The New Syrian Constitution Draft Discussed

 The New Syrian Constitution Draft has some important changes which are discussed below in the form of a debate between friends that has been copied from an email discussion.

Article 8 Removed

Article 8 was the most contested article of the 1973 constitution. It states that the Baath Party must be the leader of both society and the state.

The Parliament must include at least 50% workers and farmers, whose defining characteristics will be define.

The quota established for 50% workers and peasants in the parliament was added in a deal with the Baath Party leadership in order to get article 8 removed.

Friend 1 writes:

As I expected, the parliament, or majlis al shaab, is now the new Baath Party. Anyone who wants to run against a sitting president has to get 35 members to agree to write his name. Who can be a member of the majlis? Now the majlis al shaab has become the next God who will decide who can become a president and half by law are workers and farmers… Good stuff.”

Another friends responds:

I am surprised you are not acknowledging and celebrating these two accomplishments, and are instead nitpicking on the mechanism of how a president is nominated…. Every country has specific rules. Look at the electoral college in the US…..”

Friend 1 writes:

So Bashar thinks that no Syrian who has lived outside the country for 10 years prior to putting his name is good enough to be president? Shame. Burhan Ghalioun is out. Anyone who wants to become a President cannot have duel citizenship.

Another friends responds

As for the 10 year living in Syria condition, you need to remember how paranoid we are about foreign intervention. This paranoia is not exactly without any basis. We don’t want a Saad Hariri to be dropped from among the Syrians living in Saudi Arabia with 3 billion dollars to spend on his campaign.

Friend 1 writes:

Oh, so its OK for the Baath to drop the 3 billion? why? Because they are inside and hence more wataniyeen (nationalist)?

A friend Writes:

As for the 10 year living in Syria condition, you need to remember how paranoid we are about foreign intervention. This paranoia is not exactly without any basis. We dont want a Saad Hariri to be dropped from among the Syrians living in Saudi Arabia with 3 billion dollars to spend on his campaign.

Article 3 stays:

It is the article that states the President must be a Muslim.

A friend Writes:

I think there are big items that should be looked at, removing article 8, dropping socialism from the constitution  .. etc. This is a big country with 23 million people from different  ethnic and political background, no draft will ever satisfy all. And when I think of the hard liners who never wanted to give an inch … They had written a constitution to secure their monopoly on power….
A friend Writes:
The Baath party will be subjected to the same constraints regarding upper limits on spending like any other party.  Members of parliament will be elected by the people, there will be many independents and many members of new parties … 35 is not such an impossible requirement. It just says that you will not have 50 candidates but perhaps 3 or 4.
Friend 1 writes:
I read the new constitution twice. Bashar will effectively be the president till 2028.
A friend Writes:
He is not interested beyond 2021 and he is aware that he might not be able to govern beyond 2014. I think we all should celebrate a mile stone. Those who oppose Bashar should now work through the system to defeat him in 2014.
A friend Writes:

“your focus was on article 8 you always said they won’t remove it. They did ! You cared about the economy and how state monopoly and subsidies are destroying the country, they removed socialism from the constitution!

Friend 1 writes:
1- socialism is gone. Yes. I am happy. But names are not enough. In one article they talk about supporting both public and private sectors.
1- يقوم الاقتصاد الوطني على أساس تنمية النشاط الإقتصادي العام والخاص
– تكفل الدولة حماية المنتجين والمستهلكين وترعى التجارة والإستثمار وتمنـع الإحتكار فـي مختلف المجـالات الإقتصادية وتعمل على تطوير الطاقات البشرية وتحمي قوة العمل، بما يخدم الإقتصاد الوطني.
staying on economics, if the constitution would prevent monopolies, Cham Holding and Syriatel and all other monopolies-duopolies-oligopolies must be dismantled. They are here protecting producers and consumers (possible?). Surely by protecting local producers, you are harming consumers and vice-versa.2- Article 8 is gone. Yes, I am happy. But look at the replacement. We moved into the Mubarak model. The people supposedly choose the members of majlis al shaab. Why have the majlis al shaab pick a candidate for president? This is where the Lebanese are. We are advancing to their level. Are you happy with that?

