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)

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401. Amir in Tel Aviv said:


The SC moderator is not “pro-dictator and pro-Hizballah/Iran”. You’ll have to trust me on that. I’m against any moderation as you know. But this does not mean that it is OK to smear and tell lies about the person who is moderating here.

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April 22nd, 2012, 12:41 pm


402. Tara said:


And he is truly pro-Syria. Trust me on this one.

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April 22nd, 2012, 12:45 pm


403. Halabi said:

The snipers at the hospital in Homs were defending scores of decomposing bodies in the morgue and temporary storage trailers outside the hospital from terrorists who wanted to give these dead people some dignity by placing them in the ground… Or maybe Assad’s soldiers were just holding on to these bodies until lord Bashar could drop by to raise the dead.

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April 22nd, 2012, 12:58 pm


404. Alan said:

More clashes expected after Bahrain GP goes ahead

The Formula One Grand Prix took place in Bahrain Sunday, despite becoming a focal point for internal protests, and attracting international censure. A fresh outbreak of violence was reported in the immediate aftermath of the race.

[ … ]

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April 22nd, 2012, 1:01 pm


405. Tara said:


You believe any media report and any YouTube link mentioning the dead in Bahrain, post revolution Tunisia and post revolution Libya but you refuse to believe the same media and the same YouTube links an regard to the Syrian regime’s crimes. Isn’t that dissociated belief system a prototype textbook example of hypocrisy? … I despise hypocrisy and fake indignation more than I despise *hate* itself.

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April 22nd, 2012, 1:02 pm


406. Badr said:

Tyranny in any way, shape, or form is an evil, and all the excuses in the world for it are lame, and don’t make it any less malign.

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April 22nd, 2012, 1:02 pm


407. Son of Damascus said:


From the link you posted here are the defensive tasks of a sniper unit:

Cover obstacles, minefields, roadblocks, and demolition missions.

Perform counterreconnaissance tasks to kill enemy reconnaissance elements.

Engage enemy OPs, armored vehicle commanders (while they are exposed in their vehicles’ turrets), and ATGM teams.

Damage vehicle optics to degrade enemy movement capabilities.

Suppress enemy crew-served weapons.

Disrupt follow-on units with long-range small arms fires.

Where exactly does it say build a snipers nest atop a hospital for defensive measures?
Or the fact that the snipping of civilians and children is a valid defensive act?

The only reason to build a snipers nest atop a hospital is to kill, NOT SAVE anyone.

Furthermore again from the link you posted:

“Snipers should be tasked to support any unit that is defending a strongpoint. The characteristics of the sniper team enable it to perform independent harassment and observation tasks in support of the force in the strongpoint, either from within or outside of the strongpoint.”

So the hospital is a strongpoint for the Assadi Army, since when are hospitals ok to be a military strongpoint in which to wage war, is it not criminal to use such a place as a military strong point?

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April 22nd, 2012, 1:14 pm


408. zoo said:

Security Council changed prerogatives in Syrian crisis – Churkin to RT
Published: 22 April, 2012, 00:07

The latest resolution on Syria, unanimously passed in the Security Council, may finally put things “on the right track” in the troubled country, Russia’s envoy to the UN exclusively told RT.

­RT:The Security Council has just agreed to boost the number of observers. Do you think this time around the mission will be a success?

Vitaly Churkin: We certainly hope so.

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.

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April 22nd, 2012, 1:26 pm


409. Alan said:

Dawoud !
You’ll have to trust him on that!

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April 22nd, 2012, 1:28 pm


410. Norman said:

What is happening in Bahrain and Syria and the way people look at events from supporters and opponents indicate to me that the conspiracy against the Arab Nation by dividing it into Arab Sunni and Shia and even Muslim Sunni and Shia, what is sad is that the plan is getting the support from Arab and Muslim leaders, It is always easier to avoid being attacked by creating conflicts between the enemy,

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April 22nd, 2012, 1:30 pm


411. ann said:

Syria says it won’t go the Libya way – 22 April 2012

Damascus : Amid mounting international pressure, Syria Sunday asserted that it will not allow itself to be invaded like Libya and rubbished the opposition as a rag-tag collection of Al Qeada elements and rank criminals who are supported by the West in league with some powerful Arab nations.

“In 16 days, the political system collapsed in Tunisia. In 18 days, the system collapsed in Egypt. Libya took much longer to go, and that was because of foreign intervention,” Fayssal Mekdad, Syria’s vice minister of foreign affairs, told select journalists in the Syrian capital.

