Three to Five Killed in Deraa Demonstration; Unrest Spreads

The three to five demonstrators killed in Deraa. This is a turning point – to what, one cannot say.

5 protesters killed in Syria, activist says; amateur video shows unrest around country
By BASSEM MROUE and ZEINA KARAM | Associated Press

Syrian security forces launched a harsh crackdown Friday on protesters calling for political freedoms, killing at least five people and marking the gravest unrest in years in one of the most repressive states in the Mideast, according to accounts from activists and social media……

On Friday, Syrian forces used water cannons, batons and gunfire to beat up protesters in Daraa. The violence began when a large group of people emerged from the Al-Omari mosque, marching and shouting slogans against corruption and calling for more political freedoms.

A human rights activist told The Associated Press that security forces cordoned the main hospital in Daraa where some of the wounded were being treated, preventing families from visiting the victims. He cited hospital workers, but spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of government reprisals.

The government’s TV channel and news agency said “infiltrators” in Daraa caused “chaos and riots” and smashed cars and public and private property before they attacked riot police. It said a similar demonstration in the coastal town of Banyas dispersed without incident.

Amateur video footage posted on YouTube and Twitter showed large groups of protesters in several cities, but the authenticity of the footage could not be independently confirmed….

A YouTube video claiming to be shot in Banyas showed several thousand demonstrators gathering around an old stone building with a Syrian flag fluttering from its roof. A cluster of men stood on its balcony with a loudspeaker. Amid chants of “Freedom!” and “There is only one God!,” one man shouted out a list of protesters demands ranging from freedom of expression to allowing Muslim women with face veils to attend school.

Syrian forces kill three protesters in southern city
Reuters, Friday, March 18, 2011 3:16 PM EDT

Syrian security forces killed three protesters in the southern city of Deraa Friday, a resident said, in the most violent response to protests against Syria’s ruling elite since revolts swept through the Arab world.

A video aired on Facebook showed what it described as demonstrators in Deraa shouting slogans earlier in the day against Syrian tycoon Rami Makhlouf, a cousin of Assad’s who owns several large businesses.

The demonstrators were taking part in a peaceful protest demanding political freedoms and an end to corruption in Syria, which has been ruled under emergency laws by President Bashar al-Assad’s Baath Party for nearly half a century.

Smaller protests took place in the central city of Homs and the coastal town of Banias, home to one of Syria’s two oil refineries, activists said. A crowd briefly chanted slogans for freedom inside the Umayyad Mosque in Old Damascus before security forces closed in on them.

Syrian authorities have stepped up arrests of dissidents since the Arab uprisings began in January, and have a history of crushing dissent. In 1982, Assad’s father sent troops to put down an rebellion in the city of Hama, killing thousands.

In Deraa Friday, several thousand people chanted “God, Syria, Freedom” and slogans accusing the president’s family of corruption, the resident said.

He said Hussam Abdel Wali Ayyash, Akram Jawabreh and Ayhem al-Hariri were shot dead by security forces who were reinforced with troops flown in by helicopters. Scores of demonstrators were wounded in the attack in the old quarter of Deraa near the border with Jordan.

After prolonged clashes during the day, the city appeared quieter at nightfall, with a heavy security presence, the resident, who declined to be named, told Reuters.

An official statement said “infiltrators” tried to take advantage of what it termed as a gathering in Deraa by burning cars and trying to cause chaos, which required intervention by security forces. The statement did not mention any casualties.

شل مزاد الأوراق المالية الثالث في سورية

16-03-2011

ألغت وزارة المالية المزاد رقم 3/2011 الذي كان مقرراً أمس الأول.

وقال وزير المالية محمد الحسين في تصريح صحفي موضحاً سبب الإلغاء : قمنا بالإعلان عن مزاد على سند خزينة مدة عام بقيمة مليار ليرة سورية وبسعر فائدة تأشيري 1.5%، وألغي المزاد بعد الاطلاع على العروض المقدمة من قبل المصارف المشاركة بسبب ابتعاد عروض أسعار الفائدة بهامش كبير عن سعر الفائدة التأشيري الموضوع من قبلنا، حيث إن أسعار الفائدة هذه تمثل تكلفة على الخزينة العامة للدولة وبالتالي ديناً عاماً يضاف إلى أعباء الخزينة، ولذلك تسعى وزارة المالية لأن تكون هذه الفوائد بحدود مدروسة تتناسب مع قدرة الخزينة العامة للدولة على تحملها

Comments (82)


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51. jad said:

Alex,
I can see your point of building many events on false claim and using emotions just to make story up.

