Syria: the Strategic Prize for New and More Religious Sunni Leaders of the Middle East

Leader of Aleppo’s powerful Islamic militia – Liwa al-Tawhid – explains (in Arabic video) why his troops and people want an Islamic democracy and why Syria’s revolution is an “orphan revolution.” Abdal Qadr al-Salih explained that just as Europe’s leaders are Christian because the people are Christian, Syria’s leaders would be Islamic and that Syrians want Islam to govern them. The US has not supported the Syrian revolution, he claimed, because it knows that Assad best protects Israel. Syria’s revolutionaries will want to liberate Jerusalem after liberating Syria.

France announced that it plans to give $1.5 million in emergency aid to the newly formed Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces.

Syria’s Jabhat al-Nusra militia looks pretty serious
By , CSM / November 27, 2012

Some eye-catching video shows a disciplined jihadi militia on the move in eastern Syria after ransacking a regime artillery base.

Video was placed on YouTube today of Syrian rebels celebrating a crushing victory in Mayadin, a town in Syria’s oil-rich northeast last week.

The cameraman is traveling in a convoy of fighters from the Jabhat al-Nusra, the main jihadi fighting group in eastern Libya and one that has attracted veterans of both the war against Muammar Qaddafi in Libya last year and of the wars against the US military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Though the men are clearly delighted with their victory and seizure of a temporary government artillery base in Deir al-Zour Province, with shouts and smiles as a captured tank charges along the desert sand next to the road, there is very little of the random shooting in the air and other goofing off common among rebel militias. Though the scene looks chaotic, these fighters are disciplined as such groups go….

Now it appears that rebels aligned with the Free Syrian Army have scored their first hit of a government helicopter with a surface-to-air missile (hat tip to Peter Bouckaert of Human Rights Watch), with video released online of the shot… rebels reported securing a cache of surface-to-air missiles earlier this month. The missiles look like Russian-made Strela-2s, a type of heat-seeking missile that’s been in service sine the 1970s….

Islamist militias have been the most committed and capable fighters of the wars in Iraq, Libya, and Syria. Syrian Euphrates river towns like Mayadin have strong tribal and general cultural ties to Iraqi  Euphrates river towns to their southeast, like Haditha, Ramadi, and Fallujah. It was in those tough Sunni Arab towns, clinging to a narrow river valley in the middle of the desert, where Al Qaeda-inspired fighters found their most success during the US war in Iraq, and they were helped from their cousins to the north. Now the Iraqis, and other jihadis, are returning the favor….

High stakes as Syrian opposition tries to form government, Reuters
By Khaled Yacoub Oweis
CAIRO | Tue Nov 27, 2012

Syria’s new opposition coalition will hold its first full meeting on Wednesday to discuss forming a transitional government crucial to win effective Arab and Western support for the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad.

The 60 or so delegates, chosen after marathon talks in Qatar this month, are meeting in Cairo ahead of a gathering of the Friends of Syria, a grouping of dozens of countries that had pledged mostly non-military backing for the revolt but which are worried by the rising influence of Islamists in the opposition.

“The objective is to name the prime minister for a transitional government, or at least have a list of candidates ahead of the Friends of Syria meeting,” said Suhair al-Atassi, one of the coalition’s two vice-presidents.

Atassi is only one of three female members of the coalition, in which the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies account for around 40 to 45 percent.

The two-day meeting will also select committees to manage aid and communications, a process that is developing into a power struggle between the Muslim Brotherhood and secular members.

Rivalries have also intensified between the opposition in exile and rebels on the ground, where the death toll has reached 40,000 after 20 months of violence.

But the new coalition has given rise to hopes that Assad’s enemies can set aside their differences and focus on securing international support to remove him.

“We have ideological differences with the coalition, but it will achieve its mission if it brings us outside military help,” said Abu Nidal Mustafa, from Ansaral-Islam, an Islamist rebel unit in Damascus….

Syria’s Islamist Militia Leaders Explain what they are expect from the new Syrian National Council and why they made their “Islamic State” video in Syria’s new opposition in race to convince skeptical Islamists By Erika Solomon and Mariam Karouny

“We are with the coalition – for now. We want to see what it is going to do for us,” said a fighter from one of the biggest Islamist brigades in the capital Damascus.

“It is known that we want weapons, we want a no-fly zone. Can it do that? We will see. We are not going to wait forever. With or without them, we are fighting and we are going to win.”….

Some put their frustration on display earlier this week when they announced the creation of an Islamic state in a video rejecting the National Coalition.

The immediate backlash from most rebel leaders and Syrian activists pushed many fighters in the video to retract their remarks the next day. But it laid bare the deep mistrust which the coalition has to overcome.

“Our video caused a big racket internationally, which is what we needed,” said one fighter present at the Islamic state meeting, who asked not to be named.

“We need to know we are going to get help and support from the coalition because Jabhat al-Nusra don’t want us to have anything to do with them. And right now, al-Nusra is our main support. So they need to show us they can do something for us.”

Iraq tensions rise as Syria crisis deepens
By Lauren Williams | November 28, 2012 12:45 AM
The Daily Star

BAGHDAD: The crisis in Syria is threatening to rupture Iraq’s precarious sectarian divide, which some say may re-ignite into a civil war.

Wedged between Syria’s greatest ally, Iran, and its greatest foe, Turkey, with its own volatile ethnic makeup, oil riches and fresh out of years of civil strife, Iraq is desperately clinging to a neutrality on the Syrian crisis.

That policy is being increasingly put to the test as players from across Iraq’s fragile political spectrum begin to take sides in a war of increasing sectarian dimensions.

“This situation is not going away,” said U.S. Lieutenant Colonel Joel Rayburn, former U.S. military intelligence officer in Iraq, now at the National War College.

Fighters from across Iraq’s Sunni, Shiite and Kurd communities have crossed from Iraq into Syria to assist their compatriots in Syria.

Sunni fighters from Iraq’s Anbar province, where familial and tribal affiliations span a porous border, openly told The Daily Star they are assisting mainly Sunni fighters battling President Bashar Assad’s forces with money, men and weapons.

Syrian Kurds are being trained to fight alongside other Kurdish forces by Iraq’s semi-autonomous northern Kurdistan government against Free Army and Assad forces.

And Shiite fighters, encouraged by clerics in Najaf and northern Mosul, are reportedly being sent from Iran and Iraq to Syria to defend Shiite shrines and fight alongside Assad’s regime, dominated by members of the Alawite sect….accusations are rife that Maliki is pursuing a sectarian agenda to consolidate Shiite power in Iraq and that the crisis in Syria is pushing Iraq closer to Iran’s orbit.

Facing a revived Sunni insurgency that has killed hundreds of Shiites inside Iraq this year alone, and without the cover of recently departed American troops, Maliki is wary of a Sunni-led state in Syria that could join forces with the Sunni opposition at home.

Iraq’s Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, whose Iraqiya parliamentary bloc reluctantly entered a power-sharing agreement with Maliki’s Dawa Party and is now facing multiple death sentences in absentia on terror charges, has accused Maliki of stoking sectarian tension.

Mass arrests of former Baathists and Sunnis accused of terrorism are frequent, along with allegations that Maliki is stacking parliamentary bodies, the army, and security institutions with Shiite sympathizers.

Hamed Obeid al-Mutlaq, an MP with the Iraqiya bloc who sits on Iraq’s parliamentary security and defense committee, said sectarian strife is a direct result of Iranian intervention.

