The West Worries about Civil War in Syria and Blames Russia

A Syrian woman cries as she carries her son, who was shot in the hand by the Syrian border guard as they were crossing into Lebanon at the Lebanese border town of Wadi Khaled. (Hussein Malla, Associated Press / May 30, 2012)

U.N. Monitors in Syria Report New Massacre
By: Patrick J. McDonnell | Los Angeles Times

United Nations monitors in Syria reported a new massacre Wednesday as diplomats at U.N. headquarters in New York scrambled to revive the faltering peace plan devised by special envoy Kofi Annan.

On Friday, Syrian activists blamed a pro-government militia for executing factory workers in Homs province a day earlier, while a pro-government Facebook page accused the rebel Free Syrian Army of carrying out the attack.
Syrian rebel group says it kidnapped 11 Lebanese, Fox News
Juan Cole writes:

The UN is debating whether to withdraw its observers from Syria, given that there is no point in deploying observers if they are just going to witness the violence.

The BBC has obtained satellite photographs of the central Syrian town of Houla at the time of its siege by Syrian artillery. Analysts confirm that the Syrian positions are consistent with their being in control of the scene.

What Does the Syrian Opposition Believe?
Also available in العربية
Wall Street Journal
May 30, 2012
There are increasing calls for international intervention in Syria after this weekend’s massacre in Houla, where Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces murdered more than 100 civilians. Obstacles to intervention remain, however, especially concern that the opposition to Assad’s regime is dominated by religious fundamentalists. Until recently, for example, the Syrian National Council, a group of exiled opponents of the regime, was led by Burhan Ghalioun, whose unwillingness to counter the Muslim Brotherhood was widely viewed in the West as a troubling sign of Islamist influence.
But a confidential survey of opposition activists living in Syria reveals that Islamists are only a minority among them. Domestic opponents of Assad, the survey indicates, look to Turkey as a model for Syrian governance — and even widely admire the United States.
Pechter Polls, which conducts opinion surveys in tough spots in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, completed the Syria opposition poll in December 2011. Respondents were contacted over a secure Skype connection by someone they could trust — all native Syrians — who asked them to fill out a short questionnaire anonymously in Arabic. Interviewers were selected from different social and political groups to ensure that respondents reflected a rough cross-section of overall opposition attitudes. To ensure confidentiality, the online survey could be accessed only through a series of proxy servers, bypassing the regime-controlled Internet.
Given the survey’s unusual security requirements, respondents were selected by a referral (or “controlled snowball”) technique, rather than in a purely random fashion. To be as representative as possible, the survey employed five different starting points for independent referral chains, all operating from different locations. The resulting sample consisted of 186 individuals in Syria identified as either opposition activists themselves (two-thirds of the total) or in contact with the opposition.
What do these “inside” opposition supporters believe? Only about one-third expressed a favorable opinion of the Muslim Brotherhood. Almost half voiced a negative view, and the remainder were neutral. On this question, no significant differences emerged across regions.
Most of the survey’s questions asked, “On a scale of 1 to 7, where 1 means the most negative and 7 the most positive, how would you rate your opinion of X?” Answers of 1 to 3 were considered negative, 4 as neutral, and 5 to 7 as positive.
While many respondents supported religious values in public life, only a small fraction strongly favored Shariah law, clerical influence in government, or heavy emphasis on Islamic education. A large majority (73%) said it was “important for the new Syrian government to protect the rights of Christians.” Only 20% said that religious leaders have a great influence on their political views.
This broad rejection of Islamic fundamentalism was also reflected in the respondents’ views on government. The poll asked each respondent what country he or she would “like to see Syria emulate politically,” and which countries the respondent “would like to see Syria emulate economically.” The poll listed 12 countries, each with a scale of 1 to 7. Just 5% had even a mildly positive view of Saudi Arabia as a political model. In contrast, 82% gave Turkey a favorable rating as both a political and economic model (including over 40% extremely favorable). The U.S. earned 69% favorable ratings as a political model, with France, Germany and Britain close behind. Tunisia rated only 37% and Egypt 22%.
Iran was rated lowest of any country included in the survey, including Russia and China: Not even 2% of respondents had positive views of Iran as a political model. Fully 90% expressed an unfavorable view of Hezbollah, including 78% with the most negative possible attitude.
One of the surprises in the results is the scope of the opposition’s network inside Damascus, despite their difficulties in demonstrating publicly. One-third of the respondents, whether activists or sympathizers, said they live in the Syrian capital. (To protect their privacy, the survey did not ask for more precise identification.)
This “inside” opposition is well-educated, with just over half identifying as college graduates. The ratio of male to female respondents was approximately 3 to 1, and 86% were Sunni Arab.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, they were ambivalent about Syrian Kurdish demands for “political decentralization” (like autonomy). Views of “Kurdish parties” were evenly divided among negative, neutral and positive. (Such feelings are evidently mutual: In the six months since the survey was completed, Syrian Kurdish organizations have increasingly decided to go their own way, separate from the other opposition groups.)
Based on a statistical analysis of the survey, most secularists among the respondents prefer weak central government, presumably as a way to safeguard their personal freedoms. On the other hand, the one-third of respondents who support the Muslim Brotherhood also tend to have a favorable view of Hamas, despite the latter movement’s previous association with the Assad regime.
The survey demonstrates that the core of the Syrian opposition inside the country is not made up of the Muslim Brotherhood or other fundamentalist forces, and certainly not of al Qaeda or other jihadi organizations. To be sure, a revolution started by secularists could pave the way for Islamists to win elections, as has occurred in Egypt. But the Syrian opposition is solidly favorable to the U.S. and overwhelmingly negative toward both Hezbollah and Iran.
David Pollock is the Kaufman fellow at The Washington Institute and a consultant to Pechter Polls.

