The Annan Peace Proposal

President Assad walked around Baba Amr neighborhood in Homs in this video. He promises to make it “better than it was previously” and demands a timeline for the completion of repair work. Al-Jazeera reports that his motorcade was sniped at during the trip.

The Syrian military is carrying out “mopping up” operations in the A’zaz, Hamadan, and Khraytan area, the poor industrial suburbs and towns north of Aleppo. Here is a video of an Mi-2 helicopter that fires a rocket, reportedly over A’zaz (Aleppo) (Thanks Thomas Pierret). Since Monday morning I have been receiving calls about the fact that the roads to the north are closed because of military action. Turkey has shuttered its embassy  and Turkish airlines is pulling its flights to and from Syria, which is causing panic in Aleppo, where no open access to Turkey remains open. Businessmen are despondent about being able to keep business going between the two neighboring countries.

Annan says Syria accepts his UN peace plan which Annan insists is an “important initial step”.

Annan said the plan deals with “political discussions, withdrawal of heavy weapons and troops from population centers, humanitarian assistance being allowed in unimpeded, release of prisoners, freedom of movement and access for journalists to go in and out.”

“So we will need to see how we move ahead and implement this agreement that they have accepted,” said Annan.

Annan’s six point plan and its likelihood of success:

President Assad is looking for a way to end the uprising against his regime without stepping down or turning over power to the revolutionary forces. He believes that the Annan plan can be a step towards regaining international acceptance of his government.

Both sides believe that time is on their side. The Syrian government believes it has the revolutionaries on the run and is carrying out “mopping up” exercises in all the main centers of revolutionary action: Homs, Idlib, and the suburbs of Damascus and Aleppo.

The opposition equally believes that time and the world is on its side. It has refused to negotiate with the regime, believing that it will prevail because of international support, international sanctions against the regime, which have pushed the economy into a tailspin, and because both the Arab World and West have stated repeatedly that the Assad regime is finished and is a pariah to the international order. They await arms shipments, money and widespread defections to tip the balance of power against the Syrian Army. The opposition believes, correctly, that President Assad will not carry out reforms that will lead to his ouster. The new UN peace plan does not insist on Assad handing over power to the revolutionary leadership, which is why Assad finds it acceptable and why the opposition has denounced it.

Prohibiting Males of Military age to leave the Country

The Syrian government is prohibiting males aged between 18-42 from leaving the country before receiving clearance by the Military Conscription department. Many upper-class Syrians are leaving the country. Most with children have made arrangements to leave when the school year finishes in order not to disrupt the education of their young. Anyone with a child over 18 will now be stuck.

Economy

One Christian industrialist from Aleppo whom I know is telling his friends that he is leaving Syria. His factory in the northern suburbs has been shut down by the opposition and he is unable to travel there any longer because of military operations. He will abandon his property and has already informed his workers that he cannot keep the factory open and that they must fend for themselves.

Another factory owner, whom I know, organized a meeting with opposition leaders in A’zaz, where his factory is located. He could not travel there himself, but delegated a factory administrator who knows the opposition leaders of the town to carry out the talks on his behalf. The factor has already had 300,000 Syrian pounds requisitioned. The opposition agreed to allowing him to keep the factory open. I do not know what further arrangements were made in order to keep its doors open.

Landis and Bassma Kodmani, spokesperson for the Syrian National Council, discuss the state of the Syrian opposition and the Istanbul meeting with Sophie Claudet
Reporter for Al-Monitor

Also see this discussion of Syria with Robert Wright

Robert Wright and Joshua Landis (University of Oklahoma, Syria Comment) Discuss the situation in Syria

Alawites: the Mormons of Syria 7:23
The byzantine ideological backdrop to the revolts 9:57
Joshua: Mistrust could lead to a failed state 7:16
The available ideology for young rebels is jihad 8:20
For the West, another multibillion-dollar swamp? 10:52
Joshua: Intervention could make the chaos worse 3:03

News Round Up

Homs: A request for information about why it became a center of the Syrian revolution

My name is Jordan Cannon and I am a student at Oklahoma University putting together a research paper on the topic of why Homs became the capital of the Syrian Revolution. I am trying to gather a history of the city and insight from native Syrians to write the real story.  Anyone willing to provide me assistance would be contributing to getting the word out as I plan on publishing this paper. Thank you.

Jordan Cannon
(580) 262-0112

“L’islam dans la révolution syrienne : 3 questions à Thomas Pierret,” La revue Politique étrangère.

Eating Cinnabon in Damascus
Why are foreign brands like KFC, the Four Seasons, and Cinnabon still trying to make a buck in Syria?
BY KATIE PAUL | MARCH 26, 2012

With insurance rates soaring, logistics risky, and the plummeting Syrian pound making import purchases increasingly expensive, the cost of doing business in Syria has skyrocketed. As business owners raise prices to compensate, middle-class customers with shrinking purchasing power are increasingly staying away, even from previously insulated retail spots like the Cham City Center, a mall that brought in foreign brands like Cinnabon and United Colors of Benetton when it opened in 2007. “It was very puzzling to me, but until the last week of December, Cham City Center mall was packed whenever I went, even during the middle of the week,” said one foreign banker based in Damascus until last month, when his bank closed up its Syria office.

The strain has not gone without notice in the Assad regime’s propaganda department, which has tried to convince consumers they can do just fine without the rest of the world. All over downtown Damascus, added the banker, billboards are preaching self-sustainability as part of a governmental public awareness campaign to put a euphemistic spin on things: “Let us wear what we weave,” the billboards tell Damascenes. “Let us drink what we squeeze.” “Let us eat what we grow.”…

Costa has been putting into storage the equipment and furniture for its seven shuttered shops, hoping for a brighter day, according to a franchise manager. He added that KFC, which the franchise runs as well, closed two locations in Aleppo and two in Damascus, after members of its management staff came under a hail of bullets while driving on the country’s main north-south highway past Homs last April. Employees from both brands have been re-assigned to office work or to one of the safer KFCs in Damascus. One KFC remains in Aleppo, since, unlike Costa’s coffee, chicken can be sourced locally, thus avoiding the now-treacherous highway route.

