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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751. Tara said:

743. BRONCO 

“Do you know what happened to other ‘officials’ defectors… Werent’ they supposed to further “reveal” inside information about the regime?”

It is naive to think that a Baath officer has any inside information about the regime.  The Baath party is only a facade of the rule of one family.  There are no honchos in Syria.  The “regime”  is the family and the rest is “veneer”.  Believe me, I know….  All the power is concentrated in the one man and his family.  So don’t hold your breath for long …unless we get another scandalous round of inner circle communique to reveal inside info.   

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March 22nd, 2012, 8:04 pm


752. omen said:

from the “phase two” link from above, i didn’t know this about the muslim brotherhood. (wonder why it was tucked away):

Opposition leaders have tried to calm Alawi anxieties provoked by hotheaded sheikhs. The most notorious is Adnan Arur, who threatened, “We shall mince [the Alawis] in meat grinders and feed them to the dogs.” The head of the Muslim Brotherhood has assured ordinary Alawis that they will be protected. Those guilty of crimes will face proper courts and be tried according to the law. Such assurances only go so far in calming Alawi anxieties. Many do not expect an orderly transition of power, just as many remain convinced that a spirit of revenge may guide the opposition, which has been so badly abused.

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March 22nd, 2012, 8:05 pm


753. irritated said:

#746 Halabi

“It is the job of the Syrian army and security forces, who receive their salaries and weapons from all Syrians, to protect civilians.

The FSA has declared several time that their mere existence is to protect the civilians, I do not know who pays their salaries, I guess they have some sponsors.

I expect the FSA to fight against Al Nusra and prevent them from attacks on civilians. They can’t be selective in their commitment of protection.

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March 22nd, 2012, 8:06 pm


754. Aldendeshe said:

Moslems digging own grave attacking Nationalists. Will work out the counter attack and strategy, they are finished, not only defeated, but bannished now for sure. No chance for them in Syria ever again.

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March 22nd, 2012, 8:09 pm


755. bronco said:

#754 Tara

Then why you, the media and the foreign politicians are making such a big fuss about ‘officials’ defecting?

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March 22nd, 2012, 8:09 pm


756. omen said:

speaking of russia, what happened to the russian special forces that landed in syria?

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March 22nd, 2012, 8:12 pm


757. zoo said:

Turkey looking for a casus belli with Syria?

Report: Syria supporting PKK
Serkan Demirtaş

An intelligence report submitted to the Turkish government suggests that the disobedient Syrian leadership has revived its support to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), in retaliation for pressure from Ankara on Bashar al-Assad to step down, Hürriyet Daily News has learned from reliable sources.

PKK members can move freely inside Syria, and are allowed to bear arms and launch propaganda campaigns against Turkey, the report states, showing a clear change in Damascus’ policies, which had banned the PKK’s activities in 1999 as a result of a bilateral agreement with Turkey.

Although Turkey has not yet officially raised this issue as a diplomatic problem with Syria, diplomatic sources said it could be on the agenda for the April 1 meeting of the Friends of Syria group.

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March 22nd, 2012, 8:14 pm


758. jad said:

Son of Damascus
Let me understand this logic:

-You don’t care what any radical movement has to say about another radical figure.

-But, you care to defend a Zionist radical who had plans to invade Syria.

-And, you think he has more credibility than Dr. Abukhalil and Sharmine because his writings skills are better.

Well, it doesn’t really make that much sense to me, but if that satisfy you, go for it, it’s your own choice, however, as I wrote many times before, when we post something, we need to understand one important fact, the piece we post is not our property, we didn’t write it therefore any critic or praise or note we may get about that piece or about the writer are not a personal attack that we need to defend and take personal stand defending it, it’s the owner of the piece problem, not ours, we only need to be aware of what others think and say about it because not everything that shine is gold.

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March 22nd, 2012, 8:20 pm


759. Tara said:

#758 Bronco

For it’s sentimental value.  See, we are people with extreme passion.  We love nobility and courage and we abhor evil.  When someone decides to defect, he essentially puts his life on the line.  Risking own’s death in order to deliver freedom and dignity to you own people is the ultimate sacrifice to be acknowledged and celebrated…  It reminds me with the Christian notion of Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice for the sins of mankind… Isn’t that why his death is celebrated worldwide?

