“The Declining Number of Christians in Aleppo, Syria,” by Ehsani

Fewer Christians Live in Aleppo than is Commonly Thought
By Ehsani for Syria Comment
February 18, 2012
— No more than 100,000 Christians live in Aleppo – 3.3% of the city’s population, not the 12% commonly stated.

The exact number of religious minorities in Syria is difficult to ascertain. It is often reported that Christians make up somewhere between 9% and 12% of the population. Nearly two years ago, I happened to be visiting the city of Aleppo when a young Syrian Priest argued that the actual number of Syrian Christians is lower than the above consensus estimate. The initial purpose of the meeting at the time was to discuss the plight of Syrian youth.

This note will attempt to discuss the plight of  the Christian population in Aleppo. The findings will point to the fact that this particular minority seems to have suffered from a precipitous drop in its numbers measured as a percentage of the population. Low fertility rate, abysmal economic growth, unfavorable laws, regional dynamics and frightening language from some extremists have combined to deal this minority a remarkable blow when it comes to their numbers at least within the ancient city of Aleppo.

The Data:

My initial foray into this topic started over two years ago during one of my visits to the city. During one of my meetings, a noted Christian Priest remarked how Christian youth were leaving in larger numbers than ever before. He proceeded to argue how the lack of job opportunities, low wages and exuberant housing prices had combined to drive the youth in his congregation to move abroad. His attempts to convince his young men to stay in Syria fell on deaf ears. The result has been a migration of alarming proportions. And this has been going on for years. Pressed to back up his assertions with data, the priest promised to provide me with hard statistics about the size of the Aleppine Christian community on my next trip.

Prior to visiting Syria in January 2012, I decided to call another Church leader who seemed to also have a wide following in the Aleppo Christian community. My goal was simple. I wanted him to use the next two months to find out how many Christians live in the city of Aleppo.

As it turns out, Christian priests and bishops keep tally of their parishioners by keeping track of the number of families under their respective churches. The Assyrian Orthodox Church for example has 1300 families. Approximately every 300 families are assigned to each Priest. This gives the church a reasonable ability to calculate the number of people under its roof. This is made easier by the fact that Christian births and marriages are meticulously recorded by the Church; the registration process allows the community to keep close track of the number of its parishioners.

There are elven Christian denominations in the city of Aleppo. Listed below are the approximate number of families that belong to each of the eleven churches:

Roman (Melkite) Catholic 2,500

Roman (Antiochian) Orthodox 1,000

Armenian Catholic 1,300

Armenian Orthodox 10,000

Syriac Catholic 1,300

Syrian Orthodox 1,300

Maronites 400

Chaldean 400

Latin 400

Arab Anglican 100

Armenian Anglican 300

The total number of Christian families in Aleppo is therefore 19,000.  If one assumes that the average family size is 5 (a generous assumption), the number of Christians in Aleppo is below 100,000. It is of course difficult to accurately define the total number of Aleppo’s population. It is often argued that the number is around 3 million people if you exclude the reef (rural area) and as high as 5 million people when one includes areas like Hayyan, Hreitan, Albab and Mumbej.

If accurate, the 19,000 Christian families of Aleppo means that Christians make up only 3.5% of its 3 million residents.

When I shared the data with most Christians in the city of Aleppo, the response was mixed. Some nodded their heads in agreement. Some seemed surprised and demanded that they look at the numbers in more detail. Not one was able to refute them outright.

Many readers of this note are likely to be surprised by these findings. I urge them to correct my numbers if they are false. I would be grateful for anyone who can find holes in the above percentage.

Aleppo and Damascus are supposed to make up half of the population of Syria. However, Aleppo has hardly any Christians in its reef or countryside. This is not the case in other parts of the country like Wadi Al Nasara (The Valley of Christians) around Homs for example. The Priests I spoke with did not have Christian population statistics for the country as a whole, but insisted that the total number of Christians in Syria probably does not surpass one million. These means that they probably make up between 4% to 5% of the total population rather than the 9% to 12% that is usually cited.

Back to Aleppo:

Wikipedia still states that “Aleppo is home to many eastern Christian congregations and that “more than 250,000 Christians live in the city representing about 12% of the total population.”

The results of my own findings are vastly different from such numbers.

The last known census took place in 1944. During that time, Christians were known to number 112,110. This meant that they represented near 38% of the city’s population of just over 300,000. This statistic was confirmed when the political representatives for the city council were assigned. Of the 12 members to the council, 5 were Christians. This was an official confirmation that they made up nearly 40% of the city’s residents.

This number dropped significantly over the ensuing 20 years culminating with the arrival of Abdul Nassar. Following WW II, many Armenians decided to migrate to Armenia. Soon afterwards and during the early 1950’s, a significant percentage of Christians belonging to mostly lower income groups left for Venezuela and other parts of Latin America. Those in the upper income groups were dealt a severe economic blow upon the arrival of Abdul Nasser. The misguided nationalization drive of the period sent many wealthy families packing. Lebanon, Canada and other Western nations were the likely destination.

By the early 1960’s, the Christian population of Aleppo had dropped to as low as 20%. A Church official present at the meeting suggested that by the time Hafez Assad took over power in 1970, Christians in Aleppo were merely 10% of the city’s population.

Over the next four decades, this number has dropped to as low 3.5%. Wikipedia’s number of 12% is widely off the mark.  It is expected that I will encounter significant challenges to the data I presented. I welcome the input of those who do.

While on topic, it is worth remembering that the Christian existence in this land predates Islam. Christianity was born in the Levant. It was the Roman Empire that transported Christianity from the Levant to the Western part of the Empire. Later on during the new roman empire (Byzantine empire), it was a Damascene Christian Monophysite bishop that informed Khalid Ibn al-Walid that it was possible to breach city walls by attacking a position only lightly defended at night by opposing Byzantine soldiers. The Byzantine-Sassanid wars of 602-628 had exhausted the local populace. The negative treatment of the western Byzantine Empire’s rulers turned the local largely Christian population against their rule. As the Arab conquests reached the gates of Damascus, Christian Syrians were hardly opposed to the new  invaders.

Economics:

Perhaps no single issue has done more harm to Syria than its economic performance over the recent decades. The failure of the country’s experiment with socialism has been painful. So has been the state’s allocation of its water resources under the banner of self-sufficiency. Another abject failure has come from the lack of supply of housing as attempts to regulate the process of “Tanzeem” have taken decades. An explosion in Illegal housing was the inevitable consequence as legal housing unit prices rose beyond the economic means of most Syrians. What started as a noble exercise to help the poor afford basic needs decades ago has morphed into one of the most debilitating liabilities for the treasury. Subsidies may have been affordable when Syria had 8 million people and double the oil output. But they have sucked the government’s coffers dry now that the population has tripled and that oil output has fallen by half.  Last but not least is a debilitated public sector that is terribly inefficient and has monopolized vast sectors of the economy, stifling private initiative and weighing on Syria’s potential growth like a stone.

To be sure, the word “Socialism” was finally dropped from the country’s new constitution. However, Article 13 continues to insist that:

“The national economy shall be based on the development of the public and private economic activities”. The same article also states that “ The state shall guarantee the protection of producers and consumers”. Finally, the constitution now dictates that “Taxes are imposed on an equitable and progressive bases which achieve the principles of equality and social justice”.

The combination of the above set of economic principals is a clear indication that the country’s transformation away from socialism will be slow and uneven.

Many of the readers of this forum are aware that I have been warning about the damaging effects of Syria’s anemic economy for years. It was my interest in the subject that triggered the initial meeting when I wanted to understand the plight of the youth and their preference to leave the country seeking better economic opportunities abroad. According to those present, economic issues were by far the most important factor behind the accelerated immigration trends. In one month alone, 400 Christian families migrated from Aleppo to Lebanon following the disastrous Nationalization policies of Abdul Nasser in the 1960’s.

The Syrian Personal Status Law:

Under Syrian law, a Christian can convert to Islam. It is illegal for a Muslim to convert to Christianity of course. Inter-religious marriages seem to have provided Church leaders and the Christian community in general with a major challenge.

Christian women who decide to marry a Muslim man have to make a critical decision due to the country’s inheritance and estate laws. If she stays Christian rather than convert, she will inherit zero from her husband following his death.  The only way she can inherit is if she converts to Islam. Civil weddings do not exist in Syria.

This is why many Syrian Christian families find it extremely hard to accept inter-religious marriages. It is also why they seem to prefer to live in Christian-only buildings where the chances of young adults interacting with those from a different sect are lower. Christians feel that the civil laws are unfavorable to them.

For the record, many Christians were hopeful that article 3 was going to be dropped from the new constitution. Such expectations were not met when they found out that “The President has to be part of the Muslim faith.”

The plight of Iraq’s Christians:

Syrian Christians have been badly affected by the recent experience of Iraqi Christians. Aleppo has been home to many Iraqis who reside in the city as they await their immigration visas. Most attempt to leave the region for good. Stories of Christian persecution in Iraq have had a profound effect on Syria’s Christians. Many Syrian Christians are convinced that their future in the region may be no brighter than that of their Iraqi coreligionists.

The Religious Satellite Channels:

Nothing seems to send greater chills down the spine of most Syrian Christians than watching extremist religious figures rally their listeners and supporters on satellite television. Adnan Ar’ur may well speak for millions of Syrians. His steady appearances, however, seem to convince Syrian Christians to pack up and leave.

Conclusion:

The percentage of Aleppo’s Christians has been in steady decline since the early 1900’s. That the number has dropped from over 40% as recently as the 1940’s to the current 3.5% of the population of this city is remarkable. This phenomenon is not new. Many have known about these trends and have written about them. The consensus however has been that Christians still make up 9%-12% of Syria’s population. This admittedly unscientific study challenges those assumptions. Instead, it argues that Syrian Christians may have dropped to as low as 4%-6% of the total population and as low as 3.5% in Aleppo. Readers can draw their own conclusions about what implications this has for the country going forward. It may suggest that authoritarian support for President Assad and for “secularism” is not as important as sometimes stated.

Syrian Christians in the Diaspora continue to have a profound and strong attachment to the land. The sentiment amongst the Christians inside the country is unmistakable. They seem resigned to the fact that their numbers are heading south. When I presented my 3.5% number to many of them, many simply nodded their heads. The vast majority of them may not know the exact number but many have indicated to me that it does “feel” to them like 3.5%. Aleppo’s overwhelmingly Sunni countryside has been suffering from a deep economic depression for decades. Many of Syria’s poorest towns are those surrounding Aleppo. During the day, men from these areas descend on the city, looking for work and better opportunity. The population of Aleppo has soared. Indeed, most Aleppines feel like they are living in a city of 5 million people.  Seen from this perspective, the 19,000 families of this ancient land feel that they only make up 1.9% of its larger populace.

The Wide Spread Effects of Economics on All Syrians:

While this note listed a number of factors behind the drop in the percentage of Christians that make up the population of this land, it is the opinion of this writer that poor economic policy lies at the heart of this issue. The negative impact of economic mismanagement has hit all religious communities of Syria. Presented with the chance, most Syrian youth chose to migrate out of the country. The lack of economic upward mobility has meant that most young Syrians have found it difficult to carve out a reasonable economic future for themselves. Yes, Syria, like the rest of the Arab world, could do with less corruption and more democracy and freedom. None of this is likely to matter much in the long run unless the country can design a vibrant industrial policy, find sufficient energy and renewable water resources, improve its outmoded education and health care systems and make legal housing affordable for the vast majority of the populace. Let us remember that this region needs to create nearly 80 million jobs over the next twenty years. Syria alone needs to create close to 300,000 jobs a year. On current trends, this is nearly impossible to accomplish and it is the reason why we are at the beginning of our black tunnel.

NEWS ROUNDS UP

Hundreds and hundreds of anti-government protesters braved scattered gunfire from Syrian soldiers to march through a middle-class neighborhood in Damascus on Saturday, the biggest demonstration witnessed close to the heart of the capital since the country’s uprising started 11 months ago.

Frustrated Protestors Fill Streets In Damascus

Seemingly undeterred by an international outcry, Moscow has worked frantically in recent weeks to preserve its relationship with the increasingly isolated government of Mr. Assad

For Syria, Reliant on Russia for Weapons and Food, Old Bonds Run Deep

A “good number” of unmanned US military and intelligence drones are operating in the skies over Syria, monitoring the Syrian military’s attacks against opposition forces and civilians, NBC News reported, citing unnamed US defense sources.

US drones monitoring events in Syria

 

Comments (216)


SANDRO LOEWE said:

All of a suden in seems that we are in the black tunnel because of structural economical problems while only one year ago all regime media were spreading the idea that Syria was:

1- Enjoying a growth rate much higher that the rest of the world in crisis.

2- A middle class was beginning to grow, specially in Damascus and Aleppo, but also in cities like Homs, Hama, Lattakia, etc.

3- Syria regime was leading modern politics in many aspects affecting young people, women, disabled.

I agree that there are structural problems. But then we must denounce that this regime was simply lying to all of us.

I do not think things are so simple. Maybe the Assad regime would have longed for some years before the internal implosion of structural failures became exposed.

I do not know, and I think nobody can be sure if a new regime in Syria can arrange the great mess we have been brought to. But two thing are sure; after last 11 months of uprising and all internal and external consequences:

1- Assad regime will be unable to recover the economics of Syria.

2- The only way to try to recover growth and stability (both main factors to arrange economic problems, and thus young generations problems) is the creation of a more democratic regime. This is a sine qua non condition. It does not guarantee a success but offers a chance. While Assad guarantees the total default of a state and its people.

February 18th, 2012, 5:58 pm

 

mjabali said:

The Christians in Syria and the Middle East are shrinking in numbers for the last 100 years.

If you look at Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Southern Turkey you will see the massive emigration out.

Southern Turkey has no noted Christian presence whatsoever now.

The current popularity of the Muslim extremist ideas are a threat to the Christians and to all of the other minorities.

There is no equal space for Christians in the Middle East as long as the discrimination against them in constitutional.

February 18th, 2012, 6:24 pm

 

sheila said:

Dear Ihsani,
Thank you for shining the light on the Christian community in Aleppo. I grew up in that city and have many friends who happen to be Christian. As a matter of fact, my two best friends here in the US are both Christian from Aleppo. Needless to say, I care deeply about my friends and their families. I totally agree with your assessment of the plight of this community. From my observations throughout the years I have the exact same view that you have. Even though Aleppo is a very mixed and relatively tolerant city, I have seen incidents of discrimination against Christians. I have also felt their numbers dwindling. I remember a friend from school, who is one of four girls, telling me that she and her sisters have no chance in getting married because there are no more eligible bachelors left in Aleppo. This was in 1990. I can only imagine what it looks like today.
One thing I would like to point out is the difference and animosity between the Arab/Syriac Christians and the Armenian Christians. This makes it as “bad” for intermarriage between these two communities as it is between the Christian and Muslim communities. With one they share religion, with the other, they share ethnicity.
We have to also take into consideration the fact that Syria is after all a third world country.
Finally, I believe you are right that the biggest reason for the young to leave the country is economic. The reason why it is more pronounced in the Christian community is as you rightly point out, the lower birth rate than the Muslim community.
By the way, thanks for the beautiful picture. It brought back memories.

February 18th, 2012, 6:40 pm

 

Aldendeshe said:

While it is not surprising the number of Christians in Aleppo is low, the number of Christians in Syria is in fact around 10%-12% and it is an increase of about 2% overall from 1963. This is despite steady outflow to Europe and the Americas. Homs as well had steady outflow since 1963, but while Christians migrated at higher percentage rate out of the city starting the 1970, after Assad rise to power, the city replenished its Christian population from those newcomers from the Mountain (Marmarita-Safita areas) and Alawites areas on the coast. They moved into newly built area back then such as (Inshaat), which was totally Christian inhabited at the beginning. The old Christian neighborhood around the Jesuit Schools and Churches, east of the (Souk) almost look deserted in the 70s before I left Syria, and most of Mahatta area, back then was the affluent Christian neighborhood, started to look that way as well. Almost all the Christian families that I have known in Mahatta either left Syria or was about to leave. But Hafez did bring new generation of Christians from the mountain and coast to inhabit other parts of the town. So Ihsani numbers may be accurate in term of Aleppo local Christian population, but it does not represent Syria as a whole. I am also aware, because we known many Armenian families in Aleppo and Homs that many when Assad came to power left in a hurry to France, Spain and Germany.

My first girlfriend in Syria was Christian, she came to say goodbye before I left Syria, she said to me her father will kill her is she married me (a Moslem by birth certificate) and that here mother and friends while they approved and tolerated the dating relation, they told here to cut it off eventually. As an outgoing person I was chocked to hear a language usually you will hear from conservative Moslems, not even from city moderate ones, and she belonged to one of the most respected upper part of the Homs Christian family, banker daughter. This was the very first time personally experienced hurtful and demeaning prejudices and it made me aware early on in my life how terrible it is.

February 18th, 2012, 6:41 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

The drop of the number of christians in Syria is due to many factors, small families,better economiy in the west, intelligence of the syrian christians,discrimination against minorities,several wars in the middle east. the hatred left by the invasion of crusaders,Ottoman rule, mistakes by the christians (such as siding with the wrong side ), state laws,creation of Lebanon,and due to the nature of the christian religion.every reason can be debated by long debate.
Christians who migrated to the US are wealthy,and they sent a lot of money to their families,that should have helped the christians to stay longer and do better in Syria.
Most of christians are in the Alawi mountain,Damascus,Aleppo and Qamishly area,with very few left in Homs and other cities.
In USA, Islam is spreading and increasing in number,now count close to 10,000,000,they came from different countries,mainly due to immigration,but also due to conversion,I expect the Muslims in USA to be over 30 million by the 2050,Palestinians for example they have average family of four -six children.

The demonstrations in Damascus is a turning point in this revolution, It happened in Damascus,where Assad is tightly controling the city, it is large ,30,000, and happened inspite of the cold weather, it was snowing heavy, this is very ominous sign for Assad, If Damascus rise against Assad,Aleppo must rise too,
I said it before, in the future almost all syrians will rise against Assad, and that will be the end.

February 18th, 2012, 6:51 pm

 

zoo said:

‘Assad would not amend constitution if he loved power’
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/227294.html

Press TV has talked to Omar Nashabi, Editor of al-Akhbar weekly to ask his opinion on the issue of the US, West, Saudi Arabia and al-Qaeda interest to rapidly topple the Assad government.
Nashabi: Yes, definitely the target it is not President Bashar al-Assad. The target is a stable Syria and a capable Syria

Syria is a country that has institutions that provide basic services to its citizens unlike, for example, Lebanon where the situation is so chaotic and we have problems with rebuilding the country after the long civil war. In Syria you have educational institutions that are offering basic services to the population. You have medical services that are cheaper than Lebanon and that are available for the whole population. You have internet, phone, you have electricity in the different areas. You have agricultural reform; you have police, traffic police. I mean basic services to the people. Why should any Syrian destroy what they have?

When they have seen the example in Lebanon and in Iraq that in war, in destruction, in occupation everything will go away. The basic services will not be there for the regular people. So, I am sure and I second your Guest from London on his position, regarding preserving Syrian institutions going through with the reforms that President Assad suggested. If there are more demands, I am sure President Assad is ready to listen.

President Assad in fact is not holding on to power or else he wouldn’t have amended the constitution. He is saying that the constitution the president can only rule for seven years only to be extended one time. He allowed the freedom of expression; he removed the one party rule system. These are all serious reforms and if one wants to test them, one has to test it.

If people believe that President Assad is not serious let them test him. Let us give this man a chance. I think by all levels and we are talking to ordinary Syrians who do not carry weapons. Others as your guest said from London, those who are carrying weapons, these are terrorist groups that work for the interests, these are mercenaries. One cannot have dialogue with mercenaries.
{…}

February 18th, 2012, 7:08 pm

 
 

Aldendeshe said:

@Zoo
Enjoy Assad Zoo and don’t bring PressTV over here please. Yes we have many demands for Assad, who do we address them to, the Ayatollah?

February 18th, 2012, 7:18 pm

 

sheila said:

Hey Tara,
He cleans up pretty well doesn’t he?

February 18th, 2012, 7:19 pm

 

ghufran said:

I know that some people may want to put a pretty face on the ugly reality of a Middle East that is becoming increasingly intolerant and outrageously chaotic. The shrinking Christian community in all of the Middle East,including countries like Syria and Lebanon,can not be good for the Middle East,it is a sign of a deteriorating economic and cultural environment,this is why the emigration from the Middle East also includes Muslims,many of whom are skilled and highly educated professionals.
It is a matter of time before Assad has to give up his post in a way or the other,that may be the easy part,the hard part will be keeping Syria united and rebuilding a country that was once a promising project of progress and tolerance.

February 18th, 2012, 7:25 pm

 

Aldendeshe said:

I know we too lazy to play the kids game of thumb up and down. But Ghufran Comment needs your thumb up please, I gave him/her one.

February 18th, 2012, 7:43 pm

 

Tara said:

 
حرصت الفنانة الجزائرية الكبيرة وردة على نفي ما تم نشره أخيرا على لسانها في عدد من وسائل الإعلام، في رسالة أشيع أنها وجهتها لقناة الجزيرة والعاملين بها، طالبت فيها بضرورة رفع أيديهم عن سورية، وتضمنت الرسالة اتهاما للقناة والعاملين فيها بتحمل مسؤولية عشرات الشهداء الذين يتساقطون بشكل يومي في سورية.

