“Syria’s Assad regime is doomed, but the battle will be long and bloody,” by Joshua Landis

Syria’s Assad regime is doomed, but the battle will be long and bloody
Joshua Landis
For Bitterlemons
January 26, 2012 Edition 4

The Syrian regime headed by Bashar Assad is doomed in the long run, but is likely to last longer than most believe. In December, the leader of Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood stated that President Assad would fall “in the next few months”, the US State Department proclaimed Assad to be a “dead man walking”, and Israel’s defense minister insisted that Assad would fall in a matter of weeks. This has turned out to be wishful thinking.

The Assads stand atop the last minoritarian regime in the Levant and thus seem destined to fall in this age of popular revolt. When they do, the post-colonial era will draw to a final close. Following World War II, minorities took control in every Levant state thanks to colonial divide-and-rule tactics and the fragmented national community that bedeviled the states of the region. Unique in this was Palestine, for the Jewish minority was able to transform itself into the majority at the expense of Palestine’s Muslims and Christians. Neither the Christians of Lebanon nor the Sunnis of Iraq were so lucky or ambitious. Nevertheless, both clung to power at the price of dragging their countries into lengthy civil wars. The Alawis of Syria seem determined to repeat this violent plunge to the bottom. It is hard to determine whether this is due to the rapaciousness of a corrupt elite, to the bleak prospects that the Alawi community faces in a post-Assad Syria, or to the weak faith that many in the region place in democracy and power-sharing formulas. Whatever the reason, Syria’s transition away from minority rule is likely to be lengthy and violent. Levantine history suggests this as a rule.

There are three main reasons why the Assad regime is likely to last well into 2013–if not longer–despite Syria’s rapidly deteriorating economic and security conditions.

The first is the strength of the regime compared to the opposition. The military has not turned against Syria’s president. It is a professional army, which so far has a monopoly on heavy weapons in Syria. Important government officials have not defected in significant numbers. This loyalty is due in no small part to the fact that the Assad family has prepared for this moment of popular, Sunni revolt for 40 years. It has packed sensitive posts with loyal Alawis and Baathists. Some analysts estimate that 80 percent of Syria’s officer corps is Alawi. The main strike-forces, such as the Republican Guard led by Bashar’s brother, is Alawi to the man. An ambassador in Syria’s Foreign Ministry recently claimed that 60 percent of Syria’s Foreign Service officers are Alawi and only 10 percent Sunni. The sectarian nature of the elite elements of the security forces ensures a high degree of loyalty and willingness to fight. The broader Alawi community is also likely to remain loyal to the regime, even as the economy deteriorates. Almost all Alawi families have a least one member in the security forces as well as additional members working in civilian ministries, such as education or agriculture. Most fear collective punishment for the sins of the Baathist era, whether this means trials, the loss of jobs, or even worse (one irresponsible Sunni sheikh threatened that the Alawis will be ground into mince meat when defeated).

The second reason the Assad regime is likely to survive into 2013 is the disorganization and factionalism of the opposition. Through much of 2011, the Syrian opposition hoped that by remaining leaderless, as had revolutionaries in Egypt and Tunisia, the regime could be brought down largely by peaceful means: either because Bashar Assad would surrender power, a coup would dislodge him, sanctions would cause elite defections and collapse, or growing demonstrations would achieve a Tahrir square moment. By the end of 2012, these scenarios seemed ever more unlikely, and the opposition has been forced to think seriously about developing a trusted leadership, unifying its ranks, and coming up with a realistic military option to defeat the Syrian army. These objectives still seem far off

The Syrian National Council, Syria’s leading opposition coalition, remains highly factionalized and has found it difficult to unite with other opposition parties. The mere fact that the SNC membership has felt compelled to limit its leaders to a three-month term testifies to the high level of internal dissent. Burhan Ghalioun, the capable and savvy secular leader, is distrusted by many Islamists in the SNC as well as younger activists who are leading the struggle on Syria’s streets. Only recently was he denounced by members of his own party for being a traitor and dictatorial when he prematurely announce a unification plan with the National Coordination Body for Democratic Change, a coalition of leftist parties led by Haytham Manaa.

Just as important as the opposition’s political weaknesses, however, are its military limitations. The Free Syrian Army being assembled in Turkey under the leadership of Colonel Riyadh al-Asaad is no match for the Syrian army. Although armed opponents of the regime are an important development, their size, structural limitations, lack of heavy weapons, and limited command and control mean they do not yet present a real danger or alternative to the Syrian military. In fact, many analysts insist that most fighting is being done by small units organized on the local level that do not take orders from Col. Asaad or other leaders, even if they call themselves members of the Free Syrian Army. What is more, many Syrians still do not accept the notion that the regime should be brought down by military means.

The third reason that the Assad regime is unlikely to be deposed soon is that foreign powers are not eager to intervene militarily in Syria. US President Barack Obama and European authorities would find it difficult not to support military strikes on the Syrian army if they were led by Turkey or the Arab League, but neither has shown an inclination to undertake such a risky adventure.

So long as the Syrian military leadership remains united, the opposition remains fragmented, and foreign powers remain on the sidelines, the Assad regime is likely to survive, but all three of these elements are changing, even if gradually, in the favor of the opposition. The predominant role of minorities in the governments of the region, which was universal at the end of the colonial period, is being brought to a violent conclusion.

-Published 25/1/2012 © bitterlemons-international.org
Joshua Landis is associate professor and director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma.

See the other three essays on Bitterlemons’ site

“The regime’s prospects are better than two months ago but remain dim,” Karim Emile Bitar

The Syrian revolution is now entering a new, more ominous phase. The regime has been considerably weakened and isolated. The Arab League’s mission has ended in a fiasco. The economy is in tatters. The opposition’s protests continue unabated. But the main pillars of President Bashar Assad’s support are still holding on. ….

A militarization of the revolution would empower the most radical elements, as it did in Libya, and render future democratization much more difficult. A foreign intervention would open Pandora’s box.

Those who would like Assad to fall are now confronted with the old Machiavelli vs. Kant philosophical dilemma: does the end justify the means or do the means determine the end? A comprehensive study, published by Columbia University Press and analyzing dozens of past cases, suggests that the latter is true. It indicates that if a dictator is overthrown through peaceful struggle, there is a 51 percent chance of a successful democratic transition after five years. In case of an armed struggle, the chances are only three percent.

The Syrian opposition is understandably impatient to bring Assad down and breathe freely. It should nonetheless meditate on these figures.

“Yes and no,” by Elias Samo

Can the Syrian regime survive? That is a question only a crystal ball can definitively answer. My analysis of the two primary components of the Syrian regime–a pyramidal political leadership under President Bashar Assad and a one-party political structure under the Baath party–leads me to believe the answer is “yes and no”. Yes, Assad will survive, and no, the political structure of one-party Baath rule will not….

“A sinking ship,” by Michel Nehme

Domestically, the mutiny in the Syrian army is slowly accelerating. It is beginning to pose a tangible threat to ! the military establishment, despite tight control by Baathist officers. The economy is gradually deteriorating–an indication of a long process that ultimately will topple the regime. The issue now is not whether the regime has been able to withstand or escape the storm, but rather the sense that the regime is slowly and daily getting weaker. Yet when it will finally collapse is not something that can be predicted, due to a variety of regional and international considerations….

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151. jna said:

At UN on Syria, Arab League Report Still Not In, Germany Says No Precondition

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 26, updated — After a morning in which several Western members of the Security Council said that the Arab League would brief the Council on Monday, when consultations broke up at 1:45 pm on Thursday, things were not so clear.

Russia’s Permanent Representative Vitaly Churkin stopped and told the Press that the Arab League monitoring report annex (which Inner City Press first reported on yesterday, here http://www.innercitypress.com/syria1annex012512.html ) has still not been received, “even in Arabic.”

Once it is, Churkin said, it must be translated into English — he said he did not demand Russian — and given to capitals. He mentioned a possible briefing on Tuesday. He told Inner City Press that “General Dabi,” the Sudanese chief of the monitoring mission, will be be available but that he requested, and no one objected, that if members request it Dabi come and brief at some later date.

Germany’s Deputy Permanent Representative Miguel Berger came out and said that having the annex “cannot be a precondition” for the briefing.

He said that Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi, and the Qatari minister Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, now dubbed “HBJ” by some Council diplomats, would be able to tell the Council everything that is in the report.

(c) UN Photo
UN SG, PGA with HBJ: Arab League report not yet shown

Berger said Germany would have preferred Monday — which makes it sound like Tuesday at latest. Meanwhile some say HBJ arrives in New York on Saturday, so that could change. Watch this site.