All Syrian businesses are being forced to scrimp, save, or close up shop, not just those with foreign goods. Though the government has not provided any economic indicators for months, some estimate that after years of 5 percent yearly growth, gross domestic product may have shrunk by up to 15 percent over the past year — a downturn that affects all types of businesses, most severely, of course, in restive areas like Homs. The closure that probably had the biggest impact on the population was the recent announcement by major foreign airliners like Air France that they were stopping flights to Syria, a move that has increased the sense of isolation, says Yazigi of The Syria Report. And with the 12-hour power cuts and fuel shortages now common in Damascus, even for the well-off, the idea of hopping a flight to Paris seems like a world away….

NOT SUPPORTING THE OPPOSITION “WITHIN SYRIA” IS SUPPORTING ASSAD
By Andrew J. Tabler and David Pollock

Failure to support the opposition “within Syria” — armed and unarmed — would allow Assad to stay in power for much longer.
******************************
During their March 25 meeting, President Obama and Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed that part of the agenda of the April 1 “Friends of Syria” summit in Istanbul will concern “nonlethal assistance” to the opposition “within Syria.” This indicates that the administration is beginning to accept a “tragic truth”: without much greater U.S. support for the opposition on the ground, Bashar al-Assad’s regime will certainly massacre many more civilians all over Syria, and Assad himself will almost certainly remain in power for the foreseeable future.

Egyptian liberal bloc walks out of Islamist-dominated parliament

Lawmakers from the liberal bloc walked out of an Egyptian parliamentary vote deciding on the composition of a 100-person panel tasked with drafting Egypt’s new constitution. The bloc, which includes three liberal parties that hold nine percent of seats in Egypt’s lower house of parliament, cited differences with the Islamist parties, which hold a majority in both houses of the legislature. The constituent assembly will be comprised of 50 sitting politicians and 50 members of trade unions and civil society. Forty of the 50 parliamentarians are expected to come from the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood Freedom and Justice Party or Salifist al-Nour party. Naguib Sawiris, founder of the liberal Free Egyptians Party, said: “It’s ridiculous: A constitution being written by one force and one force alone.”

Comments (268)


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51. Jerusalem said:

تنظيم القاعدة في العراق يفرض الجزية على المسيحيين

قالت ام قاسم لرويترز وهي تحاول التقاط انفاسها بينما تحمل حقيبتين كبيرتين من المواد الغذائية التي اشترتها من السوق “قتلوا جاري منذ ثلاثة ايام ثم ارسلوا لأسرته رسالة تقول: نعتذر.. لم يكن ابنكم مستهدفا وإنما قتل بالخطأ.

[…]
وقال علي رعد حسن وهو متزوج وأب لثلاثة ابناء ومحبوس في سجن الغزلاني بالموصل لتوزيعه تسجيلات فيديو لتنظيم القاعدة إنه عمل لحساب المتشددين بعد أن يئس من العثور على وظيفة ملائمة على الرغم من حصوله على شهادة في التجارة من جامعة الموصل.وقال حسن باكيا “لدي ابناء وحفاظات وحليب ومصروفاتي الشهرية تتجاوز 300 الف دينار “نحو 250 دولارا”.”وأضاف “تقدمت للعمل بوظائف كثيرة. تقدمت للعمل في التعليم والصحة والبلدية. ولم يصلني اي رد.”وعن عمله لحساب القاعدة قال “أقسم بالله أنني نادم عليه لكنني لم أستطع أن أترك العمل أردت أن أتركه لكنني لم أستطع

http://www.arabtimes.com/portal/news_display.cfm?Action=&Preview=No&nid=10886

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March 27th, 2012, 4:53 pm

 

52. Syria no Kandahar said:

Wacthing pres Assad in Bab Omer today,pro-wahabi Syria cooked Mehshi with
Aspirin instead of Garlic.

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March 27th, 2012, 5:01 pm

 

53. habib said:

3. Alan

Riad al-Kony!

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March 27th, 2012, 5:19 pm

 

54. DAWOUD said:

I was pleased to see the Syrian murderous dictator, Bashar, walking in Baba Amr. Why? Because he was present at the scene of his war crimes. The pictures showing him walking in Baba Amr are very incriminating and make him completely responsible for the massacres there.
Now, Bashar cannot say-as he did to Barba Walters-that he didn’t know that innocents’ lives and properties were being attacked. These pictures are valuable to a future Syrian war crimes tribunal!

Free Syria, Free Palestine!

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March 27th, 2012, 5:58 pm

 

55. Juergen said:

Land of Symphony vs Land of Jazz

If all wars would end like this…
from Disneys Musicland 1935

Good night folks!

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March 27th, 2012, 6:02 pm

 

56. Dawoud said:

P.S., Bashar’s walk of shame on the debris of Syria’s Baba Amr neighborhood- which was destroyed by this evil forces-was NOT a sign of resistance. It was a sign of cowardice! Did he think that Homs was the occupied Golan or Palestine? Or, is this Bashar’s and Hasan’s deceptive “resistance?” Killing your own people. Where is the shame?!!

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March 27th, 2012, 6:06 pm

 

57. Juergen said:

A jewish friend told me today this joke: Why did God give Moses the ten commendments on two boards? Because he tried to give it first to the Romans and they asked him whats in it? God told them that they should not kill anyone. They refused by saying, but its our custom. He then went to Ismael and tried to give it to him but Ismael asked him whats in it, and God said thou shall not steal. Ismael refused because he said its our custom. When he offered it to Moses he did not ask whats in it he asked only how much he wants for it. God said its free. Moses replied: Then I’ll take 2!

