“Syria’s Opposition Must Find a Different Way,” By Ehsani

Syria’s Opposition Must Find a Different Way
By Ehsani for Syria Comment
February 10, 2012

As the death toll mounts on the streets in Syria, it is important to remember how we got here. Damascus has decided to reassert control over its restive cities by using the full might of its military. This should not come as a surprise to observers and policy makers. Indeed, the surprise is that the government has taken this long to order its offensive.

In the first three months of this crisis, it is fair to suggest that the opposition was largely peaceful. By the summer of 2011, this was beginning to change. The uprising was morphing into an armed resistance as weapons started to surface on Syrian streets. The defining moment was at the beginning of Ramadan.  Contrary to consensus opinion, the government was not deterred by the start of the Holy month. Hama was stormed and taken back from the opposition to the shock of the region. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia made its first defining public comment on Alarabiya Television Channel immediately following Hama’s fall to the government, after withdrawing its ambassador from Syria.

Since Hama, Syrian opposition members have begun increasingly to  call to demand weapons and a military response to overpower the regime. For the next 6 months, Syrian streets and neighborhoods became armed enough that the mighty Syrian army had to think twice before entering the developing mini enclaves ruled by the opposition within its cities. Not surprisingly, taking up arms suddenly became the accepted modus operandi of the opposition and the uprising. Those cautioning against such strategies were referred to as ignorant or regime supporters.

Young opposition activists who followed the advice to arm and fight the regime are now being left to fend for themselves against the military Goliath of the Syrian Army. As I wrote following my return from the country, many assured me that the armed forces were yet to use more than 20% of their capacity. As I listened to pronouncements by opposition leaders about the necessity to arm, I could not help but wonder what would happen when Damascus would unleash its full  military might. We will now find out.

While Rastan, Homs and Zabadani were becoming hell for its residents, I was dismayed to see that the so-called brains of this revolution were landing in Doha airport. The purpose of the meeting is of course to focus on “the situation on the ground in Syria” and find ways of “helping the rebels”. How infuriating to see men in suites sit in the comfort of Doha hotels instructing the poor men, women and children of the restive neighborhoods of Syria on what they should do next.  The fact is that since the first calls to arm the population, the brain trust of this revolution sent the people of Syria into a kamikaze mission. Did anyone really think that the Syrian army was going to be defeated at the hands of poor young men with Kalashnikovs?

Sadly, following the double veto at the U.N., many capitals have announced that they are willing to further arm the rebels. This is a travesty. The fact is that no amount of arms in the hands of such untrained rebels will come even close to defeating the Syrian army. This insanity must stop. The Syrian National Council and regional powers must come up with a different strategy if they truly care about the Syrian people who are now dying on the streets and in their homes.  Some have argued that had it not been for the veto at the U.N., the Syrian army would not have responded this way over the past 48 hours. This is false. The decision to storm Homs and Zabadani was made before the vote. The central government decided to restore its control over all its cities before a Syrian Benghazi could be established.

At the beginning of this crisis, I was skeptical that the opposition was as armed as the government media claimed. By the end of Ramadan, I had no doubt that armed elements were indeed committing violence against government forces and others. This was confirmed to me by a first-rate reporter who has spent months in the most troubled cities and neighborhoods of Syria. This is not to give a pass to the government. It is the stronger of the two parties, and it must assume most blame for the violence. The leadership has been very consistent in its defiant attitude. In spite of this, many still speculate that the President will soon step down or leave the country. Such false signals have convinced those taking up arms that their strategy is somehow working and that a “win” is around the corner. This is regrettable and dangerous.

Those of us living in the comforts of the West are only too familiar with how politicians in democratic countries compete over their “records”. My wish is to see the Syrian opposition begin to discuss President Assad’s  record on the economy, the public sector, illegal housing, the environment, health care, education, the media, and individual liberties. Instead, we seem to hell bent on steering our country straight into an iceberg with 23 million on board.

The Syrian National Council and many Arab and International policy makers who are now pontificating on Syria’s future were nowhere to be seen in 2007, when the President’s second 7-year term began. We have gone from being in a coma to calling for the downfall of the regime and even the hanging of its leader. This is insanity. The Syrian National Council must call for all rebels and opposition groups to stop arming themselves. Instead, it should declare that the opposition set its sights on 2014, when President Assad’s second presidential term will come to an end.

