Truce Shaky but neither Arab League nor West have Better Idea as Opposition Militias Fight Among Themselves

The Annan truce is shaky but neither the Arab League nor the West has a better Idea about what to do in Syria. They opposition militias in the Idlib region are fight among themselves. The growing violence has scared or repulsed many educated and middle-class Syrians, who had been hoping for greater help from outside powers.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said the sanctions had depleted Syrian government financial reserves by half.  Egypt’s reserves have also been depleted by half, oddly enough. Juppe said the regime of President Bashar Assad was trying to maneuver around the sanctions and that “we must respond to these maneuvers.” Syrian reserves were reported at 18 billion before the revolt began. The sanctions have been unpopular with most Syrians because of the inflation, scarcity, and monetary collapse that has made the average Syrian much poorer than he was.

 The following article describes how the free Syrian Army militias in Idlib province have taken a beating by the Syrian army and in public opinion because many of them turned to kidnapping, robbery, and fighting among themselves.

نشقاقات واسعة في صفوف ” الجيش الحر” بإدلب وأنباء عن تصفيات قريبة

خاص عربي برس

هل بدأت حروب التصفيات بين ثوار إدلب مع اشتداد تضييق الخناق عليهم من قبل الجيش السوري، وانحسار الغطاء الشعبي عنهم بعد تراكم الأخطاء، ومع قلة الذخائر والأسلحة التي ترشح من الحدود التي بات يطبق عليها حرس الحدود بشكل لافت ؟ وبعد تسليم المئات منهم أسلحتهم والتعهد للسلطات بعدم حمل السلاح والمشاركة في الشغب أو التخريب ؟

أريحا التي تشتهر بأطيب أنواع الكرز السوري، ذاقت الأمرين على يد المسلحين الذين سيطروا عليها ،موسم الكرز الذي كان يصدر إلى الخليج لم يجد من يقطفه العام الماضي ، و مصايف جبل الأربعين حيل بين أهل حلب وبينها، بل إن بيوت الحلبيين تم نهب الكثير منها ، ولم يبق موسر من أصحاب مطاعمها لم يدفع “خوة ” أو يخطف له ابن بهدف الفدية، دخول أبنائها تراجعت كثيراً بسبب الأحداث وقطع طريق اللاذقية حلب الحيوي الذي يمر بالقرب منها عوامل أدت إلى انقلاب المزاج العام، بعد انتشار قصص التعذيب و ” التشبيح ” التي مارسها هؤلاء بحق مؤيدي النظام وحتى الحياديين الذين لم يتحمسوا للثورة.

ومع تسرب اليأس إلى صفوف المسلحين نتيجة صمود النظام وسيطرته العسكرية على معظم الأرض في المحافظة بدأت الأصوات تتعالى في أريحا منتقدة الجيش الحر و مسلحيه وممارساتهم .

أستاذ جامعي طلب عدم نشر اسمه قال: ” حارتنا ضيقة ونعرف بعضنا ، أي جيش حر هم ؟ هل بيت العدل عائلة الجاسوس الإسرائيلي بسام العدل ، أم مسلحي بيت الحرصوني وبيت البخورة ؟ هم عصابات سرقت ونهبت وقتلت ،والناس تريد من الجيش سحقهم ، لكنهم يخافون من الإعدام و التعليق على أعمدة الكهرباء بعد محاكم خنفشارية لمشايخ نصف وهابيين ونصف جهلة… ” .

Addendum (7 hours later) : Thomas Pierret writes in an email

Dear Joshua, I’m writing to warn you against the article you put on your blog today, on Idlib militias fighting among themselves. I’ve read several articles of that kind over the last weeks, always on websites that are strongly pro-regime (Arabi Press is one of them). It might well be pure propaganda, and in any case I wouldn’t take these articles at face value. Best, Thomas

Addendum: Landis replies to Pierret.

Dear Thomas. Many thanks for this cautionary advice. You are absolutely correct to warn against taking pro-government news at face value. There is so much bad, half-truth, and false news coming out of Syria that it is very hard to know what to trust and how to report on it or summarize it. I have been erring on the side of linking to as much as I can, and try to publish contradictory reports next to each other when I can in order to underscore the confusion.  I must confess that this report seemed possible to me as I have reliable reports from friends and relatives who travel through the Idlib region being robbed. Two different co-workers of my brother-in-law stopped by gangs on the Aleppo-Idlib road. Both were Sunnis. They were beaten and robbed. None of them take the highway anymore or travel between the two cities because the roads are considered unsafe. Firas, my brother-in-law, who kept a small apartment in Aleppo and traveled there every week in order to oversee a small clothing factory had to find other work based in Latakia, give up his apartment, and stop traveling to Aleppo. The stories of highwaymen attaching people for money are legion. These stories are at the heart of the article I quote above. This was the reason I went with it and quoted from it. All the same, I do not have independent verification of the militias attacking each other, although I have heard many accounts of people who support the revolution during its firs – and largely peaceful phase – losing confidence in it for the reasons reported in this story and because they fear growing lawlessness the emergence of armed groups who are using revolutionary activities as cover for less savory activities. Of course, this is exactly what the government and security forces who have provoked this violence are hoping for in order to discredit the revolution. One does not want to play into their cynical plans, but equally one does not want to whitewash reality. You warning is important. Government papers have incentive to paint the opposition is criminals and must be read with caution and skepticism.


