“Syria’s chaos isn’t America’s fault,” by Miller; “Abu Ali’s wake-up call,” by Abdul-Ahad

UN: Data analysis suggests over 60,000 people killed in Syria

Syria’s chaos isn’t America’s fault
By Aaron David Miller, Published: January 1

Aaron David Miller is vice president for current initiatives at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and has advised Democratic and Republican secretaries of state on the Middle East. His books include the forthcoming “Can America Have Another Great President?”

Who lost Syria? Comments of some U.S. senators, analysts and journalists, including the editorial board of this newspaper, suggest there is no doubt: Bashar al-Assad and his thugocracy are primarily responsible for the killings, but the tragedy of Syria is also a direct result of a terrible failure of leadership on the part of the international community, and of the United States in particular.

Syria, it is charged, is Barack Obama’s Rwanda.

Don’t believe it.

The idea that Syria was anyone’s to win or lose, or that the United States could significantly shape the outcome there, is typical of the arrogant paternalism and flawed analysis that have gotten this country into heaps of trouble in the Middle East over the years.

One of the virtues of the Arab ­Spring/Winter is that Arab people came to own their politics — for better or worse. This sense of ownership was often painful to watch — democracy isn’t always liberal — but it brought authority and legitimacy to the political turbulence roiling that region since late 2010. That made change real and home-grown. The United States and Israel were not central to the myths, tropes and narratives of these historic changes, nor should they be.

Some have argued for intervention by attempting to draw a parallel to Libya: We helped the rebels bring down Moammar Gaddafi, this thinking goes. Why not do the same in Syria?

Three interconnected realities provide the answer. First, there was an international consensus for action in Libya, specifically through the United Nations and NATO. Second, Libya was low-hanging fruit from a military perspective: It had a weak regime, no effective air defenses, no weapons of mass destruction and no allies. The Libyan rebels also held discrete territory, from which it was easy to organize.

Syria is fundamentally different. It combines the worst aspects of three volatile elements: civil war, sectarian violence and manipulation by external powers. The argument that the United States created this mess makes sense only if there really were good options to intercede earlier that might have averted this fate.

Yet that was never the case. Yes, we could have done more on the humanitarian side and perhaps taken a more active role far earlier in helping to organize a political opposition, even covertly.

But since this conflict began in early 2011, all of the military options for intervention have been heavily skewed toward risk rather than reward. Given the Assad regime’s firepower, its allies (Russia and China blocking actions in the U.N. Security Council; Iran supplying money and weapons), Assad’s determination to do whatever it took to survive and his success in keeping much of his Alawite military, security and intelligence forces intact, none of the suggested military options was consequential enough to bring down the regime or to give the rebels a victory.

To stop the regime’s assault, let alone to topple it, would have required direct military pressure, most likely a massive air and missile campaign and probably an intervention force. Those, quite rightly, were never under serious consideration. Half-measures such as arming the rebels and instituting a “no-fly” zone carried risks but no identifiable rewards. It was never clear how a limited military response would shape events. U.S. planners could not be certain that a military response wouldn’t have pushed Russia and Iran to up the ante with more weapons. And with Washington seeking Moscow’s support to keep pressure on Iran’s nuclear program, a major escalation over Syria wouldn’t have helped.

And who, exactly, would we have been arming? Once the United States backs a particular rebel group, Washington would be responsible for its actions. Neighbors such as the Saudis and Qataris may have a stake in arming Sunni fundamentalists in Syria, but the United States does not. As for the Turks, the Obama administration did not prevent Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan from acting militarily. Erdogan faced serious internal constraints: Neither the general public nor 15 million Turkish Alevis aligned ethnically with Syrian Alawites wanted war with Damascus.

The tragedy of Syria is that too much blood has flowed to imagine a negotiated settlement between the regime and the opposition — yet the horrors have not been enough to force a divided, preoccupied and self-interested international community to intervene.

We will never know about the “what ifs” had the United States intervened in a more aggressive way. But to blame the arc of this crisis on Washington or to suggest that the Obama administration made it worse fails to understand the cruel nature of the Syrian tragedy and the limits of U.S. power and our national priorities. The United States is coming out of the two longest wars in its history, in which the standard for victory was never “can we win?” but “when can we leave?”

As recent polling on the prospect of intervention in Syria shows, the American people understand this, even if those who call for more aggressive U.S. action do not. We should not be the world’s top cop or caseworker, charged with fixing every calamity. We don’t control history. And it’s time we attend to our own broken house instead of running around the world trying to repair everyone else’s.

Read more on this debate: John McCain, Joseph I. Lieberman and Lindsey O. Graham: Syria’s descent into hell The Post’s View: U.S. impotence on Syria Jackson Diehl: Watching Syria’s descent

SLIDESHOW: Syria’s rising displacement crisis – IRINnews.org

status of women in Syria under Hafiz al Assad” Lakshmi Priya, an Indian researcher, wants you to fill out this questionnaire for research. Respondent’s identity will be kept confident. Lakshmi Priya

‘The people of Aleppo needed someone to drag them into the revolution’
Ghaith Abdul-Ahad in Aleppo, guardian, 28 December 2012

Abu Ali Sulaibi was one of the first people to take up arms in Aleppo. Now he controls two shattered blocks on the frontline where he lives with his wife, four children and Squirrel the cat…

“I can’t believe that this is my mother’s living room,” he says. Then, to the men: “Wake up, you beasts!”

As no one stirs, he pulls a pistol from his belt and fires into the ceiling, bringing down a chunk of plaster. The men jump from their mats, grabbing their guns. “That was Abu Ali’s wake-up call,” he says.

Outside, Abu Ali sits on a broken plastic chair set amid the rubble. His fighters, bleary-eyed, sit around him, making Turkish coffee and smoking. There is no food. The men live on one meal a day and many have not eaten since lunch the day before.