What is needed is a smart and innovative strategy that helps spare lives but effectively convinces the leadership that the old ways of doing business are over. Popular efforts must be spent in writing a new constitution, a bill of rights to calm minority fears, and an economic plan to reassure the business community and workers alike. The standard of living of most Syrians is appalling, so is the education level and health care system. The opposition must channel their energies towards such topics rather than the senseless calls to arm the rebels in what is clearly a suicide mission.

To be sure, the opposition if anything is likely to go in the opposite direction to what I am suggesting. Just this morning, a young member of the opposition (Mr. Mohammad Al Abdallah) is calling for Mr. Ghalioun to step down accusing him of failing to do anything while Homs residents are being slaughtered. While his anger is understandable, he offers no precise prescription of what to do next. I am not sure how you make a revolution and succeed in toppling this regime peacefully. Perhaps Mr. Abdallah can nominate a Syrian Ghandi for the next phase of this country’s future.

Comments (207)

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151. Juergen said:

European Union’s High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton:

“Leadership requires that you go to when you are the problem and not the solution. President Assad should do exactly that and resign.”

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February 11th, 2012, 9:28 am


152. Hans said:

“Leadership requires that you go to when you are the problem and not the solution. President Assad should do exactly that and resign.”
although this statement is a true one in Democratic state it is not true in the middle east given there is no democratic states.
none of the leaders in the middle east would leave even they are all the problem and the only exception is Lebanon but it is a weak democratic state because you have the mentality of barbaric radical people who live in Lebanon. such radicals have no understanding of democracy even Turkey is a radical Muslim and not full democracy opponents are jailed and tortured in turkey.
it is impossible to have democracy with religion.
back to the first statement, although Assad is part of the problem ( and the regime is an iron boot regime) is not different than any other one.
the replacement are going to be much worse than the current, the writing is on the wall.
the oppositions figures are group of radicals and traitors.
Lawless Syria is much worse than Assad Syria.
Syria was not a strong country till Hafz Assad came to power tells you that Arabs needs a boot to rule them.
do you have doubt!

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February 11th, 2012, 10:02 am


153. Juergen said:


“Arabs needs a boot to rule them”

Dont you think that every human being deserves dignity and the observation of human rights? You may not claim it to be rascim, but thats exactly what it is to me.
I think the times of Peter Scholl Latour are gone, get used to the fact that the Arabs arent what you think of them.

Who tells you that after Assad will be history that things go worst?

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February 11th, 2012, 10:32 am


154. Juergen said:

US Says Signs Growing That Syrian Elite Wants Out

Two U.S. officials said Friday that one Assad family member has moved large amounts of money out of the country to avoid U.S. and other sanctions on the country and provide a nest egg for a life in exile. Similarly, a senior member of Assad’s national security circle has very recently left the country and appears to have settled abroad, they said.


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February 11th, 2012, 10:44 am



Assad in his next speech will try to reach out to the syrian people and attempt a conciliatory approach:

“I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”

[Copy right: Quote is the property of Buthaina Shaaban, adviser to the president and Lord Of The Rings fan.]

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February 11th, 2012, 11:12 am


156. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

“Arabs needs a boot to rule them”

Some used to say the same about the Germans not long ago.

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February 11th, 2012, 11:27 am


157. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Douma today

Notice the pictures on the turret.

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February 11th, 2012, 11:29 am


158. Tara said:

Dear Amir,

We know Hans does not represent all Germans. He may even be a self-hatred Arab who lives in Germany. But…thank you!

I would have liked a response from some of the pro-regime Arab men on the site but boy…am I surprised?

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February 11th, 2012, 11:46 am


159. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Dear Tara,

I believe that most if not all mnhebaks (regardless of men or women) do not believe in Arab democracy.

I have an idea about where this disbelieve stems from, but I prefer to keep my mouth shot. This subject should be debated among the Arabs themselves. Not by non Arabs.

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February 11th, 2012, 12:11 pm


160. Juergen said:


may be some still are shocked…

But given the calls for Maher to finish the job they may think he is right.


Thank God the Americans did not stick to that assumptions after WW2.

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February 11th, 2012, 12:14 pm


161. ann said:

157. MM said:

“”””You’ve shown your true colors, “Ehsani”””””

What does this mean?

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February 11th, 2012, 12:24 pm


162. Revlon said:

I am not sure if this video was linked before.
It shows one of the character witnesses shown in the earlier Midan explosion reappearing in Aleppo incident.
It also highlights many inconsistencies in the video footage aired by the regime.