“The best way that the government can avoid these consequences is by not taking sides with the Syrian government, but by being neutral and fair,” Mutlaq said. “We must not comply with Iranian pressure to stand by Assad. We must have a good relationship with the Syrian people because I believe the Assad government will be finished eventually.”…

Rayburn said Maliki’s motivations on Syria were a combination of “sectarianism and pragmatism.”

“They have made up their mind that the outcome of a Sunni Syrian state would result in the transport of Sunni jihad through their borders,” he said. “That is their overriding concern, second is Iranian pressure.”…..

Political analyst Ibrahim al-Soumaydaie said he is “terrified we are on the brink of a new civil war.”

“Arab … monarchies are trying to push the bad Arab Spring to Iraq. They are trying to remove the Shiites from the region.”

He said he feared that may “push” Baghdad to take preemptive action by “taking total control of the security forces and tacitly supporting Shiite militia to confront Sunni insurgents.”

Moreover, he said there was a danger Kurdish forces may align with Sunnis in confrontation with Baghdad.

Government troops and Kurdish Peshmerga forces clashed last week in the disputed northern oil-rich province of Kirkuk.

“It is a very dangerous situation. The sectarianism here in Iraq is deeper than in Syria. When someone triggers the sectarianism here, no one can stop it,” Soumaydaie said.

Sunni Leaders Gaining Clout in Mideast
By NEIL MacFARQUHAR- NYTimes

The United States is left somewhat wary about the rising Sunni Muslim alliance of Egypt, Qatar and Turkey and its potential for anti-Western sentiment….For years, the United States and its Middle East allies were challenged by the rising might of the so-called Shiite crescent, a political and ideological alliance backed by Iran that linked regional actors deeply hostile to Israel and the West.

But uprising, wars and economics have altered the landscape of the region, paving the way for a new axis to emerge, one led by a Sunni Muslim alliance of Egypt, Qatar and Turkey. That triumvirate played a leading role in helping end the eight-day conflict between Israel and Gaza, in large part by embracing Hamas and luring it further away from the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah fold, offering diplomatic clout and promises of hefty aid.

For the United States and Israel, the shifting dynamics offer a chance to isolate a resurgent Iran, limit its access to the Arab world and make it harder for Tehran to arm its agents on Israel’s border. But the gains are also tempered, because while these Sunni leaders are willing to work with Washington, unlike the mullahs in Tehran, they also promote a radical religious-based ideology that has fueled anti-Western sentiment around the region…. The Gaza conflict helps illustrate how Middle Eastern alliances have evolved since the Islamist wave that toppled one government after another beginning in January 2011. Iran had no interest in a cease-fire, while Egypt, Qatar and Turkey did.

But it is the fight for Syria that is the defining in this revived Sunni-Shiite duel. The winner gains a prized strategic crossroads….

The new reality could be a weaker Iran, but a far more religiously conservative Middle East that is less beholden to the United States.  Already, Islamists have been empowered in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia, while Syria’s opposition is being led by Sunni insurgents, including a growing number identified as jihadists, some identified as sympathizing with Al Qaeda. Qatar, which hosts major United States military base, also helps finance Islamists all around the region.

The emerging Sunni axis has put not only Shiites at a disadvantage, but also the old school leaders who once allied themselves with Washington….“The resistance,” said Tha’er al-Baw, 23, referring to Hamas, “proved that they are much better than the negotiating camp. In the days of Arafat, we used to think peace could be achieved through negotiations, but nobody believes this now.”…. Mr. Morsi changed little from Mr. Mubarak’s playbook, though his tone shifted. He sent his prime minister to lift morale. Ten foreign ministers, including those of Turkey and the newly Islamist government in Tunisia, also part of the new axis, visited Gaza during the fighting…. Those countries will not supply arms, however, so Hamas will maintain contacts with Tehran. Khaled Meshal, the Hamas leader,told CNN that ties are “not as it used to be in the past, but there is no severing of relations.”…

Israel’s View of the Syrian Crisis. Itamar Rabinovich.

A PRECARIOUS BALANCING ACT: LEBANON AND THE SYRIAN CONFLICT
Middle East Report N°132 – 22 November 2012 – Good ICG report

Conflict has left Syria a shell of its former self
Millions of homes, schools, mosques, churches and hospitals have reportedly been damaged or destroyed since the uprising began in March 2011.


Much of Syria has become a disaster zone: In September, the opposition group Syrian Network for Human Rights estimated that more than 2.9 million homes, schools, mosques, churches and hospitals had been damaged or destroyed since the uprising began in March 2011. More than half a million are a complete loss, it said.

Weeks later, the group’s founder, Sami Ibrahim, estimated that 600,000 more buildings had been shelled or bombed, as the government of President Bashar Assad escalated its campaign with daily airstrikes by helicopter and warplane. The rebels are fighting back, claiming to have captured half a dozen military bases in recent weeks in eastern and northwestern Syria and around Damascus. On Monday, they said they captured a hydroelectric dam in northern Syria.

Although the toll on structures is impossible to verify, the weapons the government is turning against civilian populations have become increasingly destructive, activists say, with TNT barrel bombs and vacuum bombs wiping out entire buildings in one blow…..

“Truly they have burned the country,” Melad said. “For the country to stand on its feet again it needs 20 years, because the country has become a mere skeleton.”

A friend writes me that a new set of government profiteers are emerging in Aleppo who demand exorbitant fees to process government papers. He writes:

1 . I renewed my mother’s passport. She is too sick to go to the passport office. We had to bring guy home. Total cost of renewal was 25,000 syp
2. I needed to renew my wakale to register a piece of land in Kasab. The official fee is 100 syp. There is no way to get anyone to do it, so I asked our moukhtar who had been working on it for two weeks. Got it done yesterday but before I got the paper in my hands, I had to pay 20,000 syp.

Flight records say Russia sent Syria tons of cash
By Dafna Linzer, Michael Grabell and Jeff Larson, ProPublica, November 26, 2012- (via War in Context)

This past summer, as the Syrian economy began to unravel and the military pressed hard against an armed rebellion, a Syrian government plane ferried what flight records describe as more than 200 tons of “bank notes” from Moscow. The records of overflight requests …..

Many believe the planeloads of banknotes sent from Russia are fueling the recent inflation in Syria, as the government is simply printing money at this rate.

Prospects for Syria’s civil war in 2013
Monday, November 26 2012
An Oxford Analytica Prospect

The stalemate between government and rebel forces is set to break in 2013. The balance of power has begun to tip in the rebels’ favour with their attacks growing, the political opposition forming a new and more effective body, and the government losing control of increasing swathes of territory. However, the regime remains united and is escalating its use of heavy weapons and air power. The manner of its fall will shape the government which follows it, and alter geopolitical alliances in the region.
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Strategic summary

· A wide-scale humanitarian disaster is likely as the conflict intensifies — and could prompt more active Western intervention.
· Rises in border violence and refugees will add to the severe internal challenges faced by Jordan and Lebanon.
· Tensions will escalate between Saudi Arabia and Qatar on the one hand, and Iraq, Iran and Hezbollah on the other.
· France, the United Kingdom and Turkey are likely to provide more active support to the opposition.

What next
A re-organised opposition will enable greater Western support — however, this will fall short of military intervention. The civil war will intensify and the regime of President Bashar al-Assad is likely to collapse by the end of 2013.

Analysis

The regime has failed to dislodge opposition militants from Aleppo and the Damascus suburbs. Its Praetorian Guard, the most reliable part of the armed forces, can no longer control large parts of the country consistently. Rebel groups cannot defeat the regime, but are able to attack military bases, economic targets and intercept main communication routes.

