Upheaval within the Opposition: Defections, Terrorism, and Preparing for a Phase II Insurgency

The Syrian opposition is reshaping itself following its defeat in Homs. A new leadership seems bound to emerge. In all likelihood, in the new phase of the battle the is shaping up to combat the Assad regime, opposition leaders are likely to champion new tactics of militancy and Islamization.

The opposition will have to rebuild itself to be more Islamic, militant and sectarian in order to take on the Assad regime. Opposition leaders on the ground, those who are actually fighting the regime, have already become more militant and Islamized. If the SNC doesn’t scramble to catch up, it will become irrelevant. I suspect that the upcoming opposition meeting in Turkey this Thursday and Friday (March 22-23) will reflect some of that shift. The recent high level defections within the the Syrian National Council suggest the opposition is responding to these pressures and new demands. The SNC is going through a period of soul searching and transformation in response to the government’s classic “clear and hold” operations carried out in Sednaya, Homs and Idlib.

The future strategy of the Syrian opposition will have to follow the outlines of a classic “phase two” insurgency predicated on guerrilla warfare. This phase is reached when the insurgent movement initiates organized continuous guerrilla warfare in an attempt to push government forces into a defensive role. “Phase three” insurgency is a war of movement. In this phase the insurgent can directly engage government forces and hold territory. The Syrian opposition prematurely tried to hold territory and take on the Syrian Army. This was a bad and costly mistake. In the first year of the Syrian uprising the opposition naively believed that the entire Syrian population would embrace it and abandon the regime or that Bashar al-Assad would hand over power. Based on the example of the North African uprisings, Syrian opposition members incorrectly believed a “Tahrir Square  moment” would arrive within months of the uprising’s start, eliminating the need for a coherent military strategy, a defined leadership, or how to parry government counter-insurgency operations. The passions of Syrians who have tasted little but contempt from their own government led them to rise up in an act of incredible courage. Now, however, the reality of just how difficult attaining victory will be is setting in.

The Assad regime remains vigorous and will last longer than many thought. The reason that mass defections have not destroyed the regime are twofold: sectarian anxieties prevent Alawite defections, and the regime turns out to be more sectarian than many thought; and class anxieties are more important as well.

Members of the Sunni middle and upper classes are not defecting in the numbers the opposition hoped that they would. The reason that neither Damascus or Aleppo have become centers of the revolution is usually attributed to their privileged position in Syrian society. Wealthy Sunnis living in the West have joined the revolution, but that may be because they do not fear the disorder and incompetence of the opposition in the same way as those living in Syria. They have also experienced the freedom and dignity afforded by the rule of law. They look at the brutality of the Assad regime and wonder, “how come we  have this?”

The Syrian revolutionaries are largely rural and young, just as were the Baathists in the 1960s. Wealthy and educated Sunnis fear the results of the present revolution could be the same for them as the results of the last revolution, when Syria’s rural poor took power. They will lose money, status and their quality of life, at least temporarily. If the Lebanon and Iraq revolutions are a guide, that decline could last a long time.

The coming “phase II” insurgency will be characterized by:

  1. the creation of cell-networks that maintain secrecy
  2. Terrorism: these techniques include bombings, assassinations, kidnappings, threats, mutilation, murder, torture, and blackmail. These actions will be used to provoke the government into overreactions that discredit the regime, alienate the populace, and demonstrate its inability to protect them.
  3. multifaceted attempts to cultivate support in the general population, by undermining the regime, proving that the opposition must be feared and will eventually win, and by winning gratitude and trust by providing food and shelter to those in need.
  4. attacks against the government and security forces, such as car bombings in Damascus and Aleppo and the planting of IEDs as in Iraq and Afghanistan will undermine military moral and its ability to move around the country.

In order for the opposition to organize an effective phase II insurgency, it will have to embrace guerrilla warfare and greater Islamization of the resistance. This means  Sunni sectarian recruitment, Islamic martyrdom operations, and all the aspects of Middle Eastern insurgency that we have seen used so effectively against occupation forces in the recent past, whether used by Palestinians, Afghans or Iraqis. Elements of the SNC who are unhappy with the way the Ghalioun has

The role of Burhan Ghalioun and members of the Syrian National Council closest to him, such as Ausama Monajed and Bassma Kodmadi, is bound to diminish or change in the coming phase of the struggle. They must be prepared to embrace a much more stridently Sunni insurgency. The regime has proven its viciousness.  The secular leaders of the SNC have been very successful at mobilizing the West against Assad. They have gotten sanctions put in place and the regime has been isolated internationally. But they look down on religion and warfare.

Kamal Labwani, a leader of the Syrian opposition who quit the Syrian National Council last week, accused the SNC of being an “autocratic” organization that has sidelined most of its members. “There is no council, it’s an illusion,” he said. Furthermore he accused council chief Burhan Ghalioun of being like Bashar and “running the organization …. [like] Assad’s ruling Baath party.” Haytham Mallah slammed Ghalioun for being reluctant to support the military effort of the Free Syrian Army. Anwar al-Bunni is worried that the Muslim Brotherhood has become too powerful within the SNC. These are all growing pains as the opposition struggles to keep up with the changes on the ground brought on by the Homs crisis and opposition defeat.

In keeping with the Islamization necessary to recruit financial and military assistance for the revolution, opposition organizers in the West are rallying support from the broader Islamic community by presenting the Syrian struggle in clear religious terms. Quoting from the Koran is key to this. Here are selected quotes from a recent Syrian opposition rally held in Australia. Notice the use of Islamic concepts of martydom, khalifa, the umma, rejection of nationalism, angles coming to the aid of Islamic fighters, blood nourishing the roots of Jihad, etc.

Sunni Shaykhs of Australia Speak at Rally to Gather Support against the Assad Regime

This is a video of the Muslim community protest for Syria held on Jan 21, 2012 at Paul Keating Park, Bankstown, Sydney, Australia. This video is of the entire protest, including all talks, chanting and videos. The following are snippets of the talks:

“We Stand United for the Sake of Allah and for our Brothers and Sisters who are Getting Slaughtered – We are all Muslims who are Worshiping Allah.” “We Ask Allah to Destroy the Assad Regime and his army.” The Muslim Umma stands as one. For one hundred years these dictatorships and these animals have reigned. … The Umma is one step closer to realizing the reality… the reality of the Khilafa to come. Put your trust in Allah. Allah ordains that our brothers and sisters in Syria stand firm, brave and courageous in standing against those who have been oppressing them for the past decades. We can see the wings of angles above Damascus. They will destroy Assad and his regime. Allah insists that his life will continue to exist and the light of his martyrs will continue and the only thing that will be destroy is the life of tyrants and the Assad regime and his army and to revive truth as he promised. God has made us one Umma. It is the Umma of God who is one.”

Remember that the blood of the Martyrs will never be wasted. It will continue to feed the roots of the tree. The prophet said that their will remain a group of my Umma who will fight on the command of Allah to suppress evil and uphold the unity of God.  Brothers in Islam, to remember that the outcome is for the beliefs. The outcome is for the beliefs. to remember the stance of the people of tawhiid. We had our Umma and our scholars stand up for belief against these regimes. When the likes of al-Buti and the likes of al-Hassoun, this dog wearing a turban, stood on the side of the tyrants. Remember that victory will only come with adhering to the book of Allah and his Sunna. Victory will NOTcome with the name of nationalism. Lift your fingers in the direction of God and say there is only one God. Oh Muslims of Syria Victory is near.


