US closer to declaring Assad’s rule in Syria illegitimate

US closer to declaring Assad’s rule in Syria illegitimate
By Bradley Klapper,Matthew Lee, The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The U.S. is edging closer to calling for an end to the long rule of the Assad family in Syria. Obama administration officials say the first step would be to declare for the first time that President Bashar Assad has forfeited his legitimacy to rule. That would be a shift from U.S. statements demanding that Assad stop a brutal crackdown on peaceful protesters. Those stopped short of saying he had to go.

Assad retains considerable international support, and it is not clear how much backing the U.S. would have in suggesting regime change. It is also unclear how far the U.S. would be willing to back up its words with action.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss highly sensitive internal planning

Copyright © 2011 The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.

Erdoghan warned that Syria was about to enter the “Halabja and Hama” phase.

Addendum: Mitch writes:

I spent 3 hours reading Western Journalists on what is going on in Syria, and this is what I found:

“But she added that claims by the Syrian authorities that armed groups are responsible for some of the deaths were not unfounded. She said cars full of unidentified men routinely open fire on civilians and security forces alike.” (Blanford)

“He said Assad still had a chance to make amends” (Bradley Klapper)

“Damascus, the capital, seemingly tranquil, and Aleppo, a key conservative bastion, has been relatively quiet.”(Anthony Shadid)

“In the village of Hala outside Deraa, Muslim inhabitants told their Christian neighbours to join the demonstrations against the regime – or leave.” (Robert Fisk)

It is quite clear, by my selective quoting, that my original position is correct. The Syrian regime is completely correct in all its actions.

Can I be a major journalist yet?

Isn’t that what Shadid did? Makhluf was talking about the armed insurgents the West ignores. Shadid was talking about his beloved peaceful protestors. So he took Makhluf’s words against the real Islamic threat and made it sound like they were against everyone.

And Prof. Landis bought this theory.

Or am I to believe the Hizb Ul-Tahrir supporters in northern Jordan want a pro-democracy Syria. Or the Hizb Ul-Tahrir supporters in northern Lebanon (than Blanford or Shadid fail to mention who they are) are pro-democracy.

Homsi writes:

i would like to clarify something about Homs as its in the news all the times now days as a second Deraa , i dont know what was happining in Daraa but it was obvouse that Daraa was an angry city in general

Homs is much bigger than Daraa as you know and its much much diverced for some one reading the news (even state TV) woud think that the city is boilgn just like Daraa ,that is not true

The demonstrations took place in the conservative parts of the city, the places that you would not walk with your sister or any other female that is not wearing hijab without feeling that you are making something wrong, those places are meanly a tribal areas who settled in this part of the city with the exeption to BAB el sbaa (near where i live)

The vast majority of Homs is against ‘the revolution’ but the problem is that  areas like al-jhaldia and bayada alone are 100 000 people and they are all from two or three tribes, meaning that in on funeral you will find 5000 people minimum

We are so glad that the army is in the city (i cant call my family however i feel better because i know the army and the security force are in the area)

Homs the main city is very calm (with the exeption of bab el sbaa) but if you ask any one they will tell you that the people in bab el sbaa who caused troubles came from outside and no one knows them). Thank you all

Observer writes:

Either Bashar or chaos. The same talk came from Ghadafi when he stated that the stability of Israel and the region passes through him. He also added that he is a bulwark against illegal immigration to Europe as well.

I posted before that the regime needs to be uprooted from its deepest root unless it seriously and rapidly institutes real and meaningful reforms.

Those on this blog that troll for the regime’s point are all doom and gloom.

I see that the Checks and the Slovaks parted ways in 93 and nothing happened and that Yougoslavia broke up and even though it was very bloody due to the folly and criminality of Milosevic life seems to go on and many of these countries will continue to learn to live in peace over time. I also see that South Sudan achieved independence and Bangladesh separated from Pakistan and none is the worse for it in the long run.

I do wish that the various sects and ethnic groups opt for independence and freedom; after all the situation in which the Alawites find themselves is a major dilemma for them and the rest. They are now put in the stark choice of either supporting the Mafia in control or risk losing everything in a civil war. In reality they should separate and declare their independence after all France tried that route before and sowed the seed of discord a long time age with the various sects and minorities.

Staying together in a shot gun forced marriage will destroy the children surely and the grand children as well as we have seen in Lebanon and Iraq. Break it up peacefully before it breaks up violently.

What are we trying to preserve in this current Syria? Corruption, nepotism, brutality, oppression, sectarian hatred, failed state institutions, cultural death, dismal education, barbaric health care system?

Abu Ghassan writes:

Any further moves by the US on Syria will probably increase the chances of an actual civil war instead of helping the opposition. The regime forces will not simply resign and ask for mercy as soon as the US declares Bashar as being illegitimate. Libya is ruined in part because of careless western policies added to the brutality of the regime and the abundance of oil in Libya. Syria does not have oil but it is a significant prize politically as long as Israel and Iran remain at odds and as long as there is no peace in the middle east.

I am confident that our president,Obama,is fully able to make life harder for the regime and ordinary citizens alike,however,the best course now is staying out of this internal strife while refusing to reward the regime.

Security Council urged to speak out on Syria
10 May 2011, The Star

New York: Western nations have launched a new bid to get the UN Security Council to condemn Syria for its deadly crackdown on opposition demonstrators, diplomats say.

Syria’s refusal to let a UN humanitarian assessment team into the protest city of Dara’a was raised by Britain at a Security Council meeting yesterday.

Britain is leading lobbying for a Security Council resolution warning Syria over its crackdown, diplomats say.

In parallel, Western nations are stepping up a campaign to stop Syria getting a seat on the UN Human Rights Council at a vote next week.

But efforts to pressure Syria are being held back by opposition from Russia, China and other countries on the 15-nation Security Council, who say the French-British-US coalition staging air attacks in Libya has gone beyond its UN mandate.

Syria again angered its critics by refusing to let a UN humanitarian team into Dara’a on Sunday. Hundreds are feared to have died in the city, which has become a symbol of the protests against President Bashar al-Assad.

The UN announced on Thursday that Syria had agreed to let a UN team into Dara’a, after UN Sscretary general Ban Ki-moon appealed directly to Assad.

According to human rights groups, more than 600 people have been killed and 8 000 have been jailed or disappeared across Syria in eight weeks of protests. – Sapa-AFP

Fadi Writes:

The Syrian tv just aired interviews with people in the souks around daraa. They said the army was giving them bread and foodstuff and that water was never cut off but electricity was cut for 3 days. They said that telecommunications is still disrupted in many areas. In general people were not angry or bitter. Some women were happy saying that the demonstrations started rightly for peaceful demands in the begining but then some armed groups took control of the city and people were afraid to go out at night. All seemed believable. The question remains: why not the media in and the UN commission go in earlier today?

