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
By BEN HUBBARD,

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.
BY AMAL HANANO | APRIL 18, 2012

….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.

ASSAD MUST BE FORCED TO ALLOW PEACEFUL ASSEMBLY
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)


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301. Alan said:

Students tear-gassed in clashes with police in Canada

In Canada, riot police used tear gas and stun grenades to disperse hundreds of students protesting outside a government building in central Montreal. At least two demonstrators and two officers were injured in the violence and seventeen people were arrested. Students are angry at a planned 75 percent rise in tuition fees. They’ve been demonstrating almost daily since declaring a boycott on classes over two months ago, with the government refusing to back down. Citizen journalist Bernard Desgagne says that the situation is getting more violent and that the police reaction towards protesters is too brutal.

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April 21st, 2012, 9:04 am

 

302. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

The moderation on SC reaches new heights of absurdity. Now it becomes artistic. An artistic censorship. Syria Tishreen Comment with shiny logos of muzzling.
.

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April 21st, 2012, 9:10 am

 

303. Alan said:

Syria stuck between rock & hard place?

[ + Published on Apr 21, 2012 by RussiaToday

More than a year of violence in Syria is said to have killed around ten thousand people, amid concern the country is on the brink of civil war. RT’s Oksana Boyko now reports from the city where the uprising began, to ask people whether it’s been worth it.]

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April 21st, 2012, 9:10 am

 

304. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Juergen,

I didn’t know the commercial you posted. Nice.
Here’s another commercial by YES, the TV satellite company. Iranians demand their leaders not to bomb Israel on Monday, because on Monday they watch the TV series “Danny Hollywood”…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2MyoR0-ivU
.

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April 21st, 2012, 9:20 am

 

305. Juergen said:

Amir,

thats hilarious, i wish such commercials would show some the absurdity of their actions…

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April 21st, 2012, 9:36 am

 

306. Syrialover said:

289. Jad said: “A very good and true article by Sharmine Narwani about the Western journalist unprofessional covering of the middle east”

What is Sharmine Narwani, 13 years old or something?

Journalists should not be allowed into conflict areas, she is pompously declaring. Hilarious! Imagine the gaps in knowledge of world history if that was the case.

In particular, she insults the memory of Marie Colvin and Anthony Shadid, brilliant journalists who died in the process of bearing witness to what is happening in Syria. Over the years, both of them made a crucial contribution to the world’s understanding of what actually happened inside certain conflict zones.

And it’s an insult to Syrians to suggest that they should not have journalists allowed in to witness what is happening to them as has been the case in other places for centuries.

Sharmine Narwani, note the name, an armchair commentator throwing Syrians under the nearest bus so she can hiss irrationally about “western journalists” and western everything else.

Another switched-off hypocrite, living a comfortable, safe, privileged and free life in the west, but hurlng childish insults at the west while telling people trapped inside Syria what’s good for them.

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April 21st, 2012, 9:42 am

 

307. Tara said:

Bronco

“I already rarely share your enthusiast for some commenters in this blog and I certainly never appreciated OTW writings nor the blog you recommend. Sorry for that.”

You didn’t like Why-Discuss?! How could you?

And I also do not share your enthusiasm for some commenters on this blog especially the girl ones. Sorry for that too.

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April 21st, 2012, 10:35 am

 

308. Juergen said:

Abdel Razak Tlass shows UN observers an badly hit national hospital in Homs.

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April 21st, 2012, 10:56 am

 

309. ghufran said:

the brutality and corruption of the Syrian regime is old news, very few will argue against a regime change and the people’s right to have a more free and democratic political system, however,many people ignore the eleohant in the room: Thuggery. Whether you like the regime or not,you have to be really worried about where the society is going when one of the safest countries in the world became, rather quickly, a hotbed for assassins, thieves, smugglers, kidnappers and common thugs.

The usual “Shabeeha” charges to explain every illegal and thuggish act in Syria may be comforting to some but it does not tell the truth: you can not expect a third world country with miilions of poor, uneducated and marginalized people to suddenly behave in a civilized manner in a crisis just because a regime change is on the table.

Thuggery is not an excuse to preserve the regime but it should put pressure on sane people to abandon violence and seek a political settlement before Syria becomes too broken to fix.

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April 21st, 2012, 10:57 am

 

310. ghufran said:

a 17 year old dude will rule Jordan if something happens to the half irish king of Jordan while travelling abroad:

http://www.alquds.co.uk/index.asp?fname=latest\data\2012-04-21-14-55-48.htm

I did not plan on commenting on issues like “who did what”, because I understand how violent and deceitful the regime and many of its adversaries are, but is it not the FSA that was bragging about “liberating” the same hospital Tlas is now crying over?

Nurses from that hospital were brutally killed and vidoes and pics declaring the victory of the FSA over a hospital filled the internet.

