“The Alawi Dilemma – Revisited,” By Khudr

The Alawi Dilemma – Revisited
By Khudr
For Syria Comment

June 20, 2011


Dr. Joshua,

You are completely right when you say that most Alawis these days either support the regime (better to say that they support Assad family rule) or are living in complete denial of the situation.

I have discovered that a number of my fellow Alawis who used to be staunch critics of Asad family rule are now championing of Bashar. Some who used to curse anytime the name of the ruling family was invoked (in private of course), have now replaced their own identity with Bashar’ s on their Facebook page.

Why do they do this? To understand such odd phenomenon I recommend everyone to read or re-read the essay written six years ago by Karfan. He explains the psychological underpinnings of this occurrence in a most precise way. The post title is: “Myth No.7 : Alawi is still a religious sect”.

I will avoid quoting from it here as it is still available on the net for of all to read. I direct all interested in the subject to read it.

The gist of his argument is that Alawi identity has been transformed by Assad rule. No longer is it centered on religious, cultural or tribal life. Because Alawi life has been so transformed over the last century, the single common bond uniting us is Assad rule itself. Our identity as Alawis is defined as “that minority sect ruling this country.”

Alawis have been living in a complete sub-conscious denial of this fact for decades now and only few, such as Karfan, had ventured into admitting this reality.

What is it to be an Alawi exactly?

Is Alawism a religion? Alawi beliefs as ideas are too shallow to constitute a religion or a sect of a religion. Actually “Alawism” is built on tribal and communal attachment or quasi-ethnicity rather than being centered on ideas. You become an Alawi by being born Alawi.

Courtesies aside, the “initiation ritual” of male Alawis into the religion consists of kissing a few hands and memorizing a seriously ridiculous script in a small memo book. Frequently, one is given the script without his “teacher” or initiator ever bothering to see afterwards whether you memorized it or not. Most of the time your “initiator” knows that your opinion of the whole process and the script is as high as your opinion of “Tom & Jerry” cartoons. Yet he considers you an Alawi and relies on you as such, simply because you are born one and expected to be one.

Female Alawis are “lucky” enough that they do not have to go through this meaningless ritual, yet they are expected to be staunch Alawis because they are born Alawis.

Note that this expectation is not one sided. All other sects and groups around you in Syria and elsewhere expect you to be an Alawi if you are born an Alawi. Hence the usual question “where are you from in Tartous or Latakia?” If you are born in an area where Alawis live, then that’s what you are; end of the story.

If you want to venture into further scholastic study, you will know that the secret books dealing with Alawi beliefs number about five. Their content is as inscrutable and meaningless to a twenty first century person as is the book of rituals. This does not include the Shia theological works, which fill the libraries of most informed Alawi Sheiks whether they regard themselves as true Shi`a or not. I refer here only to those works that are devoted to pure Alawi theology.

It is true that Jews define themselves by culture and ethnic belonging as do the adherents of similar religions. All the same, Jews have an established doctrine and philosophy, but if it does not suit them, they can simply declare that they are “non-practicing Jews.” They can define themselves as Jews as a cultural and ethnic affinity.

There is no such thing as “non-practicing Alawi,” which is something many of us have struggled with. This is a problem in no way unique to Alawis. All the Arab/Islamic sects suffer from this short coming. To call yourself a “non-practicing Muslim” is to be laughed out of mosque. We, young Arab Muslims — and Arab Christians for that matter — do not have the luxury of being able to identify with our religion as a cultural and identity, without being required to buy into the complete religious “package” as it was defined centuries ago by a handful of doughty scholars.

Then what are Alawis exactly?

It is not wrong to surmize that our collective Alawi identity is centered largely on our culture, the coastal accent, the special celebrations, the habits, etc.. Most of these differ considerably from one geographical area to another. However we all have one thing in common: we are united by our common sense of injustice and persecution over the past centuries. Many will argue that the statute of limitations has run out on our sense of persecution, particularly as Alawis have dominated Syria’s security state for almost fifty years. “How can such feelings continue to this day,” many ask. But they do. A common sense of persecution is an important identity marker. It does not matter that we have been able to flex our muscle for decades. The shared sense of persecution is alive and well in our collective psyche.

Alawis also differ from the Sunni majority in their customs. “Difference” from Sunnis is corner stone of our identity. We perceive ourselves as the “other.,” those who are “different“ from them! This also is hardly unique to Alawis; minorities the world over define themselves in opposition to the majority “other.” This truth seems so obvious and uninteresting to me today, but in my teen years it was a source of considerable consternation and confusion. When my sister put on the hijab, she was castigated by my father who insisted that “We don’t wear the hijab.” This, despite his insistence over the years that “Alawis are Muslims no different from them.”

In a free society, the cultural part of sub-national identity can be expressed openly and proudly without undermining the overarching national community and bond of citizenship. The minorities in such mature societies can live in harmony with other citizen groups, without having to stifle or hid their communal affinities and habits.

