“Syria’s Currency Plunges, Raising Fears of Economic Chaos and Poverty,” by Joshua Landis

The exchange rate of the Syrian Pound has reportedly plunged to the 103 range against the dollar at mid-day Wednesday, March 7th, 2012 in Damascus. This is a loss of over 50% since the beginning of the uprising. Over the last month, the pound has begun to weaken significantly which has received little attention. The 100 mark is an important psychological barrier.

Syrian businessmen are taking large losses. Most rely on account receivables when they sell their goods. This means that traders who have sold goods over the last half year in Syrian pounds are taking heavy losses when they are paid back.

One businessman I spoke to this morning reports that he sold three-hundred thousand dollars of car parts several months ago in Syrian pounds. He is to be paid at the end of this month. Due to the decline of the pound over this time period from 57 to 100 pounds per dollar, he will lose close to $150,000 dollars. This is a crushing blow to business.

No one is trading the Syrian pound today because its price is decreasing every hour. No one has any idea where this might end.

The Central Bank had continually threatened that it would punish black market speculators by intervening in support of the Syrian currency, but it has not actually done this over the last few months. People have come to understand that Central Bank threats are empty. Hence the currency is collapsing. The Central Bank has not committed its reserves to defend the pound.

Most of the savings of Syrians were in Syrian pounds because the Central Bank offered high interest rates compared to the more liquid currencies which were offering rates near zero. Syrians placed confidence in the pound because it had been stable for many years. The public has been hit hard by the decline of the pound. Most Syrians are losing their life savings. Many have neglected to move out of Syrian pounds because it is against the law and because they calculated that the political climate might improve.

People are talking about an impending resignation of the head of the Central Bank, Adib Mayaleh. There has been no official confirmation of this. One cannot be sure whether changing the head of the central bank would improve the situation, unless the Syrian leadership decides to support the pound with the country’s remaining reserves. [by Joshua Landis]

News Round Up follows

The UAE has stopped issuing visas to Syrians.

China begins evacuating its workers from Syria

Demonstration in Abassiyiin, a  Damascus downtown neighborhood adjoining the Christian district. The demo was hels in front of the “Lady of Damascus” church. A new policy is to hold demonstrations near churches to impress on Syria’s Christians that they will be losers if they continue to support the regime.

INSIGHT – military intervention in Syria, post withdrawal status of forces
On Monday February 27th, 2012, WikiLeaks began publishing The Global Intelligence Files, over five million e-mails from the Texas headquartered “global intelligence” company Stratfor.
Email-ID 1671459
Date 2011-12-07 00:49:18
From bhalla@stratfor.com
To secure@stratfor.com

A few points I wanted to highlight from meetings today —

I spent most of the afternoon at the Pentagon with the USAF strategic studies group – guys who spend their time trying to understand and explain to the USAF chief the big picture in areas where they’re operating in. It was just myself and four other guys at the Lieutenant Colonel level, including one French and one British representative who are liaising with the US currently out of DC.

They wanted to grill me on the strategic picture on Syria, so after that I got to grill them on the military picture. There is still a very low level of understanding of what is actually at stake in Syria, what’s the strategic interest there, the Turkish role, the Iranian role, etc. After a couple hours of talking, they said without saying that SOF teams (presumably from US, UK, France, Jordan, Turkey) are already on the ground focused on recce missions and training opposition forces. One Air Force intel guy (US) said very carefully that there isn’t much of a Free Syrian Army to train right now anyway, but all the operations being done now are being done out of ‘prudence.’ The way it was put to me was, ‘look at this way – the level of information known on Syrian OrBat this month is the best it’s been since 2001.’ They have been told to prepare contingencies and be ready to act within 2-3 months, but they still stress that this is all being done as contingency planning, not as a move toward escalation.

I kept pressing on the question of what these SOF teams would be working toward, and whether this would lead to an eventual air campaign to give a Syrian rebel group cover. They pretty quickly distanced themselves from that idea, saying that the idea ‘hypothetically’ is to commit guerrilla attacks, assassination campaigns, try to break the back of the Alawite forces, elicit collapse from within. There wouldn’t be a need for air cover, and they wouldn’t expect these Syrian rebels to be marching in columns anyway.

They emphasized how the air campaign in Syria makes Libya look like a piece of cake. Syrian air defenses are a lot more robust and are much denser, esp around Damascus and on the borders with Israel, Turkey. They are most worried about mobile air defenses, particularly the SA-17s that they’ve been getting recently. It’s still a doable mission, it’s just not an easy one.