3- لمادة الثانية والخمسون بعد المئة
لا يجوز لمن يحمل جنسية أخرى، إضافة للجنسية العربية السورية، أن يتولى مناصب رئيس الجمهورية أو نائبه أو رئيس مجلس الوزراء أو نوابه أو الوزراء أوعضوية مجلس الشعب أو عضوية المحكمة الدستورية العليا.
This means that no one with a dual citizenship can get involved in anything. Why? Am i not watani (patriotic) if i have another passport? None of the talented Syrians with dual nationalities will be able to help this country ever. On top of that:
– أن يكون مقيماً في الجمهورية العربية السورية لمدة لا تقل عن عشرة سنوات إقامة دائمة متصلة عند تقديم طلب الترشيح.
Again, the Baath has destroyed this country’s economy and sent many Syrians outside. Now, none can ever dream of becoming a president unless they stayed there. Why? We claim we are secular. Syrian Christians excluded of course from the highest office. The Islamists would be angry? So? we fight them everywhere but yield on this?

4- – يَرأس مجلس القضاء الأعلى رئيس الجمهورية، ويُبين القانون طريقة تشكيله واختصاصاته وقواعد سير العمل فيه.
The separation of executive and legislative sides is over right here. The President also picks them and they stay for 4 years while he stays for 7. He is always in control therefore.
لا يحق للمحكمة الدستورية العليا أن تنظر في دستورية القوانين التي يطرحها رئيس الجمهورية على الاستفتاء الشعبي وتنال موافقة الشعب.

5-رئيس الجمهورية غير مسؤول عن الأعمال التي يقوم بها في مباشرة مهامه إلا في حالة الخيانة العظمى


6- رئيس مجلس الوزراء ونوابه والوزراء مسؤولون مدنياً وجزائياً وفقاً للقانون.

7-يتولى رئيس الجمهورية سلطة التشريع خارج دورات انعقاد مجلس الشعب، أ


8- لا يجوز تعديل هذا الدستور قبل مرور ثمانية عشر شهراً على تاريخ نفاذه.
Once this passes, no one can change till next 18 months which means after the summer of 2014, when the current term of the president ends.

How do we know he will run again?

9- تنتهي مدة ولاية رئيس الجمهورية الحالي بانقضاء سبع سنوات ميلادية من تاريخ أدائه القسم الدستوري رئيساً للجمهورية، وله حق الترشح مجدداً لمنصب رئيس الجمهورية وتسري عليه أحكام المادة / 88 / من هذا الدستور اعتباراً من الانتخابات الرئاسية القادمة.

10- Article 88 is back to 40 years old and is where all other 4 points need to be satisfied

شترط في المرشح إلى منصب رئيس الجمهورية ما يأتي:
1- أن يكون متماً الأربعين عاماً من عمره.
2- أن يكون متمتعاً بالجنسية العربية السورية بالولادة، من أبوين متمتعين بالجنسية العربية السورية بالولادة.
3- أن يكون متمتعاً بحقوقه المدنية والسياسية، وغير محكوم بجرم شائن ولو رد إليه اعتباره.
4- أن لا يكون متزوجاً من غير سورية.
5- أن يكون مقيماً في الجمهورية العربية السورية لمدة لا تقل عن عشرة سنوات إقامة دائمة متصلة عند تقديم طلب الترشيح.