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March 22nd, 2012, 8:27 pm


760. omen said:

i don’t consider larouche left since he/they’re global warming denialists.

zoo: I can see that Michael Weiss is another Neo-Con poison.

name calling isn’t a counterargument.

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March 22nd, 2012, 8:29 pm


761. jad said:

Tara, Bronco,

I hate to be a party pooper but it seems that the defected guy is an EX Baath officer, probably a retired.

This is why his story didn’t go as big attention as the previous assistant minister.

انشقاق امين فرع حزب البعث الأسبق في ادلب وانضمامه للثورة

أعلن أمين فرع حزب البعث الأسبق في ادلب محمد عبدالله الشيخ انشقاقه عن الحزب وانضمامه للثورة.

وأشار في فيديو بثّ على “يوتيوب” وأعلن فيه انشقاقه إلى أن “هذه الثورة هي “ثورة الحرية والكرامة”، معتبرا أن “سوريا التي أهدت العالم أول أبجدية في التاريخ لا يمكن لحقبة آل الأسد، أن تبقيها نائمة على الضيم للأبد”.

وأضاف: “ها هو شعبنا العظيم يثبت مرة جديدة أنّه أمسك بزمام المبادرة ولن يقبل بأقل من أن يستعيد حريته المسلوبة ويسترد ثرواته المنهوبة ويسترجع كرامته الضائعة”، مشيرا إلى أن “البعثيين لم يكونوا جبناء قطّ إلا في عصر آل الأسد، ولا بد لهم من كل مواقعهم أن يُثبِتوا الآن أنهم جزء أصيل من هذا الشعب”.

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March 22nd, 2012, 8:45 pm


762. omen said:

jad, you’re quoting larouche?? the man is not all there. he once claimed the beatles were a subversive foreign plot intended to brainwash people.

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March 22nd, 2012, 8:57 pm


763. Son of Damascus said:


I am not defending Wiess, he is just a better writer and journalist than either Abu Khalil and Nawari are. I do agree with Zoo somewhat, he does tend to sensationalize, and run with hyperbole stories. This time I found his piece to be less hyperbole and more fact, hence why I linked it.

Abu Khalil’s arguments about Syria are extremely hypocritical and full of double standards, because if he ever used the same logic about Syria to write a piece about Palestine, he would make the Israelis aggressions necessary in order to preserve Palestine, all while hating Israel at the same time (very confusing to me). I do read his blog regularly (to get his side) and have linked one of his less shaky stories here once before.

As for Nawari, she is an amateur, her stories are always full of holes. After her shill piece about Syrian deaths, I can never take her or anything she writes seriously. Anyone that tries to argue deaths away as if they are just mere numbers, needs to reexamine their journalistic values.

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March 22nd, 2012, 8:58 pm


764. Tara said:

Batta is making a mockery out of itself.  Barcelona’s football team has joined the cosmic conspiracy against Batta

Syrian TV blames Barça of showing rebels a way
James M. Dorsey

Not everyone in the world is happy with Barcelona’s spectacular football, since state-run Syrian television Al-Dunya accuses the Catalan giants of employing tactical formations to deliver coded messages to armed Syrian rebels. The channel says Barcelona players’ formation on the pitch were the equivalent of smugglers


Al-Dunya charged that Barcelona’s tactical formations represented a map of routes from Lebanon to Syria used to smuggle weapons to the Syrian rebels. It said projecting the map on Barcelona’s Spanish King’s Cup quarterfinal match against Real Madrid that players in the club’s formation on the pitch were the equivalent of smugglers, while the ball represented weapons as they were moved along the smuggling route.

The report serves as further evidence of the callousness of the al-Assad regime, and the degree to which Mr. al-Assad and his immediate family and aides appear to be cut off from reality

The Al-Dunya report was posted on YouTube and has been viewed by almost half a million people. 

Al-Dunya charged that the Qatar-owned Al-Jazeera television network was repeatedly broadcasting clips from the Barcelona match in a bid to weaken the al-Assad regime. Al-Dunya earlier this month also charged that an Al-Jazeera sports newscaster had incited listeners against the al-Assad regime during his coverage of a match between Syria and Bahrain in London.

Syria’s invocation of football as part of the international conspiracy it alleges that it is battling underscores the important role of the sport in Middle Eastern and North African politics. 

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March 22nd, 2012, 9:02 pm


765. ann said:

Kofi Annan to visit Moscow this week: deputy FM – 2012-03-23


MOSCOW, March 22 (Xinhua) — UN-Arab League joint envoy on Syria Kofi Annan will visit Moscow later this week, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said Thursday.