Update of 4:10 pm — Inner City Press is reliably informed that the ArabLeague briefing of the Council is Tuesday 3pm, regardless of annex and translation (which will “probably” be done).
http://www.innercitypress.com/syria2annex012612.html

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January 27th, 2012, 7:11 pm

 

152. ann said:

France Talks “Temporary” Step Down by Assad, Russia Says No, Syria Blames Qatar

http://www.innercitypress.com/syria1las012712.html

UNITED NATIONS, January 27 — After a new draft resolution “tracking the Arab League” was introduced Friday in the UN Security Council, a Monday meeting at the experts level was scheduled.

The Council’s president for January, Baso Sangqu of South Africa, told Inner City Press that these “expert consultations” will concern both Russia’s draft from December and the one introduced on Friday.

Inner City Press asked UK Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant, who said the Russian draft “has been overtaken,” but said that portions of Russia’s draft were in the new one. Told their draft was “overtaken,” two Russian diplomats on the margins of the stakeout laughed.

More formally, Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said that Russia will not accept any resolution calling for regime change in Syria. French Ambassador Gerard Araud told the press on Friday that only a “temporary” step down by Bashar al Assad is being asked for.

Pressed, he said to go and read the underlying Arab League documents, maybe he misread them, being tired.

South Africa’s Sangqu told Inner City Press, the Security Council didn’t agree to follow the African Union position on Libya — so, by implication, there’s no pressure or precedent to strictly follow the Arab League on Syria.

Inner City Press asked Araud and German Ambassador Peter Wittig to respond to this critique. Both said that each case is separate. Araud appeared to have forgotten that a draft Presidential Statement supporting the African Union plan on Libya was opposed and never adopted.

After Araud left, Syrian Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari said the French journalists in Homs was killed by “the armed groups,” citing the Arab League monitoring report, but said “you won’t hear that from the French ambassador.”

Earlier before the Council meeting broke up, Inner City Press asked around about support for the Arab League’s proposals. One well placed diplomat told Inner City Press, “Of course the Arab League is split. Algeria doesn’t support it, nor Iraq or of course Sudan.”

Inner City Press pointed out that Sudan did support the ouster of Gaddafi from Libya, although only because he supported Darfur’s rebels, particularly the Justice and Equality Movement.

The diplomat went on, “Egypt doesn’t support. But if Tunisia joins, it would be hard for Egypt not to, given ‘The Street.’ Really what these Arab states want is for Russia to engage. Russia’s been told by the opposition they could still play a post-Assad role, it’s not too late.”

Another opined that with Putin’s (re) election coming up, backing down is unlikely. Russia’s Churkin has several times contrasted the push on Syria with the US’ approach to Bahrain: telling the opposition they cannot use force.

The first diplomat replied, “they could have done that in April, there were press elements out there to send that message, but the BRICS blocked it all.” But did the Western powers show flexibility, as they did, shamefully to some, in essence embracing impunity for Yemen’s Ali Saleh?

“Saleh was smart,” a political coordinator opined. “He said yes, they played for time. And now he’s at a luxury hospital in New York.” If so, which one? Or as another source tells Inner City Press, could Saleh be heading to Morocco, like Dadis Camera did? Watch this site.

Footnote: as the last stakeout of the day, Syrian Ambassador Ja’afari took to the microphone to say, We will not be Libya or Iraq, we will not be Somalia, we will not be a failed state. He described Qatar jumping the gun on the Arab League monitoring report, and regime change “by January 22″ having been predicted on “Doha-based Al Jazeera.”

Inner City Press asked him to say more about Qatar, given similar comments previously by Libyan diplomat Shalgam. Ja’afari didn’t shy away, saying that Qatar is “tiny… half occupied by American military bases” and uses “petrodollars” to increase its influence. One wag whispered: it’s natural gas.

Of his statement that the Arab League report blames the “armed groups” for the killing of the French journalist in Homs, Ja’afari said “you won’t hear that” not only from French Ambassador Araud but also not from “Ban Ki-moon,” the UN Secretary General on Friday in Davos.

One wanted to ask Ja’afari for his view of Ban Ki-moon accepting free private jet travel from Qatar, but then again, to mix a UN reform and transparency issue with such a stakeout might not be the right way to proceed.

Inner City Press asked Ja’afari if he will speak at the Security Council’s Tuesday afternoon meeting with Qatar’s minister called HBJ and the Arab League’s El-Arabi. “Yes I will speak,” Ja’afari said. Watch this site.

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January 27th, 2012, 7:16 pm

 

153. Uzair8 said:

Oh man. Can you believe this from SANA: Lolol. {Monkey laughing faceplam}

http://static.rcgroups.net/forums/attachments/1/9/9/7/a2172193-51-laughing%20monkey.gif?

President of French National Front: Western Media Broadcast False Allegations against Syria

Jan 27, 2012

PARIS, (SANA) – Near the Elysee Palace in the heart of Paris, the Honorary President of the French National Front Jean-Marie Le Pen stood, and in a loud voice, he announced rejection of the allegations broadcast by the western media against Syria, saying “the Syrian Leadership is doing its best to avoid the country the dangers of going into any form of civil war.”

Read more:

http://www.sana.sy/eng/337/2012/01/27/396866.htm

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January 27th, 2012, 7:18 pm

 

154. SANDRO LOEWE said:

Those who defend the regime belong to one of these three kinds:

1) Ignorant people who think reform is owning a mobile and a laptop, think freedom consists on going to restaurants and watching plasma TVs while you are not being arrested or tortured, and thinks there is nothing beyond Assad repressive regime.

2) Fearfull people who has suffered the horrours of the regime and prefers living a grey and pasive existence to being exposed to the trauma once again.

3) Mafia members or friends and relatives of the power mafia. They are not an unsignificant number, just multiply all people connected to corruption by the average number of sons, uncles, brothers, daughters, sons of brothers and daughters, etc.
They are the more relevant and they will be ready to justify whatever the regime does to defend their privileges.

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January 27th, 2012, 7:19 pm

 

155. Tara said:

KSA followed by the GCC will soon recognize the SNC as the legitimate authority in Syria.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/middle-east-live/2012/jan/27/syria-egypt-libya-middle-east-unrest-live-updates

• Saudi Arabia is poised to follow Libya’s example by recognising the Syrian National Council as the legitimate authority in Syria. The move, which is expected to be followed by other Gulf states, represents a further escalation in pressure from Riyadh against the Assad regime. Earlier this Saudi Arabia pulled out of the Arab League monitoring mission, followed soon after by the other Gulf states.

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January 27th, 2012, 7:24 pm

 

156. jad said:

Mr. Manna proved to be the most honest and respected figure in the Syrian opposition on too many levels, he has principles not like those who are running for the power with no standards whatsoever:

السكرتير الأول للسفارة الأميركية في باريس لهيثم مناع : مفتاح حل الأزمة السورية في موسكو وليس عندنا

جيمس ميلر : فيلتمان أبلغ القيادة الروسية بأن واشنطن تدرك مصالح روسيا في سوريا ، وهي لن تسعى إلى تجاوزها ، لكن الممارسات غير الديمقراطية لـ”المجلس الوطني” تقلقنا

باريس ، الحقيقة ( خاص من : إلين / سوزان بورجوا + مكتب التحرير) : عقد السكرتير الأول في السفارة الأميركية بباريس ومسؤول الملف السوري فيها ، جيمس ميلر، اجتماعا نهار اليوم الجمعة مع مسؤول “هيئة التنسيق الوطني في المهجر” الدكتور هيثم مناع استغرق ثلاث ساعات ، بحسب مصدر في البرلمان الأوربي ساهمت في ترتيب هذا اللقاء . وقالت المصدر إن اللقاء “عقد في إحدى المقاهي بشارع مونبرناس بباريس ، وليس في مقر السفارة ، وكان بطلب من السيد ميلر الذي طلب مني المساعدة على ترتيب اللقاء بحكم كوني صديقة مشتركة للطرفين “. وقالت المصدر إن اللقاء تناول قضايا تتصل بنتائج الزيارة التي قام بها جيفري فيلتمان ، مساعد وزيرة الخارجية الأميركية لشؤون الشرق الأوسط، إلى موسكو مؤخرا ، وموقف “هيئة التنسيق الوطني” من الأزمة السورية ، ومضمون تقارير “أرسلتها للسفارة الأميركية في باريس جهات سورية معارضة في المجلس الوطني السوري اتهمت السيد مناع بأنه خان الثورة و التحق بركب النظام السوري”! وبحسب المصدر ، فإن المسؤول الأميركي أقر خلال الاجتماع بأن “حل الأزمة السورية بات في موسكو”، وأبلغ مناع بأن واشنطن “منفتحة في التعامل مع جميع فصائل المعارضة السورية على قدم المساواة، لكن من يرد شيئا محددا أو مطالب محددة من المعارضة في الخارج ، عليه التوجه إلى موسكو ، لأن مفتاح حل الأزمة أصبح هناك وليس في أي مكان آخر ، سواء في واشنطن أو الأمم المتحدة”. لكن المسؤول الأميركي ـ والكلام لم يزل للمصدر ـ عبر بالمقابل عن “قلق بلاده من الظواهر اللاديمقراطية التي تشوب سلوك المجلس الوطني ، سواء لجهة ما يتعلق بحياته الداخلية أو علاقته مع المجتمع السوري ومكوناته السياسية المختلفة”. وبشأن زيارة فيلتمان الأخيرة إلى موسكو ، قالت المصدر ” إن ميلر أبلغ مناع بأن فيلتمان أكد للقيادة الروسية أن واشنطن تدرك وتتفهم مصالح روسيا في سوريا ، وهي تتعامل مع جميع أطراف المعارضة السورية عل قدم المساواة ، ولن تسعى إلى أية خطوات من شأنها تجاوز هذه الحقائق”.