Take the shame factor away and you can do anything.

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April 21st, 2012, 11:10 am

 

311. ghufran said:

Randa Slim on Syria:

http://www.cnn.com/2012/04/20/opinion/slim-syria-uprisings/index.html?hpt=imi_t4

Randa argues in favor of strengthening local revolutionary councils, but those councils have so far failed to attract the same people who have resisted toppling the regime for fears of reprisals, islamist domination, chaos or a mix of the three.

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April 21st, 2012, 11:22 am

 

312. Uzair8 said:

From AJE Live Syria blog:

2 hours 14 min ago – Syria

Syrian activists said that columns of smoke rose from the Mezze military airport in Damascus after hearing a huge explosion in the area. The blast was followed by heavy gunfire inside the airport.

Activists reported that security forces closed Sumaria road near the airport and blocked access to and from the capital, as police vehicles were seen rushing towards the fighting.

Mezze military airport hosts air force and defence divisions and an intelligence brigade.

http://blogs.aljazeera.net/liveblog/syria-apr-21-2012-1734

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April 21st, 2012, 11:51 am

 

313. VOLK said:

UN System, April 21 — After Russia on circulated a draft resolution to deploy 300 military observers to Syria, and France then followed with its own draft speaking of human rights — which it opposes in the pending Western Sahara resolution — the US State Department told Inner City Press it believed there was only one draft.

And soon that became true: France dropped human rights, and the call for “independent” air asset the the threat of action under Article 41 of the UN Charter if the Assad government does not comply.

And so on Saturday morning, after the surreal read out of a statement on the coup d’etat in Guinea Bissau, the Security Council adopted the Russian introduced draft, now with further co-sponsors, by a vote of 15 – 0.

Russia’s Ambassador Vitaly Churkin spoke first after the vote, saying that the Libya model is a thing of the past. Indeed. France’s Gerard Araud spoke next, bloviating about things dropped from the resolution, such as the possibility of sanctions.

Ironically, the Guinea Bissau Presidential Statement explicitly mentioned the possibility of targeted sanctions. But it came out of the Syria resolution. And so it goes at the UN. Watch this site.
http://www.innercitypress.com/syria1hrus042112.html

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April 21st, 2012, 12:02 pm

 

314. Afram said:

309. ghufran said:

1-the brutality and corruption of the Syrian regime is old news.
2-however,many people ignore the eleohant in the room:
3-where the society is going when one of the safest countries in the world became,rather quickly, a hotbed for assassins.
==========================
great questions ghufran.
Elephant in the room:why the syrians steadfastly ignored the khalijee elephant in the room?we know he is a foe not a friend.

at this stage the syrians are the”ball”not the ballplayers.

NOW, the regime is playing ball with the khalijees, damn, he is good at it.

majority of syrians plus western Gullibility like UN wives are ignorant& ill-advised about the region historical ballgame.
its true all syrians want freedom and corruption free governing.

but the gulf ZIFT Sahara has something else on their mind, Damascus.

why Damascus? coz they lost Baghdad/its sunni-shia thing.

They lost Abbasid Caliphate capital Baghdad to Shia so they like to Reconquer Umayyad Caliphate capital Damascus from shia control!! This is the ball-game..not freedom

It doesn’t take a lot, really, to figure this out.
Poor Qatari-saudi train has been derailed by Assad Mechanics

Burhan & co.are just window-dressing!

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April 21st, 2012, 12:12 pm

 

315. Mina said:

It is almost the fiftiest time that al Jazeera reports explosions and defections in this Mezze military airport. How many stones remain?

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April 21st, 2012, 12:19 pm

 

316. bronco said:

#306 Tara

Sorry but I missed Why-discuss’s comments as I think he left before I discover this blog. I meant the others I don’t want to name that you keep praising.
Then don’t mix approval with enthusiasm.

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April 21st, 2012, 12:28 pm

 

317. Uzair8 said:

314. Mina

Maybe there is infighting in the military/security/intelligence services at that location? It won’t help loyal Assad troops if they hear news of trouble back at base. A very dangerous scenario as the military bases and airports etc are vulnerable while troops are spread elsewhere across the country. Assad regime already has its hands full in this ‘hit-the-mole’ campaign without having to deal with trouble breaking out out at base. It doesn’t have enough loyal forces.