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March 27th, 2012, 6:16 pm

 

58. Alan said:

Syrian Victims: When Truth Is the First Casualty of War
http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=29995
by Ross Ruthenberg
The Western mainstream media continuously beat the war drums for Libya-like treatment of Syria, using body count statistics to attempt to paint the year-old Syrian conflict as a humanitarian disaster crying out for NATO and its allies to bomb the government’s military forces into submission. Ironically, under the guise of “responsibility to protect”, the NATO powers and their Gulf Arab proxies are supplying weapons, training and logistical support to the armed “opposition” forces.

And the United Nations obliges by publishing estimated body counts, as forwarded from various shadowy opposition organizations, which of course raises suspicions that the counts are being manipulated (generally increased) to support the humanitarian disaster portrait…………………..

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March 27th, 2012, 6:21 pm

 

59. Juergen said:

Bed has to wait a bit…

just found this interessting interview with Mgr. Mario Zenari, nuncio of the Vatican to Syria

” “It is urgent”, he said, “to go out into the open, on the attack, and not to sit back and watch.” Mgr. Zenari, 66, tells stories of ordinary heroism of some priests who have remained in Homs during this months’ bombing and violence. While sharing in the mourning for the tragedy of the Belgian children killed in a car accident in Switzerland, he reminds us that in Syria 800-900 children have already been killed, mostly shot “in the head and the heart” by strangers: “Their murder is an atrocity” and it is necessary that the international community ensure “justice for these children.”

http://www.asianews.it/index.php?l=en&art=24257&size=A

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March 27th, 2012, 6:21 pm

 

60. habib said:

“Free Palestine!”

Not with western/Gulf puppets in charge of the region. When Iran, Hezbollah and Syria are neutralized, Palestine will become a theme-park or a parking lot.

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March 27th, 2012, 6:31 pm

 

61. ann said:

Camille Otrakji, an editor for the Syria Comment online magazine, believes it is difficult to foresee the outcome of Annan’s mission.

‘Turkey will do everything possible for Annan’s Syrian mission to fail’ – 27 March, 2012

http://rt.com/news/annan-syria-mission-turkey-507/print/

“There are too many players to predict,” he told RT “I don’t think there is any plan that can meet the needs of all the people. It can meet the needs of the people in the center of the political spectrum.”

Otrakji believes those on the extremes, on the one hand those in favor of making Assad president for life, and on the other those in favor of putting him on trial, would not be satisfied with the plan.

“However, most of the Syrian people have demands that are easier to accommodate,” he said

Otrakji pointed out that the opposition was extremely fractured.

“They vary from the Communists to the Islamists and everything in between,” he said “Most of the opposition leaders are still afraid to sign onto this plan because they’re afraid they will lose the respect of what they call the street, which is the extremists in the opposition. But they would have to be a bit more courageous a show up for the dialog process.”

Otrakji recalled that there was already a precedent for this roadmap.

“We have the Arab League’s initiative,” he said. “And the Syrian government surprised the Arab League by being very accommodating and motivated to help the plan work. It was a failure because Qatar and Saudi Arabia did not want to continue because they expected the Syrian government to fail to respect it.”

He also said the report issued by the Arab League also failed Qatar’s and Saudi Arabia’s expectations as it mostly blamed the opposition for initiating the violence in Homs.

Otrakji also noted that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan may try to derail Annan’s mission.

“I think the real troublemaker is going to be Prime Minister Erdogan,” he said “He already attacked Kofi Annan because he did not consult everyone before he proceeded with his plan.”

He expressed his view that Erdogan had his own plan and that Annan’s success would mean that the Turkish leader would have no role to play in the conflict.

“I’m afraid he will do all he can to make it fail through his proxies in Syria, which is mainly the Muslim Brotherhood,” Otrakji stated.

Daoud Khairallah, professor of international law at Georgetown University, noted that Kofi Annan’s plan was within the framework of international law.

“As a general principle of international law, intervention in other countries’ affairs is not allowed and this is well stated in article two of the United Nation’s charter,” he told RT “Mr Kofi Annan is in the right position.”

[…]

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March 27th, 2012, 6:37 pm

 

62. Alan said:

when the world politician calls opposition for dialogue it means that recognizes opposition and respects and invites to dialogue in a legal framework! if the opposition refuses and solves to itself further the choice that chance misses also itself will is guilty in chance losses. Russia and Annan want to help! oppositionists do you hear?

Moscow expects Syrian opposition to accept Annan’s settlement plan
http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c32/376753.html
MOSCOW, March 27 (Itar-Tass) —— Moscow expects the Syrian opposition to accept the settlement plan of UN/LAS Special Envoy Kofi Annan, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov microblogged on Tuesday.

“The Syrian authorities have accepted the Annan plan, and the special envoy has expressed his tentative optimism. That is a step forward. The ball is in the opposition’s court,” he wrote.

Another Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Mikhail Bogdanov, said the other day that a Syrian opposition delegation would come to Moscow soon and might have a meeting with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

“The delegation will present the National Coordination Committee,” he said. “One of its leaders, Hassan Abdel Azim, will visit us. Our minister has received the head of the Syrian National Council Burhan Ghalioun. The National Coordination Committee is a no less influential organization, and we would like to receive it on an equally high level,” Bogdanov said.

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March 27th, 2012, 6:43 pm

 

63. Juergen said:

MC Roco
Gardenia

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March 27th, 2012, 6:47 pm

 

64. Tara said:

Kandi@52

Read Dawoud @55. Bushbush touring Bab Amr is an incriminating evidence for war crime. I think you sent the second brain cell on vacation?
————

By the way, the Mehshi I cook is to die for…

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March 27th, 2012, 6:48 pm

 

65. Syria no Kandahar said:

كتيبة المهام الخاصة
Any one interested in their services?
Call Hamad:

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March 27th, 2012, 7:02 pm

 

66. Tara said:

Zoo @48

I must admit that the SNC and Ghalioun are not smart enough or perhaps lack experience. The differences between all opposition factions should have been all worked out prior to Istanbul meeting NOT AT the meeting. The concluding statement should’ve been drafted and agreed upon in advance. The meeting should have been a photo-op only. Meetings do not resolve differences. The work that precede the meeting does.