Recent developments in Aleppo Province. The so called FSA has abandoned its checkpoints in the northern countryside of Aleppo, but these checkpoints remain intact (not demolished). It is not clear yet whether the FSA has abandoned its checkpoints in compliance with Anan’s plan or because it cann’t confront regime’s superior air force and army or both.

Foreign Policy: Who Broke Syria?
Bashar al-Assad did. But the international community and the media made things worse.
BY JAMES HARKIN | APRIL 17, 2012, Foreign Policy

In December, the Syrian National Council seems to have made an orchestrated effort to turn Homs into a Syrian Benghazi…. The council spread stories in the international media, for example, suggesting that the Syrian Army had moved up reinforcements with which to strike the city, and that it had given the rebellious Homsies 72 hours to lay down their weapons or be killed. When I phoned a respected veteran activist in Homs, he told me that the charge simply wasn’t true. Things were bad enough, he said, without having to make up scary stories….

The United Nations bought it. Navi Pillay, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that “many voices are warning that a major assault” on Homs is about to begin, that a further military buildup had already begun. ……

If there was a strategy to internationalize the conflict, however, it failed. The United Nations could do nothing, but the promise that it might may have put ordinary activists and Free Syrian Army rebels in the city at even greater risk. Many were led to believe that help was coming, when it most definitely wasn’t….

….Nor is it lost on them that Qatar and Saudi Arabia are so democratically backward as to make the Syrian government look like a hippie commune. The SNC’s apparent decision to accept money from the Gulf States to pay salaries to Free Syrian Army guerrillas sounded breathtakingly arrogant, and makes for shockingly bad politics. Not only does lend credence to the conspiracy theories peddled by the government that the uprising is the handiwork of foreign agitators; it risks splitting the indigenous opposition movement and empowering exactly the kind of Sunni extremist groups who are most likely to stoke sectarian tensions.

Whatever the Syrian government now says, the influence of these extremist Sunni factions is currently marginal, even inside the Free Syrian Army. Most of the military defectors are simply conservative Sunnis from farming communities. But Syria is currently exhibiting a brand new irony of our post-war-on-terror era. The secular Syrian liberals and leftist groups that have most in common in Western values don’t want NATO intervention, while it’s exactly the kind of people who don’t much like us — the aging remains of the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as the newer, more radical Sunni salafists — who are begging for our help.

Who knows: If the unthinking drift toward creating neo-mujahideen in Syria and Iran (a strategy advocated by Foreign Policy’s own James Traub) continues, following a decade in which radical Sunnis became America’s Public Enemy No. 1, Osama bin Laden might have to be posthumously converted back into the freedom fighter America saw him as in the 1980s, marching into battle to drive out one of the last vestiges of godlessness in the Middle East.

Fox News: Syria regime’s finances cut in half by sanctions

PARIS – France’s foreign minister says an array of international sanctions targeting Syria’s repressive regime have depleted its financial reserves by half — and Damascus is actively trying to evade them. Alain Juppe called Tuesday for a solid …

France24 (EN): Al-Assad’s ‘modest and sensitive’ cousin publishes romantic thriller

Al-Assad’s ‘modest and sensitive’ cousin publishes romantic thriller By Tony Todd the 16/04/2012 – 18:30 While President Bashar al-Assad suppresses an uprising in Syria, his first cousin has written a romantic thriller warmly praised by Paris …

By Phillip Smyth April 15, 2012, MERIA

As the Syrian revolution against Bashar al-Asad’s rule enters its first year, Asad appears to have a good command over Syria’s large and fractious minority community. Three of the most prominent minority groups include the Christians, Druze, and Kurds. Asad’s control of these groups was not happenstance but the result of a number of hard- and soft-power moves executed by the regime. These calculations did not simply involve direct internal dealings with said minorities, but also outreach to their populations living in neighboring states and abroad. Due to the regime’s many policies, minority support may continue for some time.

Foreign Affairs: Alawites for Assad

Since the start of the revolt in Syria, the country’s Alawites have been instrumental in maintaining President Bashar al-Assad’s hold on power. A sect of Shia …

The Alawites’ loyalty to Assad today is hardly assured, however. Despite popular notions of a rich, privileged Alawite class dominating Syria, the country’s current regime provides little tangible benefit to most Alawite citizens. Rural Alawites have struggled as a result of cuts in fuel subsidies and new laws restricting the sale of tobacco — their primary crop for centuries. Indeed, since the provision of basic services by the first Assad in the 1970s and 1980s, most Alawite villages — with the exception of Qardaha, the home of Assad’s tribe, the Kalbiyya — have developed little. Donkeys remain a common form of transport for many, and motor vehicles are scarce, with dilapidated minibuses offering the only way to commute to the cities for work.

