The Opposition Grows in Confidence and Numbers

Lots of deaths in Homs today. Still trying to sort out who is responsible for the killing.

From a Reader:

Dear Joshua,

I am an avid reader of your blog, especially during these times, with the questionable news reports and media coverage. I have few comments about the recent updates in the situation in Syria. While I agree with you that the speech sounded very positive, and I think that President Assad did a good job approaching the situation. However, I would like to reference the progressive course of events, local reactions, and long term considerations. Admittedly, there is a large population in Syria that does not support the regime, but they would prefer stability, and a safer Syria. They believe that sectarian strife will take over Syria if these protests are to continue. Therefore, this group will find the president’s speech promising, and they will conclude that the protests should be over now. They are mostly upper-middle class city residents. The rest of the angry people will not see the speech as promising. At this point, expressed by many close friends in Syria, they do not take Assad’s seriously, nor do they believe true Assad promises will yield a lift for the emergency life. Their evidence is the continuous crack down on the protesters after the speech today. One of my close friends in Homs stated that over 25 people were killed today. He went to the hospital to donate blood, and the security forces forbade him and many others from doing so. Another close friend, who is currently in Daraa on his military service, has reported serious divisions in the military. He said that soldiers are being moved from their original bases to other parts of the country, because they did not follow orders.

Generally, the atmosphere continues to be extremely tense. I have observed friends move from one side to the other, and I think the opposition is growing slowly but surely. Assad’s move was in the right direction. But if he does not stop the killings, it will not ring true. Young people have changed after these events in Syria. When the protests began, I had a firm belief that Syria is not ready to revolt against the regime. The youth were not politically engaged. Political life, as you know, was not a part of the daily discourse. I think young people are getting a crash course of political engagement. The opposition is moving from the most desperate groups, to the college students, intellectuals, etc. It is no longer limited in the country side as we have been observing before.

Basically, I think the few next days are going to be very essential in the future of this movement. Assad’s effort are appearing more genuine. Will it convince people who are witnessing a wave of political empowerment? Will they forget the intensive killings? Will the military stand strong? According to local people, their answer is no.

Finally, many thanks to you efforts to keep us updated on this situation. I am a young Syrian. I am not pro the regime, but I am looking at things critically.

A friend driving from Hama to Banyas on small roads reports that:

“it was like every village had there own checkpoint, some very friendly, some kind of shady, all wanting to see i.d. Don’t know why they were so nervous, and downright unfriendly in some towns. But today in the mountains near Qadmus (and we went down to some 30 km before Banyas) people were a lot more easy-going.

U.S. secretly backed Syrian opposition groups, cables released by WikiLeaks show

The State Department has secretly financed Syrian political opposition groups and related projects, including a satellite TV channel that beams anti-government programming into the country, according to previously undisclosed diplomatic cables.

The London-based satellite channel, Barada TV, began broadcasting in April 2009 but has ramped up operations to cover the mass protests in Syria as part of a long-standing campaign to overthrow the country’s autocratic leader, Bashar al-Assad…

Barada TV is closely affiliated with the Movement for Justice and Development, a London-based network of Syrian exiles. Classified U.S. diplomatic cables show that the State Department has funneled as much as $6 million to the group since 2006 to operate the satellite channel and finance other activities inside Syria. The channel is named after the Barada River, which courses through the heart of Damascus, the Syrian capital.

The U.S. money for Syrian opposition figures began flowing under President George W. Bush after he effectively froze political ties with Damascus in 2005. The financial backing has continued under President Obama, even as his administration sought to rebuild relations with Assad….

The cables, provided by the anti-secrecy Web site WikiLeaks, show that U.S. Embassy officials in Damascus became worried in 2009 when they learned that Syrian intelligence agents were raising questions about U.S. programs. Some embassy officials suggested that the State Department reconsider its involvement, arguing that it could put the Obama administration’s rapprochement with Damascus at risk.

Syrian authorities “would undoubtedly view any U.S. funds going to illegal political groups as tantamount to supporting regime change,” read an April 2009 cable signed by the top-ranking U.S. diplomat in Damascus at the time. “A reassessment of current U.S.-sponsored programming that supports anti-[government] factions, both inside and outside Syria, may prove productive,” the cable said.

It is unclear whether the State Department is still funding Syrian opposition groups, but the cables indicate money was set aside at least through September 2010. While some of that money has also supported programs and dissidents inside Syria, The Washington Post is withholding certain names and program details at the request of the State Department, which said disclosure could endanger the recipients’ personal safety.

….

But no dissidents inside Syria were willing to take the money, for fear it would lead to their arrest or execution for treason, according to a 2006 cable from the U.S. Embassy, which reported that “no bona fide opposition member will be courageous enough to accept funding.”

Around the same time, Syrian exiles in Europe founded the Movement for Justice and Development. The group, which is banned in Syria, openly advocates for Assad’s removal. U.S. cables describe its leaders as “liberal, moderate Islamists” who are former members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Barada TV

It is unclear when the group began to receive U.S. funds, but cables show U.S. officials in 2007 raised the idea of helping to start an anti-Assad satellite channel.

People involved with the group and with Barada TV, however, would not acknowledge taking money from the U.S. government.

“I’m not aware of anything like that,” Malik al-Abdeh, Barada TV’s news director, said in a brief telephone interview from London.

Abdeh said the channel receives money from “independent Syrian businessmen” whom he declined to name. He also said there was no connection between Barada TV and the Movement for Justice and Development, although he confirmed that he serves on the political group’s board. The board is chaired by his brother, Anas.

