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)

Pages: « 13 4 5 6 7 [8] 9 10 11 12 1318 » Show All

351. ann said:

Satellite images identify early human settlements – March 21, 2012


WASHINGTONAFP) – An American archaeologist has used satellite images and a computer program to uncover thousands of ancient human settlements in Syria, according to a research study published Monday.

Software developed jointly by Harvard University professor Jason Ur and Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers can identify the remains of homes from the satellite images.

The software hones in on discolorations and mounds of soil characteristic of collapsed mud brick houses.

The area examined in the project covered about 14,290 square miles (23,000 square kilometers) in northeastern Syria. The software identified about 9,000 potential archaeological sites, which far exceeds discoveries so far, Ur said.

“I could do this on the ground, but it would probably take me the rest of my life to survey an area this size,” Ur said.

The results of the study were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“With these computer science techniques, however, we can immediately come up with an enormous map which is methodologically very interesting, but which also shows the staggering amount of human occupation over the last 7,000 or 8,000 years,” Ur said.


Thumb up 12 Thumb down 7

March 20th, 2012, 10:57 pm


352. ann said:

At UN on Syria, 7 Days Out, New Draft Here, Arria Formula on Thursday

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, March 20 — Tuesday night at the UN, Security Council Ambassadors told Inner City Press about their discussion that afternoon on Syria. “The reporting in seven days is out,” one Permanent Representative said proudly, quickly confirmed by two others. “But Kofi’s six point plan remains in.”

Another Permanent Representative emphasized the switch from “further measures” down to “further steps.”

Later Inner City Press obtained a copy of the revised Presidential Statement, and is putting it online below, where it can be compared with the original version which Inner City Press put online here.

Meanwhile it emerged that Germany has scheduled an “Arria formula” meeting of the Council on Thursday morning, with the head of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria. “We should schedule our own Arria formula meeting,” a less pro Western Permanent Representative told Inner City Press.

For the record, Syria’s Perm Rep Bashar Ja’afari told Inner City Press that the side “are still far apart,” and predicted that the French “will be surprised when silence is broken,” before 9 am on Wednesday.

The locus of all this back and forth was the celebration of Nowruz in the General Assembly Tuesday night. Attendees, just from among the Council’s Permanent Five, included Vitaly Churkin of Russia, Deputy Wang of China, Deputy DiCarlo of the USA, and Deputy Briens of France, who told Inner City Press he had not heard about the Arria formula meeting about Syria.

Churkin told Inner City Press that he had been ready to agree earlier on Tuesday. Wittig of Germany told other reporters that it was Russia that asked to check with Moscow. We’ll see.



Thumb up 9 Thumb down 9

March 20th, 2012, 11:11 pm


353. ann said:



The Security Council recalls its Presidential Statement of 3 August 2011 and its Press Statement of 1 March 2012.

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

The Security Council reaffirms its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria, and to the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter.

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

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

To this aim, the Security Council fully supports the initial six-point proposal submitted to the Syrian authorities, as outlined by the Envoy to the Security Council on 16 March 2012, to:

1) commit to work with the Envoy in an inclusive Syrian-led political process to address the legitimate aspirations and concerns of the Syrian people, and, to this end, commit to appoint an empowered interlocutor when invited to do so by the Envoy;

2) commit to stop the fighting and achieve urgently an effective United Nations supervised cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties to protect civilians and stabilize the country. To this end, the Syrian government shall immediately cease troop movements towards, and end the use of heavy weapons in, population centres, and begin pullback of military concentrations in and around population centres. As these actions are being taken on the ground, the Syrian government shall work with the Envoy to bring about a sustained cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties with an effective United Nations supervision mechanism, and similar commitments shall be sought by the Envoy from the opposition and all relevant elements to stop the fighting and work with him to bring about a sustained cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties with an effective United Nations supervision mechanism;

3) ensure timely provision of humanitarian assistance to all areas affected by the fighting, and to this end, as immediate steps, to accept and implement a daily two hour humanitarian pause and to coordinate exact time and modalities of the daily pause through an efficient mechanism, including at local level.

4) intensify the pace and scale of release of arbitrarily detained persons, including especially vulnerable categories of persons, and persons involved in peaceful political activities, provide without delay through appropriate channels a list of all places in which such persons are being detained, immediately begin organising access to such locations and through appropriate channels respond promptly to all written requests for information, access or release regarding such persons;

5) ensure freedom of movement throughout the country for journalists and a non-discriminatory visa policy for them;

6) respect freedom of association and the right to demonstrate peacefully as legally guaranteed.


Thumb up 12 Thumb down 10

March 20th, 2012, 11:14 pm


354. Tara said:

Sugar coat it all you want. The truth is not going to change and Joshua Landis has it right. He is being velified for calling things by it’s name. This is a sectarian Alawite regime killing extremely tolerant Sunni Syrians. Of course many of those Sunnis are extremely tolerant because they are financially privileged by the mere presence of this corrupt regime. Had the vast majority not been extremely tolerant, the sectarian Alawi-dominated military and security apparatus would not have been established and sustained.

Sometimes it is extremely stupid to be extremely tolerant. This tolerance is what lead our children to be slaughtered without mercy in Karm al Zeitoun at the hands of the Shabeehas. Burrying our head in the sand isn’t going to do it for us. Appropriate treatment is contingent upon appropriate diagnosis. Bashar al Assad’s army remained loyal because of it’s sectarian built. Argue all you want. The tuth, however, is so apparent. Continue not discussing taboo and remain chronically inflicted with diseases thatbwill eventually spdestroy us all.

Thumb up 10 Thumb down 20

March 20th, 2012, 11:14 pm


355. jad said:

Dear Mawal,

I’m flattered by your words, thank you! I too enjoy reading your logical analysis.

What you wrote about the Syrian religious community and how they react in the last year is absolutely outstanding, accurate and very well written, and enjoyable to read and follow, it reflect the true Syrian society that many ‘experts’ fail to see.

Is it ok with you if I share it with my friends?

I’m seriously impressed, this is the best written analyses I came across in a very very long time.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and analysis.

Thumb up 15 Thumb down 12

March 20th, 2012, 11:26 pm


356. jad said:

A new song to Syria, in Arabic, English and French:
‫سوريا اللي بتنتصر – آنا هاربويان

Thumb up 15 Thumb down 9

March 20th, 2012, 11:39 pm


357. jad said:


Thank you for sharing the UN statement.

I’m speechless, wasn’t those the exact points the BRICS was calling for since day one at the UNSC, why then the West and the AL khalayjeh puppets kept refusing them.

One question though, who will force the armed militia to stop the attacks?

Bronco, you proved once again to know how to read politics better than anybody else.

Thumb up 15 Thumb down 12

March 20th, 2012, 11:53 pm


358. DAWOUD said:

It is not only the dishonorable al-Assad dynasty that hated/hates Palestinians, but also the Lebanese Amal and Hizb$$$ admirers of Imam Musa al-Sadr. See this article on un-related person, although Musa Sadr and his amdirers’ hate for the Palestinians is mentioned in this article:


Fouad Ajami – The Native Informant

The Nation
from the April 28, 2003 issue

Late last August, at a reunion of Korean War veterans in San Antonio, Texas, Dick Cheney tried to assuage concerns that a unilateral, pre-emptive war against Iraq might “cause even greater troubles in that part of the world.” He cited a well-known Arab authority: “As for the reaction of the Arab street, the Middle East expert Professor Fouad Ajami predicts that after liberation in Basra and Baghdad, the streets are sure to erupt in joy.” As the bombs fell over Baghdad, just before American troops began to encounter fierce Iraqi resistance, Ajami could scarcely conceal his glee. “We are now coming into acquisition of Iraq,” he announced on CBS News the morning of March 22. “It’s an amazing performance.”

