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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51. Afram said:

U bet Tara

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April 18th, 2012, 2:00 pm


52. Afram said:

51. jad said:

Is that for real or his site is ‘hacked’ as usual for these cases, (I think the site is hacked)
Hi jad
Clearly ‘hacked’
Saturday, April 14, 2012 – 14:14
أنور مالك: مجلس الامن يخرج بمهزلة المهازل حول سوريا

قال أنور مالك العضو السابق في بعثة المراقبين العرب الى سوريا في تصريح خاص لـ”ايلاف ” إن “مجلس الأمن سيرسل في البداية 30 من المراقبين المدنيين للتأكد من إلتزام نظام بشار الأسد وقف اطلاق النار وسحب الاليات العسكرية”.

وعبّر عن اعتقاده السابق، وبحكم التجربة كمراقب عربي “أن بعثة الجنرال الفريق أول محمد الدابي هي المهزلة فقط، ولكن اليوم خرج علينا مجلس الأمن بأم المهازل، فقد كنا 20 مراقبا في حمص وحدها ولم نستطع مراقبة الوضع في أحياء تعد على الأصابع مثل بابا عمرو وباب السباع والخالدية والبياضة، لأن النظام كان يخادعنا ويضللنا ويبتزنا ويرعبنا ويغرينا ويكذب علينا”.

وتساءل “كيف سيتمكن هؤلاء الذين سيذهبون لسورية، من مراقبة مدن وقرى مدمرة وتحولت إلى أنقاض وخراب؟!!”.

وأكد من خلال ما عايشه “أنه لا يمكن نجاح أي مهمة مراقبة في سورية إلا بخمسين ألف مراقب لديهم معداتهم وأجهزة متطورة جداً بينهم النصف على الأقل يحملون السلاح لحماية أنفسهم حتى لا يخضعهم النظام لسطوته، مع ضرورة توفير مناطق وممرات آمنة تحت حماية جوية، ووجوب مراعاة الجانب الإنساني المتردي، ودون ذلك فالعالم يعبث مع البعث بدماء الشعب السوري البطل”.

وقالت بعثات كل من بريطانيا وفرنسا والمانيا في الامم المتحدة “إن مشروع القرار ستدعمه ايضاً بريطانيا والمانيا والبرتغال والمغرب الدولة العربية الوحيدة في مجلس الأمن”.

ويدعو مشروع القانون وفقا لتوتير ووكالة “رويترز” الى نشر” 30 مراقبا غير مسلحين من الامم المتحدة مبدئيا تماشيا مع طلب مبعوث الامم المتحدة والجامعة العربية كوفي عنان”.

وقدم مبعوث روسيا لدى الأمم المتحدة فيتالي تشوركين الذي انتقد نسخة سابقة من المسودة الامريكية نسخة روسية تفضل موسكو التصويت عليها.

وقال “وضعنا معا نصا أقصر. توصلنا الى تفاهم إلى أنها يجب أن تكون مباشرة وعملية ومحددة بشأن نشر أفراد على الارض.. مجموعة أولية من فريق المراقبين.”

وأضاف”ان المجلس سيجتمع مرة ثانية بشأن سورية”. ولكن حتى الان لم يتضح ما اذا كان المجلس سيتمكن من الاتفاق على نص واحد للتصويت عليه يوم الجمعة. وقال دبلوماسي في المجلس انه يشك في امكانية اجراء التصويت قبل اليوم السبت.

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April 18th, 2012, 2:13 pm


53. jad said:

I know, it’s too obvious, however, it’s funny to see him mocked online on his own website.

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April 18th, 2012, 2:19 pm


54. Alan said:

Jad ! mentioned link already dameged

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April 18th, 2012, 2:21 pm


55. jad said:

Alan, Oh…how sad 😉

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April 18th, 2012, 2:28 pm


56. Mina said:

Hilton Tara,

I bet everybody has recognized a specialist!!

You think tourists would love Syria if nobody was smiling? You want me to make a quick search on Google pictures?

What I noticed when I worked in Syria is that precisely at work, Syrians were smiling, laughing with each other, including between men and women. Compare to what we have in the West where you hardly someone smile at the other at work, and in the other Arab countries where it is more rare that men and women are jocking at each other and smiling in a public environment such as work.

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April 18th, 2012, 2:33 pm


57. Alan said:

Ann !
allow to ask you to use an information from Xinhua agency 🙂

Syria stresses commitment to facilitating task of UN observers

Syria stresses commitment to facilitating task of UN observers 2012-04-18 19:04:07
DAMASCUS, April 18 (Xinhua) — A spokesman of Syrian Foreign Ministry said Wednesday that Syria is committed to facilitating the mission of UN observers, noting that more than 85 percent of a protocol between the Syrian government and the observers has been accomplished in order to regulate their operation.

In an interview with U.S. CBS network which was posted on his Facebook page on Wednesday, Jihad Makdissi stressed that it is in Syria’s interest to have observers on the ground to monitor the situation.

“From our side, we want the observers to be here as soon as possible… This is in Syria’s vital interest,” said Makdissi.

“We need someone to monitor the violation,” he said, adding that “We don’t want the politicians and the decision makers to rely on YouTube or eye witnesses’ account. We need a proper mechanism, which is the observers.”

“So from our side, we are committed to facilitating their task, ” the spokesman concluded.

The Syrian government says that the 13-month-old unrest in Syria is the work of armed groups and Islamic extremists backed by a foreign plot rather than a popular will.

A five-member advance team of UN observers arrived in Damascus Sunday night to monitor the implementation of the cease-fire which was brokered by UN-Arab League joint special envoy Kofi Annan and went into effect Thursday.

Their arrival came a day after the UN Security Council unanimously approved the observer mission. The advance team will be followed by other batches of observers and the total number of the monitors may eventually reach 250.

