UN Vote on Syria; Homs Killings Rise; CNN Shows Alawi Neighborhoods Shelled too

 UN Vote on Syria – Foreign Policy

The U.N. General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to support a non-binding resolution condemning Syria’s government. The resolution, which passed 137 to 12 with 17 abstentions, calls for the Syrian government to immediately halt attacks on civilians and urges Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to appoint a special envoy for Syria.

Following the vote, Syrian forces appear to have stepped up their bombardment on the city of Homs with what residents are calling the worst shelling since the government began its crackdown on strongholds of the uprising 13 days ago.

Interesting facts on the Syria UN general Assembly vote:
1) Israel voted for, after wanting to sponsor the resolution but was pushed aside by the original 70 sponsors

2) Iraq, Sudan, Oman – considered regime’s friends (w Lebanon & Algeria) dumped the Syrian regime & voted for

3) BRICS countries split (where originally w regime). South Africa, Brazil & India voted for.

4) we discovered that the regime may have friends in countries such as St Vincent, Fiji & Tuvalu!

High-Tech Trickery in Homs?
By Sharmine Narwani – Tue, 2012-02-14 15:15- Al-Akhbar

What was surely meant to be a clever display of media-friendly visuals to illustrate Syrian regime violence in Homs, has instead raised more questions than answers.

US State Department satellite images of the embattled city were posted on Facebook last Friday by US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford, who complains: “A terrible and tragic development in Syria is the use of heavy weaponry by the Assad regime against residential neighborhoods.”

The “satellite photos,” says Ford, “have captured both the carnage and those causing it — the artillery is clearly there, it is clearly bombing entire neighborhoods…We are intent on exposing the regime’s brutal tactics for the world to see.”

But within 24 hours, the blog Moon of Alabama had taken a hammer to the ambassador’s claims. A detailed examination of satellite imagery by the bloggers revealed numerous discrepancies in Washington’s allegations. Mainly, their investigations point to the fact that Ford’s satellite images were “of guns training within military barracks or well known training areas and not in active deployment.”

Moon of Alabama posts its own satellite images, graphics and diagrams to bolster its argument – and these are well worth a look.

The US envoy’s questionable claims don’t stop at satellite images, however. In his Facebook post, Ford insists: “There is no evidence that the opposition — even those opposition members who have defected from the military — has access to or has employed such heavy weapons. “ By this, he means the “artillery” used “to pound civilian apartment buildings and homes from a distance.”

Then why is there satellite photo evidence of destruction in pro-regime Alawi areas?

Fast-forward to CNN’s very own Jonathan King, who broadcast satellite images of Homs on February 9, the day before the State Department loaded their photos on the web. King’s images of Homs are dated February 5, two days after violence erupted in the city, focusing heavily in the Baba Amr neighborhood where opposition gunmen are allegedly present:

Zooming into one highlighted area of destruction, you can see that the two photos – CNN’s and ours – are an exact match. To the north of the horizontal road is a lot marked by a large tree to its left. South of that same road, buildings are positioned at a distinct diagonal angle. This area is inside Homs’ al-Zahra neighborhood.

King’s presentation of “shelling, fires and damage” to Homs shows destruction of property consistent with the use of heavy weapons: “It’s like a ghost town – with no cars at all, there’s damage in the roads and so much damage on the top of the buildings.”

Zooming in on three different sections of the same Homs neighborhood to show before-and-after images of the destruction, King says: “Now obviously, we’re not there, but this powerful satellite imagery tends to support the accounts from activists that there’s a lot of shelling and fighting going on in the city, and a lot of fires.”

There is only one problem with his account. Most of the alleged fighting, shelling, destruction and killing reported widely in the international media took place in the Baba Amr neighborhood of Homs, southwest of the city, and an anti-regime stronghold.

But all three satellite images shown by King are in al-Zahraneighborhood, a pro-regime area consisting mainly of Alawis, who belong to the same Muslim minority sect as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

That is a stunning revelation. Pro-regime civilians in Homs and other Syrian areas have complained of attacks, kidnappings and killings by armed opposition groups for months now, with little attention received by foreign media…..

Wounded Syrian Refugees Flee Dramatic Escalation
by The Associated Press, February 17, 2012

RAMTHA, Jordan (AP) — Syrian refugees fleeing to Jordan for their lives described a dramatic escalation in violence and a mounting toll of dead and wounded in the southern city of Daraa and the country’s battered central region….

More on the Constitution

Shabbi7 Corrects my error

…The People’s Assembly has long had a requirement of at least 50% laborers and peasants. …A simple Google search further proves my claim. Here is an English translation of the current Syrian constitution, adopted March 13, 1973: http://www.servat.unibe.ch/icl/sy00000_.html

Chapter 2

Part 1 Legislative Power

Article 53 [Membership]
The law defines the electoral districts and the number of the members of the People’s Assembly, provided that at least half their number are workers and peasants. The law defines the terms: worker and peasant.

In conclusion, this article was not “added” to the proposed constitution, but rather maintained from the current constitution, and therefore, could not have been, as you hastily claimed, “added in a deal with the Baath Party leadership in order to get article 8 removed.”