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April 21st, 2012, 12:34 pm

 

318. Tara said:

Bronco

I know that. I was just playing…

Why left long time before your arrival, specifically on July 21 last year. You’d love him…, I think. Ironically, he was a staunch regime supporter…

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April 21st, 2012, 12:35 pm

 

319. jad said:

ملك الرمال – نجدت أنزور
http://youtu.be/ul64kQJ__l4

المركز السوري للتوثيق http://www.facebook.com/doc… | http://www.documents.sy | info@documents.sy | المركز السوري للتوثيق 2012
مقابلة مع المخرج السوري نجدت أنزور يتحدث فيها عن فيلمه الجديد ملك الرمال ويتطرق أنزور خلال المقايلة للعلاقات السوري السعودية حيث يؤكد أن الفيلم لا علاقة له بالوضع السيئ بين البلدين ويؤكد أنزور على أن موقفه ثابت وداعم مع الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد والحكومة السورية
In an Interview with Syrian director, Najdat Anzour, he talks about his new movie King of the sand. Anzour talks about Syrian-Saudi Arabia relations, where he confirms that the movie has no relation with the bad situation in both countries. Anzour confirms again that he is fixed in attitude and position, supporting the Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, the Syrian government as

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April 21st, 2012, 12:50 pm

 

320. Uzair8 said:

Perhaps the UN Monitors can pop down to Mezze airport to see what’s happening there?

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April 21st, 2012, 12:50 pm

 

321. Alan said:

http://www.upi.com/Top_News/Special/2012/04/20/Syrian-civil-war-prospects-worry-Moscow/UPI-34611334940778/

Syrian civil war prospects worry Moscow

MOSCOW, April 20 (UPI) — The crisis in Syria is either headed toward political negotiation or toward full-blown civil war, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said there were serious questions about the sustainability of a Syrian peace plan. An April 12 cease-fire appeared to hold, though violence is reportedly escalating in the country.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said Friday there were “violations and provocations” to the cease-fire and warned the country was headed toward serious crisis if both sides refused to lay down their weapons.

“The issue in Syria now is the choice between a transition toward peaceful, nationwide talks or a descent into civil war,” the ministry said in a statement cited by Russia’s state-run news agency RIA Novosti.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, during a Friends of Syria meeting in Paris, accused the government in Damascus of trying to wipe the rebel city of Homs “off the map.”

Some governments accuse Damascus of war crimes in its assault on opposition groups inside the country. The Syrian government, however, maintains its fighting a rebellion.

“The shelling of Homs and other cities must end, immediately,” U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said in a statement. “The government must pull back its troops and heavy weapons from the population centers, immediately.”

[ … ]

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April 21st, 2012, 1:17 pm

 

322. Syrian Nationalist Party said:

Лавров, засунуть этот план Аннана в задницу.

Can someone please translate the article in the link below to or discuss its details here in English and or Russian. This article about the ongoing Alawites control and corruption in Syria, as we speak. This is from Communist Al-hakika website, it detail the ongoing trashing and bad faith Assad Baathist corrupt regime is implementing under the KofiAnnan U.N. plan. This is why what Ambassador Rice said of not renewing the deal in 90 days is not acceptable to Syrians, it should be 9 days only.

Here is the link to the Arabic article:

http://www.syriatruth.org/الأخبار/أخباروتقاريرأخرى/tabid/94/Article/7193/Default.aspx

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April 21st, 2012, 1:17 pm

 

323. Mina said:

Alan,

Sure they’ll soon help the Turks build a wall around Hatay… Birds of a feather flock together..

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April 21st, 2012, 1:18 pm

 

324. Atheist Syrian Salafist Against Dictatorships said:

#309

Thuggery=the Assadist regime.

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April 21st, 2012, 1:48 pm

 

325. Halabi said:

The videos of Assad’s soldiers insulting and taunting corpses just don’t stop. I think they are meant to send a message to the opposition of brutality they should expect even after they die, and the sectarian language is to lift the spirits of the we-love-you crowd.

Graphic images of business as usual for Assad’s soldiers.

Will the Syrian military ever address this behavior and at least put on a show of accountability? How about a confession and apology on Syrian TV? Of course not. This is what Assad’s military is all about – regime supporters see these thugs as heroes and expect the opposition to accept their rule and label those who don’t as traitors or terrorists. The soldier did call one of the dead men a 3ar3our, which we all know is a sub-human species that must be annihilated…

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April 21st, 2012, 1:49 pm

 

326. Mina said:

317 Uzayr
I have stopped watching al Jazeera around June 2011 and by then they had already announced this infighting and defections half dozen of times. Since them I have read it here now and then. They sound like an old record. Maybe it’s because they need to feed their so called live blog with something in the absence of news?