If Hollywood ever makes a film about Gulf War II, a supporting role should be reserved for Ajami, the director of Middle East Studies at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University. His is a classic American success story. Born in 1945 to Shiite parents in the remote southern Lebanese village of Arnoun and now a proud naturalized American, Ajami has become the most politically influential Arab intellectual of his generation in the United States. Condoleezza Rice often summons him to the White House for advice, and Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, a friend and former colleague, has paid tribute to him in several recent speeches on Iraq. Although he has produced little scholarly work of value, Ajami is a regular guest on CBS News, Charlie Rose and the NewsHour With Jim Lehrer, and a frequent contributor to the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. His ideas are also widely recycled by acolytes like Thomas Friedman and Judith Miller of the Times.

Ajami’s unique role in American political life has been to unpack the unfathomable mysteries of the Arab and Muslim world and to help sell America’s wars in the region. A diminutive, balding man with a dramatic beard, stylish clothes and a charming, almost flirtatious manner, he has played his part brilliantly. On television, he radiates above-the-frayness, speaking with the wry, jaded authority that men in power admire, especially in men who have risen from humble roots. Unlike the other Arabs, he appears to have no ax to grind. He is one of us; he is the good Arab.

Ajami’s admirers paint him as a courageous gadfly who has risen above the tribal hatreds of the Arabs, a Middle Eastern Spinoza whose honesty has earned him the scorn of his brethren. Commentary editor-at-large Norman Podhoretz, one of his many right-wing American Jewish fans, writes that Ajami “has been virtually alone in telling the truth about the attitude toward Israel of the people from whom he stems.” The people from whom Ajami “stems” are, of course, the Arabs, and Ajami’s ethnicity is not incidental to his celebrity. It lends him an air of authority not enjoyed by non-Arab polemicists like Martin Kramer and Daniel Pipes. But Ajami is no gadfly. He is, in fact, entirely a creature of the American establishment. His once-luminous writing, increasingly a blend of Naipaulean clichés about Muslim pathologies and Churchillian rhetoric about the burdens of empire, is saturated with hostility toward Sunni Arabs in general (save for pro-Western Gulf Arabs, toward whom he is notably indulgent), and to Palestinians in particular. He invites comparison with Henry Kissinger, another émigré intellectual to achieve extraordinary prominence as a champion of American empire. Like Kissinger, Ajami has a suave television demeanor, a gravitas-lending accent, an instinctive solicitude for the imperatives of power and a cool disdain for the weak. And just as Kissinger cozied up to Nelson Rockefeller and Nixon, so has Ajami attached himself to such powerful patrons as Laurence Tisch, former chairman of CBS; Mort Zuckerman, the owner of US News & World Report; Martin Peretz, a co-owner of The New Republic; and Leslie Gelb, head of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Despite his training in political science, Ajami often sounds like a pop psychologist in his writing about the Arab world or, as he variously calls it, “the world of Araby,” “that Arab world” and “those Arab lands.” According to Ajami, that world is “gripped in a poisonous rage” and “wedded to a worldview of victimology,” bad habits reinforced by its leaders, “megalomaniacs who never tell their people what can and cannot be had in the world of nations.” There is, to be sure, a grain of truth in Ajami’s grim assessment. Progressive Arab thinkers from Sadeq al-Azm to Adonis have issued equally bleak indictments of Arab political culture, lambasting the dearth of self-criticism and the constant search for external scapegoats. Unlike these writers, however, Ajami has little sympathy for the people of the region, unless they happen to live within the borders of “rogue states” like Iraq, in which case they must be “liberated” by American force. The corrupt regimes that rule the Arab world, he has suggested, are more or less faithful reflections of the “Arab psyche”: “Despots always work with a culture’s yearnings…. After all, a hadith, a saying attributed to the Prophet Muhammad, maintains ‘You will get the rulers you deserve.'” His own taste in regimes runs to monarchies like Kuwait. The Jews of Israel, it seems, are not just the only people in the region who enjoy the fruits of democracy; they are the only ones who deserve them.

Once upon a time, Ajami was an articulate and judicious critic both of Arab society and of the West, a defender of Palestinian rights and an advocate of decent government in the Arab world. Though he remains a shrewd guide to the hypocrisies of Arab leaders, his views on foreign policy now scarcely diverge from those of pro-Israel hawks in the Bush Administration. “Since the Gulf War, Fouad has taken leave of his analytic perspective to play to his elite constituency,” said Augustus Richard Norton, a Middle East scholar at Boston University. “It’s very unfortunate because he could have made an astonishingly important contribution.”


Thumb up 6 Thumb down 16

March 20th, 2012, 11:58 pm


359. ann said:

355. jad said:

Thank you for sharing the UN statement.

With pleasure JAD

By the way, the video portraying the ANGELS behaving badly reached the 90,000+ viewers mark:



Thumb up 16 Thumb down 12

March 20th, 2012, 11:59 pm


360. Dawoud said:

[sorry Sorry, Dawoud, I do not know why, but four posts were automated spam. A glitch or a bit of ‘s—‘ or bad formatting’? I will release them from their dungeon and examine. Thank you for not barking at staff.



Dear Moderator:

My last comment on Musa al-Sadr’s troubling hate for the Palestinians is somewhat not published here. Why?

Thumb up 9 Thumb down 25

March 20th, 2012, 11:59 pm


361. Pirouz said:

The SNC’s failure to negotiate with the regime when it could have – based to a large extent on its own fears of losing Western patronage – doomed it to the path of irrelevance.

They bought their own triumphalist narrative. Unfortunately for them, they didn’t factor in the resilience and overwhelming firepower of the Syrian Army. Nor did they adequately factor in the resistance of the Russians and Chinese at the UNSC.

Now the Syrian regime is actively engaged in a hard-fisted military solution.

As I’ve stated previously, supply is a critical shortcoming of the FSyA. Here’s confirmation:


Yes, there will be continued violence in the months and possibly years ahead, the dimensions of which will more closely mirror the Algerian experience of the 1990s, than that of Lebanon or Iraq. And remember who ultimately won that struggle.

Thumb up 11 Thumb down 6

March 21st, 2012, 12:28 am


362. ann said:

Kony 2012 and the promotion of “humanitarian” wars – 21 March 2012


Kony 2012, the 30-minute propaganda video advocating US military intervention in Africa, has become something of a debacle for its creators and media supporters. Millions of people have read and viewed responses debunking the film’s assertions, and some of its early cheerleaders have felt obliged to backpedal and adopt a critical attitude toward it.

The motive for the Obama administration’s endorsement of the Kony video is no different from that which led it to escalate the neo-colonial occupation of Afghanistan, carry out a war for regime-change in Libya, and threaten Syria: the drive to control strategic areas of the world for the enrichment of US banks and corporations.

The US intervention in Uganda is only the continuation of a process that came into full swing with the 1995 bombing by the United States and NATO of Serb forces in Bosnia, the 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia, the more recent bombing of Libya, and the civil war stoked up by the US in Syria.

The grounds for military intervention under humanitarian cover are being prepared in the same fashion against Syria, where the regime of Bashar al-Assad is being subjected to a barrage of propaganda and sanctions by the United States in preparation for some form of intervention, either through NATO or the Arab sheikdoms.

These wars have been facilitated by the sharp movement to the right of the middle-class political organizations that previously dominated the anti-war protest movement. Since the election of Obama, liberal publications like the Nation and pseudo-left groups like the International Socialist Organization have openly or tacitly supported imperialist interventions carried out in the name of human rights. They have become leading protagonists of imperialist war and neo-colonial plunder, moving into action virtually on signal to oppose whichever regime is newly targeted for removal by the US military and State Department.

Far from being a force for peace, the US government is the greatest propagator of war, poverty and social misery. It does not respond to or represent the humanitarian and democratic impulses of the people, but seeks only to exploit these sentiments and channel them behind support for military conquest.


Thumb up 8 Thumb down 7

March 21st, 2012, 12:34 am


363. majedkhaldoun said:

There was several bombs, today, in Iraq, many people died, we should not forget that the Arab League summit is going to be held on 29 of March,nine days from today, and let us not forget that Syrian regime is not invited,

Someone must be responsible for these bombs, it is not the work of one person, it is the work of a group that wants the AL meeting to fail, Syria is not invited, more bombs will certainly force Arab Leaders not to attend such meeting, just like Syria is not going to be there.