The main base they would use is Cyprus, hands down. Brits and French would fly out of there. They kept stressing how much is stored at Cyprus and how much recce comes out of there. The group was split on whether Turkey would be involved, but said Turkey would be pretty critical to the mission to base stuff out of there. Even if Turkey had a political problem with Cyprus, they said there is no way the Brits and the French wouldn’t use Cyprus as their main air force base. Air Force Intel guy seems pretty convinced that the Turks won’t participate (he seemed pretty pissed at them.) There still seems to be a lot of confusion over what a military intervention involving an air campaign would be designed to achieve. It isn’t clear cut for them geographically like in Libya, and you can’t just create an NFZ over Homs, Hama region. This would entail a countrywide SEAD campaign lasting the duration of the war. They font believe air intervention would happen unless there was enough media attention on a massacre, like the Ghadafi move against Benghazi. They think the US would have a high tolerance for killings as long as it doesn’t reach that very public stage. They’re also questioning the skills of the Syrian forces that are operating the country’s air defenses currently and how significant the Iranian presence is there. Air Force Intel guy is most obsessed with the challenge of taking out Syria’s ballistic missile capabilities and chem weapons. With Israel right there and the regime facing an existential crisis, he sees that as a major complication to any military intervention.

The post 2011 SOFA with Iraq is still being negotiated. These guys were hoping that during Biden’s visit that he would announce a deal with Maliki, but no such luck. They are gambling on the idea that the Iraqis remember the iran-iraq war and that maliki is not going to want to face the threat of Iranian jets entering Iraqi air space. They say that most US fighter jets are already out of Iraq and transferred to Kuwait. They explained that’s the beauty of the air force, the base in Kuwait is just a hop, skip and jump away from their bases in Europe, ie. very easy to rapidly build up when they need to. They don’t seem concerned about the US ability to restructure its forces to send a message to Iran. They gave the example of the USS Enterprise that was supposed to be out of commission already and got extended another couple years to send to the gulf. When the US withdraws, we’ll have at least 2 carriers in the gulf out of centcom and one carrier in the Med out of EuCom. I asked if the build-up in Kuwait and the carrier deployments are going to be enough to send a message to Iran that the US isn’t going anywhere. They responded that Iran will get the message if they read the Centcom Web Site. STarting Jan. 1 expect them to be publishing all over the place where the US is building up.

Another concern they have about an operation in Syria is whether Iran could impede operations out of Balad air force base in Iraq.

The French representative was of the opinion that Syria won’t be a libya-type situation in that France would be gung-ho about going in. Not in an election year. The UK rep also emphasized UK reluctance but said that the renegotiation of the EU treaty undermines the UK role and that UK would be looking for ways to reassert itself on the continent ( i don’t really think a Syria campaign is the way to do that.) UK guy mentioned as an aside that the air force base commander at Cyprus got switched out from a maintenance guy to a guy that flew Raptors, ie someone that understands what it means to start dropping bombs. He joked that it was probably a coincidence.

Fearful of a nuclear Iran? The real WMD nightmare is Syria:
Charles P. Blair of the Federation of American Scientists has a rather frightening article about what he feels is the real WMD threat: Syria.
By Charles P. Blair | 1 March 2012
Article Highlights

  • Syria has one of the largest and most sophisticated chemical weapons programs in the world and may also possess offensive biological weapons.
  • Longstanding terrorist groups and newly arrived Al Qaeda-affiliated fighters from Iraq have been active in Syria during that country’s recent insurgency.
  • The United States and regional powers — including Saudi Arabia and Iran — need to start planning now to keep Syria’s WMD out of terrorist hands if the Assad regime falls.

As possible military action against Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons program looms large in the public arena, far more international concern should be directed toward Syria and its weapons of mass destruction. When the Syrian uprising began more than a year ago, few predicted the regime of President Bashar al-Assad would ever teeter toward collapse. Now, though, the demise of Damascus’s current leadership appears inevitable, and Syria’s revolution will likely be an unpredictable, protracted, and grim affair…..

Syria ‘Will Get Worse Before It Gets Better,’ U.S. General Says
By Tony Capaccio, 2012-03-06

March 6 (Bloomberg) — The conflict in Syria “will get worse before it gets better,” General James Mattis, head of the U.S. Central Command, said today. Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad will be in power “for some time,” Mattis said in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee. The Marine Corps general also said Iran has a “full-throated” effort to back Assad….