The economy is suffering from sanctions and damage to its infrastructure. The regime is being propped up by a flow of money, oil and other assistance from Iran, Iraq and pro-Syrian groups in Lebanon, but can no longer deliver basic services to the people (see SYRIA: Civil war driving country to economic collapse – November 6, 2012).

Tipping points
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Syria’s new opposition body is on course to achieve wide international recognition
The balance will change in favour of the opposition in early 2013 in several areas:

· Organised opposition. The formation of the National Coalition for Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (NC ) under a moderate and inclusive leadership, will not resolve the differences that have undermined the political (and largely external) opposition, but will enable its leadership to achieve greater focus, provide a more credible body to liaise with militants inside Syria, and pave the way for a government in exile.

· Arms flows. The NC will enable the West to provide non-lethal support to the fighters and this is likely to encourage the Saudis, Qataris and others to provide anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons.

· Western intervention. The West is also engaged in contingency planning for more direct involvement if the humanitarian situation or concerns about Syria’s chemical and biological stockpiles warrant it. Russia and China will remain opposed to this in the UN, but the West may seek to bypass it.

Rebels gain strength
Efforts to improve communication and cooperation between the mainly locally organised militants will be stepped up via the main umbrella group, the Free Syrian Army (FSA), based in Turkey. Improving their capacity to mount larger scale attacks will be key. The West and the NC will seek to reduce the influence of jihadi groups who are prominent in Aleppo.

As the rebels gain in strength, the regime will lose its northern strongholds, facilitating the establishment of a largely-contiguous rebel area by mid-2013. This should provide a launchpad for an effective campaign on the remaining regime forces concentrated in Damascus (see SYRIA: Rebel gains clear way to partition – November 21, 2012).

Main scenarios
The three main scenarios in decreasing order of probability are as follows:
· War of attrition. The regime shrinks to enclaves in the Allawi heartlands and Damascus where its elite troops remain stationed in force. The rest of the country falls into the hands of local groups with varying degrees of loyalty to the NC and FSA.

· Coup. New leaders try to negotiate a settlement with the opposition after removing Assad. The narrowing down of the regime to a core of Allawi clans commanding the Praetorian Guards makes this less feasible than in early 2012.

· Negotiated settlement. Assad seeks a negotiated settlement, in line with Russian and Chinese preferences. However, this is unlikely; Assad continues to rule this out, believing that he can win.

Post-Assad Syria
The post-Assad regime will need massive international support to establish its authority over the whole of Syria, bring stability to peoples’ lives, rebuild the economy and deal with systemic issues, such as the grossly over-manned public sector.

The transition could be prolonged and difficult. A particular problem will be the role of the Allawi community and other pro-Assad minorities in the new government. Kurdish areas have acquired a significant degree of autonomy (see SYRIA: Kurdish autonomy could divide post-Assad state – August 29, 2012. Parts of its leadership have strong links with the Iraqi Kurdish administration, whilst the Turkish Kurdish militant group the PKK has also established itself in the region. The post-Assad regime will also have to deal with jihadi groups.
Regional fallout
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Lebanon and Jordan are most vulnerable to overspill
The fighting’s intensification will have a profound effect on Syria’s neighbours:

· Lebanon. The assassination of an anti-Syrian intelligence chief and clashes between pro- and anti-Assad groups in Tripoli have indicated the potential for greater instability in 2013. However, Hezbollah, Syria’s main ally, has a major interest in maintaining a stable Lebanese government, of which it is a part, and may well remain on the sidelines. As the civil war escalates, it could come under greater pressure to choose between its domestic interests, and its alliance with the Assad regime which is a vital conduit of support from Iran (see LEBANON: Assad’s fall will upend political landscape – October 11, 2012).

· Jordan. The refugee flow has placed an extra burden on the economy and already overstretched water and power resources. King Abdallah faces growing unrest as he imposes subsidy cuts to alleviate the budget deficit. He will come under greater pressure from public opinion and his Gulf and US donors to increase support to the Syrian opposition — which incurs the risk of fighting spreading into Jordan (see JORDAN: Syria overspill will test stability – August 16, 2012).

· Turkey. Ankara will step back from unilateral intervention even as the fighting on its border increases. However, further artillery strikes against Assad’s forces appear likely, and the Turkish military may begin providing active support for Syrian rebel operations from its side of the border (see TURKEY: Syria policy carries regional risks – October 12, 2012). Ankara is keeping a close eye on the PKK’s activities in Syria and may act if it becomes a serious threat.

· Iraq. The Shia-dominated government in Baghdad is helping Assad and remains nervous about a Sunni regime in Damascus which it believes would strengthen the hand of its own Sunni population.

· Iran. Iran will seek to salvage its influence in post-Assad Syria. After over 30 years bolstering the regime, strong social, economic and military ties are likely to remain (see IRAN: Tehran will stand by Assad despite risks – August 31, 2012).

International implications
The regime’s fall will pose a problem for Moscow, which has provided weapons to Syria and has a strategic stake in the country. Russian leaders say that they are not committed to Assad, but have profound fears of the impact of Syria’s emergent jihadi Islam on Muslims in Russia and the former Soviet states. They and the Chinese will try to ensure that the UN stays involved and will reject Western efforts to sideline them or use the UN mandate for the Libyan campaign as a precedent for Syria.

Riyadh sees Assad’s downfall as a means of reducing Iranian influence in the region, but, unlike Doha, does not want the Muslim Brotherhood to dominate a successor regime.

Battling Rebels, Syria Flattens ‘Slums’
WSJ

DAMASCUS—All that remains of Abu Mohammed’s ancestral home here in Syria’s capital are two small adobe brick rooms and a few fig, loquat and mulberry trees.

It was bulldozed as part of a government slum-clearance program that appears to have a political motive: isolate neighborhoods sympathetic to Syria’s armed insurrection, and then obliterate them, according to critics, human-rights groups and even some officials within the government itself. “We are like gypsies now,” says Mr. Mohammed, who took his wife and five children to another part of the city after sections of his neighborhood, Qaboun—one of the first to rise up …

Senior security officials within the Assad regime say partial demolitions of pro-rebel neighborhoods in and around Damascus are a key element of an ambitious counterinsurgency plan now unfolding. The plan also involves the expansion of regime-funded militias known as “Popular Committees” within the capital.

These officials say the strategy applies lessons learned from other offensives against the rebels since the start of the conflict more than 20 months ago, most notably in the central city of Homs.

The government’s official position is that the destruction is part of a long-discussed master plan to rid Damascus of illegal slums. City officials say illegal settlements account for nearly 20% of the capital’s 26,500 acres.

Based on several extended visits to Damascus and vicinity last month—some of which coincided with demolition by military authorities—the destruction appears to be occurring only in areas where opposition fighters have been active. In addition, much of it has been overseen by the military rather than municipal authorities, residents say.

“There’s still work to be done, we are not finished yet with cleansing operations that are in response to popular demand,” says Hussein Makhlouf, a relative of Mr. Assad and governor of Rif Damascus, the province surrounding the capital.

In his Damascus office, Mr. Makhlouf praised the government’s official slum-destruction decree, known as “presidential decree No. 66,” as a model for urban renewal. He said demolitions will soon begin in Daraya, Harasta and Yalda, all suburbs that have been at the center of the insurgency against Mr. Assad. Mr. Makhlouf was forthright about the motives behind the demolitions, saying they were essential to drive out rebels, or “terrorists” as he called them.

