

the syrian people to the president : crush them with an iron fist

(sorry Dr Landis)

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May 31st, 2011, 1:25 pm


386. vlad-the-syrian said:



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May 31st, 2011, 1:26 pm


387. jad said:

I guess Anti-Islam doesn’t have any fancy name other than freedom of speech:

GOP Congressman Defends Profiling At Airports: ‘Political Correctness Won’t Save Any Lives’

Remember that Congressman who was angry that airport security randomly patted down a grandma and a child, but let a man in “Arabian dress” pass through? Well Republican Congressman Paul Broun is back, this time on Fox News, and he’s not retreating from his demand that the TSA start focusing on the “real” terrorists, which apparently might include anyone in “Arabian attire.”

Broun declares that the current procedures used by the TSA have been an “abysmal failure” and are a complete waste of money. Instead he argues, “we need to focus on those people who are trying to harm us as a nation” and stop worrying about political correctness. Broun argues political correctness enabled the Fort Hood shooting to take place, and he apparently has seen enough. “Stop patting down grandma and little kids” he concludes, and given his position on the Homeland Security Committee, if he repeats it often enough maybe it can serve as a rallying cry to help convince his colleagues to support new procedures.


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May 31st, 2011, 1:29 pm


388. jad said:

Ofcourse it’s not enough when you take one of the cards off their hands:
المنار :المعارضون السوريون في انطاليا جنوب تركيا: قرار العفو الرئاسي غير كاف

Here is the creed:

أصدر الرئيس بشار الاسد المرسوم 61 القاضي بمنح عفو عام عن جميع الجرائم المرتكبة قبل تاريخ 31 -5 -2011
ويشمل العفو جميع المنتميين لتيارات سياسية بمافيها الاخوان المسلمون وهو عن نصف العقوبات في الجنايات شريطة عدم وجود ادعاء شخصي.

وفيما يلي نص المرسوم :
المرسوم التشريعي رقم (61)

رئيس الجمهورية

بناء على أحكام الدستور
يرسم ما يلي

المادة 1- يمنح عفو عام عن الجرائم المرتكبة قبل تاريخ 31-5-2011 وفقا لما يلي:

أ- تستبدل عقوبة الإعدم بعقوبة الأشغال الشاقة المؤبدة أو الاعتقال المؤبد تبعا للوصف الجرمي.

ب- تستبدل عقوبة الأشغال الشاقة المؤبدة بعقوبة الأشغال الشاقة لمدة عشرين عاما وعقوبة الاعتقال المؤبد بالاعتقال لمدة عشرين عاما.

ج- عن كامل العقوبة المؤقتة لمن بلغ السبعين من العمر بتاريخ صدور هذا المرسوم التشريعي.

د- عن كامل العقوبة المؤبدة لمن بلغ السبعين من العمر بتاريخ صدور هذا المرسوم التشريعي إذا كان قد اقترف الجريمة قبل إتمامه الستين من العمر.

ه- عن كامل العقوبة بالنسبة للجريمة المنصوص عليها في القانون رقم 49 لعام 1980.

و- عن نصف العقوبة المؤقتة في الجنايات.

ز- عن كامل العقوبة في الجنح.

ح- عن كامل العقوبة في المخالفات.

ط- عن ربع العقوبة في الجرائم التالية:

1- الجنايات المنصوص عليها في قانون العقوبات الاقتصادي الصادر بالمرسوم التشريعي رقم 37لعام 1966 وتعديلاته.

2- الجنايات المنصوص عليها في المرسوم التشريعي رقم 13لعام 1974.

3- الجرائم المنصوص عليها في المواد التالية من قانون العقوبات الصادر بالمرسوم التشريعي رقم 148 لعام 1949 وتعديلاته 341-342-343-345 إلى355- 386-387.

ي- عن كامل العقوبة المانعة للحرية في الجرائم المنصوص عليها بالمرسوم التشريعي رقم59 لعام 2008.

