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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501. Tara said:


How can you be a human being and support the regime. This is rather the question.

There is no relationship between being Sunni and being anti regime. These two status are not exchangeable. Fawaz is Not non-believer. I know this as a fact. Asma as far as I know was praying 5 times a day when she married Bashar. Her family background is conservative Sunni. Did that make her inclined to defend her people? As long as she got her shoes and fine jewelry, the status, and the power, who cares about the lives of others? Wealth, social status, and power corrupt. Being religious and practicing rituals do not make you corruption-proof. Sometimes it is the exact opposite. You become corrupt and self-righteous… A weird combination.

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March 21st, 2012, 6:48 pm


502. Halabi said:

So it’s Ibn Taymiyah. Now I understand why we need to support another 40 years of a sectarian, racist government that kills its own citizens and steals the country’s wealth. Because the Sunnis will unleash such evil on Alawites and other minorities and finish the job they have been reluctant to do for the past five centuries.

One year ago, when menhebaks were already calling the people of Daraa armed gangs (check SC and SANA), the free Syrian people rejected all the labels and decided to follow the example of Arabs who took to the streets in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Morocco and parts of Saudi Arabia. Assad and his thugs, who only know how to steal and kill, went out to crush the rebellion and rushed to the airways to say
خلصت وسورية بخير

One year later and there is no end in sight, just more killing of innocent civilians, from both sides but the vast majority of the dead and injured are revolutionaries, and the continuation of a sick propaganda campaign that Assad and his soldiers are conducting targeted shelling of terrorists in civilian neighborhoods. And the menhebak marches on.

As for the Kurdish demonstrations in Turkey, I support it 100% and have always condemned the sectarian Assad regime for denying the Syrian Kurds their full rights as well as Turkey’s discrimination against the Kurds. But to compare the turnout in a country that doesn’t massacre peaceful protesters on a regular basis is intellectually dishonest. Just the fact that the Kurds can gather in such numbers in Turkey disproves that the Turks are currently committing an indiscriminate genocide of the Kurds, as menhebaks believe – by comparison, when the NCC, the regime’s favorite opposition group, took to the streets last week they were beaten and arrested.

To my Kurdish brothers and sisters: Newroza we piroz be.

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March 21st, 2012, 7:01 pm


503. Tara said:

80 killed in Syria by Bashar and Asma al Assad on Tuesday. Alfatiha upon their souls.

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March 21st, 2012, 7:11 pm


504. omen said:

Son of Damascus @ 6:14 pm

damn, now i feel bad.

/grits teeth

sorry, jad.

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March 21st, 2012, 7:12 pm


505. Syrialover said:

# 495. Khalid Tlass

Dear friend, Khalid, I don’t oppose you, but I ask you to join me in trying to dial down the temperature and see this as the human situation it is.

1. Not all the Alawites have their snouts in the trough (while some fatbellied Sunnis, Christians and others are guzzling there too). There is real poverty, real intellectual political dissension, real anti-sectarianism, real wish to be included and tolerance in their population like there is in the Syrian population as a whole. They should not be made guilty by enthic association – that is not the true Syrian way.

2. Talk of creating separate relgious-based areas is talk of chopping up Syria into unviable economic units, low tolerance zones, backsliding development and all the rest. That is failure and would mean a very traumatic change for all Syrians.

2. Any talk of population origins and genes is being sorted out by new DNA technology. It is finding a very surprising amount of homogeneity and long-long-term stability in the population mix of areas even where everyone expected the opposite. I suspect in Syria this is going to prove even more so than most other parts of the world.

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March 21st, 2012, 7:16 pm


506. Halabi said:

Khalid Tlass is not Syrian. Very few Syrians on this blog use his sectarian language, which is apparently the reason why the revolution is weak according to Dr. Landis. I reject it and I believe the majority of Syrians reject it.

There is nothing inside of an Alawite that makes him a killer, just like not all Sunnis are willing to blow themselves up for Bin Laden if they get a chance. The crisis in Syria is more complex, with the regime drawing on multiple sects/social classes to stay in power and the opposition, which is trying to dislodge them with a mixture of peaceful and violent means, sometimes feeds on the sectarian underpinnings of society.