Will there be a Kremlin U-turn on Syria?
Mar 06, 2012
By Sami Moubayed

Whenever the world seemed to start caving in around them, Syrian politicians have leaned on the Russians for support. Moscow, both now and during the Soviet era, has always been Syria’s “security blanket”. Syrian leaders, however, have almost equally misjudged how far Russia was willing to go to help them.

In 1956, then-president Shukri al-Quwatli visited Moscow seeking Russian support for Egypt in the infamous Suez War. He roared at the Kremlin: “Syria wants you to send in that big Red Army that defeated [Adolf] Hitler!”

A few years earlier, president Husni al-Za’im threatened at a press conference: “If the Americans continue to provoke me, I will extend my hand to the Russians. Yes, I will do that. I will go to Moscow and let a Third World War erupt from right over here, from Damascus!”

Today, 63 years later, there are many in Damascus who, like Husni al-Za’im, wrongly believe that Moscow would indeed ignite a “Third World War” for the sake of Syria.

Exclusive Channel 4 News footage shows medical staff torturing patients in their beds at the military hospital in Homs. Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Is the Wind Turning in Favor of Assad?
March 6, 2012 by Jacques Neriah, Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah, a special analyst for the Middle East at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, was formerly Foreign Policy Advisor to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Deputy Head for Assessment of Israeli Military Intelligence.

The Baba Amro district of Homs may now become the turning point in the year-long bloody battle between opposition forces and Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime.

Comments (232)

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201. zoo said:

Mansour Rejects Call for Protecting Syrian Rebels, Defense Council to Meet Thursday
Naharnet Newsdesk 22 hours ago

Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour on Wednesday voiced rejection of a call by U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelly for the Lebanese authorities to provide protection for the members of the rebel Free Syrian Army who flee to Lebanon, as President Michel Suleiman called the Higher Defense Council to convene on Thursday to discuss the latest developments related to the Lebanese-Syrian border.

“Lebanon cannot heed such a request; it rather acts according to its interest, security situation and capabilities, and we cannot provide support to armed elements stationed in the Lebanese territory,” Mansour said in an interview on Al-Manar television.

During a meeting with Interior Minister Marwan Charbel on Tuesday, Connelly “recognized Lebanon’s efforts to provide assistance to Syrians fleeing the violence in their country and she encouraged the Lebanese government to continue its cooperation with the international community and provide for the humanitarian needs and safety of all Syrians who have fled to Lebanon, including dissenters and deserters,” the U.S. embassy said in a statement.

She noted the Lebanese government’s “right and responsibility to secure its borders, and called for the protection of all disarmed Syrians, including members of the Free Syrian Army.”

“We do not want another Camp Ashraf in Lebanon,” Mansour said, referring to an Iranian refugee camp in Iraq’s Diyala province which is also the headquarters of the exiled People’s Mujahedin of Iran.

Former Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein welcomed the exiles to Iraq during the 1980-88 Iraq-Iran war and they have lived at the camp ever since.

“We do not want to create a security problem in Lebanon that exceeds our capabilities and violates our policy,” Mansour added.

“Offering a safe haven to armed elements is an unacceptable thing,” the foreign minister stressed.

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March 8th, 2012, 11:33 am


202. Son of Damascus said:

Abdo Hussameildin is a deputy Minister and not an assistant as some uninformed commentators wrote.

Maybe you should read the actual articles you people link!.

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March 8th, 2012, 11:33 am


203. jad said:

As I wrote before, what’s going now on ground is a planned campaign targeting the religious minorities in Syria for intimidation and to make the base ready for a full scale sectarian war, this is the last dirty trick in the book since they tried almost everything already.
I’ve been writing about what’s happening in the South between Daraa and Sweeda after the killing of a man from Sweeda by the fsa, and when things went out of hand there, the same terrorists pulled back and deny any connection to the crime, but the seeds of hatred already planted there, I read that it’s still extremely tense in that region.
The story is out in the media, not the local one and not the Lebanese for specific reasons, I expect Jumblat to stop talking about the Druz in Syria from now own:

هذه هي القصة الحقيقية لذبح نشأت العاقل التي كادت توقع فتنة مناطقية ومذهبية بين “حوران” و”السويداء” : قتل بعد الخطف وقطع بالسواطير!؟

