The Ten Most Important Developments in Syria in 2015

by Aron Lund, editor of Syria in Crisis.

I wrote a post for Syria Comment last year listing the top events of 2014 and what to look for in 2015. So here’s another one—a very long one, in fact. It has been compiled in bits and pieces over a few weeks but was finalized only now, a few days after the fact.

In keeping with the buzzfeedification of international political writing, I have decided to make it a top ten list and to provide very few useful sources, just a lot of speculative opinion. I’ll rank them from bottom to top, starting with number ten and moving on to the biggest deal of them all. Enjoy!


10. The Death of Zahran Alloush.

In October 2013, the esteemed proprietor of Syria Comment, Professor Joshua Landis, compiled a top five list of Syria’s most important insurgent leaders, excluding al-Qaeda, the Islamic State, and the Kurdish YPG. It contained the following five names:

  • Hassane Abboud (Ahrar al-Sham)
  • Zahran Alloush (Islam Army)
  • Ahmed Eissa al-Sheikh (Suqour al-Sham)
  • Abdelqader Saleh (Tawhid Brigade)
  • Bashar al-Zoubi (Yarmouk Brigade)

Of these five, two remain alive but have been demoted to second-tier ranks in their factions. In March 2015, Ahmed Eissa al-Sheikh merged his group into Ahrar al-Sham and took up a less prestigious job in the new outfit. In October, the Free Syrian Army heavyweight Bashar al-Zoubi was reassigned to run the political office of the Yarmouk Army, as it is now called, and replaced as general commander by Abu Kinan al-Sharif.

The other three are dead. Abdelqader Saleh was hit by a missile in Aleppo in November 2013. Soon after, his powerful Tawhid Brigade began to fall apart. Most of its subunits are now dispersed across two rival-but-allied outfits, called the Levant Front and the First Corps, which are both active in Aleppo. Hassane Abboud was killed alongside other Ahrar al-Sham leaders in a September 2014 bombing—or whatever that was. And on Christmas Day 2015, Zahran Alloush suffered the same fate. A missile hit a building in the Eastern Ghouta where he was meeting with other local rebel leaders.

Since Zahran Alloush died just a week ago, we don’t know how much this will matter in the end. But he was indisputably one of the best-known rebel commanders in Syria, the one best positioned to dominate Damascus if Assad lost power, one of the very rare effective (because ruthless) centralizers within the Syrian opposition, a trusted ally of the Saudi government, and the most powerful Islamist leader willing to engage in UN-led peace talks. Those five qualities all seemed to promise him a major role in Syria’s future. But now he’s dead. And since his group always seemed like it had been built around him as a person, many now fear/hope that it will start unraveling like Saleh’s Tawhid Brigade in Aleppo. We’ll see. If the rebels start to lose their footing east of Damascus, it will be an enormous relief for Assad.

9. The Failure of the Southern Storm Offensive.

Map by @desyracuse

Map by @desyracuse

This summer, the loose coalition of rebel units known as the FSA’s Southern Front got ready to capitalize on a year of slow and steady progress, during which Sheikh Miskin and other towns had been captured from Assad. They encircled the provincial capital, Deraa, for a final offensive dubbed Southern Storm. The city actually looked ready to fall. After Idleb, Jisr al-Shughour, Ariha, Palmyra, and Sukhna, the fall of Deraa was intended to be the nail in Assad’s coffin and a show of strength for the Western-vetted FSA factions in the south, drawing support away from their Islamist rivals.

Stories differ on what happened next, but the Southern Storm campaign was a fiasco. Regime frontlines hardly budged, the Allahu Akbars trailed off into a confused mumble, and commanders were called back to Jordan. Half a year later, with Russian air support, Assad has begun an offensive to retake Sheikh Miskin in the hope of finally loosening the rebel stranglehold on Deraa—although at the time of writing, this is still a work in progress.

What happened? I really don’t know. Many things, probably. The operation seems to have been poorly coordinated, with rebels pursuing a plan that their foreign funder-managers in the Military Operations Center in Jordan didn’t agree on. Stories have been told about some nations cutting support, rebels defecting to Assad or heading for Europe, arms having been sold on to jihadis, and groups splitting over obscure internal intrigues. Some of those stories may be false, but the failure was a fact and the rebels have since been restrained from further advances.

Of course, it might seem strange to say that rebels not taking a city was Syria’s ninth most significant event in 2015. It is not even a Dog Bit Man story, it’s a Dog Didn’t Bite Man story. But the Deraa affair seems to have done a great deal of damage to Western and Arab hopes for the FSA’s Southern Front, which had until then been portrayed as a model for the rest of Syria’s insurgency. Unless the southern rebels manage to reorganize, unify, and go back on the offensive, I think the events of summer 2015 might end up being seen as a turning point in the southern war.

8. Operation Decisive Quagmire.

afp-15a98bf10482c310755007248667f3649b607c81In keeping with local tradition, the princes of Saudi Arabia can be wedded to four regional crises at once. In early 2015, they were sulking over Syria, emotionally drained by Egypt, flustered by unfaithful Libya, and at wits’ end over that shrew in Baghdad, when Yemen suddenly walked into their lives—a huge, incoherent, boiling mess of splintering armed factions, collapsing institutions, Africa-level poverty, jihadi terrorism of every imaginable stripe, and aggressive interference by rival foreign governments.

It was love at first sight.

Since then, the March 2015 Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen has of course turned out to be exactly the self-defeating, facepalm-inducing clusterfuck that everyone who is not a member of the Saudi royal family had predicted.

To make a long story short, the Saudis are still in Yemen with no victory on the horizon and no face-saving exit available. This means they have much less time and resources left for Syria than they did a year ago. They have become more exposed to Iranian pestering and are more dependent on their regional and Western allies, several of whom do not share their views on how to deal with Bashar al-Assad. Rather than being able to leverage their intervention in Yemen against Iran and Assad in Syria, the Saudis now seem at risk of having it leveraged against them.

Thanks to the over-confidence and under-competence of the Saudi royal family, Syrian rebels may therefore turn out to be among the biggest losers of the Yemeni war.

7. Europe’s Syria Fatigue vs. Assad’s Viability

2The huge numbers of refugees coming from Syria and other countries to the European Union in 2015 had many causes, but one of the effects was to rearrange Europe’s list of priorities in the Middle East. Goals number one through three are now as follows: stability, stability, and stability. Number four is anti-terrorism, number five is economic growth, and then there are a few others along those lines. Promoting democracy is also on the list, right after ”fix the nose of the Sphinx.”

In 2015, we have also seen a slow but persistent drip of terror scares and occasional massacres, including two big ones in Paris in January and November. This is obviously not the refugees’ fault, but many Europeans link these attacks to Syria anyway—including some of the attackers, like the wanker that began stabbing random people in the London Underground this December.

These things tap into the West’s darkest impulses. Reactions to immigration, painful social change, and terrorist pin-pricks may be irrational—in fact, they mostly are—but they carry real weight and win votes. Policy specialists might recommend some mixture of strategic patience, cautious reform, and nuanced rhetoric, but European rightwing populists eat policy specialists for breakfast.

Islamophobic far-right movements were already growing all over Europe, for reasons largely related to the continent’s own internal diseases, but the refugee crisis and the terror attacks are a godsend for them. Some of these groups are not content with merely hating and fearing the Syrian rebels for their Islamism, but also adopt pro-Assad positions. In addition, European extremists on both the far right and the far left are increasingly friendly with Putin’s Russia; some are even funded by the Kremlin. These parties are no longer bit players. They’re going to be in government soon, or close enough to government to shape policy. Add to that the old-school authoritarian national-conservatism that has begun to resurface in Eastern Europe, including Hungary, Poland, and other places, and the fact that countries like the Czech Republic and Hungary are already the Baath’s best advocates in the EU, and you have the nucleus of a slowly forming pro-Assad constituency.

Of course, many European politicians are also re-evaluating their views on Syria for perfectly non-racist and non-paranoid reasons. The most common one is probably a widespread and profound loss of faith in the Syrian opposition, not merely as an alternative to Assad, but even as a tool for pressuring him and engineering a solution. Others were never interested in a policy to overthrow Assad, although they happen to think he’s a crook.

The point is that all of these things now reinforce each other and for the Syrian regime, it looks like vindication. In 2011, Bashar al-Assad made a bet, wagering that (1) the West would one day recoil from its love affair with Middle Eastern revolution and return to the familiar comfort of secular authoritarianism, and that (2) his own regime would still be standing when that happened.

It is now happening, but whether or not Assad’s regime is still standing, qua regime, is a matter of definition. The Syrian president has so far shown little ability to exploit political openings like these. To an increasing number of European politicians, he does indeed look like the lesser evil, but also like a spectacularly incompetent evil. His regime appears to them to be too broken, too poor, too polarizing, too sectarian, too inflexible, and too unreliable to work with—more like a spent force than a least-bad-option. Assad’s diplomacy may be far more elegant but is ultimately no more constructive than that of Moammar al-Gaddafi, who, as you may recall, kept refusing every kind of compromise and even shied away from purely tactical concessions, until he was finally beaten to death by screaming Islamists in a country so broken it will perhaps never recover.

Then there is the question of Assad’s own longterm viability. Even in pre-2011 Syria, no one could be quite sure whether the Baathist regime would remain in one piece without an Assad at the helm. In a conflict like this, there must be dozens of assassins trying to worm their way into the Presidential Palace at any given moment and for all we know one of them could get lucky in 2016, 2017, or tomorrow. And what about his health? The Syrian president turned 50 this September. That’s no age for an Arab head of state and he looks perfectly fine in interviews. But if Western intelligence services have done their due diligence, they’ll know that his father Hafez suffered a ruinous stroke or heart attack at age 53, which nearly knocked him out of power. Who knows, maybe it runs in the family?

At this point, however, a growing number of European policymakers are so tired of Syria and its problems that they’ll happily roll the dice on Assad being the healthy, happy autocrat that he looks like. They would be quietly relieved to see Syria’s ruler reemerge in force to tamp down the jihadi menace and stem refugee flows with whatever methods, as long as they don’t have to shake his bloody hands in public and on the condition that he delivers a semi-functional rump state for them to work with, at some unspecified point in the future.

Obviously, Assad isn’t going to become best friends with the EU anytime soon, but it might be enough for him if major cracks start to appear in the West’s Syria policy. If so, there is now a window of opportunity opening up that wasn’t there for him a year ago. If the Syrian president manages to break some bad habits, tries his hand at real politics instead of Baathist sloganeering, and produces a stabilization plan slightly more sophisticated than murdering everyone who talks back to him, then 2016 could be the year that he starts breaking out of international isolation. If not, he’s likely to stay in the freeze box for at least another year—and since his regime keeps growing weaker, nastier, and less state-like by the day, it’s uncertain if he’ll get another chance.

This is a potential game changer worth watching, but don’t get too excited. Given the way that the Assad regime has conducted itself in the past half-century, the odds are long for transformative politics and persuasive diplomacy from Syria’s strongman.

6. The Vienna Meeting, the ISSG, and Geneva III.

b03582e6b20396c6ed25a6cb72406b35f8745e5dWhile not the most important, the November 14 creation of the International Support Group for Syria (ISSG, not to be confused with ISIS or ISIL) was certainly the most unambiguously positive piece of news of the year.

A debating club of interested nations and international organs won’t be enough to end the Syrian war, but it means that the terms of the debate have been readjusted for the better. Recognizing the conflict’s international dimension and engaging constructively with the fact that this is now partly a proxy war was long overdue. As currently construed, the ISSG might be too broad and unwieldy to function properly, since the core players (USA, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, etc) always seem to have to hold preparatory pre-meetings before settling down in the ISSG format. But if that’s what it takes to get the screaming and sulking teenagers that rule Tehran, Ankara, and Riyadh to sit down and talk like adults, then so be it.

That the creation of the ISSG has for the first time made Iran a formal party to the Syria talks is a good thing, whatever Syrian rebels and their Saudi paymasters may think of it. Iran is a key player both on the ground and in the diplomatic struggle over Syria; that’s not something you can change by pretending otherwise, though many have tried. Of course, now we’re all waiting for Iran to come to the same conclusion about the Syrian rebels, instead of childishly insisting that Assad must be allowed to negotiate with an opposition of his own choosing.

After its meetings in Vienna and New York, the ISSG has empowered UN envoy Staffan de Mistura to call for a new round of Syrian-Syrian talks, currently scheduled for January 25 in Geneva. As many have already pointed out, these talks are unlikely to solve Syria’s problems. The ISSG-backed goal of a transition through free and fair elections by 2017 is almost cartoonishly unrealistic.

So, what to do about that? Many pundits have reacted to the Vienna statement and the Geneva peace process only by ridiculing it and then restating their preferences for the outcome. That’s not helping. The talks are indeed almost certain to fail to reach their overly ambitious goals, but then let’s work from that assumption instead of scoffing at it.

The actors involved in Syria’s war should plan for failure even more than they plan for success. They should already be preparing for a post-Geneva situation where they need to salvage, secure, and build on any shred of progress achieved in the talks.

Reaching a comprehensive ceasefire by June seems incredibly difficult, but a dampening of violence just might be possible, with some luck. If serious about it, Syrian negotiators could presumably also reach meaningful agreement on more limited and less controversial issues.

They could also agree to keep talking. Since so many now favor some sort of political resolution, and unsuccessful negotiations may give way to military escalation, it would be useful to avoid a full stop and the taste of failure. A faltering Geneva process could be drawn out into many sessions and postponed, with negotiators on both sides sent back for a couple of months to do their homework, instead of ended. Transforming the Geneva process into a semi-permanent platform for negotiations on a talk-while-you-fight model would transfer some of the combatants’ attention to a political track. That would be a good thing, both in the hope of achieving a breakthrough later on and for day-to-day crisis management.

Most of all, international actors should make sure to safeguard the ISSG framework, or some version of it, against an underwhelming performance in Geneva. Even if the war goes on and intensifies, some form of international contact group will be useful to facilitate communication and solve side-issues, and it remains a necessary ingredient in any future de-escalation deal.

5. The Donald.

The politics of the United States is a key part of the politics of Syria, although the reverse is rarely true.

Right now, it looks very likely that Donald Trump will either win the Republican nomination for president, or run as an independent and split the Republican vote out of pure spite. If so, Hillary Clinton is almost certain to be elected president of the United States, which would give her final say over the superpower’s Syria policy from January 2017 to 2020, or even 2024.

Of course, one never knows: some extraordinary scandal could knock her out of the race, or maybe Trump slinks away or is bought off after losing the primaries. We’ll see. But right now, Clinton seems like the smart person’s bet.

From what we know of her performance as President Obama’s secretary of state during the first three years of the Syrian war, a Clinton presidency would probably mean a more hawkish attitude to Assad. For example, she keeps declaring herself in favor of a no fly zone to ground the Syrian air force. Whether that is feasible is another matter, what with these Russian jets and air defense systems all over the place, and tough talk on the campaign trail will not necessarily translate into White House policy. But a more interventionist American line in Syria could definitely make a difference in the war, for good or bad or both.

The high likelihood of a Clinton presidency also means that we can tentatively exclude the sort of radical break in American Syria policy that might have followed a Republican restoration. Some of the GOP candidates are more aggressively anti-Assad than Clinton and have no interest in preserving any part of Obama’s legacy. Others are the exact opposite: more or less pro-Assad and starkly opposed to the rebels, whether for pandering to the anti-Muslim vote or out of anti-interventionist principle. But because of Donald Trump, it now seems like those points of view are going to get schlonged back into permanent opposition.

4. The Iran Deal.

iran-nuclearThe effects of the Iranian nuclear agreement, which was finalized between April and June 2015, are only very gradually becoming apparent. But unless the deal is somehow scuttled by the combined efforts of hawks in the United States, Iran, Israel, and Saudi Arabia, it could reshape the region.

As a consequence of the agreement and the American-Iranian thaw, the international isolation of Tehran is withering away. After four years of being shut out of Syria diplomacy, but not out of Syria, Iran has been invited to the UN-led negotiation process via the ISSG. The United States is also starting to accept Tehran as a regional power to be engaged coldly but constructively, although this is still unfamiliar terrain for all involved.

Meanwhile, European companies are flocking to Tehran to get a slice of the end-of-sanctions pie. Expecting billion-dollar construction contracts and racing to beat their Russian, Chinese, American, and Arab competition, the EU governments will soon start to pay a lot of attention to what Iranian diplomats have to say. More soft power for the ayatollahs, then.

Though often viewed, somewhat inexplicably, as a third-tier actor in the Iran talks, Russia is also paying the greatest attention to this process. Once the nuclear deal was done, Putin swiftly began to transform a complicated but friendly relationship into an emerging pact, seeing in Iran’s combination of oil, gas, military muscle, and poor ties to the West a perfect regional ally for Russia. Russian state media just announced that Moscow will start shipping its powerful S-300 air defense system to Iran next month.

This is all great news for Bashar al-Assad, of course, though it’s not yet clear whether his regime can stick around long enough to fully capitalize on Iran’s growing influence.

3. The Continuing Structural Decay of the Syrian Government. 

down-with-hafezAssad took some real body blows in spring and summer 2015. After an upward curve in 2014, the Syrian army started to seem exhausted by the end of the year and its offensive in Aleppo petered out after a last hurrah in spring 2015. With rising support for the rebels, the hollowed-out base of Assad’s regime began to show.

Most obviously, Assad lost a lot of territory in the first half of 2015. In March, a coalition of Islamist rebels captured Idleb City in the north and Bosra in the south. In April, Jisr al-Shughour fell, followed by the Nassib border crossing to Jordan. In May, it was time for Ariha in Idleb, with other rebels pushing into the Ghab Plains. Further east, the Islamic State took Sokhna and Palmyra. Southern rebels grabbed a military base known as Brigade 52 in the Houran in June and began preparing their (ultimately ill-fated) assault on Deraa, the provincial capital. That same month, Assad’s forces in Hassakeh were mauled by the Islamic State. They survived only thanks to an uneasy alliance with the Kurds, which increasingly turned into dependence on them. In July, Assad was hard pressed and held a speech declaring that the army would have to focus on keeping the most strategic areas of Syria, though it would not stop striving for total victory.

The rebel and Islamic State offensives have mostly been blunted since then, thanks to raised levels of Russian and Iranian support, and they did not go far enough to deal critical damage to the regime. Yet, at the time of writing, Assad remains unable to recapture any of the cities he lost in the first half of 2015. The northern Hama front, in particular, continues to cause headaches for his government.

Even though you can’t see it on a map, Assad has also lost strength in other ways in 2015. His primary source of power—apart from the military—was always the fact that he controlled the state, and along with it a number of institutions on which every Syrian family relies, including courts, police, public services, state-run businesses and banks, and a system of food and fuel subsidies. While it does not mean that the regime’s subjects love their president, it has allowed Assad to co-opt, control, and mobilize millions of Syrians in ways that the insurgents cannot. Owning the government also allows Assad to hold out the promise of continued central control, institutional rollback in the provinces, and coordinated reconstruction—i.e., some sort of plan for a post-war Syria.

By contrast, his opponents may be skilled at breaking down existing institutions, but they have so far proven unable to build new ones that stretch further than a few towns. This weakness is a primary source of Assad’s strength.

The Islamic State and the Kurdish PKK are partial exceptions to the rule, clearly capable of organizing rudimentary governance after destroying, expelling, or subjugating regime-connected local elites. But, for various reasons, they are not credible alternatives to the existing central state. As for the situation in the remaining Sunni rebel regions, it is very bleak. After nearly five years, there is a handful of multi-province militias, three or so regional networks of Sharia courts (the Sharia Commission of Ahrar al-Sham & Co. and the Nusra Front’s Dar al-Qada in the north, and the more broadly based Dar al-Adl in the south), a lot of little local councils linked to the exile opposition, and a web of foreign-funded aid services operating out of Turkey and Jordan, but not much more.

When Idleb fell to the insurgency earlier this year, it was only the second provincial capital to slide out of Assad’s hands, after Raqqa. It was destined to become an example of what rebel rule would mean. And what happened? The city started out at a disadvantage because of the war, Assad’s retaliatory bombings, and so on. A decent number of public employees seems to have stayed and continued in their jobs, but salaries and electricity provision dried up. That meant that things like water pumps and schools went out of commission. Rebel factions did what they could to organize civilian life, such as forming a joint council, which has administered the city through some combination of inherited municipal regulations and Sharia law. Despite the prominent role of al-Qaeda in the Jaish al-Fath coalition now running Idleb, foreign governments have chipped in by donating food and medical supplies to avoid a humanitarian disaster. Still, even under a comparatively well-organized, broadly based, and locally rooted coalition like Jaish al-Fath, the basics of a new political order never seem to fall in place. After eight months of insecurity, crime, and armed men swarming the city, the new rulers have yet to organize a credible police force. Whatever the opposition may claim, such failures are not merely the result of Assad’s barrel bombing.

The rebels’ manifest inability to govern, along with merciless airstrikes on nonregime territory, is what makes Assad able to compel most of the population to live under his rule; and the fear of irreversible state collapse is what has made foreign states hold back support from the rebels at critical junctures. However, this key advantage of the Assad regime is also slowly fading away, along with the state itself. The resulting problems are almost too many to list.

For one thing, the Syrian army’s manpower deficit is turning into a major issue. Assad has mobilized his security apparatus to hunt down draft dodgers through house calls and flying checkpoints, in order to replenish thinning ranks. The main effect seems to have been to send a growing stream of seventeen and eighteen year old men across the border, often with their families in tow. They may or may not prefer the government over the rebels, it doesn’t matter. In a Syria at peace they would have grumblingly gone for their one-and-a-half years of army training. But as things stand, they know full well that army service has no time limit: discharge is equal to death. As it turns out, most Syrians have no intention of giving their lives in service of Bashar al-Assad and draft dodging is now pervasive. Tensions have become so great that in the Druze-majority Sweida region in the south, the government apparently decided in 2015 to abstain from normal recruitment to the Syrian Arab Army out of fear of provoking a local rebellion. Druze men can instead report for home defense units, on the understanding that they won’t be shipped away to die in distant Hassakeh or Latakia. A similar arrangement reportedly applies in Aleppo and they seem to be creeping into other regions as well.

On the frontlines, Shia foreign fighters are taking a greater role. They appear to be behind much of the successful offensive south of Aleppo. Iran is rallying Iraqi and Lebanese fighters with both religious and financial inducements, but its client groups—Hezbollah, the Badr Organization, Asaeb al-Haqq etc—do not seem able to mobilize enough fighters. According to some reports, Iranian authorities have resorted to press-ganging young Hazara Shia refugees into going to Syria, under threat of deporting their families back to Afghanistan.

Russia has acted even more decisively, by sending its own air force and huge amounts of military materiel to shore Assad up.

Drawing on all of these resources, the Syrian president and his allies have managed to supply the army with the manpower it needed to regain some sort of strategic composure after the difficult first half of 2015. The army now seems to stand its ground again. But though the regime’s counterinsurgency apparatus is now back in working order, this is still the military-logistical equivalent of fixing your car engine with chewing gum and a prayer.

Though it remains the country’s single most powerful armed force, the Syrian Arab Army appears to have boiled down to a skeletal organization. Many elite and specialist units remain in service, but officers have far fewer regular soldiers under their command and are haphazardly recruiting local hangers-on to pad out the ranks in their sector. A huge number of more or less local militias have been set up by pro-Assad civil society figures, including businessmen, neighborhood strongmen, and tribal leaders, and Iran has helped Assad to organize tens of thousands of fighters under the National Defense Forces umbrella. Much of the broader ground force has thus been replaced by local irregulars, although army and intelligence officers still appear to oversee the action and report back to Damascus.