A trickle of civilians who braved the sniper fire to reach Abu Ali’s headquarters now come forward, as they do each morning, to ask favours of the chief. Some are trying to salvage their food or furniture, others come to ask permission to scavenge or squat in the empty apartments.

On this morning, six civilians stand sheepishly in front of him: a man in his 50s and his teenage son; a lanky man in a coat that is too big for him; a young engineer in rimless glasses and a bald man with his sister, who wears a black hijab. The civilians stay at a distance out of respect or fearing his unchecked anger.

“What do you want?”

“We want to collect some of our stuff, Abu Ali,” the older man says.

“Not today. Come back on Saturday.”

“But you told us to come on Wednesday.”

“I changed my mind. You should know that this is the state of Abu Ali Sulaibi.” He roars out his catchphrase as much for the benefit of his men as the civilians.

“You are all informers,” he tells the scared civilians. “I know you cross back to government side and report on us.”

“We are not,” says the bald man. “Our hearts are with you.”

“When you say that, I know you are an informer.” Turning to one of his men he says, half-joking: “Wasn’t he the one who was chasing us when we were out demonstrating?” The bald man’s face turns pale.

Abu Ali keeps the civilians waiting for two hours. Then, like a true autocrat, he quickly changes his mind and summons two of his men to take them where they want to go.

Al-Rashed Predicts al-Assad’s Fall in March 2013 – 01/01/2013
By Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed – As-Sharq al-Awsat

What if our hopes our disappointed and a third year passes with Bashar al-Assad still clinging on to power in Damascus?

At this point we would have no other choice but to apologize, stop writing, or pay the price for our mistaken analysis of the situation. Although I am being careful not to predict particular dates for al-Assad’s fall, all information confirms that his regime cannot last long, and the only predication that I am comfortable making is that he will fall by the end of the second year of the Syrian revolution. …

Increasing Barbarity Gaining a Clearer View of the Syrian Civil War
By Christoph Reuter – Spiegel

…What these foreigners in Aleppo have in common, says one member of the Ahrar al-Sham brigade, is less a hatred of Assad than a conviction that they must fight against all Shiites, whom they consider traitors to Sunni Islam. “When this is over,” the man says, “they want to continue on and fight against the Hezbollah.” These men with beards and Kalashnikovs, constantly shouting “Allahu akbar,” do fit with a certain framework, but that framework doesn’t exist anymore. Nor does the image of the ultra-warrior apply to all who adorn themselves with the al-Qaida logo. …

The true danger, the one we sense growing with each trip we make to Syria, is the increasing brutality and barbarism on both sides. The question is no longer simply how this conflict will end, but also at what price…. Tens of thousands of people have died. They are civilians, soldiers and rebels. Gangs massacre their way through suburbs and villages. Half a million people have fled abroad, and far more are desperately on the move within their own country, afraid to stay where they are, but fearing death around every next corner.

A year ago, Homs, Aleppo, Rastan, Talbiseh, Douma, Zabadani, Deir el-Zour, Idlib and hundreds of other cities and villages did not yet look like small Mediterranean Stalingrads. The irresistible pull of revenge increases with each wave of killing, for both the Alawites and the Sunnis.

Analysis: U.N. confronts failure of diplomacy in Syria December 29, 2012. REUTERS

“It’s understood that Bashar al-Assad’s regime will not last long,” said Georgy Mirsky, a Middle East expert at the Institute for World Economy and International Relations in Moscow.

“But this does not mean that Russia is ready to join the West, the Turks and the Arabs and demand that Assad go? That would be senseless. Syria is lost (to Russia) anyway,” he said.

At least Russia “will be able to say that we do not abandon our friends,” Mirsky said.

Syrian war leaves children traumatize
By Carol Morello, Wash Post

Kids who fled the country find different ways to deal with the things they saw in their homeland…..

Violent Acts by Regime Supporter- Video (Very graphic) Syria video shows stabbing and stoning blamed on Assad militia, BEIRUT | Wed Jan 2, 2013 (Reuters)

Syria begins year with more air raids, clashes
Gulf Times – 02 January, 2013

Syrians woke up to air strikes near Damascus on New Year’s Day and the closure of Aleppo airport due to rebel attacks, hours after dozens of people took to the streets of the capital calling for the regime’s ouster.

The violence came a day after activists reported finding dozens of mutilated bodies, another sign of the gruesome nature of the 21-month conflict… There have been continued attempts by opposition militants to target civilian aircraft, which could cause a humanitarian disaster,” an airport official said…. The Observatory said 30 bodies were found in Barzeh district, while the Syrian Revolution General Commission said 50 bodies were found with their heads “cut and disfigured to the point that it was no longer possible to identify” them….

Laying Groundwork for Life After Syria’s Assad: As Regime Teeters, Jews Mull Outreach to Rebel Fighters
By Nathan Guttman, January 01, 2013, Forward

Future Leaders?: With Syrian rebels close to tipping the balance against strongman Bashar al-Assad, Jews are starting to think about their next steps…. Notably absent from most discussions of Syria’s future is the question of its relations with Israel…. “There are many in the opposition who believe that Israeli concerns over change in Syria are, in part at least, behind the lack of a more proactive response by the international community to the situation in Syria,” said Ammar Abdulhamid,

the Arab Spring made it clear that Arab democracy does not necessarily entail more openness to relations with Israel, at least in the absence of any progress on the Israeli-Palestinian front and other territorial disputes between Israel and its neighbors.

“The agreed line by the opposition is that the status quo in the Golan Heights will be maintained until conditions permit for organizing peace talks,” said Abdulhamid, referring to Israel’s occupation of that area since the 1967 Six Day War..