وأكدت المساعدة الخاصة للفـــــنـــانة وردة الــســــيدة نجــــــاة لـ «الراي» أن الفنانة وردة لم تجر أي لقاءات صحافية أو تلفزيونية مع أي وسيلة إعلامية سواء كانت سورية أو من أي جنسية أخرى، ولهذا فهي تشعر بغضب شديد بسبب قيام بعض المواقع الإلكترونية بفبركة بعض التصريحات على لسانها.
وأضافت: «إن مازاد من غضبها أن أصدقاءها وابنها أخبروها أن من تناقل هذه التصريحات هذه المرة هو وسيلة إعلامية لها اسم معروف وليس موقعا إلكترونيا. 
وأوضحت السيدة نجاة، أن الفنانة وردة ترفض كثيرا من الدعوات للظهور الإعلامي واللقاءات الصحافية وترفض دائما التعليق على الأحداث السياسية التي ينتابها الكثير من الغموض الفتره الأخيرة». مضيفة: إنها ليست سعيدة جراء ما يحدث في الوطن العربي كله، ولكنها دائما ترفض التعليق وتكتفي بالدعاء بالسلام لكل الشعوب العربية. 
واستطردت: «منذ أن تم نشر هذه الأخبار تلقيت مئات المكالمات من أشخاص كثيرين ومعجبين يريدون استيضاح الأمر والتحقق من صحة هذه التصريحات، لأن الكثيرين يعرفون أن مثل هذه التصريحات غير الحقيقية يقوم بالترويج لها مجهولون من حين لآخر». 
وأنهت نجاة كلامها قائلة لـ «الراي»: الفنانة وردة تطلب من كل معجبيها ألا يصدقوا كل مايتم نشره سوى من خلال التصريحات التي تظهر فيها بنفسها، وأوضحت أن آخر لقاء صحافي أجرته الفنانة وردة كان في جريدة الأهرام المصرية وقت إصدار ألبومها الأخير «اللي ضاع من عمري» العام الماضي.

{…}

http://www.zaman-alwsl.net/readNews.php?id=24754

————————-

Hi Sheila,

More importantly is his stand with the Syrian people that,unless proven otherwise, makes him a hero in my eyes. In term of looks, there is only one specific look that I like..

February 18th, 2012, 8:03 pm

 

mjabali said:

There is no equality so they will seek it outside their home country. It is simple. the economic prospect is a minor factor and a natural byproduct of discrimination.

The discrimination against the minorities of the Middle East is the norm and nothing will change it except for a modern constitution and a massive brainwash for many.

February 18th, 2012, 8:08 pm

 

sheila said:

Dear Mjabali @13,
I agree with you, however, we have to admit that the majority in the Middle East, and more specifically in Syria, is not fairing any better than the minorities. As a matter of fact, it is a fact that it is fairing a lot worse.
By the way, you are one of the people that I respect on Syria Comment. I find you to be smart, articulate and fair minded.

February 18th, 2012, 8:25 pm

 

Aldendeshe said:

@Ehsani
What do you estimate it will take to get Syria up and running money wise after Assad is out. How one could launch without borrowing and relaying on public debt, any ideas?

February 18th, 2012, 8:25 pm

 

Shami said:

Ghufran there is nothing to fear for Syrian unity,this is a burned card.

February 18th, 2012, 8:38 pm

 

ghufran said:

shami,
if you are referring to the fact that the regime is using the sectarian card I would have to agree,but if you are denying that Syrians are divided,then I have to disagree. There is still hope of mending relations between the classes and the sects because Syria historically was more tolerant than most Arab countries,but the increasing use of violence and the mounting number of dead Syrians will make the task of uniting Syrians more difficult especially if we see a surge of political Islamists in Syria similar to Egypt,Tunisia,Libya and Morocco. The diversity of the Syrian society may serve as a barrier to the ascension of a religious ruling faction but that barrier may not withstand the power of violence and the influence of money.

February 18th, 2012, 9:09 pm

 

Homsia said:

True democracy will protect minorities and trust will be built again which will result in the numbers to go up. This will take a very long time. The regime is sectarian and its brutality is increasing the divide. The homs model is scary where the city is split now along sectarian lines. The past 10 days have been about collective punishment of what could have probably been considered the most tolerant neighborhood in Syria (Inshaat)

http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/4406/the-inshaat-exodus

February 18th, 2012, 9:31 pm

 

zoo said:

#8 Aldendeshe

The article is an interview with Omar Nashabi, editor of Al Akhbar, if you did not skip the post when you read it was in PressTV!

February 18th, 2012, 9:32 pm

 

Tara said:

Bronco,

Read this.  Is Russia playing games? They vetoed the resolution twice so what compromise are they talking about? 

Russia says it will seek Syria compromise
Published: Feb. 17, 2012 at 9:44 AM

DAMASCUS, Syria, Feb. 17 (UPI) — Russia said it’s willing to seek a compromise with U.N. member states to “resolve the Syrian crisis.”

RIA Novosti, which reported the comment, which came a day after the U.N. condemned the Syrian government, did not elaborate on the elements of a possible compromise.

“We are ready to seek a compromise formula to resolve the Syrian crisis on the basis of the U.N.,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said Friday, referring to the U.N. resolution approved Thursday. “But the interests of the Syrian people, peace and security in the whole region must be paramount.”

{…}
http://m.upi.com/m/story/UPI-46551329465600/

February 18th, 2012, 9:40 pm

 

Tara said:

The vetoes were the moments of fame for China.  Is it a self esteem problem?  The Chinese are happy about the veto because it “indicates China’s rising influenced in world affairs, and that it stood it’s ground against the west”.  What a pitiful reason.

The vote against the resolution, which was overwhelming approved Thursday, indicates China’s rising influence in world affairs, the Global Times said.
“The country’s courage to truly express itself and to calmly stand its ground is worthy of merit,” the paper said.
“It is wrong to blindly come down on the side of the West in each vote,” it said.
Global Times is published by the Communist Party’s flagship People’s Daily newspaper and its editorials generally reflect the more pugnacious, jingoistic side of government opinion.
China, which carried out a bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in 1989, has refused to condemn Syria over the violence.
Beijing’s authoritarian leaders generally oppose any moves that could lead to humanitarian interventions, such as last year’s NATO air campaign in Libya, and have themselves used overwhelming force against anti-government protests in Tibet and the traditionally Muslim northwestern region of Xinjiang.

{…}

http://news.yahoo.com/china-says-supports-arab-league-handling-syria-151005658.html

February 18th, 2012, 9:52 pm

 

bronco said:

Bitter tears for the loss of the Christians and the minorities

While Lebanese has some sort of guarantee to keep some political rights through an unwritten agreement of power sharing, Syria will not have that. The fact that the Arab Sunnis will take the power from a minority will be a sign to non-moslem or non-arab ethnic minorities that they will become second class citizens with little power, no protection and no guarantees. They will be systematically discriminated.
Either they’ll fight back to get their recognition included in the Constitution or through a political agreement like Lebanon or they’ll create an autonomous areas like Iraq Kurdistan or they will leave the country.
Sunnis alone then will be responsible to move Syria into ‘democracy’. As there are no example of Sunni Arab Moslem working democracy, it will be trial and errors and under the advices and financial influence of rich non-democratic countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the GCC.
The economy will be in shamble, so many young educated christians who could claim to be discriminated, will be welcomed in the Western countries and there will be a real brain drain, leaving Syria empty.
Because the Islamic extremists are also Sunnis, it will be very difficult for a Sunni government to control them and Syria will fall prey to countries that would want to use it for their own interests. Israel will have no incentive to give the Golan back ever.
The loss of the Christian community and the loss of confidence of of the Kurds, the Alawites, the Assyrians in their role in a society dominated by the Sunnis will transform Syria into a monochrome country at the mercy of the rich Sunni Gulf countries and the western countries, like Tunisia is becoming, weak and dependent.
A gloomy future that many Syrians are fighting to desire.

February 18th, 2012, 10:07 pm

 

Shami said:

Ghufran prior to Ba’ath dictatorship Syria was not as you portray it today ,extremism happened to be an outcome of the failure of arab authoritarian secularism ,Nasser,the Algerian generals,Assad and co destroyed the civil society ,we will need the time we need to rebuild it.
Despite all these lost decades ,the extremists among the Muslims remain marginal,I would not call the AKP ,Ikhwan ,and even the non takfiri salafists as extremists.
I do not see how Syria could be divided.

February 18th, 2012, 10:07 pm

 

bronco said:

reposted
Bitter tears for the loss of the Christians and the minorities

While Lebanese has some sort of guarantee to keep some political rights through an unwritten agreement of power sharing, Syria will not have that. The fact that the Arab Sunnis will take the power from a minority will be a sign to non-moslem or non-arab ethnic minorities that they will become second class citizens with little power, no protection and no guarantees. They will be systematically discriminated.
Either they’ll fight back to get their recognition included in the Constitution or through a political agreement like Lebanon or they’ll create an autonomous areas like Iraq Kurdistan or they will leave the country.
Sunnis alone then will be responsible to move Syria into ‘democracy’. As there are no example of Sunni Arab Moslem working democracy, it will be trial and errors and under the advices and financial influence of rich non-democratic countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the GCC.
The economy will be in shamble, so many young educated christians who could claim to be discriminated, will be welcomed in the Western countries and there will be a real brain drain, leaving Syria empty.
Because the Islamic extremists are also Sunnis, it will be very difficult for a Sunni government to control them and Syria will fall prey to countries that would want to use it for their own interests. Israel will have no incentive to give the Golan back ever.
The loss of the Christian community and the loss of confidence of of the Kurds, the Alawites, the Assyrians in their role in a society dominated by the Sunnis will transform Syria into a monochrome country at the mercy of the rich Sunni Gulf countries and the western countries, like Tunisia is becoming, weak and dependent.
A gloomy future that many Syrians are fighting to desire.

February 18th, 2012, 10:08 pm

 

Darryl said:

13. MJABALI said:

My dear MJABALI, bandages never fix a problem. The Arabic world needs a “new Qur’an” to eliminate discrimination and racism from Islam before any new constitution is introduced. The Arabs need to take a lesson from Persia through the Bahai experiment.

However, as you may have already discovered with the likes of foreign educated people like …., do not hold your breath when dealing with those who did not even complete high school to implement such a drastic change.

February 18th, 2012, 10:21 pm

 

ann said:

Humanitarian corridors in Syria: way out of crisis or way in for invaders? – 19 February, 2012

http://rt.com/news/syria-humanitarian-corridors-intervention-669/

Europe seeks to bring relief to the Syrian people by creating humanitarian corridors, a seemingly noble idea aimed at winning Russian and Chinese support in the UN Security Council. But some are calling the plan a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

­The call for supply routes bringing humanitarian aid to Syrian cities first surfaced last November, and is back on the table as of this week.

“The idea of humanitarian corridors that I previously proposed, which would allow NGOs to reach the zones where scandalous massacres are taking place, should be discussed at the Security Council,” French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said Wednesday.

Paris suggested creating a safe passage for relief organizations, either with Syrian approval or under an international mandate – hence the need for UNSC approval.

Damascus is currently stretched thin on forces, and hardly has any to spare on guarding aid convoys. But allowing foreign troops on its territory is also not an option, as was shown in the recent refusal to allow entry to Arab League peacekeepers.

The Security Council could establish the corridors through a resolution, and mandate that they be guarded by some government or organization. But Russia and China, who both have veto power, said they will not allow passage of any resolution they see as unbalanced.

Both Russia and China oppose any UN resolution that could later be used by NATO as permission for military action, as happened in Libya. “Libya offers a negative case study. NATO abused the Security Council resolution about establishing a no-fly zone and directly provided firepower assistance to one side in the Libyan war,” said China’s biggest Communist newspaper, The People’s Daily.

Juppe’s plan so far has only received backing from the European parliament. Its President, Martin Schulz, said the body “wants to see humanitarian corridors to be put into place and shelters provided for the growing numbers of displaced people.”

Not everyone seems to be sold on the idea, however. NATO would be the first choice for guarding duty, but its Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen stated the alliance has “ no intention whatsoever to intervene in Syria.” He also reiterated that “a regional solution” should be found for the conflict.

This passes the ball to the Arab League, though Syria’s lack of trust in some League members like Qatar and Saudi Arabia could get in the way. Damascus suspects the two Sunni monarchies of fueling the unrest in Syria in a bid to oust the Shia Alawite minority from power, so Syrian acceptance of their troops on its soil is unlikely.

And Lebanon and Turkey, the two countries that could easily deliver aid into Syrian territory, aren’t in a hurry to do so. Turkish press recently reported that Ankara would prefer an aid corridor going through the Mediterranean Sea and supported by the British military base in Cyprus, rather than through Turkey’s southeastern territories.

Turkey’s reluctance to act directly against Syria is understandable. Joining the international choir calling on President Assad to step down and suggesting an internationally protected zone for the Syrian opposition on its territory is one thing. Invading its neighbor and facing possible military retaliation from Syria – and perhaps its close ally Iran as well – is a bit too risky, even for a NATO member. Especially if retribution may come indirectly – through support of Kurd separatists waging a guerrilla war on Turkish troops.
­Secret war already begin waged inside Syria?

­Asia Times’ roving correspondent Pepe Escobar told RT that installing a humanitarian corridor is akin to telling a government “Look, you are illegitimate and incompetent – now we would like to take care of your people.”

“And on the ground of this corridor there will be all kinds of things happening like weapons smuggling, intelligence operatives penetrating and coordinating with local people,” he added.

Escobar also noted that the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are basically the only ones pushing for the humanitarian corridor.

“The ones that are really involved are Saudi Arabia and Qatar. They are selling this idea to the US, Britain and France.”

The journalist also said there will not actually be a humanitarian corridor, but just a pretext to be on the ground and to influence action inside Syria much more than is currently possible.

But in addition to any questions raised by the proposed humanitarian corridors, Escobar said a secret war is already being waged against Syria.

“There is already a foreign military intervention going on. Do not forget that NATO have a command and control center in Hatay province, Southern Turkey, very close to the Turkish-Syrian border. This is a conduit for intelligence going back and forth across borders, and weapons, of course – and these weapons are being financed basically by the GCC, especially the Saudis and the Qataris actively involved – with the intelligence as well as with monitors and trainers on the ground.”

He added that there is another conduit through the Lebanese border – the Syrian National Council.

“They are supported directly by Nicolas Sarkozy and David Cameron, by the Turkish government and the Qataris. And there is also the Free Syrian Army – which even non-biased analysts in Europe say is not free and is not an army: it’s a bunch of guerrillas infiltrated by people affiliated with Al-Qaeda and Salafi Jihadists.”

Escobar concluded that humanitarian corridors or not, the foreign interference is already there.

“Now this is a shadow war doubled with a civil war,” he said.

[…]

February 18th, 2012, 10:36 pm

 

irritated said:

Corridors to deliver arms to finish up Syria?

It seems to me that the enemies of Syria have resorted to a full destruction of Syria a la Iraq, as they haven’t been able to impose a change of regime favorable to them. Destruction is the only guarantee that Syria will be neutralized for good.
The only worry they still have is that it may spill over to their allies in the region, Turkey and Jordan. Lebanon will have to pay the same price as they support Bashar Al Assad.
Blinded by their hatred and their illusion of a better Syria to come, the supporters of the ‘revolution’ are the ones who are helping the destruction of the social fabric, the institutions, the security Syrians have enjoyed for years. The realization of the loss and that they have been just pawns will come when it’s too late.

February 18th, 2012, 10:52 pm

 

ann said:

Chinese vice FM meeting the real opposition in Syria – 2012-02-19

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/photo/2012-02/19/c_131418619_2.htm

February 18th, 2012, 10:59 pm

 

ann said:

US wants SWIFT war on Iran – Feb 17, 2012

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/NB17Ak04.html

Then there’s the stupid argument that the recent bombings and failed bombings in Delhi, Georgia and Bangkok represent Tehran’s retaliation for the murder of five civilian nuclear scientists in Iran – conducted by the Iranian terrorist group MeK under the orders of the Israeli Mossad.

If and when Tehran decides to target Israeli interests, it may be able to do it closer to home, and it has the competent operatives to do it without a trace. The notion that Tehran would send Iranian agents to friendly Asian countries such as India and Thailand – and in the case of the Three Stooges in Bangkok openly displaying their passports and even rials – is ludicrous beyond belief. These are patsies; the question is to find out who’s manipulating them.

If the Washington/Tel Aviv-promoted hysteria is already at fever pitch, wait for March 20, when the Iranian oil bourse will start trading oil in other currencies apart from the US dollar, heralding the arrival of a new oil marker to be denominated in euro, yen, yuan, rupee or a basket of currencies.

[…]

February 18th, 2012, 11:17 pm

 

Juergen said:

Greetings from Tahrir Square Cairo

I hope the next powercut is not imminent….

Just like to add that i read a number that the number of christians was over 60% in Syria in the years after independence, this shrinked down to 15%/10%( i guess actual numbers are kept a state secret in Syria) When i see my christian friends in Aleppo and Damascus, all of them send their children to private shools, tuition of 300/500 Euro a month is common, and they pay it for the sake of their children,and rather have less fancy things. i do believe that this good education is one reason many leave, its their key to the west.

Just read in DER SPIEGEL that the US is using drones to see what the regime would like to hide.

http://worldnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/17/10435915-officials-us-drones-monitoring-clashes-in-syria

February 18th, 2012, 11:18 pm

 

Leo Syriacus said:

The article by Ehsani sheds light on the grim situation that all people in the Middle East outside Petro-Dollar Sheikhdoms have experienced in the last fifty years, and yes minorities in general suffered more than the major group as it is everywhere and in all situations, the weaker in numbers and resources suffers more.
Unfortunately Christian Syrians have suffered considerably, very few of them belong to the mega-rich urban Bourgeoisie that teamed up with the regime and made billions.
Very few of them were given senior govenment positions or government support like other communities received.
The Syrian Christian professional, public servant, and small merchant has had some difficult economic situation lately and have seen their middle class status detoriorate and it is not surprising that their children immigrate to Europe and North America and never return, most of their Muslim friends also escape the poor job market but mainly to the Gulf state and return to Syria after a decade or so to resettle

February 18th, 2012, 11:28 pm

 

irritated said:

#26. ann

It was time the local Syrian opposition get a boost from a big power, after a year of neglect in favor of the French-MB illusionists.

February 18th, 2012, 11:50 pm

 

ann said:

Al Qaeda influence complicates US approach to Syria – February 18, 2012

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/02/18/al-qaeda-influence-complicates-us-approach-to-syria/

Regardless of motive, the presence of Al Qaeda puts the U.S. and its allies in a difficult spot as they strategize on how to extract the intractable Assad from power — presumably without western military force.

After hearing Clapper’s testimony Thursday, Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., quoted a column from a prominent foreign policy analyst: “When interventionists become avenging angels, they blind themselves and the nation and run dangerously amuck. They plunge in with no plans, with half-baked plans, with demands to supply arms to rebels they know nothing about.”

[…]

February 19th, 2012, 12:01 am

 

zoo said:

Who is attending the Friends of Syria (FOS) meeting on the 24th February in Tunis?
Will KSA and Qatar boycott it as China and Russia are invited and the SNC is not?

http://www.dp-news.com/en/detail.aspx?articleid=112135

Proposed initially by France and the United States the FOS Conference is considered a crucial counter move emerging in the aftermath of Russian and Chinese vetos in the UN Security Council resolution

“Russia and China were invited to participate in the Syria’s Friends conference held in Tunisia on Feb. 24, said Tunisian Foreign Minister Rafik Abdessalem.

Earlier the spokesperson for the United States Department of State Victoria Nuland ruled out Russia and China from the list of Syria’s Friends as they did not defend adoption of the UN General Assembly resolution on Syria.

For their part, Syrian opposition groups have not been received any invitation to take part at Syria`s Friends meeting which supposed to be held in Tunisia on 24th of February 2012.
..
Catherine Ashton, EU foreign policy chief, has confirmed her intention to participate in the meeting as a representative of the international community.

Qatar and Saudi Arabia welcomed Tunisia’s initiative, but l have not confirmed their participation, reports add

An official source from the Tunisian Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be participating in the Friends of Syria’s inaugural conference, which will be held in Tunisia next Friday.
In a meeting with her Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu, Clinton asserted her commitment to finding, “a political solution to address the unrest in Syria.” However, she also stated that any UN-Arab peacekeeping intervention in Syria must be conducted under the consent of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad.

Gulf Cooperation Council countries are expected to actively participate in the upcoming Friends of Syria conference
http://www.tunisia-live.net/2012/02/17/hillary-clinton-to-attend-the-upcoming-friends-of-syria-conference-in-tunisia/

February 19th, 2012, 12:04 am

 

ghufran said:

even if half of what is in this report from Jordan,by aljazeera,is true,one has to think twice before believing that Syria can be fixed:
http://www.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/EEC54857-B3AE-4E5E-9B4E-C957D745BEF7.htm?GoogleStatID=9

February 19th, 2012, 12:13 am

 

ann said:

Report: U.S. drones flying over Syria to monitor crackdown – 18.02.12

Pentagon officials say drones used to gather evidence to make case for international response.

40 Turkish intelligence officials captured in Syria, Assad regime claims Israel’s Mossad trained them.

http://www.haaretz.com/news/middle-east/report-u-s-drones-flying-over-syria-to-monitor-crackdown-1.413606

The United States is flying unmanned reconnaissance planes over Syria to monitor the “regime’s escalating crackdown on dissent,” U.S. defense officials told NBC television on Saturday.

Turkey fears this development after a diplomatic crisis erupted with Syria when more than 40 Turkish intelligence officers were captured by the Syrian army. Over the past week, Turkey has been conducting intensive negotiations with Syria in order to secure their freedom, and Syria insists that their release will be conditioned on the extradition of Syrian officers and soldiers that defected and are currently in Turkey.

Syria also conditioned the continuation of the negotiations on Turkey’s blockade of weapon transfers and passage of soldiers from the rebels’ Free Syria Army through its territory. It also demanded that Iran sponsor the negotiations of releasing the Turkish officers.

Turkey, who mediated several weeks ago between the Free Syria Army and Iran to secure the release of several Iranian citizens who were captured by the rebels, rejects Syria’s demands, and for this reason Turkish sources believe that Turkey will soon decide on hardening its stance on Syria.

