The Cease-fire Shakes; “Syria’s Phase of Radicalisation” by Harling

Qatar’s Emir has attacked the UN as immoral for its stand on Syria. The UN’s efforts in Syria, led by Kofi Annan, have “no more than a 3 percent” chance to succeed, the emir said at a press conference in Rome today.

Meanwhile U.N. Truce observers arrive in Syria as shelling continues. The contingent is expected to grow to 250 after further negotiations with Syria. Reports suggested that the cease-fire, which went into effect on Thursday, was holding in places, with notable exceptions. Youtube reports from Homs show buildings being bombarded. Government sources have claimed violations by opposition members. Government forces have been striking out at Khirbet al-Jouz in the north.

The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, a force within the Syrian National Council, the main umbrella group for the opposition, issued a statement saying the Annan plan should not be open-ended but rather require a timetable for the political transition it envisions. “We stress that continuing to carry out Annan’s plan without a time limit while the other side maintains its killing and violations will be a means of mocking the lives of the Syrian people,” it said.

At least 17 people were killedacross Syria by midday Monday, according to the Local Coordination Committees. Reported death tolls since Thursday, however, have been lower than those before the deadline. Since April 1, opposition groups have reported more than 50 deaths a day; on four days, they said the death toll was more than 100.

By contrast, the Local Coordination Committees reported at least 37 deaths Thursday, at least 13 on Friday, 30 on Saturday and 28 on Sunday.

How high are the chances that Kofi Annan’s plan will be met? Will Annan’s peace efforts lead to any diplomatic solution? If there is regime change in Syria, who will fill the power vacuum? How fragmented is the Syrian opposition, and will the death toll go up if there’s outside military intervention?

CrossTalking with Diana Johnstone, Joshua Landis and Josef Olmert. is the most important article

News Round Up

Peter Harling’s newest report – Syria’s Phase of Radicalisation –  is superb as always.

He agrees in broad outline with my assessment of Syria’s opposition that I set out last month in my report: Upheaval within the Opposition: Defections, Terrorism, and Preparing for a Phase II Insurgency. He believes Syria is headed for a new “phase of radicalisation,” which is based on the need to develop a new and more violent insurgency to take on the Syrian Army. The Syrian army has become an “occupation force.” Islamiszation, terrorism, and growing hatred will be hallmarks of this new phase.

He fleshes out new trends, in particular, the growing worship of Mahar al-Assad among some regime supporters. The violence is creating a new cult of barbarity and war.

I cannot help but turn back to Khudr’s famous warning that the Alawis would assume fascist characteristics not unlike those of the Germans and Japanese who supported their leaders blindly in WWII. He wrote the following in his article, “The Alawi Dilemma” for Syria Comment almost a year ago in June 2011.

….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….

Syria’s Phase of Radicalisation
By Peter Harling, Middle East Briefing N°33 10 Apr 2012
International Crisis Group


As the 10 April deadline Kofi Annan (the UN and Arab League joint Special Envoy) set for implementation of his peace plan strikes, the conflict’s dynamics have taken an ugly and worrying turn. Syrians from all walks of life appear dumbfounded by the horrific levels of violence and hatred generated by the crisis. Regime forces have subjected entire neighbourhoods to intense bombardment, purportedly to crush armed opposition groups yet with no regard for civilians. Within the largest cities, innocent lives have been lost due to massive bomb attacks in the vicinity of key security installations. Perhaps most sickening of all have been pictures displaying the massacre of whole families, including the shattered skulls of young children. The first anniversary of what began as a predominantly peaceful protest movement came and went with only scattered popular demonstrations. Instead, there was immeasurable bloodshed….

By Soner Cagaptay, WINEP

It seems a real possibility that the prospect of domestic sectarian unrest could tie Turkey’s hands in devising a policy toward Syria. That said, it’s a problem Ankara could still avoid. The key would be for Turkey to alleviate any concerns that its approach to Syria is meant to serve narrow sectarian interests. …..

…should Ankara intervene in Syria against the Assad regime, some in the Turkish Alevi community might be inclined to view this as a new “Sunni attack” against a fellow minority. That likelihood is further bolstered by many Turkish Alevis’ belief that they actually are the same as the Alawites, though they are not ethnically or religiously related (the Alawites are Arabs and the Alevis are Turks). It is not uncommon to meet Alevis who, due to a lack of religious education, assume that Alawite is just another name for Alevi….

Patrick Seale on Syria: in Guardian

Another way to help is through negotiation with Iran over its nuclear program and that must include Iraq with its new dictator Almaliki who is seen by most as an Iranian puppet.  A solution in Syria requires a regional approach,the the GCC will follow as usual.

Why Religion is Fueling the Conflict in Syria: President Assad’s Religion Problem – Listen – NPR Interfaith Voices with Joshua Landis – Date: 29 March 2012

In Syria, Alawite Muslims are kind of like the Mormons of Christianity: they’re a branch of Islam, but many Muslims, especially the Sunni majority, don’t consider them legitimate. That’s always been a problem for Alawite president Bashar al-Assad. Now that more than 9,000 are dead in a revolt against the Assad regime, we explore why theological differences are playing a huge role.

As Syria Falls, Russia Rises…on Twitter

For this experiment, I utilized DiscoverText – the commercial text analytics solution from Texifter – to capture nearly three months of Tweets containing the word “روسية” (“Russian” in Arabic). I then created a topic model (using natural language processing) to classify the content of those tweets according to their relevance to the Syrian uprisings as well as the presence of Islamist rhetoric.  The following classification charts demonstrate how these trends have shifted between February and April on Twitter…..

حلب – سيف الدولة || هتافات الاحرار إيد وحده 12-4-2012

Syrian National Council leader Burhan Ghalioun pushed for intensified Friday protests to “demonstrate even more and put the regime in front of its responsibilities — put the international community in front of its responsibilities.”

Zbigniew Brzezinski: “Whatever Turks&Saudis would like to do re Syria, US should support. Period. Just like supported French&Brits in Libya”

A friend writes:

Dear Joshua

When I read people commenting on your blog about foreign agents providing weapons and training to the rebels, I can’t help but wonder if these people know anything about what is going on in Syria. A week ago ( before the major assault on the northern countryside of Aleppo began ) members of the so called Free Syria Army came to our village and offered people double the normal price for whatever guns or bullets people had. They were carrying no more than old rusty Klashnikoves. The question is if they were really receiving weapons would they roam the area looking for bullets!

With regards

Danger Saudi Will Turn Syria into an Islamist Hotbed, Thursday, April 12, 2012, CS Monitor

A steady stream of firebrand Islamic clerics and senior religious officials took to the airwaves with official Saudi sanction to excoriate the Assad regime and encourage pious Muslims to strive against it. The influence of these clerics and the increasing connection between them and fighters in Syria is evidenced by communiqués from armed groups like the “Supporters of God Brigade” in Hama.

The Saudi decision to endorse such religious statements is a sign that the rulers are once again willing to embrace one of the most potent weapons in the kingdom’s arsenal – state-directed jihad. It is one of the most tried and true weapons the kingdom possesses, having been utilized to fight Egyptian President Gama Abdel Nasser’s pan-Arab movement in Yemen, the Serbs in Bosnia, and of course the Soviets in Afghanistan, to name just a few cases.

Independent: Adrian Hamilton: Syria’s opposition can now turn this ceasefire to its advantage

Kofi Annan has been trying to do more than just produce a ceasefire. He has been attempting a diplomatic solution to the growing civil war in the country. He has called his a “peace plan” and bent his efforts – and they are considerable – to try …This is not a fight about democracy in which the ruling regime could, like the generals in Burma or the king in Morocco, give a little in order to preserve themselves in power. This is, like other movements in the Arab world, a revolt against the whole nexus of corruption and internal suppression which keeps the Assad family in wealth as well as power.

Give in with even minor concessions, the regime fears, and the whole edifice will start to crumble as ethnic, religious and regional differences surface. No one need believe for a moment Damascus’s claims that it still has the support of most of the population. But it can, and does, play to fear – fear both of the brutality of the security services and fear of the chaos which civil war and religious conflict might bring.

The adoption of a ceasefire represents not so much a desire for any of the parties directly concerned to stop fighting, so much as a sense of exhausted stalemate.