Young protest leader sees civil war emerging in Syria
Blanford – Christian Science Monitor

A Syrian schoolteacher who has become a protest leader in the town of Tel Kalakh, near the Lebanon border, tells the Monitor in a rare interview that he expects civil war in Syria.

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2011/0510/Young-protest-leader-sees-civil-war-emerging-in-Syria/%28page%29/2

Among those crossing the river on Monday was a young schoolteacher who in recent weeks has emerged as the leader of the protest movement in the mainly Sunni-populated town, which lies just two miles north of the border.

He and other residents struck mixed tones of fear and defiance as the Syrian authorities continued a punishing nationwide campaign of arrests and shootings against key centers of unrest to suppress a two-month uprising that threatens to topple the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Syria 101: 4 attributes of Assad’s authoritarian regime

Calling himself Nisr min Tel Kalakh (the Eagle of Tel Kalakh), the young opposition leader, who could not be named for security reasons, says that he hopes the uprising remains peaceful. But he predicts that the intensifying crackdown by the Syrian security forces will plunge the country into an armed civil war.

“We are all expecting for Syria exactly what happened in Libya – a revolution against the regime, an armed struggle against the regime. It will happen soon,” he says, in perhaps the first interview of an underground opposition leader based inside Syria with a Western reporter. Until then, he adds, the protesters are willing to die for their cause.

“We will defend ourselves by baring our chests to their bullets and fighting with our bare hands. Our cause is righteous. Even if we lose 2 or 3 million people, we are willing to put up with that high price to get what we want,” he says.

Escape route

Dozens of residents of Tel Kalakh have used the narrow causeway in the past two weeks to enter Lebanon, where they have sought shelter with relatives and friends. Some spend just the day in Lebanon before making the short journey back to their homes in the evening. One resident telephoned “Nisr,” the young leader, inside Tel Kalakh and he agreed to meet for an interview. Thirty minutes later, he appeared on the opposite bank of the Kabir River.

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After discreetly slipping some money into the hands of two unarmed but uniformed Syrian border soldiers on watch at the crossing, he scrambled down the steep bank and stepped gingerly across the causeway spanning the river to the Lebanese side.

A man standing on the Lebanese bank of the river hailed the two Syrian soldiers and jeered, “Why don’t you come over here and we’ll take your picture.”
One of the Syrian soldiers yelled curses before the pair disappeared from view.

Minutes later, sitting in a dusty armchair in a nearby garage and surrounded by local well-wishers, “Nisr” said he was the first to rally people in Tel Kalakh for antiregime protests and since then had become the leader of the opposition in the town.

Junblatt still betting on Bashar and Syria ….

ونوه جنبلاط أن الرئيس الأسد يملك الجرأة والقدرة على ترجمة ما وعد به من إصلاح، لكن ليس في ظلّ الدوامة الأمنية. الاستقرار أولاً ثم الإصلاح، وأنا أعوّل على هذا المسار.

لا يشبّه جنبلاط ما جرى في مصر بما يدور في سوريا، لكنه يلاحظ أن الشريحة الواسعة من السوريين تريد الإصلاح والتعدّدية الحزبية: حتى الاتحاد السوفياتي بعد 77 عاماً انهار كل شيء فيه. لذلك، أرى من الضروري تجديد حزب البعث أيضاً وضخّ الدم الجديد فيه. صحيح أن هناك جماعات متهوّرة في سوريا، لكن الصحيح أيضاً أن هناك كفايات عالية فيها. اعترف الغرب بالحاجة إلى سوريا، ولم ينظر إلى أحداثها على نحو أحداث مصر واليمن وليبيا وتونس، ولم يسعَ إلى تقويض نظامها لأنه لا يزال في حاجة إلى ضرورته ووجوده، وهو يعرف أن سوريا مفتاح الحرب والسلم والاستقرار في كل الشرق، وأي تعاط غربي سلبي معها لا يفيد. أكثر من أي وقت مضى، أدعو الغرب إلى التعاطي بإيجابية مع الرئيس الأسد

CouncilEuroUnion: Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the European Union on restrictive measures against Syria
2011-05-09

“The EU has decided to impose restrictive measures against Syria and persons responsible
for the violent repression against the civilian population in Syria.
These measures include an embargo on arms and equipment that may be used for internal
repression, as well as an asset freeze and a travel ban targeting a list of thirteen individuals.

JORDAN TO BE PART OF GCC, AL JAZEERA SAYS
2011-05-10

Shadid just spoke about his trip to Syria on “Here and Now” on NPR this afternoon. He says that the goal of his trip was to interview Makhlouf and that he had spent a lot of time trying to make it happen; when he was there, he was told Shaaban could talk to him too.

(Reuters) –

A stalemate on the battlefields of Libya and a political deadlock on the U.N. Security Council have left Western powers with a stark choice — covertly aid the rebels or leave them in the lurch.

Analysts and U.N. diplomats warn that if the United States, Britain, France or their allies were to exploit loopholes in, or secretly circumvent, a sanctions regime they themselves engineered in February and March, it could prompt Russia or China to adopt a similar stance on the sanctions against Iran.

Russia and China, both veto-wielding permanent members of the 15-nation Security Council, have become increasingly critical of the NATO-led operation to protect civilians in OPEC-member Libya, which they have suggested appears to be killing more civilians than it is intended to protect.

The Security Council’s Libya sanctions committee could move to exempt the rebels from measures intended to punish Gaddafi’s government, but one envoy said the “political atmospherics have changed.” Russia and China, which reluctantly abstained on a vote to approve military action, have run out of patience and are unlikely to support any adjustments of the sanctions.

“The problem for the West is that several key players on the council now feel that the authority they granted was abused and they’re not inclined to help the West extricate itself,” said David Bosco of American University in Washington.

U.N. diplomats told Reuters that Russia and China, which complain that NATO is going beyond its U.N. mandate to protect civilians and really wants “regime change” and Gaddafi’s ouster, have made clear that they would block any attempt to aid the rebels by exempting them from the U.N. sanctions.

Asked what options the Western powers and their allies have to help the rebels, a council diplomat said on condition of anonymity: “Covert aid. That’s really our only option now. Or hope that a political solution to the impasse emerges that will lead to Gaddafi’s departure. That would change everything.”

Comments (183)


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151. Nour said:

NK:

Witnesses heard them chanting those slogans, and they reported it. And these slogans are in line with much of the writings and statements made by “revolutionists” online and on satellite channels. You choose not to believe those witnesses and choose to believe other witnesses, and you are entitled to do so. But I happen to know that there is indeed a salafi presence in Syria, whether we want to deny it or not, and it is definitely dangerous. I also know that many of the people who hate the Assad regime, including some on this site, do so because they see it as a “alawi” regime. These aren’t things that are figments of my imagination, but are unfortunate realities of our society. We can continue to pretend that they don’t exist, but that would only prolong them and sustain them. We should tackle these issues and find a cure for them, rather than just turn a blind eye to them in order to settle scores with the regime.

