UN in Catch 22 in Syria

Everyone is taking pot shots at the UN for their ambiguous stand on Syria. It is unfair. The international community has placed the UN in a classic catch 22. They are damned if they stay in Syria and damned if they leave. If they stay, they are accused of accomplishing nothing. They haven’t stopped the fighting. They haven’t gotten the two sides to sit down at the negotiating table. The death rate is creeping back up. Even it it initially dropped when they first entered, the good of their presence has stopped. What is more, the massacres at Houla and Qubair took place while the observers were present. They are risking their men by placing them in jeopardy. They have been both shot at and mobbed by government supporters, The dangers are not worth the diminishing good that they do. This is the argument for withdrawal. What is more, those who want to pursue regime-change in Syria criticize the peace keepers for carrying out a “Russian Plan” which only helps Assad to buy time and justify continued Russian support for the “sovereign government,” etc.

But if the observers withdraw, the entire world will scream that the UN has abandoned the Syrian people. What if there is a bigger scale massacre when they leave? The Syrian opposition will rightly criticize the UN for abandoning them to the tender mercies of the government suppression. The observers were never given powers as soldiers to stop the violence, they were merely tasked to observe. They are the only officials who can bear witness, which is supremely important. They were able to give us an account of the massacres and suggest who was responsible. They act as a restraint on both sides.

This is why the UN is keeping its observers on the ground even as it suspends the mission. It seems like cowardice or confusion to some, but it is an expression of the terrible catch 22 that the international community has created for the UN. The UN is doing the best it can given that the Security Council is divided over which side to support and how to proceed in Syria.

News Round Up

Fred Lawson,” History of the Islamist Movement in Syria,” in Origins, July issue.

The events of the “Arab Spring” took the world by surprise. Yet, the roots of those rebellions run deep and nowhere more so than in Syria, where the fighting continues to be fierce and deadly. This month, Fred H. Lawson traces the history of one leading force in the ongoing Syrian uprising: the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood. The Brothers led a violent campaign to overthrow the Syrian regime in the 1970s, but more recently have advanced a platform that calls for liberal reform and constitutional government. Whatever the outcome of the current struggle, the Muslim Brotherhood is certain to play a central role in Syria’s future. The whole article can be found at go.osu.edu/syria

Ohio State University’s monthly history magazine, Origins, publishes scholars’ original interpretations of important contemporary issues as a free public service.

Obama: Russia, China Aren’t on Board With Ousting Assad
By: Dave Boyer | The Washington Times

The head of the U.N. observer mission in Syria said the monitors would stay in the country even though the operation has been suspended because of increasing violence.

Syria: Reports of helicopter shipments underscore need for arms embargo

Alawite fortress and Sunni wasteland in Syria’s Homs (This is the best article to appear on Syria for some time)
by Erika Solomon, Tue Jun 19, Reuters  (This story is based on the observations of a visitor to Syria, known to Reuters. His identity has been withheld for safety reasons)

(Reuters) – The view from the rooftops makes the balance of power clear. In some neighborhoods, cars and people scurry about. In others, only the scarred shells of empty homes remain. After months of fierce military assaults and rebel ambushes in Homs, the centre of Syria’s 15-month-old revolt against President Bashar al-Assad has effectively become two cities.

Along the scorched and crumbling skyline is a well-preserved archipelago of districts, home to Syria’s minority Alawite sect, the offshoot of Shi’ite Islam to which Assad belongs. Alawites have mostly sided with Assad and have barricaded themselves in Homs – protected by the Syrian army that has now made their neighborhoods a second home.

“We’re always nervous, but we will stay and survive,” says Abu Ali, a 60-year old sitting in his mini market in the Alawite neighborhood of Zahra. “It is the Sunni areas that are empty – at least the ones that asked for ‘freedom’,” he said, referring to districts that backed the mainly Sunni Muslim uprising against Assad.

The rebellious districts that once belonged to Sunni Muslims are ghost towns. Only about three of the 16 Sunni districts have not been pummeled by military assaults. Many Alawites say they feel they have no choice but to back Assad, fearing retaliatory slaughter for religious affiliation with the president as the revolt becomes increasingly sectarian.

“The Sunnis have been oppressed,” said one Alawite man. “But Alawites will be the victims.” Abu Ali settles in his chair as cans and jars lined up in his store rattle from the daily bursts of gunfire and rockets. Behind him, an Assad portrait adorns the back wall. “Those other people are the terrorists,” he says, pointing to several cases of Alawites being kidnapped or killed by rebels. ” I can tell you what is happening: War.”


More people are starting to agree. The United Nations’ peacekeeping chief recently said Syria’s conflict looked like a civil war. While many areas have still escaped sectarian brutality, the heart of Syria’s conflict is a chilling glimpse of what the worst case scenario may be: a bloody struggle that tears the country into a jigsaw of warring statelets.

The Syrian government describes rebels fighting Assad as foreign-backed terrorists and accuses international media of misrepresenting the situation as a popular uprising against the president. But it allows little access to the country for foreign correspondents.

The city of Homs was once the country’s industrial centre, sitting on Syria’s main north-south highway, 30 km (20 miles) east of the border with Lebanon. It became the stronghold of the armed insurgency that began several months ago and overtook the peaceful protests against 42 years of Assad family rule.

With Sunni areas pounded into a shambles, refugees too poor to leave Homs have few options. Most end up in the Waar district, a jungle of concrete apartment blocks that housed the Sunni elite. Waar’s affluent residents fled the city’s chaos. Soon refugees broke in and took over their abandoned apartments.

All down the streets, shops have been seized by refugees. At a butcher shop, a family has hung blankets across the meat hooks outside to cover the glass storefront. Refugees have even moved into shopping malls, and the former stores are now crammed with blankets and stoves

Outside, Abu Omar looks for handouts for his six children, who have been given shelter in a local mosque. “We’re living off the charity of others. And we are lucky, some people are on the streets,” he says.

Homs used to be home to around 1 million people. Now, residents casually estimate that at least half have fled.


Meanwhile, Alawite areas like Farzat’s Zahra district look more like army bases than residential neighborhoods. Artillery is no longer stored in army barracks on Homs’s outskirts but in the middle of Alawite districts, and troops are at the ready to roll them out and fire at nearby rebel areas.

The army has secured the streets connecting Alawite neighborhoods. But its control of Homs is tentuous. Soldiers dare not go into most Sunni areas, where somewhere unseen in rocket- and bullet-riddled buildings, hundreds of rebels hide, sporadically firing rocket propelled grenades.

“If we wanted to end the Homs problem, we’d have to grind the whole place to the ground. Hundreds of soldiers would die,” said an army officer. He said he was part of the siege of Homs’s Baba Amr neighborhood, when an onslaught by tanks and troops drove rebels out of their main stronghold.

“We’re worried houses will be mined, like they were in Baba Amr. That struggle cost us many more men than was reported. So now instead, we just shell the rebel areas from here.” In addition to troops, hundreds of pro-Assad militia men have been cultivated in Alawite areas, proudly accepting the tag “shabbiha”, from the Arabic word “ghost.” They strut down the streets in army camouflage. They speak disdainfully of soldiers they view as treading too cautiously in confronting the enemy.

One shabbiha youth points to the tower overlooking an opposition area, where soldiers used to snipe at rebels. “Now the shabbiha use it. You can’t see people over there, there’s no point sniping. We just take a machine gun and spray.”


Despite the overt militarization, Alawite residents try to maintain a normal way of life. Most schools are open. Vendors hawk fruit and vegetables on street corners. Nearby, women browse shops that have become a “Sunni market”, where shabbiha bring in stolen furniture and clothes from Sunni areas after the army has raided them.

“These are the spoils of war,” one woman shrugs. “It’s our right to take them.” But the mood is always tense, and like many other days, the calm shatters along with the glass of a shopfront as an RPG launched by rebels smashes into the street. A bloodied passerby is quickly given first aid and whisked away by ambulance.

The government has pushed for the appearance of normality in the midst of chaos. Homs’ Baath University reopened last week after a long closure. For the first time in months, Sunni and Alawite classmates were placed under the same roof. But the division is as palpable here as in their fractured city. Sunni and Alawite students stick to their own sides, sitting on opposite ends of cafeterias and a campus yard overshadowed by a massive stone statue of former president Hafez al-Assad, Bashar’s father who ruled for nearly 30 years.

“I used to have a lot of Alawite friends, but now we don’t greet each other. There is nothing more to say,” says Ahmad, a 22-year old Sunni engineering student. “But I’m not afraid, it can’t get any uglier than this.”

Across the yard, fellow engineering student Hassan, an Alawite, fears the worst is yet to come. “Even my cousins are shabbiha now. I hate that. Neither side deserves power here,” he sighs.

Hassan never says he thinks Assad may be toppled, but he believes the future will not be kind to Alawites. “The slaughter is coming to us.”

Among Syrian rebels, a shared sense of commitment – Wash Post – By Austin Tice

Khan Sheikhoun, Syria — On a Sunday late last month, Syrian army forces attacked this town. By early afternoon, two children had been killed by a mortar shell, and doctors and nurses were struggling to save an elderly woman shot in the chest with a Kalash­nikov. An attack helicopter circled overhead. The local rebel commander phoned his compatriots in the nearby town of Madaya for help.

Assad Foreign Policy (I): A History of Consistence
By: Amal Saad-Ghorayeb, June 19, 2012

Chief among Third-Wayers’ denunciations against the Assad regime’s foreign policy record are accusations that relate to its alleged history of defeat, and later quietism, vis-à-vis Israel, as well as its persecution and cynical use of Lebanese and Palestine groups resisting the Zionist state. For these detractors, the Assad leadership’s anti-Zionist and anti-imperialist stances amount to little more than public posturing intended to preserve its popular legitimacy and is therefore of negligible strategic value to the resistance axis. While many of those making this argument are merely engaging in ex-post facto rationalization – that is, formulating retrospective explanations to justify their current position – this depiction of the Syrian regime as having “colluded” with imperialism in the past, warrants a comprehensive response, if only to underline the centrality of Assad’s Syria to the resistance project and the Palestinian cause generally.

Resistance Belongs to People not Regimes
By: Antoun Issa, June 18, 2012

Truly adhering to the Arab concept of resistance is to remain committed to its purpose. The current map of the Middle East – authoritarianism divided by 21 artificial Arab states plus Israel – was specifically designed by Western powers to keep the Arabs subordinate, weak, divided and voiceless. If Arab resistance is a rejection of this order, and a bid to reclaim Arab sovereignty for the people, then the removal of all Arab dictatorships, including Assad’s regime, is the resistance’s natural course.

Why Iran Should Get the Bomb
Nuclear Balancing Would Mean Stability
By Kenneth N. Waltz
July/August 2012

Leaders’ body language betrays lack of progress over Syria, National Post, 2012-06-20

“Assad and his people lie openly – even when it is obvious that what they are saying cannot be true,” says a former diplomat who has dealt with Assad. People who were involved in foreign policy say deceit was one of the main tactics used by Assad to deflect pressures. Samir al-Taqi, for example, recalls that in talks with the European Union on an association agreement, he was instructed to “always say yes.” “We were told that it was important for the other side to feel everything is going well… and that it should take them six months to find out that it was not.”    Compiled by Araminta Wordswort

Syria-bound Russian cargo ship turning back, British diplomat says
By the CNN Wire Staff
June 19, 2012


UK Foreign Secretary William Hague says the ship appears to be headed toward Russia
He said Britain is discouraging anyone from supplying arms to Syria
Chemical weapons in Syria are a concern, Hague said
He says focus is on peaceful transition, but “we cannot take any options off the table”

(CNN) — A Russian cargo ship reported to be carrying arms to Syria is turning back, Britain’s top diplomat said Tuesday.

“I am pleased that the ship that was reported to be carrying arms to Syria has turned back apparently towards Russia,” British Foreign Secretary William Hague told the House of Commons.

U.S. officials have said that the Russian operator Femco’s cargo ship, MV Alaed, was headed for Syria with attack helicopters and munitions for the al-Assad regime from the port of Kaliningrad. The vessel had been off the north coast of Scotland, according to ship tracking data.

Interview: Zahida Rashkilo, Kurdish politician: »They said that they and eleven other Kurdish parties would liquidate Mischʿal at‑Tammu«

KURDWATCH, June 15, 2012—Zahida Rashkilo (b. 1966) is a member of the Office of General Communications for the Kurdish Future Movement in Syria. She spoke with KurdWatch about the assassination of Mishʿal at‑Tammu, during which she too was seriously injured.This is the first interview in which the Kurdish politician, who is currently in Germany for medical treatment, has spoken about the exact circumstances of the assassination.

Syria Spirals down into Sectarian War (Juan Cole at Truthdig) – Juan Cole writes: My column is out at Truthdig, “Sectarian Violence Undermines Syrian Regime”


“The Syrian government’s resort to Alawite death squads in recent weeks, however, has threatened the big-city alliance that has allowed the Baath to survive. The sight of Sunni women and children massacred by the Shabiha in Houla and Mazraat al-Qubair drove Sunni shopkeepers in the capital to instigate a general strike. Protests and small insurgencies are now taking place even in Damascus.”

Fikra Forum – WINEP
June 20, 2012

On June 15, 2012, the newly elected head of the Syrian National Council (SNC), Abdulbaset Sieda, gave Fikra Forum his first extended Western media interview since assuming the post on June 10. The interview was conducted by Skype, in Arabic, by Fikra Forum editor Lauren Emerson and contributors Maya Gebeily and Jehad Saleh. Key points include:

1. Sieda asserts that the SNC does not lead the FSA, and that this could lead to the “disorganized and haphazard use of weapons” and an “uncontrollable … security coup,” as he says has occurred in Libya.
2. He says it would be fine to “coordinate” with the Kurdish opposition and others, rather than try and bring them back into the SNC.
3. He says there could be dialogue with regime elements “with no blood on their hands,” but only concerning “the timing and process of the fall of the regime.”
4. He denies that the SNC should do anything to demonstrate its independence from the MB, which is “an essential faction of the Syrian opposition.”