Syria, on the other hand, has recently published “confessions” that it allegedly gathered from the Turkish officers that they were trained by Israel’s Mossad, and were given instructions to carry out bombings to undermine the country’s security. According to the Syrians, one of the Turkish officers said that the Mossad also trains soldiers from the Free Syria Army, and that Mossad agents came to Jordan in order to train al-Qaida officials to send to Syria to carry out attacks.

[…]

February 19th, 2012, 12:16 am

 

zoo said:

For Tunis, the SNC is not the Syrian opposition’s “real representation”

Syrian Opposition Group Will Not Be Represented at Friends of Syria Conference
Charles Baeder | 17 February 2012 | 0 Comments
http://www.tunisia-live.net/2012/02/17/syrian-opposition-group-will-not-be-represented-at-friends-of-syria-conference/

Today, Tunisian Foreign Minister Rafik Abdessalam confirmed to reporters that the Syrian National Council, a Syrian political opposition group enjoying wide international recognition, will not be invited to attend the international Friends of Syria conference, scheduled to be held February 24th in Tunisia.

“There will certainly not be an official SNC representative [present at the conference],” stated Abdessalam during a press conference held today at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“Each thing in its time,” he added, expressing hope to see the formation of a Syrian opposition group with “real representation.”

The Syrian National Council, headed by exiled council chairman Burhan Ghalioun, was permitted to hold its inaugural congress in Tunisia last December. The three-day event concluded with the provision of assurances from Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki that the opposition group would be officially recognized by the Tunisian government. However, formal recognition has not yet been extended.
(..)

February 19th, 2012, 12:17 am

 

ghufran said:

Dempsey on Syria:
Fareed Zakaria: What would you say to those who argue that the United States should arm the opposition movement in Syria?
Martin Dempsey: I think it’s premature to take a decision to arm the opposition movement in Syria because I would challenge anyone to clearly identify for me the opposition movement in Syria at this point. And let me broaden the conversation a bit. Syria is an arena right now for all of the various interests to play out. And what I mean by that is you’ve got great power involvement. Turkey clearly has an interest, a very important interest. Russia has a very important interest. Iran has an interest. And what we see playing out is that not just those countries, in fact, potentially not all of them in any case, but we see the various groups who might think that at issue is a Sunni-Shia competition for regional control.
(This is the link,he also spoke about the Syrian army: http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2012/02/17/watch-gps-martin-dempsey-on-syria-iran-and-china/

February 19th, 2012, 12:41 am

 

irritated said:

33. ann

How long would Turkey hide that 40 of their officers at in the hands of the Syrian military?
The suspicion that Al Qaeda has infiltrated the FSA is a major blow to any military action that some imagined the FSA will be capable of.
Most western countries will be less inclined to arms the “friends of al Qaeda.”
That may explain the absence of new claims of attacks by the FSA and the apparent decrease of defections.
There is now a return to the ‘old strategy’ of exploiting any gathering and turning it violent. Funerals and any gathering are now infiltrated by elements pushing the Army into confrontation. Civilian death attributed to the army ‘repressing a peaceful demonstration’ ‘sells’ better in the media than terrorist attacks and it is easier to trigger as tensions are high especially during funerals.
Yet, while it is making noise in Western media, for the arab serious media it is a ‘deja vu’ and its timing seems well chosen to disrupt the Chinese visit.
Syrians should be warned while attending funerals that elements are infiltrating it and will try to convert it into a “demonstration” to instillate violence and create casualties filmed by cameras conveniently set on a roof.

February 19th, 2012, 12:44 am

 

ghufran said:

welcome to the new Libya:
The decision of the NTC to hold its meetings in private and rule by decree has left diplomats dismayed, and the country is fragmenting under its feet.Misrata, Libya’s third city, will tomorrow hold its own elections, unsanctioned by the NTC, a final step towards what is independence in all but name. Its militias control a 300-mile-long corridor stretching across central Libya, policing it according to the city’s own leadership, rather than that of the NTC.
This is the full article:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/feb/19/libya-government-absent-revolution-anniversary
( I need to hear from those who think that a violent and abrupt regime change will produce different results. Indeed, Syria will probably be far worse due to a more diverse population and the involvement of so many regional and international players)

February 19th, 2012, 12:51 am

 

Syria no kandahar said:

Gloves are off,Terrorists are using all they can to destroy Syria:

February 19th, 2012, 1:43 am

 

Syria no Kandahar said:

ثلاث جسس حاولو الانشقاق
Terrorists are so evidence based,if you doubt what they say,ask the جسس

February 19th, 2012, 1:48 am

 

Syria no Kandahar said:

شريعة القرضاوي

February 19th, 2012, 2:21 am

 

Walid said:

Random samplings taken by Gallup polling consistently shows a population of between 9-12% Christian in Syria. That is likely more scientific that this article.

February 19th, 2012, 3:23 am

 

Mina said:

Ghufran #37
And instead of looking back on Libya just a few months ago, Le Monde is now having all sorts of nomenklatura writers (Littell 2 days ago, Tahar ben Jelloun yesterday) write about Bashar al Asad as if he was Stalin or Darth Vader. When you add than Ben Jelloun has received medails and honours from a tyrant and torturer such as Hasan II, you get a bitter feeling about what is going on to France.
I wonder too if Le Monde and Haaretz having titles yesterday about US drones above Syria to document the bombing for further prosecutions are not a follow up of “Ford’s evidences” except that they missed Moon of Alabama and SC posts. The internet speed is too quick for the (shataaim) mukhabaraat who decide what make the news.

February 19th, 2012, 3:54 am

 

OFF THE WALL said:

Once more, EHSANI persists in placing a mirror in front of us and showing us realities which we tend to avoid (except for Shami in this case). And while I do respect SANDRO LOEWE i have to disagree with the word “All of a sudden”. The economic/demography time bomb has always been present in EHSANI’s writing for years now and he has addressed it professionally without pro or anti-regime hyperbole while a few of us were giving Bashar Al-Assad one chance after the other until some of us realized how empty is the man and his gang nearly three years ago now while others did not and perhaps will never do.

Some of us, who come from secular communities have felt the drain through our own lives. I remember family friends disappearing. Those we used to spend “Friday” and/or “Sunday” afternoons (depends on who is in private and who is in public schools) and with whom, as kids i colored eggs and played games. It was Khalil first, then it was Alma, followed by Nour and so on….The pattern was nearly identical. The family would visit or we would visit them one evening. We the kids would go to play, but when we sneaked again to the family/guest room, the adults would be teary eyed and an atmosphere of sadness would fill the place. And when they were gone, they would be gone for a long time this time. It would sometimes be years before we see each others again on one of their short visits home. And by then, it is only the parents, for the growing children are now either staying in their new home country for school, or as young adults have other priorities to take care of on the short visit to the motherland. But this also applies to many friends from other sects, who starting in the late-sixties, would pack and leave for work, albeit to different destinations until finally it was my turn to do so, to say good by to friends and relatives, get on on a plane, and make a new life for my self with hope abound and a never ending undertone of sadness as an eternal companion on my journey.

EHSANI’s article forces me to think about several what if questions. And the first would be, what if the community has stuck and fought back. But then another question begs itself naturally, and that would be How…..

There was a time in Syria when such fight was possible. In the mid to late fifties, and even in the early seventies, a vocal push back against discrimination would have been possible. A general progressive atmosphere prevailed among Syria’s elites who could have pushed back and forced major changes at least on personal status laws. Again, it was an opportunity lost. Then came the Baath party, whose founders include Christians, and who would have been expected to address the concerns of the minorities but has failed miserably as the Assad family later declared itself “guardian” on the one side, but failed miserably in addressing the real concerns not only of the minorities but of all Syrians. Unless they take a public stand and force the issue publicly, the spiritual leaders of the christian community will be begging their congregations to remain, but will eventually find themselves alone tending to buildings with no one to chant the prayers.

The numbers arrived at by Ehsani are extremely worrying, they are below critical mass required for the survival of the community. Of course this does not apply to countries like the US or Canada, but in less developing countries, a critical mass is needed for any minority to survive socially and economically.

I also have one question. To what extent has the west’s (especially Canada, France, and Scandinavia) humanitarian policy of welcoming and greatly facilitating minority immigration at certain points in recent history resulted in accelerating the immigration of Syria’s Christians and in providing alternatives to fighting back (not talking about armed fighting here)?

Finally, I can understand the anxiety caused by satellite channels. But we do have the same phenomenon in the US and if one flips through the dial, there would be tonnes of channels who preach hate, demonize Muslims, Arabs, and other Christians, and issue threats. Watching these channels make me more hell bent on staying. The difference is that, I have a law to protect me and no one to force tutelage on me as “guardian” of my interest, there is only the law and efforts to apply it fairly. Therefore, I can push back without carrying a weapon.

February 19th, 2012, 4:02 am

 

Mina said:

OTW
I suggest you that the Syrian opposition should address the lies of the Salafis before they win the kind of “free” elections you dream of, as they did in Egypt, because of the lack of organisation of the other competing parties. It is just not enough to claim since one year that “We Syrians are not sectarian or religious fundamentalists”.
http://www.egyptindependent.com/node/666371

You mention the role of the West in extracting Christians from the Middle East: Palestinians and Turks since the seventies, then Iraqis and Syrians. It is a very active role. Even as the EU had become a well-guarded fortress in the last 10 years, Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands managed to bring lots of emigrants from these communities to help their aging population. I have seen in Syria the weirdest people claiming to be half-Vatican half-UN, helping in doing applications to the US, Canada and the EU for Iraqi refugees out of the official office for refugees.

February 19th, 2012, 5:21 am

 

OFF THE WALL said:

@ 43
This would have been far more sincere defense of the rights of the wonderful Baha’i community than using the rambling of a fool. But since there is nothing in the article that defends Bashar Al-Assad and/or his backers it was not selected to highlight the plight of a minorities in yet another ME country, but where persecution of minorities is a national policy. I will save others the efforts and paste a quote.

In 1979, with the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the persecutions took a new direction, becoming an official government policy and being pursued in a systematic way. Since then, more than 200 Bahá’ís have been executed or killed, hundreds more have been imprisoned, and tens of thousands have been deprived of jobs, pensions, businesses, and educational opportunities. Formal Bahá’í administration had to be suspended, and holy places, shrines, and cemeteries have been confiscated, vandalized, or destroyed.

February 19th, 2012, 5:53 am

 

Mina said:

OTW,
Your answer shows you refuse to consider the Salafi problem.

Le Monde mentions one killed in yesterday Mezzeh demo, and a new discordant voice, Algeria, unhappy with the GCC led AL.
http://www.lemonde.fr/proche-orient/article/2012/02/19/l-opposition-syrienne-compte-manifester-a-damas_1645433_3218.html

February 19th, 2012, 6:16 am

 

OFF THE WALL said:

MINA
I can spend ages addressing the Salafi and the militant groups issue, and I have addressed it and I am addressing it every day. But i believe you will not see or recognize that willingly because based on your comments and on similar comments on SC, i believe that this serious issue is being cynically misused on this forum as a vehicle to defend the indefensible murderous regime, increase sectarian fear and tension, and to de-legitimize a legitimate popular revolution against an oppressive and murderous regime. I refuse to participate in this cynical effort on such counter-revolutionary and reactionary terms and make no apology for that.

February 19th, 2012, 6:31 am

 

Mina said:

OTW
You were talking about the issue of the Christians of Syria. I said: address the Salafi lies before it is too late. They have 20 percent of the majlis al shaab in Egypt and have won number 1 (before the new wafd, the wasat and far above the muslim brothers) for the majlis al shura (at least for the 2/3 of the country which had voted first in january, and that includes parts of Cairo, Suez and Alexandria…)
Your only answer about Shahat on the Bahais is: “the guy is a fool”. I say: a fool with a lot of followers, just like Aroor. Populism as expressed by politicians playing with irational fears and relayed by expensive media campaigns or worse, channels, have been a threat to democracy already for a while. You can’t just ignore it.
If your conception of democracy is “according to your other comments, I suspect that you mean this and that”, no wonder why we see no progress in Syria.

February 19th, 2012, 6:45 am

 

Alan said:

‘If Israel bombs Iran, Arab states will support Tehran’
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUw4ZoskahI

Tension around Iran has spiralled. Tehran is carefully avoiding being provoked so as not to vie the US and Israel an excuse for military action. Though activists believe the extra sanctions and economic blockade of Tehran is already an ‘act of war’. ­RT has talked to Brian Becker, the national coordinator of the A.N.S.W.E.R. anti-war coalition on the reasons behind the instability in the region.

February 19th, 2012, 7:16 am

 

Mina said:

In a short sentence in one article we now read that the Egyptian mukhabaraat had organized the bombings of Taba and Sharm al Sheikh that killed dozens http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2012/1085/eg11.htm
It does not make headlines, and neither does Mubarak’s trial. Umar Suleiman has disappeared from the screens as “the guy who knew too much”. The corrupters of Mubarak will never be tried, or even named.
What kind of democracy do we want in these conditions?
Syrian problems won’t disappear with the removal of one guy and a few families. Believing in Western honesty and calling for police states in the Gulf to help removing a police state is due to fail.
A revolution means a long process of transformation that implies bringing in some segments of the society to join a common project. As long as you deny the Salafi problem, you won’t progress.

February 19th, 2012, 7:21 am

 

Alan said:

Battle for Mideast: Syria proxy war can make Iran bite

February 19th, 2012, 7:21 am

 

Norman said:

With 5% Christians in Syria, it is surprising that the Muslims need to have article 3 to keep the presidency in thier hands,

I asked if that is part of Islam on SC the answer was that it is not , so it looks that the reason is just quota and set aside,

I want to alert all Syrians that when members of a household are not treated equally , the tend to have thier own homes, so the Muslims of Syria need to be and do what the wights of the US did during the civil rights movement that treated blacks equally and saved the US.

February 19th, 2012, 9:00 am

 

Tara said:

Syria is a re-play of Sarajevo.  Dead babies, severed limbs, body trails, slitted throats, gouged out eyes.  All committed with impunity.  Isn’t time for the world to military interfere? 

Syria intervention drive mirrors Bosnia’s history
By Douglas Hamilton | Reuters – 3 hrs ago

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Cold-blooded sniper killings, indiscriminate shelling, surgery by flashlight, death, fear and hunger in a darkened city under the ruthless hammer of a superior force.
In its random cruelty, the conflict in Syria starts to resemble the war in Bosnia 20 years ago, when Serb, Muslim and Croat forces tore the Balkan country apart and the besieged people of Sarajevo buried thousands of dead in sports fields.
Bosnia’s carnage was broadcast globally month after month by 24-hour satellite television news then in its early days. The slaughter in the Syrian city of Homs has been playing out to the world almost hourly on mobile phone and amateur video.
Images of dead babies, severed limbs, blood running in the gutters and people driven mad by grief provoke horror, followed by demands for armed foreign intervention.
Intervention did come to Bosnia, but so hesitantly that the agony of its people went on for nearly 4 years, in which tens of thousands were killed and a million lost their homes.
Western powers who finally stopped the slaughter say they have no intention of going into Syria, a move that would have incalculable consequences in a volatile region.
Bosnia was a small republic of Yugoslavia, a European crisis on NATO’s doorstep. Syria is a major Arab republic with powerful friends in Russia and Iran, situated on a strategic crossroads.
The most readily recognizable common denominator between them is the Soviet-era T-72 tank. It has smashed its way into cities to crush lightly-armed rebels and civilians alike in 11 months of suppression by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Right now, the prospects of a U.N. peacekeeping force for Syria are seen as slim, since “there is no peace to keep.” But there was no peace to keep in Bosnia either, in 1992.
The Washington Institute’s Cagaptay and Tabler say a mission to Syria could succeed, and avoid escalation, if it heeds the lessons of Bosnia and avoids the pitfalls.
Firstly it must avoid “designating safe havens without a credible military structure to protect them.” Secondly it must not “send in peacekeepers without a strong mandate for them to shoot back.” Thirdly, it must “use airpower to protect the enclaves and maintain humanitarian corridors.”
They speculate that it would be commanded by a Turkish general, operating from NATO headquarters.

http://news.yahoo.com/syria-intervention-drive-mirrors-bosnias-history-105507946.html

February 19th, 2012, 9:31 am

 

Alan said:

أصبح هذا الموقع باهتا ناقص الألوان بدون جاد أليس كذلك؟

February 19th, 2012, 9:51 am

 

DAWOUD said:

Reply to Amir in Occupied/Ethnically-cleansed Palestine http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/?p=13503

Don’t make fun of Arabs that they are “fighting in the streets.” Arabs are trying to forge a future free from Arab dictatorships and Israeli occupation/colonialism. Still, Israelis are fighting in the streets. They are shooting, killing, injuring, and harassing occupied/besieged Palestinians. Do you remember the Israeli white phosphorous over Gaza? Yet, the attack on Hanin Zoabi in the Knesset was not a simple parliamentary debate among “equals.” Jewish members, including recent Rusian colonialists, were talking to her as if she had no right to be in her homeland. Can you imagine a recent U.S. naturalized citizen telling a native American Indian that he/she should go somewhere else?
The Syrian demonstators “fighting on the streets” of Homs, Damascus, Idlib, Doma, Der’a, Hama, Zabadani, Deir al-Zour, etc. possess an exemplary courage that a Zionist would never have had without hiding behind an American-made/supplied F16, Apache, white phosphourous…
Just today, courageous UNARMED Palestinians defended the holy al-Aqsa Mosque from Jewish terrorist infiltrators:
http://aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/D725AF24-5208-45D9-8C22-9C172BA0C715.htm?GoogleStatID=1

February 19th, 2012, 10:32 am

 

DAWOUD said:

As to Ehsani’s post on Aleppo’s Christians, their numbers would decline mainly because of immigration for economic/educational purposes. Last week, I watched Fareed Zakaria’s GPS program on CNN, during which Prof. Fawaz Gergis mentioned that he was in Syria and noticed that most Syrian Christians supported the regime. This, if true, is very sad because when the regime inevitably falls many of its Christian supporters would be fearful and decide to flee even if they are not targeted for persecution. We need to see more courageous Syrian Christians like Michel Kilo. This is the best insurance that Syrian Christians would be partners in building their homeland’s democratic future. They should ignore the advice of sectarian Lebanese figures like Michel Auon and the Maronite Patriarch.

February 19th, 2012, 10:48 am

 

mjabali said:

Mr. Norman:

Inequality will cause people to ask for independence and separation. This will free them from domination and discrimination. Minorities of the Middle East should think and act together.

Salam

February 19th, 2012, 10:58 am

 

Equus said:

Mr. Off the Wall

Wrote: The difference is that, I have a law to protect me and no one to force tutelage on me as “guardian” of my interest, there is only the law and efforts to apply it fairly. Therefore, I can push back without carrying a weapon.

I’m not so sure that is possible when police who is planting the evidence….

http://willyloman.wordpress.com/2012/01/03/utica-police-officers-planting-evidence-caught-on-tape-02-11-2011/

Do you know why O.J. Simpson was not convicted for the killing of his wife, despite all the evidence….The glove didn’t fit. AH!

I hope you’ll never have to test the (perfect) American system because once you are in it, you’ll never come out.

February 19th, 2012, 10:59 am

 

Equus said:

All in all, Syria remains too much like the socialist state the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party founders envisaged for it, and too little like a platform for increasing the profits of overseas banks, investors and corporations. Accordingly, its regime of self-directed, independent, economic development must be changed. The militant Islamist uprising, helped along by US money, propaganda and diplomatic support, has set the stage for Washington to realize its regime-change ambitions. Washington has framed the conflict as one between peaceful pro-democracy demonstrators and a murderous tyrant whose thirst for power has driven him to the extremes of killing his own people. Assad has, by this reckoning, “lost legitimacy” and must step aside.

GE didn’t get any tenders in Syria…oups bad country let’s destroy it.

http://willyloman.wordpress.com/2012/02/19/syrias-uprising-in-context/
By Steve Gowans

February 19th, 2012, 11:07 am

 

Ghufran said:

تسود حالة من الجدل داخل مصر، وتحديداً في قطاع وزارة الداخلية، بسبب ائتلاف “أنا ضابط ملتحي” الذي أنشأه عدد من ضباط الشرطة علي صفحات الفيسبوك، يطالبون السماح لهم بإطلاق لحاهم تأسياً بسنة الإسلام.
يقول النقيب هاني الشاكري، المتحدث الرسمي باسم الصفحة، والذي نشر صورته بعد أسبوع واحد من إطلاقه للحيته: “أعلم أن كثيراً من المحبين يشتاقون لرؤية ضباط مصر ملتحين بهدي نبيهم”.
http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/02/19/195668.html
الخطوه القادمه هي تغيير اسم الشرطه كي تصبح هيئة الامر بالمعروف و النهي عن المنكر

February 19th, 2012, 11:10 am

 

Syria no kandahar said:

يحيا الفخراني
المجلس الوطني لايمثلني

February 19th, 2012, 11:21 am

 

Ghufran said:

Basma Qadmani 2008

February 19th, 2012, 11:27 am

 

Jerusalem said:

Mr. Dawood,

Wrote: They are fighting Israeli occupation/colonialism.

If this is the case why Lebanese clerks or Cheicks called upon jihad for Syria? Did they loose their compass between Syria and Palestine? Or the four coordinates have changed in google search engine?

Since google has already changed Syria’s map and the VP of google wasn’t available to comment. Once I find this article again with exact link and source I shall post it.

February 19th, 2012, 11:41 am

 

Alan said:

Iraq For Sale – Full Movie
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Zt9BZD7mlc
A documentary on the privatisation of the Iraq war and the problems such policies have led to not least of all the creation of the militrary industrial complex. Documentary, War, Iraq, US, USA, America, Politics, Private Contracts, Contractors

February 19th, 2012, 11:48 am

 

Alan said:

57. MJABALI
what has be happened with him ?

February 19th, 2012, 11:52 am

 
 

Equus said:

Mr. Dawood,

Wrote: Can you imagine a recent U.S. naturalized citizen telling a native American Indian that he/she should go somewhere else?

