Syria’s Opposition Develops into a Real Insurgency as Assad Uses More Force. Obama Refuses to Jump In

The Candidates for Parliamentary Elections in Syria have been published – They reveal that Bashar al-Assad’s supposed reforms are the ruse that most thought they would be. The candidates from Latakia are sprinkled liberally with the names of well known crooks and Baathists of the region as well as their sons. There does not seem to be any potential reform going on in Latakia. The Baath may have been disestablished, but its members insist that they will win the upcoming elections to parliament.

Syrian military forces subjected the Arba’in district of Hama to intensive machine gun fire on Monday,

A car bomb in Damascus outside the Iranian cultural center killed and wounded several Syrians. Rebels launched three separate attacks on security forces around Damascus on Tuesday, killing two ranking officers activists and state media said. Satellite images show that the roads going into Idlib are all manned by tanks and road blocks

Kofi Annan told the U.N. Security Council Thursday that the situation in Syria is “bleak” and expressed alarm at reports that government troops are still carrying out military operations in towns where U.N. observers are not present.

“If confirmed, this is totally unacceptable and reprehensible,” he said.

Annan told the  U.N. Security Council that the situation in Syria remains “unacceptable” and is expressed particular alarm at reports that government troops entered the central city of Hama firing …

President Obama’s Speech on Syria at the Holocaust museum provoked an uproar from the neoconservatives who insist that the US should bomb Syria and do a Libya on it. Obama imposed some new sanctions on Syria but refused to give the green light to arming the opposition or taking military action. Tamara Cofman Wittes, who served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs until January 2012, argued at Brookings that the Obama should not try to discourage the growing militarization of the Syrian opposition, but rather to step in a try to direct it toward the opposition members most likely to further US interests in the region.

This is precisely what the US seems to be doing. The model for its actions is Afghanistan of the 1980s, when Washington and Riyadh armed the Mujahedin to take down the pro-Soviet regime. Everyone in the Obama administration is acutely aware of the outcome of that successful campaign: the creation of al-Qaida.  No one wants to repeat that. Hence, Clinton’s insistence that all foreign aid to the Syrian opposition go to Burhan Ghalioun. He looks to the ideals of the French Revolution rather than those of an Islamic revolution as did Bin Laden. Clinton even got the Saudis to publicly sign on to this strategy in Istanbul. where the last “Friends of Syria” meeting was assembled.

Recent reports on the Syrian opposition suggest that it is beginning to score some military successes. They also suggest that the regular pious youth who are doing the fighting are looking to Jihadists who fought in Iraq for their expertise. They will also likely look to the motivational power of radical Islamism, something they are going to need if they hope to defeat the Syrian Army.

News Round Up

Rare inside view of Syria’s rebels finds a force vowing to fight on
By David Enders | McClatchy Newspapers[photo: Mohamed Idris, shown in Qusayr, Syria, was the leader in the Baba Amr neighborhood of Homs of the Katiba Farouq, the largest group operating under the umbrella of the Free Syrian Army. ]

QUSAYR, Syria — After more than six months of fighting, Syria’s largest rebel group appears to have developed into a resilient guerrilla force, unable perhaps to hold large swaths of territory for very long but still capable of inflicting heavy casualties on the Syrian military and operating fluidly within supportive populations….

What the Farouq fighters have found is that the Syrian army, as a force built for a potential conflict with Israel, is poorly equipped for the type of asymmetrical combat the guerillas engage in. That allows the guerillas to inflict heavy casualties on the military when the two sides engage in close combat. It is one reason the Syrian military prefers launching artillery attacks on rebel-held cities from long distances.

The rebels also have suffered heavy losses. Idris said he had 250 soldiers under his command during the fighting in Baba Amr, and that 114 of those had been killed in the fighting…..

“If the international community really wants peace in Syria, they will help us with weapons,” Idris said, making it clear the group was planning to step up attacks against the Syrian military. He said his fighters would continue to plant roadside bombs to destroy military vehicles outside of populated areas.

“We will attack the Syrian army in their bases and their checkpoints and try to capture their weapons,” he said. “We are also training fighters. We have many new volunteers without military experience.”….

More than a half-dozen fighters, when a reporter told them he had spent time reporting in Iraq, offered that they also had fought there during the U.S. invasion and occupation. Often, their first question was whether the reporter had visited Fallujah,…

Last week, Farouq’s commanders were making preparations to expand their reach into the suburbs of Damascus, which are presently the domain of other rebel groups….

In Syria, Lebanon’s Most Wanted Sunni Terrorist Blows Himself Up
By Aryn Baker

 Lebanese terror leader Abdel Ghani Jawhar detonated himself accidentally in Syria, raising questions about the kind of company the rebels are keeping…

According to Abu Ali and another fellow fighter, Jawhar arrived in Qsair two weeks ago with a group of 30 Lebanese fighters. While many were members of Fatah al-Islam, they were not traveling under the terror group’s banner. Instead they called themselves mujahideen, holy warriors seeking to help fellow Muslims under attack by the Syrian regime. Jawhar, an explosives expert and a charismatic commander, sought to train fellow fighters how make bombs. In the short time he had been in Qsair, says Abu Ali, he was able to set up dozens of improvised explosive devices destined for members of the Syrian security forces. “His aim was to make a tour in all the districts of Syria to teach the fighters on how to fight a guerrilla war.”….