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May 11th, 2011, 5:05 pm

 

152. Nour said:

Edward:

What I provided was evidence that there is a sectarian presence in the protests. And I’m not the only one who sees it; many in Syria have withdrawn from the protests because of this sectarian presence. On the other hand, what I provided was not evidence that there are armed groups conspiring against the country. That evidence comes from the fact that soldiers and security officers are being killed. The idea that they are killing each other is complete nonsense. The game that is up is the one being played by the “Revolutionists” who have completely lost their momentum and their credibility, as they are being exposed more and more for the fraud that they are.

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May 11th, 2011, 5:08 pm

 

153. edward said:

I feel sorry for you Nour I really do, you prefer fear and ignorance to the truth. You’d much rather live in a delusional world Where Bashar is the gatekeeper to your prison of denial and wishful thinking.

Well I have news for you, we don’t hate Bashar because he’s Alawi (his wife is Sunni did you forget?). We hate him because he switched from being Dr.Bashar to Dr. Butcher, with the blood of 1000 Syrians on his hands.

Syria was here thousands of years before the Assads, and will be here thousands of years after they’re gone. It’s very stupid and degrading to equate love of country and patriotism with the idolization of the murderers and thugs of the Assad clan. Sects have co-existed together peacefully on this land for generations, even during the heights of the Ottoman caliphate (the kind of Salafist state you so fear?), and through various invasions, wars and hard times, and we will continue to live together as one people.

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May 11th, 2011, 6:10 pm

 

154. Ayman said:

Bashar has turned genocidal. He is now shelling his own cities.

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May 11th, 2011, 6:13 pm

 

155. NK said:

Nour

Wow man, seriously, what I wrote in my last comment is not that hard to understand, you either have proof of you don’t, it’s not rocket science.

Unless you show a video where protesters chant the exact extremely sectarian slogans you and others insist the protesters chanted in more than a DOZEN places all over Syria, your last comment makes as much sense as this one.

Witnesses saw UFOs, they have been abducted by aliens and they reported these incidents, their reports are inline with much of the writings and statements made by “Scientists” online and on TV channels. You choose not to believe those witnesses and choose to believe other witnesses, and you are entitled to do so. But I happen to know that there is indeed aliens on Earth, whether we want to deny it or not, and it is definitely dangerous. These aren’t things that are figments of my imagination, but are unfortunate realities of our society.

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May 11th, 2011, 6:17 pm

 

156. why-discuss said:

Nour

I have stopped arguing with NK ad Edward about the violence of the ‘peaceful demonstrators’. They have amazing resources of denial and they are as sure of themselves and condescending as this computer nerd who sees himself as the savior of Syria and Islam through technology. Why waste your time?

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May 11th, 2011, 7:18 pm

 

157. Nour said:

NK:

If you can’t come to grips with the fact that those videos are clear examples of sectarianism, then you live in a world of complete denial. Syrians attacking Iran and Hizballah are doing so from a sectarian basis, so please stop trying to rationalize it. In addition, you completely discarded the deeply sectarian statements by that kooky sheikh in Deraa. This means that you will just deny anything you see if it doesn’t fit nicely in your own world view. Moreover, other figures and so-called “revolutionaries” that are outside Syria have also engaged in disgustingly sectarian agitation with no condemnation coming from other opposition groups, which makes me question the credibility of those groups.

Edward:

You don’t need to feel sorry for me, I’m doing quite fine. You should feel concerned about your country and its fate. To think that a toppling of this regime is going to magically bring about an advanced democratic system with modern state institutions is total insanity. Most of the groups opposing the Baath are just as reactionary as the Baath if not more so, especially those Islamic groups such as the MB. So what you are calling for is chaos and destruction in order to bring about any group, regardless of how reactionary, as long as it is not this regime. This is a recipe for disaster and is not a way to build a real state. As soon as you come to realize that mere hatred for the regime is not a proper basis on which to build a national position, you will start to understand my position much more clearly.

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May 11th, 2011, 7:49 pm

 

158. Mawal95 said:

Telegraph.co.uk is one of the biggest-circulating daily newspapers in the U.K. Here is its news report about Syria today 11 May. The reporter is based in Jerusalem.

Syrian tanks shelled residential areas in the city of Homs on Wednesday, targeting civilians at random in a significant escalation of violence to crush the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad…. In Homs military units launched a sustained artillery assault on three suburbs as citizens slept in the early hours of the morning…. Soldiers directed heavy bursts of machine-gun fire at residential houses…. One Homs resident said: “No one dares to go outside, so we don’t really know what is happening out there.” … For days, government troops and loyalist snipers have picked off protesters that have dared to gather on the streets of Homs…. [Complete article here @ Telegraph.co.uk]

According to that report you’ve just now read, the Syrian government is psychotic. You and I know that it is the reporter and his editor who are psychotic.

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May 11th, 2011, 8:08 pm

 

159. edward said:

Nour dear, freedom comes at a price, you don’t sit comfortably on your sofa watching t.v and have it handed to you on a plate. A country that has gone through decades of systematic destruction of it’s infrastructure, education, judiciary, police, military and civil service will not magically transform itself in to a modern prosperous state overnight. There will be a period of chaos, instability and hardship but eventually the country will come through better and stronger for it. You can see striking examples of places gripped by worse situations than Syria and what they’ve become now. Need I remind you of Germany, Italy and Spain in Europe? or perhaps Japan? Maybe the Latin American countries who suffered under horrendous dictatorships in the 70’s and 80’s? How about Malaysia or Turkey? Eastern Europe then? They’ve all become much much better, some more than others, and none are perfect I’ll agree. so it’s a stark choice, either accept the status quo and continue to live in a semi-functioning Stalin era repressive state, or make the hard sacrifices needed to ensure a better future for this country and our children. Guess what, over 1000 Syrians made that choice already, and made the ultimate sacrifice with their lives.

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May 11th, 2011, 8:15 pm

 

160. NK said:

why-discuss

You stopped arguing because you basically have nothing to say when you’re confronted with logic.

You, Nour and others keep saying people were chanting “علوية بالتابوت و مسيحية عبيروت” also “بدنا نحكي عالمكشوف علوية ما بدنا نشوف” among a few more sectarian slogans. You’re both freakin’ Lebanese, aren’t you ? so you didn’t hear these slogans with your own ears, but you insist they were chanted because a “witness” said so, well a few “witnesses” said Iraq had WMDs, we all know how that turned out!.

Everything a “witness” says is a lie until PROVEN otherwise, that goes for both sides, now can you prove the above slogans were shouted ?. Go ahead, post the video and then we’ll discuss my inability to believe what I’m hearing.

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May 11th, 2011, 8:25 pm

 

161. edward said:

testimony of one of the survivors of the micro-bus that was shown for propaganda purposes so many times on Syrian state t.v: “the army shot at us for 2 hours after they claimed the driver did no stop”

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May 11th, 2011, 8:43 pm

 

162. jad said:

#159 Calm down and come back to reality!

