What is behind Assad’s Violence? Three Opinions

The Syria Revolution 2011 Page on Facebook reveals the “Libya affect” on the Syrian opposition. The administrators keep pushing the “selmiye” or “peaceful” message. Commentators are largely getting upset and claiming that the Syrian revolution is losing momentum. Many claim that peaceful methods are flagging and cannot win against Syria’s determined and far superior security forces. They want a real military struggle like Libya’s. The individual Facebook pages of a number of leading Syrian activists demonstrate the same conflict and internal debate that is ranging among activists over whether they should take the big step to go military.

In Libya, the anti-Qaddafi forces were able to prevail because they used force. They organized an insurgency which won international backing. Foreign intelligence agencies gave them crash courses on warfare and tactics; arms were provided, and money made available. Many Syrians are coming to the conclusion that they must follow this example. Others are arguing that if the peaceful uprising becomes a civil war, the objectives of the civil society movement will be lost; revenge and the logic of violence will take over. What is more, the rebel army will have to depend on foreign help, which will leave it vulnerable to influence and meddling. Many Syrians fear a future of war. They look at Libya with foreboding, while others are inspired by the example and believe it must be emulated. [Landis Commentary]

News Round Up

Did Syria Use Tanks and Gun Boats to Shell Hama and Latakia?
by Ammar Shami (Not the author’s real name. He lives in Damascus.)
For Syria Comment, August 20, 2011

Did Syria use tanks and gunboats to shell their own cities? This is what a number of activists with obvious policy objectives have been telling Western reporters. But do Syrian authorities really have to use such unbridled force? Making claims that the Syrian army and navy shelled Latakia and Hama with gunboats and tanks may rally international support for the rebel cause, but distorting the truth can backfire. Hama has recently been visited by a delegation of foreign journalists. I was waiting to read their reports and see the newsreel of Hama’s devastation from “shelling.” The silence has been deafening. French and US journalists were included among those who traveled to Hama. So far there is no evidence of artillery being used in either city, whether from tanks or ships.

We have all heard about “shelling” and I put shelling into quotes because for the life of me, I couldn’t find any. I looked up over a dozen videos from YouTube. I searched for “Syrian army shelling” and I went through the results expecting to see cratered buildings, great chunks of concrete dangling from twisted re-bar and the sort of desolate moonscape that I had grown accustomed to watching the news after the US military swept through cities such as Falouja and al-Qaim hunting militant gangs and terrorists.

When I click on a YouTube clip titled, “Syrian Tanks shell Hama,” call me crazy, but I actually expect to see some shelling. Everyone knows what shelling looks like. The tanks stop, they move their turret and fire a huge projectile towards a target, the tank flings back a few meters and a loud explosion is heard, dust flies everywhere, the end. None of what I just described is to be seen. Even though, these days, everyone has a video camera on their phone, or a video camera. Yet for some reason, the exact moment of shelling is never captured, why would the word “shelling footage” be in the title of those clips? And boats? Shelling the coast, bombarding Latakia? The Syrian army might be aggressive, but only an idiot would use a boat to shell land on the coast. Those boats aren’t state of the art; they would do an effective job of bringing down an entire block, but they cannot be used to fight demonstrations or take out militants.

The only “possible” shelling I could see was of the mosque in Deir-El-Zoar. Mosques have been known to be used as great sniping and scouting locations, not to mention great for hiding weapons. If this mosque was used for that purpose, I wouldn’t be very surprised. Those tactics from Iraq are showing up all over Syria. More important is the coverage this video has seen. During the start of the events I visited my dentist in Bab-touma, a Christian part of town. The same day I was there a group of armed men stopped in front of the church and sprayed it with bullets. This story never made it to the news even though I saw the bullet holes with my own eyes.

Some of the videos displayed on YouTube of Hama show long plumes of black smoke twisting up above the city. These are used to prove that the city was shelled, but in all likelihood the cause of the black smoke is the burning of tires. People in Hama blocked roads with cinder blocks and burning tires. Most people who have never seen warfare would not know the difference between burning tires, shelling and buildings being ripped apart by heavy caliber shells. My father who served in the 1973 war has a good idea of what the plumes of smoke from shell-fire look like. He was the first to point it out to me.  “Tanks don’t make long plumes of black smoke, burning tires do,” he explained.

I’m guessing that the foreign journalists did visit Hama and they did see damage and lots of bullet holes, because soldiers did shoot up parts of the town. I cannot for the life of me find any evidence that Hama was shelled, however. I do believe that lots of live fire was used, and much of it had to have come from the machine guns placed on the top of the tanks. Tanks serve as effective troop carriers in urban warfare. They provide lots of armor for soldiers moving down the streets, but so far, the Syrian Army does not seem to have used them to shell the city or take down snipers. Jets have not been called in to drop 2,000 pound bombs or even 500 pound ordinance as has become standard practice in hunting rebels in Afghanistan or Iraq. Helicopter gun ships are not being depended to pound safe houses with cannon fire. And the Syrian Navy did not bombard the coast with gunships.

I don’t want to defend the Syrian Army’s handling of this uprising, anymore than I want to excuse the killing of my innocent countrymen. It is killing activists and sewing fear among the protestors. All the same, it is very frustrating to watch the international press repeat the spin of five or six activists living abroad, who have every incentive to paint Syrian soldiers as monsters. They want to win adherents for their cause by demonizing Syrians who have not joined them. US policy makers made bad mistakes because of the cheer-leading by the world press in the lead up to the invasion of Iraq. Ahmed Chalabi and his cousin were able to play the West and excite its fears about Iraq’s possession of nukes and chemical weapons. This came at a tremendous cost to everyone concerned because reporters thought they were doing good by repeating tall tales. One got fired, as I recall. But most turned into critics of the war they helped start.

Why haven’t any of the international reporters who have visited Hama spoken out about whether Syrians shelled the city with tanks and artillery? Numerous articles have been written about how the suppression of Hama in 2011 was a replay of the terrible destruction of the city in 1982 under Hafiz al-Assad. Certainly there are parallels to be made, but shelling the city with tanks is not one of them. Why can’t any of those reporters – and there are many – just come clean and write an investigative report about the evidence – or lack of it – for the shelling of Hama and Latakia?

Reporting on the situation in Syria incorrectly can have many consequences. The government could decide to use heavier guns if it is convinced that the world already believes it is using them and has nothing to lose. Foreign governments could push ahead with policies that will fail because they are based on falsehoods or an improper grasp on reality.

A typical headline – Reuters: “Smoke rose from the Syrian city of Latakia on Sunday as the government bombarded it with gunfire from navy vessels.”

Why Assad need not fear Gaddafi’s fate
By Ed Husain, August 23, 2011, Financial Times

The dramatic scenes in Tripoli are already being seized upon by those keen to depose other despotic regimes. Taken alongside the unstable situation in Syria, there is now a risk of a dangerous moment of western triumphalism. This must be resisted, especially given that the odds of overthrowing dictator Bashar al-Assad are so small.

After months of holding his nerve, US president Barack Obama last week succumbed to calls from commentators and Syrian opposition leaders, and demanded Mr Assad’s removal. The decision was a mistake. Earlier in the week, Hillary Clinton, secretary of state, noted that, if the US called for Mr Assad’s head, then what?”. And, indeed, then what?

I lived in Syria for two years and still visit regularly, so I know only too well that the US is viewed with deep animosity. Officials told me many times, and with straight faces, that America is at war with Arabs and Muslims – a view also ingrained among the wider population, particularly after the Iraq war.

Calls for regime change will thus help Syria, as Mr Assad defies the west with ease. As elsewhere in the Middle East, defying Washington is a cause of strength and popularity, as Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran show. Every passing day will now be seen as a humiliation for Mr Obama, while the fragmented and shambolic Syrian opposition will be more credibly dubbed “American stooges”, or “Zionist agents”. For a population that is vehemently anti-American and anti-Israel, such labels are powerful and destructive.

The regime has been barbaric in responding to the brave people on the streets, but we must be careful about accepting the narrative that the whole of Syria is demanding change. The largest cities of Aleppo and Damascus remain relatively calm, while opinion in western capitals is led by reports generated via opposition movements, often using social media of questionable reliability. The army has committed many atrocities but hundreds of its members appear to have been killed, too. In the absence of international media, it is debatable whether the protesters are altogether peaceful.

Already, calls for military intervention are being made by Syrian opposition activists in meetings at the White House and US state department. Yet such movements have led us astray before, as when politicians such as Ahmed Chalabi misled the US about realities in Iraq. In truth, Mr Assad’s regime is much less likely to fall than that of Muammer Gaddafi: there have been no high-profile political or military defections, while Mr Assad remains relatively popular among senior military commanders, Syrian mosque clerics, the middle-classes and business leaders.

This brings us back to the “then what” question. The numbers being killed now will wither in comparison with a possible future civil war, if an increasingly sectarian Syria splinters between the ruling Alawites, the elite and urban Christians, the majority Sunnis, the Kurds, Druze and others. There is no civil society to engineer a peaceful transition, while Syria could plausibly become another Lebanon, acting as a proxy battleground for regional powers.

This risk partly explains why Syria’s ally Turkey has exerted such effort to rein in the slaughter, and why Saudi Arabia, Russia and China have not joined America’s lead. They all want to give Mr Assad more time – because they recognise the thin chance of getting rid of him, and because they fear the violence that would follow if he did fall.

Almost 90 per cent of Syria’s crude oil exports go to European countries. Almost $3bn of its annual trade is conducted with Turkey. Saudi Arabia is a regional power with vested interests in the country, and Russia and Syria enjoy historical relations, as well as arms deals. It is these countries that now must be on the front lines of reform, with the US largely working behind the scenes.

For the west, the most powerful and poignant moment in recent months came when US ambassador Robert Ford travelled to Hama, scene of protests, to show solidarity and monitor the regime’s actions. His quiet move warmed usually hostile Sunni communities elsewhere in the Middle East to America, while putting fear into the heart of the tyrant himself. Such innovative, soft power strategies will do more to help Syrian democracy than loud statements from the White House.

The most powerful pressure on Mr Assad so far, however, has been from Al Jazeera’s Arabic coverage, which encouraged Syrians to take control of their own destiny. This is surely right, for any long-term change must come from within. Sadly, in the short term and in a highly volatile region, at present Mr Assad remains the least worst option.

The writer is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and author of The Islamist

Assad Knows What He’s Doing
Gary C. Gambill, August 23, 2011

For all of their disagreement over particulars, Western pundits share a nearly unanimous consensus that Syrian President Bashar Assad has bungled his response to the current uprising. The Syrian regime is “digging its own grave,” the International Crisis Group concluded in a report last month. One prominent analyst went so far as to assert that the president “is losing his marbles.” The Obama administration’s recent call for Assad to resign, while long overdue, is largely premised on such boat-without-a-paddle views of the Syrian leader.

In fact, Assad’s strategy and tactics have proven astonishingly effective. By any objective measure of political vulnerability, Assad should have been among the first casualties of the Arab Spring. That he’s held on this long is no small achievement.

Unflattering portrayals of Assad’s decision making are invariably premised on the assumption that some combination of reform and restraint on his part could have defused popular mobilization after the outbreak of protests in March. However, given his Alawite-dominated regime’s unusually thin claim (even by Middle Eastern standards) to represent the will of the people and the infectious wave of popular revolt spreading across the surrounding Arab world, allowing his predominantly Sunni subjects to assemble and express themselves without consequence would have doomed the regime (or doomed Assad by precipitating a hard-liner coup).

The Syrian president recognized very early on that brute force (tempered by largely cosmetic “reforms”) would have to be the mainstay of his survival strategy, and he has employed it with great acumen. Contrary to formulaic Western media characterizations, government violence against protestors has hardly been “indiscriminate.” Most of the deaths have been the result not of panicked security personnel firing blindly into crowds of people, but of what the UN recently called an “apparent shoot-to-kill” policy. Regime snipers carefully selected their targets on the basis of specific criteria (filming demonstrations with cell phones, using megaphones, carrying banners, etc) designed to incapacitate mid-level organizers. It took nearly three months for the death toll in Syria to surpass the number of people murdered by Egypt’s government in just 18 days—an extraordinarily large bang for the bullet.

To be sure, security forces have opened fire on crowds—particularly in predominantly Sunni areas close to Syria’s porous borders with Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon—but these have mostly been targeted massacres. Lacking the ability to suppress all protests at all times, the regime has been selective as to when and where it strikes. In June, for example, Assad allowed the city of Hama to slip from his control, only to storm it with tanks last month. The fact the protests have not yet snowballed into a nationwide mass uprising (Syria’s two largest cities, Aleppo and Damascus have experienced comparatively little unrest) testifies to the effectiveness of these tactics.

This doesn’t mean Assad can “win” in the sense implicit in most outside commentary. Bloodletting cannot restore the status quo ante in Syria. It only takes a small minority of highly committed people to ensure that protests and killings continue as Assad remains in power. This can only spell the end of his regime in the long-term, pariah status a few notches above North Korea in the medium term, and the looming threat of civil war in the short term.

Assad likely recognizes this (the assumption that he is somehow ignorant of political realities apparent to outside observers is another glaring absurdity of conventional wisdom in the West), but that doesn’t mean the game is over. At this stage, maintaining Alawite solidarity is his primary goal, not subduing the masses. So long as the security apparatus remains loyal, he can be overthrown only through a long and bloody civil war that may prove unpalatable to regional and international governments. Even if the regime collapses, it’s quite possible that Assad and his security barons will regroup in the coastal mountain enclaves of their ancestors (offering physical protection and access to Iranian resupply by sea) and set up a de facto Alawite micro-state. Although the Syrian president’s predicament is unquestionably dire, it’s a good bet he knows what he’s doing.

Syria: Opposition undermined by divisions of the society
(Translated from french)
Propos recueillis par Emilie SUEUR | olj.com | 22/08/2011

Post-speech analysis, “Bashar al-Assad proceeds in his reform agenda as if nothing had happened, without regard to Western or Turkish pressure,” said Fabrice Balanche, a specialist in Syria.

Sunday night, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, in an interview with state television, has rejected international pressure and announced that the reform program was under way, notably with local elections in December and  legislative elections in four to  eight months. “Bashar al-Assad proceeds in his reform agenda as if nothing had happened, without regard to Western  or Turkish pressure. And the fall that seems imminent fo Muammar Gaddafi does not seem to move him, “said Fabrice Balanche, a specialist in Syria within the Group for Research and Studies on the Mediterranean and the Middle East. A “serenity,” according to the expert,  that is based notably on the Russian veto to any international military intervention in Syria.

Furthermore, in regard to reforms and elections announced, they do not threaten the power to Assad. “The basic premise of Assad: I keep myself in power and from that, I see what I can offer as a reform to the people and the international community,” Mr. Balanche. In fact, the draft law on political parties precludes the formation of a Kurdish party or a party of the Muslim Brotherhood. “And anyway, the election will be handled as usual. Bashar al-Assad is simply trying to integrate the system of new players that do not threaten his power, “continued the expert. New players such as members of the Socialist Democratic Party, formed by the former director of the pro-government daily Teshreen, an incarnation, Balanche says, “the official opposition.”

Syrian President can also play the show because of the deep divisions that cross the opposition. “Between Islamists and others, there is no collaboration possible. They always meet separately. For example, in Lyon, in the begining, the seculars led the challenge. Today it is increasingly the Islamists who lead the protest, with about more and more radical. And they ejected secular committees, “says the researcher, who believes that the Islamists” want to take over the fight against Assad. ” As for the seculars, “they are still divided between young and old, between current human right and former communists.”

Fabrice Balanche, divisions within the opposition are just a reflection of the strong divisions across the Syrian society. Divisions at the heart of the policy of Assad. “Hafez al-Assad has played on the divisions of Syrian society and has only accentuated them. He managed to unify the Alawite community behind him and did everything to divide the Sunnis between city and countryside, between Kurds and Arabs, between Aleppo and Damascus … “said the researcher, giving the example of Damascus to support its About. “Damascus is a city unmanageable because it is divided into two provinces: Damascus city, that is to say that the center has 1.5 million inhabitants, and Damascus countryside, encircling Damascus city. Any proposed development on Damascus can not see the day, as the two governments hamper the others. From the perspective of management of the city, the situation is catastrophic, but from a political point of view, this scenario is great because it’s always the preside!
nt decides. And Syria, all works on this model. This is the principle of divide and rule “.

In this context, says Fabrice Balanche, “only a strong personality could unfortunately, bring people together. Today is Bashar al-Assad, before it was his father. And same goes for the opposition. In contrast, only tough individuals can gather to grip, so the least democratic. Those who play democracy can only go to the division. ”

According to the expert, the big fear was that the Syrian President for the month of Ramadan, the Sunni Arab world united against him. “That’s why he played on the map of social classes. To keep the “haves” with him, the President raises the specter of poor people who want to take power and appropriate the wealth. ” Until now, the Sunni bourgeoisie, and a broader middle class, have not shifted in the dispute, according to the researcher.

And to be certain that the religious fervor of Ramadan does not close the Sunni ranks, Bashar al-Assad has decided to strike hard, hence the violent suppression of recent weeks. “Assad knew he had to strike hard to reassure the military that could have broke up, to reassure expectations, and also show the Russians that it is able to hold the country so they can put their veto on foreign intervention “notes the researcher.

According to him, so we are going to a “quagmire” and “to a radicalization of the opposition, probably with the attacks. A scenario similar to the early 80’s. ” The only factor that could tilt things being the economic factor. On this point, the sanctions against the Syrian Petroleum taken by the Americans and announced by the Europeans, will hurt the regime. “Oil accounts for almost one third of the state budget and a lot of subsidies to the barons of the regime that divert part of oil production. Moreover, the fact that Assad has been declared illegitimate, will result in a cessation of foreign investment in Syria. However, these investments were still an engine of economic growth in recent years, “Mr. Balanche. The Syrian economy will emerge profoundly weakened. “But the process will take time,” says Fabrice Balanche who considers, however, that Western leaders are determined to topple the Syrian president: “For them, this time, they really want break the pro Iranian axis”.

UK minister cautious on Syrian oil sanctions
Sat, Aug 20 2011

LONDON, Aug 20 (Reuters) – Britain has not yet decided whether to back proposed EU sanctions on Syrian oil, and is wary of measures that could hurt the Syrian people more than President Bashar al-Assad, a junior foreign minister said on Saturday.

The United States imposed an oil embargo on Syria on Thursday in protest against Assad’s crackdown on civil unrest that the United Nations says has killed around 2,000 people.

But the European Union has taken a more incremental approach on sanctions. It agreed on Friday to expand the number of Syrian officials and institutions targeted, deferring discussion of an oil embargo until next week.

Some EU governments are concerned about harming their commercial interests and long-term relations with the government . Firms like Anglo-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and France’s Total are significant investors in Syria.

“We have not taken a decision on oil,” British Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt said in a BBC interview.

“Our view is that sanctions must continue to be targeted on those who support the regime, and sanctions should be considered on the basis of what will have most effect on changing that situation or improving the situation of the Syrian people.”

EU countries such as Sweden have been more supportive of an embargo on Syrian oil. Europe is a major consumer of Syrian oil exports, which are an important source of revenue for Assad’s government.

However, some analysts say that sanctions might drive Assad closer to Iran, and might have little short-term impact on the level of violence in Syria.

Burt said an oil embargo would need to be EU-wide, and that EU governments had to be wary of enabling Assad to blame them for any future economic hardship that Syrians suffer.

“What we have got to do and what we are doing is increasing the pressure in a manner that does not enable a Syrian spokesman to say ‘You are damaging the Syrian people’,” Burt said. (Reporting by David Milliken; editing by Elizabeth Piper)

Dissent in Syria Emerges as Front Line of Arab Uprisings
By ANTHONY SHADID
Published: August 22, 2011

“I am not worried,” President Bashar al-Assad declared in a television interview on Sunday.

But with the end of Colonel Qaddafi near and rebellions elsewhere in the Arab world either repressed or dangerously anarchic, the uprising in Syria emerges as the front line of the Arab revolts. In eight months, three strongmen have fallen in a region renowned for decades for its leaders dying on their thrones. While Libya and Syria have little in common beyond their repression, the arithmetic of the region seems to be betting against authoritarian rule that fails to reform.

“The change taking place in Libya in compliance with people’s demands, following what happened in Egypt and Tunisia, should teach a lesson to everyone,” the Turkish foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, said Monday in Ethiopia, in a thinly veiled reference to Mr. Assad. “Leaders of other countries must also be aware of the fact that they will be in power as long as they satisfy the demands of the people.”

Jubilation, fascination and a hint of disdain at the Libyan rebels’ reliance on Western power reverberated through the Arab world Monday, as scenes were broadcast of rebels in Tripoli’s Green Square. “Victory” was a word heard about the end of a figure seen by many as despotic and unhinged; a line from a speech early on by Colonel Qaddafi, when he vowed to fight “zanga zanga,” or alley to alley, became a pop culture reference and was mockingly introduced as a new phrase into colloquial Arabic.

Syrian activists were quick to caution against parallels. Unlike Libya, they hold no cities; few if any are calling for Western intervention; and the military and security forces engaged in a brutal crackdown against them show little sign of fracture. But the lesson of the Arab revolts was reiterated — that absolute power can no longer go uncontested and that repression alone will not clear the streets.

“The fall of the Libyan regime is a victory for the Arab world,” said Samir Nashar, an opposition figure who took part in earlier acts of opposition to Mr. Assad.

He recalled the scene Sunday night at a cafe in Aleppo, Syria’s second-largest city and, until now, relatively quiescent. When the television announced the arrest of Seif al-Islam, Colonel Qaddafi’s son often described as the heir apparent, many in the mostly intellectual crowd of about 70 jumped out of the chairs, congratulated each other and exchanged kisses. …

In a region with deep suspicions of foreign intentions, columnists, analysts and residents wondered what Libya’s rebels might owe the countries that intervened on their behalf. Others went further, suggesting that Colonel Qaddafi’s greatest crime was to surrender Libya to foreign states he once ostensibly defied.

“The return of colonial powers dressed as liberators is more dangerous than anyone can imagine,” wrote Talal Salman, the editor of As-Safir, a leftist Lebanese newspaper. “What a miserable choice it is that the dictators impose on the people of the Arab world: Either they lose their voice and give up their rights in their countries and agree to live without dignity, or they live under colonialism that comes this time under new slogans of liberation, ending oppression and giving the land back to its people.”

Fear of a new imperialism was an argument that Mr. Assad deployed on Sunday night. He never mentioned Libya in the interview. He did not have to.

“No matter what you do, they will still tell you it is not enough,” he said. “They don’t want to introduce reforms because they want your country to remain backward and unable to progress. We will not allow any country to interfere in Syria’s decisions.”

Atlas Shrugs: Muslim Brotherhood Goes After Syria: Fatwa in the Gulf, Signed by Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi
2011-08-23 11:00:29.136 GMT

Musim Brotherhood poised to grab Syria: Fatwa in the Gulf, Signed by Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: Syrian Regime Is ‘Heretical’; Sever Ties with It MEMRI A fatwa recently published in Kuwaiti papers, issued by “the religious scholars of Kuwait,” states that …

China concerned with latest developments in Syria: envoy – 2011-08-23 03:43:26

GENEVA, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) — China has been following the latest developments of Syria with great concern and called on all sides to resolve the issue in a peaceful way, Chinese diplomat He Yafei said here Monday at a special session of UN Human Rights Council on Syria.

China has hoped all parties in Syria would show maximum restraint and refrain from all acts of violence, He, Chinese Permanent Representative to the UN office at Geneva, said in a statement.

The concerned parties should seek a political solution through dialogue and consultations, so as to prevent escalating violence and more bloodshed, and restore stability and order to the country as soon as possible, He added.

“The future of Syria should be determined by its people rather than being dictated by outside forces,” He said, stressing that the only way to end the current crisis is to initiate a home-led and inclusive political process.

DJ UN Team Ordered Out Of Syrian Protest City -Spokesman
2011-08-22 18:05:08.734 GMT

UNITED NATIONS (AFP)–Syrian authorities ordered a UN team to leave the city of Homs on Monday after protests erupted there, a U.N. spokesman said. Three people were shot dead when security forces opened fire on a rally in Homs on Monday, according to activists. The U.N. team was in the city as part of a mission to assess Syria’s humanitarian needs as President Bashar al-Assad pursues a deadly crackdown on protests. “The mission proceeded to Homs today as planned. A protest situation developed and the mission was advised to leave for security reasons,” U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters. “The mission did not come under fire,” he added. Crowds took to the streets of Homs when they heard the UN mission was in the city to make their voices heard, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights chief Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP. “Three people were killed and several wounded when some shabiha [pro-regime militiamen] and members of the security forces opened fire,” he said. The U.N. mission arrived Saturday for a five-day inspection and began its work the next day in Damascus to assess humanitarian needs, officials said. While the team was in the Damascus suburb of Douma protesters also rallied against Assad, witnesses said.