“We don’t want Syria to be invaded. We will find a peaceful solution to the situation,” Mekdad, also Syria’s former Permanent Representative to the UN, said amid opposition activists’ claims of government troops pounding a Damascus suburb, a charge denied by Syria.

Mekdad, a suave, seasoned diplomat known for bating for Syria in international fora, pointed out that foreign intervention has destroyed Libya, but asserted that “Syria will not go the Libya way.

He blamed the Western powers and their Arab allies like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey for funding and arming the opposition in Syria and underlined that they are under instructions to unleash chaos in the Middle East country.

The armed opposition, according to Mekdad, are characterized by divisions and are fragmentary that makes it difficult for the Syrian government to open dialogue with them. The opposition, said Mekdad, consists of some Al Qaeda elements that came from Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey and the Muslim Brotherhood which are being funded by foreign powers.

“The Al Qaeda elements and the Muslim Brotherhood are in a minority. Most of the opposition consists of criminals, drug addicts, smugglers and former prisoners,” he said.

“Billions of dollars are being spent by Saudi Arabia and Qatar for funding armed opposition who are killing civilians and targeting Syrian police and armed forces,” he said.

Mekdad, however, drew a distinction between armed opposition and political opposition which will be participating in the May 7 parliamentary elections.

Underlining Syria’s commitment to the UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan’s six-point peace plan, Mekdad blamed the opposition for not keeping part of its bargain by resorting to relentless violence.

He was speaking a day after the UN Security Council unanimously approved a resolution in New York Saturday, which seeks to expand the number of UN cease-fire observers in Syria from 30 to 300. The resolution also calls for an immediate end to the violence by both the government forces and opposition activists.

Why is Syria being targeted? Mekdad alleged that the West was targeting Syria, a multi-religious and multi-cultural country of 24 million people, because it’s the only part of the region that they have not succeeded in controlling.

“Syria is the last state in the region that supports the Arab cause. The moment Syria collapses, the Palestinian cause will be finished,” said Mekdad, while accusing Arab nations like Saudi Arabia and others for compromising the Palestinian cause.

He claimed that although the UN says 11,000 people have been killed since the Arab Spring-like protests began in Syria 13 months ago, the majority of casualties included Syrian security forces, police and civilians.


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April 22nd, 2012, 1:31 pm


412. Son of Damascus said:

An example of the nobel snipers that some people here like to pretend are there for defence:

In the video (Hama) you can see the snipers gesturing to the people that they will see what will happen when the UN monitors leave. How very nobel of them!!

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April 22nd, 2012, 1:32 pm


413. jna said:

Son of Damascus

It’s known that government buildings have been the subject of attack by the opposition; killing security, burning, looting.

It’s known that the militarized opposition attacked the hospital and held it for a day or two before being routed.

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April 22nd, 2012, 1:36 pm


414. Alan said:

SNC Correspondence with US Leaked by Lebanese Daily

For almost a week now, Lebanese al-Akhbar daily has been publishing a trove of emails claimed to be obtained from Pro-Assad cyber activists who have hacked into the email account of “Syrian National Council’s” president, “Burhan Ghalyoun”, in protest of what they described as the fabrication of emails meant to smear the reputation of the Syrian President “Bashar al-Assad” and Syria’s First Lady.

These leaked emails, which have not yet been denied or condemned by anyone of the so-called “SNC”, contain Ghalyoun’s letters of coordination with the Coordinator of the U.S Peace Envoy to the Middle East’s Office – “Fredric Hof”, Saudi Foreign Minister “Saud Al-Faisal”, as well as a reporter of Israeli Channel 10 which goes back to October of 2010.

[ … ]

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April 22nd, 2012, 1:41 pm


415. Son of Damascus said:


It is also well known that the government set up snipers atop the hospital that was killing children and civilians.

There is absolutely no excuse to setup a snipers nest atop a hospital that shoots at civilians, and denies them medical treatment where the injured are taken to make shift field hospitals instead of the proper hospitals.

If people are being denied entry and shot on sight if they approach the hospital, of what use is the hospital of then, other than to kill and maim?

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April 22nd, 2012, 1:49 pm


416. bronco said:

#379 SHAMI

Unfortunatly Islam has many faces so people judge on the face they see most prominent. The most prominent now in news is the extremist and untolerant Islam.

The moderate Islam should have better PR’s to counter the bad images that the ‘other’ Islam is propagating through all the spectacular verbal sectarian attacks by clerics and the terrorists acts that are filling the news headlines.

While Israel is a terrorist country, most Jews are not, but their silence about the abuses of Israel is making them accomplice and they often are misjudged because of their laxism towards Israel’s abuses.