The authorities have managed to use their heavier weaponry to reduce to ruins the places of resistance. But they have not been able to crush all signs of opposition. Their opponents have failed to set up viable independent centres of power, as the Libyan rebels did in Benghazi, but they have survived the bombardments to fight on. Assad’s hope at this point is that, by stopping the bombardments but keeping his troops in position, he can get the world off his back and starve the rebels into giving up or fading away.

The opposition’s hope is that they can use the period of calm to recuperate, re-supply and bring out their supporters on to the streets in peaceful protest. That is what will achieve their purpose, if anything can. Assad has the upper hand militarily but, if the ceasefire is followed by a resumption of mass and peaceful protest demanding his resignation, what can he do but return to suppression in front of the cameras?

A bit of bad judgement:

This is the house of Syria’s Finance Minister. He built it before becoming minister and from money earned in the Gulf.

What’s goin’ on at the Turkish-Syrian border?
By Pepe Escobar, Apr 12, 2012, Asia Times

There is a video [1] that could be loosely translated as “Terrorist Turkish border opening fire on the Syrian side” that pretty accurately sums up what’s going on at the ultra-volatile geopolitical hotspot of the moment.

The voice over says, “This is the Syria-Turkey border, and this is an operation of the Free Syrian Army [FSA] … The Gate [that would be the Syrian side of the border, housing the Gate checkpoint] is going to be seized.”

What this means is that Turkey is sheltering the FSA right on the border, only a few meters – and not kilometers – away from Syrian territory. Way beyond hosting a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) command and control center in Iskenderun

for months now – a fact already reported by Asia Times Online – Turkey has now advanced right to the border, enabling a back-and-forth by heavily weaponized guerrillas/mercenaries to attack a sovereign state.

Imagine a similar scenario happening, say, at a Mexican-US border in Arizona or Texas.

This can be seen as a very peculiar Ankara interpretation of “safe havens” and “humanitarian corridors” as outlined by what can be seen as the prime blueprint for regime change in Syria: a report [2] by the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution, authored by the usual cocktail of Israeli firsters and Qatar-affiliated Middle East “experts”.

So expect to see this movie generating countless sequels; the FSA attacking a Syrian border checkpoint, killing soldiers and then retreating under a hail of bullets, which will inevitably hit a nearby Syrian refugee camp.

The border escalation graphically illustrates the wider scenario: civil war.

Comments (192)

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151. jad said:

موجز عن زيارة وفد هيئة التنسيق الوطنية غلى موسكو

قناة روسيا اليوم: الدكتور هيثم مناع

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April 17th, 2012, 5:58 pm


152. SANDRO LOEWE said:

155. JAD

What is the purpose of posting this video? I mean, what proffit are we supposed to get? Is this man the same that has orderded bombing whole cities and given free way to shabbihas? So what do you expect by posting this video? I find it so childish. But this is the way pro Assad use to do and it let us understand how poor political education there is in this country and how we got to this crazy situation.

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April 17th, 2012, 6:09 pm


153. jad said:


To show that this ‘man’ still has support between many Syrians unlike the media that describe the opposite.

If you feel unhappy and ‘childish’ about watching it, then don’t, nobody is forcing you.

Here is another nice clip showing the Syrian Soldiers, God bless them, helping in making Falafel, enjoy!
هــــــــــــــــذا جيش الوطــــــــــــن

Also, check out this article, it’s talking about how the armed militias are now fighting between each others for money and leadership:

إنشقاقات واسعة في صفوف ” الجيش الحر” بإدلب وأنباء عن تصفيات قريبة

خاص عربي برس

هل بدأت حروب التصفيات بين ثوار إدلب مع اشتداد تضييق الخناق عليهم من قبل الجيش السوري، وانحسار الغطاء الشعبي عنهم بعد تراكم الأخطاء، ومع قلة الذخائر والأسلحة التي ترشح من الحدود التي بات يطبق عليها حرس الحدود بشكل لافت ؟ وبعد تسليم المئات منهم أسلحتهم والتعهد للسلطات بعدم حمل السلاح والمشاركة في الشغب أو التخريب ؟

أريحا التي تشتهر بأطيب أنواع الكرز السوري، ذاقت الأمرين على يد المسلحين الذين سيطروا عليها ،موسم الكرز الذي كان يصدر إلى الخليج لم يجد من يقطفه العام الماضي ، و مصايف جبل الأربعين حيل بين أهل حلب وبينها، بل إن بيوت الحلبيين تم نهب الكثير منها ، ولم يبق موسر من أصحاب مطاعمها لم يدفع “خوة ” أو يخطف له ابن بهدف الفدية، دخول أبنائها تراجعت كثيراً بسبب الأحداث وقطع طريق اللاذقية حلب الحيوي الذي يمر بالقرب منها عوامل أدت إلى انقلاب المزاج العام، بعد انتشار قصص التعذيب و ” التشبيح ” التي مارسها هؤلاء بحق مؤيدي النظام وحتى الحياديين الذين لم يتحمسوا للثورة.

ومع تسرب اليأس إلى صفوف المسلحين نتيجة صمود النظام وسيطرته العسكرية على معظم الأرض في المحافظة بدأت الأصوات تتعالى في أريحا منتقدة الجيش الحر و مسلحيه وممارساتهم .

أستاذ جامعي طلب عدم نشر اسمه قال: ” حارتنا ضيقة ونعرف بعضنا ، أي جيش حر هم ؟ هل بيت العدل عائلة الجاسوس الإسرائيلي بسام العدل ، أم مسلحي بيت الحرصوني وبيت البخورة ؟ هم عصابات سرقت ونهبت وقتلت ،والناس تريد من الجيش سحقهم ، لكنهم يخافون من الإعدام و التعليق على أعمدة الكهرباء بعد محاكم خنفشارية لمشايخ نصف وهابيين ونصف جهلة ” .

الأستاذ الجامعي أوضح ” يوجد ميل لدى بعض المتمردين لتصفية خصومهم الأكثر سمعة سيئة ، و إيهام أهل أريحا ان هذا هو تطهير للثورة ممن ركب على ظهرها ” ثم ينهي حديثه ساخرا ” هل تصفياتهم لبعضهم ستكون حركة تصحيحية مباركة ؟ “.
الشاب ردد أسماء كثيرة ممن ركب الثورة حتى ناءت تحته ” أذكر مقتل أخطر المجرمين ،محمد حسين المشرف وميلاد الرزاز الذين قتلا في كانون الأول من العام الماضي وهما قاطعا طريق لا أكثر، جرى لهما جنازات شهداء ، أنا اليوم استغرب كيف كنا نتصرف بمنطق أي شيء مباح لنا ضد النظام ، حتى وصلنا إلى الهزيمة “. .
طالب الجامعي أكد أن الخلافات تعصف بالثوار منذ شهور ،عشرات القتلى وقعوا في حروب التصفية بين الثوار بسبب خلافاتهم، وسوء تدبيرهم ، وعائلة الشهيد ماهر الصوفي تحمل عائلة باريش مسوؤلية مقتل ابنها خلال العملية الأخيرة للجيش .

و أنهى حديثه بأن الأمر الغريب الذي بقي يوحد بينهم هو تشييع قتلاهم الذين يسقطون خلال التصفيات الجسدية لبعضهم البعض على أنهم شهداء حرية قتلوا بيد الأمن أو الجيش .

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April 17th, 2012, 6:34 pm


154. jad said:

I won’t be surprised if the ottomans are behind this terrorist attack in Aleppo, they’ve been trying very hard to make the situation worse so the ceasefire don’t hold, bunch of criminals!

5 killed and 16 injured in an explosion in Aleppo:

حلب حي الشعار العملية الارهابية 17 4 2012

5 شهداء و 16 جريح .. التفاصيل الكاملة لانفجاري الشعار بحلب

سقط خمسة شهداء و أصيب 16 آخرون بجروح ، في انفجارين متتاليين وقعا في حي الشعار بحلب مساء اليوم الثلاثاء.

و قال مصدر مطلع لـ عكس السير، إن ” الانفجار الأول كان عبارة عن عبوة ناسفة استهدفت سيارة مركونة بالقرب من محطة وقود (شرابة) ، أدى إلى انتشار الذعر بين المواطنين “.