Al Arabiya: Al Arabiya declined to publish Assad’s ‘very personal emails’

None of the “very personal emails” of President Bashar al-Assad or his wife Asmaa al-Akhras were aired or published, Al Arabiya said on Friday. The pan-Arab news channel said that many “private” messages were in their inbox among thousands … Al Arabiya said that none of the emails were exchanged with senior military or government officials in the country. There weren’t any exchange of emails with members of the Assad family as well, but most of emails were exchanged with members of his wife’s family and his close friends who belonged to his inner circle….Hundreds of “scandalous” emails were accordingly deleted by Al Arabiya.

Bashar Al Assad’s Wife ‘Could Face Two Year Prison Term’ for Sanctions Busting After Shopping Spree – March 16 (Telegraph)

Syria: Bashar Al-Assad Email Reveals Mystery Near Naked Woman
by Raf Sanchez, March 16 (Telegraph) —

Mystery surrounds a photograph of an near-naked woman posing provocatively that was sent to Bashar al-Assad by a young female political aide. The undated picture shows the woman, clad only in white lingerie, pressing herself against a wall as her clothes lie discarded in a heap at her feet. It was discovered among thousands of emails from the personal accounts of the Syrian president and his wife after their passwords were smuggled out of Damascus by opposition groups. The photograph was sent to Mr Assad on December 11 last year by Hadeel al-Ali,

John Stewart: Homs Despot: Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad’s hacked emails reveal he’ll taunt NATO in the world community, but he won’t f**k with Apple.

Syria: Songs of Defiance – Al Jazeera.Net

An undercover Al Jazeera correspondent takes us inside the lives of Syria’s anti-government demonstrators.

Syria Puts On Mass Rally in Support of Assad
By ANNE BARNARD in the New York Times

“What happened in Homs is betrayal,” Mr. Labwani said in an interview. “There is a sense of irresponsibility on the part of the council.”

The council, he added, was in danger of causing splits in Syrian society by failing to create a single rebel military command under its control, leaving individual militias to seek their own sources of help. He accused Muslim Brotherhood members within the exile opposition of “monopolizing funding and military support.”

The 270-member council has been plagued by internal disagreements. A member of its executive committee, Samir Nachar, played down the latest frictions, saying the members had not submitted formal resignations. One, he said, was simply frustrated at his exclusion from a meeting with the United Nations special envoy, Kofi Annan. Mr. Nachar said Mr. Labwani had attended few meetings.

Mr. Nachar acknowledged the council needed to improve but said disagreements were inevitable, noting that many members had never met before the uprising and had widely varying backgrounds and opinions.

But this time the departing members include some well-known figures with deep credibility among Syrians both inside and outside the country, including Mr. Labwani and Haitham Maleh, an executive committee member and lawyer in his 80s who served many years in prison after defending Syrian dissidents, including Muslim Brotherhood members.

Mr. Maleh could not be reached for comment, but told Al Jazeera that he had resigned because of chaos within the group and doubt over what it could accomplish, adding, “We have not gotten very far in working to arm the rebels.”

Still, the way forward for the opposition seemed unclear. On Tuesday, the Syrian National Council had taken steps to bring the Free Syrian Army under its umbrella. But Mr. Labwani, the council member who is resigning, said the exiles had few ties to the fighters inside. “The Free Syrian Army is the people who are inside Syria,” he said.

He called the council’s head, Burhan Ghalioun, an autocrat who makes decisions “under our names without getting back to us.” Mr. Ghalioun could not be reached for comment.

Mr. Labwani said he had argued that the rebels should be armed only under a single command with the council controlling the finances, but Muslim Brotherhood members had objected.

“It will lead to disaster, especially if the revolution is turned into militias,” Mr. Labwani said.

The other two resigning members are Walid al-Bunni and Catherine Altalli. “The Brotherhood took the whole council,” Mr. Bunni said in an interview. “We became like extras.”

In a kind of warning, Mr. Labwani and Mr. Maleh last month formed a new group under the council’s umbrella.

Tony Karon in Time

…. Looking at the balance of forces on the ground, it’s not hard to see why [Assad] may be feeling lucky, at least in the near term. In recent weeks, he has sent armored units to recapture rebel-held neighborhoods first in Homs and then in Idlib. Having successfully driven opposition fighters outside of those areas they had held for months, he has turned his forces’ attention back to Deraa in the south, cradle of the rebellion. Of course, these operations have exacted a terrible toll in civilian life and suffering, not sufficient to prompt foreign powers capable of intervening to throw off the restraints they have imposed on themselves out of fear of the consequences of plunging into a messy civil war…..

Syrian rebels lack guns, money after key defeats
By ELIZABETH A. KENNEDY | Associated Press

BEIRUT (AP) — Two significant defeats at the hands of Syrian government troops have exposed the limitations of the country’s rebel forces: They are low on cash, running out of weapons and facing a fiercely loyal military that will fight to the death.

Insisting that their drive to oust President Bashar Assad by force remains strong, the Free Syrian Army says the arms shortage is the main obstacle.

“Send us money, we’re desperate. Send us weapons,” Ahmad Kassem, who coordinates military operations for the FSA, told The Associated Press in an interview. “We don’t need fighters. We have excess men who can fight, but we need weapons to protect our land and honor.”(..)

Saudi Arabia shut down its embassy in Damascus, the Saudi foreign ministry announced Wednesday. Saudi Arabia and other Gulf monarchies withdrew their ambassadors in February.

Assad Tells Annan he has three conditions for Cease Fire,”  Shamlife, Thursday, March 15, 2012

  • Armed groups must promise to cease fire
  • Neighboring countries must promise to stop the smuggling of weapons into Syria
  • Countries must promise to stop financing the opposition

علمت صحيفة “النهار” ان “رد الرئيس بشار الاسد على المبعوث المشترك للامم المتحدة وجامعة الدول العربية كوفي أنان في سوريا، تضمن ثلاثة شروط هي، تعهد المجموعات المسلحة وقف النار، تعهد دول الجوار وقف تهريب الرجال والسلاح، وتعهد الدول الممولة للمعارضة وقف تمويلها”. وعندما تتحقق هذه الشروط يوقف الرئيس الأسد العمليات العسكرية ضد المسلحين.

A Chrisian friend from Homs writes of how refugee families are occupying empty apartments.

My family left Homs because of their fear for their lives, some went to Damascus and some to Lebanon and few families went to Marmarita and Amar AL Huson,

My cousin who went to her Daughter in AL Raga, went back to Homs and found people in her house, it is 2 bedroom house so she told them that she needs the house as it is too small for more than her and her family, so they left, another relative of mine in Hameedia, they left first then when they came back they found people in their home so they asked them to leave, they refused and asked the owners my relative to talk to the office in one of the Hameedia restaurant that is occupied , so they went there and asked for their house back, they complied and the office of the armed militia ( i think) asked the people who were staying in the house to leave and give the house back, apparently they occupied the houses of the people who left, I am not sure if they forced the people out, that is what i heard from my family.