But let’s return to Karfan’s analysis. Common Alawi cultural identity was not allowed to be institutionalized or proudly expressed. Even Druze, Ismailis and the various sub sects of Sunni Islam, such as the Sufi orders, for example, have been forced to go underground and reform themselves almost out of existence as it were. In the 1940s and 1950s Syrian place names were changed to reflect our new “national” existence at the price of erasing local identities and heros. I agree with Karfan that Hafiz al-Assad and his top leaders, such as Ali Douba, perpetuated and deepened this effort to wipe out and obscure sub-national identification. Baathism, amplified the prejudices of Arab nationalists against local, religious, and cultural peculiarities to an absurd degree. It would have been suicidal during the late president’s rule to establish any sort of gathering or group of Alawis under any cultural, social or religious banner. We couldn’t even mention the name of our communities openly. We lived in a stifling world of taboos and social conformism.

The only meeting ground or assembly point for Alawis, where we didn’t have to pretend that we were something we weren’t, was deep in the inner sanctums of the security state. We found ourselves in the clubby security of the secret services, the Republican Guard, the army officer academies, and the worker and agricultural syndicates in the coastal area. These were all regime sanctioned and established institutions that linked our identity to the security state and Assad rule.

This is where Karfan comes from when he states that we have been systematically deprived of any attachment to our religious, cultural and social identity under Hafiz rule. Thus, you can see where his claim comes from: “We were turned into identity-less supporters of “Asad’s” rule…  meaningless tribes ranked by how much we support “him”.”

The full ramifications of this fact were not visible or even felt among Alawis until the current crisis challenged us with the notion of radical change. Alawis are subconsciously realizing that being an Alawi means nothing outside of Asad family rule. We haven’t much history – at least not that we have documented. We have been too busy pretending that we are no different from Muslims to build our common identity. We suffer from a devastating lack of institutionalized cultural or social institutions and marker apart from those connected to the Assad regime. We don’t even know much about our religion to grasp on to. Alawis have defined themselves over the past 40 years as the rulers of Syria, and not much else.

You can then understand why almost all Alawis, even those who had shown fierce opposition toward the Assad regime, are turning into “Basharists” now that the entire edifice is under attack. A subconscious fear of losing our identity supplied by Assad rule and the security state is consuming us and taking precedence over rational thought.

Again, this is not something new. We saw it in Germany or Japan during WWII. Two very civilized populations turned into blind followers of a crazy elite that committed atrocities and led their nations to destruction. In both cases, the very identity of the nation was linked to the person of the leader, Hitler and Showa. To defend the leader in the minds of the people was nothing less than to defend their own identity.

We should be careful not to compare too closely the situation in Syria to that of Iraq under Saddam Hussein. His Sunni followers certainly identified with Saddam and his rule, but they had a confident Sunni identity to fall back on. The Sunnis have long fashioned themselves as the natural leaders of the Arabs and Islam. They can point to uninterrupted dominance in countries stretching from Morocco to Saudi Arabia. They have an illustrious history and established religion. They did not need to fight to the last breath to protect their heritage and they did not.

Alawis today believe that they are under attack – not because anyone is actually attacking them as a group of people or community; they are not. Rather, they feel under attack because the regime is threatened and may fall. This is tantamount – at least subconsciously – to their identity being shattered. Similar to those German and Japanese who wasted their lives fighting a lost battle street-by-street, the Alawis will fight to the end. It is hard to convince someone fighting for such high stakes to abandon their cause.

The Syrian opposition, of course, does not have the benefit of the American army, as Great Britain had in WWII or the Iraqi opposition in 2003. There will be no street-by-street fight. My point is, whether the Syrian opposition is able to marshal Western economic sanctions against the Assad regime, or mobilize continued demonstrations with the effect of paralyzing the Syrian economy, or even attracting limited foreign intervention, it should expect staunch resistance. In all likelihood most Alawis will stand behind the Assads.

If no alternative is found for Syria other than confrontation to the bitter end, then I am afraid the closing words of Karfan continue to ring true: “another thing that is common to us Alawis: We have no future, at least not one that is worth looking forward to.

*Khudr has written several other excellent articles for Syria Comment in the past. They are “What do Sunnis intend for Alawis following regime change?” and Asad’s Alawi dilemma

Comments (390)

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51. jad said:

No country in the whole world tolerate thugs terrorizing it’s citizens:

“مع استمرار تمركز وحدات الجيش العربي السوري على المداخل الرئيسية على أوتستراد حلب دمشق، وفتح وتأمين هذا الطريق الرئيسي والدولي، وعدم دخول الجيش إلى مدينة معرة النعمان وجبل الزاوية حالياً حقناً للدماء وإعطاء الفرصة لجهود الحوار بين الفعاليات والجهات الاجتماعية والسياسية والمجموعات المعارضة والمسلحة، عادت المجموعات المسلحة للظهور بعد أن اختفت خلال الأسابيع الماضية منذ دخول الجيش إلى المحافظة مستغلة الفراغ الأمني الذي حصل نتيجة الأحداث الأمنية الراهنة، مقيمة الحواجز المسلحة على الطرق العامة بين قرى جبل الزاوية ومدينة أريحا، وبين قرى من ريف معرة النعمان والمدينة.
جاء ذلك في حين طالبت الشبكة السورية لحقوق الإنسان بفتح تحقيق في تعرض نشطائها للاعتداء من قبل مخربين، خلال مشاركة الشبكة بمسيرة مؤيدة للإصلاحات في مدينة حماة.
وفي تفاصيل أحداث محافظة إدلب فقد انتقلت المجموعات المسلحة من ممارسات منع المواطنين من التنقل لتسيير أعمالهم، والموظفين من الذهاب إلى دوائرهم في هاتين المدينتين ومدينة إدلب..إلى منع تسويق المحاصيل الزراعية وخاصة الكرز، وهناك من تحدث عن قيام بعض الحواجز بإتلاف عبوات من الكرز وإعادة السيارات المحملة إلى قراها مكبدة المزارعين خسارة كبيرة لكونهم يعتمدون بشكل رئيسي في دخلهم على هذا المحصول.
كذلك بيّن مواطنون أن مجموعات مسلحة تقف على عملية توزيع المازوت في بعض محطات المحروقات وتعطي المازوت للمؤيدين لهم فقط.
وأكد مراسل «الوطن» أن مدينة جسر الشغور باتت آمنة، ولكن ما زال العديد من القرى المجاورة
يعانون من غياب الأمن فيها نتيجة وجود مجموعات مسلحة تبعث الخوف والرعب من قيام المزارعين بجني محاصيلهم الزراعية، فقد سبق أن حذروهم من حصاد الحبوب ومنعهم من تسويقها إلى مراكز الحبوب إلا بعد انضمامهم للمجموعات المعارضة والوقوف ضد السلطة بشكل علني.
وأضاف المراسل أنه على الرغم من حصاد معظم المساحات المزروعة بالقمح ولكن ما زال هناك مساحات أخرى لم تحصد رغم اقتراب وصول موسم الحصاد إلى نهايته، وذلك إما نتيجة الخوف من المسلحين أو استمرار هرب بعض المزارعين إلى خارج منطقة جسر الشغور، وهذا الأمر ينطبق على مساحات واسعة من الأشجار المثمرة التي نضجت وباتت الثمار تتساقط على الأرض دون تمكن أصحابها من جنيها وخاصة في المناطق الجبلية الغربية وحتى الحدود التركية، حيث تنتشر وتنشط مجموعات مسلحة في هذه المناطق.
وأشار المراسل إلى المجموعات المسلحة تمكنت من توريط الآلاف من المواطنين المزارعين في الهرب إلى تركيا، وذلك بعد أن سبق أن ورطت مئات في تظاهرات معارضة سلمية ومسلحة، بينما راحت تنصب الحواجز على الحدود لتمنعهم من العودة بعد أن استقرت الأمور في مدينة جسر الشغور بعد إحكام الجيش سيطرته على المدينة وتأمينها.”


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June 22nd, 2011, 8:25 pm


52. why-discuss said:


It may be a generalization ( Khudr is also generalizing) and in all generalization there are limits and exceptions.
Real secularism is not easily found in the Syrian societies. Aside from atheists that are a tiny minority, the only large group of people who are not influenced close of far by mullahs, or sheikhs or priests are the Alawites, do you deny it?

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June 22nd, 2011, 8:31 pm


53. Tara said:

Tara Story #3

Too many tender cords are struck today!

Did you read #41 link about سيد المقاومة ?

“He has failed the test of history—of knowing when to abandon tyrants benevolent to him for their own reasons but abusive and criminal to their own people”

I call it the moral fall of سيد المقاومة

Have I told you I visited Lebanon last year for one day. It was last July. The driver thought I was going shopping. Just before we arrived to Beirut, I told him my real destination: الضاحية الجنوبية . He asked me where exactly in الضاحية الجنوبية and I could not answer. When we arrived, I asked him to stop the car to let me off. I just wanted to take the air in of the الضاحية الجنوبية. I walked along a street there dragging my small child and staring at passers- by. That is all what I wanted to do! It was pretty hot and humid but I was in an ecstatic mood. Why wouldn’t I and all what was playing in my ears throughout the trip was a poem by Omar Farra called جنوبيٌ هوى قلبي. Do you know that piece? Look it up on You Tube if you never heard it before. I spent about an hour there, took a single photo of my child, and then returned to Damascus. No other stops were made. This was my Lebanese excursion for I did not care about visiting any other place in Beirut (no offense). I looked at that photo few days ago and wondered if I would ever discuss it with my baby when she grows up.

The truth will eventually come out but I am just hoping and really wanting to believe that سيد المقاومة has not sent HA fighters to help the Syrian criminal state killing the Syrian nation and if he had done it, he would have not betrayed my own جنوبيٌ هوى قلبي , he would have betrayed all those sacred HA fighters who once died for our pride.

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June 22nd, 2011, 8:31 pm


54. Mundas999 said:

Nafdik, C 40

I think many solutions could be found if there is a serious open and franc dialogue. it will need compromise from all sides. We need to talk in a sectarian way like the lebanese. even use quota!! then many minoritries concerns could be addressed.

so Allawis would say:
we need to feel safe we need so many generals in the army.
Sunnis would accept to avoid bloodshed.
Christians and druze would say we do not want to support the Assad regime but what is our situation in the new system

In Al-Taef accord to end Lebanese war, many crimes were forgotten as a compromise to stop the bloodshed.