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April 21st, 2012, 1:58 pm

 

327. jad said:

Those are 5 of the ‘civilians’ killed in Syria, it turned out that they are 5 Tunisian alqaeda fighters and the ‘revos’ add them as civilians in the martyrs’ list….this is why the UN is not filtering the names anymore, they are only interested in the numbers…and they want us to believe their findings:

بالفيديو – مقتل 5 ارهابيين تونسيين على الاراضي السورية

“مقتل 5 ارهابيين تونسيين ” مجاهدين ” على الاراضي السورية …. في ادلب … خبر سمعناه وتناقلته الكثير من الصفحات على الفيس بوك … ولكن اتينا لكم بالدليل المؤكد بالفيديو . وسؤالنا لأولئك الذين يشككون في تسلل عدد من المسلحين العرب والاحانب الى سوريا لتأزيم الوضع في سوريا … وقتل اخوانهم السوريين هل لديكم الشك ؟؟ … في عدم تسلل مليشات مسلحة عربية وغربية الىى سوريا ؟”

[ Published on Apr 21, 2012 by Syriantruthst2
Syrian Truth | Truth Syrian https://www.facebook.com/Syrian.Truth ]

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April 21st, 2012, 2:01 pm

 

328. Uzair8 said:

325 MINA said:

“Maybe it’s because they need to feed their so called live blog with something in the absence of news?”

I don’t know. User’s on AJE blogs are accusing moderators of giving free reign to ‘spammers’ to disrupt comment on the blogs. Apparantly at least one leading pro-revolution blogger (probably the main blogger on Syria) has been banned and others seem to have left in protest.

Don’t know what is going on.

The Syrian electronic army (or similar) may think they are succeeding in disrupting comment on Syria but the users, and silent readers on AJE blogs and the rest of the world can see their behaviour and it will backfire.

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April 21st, 2012, 2:31 pm

 

329. Alan said:

UN Security Council votes to send 300 observers to Syria
http://rt.com/news/un-security-council-monitors-syria-635/

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April 21st, 2012, 2:47 pm

 

330. Ghufran said:

Tony Karon believes that political opposition is a bigger threat to the regime than armed rebels: http://globalspin.blogs.time.com/2012/04/03/syria-as-his-adversaries-scramble-for-a-strategy-assad-sets-his-terms/
Thugs and armed rebels are a bigger threat to the society than to the regime. Their acts make is much harder to unite Syrians against the noble goal of a regime change.

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April 21st, 2012, 3:13 pm

 

331. jad said:

Terrorists in Hama killed 5 members of the same family leaving three kids alone without any help.

مجزرة قام بها الإرهابيون بحق عائلة بحماة 19 4 2012

http://youtu.be/E4H1L_hXLik

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April 21st, 2012, 3:15 pm

 

332. Ghufran said:

Shhhh, keep quiet, this is Bahrain not Syria:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2012/apr/21/bahrain-protester-death-video

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April 21st, 2012, 3:51 pm

 

333. jad said:

The Syrian soldier’s actions is bad and disrespectful and this kind of actions need to be rejected by the Syrian government and the Army publicly, and the Syrian soldiers need to be trained not to do such actions.

Saying all that, I still support the Syrian Army, and I believe that they are our brothers who are losing their lives for all of us.

I didn’t hear them saying anything obviously sectarian as claimed, can anybody point it out, probably I missed something.

Again, what the soldiers did is wrong and should be condemned and corrected by the Syrian Government and needs to stop.
———————————————————

Now, if I may, I have some points to raise about the clip in #325:

Why those men where killed and how?

Nobody knows for sure, but a quick check, we find that the ‘revos’ called them victims of the army shelling of the town of 3lma in Dar3a in Feb 25th, and also claim that the Syrian Army destroyed the houses over the heads of the people living inside:

شهيد راكان فؤاد الحريري

“تفاصيل: تم اقتحام القرية وقصف عدد من البيوت فوق ساكنيها”
http://www.csr-sy.com/index.php?l=2&sons=redirect&id=135&identity=18006

Reality check:

The footage in #325 shows something different, it shows that those three killed men are wearing military pants and apparently killed in the outskirt of the town not inside the town inside the houses the army destroyed over their heads, which means that they were probably fighting with the same Syrian army soldiers shown in the same clip, which explain the anger and disgust language the soldiers use, since if those armed men weren’t killed the soldiers will be in their places as dead corpses.

Another quick search of that incident gives another piece of information,

احداث قرية علما ليوم السبت 25-2-2012
تم اقتحام قرية علما من قبل الامن والشبيحه وقصف عدد من البيوت فوق ساكنيها فقامت كتيبة المهاجرين والانصار بالتصدي لهم واوقعت عدد من الشبيحة وبالمقابل كانت الاسلحه الثقيله هي التي تقاوم الجيش الحر وتقصف البيوت والاهالي حتى خرج بعض الاهالي الى الشارع خوفا من هدم البيوت عليهم و القرية تحت الحصار
13شهيد عرف في بلدة علما
https://www.facebook.com/SyrianRightsCommunity/posts/358899820798725

The link claims that Katibet AlMohajreen and Ansar did fight with the Syrian army and killed some of them but it doesn’t say if they had any casualties, however, a look at the victim list clearly say that only 2 out of the 13 victims are actually civilians who happened to be in the wrong place in the wrong time while giving no information whatsoever about the other 11 killed men (not a single woman) which leaves us one option: the victims were actually killed in the fight with the Syrian army, OUTSIDE the town and NOT as a result of destroying houses as claimed.