-Using a picture of a smoke covering the sky of Daraa by burning tiers and call it DARAA BURNING!
-Saying that the sky is full with helicopters shooting on the funeral and on EVERYBODY while the sky is clear.
-claiming that some women are raped!!! come on!!!!!!
-asking people to protect Daraa because the regime is going to destroy it like Hama!!!!! Seriously??
-Saying that the protest is 20,000 people then after couple hours one of the witness confess it’s around 200 in downtown Daraa!

If they want people to believe there stories they need to be honest.

Souri,
Could you please answer my question regarding Ali Ahmad, where did you get your information from that he is one of the leaders of these events and how come he knew that things will start from Hurran while the moukhabarat didn’t know all this information until too late and with their own savage reaction to peoples demands and killing 4 Syrians they actually triggered all this trouble for the city?

Revlon,
“The revolution has won the battle of nerves. The regime is plunging in quick sands.”
I actually see the government reaction to be very wise and responsible, that is the first thing they need to do to make things better and they show bravery of doing that, and I think that this move will work for the best interest of all of Syrians.

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March 19th, 2011, 11:24 am

 

52. Nour said:

Revlon,

You need to go back and read the history of the French Revolution and the period preceding it. The French revolution was not a chaotic collection of people shouting empty, confused slogans. It was an organized affair and took many years to actually reach its objectives. Old traditions of hierarchical rule were replaced with new ideas of citizenship and inalienable rights. The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was not a spontaneous outburst of emotion, it was rather a clear statement of fundamental principles rooted in French philosophical thought. Let us also not forget that the French Revolution was not really over at the storming of the Bastille but included much struggle for many years down the road before France finally shaped itself into what it is today.

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March 19th, 2011, 12:30 pm

 

53. SOURI said:

#29 JAD

I don’t believe neither I am sure of anything. I just read in this guy’s website regularly and I am stating my persoanl impression. This guy reveals such exclusive news about Islamist activity in Syria that it seems he has direct connections with the Islamists inside Syria. He talked about the Deraa Abzed events few weeks ago and he expected a revolution to start from Hauran. His site gets hundreds of comments from Syrian Islamists, and those are only the ones who dare to write a comment. The Syrian authorities hijacked his website on 3/15 and it did not work again until yesterday. I think some of his sources inside Syria were arrested too in the last weeks.

#32 NK

I was not talking about what he said (which could honestly reflect his beliefs or not). I was talking about his choice of the song and the style of his message, which clearly show that he comes from a religious extremist background.

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March 19th, 2011, 12:37 pm

 

54. Nour said:

Revlon,

The Baath Party Principles make many of the same claims that you do about freedom. They are generalized utterances that everyone repeats because they sound nice. Moreover, do you think all Syrian participating in these demonstrations would define freedom in the way you did or would different Syrians have their own confused conception?

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March 19th, 2011, 12:39 pm

 

55. Lugnet före stormen….. « Muslimska Nyhetsbyrån said:

[…] Bashar Al Assad i Syrien hur lugn som helst, nåt säger mig att han inte längre är det ”On Friday, Syrian forces used water cannons, batons and gunfire to beat up protesters in Daraa. The violence […]

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March 19th, 2011, 12:44 pm

 

56. Revlon said:

#51 JAD

“I actually see the government reaction to be very wise and responsible, that is the first thing they need to do to make things better and they show bravery of doing that, and I think that this move will work for the best interest of all of Syrians”

Dear Jad:
Please let me remind you of the context and the meaning of the regime’s gesture.

First, As far as I know, Syrians are still ruled by Emergency laws (EL).
The regime still has the right to arrest, detain, and use the necessary force to maintain national stability.

Murdering the three youths in Daraa yesterday, was within the bounds of the EL.
To fake an investigation and retribution against the perpetrators, and to use them as a scapegoat is a farce.

Second, I can not remember the last time the regime opened a “Transparent investigation” in the killing of any of the thousands of Syrians over the last 40 years!
The regime is acting in the interest of its self preservation. That is wise, from its perspective.