This constant bickering is exhausting and solves nothing. Khalid, do you know that most of the sheikhs in Syria are silent or with the regime? Not just the famous ones, but most imams in neighborhood mosques and so-called “3ulema” at the teaching institutions. Are they all infidels? I think they are, but I am an atheist so I can’t really judge.

All these clerics (and priests) have remained silent for decades as the country was systematically pillaged, when people of all faiths were thrown in jail for decades due to their political beliefs. Where was Khalid Tlass then?

The fall of Assad doesn’t mean the rise of the Ummah or the annihilation of Alawites. As for your beloved Salafists, I promise that in a free Syria, where we can publish what we want, there will be enough opposition to them to hold them in check. Of course they have the right to live and vote, rights that I’m willing to die to defend, but they won’t be able to impose their way of life on the country.

Of course this all depends on how much longer Assad supporters allow this conflict to go on. The longer it takes the more radical the opposition becomes. And then the Khalid Tlasses of the world will take power. At least there will be less violence – history has shown that Assad’s soldiers have killed far more people then Salafists and Al Qaeda combined. Wake up menhebaks, your god has killed more people than Bin Laden.

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March 21st, 2012, 7:34 pm


507. irritated said:

Khaled Tlass

This is the third time I am asking you this question, are you avoiding to answer? If you don’t want to reply, just tell me so.

I am more specific since you claim to be a practising sunni:

What are the minimum actions and beliefs expected from a Sunni moslem?

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March 21st, 2012, 7:36 pm


508. irritated said:

#503 Halabi

The Syrian army was in Lebanon for 25 years. While the Lebanese christian militias ( Geagea and Cie) perpetrated horrible massacres in Sabra and Chatila, the Syrian army was never involved or accused of massacre on families like the ones we have seen in Homs and Karm al Zeytun, raping and slitting throats of children.

These massacres have only one signature: Islamist extremists.

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March 21st, 2012, 7:43 pm


509. omen said:

re “Alawites trapped in existential struggle” by Roula Khalaf

is it true when assad was bombing the rebel neighborhoods, some of the sunnis escaped to alawite neighborhoods next door? where, presumably, they found shelter.

they should make youtube videos telling that story.

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March 21st, 2012, 7:45 pm


510. Aldendeshe said:

Ask Tlass about the Talmud, he will reply right away, Sunni Islam, he would have to Google first. How could a Sunni Moslem from Syria beg for Independent Alawites State or separation of Syria along sectarian lines as he does.

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March 21st, 2012, 7:49 pm


511. Ghufran said:

This is the six points UN declaration:

1- الالتزام بالعمل مع المبعوث في اطار عملية سياسية جامعة بقيادة سورية لمعالجة التطلعات المشروعة للشعب السوري وشواغله، والالتزام، لهذه الغاية، بتعيين محاور تخول له كل الصلاحيات عندما يدعوه المبعوث الى القيام بذلك.
2- الالتزام بوقف القتال والتوصل الفعلي على وجه السرعة وتحت اشراف الامم المتحدة الى وقف كافة الاطراف للعنف المسلح بكافة اشكاله لحماية المدنيين واحلال الاستقرار في البلاد.
ولهذه الغاية، ينبغي ان تقوم الحكومة السورية بالوقف الفوري لتحركات الجنود نحو المراكز السكنية وانهاء استخدام الاسلحة الثقيلة فيها، والشروع في سحب الحشود العسكرية من المراكز السكنية وحولها.
وفي الوقت الذي يجري فيه اتخاذ هذه الاجراءات في الميدان، على سوريا ان تعمل مع المبعوث من اجل ان تقوم جميع الاطراف بالوقف المستمر للعنف المسلح بجميع اشكاله تحت الاشراف الفعلي لآلية تابعة للامم المتحدة.
وسيسعى المبعوث الى الحصول على التزامات مماثلة من المعارضة وجميع العناصر ذات الصلة لوقف القتال والعمل معه لكي تقوم جميع الاطراف بالوقف المستمر للعنف المسلح بجميع اشكاله تحت الاشراف الفعلي لالية تابعة للامم المتحدة؛
3- ضمان تقديم المساعدة الانسانية في حينها لجميع المناطق المتضررة من القتال ولهذه الغاية اتخاذ خطوات فورية تتمثل في قبول وتنفيذ هدنة يومية مدتها ساعتان لتقديم المساعدة الانسانية وتنسيق الوقت المحدد لهذه الهدنة اليومية وطرائقها من خلال آلية فعالة بما في ذلك على المستوى المحلي.
4- تكثيف وتيرة الافراج عن المحتجزين تعسفا بما في ذلك الفئات المستضعفة من السكان والاشخاص المشاركون في احتجاجات سلمية وتوسيع نطاق ذلك الافراج وتزويد المنظمات الانسانية دون تاخير بقائمة تتضمن كافة الاماكن التي يحتجز فيها هؤلاء الاشخاص والشروع فورا في تنظيم سبل الوصول الى تلك الاماكن والاستجابة الفورية عن طريق
القنوات المناسبة لكل طلبات الحصول على المعلومات المتعلقة بهؤلاء الاشخاص وسبل الوصول اليهم والافراج عنهم.
5- ضمان حرية تنقل الصحافيين في كافة ارجاء البلد وعدم اتباع سياسة تمييزية في منحهم التاشيرات.
6- ضمان حرية تكوين الجمعيات والحق في التظاهر السلمي المضمونين قانونا.
Comment: this is NOT a copy of the AL plan,it is a recognition by ALL major governments that the old plan which excluded the regime from dialogue is no longer endorsed by the US and the EU. Notice the absence of any call for Bashar to step down.
Syrians will either talk and compromise or continue to kill each other and end up living in small dysfunctional emirates.

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March 21st, 2012, 7:52 pm


512. Mawal95 said:

As linked at #483:

“The regime’s lack of legitimacy poses further dangers. Although Assad is the heart of the problem, without a clear successor his removal could lead to further fracturing within Syria. Any successor from his same clique would have no more legitimacy than he did.”

That was another clueless commentator in Washington for you. The fundamental problem with such commentators is that they do not have the wherewithal to look into the crucial question of the extent to which the people of Syria bestow legitimacy to the Assad regime. They have no convincing evidence from Syria about “lack of legitimacy”; they don’t even try to present any. All my hard evidence convinces me the regime is 100% legitimate in Syria. It does not have a legitimacy problem; it has a violent insurgency problem from illegitimate rebels. As a simple proof of its legitimacy, it is clear that the regime’s party is going to be the winner in Syria’s parliamentary elections on 7 May 2012. Those will be free and fair elections (with religious and tribal parties banned).

Several times before on this board I have given links to many videos from music concerts in Syria dating from years prior to 2011 which I uphold as good evidence that the legitimacy of the regime runs deep. In those concert videos, the audience is gathered for music and dining, and not for politics, but the singer says words in support of Assad, and that is the evidence that the support for the regime runs deep in the society. Or at least in the more-liberal, urban population anyway; the religiously conservative and rural populations are underrepresented in such audiences. Here are three more examples I incidentally came across while browsing music at Youtube within the past few days. These come from three different years and so have different audiences, although it’s the same singer in each case (Nirmin Ibrahim):

Pro-Bashar anno 2004: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=P8BSboE9pE4#t=448s
Pro-Bashar circa anno 2005: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=wcHVPBeM3ys#t=410s
Pro-Bashar anno 2008: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=f-7yccJKpGU#t=225s

PS: Commentator “Halabi” doesn’t sound like any Syrian I know. So I think he’s not a Syrian. Either that or he’s been gone from Syria for a very long time.

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March 21st, 2012, 7:57 pm


513. omen said:

irritated: These massacres have only one signature

that’s a bigoted statement.

US troops have slaughtered children in cold blood. are US troops islamic extremists?

assad’s bombs killed those children. assad’s jails employ rape as a tool of torture. by your logic, assad is an “islamic extremist”!