Following is a translated transcript of this interview; the original Arabic can be found here:http://fikraforum.org/?p=2318&lang=ar


“Assad and his people lie openly – even when it is obvious
that what they are saying cannot be true,” says a former
diplomat who has dealt with Assad. People who were involved in
foreign policy say deceit was one of the main tactics used by
Assad to deflect pressures. Samir al-Taqi, for example, recalls
that in talks with the European Union on an association
agreement, he was instructed to “always say yes.” “We were told
that it was important for the other side to feel everything is
going well… and that it should take them six months to find
out that it was not.”
compiled by Araminta Wordsworth

Comments (156)

Alan said:

War-Frames: Mainstream wages Syria dis-info campaign
UN observers say they’re committed to completing their mission in Syria, seen as key to ending violence, despite the earlier decision to halt it because of security risks. Observers claim they’ve been given safety guarantees by the Syrian government, but not from the opposition. There’s been a spate of fighting in the country, with a major media war also gathering pace. RT’s Marina Portnaya has the latest.

June 20th, 2012, 12:12 pm


Alan said:

West Plots To Supplant United Nations With Global NATO
by Rick Rozoff
The record of the past thirteen years under the stewardship of Kofi Annan and Ban Ki-moon has been abysmal. Three major wars have been conducted by the United States and its NATO allies, the first against a founding member of the UN, Yugoslavia, while the organization made no meaningful efforts to prevent or halt them once started and has even legitimized them after the fact with assorted resolutions. Even UN resolutions following unauthorized wars are trampled on, as with the recognition by most NATO members of the illegal secession of Kosovo from Serbia last February, flagrantly contradicting UN Resolution 1244 which commits the UN to “Reaffirming the commitment of all Member States to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the other States of the region, as set out in the Helsinki Final Act….”

However, even with its manifold problems, the United Nations was intended to prevent the replication of the horrors of World War II which ended only two months before its creation. The world would hardly gain by having it further weakened, sidelined and in effect reduced to a hollow shell by an expanding military bloc that has already waged wars on two continents and set its sights on penetrating and dominating the entire world.

June 20th, 2012, 12:31 pm


Alan said:

Putin/Obama Talks
By Stephen Lendman
“We are united in the belief that the Syrian people should have the opportunity to independently and democratically choose their own future.”
Additional language called for achieving a comprehensive Middle East peace. Putin and other leaders want nothing less. Obama itches for more war. Talking peace and stoking conflicts reveal America’s transparent hypocrisy.
Diplomatic boilerplate left fundamental differences unresolved. Both leaders are ideologically distant.
Putin supports peace, stability, and inviolable national sovereignty rights.
Obama thrives on violence and imperial wars. He believes meddling in the internal affairs of other nations is America’s divine right. Pursuing unchallenged global dominance is policy.

June 20th, 2012, 12:55 pm


norman said:

DR Landis,

Can you tell me why the US has not called yet for a meeting between the Syrian government representative and the opposition to design the System for Syria, That is if what we the US wants is real politecal reform and not just change of Syria’s foreign policy.

June 20th, 2012, 12:55 pm


Uzair8 said:

Does the last paragraph on the main post have a title missing?

Moving on. The Antoun Issa piece is a good read. Useful for informing others about the reality of the Assad regime vis-a-vis ‘resistance’.

June 20th, 2012, 1:19 pm


Ghufran said:

Two Shia sheikhs were assassinated in Damascus in the last 30 days
سلميه سلميه

June 20th, 2012, 1:20 pm


Alan said:

Simply bad habit (Regime Change). during cold war era the USA confidentially did it . and now it is impudent in the open!it contradicts doctrines of Monroe !
نادى مبدأ مونرو بضمان استقلال كلِّ دول نصف الكرة الغربي ضد التدخل الأوروبي بغرض اضطهادهم، أو التّدخّل في تقرير مصيرهم

June 20th, 2012, 2:11 pm


Osama said:

FEMCO speaks

Finally Femco, the Russian company which owns the MV Alaed, has come out with a statement concerning the media stories concerning this ship.

The accusation is the ship picked up the helicopters on its way back from the far east and took them to Russia and then waited for the helicopter to get a quick fix and then it was now carrying them back when it was stopped by the heroic British off the West Coast of Scotland. The company debunks the entire storey…..

Here is the link


June 20th, 2012, 2:27 pm


Tara said:

I am not voting for Obama this time. What a disappointment Obama was in general.  Russia’s Putin has made a mockery out of the US administration…

Activists Plea to Clear Civilians in Syria

Hervé Ladsous, the head of U.N. peacekeeping, told the Security Council there were no good options for the body to bring peace to Syria, including extending the observers’ mission, amid escalating violence, said two Security Council diplomats present at the closed-door meeting.

Mr. Ladsous said that an option of deploying 3,000 armed U.N. peacekeepers to protect the observers was not feasible because it would require approval by Damascus, new troops would have to be found and there was a risk of angering the opposition if the peacekeepers are seen as protecting the status quo of President Bashar al-Assad’s rule, the diplomats said. Mr. Ladsous also said an extension for the observer’s wasn’t feasible either if their work remains suspended.

“We appeal to the humanity in you to move and take all measures to stop the systematic killing of the Syrian people in Homs,” it said.

President Barack Obama, meeting with world leaders in Mexico, said he told his Russian and Chinese counterparts, Vladimir Putin and Hu Jintao, he didn’t “see a scenario in which Assad stays and violence is reduced.”


June 20th, 2012, 3:10 pm


Syria no Kandahar said:

Revolutionary brain crisis: burning of private Islamic libraries by the army!!

June 20th, 2012, 4:57 pm


Syria no Kandahar said:

Open your heart
Close your store
If you don’t want your head detached
Or your store burned
The new freedom!!

June 20th, 2012, 5:15 pm


Syria no Kandahar said:

Alarabia and FSA showing their ugly and rodent sectarian face:

June 20th, 2012, 5:41 pm


Syria no Kandahar said:

Please be more prudent with what you link on this site, your link opened to a virus trojan filled site.

SC Moderation

3 students kidnapped by germulutionists:

June 20th, 2012, 6:08 pm


zoo said:

Tensions in the House of Saud
Published: June 20, 2012

It all seems civilized and predictable. An aging crown prince passes away and his successor is promptly chosen: Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, another son of the founder of the Saudi kingdom and long-time governor of Riyadh, becomes the new successor to the reigning monarch, King Abdullah.

But beneath the veneer of stability and consensus, the House of Saud is facing problems that neither the princes nor the international community are paying much attention to.

The security and stability of Saudi Arabia is a major concern for the United States. The typical advice to Washington is not to be judgmental and not to push the kingdom to reform, given the need to forge a common policy toward Iran. But such pragmatism may increasingly prove counterproductive. The stability of the House of Saud cannot be guaranteed through religious militancy and economic rewards to a restive citizenry.

The function of an ally is to stress the implausibility of such an approach, and not to sanction it under the banner of expediency. This may require tough and frank diplomacy. But that is the way that both American and Saudi interests would best be served.

June 20th, 2012, 6:15 pm


bronco said:

UN mission General Mood has failed in winning the heart and minds of the Syrians.
The dependency on the Syria government for the team’s security and the inability of his team to stop the violence against the opposition, has made them look like the agents of Bashar Al Assad. In addition the opposition without spelling it never wanted the Annan plan that keeps the regime in power in the negotiation phase.

On the other side, his goal was to gain the trust of the FSA to convince it to join the dialog after a truce is installed between the warring factions. But his numerous contacts with the FSA, the complicity that transpired during these meetings as well as his absence of explanations and condemnations of the abuses of the armed gangs associated with the FSA, has made him suspicious in the eyes of the pro-regime who accused him of being a spy.

He lost the trust of both groups.

If General Mood wants to stay on and be helpful, he will have to
change significantly his approach and denounce openly the violent actions of both sides, so as to show them that they are finally similar in their destruction spree. Then maybe they could consider a truce and a dialog.

June 20th, 2012, 6:31 pm


Majedkhaldoun said:

I am sure you are aware that Paul wolfowitz and Ajami were togather in college and they were and are till now close friends, and you probabaly heared that Ajami introduced paul to Shahrazd (shah Reza,persian Shiite) who became as Paul Wolfowitz mistress, she worked in the state department and in the defense department before she moved to a private buisiness, I was told that USA support of Maliki and placing Shiite as leader in Iraq was due to Wolfowitz, who is well known as Israeli zionist.

June 20th, 2012, 6:36 pm


zoo said:

“The Security Council discussions today were more of the same. That is what made it so depressing,” he said. “How can the council move ahead always saying the same things?”

UN has no viable options left in Syria, says peacekeeping chief
Joe Lauria
Jun 20, 2012
Mr Ladsous, who last week said Syria was in a civil war, said flatly that there is no viable plan for the UN to stop the escalating violence, the diplomats said.

“One extreme option is not having any mission at all, and the other is a full fledged mission with a protection element with 3,000 peacekeepers,” one of the diplomats said. But such a mission would require approval by Damascus, the procurement of hard-to-find new troops and there was a risk of angering the opposition if the peacekeepers were seen as protecting the status quo of President Bashar Al Assad’s rule, the diplomats said.

Mr Ladsous said extending the mandate of the observers’ mission when it expires on July 20 was not feasible because the violence that suspended its activities over the weekend would likely continue, the diplomats said.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is to formally present at least these two options for the UN’s future plans in Syria to the council on July 2.
“With the situation as dynamic and fluid as it is, who can tell what options are feasible?” asked one of the diplomats. In the meantime there are no new ideas to end the escalating crisis, he said. “The Security Council discussions today were more of the same. That is what made it so depressing,” he said. “How can the council move ahead always saying the same things?”

He (Ladsous) said publicly that the time had not come to change the observers’ mandate or to decide to pull them out all together. A number of diplomatic initiatives must play themselves out and the Security Council is waiting for recommendations from the UN secretary-general, he said.

Bashar Ja’afari, the Syrian ambassador to the UN, told reporters his government had tried many unilateral ceasefires that were used by the rebels to procure new arms. He accused Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey of purposefully undermining the observers’ mission by supplying these weapons to the opposition.

“They are providing weapons, sending in Al Qaeda, giving them haven, allowing them to cross the border with Syria and then run back to neighbouring countries, ” Mr Ja’afari said. “This is becoming so blatant and flagrant, it is too much.”

“Some parties are betting on the failure of the mission and are doing their best to create the failure of this mission” in order to bolster talk of military intervention by the West, he said.

June 20th, 2012, 6:41 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

مجلس جديد للمقاومة السورية يؤكد ظهور قيادة في الداخل متطورة وناضجة قادته يستخدمون اسماءهم الحقيقية.. ومقاتلوه مصرون على هدفهم رغم قلة السلاح

Good article in Al Quds Al Arabi

June 20th, 2012, 7:19 pm


zoo said:

Homs rebels: Army must leave, or we’ll start killing civilians (Op-Ed)
Published: 20 June, 2012, 18:53

A peace activist is claiming the Syrian Army is reinforcing with heavy weapons and locating snipers at the borders with Lebanon and Turkey while clashes continue in villages in central Syria.

Consultant and peace activist Christoph R. Hörstel told RT that his information “is directly obtained from Syrian security personnel of various origins personally taking part in battles and other operations, and/or close relatives of such personnel – some are even well-known people.”

Almost all towns are under the government control except for Homs, where rebels and ‘terrorists’ have asked the army to leave – otherwise they have threatened to kill the civilians.

Syrian officials say up to 5000 civilians have been ‘taken hostage’ in Homs, the cradle of the Syrian uprising. The Syrian army refuses to bargain with the insurgents mingled with ‘terrorists’ in the city in Syria’s west, and has not started an assault. The army has halted operations, in order not to cause loss of life among the ‘hostages’.

However, Homs’s area is completely surrounded and is being monitored by the army. The same Syrian officials state that what appears on international media as Homs demonstrators are in fact these ‘hostages’.

For the last three days ‘terrorists’ have been trying to infiltrate across the Lebanese border, but face gunfights with the regular army supported by Iranian commandos. Infiltrating mercenaries try to move directly to Damascus, but suffer heavy losses already at the borders, say Syrian officials.

As more details arrive from Syria about foreign involvement, the NGO “Medecins Sans Frontieres”(MSF) is being accused its personnel have a “dual use” in the battles. At times, regime’s forces are unable to discern between fighters and paramedics, which has lead to MSF staff being killed or seized in government’s security operations across the Arab country.
A peace activist is claiming the Syrian Army is reinforcing with heavy weapons and locating snipers at the borders with Lebanon and Turkey while clashes continue in villages in central Syria.

Consultant and peace activist Christoph R. Hörstel told RT that his information “is directly obtained from Syrian security personnel of various origins personally taking part in battles and other operations, and/or close relatives of such personnel – some are even well-known people.”

Almost all towns are under the government control except for Homs, where rebels and ‘terrorists’ have asked the army to leave – otherwise they have threatened to kill the civilians.

Syrian officials say up to 5000 civilians have been ‘taken hostage’ in Homs, the cradle of the Syrian uprising. The Syrian army refuses to bargain with the insurgents mingled with ‘terrorists’ in the city in Syria’s west, and has not started an assault. The army has halted operations, in order not to cause loss of life among the ‘hostages’.


June 20th, 2012, 7:29 pm



Many alawite officials (maybe all of them) have fled from their Damascus suburbs residences for fear of being killed. They know they are the target. I wonder if they can understand why they are the target.

June 20th, 2012, 7:42 pm


Syria no Kandahar said:

Dirty and sectarian from day 1 :

June 20th, 2012, 8:30 pm


Syria no Kandahar said:

The wonderful Syrian terrorists:
If Christians are with us we will reward them,if not
We will severely punish them(I.e : kill them)

June 20th, 2012, 8:36 pm


Observer said:

So from this post it seems that there is one of two situations
1. The regime has effectively kidnapped the Alawi community to its side which explains the tactic behind the massacres insuring that there will be no internal defections or
2. The Alawi community was from the start pro regime and sectarian.
I do not believe in the second one for several reasons
1. Alawis are not stupid
2. Alawis do not live isolated
3. Alawis although may be happy to enjoy more priviliges than others I do not believe that they are inherently sectarian.
4. Having said that, minority politics is always driven by fear rather than hope and are motivated for stability rather than change even if stability means regressive and represseive methods. It is likely that the all or none mentality of the regime will end up destroying the regime and causing the minority to lose big time and for a very long time. Already they are having a massive uprising on their hands and they cannot achieve the complete victory that they are dreaming of.