What bothers me the most is that, through your claim, you implied that this is a malicious article, when in fact, laborers and peasants are the ones who built up the Syria we love with their blood, sweat, and tears.

from Friend 1

The interior minister will have to approve new parties. Moreover, the budget of any new part is SYP 2 Million. This is $27k. Is this party going to take on a sitting President with unlimited funding? This constitution gets a resounding thumbs down from me. Bashar looked in the mirror and designed a constitution to ensure it fits every inch of his frame. He basically “fassal” the dustour at the tailor.

In 1973, people were asleep and the constitution passed unopposed. For 40 years, the president was not accountable. The party ran amok. No separation of powers. security services above the law with no recourse to the law.

The Majlis al shaab (parliament) is the new baath party. This is a hybrid of article 8. Please read the details and go through the math. As for dropping socialism, supporting the public sector is part of the constitution now and so are progressive taxes. Is this not socialism but in name?

In all honesty, i prefer the 1973 constitution. It was less “istikhfaf bil aqqoul”. It at least told it as it is. This constitution assumes that the people are too stupid to understand that they have no chance of beating bashar who WILL BE the president till 2028 when he is 63. Any constitution that is so heavily designed to make the president win is a silly piece of paper. He chooses the judges that are supposed to judge him (they are there only for 4 years anyway). He can pass laws when the majlis is not in session. He appoints the prime minister and fires him at will. His security services do not answer to the law. This constitution will pass by about 80-90%. Syrian referendums always do.

US army Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff talking about Syria … C-Span

“Syrian army has chemical and biological warfare capabilities … a very significant integrated air defense system … a credible military … there is also huge regional implications …. big players and actors who have vested interest there …. Those who would like to foment a Sunni Shia standoff are all weighing in in Syria … it is the last remaining piece of the puzzle … this is the most important moment for the region and all the players are weighing in”

Guardian – Ian Black:  “France’s humanitarian plan would require a military intervention of the kind for which there appears to be little appetite”….

British officials insisted on Wednesday that it would be impossible to set up a safe zone or corridor without military intervention. That in turn would require a resolution under chapter seven of the UN charter, for which, unlike in Libya last year, there was neither western appetite nor Russian and Chinese acquiescence.

Juppé is to meet his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, on Thursday. Lavrov said after meeting the Dutch foreign minister, Uri Rosenthal, on Wednesday that Russia would not support any UN resolution “that could legitimise regime change”.

David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy are to discuss the Syrian crisis in Paris on Friday. Humanitarian aid will be on the agenda, diplomats said, but there are no plans to discuss establishing humanitarian corridors or safe zones on any of the country’s borders. Another highly sensitive question is that of possible assistance to the rebels of the Free Syrian Army.

On the diplomatic front, the next big event is the founding meeting of a new Friends of Syria group in Tunisia on 24 February, with efforts focusing on persuading the divided Syrian opposition to present a more united front and send out clearer messages about the post-Assad future.

Britain to send £3m of aid
Published on Friday 17 February 2012 15:54

DAVID Cameron today announced aid worth £3 million for those suffering from the violent crackdown on protests against President Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

The Prime Minister said that the money will provide vitally needed medical supplies and food for more than 20,000 people affected by fighting in the city of Homs and elsewhere in the country.

Speaking at a UK-France summit in France, the Prime Minister said that the situation in Syria was “appalling” and that he did not believe the international community was doing everything it could to stop President Assad’s “butchery” of his people.

But he cautioned that the position was not the same as in Libya, where the world came together last year behind a United Nations resolution authorising military action to defend civilians.

Flanked by President Nicolas Sarkozy at a press conference in the Elysee Palace, Mr Cameron said the world had to act “as decisively as it can” against the Syrian regime without a UN resolution.

The position of “Building The Syrian State” current on forming “The Friends of Syria” group

We see that any new split in international community in regards to Syria is not going to be in the interest of the Syrian people in general, nor the interest of the protesters and the opposition. Therefore creating new confrontational axis in the international positions will be very damaging to the political struggle in Syria.

We can therefore say that the increased polarization and disagreement in some of the Arabic and international positions in their position towards the Syrian regime will increase the acute division in the Syrian society, and will further escalate the conflict, and push the country into social conflicts that may reach bloody levels that are difficult to control

Finding a solution to the crisis in Syria requires from our point of view an international consensus that can deliver the equation of the solution that the parties to this conflict inside Syria failed to achieve. Such consensus would help dividing the roles so that certain countries would add pressure on the regime (Russia and its allies) while other countries would add pressure on the opposition (European countries and some non-European ones). Without this consensus it will be difficult to achieve a viable political process that all parties agree to.

Within this context, we believe that the idea of forming an international group called “Friends of Syria” will not serve the idea of international consensus. On the contrary, as we believe it will further increase the international division.

Why Israel Should Intervene in Syria – Huffington Post

…The vast majority of Arabs will judge Israel by its actions, not merely the rhetoric of political entrepreneurs. It is time for Israel to show that its warplanes can do something other than cause Arab suffering — they can relieve it.