Some Alawites are explicitly breaking ranks. Last September, for example, three prominent Alawite sheikhs, Mohib Nisafi, Yassin Hussein, and Mussa Mansour, issued a joint statement declaring their “innocence from these atrocities carried out by Bashar al-Assad and his aides, who belong to all religious sects.” According to Monzer Makhouz, an Alawite member of the Syrian National Council, a leading opposition group, Alawites are joining protests in the coastal cities of the Alawite territory. And in recent weeks, evidence has emerged of defections of Alawite soldiers and intelligence officers, seemingly from less privileged Alawite tribes, who have described themselves as “Free Alawites” and called for other Alawites to join them. …

Two Car bombs exploded in Aleppo on Tuesday killing 5 and wounding 16.

Salon: Syrian rebels’ man in D.C.

Radwan Ziadeh fled Syria with his wife via the Jordanian border in October 2007. He had come to Washington many times before that, for conferences dealing with his work on Syrian politics. But upon returning to his homeland after one Washington …

By Jeffrey White – WINEP
April 17, 2012

Data from one of the key Syrian opposition groups, the Local Coordination Committees (LCC), shows a persistent pattern of violent, armed regime actions against the people despite the ceasefire that supposedly went into force last week:

The regime has effectively continued its struggle against the armed and unarmed opposition, even using heavy weapons at times, though less frequently than before. Around twenty people are dying each day since the beginning of the ceasefire.

From Friday through mid-Sunday, the LCC reported some sixty-eight violent regime actions across the country. All major centers of opposition were targeted: Aleppo, Deraa, Homs, the Damascus countryside, Idlib, Deir al-Zour, and Hama. Regime tactics included shelling of cities with heavy weapons (artillery, tanks, and BMP armored vehicles), shooting at demonstrators and other individuals, raids with armored vehicles on opposition towns and neighborhoods, breaking up demonstrations with gunfire, physical assaults on demonstrators, and arrests.

The widespread use of violent tactics will be a challenge for the UN monitoring mission, even if it reaches its projected strength of 250. The regime’s actions also suggest that it has no intention of negotiating anything but the opposition’s surrender.


Recent developments in Aleppo Province. The so called FSA has abandoned its checkpoints in the northern countryside of Aleppo, but these checkpoints remain intact (not demolished). It is not clear yet whether the FSA has abandoned its checkpoints in compliance with Anan’s plan or because it cann’t confront regime’s superior air force and army or both.

By Michael Knights – winep

If the Gulf states decide to aid the Syrian armed opposition, they have considerable equipment and expertise they could bring to bear.
The participation of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates in the Libyan conflict demonstrated the Gulf Cooperation Council’s activism and capability. In recent months, therefore, speculation has focused on possible GCC intervention in the Syrian civil war. On February 27, Qatari prime minister Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani told the Friends of Syria conference in Tunis that “we should do whatever is necessary to help [Syrian oppositionists], including giving them weapons to defend themselves.” On March 31, Saudi foreign minister Saud al-Faisal echoed this statement: “The arming of the [Syrian] opposition is a duty.” What capabilities, then, would the Gulf states bring in terms of support to armed proxies? And what would be the risks related to their intervention?

External security assistance to states and substate groups can be divided into two broad categories: foreign internal defense (FID) and unconventional warfare. FID support comprises security assistance provided to a government for the purpose of overcoming insurgent or terrorist groups, while unconventional warfare refers to support provided by external actors to the insurgents. In either case, foreign support may include provision of training, equipment, or operations, in some cases via direct involvement of foreign combat forces.
GCC states have a significant track record in FID and are quickly gaining experience in unconventional warfare missions. Both FID and unconventional warfare accentuate funding, technology, airpower, and special forces — attributes possessed by the Gulf Arab monarchies. Likewise, factors that have traditionally hindered GCC military effectiveness — limited manpower, inability to field large numbers of high-quality units — are deemphasized. The partial deniability afforded by the use of militant proxies is also attractive to the cautious Gulf monarchies.

Saudi Arabia offers a significant pedigree in terms of unconventional warfare campaigns: ..

Why Turks don’t smile

A Turkish friend of mine who has lived in the United States for many years once told me an amusing experience of hers. After more than a decade in the land of freedom, she came back to Istanbul for a few weeks. While strolling the streets, she inadvertently smiled at people with whom she came face to face. In return, though, she did not get the polite response that she was used to. Instead, the women she smiled at looked surprised, and worse, the men she smiled at looked aroused.

“I realized that those men took my smile as a sexual hint,” my friend told me. “One of them even began to follow me in a very excited mood!”

Soon, my friend wisely adapted to the Turkish manners: In this country, you don’t smile at strangers. You simply look the other way, and, if you come eye to eye, you try to look tough.

For a while, and as a sociologist-wannabe, I have been wondering why this is the case. Gradually, I have become convinced that this no-smile attitude tells us a lot about the nature of Turkish society: As surveys also prove, this is one of the places on earth in which people trust each other the least. Hence, they can easily see other members of society as potential threats or even enemies.
But why? Are Turks inherently rude, antisocial or nasty people?

Not really. Quite the contrary, Turks are famous for their hospitality and generosity, and they are also known to be very loyal to their friends.