Why Turkey’s Kurdish Conflict Is Making a Worrying Comeback
Time.com By PELIN TURGUT / ISTANBUL

A sharp escalation in fighting between Turkey and the Kurdish separatist PKK over the past three weeks has bucked the trend of recent years that saw Turkey inching towards a peaceful solution to three decades of conflict with its restive Kurdish minority.

The government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had eased efforts to snuff out the Kurdish language and culture, and once-banned Kurdish music, literature and television flourished. Turkish authorities even took the once unthinkable step of holding secret talks abounding to ending the fighting with Abdullah Ocalan, the jailed PKK leader that Turkey would gladly have hanged after his capture in 1999 if it hadn’t been seeking to join the European Union which forbids the death penalty. And in June, a record 36 deputies from a pro-Kurdish party were elected to parliament.

But the potential consequences of a violent government crackdown are worrying – especially against the backdrop of the Arab Spring. The PKK enjoys huge support in the Kurdish southeast where tens of thousands take to the streets at a moment’s notice when called upon. (See why Turkey’s vote is good for democracy.)
….
Some Turkish observers blame the recent wave of PKK attacks on Syria, which shares an 840km border with Turkey, arguing that the regime of President Bashar al-Assad is tacitly backing the rebels in response to Erdogan turning against his former ally. (Syria had during the mid-1990s allowed Ocalan to operate from Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, then under Syrian control, during a previous round of Syrian-Turkish tensions.) Erdogan warned on Thursday that he considered the unrest in Syria part of Turkey’s “internal affairs”.

The regional picture is more complicated: Syria’s key ally, Iran, has in recent weeks suddenly stepped up its own attacks on PJAK, the PKK’s Iranian wing. The U.S., which needs Turkey to do the heavy lifting on Syria, is expected to back Ankara’s stance on the PKK. “I think Turkey has America’s complete support regarding the PKK,” says Soli Ozel. “The US is so dependent on Turkish backing when to comes to Syria and Iraq, I don’t think they will think twice about writing the PKK off.” (Indeed, the PKK is listed by the U.S. State Department as a terrorist organization.) The Iraqi Kurdish leadership, a close US ally, has been largely silent on recent Turkish airstrikes on their region, and has previously cooperated with Turkish military efforts against the PKK. (See TIME’s photoessay: “Portrait of the Kurdish Rebels.”)

Erdogan is in a strong domestic political position, having won reelection by a convincing margin in June, and appearing to have prevailed in a showdown with the top military brass earlier this month. But any hopes that Erdogan’s rise and the military’s decline in political influence would bring a political solution to the Kurdish issue have been dashed by the prime minister’s hawkish rhetoric. His immediate plans include more air strikes, drone attacks and the re-introduction of specially empowered police teams to control the southeast. Human rights groups accused these paramilitary units of widespread abuses during the 1990s.

“You can see that the government hasn’t really internalised the idea of a peaceful solution,” says Mustafa Gundogdu, Turkey and Iraq desk officer at the Kurdish Human Rights Project in London. “There is no commitment. Before this they were constantly hedging. Now they think they can end it using the military and the police.”

… The difference, this time, may be that the calculations have changed in Syria, Iraq and Iran. The fate of Turkey’s Kurds may to some extent rest not only on Ankara’s decisions but also on those made in Damascus, Tehran and Erbil. And the consequences of decision made in any of those cities will certainly have an impact in the others.

Comments (174)


Pirouz said:

I’ve made the same observations about the claims of “shelling.” By “shelling” I take this to mean artillery indirect fire. I also have looked for evidence and have come up with zilch.

I have heard what sounds like Tank main armament fire, in what I assume to be direct fire mode.

But I’m still looking for evidence of actual “shelling.”

Likewise there isn’t any actual evidence (yet) of that SyN Osa class missile boat firing any of its four cannons.

August 23rd, 2011, 3:21 pm

 

Tara said:

Revlon 188& 190, OTW, and all mamnhebaks

Time may have come for the revolution to change course.  I am specifically worried about what I read in 190.  Selmiayh my not work anymore.  Armed resistance with no fly zone and a buffer zone near the northern border might be the way to go.  The buffer zone will be the safe haven for the defectors and I am sure most Sunnis in the army will defect.  I am not afraid of civil war.  Alawites who support the regime are already in the army or security forces or are Sabbihas.  They are already bearing arms.  Intellectual Alawites and others who do not currently support the regime will not support it either in case of armed resistance.  I doubt Christians civilians will bear arms and die for the regime as deep down their support is pseudo-support stemming dorm minority’s complex disorder.

We started hearing some demonstrators on the ground asking for international protection.  I am sure this is a growing feeling but people have not freely expressed it for fear of being labeled traitors.  External opposition needs to pay attention to these subtleties.  We can waste 2200 lives in vain.

I personally am struggling with this.  Is armed resistance justified? absolutely. 2200 killed in cold blood including 100 infants and small children, more than 10000 arrested, and thousands forced into refugee camps or exile.  Is it moral? Absolutely.  One could argue that allowing the killings to happen without fighting back is not moral.  Armed resistance is not romantic but I am afraid that it might be the only way to a happy ending.  

After all in the fairy tales that I like to read, evil must be fought.  It never surrenders out of benevolence.  Bashar speech might be the turning point.  It is clear that he wouldn’t hesitate to unleash all his evil against the people and you may just not be able to win over that evil with non violent means.

August 23rd, 2011, 3:41 pm

 

Afram said:

story of my life
earthquake tremor caused minor damage to my large kitchen window
fixed my self double scotch on the rocks,sat in my backyard,suddenly a school of flamingo flew over-head,nice IMPRESSIVE SCENE!
yes bozos,I,m still here
BTW,How is yOUR RIFF RAFF 3ARAOUR DOIN?

August 23rd, 2011, 3:41 pm

 

Jasmine said:

Dear Prof Landis
So far this forum has been a rich source for the news,and decent discussions,I must congratulate you on the objectivity of your articles.
I have few concern regarding certain posts recently,I am not worry too much about the occasional bad language,some unintended personal insult or swear words.
The real worry is transferring this forum to a base for the Syrian uprising by using inflammatory language,posting names,a call for aggression and killing.
I don’t think this type of language has been used in a war zone,let alone an academic forum.
I describe these people who are doing this as a pure coward,because they are contributing to the killing of more Syrian,by only sitting at their desk behind their PC,and they are claiming that they are revolutionary ,while sacrificing the blood of their fellow Syrians.
Is there any way that you can help please?

August 23rd, 2011, 3:54 pm

 

Aboud said:

Regarding Gary C. Gambill, wasn’t the Middle East Forum founded by….Daniel Pipes?

I don’t think the menhebaks know who he is 🙂

MLK Quote; “A riot is the language of the unheard”

Indeed. This is MLK justifying a riot, and rightly so. Deny people a fair and legitimate way to get their grievances addressed, and they will turn to more extreme measures. MLK condoned it. God bless his wise, wise soul.

@3 Ar’or has gone deaf from your caplocks LOL!

August 23rd, 2011, 4:04 pm

 

Observer said:

The latest self interview and the speech of the President if put point by point with his other three speeches are all of the same tune and content.
There is no need to go over the points the regime is making. It has ran out of new stories.

There is no doubt that the regime is using excessive and disproprionate force and indiscrimnate force in dealing with the protests. The degree of the force is not even a debate and whether it used tanks or aircrafts or boats is besides the point.

The end game in Lybia will refocus on Syria for the following reasons:
1. Pundits that criticized Obama for leading from behind are silent and his policy of lending support showed that patient and deliberate and targeted diplomacy and force works better than shock and awe. He after all got Bin Laden with Special ops unit; exactly as John Kerry argued for in his 2004 campaign. He and NATO got the Green Leader with a mere one billion in expense; the daily expense in either Iraq or Afghanistan. This is cheap and fully acceptable to the US and EU public.
2. The low cost of the operation and the more than full willingness of the Saudis and Qataris to fund it has shown that any new intervention is feasible. The videos showing Junior’s thugs forcing people to declare that there is no God but Maher/Bashar will make if very easy for a campaign to depict the regime as heretical.
3. The armed forces in Syria will split if there is intervention from the outside especially if the units that defect can find a safe haven from which to get support and protection. The regime can count on its units as long as the opponent is unarmed, but like many thugs and bullies once there is fighting back, the spirit to continue to support a family will not last.
4. The questions that one should ask is not whether the opposition should pick up armed struggle or not; they may be eventually forced to as they are being put in a position of having nothing to lose and everything to gain. That is the question. Will the regime push to the point where the opposition and the majority of Syrians start to feel that they have nothing to lose and that the present family is the source of the chaos and destruction.
5. The questions that need to be asked are as follows:
a) Will Syria be the bait with which Iran will be boxed and even attacked or diminsihed in its role
b) Will a combined Saudi Turkish alliance view the day to replace the Iran Baghdad Bint Jbeil axis
c) Will other autocrats see the writing on the wall and conduct true and deep reforms leaving Syria even more isolated and a pariah than ever.
d) Will the new found freedom of the people of Tunisia Lybia Egypt and Yemen and hopefully other countries force the autocrats to shun and boycott those who remain archaic and dictatorial
e) Will it ever be possible for the regime to recuperate the legitimacy and the good will of the people as it has a last card to play and that is of the resistance and even at that it is not actually a strong card anymore with the attack on Palestinian refugee camps and Hamas distancing itself from it. The economic reformist agenda has failed can it be revived from the dead and if so how is that possible without bringing the house of cards down as Ehsani pointed out in his excellent post.
f) Iran will not commit suicide for the sake of the family and therefore how will it extricate itself from the Syrian mess without losing face and leverage.
4. Will the Rats come over to Syria now that they are done eating green flags. I would re read the ICG report again to refresh the memory of those that have forgotten on how deeply corrupt and brutal the regime is.

August 23rd, 2011, 4:11 pm

 

Pirouz said:

Tara,

Here is an overview of Syria’s surface to air missile resources:

http://geimint.blogspot.com/2007/09/syrian-sam-network.html

It would certainly be a tougher nut to crack than Libya. The geographic location of Syria is not as accessibly as Libya, which is made all the more so by it’s populated areas located primarily on or near the coastline. It can be certainly be done to Syria, but would require a greater contribution from the US and actual NATO losses, while relatively minimal, would be expected in such an undertaking.

August 23rd, 2011, 4:30 pm

 

Tara said:

The first point of view of “Ammar Shami” in the main post lacks credibility!

He said  “During the start of the events I visited my dentist in Bab-touma, a Christian part of town. The same day I was there a group of armed men stopped in front of the church and sprayed it with bullets. This story never made it to the news even though I saw the bullet holes with my own eyes.”

A story like this, armed men spraying bullets on a church in Christian Bab-Touma in the capital would have never been missed by Al Dunia TV or the state TV as a propaganda tool that get usually sensationalized across the globe as “muslim terrorists terrorizing Christian neighborhood”.  With all due respect, this appears to be a fabrication by the author who unsuccessfully emphatically used the term “saw it by my own eyes”. I think we call this “unconfirmed anecdote” in the west and it bears no credible weight whatsoever.  

Also, whether massive shelling has occurred or not is really beside the point.  Tanks were used by the regime in Syrian cities and towns to subdue the will of the Syrian people.  I am not a history expert but I do not believe this is precedented in history where a “leader” used tanks to invade his own towns instead of defending his borders.  I guess this is a legacy only reserved for the rabbit of the Golan. 

August 23rd, 2011, 4:31 pm

 

Aboud said:

Pirouz, I’m impressed that so much of the most intimate details of Syria’s air defense can be gleaned from an Internet search. Thanks for that.

A summary from the last paragraph

“Syria’s SAM network is very robust on paper, and would appear to offer a significant degree of protection at first glance, but this is not necessarily the case.

Against a limited incursion, the Syrian air defense network remains capable, despite the reliance on aging Soviet-era systems. This is one likely factor which drove the Israeli Air Force to circumvent SAM-defended areas when striking the Dayr az Zawr suspect nuclear facility in 2007.

Said reliance on Soviet-era SAM systems will provide a serious handicap when facing a major air incursion by a modern opponent. It is time for Syria to modernize its strategic SAM defenses if it desires to retain the ability to defend its airspace in the 21st Century.”

MLK Quote (man, by the time I’m done, MLK is going to be the first Syrian-African-American and a leader of one of the Local Coordination Committees hehehe)

“Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. ”

Indeed. Freedom must be taken from the grips of an oppressor. The tighter the grip, the more force than can be used to loosen it.

August 23rd, 2011, 4:37 pm

 

Majed97 said:

The comments section of this blog is being flooded daily with useless posts loaded with personal insults and minimal substance. It seems that some posters are under the illusion that this is a numbers game, whereby they can win the argument by dwarfing the site with useless, virus-like posts. There are four or five names (I think we all know who they are) that seem to be doing most of the postings on this blog in what seems to be an attempt on their part to hijack it. I have to admit, I spend a lot less time in the comments section now days because I skip through most of the posts belonging to certain names after becoming familiar with their tactics.

I suggest limiting the number of posts per e-mail address to no more than 10 per day. Perhaps this will cause posters to savior their posts and load them with more substance, instead of firing them aimlessly like hot recycled air.

August 23rd, 2011, 4:39 pm

 

Tara said:

Dear Pirouz

It seems pretty odd that someone trying to discuss military affair with me. It made me laugh. ME? Military affair?

Fairy tale, music, culture, fashion, humanity, benevolence, stuff like that, yes. I even recently ventured into real politics, oppression, brutality, mass murders of innocent civilians by a brutal regime, economic sanctions, oil and gas exports, Shiaa teachings, Iranian operatives offering technological help to track dissidents, Iranian snipers shooting babies in the eyes, minority’ complex, etc ..but military? Ah ..Not yet.

Your SC name sounds Iranian. Are you?

August 23rd, 2011, 4:45 pm

 

majedkhaldoon said:

Tara
I have been an advocate of arming the people all along,I feel that a brutal dictator will not go unless he is faced with arm protestors, loosing 6000 martyrs between those who were killed,and those who diappeared, and there are more than 20,000 arrest this regime is not going to leave out of embarassment, we just saw two states one in Yemen,it was so far peaceful revolution, and is still going on, and one in Libya, that has just won because it was armed one.
It is not going to be a civil war, it is national uprising, all syrian will join in, even Alawite,and yes Christians, all against the Assad clan, It is wrong to call it civil war,What is called syrian army is not syrian army , it is assad protection army, and yes we have 17 security forces,all with arms, and the Shabiha(Lijan Sha3bieh),how can a peaceful young men prevail,this is big prison,and surrounded by all kind of weapons.
The leaders of this revolutions are calling for peaceful demonstrations, but such revolution will win in countries that respect human lives, not in Assad syria,I watched Bashar speaches,he obviously has evil demeaner,he implied threats always,and he is lying, deceiving,,saying false promises,he never meant reforms,he never intended to share power,he wants his kingdom to pass to his son and grand son.
It pains me a lot to see thousand of young men and kids dye this way, in the long run we will loose more people ,killed by Assad clan, than what we would have lost if we use the armed revolution. and with peacefull revolution we may end up getting humilliated and forced to go back to become slaves again.
Syria will not get divided,and under democracy,we will not be sectarian,those who fight for freedom,will respect freedom.

August 23rd, 2011, 4:45 pm

 

EHSANI2 said:

Dear Observer,

I want to follow up on your note by recopying my previous message to BADR.

In comment 211, you asked me to elaborate on my point and explain whether I feel Bashar was both blameless and powerless.

In my opinion, Bashar was very well aware of what he inherited. It was a dysfunctional system. The best analogy here is Gorbachev when he inherited his own stagnant Soviet system. He first proposed a vague program of reform. He soon realized that this will not work and that deeper reforms were needed. Initially, he still wanted to stick to the idea that he can prop up his centrally planned economy. It did not take him long to decide otherwise. More radical reforms in the shape of perestroika soon followed. Three years into his leadership, he decided to introduce Glasnost which brought the Soviet people radically increased freedoms of speech. Soon thereafter, he launched even more radical reforms that were meant to reduce party control of the government apparatus. He then introduced a congress of people’s deputies for which free elections throughout the Soviet Union were held. By 1989, his reforms were largely complete as he assumed the office of the head of state (Chairman of the Supreme Soviet).

For all the reforms that Gorbachev brought to his country, he still later lost to Boris Yelstin who wanted even faster and deeper changes.

I guess Bashar could have been Syria’s Gorbachev but he clearly did not. The status quo ruled in the end. To be fair, it always seems the safer option. Hoping for a turnaround is easier for humans to do than cutting their losses and embarking on painful and bold changes.

August 23rd, 2011, 4:53 pm

 

SYR.EXPAT said:

“By any objective measure of political vulnerability, Assad should have been among the first casualties of the Arab Spring. That he’s held on this long is no small achievement.”

Whoever said that doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

August 23rd, 2011, 5:04 pm

 

AIG said:

Unfortunately, it looks more and more that Syria will follow the Zimbabwe model. Dictators that really don’t care about their people and have some significant loyal support, can stick around for a long time while their country crumbles around them.

As for fighting Assad’s army straight on, that would be a mistake. If they choose violence, the revolution should target oil refineries and oil storage facilities. Without gasoline, the tanks will not roll.

August 23rd, 2011, 5:11 pm

 

SYR.EXPAT said:

http://www.facebook.com/notes/محمود-أبو-الهدى-الحسيني/وللقصة-بقية-بقلم-الدكتور-محمود-أبو-الهدى-الحسيني/208360635887657
وللقصة بقية …بقلم الدكتور محمود أبو الهدى الحسيني
by محمود أبو الهدى الحسيني on Monday, August 22, 2011 at 4:23am

في تونس حكم زين بن علي شعبه بالقبضة الحديدية، واستخدم أسرته أداة للحكم والسلب والنهب وظن أنه لن يزول …
لكنه زال … وصار ملاحقا ومشردا … يستجدي هنا وهناك …
وجلجلت كلمات القدرة قائلة:
( أولم تكونوا أقسمتم من قبل مالكم من زوال )

وفي مصر حكم حسني مبارك شعبه بالقبضة الأمنية، وكانت أسرته في صدارة الحكم والسياسة والسلب والنهب وظن أنه لن يزول …
لكنه زال … وصار مسجونا وراء القضبان هو وولداه اللذان كانا يزلزلان الأرض من قبل …
وجلجلت كلمات القدرة قائلة:
( أولم تكونوا أقسمتم من قبل مالكم من زوال )

وفي ليبيا حكم الطاغية الدكتاتور ( القردافي ) شعبه حكم إله معبود بغير حق، ورب بالباطل مشرِّعٍ يرسل إلى الناس كتابه الأخضر، وملأت صوره الشوارع والساحات، ونادى عُبّادُ الطواغيت في الأرض ( الله – معمر – ليبيا ) … فتوهموا أنَّ المخلوق الضعيف الذليل الحقير يساوي الخالق القوي العظيم …
واستخدم الطاغوت أسرته أداة لتثبيت الحكم وقمع البشر وديمومة الحكم والسلب والنهب وظن أنه لن يزول …
لكنه زال … وصار باحثا عن مهرب له في السراديب …
وجلجلت كلمات القدرة قائلة:
( أولم تكونوا أقسمتم من قبل مالكم من زوال )

وللقصة بقية …

August 23rd, 2011, 5:14 pm

 

Khalid Tlass said:

Pirouz, get outta here Majoosi. Prepare for the apocalypse that awaits Iraan. Your Caliphs will be Abu Bakr Omar Othamn. Persian Gulf will be Arabian Gulf. Our heroes are Saddam, Izzat al-Douri, King Abdullah, King Hamad. Raafidi, you guys deserve another Saddam. But if you say Abu Bakr Radi Allahu Anhu, then we might consider you as friends.

August 23rd, 2011, 5:17 pm

 

Aboud said:

Syr Expat, Gambill is editor of the Middle East Forum, founded by Daniel Pipes. Everything Pipes does has a propaganda purpose behind it. He’s accused Al-Qaeda of bringing down planes that were proven to have suffered mechanical failures.

Khalid, my advice is to stop posting. Seriously you sound like a lunatic.

August 23rd, 2011, 5:18 pm

 

Tara said:

AIG

Was you who invented the term rabbit of the Golan?

August 23rd, 2011, 5:19 pm

 

SYR.EXPAT said:

latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-syria-un-20110824,0,3072207.story

latimes.com

Syria crackdown condemned by U.N. human-rights panel

The U.N. Human Rights Council, citing ‘grave and systematic’ violations in Syria by Bashar Assad’s regime, orders probe of possible crimes against humanity as activists report five more civilian deaths.

By Ellen Knickmeyer and Roula Hajjar, Los Angeles Times

11:46 AM PDT, August 23, 2011

Reporting from Beirut

advertisement

The top U.N. human-rights panel ordered its investigators Tuesday to begin looking into possible crimes against humanity during Syria’s 5-month-old crackdown on anti-government protesters, while Syrian activists accused security forces of blocking a U.N. fact-finding team from visiting areas of unrest.

The top U.N. human-rights panel ordered its investigators Tuesday to begin looking into possible crimes against humanity during Syria’s 5-month-old crackdown on anti-government protesters, while Syrian activists accused security forces of blocking a U.N. fact-finding team from visiting areas of unrest.

The U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva — voting as Syrian activists said government forces killed five civilians Tuesday in an opposition stronghold, Hama — also condemned what it called “grave and systematic” violations of human rights by Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime.

The council’s 33-4 vote increased the overt threat of prosecution regarding a government campaign that the United Nations says has killed at least 2,200 people since protests against Assad’s regime began in March. All four Arab members on the rights council – Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan and Qatar – voted for Tuesday’s condemnation, underscoring the anger of Syria’s neighbors after Assad escalated his crackdown during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

China and Russia joined Cuba and Ecuador in voting against the directive. The opposition of Moscow and Beijing – members of the U.N. Security Council — signaled the difficulty that would face any push to win Security Council approval for prosecuting Syrian officials.

A separate U.N. human-rights team recommended last week that the Security Council refer allegations of atrocities in Syria to the International Criminal Court for possible prosecution.

Syria has blocked entry to U.N. human rights investigators, although it is allowing a U.N. team this week to investigate overall humanitarian conditions in opposition areas.

On Monday, security forces in the central city of Homs opened fire on residents who had turned out to welcome the U.N. humanitarian team. Rights workers and opposition activists said Tuesday that three people were killed when security forces fired into the crowd. Another seven died overnight in the city as security forces pressed attacks, the activists said.

A video posted online Tuesday showed the demonstrators in Homs waving scrawled notes — such as one stating, “Turn left” — to try to direct the U.N. team to areas of earlier alleged killings by security forces.

The U.N. team left as the shooting started, without injury, Elizabeth Byrs, a spokeswoman for the U.N. office of humanitarian affairs, said from Geneva.

Byrs said Syrians in general were allowing the team to tour and to speak to ordinary people with “no constraints.”

Two legal officials in Syria and neighboring Lebanon, however, said Tuesday that Assad’s isolated regime was blocking all but regime supporters from talking to the U.N. representatives.

“You have some cases where protesters and opponents of the Assad regime are practically suicidal, and will find and run up to the humanitarian team, but these are isolated incidents,” said Nabil Halabi, a human-rights lawyer in Beirut involved in the preliminary international investigations.

For example, Syrian officials were taking the U.N. team to loyalist neighborhoods of Assad’s Allawite religious minority, while telling team members that the districts had been the scene of protests, the two jurists said.

Also Tuesday, U.S. Ambassador Robert Ford made an unannounced visit to a southern town, Jassem, where Syrian forces allegedly killed 15 opposition members last week.

In Istanbul, a Syrian opposition bloc announced the creation of a transitional national council but declined to give many immediate details. The Syrian bloc was following the lead of Libyan rebels, who won international recognition for a transitional council formed as a rival to Moammar Kadafi’s government.

Knickmeyer and Hajjar are special correspondents.

August 23rd, 2011, 5:21 pm

 

SYR.EXPAT said:

“Assad’s harshest comments were reserved for the international community. “Why was the West’s reaction to your reforms negative?” one of the government-employed journalists asked him in a reverent tone. “No matter what you do, they would still tell you it is not enough,” Assad replied.”

Poor Assad. His great reforms, or lack of, are not impressing the West.

http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2089934,00.html

August 23rd, 2011, 5:26 pm

 

Ali said:

Abu Umr said

“forces people to say la ilaah illah Bashar, and this is ovewhelmingly supported by the majority of Syrian Alawis”

This is an outright lie. This has never and will never be said.
If you have nothing to talk about but you hate for Alawis, then you can go take your hate and try to spread it somewhere else.
The world is at this state because of people like you.

August 23rd, 2011, 5:27 pm

 

Khalid Tlass said:

Aboud, how could you say that to your brother ? I’m getting more and more lunatic and radicalised when I see Dr. Landis always being so SLY and SARCASTIC in his round-ups. I get lunatic when I see ppl like AbuGhassan being sly and sarcastic, and I get lunatic when I see ppl like Pirouz bossing over us as if they are a superpower. Why doesn’t Dr. Landis openly announce his support for the regime instead of being so sly ? Its a question of our survival and our honour, dammit !!!