يشترط في المرشح الى منصب الجمهورية ما يأتي :
1 – ان يكون متماً الاربعين عاماً من عمره .
2 – ان يكون متمتعاً بالجنسية العربية السورية بالولادة من ابوين متمتعين بالجنسية العربية السورية بالولادة .
3 – ان يكون متمتعاً بحقوقه المدنية و السياسية و غير محكوم بجرم شائن و لو رد اليه اعتباره .
4 – ان لا يكون متزوجاً من غير سورية .
5 – ان يكون مقيماً في الجمهورية العربية السورية لمدة لا تقل عن عشرة سنوات اقامة دائمة متصلة عند تقديم طلب الترشيح .
المادة الخامسة و الثمانون
يكون الترشيح لمنصب رئيس الجمهورية وفق الاتي :
1 – يدعو رئيس مجلس الشعب لانتخاب رئيس الجمهورية قبل انتهاء ولاية الرئيس القائم في مدة لا تقل عن ستين يوماً و لا تزيد عن تسعين يوماً .
2 – يقدم طلب الترشيح الى المحكمة الدستورية العليا و يسجل في سجل خاص و ذلك خلال مدة عشرة ايام من تاريخ اعلان الدعوة لانتخاب الرئيس .
3 – لا يقبل طلب الترشيح الا اذا كان طالب الترشيح حاصلاً على تأييد خطي لترشيحه من خمسة و ثلاثين عضواً على الاقل من اعضاء مجلس الشعب و لا يجوز لعضو مجلس الشعب ان يمنح تأييده الا لمرشح واحدة .
4 – يتم فحص طلبات الترشيح من قبل المحكمة الدستورية العليا و يبت فيها خلال خمسة ايام تلي المدة المحددة لتسجيلها .
5 – اذا لم تتوافر الشروط المطلوبة للترشيح سوى بمرشح واحد خلال المهلة المحددة يتوجب على رئيس مجلس الشعب الدعوة لفتح باب الترشيح مجدداً وفق الشروط ذاتها .

المادة الستون
1 – يحدد بقانون نظام انتخاب أعضاء مجلس الشعب و عددهم و الشروط الواجب توفرها في المرشحين .
2 – يجب أن يكون نصف أعضاء مجلس الشعب على الأقل من العمال و الفلاحين و يبين القانون تعريف العامل و الفلاح.

مشروع الدستور الجديد يخلو من دور قيادي لحزب البعث

(دي برس) يخلو مشروع الدستور الجديد لسورية من ذكر اي دور قيادي لحزب البعث العربي الاشتراكي بحسب نص المشروع الذي نشرته وكالة الانباء الرسمية (سانا). وتذكر المادة الثامنة من مشروع الدستور ان “النظام السياسي للدولة يقوم على التفاصيل

Comments (167)

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151. Juergen said:


I have a friend who lives near Tartous in an marvellous village, this village has really some magic for me. He is an art teacher, an sensitive guy who cares alot for the arts. He lives with his wife and his children in a small house, they live upstairs, the cattle in the basement. We had an longer conversation and he explained to me how much painful it is for him to be an art-teacher under this regime. For the school director art class is just a waste of time he told me.

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February 16th, 2012, 12:05 pm


152. zoo said:

Arm the Syrian opposition now!

By Tariq Alhomayed

This is a message to all the “friends of the Syrian people” to call on them to arm the Syrian opposition…and arm them now! Don’t stop at saying that arming the Syrian opposition is one of the options, for now is not the time for rebuking China, as US president [Barack Obama] did yesterday, nor is it time to investigate the Russian “price”, rather it is time to stop the al-Assad aggression, and this is something that will only be achieved by arming the Syrian opposition, particularly as nobody intends to intervene to stop the al-Assad killing machine

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February 16th, 2012, 12:09 pm


153. zoo said:

“Friends of Syria” to secure international support for Arab initiative

By Sawsan Abu-Husain

Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat-Informed Arab sources have revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat that the friends of Syria conference, scheduled for the 24th of February, aims to secure international support for the Arab initiative after the UN Security Council failed to pass a resolution because of the Russian and Chinese veto. The sources said that the conference, which is expected to be attended by a large number of Arab and international parties, will be held under a French-Turkish-Tunisian chairmanship. The sources added: “We expect a change in the Russian stand” on the veto that blocks a UN resolution to stop the bloodshed in Syria.

Meanwhile, Arab League Deputy Secretary General Ahmad Bin-Hilli said the Arab League is not the organizer of the conference of the friends of Syria and that the league received an invitation only to attend, just like any other Arab or regional organization.