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March 21st, 2012, 8:03 pm


514. Son of Damascus said:


“the Syrian army was never involved or accused of massacre on families like the ones we have seen in Homs and Karm al Zeytun, raping and slitting throats of children”

Then what was Hama circa ’82, another cleanup and disinfection that involved the death of over 10,000 Syrians?

Talk about revisionist history eh!

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March 21st, 2012, 8:11 pm


515. Halabi said:

I know menhebaks only watch Addunia and read Syria Truth, and only mention deaths that they think are committed by the opposition (I say think because murders haven’t been investigated in Assad’s Syria since March 18, 2011), but here are some clips of the suffering in Syria.

Who is being buried in this mass grave? Who killed them? Why aren’t the crimes being investigated? Are they all militants? I don’t know, and the media and authorities in the country aren’t telling us.

Homs, a Christian man’s house is damaged. He freely talks to Omar Tellawi who the Assad regime believes is the worst Sunni killer in the world. http://youtu.be/zpmTpLabJgI

And now something less depressing. Syrian Kurds celebrating freedom. Assad thought he could silence them after killing Mishaal Temmo and paying lip service to their long neglected struggle, but they know better. http://youtu.be/lbxUM17GnRo

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March 21st, 2012, 8:11 pm


516. Jerusalem said:

ابتلاع فيل صار أسهل من ابتلاع بيانات المعارضة السورية

هذا هو حالنا مع مانسمع من تحليلات الثورجيين عن انتصاراتهم وعن تسارع وتيرة انهيار النظام السوري بعد كل هذه الهزائم الأخلاقية والسياسية والعسكرية والاقليمية والدولية التي حصدتها الثورة في زمن قياسي .. وربما كان من حسن حظ ألبرت اينشتاين (واضع نظرية النسبية) أنه توفي قبل أن تظهر الثورة السورية والا لاستولت الثورة على انجازه العلمي وقالت ان اينشتاين انضم الى الثورة السورية لأنه اكتشف أن هناك ماهو أسرع من الضوء ..ألا وهو سقوط النظام السوري الذي وعدتنا الثورة بسقوطه منذ 365 يوما على أنه واقع لامحالة في اليوم التالي .. ومن حسن حظ اسحاق نيوتن (مكتشف قانون الجاذبية) أن سقطت تفاحة على رأسه بفعل الجاذبية الأرضية قبل ظهور الثورة السورية .. بل ومن حسن حظه أنه رحل قبل ظهور محطة الجزيرة الفضائية والا لكانت قناة الجزيرة الفضائية قد قالت ان ماسقط على رأس نيوتن هو النظام السوري ..وربما الرئيس بشار الأسد نفسه ..

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March 21st, 2012, 8:14 pm


517. Tara said:

Never confuse a love of Louboutins with western values.   

Asma Assad’s modern style led people to think she was not a typical dictator’s wife. How wrong they were


Can Louboutins be recycled? And if so, via which bin? Not long ago, of course, any charity shop would have fallen upon them. But what woman, however desperate for chic, would now want to advertise, along with Louboutin’s ever more vulgar red soles, a shared, “as worn by” aesthetic with Asma al-Assad, wife of the Syrian opthamologist-turned-assassin?
.. While Mrs Assad hinted at a democratic passion simply by wearing the same platforms as Victoria Beckham, Angelina Jolie and Carla Bruni, Mr Louboutin responded with sympathy for Syrian materials and culture. Asma was spotted with “a Syrian silk Louboutin tote”. Louboutin went one better with a Syrian house, in Aleppo. “Darling,” he told a US interviewer, “I am totally broke, but it was love at first sight”.
Happily for Mr Louboutin’s post-Arab Spring weekend breaks, the town is reported to be so loyal to the Assads that rebels in Damascus have reportedly held up signs reading: “Aleppo wouldn’t rise even if it took Viagra.”
Though it’s possible Louboutin executives are celebrating this uncovenanted global publicity, so recent that the relevant trotters must still be in stock, it is easier to imagine them scouring the literature on brand damage limitation for appropriate strategies when a luxe name becomes aspirational only to would-be torturers.