August 23rd, 2011, 5:27 pm

 

SYR.EXPAT said:

18. ABOUD said:

That explains it. I am surprised that Prof. would quote people like that or link to well-known fear-mogering sites like Atlas…

August 23rd, 2011, 5:30 pm

 

ziadsoury said:

Tara,

Lebanese were the first to come up with that in the 80s.

Assad fe lebnan wa Arnab fe elJolan

August 23rd, 2011, 5:30 pm

 

Ali said:

reports state that 14 citizens were kidnapped by terrorist groups in Homs. They were killed and their bodies were mutilated.

August 23rd, 2011, 5:32 pm

 

True said:

Some might argue that “arming the revolution” is not a good idea as it might give Besho a genuine excuse to justify his inhuman killing actions. I say this is ABSURD and using reciprocal means and methods is totally legit in order to free our land and toppling Hafiz’s temple, that’s how all revolutions did it in the past and that’s how Syrian should do it.

However, our battle has different perceptible and indiscernible dimensions and from a strategic point of view I can safely assume it’s not the right time yet to arm the people. The battle with Besho and his thugs is a tactical operation, firstly you need to bleed them slowly to death till the right time comes to chop the head of the snake.

Yes there are too many casualties and daily assaults against those who have some dignity to shout out piercingly saying Enough!! ( surely not including those irresponsible minorities and Menhebeks) and there will be more innocent victims the longer we go with our revolution but we’re still on the good side (not managing the economy and resources) and surely in an excellent shape to topple Besho’s regime.

It’s crucial at this stage of the revolution not to feel down or start doubting our nobles goals of building the new civilised Syria where human rights are respected and democracy of one-person one-vote is the judge.

God bless Syrians!!

August 23rd, 2011, 5:35 pm

 

Real Syrian said:

The ambassador Ford in Damascus streets to encourage protesters against the regime………..Syrian people had covered him with a big photo of president Al-Assad
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yD_zlCfTQCs&feature=player_embedded
تلفزيون الدنيا – السفير الأمريكي بدمشق

August 23rd, 2011, 5:38 pm

 

EHSANI2 said:

Dear all,

It was not long ago when one side of the isle was attacking Dr. Landis for being anti the Syrian leadership.

It seems that he is now being attacked for being pro the same leadership.

Dr. Landis does not pick and choose articles that come his way. In my opinion, he makes sure that he publishes both sides and whatever comes to his attention.

Last but not least, Dr. Landis publicly states his family members, their sects and backgrounds. Readers can make their minds if any of the above takes away from his objective reading of the situation.

August 23rd, 2011, 5:38 pm

 

Tara said:

Ziadsoury

Thank you. I certainly hope some good misguided Lebanese who always admired Bashar really open their eyes and see Bashar for the murderer he turned to be. It still pains me that some genuinely good people were/are still deceived by his pseudo support of the resistance and still can’t see the truth.

August 23rd, 2011, 5:39 pm

 

AIG said:

Tara,

As mentioned above the Rabbit of the Golan is a Lebanese invention that I am happy to adopt.

August 23rd, 2011, 5:42 pm

 

Aboud said:

Khalid, what did Pirouz do to you? Even if you disagree with every word he says, no one has the right to tell him to get off this forum.

As for professor Landis’ roundups, I’m glad he tries to highlight some opinions we might otherwise overlook. For sure, I would never have seen Gambill’s article if it hadn’t been posted here.

Of course I believe it’s crap, but a very profitable niche has always existed for intellectuals who don’t care about their credibility, and try to promote an angle completely opposite to mainstream (and common sense) opinion.

Professor Landis tries very hard to accommodate many opinions here, and he can’t be faulted for that. He goes out of his way to post articles that may seem pro-regime, but otherwise the menhebaks wouldn’t stick around.

As it is, the menhebaks have never been very potent or capable in their debates, no matter how accommodating the atmosphere. I doubt a single opinion was swayed to their side by their efforts, but I’m sure numerous ones were offended.

“I get lunatic when I see ppl like AbuGhassan being sly and sarcastic”

*shrug* Abughassan irks me sometimes when he repeats some of the most outrageous regime lines and takes them at face value (like when he said every single police station in Hama had been burned down), but if that’s the worst that can be said of him, then he is still head and shoulders above alot of other people I can mention.

“Its a question of our survival and our honour, dammit ”

I hope it never gets to the point that our survival depends on the like/dislike buttons on Syria Comment LOL! And don’t think that a shred of your honor is tied up in winning arguments on the Internet. You’d be making the same mistake a French-tank-obsessed Iranian has been making all day.

Now, don’t you feel bad about what you said to Pirouz?

MLK quote;

“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”

My God, it’s like him and me are one. Nothing he has said has contradicted anything I’ve been advocating. Where can I get an MLK poster?

August 23rd, 2011, 5:42 pm

 

SYR.EXPAT said:

خشية من عنف مماثل لما شهده العراق بعد سقوط صدام
شبح بغداد يلاحق المخططين لمرحلة ما بعد القذافي
عبدالاله مجيد
GMT 10:00:00 2011 الثلائاء 23 أغسطس
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موكب لمناصري الثوار في إحدى ضواحي طرابلس في 22 آب/اغسطس 2011
يخشى الليبيون مرحلة جديدة من العنف في أعقاب سقوط نظام العقيد معمّر القذافي على غرار ما شهده العراق بعد سقوط نظام صدام حسين، وتبدو الصورة متشابهة في الحالتين، لكن يأمل البعض أن ينتهي التشابه عند مظاهر الفرح بسقوط النظام، ولا يتعداه إلى تشابه في الفوضى.

بعيدًا عن مظاهر البهجة التي عمّت شوارع طرابلس احتفالاً بنهاية 42 عامًا من حكم معمّر القذافي، فإن شبحًا يلقي بظلاله على المشهد في أذهان العديد من المسؤولين الليبيين والحكومات الغربية، هو شبح بغداد حين سقط نظام صدام حسين.

وهناك حساسية شديدة في تحضيرات قادة المعارضة لمرحلة ما بعد القذافي إزاء الأخطاء التي ارتُكبت في العراق قبل ثمانية اعوام عندما اطلق سقوط صدام سنوات من العنف الأشد دموية وأبهظ كلفة بكثير من النضال في سبيل الحرية.

ومثلما احتفل الليبيون منذ ليل 21 آب/اغسطس فإن مئات الآلاف من العراقيين نزلوا الى شوارع بغداد في آذار/مارس 2003 للاحتفال بسقوط ديكتاتورهم عقب الغزو الاميركي.

والحق أن حياة صدام حسين ومعمّر القذافي اتخذت مسارًا متماثلاً في أكثر من وجه. فكلاهما جاء الى السلطة عبر انقلاب، وكلاهما أقام حكمه على قاعدة ضيقة من افراد العائلة وصلات القرابة وولاء العشيرة.

كما في فرحة الليبيين يومي الأحد والاثنين بدا أن سقوط صدام يفتح الطريق الى الديمقراطية التي جرى التطبيل لها في الغرب بوصفها أول تحول جذري في المنطقة صوب الحرية. ولكن قادة المعارضة الليبية والحكومات الغربية يأملون بأن تنتهي أوجه الشبه بين الحالتين عند هذا الحد.

وقال مسؤولون في المعارضة الليبية ودبلوماسيون غربيون إن الفشل الذريع الذي حدث في العراق كان ماثلاً في تفكيرهم وهم يخططون لهذه اللحظة، وذلك حين أنشأ انهيار الدكتاتورية فراغًا في السلطة لم يعرفه العراق منذ عقود.

يلفت هؤلاء المسؤولون الى ان غالبية القادة الذين يستعدون لقيادة ليبيا الجديدة خرجوا من صفوف الدائرة القريبة الى القذافي، بمن فيهم رئيس الدولة المحتمل مصطفى عبد الجليل، الذي حتى شباط/فبراير الماضي، كان وزير العدل في حكومة القذافي، ومحمود جبريل المرشح لرئاسة الحكومة، وهو اقتصادي درس في الولايات المتحدة، وتولى رئاسة المجلس الوطني للتنمية الاقتصادية حتى انشقاقه في شباط/فبراير.

وبذلك يكون من المعتذر تطهير النظام الجديد من الذين ارتبطوا بالنظام السابق، على غرار عملية اجتثاث البعث التي نفذها المسؤولون الاميركيون في العراق بإبعاد كل البعثيين السابقين في العراق.

وقالت الباحثة البريطانية ذات الأصل الليبي موللي ترهوني، التي عملت مستشارة للمجلس الوطني الانتقالي منذ شباط/فبراي ، في حديث لمجلة تايم، ان إقصاء كل من كان مع نظام القذافي ليس ممكنًا لأنه بعد 42 عامًا يكون الجميع تقريبًا قد تعامل مع النظام. واضافت ان كثيرين استحضروا شبح العراق، وهناك إستيعاب ملموس في ليبيا لدروس العراق.

واعلن رئيس الوزراء البريطاني ديفيد كاميرون، الذي قطع اجازته مرة ثانية، انه حريص على تفادي الأخطاء التي وقعت في العراق، بما في ذلك تجنب كل الاعمال الانتقامية. وشدد على ضرورة ان تشارك جميع مكونات الشعب الليبي في مستقبل البلاد.

واكد القائم بأعمال سفارة المعارضة الليبية في لندن محمود الناكوع في حديث لبي بي سي ان الحكومة الجديدة ستبتعد عن كل الأعمال الثأرية، وتقدم افراد أسرة القذافي الى المحاكمة. وقال الناكوع ان المقاتلين لن يُعدموا فقط هم وسيلة للعثور على القذافي ومحاكمته.

وسارع المسؤولون البريطانيون الى القول إنهم وجميع الأعضاء الآخرين في مجموعة الاتصال الدولية كانوا يعملون على مستوى رؤساء الحكومات فما دون لإعداد خطة مفصلة تضبط الوضع في مرحلة ما بعد القذافي تجنبًا لأي فوضى.

واجتمعت المجموعة اربع مرات منذ نيسان/ابريل لتخرج بخطة استخدمتها المعارضة نموذجًا لاستراتيجيتها وللإعلان الدستوري الذي كشفت عنه في 11 آب/اغسطس. ونقلت مجلة تايم عن مسؤول بريطاني انه كان هناك احساس حقيقي بالاتعاظ من دروس العراق المهمة في الحفاظ على البنية التحتية، والتواصل مع الآخرين، وإعداد خطة تكون جاهزة في الوقت المناسب.

لكن احتمالات العنف بدت حقيقية بما فيه الكفاية يوم الاثنين، لا سيما وان القذافي نفسه ما زال طليقًا ونجله سيف الإسلام ظهر بين حشد من مؤيدي النظام مكذِّبًا ما اعلنته المعارضة عن وقوعه في قبضتها، ومحرجًا المحكمة الجنائية الدولية التي أكدت الاعلان.

ويواصل خميس نجل القذافي الآخر قيادة كتيبة نخبوية ضد قوات المعارضة. واثارت كل هذه الوقائع مخاوف من ان تكون العائلة تعدّ العدة لهجوم مضاد. واعاد هارلمان اولمان كبير مستشاري المجلس الأطلسي في واشنطن التذكير في حديث صحافي بظهور فدائيي صدام بعد سقوط بغداد.

وقال اولمان إن هناك اضطرابًا كبيرًا في غمرة الاحتفالات الليبية، ولا أحد يعرف كيف سيكون أداء المجلس الوطني الانتقالي في المرحلة التالية. واضاف ان الوقت مبكر جدًا “وإذا استرشدنا بالتاريخ فعلينا أن نكون في غاية التوجّس”.

في غضون ذلك، اعلنت المعارضة سيطرتها على نحو 95 % من العاصمة طرابلس. وتضم الـ 5 % التي لا تقع تحت سيطرتها مجمع العزيزية مقر القذافي، الذي تحصن فيه حين بدأت عمليات حلف شمال الأطلسي في آذار/مارس الماضي.

كما اندلع قتال قرب المجمع بجوار فندق ريكسوس، الذي يقيم فيه المراسلون الأجانب وبعض مسؤولي النظام. وكان هؤلاء المسؤولون اعلنوا في تصريحاتهم للصحافيين عن تسليح وتدريب آلاف المدنيين الذين يمكن استدعاؤهم لمواجهة قوات المعارضة التي دخلت العاصمة.

تقول موللي ترهوني إن مسؤولي المعارضة أعدّوا سيناريوهات محتملة لسقوط طرابلس خلال الأشهر التي أمضوها في التخطيط من بنغازي. ولاحظت ترهوني ان ما حدث يوم الاثنين بدا اقرب الى الهدوء مشيرة الى “ان المرء كان يتوقع الكثير من الدمار وإقدام القذافي على تسوية المدينة بالأرض”. واضافت ان الجميع كانوا يخططون لأسوأ الاحتمالات ويتفاءلون بالخير.

August 23rd, 2011, 5:49 pm

 

True said:

@ Khalid Tlass, c’mon don’t expect much he’s one of Menhebeks!!

@ majedkhaldoon, AGREED “It is not going to be a civil war, it is national uprising” nicely said mate

August 23rd, 2011, 5:49 pm

 

BEAWARE PLUS said:

KOOK ALERT!

Ammar Shami said:

“The regime has been barbaric in responding to the brave people on the streets, but we must be careful about accepting the narrative that the whole of Syria is demanding change. The largest cities of Aleppo and Damascus remain relatively calm, while opinion in western capitals is led by reports generated via opposition movements, often using social media of questionable reliability. The army has committed many atrocities but hundreds of its members appear to have been killed, too. In the absence of international media, it is debatable whether the protesters are altogether peaceful.”

Another painfully confused soul a la Abu Ghassan; allow the press in and the truth will come out…duuhhh! No need for silly stories like “I went to my dentist in Bab Touma and…” or Landis calling his Alawite in-law -a regime active soldier no less- to verify whether a massacre took place!!??

Here’s the most important question to ask to all members on this board:

Why does the regime not allow the press in and help dispel all these silly stories once and for all?

You can fool some people sometime, you can fool some people all the time, but you can’t fool all the people all time.

August 23rd, 2011, 5:53 pm

 

Tara said:

True

You might be right. The EU need to impose oils and gas sanctions next week. UNSC should adopt a resolution to try Bashar et al it the ICC. There are few more steps to be taken yet.

However, the world and the regime should know that we reserve the right for armed resistance under international cover and that Syrians might need to restore to this choice when they see fit. Yes, the preference is Selmiah but Syrians will not continue to accept being slaughtered forever.

Syrians are afraid of being called traitors when they ask for international support. We have been always raised that way, hence the reluctance. Air cover and a safe heaven to start launching armed resistance is what Syrian inside might need yo launch resistance. The regime committed treason when it killed the people. People have the right to protect themselves.

August 23rd, 2011, 5:54 pm

 

Ammar Shami said:

Dear Tara,

I am Ammar Shami, and if there is any way we exchange e-mails through Dr. Landis in a private manor, i would be glade to give u my dentists phone number and address so you could call him your self and ask him if i am fabricating. Whether it made the news on al-dunnia or not, i dont know, but then again, i don’t watch it 24/7.

August 23rd, 2011, 6:02 pm

 

Ammar Shami said:

I almost forgot. Whether “shelling” was used is very much the point. Shooting massive shells that can never be used without inflicting huge damage and a great amount of collateral damage. If soldiers are using tanks to hide behind like you very often see in youtube clips, or using the machine gun on top, it’s not the same as using it for shelling. And like i said, using those words can lead to actually using heavy weapons.

August 23rd, 2011, 6:11 pm

 

Khalid Tlass said:

Okay Aboud, I am sorry. And I apologize to Dr. Landis and any other person to whom I was uncharitabke in my comments. I’m new to this forum so I don’t know all of Landis’ opinions, but he seems to be very irritating , trying to dig out all sorts of online literature belittling and making fun of our Revolution.

To me its highly offensive, becoz its making fun of the martyrs. Dr. Landis and the other shoyld show some respect for the 2,200 soulds, and not treat this as another trivial power-struggle.

As I said, the only way we can honour the martyrs is by toppling this regime.

August 23rd, 2011, 6:12 pm

 

Yallateef said:

To all those who are suddenly worried about name calling or sensitive about Syria being “ruined” by an uprising, I say open your eyes. The majority of Syrians have tasted this directly or indirectly for over 40 years. I’ve witnessed someone beaten for simply not getting up from a table that a connected man wanted at a restaurant in front of his family. You won’t get an apology out of me.

As for Syria being “ruined.” The only thing I can imagine is that you’re worried about losing your drivers and intimation leverage that you’ve grown used to. You’re afraid that people are going to turn on you for all the years of abuse.

I understand both of those incentives to turn your immoral cheek. I will however say, that if you didn’t directly beat, torture, steal or kill anyone, then you have nothing to be afraid of. If you did, however, then I hope when this is all said and done, that you are tried for each and every one of the counts that you are guilty for. The time has come where Syrians have the rights to pursue happiness, without fear.

Finally, I have to comment about the lack of evidence of “shelling.” Why does that matter? Isn’t the killing and torturing of the people who have an opposing voice enough for you? I do believe that there has been shelling in Hama (many eye witnesses have seen it).

It’s time to look at the facts, and stop playing the fear card. We Syrians deserve much better than the Assad mafia.

August 23rd, 2011, 6:23 pm

 

Ammar Shami said:

Dear Khalid Tlass,

I do agree with you that we should honor and respect the martyrs of this revolution. but how can we also honor and respect the soldiers and policemen who died in this struggle, perhaps telling both sides of the story, which is what i see happening on this forum. People don’t agree, and it does get a bit heated, but i doubt Dr. Landis provokes this kind of thing, the people posting do. so my question is still, how do we honor the hundreds of martyrs on the other side of the struggle? because the “army shooting it’s own people” argument is no longer a valid argument, so we can’t just dismiss it in a single statement like it usually is.

August 23rd, 2011, 6:34 pm

 

Abughassan said:

Khalid,I am not a fan of your posts and you probably can say the same about mine,but we both have the right to speak without using personal attacks and hateful sectarian language.most alawis and Sunnis,to my knowledge,do not believe in the use of indiscriminate violence,and the smart thing to do is to oppose the regime but to respect the rights off all Syrians for a free and dignified life. We are all learning here,and some have more to learn. Joshua is doing us a service but we do not have to accept everything he says,I look at SC as an experiment in free speech that must succeed.

August 23rd, 2011, 7:04 pm

 

Abughassan said:

Aboud,I was wrong before and I will make future mistakes in the future.I have limited tools at my disposal because I do not live in Syria and it is getting harder to find the whole truth in Syria,but I know now that the truth is not exclusively owned by the pro or the anti regime forces.I see no positive outcome for this crisis if the cycle of violence continues.

August 23rd, 2011, 7:18 pm

 

SyriaLover said:

Ehsani #27 is right about Dr Landis. Thanks for reminding us.

Also the range of information and views highlighted by the owner of this blog are extraordinary.

I’d like to break the news to some commentators here(with some shining exceptions) that the surest way to clarify your own thinking and be able to make sound arguments is to study your opponents case, gather information from all sources and view it from the opposite camp.

Instead of bickering and insults we need serious clear thinking and good arguments on Syria – both emotional and intellectual. The stakes will never be higher!

So even though I get skeptical and angry with some of the things he posts here I believe Dr Josh is providing great value.

August 23rd, 2011, 7:26 pm

 

beaware said:

Israeli-Arab Crisis Approaching
By George Friedman August 23, 2011
http://www.realclearworld.com/articles/2011/08/23/israeli-arab_crisis_approaching_99635.html

In September, the U.N. General Assembly will vote on whether to recognize Palestine as an independent and sovereign state with full rights in the United Nations.
………………………….
However, when the United Nations votes on Palestinian statehood, it will intersect with other realities and other historical processes. First, it is one thing to declare a Palestinian state; it is quite another thing to create one. The Palestinians are deeply divided between two views of what the Palestinian nation ought to be, a division not easily overcome. Second, this vote will come at a time when two of Israel’s neighbors are coping with their own internal issues. Syria is in chaos, with an extended and significant resistance against the regime having emerged. Meanwhile, Egypt is struggling with internal tension over the fall of President Hosni Mubarak and the future of the military junta that replaced him. Add to this the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq and the potential rise of Iranian power, and the potential recognition of a Palestinian state – while perfectly logical in an abstract sense – becomes an event that can force a regional crisis in the midst of ongoing regional crises. It thus is a vote that could have significant consequences.
…………………………..
Regional Implications and Israel’s Dilemma

The matter goes beyond Hamas. The Syrian regime is currently fighting for its life against its majority Sunni population. It has survived thus far, but it needs to redefine the conflict. The Iranians and Hezbollah are among those most concerned with the fall of the Syrian regime. Syria has been Iran’s one significant ally, one strategically positioned to enhance Iranian influence in the Levant. Its fall would be a strategic setback for Iran at a time when Tehran is looking to enhance its position with the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. Iran, which sees the uprising as engineered by its enemies – the United States, Saudi Arabia and Turkey – understandably wants al Assad to survive.

Meanwhile, the fall of Syria would leave Hezbollah – which is highly dependent on the current Syrian regime and is in large part an extension of Syrian policy in Lebanon – wholly dependent on Iran. And Iran without its Syrian ally is very far away from Hezbollah. Like Tehran, Hezbollah thus also wants al Assad to survive. Hezbollah joining Hamas in a confrontation with Israel would take the focus off the al Assad regime and portray his opponents as undermining resistance to Israel. Joining a war with Israel also would make it easier for Hezbollah to weather the fall of al Assad should his opponents prevail. It would help Hezbollah create a moral foundation for itself independent of Syria. Hezbollah’s ability to force a draw with Israel in 2006 constituted a victory for the radical Islamist group that increased its credibility dramatically.

The 2006 military confrontation was also a victory for Damascus, as it showed the Islamic world that Syria was the only nation-state supporting effective resistance to Israel. It also showed Israel and the United States that Syria alone could control Hezbollah and that forcing Syria out of Lebanon was a strategic error on the part of Israel and the United States.

more….

August 23rd, 2011, 7:28 pm

 

True said:

@ 34. Tara
You touched the truth somehow

“Yes, the preference is Selmiah but Syrians will not continue to accept being slaughtered forever”

Not to worry Sunnis won’t accept to line up like sheep to get slaughtered one after one by the criminal and his thugs. Soon there will be a turning point in our revolution which will send out a clear signal to everyone out there, then at that point Besho will start seeking “Selmiah” himself. It’s just this transitional stage of getting the in-house sorted first before challenging Besho neck to neck till we push him out to Iran or back to his mountain.

“Air cover and a safe heaven to start launching armed resistance is what Syrian inside might need yo launch resistance”

Sounds good but who will provide you with this Asad-FREE zone?
Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq (impossible) then you have Turkey which has 0% interest in toppling Besho, the Turks are playing dirty and using our blood as a proxy to put some MB on cabinet!! Sadly speaking that’s their ultimate goal in this situation

Syrian people are on their own and trust me they’ll do it. Just wait and keep faith!!

@ All
Why everyone is lecturing Khalid Tlass!!! Leave him alone he had enough lectures from Bathissts all his life

August 23rd, 2011, 7:28 pm

 

sheila said:

Dear Tara,
Even though I usually agree with you on almost everything, I would like to vehemently disagree with you on the call for armed resistance. I totally understand where you are coming from. On an emotional level, it is very hard for any decent human being to watch what is going on in Syria and not feel that something drastic needs to be done to stop the blood shed, however, the day the demonstrators carry arms will be the start of the real massacres. Today, the regime has no “legitimate” reason to kill massive numbers of protestors because no one believes the “armed gangs” fantasy, even though the regime has exhausted all efforts to cement the theory. When the peaceful resistance becomes armed resistance, then the regime will have the “legitimacy” to kill en mass. Also, to have enough arms to fight the regime, you will definitely need outside support to pay for and smuggle the equipment. This is not what we are looking for. As hard as it is on an emotional level to let people die without putting up a fight, it is ultimately the strongest weapon that we have to fight the regime with. Remember that were it not for NATO, Gadaffi would have exterminated all the “rats” of Libya, A state army versus armed demonstrates is never a fair match or a winning match for the demonstrators.
Hang in there. The days of this regime are numbered.

August 23rd, 2011, 7:35 pm

 

Tara said:

Kalid Tlass

I read true’s last post and that made mo feel very bad. I am sorry I suspect you are Mnhebaks. I was very wrong. I am certain today you are mamnhebak and you are entitled to your opinions. We all were lectured by the Baathists for 40 years and I am no one to lecture or judge you or anyone.