European voices go silent on Syria – Wash Post

… Asked Thursday whether he could envision a situation in which the United States would take military action in Syria without U.N. authorization, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said, “No, I cannot envision that because, look, as secretary of defense, my greatest responsibility is to make sure when we deploy our men and women in uniform and put them at risk, we not only know what the mission is, but we have the kind of support we need to accomplish that mission.”Speaking in Denmark, a key member of last year’s campaign against Libya’s Moammar Gaddafi, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton acknowledged Thursday that on Syria, “we’re nowhere near putting together any type of coalition other than to alleviate the suffering.”

Clinton said the United States has been cautious for many reasons. Unlike in Libya, there is no unified opposition against Assad, and those fighting his rule don’t control significant territory. The Syrian military is much stronger than Gaddafi’s. The Arab League has not called for military intervention, as it did in Libya. And the prospect of a sectarian civil war that could engulf the region is also worrying….

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay warned that the crisis in Syria could “descend into a full-fledged conflict” unless the international community supports Kofi Annan’s peace plan and an independent investigation into the slaughter of more than 100 civilians in Houla last week, which she said “may amount to crimes against humanity.”

Haaretz: Note to Syria interventionists: Be careful what you wish for
By Chemi Shalev | Jun.01,

Half-baked US initiatives could push the Alawites over the edge, along with their ballistic missiles and chemical weapons…… The slaughter of innocent women and children at Houla has elicited calls for American intervention in the ongoing Sunni uprising in Syria. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has urged that the US arm the rebels, while Senators John McCain …

It is the potentially lethal mix of those two elements – the centuries old blood feud between the Alawite minority and the Sunni majority and the Syrian regime’s arsenal of surface to surface missiles and weapons of mass destruction – that should give pause to anyone advocating military intervention, especially if it’s just for the sake of “doing something”. Because that “something” could set off a chain reaction that might have far worse consequences than another round of massacres, as harsh as that may sound – especially, though not exclusively, for Israel.

The Syrian conflict may have been sparked by the Arab Spring, but by now it has very little to do with it. The standoff between the Alawi-dominated regime and the exclusively Sunni opposition is not a part of some Facebook revolt or Twitter rebellion and is no longer, if it ever was, an insurrection of democracy-seeking civilians against an oppressive autocratic regime. This is now a sectarian blood feud, an age-old vendetta, another bloody chapter in an ongoing conflict between a pilloried, outcast and persecuted sect that 40 years ago, after a millennium of persecution and degradation, ingeniously succeeded in seizing power and turning the tables on its historical oppressors….

Syria is to the Middle East as the Balkans were to Europe a hundred years ago – a powder keg that needs just one superfluous match to ignite the entire region. Although the desire to take action against the murderous Assad regime is understandable, the “shot heard around the world,” in this case, could be a half-baked intervention that sounds the alarm and lights up the panic buttons in the Presidential Palace in Damascus. Even in a go-for-broke presidential campaign, that nightmare possibility should give pause to headline-seeking politicians, especially those who claim to have Israel’s best interests at heart.

Why Syria feels abandoned
By Donatella Rovera, May 30, Wash Post

Donatella Rovera is Amnesty International’s senior adviser on crisis response and has reported from numerous conflict zones on human rights violations since 1991. She has traveled inside Syria several times over the past two months.

In village after village in the Jabal al-Zawiya region of Syria, northwest of the central city of Hama, the scene was the same: burned-down houses and grieving families who described atrocities by Syrian soldiers — relatives of all ages dragged away and shot, their bodies often set on fire, making them literally part of the military’s “scorched earth” policy.

I spoke to people who are terrified of leaving their homes…..

Rebel training in Qusair, Syria (Los Angeles Times / May 30, 2012)


LA Timest – Syria rebels say they’re preparing for war

…rebels see this moment as an opportunity to rearm, regroup and prepare for what they regard as the inevitable escalation of fighting once the cease-fire, violated by both sides, is declared dead.

In the wake of Friday’s massacre of more than 100 civilians, many of them children, in Houla, some rebels are asking whether that time has come. In a video posted online Saturday, Free Syrian Army spokesman Col. Qassim Saad Eddine said it was no longer possible to comply with the peace plan.

“The battle is coming, and it will be bigger and will take longer,” said one defector, former army Sgt. Basil Idriss, who now heads a militia in Qusair. Many rebels escaping the battered Baba Amr neighborhood of Homs fled to Qusair, less than 20 miles away. “Annan’s plan will fall apart. It may fall apart tomorrow or next week, or it may take longer.”

Massive bombings in the capital and elsewhere have raised the specter of Al Qaeda involvement either in the rebel ranks or in independent cells in the country. But in the gardens and fields surrounding Qusair, the rebels insist they are on their own, making bombs, gathering weapons and scoping out army checkpoints and tank positions.

Occasionally people still ask, “Where is America?” or “Where is NATO?” but increasingly it comes off as rhetorical. “We only have God” has become a common refrain.

“We grew sick of the political solutions a long time ago,” said Maj. Ibrahim “Abu Al-Noor” Mutawi, another defector, who heads the Al Mughawir militia, one of several in Qusair. “We didn’t see anything to hold on to in this political path.”….