“or perhaps Japan?”
You are funny, you are using the same promise they give to naive Iraqis, do you know how many articles are out there comparing the future of Iraq to Japan before the war of 2003?
Here is one article that we all know the result of today, the lovely Daniel pipes agree with the other lovely Ajami and probably you, 8 years ago, that the future is so bright, did you 3 learn anything, apparently NOT.

After Saddam? Remaking the Mideast
http://www.danielpipes.org/1027/after-saddam-remaking-the-mideast

The same crap in Arabic
بعد صدام؟ إعادة بناء الشرق الأوسط
http://ar.danielpipes.org/article/3884

#161
I’m taking NK #160 advise on Ugarit’s (Ammar Abd Alhameed production company)
“Everything a “witness” says is a lie until PROVEN otherwise,”

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May 11th, 2011, 9:20 pm

 

163. why-discuss said:

NK

You are right , I have nothing to say, not because I am impressed by your \”logic\”, but because we have diametrally opposite views of how a country can move forward, you by relentless and violent confrontations, I by a firm self-defense and a reasonable proposition to move to a dialog table. After the storm, we\’ll see you whose vision was correct

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May 11th, 2011, 9:29 pm

 

164. syau said:

Edward, #161,

“The army shot at us for 2 hours after they claimed the driver did not stop”

Can’t you see the stupidity in that remark? I’m sure if the army shot at a van for 2 hours, there wouldn’t be much of the van left, let alone any survivors. The ‘witness’ speaking, doesn’t seem to be harmed at all, was he in the van or around the area at the time, or sitting in “Abu Mohamad’s” lounge room while he is giving an eye witness account to Al Jazeera? Ugarit news is a joke.

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May 11th, 2011, 9:56 pm

 

165. why-discuss said:

Sen. John Kerry’s About-Face on Syria’s Assad

http://www.newsmax.com/InsideCover/John-Kerry-Syria-Assad/2011/05/11/id/395968

Former Democratic Presidential nominee John Kerry has finally realized it’s time to give up on Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad.

The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee admits the Assad government is no longer willing to reform — a sharp U-turn from his views of just two months ago, reports The Cable.

kerry, syria, assad”He obviously is not a reformer now,” Kerry said. “I’ve always said the top goal of Assad is to perpetuate his own regime.”

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May 11th, 2011, 9:59 pm

 

166. NK said:

Yes Jad, everything a witness says is a lie until proven otherwise, no exceptions.

Why-Discuss

Did you hear about my views from a witness as well ? I dare you to show me one comment of me promoting violence, actually you’ll see many where I oppose and condemn any violence. But wait a minute why are we talking about my views, or yours ?.

Oh well, if there was a video showing protesters chanting such slogans one of you would have posted it by now. Not that this lack of evidence will change anything “لا سمح الله”. Tomorrow one of you will repeat the same allegations and present them as facts, I’ll ask him for proof, and we will have this same exact conversation again.

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May 11th, 2011, 10:26 pm

 

167. Jihad said:

Ah yes, Nicholas Blanford writes about Syria the same way the New York Times correpondant was writing about Iran from Toronto!

At the beginning of every article he writes, it should be mentioned that he is a mouthpiece for the Wahhabi Hariri family. One of many including Robert Fisk.

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May 11th, 2011, 10:33 pm

 

168. jihad said:

It is really hilarious that Barack Bushama dares to sermon people on who or what is legitimate and what is not.

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May 11th, 2011, 10:34 pm

 

169. William Scott Scherk said:

Mina writes: The “Gay Girl of Damascus” sounds more and more like a fake: now she knows the brands of tanks she is seeing! She receives fan-letters from the MB, and thinks the Syrian Salafists are very much like the AKP.

Mina, do you have a link or other information to back up what you assert? I don’t understand what you mean by ‘fake.’ Fake what?

She announced on her blog yesterday that she may be going to an undisclosed location. She also wrote a long and informative post on the events in Hama.

I don’t know my Syrian history as you do perhaps, Mina, but what do you find in her report that is false? It seems to me to be a very well-balanced non-western, non-regime historical recounting designed to chastize, correct and repudiate simplistic Western views of the events. Did you find it to be something else? Did you read it?

I really don’t understand how you, with no real name, no location, no details of your age, affiliation or interests can judge such a person as Amina A. so harshly — and call her fake. What are your interests? — Amina has declared hers . . .

(I don’t really expect Mina to answer me fully — but here below is Amina’s blog mention of ‘tanks’ to compare against Mina’s characterization — from the same link as above:)

Now, I’m not stupid. And I know a little bit about how to identify objects. So, what I saw was a slow moving column: a couple of tanks – Soviet built, I think T-72’s? – followed by armored personnel carriers, then more tanks. They were spaced out, which was weird – well, I guess in case they came under attack …

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May 11th, 2011, 11:02 pm

 

170. syau said:

William Scott Scherk, #169

While the ‘gay girl in Damascus’ had some facts about the Hama incident correct, she forgot to mention the sparks of insurgency and destruction of infrastructure. She mentioned mainly prominent Alawi military personnel being murdered but she forgot to mention the slaughter of 83 young Alawi cadets. She mentioned that women in Hijab’s targeted by military in a reaction to the atrocities of the Muslim Brotherhood – which I don’t recall happened…..Many prominent military personnel were also of the Sunni religion, I’m sure they would feel as though there mother was being abused. She forgot to mention the scores of Alawi women and young girls targeted, raped and abused by members of the Muslim brotherhood, or the Alawi men who were murdered and mutilated, dismembered and sent back to their families in plastic bags.

The people affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood and the Syrian revolution, are condoning these same acts now. Their Imams are condoning it and advising their followers to murder the officers and take their women and children as prizes, and advising them that it is halal to do so. Others are in their Khitab’s advising their followers that women who do not wear the Hijab are whores, and the rape of Alawi woman is halal. The murder of Syrian army officers is halal as they are “Israeli soldiers”. Many Alawites have been murdered and their corpses mutilated then left for the authorities to find them while having cut off their genitals and stuffing it into their mouths. One civilian was slashed and stabbed many times while having to endure a parade walk by these evil gangs, until he finally collapsed and was then slaughtered like a lamb, then as the others, was left mutilated. They were so proud of their act, they videotaped it.
This is happening now. The Syrian government is right to fight to regain the serenity that was once in Syria.

The Muslim Brotherhood has always been and will always be evil. There is no place for them in Syria, so the sooner they and their gang members are apprehended, the better.

Reforms are for the better of the country, but the ugly path of sectarianism, fake videos, fabricated media reports and so on, is not the way to go about a revoltion. The Syrian government needs to put a stop to the destabalisation, then reforms can be implemented positively.