A 30-year-old biochemist from northern Lebanon, Jawhar came of age during the country’s brutal civil war.  First he joined the Muslim Brotherhood, but left over doctrinal disputes—he felt that the group was not strict enough in its interpretation of Sharia, or Islamic law. He then joined, and left, the extremely conservative Salafis for the same reasons, and finally became a member of Fatah al-Islam in 2008. He was promoted to leader after his predecessor was killed in a 2010 shootout with Lebanese security forces. According to the Lebanese intelligence official, he was a master recruiter, and even managed to induct Lebanese soldiers to his cause. His terror efforts spanned Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, where he is thought to be responsible for several of the devastating explosions that killed international troops.  “He was a network by himself,” says the official. “He had relations all over the region; he was a ruthless killer.”…

Pierret: This is an interesting follow-up to our recent exchange on the FSA and crime. The people on the video present themselves as a kind of “Free Syrian Police” in the region of Idlib:

It’ll be a cakewalk, says Ba’ath Party
2012-04-22 The Hindu:

Even though it is yet to announce candidates for the coming elections to the Syrian Parliament, the ruling Ba’ath Party predicts that it will return to power. “It is mathematically impossible for any other party to win,” claims Speaker Mahmoud …

VOA – Europe and US extend sanctions to include caviar and other luxury products

Luxury goods ban

Meanwhile, the European Union banned the sale to Syria of luxury goods and dual-use items that could be used for repression. The restrictions were adopted at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg Monday. The extent of the luxury ban has yet to be defined but the aim is to deliver a symbolic blow against the posh lifestyle of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his British-born wife, Asma The dual-use goods could include anything from vehicles to fertilizers and other chemicals.

Technology sanctions

The United States announced Monday plans to impose technology sanctions on Syria and its ally, Iran. Meanwhile, Lynn Pascoe, the U.N. undersecretary-general for political affairs, told the 15-nation Security Council during an open debate on the Middle East that “the cessation of armed violence remains incomplete” in Syria.

Daily Caller: Krauthammer castigates Obama on ‘embarrassing’ Syria policy: ‘Be quiet’

On Monday’s “Special Report” on the Fox News Channel, syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer attacked President Barack Obama’s Monday speech at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., where he announced the first meeting of …

I have an effective response: Deployment of the U.S. military to, at the very least, provide, as Danielle Pletka of the American Enterprise Institute urged:

  • Safe corridors for Syrians to leave their country.
  • Safe cities for civilians in which they can shelter.
  • Arms for the Free Syrian Army, which is far better organized than many wish to admit.
  • Overt support for the Syrian National Council, including
  • assistance with a transition plan, reconciliation among parties, a new constitution and more.
  • NATO air support.

That would approach doing “everything we can.”

Weekly Standard: Will Obama Help Syria?

Robert Zarate, writing in an FPI bulletin: In a high-profile speech today at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, President Obama highlighted new efforts to “prevent and respond to mass atrocities,” including a new Executive Order imposing …


Committee Hearings – The House Armed Service Committee and Senate Committee on Foreign Relations discussed the situation in Syria
From Washington – The Obama Administration explored new options in Syria after the ceasefire failed

On Thursday (4-19), the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee held a hearing on the situation in Syria. The speakers were Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, and General Martin Dempsey. Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA) chaired.
On Thursday (4/19), the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations held a hearing on U.S. policy options for Syria. The speakers were Murhaf Jouejati, Jon B. Alterman and Tamara Wittes. Senator John Kerry (D-MA) chaired.
U.N. observers arrived in Damascus. Syrian forces shelled Homs. SANAreported two separate roadside bombs killing ten members of the security forces and a civilian.A German-owned ship, suspected of carrying weapons and ammunition heading to Syria, was towed for inspection to Turkey. Der Spiegel reported that the Atlantic Cruiser had been stopped with Iranian weapons on board. Violence ensued in a town outside of Damascus where opposition members reported two activists dead due to indiscriminate shelling. Syrian state-run media reported that the government was fully cooperating with Kofi Annan’s peace plan.

Bend Bulletin: In Syria, signs of Islamist influence
2012-04-23, By Liz Sly / The Washington Post

Activists and rebel soldiers based inside Syria say a small but growing number of Islamist radicals affiliated with global jihadi movements have been arriving in opposition strongholds in recent weeks and attempting to rally support among disaffected residents.

Western diplomats say they have tracked a steady trickle of jihadists flowing into Syria from Iraq, and Jordan’s government last week detained at least four alleged Jordanian militants accused of trying to sneak into Syria to join the revolutionaries.

A previously unknown group calling itself the al-Nusra Front has asserted responsibility for bombings in the cities of Damascus and Aleppo using language and imagery reminiscent of the statements and videos put out by al-Qaida-affiliated organizations in Iraq.