دمشق ، السويداء ـ الحقيقة ( خاص): شهد عدد من القرى الواقعة عل طريق السويداء ـ درعا توترا وأعمال شغب كبيرة يوم الإثنين الماضي كادت أن تؤدي إلى فتنة مناطقية ومذهبية بعد العثور على جثة المساعد نشأت كمال العاقل مقتولا ، وهو من أبناء محافظة السويداء. فقد خرج مئات الشبان من تلك القرى لاعتراض السيارات التي تحمل “نمرا” تحمل اسم محافظة درعا ، وتكسير زجاجها، فضلا عن الاعتداء على ركابها واحتجاز حوالي عشرة أشخاص منهم لبضع ساعات قبل أن يتدخل ” شيوخ العقل” والوجهاء ويأمروا الشباب بإطلاق سراحهم وتأمين عودتهم سالمين إلى أهاليهم.

ورغم أن المغدور ، وهو من قرية “أم الرمان”، لم يكن أول عسكري أو عنصر أمن من أبناء السويداء يستشهد على أيدي جيش المخربين وقطاع الطرق الذي يسمي نفسه “الجيش السوري الحر”، إذ سقط حتى الآن أكثر من خمسين شهيدا من أبناء المحافظة ، فإنها المرة الأولى التي يخرج فيها أبناء المحافظة في عمل احتجاجي من هذا النوع ضد بعض جيرانهم! فلماذا؟
ـ كان المغدور في طريق عودته من إجازته إلى مقر عمله في درعا حين جرى اعتراض سيارة الأجرة التي كان يركبها ، وتم إنزاله منها واختطافه ، بينما جرى ترك السائق يذهب في حال سبيله.

ـ تبين أن مسلحي ما يسمى بـ” كتيبة العمري” الإجرامية ، التي يقودها المدعو قيس القطاعنة والتي تعمل تحت اسم “الجيش السوري الحر” ، هي التي قامت بعملية الاختطاف بعد أن اتهمته بـ”الاعتداء على حرائر درعا” ، وفق الخبر الذي نشر على صفحة “الكتيبة” ، قبل أن يجري حذف الخبر الذي قرأه الكثيرون.

ـ بعد تصفية المغدور ، جرى تقطيعه إربا إربا . وأكد ثلاثة من عائلة المغدور لـ”الحقيقة”أن رأسه وساقيه ويديه كانت مقطعة ومنفصلة بشكل شبه كامل بالسواطير، فضلا عن الطعنات الأخرى التي توزعت على أنحاء مختلفة من الجثمان.

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March 8th, 2012, 11:35 am


204. Jad said:

Annan is warning againt military intervention:
كوفي عنان يحذر من اللجوء الى الخيار العسكري ضد سوريا

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March 8th, 2012, 11:51 am


205. Alan said:

201. ANN
Don’t care!

Muslim Demographics

SLAVIC UNION near future ? 2012 – 2015 + futher occupation PART 1

Mapping of Chinees Population

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March 8th, 2012, 11:52 am


206. Alan said:

[6/3/2012] Cooper and Danny caught lying: Homs fabricated video pathetic excuses

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March 8th, 2012, 12:03 pm


207. zoo said:

#SOD 200

“In the video posted on YouTube, a man wearing a suit and tie identified himself as Abdo Husameddine and said he is an “assistant” to the oil minister. Ministers in Syria may have several assistants known as deputies.”


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March 8th, 2012, 12:03 pm


208. Jad said:

This news is something else, ksa is NOT supporting terrorism in Syria AND apparently the US is a regime tool by talking about Alqaeda  presence in Syria.
I guess Alfaisal and the jihadists cornice are not Saudis anymore and the US is no partner of ksa democracy plan!

رأت أن التصريحات الروسية “غير مسؤولة”..
السعودية ترفض اتهامات موسكو لها بـ “دعم الإرهاب في سورية”..

رفضت المملكة العربية السعودية اتهامات قالت إن موسكو وجهتها لها بدعم “الإرهاب في سورية” معتبرةً أن التصريحات الروسية “غير مسؤولة”.

ونقلت وكالة الأنباء السعودية “واس” عن “مصدر مسؤول بوزارة الخارجية” لم تسمه قوله إن وزارته “اطلعت على البيان الصادر باسم المتحدث الرسمي لوزارة خارجية روسيا الاتحادية” الذي يتضمن “اتهامات خطيرة للمملكة بدعمها للإرهاب في سورية.”

