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)

Excerpts:
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

51. Alan said:

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=29364

Syria and the media: “Activists say…”
by William Bowles

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February 18th, 2012, 11:46 am

 

52. Alan said:

http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/02/17/hypocrisy-and-syria/
Hypocrisy and Syria
by ALEXANDER COCKBURN

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February 18th, 2012, 11:51 am

 

53. zoo said:

#50 Tara

I was very shocked and saddened by his death. He was young, had a family and he always tried to remain unbiased or sensationalist, a rare quality among the news reporters nowadays.

I did report the horrifying and absurd circumstances of his death, the least I could do.

http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/?p=13506&cp=all#comment-296482

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February 18th, 2012, 12:01 pm

 

54. zoo said:

Desert Rose: Syrian First Lady Asma Assad
15 February 2012

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/photo/2012-02/15/c_131411094_10.htm

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February 18th, 2012, 12:33 pm

 

55. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Mezze (heart of Damascus) today
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvVy9cONoxo
.

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February 18th, 2012, 12:40 pm

 

56. Mawal95 said:

@ Amir in Tel Aviv #53 the headline text is a falsehood in that video you linked to.

The following video is from an anti-regime protest in Binnish town in Idlib province. The crowd chants “we support you HAMAS”. A few pronounce it “HAMOS”. The text headline of the video says they’re chanting support for Homs, i.e. the rebels in Homs. But they’re unmistakeably saying حماس‎ Hamās. It occurred to me that “Hamas” might be a weird indigenous pronounciation for Homs in parts of Idlib but I can’t convince myself of that. I’d be grateful if someone can confim that the Palestinian Hamas is what they’re chanting for here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFm_C5MZkRA

I don’t remember protesters chanting “we support you Ikhwan”, which is a good sign that the Ikhwan are finished in Syria.

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February 18th, 2012, 12:43 pm

 

57. Tara said:

Zoo

Asmaphilia?

If true, I congratulate your for your taste.

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February 18th, 2012, 12:49 pm

 

58. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

It was quite huge today in Mezze. And the snow doesn’t deter them.
I want to see mnhebak crowd demonstrating while it’s snowing.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FN2_97cwwZs
.

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February 18th, 2012, 12:55 pm

 

59. majedkhaldoun said:

The referendum
I question how many will participate in it,percentage wise?
Who will monitor it?
How do we know it is not going to be rigged?
Some areas are completely will boycot it.
Why it is going to be held in one week while it took six months to prepare, was there any public discussionf it?

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February 18th, 2012, 12:59 pm

 

60. habib said:

Lol, seems like no one dared to answer my question in 18, so let me ask it again:

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, 1:15 pm

 

61. Tara said:

Habib

How about rephrasing your question and then try again?

No clue yet? I will help: remove the salafists-apologists and then ask.

Otherwise, you can indulge in a monologue.

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February 18th, 2012, 1:21 pm

 

62. ann said:

US officials tie terror group to Syrian bombings – 2/16/2012

http://www.federalnewsradio.com/?nid=615&sid=2751223

WASHINGTON (AP) – Top U.S. intelligence officials pointed to al-Qaida in Iraq on Thursday as the likely culprit behind recent bombings in Syria, the deadliest attacks against the Syrian government in the 11-month uprising.

Though the U.S. has called for Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down, his fall could lead to a power vacuum that al-Qaida’s largest regional affiliate or other extremist groups could fill, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told Congress. And that could allow such groups to help themselves to Syria’s vast stockpiles of chemical weapons, he said.

At the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the crisis in Syria has become “that much more serious” and worrisome to the United States as a result of indications that al-Qaida has infiltrated the government’s opposition.

“It does raise concerns for us that al-Qaida is trying to assert a presence there,” he said. “As to just what their role is and how extensive their role is, I think that still remains to be seen.”