المصدر الأوربي كشفت أن مناع قارب موقفه الشخصي وموقف “هيئة التنسيق الوطني” من الأزمة السورية من خلال إيراده قصة الفلاح اللبناني الثائر طانيوس شاهين أواسط القرن التاسع عشر. فعندما قام شاهين بانتفاضته الفلاحية الشهيرة ضد الاقطاع ، التحق به عموم اللبنانيين من مختلف الطوائف ، فاكتسبت حركته طابعا وطنيا شاملا. إلا أن المداخلات الأجنبية ، التي باتت تعرف في كتب التاريخ باسم “حكم القناصل” الأجانب ، عملت على تحويل الحركة الفلاحية الشعبية إلى “حرب طائفية ” ابتداء من أيار / مايو العام 1860 وانتهاء بالعام 1861، وهو ما بات المؤرخون يصفونه عند الإشارة إليه بـ”ثورة 1858 ” و “أحداث 1861 الطائفية”. وقالت المصدر إن مناع أبلغ ميلر ” إننا لا نريد أن تذكر الانتفاضة السورية في المستقبل بهذه الطريقة ، فيقال الانتفاضة السورية في العام 2011 وأحداث سوريا الطائفية في العام 2012″ ، في إشارة منه إلى أن الأحداث في سوريا بدأت تأخذ بعدا طائفيا نتيجة المداخلات الخارجية ، العربي منها والأجنبي، ويمكن لها أن تزداد عمقا في هذا الاتجاه في مقبل الأيام.

على صعيد متصل ، قال مصدر مطلع في باريس لـ”الحقيقة” إن مناع نصح الأمين العام للجامعة العربية ، نبيل العربي ، يوم أمس بأن يتوجه مع وزير الخارجية القطري إلى موسكو قبل توجههما إلى واشنطن والأمم المتحدة لعرض الملف السوري ، لأن عدم القيام بهذه الخطوة سيدفع موسكو إلى التصلب والتشدد في مواقفها. لكن العربي والمسؤول القطري لم يأخذا بهذه النصيحة كما يبدو. وهو ما بانت نتائجه اليوم ، حيث صعّدت موسكو من موقفها حين أعلنت أنها ترفض أي مبادرة أو مشروع للحل في سوريا يطلب من رأس السلطة في سوريا التنحي. وكان ذلك “ردا على تجاهلها من قبل الأمين العام للجامعة العربية والمسؤول القطري ، ومصداقا لنصيحة مناع” ، ختم المصدر قوله.

http://www.syriatruth.org/news/tabid/93/Article/6553/Default.aspx

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January 27th, 2012, 7:27 pm

 

157. SANDRO LOEWE said:

It will take time until Damascus inhabitants begin to find a small space inside their minds to introduce the idea that the regime can fall. When they accept the regime can fall the following consequence will be the refusal of the syrian mafia regime. Because deep inside their hearts most of the syrians know that this regime is not fair and not moral, but the idea has been graved in their minds since they were born that Assad is the only possible president.

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January 27th, 2012, 7:29 pm

 

158. jad said:

Israel is arming the terrorist militia in Syria:

باحث إسرائيلي: تل أبيب زودت “الجيش السوري الحر” يقواذف ” شيبون بي 300″ المضادة للدروع

المسلحون السوريون حصلوا على حوالي عشرين قاذفا من هذا النوع جرى تمريرها بالحقائب الديبلوماسية القطرية عن طريق لبنان وتركيا ، وعلى متن طائرة إغاثة إيطالية !؟

تل أبيب ، الحقيقة ( خاص من : ليا أبراموفيتش) :أكدت مصادر إسرائيلية أن إسرائيل زودت مسلحي “الجيش السوري الحر” بقواذف مضادة للدروع من طراز Shipon B-300 . وقال باحث إسرائيلي مشارك في المؤتمر السنوي لـ”مركز هرتزليا” للدراسات والأبحاث الأمنية ، الذي سيفتتح أعماله بعد غد الأحد بمشاركة أربعة باحثين من الأردن ومصر ولبنان وقطر، إن جهات إسرائيلية رسمية زودت مسلحي “الجيش” المذكور بصواريخ من هذا النوع ، وجرى شحنها على دفعات إلى المسلحين بواسطة الحقيبة الديبلوماسية القطرية عن طريق لبنان وتركيا ، وعلى متن طائرة إيطالية وصلت إلى مطار بيروت في 22 من الشهر الجاري وكانت تحمل مواد طبية للاجئين السوريين في شمال لبنان بناء على طلب سبق لبرهان غليون أن تقدم به إلى الحكومة الإيطالية خلال زيارته الأخيرة إلى روما. وأكد الباحث الإسرائيلي أن هذه الصواريخ ” استخدمت بالفعل ضد المدرعات السورية في منطقة حمص وفي منطقة جبل الزاوية خلال الأيام الأخيرة ، وقد حصلنا على صور لنتائج استخدام هذه الصواريخ “. وأشار الباحث إلى أن هذه الصواريخ ” تستخدم للمرة الثانية ضد المدرعات السورية ، إذ كان استخدامها الأول في حرب لبنان الأولى ( الغزو الإسرائيلي للبنان) العام 1982 ، وكانت المفاجأة الإسرائيلية لدبابات T-72 السورية خلال الحرب المذكورة ، حيث دمرت هذه الصواريخ حوالي 12 دبابة سورية”. وكشف الباحث أن “ما بين 15 و 20 قاذفا من هذا النوع أصبحت فعلا بين أيدي الثوار السوريين في أكثر من منطقة سورية ، وبعضها مزود بمناظير تعمل بالأشعة تحت الحمراء للاستخدام الليلي”.

وقال الباحث إن المواصفات الفنية للقاذف ، الذي أنتج من قبل الصناعات العسكرية الإسرائيلية نهاية السبعينيات الماضية ، تسمح بنقله وتهريبه واستخدامه بسهولة . فوزنه لا يتجاوز 8 كغ مع المقذوف ، بينما لا يتجاوز طوله 140 سم . وهو مناسب جدا للاستخدام في المناطق السكنية والمأهولة ، لاسيما الشوارع ، إذ إن مداه الأقصى لا يتجاوز 400 متر. كما أنه مناسب لاستهداف التحصينات والأبنية. وهذا أكثر ما يحتاجه مقاتلو “الجيش السوري الحر” في الوقت الراهن، على حد تعيره.

http://www.syriatruth.org/news/tabid/93/Article/6552/Default.aspx

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January 27th, 2012, 7:30 pm

 

159. ann said:

‘Russia won’t support US game in Syria’ – Sat Jan 28, 2012

“Russia [would] never make such a mistake in Syria, never,” Sergey Kurginyan in an exclusive interview on Friday, adding that Moscow is opposed to the Salafists taking power in Damascus.

He went on to say that Moscow would never support “America’s game in Syria.”

Kurginyan added that Washington is also involved in many plots against Russia, including one to drive Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin off the country’s political stage.

Syria has been experiencing unrest since mid-March, with demonstrations being held both against and in favor of President Bashar al-Assad’s government.

Hundreds of people, including many members of the Syrian security forces, have been killed during the unrest.

The Syrian government says outlaws, saboteurs, and armed terrorists are the driving factor behind the turmoil and deadly violence.

Damascus also says that the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country and that the security forces have been given clear instructions not to harm civilians.