وأضاف المصدر: “تعبر وزارة الخارجية عن رفضها واستهجانها الشديد لهذه التصريحات غير المسؤولة، والمجانبة لحقيقة حرص المملكة على التعامل مع الأزمة السورية وفق قواعد الشرعية الدولية وعَبر مجلس الأمن الدولي المعني بحفظ الأمن والسلم الدوليين.”

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March 8th, 2012, 12:04 pm


209. Phares said:

MajedKH.. and all the others calling for
‘The Syrians must arm themselves,and force the regime to leave,with or without outside help’

How about you come here and arm yourself, instead of sitting in your warm home and enjoying the view. What courage and honor you have…

As the the economy stagnates because of this revolution, people in syria suffer. I thought you all wanted to help syrians. Then you blame the govt. when the liras value goes down. What logic.
Don’t you know that most of common folk want this to end peacefully in order to go back to there lives. But, it looks like the interests according to a lot calling for force from outside Syria think their personnal gain and interest in this is more important than the ones living in and that are the ones that are actually being the most affected by this. A lot will not listen to the other side of the story, despite verifications from acutal organiztions, authorities, independent journalists, etc. of what really is being done and who the terrorists are.
How about most of you calling for this revultion give away more than half of thier savings away to the common person in Syria and pay double for everything else, just to get a bit more sense of how it feels. I doubt any of you would do that.
Many may call me a Shabiha or Baathi for these views, even though I am not. If the calling for stability through proper means without destroying everything, the want of coherence, soveriegnty, standing by brothers of whatever religion makes me that, then call me a shabiha, a baathi, a presidential gaurd, or mukhabarat. Take your pick. There are many like me.

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March 8th, 2012, 12:07 pm


210. son of Damascus said:


The first paragraph from the article YOU linked

” A man purporting to be Syria’s deputy oil minister has announced his defection in an online video that emerged Thursday, saying he is joining the opposition against President Bashar Assad’s regime to protest its brutal crackdown that has killed thousands so far.”

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March 8th, 2012, 12:08 pm


211. irritated said:

206. Alan

Excellent confrontation on CNN 360: Danny look completely confused and nervous and Anderson Cooper extremely annoyed to have been manipulated.
I guess Cooper will be more circumspect next time.
Well done.

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March 8th, 2012, 12:09 pm


212. Alan said:

الكلام المسؤول ؟

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March 8th, 2012, 12:09 pm


213. zoo said:

#208 SOD

By writing two different things in the same article, do you mean to say that Zeina Karam from AFP is confused.. I guess she often is.

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March 8th, 2012, 12:12 pm


214. ann said:


ATTN: folks on this blog, Please see comment # 131.

Isn’t it funny when the same person commends and praises herself 🙂 🙂
I’m not Brian. Who’s funny and siutpd now?!

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March 8th, 2012, 12:20 pm


215. Tara said:


Your comment hurts the humanity in me. It is abhorrent and not acceptable. The comment is satanic comment in my book. Dozen people a dime is why we are revolution- ing against Bashar and his thugs.

I think I am not breaking rules when I am referring to a satanic comment as such. Is calling a crime by its name a crime? Wishing that people who are capable of equating the lives of dozen to a dime to not be Syrian is not breaking anytime either.

I see the moderator pulled it out. I hope the moderator reconsider…I will leave it up to his/ her judgement, but I am standing firm to how your comment provokes Satan image in my head. Enjoy your life!

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March 8th, 2012, 12:21 pm


216. Alan said:

Syria: The Western Deception Over Regime Change Unravels. NATO Prepares for All Out War

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March 8th, 2012, 12:24 pm


217. Alan said:

Libya: Cyrenaica (Eastern region of Libya) has declared semi-autonomy from Tripoli.