Bogdanov, who is also Russia’s special envoy to the Middle East, revealed that Annan may also visit China and some other countries soon.

“Now everybody will be waiting for the results of Kofi Annan’s work,” he said, adding that he does not believe that any UN Security Council resolution on Syria will be discussed in the near future.

The state-owned Itar-tass news agency quoted a source as saying that Annan is expected to arrive in Moscow on Saturday and hold talks with the Russian side on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Bogdanov confirmed a delegation of the Syrian opposition will also visit Moscow in the coming days.

“They would be prepared to come right away….I do hope there will be a meeting between them and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, ” Bogdanov said.


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March 22nd, 2012, 9:07 pm


766. Son of Damascus said:


Well the Qatari’s are a substantial sponsor of Barcelona FC. So it must be true…


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March 22nd, 2012, 9:09 pm


767. omen said:

Alan @ 6:47 pm
At the Security Council, Russia (Kind of) Endorses Regime Change in Syria
It is absolutely contradicts principles of Russian foreign policy! this term not the lawful it is pure from the American black practice!Women’s Bazaar!

what does alan mean by “women’s bazaar?”

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March 22nd, 2012, 9:10 pm


768. Son of Damascus said:


Thanks for the correction, would that make them radical right then?

I don’t know much about LaRouche, but the little I know makes me very distrustful of them. Radicalism all together is something that I am extremely allergic too, and avoid it like the plague.

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March 22nd, 2012, 9:12 pm


769. Tara said:


I have a burning question for you.

On January 18, Mr Assad found an e-card in his inbox from his wife. Entitled “To my (Bald) Batta”, and signed “your Batta”.

Do you find this romantic?

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March 22nd, 2012, 9:15 pm


770. Tara said:


“As you seem to be regularly reporting the death toll, could you be more precise in providing the details: number of civilians, soldiers, armed rebels, armed gangs and the source of the information.”

Does it make a difference? You will not believe it anyhow.

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March 22nd, 2012, 9:34 pm


771. jad said:

I guess Ottoman journalists are doing some cut&paste of their own, this exact news is a fake one, even Addounia made fun of the stupidity of that news last week:
التضليل الاعلامي 19 3 2012

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March 22nd, 2012, 9:45 pm


772. Syrian Nationalist Party said:

The road to Damascus is only through the Syrian Nationalist Party, the nobilities of Syria. Syrians are motivated and driven to action by NATIONALIST MOVEMENTS THOUGHTS AND IDEOLOGIES not by sectarianism, and for sure not through Islam. Most Syrians find this religion as presented by say the Moslem brotherhood and other Islamic extremists ruling in Turkey appalling and repulsive, they never adopt it before, and will never adapt to it in the future, it is alien in nature to them (and in practice in fact). It was expanded in Syria by Hafez Assad and promoted in the idea that it will weaken them Sunni further. He supported the most corrupt Sunni Sheikh intentionally to ruin them. During the Independence Revolution in Syria, the Moslem Brotherhood were making backstabbing deals with the Freemason Brits, conspiring against Syrians fighting a truly intellectual and civil revolution against France, just as they are doing now, and as they did in the 80’s. NATIONALISTS won independence for Syria and Lebanon and freedom for the citizens, they won the majority support for decades afterward because the majority (almost all) of Syrians aspired the Nationalist Ideas and Ideologies. They were never deceived by the Moslem Extremists represented in Syria by the Moslem Brotherhoods who at best, with huge funding from Freemasons in Europe and Arabia managed 5 seats in Parliament. That is all, of course most of the cash sent by the unworthy ones ended up stolen and never really spent on the cause, a typical of Islamist behavior.

Although, it never made it into any formal discussion, it is clear that it will be a serious mistake for Nationalists to step down to the level of Islamists of turkey and Arabia and that of the Freemason Backed and supported Moslem Brotherhood that is founded originally in Egypt and grew up out of the Brotherhood of Amen. Even Shia Islamists as well are corrupted and are nothing more than a tool in Freemasons hands. These elements present one face to the public and another to the secret oath takers, just like the anti-humanist organization they belong to, the Freemasons. If you don’t want to take the Nationalist word for it, take a very respectable, able and capable man word about them, Dubai police Chief Dahi Khalfan Tamim.