MEDVEDEV SAYS RUSSIA ISN’T CONSIDERING GIVING REFUGE TO ASSAD – BN 11/27 12:56
MEDVEDEV SAYS ASSAD, OPPOSITION ARE BOTH TO BLAME FOR CONFLICT
MEDVEDEV SAYS RUSSIA ISN’T TRYING TO PROP UP ASSAD’S REGIME

Syrian Refugees: A Moral and Humanitarian Imperative for the United States
Peter Billerbeck, Georgetown Journal of International Affairs

Ensuring refugee camps in neighboring countries do not devolve into permanent squalor and misery is not only a moral and humanitarian imperative but also a necessary bulwark against broader trans-border sectarian instability and clashes with the potential to engulf the entire region…..

Killer Swarms
It wasn’t the Russian winter that stopped Napoleon.
BY JOHN ARQUILLA | NOVEMBER 26, 2012 – FP

Throughout the Cold War, and on into the post-9/11 era, the swarm — simultaneous attack from several directions — has been the favored fighting method of insurgents and terrorists. The Viet Cong swarmed helicopter landing zones and American foot patrols in Vietnam. Hezbollah did the same to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in southern Lebanon during the long war to evict the IDF — and then did so again during the 2006 conflict there. The Free Syrian Army today regularly strikes many places at once, too, giving the Assad regime’s military a problem it cannot solve. Iranian naval strategy embraces swarming as well, the idea being to attack the relatively few, large vessels of the 5th Fleet from all directions with hundreds of small, explosive-laden boats. Even in cyberspace one sees swarms in the form of the millions of hits to single sites, coming from all over the world, that often characterize debilitating “distributed denial-of-service” attacks. If al Qaeda were ever to develop a capacity for sustained swarming in the United States, rather than just mounting rare, one-off attacks, the consequences would be truly dire.

Palestinians in Syria
By Babak Dehghanpisheh and Ahmed Ramadan, 27 Nov 2012, The Washington Post

Palestinian refugees in Syria, in comparison with many countries in the region, are more integrated into society and have greater rights, such as the right to own property. As a result, the Assads have long touted themselves as ….

Other Palestinian groups have also been targeted. At least half a dozen commanders from the Palestine Liberation Army, an armed group that has been folded into the Syrian military, were assassinated this summer. There are conflicting accounts about whether they were targeted because of their loyalty to the Syrian government or because of their refusal to follow orders in taking part in the crackdown.

Yarmouk, home to about 150,000 Palestinians, has been ground zero for clashes among various Palestinian factions and between Palestinian fighters and the Free Syrian Army.

The Free Syrian Army and the Syrian military also have fought in the neighborhoods around Yarmouk, and on occasion Syrians have fled into the camp to escape the fighting.

The Syrian government, for its part, has turned to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, a radical Palestinian group, to clamp down on any unrest in Yarmouk. In recent weeks, heavy clashes have broken out between the group and the rebels in and around the camp. And on Sunday, rebels took control of a PFLP-GC base on the outskirts of Damascus after heavy fighting.

“The General Command is almost a battalion of the Syrian army, pretending to protect the Palestinian camps but only sending their troops to attack the citizens and clashing with the Free Syrian Army,” said Abu Mohammed al-Maqdisi, a 24-year-old Palestinian activist who lives in Yarmouk and supports the Syrian uprising. “They even physically attacked activists and delivered them to state security.”

The Syrian military has shelled the camp repeatedly while clashing with rebel fighters in the neighborhoods near it. At least 50 Palestinians were killed in Yarmouk in the first two weeks of November.

While Yarmouk has been the hardest hit, half a dozen other Palestinian camps in the country have faced similar attacks, spurring thousands of Palestinians to flee to neighboring countries.

Since the beginning of the Syrian uprising in March 2011, roughly 10,000 Palestinians have crossed the border to Lebanon, already home to some 450,000 Palestinian refugees, and 1,600 have fled to Jordan, according to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency.

Governments in the region are concerned that the new refugees might inflame political tensions in their own countries. This is especially true in Lebanon, where rival political factions supporting the Syrian government and opposition have clashed repeatedly in recent months. So far, there have been no major incidents of violence.

“There is an effort by the Palestinian leadership to keep the Palestinians as much as possible distanced from what is happening, in an effort to protect them,” said Hoda Samra, a spokeswoman for the U.N. agency in Lebanon.

Syria Renews Border Attacks as NATO Seeks Missile Sites
By Selcan Hacaoglu and Brian Parkin on November 27, 2012 – Bloomberg

Syrian warplanes attacked targets close to the Turkish border for the second consecutive day as North Atlantic Treaty Organization officers arrived to select missile sites to counter President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

U.S., Dutch and German officers representing the three NATO countries with Patriot surface-to-air missile batteries visited Turkish provinces near the Syrian border today, authorities said. As work began, Assad’s jets struck the town of Harim, the state-run Anatolia news agency said. That followed yesterday’s bombing of a Turkish-sponsored refugee camp near the Syrian town of Atma that sent thousands of people streaming toward the frontier.

Russia renewed its opposition to NATO’s involvement today, with Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Denisov telling a Berlin press conference “we don’t like this plan.” The alliance’s aims were unclear: “Who’s threatened? Where’s the threat coming from?” he said. Iran has also opposed the move.

Turkey’s military said yesterday that the Patriots were a purely defensive measure and won’t be used to enforce a “no-fly zone” or to launch attacks….

The Associated Press reports:

Activists say Syrian rebels have captured a hydroelectric dam on the Euphrates river in the country’s north in a strategic victory that followed days of fighting. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the Tishrin Dam, near the town of Manbij, fell to the rebels before dawn on Monday.

Rami Abdul-Rahman, who heads the Observatory, says the dam supplies several areas of Syria with electricity. The rebels have been making strategic advances recently. On Sunday, they briefly captured a regime helicopter base outside Damascus.

Against the odds, Syrian rebels begin to chip away at regime’s air advantage
Tom A. Peter, CSM 11.24.2012

 Syrian opposition fighters have long decried their lack of anti-aircraft weapons and called on the international community to arm them with something that can counter the the Syrian regime’s military’s jets and helicopters. Such support has yet to come – and there are few indicators that it will arrive anytime soon….

Syrian opposition fighters have long decried their lack of anti-aircraft weapons and called on the international community to arm them with something that can counter the the Syrian regime’s military’s jets and helicopters. Such support has yet to come – and there are few indicators that it will arrive anytime soon.

Still, those in the Free Syrian Army fighting for control of Aleppo province say that they’re making some progress in the battle for the skies. Using truck-mounted, DShK heavy machine guns, more commonly referred to as dushkas, FSA fighters say that they’ve managed to establish anti-air defenses capable of challenging jets.

Dushkasare one of the more difficult weapons for FSA fighters to acquire and in almost all cases must be captured from the regime forces or brought over by defectors. The anti-air defense network has grown slowly over the last several months, but many now say it’s reached a point where it can effectively challenge airplanes and helicopters…..

“We control 70 percent of the sky, because if you compare the situation now to two months ago there are a lot less airplanes,” says Khlief Abu Allah, a dushka gunner who worked in an anti-aircraft unit in the Syrian Army during his obligatory military service before the revolution started.

While airstrikes remain a major threat in Aleppo, residents and FSA fighters say there’s been a noticeable drop in the number of attacks in recent weeks…..

Syrian rebels capture three military bases in a week
Martin Chulov in Beirut, Guardian, 11.24.2012

Attacks yield large number of weapons, which had been in short supply…

Syrian rebels’ success in seizing three military bases in less than a week has underscored the growing difficulty faced by Damascus in securing its outposts and stopping a rebel encroachment that has claimed large swaths of the east and north of the country.

Attacks on the bases, one north-east of Aleppo, a second at Mayedin in the far east and a third near Damascus, yielded a large number of weapons, which had been in desperately short supply, especially in positions across Syria’s second city.