The way I see it!
The revolution handed down their ultimatum and the regime has caved in.
The regime’s response was self defeating: It was to question their own emergency laws.
Asad jr. has failed on all fronts that matter to the people. He must step down now!
He has failed to understand the needs and aspirations of his people.
He has failed to anticipate the rising discontent with the system.
He failed to protect the young citizens of Daraa, from the aggression of his forces.
And now he is failing his own protectors!

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March 19th, 2011, 12:46 pm

 

57. NK said:

SOURI

So what you’re saying is, don’t judge the guy based on what he says, God forbid that we form opinions based on facts, oh no, the back ground music is a much better standard to judge people. Just like you choose to label women with face veils as extremists too.

You know what, I would love to hear your definition of Islamic extremism, please let us have those pearls of wisdom.

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March 19th, 2011, 1:09 pm

 

58. Norman said:

It is crazy to think that we are not sad for the death of Syrian citizens, of course we are, an investigation is the right next move, until we know what happened, we should all keep an open mind and wait for the results, if we see an attempt for a cover up then we all should be screaming but we have to be open to the possibility that the shooters were protecting and fearing for their lives,

About what is taking place in Libya, i wonder if the time has come for the Palestinians in the West bank to go to the street and see what Israel is going to do and if the West will be as happy and eager to protect them, i have the feeling that i would be disappointed.

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March 19th, 2011, 1:48 pm

 

59. Revlon said:

# 54
“The Baath Party Principles make many of the same claims that you do about freedom. They are generalized utterances that everyone repeats because they sound nice. Moreover, do you think all Syrian participating in these demonstrations would define freedom in the way you did or would different Syrians have their own confused conception?”

Dear Nour,

Thank you for your question.
I have never been a party member, an activist, or a member of any organised political group. I have not watched the news fro years until last month.
My views on freedom are rooted in my own understanding of Religion and my experience as son, father, and professional.

Freedom remains an utterance, until practiced. We both believe in that, don’t we?
I am not informed about the Baath party. I know that it preaches freedom. I used to parrot its slogans at school.
However, I hope that you realise that current Baath party is a tamed version of what it used to be. It now serves as the ideological façade for the military dictatorship.
As such neither Baath party members themselves nor the public at large enjoy the windfall of its slogans.

As people, we all have dreams. They are as different as we are. Our tool to realise them is one. It is the freedom.
Do not over-read into the slogans of the demonstrating youths.
Our society is blessed with close family ties. Respect and obedience to senior and wiser family members serves to keep their feet on the ground.
Our society has an old, and time tested culture and heritage of collective counsel.
Do not worry!
It will work!
Cheers.

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March 19th, 2011, 1:55 pm

 

60. SOURI said:

NK,

I did not label women with face veils as extremist (regardless of whether I think so or not). I was talking about the decision to move away 1200 teachers from schools, and this is what came out in the media when the decision was made:

http://all4syria.info/content/view/27802/113/

في إجراء يهدف إلى وقف نمو تيار ديني متشدد في سورية، قامت وزارة التربية بنقل نحو 1200 مدرسة منقبة إلى وزارة الإدارة المحلية وتحديدا إلى البلديات.
وكشفت مصادر مطلعة لـ«الراي»، أن القرار طال مئات المدرسات في بعض المحافظات مثل ريف دمشق وحلب وريفها حيث وصل الرقم إلى نحو 300 مدرسة في كل منها، بينما لم يتعد الرقم بضعة مدرسات في محافظة دمشق، وخلت محافظات أخرى من أية حالة كما في القنيطرة.
ولاقى القرار الذي اتخذ منذ فترة ليست بالبعيدة، ردود فعل متباينة، اتجهت معظمها نحو الترحيب به، على خلفية تخوف الشارع من نمو ظاهرة التطرف في دولة علمانية تدفع في اتجاه سيطرة الإسلام المعتدل.

Did you read this before? It is not me who is labeling anybody with anything, OK?

As for Islamic extremism, this is a subjective concept and I don’t think there is a scientific definition for extremism. For me, anybody who would try to harm you because of your opinion is a religious extremist.

Religious extremism is common in Syria. Islamist can very easily find a reason to label you as kafir and then try to harm you.

If you believe in biologic evolution– you are kafir.
If you believe in psychoanalysis– you are kafir.
If you believe in the physical law of conservation of matter
— you are kafir.
If you believe in comparative religion– you are kafir.
If you believe in the critical study of Islamic history– you are kafir.
If you don’t believe in witchcraft– you are kafir.
If you don’t believe in demons and ghosts– you are kafir.
If you don’t believe in the evil eye– you are kafir.
etc.