The game is up.

Textbook of Microbiology and Microbe resistance is a must read these days.

June 20th, 2012, 8:48 pm


mjabali said:

your comment went into spam filter because you misspelled shiite, and the filter picked up on a “cuss” word and automatically flagged it.

SC Moderation


Your obsession with the Shia is not serving the truth. Not that it matters but here is something you should know:

Shaha Riza is a Sunni. Her father is a Libyan-Turkish Sunni and her mother is Syrian-Saudi. Her father was the consultant of kings Abd al-Aziz, Saud and Faysal of Saudia Arabia. The name Riza, that you think is a Shite Persian, came to her through her marriage to a Turk.

June 20th, 2012, 8:51 pm


mjabali said:

moderation stop eating my comments

June 20th, 2012, 9:01 pm


Ghufran said:

Mjabali is right,inaccurate information was posted about shaha riza because the author either did not bother to look at the facts or he/she “remade” the facts to suit his/her opinion.

June 20th, 2012, 9:49 pm


Ghufran said:

It took 45 seconds to get a profile of shaha riza and probably 5 seconds to claim that she is a “Persian Shia”.

“she was born in Tripoli, Libya, to a Libyan-Turkish father (Khalid Alwalid Algargany) and Syrian-Saudi mother. According to the Washington Post she grew up in Libya and attended Catholic boarding schools in England and on the island of Malta.[3] She is a British national.
In the late 80s, Riza moved to the United States after her marriage to Bulent Ali Riza (also spelled Bülent Alirıza), (born 1952). Riza studied at the London School of Economics before taking a master’s degree in International Relations from the University of Oxford (1983), where she studied at St Antony’s College. She speaks Arabic, Turkish, English, French and Italian.[4] She is divorced and has one son. Her father was King Abdul Aziz’s (of Saudi Arabia)”

June 20th, 2012, 10:03 pm


omen said:

the international community has lost its legitimacy

“unfair” is residents calling un observers in real time, on their mobile phones, and pleading with them over and over again to come rush to houla in order to intervene because the regime was killing them all – only to have un officials refuse to do so.

we cannot believe the world is watching us be killed.

just like the word “reform” has been hijacked and corrupted by vested interests, so has the word intervention.

June 20th, 2012, 10:27 pm


aldendeshe said:

Dr. Landis was not responsible for deleting your posts, I am. Please review the rules of the site if you are unfamiliar with them.

SC Moderator

Will treat you the same way Landis. Will never forget or foregive, that is the SSNPS motto man.

June 20th, 2012, 10:55 pm


mjabali said:

It was not the word Shia that you misspelled but the word Shiite, you left an i and an e out.

SC Moderator

SC Moderation:

I did not misspell the word Shia. The only thing missing is the apostrophe that substitute for the letter Ayn ع, it should be Shi’a, if I was following transliteration rules by the book.

You can enter the word “Shia” into a search engine and see…

June 20th, 2012, 11:07 pm


Juergen said:

german journalist was allowed to travel to Aleppo.

Welcome to Syria!”
In the civil war country journalists are not welcome. Our reporter managed to enter the country. His first report comes from Aleppo, the calm in the eye of the storm by Alfred Hackensberger

“I have not been out of Aleppo for one and a half year now,” says a taxi driver. “All residents are afraid to leave the city, especially by car.” The FSA has, it is said, many drivers already forced at gunpoint to make their car available. Some owners had also disappeared without a trace. “But Assad will fall, which is inevitable,” says the taxi driver. In principle, however, he does not care is he who in power. “They are determined by the FSA no better than the present rulers.”


June 20th, 2012, 11:49 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

Duse Mjabali
Shaha Reza she converted to Shiite after she married to Ali Reza

You are trying to be smart,when you said
” Her father was King Abdul Aziz’s (of Saudi Arabia)””That is funny

June 20th, 2012, 11:56 pm


Juergen said:

very good article about Father Paolo.

They inserted also an video interview of him.

Syria Expels Jesuit Priest Who Spoke for Change

“Thick wooden beams barred the doors of St. Cyril’s Church in Damascus when friends of Bassel Shahade, a young opposition filmmaker killed in Homs in late May, arrived for a memorial prayer service. Government thugs dragged some mourners off to jail and chased away the rest, according to activists.

The leadership of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church did not intervene, they said. But the Rev. Paolo Dall’Oglio, an Italian Jesuit, invited Mr. Shahade’s friends to pray at Deir Mar Musa, an ancient desert monastery “Nobody was allowing them to pray for their lost friend,” he said in Beirut, noting that both Muslims and Christians attended.

His offer was the last straw for the Syrian government, which had been seeking to expel Father Paolo since last year — and finally did. He departed on Saturday, leaving behind the monastery that he rebuilt and reinvented over the last 30 years into a center for interfaith dialogue.

“The very fact that I am for change, for democracy, for human rights and dignity, this is very provocative,” said Father Paolo, 57, a burly, animated man with cropped gray hair and a salt-and-pepper beard, wearing a dark gray suit and indigo T-shirt. “I received a one-way visa out.”


a second article in the Economist


June 21st, 2012, 12:04 am


Halabi said:

I was going to engage with the pro-Assad side today but after watching more children that were butchered by the lord of we-love-yous, there is nothing left to say…

Here is your sectarian, genocidal, terrorist government. These are the reforms and dialogue you support.

[Our German friend beat me to the punch – here’s another graph from the NYT article. The Germans!]

“Father Paolo said it was one thing to avoid the opposition, but he was baffled by church leaders both inside and abroad who failed to criticize the shelling of civilian neighborhoods. The attacks drove most civilians out of the city of Homs, for example, including some 150,000 Christians.

“How can we stay silent?” Father Paolo said. “We are in solidarity with the repression, not only because we don’t denounce the repression, but also because we negate there is repression.””


June 21st, 2012, 12:14 am


Ghufran said:

OK,I hope none of you believed that Shaha was the daughter of a Saudi king,however you have to admit that her name sounds “royal”:
Here is the whole piece :
Riza was born in Tripoli, Libya, to a Libyan-Turkish father (Khalid Alwalid Algargany) and Syrian-Saudi mother. According to the Washington Post she grew up in Libya and attended Catholic boarding schools in England and on the island of Malta.[3] She is a British national.
In the late 80s, Riza moved to the United States after her marriage to Bulent Ali Riza (also spelled Bülent Alirıza), (born 1952). Riza studied at the London School of Economics before taking a master’s degree in International Relations from the University of Oxford (1983), where she studied at St Antony’s College. She speaks Arabic, Turkish, English, French and Italian.[4] She is divorced and has one son. Her father was King Abdul Aziz’s (of Saudi Arabia) consultant as well as Saud’s and Faisal”

June 21st, 2012, 12:33 am


Ghufran said:

Did Riyad Alas’aad ran away to Bulgharia with $ 2 millions?
في اول تعليق لرئيس “المجلس الوطني” عبد الباسط سيدا على هروب رياض الاسعد الى بلغاريا وبحوزته اموال تخص الثورة السورية، صرح سيدا لبعض وسائل الاعلام بالقول: “في البداية سمعت الخبر من الصحف الصادرة ولم اعلق في البداية، وبدانا نعمل على التحقق من الامر، ولكن بعد ان تحققنا اريد ان اقول اولا الى الاخوه المقاتلين في سوريا معنوياتنا لن تتأثر بهروب الاسعد مهما كانت الاسباب فالثورة يقودها الرجال، ويقتل بها الشجعان ويحصد ثمارها الجبناء وقليل ان نطلق كلمة جبان على رياض الاسعد فخيانته اليوم لن يغفر لها التاريخ، وهو ركب موجة الثورة لمكاسب مادية، كمثيله غليون الذي تاجر بالدم السوري، وانا اعمل على مد الدعم للأخوه في سوريا ليل نهار”.
وعن سقوط بعض المحاور بيد القوات الحكومية السورية وقتل المجموعات المسلحة في سوريا قال: “لم نخسر معركتنا في كافة القرى فجميعنا يعلم أن الحرب مع النظام السورى معركة كر وفر، واذا بقيت الدول الكبرى في صف المشاهد سوف نخسر كل التحركات المسحلة في سوريا، فلدينا ارقام مخيفة عن القتلى ولم يحدد لدينا حتى الآن إذا كان القتلى مدنين او مقاتلين من مجموعاتنا المسلحة”.

June 21st, 2012, 12:58 am


Juergen said:

here is father Paolos goodbye message in arabic

June 21st, 2012, 1:13 am


Ghufran said:

For the records,only one pro regime site climed that Riyad ran away,we will know by tomorrow,I have my doubts,but I won’t be shocked if the news were true.

June 21st, 2012, 1:19 am


Osama said:


Please provide a reference or a link for your claims about Ms. Shaha Alireza.

June 21st, 2012, 1:19 am


Juergen said:

Here is the best article I have seen in a while ( after the Damascus opera piece a couple of months ago)

Christoph Reuter has been secretly in Syria for months

Face to Face with Syria’s Apocalypse

“A slim man is led into the room. He’s 21 and from Hasaka in northeastern Syria. He says his name and then that he was present when the army attacked the cities of Jisr al-Shughour and Idlib last summer. He knows what happened there, and begins to tell his story.

It’s impossible for a journalist to determine conclusively whether the man is telling the truth, or if he simply wants to save his own skin by offering a confession. Still, the information he gives suggests that what he describes is true. When asked, he proves to be familiar with tactical specifics of the attacks, and he can describe in detail the interior of the sugar factory in Idlib, which the army used as its torture center. Hundreds of people entered that building alive last year who have since disappeared.

No one interrupts as the man gives his statement, an hours-long account that goes into the smallest details. Ultimately, his story fits with testimony given by other witnesses.

“The colonel from the military intelligence service selected me and 14 others for the operation as a ‘reward,’ but it was an order,” he says.

“And what did the operation turn out to be?”

“An order to rape women that they brought in. The first time it was three of them, and they’d already been drugged. The security men undressed them, and they raped them first. Then it was our turn, in two shifts, and the men from security watched. They said they would shoot us if we didn’t do it.”


may be this is a better translation of the one i posted yesterday, its about the Houla massacre :


June 21st, 2012, 1:24 am


omen said:

from previous thread:

130. TARA said: other commenters told us of [ajami] being a political prostitute and pro zionism.  
Can anyone who knows give us examples of his pro-Israel stance so we can judge for ourselves? He may be very well be pro-Israel but we Arabs, use this accusation right and left whenever anyone disagrees with us. I am not trying to defend the man.  I just want to hear why he is classified pro-Israel? 2:26 am

tara, irfan pointed to this profile written on ajami. from 2003.


it’s a devastating portrayal. you can go back to hating him.

June 21st, 2012, 1:24 am


Osama said:


I think that it would make perfect sense, after the NATO GCC have created the “new and improved” internal opposition, they would want to get rid of Alas’ad, so they pay him a nice retirement package.

He always has been a pain for the opposition anyway, they will probably be happy with this… Of course, SNC statements just keep demonstrating how out of touch they are, they are there to provide the nice face to the western media…

June 21st, 2012, 1:29 am


Halabi said:

The source in comment 36 is questionable, but nothing new there. Last week Ghufran said the FSA was lying about the death of Ali Shaaban, the reporter from Al Jadeed who was killed by Syrian soldiers according to his colleagues who were with him at the time. The evidence for that opinion was an Arabic article that reported that Lebanese authorities are charging unnamed Syrian soldiers with the crime. Doesn’t make sense? Neither did the explanation…

I don’t know about Riad Al Asaad fleeing to Bulgaria, and if he did then shame on him. But this “news” story has the SNC head saying in quotes, that Al Asaad joined the revolution for personal gain just like Burhan Ghalioun has traded with the blood of Syrians. كمثيله غليون الذي تاجر بالدم السوري

The source for this quote? No link was provided. It’s on this site http://www.mjhar.com
The article actually attributes the quote to “some media outlets.” Other pro-Assad sites picked up the Mjhar story and cited Mjhar.

Mjhar actually misspelled Abdul-Basit Sida’s name as عبد الباسط سيد, but others that picked up the story corrected his name, including the version in #36.

Peddling in this kind of information says more about the poster than the issues.

June 21st, 2012, 1:34 am


omen said:

16. MAJEDKHALDOUN said: I am sure you are aware that Paul wolfowitz and Ajami were togather in college and they were and are till now close friends, …Wolfowitz, who is well known as Israeli zionist. 6:36 pm

ok, i concede your point. ajami is a zionist. he’s a neocon. so what? just as many neocons came out against intervention into libya as there were for. the same is probably true regarding syria. (if memory serves, wolfowitz also supports intervention.)

in the profile of ajami i earlier mentioned, it talked about ajami suffered from the weakness of an “outsider’s desire to please.” well, another tribute outsiders have is a sensitivity to pain and oppression.

all i care about now is syria. i don’t care about ajami’s obscure scholarship. all i know of the man is from interviews. if israel were to start firing missiles into the west bank and ajami failed to protest, i would denounce him for it. but that is not what is happening now. the upmost crisis now is this arab regime slaughtering fellow arabs.

ajami was right about egypt, he was right about libya and he is right about syria. ajami might have been wrong about every single thing his past, but when he’s right about this one thing, i’m going to give him credit for it.

his currying favor with establishment figures was especially cringe worthy (is there a war criminal ajami isn’t friends with?) but in the end, i don’t really care about privileges he’s gained for himself or that he stooped to being a social climber or his bad taste in friends.

i don’t especially like mccain but even i recognize his keeping syria in the headlines is useful to the cause.

syria advocates in mainstream media are few and far in-between. polls show a majority of americans don’t support intervention. in other words, people don’t care about genocide. but ajami cares.

what ajami express about syria is empathy. if you’re a cynic, go ahead, roll your eyes and feel free to dismiss this but i don’t think this is something he’s faking.

i recall how ajami visited refugees inside lebanon and he channeled their fears, worry and frustration with the total lack of engagement from the international community and bewilderment at the world’s indifference. i can’t think of another pundit who has even mentioned the fact that tens of thousands of syrians missing and who are feared to have been killed, lying in unmarked mass graves somewhere.

i for one appreciate his advocacy. people change. it’s too easy to be a purist and demand all of the boxes be checked off before deigning to give someone credit.

while i think his influence is exaggerated, writer bernard-henri levy, in france, is given credit for urging sarkozy to get nato to intervene in libya in installing a no fly zone.

there is a potential for ajami, who has the right connections to influential power brokers, to do the same for syria.

p.s. you questioned my ideology. no, i’m not a zionist. i’ve expressed my hope before that after assad & regime are toppled, that it be palestine’s turn next in line to be liberated. to my surprise, uzair even pointed to holy text that predicts this outcome.