Foreign Policy

According to the BBC’s Ian Pannell reporting from northern Syria, helicopters have been firing at villages in Jabel al-Zawiya,

At a “Friends of Security” meeting, French President Nicolas Sarkozy accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of lying, while U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for “stronger measures” to bolster the ceasefire, such as an arms embargo and the Chapter 7 Security Council Resolution allowing for the use of military force. Meanwhile the U.N. Security Council negotiated terms for the U.N. observer mission with Syria. The mission is permitted to travel to any location in the country by foot or car, but is not allowed control over a private aircraft. While there are currently seven monitors in Syria, the United Nations hopes to have 30 by Monday, and wishes to expand the mission to 300, which must be approved by the U.N. Security Council and Syria.

The Militarization of the Syrian Uprising
Samer Araabi | April 18, 2012 – Right Web

As pressure mounts to arm rebels in Syria, there is need for a sober assessment of the costs and consequences of the increasing militarization of the conflict there. If history is any guide, a foreign-backed armed rebellion will likely not produce the kind of victory—or engender the kind of support—that the anti-Assad fighters will require to usher in a new Syria. Additionally, there is the very real possibility that many of the rebels—as we’ve seen in Libya—will turn out to be little better than the regime they seek to replace….

Tamara Cofman Wittes .US. Policy Options in Syria:

… The United States cannot halt or reverse the militarization of the Syrian uprising, and should not try. What the United States can usefully do is manage this militarization by working with other governments, especially Syria’s neighbors in the region, to try to shape the activities of armed elements on the ground in a manner that will most effectively increase pressure on the regime – to drain the Syrian military’s ability and will to fight, to help induce a political transition, and thereby to bring an end to the violence as quickly as possible. Without a strong lead driven by the strategic logic of weakening the regime’s pillars, disparate actors both inside and outside the region could provide lethal support in ways that would exacerbate spillover effects and increase the damage militarization will cause to the goal of restoring order in a post-Assad Syria. To do this, the United States should drive the international planning and engagement necessary to identify key armed leaders and elements, improve coordination and communication, build effective fighting units, and shape an effective insurgent strategy.

Kurds: Salih Gado, member of the politburo of the Kurdish Left Party in Syria: »Some Kurdish parties are coming up with lots of excuses to avoid joining the Syrian National Council. The truth is they are still afraid of the regime.«

The Kurdish Issue and Syria’s Democracy
by Hassan Saleh [Hassan Saleh is the deputy secretary of the Kurdish Yekiti Party in Syria and a member of the Kurdish National Council and former political prisoner.]

At a moment of uncertainty surrounding the relationship between the Kurdish National Council (KNC) and the Syrian National Council (SNC), this week’s article by KNC member Hassan Saleh affirms the Kurdish desire for a decentralized federal democracy and their critical role in the future success of the Syrian revolution.

I believe that the federal system is the best way for internal peaceful coexistence. This allows for all peoples and minorities to enjoy their rights and preserve their identities and existence. Federalism is considered a guarantor system for the unity of the state and a way to boost the state’s development and stability….

In Syria, there are contiguous Kurdish areas that the Kurdish community can manage as their own federal region by managing their own legislative, judicial, and executive affairs, but participating in federal authorities, institutions, and councils according to the proportion of their population. If other communities choose to select federalism, it is possible to establish other provinces as well. The Druze reside in al-Sweida province, surrounding the capital city and Jabal al-Sheikh. The Alawites are particularly concentrated in the coastal areas, though there are a number of Sunnis living among them in cities such as Latakia, Banias, and Tartous. The (Christian) Assyrians and Syriacs are spread throughout most of the regions and do not form large contiguous areas. Accordingly, the adoption of a federal system will achieve the wishes of the Syrian people in getting rid of the dominance of the central authoritarian regime and providing real opportunities for the territories to develop their lives and enjoy their share of power and wealth.

It must be noted that due to their bitter experience, the Kurds are determined to manage their own affairs as their interest is in maintaining Syria’s unity. Kurdish nationalism should be respected and the resolution of this issue is considered to be the key to democracy and a guarantee of stability. The Kurdish regions are rich in oil, gas, and agricultural crops, particularly grains and olives, and it is unfair that the central government has taken hold of them while the Kurdish people live poor, deprived, and homeless….

NPR: Journalist: ‘I Should Never Have Gone Near The Assads’

A video appeal to the wife of Syrian President Bashar Assad asks her to persuade her husband to stop the killing. The campaign for Asma al Assad to “stand up for peace” was started by the wives of British and German ambassadors to the United …

Counter-revolution — the next deadly chapter in the Arab Spring. (h/t War in Context)
by News Sources on April 21, 2012

Robert Fisk writes: It was my old Jordanian-Palestinian chum Rami Khouri who first spotted what is going on in the Middle East right now: it’s the counter-revolution. Bahrain is crushing dissent. Syria is crushing dissent. Mubarak’s former head of intelligence, the sinister Omar Suleiman, is standing for president in Egypt – the cancellation of his candidacy last week by a dodgy “electoral committee” may well be overturned. Libya is at war with itself. Yemen has got its former dictator’s sidekick back. Sixty-one dead in a battle between soldiers and al-Qa’ida last week – in a single day. All in all, a pretty mess.

