Week’s Round Up (4 May 2012)

Maps of the Syrian Conflict: Please acknowledge either syriamap.wordpress.com or, if you have space, as Brendan O’Hanrahan & Esther Kim, or Kim & O’Hanrahan..

The Week’s Round UP -

Because the Annan Truce has been so badly observed by both sides – government and rebel- most observers have struggled to apportion blame. The Syrian government has insisted that the rebels are the primary violators. It highlights the list of bombs being set off in Syria’s major cities and attacks against security personnel. For example, On Friday, a week ago, a suicide bombing in Damascus killed nine people in the Midan quarter and wounded others. Earlier this week, attacks on a government security compound and the country’s central bank killed nine and injured 100. In Aleppo, an explosive device was detonated in the car of the headmaster of Jaber bin Hayyan school in Aleppo, causing his death. Evidently, Headmaster al-Freij was killed when the explosive device went off as he was getting on his car in front of his house in Hanano area. Sana reported that eight students at the police academy in the countryside of Aleppo were kidnapped by armed elements. On the coast of Latakia, a group of insurgents who reportedly came from Turkey in inflatable boats landed off the coast of Latakia and staged an attack on a military unit stationed north of the city about 20 miles from the Turkish border. A number of Syrian soldiers were killed and perhaps some of the insurgents before they escaped back to Turkey.

The Syrian opposition insists that the Syrian government is responsible for these killings, i.e. they are setting off the bombs in Syria’s cities and that defecting soldiers attacked their own in Latakia. In Hama, where scores of people were killed by a deadly explosion in a poor section of town, opposition spokespeople insisted that the military had fired Scud missiles into the apartment block. The Syrian government insisted that rebels were responsible for the deaths due to the accidental explosion of an opposition “bomb factory”.

Hama – Explosion kills many
The BBC’s Jim Muir: “This kind of devastation would have been hard to cause by conventional shelling”

Opposition explanations for these deaths are not convincing. The government and Syrian military have taken the gloves off and are executing opposition members in ever greater numbers. There is no need to exaggerate their role in Syria’s brutality. The truth is horrifying enough. The reality is that the insurgency is become every more skilled and competent at killing. Far from destroying the opposition, the government crackdown is only serving to drive the opposition to ever more lethal methods of gaining power.

A harrowing report by Amnesty International of the Idlib crackdown will send shivers down anyone’s spin. After the retreat from Homs, the opposition became centered in the Idlib region on the Turkish boarder. The government crackdown there over the last few months has been brutal. Syrian forces have been executing and burning the residents of Idlib, Amnesty says.

In the Sarmin area near Idlib a mother claimed that her three sons had been taken from their home early on 23 March and killed. “[The military] did not let me follow them outside; every time I tried to go out they pushed me back,” the mother said. “When I was able to go outside, after a couple of hours, I found my boys burning in the street. They had been piled on top of each other and had motorbikes piled on top of them and set on fire.”

The son of Ali Haydar, a long-time and much respected leader of the Syrian Nationalist Party who was jailed for decades, was assassinated on the road to Tartus. This is not the branch of the SSNP which had taken a place in the “Progressive Front” in the Syrian Parliament.

U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon has blamed the regime for widespread violations of the truce — prompting Syria to fire back that his comments were “outrageous” and accuse him of bias. Ban and Annan have cited violations by both sides, but generally portrayed the regime as the main aggressor. A Tishrin editorial said Ban has avoided discussing rebel violence in favor of “outrageous” statements against the Syrian government. The editorial said the international community has applied a double standard, ignoring “crimes and terrorist acts” against Syria and thus encouraging more violence.

At least four students were reportedly killed when Syrian security forces cracked down on a student demonstration at Aleppo University. Aleppo University suspended all lectures and classes, and evacuated the dorms of all residents as army units raided the campus. Aleppo University, the second largest university in the country, has been witnessing several demonstrations daily for over a month. Killing students and closing down the dormitories for the rest of the school year is a new phase in Syria’s metastasizing conflict.

So far, the uprising had been largely kept out of the schools. There had always been small, quick demonstrations organized at the University of Aleppo, but they were contained. The regime has depicted this uprising as the work of the rural poor and unemployed — those left behind by globalization and economic reform — and most importantly to the propaganda of the regime, those most likely to become salafists and jihadists.

University students are Syria’s future. They are the youth of Syria’s middle class and elite families – the ones who are supposed to be sympathetic to the regime and leery of chaos and revolution.

The class divide in Syria is now meeting the generation gap. Young Syrians – even those from “good” families – can no longer remain silent or remain on the sidelines. They are rebelling against their parents who are ordering them to shut up and stay out of the line of fire.

There are unlikely to be any great watersheds in this revolution. Syria is slowly grinding toward civil war and the collapse of the state. Universities – just one additional state institution, even if a very important one – have now slipped over the edge. They have become part of the boiling ocean of Syrian discontent. Next fall, they will probably not open. Parents will be thinking how to get their kids enrolled in foreign schools for the next year — and probably for years to come. The killing of university students has caused thousands to protest in Aleppo, the largest the city has seen since the start of the uprising.

Ahmad Fawzi, Annan’s spokesman, told a U.N. briefing in Geneva that “there are small signs of compliance,” despite continuing violations. On Thursday, White House spokesman Jay Carney said the plan might be doomed.

“If the regime’s intransigence continues, the international community is going to have to admit defeat,” he said, adding that new measures might have to be taken, including a return to the U.N. Security Council. He gave no further details.

– News Round Up –

Daily life in Syria
Produced by Gari Sullivan, Friday, 4 May 2012

For those living in Syria, Normal is impossible. Even the most mundane, everyday tasks become difficult and dangerous when your home is a war zone.

Defying a Dictator: Meet the Free Syrian Army
by Jonathan Spyer in World Affairs

In Sarmin, the FSA appears to consist almost entirely of defectors from Assad’s army, several hundred of them. The force appeared disciplined and serious. The fighters are uniformed, equipped with AK-47 rifles; I saw RPG-7s, heavy machine guns, and a mortar. They are commanded by an impressive figure, Lieutenant Bilal Khabir, a twenty-five-year-old former officer of the airborne forces of Assad’s army. He and his men are motivated, respond to commands with military precision, and appear willing to fight to the end. “Either Bashar stays or we stay,” Khabir told me. “The regime has the heavy weapons—the people are with us.”

Khabir speaks with the earnestness and sincerity of a youth counsellor—hardly a macho stereotype. Yet volunteer soldiers seem far more likely to trust a leader like Khabir over a glory-seeker (especially when they are out-manned and out-gunned), and the young officer left me with the impression that the fighters in Sarmin mean business

In Binnish, on the other hand, the FSA is a smaller force, the majority of which is made up of local men who have taken up arms rather than former members of the army. Uniforms are scarcer, and the local FSA fighters do not bear arms during the Friday demonstrations that accompany prayer services, and hence have a less imposing and visible presence in the town.

Not surprisingly, given its organic development, and consistent with similarly formed rebel groups in Libya, the FSA generally appears to be a loose collection of local militias, consisting largely of army deserters but also of Syrian civilians who have taken up arms against the regime. It is well equipped for street fighting, but does not have the weaponry or the expertise to withstand a frontal assault from Assad’s forces at this stage. It also does not appear to have an efficient or centralized command structure, though there is clearly communication on some level between different
local elements. There is a notional, Syria-wide leadership cadre based in Antakya, Turkey, and headed by former Air Force Colonel Riyad al-Asaad. But local FSA commanders readily admit that they are not under the daily command and control of this leadership. One civilian activist whom I spoke to openly dismissed the “national” leaders, noting (accurately) that they are confined to their compound by Turkish authorities and unable to keep up with, much less direct, fast-moving events on the ground in Syria. The FSA officers I spoke to also acknowledged the splits that have emerged in the ostensible leadership of the organization—with General Mustafa al-Sheikh, a recent defector from the Syrian Army, emerging as a rival potential leader to Riyad al-Asaad.

Asked what they needed to win their fight against Assad, the FSA men I spoke to—Lieutenant Khabir in Sarmin, Captain Ayham al-Kurdi in Antakya, and the fighters Mohammed and Ahmed in Binnish—all repeated a single demand: an internationally imposed zone from which they could organize and operate. A secondary, often-repeated demand was for arms and supplies—from the West, from Arab countries, or, as a few men said, “even from Israel.” When I asked if the FSA could win in the absence of outside assistance, they demurred. Kurdi and Khabir both acknowledged that, without international aid, the situation could continue “for
years” (Kurdi’s phrase). Khabir also mentioned the
possibility of a long guerrilla war, “like pesh merga,” as he put it, referring to the Kurdish guerrilla force. Kurdi added that the regime would not ultimately fall solely at the hands of the FSA, but rather as a result of a combined political struggle,…..

Idlib Province is a deeply conservative Sunni area. There is also a considerable presence of Salafi Islamist fighters in the FSA in both Binnish and Sarmin. Although these fighters appeared to be local men, not foreign jihadis, the Salafi presence, and the prominent role a number of these individuals have taken in recent fighting against Assad’s forces, should not be ignored.

In conversation with FSA fighters and activists, the sectarian issue, and the differing loyalties of the various Syrian communities, surfaced regularly. Inevitably, I heard a somewhat sanitized version of this from FSA commanders, while rank-and-file fighters and civilian activists were more likely to express openly sectarian views. Captain Ayham al-Kurdi echoed others when he observed that the fight represented a struggle primarily between Sunni Arabs and Alawi Arabs. “Ninety percent of Alawis,” he said, are with the regime. “Christians are neutral, the Druze are split, and the Sunnis who benefitted from the regime support it, while the others are opposed.” A civilian activist speaking to me in Binnish was more blunt: “This is civil war between the clans,” he said, then hurriedly reminding me that Sunnis nevertheless rejected the possibility of sectarian warfare as a matter of principle….

What I saw in Syria was a young but authentic insurgent movement, developing in a mode well established by others before it and set to fight a long and costly war of attrition against a classically ruthless foe who will do anything to stay in power. The daunting forces of Assad’s dictatorship have already shown their capability in Homs and elsewhere, but the rebel fighters I encountered displayed the will and determination to take on those forces, despite limited weaponry and weak central authority. As Lieutenant Khabir in Sarmin put it to me, “The regime is fascist and criminal. We expect what happened in Homs to happen here. But even with our simple weapons, we’re ready to fight. Our morale is high. We don’t know how to run away.”…

Louay Hussein, President of Building The Syrian State current, writes to Annan:

…..The authorities have recently been targeting famous non-violence figures. During the last few days they arrested the writer Salama Keileh and the religious figure Mouaz Al-Khatib, in addition to other recent similar arrests for peaceful figures such as the human rights activists Mazen Darwish and Mahmoud Isa; the non-violence campaigner Mohammad Ammar and many tens of young activists who campaigned for the killing to stop and for ending the Syrian blood shed.

We urge you to intervene with the Syrian authorities to release immediately and unconditionally, all these detainees in addition to the thousands of other peaceful detainees. Otherwise, time will pass and the political process that you are trying to build will find no partner outside the prisons, nor any party would have any faith in the authority or even the possibility of a peaceful solution.

Econmy

Syrian economy spirals downward as deposits, loans plunge
By Donna Abu Nasr, Tamara Walid, May 04, 2012, Bloomberg

Syria’s economy is collapsing. Deposits fell by an average of 35 percent in 2011 at Bank of Syria and Overseas SA, Bank Audi Syria and Banque Bemo Saudi Fransi, according to April filings to the Damascus Securities Exchange.

Lending plunged 22 percent last year, the filings by the three banks show, compared with a 6.9 percent increase in Egypt and a 3.9 percent gain in the United Arab Emirates. The central bank’s foreign reserves may drop to $10 billion this year, half the 2010 peak, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit.

The 14-month long uprising that has claimed more than 9,000 lives is taking an increasing toll on the economy and the business class, mostly drawn from the majority Sunni Muslim community. Their support for President Bashar Assad – who stems from the minority Alawite sect – may buckle as the economy, which is forecast to contract 5.9 percent in 2012 by the EIU, spirals downward.

If “the government cannot come up with a consistent policy to stop this economic deterioration, at some point in time Syrian businesses are going to realize that backing Bashar Assad himself is too costly,” Ayesha Sabavala, an EIU economist on Syria, said in a telephone interview.

Syria’s pound weakened to about 68 per U.S. dollar, from 47 per dollar before the uprising started in March 2011, according to data on the Syrian central bank’s website. Unofficial money exchangers on the Lebanese side of the border sell the pound at about 72 per dollar.

Syria’s economy shrank 3.4 percent in 2011 because of the unrest, the EIU’s estimates show. Inflation may accelerate to 14.7 percent in 2012 from 4.8 percent in 2011, it said.

One of the country’s main exports has slumped since the European Union’s decision to stop importing Syrian crude oil last year. That has cost it $3 billion in revenue, Oil Minister Sufian Alao told the official Syrian Arab News Agency on April 30. State media regularly report “terrorist” attacks on the country’s oil pipelines, most recently in Deir Ezzor province this week.

Syria produced about 380,000 barrels a day before the move to impose sanctions, of which 150,000 barrels were exported, Alao said.

“The economy is a downward spiral and is trapped,” said Jarmo Kotilaine, chief economist at National Commercial Bank, Saudi Arabia’s biggest bank by assets. “This spiral can continue, and if it does, everyone including the government and individuals will revert to a more simple way of doing business. It’s not the ideal scenario.”…

Protracting crisis worsens poverty in Syria
2012-04-29

DAMASCUS, April 28 (Xinhua) — Life turns increasingly unaffordable for a large segment of the Syrian society as the spinning-out crisis in the country beats hard on the less well-off and spirals the percentage of the poor.

A recent report issued by the Labor Union in Syria reveals that the proportion of the poor has amounted to 41 percent of the 23 million Syrian population. It says that the Tenth Five-Year Plan was ambitious to create 625,000 new jobs in the first two years, but it actually provided 277,000, or only 44 percent.

Workers in both public and private sectors and retirees complain about their salaries which have been eroded in light of the skyrocketing prices of almost all commodities, as well as about the failure of the government to control the markets.

The daunting pressures on all businesses in Syria have forced many employers to sack workers, raising thus the number of the jobless.

The report says special attention should be paid to the workshops and crafts and to motivate them to shift from the shadow economy to formal and legal economy, and also emphasizes the need to restrict the activities of investment and holding companies in the high-cost projects, and to increase the state’s support for the poor and develop a consistent policy of wages compatible with the cost of living.

As observers fear that the rising poverty caused by prolonged uncertainties would foment popular wrath, the report calls for the need to reduce unemployment, especially among young people, by increasing government investment in public sector with the cooperation of the private sector to provide new job opportunities.

Prominent Syrian economic expert Aref Dalileh recently told media that the economic problems in Syria have stemmed from the decades-long political system, while the economic factor in turn constitutes the main reason for the current events in Syria today.

According to Dalileh, the roots of the economic problems lie in the way the government manages the national economy and the economic surplus, especially its failure to use the surplus in development.

The Syrian unrest that erupted over a year ago and the ensuing U.S., EU and Arab sanctions have tightened the squeeze around the already slow-moving economy that has been striving to shift from the socialist style to open market, hitting hard all businesses in the country ranging from tourism, oil to banking sectors, and after all, people’s daily life.

As the EU said lately that it is mulling new package of sanctions on Syria, Amru Eiz-eldin, a 35-year-old worker, told Xinhua that “It’s not a secret that prices have gone up tremendously and that people’s purchasing power has decreased. We’ re all feeling it.”

“Some people are no longer eating meat,” he said.

Der Spiegel: Losing Hope In Syria’s Devastated Countryside, 2012-05-01

The world is still hoping that the efforts of United Nations envoy Kofi Annan will succeed in Syria, but regime forces have inflicted such brutal destruction in the country’s northwest Idlib province that no one there believes peace is possible …

Regime Change in Syria: We Should Learn the Lessons of Iraq
Huffington Post – Steven Strauss

Obama’s critics cite our success in Libya as a model for intervening in Syria. … America’s worst case scenario in Syria would be a civil war, resulting in a failed state. That failed Syrian state could become a regional base for terrorism, whereby chemical weapon stockpiles fall into the hands of Hezbollah, Hamas, al Qaeda or other terrorist groups. The Assad regime is evil; the successor regime could be even worse. As the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff emphasized, we know almost nothing about the Syrian rebels.

In Libya, the Qaddafi regime openly threatened genocide against the opposition. While this remains a risk in Syria, currently violence is at a murderous (but not genocidal) level. Over the last year, approximately 9,000 to 11,000 people died in Syria as a result of the Assad regime’s brutality. The death of even one person is a tragedy, and the Assad regime has murdered many times over.

However, to put this in context: people are being killed at the rate of about 40-50 deaths per 100,000 Syrians, per year. This is equivalent to the murder rate in New Orleans or Detroit. Perhaps we should intervene in New Orleans before tackling Syria.

The Politics of Sectarian Insecurity: Alawite ‘Asabiyya and the Rise and Decline of the Asad Dynasty – Leon T. Goldsmith began his study in 2008; this is his PhD dissertation

ProjectSyndicate: The Anarchy Factor in Syria
2012-05-02

The failure of the Obama administration, its Western allies, and several Middle East regional powers to take bolder action to stop the carnage in Syria is often explained by their fear of anarchy. In fact, anarchy is setting in now: it is preceding …

INTERVIEW: Opposition says al-Assad’s regime is a “stinking corpse”
By Jackline Zaher, DPA 2012-05-01

Cairo (DPA) — The leader of Syria’s main opposition group believes the country’s regime is finished and says its citizens are already preparing for a post-Bashar al-Assad era. The president’s regime is “no longer a regime, just an organization of military, security and militia forces that are killing the people,” Burhan Ghalioun, head of the Syrian National Council (SNC), told dpa by phone. “As far as we are concerned it is finished, the only question that remains is how we can bury this stinking corpse,” he said. Ghalioun nevertheless expects al-Assad’s government to remain in place until its security forces becomes powerless. “As a regime it has collapsed on every level, politically, economically and culturally, and it no longer enjoys any relations with the Arab world or internationally,” the Paris-based professor said.

He also said that after the fall of al-Assad, “there will be no basis for continued preferential relations with Iran; and Hezbollah will have to change its approach and deal with the new Syria if the regime changes.”

Al-Assad’s government has been Iran’s military and strategic ally in the region, and both countries provide support to Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement and the Islamist group Hamas, based in the Gaza Strip. Ghalioun also rejected reports that the SNC or any revolutionary group in Syria might strike a deal over the future of the strategic Golan Heights in return for Western or Israeli support in bringing down the al-Assad regime. “The Golan is and will remain Syrian territory, and is recognized as such by all the world. Syria’s democratic revolution will be in a better position to regain the Golan.”

“It is the regime, not the opposition, that has collaborated with Israel and allowed it to stay in the Golan,” Ghalioun argued.

Son of former Syrian PM wants to form government in exile
Father imprisoned by Baath party when it came to power in 1963

April 26, 2012,

PARIS (AP) — The son of a former Syrian prime minister says he wants to form a government in exile aimed at bolstering Syrian rebels and encouraging international military intervention.

Nofal al-Dawalibi’s attempt at forming a government of those who oppose Syrian President Bashar Assad only highlights divisions among those trying to oust his regime from outside the country. Al-Dawalibi said Thursday the opposition Syrian National Council, which has enjoyed support from several countries, has failed to accomplish anything and is an “artificial” body.

French diplomats say anti-regime activists in Syria appear to operate on their own and don’t take orders from opposition groups abroad. Al-Dawalibi’s father, Maarouf, was elected prime minister in 1961, but was later jailed and fled to Saudi Arabia in 1963. [ ... ]

Syria faces neo-mujahideen struggle
By Victor Kotsev

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad may have won a battle earlier this year (as the retreat of the Free Syrian Army from the ruined city of Homs testifies), but he is nowhere near winning the war. The uprising is quickly turning into a full-scale insurgency – a foreign-sponsored insurgency, to be more precise, which some analysts term a “neo-mujahideen strategy”.

2012-04-28, Thomas Friedman

If the Annan plan fails, then the West, the United Nations and the Arab League need to move swiftly to set up a no-fly zone or humanitarian corridor — on the Turkish-Syrian border — that can provide a safe haven for civilians being pummeled by the regime and send a message to the exhausted Syrian Army and residual supporters of Assad that it is time for them to decapitate this regime and save themselves and the Syrian state. The quicker Assad falls, the less sectarian blood that is shed and the more of the Syrian state that survives, the less difficult a difficult rebuilding will be….

It’s like a kid who was beaten and left uneducated by his parents for 50 years and one day the kid finally decides to fight back, he added. “Morally, you have to support his right to revolt, but this guy is very traumatized.” So let’s help in an intelligent, humane way, but with no illusions that this transition will be easy or a happy ending assured.

CLINTON SAYS TURKEY MULLS REQUEST FOR NATO SUPPPORT

Ghalioun’s statement that there is “No Syrian Kurdistan” Stirs Controversy.

Al-Qamishli: Further demonstrations in the Kurdish regions: Kurdwatch Newsletter

KURDWATCH, April 27, 2012—Despite the existing ceasefire, nationwide protests on April 20, 2012 again resulted in numerous dead and injured. Throughout the country, demonstrators demanded the fall of the regime. Whereas in the previous week, all Kurdish demonstrators took to the streets under a unified, all-Syrian slogan, this week there were once again two slogans. The majority demonstrated under the nationwide slogan »We will win, Assad will lose«. Other demonstrators took to the streets under the slogan »Here is Kurdistan«. This slogan was in protest of the Syrian National Council chairman’s remarks that there is no »Syrian-Kurdistan« [further information on the remarks].

Erbil: Chairman of the Syrian National Council comments on the Kurdish question

KURDWATCH, April 23, 2012—In an interview on April 16, 2012 with the Iraqi-Kurdish magazine Rûdaw, Burhan Ghaliun, Chairman of the Syrian National Council, commented on the Kurdish question. He explained that in Syria there are areas that are predominantly settled by Kurds, but there is no »Syrian Kurdistan«—neither geographically nor politically. To speak of Syrian Kurdistan is to apply the Iraqi model to Syria. He further explained that if the Syrian Kurds continue to cling to a federalist model, this will lead to misunderstandings with other groups who will interpret these demands as a desire for secession. At the same time, he emphasized that in past decades, the Kurds have been discriminated against and marginalized, and that the Syrian parties and political movements recognize Kurdish national identity. »I say the Syrian state and the political rulers must provide the conditions for protecting this identity. The right to education in Kurdish and developing Kurdish culture and literature, as the second culture in Syria, must be provided.« He further stated that the Syrian National Council stands for a decentralized system, in which provincial and city councils will receive a broad-range of authority. In reaction to Ghaliun’s comments, numerous dissident demonstrations took place in the Kurdish regions on April 20, 2012 under the slogan »Here is Kurdistan!«. Ghaliun had already drawn criticism in 2011, when he compared the Syrian Kurds to immigrants in France—he subsequently retracted this statement.

 Two different Syrian Opposition organizations expressed their own formulations of the Kurdish question in Syria – they are  the General Assembly of the Syrian Democratic Platform which met in Cairo from April 13 to April 16, 2012, and the National Union of the Forces for Democratic Change which met in Paris on April 14.

CIA Asset Gloria Steinem’s “Women Under Siege” Joins Syrian Propaganda Campaign
admin Apr 27, 2012 The International Campaign to Destabilize Syria

How Russia, Iran keep fuel flowing to Syria
By Jessica Donati and Julia Payne, Thu Apr 26, 2012

(Reuters) – Russia and Iran are helping Syria import fuel which it needs for heavy vehicles including army tanks, allowing Damascus to avoid the full impact of tightening Western sanctions imposed over its violent suppression of dissent.

Nikolaos van Dam [nikolaosvandam@gmail.com] Recommends books on Syria - He adds: I had also strongly recommended Lisa Wedeen’s book and the new book of Carsten Wieland, but due to lack of space they are now olny mentioned in the footnote (which is better than not to be mentioned at all).

Time for a rethink of U.S. policy towards Syria
Posted By Geoffrey Aronson Thursday, April 26, 2012 – 6:01 PM Share

Simply opposing Assad is not a policy, but that is what the current U.S. policy risks. By demonizing the regime, Washington has walked away from the table. This decision left the U.S. ill-placed to tease out disaffected members of the regime in the hopes of mounting an insider’s coup, the best hope for a less violent transition. That power now rests in the hands of Moscow and Teheran, who may yet decide that a change in the regime is the best means of preserving their interests. Efforts by Syria’s Arab antagonists to undermine the ruling family have come to naught. This vacuum has left the diplomatic field to Kofi Annan, Tehran, Beijing, and Moscow, who appear united in an effort to craft a diplomatic solution with the regime — repudiating Washington’s preferences both tactically and strategically.

Washington’s ambivalence about the Annan mission is a product of the squeeze Moscow, Beijing, Baghdad, and Teheran are putting on U.S. policy. “Walking back” American support for regime change and the concomitant opposition to everything short of this goal, is not easy, but some former U.S. diplomats and even others currently wearing pinstripes believe it can be done. Our lukewarm support for Annan reflects the first, tentative baby steps in this direction

The Obama administration, however, cannot bring itself to support a solution with the regime and its allies. It is has proven easier to embrace a number of more vague and often incompatible policy options: to snipe at the Annan mission from the sidelines, to debate tactical questions relating to humanitarian relief, or to engage in internal debates about the ease with which, for example, Syrian air defenses might be taken out

Lacking a strategic compass, Washington finds itself not leading from behind but being dragged from behind in support of the policies and agendas of others — including in the Gulf and among the Syrian National Council — that promise at best to continue bleeding the regime, its opponents, and the long-suffering Syrian people, and that threaten the institutional and even the territorial integrity of the Syrian state.

These are the stakes of the game now being played by diplomats in drawing rooms and rebels in the alleys of Daraa and Homs. The Assad regime and the ruling state institutions are heinous, but there is still room for Washington to champion an engagement that aims at moving the Syrian government and the Syrian public to a wary, uneasy accommodation.

Syria In Vogue But On The Outer
Posted by Prof. Brian Stoddart on April 27, 2012

Syrian Psychosis
– www.weeklystandard.com
Yesterday the Washington Post inexplicably published a piece about the Vogue profile of Syrian first lady Asma al-Assad—a profile published in March 2011.

The Islamization of the Uprising and the Loss of Syria
by Randa Kassis

The Islamists in Syria are increasingly swooping down on the popular movement, suggesting that they are the strongest and the most widespread among the Syrian groups through their dependence on the religious and conservative bases of certain communities. Their presence is due first to the sense among the Syrian street participating in the uprising that the international community had abandoned them and that they have been left prey to the brutality of the Syrian regime. Second, this is due to the Islamists’ exploitation of the Syrian psyche in order to slowly penetrate the Syrian street in an organized fashion. In addition, the Islamists’ control over the distribution of supplies and humanitarian assistance significantly contributed to their extensive appearance in the squares and streets, resulting in the appearance of gaining a monopoly over this uprising. The Islamists have taken advantage of the divide between the communities previously supported by the ruling regime and those they call the majority group, thus upholding sectarian discrimination and fueling feelings of aggression and repulsion between the groups in order to gain a wider segment of the Syrian society. They also capitalize on the principle of “the strongest majority,” which gives that majority the right to direct society according to its desires and standards. Here, we are entitled to review what they consider the majority and the minority, who comprise, according to their view, singular, collective blocks.

How Many Syrians Will Die?
2012-04-28, By Jennifer Rubin

April 28 (Washington Post) — Paul Wolfowitz writes:

“American policy on Syria today seems paralyzed by the understandable fear of getting into another war like those in Afghanistan or Iraq. But no one, least of all the Syrian people, wants to see an American invasion and occupation of Syria.” In essence President Obama has set up one of those false choices to justify doing nothing effective to oust Bashar al-Assad:….

Perhaps one day an American president will go to the Holocaust museum and ask his fellow citizens, ” How could we allow mass atrocities in Syria?” The answer: Obama wanted a second term.

Al Jazeera, “Searching for a ‘plan B’ in Syria”, Jonathan Paris, Sami Hermez, and Farah Atassi, a Syrian political activist. The introductions are 3:20 minutes into the program.

Assad intensifies cyberwar against Qatar
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad©AFP

The Qatari prime minister’s daughter is arrested in London. Qatar’s army chief stages a coup against the emir. Hamad bin Jassim, the prime minister, is sacked. None of these stories is true, but for a while Syria’s embattled regime tried to make them credible partly thanks to a group of loyal hackers. Late on Monday, the so-called Syrian Electronic Army, the cyber activists who spam Facebook and Twitter with pro-government messages, hacked into the Twitter account of Saudi Arabia’s al-Arabiya news channel and planted the report of Mr bin Jassim’s removal. As al-Arabiya rushed to report that its social networks were infiltrated, the hackers posted news about an explosion at a Qatari natural gasfield.

The cyberwar against Qatar is part of escalating efforts by Bashar al-Assad, Syria’s president, to paint the revolt against him as a geopolitical struggle by wealthy Gulf monarchies bent on Syria’s destruction, rather than a brutal attempt to put down a popular uprising . To a certain extent the regional battle is real: Qatar and Saudi Arabia, long-time rivals in the region, have been remarkably unified over Syria, and have taken the harshest line against Mr Assad. The removal of the Syrian strongman, Iran’s main ally in the Arab world, would alter the balance of power in the Middle East in the Sunni Gulf monarchies’ favour.

US News: Syria’s cultural treasures latest uprising victim
2012-05-01 By ZEINA KARAM, Associated Press BEIRUT (AP) —

On its towering hilltop perch, the Krak des Chevaliers, one of the world’s best preserved Crusader castles, held off a siege by the Muslim warrior Saladin nearly 900 years ago. It was lauded by …Besides the break-in at Krak des Chevaliers in March, gunmen have also targeted a museum in the city of Hama, making off with antiques and a priceless gold statue dating back to the Aramaic era, said Jammous, of the government’s museum agency….Government assaults on opposition stronghold cities and neighborhoods — often with shelling and heavy machine-gun fire — have also caused extensive damage.

Comments (565)


1. Uzair8 said:

The economic forecast is devastating.

Thumb up 12 Thumb down 10

May 4th, 2012, 12:47 pm

 

2. norman said:

Poor Syria, It reminds me with this,

(( Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty together again.[1]))

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May 4th, 2012, 1:28 pm

 

3. Uzair8 said:

@2 Norman

http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/?p=13417&cp=all#comment-296151

*****************************************************************

Moving on. In regards to the final news story in the round-up above I hope the regime isn’t involved in the targeting of valuable ‘cultural treasures’. Desperately in need of funds and with predictions of imminent economic collapse….

Maybe I’m becoming over-cynical.

(?)

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May 4th, 2012, 1:44 pm

 

4. JD said:

[Moderator Note JD, I will inform Dr. Landis that the link does not work. In the mean time here is the link until Dr. Landis has the time to correct theLink in his post ]

Sc Moderator

Hi Josh,

The links to the Syrian maps at the top of your post do not work. Can you relink to them? Thanks!

Added by Joshua L – I have fixed them – thanks

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May 4th, 2012, 1:46 pm

 

5. norman said:

Uzair8,

Are showing off that you thought about it before i did, Ok but i do not blame any one side!!!.

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May 4th, 2012, 1:56 pm

 

6. Nour said:

الشعب يريد نظام جديد

السلطة للشعب… الكرامة للوطن… الثروة للجميع

This is the official site of the election campaign of the Popular Front for Change and Liberation.

http://taghyiir.com/

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May 4th, 2012, 2:03 pm

 

7. Uzair8 said:

@4 Norman.

No no. Sorry, didn’t mean to steal your thunder. I’ll give you a thumbs up for #2. :-)

Just another opportunity to mention Humpty and his Shabeeha.

Actually Ann has also previously made reference to the rhyme a couple of times in relation to the Qatari monarch.

In the propaganda/counter-propaganda and spin/counterspin game one needs no second invitation to post/repost. Lol.

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May 4th, 2012, 2:10 pm

 

8. norman said:

Uzair8,

I am worry about Syria the country, not the leaders,it is the country that it is going to be impossible to put back together, don’t you think?.

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May 4th, 2012, 2:17 pm

 

9. Uzair8 said:

@8 Norman

I understand your concern.

Short answer. Everyone is fixated with their goal (survival or toppling the regime depending what side your on.) They’ve gone all broke. The silent bloc can help precipitate the situation but are they brave enough? There is still hope.

It may get worse before it gets better.

Anything can happen. I’ve said for a long time that we should be prepared to be surprised. The arab spring throughout has not ceased to surprise. Unexpected twists and turns.

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May 4th, 2012, 2:41 pm

 

10. Aldendeshe said:

@NOUR
More Majlis’es, more fighters, more Ahdafuna…. Where is the cash and the winning strategy so people can believe and commit, rather than make believe and go sleep.

And for you BATTA, you asked for it, you begged for it, you got it quack.. quack.. loud and clear:

العرب والعروبة والأمّة العربية وعروبتنا وتاريخنا العربي واسسلامنا والاسلام والمسلمين وشعبنا الاسلامي وبطيخ مبسمر شو فادك سنة العلاك المصدي بدلا من احترام ومساعدة الشعب السوري والوطن السوري رفعت رايات العروبة والا سلام وقتلت السوريون ودمرة سوريا بطة كوشوك هيك انت وبعثك وعروبتك واسلامك

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May 4th, 2012, 3:17 pm

 
 

12. Antoine said:

What can be the reason that Idleb in particular is so anti-regime ?

Also, within the Provinces, one realizes that the more westards one travels ( i.e the closer to the Alawite Mountains one goes), the more intense the anti-regime feelings become. Just look at the map of Idleb , Homs, and Hama. the most westward towns, like the al-Ghab plains, Jabal Zawiyah, Houla, Telkalakh, Jisr al Shughour, have the most intense anti-regime passions. Whereas interiors Homs or interior Idleb, though anti-regime, is not so intense.

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May 4th, 2012, 4:08 pm

 

13. Alan said:

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2012/05/people-killed-in-syria-compare-the-numbers-.html

People Killed in Syria – Compare The Numbers

During the insurgency in Syria over the last thirteen month about 10,000 people were killed. Of these some 3,500 were soldiers or policemen on the government side.

Syria has some 23 million inhabitants plus about a million refugees from Iraq. The usual statistic measurement for the rate of homicides is the number killed per 100,000 persons per year. For Syria that number would then be 38 5 per 100,000 per year. Not counting the government agents the rate is some 25 per 100,000 per year.

In 2010 the rate of homicide and non-negligent manslaughter in New Orleans was 49.1 per 100,000 per year. It was 40.5 in St. Louis, 34.8 in Baltimore, 34.5 in Detroit and 23.1 in Newark.

Why isn’t there any talk of no-fly zones over New Orleans, humanitarian corridors in St. Louis or military intervention in Baltimore? Couldn’t we at least get some UN observers to Detroit and an Amnesty International report on Newark?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate

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May 4th, 2012, 4:09 pm

 

14. Antoine said:

Today’s huge protests in al-Bab, reef Halab.

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May 4th, 2012, 4:12 pm

 

15. zoo said:

#13 Antoine

The answer is J.L post above

“Idlib Province is a deeply conservative Sunni area. There is also a considerable presence of Salafi Islamist fighters in the FSA in both Binnish and Sarmin. Although these fighters appeared to be local men, not foreign jihadis, the Salafi presence, and the prominent role a number of these individuals have taken in recent fighting against Assad’s forces, should not be ignored.”