ك- عن جميع تدابير الإصلاح والرعاية للأحداث في الجنح.

ل- عن كامل العقوبة لمرتكبي جرائم الفرار الداخلي المنصوص عليها في المادة100من قانون العقوبات العسكرية الصادر بالمرسوم التشريعي رقم 61 لعام 1950 وتعديلاته. أما المتوارون فلا تشملهم أحكام هذه الفقرة إلا إذا سلموا أنفسهم خلال30 يوما من تاريخ صدور هذا المرسوم التشريعي.

م- عن كامل العقوبة لمرتكبي جرائم الفرار الخارجي المنصوص عليها في المادة101 من قانون العقوبات العسكرية الصادر بالمرسوم التشريعي رقم 61 لعام 1950 وتعديلاته. أما المتوارون فلا تشملهم هذه الفقرة إلا إذا سلموا انفسهم خلال ثلاثة أشهر من تاريخ صدور هذا المرسوم التشريعي.

المادة 2- يستثنى من شمول أحكام هذا المرسوم التشريعي..

أ- الجرائم المنصوص عليها في القانون رقم10لعام 1961.

ب- الجنح المنصوص عليها في المواد التالية من قانون العقوبات العسكرية الصادر بالمرسوم التشريعي رقم61 لعام 1950وتعديلاته 112-113-120-133-135-140-149.

ج- الجنايات المنصوص عليها في المواد التالية من قانون العقوبات العسكرية الصادر بالمرسوم التشريعي رقم 61 لعام 1950 وتعديلاته 136 إلى139- 141/154/155/156/158/159/160/.

د- الجرائم المنصوص عليها في القانون رقم 2 لعام 1993.

ه- الجناية المنصوص عليها في المادة رقم 40 من المرسوم التشريعي رقم 51 لعام 2001.

و- الجرائم المنصوص عليها في المرسوم التشريعي رقم68 لعام 1953.

ز- الجرائم المنصوص عليها في القانون رقم /286/ لعام 1956/.

//622الى636// 683/730/.

المادة 3- يستثنى من هذا المرسوم التشريعي غرامات مخالفات قوانين وأنظمة الجمارك والقطع والتبغ والتنباك والطوابع والبناء والقوانين الأخرى التي تحمل غراماتها طابع التعويض المدني للدولة أو الجهات العامة وكذلك الرسوم المحكوم بها في الجرائم المشمولة بأحكام هذا المرسوم التشريعي.

المادة 4- يشترط للاستفادة من أحكام المادة الاولى من هذا المرسوم التشريعي عدم وجود ادعاء شخصي او شكوى شخصية أو أن يتم إسقاط هذا الإدعاء حتى وإن تم الإسقاط بعد اكتساب الحكم الدرجة القطعية.

المادة 5/ لا يستفيد من هذا العفو المتوارون عن الانظار في الجنايات الذين يشمل هذا المرسوم التشريعي جريمتهم إلا إذا سلموا انفسهم خلال ثلاثة أشهر من تاريخ صدوره الى السلطات المختصة. المادة 6/ ينشر هذا المرسوم التشريعي في الجريدة الرسمية ويعتبر نافذا من تاريخ صدوره.

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May 31st, 2011, 1:36 pm


389. Louai said:

JAD VLAD, its not my فال
the Syrian revolution facebook page wrote to ask the members what they think about it! There is 815 comments so far none of them is positive!!!

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May 31st, 2011, 1:40 pm


390. Sophia said:

# 373 Jad (and Louai)

The response to the amnesty is as expected. It is clear from day one that these poeple aren’t interested in any positive move on Assad’s part but the move will play well among internal and external players who are neutral toward the crisis.

As Assad’s removal will not be possible except by an external military force, the current revolution have two choices: either enter in a dialogue or keep refusing dialogue and asking for Assad’s removal. But to adopt the second stance is to be sure that there will be some external force helping in removing Assad. But right now there is no will to intervene militarily in Syria, so it is crystal clear to me that the actual protests are meant to force but only this solution.