Google Ideas Director Involved in ‘Regime Change’

Explosive news: Ex-State Department employee tuned Google director pushes programs supporting regime change in the Middle East. This comes on the back of news that Avaaz’s campaign manager is also ex-State Dept. This really begs the question whether there is a policy decision to infiltrate social media at the top as well. Disturbing stuff…..

Syria’s rebels will have to deal with Assad
By Julien Barnes-Dacey
Senior Policy Fellow, Middle East and North Africa Programme, European Council on Foreign Relations, www.ecfr.eu

No one wants to deal with dictators. But one year after the Syrian uprising began, the harsh truth is that Bashar al-Assad maintains the upper hand and the opposition – with its international backers – may have little choice but to cut a deal with him if they want to ease the Syrian people’s suffering.

Through brutal suppression, cynical sectarian mobilisation and continued support from Russia and Iran, the regime has maintained its grip on power. Mr Assad has lost most of his legitimacy and Syria’s economy is crumbling but, so long as the regime has internal cohesion and external support, it is unlikely to collapse soon. The headlines accorded the recent defection of a powerless deputy minister have only served to highlight the struggle facing the opposition.

Short of unlikely direct foreign intervention, the worst scenario Mr Assad faces is prolonged civil war, particularly if foreign powers arm the opposition as demanded by the Syrian National Council and Free Syrian Army. But without artillery and air support, the balance of power is unlikely to change quickly. Moreover, while this route could eventually help the rebels to a military victory, it may further empower Mr Assad among his internal and external backers, by providing a justification for regime violence. The one certainty is that an already horrific toll will increase exponentially, as it did in civil wars in Iraq and Lebanon.

From a humanitarian perspective, then, it is urgent to find a political solution….

For Russia – as well as China and even Iran – to change tack and to press Mr Assad to implement a ceasefire, the opposition will have to consent to direct talks with the regime, not preconditioned on Mr Assad’s immediate departure or on that of regime forces from urban centres. In effect, the initial price will be an outcome that favours the regime’s position on the ground. Distasteful as this will be, there is no other way to end the bloodshed. However, if Mr Assad was to agree a ceasefire, even if he remains in power, he will be far more marginalised internationally and under severe pressure to comply. Such an outcome could ease the entry of humanitarian aid and of a new, enhanced team of monitors.

More positively, such a deal could prepare the ground for a political process, however difficult, that could swing the balance in the opposition’s favour. After four decades of repression, a vibrant, politically mobilised population is now intent on seizing its own future. The state of fear has been broken. This is a force Mr Assad is unable to resist except by violence. A political track may therefore be a surer way of ultimately ending the regime.

The regime could of course renew its violence, but commitments by Syria’s protectors – principally Russia and China – to the process, as well as continuing western economic and political pressure, would make it harder for Mr Assad to extricate himself. A political process could also help erode internal support by persuading senior Alawites to support the Arab League transition plan, under which Mr Assad would step down. It should be remembered that Yemen’s transition plan only succeeded on the basis of talks with President Abdullah Saleh.

While the SNC and FSA reject talks with the regime, many Syrians – including activists – already think political dialogue is the best means of averting a devastating civil war. It should be the west’s preference too.

Date: 19 February 2012 07:41:51 GMT
From: CF2R Secrétariat <info@cf2r.org>
You’ll find here attached our latest report, THE LEBANONIZATION OF SYRIA. Report on the actors of the Syrian crisis, Paris, January 2012.

Organised at the instigation of the Centre Français de Recherche sur le Renseignement (French Center for Intelligence Studies – CF2R) and the Centre international de recherche et d’études sur le terrorisme et d’aide aux victimes du terrorisme (International Center for Research and Study on Terrorism and Aid to Victims of Terrorism – CIRET-AVT), an international delegation of experts travelled to Syria from December 3rd to December 10th, 2011, in order to assess the situation in Syria in an independent and impartial manner and to meet with the actors of this nine-month-long crisis. It completed its assessment mission with meetings with various representatives of the Syrian opposition abroad, as well as with a panel of Middle East experts from Europe.
The aim of the present report is to provide objective information on a crisis which is being substantially deformed by the control that Syria’s adversaries have over international media networks.
The media networks of the Gulf states, with support from major Anglo-American press agencies and their European and French counterparts, have become frontline players in this crisis, with « global » coverage aimed primarily at the overthrow of the Damascus regime, similar to what occurred in Libya.
This falsification of the facts seeks to hide from global public opinion the support – often reluctant – that the majority of the Syrian population have for the current regime and the fact that the external opposition is not the most legitimate stakeholder (as opposed to longstanding domestic opposition groups), neither do they espouse democratic ideals that they pretend to promote (given their strongly Islamist character).
By Robert D. Kaplan | March 14, 2012
…The Arab Spring has periodically been compared to the stirrings of 1848. But with the exception of the toppling of the Orleans monarchy in France, the 1848 revolutions ultimately failed. Dynastic governments reasserted themselves. They did so for a reason that has troubling implications for the Middle East: Conservative regimes in mid-19th century Europe had not only the institutional advantage over their liberal and socialist adversaries but also the moral advantage….

 If conservative — even reactionary — orders are necessary for inter-communal peace, then they may survive in one form or another, or at least resurface in places such as Egypt and Iraq. Iraq in 2006 and 2007 proved that chaos is in some respects worse than tyranny. Thus, a system is simply not moral if it cannot preserve domestic peace. “Progress includes Order,” John Stuart Mill wrote in Considerations on Representative Government (1861), “but Order does not include Progress.” In other words, nobody is saying that conservative-reactionary orders will lead to social betterment. Nonetheless, because order is necessary before progress can take hold, reactionary regimes could be the beneficiary of chaos in some Middle Eastern states, in a similar way that the Habsburgs were after 1848. For it is conservative regimes of one type or another that are more likely to be called upon to restore order…..

While Syria’s al Assad is seen as illegitimate, that does not mean that the future in Syria automatically means either democracy or sectarian chaos. It may mean eventually a new form of authoritarianism that alleviates or better manages such instability in the first place. Remember that a system is not defined by the name it gives itself, but by how the power relationships actually work behind the scenes. Thus, Iraq may call itself a democracy, but in truth it is a sectarian “thugocracy” that barely keeps order, and if it continues to falter in that regard, it may eventually be replaced by a full-fledged authoritarian regime (hopefully one far less brutal than Saddam Hussein’s).

Indeed, democratic uprisings in 1848 did not secure democracy, they merely served notice that society had become too restive and too complex for the existent monarchical regimes to insure both order and progress. In Political Order in Changing Societies (1968), Harvard political scientist Samuel Huntington wrote that the more complex a society becomes, the greater the number of institutions that are required to govern it.

So one should not confuse the formation of new regimes in the Middle East with their actual consolidation. This will require coercive power in the form of new police forces and intelligence agencies, notes Antonio Giustozzi of the London School of Economics in his provocative new book, The Art of Coercion (2011). And such extreme forms of compulsion are only alleviated by the building of civilian institutions of the kind Huntington talks about, which can then maintain order in a more benign manner. If new bureaucratic institutions do not emerge in a more socially complex Middle East, the Arab Spring will be a false one, and it will be remembered like 1848.