The comments by Panetta and Clapper in Washington marked a diplomatically dissonant moment of near-agreement between American officials and the Syrian leadership they have called on to step down, after the deaths of thousands of Syrians in the unrest that started during last year’s Arab Spring.

Syrian President Assad has long blamed terrorists for starting the uprising, which has pitted his military against a rag-tag group of angry Syrians, divided by religion and neighborhood.

Al-Qaida’s leader called for Assad’s ouster last week. That endorsement has created new obstacles for the U.S., its Western allies and Arab states trying to figure out a way to help push Assad from power.

Clapper said bombings against Syrian security and intelligence targets in Damascus in December, and two more recent bombings in the nation’s largest city, Aleppo, bear “all the earmarks of an al-Qaida-like attack,” leading the U.S. intelligence to believe the Iraqi militant branch is extending its reach into Syria.

“We’ve seen evidence of Sunni extremists,” he said. “Can’t label them specifically as al-Qaida, but similar ilk who are infiltrating the oppositionist groups.”

“There is no identifiable group that would succeed him,” Clapper said. “So there would be kind of a vacuum, I think, that would lend itself to extremists operating in Syria”.

Clapper said the Iraq-based group “remains capable of high-profile attacks” inside Iraq, and is likely to continue attacking U.S. interests there.

[...]

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February 18th, 2012, 1:35 pm

 

63. michael pugliese said:

Syria – Damascus – mezze – Assad gangs shoot at demonstrators 18.02.2012 “Deutsch Unten”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1zJMvj39pk
Deutsch : Syrien – Damaskus – Mezze – Assads Banden beschießen die Demonstranten 18.02.2012 via The Syrian Revolution everywhere https://www.facebook.com/groups/298460756858370/

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February 18th, 2012, 1:53 pm

 

64. Badr said:

How to set Syria free
Getting rid of Bashar Assad requires a united opposition, the creation of a safe haven and Western resolve

http://www.economist.com/node/21547243

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February 18th, 2012, 2:00 pm

 

65. jna said:

http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/02/17/china-steps-up-in-syria/


It appears that the Brotherhood’s insistence on overthrowing the Assad government is informed by its awareness that, whatever feelings Assad has about accommodating the aspirations of democratically-inspired dissidents, they do not extend to the MB.

The Brotherhood’s best hope for a major, indeed dominant political role inside Syria requires regime collapse and the exploitation of the MB’s superior discipline and organization in the ensuing chaos to establish itself as the voice of conservative, orthodox Sunni Islam (the dominant confession in Syria) as their associates did so successfully (and to the chagrin of many secularly-inclined liberals) in Egypt.

Despite its lack of a Syrian presence and its apparently sectarian character, the SNC has been recognized as “the legitimate interlocutor of the Syrian people” by 16 governments, including the United States, several EU countries, and several Arab states.

Reading between the lines, however, most countries are anxiously trying to reconcile their desire to see Assad fall with a queasy awareness that the SNC is perhaps a sectarian, Islamist train wreck ready to happen. The only authority to give the SNC full recognition is similarly named (and equally shaky) Libyan National Council. The rest of the 16 nations have offered vigorous lip service to the SNC in an effort to buttress its prestige, but have as yet declined to recognize it as the legitimate voice of the Syrian people.

It seems the main function of the SNC is to vocally implore—and thereby justify—foreign intervention in Syria.

Though unheard in the West, there are other opposition groups that don’t share the Muslim Brotherhood’s maximalist rejection of negotiation with the Assad regime.

The main in-country dissident organization, the National Coordination Committee, accepts a platform of negotiations with Assad.

… read more

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February 18th, 2012, 2:02 pm

 

66. ann said:

62. BADR said:

How to set Syria free
.
.
How do you plan to set Palestine free from israeli occupation BADR?
.