Fabricated Aleppo explosions; Exposing Assad regime lies.
فضائح تفجيرات حلب. كشف كذب النظام الاسدي
Uploaded by desert1rebels on Feb 10, 2012
تمثيل غبي جدا جثث بدون دم منفخة انها جثث المعتقلين واشلاء تختفي بلكامل وكئنها فرمت بماكينة لحمة
تنسيقية احرار القريتين مهين

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February 11th, 2012, 12:49 pm


163. Revlon said:

State Dept. releases a bird’s eye view of Syria crackdown
Posted By David Kenner
Friday, February 10, 2012 – 6:09 PM


The State Department wants you to see the crackdown in Syria. Today, it uploadedeight satellite images showing how President Bashar al-Assad’s forces have positioned artillery toward major protest centers.

The release was accompanied by a note by U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford. “[S]ome try to equate the violence perpetrated by the regime with the violence perpetrated by the opposition,” he wrote. “[I]t is unfair to do so when one side is using such heavy weaponry… We are intent on exposing the regime’s brutal tactics for the world to see.”

That’s an argument that seems designed to undermine the case of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who criticizedthe recent Security Council resolution on Syria for not condemning the violence of armed groups within the country in the same language it used toward the Assad regime.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said at a press briefing today that the United States will be releasing more declassified satellite imagery in the coming days. “Our intent here is to, obviously, expose the ruthlessness…of this regime and its overwhelming predominant military advantage and the horrible kinds of weaponry that it’s deploying against its people,” she said.

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February 11th, 2012, 12:57 pm


164. ann said:

Gaddafi’s son predicts new uprising in Libya – Feb 11, 2012


On Saturday, Libya’s Transitional National Council demanded that Niger’s authorities must extradite Muammar Gaddafi’s son Saadi, who is currently in Niger.

Saadi, 38, who once played as a forward for Libya’s national football team, fled to Niger after his father was ousted in August 2011.

In an interview with the “Al Arabiya” TV channel on Friday, Saadi claimed that certain forces in Libya were preparing an uprising against the country’s incumbent regime. He said that although he had left the country, he still maintains contact with some Libyans and knows that many of them are dissatisfied with the current regime.

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February 11th, 2012, 12:59 pm


165. mjabali said:

Amir in Tell Aviv:

Few days ago you said that you want to get rid of the “Alawi Junta.”

To tell you the truth, this sectarian tone coming from someone who lives in a state based on religion is not a surprise although there is a part of me who knows for a fact that many Israelis are not like you see things in this limited scope. Also, I read many Israeli newspapers and there is more sympathy with the Alawis, since they are a minority like them in this sea of hatred, than your tone that reminds me of Sunni Salafi Sheikhs like Abd Allah al-Hamad al-Tamimi who called in the last few days for the Sunna to unify and stand up against Shia, Alawis, and others.

Now to go back to the video you posted in your comment #161 in which we see an armored anti aircraft platform firing as you claimed in Douma.

Ok, we Syrians know it is wrong to use this type of weapons in cities and against your own people. Also, we know that these guns are firing against adversaries that have humble military means like AK’s and RPGs. There is a war over there mr Amir and to have fights of this sort is ordinary.

BUT, if we follow the Israeli logic into confronting these type of disputes we see something like this video:


So, your Junta sends 2000lb bombs against guys with AK47 and RPG and some Katyusha (home made) and you have no problems with them. You voted for them also to do that and probably participated in the offensive on Gaza.

Remember that the Palestinians in Gaza want democracy and freedom also. Did you ever recognize that?

Don’t you see mr. Amir that you have double standards here?

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February 11th, 2012, 1:01 pm


166. mjabali said:

Salafi thinkers do nothing in their lives but spreading hatred and destroying every aspect of people living togather.

Here is a link to Salafi Sheikh inciting sectarian hatred:


From Egypt a Salafi court orders 8 Coptic family to get out of their homes:


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February 11th, 2012, 1:06 pm


167. equus said:

Let’s see if the Media moguls will cover this uprising.

Saudi Arabian protester, second in two days, reportedly shot dead by security forces


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February 11th, 2012, 1:08 pm


168. Amir in Tel Aviv said:


For the 1000 time: there is nothing between the Arab-Israeli conflict (or any other international conflict), and the civil war in Syria.

If the Israeli government gave the IDF an illegal order to shoot and kill Israelis, I would join the FIA (Free Israeli Army), and fight against that criminal Israeli government / junta.

I have nothing about the Alawi sect. I don’t really know much about the Alawis. I’m against the Assad (Alawi) and bros (Alawis).

A vulnerable minority (as you present the Alawi sect) shouldn’t play with fire = 10% oppressing the rest 90%. This situation is unsustainable, and the Alawi elders should have thought about it before they resorted to criminality.