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May 4th, 2012, 4:14 pm

 

16. Nour said:

Aldendeshe:

The PFCL has an election campaign it has published and a plan on how to bring changes to the country. Namely, they are bringing pressure upon the regime to allow the majles sha3b to become more effective so that when they get in, they can begin trying to change laws and to change this constitution to a real one. In addition, they are using pressure to allow the next government, in which they hope to take part, to have real power and authority act and not be merely a under the control of the moukhabarat.

In any case, nothing can assure anyone that what the PFCL will materialize 100%. All they can do is present their program to the people and see if the people are convinced enough to give them a chance.

As for your last comment regarding the empty slogans of the Baath, I agree with it.

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May 4th, 2012, 4:15 pm

 

17. Alan said:

16. ANTOINE
this your real life there in the west ANTOINE!you think whom to bribe,
but here god gives us a potato and we are happy with it!

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May 4th, 2012, 4:27 pm

 

18. bronco said:

Mass protests calls by the opposition this friday? Another call on deaf ears?

If the Syrian government appear to be weakened because of the economical situation and the demonizing media campaign, the opposition is in worse situation. The streets seem unresponsive to the calls for mass demonstrations and strikes, the armed gangs are let loose in their rampage and provocations that triggers violent retaliations and condemnations and the media is starting to criticize the terrorists acts while putting in quotes the reports coming from the LCC and the UK Observatory.
In the absence of a fresh supply of weapons, the lack of mass demonstrations or strikes, the muteness of the Friends of Syria (when is the next meeting?) and the crumbling support of the media, the hardline opposition appear more doomed than it has ever been. Which of the parties will be exhausted first and accept the compromises proposed by Annan?

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May 4th, 2012, 4:29 pm

 

19. zoo said:

Syrians questioning whether armed revolt works
By ZEINA KARAM | Associated Press – 2 hrs 38 mins ago
http://news.yahoo.com/syrians-questioning-whether-armed-revolt-works-180000977.html
BEIRUT (AP) — The woman wearing a blood-red dress stood in the middle of a busy intersection outside Syria’s parliament holding up a red banner: “Stop the killing, we want to build a homeland for all Syrians.” Drivers tooted their horns and supporters clapped.

Rima Dali’s act of defiance last month — which landed the 33-year-old in prison for several days — was a call for the opposition to focus again on peaceful protests to bring down President Bashar Assad. It has inspired other activists who worry that their cause is going astray as more Syrians take up arms in the face of the regime’s withering crackdown.

They say armed resistance costs the opposition the moral high ground and boosts the regime line that it is battling terrorists, not a popular uprising. The spiraling violence has also taken on fearsome sectarian overtones, threatening to push the country into full-blown civil war. Al-Qaida-style suicide bombings have become increasingly common.
More..

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May 4th, 2012, 4:42 pm

 

20. Antoine said:

STOPAntoine, threatening and accusing commentators is NOT acceptable, and goes against the Rules of SC. When you choose to attack commentators directly I trash your comments, and if you continue to do so you will placed on Moderation. Please check your email.

SC Moderator

To the SC Moderator :

A comment is written with the intention of it being displayed, if any moderation in necessary, I think it is decent to inform the commentator of the reasons for said moderation. Just wiping out a whole comment because it violates the rules is just not right.

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May 4th, 2012, 4:45 pm

 

21. bronco said:

19. Antoine

Insults and threats?

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May 4th, 2012, 4:45 pm

 

22. Mawal95 said:

I repeat myself:

Syria is having parliamentary elections on 7 May 2012. The following is a report about the how the election contest is going in Aleppo. The candidates of the “National Unity List” (an alliance dominated by the Baath Party) are expected to win each and every seat in the election contest, even though the names of the candidates on this List were not announced until about a week ago. In Arabic: http://www.aksalser.com/?page=view_articles&id=c9ccc3b4884e12ce2478c18fc3c7caf1&ar=124828390 .

Thus the population is choosing to vote for the National Unity List itself, not for the individuals on the list. On the basis of that voting behaviour, I predict that the Baath Party will be in control of parliament for decades of years to come. Looking at today’s landscape, I cannot imagine how it would not require many, many election cycles before an opposition would be able to make serious inroads against the Baath, barring unlikely future events where the Baath inflicted serious damage upon itself.

Many independent candidates who were not part of the National Unity List tried to get themselves on the List and when they failed they withdrew their candidacy from the contest. In Arabic:
http://www.syria-news.com/readnews.php?sy_seq=147670
http://www.aksalser.com/?page=view_news&id=60d34b33b5faf776eb3d1290bef8d093&ar=874384585

There’s more coverage of the parliamentary election in Arabic at http://www.dp-news.com/aswatsouria/ (but the English edition of that site has essentially no coverage of the election). Unfortunately today the site http://www.AlWatan.sy is down (inoperative).

I regard the outcome of the 7 May 2012 parliamentary election as historic and fundamental. The Baath Party and the governing Establishment is having an easy, no-sweat switchover to full-fledged democracy. (The street protests and the armed rebellion do not pose a challenge to the government on the democratic power front). After the election results are in next week, I’ll be saying that the Baath has proven itself to be a very powerful competitor, even more powerful than I thought it was. In my honest assessment, I’ll be expecting the Baath to rule Syria for the rest of my lifetime with high likelihood. That’s great news for the kind of Syria that I want. Hurray!!

A list of reasons why the governing party is so strong in the elections contest is given in an earlier post by me at http://www.moonofalabama.org/2012/03/open-thread-2012-07.html#c6a00d8341c640e53ef0168e90185c0970c

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May 4th, 2012, 4:54 pm

 

23. Alan said:

Israel gets its 4th German-made nuke-capable submarine
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/239465.html

Israel has taken delivery of its fourth German-made Dolphin-class submarine capable of carrying nuclear warheads with an operating range of 4,500 kilometers (2796 miles).

The INS Tannin submarine was delivered to Israeli officials in Hamburg, Germany on Thursday and is expected to undergo final tests before arriving in Israel in 2013, the Associated Press reported.

Israeli Minister of Military Affairs Ehud Barak said that the submarine will increase Tel Aviv’s capabilities and strength in the face of regional challenges.

Israel had placed order with Germany for the submarine as well as its fifth Dolphin-class sub in 2006, while, in 2012, the two sides signed a contract for a sixth such submarine. The fifth and sixth orders are due for delivery in 2014 and 2016 respectively.

Three earlier-model Dolphin submarines were delivered to Israel between 1998 and 2000.

The Germans paid for the first two and split the cost of the third with Israel. Tel Aviv paid only one-third of the cost for the fourth one.

Israel is the only possessor of nuclear weapons in the Middle East and has never allowed international inspections of its nuclear facilities nor has it joined the Non-Proliferation Treaty based on its policy of nuclear ambiguity.

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May 4th, 2012, 5:20 pm

 

24. Norman said:

Mawal 95,

I don’t know about you, but i have a problem voting for a list without even knowing the people they are voting for and that is why i like district where people vote for one representative for them between few who live in that district, this way they will vote for people they know and trust and each rep will feel loyalty to the people instead of the party bosses that put him on the list, When lists are being used then the character of the list including religion and ethnic background are more important than the special values of the candidates,

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May 4th, 2012, 5:23 pm

 

25. Juergen said:

Great, Assad has complied so far with only one point of the Annan plan. Is that not a great success story? The regime surely uses it for their shoulderclapping.

As proposed by Annan the arbitrarily detention of thousands must end immediately,but to the regime is there at all arbitrarily detention? To them they have just detained terrorists. The regime suggested that opposition people with no blood on their hands should render themselves at any police station to get registered, the regime promised that they will be released at the spot after the registration. I assume the opposition will be happy to queue up in front of the police station to get finally registred by this muhabarat regime.

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May 4th, 2012, 5:38 pm

 

26. Juergen said:

Mawal

Do you think it is normal in an democratic country that out of 9 parties, 4 quit the race days before the election is actually held? How can you guarantee an fair, democratic voting process throughout the country, when the regime is not even holding control of all cities and regions?

Norman

Do you really believe that the regime would let genuin opposition figures enter parliament? I think they make sure the “right ones” are choosen. We have seen that more than 3000 individual candidates with no party behind them are in the race. Quite a good method to keep “democracy” under Assad ruling.

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May 4th, 2012, 5:41 pm

 

27. Tara said:

http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=392405

UN mission chief says Syrian army must cease fire first
May 4, 2012    
  
UN Observer Mission in Syria chief Robert Mood (C-R) on Thursday called on regime forces to make the first move to ensure a ceasefire in the strife stricken country. (AFP/Joseph Eid)
The head of the UN mission in Syria said on Thursday that government forces must make the first move to end nearly 14-months of bloodshed after a watchdog said a security force raid on a university campus left four students dead.

Major General Robert Mood, the veteran Norwegian peacekeeper in charge of the hard-won military observer mission overseeing a troubled UN-backed ceasefire, made the call during a visit to Syria’s third-largest city Homs, which has seen some of the deadliest fighting of the conflict.

“If you have two individuals using on each other all their weapons, who is going to be the first one to move the finger? Who is going to be the first one to make the move?” Mood asked.

“My approach to that is that the strongest party needs to make the first move,” he told reporters.

“I was referring to the Syrian government and the Syrian army. They have the strength, they have the position and they also have the potential generosity to make the first step in a good direction.”

“The city of Aleppo hasn’t joined the anti-regime revolt thus far but the seriousness of these events will push residents to mobilize in solidarity with the students,” Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP…”The university suspended classes because neither the management nor the security forces seem able to control the situation.”
….
The Norwegian insisted that the UN observers, who started deploying in Syria last month, had not had their movements restricted by the Syrian authorities.

“Whether we have experienced any hampering in our freedom of movement, my answer is no. We have made our plans and we have moved where we wanted to move,” he said.

“The starting point is that we have received very explicit and clear commitments from both sides that they want to move in the direction of less violence. But there is a lot of suspicion,” he added.

“[Regarding] the situation on the ground … in the specific locations we have seen more commitments on the ground by the action of the government forces. So we have seen positive signs on the ground.

“Since I arrived on the ground we have seen less shelling with artillery, less mortar fire.”

…more

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May 4th, 2012, 5:52 pm

 

28. Juergen said:

War times are happy times for some I guess…

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May 4th, 2012, 5:55 pm

 

29. Antoine said:

STOP
Antoine You can express your disagreement, however badgering and attacking other commentators is not permitted here. This is not my interpretation of the rules but the actual rules of the site:

“The purpose of the comment section is to promote informed debate, share pertinent information and news items, and encourage constructive criticism and analysis. Although we hope to avoid any censorship, experience has taught us that it is sometimes necessary. The comment section is monitored. Messages containing any of the following elements will not be tolerated:

Personal attacks against other contributors;
Racist, sexist, obscene, or otherwise discriminatory or hateful language;
Provocations designed to derail discussions away from substantive debate into dead-end arguments;
Links to commercial sites or posting of commercial messages;
Threats of death or violence.”

http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/?page_id=698

SC Moderator

SC Moderator,

I would like to express my disagreement with your interpretation and execution of the moderation policy. I protest.

Thats all. I just wanted to express my feelings. Hope I am allowed to do so.

Also I do not communicate with any commenter on this list, including SC Moderator, via Email.

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May 4th, 2012, 5:58 pm

 

30. Tara said:

How come we never heard a word from Aljazeera haters?  I thought Aljazeera is manipulated by Qatar to advance Sunni Islam and to spread hatred.  What has happened, regime supporters?  Is Aljazeera working for Iran now?  Do you now admit irrational judgement?  I bet you knew all along but it is s cultural of lie, lie, and then lie some more.  The sad thing js that you only convinced yourself..  

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/middle-east-live/2012/may/04/syria-egypt#block-9

The British entertainment listings magazine, Radio Times, has unexpectedly become caught up in Bahrain’s politics. Its website published an online poll, asking readers which current affairs documentary should win this year’s Bafta awards.

The four nominees include one from al-Jazeera English, Bahrain: Shouting in the Dark, which is critical of the regime. Supporters of the regime had other ideas about which programme should win, and urged readers to vote for a Channel 4 documentary about Sri Lanka instead.

For several days, thousands of Arabic language tweets – at peak hours several tweets a second – have been pouring out of Bahrain and the Gulf in a steady stream, many of them filled with religious epithets and hate speech.

Around half of them call on Arabs to “vote for Sri Lanka [the subject of a fellow nominee in our category] and prevent Shi’a infidels from defaming Bahrain,” to “vote 100 times, we have to break the heads of the traitorous bastards and of Al Jazeera the agent,” and “complete this vote for Sri Lanka so Al Jazeera loses and we give her a lesson she’ll never forget.”

The result has been an unprecedented voting frenzy. This morning, al-Jazeera is marginally ahead with 373,000 votes, while Channel 4 has 338,000. The other two nominated programmes have have a mere 1,300 votes each.

Online voting will make no difference to the eventual result, since the winner will be decided by a panel of judges.

more..

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May 4th, 2012, 6:01 pm

 

31. Antoine said:

SC Moderator : Another one of my comments has been arbitrarily arrested.

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May 4th, 2012, 6:23 pm

 

32. Mawal95 said:

I said on this board way back on 28 June 2011:

“I wouldn’t be surprised if elections in Syria settle down to a situation similar to what’s in Russia, Singapore, and various other countries, where there is one Establishment party, the ruling party, which wins every election by a wide margin, plus fringe parties that can only play the role of occasional critics.” http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/?p=10504&cp=all#comment-258807

It is now clear to me that this is, in fact, how the Syrian political landscape is going to be. And Singapore is a better precedent for it than Russia is. From Wikipedia on Singapore:

The politics of Singapore takes the form of a parliamentary representative democratic republic whereby the President of Singapore is the head of state, the Prime Minister of Singapore is the head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the cabinet. Singaporean politics have been dominated by the People’s Action Party (PAP) since the 1959 general election when Lee Kuan Yew became Singapore’s first prime minister. The PAP has been in government and won every General Election since then. The current prime minister is Lee Hsien Loong who is the son of Lee Kuan Yew. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politics_of_Singapore

Another re-iteration from me, this from a post last week or the week before:

As part of the reforms last year a good and liberal law was enacted for establishing new political parties, and by the time of the start of the campaign for the 7 May 2012 parliamentary elections nine new political parties had been established under the new law. It looks today that none of those parties will win any seats in the parliament. None of them were able to attract any interest from the Syrian public on policies’ issues. Here are the names of the nine new parties: The Solidarity Party, The Syrian Democratic Party, The People’s (Al-Ansar) Party, The Democratic Vanguard Party, The Democratic Arab Solidarity Party, The National Development Party, The Syrian National Youth Party, The National Youth for Justice and Development Party, and the Syrian Homeland Party. Most of the Syrian public doesn’t even know the mere names of any of those parties, much less what the parties’ political policies might be. The population is very much in the mood to vote for the Baath Party, vote for National Unity, and vote against factionalism. They are not attracted to the proposition of even listening to what alternative parties might have on offer. And I believe it is the truth that the nine new parties have actually nothing distinctive on offer policywise — though I haven’t bothered to listen to any of them myself either. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe they merely aspire to replace Assad’s personnel with their own personnel, and continue the same policies.

Juergen #26 asks: “Do you think it is normal in an democratic country that out of 9 parties, 4 quit the race days before the election is actually held?” They quit because they saw their vote was going to be abysmal for them. Is it normal in a democratic country that one party should dominate the election contest so powerfully? It is not common, but it is not unhealthy or undesirable. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it.

Juergen #26 asks: “How can you guarantee a fair, democratic voting process throughout the country, when the regime is not even holding control of all cities and regions?” The forces of law and order are in control of all towns and neighborhoods except for a few small pockets. The names of those few pockets are notorious and are all known to the regular visitors to this board. One is the Khalidiya neighborhood in Homs City. At the moment almost nobody is actually living in Khalidiya except the rebels. On election day next Monday there will be 190 polling stations operating in Homs City and a further 437 polling stations in the rest of Homs Province, as reported at http://www.dp-news.com/aswatsouria/detail.aspx?articleid=119321 .

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May 4th, 2012, 7:00 pm

 

33. Nour said:

MAWAL95:

How do they know that each and every member on the National Unity List is going to win? Or that the population wants to vote for the list? Last I checked no polls were conducted. Unless they have the elections predetermined, which makes them a sham to begin with. It looks to me like they want to discourage people who do not want to vote for the Baath from voting by claiming that no one else has a shot.

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May 4th, 2012, 8:19 pm

 

34. omen said:

another country where corrupt rulers are being dishonest in trying to claim unrest is sectarian:

despite hints from the Saudis that Iran has been responsible for the unrest in Shargiyya, a U.S. diplomatic cable on the political loyalties of the country’s Shi’a population suggests that Iranian efforts to enlist support against the Saudi government have proven largely unsuccessful. In short, all signs suggest that Saudi Arabia’s Shi’a are looking for greater inclusion, not separation.

[...]

this recent spate of protest activity does not threaten, or aim to threaten, the integrity or security of the Saudi state. Despite predictions about the impending collapse of the monarchy, Saudi policies have effectively limited the scope and impact of the protests. Nevertheless, these demonstrations should not be viewed as irrelevant, but rather as part of a larger non-sectarian trend in favor of social and political reform in the Kingdom.

should be a rule of thumb: regimes claiming unrest is sectarian – seeks to deflect responsibility and blame for their own actions.

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May 4th, 2012, 8:47 pm

 

35. bronco said:

Mawal95

Thanks for your highlights on the election that the western medias are ignoring as they have ignored all the ‘reforms’, however incomplete and primitive, the Syrian government has implemented.

Syria is going ahead with an embryo of democracy but if the political opposition shows the same disunity, lack of pragmatism and misunderstanding of Syria’s position in the middle east that it has shown after 13 months of upheaval in the country, there is no doubt that the Baath party will win for decades to come.

Instead of begging in front of the closed doors of the international community with the hope that it will rescue their ‘regime change revolution’, the opposition could have united on political ground to present a reasonably strong front in the elections.
They were ill advised by France, Qatar, Turkey and the other “Friends” that these elections will never take place because they would make sure the regime falls before. They ignored Russia and China repeated calls for a more pragmatic approach
Their persistent refusal of a dialog with the regime has simply sidelined them like the Sunnis in Iraq at the first election. Their only resort is now continuous terrorist strikes with the fading hope of a international military intervention. Unfortunately that strategy is facing stiff reaction from the West as the West has lost hopes in the coherence of the opposition and sees how it has let itself heavily infiltrated by the Islamists and through them Al Qaeeda looming at Israel borders.

However mediocre and controversial this election is, it is a still a sign that there is a move toward a democracy with a ruling party and recognized opposition parties. The ball is now in the camp of these elusive opposition parties who must convince the people , like the UN observers are trying to, that the fight in the streets is over now and that it has become a political fight within a democratic framework watched by Russia, the UN and the BRICS.
Looking at the ‘democratic’ trial and errors in Libya and the increasing violence in Egypt’s transition in Cairo with a lot of question marks, Syria seems to have started its move to democracy, in as imperfect circumstances

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May 4th, 2012, 8:48 pm

 

36. bronco said:

#30 Tara

This is like a football match for the Gulf monarchies in the Arab spring countries

KSA favors a Salafi presidential candidate
Qatar and Turkey favors a Moslem Brotherhood candidate

Qatar lost its MB candidate in Egypt, while Saudi Arabia has lost its Salafi candidate in Tunisia. Qatar’s Al Jazeera is now lashing at Saudi Arabia using Bahrain.

The game continues

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May 4th, 2012, 9:04 pm

 

37. omen said:

bronco – dialogue? what is the proper response to “bashar or we burn down the country”?

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May 4th, 2012, 9:05 pm

 

38. zoo said:

Sounds familiar?

Protesters said that the assailants were hired thugs or plainclothes police and troops, similar to past attacks. They also said the military allowed Wednesday’s attack to take place, noting troops nearby did nothing to stop fighting for hours.

But residents and activists said some of the protesters were armed and provoked the situation.

Alaa Abdel-Fatah, a prominent democracy activist, claimed in several tweets that protesters had weapons.

“The revolutionaries also fired live ammunition in the middle of residential streets,” he tweeted on Wednesday. “We have battled with the wrong people, and we have threatened innocent souls secure in their houses.”
http://news.yahoo.com/egyptian-troops-protesters-clash-cairo-133301641.html

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May 4th, 2012, 9:10 pm

 

39. bronco said:

#37

“proper response to “bashar or we burn down the country”?”

Strong political parties and elections, certainly not terrorist acts on the Syrian army.

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May 4th, 2012, 9:13 pm

 

40. omen said:

what?? Qatar’s Al Jazeera is now lashing at Saudi Arabia using Bahrain.

for months now, basharists claimed bias arguing that aljazeera was too focused on syria while ignoring bahrain.

now you’ve switched it around again.

also, from the piece i cited above:

[ksa] has also employed an efficient censorship system to prevent inflammatory material about events in the east from reaching the rest of the country. For example, Revolution2East, a YouTube channel showing videos of protests in Shargiyya, is inaccessible from within Saudi Arabia. Likewise, the provocative Lebanese English newspaper al-Akhbar, which has published articles on the Qatif protests with titles such as “Saudi Regime Continues to Intimidate Intellectuals” and “Saudi Arabia: Renewing Repression Under the Mantra of Security,” is also unavailable online. Gulf news channels like al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya do not report on the protests.

if aljazeera harbors an agenda against the saudis, why isnt its coverage more critical of the kingdom?

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May 4th, 2012, 9:17 pm

 

41. omen said:

37. proper response to “bashar or we burn down the country”?

39. bronco said: Strong political parties and elections, certainly not terrorist acts on the Syrian army.

a ruthless tyrant who tries to extort loyalty by threatening death? this is not a person one can count upon to play by the rules.

that’s like arguing we should be patient and hitler should be given a chance to enact reforms.

the only chance for honest elections is for the regime to be removed.

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May 4th, 2012, 9:43 pm

 

42. Syrialover said:

(Relating to concerns expressed by Jad in previous thread)

Here’s a useful guide for those worrying about protecting their privacy and anonymity online:

How to muddy your tracks on the internet – http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/03/technology/personaltech/how-to-muddy-your-tracks-on-the-internet.html?src=me&ref=general

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May 4th, 2012, 10:24 pm

 

43. Syrialover said:

The slogan “Bashar or we burn down the country” is becoming redundant.

It’s clearly now “Bashar AND we burn down the country”.

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May 4th, 2012, 10:27 pm

 

44. jna said:

Regime has made a mistake by not postponing the parliamentary elections until several months after hundreds of UN peacekeepers are in place in Syria. There needs to be a period of time for the peacekeepers to persuade the sides to negotiate the details of election procedures, including international monitors, and give the opposition a realistic opportunity to field a slate of election candidates. This is a compromise the regime should have made.

The opposition and their international supporters have failed, for whatever reason, to focus on this failure by the regime, and to publicize conditions and demands for fair elections.

Now there will be a muddy situation where the election is considered irrelevant and illegitimate, but negating the election result with a new election will just look flakey and weak.

In my opinion Russia has mostly tried to play a constructive role towards a Syrian transition, but has dropped the ball in not persuading Assad to postpone the election.

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May 4th, 2012, 10:52 pm

 

45. Tara said:

Annan plan on track?  According to Fufu, we should expect comp liane by 2020?   

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/middle-east-live/2012/may/04/syria-egypt#block-9

The peace plan brokered by international mediator Kofi Annan is on track despite numerous reports of violations of the ceasefire, the former UN secretary-general’s spokesman said today. Ahmad Fawzi suggested more patience was needed. He is quoted by Reuters as saying:

I would say that the Annan plan is on track and a crisis that has been going on for over a year is not going to be resolved in a day or a week. There are signs on the ground of movement (towards compliance with the plan), albeit slow and small.
Read no more…

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May 4th, 2012, 10:59 pm

 

46. irritated said:

#43 SL

Another variation : No Bashar and we burn down your country anyway

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May 4th, 2012, 11:03 pm

 

47. bronco said:

@40 Omen

Have you read post 30 about the Al Jazeera documentary “Shouting in the Dark?

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May 4th, 2012, 11:09 pm

 

48. bronco said:

@45 Tara
It’s progressing, annoying isn’t? yet I think 2014 is a more plausible date

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May 4th, 2012, 11:11 pm

 

49. zoo said:

What was the deal? Kick the Moslem Brotherhood out?

Saudi Arabia to re-open diplomatic mission in Egypt
2012-05-05
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-05/05/c_131569275.htm

RIYADH, May 4 (Xinhua) — Saudi Arabia’s king has ordered the Gulf country’s diplomatic mission to re-open in Egypt after its shutdown almost a week ago due to protests against the kingdom’s arrest of an Egyptian lawyer, the official SPA press agency reported on Friday.
more…

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May 4th, 2012, 11:15 pm

 

50. zoo said:

Another outburst: “You cannot fool Tayyip Erdogan”.

S&P biased: Turkey
Published: May 4, 2012 01:03 Updated: May 4, 2012 01:03
http://arabnews.com/economy/article624166.ece

ANKARA: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan denounced Standard and Poor’s rating agency yesterday, saying its downgrading of Turkey’s outlook was clouded by an “ideological approach.”

Erdogan told a televised meeting in Istanbul: “This is entirely an ideological approach. You cannot fool anybody, you cannot fool Tayyip Erdogan.”

He condemned the outlook revision as “very odd” and hit back at what he implied was discrimination by S&P, which had improved the outlook of crisis-hit neighboring Greece, while lowering the perspective for Turkey.

The Turkish premier also threatened not to recognize the Standard and Poor’s as a credible ratings agency. On Tuesday, Standard and Poor’s revised the outlook on Turkey’s long-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings to stable, from positive.
more…

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May 4th, 2012, 11:26 pm

 

51. Tara said:

I always wonder why on earth would anyone supports a regime committing crimes like these?  How come you are not enraged as much as I am?  How are you still admiring the regime?  Is it that you do not believe they happened?  Or that you just can’t get yourself to sympathize with the victims?  Do you not think that at the end of the day,  these victims are just people?  Is it lack of imagination that, had you been born and raised in Idlib, it could have happened to you?  What is it that makes a man cry watching a sad movie, yet not flinched to horror stories that actually happened?         

“I begged them not to take my child..I told them he still watch cartoon..in the evening his body was found in the street.

“I found my three boys burning in the street.., piled on top of each other,  and a motorbike piled on top of them and set on fire” 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/04/inside-syria-crackdown
Amnesty International reports the harrowing testimonies of the people of Idlib and nearby villages terrorised by regime forces
guardian.co.uk, Friday 4 May 2012 06.26 EDT

Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s senior crisis adviser, was in Syria for 10 days during the second half of April. Rovera has worked at Amnesty International for 20 years and has extensive experience of working in conflict zones, including Libya, South Sudan, Côte d’Ivoire and Gaza. Here she reports some of the first-hand accounts of the brutal crackdown by the Syrian regime against its people.

“Soldiers came to our home and took my son. Later, as I was peering out of the window I saw soldiers line up eight young men standing facing the wall with their hands tied at the back and shoot them. Then they put the bodies in the back of a pick-up truck and left. I don’t know if the men were all dead or injured. At that point I did not know that one of the men was my son. His body was found with other bodies at a school not too far from our home.”
….
To say that families of victims and eyewitnesses are scared is an understatement. Those I met were literally terrified.
….
An elderly woman whose son was taken from home by soldiers and then found dead later that day told me she has no news of another of her sons who was arrested by military security weeks ago. “I’ve already lost one son; I don’t want them to kill the other too”, she said.

A woman whose house was burned looted and ransacked on 11 March told me that the only possibility for reporting the attack to the authorities was for her to say it had been carried out by “armed groups”. ….It was the middle of the day and there were tanks and soldiers and security forces members everywhere in the area; how on earth could this have been the doing of armed groups? So I did not lodge a complaint.”

I got to Idlib a few days before the arrival of the UN observers. Most people I spoke to were sceptical that their presence would make any difference. Others were very keen to speak to the observers but were desperately worried and frustrated that they would not have the opportunity to do so safely. They feared that with the current level of military presence and surveillance there is just no way for ordinary people to approach the observers in confidence. 
….
On Friday morning, I saw a very large contingent of uniformed soldiers and pro-government armed gangs known as shabiha being transported in open-back lorries and a couple of hundred of them being unloaded in the Dabbit district, in the centre of town. People still did not know the UN observers were coming to town but commented that any post-Friday prayer demonstration was clearly out of the question. As I was leaving a house in Dabbit a UN convoy was passing by; they were certainly not going to be held up by any traffic jam; the streets were completely empty.

Soldiers, members of the security forces, and the civilian leadership up and down the chain of command should know that such abuses constitute crimes against humanity and the claim that “I was just carrying out orders” will not keep them from being brought to justice – either in Syria or in other countries around the world.
Much more…

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May 4th, 2012, 11:36 pm

 

52. Norman said:

This might explain the support for the Syrian government,

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/05/opinion/syrias-threatened-minorities.html

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May 4th, 2012, 11:49 pm

 

53. bronco said:

#44 JNA

“Regime has made a mistake by not postponing the parliamentary elections until several months after hundreds of UN peacekeepers are in place in Syria.

You know very well that the enemies of Syria were waiting for that, and they escalated the violence just for that.
If Bashar had postponed the elections, he would have been immediately accused of not been serious about the reforms and the elections. He would have ben treated of liar and the regime would have appeared to bow to the street violence pressure.
I think he had no other choice than to go ahead with the planned date with the mixed consequences.

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May 4th, 2012, 11:51 pm

 

54. zoo said:

#52 Norman

Allow me to paste the conclusion of the article that reflects what we will probably soon see in the USA and Western media, using the ‘minority’ problem as one excuse to ‘swallow hard’ and change the tune.

“To conjure that fate and prevent further turmoil spreading throughout the region, the United States and allies would do well to work with — rather than against — Russia to prod all Syrian parties to the negotiating table and have them eschew escalating violence. That again involves swallowing hard and somehow persuading Assad and the insurgents to talk. That’s a tall order and the hour is late.
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/05/opinion/syrias-threatened-minorities.html

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May 4th, 2012, 11:59 pm

 

55. Halabi said:

This is why minorities support Assad? The fear of retribution for crimes committed against innocent civilians? The New York Times op/ed mentions Hama and Sabra and Shatila in 1982. We also have thousands of people murdered in this era, all to prevent the possible bloodbath against minorities in the future.

This kind of thinking, as well as believing that the Baath party is popular or the upcoming elections are anything but a farce, will never, ever solve the crisis in Syria nor bring democracy to the country. By supporting a regime that kills its own citizens while its enemy occupies its territory, that has oppressed people from every class and sect, the we-love-you gang has made it clear what they want: to rule over Syrians by force, forever.

I think the revolution will succeed in the long term. Along the way there will be a lot of pain, mostly suffered by the opposition, but there will be no peace for Assad and his supporters. I wake up in the morning hoping for a better future; we-love-you wake up hoping that Assad’s soldiers continue to raze towns and villages they don’t like, worrying about summer vacations, the value of their dubious fortunes and how to spin the latest conspiracy theory while enjoying freedom in the West.

Perhaps the solution is for Assad’s soldiers to kill and expel enough Sunnis so the minorities become the majority. Of course, according to we-love-you logic, the new minority would feel threatened so it should then be allowed to massacre as many minorities as they want. Or we could get rid of the criminal police state that has destroyed our country for two generations and try to establish a just government for all…

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May 5th, 2012, 1:24 am

 

56. Juergen said:

JNA

Good that you admitted that this election at this time is an obsolete thing the regime is doing.

The date set for the parliament elections was critized from day 1, how can a one party state( I know on the paper that there are more parties which exist, but they never had influence on any decision making process) transform into a multi party state in which democracy rules`in just months and by presidential order? The international community and the opposition have righly critized the regime for setting this illusional date and the far away date for presidential elections. There were many chances for this regime to show that democratic reforms are really meant to be implemented. Now the world will oncemore see a big “We love you ” show with extraordinary support inmidst of an ongoing “civil war”, but who will buy it this time?

for all, I saw a phot of Khaled Sheikh Mohammad, the so called mastermind of 9/11. They will set up the trial for him. I found this 2009 photo of him. Is there a Osama look a like contest going on in Guantanamo ?

http://www.spiegel.de/fotostrecke/11-september-prozess-gegen-scheich-mohammed-in-guantanamo-fotostrecke-81929.html

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May 5th, 2012, 1:55 am

 

57. omen said:

47. bronco said:
Omen Have you read post 30 about the Al Jazeera documentary “Shouting in the Dark? 11:09

yes. ? what about it?

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May 5th, 2012, 3:51 am

 

58. omen said:

syrialover: Another shrouding tactic is to use the search engine DuckDuckGo

lol

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May 5th, 2012, 3:59 am

 

59. omen said:

11:49 – norman, is it rationale to you that slow motion genocide should be tolerated just so the few can feel comfortable?

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May 5th, 2012, 4:07 am

 

60. Badr said:

Professor Landis’ bleak prediction

In case you missed it in his post, here it is:

“There are unlikely to be any great watersheds in this revolution. Syria is slowly grinding toward civil war and the collapse of the state.”

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May 5th, 2012, 4:13 am

 

61. omen said:

badr, no offense to the professor (i mean, really, what do i know?) but civil war was predicted for libya as well.

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May 5th, 2012, 4:33 am

 

62. omen said:

???

CIA Asset Gloria Steinem’s “Women Under Siege” Joins Syrian Propaganda Campaign
admin Apr 27, 2012 The International Campaign to Destabilize Syria

i’m going to assume this was included for levity’s sake.

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May 5th, 2012, 5:39 am

 

63. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Dear Tara #51,

“…I always wonder why on earth would anyone supports a regime committing crimes like these? How come you are not enraged as much as I am? How are you still admiring the regime”.

This exactly what I’m asking myself. I still couldn’t find an answer. Still wondering.
.

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May 5th, 2012, 7:54 am

 

64. Syrialover said:

#55 Halabi accurately observed: “we-love-you wake up hoping that Assad’s soldiers continue to raze towns and villages they don’t like, worrying about summer vacations, the value of their dubious fortunes and how to spin the latest conspiracy theory while enjoying freedom in the West.”

Correct. And they have an ugly contempt for Syrians, who in their opinion do not deserve to have normal fear-free lives or a share or say in their country.

Syrians have been ruled at gunpoint for 40 years, and that’s how the Assad-lovers want it to stay because this has personally given them unearned privileges some way or another.

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May 5th, 2012, 9:23 am

 

65. Alan said:

We congratulate the friendly German people on an Independence Day
http://www.stoletie.ru/rossiya_i_mir/nezavisima_li_germanija_452.htm
Whether Germany is independent?
Secret «acts of the chancellor» and sovereignty of Germany
Sergey Drozhzhin
02.05.2012

In recent years in Germany the wide circulation was received by reasonings that this country actually isn’t the sovereign state. Speak about mysterious «acts of the chancellor» which all federal chancellors of this country before adoption of the oath allegedly should sign. Private visits of chancellors to Washington before the introduction in a position seemed to citizens of Germany suspicious. And recently these assumptions received rather serious confirmations.
Trump card of general Komossa

Many Germans are also convinced that the government in Berlin not always operates in interests of Germany, and for this purpose there are certain bases. Suspicion the immigration policy of the authorities, proceeding “Islamization”, emigration of highly skilled experts, use of German soldiers outside of the national territory causes, fall of a standard of living of the people, and also, according to one right radical blogger, «strengthening of pro-Zionist positions in the country». Here on such background also there is a mixture of the historical truth to numerous theories of plot.