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February 18th, 2012, 2:06 pm

 

67. ann said:

Syrian president says his country subject to “fragmenting scheme” – 2012-02-18

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-02/18/c_122721313.htm

DAMASCUS, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) — Syrian President Bashar al-Assad reiterated on Saturday that his country is basically subject to a scheme aiming at fragmenting Syria, state-run SANA news agency reported.

The scheme also aimed to hit Syria’s “geopolitical and historical role in the region,” Assad said, according to SANA.

The Syrian president made the remarks when meeting with visiting Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhai Jun, during which he also stressed Syria’s determination to carry on with the process of political reforms in accordance with a clear plan and definite timeline.

Zhai, who has also met with the leadership of main opposition groups in Syria during his two-day visit starting from Friday, said China urges all parties concerned in Syria to immediately launch inclusive political dialogue with no preconditions attached, and jointly discuss a comprehensive political reform plan and mechanism.

[...]

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February 18th, 2012, 2:18 pm

 

68. ghufran said:

there are reasons now to doubt the accuracy of the original story about a cease fire in Zabadani. A CNN report that included a testimony from an opposition activist indicate that the FSA actually left town without receiving anything in return and that a massive campaign of arrest has taken place.
It is either the opposition forces were tricked or they just decided to abandon town,I do not have enough information to form an opinion,but if I was a member of the opposition in Zabadani,I will be furious.

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February 18th, 2012, 2:24 pm

 

69. ann said:

Iran to conduct joint exercises with Syria? – 18 February, 2012

http://rt.com/news/iran-syria-suez-maritime-training-667/

An Iranian flotilla has arrived in a Syrian port to provide maritime training to the country’s navy, media reports. It’s only the second time Iranian warships have sailed through the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean.

The ships have docked in the Syrian port of Tartus some 220 kilometres from the capital. They are due to take part in a joint training exercise with Syrian navy which was organised last year, the Mehr News Agency reports. Syria is the only country in the region which has an agreement on naval cooperation with Iran.

The flotilla belongs to Iran’s 18th fleet and comprises the destroyer Shahid Naqdi and supply ship Khark. Admiral Habibollah Sayari confirmed “for the second time since the Islamic revolution,” its ships passed through the Suez Canal.

Sayari added that the mission was intended to show Tehran’s “might” and take a “message of peace and friendship” to the region.

Meanwhile, Iran’s old foe, Israel, is keeping a close eye on the situation.

“We will closely monitor the movement of the two ships to ensure they do not approach the Israeli coast,” an Israeli official is quoted by AFP.

[...]

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February 18th, 2012, 2:26 pm

 

70. ghufran said:

take a look at this video and see how easy it is becoming for Syrian children to die,this particular child was lucky:
http://www.cnn.com/video/?hpt=hp_t2#/video/bestoftv/2012/02/14/nr-syria-child-rescue.cnn

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February 18th, 2012, 2:34 pm

 

71. sheila said:

Now that Sharmine Narwani proved that Mr. Ford and CNN are lying about the situation in Homs, can she take on our family and friends who are on the ground in Homs and try to prove that they are lying too?
This blatant insult to people’s intelligence must stop. My husband’s cousin lives in Inshaat in Homs. For days she was stuck in her apartment without electricity or food, then the top of her building was hit and they lost all the water tanks too. Two of her neighbors were sniped inside their apartments and killed. For days the bodies were with their husbands and children because they did not dare open their front door and bury them.
Satellite images or no satellite images, we all know that the Syrian regime is shelling Homs.

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February 18th, 2012, 2:35 pm

 

72. ann said:

Terrorists shell fuel tankers in Syria’s Homs – 2012-02-18

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-02/18/c_131418216.htm

DAMASCUS, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) — An armed terrorist group early on Saturday shelled some fuel tankers at a refinery in central Syria’s Homs, setting ablaze a tanker that contains more than 50 million liters of gasoline, the official SANA news agency reported.

According to SANA, civil defense workers have put out the fire, but no immediate reports are available about whether any casualties were caused by the attack.