From OFF the Wall

One more Jadaliyya Article to read.
Sowing the Seeds of Dissent: Economic Grievances and Syrian Social Contracts Unraveling (Suzanne Saleebi)

Both Hafez’s and Bashar’s emphasis on the cultivation of “strategic crops” such as wheat and cotton are prime examples of the ways through which the State sought to ensure control and legitimacy. Jessica Barnes stresses the large increase in land area cultivated with cotton during the 1990s, making the crop Syria’s second largest export, only after oil. Excessive usage of irrigation methods on such non-food industrial crops increased the salinity of farmland and thus exacerbated today’s water scarcity crisis in rural areas. At the same time, the regime’s emphasis upon food self-sufficiency as a matter of national security has resulted in an increased usage of irrigation methods for wheat, particularly in the face of decreased rainfall.

An Alawi opposition member explains why so many minorities support the regime
copied from Zenobia post on Off the Wall

Let me share with you something else, many alawite ( including two of my immediate cousins) did participate in Tartous first demonstration, but that was it for them , they are watching Al Dounia now 24/7.

Let me also remind you that most secular parties including Syrian Communist Party and the Syrian National Social Party that have very strong penetrations in the Syrian coast, and their members were subject to extreme violent acts by Assad the father. Why did they disappear?? Worse yet why are they lining up with the regime now?

Let me tell you my friend my personal explanation: Very soon after the uprising started in Darra and when it took everybody by surprise, a feeling of joy touched the heart of every Syrian that change is finally coming, and the face of Syria will change to the better and for good.

But it was only a matter of weeks when the demonstrations were completely controlled by extremist mosque clerks and their followers. I do not care if you agree with me or not but I was there and I was watching very suspiciously what was going on like many others. The regime and during forty years of oppression to any possible secular educated opposition left the field completely open to the only well organized structure which is the mosque and religious institutes.

Their presence was overwhelming. I had many friends from the opposition and we had lengthy discussions about the possible consequences of such leadership but everyone was overexcited with the idea of rebellion and they found it more comfortable to ignore this fact altogether and to keep living in their imaginary dream about the coming bright future…. (read it all)

Syrian government, opposition must listen to people’s demands: ambassador Imad Moustapha – 2012-02-16

“This is the only way for Syria to end this crisis. The Syrian government and Syrian opposition must listen to the people’s demands,” he said, noting “The situation in Syria has not worsened; the majority of the Syrian people strongly support the Syrian government. ”

“The government of Syria is deeply committed to a political solution. Neither the United States, nor Saudi Arabia and Qatar can dictate to the Syrian people what they want. Even the Syrian government is not trying to tell the Syrian people to do what it wants. The Syrian people will decide what they want for Syria through a referendum on the constitution, and the ballot box in the forthcoming elections”

“We have completed drafting a new constitution; it will be one of the most democratic constitutions in the world,” he said, stressing “this can only take place through free elections, only when the Syrian people say their word, then we can move forward, not by listening to opposition groups who carry western passports.”

“The direction of the Syrian government is to conduct free elections, allow total freedom of press, total freedom of political parties, and give women their total rights,” he said, challenging “Saudi Arabia and Qatar to go in this direction.”

“We challenge the United States of America to pressure her allies, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, to do the same. We challenge the United States of America as well to pressure Israel to give the Palestinians their human rights. This is the real problem Syria is facing,” he said.

Syria and China are friendly countries, the ambassador said, as the Chinese people are deeply concerned about the situation in Syria. “I would like to avail myself of this opportunity to thank the Chinese people for their concern; however, there is no reason to be worried. Concerning the situation in Syria, it is completely different from the way it is presented in the Western media. ”

“The two major cities in Syria, Damascus and Aleppo, which house almost half of the Syria population, lead a very normal life. People go to their work, universities, theaters, music concerts, restaurants and cafes; the same applies to other major Syria cities,” he noted, “However, in one Syrian city, namely Homs, armed terrorist groups are committing atrocious acts of violence. They follow an extreme Islamist ideology, and they are determined to fight against the secular government of Syria.”

On western media’s failure to paint a correct picutre of Syria, he said, “If you listen to the Western media, you will hear that the government forces are killing pro democracy activists.” But he added, “after the arrival of the Arab League observers, they visited every Syrian city, and wrote their reports. The observers are all experts, and do not carry a Syrian nationality. They confirmed that the opposition groups, not the government, perpetrate most of the violence. This is written in their final report and it is published. This is the true situation in Syria as described by a third party witness. Western media never reported the findings of the Arab League observers.”

Nasrallah: Our Enemy Knows How We Avenge Mughniyeh
Thursday, February 16, 2012

Hezbollah leader Hasan Nasrallah said his party was not involved in recent bombings that took place in India, Georgia, and Thailand earlier this month, while reiterating the party’s intention to avenge the killing of its leader Imad Mughniyeh four years ago.

“It is insulting for Hezbollah to avenge its great leader by killing ordinary Israelis, as fr those who are our target, they know who they are and they are taking measures and I tell them to remain doing so for we shall avenge Imad Mughniyeh in an honorable way,” Nasrallah said.