في ذات الوقت كانت عبوة اخرى مزروعة تحت جسر الشعار تنتظر كبسة الزر لتنفجر مع مرور باص يقل عناصر حفظ النظام، ما أدى إلى استشهاد خمسة أشخاص ثلاثة منهم من عناصر حفظ النظام و هم “محمد ريانه ” و “باير علي حمود ” و ” محمد شاوردي ” ، و مدنيين اثنين احدهما يدعى “يوسف كبه وار” و الأخر مجهول الهوية .

و وصل عدد الجرحى إلى 16 شخصا ، بحسب ما أفاد المصدر، نقلوا عبر سيارات الاسعاف إلى مشفيي الرازي والجامعة.

وقال شهود عيان لـ عكس السير أن ” قوات الأمن طلبت من المواطنين المتجمهرين حول المكان المغادرة خشية وقوع انفجارات أخرى، و نتيجة لعدم الاستجابة قاموا باطلاق النار في الهواء لتفريق المواطنين ، و فرضت طوقا أمنيا حول مكاني الانفجارين.

و لم يصدر أي بيان رسمي من السلطات السورية حتى الآن (لحظة تحرير الخبر) ، كما أنه لم تتبن أية جهة مسؤولية الانفجارين .

يذكر أن حي الشعار من الاحياء الشعبية و المكتظة بالسكان .

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April 17th, 2012, 6:41 pm


155. jad said:

Saudis slammed for usual rights abuse, never for exporting revolution

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April 17th, 2012, 7:24 pm


156. Tara said:


Qatar coup

Qatar: Rumours of an attempted coup in Qatar have been circulating since late yesterday, though there is no reliable evidence that they are true. On the internet, Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia have all been accused of starting the rumour or spreading it.

According to Doha News, the Saudi-owned al-Arabiya TV channel posted a story on its website which was later withdrawn. Al-Arabiya journalist Muhamamd Saud Jamal (@msjamal) also posted several tweets about it – though they have now been deleted and he has posted an apology in Arabic saying he received false news from Qatar.

Meanwhile, a Facebook page called “The Qatari Revolution Against Sheikh Hamad [the emir] and Moza [his senior wife]”, which is said to be pro-Assad, continues to post claims of demonstrations, arrests and clashes in Qatar, with the US allegedly providing support for the emir.

Qatar, of course, has taken a particularly strong line against the Assad regime.

The Iranian news agency, Fars, is also getting excited about the story:

Informed sources close to the royal family in Qatar told FNA that a failed coup d’état has happened in Qatar but the Qatari officials have sought hard to keep it away from the media and the public, given the growingly fragile conditions in the country and the instability in a number of regional Arab states.

The sources asked to remain anonymous due to the high sensitivity of the issue.

Fars continues:

The news about the military coup attempt coincided with a statement issued by certain figures in Qatar’s ruling family, who oppose the current regime, announcing they do not recognize the legitimacy of Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, while they backed his brother, now exiled in France, Abdul Aziz bin Khalifa Hamad Al-Thani.

The statement was signed by 66 opposition figures, including 16 from the ruling Al Thani family. They directed serious charges against the Emir, including the establishment of relations with Israel, total coordination with the United States of America and breaking the Arab ranks. They also claimed his close family members and his wife’s family members are involved in cases of corruption and social injustice.

Interestingly, that section of Fars’s story appears to have been plagiarised from reports of an earlier alleged coup attempt in Qatar that were published in February last year.

Sheikh Hamad, a graduate of Sandhurst military academy in Britain, seized power in 1995 by deposing his father in a bloodless palace coup. Since the Arab Spring broke out, he has backed uprisings in other Arab countries while maintaining an autocratic grip over his own country.

In an unguarded comment last year, President Obama remarked on the emir’s double standards:

He is a big booster, big promoter of democracy all throughout the Middle East. Reform, reform, reform — you’re seeing it on Al Jazeera.

Now, he himself is not reforming significantly. There’s no big move towards democracy in Qatar. But you know part of the reason is that the per capita income of Qatar is $145,000 a year. That will dampen a lot of conflict.

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April 17th, 2012, 8:06 pm


157. Tara said:

Foreign reserved in Syria declined by half.

Western sanctions on Syria have almost halved its foreign currency reserves and reduced oil production by 30%, Reuters reports citing French diplomatic sources said.

Officials from almost sixty countries, including the European Union and the Arab League, meet in Paris on Tuesday to discuss the efficiency of sanctions imposed on Syria to raise pressure on Assad to comply with a UN-backed peace plan.

“We haven’t got a perfect measurement instrument to tell us when the regime will no longer be able to function, but we are seeing an extremely strong decline in foreign reserves. About half,” one French diplomatic source said.

Foreign reserves were estimated at $17bn before the unrest broke out more than a year ago.

Prior to EU sanctions Damascus sold 90% of its oil to Europe and with that market closed Syrian production has now fallen 30 percent. Sources estimate lost revenues at about €400m euros a month, or a total $2bn since November.

“With the deteriorating economy there is a hyperinflationary context, sharp collapse of the currency and a fall in revenues. That pressure will eventually be felt,” said a second source.

Tuesday’s meeting will be attended by diplomats and finance ministry officials. While not expected to decide on new measures, the 57 countries will outline measures they have taken against Damascus and discuss how to ensure their implementation.

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April 17th, 2012, 8:14 pm


158. jad said:

سوريا| موسكو لدمشق: طبّقوا البند 2 والباقي علينا
وقائع خطّة لافروف ــ المعلم

رغم أن زيارة وزير الخارجية السوري وليد المعلم لموسكو تأخّرت نسبياً، إلا أنها كانت ضرورية للاتفاق مع حليفه الروسي سيرغي لافروف على خطّة لتطبيق بنود كوفي أنان، من جهة، وعدم تنازُل السلطات السورية عن كل شروطها من جهة ثانية

ناصر شرارة
ويلخّص مصدر دبلوماسي نتائج محادثات المعلم ــ لافروف على النحو التالي: أولاً، مصادفة موعد الزيارة مع طرح بدء مهلة أنان لوقف النار صباح العاشر من نيسان، وانسحاب الجيش من المدن والأحياء الساخنة في 12 من الشهر الجاري، وهو ما جعل المفاوضات تتركز في شقها الأبرز على معالجة تبايُن برز في الرؤية بين الطرفين بخصوص ما إذا كان يجب على دمشق أن تطبِّق وقف النار من طرف واحد، ومن دون الحصول على التزامات من المعارضة والدول التي تدعمها بوقف مماثل، وخصوصاً أنه سبق لأنان أن وعد بالحصول على هذه الضمانات في خطته. أما لافروف، فرغم أنه أبدى تفهمه لوجهة نظر دمشق المطالِبة بضمانات، إلا أنه شدد على أن «سوريا هي الطرف الأقوى، بالتالي لا مخاطر حقيقية إن أوقفت القتال بشكل أحادي». وخلص إلى أن «وقف النار بلا ضمانات من المعارضة والدول المؤيدة لها، أمر سيئ، ولكن لا يمكن الاستمرار في القتال، لأن ذلك أسوأ».

ثانياً، في نهاية المحادثة، اقتنع المعلم بطرح لافروف بخصوص أنه يجب عدم عرقلة تنفيذ بند وقف النار، رغم الملاحظات عليه، وذلك «لتفويت الفرصة على أعداء سوريا الذين يرغبون برؤية انهيار مساعي أنان في مهدها». وبالفعل، صدر عن وزارة الدفاع السورية، بعد ساعات، عشية صباح 12 نيسان، موعد بدء وقف اطلاق النار، بيان أكد أن الجيش «سيوقف مهامه العسكرية صباح الخميس»، مع التحذير من أنه سيكون مستعداً «لمواجهة أي اعتداء من المجموعات المسلحة». ثالثاً، فور انتهاء الزيارة الروسية، اتصل لافروف بأنان، وطالبه بضرورة إيجاد حلٍّ متوازن لقضية الالتزام بوقف النار، يشمل الأطراف الأخرى (أي المعارضة والدول الداعمة لها). وبحسب معلومات دبلوماسية، فإن تسوية تمّ إنتاجها لهذه القضية، وبموجبها تعهّد أنان بأن يقوم بإطلاع الحكومة السورية على نتائج اتصالاته مع هذه الاطراف (المعارضة والدول الداعمة لها)، وذلك على شكل تقارير يرفعها لها، من دون ضمانات خطية. ولكن هذه المصادر تلاحظ أن كلام أمير قطر الشيخ حمد آل ثاني، الذي رأى فيه أن الشعب السوري «ليس بحاجة للجهد السياسي، بل للسلاح»، يصبّ في خانة إظهار أن الدوحة تعتبر نفسها خارج تعهد أنان لدمشق، أو أنها تحاول تخريب مفاعيله لجهة اعتبار أنه يمثل حلاً وسطاً لقضية مطالبة دمشق بضمانات لوقف العنف من «الأطراف الأخرى».