…Though the militias say they are refraining from offensive action, they also say they have begun sending groups of fighters to the capital to carry out small operations: attacking buses carrying members of the shabiha militia or security force vehicles, or even conducting assassinations.

“The final battle is going to be in Damascus, just like it was in Tripoli,” in Libya, Jumaa said.

In an online video posted last week a Free Syrian Army militia operating in Damascus and its suburbs claimed responsibility for assassinating six high-ranking security and government officials, including the director of general security and the defense minister. The claims were denied by the interior minister, Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ibrahim Shaar, who was among those the rebels claimed to have killed.

Some say thousands of fighters have been sent to Damascus to prepare for the end of the peace plan; others say the number is more modest. In any case, it signals the uprising is likely to become bloodier.

“The minute Annan, that dog, says there is no cease-fire and I have nothing to do with Syria, we’re going to light the capital on fire,” said Fidaa Aamir, a member of the Soldiers of the Merciful militia in Qusair, who each night leads residents in chants and song.

“We’ve already poured the oil on Assad,” said another man puffing on a hookah. “Now we’re just waiting to light the fuse.”

Syria: truth, lies and realpolitik – 30 May 2012
Brian Stoddart

US is heaping new pressure on Russia over Syria
By BRADLEY KLAPPER, Associated Press

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — The U.S. is heaping new pressure on Russia to change course and support international action in Syria, warning that intransigence by Moscow may lead to open civil war that could spill across the Middle East with devastating effects.

Speaking on Russia’s doorstep in Denmark, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton derided the Russian government for continuing to support Syrian President Bashar Assad, even after last week’s massacre of more than 100 people in the town of Houla. In pointed remarks Thursday, she said Russia’s position “is going to help contribute to a civil war” and rejected Russian officials’ insistence that their stance actually is helping to ease the crisis….

“The Russians keep telling us they want to do everything they can to avoid a civil war because they believe that the violence would be catastrophic,” Clinton said, noting that they are “vociferous in their claim that they are providing a stabilizing influence.”

“I reject that,” she said, complaining that in fact Russia is propping up Assad as his government continues a brutal, 15-month crackdown on dissent in which some 13,000 people have died.

A day earlier, White House Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough said the U.S. is lobbying Russia to distance itself from its ally Syria and to apply pressure on Assad to leave office. A negotiated exit similar to one the U.S. helped broker for Yemen’s longtime leader is one possibility, McDonough said, but he offered little optimism that the arguments are gaining traction.

Russian Church Is a Strong Voice Opposing Intervention in Syria
By ELLEN BARRY, May 31, 2012

MOSCOW — ….It is clear by now that Russia’s government has dug in against outside intervention in Syria, its longtime partner and last firm foothold in the Middle East. Less well known is the position taken by the Russian Orthodox Church, which fears that Christian minorities, many of them Orthodox, will be swept away by a wave of Islamic fundamentalism unleashed by the Arab Spring…..

Usama Matar, an optometrist who has lived in Russia since 1983, said he did not harbor any illusions about Russia’s motives for defending Syrian Christians like himself, whom he called “small coins in a big game.” But he said there were few international players taking notice of Eastern Christians at all.

“The West is pursuing its own interests; they are indifferent to our fate,” he said. “I am not justifying the Assad regime — it is dictatorial, we know this, it is despotic, I understand. But these guys, they don’t even hide their intention to build an Islamic state and their methods of battle, where they just execute people on the streets. That’s the opposition, not just the authorities. And we are between two fires.”

Comments (106)


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51. Anwar said:

“maybe not, but the brutality has disturbed their conscience. this is a shift.”

far from it. They are celebrating every kill by the shabeeha be it child, woman, man or sheep. They didn’t lose any sleep when they robbed half the city before they left to the US/Canada and they definitely won’t over a bunch of squashed “sarasir” in their eyes

The only thing those westernized pro-regimers are dreading is that they might not be able to enjoy the damascus night life and latakya beach every summer. Their legitimacy will be shattered once bashar is gone.

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June 1st, 2012, 7:59 pm

 

52. omen said:

alawites themselves have suffered oppression.
from fadwa soliman:

Q: How many people from the Alawite community in Syria share your dissent against the Syrian government?

A: There are many people from the minority groups in general who are against the regime. This was the case even before the uprising started. Look at prominent opposition figures whose voices are loud. They are from all sects and religions. Inside the capital Damascus, we have all been organising protests and participating in others.

In other cities, however, like Sweida [in the south of the country] or Tartous [in western Syria], where residents are predominantly from minority groups, the situation is very bad. People cannot voice their opposition because the government is even more brutal on dissidents belonging to minority groups than those from the majority Sunni Muslims. They threaten them and their families and children even before they decide to protest.

There are of course supporters of the regime from the Alawite sect, like there are from any other sect. But since the regime is Alawite, all its wrongdoings are being blamed on the whole community.

given into to sectarian hatred is to play into the regime’s hands. they want the opposition to take revenge upon the innocent. the minute they do so, the opposition loses moral authority.

isn’t it the case that prominent rich sunnis have been more influential in keeping the regime in power? earlier the discussion was why hasn’t damascus risen up.