The same applies to the moderate Islam, it is much too silent and tolerant about the “islamists” destructive declarations and actions, so they end up by being blamed as well.

As long as the moderate Islam refrains from condemning openly and convincingly the ‘islamists’ terrorist actions and sectarian provocations, they’ll be perceived as accomplices and demonized.

It’s high time they speak out and denounce unanimously and unambiguously the moslems who are giving of Islam hysterical, cruel and primitive images.

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April 22nd, 2012, 1:49 pm


417. Halabi said:

Son of Damascus, the pro-Assad posters don’t expect you to read their links and analyze the material. A part of me cringes when their propaganda has been deflated because I imagine it’s very difficult for many of them to type a few coherent sentences, but then I remember what they are defending.

Anyways, hospitals have been used to torture protesters – the regime apologists know this to be true because Syria Truth said it is. They also know that the Wahhabi revolution hasn’t attacked churches and Christian villages all over the country, but they continue with tales that have long been debunked.

I believe it was Some Guy in Damascus who filmed the church that was allegedly strafed with machine gun fire last summer. That story came from one of Landis’s trusted sources in Damascus who hasn’t publicly reported anything new since then.

But there are other inept propagandists who still don’t think it’s time to quit.
مراسل الإخبارية في حلب: خلال تظاهرة في عندان يدخل المدعو صلاح نجم الدين الرج وسط التظاهرة ويطلق النار بالهواء ويصف المتظاهرين بالخونة الذين يقبضون المال من الخارج لقاء التظاهر

Translation: Syrian state media reported yesterday that a man named Salah Najm-aldin Al-Rij fired his gun in the air during a protest in Anadan, a few miles outside of Aleppo, and said the protesters are traitors who are receiving funds from abroad.

In other words, Syrian news inadvertently admits that a pro-Assad Shabiha thug violated the cease-fire. Of course no news if the man was arrested. غباؤكم ينصرنا

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April 22nd, 2012, 1:58 pm


418. Son of Damascus said:


Its about your own perception of Islam, not what the moderate Muslims have to say.

In the United States, females that are victims of rape are not able to receive an abortion in many states because of Christian Zealots, also many homosexuals are denied their basic rights because of Christian Zealots. Not to mention that many young Americans grow up not being taught the Theory of Evolution because it so happens to contradict the Christian faith.

Do these backwards laws not only shame the American Constitution but is an absolute abomination of Jesus’s message of tolerance, and understanding, absolutely.

Are the actions of the Zealots an indication of the teachings of Christianity or are they more likely an indication of the backwards people that are using Christianity for their own agenda?

Hate is prevalent in all forms, moderates speak out in all faiths. Sadly and unfortunately the despicable actions of the few wholly overshadows what any moderate has to say, whether in religion politics or life.

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April 22nd, 2012, 2:03 pm


419. jna said:

Son of Damascus

First you argue that a sniper position on top of the Hospital would serve no defensive purpose, and I disputed that. Now you argue that:

1. the snipers were killing civilians and children.
2. the hospital denied treatment to the injured.
3. People were shot on sight if they approached the hospital.

If your latest 3 points are true then I would not dispute that these actions are very wrong. But I would like to see evidence before concluding your last 3 points are true. And I have a problem with taking opposition reports as evidence, a topic which has been much discussed here.

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April 22nd, 2012, 2:07 pm


420. Son of Damascus said:


Since the footage I would link comes from the opposition, you would have a problem with them because you would claim they are fake and untrustworthy since they came from dissidents. If I post the Channel 4 News report about the despicable and ugly reality that goes on in State hospitals you will claim zionist conspiracy.

For the record I have posted numerous videos showing snipers, and soldiers bragging about their sniped head shots, as did Halabi.

A snipers position atop a hospital is not a defensive task, but a countermeasure act. By doing so they automatically nullify any hospitality that the citizens would expect at a hospital. This was a civilian hospital not a military hospital there is NO EXCUSE to have a snipers nest atop of it!

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April 22nd, 2012, 2:16 pm


421. Son of Damascus said:


To them Syrians can’t protest against Assad unless they are paid to, its incomprehensible to them that Syrians are fed up with Souria AlAssad.

To them freedom and dignity can be bought…

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April 22nd, 2012, 2:28 pm


422. mjabali said:


Do you believe in freedom of speech?

I am asking you this because:

A: you claimed that you are from a family that “produces culture” as well as from the Sunni religious establishment.

B: You called to go after a journalist who is expressing his own take on things.

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April 22nd, 2012, 2:33 pm


423. mjabali said:


You are right, “moderate Islam” is disappearing and in its place we have the aggressive form that Wahhabism espouses.