But there is a catch here: Turks are very good to people that they know well, such as their family and kin. Yet, for the people with whom they are less familiar, their attitude dramatically changes. In other words, if they see a familiar face on the street, they go out of their way to show affection. For unfamiliar faces, however, they have nothing but suspicion.

This social reality of Turkey seems to tell us a lot about the nature of its politics as well: Here, every political camp is filled with contempt and paranoia for the other camps. (In the 1970s, this led the country to near civil war; …..

Burhan Ghalioun’s email hacked. Published by al-akhbar. No real surprises

■ رياض الأسعد مغرور ويجب إيجاد قيادة جماعية
■ الخارجية الأميركية تقدم الاستشارات لغليون وقضماني
■ هكذا يخاطب «رئيس المجلس» سعود الفيصل

Fred Hof email … Saud Alfaisal …

عرض الإخوة الطريقة التي تعامل بها العقيد رياض مع اللجنة وأظهروا الجانب الفوقي في العلاقة التي أظهرت غروره وأنه يجب علينا إيجاد قيادة جماعية لضمان حسن سير العمل، حيث تصرفات العقيد لا توحي بالأريحية بالتعامل معه

2- محاولة اغتيال د. سمير جعجع

قرار: إصدار المكتب الإعلامي بيان إدانة وأن هذا العمل اعتاد النظام القمعي في دمشق القيام به، وأن هذه الأعمال للنظام القمعي بسوريا لن تمر بدون عقاب وإرسال رسالة الى د. سمير (للتهنئة) بسلامته (د. بسمة)

8- فواتير بسام كويفاتي ومطالبة الأستاذ هيثم المالح بها تم حلها مع صاحب العلاقة مباشرة وصرف له مبلغ 10 آلاف دولار وانتهت القضية

Comments (171)

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151. AK said:

“all the islamophob and paranoid and marginal sectarian minorities support assad…we do not have islamohaters ,christians or others in the anti-assad movement.”

Please do elaborate on that

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April 23rd, 2012, 7:44 am


152. Shami said:

AK, what i wanted to say is that  all islamophob syrian christians support assad for the known reason ,and in the anti-assad movement we find the syrian christians(and other religions) who do not belong to the islamophob or islamohater group.

Most of supporters of Assad on this forum are of the first kind.

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April 23rd, 2012, 7:57 am


153. Abbas Bazzi said:

Shami, the majority of SYRIANS support Assad now. Whereas before this fawra his support was probably below 50%. When the average Syrian witnessed the disgust being spewed by the leaders of the opposition, and the violence and chaos displayed by the militant wing of the opposition, they ran straight to the arms of the regime.

The Syrian government had its faults, no doubt about that; but very few Syrians wanna take the country down the road wanton anarchy and a bloody sectarian civil war.

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April 23rd, 2012, 8:14 am


154. Shami said:

Moderation warning RED Bazzi, as a pro Hezbollah Lebanese, don’t take your wishes as the reality!

Arrogance is the weapon of the paranoid mini sectarian we had enough of it on Syria comment.

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April 23rd, 2012, 8:23 am


155. Amal Saad-Ghorayeb said:


As a woman and an anti-imperialist, I really have to restrain myself from resorting to the same type of ad hominem attacks against you that you so easily avail yourself of here and on Twitter. Your misogynistic, sexually abusive slur against Sharmine Narwani as a a “regime lap dancer” is all too reminiscent of Orientalist tropes which revolve around the sexualized belly-dancing Muslim harem.

Such is your intellectual and political bankruptcy that you could not even abide by the minimal requirements of liberal, politically correct discourse which, while insidious in its own way, at least tames its more sexually and racially offensive elements into professing multicultural tolerance and sexual equality.

Nothing scares you more than the image of the decolonized native who rejects your preferred al-Jadaliyya (read, House Arab) line of thinking, than the decolonized female native who takes the lead in liberating the minds of her fellow natives. You silly little white man.

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April 23rd, 2012, 8:25 am


156. HK said:


Does it occur to you to think consider that the sectarian language used by the some opposition leading figures is the reason that secular Syrians in general are against this so called revolution? This, by the way, includes ALL sects- not only minorities as you’re trying to suggest!!!

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April 23rd, 2012, 9:53 am


157. Jad said:

Son of Damascud

‘Stop your lies about me,’
What lies I wrote about you and where?

‘you were the one threatening legal actions against someone that dared to ask things about you,’

Is it anybody’s buisness to know details about me other than a moukhabarati? I don’t think that it’s your buisness or anybody else to know those details, I never asked you are anyone else about your personal information so you or others have no right for that. What a silly and meaningless note to write.

‘No wonder you keep getting moderated’
🙂 as if that means anything when I’m moderated while many of the ususal sectarian commentators are giving the permission to write whatever they want without a word from the moderation ‘team’.
It’s the site problem that the moderator doesn’t do his job right and instead he tries to moderate me from replying to the provocateurs.

‘For your sake’
Thank you your highness

‘ I will side step all the shoddy and despicable sources you post such as Aldunnia, Akhbarieh, and Syriatruth’
I see, Weiss and Abrams are better and better resources and better writers.