A few years ago in Austria in little-known publishing house the book under the name «German card» (Die deutsche Karte) the former head of the West German military counterintelligence Gerd-Helmut Komossa (Gerd-Helmut Komossa) appeared which author was published. Here that he reported apropos «acts of the chancellor»: «The secret state contract from May 21, 1949 received from Federal intelligence service (BND) a signature stamp “Top secret”. In it the main restrictions entered by winners concerning the sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Germany till 2099 were stated, but about it today very few people is known. Besides, restrictions in the field of newspapers and the broadcasting mass media, operating till 2099 were fixed.

It was also established that according to the order of allies each federal chancellor before bringing of the oath should sign so-called «acts of the chancellor».
Besides, allies hold gold reserves of the Federal Republic at themselves as pledge».

It is necessary to recognize that Komossu can’t be considered as the most informed person in this question. It is known also that its political views aren’t so faultless. So he, for example, considers that the Wehrmacht didn’t make any crimes in the territories occupied by Germany during the Second World War. The general not so approaches for a role of the unmasker and, most likely, it pursues any own purposes. But from the positions he tries to pay attention of readers to obvious restrictions of the national sovereignty of Germany……………..

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May 5th, 2012, 9:31 am

 

66. Alan said:

http://www.stoletie.ru/rossiya_i_mir/ne_govorite_chto_vas_ne_preduprezhdali_2012-04-02.htm
Don’t say that you didn’t warn …
Evgeny Primakov’s forecasts come true practically for hundred percent
Alexander Bondar
02.04.2012
Evgeny Primakov left the posts. However it didn’t change to the practice to give a forecast for all forthcoming year – and as confirms life, the academician if is mistaken, is the extremely rare. All its forecasts are based on a real situation. So, what already came true or comes true from this about what the academician warned?
He suggested us to take lessons from «the Arab spring» – and today Moscow to the last fights setting for a negotiating table the Syrian opposition and to solve crisis by the world. Russia pressure of the West which already almost isn’t demanding from us to support the resolution of Security council across Syria doesn’t confuse – and to begin «humanitarian intervention» to this country. It is necessary to remind that the similar scheme developed by NATO for overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi, represented especially dangerous precedent, the amorphous resolution of the UN Security Council then was used to legalize armed intervention and to support one of the parties in the civil war which has flashed in the sovereign country. «Events in Libya, it is sure, will be strictly considered by those who develops foreign policy of Russia», – the academician declared, and it appeared the rights.

Just one of these days Dmitry Medvedev in Seoul told to Barack Obama that considers the last three years the best in the history of the relations of two countries. Let’s consider it as a tribute of legal politeness; despite mantras regularly said at us about great advantage of “reset”, and also for some positive moments, nevertheless there are no bases to consider that essentially new era in the Russian-American relations began. According to Evgeny Primakov, the improvement reason in the relations – objective circumstances: the policy of unipolar hegemony of the USA was at a deadlock, there was a weakening of their communications with allies, unpromising and fabulously expensive there were military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The U.S. President is obliged to reckon with realities – therefore Barack Obama, under the pressure of circumstances, receded from the line of the predecessor, and it allowed to improve the relations of Moscow and Washington.

But, Primakov warns, is rather obvious and all appear outside traditional lines of the American policy which complicate advance of process of improvement of the relations more strongly.

During the meetings of the head of two states speak in roundish language of diplomacy, assuring each other of mutual sympathies and drawing bright future of the Russian-American relations. However in Seoul D. Medvedev and B. Obama didn’t agree on «an ABM problem», now we threaten to take the answer-back measures in the military sphere, and the U.S. President privately convinces to wait still. Whether we will leave illusions about «effectively working reset» – we learn soon. In any case, the person, whose forecasts come true practically for 100 percent, us warned – then don’t say that didn’t know, didn’t hear…
Evgeny Primakov in the forecasts and without reflections about a condition of world economy couldn’t manage. Unlike assurances of many financial analysts, in his opinion, conversations on coming recession in the center of the world economy, in the USA, are absolutely groundless. Growth rates of gross domestic product in the 2011th there exceeded 2,2 percent, and this year there are all preconditions for its increase.

About crash of “green” coming shortly the whole volumes, but, probably, in a genre of an unscientific fantasy are already written: isn’t realistic to expect sharp weakening of dollar which as if just about can even leave mission of universal means of payment, Primakov is sure.
He very skeptically expressed and the euphoria reigning in the Russian leading circles of rather forthcoming creation of reserve currency in the form of ruble and transformation of Moscow in the international financial center – MFTs. About what here to speak, E.Primakov if «the share of Russia in world economy remains at former level – 3,7 percent reflects, and its contribution to a gain of world gross domestic product made of 0,15 percent past year?». Yes, the academician, business considers, «is doubtless, there is to formation of regional reserve currencies, but a way to this purpose very long and very difficult. And, obviously, it will begin not with Russia». In the last days of March the consulting company «ç/yens groups» again struck on our ambitions, having reported: Moscow fell from the 61st by the 65th place in a rating of the international financial centers……..

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May 5th, 2012, 9:50 am

 

67. zoo said:

The opposition is getting more desperate and hysterical at the approach of the election and the arrival of more UN Observers.

Two bombs explode on Damascus highway: residents
By Mariam Karouny | Reuters – 5 hrs ago
http://news.yahoo.com/explosion-damascus-casualties-unclear-resident-rights-group-072621291.html
DAMASCUS (Reuters) – Two bombs detonated on a central Damascus highway on Saturday, destroying nine cars, residents said, in a further sign that rebels fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad are shifting tactics towards homemade explosives.

An Islamist group calling itself the Support Front for the People of the Levant claimed responsibility for that bombing and for an April 24 attack on the Iranian cultural consulate in Damascus. Iran is one of Syria’s closest allies.
more…

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May 5th, 2012, 10:02 am

 

68. Alan said:

The Syrian peacekeeper with Kosovo an experience
To Damascus there arrived the new head of mission of UN observers in Syria the Norwegian general Robert Mud http://www.stoletie.ru/tekuschiiy_moment/sirijskij_mirotvorec_s_kosovskim_opytom_952.htm
….
As shows experiment of other international peacekeeping operations, activity of the observers placed in this or that disputed region with the mandate of the United Nations, OSCE or the European union too often has the unilateral, engaged character.
….
However, references to «natural peaceful disposition» Norwegians look doubtful, considering active even to NATO measures participation of this country in military operations on the Balkans and in Libya.
…..
The report prepared on behalf of head by verification of mission of OSCE of William Walker, laid down in a basis of formal justification of the decision on the beginning of bombings of Yugoslavia aircraft of North Atlantic alliance without adoption of the relevant resolution of the UN Security Council.
….
According to available information, Robert Mud’s reports become the main argument for making decision on expediency of full-scale foreign intervention in the Syrian affairs.
….
In this regard it is necessary to remind that the most large-scale peacekeeping operation on the Balkans in the 1990th years – in Bosnia and Herzegovina – demanded placement of 60 thousand military personnel who had at the order tanks and planes.
…..
The parliamentary elections planned for May 7 become the first serious check for observers who have already arrived to Syria.
They will pass on the basis of the new constitution of the country accepted by the vast majority of voices on a referendum on February 26. The opposition already declared non-recognition of the new constitution and all decisions accepted on its basis that automatically means non-recognition of elections and a possible new round of opposition. While Robert Mud is adjusted reserved optimistically. Between the conflict parties «strong mistrust» still remains, nevertheless, observers «testify to available positive signals in different places» – he declared at press conference in As Safir hotel in the city of Homs in the evening on May 3.

Iskenderov Peter Akhmedovich the-senior research associate of Institute of Slavic studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, candidate of historical sciences

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May 5th, 2012, 10:16 am

 

69. Alan said:

http://presstv.com/detail/239682.html
Israel exposes entire world to nuclear Armageddon: Analyst

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May 5th, 2012, 10:25 am

 

70. Mawal95 said:

Mawal95, address commentators by their chosen handles please. Thank you

SC Moderator

#63 Twerp in Tel Aviv (he ain’t no amir) says he’s “still wondering” and “still couldn’t find an answer” why anyone in Syria supports a government that is committing crimes.

He hasn’t being paying attention to what government supporters say, then. It is very clear among government supporters that we deny that the government’s security forces commit crimes. The government’s policies are very clear, they’ve been repeated countless times on this board and elsewhere, and I need not repeat them again. The policies are complied with. The reports of crimes or use of disproportionate force by the security forces are lies. If you’re “still wondering” why we believe they’re lies, you’ve failed to appreciate that the reports are unverified, and unverifiable, and consist of testimonies from flakey dissidents whose credibility, for us who support the government, is zero. Plus fake videos. As I have before, I once again I challenge you to provide video evidence of crimes being committed by security forces. In the absence of those videos, you shouldn’t be “still wondering” why we believe the government, and why we support the government. There are a number of other very good reasons to believe the government tells the truth, besides the absence of the incriminating videos. But the absence of the videos is enough for you to quit wondering.

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May 5th, 2012, 10:59 am

 

71. Tara said:

Congratulations are due to Batta for his stupidity.  He really never failed any on the ground IQ testing.  All show exact same results.  With the recent Peasants vs University Student clash, Aleppo has finally joined in.  Welcome Aleppo..A step long due..  

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/middle-east-live/2012/may/04/syria-egypt#block-33

An Aleppo-based activist said the protests were the largest the city has seen since the start of the uprising against President Bashar Assad in March 2011.
“The people are incensed by what happened at the university,” said the activist, Mohammed Saeed. “Everyone wants to express solidarity with those students.”

Saeed said security forces were out in full force, firing live ammunition to disperse protesters and arresting people randomly. “With our blood, we sacrifice for you students!” people shouted …

During Friday’s protests, security forces killed a 16-year-old youth in the Salaheddine district of Aleppo and wounded around 30, Saeed said. Scores of others were arrested, he said. The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on a network of activists on the ground in Syria, confirmed that a teenager was gunned down.

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May 5th, 2012, 10:59 am

 

72. bronco said:

Where are the “massive” demonstrations ‘across Syria’, called by the opposition after the deadly confrontations in Aleppo University?

Now that they are more journalists in Syria, minor demonstrations are reported.

I think the opposition should stop calling for ‘massive’ demonstrations, the same way they have stopped calling for strikes: It just does not work and it’s humiliating as very few seems interested to demonstrate hand in hand with terrorists.

Instead we see more bombings killing innocents and the opposition stands in silence, not condemning them as they seems to encourage them. Here, they are sadly successful.

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May 5th, 2012, 11:26 am

 

73. bronco said:

#tara

“Aleppo has finally joined in. Welcome Aleppo..A step long due..”

We heard that a few months ago… A prediction or another wishful thinking?

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May 5th, 2012, 11:29 am

 

74. Ghufran said:

The demonstrations in Aleppo university show that the anti regime movement is not limited to the usual hot spots,but the interpretation by the opposition goes too far. Residents of Aleppo do not send their kids to the dorms,those kids stay with their parents,two friends from Aleppo angrily pointed out that those dorms are dominated by students from Idleb and Hama,and that most Aleppines have not jumped on the revolution wagon yet. My own opinion about this is that Aleppo is not as immune from anti regime activities as the regime says ,but a lot of what took place in Aleppo,according to a number of Syrians I talked to,was driven and controlled by people from outside Halab. It is also likely from what I read and heard that many students who are po regime were involved in the bloody fight that followed which further demonstrates the fact that Aleppo has not been won yet,I still think that Aleppines will be far less likely than others to follow Idleb and Hama leads. This uprising is becoming more like a civil war than a fight to change the regime,and in the midst of the chaos,criminal groups are enjoying a free ride at the expense of ordinary Syrians ,those groups will not stop if the regime falls,that is the most disturbing aspect of how the post Assad era will look like,we may be able to change the people at the top,a big may be,but preserving peace and security will be a much harder task,this is what Syria’s enemies wanted from day one.

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May 5th, 2012, 12:00 pm

 

75. Syrialover said:

#74 Ghufran said: “…but preserving peace and security will be a much harder task,this is what Syria’s enemies wanted from day one”

Fact: Syria’s core enemies are those who have been controlling and robbing it at gunpoint for the past 40 years. The Assad regime does not “own” Syria, they have taken it by force.

Ghufran also said: “..criminal groups are enjoying a free ride at the expense of ordinary Syrians”

Fact: that’s exactly what’s been happening all these years.

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May 5th, 2012, 12:35 pm

 

76. b said:

An interesting interview with UN General Mood: UN Mission Chief in Syria Offers Cautious Hope

Arrott: So you’re hearing from the Free Syrian Army people here that they want to abide by the plan, but we’re also hearing from the opposition, especially outside, that they want to have the military wing of the opposition armed.

Mood: There is an element of fragmentation in all this that obviously is a challenge. But what I can tell you from my engagement is that whomever I meet, they tell me that they want to move on the basis of Kofi Annan’s Six Point Plan, and that includes the Free Syrian Army locally, and that includes Local Coordination Committees. I am fully aware that there are others with different agenda, that have other ideas, but I have yet to see a credible alternative to Kofi Annan’s Six Point Plan.

Arrott: Have you heard reports about the emergence of these [outside salafi] groups, presumably from the government, but also from the opposition side?

Mood: I have heard the argument from several sides that there are, might be someone in the country that come from the outside and to be quite frank, I’ve also received the message from almost the same players across the spectrum that they don’t want to see the future of Syria a very proud, warm, hospitable people being dictated by groups from the outside, having different agendas. They want the Syrian people to decide their direction on the basis of Kofi Annan’s Six Point Plan.

Mood: … I think it’s key for any audience, if I might use that term, outside Syria to understand that the Syria we meet on the ground is very different from the Syria they see through the dramatic headlines in the media and through the reports in the written media. The Syrian people, they are proud, they are warm, they are extremely proud of their history. They are also proud of the secular characteristics of their society. And they are scared about the alternative, many of them, because that alternative for them is seen as a collapse and a direction that would lead to even more violence and more suffering.

So at the surface of it, in Syria today, the amount of normalcy, to put it that way, across the country is rather surprising. And the highways, they’re all very high quality, so you can, if you travel in Syria avoiding, let’s say, the hotspots, you can get a feel for a very, very normal, open, hospitable country almost a normalcy. But then you have almost a black and white change, because when you go into the hotspots, you meet children, families, individuals that have been through a terrible amount of suffering and that are living under conditions that are not conditions any human beings should be living under. So it’s a different situation.

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May 5th, 2012, 12:40 pm

 

77. Syrialover said:

Mawal95 #70

Government? What government? It’s a vicious dictatorship.

Policies? What policies? Bashar and burn the country.

Maybe it’s good enough for you, but not the rest of humanity in 2012.

The game’s up. You need to find something real to support.

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May 5th, 2012, 12:47 pm

 

78. Antoine said:

Ghufran’s opinions are skewed, even a fair and balanced man like Halabi realized it in no time.

Norman,

I think you should know that according to most reports , Jordan, Kuwait, and Bahrain, are considerd the three most safest countries for Christians in the Middle East.

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May 5th, 2012, 12:49 pm

 

79. Tara said:

Dear Antoin

I feel your anger. And I feel your bitterness about what is happening to our people. But you may want to consider your persistent “challenge” to the moderation policy. You may end up being moderated which means your posts will not appear on time and will not be read. Most Anti regime have immigrated to OTW and that was bad. Please do not be counterproductive.

Plus, I know some you mentioned are not paid, I promise you they are not. I just know.

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May 5th, 2012, 1:05 pm

 

80. bronco said:

#76 B

Thanks, I read the whole interview and it interesting that it is is posted on VOA.

It is an excellent, pragmatic and very encouraging first hand report from General Mood who cannot be accused of bias.
It seems the UN mission is starting to bring fruits and that the local opposition fully agrees with the plan, while the SNC and its cronies in Syria are desperately doing all they can to derail the plan. They know that the success of this plan is their demise.

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May 5th, 2012, 1:28 pm

 

81. Syria no Kandahar said:

FSA announces responsibility for Alsakri bombing in Aleppo which killed a child:
http://www.syrianow.sy/index.php?d=7&id=53241
Wahabi opposition terrorists killed a radiologist !!! In Aleppo:
http://www.shukumaku.com/PDA/Content.php?id=46073
How can any on announces responsibility for such an act:
http://www.shukumaku.com/PDA/Content.php?id=46057
Attacking Tishreen hospital in Damascus:
http://www.aksalser.com/?page=view_articles&id=013302db15fcb127f58a0db60b805294&ar=483245620

killing 7 border guards by terrorists:
http://www.aksalser.com/?page=view_articles&id=9280d573b0a29001c7bae242aa916140&ar=943463281

Hopefully Syria will get cleaner and real revolution in its next life.

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May 5th, 2012, 1:37 pm

 

82. Hans said:

It is unfortunate that this site continues to report more lies and propaganda of the USA policy on Syria.
it is clear that most of the reported events are lies and fabricated.
talking to Syrian people, tell the true story, that the people who wanted reform are being robbed of their demands by the propaganda of USA and its allies.
it is also clear that the regime is not defeated and won’t be at anytime soon, it must end with the USA accepting the fact that psychological media war filled with lies and fabrication didn’t work this time as it did in Iraq. Add to that that Syria is a poor country, no oil, people who are killed in the name of Jihad in Syria are less Alqaida people the USA has to deal with in the long run.
Add to the equation that Russia is happy to that Alqaida is being killed on a daily basis in Syria that’s why it allows the regime to continue to hunt them in scores.
Syria going into a civil war is a disaster not only for Syria but for the ME all together, the only one losing in all this events are the innocent bystander who are unlucky to live a day more.
Economy in Syria is dead but so what the society has livid in such circumstances in the past, it is too bad that the hotels built by the GCC are empty then no need to go to restaurants, coffee shops to smoke Hookah on a daily basis for hours. let this people go back to work and make living.
many of the outside syrians continue to send money to their families.
the last I heard that the american dollars is down in Syria, but also I heard that the Canadian dollar is going to be worth 1.25$.
that might be a real problem for the US buying the canadian oil.

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May 5th, 2012, 1:37 pm

 

83. Alan said:

Norman Finkelstein said :
If you want to close your eyes and believeit was all over ! you can do so, you can play that game. But the reality was, and everyone understood it. That the Israeli attitude was: we are going to knock out Hizballah.
They began planning for a new war ……
There is no way that the US and Israel are going to tolerate any resistance in the arab world .

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May 5th, 2012, 2:05 pm

 

84. Juergen said:

“Among the new words in the Syrian revolution are about ” minhabakshi “and” thaurshi “. Minhabakshi is a contraction of “minhabak” – in English “We love you”, the sentence is found on almost every poster Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian dialect used in people with a certain property “shi”. Thus, a “minhabakshi” is one who has the ability to constantly say “minhabak” and therefore a supporter of the president. These neologisms are also to be understood as a subversive act. It is easier to talk about a “minhabakshi” than to talk constantly the name of the President in his mouth, and thus unnecessary to draw attention to themselves.
A “thaurashi” from the word thaura, that revolution is derived, by contrast, is someone who has joined the revolution. Both terms have become almost a year now since as a matter of course part of the Syrian dialect by now.”

http://translate.google.at/translate?sl=de&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=de&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.alsharq.de%2F2012%2F03%2Fsprache-und-symbole-der-syrischen.html

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May 5th, 2012, 2:16 pm

 

85. zoo said:

After the Arab Spring: Emerging power structures ‘will be worse’
Rayyan Al-Shawaf
Mar 23, 2012

http://www.thenational.ae/arts-culture/books/after-the-arab-spring-emerging-power-structures-will-be-worse#full

The Arab Spring has met its Cassandra. While countless analysts and observers gushed that an era of democracy was at hand, John Bradley sat down to write a book that defies almost every assumption underlying the conventional wisdom about the Arab Spring.
Bradley believes that his worst fears have already been realised. In his view, the liberal vanguard of the revolts in Tunisia and Egypt has been overwhelmed by the Islamists, who have begun radically reordering their societies for the worse. (Bradley calls Egypt today an “action replay of Iran in 1979″, when Islamists pushed out liberals and leftists after the revolution.) He predicts that the same thing will happen in Syria, asserts that Bahrain crushed its revolt with Saudi assistance and tacit US approval, and maintains that the Libyan and Yemeni revolts were dominated by tribes and Islamists from the start.

Bradley is a British journalist with three other books to his name – including one on Egypt, in which he predicts an uprising against Hosni Mubarak. He has spent years in the region, and brings to After the Arab Spring: How Islamists Hijacked the Middle East Revolts a copious amount of first-hand knowledge
More…

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May 5th, 2012, 2:25 pm

 

86. Juergen said:

sometimes the actors dont follow the script, or are they just saying their opinion? Cant be, its syrian tv…

The Moderator: Madame good day! What is the situation in Aleppo?
The lady: Thanks be to Allah! Everything is in order. Life here is good.

The Moderator: Madame, The opposition has set up a military advice to the armed opposition groups (the FSA). What do you think?
The lady: That’s very nice and … The moderator interrupts.

The moderator : Yes. I want to ask you about the Constitution. The opposition wants (the presenter stutters) the arming of the armed men in this country.

The lady: That’s not nice. We stand by our Constitution. It’s nice when we solve our own problems. We are “your” good people.

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May 5th, 2012, 2:36 pm

 

87. Alan said:

Two dead, 300 injured, 170 arrested as violence breaks out in Egypt
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YadI8jZEqW0
Egypt’s political transition has proven to be a major challenge – with a sharp increase of violence less than three weeks before the country’s historical presidential election. Friday rally has descended into fierce clashes between the protesters and security forces in the capital Cairo – leaving at least one person dead and scores injured. RT’s correspondent in the region Paula Slier, has the details.

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May 5th, 2012, 2:36 pm

 

88. Syria no Kandahar said:

حقارة وسفالة مجرمي الجيش الكر

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May 5th, 2012, 2:50 pm

 

89. Norman said:

Antoine ,

Three undemocratic countries where the Christians accept their second class status, don’t you think?.

Syria was safer and the Christians were more or less equal,

Egypt, the Christians were better off, but still and i don’t know if you recognise that Christians were not allowed to specialize in Urology or OB/GYN, women specialists.

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May 5th, 2012, 3:26 pm

 

90. Juergen said:

kulluh halweh fi surie… lol

here is Timm Krögers (german tv) 3rd and 4th video report from Damascus….

the word en vogue for the revolt is difficulty.

The young daughter of the smoking father ( a teacher) near the barada river said: We try to live a normal live under these difficulties. Syria must regain its strength and power…

( does anyone know this place, i never have seen the barada river so strong and clean… in the report they said its one of Assads palaces on top of the mountain, is that may be bait al shaab? i think they get it wrong then…)

The reporter then said that the demonstrations inside the capitol got a lot smaller, it seems that the regime can no longer attract many people.
http://www.zdf.de/ZDFmediathek/hauptnavigation/startseite#/beitrag/video/1634818/Syrien:-Wer-steht-noch-hinter-Assad?

report of today

Timm Kröger went to Douma with the UN peacekeepers

He reports that the situations there feels totally different, its a tense atmosphere. There are more security and police present. Robert Mood said that both sides have the confidence that we can help to change the situation , step by step

see the overpainted Anti Assad graffiti on the walls leaving Douma…

http://www.zdf.de/ZDFmediathek/hauptnavigation/startseite#/beitrag/video/1635100/Syrien:-Tote-bei-Bombenanschlag

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May 5th, 2012, 3:28 pm

 
 

92. Tara said:

Mr. b

Interesting link. Thank you, What are your thoughts in regard to Sharmine’ writings and any professional relationship to her if I may ask?

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May 5th, 2012, 3:39 pm

 

93. habib said:

78. Antoine

Fantastic, none of which have native Christian populations (apart from a very small community in Jordan)… Safe for Western tourists perhaps, but how is that relevant to the people actually living there?

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May 5th, 2012, 3:45 pm

 

94. Mina said:

Millenarists lose ground in Iran
Mr Ahmadinejad’s supporters won only 13 of the 65 seats up for election in Friday’s vote, further reducing his power base in the 290-seat parliament.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-17969170

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May 5th, 2012, 4:02 pm

 

95. Halabi said:

In this video, a media shabeeh feels the need to fire a rifle after fabricating an interview in Baba Amr.

http://youtu.be/TlXlas6l7Jw

I understand the curiosity about guns. My problem here is that weapons are being discharged in residential neighborhoods for no reason. Shooting in the air creates fear and tension, which is why it’s illegal in most countries. (I’m not sure about Syria, where it’s perfectly legal to massacre families and torch homes if they are suspected 3ar3ours).

A soldier handing his gun to a civilian must be a violation of some military code. But again, I’m not sure what code exists other than securing the border with Israel and embezzling public funds.

This video is but a small example of the Syria that we-love-you crowd are ready to kill for. Here’s another. Rather than bring in Atif Najib for a confession video, Syrian TV extracts some fiction from Ali Othman from Baba Amr.

http://youtu.be/oVtdEd0Bh8I

Recognize the interviewer? It’s Rafiq Lutf, a member of the fake Arab Journalists Union in America. Here’s his retarded theory about chat room driven violence from last year.
http://www.sana.sy/eng/21/2011/04/27/343551.htm

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May 5th, 2012, 4:05 pm

 

96. Norman said:

That is what is going on in the Arab world, The fragmentation of the Arab Nation and death of Arab unity,

http://www.alquds.co.uk/index.asp?fname=today4z999.htm&arc=data\201255-044z999.htm

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May 5th, 2012, 4:24 pm

 

97. Halabi said:

More lies from Addunya. An Algerian fan of Bashar films from his hotel window in Damascus and says it’s Homs, and everything is calm. Subsequent footage shows the scene was in Damascus.

http://youtu.be/JJqL2XEtwBc

It’s just a constant stream of lies and death from Assad’s Syria. But that doesn’t matter to some. Just like when Bashar said that parliamentary elections would be held in February and then delayed it to May.
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-08/22/c_131064452.htm

Whatever comes from the regime is unvarnished truth to Assad supporters, and no amount of evidence will alter that belief. A true supporter of Assad will pay a bribe to a high ranking official and then thank him for the reforms…

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May 5th, 2012, 4:52 pm

 

98. omen said:

2:05 pm – Alan said:

Norman Finkelstein said :
If you want to close your eyes and believeit was all over ! you can do so, you can play that game. But the reality was, and everyone understood it. That the Israeli attitude was: we are going to knock out Hizballah.

hisballah’s real patron is iran.

They began planning for a new war…There is no way that the US and Israel are going to tolerate any resistance in the arab world.

true, but not in the way you are suggesting, alan.

israel can control bashar. it is more difficult to control the arab masses.

It’s not radical Islam that worries the US — it’s independence. ~ noam chomsky

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May 5th, 2012, 4:54 pm

 

99. Halabi said:

South Sudan is devolving into a dictatorship despite having a Catholic president. Tyrants come from all religions, as well as non-believers, but of course this fact can’t be accepted by Assad supporters.

http://www.thenational.ae/news/world/south-sudan-regime-cracking-down-on-critics#page1

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May 5th, 2012, 5:05 pm

 

100. omen said:

55. Halabi said:

This is why minorities support Assad? The fear of retribution for crimes committed against innocent civilians? The New York Times op/ed mentions Hama and Sabra and Shatila in 1982. We also have thousands of people murdered in this era, all to prevent the possible bloodbath against minorities in the future.

This kind of thinking, as well as believing that the Baath party is popular or the upcoming elections are anything but a farce, will never, ever solve the crisis in Syria nor bring democracy to the country. By supporting a regime that kills its own citizens while its enemy occupies its territory, that has oppressed people from every class and sect, the we-love-you gang has made it clear what they want: to rule over Syrians by force, forever.

I think the revolution will succeed in the long term. Along the way there will be a lot of pain, mostly suffered by the opposition, but there will be no peace for Assad and his supporters. I wake up in the morning hoping for a better future; we-love-you wake up hoping that Assad’s soldiers continue to raze towns and villages they don’t like, worrying about summer vacations, the value of their dubious fortunes and how to spin the latest conspiracy theory while enjoying freedom in the West.

Perhaps the solution is for Assad’s soldiers to kill and expel enough Sunnis so the minorities become the majority. Of course, according to we-love-you logic, the new minority would feel threatened so it should then be allowed to massacre as many minorities as they want. Or we could get rid of the criminal police state that has destroyed our country for two generations and try to establish a just government for all…

well said!

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May 5th, 2012, 5:05 pm

 

101. Tara said:

Amir

After the brilliant argument iterated by Mawal 95, you should stop wondering. From now on, wonder no more…and Amir if you can ever prove to someone who denies the sky is blue that the sky is indeed blue, please let me know how you did it.

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May 5th, 2012, 5:20 pm

 

102. Alan said:

Putin meets Obama’s top national security aide
http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_05_05/73820683/
Russia’s President-Elect Vladimir Putin met on Friday with top US national security advisor Thomas Donilon, who is currently in Moscow on a two-day visit.

Donilon also met other senior Russian officials to discuss divisive issues like Syria, Iran and a US missile defense system in Europe. The parties also discussed the next steps in the relations between the two countries, including cooperation on security and economic issues.

Vladimir Putin asked Thomas Donilon to convey his greetings to President Obama and said he looked forward to developing a constructive top-level partnership with the US.

TASS

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May 5th, 2012, 5:33 pm

 

103. Tara said:

For the commenter who asked about Friday protest, enjoy!

https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=212070240894988529972.0004bc35e80c149ecd76d&msa=0 

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May 5th, 2012, 5:34 pm

 

104. Alan said:

Charlie Rose – Tom Donilon on Israel’s position on Iran

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May 5th, 2012, 5:36 pm

 

105. Tara said:

http://news.yahoo.com/u-n-monitors-tanks-resentful-residents-syria-town-164405324.html 

U.N. monitors find tanks, resentful residents in Syria town
By Mariam Karouny | Reuters – 4 hrs ago

DOUMA, Syria (Reuters) – United Nations ceasefire monitors, in the Syrian town of Douma on Saturday, saw that the army had not withdrawn tanks in line with a truce agreement and were confronted by residents who complained that the U.N. observers were just “watching us die”.
A Reuters team that accompanied a two-car U.N. convoy saw checkpoints on every street corner and a heavy army presence in Douma, at one time known as a stronghold for the armed opposition but now back under government control.

“Assad’s army is traitorous,” it said in Arabic, adding in English: “We will not be put down.”
There was pro-government graffiti too. “If you are not one of Assad’s soldiers, they you don’t deserve life,” a scribble on one wall read.

A tank was hidden under a large sheet. The monitors took pictures, spoke to an officer in charge and moved on.
Further into the town, another large checkpoint had been established inside what had been a fire station, with a tank parked outside. Trenches had been dug and piles of sandbags with a corrugated iron roof sheltered the troops. Posters of Assad were everywhere.
An officer told the lead monitor, Moroccan Colonel Ahmed Himmiche, that the tank, whose canon was clearly visible, was in fact an armored personnel carrier, a more lightly armed vehicle.
“It carries soldiers and wounded,” he said. “If you want, I can take it out of Douma right now,” he said.
“No, no, it’s fine,” Himmiche replied.

Read more..

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May 5th, 2012, 5:41 pm

 

106. Observer said:

Atwan laments the fragmentation of the Arab world. Read Alquds today or go to Norman’s link above.
to all those who think that there is such an oxymoron as a benign or enlightened dictator I urge you very strongly to read
Why Nations Fail.
Read about Sierra Lenone and about Liberia and about Colombia and about Russia under Stalin or Nicholas the first or Austria under Franz Joseph or about Argentina under Menem or about Somalia and you will realize that it is dictatorship and an extractive prohibitive political and economic system that is the root cause of the fragmentation of any society and any state.

Not only did 40 years of oppression result in economic stagnation but it institutionalized corruption and educational backwardness. The one redeemer for the regime being security has also been completely lost. People are having to create fake law suits against their lands to prevent forgers from acquiring the title and selling the land or expropriating it. This is the degree of state collapse that we are witnessing in this country.

One example of this is plain for all to see when one looks at the official exchange against that published by local banks and as one visits the site of Cham Press and realizes that it takes them now two to three days to post a new page and now with one third of the previous ads present.

One other example is the amnesty that the President quietly pronounced for draft dodgers corroborating my sources of only about 15% of recruits showing up.

Another is the story of the price of gold on Cham Press a bizarre story but for the fact that there has been a rise in the price and it did decline when the regime sold Gold at 15% below market to raise hard currency.

My reading and after visiting various places in the ME lately is that the revolt is now in chronic long term mode of operation. That smuggling of weapons is increasing, that a shadow black market is in full swing, that criminality is on the rise, that the ability of the regime to even control its own troops is gone.

There is a dilemma as it is dawning on the regime hard liners that the hard tack is not working and they are completely puzzled as why it is not working for they have no imagination of anything else and cannot comprehend that it is not working. It is like “duh what do I do now?”

Not only Syria as we know it is spiraling down the drain but we will witness a collapse of the regime institutions one after the other. As for the eternal BS that Atwan keeps frothing about the “foreigner” being behind all that is bad happening to us I say it is perhaps 5% true and 95% false as we are responsible for 95% of what is happening to us.

After all Arab countries started by denouncing Sykes Picot then by clinging to the territorial integrity of the State be it Mirage Iraq or Rump Syria or Humpty Dumpty Sudan or Feudal KSA or Family Flags UAE or Joke of the Levant Lebanon then by declaring Arab revolts to be CIA manufactured to break up the region further then by pointing to a Sunni Shia Civil War conspiracy. All of this BS is just that BS.

After all, if a people are united no power on earth can stop that: Vietnam, Switzerland, Scandinavia, Germany, and eventually Korea are prime examples of the BS of conspiracies and outside intervention that is a lame excuse for all our ills.

IT IS DICTATORSHIP AND GRAFT AND CORRUPTION AND NEPOTISM that is the primary root cause of 95% of our ills.

There is no guarantee that a new regime will be better unless it has a broad swath of the people behind an elected government with separation of powers, the rule of law, and free information to guarantee against a vicious cycle of oligarchy.

Please do not mention the outside opposition in your arguments, only the internal one counts now. Not even the regime counts.

The germs are winning and the rats salute them

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May 5th, 2012, 5:44 pm

 

107. omen said:

The regime has depicted this uprising as the work of the rural poor and unemployed — those left behind by globalization and economic reform —

the arab spring, the tidal wave of protests sweeping the region – they’re an expression against the imperialism of economic globalization.

dictators surrendering the country’s economic sovereignty to the wto & the imf – doesn’t benefit the masses and isn’t “reform.”

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May 5th, 2012, 6:20 pm

 

108. omen said:

can somebody tell me who this pundit is?

http://i46.tinypic.com/2czadya.jpg

video describes how bashar embarked upon a neoliberal economic program (re: privatization, crony capitalism.)

appears via.

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May 5th, 2012, 7:04 pm

 

109. Tara said:

What is the real nature of the Syrian identity?  Mine, as a prototype Sunni from a deeply rooted Damascene family is pretty secular.  A reflection of the society or an exception?     

Ultimately, the battle for Syria’s future boils down to identity, whether Syrian society is by nature religious or secular, and how either identity might be represented by whatever replaces the stifling Baath Party.