Nasrallah was speaking during a In a televised speech Thursday evening to commemorate the martyrdom of three of the party’s top leaders, Ragheb Harb, Imad Mughniyeh, and Abbas al-Mousawi, on the hands of Israel. Nasrallah reiterated the continued arming of the resistance and repeated his call to pull out from public use personally owned arms. Commenting on the Arab revolutions, Nasrallah criticized what he termed as “the interference of [Lebanon’s] March 14 and their sending of weapons and bolstering of fighting among the Syrian people,” reminding the rival political group of their objection to Hezbollah’s support of Bahraini protestors and material aid to resistance in Palestine via Egypt.

Nasrallah cautioned against discord in Egypt and pointed fingers at the US and Israel for fomenting it, saying that Israeli officials are living in a state of anxiety due to its dwindling power. He also lamented that “Arab peoples and governments are not occupied with Palestine” while Palestinians, including prisoners on hunger strike, and Bahrainis, are left to its own devices.

In relation to Syria, Nasrallah said the regime has its shortcomings as acknowledged he says by its leadership but that “it has stood in the face of the US-Israeli project and supported resistance.” While the regime did not open up a front in Golan, none of its detractors, Nasrallah argued, has opened such a front or supported the resistance.

Nasrallah criticized the total refusal to engage with dialogue with the Syrian regime and opt for a political solution in Syria by the same people who call for negotiations with Israel and have engaged with it for decades. He leveled similar criticism against those who bar the supply of weapons to Israel while sending weapons to Syria so the “Syrians fight each other.”
Nasrallah wondered why there is “a Western-Israeli-Arab insistence to fight in Syria and topple the regime” suggesting it is cause for political reflection.

Syrian Circassians Continue Efforts to Discuss Repatriation to the North Caucasus

On January 31, representatives of the 100,000 member Syrian Circassian community held a press conference in Nalchik, Kabardino-Balkaria. Three of the visiting Syrians said their goal was to discuss with the government the possible repatriation of Circassians from conflict-ridden Syria to the North Caucasus. The visitors preferred to remain anonymous since they were retired high-ranking government officials in Syria. The head of Kabardino-Balkaria, Arsen Kanokov, received them and promised assistance, though he did not offer any details on their visit. According to the delegation from Syria, the future of the country is becoming increasingly uncertain and people’s lives are habitually endangered. According to their count, over 1,000 of the estimated 100,000 Circassians living in Syria are willing to relocate, although the exact figures are hard to determine because of the mounting chaos in the country. “We came here on behalf of those who want to return [to the North Caucasus] to ask for help,” the delegation said. “We want to settle here” (http://www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/200277/, February 1).


Comments (105)

Pages: [1] 2 3 » Show All

1. Joshua said:

Dear Shabbi7

Thank you for your correction of my error in saying that the 50% quota of peasants and workers was added to this constitution to make up for the elimination of Article 8 and the Baath quota.

You have demonstrated that it was part of the 1973 constitution and is simply carried forward. I have included you comment in the main post. Merci. I stand corrected.

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February 17th, 2012, 11:10 pm


2. zoo said:

Huge welcome to Wajdi Ghoneim, Tunisia

But the Tunisians seculars are fighting back
Islamist preacher Wajdi Ghonim spurs controversy in Tunisia

A group of Tunisian lawyers filed a complaint against the use of mosques for political purposes, AFP reported on Wednesday (February 15th). The move follows a visit by controversial Egyptian preacher Wajdi Ghonim, upon the invitation of Tunisian Islamist associations.

In a letter sent Tuesday to the ministries of religious affairs and human rights, the group “Kolna Tunis” claimed that during recent speeches at mosques in Sousse and Mehdia, Ghonim had “incited hatred and violence, including against other religions, and called for polygamy, despite its prohibition by the country’s personal status code”. The group also said that Gnonim defended female genital mutilation.

Gnonim will be in Tunisia until Friday.

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February 17th, 2012, 11:53 pm


3. ann said:

Iranian naval ships enter Mediterranean via Suez – 9 hrs ago


ISMAILIA, Egypt (Reuters) – Two Iranian naval ships have sailed through Egypt’s Suez Canal into the Mediterranean, in a move likely to be keenly watched by Israel.

“Two Iranian ships crossed through the Suez Canal (on Thursday) following permission from the Egyptian armed forces,” a source in the canal authority said Friday.

The destroyer and a supply ship could be on their way to the Syrian coast, the source added. Iran and Syria agreed to cooperate on naval training a year ago, and Tehran has no naval agreement with any other country in the region.


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February 17th, 2012, 11:56 pm


4. Ghufran said:

The articles posted are very good,thanks Joshua.
I was pleased to see the good professor acknowledge the error made about the 50% rep in the draft const. Most syrians know that this idea was invented by albaath before Assad took over in 1970,he simply kept it alive and now we see it again in the draft. I stated my opposition to this quota and any quota except the relative rep based on the number of citizens per district . Those who refuse to admit that violence is committed by opposition groups are either ignorant or dishonest,slowly but steadily,the outside world is begining to see this conflict as it is: a soup of many toxic ingredients,that explains the hesitance of NATO and others.
One has to hope that we may one day see signs of fatigue among fighting parties,this fatigue is needed to reduce violence especially if syrians on both sides accept the fact that they can not win the war with guns.
Monday is the day when letters will start to reach reps in the US Congress and the White House. Despite all of America’s foreign policy failures and mistakes,most of us here trust this country more than the Emirates,western media is also more reliable than the garbage thrown in the air by Emirates TV stations.