The impact of the new weapons seemed to have been felt immediately along northern frontlines, where Kurdish groups loyal to the Assad regime were on Friday engaged in their heaviest clashes yet with rebel forces and jihadists, near the border town of Ras al-Ain…..

An excellent new Website that compiles good Mid East stories http://www.todaysmiddleeast.com/

Comments (143)


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101. zoo said:

Tara

Why don’t you ask your family about the shameful exploitation of the alawites by the self-righteous sunni bourgeois families before the Assad took power ?
Why don’t you check why the army recruits were essentially alawites?
Why do you check how they were considered as heretics and considered less then humans by your religious leaders.
They need hundred of apologies,compensation and protection not a “public debate”..
That’s so condescending.

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November 28th, 2012, 6:33 pm

 

102. Sami said:

Ali,

Why should I worry about the “if” while ignoring the reality that IS. If you are worried about potential massacres where the hell are you when your own countrymen and women ARE BEING MASSACRED RIGHT NOW. What the fact that they happen to believe in a different faith than you do somehow makes it any less worse in your eyes?

Who committed the Houla, Qubair, Triemseh, Darayya, Jisr Al-Shgour, Tal Klalakh massacres? Who is dropping barrel bombs on hospitals, breadlines, olive oil pressers, and parks filled with children? Who has got over 200 000 detained Syrians rotting in their dungeons? Who is using cluster bombs filled with thermite against civilians?

You want to make sure your town does not get massacred, then you better ensure that ALL TOWN AND CITIES don’t get massacred not just yours. That is the only way to make sure massacres don’t happen, but if you turn a blind eye for that Sunni village next door getting massacred then others will do the same when your town comes up next.

And for the record your “secular” government not only nurtured those Jihadist you are so afraid of but in many ways they would have never survived if not for the full support they received from your Eternal Leader

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November 28th, 2012, 6:35 pm

 

103. Sami said:

Ali,

Please define “defending the country”!

Does genocide and the rape of urban and rural parts of Syria under the banner Assad 2ouw ni7riq al-balad translate to “defending the country”?

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November 28th, 2012, 6:39 pm

 

104. Darryl said:

“89. ALI said:

Hate is a strong word Tara, it’s very natural to disagree with people but hating them is a big thing, no?

Minorities always loved Sunnis and dealt with them with respect.”

Ali, the whole middle east has been based on hate, discrimination, hustling and fake history for the last 1400 years. The Baath party should at least have done something about it, yet they continued to propagate fake history to keep everyone busy. Had they taught at least real history in schools where the new generations learn from the mistakes from previous generations, we may not be in this position. Except they kept propagating the myths.

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November 28th, 2012, 6:42 pm

 

105. ALI said:

SyriaLover:

Thanks for asking, I totally appreciate that.

Well I’ll be saying lies if I say we don’t have plan B, surely they can’t exit from main official points but if the sh!t hits the fan then as you know it’s not that complicated at all to cross to Lebanon and reach the appropriate embassy. For my father we’re already in touch with the authorities and as a minority they can issue him a protection visa as long as there’s no evidence of involvement in specific actions.

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November 28th, 2012, 6:47 pm

 

106. ALI said:

“Additionally, do you believe that ruling the country should only belong to Alawis?”

Hell no, who wants this responsibility for ever, didn’t you hear the president when he said he will let go after leading Syria to the shores of safety. We did protect and developed the country and it’s quite natural to pass the responsibility to others.

But at the same time we don’t accept to be threatened, discriminated or marginalized by fanatics.

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November 28th, 2012, 6:52 pm

 

107. Tara said:

Zoo

““Remember the whole Persian world became “Arabinized”, adopted our language and culture and not vice versa.

Common language, yes, religion yes, culture NO. There was no culture as such in the Arabic peninsula. The Islamic culture bloomed from the culture already existing in countries that the Arab warriors invaded, Sumerian, Persian, Berber, Indian etc..”
—-
You are making a non-thoughtful distinction to support your political view. 

Majdi Yaakoub, and Micheal Debakey, ones of the greatest cardiothoracic surgeons in history, were of Arab origin.  The former is an Egyptian and the later was a Lebanese.  Both shaped the field of cardiothoracic surgery in its current form.  Can one simply credit the  “Arab civilization” for their innovations simply because they were born in Arab lands?  Absolutely not..  They were Arab indeed.  Yet their work was the product of the western culture not the arab one.  

You can’t simply deny the contribution of the Arab to the Islamic civilization claiming that those who contributed to it were non -Arabs.  After all, they spoke, lived, were ruled, prospered, studied, influenced by the Arabs conquerers.  Those conquerers established the culture where they went.  Sorry but your argument is not valid.          

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November 28th, 2012, 6:53 pm

 

108. ALI said:

Sami

“You want to make sure your town does not get massacred, then you better ensure that ALL TOWN AND CITIES don’t get massacred not just your”

I hear you loud and clear but I can’t do much, at the end of the day we’re just a minority but now, after shifting the power, you might be in control of the future of Syria including minorities.

If and there a big fat IF here, If there was some mistakes here and there then you can’t fix a mistake by a mistake otherwise we’re doomed for ever, no?

“Please define “defending the country”!”

Defending Lebanon
Defending Palestine
Defending Yemen
Defending PPK
Defending resistance groups around the world
Defending Syria from the evil of MB

And the list goes on and on

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November 28th, 2012, 7:01 pm

 

109. ALI said:

Darryl:

“The Baath party should at least have done something about it”

At least Baath could teach generations of belonging to the state rather religion, Baath allowed freedom for minorities to practice their own beliefs, Baath stopped the Sunni ideology tsunami from converting everything in Syria to a religious figure.

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November 28th, 2012, 7:04 pm

 

110. Citizen said:

Neck of the woods

The headlines from Europe in the past few weeks have been ominous. I don’t mean the terrible economies of the Eurozone and Britain. Certainly not the imploding situation in Greece and Spain and the looming crises in other European economies. Nor the re-appearnce of Fascism in Greece and Hungary and other places.
Last month the British announced that they were sending warships to the (Persian) Gulf in preparation for war. Now one wonders who in the Gulf region has attacked Britain or any of its interests to merit such attention? And how can Britain afford another major ‘unprovoked’ war in the Gulf while the right-wing Cameron regime is cutting back on essential services for the British people? Are they planning to intervene, for example, in rebellious Bahrain and liberate it from its repressive regime? Just as they did in Iraq and Afghanistan and Libya and now threaten to do in poor butchered Syria? If not, then does Britain have the power and the resources to liberate a huge country like Iran from its ruling mullahs? Would they recruit the democratically elected Saudi princes and the freedom-loving Al-Nahayn shaikhs in their endeavor of liberation? They certainly can supply many mercenaries to help.
Then there is France. Nick Sarkozy was ready to invade the Gulf and liberate the Iranian people from their nuclear program or their grim mullahs or both. Well, the French people liberated Sarkozy from the Élysée Palace. Then came Francois Hollande and his two feuding women. The French usually feel free to liberate West African countries, whether freeing them from one ruler in favor of another or freeing the rulers from their people or vice versa. Around1920 they felt free to liberate Syria, already just liberated from the Turks, of its British-appointed Hashemite king Faisal I and sent him packing to Iraq. Now the French seem to be getting frisky again, especially about dysfunctional Syria but maybe also about belligerent Iran. Most of the Arabs who criticized George W Bush for his “liberation” of Iraq now understand that he was right, otherwise why clamor for Mr. Obama to ‘liberate” Syria (right after Libya)?