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April 21st, 2012, 3:57 pm

 

334. Syria no Kandahar said:

Erdogan and Davutoglu will go in history of Turkey as the dummiest politicians in the history of the middle east (maybe as bad as Saddam). Regardless of how good or bad the Syrian government is, how can any reasonable politician puts Syria in acidic environment facilitating its integration into states (Kurdish, Alawi and Sunni)

When the same acid is going to dissolve turkey into the same components?!!

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April 21st, 2012, 3:58 pm

 

335. Son of Damascus said:

Re: Sharmine Narwani’s latest “article” Western Journalist: Visa Denied

In this article she concentrates on just one provision of the UN backed 6 point plan while conveniently fails to mention how the Syrian regime has NOT met any of the other points including the one she is arguing… I digress

“What the UN is really demanding – let’s be honest here – is for the Syrian government to open up the country to “Western” journalists.”

No, what the UN and the rest of the world is demanding is for the Syrian government to remove the cloak of darkness that keeps fuelling the fog of war, which only plays to their prerogative, for as long as free press is not allowed in and given unfettered access this brutal regime can “control” the news outcome, and keep saying everything is fabricated in Doha because these videos are shot by dissidents and therefore their account does not count. Remi Ochlik and Marie Colvin were killed for that very reason.

“And it is not because they aren’t physically there or can’t string together more than two words in Arabic.”

Last I checked she lives in comfortable London, and herself can barely string together a few words of Arabic. Is she talking about herself here?

“Western journalists are heady with a sense of righteousness leached from the oxymoronic “western values” shoved down our collective throats.”

Again rather odd coming from someone that is or at least calls herself a “journalist” and lives in the West… Or is London not a Western city to her?

“Which major western journalist risked career for truth on affairs related to the Middle East?”

There are some that risked their lives which is worth a lot more than their careers, and ultimately died trying to tell the truth. Or are the death of Anthony Shadid, Marie Colvin, Remi Ochlik don’t count, or how Arwa Damon, Paul Conroy, Mani and countless others risked their lives because this criminal regime would not allow it.
How about Nir Rosen a figure that is despised now by the opposition because he was willing to sell out for a scoop and access, does his work in Syria not count as well? I would like to see this so called “journalist” try to embed herself for one day in one of the hot spots around Syria and prove her “truths”.

“”No Syrian Visa” tries hard to distract from the reality that most western journalists never actually go out to the front lines of conflict when filing their stories. Increasingly, reporters are sent out in organized pools by host governments”

Those are called government minders, its why journalist risk their lives to be smuggled into Syria, something this pathetic excuse of a journalist has no clue what it means.

She wonders why nobody other than Akhbar publishes her crap, no Sharmine the Western Media does not want to publish your crap because of a conspiracy but because it is nothing more than crap.

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April 21st, 2012, 4:18 pm

 

336. Mina said:

From an Angry Arab correspondent on the ground:

“Developments in Syria

I asked a well-informed Syrian to update me on developments. Here is part of what he wrote to me (I am translating from Arabic):

“Situation in Syria needs a lot of talk…What is important is that life has stopped completely in more than half of the republic and death has visited everywhere. Political life is now completely in the hands of the Russians and the security situation has stagnated and it is pretty bad. Free Syrian Army is a collection of groups drawn from highway robbers, quarter thugs, and a cocktail of mercenaries. The dangerous elements in it are the fighters of Al-Qa`idah, who are well-armed and well-trained. Saudi Arabia has become a major player in the internal Syrian file and the real and public arm of Israel through arming and financing of groups by proxy, and through the control of mosques and some clerics. Army is losing terribly daily (despite its unity) due to lack of preparedness and long idleness. Defection are still small and individual in relation to what is being heard in the media. Syrian Security apparatus (Amn) is who has drenched the country in blood. There were many cases in hot cities and districts where people demanded the intervention of the army and the expulsion of Amn, but things happened in reverse [meaning, Army was expelled and Amn took over], so that developed toward rejection of Army and Amn alike. Overthrow of the regime is now an impossible operation in the foreseeable future, and the military defeat of the Arab right requires a political solution and compromises to cut off lines of military supply.”

[ http://angryarab.net/2012/04/21/developments-in-syria-2/ ]

If someone does not want to believe that the security apparatuses are not easily going to give up their privileges…

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April 21st, 2012, 4:30 pm

 

337. Syria no Kandahar said:

Any pro-cadaver/revolution interested in one week vacation in Edlib?free breakfast:

عثرت الجهات المختصة على بئر قديم بموقع الشيخ يوسف بالقرب من قرية أورم الجوز، وعثرت بداخله على 7 جثث متفسخة، وتم انتشال الجثث من داخله، وقد لوحظ على الجثث آثار التعفن والتآكل حتى أن العظام كانت ظاهرة.