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March 27th, 2012, 7:07 pm

 

67. Syria no Kandahar said:

This rat is claiming that the army is attacking people in their houses in Alhamedia,The fact which every one who have any Homsi friend
Knows that the Wahhabi Terrorists kicked out
All Alhamedia inhabitants from their houses and
Didn’t let them take any of their valuables with them.they stole,raped and tortured them,now they are crying:Allah Akbar alik ya Bashat.gues what
Allah Akbat alik you piece of Wahhabi terrorist trash:

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March 27th, 2012, 7:11 pm

 

68. Syria no Kandahar said:

Allah Akbar sometimes does not work,especially
When god is not in agreement :

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March 27th, 2012, 7:17 pm

 

69. zoo said:

#68 Tara

“to Istanbul meeting NOT AT the meeting.”

It is worse than that, Read well the article, Ghalioun is supposed to discuss about restructuring the SNC, AFTER the meeting.
Hopeless…

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March 27th, 2012, 7:23 pm

 

70. Tara said:

Zoo @71

“After the meeting”..funny!

I don’t know if I should laugh or cry…

At least we have the LCC, the real heroes…

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March 27th, 2012, 7:31 pm

 

71. zoo said:

The AL League may endorse the Annan 6-point plan, leaving the SNC and Turkey in the cold.

Arab draft calls for Syria talks, end to violence
By Wissam Keyrouz and Ammar Karim | AFP – 4 hrs ago
http://news.yahoo.com/arab-economy-ministers-meet-baghdad-summit-102916017.html

A draft resolution on Syria to be submitted to the Arab summit in Baghdad this week urges “serious national dialogue” and calls on Syria to end violence, according to a copy obtained by AFP on Tuesday.

The summit will be the first such meeting held in Iraq in over 20 years.

The draft resolution urges the “Syrian government and all opposition factions to deal positively with the (UN-Arab League) envoy (Kofi Annan) by starting serious national dialogue.”

It also calls on the Syrian opposition “to unify its ranks and prepare … to enter into serious dialogue (with the regime) to achieve the democratic life which is demanded by the Syrian people.”

And “the Syrian government should immediately stop all actions of violence and killing, protect Syrian civilians and guarantee the freedom of peaceful demonstrations for achieving demands of the Syrian people,” the text says.

But the agenda was overshadowed by the crisis in neighbouring Syria.

Arab foreign ministers are to meet on Wednesday, the eve of the summit, with Syria at the heart of the agenda.

“The Syrian subject will have a significant place in discussions” between foreign ministers, Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi told reporters on Tuesday.

“I think that the ministers’ meeting tomorrow and the Arab summit will support” a six-point plan put forward by ex-UN chief Annan and accepted by Syrian authorities on Tuesday.
(…)

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March 27th, 2012, 7:33 pm

 

72. zoo said:

Dear MODERATOR

It is possible to fix the EDIT facility, as it is not working?
Thanks

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March 27th, 2012, 7:35 pm

 

73. ann said:

Sen. Paul clashes with ML Reid over denied war amendment to Iran sanctions bill – 03/27/12

http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/218601-sen-paul-clashes-with-ml-reid-over-denied-war-amendment-to-iran-sanctions-bill

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Tuesday objected to the expedited passage of a bill that would level further sanctions on Iran, demanding in exchange for his consent that Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) allow a one-sentence amendment that would ensure the bill could not later be construed as congressional permission for a war in Syria or Iran.

Paul’s amendment reads: “To clarify that nothing in the Act shall be construed as a declaration of war or an authorization of the use of force against Iran or Syria.”

In justifying his demand for the addition, Paul recalled the war drums beat by senators including John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) in the lead-up to President Obama’s unilateral decision to participate in NATO’s war on Libya, and suggested there are several members of the Senate who are now itching to begin a new conflict abroad.

“Many in this body cannot get boots on ground fast enough in a variety of places, from Syria to Libya to Iran,” said Paul. “[I] urge that we not begin a new war without a full debate, without a vote, without careful consideration of the ramifications of a third or even a fourth war in this past decade.”

Reid did not agree to Paul’s request for the amendment saying the underlying bill did not even touch the subject of war and to the contrary would provide key diplomatic tools that could prevent a conflict by “preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, threatening Israel and further terrorizing other parts of the world.”

“I really am terribly disappointed,” said Reid. “There is nothing in the resolution that talks about war, in fact it’s to the contrary. This is not a declaration of war or anything in the neighborhood of that.”

[…]

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March 27th, 2012, 7:36 pm

 

74. Syria no Kandahar said:

See what FSA(ie : MB) did with Alhamedia inhabitants.MB swetzirland style declaration stating that they don’t care if the president is a woman,Christian,gay,transsexual or mentally retarded…as long as they have the power…
See their actions…by the time they have the power
مفارم اللحمه would have removed all those options
Except one:Wahabi pure president:

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March 27th, 2012, 7:42 pm

 

75. Tara said:

Realistic and smart analysis 

EDITORIALS
Syria Cease-Fire Deal Is Flawed, but U.S. Should Back It
By the Editors Mar 27, 2012 7:00 PM ET

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday accepted a United Nations-backed plan to end the bloodshed he is inflicting on his country.
The plan is a lowest common denominator, repugnant to Syria’s opposition and one of several proposals Assad has accepted over the past year, only to ignore them. It’s also the best option available.
A good vantage point from which to gauge Syria’s options Tuesday was a hotel in a suburb of Istanbul, where Turkey and Qatar had corralled more than 300 members of Syria’s fractious opposition. The message they received was clear: Unite, because if you don’t, it’s hard to see how the outside world can do much to help you on April 1 when the Friends of Syria group meets to discuss next steps.