Being labeled as kafir by the Islamists is not a joke and many of them will try to do physical harm to you. Their beliefs say that a kafir must be killed within 3 days if he does not repent. Kafir women, however, can be kept as concubines. The only exception to this rule is the case of Christians and Jews living under Islamist rule, who are not required to be killed, although recent events in Iraq and Egypt show that this is not a very strict exception either.

Before the Baath rule, it was commonplace for Sunni feudal lords to kill their Alawi peasants and rape their wives, because unlike Sunni peasants, Alawi peasants have no human rights at all in the “Sharia Law.” Alawis, Ismailis, Druze, and Shia are not considered Muslims by the Sunni Islamists. They are considered kafirs. So if the lord kills an Alawi peasant and takes his wife as a concubine, he will be considered performing a religious duty rather than a crime in the Sharia. Many Syrian Islamists still have the same view of the Alawites, and I’ve heard it myself from many of them.

وربما من هذا المنطلق نفهم دعوة علي الأحمد منظر الثورة السورية الذي ابتهل إلى الله في أحد مقالاته قائلا:

اللهم أرنا فيهم عجائب قدرتك ، زلزالا مثل زلزال هاييتي الاخير قوته سبعين درجه على رختر يجتاح جبال العلويين كلها ولا يبقى منهم من يخبر عن مصيرهم ، أو طوفانا مثل طوفان نوح يسحبهم من بيوتهم إلى قبورهم ولا يعرف صغيرهم من كبيرهم .

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March 19th, 2011, 2:09 pm

 

61. Jad said:

Thank you Souri for the reply. Regarding your last comment, i’m not sure how relevent it is to our dialogue here? Can we stay away from such useless subjects.

Revlon,
In summery of your comment; whatever the government/regime/system do/does to calm down the trouble is unconvincing and fake steps to protect itself not the Syrians.
Here is how I see it:
I don’t believe in violence as a way to solve any issue, therefore any action that can be taken to reduce tension and save lives I support, be it from a beast or from a sheep, I believe in dialogue, so this step of starting an investigation committee is a good start, I won’t refuse it before I see the results.

I just saw two videos by the same group about the 20.000 protesters Reuters report, well the first one is the funeral with huge group of people and within this huge group there was a smaller group of guys marching with them shouting for freedom so I’m not sure how Reuters claim that the funeral is a protest and all of the thousands and thousand chanting slogans even the by standards.
The second one showed about 150-250 young guys shouting slogans standing next to burning tire. The title was the funeral protests of the funeral, no funeral was there and it was one group of guys in one ‘protest’ not protestS!!
No wonder people trust Aljazeera the most, because they wait and investigate a little before going online.

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March 19th, 2011, 2:17 pm

 

62. SOURI said:

Bad developments:

http://www.facebook.com/Syrian.Revolution

الشيخ العلامة أحمد الصياصنة من درعا البلد يوجه نداءً لكل أبناء الشعب السوري بأن التظاهر ” فرض عين ” على كل سوري قادر إبتداءً من اليوم وأن أي خذلان يعتبر خيانة لدماء الشهداء .. وقد قام الأمن والجيش بالتعدي على الشيخ بالضرب والإهانة بعد رفضه تهدئة المتظاهرين والرضوخ لتهديداتهم … والله أكبر …. والحرية لسوريا

اعتقال فهد النجرس و العقيدات تهدد الأسد

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=KY47p_b-pyw#at=40

The Syrian regime has been trying to avoid Qaddafi’s grave mistakes, but it looks to me that if these news are true then we might be heading to a Libyan scenario. I have no doubt that the Syrian regime can win any civil war in Syria, however, the regime will have a hard time dealing with the media and with international pressure. Qaddafi’s performance on that level was disastrous. I think the Syrian regime can do better, but the problem is that there are many international and regional powers who will try hard to not let the Syrian regime pass through this crisis safely.

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March 19th, 2011, 2:22 pm

 

63. SOURI said:

If this turns into a full scale civil war and the regime wins it, then the regime must start secularizing the country seriously or otherwise it would lose whatever remaining credibility.

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March 19th, 2011, 2:37 pm

 

64. Norman said:

(( Clean Break))) is full speed ahead, The fragmentation of the Arab world is underway starting with Libya with the full conspiracy and cooperation of the Traitors in the Arab League .