وقد تم التعرف على 3 جثث من ضمن الـ7 المنتشلات، والجثتين الأولتين عائدتين للمواطنين المدنيين “رأفت أحمد زركة – يوسف محمد كردي”، وكلاهما من قرية الرامي بجبل الزاوية.

والجثة الثالثة عائدة للمساعد أول “محمد أبرص”، وكان الشهداء الثلاث قد اختطفوا منذ أسبوع تقريباً، وسلمت جثثهم لذويهم أصولاً، وبقيت الجثث الأربعة في برادات المستشفى الوطني في إدلب.

وبالعودة للسطو والقتل، سطت مجموعة إرهابية مسلحة على منزل معاون مدير منطقة معرة النعمان الكائن في الحي الشمالي.
وقامت مجموعة إرهابية أخرى باختطاف أحد عناصر الشرطة من داخل منزله الكائن في قرية تقانة التابعة للمعرة واقتادته إلى جهة مجهولة.

وعثر على جثة المواطن المدني عمران صالحة من أهالي معرة النعمان، ووجدت متفسخة ومرمية على جانب استراد حلب – دمشق في معرة النعمان.

ويشهد الاستراد الدولي في منطقة معرة النعمان انتشاراً كثيفاً للمسلحين والحواجز المتنقلة “الطيارة”، وتقوم هذه العناصر الإرهابية باختطاف المدنيين والعسكريين ورجال الشرطة العابرين على هذه الأستراد.

وأقدمت مجموعة مسلحة على اختطاف المساعد أول جمال عبد الخالق رئيس مخفر قرية راس الحصن الحدودية مع تركيا، وقامت باحتجازه لمدة 10 ساعات وضربه وتعذيبه ومن ثم أطلقت سراحه بشرط ألا يعود لعمله.

سرقت مجمعة أخرى كبلاً للهاتف بطول 1100 متر قيمته 500 ألف ليرة سورية، وذلك على طريق عز مارين – سلقين مزرعة بربورة.
كما اختطفت مجموعة مسلحة 3 عناصر شرطة ومساعد أول وسطت على بارودة روسية من قسم باب الهوى الحدودي واقتادت الشرطة إلى جهة مجهولة.

واختطف المقدم محمد اسماعيل رحمون على مفرق معر دبسة أثناء انتقاله من جرجناز إلى دير الزور.

[ … ]

http://www.shukumaku.com/PDA/Content.php?id=45404

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April 21st, 2012, 4:34 pm

 

338. Tara said:

SOD

She might be very well on the regime’s payroll.

Also, the Serjon guy or whatever his name is who writes in Arabic should be very careful in not getting sued in the new Syria for public defamation. It is one thing when a Tara says she likes or does not like Asma, Basma or Samar Yazbek on a blog but a whole another thing when a published “writer” use cheap vulgar language in defemation of “public” figures. All those so called writers will be held accountable in future Syria and better watch out.

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April 21st, 2012, 4:35 pm

 

339. Alan said:

Moderation warning RED Sorry moderator !

They Can’t Stop Building Walls

Israel’s Mental Illness
by FRANKLIN LAMB

http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/04/20/israels-mental-illness/

It may be that researchers would want to examine as long ago as the period from the 3rd century BC until the beginning of the 17th century in order to find a regime so frenetically building walls and barriers in a hopeless quest to hold onto stolen lands as we in Lebanon may soon witness in the south of the country. It was back in 221 BC that in order to protect China from the land claims of the Xiongnu people from Mongolia, the Xiongnu tribe being China’s main enemy at that time who sought the return of lands they claimed the Chinese had stolen, that the emperor Qin Shi Huang ordered the construction of a wall to guard China’s territorial gains.

[ … ]

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April 21st, 2012, 4:36 pm

 

340. Mawal95 said:

The UN observers in Homs city today met with Khalid Abu Salah. As evidence of that fact, here’s a photo taken today: http://twitter.com/#!/dylan_johnsons/status/193744985038917632/photo/1 . In case you don’t know the name Khalid Abu Salah, here’s a 30-second introduction to him that was recorded in Homs on 10 Apr 2012 : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDzmp2ySpSU

The UN observers in Homs city today also met with Abdel Razaq Tlass. A video of that was posted above at #308 Juergen. As a supplement here’s a photo taken today of Rezaq Tlass with the UN observers at the Homs National Hospital: http://twitter.com/#!/dylan_johnsons/status/193752319417004032/photo/1

On 2 Apr 2012 the Homs National Hospital was attacked and destroyed by armed rebels. Commenter JAD posted some material about that on this board at the time. The attack was carried out by a rebel brigade called “Al-Farouq” brigade, the leader of which is Abdel Rezaq Tlass. Here’s footage of Rezzaq Tlass and the brigade attacking the Homs hospital on 2 April. Notice that at time 2:18 in the video recorded on 2 April, Rezaq Tlass is seen running with a deadly weapon at the exact same location where’s he’s seen walking today with the UN observers in the above photograph: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=bR8Qlr8ws4I#t=131s

In the following video we have Razzaq Tlass appearing on camera a day after the 2 Apr 2012 attack saying “Al-Farouq purified the National Hospital in Homs city”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLYQ85dOG1I . The truth, I say, is they destroyed the hospital in an act of pure sabotage.