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June 22nd, 2011, 8:31 pm


55. zsolt sass said:

My dear muslim brothers and sisters from syria and from all over the arab world ,it is my duty to inform you that terrorist elements sponsored by the american cia are responsible for the unrest in syria.These servants of the devil kill syrian people who believe in freedom and justice and in their country and in its dear beloved president Assad.Syria the country of the brave and the free is targeted by foreign terrorist and it is the duty of every muslim to kill all foreign terrorist until justice is served,than this is GODS WILL.Sryian brothers and sisters thank you for being so brave and for fighting the terrorist,God be with you with syria and God bless syria and its above all beloved lion of syria «««president Assad«« a truth and real Leader who loves his people ,his country above everything.The entire arab world needs to wake up ,stand together and fight together the devil and its servants than this is the duty of every muslim because it is GODS WILL. comrade,freedomfighter Zsolt Sass

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June 22nd, 2011, 8:42 pm


56. why-discuss said:


I have stopped reading the french newspapers. There is such an inherent dishonesty that they disgust me. I guess France is in such a mess politically and economically that they take a sadistic pleasure in insisting on all the negative aspects of Syria’s situation as a diversion.
I think France is really going further down. They host Khaddam and their ex-president Chirac is going on trial for corruption.
Moallem is right about forgetting Europe. I think in the future, turkish or persian should be taught in school together with English, certainly not French.
I think the US has been much more restrained, as Obama has been consulting with Erdogan regularly. I still believe Turkey is the only key for Syria to get out of this crisis.

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June 22nd, 2011, 8:43 pm


57. aboali said:

#52 I used to feel the same about Hezbollah and Nasrallah, so proud that they were the freedom fighters standing up for our injured Arab dignity and stolen rights. But they’ve been superseded by Bouazizi and his brand of young unarmed revolutionaries from Tunis Libya Egypt Yemen Bahrian and Syria, those are the true freedom fighters now, Hezbollah and Nasrallah have been exposed as nothing more than an opportunistic militia worried about keeping themselves in power and authority at the cost of any moral or ethical stand.

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June 22nd, 2011, 8:49 pm


58. aboali said:

Jaratheem want to topple the regime – By Dettol:


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June 22nd, 2011, 9:07 pm


59. why-discuss said:

AboAli , Tara

Funny that less a 2 weeks ago, all newspapers ( including al Jazeera) were claiming the new government in Lebanon was dominated by the Hezbollah, that it was a victory for Seyyed Hassan. He does not appear to me as loosing any of his power, and it is good that many in Syria stop idolizing him. I am not unhappy that his photos are disappearing from the shops. He is a man of religion, his place in not in hairdresser shops or groceries.
This is a confusing time and only the future will tell us if he was right or wrong.

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June 22nd, 2011, 9:13 pm


60. why-discuss said:


You easily change your mind, don’t you?
A hero yesterday, a megalomaniac today? what about tomorrow?

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June 22nd, 2011, 9:15 pm


61. Norman said:

few points,

yes the Alawat are educated now and have successful businesses, we just have to remember that without Hafiz Assad and the Baath party they would be still servants in houses and farming the land , their areas and the Syrian coast were neglected, i believe that is what makes the Alawat rally around Bashar, They understand that Al-Assads and the Baath party gave them equality and opportunity that was denied them for centuries,

If we look at the Alawat in Syria, They remind me with the Jews and as the Jews were persecuted for centuries by the Church and the Western world that ended with Holocaust, The Alwat were persecuted by the Ottoman Turks for centuries and as the Jews who said never again on being a second class citizens and seeked to have their own state, i believe that the Alawat will never accept to be second class citizen in Syria, The question is can the opposition mostly the Sunni make them feel secure and equal with same opportunities for them and other minorities, I fear if the violence continue, They might come to the conclusion rightly or wrongly that their heads and lives is what the opposition want then they might seek a state for their own as the Jews did,

It is going to be very tense times for Syria,

By the way, The opposition refused the dialogue with the government claiming that the president lost legitimacy, These people do not want better Syria , We should all hunker down the storm is still to come,

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June 22nd, 2011, 9:31 pm


62. Norman said:


Is it ok to ask people on this site if they are Sunni or Alawites or the question is still considered a taboo?

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June 22nd, 2011, 9:41 pm


63. aboali said:

#58 well isn’t it obvious I mean? The raison d’etre of Hezbollah is resistance. They claim to stand for the rights of the oppressed, and fight against tyranny and injustice. How can they then turn around and side with the Syrian regime against the people’s rightful aspirations? Justifying therefore the murder and brutality inflicted upon the Syrians as a necessary sacrifice for as greater good, what twisted Machiavellian nonsense.
Those people had the Arabs duped, they’re just an opportunistic entity looking out for their own gains and objectives, nothing else. A free Arab world won’t need them to resist and fight Israel anyway, as a representative democratic Arab nation which encompasses the aspirations of it’s citizens in a free and fair society will be able to challenge and take on Israel easily. Something which the meek puppet regimes and dictatorships which have plagued us for so many decades never could.

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June 22nd, 2011, 9:41 pm


64. Nafdik said:


How do you think we can resolve the trust issue?