Please let’s be realistic, American white man killed most of first nation people and who left of them in Canada, they put them in reserves with “Third World” conditions. They don’t even have drinking water.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2007/02/06/fontaine-speech.html

To keep idolizing America where in fact its only business is permanent wars for unchallengeable wealth, power, and dominance, while homeland needs go begging.

February 19th, 2012, 12:00 pm

 
 
 

Revlon said:

Dear Ehsani:
Using the term plight to describe the dwindling number of Syrian Christians in Syria, is unfortunate, especially that it was used in the same post to describe the condition of the Iraqi Christian refugees in Syria.

Your cited reasons for such “Plight” were:
((Low fertility rate, abysmal economic growth, unfavorable laws, regional dynamics and frightening language from some extremists have combined to deal this minority a remarkable blow when it comes to their numbers at least within the ancient city of Aleppo.

Christians feel that the civil laws are unfavorable to them.
Christian women who decide to marry a Muslim man have to make a critical decision due to the country’s inheritance and estate laws. If she stays Christian rather than convert, she will inherit zero from her husband following his death. This is why many Syrian Christian families find it extremely hard to accept inter-religious marriages..))

I just wonder how allowing a Christian lady to inherit her Muslem Husband would reflect positively on Christian’s population trend!
Their kids are going to be in the Muslem community statistics any how! No!

This reason should not even count as an impediment to inter-religious marriage. If the basis of such marriage is love against all odds, as it is naturally the case, the husband would be willing to write up part or all what he owns to his wife while he is living; unless Romeo is counting on his Dad’s fortune!

((Under Syrian law, a Christian can convert to Islam. It is illegal for a Muslim to convert to Christianity of course. ))

How many Muslems in the entire world, where allowed, have converted to Christianity in order to marry a Christian woman?
Extrapolate that figure on Aleppo population to have an approximate count of such event!
Does it really make any impact on the population to warrant even mentioning it, in your logical discourse!

((and frightening language from some extremists))
I want to thank OTW to reply to this argument.

The Syrian Christian community shall be affected by the outcome of this revolution, not because they are Christians but by virtue of being Syrians.

That the president’s religion must be Islam has been in the constitution that was forged by current regime whom the Syrian Christians are largely behind!
Even Norman, on this blog argues for keeping such clause, while myself, who is repeatedly accused of being MB is against it for it is both discriminatory and redundant!

Degree for degree, Christians have been enjoying an advantage over their Moslem neighbours as they have been favoured by the other minority; the Alawis.

Their proportional drop over the years, in my estimation, is due solely to their declining fertility.

In my own personal experience, the main impediment to having more kids is the mental stress incurred by the parents to raise them, including keep them busy doing the right things!
Money and job opportunities matter not; the lower the income, the higher the family head count!

February 19th, 2012, 12:30 pm

 

Aldendeshe said:

@52. Tara said:

Syria is a re-play of Sarajevo. Dead babies, severed limbs, body trails, slitted throats, gouged out eyes. All committed with impunity. Isn’t time for the world to military interfere?
_________________________________________________________________

In Illuminati lingo and strategy for world domination, what you said Tara tops the TODO list. It is called 1- Creating the problem, 2- wait for people to beg for solution, and 3- Offer the solution that is intended in the first place. This also is studied in Marketing 101, you first create the demand, then offer the product.

This beg the Q who are you TARA? Why jump into Military Intervention when International action only can be of help here without resorting to more killing that you are talking about.

February 19th, 2012, 12:40 pm

 

Norman said:

Mjabali,

You got my message, and I am sure others got yours,

February 19th, 2012, 12:41 pm

 
 

majedkhaldoun said:

Ehsani
How many kids you have?

Norman How many kids you have.

Even in France the christian population has decreased

Islam encourage marriage and having kids,in Islam Marriage is half the religion, and there is impression by Muslems that the prophet encouraged having kids, in Christianity, not to marry is not bad,Jesus did not marry , and priests do not marry,and nuns do not marry.
There are some who consider increase in population is a very powerful weapon, certainly in democracy the more the number the more chance to win in democracy,

February 19th, 2012, 1:05 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn3464-jojoba-oil-could-fuel-cars-and-trucks.html
This plant grow in desert as well in temperate area, it may be the future to replace gas for cars.

February 19th, 2012, 1:26 pm

 

Alan said:

Game under a table
Escobar: Al-Qaeda agents worm into Syrian rebel army

February 19th, 2012, 1:30 pm

 

norman said:

Majed,

AL Mal wal Baneen Zeenato AL Dounia,

i have 4

February 19th, 2012, 1:38 pm

 

Aldendeshe said:

@76 MAJD

This is worse than using corn for Ethanol production. Commercial and industrial scale growing of this plant have ecological consequence that is disastrous to the ecosystem. While corn production for industrial use raised the price or corn so much that countries using corn based food doubled its starvation ranking, it caused severe land and soil eradication that is not easily replenished.

There are other, more viable technology that can generate power for home and compressed air drive cars, but the power to be that wishes to enslave humans and keep them dependent on oil will not promote it. Rather they promote the one that don’t work, or will cause serious environmental problems so that they can set up solution and corporation that can bilk billions in profit when the solution is presented by them. Welcome to the real world.

Here is a technology that work, next year will launch small scale production:

http://www.wipo.int/patentscope/search/en/WO2001043272

February 19th, 2012, 2:04 pm

 

ghufran said:

Efforts underway to reach a “cease fire” in Homs,judging from what took place in Zabadani and the lack of incentives for the regime to back off,I suspect that there will be a reduction in violence and shooting but a continuation of arrests. It remains to be seen if the new promise of an improved security all over Syria by the end of March will be kept. There is a lot of weapons and thugs in Syria,the army is busy and the opposition to the regime is actually going up.

February 19th, 2012, 2:40 pm

 

Alan said:

@76 MAJD,79. ALDENDESHE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nib2-DrteE
The electric power from air and cars without gasoline

February 19th, 2012, 2:42 pm

 

Aldendeshe said:

@MAJD

Here is another one. Although I obtained patent from most industrial countries on the Hybrid, the U.S. Patent examiner told me sarcastically, after waiting more than 3 years for examination, that he will never have time to look at this one. They even removed the drawings from the view, but it looks like a flying saucer. I did not contest it because my interest is in Electric Vehicles mostly and the saucer require huge diameter restricting it from such use. So I let it slip to public domain.

http://www.wipo.int/patentscope/search/en/detail.jsf?docId=WO2001043258&recNum=1&maxRec=1&office=&prevFilter=&sortOption=&queryString=FP%3A%28aldendeshe%29&tab=PCT+Biblio

February 19th, 2012, 2:46 pm

 

Leo Syriacus said:

Ehsani’s article showcases the suffering of EVERYBODY in the Middle East outside Petro-Dollar Sheikhdoms with a particular emphasis on the Christian community of Aleppo.
Most of us in Syria were from the middle class that suffered greatly under the Assads and the economic downturn they are responisble for, so what is unique to the Christian community and to that particular one in Aleppo?
Many young men immigrated and while the Muslims immigrate temporarily for a decade or so to the Gulf states or the West they mainly return to Syria, marry Syrian women, and father several children..their Christian compatriots move mainly to the West and stay there, they marry westren women and gradually lose ties to Syria…even those who stay have fewer children than Muslim families
The Aleppine Christian community has a high number of non-Arabs as well..Armenians, Syriac,and Assyrians so they face the dual factor of being a minority both in ethnicity and creed and are more likely to stand on those line-ups on the doors of European,American, and Canadian embassies

February 19th, 2012, 2:56 pm

 

Leo Syriacus said:

The decline in numbers of all Christian communities in the Middle East is a cultural loss to all of us including Muslims.
It is in Damascus where St Paul became a christian and effectively started the organized Christian faith.
The inter-religious relations in post-independent Syria were largely positive and were some of the best in the world outside Western democracies, this culture of tolerance will remain an important component of the Syrian society

February 19th, 2012, 3:04 pm

 

sheila said:

Dear Norman,
You said: “With 5% Christians in Syria, it is surprising that the Muslims need to have article 3 to keep the presidency in thier hands”.
The “Muslims” did not add article 3 to the constitution, it is the regime who did so. If you are going to say that the regime had no other choice, I would beg to differ. When the regime claims to be secular and in effect has complete control of everything in Syria, they can not claim that this is the only thing that they can not do. They were able to change the constitution in a few minutes to allow Bashar to become president,. To claim that they can not remove article 3 is completely disingenuous.
Article 3 is wrong on so many levels, most important of which is the fact that we are narrowing the choice that people have and excluding some who might be the best candidates for that position. You can imagine if the requirement was for the president to be an Arab, that Salah Aldeen Al Ayoubi would never be able to become the president of Syria. This is a real shame. Since the majority in the country is Muslim and Sunni and we are trying to establish a democracy, let the people vote the person they want and give them the widest range of choices. I would like to bet that most people in Syria will vote for a person that they believe is good regardless of his or her religion, ethnicity or sect.
At the end of the day, are we voting for the head of Al Azhar? What does the religion of the president have to do with his or her ability to rule effectively?

February 19th, 2012, 3:09 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

Norman

يربو ب دلالك وعزك

Aldandashi
Burning gas by cars is the worse ecologic harm,the oil from jojobo oil is much cleaner. but I agree electric car is good.

Sheila,
I am proud that Damascus preceded Allepo to join this revolution

February 19th, 2012, 3:42 pm

 

Observer said:

[This post was held up in moderation because of a misspelled name]

The issue as I posted before and is the crux of what Ehsani is saying is that these are fake & failed countries. There is no such thing as a Lebanese nation or a Syrian nation or a Saudi nation or a Jordanian nation. We have countries that are designated as families and they have it in their official name such as Jordan and Saudi Arabia. We have Souria Alassad as another reference to the fact that Assad came to power after the official designation of Syria as an Arab Republic otherwise it would have been called the Assadi Syrian Republic.
Many reasons people flee the system and one has to look at the number and composition of Syrians that have left and what they have done outside of Syria as a testimony to their talent and resilience.

Of my class of 42 persons in high school and graduating in 1971 I have about four or five that are still in Syria.

One of them is the head of a hospital the second is an Armenian and she is a famous talk show host, the third is a dentist, and the fourth of Palestinian origin is a psychiatrist.

As for those who left I will give you an idea of what they did:
One is dentist in France and very successful at it, the other is famous neurologist in Cleveland, the third is a successful GI doctor in Toledo the fourth is a Pediatric neurologist in Ohio the next is a famous physician and nationally known at Columbus the next is the head of liver disease at one of the most famous institutions in the nation, the next one is the head of renal transplant at Harvard, then another went on to become one of the best students and pioneer in Radiology, he is in Kentucky, and last but not least the next one is a very prominent vascular surgeon and researcher in Washington DC, and one of my best friends form that class is an cardiologist in Chicago while another very good friend of mine is a nuclear engineer in France. And the list goes on and on.

My own family is also a microcosm of ” as my uncle would say the benefits of the Baath party” as it forced us to leave as one of my cousins is a hematologist in Paris and her sister is an eye specialist also in Paris, and one is a very successful business man with an multinational company in Europe.

Some of my family married Christians and others married Palestinians and yet others married Lebanese and one married a Jordanian and most of them have gone into exile forced by the dismantling of the Syrian society under the rule of the Baath and its mafia.

Most of you do not remember that at one time the minister of religious affairs in Syria was a Christian and that the entente between the politicians in Lebanon in 1943 gave willingly the lion’s share of power to the Maronites.

Let us think in long historical stretches; Germany for example was
divided until Bismarck united it and the same with Garibaldi in Italy and what we are witnessing now is the crumbling of the artificial entities of the dismantling of the Ottoman empire. The end of the cold war which kept many countries together is coming to a new reality hence the break up of Yougoslavia and the next will be Belgium and the next will be Italy north and south and the next will be Eastern Russia and perhaps some parts of China and then back to the ME where none of these countries are capable of solving not a single problem without the formation of an economic union.

Despotic rule does not discriminate and actually uses the fears and apprehensions of various parts of the society to rule. Hence it instills fear in the business elite, it instills fear in the minorities, it instills fear in the clan, and it promises the illusion of stability.

Here in the US and despite many shortcomings here I am in an institution where I am a division head without anyone asking me what is my religion or origin and my colleague is the head of the American College of Endocrinology and he is with a Muslim name being from Iran elected to the post freely.

This is because there is a higher element than the narrow stupid self serving view of the parochial mentality that is killing the ME.

From the thread and as an “observer” I sense now that there is despair on the part of some for any redemption that the regime may benefit from. Even the supporters of the regime on this blog are exhausted posting news from RT and Xinhua and Al Akhbar and what have you.

Instead of lamenting the end of the regime I invite them to work on what is the next Syria will be. It will have to be rebuilt from scratch with extreme difficulty as the stupid regime is slowly destroying not only Syria but also any institutions that may survive the regime so that there will be no framework to keep the society together.

Let me throw a bomb into the mix:
First article of the constitution of Syria’s ally Iran states that God is sovereign not the people.

The same question is facing the Islamists ( not Islam in my opinion as I believe that Islam insists on people rule not God rule but this is a different debate ): Is God the head of state or are the people the source of legitimacy and rule?

If it is God we are finished for another 200 years in my opinion.
Therefore the challenge is how to help them build a coherent world view where their deep belief is liberating rather than regimented for I truly believe that in true Islam even an atheist can be head of state as he is to be elected by the people. If the people elect him to fulfill their view of an Islamic or religious or faith based society and he is the best person to do it then Islam does not only permit it but encourages it.

This may come as heresy to some but few care to admit that Muhammad ruled Medina with its pagan tribes without enforcing Islam on them and the converse is true. As a matter of fact most of the Muslim rulers abused Islam just as the new constitution in Syria has done so by insisting on the stupid non Islamic clause that the President ought to be Muslim.

February 19th, 2012, 3:45 pm

 

syria no kandahar said:

[NOTE – Please do not paste full-text articles to Syria Comment. ]

http://www.syrianow.sy/

غسان بن جدو : اسطورة عزمي بشارة احترقت حتى النهاية وتفحمت

بقلم:غسان بن جدو
يلومني الكثيرون على تجاهلي لما يسمونه “ثورة الربيع العربي” واصراري على اشاحة نظري عنها بازدراء .. ويسوق لي البعض المقالات والمقابلات وصورا من اليوتيوب .. لكنني لم أستطع ابتلاع هذه الثورات ولاهضمها ولااستساغتها ..

وموقفي ليس عنادا ولاتشبثا بنظام ولابعهد بل هو انحياز نحو عقلي وقلبي أولا وانحياز نحو كل ماتعلمته وقرأته .. وأنا قرأت كل ماقرأت في حياتي كي أتمكن من استعمال عقلي في حدث مفصلي كهذا .. وكي لا أسلّم بالأشياء فقط لأن الجمهور يريد ذلك ولأن بوصلة الشارع لاتخطئ حسب مايزعمون .. انني لاأحب السير مع القطيع الذي تقوده الذئاب ..بل وتسير بينه الذئاب .. ولاأحب الثورات التي لاتعرف نكهة الفلسفة ولا نعمة الفكر..فهذا برأيي ذروة الكفر..

لاتلام الديكتاتوريات اذا لم تكن لها فلسفة ولا فلاسفة يعتد بهم وبفكرهم .. فالثيران لاضروع لها لتنتج الحليب ..ولا أتوقع أن تنتج الديكتاتوريات فلسفة ذات أثر .. لكن لايغفر للثورات فقرها بالفلسفة وغياب الفلاسفة والمفكرين عنها وهم الذين يضيؤون ويتوهجون بالأفكار .. والثورات العظيمة يوقدها عظماء وتضيئها عقول كالشهب وتتكئ على قامات كبيرة ترسم بالنور زمنا قادما بالقرون .. وغياب هؤلاء يسبب تحول أي ثورة الى مجرد تمرد أهوج وانفعال بلا نتيجة سوى الدمار الذاتي..

الثورات الشعبية عادة هي انعكاسات لصراعات اجتماعية عميقة .. وسلوك الثورات انعكاس لفلسفة بعينها تغذيها .. فلكل ثورة صراعها وفلسفتها وقاماتها .. وبالتالي لها أبطالها على الأرض وفلاسفتها .. وغياب الفكر والفلسفة يجعل الثورة تمردا ليس الا ولا تحمل الا صفات الانفعال الشعبي والغوغائي .. فالثورة الفرنسية كانت رغم عنفها وجنونها ثرية بالفلاسفة والمفكرين الذين صنعوا من فعل الثورة حدثا مفصليا في التاريخ عندما تحولت هذه الثورة الى وسيلة صراع اجتماعي مسلحة بالفكر الثرّ وبالمنطق الذي لايزال يجري في عروق قيم الحضارة الانسانية .. كان الدم يسيل في طرقات باريس ومن مقاصلها ومن جدران الباستيل لكن كذلك كانت المصطلحات الثورية والمفاهيم الكبرى الفرنسية الصنع والصياغة عن المساواة والحرية تطل من الشرفات وتضيء مع شموع المقاهي .. وتفوح كالعطر من مكتبات الثورة ومؤلفاتها.. فكدنا نرى مفكرين وفلاسفة وكتبا أكثر من أعداد الغوغاء التي اجتاحت باريس ..فلاسفة الثورة الفرنسية ومفكروها كانوا أكثر عددا من الثوار الذين زحموا الطرقات ..

وكذلك كانت ثورة البلاشفة في روسيا فبرغم أن من قام بها كانوا على درجة كبيرة من الأمّية (الذين أطلق عليهم البروليتاريا) فانها اعتمدت على فلسفة عملاقة هي الماركسية والماركسية اللينينية وكل متخماتها من جدلية هيغل ومادية فيورباخ ..ويروي المؤرخون حادثة تدل على أن من قام بالثورة البلشفية لم يكن يعرف ماتقول فلسفة الثورة لكنه كان منجذبا الى حد الانبهار بفلاسفتها وفلسفتهم دون أن يفقه منها شيئا لكن مفكري الثورة كانوا يعرفون عن البروليتاريا كل شيء .. فقد كان لينين الساحر المفوّه يخطب في حشد من الناس ويبشرهم بأن البروليتارية ستقوم ببناء القاعدة المادية الفولاذية للثورة ..وهنا اندفع احد المتحمسين من المحتشدين وصاح بتأثر وحماس: أيها الرفيق لينين ..انني حدّاد وأنا سأضع كل امكانياتي وخبرتي في صناعة الحديد في بناء هذه القاعدة الفولاذية .. بالطبع ماقصده لينين كان غير “المصطبة الحديدية” التي قصدها الحداد ..

[… EDITED]

February 19th, 2012, 3:46 pm

 

Syria no Kandahar said:

Syrian bloodsuckers terrorists mafia achieve another victory,terminating a baker!

February 19th, 2012, 3:50 pm

 

sheila said:

Dear Observer,
What can I say but brilliant. I agree 100% with everything you wrote. I am thankful that there are people like you around and proud that you are Syrian like me.

February 19th, 2012, 3:59 pm

 

sheila said:

Dear Majed,
I am proud of Damascus too.

February 19th, 2012, 4:05 pm

 

Mina said:

Alan,
I agree, SC without Jad is not SC. If he copied some articles from pro-regime websites once in a while (including some that would claim of readings things in le Figaro that were not there, just like the O. Roy interview on Syrian tv), at least it contributes to the debate and to researching the elements available for the audience.

[NOTE from SC Moderation: please see this link re bans ]

Here is a picture of the “revolutionaries” in Cairo protesting at the Syrian embassy. Note who is demonstrating… Hope OTW has started growing a beard.
http://www.egyptindependent.com/node/668246

February 19th, 2012, 4:09 pm

 

mjabali said:

Alan# 53

I second your call: This site lost a lot by banning Jad.

[NOTE from SC Moderation: please see this link re bans ]

February 19th, 2012, 4:50 pm

 

SC Moderation said:

NOTE – Mjabali and Mina and Alan and Ann have written, “This site lost a lot by banning Jad,” and “SC without Jad is not SC,” and “Return Jad back please !” and “JAD should be back posting again very soon (February 21st).”

Jad is not banned from SC. Jad has been free to post since February 16. Please take note of the updated Syria Comment Rules and Regulations, which now contain guidelines on fair use. Syria Comment is open to all opinions, sources, critical comments, analyses — from any quarter. The aim of moderation is to ensure courteous and responsible discussion.

Those under ban at the moment are:

Dale Andersen
Khaled Tlass
Afram
Ghat Al Bird

These accounts have been free to post since time-limited bans expired:

Majedkhaldoun
SS

Jad had been warned, as had several others, not to paste full-text articles to the comments. On the day he was restricted from posting (February 14), three entire articles were posted after a warning had been posted by SC Moderation. Jad’s one-week ban was reduced to 48 hours, and the moderator thanked several commentators for their feedback.

The issue for SC moderation is simply full-text article pastes. If commentators observe this simple rule, there is no issue, no warning, no need for a ban.

Jad was sent a note of apology signed by Alex (Camille Otrakji) and SC Moderation, approved by Joshua Landis. Jad has been a long-term positive addition to the Syria Comment community. We welcome him, and ask him only to bear in mind a tighter comment restriction on linking and pasting. This rule of thumb is applied to everyone. We thank Ann especially for helping make comments easier to read and reference, and for her links to important media reports.

February 19th, 2012, 8:05 pm

 

newfolder said:

Syrian state tv reporter defects, tells of regime lies and propaganda. Big blow to its credibility.

February 19th, 2012, 5:09 pm

 

Tara said:

Moderator, Alex, and Josh

Why was Jad sent a note of apology? Was a note of apology sent to Aboud for being banned? Or apology only offered to pro regime? We are owed an explanation.