August 23rd, 2011, 7:37 pm

 

beaware said:

[JTW Interview] USAK Expert Dincer: Take Iran Into Account When Analyzing Syria
Tuesday, 23 August 2011
http://www.turkishweekly.net/news/122400/-jtw-interview-usak-expert-dincer-take-iran-into-account-when-analyzing-syria.html
By Melike Basturk, JTW
USAK expert on the Middle East Bahadır Dinçer, analyzed the recent strides in Libya and Syria on many nationally broadcast television channels.

The USAK expert appraised the developments in Libya and concluded that the reality of Gadhafi in Libya has ended. Nevertheless, according to him it is too early to know what awaits Libya in the future. He emphasized that how the coalition between the tribes is established will determine the future of the Libyan people.
………………..

“Take Iran Into Account When Analyzing Syria”

Mr. Dinçer also touched upon the Syria problem and said that as opposed to Gadhafi, Asad is not the one man of Syria. The state departments and officials are strongly connected to each other in Syria. For this reason, unless the reforms come from the very center of the state system, the attempts will be failures because a deeply-rooted coalition of bureaucratic, military, and economic elites is still strong despite international pressure.
Lastly Mr. Dinçer reported that “When examining Syria, Iran should always be taken into consideration.” If the Syrian government collapses, it will be Iran’s turn. Iran is playing an active role in Syrian politics in this respect.

August 23rd, 2011, 7:42 pm

 

Syria no kandahar said:

SC in no way is even close to Syrian Street.most of us are educated professionals living in the west.many has had personal experiences shaped up their views.some are outside the country because of that.
Syrians inside Syria mostly are living normal life,except some areas.they go to parties,dress up and have Arkila .Some of the posters here-very few-are by definition terrorists,they advocate killing and revenge,Dr Landis should not allow such language in his site.when General Ramboud
Calls for boiling soldiers in urine,and shooting them in head,Josh always allow him to do that.when I address The General as soldier boiler,Josh moderator edits my post and threatens me!!So practically SC is standing by The soldier boiler general.Who knows may be General Ramboud is Josh moderator,or may be Ramboud is Mona Wasif Spoiled Failed pony Tail son,Josh friend.

August 23rd, 2011, 7:46 pm

 

Pirouz said:

Per Tara’s request:

Yes, I’m half-Iranian, half-American (dual citizen). In terms of the Iranian part, one grandparent was Persian-Iranian, the other Azeri-Iranian.

In reference to that link I provided on Syria’s SAM network, I figure that if persons on this comment section are going to advocate an external military response, they should have a very general idea of what that would entail.

Personally, I think this is a Syrian affair that should be worked out among the Syrians living in Syria. So, speaking as an American, I’m against US intervention.

August 23rd, 2011, 7:46 pm

 

sheila said:

Dear Dr. Landis,
Would you please help Jasmine silence all the voices that do not support her pro Assad Regime position? It is becoming very hard for her to hear the other side. For her “The real worry is transferring this forum to a base for the Syrian uprising by using inflammatory language,posting names,a call for aggression and killing.” Wait a minute, this is exactly what I fear: transferring this forum to a base for the Syrian Regime to spread its propaganda by using inflammatory language, posting names and calling for aggression and killing.
“Is there any way that you can help please?”
Wait a minute, isn’t this what this forum is for: to hear both sides of the debate.
On a more serious note, I think Jasmine did not spend enough time reading this blog, because if she did, she would have discovered that the pro regime side is far more guilty of using inflammatory language, posting names and calling for aggression and killing than the other side.

August 23rd, 2011, 7:50 pm

 

beaware said:

Moscow urges world community to bolster all-Syrian dialogue
MOSCOW, August 23 (RIA Novosti)
http://en.rian.ru/world/20110823/166074582.html
The international community should bolster a dialogue between all of the parties of the Syrian conflict, Valery Loshchinin, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations Office in Geneva said on Tuesday.

“Russia believes that Syrians themselves should settle the situation in their country through an all-Syrian dialogue,” the diplomat said at a UN Human Rights Council special session on the situation of human rights in Syria.

The diplomat emphasized that the global community should assist the Syrian opposition and government to come to terms on necessary reforms.

“The Russian leadership is ready to take additional energetic measures to push forward the process of political and socio-economical reforms,” Loshchinin added.

Syria has been rocked by mass protests demanding reforms and the resignation of President Bashar Assad for almost six months. Pressure from international powers has mounted to end the crackdown.

According to UN investigators, some 2,200 civilians are thought to have been killed since protests began in the southern city of Deraa in mid-March.

The Syrian government says over 500 servicemen and security officers were also killed.

The UN Human Rights Council is drafting a resolution that “deplores the continuing indiscriminate attacks on its [Syrian] population” and seeks an immediate stop to “all acts of violence,” the BBC reported on Monday.

August 23rd, 2011, 7:50 pm

 

Dale Andersen said:

Memo To: TARA

RE: “…we reserve the right for armed resistance…”

Exactly!!!

And somewhere outside of Syria, far, far beyond Besho’s reach, anti-Regime volunteers are training for combat. It’s just a matter of time before Besho’s miltary confronts a force that shoots back and shoots to kill…

August 23rd, 2011, 7:52 pm

 

beaware said:

Syrian opposition moves towards setting up national council
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/aug/23/syrian-opposition-national-council
Splits remain in opposition fragmented by sectarian and ideological tensions, with no clear next steps beyond demands for more freedom

Syria’s fragmented opposition took steps towards forming a national council on Tuesday, but serious divisions and mistrust among the members prevented them from presenting a unified front against president Bashar al-Assad’s regime more than five months into the country’s uprising, participants said.

The opposition, fragmented by years of sectarian and ideological tensions, has made unprecedented gains against the regime, but there is no clear leadership or platform beyond the demands for more freedom and for Assad to step down.

With Assad’s forces cracking down on the protests, the overall death toll has reached 2,200, the United Nations said this week.

Opposition members have been meeting in neighbouring Turkey in recent days, but there were conflicting reports about exactly what emerged. Obeida al-Nahhas told the Associated Press that a council had been formed but the details were still being completed; others said there was no council to speak of yet.

“People are just beginning to form an opposition and so they are treading carefully. This is understandable,” said Mahmud Osman, an opposition member at the meeting in Turkey. “We don’t claim to represent the whole of Syria. But we are talking to everyone and we are trying to build a consensus.”
more…

August 23rd, 2011, 8:00 pm

 

Tara said:

Pirouz

I admire your honesty. It is great that you are half Iranian. I do have many Iranian friends in the US who like to text me at or after 12:00 pm to express solidarity. I have not read you before. Are you pro-regime or anti regime or neither? Do you take questions about religion?

August 23rd, 2011, 8:09 pm

 

beaware said:

US ambassador visits southern Syria
(AFP) – 23 aug 2011
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iJOzPVE7xEPh3S8qIzIuYHGF8o8A?docId=CNG.28a184296dda6208bfa99078cd9b334d.21
WASHINGTON — The US ambassador to Damascus on Tuesday visited, without Syrian permission, a town in the south of the country and met with members of the opposition there, US officials said.

Officials said Robert Ford made the visit to Jassem, which they conceded lies beyond a 25-kilometer (15-mile) limit from Damascus that the Syrians set after they were angered by a visit he made last month to the city of Hama.

Beyond that limit, permission is required.

In Washington, US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Ford informed the Syrian Foreign Ministry only after he returned to Damascus because three of his previous requests to travel beyond the limit were denied.

“He made clear to them that the reason that he didn’t inform them before the visit was because they haven’t been approving any visits, by anybody, anywhere,” Nuland told reporters.

Nuland said Ford went to Jassem, some 65 kilometers (42 miles) south of Damascus, because there had been peaceful protests there.

“He had a chance there to talk to a number of Syrians, including those in the opposition. And then he drove back to Damascus,” Nuland said.

A large number of security forces accompanied him and the Syrian Foreign Ministry was not surprised to learn of his visit, she said.

An embassy spokesman in Damascus who asked not to be named said Ford visited Jassem “as part of his routine diplomatic duties.”

Jassem is in southern Daraa province, epicenter of anti-regime protests that broke out in mid-March, where according to activists 15 people were killed on Friday by security forces when they opened fire to crush a demonstration.
more…

August 23rd, 2011, 8:11 pm

 

Tara said:

Ammar Shami

Hello Ammar. If Dr. Landis does not mind, he can forward me the info and I will make the call. Thank you for your response.

August 23rd, 2011, 8:17 pm

 

Ali said:

54. Dale Andersen said:

“It’s just a matter of time before Besho’s miltary confronts a force that shoots back and shoots to kill…”

How very peaceful of you Anderson. Whats next? Are they gonna take over the world? (shaking in my boots)

Dale Anderson, you are a criminal. You are as criminal as the wahabis and you are as criminal as this “revolution”.
Go tell your anti-Regime volunteers that are training for combat (lmao) not to bother wasting their time training (playing dress ups) and stay out of Syria’s internal affairs.

[Edited for violent language. We can all express ourselves without violence – please]

August 23rd, 2011, 8:18 pm

 

Tara said:

Oh yes Jasmine. Our voices should be silenced. Any voice that does not declare Bashar to be not only worthy of presiding over Syria but over the world too should be muted. Vulgarity, personal attacks, racism, bad language do not bother you a bit. The voices of the revolution do.

Never again, the voice of the Syrian people will be silenced…Just like the people of Libya, our kidnapped homeland will eventually return to us and then we will make sure that your voice is not silenced.

So please get with the program.

August 23rd, 2011, 8:30 pm

 

Aboud said:

Yaaa, another Aboud-whine @50. I think I deserved one after all the words I wrote today. Mabruk to meeeeee! 🙂

Ramboud, I hope it catches on.

“The US ambassador to Damascus on Tuesday visited, without Syrian permission, a town in the south of the country and met with members of the opposition there, US officials said.”

Damn that must sting. And yet Imad Mustapha can’t travel further than the leash they have him on 🙂

“I do have many Iranian friends in the US who like to text me at or after 12:00 pm to express solidarity”

Now I feel very bad 🙁

August 23rd, 2011, 8:31 pm

 

Dale Andersen said:

To: ANY ASSADIST WHO CAN READ (you might have to translate for the numerous neanderthals amongst your kind)

From the Jew/Saudi/al-Qaeda/Salafist/CIA/EU Press

This just in…

“…meanwhile, Robert Ford, US ambassador to Syria, made a surprise visit to the southern town of Jassem, where activists say Syrian forces in May killed at least 12 people in response to unrest.

“A state department spokeswoman said the Syrian authorities had been informed after the trip ‘because they haven’t been approving any visits by anybody, anywhere’.

The spokeswoman said Mr Ford had spoken to a number of residents, adding: ‘His message back to them was that we stand with them and that we admire the fact that their action has been completely peaceful.’…”

Robert Ford is a cool dude…

August 23rd, 2011, 8:34 pm

 

Darryl said:

174. NK said:

NK, I am sorry if I misunderstood you. I have not been to Syria for a few years now as I refuse to go unless it changes for the better. My wife and kids went back in recent years and she said it is much better than before. However, government employees do not meet my standards, although I am “understandable” of possible limitations.

Unfortunately phobias exist on both sides and it is due to many factors. I will tell for me, it was not an issue until a few years ago here in Australia in a Lebanese pastry shop, something happened and I did not like it. You see, when you live in a predominately Islamic society, you do not notice when someone puts their religion in your face. When you live in a secular society, then it is obvious. I am certain you see that as a Muslim.

Many of the posters on forum who are non Muslim and expressing fear, perhaps have witnessed issues and now applying it to this case.

August 23rd, 2011, 8:49 pm

 

beaware said:

The Nexus and the Olive Tree
The White House needs to tune out the dramatic events of Syria and Libya and focus on America’s strategic goals in the region.
BY MICHAEL DORAN | AUGUST 22, 2011
http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/08/22/the_nexus_and_the_olive_tree?page=0,2
At the heart of Obama’s grand strategy was a mistaken definition of the strategic challenge. Now that the Arab uprisings have dragged the United States through a crash course on Middle Eastern realities, U.S. policymakers can more easily recognize the deepest drivers of politics in the region — namely, the vast number of severe conflicts that set Muslims against Muslims. From a practical strategic point of view, there is no such thing as “the Muslim world.” Any effort to write a narrative of cooperation with a thing that does not actually exist is bound to encounter severe difficulties.

The United States must therefore dispense entirely with grand strategies that seek to foster a conciliatory image of the United States and to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict. Instead, it should focus on the key challenge posed by the Arab uprisings: managing intra-Muslim conflict.

This requires returning to the question that Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah first posed to Obama: What is the strategy of the United States toward Iran? At stake in Syria today is nothing less than the future of the Iranian regional security system. It should not escape notice that the Saudis, though hostile to the populist wave in general, have now aligned themselves against Assad. As much as they fear revolution, the Saudis fear the Islamic Republic of Iran even more, and they see the Syrian crisis as an opportunity to deal a severe blow to it. The United States should adopt a similar view.

The contest on the ground in Syria, obviously, has profoundly local causes. Nevertheless, the regional struggle between Iran and its rivals will play a significant role in shaping it. After Assad falls, a proxy war will erupt, with outside powers seeking to cultivate Syrian clients. Iran and Hezbollah will use the covert and brutal methods that they have honed in Lebanon and Iraq. They will preserve what they can from the remnants of Assad’s security services, while simultaneously arming and training new proxies. They will kill off and intimidate those Syrians who get in their way.

The United States has a vital interest in thwarting Iran. To do so effectively, however, it must develop a serious and sustained regional containment strategy. The process of writing the new strategy begins, like before, in Riyadh and Ankara. This time, however, Obama should reverse his attitude toward the preferences of King Abdullah and Prime Minister Erdogan. The Syrian crisis offers a new opportunity to reach a strategic accommodation with the Saudis. At the same time, it should also force Washington to re-evaluate the Turks’ no-problems policy. To date, this policy has worked to the net benefit of Iran and Syria and to the detriment of the United States. There is no reason to believe that it will produce a different result in the future.

Writing a new grand strategy is important, but not urgent. It can always be put off until tomorrow, “when things calm down.” In the meantime, the phone is ringing. The world was treated to images of cheering Libyans retaking their capital on Aug. 21; the United States will surely be called upon to play a role in the messy political transition that will follow. The Aug. 18 terrorist attack in Israel has raised the specter of another Gaza war, while also escalating tensions with Egypt. And next month, the question of Palestinian statehood may well be taken up by the United Nations.

These and many other matters will soon fill up the calendar of U.S. officials. But if Washington is not careful, all these urgent issues will push aside consideration of grand strategy, precisely when it is needed most.

August 23rd, 2011, 9:08 pm

 

Darryl said:

61. DALE ANDERSEN said:

Dale Anderson, when is an American government official going to perform a similar honorable thing in occupied Palestine? or occupied Golan heights?

Mind you America’s love child Israel has many resolutions against it through a useless organisation called a UN that I unfortunately have to pay taxes to fund.

To conclude things for you, if America was serious, peace would have brought democracy to Syria and the region decades ago.

August 23rd, 2011, 9:17 pm

 

Evan said:

Darryl, Israel recognizes that the GOlan is Syrian. The issue is that Israelis will not give it up until there is a guarantee that Syrians won’t shell Israeli’s from the heights

August 23rd, 2011, 9:33 pm

 

Observer said:

Ehsani the other analogy I made when Junior took over is that of Juan Carlos of Spain who confronted the old guard of Franco and the army and forced to accept a democratic constitutional monarchy and brought Spain to the EU as a full member.

Perhaps the Gorbachev analogy is more apt as the Soviet system is similar to that of Syria with regard to autocracy and central control.

Having said that, I admire the Soviet leadership for opting for reform and not for war. One has to remember that Germany felt that war was the answer when it was about to lose the arms race with Britain in 1916. The Soviets would have been tempted to conduct a war as they felt that they were losing the arms race with the US; yet they opted to go for reforms rather than force their system by exporting the problem as a war.
Syrian regime tried this with the border crossing on the Golan recently but it knows that it does not stand a chance if a real conflict were to erupt and they would come out of it bruised and bloodied.

Now that the Libyan campaign is coming to an end; I would predict that there will be a new emphasis on Syria and this one of possible outcomes:

provoke the Syrians with Turkey so that the later can invoke article five of the NATO alliance.

provoke Iran to come to the rescue of Syria and then use this as a bait to hit it hard.

arm the revolution and mass troops along the borders to tax the ability of the regime to be everywhere.

pressure Iraq to stop or decrease its support and help the Sunni tribes across the border to consolidate their power thereby weakening both Iraq and Syria

impose no fly zone and a maritime embargo

once we start seeing over flights of Syrian air space and drones over Syria we can deduce that something is in the offing.

The world economy cannot take more turmoil and ongoing turmoil in the ME is not going to be tolerated for much longer by both regional and superpowers. Junior does not seem to understand that. He has neither the intelligence nor the stature nor the wherewithal of his father and does not have any remaining allies that would be willing to really sacrifice for him.

If after five months he still has demonstrations in the very heart of Daraa and Hama and Homs then the Bazaaris of Teheran must be wondering whether they have tied their fate to a loser. They have tried to help and modernize his armed forces only to have them force heresy on the detainees no God but Bashar/Maher. The late Khomeini must be turning in his grave and Ahmadenejad must wonder what kind of heretics he is in league with.

Once again I post this as a challenge for people to think and to analyze and to propose a wide array of opinions and solutions no matter how outlandish or farfetched they may be on the surface.

After all, in the 17th century the rule by a king or a pope was considered the norm and the code of law of Austria in 1786 explicitly encouraged the use of torture to extract confessions as the method of choice.
Yet here we are today with obviously radical ideas compared to those of the 17th century in the heart of Europe.

August 23rd, 2011, 9:48 pm

 

SYR.EXPAT said:

Ammar Shami,

Regarding the issue of shelling, just because you didn’t see evidence for it, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Actually, you pointed out to one instance in Deir Azzour, in which a minaret was shot at and the dome was hit by a projectile.

What was stunning is your defense of this criminal act. The only time when shooting at a minaret can allowed is if a sniper is shooting at people and there is no other way to stop him. However, the government never provided the evidence that that was the case.

What we’ve seen in Syria is pattern of attacking and desecrating mosques under the pretext that weapons were hidden inside. Even if weapons were hidden in mosques, why did the soldiers leave blasphemous writing declaring the divinity of Bashar and insulting all the Muslims in Syria, including those who support the regime?

As for your claim of journalist getting into some areas, the question is whether they were able to tour all the areas they wanted to visit or were they just taken to selected areas of the city. If the government didn’t have anything to hide, they would have allowed the press to operate freely. However, this criminal government has lists of things to hide. Or else why didn’t they allow the press to go the liberated city of Der’a and tour it with restriction?

In Hama, there’s video showing an anti-aircraft armored vehicle shooting at buildings and cell-phone communication towers. Why on earth would a government use such a heavy machine against civilians if not to shock and awe and show the people that they’ll stop at nothing as they did in Hama in the 1980s. Very few governments around the world reached that level of savegry. They did it in the past and they’ll do it again if they have to.

Without free access to the towns that were hit the government, one cannot rule out the shelling, especially that people are claiming that the government used tank fire in some instances.

As for your claim of a shooting of a church in Damascus, as Tara has pointed out, this would have been front-page news in all Syrian media. But there was no such thing. The Syrian government have been trying extremely hard to scare the minorities and that would have been a major boost to their claims.

I did a search of the Internet and found the following:

الجمل: في يوم احتفال الطائفة المسيحية بيوم الجمعة العظيمة تعرضت بعض كنائس في القصاع وباب توما بدمشق إلى إطلاق نار من قبل مسلحين حيث قامت مجموعات لجان الأحياء على الفور بتطويق المنطقة وتأمين سلامتها.
http://www.aljaml.com/node/70103

This website claims that several churches were sprayed with bullets, not just one. However, in the search results, there were no references to this event in the official Syrian media, which leads me to believe that the news not credible. However, even if that did take place, this could have been the work government agents who want to instill fear in the hearts of Christians. You can’t rule out that possibility, especially that the opposition is made up from all sects. Some of the brave people who demonstrated at the very beginning were Christians. One other was interviewed in a documentary and he talked about the vicious beating that he received at the hands of the security thugs back in mid March for peacefully protesting against the government.

August 23rd, 2011, 10:15 pm

 

Darryl said:

66. EVAN said:

Evan, this myth of Syria shelling north Israel (you notice here I say Israel since Syria now recognizes this entity) is on par with that you find in Greek Mythology. Israel wanted the Golan for its water period! and they would have found a way to get it some how.

Israel recognizes that Golan belongs to Syria?, that is the reason they are raping the landscape by draining lakes, stealing water, building walls, burning forests and prairies (You can gather I love nature and hate what is being done although I am not a greeny).

Mate, Israel is a superpower in the ME, they can see when the generals take toilet break let alone when a bullet is fired. Every passing day since the 70s, Israel gets stronger through advanced technology and quality, Syria only get weaker as it only has access to Russian junk and low moral, buying American weapons will still be junk compared to Israel’s. It is laughable when Syrians are talking about this system and that in the Syrian army. By the time Syria get a new piece of Russian junk installed, it was already obsolete on the drawing board. Israel never needed the Golan for security.

The true test of this, Russians buying Israeli drones, they do not know how to make one, Russians are a good 10 years behind in military Electronics (My background).

August 23rd, 2011, 10:20 pm

 

Ali said:

50. Syria no kandahar.

I understand you completely. The moderator is editing comments according to his/her liking. Some of my comments don’t appear at all

52. sheila said

“the pro regime side is far more guilty of using inflammatory language, posting names and calling for aggression and killing than the other side.”

really?

***IS THE FREE SYRIAN ARMY REAL?
106. ABOUD said:
According to the menhebak scum on this forum, there was never any defections in Abukamal.

***Hama Being Subdued Before Ramadan – “Way out of the Syrian Crisis,” by Patrick Seale

13.ABOUD said
Listen carefully, Besho (edited for insult) If your pseudo president sends in dozens of tanks, then the burden of proof is ON HIM to justify such an action. He, and the rest of you, have not come even close. I can see most of you craven trumpets haven’t even tried.

52. TRUE said:
42 “Supporting the revolution in Syria is supporting terrorism”
Seriously!!! This is the most absurd (edited for bad language) I ever come across for ages

55. SYRIAN HAMSTER said:
The lackeys (as Aboud calls them, Besho (edited for insult) kissers)

76. SYRIAN HAMSTER said:
I look at the counts of likes and dislikes and laugh my (edited part of body) out.

98. Aboud said:
And you slither back under the menhebak rocks with the rest of the sycophants.

***120 Dead as Tanks Sweep into Hama and Deir

ABOUD said
Crap out of the mouth.
Crap out of the ass.
Crap oozing from the eyes and nostrils.
No space to crap, the big stick fills up the passage.

***Ramadan Begins with Wide Spread Crack Down
12. Aboud said:
I’m sure many of Obama’s opponents in Congress would love to see the evidence you have for such claims….[Unnecessary insult. You made your point].

I WOULD KEEP GOING BUT IS TAKING UP WAY TOO MUCH OF MY TIME…… BUT I’M HOPING YOU GET THE PICTURE.

August 23rd, 2011, 10:21 pm

 

Abughassan said:

http://www.alarabonline.org/index.asp?fname=%5C2011%5C08%5C08-24%5C950c3.htm&dismode=cx&ts=24-8-2011%200:51:01
It is hard to argue against the removal of Qazzafi and other Arab rulers including our own,but I certainly do not trust the whole business of NATO controlling Libya and its money,over $ 100 billion,and oil. The idea that the Libyan transitional council needs the approval of NATO to “borrow” 2.5 billion of Libya’s own money is beyond ridiculous. Let us hope that Libya will not receive a bill for every bomb that was used to “help topple Qazzafi”. You will remember this later : much of Libya’s frozen money will be stolen or get “lost” ,and NATO,eager for a victory after the failed Iraqi adventure and the impending collapse in Afghanistan,is not the nice guy some of you believe it to be.

August 23rd, 2011, 10:41 pm

 

Argaman said:

69. Darryl –

This is a side point to the main discussion – but I was just in the Golan in July and it was very green, many trees, lots of farming of all kinds (as far as I could see mostly by Druze farmers), and there are definitely still lakes and reservoirs there. There aren’t any walls on the Golan, nor burning forests or prairies. I can understand that Syrians want the Golan back (having been there I can understand, since it is a beautiful place), but the Israelis have not destroyed it.

August 23rd, 2011, 10:44 pm

 

Aboud said:

Evan, is there an adult alive in either Syria or Israel that hasn’t heard of Moshe Dayan’s interview in 1976, where he admitted that Israeli’s reasons for invading the Golan were bogus?