The other is not tolerated in this prevalent form.

You are right about the role of the “moderate” Muslim clergy that should take the leading role to ease the tension we have today.

The literature of hate is going uncontested.

People forgot about religion in the advanced world today and together they became equal citizens in a state. Each worship in their own way. Too bad in Syria and the Middle East we do not have this feeling.

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April 22nd, 2012, 2:42 pm


424. Jad said:

‘Peaceful’ and ‘Civilian’ terrorists killed while attacking other Syrians, I’m sure that they will become civilian ‘victims’ for some on here, as usual!

مقتل تسعة مسلحين خلال هجومهم على مواطنين مؤيدين بحلب

قال مصدر مطلع في حلب لعربي برس إن تسعة مسلحين من بلدة عندان قتلوا خلال هجوم نفذوه على منازل مواطنين مؤيدين للسلطات السورية في قرية بابيص المجاورة .

و أضاف المصدر أن سبعة آخرين أصيبوا قبل انسحاب عشرات المسلحين الذين فوجئوا باستبسال المواطنين في الدفاع عن بيوتهم

يشار إلى أن مسلحي بلدة عندان الذين تغلب عليهم الخلفية الوهابية والاخوانية أقدموا قبل أشهر على اغتيال اثنين من المؤيدين للسلطة السورية في قرية بابيص .

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April 22nd, 2012, 2:49 pm


425. Afram said:

409. Son of Damascus said:

Its about your own perception of Islam, not what the moderate Muslims have to say.

In the United States, females that are victims of rape are not able to receive an abortion in many states because of Christian Zealots, also many homosexuals are denied their basic rights because of Christian Zealots. Not to mention that many young Americans grow up not being taught the Theory of Evolution because it so happens to contradict the Christian faith.
1-America is a secular state.

2-abortion is legal in every state.

3-The American Gays have full civil Rights.

4-Afram is atheist humanist card-carrying I have full rights.

the American law above every one,you abuse it BAMMM you go to jail.

think of president NIXON

on the other hand muslims murders their girls & boys,in america,canada,london,paris…….. “Honor killing”

“Honor killing” under growing scrutiny in the U.S

Another US Honor Killing

“Honor killing” under growing scrutiny in the U.S
Another US Honor Killing?

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April 22nd, 2012, 3:04 pm


426. Halabi said:

Faysal Alkasim on Arab Islamophobes.

For better or worse, the Arab world is going to try political Islam and nobody knows what the outcome will be. Constraining extremists is the duty of both supporters and opponents of Islamic parties, but there needs to be agreement on what is extreme behavior. Demanding basic rights like freedom of speech and assembly is only considered extreme by those who define liberty as the privilege of worshiping the Assad family.

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April 22nd, 2012, 3:09 pm


427. Halabi said:

“the American law above every one,you abuse it BAMMM you go to jail.

think of president NIXON”

Nixon was pardoned, a controversial act by Ford, so he shouldn’t be used as an example of the universal application of the rule of law in the U.S. But that doesn’t matter to the pro-Assad crowd that belong to an alternate reality where no facts or history exists, just evil Islamic terrorists trying to bring down the greatest, most peaceful leader the world has ever known.

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April 22nd, 2012, 3:21 pm


428. ann said:

Little Napoleon is On His Way OUT! OUT! OUT!

Don’t Let The Door Hit You in The Back You little Monster 😀

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April 22nd, 2012, 3:33 pm


429. ann said:

Looks Like israel, Saudi Arabia and GCC Put All Their Eggs in Sarkozy’s Basket!


Hollande, a center-left candidate, called for a European Central Bank rate cut in an interview Friday on French radio station Europe 1.

Asked if, as president, he would participate in a U.N.-led military intervention in Syria, Hollande said: “Yes, if it is at the request of the United Nations, we would participate in this intervention.”


Syria will be Sarkozy’s downfall!

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April 22nd, 2012, 3:49 pm


430. jna said:

Son of Damascus

Hopefully this time around the opposition won’t demand that the observers leave as was the case with the AL observers. Under UN provisions there will soon be 300 observers plus many foreign press. Maybe we’ll start getting a more neutral picture of what is happening in Syria.

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April 22nd, 2012, 3:52 pm


431. Afram said:

@424. Halabi said:

Nixon was pardoned, a controversial act by Ford, so he shouldn’t be used as an example of the universal application of the rule of law in the U.S. But that doesn’t matter to the pro-Assad crowd that belong to an alternate reality where no facts or history exists, just evil Islamic terrorists trying to bring down the greatest, most peaceful leader the world has ever known
Nixon was forced out of office,pardoned yes,its a legal act in america,a controversial bet ya,historians say the act saved america from a political civil war.