Tunisian sources said the friends of Syria conference will discuss three key moves, securing full international backing for the Arab solution plan, complete solidarity with the Syrian people, ending the fighting and violence, and taking the Syrian armed forces out of the equation in order to reach the stage of political settlement, in addition to denouncing all forms of violence that led to the destruction of residential neighborhoods in Syria.
In reply to a question as to whether the conference will discuss only the issue of supporting the Arab initiative, Bin-Hilli said: “There may be other means to help emerge from the crisis, halt the violence, and stop the bloodshed of the Syrian people.”

Answering a question on the establishment of forces to achieve a ceasefire, he said: “Such action requires Syrian approval and a UN Security Council resolution because it will involve logistical and security obligations.”

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February 16th, 2012, 12:11 pm


154. Mawal95 said:

@ Bronco, Irritated: I’m taking it you don’t know how the “workers and peasants” clause of the Constitution operates in practice in the current Parliament. Do you have any surfing ideas about where one can find out the arcane details?

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February 16th, 2012, 12:11 pm


155. irritated said:

#152 Juergen

“how much painful it is for him to be an art-teacher under this regime. For the school director art class is just a waste of time he told me.”

Don’t let me cry…
The villages around Tartous are rural, it is not expected to have a vibrant art life. Damascus has art galleries, an opera and several theaters. Most ‘Arab countries don’t.
In any case , except for Syria, Arab governments play almost no role in arts development and promotion.
Do you know how many films are produced in Tunisia, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait.. less than 5 per year
Do you know how many films are produced in the ‘authoritarian” regime of Iran : more than 70 per year with the active help of the state. One of the film “The Separation’ is a candidate to an Oscar.
The Soviet Union authoritarian regime encouraged arts much more than ‘democratic’ Russia does now.
Art has nothing to do with ‘regimes’…

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February 16th, 2012, 12:21 pm


156. Revlon said:

140. Dear Majedkhaldoun:
((Revlon: this is what is wrong about democracy, democracy measures the average people, with no distinction between wise and intelligent and those who are unintelligent who follow their emotion and sectarian or religious preference, or those who failed in real life compare to those who were very successful, we should not equate dumm and smart and give them equal power to make a decision. we should not equate active and lazy persons.)).

Jr could not have agreed with you more on this!
He actually used this argument to declare Syrians not ready for democracy!

Wisdom, intelligence, and education do not always overlap.
Jr is unquestionably educated, probably intelligent but can hardly described as wise.
A schoolboy, an illiterate farmer, or a labourer with average education yet blessed with wisdom, had they been presented with Jr’s predicament in the first days of the Syrian uprising could have easily made a much wiser choice.

According to the Noble Quran, the practice of democracy (Ash-Shoura) is a defining attribute of a Muslem faithful (Mu2men). The following is a verse from a chapter titled Ash-Shura (The Consultation). The verse is one of several consecutive ones that enumerates the attributes of the Muslem faithful:
( وَالَّذِينَ اسْتَجَابُوا لِرَبِّهِمْ وَأَقَامُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَأَمْرُهُمْ شُورَى بَيْنَهُمْ وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ يُنفِقُونَ (42:38)
42:38 Those who hearken to their Lord, and establish regular Prayer; who (conduct) their affairs by mutual Consultation; who spend out of what We bestow on them for Sustenance; )

As you see, God did not set any conditions for the process of consultation /democracy. There is no age, gender, professional, wisdom, or intelligence limit.

Here I would like to draw a distinction between human rights, and privilege rights.
All human beings are entitled to equal human rights
Human beings attain privilege rights commensurate with how useful they can prove themselves to others.
A successful executive could lead an international corporation and have a say in the choices of thousands of peoples, including the way they may vote in an election!

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February 16th, 2012, 12:23 pm


157. zoo said:

Judicial probe says Iraqi VP Hashemi behind death squads
LARA JAKES, Associated Press

BAGHDAD (AP) — An Iraqi judicial panel said Thursday that Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi and his employees ran death squads that for years carried out deadly attacks on security officials and Shiite pilgrims.

The nine-judge committee’s findings, which are not legally binding, offered the first independent assessment of a case that has touched off a political crisis along sectarian lines and nearly brought the Iraqi government’s work to a halt. Al-Hashemi has denied the allegations, and accuses Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of coordinating a smear campaign as part of a power grab.