Now, how much Syrians inside Syria, as well as external players, are willing to go this way? In my opinion, if there is no will now for military intervention, there will be no military intervention at all. Slowly, the revolution against Assad will loose support internally. Externally, they may still garner some support in statements and sporadic actions that will lead to some economic downturn and adjustments, but that’s it. The situation will lead to a stalemate and nobody can anticipate what will come out of it. The Syrian revolution is betting too much in my opinion, and dangerously.

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May 31st, 2011, 1:41 pm


391. vlad-the-syrian said:


“What an opportunist, lying, manipulative, and bigot bunch of people you three are”

they represent the Israel who does not want peace and with whom peace is impossible. They have to stay in a state of war in order to survive.

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May 31st, 2011, 1:42 pm


392. Sophia said:

# 379 Vlad,

I am surprised by some of your statements (actually number 379 but also some others), they don’t fit with others you have made and that I have read so far. I am starting to suspect that you are a troll.

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May 31st, 2011, 1:46 pm


393. vlad-the-syrian said:


can you be more explicit about these contradictions ?

like what ?

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May 31st, 2011, 1:58 pm


394. vlad-the-syrian said:


you keep repeating “the revolution” , “the syrian revolution”

there is no such a thing

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May 31st, 2011, 2:01 pm


395. Louai said:

i am reading also the reaction of Mr.Assad supporters pages , many are shocked the tension is so high
i think its very wise decision for the long run , for now it will increase the violence for the reason Sophia wrote about but it ‘s a key demand of the opposition , now will be no excuse or confusion between those who want freedom or they just want the power .

Vlad ,dont worry and you are right it was curruption.

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May 31st, 2011, 2:09 pm


396. Aboud said:

@384 “Slowly, the revolution against Assad will loose support internally”

This from the same wise oracle who, a few weeks ago, ended one of her comments with “All is well…” Do you call what has happened since to be “well”? The Baathists don’t have a very good record when it comes to predictions. Now we are back to “slowly losing support”, instead of the perverted gloating by the Baathists on this blog when the army began its invasion of Der’a (what a way to backtrack from their naive assertions that the revolution would be “crushed in two weeks”).

As to the general pardon, let’s wait and see what happens on the ground. There are 10,000 people who have been locked up in recent weeks, and according to this pardon, every one of them should be out of jail very soon.

Or will this be yet another example of junior’s orders being ignored? First the lifting of the emergency law that changed nothing. Then Buthaina Shaban’s infamous “strict orders not to shoot”, since which over 200 Syrians have been shot.

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May 31st, 2011, 2:15 pm


397. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

After the abolishment of the ‘Emergency Law’, they killed 1100 people. I can only imagine what they will do after this amnesty is granted. If you’re included in this so called “amnesty” list, RUN for your life as fast as you can.

Amnesty- is what the authorities of the new Syria will grant to those who did not take part in the crimes against the Syrian people.
This junta must go. The reform will start with their departure.

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May 31st, 2011, 2:22 pm


398. vlad-the-syrian said:


the answer is in the previuous comment #383

with your respect, i believe that the Resistance IS the revolution

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May 31st, 2011, 2:25 pm


399. vlad-the-syrian said:


YOUR junta must go

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May 31st, 2011, 2:27 pm


400. Shami said:

or they just want the power

The people will chose the ruler no one is allowed to say i want the power.
You want Bashar in power because you fear your muslim neighbors ,you are not different than the zionists who fear their arab neighbors…Such minority scared mentality should have no place in Syria at least the zionists are more sophesticated than menhebak culture ,ila al abad….time to Syria to return to its people.
Do you really believe that Bashar ,Rami,Shaleesh,Hassoun,Bouti,Maher will be able to struggle against history?
They represent a dying era but the syrian people are eternal.

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May 31st, 2011, 2:28 pm


401. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

What is the best indication, that this “amnesty” is a trap and a plot?
The rejoice of the reactionaries here.