Read more…

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March 21st, 2012, 8:19 pm


518. omen said:

irritated, speaking of the civil war in

The [rightwing] Phalange party, which was founded in 1936 by Gemayel’s father, Pierre, fought heavily on the Christian side during Lebanon’s 1975-90 civil war. Militias linked to the party carried out the notorious massacres of Palestinians in the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps in 1982.

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March 21st, 2012, 8:20 pm


519. ann said:

‘West to launch package war in Middle East’ – 21 March, 2012


The West will launch a package war against Iran, Syria and Hezbollah as soon as they decide what to do with the Iranian nuclear program, Abdel Bari Atwan, editor-in-chief of a London-based Arabic newspaper told RT in an interview.

Atwan also believes the West is not intervening in Syria because they are waiting to decide whether they are going to bomb Iran or not.

The editor of Al Quds al Arabi newspaper noted: “If they have decided to bomb Iran I think they will bomb Iran and Syria and Hezbollah. I think they will launch a package war.”

“I believe the war will take place, the question is when? The Israeli and the Americans do agree there will be a war. But the difference is about the timing of this war. It could be either before the American presidential election or after it. The Israeli want it before the election, the American will like to wait until they finish this election,” he said.

Atwan explained that if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad falls it would be easier for the West to intervene in Iran, as it would mean the West had managed to secure the front against Israel.

“They could neutralize tens of thousands of Syrian missiles and war planes, which could participate in any war against Iran, but in order to that you have to invade in Syria which is a very complicated and costly adventure.”


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March 21st, 2012, 8:20 pm


520. Mawal95 said:

The bogusly named “Halabi” said at #512 “Assad thought he could silence them after killing Mishaal Temmo.” It is a scurrilous falsehood that the murderers of Mishaal Tammo were agents of the regime. See e.g. http://www.sana.sy/eng/21/2011/10/09/374306.htm . I will not be reading any posts by “Halabi” in future, if I return to this dungeon of iniquity again.

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March 21st, 2012, 8:21 pm


521. omen said:

makes me sick to say it but, yes, US christian troops have raped and killed children.

no religion, no ethnicity, no nationality is exempt from committing such atrocities.

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March 21st, 2012, 8:27 pm


522. Tara said:

Mishaal Tammo was indeed killed by the ophthalmologist-turned-assassin. Just like 7,0000 other Syrian. It is a common knowledge.
Bye Bye.

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March 21st, 2012, 8:30 pm


523. irritated said:

#511 SOD

You are conveniently mixing up different cases and circumstances to blur the reality.
I never read about US slitting the throat of children and whatever acts of killing families by western soldiers were exceptional and usually by mentally deranged soldiers.
The bombing of Hama was a war with heavy weapons to stop terrorists that were hiding among the civilians, like they did in Bab Amr. It was not directed to civilians and it never involved raping and slitting the throats of whole families in cold blood, face to face.
Rape has been used in torture everywhere, Syrians are no exception but this does not qualify as a cold blood massacre.
Many young Lebanese soldiers had their throat slit while sleeping by Islamists and that started the months long conflict in the Palestinian camp a few years ago. The pilots of the planes in 9/11 had their throat slit.
It seems to be a trademark of Islamists terrorists, their signature.

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March 21st, 2012, 8:32 pm


524. Halabi said:

Thanks Mawal95 – I’m glad I don’t sound like people you know. The reason for that is because in your mind all Syrians see Bashar Al Assad as the democratically elected eternal leader of the country. I never did and never will.

I imagine you spend lots of time debating people’s patriotism and identity. Some of them must cause you some headaches. Rifaat Al Assad is a Syrian, the brother of Hafez, a former vice president and the butcher of Hama. You view him as a traitor. Same with Khaddam.

Remember, your lord chose these men and gave them incredible power and wealth and allowed them to live out their days in luxury. That alone makes the Assad’s unfit for office.

Of course you can fix all of that with some conspiracies and other intrigue. Just remember: خلصت

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March 21st, 2012, 8:37 pm


525. CHRIS said:


so how many of the 7000 were soldiers?O

OBAMA and Western Countries plotting against syria are the real murderers.

Journos are also to blame.

I just looked at the statistcs for assylum seekers in australia for the past few years, seems suprising syria did not make the top 20! if the country has been soo opressed as the opposition and west claim why have they never tried to escape?