Here is a link to learn about the Freemason and convoluted history of the Moslem Brotherhood and Islamist:




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March 22nd, 2012, 9:46 pm


773. omen said:

now for something silly.

even i get this cartoon!

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March 22nd, 2012, 9:46 pm


774. Halabi said:

This is what Assad’s soldiers, the official military paid for with the sweat of the Syrian people, are good for. This is the Syria that the sick Menhebaks want, eternal oppression.


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March 22nd, 2012, 9:47 pm


775. jad said:

Son of Damascus,

Weiss is more than a writer, just check this report he produce of how to invade Syria, what are the weak areas of it and how to win it over, this report was directed to the American and the NATO and Hilary Clinton was surprised that ‘SYRIANS’ can give her such details plans to take over their country:

There is a big difference between a ‘writer’ and a ‘warmonger’


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March 22nd, 2012, 9:51 pm


776. jad said:

This is what the ‘Angels’ of the FSA do best, kidnap, torture and force people to say anything they want, how humane:

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March 22nd, 2012, 10:05 pm


777. Halabi said:

The Messi video is fake. I can’t blame journalists for believing that Addunia would produce something like it.

Addunia on Al Arabiya’s weather report

Here’s Addunia’s top analyst

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March 22nd, 2012, 10:13 pm


778. Halabi said:

The FSA is just following the training they received in Assad’s army. Confession videos have been the regime’s substitute for the court system since March 25, 2011. I condemn kidnapping and torturing anyone, even Bashar. But menhebaks support throwing people in jail for decades without charging them.

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March 22nd, 2012, 10:19 pm


779. omen said:

jad, is assad retarded? after watching nato intervene in libya, any dictator should have known going off and needlessly killing a bunch of people would only draw the heat and the ire of the international community. taking the path he chose, bashar invited a repeat of libya. he wouldn’t be in this precarious position if he hadn’t gone out and acted the butcher.

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March 22nd, 2012, 10:21 pm


780. bronco said:

#769 Tara

Try me.

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March 22nd, 2012, 10:26 pm


781. Jad said:

For 3ara3eer every terrorist is a hero.

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March 22nd, 2012, 10:31 pm


782. zoo said:

767. Tara

Sorry, not only the private life of people does not present any interest for me, but I find indecent to sneak into the intimacy of anyone, even more of a couple.

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March 22nd, 2012, 10:32 pm


783. Mawal95 said:

22 mar 2012: Elie Chalhoub at Al-Akhbar.com has good inside-the-regime access to the regime’s view of the United Nations Presidential Statement on the Joint Special Envoy on Syria: http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/annan%E2%80%99s-plan-avoiding-another-veto . ““The positive outweighs the negative,” is perhaps the phrase that best expresses the official Syrian position.”

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March 22nd, 2012, 10:34 pm


784. omen said:

zoo, gossip you find indecent, but mass murder is A-ok!

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March 22nd, 2012, 10:35 pm


785. bronco said:

#757 Tara

Comparing Jesus-Christ to an ex-Baath defector is close to a gross sectarian insult.

I wish you refrain from mixing religious matters with your political convictions, especially a religion that you don’t know much about.

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March 22nd, 2012, 10:44 pm


786. zoo said:


Did I say that? Or you have a good imagination?

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March 22nd, 2012, 10:46 pm


787. Mawal95 said:

MJabali at #34 said: “After a year, still there is no real opposition political parties in Syria.” That is correct. On 7 May 2012 Syria is going to have free and fair parliamentary elections in which the regime’s party is surely going to trounce every other party in the field in open political competition for the votes of the good people of Syria — open except religious and tribal parties are banned. There will be no real opposition political parties in the new parliament because all the opposition factions will have gotten their arses handed to them on plates in fair contest. And the Baath Party will then proceed with more modernization and more real progress for Syria, in areas of education, increasing economic output, and so on. Hooray!