Iraqi Supreme Judicial Council spokesman Abdul-Sattar Bayrkdar said the investigating panel found at least 150 cases where either al-Hashemi, his bodyguards or other employees were linked to attacks ranging from roadside bombs to assassinations against security officials and Shiite pilgrims.

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February 16th, 2012, 12:37 pm


158. Atheist Syrian Salafist Against Dictatorships said:

@149 “I think history will be much less kind to a lot of anti-regime people that instead of trying to find a political compromise solution that could have saved lives, have engaged in escalating confrontations while looking for the uncompromising reward of revenge in toppling the regime without any consideration of the human costs.”

I really can’t believe my eyes. Now the “mumana3a” cheerleaders are using a carbon copy of Israeli logic and mis-information tactics employed with the Palestinians. It runs like this: ” We are such a misunderstood government/regime, if you go out to protest and ask for your rights we will arrest you, torture you, even shoot you and if you complain then you are escalating the situation, being confrontational and uncompromising, which therefore gives us the right to employ more violence against you. If our violent reaction leads you to lose all confidence in us, refuse dialogue and start calling for a different government/regime we will ratchet up the violence even more AND blame you for the human “costs” and mayhem which WE caused! That will teach you to complain!”

Must not forget that the Assadist mafia troops have also been using local civilians as human shields, and from the very start of the uprising used such tactics as collective punishment, taking family members hostage and house demolitions to punish protesters and their families and teach the localities a lesson. Sound familiar?

Some Mumana3a regime this is!

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February 16th, 2012, 12:42 pm


159. irritated said:

@159. Atheist Syrian Salafist Against Dictatorships

Don’t misunderstand me, history will be harsh on the regime too, but it will not exonerate the anti-regime of all the strategic errands, mistakes and stubborness they did and still do that is costing human lives.

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February 16th, 2012, 12:54 pm


160. zoo said:

Pro-Assad Imam shot dead in Damascus
Published: 16 February, 2012, 18:19

A leading religious figure has been assassinated in the conservative Midan area of the Syrian capital Damascus. RT`s Maria Finoshina reporting from the scene says the imam was shot five times.

­The name of the imam has not yet been disclosed, but it is reported that he was 36 and had a PhD in Sharia. Some think the religious leader was killed because of his strong pro-Assad position.
Members of the opposition also live in the area and so tension there has been high, our correspondent reports.

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February 16th, 2012, 12:59 pm


161. Tara said:


There is a new post. Check it out.

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February 16th, 2012, 1:03 pm


162. Juergen said:


So you claim arts has nothing to do with regimes. I disaggree strongly. I believe art does not have borders, a regime can nevre accept that. How come no author is world wide known who still lives in Syria. Those known to the world have exiled themselves from this regime which is so “artfriendly”
I know the galleries in Damascus, still no art like in Beirut or in Amman can be seen there, like Mona Hatoums single exhibition in Amman, unthinkable in Syria. I know a famous sculptor in Syria, he had to make “free” sculptures of the late Hafez, otherwise his career would have surely ended. He later confessed its the most ugly work i have done. Sorry but this regime has corrupted not only on the usual levels but also on the arts, its an desaster. Imagine Syria with all those artists in exile.

You know better, and come on the opera house is not even a decade old, neither are most galleries. Syria was even more under the cheese dome.

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February 16th, 2012, 1:05 pm


163. sam said:

Why are all you people haters!!?? First off, syria is not america!! Its been occupied by foreign powers for hundreds of years, any form of democracy in the mid east is rare, to non exsistant. You talk of article 8?? Why not talk about the patriot act ?? Alleast there is no more emergency law!! We as americans now have it!!

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February 16th, 2012, 1:15 pm


164. irritated said:


“How come no author is world wide known who still lives in Syria”.

Most Arab writers have left their country not because of the ‘regime’ but because Arab countries who are mostly conservative are usually suspicious of literature and arts in general except singers and cinemas.
In addition many syrian writers are not translated so they are not known ‘world wide’ and funnily Rafik Schami is NOT known in Syria as much as he is in Germany.
All Syrians cinema directors still live in Damascus. Many famous Syrian painters too. Check this site for some Syrian artists living in Syria and abroad.