Assad is the product of arab islamic culture,all the people in arab land are in/on the same bloody culture boat/each one is a copy-carbon of the other…king & presidents R US

the islamists who murdered Qadaffi are not better either..GOOD LUCK for being ruled by MB,folks..hundreds of thousands of muslims will be standing infront of western christian embassies to escape the love of sharia law rule.why go west?saudi chopping off hands NO good???

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April 22nd, 2012, 3:53 pm


432. ann said:

Information minister says 75 media outlets granted entry visas to Syria – 2012-04-22

DAMASCUS, April 22 (Xinhua) — Syrian information minister said Sunday that more than 75 media outlets have been given entry visas to Syria since March 25, according to official SANA news agency.

Adnan Mahmoud made the remarks during a meeting with an Indian delegation that more than 400 Arab and foreign media outlets had visited Syria since the outbreak of unrest in mid-March, 2011, while some 150 others would be invited soon to cover the forthcoming parliamentarian elections slated for May 7.

He stressed that Syria is committed to UN-Arab League joint special envoy Kofi Annan’s six point peace plan, noting that armed terrorist groups have stepped up their crimes and terrorist acts on a daily basis.

“Those groups are a tool of murder and sabotage that receive commands from foreign countries like Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Western countries and the United States,” he said, warning that those countries work feverishly to stymie Annan’s plan and to call in foreign intervention.


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April 22nd, 2012, 3:54 pm


433. Mina said:
“Egyptian officials say they have scrapped an agreement to supply Israel with natural gas.

Israel received around 40% of its gas supplies from Egypt and uses it to generate electricity.

The announcement comes after the cross-border pipeline suffered numerous sabotage attacks which cut supplies.

The Israeli Finance Minister, Yuval Steinitz, said the move was of “great concern”, and overshadowed peace agreements between the countries.”

They can probably ask Qatar to supply them!

More details here

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April 22nd, 2012, 3:58 pm


434. ann said:

Gunmen blast cargo train in northern Syria – 2012-04-22

DAMASCUS, April 22 (Xinhua) — Armed groups targeted a cargo train with explosives on Sunday at the outskirts of the northern Idlib province, causing big damages to the train and injuring the train’s six-member crew, state-run SANA news agency.

One of injured is in a grave condition, said SANA.

The train was targeted by a roadside bomb planted by ” terrorists,” which has damaged 75 meters of the railway and caused one carriage to overturn and another one was derailed, SANA quoted George Muqaebari, head of the General Institution for Railways, as saying.

Muqaebari said the losses are up to tens of millions of Syrian pounds, noting that the train was used to carry fuel to operate an energy station in the northern province of Aleppo.

He stressed that Syria’s losses in the sector of railways have been estimated at 1.7 billion Syrian pounds (27.8 million U.S. dollars) over the past 13 months.


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April 22nd, 2012, 4:00 pm


435. ann said:

Syrian officer killed in roadside blast in northern Syria – 2012-04-22

DAMASCUS, April 22 (Xinhua) — An army officer was killed and 42 others were injured in a roadside bomb explosion that targeted a military bus Sunday in northern Syria, state-run SANA news agency.

An armed terrorist group targeted a bus carrying a number of army officers on the Raqqa-Aleppo highway in northern Syria, killing one of them and wounding 42 others, three of them in a critical condition.

“Terrorists” are committing more crimes against civilians and law-enforcement agents and smash public and private properties, said SANA, adding that two other explosive devices were dismantled on the spot.


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April 22nd, 2012, 4:04 pm


436. ann said:

Annan Says Weapons To Be Put Down by Gov’t, Opposition & “Others” – AQ?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 22 — Early Sunday morning Kofi Annan issued a statement in his own name that “I urge all forces whether governmental, opposition or others to put down their weapons and work with the United Nations monitors.”

One wondered, what forces with weapons are these “others,” neither governmental or opposition?

Inner City Press has asked Annan’s spokesman Ahmad Fawzi “what is meant by these ‘other’ forces that are different than the ‘opposition.’ Some could see it as a reference to Al Qaeda or other non-Syrian fighters. Is that what is meant?”

If that is the reference, it seems strange to also call on these “other” forces to “work with the UN monitors.” What would Al Qaeda say? “We want to work with the UN – please send us to UNAMA in Afghanistan”?

The work schedule of the monitors is also in question. On April 20 Inner City Press asked US State Department Spokeperson Victoria Nuland:

Inner City Press: The Moroccan colonel who’s leading the UN team there now has been quoted that he’s not going to take his team out on Fridays. He doesn’t want to be used politically. There’s a quote to that effect. And I’m just wondering, since it seems that one of the purposes of the observer mission is to allow people to protest, and that’s a big day they want to protest, what would the U.S. think of that?