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June 1st, 2012, 8:06 pm

 

53. Moriah Conquering Wind said:

Please provide links to offsite material

SC Moderator

For those who claim tank fire is only delivered by the regime:

A rare dissenting view was offered by the highly respected Syria analyst Alastair Crooke, founder and director of Conflicts Forum. On responsibility for Houla, Crooke commented:

‘We don’t know for sure yet… But one thing that stands out quite clearly, and which is very important, is that the methodology, this type of killing – of beheadings, of slitting of throats, slitting of throats of children, too, and of this mutilation of bodies – has been a characteristic, not of Levantine Islam, not of Syria, not of Lebanon, but really of what happened in the Anbar province of Iraq. And so it seems to point very much in the direction of groups that had been associated with the war in Iraq against the United States, who have perhaps returned to Syria, or perhaps Iraqis who have come up from Anbar to take part in it…. But this whole process of mutilation is so very much against the tradition of Levantine Islam that I think it’s very hard to see this will have come either from soldiers or even from others who might have been bent on revenge… I don’t think this speaks of soldiers going on the rampage.’

Crooke added:

‘This is very much a possibility; that what we’re looking at here is a deliberate and cold-blooded attempt to cast Syria into civil war, to initiate civil war, to bring Western intervention, if possible. But simply, again, to bring down the regime. And it is clearly, I think, perpetrated in the interests of those external parties and groups at the end of the spectrum of the opposition, which are jihadi groups, who want no part in the peace process but who want to bring down the system and for Syria to turn into civil war.’

Crooke believes ‘al-Qaeda-like groups’ were to blame. (Crooke, RT, May 29, 2012)

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June 1st, 2012, 8:45 pm

 

54. Ghufran said:

This is what a nurse who is treating the wounded from alhoula said to the Guardian reporter:
“They were targeted because they were linked to the regime,” one of the nurses treating the wounded men said. “The Shabiha wanted to create the impression that other forces were responsible.”
Let me know if this makes any sense to you.
Most of the stories I read in western press about alhoula massacre ignores the reality of a civil war that has been brewing in Homs for months and focuses on the favorite theme about the evil pro regime alawites killing the innocent anti regime Sunnis. This focus is necessary to justify future actions after Annan’s plan is pronounced dead, only a miracle will stop this steady descend into a broader civil war,then we will see alhoula massacre as as the tip of a much bigger iceberg.

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June 1st, 2012, 9:40 pm

 

55. omen said:

44. TARA said:
How can a woman live without dark lilac blue nail polish?..,
The immodesty of nail polish.

By God, I stood by and witnessed the incident, the woman does not have an atom of modesty. Her face was only covered by a transparent veil over her mouth. She also had a lot of make-up on. [...] She had her legs crossed with one foot swaying left and right in a shameful way.

from time immemorial, whenever a woman exercised independence, she is called a slut. even if she was a queen or a nun. doesn’t matter that the truth doesn’t support the slander. this isn’t about religion or morality. this is about the politics of power. somebody else is going to have to explain why men feel so threatened.

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June 1st, 2012, 10:10 pm

 

56. Ghufran said:

This is one story that defies the popular belief that the only thugs in Lebanon are those loyal to the syrian regime:
http://mtv.com.lb/News/94376

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June 1st, 2012, 10:40 pm

 

57. zoo said:

One faction of the FSA says it will restart ‘defensive’ attacks while another faction of the FSA denies it.
Will the Syrian army do the same?

Free Syrian Army declares resumption of attacks
Friday, June 1, 2012
http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/free-syrian-army-declares-resumption-attacks

The rebel Free Syrian Army on Friday announced it was resuming militant operations after the expiry of its ultimatum for the regime to respect international envoy Kofi Annan’s six-point peace plan.

“We will now resume defensive operations,” FSA spokesman Kassem Saadeddine told AFP via Skype. “We will not go on the offensive because we do not want to be singled out as the ones responsible for breaking the peace initiative.”

The decision came 48 hours after the FSA’s military council from inside Syria gave the regime until Friday 0900 GMT to observe the Annan plan which calls for the withdrawal of government forces and heavy armor from towns and cities.

But confusion still remains as to which faction of the FSA announced the ultimatum after Turkish-based Colonel Riyadh Asaad dismissed the deadline on Al Jazeera on Thursday.

Militant attacks have also continued unabated despite a UN ceasefire, despite an official FSA commitment to the truce, highlighting the chaotic division among Syrian armed groups.

The decision, however, is still a setback to Annan’s efforts to revive his peace plan, which has failed to take hold.
More..

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June 1st, 2012, 11:17 pm

 
 

59. ghufran said:

المقايضة قد تكون في سورية شرط أن تقر الولايات المتحدة بأن موسكو هي التي ستأخذ مقعد القيادة في إيجاد حل يحول دول اندلاع حرب أهلية دموية في سورية، وأن صلاحية رسم معالم النظام البديل في دمشق هي أيضاً لروسيا. غير ذلك سيؤدي الى تصلّب فلاديمير بوتين والى تشنج وزير خارجيته سيرغي لافروف

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June 1st, 2012, 11:59 pm

 

60. Ghufran said:

ذكرت صحيفة “المجد” الاسبوعية الاردنية القريبة من النظام السوري انها اجرت اتصالا مع نائب رئيس الاركان السوري آصف شوكت وهو صهر الرئيس بشار الاسد ردا على الانباء عن اغتياله، وانه سخر من وسائل الاعلام التي تبنت رواية الاغتيال.