رابعاً، في محصلة لقاء لافروف ــ المعلم، تمّ التوافق على استراتيجيا عمل للمرحلة المقبلة بين الطرفين، تقوم على مواقف تشكّل ثوابت مشتركة، وتتوزع من خلالها مهام عملية متكاملة على الشكل التالي:

ــ من جهة روسيا، أبلغ لافروف المعلّم أنه رغم تفهُّمه للإشكاليات غير المسبوقة بخصوص مهمة المراقبين الدوليين، إلا أنّ موسكو ستعمل بقوة على إنجاح هذه الخطوة، وستشجع الأطراف على الاتفاق سريعاً على وصولهم الى سوريا، كي يصل منهم في البداية ٤٠ مراقباً، على أن يكون ممكناً الاستعانة بقوات حفظ سلام في المنطقة (الإنتسو واليونيفيل)، ثم تصل أعداد إضافية بعد اكتمال الإجراءات لوصول العدد الاجمالي البالغ ٣٣٠ مراقباً وفق تصور الأمم المتحدة.

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April 17th, 2012, 8:29 pm


159. Tara said:

Syria/Turkey: Syria has admitted that its security forces killed 10 people on the Turkish border after what it described as an armed raid organised in Turkey.

Turkey complained to the United Nations last week after Syria fired across its border last Monday into a refugee camp in the first incident of its kind since the crisis began.

Initial reports said two people were killed in the attack. In a letter [pdf] to the UN, Turkey said two Syrians and two Turks were injured in the camp.

Syria has responded by accusing Turkey of conspiring with Syrian rebels to fabricate a humanitarian crisis as a pretext for establishing buffer zones inside Syria. It said Turkey was helping Syrian rebels organise border raids to terrorize civilians into fleeing to Turkish refugee camps.

The letter from Syria’s foreign minister Walid al-Maullem claimed Syrian border troops were attacked by armed groups at the Salama crossing last week.

In response Syrian armed forces killed nine of those involved. In another attack a day later one person was killed and two injured, Maullem said.

A letter from Turkey’s UN ambassador Ertugrual Apakan said an increase in military action by the Syrian army had led to 6,000 Syrians fleeing to Turkey in the first week of April alone. He said 21 wounded Syrians fled last Monday, including two who later died. Later four people were injured in cross-border gunfire.

Maullem said Turkey was trying to “muddy the waters”. He accused it of “sheltering, arming and providing logistical support to armed terrorist elements that enter Syrian territory in order to carry out criminal attacks against government forces and innocent civilians; destroy infrastructure; target public and private property; and force scores of people into Turkey, with a view to fabricating a humanitarian crisis”.


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April 17th, 2012, 8:31 pm


160. jad said:

Syrian hackers get into Ghalyoun’s email and published what they found:

«الأخبار» تنشر مراسلات «المجلس الوطني السوري» المعارض من بريد رئيسه
حسن عليق

■ رياض الأسعد مغرور ويجب إيجاد قيادة جماعية
■ الخارجية الأميركية تقدم الاستشارات لغليون وقضماني
■ هكذا يخاطب «رئيس المجلس» سعود الفيصل

الحرب الشاملة في سوريا وعليها لم تترك مجالاً إلا حوّلته ساحة للمعارك. وإلى جانب الميدان الشعبي والعسكري والامني، ثمة ميدان آخر لا يقل اهمية عما سبق: الحرب الإلكترونية. وبعدما تمكن قراصنة مؤيدون للمعارضة السورية من اختراق الرسائل الالكترونية التي قيل إنها عائدة للرئيس السوري بشار الأسد وزوجته، تمكن قراصنة من الطرف الآخر من احتلال البريد الالكتروني لرئيس «المجلس الوطني السوري»، برهان غليون، والاستحواذ على كل ما فيه. وتضيء هذه الرسائل ــ التي حصلت «الأخبار» على جزء منها ــ على جانب غير مرئي مما يدور في المجلس، إضافة إلى علاقاته وصلاته غرباً وشرقاً، فضلاً عن سبل إدارته للأموال التي يحصل عليها. كذلك تُظهر هذه الرسائل نظرة المجلس لنفسه ومكوناته. ابتداءً من اليوم، تنشر «الأخبار» ما في حوزتها من هذه الرسائل، ثلاث منها في عدد اليوم. الأولى من مسؤول في الخارجية الأميركية إلى غليون تُظهر مستوى التنسيق بين الطرفين، وأخرى تتضمن محضر اجتماع للمكتب التنفيذي للمجلس عقد قبل أسبوعين، والثالثة فيها كتاب بعث به غليون إلى وزير الخارجية السعودي سعود الفيصل قبل ثمانية أيام

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April 17th, 2012, 8:34 pm


161. jad said:

100 Ahleen Afram 🙂
I’m sorry that I don’t see him as you do, he doesn’t sound genuine in any thing he writes, that is my personal view, what I linked is what others think of him, not my views either.

Huh ??? I wish that #154 stick to what she preaches, to stay ‘silent’ when nobody is talking to her.

Apparently she can’t hence the extremely ‘smart’ comments she writes.

[Jad, I think we all need to avoid this kind of You Are Stupid, So Shut Up, Nobody Is Talking To You asides. It tends to degrade discussion, and we have seen where it led in the past.

As with Bronco/Irritated -style you you you you you trailrides, we should not focus on YOU (or SHE, or THEY) arguments, as if among commentators is one who represents all the evil thoughts and motives in Syria? What is questionable about YOU arguments is they presume entry into another person’s heart and mind, to their Real Motives and Real Desires. That is crap.

Cease fire -more of the You you you you you materials will lead to supervised posting to Syria Comment. We need a cease of personal potshots and more moves toward dialogue – as the majority have said they want.

Can we not aim for a Parliament of Reason, rather than a Parliament of personal sniping, indirect slurs, sniggering, and You People rhetoric (from any ‘side’)? ]

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April 17th, 2012, 8:35 pm


162. SANDRO LOEWE said:


So cynical and populist as Huh ??? your God President.

Thanks to the president destroying all kind of political and democratic opposition from the first day.

Thanks to the president and its mafia for bulleting the masses who asked more freedom from the first day.

Thanks to the president for turning Syria into a hell and letting the world know some syrians in power are even more barbaric than crusaders and israelis.

Thanks for letting us know that Huh ??? human garbage is leading the country.

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April 17th, 2012, 8:36 pm


163. jad said:

اللجنة العربية تدعم خطة أنان وفق إطار زمني محدّد وموسكو تحذر من تعطيلها

العنف يتراجع .. والأمم المتحدة تطلب تزويد المراقبين بطائرات

أعلن الأمين العام للأمم المتحدة بان كي مون، عشية تقديمه اقتراحاً إلى مجلس الأمن الدولي لتوسيع مهمة المراقبين الدوليين في سوريا، انه اقترح على الاتحاد الأوروبي تقديم مروحيات أو طائرات لبعثة مراقبة وقف إطلاق النار المقبلة في البلاد، مكرراً دعوته الحكومة السورية إلى ضمان حرية حركة كاملة للمراقبين الأجانب في سوريا.