MS. NULAND: Well, first of all, I haven’t seen the comments of the Moroccan lead. As I said, all of the modalities for these peacekeepers are being reviewed based on the experience of the initial group, and they have to be worked out through a new Security Council resolution, and obviously, we have to see how it goes on the ground.

Transcript here. More has been written since, about the Colonel’s comments. So Inner City Press has asked Fawzi:

“do you have a comment or gloss on the Moroccan colonel saying the observers would go out on Fridays, to not be used? On Friday I asked the US State Department, particularly in light of Friday being a/the big protest day, but they hadn’t yet seen the quote. Can you comment or explain the Colonel’s statement?”


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April 22nd, 2012, 4:12 pm


437. bronco said:

$415 SOD

Christianity has had its long period of painfully oppressing people, but now, none of its factions would resort to terrorism and except for very specific issues about catholic priests celibacy, women priests, abortion and gay rights, it is fairly quiet compared to the daily hysteria of some Moslem clerics that call for oppression of the infidels, the killings of heretics and for violent jihad.

That they exist is natural, there are black sheeps everywhere but what is shocking and unacceptable is that they are encouraged by some states who fund them, give then access to public TV programs and media and do not throw them in jail when they deserve to be. This is what is reflecting negatively on other moslems worldwide.

It seems that most Moslems shy off criticizing these extremists and they seem to remain fairly silent about the human rights abuses in Wahhabi ruled countries, as if they were betraying an “Omerta”.
I have yet to see moderate Moslems taking a firm position against the extremists and blasting them openly. Even Turkey’s government is mute when the need comes to criticize the abuses that are so obvious in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

Moderate Moslems need a Moslem spring where they could liberate themselves and express without fear what they really want as a society and fight against the extremists to disallow them the opportunity to make the agenda for them.

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April 22nd, 2012, 4:14 pm


438. Halabi said:

So Afram, Nixon didn’t go to jail like you inferred in your post: “the American law above every one,you abuse it BAMMM you go to jail. think of president NIXON”

It’s customary in civilized society for people to apologize for mistakes – instead of doubling-down with manufactured fears of a “political civil war.”

I do like the pivot to attacking Islam and Arabs. Nice one…

Another revision of recent history: the opposition forced the Arab League observers to leave Syria. This is fiction.

The AL observers were probably recalled for political reasons, but that decision wasn’t in the hands of the opposition. The observers had legitimate security concerns, as outlined in the report that the pro-Assad crowd loves but probably hasn’t read.

The observers didn’t witness a single attack by the FSA on military or civilians, they just reported on the aftermath. The only time they saw violence is noted in the following section:

“In Latakia and Deir Al-Zor, the Mission faced difficulties from Government loyalists. In Latakia, thousands surrounded the Mission’s cars, chanting slogans in favour of the President and against the Mission. The situation became out of control and monitors were attacked. Two sustained light injuries and an armoured car was completely crushed.”

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April 22nd, 2012, 4:32 pm


439. bronco said:


“I urge all forces whether governmental, opposition or others to put down their weapons and work with the United Nations monitors.”

The “others” is the most challenging issues for Annan.
If his UN team , as we have seen, is trying to establish a communication with the FSA leaders, it is another story to have access to armed criminals, Al Qaeeda that have no defined leadership.

In my opinion, the FSA and the ‘official’ opposition will be soon pressed by Annan to clean up their ranks of criminals and even to fight against them to ensure the credibility of the opposition as a partner for a dialog.

The ‘official’ opposition is aware that if it fails to adhere to Annan’s plan and refuses to impose on its “circumstancial allies” the respect of the ceasefire, the Syrian army will feel justified in mounting ferocious attacks with thousands of casualties and the total destruction of the armed opposition as well as the armed gangs.

Therefore it is in the ‘opposition’ interest to eliminate the ‘independent’ armed gangs who are opposed to the peace plan.

This Annan’s declaration is the first clear ‘warning’ to the armed opposition. I think that more will come soon..

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April 22nd, 2012, 4:36 pm


440. Son of Damascus said:


1-American is a secular state:

I did not say it was not, what I said is that there are laws that are based wholly upon Judeo-Christian dogma, such us not teaching Theory of Evolution in schools.

