The US Looks for a More Muscular Response to Syria; Damascus Sells Gold in a Sign of Poverty

Syria seems to be trying to sell Gold from its reserves in Dubai. A sign that it’s money is running low due to sanctions and revolt.

The Obama administration insists that it is about to make some important changes to its Syria policy. Everyone expects that it will assume greater leadership by helping to arm the opposition. So far Washington has raised the rhetorical bar while refusing action. Sanctions have been the most it is willing to offer. The other countries — Turkey, Saudi and France – have refused to take the lead. They want to see an American commitment before taking their hands out of the pockets.  On the NSC, Steve Simon, who has not been keen on military involvement, seems to be making way for Derek Chollet, whose old boss was Anne-Marie Slaughter. She is for military intervention in Syria, as she made clear on the Charlie Rose Show that I appeared on with her, Fouad Ajami and Thomas Friedman. Ajami makes the most compelling argument for a more active US role in embracing the “future” in Syria. Here is what Josh Rogin has to say about Chollet’s appointment in Obama searches for a ‘Plan B’ in Syria:

The new push includes adjustments in personnel handling the portfolio. Before March, National Security Council Director Steve Simon headed up the internal interagency process. Now, multiple officials confirm that NSC Senior Director for Strategy Derek Chollet has been added to the leadership of the Syria policy team and has been coordinating the interagency process for several weeks. Simon, Assistant Secretary of State Jeff Feltman, and State Dept. Special Advisor Fred Hof are still active on the Syria portfolio.

Clinton says Syria is at a “crucial turning point”. She will be in Paris tomorrow to try to figure out what the Western states can do that won’t suck them into another Iraq, but that will show some teeth. Right now, Russia is calling the shots in Syria. Ironically, the last country we pushed Russia out of,  because we demanded greater control over its affairs, was Afghanistan. Most American policy makers today would probably agree that Russian controlled Afghanistan was much better than what came after. Ammar Abdulhamid suggests that Syria is more liberal and less Islamist than Afghanistan or even Egypt and Tunisia. He believes that US caution about the rise of Islamists in Syria is ill-founded. Amal al-Hanano hares Abdulhamid’s determination to promote secular and pacifist Syrian interests.  She is calling on secular Syrians to organize and counter-balance the Islamists.

News Round Up

Syria Said to be Seeking Gold Sales From Reserves: Reuters Link
By John Irish and Amena Bakr

PARIS/DUBAI, April 18 (Reuters) – Syria is trying to sell gold reserves to raise revenue as Western and Arab sanctions targeting its central bank and oil exports begin to bite, diplomats and traders said.

Western sanctions have halved Syria’s foreign exchange reserves from about $17 billion, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said on Tuesday after a meeting with about 60 nations aimed at coordinating measures against President Bashar al-Assad’s government.

“Syria is selling its gold at rock bottom prices,” said a Western diplomatic source, declining to say where it was being sold.

A second diplomatic source confirmed the information, adding that Damascus was looking to offload everything it could to raise cash, including currency reserves.

On Feb. 27, the European Union agreed more sanctions including prohibiting trade in gold and other precious metals with Syrian state institutions, including the central bank.

Two gold traders in the United Arab Emirates said the Syrian government had been offering gold at a discount, with one saying it was making offers at about 15 percent below the market price.

The trader said Damascus was selling small volumes of around 20-30 kilos which were easier to offload, with offers being made through private accounts set up with free email providers……

The World Gold Council estimates Syria had about 25.8 metric tonnes of gold as of February 2012, representing about 7.1 percent of its total reserves….The Syrian pound hit a record low on the black market in March of around 100 to the dollar, compared to 47 before the protests erupted, sharply raising the cost of imports…

At Wednesday’s spot prices, Syria’s total gold reserves are worth around $1.36 billion. …

“The most stunning, unsettling conclusion I drew from the leaders of the Free Syrian Army was that they have essentially got no help from anyone. They are literally running out of ammunition while Assad’s forces are being resupplied by Iran and Russia,” Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) told The Cable in an interview.

Lieberman and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) spent their Senate recess on the Turkish side of the Turkey-Syria border, meeting with Turkish officials, FSA leaders, and refugees.

“What they want us to do is to lead. They want us to lead the Friends of Syria, who have given them increasingly sympathetic rhetoric but not the wherewithal to defend themselves,” he said

The Syrian internal opposition is buying weapons and ammunition on the black market at exorbitant prices and claims that large parts of the Syrian military are demoralized but are unwilling to break with the government until they see the opposition has real international support.

“They are all waiting for the U.S. to say ‘We’re in this,'” Lieberman said.

There was at least one State Department official inside the McCain-Lieberman meeting with leaders of the FSA, Gen. Mustafa al-Sheikh and Col. Riad al-Asaad, two U.S. officials confirmed. The FSA leaders asked the United States to provide RPGs, anti-aircraft guns, and ammunition. The FSA leaders also said they have proof that the Assad regime is using helicopter gunships to attack civilians in the city of Idlib, as apparently shown in this YouTube video.

Turkish officials told McCain and Lieberman that they were willing to let weapons flow over their borders and consider other more aggressive steps to help the internal Syrian opposition, but that they won’t do so unless Washington leads the way…..

Obama administration searches for a ‘Plan B’ in Syria
Posted By Josh Rogin Wednesday, April 18, 2012 -Foreign Policy

The White House is unhappy with the options it’s been given on Syria and is searching for a new strategy for removing President Bashar al-Assad, The Cable has learned.

“There was a fundamental decision made at the highest level that we need a real Syria policy with more options for the president,” one administration official with knowledge of the internal deliberations said. “Our allies were coming back to us and saying ‘What’s your next move?,’ and we were forced to admit we didn’t have one.”

The new push includes adjustments in personnel handling the portfolio. Before March, National Security Council Director Steve Simon headed up the internal interagency process. Now, multiple officials confirm that NSC Senior Director for Strategy Derek Chollet has been added to the leadership of the Syria policy team and has been coordinating the interagency process for several weeks. Simon, Assistant Secretary of State Jeff Feltman, and State Dept. Special Advisor Fred Hof are still active on the Syria portfolio.

Chollet, the former deputy to Anne-Marie Slaughter at the State Department’s Policy Planning shop, has also been nominated to be the next assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, replacing Sandy Vershbow, who is now deputy secretary general of NATO. Chollet has taken on the day-to-day management of the interagency process while he awaits confirmation.

New options are now being considered internally, including another discussion of setting up buffer zones inside Syria, one administration official confirmed. The administration has also authorized direct contact with the internal Syrian opposition, including the Free Syrian Army (FSA), and at least one State Department official has met with the FSA’s nominal leaders in Turkey.

The rethink comes eight months after Obama explicitly demanded the Syrian leader’s removal, saying, “The time has come for President Assad to step aside.”

His administration is still struggling to come up with a way to make that call a reality…..

UN monitors flee Syrian protest after gunfire

BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian security forces opened fire Wednesday on anti-regime demonstrators surrounding the cars of a U.N. team meant to monitor a shaky cease-fire, sending the observers speeding off and protesters dashing for cover, according to activists and amateur videos.

The fresh violence in a suburb of Damascus, the Syrian capital, provided the first public glimpse of the work of the small team struggling to reinforce the international community’s stumbling efforts to end 13 months of deadly conflict in Syria.

The shooting, which wounded at least eight people, could also complicate the deployment of a larger U.N. mission to help a cease-fire take hold between President Bashar Assad’s forces and opposition fighters.

The difficulties of the team’s mission was clear Wednesday during its visit to the suburb of Arbeen, just northeast of Damascus.

The team did not announce its plans to visit the area, but a local activist said residents guessed they were coming when tanks posted throughout the area withdrew early Wednesday.

People quickly drew up signs as well as a list of the 34 residents killed since the start of the uprising and information on the scores who have been detained, an Arbeen activist named Ahmed said via Skype. He declined to give his last name for fear of retribution.