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February 18th, 2012, 12:00 am


5. Ghufran said:

I spent the last ten minutes trying to post a response to the articles ,I could not for mysterious reasons,it is either my age,not a mystery,or a stubborn technical error.
Syria today is a toxic soup of many ingredients,that is why NATO is not willing to taste it.
If you think that matters in Syria today are all black and white,then I have to doubt that you have much “gray” matter in your upper floor. This is a war that can not be won,fighting parties have to sit down and talk without the presence of the head of the regime,but that does not mean he is not there (!!),it only gives his opponents a political cover they need.

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February 18th, 2012, 12:17 am


6. Syria no Kandahar said:

تنسيقية الميدان تعلن مسؤوليتها وتفاخر بإعدام الشيخ محمد صادق

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February 18th, 2012, 12:28 am


7. Syria no Kandahar said:

From Daria,Damscians hate Terrorism:

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February 18th, 2012, 12:39 am


8. Aldendeshe said:

One of the most incompetent Baathist handyman-front man has spoken finally. Imad Mustafa exemplify the Illegal Baathist Mafia regime inaptness, reducing Syria into another failed State at par with Somalia.

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February 18th, 2012, 12:43 am


9. Syria no Kandahar said:

Future FSA Officer:

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February 18th, 2012, 12:44 am


10. Syria no Kandahar said:

This reporter will be hired by CNN:

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February 18th, 2012, 12:46 am


11. Syria no Kandahar said:

Good against evil,Shiek Sadek funeral:

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February 18th, 2012, 1:08 am


12. Syria no Kandahar said:

A candle in Homsis long night:

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February 18th, 2012, 1:34 am


13. Syria no kandahar said:

This is old a bit,but it is 100%evidence that criminals supported by the UN are kids killers:

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February 18th, 2012, 1:41 am


14. Aldendeshe said:

By any chance do you have any video of live torture at Assad prison, there are more than 20,000 suffering right now under extreme torture method. Some videos of this will help balance out your one sidedness man. You can ask Ghallioun if he has any to lend you some.

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February 18th, 2012, 2:30 am


15. Pirouz said:

Good article by Sharmine Narwani .

(BTW, I linked to that Moon of Alabama post here on SC a few days ago, advising readers to “judge for themselves”.)

Regarding Sharmine Narwani’s concluding remarks, I would advise all persons to judge critically any and all evidence put forth on Middle East affairs. It’s been my experience that a majority of first takes are invariable wrong.

Rather than being partisan and focusing only on that which stokes one’s personal bias and rejecting the rest, remain objective, instead. That is to say, don’t be in such a rush to buy into what you read and hear. Judge for yourselves. And when in doubt, consult expertise – whether military, historical, whatever.

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February 18th, 2012, 2:47 am


16. Uzair8 said:

Failed logic

By Mshari al-Zaydi
Saturday, 18 February 2012

(Selected quote}:

How can we compare between an eloquent ruler who allows women to drive cars and one who does not kill his own people, but rather attempts to resolve this situation, regardless of the difficulties? How can we compare between a ruler who wants life for his people, and one who wants death?

The Syrian president is killing his own people…so what difference does it make if he is eloquent or permits women to drive?


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February 18th, 2012, 4:20 am


17. annie said:

Are you listening ya Bashar ?


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February 18th, 2012, 4:47 am


18. habib said:

Now that even the Americans are admitting that they know the suicide bombs in Syria were done by al-Qaeda, what do the Salafist-apologists here make of it? Still clinging on to the myth that the government somehow did it to themselves?

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February 18th, 2012, 5:07 am


19. majedkhaldoun said:

Thank you Annie for this video, it is an ominous sign to Bashar , over 30,000 attended this funeral in Mezzeh, Mezzeh is adjacent to Malki area where Bashar lives, it is walking distance from his home.
Alex: watching this video, do you still believe your unscientific poll?.
Ehsani: watching this video, do you still believe Bashar can last till 2014?
To the rest of proBashar people, ,it is obvious the revolution is spreading to the Heart of Damascus, and I am sure it will spread to Aleppo soon.
No country can help Bashar, Not even Russia,let alone Iran.The ruler must depend on the support of people , not the brutal army,todays world is different from 1982,or earlier time, this is information era,to lie will not help, facts will be known quickly,the truth is stronger than lie.

Arming these demonstrators will quickly put an end to this regime.

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February 18th, 2012, 8:01 am


20. Tara said:


You have a good sense of humor.

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February 18th, 2012, 9:19 am


21. Norman said:

NATO is saying that it is not interested in attacking Syria, the West and the East are saying that the conflict will be solved politically, the question is why the opposition is so stubborn to the point of political solution , do they know something that we do not know, did the West tell them something and encouraging them, why the West so far has not asked the opposition to join the process . it looks that the deal is not ripe yet and an agreement is not there on where Syria is going, the problem is that the opposing parties want to know what kind of Syria we are going to have before they give the Syrians to say what they want.