But let me quote Khouri. “In Washington-speak, a ‘crisis’ is like love: you can define it any way you want, but you know when it happens to you. So a popular revolt in Bahrain for full civil rights is a crisis that must be crushed by force. But a revolt in Syria is a blessed event that deserves support. Similarly, this peculiar mindset warns against Iranian support to the Houthi rebels in Yemen, while accepting as perfectly logical and legitimate for the US and its allies to send arms and money to their favourite rebel groups around the region – not to mention attacking entire countries…”

And there you have it. As Khouri notes, there’s now a new group called the “Security Cooperation Forum” linking the US with the Gulf Cooperation Council. La Clinton turned up to assure the oil states of Washington’s “rock solid and unwavering commitment” to the GCC. Now where have we heard that before? Why, isn’t that what Obama is always saying to the Israelis? And weren’t Bibi Netanyahu of Israel and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia the two guys who called Obama to ask him to save Mubarak.

And in Syria – where the Qataris and the Saudis are all too keen to send weapons for the rebels – things are not going very well for the revolution. After claiming for weeks a year ago that “armed bands” were attacking government forces, the bands now exist and are well and truly attacking Assad’s legions. For many tens of thousands who were prepared to demonstrate peacefully – albeit at the cost of their lives – this has become a disaster. Syrian friends of mine call it a “tragedy”. They blame the Gulf states for encouraging the armed uprising. “Our revolution was pure and clean and now it’s a war,” one of them said to me last week. I believe them.

The Hill: Gen. Dempsey: US in for ‘wild ride’ in the Middle East over the next decade

Tweet America is heading into an increasingly tumultuous decade in the Middle East, punctuated by repeated popular uprisings that will continue to dismantle long-standing power structures in the region, according to the Pentagon’s top uniformed …

Films on Syria – reviewed by Rana Khoury

Rana writes: I recently reviewed two Syrian films that were screened at the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown. I can’t speak highly enough about the films. Revolving around prisoners of conscience, they are an important window for understanding the unfortunate circumstances the country now finds itself in. Here’s the link:

Brookings: Turkey: The New Model?

The following is a chapter written by Ömer Taşpınar from the book, The Islamists Are Coming: Who They Really Are, co-published by the Wilson Center and the U.S. Institute of Peace. In the twenty-first century, Turkey is arguably …

Comments (132)

Pages: « 1 2 [3] Show All

101. Juergen said:

Whats going on in Syria?

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April 26th, 2012, 3:45 am


102. Mina said:

Antoine #50

Yabroud is not a liberal town anymore in the last 3-4 years. A friend was telling me that in the past Christians would fast a few days for ramadan and Muslims would join them for Easter prayer, but in the recent years these practices are now memories and some girls have started to wear full-black (mainly those who lived with their parents in the Gulf since many in Yabroud worked there?). Same poison as what happened to the Yemenis.

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April 26th, 2012, 4:19 am


103. Mina said:

Zoo #82,

It is Sarkozy’s version of Euromediterranean integration. Pronounced coca cola flavor.

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April 26th, 2012, 4:28 am


104. Juergen said:

Not a joke: Adel Imam sentenced to prison for 3 months and for payment of 170 Dollar…

Alaa Al-Aswani ( author of the bestseller “The Yacoubian Building”:
“I am horrified by this move back to the middle ages.”

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April 26th, 2012, 4:36 am


105. Mina said:

Huge explosion in Hama:

The author seems to doubt the video of the man buried alive.

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April 26th, 2012, 5:05 am


106. zoo said:

What does the UN observer says?
Syria says militants behind Hama blast

BEIRUT | Thu Apr 26, 2012 5:25am EDT

(Reuters) – A blast that killed at least 16 people in the central Syrian city of Hama on Wednesday was the work of militants who botched a bomb-making attempt, the state news agency said on Thursday.

The statement, citing an unnamed government official, contradicts activist reports that security forces fired a rocket at the building in violation of the country’s shaky truce, killing dozens of people, possibly as many as 68 according to some counts.

Hama, a hotbed of rebellion in the year-long revolt against President Bashar al-Assad’s rule, is hosting two United Nations observers. They are preparing for a wider U.N. mission that will monitor a shaky ceasefire brokered by special envoy Kofi Annan.

State news agency SANA said the blast was accidentally set off by militants preparing explosives in a building they had used to make bombs. The building collapsed and residents had to dig several victims out from beneath the rubble.

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April 26th, 2012, 7:51 am


107. zoo said:

The yoyos again, empty talks

Israel military chief says other nations also could also strike Iran sites over nuke weapons

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April 26th, 2012, 7:53 am


108. Syria no Kandahar said:

Terrorists Commit Massacre against a Family.. Assassination of Basketball Player

Terrorists continue targeting national expertise and civilians in Syria, and in the latest incidents of this sort, an armed terrorist group committed a horrible massacre against four citizens from one family in Erbin region in Damascus Countryside.