Amateur videos posted online showed hundreds of demonstrators crowding around at least three U.N. Land Cruisers, waving Syrian flags and chanting against the regime. In one video, a man with a microphone and huge speakers on the back of a pickup truck led the crowd in singing “Bashar, Bashar, we will not kneel!”

A handwritten sign apparently taped by a demonstrator on one of the cars read, “The murderer keeps killing, the observers keep observing and the people keep up the revolution.”

In another video, the protesters were walking down a boulevard surrounding the cars when a boom rang out, sending demonstrators scattering. Smoke rose in front of the crowd and the cars sped off, sirens blaring. In yet another video, protesters sprinted down side streets while gunfire is heard nearby.

Ahmed, the local activist, said the group was marching toward a square where the government had posted plain clothes security offices called shabiha and government supporters holding a counter demonstration.

“We started walking with the observers thinking that they’d protect us, but then the shabiha started shooting at us, even when the observers’ cars were at the front of the march,” he said.

After the observers left, security cars drove through the area firing, injuring about 20 people, he said.

“Once the committee was gone, there was no one else to see what they were doing,” he said.

The team’s head, Col. Ahmed Himiche, declined to comment on the incident, saying the team would report only to the U.N.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said eight protesters were wounded in Arbeen.

The group, which relies on an activist network in Syria, also said government forces shelled opposition areas in the provinces of Homs in central Syria and Idlib in the north.

For its part, Syria’s state news agency said roadside bomb attacks in Idlib and Aleppo killed 10 security officers and one civilian. The incidents could not be independently verified. The Syrian government bars most media from working in the country…..

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused Syrian opposition forces of provoking the government’s backlash in order to thwart the cease-fire. He urged nations that have leverage with the opposition to force it to abide by cease-fire….

“There must be a tough demand not to allow any provocations and respect the cease-fire,” Lavrov said….

Clinton Says Syria Measures to Be Discussed Tomorrow in Paris
2012-04-18 By Roxana Tiron

April 18 (Bloomberg) — Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she will attend a meeting in Paris tomorrow to dicuss with allies what further measures may be taken against the Syrian government and in support of the opposition movement. The “ad hoc group” meeting will be led by French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, Clinton said, speaking to reporters today in Brussels.

Syria is at a “crucial turning point” at which the government either will abide by the UN-backed peace plan or face further sanctions, she said.

Foreign Policy

The ceasefire appears to have broken down, as levels of violence remain high in several regions in Syria. Up to 70 people have been killed by heavy shelling in the Jourat al-Shayah, Qarabis, Bayada, and Khaldiya districts of Homs, areas that have remained out of government control. According to the Local Coordination Committees, clashes continued in Deraa and Aleppo, as well as in the Idlib province where government troops were accompanied by tanks and helicopters. The Syrian government has said it is willing to comply with Kofi Annan’s six-point peace plan. However, the regime has only agreed to a small United Nations’ observer mission of 250 monitors, and it refuses independent air support despite recommendations of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who said, “I think this is not enough, considering the current situation and considering the vastness of the country.” Meanwhile, the advance team of monitors has not yet been permitted to operate throughout the country as negotiations on a memorandum of understanding between the Syrian government and the U.N. team have stalled.

The leading voice of the opposition talks to PJ Media about the state of the conflict.: Syria’s Revolution: An Interview with Ammar Abdulhamid
by Barry Rubin, April 17, 2012

(Ammar Abdulhamid has been the most articulate and credible voice of the Syrian opposition and the movement to overthrow the current regime. Barry Rubin interviewed him to get a clearer view on what’s going on in Syria and on what the future prospects are for the bloody conflict.)

What should we know about the Syrian regime that we don’t already know?

That it is not reformable and that its key leaders can never be part of the solution.

What are the causes of the uprising?

Lack of developments when it comes to basic services and infrastructure along with increasing poverty, absence of any accountability on part of the leadership, the sense of impunity that corrupt officials on the local and national levels exhibit on a daily basis, the failure of President Bashar al-Assad to show himself as a true reformer, and his increasing involvement with the corrupt practices of his family and friends.

Can you describe for us the Syrian opposition, both within the country and outside?

We have two types of opposition: the traditional and the new. The traditional opposition is made of old parties and figures who have been around for decades, and the new one is made up of the activists who started and continue to lead the revolution.

The arrogance of the traditional opposition and their inability to provide effective representation and guidance to the revolutionaries created a problem of mistrust between the two, and does not augur well for the ability of such coalitions as the Syrian National Council (SNC) to provide effective leadership either now or during the transitional period. The new opposition is pragmatic, goal-oriented, and open to new possibilities as far as relations with the outside are concerned, or how the state should be administered in the future. The traditional remains ideological, dominated mostly by Leftist and Islamist elements, and unable to be proactive or to come up with actual strategies and programs for effective communication and representation.

So, the real dichotomy is between these two types of opposition groups, not between those inside the country and those outside.

You have often been critical about the organization and strategy of the leading opposition groups. Can you tell us more about your view, and also provide a description of the main opposition organizations?

Traditional opposition groups keep thinking along ideological lines, and they fail to listen to the protesters and their demands. They keep seeing leadership as a right rather than a responsibility. They keep confusing making policy with making pronouncements and confusing coming up with strategies with academic research. This is why they can never be effective leaders.

For this, the international community needs to conduct outreach efforts to identify leaders and forces on the ground. They need to work with existing traditional opposition in order to make them better at the task of communicating with grassroots protesters and enablers of the new emerging leadership. Many believe that the regime will never negotiate its way out of power, but it seems the same applies for traditional opposition figures and parties. They will never accept giving their positions to the new emerging figures; they seem incapable of coming to terms with the failure of their ideologies at inspiring this mass moment.

Many observers are concerned that the Syrian opposition might be dominated by Islamists who would institute an even worse government for Syria, at least in international terms. How would you respond to that view?

There are Islamists, that’s for sure. But Syria’s ethnic makeup is simply too diverse to allow for the kind of dominance we saw in Egypt or Tunisia. However, since winning elections is about organization and not just demographics, and since Islamists are better organized and funded, there is definitely a need for domestic and international players concerned about Islamist influence to begin preparing themselves with all seriousness for the transitional period ahead.

What is the strategy of the Assad regime in trying to survive?

Transforming the crisis into a sectarian conflict; play on minority fears about the Sunni Arab majority in order to bring these minorities to the side of the regime or at least to neutralize them. Use overwhelming force and foster the expansion of pro-Assad militias and death squads to terrorize and punish the population of restive communities. Play on the fears of Western powers toward Islamists by trying to cast the revolutionaries as Salafist. Rely on support from Iran, Hezbollah, the Maliki government in Iraq, and Russia to keep the international community at bay and incapable of adopting strong policies toward the situation….

Why should the world support the Syrian opposition’s struggle?

Besides the geopolitical gain of weakening Iran’s grip over the Middle East and containing its rise as a major source of instability there, there is the added humanitarian advantage of preventing a rapid balkanization of our troubled region. The Assads are driving the country and the region to the brink of implosion into warring ethnic enclaves. The world needs to stop them and to help the Syrians in their search for alternatives.

What do you think is likely to happen in Syria?

Irrespective of my wishes, the inability of the Obama administration to move quickly on this matter has allowed for the situation to turn into a proxy war involving all major regional players as well as Russia and China. This is going to be a longer-term struggle and the humanitarian cost will be too high. I will keep up my activities meant to support the local resistance and empower the more pragmatic and representative elements to emerge as the true leaders of Syria down the road, but this will not be an easy task.

We were let down by the leaders of the international community and the leaders of the traditional opposition, not to mention our intellectual elite, and it’s clear by now that we have no true friends. Still, we have no choice but to soldier on, as we transform from a protest movement into a more complex resistance and liberation movement.