The assault came a day after an oil pipeline in Homs was targeted with explosives for the second time in a week.

Meanwhile, in the northern province of Idlib, a law-enforcement agent was killed and some other forces were wounded when a booby- trapped car was detonated on Saturday by an armed group in Ariha area, SANA said.

[...]

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February 18th, 2012, 2:37 pm

 

73. ann said:

American, British Weapons Still Pour Into Bahrain – 18/02/2012

http://www.vob.org/en/index.php?show=news&action=article&id=1243

Despite Western condemnation of President Bashar al-Assad’s brutal crackdown of dissent in Syria, the United Kingdom and the United States are turning a blind eye to the violence in Bahrain where the Sunni royal family is trying to crush a Shī’ah revolt—with American and British weapons.

The United States have been formally allied to the Islamic island nation since 1991. In the aftermath of the First Gulf War, the countries signed an agreement of defense cooperation which was most recently renewed in 2002. Bahrain was declared a “major non-NATO ally” of the United States’ at the time, a designation that opened the gates for sales of sophisticated weapon systems. The Bahraini air force flies American F-16 fighter jets and Bell attack helicopters. Its navy operates a once American frigate.

The most visible sign of the American-Bahraini security relationship is the US Navy base in the northeast of the island which accommodates several thousand onshore personnel and some thirty warships which permanently patrol the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf.

The Americans replaced Britain as the foremost naval power in the region in the early 1970s when Bahrain and other emirates became independent of it and Washington purchased basing rights in Bahrain.

Britain, The Guardian revealed this week, has sold more than £1 million worth of artillery, rifles and gun silencers to the kingdom since the unrest started there. Also cleared for export to Bahrain between July and September were naval guns and components for detecting and jamming improvised explosive devices.

With tension rising in the region as Iran has threatened to erect a blockade in the Strait of Hormuz if there is further international pressure on the regime, which Western powers suspect is seeking to develop a nuclear weapons capacity, Britain and the United States have no reason to antagonize their allies in the Gulf Cooperation Council.

This cooperative body, which also includes Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, intervened in Bahrain last year when the monarchy was imperiled. Some eight thousand Arab troops were dispatched to suppress the largely Shiite revolt in the kingdom. Riyadh blamed Iran for inciting the uprising.

[...]

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February 18th, 2012, 2:52 pm

 

74. Alan said:

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=29374
Wrongheaded UN Vote on Syria: US-NATO “Arm Twisting” at the General Assembly
by Stephen Lendman

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February 18th, 2012, 3:08 pm

 

75. ann said:

*** FROM FRIENDS OF israel WHO PLUNGED US INTO THE IRAQ GRINDER ***

Foreign Policy Experts Urge President Obama to Take Immediate Action in Syria – February 17, 2012

http://www.foreignpolicyi.org/content/foreign-policy-experts-urge-president-obama-take-immediate-action-in-syria

Prominent U.S. conservatives want the Obama administration to “take immediate action” against the Syrian regime, including “no-go zones” for President Bashar al-Assad’s military and “self-defense aid” to resistance forces.

Fifty-six foreign policy experts and former U.S. government officials signed a letter dated Friday calling for proactive U.S.-led steps against the government. It comes as Syrian citizens and activists plead for world powers to help stop the government’s bloody crackdown.

They include Karl Rove, the former Bush administration adviser; Paul Bremer, in charge of the U.S. occupation in Iraq after the 2003 invasion; R. James Woolsey, former CIA chief; Robert McFarlane, former Reagan national security adviser, and Dan Senor, a former Bremer adviser and spokesman for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq.

[...]