Trying to Mold a Post-Assad Syria From Abroad
Published: May 5, 2012

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/06/world/middleeast/from-abroad-trying-to-mold-a-post-assad-syria.html?_r=1
….
A broad spectrum of political organizations outside the country are jockeying for position, anticipating a new, democratic government in Syria for the first time since a 1963 military coup established the supremacy of the Baath Party and emasculated the rest.

The jockeying has alienated many Syrians, particularly those inside, who complain that members of the fractious opposition exile group, the Syrian National Council, are fixated more on grabbing appointments that they can leverage into domestic influence later than on forging the unity needed to defeat the government. The wrestling continues nonetheless. It remains unclear which group, if any, will emerge the dominant player.

Given the triumphant sweep of Islamist parties across North Africa, Syria’s Islamist leaders itch with anticipation that this is their moment, too. The Muslim Brotherhood is the dominant actor, but two other Islamist organizations, the National Action Group and Mr. Rashid’s Syria National Movement, are vying for influence. All are based abroad.

The Syrian branch of the Brotherhood faces obstacles that its counterpart in Egypt, for one, ?never encountered.

“We don’t have an organization, but we have a constituency,” said Ali Sadreddin al-Bayanouni, the head of the Syrian Brotherhood from 1996 to 2010.

Its impact may be further diluted by internal divisions. Rivalry within the Muslim Brotherhood has long pitted its more tolerant Aleppo branch against the more conservative Hama branch. Exile widened those differences because many Aleppans went to the West, while the Hamawis moved to the Persian Gulf.

None of this has stopped the group from trying to build a cohesive network. Mr. Bayanouni, the former leader, estimated the Brotherhood sent between $1 million to $2 million monthly into Syria for humanitarian needs.

Abu Anas, a 45-year-old mosque imam in a small village between Hama and Homs, said senior Brotherhood figures called from abroad to ask him to resurrect a network that his father once led.

“They want me to rebuild the Muslim Brotherhood’s group through a charity network by helping poor families, jailed activists and by paying for medical aid,” he said, estimating that the organization spent millions of dollars in his region alone in the last year, adding: “If we could present good services and policies to all Syrians, we will be elected.”

A lot more….

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May 5th, 2012, 7:11 pm

 

110. Tara said:

Do any one know where is Fouad Ajami from originally? Aside than I like his name, I don’t really know anything about his background.

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May 5th, 2012, 7:20 pm

 

111. omen said:

tara, according to wiki:

Fouad A. Ajami (Arabic: فؤاد عجمي‎; born September 9, 1945, in Arnoun, Lebanon), is a MacArthur Fellowship winning, Lebanese-born American university professor and writer on Middle Eastern issues. He is currently a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.

Ajami was an outspoken supporter of the Iraq War, about the nobility of which he believes there “can be no doubt”.[1]

Ajami was born in Arnoun, a rocky hamlet in the south of Lebanon. His Shiite family had come to Arnoun from Tabriz, Iran in the 1850s.[2] In Arabic, the word “Ajami” means “non-Arab”; or “non arabic speaker”;[3] consequently someone who does not speak Arabic.

Ajami arrived in the United States in the fall of 1963, just before he turned 18. He did some of his undergraduate work at Eastern Oregon College (now Eastern Oregon University) in La Grande, Oregon. He did his graduate work at the University of Washington, where he wrote his thesis on international relations and world government, and earned a PhD.[4]

he was wrong about iraq. but look at this, he’s shia who supports the revolution. yay!

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May 5th, 2012, 7:29 pm

 

112. omen said:

70. Mawal95 said:

#63…in Tel Aviv (he ain’t no amir) says he’s “still wondering” and “still couldn’t find an answer” why anyone in Syria supports a government that is committing crimes. He hasn’t being paying attention to what government supporters say, then. It is very clear among government supporters that we deny that the government’s security forces commit crimes. The government’s policies are very clear, they’ve been repeated countless times on this board and elsewhere, and I need not repeat them again. The policies are complied with. The reports of crimes or use of disproportionate force by the security forces are lies. If you’re “still wondering” why we believe they’re lies, you’ve failed to appreciate that the reports are unverified, and unverifiable, and consist of testimonies from flakey dissidents whose credibility, for us who support the government, is zero. Plus fake videos. As I have before, I once again I challenge you to provide video evidence of crimes being committed by security forces. In the absence of those videos, you shouldn’t be “still wondering” why we believe the government, and why we support the government. 10:59 am

the destruction of homs and other cities, was that all hollywood special effects too? was that the fault of fsa, armed with rust ak-47s?

bashar himself admits the military has acted improperly and has made mistakes:

Al-Assad said those members of the armed forces who “went too far” had been disciplined.

how dare you contradict dear leader, mawal!

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May 5th, 2012, 8:31 pm

 

113. irritated said:

Observer

“There is no guarantee that a new regime will be better unless it has a broad swath of the people behind an elected government with separation of powers, the rule of law, and free information to guarantee against a vicious cycle of oligarchy. ”

In view of what is going on in other ‘liberated’ Arab countries and the sample of opposition ‘leaders’ we have seen, you are hoping for the next century in Disneyland

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May 5th, 2012, 9:01 pm

 

114. irritated said:

#112 Omen

“bashar himself admits the military has acted improperly and has made mistakes:”

While the opposition applaudes with no regrets the horrors that some of their elements have perpetrated on soldiers and civilians.

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May 5th, 2012, 9:04 pm

 

115. Tara said:

Omen

Thanks for your answer. Has he expressed an opinion in regard to Nasrallah and HA’s support of the butcher of Damascus?

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May 5th, 2012, 9:06 pm

 

116. zoo said:

قدري جميل لدام برس : نحن مع تشكيل حكومة وحدة وطنية وشعارنا : السلطة للشعب والكرامة للمواطن والثروة للجميع
المعارض الوطني جميل : نعد الناخبين خلال خمس سنوات بحل مشكلات الفقر ولابد من البدء بمعاقبة ومحاسبة رؤوس الفساد

http://www.dampress.net/index.php?page=show_det&select_page=51&id=19888

http://www.dampress.net/UserFiles/Image/jamilllllllllll.jpg

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May 5th, 2012, 9:22 pm

 

117. zoo said:

Annan will brief the United Nations Security Council on the Syria situation next Tuesday

UPDATE 2-Annan plan for Syria “on track”, spokesman says
Fri May 4, 2012 6:15am EDT
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/04/syria-annan-idUSL5E8G44K220120504

May 4 (Reuters) – A peace plan for Syria brokered by international mediator Kofi Annan is on track despite reports of violations of the ceasefire, Annan’s spokesman Ahmad Fawzi said on Friday.

Annan will brief the United Nations Security Council on the Syria situation next Tuesday by video link from Geneva, he said.

“I would say that the Annan plan is on track and a crisis that has been going on for over a year is not going to be resolved in a day or a week,” Fawzi said.

“I agree with you that there are no big signs of compliance on the ground. There are small signs of compliance.”

Annan’s six-point plan includes a ceasefire, deployment of observers and free access for journalists and humanitarian aid.

About 50 observers and civilian staff have been deployed in Syria, but violence has continued since an April 12 truce.

“Some heavy weapons have been withdrawn, some heavy weapons remain. Some violence has receded, some violence remains,” Fawzi said. “I’m not saying that is satisfactory”.

“There are signs on the ground of movement, albeit its slow and small. There are also signs behind the scenes you don’t see because this mediation effort by definition is conducted below the radar,” he said.

“However… even on days we feel there is satisfactory progress albeit it is in inches, not in feet or miles, in those days as well we are horrified by the extent of violence that we see on the ground.”

The United States said on Tuesday that a new international approach may be needed if Annan’s U.N.-backed plan fails, accusing President Bashar al-Assad of making “no effort” to implement it so far.

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May 5th, 2012, 9:29 pm

 

118. Tara said:

If Iran had not supported the Syrian Baath regime

For years now, Iran has been supporting the Syrian Baath regime — the ideological cousin of the Iraqi Baath regime against whom Iran carried out the longest war of the century. Syria has become one of the few friends Iran has left, after it was blatantly sanctioned by the West, the U.S and other states in the region after the Islamic revolution. In fact, Iran often preferred to promote this relationship as having exaggeratedly more geopolitical value than it really had. Not unlike the existence of a resistance movement in the very unique political, social and geopolitical structure of Lebanon. In other words, the political thread of Iran-Syria-Lebanon is based on as many exaggerations and speculations as the “Iranian Threat” that is inflated by the West, the U.S and Israel. 

What kind of political picture would emerge had Iran not provided support to the Syrian Baath regime?  

6. Withdrawal of Iran’s support from the al-Assad rule would have seriously contributed to the normalization in Iraq. It would have created important opportunities toward the reconciliation of ethnic and sectarian factions. 

7. Adherence to a foreign policy that did not stand in front of the change in Syria would have turned Iran into an important contributor of change in the region. An Iran that defended change in the region would have help actualize democratization in the region – more importantly within its own territory – without having given losses to conspiracies and external scare tactics. 

8. The absence of support from Iran to a sectarian family-gang administration would have softened the sectarian tensions antagonizing our region. The path would have been cleared for an entirely different discourse on the Middle East. Most Western geopolitical readings and calculations would have been rendered meaningless. 

9. Had Iran been able to stand against the massacres committed by the Syrian Baath regime, its Islamic revolution and its struggle against the Iranian Shah (and the order represented by the Shah), would have become important historical events that are mirrored by the Arab uprisings today. 

10. Had Iran been able to distance itself from the al-Assad regime, it would have paved the way for reevaluating not only the (collapse of the) Camp David Order, but also of the post World War I order.

May/04/2012

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/if-iran-had-not-supported-the-syrian-baath-regime.aspx?pageID=449&nID=19914&NewsCatID=436

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May 5th, 2012, 9:35 pm

 

119. zoo said:

Explosion hits suburb of Syrian capital overnight, casualties reported
2012-05-06
• A booby-trapped car went off in Daf al-Shouk Saturday, leaving two people killed and five injured.
• The overnight blast is the latest in a string of other explosions that rocked Damascus and Aleppo.
• Damascus and Aleppo have witnessed many suicide bombings recently.

Analysts said the bloody attacks came to overshadow the forthcoming parliamentarian elections that will start on May 7. Some 7,195 candidates, including 710 women, would run for the first legislative chapter of the 250-seat parliament.

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-05/06/c_131570314.htm

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May 5th, 2012, 9:41 pm

 

120. bronco said:

#116 Tara

“If Iran had not supported the Syrian Baath regime”

And if Qatar, Turkey and France had not supported and financed the opposition…

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May 5th, 2012, 9:44 pm

 

121. Tara said:

Erdoğan to visit Syrian refugees
ANKARA

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will visit Syrian refugees sheltering at a container city in the southeastern province of Kilis. Erdoğan will attend his Justice & Development Party’s (AKP’s) congress in Gaziantep city, and then proceed to Kilis on May 6, the Prime Ministry said. Erdoğan planned to visit Syrian refugees in Hatay in October, but had to postpone the trip due to his mother’s death. 9,627 Syrians are taking refuge in Kilis. The Turkish Prime Ministry’s Disaster and Emergency Management Directorate said yesterday there were 23,011 Syrians staying in Turkey after fleeing violence in Syria.

….more
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/annan-firm-on-his-plan-amid-killings.aspx?pageID=238&nID=19992&NewsCatID=359

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May 5th, 2012, 9:45 pm

 

122. Tara said:

Bronco

I am mad at you ..

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May 5th, 2012, 9:50 pm

 

123. Syrialover said:

Observer, your posts are always worth reading and circulating.Thanks.

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May 5th, 2012, 9:57 pm

 

124. omen said:

tara, here is an oped he wrote in 2006, re hezbollah:

http://tinyurl.com/85aoxe9

a more current one from april 2012:

http://tinyurl.com/7hgjuhs

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May 5th, 2012, 10:15 pm

 

125. Juergen said:

one video that one will remember always

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=WNeWeAG6huE

here is a nice Bach song in arabic style…

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May 5th, 2012, 10:25 pm

 

126. omen said:

114. irritated said:
While the opposition applaudes with no regrets the horrors that some of their elements have perpetrated on soldiers and civilians.

i don’t understand you, irritated. do you think the only good opposition is one who has both hands tied behind their backs? unarmed and impotent? regime soldiers killed in the line of duty to a madman, well, that is the consequence of war. they need to defect if they don’t support murdering civilians in cold blood.

secondly, bashar released criminals from prisons. not activists or prisoners of conscience but murderers, thieves and rapists. i don’t count such people as “the opposition.”

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May 5th, 2012, 10:34 pm

 

127. Tara said:

Juergen

Bach The Arabian Passion, excellent!

Resisting a desire to link love song by Fairouz as no one here seems to appreciate art.
——
Omen,

Thanks again. That was interesting.

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May 5th, 2012, 10:43 pm

 

128. omen said:

syrialover, so true. i was hesitant to contradict earlier but even more important than identity is the form of economy syria will follow after the regime has fallen.

for example, argentina is finally recovering economically after rejecting neoliberal policies.

what kind of economic philosophy does the muslim brotherhood endorse?

~

you’re welcome, tara.

what piqued your interest in ajami? did he show up in an interview somewhere?

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May 5th, 2012, 11:09 pm

 

129. omen said:

what happened to syrialover’s post about arab youth and unemployment? it was just here!

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May 5th, 2012, 11:27 pm

 

130. Syrialover said:

[Moderator Note Updated: Comment was flagged into spam. The Financial Times does not allow reposting of its articles to the web. My sincere apologies to SyriaLover for editing out his comment, I made a mistake while taking out the FT portion.]

Arab Youth looks to economy
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/eb449d6c-9395-11e1-8ca8-00144feab49a.html#ixzz1u2Sltnfk

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May 5th, 2012, 11:41 pm

 

131. Syrialover said:

Moderator, please, a less blunt instrument!

A large proportion of the words you have tossed out in #130 were my own comments, followed by a short excerpt from the article. It would be reasonable for you to re-post what I wrote plus the link.

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May 5th, 2012, 11:50 pm

 

132. omen said:

sl’s – 11:41

http://tinyurl.com/75lplpu

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May 5th, 2012, 11:55 pm

 

133. zoo said:

Trying to Mold a Post-Assad Syria From Abroad
By NEIL MacFARQUHAR
Published: May 5, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/06/world/middleeast/from-abroad-trying-to-mold-a-post-assad-syria.html?_r=1&ref=global-home
…..
The Muslim Brotherhood monopolizes everything — the money, the weapons, the S.N.C.,” said Kamal Lebwany, a dissident physician released last November from nearly a decade in jail in Syria. He quit the Syrian National Council in February, labeling it a stalking-horse for Islamic rule. “The S.N.C. has a liberal peel covering a totalitarian, nondemocratic core,” he said, adding that long exile meant the Islamists were out of touch.

Some experts say that Washington is selling the Syrian Brotherhood short as well. “Even a cursory analysis should lead them to the realization that the Syrian Brotherhood is the most closely aligned with their objectives in the region,” said Shadi Hamid of the Brookings Doha Center in Qatar. “It is as anti-Iran and anti-Hezbollah as you can get for an Islamist movement.”

Ultimately, the battle for Syria’s future boils down to identity, whether Syrian society is by nature religious or secular, and how either identity might be represented by whatever replaces the stifling Baath Party. Will Syria’s diversity tear it apart, or can a pluralistic, democratic nation that respects equal rights emerge from its jumble of rival religious sects, ethnic groups and age-old tribes?

“It is plausible that the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood will come to the fore,” said Cengiz Candar, an eminent Turkish analyst of Arab affairs. “But it is too early to deduce anything significant. They are in an incubation period. Who knows who will be around eventually?”

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May 6th, 2012, 12:14 am

 

134. zoo said:

Bahrain “brutal crackdown” continues in the indifference of the UN and Human Rights organizations

http://rt.com/news/bahrain-arrest-nabeel-rajab-673/

Bahraini authorities have arrested Nabeel Rajab, rights activist and foremost critic of the Al Khalifa regime, as they continue their brutal crackdown on peaceful protesters. It comes after he was interviewed on Julian Assange’s “The World Tomorrow.”

Nabeel Rajab, the president of the BahrainCenter for Human Rights was detained at Bahrain’s international airport on his return from Lebanon. The authorities have not commented on the reasons behind the arrest.

Julian Assange, whose talk-show featuring Rajab will be broadcast on RT on May 8, believes the activist was arrested because of the program.

They [the US] want Bahrain stable as the Fifth Fleet is based in Bahrain. They want Bahrain to be very quiet and stable,” he said.

All the more outrageous then, Rajab says, that the US is assuring everyone that the situation in Bahrain is improving.

“America’s representative in the Human Rights Council is saying ‘We will not talk about Bahrain this session because Bahrain is improving itself and it is doing better’ when people are dying on a daily basis.”

To say the least, the events in Bahrain have received way less coverage than other Arab protests.

“Unfortunately, because of the double standards of many countries and because of the double standards of many state channels like Al-Jazeera, like Al-Arabiya, like other European channels, they don’t highlight this – but this is the reality,” Rajab told Assange.
more…

The interview next tuesday on Assange website
http://assange.rt.com/

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May 6th, 2012, 12:18 am

 

135. omen said:

Some experts say that Washington is selling the Syrian Brotherhood short as well. “Even a cursory analysis should lead them to the realization that the Syrian Brotherhood is the most closely aligned with their objectives in the region,” said Shadi Hamid of the Brookings Doha Center in Qatar. “It is as anti-Iran and anti-Hezbollah as you can get for an Islamist movement.”

run across a puzzling op-ed. it argued the very reason snc or syrian opposition hasn’t gained traction in washington is because, contrary to conventional wisdom, the u.s. wants people who do have ties to hezbollah and iran who would then be able to apply leverage.

i’ll post it if i find it again.

~

zoo, anything is better than this regime.

if the people are able to unseat bashar, they will be able to correct anything else following him.

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May 6th, 2012, 1:35 am

 

136. abbas said:

Is JAD on strike or he is in the dog house

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May 6th, 2012, 2:36 am

 
 

138. Ghufran said:

كلما قتل سوري بدون ذنب فقد الوطن ابتسامه و ربح العار معركة جديده
ما اكثر شقائق النعمان في سوريا اليوم
السادس من ايار هذا العام بلون جديد
لا يحتاج السوريون الان للعثمانيين لصناعة الشهداء
تصنع سوريا شهداءها بيديها
القاتل سوري و المقتول سوري
Congratulations

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May 6th, 2012, 2:50 am

 

139. Ghufran said:

عندما يذهب الشهداء الى النوم أصحو
وأحرسهم من هواة الرِّثاء
أقول لهم
تُصبحون على وطن
من سحابٍ ومن شجرٍ
من سراب وماء
أهنئُهُم بالسلامةِ من حادثِ المُستحيل
ومن قيمة المذبح الفائضة
وأسرقُ وقتَا لكي يسرقوني من الوقتِ
هل كُلُنا شهداء؟
وأهمس
يا أصدقائي اتركوا حائطاَ واحداً
لحبال الغسيل
اتركوا ليلةًَ للغناء
اُعلِّق أسماءكم أين شئتم فناموا قليلاً
وناموا على سلم الكرمة الحامضة
لأحرس أحلامكم من خناجر حُراسكم
وانقلاب الكتاب على الأنبياء
وكونوا نشيد الذي لا نشيد له
عندما تذهبون إلى النوم هذا المساء
أقول لكم
تصبحون على وطنٍ
حمّلوه على فرس راكضه
وأهمس
يا أصدقائي لن تصبحوا مثلنا
حبل مشنقةٍ غامضه

[ Link Added:http://r9naldo.net/vb/showthread.php?t=33285

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May 6th, 2012, 3:08 am

 

140. Atheist Syrian Salafist Against Dictatorships said:

Juergen @125

Thanks for the interesting links. First time for me to hear Bach played in this style. Cool!

BTW, It reminded me of a section in a documentary in which Arabic and Western music are discussed (around 7’20″; also the lady singer towards the end does an awesome rendition of Um Kulthum, too)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfc6rwifzcs

But also this is an interesting story about Jewish Arab musicians who migrated to Israel. I recommend it highly. I don’t know if you can notice the difference, but even their way of pronouncing Hebrew is different and (to my ears) beautiful, the way it should sound as a Semitic language complete with the ’7′ and ’3′ sounds instead of the invented modern Israeli Hebrew pronunciation where all those wonderful and strange fricatives are changed into one ugly and grating and hard ‘kh’. (BTW, it really gets on my nerves how Western journalists and announcers automatically adopt the Israeli pronunciation of Arabic words and names: Ma7moud Abbas is pronounced Makhmoud!), cf.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extended_Speech_Assessment_Methods_Phonetic_Alphabet

It is possible that many Jews from Arab countries turned into hardcore haters of all Arabs after moving to Israel but I can’t help feeling a certain warmth towards the musicians in the video, and also sorrow at their having left their original countries all over the ME. When I was still a boy of 13 or 14 in Syria I was one of a small group of children who took Classical guitar lessons from my uncle. One of the boys was Jewish, a couple of years older than me. I wonder what happened to him and where he might be now. Not in Israel, I hope.

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May 6th, 2012, 3:28 am

 

141. omen said:

Bombs hit pro-govt businesses in Syria

~

voiced my objections to a reporter who recently snuck into syria. he argued against arming the rebels. he responded:

Anand Gopal: yes true, but concerned they can’t beat regime militarily either way. Aleppo-Damascus business class needs to break with Assad

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May 6th, 2012, 3:36 am

 

142. omen said:

SlaughterAM: Sanctions biting on Syria; govt bartering for wheat and oil

reduced to bartering…sounds like a regime hanging on by its fingernails.

i hear tunis offered bashar asylum.

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May 6th, 2012, 4:03 am

 

143. Alan said:

Problems of application of the international sanctions are specific, difficult enough and many-sided. Progressive development and codification of norms and responsibility principles in international law demands the analysis and a coordination of many questions, each of which should be considered and considered correctly and full to reflect change in this area of international law which have occurred in the last time.
Correct reflection of these changes is law of modern international law development.
Necessity of problems special research of codification and progressive development of norms and principles of international legal sanctions is dictated by the increased role of international law as a legal basis of the international relations, increase of its efficiency in business of a consolidation of peace and safety in the decision of the major problems of a civilization.
At the present stage of existence of the independent sovereign states the international relations are shown as international legal, based on legally fixed principles and norms of behavior of the states. International law functions consist in standard fastening of the rights about duties of the states arising in the course of their dialogue. The international law should be considered as a superlinear category not over one international economic relations, and over the international relations in a broad sense, covering all set of relations between the states and the people. Scientifically well-founded use of international legal norms and principles gives the chance not only to influence actively the international relations, but also appreciably to direct their course.
Into an international law problem enters not only an establishment of rules of behavior of the states in this or that area of their international activity, but also development of norms and the principles guaranteeing observance of these rules. One of the major and tested international legal tools in this business is the principle of the international responsibility of the states and other subjects of international law for infringement of their international obligations, and also for harmful consequences at lawful activity in separate spheres of interstate cooperation.
Progressive development of norms and principles of application of sanctions can serve
Development of international law represents integrally interconnected process of establishment and modernization as rules of behavior of the states, and norms and the principles providing their observance, including application of the international economic sanctions. However now this unity it is not observed. In development of norms and principles of the international sanctions in international law the gap was formed. Norms and principles of international legal responsibility of the states not cod-numbered though such need ripened for a long time. To fill this gap – an essential problem of modern international law. It is possible to tell without exaggeration that codification and progressive development of norms and principles of application of sanctions can serve as an important condition in further progressive development of international law as a whole.
To the states it is not indifferent, in what direction, by what criteria and in what volume will be cod-numbered and the norm and principles of application of the international sanctions are progressively developed. On the correct solution of these questions depends, these norms and principles will render what influence on destinies of the world, on the solution of problems of interstate cooperation, on further progress of mankind.

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May 6th, 2012, 6:57 am

 

144. Alan said:

140. OMEN
barter use in an exchange is the tool of economy and in Syria too! it isn’t anything new in present.
China and Russia but on the countries BRIKS is observed such tool in address avoidance on US dollars

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May 6th, 2012, 7:16 am

 

145. b said:

92. Tara said:

Mr. b

Interesting link. Thank you, What are your thoughts in regard to Sharmine’ writings and any professional relationship to her if I may ask?

I do not know Sharmine and have no relation to her. She writes what she writes and I have nothing to say about that.

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May 6th, 2012, 7:47 am

 

146. Observer said:

So irritated thinks that only Fredo is a true and current leader. That there are no leaders and no new society coming forth
I have posted this a very long time ago: the people have proven time and again that they can lead; they can eck out a living in the most difficult of times; and they can start a revolution that is now more coherent in its demands then the entire 40 years of stupid propaganda of this diabolical regime.

This is the unfortunate state of affairs that someone like irritated cannot think or imagine a free society under the rule of law and with peaceful exchange of political power and roles. This is how corrupting the regime has been that he cannot even imagine liberty and fairness and justice.

That is why I repeat that the last 50 years of this diabolical regime has corrupted the minds and the souls of people to such an extent that they are now most racist against their own people.

Russia is having a hard time in creating this image of a responsible world power. It is threatening missile strikes and it is threatening against smuggling weapons into Syria.

Well I see Russian children adopted here by families as part of my charity work and I can tell you that Russia’s society and health care system is dismal.

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May 6th, 2012, 8:02 am

 

147. Hans said:

Hans, Please do not use the type of language crossed out.

SC Moderator

Putin is reining, Obama and Sarkozy, are fighting for their elections and both have possibility of not surviving another term.
The Israeli Lobby is the only savior for this two.
ai think Syria would be better off without both of them in power.
Syria is not Libya, Egypt or Yemen.
Syria is like Lebanon. it will pay the price as multiethic civil war for years.
I was told that most of the fight in the Middle east after 9/11 is between Shiaa and Sunni which explain the policy of the Israelis, to keep the Arab busy killing each other.
it works very well for everyone and it doesn’t cost the west and the Israelis much.
Syria going into Civil war means the end of civilization for years or decades to come.
I know many here don’t agree with my statement but that’s why Syria will live in dark age for decades.
ARABS ARE NOT READY FOR DEMOCRACY UNLESS THE DENOUNCE THE RETARDS RELIGIOUS ZEALOUS. IF YOU DON’T GET IT THEN LEAVE THE WEST AND GO LIVE IN THE KSA DESERT IN A TENT.

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May 6th, 2012, 8:42 am

 

148. zoo said:

#135 Omen

“anything is better than this regime.”

I disagree, Iran is a good example.

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May 6th, 2012, 9:34 am

 

149. Tara said:

Zoo

Look at #109 and #133. I like that.

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May 6th, 2012, 9:44 am

 

150. irritated said:

Observer

The first real revolution in an Islamic country in the region has been in Iran. 40 years later, is its a “blooming” democracy and “are there many leaders coming forth, Ahmadinejad etc…?

You expect Syria, a poorer Islamic country, with its complex ethnical and religious tapestry with a violent past of colonization and aggressive and arrogant neighbors to become the first success of a moslem or secular democracy in the Arab world?
It could have happened gradually and still can if it is introduced gradually, but with the violence of the ‘instant regime change’ and the ones you call for to divide the country, it will take more than 5 decades to recover just from the destruction and a few more to build ‘some kind’ of a democracy. Lebanon went through similar chaos almost 40 years ago and has not yet recovered, and it was already “sort” of imperfect democracy.

Its your right to be bitter for the past and idealistic for the future. I look around and I am just realistic.

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May 6th, 2012, 9:50 am

 

151. zoo said:

#148 Tara

Oops, sorry, I’ll be more careful next time.

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May 6th, 2012, 9:57 am

 

152. Tara said:

To complement the NYT article posted by Zoo @133, another article about the MB

Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood rise from the ashes
By Khaled Yacoub Oweis | Reuters – 3 hrs ago

http://news.yahoo.com/syrias-muslim-brotherhood-rise-ashes-100148941.html
….

In a demonstration of their financial muscle, Brotherhood operatives were dispatched last month with suitcases of cash to a dusty camp for Free Syrian Army defectors in a Turkish region bordering Syria near Antakya.
Sources in the camp said the Brotherhood was supporting Colonel Riad al-Asaad, one of the first prominent defectors last year, now at odds with more senior officers who deserted later.
Colonel Asaad now sports a Brotherhood-style beard. Street activists who have had little to do with the Brotherhood are also being lured by promises of instant support for the revolt.
“I approached them and they instantly gave me 2,000 euros when I asked for help…and I am not even Ikhwan (Brotherhood),” said veteran activist Othman al-Bidewi, who regularly travels between Syria and the border region in Turkey to drum up support for street demonstrations against Assad in Idlib province.
“The Brotherhood wants to restore its political base. It is their right,” he added.

more…

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May 6th, 2012, 10:14 am

 

153. habib said:

“Colonel Asaad now sports a Brotherhood-style beard.”

Loool, says it all, doesn’t it?

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May 6th, 2012, 10:39 am

 

154. zoo said:

What about the 100 journalists jailed in Turkish jails?

Release of 2 Turk journalists in Syria to ‘take time’: group

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/release-of-2-turk-journalists-in-syria-to-take-time-group.aspx?pageID=238&nID=20041&NewsCatID=338
….
The two journalists are “in the hands of the regime,” said Oruç, adding that IHH was holding negotiations with Iranian and Syrian officials to secure their return home.

“We are carrying out humanitarian diplomacy for their release,” he said while hailing the permission granted by Damascus to the aid group’s meeting with the pair as a “significant step.” IHH (Insani Yardim Vakfı) is a relief foundation close to the conservative Islamist-rooted government and has organised aid for Syrian refugees who have fled the bloodshed in their country for Turkey and Lebanon.
more…

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May 6th, 2012, 10:48 am

 

155. bronco said:

#151 Tara

So Qatar is opening wide its wallets to salvage their allies, the Moslem Brotherhood, who are loosing steam in Egypt.
The new target to try to buy out : Syria’s confused and destituted opposition

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May 6th, 2012, 10:52 am

 

156. Tara said:

Syrian state TV broadcasts ‘confession’ by detained citizen journalist
By the CNN Wire Staff
May 5, 2012 –

http://edition.cnn.com/2012/05/05/world/meast/syria-citizen-journalist/?hpt=hp_t3

(CNN) — Syrian state TV aired Saturday what it said was a confession by citizen journalist Ali Mahmoud Othman, who activists say was arrested in March after he helped foreign journalists escape from the besieged city of Homs.
Othman helped run a media center in Baba Amr area of Homs, which provided information to international news media during a months-long crackdown on the civilian neighborhood by government forces.
Reporters Without Borders, the journalist watchdog group, said last month it was “extremely concerned” for the life of Othman after his detention.
….
In the interview Othman describes how the media operation was set up in Baba Amr, and talks about demonstrations and the role of armed groups.
It is unclear under what circumstances the interview was taped.
But Heather Blake, UK representative for Reporters Without Borders, said: “Research by our organization and many other organizations indicates that many human rights defenders who are detained have been shown to give false confessions under much duress and torture.
“We would advise anyone watching this to be very aware of that fact. The fact that Othman was arrested after committing no crime would suggest that he is speaking under duress.”

more…

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May 6th, 2012, 10:59 am

 

157. zoo said:

For the ones waiting for a Godot-like Turkey military intervention

“All this demonstrates the growing gap between Ankara’s ambitious discourse and its actual willingness and capacity to act.”

Explaining Turkey’s inaction in Syria
ÖMER TAŞPINAR
06 2012, Sunday
http://www.todayszaman.com/columnist-279526-explaining-turkeys-inaction-in-syria.html

What are the driving factors of Turkey’s Syria policy? The same question could be asked by focusing on why Turkey is so cautious and reluctant to take unilateral military action in Syria — for instance, by establishing safe havens or a buffer zone. Four main factors can help us explain Turkey’s Syria policy.

The first driver of Turkish policy is the Kurdish problem at home.

The third driver of Turkey’s Syria policy is the concern about economic stability. Turkey depends on Iran and Russia for close to 85 percent of its energy consumption, particularly natural gas
….
This second important strategic vision, Kemalism, is Ankara’s default position. Where neo-Ottomanism is proactive and grandiose, Kemalism is cautious and always realistic in its assessment of Turkish national interests

Today Damascus controls 80 percent of the country, while there are still pockets of resistance where the opposition shows resilience
..
In short, Ankara will resist the militarization of the crisis. It is no coincidence that under such circumstances Ankara and Washington are on the same page.

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May 6th, 2012, 11:03 am

 

158. Observer said:

The post by Irritated is exactly the point I am making on how perverted the regime has been. Syria was a democracy before the Baath, imperfect and yet it had a constitution and one of my relatives took to court a security official who was opening his mail outside of the law and that person went to jail.
Spouses of ministers were scolded in the free press Syria enjoyed and corruption came to the fore. Guarantees of private property were secure and Syria paid off all of its debts in less than one year in 1960-61. All of the projects for the expansion of the ports and the building of rail and roads and electrical grid were laid in between 1959-62 including the refinery and the Euphrates dam. Go read the archives of Almoudhek Almoubki a famous newspaper shut down by the Baath.
Go and show me that Damascus has written a new phone book since 1962; yes it is still the same phone book of 1962 and no new one has been published. This is the kind of incompetence and mediocrity one defends on this blog. Mind numbing indeed.

Gradual my foot we have been waiting fro gradual to s—- or come off the commode for more than 50 years. Gradual till some smuggle their fortune out or secure the persistence of graft and corruption and torture and killing?

Why not implement the law after the abrogation of the state of emergency? WHy don’t someone ask the stupid Fredo and his cronies why is it that the rule of law is not applied? How is it that the state of emergency is abrogated and yet the army is deployed? How come in this new Gradual Constitution we are back to square one with the head of the executive also the head of the Supreme court and the source of legislation with the power to dissolve parliament? Is this the most stupid retarded gradual constitution some want?

As for the famous Iranian revolution let me remind those of you that glorify the alliance
READ THE FIRST ARTICLE OF THE CONSTITUTION OF IRAN; SOVEREIGNTY BELONGS TO GOD. Is this the great new secular constitution and gradual realistic path some want us to forge towards?

Democracy has been a hallmark of political movements and attempts by people around the globe for more freedom for more than 400 years now and we the most resourceful people on earth can surely take all the positive and negative experience including our own and come up with a constitution that is worthy of the sacrifice of the people.

Gradual my foot go tell Haitham Maleh who argued for years with Corleone on the limits of power and the rule of law and was put in prison repeatedly. Go tell Bara’aa Saraj on his journey from Tadmur to Harvard of the need for gradual reform.

Stupid Fredo has now infected stupidity across the board to the point that Lavrov looks and talks stupid when it comes to Syria.

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May 6th, 2012, 11:10 am

 

159. zoo said:

The Washington Post (and other western media) gloomy mantra.. yet the reality on the ground allow for hopes.

“Western hopes for salvaging a nearly four-week-old cease-fire in Syria have all but evaporated, as new assessments raise fresh doubts about the prospects for the U.N.-brokered accord and the chances for removing the country’s repressive leadership in the near term, diplomats and intelligence officials say.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/syrian-cease-fire-violations-deepen-gloom-over-options-for-ousting-assad/2012/05/05/gIQA72xP4T_story.html?hpid=z3

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May 6th, 2012, 11:10 am

 

160. Tara said:

“We chose this face, accepted by the West and by the inside. We don’t want the regime to take advantage if an Islamist becomes the Syrian National Council’s head,” former Brotherhood leader Ali Sadreddine al-Bayanouni told supporters in a video.
The footage is now being circulated by Brotherhood opponents, seeking to highlight its undeclared power.
“We nominated Ghalioun as a front for national action. We are not moving now as Muslim Brotherhood but as part of a front that includes all currents,” 

Where is Ghalioun’s voice declaring his independent will and judgement for god sake.  Can SNC get any stupider.  Why aren’t we hearing statements defending their position.  Why aren’t they condemning suicidal attacks.  They are making big mistakes

—–

Bronco, I am still mad. How about sorry. Does it kill?