June 21st, 2012, 2:15 am


Alan said:


Germany rules out military intervention in Syria
News | 21.06.2012 |

Germany has strongly opposed military intervention in Syria, adding voice to the calls for a political solution to the country’s prolonged crisis.
German Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere on Wednesday warned that military action — strongly supported by Britain, France and the US — could easily lead to an all-out war in Syria.

“We must learn lessons from past (military) interventions,” he said in an address at a university in Ankara.

He also questioned a proposal for establishing a no-fly zone or buffer-zones as a complicated and serious matter.

The German defense minister was on a visit to Turkey, a country which hosts Syrian opposition meetings while its leaders have openly supported regime change in Syria.

But a number of countries including Russia and China have called for a political solution in Syria.

The opposition blames the government for the bloodshed. But Damascus points the finger at armed groups supported by some Western and Arab countries

June 21st, 2012, 3:23 am


Alan said:


Report: Mossad Active in Iraq under Cover of Jordanian Companies

Reports by Iraqi media revealed that Israeli secret service, Mossad, is very active in Iraq and is spying on Iran and its allies under the cover of Jordanian companies.

June 21st, 2012, 3:27 am


Mina said:

Why giving us news of far-away countries such as Iraq? You know that most people here are very sensitive that only Syrian matters should be discussed, and since they consider that the borders of Syria and the political movements related to the Syrian political movements are far away realities that are irrelevant for their profound thinking, why taking the pain?
The absence of any reference to the demonstrations in Sudan by Western news, not to mention the fact this is a country which has been ruled by the Muslim Brothers for a while without it leading to any kind of democracy, but rather continuous wars, has no place in articles and discussions about the MBs anywhere else. Sudan is considered as far as Zimbabwe when it is not to say that “we, the big umma, we are … countries and … millions”. They just prefer to ignore that Bilal was black, I guess.

June 21st, 2012, 3:35 am


Alan said:

47. MINA
The reason is geographical and national overlap as shown stamp in the link

June 21st, 2012, 3:46 am


Mina said:

Mjabali, #25’s answer to Majed

I wonder what is his problem with the “Persians”?
That Bukhari, Muslim, Avicenna, Biruni, were not Arabs?
That they have computer-cracks able to particiipate in the cyber war and help virus software companies against “Flame” (while some people have not achieved much recently in term of technology).

Ghufran, I am sure the statistics are even below the reality. Normally, if a people or a country have good hospitals, some sort of education system, and some sort of autonomy, they get bombed and get back to prehistory (see Iraq, Palestine, Lybia, Syria).

June 21st, 2012, 3:46 am


Alan said:

Here is the best blog I have seen in a while

June 21st, 2012, 4:36 am


Juergen said:


spread the news!

I bet Mr Hoerstel on his one man crusade needs this Million Dollar PR campaign for representing this regime in the west.

The problem is all major news agencies and his old employer the state owned ARD network(btw the biggest network in Europe) will never give him the stage he so utterly is trying to get after a decade of disinformation by him.

June 21st, 2012, 5:50 am


annie said:


Shaykh Sayyid Muhammad al-Yaqoubi on Syria’s Bloody Road to Democracy

A must listen !

June 21st, 2012, 6:43 am


ali said:

نظام العلويين الاوباش شارف على نهايته

الجنود لا يستطيعون الذهاب لرؤية اهلهم بل اهلم يذهبون اليهم الجنود يرمون اسلحة وزخيرة في كل تنقل او انسحاب على جوانب الطرقات الضباط يرتدون الكلابيات والبرمان لتوارو عن الانظار الضباط يلبسون ملابس نسائية ليستطيعوا المغادرة الى بيوتهم الضباط يتنقلون الى اكثر من مكان ويغيرون لباسهم ويسافرون بسيارات زراعية واحيانا حلفاوية بثلاث دواليب مع انهم يركنون المرسيدسات في النقط العسكرية واقسم بالله صيحة الله واكبر تزلزل قلوبهم انتم لم ترو ما رايته فان ترى غير ان تسمع

June 21st, 2012, 6:47 am


Uzair8 said:

Previously pro-regime (Iranians or Shia people) would dismiss the claim that Iranians or Hezbollah may be operating in Syria alongside the regime while at the same time they would claim foreigners including Nato, Salafis, CIA, Libyans etc were operating on behalf of the opposition.

After the recent ‘admission’ by an Iranian military official they have, possibly in an attempt to deflect embarrassment, been open to the possibility of Iranians operating there and even justifying it saying ‘good’ and ‘it’s about time’.

They are even beginning to post videos themselves that may point to Iranian involvement.


June 21st, 2012, 6:48 am


Uzair8 said:


Syrian fighter jet ‘lands in Jordan’

Syrian MiG 21 jet lands at Jordan’s Mafraq military airport as state TV says contact has been lost with a plane, Reuters news agency reported.

Sources said the plane was piloted by Colonel Hassan Mari Hamada and was near the southern border of Syria when it lost contact at 10.34 am local time.

Jordanian media reported it as an emergency landing while Syrian activists said the pilot has defected.

More soon…


June 21st, 2012, 6:56 am


ann said:

Turkish Opposition Figure Slams Cabinet for Syria Stance – 21-06-2012


A senior member of the main Turkish opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has censured the government for its approach towards the current situation in Syria.

Faruk Logoglu, who is also the former Turkish ambassador to the United States, told Press TV on Wednesday that the Syrian “crisis must be resolved through internal dialogue.”

“We are very critical of the way AKP is handling the situation,” he said, referring to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) led by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“There should be no outside intervention of any sort and that any intervention must be mandated by a resolution from the United Nations Security Council. In the absence of such a resolution, any intervention would be unlawful.”

Logoglu made the comments days after Erdogan censured the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad over its approach to reforms in the Arab country.

The Turkish prime minister also stated that President Assad is taking “an autocratic approach” to the issues inside Syria.

Erdogan made the remarks on the same day when Assad said in a televised address to the parliament that Syria is “facing a war from abroad.”


June 21st, 2012, 7:12 am


Alan said:

Are Syria’s Rebels Getting Foreign Support?
By Scott Stewart

A video recently posted to the Internet depicting an improvised explosive device (IED) attack in Syria has garnered a great deal of attention. A Syrian militant group called the Hawks Brigade of the Levant claimed the attack, which targeted a Syrian government armored troop bus as it traveled along a road near a rebel stronghold in the Idlib governorate. According to the group, the attack depicted in the video employed a type of IED called an explosively formed penetrator (EFP). Though the video was shot from a fairly long distance away, it does appear that the IED punched a substantial and focused hole through the armored bus — precisely the type of effect that would be expected if an EFP were employed against such a target.

June 21st, 2012, 7:16 am


Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Assad’s dogs Looting. Is this allowed in the new constitution?


June 21st, 2012, 7:43 am


Alan said:

you speak about the tools of media ! turn attention that Christoph Hoerstel the educated and competent German political analyst. Reputation as the libel is something that is immoral!

June 21st, 2012, 7:43 am


Alan said:

Retaliatory strike? Israeli dogs kill four Palestinians after border clash (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

June 21st, 2012, 7:54 am


majedkhaldoun said:

You said that Shaha reza is the daughter of King Abdulaziz,It is not true.
You are coming to tell us another story,and that is Abdukbasset Sayda condemned Ghalioun,This is a fabricated story and a lie.
You come and tell us another fabricated story about Ryad Al Asaad has ran away with two million dollar to Bulgharia, .
Where do you come with all these lies?IS your assignment is to spread lies,shame on you,No one should believe you any more.
I tried to meet Colonel Asaad, he is 100% surrounded by Turkish authorities, he himself can not go anywhere without permission from the turkish authority.

Today a pilot(colonel) flying Mig 21 defected to Jordan,This is a severe embarrassement to Assad.

Mina , And Duse MJabali.
You asked what is it with me and persians,I have never trusted Iranian Government,they are Dictatorship, they lie all the time, Saddam once clearly said, no one should trust the Iranians,he was right, it is in their believe that they should lie, In Syria we call them Rafida .

I apologize to you.

June 21st, 2012, 7:54 am


zoo said:

Revolution 102: Now that the dictator is (half) dead, Michael Young and the Egyptians discover he was the wrong target


The generals, not the dictator, hold the keys to the regime
Michael Young
Jun 21, 2012

It is strange how many people today seem surprised by the actions of the Egyptian armed forces, who have consolidated their political supremacy in recent days at the expense of parties and civil organisations that supported the so-called revolution of January 2011.

That’s because virtually nothing in what occurred a year and a half ago spelt revolution. Yes, President Hosni Mubarak was forced to step down, and was later arrested with his sons and other officials. But even this, plainly, represented a tactical retreat by the military to preserve its political and economic stakes in the system.

June 21st, 2012, 7:59 am


Uzair8 said:

52. Annie

A comment from the Shaykh struck me and and is an important reminder and advice to all of us especially Syrians.

“Wisdom before anger”.

June 21st, 2012, 8:03 am


zoo said:

In Iran, They Want Fun, Fun, Fun
Published: June 20, 2012 5 Comments

One of the most pernicious misunderstandings in the West about Iranians is that they are dour religious fanatics.

About half of Iranians are under the age of 25, and Iran has done a solid job of raising their education levels. I was struck on my 1,700-mile road trip across Iran by how many of them share American values, seeking fun rather than fanaticism. They seem less interested in the mosques than in amusement parks (which are ubiquitous in Iran
My road trip across Iran leaves me convinced that change will come here, too, if we just have the patience not to disrupt the subterranean forces at work: rising education, an expanding middle class, growing economic frustration, erosion of the government monopoly on information. My hunch is that if there is no war between Iran and the West — which would probably strengthen the regime — hard-liners will go the way of Mao, and Iran will end up looking something like Turkey.

June 21st, 2012, 8:03 am


Tara said:

Assad may be offered clemency by Britain and US if he joins peace talks
Initiative comes after Cameron and Obama received encouragement from Putin during G20 talks in Mexico
One senior UK official said: “It is hard to see a negotiated solution in which one of the participants would be willing voluntarily to go off to the international criminal court.” It was stressed Cameron had not made a final decision on the matter.

On the basis of these discussions, the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, will now seek to persuade the former UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, to change the format of his plans to construct a contact group on Syria, and instead host a conference using the transition on Yemen as the model.
In the case of Yemen, the president, Ali Saleh, was granted immunity in February despite the massacre of civilians. His deputy, to whom he ceded power, is drawing up a new constitution.
Participants would include representatives of the Syrian government, leading figures in the opposition, the five permanent members of the UN security council and key figures in the region, such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Russia has been pressing for Iran to be able to attend.
The meeting, under Annan’s chairmanship, would be held by the end of the month with an objective of establishing a broader-based government leading to elections in 18 months time.

June 21st, 2012, 8:05 am


zoo said:

Analysis: Hezbollah slow to warm to Arab Spring
Published on Thursday 21 June 2012 00:00


THREE years ago, regional opinion polls showed that the Middle East’s most popular leaders were Hezbollah chief Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, and Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. At the time people appreciated that they were standing up to Israel in Lebanon and Gaza, and resisting US regional policies.

In a sense, these Sunni groups are creating an armed enclave in northern Lebanon to counterbalance the armed Shia enclaves in Beirut, the south, and the Bekaa region.

Hezbollah faces parliamentary elections in the spring of 2013 and could lose its majority.

Strategically, Hezbollah fears that if Assad falls, and if it loses the ability to resupply itself rapidly and effectively as a result, Israel will take advantage. With tensions between Israel and Iran, Hezbollah’s patron, unresolved, this fear cannot be discounted. Even if Hezbollah can adjust to the Arab Spring, it fears the winter with Israel that might follow.

With the Arab Spring, regional public opinion has shifted toward prioritising civil rights and democratic reform over foreign policy. Today, Assad is reviled, Ahmadinejad’s government is accused of violently suppressing its own pro-democracy protesters, and both Hezbollah and Iran are condemned for continuing to back Assad as he slaughters his own population.

As a result, Hezbollah is no longer the widely popular movement that it once was across the Arab and Muslim worlds, but it remains a highly effective and heavily armed force. And, in politics, as Machiavelli pointed out long ago, it is more important to be feared than loved.

To be sure, Hezbollah is still grudgingly respected for its ability to stand up to Israel. But it has lost its halo as a voice for the oppressed and downtrodden, and has exposed itself as a partisan and sectarian party.

June 21st, 2012, 8:06 am


Tara said:

Cameron was personally involved with blocking the Russian arms shipment.

It also emerged that Cameron confronted Putin over arms supplies and had been personally involved in plans to prevent a Russian-manned shipment of three repaired attack helicopters and air defence systems reaching Syria.
The ship, the MV Alead, returned to Russia after UK insurance was withdrawn on Monday.
It emerged that Cobra, the government emergency committee, held secret sessions last Thursday, Friday and Monday at which options to stop the shipment were discussed, including discussions with the Dutch government to stop the ship on the basis that it was flying under the Dutch Antilles flag.
Cameron was updated on the process while at the G20 summit in Mexico and had at one point been willing to consider ordering the ship to be boarded had it continued down the English Channel.
Russia is not party to any arms embargo and claims the opposition are being armed by the Saudis.
US and UK intelligence had identified the cargo on the ship as well as false documention about its destination. The ship turned back after insurance was withdrawn following UK government pressure. The EU arms embargo on Syria will now be tightened up to cover insurance.