…after Assad’s fall, “a potential military-terrorist threat to Israel will likely emerge in the transition period, which will be marked by governmental instability and a lack of central control over at least some of the fighting forces.” Radwan Ziadeh argued that such concerns should not deter the community from getting involved. “It is better to invest in the future than to hang on to the old regime,” said Ziadeh…  Ziadeh talks about the role he sees for American Jews in helping the Syrian cause. “Now is the time for the Jewish community and for Israel to push the Obama administration to take action,” said Ziadeh, who supports American military intervention aimed at helping the opposition…

“Jews will always be used by one side or another” in the conflict, Gaer argues in response. But the circumstances in Syria are so harsh and clear, she said, that there is no room for concern about Jewish support de-legitimizing the opposition. “If we speak to this issue we will not hurt the effort,” she said. “Turning an eye away from what’s going on, that is what can be seen as not legitimate.”

Syria Deeply  –  December 05, 2012
Conversations: A Road Trip to Idleb

As part of our effort to highlight civilian stories, below is a conversation between Syria Deeply and a Syrian university student. She’s from a conservative Sunni family in Aleppo. She hopes to leave the country, but first had to get a passport from her family’s registered home address in Idleb. She told us her observations about the road between Aleppo and Idleb.

The driver took us to Idleb from all the “liberated” villages. We passed from a village called Kafar Halab, which has a big hill nearby. The landscapes there were amazingly beautiful. I want to buy a house there after the revolution..

There was graffiti everywhere we passed through. Some of the writings support the regime and others are supporting the opposition. Each one of them tries to erase the other one and write in its place. It is very childish. You can never trust anyone of them.

I saw the shamsin bread factory on my way and there was an unbelievable crowd in front of it. There were thousands of people fighting and pushing each other for bread. Then I saw the Magic Land restaurant complex. It has a billboard, that now reads “We are a nation whom Allah gave the pride of Islam”.

We passed from a Free Syrian Army checkpoint, and then we reach the Icarda intersection, where was located al-Nusra Front Islamic jihadist group’s checkpoint. Surprisingly, they were nice to us. Perhaps they saw my hijab and modest clothing and they respected that. We passed from Binnish and Taftanaz, both are targets of heavy aerial bombardments, however, life is still normal there and people seem not bothered at all from living under shelling. They are insisting on not leaving their homes. Some university student girls from Binnish joined our vehicle and told their stories of how they are going to Idleb everyday for their lectures, fearing all the way that a shell, a barrel or a car bomb will take their lives…

Finally we reached Idleb, but my passport wasn’t ready yet. I wandered around and had a tea near the souk. They have a nice souk (covered market), which is exactly a smaller copy of our old souk in Aleppo. There were a lot of people and life was bustling there, just like it used to be in Aleppo before the big fire in the old city and the historic souk two months ago. I bought a Derby chips (a very famous Syrian produced potato chips) and the seller started to chat with me when he heard my Aleppo accent.

He asked me about the situation in Aleppo and I replied that it is still not good. He replied saying that when they were being shelled in Idleb we were making barbeques and eating kebab in Aleppo! I got mad and left the place.

I bought some bread from there to bring it home with me, because there is no bread in Aleppo. Before, we used to bring home sweets and other luxuries from our trips, but now a piece of bread is more valued than anything else… I hold the bread with both hands the entire road as if it is a treasure. On my way back to Aleppo, in the front seat of the bus there was very obsequious man, who used to greet every checkpoint we were stopped by. He sucked up to them whether if they were army or rebel checkpoints.

We reached Saraqeb, which is perhaps the most bombarded town in all of Syria. If not all houses are destroyed then they are half destroyed. We saw a shepherd with his sheep in the beautiful nature near the town. I saw a lot of people who had lost their young sons and children, their relatives, but somehow they were still hopeful [things would get better].

I cannot say how my heart was tearing apart on the road every time I saw these people and our beautiful country burning everywhere. I am sick of all the propaganda, applauses, analysis, and everything from both sides. What I saw on the road was enough for me.

This people want to live!

The new kind of visitors to Syria

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/28/world/middleeast/battle-for-aleppo-shows-weaknesses-of-both-sides.html?_r=0

Speaking in French-accented English, he said he was not Syrian, but a roaming jihadist who had journeyed here to help the Sunni uprising against President Bashar al-Assad’s secular, Alawite rule.

“I am a Muslim,” he said. “When you see on TV many of your brothers and sisters being killed you have to go help them. This is an obligation in Islam.”

The presence of this foreign antigovernment fighter, who claimed to be from Paris and gave his name as Abu Abdullah, pointed to recurring questions of the battle for Syria’s largest city: How much longer will the fighting last, and what will its effects be?

The presence of foreign fighters like Abu Abdullah, and the calls for religious law that have been heard in many places across rebel-held territory, have left many to say that the fall of Mr. Assad, even if the day came soon, would signal the end of one phase of the war, and perhaps the start of another. In this way, Aleppo offered a glimpse.

Abu Abdullah, for his part, wandered the front with unmistakable approval of the Syrian fighters around him. With dreadlocks protruding beneath his black watch cap, he slung his Dragunov-style rifle and surveyed the broken buildings, looking for an elevated spot from which to watch the army positions near Hanano, waiting for a soldier to become a target.

He said that he had fought in Pakistan and Afghanistan and suggested that he had been a sniper in Iraq. Now, he said, it was Syria’s turn at war, which mixes an uprising against a repressive government with the older, uglier contest between Sunnis and Shiites. His mission suggested he saw no quick end to the violence. “I am here,” he said, “to teach the Syrians to snipe.”