An example of what the Syrian Arab Army now looks like is Brigade General Soheil al-Hassan’s Tiger Force. So called after its commander, whose nickname is ”The Tiger,” it is one of the government’s most acclaimed elite units, which shuttles back and forth across northern Syria to put out fires and break up stalemates. While the Tiger Force is presented in regime media as an exemplary representative of the regular Syrian Arab Army, Hassan is in fact an air force officer who reportedly served as part of Air Force Intelligence at the Hama Airport when the conflict began. Having moved into a frontline role from 2011 onwards, he does not seem to control a huge force, instead relying on local troops and a smaller entourage of personal loyalists from varied backgrounds. Even now, when he is stationed on the front against the Islamic State east of Aleppo, he is surrounded by some of the local militias he worked with in Hama earlier in the war.

The civilian side of the government is also suffering. The state economy has declined at an accelerated pace since summer 2014. Then, the Syrian pound began to lose value quicker, fuel supplies dwindled, and the government was forced to begin a painful retreat from its costly system of subsidies for basic goods. Assad also lost access to the Jordanian border in 2015, complicating trade with Iran and the Gulf Arab markets and hurting farmers and other exporters. Iran’s decision to turn the credit tap back on in spring 2015 surely helped to slow the decay. But with Assad having run down his currency reserves and facing an array of other problems, the value of the pound continues to melt away, the lack of fuel causes cascading problems throughout the economy, the institutional rot worsens, and we’re seeing an accelerating middle class exodus from Damascus and the big cities.

When I recently polled some specialists on the Syrian economy, answers were uniformly pessimistic. Jihad Yazigi, who publishes the well-regarded economic newsletter The Syria Report, concluded that 2016 will see Syrians ”poorer, living a more miserable life, and emigrating in higher numbers.” José Ciro Martínez, an expert on food in conflicts, noted that bread prices have tripled in government-controlled areas (and also in the parts of Syria under Islamic State control), while they are stabilizing in rebel-held regions, where foreign governments are trucking in flour and food.

For the Baathist government, which still today controls a sizable majority of the Syrian people, this has started to eat away at one of Assad’s most important competitive advantages: his ability to provide basic goods and salaries in areas under his control, which draws civilians away from the bombed out and broken rebel badlands and places them under the control of his state, army, and security apparatus. In the past year, humanitarian workers and diplomats monitoring these issues have started to speak about internally displaced people being turned away from government areas that no longer feel that they can afford to care for them, or view them as potential fifth-columnists for the Sunni insurgency. The situation is so bad that in northern Syria, thousands have headed for Islamic State-run Raqqa—a city ruled by fundamentalist psychopaths and targeted by a dozen different air forces, but still safer and more livable than wherever they came from.

The decay of the central government, the army, state institutions, and the Syrian economy more generally means that Assad is growing less credible as the steward of all or part of post-war Syria, even for those inclined to imagine him as such. For years, the Syrian government has spent considerable resources running basic governmental functions even in areas outside of its control—for example by paying salaries to government workers, teachers, and hospital staff in some opposition-held regions. As a consequence, many insurgent areas are paradoxically enough dependent on regular payments and institutional services from the government they’re fighting.

In some cases, these are quid pro quo deals, where the government tries to leverage its ability to shut down services, in order to get the rebels to let traffic through a checkpoint or stay out of certain towns. In other cases, there are overriding shared interests, such as when the government and Islamists work out arrangements to keep Damascus and Aleppo supplied with potable water. There is also the spectacle of unhappy government oil workers sent out to run power plants under Islamic State supervision, because both sides want to keep the lights on and hope to make money off of the other.

But in many other cases, the central government simply seems to be paying for services in areas it does not control. This is not a humanitarian measure and neither is it mere bureaucratic inertia. (Sometimes, the government shuts down services and stops food deliveries as a means of collective punishment.) Rather, it appears to result from a strategic choice to maintain a skeletal grid of institutions in as many regions as possible. That’s a core interest for the Syrian state as such, but also for Assad personally, who hopes to win the war by safeguarding the government’s institutional base and making it contingent on the continued existence of his regime.

Given current trends, it seems unlikely that the central government will be able to keep these payments up forever. In so far as the current rulers of the state are forced to chose, they will no doubt prioritize loyalist areas. (Or corruption and clientelism will make that choice for them.) Also, many areas have already lost any presence of the state and functioning public institutions, whether due to the war, rebel depravations, or regime terror bombing. Recreating them will be even more costly than just keeping them in operation. If Assad’s government does not have the resources or the institutional capacity to rebuild reconquered areas, then it will rule no more effectively than the rebels. If it turns out to be too dependent on radical sectarians to allow Sunni refugees back, and cannot in fact operate as an institutional state and a national government, then President Assad is just a warlord with a fancy title.

For the regime, this is a do or die issue. Unless it manages to bring these structural problems under control in 2016, Syria may be heading into unknown territory.

2. The American-Kurdish Alliance.

indexSince late 2014 and early 2015, the United States Air Force has transformed itself into something that more closely resembles the Western Kurdistan Air Force. Under U.S. air cover, Kurdish forces are constructing their own autonomous region (called Rojava) and in autumn this year, the U.S. started delivering ammunition and small arms directly to Arab units working under the Kurdish umbrella, currently called the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). We’re still in the early stages of what may or may not turn out to be a longterm relationship, although certainly not a monogamous one.

Militarily, it is a match made in heaven and the results are impressive. Despite their limited numbers, the Kurds have created a disciplined force that uses air support effectively. They’re chewing up jihadis and spitting them out from Kobane to Hassakeh. At the moment, they’re threatening to march against Shedadi near the Iraqi border and have just seized the October Dam on the Euphrates, giving them land access to Manbij and the Aleppo hinterland.

Such victories do not look like much on the map, but they are doing systematic and significant damage to the jihadis in sensitive areas. Oil fields, roads, border crossings, and bridges: these are things the Islamic State cannot live without. Now, the American-Kurdish coalition is buzzing around northern Syria like a giant vacuum cleaner, gobbling up all those goodies and leaving nothing for anyone else. If 2016 turns out to be the year when the Islamic State begins to crack and contract, the Syrian Kurds will have played a huge role in getting us there.

Politically speaking, however, the American-Kurdish alliance is not such a perfect marriage. It’s more like an unfortunate Tinder date: initial ambitions align, but you don’t have a lot of interests in common and your friends roll their eyes.

First of all, the Kurds are an ethnic minority with a very particular set of problems and ambitions in Syria, which have little to do with the wider war within the Sunni Arab majority. Their current crop of leaders are ideologically doctrinaire PKK loyalists. They have atrociously poor relations to the rest of the U.S.-backed opposition and disturbingly (as seen from the White House) close contacts with Moscow. If it wishes to act on the central stage of Syrian politics, the United States ultimately needs to win strong allies within the religiously flavored Sunni Arab majority, but it has instead come to rely on a foreign-linked, Russian-friendly, authoritarian, and secular Kurdish group with a (partly undeserved) reputation for separatism. Needless to say, this rubs every dominant ideological camp within the popular majority the wrong way: Islamists, Baathists, Syrian nationalists.

Secondly, the PKK is listed as a foreign terrorist organization in the United States. That means it is illegal for American citizens to provide it with any form of ”material support or resources,” possibly including enormous truckloads of ammunition and billions of dollars worth of close air support. Of course, the sanctioning of the PKK is more due to its violent conflict with Turkey than because of any Kurdish attacks against Americans. Therefore, one would logically expect there to be at least a debate in the United States about whether this key anti-jihadi ally should perhaps be removed from the black list, since this would seem to be an urgent national security interest. But there is nothing of the kind. Instead, the executive branch just goes about its business and the PKK gets its guns as intended. It is a rare case of a political system being so dysfunctional that it becomes super-functional, but it might not last forever.

Third and last, but not least—you may have heard of NATO. The United States is in a military alliance with Turkey, which is a key backer of the Syrian Sunni Arab opposition but also the PKK’s arch-enemy. Both Ankara and the Kurds rank each other far higher than Assad or the Islamic State on their respective lists of evils for urgent destruction. It’s getting worse, too. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is currently sending jets and tanks to bomb Kurdish cities, and he is backing attempts to destroy the HDP, which serves as PKK’s Sinn Féin and is a necessary component of any peaceful solution to Turkey’s conflict. If Turkey-PKK relations were antagonistic before, they are positively murderous right now.

These contradictions threaten to rip apart the United States’ Syrian alliance network, undermining its policy to pressure both Assad and the Islamic State. Resolving them is probably impossible; ignoring or transcending them won’t be much easier. At the moment, the United States is drifting towards the PKK almost by default. This is both because the Kurds have offered something that actually works on the ground and because Erdogan has been such a singularly unhelpful ally in Syria. Turkish obstructionism may have started to fade away now, with Ankara belatedly realizing its need for Western support and the costs of playing spoiler. That could change things. But unless Turkey’s behavior changes radically and other current trends continue, the unlikely alliance between the Pentagon and the PKK looks like it might just beat the odds and survive for the long term.

1. The Russian Intervention.

putsyr4Here we are, at number one, and it’s an easy choice. The single most important event of the Syrian war in 2015 was of course Russia’s September 30 military intervention. Unfortunately, it’s much harder to pin down exactly why this is so important: because it strengthened Assad so much or because it didn’t strengthen him enough?

Most of the discussion in Western Europe and the United States has been over whether Russia intervened against the Islamic State, as it claims, or against other rebels backed by the United States, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia. That question is easy to answer: Russia did not intervene against anyone in particular, it intervened for Assad. Who gets hurt depends on who stands in his way. So far, attacks overwhelmingly focus on the other rebels, not the Islamic State—although the Russian government and its media toadies continue to claim otherwise with a sanctimonious pigheadedness unseen since Baghdad Bob.

If we instead judge the Russian intervention against its undeclared but actual goal, which is to aid Assad, a nuanced picture emerges. The airstrikes themselves are intense and seem effective, but they will ultimately matter little unless a capable ground force can exploit the openings created. Assad’s army leaves much to be desired, as already noted, and his government will struggle to resume firm control over the areas and populations it might capture.

So far, there have been limited gains on the ground, mostly in low-value areas south of Aleppo and some hard-won mountain terrain in northern Latakia. The Syrian army is also seeking to wrest back control of Sheikh Miskin in the south, to make Deraa easier to hold. Less visibly but perhaps more importantly, a series of local ceasefire-and-evacuation deals have helped neutralize rebel strongholds in the Homs and Damascus regions. Since the costs to Russia seem to be fairly limited, they can probably keep this up for a long time, meaning that Assad is in no hurry and can focus on preserving cohesion and manpower.

But on the other hand, three months have already passed and Assad has not recaptured a single one of the cities he lost in spring and summer 2015. Not Jisr al-Shughour, not Bosra, not Idleb, not Palmyra. And on the North Hama front, which has been a main focus for the Russian Air Force, Assad has actually been pushed backwards. Soon after the Russians intervened, he lost Morek, a small town that has been fiercely contested for both sides; that was no sign of strength. If the rebels were to move just a few villages further south of Morek, they’d be within comfortable range of Hama City and could start shelling the crucially important Hama Military Airport. (Perhaps that is a reason for why Assad and the Russians are now hastily restoring the discontinued Shaayrat Airport southeast of Homs?)

In other words, while the intervention has helped Assad turn the tide, he’s nowhere near as effective at capturing territory as his enemies were half a year ago. By now, the initial shock and awe has started to wear off. The Russian state media continues to claim that they’re winning, winning, winning, but if people were willing to listen to that on September 30, they don’t any longer. After three months of nonstop lying and braggadocio, the progress reports from Russia’s ministries of defense and foreign affairs seem no more credible than the shrill propaganda we’ve grown accustomed to from Syria’s rebels and regime.

That said, I think it is quite possible that the Russian bombings will have made a deep cut in the rebellion’s fortunes by spring 2016. The longterm and cumulative effect of all this pressure should not be ignored. How long can the Idleb insurgents fight a three-front war against forces coming from Aleppo in the east, Latakia in the west, and Hama in the south? Both the Syrian and the Russian air forces are now hitting munitions storages, supply routes, and transports all over Idleb and Aleppo. The longer-term effects of these bombings may remain invisible to us still. They are also bombing civilian trade and points of access for food and medical aid in areas that had previously been off limits to the Syrian air force. This is either a calculated gamble or part of a deliberate strategy to create a humanitarian disaster, since the Russians are well aware that hundreds of thousands of people depend on deliveries channeled through these areas. Whatever the case, it stirs up the situation all over northern Syria. Rebel forces could theoretically begin to unravel structurally in the same way that the Islamic State is now doing on some fronts, after a year of mostly Iraqi, Kurdish, and American pressure.

Indeed, we are seeing signs that all is not well in the Syrian rebel movement. The Jaish al-Fath coalition, a powerful Idlebi alliance built on the Nusra-Ahrar axis, has just issued a desperate-sounding call for outside support and foreign fighters. The fact that the alliance now openly invites foreign jihadis to come join them breaches a longstanding redline for the non-Qaida segments of the Islamist opposition. One of Jaish al-Fath’s founding factions, the Muslim Brotherhood-aligned Feilaq al-Sham militia, was so troubled by this (and perhaps by how their funders would react) that they pulled out of the alliance days after the statement. That Jaish al-Fath’s dominant factions would throw caution to the wind in this way, to the extent that the alliance is starting to wither, is a sign of how much pressure they are under since September 30.

Another possible metric is the death of senior commanders. There is no shortage of new recruits for the rebellion, so one shouldn’t overstate the overall significance, but if leaders get killed it’s at the very least a sign that something is wrong. Since September 30, there has been a lot of reports about dead and injured senior figures in the insurgency. The most well known victim is of course Zahran Alloush in Damascus, though we do not know if the Russians were involved in that attack. Further north, recent deaths include Abu Abdessalam al-Shami, an Ahrar al-Sham member who served as Jaish al-Fath’s governor of Idleb City, Ismail Nassif, who was the military chief of the Noureddine Zengi Brigades, and his counterpart in the Thuwwar al-Sham Front, Yasser Abu Said. All three were killed on the south Aleppo front. Jaish al-Fath’s chief judge, the Saudi celebrity jihadi Abdullah al-Moheisini, was wounded just before Christmas (but survived), while Sheikh Osama al-Yatim, who ran the Dar al-Adl court system in the Houran, was killed in mid-December. The list could be made a lot longer.

It’s also worth noting that the political effect outside Syria has been far bigger than the military gains inside Syria. September 30 shook up conventional wisdom about the conflict and increased Putin’s influence across the board, for having yet again out-escalated the West and proven his commitment to Assad. It created some hard-to-win debates for John Kerry, added to an already growing European pessimism about the wisdom of backing Syrian rebels, and made it less likely that a no fly zone would be imposed in Syria by Obama or his successor. By focusing the minds of people in Moscow, Washington, and elsewhere, the Russian intervention has also helped bring about the Vienna meetings, the creation of the ISSG, and consequently also the upcoming Geneva III talks in January. The November 14 Vienna Communiqué (which Assad doesn’t like) is now overtaking the Geneva Communiqué of June 2012 (which Assad really hated). However you rate these things, they’re not nothing.

Most analysis of the Russian involvement has been so politicized as to be almost useless. Putin’s and Assad’s supporters have been quick to pronounce the operation a resounding success, while rebel backers dismiss it as a murderous fiasco. The safe bet is, as always, to look for the truth somewhere in between those extremes. My best guess is that Putin is probably worried over the Syrian Arab Army’s underwhelming achievements and increasingly concerned over what he has gotten himself into. Nevertheless, Assad is definitely in a stronger position than he was half a year ago and can still hope for a bigger dividend in 2016. One also has to consider the alternatives: the Syrian army would no doubt have been much worse off now if the intervention had not happened, and that would have undercut Russia’s influence as well.

Finally, one must note the risks involved in raising the stakes. If the Geneva III talks falter and Assad fails to achieve a decisive breakthrough in 2016, then what? Russia can hardly pull back, now that Assad has grown dependent on its support, not without losing face and seeing its investments frittered away. And what then, Mr. Putin: will you just keep going with no end in sight, or will you escalate even further? In other words, Russia is now at risk of getting stuck in an intractable conflict without an exit strategy and without clear political gain. It would be like Saudi Arabia in Yemen, but on a much bigger scale. If Putin ends up sending ground troops into battle, the risks and costs involved would rise considerably—but even that might not be enough to bring about a Kremlin-friendly conclusion to the Syrian mess.

Some of the less responsible actors on the pro-rebel side (you know who you are) might find this scenario to be in their interest. By exposing himself to injury in Syria while simultaneously continuing to provoke Western and Sunni Arab nations in Ukraine, Iran, and elsewhere, Putin has effectively offered them the choice of a full-blown proxy war. Once he seems to have tied his personal prestige firmly enough to Assad’s fate, they just need to abandon any lingering hopes they might have for stability in Syria and start kicking at the pillars that still keep the state standing, thereby turning Syria into Putin’s own Afghanistan. It would be very bad news for the Russians, but it would be a catastrophe for Syrians.

Barring a military breakthrough, much could depend on the outcome of the otherwise uninspiring Geneva III talks in January. The behavior of Russia and the Assad government will be watched closely by Western states. If Putin acts constructively and demonstrates real leverage over his ally, or meaningful agreements between Syrians seem to be within reach, then so far so good. But if it turns out that Putin refuses to fulfill his side of the deal, which is to deliver Assad’s approval of a transition plan, or if Assad simply ignores Moscow’s advice, then what good is the Russian presence in Syria to Arabs, Americans, and Europeans? We would be back in a purely military contest. The ramped-up Russian investment in Assad’s regime would then look less like a unilateral readjustment of Syria’s balance of power and more like a target of opportunity.

Comments (245)

Tara said:

المصدر: “الوكالة الوطنية للإعلام”
3 كانون الثاني 2016 | 21:12

رد وزير العدل اللواء أشرف ريفي، على الأمين العام ل”حزب الله” السيد حسن نصرالله، عبر بيان قال فيه: “تابعنا، كما تابع الرأي العام اللبناني، أمين عام حزب الله المكلف شرعيا من ايران بتنفيذ أجندتها التوسعية في لبنان والعالم العربي، وهو يحاضر في مفهوم حقوق الانسان، وفي نبذ الفتنة المذهبية، ورفض العنف، ومواجهة نظم الاستبداد، في مشهد يوحي بالتعامي الكامل عن الواقع وأحداث التاريخ التي تشهد على نظام ولاية الفقيه، وحزبه اللبناني، وسائر فروعه في العالم العربي، بأنه الأعتى في الاستبداد والبطش والعنف والارهاب المنظم، الذي مورس منذ العام 1979، بحق الشعب الايراني وقياداته، ونخبه الفكرية والثقافية، التي سحقها ابان الثورة الخضراء بالحديد والنار والدم، لمجرد مطالبتها بالحرية، والذي استنسخ بالنموذج نفسه، في لبنان وسوريا والعراق واليمن، قمعا واغتيالا وسحقا للشعوب الناشدة للحرية، وخصوصا في سوريا التي نفذت فيها ايران وغطت أكبر مجزرة شهدها العالم المعاصر”.

أضاف: “واذا كانت الذاكرة المثقوبة لنصرالله قد تجاهلت هذه المآثر بحق لبنان واللبنانيين، كما بحق سوريا، وسائر مسارح النفوذ الايراني في العالم العربي، فمن الضروري تذكيره بما مارسه حزبه منذ النشأة، بحق النخب واهل الفكر، في مشهد جاهلي لا يمكن ان تمحوه الذاكرة”.

وتابع: “ان هذا التمادي في التضليل وادعاء الطهرانية، والتنكر لوقائع التاريخ الأسود لحزب نصرالله، القائم على العنف والخطف والارهاب والاغتيال، وتصفية الخصوم، وتخوينهم وتكفيرهم، وافتعال الفتن المذهبية، يحتم علينا التذكير بما قام به هذا الحزب، في لبنان بدءا من قتل ضباط الجيش اللبناني بدم بارد، مرورا باستهداف قادة المقاومة الوطنية، وصولا الى اغتيال الرئيس الشهيد رفيق الحريري وشهداء ثورة الارز، دون ان ننسى السابع من ايار وما شهده من جرائم مروعة، وما اعقبه من استمرار تعطيل الدولة والمؤسسات بقوة سلاح الأمر الواقع”.

واستطرد: “نسأل اليوم من نصب نفسه ناطقا باسم حقوق الانسان، عن الجرائم الكبرى التي يمارسها حزبه في سوريا دعما للنظام المجرم، نسأله هل شاهد وهو الذي يتابع عن كثب، عشرات آلاف الصور الموثقة من الأمم المتحدة، للضحايا السوريين الأبرياء الذين قتلوا في أقبية حليفه بشار الأسد، جوعا وتعذيبا وتنكيلا، وتقطيعا للأجساد؟ نسأل اليوم “داعية السلام ونبذ العنف”، عن مشاركة حزبه في تهجير السوريين من مدنهم وقراهم، وقتلهم وابادتهم، نسأله عن اثارة الفتنة المذهبية في سوريا، التي يشارك فيها حزبه، والتي أدت إلى تعميق الجروح والأحقاد”.

وختم: “ان هذا التاريخ الحافل، يجرد صاحبه من أي مصداقية، لا بل يعريه، أمام الشعب اللبناني والعربي وامام العالم، من أي حصانة اخلاقية وانسانية، وهو المدان بارتكاب الجرائم الكبرى، التي لن يمحوها التاريخ. هذا التاريخ الحافل والأسود لا يعطي صاحبه الحق بالجلوس على قوس المحكمة، بل مكانه الطبيعي في قفص الاتهام، كما لا يسمح له بمصادرة قرار الشعب اللبناني، ولا يجيز له الاعتداء على سيادة دولة شقيقة كالمملكة العربية السعودية التي كانت على الدوام الداعمة الأولى للبنان ومؤسساته، وللوحدة الوطنية، وهي التي وقفت بكبر وأخوة قل نظيرها، مع الشعب اللبناني، وساندته على كل الصعد. لأمين عام حزب الله نقول: اذا كنت تأتمر بتوجيهات ايران ومصالحها، فنحن من موقع المسؤولية الوطنية، لن نسمح ان يكون لبنان الخاصرة الرخوة لتصفية الحسابات، وسنظل حريصين على العيش المشترك، وعلى الأمن والاستقرار”

January 3rd, 2016, 9:56 pm



“If so, Hillary Clinton is almost certain to be elected president of the United States”

For millions, Trump is the last chance to save the America they remember. Prepare to be surprised.

January 4th, 2016, 4:48 am


Dave said:

Turkish support of ISIS didn’t make your list? Heh.

Joshua Landis… you really need to quit supporting jihadists.

January 4th, 2016, 5:10 am


Ghufran said:

Relief to Madaya, Kafraya and Fou’aa should be coming in the next day or two. This will allow humanitarian aid to flow in and rebels in Madaya to leave.

January 4th, 2016, 9:09 am


Love said:

Lovely analysis, though I’d think twice about a Clinton presidency. The numbers smell like a repeat of 2008, Clinton’s unappealing campaign doesn’t produce reliable voters, her last campaign fell 2-to-10 % behind on week-before polling. The scariest numbers are favorability, in likely general election Clinton is facing a massive, resounding political defeat. The nomination will go to Sanders, and in the context of your analysis this changes things dramatically. As to the details, well, Sanders’ foreign policy has stay the same, principled for the last 60 years.