في هذا الوقت، دعت اللجنة الوزارية العربية الخاصة بالملف السوري، في اجتماع في الدوحة أمس، مجلس الأمن الدولي إلى «تسريع عملية نشر المراقبين في الأراضي السورية»، مؤكدة «دعمها الكامل لمهمة (المبعوث الدولي والعربي) كوفي انان وفق إطار زمني محدد»، وكلفت الأمين العام للجامعة العربية نبيل العربي «بدعوة جميع أطياف المعارضة إلى اجتماع بمقر الجامعة قبل نهاية الشهر الحالي تمهيداً لإطلاق حوار سياسي شامل بين الحكومة وأطياف المعارضة السورية»، فيما كان رئيس اللجنة رئيس الحكومة القطرية الشيخ حمد بن جاسم ال ثاني يعتبر أن اجتماع اللجنة لم يلمس أي «تغيير جوهري» في تعاطي دمشق مع الأزمة.

وأعلنت وزارة الخارجية الصينية، في بيان، أن وزير الخارجية السوري وليد المعلم سيجري محادثات في بكين اليوم مع نظيره الصيني يانغ جيتشي، فيما اتهم وزير الخارجية الروسي سيرغي لافروف عدداً من الدول بالعمل على إفشال خطة انان.

وقال مصدر حكومي فرنسي إن وزير الخارجية الفرنسي ألان جوبيه دعا العديد من وزراء الخارجية الى اجتماع في باريس غداً بهدف «إبقاء الضغط» على الاسد. واضاف ان وزارة الخارجية لم تؤكد انعقاد هذا الاجتماع حتى الآن، علماً انها دعت 10 وزراء خارجية سيكونون في اوروبا في هذا الموعد، بعضهم سيحضر الى بروكسل للمشاركة الاربعاء والخميس في اجتماعات لوزراء الخارجية والدفاع في حلف شمال الأطلسي. (تفاصيل صفحة 14)

وقال بان كي مون، على هامش زيارة رسمية إلى لوكسمبورغ، «من مسؤولية الحكومة السورية ضمان حرية حركة
المراقبين» في سوريا. وأضاف إن المراقبين «يجب أن يسمح لهم بالتحرك بحرية في أي مكان لكي يكونوا قادرين على مراقبة وقف أعمال العنف».

وقال بان كي مون إن وقف إطلاق النار «تمت مراعاته بصفة عامة» لكن مازالت تقع أعمال عنف، وان البعثة المكونة من 250 مراقباً لن «تكون كافية في ضوء الموقف الحالي واتساع رقعة البلاد»، مضيفاً «لذلك فإننا بحاجة إلى ضمان قدرة بعثة مراقبينا على التحرك
بفعالية». وأكد انه أجرى في بروكسل محادثات مع المسؤولين الأوروبيين، ومن بينهم رئيس الاتحاد الأوروبي هرمان فان رومبوي ورئيس المفوضية الأوروبية خوسيه مانويل باروسو ووزيرة خارجية الاتحاد الأوروبي كاثرين اشتون، لرؤية «ما إذا كان الاتحاد الأوروبي قادراً على تأمين معدات تضمن قدرة تحرك فعالة، بما فيها مروحيات وطائرات». وأضاف «اعتقد ان المسؤولين الأوروبيين يؤيدون ذلك»، مشيرا الى «عدم البحث في حماية عسكرية تؤمنها الامم المتحدة في الوقت الحاضر».

وتابع بان كي مون ان «مجلس الأمن طلب مني تقديم اقتراح رسمي بشأن بعثة مراقبة للامم المتحدة، وسأفعل ذلك بحلول اليوم الأربعاء». وأقر بان الوضع على الأرض في سوريا «لا يزال هشاً».

وقال مصدر سياسي في لبنان لـ«رويترز» إن دمشق رفضت بالفعل استخدام طائرات هليكوبتر تابعة للأمم المتحدة.
ووصف وزير الخارجية الروسي سيرغي لافروف وقف إطلاق النار في سوريا بأنه «هش»، مشيراً إلى أن عدداً من الدول تتمنى أن تفشل خطة انان.

وقال لافروف، في مؤتمر صحافي في موسكو قبيل اجتماعه مع وفد هيئة التنسيق الوطني للتغيير الديموقراطي السورية المعارضة، «فعلياً، وقف إطلاق النار هش نسبياً». وأضاف «يوجد من يريد لخطة انان أن تفشل. اليوم يفعل هؤلاء، الذين تنبأوا من البداية بفشل خطة أنان، الكثير ليروا نبوءتهم تتحقق. إنهم يفعلون ذلك من خلال تقديم أسلحة للمعارضة السورية وحفز نشاط المتمردين الذين يواصلون مهاجمة كل من المنشآت الحكومية والمنشآت المدنية بصفة يومية». وتابع «بالطبع القوات الحكومية تتخذ أيضاً إجراءات للردّ على مثل هذه الاستفزازات، وكنتيجة لذلك لا تسير الأمور بسلاسة جداً حتى الآن». ودعا الدول الأجنبية للعمل لما فيه «مصلحة الشعب السوري وليس لطموحاتها الجيوسياسية ومصالحها الظرفية».

واعلنت واشنطن ان استمرار العنف في سوريا «غير مقبول»، وطالبت الرئيس السوري بشار الاسد ببذل مزيد من الجهود لتطبيق خطة انان لإنهاء العنف. وقال المتحدث باسم وزارة الخارجية الاميركية مارك تونر إن «تلاشي (وقف اطلاق النار) غير مقبول». واضاف ان «الكرة الآن في ملعب النظام. عليه ان يلتزم بالاتفاق، وعليه ان يطبق جميع نقاط خطة انان، وحتى الآن لم يلتزم بها. وبالكاد التزم بنقطة واحدة منها».

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April 17th, 2012, 8:58 pm


164. jad said:


اجتماع باريس حول عقوبات سوريا: «الأصدقاء» يتشاورون لإرضاء فرنسا
محمد بلوط

بيان استعراض عام لحال العقوبات المفروضة على سوريا من دون جديد. لجنة العقوبات الدولية التي انعقدت في باريس حول وزير الخارجية الفرنسية آلان جوبيه، قامت خلال ساعتين من بعد الظهر بتصريف عناوين سريعة حول تنسيق العقوبات، من دون استحداث جديد فيها.

اللقاء يلبي الحاجة إلى تضافر الضغوط على النظام السوري بموازاة الضغوط التي يشكلها كوفي انان وخطته، والالتزامات التي تتراكم على كاهل الإدارة السورية. وتسعى اللقاءات من نوع لقاء الأمس إلى شغل الفواصل ما بين مؤتمرات «اصدقاء سوريا»، او إجراء مراجعات للتدقيق في صحة تقيد الحلفاء والأصدقاء في القرارات التي صوّتوا عليها في إسطنبول وتونس، وتحويل المؤتمر إلى مرجعية دائمة في القضية السورية، وهو هدف «الأصدقاء» الأصلي. ولفت دبلوماسي عربي إلى أن اجتماع الخبراء والمدراء السياسيين لـ57 دولة في باريس، انعقد بحسب انطباعه، للتشاور أولاً، وإرضاء للفرنسيين الذين يريدون الإبقاء على درجة عالية من التعبئة الدبلوماسية حول النظام السوري.

وكما كان معلناً لم يقدم البيان الختامي للاجتماع، توصيات جديدة بشأن العقوبات المطبقة، ولكنه طلب من «الأصدقاء» مواصلة الضغوط كي يحترم النظام التزاماته في اربعة مجالات: مقاطعة النفط السوري، منع بيع أسلحة لسوريا، وتحريم الاستثمارات في البنى التحتية، وخفض التمثيل الدبلوماسي.

«الأصدقاء» برأوا انفسهم والعقوبات التي يفرضونها من معاناة السوريين، واعتبر بيانهم الختامي أن النظام مسؤول عنها، ودعوا بلداناً اخرى إلى الانضمام اليها. وأقرّ البيان من دون كثير من التفاصيل الدعوة إلى تكوين شبكة اتصالات، من دون تحديد ما إذا كانت تعني تبادلاً أفضل للمعلومات في ميدان تطبيق العقوبات، أو أنها بداية لتطوير مكتب مركزي لتنسيق المعلومات عن الأنشطة المالية والتجارية للنظام السوري، واحتواء محاولات الوسطاء العاملين لحسابه لاختراق حصار العقوبات. البيان لم يحدد أفقاً لإنهاء العقوبات، ولكنه تعهّد بإعادة تقييمها سريعاً بمجرد انطلاق المرحلة الانتقالية، وبالتعاون مع لجنة إعادة إعمار سوريا التي تشرف عليها الإمارات والمانيا.