Uniting turned out to be tough. The delegates tried to agree on a National Covenant, it took hours longer than expected, and ethnic Kurdish delegates walked out, unwilling to sign a document that didn’t offer more explicit recognition, equality and protections to Kurds. Their message was clear: Yes, more than 8,000 people have been killed over the past year, but unless clear guarantees are in place for minorities, things could get a whole lot worse after the regime falls.

First, unlike in Libya there is no United Nations Security Council resolution to support intervention. Second, Syria has a large stockpile of chemical and biological weapons that could disappear in a likely breakdown of order — Dempsey assessed that risk at 100 times greater than in Libya. Third, Syria’s air defenses are five times more sophisticated than Libya’s and are concentrated in densely populated areas, making civilian casualties inevitable. Fourth, Syria’s military is better trained, better equipped and more disciplined than Muammar Qaddafi’s loyalists were. And fifth, Syria’s opposition — an archipelago of 100 armed groups, with no central command — is even less united than was Libya’s.

Success remains a long shot, given Assad’s appalling record and the gulf of mistrust that separates him from his opponents. The opposition members in Istanbul on Tuesday were deeply skeptical and disgusted by Assad’s tour of a sanitized Baba Amr, the suburb of Homs that Syria’s military cleared after a sustained shelling that caused as many as 100 civilian casualties a day.
The U.S. and its allies should do everything they can to support the Annan plan. But they should also prepare for the possibility of failure. President Barack Obama should quietly order up the detailed, exhaustive preparations for deployments that Panetta and Dempsey said would be the next step in making intervention an option. Those preparations could help focus Assad’s mind, and those of his supporters in Moscow, on the consequences of diplomatic failure.

(…)
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-27/syria-cease-fire-deal-is-flawed-but-u-s-should-back-it.html

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March 27th, 2012, 7:44 pm

 

76. Tara said:

I think if Qatar wants to help, it should hire a strategic adviser Kissinger-style to the SNC and Ghalioun. It is a low cost investment.

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March 27th, 2012, 7:51 pm

 

77. Tara said:

What is happening with the Syrian lira? Any update?

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March 27th, 2012, 7:55 pm

 

78. majedkhaldoun said:

The opposition must not fall in the trick, If the regime stop the killing withdraw The assad army, release the prisoners, allow for peacefull demonstrators then the opposition will agree to Annan plan, but;
1-There has to be enough observers to verify the regime compliance.
2-There has to be a statement declare that incase the regime does not comply,Russia must guarantee action against the regime.
3-UN must declare that they will consider incompliance as a declaration of war.
4-Arming the FSA must continue,outside Syria, so they will be ready,if the regime did not comply.

No one trust this regime, the regime is not going to comply, rather the regime will use this period to procrastinate.

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March 27th, 2012, 8:39 pm

 

79. Tara said:

Another damning leak.  This one should be sent to basher’s masters in Iran and their respective wives. 

Fawaz al Akhrass disgusts me more so than Bashar.  Did Fawaz forget where he came from and what many members of his family wear?  …A repulsive character.  

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/9169803/Syria-Bashar-al-Assad-joked-about-religion-of-most-of-population-emails-show.html

By Ruth Sherlock 8:30PM BST 27 Mar 2012

Above: The leaked emails from Bashar al-Assad and his wife Asma, seen by the Daily Telegraph, are mapped out here using social network analyis tool Gephi. 

The ream of messages and derogatory cartoons allegedly sent among his ‘inner circle’ of female aides and family members poke fun at conservative Muslims.
Most of the messages ridicule the burka, the full body cloak worn by some Muslim women.

One e-mail from a female adviser depicts an image of a crying child in a shopping mall who has lost his mother. Trying to reunite them the shop assistant asks the boy for a description of his mother. The little boy replies ‘I don’t know sir I have never seen her!!’ and the joke jumps to an image of a woman fully shrouded in black pushing a shopping cart.

On January 22 the President’s father-in-law Fawaz Akhras allegedly forwarded a ‘British wedding photograph’ showing 24 newly wed Muslim couples, the women all wearing white burkas, their faces covered. “I just hope, for their sake, that each husband goes home with the right table cloth” the joke reads. Another email entitled ‘Why God sends rain to Mexico and not to the Middle East’ lists photographs of scantily clad weather women, and ends with an image of a covered Muslim woman standing by a weather map holding an umbrella.

The jokes, which might be viewed as humorous by a liberal Western audience, will be deeply insulting to many in Syria’s largely conservative society.

The messages apparently convey little respect by the President and his aides for the population they lead. One message appears denigrate Arab men as being unclean or untrained; the email opens with a picture of a kitten peeing in a squat toilet, and leads on to an image of a man donning a red Kuffiyeh, the traditional Arab headers, urinating against a wall.

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March 27th, 2012, 8:39 pm

 

80. jna said:

http://www.innercitypress.com/syria1monvidopp032712.html

On Syria, Annan to Brief SC on April 2, Resolution on Monitors, Contact with Opposition?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 27 — Things are moving fast on Syria at the UN, at least apparently. Hours after Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan announced that the Syrian government had agreed to his Six Point Plan, Security Council president for March Mark Lyall Grant of the UK told the press that Annan himself will brief the Council Monday at 10 am.

Inner City Press asked Lyall Grant if the Council expected the Syrian opposition to agree to Annan’s plan. Lyall Grant replied that members of Annan’s team are in touch with the opposition and might have something to say before Monday at 10 am, or at that time. Inner City Press has inquired with Annan’s team.

Sources in the Council told Inner City Press that already there was discussion of a resolution for sending UN monitors to Syria. The source was skeptical: would they be peacekeepers from UNMIL or UNDOF or civilian monitors?

A well placed European source said Assad can’t use lack of opposition agreement to “stop shelling villages.” But can he? Or might a single car bomb derail Tuesday’s good mood?