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March 8th, 2012, 12:35 pm


218. jad said:

The only two choices for Syria, either a political solution or a long and costly conflict:

سوريا: مرور التسوية على الأرض المحــروقة

بعد الحملة العسكرية على حمص، أتى أوان المساعي الديبلوماسية. كلاهما عند الرئيس بشّار الأسد يقتضي وصوله إلى هدف واحد، هو إخراج تسوية سياسية تحت سقف الرئيس والنظام. مكّن النجاح الأمني من تنشيط تلك المساعي وتدفّق الزوّار، كي يعود الأسد مفتاح الحلّ في بلاده

نقولا ناصيف
أسبوع قبل انقضاء سنة على الاضطرابات التي تعصف بنظام الرئيس بشّار الأسد، تبدو سوريا في مهبّ أحد خيارين: تسوية دولية لإعادة الاستقرار إليها في ظلّ نظام جديد بعدما قوّضت الاضطرابات نظام حزب البعث نهائياً، أو دخول البلاد في استنزاف طويل لا يقتصر على أشهر.
يتعامل النظام مع الوقائع الجديدة وفق معطيات أبرزها:
1 ـــ أكثر من أي وقت مضى، بات الرئيس السوري اليوم أكثر اقتناعاً بتسوية سياسية مع معارضيه، بعدما كان رفضها سابقاً، وقلّل ـــ في الأشهر الأولى من الأحداث ـــ أهمية الاحتجاجات ضد نظامه واختصرها بمسلحين يقوّضون الاستقرار وينفذون خطط الغرب، ولم تكن البلاد قد دخلت آنذاك في دوّامة العنف المدمّر المتبادل.
2 ـــ قرن الرئيس السوري موافقته على التسوية باستعادة سلطته على المناطق والقرى التي نجحت المعارضة المسلحة، وأخصّها الإخوان المسلمون والتيّارات السلفية، في انتزاعها منه.
3 ـــ منح تماسك الجيش وأجهزته الأمنية الرئيس السوري الفرصة الذهبية لحماية نظامه من الانهيار. فلم تفضِ حالات الانشقاق إلى تداعي المؤسسة العسكرية، ولا آل تصاعد النبرة المذهبية إلى تشققها على أثر حوادث واعتداءات دموية متبادلة بين العلويين والسنّة في أكثر من منطقة، ولا اقتصار الفرار من الجيش على ضبّاط وعسكريين سنّة أوحى بقرب انهيار الجيش. مع ذلك أظهرت حدّة الصدامات والعنف الذي رافق العمليات العسكرية، وخصوصاً أكثرها ضراوة في مدن سنّية كحماة وحمص ودرعا وإدلب وريف دمشق ودير الزور، تماسك الجيش.
عُزي الأمر إلى سببين على الأقل:
أوّلهما، أن الأسد لم يستخدم في المواجهات إلا قسماً من الجيش، وحرص على إبقاء القسم الأكبر منه في الثكن لتفادي نشره في الشوارع وتأثره بالصدامات وأعمال العنف والانتقام، وإيقاظ النعرات المذهبية، وخصوصاً في صفوف الغالبية السنّية فيه.
ثانيهما، متانة الأجهزة الأمنية وولاؤها للرئيس، وعلى رأسها ضبّاط سنّة كبار لم يعصَ أي منهم على النظام، ولا خطر له الانقلاب، ولا فرّ والتحق بالانشقاق، بل نفذوا المهمات المنوطة بهم، بما في ذلك ما سيق إليهم من اتهامات بالعنف والقسوة.
ولعلّ جردة صغيرة بالأجهزة الأمنية السورية وقادتها السنّة، تكشف صلابة الولاء الذي استمد منه الأسد قوة الدفاع عن نظامه وحماية الجيش من الانهيار، وأبرزهم رئيس الأركان العامة فهد جاسم الفريج، ورئيس المخابرات العامة علي المملوك، ورئيس الأمن السياسي ديب زيتوني، ورئيس الفرع العسكري لريف دمشق رستم غزالة، ورئيس فرع فلسطين محمد مخلوف، ورئيس مكتب الأمن القومي هشام الإختيار، ووزير الداخلية محمد الشعار، ورئيس خلية الأزمة في القيادة القطرية لحزب البعث حسن توركماني (حامل الملف التركي)، إلى الأركان السياسيين السنّة كنائب الرئيس فاروق الشرع ووزير الخارجية وليد المعلم.


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March 8th, 2012, 12:42 pm


219. son of Damascus said:


“By writing two different things in the same article, do you mean to say that Zeina Karam from AFP is confused.. I guess she often is.”

I would not know, I don’t read her articles much nor do I link them. Nor did I say anything of that sort or even hinted at it.

But I would guess her confusion stems from the actual meaning of the word Mou3awen, which can be translated in English to either deputy or assistant.

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March 8th, 2012, 12:44 pm


220. Alan said:

Syrian Oil Official Defection Propaganda?