It should be given a prominent, permanent link on this blog

http://www.nytimes.com/1997/05/11/world/general-s-words-shed-a-new-light-on-the-golan.html?scp=1&sq=Moshe%20Dayan%20Rami%20Tal&st=cse

And I quote;

According to the published notes, Mr. Tal began to remonstrate, ”But they were sitting on the Golan Heights, and . . . ”

General Dayan interrupted: ”Never mind that. After all, I know how at least 80 percent of the clashes there started. In my opinion, more than 80 percent, but let’s talk about 80 percent. It went this way: We would send a tractor to plow some area where it wasn’t possible to do anything, in the demilitarized area, and knew in advance that the Syrians would start to shoot. If they didn’t shoot, we would tell the tractor to advance farther, until in the end the Syrians would get annoyed and shoot. And then we would use artillery and later the air force also, and that’s how it was.”

Goodnight, Syrians-shelling-Kibbutz-myth.

August 23rd, 2011, 11:14 pm

 

S.A. said:

To Ammar Chami,
Thank you for your article. It’s the best analysis I have read so far. I will forward it to many of my friends who are worried about the situation and need to understand and see another point of view as opposed to the view portrayed by the popular media.

August 23rd, 2011, 11:15 pm

 

Abughassan said:

http://nizariat.com/poetry.php?id=103
يا سيدي السلطان

August 23rd, 2011, 11:36 pm

 

majedkhaldoon said:

we are loosing 30-50 person almost daily, in a year we will loose over ten thousand young man, ,we already lost 5-6 thousand in other word in a year we will loose over 10,000 martyr, it is not only the dead if we count the wounded there will be over 25000 person,

August 23rd, 2011, 11:36 pm

 

AIG said:

Aboud,

It is not a myth, the Syrian army used to shell the Israeli settlements from the Golan. They didn’t just fire at one or two tractors. They fired at settlements. The historical record is clear on that.

As for the Moshe Dayan quotes, isn’t it convenient that it was all published after his death and he had no chance to confirm or deny? Furthermore, the article mentions other historians that support this statement but does not give any names. I searched but have not found any other historian that corroborates this view.

Personally, I believe his daughter distorted this interview in order to push her left wing agenda. But even if you think it is completely true it does not change the historical facts. Here is a good overview including sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golan_Heights#Border_incidents_after_1948

I am not claiming that Israelis were angels and did not occasionally provoke the Syrians. They certainly did. But it is also true that the Syrians often with no reason would target Israeli civilians. For example, from the above source:
Sir Alec Douglas-Home, former Prime Minister of the UK, stated that when he was visiting the Galilee a few months before the 1967 war “at regular intervals the Russian-built forts on the Golan Heights used to lob shells into the villages, often claiming civilian casualties.” He said after the 1973 war that any agreement between the two sides “must clearly put a stop the that kind of offensive action.”

August 23rd, 2011, 11:54 pm

 

Dale Andersen said:

Memo To: DARRYL

RE: “…if America was serious, peace would have brought democracy to Syria and the region decades ago…”

Peace and democracy have no relationship whatsoever to one another. The reason Syria lacks democracy has nothing to do with the USA. But it has everything to do with the Syrian people’s failing to kill Hafez Assad more than thirty years ago when they saw what misery he had in store for them.

And speaking of the USA, it was the Assads who blamed the USA for everything. For everything that the dictators denied their people, they had a ready excuse. The USA and the colonialists and the imperialists (and forget the fact that Mother Syria treated Lebanon like a conquered colony). Like the good slaves they were (and still are), the Syrian people bought it lock, stock and barrel.

Isn’t it amazing? From Hitler to Stalin to Qaddafi to Kim Jong Il to the Assads, they all use the big lie. And fools like you, Darryl, fools who should know better, play the part of Pavlov’s dog and blame the democracies and excuse the dictators. You are pathetic. But at least you’re predictably pathetic…

August 24th, 2011, 12:02 am

 

Hans said:

I wonder why it is so hard to understand that the proclaimed peacefull protesters in Syria they are not anything but peacefull because they are shooting and armed! the second point hard to understand since when human rights activists in London who all of them are muslims brotherhood memebers are credible it is like saying Alqaida is a human watch group.
it is very clear that the USA game is to change the regime from authoterian regime to a theocraitc regime!!! did everyone forget about Al Shalabi who given the American lies about Iraq for his own purpose and gains! well the muslim brotherhood is doing the same in Syria.
If the muslims brotherhood take over Syria as happening in Egypt it is going to be the darkest age for Syria to come. Syria has great time and progess under Bashar no one can deny that, no compete freedom but arabs can’t be given freedom because it means radical islamist country like Hamas and Egypt.

August 24th, 2011, 12:06 am

 

N.Z. said:

Arab regimes are weaker than spider web, the latest to fall is a living proof. Assad is no different. The question is how to shorten the length of Syrian struggle to topple Assad mafia with the least number of casualties.

NATO, armed struggle or peaceful protests? seems to be questions on every Syrian mind, how do we stop this brutality. They want to secure their survival, we want to topple them and save lives, at once.

How?

August 24th, 2011, 12:18 am

 

Darryl said:

Memo to Dale Anderson,

When a shallow mundane person like you gets cornered, you just start rolling insults. I asked you when is an American hypocrite politician, like the ones you think are humane, going to stand up with The Palestinians at least and show some humanity?

Can you stop being a clown for just one post and answer a question?

Mate, read your post to see who is Pavlov’s dog, all your post is a repeat of the previous junk.

August 24th, 2011, 12:38 am

 

Evan said:

To #69 (and Aboud) Time for a point by point –

Evan, this myth of Syria shelling north Israel (you notice here I say Israel since Syria now recognizes this entity) is on par with that you find in Greek Mythology. Israel wanted the Golan for its water period!

– It’s not a myth, there are people who are alive who went through it and can give you firsthand testimony of how nice their neighbors treated them. More importantly, you do realize that the two countries were already in a state of war at that point and that water control is something that the United Nations considers a legitimate reason to go to war? Because of that and even up until today, Syria could have re-invaded Golan with UN justification. Syria hasn’t because they’re army is weak, and that is part of the reason why I don’t understand Bashar supporters, because his failure in the Golan speaks to his larger failure to pursue national interests. PS to Aboud, read AIG, and also don’t rely on the testimony of one man ever, I know I hate it when Israelis take the words of one Arab leader who agrees with the Israeli version of a certain event and paints that man as the one Arab who tells the truth. A reading of multiple sources reveals that this was warring side vs warring side, don’t believe the “Israel invaded us totally unprovoked we were so nice” hype.

Israel recognizes that Golan belongs to Syria?, that is the reason they are raping the landscape by draining lakes, stealing water, building walls, burning forests and prairies (You can gather I love nature and hate what is being do ne although I am not a greeny).

– So you either believe propaganda, or seriously misunderstand what is going on in Israel. Burning forests? Israel had arsonists augment a fire started by two Druze kids who put their pot of hookah coals out in the carmel forest, not sure how that’s Israel’s fault. Was that even the Golan though? I think not. Raping landscapes? Draining lakes? Stealing water? Show me proof of any of these. Majdal Shams made it very clear that they are Syrians and will fight for their land. Israelis tried once to bring them into the fold, they said no, the state gave up. As for building walls, name one country that will let in a group of people who do not believe in the sovereignty or legitimacy of that very country. Come on, name on, please.

Mate, Israel is a superpower in the ME, they can see when the generals take toilet break let alone when a bullet is fired. Every passing day since the 70s, Israel gets stronger through advanced technology and quality, Syria only get weaker as it only has access to Russian junk and low moral, buying American weapons will still be junk compared to Israel’s. It is laughable when Syrians are talking about this system and that in the Syrian army. By the time Syria get a new piece of Russian junk installed, it was already obsolete on the drawing board. Israel never needed the Golan for security.

– The 70s were a different time. In case you didn’t realize this peace wasn’t on the minds of the average arab or jew until the 1980s earliest. Yes, it is about Israeli water rights. I hope that a democratic Syrian government comes to power so that we actually have two governments who can end the Golan occupation.

The true test of this, Russians buying Israeli drones, they do not know how to make one, Russians are a good 10 years behind in military Electronics (My background).

– Gaza begs to differ. Israel unilaterally pulled out of Gaza in 06, and since then has been hit harder than ever before with rockets. Cast Lead was a failure, and though they can keep killing Islamic Jihad members one by one, they ultimately cannot guarantee the safety of their people, the ultimate hope of the pullout. In case you haven’t noticed, Israelis are scared of their neighbors, much in the same way the Alawites in Syria are. They can’t deal with populations who actually believe that Protocols of the Elders of Zion = Zionism (just look at Egypt) or look at them as lesser beings. Point is, they won’t give up the Golan until they can count on a lasting peace. Hence, I hope that Bashar is overthrown because I believe that the Syrian people will be able to push Israel in the right direction.

August 24th, 2011, 12:44 am

 

Ali said:

***120 Dead as Tanks Sweep into Hama and Deir
@30 ABOUD
@24Defectors. You know, the kind that you think don’t exist? From this point on, stop bitching if someone starts to fire back.

@23 No, your inflated numbers of shabiha scum do not count. The army killed the scum who fired on the funeral procession.
the Besho Brigades are cowardly, ill disciplined scum who are the tool of a man who in four months has gone from “the dude whose wife is on Vogue” to “this cell should be tall enough for him to stretch his neck while he waits his turn in the Hague”

@37 ABU UMAR
و هذا الكلام السخيف جاء من شخص يكنى “نرمن”! نعم أنا فلسطيني و عربي رغم أنفك يا حقير و أنتم جراثيم بشار تتوقعون أن تقتلوا، و تسجنوا و تعذبوا عشرات الآلاف و أن هؤلاء يضحكوا في وجوهكم. تقتلون القتيل و تمشون بجنازته كما فعل الهالك حافظ مع كمال جنبلاط فنحن لن نسكت بعد اليوم نحن لكم بالمرصاد. و نعم قلبي مليئ بالكراهية، لكن ليس الى من ذكرتهم، لكن الى بشار و كلابه أمثالك!

***Hama as Explained on Syrian TV and al-Jazeera

@38 ABOUD said
“and the despicable scum on this forum have been cheering the massacres from their homes abroad.”

@39 ABOUD said
Just when you thought the Baathist scum on this forum had outdone themselves

@43 ABOUD said
“Scum @42 ““Fridays’ army kicking your ass”
Tell me, why shouldn’t the people of Hama then take revenge on the first Alawite village they come across? You loathsome little slug.

@52 ABU UMAR said
Your one of the most despicable thugs on this blog and your regime will be falling very soon.
Be careful what you wish for, as thousands of Salafi lions will be coming come to hunt your shabiha khanazeer.

@125. Abu Umar said:
housands of tigers will be coming to hunt your shabeeha khanazeer.
Why do you ignore the main reason you Alawi thug, the slaughter of tens of thousands of Syrian Sunnis by your Alawi regime so it can maintain it’s grip on power, with a specific sectarian context.

***“The US Won’t Use Force against Syria,” Chief of Staff Mike Mullen; Armed Gang Controversy

16. aboali said:

#5 I say screw you, 150 people were massacred by the sons of bitches which, if your video is true, and I doubt it, now reside at the bottom of the Assi being turned into fish shit, which is a step up for them.

If mukhabarat and shibiha were killed, then it was for revenge, and they damn well deserved it. Revenge for Hamza, and Raghad, and Layal and the 70 other kids who were killed by the Assadi forces. Not to mention the 1600 protesters gunned down in cold blood on the streets of Syria by the mukhabarat scum. Getting rid of the mukhabarat, the Shabiha and their informants is the first step in freeing Syria from oppression and tyranny, so I say slaughter all those sons of bitches.

August 24th, 2011, 12:51 am

 

N.Z. said:

Almanar did not air Assad last interview. Smart first step towards reconciliation with the Syrians.

August 24th, 2011, 1:12 am

 

SYR.EXPAT said:

I just read something stunning. It is alleged that more than 42 years ago, angry Libyans demonstrating in front of the palace of the late king Idris Alsanousi, who was known to be a righteous man, were shooting “we want Iblis [Satan] and not Idris.” In other words, they wanted King Idris ousted so much so that they were willing to accept Satan in the king’s place.

Well, they got what they wanted. Just see this picture to see the difference between what they had and what they got.

http://rakan.net/vb/imgcache/12022.imgcache.jpeg

If you ask for trouble, you get it!

And it’s still not over. The Brother Leader is still plotting alive and kicking and God knows what else he has in store.

A similar thing happened in Syria. Angry protesters took to the streets in Syria and called Taj al-Deen al-Hasani, a noble and righteous man, the enemy of God in addition to many crude insults. He was the third Syrian president (1928–1931 and 1941–1943) and a prime minister (1934–1936). In addition to that, he was a highly respected scholar and judge and the son of one of Syria’s greatest scholars, Shaykh Badr al-Deen al-Hasani. When you read their bios and compare them to the bios of our current rulers, you know why older people like to refer to the good old times.

During his tenure, Syria saw great civic developments that we’re still benefitting from, including the creation of the ‘Ain al-Fijah Foundation.

Here’s what Faris al-Khouri, the famous Syrian Prime Minister said about Shaikh Taj:

“كان وطنياً سورياً مخلصاً وعاملاً بارزًا في الحقل العام، إلا أنه كان يختلف عنا معشر رجال الكتلة بالاجتهاد،
فيقول ليس بالإمكان أبدع مما هو كائن، ولذا فإنه كان يتظاهر بالتفاني بصداقته للفرنسيين لجلب أكبر نفع لبلاده،
ودرء ما يمكنه درؤه من الضرر،
إضافة إلى أنه كان عمرانياً كبيراً خلّف آثاراً كثيرة في مختلف أنحاء الوطن السوري ناطقة بفضله.
—فارس الخوري، متحدثًا عن الشيخ التاج.[4]”

It is reported that he died as a result of being poisoned.

So in the case of Syria, like in the case of Libya, the people were ungrateful and this is why we’re in the mess we’re in. For action has a reaction. If you’re grateful, God gives you more good stuff. If you’re not, God takes his blessings away.

http://ar.wikipedia.org/wiki/بدر_الدين_الحسني
http://ar.wikipedia.org/wiki/تاج_الدين_الحسني

August 24th, 2011, 1:25 am

 

SYR.EXPAT said:

“If the muslims brotherhood take over Syria as happening in Egypt it is going to be the darkest age for Syria to come”

That’s a big fat lie (I am not a fan of MB). The darkest ages of Syria are what Syrians have been experiencing since the Baath party took over.

“I wonder why it is so hard to understand that the proclaimed peaceful protesters in Syria they are not anything but peacefull because they are shooting and armed!”
Because the protesters in Syria are peaceful. If you had studied logic (it’s not that hard by the way), you would have learned that you can’t take the exception and make a generalization out of it.

August 24th, 2011, 1:34 am

 

Pirouz said:

Tara:

My sense of advocacy in Iranian politics is restricted to voting (at US polling locations) in Iran’s presidential elections held every four years.

My American view toward Syria (which I provided in my previous comment) also applies to the Islamic Republic of Iran.

August 24th, 2011, 1:37 am

 

abbas said:

thank you syr.expat for that post, I thought it’s al-hussaini not al-hasani, am I wrong

August 24th, 2011, 1:48 am

 

SYR.EXPAT said:

87. ABBAS said:
“thank you syr.expat for that post, I thought it’s al-hussaini not al-hasani, am I wrong”

You are most welcome. It’s al-Hasani. There is so much I didn’t know about the history of Syria. The Internet is a great resource.

August 24th, 2011, 1:54 am

 

SYR.EXPAT said:

A great Friday sermon by one of Damascus great scholars (Shaikh Kraiem Rajeh):

الشيخ كريم راجح للأسد: يا سيادة الرئيس كل ما اشتريناه من الدبابات والأسلحة أصبح حربا علينا
الكاتب كريم راجح – كلنا شركاء
الثلاثاء, 23 أغسطس 2011 23:11

خطبة 19 رمضان لشيخ قراء الشام كريم راجح:

يا سيادة الرئيس ألا تبلغك هذه الوحشية؟؟ كل ما اشتريناه من الدبابات والأسلحة أصبح حربا علينا

نحن شعب ضعيف لا نملك سلاحا, ولا نملك قدرات ,وإنما نحن نعيش بصدورنا وأبداننا, وبلحمنا ودمنا,فأرجو ممن يملكون السلاح أن يعرفوا أن هذا شعبهم …!!
وأن هذا الشعب هو الذي وضعهم على كراسيهم , ولذلك في نظري أن الشعب هو الحاكم والكلمة دائما للشعب, ولا يمكن أن نتجاهل هذا الشعب الذي وقف وعلى مدى أربعين عاما يقول كلمته في أن يجعل هؤلاء أسيادا على كراسيهم ينبغي
أن يعرف قدره ,وأن تُعرف قيمته, وأنه ليس شعبا يداس ولا يوطأ ,ويسلط عليه ما يسلط عليه الآن
والله إن الذي ينظر إلى هؤلاء الذين يقفون تحت الجسر وأنا آت ليقول إنَّ في دمشق لحوما فاخرة طيبة وأن هناك وحوشا تريد أن تأكل هذه اللحوم ,وتنتظر الدقيقة التي يخرج فيها هذا الإنسان الذي هو في نظرهم لم يعد عاقلا ولم يعد فكرا ولم يعد إيمانا, ولم يعد إنسان ,فدعوني الآن من الإذاعات ودعوني من الشاشات فلتتكلم عن الواقع. كأن هؤلاء الذين في الخارج في غابة ورأوا فرائس, فيذهبون إليها وبيدهم السلاح, وبيدهم هذه العصي الكهربائية ,ولو أن الرجل ضرب وأصيب فإنه لا يتركونه يضرب ويصاب ويشفقون عليه!
وإنما يجتمع عليه الثلاثة والأربعة وينهالون عليه ضربا..
يا سيادة الرئيس ألا تبلغك هذه الوحشية؟؟ يا سيادة الرئيس أنا أخاطبك من على هذا المنبر ألا تبلغك هذه الوحشية وهذا العنف؟؟
وأن دمشق أصبحت غابة ,وأن حمص أصبحت غابة ,وأن حماه أصبحت غابة, لعلهم لا يوصلون إليك ما يجري . وقعت هذه الواقعة في دمشق فاختارت الدولة الحل الأمني, ولو جلسوا على مائدة رسول الله لاختاروا غير ذلك ,ورأوا أن الرفق الذي عند رسول الله يأبى ذلك للمسلمين الذين يعيشون تحت جناحيه..
نحن كل ما اشتريناه من الدبابات والأسلحة أصبح حربا علينا, ولكنه سلمٌ على أعدائنا هل يجوز هذا؟؟ يا أيها الناس نحن شعب مسالم فلا نقابل بالأسلحة, _ويوجه كلامه للأمن_ ضربته ووقع دعه (لا) وأيضا وأيضا ولو جاء أبوه أيضا من أجل أن ينقذهم ,فإنه يُضرب أيضا , وإذا كان كما بلغني لو ذهب إلى المشفى للوحق إلى المشفى . يا سيادة الرئيس اتق الله في هذا الشعب,
احكم شعبا يحبك,
احكم شعبا يقدر لك قدرك ,
احكم شعبا يرضى عنك.
نحن عالمنا وجاهلنا وذكرنا وأنثانا وكبيرنا وصغيرنا مسالمووون,
ولكن هذه الشدة التي أصابتنا على مدى أربعين عاما لا يصبر عليها أحد.

Read more: الشيخ كريم راجح للأسد: يا سيادة الرئيس كل ما اشتريناه من الدبابات والأسلحة أصبح حربا علينا http://www.watan.com/flash/الشيخ-كريم-راجح-للأسد-يا-سيادة-الرئيس-كل-ما-اشتريناه-من-الدبابات-والأسلحة-أصبح-حربا-علينا/طباعة.html#ixzz1VvI8y7uu

August 24th, 2011, 1:58 am

 

jad said:

رسالة وقحة إلى الشباب السوري المتظاهر: أعلنوا انفصالكم الأبدي عن الخونة وتجار الثورات!
الكاتب بسام القاضي
24/ 08/ 2011

سألتكم/ن في المرة الماضية عن ما الذي يمكن فعله بيوم، ولا يمكن فعله بعشرة أيام. ولم يجبني أحد “علنا”! وتحدثنا في السياق عن بضع أمور تشغل بالكم حتى إن لم تعترفوا في “العلن” بأنها كذلك!
أما اليوم، فإن ما أريد التحدث به “علنا” إليكم/ن، وقد ناقشته مع بعضكم/ن وجها لوجه، هو ما أعتقد أنه بات الأكثر أهمية، بل والذي قد يكون اليوم (اليوم أكثر من أي يوم مضى) كعب أخيل الذي قد يفاجئكم/ن.

إنه، بالضبط، ذلك الخوف من العلانية، العلانية في:

– “إعلان” استقلالكم عن النخبة المثقفة السورية التي خانتكم. فلا أحد في سورية كلها وخارج سورية يعرف كم خانتكم قدر ما تعرفون أنتم. لا أحد يعرف كيف رفضوا التظاهر معكم خوفا على حياتهم و”حريتهم”! كيف رفضوا محاربة عنف المجرمين خوفا على خوائهم! وكيف رفضوا تقديم يد العون لكم في كل المرات التي اعتقدتم أن لديهم “خبرة ومعرفة” في مجال ما يمكن أن تكون مفيدة لكم! وكيف رفضوا حتى الاستماع لما تفكرون به ولمخاوفكم وهواجسكم.. بل وأهانوكم بصفتكم جبناء أو متوهمين في كل مرة عبرتم عن ما لا يتناسب مع شرههم المطلق لكرسي وسلطة.

– “إعلان” استقلالكم عن الخونة وعملاء الناتو خارج سورية وداخلها، الذين يقصدون دمكم وحريتكم في كل مرة يتحدثون فيها عن “ثمن” الحرية، ولا يقصدون أبدا لا أنفسهم ولا أولادهم ولا أهاليهم! أولئك الذين هربوا من سورية خوفا من مجرد استدعاء أمني، أو حتى بعد اعتقال قصير! ودفعوا ويدفعون كل يوم إلى المزيد من الدم ما دام ليس دمهم! أولئك الذين لا يعرفون، ولا يريدون أن يعرفوا حتى أسماءكم أو أسماء الضحايا، فأنتم وهم لستم إلا أرقاما مغفلة في “جيوشهم” الخاصة من أجل الكراسي!
وهؤلاء هم الذين روجوا ويروجون أنهم “قادة عظام” يجب أن يبقوا “أحرارا” ليقودوكم، أنتم الرعاع الذين يجب أن تدفعوا ثمن الحرية من دمائكم وحريتكم، فيما هم يجب أن يبقوا “سالمين” في أمريكا وأوروبا والخليج ولبنان، لكي “يقودوكم إلى النصر”!
وأعرف أنكم رفضتم في فكركم مجرمي “العشائر” و”الحرائر” و”صالح العلي” وغيرها من الشعارات التي لا هدف لها إلا تكريس أن سورية هي مجرد قبائل وطوائف، لكي يمرروا لاحقا تصوراتهم المريضة بأنهم ظلال الله على الأرض، فيكونون هم، وليس غيرهم، خلفائه، أي سادتكم الجدد!
فسورية التي تريدونها هي سورية التي تريدها اليوم الأغلبية المطلقة من الشعب السوري (مهما كانت مواقف بعضهم من النظام)، وهي سورية الديمقراطية والحرة والآمنة، وخاصة المدنية. وهذه “المدنية” تشكل رعبا حقيقيا لهؤلاء. تماما مثلما تشكل “الديمقراطية” الحقيقية رعبا لهم. فديمقراطيتهم ليست إلا “تداول سلطة” تقصي كل من لا يكون على “مقاساتهم”. وليست أبدا ديمقراطية حقيقية تشمل المساواة بين الرجال والنساء، وحماية الأطفال من الاغتصاب المبكر، وخاصة: ليست الديمقراطية الاقتصادية التي تقوم أولا على ضرائب تصاعدية تلسبهم “عدالتهم” بامتصاص دمائكم، وتسرق مستقبلكم.. باسم الحرية الاقتصادية!

– “إعلان” اعترافكم ورفضكم وإدانتكم الإجرام الذي اكتسح الساحة السورية، إجرام الشارع (فأنتم وأنا والأغلبية في سورية تعترف بما أجرم به النظام بحق المتظاهرين السلميين) الذي حول حركتكم عن اتجاهها، وقتل الناس وروعهم..
إجرام ليس فقط لا ناقة لكم فيه ولا جمل، بل جلكم يرفضه رفضا قاطعا وهو يعرف أن رقابكم هي التالية فيه. فأنتم لم تخرجوا إلى الشارع من أجل ديمقراطية المجرمين، ولا حرية القتل والتخريب، ولا مدنية الذقون الظلامية المليئة بالموت الأسود، ولا عقد نقص المتلبسين بالعلمانية واليسارية والديمقراطية..
“إعلان” اعترافكم بوجود هذا حقيقة على الأرض (وليس ممارسات فردية مبعثرة)، ورفضكم إياه رفضا مطلقا لا يشوبه أي تبرير.