(For more on Ammar Abdulhamid: he is a liberal Syrian pro-democracy activist whose anti-regime activities led to his exile in September 2005. He currently lives in the United States. He is the founder of the Tharwa Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to democracy promotion, and is a fellow at Foundation for Defense of Democracies. He writes Syrian Revolution Digest, a blog dedicated to following events and monitoring trends related to the Syrian Revolution.)

Any Given Friday
How a battle over a Facebook page became a war for the soul of the Syrian revolution.

….Last week, before the Facebook polling closed for the name of the April 13 protests — the day after the U.N. ceasefire deadline, the day in which solidarity was key — one name was in the lead: the Friday of the Armies of Islam. Yet another divisive (and completely off message) choice. This time, however, peaceful activists were ready to take action and fight back in a battle for the Friday name.

On Wednesday, April 11, media activists on Facebook and Twitter began a campaign to “rock the vote” for Friday’s name. They advocated the secular, inclusive choice, “A Revolution for all Syrians.” It was an intense campaign. Usually around 8,000 votes are cast each week, but last week there were more than 30,000. It was as much a battle between Islamic sentiment and secular inclusiveness as it was a struggle between those dedicated to solely an armed resistance, and those who still valued the power of nonviolent activism. ….
The gap between the two names slowly narrowed, and eventually the message of unity won by almost 2,000 votes. This small but significant victory unleashed palpable excitement among Syria’s online activists: There was a sense that they had been heard and gained control of the revolution’s message, at least for the moment. It was a needed boost of energy to a group of worn-out activists and, more importantly, it proved that a revolution within the revolution was not only possible but necessary.

By Andrew J. Tabler
April 18, 2012

…Syrians are afraid to express their demands as part of the “Syrian-led political transition to a democratic, pluralist system” and have demonstrated in lesser numbers than expected over the past week. Even if a viable ceasefire can eventually be brokered, protests and other forms of civil resistance will be the key means to judge what the people want going forward….  severely limiting the people’s ability to use civil resistance to make Assad “step aside” — the stated goal of President Obama. The regime has had a far harder time dealing with civil resistance over the past year than armed resistance. Assad’s actions thus far indicate that he wants to use the Annan plan to grind down not only the armed opposition, but the overall protest movement as a whole….

WSJ RT Brussels: EU Goes Silent On Assad Departure
2012-04-18 By Laurence Norman

….Last August, to considerable fanfare, Washington and Brussels made a joint declaration on Syria. Enough was enough, they said. The rising death toll, continued repression and broken reform promises of President Bashar al-Assad …Officials note that Mr. Annan’s six-point plan is not just about stemming the violence. It also demands the Assad regime allows peaceful protests and accepts a Syrian-led political process to address what it calls “the aspirations and concerns of the Syrian people.”

The hope in Brussels is that once the violence has ebbed, Mr. Annan will unleash a political reform and democratization process whose momentum will sweep away Mr. Assad, like Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, Tunisia’s Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and Yemen’s Ali Abdullah Saleh before him.

Syria must be held to the law of war
By Laurie R. Blank and Geoffrey S. Corn, Special to CNN
April 4, 2012

Comments (634)

Pages: « 13 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 [11] 12 13 » Show All

501. Mina said:

“Qatar has done many good things in the Arab world”

such as what?

Weren’t the commenters discussing ideology, and moderate Islam?

Qardawi may seem a moderate if one only knows him through al Jazeera’s religious programme “al-shari’a wa-l-haya” (shari’a and life), but any other speech or writing show his real face.

Thumb up 15 Thumb down 10

April 23rd, 2012, 2:08 pm


502. bronco said:

#497 Tara

Qatar nationals are 300,000. It is a absolute monarchy with the world’s highest GDP per capita. In fact it is a paternalistic and conservative family run business.

While it has money, it still remains a political ‘amateur’ compared to Iran, Turkey and most Arab countries.

For now it is learning the ropes of diplomacy and has faced many failures with Syria, with Hamas, with post-revolutions Libya and the Talibans. It is trying to emulate Turkey in taming extremist Islamists, but until now, none of these attempts have succeeded. In the contrary it has antagonized most Arab countries who are becoming suspicious of its real motives and its use of money to manipulate poor countries. In addition its cozyness with the USA and Israel does not play in its favor with the masses.

So, it is possible that after a few years or trials and errors Qatar succeeds in taking a recognized political role in the region besides supplying gas. Until that time, I doubt it can seen as a serious leader in promoting ‘moderate’ Islam in the region.

Thumb up 15 Thumb down 6

April 23rd, 2012, 2:20 pm


503. anwar said:

“The latest Shaykh Yaqoubi tweet:

The liberation of Palestine will be done through Syria, as told in several hadiths; ousting Assad is the first right step towards it.”

If the revolution keeps making statements like this then it will truly be Bashar forever. Israel is the reason this butcher is still in power. Try to win them over instead of making baseless claims.

Thumb up 7 Thumb down 19

April 23rd, 2012, 2:22 pm


504. bronco said:

#498 JNA

The West growing fear of Islamist extremists infiltrations in Syria gets confirmed every day now. The credibility of the armed opposition is in a down slope, until it stops denying and complaining and actively clean up their ranks from the terrorists.

Thumb up 16 Thumb down 7

April 23rd, 2012, 2:26 pm


505. Alan said:

moderator! do you continue mean acts?

Thumb up 10 Thumb down 9

April 23rd, 2012, 2:29 pm


506. zoo said:

Sanctions on one side, humanitarian help on the other

Syria: UN Humanitarian Aid awaits Government agreement

The UN has presented a multi-million dollar plan to respond to humanitarian needs in Syria, but still lacks government approval to implement it.

The US$180 million UN plan includes dozens of projects to respond to the needs of one million people over six months, with the bulk of the money going towards food and health care, but also for the repair of basic services and to support livelihoods to avoid a descent into poverty by many Syrians affected by a deteriorating economy.

A separate $84 million plan by UNHCR to respond to the needs of Syrian refugees in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan has been funded at less than 20 percent since it was launched at the end of March.

The director of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, John Ging, presented the plan to governments, NGOs and regional organizations at a meeting of the Syria Humanitarian Forum, the international platform used to discuss humanitarian concerns in Syria, on 20 April.

“Syria has recognized there are serious humanitarian needs and that urgent action is required,” Ging said. “We now need to get agreement from the Syrian authorities to implement the Response Plan. In the meantime, we’re mobilizing resources to make it happen.”

Thumb up 9 Thumb down 6

April 23rd, 2012, 2:33 pm


507. Aldendeshe said:

Where is the MANDO SODA you promised me REVLON? Are you wtill on the agency payrol man, where are you?

Thumb up 1 Thumb down 18

April 23rd, 2012, 2:34 pm


508. bronco said:

Does anyone has access to the list of journalists and press agency that got a official visa to Syria and also the ones who are already there.

It is becoming very annoying to read disclaimers that there are no western journalists in Syria and then an article pops out written by a CBC, CBS, or BBC journalist who is there and we don’t know about it.

Thumb up 16 Thumb down 7

April 23rd, 2012, 2:41 pm


509. jad said:

Finally, the west is recognizing there own local radicals, good luck!

Islamic teacher under fire for calling on Welsh muslims to support fight for sharia law abroad

An Islamic teacher whose group was at the centre of an anti-terror raid on a Cardiff community hall has come under fire for calling on Welsh muslims to “physically” support the fight for sharia law abroad.

Abu Hajar, of Grangetown, Cardiff, is one of the leaders of the Islamic group Supporters of Tawheed, which on its website says its core belief is the “domination of the world by Islam”.

The group – which according to its website also rejects democracy and freedom, describing them as “false deities” – hit the headlines in January when one man arrested during a raid on a meeting in the city’s Canton Community Hall told an officer “I will chop your head off” before shouting “I’m going to shoot you with a machine gun”. Mohammed Abdin, 21, was subsequently jailed for eight months for the threats.

It is understood the raids were prompted by members of the Muslim community, who feared the meeting was providing a place for radical Islamists to network.