Meanwhile, the authoritarianism of the al-Saud family lingers on in Saudi Arabia, the strategic linchpin of the Arabian Peninsula. And lesser monarchs from Kuwait south to Oman appear not to be in danger. With the exception of the oppressed Shia in Bahrain and in eastern Saudi Arabia, the peoples of the Persian Gulf still broadly associate stability and progress with conservative orders. Thus, the emirs and sultans have the loyalty of their populations and hence the moral advantage.

Syria is at this very moment a bellwether. It is afflicted by ethnic and sectarian splits — Sunnis versus Shia-trending Alawites versus Druze and Kurds. But Syria also can claim historical coherence as an age-old cluster of cosmopolitanism at the crossroads of the desert and the Mediterranean, a place littered with the ruins of Byzantine and medieval Arab civilizations. The Western intelligentsia now equate a moral outcome in Syria with the toppling of the present dictator, who requires those sectarian splits to survive. But soon enough, following the expected end of al Assad’s regime, a moral outcome will be associated with the re-establishment of domestic order and the building of institutions coercive or not. Because only with that can progress be initiated.

1848 had tragic repercussions: While democracy in Europe flowered briefly following World War I, it was snuffed out by fascism and then communism. Thus, 1848 had to wait until 1989 to truly renew itself. Because of technology’s quickened advance, political change is faster in the Middle East. But for 2011 to truly be remembered as the year of democracy in the Arab world, new forms of non-oppressive order will first have to be established. And with the likely exception of Tunisia — a country close to Europe with no ethnic or sectarian splits — that appears for the moment to be problematic.

Five myths about Syria,” by Roger Owen in Wash Post

5. The international community has to do something to stop the violence…. As the recent history of such interventions demonstrates, the desire to put an end to what are regarded as the evil policies of an evil regime can easily cause politicians to neglect the other side of the balance sheet: the number of civilian lives that will undoubtedly be lost in the attempt to save them. Think, for example, of the hundreds of thousands of Afghans who’ve been widowed since the Russian invasion some 30 years ago.

Hands On Syria, Hands Off Iran
Martin van Creveld, Jason Pack, 14 Mar 12

CommentsCAMBRIDGE – Israel is daily ratcheting up its threats to attack Iran over its nuclear program. Unfortunately, these threats have come to overshadow more pressing events in Syria, which is the epicenter of a regional crisis that will determine the future of the Arab Spring, as well as Iran’s role in the Middle East….. The Israeli government has vastly exaggerated the threat that a nuclear Iran poses to its security, …. The ascendant powers in the Middle East are Turkey and Qatar. These Sunni countries, along with Saudi Arabia, should join with their international allies and initiate a regional solution to Syria’s crisis. …..Now is not the time to provoke Iran, but rather to tend to Syria’s troubles before it is too late – for example, by publicly offering Assad a way out of the country that will safeguard the minority Alawite community if he is toppled or forced to flee. If the Syria situation is ignored, its spillover may inadvertently provoke Israeli or Iranian action, inciting a regional war and a global depression.

Amnesty International’s latest report ‘I wanted to die’: Syria’s torture survivors speak out

Iraq Lets Iran Fly Arms to Syria Despite U.S. Protests
By: Kristina Wong | The Washington Times

The Iraqi government has refused U.S. requests to stop Iranian cargo flights to Syria, despite being aware of credible intelligence that the planes are transporting up to 30 tons of weapons, according to a U.S. official.

Syria Marks Anniversary of Uprising Against Assad
By: Patrick J. McDonnell and Paul Richter | Los Angeles Times

A year after the revolt began, President Bashar Assad shows no sign of easing his grip on power. Rebels have no plans to back down, leaving Syria at an impasse.

Comments (900)

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1. Syrian Nationalist Party said:

“……The opposition will have to rebuild itself to be more Islamic, militant and sectarian in order to take on the Assad regime……

No, that is to destroy Syria and not take on the Assad regime. Assad can comfortably tolerate all that while doing ebay and Amazon shopping. Those promoting, financing and supporting this concept know wells that it is intended to destroy the country only. They could not be that ignorant.

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March 19th, 2012, 12:28 pm


2. ghufran said:

this is Iraq minus foreign occupation. The last time Arabs and Muslims mattered was 900 years ago, our contribution to civilization since then has been mostly marginal and often brutal and regressive.

on a more positive note,Syria has a better chance of getting out of this mess, it will not be quick but it will be costly, for now, until we decide to put our guns down, our fate will be decided by foreign nations and blood money.

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March 19th, 2012, 12:29 pm


3. Dawoud said:

Thanks Jeurgen for agreeing with my comment below, which I have just modified for the Arabic speakers.

Russia and Iran are both foreign and non-Arab. What happened to Bashar’s and Hasan’s claim that they oppose any foreign intervention in Syria.
On the other hand, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, etc. are ARAB countries and they should intervene to stop Bashar’s bloody massacres.
During 1958-61 Egypt and Syria were ONE country: The United Arab Republic.
The Syria Ba’athist regimes slogans are:
1) Hurriah or Freedom حريه: We know that Syria has no freedom and those who dare to express their opinion face Hamza al-Khateeb’s fate!

2) Wihda or Unity وحده. We know that the Ba’athist regime has divided Arabs, instead of uniting them. Hafez supported Iran against Iraq, the Arab. He only supported Kuwait in 1991 in order for the United States to allow him to control Lebanon and stop investigating Syria/Iran in the PAN AM 103 terrorist bombing!

3)Socialism or Ishtirakiyah اشتراكيه. Well, with Bashar’s cousin, the thief Rami Makhlouf-Mr.10 or 15 %-and Asma’s online shopping with looted/embezzled money, we know that Syria has no socialism. “All people are equal, but some are more equal than others.”

Urgent: Syria need Arab deterrent force قوات الردع العربيه
Didn’t the Arab League (AL) authorize Syria to send such a force to Lebanon in the 1970s. Unlike such force, however, this force will be made up of multi-Arab countries (particularly those recently freed) and include civil and human rights activists. The Arab World, including in its authoritarian parts, does have human rights experts. They are just awaiting a call of duty!

No Iran, NO Russia! Neither is an Arab country, and we don’t want a foreign intervention in Syria!

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March 19th, 2012, 12:30 pm


4. Dawoud said:

P.S., I am not just a copy and past comment writer here. I have original content here that is based my knowledge of Syria, the Arab World, and global politics in general. I don’t rely on Xinhuanet, RT, Press TV, NY Times, etc. at all!

I don’t believe in cut and paste blogs. I like SC because Mr. Landis, Ehsani, et al. are able to write their own articles/commentary.

I need to read native/original opinions/knowledge. No cut and paste “renting” and “borrowing!”

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March 19th, 2012, 12:36 pm


5. jad said:

“The opposition will have to rebuild itself to be more Islamic, militant and sectarian in order to take on the Assad regime.”

I’m shocked to say the least of such careless and dangerous writing.

The terrorists and the Wahhabi khaliji follower oppositions as well as any traitor in the opposition groups should thank JL for this ‘lovely’ well planned ‘road map’ he put.

Good bye Syria welcome Afghanistan, suggesting Dr. Landis will be the news headlines for today

We should refer Alzawahri to this post to learn something for his noble missions anywhere in the world.