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January 27th, 2012, 7:32 pm

 

160. majedkhaldoun said:

Son of Damascus
when you say no one win in a civil war,you have to explain it, yes we loose two million people and yes this is great loss, but at the end one side will defeat the other side, and new system will emerge.
loosing people is great loss,but creating a democratic free Syria is more win,it will endure for a long time.
it is a fight between Evil(Bashar) and Good,(Syrian people) there is no compromise between Evil and Good, Good always has to win, and Evil has to be defeated,as always happen.
The syrian people are determined to make a change,and they should know the price is high, and Syrians are willing to pay it.
If you have a dacaying building you must turn it down and build new one,much better building.
Tyrany is no match to freedom and dignity, freedom is worth dying for,what we leave to the next generaion,freedom and wisdom ,dignity and pride.this is history,a lesson to learn from.

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January 27th, 2012, 7:36 pm

 

161. SANDRO LOEWE said:

157 JAD

It is difficult not to imagine Israel offering second-hand arms to Bashar in order to be kept in power. So, please do not come with this pulp fiction histories about Israel sending arms to your ¨salafis armed gangs¨.

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January 27th, 2012, 7:37 pm

 

162. Tara said:

It seems that the US is not going against Bashar in full force. I believe the the KSA, Qatar, and the SNC should focus on the US instead of Russia.

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January 27th, 2012, 7:38 pm

 

163. ann said:

159. majedkhaldoun said:

it is a fight between Evil(Bashar) and Good,(Syrian people) there is no compromise between Evil and Good, Good always has to win, and Evil has to be defeated,as always happen.
.
.
.
is israel good or evil?

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January 27th, 2012, 7:45 pm

 

164. Son of Damascus said:

Majed,

Because pitting one Syrian against his fellow Syrian will result in Syrian blood. Why should we stoop to the level of barbarians to defeat them, and can you honestly tell me who won in Lebanon after 30 years of civil war, the Lebanese ended up with little fiefdoms based on sect under the disguise of democracy.

You see to me every Syrian is sacred, and should not die unjustly. Yes, the regime has and continues to be nothing but thuggish, but that does not equate for the opposition to take “the ends justify the means” tactics. And by the way the scars of civil war don’t heal as soon as the last bullet is fired, they take generations if not centuries to get over it.

Our Children and grand children will inherit nothing but hate and bigotry from civil war, I don’t wish that upon them.

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January 27th, 2012, 7:49 pm

 

165. SANDRO LOEWE said:

Everyday 1.800 syrians celebrate their 23rd anniversary. A country which average age is 23 years, every day sees 1.800 young globally open minded syrians enter a new age where repression and ruthless is more and more useless. People who needs jobs, who wants to marry or rent a flat don´t care about Baath ideology or Anti-Israel fake and failed strategy. The syrian regime is over. No way back.

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January 27th, 2012, 7:55 pm

 

166. jad said:

The violence cycle of hatred doesn’t know any limit when it starts, in the news they write about a barbaric crime by nonhuman criminal sectarian thugs in the name of ‘HATE’, a massacre happened in Homs, 14 family members including 8 children were murdered out of sectarian retaliation, how can any human regardless of his political or religious background commit such a horrific crime against defenseless scared people, against KIDS for god sake, why people need to pay the ultimate price for a bloody struggle on behalf of someone else, in a conflict forced on them by both sides, that is beyond my understanding.
I want to see all those criminals who are murdering other Syrians in the name of religious and politics to pay the most heavy price for every barbaric crime they commit and for the misery they are forcing other Syrians to be under daily.

عشرات القتلى في سوريا… والدابي يؤكّد «تصاعد العنف»

أكدت بعثة المراقبين العرب، أمس، تصاعد وتيرة العنف في سوريا «بشكل كبير»، في وقت سقط فيه عشرات القتلى والجرحى، بينهم 40 مدنياً. وفي تنامٍ لظاهرة خطف الأجانب، ارتفع عدد الإيرانيين المختطفين في سوريا إلى 18، بعد إعلان اختطاف 11 أمس. وفي ساعة متأخرة من ليل أمس، انعقدت جلسة مجلس الأمن التشاورية بشأن سوريا لإجراء مشاورات تتناول مشروع القرار الجديد الذي أعدته دول أوروبية وعربية، فيما أكدت روسيا أنها ستحبط أي محاولة في مجلس الأمن لدعوة الرئيس السوري إلى التنحي، وحذرت من أنها لن تسمح بإمرار أي قرار في مجلس الأمن يجيز التدخل العسكري، وقالت أيضاً إنها لن تؤيد بأثر رجعي عقوبات غربية وعربية فرضت بالفعل على سوريا
عشية وصول الأمين العام للجامعة العربية نبيل العربي، ورئيس الوزراء القطري حمد بن جاسم بن جبر آل ثاني إلى الأمم المتحدة اليوم لبحث الملف السوري، قدّم الأوروبيون ودول عربية إلى مجلس الأمن مساء أمس مشروع قرار جديد بشأن سوريا، يستند إلى خطة التسوية التي أعدتها الجامعة العربية، وتطلب خصوصاً تنحي الرئيس بشار الأسد.
وأوضح المندوب الفرنسي جيرار ارو، قائلاً: «لقد قدمنا نصاً يستند إلى مطالب الجامعة العربية». وأضاف «نريد فقط تحويل مطالب الجامعة العربية الى مطالب لمجلس الأمن.. من أجل إرسال بعثة مراقبة، وكذلك في ما يتعلق بالحل السياسي».
اما مندوب روسيا فيتالي تشوركين، فقد عبّر عن «خيبة أمل كبيرة» تجاه مشروع القرار. وقال دبلوماسيون حضروا الاجتماع لوكالة «رويترز»، إن تشوركين أبلغ المجلس بأنه يختلف مع الجامعة العربية لمحاولتها «فرض حل خارجي» على الصراع في سوريا كما رفض فكرة فرض حظر للسلاح واستخدام القوة.
والنص الجديد الذي أعدته باريس ولندن وبرلين مع عدد من الدول العربية، وطرحه المغرب رسمياً على طاولة مجلس الأمن، لا يزال بحاجة الى أيام من المباحثات.
وينص مشروع القرار على أن المجلس «يدعم بقوة» خطة وضعتها الجامعة العربية نهاية الأسبوع الماضي، تتضمن بنداً يتعلق بنقل صلاحيات الى نائب الرئيس السوري فاروق الشرع، تمهيداً لتنظيم انتخابات جديدة.
وكان نائب وزير الخارجية الروسي، غينادي غاتيلوف، كرّر موقف موسكو بعدم نيتها دعم أي مشروع قرار في مجلس الأمن يدعو الأسد إلى التنحي. وحذّر من الضغط في اتجاه طرح مشروع القرار للتصويت قريباً. وقال: «سيكون ذلك محكوماً عليه بالفشل؛ لأننا عبّرنا عن رأينا بوضوح كما فعل شركاؤنا الصينيون».
في هذا السياق، دعا المجلس الوطني السوري، إلى «التحرك الفوري والجاد على مستوى مجلس الأمن لإصدار قرار دولي يدين جرائم النظام». وفي خطوة ستحمل دلالات كبيرة إذا ما تحققت، نقلت صحيفة «الرأي» الكويتية عن أحمد رمضان، العضو في المكتب التنفيذي للمجلس، أن وزير الخارجية السعودي الأمير سعود الفيصل، أبلغ وفد المجلس الذي التقاه في القاهرة الأسبوع الماضي، «أن المملكة ستعترف بالمجلس الوطني السوري ممثلاً رسمياً للشعب السوري».

في هذا الوقت، تجددت أعمال العنف في حمص أمس بعد ظهور تقارير عن وقوع مذبحة طائفية. وقال نشطاء وسكان إن «رجال ميليشيا علوية قتلوا 14 من أفراد أسرة سُنية»، أول من أمس. وأضافوا أن «ثمانية أطفال تراوح أعمارهم بين ثمانية أشهر وتسع سنوات كانوا بين أفراد الأسرة التي قتلت في مبنى بحي كرم الزيتون المختلط في المدينة».