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March 21st, 2012, 8:39 pm


527. Son of Damascus said:


“The bombing of Hama was a war with heavy weapons to stop terrorists that were hiding among the civilians”

Lies, pure distasteful lies. At the very least 10,000 killed and you still claim civilians were not targeted ?!

Kilshi bi kheir Irritated, keep believing.


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March 21st, 2012, 8:42 pm


528. irritated said:

#507 Aldendeshe

“How could a Sunni Moslem from Syria beg for Independent Alawites State or separation of Syria along sectarian lines as he does.”

He is not the only one, just read OBSERVER’s comments. He goes even further: mini states, christians, kurds, assyrians.

One wonders how these people call themselves syrians with suchh idea about destroying their nation.

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March 21st, 2012, 8:45 pm


529. irritated said:

#532 SOD

Heavy weapons in 1982 were not as precise as now, they were lots of civilians casualties but the innocents civilians were not the target.

…and you keep hating and calling for revenge.
Hatred will surely save Syria.

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March 21st, 2012, 8:47 pm


530. Tara said:

If Alawis want to fight until last man to oppress the Syrians, go ahead. Have an independent Alawi state. Will drop by and visit. We will keep the Christisns. We love them.

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March 21st, 2012, 8:49 pm


531. Son of Damascus said:


I never mentioned anything about US soldiers, I think you are mixing two people up.

And show me where I ever called for revenge, Stop making things up so I fit whatever mould you want to fit me in.

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March 21st, 2012, 8:50 pm


532. omen said:


whatever acts of killing families by western soldiers were exceptional and usually by mentally deranged soldiers.

the US has been waging a senseless war for 10 years and you don’t find anything exceptional? how many families has the US killed from drones alone in afghanistan? murders in iraq get written off as “collateral damage.”

if you want to dismiss that, how can you ignore the atrocities the US committed in vietnam?:

The LA Times notes that the “records describe recurrent attacks on ordinary Vietnamese—families in their homes, farmers in rice paddies, teenagers out fishing.” Hundreds of soldiers, in interviews with investigators and letters to commanders, described violent troops who “murdered, raped and tortured with impunity.”

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March 21st, 2012, 8:51 pm


533. irritated said:

#527 SOD

read #528 about US soldiers

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March 21st, 2012, 8:55 pm


534. Son of Damascus said:


“One wonders how these people call themselves syrians with suchh idea about destroying their nation.”

Same could be said about you, for you are the one calling for the cleanup and disinfection of the Syrian people.

Talk about hateful and revengeful language.

Allah Souria ou el Batta ou Bass!!!!

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March 21st, 2012, 8:56 pm


535. omen said:

chris @ 8:39

poor people can’t make it all the way to australia!

takes money to emigrate.

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March 21st, 2012, 8:56 pm


536. Halabi said:

Mishaal Temmo was a member of the SNC and could have been an excellent leader for our country. He was also jailed for many years with other Damascus Declaration members.

SANA is not the arbiter of truth (because it doesn’t have truth in its name). Here is the man, a hero to all Syrians, in his own words. It’s worth spending time on this special day to see what this great man, who comes from a people that suffered more than anyone else under this regime and were oppressed by previous rulers as well, had to offer.

An interview on Al Arabiya

Mishaal demanding the prosecution of Bashar and all the killers in the regime at a protest http://youtu.be/tpLRKqklzTE

Not exactly his words, but these are the people who were at his funeral http://youtu.be/mUb2FZ1z5VM

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March 21st, 2012, 9:00 pm


537. Son of Damascus said:


What other people write is not my responsibility, maybe you should have addressed your concerns to the relevant party.

I believe Omen can back up his/her own statements much more eloquently than I can, I am not Omen nor am I speaking on his/her behalf.

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March 21st, 2012, 9:02 pm


538. CHRIS said:

OMEN@ 8.56PM

when ur desperate there is a way out! look at the link


how did these other thousands get here?

my family has visited oz over 20times if they were soo desperate why did we not keep them here?

the only poor are the ones who have sat on thier asses the last few decades. other hard working christians muslims alawis have done so. sure their are people not happy in syria or dont agree with the ruling geovernment. that is normal just look at the protests in the US at the moment!
but it doesnt mean we overturn the government.
Normal people form an opinion have a plan and cast their votes. these thugs of the FSA give bashar no alternative but to defend.