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February 11th, 2012, 1:40 pm


169. mjabali said:

The guys who are making these fake videos in Homs are getting sloppy.

In this video you notice the following:

– Again the camera man points to the exact set of trees where the “incoming shells” “hit” later.

– When watching the video full screen you could see something strapped into the tree where the explosion exactly took place and severed the tree. They did not bother masking it: poor imagination.

– What type of incoming explosive trajectory would do this type of damage?

Any person who went to the army would laugh his ass off when watching how the charges were set off on the tree branches.

Want to see an expert claiming that these are incoming shells…anyone who can help us here? Professor Landis do you know any specialists in this matter please…

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February 11th, 2012, 1:56 pm


170. irritated said:

Amir In Tel Aviv

“I prefer to keep my mouth shot.”

That is a great idea I encourage you to follow through.
Preferably “shut” not “shot”, I would not like to think of you mouthless.

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February 11th, 2012, 1:59 pm


171. ann said:

Blood thirsty islamist terrorists killed this young prominent christian orthopedic physician. He was recently appointed to head Teshreen hospital in Damascus less than a month ago

Senior military officer killed by gunmen in Damascus: state media – 2012-02-11


DAMASCUS, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) — The head of a military hospital in Damascus was assassinated Saturday by gunmen in one of Damascus ‘ main neighborhood, the state-run SANA news agency reported.

Three gunmen opened fire at Brigadier Issa al-Khouli, an orthopedic physician and head of the Hamish military Hospital, in front of his house at the Ruken al-Deen neighborhood, killing him instantly.

Brigadier al-Khouli is the first senior officer to have been killed inside the capital Damascus since the eruption of the anti- regime protests in March of 2011.

Clashes have intensified lately between armed militia and the government forces.

A day earlier, Syria’s Ministry of Interior pledged to “stamp out terrorism” and to “hunt down those who compromise the security of the homeland and citizens.”

In a statement carried by SANA, the ministry pledged to continue its duty in persevering the country’s security and order.

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February 11th, 2012, 2:02 pm


172. Halabi said:

So the Al Qaida terrorists that secular Bashar allowed to slip into Iraq to kill innocent civilians, many of them Christians and Shiaa, are now attacking Syrians. His support for terrorists in neighboring countries should be enough for most people to demand an end of this government and a trial of supporters of Al Qaida.

Instead, menhebaks see the return of Assad’s terrorists as the result of people demanding their freedom.

In any event, the presence of Al Qaida in Syria will bring more, not less, interference from the U.S. Obama takes his responsibility to fight Al Qaida seriously, and has launched attacks from drones and with special forces in countries where the U.S. doesn’t have military presence. By claiming Al Qaida is in Syria, the Assad regime essentially put out an invitation for the U.S. to act.

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February 11th, 2012, 2:03 pm


173. ann said:

Syria expels ambassadors of Tunisia, Libya – 2012-02-11


DAMASCUS, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) — Syria’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said Saturday that Damascus has given the ambassadors of Libya and Tunisia 72 hours to leave Syria.

The Syrian embassy in Qatar was also closed, and Syrian ambassadors to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have also been called back, Syria’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi said during a meeting with reporters.

The expulsion of diplomatic missions of Libya and Tunisia came apparently in retaliation to similar actions taken against Syrian diplomats in those countries.

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February 11th, 2012, 2:06 pm


174. Badr said:

it is impossible to have democracy with religion

Not necessarily. It depends on how people think the role of religion should be in public life.

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February 11th, 2012, 2:06 pm


175. ann said:

Dialogue is the only way out of Syrian crisis – 2012-02-11


BEIJING, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) — China vetoed a U.N. draft resolution on Syria a week ago as it believes the Syrian crisis can and should be solved by the Syrians themselves instead of external forces.

Eleven months into the Syrian unrest since March 2011, violence continued with at least 28 killed and another 235 wounded in the northern city of Aleppo on Friday. The turmoil’s total death toll has exceeded 5,400 according to a UN estimate, while the Syrian government said more than 2,000 government troops and security persons have been killed.

To end the bloody conflict, both the Syrian government and the opposition should engage in immediate dialogue and abandon violence in the first place.

President Bashar al-Assad has reiterated that a referendum will be held in March on a new constitution, which would allow a multi-party political system. Parliamentary elections will follow, with the participation of the opposition groups.

While the Syrian government should keep the promise and implement the reforms, all parties in Syria have a stake in quickly settling the crisis, because no side would gain from escalated violence.