On the way into the Council Tuesday morning, German Ambassador Peter Wittig told the press to be cautious, citing the Syrian government’s “credibility gap.” (…) read more

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March 27th, 2012, 8:39 pm

 

81. zoo said:

Prescribed time for al-Assad now up to two years
MEHMET ALİ BİRAND
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/prescribed-time-for-al-assad-now-up-to-two-years–.aspx?pageID=449&nID=17025&NewsCatID=405

You all must be asking the same question… Well, Bashar al-Assad was to be toppled in a few months. What happened? Why has this taken so long?

Quite right, I had heard it from the prime minister. Last year, he had said, “He won’t last more than a few months.” But it didn’t work out as thought.

The main reason for this is the fact that the Syrian opponents have been fractioned into very small groups because they do not have proper communication with each other. They continued on their way with the mentality, “It may be small but let it be mine.”

Political opponents are another world apart. Each one of them has a different Syria in mind. Of course, this situation scares some large domestic groups. For example, the Kurds and, especially, the Christians do not know what kind of a regime will be formed after al-Assad. In this case, they do not want to fully support the opposition. What will happen if a radical religionist Syria is formed? What will happen if they lose the advantages they have had with the present secular system?

When you look at the military opposition, they do not differ from the political one. They are constantly complaining about Turkey, the United States and Europe. They are grumbling that they are not receiving enough arms and aid. The Ankara-Washington-Paris triangle, justifiably, responds, “As long as this segmentation of yours continues, we don’t know who to deliver arms to…”

The “Syrian Opponents Meeting” in Istanbul’s Pendik district nowadays is trying to solve this essential problem.

Almost all opponent groups’ representatives of 200 people are trying to reach a decision to unite under one umbrella. More importantly, they are negotiating what kind of a Syria they will form after this.

If they can achieve this, then they will be able to obtain more concrete support on April 1 at the Istanbul meeting of the Friends of Syria from representatives of 60 to 70 countries.
Well, how long will this take?

Experts say exactly this: There is no option of al-Assad staying in power. “Our estimate is if the opposition unites and organizes well, then he will have to leave power in one to two years…”

I guess we have started talking over a more realistic platform for the first time.

Number of refugees

Turkey is acting very carefully beyond expectations.

It is not as enthusiastic as it was at the beginning of the crisis. Moreover, it has not been left alone. However, despite that, each day al-Assad stays in power causes more losses for Turkey. But there is nothing to do on this.

The only matter that Ankara would consider the most and would annoy it the most is, in the event of a massacre, the flow of more than 100,000 refugees over the Turkish border from Syria. In that case, there is only one scenario – the forming of the renowned “buffer zone.”

Plans are being made. They know where to enter and how far to advance into Syrian territory. They see no inconvenience from the point of international law either.

The only expectation in Ankara is that the Syrian opponents will finally agree and find a joint stance. Unless this happens, it has no intention of providing aid.

The arms the opponents could buy up to now, even though they were in small quantities, were coming from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Gulf countries via Jordan. But they were extremely insufficient. If the outcome of the Istanbul meeting is satisfactory, then contributions will increase.

The Istanbul meeting is extremely important for this reason as well.

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March 27th, 2012, 8:39 pm

 

82. sheila said:

Dear Dr. Landis,

As an academic who is level headed and to a certain degree impartial, evidenced by the fact that you have angered all sides at certain points in time with your opinions. I beg of you to explain to me why there are still Syrians who support the regime. There are certain things that I understand because one of my brothers and one of my friends are regime supporters. I have spent hours talking to them and trying to understand their point of view. Please keep in mind that these two are Sunnis.

Here is my list of excuses for those who are still supporting the regime:

1- They have business dealings with the regime. The fall of the regime means their financial ruin.
2- They work for the regime and have no other choice.
3- They are well to do and their life has been disrupted.
4- They watch Syrian TV and believe the regime propaganda.
5- They are Alawis worried that if the regime falls, they will be massacred for revenge.
6- They are Christians worried that if the regime falls, the Islamists will take over and force them to adhere to certain Islamic rules.
7- They are pessimists or for that matter realists who believe that what is to come in terms of rulers will not be any better than what we currently have.

All this is understandable and excusable to a certain degree if you live in Syria. What I need your help with is the position of those who live outside Syria, have access to the truth but are still supporting the regime. They are smart, educated and even without knowing them personally I would venture to say, otherwise, very decent people. Why on earth would they sell their soul to the devil? What on earth would blind them so badly? How can these otherwise smart individuals who at one point made fun of SANA, believe anything SANA says today? Where did they park their humanity and decency to be able to support this unspeakable brutality? How did they loose their basic common sense?

Many of us have tried very hard to understand this phenomenon to no avail. I thought maybe as an outsider you might be able to see it better. Maybe as vested as we are in this conflict, we have been unable to see the woods for the trees.

Please help.

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March 27th, 2012, 8:48 pm

 

83. majedkhaldoun said:

Very soon the UN must meet and support Annan plan, which must be considered one unit not six parts, violating one part is violating the whole plan, I expect Damascus and Allepo and Hama to show huge demonstartions, Assad may not last a month aftyer that.The opposition must accept Annan plan, Dialogue issue must not be a reason to not approve Annan plan, since it may never happen.

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March 27th, 2012, 9:05 pm

 

84. Tara said:

JNA@82

I couldn’t help not to notice.

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March 27th, 2012, 9:19 pm

 

85. Norman said:

Sheila,

Did it come to your mind that these people who are out of Syria, do not have dealing with the regime and do not benefit from it are selfless and worry about the people of Syria and the anarchy that are put in for the sake and the benefit of the opposition, your friends who are out of Syria thinking of themselves only,

It is not that difficult to see that we do not want Syria to end up like Iraq, and if that makes me and others immoral, then be it i am at peace with GOD.

So yes your brother and friend are not looking after themselvs, as you think, when supporting the regime, they are looking after Syria.

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March 27th, 2012, 9:20 pm

 

86. sheila said:

Norman,

I find it quite interesting that you support and love Syria by condoning barbaric acts against its people committed by the regime. So in your opinion, to save Syria from anarchy we have to stay under the foot of Bashar Alassad? Why is it that you believe that we have only two choices: either keep this horrible mafia regime or become like Iraq?