(if you think I’m rooting for sanders that’s fine, I’ve been questioning that myself, I’m puerto rican so I can’t even vote in this election and I’ve never cared about politics before, but I guess I’m in the sanders train now, even though I disagree with 90% of his poli… okay I didn’t actually read most of his policies, but what I’ve read it’s hard for me to remember policies I 100% agree with)

January 4th, 2016, 12:30 pm


Ghufran said:

Despite iran’s losses in Syria Ksa is at a much worse situation domestically and regionally that is why they chose to escalate. Iranians are unlikely to fall in that trap but Rohani will lobby for de-escalation and that requires the approval of his boss Khameni. That does mean iran will not respond but I think the response will be indirect and focused on dragging KSA deeper in the mud internally, in Yemen and in Bahrain.
Keep in mind that Nimr was a Saudi citizen and his execution is a saudi problem not a lebanese or Iranian problem. The criticism against ksa is morally on target but politically the issue is the suppression of a large section of Saudi citizens especially Shia which requires a response from the oppressed. The West is unlikely to do anything because ksa is assumed to be an ally against Iran and a buffer against Alqaeda, both assumptions are wrong but I see no reason to believe that western governments will suddenly discover that they are on the wrong side here, they know they are wrong but pride and prejudice are often stronger than ethics in politics.
Nimr was not killed because he was a Shia, he was killed because he asked for a regime change and freedom for the oppressed. The hypocrisy of Arabs and muslims on the subject is sickening but predictable. Do not try to pretend that the Saudi regime is the only bad apple here but what makes the Saudi situation unique is the evil alliance between Saudi royals and Wahhabis and the use of sectarianism to recruit a backward, poor and uneducated islamists all over the world.
Irani mullahs have no moral authority on the subject but they can claim they are not as regressive and threatening as the Saudis who still provide the monetary and spiritual support for islamist terrorism around the globe.

January 4th, 2016, 2:50 pm


Ghufran said:

اعتبرت هيئة المفاوضات الممثلة للمعارضة السورية المنبثقة عن اجتماع الرياض أنه من غير الممكن أن تبدأ المفاوضات المزمع عقدها مع الحكومة السورية، في 24 كانون ثاني الجاري، في جنيف، دون إظهار «النظام» حسن النوايا وبناء الثقة على الأرض.
وعرف المتحدث الرسمي باسم الهيئة الوزير السابق “رياض نعسان آغا” ما يقصده بإظهار حسن النوايا بأنه «إيقاف القصف، وإطلاق سراح المعتقلين وإنهاء الحصار على مناطق سيطرة المعارضة» مضيفا ان «وفد المعارضة للتفاوض مع النظام مكتمل، وسيتم تقديم أسمائهم في حال طلب ذلك المبعوث الدولي إلى سوريا، ستيفان دي ميستورا
RN Agha from opposition wants certain conditions fulfilled before his team sits down with the regime: a cease fire, lift of sieges and release of prisoners. Most people agree in principle but
who can guarantee that groups like Nusra and Ahrar alsham and even Jaish alislam will comply?
Only local agreements in areas controlled by rebels that signed the prelim agreement can work and that is what the UN envoy is doing. Nusra and die hard islamist thugs did not accept the concept of a cease fire and they will not stop fighting until they run out of weapons or men.

January 4th, 2016, 4:11 pm



Wikileaks 10Damascus159

Or how Ali Mamlouk recognizes that islamists movements in Syria have always been infiltrated and redirected for hitting potential enemies.


January 4th, 2016, 4:12 pm


Thomas Hood said:

Sorry, but you missed it. The most important event in Syria in 2015 was the Turkish downing of a Russian plane. This has given Russia a free hand in Syria. Anyway, thanks for the list.

January 4th, 2016, 9:48 pm


ALAN said:

Why Mr Mathew Barber Silent About Erdogan’s War on Kurds?
Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) members are marked for elimination. Earlier attempts for peace collapsed in July. Open warfare followed – Ankara using tanks, artillery, warplanes, attack helicopters and thousands of combat troops in heavily populated areas. Civilians suffer most.
Cities and towns affected are trapped under virtual siege – without food, electricity, medical supplies and other essentials. Erdogan vowed to eliminate PKK members, freedom fighters wanting local autonomy or independence in Turkey’s southeast, wrongfully designated terrorists.
Erdogan minced no words saying “(y)ou will be annihilated in (your) houses, (your) buildings, (your) ditches which you have dug. Our security forces will continue this fight until it has been completely cleansed” – no matter the cost in human lives and suffering.
Trapped civilians say tanks and artillery fire all day long. They have nowhere to hide. They’re dying in their homes. Their schools, hospitals and vital infrastructure were destroyed. Kurdish areas resemble war-torn Syria and Iraq endless devastating conflict with no relief.
Syria comment! any comments?

January 5th, 2016, 1:59 pm



PKK has always been the terror tool of Assad Regime against Turkey.

Hezbollah has been and will always be the same in Lebanon.

Hamas in Palestine was the Assad dog while Khaled Mishaal lived in Maysat in Damascus.

Alan, you and your regime are terrorists. This is not necessarily bad but accept it you are a terrorist.

January 6th, 2016, 5:31 am


ALAN said:

Sorry the question was directed to Mr. Matthew Barber and SC team!
You are not the person from SC, who studied selectively as researcher the affairs of Kurds-Yazidis in Sinjar.
We the Syrian Kurds are not friends of the imperialist States of America and nobody can demonise us, based on our political decision and our equitable aspirations !
Stand away from the subject and do not poke yourself vainly.

January 6th, 2016, 8:42 am



Alan. You are not kurd. You are russian. Everybody knows the Kurds are allied with US.

January 6th, 2016, 9:08 am


Ghufran said:

Rebels near Damascus are reminding Syrians that they, the rebels, are just another version of Alqaeda and isis by,again, shelling civilians areas in Damascus and killing innocent syrians whom the rebels said in 2011 that they rose to protect.
This is from sohr:
ارتفع إلى 8 عدد الأشخاص الذين استشهدوا وقضوا جراء سقوط عدة قذائف صاروخية على مناطق في شارعي بغداد والعابد ومناطق أخرى في العاصمة، وعدد الشهداء مرشح للارتفاع نظراً لوجود نحو 30 جريحاً بعضهم في حالات خطرة.

January 6th, 2016, 9:07 am



Assad is Isis since both of them are bombing civilians in rebel held areas.

January 6th, 2016, 9:10 am


ALAN said:

if i am russian ? then you are Zionist.

January 6th, 2016, 9:13 am


Akbar Palace said:

I find it a bit strange/funny that a jewish person is writing an article on how to save Syria.

OTOH, he’s probably right.

Sandro Loewe,

Everyone that doesn’t agree with a Wesistance Pro™ is always considered a Zionist or joo. Don’t be surprised. It’s just the way these “tolerant” people deal with dissenters. When the Palestinians and Israelis eventually sign a peace treaty, all Palestinians will suddenly be “Zionists” and all the Wesistance Pro’s heads will pop just like in the movie “Mars Attacks”.

January 6th, 2016, 9:53 am


ALAN said:

Doves Mashallah
рыбак рыбака, видит издалека

January 6th, 2016, 9:56 am


sowhat said:

In Syria, twenty rebel leaders victims of targeted killings in a month.

So all this work for nothing Mr Lund ? haha


En Syrie, vingt chefs rebelles victimes d’assassinats ciblés en un mois

January 6th, 2016, 10:33 am


sowhat said:


u should better worry about the House of the Saud’s future your best ally

January 6th, 2016, 10:38 am


ALAN said:

Syrian and Turkish Kurds continue to count on the friendly Russian Federation rather than the United States Unlike those bluffing charlatans

January 6th, 2016, 10:50 am


Ghufran said:

More than 90 incidents of sexual assaults and theft were reported in Cologne Germany on New Year’s Eve and the perpetrators according to police and eye witnesses were Arab and northern African immigrants.
This happened in a country where the leader, Merkel, took a lot of heat for opening Germany’s doors to immigrants including many Syrians. A sad reminder that civilized behavior can not be learned overnight and that freedom without responsibility brings chaos. Germans never had a similar problem at this scale until now and they clearly think they are being punished for taking refugees. Where is Qaddafi when you need him, Libya is 3 times worse after the “revolution” won and EU countries that bombed Libya and supported Islamist Rebels are getting rewarded, and it is not over yet, Isis is getting stronger in Libya by the day.
Congratulations, freedom lovers aka ikhwanji democrats !!

January 6th, 2016, 11:10 am


Hopeful said:

#16 Ghufran

“Where is Qaddafi when you need him”

This “uncivilized” behavior you are referring to exists precisely because Qaddafi (and his likes) stopped the wheels of progress of their nations, while the rest of the world charged ahead. Arab countries will not progress so long as they are governed by either brutal dictators or radical Islamists.

January 6th, 2016, 2:15 pm


Tara said:

“Some of those attacking the Saudi embassy and starting fires took selfies and published them on social media, a clear sign that they thought they were enjoying immunity from jurisdiction in a country that has parallel centers of power.”

Iran has a long standing history of orchestrating mobs to attack embassies. Any attempt by Rohani to convince the world that he will prosecute perpetrators is hollow unless he prosecute Ali khamenei and his supreme mullahs. And this will never happen in the Islamic republic of terrorism. This is the country that is specialized in the industry of terror. Do they not celebrate the 1979 storming of the American embassy every year and call for our death?’

And why is the interference in the affairs of the Arab countries ? They recently stoned a woman of their own to death because she violated Sharia. If the Saudi found one of the Saudi citizen guilty of treachery and foreign meddling, then the Saudi are entitled to prosecute him

And honestly of Arab Shias think they are Iranian citizen not Lebanese or Saudi or Bahraini citizen, then they should be deported! You either pledge allegiance to the country where you live in or get the hell out.

January 6th, 2016, 4:29 pm


Uzair8 said:

Channel 4 News:

ISIS’ origins: Saddam Hussein’s Iraq?

[Uploaded 2 days ago]

January 6th, 2016, 8:04 pm


Uzair8 said:

Joshua Landis @joshua_landis 9h
Top rebel leaders being assassinated in droves…

I don’t think the revolution relied/depended much on any leadership.

Perhaps it’s the same for the rebels/rebellion. (?)

Driving force is the deep sense of grievance, determination for justice etc.

January 6th, 2016, 8:18 pm


Tara said:

Observer, please read this and let us expose this in other languages

تأثير اللوبي الإيراني في الولايات المتحدة وأوروبا على الإعلام الغربي 06/01/2016 تقارير ما أن تم الإعلان عن إعدام الإرهابيين والمحرضين ، بمن فيهم نمر النمر ، في السعودية حتى أقامت صحف ووسائل إعلامية غربية الدنيا ولم تقعدها ، متجاهلة ما اقترفه المدانون. واشتعلت مواقع التواصل الاجتماعي، وانهمرت التصريحات الدبلوماسية المنددة من كل حدب وصوب، وطالعتنا كبريات الصحف الغربية بافتتاحيات تخشى على السلم في الشرق الأوسط. الإعلام الغربي تجاهل أن النمر اتهم وأدين بالتآمر على الأمن القومي السعودي، وتغاضت عن تسليط الضوء على نشاطاته الإرهابية، وندائه الدائم بتطبيق مبدأ ولاية الفقيه على كل الدول الإسلامية والعربية، كما كان دوره بارزًا في تحريض الطائفة الشيعية في البحرين للقيام بأعمال شغب ضد حكومتها. بل بلغ الحد بالبعض إلى تبرير استهداف سفارة السعودية قفي طهران وقنصليتها في مشهد ، متناسين الأعراف الدبلوماسية التي تلزم أي دولة سلامة السفارات وطواقمها، بالإضافة – وهنا النقطة الأهم – تجاهلههم أن النمر سعودي الجنسية، ويخضع لقوانين بلاده في النهاية، وأن إيران لا تستطيع أن تتدخل في شؤون دولة أخرى. يقول الباحث الأكاديمي جورج ديون: «لا مجال هنا للكلام عن الازدواجية التي يتمتع بها الغرب حيال أزمات الشرق الأوسط، ولا مجال هنا لت
المزيد: (موقع سوريتي)

January 6th, 2016, 8:33 pm


Observer said:

The unfortunate troll is lamenting civilian deaths while more than 40 000 are being starved to death deliberately. It seems the idea of citizenship is selective typical of a minority based hatred of the other to an absolute extreme.

January 6th, 2016, 9:57 pm


Ghufran said:

The prospects of a revival of rebel expansion around Damascus are not good at all now, those rebels are mostly shelling civilian areas in Damascus and killing the people who were supposed
to help rebels “topple the regime”, in real ways the rebels lost the battle for Damascus and people in Damascus, forget the paper tigers here, want a cease fire so they can send their kids to school without the fear of having them killed by Alloush army. M’addamiyyeh is waiting for a decision by rebels to leave so the red crescent can come in and rescue the people who are paying the price for a failed war waged by ksa-employed militants. Rebels in north Latakia are in a much worse situation after their other employer, Turkey, abandoned them and that could lead to a total collapse of rebels forces in that area in the near future. Ksa and Turkey are now focusing on saving Aleppo and Idleb and praying that something happens in Hama and Homs to stop the Russian campaign and the Syrian army advances, that is why ikhwanji media like aksalser and orient are cheer leading for Nusra and isis and calling them Thuwwar (revolutionists).
كل ثوره و أنتم بخير
I am not expecting thawrajiyyeh to change their mind about the regime, most people have made up their mind about the subject, what I hope to see is a realization that 5 years of war was enough and a way out might be available to save what is left of Syria even if that means negotiating with people they do not like. Assad was made a symbol for both sides and his departure or staying has become the measure for victory or defeat and that mentality cost people dearly. Assad is not as crucial as he seems to many, the issue is reaching a cease fire first which can improve chances of a political settlement. That cease fire can not be obtained with Nusra and Daesh and can not be reached if rebels insist on keeping heavy weaponry under the command of current rebel leadership.
Was it worth it ? Absolutely not, many expats will disagree but they are irrelevant, it is easy to count the bunches when others are receiving them.
يا أمة ضحكت من جهلها الامم

January 6th, 2016, 10:47 pm


Ghufran said:

23. GHUFRAN said:


The prospects of a revival of rebel expansion around Damascus are not good at all now, those rebels are mostly shelling civilian areas in Damascus and killing the people who were supposed
to help rebels “topple the regime”, in real ways the rebels lost the battle for Damascus and people in Damascus, forget the paper tigers here, want a cease fire so they can send their kids to school without the fear of having them killed by Alloush army. M’addamiyyeh is waiting for a decision by rebels to leave so the red crescent can come in and rescue the people who are paying the price for a failed war waged by ksa-employed militants. Rebels in north Latakia are in a much worse situation after their other employer, Turkey, abandoned them and that could lead to a total collapse of rebels forces in that area in the near future. Ksa and Turkey are now focusing on saving Aleppo and Idleb and praying that something happens in Hama and Homs to stop the Russian campaign and the Syrian army advances, that is why ikhwanji media like aksalser and orient are cheer leading for Nusra and isis and calling them Thuwwar (revolutionists).
كل ثوره و أنتم بخير
I am not expecting thawrajiyyeh to change their mind about the regime, most people have made up their mind about the subject, what I hope to see is a realization that 5 years of war was enough and a way out might be available to save what is left of Syria even if that means negotiating with people they do not like. Assad was made a symbol for both sides and his departure or staying has become the measure for victory or defeat and that mentality cost people dearly. Assad is not as crucial as he seems to many, the issue is reaching a cease fire first which can improve chances of a political settlement. That cease fire can not be obtained with Nusra and Daesh and can not be reached if rebels insist on keeping heavy weaponry under the command of current rebel leadership.
Was it worth it ? Absolutely not, many expats will disagree but they are irrelevant, it is easy to count the bunches when others are receiving them.
يا أمة ضحكت من جهلها الامم

January 6th, 2016, 10:49 pm


Ghufran said:

The prospects of a revival of rebel expansion around Damascus are not good at all now, those rebels are mostly shelling civilian areas in Damascus and killing the people who were supposed
to help rebels “topple the regime”, in real ways the rebels lost the battle for Damascus and people in Damascus, forget the paper tigers here, want a cease fire so they can send their kids to school without the fear of having them killed by Alloush army. M’addamiyyeh is waiting for a decision by rebels to leave so the red crescent can come in and rescue the people who are paying the price for a failed war waged by ksa-employed militants. Rebels in north Latakia are in a much worse situation after their other employer, Turkey, abandoned them and that could lead to a total collapse of rebels forces in that area in the near future. Ksa and Turkey are now focusing on saving Aleppo and Idleb and praying that something happens in Hama and Homs to stop the Russian campaign and the Syrian army advances, that is why ikhwanji media like aksalser and orient are cheer leading for Nusra and isis and calling them Thuwwar (revolutionists).
كل ثوره و أنتم بخير
I am not expecting thawrajiyyeh to change their mind about the regime, most people have made up their mind about the subject, what I hope to see is a realization that 5 years of war was enough and a way out might be available to save what is left of Syria even if that means negotiating with people they do not like. Assad was made a symbol for both sides and his departure or staying has become the measure for victory or defeat and that mentality cost people dearly. Assad is not as crucial as he seems to many, the issue is reaching a cease fire first which can improve chances of a political settlement. That cease fire can not be obtained with Nusra and Daesh and can not be reached if rebels insist on keeping heavy weaponry under the command of current rebel leadership.
Was it worth it ? Absolutely not, many expats will disagree but they are irrelevant, it is easy to count the bunches when others are receiving them.

January 6th, 2016, 10:56 pm


Ghufran said:

Count the punches

January 6th, 2016, 10:58 pm


Hopeful said:

#24 Ghufran

“Was it worth it”?

The question assumes that the “revolution” was planned and organized, and that the planners (whoever they are) should ask themselves if it was worth it.

The truth is, the revolution was an earthquake waiting to happen. Syrians were living on a fault line waiting to erupt. The actions of the regime and the opposition rebels made things worse and worse over the years, and continue to do so. But I choose to direct my blame at criticism onto the regime, because it is an “organized” system that for 50 years was rotten all over, and because the international community can do something about it. Blaming the rebels is easy, but it won’t stop the conflict. Syria can only emerge from this if the regime is changed, forever.

I had a chat with a friend yesterday who was among the early peaceful demonstrators. His group was one of the hundreds that started peacefully and organically. They were hunted liked animals by the secret service, from day one, with brutal and overwhelming force. The regime did not want to take any chances to let the peaceful demonstrators grow (after what happened in Egypt). The result was this: he, among some others, left Syria, others within his group were arrested, tortured and killed, and the rest joined the armed rebels and he has no idea what group they are fighting for today, and if they are dead or alive. Multiply his story by thousands and you understand why Syria is what it is today.

January 6th, 2016, 11:40 pm


Sami said:

Well worth it. Any possibility even if ever so slightly for better governance demands a voice, even if it’s doomed to fail. That’s what citizenship entails, anything less and we’re sheep in a feedlot.

The status quo of the past 50 years brought us here. Shouldn’t we change course after all of this?

Btw, Ghouta is Damascus, so is Moadamiyah, hajar al aswad, and countless other areas of Damascus being besieged. Malki and Abu Rummaneh are not the only parts of Damascus.

January 7th, 2016, 8:51 am


ALAN said:

What is the best course for the Americans now? Pack up all your toys and go home. Let Russia and China sort out the problems in the region and just stay out of their way. America has absolutely no friends or allies in the middle east. Come home and attend to your problems there.

January 7th, 2016, 9:36 am


ALAN said:

Friendly Russian Federation Deploys Anti Aircraft Missiles to Syria: US Bombing Fades; British Bombing Stops
Bloomberg says that US aircraft on bombing raids in Syria have been tracked (“painted”) by radars associated with the BUK system, causing the US to stop entirely its bombing raids in a part of northern Syria.
British media confirms that British air campaign in Syria has ground to a complete stop. US media confirms US air campaign in northern Syria has stopped following Russian anti aircraft missile deployments.
Regardless of the true reason for the failure of the British – and US – bombing campaign, it is now more clear than ever that the only people who are really fighting the Islamic State and the various other terrorist jihadist groups in Syria are the Russians, the Syrians, their allies, and no-one else.

Pindoses! Pack your things and go home .. home …

January 7th, 2016, 3:44 pm


Observer said:

This is the kind of “security” the roll wants us to accept and abandon the revolution. Those who sacrifice security for liberty will get neither and deserve neither. Go live in North Korea it is very stable

January 8th, 2016, 7:12 am


Observer said:

And this one

January 8th, 2016, 7:14 am


ALAN said:

North Korea does not interfere in the affairs of other countries as dirty and destructive as do all countries, allies to you. Must you stand with respect to the nation, which is building itself by self-forces, unlike you parasites who live on waste cowboy.

January 8th, 2016, 8:34 am


Uzair8 said:

Was it worth it?

I know one thing, the Syrian people decided 5 years ago it wasn’t worth living under this horrific regime anymore.

As far as I can see they haven’t changed their minds no matter how bad the situation. It seems they are prepared for every sacrifice and are not prepared under any circumstance to return to living under the murderous tyranny again.

They still HOPE for a miracle.

On the other hand Assad and Putin are doing everything they can to kill off this HOPE with deliberate starvation and constant indiscriminate* aerial pounding in order to force a surrender and submission.

* Suspected deliberate targeting of civilians and targets civilians depend upon (oil, food, aid, convoys etc). Make life as hellish as possible for civilians to kill off any hope and fight in them.

January 8th, 2016, 9:33 am


Thomas Hood said:

Anyone who used the expression “butcher Assad” or “peaceful demonstrators” identifies themselves as terrorist propagandists and masters of the Big Lie.

January 8th, 2016, 11:37 am


Uzair8 said:

Further to my previous comment, a short time ago I was watching the AJE headlines on TV and amongst the top headlines was the Madaya suffering/seige. I caught a glimpse of a Kafranbel banner which supports my assumption that the Syrian people are prepared for the sacrifices necessary to continue defying this monstrous regime.

The Banner reads:



January 8th, 2016, 11:45 am


Ghufran said:

It is well established that many Syrians who demonstrated against the regime were not armed and it is also clear that many demonstrators had nothing to do with the Muslim Brotherhood and other islamist movements but as soon as the uprising managed to attract large crowds in certain areas islamists jumped in and sectarian slogans started to surface and violence by the opposition erupted. Those who used violence and sectarianism directly supported the regime’s claims and shot the “Revolution” in the back. Look at comments on this blog from the summer of 2011 until today and you can easily identify those who advocated violence and sectarian cleansing while advocating for freedom and democracy at the same time.
If assad has to send thank you cards for those who helped him survive the war he needs to include many in the opposition who let hatred control their mind and alienated many potential allies. The vast majority of Syrians want a regime change but they did not agree on Nusra, Ahrar Al-sham and the other 2 dozen militias who control large parts of Syria today.
Your revolution failed mostly because of YOU !!
كل ثوره و أنتم بخير

January 8th, 2016, 12:34 pm


Thomas Hood said:

Hezbollah says:

” 1. Tens of trucks carrying food and medical supplies were delivered to Madaya and Serghaya on the 18th of October. More will be brought in the week to come. 2. Madaya has been held hostage for months by 600 militants – these rebels are made up roughly by 60% Ahrar al-Sham, 30% Jabhat al-Nusra and 10% the Free Syrian Army. 3. Armed groups in Madaya control food supplies within the town and sell to whoever can afford it; thus, starvation is widespread among poor civilians. 4. Madaya was not under siege until militants began to use it as a base from which they launched shells and attacks towards Hezbollah and the SAA inside the town of Zabadani. 5. Militants use inhabitants of Madaya as human shields and as a political card to further their propaganda campagain. 6. There have been many attempts by inhabitants of Madaya to leave the town but the militants block any such efforts. 7. There are negotiations for 300 militants to hand themselves in to authorities but the remaining militants have refused to allow such a deal. 8. Finally, the goals of those behind the Madaya smear campaign are obviously to tarnish the image of the Lebanese resistance and Syrian government.”