All Syrian actors live in Syria. All Syrian music composers live in Syria.
As for literarure, it has nothing to do with the ‘regime’:
Amin Maaluf lives in France
Taha Hussein lived in France
Tahar Ben Jelloun lives in France
So please stop findind any remote reason to put the blame on Syria’s regime of a problem all Arab countries suffer of.

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February 16th, 2012, 5:13 pm


165. Uzair8 said:

Some advice to Syrians from Sheikh Imran Hosein, end time prophecy specialist.

He was previously harsh against the Libyan uprising calling them sheep and idiotic. He was skeptical of the Syrian uprising* although he expressed sympathy and understanding aknwledging the Sunni majority had been brutally oppressed for 40 years by the minority ruling power.

Note: In the following video the Sheikh claims that the muslims will make an alliance with Russia. Others (incl. myself) claim the alliance will be with the US/West.

* From Tripoli to Damascus (already posted some months ago)

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February 16th, 2012, 7:48 pm


166. Moses kestenbaum ODA said:

The butcher of syria could not be trusted to write a constitution. A dictator who has killed over ten thousand of his own sisters and brothers should go to the gallows not write constitutions. Bashar assad is a gangster

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February 16th, 2012, 10:53 pm


167. jake said:

125. Juergensaid: Danny Abdul Dayem flees to Lebanon
“We arrested five Iranian soldiers in Homs since about one and a half months “said Dayem. Iranian officers were commanding Syrian forces.

Is it those same iranian ‘soldiers’ who happen to have the same name as those power plant workers in homs who were kidnapped at just about the same time (i.e. one and half months ago)?

seems like the revolutionaries (i.e. SNC lackeys, or FSA) were finding it difficult to find iranian ‘mercenaries’, ‘soldiers’, ‘security’ etc. that they had to now go to desperate measures of faking proof and gathering false evidences, like kidnapping iranian workers and male pilgrims, and posting staged/coerced videos (not much different from videos of ‘confessions’ from dissidents on iranian and syrian state tv).


@Tara maybe he’s emphatic about IRGC lack of involvement, because there isn’t any solid irrefutable proof? i’ve heard authors like robert fisk say that assad regime hires syrian/non-syrian kurds to help crush the uprising, and since they speak kurdish (similar to farsi, incomprehensible to arabs) – arabs point to the language they dont understand and claim ‘look they speak farsi’ or ‘look they’re iranian’. I found it surprising that it took 10-11 months (since the uprising began) for the revolutionaries to find (or create, make-up) proof of iranian forces/soldiers involvement in the supression/crackdown. compare that to libya where the revolutionaries found and presented proof of sub-saharan/black mercenaries working for gaddafi WITHIN WEEKS (i.e. less than a month), and we all know that gaddafi had much less support than assad (and a much weaker army, which is why he relied on mercenaries/security-forces).

I’m not saying that iranian forces arent helping syrians in crushing revolt, most likely they are advising (like qasem suleimani did) or giving some equipment (like usa did and still does to egyptian/bahraini security forces). What i find hard to believe is that iranian forces/soldiers are on the ground with syrian soldiers, security members and ordering/commanding the crackdown/revolt/assault on the opposition (i.e. actively).
Its as hard to believe as the claim made by protestors during the 2009 post-election crackdown who said that syrian arab and lebanese hezbollah were involved and helping in crackdown (ignoring the fact that there are arabs IN IRAN in ahwaz and on persian gulf coast on iran). Sorry but unless the opposition/protestors/rebels/etc. provides solid proof of iranian involvement (i.e. no coersion, showing them in action, presenting actual cards as opposed to civilian passports and fake ids), i wont believe it. Syria has enough people who support (or are neutral to) the assad regime (i.e. alawite, christian, ismaili, druze, kurd, lots of sunni arabs) and an even more larger number of people who are apathetic and willing to do any work for money, they dont need outside forces to help them crush the revolution since syrians can do it themselves.

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February 17th, 2012, 12:20 pm


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