“If your purpose is to smear Barada TV, I don’t want to continue this conversation,” Malik al-Abdeh said. “That’s all I’m going to give you.”…

Wikileak: BEHAVIOR REFORM: NEXT STEPS FOR A HUMAN RIGHTS STRATEGY Syria

This cable represents a follow-up to “Re-engaging Syria: Human Rights” (ref A) and outlines ongoing civil society programming in the country, primarily under the auspices of the Bureau of Human Rights and Labor (DRL) and the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI).

….As the Syria policy review moves apace, and with the apparent collapse of the primary Syrian external opposition organization, one thing appears increasingly clear: U.S. policy may aim less at fostering “regime change” and more toward encouraging “behavior reform.” If this assumption holds, then a reassessment of current U.S.-sponsored programming that supports anti-SARG factions, both inside and outside Syria, may prove productive as well.

3. (C) The U.S. attempt to politically isolate the SARG raised stumbling blocks to direct Embassy involvement in civil society programming. As a result, the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) and the Bureau of Human Rights and Labor (DRL) took the lead in identifying and funding civil society and human rights projects. Though the Embassy has had direct input on a few of these efforts, especially with DRL, most of the programming has proceeded without direct Embassy involvement….

In addition to these programs, the Embassy provided input on DRL grants awarded to Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), International War and Peace Reporting (IWPR), and The International Research and Exchange Board (IREX). Though Post does not directly monitor any of these programs, we have appreciated the opportunity to meet with representatives of CIPE and IWPR. —MEPI —

5. (C) In addition to smaller local grants, MEPI sponsors eight major Syria-specific initiatives, some dating back to 2005, that will have received approximately USD 12 million by September 2010. A summary of MEPI produced material on these programs follows:

-Aspen Strategic Initiative Institute, “Supporting Democratic Reform” (USD 2,085,044, December 1, 2005 – December 31, 2009). The institute, situated in Berlin, works with indigenous and expatriate reform-oriented activists and has sponsored conferences in international locations that brought together NGO representatives, media, and human rights activists from the Middle East, Europe, and the U.S., XXXXXXXXXXXX. MEPI noted that “while this program has offered little intrinsic value and will not likely be continued beyond the terms of the grant, XXXXXXXXXXXX.

-Democracy Council of California, “Civil Society Strengthening Initiative (CSSI)” (USD 6,300,562, September 1, 2006 – September 30, 2010). “CSSI is a discrete collaborative effort between the Democracy Council and local partners” that has produced XXXXXXXXXXXX “various broadcast concepts” set to air in April. -Regents of the University of New Mexico, “The Cooperative Monitoring Center-Amman: Web Access for Civil Society Initiatives” (USD 949,920, September 30, 2006 – September 30, 2009). This project established “a web portal” and training in how to use it for NGOs. MEPI noted, “this program has been of minimal utility and is unlikely to be continued beyond the term of the grant.” XXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXX

International Republican Institute (IRI), “Supporting Democratic Reform” (USD 1,250,000, September 30, 2006 August 31, 2009). “The project supports grassroots public awareness campaigns and the conduct and dissemination of public opinion polling research. XXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXX

-MEPI has also proposed continued programming for IRI and the CIPE, as well as supporting independent journalists through joint efforts with NEA/PI.

Challenge Ahead: Programming In Syria

6. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX

7. (S) Regarding the most sensitive MEPI-sponsored programs in Syria, Post has had limited visibility on specific projects, due in no small measure to SARG-imposed constraints. XXXXXXXXXXXX Through the intermediary operations of the Movement for Justice and Development (MJD) (ref B), a London-based moderate Islamist group, MEPI routes money XXXXXXXXXXXX. Our understanding is that the aforementioned Democracy Council grant is used for this purpose and passes the MEPI grant money on to the MJD.

8. (S) XXXXXXXXXXXX 9. (S) XXXXXXXXXXXX The SARG would undoubtedly view any U.S. funds going to illegal political groups as

(Reuters) –

Syrian security forces opened fire on protesters at a funeral on Sunday, witnesses said, and an announcement that President Bashar al-Assad would lift 48-years of emergency rule failed to quell fury on the streets.

Two witnesses said security forces killed three mourners when they opened fire on a funeral for a man killed the day before, which turned into a demonstration on a highway outside the town of Talbiseh, north of the central city of Homs.

One resident said he counted five tanks and saw soldiers wearing combat gear deployed around the town.

Chants at protests on Sunday, Syria’s Independence Day holiday, more hostile toward Assad than at previous marches held in recent weeks, a sign that a promise to lift the country’s hated emergency law had failed to appease the public.

Opposition figures say they believe new laws that will replace the emergency rule are likely to retain severe curbs on political freedoms.

Thousands of demonstrators called for Bashar’s overthrow at another funeral, held in Hirak town northeast of the southern city of Deraaa, for soldier Mohammad Ali Radwan al-Qoman, whose relatives believe he was tortured by the security forces.

“Freedom, freedom Syria, Bashar get out,” people chanted, their slogans audible in a telephone call with one of the mourners at the funeral….

American Thinker: President Bashar al-Assad’s Strategic Mistake, By Patrick J Howie, April 17, 2011

The lessons from the most recent uprisings, as well as from uprisings throughout history indicate that, by offering the promise of reform, President Assad has made a strategic error that will ultimately lead to his downfall.

This is not to say that Assad will lose power immediately, for he has shown a willingness to use significant force against his people. But his recent actions all but guarantee that reform will happen; it is just a matter of time. President Assad’s mistake is quite simple — he acknowledged the arguments of the reformers. Though seemingly innocuous, this was a significant mistake. By promising reform, even if he doesn’t mean it, President Assad has implicitly validated to the Syrian people that the arguments of the democratic reformers have merit….