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June 2nd, 2012, 12:21 am

 

61. Juergen said:

Kafranbel shows how the syrian ambassador was kicked out of France:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=320597904684356&set=a.124989290911886.26229.124115837665898&type=1&theater

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June 2nd, 2012, 1:40 am

 

62. Amjad said:

Far from being a “respected analyst”, Alistaire Crooke has for a long time been known as a shameless cheer boy for the Hamas and Hizbollah groups, and an admirer of the Iranian theocracy dictatorship.

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2009/09/spy-who-loved-hamas-and-hezbollah-and-iran

“Crooke’s embrace of Islamic “freedom fighters” and power-hungry clerics attracted a fair share of criticism even before the world tuned in to the bloody images coming from Tehran. Reviewing his recent book, Resistance: The Essence of the Islamist Revolution, The Economist mocked Crooke’s “enthusiasm” for Iran’s ruling philosophy and expressed disgust at his kindly treatment of Al-Manar, Hezbollah’s TV station: “Incredibly, Mr. Crooke fails to mention that this hate-mongering station routinely pumps out vicious anti-Semitic propaganda, including a drama series that portrays hook-nosed orthodox Jews murdering gentile children in order to use their blood for Passover bread.” After attending a Conflicts Forum event featuring leaders of several radical Islamist groups, the British journalist Stephen Grey mused about “sharing jokes with the Hamas men over tiger prawns, avocado, pasta and cherry tomatoes,” and wondered how he would explain the cozy atmosphere to the mother of a child killed by a suicide bomber.”

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June 2nd, 2012, 2:40 am

 

63. Antoine said:

AMJAD,

Alistair Crooke is just what his name procliams him to be , a Crook.

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June 2nd, 2012, 3:19 am

 

64. Antoine said:

We ask the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to provide the Free Syrian Army with Anti-Tank missiles.

We ask His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan , in the name of the House of Hashem and all Arabs,to help the Syrian people by arming the Free Syrian Army.

Your Majesty,

Your legitmacy and that of your dynasty is derived from leadership claims of all the Arabs of the World. It is time to fulfil your role.

Help Syria, send the weapons to Edleb, Homs, Hama, Daraa.

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June 2nd, 2012, 3:21 am

 

65. Antoine said:

Amjad,

Are you personally happy about Jordan’s approach to Syria ?

I am not. They are being far too soft and accomodating to Assad. In fact it was the King who first asked him to step down but it has been silence since.

The Jordanian Government treats the refugees very badly. They treat the FSA as criminals, in fact once you get into Jordan you have to surrender all your documents and live in buildings under 24 hour surveillance by the Jordanian Police and Mabaheth.

Till now, the King and Queen have not visited the refugees even once.

They are not allowing the FSA to smuggle weapons across the border at all, though sympathetic Jordanian soldiers and offciers are helping in an individual capacity.

I think it is time the Syrian Opposition especially the LCC and FSA makes a high level representation to the King and the Prime Minister Fayez al-Tarawneh.

It should be communicated to them that the Syrian people expect better from the Jordanian Government.

What do you think ?

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June 2nd, 2012, 3:28 am

 

66. Osama said:

58. MAJEDKHALDOUN

Seriously?! a US government website, why don’t you just provide the link for the Syrian Observatory

oooooohh… satellite images! well that settles it :)

Sorry, too funny… all serious reporting has already shown that only a small minority of individuals were allegedly killed by Syrian Army artillery fire “less than 20″ according to the OHCHR.

When the US can provide satellite images of trucks and tanks at the site of the massacre or even tracks of heavy vehicles at the site of the massacre, then we can have something close to evidence.

The vast majority people (women and children) were killed in close quarters, execution style, so please go peddle the US government disinformation somewhere else.

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June 2nd, 2012, 3:49 am

 

67. Antoine said:

If you are a conscript in the Syrian Arab Army, better join the FSA before it is too late :

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June 2nd, 2012, 4:00 am

 

68. Osama said:

Doesn’t it bother any of the opposition supporters that they are trading one tyranny for another.

The FSA and Syrian Opposition is able to justify all their lies and disinformation campaigns and they make no apologies for it:

http://www.channel4.com/news/syrias-video-journalists-battle-to-tell-the-truth

How far are you willing to go to “protect the revolution”?

The Iranians got rid of the Shah and traded him for the Faqih.

The Russians got rid of the Czar and traded him for Lenin and then Stalin.

The Cubans got rid of Batista and replaced him with Castro.

The French got rid of Louis the 16th and replaced him with Robespierre and his guillotine.

All of the revolutionaries justified their subsequent crimes because they were “in defense” of the revolution. I am sure that the murderers in Syria are justifying their crimes by claiming the victim was a Shibeeh or Spy against the revolution.

Go back to your peaceful protests – and will achieve your goals. the way your going now will only end in the destruction of Syria.

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June 2nd, 2012, 4:25 am

 

69. Alan said:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tElJPRqQIcw
بوتين: أي حديث مسبق عن فشل محتمل لمهمة عنان يعتبر خطأ كبيرا

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June 2nd, 2012, 4:42 am

 

70. Juergen said:

News: Mubarak sentenced to live in prison. Former minister of interiour Habib al-Adli was sentenced as well to life in prison.Charges against the two sons were dropped, lets hope the other trial will bring them in prison.
As a friend told me, if you see Mubarak in trial one may think prison to those figures is like going to the sports club. I suppose prison for life just means that he has to stay in a guarded villa, and thats the good thing we will be spared of an state funeral when he dies…

satelite images suggest that there are many new mass graves in Syria. Those images also suggest that the army has not withdrawn and are still holding positions near protest areas.

http://www.humanrights.gov/2012/03/05/situation-in-syria/

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June 2nd, 2012, 4:45 am

 

71. Alan said:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IjLjCdk9_FY
مؤتمر صحفي مشترك لفلاديمير بوتن وأنجيلا ميركل
70. JUERGEN
brilliant mercy! Gaddafi tore to pieces in aviation blow from a drone of the Air Force and the second in a cheap trick is shown in justice!
the world became one-eyed

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June 2nd, 2012, 4:56 am

 

72. Alan said:

70. JUERGEN
satelite images
No value to these images in Black and white for the readers! every one have owne resurces of informations !