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March 21st, 2012, 9:07 pm


539. zoo said:

“Look at his panic. The meeting has not convened yet but he is already annoyed. He is irked because people will be told the truth about Syria,” Kılıçdaroğlu said at his party’s parliamentary meeting,

(Turkish) Gov’t slams CHP meet on Arab Spring

Prime Minister Erdoğan criticizes an upcoming CHP-led Socialist International meeting on Syria, arguing that the participants will ‘defend the brutality in Syria’
The CHP will host a meeting of the Socialist International’s (SI) Special Committee on the Arab World on March 23-24 in Istanbul, to discuss social-democratic approaches to the transformation process in the region. Representatives of social-democratic parties from many countries, as well as bloggers from Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Syria are expected to participate.

CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu retorted that the meeting had annoyed Erdoğan because in it “the truth” about the situation in Syria would be discussed.

“Look at his panic. The meeting has not convened yet but he is already annoyed. He is irked because people will be told the truth about Syria,” Kılıçdaroğlu said at his party’s parliamentary meeting, adding that the meeting would also raise the issue of the two Turkish journalists missing in Syria.
Kılıçdaroğlu warned the government that the creation of a Turkish “buffer zone” inside Syria would amount to “war and occupation.”

In an apparent reference to the Alevi faith that CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad share, Erdoğan said: “Don’t forget that a person’s religion is the religion of his friend. Tell me who your friend is and I’ll tell you who you are.”

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March 21st, 2012, 9:07 pm


540. irritated said:

#530. Son of Damascus said:

“Same could be said about you, for you are the one calling for the cleanup and disinfection of the Syrian people.:

Who’s talking about distorting statememts?

The only Syrians that should be cleaned up and desinfected are the ones who are calling for the destruction of their country to satisfy their hatred and their desire of revenge.

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March 21st, 2012, 9:12 pm


541. Son of Damascus said:

Omar Offendum – #Syria

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”
– Archbishop Desmond Tutu


Al Sha’ab ureed isqat al Nizam!!!!

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March 21st, 2012, 9:13 pm


542. Tara said:


Look at Zoo@449 and Tara @317

I like to copy you too.

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March 21st, 2012, 9:15 pm


543. Son of Damascus said:


“The only Syrians that should be cleaned up and desinfected are the ones who are calling for the destruction of their country to satisfy their hatred and their desire of revenge.”

Nobody deserves to die to satisfy Assad’s quench for his illegitimate power, asking for the butcher to leave his throne does not equate to destroying Syria. Him and his blood stained family are the ones destroying everything good about Syria, all for the sake of Assad.

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March 21st, 2012, 9:18 pm


544. Halabi said:

Son of Damascus.

There is no use debating. Their narrative of history is that Sunni Muslims in Syria who held power for over a thousand years have always wanted to destroy every minority, or at least enslave them. Somehow the minorities were able to survive, some even flourished, and finally one family from a minority sect was able to control the country.

Of course the Assad family has to kill or sideline anyone who doesn’t want to be obedient to the regime. There is the historic animosity, and the regime also fears retaliation for the crimes they are committing. So the killing and the lies to cover it up continues. And then there is a conspiracy led by Hamad (what happened to Bandar? it used to be all Bandar all the time last spring).

When people base their arguments on such a flaky and false premise, it is futile to engage in debate. But I respect and enjoy your efforts.

On another note, damage control for Asmaa http://youtu.be/cPG4xOwPJIg

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March 21st, 2012, 9:21 pm


545. zoo said:

More trouble for Turkey looming

US Senators launch new ‘genocide’ bill

Two influential pro-Armenian senators have formally launched a new effort for the passage in the U.S. Senate of an “Armenian genocide” resolution, the Armenian Assembly of America (AAA) reported late Tuesday
Turkish Foreign Ministry officials say Turkey would do all it could to avoid the passage of the resolution while US diplomats telling “US would think twice at a time when it needs Turkey on Syria and other matters

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March 21st, 2012, 9:37 pm


546. zoo said:

#537 Tara

Evidence of emails will not stand any trial. No handwriting, no signatures, just allegations and possible fabrications.
UK justice at its best.