If you truly loved Syria you would want it to improve and prosper. Two things that would never happen if we keep this regime.

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March 27th, 2012, 9:49 pm

 

87. Ghufran said:

It looks like Kuwait and The UAE are ready to defect from the GCC on Syria, Turkey on the other hand is as usual unsure and unable while KSA is being passive aggressive.

The Syrian file is now in the hands of Putin and Obama, the rest are just waiting for instructions.

Annan plan is good for Syria regardless if it leads to Assad’s departure, this departure is needed for the country’s sake, but what is different now is that most big players want the process of regime change to be gradual and less bloody.

After the multiple defections from the SNC and the walkout of Kurdish parties, the main opposition body is barely able to pay the bills of its members travel and fancy hotels stays.

Another blow was the unilateral MB declaration of their political program which was done under the MB flag not the SNC’s, a movement that confirms the MB’s plan to do it alone as a political party. I told you that a unified opposition is a fantasy, I am not even sure that the Syrian opposition itself tried to unite. Let all parties compete at the ballot box and may the most popular win.

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March 27th, 2012, 9:52 pm

 

88. Norman said:

Sheila,
The opposition is giving us these two choices, Iraq or the corrupt regime, i want my choice, security and a chance at the ballet box for leadership, i will be willing to take what the voters want but will not accept your corrupt leaders to replace another corrupt leaders, i want the chance for people to serve and be willing to leave when they fail and the voters want them out, i do not violent transfer of power no matter what, a violent transfer of power will replace a dictatorship with another, we waited tool long to have to wait another forty years.

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March 27th, 2012, 10:09 pm

 

89. sheila said:

Norman,

That is exactly what the opposition is seeking: security and a chance at the ballet box for leadership, the end of corruption, the chance for people to serve and be willing to leave when they fail and the voters want them out. (using your own words)

Please remember that when the people of Daraa went out to the streets to demonstrate, they did not ask for the fall of the regime, rather for reforms. The answer from the regime came in the hails of bullets and resulted in many deaths. So the “violent transfer of power” that you are talking about was perpetrator by no one other than the Assad regime. If you have another way to get him out of his seat that he is attached to with crazy glue, you will be a candidate for the Nobel peace prize.

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March 27th, 2012, 10:23 pm

 

90. Norman said:

He will not run for 2014, until then join the political process and prepare to show the people what you want to do for them, can i have my Nobel prize now.

By the way what policies of his you did not like before March 2011, i liked his foreign policy, economic reform, education reform, i did not like his Tax policy, but i could have kept at it until he changed it, what we see now is just total destruction of Syria, as i told you before, the revolution won what they want the reform that the seek, they need to declare victory and join the process,

Ask not what you country can do for you, Ask what you can do for your country(( J F Kennedy.))

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March 27th, 2012, 10:55 pm

 

91. Jerusalem said:

It looks like Kuwait and The UAE are ready to defect from the GCC on Syria
——-
This piece of news might explain why and might give Sheila (if you read Arabic some answers)

ضاحي خلفان مجددا : الامريكان هم وكيل الربيع العربي

March 26 2012 07:45

اتهم الفريق ضاحي خلفان قائد شرطة دبي جماعة الاخوان المسلمين بالتآمر على دول الخليج لاستلام الحكم متوقعا ان تكون البداية من الكويت عام 2013.وقال ضاحي خلفان لصحيفة ‘القبس’ الكويتية امس الاحد ان ‘الاخوان يتجهون نحو تغيير الانظمة في الخليج. عندي مصادر تقول ان القادم هو جعل حكومات الخليج تملك ولا تحكم، وان البداية ستكون من الكويت عام 2013 وفي بقية الخليج عام 2016′.واضاف ردا على سؤال ان ‘الكويت مهيأة اكثر من غيرها’.واكد ان معلوماته ‘ليست مسربة من الاخوان لكن من اجهزة غربية استخباراتية، وهذا نحن نعرفه

وقال خلفان ‘الآن الامريكان هم وكيل الانتفاضات التي فعلوها، انا لا اسميها ثورات آل الحكم الى الاخوان و(الرئيس الامريكي باراك) اوباما حينما اعلن انه على استعداد للتعامل مع الاخوان كان هذا مؤشرا وتابع انا احذر دول الخليج من هذه المجموعات ويشن خلفان منذ مدة حملة عبر تويتر على اتباع تيار الاخوان المسلمين معتبرا انهم لا يقلون ‘خطرا’ على الخليج من ايران، حسب ما اكد في كلمة القاها امام مؤتمر امني في المنامة الشهر الماضي وتسرب مضمونها عبر وسائل الاعلام

http://www.arabtimes.com/portal/news_display.cfm?Action=&Preview=No&nid=10876

Sheila, if it was a genuine revolution you would have seen all Syrians on the streets. Qatar imposed the president of Tunis, Qatar imposed Abu Tarbush in Libya, all moderate candidates for presidency in Egypt have withdrawn and Qatar is promoting its own puppet. There is NOT one example that went from bad to better including Afghanistan-after 10 years of NATO- where the puppet Hamid Karzai cannot stop Americans from killing his OWN people. Yemen with ONE candidate election and half the country is now under the control of Al-Qaeda. The majority of Syrians prefer Assad over Al-Qaeda or Assad over imposed president. All examples went from bad to worse so might as well stick to bad. N.B.: I don’t fit any of your seven above category.