Thumb up 6 Thumb down 18

March 21st, 2012, 12:48 am


364. ann said:

360. Pirouz said:

They bought their own triumphalist narrative.
They drank their own Kool-Aid 😀


Thumb up 10 Thumb down 9

March 21st, 2012, 12:53 am


365. mjabali said:

Comment #353

The Alawis got into the army not because of Sunni’s tolerance. This “tolerance” claim is a fable because the Sunnis were never “tolerant” towards the Alawis. They never consider them Muslims, so where the tolerant attitude is going to come from.

Maybe the era after World War II and up till the 1980’s things were different in terms of the limited popularity of the Salafi ideas we know today.

But, the Alawi vs Sunnis, plus the Sunni vs Shia came back in full swing with the fights between al-Assad and the Muslim Brotherhood in the late 1970’s and 1980’s plus with the rise of the Militant Salafi ideas that started gaining popularity helped with the petro dollars. Remember that in the 1950’s the Wahabi oil producing states were getting a cent per barrel from the Western companies that monopolized the whole oil industry. The history of oil in the Middle East should be studied hand in hand with the history of the rise of militant Islam.

The non-tolerant attitude came back to dominate the Sunni’s views about the Alawis and all others. Nowadays I think i live in Ibn Taymiyah 14th C. days because of the hatred coming from certain Muslims towards the Alawis.

The Sunnis and throughout history never let the Alawis get into the army. They never let them do a thing.

France came and let the Alawis for the first time into the Syrian army. France is the one who gave them this chance.

After the independence from France Sunnis dominated the army still. They, as we know, started staging one coups after the other. What made them lose their grip to the Alawis was not because of their attitude but because of historic realities that made the Sunnis lose most of their high ranked officers in the consecutive coups and trouble in Syria. So, when the Alawis officers started getting high positions it was after the 1963 and 1966 events.

One story sticks out from the 1950’s and which is the story of Mohammad Nasser the first high ranking Alawi officer. He was assassinated in Damascus and his killers went free. He was a general when he was killed. Then came the wave of persecution the Alawis got when Adnan al-Maliki was assassinated in 1955.

The Alawis were not a factor in the Army till after the 1963 March “revolution,” which brought al-Baath. Umran and Jadeed came but other than them there were very few Alawi ranking officers, Hafez al-Assad was one of them. He managed to be appointed a Defense Minister. At that moment, the Syrian Army was way too small compared with its size now. Syria was probably around 5 to 6 millions back then.

When Hafez al-Assad took power in 1970/1971, then he started collecting Alawi officers to be his trusted men. He is the first to do this for safety reasons. Remember that in the Middle East the Army is what is going to make sure that you rule.

So, to sum things up: it was because of luck and historic realities that Alawis were able to take control over the Army. The myth of the tolerance of the Sunnis towards them never did and will never exist.

Thumb up 13 Thumb down 7

March 21st, 2012, 12:54 am


366. jad said:

This is a bad news for FSA, because the moment any media link it to Alqaeda it will be the end of its reputation and will taint the reputation of any country that supports it as Alqaeda supporter, (ksa and qatar).

Ghadban was in a bit weak position defending the violence movement, unnecessary denying the advanced weapons the ‘angels’ use and the existence of radical foreign fighters. To top it of he attacked Russia on a Russian TV, how smart is that?

I still don’t understand the useless strategy of many opposition members to deny the obvious when everybody already know the reality.

الجيش السوري الحر والقاعدة


هل يصِحّ القول بأن الغرب والعرب في الصراع ضد نظام لأسد ومن خلال تأييد الجيش السوري الحر يساهمون في الواقع في جلب القاعدة إلى سورية بشكل غير مباشر، حيث تتسع حاليا دائرة النشاط المسلح لمقاتليها؟ فهل يسيطر المجلس الوطني السوري على أذرعه المسلحة، ناهيك عن جماعات مقاتلة منفردة تدعي الانتماء إلى الجيش السوري الحر، في حين أنها لا تمتّ بصلة إلى المعارضة السورية؟

معلومات حول الموضوع:

غياب الحل السياسي للمأساة السورية واستمرار المواجهة الدموية بين السلطة والمعارضة يوفران، مع الأسف الشديد، الظروف الملائمة لتسلل عناصر “القاعدة” وما يماثلها من الجماعات الجهادية المتطرفة الى البلاد. وتغدو سورية مركز جذب للمقاتلين من العراق وليبيا، بعد ان توفرت لهم فرصة المشاركة في الحرب الجديدة بتمويل وإسناد عسكري من القوى الخارجية. وبالتالي تواجه نية قطر والمملكة العربية السعودية في تسليح المعارضة السورية لمقاتلة الجيش النظامي السوري إشكالية كبيرة، طالما ان قسما من الأسلحة يقع، بقصد او بدون قصد، في أيدي الجهاديين الراديكاليين.

اما المجلس الوطني السوري فهو في الواقع لا يسيطر على عمليات الجيش السوري الحر، ناهيك عن تحمل مسؤولية افعال مقاتلي “القاعدة” الذين يعلنون عن انتمائهم الى جيش الثوار، دون ان تكون لهم في الحقيقة علاقة بالمعارضة السورية.

ولذا تميل الدول الغربية الى الدعم المعنوي والدبلوماسي للثوار السوريين اكثر من المسارعة الى تسليحهم. وقد اعلنت وزيرة الخارجية الأميركية هيلاري كلينتون ان واشنطن لا تستطيع حتى الآن ان تفهم من الذي يمثل المعارضة السورية ومع من ينبغي الدخول في حوار؟ ومن ناحية أخرى يطرح السؤال نفسه: كيف تصل الأسلحة العصرية والمعدات العسكرية الغربية الى الثوار، وخصوصا راجمات القذائف المضادة للدبابات وأجهزة الرؤية الحرارية ومنظومات الرصد والمراقبة عبر الأقمار الإصطناعية.

وقد دفع تصعيد العنف في سورية، وبخاصة تصاعد عمليات مقاتلي القاعدة ، امين عام الأمم المتحدة بان كي مون الى الإعتراف بأن تسليح المعارضة لا يساعد على حل الأزمة السورية. وعلى هذه الخلفية نسقت روسيا وجامعة الدول العربية موقفا مشتركا بخصوص سورية يطالب بوقف العنف من جميع الأطراف ووضع ترتبيات مراقبة والحيلولة دون التدخل الأجنبي ، الى جانب البدء بحوار بين الحكومة وجميع أطياف المعارضة. وإذا طبقت بنود هذا الموقف المشترك فلربما تتوفر الفرصة للعثور على مخرج سياسي عتيد من الطريق المسدود والأزمة التي يدفع فاتورتها وبثمن حياتهم المواطنون السوريون.

Thumb up 14 Thumb down 6

March 21st, 2012, 1:01 am


367. jad said:

Dear Haytham, you may need to take in consideration what Bassam wrote, it’s very true, genuine and original:

Bassam AlKadi- بسام القاضي

كتب أنور يونان (Anwar Younan)
“أنت تطالب بسقوط نظام الاستبداد وتشتم وتسفّه وتخوّن كل يطالب بسقوطه !”

ما فات أنور يونان (وكثيرون/ات غيره) أن إسقاط النظام ليس “غاية الغايات”، ولا هو “الحل السحري”، وليس هدفا لا يعلو عليه هدف.
أي: الغاية لا تبرر أبدا الوسيلة.
بل أيضا: الغاية لا تبرر أبدا غايات أخرى.

وحتى اليوم، أستطيع القول أن أغلبية الجهات التي تقول بإسقاط النظام (الجهات وليس الأشخاص)، هي جهات:
1- لا تمتلك أي تعريف واضح لما يعنيه “إسقاط النظام”.

2- لا تمتلك أي برنامج واضح لما بعد إسقاط النظام.

3- لا تأخذ بالحسبان ملايين السوريين/ات (ملايين حقيقية وليست أوهاما) من المؤيدين للنظام كما هو، ومثلهم من المؤيدين للنظام مع تعديلات أساسية.