– “إعلان” رفضكم وإدانتكم المطلقة، العلنية، الصريحة، الواضحة، والمنفصلة عن أي تبريرات أخرى، لأي تدخل خارجي في شؤون سورية، عسكري كان أو غير عسكري.
وأغلب من التقيت به منكم/ن يعي جيدا أن العقوبات الاقتصادية على سورية لن تترك آثارها المدمرة على أشخاص النظام، ولا على النظام نفسه، بل على كل سوري وسورية، والفقير بأشد من الغني.
ويعي جيدا أن الناتو بكل مجرميه، أصحاب الكوفيات وأصحاب السموكن، المتلبسين لبوس الله والمتلبسين لبوس حقوق الإنسان والحرية والديمقراطية، ليس إلا غولا لا يهتم بحقوق إنسان ولا بحرية ولا بديمقراطية، بل فقط بإسقاط سورية التي تشكل موقعا خاصا في خريطته الجيوسياسية، إسقاط سورية الوطن والمبادئ، وليس إسقاط النظام. فقد كانوا واضحين من اليوم الأول في خطابهم للنظام: تخلوا عن هذا وذاك من القضايا السياسية.. ونحن معكم!

في كل ذلك، عرفت كما أعرف نفسي أن ما بيني وبينكم (وبينكم وبين عشرات آلاف السوريين/ات) من اختلاف جذري لا يتعدى نقطة واحدة: أنتم لا تعيرون أهمية لإعلان هذه المواقف وتثبيت طلاق بائن لا رجعة فيه مع كل أولئك الخونة والمتاجرين بكم، وتثبيت رفضكم المطلق لأي عدوان خارجي على سورية تحت اي مسمى.. إعلان حقيقي، ورفض حقيقي..
وأنا أرى أن هذا الإعلان النهائي بات إعلان وفاة، أو ميلاد، لكل ما قدمتموه (وستقدمونه) من تضحيات..

انظروا جيدا ما الذي فعلوه بذكاء الشيطان: بينما يصل التهديد الخارجي لبلدنا إلى أقصى درجاته ما قبل هدير الناتو، يطلقون اسم جمعة هو “بشائر النصر”!!
أية براءة في تزامن هذا مع ذاك؟
أية براءة في رفضهم المطلق أن تكون “جمعة لا للتدخل الخارجي”؟!
أية براءة في رفضهم المطلق أي حديث عن “مدنية الدولة” بالمعنى الصحيح لها؟!
أية براءة في الحديث عن “شرفاء هذه الطائفة” أو تلك، في تثبيت صريح واضح أنهم لا يرون في سورية سوى “طوائف”! وأن “الشرفاء” هم فقط من يخضعون لتصوراتهم، وحقت اللعنة والقصاص على لا يخضعون لهذا (هل فعل النظام الذي ترفضونه شيئا آخر غير هذا؟!).

وانظروا:
مجرمي الثورات يعلنون اليوم، بعد أن احتل الناتو ليبيا باسم الحرية والديمقراطية، كما احتل العراق ويعمل على تقسيمها بالاسم نفسه، يعلنون اليوم “مجلسا ثوريا” خاصا بسورية.. فلعابهم قد سال.. سال كثيرا..
وتعرفون جيدا أن هذا اللعاب سوف يغرق سورية كلها إذا لم تكونوا أنتم/ن، قبل غيركم، من يتصدى لهم.. فأنتم من يمكنهم أن يكونوا “مطيتهم”.. أو أن تكونوا مناضلين يستحقون كل احترام وتقدير..

إذا، لنكن بسيطين: كلما قلته أعلاه تعرفونه مثلما أعرفه.
وإذا لم يكن كله، فأغلبه نحن متفقين عليه كليا دون أي اختلاف ذو معنى.
فما الذي بقي؟

بقي ما يشكل اليوم عصب الحياة والموت معا، عصب الحرب والسلم، عصب الحب والكراهية، عصب المدنية والقبلية.. الإعلام.
فما دمتم صامتين عن قناعاتكم، ما دمتم لم تعلنوا طلاقكم النهائي من هؤلاء المجرمين جملة وتفصيلا، ما دمتم لم تنفصلوا عن الأخون المجرمين من يسمون جمع سورية بأسماء منحطة ومتخلفة، ويمررون السلاح والإجرام، ويدورون في أروقة المخابرات الغربية طلبا للموت المسمى الناتو..
ما دمتم لم تعلنوها عالية لا لبس فيها: رفضكم وتصديكم لأي تدخل خارجي بأي ذريعة كان..
ما دمتم لم تفعلوا ذلك، فإن من يقود “الثورة” في سورية ويقرر مصيرها هم أولئك المجرمون.. مهما أزعجتكم هذه الكلمات.. ومهما صورتم لأنفسكم غير ذلك..

احذروا.. الوقت ينفد.. الناس ترى وتسمع وتفكر.. وخسرتم كثير من المؤيدين والمتعاطفين خلال الشهور الماضية بسبب من خوفكم وترددكم في هذا الانفصال.. في إعلان هذا الطلاق.. في تثبيت أنكم سوريون لا تبيعون وطنكم ولا تغضون الطرف عن المجرمين المسلحين ولا تترددون في قول الحق ضدهم وضد من يتاجر بكم مثلما لم تترددوا في قول الحق ضد النظام الذي بطش بكم قبل أن يبدأ بالبطش بالمجرمين….

الوقت ينفد.. وينفد منكم قبل أي شخص أو جهة أخرى..

فماذا ستختارون:
– أن تعلنوا سوريتكم ومدنيتكم خيارا نهائيا لا رجعة فيه، وتسحبوا كل البسط من تحت أقدام الخونة والمجرمين وتجار الثورات، وتكسبوا شعبكم يحترمكم، مؤيدا كان أم معارضا؟!
– أم أن تبقوا تحت أجنحة الخونة والمجرمين وتجار الثورات، وتخسروا المزيد من شعبكم كل يوم، ولن تكسبوا حتى احترام أولئك المجرمين الذين لا يعرفون أصلا ما يعنيه الاحترام؟!

إنه خياركم انتم، وليس خيار أحد آخر.. خياركم الذي أعتقد أنه بات خيار حياة أو موت..

http://www.bassam-alkadi.com/content/view/635/44/

August 24th, 2011, 2:02 am

 

SYR.EXPAT said:

These are the reforms that Jr. promised. Congratulation Syrians! The emergency law has been lifted. Rejoice!

اهانة المعتقلين على يد قوات الامن السوري
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H5mVPubZMEw&feature=player_embedded#!

Although I don’t advocate the taking up of arms at all, but people should not be surprised and should not whine when some people take the law into their own hands to avenge the barbarism inflicted upon them by the Syrian regime.

I haven’t seen this video because I can’t watch people being tortured. However, from looking at few frames, this seems like nothing compared to the accounts of torture I read about. One of those was the account of a Syrian Christian who described the horrors of 13 years of detention in the infamous Tadmur prison for saying that the head of Assad Sr. was like that of a goat and things like that.

I can only imagine what will happen to those torturers when the tables are turned.

August 24th, 2011, 2:12 am

 

SYRIAN HAMSTER said:

REAL EDITORS EDIT WORDS NOT OBJECTS

ALI @ 70

76. SYRIAN HAMSTER said:
I look at the counts of likes and dislikes and laugh my (edited part of body) out.

Now I am really laughing my (edited part of body) out.

Even when no trap is intended, you guys trap yourselves in your own shoes once a writer asks you to use your imagination. I wonder how editors edit parts of body? is there a list of editable body parts?

Think…..

oops, to be polite

Think….. PLEASE

August 24th, 2011, 2:24 am

 

Samara said:

Lol. The people in Libya are thanking the countries that helped them. Poor, poor people. What they do not know is that soon that help will turn Libya into a central Army base for the US and their allies. So Libya will no longer be an Arab nation. Oh well.

August 24th, 2011, 3:15 am

 

abbas said:

syr-expat:do you think that what you said about libya could be said about about Syria today, could we be asking to replace the current leader with something worse, in the latest Bouti sermons he talked about hopw alhassan al basri heard someone cursing alhajaj and he told him to stop because he is afraid the next one will be a monkey or a pig

August 24th, 2011, 3:19 am

 

SYRIAN HAMSTER said:

SENSIBLILITIES

Jasmine and Others.

The real worry is transferring this forum to a base for the Syrian uprising by using inflammatory language,posting names,a call for aggression and killing.

Calls to maintain this regime and its killers are the ultimate call for killing. Any defence of the killers’ regime is a call for murder. Any sympathy with it, even when it hides as a criticism, is a call for murder.

Agression, …. are you serious?. So in your logic, for people to take to their town squares and chant demanding dignity is aggression, and for them to be met with bullets, arrests and torture is not.

Aboud is right, the men7ebbakites have no clue as to the level of determination of the Syrian people to get rid of this junta. And I must inform you that based on my own conversations with some of the most determined, their issue is no longer hating this regime or its pathetic head, but a recognition that Syria’s future, aspiration, and survival hinge on getting rid of it. And rid of it they will be, in their own way, whether their way pleases you, me, snk, or aboud, or not. The base of the Syrian uprising is far from being here, it exists in every house invaded by regime thugs, in the heart of every mother whose son was murdered by the Assad’s snipers, and with every sister who lost a brother, every young woman who lost the young man whom she secretly loved and hoped that he will one day summon the courage to come and ask for her hand, not recognizing that he was saving his courage to make sure that when he does, theirs will be a union in a country that will respect them and give their future children the opportunity to be what they can be. She will have her dreams and her tears but those standing in the way will be swept, for history does not leave rubbish, and the dust on the streets will be swept, and the blood stains, shed by the thugs, will probably remain for long time as a reminder of the price the brave ones paid for dowry to their ultimate bride, Free Syria. You know, a country where the vicious single words, some of which I posted yesterday will no longer be operative, and only words of freedom like citizenship, justice, equality, opportunity, empowerment, fairness, …. will be operating, slowly but assuredly on the road to freedom of the minds, the souls, and more importantly of the human spirit that has been kept in torture dungeons ever since the Assads ruled Syria.

Don’t worry, the most that gets hurt here is fake sensibility, on the streets and in the homes and neighborhood of my beloved bride Syria, real people are getting hurt by the treacherous bullets and shells from the treasonous regime you are hanging on to. If I am to weigh, I would say, we are worthless, and those young brave ones are far more sensible than us, they are resisting the supreme vulgarity: oppression. Screw our sensibilities, their lives are far more important and precious than our sensibilities. This is the only sensible thing that your side has not yet recognized and is fending off with tantrums…

I am afraid that AIG’s prediction may come true, and I will do my best to ensure that it does not. Syria deserves better and better she will have.

August 24th, 2011, 3:29 am

 
 

SYRIAN HAMSTER said:

SHALLOW , you translate…

August 24th, 2011, 3:45 am

 

some guy in damascus said:

i’ve never heard of that church shooting in Damascus, but i fancy a walk in bab tuma, might check it out.
early in the days of the revolution my friends in told me that they saw an armed man with a huge beard waiting outside the church. his weapons were easily viewable, and his intention( judging by the beard) was to create a massacre. i concluded that he was either the dumbest terrorist in the world( he should be more stealthy) or it was pure theater, nevertheless this is the only incident that transcends sectarian divisions in Damascus.
@ Khalid tlass, man there will be no judging based on there religion. we want a Syria where there’s only one tag: SYRIAN CITIZEN.
@ aboud
i appreciate support and tbh, i would really like to meet you in homs once we’re free.
@ syrian hamster
last post was epic.loved it, btw have you ever heard of the Syrian golden hamster? it’s a specie of its own. very rare.

August 24th, 2011, 4:15 am

 
 

SYRIAN HAMSTER said:

Motives

Dear SGID @ 98

Thanks for both compliments, yes we are rare, or more accurately, my native wild cousins are becoming even rarer due to mismanagement of our original beautiful habitat in the Badieh. This is one of my many motives in joining your revolution. I want enlightened and competent people like you and aboud to be in charge of my habitat.

Just to let you know, every time i see a post from you and aboud i breath a sigh of relief. I know many share this feeling as our kind Tara has shown many times over. Take care my friends, you are the real heroes and you are among real heroes. Take care.

August 24th, 2011, 5:44 am

 

ann said:

*** MUST READ ***

Vintage Article From The Archives Of Syria Comment!

“To Check Syria, U.S. Explores Bond With Muslim Brothers,” by Jay Solomon

Wall Street Journal – Wednesday, July 25th, 2007

http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/?p=326#comments

WASHINGTON — On a humid afternoon in late May, about 100 supporters of Syria’s largest exile opposition group, the National Salvation Front, gathered outside Damascus’s embassy here to protest Syrian President Bashar Assad’s rule. The participants shouted anti-Assad slogans and raised banners proclaiming: “Change the Regime Now.”

The NSF unites liberal democrats, Kurds, Marxists and former Syrian officials in an effort to transform President Assad’s despotic regime. But the Washington protest also connected a pair of more unlikely players — the U.S. government and the Muslim Brotherhood.

One of the NSF’s most influential members is the Syrian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood — the decades-old political movement active across the Middle East whose leaders have inspired the terrorist groups Hamas and al Qaeda. Its Syrian offshoot says it has renounced armed struggle in favor of democratic reform.

In the months leading up to the May 26 rally, the NSF held a string of meetings with officials from the State Department and the National Security Council. They discussed media and political strategies, and the administration dispatched a camera crew from the U.S. government-funded Al Hurra television station to beam scenes of the rally across the Arab world.

How Bush hard-liners and the Brotherhood’s Syrian branch came together is a tale of desperation to keep up the pressure on Mr. Assad, whose regime has weathered all attempts by the U.S. to cripple it in recent years. The unusual relationship is also a measure of the evolving strategies on both sides as they seek ways to counter the Syrian government.

The White House views Syria — along with its allies, Iran and militant groups Hezbollah and Hamas — as a main threat to stability in the Middle East. So it is exploring the potential benefits of engaging with the Brotherhood. Despite its checkered record, the Sunni group could provide a counterweight against the rising influence of Shiite political power in the region. It could also, the reasoning goes, emerge as a force for democratic change.

The U.S. has traditionally avoided contact with the Brotherhood across the Middle East. But now the State Department and National Security Council have begun to hold regular strategy sessions on Syria policy with the NSF and is funding an organization linked to it. Senior officials from the State Department and the National Security Council confirm the meetings. The U.S. has also discussed with the NSF and linked groups ways to monitor elections and promote civil society in Syria.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Scott Carpenter says the U.S. talks “with everyone in the Syrian opposition” to understand what is happening in the country and hasn’t bestowed the NSF with special status. The front “is the largest coalition of groups that have come together” to promote democratic change, Mr. Carpenter adds. “It’s begun to have its own gravitational pull.”

U.S. diplomats and politicians have also met with legislators from parties connected to the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, Egypt and Iraq in recent months to hear their views on democratic reforms in the Middle East, U.S. officials say. Last month, the State Department’s intelligence unit organized a conference of Middle East experts to examine the merits of engagement with the Brotherhood, particularly in Egypt and Syria.

A Syrian embassy spokesman in Washington, Ahmed Salkini, described the NSF as “an insignificant force,” and said Damascus is aware of the NSF’s activities and its meetings with the Bush administration. “It’s a coalition that lacks any form of legitimacy inside or outside Syria,” he said.

Set up in the 1920s by an Egyptian schoolteacher amid the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the Muslim Brotherhood’s leaders argued that only a society governed by Islamic law could buttress the Muslim world against foreign aggression and internal corruption. A principal credo of founder Hassan al-Banna states, “The Prophet is our leader. Quran is our law.”

Branches spread across the Arab world, including Syria, Jordan and Iraq. Though ideologically linked to the Egyptian group, they were largely autonomous. In the Palestinian territories, Muslim Brothers established Hamas in 1987 as a militant response to Israel’s occupation; the organization seized control of the Gaza strip this June. The U.S., Europe and Israel designate Hamas as a terrorist organization for its use of suicide attacks.

Today, the Brotherhood’s relationship to Islamist militancy, and al Qaeda in particular, is the source of much debate. Osama bin Laden and other al Qaeda leaders cite the works of the Brotherhood’s late intellectual, Sayyid Qutb, as an inspiration for their crusade against the West and Arab dictators. Members of Egyptian and Syrian Brotherhood arms have also gone on to take senior roles in Mr. bin Laden’s movement.

Al Qaeda’s leadership, however, has also criticized Brotherhood branches recently for their embrace of democratic elections and dialogue with Western powers. The Brotherhood’s modern leadership has renounced al Qaeda’s use of violence.

The Brotherhood’s Syrian branch was established in the 1940s and won seats in early parliamentary elections and government cabinets. In the 1960s, the Baath party and the Assad family seized power, ushering in a violent chapter in Syrian history. Arms of the Brotherhood assassinated senior military and Baath party officials in the 1970s. Syria made membership in the Brotherhood a capital offense in 1980. In 1982, the regime killed up to 25,000 civilians in the city of Hama, a Brotherhood stronghold, driving many of its leaders into exile.

Syria currently has mixed relations with Islamist groups. Damascus supports the Brotherhood-inspired Hamas, as well as Hezbollah, in their fight against Israel’s presence in the region. The U.S. charges Syria with facilitating the entrance of al Qaeda fighters into Iraq, a charge Syria denies. But the staunchly secular regime represses these or other Islamist groups seeking political change within the country.

Among the Syrian exiles pressing for regime change is Ali Sadreddin Al Bayanouni, a lawyer and former bodyguard to Brotherhood officials. Mr. Bayanouni fled to Jordan in 1979 and eventually took over as president of the Brotherhood’s Syrian arm. In 2000, Amman expelled him to appease Damascus, and Mr. Bayanouni settled in London. Fit and energetic despite his 69 years, he personifies to many the new, moderate leadership of the Brotherhood.

Though his son-in-law was executed during the 1982 crackdown, Mr. Bayanouni says he rules out armed struggle as a way to change Syria. He advocates the rights of women and ethnic minorities, and envisions a government based on “pluralism and power sharing.”

“The Brotherhood has a very moderate understanding of Islam that needs to be taken into account,” he says.
The seeds of the NSF were planted four years ago by Abdul Halim Khaddam, who was among the longest-serving senior Baath party officials under late President Hafez Assad.

President Assad died in 2000, replaced by his son Bashar. By 2003, Mr. Khaddam says he believed one-party rule was fueling corruption and wrecking Syria’s economy. Mr. Khaddam, then Syria’s vice president, secretly contacted Mr. Bayanouni to discuss a rapprochement. Through a third party, Mr. Khaddam says he conveyed his belief that Syria could progress only if the Muslim Brotherhood was brought inside the political system. In 2005, Mr. Khaddam resigned and fled to Paris.

Messrs. Khaddam and Bayanouni formed the NSF in February 2006. The marriage of the Muslim Brothers and breakaway Baathists shocked many in the Arab world. The pair also reached out to the Bush administration, hoping a partnership with the U.S. could increase pressure on President Assad.

Instead of requesting military aid or financing, the group is seeking Washington’s help in focusing on Syria’s human-rights record. It is pressing for more financial sanctions on President Assad’s family. (The U.S. already has some sanctions on Syria, including on senior government officials.) The NSF also wants Washington to give up its historical bias against Islamists in government, saying the Brotherhood could help moderate Damascus’s behavior.

“We don’t want to see the U.S. give the regime a way out from its violations,” Mr. Khaddam says.
An initial contact between the White House and NSF was forged by Najib Ghadbian, a University of Arkansas political scientist. In 2005, Mr. Ghadbian and other Syrian-Americans had set up the Syrian National Council in a bid to influence the U.S. policy debate. Meeting that fall with a senior State Department official, he suggested the U.S. work with his group and its contacts, including the Brotherhood. U.S. officials confirm they were initially resistant to talking with Syrian groups tied to the Brotherhood.

Syrian-Americans were also divided. At a January 2006 conference of Syrian-American activists in Washington, participants debated whether to align with the NSF. The Syrian Reform Party, a group of pro-democracy activists close to the Bush national security team, declined to attend. “We can’t trust our future to Islamists,” says its president, Farid Ghadry, a regular visitor at the White House. “The Brotherhood will never moderate itself.”

Mr. Ghadbian’s group, however, decided to join the NSF. Syrian-American activists, he explained, “wouldn’t be taken seriously” in the Arab world without ties to arguably the largest group opposing President Assad.

As 2006 progressed, Washington became increasingly concerned about Syria’s military alliance with Iran, and the threat it posed to U.S. interests in the region. Damascus and Tehran backed Hezbollah, which fought Israel to a virtual draw that summer. The White House also worried about the threat Syria posed to Lebanon’s pro-Western government.

By early summer, the stance of key administration officials — including the White House’s chief Middle East adviser, Elliott Abrams — began to shift, say U.S. diplomats and NSF members. The White House’s National Security Council quietly vetted Messrs. Bayanouni and Khaddam through retired diplomats and Syrian-American activists, participants in the process say. U.S. officials sought assurance that the Syrian Brotherhood was committed to democracy and had renounced violence. They also hoped Mr. Khaddam could provide information on the inner workings of the Assad regime.

During 2006, Syrian exile and democracy activist Ammar Abdulhamid emerged as one of the NSF’s main liaisons with senior White House officials. In the weeks surrounding the Lebanon war, which began in July, Messrs. Abdulhamid and Ghadbian and other Syrian-Americans met with Mr. Abrams’s deputies in the Old Executive Office building next to the White House. Through these intermediaries, the White House exhorted the NSF to build a wide coalition of opposition groups and to run it in a transparent and democratic manner, participants say.

The two sides began discussing ways to highlight the problems of Syria’s parliamentary and presidential elections, approaching in 2007. The Baathists allowed no candidates from other parties to run in the May 27 presidential poll.

In the weeks before the presidential election, the State Department’s Middle East Partnership Initiative, which promotes regional democracy, and NSF members met to talk about publicizing Syria’s lack of democracy and low voter turnout, participants say. A Washington-based consulting firm, C&O Resources Inc., assisted the NSF in its planning for the May 26 anti-Assad rally at the Syrian embassy, providing media and political contacts. State Department officials stress they provided no financial or technical support to the protestors.

Turnout for the May 26 rally in Washington was smaller than expected. From behind the windows of Syria’s colonial-style embassy building, officials snapped photos of the crowd. Some protesters, worried they could be linked with family members back in Syria, covered their faces with scarves.

The cooperation has come at a price for both sides. The Bush administration has come under fire from critics who point to the Brotherhood’s ties to Hamas and al Qaeda. They also argue that any U.S. partnership with the group could destabilize governments in Jordan and Egypt, two U.S. allies where the Brotherhood is a growing opposition force. The U.S. says it is committed to opening political processes across the Middle East.

Meanwhile, Mr. Bayanouni and the Syrian Brothers have drawn criticism from some Brotherhood leaders in the Middle East, who say contacts with the U.S. discredits their movement. And inside Syria, courts have ordered long prison sentences for three prominent democracy activists in recent weeks, one of whom visited the White House last year.

Senior State Department and National Security Council officials say they haven’t ruled out meeting with Mr. Bayanouni and other Brotherhood leaders in the future. Mr. Bayanouni says the cooperation through the NSF is merely a good start. “In the absence of direct dialogue” between the U.S. and the Syrian Brothers, he says, “we believe the American image of the Brotherhood will always remain vague.”


Unlikely Relationship

Key players in bringing closer the White House and Syria’s branch of the
Muslim Brotherhood.

— Abdul Halim Khaddam. Syria’s vice president until 2005, when he
expressed distaste for President Bashar Assad’s rule and fled to Paris.
Helped form National Salvation Front, a political alliance with the
Brotherhood.

— Ali Sadreddin Al Bayanouni. Now head of Muslim Brotherhood’s Syrian arm,
he fled Syria in 1979 during Damascus’s crackdown on the Islamist group.
Joined with Mr. Khaddam to form NSF.

— Najib Ghadbian. An early supporter of U.S. efforts to engage the
Brotherhood, the University of Arkansas political scientist joined the NSF in
early 2006. He argues that the group will have credibility in the Middle East
only with the Brotherhood’s participation.

— Ammar Abdulhamid. Syrian exile played a key role in building ties
between the Bush administration and NSF. Democracy activist runs a separate
foundation, Tharwa, which monitors Syria’s elections and human rights abuses.
He quit the NSF in June, concerned it wasn’t moving aggressively enough to
unseat President Assad.

— Elliott Abrams. Bush’s Middle East adviser in the National Security
Council. His office was reluctant to engage the NSF due its links to the
Brotherhood and Khaddam. It warmed amid fears of a threat to U.S. interests
by Syria and Iran.

— Scott Carpenter. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State runs the Middle
East Partnership Initiative to promote democracy in the Islamic world. MEPI
has met regularly with the NSF and funds groups that aid Syrian opposition
groups such as Abdulhamid’s Tharwa.