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February 18th, 2012, 9:20 am


22. Dawoud said:

#3 ANN

The new Egypt should not allow Israeli and Iranian MILITARY ships to cross the canal and de-stabilize the region. Iranian ships might be carrying weapons to Syria that Bashar might use to murder innocent Syrians.

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February 18th, 2012, 9:24 am


23. DAWOUD said:


If Bouthiana Shaaban leaves her job as Bashar’ main propagandist, you should take her job.

[WARNING — do not make personal attacks at Syria Comment ]

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February 18th, 2012, 9:27 am


24. zoo said:

Russia’s Not Completely Wrong About Syria
By Edward Burke

Russia has been roundly criticised for vetoing a draft UN Security Council resolution aimed at stopping the violence in Syria and ousting President Bashar al-Assad. Moscow is reluctant to give up on the al-Assad regime for the moment: it has a direct interest in the survival of the regime, which buys its arms and provides a naval base; it is strongly opposed to Western-led interventions, on principle; it believes that Arab revolutions are likely to lead to takeovers by Islamic fundamentalists; and it is still fuming that, after it refrained from vetoing UN Security Council resolution 1973 on Libya – about the protection of civilians – the West abused the resolution by using it to justify regime change.

However, Russian diplomats concede that change is inevitable if the violence in Syria is to be contained. Russia wants a managed transition that preserves its influence. The draft UNSC resolution called for the confinement of the Syrian army to barracks and endorsed the Arab League plan for al-Assad to hand over power to his vice president prior to the holding of elections. Russian diplomats are right to say that such a resolution would have been unenforceable and, if implemented, would have led to the sudden collapse of the Syrian government without a credible alternative to take its place. Anarchy could have ensued. The Kremlin may be playing realpolitik and taking pride in blocking the West, but it has a point.

Western leaders have been sincere in expressing revulsion at the continued crackdown by the Syrian military upon largely peaceful protestors. But their diplomacy has been ineffective. Preferring to issue ultimatums from afar, they have given up on dialogue with the Syrian regime when there is no other viable alternative.

A number of diplomatic rules have been ignored by Western governments in Syria. First, never rule out force publicly even if you have done so privately. The numbers killed in Syria are beginning to dwarf those murdered by the Gaddafi regime prior to the NATO intervention in Libya. The brave political decision by European leaders to come to the aid of the Libyan people should have reverberated throughout the region, sending a warning to Syria and other dictatorships in the region. The message should have been clear: nothing is off the table if you murder your own people. Instead, from almost the moment the protests in Syria began, Western leaders fell over themselves to tell Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that he had nothing to fear, since military intervention was simply unthinkable no matter what he did. Western diplomats say that this was necessary in order to secure Chinese and Russian support at the United Nations. That is correct, but such assurances could have been provided discreetly, while the regime in Damascus was left to guess about NATO’s real intentions.

Second, the main function of an embassy is to act as a liaison with a host government, even one as odious as that in Damascus. The closing of Western embassies has had little effect upon regime behaviour but has blocked channels of communication. Despite ruling out military intervention or the provision of assistance to defectors from Syria’s armed forces, Western diplomats have not managed to do much about Syria other than criticise the violence and call on President al-Assad to stand down.

Western leaders have painted themselves into a corner. They have misread the situation on two counts: firstly, they have assumed that the removal of al-Assad is critical towards ending the violence and issued ultimatums to that end. Secondly, they have also over-estimated the weakness of the Syrian regime and the willingness of the military to turn upon its leaders. The President of Syria is no Gaddafi – power is distributed more horizontally among the elite in Syria, and the President’s control over the security services is by no means absolute. The removal of al-Assad by itself would not solve much unless accompanied by a broader commitment to reform. Syrian military leaders have now gone too far to turn back. As in Spain at the end of the Franco dictatorship, they will want assurances that a transition will not mean prison or worse for them and their supporters. Moreover, they are not being defeated – on the contrary, defections have so far been minimal and they believe that they have groups such as the Syrian Free Army on the back foot.

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February 18th, 2012, 9:46 am


25. Mina said:

Thanks for posting Zenobia s comments at Off the Wall blog. After reading the comments on Qifa Nabki and the shells of shataim against Josh, I wonder if she will convince the average QN reader. I give up before even trying.

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February 18th, 2012, 9:49 am


26. irritated said:

#18 Majedalkhadoon

“Arming these demonstrators will quickly put an end to this regime.”

Yeah, and arming all the pro-regime civilians will create a more interesting and bloody that Youtubers will enjoy to film with their mobile phone and send to Al Jazeera and al Arabiya.
The ones who want to see Syrians killing each others just because they hate one man but are ready to negotiate with the whole regime apparatus such the VP and the army, are immature fools and sadistics.

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February 18th, 2012, 9:56 am


27. Tara said:

“we discovered that the regime may have friends in countries such as St Vincent, Fiji & Tuvalu!”

Kudos to the Syrian regime for having such an important friends!

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February 18th, 2012, 9:56 am


28. irritated said:

Tara #24

Shah of Iran, Mobarak and Ben Ali had very big and important friends.

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February 18th, 2012, 10:00 am


29. irritated said:

#22 Mina

That was the only valid and realistic post in the otherwise pseudo intellectual OTW blog.. no wonder it was welcomed with outcries.