4- لا تتخذ أية مواقف واضحة من جهات أخرى عديدة في الساحة (المرتزقة المتسمين باسم “الجيش السوري الحر”، الخونة والعملاء المتسمين باسم “المجلس الوطني”، الوهابية والسلفية وحتى القاعدة التي باتت أصوات أسلحتها تعلو على كل شيء). فيما مواقفها واضحة من كل ما ينسب للنظام، سواء كان حقيقيا أم لا.
وفي أحسن الحالات، هي تتكلم كلاما عموميا غير محدد عن “رفض العنف” و”رفض التسليح”.. كما لو لم يكن العنف وقعا تقوم به أطراف محددة، وكما لو لم يكن السلاح هو الصوت الوحيد الآن على ساحة الفعل.

5- تتبنى، صراحة أو مواربة، مواقف وآراء تتناقض تماما مع مفاهيم الديمقراطية والمواطنة والمدنية (الدعوات والبيانات والمواقف التي تستند إلى “أغلبية وأقليات” دينية وطائفية، البيانات والمواقف الطائفية، والموجهة طائفيا، التي تدعو إلى الانتفاض ضد النظام، العقوبات الاقتصادية التي تطال الشعب وليس النظام….).

6- وغالبا هي لا تقوم بأي عمل على أرض الواقع، ولا تغادر مكاتبها إلا إلى مؤتمرات وما شابه.

إذا: كيف يمكن أن تريد سورية ديمقراطية مدنية، أي تريد إسقاط هذا النظام الديكتاتوري القمعي (النظام وليس الدولة والوطن)، وبناء مواطنة حقيقية، ثم تصمت أو تميع كل هذه القضايا؟!

مثلما لم يكن شعار “الإسلام هو الحل”، وشعار “الاشتراكية هي الحل” سوى شعارات تتضمن أسوأ ما في العقل الغيبي من أفكار وممارسات.. فإن شعارات مثل “الديمقراطية هي الحل” و”إسقاط النظام هو الحل”، هي كذلك..

“الثورة” الوحيدة التي نجحت في التاريخ بدون مثل هذه الاعتبارات هي “الثورة الفرنسية”، أو ما يجدر تسميتها بـ”المجزرة الفرنسية”.

واليوم،أكثر من أي يوم مضى، لم يعد مقبولا مثل تلك “الثورات”. لأن اليوم هو يوم تشابك القوى والعوامل محليا واقليميا ودوليا. وهو يوم أنجز فيه البشر الكثير من التطور على مستوى المفاهيم والآليات معا، والأهم على مستوى الحقوق، بما يتناقض مع تلك الثورة-المجزرة.

البرامج الواضحة والدقيقة، الآليات الواضحة والدقيقة، هي فقط التي تجعل هذا الفعل أو ذاك ديمقراطيا، وطنيا، مدنيا… الخ.. أو لا. وليست الشعارات.

Thumb up 15 Thumb down 5

March 21st, 2012, 1:14 am


368. ann said:

365. jad said:

This is a bad news for FSA, because the moment any media link it to Alqaeda it will be the end of its reputation and will taint the reputation of any country that support it as Alqaeda supporter, (ksa and qatar).
JAD, you forgot the FSAs mid-wife our toothless paper tiger erdogan!

Thumb up 19 Thumb down 10

March 21st, 2012, 1:15 am


369. jad said:

I totally forgot, Erdo is the ‘Sultan’ of all those ‘angels’

Thumb up 17 Thumb down 5

March 21st, 2012, 1:43 am


370. ann said:

France waters down proposed Security Council statement on Syria in bid to win Russian support – 36 minutes ago


The original draft presidential statement would have called on the council to review implementation of Annan’s six-point proposal in seven days and consider “further measures” _ which could include sanctions or military action _ if there wasn’t sufficient progress.

But a revised draft circulated late Tuesday and obtained by The Associated Press drops this threat and instead asks Annan to update the council regularly on the progress of his mission. “In the light of these reports, the Security Council will consider further steps as appropriate,” the new draft said.

Security Council ambassadors discussed the text behind closed doors Tuesday and then sent it back to their capitals. If there are no objections by 9 a.m. EDT (1300 GMT) Wednesday, diplomats said the statement will be read by the council president, Britain’s U.N. Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant, at an open meeting later in the day, signifying its adoption.

A presidential statement, which needs approval from all 15 Security Council members, becomes part of the council’s permanent record. But unlike a council resolution, it is not legally binding.


Thumb up 13 Thumb down 10

March 21st, 2012, 1:43 am


371. Alan said:

WikiLeaked: Ex-Blackwater ‘helps regime change’ in Syria
A US government-contracted private security firm is helping the Syrian opposition to overthrow the Bashar al-Assad regime, leaked Stratfor emails indicate. The same firm earlier operated extensively in Libya.
The private military company SCG International had been contracted to engage the Turkey-based Syrian opposition, according to correspondence released by WikiLeaks.
Their assignment was called a “fact finding mission”, but “the true mission is how they can help in regime change,”an email addressed to Stratfor VP for counter-terrorism Fred Burton says.
The source reporting the info is most reliable – it is SCG Chief Executive James F. Smith, who used to be director of notorious company Blackwater, now known as Academi. In a separate message Smith introduces himself to Stratfor as having background in CIA and heading a company “comprised of former DOD, CIA and former law enforcement personnel.”
SCG’s mission with the Syrian opposition is said to have “air cover from Congresswoman [Sue] Myrick,” a Republican lawmaker from North Carolina, who is a member of the US House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. The body is charged with overseeing the American intelligence community.
The email adds that Smith “intends to offer his services to help protect the opposition members, like he had underway in Libya.”
Smith has an extensive record of sharing intelligence with Stratfor, according the Al-Akhbar, the Lebanese daily newspaper, which is one of the media outlets chosen by WikiLeaks as an information partner for disclosure of private Stratfor emails.
The security contractor provided insider data on services he provided to members of the Libyan National Transitional Council during the 2011 uprising, the search for the portable surface-to-air missiles that went missing during the civil war there, and the assassination of Muammar Gaddafi, among other things.
The trail on email ends in mid-December, days before Stratfor mail servers were reportedly hacked by the hacking group Anonymous. The WikiLeaks whistleblower website began publishing the emails, apparently handed over to it by the hacker team, in late February.
The US has been increasingly dependent on private contractors like SCG, outsourcing functions to them that were previously fulfilled by regular troops. Employees of these “modern mercenaries” provide services like personal and area security, intelligence gathering and recruit training in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan.
Critics of the practice say such firms lack accountability and allow the government to carry out “black op” tasks while being able to deny any involvement.

Thumb up 15 Thumb down 6

March 21st, 2012, 2:55 am


372. Alan said:

‘West to launch package war in Middle East’

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.”
The journalist is sure that nothing but the Iranian deadlock could make Syria a military target.
“The West intervened in the Arab world to change regime twice – in Iraq and Libya, because there are huge oil reserves there. But here are no oil reserves in Syria, so who will compensate the West their losses?” he wonders.

Thumb up 15 Thumb down 6

March 21st, 2012, 2:57 am


373. Alan said:

MARCH 18, 2012

•U.S. Special Operations Command: 66,000 elite soldiers to wage covert war

By Richard Walker

Barack Obama’s concept of modern warfare is to wage a global battle of attrition in secret against Washington’s enemies using elite American soldiers. So far, he has authorized the positioning of Special Forces teams in more than 100 countries. The State Department acknowledges that there are 196 countries on the planet. This means U.S. Special Forces are stationed in more than half of the nations around the world.

Thumb up 13 Thumb down 4

March 21st, 2012, 4:05 am


374. Alan said:

I can not understand! what value has a this comment?
Can on any garbage to a ballot box be nasty phrases

Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

March 21st, 2012, 5:51 am


375. Alan said:

Toulouse hunt: Kalashnikov-armed ‘scooter-shooter’ trapped in house

Any progress on Syrian track held back immediately
Lavrov calls for preventing arms smuggling to Syria
Special envoy of UN, LAS Kofi Annan to visit Moscow
Moscow ready to support suggestions of Kofi Annan on Syria – Lavrov

Thumb up 11 Thumb down 3

March 21st, 2012, 6:17 am


376. Juergen said:

Not enough that 1982 the old city of Hama was left in ruins including the old castle, whats left is now subject to shelling.