How do they do it, these troubled nearly-broke Europeans whose populations are dwindling? How do they afford it? The answer can be given in three words: “United States of America”. In any of these new battles, these proposed films, the Euros play the ‘extras”. “Extras” don’t finance films; but they can sing along to the tunes of George Cohan’s “Over There……”
Cheers
http://arabiadeserta.com/2012/11/27/over-there-roaring-sickly-cat-fighting-european-mini-powers-in-the-middle-east.aspx

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November 28th, 2012, 7:05 pm

 

111. Tara said:

Zoo @101

Why don’t you ask your family about the shameful exploitation of the alawites by the self-righteous sunni bourgeois families before the Assad took power ?
Why don’t you check why the army recruits were essentially alawites?
Why do you check how they were considered as heretics and considered less then humans by your religious leaders.
—-

So you are sanctioning revenge against the Syrian Sunnis because of past historical grievances that happened before lots of us were born? Why can’t you then hold us responsible for Adam and Eve’s historical mistake of eating the forbidden apple .. And the slaughter perpetrated now by the Alawis against their fellow Syrians should be avenged from the next generation following that example?

“That is so condescending”

And your post#70 is flattering?

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November 28th, 2012, 7:07 pm

 

112. Hamoudeh al-Halabi said:

#55 Ali said “Sometimes you need to chop some peripherals to save the patient. For a good cause, the price is not questionable.”

Considering that this refers to the use of chemical weapons against the population of Damascus, killing thousands civilians at once, it is the sickest thing I’ve read in the comments so far [amongst a whole lot of disgusting things that have been said in general]. This is worse than Assad, whose “rationale” it is for flattening cities, and both are far worse than what any “jihadists” have been doing in Syria or elsewhere or all put together for the past two years and beyond. How can there be any dialogue whatsoever when such savage and wicked evil is shamelessly put on the table?

For a “good cause” the price is not questionable? That is what Hitler thought about solving the “Jewish problem”, that is your sick mentality, keep it in mind when you are fearful of the future of Alawites in Syria and come across enemies who share your own mentality.

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November 28th, 2012, 7:20 pm

 

113. zoo said:

Tara

The Arab warriors were religious and in the country they invaded they carried exclusively a religious culture. As it is still applied in Saudi Arabia where they came from, this culture prohibited just everything perceived as idolatry, music, painting, non religious litterature etc..

If an islamic culture came to life it was due to the pre-existing culture and traditions in the country invaded. It bloomed with the combination of a self assured and progressive Islam that was tolerant towards minorities and that willingly accepted the impregnation by the native culture.
We, in the arab world, are the product of that combination and we carry the heritage of many contributors to that culture.

Unfortunately since the desintegration of the Islamic civilization, Islam has constantly been under siege from the Judeo-Christian dominating culture.

Unless there is a renaissance, we are loosing the cultural battle and we are gradually absorbed by the dominant western culture.

Claiming that Arabs brought an encompassing culture to India, Iran etc..is false. They brought the religion’s culture, the language and the military and social stability needed for a rich civilization to bloom.

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November 28th, 2012, 7:23 pm

 

114. Darryl said:

“109. ALI said:

At least Baath could teach generations of belonging to the state rather religion, Baath allowed freedom for minorities to practice their own beliefs, Baath stopped the Sunni ideology tsunami from converting everything in Syria to a religious figure.”

Ali, this approach does not work as it builds compartments around the various sects and beliefs and tries give rights to minorities at the expense of the majority, in case Sunni Muslims. Hence we have lots of resentment caused by years of stacking the system against Sunni Muslims.

The Baath party should have taught in schools the bad and good history as to show over the years the discrimination, the hurt, the bad blood between the various groups and talk about the root causes for these issues. This would have allowed Sunni Muslims to at least reflect on their belief system, they are human after all.

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November 28th, 2012, 7:26 pm

 

115. zoo said:

111. Tara s

Don’t go as far as Adam and Eve.
Why is the 1982 Hama repression of the islamist uprising still not forgotten by the Sunnis and they are after a revenge?
Why Sunnis can call for justice and not Alawites?

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November 28th, 2012, 7:30 pm

 
 

117. Darryl said:

“113. ZOO said:

Unfortunately since the desintegration of the Islamic civilization, Islam has constantly been under siege from the Judeo-Christian dominating culture.”

Mr Zoo, Islam has not been under siege by Judeo-Christian civilization, it has been under siege from itself. Judeo-Christian civilization adapts itself because it believes that it’s scripture is divinely inspired and hence not set in stone as Islamic belief is set. Remember the LauH al MaHfouz.

Judeo-Christian system has a set of moral code that separates it from the politics of the day and at the end of the day you are accountable to the state that makes laws and regulations that fit the era you live in. In Islam, who can oppose Allah or even dare ask a question?

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November 28th, 2012, 7:40 pm

 

118. ghufran said:

أفاد ناشطون سوريون أن ثلاثة أطفال سوريون توفيوا نتيجة البرد القارس في مخيم الزعتري في محافظة المفرق بالأردن .
و كتب ناشطون عبارات تخاطب الدول العربية ، و قالت احداها ” أطفال سوريا يموتون برداً ، بينما أنابيب الغاز العربي تمر من تحتهم إلى اسرائيل”.
و قال آخر ” الأطفال داخل سوريا يموتون من القصف و في خارجها يموتون برداً “.
في المقابل، زعمت إدارة المخيم إن “الاطفال الثلاثة توفيوا بسبب أمراض كانوا يعانوا منها سابقاً “.
و يقع مخيم الزعتري في محافظة المفرق شمال الأردن، و يفتقر إلى أدنى مقومات العيش، إذ أن الخيم لا تقي من البرد، كما أن هناك نقص حاد في المدافئ و الأغطية .
I do not think that any arab refugee died in Syria because of hunger of cold weather, Arabs are ungrateful even when it does not take much to keep a child alive, when this is all done,Syrians will find themselves alone in a disaster zone and regret what they did when it is too late to bring back the dead or undestroy what was destroyed.

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November 28th, 2012, 7:47 pm

 

119. Syrian Nationalist Party said:

Why Sunnis can call for justice and not Alawites?
_________________________________________________________________

What did the Sunni of Syria do wrong to the Alawites, can you name it, other than the load of crap your father told you of lies to cover up his guilt and criminality.

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November 28th, 2012, 7:50 pm

 

120. Tara said:

Zoo

“Why do you check how they were considered as heretics and considered less then humans by your religious leaders”

There is no such a thing as ” religious leaders” in Sunni Islam.

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November 28th, 2012, 8:03 pm

 

121. Aldendeshe said:

@GUHFRAN

You have consciousness, the Syrian warlords don’t have any, they are Zionist trained and Protocols sworn, they are professional war criminals and genocidal maniacs with 50 years of experience aided by the United Nations. Some have fought on various continents. What matter to them, is that they are millionaires now and will in the end go retire in luxury of Paris, London and Dubai.

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November 28th, 2012, 8:05 pm

 

122. Visitor said:

What can we do without SNP? He said it all in one short paragraph.

Sunnis are the nicest people on this planet.

—————

But Lavrov wants to play the real statesman now to the bad luck of the duck.

Lavrov just declared that Russia will never be drawn into a military conflict in the Middle East.

The duck now is on its own as reports also emerged of Iranian impatience indicating Iran cannot continue to bankroll ducks while it is facing economic starvation. Ducks should learn how to swim on their own from now on.

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November 28th, 2012, 8:07 pm

 

123. Citizen said:

The operator of al-Qaeda cells Ban­dar bin Sul­tan work­ing more close­ly with Turk­ish coun­ter­part Ugly face Fidan on Syria.