February 19th, 2012, 5:13 pm

 

Alan said:

http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/3304.htm
Former Russian Gen.: Russia Is ‘Defending the Entire World From Fascism,’ Is Ready to Use Military Power to Defend Iran, Syria
http://www.theblaze.com

Former member of Russian Joint Chiefs of Staff Colonel-General Leonid Ivashov appeared on Russia Today TV to boldly announce that Russia is “defending the entire world from Fascism” — waged, of course, by the U.S. and Israel — and that his country is ready to use military force to defend Iran and Syria from its aggressors. He added that an attack on Syria or Iran would be an indirect attack on Russia. The retired colonel also compared U.S. presence in Libya to Hitler and his armies’ aggression against Poland and later, Russia.

The Following are excerpts from an interview with Ivashov on RT February 1, 2012. Translations provided by the ever-vigilant staff at MEMRI:

Interviewer: “Dr. Leonid, do you think that these preparations and very large maneuvers, which will soon be conducted by Russia, are meant as preparation for war, or rather, a military strike against Iran?” […]

Leonid Ivashov: “These maneuvers and training will demonstrate Russia’s readiness to use military power to defend its national interests and to bolster its political position. The maneuvers show that Russia does not want any military operations to be waged against Iran or Syria. I assume that the people in the West and in Israel who design the schemes for a large geopolitical operation in the greater Middle East region draw a direct connection between the situation in Syria and in Iran. Indeed, these two countries are allies, and both are considered guaranteed partners of Russia. The only question, therefore, is who they will try to destroy first as a stable country: Syria or Iran. […]

“A strike against Syria or Iran is an indirect strike against Russia and its interests. Russia would lose important positions and allies in the Arab world. Therefore, by defending Syria, Russia is defending its own interests.

“In addition, Russia is thus defending the entire world from Fascism. Everybody should acknowledge that Fascism is making strides on our planet. What they did in Libya is nearly identical to what Hitler and his armies did against Poland and then Russia. Today, therefore, Russia is defending the entire world from Fascism.”

February 19th, 2012, 5:14 pm

 

zoo said:

Children are paying the price of a fractured Yemen
Hugh Naylor
Feb 20, 2012
http://www.thenational.ae/news/world/middle-east/children-are-paying-the-price-of-a-fractured-yemen
Faced with soaring food prices and rampant unemployment, families take their children out of school and put them to work as street hawkers.
Yemen is wracked by rebellions, tribal divisions, graft and the effort to recover from a year-long uprising against its president, and aid agencies say it is the children who are suffering the most in a country overflowing with the young.

SANAA // Like the scores of other children washing windshields or peddling bottled water in these congested streets, Yasmin Hajiri beams with enthusiasm when asked what she wants to be when she grows up.

“A doctor!” the 10-year-old exclaims amid a din of honking car horns and shouting people.

But when the subject turns to the classroom, Yasmin frowns.

Her mother yanked her out of school three months ago to help the family scratch out a living, hawking tissue paper. water and chewing gum on the Safia intersection in Sanaa, the capital of one of the poorest countries in the Arab world.
{…}

February 19th, 2012, 5:23 pm

 

Norman said:

Majed,
Thank you,

Sheila,

I like the talk, ,,,, Now can you walk the walk and push the SNC to object to article 3 in the constitution, !!!!.? I doubt it,

February 19th, 2012, 5:24 pm

 

Alan said:

91. SC MODERATION
Return Jad back please !

February 19th, 2012, 5:27 pm

 

irritated said:

#93

” Russia is thus defending the entire world from Fascism. ”

Russia did help save Europe from the fascists of Italy and the Nazis from Germany in WW2..

February 19th, 2012, 5:27 pm

 

Uzair8 said:

Read the following important story on BBC Text earlier today but couldn’t post due to being busy.

Syria ‘disintegrating under crippling sanctions’

19 February 2012

One of Syria’s leading businessmen says its economy is being crippled by foreign sanctions and that the government is slowly disintegrating.

Faisal al-Qudsi, the son of a former Syrian president, told the BBC the military action could only last six months and then there would be “millions of people on the streets”.

But he said President Bashar al-Assad’s government would fight to the end.

The 11-month uprising against Mr Assad has claimed thousands of lives.

Human rights groups have put the figure at more than 7,000, while the government says at least 2,000 members of the security forces have been killed combating “armed gangs and terrorists”.

The violence continued on Saturday, when Syrian troops fired on mourners during a funeral that turned into a mass demonstration in Damascus. Activists say at least one person was killed there and some 20 across the country.

‘Catch 22’

Speaking to the BBC’s Weekend World Today programme, Mr Qudsi said the economy had been crippled by sanctions and that although Iran was sending money, it was not enough.

Mr Qudsi now chairs a London-based investment banking firm and has been heavily involved in private sector investment in Syria.

He said the uprising had destroyed tourism and the sanctions on exports of oil and other products had dramatically reduced the gross domestic product.

“So, effectively the foreign exchange reserves of the central bank have come down from $22bn (£14bn) to about $10bn and it is dwindling very rapidly,” Mr Qudsi said.

He said the military phase against protesters could only last another six months “because the army is getting tired and will go nowhere”.

Read more:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-17088270

February 19th, 2012, 5:28 pm

 

zoo said:

Egypt recalls its ambassador to Syria
The National staff
Feb 20, 2012
http://www.thenational.ae/news/world/middle-east/egypt-recalls-its-ambassador-to-syria
Egypt’s foreign ministry said yesterday that it was withdrawing its ambassador to Syria, the latest Arab country to scale back its relations with the embattled regime in Damascus.
Related

The Egyptian state news agency, Mena, said that the foreign minister, Mohammed Amr, decided yesterday to keep the ambassador to Syria, Shukri Ismael, in Cairo until further notice.

The decision, which follows moves by Tunisia, Libya, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, to reduce ties with Damascus came on a day in which gunmen fired on a car carrying a senior Syrian state prosecutor and a judge in the north-west province of Idlib, killing both of them and their driver, according to the state news agency.
(…)

February 19th, 2012, 5:30 pm

 

jad said:

[First submitted on 2012/02/14 at 12:30 pm ]

Haytham Mannaa interview on Al7iwar TV, he is probably the most HONEST Syrian politician we will hear from during these horrible times of Syrian history:

قناة الحوار: الدكتور هيثم مناع
http://youtu.be/zGAUfBHUUig

February 19th, 2012, 5:30 pm

 

zoo said:

After the Mazzeh incident lauded as the beginning of Damascus uprising, another call for strike fails.

http://www.thenational.ae/news/world/middle-east/egypt-recalls-its-ambassador-to-syria
….
Activist groups called a one-day strike in Damascus to express support for other cities in revolt. But the call did not appear to have been widely heeded.

Residents in the capital said businesses were open as usual and so were schools and universities.

Calls for strikes in the past did not succeed in tightly controlled Damascus, where government forces and informers keep a close eye on all activities.

Earlier yesterday, a funeral was held in Damascus for a man who was killed a day earlier when security forces fired live rounds and tear gas at thousands of people marching in a funeral procession that turned into one of the largest protests in the capital.
(…)

February 19th, 2012, 5:34 pm

 
 

zoo said:

Syria’s Christians Will Suffer After Assad
The price of regime change
By David Warren, The Ottawa CitizenFebruary 17, 2012

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/opinion/price+regime+change/6171451/story.html
There are millions of Christians in Syria, who probably have the Russians and Chinese to thank that they may live there a little longer. The Security Council vetoes, a fortnight ago, on a resolution calling upon Syria’s dictator to step down, and supporting an Arab-sponsored plan to “end the violence,” put paid to any immediate prospect of western intervention.

The outrage expressed by Hillary Clinton, William Hague, and other western foreign ministers, probably concealed a little relief, for the vetoes provided the excuse they needed to avoid the issue, while continuing to posture about “humanitarianism” and “democracy.”

Let me be clear: I carry no brief for Putin’s Russia, or the PRC, let alone the Assad family’s monstrous regime in Damascus. The obvious needs restating from time to time: that many, perhaps most of the world’s governments are in the hands of evil tyrants (if gentle reader will forgive the pleonasm). Thus it often happens that we must appear to support one evil, in order to obviate a worse. This necessarily involves taking heat from utopian slogan-chanters.
..
Nor does the horrific violence in Syria please anyone who is sane. Though here, it is important to grasp that we are getting the same stilted information that comes with all “Arab Spring” reporting. Media both East and West, for different reasons, have taken a partisan position, and assigned white and black hats to the respective contestants for power. The opposition to Assad is presented as if it were a unified “resistance movement,” of an “oppressed people.”

The truth is we do not know much about what is happening inside Syria — just as we knew and know little about Libya, where, now that Gadhafi is dead, “the show is over” for the western audience. Journalists who (courageously) enter Syria are seldom in a position to check the hearsay they must forward as breaking news to deadline. As an old editor, it distresses me to see things as specific as body counts reported, from places where there are no disinterested observers.

It should also be remembered that all governments, even the most angelic, try to maintain order. When rebels seize bastions in Homs or elsewhere, overpowering local authorities, of course the state’s soldiers will go in. To present the Syrian regime’s defensive efforts, as if it were shelling for the sheer gratuitous pleasure of demolishing old towns, is to overstate the case for the opposition.

We have received little hints that indeed, al Qaeda and other terrorist Islamists are engaged in that opposition. The very existence of a “Free Syrian Army,” in support of a “Syrian National Council” suggests the violence is not confined to one side; and many of the victims of this violence are likely to be (as in Libya, again) unarmed people loyal to the regime, who become targets for vengeance when the regime’s soldiers are out of reach.
(…)

February 19th, 2012, 5:38 pm

 

zoo said:

One year on: chaotic Libya reveals the perils of humanitarian intervention

The mission to remove Gaddafi was a noble one. But it provides a further lesson in the pitfalls of such actions
Peter Beaumont
The Observer, Sunday 19 February 2012
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/feb/19/peter-beaumont-libya-intervention-gaddafi

February 19th, 2012, 5:40 pm

 

zoo said:

Syrian Forces Flood Damascus District, Prevent More Mass Protests
Posted Sunday, February 19th, 2012 at 5:30 pm
http://blogs.voanews.com/breaking-news/2012/02/19/syrian-forces-flood-damascus-district-prevent-more-mass-protests/

Syrian security forces have deployed heavily in a tense Damascus neighborhood, blocking opposition activists from staging a second day of mass protests, as the government continued a nationwide crackdown on protest hubs.

Activists said Syrian police flooded the Mezze district on Sunday to prevent a funeral for a young protester from turning into a major rally against President Bashar al-Assad. Samer al-Khatib was shot dead Saturday, as security forces fired on a mass funeral for several other anti-Assad activists killed in a police crackdown the day before. The mass funeral was one of the Syrian capital’s largest anti-Assad rallies of an 11-month opposition uprising.

Activists said police and pro-government militiamen forced Khatib’s family to hold Sunday’s funeral earlier than planned. Activist groups posted messages on Facebook urging Damascus residents to hold a one-day strike in solidarity with the uprising, but there was little response with the capital under tight government control.

Elsewhere, activists reported 14 people killed in violence linked to the revolt across Syria. Syrian state media said gunmen attacked a car carrying a Syrian state prosecutor and a judge in the northwestern province of Idlib, killing both officials and their driver Their deaths follow the Saturday assassination of an Aleppo city council member. Syrian state news agency SANA blamed “terrorists” for the killings.
(…}

February 19th, 2012, 5:49 pm

 

Tara said:

Syrian officials killed by gunmen
(UKPA) – 2 hours ago  

Gunmen have assassinated a senior prosecutor and a judge in north-west Syria, while activists reported that security forces shelled rebel-held areas in the besieged city of Homs.
The Sana news agency said gunmen opened fire on a car carrying Idlib provincial state prosecutor Nidal Ghazal and judge Mohammed Ziadeh. The agency said the two were killed instantly along with their driver.

SANA said the prosecutor’s assassination came a day after gunmen shot dead Jamal al-Bish, a member of the city council of the nearby northern city of Aleppo, Syria’s largest. It said he was killed outside the city, a centre of support for President Bashar Assad that has been relatively quiet since the uprising began.

{…}

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ukpress/article/ALeqM5iOoZwBynOlehUUCwvxY8cACH148Q?docId=N0614061329644016909A

February 19th, 2012, 5:51 pm

 

zoo said:

Overcautious and non-committal, Ford avoids taking any clear position on the SNC validity or on Obama’s earlier demand that Bashar Al Assad steps down.

Asharq Al-Awsat Interview: US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford

19/02/2012
By Mina al-Oraibi
http://www.asharq-e.com/news.asp?section=3&id=28540

More like a “Friends of al-Assad” conference!

19/02/2012

By Tariq Alhomayed

If the Tunisian foreign ministry says it will not invite the Syrian National Council (SNC) to the upcoming “Friends of the Syrian People” conference, while both Russia and China will be invited, then the question here is: Who will this conference actually benefit? Or, why was this event not called the “Friends of al-Assad” conference in the first place?

How strange for the Tunisian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Rafik Abdessalem, to say that “there will certainly not be an official SNC representative” at the Friends of the Syrian People conference, indicating that the relevant authorities had “discussed the subject”. He added that “each thing [will come] in time”, hoping to soon see the formation of a Syrian opposition with “real representation”.
http://www.asharq-e.com/news.asp?section=2&id=28533

February 19th, 2012, 5:53 pm

 

Tara said:

Syria’s Alawites to fight to death for power: analysts

http://www.canada.com/life/Syria+Alawites+fight+death+power+analysts/6177296/story.html
 
 
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE FEBRUARY 19, 2012 5:17 AM

(…)
 

February 19th, 2012, 5:55 pm

 

Tara said:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-17088270

19 February 2012 

Syria ‘disintegrating under crippling sanctions’

One of Syria’s leading businessmen says its economy is being crippled by foreign sanctions and that the government is slowly disintegrating.

Faisal al-Qudsi, the son of a former Syrian president, told the BBC the military action could only last six months and then there would be “millions of people on the streets”.

But he said President Bashar al-Assad’s government would fight to the end.

[…]

Speaking to the BBC’s Weekend World Today programme, Mr Qudsi said the economy had been crippled by sanctions and that although Iran was sending money, it was not enough.

Mr Qudsi now chairs a London-based investment banking firm and has been heavily involved in private sector investment in Syria.

He said the uprising had destroyed tourism and the sanctions on exports of oil and other products had dramatically reduced the gross domestic product.

“So, effectively the foreign exchange reserves of the central bank have come down from $22bn (£14bn) to about $10bn and it is dwindling very rapidly,” Mr Qudsi said.

Mr Qudsi’s dire assessment of the Syrian regime’s situation is significant coming from such a source.

He has a strong background both in politics and the economy. The family’s roots are in Aleppo, the northern commercial centre. His father was president of Syria from 1961-3. Mr Qudsi, an international investment manager, has been deeply involved in private-sector projects in Syria.

One of the regime’s pillars of support has been the Sunni business and middle classes and merchants, because of the stability it appeared to offer against the uncertainties raised by regime change. Now Mr Qudsi says the regime is rapidly losing that support.

If he is right and the middle classes end up turning against President Assad as the economy collapses, bringing millions on to the streets of Damascus and Aleppo, the regime’s fate will be sealed. But Mr Qudsi also believes the regime will fight to its last gasp, and nobody knows how long that might take.

“They will have to sit and talk or at least they have to stop killing. And the minute they stop killing, more millions of people will be on the streets. So they are in a Catch 22.”

He added: “The apparatus of the government is slowly disintegrating and it’s almost non-existent in trouble spots like Homs, Idlib, Deraa. Courts are not there; police are not interested in any sort of crime and it is affecting the government very, very badly.”

[…]

February 19th, 2012, 6:01 pm

 

zoo said:

http://www.arabi-press.com/?page=article&id=23477
كتبت ماهيندا عربي كاتبي – دمشق – عربي برس .

إحتفلت القنوات الفضائية الخليجية وتلك اللبنانية التابعة لها بما أسمته ” أضخم تظاهرة تخرج في دمشق ” وذلك ربطا بالصور التي بثتها مباشرة من منطقة المزة غربي دمشق وأظهرت آلافا من السوريين يهتفون ” الله اكبر” و” اللي ما بيشارك ما في ناموس” خلال تشييع ثلاثة من الشهداء المدنيين ” الذيم سقطوا في اليوم السابق (جمعة المقاومة الشعبية) برصاص الأمن السوري ” بحسب المعارضين ، وبـ” رصاص مسلحين إرهابيين مارسوا القنص على متظاهري يوم الجمعة بهدف خلق البيئة الشعبية المناسبة لإنتشار المسلحين بين بيوت المناطق العشوائية ذات الصفة الريفية بين شرق أوتستراد المزة وغرب المحلق” بحسب مصادر مقربة من السلطات السورية، التي أكد إعلامها أن مسلحين تسللوا نهار الجمعة إلى أحياء عشوائية خلف مستشفى الرازي وأخذوا يطلقون النار على قوات الأمن بينما كان العشرات من الشبان يتظاهرون في المكان نفسه، فسقط منهم ثلاثة هم حسام الأصفر، و محمود محمد كرم، و بلال طويلة . والثلاثة من السكان المحليين الذين تنتمي عائلاتهم إلى “المزة بلد “، ما لفت نظر مراقب من الصحافيين حيث وصف الحادث بالمريب وربطه بما أعلنه القيادي في الإخوان المسلمين السوريين محمد سرميني لموقع إيلاف قبل ايام من تحضير تنظيمه لمفاجأة في دمشق وتسائل الصحافي المراقب عن سر سقوط ثلاثة من ” شباب المزة ” يوم الجمعة في حين أن المئات من أبناء داريا هم من تظاهروا في يوم جمعة المقاومة الشعبية في تظاهرة المزة التي سقط فيها الشهداء ؟
وأضاف الصحافي :
لو سقط شهداء من داريا في المزة لشيعهم أهل داريا فهل كانت تبحث رصاصات الموت عن هوية القتلى قبل إصابتهم ؟
لقد حصل المعارضون على هدية بمقتل الشبان الثلاثة، فقد سهل مقتلهم حصول تظاهرة تشييع لا يمكن إلا أن يشارك فيها كل من ينتمي إلى المزة (القرية التي تحولت بالتوسع إلى جزء من دمشق ولكن أهلها الأصليين لا يزالون يعملون في الزراعة ولهم أحياء خاصة بهم خلف الأوتستراد الشهير الذي يشق المنطقة وصولا إلى ساحة الأمويين).
(…)

February 19th, 2012, 6:14 pm

 

newfolder said:

Hani Malazi, Syrian state tv anchor defects and reveals the regime’s lies and coverups (English subtitled video):

February 19th, 2012, 6:28 pm

 

zoo said:

Turkey pushed over Syria

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
Adel Iskandar, an Arab media scholar, says it is in the interest of a lot of countries to push Turkey to intervene in Syrian crisis, which rocks the country for nearly 1 year, a move that could be injurious to Turkey

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-pushed-over-syria.aspx?pageID=238&nID=14097&NewsCatID=338
….
‘Al-Jazeera neglected Bahrain completely’

Iskandar, who has written one of the most prominent books on Qatar’s Al-Jazeera news network, also discussed how the channel has covered the ongoing Arab Spring.

“To a large extent, Al-Jazeera did the job they should be doing by covering the story that unfolded. At the end of the day, Al-Jazeera has made its bread and butter from political protests. So it was natural for Al-Jazeera to cover the protests,” he said.

However, Iskandar said there were some uprisings that the channel had completely neglected.

“Like in Bahrain. [In terms of the] percentage of the protestors, the Bahraini movement is the largest movement in the Arab Spring. However, the saddest situation is that while the Bahraini and Syrian revolts started at the same time of the year; one year after that Syrian is getting 99 percent of the coverage while Bahrain is only getting 0.01 percent of the coverage. This is going to hurt the network and its credibility in the eyes of the public,” Iskandar said.

February 19th, 2012, 6:36 pm

 

Tara said:

Targeting civilians will be documented by the American reconnaissance planes and then hopefully be used in the ICC. 

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/iran-sends-two-warships-us-flies-drones-on-syria.aspx?pageID=238&nID=14143&NewsCatID=359

… the United States is flying its unmanned reconnaissance planes over Syria, officials say.

February 19th, 2012, 6:45 pm

 

Ghufran said:

Norman,
I posted a link to prince Hassan (#73)
he is not an authority on freedom and democracy but his opinion is worth listening to.

February 19th, 2012, 6:50 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

It seems that Israel is planning to hit Iran,the question is when?there may be a window,this period will be available to Israel if the regime in Syria is removed,syria may go through mini war,this will be the best time for Israel to attack Iran, either April through may,or after the american election, which I think will be more likely,
If an attack is imminent ,it would be a mistake for Iran to send two ships to the mediteranian sea, they can be hit easily.
Israel is thinking that if the syrian regime is involved in mini war,HA is very likely to attack Israel and that is why they are getting ready,and they are setting up their anti missile defense system, we know that US drones are flying over Syria, with both Israel and USA are talking ,and discussing matters,militarily, I think something could happen soon

February 19th, 2012, 6:56 pm

 

Aldendeshe said:

Just to let you know that I received 3 emails today from Europe appreciating the new Syriacomment cut and paste policy. Much faster to navigate and read comments, less frustration and better information. I tried it myself on the beach today and it was a snap to navigate on mobile Android and Iphone.

February 19th, 2012, 7:05 pm

 

Ghufran said:

Look at who is urging Obama to get tough in Syria: Karl Rove, the former Bush administration adviser; Paul Bremer, in charge of the U.S. occupation in Iraq after the 2003 invasion; R. James Woolsey, former CIA chief; Robert McFarlane, former Reagan national security adviser; and Dan Senor, a former Bremer adviser and spokesman for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq.
(the same men who destroyed Iraq to help Israel are trying again on Syria)

February 19th, 2012, 7:05 pm

 

ann said:

West’s poker face at Middle Eastern grand chessboard – 19 February, 2012

http://rt.com/news/iran-syria-west-policy-697/

The planned neo-colonial takeover of the Middle East is gearing up. As the heat rises, the West finds it increasingly difficult to proceed with its grab for dominance and maintain a brave face, says political analyst Adrian Salbuchi.