Syria’s new Minister of the Economy says, “Our Goal is to Raise the Standard of Living of the Citizen – And we will raise it by any means.”

وزير الاقتصاد: هدفنا رفع مستوى معيشة المواطن وسنرفعها بأي طريقة Syria News

استهل وزير الاقتصاد والتجارة محمد نضال الشعار مهامه الحكومية الجديدة بلقاء مجلس إدارة غرفة تجارة حلب، صباح يوم الأحد.

و تم خلال اللقاء عرض بعض الحلول المقترحة لتنشيط الأسواق و الحركة التجارية، مركزين على الإسراع في وضع المخطط التنظيمي لمدينة حلب، و تخفيض الرسوم الجمركية و ضريبة الإنفاق الاستهلاكي على بعض المواد الغذائية وتطبيق الرقابة الفعالة على الأسواق ودعم جمعية حماية المستهلك، وغيرها.

وقال الشعار في تصريح للصحفيين “هدف الوزارة هو خدمة المواطن أولاً وأخيراً، والتعرف على احتياجاته وآماله من خلال التواصل لملامسة معاناة وأوجاع وأحلام وآمال وفرحة الشعب، ويشارك الحكومة في صنع القرار، لكي يشعر المواطن بآماله بصنع مستقبله”.

ووعد الشعار “بتقديم خدمات أفضل للمواطن والتاجر والصناعي بالأصول والمعقول”، قائلاً “لا توجد عندنا معجزات، لكن واجبنا تحضير وصنع القرار والتأكد من تنفيذه ومراقبته بمشاركة المواطن”.

ورداً على الاستفسار حول مطالب المواطنين بما يخص المازوت والنقل الداخلي قال الشعار “سيكون موضوع المازوت والنقل أولوية بالنسبة للحكومة، وهدفنا رفع مستوى معيشة المواطن وسنرفعها بأي طريقة، لكن تلزمنا شراكة وصدق وإخلاص المواطن”.

وفيما يخص احتكار بعض التجار رأى الشعار أنه “من الصعب أن تكون رقيباً على النفس الإنسانية، فلا رقيب على النفس غير الوجدان والضمير والدين والأخلاق، وكحكومة من واجبنا خلق قرارات وبيئة اقتصادية تمنع الغش والاحتكار”.

Reuters: Sunday, April 17, 2011

“They have to have economies that are going to grow 8 percent a year just to sustain unemployment levels,” said Molly Williamson, a former senior U.S. diplomat and defense official. “It’s sort of an ‘Oh, shit’ moment for everyone.” “Area stretching from North Africa to Pakistan would have to create at least 8 million jobs a year just to keep joblessness at current levels — over five times the number of jobs created in the United States in a year.”That’s not going to happen. No matter what regime is in power there is going to be a substantial amount of dissatisfaction”

Nir Rosen’s article on  Sectarianism in the Arab World – Part 1 is Here: Part 2 is Here: Here is the part about Syria:

….Meanwhile demonstrations started in Dar‘a, a Syrian border town close to Jordan. Its residents are chicken farmers or else they work in the Gulf. The town has a history of smuggling. Now demonstrations have spread and the government has responded as harshly as others in the region, killing dozens. Sunnis are the majority in Syria and the regime has crushed the Muslim Brotherhood in the past. They spread to other parts of Syria and the regime responded clumsily and brutally, with violence and the usual accusations of foreign conspiracies. While it is not inevitable, it is very possible that a sectarian civil war will break out in Syria, with all the bloodletting of Iraq. I believe it is likely, should the Syrian regime collapse, and almost guaranteed given the regime’s response to demonstrations. In the end, each side in the confrontation will be increasingly identified with a sect, as in Bahrain.

Across the border, Jordan has a very large proportion of Salafis with a strong social base. Many are jihadists and hate Shiites. Jordanian jihadists who had fought in Afghanistan and Iraq told me that they expected the final battle to occur in Sham, historic Syria. I’ve head the same thing from jihadi Salafis in Lebanon and Iraq. They view the ‘Alawite-dominated Syrian regime as a government of infidel Nuseiris. Sectarian Sunnis in Syria would find it easy to smuggle in weapons from Jordan or Lebanon or simply to reverse the smuggling routes into Iraq’s Anbar province. This could lead to tensions with Hizballah in Lebanon and with the regime in Iraq. Civil war in Syria will spread to Lebanon. Syria is home to both important Sunni and Shiite holy places. Leading Sunni cleric al-Qaradawi gave a sermon on 25 March condemning a Syrian raid on a mosque, which killed opposition demonstrators. The Syrian people treated ‘Alawite Syrian President Asad like he was a Sunni, al-Qaradawi said, but Asad was a prisoner of his entourage and his sect. The ‘Alawite sect controls the government and security forces, Qaradawi added.

The Syrian regime still has means in its disposal to placate demonstrators and control the disparate opposition groups. It has released prisoners, including Islamists, and initiated reforms. And holding back a civil war in Syria might be the knowledge, on all sides, of how bloody it could get. But so far the revolutions have proven impossible to stop, and in Syria it may be impossible to halt the sectarian dynamic that will ensue.

Increasingly even secular Arab Sunnis have adopted the extremist Wahabi views of Shiites. Coexistence is becoming impossible. And when the confrontation happens then the intolerant schools of Islam, such as the Salafis and Wahhabis, will dominate and become the universal Sunni vision of Shiites. Sunnis and Shiites alike are thinking of the conflict more and more as a regional one, with national borders meaning less. There is more violence to come.