‘and claim them as truths when they are nothing but lies and made up propaganda.’

I didn’t claim that they are the truth, they are sourcrs of NEWS like any others, I don’t write the articles I simply link them as you and any other commentators on SC do, I just share them when they have something we need to know about.

Besides, you don’t need to be made for that just skip them.

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April 23rd, 2012, 10:08 am


158. DS said:

Dear Sirs/Madam

The underpinning of this revolution has always been based on sectarian hatred, and or supremacy. The ideals of freedom and democracy are largely tactical to ascertain western support and broader domestic support.

This fact became very evident from early on as those who claimed to be at the forefront of such noble goals vehemently rejecting ALL calls and efforts to negotiate rfeorms and establist rules and standards for Parlimentary elections, while eagerly embracing violence and extremists support from the region.

While i have seen many pro-rev advocates who are respectful and liberal minded, I have often seen the oposite. My Friend Abbas Bazzi has been frquently lambasted personally just becasue he is of Shia lineage; even called a Khomeinite.

I have often seen particulalry nasty comments against women who dare argue in support of the government. Now I am far from politically correct, and in fact am quite hostile to it, but I do believe that Sharmine was unnecessarily insulted directly. I abhor radical egalitarianism, but I insist on Chivalry and proper behaviour, especially towards the intelligent women who impart important information to us like Sharmine!!!

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April 23rd, 2012, 11:07 am


159. Son of Damascus said:

“This just goes to prove my point, and a tangible example were anyone who does not agree with the fawra is immediately de-humanized.”

Where exactly did I dehumanize you, are you not dehumanizing the death of 13,000 Syrians by calling their death “fawar”? The people that got tortured to death because they dared to say no to Bashar and his cronies are all “fawarjieh” too?

I did not attack you personally, yet YOU chose to personalize the discussing while at the same time blaming the “fawarjieh” of the very same. Talk about double standards to say the least… You posted a comment here and I replied to it, which by the way you failed to answer any of my points except to attempt to ridicule me, the very definition of a bully. No wonder you like the “truths” that a hack like Sharmine writes.

“No where in my post did i write anything pro regime. All my comment was against the “revolution” and the apparent online mindset of some/many of its followers.”

No where in my post did I say you are pro-regime, I said you are an apologist rightfully so because you seem to reserve your indignation solely to the “fawarjieh” as is they are the one bombarding Syrian cities with artillery shells, and tank shells.

“So you said you are guilty as charged SonofDamascus, but you simply have more humanity than I do, and probably anyone else who disagrees with you. Id give you a medal for the amount of bigotry in that statement”

I was talking about MYSELF, I did not mention you or anyone else. Care to mention what was bigoted exactly about me saying that I am not guilty for standing silently by while the Assadi forces continue to kill Syrians? Oh right we just have to take the word of an apologists because proof mean zilch for you right?

“and only those “revolutionaries” who bandwagon insults and online intimidation (both online and offline)”

Hypocrisy at its best here, for I did not direct a single insult to you, I merely pointed out your hypocrisy and double standards.

For the record did you lambast Sharmine for attacking Conroy, Damon, and others? Or do you just reserve your indignation for anyone that does not follow your empty rhetoric?

“The rest of the jargon written i will not even dignify with an answer”

Obviously not, because you have no answers but made up lies and bullying. For once I would like a real answer from an apologist other than old age propaganda and imperialist crap.

The rain really makes the snakes come out.

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April 23rd, 2012, 12:20 pm


160. AK said:

“are you not dehumanizing the death of 13,000 Syrians by calling their death “fawar”? ”

I stopped reading there.

Dont know how you got to that conclusion, but you are definitely very gifted.

people like you People like you are the fawarjieh, People who among other things put words into other people’s mouth when they have nothing good to say themselves.

Stop wasting our time.

The rest of the post is dismissed as jargon.

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April 23rd, 2012, 3:13 pm


161. Son of Damascus said:


Which lie, lets re-examine what you said about me regarding Weiss to AK:

“Just to let you know that those who are attacking Sharmine every time she writes an article their favorite writer is no other than Michael Weiss. Go figure!”

Here is what I said to you:

“Michel Weiss is NOT my favourite writer, and the ONLY time I linked him here was because for once he did not go into his USUAL HYPERBOLE.”

Notice this is the THIRD time I explain myself yet you keep accusing me of being a Weiss follower, if I use the SAME logic as you are using that would mean your favourite news outlet is Al Akhbarieh and that YOU are NOT just posting it, but that you ACTUALLY BELIEVE in it.

“Is it anybody’s buisness to know details about me other than a moukhabarati? I don’t think that it’s your buisness or anybody else to know those details, I never asked you are anyone else about your personal information so you or others have no right for that. What a silly and meaningless note to write.”

No I never asked you about a single personal thing EVER, yet you keep on CHOOSING to attack Tara, Juergen, and Uzair8 whenever you feel like it, yet scream for the Law when someone merely just asked where in the West do you live (It takes a moukhabarati to ask such a question?). For your info in many Western nations ONLINE BULLYING IS ILLEGAL, and you have been guilty of that numerous times. If you fail to see the irony in that….