­Things are happening very fast in the Middle East. Tensions are mounting, threats are being made, and strange assassinations are taking place… Even stranger diplomatic, political, global media, military and economic strings are being pulled; sometimes so quickly, that they’re getting tangled! The atmosphere is becoming very rarefied indeed! A bit of historical perspective might even lead you to think we’re re-living August 1939: the last days before World War II.

But what is really happening over there and why? Well, to begin with, we witnessed twenty years during which the US, UK, France, other NATO members, and Israel have variously attacked, bombed and overrun Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, and Palestine almost constantly and unimpaired.

Millions of Muslims have died as a consequence of these aggressions which have been based either on flagrant lies like Iraq’s non-existent WMDs, or Iran’s alleged A-Bomb program. Blatant double-standards make the media systematically ignore Israeli ethnic cleansing in Palestine. Last year we saw a fabricated and engineered social turmoil throughout the region – dubbed the “Arab Spring.”

There is consistent misrepresentation of the true nature of the Middle East conflict, the true goals of its wide assortment of players, and the true root causes of all the violence and turmoil. But now the Western powers are finally confronted with two tough cookies to crack: Syria and Iran. In these conflicts their masks are starting to fall. And when masks suddenly fall, many are caught off-guard showing their real faces.

[…]

February 19th, 2012, 7:36 pm

 

SANDRO LOEWE said:

112. NEWFOLDER

Great link. After viewing it I think nothing else can be said about the nature of this falling regime. Let´s pray for the fall to be soon to avoid more children and innocent being killed by snipers in Homs.

February 19th, 2012, 7:39 pm

 

Norman said:

MR Moderator,

I think that the problem that you changed the rules about full article without long enough notice, I do not think that was in the SC Rules.

[NOTE – Norman, you raise an excellent point regarding “fair use” standards and requests. These cannot be set as rule but as guidelines or rules of thumb. At its simplest, fair use suggests an limited ex. The Syria Comment Rules and Regulations now include brief guidelines for fair use of off-site material, and also now includes an email address for queries, complaints and concerns. Thank for the observation.]

February 19th, 2012, 7:41 pm

 

ann said:

China’s Mideast envoy urges negotiations over regional issues – 2012-02-20

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2012-02/20/c_131419375.htm

JERUSALEM, Feb. 19 (Xinhua) — Chinese Middle East envoy Wu Sike said Sunday that China is willing to play a constructive role in bringing Israel and the Palestinians back to peace negotiations.

Wu, on a visit to the region, met with Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Yitzhak Molcho, head of Israel’s negotiating team to the Amman exploratory talks with Palestinians earlier this year.

Wu noted that Israeli-Palestinian peace process should remain the focus in the Middle East, despite latest changes of international or regional situation.

China welcomes and supports recent meetings between Israel and the Palestinian National Authority, in an effort to restart long- stalled talks, the Chinese envoy said, adding that his government hopes both sides show enough flexibility and create a favorable environment to resume peace negotiations.

Wu also discussed Syrian issue with Lieberman. Negotiation was the only way to solve the crisis in the Middle East, he noted.

Considering that military actions would damage the region’s stability and Syrian people’s benefits, Wu said that China supports peaceful solutions, brought up either by the Syrian government or the opposition groups.

Wu visited Syria last October and met several leaders of opposition groups. The leaders were against foreign military interference on Syria, which they believed would be counter- effective, Wu told Xinhua during an interview later.

Despite China’s vetoes earlier this year of two United Nations resolutions pressing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to abandon power, Wu said that China “shares a lot in common with Arab League and Israel on Syria issue,” with regard to ending violence against citizens.

[…]

February 19th, 2012, 7:46 pm

 

Tara said:

Sorry, it is the regime who is not invited to Tunisia.  SNC is officially invited.

http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=366433

SNC invited to Tunisia conference, reports Al-Hayat
February 19, 2012     
  
Al-Hayat newspaper reported on Sunday that Tunisian Foreign Minister Rafik Abdesalem “officially invited” the Syrian National Council on Saturday to attend the “friends of Syria” conference that will be held next Friday in Tunisia.

The daily also quoted SNC member Ahmad Ramdan as saying that the opposition will be represented in the conference, adding that Abdesalem “confirmed that statements quoting him as saying that the SNC is not invited are not true.”

On Friday, AFP said that Abdesalem told reporters that “there will certainly not be an official SNC representative” at the conference. 

February 19th, 2012, 7:57 pm

 

ann said:

Top U.S. soldier says Syria different from Libya scenario – 2012-02-20

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-02/20/c_131419343.htm

WASHINGTON, Feb. 19 (Xinhua) — U.S. Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey on Sunday said security challenges in Syria differ geographically and militarily from those that led to NATO operations in Libya, and intervention would be difficult.

“Syria is a very different challenge,” Dempsey said in a CNN interview. “It’s a different challenge in terms of the capability of the Syrian military. They are very capable.”

Dempsey said Syria has “sophisticated, integrated” air defense system, adding that the country represents a “very different military problem,” and “intervening in Syria would be very difficult.”

[…]

February 19th, 2012, 8:03 pm

 

Ghufran said:

An attack on Iran will help the regime and hurt the US and its GCC allies. Senior US army chiefs and virtually all leaders of NATO are not supportive of such a move especially that it is not likely to achieve much for technical reasons explained in length by military experts. There is something in common with most war drummers: they are usually wrong.

February 19th, 2012, 8:05 pm

 

Norman said:

Hey Ghufran,

Couldn’t you keep quiet and let me have my day in the sun, and feel that i contributed,

February 19th, 2012, 8:22 pm

 

bronco said:

This is repost as my posts seems to vanish

[NOTE – Bronco, the name was misspelled. Software puts that kind of post into moderation. We need a ‘Damascus-time’ moderator to catch the overnight errors. ]

Bitter tears for the loss of the Christians and the minorities

In the middle east where there is variety of religions and ethnicities, I observe that the ruling majority is always suspicious of the minorities’ foreign allegeances and tend to radicalize and often ostracise them. We see that Iin Iran, in Bahrain, in Saudi Arabi, in Lebanon etc..
This is why generally, minorities feel more reassured when the country ruler is also from a minority.
In Lebanon the christian have managed to obtain some sort of guarantee to keep significant political rights through an unwritten agreement of power sharing. This seem unthinkable for most moslem Syrians. The fact that the Arab Sunnis will ultimately take the power from a minority will be a sign to non-moslem or non-arab ethnic minorities that they will become second class citizens with little power, no protection and no guarantees. They will be systematically discriminated.
Either they’ll fight back to get their recognition included in the Constitution or through a political agreement like Lebanon or they’ll create an autonomous areas like Iraq Kurdistan or they will leave the country.

Sunnis alone then will be responsible to move Syria into ‘democracy’. As there are no example of Sunni Arab Moslem working democracy, it will be trial and errors and under the advices and financial influence of rich non-democratic countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the GCC and westerne educated expats.
The economy will be in shamble, therefore many young educated christians who could claim to be discriminated, will be welcomed in the Western countries and there will be a real brain drain.
Because the Islamic extremists are also Sunnis, it will be very difficult for a Sunni government to control them and Syria will fall prey to countries that would want to use it for their own interests. Israel will have no incentive to give the Golan back ever.
The loss of the Christian community and the loss of confidence of of the Kurds, the Alawites, the Assyrians in their role in a society dominated by the Sunnis will transform Syria into a monochrome country at the mercy of the rich Sunni Gulf countries and the western countries, like Tunisia is becoming, weak and dependent.
A gloomy future that many Syrians are fighting to desire.

February 19th, 2012, 8:25 pm

 

irritated said:

#120 Tara

As it was posted it earlier, Qatar and Saudi might have threatened to boycott the conference if their ally, the SNC is not invited.
It seems that have succeeded in arm twisting the Tunisians.

Now the Tunisians may have to invite ALL the opposition groups in Syria otherwise some other countries may boycott the meeting.
They are starting to feel the complexity and sensitivity of their good intended proposition.

February 19th, 2012, 8:28 pm

 

Tara said:

Irritated@ 130

Is that an opinion or you have a reference?

February 19th, 2012, 8:35 pm

 

zoo said:

Few Good Options for Syrian Opposition
By HUGO DIXON | REUTERS
Published: February 19, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/20/business/global/20iht-dixon20.html
When the Syrian revolution began, the activists employed almost entirely nonviolent tactics. They also rejected the idea of foreign intervention.

Nearly a year later, the revolution’s character has changed. There are still protests, boycotts, strikes and funeral marches. But the opposition’s main strategy for overthrowing Bashar al-Assad’s regime has become one of outmuscling it. To achieve that, it is calling for military help from abroad — a request that will be pressed when Friends of Syria, a contact group of mainly Arab and Western countries, meets in Tunis this week.

The switch in strategy is understandable, though regrettable.
….
Nonviolent struggle has about twice the chance of bringing down dictators as armed struggle, according to a study of 20th- and early 21st-century conflicts, “Why Civil Resistance Works,” by Erica Chenoweth and Maria J. Stephan. Among the many reasons, those close to the regime feel less threatened by nonviolent tactics and so are more likely to shift their allegiance, while it is easier to involve millions of people in Gandhi-style civil disobedience than in military operations.

This is the context of the upcoming Friends of Syria meeting in Tunis. There are various ideas on the table, all fraught with problems. One, touted by the French, would create humanitarian corridors through which aid could be ferried to the trouble spots. The snag is that a large and sophisticated military force would be needed to blast open and protect such corridors.

Another proposal is to create a safe zone by the Turkish border, where refugees and defecting Syrian soldiers could congregate. This could then be a base from which to launch a counterattack against Mr. Assad, in the same way that Benghazi was used against Colonel Qaddafi.

Again, a foreign army would be needed to secure such a haven. Western powers, which have just disengaged from Iraq, do not seem to have much appetite for that. There is also the complication that Russia and China have made it clear they would veto any resolution in the U.N. Security Council authorizing military intervention.

The rich Gulf Arab countries, led by Qatar and Saudi Arabia, may not have such qualms. But they are not in a position to field an army to match Mr. Assad’s. Their main contribution is likely to be giving the Syrian opposition money to buy arms. If enough sophisticated weapons pour into the country, Mr. Assad might eventually be toppled. But the bloodshed would be horrendous, and Syria could be left with radical Islamist gangs as Afghanistan was after the West decided to arm the mujahideen as a response to Soviet occupation in 1979.

Conflicts that turn violent rarely revert to nonviolence. Probably the best known was the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, but that change in strategy took decades. Still, the other options for Syria and the region look ghastly.

February 19th, 2012, 8:37 pm

 

irritated said:

#131 Tara

An opinion.

February 19th, 2012, 8:39 pm

 

Ghufran said:

Norman, you only need to show up to contribute,I can always read your posts without having a heartburn,I just want you to read mine or cough up something new 🙂

February 19th, 2012, 8:41 pm

 

Tara said:

Irritated

You may be right but who care? The end result is what matters.

Same for the GA vote. 134 countries do not support the regime yet the regime has the powers of the countries that matter.

February 19th, 2012, 8:47 pm

 

ann said:

JAD should be back posting again very soon (February 21st)

[NOTE– Jad has been free to post since February 16th]

February 19th, 2012, 8:55 pm

 

Norman said:

Ghufran,

You got me,

February 19th, 2012, 8:55 pm

 

jad said:

Dear SC Moderator,
First of all, thank you very much for giving me back the privilege of writing on SC, I appreciate that.
I’m sorry that I didn’t write earlier but I got busy at work and your ban came in good timing for that 🙂
Hopefully I’ll be back of making trouble on SC soon but not before the 21st as you initially asked, I’m happy to obey the rules.
I’ll do my best not to paste the full text of articles as requested, but just in my defense, I was used to do that on SC for years now since many sites are blocked in Syria while SC is not, so I was taking advantage of that trying to help any Syrian inside our beloved homeland to be able to read the full articles without the need to go in the trouble to read them from the blocked sites.
Again, Thank you for your excellent work on SC forcing the rules on all of us, I’m very appreciative for your effort.
Regards.

Dears Norman, SNK, Ann, Mawal, Ghufran, Alan, Mina, Mjabali, Irritated and any commentator who wrote a word about me; I’m nobody and worth nothing without your help, thank you for every comment you wrote on my defense, however, I made a mistake and I deserve the ban, not a big deal :), as I wrote before, I’m not going to give up, it’s not my thing.

February 19th, 2012, 8:56 pm

 

irritated said:

#131 Tara

Tunis foreign minister changes his mind and invites the SNC:
The Qatari connection

Rafik Abdelsalam is the son-in-law of the leader of Annahda Rached Ghannouchi. He is very close to Qatar. He has worked several years as the Director of the Studies Center of Al Jazeera in Qatar.
It is said that he got the job as the Ministry of Foreign Affair thanks to the help of Qatar.
I guess there was no real arm-twisting necessary then..

February 19th, 2012, 9:03 pm

 

Ghufran said:

حكم البابا
لا يستطيع المجلس الوطني السوري أن يتابع بهذه الطريقة، ولم يعد الكذب على السوريين الذين فوضوه وأعطوه شيكاً على بياض مجدياً، فالجميع يعرف أن الدكتور غليون المتمسك برئاسته للمجلس لا يمكن أن يضحك على السوريين ويقول لهم أنه سيعود إلى جامعته وعمله الأكاديمي بعد سقوط النظام كما تحدث قبل أيام على الجزيرة مباشر، وكان خطأ المذيع القاتل في عدم سؤاله له عن اصراره على التمديد له مرتين حتى الآن تحت تهديد الانسحاب منه في حال أقصي من الرئاسة ما دام زاهداً فيها إلى هذا الحد، وناجي طيارة عضو المجلس الذي خرج على شاشة العربية ليعلن الإضراب عن الطعام تضامناً مع أهالي مدينة حمص السورية، لا يمكن أن يقنع مشاهداً واحداً بعد أن خرج ثانية على نفس الشاشة بعد سبعة أيام من إعلانه الإضراب وهو بكامل صحته ولم ينقص من وزنه غراماً واحداً، وكان خطأ المذيعة أنها لم تحضر له ميزاناً في المرتين لترى كم نقص
وزنه، واليوم تأتي الدكتورة بسمه قضماني لتكذّب عيون وعقل كل من شاهد الفيديو الذي جمعها بإسرائيليين كالت لهم ولدولتهم من المديح والتملق، ما يجعل من محتواه وصمة عار على جبين هذا المجلس، فإسرائيل كانت
وستبقى بالنسبة للسوريين عدواً اغتصب وقتل ودمّر، ولن يشرف هذه الثورة وجود أشخاص مدّوا أو سيمدون أيديهم لنفاقها تصريحاً أو تلميحاً.
This is the link,mr moderator 🙂
http://www.alquds.co.uk/index.asp?fname=today%5C19qpt997.htm&arc=data%5C2012%5C02%5C02-19%5C19qpt997.htm

February 19th, 2012, 9:15 pm

 

Tara said:

Rent-a-radical, rent-a-love,…the regime is capable of anything and everything to stay in power.

Syrian opposition sees radicals at work for regime
By Mona Alami, Special for USA TODAY Updated 56m ago

BEIRUT – The Free Syrian Army says terrorists are operating in Syria on behalf of the Assad regime as its military forces continue to bombard opposition cities despite United Nations condemnation.
Aref Hamoud, a colonel in the Free Syrian Army, said his units are encountering a growing number of radical elements in some parts of the country. He said the radicals are Syrians and not foreigners from al-Qaeda.
“Up until now, the al-Qaeda insurgency lacks local support of the population, which is an essential element for its guerrilla warfare,” he said. “A prolonged crisis would breed a more fertile ground for the organization, which is why we call for Arab and Western countries to provide military and financial support.

….
The Syrian regime released over a dozen members of Fatah al-Islam and al-Qaeda from prison several weeks ago, according to al-Qaeda-linked websites. Fatah al-Islam is a Palestinian terrorist organization.
Hamoud said that a more troubling development is the alleged release of Abu Mussab al-Suri, a Syrian citizen and longtime jihadist captured in Pakistan in 2005. The U.S. State Department had issued a $5 million reward for his capture and he was turned over to U.S. custody but eventually handed to the Syrians. An al-Qaeda-linked forum said he had been released, according to a translation by the SITE Intelligence Group.
“The Syrian regime is willing to take any risk to stay in power by playing up the West’s fears, especially those of the U.S. and Israel,” Hamoud said. “They believe such reckless measures will relieve some of the pressure.”

“The situation in Aleppo was relatively calm due to the strong military presence of Syrian security forces,” Hamoud said. “However, this week, they seem to be slowly loosing their grip on the city.”

http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/story/2012-02-17/syria-terrorists-assad-regime/53160584/1

February 19th, 2012, 9:16 pm

 

jna said:

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/world_now/2012/02/foreign-ngo-workers-to-be-tried-on-feb26.html?track=lat-pick

REPORTING FROM CAIRO — Forty-three pro-democracy workers, including 19 Americans, will stand trial Feb. 26 in a case that is at the center of an escalating diplomatic crisis between Washington and Cairo over political reform in Egypt, the state news agency MENA reported Saturday.

The defendants, including Sam LaHood, son of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, will be tried on charges of illegally operating and funding foreign nongovernmental organizations in an effort to create unrest in Egypt, MENA reported.

MENA reported that the prosecution’s investigation has so far shown that four U.S.-based organizations — International Republican Institute, Freedom House, National Democratic Institute and an organization that trains journalists — allegedly operated in Egypt without licenses while illegally receiving a total of nearly $26 million.

Sam LaHood is the director of IRI’s Egyptian office.

Only seven of the U.S defendants are in Egypt, including several who have taken refuge at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. All have been barred from leaving the country.

Cabinet Minister Faiza Abu El-Naga accused the American groups of financing the spread of chaos in Egypt since the toppling of President Hosni Mubarak’s regime one year ago. In testimony in October, El-Naga said that Washington sought to disrupt Egypt through street protests to strengthen U.S. and Israeli regional interests.
…read more http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/world_now/2012/02/foreign-ngo-workers-to-be-tried-on-feb26.html?track=lat-pick

February 19th, 2012, 9:30 pm

 

ann said:

Welcome back JAD!

February 19th, 2012, 9:52 pm

 

ann said:

2 judicial officials slain in Syria – 8 hrs ago

http://news.yahoo.com/2-judicial-officials-slain-syria-182121002.html

BEIRUT (AP) — Gunmen in Syria staged a guerrilla-style ambush that killed a senior state prosecutor and a judge Sunday in an attack that suggested armed factions are growing bolder and more coordinated in their uprising against President Bashar Assad’s regime.

The roadway slayings — reported in an opposition-dominated northern region by the Syrian state news agency — came a day after a deadly hit-and-run attack on a political figure in the heart of the pro-Assad city of Aleppo.

The targeted killings have not reached Assad’s inner circle, but they indicate a growing shift toward violent tactics by the opposition as it brings aboard more military defectors and seeks to tighten control over the small pieces of territory in its hands.

The latest assassinations came on a road in the northwest province of Idlib, which has become a patchwork of areas held either by the government or mutinous soldiers who have safe-haven bases in nearby Turkey.

The state news agency SANA said gunmen opened fire on a car carrying Idlib provincial state prosecutor Nidal Ghazal and Judge Mohammed Ziadeh, who were killed instantly. The driver also was fatally wounded.

On Saturday, SANA said gunmen shot to death Jamal al-Bish, a member of the city council of the nearby northern city of Aleppo. The city has been a center of support for Assad since the uprising began.

The back-to-back slayings follow the Feb. 11 killing of a Syrian army general in the first assassination to take place in the capital city of Damascus. Brig. Gen. Issa al-Khouli, a doctor and the chief of a military hospital in the capital, was shot as he left his home. Last month, the head of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent branch in Idlib was shot to death while on his way to Damascus.

[…]

February 19th, 2012, 10:02 pm

 

ss said:

There is no fear of regime fall. The only survivor is the regime. The people are the ones who are payig the price. The regime will survive for years but the people are dying from the criminal acts of what is called resistent????
Why do you have to kill to reach what you want?

on the other hand I do not think there is any weapon to control someone who is ready to go and explode himself amongt civillian. No matter how strong the regime is; evil will always find its way to the lives of normal people.

February 19th, 2012, 10:04 pm

 

zoo said:

#141 JNA

Is Egypt’s Government Malicious or Incompetent?
Eric Trager
February 18, 2012 | 12:00 am
http://www.tnr.com/article/world/100840/egypt-scaf-army-tantawi-ngo-riots
The Egyptian government’s decision to investigate pro-democracy NGOs for criminal activity and the subsequent imposition of travel bans on democracy workers didn’t just ruin the plans of the six Americans now stuck there—it sparked a severe crisis in relations between Cairo and Washington. But how the Obama administration responds hinges on a question that it feels has not yet been answered: Is Egypt’s current government deliberately instigating conflict, or just incapable of managing its own affairs?
{..}

February 19th, 2012, 11:18 pm

 

irritated said:

#140 Taraa

“Aref Hamoud, a colonel in the Free Syrian Army, said his units are encountering a growing number of radical elements in some parts of the country.”

Encountering = embracing or fighting?

February 19th, 2012, 11:21 pm

 

zoo said:

Syria’s crisis is leading us to unlikely bedfellows

David Cameron and William Hague are at risk of over-simplifying a dangerous and complex situation.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/9090324/Syrias-crisis-is-leading-us-to-unlikely-bedfellows.html
….
However, all doubt ended last week when James Clapper, director of US national intelligence, informed the Senate Armed Services Committee that the Damascus bombings “had all the earmarks of an al-Qaeda attack”. Mr Clapper added that “we believe al-Qaeda in Iraq is extending its reach into Syria”. So, it’s official. Al-Qaeda is acknowledged as an ally of Britain and America in our desire to overturn the Syrian government.