Mr Hajar has previously said the group is simply interested in spreading the message of Islam and does not preach violence or extremism.
Monmouth MP David Davies said fundamentalism was “unacceptable in our community”.

He said: “They [fundamentalists] have a rather warped interpretation of the Koran that seems to have taken hold of a worrying number of people across the world who follow Islam.

“That particular interpretation is incompatible with the principles of equality for men and women and democracy we take for granted.

“For some people a literal interpretation of the Koran is that all laws are handed down by God and that man does not have the right to change and alter laws.

“That is incompatible with a democracy.”

He said Britain was “more enlightened” and we should not apologise “for our own culture”.

The MP claimed our culture was often wrongly put on an equal footing with those holding fundamentalist values. “Our values are better than other peoples,” he said.

“We believe in equal rights for men and women, and do not discriminate against gays, and believe everyone should be free to practise religion – but that the government should be separate.

“These are values that are incompatible with extreme values in Islam.”

Saleem Kidwai is chairman of the Muslim Council of Wales. He claimed if Hajar wanted change he would have to be “part of the system.”

“You can make as many videos and shout as much as you want but it won’t make any difference,” he said.

“If you’re a citizen of this country then you have to be an active member of the political process.”

Read More

Thumb up 14 Thumb down 6

April 23rd, 2012, 2:47 pm


510. Uzair8 said:

502. Anwar

There are many muslims who are unsure of whether to support the syrian revolution or not. They naturally sympathise with the plight of the people but are worried about things getting worse after Assad (the appearance of a worse tyrant). They also fear that Syria may end up in the sphere of western/Nato/Zionist hegemony.

The purpose of presenting the Shaykh’s comments is to reassure and win over them people.

We may not be happy with the position of Mufti Hassoun and Sheikh Buti but they can possibly justify their positions.

Early on in the uprising (Arab Spring) the influential Yemeni Shaykh Habib Umar was asked about the uprisings and revolutions. One of his quote:

“There is no doubt that this a time of tribulations and that there are more tribulations to come. We have been informed about them on the tongue of Prophethood. We have been warned against taking sides and contributing to these conflicts. We have taken a covenant to clarify to all what their duty is. People may then accept this advice, in which case they are then set to receive the mercy of Allah, or they may reject it. Allah will in the end call everyone to account.”

See video (video information contains transcript).

The Shaykh is from the influential Sufi Ba’Alawi clan of Yemen. I don’t know his recent position on Syria.

Shaykh Yaqoubi of Syria at first tried to advise both the regime and the opposition. The regime continued its brutality so the Shaykh threw his support behind the revolution.

Thumb up 9 Thumb down 13

April 23rd, 2012, 2:52 pm


511. Afram said:

495. Uzair8 said:

The latest Shaykh Yaqoubi tweet:
The liberation of Palestine will be done through Syria, as told in several hadiths; ousting Assad is the first right step towards it.!/Shaykhabulhuda
If any of you see Shaykh Yaqoubi floating in the Indian Ocean,no need to worry.his afghani super-pants ready deployed.

seriously funny this shiek,Israel was established 1948
Assad senior came to power 1970
1948 > 1970=22 sunni rule, question/why palestine remained occupied not being liberated by the sunnis, 48 > 70???

Israeli mantra: NEVER AGAIN, Israel has 300 nukes..super-pants do no good.

what you see is sunni/shia thing taking place right now in syria

not fight for freedom!! nor a civil war, but a religious war
a month before the syrian intifawda, qatar-saudi met and planed to hijack not to adopt the syrians political hope

how else can we explain saud faisl call to arm the (protesters) foreign evil-doers?

Thumb up 14 Thumb down 10

April 23rd, 2012, 3:05 pm


512. Uzair8 said:

Continuing from #507.

The true scholars know more but do not reveal.

During this uprising Shaykh Yaqoubi, in reply to a question, mentioned the Sufyani (an end time Syrian tyrant). Read his answer carefully as it hints at knowing more than they let on:

“Time if full of unrest and hardships; the Sufyani has not yet appeared and Allah is the one who knows; imam Mahdi will emerge only after him; yet between the two, there are wide wildsin which the Jewish people would have power over the land of Sham, which is part of the job of the coming Sufyani. If I had the choice, I would have withdrawn from all public activities; but the dress of shari’a puts on us the obligation to support the oppressed and clarify the rulings, even if we know through the reality that what comes after is worse. Having knowledge of the Divine decree to be should not prevent us from following the command of the shari’a; so long as Allah put us in the position of fatwa, admonishment and guidance. Remember these words, as we rarely express it in this clear way.

Those favoured by God Almighty are given knowledge and even access to the Lohay Mahfooz (‘Preserved Tablet’).

Anwar, I understand this will be irrelevant to you as you are christian. However, amongst muslims there is a battle of hearts and minds going on in which some people use the ‘resistance’ and zionism arguments to discourage support for the revolution.

Thumb up 5 Thumb down 14

April 23rd, 2012, 3:22 pm


513. Uzair8 said:

#512 Afram

I don’t want to divert away from Syria too much so hopefully this is my last comment on this.

My view on the Saudis is that they didn’t want to get involved but they had to be do something as pressure from their own population was increasing. They also knew if the Arab Spring spread to Syria and the regime fell, they (Gulf nations) would be next. Yes they have their own interests, one of which is to counter Iranian/Shia influence around the region. However, the Saudis have only dragged their feet and given Assad chance after chance. Assad hasn’t given them anything in return (real compromise) so the Saudis are becoming fed up and coming to the conclusion that Assad has to go and the rebels must be armed etc.

Thumb up 7 Thumb down 15

April 23rd, 2012, 3:34 pm


514. Mina said:

Ha ha ha! As if the Saudis have not been all around Zabadani for many years already!

Thumb up 14 Thumb down 11

April 23rd, 2012, 3:38 pm


515. Afram said:

Emissaries are in Moscow

Regime-SNC are talking..yala khilsat, Mabrook

The Accords will be officially signed in Moscow soon

Thumb up 14 Thumb down 8

April 23rd, 2012, 3:59 pm


516. Afram said:

Obama says:Use Tech to Abuse Rebels evil doers,We’ll Sanction You

Executive order fingers entities backing Iran,Syria.

If you use technology to help a repressive regime commit human rights abuses, you’ll find yourself slapped with US sanctions. That’s the message from President Obama, who this morning announced a new executive order specifically targeting those backing Iran and Syria via technology, though it could be expanded to other regimes, reports the Washington Post. The new sanctions will include a US visa ban and financial restrictions on a number of Syrian and Iranian businesses and government agencies, along with a lone Syrian individual.

Obama announced the sanctions in a speech at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, the AP reports. “National sovereignty is never a license to slaughter your own people,” he said, drawing a parallel between the Holocaust and modern day atrocities. He also called for the first-ever National Intelligence Estimate of the potential for mass-killings around the world. “We must tell our children about a crime unique in human history: the one and only Holocaust,” he said. But “remembrance without action changes nothing.”

Thumb up 11 Thumb down 4

April 23rd, 2012, 4:30 pm


517. Juergen said:


Juergen Todenhöfer was in Syria 2 weeks ago, seems like he got an offical visa after his 2 hour arrest the last time he traveled with an tourist visa.

Thumb up 7 Thumb down 13

April 23rd, 2012, 4:32 pm


518. Antoine said:

warning JAD and SNK heroes, Ghufran homat el-diyars, in action :

I would personally like Ghufran to comment on this.

Thumb up 7 Thumb down 14

April 23rd, 2012, 4:46 pm


519. bronco said:

#518 Juergen

Thanks, I wonder why the list of journalists allowed in Syria remain secret.

Thumb up 13 Thumb down 6

April 23rd, 2012, 4:47 pm


520. Antoine said:


Do you think most of the people of al-Bab are pro-revolution ? Why was the City quiet in 2011 ?

Also do you know anything about Manbij ?