It is better that the UK Syrian Society be disbanded. It is worthless.

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March 21st, 2012, 9:47 pm


547. Tara said:

A camel dressed in a bondage outfit?

Syria: Bashar al-Assad nicknamed ‘duck’ by wife


Opposition websites and Facebook pages have become strewn with jokes at the expense of the Syrian president. One doctored photograph depicts pro-regime followers on their knees kissing the image of a duck.

A picture apparently sent by the daughter of a Syrian diplomat depicts a cartoon of a camel dressed in a bondage outfit, with a black whip round its neck, its eyes covered in a black mask and wearing high-heeled black leather boots.

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March 21st, 2012, 9:50 pm


548. zoo said:

Nowruz a Syrian Kurd national day?

In September 2009, the UN cultural agency UNESCO included Nowruz in the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list.

The UN General Assembly passed a resolution in February 2010 to declare March 21 as the International Nowruz Day.


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March 21st, 2012, 9:51 pm


549. zoo said:

Masks are falling to the dismay of the international community.

Islamists seek influence in Syria uprising

By LEE KEATH and ZEINA KARAM | Associated Press – 3 hrs ago

BEIRUT (AP) — The gunmen in eastern Syria, wielding grenade launchers and assault rifles, announced on the Internet they were forming the “God is Great” Brigade and joining the country’s rebellion. They swore allegiance to the Free Syrian Army and vowed to topple President Bashar Assad.

But unlike many other rebel bands, they wrapped their proclamation in hard-line Islamic language, declaring their fight to be a “jihad,” or holy war, and urging others to do the same.

“To our fellow revolutionaries, don’t be afraid to declare jihad in the path of God. Seek victory from the One God. God is the greatest champion,” the brigade’s spokesman said in the January video. “Instead of fighting for a faction, fight for your nation, and instead of fighting for your nation, fight for God.”

As Syria’s uprising evolves into an armed insurgency, parts of the movement are taking on overt religious overtones. Islamic movements in and out of the country are vying to gain influence over the revolt in hopes of gathering power if Assad falls.

The Islamists’ role complicates choices for the United States and other nations who say they want to help the opposition without empowering radicals; a string of anti-regime suicide bombings have raised fears of al-Qaida involvement.

The groups diverge from violent jihadi movements to political moderates like the Muslim Brotherhood, which has already used the Arab Spring revolutions to vault to power in Tunisia and Egypt elections.
A video posted on YouTube last week showed a former Syrian Brotherhood leader, Ali Sadr el-Din Bayanouni, admitting the Brotherhood nominated Ghalioun as council leader merely as a “front” more easily accepted by the West.

“We did not want the Syrian regime to take advantage of the fact that Islamists are leading the SNC,” Bayanouni says in the video.

Khalaf Dahowd, from the opposition group the National Coordination Body, said Brotherhood domination of the council “has led to doubts and suspicions among the more secular factions in Syria about the post-Assad period.”

It is unclear how much weaponry is reaching rebels, most of whom complain they receive no outside help. That illustrates the difficulty of any group dominating the opposition amid the divisions and regime onslaught.

But Islamists appear to be maneuvering for their chance, said Bilal Saab, a Middle East expert at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in California.

The Brotherhood “are lying low, waiting to see how events unfold and reap the fruits of the fight.”

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March 21st, 2012, 10:02 pm


550. Ghufran said:

لماذا تخاف أنظمة الخليج من الاخوان
The almost daily statements by Dubi police chief,who is very close to the UAE leader,goes under the same umbrella. This year will not be easy for the GCC especially if ,a big if,the regime and the opposition decide to sit down and talk peace.
The GCC is unsure whether to support bombing Iran or not,they have a lot to lose either way,but they will most likely wait until Israel and the US make the decision ,then they will follow their lead.

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March 21st, 2012, 10:03 pm


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