This applies both to the allawites trusting a democratic syria and the protesters trusting assad.

You have to agree that protesters cannot start dialog until the amnesty is real and the violence stops. But assad can not do that because he knows once he removes the last barrier of fear the protests will grow 10 fold.

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June 22nd, 2011, 9:44 pm


65. why-discuss said:


I trust the opposition will soon be ironically under international pressure to cooperate. While they are ‘outraged’ by the violent crackdown, the arab countries as well as the western countries are totally impotent and confused. Europe has been made irrelevant and the US is mulling about what to do next. Yet all foreign ambassadors are still in their post. Their obvious conclusion is that there is no alternative to Bashar al Assad.
Having clarified the steps to democracy, Turkey will now rally to Bashar Al Assad’s views. Turkey and Russia will soon meet the opposition, this is the real turning point.

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June 22nd, 2011, 9:51 pm


66. Tara said:

“He does not appear to me as loosing any of his power”

He did not lose power. He lost legacy!

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June 22nd, 2011, 9:53 pm


67. Abughassan said:

Recent conversations I had with people in Hama and Homs clearly indicate that there is a high level of frustration among those who were disappointed that the regime did not magically disappear as aljazeera predicted. This frustration led to assaulting pro regime demonstration in both cities,gun fire erupted and casualities were reported. This is by no means an effort by me to get the security forces off the hook,I still think they are the main obstacle to reform along with the close circle around Bashar. My fear is that we may start seeing a long violent period that brings us back to the days when millitants committed random acts of violence that mostly targeted civilians.If the thugs,not peaceful freedom seekers,fail in toppling the regime,they may resort to Iraqi style terror acts to punish the regime and the people who dared not to support them. I hope I am wrong here.

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June 22nd, 2011, 9:56 pm


68. why-discuss said:


Lots of people share your ideas, for example the 14 march party in Lebanon, whose leader, the illustrous Saad Hariri is now in Paris, fearing for his life. They have been saying that all along: Hezbollah is duping us, it is an Iranian conspiracy. The US is our savior and Israel is a better neighbor than Bashar’s Syria.
Obviously you are not the only one who see through Seyyed Nasrallah “machiavelic” plans

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June 22nd, 2011, 10:02 pm


69. Norman said:


You do it the way we do it in the US , small districts initially marked on sectarian and ethnic lines so people have representatives but with anti discrimination laws in housing and employment that will diverse people and make them register and vote where they live not where they come from , each town will have elected city council and Mayer,police and fire department , revenue for each district and town comes for real estate taxes and the central government will equalize the revenue of the districts and towns to have equality dependent on the number of the population sale tax could help too to support the towns , strict requirement for starting a business and affirmative action for low income or disadvantage Syrians.

The Syrian army will be there to protect the safety of the minorities and to secure peaceful transfere of power , back and forth,

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June 22nd, 2011, 10:02 pm


70. why-discuss said:


In your eyes…. far from an absolute

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June 22nd, 2011, 10:04 pm


71. syria no kandahar said:

whoever sees in this game going on in syria anything except an attempt to dismantle the relation with iran and hizballah,has blurred vision.there is 100 examples that the US and the west don’t really care about democracy and freedom(especially the worst jail in the univers Saudi Arabia).Sunni Syria is much more benifecial for all the players in the game.If the regime dos’t read the events this way they well never be able to exit from this hell.simply stating Bashar is between one of tow choices:either Ahmad and Hassn heads or HIS.

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June 22nd, 2011, 10:10 pm


72. Yazan said:

51. Why Discuss
Sorry to interrupt. But I do disagree. My grandfather happened to be a “Sheikh”. A real one, mind you, with many “students” and followers. Some of them were fairly high ranking officers, civil servants, etc. And I remember that until his very last days, none of them would dare refuse an order of his. And they’d come and take his blessings/opinion, on every decision they had to make

It may be that Alawites do have a decentralized religious leadership, but they still look up to Sheikhs and “mullahs”, and the newer generation is by far a lot worse in that regard. The generation of my parents, ~1970s, was characterized by a sudden growth of wealth and a tremendous ascendance in education levels among Alawis, and many of them did their higher education in eastern Europe or the Soviet Union, so secularist thought penetration was much higher than now.

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June 22nd, 2011, 10:11 pm


73. Tara said:

Sheila and Mariam,

Hello girls!

Please post more. Let the guys on SC hear it from yet other Syrian women. Just please be prepared to hear it all. You will be called MB, Zionist, non-syrian, gay girl in Damascus, American man…,..but do not worry, you will develp a taste for it all.

…I was feeling so lonely here and was about to ask my sister Yara to chip in but I will spare her for now.

Guys/Gals: In case you did not notice, both Sheila and Mariam posted under JL ” where is the truth..”

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June 22nd, 2011, 10:14 pm


74. why-discuss said:


I think it may happen sooner than later. There could random killing on civilians, booby trap car bombs because the impatience and sense of failure of some will have a common cause with the sinister elements who just want to create chaos to execute their agenda.

Then the Syrians will start to beg the government to intervene with tougher control, stronger crackdown on weapons and terrorism

The opposition will accuse the government of putting these bombs.
And here we are: Iraq at its best!
The opposition stubborness and refusal to dialog is opening a can of worms.