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March 27th, 2012, 11:13 pm

 

92. ann said:

Humpty Dumpty sate on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall;
Threescore men and threescore more,
Cannot place Humpty dumpty as he was before :D

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/photo/2012-03/28/c_131493873.htm

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March 27th, 2012, 11:25 pm

 

93. ann said:

Wen Jiabao: China fully supports Annan’s mediation efforts – 2012-03-28

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/video/2012-03/28/c_131493998.htm

BEIJING, March 28 (Xinhuanet) — The UN-Arab League envoy to Syria Kofi Annan is in Beijing to discuss a peaceful solution to the crisis in Syria. After meeting with Premier Wen Jiabao, Annan said his diplomacy in Syria will take time and he needs support. And in response, Premier Wen Jiabao said China fully supports Annan’s mediation efforts.

Reaching consensus on a peaceful resolution, Premier Wen Jiabao said the Syrian issue is now at a critical stage and is gaining even closer attention from the international community.

But the Chinese Premier told Kofi Annan that, with his mediation efforts in Syria, the crisis will be settled in a fair, peaceful and appropriate manner.

Wen said, “We have full conviction in your mediation efforts, and we do believe that your mediation efforts will lead to progress and to a resolution of the Syrian issue, which will finally and ultimately lead to a proper and impartial solution to the situation.”

Kofi Annan, as the joint UN-Arab League envoy to Syria, is on a mission to seek a diplomatic solution to the crisis. He acknowledged that his efforts will be arduous and he will need assistance.

After the meeting with Wen Jiabao, Annan spoke highly of China’s stance. He said China will “do whatever it can” to work with him to ensure a peaceful solution.

Annan said, “On the Chinese level, they realize like other nations the importance of the crisis and the need to resolve it peacefully before it becomes too radicalized.”

[…]

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March 27th, 2012, 11:30 pm

 

94. Jerusalem said:

Please remember that when the people of Daraa went out to the streets to demonstrate, they did not ask for the fall of the regime, rather for reforms.

———-
This is how it started also in Egypt, at first they didn’t call for Mubarak to step down then, afterward, they have started chanting down down. If you read Foreign Policy on how schemers of ”peaceful demonstrations” received their training in Belgrade you’ll understand what I mean (the link was posted by SC). It tells you in details how they teach them to provoke, to gain attention then put ONE and only demand, like oust Mubark but no further agenda…then mayhem. Even the woman who was pulled by her hair in Tahrir square by the Egyptian Army and Anderson Cooper shed tears over her, admitted on Egyptian TV that she received training by the mossad on how to provoke with no arms. I have the link somewhere in my archive, I’ll look for it.

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March 27th, 2012, 11:31 pm

 

95. Ghufran said:

According to Alwawi from the FSA, Turkey arrested an officer from the FSA, Muhammad Baziko,shortly after he crossed the borders with Turkey.

Alwawi accused Turkey and the US of being “responsible” for the ” massacres” against the Syrian people by refusing to arm the FSA.

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March 27th, 2012, 11:40 pm

 

96. ann said:

Standing disunited? Syrian opposition held up by differences – 28 March, 2012

http://rt.com/news/syria-opposition-istanbul-meeting-614/

Syrian opposition activists have met in Istanbul to join forces and conjure up a common declaration on Syria’s future. But the meeting was marred with walkouts, proving it was difficult for the groups to overcome their differences.

Although several hundred Syrian opponents of the Assad government attended the event, it was largely dominated by the Syrian National Council.

As SNC Chairman Burhan Ghalioun read out an action plan calling for greater unity, Haitham al-Maleh, an 80-year old veteran of the Syrian opposition walked out of the gathering. Maleh argued that the SNC had assumed too much dominance and failed to allow other dissidents to have their say.

In the meantime, Ghalioun went on with his action plan, which called for raising international backing, supporting peaceful protests and helping to organize and arm the Syrian Free Army.

But this appeared too far from the truth when a group of delegates from the Kurdish National Council also walked out of the hall, saying they needed a specific solution to the Kurdish problem on paper.

A diplomat observing the conference also remarked that the executive council of the SNC had to do more to show that it was listening to the people, as there is a feeling it is not transparent or democratic enough.

[…]

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March 27th, 2012, 11:41 pm

 

97. zoo said:

[ARROWZoo, thank you for bringing this up. I alerted the technical crew and sent a note to your SC-registration email. Expect a fix for this sometime today.

SCModeration@mail.com]

#83

Sorry I wanted to cut it down, but neither the CANCEL or EDIT function works.. Moderator please help!

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March 27th, 2012, 11:43 pm

 

98. Ghufran said:

This is the SNC official statement about Kofi Annan’s plan:

The subject of negotiations is the transition of the Syrian people to a pluralistic, democratic government and a civil, democratic state.

The plan of action states that any negotiations concerning a transition phase cannot begin until the death and destruction machine stops, army and security forces withdraw to their barracks, and all political prisoners are released.

The legitimate right of the people to demonstrate peacefully must be recognized.

Arab and international media and humanitarian organizations must be allowed to enter and move freely on all Syrian territory.

Negotiations can never take place between the victim and torturer: Assad and his entourage must step down as a condition before starting any serious negotiations.

Comment: Haytham Almaleh also insisted that the only item on future negotiation with the regime will be on how to dismantle the regime. To me, this position is effectively a refusal of Annan’s plan which stayed way from the touchy item of Assad’s resignation. I wonder how the man can overcome this obstacle. The regime will use this point and the issue of leaderless armed groups to score politically, they will say: we agreed with Annan but the SNC did not, we stopped the shelling but the other side did not. The SNC is taking another step in the wrong direction and the armed rebels will actually help the regime politically.

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March 28th, 2012, 12:02 am

 

99. majedkhaldoun said:

Norman
You asked what policy of Assad that we do not like
We do not like the severe brutal oppression jailing people because they ask for freedom, we dont like the corruption of the regime, we dont like lack of freedom,and the preferential treatment of people.

Chris
The regime will not comply.

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March 28th, 2012, 12:10 am

 

100. Ghufran said:

It looks like the SNC did not share its “vision” with anybody else from the opposition
بهيه المارديني
http://www.france24.com/ar/20120327-syria-turkey-opposition-syrian-conference-istanbul-friends-expectations

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March 28th, 2012, 12:25 am

 

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