Jihad and Sectarianism

حمص- سيرياستيبس

ذكرت شبكة اخبار دمشق أن دعوات الجهاد انطلقت في أكثر من جامع في حمص و الأهالي تتحدث عن جرحى و قتلى في الشوارع و سيارات الإرهاب من الإخوان المسلمين تعيث فساداً وإعلان رسمي عن استشهاد واحد أفراد الأمن.

A friend comments about the above quote from Syria Steps which claims that several mosques in Homs called for “jihad”.

Yes I won’t be surprised. A combination of Qaradawi, MB efficiently active online topped with lack of action and stupid spin by the regime when 3alawi militias (or shabbiha) attack the Sunni village of Baida with videos spreading with claims that the militants who humiliated the peasants there verbally attacked the Sa7aba [The Sahaba are the companions of the Prophet but in this context it means the the rightly guided Caliphs with the exception of Ali, who the Shiites revere. JL]. I blame the regime and only the regime for letting this to go sectarian in some places. Its lack of swift reaction to (or complicity in) the atrocities is to blame.

Muslim Brothers General Guide, Riyad al-Shaqfa, says, “We are among those directing the demonstrations in Syria and participating in them and we will not stop them until the regime falls…..

April 3, 2011 Muslim Brotherhood.

المراقب العام للأخوان المسلمين في سوريا يؤكد ادعاءات النظام السوري حول وقوف”الجماعة”وراء التظاهرات!؟

رياض الشقفة : نحن من يدير المظاهرات في سوريا ونشارك فيها بفعالية ولن نوقفها حتى إسقاط النظام ، والخارجية التركية تحذره من الإضرار بالإصلاحات المنوي إجراؤها في سوريا

Aboud writes:

Fadi, your entire line of discussion is irrelevant. So far the MB have not figured prominently in these protests. They organize nothing, they mobilize no one. Almost all the chants you hear in the streets are calls for freedom and support for the besieged people of Dar’a and Baniyas….

When we see evidence of the MB becoming a prominent force in these demonstrations, then we can discuss the pros and cons of their ideology. But so far, the only role they seem to have is as an invention of the state media, as an ever-present bogy-man.

Sophia writes:

We have to stop being innocents or faking innocence. There will be many acts of revenge perpetrated … I deeply empathize with the plight of those who want change in Syria, but I think their revolution will be hijacked.

The US implemented democracy in Iraq with more than 150000 troops on the ground and because of the continuing sectarian divide look what democracy means in Iraq today:

A Druze kid:

“Nobody is leading us, nobody is making us go to the street,” said Alaa, 24, an English student in As Suwayda who joined the demonstrations for the first time last week. The authorities “are trying to make it religious. But we are not moved by religion. We are moved by freedom, by our sense of humanity.”

Now that he has demonstrated once, he said, he will keep going. “Maybe I will get killed, maybe my brother will get killed,” he said. “But we will not stop.”

Comments (300)


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251. Fadi said:

AIG said “I would love to have peace with with the Syrian people, not the Assad regime that does not represent the people. Once there is a government in Syria that really represents the Syrian people, and this government has a mandate for talking peace with Israel, let talk about peace”.

Wish you luck with that. I believe you would not have an chance achieving it if Radicals prevail. Let us be open, Radical Muslims do not want any Jews on earth, neither they would consider the state of Israel. Your only chance is finding moderate, open minded people to work with, well this is left to the future. I do not have this answer. But I am confident that President Assad was sincere and wants peace…..In your government there were people/loby pro peace with Syria and they admitted in your newspapers that peace was achievable but the conservative party you have did not make that task easy.

We should work hard to purify the world from Radical Islamist. If you believe that you can cut a deal with Hamas who will never ever give up Jerusalem to you then good luck, till now they even do not consider your existence.

You guys look at Iran Syria HA as a big threat and you have all the right to believe in that. Guess what the alternative is nasty. Syria came to the table…it was just logistics that delayed things. The president wants peace. I see you better pray for this regime to stay………….and for the Islamist radicals (that wants to kill jews) to be defeated.

I know you still believe it is a peaceful demonstration. I see that the people are peaceful people being hijacked by a bloody radical agenda that is bringing the region to hell. Will share it i guess since you are close

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April 19th, 2011, 2:40 pm

 

252. Aatssi said:

why-discuss
It was wonderful peaceful grass root protest with a set-in in the square, until Maher Assad men’s and the feared military security personals started this one..

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April 19th, 2011, 2:47 pm

 

253. Qifa Nabki said:

How I have missed Syria Comment.

🙂

What’s interesting to me is that many of those who loved to compare Syria’s “secularism” to Lebanon’s backward sectarianism are now deathly afraid of what sectarianism will bring to Syria. The Assads have tried to drum secularism into Syrian heads for over 40 years. Why are you all so convinced that the country will devolve into sectarian civil war at the drop of a hat?

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April 19th, 2011, 2:50 pm

 

254. jad said:

Is that in Homs too?

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April 19th, 2011, 3:04 pm

 

255. Fadi said:

الثورة السورية يتخفون بلباس المنقبات باللاذقية

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April 19th, 2011, 3:11 pm

 

256. N.Z. said:

FAdi,

Words of disgust cannot truly describe my utter disrespect for your mindset. You are with no doubt a self hating person. Your detest for everything that Syrians’ stands for makes you an outcast from the onset of reading your comments.

Your blind support for anyone delegitimize your obectivity.

Extremism is one thing and religion is another. Islam is not an extremist religion anymore than the other great ones. An extremist can be Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Atheist, Sikh…..