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April 17th, 2012, 9:00 pm


165. Tara said:

You go to work in the morning and you get greeted by endless smiles from strangers.  I always wondered about the no smile attitude in Syria.  It looks like thrpe Turks have the same issue.  Does it boil down to democracy?

Why Turks don’t smile

A Turkish friend of mine who has lived in the United States for many years once told me an amusing experience of hers. After more than a decade in the land of freedom, she came back to Istanbul for a few weeks. While strolling the streets, she inadvertently smiled at people with whom she came face to face. In return, though, she did not get the polite response that she was used to. Instead, the women she smiled at looked surprised, and worse, the men she smiled at looked aroused.

“I realized that those men took my smile as a sexual hint,” my friend told me. “One of them even began to follow me in a very excited mood!”

Soon, my friend wisely adapted to the Turkish manners: In this country, you don’t smile at strangers. You simply look the other way, and, if you come eye to eye, you try to look tough. 

For a while, and as a sociologist-wannabe, I have been wondering why this is the case. Gradually, I have become convinced that this no-smile attitude tells us a lot about the nature of Turkish society: As surveys also prove, this is one of the places on earth in which people trust each other the least. Hence, they can easily see other members of society as potential threats or even enemies.
But why? Are Turks inherently rude, antisocial or nasty people?

Not really. Quite the contrary, Turks are famous for their hospitality and generosity, and they are also known to be very loyal to their friends. 

But there is a catch here: Turks are very good to people that they know well, such as their family and kin. Yet, for the people with whom they are less familiar, their attitude dramatically changes. In other words, if they see a familiar face on the street, they go out of their way to show affection. For unfamiliar faces, however, they have nothing but suspicion.

This social reality of Turkey seems to tell us a lot about the nature of its politics as well: Here, every political camp is filled with contempt and paranoia for the other camps. (In the 1970s, this led the country to near civil war; luckily, there is much less violence today.) In political arguments, sides blame each other for being not only wrong and misguided, but also treacherous and devious. Quite amusingly, pundits in every political camp argue that the opposing camp serves some evil foreign power that is cooking up malicious plans against the beloved homeland. They are bitterly opposed, in other words, without realizing how similar they are.

But then again, why? Why so much distrust and hate?

Secondly, the brutal authoritarianism of the Turkish state has made matters much worse, by constantly suppressing large segments of society and explaining away every trouble in the country as the product of “enemies within and without.” While most Kemalists still believe in that lunacy, the conservatives who oppose them seem to have taken their share as well. 
So, is there no hope for the future?

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April 17th, 2012, 9:34 pm


166. Ghufran said:

I like the article about smiles,are you introducing it to this forum as an FYI or you indeed agree with content?

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April 17th, 2012, 9:46 pm


167. jad said:


Don’t add words that I didn’t write.

Just check the two comments you left for ‘THE’ ‘she’ #150&151 then come back and preach.

Or are you getting this habit to come after anybody who reply to the provocateur.
When you do your job right, you won’t get any comments back.

[ blue diamond Jad, what I ask of anyone and everyone – to be a responsible commentator. Those who have been banned in the past, moderated, warned, encouraged, thanked, responded to – those who know, can tell us what goes too far, and more.

Some who watch and comment on the heartache in Syria tend not to personalize discussion or use veiled or open insult to make their points. But if they attack, or if they persist, they enter moderation.

I was going to trash the full-text comment that you excised from the Washington Post, but: if Arabi Souri wants to slag and insult Syrians who do not agree with him, then he can do it here himself and he will be cautioned here. We do not need to smuggle in overheated and accusatory language from elsewhere. No one may use Syria Comments to abuse other commentators.

Anyone may issue whatever orders to the moderator that they like. I take my orders from the owner of this blog, your host and mine for many years, Joshua Landis, who demands the best from us. All of us. We need reasonable discourse and I enforce that.

He tells us that any of us:

  • may be edited or deleted at the discretion of the moderating team. Furthermore, commentators who repeatedly violate the site regulations may be warned, temporarily suspended from posting, limited to a set quantity of daily posts, or permanently banned. The moderators reserve the right to ban anyone who annoys or badgers them excessively.
  • Finally, we ask that commentators bear in mind that even well-intentioned humor or sarcasm can be “lost in translation” on an online discussion forum. As such, commentators should maintain a respectful tone with others and be tolerant of opinions that may differ from their own.]

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April 17th, 2012, 9:48 pm


168. Tara said:


I agree with the content. The same thing happens in Syria. No stranger would ever smile at you in Syria. As a women, you can’t smile at any man as it will be interpreted as a sexual invitation and if you smile at a woman passerby, she either tries to avoid eye contact or gives you a stern surprised look. Contrary to what happens in the US, you walk at any place and you feel the whole world is smiling at you.

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April 17th, 2012, 9:55 pm


169. jna said:

Nasrallah: “We contacted the opposition to encourage them and to facilitate the process of dialogue with the regime,” said Nasrallah, speaking through a translator via a video link from a secret location. “But they rejected dialogue.”

As an aside, Nasrallah appeared very relaxed and at ease with the issues during the interview, he looked good.(jna)

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April 17th, 2012, 9:59 pm


170. Ghufran said:

Here is what I was told about Latakia from a trusted friend who is from that city:

Going to Latakia today will make you think that the uprising is taking place in another country,you see signs of caution and you can not see the usual crowd at 1 am in popular youth spots but the city is almost untouched by what is happening in Syria since March,2011. Sporadic small incidents,small demonstrations in certain areas and the confrontation at Al-Raml did very little to stop people from living and going out ,but not until 2 am as before. When I asked about the strength of the regime and the opposition,the lady said that the opposition enjoys strong support in certain segments in the Latakian society,but that support is mostly among impoverished or deeply religious Sunnis,most other Sunnis are either suspicious of the new opposition or they resent the regime and would welcome a new one but are not willing to die or kill for it. Outside that group,the regime have little to worry about,even the usual communist-liberal opposition groups have decided to keep a low profile or focus on launching a campaign against armed rebels while carefully asking the regime to change its harsh ways when dealing with dissidents.

As far as Latakia is concerned,the anti regime movement have little hope of mobilizing large crowds. I wonder if there are bloggers with intimate knowledge of the city who care to comment.

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April 17th, 2012, 11:05 pm


171. Jerusalem said:
دخل فارس بيك الخوري، ممثل سوريا في الامم المتحدة حديثة المنشأ، بطربوشه الاحمر و بذته البيضاء الانيقة….

قبل موعد الاجتماع الذي طلبته سوريا من اجل رفع الانتداب الفرنسي عنها بدقائق واتجه مباشرة الى مقعد المندوب الفرنسي لدى الامم المتحدة و جلس على الكرسي المخصص لفرنسا بدأ السفراء بالتوافد إلى مقر الامم المتحدة بدون اخفاء دهشتهم من جلوس ‘فارس بيك’ المعروف برجاحة عقله و سعة علمه و ثقافته في المقعد… المخصص للمندوب الفرنسي تاركا المقعد المخصص لسوريا فارغا دخل المندوب الفرنسي، و وجد فارس بيك يحتل مقعد فرنسا في الجلسة… فتوجه اليه و بدأ يخبره ان هذا المقعد مخصص لفرنسا و لهذا وضع امامه علم فرنسا، و اشار له إلى مكان وجود مقعد سوريا مستدلا عليه بعلم سوريا ولكن فارس بيك لم يحرك ساكنا، بل بقي ينظر إلى ساعته… دقيقة، اثنتان، خمسة استمر المندوب الفرنسي في محاولة ‘إفهام’ فارس بيك يا حبيبي، يا روحي، مونامور، مون شيري… هون محل كرسي بتاع فرنسا، محل كرسي بتاع سوريا هنيك، سيلفوبليه قوم انقلع من هون بدنا نقعد ولكن فارس بيك استمر بالتحديق إلى ساعته: عشر دقائق، احد عشرة، اثنا عشرة دقيقة وبدء صبر المندوب الفرنسي بالنفاذ: يا دب.. قوم انقلع يا عربي يا متخلف هون مطرح فرنسا الحرة و لكن فارس بيك استمر بالتحديق بساعته تسع عشرة دقيقة، عشرون، واحد و عشرون…