[ … ]

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April 18th, 2012, 2:40 pm


58. Tara said:


The author was discussing strangers behavior when you smile at them. This was not about your relation between co-worker You did say English is not your first or second language so you may want to google translate. It is ok. I hope you enjoyed your visit to the Hilton in Damascus. Does it have nice swimming pool? My favorite thing to do when I visit of course after walking in Hamidieh… I am planning a visit to Zainab shrine. I have never seen it before.

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April 18th, 2012, 2:46 pm


59. Mina said:


I don’t put a foot in 5 stars hotel: they mainly belong to Gulf immoral people. It is sad that you do not want to recognize the achievements of Syria compared to its neighbours and “brothers in headaches”.

For the record, when a Saudi princess advocates reforms in her country, she is answered with a “readers reactions” section by the BBC, so why haven’t yet we seen that for the 50 (++) percent of Syrians who did not buy the protests since their beginning?

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April 18th, 2012, 2:58 pm


60. Tara said:

I think The regime needs to adopt new name.  Instead ofسوريا الأسد. We should all change to
سوريا البطة

I am so happy that Asma did not call him “Atta”, otherwise we would’ve been forced to change to 
سوريا البيسة  God forbidden…  That would have been very embarrassing as Batta is a bit more “manly” than.   بيسة          


Mina, you have not gotten a single point of what was written. Try google translation. It is free.

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April 18th, 2012, 3:02 pm


61. Alan said:


I ask, that you reported further about a vessel with the Ukrainian seamen onboard which suspiciously for Syria delivered the weapon and as it appeared that cargo for chisel needs of Turkey! we wait your response!

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April 18th, 2012, 3:06 pm


62. Alan said:

Ukraine-Syria: what «dangerous cargo» was delivered by the Ukrainian seamen?

The company chartering a vessel, denies arms transfer to the Syrian ports
The Ukrainian seamen didn’t break the charter of the last resolution of the United Nations calling for a truce in Syria. It to Russian service «Voice of America» was declared on April 18 by the executive director of Varamar shipping company which some German mass media accused of a weapon transfer in one of the ports of Syria.

Scandal and assumptions of an illegal transfer the Ukrainian vessel of the weapon from the Iranian ship appeared in the press at the end of the last week. However still this situation didn’t receive official neither confirmations, nor denials.

«Yes, onboard there was a dangerous cargo, but it wasn’t the military man. Cargo followed to Turkey and to Montenegro transit through Syria. The vessel should come into Syria to unload construction cargo and to follow further. In four weeks prior to calling to Syria we obtained permit to calling to its ports and on unloading of this cargo. When we were at two o’clock from the coast of Syria, we received the letter by e-mail that we have onboard a military cargo. But at us onboard not military, but dangerous cargo and it intends for Turkey», – the executive director of Varamar shipping company Alexander Varvarenko argues.

Difficulties of transfer

He doesn’t undertake to judge how the German Der Spiegel and Deutsche Welle editions identified cargo on the vessel Atlantic Cruiser which, in turn, was chartered by Varamar.

«It is possible, they mixed words – dangerous and military? I hope, today (on April 18 – T.B.) the authorities of Turkey will inspect – anything military in it isn’t present. It is cargo for the mining industry – explosive, but on it there are all certificates, export licenses. We have no bases to believe that to us aboard to us overloaded something another», – Alexander Varvarenko emphasizes. On specifying question of that, probably, onboard Atlantic Cruiser there was an explosive for the mining industry, he speaks: «Probably, it is explosive».

Alexander Varvarenko emphasized that his company not so once transported similar dangerous cargoes, but the sensation in mass media arose just now.

In too time, he remembers a case when under the pretext of one cargo the vessel could transport another, dangerous and demanding special permissions. «About ten years ago, and can it is more, in Ukraine there was a case when from the country military production under the name “agricultural machinery” was exported. But it was the various evacuation equipment, according to the declaration it passed as “agricultural purpose”, – Alexander Varvarenko emphasizes.

Sensitive market

According to the head of Institute of public policy Victor Chumak, any charges of illegal arms supplies, undermine image of the state working at the weapon market. He says to Russian service «Voices of America that today Ukraine know, how diligent seller of the weapon.

«The simplest way is to undermine trust in such sensitive market, as traffic in arms. Diligent buyers look cautiously at violators of obligations and rules at the conclusion of transactions with the weapon», – Chumak considers. ../../..

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April 18th, 2012, 3:11 pm


63. Aldendeshe said:

89. Valerya said:

51 SNP
Have you any usefull idea to add it to world practice ?


BILLLLYAT. No, we offer the same useful ideas taught to us by 2 Jews, Marx and Lenin. So, maybe you should go back to Kremlin and tell them to teach you those useful ideas that you don’t comprehend, like in Russia, calling every minority in the country with a slur, from east to west, from Churkas to Chuksha.

You want a useful idea that may get you shot in a staircase, try investigating the 2 Moscow apartment demolition by KGB men, to stir the invasion of Chechnya. I have the whole file and can send you the leads.

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April 18th, 2012, 3:32 pm


64. Shami said:
Made by hezbollahi khomaynists for bata.

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April 18th, 2012, 3:34 pm


65. mjabali said:


Care to let us know what are the cultural منجزات of your family, as far as I know there is nothing of the sort that is from Damascus for the last few hundred years.

I know that part of Syria well and the ones who has some “cultural” influence are some families of the religious establishment. If you are calling religious production and influence cultural we have a problem here.

Also, any one care to talk about the Ghaliyoun’s e mails leak?


Did you read Ghaliyoun before his ascend to SNC leadership? I used to read him daily sometimes in al-Hiwar al-Mutamadin. His logic and words were from a different era. He was talking as if he was in the 1960’s and 1970’s. His tone was different from his leaked e mail to the prince in Saudi Arabia.

He never generated any interest from people to discuss his writings. He wrote some good articles here and there, but overall he was not that interesting or connected to the current moments of history. Other writers generated way more interest and debates.