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June 2nd, 2012, 5:09 am

 

73. Osama said:

70. Juergen

Thanks for sharing the link to the US Government website, it is full of inaccuracies and clear disinformation.

Nowhere in the statement or in the entire page for the link you provided are the words “mass graves” being used, but I can see how upon reading it you were led to that conclusion.

Even the picture montage of satellite images only uses the title “Probable Mass Burial in Tall Daww.” obviously not as emotive as “mass graves” which provide a mental image of something that was done in secret to hide the crime (like in Bosnia). Another important fact is that we all know that the victims were buried in one grave and there was nothing “probable” about it…

The wording is meant to give a ominous feel, with a subtext that the Syrian Government is trying to hide something.

Also, how you can jump from what was said in the link to “many new mass graves in Syria” is beyond me. The statement clearly only refers to Tall Daww and nowhere else…

Thanks playing your part in spreading disinformation.

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June 2nd, 2012, 5:21 am

 

74. Mina said:

Omar Khayyam would be in jail. Any UN meeting?
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/02/world/europe/turkey-charges-pianist-fazil-say-over-twitter-posts.html

Jürgen,
Did you enjoy the fist fight between the lawyers?

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June 2nd, 2012, 5:54 am

 

75. Juergen said:

Well Osama and Alan, we wont hear any final findings from the regime. They will not let the UN do their forensic work their, and everyone with an clear mind can draw their own conclusions about it.

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June 2nd, 2012, 5:55 am

 

76. Juergen said:

Mina

Emotions run the minds of many in this case.

Obviously Mubarak had only enough influence to get his life saved, the judge made it clear that Egypt went through an dark age of 30 years of Mubaraks rule. So after all not a bad day for Egypt.

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June 2nd, 2012, 6:04 am

 

77. Mina said:

here it is, and from the mouth of what the MB call “pro-regime” Ahram, for those who failed to understand:

“13:02 Below are three posts by Ahram Online Editor-in-Chief Hani Shukrallah on Twitter, as he was following the ruling:

@HaniShukrallah tweets: Message to police: kill & torture as you will; you’ll be charged with investigating your crimes and be cleared for lack of evidence

@HaniShukrallah tweets: Mubarak “historic” criminal case investigated by culprits, prosecuted by defense, judged by Mubarak regime

@HaniShukrallah tweets: Ruling on Mubarak & Adly easily shot down on appeal – Judge says no evidence police killed protesters yet convicts two for ordering it!

12:53 Prominent lawyer Amir Salem tells Ahram Online that politics and a “scandalous” miscarriage of justice in the verdict of Mubarak’s “trial of the century.”

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/43473/Egypt/Politics-/Live-updates-Thousands-take-to-Egypt-street-protes.aspx

What kind of logic does it follow? He and his sons were cleared of financial corruption while at the same time Egypt adn Switzerland are investigating the millions he hid in Swiss banks…
http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/3/0/41491/Business/0/UPDATED-Egypt-to-join-Swiss-investigations-into-Mu.aspx

At the same time, one can’t but admit that except among the very few “politically aware”, most people in the countryside recently asked if Mubarak was running in the latest election and were often saying he should be at least pardoned because he had run the country well!

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June 2nd, 2012, 7:27 am

 

78. Observer said:

Would an independent UN inquiry be a violation of the sovereignty of Syria?

Why refuse to have an independent inquiry?

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June 2nd, 2012, 8:38 am

 

79. majedkhaldoun said:

Osama said
satelite images, it is full of inaccuracies and clear disinformation.

How could pictures and satelite images be inaccurate?
do you mean the regime media ,the constantly lying media ,is the one that tells the truth while they lie, and not ashamed of their clear lying, is syrian regime media your source of information,
If death of over 100 innocent kids and women ,if this is funny to you, if you have fun killing all syrian you have a major problem.

You say tyrany is followed by tyrany as the revolution kill the murderers, do you mean the murderers must go free and not get punished? your logic is not acceptable by reasonable people.

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June 2nd, 2012, 8:49 am

 

80. majedkhaldoun said:

Observer
Who gives and recognizes sovereignty to any state? it is the UN.
So when the UN finds major violation of UN princpals , they have the right to inspect and investigate that state,

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June 2nd, 2012, 9:05 am

 

81. mjabali said:

All indications point to a major showdown again. This time it may happen in the mountains of Lattakia.

There are large groups of armed opposition roaming and causing damage here and there. al-Assad wants to assert control with his forces and allies, of course.

This time the Alawi themselves are getting armed because of the situation. God help Syria.

The mountains of Lattakia is having some major tensions that is going to lead to an armed clash for the first time. The Sunnis attacked the police in the Christian village of Kinseba few days ago injuring many and destroying parts of the village. Also, they are also firing at the Alawi village of Ein al-Tineh from the hills. Tensions are high over there. al-Hafa, a Sunni village, held anti Assad demos for almost a year with no armed confrontations because of the sectarian sensitivity of the situation. Syria is going to witness more violence in the near future.