Thumb up 5 Thumb down 13

March 21st, 2012, 6:54 am


377. majedkhaldoun said:

Comment # 364 has many many wrong informations and Claims.

Mjabali mentioned that Alawis were not tolerated since Ibn Taymieyeh, the facts are that Alawis since then they hated Sunni, and killed many Sunni leaders they made themselves hated, many facts in history proved that they cooperated with Monguls and yes with the crusaders against the Sunni, during Ottoman empire it was not Sunni Syrians against Alawis, it was Turks against Syrians, and after 1945, Allawis were allowed to enter the army and even reach high ranking position,yet Mjabali calls this intolerence,He attribute that to luck, they were not treated differently from people in the northeast Syria, or people in Horan area, Mjabali mentioned that Nasser,Umran Jedid and Hafiz assad were in high ranking position in 1963, yet he calls that sunni intolerence,There were many marriages between Sunni and Alawis, many agriculture projects were done in their area, teachers were brought to their area from educated Sunni to the open schools and allow them to enter equally all kinds of jobs, there was never any bad feeling about them as a sect, during the 40s and up till 1970, the alawi were allowed to be in president position since 1970 till now ,a long 42 years and yet he call that sunni intolerence, the truth is that since 1970 till now the Alawis treated the Sunni in very intolerent way and now the Alawis are killing thousands of Sunni, the Alawis never tolerated sunni in power.

Misinformations will never convince smart people.

Thumb up 7 Thumb down 17

March 21st, 2012, 7:31 am


378. mjabali said:

Here is a link to the massacre that I mentioned yesterday. It happened in Hasibah حسيبة an Alawi village next to the hotbed of al-Qasir. 14 Alawis were killed.


It is obvious also that al-Assad’s army is preparing to retaliate.

Here is a link to an anti Assad news outlet stating what is about to happen:


Thumb up 10 Thumb down 5

March 21st, 2012, 7:32 am


379. Alan said:

1-damage of a fortress is absent!
2-explosion by the form occurred from the explosive saved up in the earth!
stop to do cheap tricks fondly.

Thumb up 10 Thumb down 5

March 21st, 2012, 7:42 am


380. DAWOUD said:

# 359.: “Thank you for not barking at staff”

Dear Moderator:

No, I don’t bark like dogs. Even if I did, I wouldn’t bark at you and I would leave all the parking to the brainwashed Americans Hasan Nasr$$$ basement, who seem NOT to have a life other than posting pro-dictator propaganda on “Syria Comment!” I work and I have a wife and children. I don’t have time to be “barking” on SC 24/7 like the brain-washed pro-Hasan/Bashar American in Beirut 🙂

Thumb up 8 Thumb down 14

March 21st, 2012, 8:14 am


381. DAWOUD said:


استمرار قصف ضواحي دمشق وحمص وحماة

واصل الجيش السوري النظامي اليوم قصفه أحياء في حمص وحماة في وقت تعرضت فيه المنطقة القريبة من الطريق الدولي في حرستا بريف دمشق للقصف، بينما أفادت الهيئة العامة للثورة السورية بأنه عُثر على 39 جثة في حي الرفاعي بحمص بينها 19 جثة لأفراد من عائلة واحدة. بعد يوم قتل فيه ستون شخصا برصاص الأمن والجيش.

وذكر ناشطون أن قوات النظام واصلت قصفها حيي الحميدية والأربعين بحماة وأن الأهالي لا يتمكنون من نقل الجرحى إلى المشافي التي تعاني نقصا في المستلزمات الطبية.

وبث ناشطون معارضون على مواقع الثورة السورية صورا قالوا إنها التقطت صباح اليوم في حي الخالدية بمدينة حمص، وتظهر الصور تصاعد دخان وأصوات انفجارات يقولون إنها ناجمة عن قصف قوات النظام للحي الذي تجدد صباح اليوم.

أما في دمشق فأكد نشطاء المعارضة أن ضاحيتين كبيرتين من ضواحي المدينة تعرضتا لقصف مكثف بقذائف الدبابات والطائرات اليوم الأربعاء في أعقاب تجدد هجمات الجيش السوري الحر على القوات الموالية للرئيس بشار الأسد التي استعادت المنطقة من المعارضين قبل شهرين.

وقال ناشطون إنه سمع صباح اليوم دوي انفجارات قرب مخفر للشرطة في حي ركن الدين وفي حي القابون بالعاصمة دمشق، وإن الحواجز الأمنية قرب فرع فلسطين للمخابرات أطلقت النار بشكل عشوائي.

وأضاف الناشطون أن قذائف المدافع الثقيلة والمدافع المضادة للطائرات أصابت ضاحيتي حرستا وعربين خلال الليل وأن مروحيات الجيش سمعت وهي تحلق فوق المنطقة على المشارف الشرقية للعاصمة.

عشرات الاشخاص قتلوا في قصف إدلب (الجزيرة)
وقالت الهيئة العامة للثورة السورية إن ستين شخصاً على الأقل قتلوا أمس برصاص قوات الجيش والأمن، معظمهم في حمص وحماة وإدلب.

وتحدثت الشبكة عن مقتل 23 شخصا على الأقل في حمص بينهم طفلة ووالداها, وأشارت إلى مقتل خمسة في ريف دمشق, وثلاثة في حماة, واثنين في دير الزور, وواحد في كل من إدلب وحلب واللاذقية ودمشق.

قصف واقتحامات
وأكدت الهيئة العامة للثورة السورية ولجان التنسيق المحلية تعرض أحياء حمص القديمة والخالدية وباب السباع والبياضة والصفصافة للقصف.

وقالت لجان التنسيق إن الجيش قصف باب السباع بصواريخ حرارية، مما أدى إلى تهدم بنايات ومقتل وجرح عدد من السكان, كما استهدف قصف مماثل حي القصور.

وكان عضو مجلس الثورة السورية وليد الفارس قد صرح في وقت سابق الثلاثاء للجزيرة بأن أربعة أشخاص على الأقل قتلوا في حي الخالدية جراء القصف العنيف للحي منذ فجر اليوم بقذائف الهاون.

وبشكل متزامن تقريبا, تعرضت مدينة الرستن وقرية النزارية لقصف بالأسلحة الثقيلة حسب الناشطين.

وقال ناشطون إن القصف تركز على أحياء الحميدية والشرقية ومشاع، وبلدة قلعة المضيق وقرى

Thumb up 3 Thumb down 14

March 21st, 2012, 8:25 am


382. DAWOUD said:


I hope that the brainwashed American does not have children because posting pro-Bashar/Hasan propaganda 24/7 while neglecting children, is clearly child abuse!

Thumb up 6 Thumb down 13

March 21st, 2012, 8:37 am


383. zoo said:

Turkey impotent and trapped ?

What to do about Syria? Turkey wavers
By CHRISTOPHER TORCHIA | Associated Press – 37 mins ago


ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkey stands at the forefront of calls for the ouster of Syrian President Bashar Assad, but there are an awful lot of red lines that it won’t cross to realize that goal.

Like its Western allies, Turkey says it won’t arm outgunned Syrian rebels, and has no plans to set up a buffer zone in neighboring Syria where civilians and army defectors can shelter and regroup.

The result? A stalemate in which diplomacy and ritual condemnations pale alongside the uninterrupted killing, and fears of wider, regional chaos preclude bolder action on the ground.

Another commentator, Semih Idiz, wrote in Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News that Turkey had painted itself into a corner on Syria because it wrongly anticipated that the uprising would not last so long and Assad would be toppled sooner.

“The bottom line is that al-Assad — albeit in the most appallingly inhuman way — has thus far outfoxed Erdogan and Davutoglu, and it seems he will be around for much longer than Ankara expected or is prepared for,” Idiz wrote.