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May 31st, 2011, 2:29 pm


402. Sophia said:

# 390 Aboud,

Few weeks ago I wrote ‘all is well’. Can you just bother citing my entire comment to put things into context?

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May 31st, 2011, 2:29 pm


403. Sophia said:

# 387 Vlad:

“the syrian people to the president : crush them with an iron fist”. I am shocked by such a statement.

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May 31st, 2011, 2:31 pm


404. daleandersen said:

Memo to Jihad:

Of course some Jews collaborated with Nazis. When you beat a person bad enough, that person will do anything to stop the beating. Just as many of your jihadi friends collaborate with the Mukhabrat. LOL!


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May 31st, 2011, 2:32 pm


405. jad said:

It’s sickening reading the comment of the prince, caring of Syrians…your comments are as pathetic as your morals, it wasn’t long enough when you celebrated the death of Syrians in the explosion happened in Damascus couple years ago.
Mind your own garbage country you stole.

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May 31st, 2011, 2:33 pm


406. Neutral Citizen said:

is it possible to get to a system that guarantees to all the allawis all their rights in a democratic society? Not less and not more than other sects. If the opposition can assure these concerns the toughest part of the problem will be resolved.

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May 31st, 2011, 2:34 pm


407. Louai said:


‘the army began its invasion of Der’a’

if you see the army ‘INVATED’ daraa then you dont see it as Syrian army or you probably saying that because you consider them as Kuffar! even Syasna confirmed that he was deceived and it was NOT a peaceful revolution bt off course now no one is willing to listen to him .
The 10000 locked up are not political prisoners ,they are suspects of being thugs vandals and sometimes killers so they need a trial and i hope they will get a fair and firm one .
as for the emergency law ,did any one give it a chance to be implemented ?or they called for more demonstrations and killing in the very same day !!
as for the Bathist predictions ,they are much better than the revolutionists who thought the regime will be toppled in few days.

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May 31st, 2011, 2:35 pm


408. vlad-the-syrian said:


i only report what the ordinary people say : biyad hadid (d’une main de fer). C’est ce que le peuple a réclamé. Surtout maintenant que la Qiada (direction syrienne) a décrété l’amnistie et elle l’a fait au bon moment.

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May 31st, 2011, 2:37 pm


409. why-discuss said:


“you can criticize Israel for treating her citizens equally, providing freedom,”

Sorry, Syrians are Arabs not Jewish! so I don’t see how you feel it is your business to defend them?

I am only defending the Arabs you are mistreating on illegally occupied land.
How you treat your Jewish citizens, whether ashkenaze or ethiopians or moroccans is none of my business!

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May 31st, 2011, 2:46 pm


410. vlad-the-syrian said:


wise indeed.

Because now no country would dare react and say : it is too late.

While the Antalya guys have immediately adopted this posture. They henceforce have already discredited themselves. No one said for instance it could be a good beginnig.

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May 31st, 2011, 2:48 pm


411. why-discuss said:


“Just as many of your jihadi friends collaborate with the Mukhabrat. LOL!”

Nothing to LOL about torture…only sadistics would.

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May 31st, 2011, 2:51 pm


412. why-discuss said:

AMIR in Tel AVIv

“RUN for your life as fast as you can.”

Is your country opening its generous borders to these ‘runners’?

I guess you should organize a demonstrations in Tel Aviv to ask for a humanitarian gesture, for a change

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May 31st, 2011, 2:55 pm


413. majedkhaldoon said:

Bashar order to release political prisoners,is welcomed,hopefully this includes all political prisoners and include Muhannad AlHasani,and Tal Mellouhi,we will wait and see,by tomorrow.
We need to see if the next demand is met, and that is to stop the oppression and allow freedom,stop arresting demonstrators,and stop killing and shooting at the demonstrators.
The list of demands is there to view it ,it is long,it must include measures to stop corruption past a