I just notice that not a single news about Damascus or Aleppo terrorist attacks, a freaking Australian sheikh words are more important I guess…Are you kidding me!!!

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March 19th, 2012, 12:47 pm


6. Amir in Tel Aviv said:


If you read this: Please come back!

You were unjustly banned, and I understand your frustration and anger. But I miss you and the valuable news you bring regarding the revolution.

Just come back !!!

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March 19th, 2012, 12:55 pm


7. omen said:

an official placed inside the regime leaks plans and defects!

The documents were passed on to Al Jazeera by Abdel Majid Barakat, who until recently was one of the government’s most trusted officials.

The former Baath party member, who was in charge of collating information from across Syria at the secret joint crisis management cell in Damascus, has fled to Turkey.

“For months, the opposition had a mole at the heart of Assad’s security apparatus working in this joint co-ordination cell that co-ordinates the work of all the intelligence agencies across the country,“ Al Jazeera’s James Bays, reporting from Turkey, said.

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March 19th, 2012, 12:59 pm


8. Dawoud said:

On a recent episode of “Opposite Direction” الاتجاه المعاكس on Aljazeera, Faisal al-Qassem (the Druze Syrian host) repeated what his guest and Arabs say about Russia: Russia exports only two things to the Arab World, 1) Weapons that dictators use to kill their own people (e.g., al-Qadhafi’s Grad rockets on Misrata and Bashar’s T72 tanks in Homs, Der’ah, etc.) 2) Blond Russian Prostitutes.

I think that the Arab World needs neither of these two things! No Russian weapons, no Russian prostitutes!

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March 19th, 2012, 1:00 pm


9. jad said:

Check out the Jewish hypocrisy in #6, when someone writes that 2 of the French presidential candidates are Jewish couple comments ago, they immediately jump out of the blue shouting it’s ‘racist’ to mention the word ‘Jew’, but for someone to spread sectarianism, hatred and call to kill Alawites and Shia in every comment he writes he becomes the ‘hero’ and his banned become ‘unjustified’.
Who bye these lies! 7ello 3an 6….a ya!

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March 19th, 2012, 1:03 pm


10. omen said:

amir, why was revlon banned?

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March 19th, 2012, 1:06 pm


11. Aldendeshe said:

Yes REVLON come back, you promised me Mendo Soda a year ago. If ALCIDA Director Landis have his way, there will be no Mando Soda Factory in Homs soon. In Fact, there will be no Homs at all and they will all be cheering at that, but not those that will be paying $15 per gallon at the gas pump.

Basically, the way I see it, this is not about removing Assad, and not even about Homs, not even about Iran, this about the fact the the deceivers have run out of tricks, the bag of tricks is empty now and the deception will be uncovered to all to see soon. I am not talking, staying quiet and will keep my mouth shut.

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March 19th, 2012, 1:07 pm


12. Dawoud said:

9. JAD

I agree with you. I actually stopped reading his comments because an Israeli occupier has no credibility to comment on Syria and freedom!

انا واياك نختلف عن الوضع في سوريا ولكننا نتفق في ما يخص اسرائيل ونفاق هذا الشخص

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March 19th, 2012, 1:08 pm


14. omen said:

i’m not the big expert but syrians i’ve run across don’t want the country to turn into another saudi arabia.

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March 19th, 2012, 1:11 pm


15. ann said:

On Syria, French Draft Statement Supports Annan’s 6 Point Plan, Online by ICP


UNITED NATIONS, March 19 — In the UN Security Council Monday morning, France circulated a draft Presidential Statement on Syria, a copy of which Inner City Press is publishing below, and there was a discussion about “working methods of the Council,” including several countries denouncing leaks.

At the stakeout after the meeting, Council President for March Mark Lyall Grant said he would not described the draft statement. Inner City Press asked if there had been any discussion of transparency, and, for example, if Jean Marie Guehenno, the second of now four Frenchmen in a row atop UN Peacekeeping, is in fact an Annan deputy in Syria.



The Security Council expresses its gravest concern at the deteriorating situation in Syria which has resulted in a serious human rights crisis and a deplorable humanitarian situation. The Security Council expresses its profound regret at the death of many thousands of people in Syria.

The Security Council welcomes the appointment of Joint Special Envoy for the United Nations and the League of Arab States Kofi Annan, in accordance with General Assemblyresolution A/RES/66/253 of 16 February 2012 and relevant resolutions of the League of Arab States.

The Security Council expresses its full support for the Joint Special Envoy to bring an immediate end to all violence and human rights violations, secure humanitarian access, and facilitate a Syrian-led political transition to a democratic, plural political system, in which citizens are equal regardless of their affiliations or ethnicities or beliefs, including through commencing a comprehensive political dialogue between the Syrian government and the whole spectrum of the Syrian opposition.

To this aim, the Security Council fully supports the six-point plan outlined by the Joint Special Envoy to the Security Council on 10 March 2012 as part of his initial proposals to the Syrian authorities to:

a- commit to work with the Joint Special Envoy in an inclusive Syrian-led political dialogue to address the legitimate aspirations and concerns of the Syrian people;

b- commit to stop the fighting and achieve urgently an effective United Nations supervised cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties to protect civilians, by immediately ceasing troop movements towards and ending the use of heavy weapons in, population centres, and beginning pullback of military concentrations in and around population centres. As these actions are being taken on the ground, the Joint Special Envoy shall seek similar commitments from all other armed groups to cease violence, under an effective United Nations supervision mechanism;

c- ensure timely provision of humanitarian assistance to all areas affected by the fighting.

d- in close coordination with humanitarian organisations, intensify the pace and scale of release of arbitrarily detained persons, including especially vulnerable persons and those involved in peaceful protests, by providing without delay to humanitarian organisations a list of all locations in which such persons are being detained and immediately beginning to organise with humanitarian organisations access to such locations,;

e- ensure freedom of movement throughout the country for journalists;

f- ensure freedom of association and the right to demonstrate peacefully as legally guaranteed.

The Security Council calls upon the Syrian government and opposition to commit to work in good faith with the Joint Special Envoy towards a peaceful settlement of the Syrian crisis and to implement fully and immediately his initial six-point plan.


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March 19th, 2012, 1:14 pm


16. omen said:

if the snc were to play up sectarian divisions, that would kill off international support. and would discourage the other sects from breaking off their support for the regime.

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March 19th, 2012, 1:17 pm


17. Dawoud said:

P.S., Joshou Landis WILL be welcome to come visit, study, teach, tour, praise, criticize, etc. in a FREE Syria 🙂

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March 19th, 2012, 1:22 pm


18. Tara said:

[ Tara, Revlon as well as other previously-banned commentators have been contacted through email addresses provided at registration. Apologies and invitations to assume posting freely have been sent to more than one previously-active commentator.

These accounts may be ‘throw-away’ email addresses, and perhaps not be read by commentators. There are no current permanent bans on anyone except for those who were excluded before my volunteer work began here.]


I too want Revlon back.


Can you please write Revlon an email and tell him we want him back. I can read alfatiha for the martyrs of the revolutions but can’t fill in his shoes.