However I have heard that Hassan Turkmani was from Turkman-Bareh, which has already joined the revolution.

Thumb up 8 Thumb down 15

April 23rd, 2012, 4:58 pm


521. Uzair8 said:

Can Iran continue to allegedly support the regime financialy or help sell syrian oil?

Exclusive – Half Iran tanker fleet storing oil at sea

Mon Apr 23, 2012

(Reuters) – Iran has been forced to deploy more than half its fleet of supertankers to store oil at anchorage in the Gulf as buyers of its crude cut back because of sanctions, two Iran-based shipping sources said.

Read more:


A second piece of information. The article isn’t in english so I’ll give the link to the forum thread where I came across the 2 stories.

“Meanwhile, Iranian economist Hossein Raghfar claims that the second phase of Ahmadinejad’s subsidy cuts will increase inflation by another 60% and “destroy domestic production.”

According to Central Bank statistics (doubted by everyone, including Conservative members of parliament) prices have risen 44% for dairy products, 47% for vegetables, 46% for meat, and 34% for chicken.”

Thumb up 7 Thumb down 12

April 23rd, 2012, 5:59 pm


522. Tara said:


I copied this from a post I wrote several month ago

Qatar has always supported Arab causes. Qatar, until recently, was one of the biggest Arab supporter of Besho boy when we were all deceived by his “resistance” stand. It played a power broker role for all Lebanese factions by sponsoring the Doha Agreement. It hosts and supports Aljazeera without which internationalization of the Syrian, Tunisian, Egyptian, Yemen, and Libyan revolutions possible and by doing so prevented a replay of The horrific Hama-I scenario in all these countries.. As it did in Lebanon war, and Gaza. It led the AL into its first historic unprecedented potent move by imposing sanctions on the tyrants in Damascus. A move that pained and humiliated Assad’s regime bitterly. Qatar also maintains an ability to connect with all walks of political forces from Islamists to seculars which props her up to be an influential power broker. Wealthy and nationalistic,…a good combination.

while to regime suppoeters, Qatar is the evildoer now because of its anti-Assad stance, Qatar remained at the forefront of Arab nationalism in my opinion. I hope that HBJ et al seriously reform their internal politics and adopt a leadership position of moderate Islam. The problem I see is with KSA being hijacked by demented sheiks (who takes fanaticism as their mean of living) and being by virtue of its size and wealth the leadrer of the GCC

Thumb up 9 Thumb down 18

April 23rd, 2012, 6:26 pm


523. Antoine said:

523. TARA said :

“and by doing so prevented a replay of The horrific Hama-I scenario in all these countries.. ”

Oh come on…..nobody other than the Asad can do Hama.

Thumb up 8 Thumb down 13

April 23rd, 2012, 6:54 pm


524. ann said:

In Syria, Lebanon’s Most Wanted Sunni Terrorist Blows Himself Up – April 23, 2012

Lebanese terror leader Abdel Ghani Jawhar detonated himself accidentally in Syria, raising questions about the kind of company the rebels are keeping

TIME has learned that Abdel Ghani Jawhar, one of the leaders of the Sunni fundamentalist terror group Fatah al-Islam, died in the Syrian city of Qsair on Friday night. The founding cleric of Fatah al Islam, Sheikh Osama al Shihabi, confirmed Jawhar’s death to TIME with a quote from the Koran: “‘We are for God and to him we return.’ We as Mujahideen are used to being killed and if God wants to give those killed dignity he gives them martyrdom. This is the path of righteousness.”

According to Abu Ali and another fellow fighter, Jawhar arrived in Qsair two weeks ago with a group of 30 Lebanese fighters. While many were members of Fatah al-Islam, they were not traveling under the terror group’s banner. Instead they called themselves mujahideen, holy warriors seeking to help fellow Muslims under attack by the Syrian regime. Jawhar, an explosives expert and a charismatic commander, sought to train fellow fighters how make bombs. In the short time he had been in Qsair, says Abu Ali, he was able to set up dozens of improvised explosive devices destined for members of the Syrian security forces. “His aim was to make a tour in all the districts of Syria to teach the fighters on how to fight a guerrilla war.”

For his efforts, Abu Ali calls Jawhar a hero and a martyr. For Syrian rebels seeking international assistance in their battle to force Syrian President Bashar Assad out of office, it’s a public relations headache. The Free Syrian Army, as well as other Syrian resistance groups, has long sought to downplay regime accusations that the rebels are aligned with Islamic fundamentalists and pro-al-Qaeda groups. While Fatah al-Islam has denied any association with al-Qaeda, there are links between the group and individual members. The implication that an al-Qaeda affiliated group is helping Syrian rebels build bombs and foment a guerrilla war could radically alter perceptions in the West, bringing to a halt discussions of arming the rebels and establishing a no-fly zone. “The death of Jawhar on Syrian soil emphasizes the fears of the international community that if they gave weapons to the Syrian rebels they will end up in the hands of radical groups,” says Lebanese University professor and Fatah al-Islam expert Talal Atrissi. “The Syrian opposition will be embarrassed from the fact that such a man is fighting alongside the rebels.”

Jawhar is also implicated in the murders of a Lebanese general, a major in Intelligence and a Member of Parliament. He nearly succeeded in killing the head of the Lebanese army as well as the head of Internal Security. His death in Syria, says the official, may be seen as a welcome comeuppance in some quarters, “but for us, it’s devastating. It’s an issue of personal revenge between Jawhar and the Intelligence service.” It also raises concerns over the insurgency struggling across the border in Syria.


Thumb up 10 Thumb down 7

April 23rd, 2012, 7:00 pm


526. bronco said:

523. Tara

Qatar started well and helped ‘financially’ South of Lebanon, but then there was the “international success’ of the Libyan war that Qatar supported actively by convincing the AL to allow NATO’s intervention and by participating financially and militarily.

Suddenly Qatar saw itself politically powerful having been able to influence the AL and the international community. It thought it has matured into a strong political player in the region and could intervene in the Arab regional issues to help the western community that would give it the regional political importance it is seeking. Yet by its childish games with Syria through the AL and the take over of Al Jazeera to support its ambitions, it has spoiled all the good relation it had with Hezbollah, Syria and Libya. It is trying to keep a good relation with Iran but I doubt this will last.

I am sure Qatar is not popular at all in Arab countries compared to a few years ago.

Maybe it is time it reviews, like Turkey, its failed diplomacy in the Middle east and in particular with Syria to regain the reputation of impartiality it has lost.

Thumb up 16 Thumb down 9

April 23rd, 2012, 7:15 pm


527. daleandersen said:

Memo To: ANN

RE: “…Abdel Ghani Jawhar…”

Thank you for posting the obituary of this great man. I can see that you are a true daughter of the jihad.

Thumb up 4 Thumb down 15

April 23rd, 2012, 7:19 pm


528. zoo said:

Activists: UN observers a bad copy of the AL observers?

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: The death toll of people killed today in Hama has risen to 28 martyrs for whom the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has records. They were killed during the shelling of the neighbourhood of Mashaa Al-Arba’ein in Hama. Also, they are 5 unidentified bodies because of the burning.

5 members of the Syrian regular forces killed in Hama and Daraa including a colonel who was killed when his car targeted in Hama and a lieutenant colonel who was killed yesterday, after midnight, near the town of Al-Sanameen in Daraa.

According to activists when they called the UN observers to report the breach of the ceasefire the reply was “Tell the people not to protest so they don’t get shot at.” This observer mission has already got a lot to do if it is going to redeem itself and prove that it isn’t just a bad copy of the Arab League observers.

Thumb up 9 Thumb down 8

April 23rd, 2012, 7:36 pm


529. Halabi said:

Antoine, thanks for posting the videos. I don’t know if the torture video is authentic, but the falqa is standard fare in Assad’s dungeons. It’s just one of the many humiliations that thousands of Syrians have endured, from all sects, a violation of Syria’s new and old constitution which will never be addressed under by this regime.