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February 11th, 2012, 2:10 pm


176. irritated said:

@158. Juergen said:

“US Says Signs Growing That Syrian Elite Wants Out”

Massive defections!!! Finally.

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February 11th, 2012, 2:12 pm


177. mjabali said:

Amir in Tell Aviv:

You have no clue about Syria and still want to argue and parrot the argument of the Salafi Sunnis point by point.

– The Alawis are not represented by al-Assad Family. You seem to never be able to understand this little fact.

– There is nothing that is called the “Alawi elders.” This takes place in your imagination. Again you have no clue.

– I do not represent the Alawi sect or anyone. I represent myself mr. I am independent if you are able to tell.

– AS for playing with fire: the Alawis been playing with fire from the moment they emerged into this world. It is nothing new but another day at the office. They are built for it and have the stomach too for a long fight and this is what I have been telling people. They have no other choice especially with all of this hatred and threats they always receive even from people like you.

– Also, everyone is playing with fire mr. so why don’t you recognize this fact. Everyone is fueling this fire.

– As for Israel all I wanted to show you that your junta solves matters like al-Assad and even more irrational than al-Assad. Remember how you bombed Beirut in 1982 for example. Your Junta and al-Assad solve matters in the same old violent logic. Is it hard to understand this point?

– As for freedom and you supporting it, don’t you think there is double standards with you when you neglect to see what the Palestinian wants and chose to support the Syrians who want the same identical thing. Palestinians living under the harsh conditions for decades, living next door to you and you can not see them or even recognize their plight. You are like the ruler of Qatar who can not see what is going on in Bahrin or in the Eastern parts in Saudia Arabia.

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February 11th, 2012, 2:16 pm


178. irritated said:

#154 Juergen

“Leadership requires that you go to when you are the problem and not the solution

What a stupid statement. I hope it was taken out of context otherwise Cathy Ashton would need to have her brain checked.

Leaders will always be a problem for people who are against them and the solution to the ones who are with them.

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February 11th, 2012, 2:18 pm


179. ann said:

Lebanese military vows to crackdown on security saboteurs – 2012-02-12


BEIRUT, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) — The Lebanese military vowed on Saturday to crackdown on individuals who it said are sabotaging the country’s security as efforts to quell the fighting between Sunnis and Alawites were continued in the north coastal city of Tripoli.

In a statement to the media, the military said it has made the decision to confront those who are tampering with the country’s security, regardless of what party they belong to.

The military also said it will hold those who support armed groups responsible for any human or material loss in its ranks.

In Tripoli, the Alawite neighborhood Jabal Mohsen and the Sunni district Bab al-Tabbaneh have been locked in a fight since Thursday night.

Clashes between Tripoli’s detractors and supporters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is an Alawite, have raised concerns that the unrest in Syria may spill over into Lebanon as the turmoil goes on.

The information Xinhua obtained showed at least 12 people had been injured in the sectarian fighting, including six soldiers and six civilians.

A security source told Xinhua that the army has been given order to arrest weapon carriers and dispatch extensive patrols in Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen.

Although sporadic bursts of fire can still be heard across Tripoli on Saturday evening, the army is close to arrange a cease fire deal between the fighting factions, the source said.

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February 11th, 2012, 2:33 pm


180. ann said:

Draft GA Resolution of Syria Now Online, Saudi in Lead, UK Was Busy

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, February 10 — Hours after Inner City Press exclusively reported that a draft resolution on Syria was being prepared for he General Assembly session on Syria set for February 13, it obtained the draft, and is now putting it online.

In twelve multi-part paragraphs, the resolution repeated much of what was dual vetoed on February 4 in the Security Council — except that the General Assembly does not have the powers of the Security Council, to require member states to act, and to authorize force.

While the target told Inner City Press that “the Qatari President of the General Assembly is not the mastermind, that is the UK and Saudi Arabia,” UK Permanent Representative Mark Lyall Grant at 6 pm on Friday denied to Inner City Press that he had been involved: too busy with the Falkland Islands, or Malvinas as Argentina called them.

So with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the lead, the draft:



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February 11th, 2012, 2:38 pm


181. Juergen said:


no comments on what Hans said to you about the Arabs?

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February 11th, 2012, 3:02 pm


182. equus said:

Who is distributing the old flag prints in Syria? Avaaz.org
Who is writing the English posters for (peaceful protestors)? Avaaz.org . They collect money in the name of humanitarian phantom mask to further their political agenda, then leave them to their destiny. Same replica of the Libyan model, they distributed the old flags, kept portraying the humanitarian phony face and now…not a single dime is helping Libyans.