What we have in Syria is an autocratic regime, Baathist regime that metastasized into a radical political movement. Brain washed its adherer… This is extremism. It is in the same way that Wahabism metastasized into a radical reform political party. The first is a secular movement, the latter is a religious movement.

You seem more akin to appease an occupier than to condemn the killings of your innocent countrymen.

I hope we will all grow together and move forward to a brighter future. Without prejudice. Syria is ours. All Syrians have an equal right to advance this great country of ours that we all call home.

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April 19th, 2011, 3:12 pm

 

257. Fadi said:

تظاهرات القطيف تنديداً واإستنكاراً باحداث البحرين

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JJT7opPna8&feature=player_embedded

بالفيديو.. شهيدان سقطا على يد الأمن السوري.. ثم عادا للحياة!

http://www.shukumaku.com/Content.php?id=25931

فضيحة اخرى عن المجازر المزعومة في سورية

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOYx6XVAnIc&feature=player_embedded

العربية تأخذ فيديو من طرابلس لتذيعه على أنه باللاذقيد

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April 19th, 2011, 3:25 pm

 

258. Fadi said:

N.Z. said “Extremism is one thing and religion is another. Islam is not an extremist religion anymore than the other great one”

Please do not put words into my mouth. I am clear what I said and used the term “Radical Islamist” that is used in the news all over the world.Islam is one thing and Radical Islam is something else. I challenge you if you find in any of my blogs that i used anything against Islam as a religion.

I also stated that
“peaceful people being hijacked by a bloody radical agenda”

I hope you join the rest of the world in eradicating Radical Islam. i did not mention Christians, Jews, etc….as they are not the subject of discussion now,,,,they are not hijacking the innocent people in Syria….I only see the stamps of MB and AlQAEDA.

Again be careful……I never and would never ever mention anything about Islam…..Some radical sick and ill minded people using their own interpretation of the Qoran. The Qoran that respected Moses and Jesus, and what is written about both and more prophets has not been written in the bible itself.

I am afraid that you may be part of MB and you found my words a little painful for you ears.

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April 19th, 2011, 3:38 pm

 

259. Off The Wall said:

Face Book Revolutionary Awards
Foul mouth, bullying, street language award: Bashar’s guys
Lack of Organization and Unified Message award: The opposition
Repetition: Tie
Unified, but disgusting message: Bashar’s guys (we’ll do so and so to your mother and sister + lot of shoes placed on heads and in orifice+ he is god)
Toilet mouth: Bashar Guys
Too much prayers: Opposition
Severe Lack of logic: Bashar’s guys
Arrogance: Bashar’s guys
Big money operation: Bashar’s guys
Lack of impacts: Bashar’s guys
Did I say foul mouth: Bashar’s guys
Most despised avatar: Bashar’s guys
What’s not to love. Judging by the language, I am more inclined to believe that Bashar’s guys are the more capable of violence nes and the more organized (centralized operation).

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April 19th, 2011, 3:39 pm

 

260. Dr. Guy said:

SYAU and FADI,

Concerning the prosperity Syria has known under the Assads,
please check out this figure, comparing the growth of income in Israel and Syria since 1948.

http://goo.gl/ZeWmS

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April 19th, 2011, 3:45 pm

 

261. Off the Wall said:

One award I forgot to mention
Stupidly deleting provocative disgusting message that can indict opponent for verbal violence and threats: Opposition.

It took some real-time monitoring to avoid the impact of the last award category, and I will not share the data, get your own.

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April 19th, 2011, 3:54 pm

 

262. why-discuss said:

AAtasi

The first video shot at day time was conclusive. In the second one, shot during the night, sorry but I just can’t what s going on, except the shaking of the mobile camera. From the sound, I guess it must have been scary

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April 19th, 2011, 3:57 pm

 

263. why-discuss said:

DR GUY

We know Israel gets 2 billions dollar of ‘help’ from the US (why? because Israel is poor??) while Syria has been under sanctions for years because it supports the people you kicked out to take their land.
How many Iraqi refugees did you accept after your ally the US invaded Iraq? zero!
Syria has received more than a million refugees from Iraq
So please give me a break!

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April 19th, 2011, 4:04 pm

 

264. why-discuss said:

OTW

You mean opposition has censured provocative messages addressed to loyalists so it appears clean while the loyalists appear foul-mouth? Interesting interpretation of transparency and smart move to influence the media’s depiction of the adversaries.
It looks they did not kid you!

Don’t you have awards for best photography with Mobile-camera? Worst photography? Best sound effect, Best dubbing and editing? Best use of Youtube? ? Best Youtube video? and there are more you can find

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April 19th, 2011, 4:10 pm

 

265. Shami said:

Fadi ,

Do you have a problem if the Syrian people elect in the most democratic way a conservative muslim (not necessarely islamist) ?

It seems that for you , anybody who is against the iranian theocracy is labeled qaida and extremist.
Btw, the syrian muslims are the less inclined to be qaida or khomaini supporters than tunisians,moroccans,egyptians and iraqis,even inside Saudi Arabia ,qaida and alikes are very marginal and rejected group.

Qaida and Khomainism are 2 marginal and heretical groups that will be eradicated by the muslim people.

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April 19th, 2011, 4:12 pm

 

266. Fadi said:

DR GUY

No brainer man…Of course your economy is one of the strongest in the region. Do not forget the amount of support you get from the USA. It is not fair comparison

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April 19th, 2011, 4:13 pm

 

267. why-discuss said:

April 19th, 2011, 4:17 pm

 

268. Shami said:

The Assads have tried to drum secularism into Syrian heads for over 40 years. Why are you all so convinced that the country will devolve into sectarian civil war at the drop of a hat?