A source at the Police Command in the province said that masked terrorists opened fire on the family members, causing their immediate death due to gunshot in the head.

The source added that the armed terrorist group filmed the bodies with the aim of sending the footage to the instigative satellite channels to blame the security forces.

The bodies, which were thrown on the road near Erbin graveyard, belong to citizen Mousa al-Othman, his Wife Moushira Abdel Qader al-Sheikh, his brother Issa al-Othman from Aleppo Countryside and retired Warrant Officer Emir Othman from Deir Ezzor.

[ … ]

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April 26th, 2012, 7:54 am


110. zoo said:

‘Game of nations’ reaches a dead end

Observers will stay indoors on protest day, proving how worthless the ceasefire is

By Joseph A. Kechichian Senior Writer

Beirut The handful of UN observers who are currently in Syria apparently agreed to stay in their hotel rooms on Fridays — the mandatory day of protest during the past year — which clearly highlighted what many feared when Kofi Annan, the affable former UN secretary-general, negotiated a toothless ceasefire.

Over 300 Syrian civilians have been mowed down since the six-point truce, ironically approved by Damascus, came into effect on April 12.

Regrettably, despite these violations, Annan has voiced few objections, while Nabeel Al Arabi, the League of Arab States (LAS) Secretary-General, has called for a political process to resolve the crisis.

In yet another typical declaration that uttered words but said little, Al Arabi sought “a political solution [which] cannot be considered separately from the goal of achieving a ceasefire”.

For its part, the European Union has imposed an across-the-board ban on the sale of luxury goods, ostensibly to force Syria’s hand and make it comply with the Annan Plan.

Maja Kocijancic, a spokeswoman for Catherine Ashton, European Union foreign policy chief, innocently claimed that the EU was “really trying to make sure the sanctions target the regime”, unaware that luxury goods are freely available in nearby Lebanon.

US at its wits’ end

Even the Obama administration, whose search for a more effective response to the killings in Syria was etched in the American president’s oft-repeated declarations on President Bashar Al Assad to step down, proved to be oblivious on what to do next.

An alleged focus on technology transfers to Syriatel, the Syrian communications company, was ostensibly meant to stop the killings, although this is optimistic at best. Ironically, rumours have circulated that Washington and, perhaps, several GCC states are opening up channels of communication with Al Assad, realising he is not going anywhere.

Under the circumstances, and now that the Annan ceasefire has proved its inefficacy, is Syria poised on a military solution?

In the ‘Game of Nations’, back-channel communications seldom end, even among parties engaged in open hostilities. Still, it was difficult to see how Western powers can reconcile themselves with Al Assad, for doing so will significantly erode their already tainted records.

[ … ]

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April 26th, 2012, 8:00 am


111. Syria no kandahar said:

Ceasefire the terrorists way:

تعرض ضابط برتبة رائد ومعه سبعة عناصر ،ظهر اليوم ، إلى الخطف من قبل مسلحين مجهولين أثناء توجههم من مركز شرطة باب الهوى الحدودي إلى حلب .

وكان أكثر من 35 تلميذا من مدرسة الشرطة بحلب تعرضوا للخطف على يد مسلحين خلال ذهابهم في إجازة إلى اهاليهم وذلك بالقرب من منطقة خان العسل وقرية خناصر بريف حلب .

وتأتي عملية الخطف هذه في سياق عمليات منظمة تشهدها اماكن متفرقة من سوريا لاسيما في محافظتي دمشق وحلب .

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April 26th, 2012, 8:04 am


112. bronco said:

#105 Juergen

ref: Adel Imam

A glimpse of what may come from the blooming of the Arab Spring poisonous flowers:

The defeat of the young idealists and westernized Arab ‘facebook-twitter’ generation in front of the dark forces of money, power greed and religion calling themselves ‘democracy’.

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April 26th, 2012, 8:16 am


113. zoo said:

Struggle looming in Libya for the Moslem brotherhood

“Parties are not allowed to be based on religion or ethnicity or tribe,” NTC spokesman Mohammed al-Harizy told Reuters after the meeting.

A new political party formed in March by Libya’s Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists has urged the NTC to clarify the decision.

The head of the Islamist party claimed the law would cause controversy, because the country’s relatively conservative population is made up almost entirely of Sunni Muslims.

“This kind of clause is only useful in countries where there exist many religions, not in Libya where most people are religious Muslims,” Mohammed Sawan said.

If the NTC does not change the law, the party will have to protest, he added.

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April 26th, 2012, 8:21 am


114. Tara said:


So in fear of the defeat, people should not fight for their rights and should remained “accomplice” in their own degradation.? All what it means that struggle should and need to continue.

Also, you did not watch the Turkish series I recommended. You refused to watch the Iranian movie I asked you to. You don’t know who Pino is. You don’t share my profound “love” of the French doctor. You hate Lailac blue color. You unconsciously hate my name and often forget it. You on purpose missed Bushnsk song the other day. You keep admiring the regime and…..others. Can you once respond to one request?