August 24th, 2011, 5:45 am

 

ann said:

No intervention in Syria – Updated: 2011-08-24 08:28 – China Daily

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/cndy/2011-08/24/content_13176830.htm

WITH THE CRISIS IN LIBYA DRAWING TO AN END, it is no surprise that eyes are now on Syria. The west Asian country has experienced similar turbulence since mid-March, and there is much speculation that the victory of the Libyan opposition will very likely fuel anti-government protests in Syria, which will in turn escalate tensions in the region and prompt Western powers to take more drastic moves against Syria.

In the past week, the United States and European countries have intensified sanctions against Syria and their calls for Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad to step down. They have also tried to seek a resolution condemning the Al-Assad regime in the United Nations.

All these moves, which look similar to those taken by the West before they waged military intervention against Libya, have aroused concern that Syria may soon face the same fate as Libya. If this becomes a reality the region will only plunge deeper into the whirlwind of prolonged unrest.

The international community should bear in mind that the situation in Syria is different from that in Libya. An important country in the Middle East, Syria has a significant role to play in the region’s overall stability and security. It is counted as a major player in the regional peace process too.

Compared to Libya, though much smaller in size, Syria has a population more than three times the size. Months of military intervention in Libya led by Western powers have caused serious humanitarian disasters. If a similar scenario is repeated in Syria the consequences will be unimaginable.

A political vacuum has arisen in several countries in North Africa and West Asia in the wake of regime changes since the end of last year. There is no guarantee that social order and stability will be restored soon in Libya either.

Under such circumstances, international mediation and initiatives aiming to solve the Syrian crisis should be conducted with a view to regional stability and the well-being of the Syrian people. There is an urgent need to shore up the consensus that the future of Syria should be determined by its people, rather than dictated by outside forces.

It is also important that any initiatives to resolve the crisis in Syria be guided by the UN Charter and international law, and fully respect the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Syria.

China is a staunch supporter of peaceful solutions. It insists that a home-led and inclusive political process is the only way to end the current crisis.

To prevent an escalation of violence and further bloodshed, and to restore stability and order to the country as soon as possible, we hope all parties in Syria will show maximum restraint and refrain from violence, and seek a political solution through dialogue and consultation.

We also urge the Syrian government to deliver its promised reforms.

August 24th, 2011, 5:50 am

 

SYRIAN HAMSTER said:

Participation مشاركة

August 24th, 2011, 5:51 am

 

SYRIAN HAMSTER said:

Rights حقوق

August 24th, 2011, 5:54 am

 

SYRIAN HAMSTER said:

Trust ثقة

August 24th, 2011, 5:55 am

 

SYRIAN HAMSTER said:

Transparency شفافية

August 24th, 2011, 5:56 am

 

ann said:

US, allies all but rule out Syria military intervention

WASHINGTON, Aug 24, 2011 (AFP) – The United States and its allies have all but ruled out military action against Damascus despite their success in Libya because Syria’s opposition is less organized and faces a much stronger regime.

Analysts said the situation is far less conducive to foreign intervention in Syria, despite the the success of the NATO air campaign that weakened Moamer Kadhafi’s defenses and helped Libyan rebels to reach the heart of Tripoli.

One analyst said that unlike in Libya, the allies would also face Arab opposition to military strikes in Syria, and warned that intervention carried the risk of triggering a broader regional conflict.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland all but ruled out allied military intervention in Syria if sanctions and diplomatic pressure fail to stop President Bashar al-Assad from using deadly force to crush protests.

The Syrian people “have chosen peaceful means to make their views known to their own government,” Nuland told reporters last week, adding they were following the paths of Gandhi and Martin Luther King.

“So military action is not the preferred course of anyone, not the Syrian people, not the Arab or European or American members of the international community,” she said.

Nuland reiterated the US stance when asked whether rebel successes in Libya since the weekend would increase the pressure for intervention in Syria.

In France, which led the charge for military action in Libya, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said there would be no such intervention in Syria even if the rebel advances had what he called “significant consequences” for Damascus.

Anthony Cordesman, a security analyst with the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank, said the United States and its allies did not have much of a military option in Syria.

“There’s no overt uprising to back, there’s no momentum behind the uprising. Your are talking about a country (Syria) with a real military machine, with a serious military capability, unlike Libya which is largely a facade,” he said.

“Until you see a real opposition develop in Syria, some kind of movement that has some credible reason to be backed, you can’t simply out of context attack Assad’s regime because it’s repressive,” Cordesman said.

“The scale of military operations that would be required (would be much higher than in Libya) and present far more risks of civilian casualties and collateral damage,” he said.

Radwan Ziadeh, a US-based Syrian dissident who has met US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, said the rebel successes in Libya will spur more calls within Syria for arming the opposition against Assad.

However, he warned that such a move risked sparking a civil war pitting Syria’s majority Sunni Muslims and other sects and ethnic groups against Assad’s minority Alawite sect.

“I think the situation in Syria and Libya is different because in Syria you have different ethnic and religious groups and if the uprising turns violent, (this) will lead Syria to a civil war,” he said.

He said he believes the US government understands the risk and “we share the same opinion on this issue.” He added that Syria’s neighbors also fear the risk of a civil war that could spread beyond Syria’s borders.

Shibley Telhami, a Middle East specialist at the University of Maryland, said the United States and its allies are reluctant to intervene in Syria because, unlike in Libya, there is no Arab support for it.

He warned that the Assad regime could try to portray intervention as an extension of the Arab-Israeli conflict, saying it could trigger unforeseen consequences.

“If there is an international western-led intervention in Syria, akin to what we have seen in Libya, there is no one that can guarantee you that this will not evolve into a Syrian-Israeli conflict,” Telhami said.

“Whether there will be Arab support (for Syria) or not is still an open question,” he added.

Syria is a close ally of Iran, and “I’m not sure they would sit idly by” if the allies launched strikes on Syria, Telhami warned.
“It’s just hard to see how anyone’s going to have the stomach to repeat the military intervention in Syria,” he said.

August 24th, 2011, 5:59 am

 

Samara said:

99. NK,

Thanks, but it was already PERFECT.

August 24th, 2011, 6:01 am

 

some guy in damascus said:

@ samara
aside from showing your support to besho, can you tell us why you support him?
what policies did he come up with ,that took your heart and mind?

August 24th, 2011, 6:15 am

 

ann said:

One Year in Prison If You Travel To Syria!

S. Korea bans citizens from traveling to Syria

SEOUL, Aug. 23 (Yonhap) — South Korea on Tuesday banned its citizens from traveling to Syria amid deepening conflict between protesters and government forces in the country, the foreign ministry said.

The travel ban will go into effect next Tuesday and will be in place for six months, according to the ministry. Those who do not comply may face punishment of up to one year in prison or pay a fine.

The ban comes after the ministry imposed restrictions on traveling to Syria last April, urging its nationals to leave the country unless it is essential that they stay.

Currently, 74 Koreans including students reside in the country. Those who wish to stay must ask for government permission by Sept. 6, the ministry said.

South Korea now bans travel to a total of six countries, including Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Iraq and Yemen, according to the ministry.

Regarding Libya in particular, the ministry said that it will keep its travel ban for the time being despite growing signs that the months-long civil war is nearing an end.

“The rebels have taken control of Tripoli, showing that the end of the civil war is imminent, but combat is still under way,” a ministry official said.

The ministry said that it will closely monitor developments in Libya for a possible downgrade of the current travel restrictions.

In July, Seoul extended a ban on travel to Libya for three months until October.

August 24th, 2011, 6:18 am

 

ammar shami said:

I hear by publicly agree for dr. Landis to give Tara my e-mail address if he would be so kind. Then u could make the call, but if I was right you’re gonna have to admit it on this blog too, agreed?

August 24th, 2011, 6:18 am

 

ann said:

Turkey mulls severing ties with Israel

August 24th, 2011, 6:28 am

 

Chris W said:

How ironic that China and Russia are champions of reason and good international relations these days – especially with a supposed peacenik like Obama in the White House. I look forward to China’s rise as an international power – the world will be a freer, more peaceful place.

August 24th, 2011, 6:33 am

 

Arsalan said:

ANN #106
‘“I think the situation in Syria and Libya is different because in Syria you have different ethnic and religious groups and if the uprising turns violent, (this) will lead Syria to a civil war,” he said.’

This is exactly the strategy of Assad to risk all including civil war in order to keep his brutal rule. The Syrians who love their country must support removal of Assad and transition to democracy. The alternative is death is destruction that may effect most Syrian families especially Alawis.

August 24th, 2011, 6:48 am

 

Chris W said:

…but 114. Arsalan, Pres. Assad has set a timetable for elections, and very soon. The transition to democracy is more likely, and the general outcome likely to be more peaceful, without the collapse of the government.

August 24th, 2011, 6:56 am

 

Aboud said:

Thank you Hamster, that was a very, very eloquent post. At least if humanity destroys itself, the planet will be well taken care of by the rodents.

Evan @82 I’m afraid you can’t dismiss Moshe Dayan as just one guy. I don’t need to tell you his legendary stature among Israelis. I also don’t give any credence to the idea that his daughter, a reporter, and the editors of the NYT were all in on a plot to further a left wing agenda.

I once saw a list of the ceasefire violations on the Golan before 1967. In it, the UN blamed Israel for an overwhelming number of them. I’m trying to dig it up again.

@70 I’m glad to know that, long after I’ve forgotten them, my posts and comments will live forever in anguished menhebak memory 🙂 I stand by every single edited out insults I made, so kiss my…hehehehe 🙂

August 24th, 2011, 6:59 am

 

Mina said:

Chris, #115
You forget that the “radicals” will call for boycotting the elections, like in Algeria…

Demonstrators aka “wanna-be-on-aljazeera” have lost track of a few elements from day one: the economic crisis that led to higher prices of basis subsidies, and the Kurdistan agenda of the White house.
Syria has answered by sending the refugees of jisr al shughur directly to a land which belongs to Syria and that Turkey could not claim on a legal basis. Now with the escalation between Turkey and the PKK the war is already well engaged. Iran does not figure yet directly on the headlines, but no doubt some guys there would love to launch a “spontane” green movement number 2, just when the Palestinians will try declare their state.
The Syrian gov has no much choice apart from what it has been doing, considering the role of Qardawi and al Aroor in this mess.

August 24th, 2011, 7:22 am

 

hsyrian said:

Dear Joshua,

My little academic question :

How many INNOCENT people have been killed by terrorists from the Muslim Brotherhood between 1976 and 1982 in SYRIA ?

Including the massacre of cadets at Aleppo Academia . ( > 80 ) ?

Sorry , I don’t have time ( and envy ) to browse through one week of lies and propaganda by the Muslim Brothers crowd to find your answer.
(Furthermore , it has to be done manually because the comments are not properly referenced by Google )

Disclaimer
My citation on ” History repeats itself ” is from Marx ;
Karl albeit Groucho would be often more suitable for some full time commentators here !

August 24th, 2011, 7:48 am

 

mjabali said:

General:

Again you stick your nose into something and people prove you wrong. Still you deny the facts. Still you claim victory. Still you think we live in a funny situation. Still you think your words mr. Shakespeare are immortal. Still proud for your foul language. You know it all.

For real you made me laugh this morning.

Note: what happened General, Yesterday you were barking against the Iranians and later you tried to be friends with one of them? Also, why did you change your mind about your friend Khaled Tlass? Both share the same religious ideas? so how come this change of heart?

August 24th, 2011, 7:55 am

 

Ali said:

@116 Aboud

@70 I’m glad to know that, long after I’ve forgotten them, my posts and comments will live forever in anguished menhebak memory 🙂 I stand by every single edited out insults I made, so kiss my…hehehehe 🙂

Dont flatter yourself… its called comment search Einstein. The only thing I’m going to kiss is Bashar’s portrait that is sitting beside his fathers portrait in my living room.

August 24th, 2011, 8:10 am

 

Ali said:

AGAIN PART II (in case editor doesn’t post the first)

***120 Dead as Tanks Sweep into Hama and Deir
@30 ABOUD
@24Defectors. You know, the kind that you think don’t exist? From this point on, stop bitching if someone starts to fire back.

@23 No, your inflated numbers of shabiha scum do not count. The army killed the scum who fired on the funeral procession.
the Besho Brigades are cowardly, ill disciplined scum who are the tool of a man who in four months has gone from “the dude whose wife is on Vogue” to “this cell should be tall enough for him to stretch his neck while he waits his turn in the Hague”

@37 ABU UMAR
و هذا الكلام السخيف جاء من شخص يكنى “نرمن”! نعم أنا فلسطيني و عربي رغم أنفك يا حقير و أنتم جراثيم بشار تتوقعون أن تقتلوا، و تسجنوا و تعذبوا عشرات الآلاف و أن هؤلاء يضحكوا في وجوهكم. تقتلون القتيل و تمشون بجنازته كما فعل الهالك حافظ مع كمال جنبلاط فنحن لن نسكت بعد اليوم نحن لكم بالمرصاد. و نعم قلبي مليئ بالكراهية، لكن ليس الى من ذكرتهم، لكن الى بشار و كلابه أمثالك!

***Hama as Explained on Syrian TV and al-Jazeera

@38 ABOUD said
“and the despicable scum on this forum have been cheering the massacres from their homes abroad.”

@39 ABOUD said
Just when you thought the Baathist scum on this forum had outdone themselves

@43 ABOUD said
“Scum @42 ““Fridays’ army kicking your ass”
Tell me, why shouldn’t the people of Hama then take revenge on the first Alawite village they come across? You loathsome little slug.

@52 ABU UMAR said
Your one of the most despicable thugs on this blog and your regime will be falling very soon.
Be careful what you wish for, as thousands of Salafi lions will be coming come to hunt your shabiha khanazeer.

@125. Abu Umar said:
housands of tigers will be coming to hunt your shabeeha khanazeer.
Why do you ignore the main reason you Alawi thug, the slaughter of tens of thousands of Syrian Sunnis by your Alawi regime so it can maintain it’s grip on power, with a specific sectarian context.

***“The US Won’t Use Force against Syria,” Chief of Staff Mike Mullen; Armed Gang Controversy

16. aboali said:

#5 I say screw you, 150 people were massacred by the sons of bitches which, if your video is true, and I doubt it, now reside at the bottom of the Assi being turned into fish shit, which is a step up for them.

If mukhabarat and shibiha were killed, then it was for revenge, and they damn well deserved it. Revenge for Hamza, and Raghad, and Layal and the 70 other kids who were killed by the Assadi forces. Not to mention the 1600 protesters gunned down in cold blood on the streets of Syria by the mukhabarat scum. Getting rid of the mukhabarat, the Shabiha and their informants is the first step in freeing Syria from oppression and tyranny, so I say slaughter all those sons of bitches.

REPEAT

16. aboali said:

#5 I say screw you, 150 people were massacred by the sons of bitches which, if your video is true, and I doubt it, now reside at the bottom of the Assi being turned into fish shit, which is a step up for them.

If mukhabarat and shibiha were killed, then it was for revenge, and they damn well deserved it. Revenge for Hamza, and Raghad, and Layal and the 70 other kids who were killed by the Assadi forces. Not to mention the 1600 protesters gunned down in cold blood on the streets of Syria by the mukhabarat scum. Getting rid of the mukhabarat, the Shabiha and their informants is the first step in freeing Syria from oppression and tyranny, so I say slaughter all those sons of bitches.

REPEAT

16. aboali said:

#5 I say screw you, 150 people were massacred by the sons of bitches which, if your video is true, and I doubt it, now reside at the bottom of the Assi being turned into fish shit, which is a step up for them.

If mukhabarat and shibiha were killed, then it was for revenge, and they damn well deserved it. Revenge for Hamza, and Raghad, and Layal and the 70 other kids who were killed by the Assadi forces. Not to mention the 1600 protesters gunned down in cold blood on the streets of Syria by the mukhabarat scum. Getting rid of the mukhabarat, the Shabiha and their informants is the first step in freeing Syria from oppression and tyranny, so I say slaughter all those sons of bitches.

REPEAT

16. aboali said:

#5 I say screw you, 150 people were massacred by the sons of bitches which, if your video is true, and I doubt it, now reside at the bottom of the Assi being turned into fish shit, which is a step up for them.

If mukhabarat and shibiha were killed, then it was for revenge, and they damn well deserved it. Revenge for Hamza, and Raghad, and Layal and the 70 other kids who were killed by the Assadi forces. Not to mention the 1600 protesters gunned down in cold blood on the streets of Syria by the mukhabarat scum. Getting rid of the mukhabarat, the Shabiha and their informants is the first step in freeing Syria from oppression and tyranny, so I say slaughter all those sons of bitches.

August 24th, 2011, 8:14 am

 

Chris W said:

The American insistence on immediate transition to full democracy has never worked very well. Ask South Vietnam.

The ‘managed’ transition to democracy that happened in South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore worked pretty well. It’s not such a bad thing if Syria adopts democracy somewhat slowly.

August 24th, 2011, 8:44 am

 

Ali said:

Sheila.

AGAIN PART III

***“The US Won’t Use Force against Syria,” Chief of Staff Mike Mullen; Armed Gang Controversy

@35 DALE ANDERSON said:
But if they stay with Besho, they must understand there will be consequences. They must understand the protestors are getting guns and will use them.

37. Atheist Syrian Salafist Against Dictatorships (ASSAD) said:
They should have left the bodies at the top of a hill or mountain for the vultures, in the tradition of the Zoroastrians, instead of contaminating the river, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the vultures didn’t touch them, for they had too much poison in them.

@55 ABOUD
Aboali, I absolutely agree with every word of your sentiments. The atrocities of the shabiha scum have long since crossed the line. If some people have the ability to fight back, let them do so as a warning to the next little shit who thinks he and his friends can terrorize Syrians.

@73 ABOUD said
Typical Baathist scum. They cheer tank invasions of population centers, but go crying to junior if someone fights back.

Since the international community have washed their hands of Syria and are unwilling to rein in that murderous little shit, Syrians have every right to defend themselves, and make sure the cost to the shabiha scum is very high indeed.

@81 ABOUD said
Whine @77 Believe it. And remember your bungling president bought the country to this point. I could care less if one hundred shabiha scum had their heads bashed in and their rifles stuck up their asses. People have every right to defend themselves.

***The Armed Gangs Controversy

@36 ABOUD said
The shabiha ekhwat el sharmouta attacking a wake in Sarmen. I want every single (edited for insult) baathist (edited) on this forum to tell me where are the armed gangs in this clip? When all this is over, we will turn Hafez’s grave into a public toilet.

!!!!!!REPEAT!!!!!!: The shabiha ekhwat el sharmouta attacking a wake in Sarmen. I want every single (edited for insult) baathist (edited) on this forum to tell me where are the armed gangs in this clip? When all this is over, we will turn Hafez’s grave into a public toilet.

!!!!!!REPEAT!!!!!!: The shabiha ekhwat el sharmouta attacking a wake in Sarmen. I want every single (edited for insult) baathist (edited) on this forum to tell me where are the armed gangs in this clip? When all this is over, we will turn Hafez’s grave into a public toilet.

******And you pussies whine if someone fires back? To hell with every shabiha scum shit, may they all rot at the bottom of every river in Syria.

*******@34 I will personally piss on the next shabiha that gets caught, and jam a picture of junior down his throat and up his ass.

*******@32 May the scum who shot up a funeral burn in the lowest depths of hell, right next to Hafez Al-fassad. Tha tha tha tha.

@39. Aboud said:
“A gruesome video surfaced on YouTube showing the mutilation and beating of an already dead security officer in dayr alzour with insulting slogans in the background and few people saying ”

(edited, you made your point, unnecessary insult)

@86 SOME GUY IN DAMASCUS said
telling the shabeeha( who are mongrels) that they will be slaughtered offends you? i”ve seen these shabeeha attack innocent protesters in midan, they do deserve to be be punished( not by slaughtering, hmmm maybe by having a discussion with you, thats punishment enough)

SHALL I KEEP GOING???

August 24th, 2011, 8:57 am

 

Samara said:

109. SGID;

Gladly,

Bashar Al Assad opened Syria doors to foreign investment and enhanced the powers of the private sector. He floated the Syrian pound. When initially took office, he closed one of the most notorious and hated prisons and he released thousands of political prisoners. He introduced technology in Syria, such as the ATM and the Key Card. He was, and always has been (like his great father, bless be his name) outspoken when it came to women’s rights; for instance, unlike Saudi Arabia, women are allowed to, and more so, encouraged to take on jobs and trades which men dominate. Will you ever find Saudi women in the Army? No, but you will find a Syrian woman in the Army. Can a Saudi woman drive, even if it was to save her life? No, but a Syrian woman can drive just for the sake of it. I can go on, but i have an essay due tomorrow, and must complete my editing. Maybe ill give you more tomorow…

Oh, and as for now, Bashar removed the 41 year old emergency law, has implemented new party laws, he is drafting a new media law and opening up political pluralism, which basically puts Syria on the path to a new model of democracy in the Arab world. He has implemented municipal elections, which are to take effect this year.

Good night.

August 24th, 2011, 9:05 am

 

Aboud said:

@119 Pamela Anderson doesn’t get the level of obsession this menhebak is showing me hehehe 🙂

“Both share the same religious ideas?”

Unlike you, my friendship with a person does not depend on their religious affiliation. Khalid is passionate, but obviously he seems to be new to the whole give-and-take that free and open discussions entail. It’s not his fault, the Baathists did their best to stamp out any hint of independent thought for decades.

I remember my first time arguing on a forum, back when I was in college. Oh the mistakes I made! The times I had to eat my own words. I’ve learned alot since then 🙂

“what happened General, Yesterday you were barking against the Iranians and later you tried to be friends with one of them”

Uh….a sequence of events I really don’t recall. You seem to remember more about what I do online than I do. It’s creepy.

Tara mentioned that her Iranian friends send her text messages of support regularly. It made me feel ashamed of the Iran bashing I’d been doing. I made the age old mistake of not differentiating between the theocratic regime, and the people.

But I still suspect that most menhebaks here are actually Iranians. They get so touchy when the Ayatollahs are made fun of. It reduces them to incoherent babbles where their very existence depends on proving that France had inferior tanks in WW2 🙂

MLK Quote;

“History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people. ”

Very true. No one can hide behind their “minority” status, and use it as an excuse to stay silent while mosques are getting shelled, and entire cities are getting invaded by tanks.

We have seen numerous videos of atrocities, taken by the regime’s thugs themselves. No one can claim to be ignorant of what is really going on in Syria. Silence, and passiveness, is moral cowardice.

(All the menhebaks can do right now is hope I run out of MLK quotes. Sorry Besho-lovers, the good reverend was very prolific)

August 24th, 2011, 9:05 am

 

Aboud said:

Samara, you are so grateful for tiny scraps that Besho is kind enough to throw you from his table.

ATMs and private universities? Are you serious? Other countries in the region had them for decades before Syria. Are you so desperate for any scraps that you’d consider that “progress”?

It is interesting you can only draw comparisons with Saudi Arabia. Are your ambitions for your country that low? Why not draw comparisons with Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia. Syrian women have been in the work force for decades, long before Besho and his murderous father came to power, and only a menhebak would attribute Syrian women’s freedoms to any action on the part of junior.

“He floated the Syrian pound”

No he didn’t. Foreign currency conversions and transfer outside the country are under very severe restrictions. You aren’t as widely read as you’d like to believe.

“When initially took office, he closed one of the most notorious and hated prisons and he released thousands of political prisoners.”

The number of political prisoners freed were a few hundred, and not one of them deserved to be in prison. Every year an amnesty for thieves and murders is announced, but scant few political prisoners are let out. And he more than made up for the balance by jailing hundreds more political prisoners, even before these events.

“Bashar Al Assad opened Syria doors to foreign investment and enhanced the powers of the private sector”

And Rami Makhlouf is forever grateful for the “enhanced powers of the private sector”, which remains feeble compared to surrounding countries.

“Oh, and as for now, Bashar removed the 41 year old emergency law”

Why is Najati Tayara in jail? That’s all I need to ask to put the lie to your absurd claims of reforms.

The only achievements junior has achieved is on his X-Box. Even a fanatical menhebakite like Samara doesn’t dare go near the issue of junior’s complete and utter failures with regards to the Golan.

August 24th, 2011, 9:13 am

 

beaware said:

Why Assad Need Not Fear Qaddafi’s Fate
Ed Husain, Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies
http://www.cfr.org/syria/why-assad-need-not-fear-qaddafis-fate/p25702
August 23, 2011
Financial Times

The dramatic scenes in Tripoli are already being seized upon by those keen to depose other despotic regimes. Taken alongside the unstable situation in Syria, there is now a risk of a dangerous moment of western triumphalism. This must be resisted, especially given that the odds of overthrowing dictator Bashar al-Assad are so small.

After months of holding his nerve, US president Barack Obama last week succumbed to calls from commentators and Syrian opposition leaders, and demanded Mr Assad’s removal. The decision was a mistake. Earlier in the week, Hillary Clinton, secretary of state, noted that, if the US called for Mr Assad’s head, then what?”. And, indeed, then what?