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May 6th, 2012, 11:12 am

 

161. Dawoud said:

Do you remember the post-9/11 dreadful name, “American Taliban?”Isn’t it as dreadful and scary to have an “American Hizballah?”I am sure that at least one of them is posting here :-) Very scary? Hizballah, among its terrorist activities, carried out the Khobar terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia and, in February of 2005, it carried out a huge terrorist bombing in Beirut that killed Rafiq al-Hariri and several others.

As rape, including raping women in front of their husbands/brothers, has become a common sickening tactic of Bashar al-Assad’s murderous security and Shabiha, how do women here on SC and in general feel about this disgraceful crime? How do pro-dictator/Hasan females still manage toHuh ???propagate on behalf of this rapist regime?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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May 6th, 2012, 11:14 am

 

162. irritated said:

Observer

I wonder who shows more stupidity and has a mind more distorted by hatred and bitterness.

“Go and show me that Damascus has written a new phone book since 1962; yes it is still the same phone book of 1962 and no new one has been published.”

Now the success of a democracy is measured by the frequency of republishing phonebooks.

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May 6th, 2012, 11:15 am

 

163. Norman said:

irritated,
They are very advanced in Syria, they use the net and their neighbours.

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May 6th, 2012, 11:18 am

 

164. irritated said:

#162 Norman

Despite the unrest, the disruptions and the economic crunch, Internet in Syria is working much better than any other neighbors and is much more affordable, thanks to the “stupidity” of the regime who should print instead millions of phonebooks to prove to some that it is a democratic country.
Who asks for phonebooks anyway these day? My nostalgic grandmother does sometimes

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May 6th, 2012, 11:23 am

 

165. zoo said:

Egypt’s future looks familiar – and grim
Youssef Hamza
May 6, 2012
http://www.thenational.ae/news/world/middle-east/egypts-future-looks-familiar-and-grim#full

With less than three weeks to go before the country’s landmark presidential election, Egypt’s transition to democratic rule is looking as doubtful as it did under Hosni Mubarak.
..
The political feuding and the bloodshed on the streets do not bode well for Egypt’s future, regardless of the election of a new president.

A non-Islamist president would not have the cooperation or the support of the Brotherhood and other Islamists in the legislature who, combined, control about 70 per cent of all seats. Lack of cooperation would likely slow legislation, perhaps even derailing it. An Islamist president would alarm minority Christians, liberals and leftists and push Egypt much farther along the road to a fully religious state.

Already, the Islamists, particularly the Brotherhood, have shown a tendency to seek domination or push through their own agenda regardless of the nation’s greater interest. It tried to dominate the panel mandated with drafting a constitution to ensure, among other things, that the new charter gives the president less powers while according the legislature they dominate more. A court ruling disbanded the Islamist-dominated, 100-member panel and the Islamists and the military are now locked in a stalemate with the Islamists in the search for a new selection process for a more balanced panel.

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May 6th, 2012, 11:35 am

 

166. zoo said:

Col Assaad vs US spokerman: Al Qaeda is in Syria or it’s fake?

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-05/06/c_131571288.htm
…..
Head of the rebels Free Syrian Army breakaway Col. Riadh Asa’ad reportedly said that Annan’s plan is doomed to failure, accusing the regime of staging attacks to frame the rebels.

However, media reports claimed that jihadists from Libya have infiltrated Syria coming from Lebanon and Jordan and they have carried out several attacks against the government troops. Some of them were reported to have been killed in Syria and their names had appeared in some jihadists websites.

The U.S. State Department spokesman, Mark Toner, expressed the U.S. concern that some terrorist groups, particularly al-Qaida, seek to exploit the situation in Syria, stressing the need for implementing the UN envoy Kofi Annan’s plan to halt the violence.

Answering a question at a press briefing in Washington last Wednesday on whether the U.S. is worried that the Syrian opposition has taken up the form of al-Qaida attacks the likes of the latest terrorist bombings in Damascus, Idlib and Aleppo, Toner said that the U.S. is concerned that a terrorist group which is al- Qaida mostly seeks to take advantage of such cases.

He called for abiding by Annan’s plan for realizing a real halt of violence.

Meanwhile, Asa’ad said the failure of Annan’s plan would positively reflect on the help some countries might for the rebels “as their stances have progressed regarding arming the Free Syrian Army.”

Asa’ad questioned the prospect of Annan’s plan amid “ongoing detentions and murders in all Syrian cities.” he said the UN observers “have turned to perjurers.”

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May 6th, 2012, 11:43 am

 

167. jna said:

155. Tarasaid:

Syrian state TV broadcasts ‘confession’ by detained citizen journalist ( … )

It could likely be that he is confessing under duress. But where were all these disclaimers and doubts from the opposition and media regards the taped confessions of attorney general Adnan Bakkour in September 2011, after he was kidnapped by the opposition. It appears that Ali Mahmoud Othman is still alive. We cannot say that about Adnan Bakkour.

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May 6th, 2012, 11:54 am

 

168. Syria no Kandahar said:

This opposition dumbo is giving today date as
٦/٥/٢٠٠٤
How can somebody off by 8 years unless he is
محشش

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May 6th, 2012, 12:01 pm

 

169. Alan said:

116. ZOO said:
المعارض الوطني جميل : نعد الناخبين خلال خمس سنوات بحل مشكلات الفقر !
معليش أخ قدري ! هذا الكلام فيزيائيا غير واقعي بسبب سنين التراكم !

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May 6th, 2012, 12:04 pm

 

170. Alan said:

156. ZOO said:
For the ones waiting for a Godot-like Turkey military intervention
أولا لتحل تركيا مشكلة أكرادها !
ثانيا لتستعمل ديبلوماسيتها ليقبل بها في الاتحاد الأوروبي غير المتجانسة معه
ثالثا لتعيد لنفسها ماء الوجه عندما هزأها الاسرائيليون لأكثر من مرة
رابعا لتعتمد عسكريا على نفسها و لاتستقوي بأحد
خامسا لتشرب الأطلسي مع طباليها!

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May 6th, 2012, 12:18 pm

 

171. Syria no Kandahar said:

Preview of post Assad Syria

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May 6th, 2012, 12:26 pm

 

172. Mina said:

“In a demonstration of their financial muscle [actually the author of the article seems to have voluntarily dropped the s here!!], Brotherhood operatives were dispatched last month with suitcases of cash”
Sounds like Egypt and the Gulf: the only active muscle is to pull out cash. What about exercing the brain?

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May 6th, 2012, 12:43 pm

 

173. Aldendeshe said:

المعارض الوطني جميل : نعد الناخبين خلال خمس سنوات بحل مشكلات الفقر !
معليش أخ قدري ! هذا الكلام فيزيائيا غير واقعي بسبب سنين التراكم !

______________________________________________________________

Great, that is the goal, but how is that possible. Can we see the economic plan and evaluate its merit, maybe you are bluffing, or the plan not viable.

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May 6th, 2012, 12:43 pm

 

174. Alan said:

172 who we are ? do you ask me ? i am independence person !

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May 6th, 2012, 12:57 pm

 

175. Mina said:

The Egyptian Salafis and MB are having a debate, in this time of international turmoil. Who among them is really Muslim?
http://www.egyptindependent.com/news/sundays-papers-mounting-tension-between-brotherhood-and-salafis

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May 6th, 2012, 1:02 pm

 

176. Ghufran said:

Attacking state institutions and valuable civilian assets ,like Tishreen Hospital in an attempt to “liberate” it , shows why the future of Syria is not simply linked to a regime change. There is a deliberate campaign to destroy Syria from the inside and when this is done,only Syrians will shed any tears over it but no one will come to their rescue. We read every day about the government thugs,it is time to talk about the “other thugs”,they are the elephant in the room that most opposition leaders and “think tanks” has no choice but to ignore because that issue is a huge embarrassment to a group of politicians who exist because of a fairy tale they created,and when that fairy tale ends ,they end too.

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May 6th, 2012, 1:03 pm

 

177. Antoine said:

89. NORMAN said :

“Antoine ,

Three undemocratic countries where the Christians accept their second class status, don’t you think?.

Syria was safer and the Christians were more or less equal,

Egypt, the Christians were better off, but still and i don’t know if you recognise that Christians were not allowed to specialize in Urology or OB/GYN, women specialists.”

Norman, Mar Bechara Butros al-Rai, the Maronite Patriarch, himself said, after visiting Jordan and Kuwait ; that Christains are well-of and well-respected there and mostly quite safe. He was talikng about th expatriate Lebanese community in Kuwait as well.

Egypt is the most dangerous, because unlike in other countries where only radical Muslims attack Christians, in Egypt, most of the non-religious Muslims, as well as the so-called secular Egyptian Army, attacks Christians, and this has been going on subtly since 1956 after the Suez Crisis. Since 1950s Egypt Christians have been painted as anti-national pro-West, non-Arab by so-called secular Nasser ideology.

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May 6th, 2012, 1:11 pm

 

178. Mina said:

Ghufran
And the worse is that exactly the same happened in Iraq in 2003, but that most of them are too young to remember it in detail.

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May 6th, 2012, 1:13 pm

 

179. omen said:

147. zoo said:“anything is better than this regime.”
I disagree, Iran is a good example. 9:34

you should have thought of that before allowing the regime to kill off, or force into exile, all of the secular leftists! you made your bed, now you have to lie in it.

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May 6th, 2012, 1:31 pm

 

180. Ghufran said:

Thanks to those who asked that I help in moderation,especially Dr Landis, however,I have to pass on this offer due to time constraint and the fact that I may not be able to separate my personal views from my duty to be neutral as a moderator. It pains me to see that educated Syrians need a moderator on a site like this,just stay away from personal attacks and do not use filthy language,why is that too hard to do?
On a positive note,I am glad to see that Dr Landis kept this site alive,those who attacked him want a blog that serves as a mouth piece for their own views,this will mean the end of SC.

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May 6th, 2012, 1:31 pm

 

181. Alan said:

175. GHUFRAN
all jackals are in the contract to tear Syria to pieces!so Bernard ibn Luis gave out!

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May 6th, 2012, 1:35 pm

 

182. zoo said:

#178 Omen

“you made your bed, now you have to lie in it.”

At least there still a bed to lie on. If we follow you, we’ll be all soon sleeping on a muddy and polluted ground.

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May 6th, 2012, 1:39 pm

 

183. zoo said:

Russian Foreign Policy after Putin’s Return
Nikolay Kozhanov

Also available in العربية

May 2, 2012
http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/russian-foreign-policy-after-putins-return
….
On the surface, at least, Russia’s stance on Syria and Iran will probably undergo certain negative changes. Putin is a populist, and he will definitely try to shore up his domestic support by catering to nationalists and others who are angry about the liberal course of Medvedev’s foreign policy, implying more-aggressive Russian rhetoric on these issues. Yet such rhetoric is typically aimed at the domestic audience and does not influence the main principle of Russian diplomacy: the readiness to discuss and negotiate. The real degree of Russian cooperativeness in the Middle East will therefore depend on the West’s willingness and ability to negotiate the key issues. Appropriate guarantees that preserve Russia’s interests in Syria and Iran — coupled with a nonconfrontational approach to dialogue — would probably have the most positive influence on Moscow.

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May 6th, 2012, 1:46 pm

 

184. omen said:

143. Alan said:
barter use in an exchange is the tool of economy and in Syria too! it isn’t anything new in present.
China and Russia but on the countries BRIKS is observed such tool in address avoidance on US dollars 7:16

thank you for providing context.

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May 6th, 2012, 1:48 pm

 

185. omen said:

146. Hans said:
ARABS ARE NOT READY FOR DEMOCRACY UNLESS THE DENOUNCE…

i expect this kind of bigotry from americans, but to see it coming from syrians…

do basharists not consider themselves arab?

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May 6th, 2012, 1:54 pm

 

186. Syria no Kandahar said:

شهود الزور
[صناعة الكذبة الكبرى حول سوريا: اطردوا شهود الزور]
http://www.aljaml.com/node/83540

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May 6th, 2012, 1:58 pm

 

187. Ghufran said:

Sarkozy : lost
Jordan is likely to witness a very hot summer,but that will not be enough to reassure many who want Arab Spring to include GCC countries too. Arabs will not be relevant again until they change their political systems and provide basic rights to women, you can not bring a society up if you keep half of it in a box.
http://www.alquds.co.uk/index.asp?fname=today%5C04qpt963.htm&arc=data%5C2012%5C05%5C05-04%5C04qpt963.htm

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May 6th, 2012, 2:00 pm

 

188. Mina said:

When they travelled to the US, the Egyptian MBs closed the parliament, now they did the same while they are on trip to KSA, officially to protest against Ganzouri’s cabinet… Amateurism?
http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2012/05/egypts-muslim-brotherhood-bows-down-to.html
(Memo: “On Sunday [last week], the Freedom and Justice Party-led Parliament decided to suspend sessions for a week in protest of the military council’s refusal to replace the current cabinet with one that reflects the makeup of Parliament.” and all this without submitting it to a vote of the assembly!
http://www.egyptindependent.com/news/muslim-brotherhood-calls-immediate-dismissal-cabinet)

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May 6th, 2012, 2:01 pm

 

189. Syria no Kandahar said:

احقر واوسخ ماانتجته سوريا
http://www.arabi-press.com/?page=article&id=34885

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May 6th, 2012, 2:08 pm

 

190. Alan said:

183. ZOO
لو كان معهد واشنطن دائما يلعب دورا تنويريا صحيحا لما غرقت أمريكا في
كثير من الأوحال !
لا ! لن يكون مسموحا للغرب في هاتين الدولتين أي سوريا و ايران التفرد بالعدوان ! لا اعتبارات انتخابية و لا بلوط ! لن يكون ذلك مسموحا و نقطة انتهى
كلام فارغ = Nikolay Kozhanov
ان التحالف الشيطاني ليس بين روسيا و ايران انه بين كل الدول الغربية
بصدارة الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية و اسرائيل

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May 6th, 2012, 2:21 pm

 

191. Mina said:

Nothing new in their sick brains: just as the Wahhabis did in Yemen at the beginning of the 20th century and elsewhere for the rest of our recent history, the new Salafis attack Muslim saints tombs in Mali.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-17973545
“Islamist fighters said to be linked to al-Qaeda have destroyed the tomb of a local Muslim saint in the Malian town of Timbuktu, officials and locals say.
The gunmen attacked the shrine and set it on fire, saying it was contrary to Islam, according to the official.”

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May 6th, 2012, 2:34 pm

 

192. Ghufran said:

Regardless of how you feel about Sarkozy,you have to get depressed when you compare France to Syria or any other Arab country. The guy lost by 4% margin but was very gracious when he gave his concession speech,compare that to the dinosaurs we have in the middle east and how we handle people who challenge authority or have a different opinions or beliefs. Sarkozy asked for a regime change in Syria but we ended up with a regime change in France,Bashar stayed in power by using guns and boots,Sarkozy lost his job by elections,this E word needs to find its way into the Middle East dictionary.

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May 6th, 2012, 2:38 pm

 

193. Norman said:

Ghufran,

And if it were not for France and company, president Assad would have not needed to use guns and boots. He is the Saul of modern time, needed a defeat as Saul needed a blindness to stop abusing God’s people in Syria.

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May 6th, 2012, 2:43 pm

 

194. Norman said:

Ghufran,

Many people are more afraid of the other thugs than from the government ones, they have an address for the government but they do not have one for the other’s.

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May 6th, 2012, 2:53 pm

 

195. Uzair8 said:

Update on Sheikh Yaqoubi’s facebook.

Sh. Al-Yaqoubi calls the Syrian people to boycott the parliamentary elections tomorrow and says that it is as haram to take part in it as it is a way to aid the regime in its massacres and oppression against the syrinan people and to cover up on the crimes of the regime.
People should continue their uprising till the regime is ousted and a new government is elected to start building justice and civilisation

30 minutes ago.

Read more (Arabic):

http://www.facebook.com/shaykhabulhuda/posts/10150827149447580

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May 6th, 2012, 3:02 pm

 

196. Uzair8 said:

This is a mafia. Everything else is a facade. Imitating a government. It motions in various fields such as diplomacy, elections etc including it’s ‘agreeing’ to monitoring missions and plans.

One commentator recently said the regime needed to show action and not mere motion as it is currently doing.

It’s a mafia. In Assad’s own words in his interview with Barbara Walters:

“It’s a game we play.”

How can we expect the people to trust any promises or concessions from this regmie?

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May 6th, 2012, 3:18 pm

 

197. Mina said:

Uzayr
Syrians should kill each other while your sheikh seats in his sofa. You think the “well-guided” caliphs would have been able to sell such a plan?

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May 6th, 2012, 3:21 pm

 

198. Uzair8 said:

@197 Mina

That’s putting words in my mouth. :-) Neither I nor the Sheikh said that.

The Sheikh is Syrian and can say what he wishes. Others can disagree. I think he has been very considered in his approach.

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May 6th, 2012, 3:54 pm

 

199. Mina said:

You say: “People should continue their uprising till the regime is ousted and a new government is elected to start building justice and civilisation”
so what if 51 percent elect a new government before the regime is ousted?

I was just questioning how “Islamic” it is for a sheikh to advocate an uprising, i. e. per definition, a violent fight, without physically participating in it. As you know it is trending in Egypt between Muslims to ask each other how genuinely Muslim they are.

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May 6th, 2012, 4:29 pm

 

200. Ghufran said:

This is one organization that you can use to help Syrian refugees: mercyusa.org.
I still prefer old fashion charity by donating directly to those in need.By skipping the third party you can eliminate the cost of running those organizations from your donation ,that cost can be as high as 70% of revenue.

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May 6th, 2012, 4:54 pm

 

201. irritated said:

After Sarkozy… Cameron.. than Erdogan

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May 6th, 2012, 5:27 pm

 

202. zoo said:

Will the bombing campaign to prevent the elections ‘farce’ and the calls for boycott be more successful than the calls for ‘massive’ strikes and “massive” demonstrations ‘across’ Syria?

Syria takes necessary measures to secure parliamentary election: minister
2012-05-07
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-05/07/c_123084726.htm

DAMASCUS, May 6 (Xinhua) — Syrian Interior Minister Mohammad Ibrahim al-Sha’ar said Sunday that all necessary measures have been taken to protect the parliamentary election slated for Monday from any security threat.

Orders have been given to police chiefs and affiliated unites to take necessary measures to guarantee the safety of the electoral process, al-Sha’ar said in a statement carried by the state-run SANA news agency.

Despite the risky situation in Syria, preparations have been on foot over the past two weeks for the parliamentary elections, which will be held under the new constitution stipulating a multi- party system in the country.

Some 7,195 candidates from 12 political parties would run for the first legislative chapter of the 250-seat parliament. The voting will start on May 7, and the electoral campaigns should come to an end 48 hours ahead of the voting.

Analysts said bloody attacks that have rattled major Syrian cities recently and claimed the lives of dozens of civilians came to overshadow the parliamentary elections

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May 6th, 2012, 5:42 pm

 

203. zoo said:

Your victory near, PM tells Syrians ‘migrants’ in Turkey

Özgür Ekşi GAZİANTEP – Hürriyet Daily News
Visiting a border camp in the southern Gaziantep province which shelters Syrians who fled violence in their country, PM Erdoğan strongly challenges the al-Assad regime and delivering a message of support to migrants

“Bashar is getting weaker each and every day. The curses of my Syrian brothers will not be left unanswered. God willing, those who brutalize our brothers will be held accountable,” Erdoğan said. “Your suffering is our suffering. Your troubles are our troubles. Don’t lose hope. Turkey will stand by you until the end. And I believe and I pray that Allah is also with you.” Standing next to him atop a bus, Erdoğan’s wife Emine Erdoğan was seen shedding tears.

Several people reported hearing gunfire on the Syrian side of the border during Erdoğan’s speech.

Speaking earlier in the day at a congress of his Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the city of Gaziantep, Erdoğan voiced confidence that al-Assad would go “sooner or later.”

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/your-victory-near-pm-tells-syrians-in-turkey.aspx?pageID=238&nID=20120&NewsCatID=338

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May 6th, 2012, 5:50 pm

 

204. zoo said:

For those for care about the fate of post-Qaddafi Libya

Libya: In the hands of militias

06/05/2012
By Abdul Sattar Hatita
http://www.asharq-e.com/news.asp?section=3&id=29518

Misratah, Asharq Al-Awsat- At night, one hears explosions as the flare of artillery fire streaks through the dark. Here, at this crossing point, you wonder before continuing on to your destination: Is this fresh fighting with destructive projectiles between adversaries or is it a wedding party or is it soccer fans celebrating Real Madrid’s victory? No one in this town wants to give up their weapons and military materiel consisting of 4-wheel drive cars, armored vehicles, and horrifying military trucks crossing the roads amidst private cars loaded with families and children. The smell of gunpowder hits your nose from one crossing point to another. You wonder: Oh my God, isn’t the war over? Hussein Bin-Abdullah, a beverage vendor on Tarablus [Tripoli] Street in Misratah, the third largest town in Libya that put the final touches on overthrowing the rule of the late Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, says: We have become used to this. The state is no longer a state”.
More…

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May 6th, 2012, 6:13 pm

 

205. Tara said:

http://gulfnews.com/business/banking/syrian-deposits-loans-plunge-1.1019133

Syrian deposits, loans plunge
Deposits fell by an average of 35 per cent in 2011 at Bank of Syria and Overseas, Bank Audi Syria and Banque Bemo Saudi Fransi, according to April filings to the Damascus Securities Exchange
BloombergPublished: 00:00 May 7, 2012

Dubai Deposits fell by an average of 35 per cent in 2011 at Bank of Syria and Overseas, Bank Audi Syria and Banque Bemo Saudi Fransi, according to April filings to the Damascus Securities Exchange.
Lending plunged 22 per cent last year, the filings by the three banks show. The central bank’s foreign reserves may drop to $10 billion this year, half the 2010 peak, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit.
The 14 month-long uprising that has claimed more than 9,000 lives is taking an increasing toll on the economy and the business class, mostly drawn from the majority Sunni community. Their support for Bashar Al Assad — who stems from the minority Alawite sect — may buckle as economy spirals downward.

If “the government cannot come up with a consistent policy to stop this economic deterioration, at some point in time Syrian businesses are going to realise that backing Al Assad himself is too costly,” Ayesha Sabavala, an EIU economist on Syria, said in a telephone interview.
More…

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May 6th, 2012, 6:35 pm

 

206. Tara said:

Zoo@204

I am so impressed with Erdogan and his wife and I believe her tears much more than i believed the sad face Asma wore during the “show” she put out to the world on Mother’s day. I think Erdogan is noble and sincere.

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May 6th, 2012, 7:04 pm

 

207. zoo said:

Tara #207

I don’t doubt of his sincerity but humility is certainly not his main quality. Like all leaders, power gets them drunk.

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May 6th, 2012, 7:13 pm

 

208. Ghufran said:

[Moderator NoteLink added: http://www.elaph.com/Web/news/2012/5/734024.html?entry=newsarab

الرياض..
جددت وزارة الخارجية السعودية امس، الطلبَ من مواطنيها مغادرة سورية وعدم التوجه الى هناك، بحسب مصدر رسمي.
ونقلت وكالة الأنباء السعودية (واس) عن بيان لوزارة الخارجية “نظراً لاستمرار تردي الأوضاع الأمنية في الجمهورية العربية السورية، فإن وزارة الخارجية تجدِّد نصحها وتحذيرها لجميع المواطنين من السفر إلى سورية، وذلك حفاظاً على أمنهم وسلامتهم وتجنباً لتعرضهم لأي مكروه لا سمح الله، كما تهيب بالمواطنين الموجودين هناك
Is there any Saudis left in Syria?
Jihadists are not waiting for a visa to get in, and they are not likely to leave because their security is threatened. This call by KSA is a stunt,

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May 6th, 2012, 7:21 pm

 

209. Tara said:

Zoo

Ok. I like the answer. Is it pride or lack of humility. I really wish pen of nose days while Erdogan is on the helm, the Turks admit to the Armenian genocide, offer compensation, and come clean.

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May 6th, 2012, 7:23 pm

 

210. Tara said:

It was “one of those” rather tnan “pen of nose”. Do not know what the latter means.

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May 6th, 2012, 7:25 pm

 

211. Syria no Kandahar said:

Ghufran
According to this 9300 Saudis came to Syria in the first 2 months this year;
سجل اجمالي القادمين الى سورية خلال شهري كانون الثاني وشباط الماضيين تراجعا بنسبة %64 الى 408.701 آلاف مقارنة مع 1.135 مليون قادم خلال الفترة ذاتها من العام الماضي.

وبلغ عدد القادمين العرب ووفقا لإحصائيات صادرة عن المكتب المركزي للاحصاء في سورية 262.172 قادماً بنسبة تراجع %61 مقارنة مع الفترة ذاتها من العام الماضي، بينما بلغ عدد القادمين من الدول الأجنبية 146.529 قادماً بنسبة تراجع %68.

واحتل اللبنانيون المرتبة الاولى عربيا من حيث عدد القادمين وبلغ عددهم خلال شهري يناير وفبراير 121.300 قادم، يليهم العراقيون بـ67.662 قادماً، ثم الأردنيون بـ44.938 قادماً، فالسعوديون بـ9.363 قادماً، فالبحرينيون 5.215 قادماً.
http://www.aksalser.com/?page=view_news&id=4f4cbc3170fde2a148b8e3970cfa4229&ar=542150256

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May 6th, 2012, 8:08 pm

 

212. Aldendeshe said:

I think Erdogan is noble and sincere.
___________________________________________________________________

This much, so much in fact:

http://humanprovince.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/assad-and-erdogan.jpg

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May 6th, 2012, 8:21 pm

 

213. Tara said:

Aldendeshe @211

It really is very simple.

Erdogan was fooled by Batta as much as the Syrian people were fooled by him. So showing us a photo of Erdo being cozy with Batta is not going to affect Erdo’s credibility and my perception of his sincerity.

One must understand that Syrians were not born wanting to “execute the president”. We lived under the oppression and tolerated it. We all thought it is our fate, destined by God, to live under this mafia family. It js like you don’t miss what you never experienced… It is when Batta started killing us, his own people, that we decided his time is up and that he must go.

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May 6th, 2012, 10:10 pm

 

214. Syria no Kandahar said:

SNK, the language that I have edited out is not an acceptable line of discourse.

SC Moderator

الجيش الحر المسعوره تحرق شركة باصات قيادات .. خرس كالعادة ..
http://www.syriatruth.org/news/tabid/93/Article/7305/Default.aspx

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May 6th, 2012, 11:38 pm

 

215. Syria no Kandahar said:

Opposition criminal Alqaeda terrorists operation :
http://www.syriatruth.org/news/tabid/93/Article/7304/Default.aspx

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May 6th, 2012, 11:46 pm

 
 

217. Ghufran said:

The US consulate in Lebanon had to stop accepting Syrians applying for visa,and Syrians now have to go to Jordan to apply for a visa then when they come here they register for the 18 months stay,get a social security card and a work permit.
A known Syrian actress,I can not reveal her name yet,is about to flee the country with her family after many of her relatives left the old country.
Congratulations…

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May 6th, 2012, 11:57 pm

 

218. Syria no Kandahar said:

This is what Syria wahabistsdid in 1860,back then Damascus was 100000,20000
Christians,600 Jewish families:
http://www.syriatruth.org/ثقـافــاتوفنــون/tabid/100/Article/7312/1860.aspx

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May 7th, 2012, 12:00 am

 

219. Syria no Kandahar said:

Burning the bus company by FSA rabies dogs:

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May 7th, 2012, 12:07 am

 

220. bronco said:

The SNC is loosing their staunchest supporter, Alain Juppe. In any case I think that France will be out of the “Friends of Syria” for a while. Hollande has too many internal problems to deal with.

By the way when is the next FOS meeting supposedly planned in Washington, or the whole exercise has been dropped for lack of any tangible result?.

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May 7th, 2012, 12:09 am

 

221. irritated said:

#217 Ghufran

I am curious to know if the applicants for visa to the USA are from the religious or ethnical minorities or else?

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May 7th, 2012, 12:13 am

 

222. Aldendeshe said:

@TARA

The Syrians were never ever fooled by the Assads. Even before Hama Massacre they had no friend that lent a helping hand to them. The Arab, Moslem and International community, as well as international Organizations simply turned blind eye to their suffering and misery, they were visiting weekly the regime in Damascus while crimes committed against Syria and Syrians. This Turkman you are bragging about is not deceiving me any bit, I will never forgive and forget what he did to Noble Syrians, how he was hurtful to them before, and how much he is hurting them now even more.

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May 7th, 2012, 12:24 am

 

223. omen said:

196. Uzair8 said:
This is a mafia. Everything else is a facade. Imitating a government.

to call the regime a mafia – is an insult to the mafia! this regime is so much more worse.

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May 7th, 2012, 12:28 am

 

224. Ghufran said:

People with money from all sects are trying to flee ,not just minorities. At this rate,Syria will bleed to death,the only response this grim news received on this blog is more thumbs down,it is humerous but telling.
Opposition leaders are unable to do anything to Syria but talk to a deaf audience unless you consider the GCC and the Harirites to be significant enough to matter.

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May 7th, 2012, 12:31 am

 

225. omen said:

220. bronco said:
The SNC is loosing their staunchest supporter, Alain Juppe. In any case I think that France will be out of the “Friends of Syria” for a while. Hollande has too many internal problems to deal with. 12:09 am

the french election: is there a transitional period? or is the turnover right away?

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May 7th, 2012, 12:37 am

 

226. omen said:

from april 20th:

French Socialist presidential frontrunner Francois Hollande said on Friday he would send troops to Syria in the event of a U.N. mandate for military intervention.

mandate unlikely but just offering the suggestion indicates interventionist mindset.

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May 7th, 2012, 12:41 am

 

227. Ghufran said:

Sarkozy will be a lame duck for the next 2 months,he will only have time to lick his wounds,no major decision is likely to come out of his cabinet except some quacking.
Holland will have no choice but to work with Russia and China,neither will allow foreign troops in Syria. Syrians need to quit betting on foreigners to save their neck or help them get rid of the regime,the threat of chaos is now more serious than tolerating this regime for few month or even a year,this truth is bitter but that what truth is often.

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May 7th, 2012, 12:58 am

 

228. omen said:

finale: i’m probably wrong but a show horse like sarkozy might want to go out in a blaze of glory.

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May 7th, 2012, 1:06 am

 

229. Ghufran said:

[Moderator Notehttp://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/05/06/212387.html

، قامت عناصر من الأمن الجوي باعتقال الطبيب الجرّاح أحمد طالب الكردي وطبيب التخدير أحمد الخنسة من مدينة السلمية، ليضاف اسمهما إلى جوزيف نخلة وجورج يازجي وأحمد وليد دحان ومحمد نور عودة ومحد عرب ومحمدغسان الصوعة وغصوب العلي
No comment.

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May 7th, 2012, 1:45 am

 

230. DAWOUD said:

Free Syria! Free Palestine!

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May 7th, 2012, 7:59 am

 

231. DAWOUD said:

Tara,
Do you know why MajedKhaldoun is not posting comments? Is he banned?

I hope it is because he is the moderator, instead of the dreadful “American Hizballah!”

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May 7th, 2012, 8:01 am

 

232. Tara said:

Dawoud

I think he is on volunteering mission in Turkey.

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May 7th, 2012, 8:25 am

 

233. Syria no Kandahar said:

Criminals calling themselves revolutionists stab a child in face because he refused to hang their flag:
أقدم متظاهرون في مدينة السفيرة على طعن فتى وشقيقه لرفضهما تعليق علم مرحلة الانتداب ، والمشاركة في مظاهرة لتأكيد تأييده لما يسمى بالثورة .

وقال والد الفتى لـ”عربي برس” إن متظاهرين ملثمين قاموا بطعن ابنه لؤي فيصل وعمره 15 سنة لأنه رفض السماح لهم باعتلاء سطح المنزل لتعليق علم مرحلة الانتداب الذي يسمونه علم الثورة “.

وأضاف أن المتظاهرين عرف منهم اثنان من تنسيقية السفيرة يدعيان خالد و إبراهيم محمود و البقية كانوا ملثمين وقد وجهوا لابنه طعنة في وجهه لتشويهه حيث استلزم علاجه 14 قطبة، كما اعتدوا بالضرب عليه وعلى شقيقه .

وتشهد مدينة السفيرة من حين لآخر مظاهرات مؤيدة للجيش الحر و للحرية وتدعو لإسقاط النظام في سورية . http://www.arabi-press.com/?page=article&id=35029

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May 7th, 2012, 8:27 am

 

234. DAWOUD said:

232. TARA

Good for him! He is putting his passion/advocacy for his brutalized Syrian people to serve their cause in a practical way. Good luck to him!

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May 7th, 2012, 8:27 am

 

235. Tara said:

# 220

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/jfk-awards-for-3-iowa-supreme-court-justices-us-ambassador-to-syria-for-doing-whats-right/2012/05/06/gIQAUp635T_story.html

JFK awards for 3 Iowa Supreme Court justices, US ambassador to Syria for ‘doing what’s right’

By Associated Press,

BOSTON — President John F. Kennedy’s only surviving child is celebrating what would have been his 95th birthday this month by honoring three Iowa judges who were ousted after the court unanimously decided to legalize same-sex marriages.

Caroline Kennedy will also recognize the U.S. ambassador to Syria who risked his life to support opponents of President Basher Assad’s regime.

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May 7th, 2012, 8:57 am

 

236. bronco said:

Omen #225

“mandate unlikely but just offering the suggestion indicates interventionist mindset.”

This is a clear withdrawal from Juppe’s stand. Sarkozy was ready to go unilaterally with ‘willing countries’

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May 7th, 2012, 10:04 am

 

237. DAWOUD said:

147. HANS

Shame on you and your disgraceful racism. What the moderator has crossed in red is your expression of anti-Arab racism. What are you doing here on SC, which is about an Arab country? Syrians are dying to have freedom and democracy! Germans needed the post-WW2 American occupation to begin a true democratic process.

Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism are virulent European diseases. You seem to suffer from both. It does not surprise me that a disgraceful racist like le Pen gets 20% of the French vote. Had neo-Nazis not been banned in Germany, they likely would have received a similar percentage. If they criticize Arabs and Muslims, they may even get your vote!

P.S., moderator: please don’t edit this comment until this “civilized” and “democratic” European has a chance to read it. Yes, burning Korans and defaming Prophet Mohammad have become racist Europeans method for “freedom of expression!”

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May 7th, 2012, 10:12 am

 

238. bronco said:

#227 Gufran

I agree. Most reports say that Hollande will try to counter Germany’s attempts to control Europe by turning to China and Russia and Brazil.
He has also been critical of Sarkozy’s cozyness with undemocratic and gross women and human rights violators like Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
I guess we will see a further weakening of the SNC.

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May 7th, 2012, 10:13 am

 

239. DAWOUD said:

Burning Korans and defaming Prophet Mohammad have become racist Europeans’ method for “freedom of expression!” What a “civilized” and “democratic” expression?!