We hope to hear more about the situation, and if there any smart people to help stop the real massacres that are about to happen?

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June 2nd, 2012, 9:06 am

 

82. Osama said:

79. MAJEDKHALDOUN

Please note I did not say the satellite images are full of inaccuracies – please read my post again – I said the website of the US government and the statement on that website is full of inaccuracy and disinformation.

Your response is completely missing the point – and I would expect nothing less, based on your previous postings. Please don’t personalize this.

I happy to discuss relevant points, but please don’t try to take my words or comments out context.

If you live in Syria and if the regime falls, you will know exactly what I mean about tyranny following tyranny. If you don’t live in Syria, then your words have be more measured before you try to speak in the name of the Syrian people.

My view is clear – dialogue and negotiations are the only rational and sane way out of this issue. Weapons and propaganda will only achieve exactly what all violence and lies achieve, nothing good.

I make no apologies for the regime, it is no better or worse than any other regime in the Arab world, getting rid of it in Syria or anywhere must not be at the expense of the Syrians…

what do you think will happen at the end of this – best case, the regime and its supporters will steal what they can and leave and the rest of the syrians will be left to pick up the pieces or fight over what little is still there, and that’s no joke!

You have every right to oppose the regime, but that does not give you the right to violate the rights of anyone in the process, because then your no better than what your fighting against.

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June 2nd, 2012, 9:21 am

 

83. Mina said:

Mjabali
Qatar claims to have a solution: they are now boasting in Doha that they plan to send an army of Qatari soldiers to Syria under UN chapter 7 and that will solve the problem.
What do you mean there is no such thing as Qatari soldiers?

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June 2nd, 2012, 9:23 am

 

84. irritated said:

#65 Antoine

“I think it is time the Syrian Opposition especially the LCC and FSA makes a high level representation to the King and the Prime Minister Fayez al-Tarawneh.”

They have zero credibility and no leadership. They will get a tap on the shoulder just like the SNC got.

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June 2nd, 2012, 9:23 am

 

85. irritated said:

#81 Mjabali

The FSA gave the green light by withdrawing unilateraly from the Annan peace plan.
The army can now go full sway to move these armed gangs back to where they belong: Turkey. Erdogan should get ready for more refugees, this time armed.

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June 2nd, 2012, 9:29 am

 

86. zoo said:

#79 Majed

“How could pictures and satelite images be inaccurate?”
It triggered the Iraq war.

USA Today (2/6 03):

A satellite photo showed a munitions facility at Taji, 18 miles north of Baghdad, where the presence of special security units and a decontamination vehicle suggested the presence of chemical weapons. A later photo of the same site, taken Dec. 22 as inspectors were due, showed the location had been “sanitized,” Powell said. Similar cleanups took place at almost 30 sites, Powell said, with the activity peaking in November — just after the U.N. decided to deploy inspectors.

Washington Post (2/6/03):

[Colin Powell] showed satellite photographs of buildings, said to be chemical and biological weapons bunkers, with “decontamination trucks” parked outside, and subsequent photos where the vehicles had been removed, indicating that the site had been “cleaned up” before inspectors could arrive.

Another set of aerial photographs, said to have been taken two days before inspections began in November, showed a convoy of trucks and a crane he said indicated pre-inspection “housecleaning.” Drawings he said were made from information provided by defectors who had worked in top weapons positions depicted mobile biological and chemical laboratories, mounted on both trucks and rail, designed to evade inspectors.

Powell’s presentation relied heavily on sensitive U.S. intelligence — satellite imagery, communications intercepts and defector interviews — that officials usually guard zealously but agreed to release to make as compelling a case as possible to skeptical domestic and foreign audiences.

http://www.fair.org/blog/2012/03/08/satellite-intelligence-iran-2012-iraq-2003/

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June 2nd, 2012, 9:33 am

 

87. majedkhaldoun said:

Osama
you said
that does not give you the right to violate the rights of anyone in the process,
Where did I ever violate the rights of anyone?
Your imaginations make you say things that are not true

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June 2nd, 2012, 9:39 am

 

88. zoo said:

61. Juergen said:

“Kafranbel shows how the syrian ambassador was kicked out of France:”

Lamia Shakkour is still in France

Syria’s ambassador to France Lamia Shakkour (L) was declared persona non grata. However, Paris was unable to immediately expel Shakkour because she is also Syria’s ambassador to UNESCO.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/30/syria-diplomats-expelled-_n_1553660.html

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June 2nd, 2012, 9:43 am

 

89. majedkhaldoun said:

Zoo
The pictures and images were accurate, and it did not triggere the Iraq war, the two images were 10 years apart,
The Iraq war was triggered by Iraq invaded Kuwait
The images are correct

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June 2nd, 2012, 9:55 am

 

90. Ghufran said:

Latakia is now under the microscope after Homs did not convert to become a Syrian BinGhazi. The idea is to keep regime forces busy in as many spots as possible, also,Latakia offers,like Homs, a diverse population which can make it a perfect playground for a bloody sectarian conflict,and we all know that Latakia ,a regime stronghold,is where the Assad ruling family came from. There is a lot of weapons in the hands of villagers,and a disproportionate number of army and security chiefs are from that province and neighboring Tartous. Until now,most of the trouble makers who are shooting and detonating bombs are either from Idleb -Hama or residents of areas of low SES,most residents of Latakia proper are not in the business of violence and self destruction,but we all know that people change their behavior when the issue is physical survival. Having said all of that,I still think that Latakia province will be the last to go up in flames, the main challenge is outsiders who do not like the fact that Latakia has been relatively calm for the most part of the last 15 months.