Well said Qifa !

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April 19th, 2011, 4:27 pm

 

269. Off the Wall said:

W-D
I tell it as I see it. I meant the opposition was very trigger happy removing the messages of Bashar lovestruck guys (sorry i have really been trying to find a better word to describe the illogical degree of attachment they have to the fellow). Removing the Bashar folks foul mouthed provocative messages but leaving the provoked responses is not really smart and they have been doing that. You can only observe that in real time.

They should frame Basharists (here is the word, i knew it will come one day, thanks for the inspiration) foul mouthed bully talk and keep it for future psychologists to analyze the terrible impacts of illogical attachment to tall doctors who are no good at politics but inherit countries. I know the disease requires certain conditions unlikely to occur again, but being an amateur epidemiologist interested in exotic despotism and its impacts on rational beings may be I can sell my research if the next generation of north korean dictator is interested in medicine is a bit, who am i kidding, much taller. .

As for photography, no competition is needed, the Syrian TV+Dunya TV duo take all the awards for fake stories and conspiracies.

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April 19th, 2011, 4:32 pm

 

270. Shami said:

Why,nothing is sure but if it happens ,it’s because the tunisian muslim brotherhood party , al nahda has adopted the liberal approach.

In Turkey ,when the islamists used their traditional approach they never succeeded to pass the 20%,when they abandoned it they got 35% in 2002 and when they confirmed their capabilities ,they were close to 50% in 2007.

Islamism is a dying ideology.
The muslims are evolving towards the rule of democracy and the civil state.

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April 19th, 2011, 4:38 pm

 

271. NK said:

Fadi

Should we add Lebanon that has no U.S Aid, no natural resources, went through civil war, have deep sectarian problems to this very day, not to forget the 2006 war with Israel ?

http://bit.ly/fdfVmd

By the way, Lebanon liberated South Lebanon 11 years ago …

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April 19th, 2011, 4:38 pm

 

272. AIG said:

Fadi and WD,

Till 1967 Israel did not get substantial US aid. It also had to spend much more on defense than most other countries. In addition, unlike Syria, Israel does not have significant oil deposits. Even if gets just $50 per barrel and manufactures only 300,000 barrels per day, that is about 4.5 billion dollars per year that the Syrian government receives which the Israeli government doesn’t.

The reason why Israel’s economy grew while Syria’s didn’t is the simple fact that the Israeli government did not hinder the development of its human capital while the Syrian government strangled its human capital.

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April 19th, 2011, 4:43 pm

 

273. jad said:

This is from Addonia TV:
تلفزيون الدنيا يفضح كذب فضائيات الفتنة حول وفاة المجند محمد قومان

Shami,
“The muslims are evolving towards the rule of democracy and the civil state.”
I agree. It may not happen immediately but it is happening fast.

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April 19th, 2011, 4:44 pm

 

274. Fadi said:

Shami said “Do you have a problem if the Syrian people elect in the most democratic way a conservative muslim (not necessarely islamist) ?”

Your question tells me that:1- You believe that this government is not conservative. I would like you to explain Conservative a little more because the words scars me now. i though Syria elected a Muslim president and that means he should be conservative, just by being a Muslim???. Unless this government and the country is not conservative enough for you….

Okay: i do not have any problem if a secular governments gets elected in a democratic way. I need your clarification of conservative before I agree or disagree with you.

Tell me honestly:

Would you allow alcohol served and bought in the market
Would you allow women to wear swimming suit
Would you allow Ham to be available in the country

Your answers may help me dig deeper in your mind

“It seems that for you , anybody who is against the iranian theocracy is labeled qaida and extremist”

Well in regard to Iran, it has brought political stability to Syria and let us say we used both HA and Iran to press politically and get some gains. Its called balance. Unfortunately we did not find that in the old Iraq where your conservative government their was sending cars to bomb us. We did not find it south with the Jordanian. The Turks were enemies, The Soviet Union fell….so it was natural that Syria seeks the Iranian friendship. I have nothing against the Iranian people or their rich history. I do not believe that Iran or their people ever attacked or created a war….AlQeda did. BM did….The Iranian Iraqi war; We are aware how it happened and who attacked who. Having said that, the majority of Iranian do not like this regime and I agree with you and them, but the regime supported Syria. I will leave it up to the Iranian people to eradicate that regime.

“Qaida and alikes are very marginal and rejected group”: Beautiful words. cannot agree more

“Qaida and Khomainism are 2 marginal and heretical groups that will be eradicated by the muslim people”: Alqaeda has no land, it is everywhere, and we should do that. Iran is a country that has a regime brought in with the help of the west, perhaps the biggest mistake the west had made according to some of their reports. I hope the west does not make the same mistakes, rather learn from them, and I see just now Why-Discuss wrote ” ‘Islamist politicians’ rise in Tunisia”, another one wrote Salafis raising in Egypt. But yes we should eradicate Qaeda, and we should support secular (Not conservative) giverment

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April 19th, 2011, 4:48 pm

 

275. Off the Wall said:

but for being a conspiracy in itself, it seems that the honor belongs to Barada TV

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April 19th, 2011, 4:48 pm

 

276. ziadsoury said:

Dear OTW,

I have a suggestion for the term you are looking for. “Bashroupie” (Bashar &Groupie) and “Bashroupies”. What do you think?