Madaya is another example of western-supported terrorist propaganda. Thousands of residents from the small town paraded through the street just a month earlier in support of the Syrian government. | Al-Masdar News

They were protesting their use as human shields by terrorists, which abuse terrorist propagandists support.

January 8th, 2016, 1:46 pm


Hopeful said:

#43 Ghufran

“If assad has to send thank you cards for those who helped him survive the war he needs to include many in the opposition ”

I completely agree. A big turning point was when opposition figures rejected the US’s classification of Alnusra as a terrorist group, on the pretext that “anyone who is against the regime is our ally”. From that moment on, they gradually lost the American public opinion, and consequently, the US media stopped showing interest, and the US administration hit the pause button on its pressure to remove Assad. And without the US’s help, no one can stand up to Russia.

January 8th, 2016, 2:26 pm


Ghufran said:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration has a vision for Syrian leader Bashar Assad’s departure. Even if it works, the president won’t be around to see the plan through.
An internal U.S. timeline for a best-case Syrian political transition, obtained by The Associated Press, sets a date of March 2017 for Assad to “relinquish” his position as president and for his “inner circle” to depart. That is two months after President Barack Obama leaves office and more than five years after Obama first called for Assad to leave.
Syria, according to the would-be American strategy, would hold votes for a new president and parliament in August 2017 — some 19 months from now.
The State Department said Wednesday the timeline was prepared late last year as a guide for Secretary of State John Kerry and other U.S. diplomats working on a political transition for Syria.

January 8th, 2016, 4:12 pm


Ghufran said:

Many Syrians support Saudi Arabia and Iran but the truth is that both countries have been at the core of the region’s problems and their proxy wars allowed israel to get away with aggression and occupation. Saudi Arabia in particular is a major problem and a huge failure, it failed to lead and did not use its wealth to improve the living standards of its citizens and the region’s poverty and lack of freedom and democracy. The bigger picture is failure of the Arab and Muslim countries, with very few exceptions, to join the industrial and socioeconomic revolution that most of the world is witnessing. There is a reason why Arabs and Muslims are far more successful when they leave their motherland and emigrate to the West. Oppression by dictatorships and the religious establishment is the disease and freedom is the cure.
Armco will be for sale soon, any buyers ? The timing is ominous and means a lot.

January 8th, 2016, 9:03 pm


omen said:


same nusra Assad released from jail. just like Bashar unleashed isis plague from prison. CNN never includes mention this part of the puzzle. Released from prison to taint the opposition and here you are going along with the script, spiking the ball Bashar set up to blame the victim.

Shouldn’t the Master Terrorist unleashing all of his minion terrorists from prison be held accountable? Instead he gets a free pass. Imagine Obama releasing 9/11 hijackers from prison. You think Potus would get a free pass then? You think there would be no outcry from media? Yet somehow Bashar defies gravity in avoiding accountability.

p.s. Seeing how Assad facilitated alqaeda to kill Americans in Iraq, that make Bashar alqaeda in my book.

January 8th, 2016, 11:57 pm


Observer said:

The US public opinion does not give a rat’s ass about Syria and Syrians. They do not even know where Syria is.

The regime troll here who keeps making fun of the Syrian people is actually the epitome of dehumanizing hatred of the other:
Here enjoy this latest from the oh ever so nice and magnanimous “resistance” against the world wide conspiracy

January 9th, 2016, 7:59 am


majedkhaldoun said:

To expect the Assad Alawi Regime in Syria to reform is so stupid, he killed over 300,000 of Syrians , Gas them , Tortured them in prisons , prevented food to reach them , using the hunger or surrender weapon, caused misery that forced them to become refugees, destroyed their country,by bombs from the sky, impoverished the Syrians , brought their enemy ,Iran , to rule them and caused sectarian hatred,
After all that to expect Assad to stay or reform is so stupid Alex

January 9th, 2016, 8:08 am


Hopeful said:

Omen and Observer

The Syrian revolution had the full support of the American public, media and administration. The media reported on it almost daily for almost a year. Here is an example:

When the Islamists showed up on the scene, things started to change. Here is what Muaz Alkhateeb said about Alnusrah in 2012:

If Assad was the one who released Alnusrah leaders from prison to taint the opposition, why did everyone in opposition rush to its defense when the US declared it a terrorist organization?

Only a few opposition figures were unambiguously and consistently against the terror of Islamist groups such as Alnusrah and others. Many were silent when militants went into safe civilian areas like Maaloulah and Kasab. For that, they were no better than regime supporters who kept silent about the regime’s crimes. And that was what tainted the opposition and made it lose the international support it enjoyed fully in the first year or so.

January 9th, 2016, 1:32 pm


Sami said:

I remember asking an activist friend about “we’re all al-nusra” slogan. What she said is that it was not a declaration of support but rather a declaration of hypocrisy that alnusra gets labeled a terrorist group while the largest terrorist group is still called the regime. A very valid point.

Hindsight is always 20/20, I very much doubt the slogan would’ve been chosen had they known the ramification.

Lastly, slogans were voted upon on a Facebook page. Anyone could’ve voted. It was discontinued because of regime trolls and jihadis hijacked the thread. Very much like the revolution.

Also, there were slogans adopted that was in full support of minorities, like Friday of Sheikh Saleh Al-Ali, and I believe there was a Friday dedicated to Joseph Khoury.

If the Friday slogan coin is going to be used, then use both sides.

January 9th, 2016, 3:50 pm


omen said:

I had forgotten about this. Obama’s complete abdication before and after the Ghouta gassing is what caused disillusionment and for the ranks of Isis to grow. Obama knew beforehand the gassing would happen but did nothing to warn Syrians nor prevent it from happening.

Obama Grew ISIS

p.s. yay uzair & doc’s back.

January 9th, 2016, 3:50 pm


omen said:

several quotes from Obama insiders and even Israeli officials acknowledged it was in their interest to “bleed both sides” and prolong the conflict (Look at how many IRGC and Hezbollah rebels have killed.) controlled media cnn et al followed accordingly. There has never been sustained TV coverage of Assad victims. Media blackout on Assad carnage effectively curtailed any outcry for intervention, serving western interests. If there had been proper media coverage, mountains of dead bodies Assad slaughtered including women and children would trump your nusra slogans.

Hopeful blames the victim for slogans when everybody knows Obama sold out Syria to appease the mullahs for sake of Iran Deal.

January 9th, 2016, 4:16 pm


ALAN said:

Iran would remain for you an eternal knot. All you’re doing is a hot air.

January 9th, 2016, 4:33 pm


omen said:

Nusra leadership I don’t trust but I do respect decent foot soldiers who have cycled in and out of the group out of necessity simply because that’s where the arms are. for majority, rebel concern is not ideological but survival and being equipped against Assad onslaught.

rise of Nusra is evidence of Obama negligence/lack of support. If moderates been properly backed, there wouldn’t been a vacuum for JN to exploit.

It’s a strange preoccupation to get hung up on a slogan and disregard drive for self preservation.

January 9th, 2016, 4:52 pm


Kazem said:

Obama’s negligence is more than simple negligence. Remember, he is a so-called anti-imperialist. He wants to fight so-called US imperialism from the white house. He wants Russia and Iran to be equal to the US in Syria. Obama is a war criminal.

January 9th, 2016, 8:16 pm


Ghufran said:

Hopeful, I totally agree. It was a strategic mistake to befriend Nusra and defend terrorist acts.
I posted videos of a top rebel chief praising Nusra, there are other statements from opposition figures who shamelessly defended acts of indiscriminate killing. No major opposition figure dared to denounce the shelling of civilian areas by rebels which killed thousands of Syrians.
Syrians who refused to denounce regime war crimes were called partners in regime crimes but thawrajiyyeh who covered terrorist crimes or stayed silent were given a pass. I remain convinced that islamists and their supporters helped assad and killed what was supposed to be a national movement to change the regime in Syria. Do not blame Obama, he looked for rebels he can work with and found none despite spending political and monetary capital.

January 9th, 2016, 11:17 pm


Hopeful said:

Omen and Sami,

I am not talking about Slogans and Fridays, I am talking about opposition leaders – political and military. As usual, we always end up blaming the US for our mistakes and the mistakes of others – a trait we learned from the Syrian oppressive regime.

I am convinced that, had the US found a reliable partner/leader among the opposition, who would genuinely reach out to the minority, who would genuinely oppose what the terrorist groups were doing, who would stand against the sectarian rhetoric and behind a modern secular democratic government, things would have been different. But alas, the few people who had these characteristics did not have the ability nor the public support. Take Haytham Manaa, for example. His genuine beliefs are right on the money, but his lack of political skills (won’t compromise on anything, publicly disparaging to potential partners, insensitive remarks, refusal to address allegations of collaboration with the regime, etc.) caused him to lose support early on. And there are many other examples.

January 9th, 2016, 11:52 pm


mjabali said:

Here are 5 points for Omen al-Nusra Lover:

1- al- Nusra is al-Qaeda.

2- al-Nusra have THOUSANDS of international Jihadis. You name it: Thousands of Jordanians, Saudis, Chechens, Turks, Chinese Igors….etc al-Nusra also recruits, even as effectively, as the Islamic State.

3- al-Nusra kidnaps women and children on regular basis. Not only Alawites, but Ismailis, like in Adra. They kidnap Christian civilians also, like in Adra and in Idleb.

4- al-Nusra leadership and their soldiers are the same thing.

5- No one can join al-Nusra part time, then check out and play for another team. They put you if you do that in front of your guy al-Muhaysini, or the Jordanian General Shari’ they have, and guess what is the verdict for changing the colors of your team whenever you like in these situations?

Trying to sell us that al-Nusra are nice guys is not going to work.

January 10th, 2016, 4:15 am


mjabali said:

Instead of stopping wars in the area it looks like we have new round especially when you have crazy people running rich countries.

It looks like the young Saudi minister of defense, who is looking like the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, is hell bent to start more wars. His father the current king can not comprehend as you could clearly see in the last videos.

From video games to real wars. How he became the man in charge leading the region to a blood bath is yet to be discussed?

He is for sure the most dangerous man in the Middle East now.

January 10th, 2016, 4:20 am


Rahmat said:

I hope peace returns to Syria.

January 10th, 2016, 4:40 am


A.I.Schmelzer said:

For what its worth, the Russian intervention in Syria is about as successfull as Russia expected it to be.

Assads position is infinitly better then it would be without a Russian intervention, retaking Kweires airbase and gaining full control of Homs (once the “capital of the revolution”) are considerable feats.

Russian officials (in contrast to Russias usefull idiots) did, to my knowledge, never claimed that they would exclusively attack ISIS. The Assad loyalists and ISIS have frontlines at Dawr-es-Zawr and in the Palmyra area, and Russian aviation is quite active in both.
A third line of Russian aviation attacks on ISIS are intended to prevent ISIS from profiting too much from other Russian aviation attacks on grouping between Isis and the loyalists.
However, the current focus in to gain jump off points for a potential offensive against Palmyra later, and to prevent the fall of the Dawr es Zawr garrison. These are secondary objectives, the prime objectives are in different fronts.

The gains in Latakiah are actually very significant despite their small territorial size. First, the Turkomans were assisted by Turkey, and denying the Turks the use of the Turkomans has quite considerable ramifactions. Second, Latakiah had considerable foreign contingents from North Caucasus based Jihadis, and Russia was very very interested in killing those.

I believe that the next goal will be, in tandem but not in alliance with the Kurds, to establish an interface between the SAA advancing from the south and the YPG advancing from Kobane Kanton towards Ephrin. Should this be achieved, supply for rebel held Aleppo would be cut off. This in turn is a neccessary, but by no means sufficient, condition for an SAA advance on Raqqa. The quite realistic Russian appraisal is that, should the SAA raise its flag on Raqqa (akin to the Red army raising theirs on the Reichstag), Assad will not be going anywhere ever.

The Russians dont only intervene with a tool as crude as their air force. Loyalist Chechens are quite active in infiltrating various groupings, old contacts with currently ISIS Baath cadres are reactivated
As in:
“Position open for one Sunni Kadyrov, we expect a multi year experience in waging civil war, a strong background in insurgency and personally controlled military forces on the ground. We offer very competetive salaries and perk packages, including total judicial immunity. will be glad to review your applications. Having conducted armed actions against either Russian or Syrian forces is not an impediment.”
And starting the pathway to reconciliation with the regime is as simple as calling the Russian embassy in Syria and telling them that that other militia that was always competing with you got taken over by Chechens.

The Russians also act as “guaranteeing powers” for other “lets reconcile with Assad” agreements, because for what its worth, Russia is more trustworthy then Assad, and bears most rebels no particular ill will (Russia will still blow those rebels to kingdom come if they “get in the way”, but if they reconcile and/or yield then they should be treated leniently to preserve Russian ammunition stocks).

In addition, for some rebels yielding due to Russian pressure is more palatable then yielding directly to Assad for a variety of reasons.

Further, from what data is available, the refugee stream as it stands appears to be mostly rural Sunnis, meaning that the refugees appear to be potential manpower for the rebels, not so much for the loyalists.

A lot of other political goals, like shifting things away from the Ukraine fiasco while Maidan gets time to self-destruct or providing additional traction for a wide variety of political groups favored by the Kremlin, Russia have already been successfull.

No one outside of rabid “Dai Putin Senpai greatest leader ever!!!!” fanboys and some US “Evil Super-Putin is always stealing weak Obamas lunch!!!!” Neocons expected that a single aerial regiment would magically effect a complete turnabout of the Syrian situation.

January 10th, 2016, 8:26 am


ALAN said:

The entire scenario appears pre-planned. Are Washington’s dirty hands involved, maintaining 36 years of anti-Iranian hostility despite last year’s nuclear deal?
Fear And Loathing in the House of Saud

January 10th, 2016, 8:36 am


Sami said:

Louay Hussein, Dalila, Khayyer are just three figures who are can lead a transitional government. All three are Alawites, all three would find support from both sides.

The argument that the opposition could not find a suitable replacement is a falsehood invented by Assadists.

The fact remains, the biggest obstacle to a transition remains the regime and its backers. The longer the transition the bloodier the process, the larger the void which ends up being exploited by extremists from both sides.

I keep reading essays, editorials, and posts about the lack of moderates on the opposition side, yet no one points out the fact the regime has no moderate forces to deal with. Where are the moderate regime forces? Who are they?

January 10th, 2016, 9:37 am


Hopeful said:

#66 Sami

There are no “moderates” among regime supporters. I have never heard or read about any regime supporter raising an ounce of criticism against how the regime mishandled the crises and how it is brutally killing its citizens.

The opposition is full of moderates among its ranks, but the hard liners were the ones who rose among the ranks, and those hard liners did not understand how to deal with the west and western public opinion. It’s a shame really!

January 10th, 2016, 10:33 am


omen said:

67. Hope –

Western public opinion was never disturbed by Assad gangsters leveling threats like “Assad or Syria Burns” or even now in the midst of Madaya “Submit or Starve” yet somehow you have distilled the entire western perception turning on one Friday slogan.

controlled media like cnn who refuses to broadcast the grisly consequence of Putin obliterating children is completely in control of shaping public perception. except for the few tracking the issue, the masses aren’t even aware of your slogan.

The one thing that would impact policy isn’t being allowed. cnn refuses to show the mountain of dead Assad has slaughtered because they are adhering to Obama policy of ensuring disengagement. Even during the senate hearing reviewing Caesar torture images, Obama implemented a media blackout. Brutality unseen since Auschwitz wasn’t enough to move the dial. There is something wrong with this culture when we are inured to medieval brutality on an industrial scale.

Cnn refuses to show Assad carnage even though they had not qualms about ginning up the Isis threat and replaying graphic isis videos over and over and over and over and over again. One murder by Isis in a Western capital will win wall to wall coverage while over a hundred Syrians decapitated by Russian airstrikes doesn’t even make it onto newspapers.

There is a blatant double standard that is biased in providing cover for Assad adhered to by almost the entirety of the establishment class (even now as Syrians are dying in droves from starvation, not one government insider is calling for food drops. contrast this muted response to the clamor raised to rescue Yazidi from Sinjar where governments did deign to do food drops).

Victim blaming by nitpicking a beleaguered opposition for failing to be perfect hinging on one slogan in order to excuse western indifference is myopic. Blame belongs to western governments who are obstructing Assad’s fall.

January 10th, 2016, 12:45 pm


omen said:

uncle, I thought you weren’t talking to me.

60. MJABALI said: Here are 5 points for Omen al-Nusra Lover:

That’s rich coming from a Hitler lover.

Tell me, how do you cleanse your palate after licking Assad’s boot all day?


You are mistaken. I regularly support Syrians on Twitter who do awareness raising objecting to evidence of nusra war crimes. I even support criticism leveled at Alloush.

January 10th, 2016, 1:12 pm


Ghufran said:

Nusra arrests two celebrity thawrajiyyeh propagandists who were always happy to broadcast and glamorize Islamist Rebels “wins” :
أعلن ناشطون إن عناصر جبهة النصرة (تنظيم القاعدة في بلاد الشام)، في كفرنبل، اعتقلوا رائد الفارس وهادي العبد الله.
وتمت عملية الاعتقال صباح اليوم، عندما اقتحم عناصر النصرة مقر “راديو فرش”، وقاموا باعتقال الناشطين المذكورين.
وقال مراسل “راديو فرش”، إن عناصر النصرة اقتحموا مقر اتحاد المكاتب الثورية وصادروا كافة الموجودات من تجهيزات بث، ثم قاموا بجمع أعلام الثورة وحرقها أمام الجميع.
Nusra thugs arrested Hadi Al-abdallah and Raed Al-fares, confiscated equipment and burned revolution flags
in Kafr Nubbol press office.
Orient tv staff were videotaped dancing and distributing sweets when Idleb fell
in the hands of Nusra.

January 10th, 2016, 1:40 pm


mjabali said:


The Saudi Defense Minister Muhammad Bin Salman, who is 29 years old with Zero army experience is waging wars now, and planning for more to cover for their failure and thefts as obvious.

They steal the oil from the people and wage wars to cover their thefts, and obvious bad planning for the people of that area.

Read the article in the British Independent that was published very recently which labeled this Saudi war criminal as an arrogant, naive and dangerous.

How come the fate of the middle east always fall into the hands of the crazy?

January 10th, 2016, 2:06 pm


mjabali said:

Omen was caught promoting al-Nusra/al-Qaeda….

her only response is that I am a Hitler Lover and lick al-Assad’s boots…hahaaha… go play another one…

care to let us know what do you guys at al-Nusra propaganda team have in store for the minorities in Syria so we tell our families what to do?

January 10th, 2016, 2:18 pm


omen said:

MJ – stop fibbing, I made my case effectively dismantling your smear. You however failed to deny being an Assad boot licker. 👞

care to let us know what do you guys at al-Nusra propaganda team have in store for the minorities in Syria so we tell our families what to do?

You need to ask Bashar. He’s the one who released Nusra and Isis criminals from prison. Assad is the root of the cancer. You need to get rid of him if there is ever to be hope for peace in Syria.

January 10th, 2016, 2:58 pm


omen said:

MJ – your inference regime is a protector of minorities is a farce. Assad’s psycho regime isn’t above killing their own even including Christians and Alawi.

your security isn’t ensured by sanctioning sunni genocide. either every life matters or no life matters.

January 10th, 2016, 3:43 pm


A.I.Schmelzer said:

Unseen since Auschwitz?

Not even close. Assad is not even conducting genocide (quite a number of Sunnis do in fact support him over the alternatives), and his body count is far lower then that of Pakistan in the Bangladesh liberation war, or of the body count of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and Vietnam.

Seriously, if Assad was as brutal and murderous as Hitler, there wouldnt be any Syrians left.

People also erranously believe that Assad is in full control of loyalist Syria, which isnt exactly the case now and wasnt the case either during the initial uprising either. Parts of Syrias Mukhabarats completely and utterly ignored his orders to not shoot at protestors. F.e. Kim Il Sung spend the last decade of his life as a de facto hostage of his son and the military. While Basher Al Assad was not puppet, he did not pull every string as was about as reformist as an Alawi Baathist could get.
The Mukhabrats actions initially got him the worst of all worlds, since the Mukhabarat thought of him as a liberal fancy pants, while the protestors regarded him as a butcher. He has since mostly regained control, in part aided because some of the most headstrong mukhabarat leaders did not exactly live long and prosper, he isnt even remotely as personally responsible for stuff as people think he is.

January 10th, 2016, 3:48 pm


omen said:

Assad’s psycho regime isn’t above killing their own

MJABALI – even YOU have acknowledged this fact by pointing to all the innocent alawi civilians Assad shabiha have murdered for merely being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

January 10th, 2016, 4:00 pm


Sami said:

Raed Al-Fares is an activist. Not a propagandists. He never celebrated anyone’s death. Condemned atrocities committed by both sides and persecuted by Assadists and Jihadists alike.

If you don’t like his banners fine, don’t make up lies and pretend it’s true. Or else you’re condemning yourself to the very same accusation you’re levelling against him. Propagandists.

January 10th, 2016, 5:05 pm


Rahmat said:

Assad is not committing genocide. He is practicing mid-level ethnic cleansing. He is bombing the Sunnis (mostly civilians) out of their traditional territories to make them refugees and either come to his territory and submit as 2nd class citizens, or move out and give up their lands, which will be taken over by Alawites. And then he busses people out of Zabadani and Homs, cleansing cities and towns.

The only viable future for Syria is negotiated partitioning (autonomous federation), demarked by the Orontes River. Already the Kurds have carved out their territory, and you betcha they will never hand it back. As soon as Assad shows serious weakness, the Druze will kick out the Assadists from Suweida and declare autonomy.

Damascus will become a canton administered by the UN like let’s say Kosovo.

January 10th, 2016, 5:09 pm


SimoHurtta said:

Omen stop that insane propaganda making. You are a Christian woman living in California and you do not speak or read Arabic. This all you have told us before in your own Twitter profile. Omen’s present twitter name is obviously o(@omen_syria) and she has written the incredible amount of 209,000 tweets and is after the profile text on break and has not been tweeting under this alias for halve a year.

Omen you can call Assad with all possible “nicknames” and compare him to Hitler, Stalin, Nixon, Bush, Mao or Temüdzin (Genghis Khan), but the reality is that he as a ruler is some thing rather “normal” to the region. Not better or worse. The “democratic” leadership of SA, Egypt, Turkey etc uses and has used exactly the same methods in keeping their populations “in order”. The difference is how outside forces throw “gasoline” in this civil war.

January 10th, 2016, 5:13 pm


mjabali said:

Omen is upset that she got caught trying to tell us that al-Nusra/al-Qaeda are a bunch of nice guys and that Syrians should welcome them and let them do whatever they want.

The topic is Omen’s pep talk about al-Qaeda, just a reminder.

Diverting the topic to if I support licking boots or not is a reflection of Omen’s feeble argument abilities and techniques.

Omen’s personal insults are an example of the inability to come with a real answer.

January 10th, 2016, 5:20 pm


RAHMAT said:

Very interesting #75 Schmelzer. I don’t think the character or personality of Assad matters anymore. He is a bona fide war criminal at this time, and his righteous place is to rot in a Hague cell.

But I agree that there are significant political tensions and ideological gaps within the regime, which is often dismissed or discounted.

January 10th, 2016, 5:20 pm


omen said:


MJABALI – even YOU have acknowledged this fact by pointing to all the innocent alawi civilians Assad shabiha have murdered for merely being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

thank you MJ for not refuting this. See? I was paying attention to your little history lessons. I remembered.

rainman – go jack off somewhere else.
p.s. I know more Arabic than you.