وفي ردّ فعل على الحادثة، اقتحمت مجموعة من المعارضين السوريين، مبنى سفارة بلادهم في القاهرة. وحطّموا محتويات الغرف والسيارات الموجودة في مرأب المبنى.
وقتل العشرات في سوريا، أمس، بينهم ما لا يقل عن أربعين مدنياً، بحسب لجان التنسيق المحلية. وقال المرصد السوري لحقوق الإنسان إن 12 من القتلى سقطوا في بلدة نوى في محافظة درعا. وأضاف أن قوات الأمن «عمدت إلى استخدام الرصاص الحي لتفريق المتظاهرين»، الذين خرجوا في عدة مدن سورية تلبية لدعوة أطلقها ناشطون للتظاهر في «جمعة الدفاع عن النفس».
كذلك تصاعدت وتيرة الهجمات التي تستهدف قوات الأمن، حيث شهدت سوريا، أمس، عدة تفجيرات بعبوات ناسفة نفذتها مجموعات مسلّحة في مناطق متفرقة.
وقال مصدر أمني سوري إن انتحارياً فجّر سيارته المفخخة بحاجز لقوات حفظ النظام في مدينة بنّش في محافظ إدلب (شمال غرب)، ما أدى إلى مقتله وإصابة 4 عناصر من قوات حفظ النظام بجروح متفاوتة، بينهم مساعد أول. وأشار المصدر إلى «استشهاد طفل وإصابة 10 مدنيين آخرين بانفجار عبوة ناسفة في حيّ القاعة في منطقة الميدان في دمشق»، فيما أصيب عدد من المدنيين في قطنا بريف دمشق، بانفجار عبوتين ناسفتين. وأفاد بمقتل شخصين وإصابة عدد آخر جرّاء اشتباك مسلّح بين أفراد عشيرة العساسنة في حي المرجة في حلب. وقال إن 3 مدنيين و3 من عناصر حفظ النظام أصيبوا بانفجار عبوة ناسفة زرعتها «مجموعة إرهابية مسلحة» في شارع بغداد بمدينة البوكمال في دير الزور. وأشار المصدر الأمني إلى «استشهاد عنصر من قوات حفظ النظام بنيران مجموعة مسلحة أطلقت النار عليه بالقرب من المركز الثقافي في حي الميدان في حمص». وقال مصدر محلي في مدينة حمص إن «4 مدنيين قتلوا وأصيب أكثر من 20 بجروح، ليل أمس، بقذائف أطلقتها مجموعات مسلحة على بعض أحياء المدينة. وقصفت بنحو مكثف البساتين المحيطة بالبلدة وطاولت القذائف بعض منازل البلدة».
وتأكيداً لتزايد وتيرة العنف، أعلن رئيس بعثة المراقبين العرب في سوريا محمد الدابي أن معدلات العنف في سوريا «تصاعدت بنحو كبير» خلال الأيام الثلاثة الأخيرة.
وفي تطور لافت، ارتفعت أمس حصيلة المختطفين الإيرانيين في سوريا إلى 18، بعدما أعلن المتحدث باسم الخارجية الإيرانية رامين مهمانبرست أن مجموعة مجهولة خطفت أحد عشر من الحجاج الإيرانيين على طريق دمشق. كذلك خطف خمسة مهندسين في 20 كانون الأول في منطقة حمص. وأفادت وكالة الأنباء الرسمية الإيرانية عن خطف مهندسين آخرين توجها في 21 كانون الأول إلى المكان في محاولة للعثور على زملائهما. وأوضحت الوكالة أن المهندسين كانوا يعملون في مشروع بناء محطة كهرباء قرب حمص. وبعد تبني منظمة سورية تطلق على نفسها اسم «حركة مناهضة المد الشيعي في سوريا» أعمال الخطف في حمص، أعلنت كتيبة الفاروق التابعة لـ«الجيش السوري الحر»، في بيان، أنها تحتجز الإيرانيين السبعة، وقالت إنها ستفرج عن اثنين منهم بشرط إقرار المرشد الأعلى للثورة الإسلامية علي خامنئي بوجود عناصر عسكريين إيرانيين في سوريا وسحبهم مباشرة من البلاد. بحسب ما جاء في البيان.
(الأخبار، سانا، رويترز، يو بي آي، أ ف ب)
http://al-akhbar.com/node/33845

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January 27th, 2012, 7:57 pm

 

167. ann said:

163. Son of Damascus

This is not Majed you are responding to. This is “aboud” (a non Syrian) posting his hate under Majed user ID

(Moderator note: Aboud does not post under Majed’s user ID)

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January 27th, 2012, 7:58 pm

 

168. Ghufran said:

The US and EU have announced new sanctions in the hope of persuading Iran to abandon its alleged nuclear weapons programme, though how effective these will be is questionable. China, India, Russia, Turkey, Japan, and South Korea have already refused to go along with the new measures. Iran also has the means to evade the sanctions – through its proximity to Iraq.

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January 27th, 2012, 8:03 pm

 

169. SANDRO LOEWE said:

JAD

¨The violence cycle of hatred doesn’t know any limit when it starts.¨

Absolute right. I agree with this sentence. Assad has been able to rule the country through absolute dictatorship avoiding open violence but now he has failed. People has said ¨enough¨. So he must respond for its failures and leave. We can consider that there was a kind of hidden agreement between the people and the dictator to let him rule, but since he has failed he must renounce and let the legal system work by celebrating elections DEMOCRATICALLY. This is the only way to stop violence.

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January 27th, 2012, 8:05 pm

 

170. jad said:

Majedkhaldoun
“yes we loose two million people and yes this is great loss, but at the end one side will defeat the other side, and new system will emerge.”
You are SICK SICK SICK, your violence, hatred and crime advocating messages are disgusting.

Sandro
Lying about the existence of Salafi/Qaeda fighters and the Israeli agents multiplying in your country Lebanon won’t help your cause that much, they will get you sooner or later so you better watch your back instead of lying to yourself.

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January 27th, 2012, 8:09 pm

 

171. Tara said:

102 massacred by the Syrian regime today. Body trails are seen on the ground again. Footage of stack of children killed in Homs massacre is heart wrenching. Al-Moualem stated that the regime is going with the “security solution” until the end. Moualem should face the same fate that Bashar should face, Qaddafi-style. The world powers are discussing, re-discussing, and then re-discussing some more while the Syrians are being slaughtered. I would vote for next Friday to be called “Russia is the enemy of the Syrian people”.

Dabi asked Bashar today in a press release to stop the violence.

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January 27th, 2012, 8:16 pm

 

172. majedkhaldoun said:

Son of Damascus
You brought Lebanon example, In Lebanon ,the civil war ended with compromise ,because of outsider, this compromise meant that the problem was not resolved fully, and that means that the next generation will have to fight or find other way to solve the problems.in other word they build the foundation for another civil war the next generation to pay for,postponing the solution.
You implied that I believe ,The end justify the means, this is not true, first the statement has never been corrected, it should say the Good ends justify the means that is forced on us, by that the means are the only way is left for us.you see there is huge difference,the war is an evil is forced on us.Surgery, by cutting and blood loss that comes with it,is necessary to heal a person from bad disease.
It is not hatred that I encourage it is healing that I call for, when the scar is left after that it is minor, and most are willing to take to get rid of the disease.

Ann
No I am not Aboud, I am Majed.

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January 27th, 2012, 8:26 pm

 

173. Haytham Khoury said:

Dear Amir
#142.

You are welcome.

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January 27th, 2012, 8:32 pm

 

174. Ghufran said:

القدس العربي
سنخسر سورية مثلما خسرنا العراق، ومثلما نخسر ليبيا حاليا، حيث يمكن ان تكون معظم الدول العربية في الايام المقبلة ‘دولا فاشلة’ تماما، تسودها الفوضى، فوضى السلاح، فوضى الطوائف والمذاهب، وفوضى التشظي والتفتيت الجغرافي.
تبادل اللوم بالمسؤولية، والانشغال به عن رؤية هذا المستقبل الكارثي، هو هروب من المسؤولية، وتملص من تبعاتها، بل تواطؤ مع هذا المخطط الاجرامي الذي يريد تمزيقنا كأمة، وكأبناء عقيدة واحدة، وتقديم الاحقاد والنزعات الثأرية على العقل والتبصر.
نحن امة بلا حكماء، نقولها بكل مرارة وأسف، واذا كان هناك حكماء فلا مكانة او احترام لهم، وان وجدوا فعلا، وارادوا ان يقولوا كلمة حق، فالاتهامات بالتخوين والعمالة، والانحياز لهذا الطرف او ذاك جاهزة، وسيوفها مشحوذة

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January 27th, 2012, 8:35 pm

 

175. majedkhaldoun said:

Jad
When you get appendicitis, and the surgeon tells you, you need an operation,which has major risk, please tell your doctor,
“You are SICK SICK SICK, your violence, hatred and crime advocating messages are disgusting.”