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June 22nd, 2011, 10:14 pm


75. why-discuss said:


“Sheikhs” in Alawites societies are venerable men, not related to any hierarchy. They are called sheikhs because they are men of faith and wisdom. They give example by their own life of sanctity and high morals. If they fail in their personal life , they will loose their followers and be rejected.
This is totally different in other religions where there is a hierarchy and a line of preaching well established. People don’t follow the preachers because of their personal merits but because they belong to an institution that is supposed to carry the divine message.

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June 22nd, 2011, 10:31 pm


76. abughassan said:

read the writings on the wall: Rome want a halt to military campaign in Libya for “humanitarian reasons”, Obama and the Congress have enough problems at home,Turkey wants to make money not enemies,China could not care less, Russia is not ready for another humilation in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia will side with stability so the smell of revoluation does not reach the kingdom,and the list goes on.
I hope the opposition drops the foreign intervention card and start looking at changing the regime using soft power not local or outside guns. I will be the first to clap when they admit that there were elements opposed to the regime that killed syrians,they also need to accept the dialogue after their conditions are met,namely the release of all political prisoners,a halt of arbitrary arrests,criminalizing brutality by security forces,an announcement about article-8 and a decnet proposal on political parties with a timeline. enough violence…

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June 22nd, 2011, 10:32 pm


77. Tara said:


I hope I am wrong!

History will judge everyone. We just need to see how his legacy would be written.

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June 22nd, 2011, 10:32 pm


78. Tara said:


Sorry to be rude. Are you Alawite?

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June 22nd, 2011, 10:35 pm


79. why-discuss said:


I share your fears.

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June 22nd, 2011, 10:36 pm


80. Revlon said:

Dear Commentors, I posed the following question on the earlier post:
[[Dears: ABUGHASSAN, Syrian Knight, Mohammad Kanj, JAD, ALEX, Syrian Commando,Why-Discuss, Syria No Kabndahar, Vlad-The-Syrian, 873, USAMA, and JOHN KHOURI
In his preamble to justify his means for combatting conspiracy, Jr said:
(Burying sedition is a national, moral, and religious duty; and all those who can contribute to burying it and do not are part of it. The Holy Quran says, “sedition is worse than killing,”) Jr Speech I, March 31st 2011.
I would like to see your frank answer to this question:
Do you agree with your president’s statement; in principle, context, and implications?]]

Thusfar, two have kindly replied.

1. Syrian Commando wrote: I’m not religious, so I don’t care for references to religious text, but in this case, when the country is at war and there is an international conspiracy against it, “sedition” is very self-harming.
In contrast, “sedition” in Greece and Spain is extremely important as these countries have been conquered by the international bankers, whereas Syria is still free.

Thank you for your reply.
Your position, as I understand, is neutral on the principle, context, and implications of “referring to religious texts” in support of major national policy

I would like you to note that the statement was not just a mere reference to a religious text.
The statement amounts to a Shari3a Fatwa, based on a verse in Quran and Sunna.

2. ABUGHASSAN wrote: “Somehow my SC logging name was used in a bundle of people on this blogg who were ,as implied by an Islamist blogger, as supporters of Bashar speech. I can not speak on behalf of others but I do not Know where this lie came from.”

Thank you for taking the time to reply to my question.
Your position, as I understand it, is that you choose to refrain from addressing the question.
Before I continue, I would like to tell you that I owe you a clarification and an apology.
I listed your name first as you come across to me as the only “neutral Syrian” on this blog.
I should have made that a priori clear.

1/11 supporters did not mind the statement
1/1 neutrals and 10/11 regime supporters are either still pondering or have chosen to decline to address the issue.

Until I am proven otherwise, they are likely to fall in two categories
– Non-critical: They share Syrian Commando’s stance: Do not care!
– Critical of the statement, but prefer not to voice opinion for various reasons

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June 22nd, 2011, 10:44 pm


81. Norman said:


What does it matter in what he writes,?

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June 22nd, 2011, 10:45 pm


82. Revlon said:

The day of the Fall of Legitimacy
Tomorrow, Friday 23 June 2011

Jr’s presidency has never been more than part legitimate, at best.

Jr’s presidency and vested powers are binding only to a minority of the People’s of Syria.
They are:
The Baath party members whom he approves,
The parliament members whom he either appoints or sponsors,
The top commanding security and army officers whom he appoints, and the benefactors/idolisers, by own choice.

Jr has no legitimate, binding contract with the majority of the people of Syria.

While the revolution acknowledges the right of his followers to support him as their representative, The Revolution consider his post as president of the people of Syria to be an illegitimate misrepresentation of their will.

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June 22nd, 2011, 10:45 pm


83. abughassan said:

I am not an expert on alawis,however,I know from relatives that Sheikhs in alawi communities come in different shapes and colors,some are highly educated and respected but others are not. the claim that alawi sheikhs are somewhat more likely to be virtuous than their sunni counterparts is simply not true. furthermore,the influence of sheikhs is measurable in some tight religious communities and militant cults,but it is not decisive in other parts of Syria. Sheikhs played a negative role in this uprising and that confirmed my long-held belief that some Muslmis are islam’s worst enemy.I have to admit that I am not big on religion and religious people in general but I respect those who practice what they preach,and many of our sheikhs on both sides are a mix of business men and hypocrites. Syria and any country will be better off if religion stays at home. people landed on the moon and we are still talking religion !!