January 10th, 2016, 6:22 pm


Ghufran said:

Those who want an islamist state can emigrate to syrianstan, Turkey or ksa and those who want an assad dynasty can stay where they are and enjoy what is left of that dynasty. The issue is lack of freedom and no syrian should be forced to accept dictatorship whether it is under the Islam banner or assad banner. What helped assad have the upper hand is the mistakes, or the deliberate actions, of his enemies, people in syria and the West chose the lesser of two evils, we warned about that in 2011 but thawrajiyyeh got drunk with the wine of promised victory and were led to believe that they can win at the expense of millions of syrians who refused to replace one bad dictatorship with one that is worse. Syrians including millions of sunnis looked around and realized that the syrian army and its supporters are their only hope to stop Nusra and Daesh from coming to their homes and neighborhoods, they did what most people will do in their situation, do not blame syrians for not supporting the rebels, look in the mirror first.
At the end, assad and his inner circle have no choice but to compromise, syria will never go back to the pre 2011 era but we will have to deal with a destroyed and hungry nation which will pose a major challenge to all, this war should not have started in the first place. Save your money there will be millions of mouthes to feed, giving to Syria will be the best way to repent, and we are all guilty and can use charity to cleanse our sins !!

January 10th, 2016, 6:32 pm


omen said:

ghufran, mjabali,

everybody up in arms about Islamists yet continue to ignore it was ASSAD who released them upon you. this passage describes the technique employed:

The campaign by the Assad regime included releasing known jihadist and terrorist elements from state prisons at the same time nonviolent protest leaders were imprisoned. This tactic is sometimes called ‘tailoring your enemies.’ It is inherently a risky approach, but can serve to divide enemy ranks by creating a more radical camp in their midst, and in this case, undermining the advocates of nonviolence. This tactic had been repeatedly used by the Assad regime during the Lebanese civil war, allowing it to emerge as the main power broker there.

so stop playing dumb. from the lack of denial, you all know this is the game Bashar is playing. Assad is the root of the cancer that needs to be cut out.

January 10th, 2016, 6:49 pm


omen said:

79. –

only a racist nazi would justify brutality as the norm for Arabs. Zionists you so despise argue the same and agree with you when they call Assad the lesser evil. Syrians deserve better.

January 10th, 2016, 7:11 pm


Akbar Palace said:


Just FYI, I’ve never agreed with the Finnish anti-semite.

He has a different set of rules for arabs, a different set of rules for joos, and a different set of rules for Europeans.

Not worth the effort.

I think Assad should be the self-elected president of Finland.

Neocons expected that a single aerial regiment would magically effect a complete turnabout of the Syrian situation.

A.I. Schmelzer,

How do you know this? Most neocons I’m familiar with, like Rubio, believe we should have stayed in the Middle East to effect change positive to the US and our interests, instead of letting Russia call the shots. Obama had to “prove” GWB was wrong by insuring failure in the ME. What he proved was that GWB was right. Now we wait for Russia to prop up and strengthen Iran, Iraq and Syria while we watch.

January 10th, 2016, 8:38 pm


Ghufran said:

Assad regime released some islamists from prison in an attempt to slow the protests and the spread of defections, many sheikhs in 2011 asked for the release of those prisoners as a sign of a “Good Will” , the regime managed to pacify the religious establishment since the 1970s and used some Sunni sheikhs to win support, that policy worked until 2011.
Only a small fraction of jihadists in Syria were ex-prisoners who were released by the regime. Most are either locals who were recruited with GCC money or smuggled from Turkey with help from Erdogan’s security chiefs, the rest crossed the borders from other countries after the Syrian army became unable to monitor the borders.
Do not expect the barrage of lies from rebels supporters to stop any time soon, just fight their myths with facts.

January 10th, 2016, 11:27 pm


Hopeful said:

#68 Omen

There is plenty of evidence that both US media and public were very supportive of the Syrians rising up to demand freedom during the first year of the revolution, see my previous posts and search online and on YouTube,

There is also plenty of evidence that both the media and the public grew uninterested when it became very confusing to them who the good guys were and who the bad guys were.

You want to win public opinion, you must work hard at it. The least you could do is to NOT make unhelpful remarks such as: “the US is wrong to consider Alnusrah a terrorist group” or “American public is stupid or hypocratic” – this is a sure way to lose public support, and this is exactly what the opposition leaders kept saying on national TV. If you do not care about winning The US public opinion, then that is a different story. But you cannot have it both ways.

January 11th, 2016, 12:04 am


RAHMAT said:

#86 AKBAR PALACE — Actually it is quite more devious than just that Obama was negligent or he wanted to reverse GWB no matter the merits. Please review the fascinating article by Michael Doran of MosaicMagazine. Also review the responses he got, especially from Elliot Abrams.

Doran’s thesis is that Obama is an anti-imperialist at heart, and uses the white house against what he perceives as US imperialism (whatever that is). Obama wants to defang US militarism (whatever that is) by letting Russia and Iran play in concert with the US and jointly manage the Middle East. Obama thinks this way he can tame US “Empire” building, and by being nice to Putin and Khamenei, he can get them to reciprocate.

January 11th, 2016, 12:27 am


omen said:

I meant to make this point earlier. Anybody who thinks model behavior would have earned the opposition western support is deluded.

Shia death squads in Iraq are barbecuing civilians alive. Stringing up victims and roasting people on a stick like a god damned pig. Yet despite this horror show which again doesn’t manage to get covered on cnn – Shia still manage to retain western support, being rewarded with money, arms, vehicles and even US air cover. All things denied to rebels.

Thru by some miracle, Madaya is getting TV coverage. Even now Obama won’t lift a finger and provide food drops for starving Syrian infants.

Can’t put a morals test on babies. They haven’t done anything to deserve this. So insulting to begin with to suggest despite suffering thru genocide, Syrians have to jump thru hoops just to prove they merit support. Were holocaust victims put thru a morals test to first check and see if they warranted rescue? Being human should be enough to act to relieve the suffering.

January 11th, 2016, 12:47 am


A.I.Schmelzer said:

For what its worth, public shows of western support for moderates backfired immensely.

The only realistic option to gain or seize power the moderates had was to emerge as the laughing third after the various loyalist factions and the various islamist factions bled each other dry. Both the loyalists and the Islamists were and are by far stronger militarily then the moderates. Western backing made the exile opposition feel confident enough try (partly in vain) to dominate the inner Syrian opposition, and dominate the Kurds (which totally backfired). The exiles in particular made a string of incredibly bad military decisions (seriously, attacking the loyalists in Alleppo and Damascus where they are strongest? Precisely what where they thinking?), and the threat of western intervention on behalf of the moderates promptly convinced the loyalists to stomp the moderates so badly that not even the US air force could credibly save them.

The western backing also resulted in the fact that most other great powers, or Iran, see the moderates as western stooges and thus as their enemy.
I pity them, with friends like the west you dont need any enemies, lest of all enemies as dangerous as Russia.

January 11th, 2016, 2:08 am


Badr said:

“The only viable future for Syria is negotiated partitioning (autonomous federation)”

You might well be proved right.

January 11th, 2016, 2:26 am


Hopeful said:

#90 OMEN

“Anybody who thinks model behavior would have earned the opposition western support is deluded.”

I am not sure what planet you were living in over the past 5 years. The opposition DID have western support – plenty of it. But you were asking for more – you wanted weapons, money for fighters, and “no-fly zones”. For that, they did not ask for “model behavior” – they simply asked to make sure the weapons and money do not fall in the wrong hands, and that you assure them that the crazy Islamists bent on ridding the world from the “Kuffar” will not take over. And instead of assuring them, you told them off – in their own media!

The only “moderate” to lead the external opposition was “Burhan Galioun”. He was quickly pushed aside when he tried to create a pact with the NCC.

Below is a facebook post from “Hadi Abdullah”. Apologies to non-arabic speakers.

Hadi Abdullah

ماني عرفان من وين بلش..

قامت صباح هذا اليوم عناصر تابعة لجبهة النصرة بمداهمة مكتبنا الإعلامي الكائن في مدينة كفرنبل بالإضافة لمقر راديو فرش ومقرات المكاتب الثورية الموجودة بالقرب من مكتبنا..
التهمة الموجهة :
*منشور لرائد الفارس مدير المكاتب الثورية في ادلب على فيس بوك فيه محظور شرعي ..
*بث أغاني تحوي موسيقا في الراديو..

خلعوا كل الأبواب المغلقة..
اقتحموا المقر وداسوا على أغراضنا وقاموا بمصادرة جميع أجهزتنا: أجهزة البث في الراديو- اجهزة اللاب تب – الموبابلات – أجهزة الانترنت الفضائي – كل كاميراتنا “ومن بينها كاميرا الشهيد الغالي طراد الزهوري ”
أخبرتهم أن هذه المعدات والأجهزة لي أجابوني..
” منبقى منرجعلك ياها..”
طلبت منهم أن يعيدوا لي فقط كاميرا طراد..رفضوا وتابعوا عملية الاقتحام..
أخذوا كل الالكترونيات بالاضافة لبعض الاثاث.. !
تابعوا خلع الأبواب في المكاتب الثورية التابعة لنا.. !!
صادروا أجهزة الكمبيوتر وكل المصنفات والكتب منها..

أحد أعلام الثورة الذي رفعناه بمظاهرة أمس كان بقرب الباب من الداخل.. طرحوه أرضا على باب المقر ليضطر من يدخل ويخرج أن يدوسه.. داسوه بأقدامهم عدة مرات..!!
علم صغير للثورة كان على طاولة مكتبي .. داسوا عليه أيضا..
بعدها كتبوا على المبنى “الراديو والمكاتب والمكتب الاعلامي وغرفتان صغيرتان على سطح المكتب كنت قد بنيتهما منذ وصولي للشمال ”
كتبوا .. “مصادر جبهة النصرة” .. ممنوع الاقتراب !

طوال ساعة ونصف بقينا محتجزين داخل المكتب ولا يسمحون لأي أحد منا بالمغادرة..

اقتادوا الإعلامي رائد الفارس لجهة مجهولة بسبب التهمة المذكورة أعلاه…
بعد نقاشات مطولة مع قادة وشرعيين في النصرة طوال اليوم:
أقرينا ب”الخطأ الشرعي” الذي كتبه رائد وقدمنا ضمانة ألا يتكرر!
أقرت جبهة النصرة بخطأها بالاقتحام و حرصت على حل القصة ووعدت بإرجاع جميع المعدات المصادرة..وقدمت ضمانة ألا يتكرر الحدث.. أطلقوا سراح رائد..
أشكر من قلبي كل الأخوة الذين سألوا واطمأنوا.. بكم نستمر بثورتنا أخوتي..

للحديث بقية .. بس هلأ كتير كتير كتير تعبان!

تصبحو ع خير ونصر وحرية

January 11th, 2016, 6:11 am


SimoHurtta said:

85. omen said:

79. –

only a racist nazi would justify brutality as the norm for Arabs. Zionists you so despise argue the same and agree with you when they call Assad the lesser evil. Syrians deserve better.

Well Granny Omen I could understand your points if you could some times describe how Syria is going to get that “better” they deserve. Repeating million times the need of “democracy” is waste of time for a Californian armchair “activist” if you have not any clue how that state can be achieved IN REALITY. Anybody with some political and military knowledge understands democracy or even peace and order do not emerge suddenly when “Assad” is gone. Especially when the opposite side is divided in 1000 rival militias, where the clearly superior are the ultra violent religious Sunni extremists.

This personalizing Syria’s situation to one person/family is totally stupid. Assad is not a super genius who alone kills hundreds of thousands, builds barrel bombs in his spare time, creates with Putin ISIS in order to give Sunnis and USA a bad name, tortures everybody, steals everything that is not nailed to the floor etc. When Assad “goes” it does not mean that one person and his closes “aids” simply go to exile or in graves, it means that the whole governmental and order keeping structure collapse because there is hardly a united front to take care of a peaceful transition and being ready to use the old basis. And that Omen means >10 years of new wars = no more Syria for a long time. The likelihood of united Syria is already on rather shaky ground even if the present government wins.

Believing that in the very fragmented “opposition”, where the militarily strongest movements are very extreme fundamental Sunnis, will agree forming peacefully a secular democracy is absurd. Omen it will not happen even if you write one million tweets and link those snuff-videos (which you seem to love).

I can not understand why I am frequently demanded to condemn Assad’s rule. I could support an alternative if there would exist a realistic strong coalition which would produce a realistic solution for a united Syria. The problem is that there is no such “coalition”. The other problem is that I am not a Syrian and it is not my task to “choose”. But if the likely options are Assad, ISIS or a totally fragmented Syria, I would see Assad being to best option for Syrians. From the Assad option people could transfer the country to a real democracy in some years. With ISIS and the fragmented mini state options it would take generations.

Omen when will @omen_syria develop to @omen_yemen and create again 200 thousand new tweets for us westerners. King Salman has already killed 30,000 in Yemen with US bombs and gases, tortured and killed masses of own citizens, not to mention the pocketed healthy provisions of arms trades (notice my stylish personalizing and simplifying the situation in the famous best traditions of “Omen, Zion Akbar and Sandro der Löwe” style to one single person).

January 11th, 2016, 7:55 am


AKbar Palace said:


#89 – Yes, I agree. I don’t blame Obama, I blame the idiots that voted for him.

January 11th, 2016, 8:06 am


Hopeful said:

#89 Rahmat @ #96 AP

Assuming that the hypothesis about Obama is correct, why is that bad for America and the world?

January 11th, 2016, 11:29 am


Amir in Tel Aviv said:


“…I think Assad should be the self-elected president of Finland”.

That’s poetry..:)

January 11th, 2016, 12:11 pm


mjabali said:


Still with all of this distraction and smoke you are blowing trying to divert from the real topic: you can not still explain why you defend al-Nusra which is al-Qaeda itself?

The new question: reading between the lines of your rant about the Shia: are you now defending the Islamic State also?

Care to explain to us how can you be a Nusra fan and IS fan at the same time?

January 11th, 2016, 1:22 pm


omen said:

MJ I do not defend alqaeda. YOU defend alqaeda but supporting Assad responsible for releasing alqaeda from prison. I support awareness raising pointing to Nusra crimes. Do you support exposés against Assad warcrimes?

January 11th, 2016, 3:37 pm


omen said:


Obama never supported the moderate seculars in the SNC.

The west did their own “tailoring” to borrowing from Ammar.

January 11th, 2016, 3:52 pm


omen said:

99. MJ this dishonesty of yours is beneath you.

or maybe this is you. I had you pegged wrong this whole time. I gave you too much of the benefit of the doubt. what a shame.

January 11th, 2016, 4:02 pm


Laguerre said:

I thought the main thing missing from Aron Lund’s analysis is an evaluation of the war-readiness of the rebels, mainly the so-called ‘moderates’, but also Da’ish.

Of course, it is true that the Syrian army is worn out, after four or more years’ war, with not many units still capable of offensive action. The First World War on the Western Front is a good comparison; all of them were worn out, and it was a question of who broke first.

Both the ‘moderates’ and Da’ish have gone for urban defence, following Falluja, fighting from house to house. Much the most efficient method in the open plains of North Syria, and the Syrian army doesn’t have a response, other than ‘barrel-bombing’ or starvation sieges. They can’t go in and lose a packet.

The question is: who among the defenders is willing to fight it out to the death and why. Part of the answer is obvious: jihadis. But how much is it that? That’s the evaluation that is missing.

January 11th, 2016, 4:02 pm


mjabali said:


Glad to disappoint any Nusra supporter…

We are not here in a popularity contest..

I am here to tell the truth, and how I FEEL about the country I came from where many members of my family still live and suffer from the current war.

I am interested into stopping this war, and you are interested into more wars…we are not on the same page here Omen…

I am not here to say what you want me to say regarding al-Assad as obvious…. this is not my interest …

The topic you are trying to evade, is you defending al-Nusra and later defending the Islamic State indirectly…

You are getting caught trying to sell us al-Nusra…this is the real topic here…please stay the course…..

Also, you seem to be obsessed with Bashar al-Assad, I am on the other hand interested into how to save my family from al-Assad and from the people you support/al-Nusra: we are on different boats….on two different rivers….

Also: you raising awareness about Syria is a joke I would not comment about…

January 11th, 2016, 7:19 pm


Tara said:


Mjabali will never change. He will misinterpret something you said either purposefully ( or sadly because of difficulty comprehending it) then he will form an accusation against you, then he will repeat the accusation again and again and again . The goal of his accusation is to delegitimize anything you say. He will then declare victory and probably genuinely thinks he won

The Ba’ath on Syria is like that. Anyone who says something they don’t like, he becomes traitor or a Zionist or sectarian. They convince themselves of the accusation they forged, eliminate the Zionist /traitor/conspirator etc and feel good.

جبلي ابن بلدنا ودافنينها سوا

January 11th, 2016, 7:55 pm


mjabali said:


Whatever you write is really simple.

Here is a sample:

“Bashar…Batta…Alawite….villagers….Shia….Batta….Bashar….Asma…..Alawite….send them back to the mountains … ……villagers….Damascene….Batta….Asma….Bashar……Alawite….Nusayri….Iran…Hizbullah…..Alawite…..”

Insulting my intelligence is a sign of your frustration and not liking me. This is obvious.

I am focused and this is a problem with people who put their feet in their mouth and can not defend their ideas…

Also, you can search everything I wrote on this blog and you won’t find me ever using the word “zionist,” or me accusing anyone of being a traitor.

On the other hand: I can recall the first time you called me a “traitor.”

Let us face it Hajeh Tara: You do not like me because I am not from your sect, so no matter what I say or do is not going to matter.

The question here: do you support al-Nusra like Omen?

January 11th, 2016, 10:54 pm


Rahmat said:


US so-called “imperialism” is a fiction invented by postcolonial leftists and fascists alike.

Do you see the US trying to steal Syrian oil? Syria doesn’t even have much oil to be worth it, and the US is a net exporter of oil. So where is this “imperialism”?

The US has been acting responsibly since the mid 1980s.

Unless it can be shown that the US is after Syrian olives. I understand they are very tasty and have better Omega fats than other variety of olives.

That is the problem. The leftists and anti-imperialists in the White House are hell bent on containing “US Empire” when there is none. Is the US running Iraq or Kurdistan? Isn’t it the Iraqi government who is begging for US troops and bases on its soil? Tragically these unwashed leftists believe that democracy and liberation in foreign countries is imperialistic because invariably a democratic regime allies with the West and not with Putin or China or Chavez.

These leftists in the white house believe that democracy in Syria is unwanted because it will open them to western influence and so-called “hegemony”.

They wish to contain the US and are willing to get in bed with Putin and Khamenei in order to stop the spread of democracy in the middle east.

Why do you think that Putin can bomb civilians and rebels with impunity and Obama and his gang just watch that and move on? Why is it that the US backing of the moderate FSA and the SF has been so tragically comic?

January 11th, 2016, 11:46 pm


Observer said:

Of course every Syrian is trying to save his neck and that of his family first and foremost.

60 years of minorities rule have gutted the very concept of citizenship and national identity.

60 years of pure sectarian hatred and a sectarian based method of dealing with people of all faiths have led to the dehumanizing of the other.

The thinking is exactly like that of the most rabid racist: the other is one of two kinds: either you enslave or you kill. That is the stark choice that you are faced with with this sect based regime.

So far, the entire sect has been in full support of this regime. The less than 10 dissidents that voiced their objection are just that 10 decent dissidents. The rest are either cheering or supporting the regime in its brutality and no matter how much spin about the personality of the regime head does not hide the fact that there has never been a demand to dismantle the regime from the pro regime contributors here.

That is the problem: it is not the head of the regime it is the very structure of this regime that needs to be dismantled.

January 12th, 2016, 7:31 am


Ghufran said:

The Syrian army entered Salma the Rebels capital in north Latakia and if the town falls ,which is expected any minute now, cleaning the country side of northern Latakia entirely will be much easier. Most rebels in the area are Islamists thugs working under Turkey’s orders, they are left in the cold as Erdogan is dealing with the serious consequences of a terrorist attack in the heart of Istanbul tourist district, Erdogan said the attacker has Syrian roots.

January 12th, 2016, 10:21 am


Hopeful said:

#106 Rahmat

I don’t hear Obama saying the US is “imperialistic”, that it is after “stealing oil”, or that democracy in Syria is unwanted. I heard him say two things (and I agree with both)

1. The US cannot impose democracy on the world using its military. I wish it could, but it cannot. I wish the Iraqi experiment succeeded but it did not. Everyone conspired to ensure the Iraqi experiment failed. Everyone, including key US allies (such as France).

2. In the MIddle East specifically, the moderate pro-western democrats are the weakest segments in the societies. Supporting them openly and aggressively make them even weaker – the dictators will hunt them down as traitors, and the Islamists will hunt them down as infidels.

So, unless the US IS READY to take the imperialist role – invade Syria and govern it for years to come till proper political institutions are created, like it did in Japan and Germany, the best thing for the US to do is stay away and try to help behind the scenes as much as possible.

January 12th, 2016, 11:58 am


Akbar Palace said:

That is the problem. The leftists and anti-imperialists in the White House are hell bent on containing “US Empire” when there is none.


Where have you been all my life!? 😉



January 12th, 2016, 12:24 pm


ALAN said:

What we have today in Syria (and Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Libya, and Palestine) is an accurate reproduction of age-old tested policies by the West at the expense of nations targeted for reasons rooted in the politics of imperialism, colonialism, Zionism, and piracy of resources. In Syria, however, the situation is a little bit more intricate due to the presence of a long list of operators never seen before in a single regional war, not even in Afghanistan.
Here everything is clear for all:

January 12th, 2016, 5:15 pm


Ghufran said:

Hijab is warning that the USA has changed its position on Syria and added that history will not forgive Obama !!
What about rebels strategic mistake in supporting nusra et al ?
Short term gains led to long term loss.

January 12th, 2016, 7:39 pm


omen said:

94. HOPEFUL said: For that, they did not ask for “model behavior” – they simply asked to make sure the weapons and money do not fall in the wrong hands, and that you assure them that the crazy Islamists bent on ridding the world from the “Kuffar” will not take over. And instead of assuring them, you told them off – in their own media!

Here is your answer:

January 13th, 2016, 2:57 am


omen said:

94. HOPEFUL said: …and that you assure them that the crazy Islamists bent on ridding the world from the “Kuffar” will not take over. And instead of assuring them, you told them off – in their own media!

Here is your answer:

This worry about extremists taking over from Assad would be a legitimate concern if it was remotely realistic. It is not. Neither the Islamic State nor Nusra nor any other armed faction is going to seize full power from a collapsed Assad government. The Assad government is weakening, but it isn’t going to disappear, and there is sharp competition between the armed factions, with none strong enough to vanquish the others. It has long been thus.

January 13th, 2016, 3:23 am


omen said:

105. –

Crotchety MJ proudly boasts this not a popularity contest yet is forever scarred Tara called him a traitor.

Truth hurts.

You got off lightly, if you ask me.

January 13th, 2016, 4:00 am


Hopeful said:

#114 Omen

Great! If you believe so, then it would be easier to assure them, wouldn’t it? So instead of wasting your energy telling them their worries and concerns are invalid or unrealistic, you will spend less energy creating assurances for them.

January 13th, 2016, 9:27 am


Thomas Hood said:

All this inane, childish chatter of personal insults is delightful, or would be, if heads, or other body parts, were not now rolling in the sands of Syria. Democracy, to the typical Syrian mind, means the freedom of the majority to loot, rape, and — of course — behead any inconvenient minority, such as Christians, Assyrians, Alawite, and Kurds, who are the booty of the insane Sunni majority. I am beginning to think, thanks to you people, that every dead Sunni is a good Sunni.