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April 19th, 2011, 4:54 pm

 

277. Fadi said:

Shami “Islamism is a dying ideology. you answered me

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April 19th, 2011, 4:56 pm

 

278. Fadi said:

تلفزيون الدنيا – صور للتخريب والشغب الذي شهدته حمص

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April 19th, 2011, 5:00 pm

 

279. Off the Wall said:

DEAR ZIADSOURY
Brilliant. Loved it, may i use it from now on please?

Kidding aside, I was really touched by your post yesterday. But I was in a self imposed silence to cope with the rapidly moving events. I still do not have much to say for now. But hopefully soon enough.

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April 19th, 2011, 5:05 pm

 

280. jad said:

Fadi,
I’m sorry buddy but I can’t take it anymore, you bored me with your meaningless comments;
Is alcohol, ham and women wearing bikini all that you think about for building your country, not science?
FYI, they do sell them even in Saudi Arabia and in Iran and women can swim wearing whatever they want even bikini in any private compound there.
Eating hummus in Yafa? Are you out of your mind!? is that what peace means to you!
Being scared of any conservative Muslim without even understanding what their believes are! I trust my conservative Muslim friends more than many because I know that their believes protect me, my family and my belongings from any harm.
Enough nonsense, we all are well educated and it’s getting annoying to try to search for any meaningful comment between all the comments you bombard us with on SC.
No hard feeling.
Thank you.

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April 19th, 2011, 5:05 pm

 

281. ziadsoury said:

Dear OTW,

Permission granted.

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April 19th, 2011, 5:12 pm

 

282. Shami said:

Would you allow alcohol served and bought in the market
Would you allow women to wear swimming suit
Would you allow Ham to be available in the country

Why not ,All these things were allowed in the Syria of my grandparents
and even today in muslim countries in which the muslims are 99%.

I have an other question to you Fadi :

If the things are so wonderful as you always tried to paint it ,why are our christians leaving in huge numbers, Syria al Asad al prosperity ,stability and security ?
In Aleppo ,they were 20 % before Asad and today 5%.
In the coastal era ,(Alawite mountain and wadi al nassara+the coastal cities)they were 18% and today also 5 %.Also add ,the christian exodus from the syrian al jazeera to north Europe in the last years.

Would they have left in huge numbers if Syria did not know this regime ?

Also ,compare the influence in all fields (civil society and goverment)of the syrian christian community prior to Asad to their influence in Syria al Asad.

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April 19th, 2011, 5:52 pm

 

283. Fadi said:

Jad “FYI, they do sell them even in Saudi Arabia and in Iran and women can swim wearing whatever they want even bikini in any private compound there”…..Would you please give the address to that. As far as I know the Iranian people do not have that. You know that they are forced to wear Hijab the minute the step down the airport in tehran. That may not matter to you but it is not stupid.

In Turkey they do have everything I mentioned that offended you and it is Muslim country. I am as educated as you are and thankfully happily married with wonderful kids. I am not looking for these things but I would like to know more about your tolerant conservative Muslims. We do enjoy lot of freedom in Syria and I hate to imagine Syria becoming another Saudi. I do not believe that I get out of my way in SC and I am as far as I know sticking to the rules. If my ideas offended you then it is your problem not mine

Secular country is welcomed, like it is now. Would like to seek peace as well. This is what i am looking for in my meaningless blogs. You are practicing “mother Teresa” here. Good for you

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April 19th, 2011, 5:52 pm

 

284. majedkhaldoon said:

Bashar said
some believe we will be worse if Emergency law is lifted, but he Bashar do not believe so, he thinks we will be better.
Was he talking about discusion with his family? who did he discuss that with,was it Farooq AlShar3,or Buthaina?
I am talking about split in opinion

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April 19th, 2011, 6:04 pm

 

285. Fadi said:

Shami,

First, I thank you for the very good reply. I asked you these questions and you did not get offended as others did.

Second, I do not know where these statistics comes from. I do know for a fact that palaces and villas were built by christians back home. Bmalki Tartus and Wadi Alnasara is big example. There is nothing wrong by seeking a better life and income.

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April 19th, 2011, 6:06 pm

 

286. jad said:

Dear Fadi,
I didn’t write that what you wrote is stupid.
I didn’t write that you are not educated.
I didn’t write that you offended me.
I’m not practicing mother Teresa, I actually annoy all sides.
Peace is what we all are asking for not only you.

But when you post 30 comments (go count, for today only) writing about the same point of exaggerated fears, you actually are taking over everybody else on the blog and you are not leaving any space for others to communicate.

Don’t worry, I won’t address you anymore.

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April 19th, 2011, 6:14 pm

 

287. Mouna said:

Syrian Hamster,

Your comment #100 is by far the best I have ever read on here. Please keep speaking for us as not everyone here can write as eloquently as you and Aboud do.

Best,

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April 19th, 2011, 6:20 pm

 

288. Shami said:

Dear Fadi ,these villas were built by those who left Syria to the USA and south America,a number comeback in the summer,young men who live in the two americas(and Lebanon) go there in order to marry girls from the villages of their origin,for those who remained in this region ,there is no many options for young men ,they go first to Homs,Aleppo and Damascus looking for decent work,then they move abroad ,schools are closed because of the small number of christian pupils ,the villages in winter are nearly empty.
The number of inhabitants who remain in these villages (the majority are old people and girls) is many times twice less than compared to the number of expatriate visitors in the summer.The problem is that the demographic dynamic is very weak because of the small number of young people who left there.
As for my numbers ,they come from a recent Phd thesis on the coastal region(it concerns the alawite mountain,wadi al nassara and the coastal cities),if you like i can send you a copy of the thesis.