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February 18th, 2012, 10:04 am


30. Mina said:

Majedkhaldun sees Mezze at walking distance from Malki neighborhood. What can we do for him? Send him a better map than the Google one or a precise scale?

Turkish intelligence officials captured in Syria, and Iraq threatens to dump Gulf businessmen involved in terrorism… Some like it hot!

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February 18th, 2012, 10:06 am


31. zoo said:

Fear of mutiny and defections in … the Egyptian army?

Why the Egyptian Military Fears a Captains’ Revolt
The generals ruling in Cairo face a new challenge to their authority — rising discontent within the army’s middle ranks.

The SCAF is deeply concerned with the growing friction between itself and mid-ranking officers, a Western diplomat with intimate knowledge of the council’s internal workings told me. As a result, the council has been increasingly reluctant to do anything that would risk causing its relationship with the Army to deteriorate further.

“[SCAF] is not giving out orders that could be disobeyed, not even potentially,” the diplomat said. “It knows it cannot ask its soldiers to do something they don’t want to do. If it asks soldiers to, say, fire on protesters, SCAF knows it could end up with something like the Russian Revolution,” the source added, in reference to an army mutiny that helped precipitate the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II in 1917.

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February 18th, 2012, 10:07 am


32. majedkhaldoun said:

Please read comment # 23
are immature fools and sadistics
this is personal attack

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February 18th, 2012, 10:11 am


33. zoo said:

The US new mantra: ARM THE OPPOSITION, there is no other solution.

The West must take stronger action to help the Syrian opposition
By Editorial Board, Published: February 17

IT’S BEEN MORE than six months since President Obama called for the end of the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad. Yet as Mr. Assad’s forces escalated their assaults on Syrian cities last week, inflicting scores of deaths every day, his rule appeared far from finished. On the contrary, there seems every chance that the dictator could go on slaughtering Syrians for months or even years — and maybe prevail.

This appalling prospect has prompted an anguished debate about what can be done to help Syrians — particularly the civilians under assault from tanks and artillery who have little or no access to humanitarian assistance. The modestly good news is that there are some measures that the Friends of Syria — a group of Arab, Islamic and Western states to be convened Feb. 24 in Tunis — can agree on. The bad news is that no one believes they will stop Mr. Assad.

So how to stop the massacres? The most available and workable solution is tactical and materiel support for the anti-regime forces, delivered through neighbors such as Turkey or the Persian Gulf states. Opponents say that would increase the violence, but violence in Syria will continue to escalate as long as the regime believes it can survive by force. Others worry that radicals among the opposition will be empowered. But what will strengthen extremists the most is the failure of democratic nations to act and the entry of groups such as al-Qaeda into the vacuum.

The assault on Syria’s people will end only when the regime’s forces are forced to conclude that they cannot win — or when they succeed in their savage campaign of pacification. If President Obama is to uphold his words, U.S. policy must be based on that reality.

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February 18th, 2012, 10:13 am


34. zoo said:

Contrary to the US, China does not think the election plan is ‘laughable’

February 18, 2012
China envoy meets Assad, backs Syria election plan
Khaled Yacoub Oweis And Mohammed Abbas

AMMAN/BEIRUT (Reuters) – China said on Saturday it backed President Bashar al-Assad’s plans for a referendum and multi-party elections to resolve the Syria crisis, a show of support against world condemnation of the Syrian leader’s crackdown on a popular uprising.

After meeting Assad in Damascus, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhai Jun also called for an immediate end to the violence by all sides in the 11-month-old conflict.

Assad announced his plan on Wednesday for a referendum on a new constitution on February 26 followed by a multi-party election. The Syrian opposition and the West swiftly dismissed it as sham.

“We hope that the referendum on the constitution and the parliamentary elections take place in a continuous way,” Zhai said, according to Syrian state television monitored in Beirut.

“China supports the path of reform taking place in Syria and the important steps that have been taken in this respect.”

The Chinese state news agency Xinhua highlighted Zhai’s comments that China was “deeply concerned by the escalating crisis and wanted the government and various political factions in the country to end all acts of violence against civilians”.

The Syrian report quoted him as saying: “The Chinese experience shows a nation cannot develop without stability”.

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February 18th, 2012, 10:18 am


35. Mawal95 said:

SANA today has published an English translation of the new Constitution: http://sana.sy/eng/337/2012/02/18/401178.htm . SANA’s translation is a considerable improvement over the translation by Qordoba that was linked to on this board a couple of days ago. Here’s a particularly noteworthy example of bad translating by Qordoba:

Qordoba’s Article 113 (3) in English:

The People’s Assembly has the right to cancel this legislation or to amend them in the event of two-thirds majority of those voting (with a two-thirds quorum required), as long as the amendments do not have retroactive impact on , and if these legislations were not already abolished by the People’s Assembly or provisionally sanctioned.

SANA’s Article 113 (3) in English:

The Assembly has the right to revoke such legislation or amend them in a law with a majority of two thirds of the members registered for attending the session, provided it is no less than the absolute majority of all its members. Such amendment or revocation shall not have a retroactive effect. If they are not amended or revoked, they shall be considered approved.