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January 27th, 2012, 8:40 pm

 

176. Ghufran said:

أدونيس

دمشق..
معالم القلق حول مستقبل العالم العربي وعمقه السوري، تراكمت عند المفكر السوري أدونيس، وازدادت حدّتها، والمؤشر الأخطر الذي يؤرقه هو تصاعد التيار الإسلامي المتطرف، ولا سيما في مصر وتونس والخوف الأكبر يبقى على سوريا لدى ابنها أدونيس.
صحيفة “الرأي” أجرت حواراً مطولاً مع أدونيس، الذي أكد في توصيف مايمارسه البعض تحت شعار الاحتجاج أن “العنف المادي، يُخرج الإنسان من إنسانيته ويأخذه إلى التوحّش، وهو عامل انحطاط لا عامل نهوض. عامل تغيُّر نحو الأسوأ”.
وردا على سؤال حول إذا ماكان العالم العربي يشهد ثورات في نظره قال أدونيس: “إن ما جرى ويجري، وخصوصاً ما يرتبط بالشبان والشابات، يظلّ في إطار التمرّد والاحتجاج، في حين أن الثورة عملٌ جذريٌ شاملٌ مازلنا بعيدون عنها وبتحقيقها نبني مجتمعات عربية جديدة حقاً، وديمقراطية حقاً، ليس كما يحدث الآن”.
وحول التيارات الإسلامية المتطرفة قال، “هذه تيارات كانت كامنة. وما قام به الشبان والشابات العرب، وفر فُرصة لظهورها، وهي الآن تتواطأ مع القوى الرجعية العربية، والأجنبية الكولونيالية للسيطرة والهيمنة، وخصوصاً أنها الأكثر عدداً والأكثر تنظيماً، غير أن ذلك لا يعطيها أيّ مشروعية لبناء المستقبل.
وانتقد أدونيس طريقة تفكير هذه التيارات بالقول “لا يُبنى المستقبل بالماضي، مهما كان هذا الماضي حاضراً وفعّالاً، الشعوب الحيّة تبني مُستقبلها بتجاربها الواقعية وإبداعاتها، وليس بذكرياتها وأحوالها الماضية”.
وحول صعود التيارات الإسلامية وأسبابه قال: “أنا لا أفسّره، كما هو شائع، بـ “فشل” الحركات اليسارية”
ورأى أدونيس أن الفعل الثقافي هو الفعل الذي يجب أن يكون أساسا لأي حركة تهدف لتطوير المجتمع العربي وقال: “أنا أقصد بـ”الثقافي” هنا، المعنى الثقافي الواسع الذي يتضمّن التربية، والاجتماع والسياسة، والاقتصاد، والعلاقة مع الآخر، إضافة إلى الآداب والفنون والعلوم والقوانين”.
وحول المجتمع السوري وتطوره قال أدونيس: “المجتمع السوري يحتاج إلى تحولات على مستوى البنية السياسية والاجتماعية ويجب أن تكون التغيرات الاجتماعية سباقة لأنها تشكل القاعدة”.
وعن ما تشهده سوريا من احداث قال: “في سوريا لا نشهد ثورة بل احتجاج محدود، في عدد المحتجين، وفي عدد الأمكنة التي يتم فيها هذا الاحتجاج. الثورة لا تكون إلاّ بتحرك الكتلة الكثيفة من جسم الشعب، وبخاصة في المدن الكبرى. وهذا التحرك لم يحدث لأن البداية كانت خطأ، كان للحراك نبرة طائفيّة مذهبيّة، تتحرك داخل “صوت” غير سوري، لكي لا أقول “أجنبي””.
وحول الأطراف التي تدعي أنها تمثل المعارضة السورية ممثلة بـ”هيئة التنسيق” و”مجلس اسطنبول” قال أدونيس: نحن نشاهد “صراع على المواقع”، وهذا مَقْتَلُ الحراك الشعبي. ثم ما معنى “ثورة” في أي بلد عربي، لا في سوريا وحدها، إذا لم تكن قائمة أساسياً على الفصل بين الدين والدولة؟ وما تكون جدواها خصوصاً إذا كانت تَسْتَعينُ بالحِراب الأميركية أو الأطلسية؟!!
وحول ترسيخ الديمقراطية، سياسياً واجتماعياً وثقافياً، في المجتمع السوري قال: “لا ديمقراطية، ولا حقوق إنسان وبخاصة حقوق المرأة، ولا حريات، ولا دولة قانون في سوريا أو غيرها من البلدان العربية، دون تحقيق الفصل الكامل بين ما هو ديني من جهة، وما هو سياسي ثقافي اجتماعي من جهة ثانية، على جميع المستويات وفي مختلف الميادين”.
وأكد المفكر السوري أن المدعو برهان غليون جاء إلى رئاسة مجلسه بفضل الإسلاميين، وبإرادتهم، ورأى أن الإخوان المسلمون في سوريا يعتمدون على التمويه. والـ”غش” الثقافي عندما يتشدقون بالمدنية وقال: “يجب استخدام كلمة علمانية إذا كان القصد “المدنية” حقّاً”.

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January 27th, 2012, 8:54 pm

 

177. ann said:

As Nations Line Up Against Syrian Government, Russia Sides Firmly With Assad – January 27, 2012

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/28/world/europe/russia-sides-firmly-with-assad-government-in-syria.html

MOSCOW — There are not many world capitals today where President Bashar al-Assad of Syria can count on unstinting support. But diplomats who passed through Moscow this week hoping to secure Russia’s help in forcing him from power were met with cold refusal.

Russia remains a staunch defender, providing Damascus with a political lifeline as well as arms and ammunition.

Moscow entrenched itself as Mr. Assad’s political bulwark on Friday, declaring that it would, with China, oppose a Security Council resolution calling on Mr. Assad to step down. A deputy foreign minister, Gennadi Gatilov, told the Interfax news agency that the resolution was “doomed to failure” unless the demand for Mr. Assad’s ouster was dropped and a call for opposition forces to renounce violence was included.

Another deputy foreign minister, Sergei A. Ryabkov, rejected Western criticism of continuing arms shipments to Mr. Assad’s government, including a freshly inked $550 million contract for fighter planes.

“I do not understand why we should justify ourselves for that, constantly blush, turn pale, be damp with sweat,” Mr. Ryabkov told the radio station Ekho Moskvy on Thursday. “We are acting within our rights.”

Russian political support has proven essential to the Assad government, said Peter Harling, a Syria specialist with the International Crisis Group. Statements of support from Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov are featured continuously by Syrian state news agencies, he said, offering reassurance that Mr. Assad’s government still has mighty allies.

“It is central to the regime’s narrative and key to the cohesiveness of the regime’s ranks,” Mr. Harling said. “They believe that the international community is divided. So Russians are providing cover for the regime to push forward with their approach. There is a strong belief that all doors are not closed.”

Russia has staked out this position for a variety of reasons that have little to do with the specifics of Syria’s political crisis, chief among them weapon exports, domestic politics and resentment over the Libyan campaign. It reflects a shift that has taken place as Vladimir V. Putin prepares to return to the presidency, deeply distrustful of the West’s intentions both in Russia and in the Middle East. He has accused the United States of orchestrating uprisings in both regions.

“Theoretically, the Western bloc has a few more months of the Medvedev presidency,” said Yevgeny Y. Satanovsky, president of the Institute of the Middle East in Moscow. “After that, Putin is a bigger realist than Medvedev, he has more experience, he is much more pragmatic. I don’t think he will have these ideas from the Medvedev side that opened the gate to this campaign in Libya.”

Libya is a particular grievance. Mr. Putin seethed over the aftermath of the United Nations resolution establishing what was supposed to be a no-fly zone in Libya, which China and Russia last March agreed not to veto. Many in the government contend that President Dmitri A. Medvedev was deceived by Western allies who then used the resolution to justify airstrikes to drive Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi from power.

“We were naïve and stupid,” said Mr. Satanovsky, an influential analyst. “The Chinese were the same. Trust this: That was the last mistake of such type.”

Another consideration is practical. Syria is a major customer of Russia’s state weapons exporters, who by one estimate have already lost as much as $10 billion in orders during the political turmoil of the Arab Spring and a missile contract with Iran that was shelved as a result of the “reset” with Washington. The military industry holds sway over a significant slice of Russian voters and “will be very angry at the ruling group” if further contracts are lost, said Fyodor Lukyanov, editor of Russia in Global Affairs.

“We have an election year here, and this time it is a more real election campaign. He is campaigning quite seriously,” Mr. Lukyanov said. “That means all groups of society are valuable, and the military industry is very angry over this chain of events.”

Russia has benefited from Syria’s isolation from the West over the years, because it enjoys preferential access for its arms and petroleum industries. Syria places orders worth about $700 million a year, making it a “major, very important, high-priced client by Russian standards,” said Ruslan Aliyev, a defense specialist at the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, a Moscow research center. But Moscow wields little influence over Mr. Assad, he said.

Mr. Aliyev, who was present at meetings with American diplomats last week, said that Americans were convinced that Mr. Assad’s government would fall and advocated engaging with the opposition. Russian officials are “more pragmatic,” arguing that change will lead to “a civil war, followed by rampant violence and banditry and terrorism, as it happened in other countries,” he said.

Mr. Lavrov sent a clear signal last week that Russia would not intervene militarily in defense of Mr. Assad’s government.