MJabali at #34 said: “The Armed opposition is strong.” That is not correct. It was already mentioned by PIROUZ #361 that plentiful evidence shows that weapons and ammunition are pretty expensive and not easy to come by for the Syrian rebels. Light weaponry like rifles are far more expensive than in Iraq. Medium or heavy weaponry are almost totally absent at any price. Here are some recent reports about scarcity of weapons among the rebels:

12 Mar 2012: http://blogs.aljazeera.net/middle-east/2012/03/12/inside-idlib-assad-crackdown-grows-ferocity
14 Mar 2012: AP: http://news.yahoo.com/syrian-rebels-lack-guns-money-key-defeats-175952483.html
18 Mar 2012: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-syria-weapons-20120318,0,3916276,full.story
20 Mar 2012: AP: http://news.yahoo.com/syrian-rebels-outgunned-struggling-supplies-205645118.html

As a supplement to those reports, I take the following as another indicator that weapons are in short supply among the Syrian rebels. For more than six months SANA has been regularly reporting finds by the Syrian authorities of weapons caches of the rebels. The reports have been regular, but the finds have always been smallish. Here’s an example from SANA dated 19 Mar 2012: “Authorities clashed with terrorists in Deir Ezzor Province, killing several terrorists and confiscating large amounts of weapons. Two officers and three personnel were martyred in the process. SANA correspondent added that the authorities confiscated large amounts of arms, comprising 23 AK-47 rifles, a sniper rifle, 2 PKC machineguns, an RPG launcher and 11 rounds, Israeli anti-armor charges and mines, in addition to Molotov cocktails, military uniforms, magazines and ammunition.” http://sana.sy/eng/337/2012/03/19/406887.htm . That’s what’s considered “large amounts of weapons”. Here’s a similar example from SANA on 16 Mar 2012: “The competent authorities on Thursday seized a car loaded with a big quantity of different weapons on Homs international highway. SANA reporter in Homs quoted a source as saying that the weapons included four RPGs, five Israeli-made mortars, three anti-tank missiles, snipers and rifles.” http://sana.sy/eng/337/2012/03/16/406449.htm . That’s what’s considered “a big quantity”. Here’s what SANA thought newsworthy on 17 Mar 2012: “The authorities on Saturday confiscated a weapons cache belonging to armed terrorist groups in Karm al-Zaitoun neighborhood in Homs. The confiscated weapons include 2 RPG launchers with 6 rounds, 8 rifles, 5 pump-action shotguns, a large amount of ammo, a PKC machinegun with 600 rounds, and 3 satchels.” http://www.sana.sy/eng/337/2012/03/17/406765.htm . Examples from 22 Mar 2012: http://sana.sy/eng/21/2012/03/22/407725.htm , http://sana.sy/eng/337/2012/03/22/407614.htm

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March 22nd, 2012, 10:47 pm


788. Tara said:


Gross sectarian insult?

The comparison was not between man to man (or in that case, the son). The comparison was between the notions of self-sacrifice.

Read my post again and then say sorry.

And You are wrong, I know enough. My way..

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March 22nd, 2012, 10:54 pm


789. ss said:

[ARROW Updated from moderation. Sorry, SS, don’t know just why,]

658. Anwar;
“Everyone in the neighboorhood knows the government is targetting christians to scare them”

Do you work for Aljazeera?????

What made you think that the goverment at this time wants to scare people. The goverment made it clear to everyone that they will chase and fight terrorist elements. I do not think the army has been shyful of doing the appropriate job. What in the wrold the goverment will gain of killing its own people. I found it delusional.

I feel sorry for every Christian soul that was lost in Qasa3 last week as a result of this terrorist attack. I have to remind you that alert your beloved terrorist groups had declared the attack before. Some groups already aknowledged their responsibility for the attacks so I see no reason to accuse the government

Its amazing if you read Aljazeera, CNN, Fox, bbc, and unfortunately even SC you see how biased the media is. Even on SC there was no mention to what had happened in Qasa3. Yet many articles of how the FSA should be united, how the opposition need to regroup, and inspiration article for the opposition to keep the morals high. Honestly I feel sometimes better reading Aljazeera posts than SC. I became to wonder whether Qatar money reached the the US media???????? God knows

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March 22nd, 2012, 10:56 pm


790. ANWAR said:

[ARROW Edited and Updated from moderation. Anwar, you entered an incorrect name and email.

Please moderate any accusatory language against Alawis (‘an insidious agenda‘), as others moderate their remarks regarding Sunni, Shia, and other faith groups. Personally-directed accusations and provocations derail discussion. Anwar. Anger and grief accompany each day of death in Syria on this blog, but commentators still find a way to work past emotion and reaction to dialogue. We try to avoid putting direct blame on others for acts not under their control.

Thank you for considering and observing the goals of open, civil discussion at Syria Comment. It is not easy. I appreciate every effort, and do not mean to single you out.