We can say that the UN observers are getting to meet the rebels on the ground. I’ve no problem with that, and I expect the Syrian government has no problem with it either, since we all want the UN observers to be well informed.

However, from the point of view of law and order in Homs city I’m disturbed and distressed that a high-profile wanted criminal like Rezzaq Tlass had the freedom of manoeuver to meet the UN observers at the Homs hospital today. Similarly, from the point of view of law and order in Homs city it’s distressing to me that Rezaq Tlass was able to appear carrying a rifle at an anti-regime street rally in Homs on Friday 13 Apr 2012, as seen in the video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BC_ECPKrbmc

As quoted by #321 ALAN above, today a Russian foreign ministry statement said: “The issue in Syria now is the choice between a transition toward peaceful, nationwide talks or a descent into civil war.” I flatly disagree with that, because I know the rebels have no intention of turning to a civil political process. Rather, the issue in Syria now is whether the government in the upcoming weeks is going to allow what it allowed to happen in January. It appears to be already allowing it. I’m distressed about that.

It is necessary to hit the rebels with the iron fist of the Syrian army — it’s the only thing that can bring back law and order and civility.

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April 21st, 2012, 4:43 pm

 

341. Son of Damascus said:

Tara,

It is really pathetic that these so called “journalists” are nothing more than shill artists, resort to name calling and attacking people when someone challenges their shilled and callous narratives, as if their Anti Western rhetoric is enough cover for their BS narratives.

If you are on Twitter read the crap that she writes, attacking every journalist that risked their lives as hacks.

I would not be surprised if this stooge is paid by the regime, who else tries to argue that the death of 35 people is not a massacre.

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April 21st, 2012, 4:52 pm

 

342. Antoine said:

So, why didn’t the terrorists in Homs kill the UN Observers ?

More to the point, why did the UN Observers trust their lives and safety with hardcore terrorist holdouts in Homs, why did they move about with hradcore FAS terrorists like Tlass ?

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April 21st, 2012, 5:28 pm

 

343. Syria no Kandahar said:

Antoine

Alfarook are worse than Almokabarat and Alshabiha:

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April 21st, 2012, 6:17 pm

 

344. daleandersen said:

Memo To: ALAN

RE: “…Sorry, moderator…”

You are forgiven, Alan. Now go and sin no more…

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April 21st, 2012, 6:59 pm

 

345. Antoine said:

SNK,

You did not answer my previous question…..will Qamishli peole support Masoud Barzani over Assad ?

Also what language do they speak in Qamishli, Bahdini or Kurmanji ?

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April 21st, 2012, 7:07 pm

 

346. ann said:

3 Tunisians killed in Syrian fighting – 2012-04-22

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-04/22/c_131542680.htm

TUNIS, April 21 (Xinhua) — Three Tunisian nationals were killed by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the local newspaper Attounissiya reported on Saturday.

The three young Tunisian nationals infiltrated into Syria with two others from Tunisia’s southern town of Ben Guerdane in March to join the Syrian opposition in its fight against the Syrian regime.

The families of the victims asked the country’s foreign affairs ministry to repatriate the bodies of their slain relatives, according to the report.

In February, five other Tunisians arrived in Syria through Turkey to join anti-government fighters. Four of the five men were reportedly arrested while the fifth managed to escape

[…]

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April 21st, 2012, 7:15 pm

 

347. ann said:

Security Council changed prerogatives in Syrian crisis – Churkin to RT – 22 April, 2012

http://rt.com/news/churkin-un-resolution-syria-interview-652/

What was troublesome to me in the statement which was made by Ambassador Rice and by some colleagues from West-European countries, even though they supported this Russian draft and the adoption of this resolution, is that they missed an opportunity to send a signal to the opposition. They kept criticizing the government saying nothing about what they expect from the opposition, which is in fact outlined very clearly in the Security Council resolution which they themselves had just voted for.

And all those predictions of doom and gloom, and threats of various plans which are being hatched somewhere, those things are not productive. I think they are distracting from the implementation of the Kofi Annan plan and from the political effort of the Security Council. And they may give ground for some extremists to believe that their cause still has some prospect for taking over the political process which we are trying to see established in Syria.