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November 28th, 2012, 8:12 pm

 

124. majedkhaldoun said:

Zoo said
Why Sunnis can call for justice and not Alawites?

Zoo both must call for justice, but show me where Syrian goverments before Hafez came to power,where they killed 40,000 Alawite,and imprisoned over 100,000, and turn to refugee 2.5 million, Alawis were allowed to enter the army, assume any goverment job treated equally in court,while the criminal Assad family resorting to military brutal crackdown ,kiilling tens of thousands of Syrian and still killing, just because asking for freedom and democracy.

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November 28th, 2012, 8:15 pm

 

125. MarigoldRan said:

The only thing the regime is defending is itself and its supporters. It claims to be defending the country. But like everything else it says, that’s a lie. Basically what the regime has decided to do is, “If I can’t control it, then I will destroy it.”

A government that benefits the minority at the expense of the majority is no government at all. A government that shells and bombs its own cities is no better than an invading force. The regime at this point is no longer the government of Syria, and rightfully so.

So please don’t make any more silly claims about the regime “trying to defend the country.” That’s dishonest. You can instead say things like, “the regime is there to protect minorities like me.” That might be a valid argument. But the idea of the regime fighting to protect the country? That’s total RUBBISH.

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November 28th, 2012, 8:18 pm

 

126. Citizen said:

Truce in East Syria, as Kurds Vow to Keep Islamists From Expanding Control
Tense Calm in Ras al-Ayn as Tuesday Pact Holds
http://news.antiwar.com/2012/11/28/truce-in-east-syria-as-kurds-vow-to-keep-islamists-from-expanding-control/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

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November 28th, 2012, 8:26 pm

 

127. Amjad of Arabia said:

” For my father we’re already in touch with the authorities and as a minority they can issue him a protection visa as long as there’s no evidence of involvement in specific actions.”

The sheer chutzpah of these Qurdahans. So a shabih khara, after shabihing for 20 months, finds that his pathetic president can’t deliver on the glorious new Syria that he promised him in return for his raping and murdering civilians, and faced with the well earned vengeance of his victims, goes running and crying to a Western embassy, pleading for asylum on the basis that he is a “minority”. Yeah, Batta supporters were always a minority, didn’t you know, Chemical Ali?

And what Visitor will do to your village is nothing compared to what I will do. You better pray that Visitor reaches you first, I’m very imaginative when it comes to ekhwat el manuki who seem to think that dumping chemical weapons is acceptable.

As for Sunnis being “jealous” of Shias, only in your usual reality-challenged shabih world. Iranians line up by the thousands to get visas to Qatar, the UAE and Kuwait. I know Lebanese Shiites in Saudi Arabia who would cut their balls off than be sent back to Hizbollstan. The Shiite suburbs of Beirut are the poorest, because Hizbollshaytan would rather concentrate on murdering infidels than provide a better quality of life for its own.

And enough with the pathetic bellyaching Chemical Ali about your peasant grandmummy getting screwed by Aldendeshe’s feudal grand fathr. Your “suffering” such that it was was neither unique nor particularly terrible. You better pray that we allow you people to live like that post-Batta. And there is nothing you can do to turn the tide except whine and stew on this forum.

So how are your helicopters faring these days?

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November 28th, 2012, 8:31 pm

 

128. Observer said:

Zoo and Tara

It is not being an Alawi or being a Sunni that makes you an oppressive person.

Sunni Islam if it were an evil ideology like that of Nazi Germany would have not continued to expand and to have new converts and to continue to enjoy many calling themselves Muslims even in only in name.

Likewise, Shia Islam is not inherently evil for otherwise it would have withered away.

Sunni muslims considered their faith and their way of life and their culture to be the central theme of what is appropriate and the colonial defeats that they suffered and the dismantling of their countries into a variety of artificial entities have left many of them angry and resentful at the West.

Shia militancy is a new phenomenon with the Iranian revolution and the combination of the success of Shia uprising on the one hand and the defeat of 67 on the other has revived political Islam. It is unfortunately very immature and without proper ideal generating and without leaders or idols to follow.

It is human beings that oppress and hate and discriminate and they are the worst for it if they use any ideology or a historical grievance to dehumanize the other and to justify his/her slaughter.

After 40 years of Alawi rule in Syria, the greatest failure of the regime was and remains the failure to move into a civil society where citizenship is not dependent on your ethnic sectarian religious familial genealogy.

Rich people exploited poor people and some used their perceived Sunni superiority to actually degrade others and now we have a reverse situation where Alawi take pleasure and pride in humiliating others and exploiting them.

It is not because they are Alawi or Sunni per se it is because they are both stupid and bad and ill educated and ill mannered. What Arabs in Syria and in other parts of the ME are doing to domestic help in terms of abuse and rape and beatings and exploitation today for example is awful and criminal and shameful.

Now if the minorities feel that they are unsafe in Syria then they should be granted full separation if they so desire and if not feasible then we should ask for a federated state in a federated ME.

Look at how Morsi is going after a power grab. It is because he is a stupid and bad person at this time with this decision and not because he is Egyptian or Sunni or bearded or fat or dark skinned or ugly.

In the meantime let us bring out all the bad people in Syria today starting from the Prethident and down to the vengeful FSA fighter who is executing prisoners.

My question to my fellow Alawi and please please do not take it the wrong way: can you define your sect on its own or is it always in contrast to Sunni or Shia Islam?
After all Shia Islam was brought on by a political dispute that moved into religious doctrine. Is it the same for Alawi faith or can it define itself on its own merit of a complete worldview?

Justice for Hamza

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November 28th, 2012, 8:35 pm

 

129. Amjad of Arabia said:

For all the hypocrite shabihs like Chemical Ali whining about Jihadis, your beloved Batta released the mastermind behind the London bombings

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/terrorism-in-the-uk/9061400/Syria-releases-the-77-mastermind.html#

Let’s see you criticize the regime, ya “regime opponent”.

Unbelievable. War criminals running and crying to Western embassies after the families of their victims come after them. Have these Qurdahans no shame at all. Why didn’t your shabih daddy go to Russia or Iran if he loves them so much? Or China, isn’t it supposed to be overtaking the West? LOL! When push comes to shove, shabih war criminals like Chemical Ali’s daddy would rather live in the Sunni gulf than in Shia Iran.

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November 28th, 2012, 8:36 pm

 

130. Citizen said:

Syria: The “Liberated Zone” of Aleppo: Religious Dictatorship Supported by France
http://networkedblogs.com/FiW8Y

Thanks to logistical support from France, the new authorities of the “liberated zone” of Aleppo are currently setting up a religious dictatorship inspired by the Saudi model. The reality is very different from the soothing declarations of Presidents Sarkozy and Hollande concerning the defence of liberty and the promotion of democracy.

The French government assures us that it is in permanent contact with the representatives of the “liberated zones” in Syria, and that it is supplying them with logistical support. It also declares that it is working to avoid the revolution being hijacked by Islamists.

However, the National Coalition, which had been recognised as the representative for both the exterior and interior opposition, has been recused by the Revolutionary Committee of Aleppo, which has now installed an Islamic government in the “liberated zone” [1]

The French government has not clarified its position. It has given no indication that it has suspended its logistical aid (both humanitarian and “non-lethal” military aid) to the “liberated zone” of Aleppo, even though this is clearly in the hands of the Islamists, who have denounced democracy as a “Western conspiracy”. We may remember that France supported the Islamic Emirate of Baba Amr, and that François Hollande received several of its refugee leaders, with honours, in Paris on the 6th July 2012.