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February 18th, 2012, 10:19 am


36. Tara said:


Majed and I are born in Damascus. I lived in Damascus for 21years. There is a school and a street named after one of my family member for his cultural contribution. I find it strange that an Egyptian who lives in France would attempt to correct us in Damascene affair. It is like when I express an opinion on “Tuvalu”…. I still do not know where “Tuvalu” exists. May be you should consider educating us on Cambodia rather than Damascus? Cambodia is an interesting country.

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February 18th, 2012, 10:20 am


37. majedkhaldoun said:

My house is in Abdulmunem Ryad st. one block from where Bashar lives, I used to walk daily for excercise purpose from my house to the area where funeral and demonstration was today, it is a walking distance.
You have no idea about Damascus,so please delete that comment.

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February 18th, 2012, 10:23 am


38. zoo said:

30,000 demonstrators + Fire with live ammunition = 4 wounded?

Syrian forces open fire on activist funeral crowds
Updated February 18, 2012 23:30:25

“Syrian forces have opened fire with live ammunition to break up a protest in the capital Damascus, wounding at least four people, witnesses say.”

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February 18th, 2012, 10:25 am


39. Tara said:


57 were killed by the Syrian regime yesterday. Not an impressive number?

Silly me, my heart cries for a single death. My be it is my hormones…

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February 18th, 2012, 10:28 am


40. Mina said:

Glad you like exercise… I used to walk from the Minister of Health neighborhood to Abu Romaneh and at time from Muhajiriin. Everything is walking distance then.

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February 18th, 2012, 10:32 am


41. zoo said:

#36 Tara

“57 were killed by the Syrian regime yesterday. Not an impressive number?”

Any confirmation from another source than the opposition usual mouthpieces?

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February 18th, 2012, 10:49 am


42. majedkhaldoun said:

I take it that you retract your statement, you know then that the distance between Tishrin park and the mezzeh street is very close,
please refrain in the future from making such statement.

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February 18th, 2012, 10:49 am


43. Tara said:


Any contradictory source other than media outlets that quote SANA?

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February 18th, 2012, 10:55 am


44. zoo said:

France and UK are ignoring the dire situation in Libya to concentrate on another similar intervention in Syria.

Libya: job done?

The country is run by militias, torture and human rights abuses are widespread but neither Britain nor France seem bothered

Editorial guardian.co.uk, Friday 17 February 2012 23.26 GMT

Mr Cameron and Mr Sarkozy have shown that they lack the attention span, the money or the political will to do it. But repeated failure has not lessened their appetites for planning for fresh conflicts, like the one about to be launched against Iran. If not them, who? The Arab League is dominated by the Gulf states. Saudi Arabia is using the civil war in Syria to divert attention from the suppression of its own internal dissent, which is inexorably rising. No help there.

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February 18th, 2012, 10:56 am


45. Mina said:

Tomorrow the media will tell us how great is democratic Yemen because there is a coming election in 2 days. Except that there is only one candidate.

Zoo, the Guardian article ends with the usual Western paternalist smart advice: “Of course, it has more than enough on its domestic plate, but it is also time Egypt assumed its regional responsibilities. It could invite the Libyan militias to a conference in Cairo, where they could start hammering out deals that the Libyan elections will need only too soon.”
As for now apart from more unemployment, the only thing that French UK US war on Qaddafi has brought to Egypt is an influx in weapon traffic. The West is ready to mess up anything anywhere, but never to fix the damage.

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February 18th, 2012, 11:00 am


46. zoo said:

Tara #40

It’s been a long time I do not believe neither SANA nor the opposition mouthpieces. I also ignore second hand information carried by the media. There are enough journalists official or non official in Syria to hear their reports instead.

Note that the report of the 30,000+ live ammunitions = 4 wounded was reported by the opposition not by SANA .

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February 18th, 2012, 11:09 am


47. Shami 2 said:


I’m not sure you know Damascus at all, Sheik Saad Road (were the protest/funeral took place) leads to Mouwasaat Road which takes you directly to Malki (You will pass the Qasr El Diyafi, and Mahfa’a Al Shami).

Furthermore Autostrad Mazzeh (Sheraton Hotel side) leads to Ommyad Square so does Malki Road (Assad Library).

I guess you need a lesson on using Google Maps not Majed K.


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February 18th, 2012, 11:12 am


48. Son of Damascus said:


Both Mazzeh and Malki lead into Ummayad Square. So yes they are close and within walking distance.

Now if the protest was in Mazzeh Villat or Gharbieh that would be a far walk, but from Sheik Saad as we say in Arabic Lahshet Hajjar (a stone throw away) from Malki.

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February 18th, 2012, 11:20 am


49. Alan said:

Tarpley: US, NATO want no dialogue on Syria

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February 18th, 2012, 11:32 am


50. Tara said:


I was not doubting the number.  I wanted to say من قتل نفساً بغير حق فكأنما قتل الناس جميعاً

On another note, how come I heard nothing from you on the death of Anthony Shadid?  I thought we share the same sensitivity? I cried myself to sleep last night.  I couldn’t stop. His death saddened me very much.  Had free press been allowed in Syria, Shadid would’ve sought professional medical help and be saved.

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February 18th, 2012, 11:41 am


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