I don’t have any inside information about Manbij and Al-Bab. Aleppo governorate was pretty quiet until Ramadan, when the crackdown on Hama and Homs spurred protest in the countryside and poorer neighborhoods in the city. I believe that the majority of Syrians are against the regime and biased toward the revolution, because people understand that there are no reforms from Assad, just more falqas and humiliation. In that sense, the people of Aleppo in general are with the revolution in my opinion.

Of course the Christian community, merchants and some from the middle class support Assad, but as Ehsani said, Christians are in decline in Aleppo and the elites are by definition a minority, leaving Assad with a very narrow base of support. Whenever a small window opens for a peaceful protest in Aleppo, thousands flock to the street, as with the funeral of Aleppo’s mufti in September.

But the people haven’t been willing or able to take territory and control parts of the city, which is why sustained protests haven’t been possible. Hopefully the monitors’ presence will force the shabiha to retreat so Aleppo’s peaceful protesters can have their say.

Thumb up 11 Thumb down 12

April 23rd, 2012, 7:47 pm


531. Syria no Kandahar said:

April 23rd, 2012, 8:23 pm


532. Tara said:

I have a burning question in regard to the Mullah Khamenei. What do the faithful do when they first meet him? Kiss his hand? Can some one please answer?

Thumb up 8 Thumb down 18

April 23rd, 2012, 8:43 pm


533. Tara said:

Iraq shuns, Egypt open to Turkey’s route offers

ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News

Iraq has not yet responded to Turkish proposal to determine a safe alternative route to Syria for land transportation, says Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan. The minister was speaking at a ceremony to mark the launch of a Ro-Ro line to Egypt

Thumb up 8 Thumb down 14

April 23rd, 2012, 8:50 pm


534. Ghufran said:

The $ was sold for as low as 69 lira today despite the blood shed, the weapons smuggling and credible reports of jihadist infiltration of opposition areas.

Everybody on paper said that Annan plan is the best option on the table even for seekers of regime change, but in reality, fighting factions have not yet accepted the principle of compromise especially on the GCC side, this opens the door wide open for violence which now may reach areas outside Syria’s borders. The regime has so far refused to delay parliamentary elections for obvious reasons: satisfying Russian demands, creating another PR stunt and ensuring that only “acceptable” opposition members are allowed to win seats at the PA.

Thumb up 15 Thumb down 9

April 23rd, 2012, 8:50 pm


535. Syria no Kandahar said:

Minorities are Syria’s spices, that is why Alaaroor like their meat.

Thumb up 12 Thumb down 12

April 23rd, 2012, 8:55 pm


536. Tara said:

William Scott Scherk,

Please meet real women:  This would be a whole different experience than silly little “toned” women.  I use “toned” for lack of a better word to express repulse and sarcasm in regard to a poster’s crazed view about “white men”.     

Women form new opposition in Syria
ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News

A group of Syrian dissidents – mostly women led by Syrian journalist and human rights activist Bahiya Mardini – have created a new opposition group called the “Free Syrian Union,” in order to draw attention to the situation of women and children who are being subjected to violence in Syria. 

“Women and children in Syria are affected most by the violence in Syria. Women are being raped, tortured and killed. We think Asma al-Assad is a criminal because hundreds of children are killed there and she doesn’t do anything, while her husband kills the children”, Bahiya Mardini told the Hurriyet Daily News in an interview. 

Bahiya Mardini is the great-granddaughter of a family who fled to Syria from the southern Turkish province of Mardin about a century ago. A lawyer, human rights activist and journalist who works for “Reporters Without Borders,” Mardini defected from Syria nine months ago. 

Women form new opposition in Syria

“The big problem in Syria is that nobody talks about the situation women seriously. But when there is a war in a country, the women are affected most. The people who share this idea have come together to do something for women and children in Syria,” she said. 

Mardini said women are subject to a lot of violence in dissident cities in Syria. “The regime destroyed everything in people’s lives. The women became refugees, they lost their families. There is violence, kidnap, rape. A 22-year-old woman Yara Micheal Shammas was arrested for 44 days without any charge, for instance. There are hundreds of situations like this in Syria.” 

Mardini added that they would be compiling the cases of violence against women in Syria and that they aimed to take these cases to the International Criminal Court (ICC). According to her, Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad’s wife Asma Assad is also responsible for the deaths of women and children. 

[ … ]

Thumb up 10 Thumb down 15

April 23rd, 2012, 9:05 pm


537. Ghufran said:

Egypt’s PA president referred to Israel as “the Zionist entity” when he praised the cancellation of Egypt-Israel gas deal. Revoking Camp David accord will be next on the PA list. Do not think that Egypt does not matter when it comes to Syria,Egypt always did matter. It remains to be seen how the MB and the SMC can find ways to live together.

Thumb up 11 Thumb down 5

April 23rd, 2012, 9:16 pm


538. Ghufran said:

(من اعظم بيوت الشعر العربي
كأنه يخاطب الناس اليوم )

ذو العقل يشقى في النعيم بعقله
وأخو الجهالة بالشقاوة ينعم
لا يخدعنك من عدو دمعه
وارحم شبابك من عدو ترحم
لا يسلم الشرف الرفيع من الاذى
حتى يراق على جوانبه الدم
والظلم من شيم النفوس فأن تجد
ذا عفة فلعلة لايظلم
ومن البلية عذل من لا يرعوي
عن غيه وخطاب من لا يفهم
ومن العداوة ما ينالك نفعه
ومن الصداقة ما يضر ويؤلم

Thumb up 6 Thumb down 7

April 23rd, 2012, 9:26 pm


539. Ghufran said:

Al-Qardawi clips collected by pro regime sites from 2004-2009

Thumb up 5 Thumb down 9

April 23rd, 2012, 11:25 pm


540. jad said:

الموالاة والمعارضة في سوريا: تراجع لمصلحة «الغالبية الصامتة»

جولة قصيرة في أزقة باب توما وسط دمشق القديمة، قد تكون كافية للخروج بفكرة واضحة عن النسيج الاجتماعي والفكري والإيديولوجي، الذي يميز المجتمع السوري، عن غيره من شعوب الدول المجاورة ومجتمعاتها. إلى اليوم، يطالب الموالون والمعارضون، أولئك الذين يقفون على الحياد بحسم خيارهم، فيما يكبر حجم مَن هم في الوسط

أنس زرزر
دمشق | في حيّ باب توما الدمشقي الأثري القديم، يتجاور جامع بني أمية الكبير، مع عدد من الكنائس، التي تعود لكافة الطوائف المسيحية، ويبيع صاحب أحد متاجر العطور وقطع الأنتيكا، صوراً للثائر الأممي الشيوعي تشي غيفارا، مقابل محل تجاري آخر، علق صاحبه صوراً للسيد حسن نصر الله، وعلماً لحزب الله. وسط الشارع الضيق المؤدي إلى مقهى «النوفرة» الشهير، رسم شباب الحيّ على الأرض علم إسرائيل كي يدوسه العابرون، في واحد من أساليب التعبير القليلة، التي لا تزال تجمع السوريين، سواء كانوا موالين أو معارضين للنظام الحاكم في بلادهم.

يمتزج في المجتمع السوري إذاً خليط فسيفسائي من إسلاميين وليبراليين وشيوعيين وعروبيين ووطنيين وملحدين وتقليديين. كل فئة حاولت، على طريقتها الخاصة، التعاطي مع الأحداث السورية الأخيرة، والتعبير عن وجهة نظرها بتقلبات المشهد السياسي الأخيرة، وما أكثرها. لكن الظاهر للعيان خلال السنة الماضية، هو انحسار السجال الدائر بين فئتين: الموالية للنظام الحاكم والمعارضة له ولمجمل ما قدمه من إصلاحات وقوانين، لطالما انتظر السوريون تحققها، بمختلف انتماءاتهم الفكرية والسياسية، وحتى الدينية منها.