Jabhat Al-Nusra’s Emir: America’s Designation Of The Group As A Terrorist Organization Is Merely An Expression Of Its Failure In The Region

On December 27, 2012, the Syrian jihadi group Jabhat Al-Nusra (JN) released a 23-minute audio-recorded message by its Emir, Abu Muhammad Al-Julani, in which he responds to American’s recent move of designating JN a terrorist organization. Al-Julani says that the designation is an expression of America’s failure in the region, and thanks all those who stood by JN following this move, noting that their support is an indication of JN’s popularity among the Syrian people. It is noteworthy that Al-Julani’s address was posted on JN’s Facebook page, since the Shumoukh Al-Islam forum, JN’s usual outlet for publishing its materials, has been offline for several days.

U.S.-Approved Arms for Libya Rebels Fell Into Jihadis’ Hands
By JAMES RISEN, MARK MAZZETTI and MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT
Published: December 5, 2012

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration secretly gave its blessing to arms shipments to Libyan rebels from Qatar last year, but American officials later grew alarmed as evidence grew that Qatar was turning some of the weapons over to Islamic militants, according to United States officials and foreign diplomats.

Envoy to Syria Warns of Slide to Hellish Fiefs With Huge Toll
By KAREEM FAHIM and HWAIDA SAAD
December 30, 2012

BEIRUT, Lebanon — The international envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, drew a grim portrait on Sunday of the country’s future in the absence of a political solution, warning of a state carved up by warlords and a death toll that would rapidly surge, while conceding that there was little sign that the antagonists intended to negotiate.

At a news conference at Arab League headquarters in Cairo, Mr. Brahimi said the violence, which has already killed tens of thousands of people, could claim 100,000 lives over the next year.

“People are talking about a divided Syria being split into a number of small states like Yugoslavia,” he said.

“This is not what is going to happen. What will happen is Somalization — warlords,” Mr. Brahimi said, according to a transcript of his remarks. Without a peace deal, he added, Syria would be “transformed into hell.”….

You’ve got to be careful when Syria’s rebels are perpetually “closing in”

Remember the days when we thought Egypt’s path to democracy was a done deal? Western-trained Mohamed Morsi had invited the people to come and meet him in Hosni Mubarak’s former presidential palace, the old military toffs in the “Supreme Council of the Armed Forces” had been pensioned off and the International Monetary Fund was waiting to bestow some of those cruel deprivations upon Egypt that would ready it for our financial benevolence. How happy the Middle East optimists were by mid-2012.

Next door, Libya produced a victory for nice, pro-Western secularist Mahmoud Jibril, promising freedom, stability, a new home for the West in one of the Arab world’s most fecund oil producers. It was a place where even US diplomats could wander around virtually unprotected.

Tunisia may have an Islamist party running its government, but it was a “moderate” administration – in other words, we thought it would do what we wanted – while the Saudis and the Bahraini autocracy, with the purse-lipped support of Messrs Obama and Cameron, quietly suppressed what was left of the Shia uprising which threatened to remind us all that democracy was not really welcome among the wealthiest Arab states. Democracy was for the poor.

Closing in

So, too, in Syria. By the spring of last year, the Western commentariat was writing off Bashar al-Assad. He did not deserve “to live on this earth”, according to French Foreign Secretary Laurent Fabius. He must “step down”, “step aside”. His regime had only weeks to go, perhaps only days. This was the “tipping point”.

Then by summer, when the “tipping point” had come and gone, we were told that Assad was about to use gas “against his own people”. Or that his supplies of chemical weapons might “fall into the wrong hands” (the “right hands” still presumably being Assad’s).

Syria’s rebels were always “closing in” – on Homs, then Damascus, then Aleppo, then Damascus again. The West supported the rebels. Money  and guns aplenty came from Qatar and Saudi Arabia, moral support from Obama, Clinton, the pathetic Hague, Hollande, the whole factory of goodness – until, inevitably, it turned out that the rebels contained rather  a lot of Salafists, executioners, sectarian killers and, in one case, a teenage head-chopper who behaved rather like the ruthless regime they were fighting. The factory had to put some of its machinery into reverse. The US still supported the good, secular rebels but now regarded the horrible Salafist rebels as a “terrorist organisation”…..

The Post’s View
U.S. impotence on Syria

by Editorial Board, December 29

AS 2012 COMES to a close, Syria is headed toward a bloody and chaotic end to what began as a peaceful uprising against an autocratic regime. This would be a catastrophe that could destabilize much of the Middle East, provide al-Qaeda with a new base of operations, and lead to the transfer or even use of chemical weapons.

Above all, the crisis is the result of the brutality and ruthlessness of ruler Bashar al-Assad and the family clique around him, and their supporters in Iran and Russia. But it is also reflects a massive failure of Western — and particularly American — leadership, the worst since the Rwandan genocide two decades ago.

 

Comments (189)


Pages: « 1 2 3 [4] Show All

151. zoo said:

Moslem Brotherhod activists in rich Arab countries must restrain themselves for now, Morsi needs GCC’s money. In poor countries, no restrictions.

http://www.thenational.ae/news/uae-news/politics/egyptian-officials-visit-uae-over-brotherhood-arrests

Egypt’s ambassador to the Emirates this week urged Egyptians not to do anything that might harm UAE-Egypt relations.

“We want people to be calm so that in the end it does not backfire on relations between the two countries,” said Tamer Mansour.

Read more: http://www.thenational.ae/news/uae-news/politics/egyptian-officials-visit-uae-over-brotherhood-arrests#ixzz2Gv2fqf4K
Follow us: @TheNationalUAE on Twitter | thenational.ae on Facebook

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January 3rd, 2013, 8:34 am

 

152. zoo said:

#149 Juergen

“I have never seen an constitution which cares even for the wife/spouse of the President, apparently thats an urgent issue for the regime.”

Have you checked as well the fresh Egyptian constitution?