June 21st, 2012, 8:12 am


zoo said:

The CIA joining the Syrian rebels to change Syria’s regime.
It sounds familiar. Congrats to the ‘revolutionists’, they are in “good” hands.

C.I.A. Said to Aid in Steering Arms to Syrian Opposition
Published: June 21, 2012

WASHINGTON — A small number of C.I.A. officers are operating secretly in southern Turkey, helping allies decide which Syrian opposition fighters across the border will receive arms to fight the Syrian government, according to American officials and Arab intelligence officers.

The weapons, including automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, ammunition and some antitank weapons, are being funneled mostly across the Turkish border by way of a shadowy network of intermediaries including Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood and paid for by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the officials said.

The C.I.A. officers have been in southern Turkey for several weeks, in part to help keep weapons out of the hands of fighters allied with Al Qaeda or other terrorist groups, one senior American official said. The Obama administration has said it is not providing arms to the rebels, but it has also acknowledged that Syria’s neighbors would do so.

The clandestine intelligence-gathering effort is the most detailed known instance of the limited American support for the military campaign against the Syrian government. It is also part of Washington’s attempt to increase the pressure on President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, who has recently escalated his government’s deadly crackdown on civilians and the militias battling his rule. With Russia blocking more aggressive steps against the Assad government, the United States and its allies have instead turned to diplomacy and aiding allied efforts to arm the rebels to force Mr. Assad from power.

By helping to vet rebel groups, American intelligence operatives in Turkey hope to learn more about a growing, changing opposition network inside of Syria and to establish new ties. “C.I.A. officers are there and they are trying to make new sources and recruit people,” said one Arab intelligence official who is briefed regularly by American counterparts.

June 21st, 2012, 8:19 am


mjabali said:


Majedkhaldoun like many Sunnis think it is the time for the war against Iran. They never liked Iran and the Shia. This action also is bringing them money and support from the freaks in countries I am not going to name. These places are called in some circles: the Kingdoms of Darkness ممالك الظلام

As for the contributions of the Persians and other races to the “Islamic civilization” do not tell people like the dude because they are brainwashed with hatred and racial thinking.

Arabs contributed almost zero compared to the non Arabs in the so called “Islamic Civilization.” They ruled, got the money and women, fought with each other and of course put the foundations of dictatorship and a citizen that never be fit for modern life.


June 21st, 2012, 8:22 am


mjabali said:

American policy makers are making another mistake for the history books. Instead of helping establish some sort of a dialogue, they are giving weapons. No one is going to gain from this.

Syrians are going to pay with their blood because of this policy.

Promote peace not violence.

June 21st, 2012, 8:31 am


zoo said:

Cameron is in a PR “show off” period trying to counter the negative image he has in the UK after the Murdoch scandal.

At the G20, he made some bad taste humor and triggered the ire of France by half joking about the French socialist plan of taxing the rich.
Now he is claiming having stopped a commercial boat carrying ‘refurbished helicopters’ from Russia

What’s next to recover some clout in the British and international opinion?

At British Inquiry, Cameron Denies ‘Deals’ With Murdoch
Published: June 14, 2012


June 21st, 2012, 8:32 am


Tara said:

Refugees in Jordan Return to Syria to Fight Against Assad
Published: June 20, 2012

While increasing numbers of Syrians, especially from cities like Homs and Dera’a, are fleeing into Jordan, young men are returning at a steady flow to Syria, some to fight against the forces of President Bashar al-Assad.

The kingdom estimates that there are more than 100,000 Syrians in Jordan, far more than the number who have registered with the U.N. refugee agency. In March, the United Nations registered more than 6,000 refugees but by June the figure had topped 25,000. Roughly one quarter of the households were headed by females.


June 21st, 2012, 8:34 am


mjabali said:

Learn the rules of the site, personal insults and attacks are not welcomed (even when written in Arabic). You can say what you want as long as they fall in line with the rules of the site. When they don’t that WHEN I step in.

SC Modertator

The moderator put another one of my comments for moderation. What a fiasco. Dude: learn the principles of freedom of speech.

Mr Moderator:

I come from a country that never gave me the freedom to say what I want. You are doing the same to me.

June 21st, 2012, 8:36 am


Alan said:

Israel to Mount Interceptors on Gas Platforms
Israeli military considers possibility of mounting interceptor missiles on gas-producing platforms to be built in eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea, reports The Jerusalem Post. Israel is afraid of Hezbollah’s possible attacks upon the platforms by antiship missiles or explosive-carrying vessels.
In particular, Israeli Navy concerns that antiship missiles Yakhont recently purchased by Syria from Russia can be handed over to Hezbollah and used for attacks upon gas-producing platforms. Syria has already tested Yakhonts at latest exercise.
Aegis-Carrying US Destroyer Heads for Persian Gulf
American destroyer USS Benfold armed with Aegis missile defense system on June 15 left homebase San Diego for the 8-month long cruise through the Pacific Ocean towards the Persian Gulf, reported US Third Fleet.

June 21st, 2012, 8:40 am


bronco said:

#70 Mjabali

“Arabs contributed almost zero compared to the non Arabs in the so called “Islamic Civilization.”

Totally agree. This is why it is called the “Islamic civilization” and not the “Arab civilization”.

Certainly Arabs deserve the recognition of having spread Islam with their armies and created a united empire under the banner of Islam and arabic, the language of the Kor’an , but the real creators of the Islamic civilization (architecture, arts, philosophy, science and litterature) were in a large majority Persians, Moghouls and other Asians moslems.

Some uneducated non-Arab haters still describe the civilization as Arab.

June 21st, 2012, 8:43 am


majedkhaldoun said:

Duse Mjabali
The prophet Muhammad has great influence on the whole world and civilization, than any one else , He is ARABIC.

June 21st, 2012, 8:46 am


bronco said:

#74 Tara

Many Syrians refugees in Jordan are going back because the condition of refugees there is unbearable. Contrary to Turkey, the Jordanian government is not helping them much and in addition not welcoming dissidents as reported previously.
The ‘fighters’ returning to Syria will have a hard time coming back.
If the situation in their region settles relatively, they’ll have no choice than to go back with their family.

“According to the U.N. refugee agency, several organizations have been providing financial support to the most vulnerable refugees in the border towns of Ramtha and Mafraq, while local communities are playing host to refugee families: But resources are being exhausted, and some refugees who are renting apartments are at risk of eviction because they can no longer pay the rent.

Ghalib, 33, who asked that his family name not be used for safety reasons, said he had been in Jordan for five months but was planning to return to Syria. “I have no more money to pay the rent or even for water and our life has become very difficult,” he said. “So I will be taking my family back with me and I will join the Free Syrian Army.”

June 21st, 2012, 8:55 am


Tara said:

9.59am:Syria: American journalist Max Blumenthal has announced that he will no longer be writing for al-Akhbar, the Lebanese newspaper and website, because of its pro-Assad coverage of Syria.

Explaining his decision in a blog post, Blumenthal says he started writing for al-Akhbar because at the time he considered it “one of the most courageous publications in the Arab world”. But now, he says, “the paper’s opinion pages have become a playpen for dictator enablers”. He writes:
I recently learned of a major exodus of key staffers at al-Akhbar caused at least in part by disagreements with the newspaper leadership’s pro-Assad tendency.
The revelation helps explain why al-Akhbar English now prominently features the malevolent propaganda of Amal Saad Ghorayeb and the dillentantish quasi-analysis of Sharmine Narwani alongside editor-in-chief Ibrahim al-Amin’s friendly advice for Bashar Assad, whom he attempts to depict as an earnest reformer overwhelmed by events …

I was forced to conclude that unless I was prepared to spend endless stores of energy jousting with Assad apologists, I was merely providing them cover by keeping my name and reputation associated with al-Akhbar.
More importantly, I decided that if I kept quiet any longer, I would be betraying my principles and those of the people who have encouraged and inspired me over the years. There is simply no excuse for me to remain involved for another day with such a morally compromised outlet.

June 21st, 2012, 8:55 am


Tara said:


Your denying Arab contribution to the Islamic civilization reminds me with your denial of Damascene influence on the culture in Syria. Remember when I was wondering if you thought Nizar Qabbani was Lebanese?

June 21st, 2012, 9:01 am


Tara said:

I am very annoyed with how much flexibility in opinion pro regime can have to support their dear leader…from extreme right to extreme left and any another direction besides right and left too.

Now Arabs has not contributed to the Islamic civilization as much as Persisn and Moghuls?!


And if the Persian civilization was so profound and stand alone, why did the Persians accepted Islam and remained Muslims.

It is one thing to admire the others, but a whole different thing not to be comfortable and proud in your own skin.

Sorry to be blunt. I just can’t hide my annoyance. I personally am very proud Arab….

June 21st, 2012, 9:12 am


Halabi said:

Bashar explained defections in the Syrian army as a normal phenomenon – some soldiers flee, especially in countries with compulsory military service that are in war. But fighter jets defecting? It’s rare, but the Assad regime has experience with that. A Syrian pilot defected with his MIG to Israel in 1989.

I wonder what Putin thinks about this. Not only has Bashar lost control of vast swaths of territory in Syria, he also can’t trust the Air Force that his father built. Bashar will go down in history as a brutal dictator and genocidal tyrant, attributes that his supporters adore. He will also be known as the prodigal son who lost a country that was given to him on a golden platter.

June 21st, 2012, 9:12 am


zoo said:

The news is “according to an anonymous Jordanian security official”. Any Jordanian government official confirmation? Youtube video?

Syrian pilot defects to Jordan with plane
Associated Press

“The pilot, identified as Col. Hassan Hammadeh, removed his air force tag and kneeled on the tarmac in prayer after landing his plane at King Hussein Air Base in Mafraq, Jordan, 45 miles (70 kilometers) north of Amman, a Jordanian security official said. The official insisted on anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the matter.


June 21st, 2012, 9:13 am


Antoine said:


I am addressing this post for you. Recebtly I have been reading a lot about Germany’s history, especially in the 19th century.

I recently came across the “Kulturkampf” and the “Klostersturm”.

I think this was a very sectarian period in Germany’s history. I was thinking about the rabid sectarianism in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Bahrain and feeling ashamed what Westerners think about Arabs and their sectarianism,

But recently after reading a lot about Germany’s history, I dare say Sectarianism was a part pf Germany until very recently, in fcat sectarianism was very prominent in the 1860s and 1870s.

I was shocked to read that Jesuit priests were banned in Germany, more than 1500 Parish priests were expelled under the “Pulpit Law of 1871” ., also there was large scale mob violence against Catholic monasteries during the Klostersturm, in fact a famous Catholic orphanage in Berlin was burned down by a mob.

The Vatican was openly declared as “Reichsfeinde” in 1872.

I want to ask you, how do you think sectarianism was ended in German politics ? How did Germans overcome this problem ? And approximately when do you think sectarianism became less important in German politics ?

Do you think the kind of sectarianism that existed in Germany may be compared to that of the Middle East ?

June 21st, 2012, 9:24 am


Son of Damascus said:

Zoo, SANA mentioned they lost “contact” with the MiG, is the news a little more digestible for you now?


June 21st, 2012, 9:24 am


Antoine said:

ZOO, how is Hafez Makhlouf’s health nowadays ?

June 21st, 2012, 9:25 am


Uzair8 said:

84 Zoo

The Jordanian Minister of Information has spoken about it.


June 21st, 2012, 9:26 am


Uzair8 said:

Majed & Tara

The regime, the ‘beating-heart of Arabism’, the bastion of Arab resistance, will be furious at the views of some of it’s supporters.

June 21st, 2012, 9:32 am


bronco said:

#82 Tara

Don’t take it personal, this is history.
It does not diminish the Arab overwhelming contribution to the propagation of Islam as a unifying bond as well as providing a common rich language that allowed the Islamic civilization to bloom.
Without that, that civilization would not have been born.

In any case, Saudi Arabia and the Arabic peninsula, the origin of the Arabic language and the Kor’an have not produced many philosophers, scientists, architects, painters, musicians. Yet they did contribute in poetry and military strategies. You can check by yourself what was the ethnicity and the origin of the great names of the Islamic civilization.
I hope your pride of being an Arab is not exclusively linked to the contribution of the Arabs to the Islamic civilization.

One is proud or ashamed of what one does of his life, not of what one’s ancesters did.

June 21st, 2012, 9:32 am


zoo said:

#88 Uzair8 #86 SOD

“We also understand from the minister that this pilot, whose name is Colonel Hassan Mari Hamada, has defected and requested political asylum in Jordan.”

Did the Ministry explicitly said that the pilot defected or Al Jazeera “understood” it as such.

Yet, while it might be a real defection, there has been no official confirmation by the Jordanians. Until we see a Youtube….

June 21st, 2012, 9:45 am


zoo said:

An offer to Bashar al Assad to go to Switzerland for peace talks about “transition”


Bashar al-Assad would be offered safe passage to Switzerland to take part in peace talks, under plans being drawn up by Britain and America to end the crisis in Syria.

By Robert Winnett, Mexico City and Adrian Blomfield

6:00AM BST 21 Jun 2012

British officials believe that it is now “worth having a go” at attempting to negotiate a “transitional process” for Syria that would involve the president relinquishing power.

The idea was discussed by David Cameron and Barack Obama at the G20 summit in Mexico this week.

The process of attempting to negotiate a solution to the crisis could lead to Mr Assad being offered immunity. A well-placed British Government source admitted that the scenario being discussed was “very optimistic”.

It follows a meeting between Mr Obama and Vladimir Putin at the G20 during which the Russian president was said to have shifted his view of the Syrian leader.

“Putin indicated that they were not hooked on Assad staying in power indefinitely,” said the British source. “Of course they go on to say that it’s not up to the international community to decide.


June 21st, 2012, 9:50 am


Observer said:

I said before the game is up.

It is a Mig 29
here is what Al Quds has today

Syria wants the pilot and the plane IMMEDIATELY. Everybody is scrambling to keep the plane and of course the pilot in Jordan.

Offer of safe passage and even amnesty now and today RT the mouth piece of Putin is 100% silent on this.