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March 19th, 2012, 1:25 pm


19. Aldendeshe said:

I sure hope that day will come when Landis (Landis of Arabia) will dare to visit, teach, tour, praise, criticize, etc. in Syria Islamic Republic. You will have as much freedom as in Saudi Arabia and Shia Republic Iran. He will be surprised to learn then that Syria has quadrupled its growth rate in 2 years after the revolution success ( Theoretically speaking only). I am not talking about economic rates here, I am talking about prisons occupancy. It can only be out done by the rate the Islamic revolution of Iran managed to achieve in the days after the Mahdi revolution overthrown the Nobility of the Pahlavi.

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March 19th, 2012, 1:41 pm


20. Dawoud said:


I am very confident that you will be wrong. It’s not either Bashar or the hell fire, or as his supporters say, “Bashar or no one!”

The devil will be more merciful and tolerant than Bathar’s (Bashar’s) murderous regime!

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March 19th, 2012, 1:44 pm


21. aron said:

J LANDIS – Is there any way that that Economist video can be embedded in the post? I can’t get it to work on their site.

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March 19th, 2012, 1:48 pm


22. omen said:

and undercover al jazeera reporter snuck into syria and covertly filmed. covered demonstrations and meet with various militia.

in one scene, members of one militia grumbled that another better armed militia (aided by a rich patron,) didn’t use their superior fire power to ward off a regime attack.

showed russian arms the rebels are still struggling with in being trained to use. one rebel reassured they have officers in the free army who know to use the weapons.

p.s. reporter said christians would wait outside the mosque and wait for services to be over to join them in the anti regime demonstrations.

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March 19th, 2012, 1:51 pm


23. ann said:

796. zoo said:

Anyone knows who are the five members of the UN team?

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March 19th, 2012, 1:54 pm


24. Alan said:

Beatings, sexual abuse, electric shock: US torture camps ‘still operative’

As Masks Fall, is ‘Murder, Inc.’ the real face of the US?’

Heavy firefights erupt in Damascus

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March 19th, 2012, 1:55 pm


25. Syrian Nationalist Party said:

….The future strategy of the Syrian opposition will have to follow the outlines of a classic “phase two” insurgency predicated on guerrilla warfare…..”

Landis still reading out of circa 1942′ ALCIADA published hard cover book by Maxwell Smart “The Guide to defeat Chaos for dummies”, he must really value this book he found at garage sale.

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March 19th, 2012, 2:01 pm


26. omen said:

ann, who is inner city press? i couldn’t find their credentials.

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March 19th, 2012, 2:04 pm


27. Dawoud said:

[greenArrow Dawoud, asking for a confirmation response email is possible, but defeats the aim of anonymity.

Many commentators deliberately choose a ‘temporary’ email or throw-away address as recommended by Dr Landis – better to keep an additional level of personal security in such blind addresses.

Thank you for the suggestion, but it would increase the amount of personal information handled and retained by SC. It would also add to moderator workload and possibilities of intrusion.

I prefer the maximum personal security and choice. SNK, Norman, Revlon, Darryl and others choose not to post, and I respect their choice, as I respect the choice of others (such as Aldendeshe) to take advantage of ban removal this month.


Moderator (23):

You should ask comment writers to verify their emails. If a new person posts here, you should send her/him confirmation email that they need to reply to before being allowed to post

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March 19th, 2012, 2:05 pm


28. Afram said:

“”we can see the wings of[[[angles]]]above Damascus. They will destroy Assad and his regime. Allah insists””

totally awesome…can they moondance?

To US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta:

Amrika is wasting Zillions of dollars on Stealth aircraft technology,as a tax payer I advise you to utilize the islamic angels new version fighters.

They Environmentally friendly also eco-friendly

latest model:F/ something

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March 19th, 2012, 2:11 pm


29. Syrian Nationalist Party said:

………..The Syrian revolutionaries are largely rural and young, just as were the Baathists in the 1960s. Wealthy and educated Sunnis fear the results of the present revolution could be the same for them as the results of the last revolution, when Syria’s rural poor took power……..”

In fact after experiencing the trauma and suffering so much loss from the Sunni Baathist Revolution and getting a bit of relief from the Corrective Movement of 70′ Assad, not only they are clamping hard on that relief, but fear letting go may suffer a much worse outcome and loss than the 63′ if this Islamo-Iranian revolution model to gain power. For them, it is not a Shia-Sunni revolution, it is the have and have not one. There were much to go around in Syria back in the 60’s and 70’s to make revolutionaries looks good to comrades by ceasing and sharing with them, robbing Tom to pay Paul. Now, Syria is dry bone, the revolutionaries should ever win ( not possible) there is nothing to share, but suffering and miseries.

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March 19th, 2012, 2:22 pm


30. Alan said:


Monday, March 19, 2012

As warmongers plot to destroy Syria, Syrians face only one choice

2. A broader Balkans-like campaign to help depose Assad. And by this, O’Hanlon of course means, a “Libyan-like campaign,” but would rather focus on the Balkans because it is further in hindsight and much more has been done to rewrite its historical outcome as “favorable.” Evoking the NATO-led genocidal killing spree that just unfolded in Libya, complete with the destruction of several major cities, would again remind potential defectors in Syria the cost of allowing their nation to fall into NATO hands.

That cost would be the plunging of Syria into perpetual division, instability, violence, and an uncertain political future that could see any defector a hero one minute, and at the wrong end of a rifle the next. There will be no power sharing, there will be no seats at the table for “defectors,” and as Libya has proven, it is very unlikely there will even be a table for seats to be placed around in the first place.

3. Creation of a safe zone for Syrian civilians: O’Hanlon indirectly admits that this would only be done as a means to eventually include one or both of the above mentioned options. This was already stated in “Genocidal Turkish Government Eyes Syria,” where it appears that NATO-member Turkey has been elected to create just such a zone from which increasing hostilities could be conducted.

What O’Hanlon is really saying…

What must be remembered is that O’Hanlon is not writing this for the consideration of the Pentagon. Instead, he is specifically writing this so that pundits and media outlets can repeat what is essentially extortion directed at Syria’s establishment. The purpose of this exercise is to prey on the fear of Assad’s political allies and those across Syria’s business community who have so far stood behind their nation’s government.

It is hoped that the West can bluff their way into folding opposition by presenting them with a difficult and costly military campaign verses the alternative of “power sharing.”

Unfortunately for O’Hanlon and his superiors, Syria has already seen the dead end “power sharing” led to in Libya, a dead end Libya will remain in well into the foreseeable future.

The rationale of businessmen capitulating to see UN sanctions relieved is also absurd considering the inevitable fracturing and perpetual destabilization that will wreck both the country and its economy should the current government fall.

Syria’s opposition is entirely dependent on foreign fighters, foreign arms, foreign funds, and an international consensus that allows such foreign resources to continue flowing to them unabated. Already cracks have begun to show, and now the West’s only chance is to psychologically break Assad’s power base through threats and perhaps even a limited military incursion. The catch is, should Syria remain united, order can be restored and nothing short of total war waged by the West could prevent it.


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March 19th, 2012, 2:26 pm


31. omen said:

36. Syrian Nationalist Party

why is it not possible?

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March 19th, 2012, 2:35 pm


32. SC Moderation said:

I urge commentators to consider the spirit of the rules against ‘group’ designations. We do not encourage assigning criminality to national/ethnic group members; badgering or harrying commentators to personally answer for national/state action is discouraged.