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May 12th, 2011, 12:10 am

 

171. Mina said:

William
You should read it more often
She is on the move and hiding since one week.
I say it starts to seem fake because what started as posts which sounded like written by a teenager on her exhibitionist need to have an open gay life, in a place like Syria, are now fulfiled with historical info and this note on the type of tanks (but for the Hama massacre, the one on the Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-josef-olmert/syriathe-collapse-started_b_859809.html
at least gives the number of the Alawi cadets massacred before the confrontation between the MB and the Hafed al Assad troops start).
As for the mentions she makes on how cool are the MB here they are
http://damascusgaygirl.blogspot.com/2011/05/observation-and-insight.html
I quote
“The only things I’ve gotten are some nice notes from observant but gay muslims and a long, really sweet email from a relative who’s in the exiled Muslim Brotherhood (“I’m really enjoying your blog. Keep up the good work, we’re all praying for your safety.”)
Second, the “Islamist” element in the opposition here is more like the Turkish AKP than the Taliban and quite possibly rather more modern than the AKP.”

How can you call for more violence in the Middle East while it is okay for the West to kill people from unmaned drones, anonymous who never get mentioned in the news?
Do you know that al Jazeer’a wordl has about 20 countries all together? I have never seen them say anything about Asian countries, Africa…
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/11/us-congo-rape-idUSTRE74A79Y20110511
Can you understand what is the mind of the young muslims agitating these protests while they don’t even know who are pulling the thread behind them? Don’t you think that Netanyahu needs a major catastrophe to avoid coming with an idea of what to do with his ever increasing racist and extremist settlers?
Why do you want to know who talk? Can’t you judge someone from the rationality of the arguments?
When you see the effort put now on the ground by intelligent, experienced people with a life of union fights and CONSTRUCTIVE opposition, in Tunisia and Egypt, do you think I am not sad to see that the Libya’s adventure was built up to keep a hand on a possible destabilizing factor? Same and worse for Syria. I wouldn’t be suprised if a sudden student uprising in Iran was not automatically followed by a concerted attack. Although I have no sympathy for the Iranian regime, neither do I have any sympathy for the Saudis and the Gulf model of enslaved workers denied any rights.

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May 12th, 2011, 1:14 am

 

172. William Scott Scherk said:

Dear Syau, I can feel, from five thousand miles away, your fear and your anger and your hurt at the murders of brother by brother. I understand the feeling of being powerless before a future that is not in your hands — the fear of a terrible bloody future. So, thank you for your response — it was heartfelt, I am sure. I respect your emotion as being true and born of your understanding that only utter terror and horror can result from the passing of the Assad clan.

But you did not address my questions about Amina A. Mina said confidently that Amina A sounds like a fake. I wanted someone to tell me why Amina is not a sister Syrian, citing Amina’s own words. Why does Amina A., a gay girl in Damascus, deserve such contempt?

If anyone can give me rational and thoughtful reasons to dismiss Amina as a ‘fake,’ if anyone can give me an actual quote where Amina says something that resembles Mina’s retelling above, I will gladly revise my opinion that Amina provides valuable commentary. If someone can show me and other readers the mistakes in her historical rendering of events in Hama, I can understand a little bit more of this dreadful state where one Syrian sister (I assume Mina is Syrian) attacks another.

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May 12th, 2011, 1:21 am

 

173. William Scott Scherk said:

Mina, thank you for the response. I only have time at the moment to note the things that continue to puzzle me from your Amina A quote above — I will respond to the rest of your questions at a later time, if you please.

(except . . . can you please tell us who you are addressing when you write How can you call for more violence in the Middle East while it is okay for the West to kill people from unmaned drones, anonymous who never get mentioned in the news?)

— you wrote She receives fan-letters from the MB, and thinks the Syrian Salafists are very much like the AKP.

Here is where I think you are unfair in your summary. I will not summarize as you have done, but will post the passage:

So, when I started this blog, I assumed that I had two groups to worry about:
Syrian government authorities and Islamic extremists.

Well, the first has made it abundantly clear that they are most displeased with me in person. I’ve even seen a few comments posted on this blog that I am 99.9% certain originate with regime loyalists (and a few emailed threats as well … which leave me shrugging: ‘uh guys – just because you like Bashar a lot … you do nothing this way …)

I’ve also seen the usual anti-Islamic and the usual pro- and anti-Israel comments posted …

BUT the one thing I haven’t seen, the one group from which no one has made threats or sent deranged emails nor sought to harass anyone is the ‘Islamic extremists’,

The only things I’ve gotten are some nice notes from observant but gay muslims and a long, really sweet email from a relative who’s in the exiled Muslim Brotherhood (“I’m really enjoying your blog. Keep up the good work, we’re all praying for your safety.”)

Amina’s context is ‘people she had to worry about’ in terms of harassing and ugly emails. It looks like she fully expected harsh and ugly comments from Islamists. Her point was that the only thing she had received from that ‘side’ were notes from gay Muslims and a long, sweet email from her relative, who she tells us was in exile (I think it is safe to say that her relative is from the wing of the MB that turned away from violence as with the MB in Egypt and Ghannouchi’s Enadha in Tunisia).

Here’s what you wrote: Amina thinks the Syrian Salafists are very much like the AKP

Here is what she wrote: Second, the “Islamist” element in the opposition here is more like the Turkish AKP than the Taliban and quite possibly rather more modern than the AKP.

Mina, she did not say Salafist. She did not say Syrian Salafists are very much like the AKP. She took two poles, AKP and Taliban, and told her readers that she thinks the opposition she knows was more like one pole than the other.

You have much support and encouragement for your views and perspectives here, Mina. You have a voice and an influence — but using unfair summaries of other people’s words undercuts your ability to be an honest, evenhanded reporter respected by all sides.

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May 12th, 2011, 1:53 am

 

174. Mina said:

William,
here are the three extracts i read through a week on her blog and that led me to feel there is something fishy:
I have travel plans for later on in the year: in June, I plan to be in Italy, in August in the USA and Canada, in September in the UK … before all this started I got accepted into grad school in the UK …
11th May

And I start laughing. My girlfriend has just stumbled on to the first rule of conversation in a dictatorship; never speak directly.

We had been dating for six glorious months and I had a vacation coming up from work; Anna is self-employed (she’s an artist) so she can vacation whenever she wants. And since we’d met I had been talking ceaselessly about how beautiful Syria is, how Damascus is the greatest city on earth and how I longed to see her. So, we’d decided to go together …
9th May

I opened my email just now … and what do I find waiting for me?
A message from my ex-husband … it’s been nearly ten years since we last spoke and nearly as long that we had any direct contact (though I have visited his mother on numerous occasions; we always got along famously … and she has always said she likes me better than him …)
8th May

I add, about my personal feeling about Amina, which sounds to me like “but why is Syria not like the US” (with the same… hum… ‘culture’?) that if all the rich in Syria were paying taxes, the country could do perfectly well. You would be surprised on how little taxes pay most people in the Arab world. No governement want to face it!!