Some Russian analysts warn that if Mr. Assad falls, it will lead to a broader war pitting Arab nations against Iran. Mr. Satanovsky said that Russia could see “maybe hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of refugees coming from Iranian territory into Azerbaijan and Russia” if that were to occur, as well as ethnic violence against Christian minorities and the spread of terrorism. He said Russia supported not Mr. Assad, but stability.

“After Egypt, Tunisia, Iraq, Afghanistan, why should Russia once more look at all this with the idea that everything will be all right?” he said. “This is not a choice between good and bad, this is a choice between bad — which we have now — and terrible and apocalyptic.”

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January 27th, 2012, 8:58 pm

 

178. Ghufran said:

United Nations (CNN) — The U.N. Security Council discussed Friday a resolution introduced by Morocco that calls on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down and transfer power to his vice president.

The resolution also supports “full implementation” of the Arab League report on Syria that called on Syria to form a unity government within two months but stopped short of supporting military intervention. The Arab League report was released about a month after it sent observers into Syria.
Arab League Secretary-General Nabil el-Araby and Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, are expected to brief the council Tuesday about the observer mission’s findings. When asked whether that briefing would lead to a vote next week, France’s U.N. Envoy Gerard Araud responded with just one word: “Inshallah,” or “God willing” in Arabic.
British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said a vote could be held as soon as Wednesday on the text. “It was quite clear that there was very strong support in the Security Council this afternoon for the text that was introduced by Morocco.”
The next step is a meeting of experts from the missions of the 15 countries on the Security Council, on Monday afternoon.

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January 27th, 2012, 9:12 pm

 

179. Ghufran said:

فتح الصادق المهدي النار على من سمّاهم بالتكفيريين خلال إمامته صلاة الجمعة اليوم بمسجد الهجرة أو “الأنصار” بأم درمان، وختم خطبته بتحديد مسؤولية الحكومة في حملهم على سحب فتواهم (أو) لجوئه هو أنصاره للقضاء.
وشدد المهدي على أنه “في حال تقاعس القضاء أو عجزه سوف نتصدى لهم حتى ننتصف منهم؛ لأن خطرهم على الإسلام والسودان صار واضحاً”.
وحول موقفه من الفتوى محل الخلاف قال المهدي: “موقفنا الآن من هذا العبث باسم الدين هو أننا نحمّل الحكومة المسؤولية كاملة على أن تحملهم على سحب فتواهم التكفيرية، والاعتذار عن تلويث مناخ السودان المتسامح”.

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January 27th, 2012, 9:30 pm

 

180. majedkhaldoun said:

Ghufran
Thank you for keeping us informed about what is going on in Sudan,Libya, Tunisia,and other countries.
Please continue and tell us about what is going on in Zimbabwe too.thanks

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January 27th, 2012, 9:59 pm

 

181. Ghufran said:

Majed
اذا اردنا ان نعرف ماذا في ايطاليا علينا ان نعرف ماذا في البرازيل
رحم الله نهاد قلعي

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January 27th, 2012, 10:17 pm

 

182. Tara said:

I also would like to thank Mina for always keeping us not only informed but also updated about Somalia, Kenya, and Africa in general.

We need a specialist in south east Asia specifically Cambodia.

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January 27th, 2012, 10:19 pm

 

183. majedkhaldoun said:

المنصف المرزوقي: الفرصة مواتية لاحياء اتحاد المغرب العربي اثر انهيار الدكتاتوريات وبداية الاصلاحات

That proves what I said before,Democracy leads to unity,dictatorship leads to seperation

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January 27th, 2012, 10:20 pm

 

184. majedkhaldoun said:

January 27th, 2012, 10:40 pm

 

185. Tara said:

Homs massacre

Published on Friday 27 January 2012 14:37

Meanwhile, a video posted online by activists showed the bodies of five small children, five women of varying ages and a man, all bloodied and piled on beds. It appeared to be an apartment after a building was hit yesterday in the Karm el-Zaytoun neighborhood of the city. A narrator said an entire family had been “slaughtered”, thought The video could not be independently verified.

Details of yesterday’s wave of killings in Homs were emerging from an array of residents and activists today, though they said they were having difficulty because of continuing gunfire.

“There has been a terrifying massacre,” Rami Abdul-Rahman, director of the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, tsaid. He called for an independent investigation of the killings.

There were also a string of attacks by unknown gunmen on army checkpoints, Saleh said. Checkpoints are a frequent target of dissident troops who have joined the opposition.

The violence culminated with the evening killing of the family, Saleh said, adding that the full details of what happened were not yet clear.

The Observatory said 29 people were killed, including eight children, when a building came under heavy mortar and machine gun fire. Some residents spoke of another massacre that took place when shabiha – armed regime loyalists – stormed the district, slaughtering residents in an apartment, including children.

“It’s racial cleansing,” said one Sunni resident of Karm el-Zaytoun. “They are killing people because of their sect,” he said.

Some residents said kidnappers were holding Alawites in the building hit by mortars and gunfire in Karm el-Zaytoun, but the reports could not be confirmed.

(…)

http://www.scotsman.com/news/international/syria_assad_s_forces_attack_residential_buildings_killing_30_say_reports_1_2082276

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January 27th, 2012, 11:02 pm

 

186. Ghufran said:

خفضت إيران اليوم قيمة عملتها الريال بنسبة 8%، وأعلنت أنها ستفرض سعرا موحدا لصرف العملات بهدف محاربة السوق السوداء، والتي شهدت الأونة الأخيرة ارتفاعا كبيرا للدولار على خلفية العقوبات الغربية الجديدة التي فرضت على إيران.
وأوضح محافظ البنك المركزي محمود بهماني أن السعر الجديد للدولار هو 12260 ريالا، وسيطبق هذا السعر بعد غد السبت في كل المؤسسات والمعاملات البنكية، ووفق بيانات المركزي فإن سعر الدولار بلغ الخميس 11296 ريالا.
وستتيح هذه الخطوة خفض المستوى المرتفع لنسبة التضخم التي زادت إلى 20% خلال الأشهر الستة عشر.
وبالرغم من خفض قيمة الريال فإن السعر المحدد يبقى أقل بكثير من السعر الذي بيع بها الدولار الأميركي في مكاتب الصرف العام الجاري، حيث بلغ سعره أكثر من عشرين ألف ريال في ظل مسارعة الإيرانيين لتحويل مدخراتهم إلى العملات الأجنبية.
Interest rate on saving accounts: up to 21%

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January 27th, 2012, 11:14 pm

 

187. Ghufran said:

Russia will veto any aggressive UN resolution but will abstain if the resolution is modified to meet certain Russian requirements. Any future regime needs to provide guarantees to Russia who seems now less concerned about protecting Bashar but more focused on preserving the Syrian army and seeing its friends take some government positions. Regime loyalists need to remember that there was life before Bashar and there will be life after him,there is nothing wrong in sidelining a divisive figure like Bashar if that is likely to help the country heal and move forward.

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January 27th, 2012, 11:22 pm

 

188. Ghufran said:

سفير روسيا في الأمم المتحدة : موسكو مستعدة لبحث مشروع القرار العربي الاوروبي بشأن سوريا

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January 27th, 2012, 11:26 pm

 

189. ann said:

There’s a new SC poll in the upper left corner of this page

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January 27th, 2012, 11:53 pm

 

190. Son of Damascus said:

Majed,

I did not imply you believe in the “end justifies the means”, I implied in civil war and war in general many people believe that, and pursue that type of thinking.

And in every civil war there are outsiders that help influence one side or another (or both), it is true in the US, Spanish, French, even Rwandan civil war, and sadly would be the case in Syria if full on civil war happens. These outsiders have their own interest (mainly money) at heart when they get involved, and unfortunately for us to them innocent Syrian lives are not only expandable, but the more that die the more money they stand to make.

A good book that talks about foreign involvement in modern civil wars (mainly african) is Merchant of Death, it is a story about a Russian man named Victor Bout who supplied arms to all sides in pretty much every conflict that happened in the 90’s (the movie God of War was loosely based on his life, and actually one of his smuggling planes was used in the movie). It is a good read and I highly recommend you picking it up (very entertaining, and quit diabolical).

The most important lesson we Syrians can learn from Lebanon, is not how ugly and brutal we can turn on each other, but how bloody efficiently this regime works under such circumstances.

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January 27th, 2012, 11:58 pm

 

191. irritated said:

157. SANDRO LOEWE

Your endlessly repetitive mantra that the regime will fall, that the people who support it are dummies etc.. etc.. is a clear sign that you want to convince yourself otherwise you won’t repeat at each of you post.
If Bashar survives and the Russian win the political war, (edited for hateful language)

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January 28th, 2012, 12:17 am

 

192. irritated said:

187. Ghufran

Bashar is going to probably be the scapegoat, but we all know that the regime is not Bashar. So the regime will survive even if Bashar goes (even temporarily as the french are suggesting ). Bashar is probably the less hardliner of the regime.
I think when the opposition will be sitting in the dialog with the regime, as they will be obliged to do it according to the AL plan, they may painfully regret Bashar al Assad.