مع بداية الأحداث السورية، وحتى يومنا هذا، تحوّل الكلام والنقاش في آخر تطورات المشهد السياسي إلى خبز السوريين اليومي: «لا خوف بعد اليوم من تسمية الأمور بمسمياتها، بعدما كنا نخترع أسماءً رمزية، أو نوارب في أحاديثنا السياسية لسنوات طويلة»، يقول لـ«الأخبار» أحد أصحاب المحال التجارية في سوق الصالحية الدمشقي العريق. تبقى الصفة العامة للشارع السوري هذه الأيام، بروز فئة جديدة في المجتمع تتصف بالحيادية التامة في تعاطيها مع التطورات المتسارعة نتيجة الأحداث والقرارات السياسية. فإن كانت هذه الفئة موجودة أساساً قبل بداية الأحداث السورية، فقد انضمت إليها اليوم أعداد كبيرة من الموالين السابقين للنظام، الذين فقدوا إيمانهم بالوعود والإصلاحات الكثيرة التي وعدوا بها، وأيضاً أعداد أكبر من المعارضين، الذين لم يجدوا في المعارضة السورية بمختلف أطيافها السياسية والشخصية، ما يرضي طموحاتهم، بعدما كفروا بممارسات «الجيش السوري الحر»، التي لم تبتعد برأيهم عن مجمل الممارسات القمعية التي ارتكبتها بحقهم أجهزة الأمن السورية.
يتصاعد زخم المجموعتين إلى حد وصل فيه صوتهما إلى درجةٍ عالية مسموعة، رغم التصفية الإعلامية الشديدة من المحطات المتطرفة للموالاة والمعارضة على حد سواء. ولم يبتعد السواح عن وجهة النظر هذه، عندما حمّل وسائل الإعلام الموالية والمعارضة على حد سواء، مسؤولية التعاطي السلبي مع هذه الفئة. ويقول: «بعد عام كامل من بث قناة الدنيا والإخبارية السورية والفضائية السورية، وبث القنوات الخليجية أو المعارضة بشقيها الاسلامي أو العلماني، لم تستطع أن تجد الخطاب المناسب لتصل إلى ما تريده هذه الفئة «الأقلية الأكثرية»»، بينما حمّلت الغاشي الإعلام بمختلف توجهاته، سواء كان معارضاً أو موالياً مسؤولية اتهام هذه الفئة بالتخاذل أو السلبية؛ فـ«الأغلبية الصامتة كانت هدفاً لوسائل الإعلام التي عملت على شحن المؤيدين والمعارضين، نحو الحقد والتطرف، وهنالك عدد كبير مال نحو طرف معيّن نتيجة الشائعات وصعوبة الحصول على المعلومات وسط الكذب القائم. الآن، يجب أن يكون العمل على الأغلبية «الصامتة»، إذ إنها الشريحة التي يعوّل عليها في خلاص البلاد من تطرف الطرفين».
«واشنطن بوست»: المحبطون والتطرّف

Thumb up 8 Thumb down 4

April 24th, 2012, 12:17 am


541. jad said:

Who is the ‘real’ woman, Bahia Mardini?

She is the wife of Ammar Qurabi who was forcing her on the opposition and negotiating her salary in Euro!

Huh ??? Bahia and her husband were moukhabrat agents and they were the main reason behind the death of Salwa Istwani, the Syrian BBC reporters and one of the most respected and best Syrian journalist, who was truly and bravely against the regime, unlike Bahia and Ammar…but I guess this ‘revo’ is a washing machine to every filth Syrian who want to have a ‘new’ ‘clean’ image:

عمار قربي : مجرم جنائي بالمعنى الدقيق للكلمة. فهو ( ومعه زوجته بهية مارديني التي لم تبق فرعا مخابراتيا يعتب عليها) مسؤول عن وفاة مراسلة ” بي بي سي” الراحلة سلوى أسطواني . فقد وشى بها لفرع الأحزاب المناوئة في ” الميسات” بدمشق على أنها ” تكتب باسم مستعار لموقع الحقيقة تحت اسم رشا”. وكان ذلك من أجل منع السيدة الراحلة ، عميدة الصحفيين السوريين ، من العمل بعدما حوصرت ولم يبق معها حتى ثمن طعامها اليومي ودوائها ، ووصلت إلى مرحلة كان ابنها سعيد يصرف عليها من دخله المتواضع. وبعد استدعائها إلى الفرع ومكوثها عدة ساعات وتعرضها للإهانات والشتم، فضلا عن عدد من ” الكفوف” واللكمات على وجهها وهي في سن متقدمة وتعاني داء السكر المزمن ، نقلت إسعافيا إلى مشفى خيري تابع لإحدى الكنائس في صيدنايا حيث فارقت الحياة .

لكن مكر القدر كان عظيما بحيث أنها تمكنت من أن تكتب لنا بضعة أسطر عما جرى معها في الفرع وسبب استدعائها قبل نقلها إلى المشفى . ولا زلنا نحتفظ ببريدها الأخير كوثيقة على ذلك. وكان السبب المباشر لفعلة عمار قربي تلك ، هو أن موقع ” إيلاف” كان يريد اعتمادها مراسلة له في دمشق بدلا من زوجته بهية مارديني ! ( لدينا رسالة رسمية من أحد رؤساء الأقسام في ” إيلاف” تؤكد ذلك). يضاف إلى هذا أن قربي سمح له استثنائيا من السفر إلى القاهرة الشهر الماضي في الوقت الذي منع زميله محمود مرعي الذي أعيد من المطار ، رغم أنه كان مسافرا معه على الطائرة نفسها وللغاية نفسها. وهناك من يؤكد أنه سمح له بالسفر للقيام بمهمة أمنية!

خامسا ـ رضوان زيادة : غني عن البيان . فقد نشرت “الحقيقة” سابقا معطيات كافية وموثقة عن عمله مع أجهزة الاستخبارات الأميركية والإسرائيلية . ويمكن لمن يريد معرفة تفاصيل ذلك العودة إلى أرشيف ” الحقيقة”. إلا أننا سنضيف معطيات جديدة ” طازة “عنه في نهاية هذا التقرير. وهي معطيات ترتبط بمؤتمر ” أنطاليا”.مؤتمر-أنطاليا-للمعارضة-السورية-يمثل-ن/

Thumb up 6 Thumb down 4

April 24th, 2012, 12:40 am


542. Syria no Kandahar said:


Did you see any further reports about eastern Dearalzor falling in the hands of Terrorists:

Thumb up 10 Thumb down 6

April 24th, 2012, 1:00 am


543. daleandersen said:

Memo To: TARA

RE: “…What do the faithful do when they first meet Mullah Khamenei…”

The hard core faithful kiss his arse. The moderately faithful suck his toes…”

Thumb up 7 Thumb down 16

April 24th, 2012, 1:01 am


544. Uzair8 said:

While translating some of Shaykh Yaqoubi’s arabic tweets I came across this interesting one:

ندعو المملكة العربية السعودية لأخذ زمام المبادرة وقيادة التحركات الدولية عسكريا لإسقاط النظام السوري

We call on Saudi Arabia to take the initiative and the leadership of the international military actions to overthrow the Syrian regime!/Shaykhabulhuda

Thumb up 6 Thumb down 11

April 24th, 2012, 1:02 am


545. Syria no Kandahar said:

Terrorists in Albokamal cutting someone neck(gross):

Thumb up 13 Thumb down 11

April 24th, 2012, 1:05 am


546. jad said:

Dear SNK,

This is the first clip I see about that.

If it’s true I think that we might see the use of the Syrian jet fighters bombarding that whole region soon.

You may get my comment a bit late since the moderator chose me and Alan to ‘moderate’ without any time frame or any of the rules he has, because apparently we are the ‘bad’ guys who are spreading the ‘hate’ around this ‘love and peace’ site of his…at the same time his email friends are allowed to write any personal attacks they want without a word…..thinking by doing that he is ‘punishing’ us and will shut us up and make us leave…tough luck, we are staying and he can’t stop us from writing our opinions.