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April 18th, 2012, 3:38 pm


66. Afram said:

Blood borders

How a better Middle East would look
By Ralph Peters

International borders are never completely just. But the degree of injustice they inflict upon those whom frontiers force together or separate makes an enormous difference — often the difference between freedom and oppression, tolerance and atrocity, the rule of law and terrorism, or even peace and war.

The most arbitrary and distorted borders in the world are in Africa and the Middle East. Drawn by self-interested Europeans (who have had sufficient trouble defining their own frontiers), Africa’s borders continue to provoke the deaths of millions of local inhabitants. But the unjust borders in the Middle East — to borrow from Churchill — generate more trouble than can be consumed locally.

While the Middle East has far more problems than dysfunctional borders alone — from cultural stagnation through scandalous inequality to deadly religious extremism — the greatest taboo in striving to understand the region’s comprehensive failure isn’t Islam but the awful-but-sacrosanct international boundaries worshipped by our own diplomats.

Of course, no adjustment of borders, however draconian, could make every minority in the Middle East happy. In some instances, ethnic and religious groups live intermingled and have intermarried. Elsewhere, reunions based on blood or belief might not prove quite as joyous as their current proponents expect. The boundaries projected in the maps accompanying this article redress the wrongs suffered by the most significant “cheated” population groups, such as the Kurds, Baluch and Arab Shia, but still fail to account adequately for Middle Eastern Christians, Bahais, Ismailis, Naqshbandis and many another numerically lesser minorities. And one haunting wrong can never be redressed with a reward of territory: the genocide perpetrated against the Armenians by the dying Ottoman Empire…read more>>

REDRAWING map of the middle east:before

REDRAWING map of the middle east:after

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April 18th, 2012, 3:41 pm


67. Alan said:

messege me pls

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April 18th, 2012, 3:55 pm


68. Tara said:


Cultural impact in term of poetry, literature, art, etc. I can not spell it out as that may reveal my identity, not that I care personally but it would embarrass my parents tremendously to have an offspring like me..(I am making myself laugh now) and yes my father side are pretty religious but I wouldn’t call that a cultural impact.

Should Alawism be “an off shoot’ of shiaa, or should it be a stand alone religion from a theological POV. I am asking a theoretical question. Understandably, the need to be part of a recognized branch of Islam in our society otherwise, it’s member risk being heretic/infidel and whatever consequences.

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April 18th, 2012, 4:00 pm


69. Afram said:

65. mjabali said:


Did you read Ghaliyoun before his ascend to SNC leadership? I used to read him daily sometimes in al-Hiwar al-Mutamadin.
Hi mjabali:
yes,I read for Homer Simpson at:

agree- he is old school,I like reading Fouad Namari,smarter than Burhan

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April 18th, 2012, 4:08 pm


70. Syrian Nationalist Party said:


SNP useful ideas to the World “PRACTICE” actually came from 4 Jews: Marx, Lenin,Trotsky and Therefore Djugashvili (otherwise known as Joseph Stalin- genocidal murderer of 20 million white Russian Christians)

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April 18th, 2012, 4:10 pm


71. Son of Damascus said:

Dear William,

I have not given up hope, I will never give up hope.

Through the darkest hour great leaders are born, that pluck their countries from the abyss of hate and destitute. Through the darkest hour is when a nation sheds it old skin to develop a new skin that is the envy of the world.

Many people stopped dreaming about the future of Syria, their hearts aching from the dead, tortured and missing. Have turned to hate and distrust as a way to cope with the barbarity that we are witnessing, quick to label someone 3ar3ouri or Menhabakji when at the end of the day we are all Syrians, nothing more.

Over the past year I have learnt to somewhat cope with the horrors that I witness daily, I try to compile as much info about the people that die everyday (from both sides), maybe selfishly hoping that if at least one person remembers them their death won’t be forgotten, or lost. However one thing I still can’t cope with is the level of hatred we Syrians have shown each other, lashing out in absolute anger to label anyone that does not agree with our own opinion, as a treacherous fool. Labelling the dead as if their labelled death is an excuse for their callous murder, when in reality no label can justify it.

Nevertheless I still believe in my country, I still believe in my fellow Syrians, and the general goodness and humanity in them, I know we will come out of this a stronger and more united country than we have ever been. Some people might say that I live in a dream, to them I say greater men dared to dream bigger things and go on to accomplish greater feats, how can I accept defeat when they dared not to.

A great man that experienced hatred and injustice all his life and even died from it once had a dream, and in that dream he said:

“Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred … to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.”

Dr. King Jr.

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April 18th, 2012, 4:20 pm



BMBS: A Nonfatal Syndrome Recently Discovered

This article will be published in the next issue of the Journal of Popular Cyberspace Pseudo Psychopathic Morphology

The group that discovered the Shabee7a Syndrome a year ago, has recently announced the discovery of a new syndrome. The newly discovered syndrome is called Bipolar Moderator Baboonery Syndrome or BMBS . The syndrome is a subset of bipolar disorder in that it has more general characteristics, but it manifests its symptoms most profoundly when its afflicts deal with blog moderators, hence the name. Afflicted individuals usually rapidly oscillate between posting what appears to resemble love poems to the moderator thanking her/him profusely for a job well done when they censor the writing of one of their adversaries only to blast the same moderator (generally within less than a week of time) with most vulgar and angry language if they or one of their own favored commenter was censored for a gross violation of blog rule.

Describing a typical BMBS person, the team leader, Professor Khunfos (Arabic for Dung Beetle), said, “A BMBS tends to use more than one language, which allows them to select one of the languages for each mode of their “civilized” and “bully” mode of behavior.” Believe it or not”, Dr. Khunfus said: “there may even be three or four behavioral poles”. He added:” however, in their advanced stage, they occasionally forget their own lingual utilitarianism, and tend to occasionally mix the languages. The shorter the time separating the polar oscillation, the higher the frequency between lingual confusions and mix-ups, but it is most common that the mother language will be used as the “contempt” language as it is the language through which we all have far more connection to most base human emotions encompassing anger, hate, contempt, and raw vulgar as well as childish frustration.