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January 3rd, 2013, 8:36 am

 

153. Syria no Kandahar said:

When is Mofaz Alkateb moving to the 80% liberated Syria? Or may be living in Istanbul and having Turkish Kebab every day better than the liberated Azaz,kefernabl,Sarakeb or Abukamal? I guess it is win-win situation : Kebab in Istanbul ,Jaccozi in Aldoha ….. While Syrians are f…d up by Alnusra none-terrorists freedom fighters .

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January 3rd, 2013, 8:36 am

 

154. apple_mini said:

War is The devil. Everyone in it will stray further and further from a normal human being. Both sides have enough blood on their hands. Instead of spraying hatred and fueling revenge, we should try to settle down in peace.

Well, just not a phony and shady one. So far, there is no figure from the opposition side who possesses power, vision and courage to make it happen.

So the end of suffering of Syria is not in sight yet.

The war will still be marching on…

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January 3rd, 2013, 8:36 am

 

155. Hopeful said:

Zoo,

When did you ever hear any of these people (Ghaliun, Qodmani, Khatib, etc.) say he/she wants to rule Syria? When did you ever hear anyone from the opposition says he/she wants any of these guys to be president of Syria?

Again, this is not about the opposition and its leaders – they will come and go. This is about a dictatorial regime that simple cannot continue in the 21st century. People will not tolerate it anymore. The sooner the regime’s supporters recognize this simple fact, the sooner Syria’s agony will come to an end.

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January 3rd, 2013, 8:38 am

 

156. mjabali said:

Majedkhaldoun:

You see that within the infamous stabbing video there was a Sunni amongst the killers. al-Quran says in this case to make sure before you label others with a bad adjectives.

As for the Alawis; here are two important texts just came out fresh today. Those need to be translated and hope Edgar Allen Poe, or anyone else, would do this.

The first article is a letter to Mo’az al-Khatib, George Sabra and the FSA in general:

http://www.causes.com/actions/1711657?causes_ref=email&template=cause_mailer%2Fweekly_report&utm_campaign=weekly_report&utm_medium=email&utm_source=causes

The other one appeared as an article in AllforSyria website.

http://www.all4syria.info/Archive/65034

Enjoy

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January 3rd, 2013, 8:43 am

 

157. zoo said:

#152 SNK

Al Khatib is under an intense Erdogan training program to boost him as his “heir” in Syria. He is learning turkish that will become the second language in primary schools in Syria together with mandatory Islamic religions classes and Islamic quizz at the university entrance as it is now in Turkey.
The ‘Turkish model is what they call the ‘Post-Assad’ strategy
It is certainly a more useful training that be in a mall in small Qatar among the microcophalic Sumos.

Obama did not renew his invitation to Al Khatib and Hollande is having second thought of inviting a defender of Al Qaeeda.

If Al Khatib is not welcomed in the EU or the US anymore, Erdogan is more than happy to host him in the same flat as Interpol wanted Iraq’s Tarek Hashemi.
Together and with the advices of the S.ultan and his V.izir, they can also plan “Post-Al Maliki’ strategy.

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January 3rd, 2013, 8:53 am

 

158. zoo said:

#154

Sorry, the NC is not the ‘opposition’ it is recognized by the US and several countries as ‘sole representative of the Syrian people’, it’s almost a government and pushed by France and the UK the coalition has announced it is working on promoting itself to a government ( until now.. nothing).
The ‘announced ambassador’ in UK is British and in France, he is french…
Al Khatib is not just the ‘leader’ of the opposition. Does it sound normal to you that the ‘leader’ of the Syrian people, even without the title of president be american, german or french?

Now if you think that “they come and go” once they get the power, just look at Egypt. They’ll find any way to stay in power.
This is not Sweden or Switzerland, most countries of the regions are known for taking power by force, Qatar is a a good example. There is no magic..the mentality haven’t changed.
Just hopeful rosy thinking.

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January 3rd, 2013, 9:05 am

 

159. majedkhaldoun said:

Zoozoo
You said AlKhatib is
He is learning turkish that will become the second language in primary schools in Syria together with mandatory Islamic religions
Zoozoo, it is a lie, you are becoming a lier.

Mjabali
Those murderers must be killed ,no matter what their religion is,
if we get to civil war,what will happen is different,in civil war innocent will suffer because of their name, tribe, or neighbourhood,the regime is pushing toward civil war,the regime is sectarian,this is the main mistake of the regime,that is why it is important that Alawis overthrow this regime.

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January 3rd, 2013, 9:19 am

 

160. zoo said:

Hopeful

“This is about a dictatorial regime that simple cannot continue in the 21st century.”

I wonder why you keep repeating that?
It is obvious that the mode of governing will change to become more democratic. After all what happened, do you think Russia and China will tolerate that it remains as before.
Of course it will change but not like magic, it will go by stages.

I have no doubt that Syria will have a more democratic government and this can be achieved better with negotiations, under the pressure from the countries supporting both side rather than with violence and 100,000 more death. The Syrian government got the lesson.

The Bashar Al Assad is such a minor issue in front of what the countries issues are. Sticking to his ‘removal’ at any cost as a prec-condition is childish and non-productive. Why is the opposition so fearful that he stays during the transition? They seem to attribute to him a magical power that we know he does not have. It’s time the opposition stops acting like fearful and revengeful kids and move on for the sake of the Syrian people.

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January 3rd, 2013, 9:23 am

 

161. zoo said:

Mimo @158

“Zoozoo, it is a lie, you are becoming a lier.”

According to you, I have always been one, no? So what’s new?

Anyways,check the news about Turkey’s ramping re-islamization before accusing me.

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January 3rd, 2013, 9:28 am

 

162. majedkhaldoun said:

Zoozoo
Assad is a murderer, he must go,as a precondition to dialogue,and no free election can be done with Assad there,to you Assad is god,to the Syrian he is criminal and must be killed.