In fact the business of America is permanent wars for unchallengeable wealth, power, and dominance, while homeland needs go begging.

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February 11th, 2012, 3:09 pm


183. Ghufran said:

Info coming about a cease fire in Zabadani and the army entering town.

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February 11th, 2012, 3:19 pm


184. bronco said:

Ann #185

This paragraph is still unacceptable in this form because the AL plan implies that the president should pass ALL HIS authorities to the VP, which actually means to STEP DOWN. The media, the international community and the Russians understood this way but Al Arabi and Alain Juppe denied that it was meant to be interpreted this way. If the resolution calls for Bashar Al Assad to step down it should say it explicitly instead of vaguely referring to the AL ‘decisions’. If the AL plan does not call for Bashar to step down but to pass on SOME authorities to the VP, then I should spell out explicitly too.

In my view it should be changed to that:

“…including the call for the president to give the VP the responsibility and the necessary authorities to commence a serious political dialog between the Syrians government and the whole spectrum of the opposition……”

“7. Fully supports the League of Arab States’ 22 January 2012 decision to facilitate a Syrian-led political transition to a democratic, plural political system, in which citizens are equal regardless of their affiliations or ethnicities or beliefs,

including through commencing a serious political dialogue between the Syrian govemment and the whole spectrum of the Syrian opposition under the League of Arab States’ auspices, in accordance with the timetable set out by the League of Arab States;

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February 11th, 2012, 3:26 pm


186. bronco said:

Ann #185

This paragraph is still unacceptable in this form because the AL plan calls for the president to ALL HIS authorities to the VP, which actually means to STEP DOWN. While the media, the international community and the Russians read it this way, Alain Juppe and Al Arabi denied that it was meant to that effect. If the resolution calls for Bashar Al Assad to step down, it should say it explicitly instead of vaguely referring to the AL ‘decisions’. If the AL plan does not call for Bashar to step down but to pass on SOME authorities to the VP, then I should be spelled out explicitly too.

In my view it should be changed to that:

“…including the call for the president to give the VP the responsibility and the necessary authorities to commence a serious political dialog between the Syrians government and the whole spectrum of the opposition……”

“7. Fully supports the League of Arab States’ 22 January 2012 decision to facilitate a Syrian-led political transition to a democratic, plural political system, in which citizens are equal regardless of their affiliations or ethnicities or beliefs,

including through commencing a serious political dialogue between the Syrian govemment and the whole spectrum of the Syrian opposition under the League of Arab States’ auspices, in accordance with the timetable set out by the League of Arab States;

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February 11th, 2012, 3:34 pm


187. irritated said:

@190. Juergen said:

“must see interview
Jean-Clément Jeanbart, Archbishop of Aleppo, Syria”

Thanks for pointing it t us despite the fact that what he says goes totally against your views and many on this blog.

“He is saying 90% of Syria is normal”

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February 11th, 2012, 3:40 pm


188. zoo said:

@ 188 Ghufran

Will it be a example for the other rebels strongholds?

Zabadani: Armed rebels get amnesty after giving back their weapons.

Assad’s forces enter Zabadani after ceasefire: leader
AMMAN | Sat Feb 11, 2012 2:29pm EST
AMMAN (Reuters) – President Bashar al-Assad’s forces entered the besieged town of Zabadani near the border with Lebanon on Saturday after agreeing a ceasefire with rebels, an opposition leader in exile, Kamal al-Labwani, said.

The agreement, reached after a week-long tank and artillery bombardment that left at least 100 people dead in the town of 20,000, stipulates that rebels return weapons and armor seized from loyalist forces, who would not pursue the rebels, Labwani told Reuters.

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February 11th, 2012, 3:46 pm


189. Amir in Tel Aviv said:


“…You have no clue about Syria (…) You seem to never be able to understand this little fact (…) This takes place in your imagination (…) Again you have no clue”.

I never claimed I’m an expert on Syria or on the Alawi sect. This, in fact, is something universal. It’s about basic human rights. I know injustice when I see it. And I see it in Syria without being an expert.

About the Palestinians: I’m for full rights for the Palestinians. But not if this will cost me and my people, our basic rights.
So if the Palestinians agree to honor our rights, and abandon their stupid dream of a Palestine from the river to the sea, they will have their rights. Most Israelis (according to surveys) agree with this pact.

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February 11th, 2012, 3:48 pm


190. irritated said:

@186. Juergen said:


no comments on what Hans said to you about the Arabs?”

I missed that, please point me to the comment.