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April 26th, 2012, 8:38 am


115. Alan said:

لعقوبات الأميركية: 65 حالة حصار في العالم وأكثر من 220 قانون عقوبات خلال قرن
تاريخ المقال: 2012-04-26

تعتبر الولايات المتحدة الأميركية، الدولة الوحيدة في العالم، الأكثر استخداماً لسلاح العقوبات التجارية والاقتصادية لتحقيق مصالحها وإجبار الدول المستهدفة بالعقوبات على انتهاج سلوك يتوافق مع أهدافها.

ويشير الخبراء إلى أن العقوبات الاقتصادية هي المعادل الاقتصادي لما يسمى في الحروب بالقصف الشامل، بل إن نتائجها تعادل الحروب وقد تزيد عنها، كما هو الحال في العراق حيث تسببت في وفاة أكثر من مليون ونصف مليون طفل عراقي.‏‏

وتهدف العقوبات الأميركية سواء تلك التي فرضتها واشنطن منفردة أم بالاشتراك مع الدول الغربية الاستعمارية أو التي فرضت برغبة أميركية من خلال مجلس الأمن، تهدف إلى منع أي دولة في العالم وبجميع الوسائل بما فيها القوة الغاشمة من امتلاك القوة اللازمة لحماية نفسها من العدوان وكذلك تهدف إلى حماية الكيان الإسرائيلي وإبقائه متفوقاً لكي يواصل احتلاله وعدوانه، كما ترمي إلى استنزاف ونهب الخيرات الاقتصادية للدول المعاقبة، وإبقاء الدول الحليفة لواشنطن تحت سيطرتها وجرها باستمرار لتأييد المواقف الأميركية، وأخيراً تهدف إلى السيطرة على منابع النفط ومصادر الطاقة الأخرى واستخدامه كوسيلة ابتزاز ضد الدول المنافسة لها.‏‏

[ … ]

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April 26th, 2012, 8:39 am


116. bronco said:

#116 Tara

A realistic assessment of a looming and humiliating defeat has stopped blood spilling and wars all over history.

Only fools refuse to make that assessment.

Rule of life: One can’t change others to suit oneself, one adapts or quit.

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April 26th, 2012, 8:58 am


117. zoo said:

Ghalioun calls in the desert

April 26, 2012
Syrian National Council head urges Arab League to be harsher on Assad

The head of the Syrian National Council has called on the Arab League to at the very least direct a warning toward the government of President Bashar al-Assad, rather than continuing to offer the regime more deadlines.

Council head Burhan Ghalioun told the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper Thursday that 14 days have passed since an official UN-brokered ceasefire took effect, but that the regime has not implemented the agreement. On the contrary, the regime assassinated some of the youths who met with the UN monitoring mission in the country, he added.

“The Arab League has been hesitant toward the Syrian revolution and it should know that silence toward the [violence] the Syrian regime is committing against the people is a participation and collusion in the crime,” Ghalioun said.

Ghalioun urged the league to make “serious, bold and collective decisions to send a strong message to the Syrian regime,” and to prepare these decisions within the league and the UN to put an end to the crimes.

He also slammed the announcement of a transitional government-in-exile on Thursday by some Syrian activists, saying that the right strategy is for the opposition to continue supporting the revolution by all means.

[ … ]

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April 26th, 2012, 9:19 am


118. zoo said:

More trouble for the moribund SNC

Son of former Syrian PM wants to form government in exile

Father imprisoned by Baath party when it came to power in 1963
April 26, 2012, 2:42 pm

PARIS (AP) — The son of a former Syrian prime minister says he wants to form a government in exile aimed at bolstering Syrian rebels and encouraging international military intervention.

Nofal al-Dawalibi’s attempt at forming a government of those who oppose Syrian President Bashar Assad only highlights divisions among those trying to oust his regime from outside the country.

Al-Dawalibi said Thursday the opposition Syrian National Council, which has enjoyed support from several countries, has failed to accomplish anything and is an “artificial” body.

French diplomats say anti-regime activists in Syria appear to operate on their own and don’t take orders from opposition groups abroad.

Al-Dawalibi’s father, Maarouf, was elected prime minister in 1961, but was later jailed and fled to Saudi Arabia in 1963.

[ … ]

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April 26th, 2012, 9:23 am


119. jna said:

German ship wasn’t carrying weapons to Syria, Turkey says

By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online

Istanbul (dpa) – Turkey has cleared a German-owned ship of suspicion that it was carrying weapons and military equipment from Iran to the Syrian government, customs officials said on Wednesday.

A statement by Turkish customs officials said that a search of the Atlantic Cruiser, which docked at the Turkish port of Iskenderun in April, found no “weapons, munitions or military equipment.”

It added that the ship‘s operators had been given permission to reload the cargo bound for the Syrian port of Tartus. No details were given on the content of the cargo although the owner has said that it included parts to build a Syrian power plant.


Another instance of not credible opposition stories.

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April 26th, 2012, 10:18 am


120. Aldendeshe said:

All the blames on the BATTA. SQWEEK, SQWEEK…. Here goes Syria.