SCModeration@mail.com ]


I dont appreciate you calling me a liar when my family just escaped death. There were reports of a group of terrorists coming out and shooting it out with the mukhabarat…this never happened and this is what I am referring to.

I will find the report for you. They had Assad and Putin pictures while chanting pro-assad slogans the day after.

Sorry for calling you names. Most alawite I meet are in a state of extreme denial alert or have an insidious agenda.

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March 22nd, 2012, 10:56 pm


791. admir said:

[alert Admir, please pull back from the kind of language edited below. One of your comments in reaction to Majedkhaldoun was removed because of language that is not tolerated at Syria Comment. Please review the rules and regulations that guide moderation.

Complaints, questions, concerns, alerts, please write direct:


sunnis of iraq dont deserve an autonomous region alert since they were stooges of saudis during the occupation, if they like they can flee like cowards to saudi arabia or jordan or syria (like they did during the war).

Anbar, salahuddin (mixed sunni/shia), mosul (kurd) and diyala (mostly shia & kurd) will remain part of iraq, and iraq will remain majority shia whether you like it or not.

sunnis will never break up shia iraq (and kurdish northern iraq).

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March 22nd, 2012, 10:57 pm


792. majedkhaldoun said:

[alert Majedkhaldoun, please do not react in kind to sectarian provocation. Let Alawis speak to details of Alawi/Nusayri history and belief and their own conflicts. We want to avoid offensive or discriminatory remarks targeting any faith group in Syria. Phrases like “Nusayri … puppets of Persia” come much too close to terms of sectarian abuse, and can be too easily misinterpreted. I hope we all strive to be aware of pitfalls, human vulnerabilities and fears that attend this terrible conflict.


Next week there will be meeting between Obama and Erdogan, next week will be Arab Summit meeting the week after there will be friend of Syria meeting.

As the U N took over the syrian issue, AL has no significance any more, Bashar has to deal with UN where he can not promise and does not fulfill.


your extremely sectarian comment said it all alert , you are sectarian, I can assure you there will never be a Nusayri state, BTW the name is Nusayri, Alawi refer to Arab, Nusayri are puppet of Persia, Alawi name is given in 1920 by France the original name is Nusayri.

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March 22nd, 2012, 10:57 pm


793. irritated said:

alert Irritated, please avoid “your kind” type of remarks against other commentators.]

739. Halabi

If Al Nusra front gets out of their hidings and make “peaceful” demonstrations be sure they will be dealt with.

Unfortunately they are hiding alert among your friends during their ‘peaceful’ demonstrations to make sure they turn bloody.

It is the FSA responsibility to stop Al Nusra attacks on civilians, isn’t what they claim to be their vocation.

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March 22nd, 2012, 10:58 pm


794. zoo said:

Syria’s Assad in firm control after a bloody year
By ELIZABETH A. KENNEDY | Associated Press – 7 hrs ago

BEIRUT (AP) — As world leaders close ranks against Syrian leader Bashar Assad, the U.S. president summed up the popular wisdom during a recent White House press conference: “Ultimately, this dictator will fall.”

That prediction may be premature.

Regime forces have retaken the major opposition strongholds, the rebels are low on money and guns, and the U.N. has ruled out any military intervention of the type that tipped the scales against Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi. Relying on the scorched-earth tactics that have kept his family in power for more than 40 years, Assad is in no immediate danger of falling.

That does not mean the bloodshed is nearing an end. Syria’s rebels are turning to guerrilla tactics, such as roadside bombs and ambushes, and terrorist groups like al-Qaida appear to be entering the fray and exploiting the chaos. Assad could hang on indefinitely while an already violent conflict metastasizes into an insurgency that lays waste to the country.

“The international community and the West have been standing by and watching Syria be torn apart,” Syrian activist Fadi al-Yassin told The Associated Press on Thursday, speaking by satellite phone from the northern province of Idlib.

“In the end, we worry that there will be no state left for us to build on,” he said.

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March 22nd, 2012, 11:15 pm


795. zoo said:

Kurd militants threaten Turkey if it enters Syria
By Jon Hemming | Reuters – 10 hrs ago

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkish Kurd militants threatened on Thursday to turn all Kurdish populated areas into a “war zone” if Turkish troops entered Syria, a sign the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) which has allies in Syria may be taking sides in the conflict there.