Brit Dee, Contributing Writer

According to multiple mainstream media sources, Syria’s deputy oil minister has defected after denouncing the Assad government in a video uploaded to YouTube on Thursday. The man in the video, seated on a sofa and wearing a suit, shirt, and tie and speaking directly into the camera, identifies himself as Abdo Husameddine and condemns the Assad regime, whilst declaring his joining of “the dignified people’s revolution”.

It is unclear where or when the video was filmed, though it is reported that the video was uploaded to YouTube by a Syrian activist named Rami, who told AFP in Beirut that the opposition helped arrange Husameddine’s resignation. Rami reportedly asked that the location where the video was shot not be disclosed for safety reasons.

The man is purportedly a deputy oil minister who has worked for the Syrian government for 33 years, giving the strong impression that he is a senior government figure — though as stated in an Associated Press report, the man says he is an “assistant” to the oil minister and in Syria, ministers may have several assistants known as deputies.

On Twitter, an individual reported to be from London foreign policy think-tank Chatham House named Rime Allaf has confirmed that:
A deputy minister is not a senior #Syria regime figure; not so significant to be real defection, just a resignation with little effect.
The release of the video comes at a convenient time for the Syrian rebels and their backers in the West. Assad retains the strong support of his government, people, and military — which has not seen widespread defections, making the situation different to that in Libya during last year’s NATO-backed rebel ousting of Gaddafi. As stated in The Guardian, the Syrian government’s:
…core support, particularly members of Syria’s religious minorities led by Assad’s Alawi sect, has stayed loyal or neutral. The military has not splintered, with conscripts rather than officers or whole units defecting, and the merchant and middle classes of Aleppo and Damascus have remained quiet.


Due to the fact that we do not know when or where the video was filmed, the suggestion that the man could well be a low-level assistant rather than a senior Syrian political figure, and because the resignation was organized by the opposition and is being widely touted in the Western mainstream media, the video should be treated with skepticism as possible propaganda designed to make it appear that Assad’s government is crumbling, until it can be independently verified.

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March 8th, 2012, 12:44 pm


221. Equus said:

Journalist in India has been charged with criminal conspiracy in Bombing Against Israeli…


But the foreign journalists in Bab Amr were handed on silver plater back to their masters as champions. Gilles Jacquier didn’t get all that glory. Not one Western journalist questions it? That alone should get people suspicious.

If the educated opposition abroad doesn’t see the double standards and the woven scheme to destroy Syria but rather continue to preach the love of Syria miles away then one would conclude they are definitely promoting the Fake Syria not the free Syria. It’s much easier to breed charlatans and fanatics than breeding moderators and mediators. You want change, I respect that; but saluting the criminal acts of fake Syrian army and rebels put your humanitarian lectures and sarcasm in your comments in doubts. We can see through the opaque lessons in moral and humanitarianism. I see the similarity with olive oil bottles most of them labeled: virgin or extra virgin (it depends on how you like it fake or fanatic), first cold press (the reality, there is no second press, oil is made in continuous centrifugal presses), certified authentic (All Syrians are certified lovers of Syria). Did anyone take a drop of oil and test it if it’s virgin or extra virgin? Or pressed cold or warm? The only way to verify is by monitoring the operation process. How many of Syria lovers went for surveillance on the operation process on the ground? The only group who made it was from AL representatives who generated a report based on facts. Everyone opted to discard it because the stances were already formed and no report or black and white proof is going to change a plan already in execution.

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March 8th, 2012, 12:48 pm


222. Mina said:

Not a single woman in the Libyan loya jirka

Crooke in the Atimes
(does he alludes to Clooney’s Syriana?)

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March 8th, 2012, 12:53 pm


223. zoo said:

#217 SOD

Zeina Karam is a staunch supporter of the opposition and she is jordanian, so I guess he knows arabic. Therefore I am surprised she would translate the “mo3awen once as “deputy” and once as “assistant” without any reason, unless she is cutting/paste from other foreign articles, which many journalists do.

The real question is how many deputies are there for the ministry of oil? Is M. Hossamedine the only one so this defection has a real significance?

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March 8th, 2012, 12:53 pm


224. jad said:

From FB:
خبر عاجل. انسحاب “تكتيكي” للدولار الامريكي امام الليرة السورية ( من 103——-> 80

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March 8th, 2012, 12:57 pm


225. son of Damascus said:


‘The real question is how many deputies are there for the ministry of oil? Is M. Hossamedine the only one so this defection has a real significance?”