Let’s consider for a moment one of the most glaring hypocrisies of American foreign policy: the differential treatment between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Washington never ceases to complain about the connection between the Pakistani intelligence services and the Taliban. But we never hear a whisper of concerns about the connection between Saudi intelligence and Salafi movements across the Middle East, of which al-Qaeda is the best known offshoot.

For months, the region has been alive with rumours that al-Qaeda and other Sunni fighters have been sneaking into Syria through Lebanon and Turkey. Many of these extremist Sunni infiltrators fought with al-Qaeda in Iraq before being driven out and taking refuge in the Lebanon. It is likely that they are backed with money and arms by Saudi interests, and inconceivable that they could act without the knowledge, and perhaps the assistance, of Saudi intelligence.
…..
For the situation is far more complicated than he has admitted. It is far from obvious, for example, even that a majority of Syrians are opposed to the Assad regime. Russia calculates that perhaps two thirds of Syrians are still broadly supportive, and it is worth recalling that Russia was a more accurate source of information in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq than either Britain or the US.

Foreign policy is perhaps the area where David Cameron’s Government has copied New Labour most closely. Mr Cameron shares much of Tony Blair’s slavish adherence to American foreign policy aims, especially in the Middle East
{…}

February 19th, 2012, 11:28 pm

 

Equus said:

Did you watch The Good wife (TV show)…?

Of Course it has to touch on Syria the episode is called: Live From Damascus, but the events are taking place in Homs.
It’s exhibiting Americans protesting in Homs and the protestor who died is a live and the software owner was prosecuted because the Syrian government is using the software. Hollywood style.

The question is why Americans are protesting in Homs?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chris-harnick/the-good-wife-live-from-damascus-recap_b_1276529.html

February 19th, 2012, 11:33 pm

 

zoo said:

China is raising its voice and the press rants.

China paper says West stirring up civil war in Syria
http://news.yahoo.com/china-paper-says-west-stirring-civil-war-syria-030013585.html

BEIJING (Reuters) – Western countries are stirring up a civil war in Syria with their wholehearted support for the opposition, a top Chinese newspaper said Monday, slamming calls for the country’s leader to hand over power as an incitement to further violence.
..
Communist Party mouthpiece the People’s Daily, in a front page commentary in its overseas edition, said China must stick to its line in opposing any attempt to force regime change or intervene in Syria.

“If Western countries continue to fully support Syria’s opposition, then in the end a large-scale civil war will erupt and there will be no way to thus avoid the possibility of foreign armed intervention,” Qu Xing, who the paper identified as a foreign affairs expert, wrote in the piece.


Over the weekend, thousands of Syrians demonstrated in the heart of the capital in one of the biggest anti-government rallies there since a nationwide uprising started nearly a year ago. ( REALLY??)

(…)

February 19th, 2012, 11:47 pm

 

ann said:

Israel urged against ‘destabilizing’ Iran attack – 6 hrs ago

http://news.yahoo.com/syria-intervention-very-difficult-top-us-general-175224068.html

The top US military officer urged Israel on Sunday to hold off from any attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, warning that such a move would be “premature” and “destabilizing.”

[…]

February 20th, 2012, 12:02 am

 

Jerusalem said:

The Lady is in the headlines again: Basma Kudmani. God bless her, she knows how to insult her own but not Israelis.

http://www.alquds.co.uk/index.asp?fname=data\201222-19\19qpt997.htm

February 20th, 2012, 12:12 am

 

ann said:

The Internationalization of Syria’s Civil War – February 19, 2012

Foreign Arms, Foreign Fighters Pour Into Troubled Syria

http://news.antiwar.com/2012/02/19/the-internationalization-of-syrias-civil-war/

From John McCain to Ayman al-Zawahri, the call to arms has gone out around the world and been answered. Foreign fighters and weaponry are pouring into Syria, arming various insurgent and rebel factions with an eye toward joining an increasingly internationalized civil war.

Now everybody from the Arab League to al-Qaeda is looking to cash in, and secure their own interests in Syria. Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) is expanding significantly into Syria, with Iraq struggling to control the border.

The US and the Arab League are likely to have the most money to spend trying to buy influence in Syria’s various rebel fighters. AQI has the advantage of experienced fighters in Iraq, having just spent the last eight years fighting a US occupation there.

[…]

February 20th, 2012, 12:28 am

 

Hans said:

I can’t help it but laugh, I have and many of us here said that the radicals hijacked Syria and now the news including CIA and other saying there is evidence of Iraqi Alqaida is moving into Syria to help toppling the regime.
well let’s think about this, USA is going to support Alqaida and its radicals SNC to topple Assad who is backed by the Russian.
Deja vu, does anyone remember what happened in the 80’s when USA supported bin laden…against the russian and then killed him
is the history going to repeat itself in Syria.
some reports ( not clear how true) that the Americans drones are all over Syria sky.
but i doubt given the Russian in Tartous would have known that by now.
i am sure there is lots of secrets but if Assad could bring down some drones that would turn the image upside down on the Israelis and the americans.
is Ghalioun going to receive more money from the USA or he will have same fate like OBL one day.
cheers.

February 20th, 2012, 1:08 am

 

hans said:

I just noticed the numbers on the current poll which says a lot! either people don’t trust the SNC and the ground militia to rule Syria or the people here on SC are biased against this two entities.
given we are not biased but we understand that this two entities are the worse and probably is worse than the regime itself therefore the poll seeing the next president will come from somewhere else.
I have said it would be a very smart idea to have a christian to be the next president of Syria and thereafter the president should have not much power, but the PM is the one who will rule the country, same like Iraq, Israel, India etc.. why should we continue to elect one dictator after another.

February 20th, 2012, 1:15 am

 

Shami said:

http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/02/20/195763.html

One of the most famous shabeeh captured by the free syrian army.

February 20th, 2012, 7:25 am

 

Mina said:

Zoo,
The West starts having a headache: if it’s true al Qaeda is in Syria, then maybe Qaddafi was right to see al Qaeda in Lybia?! When are we going to see Cameron-Sarkozy or Mr “Peace Nobel Prize” on a bench in The Hague?
But of course, the Empire attacks only indefendible guys.

February 20th, 2012, 7:29 am

 

majedkhaldoun said:

I keep hearing on SC statistics that do not make sense,such as
The Alawis make 20% of syrian population,christians makes 10% of Syria,Druze make up 7%
Sunni are 75%
All thesae claims are wrong
Alawis are 1.3 millipon ,out of 23 million this represent 5.6%
christians are 4%
Sunni are definitely over 80%,
I do not think there is reliable statistics, it is only estimation,it is not on the ID card,further the Kurds are ,in their majority, Sunni.

February 20th, 2012, 7:51 am

 

Anton said:

Dear Syrian Patriots

Its time to help Syrian people not only hearing and looking them suffering

I am going to set up a new foundation to help Syrians in difficulties, it will be non political non partisan, social organization aims to help Syrian those needs help …
The aim is to raise funds during the next 3-6 months seeking the US and Europeans government support for fund and facilitate activities.

The foundation will be called “Syrian Christians charity foundation”

I am looking for people from this forum to help set it up and be active members.. any interest ?

February 20th, 2012, 7:59 am

 

annie said:

Press and humanitarian aid (red cross) are not being allowed into Syria.

Blackouts of power and all phone service is making it nearly impossible for live reports to get out from inside Syria.

a BGAN terminal is a device that allows a camera or computer to communicate with a satellite network regardless of the situation with cell or power. They are expensive, but the communication ability when in a blackout is PRICELESS.

1500 dollars down to rent one and $8.00 per megabyte transferred. So we are going to need to raise 2,000 to get started and 10,000 to ensure we can broadcast without interruption.

Lets crowdfund this thing like crazy, if 1000 people give 10 dollars, we are set! Lets keep the information flowing when the internet gets turned off.

https://www.wepay.com/donations/satalite-internet-for-livestreaming-syria
Says OTW :

I believe that this is an extremely important work especially now that there are indications that the two Iranian ships near the Syrian coast are heavily engaged in disrupting opposition communications in Syria by interfering and intercepting satellite communication after the regime’s agencies were overwhelmed.

February 20th, 2012, 8:14 am

 

DAWOUD said:

Dear Professor Landis:

Although I have begun to comment only since last week, I have been reading your blog for over a year. I have a brief feedback regarding this blog’s narrative and editorial policy, which I would like to share with you and the readers of this blog.

1. I agree that you should not allow comment writers to copy and paste full articles. Posting full articles may not only violate fair use and copy rights, it is also distracting. Writers should only paste articles’ titles and links. They can’t claim that they are posting full articles to bypass Syrian censorship. I don’t think that Putin’s Russia Today and China’s Xinhuanet are banned in Bashar’s dictatorial Syria!
While enforcing this policy, you have to be consistent. For example, #135 ZOO posted the full article from the NY Times.
Could JAD be banned for being anti-Bashar on a blog slanted in favor of Syria’s dictatorship? JAD’s comment from Feb. 14th, which you posted only yesterdays shows a video for anti-regime person talking about Syria’s repression in Arabic!
2.I enjoyed reading Ehsani’s post on Aleppo’s Christians (I am a Sunni Muslim married to a religious Christian woman, who is still Christian. I love her and support her adherence to her faith). However, to insure that all perspectives, including the Sunni Syrian perspective (the majority Sunnis are also the majority in the ongoing Syrian revolution) is not ignored nor minimized. I regretfully say it again: Your blog’s narrarive is slanted in favor of a dictatorship-Hafez’s and Bashar’s 40+-year-old tyranny!
The only thing that I find troubling in Ehsanni’s article is that he chooses to mention Iraqi Christians, which gives the impression that if Bashar falls, Syrian Christian would suffer. The conclusion of this troubling argument is that Syrian Christians should stand behind Bashar’s murderous regime! I would like to say two things about this troubling argument:
A. In Iraq, all groups suffered from dispossession and terror. Over 5 million Iraqi refugees. I have met here in the USA both Shia and Sunni Iraqi refugees. Maybe Christians seem to suffer more because their percentage of the population is smaller than Muslims. Sunni mosques, Husayniyat, and churches all suffered from bombings and suicidal attacks.
B. This argument that emphasizes the possible fate of Syrian Christians is the reason why you should invite a Syrian Sunni Muslim, in addition to the two Syrians on this blog, to explain the perspective of Syrians, who are Sunni Muslims and fighting Bashar’ regime-the WORST Arab regime EVEER!
I Sadly say that SC needs “affirmative action!”

Sincerely,
Dawoud

P.S., If I get banned here, I will email this comment directly to you to ensure that you will read it.

February 20th, 2012, 8:30 am

 

Majed97 said:

A new poll running on facebook shows a slight majority of people would vote for him to be president…

http://www.facebook.com/questions/116564295118633/?qa_ref=qts

February 20th, 2012, 8:49 am

 

irritated said:

#162 Majedalkhadoon

Don’t bother counting, it is dwindling by the day.
Soon your deep secret wishes will come true: the Sunnis will be 100% including some permanent Sunni guests, Salafists and Al Qaeda, for a finally fully “democratic” Syria, free of these annoying minorities.

February 20th, 2012, 8:59 am

 

Amir in Tel Aviv said:

VIva la Revolución!
.

February 20th, 2012, 9:08 am

 

irritated said:

#165 Dawoud

Sorry to intervene, but for the NYT article posted by Zoo, please take time to compare with the full article and adjust your glasses to notice the dots separating the excerpts …..
I hope you are not banned, I wouldn’t to want to miss any of your enlightening analysis and smart suggestions.

February 20th, 2012, 9:13 am

 

majedkhaldoun said:

Irritated
You are puting words in my comment that I did not say
like” annoying minorities”
I never said annoying, please respect yourself and refrain from doing that again, your obfiscation is clear.

Moderator
Irritated keep claiming things that are not true,this has to stop by Irritated

February 20th, 2012, 9:26 am

 

jna said:

164. anniesaid: Press and humanitarian aid (red cross) are not being allowed into Syria.

British Red Cross ups aid to tackle worsening violence in Syria
http://www.redcross.org.uk/About-us/News/2012/February/British-Red-Cross-ups-aid-to-tackle-worsening-violence-in-Syria

……………………

“She (Clinton) added that the United States is increasing funding of aid organizations like the Red Crescent and Red Cross while working directly with grass-roots Syrian groups to help people without electricity, food and clean water.”
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hstuDPuqdHRTEjsnG7KvMeieG26w?docId=CNG.510194bfea5fecf8c5f7e5ecd8ee7d8c.e11

………………….

“Local Red Crescent workers have set up nine other centres round the city (Homs), he said, where residents can get medical care or receive food and supplies.

But those clinics may be hard to access for residents stuck inside neigubourhoods rocked with violence since the crackdown on rebels intensified two weeks ago. Shelling has often lasted for hours and government forces surround some rebel-held areas, in addition to the maze of checkpoints already around the city.”

“Red Crescent workers last Sunday arranged medical evacuations in one violence-hit Homs neighbourhood. “They evacuated more than 80 people, mostly women and children, from an area called Inshaat where there has been intensive fighting. The army gave a five-hour ceasefire for us to go around and evacuate people,” the spokesman said.”
http://tvnz.co.nz/world-news/food-shortages-crisis-hit-syria-4720278

February 20th, 2012, 9:31 am

 
 

Ehsani said:

Dear DAWOUD,

You said that the “only thing that I find troubling in Ehsani’s article is that he chooses to mention Iraqi Christians, which gives the impression that if Bashar falls, Syrian Christian would suffer.”

First, I am happy to hear that it’s the “only” thing in my article that troubled you.

Second, what I mention is not an “impression”. It is simply a “fact” that most Syrian Christians have viewed the experience of Iraqi Christians in a very negative light when it comes to their own future. Perhaps I should have clarified that I was writing from the detailed notes that I took during the meeting with the Church official this January. I respectfully disagree with you that what I tried to do is to somehow convince the reader that “Syrian Christians should stand behind Bashar’s murderous regime” as you put it.

I know that I speak for Dr. Landis when I write that you are more than welcome to write an article to post on SC. Indeed, readers have been encouraged to do so.

February 20th, 2012, 9:48 am

 

zoo said:

Syria: the two faces of a divided country

Among ordinary Syrians, deep divisions are emerging over who is right and who is wrong.
Stephen Starr February 20, 2012 06:00

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/120217/syria-the-two-faces-divided-country

DAMASCUS — The Syrian regime claims armed gangs are responsible for the current unrest rocking the country. Protesters say security and military forces have killed thousands calling for freedom and regime change. The international community looks on.

On the ground, meanwhile, deep divisions are emerging over who is right and wrong, and where Syria will go from here.

“I live in Berzah, I saw what happened this morning,” said Sari, referring to the security crackdown on the Damascus suburb in the early hours of Feb. 14. “They [the security] knew exactly who they wanted. They entered the houses of the people who have committed crimes.”

Sari is from the Circassian community, which numbers more than 40,000 in Syria. Like many others from minorities in Syria, Sari backs the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

“From my balcony I see what is happening. The protesters shoot at the security forces and they shoot back,” he said.

Sari, in his 20s, worked as an editor at an English-language newspaper until late last year when it closed due to falling advertising revenue.

“The opposition and demonstrators want the president out but what is their plan then? They go on television and scream about the situation inside Syria while they sit in Cairo or London. I am here — I see what goes on and I know the truth.”

Sari recalls how the members of the Syrian opposition have called for Farouk Sharaa, Syria’s vice president, to temporarily take over the presidency and lead a transitional government but believes that because he worked with the last president, Hafez al-Assad, he is not an ideal candidate. “He is worse than Bashar!” he said.

“Last week I was watching Al Arabiya and the presenter became almost hysterical talking about the shells falling on the city. They had a live video stream of the city showing — there was nothing on the screen,” Sari said.

Neighborhoods in the central city of Homs have been subjected to almost two weeks of shelling by regime forces. Activists say more than 300 people, including dozens of women and children, have been killed since the offensive against areas hosting members of the so-called Free Syrian Army began on Feb. 3.
{…}

February 20th, 2012, 9:50 am

 

majedkhaldoun said:

would the assassination of Bashar ends syria plight?
I doubt that his son can be placed as president,he is only 8 year old.Asef is not from the blood of Hafiz, Maher is the only one that is left, but he has bad reputation.he will not last long.

February 20th, 2012, 10:03 am

 

Equus said:

Silencing The Critics

by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Last week in one fell swoop the last two remaining critics of Washington/Tel Aviv imperialism were removed from the mainstream media. Judge Napolitano’s popular program, Freedom Watch, was cancelled by Fox TV, and Pat Buchanan was fired by MSNBC. Both pundits had wide followings and were appreciated for speaking frankly.

Don’t you love the freedom of speech in America?? We are pro on how we do it.

http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=29383

February 20th, 2012, 10:08 am

 

Equus said:

The Sarajevo market bomb was not set by Serbs but by Bosnian Muslims, as the UN later confirmed. The skeletal “Serb concentration camp” victim was a nonsense, as the BBC’s John Simpson confirmed and the “10,000 deaths in Kosovo” were proved to be a complete myth.

KOSOVO MASSACRE FRAUD BY GERMANY TO JUSTIFY YUGOSLAV WAR (I guess this is a spoiler for Mrs Jolie recent movie “Blood & Honey”

19th February 2012

http://www.freenations.freeuk.com/news-2012-02-19.html
—————————————–
Hope Syrians realize the plot too, not after the fact.

February 20th, 2012, 10:24 am

 

Revlon said:

Dear Joshua,
The poll that you have posted would have been more telling if “neither” were to be replaced with “I do not know” category.

Requiring answering by “neither” would imply that the polled are knowledgeable enough of the entire membership of the said bodies to issue an intelligent answer!
That is both theoretically and virtually impossible.

Disapproval of the policies of the practices of either the SNC or the FSA “Fighting Militias on the Streets” by some of the polled can hardly be interpreted as synonymous with disapproval of all of its membership!!

In USA presidential elections, it takes several rounds of primary elections across many states to even begin to get glimpse of an emerging leader!

The future leader shall be self-made. Any association with traditional or emerging parties are bound to be detrimental to the chances of any candidate.
The future leader shall be conservative Moslem.
The future leader’s agenda shall be topped by
-extracting all traces of regime elements from the public life of the Syrian state.
-a clear plan to bring all regime criminals to justice.
-a clear plan to reverse g all aspects of injustice practiced by the falling regime.

Al-Jazeera channel shall play an essential role in the media campaign for the future Syrian president.
It is the most trusted of the regional and international ones.
All emerging local channels shall be viewed with suspicion and need some time to earn credibility.

February 20th, 2012, 10:31 am

 

Syrian Nationalist Party said:

“……Hope Syrians realize the plot too, not after the fact…”
The plot is clear, that is why it failed. What they [the plotters ] relying on for upcoming moves will fail, Iran will fail the next move.

February 20th, 2012, 10:34 am

 
 

Syrian Nationalist Party said:

@177 REVLON said:

The poll that you have posted would have been more telling if “neither” were to be replaced with “I do not know” category.
————————————————————–

But we do know that for a fact.

[Edited — please do not make personal attacks on other commentators]

February 20th, 2012, 10:39 am

 

Joshua said:

Dear DAWOUD in 165 you write:

Dear Professor Landis:

2.I enjoyed reading Ehsani’s post on Aleppo’s Christians ….Your blog’s narrarive is slanted in favor of a dictatorship-Hafez’s and Bashar’s 40+-year-old tyranny!
…..

The conclusion of this troubling argument is that Syrian Christians should stand behind Bashar’s murderous regime! ….

B. This argument that emphasizes the possible fate of Syrian Christians is the reason why you should invite a Syrian Sunni Muslim, in addition to the two Syrians on this blog, to explain the perspective of Syrians, who are Sunni Muslims and fighting Bashar’ regime-the WORST Arab regime EVEER!
I Sadly say that SC needs “affirmative action!” Sincerely,
Dawoud”

(Joshua responds) Dear Dawoud, Ehsani is anything but a supporter of Assad’s dictatorship. In fact, a number of Syrian Christians asked him not to publish the real population statistics for Christians because they feared that they would legitimize the revolution. After all, if minorities have been shrinking as a percentage of the population, Assad’s justification that he must maintain secularism is weakened. Minorities have kept the upper hand in Syria through dictatorship for half a century. If Sunni Arabs are 65% of the population, this is unjust. If they are 70%, it is even worse. Sunni Syrians are probably closer to 80% of the population than the 75% that is commonly given, as Majedkhaldoun suggests.

Allow me to repeat Ehsani’s invitation. Please write a short essay for SC. It would be welcome. Best and thanks for you interesting critique, Joshua

February 20th, 2012, 10:55 am

 

DAWOUD said:

# 172 Ehsani

Thanks for replying to my comment. One can be biased either by inclusion or omission. If you are pro-Bashar (I think that you are whether you admit it or not) you can either include biased information in favor of the regime\’s standpoint, or you can ignore narratives incriminating Damascus\’ dictatorship. This is called \”slanting\” the news.
It\’s good that your Aleppo\’s article is based on your written notes and ethnographic interviews. I wish that next time you go to Syria (you shouldn\’t have a problem getting into the country given your Bashar-friendly perspectives)you go to the Sunni heartland like Der\’a, Hama, etc. to interview Sunni Syrians and document their perspectives, particularly on the following misconceptions:
1) a victory for the Syrian revolt is a victory for the Muslim Brotherhood, which it would use to persecute secularists and Christians.
2) the revolt is inspired by Sunni extremists and terrorists.
3)Zionists and U.S. neo-conservatives would be welcome in post-Bashar Syria
4) Syria would not seek to liberate the Golan and occupied Palestine

Above are only some of the myths/misconceptions that are propagated by the regime and its apologists in Lebanon, the Arab World, and on this blog. You do all of us a favor if you attempt to OBJECTIVELY deal with them.

Sincerely,
Dawoud

February 20th, 2012, 10:56 am

 

irritated said:

@174. majedkhaldoun said:

“would the assassination of Bashar ends syria plight?”