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January 3rd, 2013, 9:30 am

 

163. Ghat Al Bird said:

Mr. Miller either has a very very short memory span or lives in fantasy land. But it also could be that he knows not what he is talking about.

This is the background to America’s involvement by a retired US General…..

In October, 2007, Gen. Wesley Clark gave a speech to the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco (seven-minute excerpt in the video below) in which he denounced what he called “a policy coup” engineered by neocons in the wake of 9/11. After recounting how a Pentagon source had told him weeks after 9/11 of the Pentagon’s plan to attack Iraq notwithstanding its non-involvement in 9/11, this is how Clark described the aspirations of the “coup” being plotted by Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and what he called “a half dozen other collaborators from the Project for the New American Century”:

Six weeks later, I saw the same officer, and asked: “Why haven’t we attacked Iraq? Are we still going to attack Iraq?”

He said: “Sir, it’s worse than that. He said – he pulled up a piece of paper off his desk – he said: “I just got this memo from the Secretary of Defense’s office. It says we’re going to attack and destroy the governments in 7 countries in five years – we’re going to start with Iraq, and then we’re going to move to SYRIA, LLIBYA, SOMALIA, SUDAN and IRAN.”

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January 3rd, 2013, 9:34 am

 

164. zoo said:

Even as Saleh is no more Yemen president since February 2012, it seems the transition dialog cannot proceed as long as he is in the country.
Will it after he leaves?

Saleh under pressure to leave Yemen before National Dialogue – Yemeni official

03/01/2013
http://www.asharq-e.com/news.asp?section=1&id=32414

By Mohammed Jumeh, Arafat Madabish and Hamdan al-Rahbi
London/Sanaa, Asharq Al-Awsat – An official Yemeni source revealed that efforts are currently underway to convince former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh to leave the country for a Gulf state, in an attempt to make room for the political transition process

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January 3rd, 2013, 9:34 am

 

165. zoo said:

#161

Mimo, nobody is god to me except God.

Bashar has the support of a sizeable number of Syrians who trust him. If he forced to leave, it is like an amputation without anesthesia. It is one more psychological trauma after 21 months confrontation that has put syrians against syrians in a deadly war.

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January 3rd, 2013, 9:43 am

 

166. zoo said:

Abdullah Gul is the great man of Turkey.. not the arrogant and megalomaniac Erdogan.

We are not assuming a role in the Arab world: Turkish President

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/we-are-not-assuming-a-role-in-the-arab-world-turkish-president.aspx?pageID=238&nID=38263&NewsCatID=338

“From the very onset of the crisis, we have always opted for a controlled and orderly change in Syria. As a result of the escalation of events, we made it clear to everyone that Turkey, in unity with the free world, will support the Syrian people in their demands. But from the very beginning, I have argued that both Russia and Iran should be invited to engage with the transition in Syria to prevent further bloodshed. I believe that Russia in particular should be treated properly,” the president said.

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January 3rd, 2013, 9:49 am

 

167. Hanzala said:

Turkey sees exports record with $152 bln

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-sees-exports-record-with-152-bln.aspx?PageID=238&NID=38231&NewsCatID=344

———————-

You notice Assad supporters always criticizing Gulf Arab nations and Turkey, all of which are better and more prosperous countries than Assads Syria. So what is the Assad family’s excuse for dragging Syria into the dumps? He needed funds for his great jihad against Israel?

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January 3rd, 2013, 10:03 am

 

168. AIG said:

For 11 years Assad had all the power. He could have made democratic reforms, he didn’t. Instead he encouraged jihadists and impoverished 80% of Syria’s population. His whole 11 years in power have been a “psychological trauma” for most Syrians and now that is the excuse used to keep him in power. Pathetic.

Assad had 11 years to reform Syria. Instead he brought ruin to Syria and a sectarian civil war, not to mention that he keeps killing his own people. Calling for him to stay is way beyond ridiculous. It is being detached from reality. Assad is a total and absolute failure. There is no redeeming value in him. The results speak for themselves. Which country in the region is in a worse situation? Which regime was responsible for so many deaths? By any standard Assad is the worst of the worst. Worse than even Qaddafi.

He pursued an horrific internal policy, an horrific external policy for 11 years and he capped it of by fomenting a sectarian civil war. Just for what the regime did in Der’a any leader would go home, not to mention the 60,000 deaths after that.

Asking for him to stay makes a farce of any notion of accountability and shows that the people asking for this are not sincere about democracy. Assad needs to go, now.

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January 3rd, 2013, 10:07 am

 

169. Uzair8 said:

More on the alleged ‘fatwa’. A lengthy investigation (some excerpts and subheadings below):

How progressive AlterNet and Salon fell for “gang rape” fatwa peddled by Islamophobes

Thu, 01/03/2013

Progressive news organization AlterNet has fallen for and disseminated a story, pushed by Zionist, Islamophobic and Iranian outlets, claiming that a prominent Saudi cleric issed a religious edict authorizing sex-deprived fighters in Syria to rape women there.

[...]

Al-Arifi’s denial

[...]

Al-Arifi also posted a denial on his Facebook page and on Twitter.

[...]

The Twitter denial includes an image of a fake tweet al-Arifi said was circulating online, which was an obvious hoax because it contained far more than 140 characters.

[...]

Genealogy of the lurid story

The claim about the “fatwa” was made on Lebanon’s Al-Jadeed channel (New TV) at least as early as December 29. Al-Jadeed does not provide any evidence of the “fatwa” or say when, where or by what means it was supposedly issued. As of now, no one has produced any evidence that the “fatwa” exists, which means that no responsible news organization should behave as if it does.

[...]

Effort to discredit Syrian opposition

[...]

Zionist and Islamophobic connections

[...]