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February 18th, 2012, 3:11 pm

 

76. Alan said:

http://www.syriandays.com/?page=show_det&select_page=73&id=30251
CIA تجمع معلومات عن الحكومة السورية وعن مواقع عسكرية وتزود بها العناصر الإرهابية وترصد تسلل عناصر من القاعدة
كشفت قناة “سي ان ان” أن أجهزة الاستخبارات الأمريكية باتت تركز جهودها على جمع معلومات عن الحكومة السورية لتقديمها للعناصر الإرهابية المسلحة في سورية، وقالت القناة مساء أمس 14 شباط نقلا عن مصادر في الإدارة الأمريكية أن الولايات المتحدة تقوم أيضا بمراقبة الأهداف العسكرية السورية، وذلك نظرا لاحتمال أن تعطي واشنطن أمرا بالتدخل العسكري في سورية.
وبثت القناة التلفزيونية الأمريكية حسب البعث ميديا صورا بالقمر الصناعي لما قالت أنه آليات عسكرية سورية، مع إشارتها إلى إن هذه الصور وزعتها وزارة الخارجية الأمريكية للمعارضة المسلحة. وكشفت “سي ان ان” أن الولايات المتحدة تقوم بمحاولة التنصت على المكالمات الهاتفية لأعضاء الحكومة في سورية، وعلى اتصالاتهم عبر جميع وسائل الاتصال الالكتروني، وتنظر الولايات المتحدة بحسب معلومات القناة في احتمال استخدام أقمار صناعية إضافية وطائرات استطلاعية وطائرات تجسس من نوع”Y-2″ لجمع المزيد من المعلومات الاستخباراتية حول سورية.
وذكرت “سي ان ان” أن الاستخبارات الأمريكية تقوم أيضا برصد نشاط عناصر من تنظيم “القاعدة” تسللوا إلى الأراضي السورية من العراق مؤخرا. وقالت القناة إن “مجموعة صغيرة من مقاتلي القاعدة تمكنت من التسلل إلى سورية من العراق، وقد تكون الأعمال الإرهابية الانتحارية التي شهدتها سورية مؤخرا دليلا على ذلك”.

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February 18th, 2012, 3:13 pm

 

77. ann said:

Iraq Tightens Security At Syria Border to Stop Arms Flow – 2-18-2012

http://www.aina.org/news/20120218141001.htm

BAGHDAD (Reuters) — Iraq said on Saturday it had reinforced security along its Syrian border to prevent arms smuggling, after reports fighters and weapons were crossing into Syria where President Bashar al-Assad has been facing an increasingly armed revolt.

“Necessary measures have been taken to consolidate control over the borders with Syria which is witnessing turbulence that encourages infiltration and all kinds of smuggling, especially arms,” a statement from Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s office.

The statement — which came after Maliki met top security officials, including the acting defense minister, the national security advisor and commander of border forces — did not explicitly state what measures had been taken.

[...]

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February 18th, 2012, 3:28 pm

 

78. Alan said:

China backs Syria referendum, calls for end of violence
http://rt.com/news/syria-china-envoy-mediation-645/

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February 18th, 2012, 3:36 pm

 

79. habib said:

59. Tara

Lol, so only the “opposition” is allowed to use nicknames? Will you quit using the word “menhebak” in turn? I guess not.

In any case, it seems everything which has been predicted is coming true, the opposition is infested, if not dominated by Salafists, and Syria will become a nice little Islamist puppet of Saudi Arabia and the US in a few years time.

Congratulations!

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February 18th, 2012, 3:46 pm

 
 

81. Aldendeshe said:

Syrian Nationalist Party
Metaz K M Aldendeshe
Chief Strategist

Smart observer said:

“….It seems the main function of the SNC is to vocally implore—and thereby justify—foreign intervention in Syria….”

_______________________________________________________________

It is more than it SEEMS, it is OBVIOUS. But the original plan ran into an obstacle course, amateurish planning, not estimating the strength of Assad army, his strategic partners interests and most importantly, how secular Syria is and the large minority classes that were threatened by the demented ideology and barbaric means of the ALCIADA-Qatari-Wahhabi extremists working under the Moslem Brotherhood.