“It’s the site problem that the moderator doesn’t do his job right and instead he tries to moderate me from replying to the provocateurs.”

So the moderator is in conspiracy to silence your hate filled language and not the others? Did Dawoud not get moderated or how about the bigot KT has he not been moderated numerous times? Oh right accuse with no proof the MO of apologists.

And since when is calling someone a ‘stani, or accusing someone of being a Nazi part of a normal reply in a civil discourse? And are you not guilty of adding hate filled language in each one of your plentiful cut & paste jobs, or calling people terrorists sympathizers and 3ar3ouri’s alright in your book?

“I didn’t claim that they are the truth, they are sourcrs of NEWS like any others, I don’t write the articles I simply link them as you and any other commentators on SC do, I just share them when they have something we need to know about.”

yet you hold me responsible for ONE article I posted for Weiss, and another of Abrams that was a direct REBUTTAL to what Ehsani had posted. I can see how this makes sense to you.
(Another REMINDER of what I said that last time, about Abrams…)

I suggest to you before you resort to your usual name calling to actually READ what I write before replying me, or you can JUST SKIP MY POSTS all together. The decision is wholly up to you.

I have never forced anyone to read what I write, or even to reply to my posts…

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April 23rd, 2012, 3:27 pm


162. Son of Damascus said:

“Dont know how you got to that conclusion, but you are definitely very gifted.
People like you are the fawarjieh, People who among other things put words into other people’s mouth when they have nothing good to say themselves.”

Like you have something good to say, all I have read so far is bigoted hate from an apologist that can’t even answer a single post without resorting to name calling.

And if you fail to see the fact you calling the revolution where 13,000 Syrians died from so far “fawarjieh” as dehumanizing, I feel bad for you. No matter what label you want to put it under those Syrians deserved better, and still deserve bitter.

You can skip my posts if they such a waste of time to you.

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April 23rd, 2012, 3:32 pm


163. Tara said:

Would DS post concludes Sharmine’s mission to impress us?  Is there more to come or are we now done?  Sharmine’s entourage talking points specifically in regard to misogyny is laughable… 

Why is it so difficult for Sharmine’s entourage to understand that the worst kind of misogyny practiced against women is when you deprive a woman from her child or a child from his mother?  A difficult concept?  The regime has killed more than 500 children and much more than 500 women.

Sharmine , 
Sorry.  You have personally failed all generic women in this world, and you failed yourself too.   You certainly belong to Alakhbar site et al and warning you should just stay where you  belong.

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April 23rd, 2012, 4:10 pm


164. Averroes said:

Wow .. this guy SHAME [Shami] is full of nothing but venom and sectarian hatred. I wish it continues to eat you out until it totally consumes you. You are beyond repair. Total.

Trade in?

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April 23rd, 2012, 7:19 pm


165. Averroes said:

I suppose all the red question marks in SHAME [Shami]’s contributions are edited intellectual jargon.

(well, for his standards, I’m sure they are)

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April 23rd, 2012, 7:27 pm


166. Son of Damascus said:

Its funny how someone comes here for the sole purpose to defend the “honour” of one journalist, takes it upon themselves to sully the reputation of another with absolutely NO PROOF.

The self proclaimed expert on Syria that has written so much feels it is so important to attack a Syrian Journalist that is writing in one of the most respected Foreign Politics magazines, with absolutely nothing to back their baseless and unfounded claims, even when asked to repeatedly.

They don’t even have the decency to attack Amal Hanano’s logic, but think it is alright to attack her honour because she so happens not to follow their simplistic and backwards look on life, the very same simpletons that keep crying conspiracy don’t know how to attack logic, they only know how to personalize their ugly hate under the guise of their cheap facade.

How so very honourable of you, I am sure Sharmine is glad to have someone like you in her corner…

I ask you again do you have a single proof to back up your unfounded and arrogant lies against Amal Hanano or are you just another shill artist that can’t back up what they say?

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April 23rd, 2012, 8:08 pm


167. Tara said:


Please review Post# 537 linked by Tara on the new thread. Read and learn!

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April 23rd, 2012, 9:10 pm


168. jad said:

Dear SNK,

You may be interested in this report:

Christians of the Holy Land

The exodus from the Holy Land of Palestinian Christians could eventually leave holy cities like Jerusalem and Bethlehem without a local Christian population. Bob Simon reports.

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April 23rd, 2012, 11:16 pm


169. Sex workers against the casual invocation of sex work to demean one's opponents said:

Don’t know why I feel inclined to respond to this- Tara, I’ve never commented on SC so consider me a ‘mole’ or what have you. I disagree with Sharmine on the Syrian uprising and much of what she writes these days; when I do agree with her, I find she overstates her point and undermines it. In her most recent blog post on Al Akhbar English’s site, she writes that the problem with western journalists is that they are shilling for their governments (agree) and not that they don’t speak any Arabic (disagree.)