Indian website jumps on the bandwagon

[...]

Going viral

[...]

Update

[...]

Update 2

[...]

http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/how-progressive-alternet-and-salon-fell-gang-rape-fatwa-peddled-islamophobes

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January 3rd, 2013, 10:14 am

 

170. Juergen said:

Report: Syrian Envoy’s Accusations Exacerbate Strained Ties between Syria, Suleiman

“The Syrian regime has distanced itself from President Michel Suleiman over his indirect criticism of the Syrian ambassador for using the foreign ministry as a launchpad of verbal attacks against Lebanese officials, pan-Arab daily al-Hayat reported on Thursday.”

http://www.naharnet.com/stories/en/66894-report-syrian-envoy-s-accusations-exacerbate-strained-ties-between-syria-suleiman

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January 3rd, 2013, 10:16 am

 

171. habib said:

It’s funny, the Alawite lead regime turned against Jews and Israel to suck up to the Sunni Arabs and the Palestinian cause.

What did they get in return? A Jewish-Sunni alliance. Imagine if the Alawites had allied with the Israelis intead; the western world would be pro-Assad whatever he did, but the Sunnis would label him a traitor.

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January 3rd, 2013, 10:34 am

 

172. Syria no Kandahar said:

Dr Majeed mentor:

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January 3rd, 2013, 10:38 am

 

173. erin said:

It is pathotic that Miss Peggy, calls the Quatari first after leaving the hospital to discuss syria current events, it is a shame on the USA adminstration what is being done.
Clinton has her dirty hand in the hands of the Quatari islamists radicals blood hungry killers. Quatar and KSA, Kuwait and the rest of the GCC are the biggest supporter of Alqaida all over the world.
money, martyers from KSA and Egypt are the one who are fighting the west.
It seems to me that the price of bringing Assad down is connected to the killing of too many jihadists and terrorists in Syria, could be this is the theory why USA hands are tight to the pigs of GCC.
Time only will tell what game USA playing may be after all killing of Syrians is not important to the USA as much as it was Iraq and lybia, but supporting the terrorists in Syria is a red flag for USA therefore let both sides kill each other.
it is a clear game, becuaes if USA wants to kill Assad, it could hanppend long ago.

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January 3rd, 2013, 10:53 am

 

174. Juergen said:

More on the Japanese war tourist:

War tourism: A thrill-seeking Japanese trucker in Syria

“The weirdest part of his story is that he claims the Syrians he encounters think he’s Chinese, and that FSA fighters have apparently been friendly toward him, even stopping to take photos with him on occasion. Given China’s votes against U.N. sanctions that would hurt the regime of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, it’s odd that the rebels would embrace an ostensibly Chinese outsider so readily.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/01/03/war-tourism-a-thrill-seeking-japanese-trucker-in-syria/

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January 3rd, 2013, 11:11 am

 

175. Syria no Kandahar said:

See this and get a ticket to spend your next vacation in liberated Syria.Islamists,the followers
Of Mofaz Alkateb , justice :

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January 3rd, 2013, 11:12 am

 

176. zoo said:

Uzair8

“Effort to discredit Syrian opposition”

There is no need to… it is self-discrediting by embracing A Nusra terrorists.
Note that official invitations of the “Sole representative of the Syrian people” anywhere except Qatar and Turkey have dried out.
One of the few country that invited Al Khatib is Russia but he declined. Even Egypt and Saudi Arabia and older allies seem to take their distances from it after his ill-inspired defense of Al Nusra terrorists.
He may call himself ‘the sole representative of the Syrian people ‘, but he appears to be an increasingly isolated one.

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January 3rd, 2013, 11:12 am

 

177. Johannes de Silentio said:

159 ZOO

“Bashar Al Assad is such a minor issue”

If you had any credibility, you just lost it, Chuck. You should stop posting and personally apologize to every man, woman and child in the known universe for wasting their time with your blather. After which you should emigrate to Russia to prepare a home for your pal, Bashar.

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January 3rd, 2013, 11:13 am

 

178. Juergen said:

Johannes

People like Zoo would never live in “real democracies” like Russia.

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January 3rd, 2013, 11:17 am

 

179. majedkhaldoun said:

Guys
Zoozoo has only one hair on his head and he calls it Bes-shar and he worship it, all what he said is nonsense or lies.

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January 3rd, 2013, 11:37 am

 
 

181. Hopeful said:

# 159 Zoo

“Why is the opposition so fearful that he stays during the transition?”

They were not – at the beginning of the uprising. But now that he lost credibility and trust from a large segment of the population, it is no longer possible to have a transition with him. So they are afraid that 1) he is a lier and he is just playing lip service to the idea of a democratic transition, and/or 2) many Syrians will not believe in a transition that he is part of. Either way, the transition would not be successful.

So can’t you see why they are fearful? They are afraid for Syria’s future after all these sacrifices.

Now, a question to you, why are you fearful of a transition without Assad and his inner circle? Do you still believe the army and the state will collapse without them around? If so, what kind of a leader creates this massive dependency of an entire nation on just a few people?

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January 3rd, 2013, 11:59 am

 

182. Hopeful said:

# 167 AIG

I used to think that a dictatorial regime led by a brutal dictator (e.g., Gaddafi, Saddam, etc.) is the worst thing that can happen to a nation….

I was wrong. It could be worst. A dictatorial regime led by an incompetent failed leader is much much worse.

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January 3rd, 2013, 12:07 pm

 

183. zoo said:

New UN Report on Syria

Report blames Assad for foreign invader death squad crimes.

by Stephen Lendman
http://www.opednews.com/articles/New-UN-Report-on-Syria-by-Stephen-Lendman-130102-307.html

On January 2, the UN News Center headlined “Data suggests death toll could be more than 60,000, says UN human rights office.”