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May 7th, 2012, 10:24 am

 

240. Dawoud said:

201. irritated

Erdogan has put a limit on how many times he can serve as PM. This is his last term. Had he not been decent to do so, he could have served as long as he wants since Turks would very likely give him the majority. If the Turkish constitution is altered to give more power to the president, he would likely assume the presidency.

Tayyib (kind) Erdogan will outlast Bashar (the Murderer) al-Assad in politics and public life!

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May 7th, 2012, 10:38 am

 

241. Observer said:

If Erdogan is drunk with power, what do you think Fredo is doing now?
Delirium Tremens from withdrawal of power and challenge to his rule?

The phone book is not an illustration of democracy for those confused enough about what democracy is all about. It is a manifestation of the destruction of a minimum of central institutions that serve the public and is a sign of the endemic destruction of the state institutions.

The minister of religious affairs was not a muslim at one point.

Besides are you going to have a Syrian identity or a sect clan family region based identity?

People debate what situation this sect or that group are in instead of arguing in favor of a citizenship role that is above and beyond this pettiness.

In reality and once again there is no such thing as Syria or Lebanon or Iraq or Jordan or Palestine there are families with flags and clans with militias.

Long live Baba Amr Republic and Malki Republic and Deir Emirate and Arbaeen Republic and Douma Kingdom and Daraa Protectorate and down with Syria ALassad.

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May 7th, 2012, 10:55 am

 

242. Tara said:

Assad will have to go- it is just a matter of when.  Is Putin going to be the savior of Syria and be the one pushing Assad out?  

7 MAY 2012
http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/3994748.html 

The inauguration of Vladimir Putin could just prove the circuit breaker needed for peace in Syria.

When Vladimir Putin takes the oath of office to become the Russian President once again, many expect his defence of Syria’s leadership to only become as hardline as his bare-chested antics.

But quietly underpinning all this could in fact be a carefully crafted political strategy that could for the first time seriously place the war-torn country on the path to peace.

And with the Annan Peace Plan not quite dead on arrival but certainly limping towards cardiac arrest – it is time for the rest of the world to be championing just this scenario.

Damascus and Moscow have long been natural bedfellows with their relationship stretching back four decades to the start of the Assad family’s dictatorial grip on power.

In 1971, a deal was done to forgive three quarters of Syria’s Soviet-era debt in return for the establishment of a Russian warm water naval base in Tartus, the second largest port city.

Today, Tartus remains Russia’s only overseas military base and a key strategic counterweight to the United States presence in the eastern Mediterranean.

And what’s more, Russian exports to their southern neighbour totalled around $1.1 billion in 2010 with investments in the country to the tune of $19.4 billion. Only in Iraq does Russia have any other serious interests in the region.

But perhaps most controversially, a recent report from the Stockholm Peace Research Institute found that 78 per cent of arms obtained by Syria in the last decade came stamped with three words: “Made in Russia”.

It is little wonder therefore that all this has set the scene for delicate tightrope diplomacy by Moscow in recent months where they have sought to support stability but not Assad as the fighting continues. The problem of course is that to Russia you cannot have the former without the latter.

But that said, there is no doubt that Syria is an incredibly complex situation.

While in Libya there was a highly-organised resistance force fuelled by wholesale defections from the military, in Syria the armed forces are much larger, stronger and loyal. Many Syrians are themselves worried about the ensuing chaos in any post-Assad complex as was seen in Iraq after Saddam where Islamist parties rose, Christians were persecuted and secular academics and bureaucrats purged.

Ultimately Assad will have to go – probably to Saudi Arabia which cannot deny a Muslim passage and famously provided exile for the former Ugandan dictator Idi Amin and more recently the ousted Tunisian president Ben Ali – it is just a matter of when. Yet ironically, despite its recent intransigence Russia could be the key to this.

There is little doubt that when Putin returns to the corner office in the Kremlin many are predicting him to make his presence on the world stage known.

And while to many this will likely take the form of doom and gloom, helping solve the Syrian crisis would not only position Putin as a global saviour but allow him to muscle up to Washington in the process.

Critical to any shift in position will be the opening of direct negotiations with the Syrian opposition, crucially to guarantee the longevity of the Tarus base but also to honour existing oil and arms trade deals. In the last fortnight reports have emerged of Russian officials meeting with members of the Syrian opposition.

Unfortunately there is unlikely to be any movement before the Assad Peace Plan formally collapses sometime in the next week or so. At that point the United Nations Security Council will likely push for a second resolution which could result in Russian support and the Chinese the only abstention.

But critical to this will be the support and pressure of the Arab League.

Indeed, perhaps the most enduring falsehood of the Libyan saga has been that it was Gaddafi’s “rivers of blood” speech that catalysed the United Nations Security Council into action. In reality, it was the endorsement of the Arab League for a no-fly zone that did, providing the much needed regional legitimacy for action by NATO forces.

To help pressure the Kremlin, the Arab League should consider dispatching a mission to Turkey designed to help shore up possible NATO support for any action under their Article V obligations to the member state.

This is similar to the plan proposed by Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman who have called for the establishment of a safe passage to Turkey for Syrian refugees protected by NATO air support.

Another critical moment will no doubt come when Putin travels to Camp David on May 18 for the G8 Summit, his first overseas trip back in office.

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May 7th, 2012, 11:21 am

 
 

244. b said:

@Tara 242 – that piece is such a bad analysis I had to look up who wrote it: Thom Woodroofe, 21, is a foreign affairs analyst combining journalism, research, teaching and community work to advance an understanding of Australia’s place in the world.

A 21(!!) year old idiot who has at least five major factual mistakes in his laughable wishful thinking piece.

Come on. Get real.

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May 7th, 2012, 12:12 pm

 
 

246. Tara said:

Michel

No one believes the results of the elections in Syria any how. It only is a show, and a poorly rated one.

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May 7th, 2012, 1:09 pm

 

247. MICHEL said:

Tara

We used to laugh about “elections” in syria, now some people take them seriously and give them credibility. I don’t understand.

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May 7th, 2012, 1:26 pm

 

248. Aldendeshe said:

No one believes the results of the elections in Syria any how. It only is a show, and a poorly rated one.
——————————————————————-

No one believes in Syria’s Baathist election theater, let alone the results of this charade. Have the United Nations impose, administer and monitor free and fair election in Syria, preceded by U.N. supervised referendum on ousting the rubber Duck and his Baathist duckies.

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May 7th, 2012, 1:27 pm

 

249. Aldendeshe said:

I am so impressed with Erdogan and his wife and I believe her tears much more than i believed the sad face Asma
___________________________________________________________________

Here are some honest people you can be impressed with:

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-LYEnW8ujSEw/TtKji5zncLI/AAAAAAAAChY/qXjWqWpcMCc/s400/erdogan-assad-sarkozy.jpg

http://www.carolineglick.com/e/saad-hariri-meets-bashar-al-assad.jpg

What a Scam Artists, it is all bout oil and gas.

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May 7th, 2012, 1:38 pm

 

250. bronco said:

#242 Tara

“Assad will have to go- it is just a matter of when. ”

In 2014 or an earlier presidential election.
The times for “toppling’, “resignation” , ‘stepping down’ or ‘stepping aside’ are well over.

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May 7th, 2012, 1:44 pm

 

251. bronco said:

247. Aldendeshe

Who still believes in the opposition?

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May 7th, 2012, 1:45 pm

 

252. Tara said:

Michel

They pretend they do to fool others. Deep down in their heart, they don’t.

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May 7th, 2012, 1:46 pm

 

253. irritated said:

240. Dawoud

Erdogan is ill, he may never finish his mandate. This is probably why he is so pressing about resolution to internal and external conflict.

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May 7th, 2012, 1:47 pm

 

254. Tara said:

Bronco

Ah…bronco, you are giving me a heart ache. I just hope and pray that you do not get clinically depressed when Batta vanishes…because sooner or later, he will.

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May 7th, 2012, 1:52 pm

 

255. bronco said:

#251 Tara

“Deep down in their heart, they don’t.”

It’s amazing that you can read the heart of millions Syrians of different social classes when you are settled in the West and belong to a privileged social class.

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May 7th, 2012, 1:52 pm

 

256. Aldendeshe said:

@BRONCO

I Do. They can come over and I will turn them into viable and attractive bunch that all Syrians, including minorities will want and join them. Back in 05, we were struggling to find them after the scam artist who robed Syria wasted the few of them time in a charade front backed by Washington.

The problem is would the DRACOS let them see the light and would the purse fillers, hired by them, let them go on a plan that is not under their control and serve the planned end game.

Just be patient and listen to the middle of this: This is a fact, not fiction. Don’t ever believe that the United States gone to war in Iraq for Saddam ouster of Afghanistan for Osama ousters. There is more to the story, that is why they built the worlds largest embassy in Baghdad (underground even way bigger than meets the eye) and will be in Kabul for 50 more years:

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May 7th, 2012, 2:00 pm

 

257. bronco said:

#255 Aldendeshe

“This is a fact, not fiction. Don’t ever believe that the United States gone to war in Iraq for Saddam ouster of Afghanistan for Osama ousters.”

Sorry your sentences make no sense.. Are you translating with Google? try another translator

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May 7th, 2012, 2:11 pm

 

258. Tara said:

Bronco

Did you read the Putin article I linked earlier. What do you think? Would Putin be Syria’s savior had Annan’s plan deemed a failure or Putin is too “emotionally Involved” with Assad’ s persona that he would never want him vanished?

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May 7th, 2012, 2:18 pm

 

259. Aldendeshe said:

@BRONCO

I am astounded at your English language mastery. Shakespeare rose from the dead when you spake man. But even geniuses sometime have a slip here and there, myself included. So just delete one letter and it will be clear to your Google translation. Boy, happy to see you on the “Duckies” not opposition side.

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May 7th, 2012, 2:19 pm

 

260. omen said:

76. b said:
An interesting interview with UN General Mood: UN Mission Chief in Syria Offers Cautious Hope

So at the surface of it, in Syria today, the amount of normalcy, to put it that way, across the country is rather surprising. And the highways, they’re all very high quality, so you can, if you travel in Syria avoiding, let’s say, the hotspots, you can get a feel for a very, very normal, open, hospitable country almost a normalcy.

this is unbelievable. this UN mouthpiece is defending the efficiency of fascism. bashar should stay because he makes the trains run on time.

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May 7th, 2012, 2:24 pm

 

261. omen said:

kofi annan is repeating history:

In 2003 Canadian ex-General Roméo Dallaire, who was force commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda, claimed that Annan was overly passive in his response to the imminent genocide. In his book Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda (2003), General Dallaire asserted that Annan held back UN troops from intervening to settle the conflict, and from providing more logistical and material support. Dallaire claimed that Annan failed to provide responses to his repeated faxes asking for access to a weapons depository; such weapons could have helped Dallaire defend the endangered Tutsis. In 2004, ten years after the genocide in which an estimated 800,000 people were killed, Annan said, “I could and should have done more to sound the alarm and rally support.”

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May 7th, 2012, 2:33 pm

 

262. Juergen said:

Omen

I met General Dallaire when he presented his book here in Berlin. This man has finished his military career afterwards and tried to commit suicide.

Here is someting way off topic, but I guess it may cheer up some of us, i had a good laugh after it, and my initial thought was, only male students could come up with something like that….

http://vimeo.com/40110023

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May 7th, 2012, 2:44 pm

 

263. Antoine said:

TARA,

You mentioned that you believe most of the regime supporters are not “paid”. I believe they are. Not in the literal sense of “paid”. but you gotta understand that the whole edifice of this regime since 1963 has been built on 2 things – Fear, and Favour. Stick, and Carrot.

None of the regime supporters, especially the non-Alawite supporters, will be willing to take a scratch for Assad if he doesn’t contsantly give them 2 things – Fear, and Favour. None of the Assad supporters actually “support” keeps their support by playing on their fear (or making them afraid), and providing the occasional favour.

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May 7th, 2012, 2:53 pm

 

264. Antoine said:

What are the social differences between Aleppo and Idleb ? Why these 2 Provinces have completely different attitudes on the Uprising ?

( I want some knowledge about the social background of Syria, I fail to understand it, its very complex)

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May 7th, 2012, 2:55 pm

 

265. Juergen said:

28 people died today alone in the provinces of Hama and Homs. What an election day!

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May 7th, 2012, 3:23 pm

 

266. Antoine said:

Man, the Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga Army is so disciplined and well-trained !! They are better than any Arab Army on any day. These guys are shit hot !!

Check out the video, they are as disciplined and well-drilled as the oldest British Army regiments.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BkKDCXeTzkA

Why aren’t the Kurds in Syria not joining the FSA ? They look to be a natural Warrior Race. Too bad foolish Baathists and Ataturkists never realized their potential.

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May 7th, 2012, 3:38 pm

 

267. Tara said:

Antoin

I agree with you with one exception. The Arab, non-Syrian supporters misguided by his fake support of resistance and anti- colonialism stand. Favours and fear not applicable to them. Those people puzzle me as a dogma in their opinion is more important than human life, they render themselves incapable of appreciating our suffering holding on Bashar “nobility” in his ( to us , fake) anti-western stand.

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May 7th, 2012, 3:38 pm

 

268. Tara said:

Jeurgen

I think you are a current or formal VIP of some sort

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May 7th, 2012, 3:40 pm

 

269. omen said:

263. Antoine said: What are the social differences between Aleppo and Idleb ? Why these 2 Provinces have completely different attitudes on the Uprising ?

sorry, you probably want a syrian to answer you, but i was just reading about this last night. but with regards to the syrian branch of the muslim brotherhood (let me see if i can find it.)

the brothers from aleppo were forced into exile and moved to uae(?) or the west – while the members from idleb moved to ksa.

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May 7th, 2012, 3:45 pm

 

270. Antoine said:

TARA,

The Arab non-Syrian supporters of Assad do not matter at all. they are only marginally relevant to the survival of his regime.

Except the powerful Shia Arab supporters from Iraq ( hypocrites, since they never stop cursing Saddam), Bashar doesn;t give a damn abiut his handful of Arab non-Syrian , mainly Media menhebakjiyeh.

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May 7th, 2012, 3:46 pm

 

271. omen said:

Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga Army – they’re the ones who found saddam in his spider hole. not the u.s.

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May 7th, 2012, 3:47 pm

 

272. Antoine said:

“Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga Army – they’re the ones who found saddam in his spider hole. not the U.S”

Not really, most Arabs are sellouts, willing to do anything for fear and/or favour. There were enough of Saddam’s own tribe willing to betray him.

Thats why Arabs are unable to establish a genuine democracy yet, they succumb too easily for two things – money, and boots.

BUT, and a big BUT, SYRIANS are changnig that.

For the first time in 1400 yrs Arab history, a ruler is unable to buy off or kill off his recaltritant subjects.

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May 7th, 2012, 4:03 pm

 

273. Syria no Kandahar said:

Burning election center !! Democracy the terrorists way:

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May 7th, 2012, 4:31 pm

 

274. Syria no Kandahar said:

Any country in the universe accepts this as freedom of expression or democracy:

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May 7th, 2012, 4:36 pm

 

275. Uzair8 said:

223. omen said:

“to call the regime a mafia – is an insult to the mafia! this regime is so much more worse.”

*****************************************************************

Could we call it a plainclothes military dictatorship? Lol.

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May 7th, 2012, 4:53 pm

 

276. irritated said:

#265 Juergen

“28 people died today alone in the provinces of Hama and Homs. ”

Could you post the link and be specific: Source? Civilians? Soldiers?

Blurring the dead is now a new trick from the opposition desperate for dramatic headlines to overshadow the election process.

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May 7th, 2012, 5:01 pm

 

277. irritated said:

#272 Antoine

“Thats why Arabs are unable to establish a genuine democracy yet, they succumb too easily for two things – money, and boots.”

I agree, Arab are immature. Thank God, Ghaliun and the Friends of Syria will change that very soon.

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May 7th, 2012, 5:03 pm

 

278. irritated said:

#234 Dawood

“He is putting his passion/advocacy for his brutalized Syrian people to serve their cause in a practical way.”

I wonder if he is with the ‘angels’ and if he still worship them

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May 7th, 2012, 5:11 pm

 

279. omen said:

272. Antoine said:
Not really, most Arabs are sellouts, willing to do anything for fear and/or favour. There were enough of Saddam’s own tribe willing to betray him.

Thats why Arabs are unable to establish a genuine democracy yet, they succumb too easily for two things – money, and boots.

that’s little harsh, don’t you think? tens of thousands or more have perished trying to resist these dictatorships.

there will come a time when the regions full story will finally be told. and people’s heroism will finally be recognized.

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May 7th, 2012, 5:15 pm

 

280. Antoine said:

TARA,

I though I would qualify my earlier comment about the nature if the regime supporters – there is one obvious exception to the fear-and-favour rule.

They are the young adults of the upper-middle class of Damascus, usually the benificiaries of Bashar’s liberalization and privatization in the 2000-2001 , most of them work in the rpivate sector, earn huge incomes, are young adults, mostly Sunni, some Christian but very few Alawites. Many of them work or study overseas.

These sort of people owe their direct loyalty to Bashar and Bashar only. Their role model is the Akhras family. They owe their comfortable and happening lifestylye to Bashar. They are unwilling to face the sordid, brutal, military side of the regime represented by Maher, Assef, and Rustom Ghazale, yet are smug and comfortable in the knowledge that these brutal characters are able to protect their comfortable lifestyle.

These sort of people make up a major part of the Assadist Electronic Army, and I guess a few of the bloggers here as well.

A very similar phenomenon is being seen in the young upper-middle class of Palestinian-Jordanians as well…especially since King Abdullah II assumed the reins and married Rania Yassin..

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May 7th, 2012, 5:17 pm

 

281. omen said:

276. irritated said:
Blurring the dead is now a new trick from the opposition desperate for dramatic headlines to overshadow the election process.

i’ve noticed that. regime loyalists are blaming deaths on the fsa that the regime itself has committed.

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May 7th, 2012, 5:18 pm

 

282. zoo said:

Sarkozy has 7 days left…

(Xinhua/Gao Jing)

PARIS, May 7 (Xinhua) — New French President Francois Hollande will officially take power on May 15 after ousting incumbent conservative Nicolas Sarkozy with tight margin, local media said Monday.

Citing Elysee source, the local broadcaster Europe 1 reported the date of power transfer was decided by General Secretary of the Presidency of the Republic Xavier Musca and Hollande’s campaign manager, Pierre Moscovici.
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-05/07/c_131573371.htm

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May 7th, 2012, 5:20 pm

 

283. Uzair8 said:

The latest tweet from Shaykh Yaqoubi. Some important and necessary advice in terms of Syria’s future.

“Try to forgive all your enemies and ask Allah to forgive them in order to have a heart with no hatred or grudges towards anyone.”

16h

http://twitter.com/#!/Shaykhabulhuda

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May 7th, 2012, 5:20 pm

 

284. irritated said:

#280 Omen

“regime loyalists are blaming deaths on the fsa that the regime itself has committed.”

and vice-versa

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May 7th, 2012, 5:21 pm

 

285. omen said:

275. Uzair8 said:
Could we call it a plainclothes military dictatorship?

this is no joke. bashar’s secular mask must be ripped off. too many people buy into it. it needs to be called out by its true name. the regime are fascists.

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May 7th, 2012, 5:23 pm

 

286. Antoine said:

Lets lighten the wee bit serious atmosphere that has been built up for some while.

Enjoy : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3GvCMvrQNI&feature=relmfu

Elections !!! Hooray !!!!

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May 7th, 2012, 5:33 pm

 

287. Antoine said:

ALDENDESHE, some trivia from the past :

2. Aldendeshe said:

“”And here is an excerpt of a letter sent to Iran leaders:

2- President Assad is not getting the picture clear, Syria may loose unless Assad make serious, quick reforms to preempt the trifecta of Arab-West-Israel plan:

Here is why: The U.S. and Europe has reached a deal with Sunni Gulf Countries that Sunnis rule to be restored in Syria. That Sunni Hariri is back in Lebanon power in exchange for Arab financial support to western governments. It is going to be very hard for Assad to defeat this plan, because that means Arabs will not send cash to the West unless they use NATO force, and this is the eventual outcome. Kaddafi will forfeit 100+ billion and hands out some gold reserve to stay in power or have his son share it with opposition. But Bashar can not hand out anything except for the Golan. That is what Israel wants. But that is not what Saudi and Arabs care about. The West is more interested in Arab cash than Israel retaining the Golan, or even Syrian-Israeli peace. They need cash and gold and quickly. They will go bankrupt or default on debt and obligations if that did not happen within 6-12 months.

Even if Assad attempt to do what they are falsely demanding, that he reforms, they will do everything possible to sabotage any attempt in this direction. That is why Saudi and NATO/US are supporting the most extreme elements of Syrian Oppositions, the most radical, and not the western educated and progressive opposition that have worked in the west and gained wide ranging experience in business and economy.

Because these individuals like SNP and me personally understands that the Islamic Republic of Iran is Syria’s lifeline. We understand that military and economic ties with Tehran are not only indispensible, but without it, Syria will head to oblivion.

That of course does not satisfy the Saudi bastards and their Arab and Turkmen cohorts, they want Sunnis who will accept their handouts and whatever deal they make with Israel. They wanted Saudi puppets, taking orders from Bandar in Damascus and Walid Bin Talal in minding Lebanon.”"

July 24th, 2011, 2:11 am

Please explain the highlighted part.

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May 7th, 2012, 5:56 pm

 

288. Anwar said:

well said antoine.
While I think that Bashar has his own hired army of internet “bots” it is obvious that most of his supporters are simply protecting the riches they accrued under their benevolent leader. They are trying to legitimize their own family fortune by protecting his dynasty. Don’t forget their way of life is also getting affected, they are afraid the party lifestyle in damascus might change

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May 7th, 2012, 6:12 pm

 

289. Antoine said:

ANWAR said :

“it is obvious that most of his supporters are simply protecting the riches they accrued under their benevolent leader. They are trying to legitimize”

Some people support him for sectarian reasons, most of the Sunni supporters do it to protect their privileges and riches, or they are in a position where any dissidence means instant death. However Bashar did manage to subdue Deirezzor and Raqqa by intimidating, bribing and bullying the tribal leaders ( something which he also managed to do in Daraa, but in Daraa the people no longer listen to the tribal chiefs)

Look how fat and smug people like Mouallem, Sharaa, Attar, are.

In fact it is said that had Saad al-Hariri lived in Syria, he would have been a hardcore bashar supporter.

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May 7th, 2012, 6:24 pm

 

290. Tara said:

With Bashar surviving Sarkozy, and perhaps Obama, his name should be changed from Batta to a black cat with 7 lives.  Amazing the luck he has.., election years everywhere and every one is a lame duck while  Bashar indulge himself in a killing spree.

I never liked cats.

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May 7th, 2012, 6:38 pm

 

291. omen said:

re putin, it’s my understanding that the opposition assured russia they would be able to keep their base in the aftermath of bashar being ousted.

isn’t that the wrong track? russia need to be told they will lose their base if they continue to support the regime.

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May 7th, 2012, 6:43 pm

 

292. Darryl said:

237. DAWOUD said:

Dawoud Holy Homs (DHH) before you criticize Hans and others, I would like you to view the following video to see what this Saudi person have said. Since the number of Christians, pagans, infidels can be counted on Big bird’s (Sesame st characters) fingers and toes in the middle east, we can mentally substitute what he means by Arabs.

http://www.faithfreedom.org/videos-features/arabs-have-a-lot-to-offer/

You may also want to watch what Sayed Qumni of Egypt has also said to get a bit of enlightenment. I hope Mr Uzaire8 will take sometime from listening to Sheikh Yacoubi to view these videos also. Here it is:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6XuPWvsbxfI

Lastly DHH, the biggest Qur’an burning took place under the watchful eye of Khalifa Uthman who burned hundreds if not thousands of Qur’ans’, the word of Allah mind you!, yet Muslims to not mind at all.

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May 7th, 2012, 7:06 pm

 

293. Tara said:

Mr. B,

I just noticed your post@244. Ah.. Reversed age discrimination? Well, I don’t get impressed with 21 yo that often either. They aren’t mature enough for my liking. I prefer 60 plus minus. However, I would’ve liked to read more substance of the points you disagree with in regard to his arguments rather than merely attacking his age.

Why should Putin not ditch Batta if he guarantees Russia’s strategic interest in the new Syria? Emotional involvement with Assad’s persona? Difficult to believe, but I am seeing it happening.

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May 7th, 2012, 7:46 pm

 

294. bronco said:

#291 Omen

“the opposition assured russia they would be able to keep their base in the aftermath of bashar being ousted.

As long as the opposition is the mess it is, who is fool enough to believe any of their promises? certainly not the Russians.

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May 7th, 2012, 7:47 pm

 

295. Halabi said:

The results are in and the we-love-you crowd seems that Bashar was won the election in France… It’s amazing how there is so much pride in the longevity of Assad’s rule, rather than acknowledging that transfer of power and diversity of leadership is better for a country, or at least more democratic.

Look at the countries where one person or family ruled for decades, like North Korea, Syria and Libya, and you find a crumbling state where the only accomplishment is a cult of personality and, curiously, the export of violence. The kingdoms and sheikhdoms of the Gulf also have their ills, but no objective observer can compare their tyranny with the president/dictators.

Bashar has been president longer than the Saudi king. There have been four kings in Saudi since 1970. While France, the U.S. have elections and transfer power, Syria’s president clings to the throne more so than the kings of the Gulf. Assad supporters think this is an example of a liberal democracy.

On another note, mabrouk we-love-you-jieh for your new parliament. I’m sure they can clap and accept bribes like the best of them.

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May 7th, 2012, 8:02 pm

 

296. Ghufran said:

Arabs and Muslims do not need to use guns to create political changes,it looks like the north African French were the main force behind Sarkozy defeat. Sarkozy lost by a mere 2%, that should be a lesson to advocates of violence. For votes to count,they must be “counted” ,this is where outside observers can play a crucial role. Syria’s PA elections are window dressing,real elections must be the new slogan instead of calls for revenge and bringing the gift of death to people we disagree with.

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May 7th, 2012, 8:02 pm

 

297. omen said:

russia has done the unexpected and surprised people before. while libya was under consideration in the un security council, their recusal in opting out of wielding their veto – shocked the hell out me.

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May 7th, 2012, 8:03 pm

 

298. Tara said:

Omen

The bottom-line appears to be that Bashar’s fate will be destined by Putin. No one would do anything without international cover and the key to the international cover is being held by Putin… He is playing God now.

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May 7th, 2012, 8:11 pm

 

299. bronco said:

Tara #258

Russian have no confidence whatsoever in the SNC, the Moslem Brotherhood, the Salafists or the US-Syrians and the ones nostalgic of the Ottoman empire.

Russia has worked with Syria, the Assad and their allies for years and will not switch to Ghaliun and Basma’s pathetic debut on the stage.

After 13 months, the opposition has nothing to offer other than insults, threats, fake videos and terrorist attacks, no leaders, no programs, nothing, just empty balloons.
Do you seriously think that anyone with a sane mind will give this bunch of losers the red carpet to lead a country as complex as Syria? Putin is not Bush, he has power and brain.

It is a challenge for Russia to bring Syria gradually toward a democracy. The reward is the whole Middle East. If Russia succeeds where the other Arab republics continue to be crippled by tribal, ethnical and religious fights, it is possible that Putin expects to get Russia’s role back in the Middle east.

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May 7th, 2012, 8:15 pm

 

300. Ghufran said:

الازهر حول الوهابيه
http://alsunna.org/elmaaa-aalazhraalwahaabyah-khttr-ela-aaleslam-waaaleaalm.html
This explains the attacks on alazhar by militant Muslims

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May 7th, 2012, 8:22 pm

 

301. Ghufran said:

I feel obligated to share a recent experience I had with a number of my friends and relatives in Syria. Sunnis ,including conservative ones ,are not as supportive of the uprising as many of you think,or would like us to think. The first sample I chose was poor to middle class Sunnis from Damascus,none works for the government or is enlisted in the army or security forces,I was surprised to see that support for the uprising in my pool of friends and relatives was actually higher among upper class and expat Sunnis than those in the first sample. However,the majority of my non Sunni friends and relatives are either supportive of the regime or deeply suspicious of this uprising.
Draw whatever conclusions you want from this small sample,but the more I know,the more I realize how distant many of us are from reality.
My heros are the average Syrians who struggle to make ends meet and refused to participate in the killing spree in Syria today,failing those will be a moral defeat that will plague the expats for generations.

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May 7th, 2012, 9:06 pm

 

302. Ghufran said:

Turkish President on sky news Arabia:
http://www.skynewsarabia.com/web/article/19193

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May 7th, 2012, 9:17 pm

 

303. Tara said:

Ghufran

With all due respect, your Sunnis friends are afraid you are an agent of the Mukhabarat so they say and do what Syrians did the best over 40 years of oppression: having a double face, that is. Syrians continued to whisper dissent many years after immigrating out.

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May 7th, 2012, 9:18 pm

 

304. Tara said:

[ Link added: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-religion-officials-rule-out-haram-fatwa-for-protests.aspx?pageID=238&nID=20227&NewsCatID=356 ]

From one Fatwa to another Fatwa.  I think the Fatwa system should be canceled. 

Turkish religion officials rule out haram fatwa for protests
KUALA LUMPUR
 
Malaysians will no longre gather to show their support for opposition parties after an Islamic body in the country issues a fatwa declaring anti-gov’t rallies haram. REUTERS photo
An Islamic body in Malaysia, the National Fatwa Committee, announced May 6 that it was not permissible for Muslims to participate in any rally intending to oust a government or cause disturbance in the country. However, a religious official in Turkey disagreed, saying it was a constitutional right for people to participate in protests. 

“Rioting, causing disturbances and damaging public property are all forbidden by Islam. This also applies to any intention to topple an elected government by organizing such demonstrations,” the body’s Chairman Dr. Abdul Shukor Husin said.

more…

May/08/2012

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May 7th, 2012, 9:19 pm

 

305. ann said:

301. Ghufran said:

… the more I know,the more I realize how distant many of us [expats] are from reality.

Thank you for you honest assessment Ghufran

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May 7th, 2012, 9:19 pm

 

306. irritated said:

#301 Ghufran

All Sunnis hate Bashar, all Alawis and Christians love him with millions of exceptions….

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May 7th, 2012, 9:32 pm

 

307. zoo said:

Bad omen for once flourishing Greek-Israeli relation

Neo-Nazis elected in new Greek parliament
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/more-news/neo-nazis-elected-in-the-new-greek-parliament/story-e6frf7lf-1226348932799

THE Greek neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party is set to enter parliament, exit polls showed as ballots closed in an early election that could derail the country’s reforms.

The party is calculated to win between six and eight per cent of the vote on rising immigration and crime concerns, comfortably above the three-percent threshold required for to enter parliament.
more…

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May 7th, 2012, 9:41 pm

 

308. Ghufran said:

My fellow bloggers,
Please focus on the message,not the messenger,I will not engage in any conversation similar to the one Tara initiated.
The point is,there is a lot of misinformation about where Syrians really stand when it comes to how they want a regime change and how they feel about violence. This violence did not help the opposition,it helped the regime and weakened public support for the opposition,that is why most opposition “leaders” are silent ,and the only loud speakers now are the armed rebels. Syria’s future is now directly linked to how Syrians respond to violence,on that count,I have not lost hope. In a synical way,the mistakes of the opposition may have been a necessary evil,Qatar is trying to market a Syrian Ta!ef where top positions in the government are divided along sectarian lines: the president remains Alawi with reduced powers,the PM an Islamist, the PA speaker and deputy Kurd/Christian,accepting this plan will mean the end of Syria as a viable united state.

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May 7th, 2012, 9:47 pm

 

309. Tara said:

Hurriyet Daily news has a collection of photos of students protesting tuition hike in Montreal on May 3′rd. The photos may be inappropriate to be linked on SC. Although I am completely and wholeheartedly pro-democracy, I think freedom of “expression”-Montreal students style will and should never materialize In the ME. If it did, the ME would perhaps loses it’s authenticity as such and the world would just become generic and rather boring.

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May 7th, 2012, 9:57 pm

 

310. omen said:

basharists keep saying nobody is observing the strike. but what is this?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-17985463

nour is interviewed 40 seconds in. who is that man behind her? do the shabbiha always wear track suits?

at 1:30, reporter lyse doucet, wandering through a section of damascus, says “it was eerily quiet”…”all the shops are closed. there is a strike here.”

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May 7th, 2012, 9:59 pm

 

311. Tara said:

Ghufran

Come on Ghufran. I was not attacking you. I’ve already told you I hold certain respect towards you and Abu-Ghassan who Never failed to exude “class”. Your avoiding “the taboo” isn’t going to solve the problem. I know you hold good intention and I am ok not to discuss the subject any further.

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May 7th, 2012, 10:04 pm

 

312. omen said:

tara:

I think freedom of “expression”-Montreal students style will and should never materialize In the ME. If it did, the ME would perhaps loses it’s authenticity as such and the world would just become generic and rather boring.

i don’t understand your objection.

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May 7th, 2012, 10:13 pm

 
 

314. omen said:

9:06 – Ghufran

i wonder how americans would feel if president obama sent out convoys of tanks, surrounded different cities, held them under seige and starting shelling indiscriminately the populace, reducing half the country to piles of rubble.

would supporters still shout:
we love you, obama!

i’m guessing…no.

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May 7th, 2012, 10:30 pm

 

315. Tara said:

Omen

Find the photos on Hurriyet Daily News and you will understand what I means. It was the way the students chose to express themselves \”naked\” that may fit Montreal but not Damascus.
——

Bronco

I agree. The SNC, through its (now apparent) lack of strategic thinking, is prolonging the status quo. SNC has committed many mistakes, one of them might be it’s failure to reassure Russia of its future strategic interests in the new Syria.

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May 7th, 2012, 10:45 pm

 

316. Ghufran said:

Syrians certainly suffered from oppression for decades and many syrians chose to be imprisoned by their sectarian affiliation,the regime bears most of the responsiblity for both along with the rise of Talibani-Wahhabi Islam funded by KSA,however, there is still a room for hope,and my personal observations about my relatives and friends have many duplicates among a good portion of the Syrian public. One needs to remember that opposing violence does not equate supporting the regime,after all,the regime is still the source of most of the violence Syria witnessed in the last 49 years,but that simple fact is quickly changing to the detriment of peaceful opposition which is becoming increasingly marginalized. I do not know why is it threatening to some to see that there are Sunnis who are neutral or supportive of the regime and non Sunnis who are neutral or opposing the regime ,those who chose to swim against the current and defy conventional wisdom deserve respect not suspicion or ridicule,I admit that they are not in the majority but they are very important for the future of Syria,we ,the expats,on the other hand, have too much to prove,doing otherwise is a form of dirty dancing,I prefer Dabke.

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May 7th, 2012, 10:45 pm

 

317. omen said:

a nice rally in lebanon.

i think they were celebrating secularism.

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May 7th, 2012, 10:48 pm

 

318. Ghufran said:

Omen,
You are not comparing Syria,a third world country by most standards,to the US,are you ?
It took Americans more than a century to create a system,as imperfect as it is, where elections determine who wins and who lose in the political arena,I find it obscene to suggest that we have to kill each other to achieve democracy,at the core of the US success is rejection of violence ,the rule of the law and the adoption of free economy.
This is how Barak Hussein Obama became president and how a Mormon,Romney,have a good shot at becoming president.
A regime change is the goal,no doubt,but how would a violent campaign of assassinations,ambushes and kidnapping take us to the promised land?
Even if the armed rebels succeed in toppling the regime,they will have to destroy the country in the process,ignite a civil war and create another insurgency that will be well armed abd supported by many regional powers.
This violent strategy is dangerous and idiotic regardless of what slogans and excuses its advocates use.