These are the kinds of self-serving arguments by Ms. Narwani that I take issue with: she speaks no Arabic but she thinks her ideological dedication to a narrative will overcome this. Not speaking Arabic is a huge problem. Sorry. What I wish for: more honesty given that Narwani is also a western reporter- raised and educated outside the Arab world, with no knowledge of the language, and with all the privileges of a wealthy foreigner; less sectarianism (wanting ‘her Sunni’ back. And who are you — umm al muqawama?); and not overstating her case with maxims (for the record, Israel’s ban on journalists from Gaza did provoke an outcry among western journalists, including on CNN where some Israeli spokesperson was called to task by an anchor. You can still make the point that the response to Syria is wildly hyperbolic, and particularly that the emotional journalism which is tolerated/encouraged in reporting (from a distance) on Syria is strangely absent when the perpetrators are western or the Israeli regime, without overstating your point.)

Having said all that, regardless of where one stands, regardless of how selective Sharmine’s own empathy may appear, there is absolutely no excuse for employing gendered insults against her, nor should one defend such comments by saying that Narwani doesn’t care when Syrian women are killed by the regime. The fact that this is even up for debate is pathetic. My understanding is that the originator of the ‘lap dance’ comment has since expressed regret. Let’s leave it at that.

The fact is, though, that being a female writer/journalist is not easy, and attempts to undermine women by invoking their gender or sexuality are nefarious and all too common, particularly in this profession. Disagree on the merits. And if this was all a fluke, WSS, examine your own knee-jerk invocation of demeaning gendered insults. They reveal more than you may realize. There really is no excuse.

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April 24th, 2012, 12:48 am


170. William Scott Scherk said:

Alex writes: William, describing Sharmine as a “regime lap dancer” is not very polite. What exactly did she do to deserve that kind of language from a Canadian?

Sharmine Narwani writes: Duh. Jadaliyya means “kissing the white man’s ass” in Arabic.

Sharmine Narwani writes: Of course you need a translator for that too, because otherwise you wouldn’t have a fucking clue if you were in Idlib or Homs now, would you?

Alex is right about politeness, and he is right to ask why a Canadian would use such language.

I will answer the numerous posts mentioning me by name, or mentioning “white men.” I did catch the WSS is a Faggot reference before it was deleted (and laughed hard at the notion that Tara, repressive Tara, was demanding censorship of honest pro-regime outrage), along with the charge (widely Twitterized) that I am employed by the Israel embassy in Ottawa to recruit and spy on Syrian activists.

I will contact Sharmine privately, with a comment on her blog, Mideast Shuffle, and in the comments section of her last opinion piece at Al-Akhbar English. If those comments do not appear, I may attempt to post on Sharmine’s Facebook Wall. She has blocked me on Twitter and I have no idea how to contact her otherwise. My email is, as it always has been, willliam.scherk@gmail (those who have sent cheery messages about faggotry, pedophilia, getting it up the ass from Aroor, my Jew spymasters and so on, you may continue to cheer me. I reserve the right to publish in full your ravings. Thanks to the odious Syrian Commando for starting and widely disseminating the original false charges.)

I do not take instructions from foul-mouthed Baathi-boosting anonyms. Any forthcoming apology will be to Sharmine and to men and women who are rightfully offended by ‘demeaning gendered insults.’ The note from the Sex Worker played a large part in convincing me that I need to respond fully to the real and to the phony outrage.

To the scholar and researcher who wrote on her blog that:

Nothing scares such types more than the image of the decolonized native who rejects their preferred al-Jadaliyya (read, House Arab) line of thinking, than the decolonized female native who takes the lead in liberating the minds of her fellow natives. What a silly little white man.

And as for you Arab women out there who are siding with your male, white, Western, imperialist oppressor: the efforts of the likes of Narwani to liberate you from his grip, are wasted on you. You deserve your own self-imposed enslavement.

I have nothing to say that I have not said to her on Twitter. The racially-charged invective she lards about speaks for itself.

I should mention in passing that I have declared my interests. In my first postings to Syria Comment I told readers exactly who I was, where I lived, what my citizenship was, where my heart lay in relation to Syria, my capacity for languages, and my (lack of) political party membership and (lack of) religious beliefs. This was not to showboat, but to show good faith.

As a Canadian, as a British Columbian, I felt I needed to explain why I found Syria to be personally-concerning. I felt the need to explain the genesis of my interest, and to put it into the context of who I was and what had helped form my opinions. So, Syria Commenters definitely know who I am and what I represent — from my own words. I have nothing to hide, and every word I have written on the internet since 1997 has been in my own name. I am fully, personally, accountable for every word.

(the first Syrian I met in Vancouver was a refugee. This person was in a wheelchair, because of torture in Assad detention facilities. I think of him every day. If he goes back to Syria now, he goes back to prison, to the uncertain fate that awaits detainees today.)

As for the offending phrase, it is far too late to request deletion, and since the comment has become a minor Twitter meme, there is no point.

Thank you, Sex Worker. You reminded me of the work I did for the independent gay and lesbian monthly in Vancouver (Angles) on gender, especially my articles on street prostitution among the forgotten and abused transgender community. I take your commentary to heart. I need to be true to my own morality, without compromising a need to express myself.