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April 26th, 2012, 11:29 am


121. Tara said:


Are you trying to tell me not to recommend any movie, song, artist, or even color to you?   Do you not appreciate art?  Well, that is sad.  It gets very boring like that.  In any case blue is not really my color and being nice does not kill anyone. I am a bit annoyed.

Yet can’t agree more…. Assad should adapt or quit in response to the overwhelming majority of the Syrian people who want him dead or vanished.   

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April 26th, 2012, 11:46 am


122. bronco said:

#121 Tara

There is hope, I like blue…

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April 26th, 2012, 1:07 pm


123. Nour said:

The official state version of what took place in Hama seems more plausible to me, as there is no reason (either militarily or politically) for the army to shell a building with a scud missile, an event that appears quite farfetched. It is not as if there have not been terrorists manufacturing explosives and setting them off all over Syria.

The problem we have now is that people wanted to undermine and ensure the failure of the Annan plan before it even started, because they have no intent but to see a military intervention that leads to the destruction of the Syrian state. The same scenario of the Arab League monitors is being replayed here, where certain sides agreed to the Annan plan only with the hope of using its “inevitable failure” as a pathway toward justifying a next phase of foreign military attacks.

In any case, this continued exchange of accusations and verbal attacks on both sides is not helpful to anyone and can only lead to further worsening the crisis. It is time that we all set our personal hatreds aside and looked to serving the interest of Syria as a whole.

Anyone more interested in vindictive satisfaction more than they are in bringing a peaceful end to the crisis does not have Syria’s interest in mind, but is merely looking to satisfy a primitive desire for vengeance.

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April 26th, 2012, 1:24 pm


124. zoo said:

How Russia, Iran keep fuel flowing to Syria

Thursday, 26 April 2012 16:18

LONDON, April 26 (Reuters) – Russia and Iran are helping Syria import fuel which it needs for heavy vehicles including army tanks, allowing Damascus to avoid the full impact of tightening Western sanctions imposed over its violent suppression of dissent.

Syria received regular shipments of Russian gasoil and diesel over the winter and, despite Moscow’s diplomatic support for demands that the government stop its attacks and pull back its forces, Russia sent another delivery this month.

The shipments appear to be legal, as neither Russia nor Iran has signed up to Western sanctions barring such trade, and Moscow has blocked U.N. Security Council sanctions that would apply to all countries.

But following the convoluted paper trail of the shipments shows how difficult it is for the West to enforce sanctions designed to restrict Syria’s military capability, as long as Moscow prevents U.N. action.

The fuel sent by Russia, known as gasoil, can be marketed as diesel used for Syrian army tanks and heavy commercial vehicles, or as heating oil.

Oil producer Syria has two refineries, but also needs to import large amounts of gasoil to meet domestic demand, both for heating and for transport.

Western sanctions prohibit EU and U.S. firms from buying Syrian oil or doing business with Syrian companies handling imports of crude and refined products.

Most former suppliers have dropped out for fear of violating measures designed to punish President Bashar al-Assad for his crackdown on opponents.


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April 26th, 2012, 1:28 pm


125. bronco said:

#121 Tara

“Yet can’t agree more…. Assad should adapt or quit in response to the overwhelming majority of the Syrian people who want him dead or vanished.”

Please avoid using ‘overwhelming majority’ until you can prove it.

I can say the same for the other side.

Despite concerted and fierce assaults, the opposition and the EOS have not been able to ‘change’ the regime, therefore they have no other choice than to adapt to the regime staying in power until there are elections where the ‘real ‘majority of the Syrians will decide of Syria’s future.

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April 26th, 2012, 1:36 pm


126. zoo said:

Syria Grand Mufti says Arab Spring western plot

By Yousef Diab
Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat – The Grand Mufti of Syria, Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun, described the battle that is currently taking place in Syria as a “battle against our roots

Sheikh Hassoun also expressed his confidence that “Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is prepared to step down from power in the event that the opposition is prepared to enter dialogue and present a convincing [political] program to the Syrian people.” He stressed that “we are not against the Syrian opposition…I have contacted the Syrian opposition abroad and, more than four years ago, called on them to return to Syrian and conduct dialogue [with the regime].”

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April 26th, 2012, 1:51 pm


127. zoo said:

Corruption scandals in the UK.

Will Rupert and James Murdoch topple David Cameron?
At this stage the evidence is only circumstantial, but the charge that the Cameron government has done commercial favours for the Murdochs in return for political support is very serious. This, if true, would amount to corruption. Certainly, if proven, it would force the resignation of Mr Hunt. But it is not impossible that the Government would fall. Mr Hunt is one of Mr Cameron’s closest friends in the Cabinet, and would never have set out on the course he did without the agreement of the Prime Minister.

The investigation into the Murdoch organisation has slowly exposed a network of suspected influence peddling, bribery and general criminality stretching way beyond the News International HQ in Wapping. The police are investigating evidence that Mr Murdoch’s reporters corrupted members of the Armed Forces and the civil service, and above all the Metropolitan Police.


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April 26th, 2012, 2:31 pm


128. Amnesia said:

Moderator, Syria no Kandahar is bad enough without the following disgusting comment:

“Alqaeda declares responsibility for Aleppo’s suicide bombing. Any one supporting this insurgency is a friend of Alqaeda”

The troll is justifying the killing of opposition members. It is inexcusable. Thank you.