واهتاج المندوب الفرنسي، و لولا حؤول سفراء الامم الاخرى بينه و بين عنق فارس بيك لكان دكه وعند الدقيقة الخامسة و العشرين، تنحنح فارس بيك، ووضع ساعته في جيب الجيبه، ووقف بابتسامة عريضة تعلو شفاهه و قال للمندوب الفرنسي سعادة السفير، جلست على مقعدك لمدة خمس و عشرين دقيقة فكدت تقتلني غضبا و حنقا، سوريا استحملت سفالة جنودكم خمس و عشرين سنة، و آن لها ان تستقل وفي هذه الجلسة ، نالت سوريا استقلالها “. في ذكرى عيد الجلاء نقول كل عام وسورية بألف خير وصبراً دمشق علىالبلوى فكم صُهِرت سبائك الذهب الغالي فما احترق
Thanks to Galioun and co. Not just France is returning to Syria but rather all NATO

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April 17th, 2012, 11:10 pm


172. Ghufran said:

Just in case you are not cross-eyed yet,Qatar and the AL are now “supporting” Annan’s mission,and taweel alteeleh Hamad is retracting previous statements about arming the rebels.

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April 17th, 2012, 11:23 pm


173. bronco said:


You wrote to Jad:

“As with Bronco/Irritated -style you you you you you trailrides, ”

I wish you address your criticism of some of my comments directly to the person incriminated instead of bundling them in a remark to Jad.

In any case the only time I used “YOU” is when replying to a commenter that addresses me as “YOU”.

Your generalization is very upsetting and unjustified.

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April 17th, 2012, 11:30 pm


174. Equus said:

Denmark has demanded information and clarifications from Tel Aviv concerning an assault by a senior Israeli military officer against a Danish pro-Palestinian activist in the occupied West Bank.

Israel sides with Syrian activists but strip activists’ rights in Israel.

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April 17th, 2012, 11:42 pm


175. irritated said:

blue beret No comment

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April 17th, 2012, 11:45 pm


176. Equus said:

Brutal repression of protestors surely requiring international intervention!

Ooops, it’s the IDF attacking protestors against the occupation of Palestinian land.
Never mind!

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April 17th, 2012, 11:49 pm


177. ann said:

‘External forces hampering truce in Syria’ – Lavrov – 17 April, 2012

“Indeed, there are forces which are interested in the failure of the Kofi Annan plan, they were saying that even before the plan was released,” Lavrov stated on Tuesday. “And they are doing their best to make their wish come true through arms deliveries to opposition forces and by encouraging militants’ activities.”

This leads to retaliation measures from the government Lavrov added, “so that things are not going smoothly” for now.

The Russian Foreign Minister also said that “some countries, some external forces are not interested in the success of the current peaceful efforts of the Security Council.”

These forces he went on to say are trying to substitute the Security Council with various unofficial formats and are using all tools to convince the Syrian opposition no to cooperate with the government.

Lavrov called this stance “counterproductive” and “regrettable”.


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April 17th, 2012, 11:58 pm


178. zoo said:

The “Friends of Syria” meeting in Paris went without Clinton or Davutoglu and with no list of participants. A very low key meeting.

Juppe wants to save face by organizing a ‘private’ meeting over lunch with the foreign ministers of 14 Friends of Syria countries. No names yet published.

Juppe to invite 14 FMs to Paris Thursday to discuss Syria

By John Keating PARIS, April 17 (KUNA) — French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe intends to invite at least 14 Foreign Ministers to Paris on Thursday to discuss the situation in Syria, a diplomatic source said here Tuesday.

The source told KUNA that the invitations were still being worked on but that agreement was already reached with Qatar, Germany, Holland and a couple of other countries and that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would “probably” attend.

The source said that France was also “working with Kuwait” to see if the Foreign Minister could come.

The potential for a meeting in Paris Thursday is likely to be firmed up in the coming hours and is viewed feasible as many of the ministers are at a NATO meeting in Brussels and will be in the area.

The source also told KUNA that there was likely to be an official announcement on the meeting Wednesday.

France already hosted Tuesday a meeting of 57 international delegations to discuss sanctions against Syria and ways of making them more effective.

The participants, many of them from the “Friends of Syria” group, agreed to improve coordination and exchange of technical data and also arrived at a consensus for a second meeting of the “expert level” group in Washington next month.

The Sanctions Group meeting stressed the need to be vigilant on the implementation of sanctions, particularly in the oil and banking sector and also stressed these punitive measures were not aimed at the Syrian population.

The group expressed support for the Arab League plan and the follow-up plan by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan and urged the rapid implementation of these measures with a view to a political transition in Syria.

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April 18th, 2012, 12:17 am


179. zoo said:

UN Secretary-General wants to beef up the monitors and provide helicopters/airplanes for better mobility

By Los Angeles Times Staff / April 17, 2012

The United Nations Security Council is expected to authorize deploying a full mission of 250 monitors to Syria after it takes up the issue Wednesday, but Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon questioned whether even that number would be sufficient.

“I think this is not enough, considering the current situation and considering the vastness of the country, and that is why we need very efficient mobility of our observer mission,” he said Tuesday.

He said he had discussed with European Union leaders whether the EU could provide helicopters and airplanes for that mobility.

Six members of a U.N. mission to monitor implementation of a peace plan began setting up headquarters inSyria on Monday, and 25 additional observers are expected to arrive in Damascus, the capital, in coming days.

Ban said U.N. military action was not under consideration.

“At this time, the situation is so complicated that we are not contemplating any … introduction of military protection,” he said. “This is the responsibility of the Syrian authorities.”

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April 18th, 2012, 12:25 am


180. jad said:

Bronco #174

If it will make you feel any better, I’m sorry!

The director of Goethe Institute like any reasonable person in the world is saying that the only solution for the Syrian crisis is ‘Dialogue’

Ulrich Nowak: Syrer wollen Assad (Syrians want Assad)

مدير معهد غوته بدمشق: الحل في سورية بالحوار

اعتبر مدير معهد غوته في دمشق اولريش نوفاك أنه يوجد نوع من الحكم المسبق الخاطئ إزاء الحكومة السورية حول معالجة الأزمة في سورية.

وقال نوفاك في لقاء مع القناة الألمانية الأولى قبل أيام “من خلال سفري المتكرر إلى دمشق أرى صورة أخرى من الصعب إيصالها وأرى المشكلة على أرض الواقع وأتكلم مع الناس حول المشكلة مضيفا أن الحكومة السورية تحاول إيجاد حل لهذه المشكلة كما أنه يوجد نوع من الحكم الخاطئ إزاء الحكومة السورية”.

وتابع نوفاك “عندما ننظر إلى ما تفعله الحكومة السورية لنشر الأمن في البلاد وإيقاف العنف واستخدام الأسلحة نرى أن جميع الجهات الخارجية تنتقد هذه الجهود بشكل دائم وتقول إنها قليلة أو متأخرة أو غير كافية موضحا بمعنى آخر بأنها لا تعترف بها”.

وحول ما تورده بعض وسائل الإعلام عن أعداد القتلى في سورية قال نوفاك: “هذا جزء من الصورة وفقا لطرف واحد فقط مضيفا ليس هناك تقارير لجهات حيادية وبنفس الوقت يوجد تقارير أخرى بأرقام أخرى”.

وأضاف مدير معهد غوته بدمشق: “يوجد أرقام تم احصاؤها من خارج البلاد وأرقام أخرى جمعت من داخل البلاد حول عدد الضحايا في سورية وثمة مصادر من الجهات الرسمية السورية تقول إن هناك نحو 2500 قتيل من الجنود وقوات الأمن ويوجد تقارير عن عدد القتلى بشكل عام ولا أعرف مدى دقتها”.

وحول رؤيته لسير الأمور في سورية مستقبلا قال نوفاك: “منذ أيام قرأت في الموقع الالكتروني لمجلة دير شبيغل أن بعض الدول العربية رصدت مبلغ مئة مليون دولار للمعارضة في سورية وبهذا المال سوف يتم تمويل شراء اسلحة ومقاتلين وتحفيز المعارضة موضحا أن هذا ليس هو الطريق الصحيح”.