Earlier accusatory exchanges that tasked a particular commentator with national crimes and policies were deleted. Similar exchanges will also be deleted.

Marking an individual with responsibility for group or national actions is needlessly provocative and disruptive of civil discussion. Please pull back from provocations and hasty responses on “national” issues. Let us not apply the crimes or policies of a single nation past or present to present commentators.

– deleted comments are kept and can be retrieved and reposted. If any commentator feels they have been edited unfairly, please address moderation directly.


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March 19th, 2012, 2:44 pm


33. Syrialover said:

(re-posted, from tail end of last forum)

My comment: A smoking gun in Bashar’s hand? Stand by for the rush of scorn and outrage from the anti-Aljazeera brigade. But we’ll see. These will have been under the microscope of international intelligence experts well before this report.


Papers prepared for President Assad by intelligence and security chiefs throw light on his strategy to quell protests.


The files provide an insight into President Bashar al-Assad’s strategy to suppress anti-government protests, including the lengths the government went to for protecting its strongholds.


One leaked paper spelled out clear orders to top officials to give financial and moral support to Assad’s supporters in Aleppo, the second major city.

The documents were passed on to Al Jazeera by Abdel Majid Barakat, who until recently was one of the government’s most trusted officials.

The former Baath party member, who was in charge of collating information from across Syria at the secret joint crisis management cell in Damascus, has fled to Turkey.

“For months, the opposition had a mole at the heart of Assad’s security apparatus working in this joint co-ordination cell that co-ordinates the work of all the intelligence agencies across the country,“ Al Jazeera’s James Bays, reporting from Turkey, said.

“This man was leaking information to the opposition. Finally he was compromised and realised that he had to get out of Syria to save his own life. As he left the country he took with him some of Syria’s most secret documents.”

Every evening at 7:00 pm Damascus time, there is a meeting of all the intelligence and security chiefs looking back at what happened across the country during the day, making their plans, making their orders for the next day,” our correspondent said.

“These orders then go to the office of the president the next morning and he himself signs all the orders, the final go ahead,“ he added.

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March 19th, 2012, 2:48 pm


34. mjabali said:

Mr. Jad:

Why we are at a dead end road in Syria right now?

1- The religious aspect is killing the legitimate quest of Syrians for real change.

2- Also, what kills any real change is the immaturity and lack of real political education of many ex pats Syrians who are hell bent on revenge from al-Assad and every Alawi to that matter. You can see it and feel it. This is not going to work especially with the current power and alliances of al-Assad. You need dialogue to solve things.

3- Speaking of dialogue: No one in the opposition is speaking of it and the outside forces are not doing anything instrumental to force people to the negotiation table.

4- There is no political and activist education in Syria, the Baath killed it among Syrians, which leaves room for unorganized political entities like the competing immature list that can not unite even with a common cause like this one.

5- Way too many in the opposition think they are going to rule the future Syria: This mentality is evident and supported by a long history of fights about who is who. Let the Syrians vote for their right representatives. So far we saw rookie wannabe politicians.

6- There is no real reporting by real experts about Syria. We have some Middle Eastern experts but no Syria specialists (Like Van Dam and Landis,) here your quest for top notch news is a little asking too much from this blog even with Landis at the helm. He has his work and school and this blog needs help if it is going to be a news source. WE also have those journalists who sneaked and reported but it was of course from one side. You need balanced reporting from both sides by the same source. Until then you got to dig in and read between the lines to know the truth. The lack of real information about Syria is an important factor for this stalemate.

7- So far and after a year, still there is no real opposition political parties in Syria proper. You need to force political change from within.

8- The Armed opposition is strong and is getting outside help and encouragement. al-Assad and his army are strong too. Battles are going to rage for a while.

9- As you saw in the last week the wave of car bombs is going to increase.

10- All of the above reasons say one thing: we reached a dead end right now and the only thing the warring parties are going to do is something they are all good at: more violence.


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March 19th, 2012, 2:51 pm


35. omen said:

alan, i share in your criticism of US imperialism. i’ve made them myself. but when an aggrieved people of a country under seige call out to the international community and call for intervention, that isn’t imperialism. this isn’t like iraq.

how can you turn a blind eye and deaf ear to people calling for help?

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March 19th, 2012, 2:52 pm


36. omen said:

syrialover @ 2:48

this leak will increase assad’s panic and paranoia. he’ll feel like he cannot trust his inner circle. recriminations will spook remaining loyalists and cause more defections!

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March 19th, 2012, 3:00 pm


37. Aldendeshe said:

“………Islamic martyrdom operations, and all the aspects of Middle Eastern insurgency that we have seen used so effectively against occupation forces in the recent past, whether used by Palestinians, Afghans or Iraqis….”

You mean follow the ways of all the losers that accomplished “NIL” in decades of suicides and martyrdoms, just became stuffing for the world largest atrocious prison camps of ALCIDA, Israel and those ran Iran Shia Armies.

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March 19th, 2012, 3:02 pm


38. omen said:

mjabali @ 2:51

Why we are at a dead end road in Syria right now? […]
2- Also, what kills any real change is the immaturity and lack of real political education of many ex pats Syrians who are hell bent on revenge from al-Assad and every Alawi to that matter.

that’s not true. syrians i run across are calling for unity and are against sectarianism. they are mindful of the mess in iraq and lessons learned from lebanon.

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March 19th, 2012, 3:08 pm


39. Tara said:


I read your responses to me and to others on the previous thread. I am so impressed with the level of sensitivity, fairness, and humbleness you are displaying. You are the best moderator ever. I can’t personally do a better job.

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March 19th, 2012, 3:09 pm


40. majedkhaldoun said:


I Think that we are now in a stage I call Raw Bands stage, in this stage there is no one leader, but rather several leaders, they all compete they are against each other, they are composed of people who are nervous, worried, concerned about their safety, they found themselves forced to hold on to someone who has claimed leadership, they look for him as someone they can seek help from, he will give them sense of security.

This stage is characterized by chaos,lawlesness, the law is the law of each band leader, many incidences of violences will ocur, robbing intimidations,and fear is planted in the hearts of people, as for the regime they will go through attrition, and many will question the wisdom of their superiors orders, so this stage is stage of chaos for both the regime and the people.

Raw bands they do not organize, they never united, they compete, and sometimes they fight each other, however when one raw band leader emerge as strong, and his achievements seems impressive, people start to abandone their small leader and join the stronger one.

Bengazi in Syria is possible in area where the regime is weakest, we know that the regime is fighting with loyal troops, mostly fourth brigade, and republican guards, and loyal generals from the sect loyal to Assad, they know very well their most important job is to defend the capital, Damascus, so they need to stay close to Damascus, far away areas are defended weakly and there where Bengazi could developed.

Islamization of the revolution is not true, Syrian are not religious as Egyptians or Libyans, MB in Syria is rather weak party.

In any revolution there is Mr X, he is speaker, but he is not strong nor he is a leader, he is transitional figure, the leader comes from the fighting people, Ghalioun is Mr. X.

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March 19th, 2012, 3:09 pm


41. Observer said:

I would add the following item to the blog and this is from our colleague Juan Cole on Informed comment

The rumor mill has it that the attack in Mezzeh was after Asef and they missed him but managed to kill about 80 members of the regime’s security forces.