May God save Syria and protect her from the ethnic and religious fragmentation is planned for her.

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March 19th, 2011, 2:41 pm

 

65. Norman said:

These are the people who are fighting Qaddafi,

David Wood

GET UPDATES FROM David Like
Anti-American Extremists Among Libyan Rebels U.S. Has Vowed To Protect

WASHINGTON — In 2007, when American combat casualties were spiking in the bloodbath of the Iraq War, an 18-year-old laborer traveled from his home in eastern Libya through Egypt and Syria to join an al Qaeda terrorist cell in Iraq. He gave his name to al Qaeda operatives as Ashraf Ahmad Abu-Bakr al-Hasri. Occupation, he wrote: “Martyr.’’

Abu-Bakr was one of hundreds of foreign fighters who flocked into the killing zones of Iraq to wage war against the “infidels.” They came from Saudi Arabia, Syria, Oman, Algeria and other Islamic states. But on a per capita basis, no country sent more young fighters into Iraq to kill Americans than Libya — and almost all of them came from eastern Libya, the center of the anti-Gaddafi rebellion that the United States and others now have vowed to protect, according to internal al Qaeda documents uncovered by U.S. intelligence.

The informal alliance with violent Islamist extremist elements is a coming-home of sorts for the United States, which initially fought on the same side as the Libyan fighters in Afghanistan in the 1980s, battling the Soviet Union.

According to a cache of al Qaeda documents captured in 2007 by U.S. special operations commandos in Sinjar, Iraq, hundreds of foreign fighters, many of them untrained young Islamic volunteers, poured into Iraq in 2006 and 2007. The documents, called the Sinjar documents, were collected, translated and analyzed at the West Point Counter Terrorism Center. Almost one in five foreign fighters arriving in Iraq came from eastern Libya, from the towns of Surt, Misurata and Darnah.

On a per capita basis, that’s more than twice as many than came from any other Arabic-speaking country, amounting to what the counter terrorism center called a Libyan “surge” of young men eager to kill Americans.

During 2006 and 2007, a total of 1,468 Americans were killed in combat and 12,524 were badly wounded, according to Pentagon records.

Today, there is little doubt that eastern Libya, like other parts of the Arab world, is experiencing a genuine burst of anti-totalitarian fervor, expressed in demands for political freedom and economic reforms. But there also is a dark history to eastern Libya, which is the home of the Islamic Libyan Fighting Group, an anti-Gaddafi organization officially designated by the State Department as a terrorist organization.

Story continues below
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March 19th, 2011, 2:57 pm

 

66. NK said:

SOURI

Regarding the government decision, read the first 2 comments following that article in that website, I’m sure the government had good intentions, and it’s indeed very important not to expose our children to radical thinking. However, I believe that decision ended up doing more bad that good, it fed the radicals propaganda that the Syrian government/regime is fighting Islam and added tension that the Syrian society can certainly do without. A more proper way to handle this matter would have been to send a committee to investigate and interview those teachers then remove them if they had radical views.

“For me, anybody who would try to harm you because of your opinion is a religious extremist”

“I was talking about his choice of the song and the style of his message, which clearly show that he comes from a religious extremist background”

See how you labeled him as an extremist, Anyways I totally agree with your definition, the key word though is HARM as in actual harm and not just labeling you as kafir. I have a lot of friends who would label Christians, Alawites, Shiites and even Sunnis as kafir, but those same friends have normal relationships with those “kafirs” and condemn suicide bombing, the killing of innocents by Islamic terrorists. And while you and me don’t agree with the way these guys think, we shouldn’t put them in the same camp as real extremists who are waiting to inflict actual harm on the rest of us, because then we’ll be doing the radicals a favor by doing their work for them.

So when we see people calling “No to sectarianism” we should promote them, rather than shoot them down based on their “background”.

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March 19th, 2011, 3:49 pm

 

67. Majhool said:

I find that Jad, Norman, and souri are set on discussing nothing else but sectarian paranoia. I suggest that others don’t waist their time arguing with them.

The focus should be on how to SUPPORT the quest for basic rights while controlling and limiting the potential damage as much as possible.

After all, 40 long years were enough to eradicate sectarianism, unfortunately the regime institutionalized sectarianism in the state.