Thumb up 10 Thumb down 5

March 21st, 2012, 9:02 am


384. zoo said:

A Sunni Islamist terrorist group claims the attacks in Damascus, with “God’s will”

In a statement posted Wednesday on a militant website, an Islamist group called the Al-Nusra Front to Protect the Levant claimed responsibility for twin suicide bombings in Damascus on Saturday. The blasts, which targeted the air force intelligence building and the criminal security department, killed at least 27 people, the state-run news agency said.

The Associated Press could not verify the authenticity of Wednesday’s statement, which said the attacks were in retaliation for the Syrian regime’s shelling of residential areas in opposition strongholds in Homs, Idlib, Hama and Daraa.

“We tell the (Syrian) regime to stop the massacres against the Sunnis, otherwise, you will bear the sin of the Alawites,” the Al-Nusra Front said. “What is coming is more bitter and painful, with God’s will.”
The group also has claimed responsibility for earlier suicide attacks.

Al-Qaida’s involvement could further fuel the sectarian tensions that the uprising already has stoked.

Al-Qaida’s supporters are largely Sunni Muslim extremists

Thumb up 10 Thumb down 4

March 21st, 2012, 9:07 am


385. Tara said:

Has anyone heard about Al- Nusra group in the past? Are they just created? How do we know they are not a “fake” group created by the regime to claim responsibility for the attacks?

Thumb up 7 Thumb down 14

March 21st, 2012, 9:21 am


386. zoo said:

“If the delayed Arab Spring eventually reaches Saudi Arabia, it will likely be a bloody affair.”

No Saudi Spring
By Madawi Al-Rasheed
March 21, 2012


“Frustration among Saudis has deep roots. Since the start of his reign in 2005, King Abdullah has promised reform. But, despite those promises, Saudi Arabia remains an oil corporation run by a large royal dynasty. The regime has much in common with a private family business: it subcontracts certain functions to outsiders, who in turn develop a vested interest in the firm’s success. For example, Saudi Arabia subcontracts its security to the United States and other Western players that rely on its oil.”

Inside Saudi Arabia, the regime’s first line of defense against the planned March 11 protests was to mobilize anti-Shia sentiment and official Wahhabist religion. Religious leaders supported the regime in two complementary ways.

First, Wahhabi religious scholars warned from the minarets that the wrath of God would be inflicted on demonstrators. On March 7, the Council of Higher Ulama, the senior official religious authority, issued a fatwa against protests. Thousands of hard copies were distributed in mosques and neighborhoods, and digital versions made the rounds online. All local newspapers reported on it favorably.

Second, official religious scholars warned of an Iranian-Shia conspiracy directed by Saudi exiles in London and Washington and the Shia in the Eastern Province to cause fitna (chaos) and divide the country. The officials relied on conventional Wahhabi condemnations of the Shia, historically depicted as heretics and more recently as an Iranian fifth column. They reminded the believers of the need for ijma, consensus around the pious rulers of the country, and warned that protests would lead to fragmentation and bloody civil war.

In addition to these secular gifts, the king funded new religious centers to spread the Wahhabi message and Hanbali jurisprudence, the predominant school of religious law among Saudi Sunnis. The new facilities will encourage the memorizing of the Qur’an and missionary work inside and outside Saudi Arabia. The goals are not solely pious. The religious police, who saw their own slice of the extra funding, don’t only monitor public morality-they also spy on the population. And, with more jobs available, the religious bureaucracy will be able to absorb religious graduates who are of no use to modern economies.

If the delayed Arab Spring eventually reaches Saudi Arabia, it will likely be a bloody affair. Violent opposition is nothing new in Saudi Arabia, where jihadis have fought the state since 2003, and regime opponents took up arms in 1927, 1965, and 1979. In the absence of a tradition of peaceful protest and in the face of religiously sanctioned bans on even nonviolent activism, aggression against the regime and its enablers may again become the only option.

Madawi Al-Rasheed is a Saudi-Arabian-born professor of social anthropology at the department of Theology and Religious Studies in King’s College London.

Thumb up 13 Thumb down 3

March 21st, 2012, 9:24 am


387. zoo said:

“Without willing and capable opposition, tyrannies will remain with us.

Cooper: Tweets and riots won’t stop Syrian tyranny
By Barry Cooper March 20, 2012
For the most part, outside observers do not live under tyrants. This helps explain why westerners do not and perhaps cannot understand that tyrannies can be popular. Hafez al-Assad took control of Syria following a generation of postwar instability as a result of a seemingly endless series of military coups and counter coups. Most people prefer stability to disorder, and if the cost is the absence of democratic rights and the deaths of the tyrant’s opponents, then they will gladly pay the price. Or they will leave, which is why tyrannies such as in Syria spawn fragmented expat oppositions, not united domestic ones.

No tyranny exists simply by repressing its citizens. During the early years of Nazi rule, Hitler was popular beyond measure with the German public. Stalin is still the object of nostalgia in Russia and his native Georgia, notwithstanding the ongoing confrontation between those two states.

No doubt the Assad regime has many opponents, but a significant minority supports it with great intensity. Such people can stay in power for a long time if they are prepared to fight and if they have a lot to lose. One reason why the Soviet tyranny ended is that the old men at the top had lost the taste for murdering their opponents. Another was that, even if the Soviet Union disappeared, they would be able to negotiate the transition and prosper under the new management.

In contrast, the men running Syria are fully prepared to extinguish their opponents. They occupy strategic positions in the military and security police and have a great deal to lose if Assad does not survive. True, they have had help from Iran, China and Russia, and as Alawites, they quite properly fear Sunni persecution. But that is secondary. Tyrannies are hardly ever isolated and are almost always run by minorities — ideological, tribal or religious. But minority status neither makes them weak nor easy to remove.

A great 20th century political scientist, Leo Strauss, once remarked that the greatest failing of his contemporaries was their inability to recognize tyranny for what it was. He had Hitler and Stalin in mind. Our problem is compounded by the belief that regime change is easy. Riots, uprisings and endless tweets are not enough. Without willing and capable opposition, tyrannies will remain with us. That is as true for Syria as it was for Nazi Germany.

Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/news/Cooper+Tweets+riots+stop+Syrian+tyranny/6332600/story.html#ixzz1pl2NApXj

Thumb up 12 Thumb down 3

March 21st, 2012, 9:29 am


388. Son of Damascus said:

Assad Family Values
How the Son Learned to Quash a Rebellion From His Father
Patrick Seale
March 20, 2012

Ever since the Baath Party came to power in Syria in 1963, it has faced a challenge from the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamic militants. These Islamists were — and still are — bitterly opposed to the Baath Party’s secular policies and to the prominence in its leadership of Syria’s minorities, notably Alawis, whom extremist Sunnis consider heretics.

The smoldering resentment burst into open conflict during the 30-year rule (1970-2000) of Hafez al-Assad, and again during the rule of his son, Bashar, who took over the presidency after his father’s death. In February 1982, Hafez al-Assad put down a rebellion in the city of Hama by his Islamist opponents. Three decades later, in February 2012, Bashar al-Assad faced down a rebellion in Homs, a sister city of Hama in the central Syrian plain. Both responded with great brutality to these regime-threatening uprisings, as if aware that they and their community would face no mercy if the Islamists were ever to come to power.



Thumb up 5 Thumb down 16

March 21st, 2012, 9:37 am


389. Tara said:

50 some were killed by Bashar al Assad today. 10 children among them. This is Bashar’ s and Asma’s gift to the Syrian mothers on Mother’s day.

Thumb up 5 Thumb down 15

March 21st, 2012, 10:25 am


390. zoo said:

Syriac leader refuses to move patriarchate to Turkey

The head of the Syriac Union Party in Syria stated his opposition to the relocation of the Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate in Damascus and the Syriac Catholic Patriarchate in Beirut back into Turkey.
“We have a large population in Syria, and the patriarchate is the highest institution that holds them together. The relocation of the patriarchate would be tantamount to our people losing their presence [in Syria],” Echove Gouriye, head of the Syrian Syriac Union Party, told Hürriyet Daily News.