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May 7th, 2012, 11:02 pm

 

319. Mick said:

#314 Omen,

Do you know much about American History?

First, the UN is currently involved because ‘Americans’ kinda stole the Native American lands. Broke every treaty they had with them. No President was ever looked down on for stealing the gold from the Black Hills from the Lakota, land from the prairie Indians, etc.

Recently, Bush sent in National Guard to keep the ‘black folk’ in line while their city was destroyed during hurricane Katrina. Neither Bush or Cheney were welcome. In fact, there are large sections of America where Bush or Cheney would not get a warm welcome. It didn’t stop Bush from getting re-elected.

In the 60′s and 70′s (and as late as the 90′s in LA) we sent troops into areas that were completely out of government control. We just had the 10 year anniversary of the LA riots after the police were caught on video beating Rodney King, yet nothing came of it. The African-American community, which has decades of abuse by our government, yet again vented. Where was the international community then? I didn’t see the UN demand the Marines leave ‘civilian population centers.’

Maybe you can explain why France demanded the Haiti government pay for the slaves it freed after the slaves and society revolted against the slave run society France had there? Or why hasn’t France demanded the same government in Chad it does in Syria? It’s not like Pres. Deby isn’t corrupt. Doesn’t use force to stay in power. But France gets Uranium from Deby. Deby good.

I could go on about how the US has no problem backing family run kingdoms…and how it comes up with creative excuses why liberating a country like Kuwait, while making sure the same male Sabah’s run everything, is our idea of ‘liberation’, is beyond me.

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May 7th, 2012, 11:04 pm

 

320. MICHEL said:

Abu William: no armed group

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May 7th, 2012, 11:09 pm

 

321. omen said:

Ghufran? we had to fight a war to win independence from the british. we couldn’t have won without the french.

Even if the armed rebels succeed in toppling the regime,they will have to destroy the country in the process,ignite a civil war

how is it i have more faith in the syrian people than you do? the fsa are not wanton criminals. they have discipline.

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May 7th, 2012, 11:17 pm

 

322. Ghufran said:

I honestly could not understand your logic,omen
Syria is ruled by a thuggish regime but those thugs are our thugs,they are Syrian not British or French,and like it or not,they have families and friends who do not necessarily share their ways and beliefs but they feel threatened by a movement that wants to “liberate” Syria from a third of its population. That movement,not the opposition as a whole,is a great and ominous danger to Syria’s national security.
You are not advocating that we use the help of foreigners to get rid of those who do not share the armed rebels and militant gangs philosophy,are you?
Regime supporters and employees of the state now “enjoy” about 40% of the casualties of this uprising,nobody with a serious face can deny that the pain is shared by all Syrians today,the old line of one Goliath killing all of the good Davids is only good as a bedtime story if the goal is triggering night mares among unsuspecting children.

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May 7th, 2012, 11:35 pm

 

323. omen said:

i wasn’t comparing syria’s electoral process to the u.s.

jesus, this is like pulling teeth. why is it so hard to convey to you that bashar’s behavior is completely unacceptable. it wouldn’t be tolerated if obama was doing it. in any country were the government turns tyrannical, a resistance will spring up.

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May 7th, 2012, 11:35 pm

 

324. omen said:

okay, i’m sorry, you’ve acknowledged the bulk of the blame belongs to the regime.

You are not advocating that we use the help of foreigners to get rid of those who do not share the armed rebels and militant gangs philosophy, are you?

i support self defense. the rebels need arms. they need material support in getting them. otherwise, the regime will continue unabated in their slaughter.

are there concerns about the influence of islamists? i understand the worry, but it’s not the muslim brotherhood who are in tanks indiscriminately shelling civilians. after the regime is removed, the syrian people will decide for themselves the nature of their national identity and what kind of future they want for themselves at the ballot box.

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May 8th, 2012, 12:01 am

 

325. irritated said:

#324

“the syrian people will decide their future at the ballot box.”

You mean their 22d Century future?

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May 8th, 2012, 12:06 am

 

326. Syria no Kandahar said:

International Alqaeda Terrorists and jihadists Soon on Syria TV …
http://www.syriatruth.org/news/tabid/93/Article/7315/Default.aspx

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May 8th, 2012, 12:10 am

 

327. omen said:

325 – irritated?

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May 8th, 2012, 12:16 am

 

328. Halabi said:

“Regime supporters and employees of the state now “enjoy” about 40% of the casualties of this uprising”

What is the percentage based on? A similar number was mentioned a few weeks ago that was the result of incorrect math.

“My heros are the average Syrians who struggle to make ends meet and refused to participate in the killing spree in Syria today”

The heroes are the ones who came out, unarmed, and demanded that their voices be heard knowing what horrors will be unleashed on them. They have put Syria on a path away from the eternal rule of the Assad clan and have given us all a chance to dream of a better future, rather scheme on who we have to bribe or partner with in order to escape a life of poverty and humiliation.

Defectors who refused to kill their brethren and are trying to protect innocent civilians from detention, torture and death are also heroes and an integral part of a non-violent revolution. Fracturing the government’s police, security forces and military and folding them into the revolution is the best we can do in Syria because these forces are fighting for a man and a sect, not for the country.

It would have been better for everyone if the military didn’t kill people in Daraa, Homs, Hama, Idlib, Deir Ezzour, Banyas, Aleppo, etc., but that didn’t happen. Soldiers have destroyed mosques, looted businesses and homes, and shelled entire neighborhoods from afar.

Many Syrians have decided to be liberated from these thugs, or die trying. Assad’s soldiers are dying in vain, trying to protect their status or follow orders or to get a sadistic kick from crushing people, whatever the reason, in the end they are perpetuating a system of government that is criminal and corrupt to its core.

As for slogans and rhetoric, the revolution is light years ahead of this decrepit regime.

من أجل الحرية تعلمنا الصمود في وجه المجازر حطمنا القيود

For the cause of freedom we learned to persevere, facing massacres we destroyed the chains.

Assad supporters, who by the way haven’t been able to gather a mass demonstration for months even though they call for one every Friday, spend their time pledging their blood and soul to Assad and committing to be his eternal Shabiha.

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May 8th, 2012, 12:19 am

 

329. zoo said:

The birth of the STP: an unelected Syrian parliament?

Syrian Transitional Parliament Live Blog
1 day 2 hours ago – Syria
http://blogs.aljazeera.com/liveblog/Syrian-Transitional-Parliament

A group of Syrian activists and politicians have united to form what they call the ‘Syrian Transitional Parliament’.

The organisation will be based in Syria but also has a committee set up abroad.

They made the announcement just a day before Syria holds parliamentary elections.

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May 8th, 2012, 12:21 am

 

330. omen said:

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – At a meeting of Syria’s opposition, Muslim Brotherhood officials gather round Marxists colleagues, nudging them to produce policy statements for the Syrian National Council, the main political group challenging President Bashar al-Assad.

[...]

Droubi said there is no dispute now about the need for armed resistance, alongside street protests against Assad.

“Too many of our people have been killed. Too many have been raped,” Droubi said, adding that Brotherhood was committed to a setting up a multi-party democracy if Assad is toppled.

Droubi pointed to a political program unveiled by the Brotherhood last month in Istanbul, which committed to multi-party democracy in a future Syria. It said a new constitution would be reached through consensus and guarantee fair representation for diverse ethnicities and religious groups.

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May 8th, 2012, 12:26 am

 

331. irritated said:

#328 Halabi
“Assad supporters, who by the way haven’t been able to gather a mass demonstration for months even though they call for one every Friday,”

Where did you hear any call for a pro-Assad demonstration on Friday?

Fridays were “reserved” to the anti-Assad demonstrations and their number have dwindled significantly. We have not seen the ‘millions’ anti-Bashar demonstrations predicted by the media once the UN observers are present.

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May 8th, 2012, 12:29 am

 

332. irritated said:

#330 Omen

Who ever believes the Moslem Brotherhood empty promises?

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May 8th, 2012, 12:31 am

 

333. omen said:

zoo, you don’t have a problem with an unelected regime.

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May 8th, 2012, 12:36 am

 

334. Juergen said:

Tara

I was working back then as a concierge in a hotel, and therefore i met folks easily, and VIP greetings was part of the job. I remember his visit well because there was something eiry about this men, before knowing his story i thought what a sad fellow is he.

Dawoud

I hope you dont think that all Europeans are running to the election booths and vote for islamophobic parties. I can explain some part of the attraction towards this movement from an german perspective. I think Hans is not a young man. Nazi Germany had printed in the last years of their reign dozens of books ( when there was already paper shortages) about arabs. Ibn Saud was kind of an hero to the Germans, because he won over the English, so books about him were allowed to print and the sterotypes, the classical rascism which is evident in those books was passed on to future generations. Interessting fact, Hitler adored Karl May, he was a fiction writer and generations took their image of the arabs through his books. May has never even seen Arabia when he wrote his books, and Hitler was such a fan that he let those books printed and sent to the soldiers fighting in the war. This generation may think the Arabs are furious in their passion, devious and proud and noble. Famous authors in our time like the 85 year old Peter Scholl Loutor still write in that manner, always with an silent admiration for strong brutal leaders like Saddam and Ghadaffi.
The islamophobic parties which are spreading( so far we have two of them in Germany) are an result of two events in my view. Firstly the innergerman debate on how to integrate Muslims. In the 60s and even in the 70s there was a forced immigration of workers mostly from at that time poor countries like Italy, Portugal, Spain and Turkey. Those Turkish who came were given only papers for 3-5 years, they renewed them constantly but many of those 1st generations never adopted the german way of life, nor did they learn proper German. I blame mostly the government for that because until the late 90s there was no plan to let anybody become German citizen who lived here for years. German classes are mandatory since then and free of charge. But it came very late. The first time generations usually would show an low profile when it came to religion, the first mosques they opened were in apartments and in courtyards of residential homes. So many Germans had not to deal with Islam, they could easily avoid the matter. Now the second and third generations want to show their cultural and religious background and of course they polarize in some ways. The second reason why islamophobic movements are on the rise is because of 9/11. There is one more issue to them , most intellectuals and academic folks never joined the neonazi movement because of its antisemitism. Those islamophobic movements are not antisemitic(although if we consider the fact that many muslims are arabs we have an antisemitism there) and usually they support fully the state of Israel. The government is watching those groups intensly, just last weekend one of those parties made a rally in front of the King Fahd school ( the Saudi embassy builded its own islamic school) in Bonn. The 30 protesters showed the famous “prophet cartoons” and had to be safed from about 600 salafists who travelled from all over the country to stop this party to show such cartoons publicly. 2 police men were injured severly after two of the salafists attacked them with knifes. The major muslim organizations were outraged that this provocation was met with what many see as a genuine islamic tradition: violence.

Here is an example how much hate is put out by these islamophobic movement. Geert Wilders the star of them from the Netherland( was a member of the coalition government) made this appealing piece of propaganda:

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May 8th, 2012, 1:22 am

 

335. Juergen said:

Atheist Syrian Salafist against Dictatorships

thank you very much for your shared views and the wonderful documentary which I enjoyed a lot. I would like to disagree that those sephardic jews are the ones who hate the arabs most. There is an israeli author well known Tom Seegev who wrote some remarkable books, one is called the 7 million, dealing with the racism which was there against the ashkenazim jews who fled Nazi Germany or the occupied countries. I believe that most of the hate against arabs is rooted within those european groups of jewish immigrants. Unfortunatly they immigrated with a lot of rascism and the truly european idea of nationalism.

Here is a video of Timm Kröger in Damascus, he shows us a selected election site. See especially the scene from 1:26 min, I wonder if those papers the we love you folks throw in the air are those election sheets…

http://www.zdf.de/ZDFmediathek/hauptnavigation/startseite/#/beitrag/video/1636528/Parlamentswahl-in-Syrien

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May 8th, 2012, 1:29 am

 

336. Aldendeshe said:

@287 Antoine wants me to elaborate on excerpt from a long post he dug up from SNP comment on this blog about a year ago:

“……………..Because these individuals like SNP and me personally understands that the Islamic Republic of Iran is Syria’s lifeline. We understand that military and economic ties with Tehran are not only indispensable, but without it, Syria will head to oblivion……….”
___________________________________________________________________

Antoine, you took the text out of its context in terms of both the time period and the post subject matter. It will take lengthy response to place it back in proper frame. Will respond talking to you using [Voice Assist] speech to text software so don’t try correcting me.

Why did you pick that little part out of context for needing elaboration? Is not all that is said in the entire post you dug up from the past proven to be true and accurate. Even the highlighted part you picked is proven to be so. Were not for Iran financial and logistical help, Assad regime would have collapsed 6 months ago. But we did not want that to happen so quickly, because its nasty outcome will manifest itself in an ugly way that nationalist people like me and SNP would not accept.

But Iran made a serious mistake, they did not listen. When I learned about what is going to transpire in Syria, it sounded to fanciful, despite assurances from my sources. I basically thought, who is in his right mind will carry on with such losing plot, who would be dumb enough not to include SNP in the master plan. I asked the Iranian months before the Tunisia revolution for funding SNP so it can counteract the devastating plan. We communicated directly to the Iranians, because Assad and his Ambassadors were in left field mentally, professionally and egotistically. The Iranians sent us back to Damascus.

In hindsight, SNP counter plan would not have worked at all. Assad personally and his regime are way, way out of touch with reality of Syria, and what is being transpired. He was receiving hugs and kisses from all, he would not have trusted SNP. We were seriously under the impression that Assad is a dictator who dictate the rules for the regime. In that capacity we thought, we can impress on him to carry out the needed immediate economic, social and political reforms, giving him the needed support. In the same way, all other actors and leaders were impressing on him, and you know who all those are in the West and the East. Now we see that he is just mere puppet for a dictatorial regime, not the dictator, he has no powers on his own to change anything. He still unable to to so, because the hard core Alawites-Baathists thinks in military terms only, see that the oppositions are just a little pest and rats with prickly guns. Additionally, they are not going to be on the bottom again, will fight to the end.

We needed the Iranians to impress on Bashar, instead, they sent us back to him, that was the problem, not the solution. Now, they are just as delusional as the Assad regime is, neither believe the end is coming. When it does, Iranians will never strategically recover again. Back to being the outsider to the Middle East, boxed in. What is most notable about the Mullah regime, is that they support Communist DPRK, Baathist regime that is lead by Alawites, who once Mullah called them nasty names, but will not support Sunnis. Not only that, but a Moslem regime, who surrendered the sovereignty of Iran and its nation to Allah, will help someone slaughtering Moslem women and children by the thousands without any remorse whatsoever. That is where the MUNAFEKKEN part comes in my recent posts. They could have demanded in exchange for Moslem Iran support, Assad regime must undertake immediate reforms, held back any support contingent on the steps taken to ease Syria populace misery, but they did not even do that. They simply placed all bets only on Assad and his regime survival, and that is not possible under any circumstances. Syrians will not go back to live under Alawi-Baathist rule, they too will fight to the end. But there is a difference between fighting smartly and winning, and fighting stupidly and losing. Going on to the second year, leaving behind 10,000 dead and 20,000 who know what happened to them, the whole country socially, economically and physically devastated serve whose interest? Worse, you have nothing to show for.

What we concluded is that Iran is not supporting Assad because of any strategic value he offer them. He was negotiating openly with Israel, and did not help Hezbollah in 06 war, he told them flat out that Syria is to weak to join any conflict between Iran-Israel, he never retaliated to the attack on Deir Alzour and several other matters such as cooperating in Mugnieh assassination investigation, kept all secret and shielded the Saudi, refused to scold Bahrain rulers, others. It was obvious that Iran did not want Sunni rule in Syria and neither in Iraq or Lebanon. They still sell Israel Iranian oil to this day. The whole Iranian anti Israel-Pro Palestinian charade is basically to make inroad into the Sunni world and slowly replace Sunni rule with Shia ones. Assad fall will pretty much put the last nail in the coffin for that plan, that is why they support him and not support Syria’s Sunnis.

In the absence of strong United Nation support for Syria, Iran could have been in the right place. Now they have no place in Syria, because they failed the people and because the U.N. Is taking over this file, and hopefully they will keep watch over Syria. With Iran out of the picture in the days after the regime is ousted. A strong and committed U.N. protection of Syria sovereignty and territorial integrity, with some aid conferences to garner financial resources, can in a sense negate the statement made above that you need elaboration on.

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May 8th, 2012, 1:41 am

 

337. omen said:

Juergen – it’s okay if you’re famous. we wont tell.

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May 8th, 2012, 1:56 am

 

338. omen said:

310. omen said:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-17985463

at 1:30, reporter lyse doucet, wandering through a section of damascus, says “it was eerily quiet”…”all the shops are closed. there is a strike here.” 9:59 pm

hey, lyse doucet was kind enough to answer my query. she said this was in barzeh.

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May 8th, 2012, 2:22 am

 

339. Syrialover said:

I am amazed at the ignorance and idiocy of those who criticize young Syrian men who have joined the opposition.

When and where in the history of mankind have young men hidden under the table while their wives, mothers, sisters and grandparents have been militarily attacked?

Maybe those armchair critics would, which is why they are upset at the sight of stronger and more normal behavior by other men.

Likewise, a very significant proportion of any conscript army would opt to defect when ordered under threat to kill fellow citizens.

The behavior of the Assad regime has been viciously abnormal,animal-like and unnatural – the behavior of those fighting back in response is the exact opposite.

Again, I see contempt for Syrians by those people who are comfortably remote from the scene, complaining and abusing those men who are prepared to fight the Assad killer forces. Should they just lie down meekly, follow orders to murder unarmed citizens or run and hide?

Many of those resisting are rational, courageous young men reacting as human beings are programmed to do when Assad-type aberrations occur.

Their critics should sit back in their armchairs and think about how lucky they are that they don’t have to make the choices those in Syria do. And if they are a male, they need to go and have their unnaturally low testosterone levels checked out.

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May 8th, 2012, 5:43 am

 

340. Syrialover said:

Observer #158

What relief and fresh air to read your reminder of how politically and socially normal Syria was before being taken over and destroyed by dictatorship.

At last, a person who actually knows something!

It is clear that many here know very little about any of this.

The Assads have systematically destroyed Syrian’s knowledge of their past as all state terrorist regimes do.

The lack of telephone book says it all about the lack of administrative infrastructure and public services and normalcy in Syria under its primitive “rulers”.

Again, thank you for your thoughtful, informative posts.

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May 8th, 2012, 6:34 am

 

341. Syrialover said:

Halabi #328, what you say is so moving, so true and so well expressed, I want to re-post it:

“The heroes are the ones who came out, unarmed, and demanded that their voices be heard knowing what horrors will be unleashed on them. They have put Syria on a path away from the eternal rule of the Assad clan and have given us all a chance to dream of a better future, rather scheme on who we have to bribe or partner with in order to escape a life of poverty and humiliation.

“Defectors who refused to kill their brethren and are trying to protect innocent civilians from detention, torture and death are also heroes and an integral part of a non-violent revolution. Fracturing the government’s police, security forces and military and folding them into the revolution is the best we can do in Syria because these forces are fighting for a man and a sect, not for the country.”

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May 8th, 2012, 6:43 am

 

342. ann said:

JAD, where are you?

Any NOVO RICH JAD?!

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May 8th, 2012, 7:00 am

 

343. Tara said:

Why “borders”?  It is ludicrous!

US says Syrian election ‘borders on ludicrous’
(AFP) – 16 hours ago
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gKF9oIUMNV-ThTWeKj0lIcSgm02A?docId=CNG.3b6426af1a176d2c5108891890072a79.491
  
WASHINGTON — The United States said Monday Syria’s parliamentary election “borders on ludicrous” as the regime of President Bashar al-Assad continues its violent crackdown on its people.
“It’s not really possible to hold credible elections in a climate where basic human rights are being denied to the citizens and the government is continuing to carry out daily assaults …on its own citizens,” State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner said.
“To hold a parliamentary election in that kind of atmosphere borders on ludicrous,” Toner told reporters.
Syrians were voting on Monday in the country’s first “multiparty” parliamentary election in five decades, being held against a backdrop of violence and dismissed as a sham by the opposition.
more….

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May 8th, 2012, 7:35 am

 

344. Ghufran said:

The Interpol is now helping Iraq to stay divided and fractured:
http://www.skynewsarabia.com/web/article/19290

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May 8th, 2012, 9:34 am

 

345. zoo said:

“Repulsive, disgracious, heinous, unforgivable, brutal..”
Any other suggestions to enrich Obama and Rice’s vocabulary of impotence and hesitation?

Obama Hits Syria With Brutal Blast of Adverbs
By Jeffrey Goldberg May 7, 2012 7:00 PM ET

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-05-07/obama-hits-syria-with-brutal-blast-of-adverbs.html

Some critics say the U.S. has shamed itself by not intervening aggressively on behalf of Syria’s rebels and dissidents.

They’re wrong. The Obama administration hasn’t helped to arm the rebels, nor has it created safe havens for persecuted dissidents. But it has done something far more important: It has provided the Syrian opposition with very strong language to describe Assad’s various atrocities.

The U.S. has also used other tools to press its case. For instance, it has supported sanctions that prevent Assad’s wife, Asma al-Assad, from shopping in Europe. And it has supported a UN plan to station dozens of unarmed observers in Syria to watch Assad’s forces kill civilians and then write reports about it.

Still more action may be needed. At the risk of deepening U.S. involvement in this very complicated conflict, my suggestion is that Obama and his team conduct a “surge” of new adjectives and adverbs in their campaign, including such words as “callous,” “merciless,” “pitiless” — and even, perhaps, “barbarous.”

The optimist in me believes that the White House wouldn’t have to maintain this surge for too long. Why? Because several months after saying that the patience of the international community had “evaporated,” Rice wrote on Twitter that our patience had been “exhausted.” Now that patience has been both evaporated and exhausted, even Assad must understand that his time is nearly up.

Of course, Rice reported that patience had been exhausted on April 24. My suspicion is that, in three or four more weeks, we will learn that U.S. patience is “completely exhausted.”

Then Assad should really be careful.

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May 8th, 2012, 10:20 am

 

346. Tara said:

Zoo

Thanks for the link.  It is funny. The author forgot to mention the sanctions on Caviar and perfumes.  I can’t for the life of me imagine how Syrians can live without indulging on luxury perfumes…I think there is a real chance that divorce rate is going to increase because of that and that local bars will close in Damascus and other big cities due to Caviar shortage.  People will not go out on dates anymore and the marriage rate will plummet down.  Along with the killing spree, endangering the birth rate will lead to a significant decrease in the population.  It looks pretty grim….

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May 8th, 2012, 10:37 am

 

347. jna said:

Western produced food shortages in Syria (as well as fuel)

The European Union, the United States and other Western countries have imposed sanctions on President Bashar al-Assad’s government in response to his bloody crackdown on a revolt that has cost more than 10,000 lives.

The measures, which include asset freezes and financing restrictions, have hurt Syria’s vital commercial grain trade.

Syria relies on food imports for almost half of its total needs, with wheat used for food, while maize and barley are used mainly for animal feed.

“Syria has deep problems at the moment finding companies willing to offer grain such as barley. You can’t open a letter of credit and the risks associated with any deal seem to be rising all the time,” one trade source said.

“The Commercial Bank of Syria (the country’s largest state-owned bank) is not accepted any more and there are currency related difficulties, so they are going to find it hard to meet their grain needs.”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/middle-east-live/2012/may/08/syria-egypt-bahrain-liveblog?newsfeed=true

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May 8th, 2012, 10:41 am

 

348. Atheist Syrian Salafist Against Dictatorships said:

You probably heard this already, folks, but it does not hurt to repeat it. The Assadist Mafiosi and Associates are again taking a leaf from the book of their (under-the-table) ally across the Golan: they have built a 4-meter-tall 2 km long wall to isolate BabaAmr from al-Insha2at and turn it into an open-air prison a la West Bank and Gaza.

http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=10151693117080417

Way to go Besho, such a good student y’are, your Zionist teachers must be so proud. At the start you adopted the zionist ploy of “negotiations” while killings and arrests continued; ‘hiwar, hiwar’ your trumpets kept shrieking while protesters were being sniped and beaten and taken away to be tortured. Then you employed collective punishment by arresting family members to get activists and defecting soldiers to turn themselves in. Then you escalated it to home demolitions as a weapon of terror and revenge. Then it was no-holds-barred open warfare, you shelled and bombarded and destroyed whole villages and neighborhoods, Gaza invasion-style. And now we’ve got the WALL. What’s the next lesson they’re going to teach you, Besho boy?

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May 8th, 2012, 11:35 am

 

349. ann said:

Syria beats back its rivals – May 9, 2012

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/westview/syria-beats-back-its-rivals-150592385.html

TEL AVIV — Syrian President Bashar Assad proved Monday once again that with the support of Russia and Iran, he is still able to politically defeat the United States, Turkey and the Persian Gulf countries.

Dennis MacDonough, the U.S. deputy national security adviser, told an academic gathering in Washington that a military solution in Syria is not now under consideration and that the U.S. is working with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Jordan to find other solutions for Syria.

American officials are well aware of this situation. They acknowledge that Syria is not Libya and Homs is not Benghazi. The air defence of Syria is thicker than that of Libya. The Syrian army, in general, is stronger. Thus, there is in Damascus a strong feeling that the introduction of outside weapons would deepen the internal conflict.

[...]

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May 8th, 2012, 11:46 am

 

350. Observer said:

Let me post a few more past facts about Syria
women were allowed to vote in 1945 whereas the Swiss did so in 1975.
So is Syria really a third world country.

Average growth in the Syria economy in the 50′s was close to 17% and Syria moved from a wheat and cotton and rice exporter to a net importer.

Land reform a la Baath did result in desertification because it was no accompanied by any incentives or tools for the new farmers to invest in their work let alone get a decent loan to improve their lot. They were given just pieces of land and asked to fend for themselves.

Under the Baath the students could automatically graduate for the first 6 grades of schooling resulting in 6th graders who could not write their own names. This is the dismal state this regime has left us with.

Now I heard a youth talk about his wish for the new Majlis to be for the people and not for the Houkouma the regime. Well this is how distorted his view of politics that he does not recognize that the Majlis is for the people and from the people and not a rubber stamp.

Ghufran as a moderator is an oxymoron as he is biased to the regime.

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May 8th, 2012, 11:46 am

 

351. ann said:

Syrian conflict enters Lebanon phase – 8 May 2012

http://www.lowyinterpreter.org/post/2012/05/08/Syrian-conflict-enters-Lebanon-phase.aspx

All the ingredients are there: sectarian fault-lines that have been papered over for decades and now define the protagonists, regional powers who see in Syria a stage on which their leadership credentials can be tested, faltering regional and now international attempts to broker peace, and a trajectory of violence that has already masked what the original uprising was all about.

There are additional complications and differences. Some Sunni jihadists see Syria as a way of regaining a sense of purpose and utilising their skills. And Russia sees in Syria a test case for its continued existence as a global power – Moscow felt cheated by the Libya experience and is not going to repeat it in Syria. In contrast to the Lebanese experience though, in the capital Damascus life goes on in a more or less normal fashion.

The insurgency may have lost the moral high ground atop which it sat. The earliest stages of the Syrian uprising were largely about peaceful demonstrations, where the bastardy of the regime’s security forces was on display for the world to see. But as peaceful demonstrations have given way to fighting, the opposition has overestimated its own capabilities and its support from the broader Syrian population, which is yet to be convinced that the Government is going to fall. The regime has been able to fix and destroy the rebels in detail.

Now the next stage has commenced. Eschewing direct military confrontation with the Syrian military, the insurgents have resorted to car bombs and suicide bombings, tactics designed to highlight the inability of the Assad regime to provide security to the population.

But if the point of the insurgency is to win over the majority of Syrians, then the insurgents are not having much luck. The Sunni insurgency lacks widespread support inside the two major cities, conducts bombings which inevitably incur civilian casualties, has been criticised by Human Rights Watch for carrying out atrocities and has a fractured leadership of long-term exiles. It has a long way to go before it can convince Syrians that it is a better alternative to the devil they know.

Bombing campaigns and attacks against the security forces have worked well against occupation forces in other conflicts, as they raise the cost of continuing the mission until political demands force a negotiated solution and the withdrawal of the occupiers.

But when the ‘occupiers’ are indigenous security forces led by a religious minority whose existence depends on military success and retaining the acquiescence of the silent majority, then the insurgents’ latest tactics may prove counterproductive. These tactics will harden the regime’s resolve, and its control of the media means the population may increasingly see the insurgents as the ones to blame for the killings.

[...]

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May 8th, 2012, 12:09 pm

 

352. zoo said:

#346 Tara

“Along with the killing spree, endangering the birth rate will lead to a significant decrease in the population.”

The irony is that the best caviar comes for Iran and Russia and souk Hamidieh is full of perfumers making on the spot clones of the best french perfumes at 1/10 of the price.

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May 8th, 2012, 12:24 pm

 

353. irritated said:

Omen #310

3 kids and closed stores in a small suburb = Massive demonstrations and strikes?

The BCC is really trying…

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May 8th, 2012, 12:30 pm

 

354. irritated said:

#350 Observer

“women were allowed to vote in 1945 whereas the Swiss did so in 1975.”

In Saudi Arabia women are not allowed to vote, so it’s a third world country.
I wonder if they print regularly telephone books.

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May 8th, 2012, 12:40 pm

 

355. zoo said:

Miss Piggy’s ‘brilliant’(as usual) assertion on victim Israel being rebuffed in its overtures to aggressive Palestinian: the pre-election zionist song?

Hillary distinguishes Israel from Iran in NPT
Ananya Dutta
http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article3394963.ece

Drawing a distinction between Iran, which has violated provisions of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and Israel, which hasn’t signed it, United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said here on Monday that the latter has “made numerous overtures to try to have a peaceful resolution” to the situation in the Middle-East.

“Obviously, the United States believes that whatever differences one might have with the situation in the Middle-East, Israel has been defending itself for the past 60 years, and has made numerous overtures to try to have a peaceful resolution. It has thus far been unsuccessful in doing so,” she said.

more if you can bear more stupidity…

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May 8th, 2012, 12:48 pm

 

356. Tara said:

Zoo

The little I know…I was seriously not aware of Persian Caviar, only the Russian one.   And more importantly I thought Hamidieh would only produce what my friends and I used to call perfume for مشايخ.. (Sorry, I know that may sound bad but I am just being honest).  Did not know they are now producing sexy perfumes for the general population.

Then the marriage and birth rate don’t look that grim after all..

..,You must smile after this.  Ok not to admit smiling…I know you do…, after all you are not a Turk.

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May 8th, 2012, 12:51 pm

 

357. Antoine said:

Ghufran’s problem is he has social biases, that is reflected clearly in some of his posts, where he considers certain Syrian Provonces like Idleb and Hama negatively, the simple fact that large numbers of people in Aleppo and Damascus support the regime is enough for him to negate the near total opposition to the regime in those Provinces.

The greatest sideback to Damascenes is their relative isolation, mental isolation, from the rest of Syria, after the Revolution, Damascenes should be regularly sent to homes in Binnish, Saraqeb to help with the dishes, to Busr al Harir, to help with the wheat harvest, and to DeiralZour to help with the camels. Similar to what happened in China after 1949 Revolution.

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May 8th, 2012, 12:59 pm

 

358. zoo said:

#356 Tara

The Beluga iranian caviar is considered the best and most costly in the world

“Iran is the world’s largest producer and exporter of caviar (annual exports of more than 300 metric tons), followed by Russia.”
By the way caviar is considered to be a powerful aphrodisiac.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caviar

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May 8th, 2012, 1:01 pm

 

359. zoo said:

Erdogan’s guest on the most wanted list of Interpol

Tariq al-Hashemi, Iraq’s Fugitive Sunni Vice President, Sought By Interpol

By SAMEER N. YACOUB 05/08/12 11:07 AM ET AP
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/08/tariq-al-hashemi-iraq-vice-president-interpol-red-notice_n_1499040.html

BAGHDAD — Interpol on Tuesday put Iraq’s fugitive Sunni vice president on the equivalent of its most-wanted list at the behest of the Shiite-dominated government in Baghdad.

Tariq al-Hashemi, who is currently in Turkey, is being tried in absentia in Baghdad on charges of terrorism as well as guiding and financing death squads that targeted government officials, security forces and Shiite pilgrims. The Iraqi government links him to about 150 bombings, assassinations and other attacks, and says the death squads were largely composed of the vice president’s bodyguards and other employees.

The trial was postponed last week after lawyers for al-Hashemi, who has denied the charges, appealed to have parliament create a special court to hear the case. The Sunni vice president has vowed not to return to face what he calls politically motivated charges.

Interpol said on its website that it has issued a so-called “red notice” for al-Hashemi, responding to a request from Baghdad. A red notice by Interpol seeks the arrest of a wanted person with a view to eventual extradition. The subjects of red notices are considered to be on the organization’s most-wanted list.

Interpol Secretary General Ronald K. Noble said the red notice for al-Hashemi “will significantly restrict his ability to travel and cross international borders.”

“It is a powerful tool that will help authorities around the world locate and arrest him,” Interpol’s website quoted Noble as saying.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters during a visit to Italy that al-Hashemi would likely return to Iraq after finishing medical treatment.

“Mr. al-Hashemi is in our country due to his health problems and to hold talks regarding latest developments,” Erdogan said. “I believe, he will return his country following his treatment.”
More..

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May 8th, 2012, 1:06 pm

 

360. Hans said:

Anything interesting going on with Syria recently, beside lies, lies and more lies by the traitors of Syria and the Syrians.

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May 8th, 2012, 1:09 pm

 

361. zoo said:

China Expels Al Jazeera Channel
By MICHAEL WINES
Published: May 7, 2012

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/08/world/asia/china-expels-al-jazeera-english-language-channel.html?_r=1

BEIJING — Al Jazeera, the satellite broadcasting network, was forced by the Chinese authorities to close its China news operations of its English-language channel on Monday, the first such action in almost 14 years and the strongest sign yet of fraying relations between the ruling Communist Party and the overseas journalists who cover it.

more…

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May 8th, 2012, 1:10 pm

 

362. irritated said:

#357 Antoine

“Similar to what happened in China after 1949 Revolution”

You’re right, Syria needs MAO: back to the fields

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May 8th, 2012, 1:13 pm

 

363. ann said:

Assange Episode 4: Overthrowing dictators 101 – 08 May, 2012

http://rt.com/news/assange-show-arab-spring-779/

In the case of the Bahraini revolution, local activists are facing a boycott from media outlets like al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya, Rajab says. That’s because both TV channels are based in Sunni Muslim-dominated countries and Bahrain has a Sunni Muslim ruling family.

“Yes, Saudi didn’t want democracy; yes. Qatar, which want to promote democracy in Syria and other parts of the world but they don’t want democracy in Qatar,” he said.

He added: “The Saudis are very influential in the United States, in Europe. They [western countries] have interests for the arms sales, for the flow of the oil, for the mutual interests which many countries seen it has more priority than the human rights of the Bahrainis. For example, the same United States which asked Russian not to sell arms for Syria, they are selling arms to Bahrain.”

[...]