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) commissioned the analysis. It covers the March 15, 2011 – November 30, 2012 period.

It’s impossible to compile precise figures. Analysis depends on methodology and sources used. Bias corrupts findings.

UN Human Rights Council High Commissioner Navi Pillay long ago fell from grace. Like Ban Ki-moon, Kofi Annan, and Lakhdar Brahimi, she’s a reliable imperial partner.

Her previous reports on Syria expressed one-sided anti-Assad sentiment. She part of the conspiracy to replace him with a pro-Western puppet.

Whatever she reports is suspect. Credibility on Syria isn’t her long suit. She spurned her mandate. Instead of responsibly “strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights,” she defiled them in deference to Western interests.

Throughout the conflict, she pointed fingers the wrong way. She ignored Western-sponsored massacres and other atrocities. She blames Assad, not foreign death squads.

Syria is Washington’s war. It’s being ravaged and destroyed. Assad responsibly confronts invaders. He’s obligated to protect his people. He’s blamed for insurgent killings and atrocities. Pillay, like Western scoundrels, points fingers the wrong way.

“Given there has been no let-up in the conflict since the end of November, we can assume that more than 60,000 people have been killed by the beginning of 2013,” she said.

She believes 60,000 way underestimates true totals. She admits new data fall short of definitive analysis. Conflict complexities prevent accuracy.

Once peace is restored, she hopes further investigations will better reveal body count totals. Instead of blaming Washington, key NATO partners, rogue regional allies, and foreign invaders, she holds Assad accountable for doing his job responsibly.

“This massive loss of life could have been avoided if the Syrian Government had chosen to take a different path than one of ruthless suppression of what were initially peaceful and legitimate protests by unarmed civilians,” she claimed.

Millions of Syrians are displaced. Humanitarian crisis conditions exist. She partly admits insurgent responsibility. Overwhelmingly she points fingers the wrong way.

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January 3rd, 2013, 12:09 pm

 

184. ann said:

Arab Spring 8)

Egyptian Pound Weakens to Record After 3rd Central Bank Auction – Jan 2, 2013

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-02/egyptian-pound-weakens-to-record-after-3rd-central-bank-auction.html

The Egyptian pound weakened to a record against the dollar after the central bank held its third auction of the U.S. currency aimed at limiting its availability to conserve dwindling reserves.

The central bank sold $75 million at a cut-off price of 6.3510 pounds to the dollar, according to its data on Bloomberg. The currency fell to an all-time low of 6.3910 to the dollar as of 1:08 p.m. Cairo time, after the auction results were announced, according to prices compiled by Bloomberg.

The North African nation’s central bank started the sales this week in order to guard foreign currency reserves from further depletion after they reached the “minimum and critical level.” Net international reserves have dropped to roughly $15 billion, or about 60 percent below their level prior to the popular uprising that started two years ago. That’s enough to cover about three months of imports, central bank data show.

Each bank has been allowed to bid for as much as $11 million at this week’s auctions. The pound has depreciated about 3 percent since the sales began.

[...]

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-02/egyptian-pound-weakens-to-record-after-3rd-central-bank-auction.html

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January 3rd, 2013, 12:09 pm

 

185. revenire said:

News from the front:

“The latest FSA rat attack on the Taftanaz airbase has been a fiasco. They’re been slaughtered like chickens in large numbers. The latest news is that they were using a girl’s school around the area as a base for launching their attack. The Syria Air Force launched an airstrike while they were all inside. ALL DEAD!!!”

It’s all over really. The FSA has zero hope of winning.

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January 3rd, 2013, 12:24 pm

 

186. zoo said:

Hopeful

“Now, a question to you, why are you fearful of a transition without Assad and his inner circle? Do you still believe the army and the state will collapse without them around?”

I am fearful because I see the incompetence of the opposition that has been unable to unite after 21 months, its sectarianism, its heavy reliance on countries with a dubious agenda , its infiltrations by Islamist extremists and the absence of one or more trustworthy strong personalities that most Syrians can recognize themselves in.

While some institutions may survive, I am convinced that with a forced departure of Bashar al Assad, the army will collapse and the security with it. The country will be left at the mercy of the multiple brigades of rebels, criminals and terrorists, each one trying to impose its own ideologies. I am not the only one to see a terrible massacre looming. I am sure that is exactly what the UN Ibrahimi and the Russians think.
They have more experience than you and I and they are not as ‘hopeful’ as you are.

Ask yourself that question: If the pro-Bashar Syrians recognize Bashar al Assad and the Syrian government as a single and united entity and as their leaders, who are are the leaders and the united entity that the opposition Syrians recognize themselves in?
The FSA? Al Nusra? the Coalition, the SNC, Al Khatib, Zuheir Attasi?
Without a political and military unity, the opposition will be prevented by the international communty to take over the country. It is as simple as that. And this unity is increasingly perceived as impossible to achieve.
It seems to me that many in the West are secretly hoping that Bashar al Assad will reestablish a legal authority on the country so they don’t have to intervene militarily.

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January 3rd, 2013, 12:28 pm

 

187. Visitor said:

Zoo #146,

If I have a kid like you, I will sell him into slavery and make use of the money for something more useful. I am not expecting much in return, so I will settle for the highest offer in an auction.

I just hope the buyer will accept and abide by my no-return policy of goods sold.

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January 3rd, 2013, 12:31 pm

 

188. zoo said:

#186 Visitor

I am not surprised that you still practice slavery. It is part of your ‘culture’. I hope you wrote to Al Khatib to suggest the reinstatement of legal slavery, so you can enslave the Alawis as the people of you kind did not a long time ago.

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January 3rd, 2013, 12:42 pm

 

189. Juergen said:

Joshua has started a new thread.

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January 3rd, 2013, 12:46 pm

 

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