Thumb up 9 Thumb down 8

April 24th, 2012, 1:24 am


547. Alan said:

moderator! stop to hypocrisy!

Ghalioun Emails: Qatari Money and Lost Democracy

Thumb up 9 Thumb down 7

April 24th, 2012, 1:40 am


549. Alan said:

Moderator! Here so looks the level admissible by you comments ! Shame!


Memo To: TARA

RE: “…What do the faithful do when they first meet Mullah Khamenei…”

The hard core faithful kiss his arse. The moderately faithful suck his toes…”

Thumb up 10 Thumb down 4

April 24th, 2012, 3:41 am


550. Juergen said:


You know such regimes live from creating secrets and keep the majority away from the facts.

Here is what Todenhöfer wrote, it isnt availbale on a website, so i had to translate it for all here.

The rebels of Homs
(Published in the F.A.Z. on 04/13/2012)

Syria in April. Omar is a rebel of the “Free Syrian army” (FSA). My son Frederic and I met him in Damascus in a dark back room. On 27 February, he fled with his comrades from Baba Amr, the district of Homs, which was their stronghold for months. He wants to return to Homs. In order to avenge his younger brother, who died in his arms.

Omar had joined the rebels soon. He saw how the army had fired on peaceful demonstrators. Even children were killed. Not specifically, but did not care.

The number of his comrades in Baba Amr he estimates to 2000. Ten percent were deserters. Even the French, British, Americans and Iraqis were there. As a consultant and trainer.

I ask him about the open letter of “Human Rights Watch,” which accuses the rebels, hostage taking, torture and killing of civilians. Omar replied that the FSA kidnap only freizupressen to prisoners.

They kill civilians and not normal, but only traitors. You will not be tortured, but “heard hard.” Once they are convicted, they would be executed. Around him were 20 Alawite collaborators “executed” was. By head shot or cutting the throat.

Although he had heard from relatives that Assad in the rest of the country still have 50 to 60 percent behind. But a majority did not interest him. Assad is a man of Israel. He will always fight him.

The next day we meet near the Umayyad Mosque Rana, a 22-year-old student of history. She wants to demonstrate in the suburbs of Damascus continued. While their demos were always smaller. You have no choice.

Their protests were always peaceful. The FSA had to protect the demonstrators, mostly in the background. Their fighters had fired only when the demonstrators were in safety. Now much is out of control.

Rana feels left alone. Most people in Damascus and Aleppo are for Assad. The leader of the opposition in exile Ghalioun was just a media puppet that no one take seriously. Only NATO could topple Assad. That the cost of lives, would accept it. However, the intervention will not come, because Assad is an ally of the United States and Israel.

Together with Sharif, a Sunni engineer, two days later we drive to Homs. The city is still the most important, but perhaps also the last stronghold of the insurgency. Sharif said that the rebels had taken advantage of the withdrawal of the Syrian army during the visit of the Arab observer agreement approval contrary to the rise, says Sharif. The government had then vowed to never again engage in such wholesale services.

Since then, the government controls only about 25 percent of the city. In particular, the Alawite district and Baba Amr. 50 percent are controlled by the FSA, 25 percent are no man’s land. Of multiple checkpoints controlled by the regime, we reach the neighborhood of El Waer. We are in no man’s land.

Frédéric films. Behind us appears a white Corolla. He passed us and blocked the onward journey. The driver gets out and pulls his gun. What we filmed here, he asks, with thin lips. “The damage to the city,” replied Sharif pale. Through the car window, I ask the young rebel, show us the worst destruction. Puzzled, he gives us a sign to follow him.

Sinan, the FSA fighters conducted us through the almost deserted ghost town. About 60 percent of people are fleeing from the violence of both sides. He brings to us in miserable refugee families abandoned homes. They were able to save anything except her life, a few blankets, tin pots and a tiny gas stove.

On the way to a hospital, we stopped at a deserted restaurant. The hospital is only 300 meters. But the military situation is uncertain. Phone tries Sinan explore whether the road was free. From the roof of the inn, we see the silhouette of Baba bombed Amr. From the rebel district Khaldia rise to clouds of smoke. The neighborhood is under attack. But the FSA is active. As the ball strikes us clapping alongside one of their snipers, we retreat to the ground floor.

Above us we heard the hum of a Syrian UAV. A few hundred meters away, where we suspect the sniper hit, suddenly a grenade in quick succession. Sharif urges to go. We usually did not go too far to see the wounded or dead.

At the exit to Damascus maintains military vehicles at all. The road will be shot at by rebels. Some cars turn back, others continue in the convoy. We need to Damascus. The smoking Homs is not an option, although Sinan had offered to stay with him.

We do our very small Hyundai. Again and again emphasizes Sharif, asking Allah for help, on his earlobe. When finally arrives in Damascus? Appear as a half hour after the outlines of the city, we tap on the shoulder Sharif. “Allah Shukur Alhamdullah – thank God, not me,” he mutters.

In Damascus, life goes on as usual – although this can hardly imagine anyone in the West. Streets and shops are crowded. The war seems far away. Only occasionally reminiscent of the four major barriers to building bomb attacks by the security authorities.

Sharif is melting slowly. He had friends on both sides. The conflict made him sad. Already, killing not only government troops, but the FSA “their own people.” Of the 9,000 dead, at least half going to her account. Even women and children were killed by the rebels. In Homs and Alawite Shiite civilians were tortured mercilessly. The Western media reports put the things on their head.

Frederic and I mention, although we could confirm Sharif’s portrayal in part. In Damascus refugee homes, we have taken completely broken people who were brutally tortured by Homser rebels and wounded.

That is the tragedy of civil war, says Sharif would brave freedom fighters from terrorists. Whether the West knew that he would support in Syria desperados?

The rebels would have run. They no longer go to democracy and freedom, but only by hatred and revenge. Because they would have done differently than the Tunisian and Egyptian insurgents never to bring the whole nation behind him. Syria threatens to break up this increasingly sectarian revolution.

How many Syrians, he still dreams of democracy. But that is what Assad trying to impose now. Of course he would have had to do with its reforms much earlier. But better now than never! Syria is significant in terms of democracy, human and women’s rights further than Saudi Arabia.

At the beginning of the uprising, the government has made serious mistakes. However, the rebellion from the beginning had been armed. In just the first three months, over 200 soldiers and policemen were killed. He was at one of the funerals here. These soldiers are children of Syria.

The next day we visit the Greek-Catholic Patriarch Gregorios III. The sober argumentative church leaders understand themselves as advocates of religious tolerance in Syria. The coexistence of Christians, Sunnis, Shiites, Alawites, Druze, and Ismailis were a high democratic value. With the support of international revolution, he was threatened existentially. The West must act to stop fueling the conflict.

One should not confuse Bashar al-Assad and his father. The majority of the people standing behind him. He amazed by the “stereotyped” false reporting of foreign media. Much was made up.

The country needs to be reformed, in fact. The new constitution Assad was “an important step.” As a Christian, he called for a speedy silence the guns. But this time on both sides. And for an “all-party dialogue.” Violence is no solution. Meanwhile, the rebels killed more civilians than the state security forces.

Gregory has written a moving peace manifesto, a desperate “cry for help” We must settle before it is too late.

On the last evening we visit the tiny St. Theresa Church in Bab Tuma. On the gallery young Iraqi Arab Christians hymns samples of beguiling beauty. In silence we listen. With hundreds of thousands of fellow believers, these young people from the chaos in Iraq have fled to Syria. Where should they escape, even if Syria is in chaos?

The writer is the author of the book
“Demonizing Islam – Ten theses against hatred”

Thumb up 2 Thumb down 9

April 24th, 2012, 4:30 am


Pages: « 13 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 [11] 12 13 » Show All

Post a comment