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June 22nd, 2011, 10:48 pm


84. Syrian Commando said:

#26 Mimo,

The idiot can barely speak Arabic and he made no comment to the SYRIAN MEDIA. Of course he scurried back home and lied his mouth off in contradiction to other state representatives there.


You guy are setting yourselves up for a huge disappointment with these names, lol.

By the way, I’d actually almost lean “against” that statement since it is trying to derive power from religion, but I basically agree atm that sedition in Syria is as bad or worse than killing, since it can result in mass-killing from foreigners joining the war.

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June 22nd, 2011, 10:50 pm


85. Yazan said:

A “non-practicing Alawi”, yes.

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June 22nd, 2011, 10:53 pm


86. Tara said:


Does not, but he was describing his grandfather who is a sheik then went on to discuss the 1970s secularism among alawites so I got confused if he was refering to a sunni or an alawite sheik and that was why I asked.

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June 22nd, 2011, 10:54 pm


87. syau said:

“The Alawi Dilemma – Revisited”

This is one of the most ridiculous pieces of writing I have read. All it seems to be aimed at is further fuelling the sectarian monster. I suggest the next piece be How the Muslim brotherhood stole sunnism from Sunni.

President Assad said himself “I am not Alawi nor Sunni, I belong to Mohamad”. Continuing along the pathetic path of “Alawihood” being robbed and similar comments or the religion of Syrias leader, is pointless and stupid. Alawis are not Alawis because of President Assad and Sunni’s are not sunni because of Saddam Hussein, Husni Mubarak, Saudi’s king A.

Enough of the Alawi vs Sunni propaganda.

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June 22nd, 2011, 10:58 pm


88. Tara said:


I hope I did not offend you by asking. I like to think about myself as a “kind” person and sometimes I feel forced to say unkind things to convey a point. I am sorry if I did.

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June 22nd, 2011, 11:01 pm


89. Syrian Commando said:

William Scott Scherk,

The video you’re discussing is almost certainly faked and poorly constructed compared to the previous ones. For one, the orders he claimed happened were never realised on the ground. Banyas is a stronghold for the government.

As for the captured spy, there was a discussion on it several month ago, if I find the article I will let you know, but Addounia broadcast the captured Mossad documents so you might be able to find it in their youtube channel.


“My fear is that we may start seeing a long violent period that brings us back to the days when millitants committed random acts of violence that mostly targeted civilians”

WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN FOR THE LAST 3 MONTH. This is precisely what has been happening. There is nothing new, shops are being burnt down in Hama+Homs for not participating in the “general strike”. The Islamists are trying to tear the country apart and by god we won’t let them. They should never forget that we are the majority and if there really is a civil war as they are hoping, the outcome won’t favour them (but there won’t be such a war because the majority is more intelligent than them).


>But they’ve been superseded by Bouazizi and his brand of young unarmed revolutionaries from Tunis Libya Egypt Yemen Bahrian and Syria, those are the true freedom fighters now

Yeah I guess Israel just disappeared right, lol. Also, the whole Bouzazi story is extremely questionable. Even the BBC is covering it. I guess you prefer to live out fantasies rather than fight a real enemy right?


You are wrong, Turkey is not the key for us to get out of this foreign-crisis because Turkey is a party to the conspiracy and in fact the country who will attack us first. We should not learn Turkish, but we should start exporting coffins into Turkey soon.

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June 22nd, 2011, 11:02 pm


90. Tara said:


“How the Muslim brotherhood stole sunnism from Sunni.”

That is really great topic to discuss.

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June 22nd, 2011, 11:05 pm


91. abughassan said:

people in power may try to use religion it if fits their agenda. Sunni sheikhs publically condemned demonstrators in Bahrian because they were defying “walle alamr” and “shaqqu asa alta’aa” but they called demonstrators in Syria freedom fighters and asked allah to come to their help,the truth is that people in both countries want freedom and are entitled to get out to protest injustice.
Bashar’s use of a verse in Al-Quran does not mean anything to me,I read al-quran,as a wonderful and powerful book and my holy book,multiple times since I was 6 year-old and I use it to help me become a better person,but that is about it. you will never see me publically talking about religious matters unless I am asked. Bashar was never elected through free and fair elections,so in that sense he is not legitimate,but so are almost all Muslim and Arab leaders. the time for political change is now but not through violence and destruction.Al-Fitna will spare nobody,and the so-called “the day of the fall of legitimacy” is a silly idea and will only manage to get some syrians killed,in that sense,sedition is not justified,but opposing government peacefully is a god-given right. this uprising needs a major makeover,my friends.

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June 22nd, 2011, 11:05 pm


92. Yazan said:

Regardless of what you think of the merits of the article, or the depth/soundness of its analysis, it is not “sectarian”, by any stretch of imagination. Those commenters who find it sectarian, are obviously ones who are not very familiar with Alawi society. (And No, having 2 Alawi friends in high school, doesn’t mean you are familiar with Alawi society).