PKK field commander Murat Karayilan said Turkey was preparing the ground for an intervention in Syria.

“The Turkish state is planning an intervention against our people,” the Europe-based Firat news agency, close to the militants, quoted him as saying.

“Let me state clearly, if the Turkish state intervenes against our people in western Kurdistan, all of Kurdistan will turn into a war zone,” he said.
Turkish officials say they are watching closely for signs Syria may renew its support for the PKK, which it dropped in late 1998 after Turkish tanks massed on the Syrian border. Damascus was forced to deport PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan who was later seized by Turkish special forces in Kenya.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has repeatedly said Syria “would not dare” make such a mistake again.

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March 22nd, 2012, 11:18 pm


796. zoo said:

US tells Turkey to back off Syria
Tony Badran, March 22, 2012 share

In a previously unreported turn of events, it has now come to light that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in her meeting with Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu last month, emphatically dismissed a number of forward leaning options on Syria that the Turkish top diplomat proposed to the Obama administration.

What this means is that Washington, which at one point subcontracted its Syria policy to Ankara, has now called the Turks off the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

According to well-informed Turkish and US sources, during his meeting with Secretary Clinton, Davutoğlu put forward a set of measures, including, among others, creating a buffer zone and/or a humanitarian corridor, as well as organizing and equipping the Free Syrian Army (FSA). The secretary of state responded in no uncertain terms that the Obama administration had no interest in pursuing any of these options. In fact, according to one account, Clinton told her Turkish counterpart no less than three times, “We are not there.”

This conversation fits well with the administration’s message to other regional allies, namely Saudi Arabia, against arming the FSA and pushing Washington’s preferred policy of going through the Russians, in an attempt to reach a “political solution” to the Syrian crisis.

To read more: http://nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=378866#ixzz1puGXoeBI
Only 25% of a given NOW Lebanon article can be republished.

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March 22nd, 2012, 11:21 pm


798. zoo said:

[ARROW Link added. From World Journal|Dispatches|Michael J. Totten]

No to America and No to Radical Islam

TUNIS – Radical Islamists are making inroads in the Arab world’s most advanced, liberal, and tolerant country. And the secularists think the United States is helping them do it.

The Americans are with the Islamists. They support Ennahda in Tunisia and the Wahhabists in Saudi Arabia.

I’ve heard this complaint from every single secular person I’ve interviewed in this country without exception, from academics and democratic activists to journalists and teachers. They seem to be unanimously shocked and dismayed and appalled. The subject comes up again and again in conversation even when I ask about other things. It’s impossible to spend any time here whatsoever without hearing about it.

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March 22nd, 2012, 11:28 pm


799. ann said:

‘Middle East politics infested with double standards’ – Lebanese FM – 23 March, 2012


With the United States still threatening Damascus with more pressure and isolation, Lebanese foreign minister Adnan Mansour told RT that the policy of backing one side in any national conflict could lead to disaster for the entire region.

­A double-standards policy is applied to almost any vitally important issue in the Middle East, said the minister, whether it is the Syrian conflict, Israeli-Lebanese tension, or the Iranian nuclear issue.

“We are against the policy of double standards, when great powers back one of the parties in a dispute. This policy is a source of great suffering in the Middle East,” Adnan Mansour explained.

First, he said, the Syrian armed groups who are fighting against the government get funded and supplied with weapons and then they go and destroy civilian facilities with the very same weapons.

“We hear calls for military intervention coming from within Syria, as well as internationally. We see one party in the conflict been backed against the other. That is, the opposition being supported to fight the government,” Mansour went on to explain.

Violence produces more violence, the minister noted, and “if every opposition movement in the world were to push its agenda through violence, the world would go up in flames.”


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March 22nd, 2012, 11:51 pm


800. Halabi said:

Menhebaks in the West, regardless of faith, are in sleeper cells awaiting the order to become suicide bombers according to Hassoun.

The opposition aren’t angels, but I haven’t heard any leaders call for suicide attacks on innocent civilians in Russia, Iran and China. I am not surprised by this kind of speech by one of the country’s top clerics because Assad’s Syria is a state sponsor of terrorism after all.

So the question for supporters of the regime, are you ready to obey your masters and kill your friends and neighbors in the West? Or was Hassoun just joking about these sleeper cells? Perhaps it’s a Halabi joke that I didn’t get.

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March 23rd, 2012, 12:16 am


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