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June 2nd, 2012, 10:07 am

 

91. Ghufran said:

So,only Mubarak and Adiley received long jail sentences,Mubarak’s sons were cleared from corruption charges,and none of Adiley’s aids were convicted.

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June 2nd, 2012, 10:23 am

 

92. irritated said:

#87 Majed

“Your imaginations make you say things that are not true”

You beat us all on imagination. One wonders about for the realities of your Hatay trip.

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June 2nd, 2012, 10:25 am

 

93. bronco said:

#91 Ghufran

Harsher sentences would have stopped the billions to dollars KSA has promised to Egypt.
More billions if Shafiq is elected. KSA will not tolerate a MB president in Egypt.

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June 2nd, 2012, 10:27 am

 

94. irritated said:

#90 Ghufran

The opposition is desperately looking for a “Benghazi”. The closer they get to Turkey, the more I think Hatay is their best bet.

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June 2nd, 2012, 10:31 am

 

95. zoo said:

Kissinger on the same wave length as Russia and the BRICS

Syrian intervention risks upsetting global order
By Henry A. Kissinger, Published: June 1

The Arab Spring is generally discussed in terms of the prospects for democracy. Equally significant is the increasing appeal — most recently in Syria — of outside intervention to bring about regime change, overturning prevalent notions of international order.
….
Does America consider itself obliged to support every popular uprising against any non-democratic government, including those heretofore considered important in sustaining the international system? Is, for example, Saudi Arabia an ally only until public demonstrations develop on its territory? Are we prepared to concede to other states the right to intervene elsewhere on behalf of coreligionists or ethnic kin?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/syrian-intervention-risks-upsetting-global-order/2012/06/01/gJQA9fGr7U_story.html

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June 2nd, 2012, 10:34 am

 

96. zoo said:

Vote Romney??

June 2, 2012 4:00 A.M.
Romney’s Syria Problem
His support for “opposition groups” is misplaced.

By Andrew C. McCarthy
http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/301611/romney-s-syria-problem-andrew-c-mccarthy

Congratulations to Mitt Romney. In calling for “opposition groups” to be armed and trained for their ongoing jihad against Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, the GOP’s presidential contender has managed to align himself with al-Qaeda emir Ayman al-Zawahiri and Muslim Brotherhood icon Yusuf al-Qaradawi.

There is no gainsaying that Assad is despicable or that the Houla episode was barbaric. Neither can it be denied, however, that Romney and his advisers have had little to say about the similarly barbaric attacks carried out by the “opposition.” About two weeks before Houla, for example, a car bomb killed 55 people in Damascus — targeting a regime intelligence building, but detonated at rush hour, in the al-Qaeda fashion, for maximum civilian carnage. A few days later, nine more people were killed when a suicide bomber exploded his device in a parking lot near a military compound in Deir ez-Zor, a notorious jihadist hub from which thousands of terrorists crossed into Iraq to fight against Western forces.

more..

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June 2nd, 2012, 10:39 am

 

97. zoo said:

Is Saudi Arabia ‘hush’ money sufficient?

The Window is Closing for Riyadh
The oil won’t last forever — so Saudi Arabia’s government has to reform its economy if it wants to survive.
BY ROBERT LOONEY | JUNE 1, 2012

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/06/01/the_window_is_closing_for_riyadh?page=0,1

With its coffers still overflowing, Saudi Arabia appears to have avoided contagion from the Arab Spring through massive government expenditures —what amounts to hush money for disaffected youth and minorities. But the country’s surface calm is just that; peek a few metaphorical inches down, and one discovers a dysfunctional society that is becoming unmanageable.

Saudi Arabia’s failure to make the transition to a modern, diversified economy, by contrast, will almost certainly open the door to religious and tribal conflict that will be very hard to close.

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June 2nd, 2012, 10:51 am

 

98. zoo said:

Houla massacre: Syria will back an international inquiry

Russia and China vote against call for international criminal probe against Assad regime
Martin Chulov in Beirut
guardian.co.uk, Friday 1 June 2012 22.58 BST

“Syria has said it will back an international inquiry into what took place in Houla as well as two subsequent mass killings. It claimed that foreign-backed Islamists managed to infiltrate the hinterland surrounding Houla and launch an attack on its residents.”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jun/01/syria-houla-massacre-un-resolution

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June 2nd, 2012, 10:56 am

 

99. norman said:

The goal of the armed militants, the West and Saudi Arabia is to start a civil war as they did in Iraq with bombing the Mosque, they know that they can fragment Syria because people are not confined to certain areas depending on their religion.

The Attack on Syria is so strong that i even thought that what happened in Hola is done by the government supporters, it is clear to me now that it was done by the militants that sacrificed the people for political gains.

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June 2nd, 2012, 11:05 am

 

100. majedkhaldoun said:

Zoo just said
Syria will back an international inquiry

Do you really believe what you just said?
Who is the official who said that?
UN said they want international investigations.
Feisal Hamwi said his country refuse the UN decision,and considered it Hateful.
You seems to be desperate to catch a sraw.

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June 2nd, 2012, 11:42 am

 

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