(I will side step the fact that In God We Trust is imprinted on all US currency Bills)

2- Abortion is legal in every State:

That is not a fully correct statement: “Since the Supreme Court handed down its 1973 decisions in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, states have constructed a lattice work of abortion law, codifying, regulating and limiting whether, when and under what circumstances a woman may obtain an abortion”

While abortion is legal under federal laws, each state can and is regulating abortion. So much so that it is nearly impossible in some cases for even victims of rape to get an abortion, even for victims of rape in the military.

For the record when the state regulates health care providers to deny abortions to individuals that CHOSE to get it, is in itself the State denying the individual.

3-The American Gays have full civil Rights.
Last I checked 39 states limit marriage to between men and women, and define it in special provisions to be limited between man and woman.

I know how the judicial system works in the US, and also aware that if it was not for the judicial system in the US, African Americans would still be treated as second class citizens and we would not see a US president that is of African American descent serving in the White House.

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April 22nd, 2012, 4:41 pm


441. Juergen said:

Faisal Alqasem:

The participation of the general population was at the

French Revolution 1%
Russian Revolution 7%
Iranian Revolution 10%
Tunisian Revolution 15%
Egyptian Revolution, 18%
20% Syrian Revolution

The Syrian Revolution makes the greatest of all time. It is normal that only a portion of the people involved in a revolution. This small group was in the story is always the one that has brought about major changes and victories. This is an old law of nature.

نسبة المشاركين في الثورة الفرنسية 1% من الشعب

وفي الثورة البلشفية 7%
وفي الثورة الإيرانية 10%
وفي الثورة التونسية 15%
وفي الثورة المصرية 18%

( في حين وصلت في الثورة السورية إلى 20% ) مما يجعل الثورة السورية من أكبر الثورات في تاريخ البشرية من حيث نسبة المشاركة الشعبية.

من الطبيعي أن لا تشارك في الثورات إلا الأقلية .. فالقلة دائماً هي التي تملك القدرة على المغامرة واقتحام المخاطر ومواجهة الموت .. القلة دائماً هي التي تخوض الحروب والانقلابات والثورات .. القلة دائماً هي التي تصنع الانتصارات والتحولات الكبرى في تاريخ الشعوب .. أما عامة الناس فهي تلتحق بالمنتصر .. هذا قانون تاريخي وطبيعي

الدكتور فيصل القاسم

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April 22nd, 2012, 4:44 pm


442. zoo said:

Any condemnation by the OIC?

Muslim mob burns Catholic church in Sudan capital

KHARTOUM, Sudan – The Associated Press
An Easter Sunday Service is held with very few attendees in a church in the capital Khartoum on April

A Muslim mob has set ablaze a Catholic church frequented by Southern Sudanese in the capital Khartoum, witnesses and media reports said on Sunday.
The mostly Christian and animist South Sudan seceded from Sudan in 2011, some six years after a peace deal ended more than two decades of war between the two sides. But tens of thousands of southerners remain in Sudan, a legacy of the civil war that drove hundreds of thousands of them to seek relative safety in the north of what was then a single Sudanese nation.

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April 22nd, 2012, 4:48 pm


443. Son of Damascus said:


“none of its factions would resort to terrorism”

But they do as you expressed the exceptions, and were it not persecuted by the State (instead of enabled which is what the Assad regime is known to be guilty of) these bigots would be much more powerful and louder.

Also in one of the ugliest moments in the history of our earth the Catholic Church turned a blind eye to the slaughter of 11 million people in concentration camps, not to mention what the protestant churches were guilty off.

State sponsored terrorism is the worst of its kind, for it uses and abuses the ideals and faiths of people to manipulate it into destruction and hate.

I abhor ALL religious extremism, and I don’t need a reminder every day from Christians that what the Christian Right, or the IRA, or Skin Heads, or West Boro Baptist church or any extreme fringe group that uses the name of Jesus for hate. For I as a muslim who took the time to learn about Christianity discovered with my own eyes that Christianity does not call for hate and bigotry.

If I did not read about the Christian faith, and learn more about it most likely my perception of the teaching of Christ would be different, no?

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April 22nd, 2012, 5:14 pm


444. Juergen said:

The disappearence of moderate islam or i prefer the term peoples islam is evident and yet strange. You have what i call the cancer of Islam the wahabi/salafiya movement who happen to be less than a 1% of the total muslim population and yet their programm and their standings are far more spread than their quantity. If a journalist in the west looks for answers relating an story about islam he will find most likely the wahabi standpoint the most clear and most found statement. Its much easier to have one rigid answer than a shaky this depends on… answer. Thomas Bauer has written an nice book about the fact that modernity does not cheerish cultural ambiguity, and this is where the salafi movement is meeting with the modern western world, both dont like that there is more than one reality, more than one answer possible.