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April 19th, 2011, 6:57 pm

 

289. Shami said:

correct :in many cases ,twice less than the number of expatriate visitors in the summer.The problem is that the demographic dynamic is very weak because of the small number of young people who did not leave yet…(the perspective of demographic renewal are in the negative)
i’m sorry for my poor english!

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April 19th, 2011, 7:15 pm

 

290. Shami said:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Hawhfg9BZc&feature=

Pro Unity Slogans,Sunnis and Alawis together, today in Jabla.

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April 19th, 2011, 7:49 pm

 

291. ziadsoury said:

Dear Mouna,

I agree with you that Syrian Hamster and Aboud are very articulate and I would like to hear from them more frequently. I would also like to hear from you directly (I bet most of us do). Please join the conversation and enlighten us with your point of views. I am a very strong believer in having everyone voice their opinion. And just like Jad, I am tired of Fadi (regime mouth piece) and his understanding of secularism.

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April 19th, 2011, 7:57 pm

 

292. syau said:

Shami, #242,

I did not say or suggest that Bashar is divine in nature,
A great leader – yes, a prosperous Syria under Bashar’s leadership – Yes, a peaceful Syria with Bashar leading it – yes,
A Syria where people would be free to practise their religion, regardless what it is – yes again. I could go on for ever as there are so many pro’s rather than con’s but I will stop here, as to continue on with the positives of Bashar as leader, I would be typing non stop for over a year.
As for eternity, well I didnt mention that, but, now that you did, it sounds good to me.
As for preparing myself psychcologically for the fall of the government, I dont need to do that, because, that statement of yours is fits perfectly in the category of will never happen.

ON the other hand, I think you should prepare yourself and be ready to accept the fact that he is not going anywhere and no amount of conspiracies or nonsense talk will change that.
As for seeking refugee status in Isreal, yet again this fits into the will never happen category.
Enjoy your day.

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April 19th, 2011, 8:00 pm

 

293. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Ya Tribal JAD,

At last I hear something sensible from you #273.
“The Muslims are evolving towards the rule of democracy and the civil state.”
I agree. It may not happen immediately but it is happening fast.

Welcome to the Muqawama camp. Muqawama to nepotist failed regimes.
.

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April 19th, 2011, 8:05 pm

 

294. Shami said:

SYAU,
This is what i want from him ,that he and inner circle stay in Syria after regime change over.

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April 19th, 2011, 8:21 pm

 

295. syau said:

Shami,

Your delusion, although previously was entertaining, is now rather sad. wake up…….Not going anywhere….. 20 – 30 years from now, when President Bashar is still leading the great country of Syria into ever growing prosperity and continuous harmony, my children will be saying to you and all those like you who are harbouring the same delusions…I told you so.

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April 19th, 2011, 8:33 pm

 

296. NK said:

SYAU

Let’s make a deal, if the day comes and Bashar is no longer president you will go to Damascus, stand in Marjeh square with a big placard saying:

Bashar Assad, Men7ebak.

As we say in Syria “مسيك عشواربك”.

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April 19th, 2011, 8:39 pm

 

297. Shami said:

lol NK

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April 19th, 2011, 8:54 pm

 

298. why-discuss said:

Army Arrests 7 Hizb ut-Tahrir Members over Anti-Assad Protests Call

Seven members of pan-Islamic party Hizb ut-Tahrir were arrested in Lebanon for posting leaflets calling for a Friday protest against the Syrian regime, a party spokesman told Agence France Presse on Tuesday.

“The Lebanese army on Tuesday arrested three members of Hizb ut-Tahrir in the southern city of Sidon as they were posting leaflets around the city calling for demonstrations against the Syrian regime on Friday in Tripoli,” spokesman Ahmed al-Qasas told AFP.

Four other people were arrested in the northern port city of Tripoli on Monday when they too tried to hand out leaflets calling for a rally on Friday.

Hizb ut-Tahrir (Arabic for “Party of Liberation”) is an international movement that seeks to restore the caliphate, or unite all Muslim countries under one Islamic rule.

The group has a strong presence in Asia, mainly Indonesia, and has spread to several Arab countries, where it is for the most part banned.

Hizb ut-Tahrir is not banned in Lebanon, however, although the group recognizes neither official borders nor the country’s constitution.

The party has called for a rally after Friday prayers in Tripoli to support Syrian protesters, who since March have taken to the streets in increasingly heated protests against the regime of Bashar al-Assad.(AF
Naharnet 19 april 2011

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April 19th, 2011, 8:58 pm

 

299. syau said:

Nk,

A challenge? well then I accept the deal- fully knowing that the fall of Assad will never happen, but I will indulge you and say that I will accept your deal.

Al tyoor 3ala ashkaliha taqa3… It is also ok if you want to continue on with your delusions along with Shami. I understand, being an intelligent man, it would be hard for you to accept that the game of the organisation condoning these uprisings and hate amongst Syrians is OVER. It is also said that a bad tradesman blames his tools. When your beloved Syrian revolution organisation falls, they will blame the people of Syria for not uprising as they estimated they would. Or on the other hand, they may blame themselves for not paying them enough.
Ponder that……. Otherwise, enjoy your day.

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April 19th, 2011, 8:59 pm

 

300. NAJIB said:

HAKIR IN TEL AVIV,

go preach “Muslim evolution towards democracy and the civil state.” to your friends and allies in Saudi Arabia. in Syria, you only have enemies , no one will listen to your crap. no matter what regime in place.

you live in a city that was built on the bones of other people and you want to lecture Muslims on democracy and civil state.

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April 19th, 2011, 9:14 pm

 

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