When they deny an arrangement then it means that the balloon testing is ongoing.

Oh my oh my. What would the first and second echelon of the regime hierarchy do? Do they defect? Do they stay? What guarantees do they have? Do they keep their wealth? Do they send their kids out? What about those Alawi victims of the cold machinations of this regime, if there is a smell of a collapse will they stay or flee or actually prevent Fredo and his family and cronies from leaving while they are left alone to face the music?

MRSA. VRE. Ambizone resistance. Check the germs that have developed antibiotic resistance in Syria.

June 21st, 2012, 9:51 am


Uzair8 said:

91 Zoo

Sorry. I should have given the correct link and quote:

The pilot of a Syrian MiG 21 fighter jet who flew his plane to Jordan has asked for political asylum on landing, Jordanian Minister of State for Information Samih al-Maaytah said.

“He requested political asylum in Jordan. He is being debriefed at the moment,” Maaytah said on Thursday.


June 21st, 2012, 10:23 am


zoo said:

#95 Uzair8

Ok, thanks, that’s clearer. You obviously know well Al Jazeera

Does Al Jazeera reports the ‘defection’ to Bulgaria of the FSA founder: Ryad al Assad

June 21st, 2012, 10:30 am


Son of Damascus said:


“Does Al Jazeera reports the ‘defection’ to Bulgaria of the FSA founder: Ryad al Assad”

There is no official confirmation by the Bulgarians, until we see a YouTube video….

June 21st, 2012, 10:36 am


Uzair8 said:

96 Zoo

Lol I don’t think I know Al Jazeera that well.

All I know is Ghufran mentioned it and I didn’t believe a word of it. It wouldn’t have mattered anyway. The revolution would have rolled on. Somebody replied to Ghufran’s claim in the comments above.

June 21st, 2012, 10:40 am


zoo said:

#97 SOD

…A Youtube video of his funerals in Sofia?

June 21st, 2012, 10:43 am


Tara said:

Tara, “Too hard for the UK media to admit they lied?
They should know we got used to that anyway.”
Too hard to admit you’re on the wrong side?   

1.58pm:Syria: Russia has confirmed for the first time that the MV Alaed was carrying helicopters belonging to the Syrian government, AFP reports. The ship was turned back towards Russia earlier this week after insurers withdrew their cover.
The Russians are reportedly planning a second attempt to deliver the helicopters to Syria – on a vessel flying the Russian flag rather than that of the Caribbean island of Curacao.

Russia confirms cargo ship carrying helicopters for Syria
June 21, 2012 03:27 PM


June 21st, 2012, 10:46 am


Alan said:

Daoud !
Another Palestinian has been killed in a fresh Israeli airstrike in the east of the Gaza Strip, bringing to eight the number of Palestinians killed over the past three days.

June 21st, 2012, 10:50 am


Uzair8 said:

I came across an article (‘Imam urges Britain to arm Syrian rebels’) but I’m not sure I’m allowed to post the link.

If you look for it you can find it.

June 21st, 2012, 10:51 am


Son of Damascus said:


Not sure what you meant by that, but sure if that tickles your fancy….

Btw the “source” for the supposed Asa’ad’s defection is non other than a regime shill artist, I think the MiG story has a lot more facts in it than any of the fiction that regime propaganda news outlet garbage outlet keep pumping out.

June 21st, 2012, 10:52 am


Alan said:

‘Tell Brits to remove Cameron and see what happens’ – Assad’s adviser
Supporters of the Syrian President’s regime hold portraits of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as they demonstrate in front of the Syrian cultural center.

June 21st, 2012, 11:00 am


jna said:

Rebels are holding Christians hostage in Homs.

…”What is happening in these neighborhoods pains our hearts,” said Maximos al-Jamal, a Greek Orthodox priest who is still in Homs. He says about 90 of the civilians in two besieged Homs neighborhoods are Christians, down from thousands who lived in the area before the uprising began.

He said he feared the rebels want to keep the Christians trapped in the city as a bargaining chip while the army’s bombardment and ground attacks on the city intensify. Syrian Christians have largely stuck by President Bashar Assad, fearing the strength of Muslim hard-liners in the uprising against his rule.

The International Committee of the Red Cross called on Syria’s government and rebel groups Wednesday to allow it to reach trapped civilians and evacuate the wounded and sick.

The rebels have controlled the Christian neighborhoods of Hamidiyeh and Bustan Diwan since early February. Sporadic clashes between rebels and troops have forced tens of thousands of Christians to flee the neighborhoods to a relatively safe area known as the Valley of the Christians, just outside the city.

But those who remain say three attempts to evacuate them so far have failed despite efforts by Sunni clerics and tribal leaders to help.

Al-Jamal, who took part in three rounds of failed negotiations, said there would be a fourth attempt but he felt “hopeless.”

Al-Jamal said that in past attempts, the army had agreed to a two-hour truce to allow the mediators to evacuate the besieged people but they were blocked by the rebels.
[…] Read it all http://m.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2012/Jun-20/177466-at-least-20-soldiers-killed-in-clashes-with-rebels-in-northwest-syria-activists.ashx

June 21st, 2012, 11:07 am


majedkhaldoun said:

Colonel Ryad Al Asaad was on Arabieh,just now talking from his usual place, he was talking about the new pilot who defected.

Ghufran did you listen, now this is proof that what you said was lie
Currently there are huge demonstration in Midan Damascus.

Major American ship with nuclear capability,is on its way to the mediteranian see.

June 21st, 2012, 11:08 am


Alan said:

Major American ship with nuclear capability,is on its way to the mediteranian see.
For what purpose it is a nuclear arsenal and as a whole for what?

June 21st, 2012, 11:15 am


ann said:

Ship bound for Syria was carrying 3 old helicopters repaired in Russia – Lavrov – 21 June, 2012



RT: We are hearing reports of a clemency for President Assad from the West if he steps down, some kind of immunity, how would Russia react to that?

SL: I would just repeat what I said: it’s for the Syrian people to decide who should rule them, how they should live. The main thing for the external players is to ensure that they all sit down at the negotiating table to discuss their future, where the minority and the majority will feel safe and included into the political system, otherwise the groups that now support president Assad, and there are quite a number who do so, would be in the opposition to the ruling majority and the war and violence would continue, but the positions of the participants would be shifted. This is something that might happen if people insist on one-sided approaches to the crisis and on imposing something on the Syrians.

RT: Some would argue that this was the case in Libya, where a hundred people were killed just this week alone. Obviously this is not what people thought they were fighting for in the previous year’s uprising against Muammar Gaddafi. Is this the same fate that Syria has if there is some kind of an intervention?

SL: It could not be the same, because there would be no resolution of the UN Security Council authorizing outside interference.

RT: In terms of the aftermath of any kind of intervention for the people?

SL: I think intervention in Syria would be disastrous for the region. Syria is a multi-ethnic, multi-confessional country, whose different confessional groups have close relations to sister confessional groups in other countries.

Lebanon has already been influenced by the Syrian developments. Inter-ethnic clashes and strife can take place very fast and can embrace the entire region.

The Kurdish problem: the Kurds live in Syria, Turkey, in Iraq and other countries.

The problem of Christians: Christians in Egypt have been subject to some violence. It is very dangerous. They have been living there for centuries.

To topple this balance would be catastrophic.

RT: British Prime Minister David Cameron says that in Los Cabos at the G20 meeting President Vladimir Putin shifted his view on the situation in Syria. Is that true?

SL: It is not true. The meetings with UK PM David Cameron and US President Barack Obama did discuss Syria. Both our partners said President Bashar Al-Assad must go and external players must develop a transition plan for the Syrians to agree. We expressed our position that we cannot accept a policy which would aim at changing regimes from the outside. This has been our position all along.

We also cannot prejudge for the Syrians what the outcome of the political dialogue would be. We strongly support a political dialogue and efforts to stop the violence. We suggest for this purpose that all external players should lean on the Syrian party on which they have influence and thus persuade them to withdraw from cities – both the government and opposition – to sit down and have a dialogue.


June 21st, 2012, 11:24 am


Antoine said:


I am addressing this post for you. Recebtly I have been reading a lot about Germany’s history, especially in the 19th century.

I recently came across the “Kulturkampf” and the “Klostersturm”.

I think this was a very sectarian period in Germany’s history. I was thinking about the rabid sectarianism in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Bahrain and feeling ashamed what Westerners think about Arabs and their sectarianism,

But recently after reading a lot about Germany’s history, I dare say Sectarianism was a part pf Germany until very recently, in fcat sectarianism was very prominent in the 1860s and 1870s.

I was shocked to read that Jesuit priests were banned in Germany, more than 1500 Parish priests were expelled under the “Pulpit Law of 1871″ ., also there was large scale mob violence against Catholic monasteries during the Klostersturm, in fact a famous Catholic orphanage in Berlin was burned down by a mob.

The Vatican was openly declared as “Reichsfeinde” in 1872.

I want to ask you, how do you think Lutheran vs Catholic sectarianism was ended in German politics ? How did Germans overcome this problem ? And approximately when do you think sectarianism became less important in German politics ?

Do you think the kind of sectarianism that existed in Germany may be compared to that of the Middle East ?


[[ Moderator : Please feel free to delete an identical post on the previous page. The reason I have re-posted it on this page is I want Juergen to read it, and felt that having the comment at # 110 increases the chances of doing so]]

June 21st, 2012, 11:26 am


majedkhaldoun said:

They say, Arabieh,and Al jAZEERAH channels lie,
their resources are Dunia and SANA, and Bassam Al Qadi and Sherif Shehada.

June 21st, 2012, 11:31 am


irritated said:

A pearl from our local “experienced” SC ex-intelligence agent and psychic

“Take this from me, I know this. I can spot them from miles off.”

June 21st, 2012, 11:33 am


irritated said:

#107 Majed

“Currently there are huge demonstration in Midan Damascus.”

Any massive strikes and civil desobedience as called by the SNC leader?

June 21st, 2012, 11:37 am


ann said:

Revealed: CIA secretly operates on Syrian border, supplies arms to rebels – 21 June, 2012


American secret service operatives are distributing illegal assault rifles, anti-tank rocket launchers and other ammunition to Syrian opposition, the New York Times reports. But due to some rebels’ links to Al Qaeda, the CIA’s task is precarious.

­The paper reports that for weeks now, officers based in southeast Turkey have supervised the flow of illegal arms to numerous opposition factions ready to fight the regime of President Bashar Assad. The only problem is some of the rebel groups have links with terrorist organizations such as Al Qaeda, so the CIA mission must be careful not to arm proven terrorists by mistake.

Arms and ammunition are being brought into Syria mainly over the Turkish border with the help of Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood network and other groups, the report says. Expenses are being shared by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

The NYT source, an unnamed Arab intelligence official, revealed that American officers are also collecting information on Syrian opposition groups and recruiting informants among their ranks. The source said the Obama administration is considering sharing its intelligence data, such as satellite images and detailed information on the location and maneuvers of Syrian troops.

According to the source, CIA operatives might be helping the rebels with organizing a rudimentary intelligence organization. The CIA agents have reportedly not set foot on Syrian soil, however.

While, it seems, supplying Syrian opposition with arms, the US would like to see Syria’s allies, Russia in the first place, stop supplying weapons to the regime of President Bashar Assad. Washington has expressed concern with Russia performing maintenance of Syrian Mi-25 assault helicopters.


June 21st, 2012, 11:39 am


zoo said:

Turkey paying for guns sent to Syrian rebels by CIA: Report


According to statements made by American officials and Arab intelligence officers, weapons such as grenades and rifles are being passed onto Syrian rebels through southern Turkey under the provision of CIA operatives working on the ground.

Operations are being conducted under secrecy and are funded by Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, according to the New York Times.

CIA officials are trying hard to block any possible attempt by al-Qaeda or other terrorist groups from obtaining weaponry that is meant for Syrian opposition militants. The intelligence agency is also constantly attempting to build networks of communication and create allies within opposition circles.

June 21st, 2012, 12:05 pm


Antoine said:

Syria denounces pilot defection


“Syria on Thursday denounced an air force pilot who defected as a “traitor” and said it wanted to recover the warplane he used to flee into neighboring Jordan.

“The pilot is considered a deserter and a traitor to his country, and to his military honor, and he will be sanctioned under military rules,” state television quoted the Syrian Defense Ministry as saying.

“Relevant contacts have been made with the authorities in Jordan in order to recover the jet on which the traitor pilot made his getaway,” the ministry added.

Jordan granted political asylum to Colonel Hassan Merei al-Hamade Thursday, hours after he landed at a military air base in the kingdom in the first such air force defection in the 15-month revolt against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

A Jordan Armed Forces statement said the Russian-made MiG-21 landed at 10:45 local time. According to Syrian state television, authorities had “lost contact with a MiG-21 while it was on a training mission.”

George Sabra, spokesman for the Syrian National Council, the main exiled opposition group, said the pilot had “defected.”

“The pilot is from Deir az-Zour [in eastern Syria]and his family is known for its opposition” to Assad’s regime, he added.”


June 21st, 2012, 12:06 pm


Antoine said:

Syrian fighter pilot who landed jet in Jordan granted asylum

Martin Chulov
Thursday 21 June 2012 16.24 BST

“A Syrian fighter pilot has landed in Jordan and been granted asylum, authorities in Amman have confirmed.

The pilot, a colonel, named by opposition activists as Hassan Merhi al-Hamadi, landed his MiG-21 jet at Jordan’s King Hussein military base on Thursday morning after leaving Syrian air space during a training exercise.

He is believed to be the first Syrian air force pilot to defect during the 16-month uprising. There are no other known instances of senior officials fleeing the country with valuable state assets……”


I think Jordan should move the Mig-21 to KSA. Jordan is being threatened very heavily by Assad ( my intelligence friend in Amman has confirmed) to return the plane and Jordan is getting scared because they are not equipped to face turmoil and full-on attack at this moment.

The plane should be kept by Jordan and KSA as trustees for the State of Syria until we get a new regime.

June 21st, 2012, 12:13 pm


zoo said:

Turkish soldiers facing terror from outlawed rebels.


The outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s (PKK) raids on military stations in the southeast province of Hakkari’s Dağlıca district on Tuesday have immediately dispersed the optimistic atmosphere that has recently been building, and left all of us alone again with the cold and dark reality of terror.

While we proceed to a warm summer, once again we are entering a very familiar spiral of armed clashes, raids, news of deaths and funeral ceremonies.

Again, military delegations will knock on the doors of houses in remote corners of Anatolia to convey the news of the martyrdom of their sons to desperate mothers and fathers.

Again, we will continue to watch the TV while sitting in our homes or in our offices, the live transmissions of images from funeral ceremonies in mosque yards where state dignitaries, high ranking officials and huge crowds of citizens line up behind the imam.

Again, small children will make a soldier salute while their deceased father’s funeral passes in front of them, and their photographs will cover huge spaces on newspaper pages.


June 21st, 2012, 12:13 pm


ann said:

Pilot must be an agent sent to infiltrate the so called “opposition” 8)

Syria brands breakaway pilot fighter as “traitor” – 2012-06-21


DAMASCUS, June 21 (Xinhua) — The Syrian Ministry of Defense said Thursday that the breakaway pilot fighter, who defected earlier in the day with his MIG-21 fighter jet to neighboring Jordan, is a traitor to his homeland and military honor.

The ministry said that communication with the Jordanian government is underway to restore the fighter jet.


June 21st, 2012, 12:46 pm


ann said:

Tunisia’s al-Qaeda [terrorists] mujaheddin flock to Syria – June 21, 2012


Sometimes it’s a muffled call from Turkey or Lebanon by a son saying he’s off to fight in Syria when the family thought he’d gone abroad to study. Other times it’s just an anonymous phone call to say the son is now a martyr.

Some Tunisian families only learn of their son’s fate upon seeing him on Syrian TV, apparently confessing to be part of al-Qaeda and seeking to overthrow the regime of Bashar Assad.

The cradle of the Arab Spring, Tunisia also has a long history of frustrated youth heading off to fight in foreign jihads. Now, according to figures released by the Syrian government, they may make up a large percentage of Arabs who have gone to join the struggle against the regime of Bashar Assad. And that has raised alarm both about radicalization in the Syrian rebel movement, and of rising extremism within newly-democratic Tunisia itself.

It is an awkward situation for the Tunisian government, which has to rely on international organizations to follow up on the fate of its citizens arrested in Syria, since it was one of the first countries to cut ties in protest of the regime’s brutal crackdown on the opposition.


The Syrian government maintains that they are fighting foreign jihadis and in mid-May issued a letter to the United Nations giving the name of 26 arrested jihadis and alleged members of al-Qaeda. Nineteen of them were Tunisian.


Radical preachers are also urging young people to travel to Syria to take up the jihad against what they are calling an illegitimate regime.

“It is the duty of all Muslims to support the struggle of the Syrian people against despotism,” said Bilal Chaouachi, a Tunisian student at the Zaytouna religious university who describes himself as a Salafi.

He called jihad in Syria legitimate and described Syria as being led by an “unbeliever” regime backed by Iranian and Lebanese mercenaries, supported by Russia and China.


Presidential spokesman Adnan Mancer said the government is attempting to follow up on the fate of Tunisians in Syria with the aid of international organizations like the Red Cross, since the countries no longer have diplomatic ties.

“Our youth have good intentions, but it is possible they fell into the hands of manipulators,” he told The Associated Press.


June 21st, 2012, 1:02 pm


Alan said:

Ship bound for Syria was carrying 3 old helicopters repaired in Russia – Lavrov

June 21st, 2012, 1:24 pm


Halabi said:

Why aren’t Hezbollah, Iran and Bashar doing anything to prevent the deaths of Palestinians in Gaza, or at least retaliate? I know, I know, Assad is too busy killing Syrians like this innocent child in Kafartakhareem.

Caution – this is painful for humans to watch.

June 21st, 2012, 1:24 pm


ann said:

Syria rebels divided, at times violent – 18 minutes ago



One of northern Syria’s most powerful and best-armed commanders, Al-Sheikh boasts more than 1,000 fighters, and they don’t shy away from rougher tactics themselves. They have released prisoners in bomb-laden cars and then detonated them at army checkpoints — turning the drivers into unwitting suicide bombers.

Most of their weapons are booty, including at least two anti-aircraft guns, some anti-tank missiles and one tank, but they buy arms with donations from “honorable businessmen.” Although al-Sheikh, who ran a grocery store before the uprising, wouldn’t disclose the source or amount, he gets enough to pay some of his men monthly salaries of about $25, slightly more for those with wives and children. His fighters say the cash comes from Syrian expatriates and other Arabs. He was heard on the phone thanking a group in Bahrain.


Al-Sheikh is one face of the rebel movement in Syria. There are many more.

During two weeks in northern Syria, three Associated Press journalists counted more than 20 rebel groups, with anywhere from fewer than 100 to more than 1,000 fighters each. They go by names like the Idlib Martyrs Brigade and the Shield of the Revolution, and while all share a deep hatred of President Bashar Assad’s regime, their unity stops there.

Simply put, no one is in charge.


Rebel coordination rarely extends beyond neighboring towns and villages and never to the provincial or national level. Many rebels don’t even know the commanders in towns two hours away.


Opposition activists filter most information about the rebels sent outside the country, making it hard to get an accurate picture. But several groups said they had sent captured soldiers “to Cyprus,” which in rebel shorthand means execution. So many poor Syrians have died trying to reach the island that the phrase “send to Cyprus” has become synonymous with “put to death,” usually by gunfire.

One group said it had killed two brothers caught collaborating with the regime — one during interrogation, the other by firing squad.


Videos of the group’s attacks showed roadside bombs destroying tanks and flipping over army buses, as Islamic chanting played in the background. In one video, a booby-trapped van sped toward a checkpoint and blew up, splattering two soldiers into nearby trees.

The group was still high on a recent attack that had destroyed a military camp nearby. In the end, they photographed the dead bodies of 35 soldiers, drove off a tank they now park under a tree in the village graveyard and held trials for five captured soldiers. All were found guilty of killing other Syrians.

“They traveled to Cyprus,” al-Sheikh said with a grin. “On a fast plane.”


June 21st, 2012, 1:33 pm


Alan said:

Revealed: CIA secretly operates on Syrian border, supplies arms to rebels

June 21st, 2012, 1:33 pm



طيري يا طياااااااااااااره

This is from Facebook. It is from someone several regime we-loveth-you crowd have maligned in the past and have attacked. The guy is not vengeful, and this rat has in the past also chided the fella for some stupid comment. But for now, enjoy the thofethtry of bathar.

Feras A. Atassi
“who survived the attempt by the regime to frame him”

تصريحات متوقعة هاليومين !!

طالب ابراهيم : واضحة … انشقاق الطائرة فوتوشوب !

شريف شحادة: لقد أجبرت العصابات المسلحة هذا الطيار الوطني على إغلاق كابينة الطائرة تحت تهديد السلاح … ومن ثم أجبروه على الطيران والهبوط في الأردن تحت تهديد نقيفات الجيش الحر الإرهابي والعصابات المسلحة

قناة الدنيا: الطيار كان في يطير باتجاه الأعلى حتى يكون أقرب إلى الله ويشكره على نعمة هطول المطر في الميدان في العام الماضي ! وبسبب المطر الشديد والجو الغائم … هبط خطأ في المطار الأردني ظناً منه أنه المطار الذي انطلق منه !

بشار الأسد: لن أقول أنه من الموثاد … فالموثاد أغلبهم ومعظمهم من اليهود … أما هو فليث يهودياً … واليهود في العادة يثكنون إثرائيل … والتي ليث فيها طيارات ميغ … وبالتالي فهو خطأ فردي وليث انشقاقاً … فالموثاد لا ينشق عن النظام الثوري … طبعاً لأن الموثاد اثرائيلي وليث ثوري … وليث بثبب أن النظام الثوري هو الموثاد … ولكن الموثاد يحمل علم اثرائيل .. والعلم الاثرائيلي لونه أزرق … ولا يجوز أن نقارن اللون الأزرق باللون الأحمر … لأن الثيارة الزرقاء بالتأكيد لا تشبه الثيارة الحمراء … فهناك فارق بين اللونين … وهذا الأمر عادة يقرره علم الفيزياء … أو علم الألوان … والعلمين لا يمتان بصلة إلى واقع الأمور في ثوريا … فنحن لا نحب اللون الرمادي … الذي ألبثه عادة … لكي أثبت للناث أن اللون الرمادي غير محبوب !!

ويلا عالمسخرة

Regime propagandist who does not know Arbic Here is something to entertain you… enjoy

June 21st, 2012, 1:35 pm


zoo said:

“Shave off your mustaches, the Banat al-Walid battalion (of veiled women) has been formed in Homs”

Women of Homs form armed brigade
Asharq Al-Awsat

London, Asharq Al-Awsat- A group of women from the city of Homs have announced the formation of the “Banat al-Walid” battalion; the first female armed organization to fight against the regime in Syria. A statement declaring the formation of the battalion claimed that it was not affiliated to any other organization or militant entity.

In a video posted by activists yesterday on the internet, a woman speaking on behalf of around 10 other veiled women said: “we are a group of women from Homs and we have formed the Banat al-Walid battalion”. She added that “this battalion’s mission is to help the wounded and refugees wherever they are, to train women to use various types of weapons to protect themselves from al-Assad’s gangs, and to follow-up the regime’s crimes and ensure they are published and exposed in the media”.

June 21st, 2012, 1:43 pm


Uzair8 said:

Press Tv is awfully quiet about the pilot’s defection.
At least RT has reported the news.
Even SANA has done so.

A case of being ‘more Catholic than the Pope?’

June 21st, 2012, 1:53 pm


Tara said:


If those were Iranian women defending their people, we would’ve heard the audience being awed by them… This starting to annoy me…

June 21st, 2012, 2:02 pm


Uzair8 said:

PEW Research Centre survey conducted between March 19 to April 20.

Widespread Condemnation for Assad in Neighboring Countries
Released: June 21, 2012

Survey Report

With the uprising against him showing no signs of abating, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is widely unpopular in neighboring countries. And the vast majority of Jordanians, Egyptians, Tunisians and Turks would like to see him step down. In Lebanon, however, views differ sharply along sectarian lines, with Shia Muslims overwhelmingly expressing support for the Assad regime.

Read more:


Would have liked to see the feeling in Iraq.

June 21st, 2012, 3:31 pm


Alan said:

UN Monitors Spy for Washington
Damascus University Law Professor Mohammed Aziz Shukri asked:

“When President Assad receives a letter from (Secretary of State) Colin Powell thanking him for his ‘invaluable help’ in pursuing terrorists, how in the name of heaven can we be called a terrorist state?”

He and other Syrians accused Washington of double standard politics. Syria’s information minister Adnan Omran added:
What is really strange now in the American administration is that we hear many voices coming from different corners and a lot of contradiction. I wonder if this is a healthy sign especially when it comes to the policy of a superpower.
We want to see good relations existing between the US and Syria based on mutual respect, commitment to international principles, and the UN charter and not to (Washington’s) blindly prejudiced position and alliance with Israel.”
Assad concurred. At the same time, he was uncompromisingly hardline on Israel. Perhaps it was his kiss of death. Netanyahu and America’s Israeli Lobby want him ousted. Obama willingly obliges.

Moreover, flip-flop is official US policy. Today’s ally is tomorrow’s enemy. It’s also true vice versa and, at times, Washington uses individuals, groups, and nations as friends and foes.

Wars ravaged Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.

Saddam and Gaddafi were killed.

Assad knows what he’s up against. Perhaps he’s next.

June 21st, 2012, 3:56 pm


habib said:

Where is the “peaceful opposition” we heard so much about? If even all the opposition commentators here, most living in the West, are pro-violence, who the hell are against it?

June 21st, 2012, 4:01 pm


Alan said:

Situation in Syria is 110% fabricated! CIA behind rebels and Russian government backing up Assad.
Illuminati dialectics working flawlessly in Syria. Russians backing up Assad’s murderous government and CIA backing up rebels. Classic PROBLEM + REACTION = SOLUTION. And their “solution” may probably lead to the 3rd world war, which is part of the plans of the global zionist cabal, for installing the NWO.

June 21st, 2012, 4:05 pm


Alan said:


Syrian pilot who defected to Jordan can stay on ‘humanitarian grounds,’ officials say

I smell a setup. I’ll wager this “Defecting pilot” (Reg Trademark Mossad) will “confess” to Assad’s “war crimes” (Reg Trademark CIA) to sell a gullible public yet another pointless war.

June 21st, 2012, 4:08 pm


habib said:

134. Alan

Sounds similar to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Diamond

Apart from the fact that the plane itself isn’t really of interest to anyone…

June 21st, 2012, 4:15 pm


Alan said:

Avigdor! you are Russian and you speculate about Iran.
don’t play about! after all you were inflated as a bubble!

Israel does not rule out use of military force against Iran

June 21st, 2012, 4:45 pm


Juergen said:


Sorry to kept you waiting for your reply- my work schedule was rather tight today.

Well, where to start. I may suggest that I am not an admirer of Bismarck at all, even though he was born just miles from my parents home.Germany until 1871 was a lacking not only national unity ( we had over 300 kingdoms and independant regions) but also was devided since the reformation times in mostly catholic and mostly protestant areas. The 40 year war is the most underestimated manslaughter in Europe, to me this was the most crucial time for the european future. In my hometown a 1200 year old town, our two churches were raided and became protestant and stayed that way until now. Thanks to the industrial revolution polish workers settled and brought back catholicism after 450 years to my town.

This seperation was even stronger in the Netherlands and Switzerland, until now that makes a destinction in between the french( mostly catholic) and the german( mostly calvinistic) Switzerland. I was told in Zurich that Calvinists who ruled the city for almost 400 years banned all amusement from the city, no theatres, no plays, no bothels. Most people went to Germany or the french areas to holiday from their religion, ironically it was Napoleon who robbed Zürich and let the people remorse that all their work, all their saving of money for centuries was just good enough for this frenchman to come and get it.