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February 11th, 2012, 3:50 pm


191. zoo said:

Analysts: Israel doesn’t fear change of regime in Syria
Vita Bekker
TEL AVIV // During the Egyptian protests that ousted Hosni Mubarak as president last year, Israel worried its critical peace partner would be taken over by Islamist radicals.

Now, as another Arab neighbour – Syria – faces escalating bloodshed and turmoil, Israel appears more relaxed about regime change there.

The difference? Analysts say Israel doubts that Islamists will take over in Syria after the expected downfall of President Bashar Al Assad.

They add that Israel may also feel a new Syrian government may be friendlier towards the West and more distant from Iran and groups such as Lebanon’s Hizbollah that are anti-Israel.

Some Syrian opposition leaders are already warning there will be payback for Hizbollah, which has used Damascus as a safe haven, if Mr Al Assad goes.

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February 11th, 2012, 3:55 pm


192. zoo said:

UN General Assembly ready to vote on Syria resolution
Joe Lauria
Feb 12, 2012

UNITED NATIONS // As violence mounted in Syria yesterday with bombardments of civilians and the assassination of a general in the capital, the UN General Assembly prepared to vote on a resolution endorsing an Arab League plan to end the killing.

The League meets today to consider its next step in its campaign to oust the Syrian president, Bashar Al Assad. League member Saudi Arabia has introduced a draft General Assembly resolution of condemnation that echoes one vetoed in the UN Security Council by Russia and China, according to a copy seen by The National.

The main opposition umbrella group, the Syrian National Council (SNC), also said it was confident of Arab recognition and support of the group as the official opposition, although not at today’s League meeting in Cairo.

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February 11th, 2012, 3:56 pm


193. Juergen said:


155 is Hans post

I find his opinion genuine, and i think its quite an statement for a member of the church to say i am in opposition to the regime already… See Irritated what i dont like is nonreflectve opinions, or slogan thoughts. you know it, some others dont the head is not just made for haircuts…

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February 11th, 2012, 3:58 pm


194. zoo said:

No terrorists in Syria?

Jihadists, weapons ‘moving from Iraq to Syria’
BAGHDAD, (AFP) — Jihadists are moving from Iraq to Syria and arms are also sent across the border to opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, Iraq’s deputy interior minister said in an interview with AFP on Saturday.

“We have intelligence information that a number of Iraqi jihadists went to Syria,” Assadi said, adding that “weapons smuggling is still ongoing” from Iraq into Syria.
While there are still regular civilian protests that turn deadly in Syria, the focus has now also shifted to armed conflict with regime forces.

“The weapons are transported from Baghdad to Nineveh (province), and the prices of weapons in Mosul (the province’s capital) are higher now because they are being sent to the opposition in Syria,” Assadi said.

He said that the price of a Kalashnikov assault rifle has risen from between $100 and $200 to between $1,000 and $1,500.

“The weapons are being smuggled from Mosul through the Rabia crossing to Syria, as members of the same families live on both sides of the border,” he said.

And “there is some smuggling through a crossing near Abu Kamal,” Assadi said, referring to a Syrian city.

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February 11th, 2012, 3:59 pm


195. Juergen said:


he said 95% just for the record…

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February 11th, 2012, 4:02 pm


196. zoo said:

No mention of Egypt of Qatar. It seems that Hamas still hopes to return to friendly Syria..

Hamas looking for a new base
By Ali El-Saleh

However the general feeling is that it will be extremely difficult for Hamas to find a country that will permit it to transfer its main headquarters to its territory, not least among the Arab states surrounding Israel.

Amman has explicitly rejected the idea of Hamas relocating its base of operations to Jordan,
Accordingly, Mishal – whose family members who hold Jordanian nationality have returned to the country – is expected to remain in the Qatari capital, albeit on a temporary basis.

However the source stressed that Hamas will not officially acknowledge the fact that its political bureau members have left Damascus, and will not shut its offices there, but will rather keep these open until the situation becomes clear.

Another Palestinian source stressed to Asharq Al-Awsat that Hamas is not under any pressure from the Syrian authorities to leave the country.

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February 11th, 2012, 4:09 pm


198. irritated said:

#197 Juergen

The Archbishop is on the spot, he hears and see the reality, not the rumors and the media games, like say, 95% on the people in this blog. His opinion is genuine and valuable.
Many people in Syria disapproved the regime, especially recently when it opened the market and corruption flourished, while poverty was creeping in many circles of the country, especially in the areas that became the ‘hotbeds’ of the revolution. But this doesn’t mean that “you should throw the baby with the water of the bath”. The system was overdue for a serious overhaul. This crisis has made it a matter or high urgency.
About what Hans said, if a country’s education is proper and stimulate discussions on different points of view then people develop a brain that think and able able to get into discussions without resorting to violence.
Unfortunately while there are many exceptions, the education and the religious system in the Arab world either produces amorphous people or else rebels looking for a cause.
There is a large article about the problem with the education system in the Arab world that someone posted that explains why Hans could think that Arabs need a boot!