Turkish officials have been holding talks toward relocating the Catholic and Orthodox Syriac Patriarchates back into Turkey, Gouriye said, adding they were under great strain due to the repressive attitude of the al-Assad regime in Syria. Many party members have been arrested, he said.

“If Turkey truly wants to do something, then the restoration of Syriacs’ rights in Turkey would suffice for us,” said Gouriye, who is currently in Turkey for a visit.

Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

March 21st, 2012, 10:33 am


391. zoo said:

Violence continues in Syria while int’l powers struggle over the issue

DAMASCUS, March 21 (Xinhua) — A suicide bomber riding a car bomb blew himself up late Tuesday in Syria’s southern Daraa province, killing an unidentified number of civilians and law-enforcement members.

This was the latest in a string of suicide attacks that have hit the Arab nation lately.

On Sunday, armed “terrorist” groups committed a massacre in the central province of Homs, leaving 14 people killed, according to the pro-government al-Watan daily.

Moreover, an “armed terrorist group” detonated a booby-trapped car in the northwestern city of Aleppo as the specialized authorities found the car suspicious and were trying to pull it out from the area.

On Saturday, two suicide car bombers detonated their explosives near the aviation intelligence directorate and the criminal security department in Damascus, killing 29 civilians and security personnel and wounding 140 others.

Another car bomb exploded Saturday in Damascus at the Yarmouk camp housing thousands of Palestinians in the south of the city. Syrian state-run SANA news agency said two “terrorists” were killed when their bomb-laden car exploded at the camp.

Nobody has claimed responsibility for the explosions, while the Syrian government has accused some Arab and Western countries of providing weapons and financial support to the armed groups in Syria.

Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

March 21st, 2012, 10:39 am


392. Equus said:

Prior to the CIA-backed civil war in Afghanistan and the Taliban rule beginning in 1996, 50% of the students and 60% of the teachers at Kabul University were women, and 70% of school teachers, 50% of civilian government workers, and 40% of doctors in Kabul were women.

See pictures how modern were the women

Let’s see how better Syria is after this civil war …

Thumb up 8 Thumb down 5

March 21st, 2012, 10:39 am


393. admir said:

MAJEDKHALDOUN Comment # 377 I’m not sure if you even read what Mjabali mentioned otherwise you wouldn’t have posted that garbage of a post.

The alawis didn’t hate the sunnis because they didn’t like them, it was becasue the sunnis hated them and persecuted them initially (and implicitly today), it was only after ibn tayymiah and the sunni persecution/hatred of alawis that alawis started hating sunnis and killing their leaders. In other words the hatred was mutual and not one-sided

many facts in history proved that they cooperated with Monguls and yes with the crusaders against the Sunni, but this was because they were being persecuted and killed by sunnis to the point they couldn’t tolerate it and would rather have foreigners liberate and even rule them so they dont have to suffer this tyranny of sunni rule. so it was ironically sunnis who made them turn to foreigners like mongols and crusaders for liberation and revenge. we see this happening today where the tables are turned; sunnis are calling for foreigners to cooperate with and support them (USA and western countries and even israel). dont try to justify it by saying that ‘its only support and not invasion like mongols and crusaders’, why do they call for a no-fly zone when assad doesnt use planes to bomb people? the reason is beacuse they saw how the NFZ in libya was used for justification of a supported bombing campaign against the regime, and want to do the same in syria (in other words, sunnis are cooperating with the modern-day mongols and crusaders and therefore are traitors to syria according to your logic).

during Ottoman empire it was not Turks against Syrians, rather it was turks supported by sunni syrians against non-sunni syrians (and non-sunni turks like kurds and alevis). most historians know that there wasnt a colonial struggle against turks by syrians since the idea of a syria (or even the idea of nationalism) didn’t exist back then. it was only after the non-muslim french began ruling them that it suddenly became a struggle against colonialism and the idea of syria (and nationalism in general) appeared; this further shows the religious bigotry of some syrians. during french colonial rule of the french the roles within syrian society were reversed – alawis (and to a lesser extent christians, druze, ismaili) joined the army recruited by the French, whereas the sunnis resisted (mostly for religious reasons of opposing a ‘kaffir colonial power’).

after 1945, Allawis were allowed to enter the army and even reach high ranking position, but the reason why Mjabali calls this intolerence is because they were still persecuted and negatively viewed in syrian (sunni) society the same way the pieds-noirs were negatively viewed by algerians or how the tutsis were viewed negatively by hutus in algeria (in both cases the former supported and cooperated with the colonial powers just like alawis did with french), this despite the fact that sunni syrians cooperated in the same way with the colonial foreign ottomans. He attribute that to luck because an alawi becoming ruler of all (sunni) syria; this was a precedent akin to a untouchable in india becoming a maharajah (king) or a russian jew becoming czar of russia – it was by luck and historical realities of division among sunnis themselves (which you attribute due to regionalism i.e. northeast, houran) that the alawis had the chance to get into the halls of government military and power – and they seized that opportunity fearing they may not get this kind of opportunity again. the fact is that they WERE treated differently from people in the northeast Syria, or people in Horan area, because they were not sunni yet thye claimed to be muslims – they were considered the lowest of the low among the strata of syrian society (even lower than christian and jews). Mjabali mentioned that Nasser,Umran Jedid and Hafiz assad were in high ranking position in 1963, yet he calls that sunni intolerence, That is because they didn’t get to that position by getting support and tolerance from sunnis its because of luck and the historical reality (as Mjabali mentioned which you ignore), most often they took that position by force (since democratic elections would never allow an alawi to power).

There were many marriages between Sunni and Alawis AFTER HAFEZ ASSAD CAME TO POWER, many agriculture projects were done in their area AFTER HAFEZ ASSAD CAME TO POWER, teachers were brought to their area from educated Sunni to the open schools and allow them to enter equally all kinds of jobs AFTER HAFEZ ASSAD CAME TO POWER, before him these never happened (or they were rare), assad did all these things to make alliances to keep in power and keep country stable – during his rule there started to appear an alawi elite (unheard of before the 60s) and those elites married sunnis to make alliances and eliminate rivalries with some sunnis, yet religious sunnis always had a bad feeling about them as a sect (which is why they started opposing them religiously under the umbrella group of muslim brotherhood). during the 40s and up till 1970, the alawi were allowed to be in president position since 1970 till now – and that is because they came in government and became president by a coup and through force they maintained power; because they got that opportunity during the 60s and 70s (when there were coups among sunnis), a long 42 years and yet he call that sunni intolerence, that is because sunnis never accepted them and they had to keep power by force and authoritarian ways (why all the various intelligence agencies? why all the shabihas? why all the political repression and torture?). sunnis tried to take back power in the 70s through the muslim brotherhood insurgency but they were crushed by the alawis in hama. the truth is that since 1970 till now the Alawis treated the Sunni in very intolerent way, because the sunni treated the alawis in very intolerant ways centuries before. and now the Alawis are killing thousands of Sunni, because sunnis always killed alawis and are still today killing alawis. the Alawis never tolerated sunni in power because they know that if sunni comes to power they will be treated worse than shiites in iraq during saddam, and much worse than copts in egypt after mubarak.

Misinformations will never convince smart people MAJED, next time i suggest you actually read the post you respond to before actually posting otherwise your response will be BS.

Thumb up 5 Thumb down 4

March 21st, 2012, 10:43 am


394. omen said:

prior to the israel waging war, egypt and palestine were mostly secular.

equus, it was the godless russians who offended the islamists.

Thumb up 3 Thumb down 10

March 21st, 2012, 10:44 am


395. omen said:

equus, the westernized afghans were reserved to the city. the rural people were still traditional.

Thumb up 5 Thumb down 9

March 21st, 2012, 10:47 am


396. zoo said:

Text of UN Security Council statement on Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria agreed on Wednesday
2:17PM GMT 21 Mar 2012


“The Security Council recalls its Presidential Statement of 3 August 2011 and its Press Statement of 1 March 2012.

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

“The Security Council reaffirms its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria, and to the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter.