That is a good question, I wish our government was more translucent and listed the names of all the officials in government.

I can’t comment on her Arabic skills, for I don’t know her nor have I heard her speak Arabic. I know Syrians that don’t actually speak the language fluently enough to be able to translate correctly, perhaps Zeina the Jordanian falls in that category.

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March 8th, 2012, 1:09 pm


226. zoo said:

220. Mina

Thanks for pointing it out on this excellent article by Alistair Crooke on how information today is ‘hollywoodian’ and plays with emotions rather then logic.
I am copying here some of the key paragraphs

This information warfare will not be couched in the rationale of geopolitics, the author suggests, but will be “spawned” – like any Hollywood drama – out of raw emotions. “Hatred, jealousy, and greed – emotions, rather than strategy – will set the terms of [information warfare] struggles”.

Not only the US army, but it seems mainstream Western media insist that the struggle in Syria must be scripted in emotional image and moralistic statements that always – as the War College article rightly asserts – trump rational analysis.

The UN Human Rights Council Commission of Inquiry condemns the Syrian government of crimes against humanity, but only on the basis of what the opposition says, and without having investigated evidence of opposition “crimes”: and then proceeds to “charge” the Syrian government with this process based simply on “reasonable suspicion”: Do they really believe what they have written, or is it just a part of “writing the script”? [2]

Having quite forgotten what US Marines did to Falluja in 2004 (6,000 dead and 60% of the city destroyed) when armed insurgents there also sought to establish a Salafist “Emirate” – the Western media focus on Homs gives vent to the indignant cry that “something must be done” to save the people of Homs from “massacre”.
Is more conflict the answer to the awful death of an infant?
Are we now to understand that the armed opposition, … were not motivated by a desire to advocate, and impel the argument for externally-imposed humanitarian corridors to be opened to Homs? In other words, were not witness to the construction of une piece de theatre in favor of a type of external intervention? Will a Kosovo-type solution will make things better in Syria?
But does anyone really believe American and European objectives in Syria were ever purely humanitarian? Is it not the case – given that the turnout of events in the Middle East are taking such an ominous and dangerous turn – that it has now becoming somewhat awkward openly to admit that their info-war was never primarily about reforming Syria, but about “regime change”, and that it was that even from before the first protest erupted in Dera’a?

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March 8th, 2012, 1:10 pm


228. brian said:



I think you are an american who does not know what you are talking about. Maybe you are young and militant but lack of experience and knowledge.

Before there were armed milicias there were demonstrators bulleted by a dictatorship. A dictatorship that has been permitted mainly by US and Israel.

sandra i do know what im talking about, as do the varied commentators and analysts whos work ive been posting..When you say israel has been permiting Syrias govt..you show you dont know what youre talking about…Israel bombed Hariri in order to get Syria out of Lebanon…they do NOT like Assad or syria as it presently is and now covertly support tasteless islamic terrorists who are happy to work with Israel and Great Satan to remove a secular govt even if the have to kill 1/3 of syrians:

‘Qaradawi, who is based in Qatar, was joined by Saudi cleric Saleh Al-Luhaidan who urged, “Kill a third of Syrians so the other two-thirds may live’…

which is on the same low moral level as the zionists who collaborated with the nazis to let a few jews into palestine, while the many went on cattle carts to the death camps

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March 8th, 2012, 4:27 pm


229. brian said:



For some reason I think that Brian and ANN are actually the same person. I STRONGLY APOLOGIZE IF I AM WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!

youd better polish your knees Unholy,….as you will have to do a lot of apologising

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March 8th, 2012, 4:30 pm


230. brian said:

‘Asia’s growing military power, a concern for the Western countries’

isnt it interesting how those who advocate competition themselves hate it…

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March 8th, 2012, 4:34 pm


231. omen said:

from nir rosen who spent time in syria:

The Salafi ideology just hasn’t been as important in Syria.


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March 10th, 2012, 10:51 am


232. mumin bilnnasr said:

Victory of the Syrians to gain liberty and justice is absolutely certain because God, the most Powerful Ally, is on their side. The sacrifices they are making are a price for their salvation. The Syrian determination, resilience and patience is making the regime weaker by the day leading to its collapse soon.

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March 14th, 2012, 7:58 pm


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