I don’t want to put more words in your mouth, but your comment seems to imply it would.

February 20th, 2012, 10:56 am

 

majedkhaldoun said:

The words of John McCain in Egypt news conference as far as Syria, are welcome news,he talked about arming the opposition, who are about to be butchered, He and Senator Graham said ,while AlQaida are trying to get involved, the demonstrators are not part of AlQaida.

The friends of Syria meeting include the SNC,this is only reasonable thing,SNC is a respectable opposition,made of great people.

February 20th, 2012, 11:05 am

 

Alan said:

http://tolonews.com/en/world/5399-us-drones-are-operating-in-syrian-sky-
US Drones Are Operating in Syrian Sky
By what international legislation of the USA have afforded it? It is necessary to defend the sovereignty! by all possible ways!

February 20th, 2012, 11:13 am

 

zoo said:

Is the ‘Friends of Syria’ composition an indication of the ‘inclusive’ democracy planned for Syria?
While all the Syrian opposition groups will be invited, around 50% of the Syrians will have no representation.

Syrian opposition invited to Tunis conference
AFP

Syrian opposition groups will take part in an international conference on the crisis in Syria on Friday, Tunisian Foreign Minister Rafik Abdessalem said, warning against an “Iraqi scenario”.

“The Syrian National Council and other opposition groups will be represented at the Tunis meeting,” Abdessalem told reporters on Monday following a meeting of foreign ministers from Mediterranean region states in Rome.

Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi said of the meeting: “It has to be inclusive. Of course the opposition has to be present.”

February 20th, 2012, 11:13 am

 

irritated said:

@185. majedkhaldoun said:

“The friends of Syria meeting include the SNC,this is only reasonable thing,SNC is a respectable opposition,made of great people.”

What is your latest prediction?
Would the SNC finally be recognized as the sole representative of the Syrian people, or they will be “strongly advised” with the other opposition groups invited at the meeting to enter into a dialog with the Syrian government without any pre-conditions?

February 20th, 2012, 11:19 am

 

mjabali said:

Revelon Comment 177 said:

“The future leader shall be conservative Moslem.”

A Conservative Muslim to rule Syria is the worst idea ever. Imagine if we have al-Arour to rule Syria? What is the future of the women and minorities under the rule of a conservative Muslim? What would be the type of relations a conservative Muslim that believe in al-Jihad to be on relations with the states around Syria? Is this conservative Muslim gonna wage war against the infidels: Jews, Christians, Alawis, Shia, Druze, Ismailis….etc

Can you please shed some light why he should be conservative. I said “he” because of course according to this logic there is no room ever for a woman to become president.

Why not a moderate Muslim? What is wrong with that idea? The man, according to Revelon, has to be conservative and that will lead to a disaster for sure.

Revelon also said:

“Al-Jazeera channel shall play an essential role in the media campaign for the future Syrian president.
It is the most trusted of the regional and international ones.
All emerging local channels shall be viewed with suspicion and need some time to earn credibility.”

The person who says something like this has zero loyalty to Syria and also has zero understanding of the ability of the Syrian people who up till now teaching the land of al-Jazeera how to read, write and make TV shows.

Who on earth want a TV station coming out of Qatar to lead the change in Syria?

al-Jazeera is a joke on its best day. It is an outlet to brainwash the masses. It is the mouthpiece of al-Qaeda for many years, do we Syrians need anything close to this? Do we Syrians need this association with this station coming from the Wahabi state of Qatar?

If we follow Revelon’s logic, al-Qirdawi will program what people see in Syria: and we all know what it is going to be, some religious brain wash to the masses to make them more conservative and never respect anyone else. imagine if al-Zawahiri will give the Syrians a daily speech!

February 20th, 2012, 11:20 am

 

Tara said:

Jake

From a previous thread. It was an opinion. I do not have a reference. Or let me say, it was a wishful thinking. I always had some sort of admiration to the mainstream Shiaa being revolutionary and principled and may be I just want to hold on to that impression.

February 20th, 2012, 11:22 am

 

DAWOUD said:

# 182 Joshua

Thanks Mr. Landis for replying to my understandably “angry” comment (I think it is understandable because I find it very troubling that in 2012 people are still apologizing on behalf of a rotten dictatorship, regardless of its colors and nature). I accept your correction that Ehsani is not pro-Bashar. You know him personally, whereas my knowledge of him is based on reading his posts, which (in my opinion) are not critical enough of a murderous dictatorship.
I trust that the 80% of Syrian Sunni Muslims’ perspectives would be reflected on your blog through your (Mr. Landis) articles. I hate to sound religious/sectarian, but Bashar has resorted to this sleazy tactic since March of last year: He and his propagandists have attempted to rally support by scaring Christians, Alawis, Kurds, and Druze of the Muslim Brotherhood and Sunni Muslims.
For me and most Syrians (including the overwhelming majority of Syria’s Sunnis), the devil is more merciful than Bashar and his murderous thugs!
As I have more time, I will email you a full article. Otherwise, I will continue to post my analyses/rants as comments.

Again, thanks for replying.

Sincerely,
Dawoud

February 20th, 2012, 11:27 am

 

Mina said:

Mjabali,
How come al Jazeera does not have al Aroor interviewed on its 9 PM news, as they did with Qardawi commenting on Egypt and Mubarak last year, while no one in Tahrir had requested his view?
Europe has banned al-Manar from most of its cable networks, so why not for the fundamentalist Saudi channels?

February 20th, 2012, 11:50 am

 

Observer said:

Let me try to divide the arguments that go back and forth about the crisis in Syria into categories so that the picture is clearer
1. Political issues that are based on interests and power plays as for example the Russian veto to spite NATO over the Lybia campaign and the internal politics of re election of Putin. The Iranian support for the regime as it tries to maintain its regional projection as the resistance hub against Israel and the US.
2. Moral issues that go back and forth about double standards and the morality of resistance and the morality of maintaining order and the UN vote legitimacy and what have you.
3. The arguments of fear and doomsday scenarios as we hear about the terrible situation that Egypt and Tunisia and Libya are in after the revolution.
In terms of politics I can reasonably argue and demonstrate that the regime is isolaged more than ever; that its reform agenda is not believable; and that its narrative of a world wide conspiracy is not holding water. It has 137 votes against it; it has a window dressing constitution; and after a year of turmoil it has failed to stem the so called armed gangs and therefore should resign or step aside or conduct real dialogue with the opponent.
An example of the later is the negotiations that are under way with the Taliban in Afghanistan by NATO.
On the moral side, the regime has acknowldged from the start that there is reform need. Fredo Corleone himself declared that corruption is eating away at the fabric of the society and the marginalization of the ability of the Baath party to allow for advancement and employement is testimony to the lack of a moral compass of the regime.
The use of heavy handed tactics is also morally wrong and cannot be justified especially since the state of emergency has been abolished.
As for the fear of change, the most important thing to fear is that this regime stays in place, anything else is better by far

February 20th, 2012, 12:25 pm

 

Tara said:

• Maysaloon, a Syrian blogger based in the the UK, was encouraged by the protests:

The Damascus protests in Mazzeh yesterday were breathtaking to watch, and I know those streets like the back of my hand. The fact that a protest of this size managed to slip through the security net means that the minute Assad’s control is weakened we can expect to see enormous crowds in Damascus again. That I feel certain of. Only months ago we saw this enormous Syrian flag festooned across that same thoroughfare by “supporters” of the regime. Yesterday was a different story, and the fact that the regime’s thugs opened fire on clearly unarmed and peaceful protesters should be enough for all but the most stubborn defenders of dictatorship that Assad’s time is up.
{…}

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/middle-east-live/2012/feb/20/syria-calls-arm-opposition-live

February 20th, 2012, 12:30 pm

 

Anton said:

Dear Mr. Joshua Landis

Can you please explain to me/ us why you labeled President Assad as dictator from your point of view?

Thanks in Advance

February 20th, 2012, 12:47 pm

 

Revlon said:

187. Dear MJABALI,
Moderate conservative Moslem was what I actually meant, not ultraconservative as you justifiably concluded.
I regard myself as an open minded Moslem, who believes that the most sacred of purposes in all religions to be the promotion of the freedom of choice of human beings, regardless of what they believe in.
My related statement on the future leader of Syria can not therefore be a personal preference. It is actually based on other Arab uprisings precedents and personal acquaintance with street opinion.

Likewise, aljazeera street popularity shall make it the most influential media channel in shaping the future of Syria; never mind what you or others think of its professionalism

Please name your gold standard for a reliable and credible arabic, english, french, or german media channel

February 20th, 2012, 12:57 pm

 
 

mjabali said:

Mina:

al-Arour has Safa TV. He has his show and if he did not appear in person on al-Jazeera his ideas are there.

There is a huge list of Sunni Salafi Sheikhs that has been on the air since the first days of this chaos in Syria trying to affect events. Their tone is sectarian as you know. Some of them are crossing borders to give lectures in Tunis and Egypt trying to help shape things these days (Adnan al-Khutayri and Wajdi Ghoneim for example).

http://www.youm7.com/News.asp?NewsID=427308

http://www.albawaba.com/ar/editorchoice/الداعية-وجدي-غنيم-في-تونس-دعوة-لختان-الإناث-أم-ختان-العقول؟

The internet will distribute these lectures, more efficient than any other method.

I am amazed why al-Arour did not appear on al-Jazeera yet on Faysal al-Qasem’s show. It would be nice to see him VS some secular heavy weight.

February 20th, 2012, 12:59 pm

 

Mina said:

Revlon,
If al Jazeera is reliable and serious, why don’t they interview Sheikh al Aroor?

Mjabali,
I didn’t know Aroor until I surfed on Twitter last March at the beginning of the Syrian events and realized how influential he was. He was calling for Bashar’s head and advertizing his TV program, and I noticed a number of Arabic speaking teenagers obviously tweeting from the US who were following him and re-tweeting his advertisments.

February 20th, 2012, 12:59 pm

 

John MUMU said:

Dear Anton, My name is John and I am currently studying to obtain a Master in Public Administration. I have been watching events unfold in Syria since the uprising began and am very knowledgable on Middle Eastern Issues more specificlly in the Levant region. Your Idea of a “Syrian Christians charity foundation” is very appealing to me, and I believe my background work in grass roots organizing would be very beneficial to you. If we could correspond by e-mail that would be great (johnmuhanna12@gmail.com) and I can give you any relevent information you may need.

yours,
John

February 20th, 2012, 1:03 pm

 

jna said:

Can we assume that all who vote in the referendum on the draft constitution are opposed to the opposition SNC?

“”We have called for a boycott of the referendum which cannot be held while parts of Syria are a war zone,” said Omar Idilbi, a Beirut-based member of the opposition Syrian National Council.”
http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/story/2012-02-20/syria-assad/53163030/1
Red Cross tries to broker Syria cease-fire

February 20th, 2012, 1:04 pm

 

Anton said:

Dear Mr. Dawoud

I believe that any radical view will not be appreciated in the future Syria unless radicals will govern Syria , which I believe 80% of all Syrians are refusing to accept and allowing it to happened.

I believe also that your view on the Syrian president and government is far from facts and one sided, in the actual crises there is no black and white instead there are a lot of gray areas.

I believe also unless you are living in Syria and engaged in a political party with known political program having enough people support and asked to represent them , you need to talk only on behalf of yourself and not of any other Syrian, otherwise you will be seen as another propagandist and losing your argument .

I believe also that Syrians Christianare are not afraid but mostly concerned about Syria’s future, in my opinion Syrians Christian are always and will be pro-Syria, from my point of view as long as president Assad or “any other president in his place today” trying to protect the interest of Syria and Syrian people regardless their back ground, will have full support from the majority of Syrians Christian.

Please do not take my above comment as personal, it’s just my opinion

Thanks

February 20th, 2012, 1:04 pm

 

Badr said:

The Tolerant Dictator
Syria’s Christians Side with Assad Out of Fear
By Bastian Berbner

The president is exploiting their fears of Islamists for his own ends.
.
.
.
The message they received from their head of state was short and simple: Either support me, or your churches will burn.
.
.
.
http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,800450,00.html

February 20th, 2012, 1:18 pm

 

mjabali said:

Mr. Revelon

In Arabic there is a saying: خير الامور اوسطها

Extremist ideas and conservative thinking do not fit with Syria, a country with multiple religions and sects.

As for the reliable media source: so far they are very few who could tell us what really takes place. You could tell later from the effects and reported death, but as a matter of fact there is no immediate reporting because there is no independent news sources. Most are biased. You have to be able to read between the lines. al-Assad media outlet and those of the revolution proved to be sensational and far from being neutral.

Anthony Shadid was good because he went to the location of events plus he knew what is the composition of the area. He is hard to replace. There are good reports here and there, but they are really few.

February 20th, 2012, 1:26 pm

 

Anton said:

Dear John MUMU

Very appreciated, will be in touch

Thanks

Anton

February 20th, 2012, 1:44 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

Mr. Dawoud
Ehsani is too smart to be pro Assad, my impression of Ehsani is that he is for freedom in economy and politic.

February 20th, 2012, 2:01 pm

 

jna said:

Asharq Al-Awsat Interview: US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford

Read all: http://www.asharq-e.com/news.asp?section=3&id=28540

… In the end, it is up to the Syrian people themselves to put the details in place regarding how power is transferred. This is an issue that we, and other friends of Syria, have discussed with the Syrian opposition. The Arab League has provided the general framework, and it is up to the Syrians themselves to put the details in place.

… Our message is the same: violence will make finding a political solution more difficult, whilst there is no security solution [to the Syrian crisis]; for suppression is not a solution, neither is civil war. Therefore the opposition must know how to coordinate alliances, and convince the al-Assad regime that it must step down to allow the peaceful transition of power. This is in the interests of all Syrians, whether Alawites or Christians or Sunnis or Druze or businessmen or military…all segments of Syrian society have an interest in ensuring peaceful transition of power.

…However the unity of the Syrian army at the present time makes it difficult to think that it is within the capabilities of the FSA or any other armed opposition group – even if they are provided with more weapons – to overthrow the Syrian regime by force. In fact, this will only result in more violence. Instead of this, we must focus our efforts to push the Syrian government, via political, diplomatic and economic pressure, to stop its attacks on civilians. With concerted and intense efforts in this regard, we can make President al-Assad understand that he is not in a position to continue to rule, and that he cannot return to the embrace of the international community, and so it would be better for himself and his family to leave now and let others in the Syrian government negotiate over the transition of power.

February 20th, 2012, 5:13 pm

 

irritated said:

#192 Anton

Mubarak was not qualified as dictator for 40 years then in a matter of two weeks the media unanimously decided he was.
For Bashar Al Assad, it took more time for the media to switch from ‘authoritarian’ to ‘dictator’.
When is the Emir of Bahrain be labelled dictator, what is the criteria?
When a label is set on someone, it is hard to get rid of it.

February 20th, 2012, 5:28 pm

 

admir said:

@MAJEDKHALDOUN

the reason why alawis most likely make up 20% of syria is because bashar (jr.) has intentionally kept a majority of them in poverty in rural villages, whereas he urbanized and modernized many sunnis (sometimes much more than alawites i might add). poor people who live in rural areas tend to create larger families and this leads to increase in their community, whereas urbanized people moving into cities, slums and working class districts tend to have smaller families (in comparison to rural folks).
furthermore you might want to check the geography of syria through google mapd or another map-software, majority of the region in syria is desert (or close to desert), the only places where it is fertile for a large rural population is in the houran (where people of daraa and suweida are) and in the alawite region (i.e. lattakia, tartous, western homs and idlib). that is why desert countries like libya, saudi arabia, and qatar are highly urbanized whereas countries like iraq and syria are only partly so.
if you check a population density map of syria you would see that one of the most densely populated regions in syria is in the alawite regions (alongside aleppo which has a significant alawite population in countryside, and homs with western regions being majority alawite). If you add all these factors together you would get an estimation of the alawite population 3 times (maybe even 4 times) larger than what you have stated; in other words – the alawite population tends to be between 3.5-4 million (maybe even more), which woulld make them 16 to even 20 percent of the population

and when you add the druze and christian poopulation (assuming your and ehsani’s estimation) then sunnis are definitely less than 80%.

February 20th, 2012, 9:07 pm

 

Leo Syriacus said:

I am appalled by the sectarian views that some people are posting on SC, it is no wonder the country is in such shambles.
When a post goes on forever on the discrimination that will face the members of minorities in the country after the regime demise I just shake my head in dismay:
Syria was ruled by a number of successive urban-Sunni dominated governments between 1946 and 1963 yet every Syrian had representation and one of Syria’s greatest politicians Fares El-Khouri was a Christian prime minister in a government of Muslim Brotherhood majority, I am interested in hearing about what disrimination minorities faced in that period if any!
Every single American president ( with the exception of Kennedy ) was Protestant, yet not a single Catholic American claims disrimination….The majority of German Chancelors ( Lutherans ), British prime ministers ( Anglicans ) and French presidents ( Catholics ) are from religious and ethnic majorities yet there is no discimination in any of these countries.
Democracy is both beautiful and powerful
This is why we need to establish national parties that reperesent all Syrians, equate all Syrians, and work for all Syrians

February 21st, 2012, 5:52 pm

 

prem said:

I would like to volunteer creating a LIVE INTERACTIVE visual map of all the incidents in the last year. I think this is potentially very important to dramatically show the escalation and can be posted by anyone all over the web. Can anyone provide me a statistical table of some kind?

February 22nd, 2012, 6:01 am

 

The Declining Number of Christians in Aleppo, Syria « Persecution News said:

[…] Syria (Syria Comment) – The exact number of religious minorities in Syria is difficult to ascertain. It is often […]

February 23rd, 2012, 1:55 am

 

The Declining Number of Christians in Aleppo, Syria | Believers Radio said:

[…] Syria (Syria Comment) – The exact number of religious minorities in Syria is difficult to ascertain. It is often […]

February 23rd, 2012, 2:57 am

 

admir said:

@ Leo Syriacus #209

‘I am interested in hearing about what disrimination minorities faced in that period if any!’

the identity/citizenship card of all syrians had their religions stated. No pluralist or civil country should have a indicator or section stating someone’s religion or beliefs – only a sectarian government/state does. You used the analogy of the US, well its citizenship/identity cards dont state someone’s religion.

Also the alawite minority faced severe discrimination which is a result of the ottoman and mameluke/arab rule starting in the 11th century. in the 50s and 60s they were the lowest category in the social strata, almost comparable to the untouchables of india – they worked as peasants and maids and sheperds, day labourers and garbage collectors, servants etc. most people (even christians and especially sunnis) would rarely communicate with them as equals let alone befriend them. Studies made from those times (and past records) indicate that there were few villages or towns/cities that were alawite-sunni mixed during colonial times and after independence. sunnis lived mostly in cities in western syria and owned land in the rural surroundings which were inhabited by alawites. I dont think it was much different in the ottoman times (if not much worse). only after the french colonized syria did they see their status change and improve (and even then they had to struggle to get hold on power).

apart from the discrimination of the alawites there was discrimination against druze (especially during the reign of Adib Shishakli in the 50s), not to mention the christians and jews who were regarded as ‘dhimmis’ or ‘protected status’ at best (they were barred from going in military and getting top government positions during ottoman times).

February 24th, 2012, 1:07 pm

 

Leo Syriacus said:

Admir
Thank you for your comment, while I appreciate your comments you apparently did not read my comment accurately:

1-I am talking about post-independence Syria 1946-1963
* The Ottomans and Mamlukes with their persecution were gone
* The Dhimmies status in early Islamic states was gone too

2-Indeed ..no civil country states religion on official ID, in Syria this only matters in civil issues (marriage,inheritance.etc)

3- Syrian Jews in the army?
I hope you were joking, you know that the majority of that community members immigrated to Israel..other than Eli Cohen I do not know of other senior government officials from Syrian Jews so even there we did better than Ottomans!!
Christians have contributed well to successive Syrian governments and I applaud their dedication to Syria

4-The only two communities that lived together across Syria before the urbanization of the 20th century were the Sunnis and the Christians whether by economic or social design.
In post independence Syria, many Syrians from all sects moved from the countryside to the urban centres as the economy shifted from agriculture to services and industry, this shift was mainly problem free, however we would be naive to assume that a poor alawite peasant moving to Damascus to find a job is likely to resdie in Abu Rumaneh or Malki and associate with wealthy Damascenes..so it is the economic class issue not the sect

5-I am married to Adib Shishakli’s grand daughter and I read his memoires:
His violent response to the Druze uprising and the divisions that ensued made him resign from presdiency, live in exile,and get assassinated in Brazil…he was courageous enough to resign since Syrian blood was shed because of his govenment..compare this with Bashar who is responsible directly or indirectly for the death of 10,000 Syrians and clings to power

6-In all the democracies the head of the state (president or prime minister) is from the majority as he/she is more likely to be elected, in all of these democracies all citizens are equal and all are represented in the government.
The equality of all citizens is paramount..the religion of one man/woman in power is meaningless since his/her party is a national party with every citizen represented

My point is Syria between 1946 and 1963 had shown promise in creating a pluralistic,progressive,and prospering country only to be crushed by two dictatorships Nasser and the Assads

February 25th, 2012, 10:46 am

 

HEP said:

THE HYPOCRISY IS GALLING: ASSAD IS MORE VICTIM THAN VILLAIN
Washington, Britain, France, Turkey, Israel, and rogue Arab League allies bear main responsibility. Assad responded to violence their killer gangs initiated……… See: NATO FORCES OPERATING COVERTLY IN SYRIA: WIKILEAKS —- http://tiny.cc/8g23aw

March 13th, 2012, 10:17 am

 

Jose said:

Christian communities are disappearing fast in every country in the Middle East .
The only notable place where their number is increasing is in ISRAEL . Surprise no one in this forum care to point out.
Yes paria- much hated ISRAEL. Any one cares to ask why ?
Regards

August 24th, 2012, 1:19 pm

 

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