It is difficult to gather a clear idea of what is happening in Aleppo, where three areas are now under the control of armed groups. Contrary to what happened in Baba Amr (Homs), whose population fled when an Islamic Emirate was proclaimed, it seems that some of the inhabitants have stayed put and now support the new authorities. The heretics – Sunnis, Sufis and Chiites, including the Druzes, Alaouites and Ismaelites – and the ’infidels’ (Christians) have been expelled and their possessions confiscated.

Government troops don’t dare to attack for fear of causing a bloodbath and more destruction. Little by little, a new life-style is emerging.

But in any event, the “revolutionary” authorities have just created a Committee to Command Good and Prohibit Impious Acts and on the 22nd November, they published their first legislative act, which we here translate in full….

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November 28th, 2012, 8:38 pm

 

131. Citizen said:

Syria: Ban strongly condemns terrorist bombings in Damascus
http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=43628&Cr=syria&Cr1=#.ULa9UORg-C1
28 November 2012 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned “in the strongest possible terms” the terrorist bombings in the Syrian capital, Damascus, this morning which have left dozens killed and injured.

“There are no circumstances that justify the targeting of civilians. Such terror attacks are unacceptable,” said a statement issued by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson.

At least 34 people were reportedly killed and many injured by two car bomb explosions Jaramana, in south-eastern Damascus.

“This latest act of violence only underscores the urgency of stopping the destructive spiral of war in Syria and moving urgently toward a peaceful political solution that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people,” the statement added.

The conflict in Syria, which began 21 months ago as an uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, has led to the deaths of at least 20,000 people, mostly civilians, forced over 440,000 people to neighbouring countries, and left more than 2.5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, according to UN estimates.

Tomorrow the Joint Special Representative of the United Nations and the League of Arab States for the crisis in Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, is scheduled to brief the Security Council on the situation in the country.

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November 28th, 2012, 8:41 pm

 

132. Amjad of Arabia said:

“Why Sunnis can call for justice and not Alawites?”

This only needs explaining to someone with a Qurdahan level of intellect. For the same reason that it was your beloved Nazis in the docks at Nuremberg and not the people responsible for the Dresden bombings. They lost, they get to face the victor’s justice. Get used to the concept, the new Ramadan series is going to feature the hanging of a new shabih every evening.

What’s the matter, Shia Iran with all the billions its spent hasn’t been able to outsmart the Saudis and Qataris, whose only expense was some air time on Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya.

So, leveling neighborhoods hasn’t worked, raping women hasn’t worked, shelling entire villages hasn’t worked, Chemical Ali’s only other solution is to let loose the Scuds. This is what passes for a “regime opponent” in Qurdaha. Why doesn’t your shabih daddy be a man for a change and face the consequences of his actions ya tant ibn el tant.

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November 28th, 2012, 8:43 pm

 

133. Amjad of Arabia said:

If only we knew Chemical Ali’s real identity, we would send samples of his posts to every Western embassy and alert them that his shabih daddy is running scared and wants to hide under Hillary Clinton’s skirts. Alas.

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November 28th, 2012, 8:46 pm

 

134. Amjad of Arabia said:

When Israel killed a few Turks on the flotilla, Turks went ballistic. When Batta killed Sunni Turks in the south of the country, the disgusting Shia Turks gathered in Istanbul to wave his picture and cheer him on, even before his Turkish victims were buried.

And Shias wonder why the world despises them and has nothing but contempt for them. The only tactic Shias know is to use up waves of dead bodies in the hope that the enemy will run out of ammunition. Shias have a disgusting cult of martyrdom that makes them totally unfit for the modern world.

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November 28th, 2012, 8:49 pm

 

135. Amjad of Arabia said:

Chemical Ali with the Fleeing War Criminal Daddy

“Defending Lebanon
Defending Palestine
Defending Yemen
Defending PPK
Defending resistance groups around the world
Defending Syria from the evil of MB”

“Defending resistance groups around the world” is Qurdahan short hand for supporting global terrorism. It would have been better if your Batta’s father had done a better job of defending the Golan than in defending Mars from the Great Zionist Conspiracy. And the Palestinians don’t want you people, or haven’t you been paying attention?

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November 28th, 2012, 8:57 pm

 

136. ALI said:

Amjad, what’s wrong with you?

My father is not a shabih at all. Shabiha are low class jobless people who kill for money and many of them are Sunnis, my father helps people including Sunnis if you don’t know. Last week our neighbor came to visit us and asked my father to locate two of her nephews. He did not only locate them, he actually picked them up and drove them to her house, just like that out of his good nature.

Embassies don’t need our identities, they know everybody who works for the state so it’s not like we’re hiding his identity. You’ll be surprised how much western embassies welcome minorities. FYI two week ago Canada took 503 Syrians, 377 of them are minority.

Judging people is not acceptable and you should be ashamed of your behavior.

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November 28th, 2012, 9:41 pm

 

137. ALI said:

I didn’t suggest using chemical weapons on civilians but it’ll be great to wipe out Jihadists for good, that’s for the good of Syrians. Anyway it won’t happen any soon as the Arabic Syrian Army only used 10% of its capacity saving the rest in case NATO decides to take a BIG mistake.

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November 28th, 2012, 9:46 pm

 

138. ALI said:

You all should pay attention to the stark fact that’s Bashar didn’t yet put on his military uniform, that means we’re not at war yet. But if he does then all these Jihadi rats will flee to the sea.

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November 28th, 2012, 9:49 pm

 

139. Tara said:

Ali

“You all should pay attention to the stark fact that’s Bashar didn’t yet put on his military uniform, that means we’re not at war yet. But if he does then all these Jihadi rats will flee to the sea”

This is laughable. I can picture Besho when he was a teenager. He looked like a retard then. He went to med school but continued to look like a retard, and he can now wear Giorgio Armani’s suit or a military role-play suit and still look like that especially when he flashes his big smile.

Some of your “naive” phrases entertain me.

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November 28th, 2012, 10:02 pm

 

140. Citizen said:

General Wesley Clark: Wars Were Planned – Seven Countries In Five Years

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November 28th, 2012, 11:06 pm

 

141. Amjad of Arabia said:

Chemical Ali

Show me your source for your made up claims that Canada has taken in hundreds of Syrian refugees. Obviously Mr Nerve-Gas-Trigger-Happy,in your attempt to make facts up, you betray that you have no idea how asylum in Canada works. You cannot show up at a Canadian embassy, plead for asylum, and expect to be on a plane to Toronto.

First, you have to arrive inside Canada, whether on business or education or visit, and then once inside you request asylum, a decision that takes months if not years for the Canadians to make. Just being in Canada and asking for refuge doesn’t automatically make one a refugee, and if that’s what your shabih daddy has been told, he’s in for a disappointment. Best for him to make peace with his maker.

“But if he does then all these Jihadi rats will flee to the sea.”

Typical menhebakji wet dream fantasies. Remember the days when the filth on this forum said that once Baba Amr was shelled, the war would be over? Har har har har, premature ejaculation much?

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November 28th, 2012, 11:18 pm

 

142. Observer said:

Ali

Your father releasing two detainees is actually the very example of the criminality and the degeneration of this regime.

First they should never have been arrested without due process second it should not take a Wasta to get them released.

This is what the revolution is about. Enough of this arbitrary family based mafia state.

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November 29th, 2012, 8:20 am

 

143. Juergen said:

Mabrouk Palestine, you deserve better than just words.

I hope some here can remember what great things people are able to bring up, something touching like this new album of Marcel Khalife f.e.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3R7-6NP-l-8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Slh2PyaIQohttp:

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November 29th, 2012, 6:14 pm

 

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