Not at all. I do not have a “real” sense of belonging to the sect because my parents consciously tried to do away with that. But, and definitely by virtue of living in a majority Alawi society all my life, I’m certainly comfortable and subtly quite attuned to the culture.

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June 22nd, 2011, 11:06 pm


93. Usama said:

Great article! No wonder the Syrian MB calls for killing off the heretic `Alawis. Why did I not see it before! Now that I see the light, yasqot bashar al-asad yasqot! yasqot yasqot yasqot! Now we also need to kill off the millions of Sunnis that support Bashar al-Asad because clearly they converted to Alawism, those kafir heretics!

By the way Vlad, Mu`allem yesterday used that French expression that you introduced to us a few days ago. Les chiens aboient, la caravanne passe. It was great, haha.

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June 22nd, 2011, 11:11 pm


94. syria no kandahar said:

I will answer your question if you answer this question:do you condem the Alaroor effect in the events going in Syria? To me that is the most critical question which differentiat between a good sunni syrian and a terrorist sunni syrian.
As far as your friday statement it is wrnong math,it is minorities and and many sunnies who are with giving dialoqu a chance.just judging by you tube the opposition is loser so far.if you can get one million of demonstrators in damascus and another million in aleppo you can startb making statements like that.you also have to work on the quality of people you get to the streets:get some middle and upper class people,get people with jobes,get some women which shoe more than 2 mm of there bodies,get some well dressed people,get people who dont throw stones,get some people who have something to loose.Also work on the revolutionary carbage chants,get reconcioulary chants,get rid of the carbage chants:kus ammak ya hafez,kiss ammak ya bashar,ynal rohak ya hafez,lahamoya dabeha,resho ward al aroor…carbage chants equal carbage revolution.what you wright here is a package which has nothing with what is done on the streets.i am just mentioning facts and i am not going to more disputable stuff . let us be very honest: what was sold in egypt has much less market in syria.Ther Kurds,Druz,Christians,Alawi,Ismaeli,Sharkas and 60% of sunni dont want you.

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June 22nd, 2011, 11:21 pm


95. Syrian Commando said:


You’re not reading deep enough to realise the sectarian undertones and the actually INTENTION of the article. Who ever highlights “differences” and tries to dissect a society as we see the display here, is attempting to drum up sectarian strife. See Al khanzeera’s campaign in Iraq, for a strong example.

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June 22nd, 2011, 11:24 pm


96. syau said:


When the spotlight is continually on the religion of the president and comments like “Because Alawi life has been so transformed over the last century, the single common bond uniting us is Assad rule itself” among others, highlights the ugly sectarianism in this revolution. We should be concentrating on reforms to better the country, not religion because that is a downward spiral towards intolerance.

Should we just continue down the sectarian path and fight each other, instead of fighting conspiracies and foreign interference in Syria and those who are aiming for that?

I know where my fight is.

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June 22nd, 2011, 11:36 pm


97. Averroes said:

Watch this:


Duniya TV talks to 3 guys who were kidnapped and forced to say that thet were “Sabbi7a working for Maher al-Assad”, yet 4 days later, the clip is still used by anti-Syria TV channel.

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June 22nd, 2011, 11:46 pm


98. abughassan said:

press discontent with baathi leaders is public now even on sites like champress (a mouth piece of the regime usually).the editor published an article ridiculing one of the most senior baathi leaders in Syria,Bakhtyan,for saying NO to abolishing article-8.
this article,most probably,sanctioned by the regime,was critical of albaath too and it may indicate a shift,not just against Bkhaytan,but albaath in general.
Bakhtyar is an easier target than other big names like Makhlouf,Mamlouk,and Shawkat. I will know that Bashar is in charge when we hear the magic word about article-8 and free elections and when nobody in Syria is jailed for opening his mouth,until then I have to assume that his security chiefs are still calling the shots,some insist that Bashar is as bad as al-shabiha and rouge elements in the security forces,I prefer to be hopeful that he will keep his word,but he does not have a lot of time,the streets are boiling and the economy is freezing !!

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June 22nd, 2011, 11:47 pm


99. Revlon said:

# 90- Dear Syria No Kandahar, thank you for your conditional offer to answer my earlier question.

I do not know Sheikh Al3ar3oor.
I do not follow his or any other sheikh’s speaches.
I do not idolise A3ar3oor or any other living person.

I support every one in trying to regain their basic human rights and civil rights, in peaceful means, including demonstrations, blogging, etc…

Invoking mis-interpretations of verses of Quran and Sunna to nonopolise power has been abused since the dawn of Islam.
It has been done by all Khalifas of Omaya, 3abasi, Fatimiyeen, and Otomans.
Now it is being abused by the enlightened and “secular” Jr A Asad

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June 22nd, 2011, 11:50 pm


100. Syrian Commando said:

He has plenty of time internally, the Islamists are the only ones boiling. Syrians are calm and move slowly on things.

Bashaar will call the shots from now on, the Ba’athi hanger-ons are desperate to cling on to control but those days are over.


But do you CONDEMN a3r3our?

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June 22nd, 2011, 11:51 pm


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