So Bismarck was merely using this sectarian theme to unite Germans and to manipulate the masses for his cause. I do think that this “Kulturkampf” was actually a fight between the more and more liberated town elites and the backwarded, still church obiedient countryfolks. It was often like this, the landowner decided whom to vote and his workers would follow, the priest in the church then would also led the congregation know what to vote for. For Bismarck such an influence beyond government control was unbearable. Over this long period he lost the support of even the most liberal people, at the end even the prostestants were fighting against these measures. At the end by 1887 the period was over by reestablishing relations to the Vatican. Some see those measures merely measures against the catholic church, which had regained a lot of control especially in the rual areas.

At the end Bismarck needed also the support of the conservatives against the new “threat”, socialism. In this light, he became more willing to compromise just in order to keep sociallism out of the parliament. Many would agree that Bismarck set the ground for an more radical seperation which came later in person of Adolf Hitler. Many dont know this, but Hitler like Bismarck established an own church, but Hitler was willing to finish off the backwarded attachment of many to the faith. The concentration camps were not only filled with people of jewish faith, but also many brace priests were killed.

Nonevertheless it helped to bring the current relationship into existence. But one has to note that secularism in Germany is rather mild, the majority of social work is delegated to church institutions ( such as nursing homes, schools and kindergardens) and the tax of those who are still in the church is collected by the government.

I would say that this period made Catholics second class residents, the confessional party Zentrum was always boycotted and rarely did members made it into government positions. Until 1917 the jesuits were banned, until 1953 it was forbidden for the priest to disturb the social peace by discussing politics in his sermon. My grandparents used to tell me that until the 60s it was quite normal not to mingle between the faiths, a marriage between an protestant and an catholic was seen as unfavorable, and i heard from areas where are a bigger number of both faiths( like in the Rheinvalley) it was common for clashes between the two faiths, especially on high holidays.

I think what makes our history totally different of the ME is that people in the ME had thousands of years to live together, social understanding and tolerance as the least one could expect from the other gave not much ground for an sophisticated sectarianism. I think the harsh life needed all people to help survive the community. If one reads the book by Amin Maarouf, the holy war of the crusaders, one understands that even these crusaders were integrated in this mix of faiths and wandering alliances in what is today Syria.

June 21st, 2012, 4:56 pm


Juergen said:


Will you say tomorrow that only an 20 year old aircraft has defected and and delusional officer who wnats to get paid by the CIA?

June 21st, 2012, 4:57 pm


Juergen said:

Cold Mountain: Where A Swift Death Is A Privilege
By Razan Zeitouneh
We worked together for several months. We got angry with one another, and then made up and laughed together. We swapped news, invited each other to share our favorite meals, and promised to celebrate together in freedom squares. I knew neither his name nor his face.
I imagined him to be in his early twenties, friendly, short-tempered but with a ready smile. He was so inquisitive that he constantly forced me to tell him, “That’s enough pestering.”


June 21st, 2012, 5:14 pm


zoo said:

#128 Tara

This article is from the mouthpiece of Saudi Arabia.
One wonders how they give importance to Syrian women taking the situation in their hands when in their country, Saudi women can’t even drive.

June 21st, 2012, 6:00 pm


zoo said:

Egypt: The first failed revolution?

After the Arab Spring, the Junta’s Summer

by Ed Husain
June 21, 2012

The following article was published today in the Times, and can be read on their site here.

In Egypt, there is no Aung San Suu Kyi. The liberal youth who won our hearts with their mass demonstrations for freedom in Tahrir Square have, for the time being, at least, lost. In February 2011, they overthrew the Mubarak regime. The old pharaoh himself might be near death, but his successors are anything but. Nearly 18 months later the exhausted and leaderless revolutionary youth seem powerless to stop the old regime from reasserting itself.

The military junta’s dissolution of the elected Parliament last week and its unilateral amendment of the constitution to stop the new President from exercising real power have been a catastrophe for this developing democracy. But the world merely watches without outrage: there have been no condemnations from EU governments or the US. The audacity of Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (Scaf) knows no bounds.

Meanwhile, the stench of the sewage and piled-up waste in Old Cairo, once a cradle of Muslim civilisation, serves as a daily reminder to millions of Egyptians about the decay of their country. It was physical deterioration — the overcrowding, the lack of decent jobs, the hard-pressed schools and hospitals — that led Egyptians to lose their fear of the Government, and chant “hurriya, karama, adala ijtemaya” (“freedom, dignity and social justice”) night after night in Tahrir Square.

June 21st, 2012, 6:05 pm


zoo said:

Soon on the other doorsteps…

Global Jihadists on Israel’s Doorstep
By Aaron Zelin


The revelation that an Egyptian and a Saudi national infiltrated southern Israel from Sinai on June 18 and killed an Israeli worker is the first credible sign of the emerging global jihadist threat in the peninsula. Previously, groups using the names “al-Qaeda in the Sinai Peninsula” and “Ansar al-Jihad in the Sinai Peninsula” had released statements announcing themselves and pledging fealty to al-Qaeda’s Ayman al-Zawahiri in August and December 2011 and January 2012; members of different jihadist factions had also been arrested in al-Arish. Until now, however, it was difficult to assess the legitimacy and true capabilities of these groups.

June 21st, 2012, 6:07 pm


zoo said:

Syria Is Not a Litmus Test for U.S.-Russian Relations
By Daniel Larison • June 21, 2012, 4:16 AM


The conflict in Syria isn’t remotely important enough to the U.S. to jeopardize genuine American interests that rely on Russian cooperation, which includes the ability to supply and withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan. It is obvious that inveterate opponents of the “reset” would like to use the conflict in Syria as an excuse to wreck relations with Russia. This is something they have desired for some reason for the last three years. This doesn’t serve U.S. interests in the least, and it is actually quite dangerous for U.S. interests elsewhere to insist that Russia adopt the U.S. position on Syria.

June 21st, 2012, 6:11 pm


stick to the truth said:

I guess they would have defected if they could.


What would be rate if US invade Syria?

June 21st, 2012, 6:12 pm


zoo said:

National footballer leads Syrian opposition efforts
Thursday,June 21 2012,

Syrian footballer Abdelbasset Saroot, who has been targeted by the Assad regime on several occasions, calls on mothers to prepare their sons for martyrdom, while sending a warm message to the Christian community

A celebrated national football team goalkeeper, singer of revolutionary folk songs and cheerleader of the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the besieged city of Homs – in a sign of protesters becoming more religious – is increasingly couching his public remarks in Islamic terms while at the same time seeking to keep the door open to minorities, such as Christians.

In a video dated April 13, Abdelbasset Saroot, who has been targeted by the regime on several occasions, called on Syrian mothers to prepare their sons for martyrdom in confronting the Assad regime’s brutal crackdown on the 15-month popular revolt that has brought Syria to the brink of civil war.

“I want to send a message to our mothers at home making Du’a [a Muslim religious invocation] for us: O mother, my shrouds are new, prepare a funeral procession for me for I have come to you as a martyr in my celebratory clothes, my new home is Jannah [paradise],” he chants to a square in Homs packed with people applauding him.


June 21st, 2012, 6:20 pm


Tara said:


Thanks very much for linking Razan Zeitouneh’s article. What comes from the heart goes to the heart…. Most of the times…

June 21st, 2012, 6:21 pm


Tara said:


Remember the tomato story?

It turns out that not only some salafists have issues with tomatoes…also some Christians hundreds years ago had issues with tomatoes….The story goes that tomatoes were considered by some as sexy sinful fruits…Poets have written famous poem in that regard. Tomatoes were ill-received in Rome when they were first introduced, and the Vatican at some point was leaning to make eating it forbidden…

It appears that tomatoes and religions are not compatible…

June 21st, 2012, 6:39 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:

High ranking officers defect. Is “Akid” in Arabic, a Brigadier General or a colonel? What about “Amid”? Can you tell whether they are Sunni or Alawi?


June 21st, 2012, 6:59 pm


Son of Damascus said:


Akid is Colonel.

First one is a Brigadier (Amid) Doctor.
Second one is a Brigadier General (Amid Al Rukn)
Third is Brigadier
And last one is an Amid doctor.

All are related, and my guess Sunni (Omar, Mohammad are repeated in their names)

June 21st, 2012, 7:11 pm


Son of Damascus said:

Sorry meant to say third one was the Akid (Colonel), not Brigadier (Amid)

June 21st, 2012, 8:00 pm


omen said:

126. ZOO said:
Women of Homs form armed brigade
Asharq Al-Awsat
London, Asharq Al-Awsat- A group of women from the city of Homs have announced the formation of the “Banat al-Walid” battalion; the first female armed organization to fight against the regime in Syria. A statement declaring the formation of the battalion claimed that it was not affiliated to any other organization or militant entity.


women took up arms during the chechnya conflict:


June 21st, 2012, 9:46 pm


omen said:

nice survey:

intimidated, zoo?

June 21st, 2012, 10:16 pm


ann said:

Hidden US-Israeli Military Agenda: “Break Syria into Pieces” –
Friday, 22 June 2012


A timely article in the Jerusalem Post last month brings to the forefront the unspoken objective of US foreign policy, namely the breaking up of Syria as a sovereign nation state –along ethnic and religious lines– into several separate and “independent” political entities. The article also confirms the role of Israel in the process of political destabilization of Syria. The JP article is titled: “Veteran Kurdish politician calls on Israel to support the break-up of Syria’ (by Jonathan Spyer) (The Jerusalem Post (May 16, 2012)

The objective of the US sponsored armed insurgency is –with the help of Israel– to “Break Syria into Pieces”.

The “balkanisation of the Syrian Arab Republic” is to be carried out by fostering sectarian divisions, which will eventually lead to a “civil war” modelled on the former Yugoslavia. Last month, Syrian “opposition militants” were dispatched to Kosovo to organize training sessions using the “terrorist expertise” of the US sponsored Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in fighting the Yugoslav armed forces.

Sherkoh Abbas, President of the US based Kurdistan National Assembly of Syria (KNA) has “called on Israel to support the break-up of Syria into a series of federal structures based on the country’s various ethnicities.” (Ibid)

One possible “break-up scenario” pertaining to Syria, which constitutes a secular multi-ethnic society, would be the formation of separate and “independent” Sunni, Alawite-Shiite, Kurdish and Druze states: “We need to break Syria into pieces,” Abbas said. (Quoted in JP, op. cit., emphasis added).

“The Syrian Kurdish dissident argued that a federal Syria, separated into four or five regions on an ethnic basis, would also serve as a natural “buffer” for Israel against both Sunni and Shi’ite Islamist forces.” (Ibid.).

Ironically, while Islamist forces are said to constitute the main threat to the Jewish State, Tel Aviv is providing covert support to the Islamist Free Syrian Army (FSA).

Meeting behind Closed Doors at the US State Department

A top level US State Department meeting was held in May with members of the Syrian Kurdish opposition. In attendance were representatives of the Kurdish National Council (KNC), Robert Stephen Ford, the outgoing US ambassador to Syria (who has played a key role in channelling support to the rebels) as well as Frederic C. Hof, a former business partner of Richard Armitage, who currently serves as the administration’s “special coordinator on Syria”. (Ibid). The delegation also met with Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman.


June 21st, 2012, 10:17 pm


zoo said:

#151 Omen

The Homs battallion is no match to these.

June 22nd, 2012, 12:35 am


zoo said:

“At that time he ( Bashar al Assad) will offer an election under international scrutiny to make them as clear and as open as possible,” she said. “And then if he is reelected by the majority, he will stay. If not, he will leave.”

Ousting Assad: Western panacea to Syrian conflict?
Published: 22 June, 2012, 05:30

The new Western tactic to creating an end to violence in Syria is, yet again, centered on ousting President Assad. Britain and the US are ready to offer Assad clemency would he join a UN-sponsored conference on a power transfer.

­In the follow-up to the G20 summit, the leading world powers have decided to convene in Geneva to discuss Syria’s political future. The move seems to be very much in line with the idea of a proper political dialogue, which has been persistently promoted by Russia.

Besides the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, key players in the region like Turkey and Saudi Arabia are expected to join the talks. Iran, though, Syria’s main ally in the region, did not receive an invitation, despite Russia’s insistence.

Britain and the US, desperate to bring Assad to the negotiation table, are trying to lure him to the conference by offering clemency.

The offer of clemency extends only to Assad and not the opposition representatives who will also join the talks. Though no charges have been brought against him, the president is considered to be the only man responsible for the violence in Syria.

However, should Assad accept the offer, the question remains: Who will fill the power vacuum if he steps down? There are thousands of tons of weapons on the ground in Syria and more than enough factions in the opposition that would like to seize the throne.

The Syrian leader must also consider what would happen to the sizable portion of Syrians who still support him. None of them have been offered the same clemency, and may become targets for brutal reprisal attacks during the carving of a Syrian pie.

Assad still has a lot of legitimacy within Syria, with more than 50 per cent of the population’s support, political analyst Roula Talj told RT.

“What is happening in Syria is getting extremely sectarian,” she said. “Massacres are being carried out against Assad’s forces, as well as Christians and Alawites – or indeed any citizen who is in favor of Assad.”

Assad is not likely to give up his power the way the West wants him to, and with so much support, he has a good chance of being reelected during the next presidential elections in 2013, Talj said.

“At that time he will offer an election under international scrutiny to make them as clear and as open as possible,” she said. “And then if he is reelected by the majority, he will stay. If not, he will leave.”

June 22nd, 2012, 12:40 am


omen said:


Please be more prudent with what you link on this site, your link opened to a virus trojan filled site.
SC Moderation

3 students kidnapped by germulutionists:
June 20th, 2012, 6:08 pm


kandahar, you wouldn’t knowingly post an infected page, would you?

snk? snk? oh, snap, i think he got taken out by the virus he linked to.

June 22nd, 2012, 1:35 am


omen said:

139. ZOO said: #128 Tara This article is from the mouthpiece of Saudi Arabia. One wonders how they give importance to Syrian women taking the situation in their hands when in their country, Saudi women can’t even drive. 6:00 pm

someone pointed to this paradox:

Med students in Jeddah. Govt is literally training [women] to be brain surgeons, but not to drive. photo

June 22nd, 2012, 2:00 am


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