January 13th, 2016, 12:10 pm


Ghufran said:

The famous intellectual thug who championed the Libyan war and urged a military intervention in Syria is now turning against Saudi Arabia, this is what Bernard Henri Levy, a staunch supporter of Israel, wrote:
“No one has the power to change the nature of the Saudi regime. But it should not be so difficult for the country’s partners, those that sell it fighter planes and buy its black gold, to curb its homicidal enthusiasm by telling it that in addition to oppressing its people it is threatening the peace of the region and the world”
Do not blame the likes of levy, blame the regimes in the region and the infighting that allowed foreign powers to dictate the course of events in the Middle East.
يا أمة ضحكت من جهلها الامم

January 13th, 2016, 1:52 pm


Ghufran said:

Luai Huseein thanks the Syrian consulate in Istanbul for renewing his passport in 2 days.
Thawrajiyyeh will use this as s proof that Luai is not in the opposition camp and that he received special treatment because he is an alawite:
وأردف: “حصلت على الجواز خلال يومين كما يحصل عليه أي سوري مستوفي الشروط الإدارية وليس الأمنية. فالقنصل لا يهتم إطلاقا إن كان من يراجعهم مواليا أم معارضا، أو كانت المخابرات راضية عنه أم غاضبة منه”.
وختم “حسين”: “تحية لقنصليتنا (ليست سفارة سياسية) في اسطنبول لأنها تقوم بعملها الحكومي الخدمي على أكمل وجه، وألف شكر وتحية لجميع الموظفين السوريين الذين راجعتهم من أجل جوازي. أنا أحترمكم لأنكم محترمون باحترامكم للجميع من دون استثناء

January 13th, 2016, 4:22 pm


ALAN said:

In fact, the horror industry for Syria has been prepared according to the Talmud, with the blessing of Anglo-Saxon.
The violence in Syria is not an accidental product of uncontrolled events, is not a result of a civil war, is not because the Syrian state is ruled by despotic elites—but it is a result of a combined American-Israeli geopolitical strategy to install a new Syrian regime at the order of Tel Aviv and Washington.

January 13th, 2016, 5:02 pm


Thomas Hood said:

> In fact, the horror industry for Syria has been prepared according to the Talmud, with the blessing of Anglo-Saxon.

Mostly, the Syrians are doing the evil to themselves. The young, idealistic, and naive revolutionaries released the Jinn of Hatred, and no one is able to put the cork back into the bottle. The mass media mirage they followed was that by a few simple changes, including a denial of history, Syria could become like a western country. The effect of their actions has been to reduce Syria to religious savagery.

January 13th, 2016, 7:45 pm said:

#121 Thomas Hood

“The young, idealistic, and naive revolutionaries released the Jinn of Hatred”

And the incompetent, murderous, arrogant regime – which is supposed to be the “leadership” – led the crisis into a disaster into a catastrophe which is now threatening the entire world. The regime either intended to do so (as Assad had warned early on), in which case it is the worst evil we have seen in modern days, or truly believed it was doing the right thing, in which case it is the most incompetent regime we have seen in modern times. Take your pick.

January 14th, 2016, 12:44 am


Hopeful said:

#121 Thomas Hood

“The young, idealistic, and naive revolutionaries released the Jinn of Hatred”

And the incompetent, murderous, arrogant regime – which is supposed to be the “leadership” – led the crisis into a disaster into a catastrophe which is now threatening the entire world. The regime either intended to do so (as Assad had warned early on), in which case it is the worst evil we have seen in modern days, or truly believed it was doing the right thing, in which case it is the most incompetent regime we have seen in modern times. Take your pick. Regardless, Syria can only emerge after it rid itself of this regime. Other factors are secondary (ISIS, etc.)

January 14th, 2016, 12:46 am


Dave said:

Aron Lund – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace for those who haven’t been brain washed by IHS.

January 14th, 2016, 2:46 am


Thomas Hood said:

> And the incompetent, murderous, arrogant regime

Either you support Assad and have an authoritarian secular government or you support a bloody caliphate. There are no other possibilities. The Arab Spring mirage is a delusion.

January 14th, 2016, 7:59 am


AKbar Palace said:

There are no other possibilities.

Thomas Cook,

There are no other possibilities if you believe arabs are too stupid to embrace democracy and freedom.

Assad and ISIS are not choices. Despotism and theocracy are not choices.

The Middle East needs a plan similar to Europe after WW2 to get rid of the drek and allow the people to rebuild.

January 14th, 2016, 9:13 am


Badr said:

I would put some blame on the so-called silent majority (the fence sitters) Sunnis or otherwise, for the hijacking of the initially peaceful uprising by hardline Islamists.

January 14th, 2016, 12:31 pm


Hopeful said:

#123 thomas hood

I support neither. Many people on this forum live in freedom and dignity in western countries, but refuse to allow the same right of freedom and dignity to their nationals back home.

January 14th, 2016, 12:42 pm


Hopeful said:

#125 Badr

No one is blameless in the Syrian catastrophe – the militants, the dysfunctional opposition, the peaceful demonstrators who let the Islamists steal their revolution, the gulf states, Turkey, Jordan, Russia, Iran, Hizbulla, the US, etc., but no one is more guilty than the murderous incompetent regime. The regime that led Syria into this mess cannot lead it out of it. I think even Putin has come around to understand that equation.

January 14th, 2016, 12:51 pm


Thomas Hood said:

> There are no other possibilities if you believe arabs are too stupid to embrace democracy and freedom.

The first principle of democracy is that armed mobs not determine public policy. Syria does not have the foundations for a western style democracy. It isn’t a matter of intelligence. It’s a matter of the culture and history that control us.

January 14th, 2016, 2:13 pm


Sami said:

The French Republic grew out an “armed mob”. So was the United States.

And an authoritarian “secular” regime is an oxymoron. especially in Syria, where Iranian, Lebanese, Afghani and Iraqi Shiites dying to preserve this “secular” regime.

January 14th, 2016, 2:21 pm


Ghufran said:

There is a definite need to change the regime for the sake of Syria’s children but that can not be done through NATO attacks or islamist terrorism, however, that has been the SNC plan since 2012 and that was clearly articulated on GCC and Western media.
The actions of rebels and their supporters have made it virtually impossible for any Syrian outside the expat community and the areas dominated by islamists and Wahabbis to support the opposition most of which endorsed attacks against the army as early as April 2011 and allowed sectarian figures and terrorists to lead the fight to topple the regime. It is not true that the regime created isis or Nusra and it is not true that the opposition is innocent from the charges of sectarianism and supporting terrorism, SNC leaders started verbally attacking terrorist organizations only when that becomes mandatory by NATO countries, no SNC leader dared to condemn the shelling of civilian areas and the war crimes committed by rebels, it is too late for rebels and their supporters to make a U turn on the subject of terrorism, nobody trusts them now.
It is probably harsh to say this but a lot of observers are reaching the simple conclusion that the brutality and corruption of the regime was only matched by that of its enemies, losing the higher moral ground virtually killed any hope to find enough support for this bloody rebellion which supporters still call a revolution but nobody else does (outside the GCC media).

January 14th, 2016, 2:30 pm


Thomas Hood said:


I do not live in freedom and dignity. I live in a plutocracy where mass media controls the public mind, and the plutocrats, including unions, control mass media. Nevertheless, cities here are not piles of concrete rubble as in Syria where much of the country is ruled by armed gangs.

January 14th, 2016, 2:41 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Enjoy Coke™ NewZ

It’s a matter of the culture and history that control us.

Thomas Hood,

Please stop finding excuses about why arab societies do not work (culture and history?). They don’t work because of their self-elected leaders, their autocratic kings and princes and Taco Supremes™ have stunted free-thinking, human rights and economic opportunity.

I live in a plutocracy where mass media controls the public mind

Def: Plutocracy: a country or society governed by the wealthy

If that’s the case, then I’m fine with it. I’m OK with our ELECTED leaders making a better-than-averge wage. I’m OK with the Freedoms we have here in the US. And I’m OK with the economic opportunity and individual rights afforded by our plutocracy.

And the mass media doesn’t control my mind. Maybe the mass media controls your mind, but who’s fault is that?

Our “plutocracy” at work. Only in the USA…

January 14th, 2016, 3:16 pm


Ghufran said:

Does this sound familiar ?
The obvious hypocrisy of NATO and GCC governments when it comes to dealing with Turkey versus Syria is astonishing, I thought it was SANA and Assad not Turkish media and Erdogan:
Turkey accuses Kurdish fighters of hiding in civilian areas which led to many civilian death when the Turkish army bombed Kurdish towns. Erdogan accused Kurdish politicians of being terrorists for supporting Kurdish rebels.

January 14th, 2016, 3:21 pm


sam the sham said:

What happens with Assad gone? This Geneva convention is got one character who is a human trafficker. The rest aren’t much better. I, personally am in the mind set of Chinggas Kahn. I am in charge, and traitors and desserters want to negotiate with me. This is the difference between cultures. You could explain it through a persons religious mind set. I just explain it in terms of a difference of DNA and the species. Germans and Japanese lost their wars. They laid down their weapons and surrendered on their word. It is the character difference of species. Why is it that Jews and tribal Arabs will surrender a battle but can’t ever surrender the war? Persians are another third animal. They fight to the end, being right or wrong. It’s an observation. I could never trust a deserter. Chinggas had “special death’s for that type”. He boiled people for effect. But broke their backs in very special ways.

January 14th, 2016, 4:22 pm



Assad and the terrorist in Tehran and Moscow are going out of cash. Light Crude Oil is now 28 USD. Come on Putin, Come on Rohani, pay now all the salaries for Hezbollah, Chechnia ISIS ¨jihadists¨, Revolutionary Guards jihadists in Syria, PKK ¨kurdihs¨ pashdaran, Assad TNT barrils, and so on.

January 15th, 2016, 6:10 am


Ghufran said:

السيد لوران فابوس (وزير الخارجية الفرنسي) لم يعد يتصرف بشكل يليق بدولة دائمة العضوية في مجلس الأمن تحمل لواء الديمقراطية والعلمانية”
هيثم مناع
Haytham Manna who is favored by many as an alternative to a pathetic pro Saudi-Turkish Syrian opposition figures has directed sharp criticism at France’s foreign minister who usually adopts Qatari views ($$$$$). Manna also accused the SNC, Qatar and Turkey of prolonging the war at the expense of Syrians. Geneva 3 will not be held unless KSA changes its position and accepts adding opposition figures including manna and Kurds. Another problem is Jaish Alloush and Ashrar alsham who are terrorist groups that Ksa want to be at the negotiation table.
Manna warned the regime about thinking that the recent military wins will be long lasting or big enough to allow the regime to go back to the pre 2011 mentality.

January 15th, 2016, 11:57 am



What Assad´s Syria needs is a Hiroshima Style ending. To start again from zero. That´s the only way. Bomb Assad location with a nuke in his ass.

January 15th, 2016, 1:25 pm


ALAN said:

For Kurds to sneeze on the highest Wahhabi and Ottoman Crown
And simply as a reminder we Kurds put a dick on the interests of american war maniacs
Commenting on what Haytham Manna said : Sirwal of Hourani Shepherd more important than that named France’s foreign minister.

January 15th, 2016, 3:24 pm


Ghufran said:

Despite the provocative nature of the question, 58% of responders at sohr
website supported negotiating with the
regime in Syria:
هل توافق على الحوار بين نظام بشار الأسد ومعارضين سوريين، في ظل القتل اليومي بحق أبناء الشعب السوري؟
نعم (58%, 408
لا (42%, 297
عدد المصوتين: 705

January 15th, 2016, 4:28 pm


ALAN said:

nudge nudge wink wink say no more… the government in Syria has NOT invited the US to come in and bomb the place to rubble to get ISIS
Russia’s military is operating in Syria without a time limit under an accord between the two governments, which also agreed to a one-year notice period for either side to terminate the pact, according to the text of the deal dated Aug. 26 and published Thursday.

January 15th, 2016, 5:26 pm


Tara said:

Reading different articles on the net and the comments that follows, it appears like Iran employs a global network of people of all nationality and all religion to promote its ideology and supremacy of Iran and its Shiaa brand and to trash Sunnis in General and the Saudis in particular. The money we are releasing to this evil mullahs is only going to feed this global “rent-a-pen” web of undercover Iranian lobbyists. I am amazed with the number of “Iran lovers” on all forums. They are paid agents and SC has had few.

Shiaa Islam does not differ from Sunni Islam except in one basic tenet. Shiaa believe in 12 divine creatures that are now dead and in one that is hidden and said to have appeared in Harasta, Syria. His appearance in Harasta was invented to brainwash the stupid to flood to Syria to kill Syrians . Iran is exploiting Shiaa Islam in the worst way to achieve dominance, brainwashing Shiaa Arab that the turbaned Mullah is their protector and making them into traitors. All other differences are BS (excuse my language) differences such as fasting 15 more min in Ramadan or praying fewer time, etc, etc , nonsensical differences just for the sake of being different

Culturally, they twist things to sound like its sanctioned and approved by the religion . Interested in having sex with a woman outside marriage , no problem : You are entitled under زواج المتعة. Need to lie and deceive: no problem. You are doing it under تقية .

Iran mullahs are truly satanic. They have been building there network of global lobbyists and Middle East traitors since the Islamic revolution and realizing its effect now. Their goal is to destabilize and to dominate the Middle East by provoking the Arab Shiaa minorities in those countries to decent and to destabilize.

Arab Shiaa need to wake up and avoid being hijacked and become traitors to serve the Persian dream! They must realize that the last thing those Iranians Mullahs are concerned about is Shiism. It is all about power and dominance and a long suppressed dream that was trashed by the Muslim conquerors : the Persian empire

January 15th, 2016, 8:46 pm


ghufran said:

Religion whether Shia, Sunni or any other religion is food for poor and disadvantaged people for the most part, rich and well to do falks who promote religion are not the ones to die or send their kids to die but they have no problem inciting violence and misleading the masses. This is not about Shia versus Sunni, most Sunni and Shia look the same, have the same goals and have no dogs in this fight but were trapped in a vicious war over influence and resources. I blame Saudi Arabia and Iran for driving the region to the edge, my criticism of ksa is simply due to the fact that it is worse, much worse in some aspects, than Iran, I strongly believe that Syrians and Arabs in general will be better off divorcing both regimes.

January 15th, 2016, 9:39 pm


Hopeful said:

#143 Tara

“Culturally, they twist things to sound like its sanctioned and approved by the religion . Interested in having sex with a woman outside marriage , no problem : You are entitled under زواج المتع”

I have to say, this is my favorite thing about Iran’ Shiism 🙂

Seriously though, the Middle East needs a sexual revolution. Many ills in our society are caused by sexual suppression and all the taboos surrounding sex. At least we won’t find as many eager suicide bombers and slave traders if our young boys and girls find love and intemacy at the age they are most in need for it.

January 15th, 2016, 11:54 pm



If Assad keeps on controlling the country for decades there will be no rest and no proffit in the lands of Syria and around it. Be Iraq, Syria, Lebanon or even Turkey it will be a fuxxxing land controlled by a fuxxxing multiempire (Rusia/Iran/US).

They know the only way to control the arab land is make them disappear. SO the ethnic cleanse planned by Obama and Iran is going on until the end. Godd Bless America and Iran.

January 16th, 2016, 4:41 am


Tara said:


It is my favorite thing too :).

January 16th, 2016, 7:23 am


Majedkhaldoun said:

It was not long ago when Putin condemned US for using military force in the Middle East , now Putin is copying US and using his military force in Syria ,
Putin policy is condemn then copy

January 16th, 2016, 8:20 am


Hopeful said:

More standup comedy from the heroic commander in the Syrian army!

January 16th, 2016, 11:25 am


ghufran said:

One thing for sure, foreign intervention rarely helped the people of the Middle East:

Former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told a Washington audience Jan. 13 that President Barack Obama erred when he called for President Former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says President Barack Obama erred in calling for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to go and declaring a red line over Syria’s use of chemical weapons, and also compared Republican presidential candidates to a “mass gong show” and urged them to be less divisive.
While Assad is a “brutal dictator” who must eventually leave office, Hagel said, the United States should have learned from the chaos that followed the abrupt removal of Iraq’s Saddam Hussein and Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi that taking out authoritarian leaders without knowing who will take their place is not the best solution.
“We have allowed ourselves to get caught and paralyzed on our Syrian policy by the statement that ‘Assad must go,’” Hagel said, adding, “Assad was never our enemy.”
Asked by Al-Monitor what it would take to bring stability to Syria after the deaths of 300,000 people — many at the hands of Assad’s forces — and the country’s fracturing into battered ethnic and sectarian enclaves, Hagel said it would require working with the Russians, Iranians and Saudis. “All have to come together with enough common interest to stabilize things,” he said.

January 16th, 2016, 12:42 pm


ALAN said:

To Pentagon officials
You announced a new plan to train up to 7,000 more fighters, but this time the project would take place inside Syria …
Do you want to consolidate this behavior favorite rule in the new American play?
How long we will tolerate your hateful blatant intervention in our affairs?
Are you sending international laws to the hell? you togather with it need to go to a same raging hell.

January 16th, 2016, 7:10 pm


Hopeful said:

#150 Alan

This is a message to Bashar and Russia that the US will not give up support for the freedom fighters unless there is a true democratic transition in Syria. The days of dictatorship are over. Mr Assad can choose to be part of a transition which will see the end of his rule, or keep fighting for his chair for the rest of his life (by himself at some point as both Russia and Iran will abandon him)

January 16th, 2016, 11:15 pm


Ghufran said:

There has to be elections at some point which decide who represents Syrians, no foreign country has the legal or moral authority to choose for Syrians, I support a process that I hope will lead to Assad’s departure because he was not freely elected and he is now an obsticle to the efforts to end the war but if we want to open a new page we should accept the principle of negotiations instead of preconditions, the issue of Assad’s eligibility to run should not be left to me or you but the majority of voters or their freely elected reps. There are doubters about whether elections are possible in Syria, elections will require the involvement of the UN. which should monitor the process and get participants to sign on the conditions (The regime and the opposition must accept the outcome). If Russia wants stability it needs to encourage Assad to voluntarily surrender what he thinks is his right to run, and if the opposition is serious about sharing power they should agree not to extend their veto to every government or army figure they do not like, both sided will be asked to allow a transitional period to allow people to nurse their wounds and have a sense of security and confidence. Unfortunately, many people from both sides are still not on board with the idea of a cease fire and negotiations, they still think they can win, and yes you can not fix stupid !!

January 17th, 2016, 12:02 am


Badr said:

“taking out authoritarian leaders without knowing who will take their place is not the best solution”

I think Obama did not want the sudden removal of Assad, but rather him negotiating stepping down and handing over the reins to a transitional government.

January 17th, 2016, 3:07 am




January 17th, 2016, 8:57 am


ghufran said:

This war will come to an end and Syrians have no choice but to accept their differences and agree on a set of principles that if implemented can prevent a future internal war. Read Syria’s history from 1966 until 2000 and you will see how the lack of freedom and checks and balances allowed the late Hafez Al-Assad (who outsmarted most of the politicians in the region)to get rid of his internal competitors and enemies and stay in power until his death in 2000. The regime he built transformed Syria into a corrupt but non Wahhabi kingdom (with far less resources than KSA)which continued for another 16 years after his departure. Assad the father did not believe in democracy, instead he thought Syria needs a strong ruler who runs unopposed but gives people more freedom than what religious dictatorships are willing to do, he relied heavily on alawites but loyalty in his book was more important than sectarian affiliation. Assad’s core principle was that Syrians and the World will tolerate his regime if the only other choice is Islamist parties and a Wahhabi regime, this is why he was unforgiving against dissidents, regardless of their sect, who possess a non religious ideology. Assad the son continued Dad’s policies with a slight twist and that worked until 2011 when his chiefs and advisors failed to understand that the world is changing and using force to suppress a rebellion in 2011 is not the same as doing that in 1982.
The opposition is led by Islamists and few naïve leftists, all of whom did not realize that public support for the rebellion requires providing an acceptable alternative to the regime, instead they watched rebels getting dominated by Islamists and did not do anything when terrorist and criminal acts were committed against minorities, and Sunnis too, by rebels. Assad the father is still alive !!

January 17th, 2016, 2:26 pm


omen said:

142. ALAN said:


You Failed!

*sad trombone*


We need a Lift the Ban Day.

A forever ban is ridiculous.

January 17th, 2016, 3:13 pm


omen said:

155. GHUFRAN said: the late Hafez Al-Assad (who outsmarted most of the politicians in the region)to get rid of his internal competitors and enemies and stay in power until his death in 2000. The regime he built transformed Syria into a corrupt but non Wahhabi kingdom

Not true. Even Landis acknowledges Hafez growing a conservative brand of Islam including building many mosques. He blames Assad for seeding the ground out if which ISIS sprouted. There is one fiery cleric who gets blamed for ginning up jihadists, turns out he was a regime mole. Hypocritical to scorn what the regime itself fomented.

p.s. Look at ghuf trying to present regime as moderate. Bashar’s own Imam threatened the west with suicide bombers!!!

January 17th, 2016, 3:31 pm


omen said:

4. GHUFRAN said: Relief to Madaya, Kafraya and Fou’aa should be coming in the next day or two. This will allow humanitarian aid to flow in and rebels in Madaya to leave.

Do you have news for Moadamiyeh??

January 17th, 2016, 4:15 pm


ALAN said:

Blockade, drying of regime resources .. coffee with milk … personality of shattered hopes … really is ridiculous.

true democratic transition? the true one? where it demonstrated? in Libya? Iraq? is it a model of the political direction thievery of the state?
Geopolitics is TABOO.

January 17th, 2016, 5:03 pm


Ghufran said:

Isis slaughtered dozens of civilians in Dayr Azzour to revenge its losses, again the perpetrators are militant sunnis and the victims are innocent sunni civilians. More than 250,000 civilians in the area are under siege, do not expect much outcry over this crime, the opposition is as silent as a house mouse over this. Many people do not want to admit that islamists do not have public support in raqqa and dayr Azzour, they would rather talk about other topics.

January 17th, 2016, 6:55 pm


Ghufran said:

The so called Islamic Ummah is s group of failed nations whose regimes are either in bed with the terrorists or unable to face them. In any other Ummah Isis would have been finished by now and the Syrian war would have been over and Assad would be out,
let Dayr Azzour and all other towns that lost innocent children since 2011 be the witness.
يا أمة ضحكت من جهلها الامم

January 17th, 2016, 10:11 pm


Hopeful said:

#159 Alan

“where it demonstrated? in Libya? Iraq?”

Not yet, but they will get there. They are struggling thanks to anti-freedom and anti-democracy dark evil forces such as your dictatorial friends, radical mullahs, and radical jihadis. These groups are all fighting to take Syria to an even darker place. My hope is that they will all fail, and Syria will be on a path to a modern democratic state, like most of the world today – including the majority of African countries. We deserve it.

January 17th, 2016, 11:52 pm


mjabali said:


Even my dog knows that Saudi Arabia and Qatar are spending BILLIONS of dollars in the West for PR to improve the public’s ideas about their ugly behavior..

Even my sleepy dog can give you an example: The New York Times is not putting pictures in their front page about the war in Yemen….He also knows that the New York Times barely covers the war in Yemen…Who is paying for this TARA?

The Qataris, the Saudis and the rest of the partying Wahabis are buying politicians, blogs, news websites, TROLLS, all over the world….

They wasted all of that money as you could see….

All of the Saudi and Qatari money could not buy smart public opinion who now hates them deeply….THE WORLD HATES WAHABIS……and also hating every Sunni helping these WAHABIS….read what the world think of the Saudis and Qataris and you will see how these WAR CRIMINALS are exposed….