Foreign Intervention is not possible at all, other ploy, such as no fly zone, is doomed from the start by the assured deadly response Assad will give against the zone. So, the only way forward now is to dump the facade created to cover all the improprieties, criminality and avoidance of International Laws. This fascad of SNC and FSA is unmarketable, unsalable brand names in Syria, and are now avoided like a plague by everyone after a year of mayhem and nothing to show for it. Their were useful tool for bringing Western armies in, but that was, and is now, a far fetched and dangerous plan, so what other use you have for them. Pick up a winning horse that knows it course this time around, or position your tail between your legs and go butt it again with Assad. SNP is the only way to make change in Syria. You all can humiliate yourselves and go apologize to Assad and the families of more than 20,000 prisoners, offer condolence to the families of more than 6000 dead Syrians, brought about by your failed planning, then drop in at the Al-Shaab Palace to complete your atonement, see if Assad will forgive you. See if you are willing to accept the price he is asking in exchange for that forgiveness, if Israel will help you out here to get it. You can tough it out and go to war, risk an all out WWIII or complete oil shut off ( help your One Worlder bring the dream come true to enslave humanity). Or you can come and ask SNP to help you out of this mess, see what is the Agha asking price to forgive you for leaving him out and making this mess.

WHOOATSISNEXT? Surprise me. More worthless U.N. Resolutions, 28 of them perhaps. Or is it more toned down irrelevant sanctions. For those waiting for surprise, and those waiting for help to get out of Assad prisons don’t waste your time waiting for the SNC and SFA, they are invented and promoted not to help you, but to help a plan that is now a miserable failure.

March 15, is the deadline.

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February 18th, 2012, 3:59 pm

 

82. Alan said:

http://rt.com/news/iran-syria-suez-maritime-training-667/
Iran to conduct joint exercises with Syria?
An Iranian flotilla has arrived in a Syrian port to provide maritime training to the country’s navy, media reports. It’s only the second time Iranian warships have sailed through the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean.
The ships have docked in the Syrian port of Tartus some 220 kilometres from the capital. They are due to take part in a joint training exercise with Syrian navy which was organised last year, the Mehr News Agency reports. Syria is the only country in the region which has an agreement on naval cooperation with Iran.
The flotilla belongs to Iran’s 18th fleet and comprises the destroyer Shahid Naqdi and supply ship Khark. Admiral Habibollah Sayari confirmed “for the second time since the Islamic revolution,” its ships passed through the Suez Canal.
Sayari added that the mission was intended to show Tehran’s “might” and take a “message of peace and friendship” to the region.
Meanwhile, Iran’s old foe, Israel, is keeping a close eye on the situation.
“We will closely monitor the movement of the two ships to ensure they do not approach the Israeli coast,” an Israeli official is quoted by AFP.
Iranian ships passed through the canal for the first time exactly a year ago.
On February 17, 2011, Iran sent its warships to the Mediterranean for a similar training mission with Syria as a part of its campaign to gain “hegemony and control” over the Middle East. Israeli officials called that move a “provocation.”
The Suez Canal allows shipping to pass from the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean without going around the southern tip of Africa.

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February 18th, 2012, 4:04 pm

 

83. newfolder said:

security forces open fire at close range on protesters in Mazzeh, Damascus today wounding and killing many

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February 18th, 2012, 4:10 pm

 

84. Tara said:

I am so proud of Mazzeh population. Those are my guys.. I am particularly happy as Mazzeh is the residence of the upper middle to upper class Damascenes. It is no longer a revolution of the working class. It is a wholesome revolution against Bashar al Assad. The more Bashar will kill there, the more inflamed Damascus proper is going to be. Damascus proper should start paying it’s fair share and turn the junta’s life into a living hell.