Here below is the paragraph I posted earlier, with the offending phrase replaced.

Will the points made be addressed by Sharmine? Perhaps. As SOD has remarked, Sharmine’s gossipy and potentially destructive asides about real journalists such as Conroy, and her remarkable slurs against Jadaliyya — are a part of the context of discussion that has yet been entirely evaded by her and all her supporters.

Will those slurs be reproduced here? Perhaps. Will Sharmine respond to criticism. No. She does not do so on Twitter (‘House Arab’) and I see no deviation from her adopted stance of contemptuous arrogance and privilege.

Whatever credentials Sharmine has as a blogger and opinion writer will remain. Whatever credentials as a “journalist” she has will also remain. But it bears examining what the journalists she so casually slurs by name and implication think of her ethics.

That a (presumably) non-Syrian like Sharmine Narwani can demean and degrade the ethics, probity, patriotism, honesty and right to speak of Amal Hanano (by insinuation) still deeply disturbs me — this is what prompted the part of my post reproduced below.

If the regimist lap-dogs here want to continue to harry those who challenge Sharmine, good. That discussion needs to proceed, because Sharmine’s work on narratives is only a beginning — the questions she asks (but does not answer), the sources she alludes to (but never names), the ideological lenses she views events through — all this needs to be examined.

Let us not pretend we do not all have well-rooted biases. Those who struggle to confront and challenge their own biases get my support and admiration, regardless of their position on Alex’s spectrum of opinion. Those who do not challenge their own assumptions or narratives have my contempt — and that contempt ranges across the board of opinion, from the stupid and disengaged provocateur Dale Anderson to the hysterical Salafist shogun Khalid Tlass. If I thought anyone needed to be banned, anyone from these precincts, it would be those two. I perhaps would damn them to hell or Tadmor. Since I am atheist and a free-speech advocate in private and public life, I must assume that their biliousness and disempathy provides its own hell in the real world. To be an idiot without knowing one is an idiot is its own prison …

My next post will be addressed to Mawal95. I respect him. He is avowedly a full supporter of the Syrian government, its policies and its leadership, but rarely if ever stoops to the level of some of the players and trumpets here. He has engaged with me on points at issue, and left the door open …

I do very much appreciate the reasonable comments and challenges from both ‘sides.’ I regret attracting the hysterical, one-eyed, and blinkered trumpets of dogma.

In other news, Syria’s Amal Hanano (a pseudonym for a brilliant Halabi) is one of the best new writers emerging from the crisis. She is good enough to be slagged by faux-journalists like the regime lap-dog Sharmine Narwani (and Angry Arab, and Ikhras).

When a non-Arabic-speaking Iranian-American fake-scholar independently-wealthy NATO-citizen like Narwani gets off slurring and lecturing Syrians like Amal Hanano on probity, I know the media war is still full-on.

But Amal gets in Foreign Policy, and Sharmine gets a sandbox at Al-Akhbar english

Here is, finally, an earlier note posted to a blog by a a Syria Comment reader. It lays out the general beef with Sharmine.

Sharmine’s nasty asides on Twitter against journalists are not part of the ethics of journalism. They are part of an ethic of one-eyed advocacy if not propaganda. That Sharmine so easily slurs others about their backgrounds, activities, identity and beliefs … while concealing or attempting to conceal her own interests – this is another mark of someone who does not intend to be a journalist. The line between editorial and reportage has melted in much of the MENA press concerned with Syria. It is such a shame that Sharmine gets in the gutter. It reflects very poorly on her and her integrity. I was ashamed for her with her exchange with Qifa Nabki. Unnecessary and leaves her looking bitter and vindictive and unable to account for herself.

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April 24th, 2012, 9:49 am


171. Tara said:

Sex Workers Against..

“The fact is, though, that being a female writer/journalist is not easy, and attempts to undermine women by invoking their gender or sexuality are nefarious and all too common, particularly in this profession. Disagree on the merits. And if this was all a fluke, WSS, examine your own knee-jerk invocation of demeaning gendered insults. They reveal more than you may realize. There really is no excuse.”

This was a good argument., and the name too.   Although I feel no womanly sympathy whatsoever to Sharmine …for her betrayal of womanhood and motherhood assuming she is one. 

I can agree with your point in principal.  Sexuality should not be invoked in arguments.  Whether against men or women.  I am glad that you did not appeal on the woman in me to defend Sharmine against misogyny.  The very use of misogyny  concept in defending her is appalling.  It is lame for women or their defenders to use “misogyny” against opponents as a cover up for their own failure.  This is all too common.  In Sharmine’s case, it is the epitome of hypocrisy to use misogyny in her defense when she willfully turned a blind eye on the worst case of misogyny women can experience, the slaughtering of their children.  

I am personally aware of  a woman from Hama who Batta’ s thugs asked her to choose one of her three young adult male children to be slaughtered.  She asked the thugs to make that choice themselves  and they did.  They killed one  in front of her very own eyes.  They came a month later and killed the second…This is the regime supporters of Batta are defending.  How possibly can someone try to defend it.  It is just indefensible.. 

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April 24th, 2012, 10:38 am


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