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May 12th, 2011, 1:57 am

 

175. NK said:

To those who missed it

http://www.the-syrian.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/helicopter.jpg

“و قد قالت معلومات واردة من حمص أنه تم القاء القبض على أمير حمص أثناء محاولته الهروب بطائرته الخاصة (الهيلوكبتر) والتي لم يستطع الاقلاع بها وحيث اكتشف أن أتباعه قد قامو باستبدال المروحة بمكيّف”

And information from Homs said, the Emir of Homs had been arrested while trying to escape on his plane (helicopter), which could not take off and where it was discovered that his followers replaced the fan with an air condition.

LOL!!!!!

http://www.the-syrian.com/?p=2757

تمت المهمة…وخلصت

يعني بالعربي كل مين ع بيتو…لساتكن عم تقرو؟؟يلا أبي سكرنا هالثورة…

هالأحداث الأخيرة خلتني فكر بكتير شغلات…وكتير أقوال مأثورة كنت حس أنو مالها معنى،بس طلع الها

يعني مثلا مين كان يفكر بالحكمة من المثل : “يا شعبان ليش ما بتجي برمضان؟قلو كل شي بوقتو حلو”

طبعاً هاد المتل هو اللي خلا الرفيقة المناضلة الدكتورة الممانعة بثينة شعبان ما تطلع علينا بأي تصريح منذ تصريحها الأول وحتى مبارح…مع أنو ثقافتي الهجرية ضعيفة بس بتخيل أنو أجا شعبان…وباسم كل المندسين بحب قلو أهلا شعبان…شعبان جانا

هلأ بغض النظر إذا شعبان من الأشهر الحرم لما لأ…مشي الحال وتم القضاء على الأمير النائم…بس ما تطلعلنا شي أميرة نائمة بقا بشي محافظة تانية وخود تعا قيمني لنلاقيلا مين يبوسا…المهم انتشر الخبر انو الزلمة كان عم يركب بالهليكوبتر تبعو…ويا حزركون مين لقطو؟؟؟؟؟عجزتوا ما؟

المخابرات الجوية!! يعني هي الحادثة بتكفي لتخريس كل جحش وكر صارلو من أول الأحداث عم يسأل شو دور المخابرات الجوية بالمظاهرات…أنو والله الشباب عم يطلعوا يتظاهروا مشاة مو روكيتيرز…مزبوط لك عمي مو روكيتيرز (يلي ما بيعرف هي الكلمة بيكون خاين وعمرو مو لعبان ريد اليرت)..اي بس المخابرات كانت عرفانة من بداية الاحداث انو في طيارات بالموضوع ومشان هيك استلمتا المخابرات الجوية…وهي صورة حية مباشرة لعملية القبض على الهليكوبتر تبع الامير السلفي…طبعا الصورة فيها طيارتين لأنو سمو الأمير كان طالع هو بطيارة وحريمو بطيارة تانية مع الجواري والخصيان…منعاً للاختلاط…لمشاهدة طائرة الأمير اضغط هنا

هلأ في أخبار أنو الأخلاقية رح تستلم ملف المظاهرات قريباً…خاصة أنو النظام بلش ينـ… سفلو (يعني البنية التحتية تبعو)

ويا سادة يا كرام لازم كلياتنا بكل محافظات القطر نحتفل بالقضاء ع الأمير الحمصي،يلي حسب شهود عيان تمت تصفيتو،وكانت أمنيتو الأخيرة ياكل حلاوة الجبن ع طريق الشام…وبعدين لحشوه بالبحر حسب الشريعة الإسلامية على مذهب الإمام بوعمامة…مبروك علينا وعليكن بلد الأمن والأمان…وهلأ بما أنو خلصت وما عاد في مهلوسين وبندريين ومسلحين وموساد واخوان وزعران…إلخ

اسمحولنا نتظاهر بكيفنا،ولإخواني السلفيين بقول :

من كان يثور للأمير فإن الأمير قد مات

ومن كان يثور للحرية فإن الحرية لا تموت…

لذلك طالعين يوم الجمعة الجاية بعد صلاة الغائب على روح أمير حمص الغارق في الأعماق…لنعيد الحرية للآفاق

وبتظاهركم يتم سرورنا…

ملاحظة:جنة الأمن مخافرهم

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May 12th, 2011, 2:39 am

 

176. syau said:

William Scott Scherk, #172

I will correct you in what you think my “understanding that only utter terror and horror can come from the passing of the Assad Clan”, I do not think that at all. I think Bashar has done wonders for Syria; it’s a beautiful country and has prospered under his governing. I think there is a conspiracy against his government. If there wasn’t, there would be no need to continue on with the call for uprisings after he put forward reforms. A large amount of illegal weapons and home made bombs were discovered. Terrorists captured, admitting to the conspiracy. One terrorist cell to another, all admitting roughly the same thing. I think utter terror and horror can only come from a revolution based on lies and fabrication, sanctioning violence, murder and rape according to sects.

I think Mina’s description of Amina is justified. In some of Amina’s comments, she writes about naming Alawites as Zionists and Germans to her friends and relatives while in a restaurant in order not to be understood by the security forces? That is a childish racist remark and not one of sound mind. She claims to be a Sunni, a gay Sunni with her father’s full support who has studied the Quaran, about 90 verses in all she stated. Although homosexuality is accepted by many, it is denounced in the Quaran and is not accepted in Islam. In one of her blogs, she recounts a time when 2 “Alawite shabiha” came in the middle of the night to arrest her and were scared off by her father. That is another comment I find hard to believe. If they were actually sent to arrest her, she would be detained by now regardless if her father won a war of words with them or not. Read more of her comments and you will see inconsistencies in some of her stories.

And you are right, I am frustrated at the violence and murder and outright lies that is a result of this farce of a revolution. I am frustrated at the loss of lives, frustrated that the hardcore anti regime here seem to be linking an endless stream of fake video’s and only seem to bestow the Fatiha upon those who they feel died at the hands of the army. Not once did Revlon want solace and patience for families or the fatiha to be bestowed upon the lives to those murdered by the ‘revolutionists’. That is not respect for human life, it is racism.

What I think is if these people actually wanted reform, they would call an end to the uprisings and actually allow Syria to grow and prosper. If people behind this revolution actually cared for the wellbeing of the Syrian people, they would not have timed these uprisings at peak tourism season. They would not want Western interference or invasion of Syria and have a situation like Iraq, Libya, and Afghanistan just to implement their agenda. This revolution is fake, any rational person can see that clearly.