The affliction a far more complex phenomenon than the simple “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde\” in the sense that the separation of the modes of behaviors is not as discrete as in the famous novella. This is emphasized by the “baboonery” description, which alludes to oblivion to ironies and reflexive attitude among BMBS afflicts contrary to the deliberate and well considered evilness in the famous story.

Despite of their rarity, BMBS afflicts are generally prolific cut-paste artists with tendency to title their cut-paste with headers or short “opinionated” paragraphs, which they think sound neutral and authoritative, to force their own point of view of the propaganda piece onto others. It is such little paragraphs, coupled with their propensity to cut and paste, which have allowed Professor Khunfus’s team to increase the behavioral sample size and to better understand the behavior of BMBS afflicts. For example, BMBS afflicts have also been observed to display capacity for super-intense contempt directed at certain individuals. They display single mindedness in their attempt to continuously discredit their disfavored persons, and will spare no chance to continuously use toddlers’ like linguistic wordplay on persons’ names.

It goes without saying that BMBS afflicts tend to view themselves as highly moral, nationalistic patriots, superbly educated, nice people, a common misconception arising from their bipolar (or multi-polar) state of mind.

Again, in their advanced stage, BMBS also direct their bipolar states at the blog owner. At any moment the owner of the blog posts an article that they don’t agree with, they see in that a fundamental and sudden “treacherous” transformation of the owner forgetting that people evolve over a period of time unlike their own sudden “provoked” shifts. Herein, they must be distinguished from those who fundamentally agree or disagree with the owner’s general trend of posts, or those with a singular cause, for the latter type is generally always antagonistic to the owner. BMBS on the other hand, show ebbs of disrespect to their host and are intolerant to him presenting any counter point to theirs. This in fact indicates that BMBS may also be associated with feelings of obsessive entitlement, commonly demonstrated in the afflicted tendency to sneer at “new comers” who they disagree with, and with their tendency to “warmly welcome” the “new comers” who agree with them and pay them the required dose of complement.

Professor Khunfus asserts that the number of BMBS afflicts is far higher than what appears from viewing public blogs. He stresses that Moderators’ code of conduct , which prohibits them from publicly sharing the diatribes and love-poems they receive to their private “moderator” email hinders or the comments that go in trash the accurate estimation of the real number of cases. He lamented the time he was asked to moderate a blog but refused to do so saying “well, I would not have divulged any information and I would have stuck with the code of conduct, but I would have nonetheless formed a good understanding of the real extent of this non-fatal, yet humorous affliction”. He concluded laughingly, while shaking his own antennas “this shows that when you get a chance, grab it by the horns”.

When asked, how come a Khunfus like him has left his favorite “Dung rolling pass time, professor Khunfus smiled menacingly and answered with a question “have i?…..”

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April 18th, 2012, 4:28 pm


73. Son of Damascus said:

Any Given Friday

How a battle over a Facebook page became a war for the soul of the Syrian revolution.

A woman stands in the middle of a busy Damascus street. Yellow cabs honk and weave around her. Her red dress, splattered with white paint, flows in the wind along with a red fabric banner held up above her head like a translucent shield. A group of people gathers on the sidewalk to observe as she turns side to side, for all to see. As we watch them watching her through our computer screens, we hear a new sound — not a familiar chant of the revolution, but loud claps of extended applause. When she faces the camera, we finally read her words: “Stop the killing. We want to build a country for all Syrians.”

Her name is Rima Dali, and she stood in protest alone, armed with a red scarf and a powerful message, in front of the Syrian Parliament on April 8. She would be detained for two days for her dissent.

Dali’s action, while brave, would have been easy to disregard as a fleeting incident if it hadn’t happened again, a few days later, in front of the Palace of Justice. And again a few days after that, when more people occupied Dali’s place and even more onlookers clapped from the sidewalk.

Activists like Dali, who had a strong presence at the beginning of the uprising, are trying to rewind Syria’s clock to the early months of the revolution, when the message of selmiyeh — peaceful — dominated the streets. During the past two weeks, despite the regime’s relentless violence, Syria protested like it was 2011 again.

During the 10-day lull between the announcement of U.N. and Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan’s six-point plan for a ceasefire and its implementation on April 10, violence sharply escalated in Syria — as it usually does before every international ultimatum directed at President Bashar al-Assad. But since then, while shelling and government attacks have continued in certain flashpoints, the daily death toll has decreased significantly. Within opposition circles, another sentiment was brewing even before the ceasefire: a realization that it’s time to reclaim the revolution in order to reclaim the country.


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April 18th, 2012, 4:28 pm


74. jad said:

ما بدي 🙂

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April 18th, 2012, 4:59 pm


75. Alan said:

له ! كيف بدي وصيك على حلاوة حمصية 🙂 ؟ ما عندي عنوانك ؟

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April 18th, 2012, 5:16 pm


76. Jad said:

Son of Damascus,

Here are the names of 8 Syrian army-men killed by the armed militias today, and 14 killed yesterday, I’m not sure if you already have their names:

8 Law Enforcement Members Martyred in Idleb, Daraa and Damascus Countryside, Terrorists Murder Entire Family in Hama
Apr 18, 2012

PROVINCES, (SANA)- Six law enforcement members, including a first lieutenant, were martyred on Wednesday and 11 others were injured in an explosive device blast in the town of al-Mastoumeh in the countryside of Idleb province.

The martyrs include First Lieutenant Tammam Hassoun and Privates Anas Idris Juani, Hassan Ahmad Arnous, and Faraj Mustafa Ismael.
The explosive device was planted on al-Mastoumeh-Idleb road and detonated by an armed terrorist group targeting the law enforcement personnel.