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March 19th, 2011, 4:05 pm

 

68. Norman said:

Majhool,
What you write tell all, I do not need to write anything.

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March 19th, 2011, 4:16 pm

 

69. Jad said:

What are you talking about Majhool? What comment of mine you are refering to?

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March 19th, 2011, 4:49 pm

 

70. Norman said:

Jad,
Do not be on the defensive, you are just not qualified Syrian, If you know what i mean.

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March 19th, 2011, 4:53 pm

 

71. Ghat Al Bird said:

NORMAN #58.

Several of the comments regarding the demonstrations and status of Syria made by well intentioned individuals are nevertheless imprudent are the ones made by both the “pros” and “cons” who do not reside in Syria and/or are nationals of other countries.

The Arab speaking people have long been considered quite emotional as the Irish are. Still applauding acts that result in the deaths of fellow human beings in a cause one is not direectly involved in is somewhat spurrious.

Lets hope that cool heads win out and that what is taking place in Libya is an excption rather than the rule. The British practice of dividing and ruling is at the present being applied by those that have dictated US policies in the ME for many a year. And as you suggest the fragmentation of the Arab speaking peoples is in full swing.

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March 19th, 2011, 4:58 pm

 

72. Jad said:

Norman,
Please don’t write such thing. I highly doubt that what Majhool is refering to.
I think Majhool put my name by mistake since I didn’t write a comment that deserve such reaction.

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March 19th, 2011, 5:04 pm

 

73. majedkhaldoon said:

I think Gaddafi must change and resign and leave Libya,within two days
1) his ability to fight the rebels is seriously curtailed ,with the airial attack on his troops by France England and USA.
2) any delay will destroy the libyan military power and drain the money,which better is used to help libyans than killing them.
3)the final outcome is bleak for him,he has to leave or get killed at the end,the international decision has already been made.

In Syria I do not think the goverment investigation can be fair,which is needed to calm the people,since Syria is under Emergency law,this must be abolished first.

To discuss the meaning of freedom,we can look at Egypt and Tunis,today in Egypt people went voting booths ,to approve or disapprove the new constitution it was free and the people were very happy.

supporting dictatorship is something of the past,old slogan ,as good as they sound,is not what people want,nor they are believable any more.
I expect Bashar to appear on TV,to do one thing , and say he is resigning,if the people around him are the bad and he is the good,if he and his loyalist are togather then he should expect a loosing fight,time is up for dictatorship.

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March 19th, 2011, 6:52 pm

 

74. trustquest said:

The Syrians society has been radicalized on religion and orientation lines for what ever the reasons, this is I think a fact and it is contrary to what the regime thinks, and off course it is their making who was there except them. In last visit, my wife visited a family in Banias, they told her not to ride the bus belong to the others and they gave her the name of the chain buses which they use. When she got there she noticed that the town is split between two sects and two sets of minds, with and against. It is really sad situation which seems that the regime can not do anything about it as long as it hang on power and do not make the change and open free election, allow free speech and remove age old laws including the emergency law. People know that, they whisper with this from all walks of lives but they can not say it out loud, even the Diaspora. In one video after the Mosque incident, the regime will run interviews, with their own secret service in the street to give the impression that what happened was just stupid kids, the lady laughed at those who are calling for freedom and said: those stupid calling for freedom, we have freedom, we can walk at night and nothing happen to us, what more freedom they want. She does not know what is freedom, she thinks safety is freedom…but people are starting something I hope will fruit like what other countries have succeeded, especially today the West for the first time in history they bombed the dictator, they did not support the dictator a 180 degree turn from long policy to support oppression.
Most discussion forget the main item behind the uprising in Arab World, it is genuinely and foremost is DIGNITY, combined with economic factors, or the deprivation of dignity from authoritarian regime, they can not provide except tyranny, this is their killing point and they are collecting now their dues.
They could not do except what happened in Tunisia and Egypt, their first encounter with protest, they fire up and killed 5 young kids.

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March 19th, 2011, 6:53 pm

 

75. Nafdik said:

It is amusing to see regime supporters being afraid that the collapse of the dictatorship will result in sectarian rule.

The assad regime is the most sectarian dictatorship in the arab world. Assad assent to power has been accompaied by the cleansing of the armed forces from all those who are from other sects than his. Same goes for internal security. Assad son has not done much better.

I understand that people are afraid of sectarian retribution but do not forget that this is the mind set that has been drilled into the syrian consiousness by 40 years of secular rule.