وأكد نوفاك “أن الطريق الصحيح لإنهاء العنف وحل المشكلة في سورية هو بالحوار بين الأطراف ومنع إرسال أسلحة وأموال ومقاتلين إلى سورية إضافة إلى تهيئة إطار وجاهزية للحوار من كلا الطرفين”.

وأكد نوفاك “ان الغالبية في سورية ترغب في حل الأزمة بوجود الحكومة وتريد الرئيس بشار الأسد”.

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April 18th, 2012, 12:30 am


181. jad said:

Dear Zoo,

I read somewhere that Clinton and Oglu will attend.

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April 18th, 2012, 12:34 am


182. MICHEL said:

Huh ??? [ … ] What’s wrong with admitting the truth about the regime? Jad, your opinion is that the FSA are terrorists, ok, but [ … ] there’s nothing wrong with admitting we are stuck between two beasts, the filthy regime and the current opposition.

Do you really believe that this regime wants the best for the country, that this army is “jesh lwatan” rather than “jesh lnizam”, etc ??

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April 18th, 2012, 12:38 am


183. ann said:

‘No side is interested in long-term ceasefire in Syria’ – 18 April, 2012

But Prof. David Gibbs, a historian from the University of Arizona, is skeptical about the truce and believes that none of the major factions are interested in a long-term ceasefire.

He claims there is not much resolve on the part of Western powers to make it stick. Despite the ceasefire the Western powers have mostly lost interest in the idea of negotiated settlements, Gibbs believes. “Since the end of the Cold War the United States and to some extent the NATO allies have seen the desirability of brute force instead of diplomacy. Diplomacy is often discouraged as an act of cowardice and ineffectual activity.”

As for the rebels, they are committed to bringing the West into the conflict as combatants, which means they are not interested in a long-term ceasefire. They want to settle the crisis on the battlefield on the assumption that the West will enter the conflict.

Prof. Gibbs warns that the outcome of the Syrian conflict could be far more complicated and destructive than was the case in the Libyan scenario.

The US and its allies have committed their credibility and prestige to regime change in Syria, and should Bashar Assad’s regime prevail in spite of the sanctions and “non-lethal aid” to the rebels, the West will look weak and will try to escalate the conflict just to maintain US and NATO credibility, Gibbs concludes.


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April 18th, 2012, 12:39 am


184. jad said:

Very good interview with Jihad Makdissi, however, CBS only showed 20sec out of almost 20min interview, yet they keep whining that there are no press in Syria….

Isn’t it obvious that the mainstream media reporters are not interested in hearing the answers of their questions or to know anything about the truth…the reporter is not even listening of what Jihad is saying, she keeps ignoring every answer he gave her….

CBS Part 1

CBS Part 2

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April 18th, 2012, 12:55 am


185. Mina said:

The focus of some comments on “Bashar and Asma the evils” is so childish, almost unbelievable. As if in any country some people could be good and other bad, as simple as that, and not that it just says something of the whole people, who can easily have both sides in one family. Who were the good and the bad ones in Lebanon? is this a sign that most people here are too young to remember?
Just watch A. Wajda’s masterpiece on Katyn to learn about grey.

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April 18th, 2012, 6:04 am


186. Mina said:

166 “I always wondered about the no smile attitude in Syria”

I guess we didn’t visit the same country. Some should try to put a foot out of the Shraton, Hilton and Four Seasons.

Sorry to affirm it again but this is cheap PR propaganda to depict Syria as another North Korea.

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April 18th, 2012, 6:13 am


188. Mina said:

Free comment from the Atimes:

How the Arab Spring was sapped dry
By Ismael Hossein-zadeh

“Within the first few months of 2011, the United States and its allies lost three loyal “friends”: Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, Zine el-Abbidine Ben Ali in Tunisia and Saad Hariri in Lebanon. While Mubarak and Ali were driven out of power by widespread popular uprisings, Hariri was ousted by the parliament.

Inspired by these liberating developments, pro-democracy rebellions against autocratic rulers (and their Western backers) soon spread to other countries such as Bahrain, Yemen, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

As these revolutionary developments tended to politically benefit

the “axis of resistance” (consisting of Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas) in the Middle East, the US-Israeli “axis of aggression” and their client states in the region mounted an all-out counterrevolutionary offensive.

Caught off-guard by the initial wave of the Arab Spring in Egypt and Tunisia, the US and its allies struck back with a vengeance. They employed a number of simultaneous tactics to sabotage the Arab Spring. These included: (1) instigating fake instances of the Arab Spring in countries that were/are headed by insubordinate regimes such as those ruling Iran, Syria and Libya; (2) co-opting revolutionary movements in countries such as Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen; (3) crushing pro-democracy movements against “friendly” regimes ruling countries such as Bahrain, Jordan and Saudi Arabia “before they get out of hand,” as they did in Egypt and Tunisia; and (4) using the age-old divide and rule trick by playing the sectarian trump card of Sunnis vs. Shi’ites, or Iranians vs. Arabs. (…)”

The author refers to this interesting guy and his Oct 2011 article, still very valuable

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April 18th, 2012, 6:39 am


189. bronco said:

#182 Jad

The FOS meeting has been shrouded with mystery and lack of information, probably because it had a low and low key attendance.
I have not seen any news saying that Oglu and Clinton attended the “FOS’ meeting held on the 17 but they may attend the dinner organized by Juppe for the 19th with only 14 foreign ministers.

To be confirmed today wednesday.

Don’t worry, I think the moderator is overwhelmed by his job and his impatience is sometimes blurring his observations.

I forgive him his occasional unjustified accusations.

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April 18th, 2012, 8:58 am


190. Tara said:


There is new post.

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April 18th, 2012, 9:07 am


191. Mawal95 said:

Commenter Mohammed Kanj says at #68 :

Mr landis keeps mentioning that the elite businessman and army units r loyal to the teeth with the syrian govt along with the majority of minorities and sunni middle class. So explain how u can smirk on tv and say that the govt will fall in a few years? Give us a detailed explaination. Instead of posting baseless and meaningless articles on the syrian issue, can u base ur arguements on some facts? Guess not mr landis.

Joshua Landis does not practice evidence-based reasoning.

After I look at the evidence on my own, I find some of Joshua’s assertions and expectations are right and some are wrong. However, many of the ones that are right have the same epistemological or substantive-content status as the ones that are wrong, because Joshua doesn’t demonstrate their correctness, doesn’t try to lay out the breadth and depth of the correctness. He just pontificates his ipse dixit; .

In the above video interview on RussiaToday, Joshua said: “Syria’s problem is that it does not have a strong sense of national community. A minority rules. We’re going to see that minority fall I believe in the next several years.”

On 12 May 2011 Joshua said: “Syria’s great weakness is its lack of unity.” On 15 Jun 2011 Joshua said: “There is not going to be any package of reforms that is going to save this regime…. Eventually the Alawite rule of Syria is going to collapse. It is going to be replaced by Sunni rule.”

On 9 Aug 2011 Joshua said: “Building national unity is a long and painful process…. Syria’s chronic failing is that it lacks a deeply shared sense of political community.” If that were true, it’d be important. I find it’s false. I’ve presented plenty of the evidence why it’s false, such as the evidence that the majority of the Sunni clerics in Syria have supported this past year’s reforms under the government’s leadership and have opposed any other pathway to reforms, , .

Joshua has never, to my knowledge, tried to present evidence to support his claim that Syria lacks a strong sense of national political community. He’s had constant opportunities to present it and has never delivered. To be reasonable it would be necessary to deliver because there’s so much evidence against it, and because it’s denied by so many well-informed people, including SANA, Walid Al-Moallem, Mohammad al-Shaar, and apparently Mohammed Kanj.

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April 18th, 2012, 11:40 am


192. jad said:

[ Green Update Symbol Updated from 2012/04/17 at 11:09 am, with picture added.]

NCB sit-in in Damascus today, it was peaceful with banners calling for Syrian people’s unity, for Freedom and Democracy, and for the rejection of Sectarianism and Violence, the police and the security didn’t touch any of these brave Syrians in the sit-in in Alfa7ameh in Damascus. I think NCB are the real national opposition.

NCB demonstrate unmolested in Damascus

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April 18th, 2012, 7:57 pm


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