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February 11th, 2012, 4:29 pm


199. Tara said:

The 2003 invasion has tainted the idea of liberal interventionism. But the people of Homs should not suffer because of that
Jonathan Freedland
Friday 10 February 2012 14.45 EST

We rightly slam generals who are always fighting the last war, but I wonder if today’s peace movement is guilty of the same crime. The thought was prompted by a hasty glance at an email from the Stop the War Coalition.

I saw the words “rally”, “Syria” and “embassy” and assumed they were organising a demo outside the Syrian embassy to protest at the truly shocking slaughter now conducted by the Assad regime against its own people. After all, Stop the War do not confine themselves to opposing military action involving British troops (they recently co-organised a demo outside the Israeli embassy to mark the anniversary of the offensive against Gaza). All credit to them for taking a stand against the Syrian tyrant, I thought.

But I had read too fast. Stop the War were, in fact, calling for a rally outside the American embassy, urging the US to stay out of Syria and its neighbour Iran. Its slogans were directed not at the butchers of Damascus, but against the planners in Washington.

There’s a one-word explanation for how anti-war activists find themselves more exercised by the prospect of intervention to stop murderous violence than by the murderous violence itself. That word is Iraq. The 2003 invasion of Iraq has tainted for a generation the idea once known as “liberal interventionism”.

After Iraq, the response to any talk of western action is deep cynicism. Anyone proposing it is assumed to be lying: to be exaggerating a non-existent threat in order to hide the more sinister, “true” purpose (usually oil); and to be blithely ignoring the certainty that any action will only make things worse. Because that’s how it was with Iraq, runs the logic, so it will be true of Iran, Syria or any future conflict. And so the peace movement ends up fighting the last war – specifically, the Iraq war.

But if it is nonsensical to propose military force in every case, as some on the bellicose right do, then it is surely just as nonsensical (for anyone but an absolute pacifist) to oppose it in every case. We need to see again what we understood well before Iraq: that every case is different.

Take Syria. I am not with those who, appalled at the sight of the world doing nothing as children and their parents are killed and maimed by Bashar al-Assad’s troops, immediately demand military action. There is not a binary choice between nothing and war. A range of non-violent steps in between are available to western nations. These include sabotage, electronic interference with the Assad forces’ communications, the offer of incentives to high-level Syrian defectors and the public naming of those units directly involved in the current brutality and their commanding officers. That way Assad’s generals will know that, however this ends, they will never be able to travel freely again, for fear of arrest and prosecution. In addition, of course, the west can support the opposition, which, we should remember, is not a rival army, but began as a non-violent protest movement of ordinary citizens, lethally crushed.

That menu of options comes from Carne Ross, who resigned from his post as the lead official on the Middle East inside the UK mission at the UN over Iraq. Specifically, he quit because he did not believe Britain and the US had exhausted all other options before resorting to war. Once again, in Syria’s case, he believes there are non-violent steps the west could and should take first. I agree. But if those stops don’t end the slaughter? “When innocent civilians are killed in large numbers, military force has to be an option,” he says.

In other words, the post-Iraq blanket rejection of intervention makes no moral sense. Many, chiefly on the right, argued against intervention in Bosnia in the 1990s – and yet if the west had acted earlier, it would have saved tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of mainly Bosnian Muslim lives. Force should always be a last resort – not a first resort, as it is for too many on the right, but not a non-resort as it is for too many on the left.

There is similarly blanket thinking on Iran. Because it understandably recoils from one proposed solution – military action – the anti-war camp refuses to recognise there might even be a problem, namely the possibility of an Iranian nuclear weapon. It dismisses all talk of the issue as neoconservative warmongering, assuming that it amounts to no more than a re-run of Iraq – a drumbeat for war for war’s (or oil’s) sake, with the feared threat from Iran as hollow as it was from Saddam.



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February 11th, 2012, 4:35 pm


200. irritated said:

Halabi #177

“Al Qaida terrorists that secular Bashar allowed to slip into Iraq”

and who are now welcomed back home by the opposition to help them destroy Syria to save it from the grip of the Assads.

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February 11th, 2012, 4:38 pm


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