Policeman Martyred in Daraa

Meanwhile in Daraa province, the policeman Youssef Qasqas was martyred by the gunfire of a sniper in front of the Customs’ old building in the city of Daraa. 

Lieutenant Colonel Martyred in Damascus Countryside

In Damascus Countryside, an armed terrorist group opened fire on members of law enforcement forces in teh city of Douma killing a lieutenant colonel and injuring a chief warrant officer.

Fourteen Army, Law-Enforcement, Civilian Martyrs Laid to Rest

Apr 18, 2012

PROVINCES, (SANA) – Fourteen army, law-enforcement and civilian martyrs were escorted on Wednesday from Tishreen, Zahi Azraq and Aleppo Military Hospitals in Damascus, Lattakia and Aleppo and Daraa  National Hospital to their final resting place.
Solemn funeral processions were held for the martyrs who were targeted by armed terrorist groups while they were in the line of duty in Idleb, Homs, Damascus Countryside, Daraa and Aleppo.

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April 18th, 2012, 5:16 pm


77. Afram said:

[greenlight Updated from spam. Goat cheese. This is edging into Jew Jew Jew Jew Jew areas, so, how about less of this, Syrian Nationalist Party, Afram, please?


70. Syrian Nationalist Party said:


SNP useful ideas to the World “PRACTICE” actually came from 4 Jews: Marx, Lenin, Trotsky and Therefore Djugashvili (otherwise known as Joseph Stalin-
C’mon Syrian Nationalist Party
you made the man of steel -Stalin-a jew?!?

yousef stalin almost became a georgian priest, he killed Trotsky in mexico with an Axe.

Lenin is-half a jew

yes, the rest of the Bolshevists were jews, all also were anti-zionism, so is Einstein, the red army saved the euro-jews from actual attempted inhialation by hitler, while the Americans were at omaha beach/france eating goat cheese

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April 18th, 2012, 5:17 pm


78. Tara said:

Dear Syrian Hamster

Your writings are to die for…   I usually skip it until I find a quiet time with a cup of coffee.  I wish you write me a book.  Your description of the BMBS afflicts, the headers they use attempting to force their opinion, the cliche teenage’s words they use, the welcoming of the new comers, the attacking of the blog owner, the entitlement,  the over-inflated self perception, the bipolar relation with the site’s moderator,  etc…  

Many many thanks to professor Khunfus on my behalf.  I would love a chance to meet him for my own psychoanalysis.  I am more and more needing one too.

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April 18th, 2012, 5:32 pm


79. Tara said:

blue beret Dear Moderator

Please promise me that you will not quit your job until we have a “regime change”. We need you as much as Syria needs the international observers. The site was intolerable before your arrival. Your moderation has toned down lots of hateful language and I feel I can “dialogue” with lots of people I never wanted to dialogue with before. Thank you for you.

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April 18th, 2012, 5:37 pm


80. Shami said:

Mr Landis ,next time be careful with site ,it’s iranian theocracy backed media,its killing itself for this regime more than the makhlouf’s adunniya itself.!

Here is a nice hadra from Aleppo.

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April 18th, 2012, 5:41 pm


81. Son of Damascus said:


Thank you for the links, I very much appreciate it. I check SANA daily for such reports, as well the LCC, SRC, VDC and other organizations.

Thanks again

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April 18th, 2012, 5:44 pm


82. William Scott Scherk said:

[ greenlight Updated from spam for ‘shit’]

-Juergen’s link to Syria pics is great: someone, the photoghrapher Amana78, has a great eye for depth and light. The so-called dead cities of Syria are spell-binding. They make me think of mighty empires come and gone, of those who endure, the people of the area. Syria has such deep roots — the discovery of pre-historic settlements via satellite this year show how profound is the depth of the human drama in Syria. 14,000 year-old human settlements, empires, armies, refugees, invaders, saviours and administrators.

All of those who rule come and go, and their glories may fall.

I am glad to see Mawal95 engage directly using terms of rational inquiry like evidence and so on. Long ago, as Ya Mara Ghalba, Mawal was much more categorical. On a video circulating in November of last year, Ya Mara said:

This high resolution video was uploaded at youtube today and has so far attracted 78 comments at youtube. I’d like to hear any anyone comment who’s seen bogus videos before. I say the first eight seconds were filmed at a quite different time than the rest of the video(even though I see the yellow taxi with license plate 3P13 appears before and after). The crowd you see before time 0:08 clearly exhibits unawareness of the large crowd you see after time 0:08. And the crowd you see after time 0:08 clearly exhibits unawareness of the crowd you see before time 0:08.

Once you accept I’m right about that, the video as a whole is an attempted fraud.

Here is a video response to your analysis and conclusions:

— will you revisit this video and give your reaction? (hoping you can forgive the non-civil “full of shit” not-safe-for-Syria-Comment description) It looks like you did not do a frame-by-frame analysis, so what you dismissed as an ‘attempted fraud’ was not a fraud at all …


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 Huh ??? regime lap-dancer Sharmine Narwani (and Angry Arab, and Ikhras).

When a non-Arabic-speaking Iranian-American fake-scholar independently-wealthy UK-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 blog at Al-Akhbar english.


I wish there was more frank talk about Alawis, by Alawis here. Is there still a leftover hangover of Baathi suppression of Alawi identity?

Mjabali’s link was very instructive, but it doesn’t tell me why — with a few million strong community at home and abroad, we do not hear directly from a Syrian Alawi here in comments. Beyond Khudr, and another rare exception, who has ever entered these comments and let us know? “I am Joe from Damascus. I am Alawi, and here is what I think blab hlah blah.

Thinking of the size and shape and pie-sections given to the Dialoguers at the National Dialogue, I get a sinking feeling that a new unrepresentative Parliament will be installed before a) the guns are still and populations go home (who gets to vote who is out of country?) or b) a dialogue even gets charted.