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

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

“To this aim, the Security Council fully supports the initial six-point proposal submitted to the Syrian authorities, as outlined by the Envoy to the Security Council on 16 March 2012, to:

1) commit to work with the Envoy in an inclusive Syrian-led political process to address the legitimate aspirations and concerns of the Syrian people, and, to this end, commit to appoint an empowered interlocutor when invited to do so by the Envoy;

2) commit to stop the fighting and achieve urgently an effective United Nations supervised cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties to protect civilians and stabilise the country.

To this end, the Syrian government should immediately cease troop movements towards, and end the use of heavy weapons in, population centres, and begin pullback of military concentrations in and around population centres.

As these actions are being taken on the ground, the Syrian government should work with the Envoy to bring about a sustained cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties with an effective United Nations supervision mechanism.

Similar commitments would be sought by the Envoy from the opposition and all relevant elements to stop the fighting and work with him to bring about a sustained cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties with an effective United Nations supervision mechanism;

3) ensure timely provision of humanitarian assistance to all areas affected by the fighting, and to this end, as immediate steps, to accept and implement a daily two hour humanitarian pause and to coordinate exact time and modalities of the daily pause through an efficient mechanism, including at local level.

4) intensify the pace and scale of release of arbitrarily detained persons, including especially vulnerable categories of persons, and persons involved in peaceful political activities, provide without delay through appropriate channels a list of all places in which such persons are being detained, immediately begin organising access to such locations and through appropriate channels respond promptly to all written requests for information, access or release regarding such persons;

5) ensure freedom of movement throughout the country for journalists and a non-discriminatory visa policy for them;

6) respect freedom of association and the right to demonstrate peacefully as legally guaranteed.

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

“The Security Council requests the Envoy to update the Council regularly and in a timely manner on the progress of his mission. In the light of these reports, the Security Council will consider further steps as appropriate.”

Thumb up 8 Thumb down 4

March 21st, 2012, 10:48 am


397. mjabali said:

Can someone please let us know why a comment would be sent to the spam box if it is not spam at all? I tried to post a response since this morning and never got through…release my comment from the spam (or moderator’s) jail…. Freedom for my words

Thumb up 13 Thumb down 6

March 21st, 2012, 10:51 am


398. jad said:

Alqaeda in Syria

-In Homs as part of fsa terrorist group
تشكيل كتيبة للقاعدة في حمص وظهورها وطلبها الدعم
الجيش الحر الحقيقي أسود التوحيد الارهابية |القاعدة

-Claiming responsibility of the attacks in Damascus:
“جبهة النصرة لأهل الشام” الإسلامية تعلن مسؤوليتها عن تفجيري دمشق وتتوعد بالمزيد من الهجمات

أعلنت جماعة إسلامية الأربعاء مسؤوليتها عن تفجير منشآت أمنية في دمشق الأسبوع الماضي، قائلة إن الهجمات “جاءت ردا على قصف القوات السورية لحمص ومدن أخرى”.
وتوعدت الجماعة، التي تًُطلق على نفسها اسم “جبهة النصرة لأهل الشام”، بشن المزيد من الهجمات على القوات والأهداف الحكومية في المرحلة المقبلة.
وجاء في بيان نُشر على موقع “شموخ الإسلام” الذي يستخدمه الإسلاميون أن “جبهة النصرة تتبني عملية فرع الأمن الجوّي وإدارة الأمن الجنائي بدمشق”.
وقالت البيان، الذي عنونته الجماعة “القصف بالنسف”: “قام جنود جبهة النصرة -أعزها الله – بسلسلة من العمليات العسكرية في عدة محافظات ضد أوكار النظام. وكان أبرزها فرع الأمن الجوي وإدارة الأمن الجنائي في دمشق.”
وأضاف البيان: “نود أن نحيط النظام علما بأن ردنا على جرائمه في كرم الزيتون من قتل للعوائل بأطفالهم ونسائهم وشيوخهم وكذلك اغتصابه للنساء سيكون لاحقا باذن الله.”
ومضى البيان يقول: “نقول له أوقف مجازرك ضد أهل السنة، وإلا فإنما عليك إثم النصيريين ( العلويين )، والقادم أدهى وأمر بإذن الله تعالى.”

Sunni Islamists claim Damascus bombings

A Sunni Islamist group claimed responsibility on Wednesday for the bombing of security installations in Damascus last week, saying it was a reprisal for the shelling of Homs and other Syrian cities by President Bashar Assad’s forces.

In a statement posted on an Islamist web forum, the “Soldiers of the Assistance Front” vowed further attacks against Assad, whose minority Alawi sect it denounced as heretical.

“The soldiers…have carried out a series of military operations on the regime’s lairs, most notably the air security and criminal security branches in Damascus,” it said.

“We would like to inform the regime that our response to its crimes in Karm al-Zeitoun – the killing of families, children, women, and the elderly, and the rape of women – is coming soon, God willing,” it said, referring to a district of Homs.

“Stop your massacres of Sunnis, or bear the sin of the Nusayris [Alawis]. What is coming will be even more calamitous and bitter,” it said.

تنظيم”القاعدة” في بلاد الشام (جبهة النصرة) يتبنى تفجيري “الجوية” و”الأمن الجنائي” في دمشق
بيان المنظمة يحذر أبناء الطائفة “العلوية” من أنه سيستهدفهم في العمليات القادمة “ردا على استهداف النظام للسنة” ، ويقول إن المنظمة لم تكن تستهدف “النصارى” الذين سقطوا في العملية!؟

Thumb up 8 Thumb down 5

March 21st, 2012, 10:54 am


399. omen said:

equus @ 10:39 am

Let’s see how better Syria is after this civil war

you shouldn’t wish ill upon a people who only want to be free. it’s not a civil war when most of the civilians are unarmed. and the few who are armed are badly outgunned.

ran across this quote that resonated:
before, syria was fighting to be free. now they are fighting to stay alive.

Thumb up 6 Thumb down 11

March 21st, 2012, 10:58 am


400. Son of Damascus said:


“In case you don’t know the car that exploded wasn’t parking, it was moving and tried to get into the entry of that building, so please tell your not ‘idiot’ ‘beloved’ friend to wake up and take his dementia piles, he needs couple.”

I find the statement you made above extremely in bad faith on your part Jad, because the person I mentioned is a respected member of his community that lost a close member of his family in that bombing. THE CAR WAS PARKED THERE, there was no shoot out before or after the bomb went off. You are free to believe whatever reporting that Abu Khalil, Nawari, SANA, SyriaTruth want to write, and I will never attack you for believing in them, and I will not call you names or accuse you of apologizing for anyone because you choose to believe in their rhetoric.

“What a disappointing comment, being an opposition to the regime doesn’t mean that you have to support terrorism and defend them.

Where did I ever mention that I support terrorism, or even that I defended terrorist?

Please provide me with a link where I ever said anything remotely like that, you are reaching conclusions that are completely unfounded.

“You obviously have never been to that area, otherwise, you would know that cars there are parked with no question asked, but you obviously on a mission to defend the killers, good luck!”

I know Damascus very well and what I said holds true even before any of these events ever occurred, especially recently because this is more true today than ever. Even the houses of the Masouleen today you can’t park near them unless you live in the building, just ask anyone living in Malki or Mazze. Hanano Street (that leads to Shami Hospital) the whole side road is occupied by armed guards, try to park your car at Zanobia’s and see what happens or near the Moukhabarat in Rawda (all 5 of them), or park close to Mustafa Tlass’s house near Sibki Park. Even Taxi Al Najah can’t park their cars in Sahit el Malki, where they have been parking their cars since they opened.

I am not out to defend anyone but myself, and in the future please attack me and not the person I mention is beloved to me. You have a problem with something I write, express it without the need to stoop to childish accusations and unfounded allegations about my political affiliation.

And for the record I find it odd that you failed to comment on the picture I attached, it shows what the Assadist are willing to do and adds credence to the fact that they themselves would do such heinous crimes.

Thumb up 8 Thumb down 11

March 21st, 2012, 10:59 am


Pages: « 13 4 5 6 7 [8] 9 10 11 12 1318 » Show All

Post a comment