If people are truly against sectarian tendency then they should focus thier energy on those who are creating a sectatian syria today ie the assad regime and not on some hypothetocal sectarian parties of the future.

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March 19th, 2011, 7:13 pm

 

76. majhool said:

My apologies Jad. I did not mean to include you..

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March 19th, 2011, 7:22 pm

 

77. Nafdik said:

The fact that the government said that it will investigate the killings is a very positive and welcome development.

Whatever the motive of the regime this is an admission that killing peaceful protesters is unacceptable. It will reduce the fear factor and create some restraint on rogue security forces.

I think many syrians are ready to march for freedom if the punishment is tear gas and prison. What has to stop definitely is killing and torture.

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March 19th, 2011, 7:26 pm

 

78. Ford Prefect said:

We can talk and write about religious extremsists, sectarian devides, Wahhabis, Sufis, and many other irrelevant causes of these outbursts until we are blue in face. In the end, there is one and only one main reason for these intifadas: jobs and income.

The demonstrators might chant against anything, but we must filter out the noise and listen to the real faint voice they are all saying: give us the opportunity and the dignity to work and earn the wages necessary to feed our families.

I don’t care if Mother Teresa was running a country, her people will be on the street screaming if they miss the dignity of working and earning wages fairly.

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March 19th, 2011, 7:27 pm

 

79. Jad said:

Thank you Majhool!

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March 19th, 2011, 7:34 pm

 

80. Norman said:

FP,

I agree, Yeslam tummak, and your pen.

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March 19th, 2011, 7:57 pm

 

81. SOURI said:

If Bashar Assad goes on TV now and declares that he is going to have free elections in Syria but without any sectarian parties participating (that is, no دولة إسلامية, no تطبيق الشريعة, no حكم الإسلام, etc.) you will find that the same voices that are calling on him now to transform to democracy will start attacking him viciously and call him an Alawite kafir dictator. This is what happened with his father in the 1970’s.

The struggle in Syria has never been about democracy. It is a sectarian struggle in a pre-national society. 90% of those crying for democracy are sectarian hypocrites, and if they govern Syria you won’t hear them say the word democracy again, except if it is the Islamist type of democracy. I have never in my entire life saw an Islamist who understands what democracy is. They don’t even understand what a nation-state is, let aside democracy.

When an Islamist says “democracy,” he means by it that the Islamists should rule Syria according to Sharia. This is what democracy means to them. You can never expect a Baathist (or just a simple nationalist like myself) to give up to that insane demand. Sharia is not a type of politics, Sharia is a way of life that belongs to 800 AD. You can’t ask me to just let my country slip back to 800 AD and watch. Syria today cannot exist as it was in 800 AD. This is a battle of existence for the country itself as well as for the minorities. If Bashar cedes the country now to those terrorist thugs he would be a traitor.

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March 19th, 2011, 8:17 pm

 

82. Revlon said:

#61 JAD
You and I share all Syrians the wish for a peaceful outcome for today’s events.

The stand off between the People and the regime has passed the point of no return.
The tribes in Daraa, have lost children, whom they can not bring back. Their “tribal revenge ultimatum” is an act of pride. They are not budging down.

The regime has fully understood the gravity of Daraa threat. It is also mindful of the imminent acceleration of events across Syria. Its partial compliance with the ultimatum was the correct choice of action, to allow for themselves some time to move on to plan B. But do they really have one? I believe they do not.

These times remind me of the frantic calls of Asad sr. to his Soviet friends for a ceasefire on the Golan front in 1967. His forces were in precipitous, moral, mental,, physical and chaotic retreat. The Israeli forces reached to within 40 KM of Damascus. He survived the event, thanks to the support of the Soviet friends.

Today, the regime is also in a mental, moral, and chaotic retreat. They have no friends who can help. Their physical retreat might be imminent.

I have a feeling and a hope, the events would end sooner and more peacefully than anybody have ever imagined.

Here is my suggestion to Asad jr. for a plan B out:
Act now, before anymore bloodshed.
Declare intention to step down.
Negotiate a truce with the revolutionists in Daraa.
Hand over complete powers to an interim governing council within 1 week.
This council would have representatives from the Declaration of Damascus, the revolution and selected members of the current regime acceptable to the other two groups.

Peace

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March 19th, 2011, 8:44 pm

 

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