AS for the difference between Shia and Sunnis…

Tara I will give you a hint, for free: Why the Sunnis’s official length of pregnancy is 4 years, while it is only 9 months for the SHIA?

If the Shia regulated extra marital sex, so what is the problem Tara: you live in America and from your writing I advise you to migrate to Saudi Arabia the protector of the TRUE ISLAM, that is SUNNI ISLAM, as you always try to peddle miserably here…

January 18th, 2016, 11:24 am


omen said:

Five Americans trapped in Madaya and cnn pointedly refuses to acknowledge. This despite flood of coverage over American hostage exchange with Iran and American contractors just kidnapped in Iraq. on top of that, raft of massacres by Shia death squads under media blackout. Also Yemen coverage MIA.

What’s the common denominator with above? Shia crimes. It’s Iran warcrimes being protected. Are Saudis buying media silence to protect Iran’s image?? Absurd.

Americans impacted and yet media silence still implemented.

January 18th, 2016, 1:03 pm


omen said:

163. MJABALI –

every post you rail against Sunni. You and your mindset are the reason children are obliterated or starved to death. You.

January 18th, 2016, 1:40 pm



MJABALI after Reading your posts I think there are people who are really disgusting, sectarian and ill minded. People who say these things really need psychological aid and psychiatric treatment.

January 18th, 2016, 1:42 pm


omen said:

163. mjabali –

every post you rail against Sunni. You are the reason children being obliterated and starved to death. You and your mindset. You wont be able to kill them all.

January 18th, 2016, 2:38 pm


omen said:

but what of Moadamiyeh?

4. GHUFRAN said: Relief to Madaya, Kafraya and Fou’aa should be coming in the next day or two. This will allow humanitarian aid to flow in and rebels in Madaya to leave.

are old men and children the enemy?

January 18th, 2016, 2:49 pm


omen said:

159. ALAN said: true democratic transition? the true one? where it demonstrated?

in Syria. And more than once.

Rebel-held Eastern Ghouta in Syria holds elections. Civilians win, militants accept.

January 18th, 2016, 3:07 pm


omen said:

163. mjabali said: Even my dog knows that Saudi Arabia and Qatar are spending BILLIONS of dollars in the West for PR to improve the public’s ideas about their ugly behavior..

Vladimir Putin the notorious wahhabist is obliterating women, children and old men.

why do you MJABALI tolerate the extermination of your own people?

Are these the values you support? Is this how a patriot behaves?

January 18th, 2016, 4:21 pm


Thomas Hood said:

> The Qataris, the Saudis and the rest of the partying Wahabis are buying politicians, blogs, news websites, TROLLS, all over the world….

How true, and some of them appear to be here.

January 18th, 2016, 4:29 pm


ALAN said:

Dear Russian president
The US engagement in the Middle East has an unexplored impetus and if allowed to continue unchecked will have unexpected and world-changing consequences.
The world has become inured to war. Since 2000, the US alone has launched over forty military actions, ranging from deployment of a few military personnel in East Timor, ostensibly to aid in a government transition, to full blown invasions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Conflict has also broken out in Yemen, Somalia, Lebanon, Ukraine, Pakistan and Chad, to name just a few locations.
The America’s military leaders are mental cripples, delusional, paranoid and morally repugnant.Since 2001, there has been nothing else in the Pentagon but the corrupt, insane and ambitious.
Today meetings are going on around the world. American military commanders in Turkey, Ukraine, Romania, Latvia, Poland and a dozen other places as well, all sitting in rooms being told who should live or die based on the opinions of terrorists, petty criminals and rabid monsters.
The wars continued, each more corrupt, more vacuous than the next until the United States eventually became so discredited that no sane person could see America as anything other than the inheritor of the Soviet mantle in the struggle for not just world domination but enslavement of mankind.
You see, when the Pentagon read hoax stories of sarin gas attack by the Damascus government, later proven to have been staged by Turkish intelligence aided by the CIA, gas produced at an American facility in Tbilisi, Georgia, the lie lived and the truth never got through.
Then look at the list of candidates running for President. How lonely will dear Mr. Putin be when there is no one to stand between Russia and the lunatics that run the American military?

January 18th, 2016, 4:38 pm


omen said:

Syrian victims are all fake actors, Thomas Hood. Play acting from a giant soundstage in Doha. So clever of you to connect the dots.

January 18th, 2016, 5:25 pm


Tara said:


I am an American . The USA is my country and I love the U.S. I am American first and Syrian second. Contrary to your ancestors, family and freinds, I don’t betray the country I live in and anything I have accomplished, I accomplished as an American period. So get lost :). Go and live in Iran and practice زواج المتعة والتقية والكذب والنفاق. It suit you. It doesn’t suit me. Please avoid being stoned or beheaded.when you go . And do not forget, Mahdi will reappear anywhere the masses need to be hoarded. I do not need religion coverage or edict for sex or anything else for that matter.

January 18th, 2016, 8:45 pm


Tara said:


And put your dog to adoption or reset his brain somehow . He is hateful sectarian . His knowledge are sectarian and selective

January 18th, 2016, 8:48 pm


Observer said:

Now let us get back to the analysis of the moves forward as rumors of postponing the talks are rife now. This article is worth reading carefully

January 19th, 2016, 8:04 am


ghufran said:

Daesh imposes a 50% salary cut on its terrorists as oil prices plummeted and donations from sympathizers seem to be drying out. Add to that the fact that Daesh lost 30-40% of the territories it once held and you can conclude that daesh is on the decline.

January 19th, 2016, 6:09 pm


Ghufran said:

Does this ring a bell ?
In a mass crack-down on Syrian and Lebanese journalism today, Facebook has closed down several news-media pages. The sudden shut down has been attributed by followers to ‘mass reports’ in which large groups of Facebook users with opposing views target the pages they want censored. Often these movements are run by ‘paid trolls’ who have been known to be funded by entities associated with governments or corporations.

January 19th, 2016, 9:33 pm


mjabali said:


It is obvious that you are learning from Saudi Arabia more than what you should have learned in America.

The language, and attitude you exhibit about the Shia on this blog is a clear proof of what I just mentioned.

You labeling my family, friends, as well as me, as traitors is funny and pathetic at the same time.

Funny because who are you and what is your cause that we betrayed? You mean we betrayed al-Ummah al-Islamiyah as obvious. So where is your Americanism here Tara? Where is America First? I see you here raising the black flag of al-Ummah…

So we betrayed your Ummah according to your logic: the question here: isn’t this al=Wala’ wa=al-Bara’ every salafi Jihadi talk about? I thought you are America first Tara?

Or is it your Turkish ancestors who were ransacking Syria and the Middle East the ones we betrayed?

We were never on the same team to betray you Tara…

so get a little dose of reality from my dog and I, it will benefit you.

The question to you remain the same: why don’t you go and live in Saudi Arabia it matches your mentality more than America?

In America they respect people and do not call them traitors with the ease you do Tara.

January 20th, 2016, 3:02 am


mjabali said:


You got caught trying to sell us that al-Nusra are some nice guys so apparently you do not care about Syrian women and children.

You always called for war to solve matters, I never did or support violence, so, you do not care about Syrian women and children.

I advise you to spend the salary they give you to troll on better wine…tell them you are still battling all the Alawites/Shia/Rafidah on Syria Comment….

January 20th, 2016, 3:10 am


Poul said:

Israel has ideas for a Kurdish state. Classic Likud policy giving new life.

“We must openly call for the establishment of a Kurdish state that separates Iran from Turkey, one which will be friendly towards Israel,” Shaked said at the annual INSS security conference in Tel Aviv.

January 20th, 2016, 7:54 am


Ghufran said:

It is unlikely that Geneva will be held at the schefuled time unless ksa and Turkey change their position and accept the simple request that kurds and non SNC opposition members take part in the conference. That happens while the teenish saudi foreign minister asked other countries to allow the syrian opposition to operate without pressure or interference !!
Saudi thugs included a senior member of Alloush army, the army that has shelled Damascus for 4 years, in the opposition team but declined to let kurds and figures outside the saudi umbrella to participate. An Internet jihadist summarized how the rebels work now confirming what we have been saying for over 2 years that the FSA only exists on Facebook and has ceased to be an independent force:
(Mousa Al-Omar)
مجاهد في #الجيش_الحر صلى ركعتين ولبس جعبته وركب في سيارة تابعة ل #جبهة_النصرة يقودها مجاهد من #أحرار_الشام وانطلق بمعركة رص الصفوف
You do the math..

January 20th, 2016, 9:13 am


Akbar Palace said:

Israel has ideas for a Kurdish state.


Surprised? The arabs and muslims have had a plan for Israel for the past 70 years. Maybe if they stop killing each other, they can implement it.

Ooops, a joo was discovered hiding somewhere in the Middle East. That’s a no-no…,7340,L-4755188,00.html

January 20th, 2016, 10:15 am


Tara said:


Your grandfather wanted to sell Syria to France and signed a document to that effect. Your people are massacring their fellow Syrians not soaring children. Your sect is selling the country to Persia. You people stolen Zabadani from its inhabitants and gave it to Shiaa loyalist of Iran. And what is most stupid, Shiaa iran consider you heretics and is actively trying to convert you .

We, in the state, call this treachery.

You, in Iran, call this serving Allah

Not that you dog is sectarian but he does not even understand spoken words. Have him look up what does a traitor mean or just get rid of him .

January 20th, 2016, 10:17 am


Poul said:

183. Akbar Palace

Of course I’m not surprised. It’s classic Likud policy. Not smart policy as I can only see Turkey and Iran suddenly having common interests.

January 20th, 2016, 11:03 am


Akbar Palace said:

It’s classic Likud policy.


Yes, I know. Labor policy is so much better.

January 20th, 2016, 11:37 am


omen said:

180. Mjabali – learned scholars, like you flatter yourself in pretending to be, don’t lose their temper and hurl ad hominems out of desperation because they know they are on the losing end of the argument, stuck with defending the indefensible. You don’t say a word against foreign invader Putin exterminating your own people – or do you consider Sunnis not even human?

I do not care for Syrians?! In four years I have never seen you object to Assad starving children. Why are you silent on the prolonged agony inflicted on the defenseless? Starvation is torture. Assad is torturing infants and babies. How is this tolerated?? Have you ever gone without food? Maybe missing a few meals will render you sympathetic. Being decapitated by a missile is a more merciful death.

Your preference in doing business – kissing shoes and kissing ass – will not work to stop genocide. Only force will get rid of Assad.

January 20th, 2016, 12:13 pm


mjabali said:


For you every Alawite throws barrel bombs on Sunnis: no problem: if that is what you think and say all the time: I respect (AS I learned here in America) your opinion.

My grand father did not sign with or against being a part of Syria: but if I was alive back then: you know for sure I will be one of the people who signed this petition. I would be horned to be the first to sign it too. Being independent from the Sunnis and a satellite of France: why the hell not. Please sign me on that program.

Care to enlighten us, since we are talking about that period, what the Sunnis did to separate Lebanon from Syria? Or did they take any positions from the French? If you need help let me know…

As for Iran and the Shia: Ask the Sunnis who wanted to fight Iran and HuzbAllah about this and not me.

Shism is not going to spread amongst the Alawites because most of the Alawites do not care about anything that has to do with Islam : Shia or Sunni…be more concerned about the Sunnis who want to become Shia….

Sunnis like you, who use the treason argument, should not live in America Tara: they should live with their brethren in Saudi Arabia or Qatar or Jordan or Pakistan….

AS for al-Zabadani and what is the history of it: please read your fellow Sunni Ibn Taymiyah, and how he detailed what happened to the people there….if you need help, WE (Doggie and I) are ready to help…

January 20th, 2016, 1:07 pm


mjabali said:


Syria needs NOT crying circles and condemnation letters.

We need the right political action to stop this war.

Their is a war that is killing people on all sides. Who is killing more and how is not my concern. There are enough people on all sides who are doing this emotional reaction. You can look for them and cry as much as you want with them. If you want to take it further and join the armed fight: please keep us posted with stories from the battle field.

January 20th, 2016, 1:20 pm


omen said:

give me a break MJ. You are the one who played the “you don’t care” card. As soon as I flipped it back onto you, you dodge the issue. Your accusation boomeranged and unmasked you. It’s you who are indifferent. Or as you put it: “not your concern.”

Children and old men reduced to a bag of bones and it’s not your concern? Do you hear yourself? Do you understand the callousness you are demonstrating?.

This is rich coming from you when you used to go on for hours detailing the oppression your people suffered from the last millinium. You have more sympathy for people from century’s past than you do for children of the here and now.

The right political action? Assad kills or jails anyone trying to work towards a political process. Even Alloush was willing to negotiate but he was obliterated. Posturing as wanting to negotiate is a charade when the regime is killing off any potential partners. Even fellow alawites are not safe as demonstrated by Dr. Abdul Aziz Al Kheir.

Sandro (165.) is right, you need psychological counseling. Your Baathist brainwashing has done a number on you.

Green lighting genocide will not improve your position. This makes it harder to negotiate an end you claim to seek. Be mindful of the crop you are sowing.

January 20th, 2016, 2:35 pm


Tara said:


Sunni Shiaa Shiaa sumni Ibn timmie , sunni Shiaa shia sunni

That is all what I hear from you and your dog .

Who F… Care? Enough already.

Stop thinking about people being sunni Or Shiaa or whatever . Each human being is an individual and embrace their individuality. Your dog is going to drive you crazy . He is an rabid dog . He even made you proud of treachery . I would never want Syria to be A Frenc colony . When you are occupied by someone, you are always going to be a second class citizen . Don’t you know that?

January 20th, 2016, 3:56 pm


Sami said:

But Tara, he already sees “us” as occupiers, herein lies the problem. To him we’re Turkish or Kurds or Bedouin or whatnot, but never Syrian.

If you’re Sunni then you occupied Syria and enslaved the minorities.

January 20th, 2016, 4:31 pm


Tara said:



You are absolutely correct! Freud would have really envied you! That is exactly it. That is really it. Hence his insistence that I have a Turkish ancestors ( despite my repeated emphatic response that I was born in Champs Élysées:) )

This is what observers long described as superior inferiority complex that some ( most) minorities are inflicted with and is the psychodynamics of their behavior towards us. In their unconscious defense mechanism, stemming from feeling inferior, theie defense mechanism is to develop generalized categorization of the majority of being the occupiers rather than fellow Syrians and hence their complete lack of empathy towards us butchered by one of them

Lots of Syrian Christians feel the same way. That Syria was all Christians and then converted by Arabian Muslims by force and hence , we are the occupiers and they are the land owners … Another example of their inferior superiority.

The problem is that the minorities I the ME are in a mental lock-in state. They need to get over it and move forward . Being conquered and converted IS the natural evolution of history . A concrpt that it is soooo difficult for them to digest .

January 20th, 2016, 5:44 pm


Ghufran said:

5,000 civilians returned to their homes in Al-qadam out of Damascus after isis and islamist rebels left the area and were replaced by the army.

January 20th, 2016, 7:09 pm


Ghufran said:

With the whole respects to arabists here and the acknowledgment that the islamic revolution in Iran was not good for the region and the Shia-sunni relations one should not get carried away with the feverish sectarian discussion and forget the vast differences between Persians and Arabs today. The immense wealth accumulated by sheikhs in the GCC, with the relative exception of UAE, did not translate into human and industrial development in the region while Iran managed, with less resources, to beat sanctions and win the respect, not the love, of the West as a regional power to be watched and treated with respect. Persians did that thru self reliance and avoidance of internal violence, that happened with mullahs being in charge, imagine how iran will look like 10 or 20 years from now when the mullahs are gone or their influence is dimished and compare that to how most people see KSA 10 or 20 years from now. Arabs are the butt of jokes in the world today (as nations ) despite the individual success of millions of Arabs who emigrated to the West. It is true that many Persians do not respect or like Arabs but that is irrelevant because the main problem is Arabs’ failure to protect their interests and move their communities forward.
يا امة ضحكت من جهلها الامم
خلو الثوره المباركه و القائد الملهم ينفعكم

January 20th, 2016, 9:28 pm


Majedkhaldoun said:

Starving Civilians in Syria is terrorism, throwing bombs and rockets on civilians is terrorism , dictatorship is terrorism , this Alawi Assad regime is most terrorist regime ever
Geneva 3 is good for Syrians as we know the goal is to get rid of this terrorist Alawi regime and have transitional government leads to election monitored by united nation where all Syrians inside and outside Syria will vote , that is why Russia and Assad are hindering this political process
Russian economy is deteriorating with the drop in oil prices, waiting will not help Putin , by the end of summer , Russian economy will start to collapse

January 21st, 2016, 6:03 am


SimoHurtta said:

Majedkhaldoun is the following also true?

Starving civilians in Yemen is terrorism, throwing bombs and rockets on civilians is terrorism, dictatorship is terrorism, this Saudi royal regime is most terrorist regime ever.

If not why not?

By the way who give the unlimited amounts of ammunition to the Syria’s international rebels. Dictatorships, which as you yourself described are terrorists. Saudi Arabia building/exporting democracy to Syria – does anybody seriously believe in such impossibility?

January 21st, 2016, 7:12 am


Observer said:

Tara and Sami the crux of the problem is that being an Alawi by definition means NOT BEING A SUNNI or MUSLIM. So the offshoot of Shia Islam has defined itself as what it is not. I understand that stupid religious orthodoxy practiced by force leads to either agnosticism or atheism or a formulation of a counter ideology. Today the highest percentage of atheists are in Iran and KSA. Therefore it is logical that the reference to Ibn T is at the core of the blocked thinking process: an Alawi is NOT a SUNNI; NOT a Muslim; NOT a Shia: Not whatever due to their old age oppression. Like the Jewish people who felt threatened to lose their identity when Republican Secular Citizenship ideas swept all of Europe; their solution was to call for a Jewish homeland with the correct justification that they were persecuted but also implicitly if persecution were to disappear in a secular society also leads to the greater threat of assimilation. Hence there is no possibility for feeling Syrian first and Alawi second. For the very identity implies that no civil society is capable of giving me my full identity and if it does then I will assimilate and lose it.

This is neither an attack nor a defense of anything a mere observation of a circular argument that is very comforting and self fulfilling.

Now I am awaiting the fierce response of our historical scholar Ibn T in reverse 🙂

January 21st, 2016, 7:57 am


ALAN said:

Now Russia could help to return a nice chunk of Turkey to the Kurds for being the largest freedom fighters on the earth.
R.T.Erdogan: F**k U

January 21st, 2016, 3:28 pm


ALAN said:

Turkish security op, curfew in Kurdish areas puts 200,000 people at risk – Amnesty Intl.
The Turkish government’s onslaught on Kurdish towns and neighborhoods, which includes round-the-clock curfews and cuts to services, is putting the lives of up to 200,000 people at risk and amounts to collective punishment

January 22nd, 2016, 12:25 am


Ghufran said:

The ruling mafia in Saudi arabia is trying to undermine UN efforts on Syria:
In his confidential Jan. 18 briefing to the U.N. Security Council, which was obtained exclusively by Foreign Policy, Staffan de Mistura said Riyadh is complicating his efforts to find a diplomatic solution to the Syrian conflict by trying to tightly control which opposition groups will be allowed to participate in the negotiations.His comments came shortly after a slate of Saudi-backed Syrian opposition groups, organized under the banner of the Riyadh-based High Negotiations Committee (HNC), rebuffed his personal appeals to allow other groups to take part in the talks. De Mistura complained to the council that the Saudi-backed opposition coalition and its “sponsors insist on the primacy and exclusivity of their role as ‘THE’ opposition delegation.” While de Mistura did not name Saudi Arabia, Riyadh is the main international sponsor of the HNC. The group, however, is backed by France, Turkey, and Qatar.

January 22nd, 2016, 12:28 pm


Ghufran said:

The argument that Saudi Arabian ruling mafia and its foot soldiers in Syria are making about isis is flawed, those corrupt politicians want you to believe that defeating the Syrian army and toppling the government in Syria will end the war and defeat Isis.
Unfortunately there are western politicians who are copying the Saudis out of ignorance or out of necessity.
The truth is that you can not give something you do not have, the Saudis and their agents are in bed with the Islamists and their new discovery that isis is bad is triggered by the need to please the west and the fear that Isis may try to jeopardize Al Saud’s monopoly on Saudi Arabia, those people never believed in freedom or practiced democracy, what they want is revenge, their goals are installing a puppet government in Syria, protecting the Saudi and goatish GCC sheikdoms and stopping Iran’s marsh in the region. An opposition team that only has Saudi-approved politicians should stay in the warm Riyadh and not worry about traveling to cold Geneva. Kurds and people who oppose the islamists must be present and be given adequate representation.
ما كان ناقصنا الا زبالة السعوديه

January 22nd, 2016, 6:54 pm


Hopeful said:

#201 Ghufran

The struggle in Syria is between three ideologies/thoughts: the military dictatorship (the regime), the Islamists (of all colors), and the liberal democrats. Each has a different vision for future Syria. The right thing to do is to have three groups represented by three teams in the meeting, and let them go at it to see if a compromise if possible. Put it all out on the table and let the people choose the side they would like to be on during the negotiations: the regime, sharia, or democracy.

January 23rd, 2016, 12:32 am


Observer said:

Some traitor takes pride that others are using the war to gain combat experience killing the fellow citizens: this the depth of depravity of this regime that you get this kind to treason. In the meantime the Russians got War Olympics and Soccer: read carefully

January 23rd, 2016, 7:48 am


omen said:

rainman argues since there are no virgins without sin outside of Syria, helpless children of Madaya deserve starvation. applying punishment for collective guilt is a Zionist virtue. You’ve become the very monster you rail against.

January 23rd, 2016, 3:24 pm


omen said:

203. Alan –

This is what Alan is so proud about.

Russians using children for target practice is not something to crow about.

Obliterating children is not “combat” but rather genocide.

Mowing down children is not the trademark of a professional soldier. This is the mark of a psychopath. Appearently Allan too needs psychotherapy.

January 23rd, 2016, 3:42 pm


omen said:

205. Hopeful –

Russia and Iran are not in Syria because of ideology. This is not a war of ideas. They are waging genocide in order to line their pockets. Even Landis acknowledged who ever wins Syria inherits the world.

January 23rd, 2016, 5:53 pm


Badr said:

Forget the planned Geneva 3 and even 4, 5 . . . talks. The key factor will be the extent to which Turkey and the Gulf countries support rebels.

January 24th, 2016, 12:42 pm



Genocide is the strategics behind US-IRAN agreement to manage the New Middle East Order.

75 % of sunnis massacred full of desire for revenge syrians could not be easily ruled by Iran. So let´s ethnic cleanse and change the sectarian composition of Syria.

Iran is the new patrol power in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. Get Ready.

Israel will be respected by Iran, this is one of the questions treated on 14th July Secret Agreement.

January 25th, 2016, 8:36 am


mjabali said:

Tara and Sami:

You need to open some books and read about the history of Syria and see what have been done so many had became “minorities” in their homeland.

Your denial of our history is not going to change it. Claim what you want to, we narrate our history how it had happened. Also, you can read your own historians and see what had happened to us to become “minorities.”

As for psychology: please explain to us what is the shrink’s diagnosis for you guys who always call others traitors with ease, remembering that in your culture to call someone a “traitor,” means: they should die.

Also, ask your shrink what he thinks of you guys who see the four Alawites who sign to stay with France, and never mentioned the Hundreds who signed the other petition to not stay with France, and form what became Syria?

Are you guys ignorant of the other document? Or, you like to never see it and always invoke the one that was signed by four or five Alawites? How do you want the Alawites to live with you guys?

The history of Syria is being brought to the battlefield. To solve the Syrian problem, one have to go through understanding Syrian history and applying the findings on the ground.