[greenlight Amnesia, commentators have been adequately warned against directly assigning criminal responsibility to other commentators by virtue of presumed membership in a group (Sunni/Wahabi killers, Opposition/Terrorists, FSA ‘pigs’/SC ‘pigs’, revolution/traitor killers).

SNK knows where this kind of rhetoric can lead. If it escalates to direct accusation, moderation again.]

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April 26th, 2012, 2:43 pm


129. Mina said:

Syria ‘s Silent majority (the one ignored until now by the French media)

Economic side of 9/11

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April 26th, 2012, 2:49 pm


130. Alan said:

War Under Table: Ex-Blackwater mercs in Syria ‘backed by US’

The opposition fighters in Syria might be getting help from a different source – in the form of training from the US private security firm, formerly known as the notorious Blackwater group. Security circles reportedly confirmed the information which was released earlier by Wikileaks – that the company is sending mercenaries from Iraq into Syria.

RT discusses this with Christoph R. Horstel – who’s a government and business consultant.

[ … ]

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April 26th, 2012, 2:54 pm


131. Syrialover said:

Assad’s best buddy – a vicious moron also busy destroying his own country. Incredible! Iran had the chance to become a rich, advanced and influential-by-respect nation with its big oil assets and human resources. Do we smell a coup coming on?

Subsidy Dispute Adds To Iran’s Woes (Financial Times, April 25, 2012)

A subsidy reform battle in Iran shows that the government of Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad, the president, is being squeezed by domestic challenges while international powers place unprecedented pressure on the country.

Tehran shocked politicians and economists last month by announcing that, despite rapid consumer price inflation, it would increase monthly cash payments to citizens that were introduced as compensation for subsidy cuts.

The country’s parliament has tried to prevent the inflationary move as Iranians struggle with skyrocketing prices, particularly for food. Domestic producers are being hit by rising bills for unsubsidised energy, without receiving any extra government support.

In an effort to reduce wasteful consumption and save state money, Iran’s government announced in December 2010 a plan to cut about $100bn in subsidies on energy and other basic commodities.
To compensate for rising prices and counter the risk of social unrest, parliament obliged the government to give half the anticipated income from subsidy cuts back to the poor in the form of monthly cash payments. The rest of the income was to be used to support domestic producers.

Instead, Mr Ahmadi-Nejad chose to pay 455,000 Iranian rials ($37) every month – almost double the figure approved by parliament – to most citizens, including children. The commitment to support domestic producers was dropped entirely.

When the government said last month it was going to increase the compensation payments nearly 40 per cent, Ali Larijani, parliament’s speaker, was quick to write to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, urging him to intervene and block the rise.

Ahmad Tavakkoli, a parliamentarian, accused the government on Sunday of “violating the law” and “mis-implementing” the plan because it earned 290,000bn rials ($23.6bn) from the cut in subsidies in the first 14 months of its implementation but paid people $36.7bn of compensation in return.

Gholamreza Mesbahi-Moqaddam, another MP, alleged last month that the government had forced the central bank to use $7.3bn of consumer bank deposits to make the monthly cash payments. “This is unprecedented in the world for the central bank to withdraw people’s money overnight,” he said.

The storm over subsidy policy is a new domestic problem for the Islamic regime, as it faces unprecedented international pressure over its nuclear programme and increasingly open threats of a foreign military attack.

Political analysts accuse Mr Ahmadi-Nejad of caring more about his political base among the poor, who have so far benefited from the monthly payments and remain grateful to the populist president, than he does about Iran’s economic health.
The latest official data comparing prices of foodstuffs in the second week of April to the corresponding period last year showed dairy products rose about 42 per cent, red meat 47.5 per cent, rice about 29 per cent, beans 45.7 per cent, vegetables 92 per cent, sugar 33 per cent and vegetable oil 30 per cent.

Ahmad Karimi-Isfahani, secretary of the Society of Bazaar Associations, told the semi-official ILNA news agency: “It had never happened before that the prices of basic commodities rise by about 50 per cent over one year.”

The employment crisis was highlighted by another recent central bank report which said that in 22.5 per cent of Iranian families, all family members were unemployed.

Hossein Raghfar, an economist, said: “This figure means about a quarter of the population are probably suffering from severe poverty.” A rise in monthly cash payments to people, he added, would triple inflation and “destroy” many domestic industries.

Iranians, like Syrians, now have nothing to lose and everything to gain by fighting to get rid of someone who is happy to trash the country to keep his claws sunk into illegitimate power.

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April 29th, 2012, 4:13 pm


132. Syrialover said:

124. # Zoo

I’m sure the Iranian people with their rapidly dissolving economy will be infuriated to know their “leader” is giving away fuel to another embattled dictator.

(Intriguing how little interest some commentators here have in Iran’s catastrophic domestic and foreign problems – they’re much more excited about James Murdoch and David Cameron. Yawn.)

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April 29th, 2012, 4:35 pm


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