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February 18th, 2012, 4:12 pm

 

85. Alan said:

اطلبوا الخير تجدوه و اطلبوا الشر تجدوه

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February 18th, 2012, 4:45 pm

 

86. SANDRO LOEWE said:

This video shows the cruelty taking place right now in Mezzeh, Damascus capital. Maybe now people in Damascus will begin to wake up and realize that massive killings, repression, tortures are REALLY being executed by Assad Criminal Services against peacefull rallies in the country. Not a shot against Assad criminals was shot when they began shooting at people (mostly women).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=ZlOxlTrOX9s&NR=1

If Mezzeh, Duma, Daraya, Jdeidet Artuz, Zamalqa, Harasta, Arbeen, Barze, Tadamoun are waking up, what remains with the regime?

Only Jaramana, Old Town, Abbassiin, Abu Rumaneh and Malki. And of course the MOUKHABARAAT and SHABBIHA.

Yalla shabbab Syriatel y Makhlouf companies, wake up and recognize they are simply criminals.

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February 18th, 2012, 4:50 pm

 

87. Mina said:

Shami2, etc.
“walking distance” on the scale of Umeyyad square!? well, the sofa-revolutionaries have never been too accurate since one year, so why not that one too…

Bassma Kodmani caught with her mentors
http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2012/02/from-snc-to-israel-with-love-israel-and.html

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February 18th, 2012, 5:06 pm

 

88. ss said:

The gangs activity is happening among the challenged areas, few pockets here and there. There is not an upscale demonstrations like the ones we used to see last year. Things are much better now compared to a year ago. If we are talking June 2011 then I have to agree, things were very bad. Now the army is in total control. With all my respect, the opposition knows the facts well, but they are well trained to manipulate the facts. Well the facts are out there:
1. No military intervention: The opposition until few weeks ago were positive that a millitary intervention will pass
2. The opposition were very sure that Russia and China will sell Syria
3. The opposition were sure that Bashar Assad fled the country
4. The opposition were sure that the Syrian army is defected and hundreds of thousands of generals left the army
5. As we are speaking now, one wrote “there are reasons now to doubt the accuracy of the original story about a cease fire in Zabadani”

I feel sorry that readers might be misslead by fabricated stories that they have been reading since the start of the unrest.
I wonder what they have on the menue for tomorrow.

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February 18th, 2012, 5:08 pm

 

89. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4191314,00.html

The Iranian destroyer docking in Tartus, and “conveys a message of peace and friendship to the region’s nations and showcases the might of the Islamic Republic’s holy regime”.

A destroyer with a message of peace… how stupid you have to be to issue a statement like this.

If you ask me, the Iranians came in order to take some things, that they don’t want to fall in the hands of the revolutionaries. Like, chemical weapons etc.
.

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February 18th, 2012, 5:16 pm

 

90. DAWOUD said:

#1 Joshua http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/?p=13503&cp=1#comments

It is really nice for the owner of this blog to be humble and stand corrected. Sadly, rules and constitutions do not mean anything in dictatorial Arab countries. If anyone of those included in the “quota” dares to speak out against the regime, Hamza al-Khateeb’s fate could be his/her final solution.
Only in the Middle East a repressive Arab regime could claim to be “democratic.” Similarly, only in the Middle East an occupying colonial regime, Israel, could claim to be “the only democracy in the Middle East.”
All this reminds of what an early Islamic era poet, Abu al-Ala’a al-Ma’ari (who was blind), once said when he was over 80 years old: “people are like people, days are the same, life is for the strong, etc.”
الدهر كالدهر والأيام واحدة … والناس كالناس والدنيا لمن غلب

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February 18th, 2012, 5:24 pm

 

91. zoo said:

Funeral procession turns into anti-gov’t protest in Damascus
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-02/18/c_131418297.htm

DAMASCUS, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) — An anti-government protest broke out Saturday in the Syrian capital of Damascus when hundreds of people came to join the funeral procession for the five victims slain a day earlier in clashes with the security forces, witnesses told Xinhua.