January 25th, 2016, 7:56 pm


mjabali said:


Ibn Taymiyah is the man responsible for almost all of you Sunnis’ ideas about the Alawites. So, you trying to discredit him is not going to change that.

Your objection to Ibn Taymiyah is not valid also because, Ibn Taymiyah is the most important person for al-Nusra, Islamic State, Ahrar al-Sham, Jaysh al-Islam…etc: upon his teachings and rulings; they base their relationship almost with everyone. According to Ibn Taymiyah they view the world.

One of the biggest achievements of Ibn Taymiyah is classifying the Alawites, the Druze, and few others as TRAITORS… You personally mr. Observer had said the same thing about the Alawites…

Of course, Ibn Taymiyah was the one who ruled that all the Alawites, with no exception, should die with no mercy. This is the official legal position of almost all the Sunnis in this world regarding the Alawites, Druze, Isma’ilis…etc…

January 25th, 2016, 8:17 pm


mjabali said:


Insulting me is not a good idea.

Whatever my position is: that is for sure not your business.

For me you are a non-Syrian calling for more blood shed in Syria.

As you have exhibited here, day-in-and-a-day-out, that you really do not know that much about Syria, and most likely are getting paid by a party in this fight to post here and on Twitter as evidenced by many things.

You are a party in this fight, so if I did not agree with you, do not cry that much, go to the Shrink and tell him/her that Mjabali is not agreeing with you, see what they say. They for sure are going to tell you to calm down and not to explode like what you did.

You could tell that Syria has enough smart people on all side to start a dialogue if they are not being blocked by outsiders like you.

By the way, you quoting what Sandro Low on Vodka said about me is a tragedy, like the tone in your scribble here about Syria….

We need rational people to help us solve issues in Syria and not people who should see a Shrink today before tomorrow….

January 25th, 2016, 8:37 pm


Ghufran said:

Reversing the military wins by the government forces and their allies is more difficult now even if a new president is elected in the US because the military and political establishment here will resist any major change in the policies implrmeted by Obama with support from top generals who prefer the new situation over an uncertain aggressive stance against Iran, Russia and assad as long as the US traditional allies are not threatened. Only a change in Iran and Russia position can affect the temporary borders being forcefully drawn today. Those borders rely on an understanding between Russia and the U.S. where areas under Nusra and isis are left for the two super powers to handle while Russia is given a free hand to secure the region between Dara’a in the south and Latakia in the north. Turkey and ksa have few choices here and the two islamist regimes in these two countries have effectively watched and did nothing while rebels were losing positions almost on a weekly basis. The issue of regime change is repackaged to allow modifications instead of a radical restructure as demanded by rebels and their supporters. Syrians at the end were the victims of a dirty and unnecessary war that will leave syria under the mercy of foreign aid for years to come and a hostile climate that threw Palestinians under the bus.
Congratulations, enjoy the fake glory of a regime that failed on most fronts and an uprising that sold its soul to corrupt GCC regimes and an evil ottoman government. Alawites lost tens of thousands of young men and sunnis lost millions of citizens to refugee camps, neighboring countries and Europe. If you think that donors can bring those refugees back and rebuild destroyed cities and villages think again, syrians will be left to lick their wounds while wondering what happened.
يا امة ضحكت من جهلها الامم

January 26th, 2016, 1:40 am



There is a lot of trash talk. Nothing to add a new perspective.

The only thing clear is that war is going on in the speed and momentum needed to let the ethnic cleanse of Syria be properly executed.

US, Rusia and Iran all agree that Syria must be emptied from 75 % of sunnis and given to Iran to patrol it and to use it as the gas higway to the West.

January 26th, 2016, 9:18 am



Stupid posters who believe themselves great analyst are all around but their views are totally out of place. There is one single thing that must be known and clear:

* The plan to expell most sunnis and christians has been accurately prepared and executed by Assad and Iran from day 1.

Did we forget how Hezbollah was feeding Syria rural areas with smuggled weapons during first months of the revolution? How they turned a peacefull people into armed milicias by crushing their demands and selling them weapons paid by Saudi Arabia and Qatar?

Did we ignore that ISIS has been created by Russia, US, Iran and Assad to empty Syria and burn the syrian plains of the north?

Cant we see that US/IRAN/RUSSIA offers will be unacceptable so the war and the ethnic cleanse go on and on until no syrians live in Syria anyomore?

The same politics used by Israel since 1948 has been being used by Assad and Iran to expell syrian citizens.

Rami Makhlouf corporation will be the biggest building company in the Middle East once they expropiate all lands and start Syria reconstruction.

January 26th, 2016, 9:29 am


SimoHurtta said:

216. SANDRO LOEWE said:

There is a lot of trash talk. Nothing to add a new perspective.

US, Rusia and Iran all agree that Syria must be emptied from 75 % of sunnis and given to Iran to patrol it and to use it as the gas higway to the West.

Hmmmm our great analyst Sandro der Löwe there are some bad problems in your analysis. The “Shia” Iranian gas highway to Europe in Syria has still to go trough SUNNI Turkey. So what does it help to remove 75 percent of Syria’s Sunnis? Sunnis would still after that be the biggest religious group in Syria. Iran has a own land border with Turkey, so Sandro it doesn’t need build pipes through Iraq and Syria and so pay them large transport fees and give them political power. Iran already has ready export gas lines to Turkey (and so to Europe). The Gulf countries need access through Syria for their gas export lines. And Israel, if it doesn't build a pipe line in the sea.

By the way Sandro who will in you "perspective theory" take those 13 million Sunnis (those 75% percent of Syrian Sunnis) who are deported? Your domestic Führer A. Merkel, your spiritual leader King Salman or your future chief ruler D. Trump? Sandro Europe is full and Saudi royals obviously do not like Sunni refugees. Soon EU's outer borders will be full of heavily armed soldiers and no Völkerwanderung will be allowed.

January 26th, 2016, 12:31 pm


ghufran said:

Turkey let Turkmen families in but kept 300 Syrian families in the cold and open border area according to SOHR:
علم المرصد السوري لحقوق الانسان من مصادر موثوقة، أن عشرات العائلات التركمانية دخلت خلال الـ 48 ساعة الفائتة، إلى الجانب التركي، عقب السماح لها، من قبل السلطات التركية، بالدخول إلى أراضيها، عبر معبر باب السلامة الحدودي، الذي قالت المصادر أنه مغلق من قبل السلطات التركية، وأكدت الصادر كذلك، أن إدخال العائلات التركمانية تزامن، مع انتظار نحو 300 عائلة عربية، منذ الـ 17 من شهر كانون الثاني / يناير الجاري، السماح لها بالدخول إلى الجانب التركي، بعد تمكنها من الهرب من مناطق تنظيم “الدولة الإسلامية”، خلال قصف للطائرات الحربية على منطقة تواجدهم التي يسيطر عليها التنظيم، قرب المناطق التي تسيطر عليها الفصائل المقاتلة والإسلامية بريف حلب الشمالي، حيث سمح التنظيم لهذه العائلات من الدخول إلى مناطق سيطرة الفصائل، وتفترش هذه العائلات العراء، في ظروف قاسية يعيشونها، وسط أحوال جوية سيئة، بالإضافة إلى أن المناطق المحيطة بمكان تواجد هذه العائلات، تشهد اشتباكات وقصف متبادل بين الفصائل المقاتلة والإسلامية، وتنظيم “الدولة الإسلامية”، والتي تستمر منذ أيام، بالتزامن مع قصف تركي على مناطق سيطرة التنظيم ومواقعه

January 26th, 2016, 4:03 pm


Ghufran said:

This is what the official spokesperson
for opposition negotiation team said about the senior Syrian officials who were killed in 2012 when a bomb went
off during their “secret meeting”:
قال نعسان آغا، متحدثاً عن «خلية الأزمة»، تلك التي قضى فيها أربعة من أخطر أركان النظام في ما سمي «تفجير الأمن القومي»، وهم العماد حسن تركماني، وزير الدفاع داوود راجحة، نائبه آصف شوكت، رئيس مكتب الأمن القومي هشام بختيار، قال هم «ليسوا مجرمين، بل ناس فاضلون، ولكن تورطوا في الأزمة. أعرف حكمتهم، ولكن وجدوا في ظرف خاطئ، عصابي».
“These were not criminals, they were good people who got trapped into the Syrian crisis, I know about their wisdom but they found themselves in the midst of a terrible situation during difficult times”.

January 26th, 2016, 4:55 pm


Observer said:

From the mouth of our illustrious historian in residence and Ibn T scholar comes the logical conclusion: please separate yourselves and create your own state!!!!

Please do so as soon as possible peacefully and in an orderly manner for trying to reverse history has proven to be impossible.

The level of discourse has fallen lower than I could have ever imagined. The circular self fulfilling arguments that I read are a testimony to this intellectual depravity.


January 27th, 2016, 7:40 am


ghufran said:

The Saudi based opposition has legitimate demands but none of them can be met without reciprocity especially the withdrawal of heavy weapons from rebels controlled areas and an official divorce from Nusra.
The truth is that the presence of Rebels and the use of weapons from heavily populated areas have been a critical factor in the creation of refugees and the high civilian death toll. Another trap is ignoring the Kurds to please Turkey without any plan to accommodate more than 20 million Kurds in 3 countries. Washington urged the opposition to go to Geneva without preconditions because they know the regime will come up with its own conditions and nothing will get done, keep in mind that the expectations are already low and many people in both camps have resigned to the conclusion that the side that wins militarily will dictate its conditions, many Arabs are still living in the Middle Ages politically and socially.

January 27th, 2016, 10:49 pm



From the fall of Mosul (delivered by chiite forces) to the liberation of islamists prisoners in Bagdad (by offering no resistance) and Damascus (freed by Assad) all facts have been designed to let ISIS grow and créate the perfect conditions for all superpowers to come and destroy the sunni resistance. And of course to let all the revolutionaries movements be devoured by ISIS monster.

CIA never commits mistakes and ISIS creation and future destruction is the master piece of CIA to the glory of the Ayatollahs and the new US/IRAN ORDER.

Iran is developing the New Persian Empire. After some decades the Persians will fall down again and great historical changes will take place for Human Kind. This was the case in the past and it will be in the future. Let´s pray for historical events to accelerate.

January 28th, 2016, 5:40 am


Observer said:

No comment but therein lies the biggest problem the elephant in the room no matter how you spin it: ليس هناك نظام في العالم تاجر بنظرية المؤامرة كما تاجر بها النظام السوري، فلو أحصينا عدد المرات التي وردت فيها كلمة “مؤامرة” في الخطابات الإعلامية والسياسية والحزبية البعثية السورية، لربما تجاوز عددها مئات الألوف، إن لم نقل أكثر. لقد كان النظام يعتبر أبسط التصرفات التي يقوم بها السوريون العاديون والتي لا تروق له، كان يعتبرها مؤامرات ضد “نظام الصمود والتصدي والممانعة والمقاومة”. وأتذكر أن طفلاً صغيراً في منطقتنا لا يتجاوز عمره خمسة سنوات كان يركب دراجة أطفال في أحد الطرق ذات يوم، لكنه فقد السيطرة على الدراجة فاصطدمت بلوحة على جانب الشارع كانت عليها صورة لحافظ الأسد، فتمزق جزء بسيط من الصورة. لكن المشكلة لم تنته هنا، بل كانت بداية مأساة حقيقة لعائلة الطفل. فقد قامت المخابرات باستدعاء والد الطفل، وبدأت تحقق معه لأيام وليال. وبعد أن حققت معه المخابرات في المحافظة تم تحويله إلى دمشق كي يستمر التحقيق في الإدارات المخابراتية العليا لشهور. وكان المحقق دائماً يسأل والد الطفل عما إذا كان الأمر مؤامرة حاكها الوالد، واستخدم فيها الطفل والدراجة لإلحاق الأذى بصورة “القائد الخالد” حافظ الأسد، بينما كان الوالد يصر دائماً أنها ليست مؤامرة أبداً، وأن الطفل لا يعرف حتى صاحب الصورة التي ارتطمت الدراجة بها. مع ذلك، ظل ضباط المخابرات الذي حققوا مع الوالد لشهور طويلة، ظلوا يتهمونه بتدبير مؤامرة مع الطفل لتشويه صورة “السيد الرئيس”.

هذا على الصعيد الداخلي حيث يعتبر نظام المخابرات الفاشي أبسط التصرفات مؤامرات على نظام حكمه. وحدث ولا حرج على الصعيد الخارجي، فهو لا يمل من اتهام القاصي والداني بالتآمر على نظامه. لا بل إنه اعتبر الثورة السورية العظيمة كلها مؤامرة كونية شاركت فيها حتى مخلوقات فضائية، على اعتبار أنها “كونية” وليست أرضية فقط.

هل عرفتم لماذا هذا الهوس الشديد لدى نظام الأسد بالمؤامرات؟ السبب بسيط جداً، لأنه أكثر من تآمر على سوريا والعرب، وهو يحاول دائماً أن يخفي مؤامراته الحقيقية بتوجيه الأنظار إلى المؤامرات السريالية التي يخترعها إعلامه وأقبية مخابراته كستار من الدخان كي يحجب مؤامراته هو. وقد لاحظنا كيف كان يستخدم تهمة العمالة لإسرائيل “عمال على بطال” ضد أي سوري معارض كي يخفي عمالة النظام لإسرائيل التي فضحها رأس النظام نفسه عندما قال للمثل السوري جمال سليمان في بداية الثورة إن إسرائيل طمأنته بأنها لن تسمح أبداً بسقوط النظام، وأنها أعطته الضوء الأخضر كي يفعل ما يريد بكل من يقف في وجهه. ودرات الأيام وبدأنا نكتشف أن صاحب أطول سجل في فبركة المؤامرات الخزعبلاتية هو أكبر متآمر على سوريا. لقد صدع رؤوسنا وهو يشتكي من المؤامرة الكونية على نظامه، فإذ به أكبر المشاركين مع أمريكا وروسيا وإسرائيل وإيران في التآمر على سوريا الشعب والوطن، بدليل أن الجميع بمن فيهم إسرائيل وأمريكا لا تريدان سقوطه، وتعمل على الحفاظ عليه بأسنانها، على عكس ما كان يتشدق به منذ بداية الثورة.

لقد اكتشفنا متأخرين أن المؤامرات التي تتعرض لها سوريا ينفذها نظام الأسد، وليس أطراف خارجية كما يدعي النظام. هل كانت سوريا لتتحول إلى مسرح لمن هب ودب من الشرق والغرب لو كانت فيها قيادة وطنية تعمل لصالح الوطن والشعب، ولا تستعين بالقاصي والداني على الشعب والوطن من أجل مصالحها السلطوية القذرة؟ هل كانت سوريا لتصل إلى هنا لولا أن قائدها المزعوم هو من ينفذ المؤامرات الخارجية القذرة عليها بيديه؟ هل كانت روسيا لتستبيح سوريا وتحرق شعبها لولا أن نظاماً متآمراً استعان بها على بني جلدته؟ هل نظامنا أجنبي، أم إنه مفترض سوري؟ نعيب زماننا والعيب فينا؟ نتهم الخارج بالتآمر علينا، بينما حاكمنا هو من ينفذ المؤامرات علينا. لا يمكن لأي مؤامرة خارجية أن تمر إذا لم يكن لديها طابور خامس في الداخل. وهل هناك أفضل من طابور النظام الذي كان له الفضل الأكبر في إنجاح المؤامرات على سوريا وشعبها؟

January 28th, 2016, 6:52 am


Akbar Palace said:

209. omen said:

205. Hopeful –

Russia and Iran are not in Syria because of ideology. This is not a war of ideas. They are waging genocide in order to line their pockets. Even Landis acknowledged who ever wins Syria inherits the world.


I’m not sure what Professor Josh has said on this issue, but near as I can tell, Iran IS in Syria because of ideology, certainly NOT for money. Iran was under DECADES of heavy sanctions due to their nuclear ambitions and so money and economic prosperity was not their main concern. Similarly, their support of (shia) terrorism still has them under certain sanctions. They don’t have to be in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen, but they choose to to spread shia Islam. To me, that’s pretty ideological and certainly cost prohibitive.

207. omen said:

rainman argues since there are no virgins without sin outside of Syria, helpless children of Madaya deserve starvation. applying punishment for collective guilt is a Zionist virtue. You’ve become the very monster you rail against.


As much as we love to hate Israel, if the rest of the arab world treated their arab citizens as well as Israel, the Middle East would be a great place to live. Not to say that if Israel gets attacked, she won’t respond forcefully and legally, just like any other nation.

January 28th, 2016, 11:57 am


Ghufran said:

There are people who are making fun of de Mistura because he has a lisp with the letter S

January 28th, 2016, 6:57 pm


ghufran said:

Only 3 out of 73 Turkmen villages are still under rebels control. Kinsabba will fall any day now, after that Latakia may become the second province in Syria that has no Islamist and terrorist rebels.
أكد نائب رئيس الجبهة التركمانية في سوريا طارق جوزيلي على أن 73 قرية تركمانية في جبل التركمان شمال سوريا و التابعة لمحافظة اللاذقية سقط معظمها في يد النظام السوري و القوات الروسية، مشيرا الى أن ثلاث قرى فقط مازالت تحت سيطرة القوى التركمانية

January 28th, 2016, 9:59 pm


Hopeful said:

The Syrian opposition should not concern itself with who else is coming or not. They should go and make three demands:

1. Immediate stop to the regime and Russia’s bombing and starvation campaigns
2. Concrete steps towards free and fair elections supervised and secured by the UN and international community
3. A mechanism – accepted by both sides – to ensure that people with blood on their hands – from both sides – are not allowed to run for elections. Otherwise, the conflict will never stop.

These demands are objective, unbiased, and are driven by the interest of the country – not certain people or certain sects. They world will rally to support these demands – and everyone objecting to them will be exposed for his hypocricy,

January 29th, 2016, 2:47 am


Mina said:

What an interesting way to negociate!!

” Riad Hijab, coordinator of the High Negotiations Committee, said that aid access was a precondition of the group attending.

“Tomorrow we won’t be in Geneva. We could go there, but we will not enter the negotiating room if our demands aren’t met,” he told Al-Arabiya television.”

January 29th, 2016, 4:04 am


Badr said:

Although unlikely to happen, but if the talks could somehow – the sooner the better – lead to a broad ceasefire with the lifting of the blockades, it should be a welcome step forward.

January 29th, 2016, 4:27 am


Ghufran said:

According to thawrajiyyeh the whole regime and the whole army and security forces are guilty and have their hands stained with blood, that is why nobody from the SNC said anything when syrian soldiers were attacked and killed at random and when rockets and car bombs were used in civilian areas under regime control. People with guns have no incentives to lay down their arms, the current situation gives them money and social status, many people got rich because of the war and they do not mind seeing it lasting few more years.
The key is agreeing to limit the possession of heavy weapons to the syrian army, the army can absorb many rebels and take more volunteers but there should be no heavy weapons in any syrian town that are not in the hands of the national army. Local militias not related to Nusra and Alqaeda were allowed ,in more than one spot , to keep light weapons and help protect citizens from criminals and their salaries should be paid by the government not Ksa or Qatar.
When the blood shed stops or reaches a low acceptable level elections will become possible but must be monitored by the UN to ensure fairness, Assad may want to run but I think he will probably change his mind or be “asked” to step aside in 2017 or sooner, if he insists on running and he lets the UN monitor elections the opposition should not use that as an excuse to depart the political process as long as the elections are not controlled by the regime but by the UN.
The opposition says most Syrians are agsinst Assad and this claim can be verified by clean and fair elections, that will also put pressure on the opposition to come up with leaders who do not alienate minorities and moderate sunnis, syria has thousands of potential leaders.
Finally, islamists are not qualified or trusted to write or shape the constitution, let legal experts and civil society figures do that, Syria is too important to let Baathists/ Assadists and islamists divide it into small enclaves to serve their own interests instead of national interests.

January 29th, 2016, 11:26 am


Uzair8 said:

Prof. Landis was on BBC Radio 5 in the early hours talking about the upcoming talks:

Listen from 03:20:30

~7-8 minutes long

January 29th, 2016, 11:33 am


Uzair8 said:

In recent days there’s been some twitter talk of impending BIG rebel offensives on Aleppo and Hama. Some (like @vivarevolt) claiming to be holding back from revealing anything which suggests some substance to these claims.

Actually, going by twitter it seems the Hama offensive has begun.

@VivaRevolt Jan 24 *
Morek also,but i and others are keeping details secret

@Syria_Rebel_Obs Jan 24 **
#SRO – Rebellion decision to evacuate N-#Latakia isn’t a victory for regime. Large forces to push for #Aleppo and more important : #Hama.

Regarding the significance of Latakia:

@JohnArterbury Jan 23 ***
@Charles_Lister even then Latakia is a peripheral front. Aleppo/Idlib will be more critical, while meanwhile Daraa stalls


January 29th, 2016, 1:14 pm


Uzair8 said:

We all know Iran is recruiting Afghans, Iraqis etc and sending them to Syria.

If If it looks like the regime is doing well and Russian intervention is successful/effective (minimising regime losses) then more Afghans & co will be tempted to join up for a percieved easy payday (plus other bonuses eg Iranian citizenship).

On the other hand if things aren’t going well for the regime then some will be disuaded from joining up as the benefits may not be worth the risk.

January 29th, 2016, 1:27 pm


Thomas Hood said:

233. UZAIR8 said:

.. . it seems the Hama offensive has begun.

Al-Masdar News confirms it.

January 29th, 2016, 3:39 pm


Ghufran said:

The so called Hama offensive will be short lived, the goal is to delay or prevent an assault on islamists positions in Hama, Homs and Idleb. Too little too late, nobody wants islamists to win except the evil alliance of Tukey, GCC and Israel. The big dudes in this fight have made up their mind, terrorists with black flags belong to syriatan not central Syria.

January 29th, 2016, 4:00 pm


Majedkhaldoun said:

The American election is a golden opportunity for us , we must take advantage of it, Obama needs Clinton to win , so he can maintain his legacy , Iran deal , and Obama care, if a republican president gets elected those will go , of the Americaneconomy turns bad, the chances for Clinton to win will diminish, that can happen if KSA suddenly and quickly raise the price of oil , after May this can cause a collapse in American economy , we all remember how King Feisal quadrupled the price of oil in 1972 , KSA should not hesitate to do it unless Obama help arm the rebels, all what Obama needs to do is provide the rebels with antiaircraft missiles , Putin is under the mercy of Obama, if the rebels get these missiles Air Force superiority will be eliminated , , also Putin economy is bad that is why raising the price of oil should start in May or June,

January 29th, 2016, 9:27 pm


ghufran said:

I rarely target any particular post with comments but the post above
# 237 is particularly hilarious despite the fact that the author was probably serious. I regret the fact that educated Syrians can be this naïve politically, sorry folks I had to say something beside laughing.
Syrians will finally have the opportunity to talk after trying to kill each other since 2011, the first round may not bring any breakthroughs but if the international community comes up with a UNSC that spells out the principles of a solution to the Syrian tragedy which includes a cease fire, humanitarian assistance, release of prisoners and elections we can say that the beginning of an end is upon us.
US elections will not reverse Obama’s domestic and international achievements unless the democrats suffer a crushing defeat in 2016 (November)and the GOS has a 2/3 majority which is unheard of in US political history. The GOP can at best modify things a little to please their supporters including our delusional Syrian American thawrajiyyeh friends. Saudi Arabia’s ruling mafia will lose their grip on power in 2 weeks if they defy a sitting US president, hang on to this Bedouin dream and say Hi to your SAMs !!

January 29th, 2016, 10:01 pm


Mina said:

Luckily it seems to be yet another mistake! May Sayyida Fayruz live another 30 years and more!

January 31st, 2016, 4:03 am


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