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May 12th, 2011, 2:42 am

 

177. Mina said:

To be the only reader not in the US Pacific timezone feels a bit odd, but sorry, I’ll keep adding links.
This one is Mona Yacoubian on the latest developments:
http://www.cfr.org/syria/behind-syrias-crackdown/p24937

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May 12th, 2011, 5:46 am

 

178. why-discuss said:

In Syria, a Tense Calm After Shelling and Gunfire
By ANTHONY SHADID
Published: May 12, 2011

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/13/world/middleeast/13syria.html

“One administration official said that some national security officials were hoping that even if Mr. Assad stayed in power, he would move away from the alliance with Iran because so many of the Sunni protesters wanted to see an end to that alliance. “There are some who think that because of that, Assad would have to back away,” the official said.

But he said the administration remained divided about whether Mr. Assad would actually make a break from Iran. “

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May 12th, 2011, 7:59 am

 

179. why-discuss said:

A new headache for the US administration and a possible boost to
Bashar’s because of his long support to the Resistance. Are we going to see a pro-palestinian demonstrations in Syria on 15may?

Also note the bias of Facebook submitting to Israel’s pressure!

Egyptian activists plan ‘Third Intifada’
Now that they are free to demonstrate, Egyptians plan a ‘million-man’ march to support the Palestinians on May 15

Following the February ousting of Egypt’s longstanding president Hosni Mubarak, calls have been circulating in Egypt and throughout the region for a ‘Third Intifada’ to begin May 15.

“Unlike the first two Palestinian uprisings, the proposed Third Intifada is meant to involve the entire Arab world,” said Egyptian journalist and political analyst Abdelhalim Kandil.

It began with the appearance of a Facebook page in early March calling for a ‘Third Intifada’ against the ongoing Israeli occupation of Palestinian land. The page, reportedly founded by Arab pro-Palestinian groups, set the launch date for May 15 – the day on which hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were driven from their homes in 1948 to make way for the nascent state of Israel.

The page attracted some 230,000 members within two weeks, prompting Israeli officials to lodge a complaint with the popular California-based social-networking website. On March 29, Facebook removed the page – which had at that point surpassed the 500,000-member mark – claiming that its contents were found to “promote violence”.

The page was almost immediately replaced with several copycat pages, however, which reiterated calls for “the liberation of Palestine from the [Mediterranean] Sea to the [Jordan] River” and “the return of Palestinian refugees to their homes in historical Palestine” in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 194 of 1948.

An Arabic-language website called the ‘Third Palestinian Intifada’ appeared soon afterward, providing a general plan of action. The site calls for peaceful protests on Friday and Saturday (May 13 and 14) at Israeli embassies and consulates worldwide, including those in western capitals, “to express our rage about the ongoing occupation of Palestine and the expulsion of millions of Palestinians from their rightful homes.”

‘Million-man’ march

On May 15, dubbed the “Sunday of Liberation”, the site had initially called for multiple million-man marches to advance on “historical Palestine” – in reference to Israel – from starting points in Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. This was later scaled down, however, to the staging of demonstrations outside Israeli embassies in Jordan and Egypt (the two Arab states that have diplomatic relations with Tel Aviv), along with simultaneous marches near Israel’s borders in Syria, Lebanon and the occupied Palestinian territories.

According to Mounib Mohamed, 26-year-old activist from Cairo and administrator for the website’s Egypt branch, the initial plan was scrapped “because of the difficulties associated with implementing it, and in order to avoid friction with local authorities in the countries involved.”

“As for Egypt, we’re calling for million-man gatherings to be held in cities countrywide on May 13,” Mohamed explained. “Participants will then head to Cairo’s Tahrir Square, where prominent political figures are scheduled to speak about the Palestinian cause.”

“From Tahrir, we will march to the Zionist embassy, UN offices, and certain multinational store chains known to have Zionist sympathies,” said Mohamed, who is also the administrator of the Facebook page ‘Egyptians for the Intifada’.

He went on to stress that all planned activities would be “peaceful in nature” and “carried out in coordination with Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF)”, which has run the country’s affairs since Mubarak’s ousting.

“Our ultimate objective is the liberation of Palestine via peaceful, political means in light of Egypt’s post-Mubarak political circumstances,” Mohamed added.

Egyptian youth cooperation

Several prominent revolutionary youth groups also plan to take part, including the 6 April youth movement, which played a leading role in Egypt’s January 25 Revolution.

“The Palestinian situation is a source of pain for the entire Arab nation across the political spectrum,” 6 April media spokesperson Injie Hamdi said. “Therefore, in coordination with other like-minded youth groups, we’re endorsing calls to demonstrate from May 13 to 15 in Tahrir Square and at the Israeli embassy.”

In the three months since Mubarak’s departure, Egypt has witnessed a spate of marches and protests in front of both Israel’s embassy in Cairo and its consulate in Alexandria, where demonstrators could be seen distributing flyers about the planned event.

The ‘Third Intifada’ had initially included plans for a protest march to Egypt’s Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip, which has been sealed for the most part since 2007. This plan was abandoned, however, following a promise by Egypt’s SCAF-appointed foreign minister late last month that the crossing would soon be reopened on a permanent basis.

Nevertheless, the Arab Doctors Union plans to dispatch a convoy of Gaza-bound humanitarian aid through the Rafah crossing – scheduled to set out from Tahrir Square on May 15. The closure of Rafah, in tandem with Israel’s five-year-old blockade of the Gaza Strip, has effectively cut the coastal enclave off from the rest of the world – subjecting its roughly 1.8 million inhabitants to excessive poverty and privation.

Notably, Palestinian faction Hamas, which governs the strip and espouses a policy of armed resistance to Israel, has not publicly endorsed calls for a ‘Third Intifada’. Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, meanwhile, who heads rival Palestinian faction Fatah and supports a discredited ‘peace process’ with Israel, has voiced downright opposition to the idea.

Last week, the two factions agreed in Cairo to form a national unity government, ending four years of bitter animosity. Just how the new Palestinian government plans to deal with Israel – whether by resistance or by negotiations – remains uncertain, however.

According to Kandil, the greatest benefit of Hamas-Fatah reconciliation is that the two factions “will now be able to coordinate the kind of peaceful revolutions seen recently in the Arab world”. He expressed hope that the planned ‘Third Intifada’ would apply the lessons learned from successful Arab uprisings, especially those seen in Tunisia and Egypt.

“If the Palestinians stage peaceful protests en masse and persevere despite Israel’s inevitably violent response – and are supported by simultaneous demonstrations in Arab and western capitals – the Israeli occupation’s days may very well be numbered,” said Kandil.

The first Palestinian Intifada lasted from 1987 until the signing of the 1993 Oslo peace accords. A second, more violent Palestinian uprising erupted in 2000 and ended with Israel’s 2005 withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/features/2011/05/20115118480905374.html

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May 12th, 2011, 8:11 am

 

180. why-discuss said:

Syrian Refugee: Protesters Can’t Stop Now

http://www.npr.org/2011/05/11/136208802/syrian-refugee-protesters-cant-stop-now?ft=1&f=2&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NprProgramsATC+%28NPR+Programs%3A+All+Things+Considered%29&utm_content=Google+Feedfetcher

“There are ill who are not getting treated. There are pregnant women who are not getting the necessary care. There are children suffering from PTSD, they need some help,” he says.