The protest erupted in a neighborhood of al-Mezzah district, where Friday’s two-hour clashes between the security forces and armed protesters claimed the lives of the five people after Muslims’ mid-day prayers.

On Saturday, Security forces fanned out in several alleys in al- Mezzah as the funeral prayers were being held and the officiating Sheikh asked the mourners to show self-restraint, the witnesses said.

Some Arab TV stations aired amateur videos of the Saturday funeral.

It wasn’t clear what triggered Friday’s clashes due to a lack of official accounts of the incident.

The Syrian capital has remained relative calm during the 11- month-old unrest, which raged in some other parts of the country since its eruption in mid-March last year.

The Syrian government blames the unrest in Syria on plots by terrorists and foreign-backed armed gangs, and says more than 2, 000 army and security personnel have been killed during the past months, while the UN puts the death toll in the Syrian unrest at around 6,000.

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February 18th, 2012, 5:25 pm

 

92. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Angry Arab hates Israel more than he loves the Arabs.

Angry Arab, Abu Khalil is losing it completely lately. He revealed only last week in a conference in the UK, that he does not support an Arab democracy.
.

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February 18th, 2012, 5:36 pm

 

93. Tara said:

Amir

Who is Angry Arab?

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February 18th, 2012, 5:40 pm

 

94. DAWOUD said:

#89
Hating an occupying colonial regime is not sinful. However, Angry Arab’s sin is that he is, in my opinion, SECTARIAN. He does not want a non-Shiite government in Syria. In any case, a true democracy, which is my preference, should not be religious nor sectarian. Lebanon is not a democracy because it is sectarian. Similarly, Israel is NOT a democracy because it is a Jewish “democracy” with a 20th-class Arab
“citizens.” Only in Israel a recent Russian immigrant/member of Knesset could try to forcibly remove another Knesset member (Hanin Zoabi-daughter of Nazerath whose roots in Palestine date back to Jesus)from the podium because she is Jewish (while Hanin is Christian). Thanks for posting because now I know who gave me thumbs down on my comment # 87.

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February 18th, 2012, 5:45 pm

 

95. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

February 18th, 2012, 5:49 pm

 

96. Tara said:

Amir,

I have seen his page before. I guess I was asking why is he so popular on SC among Basharophiles? And why is he also \”popular\” among Israelis? The norm for Arab world is to be anti-Israeli, so what makes him special?

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February 18th, 2012, 5:55 pm

 

97. DAWOUD said:

# 89

for the Israelophile who is attacking Basharophiles, please see the racially/religiously-motivated attack on the eloquent/humane Hanin Zoabi:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aBErCBF2grM

Don’t blame Angry Arab for hating Israeli occupation/racism, blame him for being an apologist for Syrian repression.

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February 18th, 2012, 6:07 pm

 

98. DAWOUD said:

VIDEO WITH TRANSLATION:

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February 18th, 2012, 6:14 pm

 

99. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Dawoud,

I wish every Arab state, this kind of parliament. What is so special about the clip you added? This is quite usual Knesset meeting.

Don’t you think that it is better that the representatives (verbally) fight in the parliament, than the citizen fighting in the streets?
.

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February 18th, 2012, 6:37 pm

 

100. Mohammad said:

@ 54. MAWAL95

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFm_C5MZkRA
Wow! Did you seriously hear them say “Hamas” and not “Homs”? There is a huge difference between 7amaas (sīn at the end) and 7omos (with a ṣād at the end). Since you’re a Syrian, you should easily tell the difference!! What about the Independence flag being carried? What’s the significance of chanting for Hamas now? Add to that that the fact that Binnish is a liberated town (from the regime’s criminal armed gangs).
Unbelievable!

Basma Qodamani’s statement regarding the video which was edited with bad intentions, in which she talks about Israel, etc.:

https://www.facebook.com/UgaritNEWS#!/UgaritNEWS/posts/374849342525574

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February 18th, 2012, 7:05 pm

 

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