Syria does not seem to be thinking of postponing May 7th elections, even though the present lame-duck assembly (long past its sell-by date) has pleaded with the government to delay the vote.

On that subject, Mawal, what do you think of the widely-reported-in-SANA-but-not-yet-mentioned-by-you request of Parliament to the government to postpone?

Does it not seem — given “the reality of the situation” on the ground, a fledgling reform, a featherless UN three dozen unarmed chicks not yet out of the incubator, a score of death in the streets each day … does it not seem the May 7th polls will be anything but free and fair and adequately monitored (whether by the magical ‘new’ media reporting on magical ‘new parties’ or by the special ‘friendly media’ reporting for foreign channels)?

Do we support Ghufran’s for postponement, or as with your seeming advice, march to the urns on May 7th and install a fresh cage-full of the obedient chickens?

The sad reality of politics in Syria is that Michel Kilo and Haytham Manna and Azim and a hundred others Are Not Allowed By Law to participate meaningfully in party life and are barred from running for Parliament as things stand. Thus political life in the new parliament will be the fraud, not the evidence of security/army/irregulars live fire on civilians. Reforms are worth shit without judicial and criminal code reforms, and the further reforms that come from public inquiry.

That is all my opinion. I do not speak for anyone but myself.

One last point: the “captcha” words are now insidiously biased towards peace, it seems. I have caught one ‘unity’ and I wouldn’t be surprised to face “empathy” one day soon. What gives?

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April 18th, 2012, 5:47 pm


83. Juergen said:


The ship is now in Iskanderun and Turkish customs and police search all the containers as the crew could only open up those containers in the top. The shipping company is still insisting that the shipment for Syria contained only pumps and spare parts for an factory. In the reports the captain has given (routine work) before entering the Suez channel he wrote that dangerous goods are on board, and they are for Turkey, but Turkey was never part of their route, so many questions remain uncertain, also the 24 hour period 80 km off the Syrian coast raise concern that the shipment was already taken from board by now.

Here is an article about the search on the ship.

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April 18th, 2012, 6:27 pm


84. jad said:

المؤتمر الصحفي لوزير الخارجية السوري وليد المعلم 18 4 2012

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April 18th, 2012, 6:31 pm


85. bronco said:

The first unannounced visit of the observers to Arbeen turns into chaos. The UN has clearly asked the Syrian government to be responsible for the safety of the observers. Therefore, during the visits any suspicious move from the protesters can be interpreted by the Syrian security as a potential threat to the observers and will be met with strength.

It seems that the observers’ visits will be preceded and supervised by the Syrian security, therefore the Syrian security could be potentially be blamed for any casualties occurring during these visits, whether on a protester or on an observer.

This is what the media reported:

UN monitors flee Syrian protest after gunfire
By BEN HUBBARD | Associated Press – 58 mins ago

BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian security forces opened fire Wednesday on anti-regime demonstrators surrounding the cars of a U.N. team meant to monitor a shaky cease-fire, sending the observers speeding off and protesters dashing for cover, according to activists and amateur videos.

The team’s head, Col. Ahmed Himiche, declined to comment on the incident, saying the team would report only to the U.N.

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April 18th, 2012, 6:39 pm


86. jad said:

Ban Ki-moon’s Helicopter Nonsense

Who gave Ban Ki-moon this idea?

The United Nations Security Council is expected to authorize deploying a full mission of 250 monitors to Syria after it takes up the issue Wednesday, but Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon questioned whether even that number would be sufficient.

“I think this is not enough, considering the current situation and considering the vastness of the country, and that is why we need very efficient mobility of our observer mission,” he said Tuesday.

He said he had discussed with European Union leaders whether the EU could provide helicopters and airplanes for that mobility.

This can not be a request for civilian helicopters as those could be rented by the UN itself. So those helicopters Ban Ki-moon is dreaming of would be military helicopters from EU countries with military pilots and NATO standard encrypted radios. The same EU countries that have put sanctions on Syria because it cracks down on an foreign paid insurgency.

This at the same times as the U.S. has pledged “communication equipment” to the insurgents in Syria. The helicopter pilots could thereby direct the insurgents around military concentrations and roadblocks towards their targets.

The Syrian government would be crazy to agree to such a scheme of transport of UN monitors. Indeed it offered its own helicopters for the monitors to use. Ban Ki-moon certainly knew that the EU helicopter scheme would be rejected when he came out with it.

This crazy idea was only offered to let it look as if the Syrian government rejects the Annan plan and hindering the monitor deployment. But for now it seems to me that the UN is the one that holding back progress. There are still only six UN monitors on the ground where thirty were supposed to be since Monday. What is up with that Mr. Ban Ki-moon?

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April 18th, 2012, 6:40 pm


87. bronco said:

#86 Jad

“The Syrian government would be crazy to agree to such a scheme of transport of UN monitors”

Especially that the protection of the observers incumbs solely to the Syrian government. It sounds like a thoughtless request.

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April 18th, 2012, 6:54 pm


88. Tara said:

More on The observers’ first mission.  Activists sticking a poster on the UN vehicle 

The poster stuck to the UN vehicle in Arbeen read:

The killer is engaged with killing, the observers are engaged with monitoring, the people are engaged with their revolution.

Shortly after it was filmed shooting broke out.

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April 18th, 2012, 6:58 pm


89. zoo said:

Meet the Freedom-Fighting Smugglers on the Syrian Border
Erin Banco and Sophia Jones
April 18, 2012 | 12:00 am

Antakya, Turkey—Mautaz and his wife heard the shelling getting closer to their village of Hazan and knew it was their time to leave. The subsequent journey did not take place alone: They joined a group of 13 Syrians, led by a smuggler. With the smuggler carrying one of their eight children ahead, Muataz and his brother cautiously followed behind, wary of landmines. Eventually they safely reached this Turkish border town.