A simple workman who use a word like PSTD!!!! It sounds weird

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May 12th, 2011, 9:26 am

 

181. William Scott Scherk said:

SYAU writes on the subject of Amina A., ‘A Gay Girl in Damascus’: I think Mina’s description of Amina is justified. In some of Amina’s comments, she writes about naming Alawites as Zionists and Germans to her friends and relatives while in a restaurant in order not to be understood by the security forces? That is a childish racist remark and not one of sound mind.

First, thank you for your honest responses. I hope you understand that I will have gaps in my knowledge of events, huge gaps, huge gaps in comprehension. I appreciate you taking the time to amplify your earlier comments.

Second, I checked Amina A’s blog entries to compare what summary impressions with Amina’s own words — and this leads to more puzzlement, frankly.

For example, you write that the Gay Girl herself named “Alawites as Zionists and Germans to her friends and relatives while in a restaurant in order not to be understood by the security forces.”

The art of Syrian conversation:

“OK … so why was her husband so worried about foreign tourists? I didn’t even see any. I’m pretty sure we were the only table not speaking in Arabic.”

“We were,” I laughed. “Germans … alemanni … alawi …”

“Wow, I’m confused,” Anna shrugged. “And here I was thinking your cousin was some kind of bigot …”

And that’s how life was not so long ago. Now, a just a few years later, it’s different. People are no longer using euphemisms … and indirection. At least less than ever before. No more significant silences or things left to infer.

(I hope other readers will check out the entire blog posting — it does not correspond to Syau’s representation)

In one of her blogs, she recounts a time when 2 “Alawite shabiha” came in the middle of the night to arrest her and were scared off by her father. That is another comment I find hard to believe.

From My father, the hero:

“The Salafi plot,” the other one says, his accent marks him as straight from a village in the Jebel Ansariya. “Making sectarian plots.”

“Stupid city-fuckers,” says the same guy. “All you rich pansies are the same. No wonder she ends up fucking girls and kikes” (again, the Arabic is much rawer ,,,)

He steps twoards me and puts his hand on my breast.

“So you come here to take Amina. Let me tell you something though. She is not the one you should fear; you should be heaping praises on her and on people like her. They are the ones saying alawi, sunni, arabi, kurdi, duruzi, christian, everyone is the same and will be equal in the new Syria; they are the ones who, if the revolution comes, will be saving Your mother and your sisters. They are the ones fighting the wahhabi most seriously. You idiots are, though, serving them by saying ‘every sunni is salafi, every protester is salafi, every one of them is an enemy’ because when you do that you make it so.

“Your Bashar and your Maher, they will not live forever, they will not rule forever, and you both know that. So, if you want good things for yourselves in the future, you will leave and you will not take Amina with you. You will go back and you will tell the rest of yours that the people like her are the best friends the Alawi could ever have and you will not come for her again.

and in the night we celebrated this little victory; they may come back but maybe not …

he made a few calls in the middle of the night; woke up some people (and found some not sleeping) who are in teh regime and told them about the goons’ visit. They may have consequences fall on them (which is why I do not give their names) and probably won’t be sent out again … if they haven’t quit.

Maybe they will tell others; leave the ‘liberals’ alone … maybe not. Only time will tell.

(I can understand how Syau might misinterpret the story told by Amina, but I must stress that his quote — “Alawite shabiha” — did not appear in the story)

Syau, you wrote: She claims to be a Sunni, a gay Sunni with her father’s full support who has studied the Quaran, about 90 verses in all she stated. Although homosexuality is accepted by many, it is denounced in the Quaran and is not accepted in Islam.

Your remarks suggest to me (please correct me if I am wrong in reading the implication) that Amina cannot possibly have been accepted by her father and her family as a gay woman — that she is lying when she says has not received ugly and harassing comments from the ‘side’ you oppose.

Moreover, when you write that she claims to have studied about 90 verses of the Quran — this is not accurate. In fact, she claims to have memorized 90 verses of the Quran:

From the post What I Want

[I]’m good with languages; it’s, I’m told, part of growing up bilingual. Arabic, then English, then Arabic, then English, all of my life. Some things I do better in one than in the other; my Arabic composition style always bothers me as stilted and my Arabic language poetry is awful … (not that my English is great but at least I’m not completely embarassed) and I have a pretty good memory (not to brag; I think a life of sobriety helps … as well as all the time I spent memorizing Quran (I’m not a hafidh, but I would say that, by page count, I know half the Quran by heart (like everyone else, I started with the short surahs so I would say I know close to 90 complete))

Anyway … I had Arabic and English from childhood, learned French well enough to read in public school, a solid background in Latin and I picked up Spanish fairly fast … I like learning languages so I took Turkish classes, again well enough to get by … and I also studied enough Hebrew to read and sort of speak (once you learn the alphabet, it’s easy enough though Maltese is even easier)

Why Hebrew? Well, I had a crazy idea that it might be useful … and I might some day be a diplomat with need for Turkish and Hebrew …. Maybe even one day working in our embassy in Tel Aviv … or, thinking wildly, being part of the team that restores the Jaulan through negotiations

— Syau, if you wish to be convincing and reliable as a reporter, you perhaps should take more care in accurately summarizing other people’s words.

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May 12th, 2011, 11:02 am

 

182. William Scott Scherk said:

To Mina:

I asked you this: “can you please tell us who you are addressing when you write How can you call for more violence in the Middle East while it is okay for the West to kill people from unmaned drones, anonymous who never get mentioned in the news?

I hope you will amplify your remarks: did you mean to imply that I call for more violence? I very much hope you will tell me that you did NOT address these remarks to me, although your entire post seemed addressed to me . . .

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May 12th, 2011, 11:13 am

 

183. why-discuss said:

William Scott Scherk

I too have some doubts about the Gay Girl in Damascus candor. Her writing reminds of a famous book “Girls of Ryad”, written by a Saudi girl about the Saudi women’s private lives under the oppressive Saudi regime. It’s witty, funny and interesting. It was a library success.
I have a strong impression that the Gay Girl is seeking a publisher to publish her recount of Syria’s young generation in Damascus during the ruling of the Baath party. Her blog is often mentioned in ‘intellectual’ french and US newspapers. I wonder how truthful she is in recounting the events. She obviously aims at pleasing a western audience taking advantage of the western known sympathy for sexual minorities, for woman’s empowerment in the Moslem world and finally for anyone who contributes to the main stream demonization of a Syrian regime.
Her main drawback, though, is that, contrary to the ‘Girls of Ryad’, the Damascus gay girl is very self conscious and talks mostly about herself.
In any case, the descriptions are well dramatized and she makes vivid dialogs. I won’t be surprised if the book becomes a bestseller, once published.
It has the right ingredients….

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May 12th, 2011, 11:44 am

 

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