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January 28th, 2012, 12:24 am

 

193. majedkhaldoun said:

Iran parliament will vote on banning export of Iran oil to Europe.

Self sanction

Sorry Ann I beat you to this news,but you can continue to talk about Cambodia

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January 28th, 2012, 12:47 am

 

194. majedkhaldoun said:

Khaled Mashaal left Syria to Qatar

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January 28th, 2012, 12:54 am

 

195. bronco said:

#155 Tara

This is where the information comes from.

“The SNC said in an interview with the Kuwaiti newspaper Al Rai that Saud Al Faisal informed them that Saudi Arabia will recognise the SNC as the “official representative of the Syrian people”, at a yet unspecified date.”

I have not seen any official declaration directly by the Saudis. It is a second hand information.

In my view this is a propaganda agitated by the SNC carried by the media to threaten and humiliate the Syrian government in retaliation for Moallem dismissing attitude toward the GCC.

The GCC may eventually recognize the SNC as France did, as “a legitimate interlocutor with which we will continue to work” or at best “a official representative of the opposition”

In the remote hypothesis that the SNC is recognized as the ‘official representative of the Syrian people”, then it means that the Syrian government is not anymore representing the Syrians, so what’s the point of the dialog with the Syrian government included in Arab League plan?
The Arab league plan becomes automatically void.

In my view, the SNC is so desperate to be recognized as ‘something’, whatever it is, just not to be dismissed and ignored as they have been by the Arab League and most foreign countries. They need that because when dialog time comes, they don’t want the Syrian local opposition to have any word, they want to be the only one to negotiate. They have begged every single country without success. I think it is one more attempt to get some recognition.

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January 28th, 2012, 1:15 am

 

196. VOLK said:

European resolution on Syria crosses Russia’s “red lines”

A proposed European-Arab UN resolution on the Syria crisis crosses Russia’s “red lines” on opposing sanctions or an arms embargo, Russia’s UN envoy said Friday.
Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters after UN Security Council talks on a draft text proposed by France, Britain, Germany, Morocco and other Arab states that the document was “unacceptable.”
Churkin, whose country is a strong ally of the Damascus government, accused the Arab League of trying to “impose” a Syria solution and some of its members of seeking to “undercut” efforts to find a political end to the deadly showdown between President Bashar al-Assad and opposition demonstrators.

The new Europe-Arab resolution gives strong backing to an Arab League plan that calls on Assad to hand over powers so that a new election can be held. It supports Arab League sanctions without making any call for compulsory international action.
Russia, with China, vetoed a European proposed resolution on Syria in October. They accused the western powers of seeking regime change in Syria. Moscow has since proposed its own resolution but there have been hardly any talks on the text.
Churkin said that Russia’s delegation had “explained what we consider our red lines, where we cannot go.” These include any hint of sanctions or an arms embargo.
Churkin said the Europe-Arab draft “not only ignored our red lines but also added some new elements which we find unacceptable as a matter of principle.”

The Russian ambassador said the Arab League and the proposed resolution sought to “impose” a political outcome in Syria before talks have started.
“The Security Council cannot go about imposing solutions in crisis situations in various countries of the world,” he stated.
Churkin was critical of Arab states which have withdrawn from the Arab League monitoring mission in Syria.
“The Arab League may have its ideas where political dialogue should go. Certainly they are free to express those ideas but the Security Council should not be a tool to impose specific solutions on countries including in this particular case Syria,” he said.
He added however that Russia was ready to take part in more talks on the text.
http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=357865

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January 28th, 2012, 1:15 am

 

197. irritated said:

#195. majedkhaldoun

“Khaled Mashaal left Syria to Qatar”

But he did not close the Hamas offices in Damascus. The US considers the Hamas as a “terrorist organization”, so it will not be a big loss for Syria if it closes the offices in Damascus.
Good luck to Qatar, they will have offices of two terrorist organizations, the Taliban and Hamas.

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January 28th, 2012, 1:21 am

 

198. Revlon said:

193. irritated:
((187. Ghufran
Bashar is going to probably be the scapegoat, but we all know that the regime is not Bashar))

What is he in your opinion?
A dummy!
When he gives Speeches you invariably applaud his performance, courage and political Savvy!
He can say yes, or no to the ongoing massacres!
Can’t he?
He can take the plane and defect to Russia, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Lebanon, or any BRIC country!
Can’t he?

((So the regime will survive even if Bashar goes (even temporarily as the French are suggesting).
Can you define “Temporarily”?
– Length of time? 1 day, 1 week, 1 months, 1year?
– Until when?
Until Unity government is formed and assumes full power?
Until New elections are held?
Until he is through from investigations of 7000-plus crime against humanity and through with serving 7000-plus life terms or surviving 7000-plus hanging episodes!

((Bashar is probably the less hardliner of the regime.))
Define hardliner!
He characterised the protests as conspiracy and sedition!
What would the hardliners consider it?

He called for burying sedition with whatever it takes?
What more would the hardliners call for?

He regarded torture and murders of unarmed civilians by his security forces and army as mistakes?
Does it make any difference to the lost souls or bereft families if the hardliners dubbed it otherwise?

Would you regard his commanding the killing of 7000 Syrian citizens, including toddlers, children, woman, wounded patients, and senior citizens in 11 months, under the watchful eyes of the world as other than hard line belligerence?

((I think when the opposition will be sitting in the dialog with the regime, as they will be obliged to do it according to the AL plan))

Anyone who shares a round table with any crime suspects of the regime shall be considered an accomplice to their murders and doomed to become an outcast of the Revolution for Freedom.

((They may painfully regret Bashar al Assad))!

Do not worry Irritated!
The only ones who shall painfully regret shall be the regime and their supporters, irrespective of ideology or ethnicity, who over the last 11 years of Jr’s reign, and over 11 months of this Revolution have let a chance after chance for a genuine national reconciliation to slip away, deluding themselves into being able to hold on to their blood-stained Godfather’s legacy, even it required the re-enactment of its ugliest chapters.

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January 28th, 2012, 1:32 am

 

199. zoo said:

Iran could stop exporting oil to Europe immediately inflicting a blow to the European countries who were counting on 6 months phase-in to find a replacement provider. It may create a serious but temporary shock in some already crippled European countries.

Iran could ban EU oil exports next week: lawmaker
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/27/us-iran-sanctions-oil-idUSTRE80Q0GW20120127

Reuters) – A law to be debated in Iran’s parliament on Sunday could halt exports of oil to the European Union as early as next week, the semi-official Fars news agency quoted a lawmaker as saying on Friday.

“On Sunday, parliament will have to approve a ‘double emergency’ bill calling for a halt in the export of Iranian oil to Europe starting next week,” Hossein Ibrahimi, vice-chairman of parliament’s national security and foreign policy committee, was quoted as saying.

Parliament is pushing for the export ban to deny the EU a 6-month phase-in of the embargo on Iranian oil that the bloc agreed on Monday as part of a raft of tough new Western sanctions aimed at forcing Iran to curb its nuclear program.

The EU accounted for 18 percent of Iranian crude oil sales in the first half of 2011, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), making it Iran’s second biggest customer after China.

“If the deputies arrive at the conclusion that the Iranian oil exports to Europe must be halted, the parliament will not delay a moment (in passing the bill),” Fars quoted Moayed Hosseini-Sadr, a member of parliament’s energy committee, as saying.

“If Iran’s oil exports to Europe, which is about 18 percent (of Iran’s oil exports) is halted the Europeans will surely be taken by surprise, and will understand the power of Iran and will realize that the Islamic establishment will not succumb to the Europeans’ policies,” he said.

Reflecting how seriously Tehran was taking the idea, Iran’s OPEC governor Mohammad Ali Khatibi told the ILNA news agency the country might choose to raise the issue at the next OPEC meeting.

Iran’s conservative-dominated parliament has previously shown it is ready to force the government to take action against what it sees as hostility from the West.

In November it voted to expel the British ambassador after London announced new sanctions ahead of other EU countries.

The day after that vote, radical Iranians stormed the British embassy, causing London to withdraw all staff and close the mission.

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January 28th, 2012, 1:36 am

 

200. Revlon said:

The resive loop of Damascus suburbs is beomming to tight for comfort to Jr’s neck!

Saqba, a Damascus Suburb is firmly under the control of the FSA and its volunteers.
Arwa Daimon from Saqba, today
28/01/2012
CNN
تقرير صحفي مترجم من داخا سقبا – دمشق

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January 28th, 2012, 1:56 am

 

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