The other day i read that muslim man in general dont shake hands with women, and thats just one example how far salafi thoughts have entered even mainstream muslim thoughts. An other issue i was reading about is the different ways muslims throughout the world read the Quran, you can find the salafi point of view in almost all books about islam that there are only 7 traditions to read the Quran, even though many islamic scholars have come up with almost 50 ways of reading. What happen to the nice tradition to celebrate Maulid of Muhammed? I dont know of any mosque in Berlin which is celebrating that offically, not because people have forgotten the date, because of precautious reasons, the debates within the congregation would be better avoided. Mainstream islam should much more stress that the biggest biddah( new tradition, not known to the first islamic ummah) is represented by the Salafi movement themselves.

Der Spiegel published that in Rastan the regime has fooled the UN observres. The army had changed their uniform for the local police uniform.

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April 22nd, 2012, 5:18 pm


445. Afram said:

438. Juergen said:
Faisal Alqasem:

The participation of the general population was at the
French Revolution 1%

20% Syrian Revolution
The Syrian Revolution makes the greatest of all time

its Faisal opinion!!, rather than being a historical fact.

No comparison at all-zilch

if the french had Cable tv, Facebook, Cnn, aljazeera Zift, tweetzer, cars, planes and you think, maybe, just maybe french participation would/could go up & reach the stratosphere???

the french brought down their king plus the catholic church

No more in the west church an state politics.

Islam is state then religion, saudi has no Constitution, only chopping off hands islamic sharia law rule..steal a stick of gum, you lose a hand, drink a beer 80 lashes, love someone..they stone to death.

syria is no Kandahar or Qandahar

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April 22nd, 2012, 5:33 pm


446. jna said:

443. Juergen

“Der Spiegel published that in Rastan the regime has fooled the UN observres.”

Would be better phrased, “Der Spiegel published that, according to opposition accounts, in Rastan the regime has fooled the UN observres.”

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April 22nd, 2012, 5:56 pm


447. Tara said:


There is a big difference between freedom of speech and defamation. Sometime in the past specifically around August 7th, a commenter who knows himself posted a link, a poem written in Arabic by a published “writer” who supports the regime.

The poem was a despicable sexual vulgarity accusing Samar Yazbek of a sexual relationship with Aroor, describing what she did to him, reflecting a porn fantasy of a deranged individual, the writer that is. This is not what I call freedom of speech and I am against it. A writer like that should be held accountable and punished.

It was then, when I decided not to carry a conversation with the commenters who chose to post that link. I tried to find the link but for some reason most posts from August 7th disappeared. So yes, calling Alawis heretics for instance is not a freedom of speech, and in the same token, desacring the image of prophet Muhammed is not freedom of speech… It is a “hate, not so much in disguise.

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April 22nd, 2012, 7:00 pm


448. Halabi said:

I received this joke from a pious Muslim friend in Syria that I think the Islamophobes here would enjoy.

شيخ جامع يكره المسيحيين وبكل صلاة جمعة يحكي عليهم.. في يوم أتخربطت صحته، وأهله رادو يجيبوا له دكتور.. بس كان الوقت متأخر وما كان غير الدكتور المسيحي براس شارعهم
فأنجبر أهله يجيبوا هذا المسيحي حتى يفحصه وبعد
ما فحصه قالو الدكتور
بسبب السكّر لازم يوم السبت والأحد ما تأكل سكريات
وبسبب الضغط لازم تترك الملح يوم الاثنين والثلاثاء
وبسبب الكولسترول يوم الأربعاء والخميس لا تأكل دهنيات
وحتى تحترم نفسك والناس تحترمك لا تأكل خرى يوم الجمعة

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April 22nd, 2012, 7:12 pm


449. Tara said:


By the way, in an earlier comment, you said that you are not aware of any Damascene who “produce” a cultural impact on the society for the last 100-200 years. Have you never heard of..say..Nizar Qabbani? Did you think he was Lebanese?

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April 22nd, 2012, 7:13 pm


450. ann said:

UN observers tour central Syria, establish liaison with all parties – 2012-04-23

DAMASCUS, April 22 (Xinhua) –The spokesman of the advance team of UN observers said the group visited two central regions and established contacts with all parties there on Sunday.

Briefing reporters in the capital Damascus late Sunday, Neeraj Singh said the team visited Hama province and Rastan town near flashpoint Homs province.

The spokesman, who is an Indian national, refused to give further details on the observers’ activities because “the precise details are premature to talk about.”

Singh went on to say that the team is preparing for the arrival and deployment of more observers.


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April 22nd, 2012, 7:35 pm


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