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May 8th, 2012, 1:14 pm

 

364. Hans said:

Hitler was asked once; who is the worst looking whore you have?
He answered the one which helped me occupy her country!
I wonder how many of those we have helping the enemies to occupy Syria!
Enough said! no more needed to describe what’s going on in Syria.

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May 8th, 2012, 1:23 pm

 

365. Juergen said:

Omen

If you say to an american what a nice tie, he will answer most likely thank you.
If you say the same to an German, he will most likely say , Its an old one, or I got that one as a birthday gift, or even better: it costs just 25 Euro. Germans dont take comliments as easy, I wonder what would an Syrian say?

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May 8th, 2012, 1:41 pm

 

366. Syrian Nationalist Party said:

Syria is under cruel, genocidal, brutal sectarian Shia occupation that monopolized all powers, resources, opportunities, rights and privileges for decades. Nations of the world, help free Syria today.

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May 8th, 2012, 2:04 pm

 

367. Juergen said:

Der Spiegel writes that Syrian economy is severely suffering now.

http://translate.google.at/translate?sl=de&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=de&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.spiegel.de%2Fwirtschaft%2Fsoziales%2F0%2C1518%2C830242%2C00.html

Syrian Atheist,

I am sure you know this adaption of Mozart already.

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May 8th, 2012, 2:19 pm

 

368. Alan said:

342. ANN said:

JAD, where are you?

we refrained from participation in SC!

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May 8th, 2012, 2:23 pm

 

369. Observer said:

What has KSA got to do it with it? I do not get it.
I compare current Syria to previous Syria and some things are better now and most other things are far worse.

There is no rule of law
There is no independent judiciary
There is no independent press
There is no legislative representative body
There is no freedom of association
There is no freedom of expression
There is no freedom of travel

On the economic front there

No guarantee of ownership
No guarantee of moving your investments
No guarantee of patent and innovation protection
NO guarantee of graft or corruption
No secure transportation
No secure clean water
No secure electrical grid
No secure recourse to legal representation

On the educational side there is
One of the worst primary education systems in the Arab world as I mentioned above
One of the most crowded universities in the World
One of the most politically controlled higher institution of learning ever
One of the worst maintenance projects for infrastructure of hospitals and facilities in the Arab world.

Can someone bring forth Syria’s ranking in
Corruption
Per capita income
Freedom score
Justice score
Graft score
Violence score
Torture score.

The very fact that we are at the bottom for good indicators and at the top for repression and oppression is a final and unequivocal damning of the current regime.

IT NEEDS TO BE UPROOTED FROM ITS MOST MINUTE ROOTS ONCE AND FOR ALL.

The regime can only negotiate how to hand over power in an orderly way. Don’t you understand, I have been waiting for this unbelievably brave revolt to be subdued knowing how diabolical the regime is months ago. Its inability to finish it and the descent into civil war is one more high mark for the failure of the regime to deliver even in its own brutality.

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May 8th, 2012, 2:36 pm

 

370. Son of Damascus said:

Antoine,

“The greatest sideback to Damascenes is their relative isolation, mental isolation, from the rest of Syria, after the Revolution, Damascenes should be regularly sent to homes in Binnish, Saraqeb to help with the dishes, to Busr al Harir, to help with the wheat harvest, and to DeiralZour to help with the camels. Similar to what happened in China after 1949 Revolution.”

Who are you to tell me or any other Damascene that we are isolated from the rest of Syria exactly? Based on what facts are you arguing these baseless accusations?

Who the hell made you the expert of Damascus that you should dictate to us where we need to be sent regularly so that we can “connect” with our Syrianhood?!!

Ghayath Mattar and the Dareya Boy’s are Damascenes, in what world can you argue that they suffered mental and relative isolation from the rest of Syria when Ghayath gave the ultimate sacrifice for his country and the rest of the group is enduring hell under the hands of this criminal regime?

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May 8th, 2012, 3:05 pm

 

371. Son of Damascus said:

Hans,

Wow, quoting Hitler to make a point!!

Out of all the figures and quotes in history to choose from, you chose Hitler to quote?

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May 8th, 2012, 3:13 pm

 

372. irritated said:

#368 Observer

The Lamentation Wall is a better place to dump your laments. May you get a consolation there.

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May 8th, 2012, 3:15 pm

 

373. irritated said:

Antoine

I guess Mao should be the opposition model: Power to the suburbs and the villages.

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May 8th, 2012, 3:17 pm

 

374. zoo said:

Repented Qatar offers “Taeef Agreement II” and is rebuffed by Syria?

Qatar Conciliates Syria, Receives Rejection
8 May 2012
http://www.islamicinvitationturkey.com/2012/05/08/qatar-conciliates-syria-receives-rejection/

The Qatari regime seeks the Syrian satisfaction.

This isn’t a dream. However, after the failure of all attempts to topple the Syrian regime, Qatar sought to open dialogue with Damascus.

“Al-Akhbar” Lebanese daily revealed Tuesday that “days ago, an Arab figured arrived suddenly to Damascus International Airport.”
“The figure requested a quick appointment with the Syrian leadership to display a message from Doha, under the title “the Qatari-led initiative to resolve the Syrian crisis”.”

According to the daily’s sources, the initiative is comprised of several points:

-First, reconciliation and turning the page of conflict between the two countries.
This will open the door to a new phase of cooperation so that Doha will lead the efforts and initiatives to resolve the internal Syrian crisis.

- Second, the initiative suggests a map solution of several items on top of which are: a Syrian Prime Minister from the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood Movement, and a Qatari invitation to the Syrian opposition to hold a conference in Doha.
In this context, Qatar pledges to pressure on the Syrian opposition to accept a dialogue with the Syrian regime.

- The initiative also offers other items that assure to the opposition guarantees from the Syrian regime. This would help the opposition move from fighting the Syrian regime to open a climate of dialogue and positive interaction with it.

In response, Damascus replied with a one word on the Qatari initiative: Rejected.

According to “al-Akhbar” sources, Damascus position from Doha isn’t based on acting as a mediator to solve the crisis. Syria wants Qatar to declare explicitly that it retreated from arming the opposition and plotting with the foreign agenda to destabilize Syria. Out of these titles, Syria isn’t ready not to listen to any other Qatari word.

Through this move, it is clear that the Doha wanted to test, on behalf of other countries, Damascus readiness to accept a Syrian Taef Accord for national reconciliation,” sources told the daily.

This would be similar to the Lebanese Taef held in Saudi Arabia in the early nineties of the last century to stop the Lebanese civil war.
The sources further uncovered that months ago, such a project was offered to Syria, in details, by Arab, regional, and Western countries through Moscow.
“However, Damascus rejected,” the sources concluded.

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May 8th, 2012, 3:29 pm

 

375. zoo said:

Will Sarkozy end up in court and jail like Chirac, now that he lost his immunity. Many corruption scandals and the Libyan adventure are waiting for him at the door of the Elysee.

Karachi, Bettencourt, Kadhafi : le citoyen Sarkozy sur la sellette

LE MONDE | 08.05.2012 à 10h46 • Mis à jour le 08.05.2012 à 18h45

Par Gérard Davet et Fabrice Lhomme

http://www.lemonde.fr/societe/article/2012/05/08/karachi-bettencourt-kadhafi-le-citoyen-sarkozy-sur-la-sellette_1697651_3224.html

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May 8th, 2012, 3:35 pm

 

376. Halabi said:

Assad’s army hard at work. Here are some criminals breaking into stores to end a strike.

http://youtu.be/bA7WUkYPJrg

The owners of these businesses decided to peacefully protest by not opening their shops. Dissent of any kind isn’t allowed in Assad’s Syria. What should these people do when they see armed men violating their property without a warrant? Take them to court? Shoot them? Or stay silent and thank Bashar for reforms.

In this clip a group of murderers are having fun shooting in a residential neighborhood.

http://youtu.be/1CzM2YwjWqM

Notice how they aren’t wearing helmets or taking cover, which shows there is no threat. Just a small example of the intimidation and oppression unleashed on Syrians who no longer accept humiliation.

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May 8th, 2012, 3:37 pm

 

377. zoo said:

Libya spring Season II

Armed Men in Libya Attack Premier’s Office
By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK
Published: May 8, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/09/world/africa/truckloads-of-libyan-militiamen-attack-prime-ministers-office-in-tripoli.html?ref=global-home

CAIRO — Truckloads of armed men attacked the Tripoli headquarters of Libya’s interim prime minister on Tuesday, in a new demonstration of the lawlessness pervading the capital just weeks before a scheduled national election.
Related
Officials of the interim Libyan government said that at least four people were killed, and news agencies reported that ambulances had rushed to the scene. The prime minister, Abdel Rahim el-Keeb, was reportedly away from the building at the time.
More..

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May 8th, 2012, 3:52 pm

 

378. Tara said:

Who needs grain?  Asma can share cheese fondue recipe with them.  Iran can donate some Caviar and we are all set.  We still need barely for animals feed.  

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/middle-east-live/2012/may/08/syria-egypt-bahrain-liveblog#block-13

Syria: Syria is finding it increasingly hard to buy grain on international markets because sanctions have blocked its access to trade finance. Meanwhile, growing numbers of its citizens are struggling to obtain food after more than a year of conflict, Jonathan Saul of Reuters reports.

The European Union, the United States and other Western countries have imposed sanctions on President Bashar al-Assad’s government in response to his bloody crackdown on a revolt that has cost more than 10,000 lives.

The measures, which include asset freezes and financing restrictions, have hurt Syria’s vital commercial grain trade.

Syria relies on food imports for almost half of its total needs, with wheat used for food, while maize and barley are used mainly for animal feed.

“Syria has deep problems at the moment finding companies willing to offer grain such as barley. You can’t open a letter of credit and the risks associated with any deal seem to be rising all the time,” one trade source said.

“The Commercial Bank of Syria (the country’s largest state-owned bank) is not accepted any more and there are currency related difficulties, so they are going to find it hard to meet their grain needs.”
More..

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May 8th, 2012, 4:23 pm

 

379. Mawal95 said:

Bronco at #299 wrote:

“After 13 months, the opposition has nothing to offer other than insults, threats, fake videos and terrorist attacks, no leaders, no programs, nothing, just empty balloons. Do you seriously think that anyone with a sane mind will give this bunch of losers the red carpet to lead a country as complex as Syria?”

A lot of people agree with that. Or they could be persuaded to agree if they got more education about the opposition. Persuading people to take the positive view of the Assad government is a harder task, on the other hand.

For my own part I judge the Assad goverment to be virtuous and generally smart, I hold the broader Syrian social Establishment in good esteem, and I happily look forward to Syria’s next forty years developing from the foundations built during the last forty. Souria Habeebeti. I see that a lot of people don’t agree with my judgment and they have prejudices that prevent them from being talked into changing their minds. However, many of these people can be much more easily talked into making a negative judgment about the opposition.

If you wanted to persuade independent individuals to go along with the government’s pathway out of the crisis, the most fruitful way to approach your task would be to aim to convince them to make a negative judgment about the Syrian opposition. That’d be followed by their having no preference for either side in the dispute, which would be in effect acceptance of the government by default.

Joshua Landis last month disseminated the information that the business and commerce community of Damascus and Aleppo see the opposition as “a disorganized bunch of country bumpkins”, small town and rural people lacking economic and political competence to take power, who if they took power would would cause “a decade of instability” and would “stuff the goverment ministries full of their friends”. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2012/04/19/bloomberg_articlesM29Q9J0D9L3501-M2PYB.DTL&ao=all#ixzz1sjNoIsV3 . That is an angle from which to talk people into making a negative judgment about the opposition. Another angle, which Joshua has repeatly taken, is the allegation that the opposition is “sectarian”. That allegation is grossly exaggerated, I say, based on my view of the evidence. But a lot of ignorant people, especially in the West, are easily talked into believing it, and it has helped to lean them towards a negative view of the opposition. A related but distinct angle is that the opposition contains the potential to be dominated at a later time by “radical Islamism”. That’s another exaggeration in my estimation, but nevertheless it tends to lean people’s minds against the opposition in many quarters. Another angle Joshua has repeatedly taken, more on target with the truth this time, is that the opposition is composed of a multitude of small factions who are incurably factious; “the opposition cannot impose order on itself let alone bring order to Syria”. To further attack the opposition, I’d add the important point that Bronco mentioned that the opposition has no substantive programs. I’d add sex segregation as another angle that I think can be sold effectively to the Westerners to undermine the image of the opposition in the West (videos like this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYPXT_PwWUI — excuse me for being cynical about it but I see plenty of room for more marketing and selling of the sex angle). The number one way to talk people into making a negative judgment about the opposition is to show them the terrorism and depravities of the armed rebellion. The pro-government news outlets in Syria have front-page reports about this on a daily basis, and it’s all the more convincing because the opposition’s less violent factions are totally powerless to stop the violence and have not vigorously condemned it.

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May 8th, 2012, 4:30 pm

 

380. Observer said:

Tara
My understanding is that Russia is supplying fuel and grain to Syria.
The reports is that the Kremlin thinks that the decision to allow NATO action in Lybia was a big mistake. They think they were outsmarted by the West. The loss of Lybia is more important to them as it has oil and money and it has Russian weapons. As a matter of fact the Russians just resumed sale of arms to Lybia.
As for Syria it is not the volume of exchange which dropped in 2010 to a mere 1. 12 billion US dollars per year. It is presumably the role of Russia as a player on the world stage and the port in Tartus as a counterweight to the US presence in the warm waters.

The sale of anti ship missile system to Syria falls into this game plan and I am almost certain the missile system is under the control of the Russian technicians and not the Syrians.

If you go on RT you would think that the cold war is not over as the news keep coming on how bad the life of people is in the West and on the number of US citizens who have opted out of the US as a sign of dissafection with the American way of life ( it turns out it is billionaires who are better off as Cayman Island citizens to avoid taxation ).

Now Putin has had his inauguration and Batman and Robin are exchanging roles back and forth in another ridiculous perversion of the term limits supposedly set by the constitution. I am curious as to what he will do with the deterioration of the stituation in Syria
Clearly arms are coming in and more of them will continue to pass through and I expect that for every shipment seized there is three that have passed through.

I also see that significant portions of the country are no longer under state control. The report from Cham Press is that tomatoes have become a luxury.

Two million internally displaced is also not figuring in how these people are out of the work force.

Finally there is a true dialogue des sourds on this blog.

What a pity; Dr. Landis as Syria is his expertise fading into obscurity as the country descends into chaos. In essence which academic is going to be promoted or noticed writing about Somaria Alassad?

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May 8th, 2012, 4:38 pm

 

381. Tara said:

Zoo@374

I find it difficult to believe. Alakbar is pro regime and does not seem to be a reliable source

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May 8th, 2012, 4:47 pm

 

382. Tara said:

#368

Ok.

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May 8th, 2012, 4:48 pm

 

383. omen said:

332. irritated said: Who ever believes the Moslem Brotherhood empty promises? 12:31 am

seriously, what is it about mass murderers you find more credible?

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May 8th, 2012, 5:11 pm

 

384. omen said:

353. irritated said: 3 kids and closed stores in a small suburb = Massive demonstrations and strikes?
The BCC is really trying… 12:30 pm

bbc didn’t try to claim it was massive. but this certainly counters your assertion that nobody was observing the strike.

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May 8th, 2012, 5:13 pm

 

385. omen said:

good point, observer. i don’t see commentators incensed about the violence (and faulting the opposition for it) protest russia & iran arming the regime with heavy ordnance.

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May 8th, 2012, 5:25 pm

 

386. Juergen said:

General Aladeen holded a rare press conference today and he adressed his tennis partner and codictator friend, President Assad. Watch his press conference:

on his views on democracy

one time interview with Larry King

His film trailer:

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May 8th, 2012, 5:37 pm

 

387. omen said:

4:38 – observer, i respect you, but really, i don’t understand your critique of the blog.

what is it you want from us?

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May 8th, 2012, 6:21 pm

 

388. jna said:

Tony Karon‏@TonyKaron
http://twitter.com/#!/TonyKaron

“The trailer for his latest movie (and ‘Borat’) tells me that Sasha Baron-Cohen is to comedy what Bernard Lewis is to history #fb”

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May 8th, 2012, 6:37 pm

 

389. Syria no Kandahar said:

Inerview with the brother of Tunisian jihadist killed in Syria:

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May 8th, 2012, 6:51 pm

 

390. omen said:

388. jna said:@TonyKaron http://twitter.com/#!/TonyKaron “The trailer for his latest movie (and ‘Borat’) tells me that Sasha Baron-Cohen is to comedy what Bernard Lewis is to history 6:37 pm

what’s funny about sasha cohen isn’t sasha cohen but people who take exception and who turn indignant at his material.
:-P

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May 8th, 2012, 7:10 pm

 

391. jna said:

Omen, I share your opinion that he isn’t funny.

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May 8th, 2012, 7:21 pm

 

392. Syria no Kandahar said:

Armed(demonstrators) in Duma killing a guy because he has different opinion then cheering up and chanting Allah Akbar around his body:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=glPkowAN38o&feature=youtube_gdata_player

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May 8th, 2012, 7:28 pm

 

393. Mawal95 said:

An anti-Assad journalist from the UK reporting from Damascus says of the Syrians:

“Starved of detailed information and fed instead vague and ominous warnings of the chaos to come should the uprising succeed, it is perhaps no surprise to see people who are not necessarily regime stalwarts either swing behind it or preserve an awkward neutrality…. Members of the unquantifiable so-called silent majority of Syrians who are neither regime zealots nor opposition diehards are staying quiet for now.” http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/42be03e6-985d-11e1-ad3e-00144feabdc0.html

I’m glad to hear the acknowledgement that there’s no grounds for believing the so-called silent majority is a majority. Anyone who voted in yesterday’s parliamentary elections is not silent; and should be counted as having swung behind the constitutional pathway led by the government. I heard an unconfirmed unofficial rumour that some experienced local observers estimate the turnout in the election at 60%. In light of what happened in the Local Council Elections last December, I don’t expect the election results to be finalized for many days because I expect many objections and recounts.

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May 8th, 2012, 7:52 pm

 

394. irritated said:

Omen #395

It is a rare pleasure shared by many Western medias.

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May 8th, 2012, 7:58 pm

 

395. omen said:

proof is in the pudding, mawal. if bashar enjoyed majority support, he wouldn’t be doing his damnedest to reduce syria to pile of rubble.

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May 8th, 2012, 7:59 pm

 

396. Observer said:

there is now way that some on this blog are ever willing to concede that the regime is diabolical and at the same time they insist that the opposition has no legitimacy.
In defending the status quo the best they can do is to argue for “gradual’ change as if
1. Syria was not better before the Baath in many respects
2. Only the regime can conduct reforms
3. Only the reforms of the regime are legitimate
4. Only the interests of the few are to be taken into account.

So you have some that continue to label the opposition as totally illegitimate and yet when they agree that reforms are needed they refuse to acknowledge that mistakes were made and therefore can argue that the regime is capable of reform.

That is the dialogue of the deaf we see with some that no matter what you can never bring to a minimum consensus even if you ask for a truth and reconciliation effort admitting the mistakes of both.

So my dear Omen, I will try to bring forth to the table hard facts about the failure of this regime in delivering on its own promises. This is the failure that resulted in revolt that started in its own backyard and from the sons and daughters of its former members. This is what the ICG showed in its reports.

Here are some hard facts about Syria that I gathered just by Google for the level of corruption and the level of freedom.

This is does not come close to how the situation has devolved in 2012

Legatum Prosperity Index
81st
 / 
 110
Average Life Satisfaction Ranking
94th
 / 
 110
Per Capita GDP Ranking
77th
 / 
 110
WEF Global Competitiveness Index
97th
 / 
 139
UN Human Development Index
111st
 / 
 169
Heritage/WSJ Economic Freedom Index
140th
 / 
 179
TI Corruption Perceptions Index
127th
 / 
 178
Vision of Humanity Global Peace Index
116th
 / 
 153

Average Life Satisfaction
4.5 / 10 (2010 Est.)
Literacy Rate
84% (2009)
Population mn.
21 million (2011 Est.)
Health Adjusted Life Expectancy
63 years (2007)
GDP per capita (PPP)
$5,293 (2011 Est.)
Business Start-up Costs (% of Gross National Income)
38.1% (2011)
GDP (PPP) bn.
$111.8 (2011 Est.)
85.5% of people believe society is meritocratic*
(2010)
Political System
Authoritarian (2011)
73.9% of people feel personal safety*
(2010)
Freedom House Rating
Not Free (2011)
9.6% of people find others trustworthy*
(2009)

Accountability and Public Voice
1.29
Civil Liberties
2.04
Rule of Law
2.13
Anticorruption and Transparency
1.7
(Scores are based on a scale of 0 to 7, with 0 representing weakest and 7 representing strongest performance.)

Below are select highlights for the data included in the profile.
Doing Business 2011 reports that Syria is ranked 144th out of 183 economies. Its overall score remained unchanged from last year. In 2011, Syria 
eased business start-up by reducing the minimum capital requirement for limited liability companies by two-thirds. It also decentralized approval of the company memorandum. The country also enhanced access to credit by eliminating the minimum threshold for loans included in the database, which expanded the coverage of individuals and firms to 2.8% of the adult population. This improvement in the Getting Credit Indicator, allowed Syria to jump 13 spots in the sub-ranking.
According to the latest Enterprise Surveys (2009), the top three constraints to firm investment in the Syrian Arab Republic include Corruption, Inadequately Educated Workforce and Electricity.
Syria’s economic freedom score is 51.3, making its economy the 140th freest out of 183 countries in the 2011 Index. Its score is 1.9 points higher than last year, with higher scores in five of the 10 economic freedoms, including freedom from corruption and trade freedom. Syria is ranked 15th out of 17 countries in the Middle East/North Africa region, and its overall score is lower than the regional average. Despite ongoing efforts to diversify its economy, Syria’s heavy dependence on hydrocarbons dominates overall activity. In an effort to foster private-sector growth, the government has relaxed some restrictions on foreign exchange and gradually released its grip on the financial sector. Nonetheless, the state’s prominent role remains the most fundamental constant in Syria’s economy. Monetary freedom is marred by state price controls and interference. High tariff rates and significant non-tariff barriers add to the cost of trade, while opaque and shifting regulations drive up the cost of investment and production. Private property rights are poorly defended by a corrupt and politically influenced judiciary.

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May 8th, 2012, 8:00 pm

 

397. zoo said:

The “safe zones” and arming time is needed as the toppling of Bashar Al Assad envisaged months ago by the US administration is fading away…

Kerry: Time to consider safe zones and arming the opposition in Syria
Posted By Josh Rogin Tuesday, May 8, 2012 – 6:05 PM Share
http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/05/08/kerry_time_to_consider_safe_zones_and_arming_the_opposition_in_syria
The United States needs to do more to protect civilians in Syria, including considering setting up safe zones inside Syria and potentially arming the opposition, Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman John Kerry (D-MA) told The Cable in an interview Tuesday.

Kerry also warned that if the balance of power is not tilted in Syria in the opposition’s favor, it’s unlikely that President Bashar al-Assad will step down. A political transition that sees Assad removed from power remains the goal, he said, but the United States must step up its efforts to make that goal a reality.

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May 8th, 2012, 8:02 pm

 

398. Syria no Kandahar said:

Omen
If you have an idea say it,if all you have is insults then stay quiet.

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May 8th, 2012, 8:02 pm

 

399. omen said:

what insult, snk? i offered a simple deduction derived from facts.

instead of being offended, how about refuting it?

~

stay quiet.

loooool

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May 8th, 2012, 8:05 pm

 

400. irritated said:

#398 Observer

“diabolical” I like that

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May 8th, 2012, 8:06 pm

 

401. bronco said:

Tara #378

“Syria has deep problems at the moment finding companies willing to offer grain such as barley.”

Don’t worry, they’ll solve them, as one of your favorite commenter puts it: “they are diabolical”

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May 8th, 2012, 8:13 pm

 

402. omen said:

8:00 observer

i think sod was the one who offered this graph.

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May 8th, 2012, 8:23 pm

 

403. zoo said:

“As to what else we do,” he said, “I think if there are better ideas I’ll be the first to jump onto it.”

Annan’s assessment of the situation in Syria
By BASSEM MROUE and JOHN HEILPRIN | Associated Press – 5 hrs ago
http://news.yahoo.com/un-envoy-warns-civil-war-syria-184846010.html

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — International envoy Kofi Annan gave a bleak assessment of the crisis in Syria on Tuesday, saying violence remains at “unacceptable levels” and warning that his peace plan is the country’s last chance to avert a disastrous civil war.

Annan insisted there is still hope and said the presence of U.N. observers has had a calming effect on the crisis, which has killed at least 9,000 people since March 2011.

“We’ve been small in numbers, but even where we’ve been able to place two or three observers, they’ve had a calming effect,” he said. “And I think that when they are fully deployed and working as a team, establishing relations with the people, we will see much greater impact on the work that they are there to do.”

On Tuesday, a cargo jet arrived in Damascus carrying 15 SUVs, computers and telecommunications equipment for the observers, a U.N. official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media. Also on board were dozens of helmets and flak jackets, a sign of the conflict’s dangers.

Earlier Tuesday, Jakob Kellenberger, president of International Committee of the Red Cross, said the conflict is transforming into a guerrilla war with combatants carrying out more ambushes and bombings. He also said 1.5 million Syrians are struggling to meet basic needs for food, water and shelter.

On Tuesday, Annan acknowledged that his peace plan could fail.

“We may well conclude down the line that it doesn’t work and a different tack has to be taken, and that will be a very sad day, and a tough day for the region,” he said.

Asked what the next steps will be if his peace plan fails, Annan appeared at a loss.

“As to what else we do,” he said, “I think if there are better ideas I’ll be the first to jump onto it.”

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May 8th, 2012, 8:27 pm

 

404. omen said:

Juergen, just realized sasha cohen waited until gaddafi was dead before doing a satire.

do we have to wait for bashar to die too before comedians are willing to skewer him?

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May 8th, 2012, 8:31 pm

 

405. zoo said:

Even the supposedly ‘stable’ Iraq Kurdistan is agitated by hardline islamists…

Iraq demo over ‘anti-Islam’ magazine turns violent
AFP – 7 hrs ago

Thousands took to the streets of the Iraqi Kurdish capital Arbil on Tuesday as a rally to demand swift punishment for a magazine editor who ran a story decried as “against Islam” turned violent.

Demonstrators gathered in front of the Kurdish parliament building in Arbil to protest the article published in the latest issue of Al-Hamsa (The Whisper), a monthly magazine published in Kurdish and Arabic in the regional capital.

The article relays a conversation between the author of the piece and God, and was deemed offensive to Islam by regional religious leaders, with Kurdish prime minister Nechirvan Barzani meeting with Islamic groups on Monday, the same day the publication’s editor Hayman Ari was arrested.

On Tuesday, protesters gathered opposite Arbil’s parliament compound and began throwing rocks and water bottles at security forces and clashing with riot police, an AFP journalist at the scene reported.
more..

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May 8th, 2012, 8:33 pm

 

406. omen said:

8:00 – but observer, loyalists aren’t driven by facts. their reactions are driven by psychology.

see traits of an authoritarian follower.

(scroll down for list.)

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May 8th, 2012, 8:35 pm

 

407. zoo said:

US focusing again on ‘regime change’

Despite efforts by the UN-Arab League envoy, Kofi Annan to settle the issues in Syria, the United States says it is still after regime change in the country.

A few hours after Annan briefed the UN Security Council (UNSC) by videoconference from Geneva on Tuesday on his efforts to end the year-plus-long unrest in Syria, US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice reiterated Washington’s call for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down.

Rice claimed that Damascus has not fully implemented any part of Annan’s six-point peace plan, noting that “Washington is focusing on a regime change in Damascus.”
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/240260.html

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May 8th, 2012, 8:42 pm

 

408. omen said:

here, let me list it.

traits of an authoritarian follower:

〮submissive to authority
〮aggressive on behalf of authority
〮highly conventional in their behavior
〮highly religious
〮possessing moderate to little education
〮trusting of untrustworthy authorities
〮prejudiced (particularly against homosexuals and followers of religions other than their own)
〮mean-spirited
〮narrow-minded
〮intolerant
〮bullying
〮zealous
〮dogmatic
〮uncritical toward chosen authority
〮hypocritical
〮inconsistent and contradictory
〮prone to panic easily
〮highly self-righteous
〮moralistic
〮strict disciplinarians
〮severely punitive
〮demanding loyalty and returning it
〮possessing little self-awareness
〮usually politically and economically conservative/Republican

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May 8th, 2012, 8:49 pm

 

409. Tara said:

Bronco

Wishful thinking.

How are they going to solve the barely problem? By having the Iranian or Russian cattle shares their feed with the Syrian one? I guess that js a possibility. The last time I checked I was told cows and sheeps would not feed on cheese or chocolate fondue…our Syrian cattle are working class like the rest of us. They are not used to the luxuries enjoyed by our elite.
Would you like me to tell you who is my favorite commenter? I would…

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May 8th, 2012, 8:59 pm

 

410. Ghufran said:

Let me get this straight:
The guy,dr landis,is giving us a reputable forum to speak our mind for free,and as a show of appreciation we allowed ourselves to launch personal attacks on him?
If that was not a third world behavior,I do not know what in the world that was?
اذا لم تستح فافعل ما تشاء

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May 8th, 2012, 9:10 pm

 

411. Norman said:

Ghufran,

I want to second what you said.

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May 8th, 2012, 9:23 pm

 

412. Tara said:

This is how the western press perceived the election.

Syria: killings continue as country goes to the polls

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/9250417/Syria-killings-continue-as-country-goes-to-the-polls.html

Even Syria held elections on Monday – but they were overshadowed by assassinations, reprisals and a growing insurgency. Richard Spencer reports from Dera’a, the town where the uprising started.
more..

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May 8th, 2012, 9:23 pm

 

413. Tara said:

Syria an Arab model,  an Arab dreams?  I think he meant an Arab nightmare.    

9.28am: Syria: The regime’s mouthpiece, Addounia TV, was having technical difficulties with its blanket coverage of the country’s elections yesterday, Rania Abouzeid writes in an article for Time.

“The news from Raqqa is very good, there have been crowds of people at the polling stations from this morning,” he said when the feed went up. “It’s clear Syria is heading toward democracy, and God willing, it will become an Arab model, an Arab dream.”

… Addounia had back-to-back coverage of the election throughout the day, splitting its screen four ways (and sometimes six) to present images from polling stations across the country.

Many of the feeds were tight shots focused on the election monitors seated behind ballot boxes. At one point, a shot from a town on the outskirts of the capital Damascus went black, after the minutes-long feed showed that the station appeared empty. Three officials were idly waiting for voters who didn’t show up during the live transmission.
more..

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/middle-east-live/2012/may/08/syria-egypt-bahrain-liveblog#block-13

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May 8th, 2012, 9:36 pm

 

414. Ghufran said:

I should let regime supporters list what they consider as achievements since 1963,my personal opinion is that albaath did more harm than good to Syria and that was a crucial factor in the unhealthy ascension of militant Islamists and the destruction of political life in Syria. Whatever comes after this crisis is over will be largely due to albaath and the Assads legacy,all other factors are not as decisive. Expect the new PA to be a transitional body with little influence over events and no credibility in the eyes of most,I have no doubt that this assembly will be short lived. The names of the new “witnesses” will be released tomorrow,I can not wait to see if my favorite actress has won the approval of almukhabarat or not,some exbaathists who ran as independents were reportedly placed on a black list and they went public about it,most Syrians in troubled spots did not even bother to vote.
There are rumors that the amount of clapping allowed when Bashar opens the new PA will be limited to 12 waves per hour with a maximum of 2 poems and 1 mawwal and no Zalgoutas or takbeers at all.

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May 8th, 2012, 9:40 pm

 

415. omen said:

9:10 If that was not a third world behavior

ghufran, where is this civilized first world you are referencing by implication? i don’t recognize it.

~

ok, snk, my mistake. i thought you were talking about 7:59 pm, not 7:28.

including time stamps will help avoid future misunderstanding.

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May 8th, 2012, 9:45 pm

 

416. Ghufran said:

في دمشق

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May 8th, 2012, 10:13 pm

 

417. Son of Damascus said:

Omen,

I would love to take credit for pointing out the chart, however it was Hopeful that linked to it first:

http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/?p=14256&cp=all#comment-306293

Just thought to let you know…

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May 8th, 2012, 11:30 pm

 

418. omen said:

379. Mawal95 said:

Joshua Landis last month disseminated the information that the business and commerce community of Damascus and Aleppo see the opposition as “a disorganized bunch of country bumpkins”, small town and rural people lacking economic and political competence to take power, who if they took power would would cause “a decade of instability” and would “stuff the goverment ministries full of their friends”.
[...]

Another angle Joshua has repeatedly taken, more on target with the truth this time, is that the opposition is composed of a multitude of small factions who are incurably factious; “the opposition cannot impose order on itself let alone bring order to Syria”.

from a reporter who had snuck into syria in april:

JUAN GONZALEZ: And you also interviewed some of the insurgents and the rebel army. Your sense of their cohesiveness and their ability to maintain that struggle against the government?

ANAND GOPAL: Well, on the ground, the revolutionaries have actually set up pretty robust alternative governments. I mean, they’ve overthrown Assad. They’ve set up these systems of participatory government councils, where people are elected and they have the right to instant recall. I mean, it’s really something that I’ve never seen. And I was in Egypt, I was in Libya. I’ve never anything like it. And even after the Syrian army offensive over the last three weeks, which went in and flattened a whole bunch of towns and villages, they’re still intact, and they’re still running the show in a lot of these towns.

AMY GOODMAN: Talk about how you got in, what you expected to see, and then what you saw.

ANAND GOPAL: Well, I had a lot of questions about the nature of the insurgency in Syria. And, you know, of course, the U.S. and the West are supporting, at least in word supporting, the insurgency. So I was coming at it with a very skeptical and critical mind. We went over the border, basically crawling under a barbed-wire fence and hiking over mountains for a long period. But when I got into Syria, what I found was completely different from what I expected, in that in every town and village, it was essentially the entire population was mobilized in support of the revolution. I mean, you had from little children to old people. Really, I’ve never seen anything like that before. And it showed to me the extent to which the revolution had a—has a mass, democratic popular base, and Assad doesn’t.

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May 8th, 2012, 11:35 pm

 

419. omen said:

small town and rural people lacking economic and political competence to take power, who if they took power would would cause “a decade of instability” and would “stuff the goverment ministries full of their friends”.

as opposed to the regime.

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May 8th, 2012, 11:37 pm

 

420. zoo said:

Hearing the FSA complaining they get no weapons, it is quite possible that the weapons paid by KSA and Qatar and smuggled through Turkey are bypassing the FSA and increasing Hezbollah’s arsenal.

Weapons being smuggled between Lebanon, Syria: U.N.

By Michelle Nichols

UNITED NATIONS | Tue May 8, 2012 6:42pm EDT
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/08/us-syria-lebanon-weapons-idUSBRE8471EV20120508
(Reuters) – Weapons are being smuggled both ways between Lebanon and Syria, where a 14-month popular uprising has brought the country to the brink of civil war, the United Nations said on Tuesday.

Syria has repeatedly said weapons are being smuggled over its border from Lebanon and other countries to arm rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad in the conflict. Western diplomats and U.N. officials say that although the rebels have received some weapons they remain severely outgunned.
(..)

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May 9th, 2012, 12:13 am