As violence has intensified in Syria, the human smuggling business has boomed—in both directions. Syrian civilians employ smugglers in hopes of getting out of harms way, while journalists, aid groups, and human rights organizations hire them to gain access to the front lines. It can be an expensive proposition: Sources confirmed that smugglers have asked for upward of $20,000 for a single trip. But, increasingly, smugglers are giving a free ride to international journalists, or anyone else who promises to spread the word about the stakes in Syria. Indeed, perhaps the most telling aspect of this burgeoning market is that it’s informed by a calculus that’s not strictly economic.

While many people now working as human smugglers were also regular smugglers of money and goods before the conflict began, many more began smuggling people through the border only after the violence began.

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April 18th, 2012, 6:59 pm


90. zoo said:

In Revolutions, Do Nice Guys Finish Last?
April 18, 2012

The Egyptian liberals who played a big part in the insurrection that toppled Hosni Mubarak now find themselves marginalized, pushed into a minor role in parliament and reluctantly withdrawing from the electoral commission.

A similar situation has befallen Syria’s liberal, mostly peaceful protesters, who led last summer’s protest marches but have since been sidelined by the Free Syrian Army’s violent revolt. The story of one of Homs’ first protest leaders, as reported by the Christian Science Monitor, is a telling example:

And yet, the FSA is faltering, as peaceful demonstrators are returning to the streets, gratefully cheering the ceasefire that still seems to be holding. Assad’s forces have pushed the FSA out of Homs and a number of other cities where they once controlled neighborhoods. FSA brigades have run out of weapons and don’t seem to be getting the equipment they need to continue to shoot back. Meanwhile, protesters are gathering in Cairo this week, hoping for a united declaration of a return to the nonviolent protests of last summer.

Via Meadia hopes the nice guys win the battle for Syria, but we are not holding our breath. It’s unfortunate, but sometimes a gun speaks louder than a protest chant.


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April 18th, 2012, 7:03 pm


91. Tara said:

Ambassadors’ wives urge Asma al-Assad to stand up for peace in Syria

Wives of the British and German ambassadors to UN say Syrian first lady cannot hide behind her husband amid violence

Associated Press
Tuesday 17 April 2012 15.14 EDT

Stop Syria violence, ambassadors’ wives urge Asma al-Assad. Link to this video
The wives of the British and German ambassadors to the United Nations have released a video urging Syria’s first lady to demand her husband should stop the violence in her country.

The video asks viewers to sign a petition calling on Asma al-Assad to “stand up for peace … for the sake of your people”. Sheila Lyall Grant and Huberta von Voss-Wittig said in a letter accompanying the video that as a champion of women’s equality, Assad could not “hide behind her husband”.

“Her public voice is needed,” they said, noting that many female victims of the violence had taken the risk to stand up for their freedom. “We are asking Asma Assad to take a risk, too, and to say openly: stop the bloodshed, stop it right now,” Voss-Wittig and Lyall Grant said.

The four-minute video alternates pictures of Assad with scenes of Syria’s conflict and its victims, including graphic pictures of children who have been killed or injured.

It starts out by saying “some women are for style”, against a photo of the first lady wearing designer sunglasses, “and some women care for their people”, against a photo of a woman cradling a child surrounded by many other youngsters.

It says “some women have forgotten what they preached about peace”, followed by a clip of Assad telling a group of young people “we should all be able to live in peace, stability and with our dignity”.

The video says: “One day, our children will ask us what we have done to stop this bloodshed. What will your answer be, Asma?”

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April 18th, 2012, 7:16 pm


92. zoo said:

All Quiet on the Damascus Front
By: Hassan Illeik
Published Wednesday, April 18, 2012

There’s little sign of revolution in the Syrian capital. Either it is simmering underground awaiting the moment to surface, or the confidence expressed by the regime is well-founded.

The Syrian customs officers at the Jdaidet Yabous border gate still use sheets of newspaper as sunshades. A front page of the Saudi-owned dailyal-Hayat is stuck on the window of their office. It was a rather old issue.

There’s nothing at the border to suggest you’re in a country wracked by revolution. While the vehicle searches are no longer conducted on the basis of “trust” between the security men and drivers, they do not hold travellers up. The numbers of people crossing these days is comparable to an ordinary day before March 2011 – about as many on a weekend as there used to be on a weekday.

The cafes are open, and fill up from early evening – one up-market establishment in Mezze looks like an exhibition of designer clothes and handbags.

Although electricity generators have appeared in front of some buildings, supplies are steadily improving. Rationing has been eased in the capital, and in some districts the electricity is cut off for as little as an hour per day.
In other words, a sizeable proportion of Syria’s Sunnis still want the regime to survive. President Bashar Assad said at a private gathering some weeks ago that it was the Sunnis who had safeguarded Syria. Such a remark sounds uncharacteristic of the Syrian leadership, but sources close to it affirm that this is what Assad believes.
These are not revolutionary times in Damascus. The regime is confident of its future and of that of the country. But those in charge also speak realistically: the crisis is set to be protracted. It will not be a matter of mere months.

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April 18th, 2012, 7:24 pm


93. Tara said:

The video made by the wives of the British and the German Ambassadors to the UN can be found in this link from the Telegraph.

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April 18th, 2012, 7:29 pm


94. jad said:

كلمة السيد الرئيس بشار الأسد 18 4 2012

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April 18th, 2012, 7:41 pm


95. Tara said:


If you know any woman interested in signing the petition to Asma al Assad, here is the link.

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April 18th, 2012, 7:43 pm


96. jad said:

Are we going to see Syrian Sa7wat against the terrorist armed gangs who are still spreading crimes and horror wherever they go?