Reports of an antiterror unit being offloaded in Tartus by the Russians supposedly to prepare for the evacuation of Russian citizens.
This is the same news of “Jordanian denial” that arms are coming into Syria.

This is a response to the AL countries arming the rebels I guess.

Melik Kaylan had a very good article today in the WSJ that I advise the manager of this blog to add about the Russian strategy of supporting Iran and by extension Syria and that is to preserve its hold on the Silk Road Republics who have huge gas and oil fields but are dependent on Russian pipelines for export and therefore if Iran were to go out of the Russian orbit we will have a gas pipeline that is not subject to Russian control. It will spell the final nail in the coffin of Russia as a superpower. This is the reason why there is such strong support for the axis Iran Syria for without Syria Iran will be further isolated and diminished.

This is the same vein as to why Iran has supported Islamic Jihad in Gaza as Hamas’ alliance is in doubt. It needs to keep allies close to it in case Syria falls off the cliff as it surely will.

On a continued note of my previous post, it seems that the regional players have concluded that the regime is beyond redemption; therefore the move is going to be to allow for an implosion of the country and limit the damage of this implosion from spilling into a regional conflict.

Unfortunately the regime is a good pyromaniac and arsonist and will probably stir up Sunni-Shia trouble and Kurdish-Turkish ones to threaten the kind of explosion rather than an implosion.

Despite the recent so called successes of destroying a village to save it, we are seeing an increased radicalization of the resistance. We are also seeing desperate attempts to preserve the image of the regime leadership as the email fiasco has damaged its internal cohesion deeply.

It is the regime supporters and the adoring fans and the paid supporters that will find it ever more difficult unless they have incredible power of self delusion to continue to support such a character and such a buffoon.

If the wife is privy to receiving the news about the emails of her hubby, then I would presume that either she knows and does not care, or she knows and dare not say a word, or does not know and will throw a fit, or does not know and does not dare throw fit. In any case, this kind of bad news usually results in compulsive behavior hence the overweight eat more to ease the stress and others just go on shopping.

Please try to post the WSJ article it is illuminating as to the role of Russia in Syria and finally explains well the attachment of Putin to the regime.

In this post I have only made observations and have not taken a stand but it is clear that the regime is not able to have a decisive victory, BA was a pyrrhic victory.


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March 19th, 2012, 3:16 pm


42. Syrialover said:

Observer (#40) thanks for the lead on that excellent article about Russia’s real stake in supporting Syria.

It’s quite a head clearer and explains a lot.

I found the link:

Russia’s Stake in Syria and Iran
If Tehran returns to a pro-Western orientation, Moscow’s stranglehold on the central Asian republics will be over..


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March 19th, 2012, 3:32 pm


43. jad said:

Syria’s conflict has significance far beyond its borders

With Syria a kind of geopolitical chessboard on which interests great and small play for their advantage, the prospect of Mideast instability is high.

By Patrick J. McDonnell, Los Angeles Times

Reporting from Beirut— The raging conflict in Syria that has left thousands dead and stymied all international peace entreaties is not just about the fate of President Bashar Assad.

Rather, the prospect for regional power shifts, proxy wars and spreading instability — along with a reprise of Cold War-style great-power animosities — goes far beyond Syria’s borders.

That is the stern warning from international experts including former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who is now engaged in what many view as a last-chance bid to avert all-out civil war in Syria, long a bastion of police state stability in the heart of the turbulent Middle East.

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March 19th, 2012, 3:38 pm


44. jad said:

Russia and the Red Cross, asking both sides for an immediate cease fire:

روسيا والصليب الأحمر تدعوان الحكومة والمعارضة المسلحة في سورية إلى فرض هدنة إنسانية يومية

أعلنت الخارجية الروسية أن روسيا والصليب الأحمر تدعوان الحكومة السورية والمعارضة إلى الموافقة على هدنة إنسانية يومية لإيصال المساعدات إلى المدنيين المتضررين من النزاع.

وأشار البيان الصادر يوم 19 مارس/آذار حول نتائج لقاء وزير الخارجية الروسي سيرغي لافروف ورئيس لجنة الصليب الأحمر جاكوب كيلينبرغر إلى أن الطرفين أعربا عن ثقتهما في أن “الأولوية في المرحلة الراهنة يجب أن تكون لتقديم المساعدات الإنسانية لجميع من يحتاج إليها من السوريين”.

ودعا الطرفان الحكومة السورية وتنظيمات المعارضة المسلحة إلى “الموافقة على فرض هدنة إنسانية يومية من أجل السماح للصليب الأحمر وجمعية الهلال الأحمر السورية بالوصول إلى الجرحى، وغيرهم من المدنيين المحتاجين إلى المساعدة أو الإجلاء، إضافة إلى تقديم ضمانات الحماية للأطباء الذين يقدمون هذه المساعدات”.

وأكد لافروف ضرورة السماح للممثلين عن الصليب الأحمر بالوصول إلى جميع المعتقلين بسبب مشاركتهم في تظاهرات الاحتجاج.


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March 19th, 2012, 3:41 pm


45. Uzair8 said:

If Bashar Assad defected today the regime would accuse him of being a revolutionary.

“…but when Landis wrote during the first weeks of the Syrian uprising of 2011 that there was “no soft landing”[3] for the Syria regime and that it was “deeply sectarian”[4], Ambassador Moustapha cut off further contact with him on the grounds that he was a “revolutionary.”


I was giving some background regarding SC elsewhere hence I came across this info.

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March 19th, 2012, 3:42 pm


46. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

[green arrow Amir, I suspended all bans the first week in March, after thinking hard about appeals from such as Tara and Jad and Hamster and others. I regret every edit I perform here, and much prefer a complete self-moderation. I aim for the widest possible range of opinion with the lightest possible curbs on hateful language. I admit to over-sensitivity to personally-directed scorn or worse. I believe it degrades the ground of discussion and makes meaningful exchanges more difficult.

I appreciate the criticism, and thank you for the opportunity to explain sensitivities. I thank you and all for posting freely while respecting opposing argument.



I have no idea. The moderator here lately is over sensitive, and is embarked on a casual banning spree. Revlon was just the occasional victim.

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March 19th, 2012, 3:46 pm


47. omen said:

while the brass are alawites, is it true most of the army are conscripted sunnis?

isn’t a conscripted army bound to be less loyal?

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March 19th, 2012, 3:47 pm


48. Alan said:

With each additional adventure from the western players across Syria Russia will seriously surprise with persistence to protect the interests! It is not necessary to repeat Georgia!

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March 19th, 2012, 3:50 pm


49. Uzair8 said:

I have to say I admire the approach of the moderator. It is fair and allowing the comments to flow. Knowing this blog I wouldn’t have thought that was an easy thing to do.

We should all try to make the moderator’s job easier.

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March 19th, 2012, 3:54 pm


50. Son of Damascus said:


“while the brass are alawites, is it true most of the army are conscripted sunnis?

isn’t a conscripted army bound to be less loyal?”

Yes most of the conscripts are Sunni, and most defections so far occurred from the conscripts ranks with few from the elite units.

This is why the regime tries its best not to rely on conscripts, and have been using their elite units and the paramilitary forces (Shabihha) in most cases of suppression.

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March 19th, 2012, 4:00 pm


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