So, you know, we are not naive. Even though the Security Council voted unanimously today, we know that some members of the Security Council, some important members of the international community, are still continuing to think in confrontational terms towards the Syrian government. Incidentally, one very important aspect of what happened today by the vote of the Security Council in favor of this resolution is that the Security Council has by and large re-established its prerogatives in the Syrian crisis as the international body which holds primary responsibility for matters of international peace and security.

So all those who talk and make statements and convene and gather and discuss various groups of “friends” – or not – of Syria, must also be respectful of Security Council resolutions and must contribute to its successful implementation.

RT:So you are saying that there is definitely a feeling that the “Friends of Syria” are undermining Russia’s efforts, indeed China’s efforts, and of course the Syrian regime?

VC: Well, they are not in line. Not in line with the resolution which was passed today by the Security Council and the resolution which was passed a week ago on deploying the advance group of monitors. And, you know, when they keep piling up sanctions against the Syrian government and say nothing about the need for the opposition to enter into dialogue with the Syrian government , of course it is not in line with the Security Council resolution which we adopted today and of course it is not a positive contribution to the support and the implementation of the Kofi Annan plan.

[…]

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April 21st, 2012, 7:36 pm

 

348. bronco said:

#340 Mawal95

I think it is necessary that the UN observers talk to the rebels, even the extreme ones who have blood on their hands. They are part of the problem and part of the solution.

If the observers want to build some trust and bring the rebels leaders to a political process, they would be foolish to exclude them now. In doing so they’ll appear to be on the side of the government and this is exactly what the foreign enemies of Syria are hoping it would happen so they can kick the UN observers out, under the pretext they are biased ( like they did with the AL observers). Then they can proceed with Plan “B”, the destructive plan of Syria to bring it to its knees in front of the USA-EU-Israel grand plan for the new middle east.

I think that the more the UN have access to the military ‘heroes’ of the rebels, the more chance they have to a fair evaluation of their state of mind and report it to Annan, so he can establish some kind of ‘stick and carrot’ strategy with give and take to bring the rebels in the next step, which is the dialog.

I imagine that similar contacts are being established with the FSA in Turkey to unify the rebels demands.

Until now, I think Annan with the help Russia and China has done a good job in calming down the antagonists.

While it is a long and difficult task, full of dangers, I think Syrians, on both side want a stop that, even if they have to make painful compromises.

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April 21st, 2012, 7:40 pm

 

349. Halabi said:

I can’t read Sharmine’s articles, but sometimes I see her discussing Syria with a (pro-Hezbollah) friend on Facebook. Sharmine sees Al Qaeda, Israel, the U.S., the U.K., France, Qatar and Saudi Arabia as colluding to destroy Syria in order to “weaken Iran a teeny-weeny bit.”

When asked how these supposed enemies have come together, she said “pond scum gravitates to each other in murky water.” Deep analysis, please send this ‘lady’ a pulitzer.

For some people, denying millions of Syrians their basic rights is a small price to pay in order to reduce pressure on an oppressive theocracy or maintain support for an armed, sectarian ‘party’ in Lebanon. Whatever happens in Syria doesn’t matter anyways, which is why they accept the government narrative even though a rational person must reject Syrian media because it lies. (How many different confessions of the killing of Saria Hassoun can the we-love-you crowd accept?)

Others, who love their country and fellow citizens, care about human rights, dignity and freedom for all. The crimes happening in Syria, from all sides, must be investigated by real patriots, not Assad’s soldiers and security forces who spit on bodies and try to cover up abuses, like they did in Al Bayda.

Here is a report someone put together about the (Clock square) protest in Homs last year. http://youtu.be/Cv8WJa28K2U

No weapons, no sectarian chants, which was at the time when we-love-you crowds were all chanting يا بشار لا تهتم نحن رجالك نشرب دم

This revolution wasn’t good enough for Assad supporters back then, and it isn’t now. Peaceful protest was denied from day one and self-defense isn’t allowed either. The Syrian people should suffer, in silence, and wait for a regime that has hijacked the country for four decades to offer reforms. I wonder why Syrians from Daraa to Khirbet al-Jouz aren’t opting for that choice.

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April 21st, 2012, 7:43 pm

 

350. Tara said:

Why on tabletops?  

Syria Elite Dance to Dawn as Risk of Assad Overthrow Fades
Thursday, April 19, 2012

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2012/04/19/bloomberg_articlesM29Q9J0D9L3501-M2PYB.DTL&ao=all#ixzz1sWHP6Ur3

April 19 (Bloomberg) — Sometime after midnight on a recent Thursday in Damascus, restaurant manager Aziz Asfahani joined friends at the newly opened Bartini lounge bar, where Syria’s elite dine and dance till dawn on tabletops to the thump of patriotic songs.
(………….)

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April 21st, 2012, 7:51 pm

 

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