شيوخ العشائر السورية يعلنون الحرب على الوهابيين ويقولون: كل الجرائم التي حدثت سببها الوهابيين
اللاذقية – سامي زرقة

على خلفية الملتقى العشائري الذي جرى في اللاذقية مؤخرا (يومي السادس عشر والسابع عشر من نيسان) كان لـ عربي برس حوار مع الأمير جمال بني ربيعة أمير بني ربيعة في سورية.
وقال الأمير جمال بني ربيعة إنه قام وبرفقة الشيخ محمد السيبراني و الشيخ محمد المطاردة بزيارة خان الجوز على الحدود التركية حيث تعرضوا لإطلاق نار من قبل المسلحين في المخيمات التركية و من خلال هذه الزيارة تمكنوا من إعادة عدد من العائلات المهجرة إلى بيوتهم في إدلب و دير بعلبة و الخالدية و البياضة في حمص… والهدف من هذه الزيارة كان توعية اللاجئين في تلك المخيمات بأن ما يحصل لهم هم بفعل الوهابيين والسلفيين التكفيريين الذين يحاولون تخريب سورية بحجة تطبيق قواعد الدين الصحيح وأن الجيش العربي السوري وأجهزة الأمن السورية لا شأن لها بما يحصل لهم وفقاً لما حاولت وسائل الإعلام تصويره على أنهم ضحية للنظام.

وأضاف سمو الأمير أن تعرضه لإطلاق النار ومحاولة اغتياله لم يثنه عن تأسيس هذه الملتقيات في المحافظات السورية كافة لأنه يعرف تمام المعرفة خطر الوهابية والوهابيين على المجتمع بسبب ما تتضمنه الوهابية من تكفير للمسلمين حيث يمكن اعتبارها على أنها امتداد بصورة أو بأخرى للخوارج الذين ظهروا في صدر الإسلام.

ويستغرب الأمير جمال بني ربيعة من إطلاق الوهابية على نفسها أنها سلفية ويقول أن هذا الأمر زور وكذب فالسلفية صادرتها الوهابية من الصوفية فيما تمت مصادرة أهل الحديث من الأشعرية والماتوردية.

ويضيف الأمير جمال أن تعاليم الوهابية كلها تقوم على تغيير عقيدة التوحيد، والحكم على كافة المسلمين بكافة مذاهبهم بأنهم كفرة ومبتدعين واعتبر هذه المسألة خطيرة للغاية فالوهابيون لا يحبون أحداً لا من المسلمين ولا من غير المسلمين.

أما عن مسلسل القتل والتكفير والتهجير والتدمير الذي يمارسه الوهابيون في سورية فقال الأمير جمال أن هذا الأمر ليس بجديد بل بدأت معالمه تظهر منذ اللحظة الأولى لإعلان الدعوة الإسلامية وما ممارسات الوهابيين اليوم إلا امتداد لما كان يمارسه أعداء الإسلام والمسلمين تحت صور ومسميات أخرى.

إن جوهر عقد الملتقيات و الهدف الأسمى من عقدها ( الكلام طبعاً للأمير جمال بني ربيعة) أن نكون حراكاً شعبياً خالصاً هدفه الحفاظ على وحدة سورية أرضاً وشعباً وقيادة ووفقنا بذلك بانضمام الشيخ طارق الباشان و هو أحد شيوخ منطقة الخالدية بحمص الذي كان له دور فاعل بالإعداد والتنظيم لهذه المؤتمرات، إضافة إلى أنه من أشد محاربي الوهابية والوهابيين في سورية.
وفي نهاية حديثه لـ عربي برس حذر الأمير بني ربيعة من خطر انتشار التشدد الوهابي حيث رأى أن في الأمر تمزيق للمسلمين وتفرقة جراء التكفير الذي يؤدي بطبيعة الحال الى انقسامات داخلية تفضي الى نزاعات وصراعات لا يخرج منها منتصر أو ناج، وقال إن سورية متكاملة ببعضها البعض لا يمكن التفريط بأي قطعة أو شبر منها وغناها بتنوعها.

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April 18th, 2012, 7:48 pm


97. jad said:

Let those lousy 2 ‘wives’ sign a petition against their own husbands’ governments who killed and still killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Afghani and keep sending submarines and weapons to the israelis to kill more Palestinians, but I guess for those two highly moral ‘wives’…those who they killed are not human enough…bunch of hypocrites!

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April 18th, 2012, 7:54 pm


98. Tara said:

Why doesn’t the world declare the ceasefire dead? Because once it does, the options are limited… So the regime understands that well,  playing the game perfectly by announcing it “wholeheartedly” endorses the plan while the killing machine continues unabated.  Doesn’t that make Annan, the UNSC, the US, and the EU accomplices.  They do not even need to step up the rhetoric any more.  There is a ceasefire in place…. What a disgrace!

A Ceasefire in Syria That No One Believes but Everyone Still Believes In

The ceasefire in Syria is now a fiction, as the regime’s military forces continue to pound opposition, but the U.N. and Western nations don’t want to admit as much because the talks it’s supposed to engender are still seen as the least worst option. Though there had been reports of the regime’s violence almost as soon as the U.N.’s six-point peace plan went into effect on April 12, by Wednesday morning, news wires no longer had to depend on claims by Syrian activists that President Bashar al-Assad was flagrantly breaching its terms. “Wednesday, regime forces fired mortar shells at the central city of Homs, sending thick gray smoke into the air as loud booms rang across residential areas,” reports the AP’s Karin Laub. “Shelling by Syrian military troops continues unabated,” reports NPR’s Kelly McEvers. Outside of Homs, the BBC reports evidence of deadly fighting in Deraa province. So why not declare the ceasefire dead? Because once you do, your options don’t look good.


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April 18th, 2012, 8:25 pm


99. Aldendeshe said:

Getting upset by the hour.

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April 18th, 2012, 8:39 pm


100. Mawal95 said:

JAD #94 links to a 25-minute televised speech by Bashar Assad today on the one subject that has still not yet been completed in the regime’s comprehensive reform program, namely the new Anti-Corruption Law.

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April 18th, 2012, 8:39 pm


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