I lived in Syria for two years and still visit regularly, so I know only too well that the US is viewed with deep animosity. Officials told me many times, and with straight faces, that America is at war with Arabs and Muslims – a view also ingrained among the wider population, particularly after the Iraq war.

Calls for regime change will thus help Syria, as Mr Assad defies the west with ease. As elsewhere in the Middle East, defying Washington is a cause of strength and popularity, as Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran show. Every passing day will now be seen as a humiliation for Mr Obama, while the fragmented and shambolic Syrian opposition will be more credibly dubbed “American stooges”, or “Zionist agents”. For a population that is vehemently anti-American and anti-Israel, such labels are powerful and destructive.

The regime has been barbaric in responding to the brave people on the streets, but we must be careful about accepting the narrative that the whole of Syria is demanding change. The largest cities of Aleppo and Damascus remain relatively calm, while opinion in western capitals is led by reports generated via opposition movements, often using social media of questionable reliability. The army has committed many atrocities but hundreds of its members appear to have been killed, too. In the absence of international media, it is debatable whether the protesters are altogether peaceful.

Already, calls for military intervention are being made by Syrian opposition activists in meetings at the White House and US state department. Yet such movements have led us astray before, as when politicians such as Ahmed Chalabi misled the US about realities in Iraq. In truth, Mr Assad’s regime is much less likely to fall than that of Muammer Gaddafi: there have been no high-profile political or military defections, while Mr Assad remains relatively popular among senior military commanders, Syrian mosque clerics, the middle-classes and business leaders.

This brings us back to the “then what” question. The numbers being killed now will wither in comparison with a possible future civil war, if an increasingly sectarian Syria splinters between the ruling Alawites, the elite and urban Christians, the majority Sunnis, the Kurds, Druze and others. There is no civil society to engineer a peaceful transition, while Syria could plausibly become another Lebanon, acting as a proxy battleground for regional powers.

This risk partly explains why Syria’s ally Turkey has exerted such effort to rein in the slaughter, and why Saudi Arabia, Russia and China have not joined America’s lead. They all want to give Mr Assad more time – because they recognise the thin chance of getting rid of him, and because they fear the violence that would follow if he did fall.

Almost 90 per cent of Syria’s crude oil exports go to European countries. Almost $3bn of its annual trade is conducted with Turkey. Saudi Arabia is a regional power with vested interests in the country, and Russia and Syria enjoy historical relations, as well as arms deals. It is these countries that now must be on the front lines of reform, with the US largely working behind the scenes.

For the west, the most powerful and poignant moment in recent months came when US ambassador Robert Ford travelled to Hama, scene of protests, to show solidarity and monitor the regime’s actions. His quiet move warmed usually hostile Sunni communities elsewhere in the Middle East to America, while putting fear into the heart of the tyrant himself. Such innovative, soft power strategies will do more to help Syrian democracy than loud statements from the White House.

The most powerful pressure on Mr Assad so far, however, has been from Al Jazeera’s Arabic coverage, which encouraged Syrians to take control of their own destiny. This is surely right, for any long-term change must come from within. Sadly, in the short term and in a highly volatile region, at present Mr Assad remains the least worst option.

The writer is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and author of The Islamist

August 24th, 2011, 9:37 am

 

beaware said:

EU Targets Iranian Guard Unit in Expanding Sanctions on Syria
By Jonathan Stearns – Aug 24, 2011
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-24/eu-targets-iranian-guard-unit-in-expanding-sanctions-on-syria.html
The European Union froze the assets of an Iranian military unit as part of broader sanctions against Syria, saying the Teheran-based force has aided the Syrian regime’s deadly crackdown on protesters.

The EU added the Quds Force, a specialist arm of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps., along with four Syrian entities and 15 people to the bloc’s list of those targeted by an asset freeze and travel ban.

“The Quds Force is involved in providing equipment and support to help the Syria regime suppress protests,” the 27- nation EU said today in the Official Journal. The decision, taken yesterday in Brussels, expands the EU’s sanctions against Syria to 50 people and nine entities and comes as the bloc prepares to prohibit imports of crude oil from the country.

The EU is broadening sanctions against people and groups deemed “responsible for the violent repression against the civilian population in Syria.” The United Nations puts the death toll at more than 2,200.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whom the EU put on its asset-freeze and travel-ban list before today, has deployed tanks, armored vehicles, artillery and helicopters to crush the uprising that began in mid-March after revolts ousted the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt and sparked a conflict in Libya.
‘Indiscriminate Military Force’

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton announced the planned expansion of the list and oil embargo last week, when she cited “intensifying large-scale use of indiscriminate military force” in Syria and joined leaders in Europe and the U.S. in calling on Assad to step down. Assad rejected the demands and pledged to schedule parliamentary elections by February.

EU government representatives held an initial discussion yesterday about the plan to ban oil imports from Syria and are scheduled to resume talks on the matter this week, according to Michael Mann, Ashton’s spokesman.

EU imports of crude oil from Syria in 2010 were worth 3.16 billion euros ($4.56 billion), according to the European Commission, the bloc’s executive arm. That represents 88 percent of total EU imports from Syria last year, says the commission.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan Stearns in Brussels at jstearns2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net

August 24th, 2011, 9:44 am

 

some guy in damascus said:

@ samara
your reply is very real, and nearly all those happened during Bashar’s reign, but let me elaborate:
he did very well in opening up the economy but his family and close associates took all the lucrative deals, whats the point of flooding the country with money if its all going to go to rami’s coffers?
“He introduced technology in Syria, such as the ATM and the Key Card.”
very true, but who never let them in? HIS FATHER. its nice when someone makes the nation better, but partially fixing your father’s mistakes doesn’t make you indispensable.
“women are allowed to, and more so, encouraged to take on jobs and trades which men dominate”
thats courtesy of the tolerant Syrian society and not besho, it was like that before hafez and it will remain like that after bashar.
closing down a prison, NICE! imprisoning 15,000 people??? NOT NICE.( Najati tayara, anyone?)
and finally the notorious emergency law( and everything you cited in the 2nd paragraph)…..like besho’s interview to the wall street journal. anything after the arab spring is a reaction rather than an action, he doesn’t take credit for it, not until we screamed our lungs off he removed it off paper, but you can still be arrested without a court hearing like many have. oh and we got shot while screaming our lungs out.
btw, you said truth, nothing but truth but not the whole truth.
http://www.worldtribune.com/worldtribune/WTARC/2011/me_gulf0844_07_08.asp
women do work in the SAUDI military btw.
and please if you were thinking of telling me besho opened up the nations first malls, let me remind you that souk al hamadiye was availible waaay before behso developed his lisp. don’t take globalization’s credit and hand it over to besho.
good luck in your essay…

August 24th, 2011, 9:50 am

 

beaware said:

West pushes opposition to topple Assad
Frolova Inessa
Aug 24, 2011 15:36 Moscow Time
http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/08/24/55104403.html
The Syrian opposition has set up its own National Council with the headquarters in Istanbul and the declared aim of coordinating the overthrow of President Bashar Assad, the opposition said in a statement.

Russian analysts believe that such statements would have been impossible unless supported by the West.

Earlier, a draft resolution on Syria was put to a vote at the United Nations Human Rights Council. The resolution urged the Assad regime to immediately end executions, torture and the excessive use of force, and stop intimidating peaceful demonstrators. It called for new sanctions against the Syrian president and his entourage and for asking the International Court to issue an arrest warrant for Bashar Assad.

Russia, China and Cuba and Ecuador voted against the proposed resolution. Russia’s Permanent Representative to the UN Office in Geneva Valery Loshchinin described the document as “politicized and lopsided”.

Commenting on the above resolution, the Kremlin’s former ambassador to Libya and Tunisia and Director of the Partnership and Civilization Center at the Russian Diplomatic Academy Veniamin Popov said that it might be used as a tool to fuel instability in Syria. Gripped by a strong desire to topple Assad, the West is stubbornly pretending not to notice his democratic reforms:

“A mixed batch of forces ranging from Islamists to secular organizations offended by the regime feel strong support from the West. The West is pushing them to unite. In my opinion, Bashar Assad said quite sensible things in his recent TV statement: the West is demanding his resignation, but he was elected by the Syrian people and not by the West. Second, the Syrian government has approved a package of democratic reforms and is actively implementing them. But the most important thing is that Assad is open for dialogue with the opposition.”

Meanwhile, the Syrian opposition prefers armed confrontation to dialogue. A Voice of Russia special correspondent, Andrei Ontikov, visited Syria and talked to local residents. While Western news agencies are awash with reports about a brutal crackdown on protesters, the residents tell a different story:

“We have visited a military hospital in the suburb of Damascus and met servicemen who were wounded in clashes with armed opposition formations in the cities of Hama and Dayr az-Zawr. They said that the demonstrators were not as peaceful as they are being portrayed. They have weapons and they offer fierce resistance to government forces.”

A group of Russian scholars, political scientists and journalists are in Syria to see for themselves what’s really going on there. Orientalist Vyacheslav Matuzhov shares his impressions:

“There is a great difference between the information portrait of Syria one receives outside of its borders and the things one sees with one’s own eyes, for example in Hama or Damascus. Some Western and Arabic news channels report that tanks have been moved into Hama and that troops are suppressing peaceful demonstrations. Meanwhile, we have been travelling calmly around the city, talking to residents.”

The West has made clear it will not change its anti-Assad stance. And although NATO’s military intervention in Libya seems unlikely, the situation in Libya proves how hot confrontation might become. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov recently remarked that hardly any sensible person could be harboring intervention plans for Syria. But there is little hope that the West will leave the Assad regime in peace, says Veniamin Popov:

“Syria has always had its own position on the Arab-Israeli conflict. Unlike Egypt or Jordan, it refuses to sign a peace treaty until the issue of the Golan Heights is resolved. Syria has always backed Palestinians and insisted that only a fair settlement could be the framework for a peace treaty with Israel. Besides, Syria has a special relationship with Iran. It is actually Tehran’s sole Arab ally. And Iran is a bone in the throat of our Western partners. That’s why the West’s position towards Syria is so tough and irreconcilable.”

Unable to interfere directly, the West relies on the opposition to do the job. Its signals are so unambiguously clear that Bashar Assad’s opponents outside Syria are uniting, making no secret of their plans to depose him.

This certainly makes it very hard for President Assad to restore stability at home as demanded by the West.

August 24th, 2011, 9:54 am

 

extra said:

Regarding the picture illustrating the main article- Can someone pinpoint which part of Latakia the Reuters picture shows?

August 24th, 2011, 10:03 am

 

beaware said:

Burning Point → Libyan scenario in Syria’s case?
Yekaterina Kudashkina and Dan Moody
Aug 23, 2011 17:32 Moscow Time

Today we will try to make out what is going on in and around Syria. The international community is mounting pressure on the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad demanding his stepping down. In his turn, Mr. Assad says Syria is not going to bow to external pressure. The current situation is painfully similar to the one in Libya some six months ago.

So, can we o expect Syria turning into another Libya? What are the scenarios for further development in Syria? And how good are the chances of a relatively peaceful resolution of the crisis?

We discussed these issues with our guest speakers Dr. Bassma Kodmani, Executive Director of the Arab Reform Initiative which is a network of independent Arab research and policy institutes, and Professor Philippe Moreau Defarges from the International Institute of Foreign Relations in Paris, France.

Analysts say Gaddafi’s collapse in Libya could give a new hope to Assad’s opponents, though no country has proposed that kind of action against Syria which NATO forces have carried out in support of Libyan rebels seeking to topple Muammar Gaddafi.

So, last week Mr. Assad made several statements indicating he was willing to go on with reforms that would let political groups other than his Ba’ath Party take part in the political life of the country. He also said he expected a parliamentary election to be held in February next year. Then earlier he told Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary-General, that he was ceasing hostilities against protestors.

However, on Monday international news agencies reported that Syrian forces shot dead three people in Homs during the visit by the UN humanitarian team. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was concerned that Assad had not kept the promise he made last week to end military and police operations against demonstrators.

There is an interesting point of the whole situation. To me what we are witnessing now in the Middle East coverage looks like a full-scale information war, just to offer you a glimpse from the opposite side that is what SANA which is Syrian Arab news agency reported from Hama, the city where the UN humanitarian mission traveled: “The participants in ‘Syria Is Fine’ Tour on Monday toured the city of Hama and inspected the sabotage acts committed by the armed terrorist gangs against the public properties… Journalist Mohammad Diab, Editor-in-Chief of the Lebanese al-Khabar Press, said that the media coverage of the events in Hama city is odd, adding that the delegation hasn’t seen any destruction in the civil building in the city, stressing that the damaged buildings are only the public institutions in addition to police and security posts.”

And then the news agency goes on to quote another analyst, Dr. Ibrahim Aloush, Professor from Jordan, who said that what he has seen in Hama proves that those murders, mutilation, destroying public properties are part of a conspiracy targeting Syria.

Talking of the US role, it could also amount to conspiracy theories as well.

Meaning the US role in the Middle East developments?

That’s right.

But then I would like to share a very interesting piece which is a conversation with Gen. Wesley Clark which was recorded on February 10 2006.
……………………………..
Just to carry on with the quote: “So as soon as we finished off with Iraq, we have, you know ‑ we might have a victory parade down Constitution Avenue or not, but we would then move into Syria. It was logical. And then we could go from Syria ‑ you know, that would open up Lebanon. Then we’d circle back and eventually come back to Iran.” I would like just to draw your attention to the fact that this memo was written six weeks after the 9/11 and that takes care of the US role in the Middle East process. Anyway, just getting back to Syria, the UN is definitely mounting pressure on the Syrian regime. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay accused Syrian soldiers and security forces of using excessive force, including heavy artillery, to crush peaceful protests.

The UN said that death toll from President Bashar al-Assad’s crackdown on protests since the unrest erupted in March had actually reached 2,200.

That is a huge figure! Anyway, the pattern of the rhetoric does remind me the one we heard in case of Libya.
……….

We discussed this issue with one of our guest speakers ‑ Professor Philippe Moreau Defarges from the International Institute of Foreign Relations in Paris, France.

Do you think that Mr. Assad still has any chance for survival?

No, there is no chance at all for survival and probably he could finish in front of the penal court.

So, could you expand a little bit on that?

It is clear that the world is deeply changing and you have many really big transformations, big changes. One of them is the new position of a politician, of a man who is in charge, who is in power; today a man, or a woman, within power cannot do what he wants – he is under scrutiny, watched by many and he must be very careful. I mean by that it is not impossible considering what has happened in Syria during the last week. During the next month Mr. Assad could be prosecuted and it is probable that judicial penal court, which wants to establish its legitimacy, could be tempted to prosecute Mr. Assad.

much more….

August 24th, 2011, 10:06 am

 

Aboud said:

Irrefutable proof that when the army thugs fire, it’s not against armed gangs

“http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzbg89YNWEM&ref=nf”

Notice, that the two thugs firing are doing so from a tank, with a Syrian flag on it. So we know this isn’t a fabrication.

Notice that the army gunmen are not coming under fire. Nor are they in body armor. They do not expect to be fired back at.

Notice at no time do they come under fire.

Notice that their comrades up the road, at the roadblock, are acting as if everything is normal. They aren’t in a state of battle, they don’t act as if they are facing down armed gangs or are about to come under attack from any.

A blatant, despicable act of intimidation. And like I’ve said before, only one of those turds could have distributed that video. It’s all over the news channels. These people would sell videos of their sisters having sex for a few hundred dollars.

Here is the link again;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzbg89YNWEM&ref=nf

MLK quote;

“Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.”

Exactly. So stop whining that the opposition hasn’t yet decided on traffic fines or doesn’t have a five year plan for the economy in place. How many five year plans did the Baathists create? And what good did any of them do?

August 24th, 2011, 10:14 am

 

mjabali said:

General:

The passion of your friend Khalid, who wants to take the Alawi women as a spoil of war, is the same like yours when you want to boil soldiers in urine, or shoot them in the face and spit on them.

I am bringing your own words here General.

Religion is what makes you move General. You hate me because I am not from the same sect like you. It is obvious as the daylight.

As for minorities what did you do to them except threats and retributions on the way, or listing names like some of your cronies?

You are the REAL Baathi in this discussion. You use the Baathi methods and dismiss anyone who is not agreeing with you %100. Your words show this. The Baath, and you, are masters in labeling others instead of debating them. Accusations and more accusations.

your accusations to others show that you are a real Baathi, so do not fake it.

AS for the Ghost Tank of yours, you still did not answer me: Why didn’t they MASS PRODUCED it to outgun your beloved German Panzer, if it is better than the German? Your logic is based on emotions and not practical thinking. Oh, I forgot, YOU KNOW EVERYTHING.

As for the Iranians, do you think you are better than them? Your racist words failed you General. The same way you admired the vulgar display of power your beloved Nazi perfected “honestly.”

As for being obsessed with what a brilliant thinker like you is writing, I say it is very funny catching you lie over and over plus changing attitudes here and there.

OUR bad luck starts with your posts that are filling this board. You are contaminating a communal space general, why don’t you open your own shop if you are this important and smart?

Your RANTS are in our face day and night. People like you highjacked the forum and made many great writers and ideas disappear from here with your childish attitude.

Come, throw more accusations towards me. Be a true Baathi.

AS for MLK, a man who calls for violent acts like you is NOT allowed to use his words.

Paid professional bloggers like you are very predictable.

August 24th, 2011, 10:20 am

 

ann said:

Moscow Says Not Time for Syria Sanctions – 24 August 2011

http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/moscow-says-not-time-for-syria-sanctions/442617.html

UNITED NATIONS — Russia’s UN ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, said Moscow does not think it is time to impose sanctions that Western countries are seeking on Syria over its five-month crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators.

Churkin spoke Tuesday shortly before the United States and European nations on the UN Security Council delivered a draft sanctions resolution on Syria to the 15-nation body.

Russia, along with Britain, China, France and the United States, has the power to veto any resolution, and Churkin’s remarks suggested that persuading Moscow to back tough measures would not be easy for the United States, Britain, France, Germany and Portugal, the drafters of the sanctions text.

Asked as he was going into a regular Security Council meeting whether it was time for sanctions on Damascus, Churkin told reporters: “No, we don’t think so.”

Russia is not alone. China, South Africa, Brazil and India have indicated that they would have trouble supporting punitive measures against Damascus. Council resolutions need nine votes in favor and no vetoes in order to pass.

Several council diplomats said in interviews Tuesday that the draft resolution called for sanctions against about 20 Syrians, including President Bashar Assad. They also said the draft contained the threat of a referral of the Syrian crackdown to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Diplomats say an earlier version called for an actual referral of the Syrian violence against protesters to the court, as happened in the case of Libya earlier this year.

After referring Libya, the court issued warrants for the arrest of leader Moammar Gadhafi, his son Saif Islam and his intelligence chief.

The draft resolution also proposes the blacklisting of four Syrian companies, diplomats said on condition of anonymity.

Typically, UN sanctions against individuals include an international travel ban and mandatory freezing of any financial assets. Sanctioned companies face an asset freeze and it becomes illegal for any firm to do business with them.

A senior Western diplomat hinted last week that the proposed sanctions could include an arms embargo. Moscow might have trouble with that because Russia is a longstanding arms supplier for Damascus. It was not immediately clear whether the latest version included an arms embargo.

Churkin did not comment on any specific sanctions measures being proposed.

“There are some ideas being floated but those are initial ideas,” he said. “But we are comfortable within the scope of the Aug. 3 statement.”

The United Nations says 2,200 people have been killed in Syria since the crackdown against protesters began in March, and its Human Rights Council opened an investigation on Tuesday into the violence, including possible crimes against humanity, despite objections from Russia and China.

Churkin said Russia believed the 15-nation council had stated its position clearly in its Aug. 3 statement, in which it called for an end to the violence and condemned the use of force by Syrian authorities.

“We hope to see progress, we hope to see dialogue established in Syria,” he said. “We think we should continue to work within the scope of that unified position.”

August 24th, 2011, 10:25 am

 

AIG said:

Aboud,

Let’s have the discussion about the Golan once you have a working democracy in Syria. That is a little more important at this stage. I agree with you that this is the best way for Syria to get back the Golan.

August 24th, 2011, 10:28 am

 

majedkhaldoon said:

Can someone explain to me why Mustapha Tlass and his two sons are not included in freezing their assets,by USA and Europe.and why Asma and her children were not included

August 24th, 2011, 10:29 am

 

Abu Umar said:

“131. mjabali said: ”

Simple question, Alawi or more accurately, Nusayri sectarian.

When your regime dominated by Alawis, cracks down with its armed forces and mukhabarat, dominated by Alawis, and slaughters, expels, jails tens of thousands of Syrian Sunnis so that it can maintain its Alawi grip on power, do you honestly expect that there won’t be sectarian hatred, bearing in mind that these actions are supported by the overwhelming majority of Alawis, something proved by the facts on the ground? And the deranged menhebeks have the audacity to talk about sectarianism, when they are the biggest benefactors of it?

Why do you expect the people to go to their graves like sheep and for them to smile at you when you kill them?

Note Aboud, that this thug Mjabali, never questioned the menhebeks who called for violence constantly on this blog, yet when people have the audacity to fight back against the Syrian regime, he feigns outrage. They demand you be pacifists while they slaughter you, no different than their Zionist cousins who are outraged that the Palestinians refused to become refugees in their own land.

August 24th, 2011, 10:56 am

 

Aboud said:

AIG, every treaty Israel signed was with dictatorships. Basher Gemayel was the only (sort of) elected leader to make an agreement with Israel. Neither him nor the treaty lasted a year.

Majed, Mustapha Tlass left his post a long time ago, as did Khadam.

Interesting idea to include Asma on the list of sanctions, I completely agree.

@131 Still obsessed with the French tanks? I provided a source for everything I said. You haven’t provided one. The last MASS PRODUCED posts you’ve made have been whines about Aboud. The attention is flattering 🙂

“You hate me because I am not from the same sect like you”

Um, right now it’s not hate I feel, but enormous pity. Your posts have long since ceased to contain anything of substance. There is nothing in your last one that provides fodder for any discussion at all, it’s just personnel attacks and rants. But your continued ramblings are an amusing sideshow into the effect I, Aboud the Awesome, have on the menhebaks 🙂

Another link to the blatant firing on civilians by Syrian army thugs;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzbg89YNWEM&ref=nf

Notice that they start firing without coming under fire themselves. Notice that neither they nor their buddies on the roadblock seem the lest bit concerned about getting shot back at. These wimps would piss their pants if they were ever sent to the Golan.

MLK quote;

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

I expect the Syrian Electronic Army to hack an MLK website, and accuse him of being a mundas. And I expect to see, in big red letters, the phrase “WHERE IS YOUR GHOST TANK” LOL 🙂

August 24th, 2011, 11:00 am

 

Aboud said:

“Note Aboud, that this thug Mjabali, never questioned the menhebeks who called for violence constantly on this blog, yet when people have the audacity to fight back against the Syrian regime, he feigns outrage. They demand you be pacifists while they slaughter you, no different than their Zionist cousins who are outraged that the Palestinians refused to become refugees in their own land.”

Well said Abu Umar. The baathist thugs preach nonviolence, but are quick to use tanks against non violent demonstrations. They call for tolerance, but use sectarian divisions to maintain their perverse grip on power. The only non-violence they want is on the part of their opponents.

Just look at how the menhebaks here are running scared from the mere mention of arming the revolution, how they beg and plead with Landis to censor such comments. Pathetic.

August 24th, 2011, 11:03 am

 

Abu Umar said:

” 22. Ali said:

Abu Umr said

“forces people to say la ilaah illah Bashar, and this is ovewhelmingly supported by the majority of Syrian Alawis”

This is an outright lie. This has never and will never be said.
If you have nothing to talk about but you hate for Alawis, then you can go take your hate and try to spread it somewhere else.
The world is at this state because of people like you.”

This is a outright truth and we have seen the donkeys of Bashar deifying him and prostrating to him and yes, there will be hatred when you slaughter tens of thousands. You were so confident a few weeks ago calling for a scorched-earth policy, Ali, now it seems you are on the verge of tears? I offer you my fake condolences, like Hafez did with Waleed Jumblat after killing his father, and Bashar with Hamza al-Khatib’s father.

August 24th, 2011, 11:09 am

 

Revlon said:

130. Dear Aboud:
“Irrefutable proof that when the army thugs fire, it’s not against armed gangs”
Thank you for the link,

I would like to trnascribe the orders given by the commander of that armed vehicle:
– Latkhalli 7ado!
– Bidden Hirriyyee?
– 3tteehen Hirriyee!
– Bidna Bishor wbas!

The soldiers know that the targeted people want freedom!
The soldiers are not accusing those people with anything more than wanting freedom!
The soldiers believe that it is their duty to deal with them with bullets.
“Bashor” is more important than “Hirriyee”
Such is the mindset of the loyal commanders of Jr’s armed forces.
If you ASK for “hirriyyee” you get a bullet!

August 24th, 2011, 11:18 am

 

norman said:

FW: كتب الاعلامي غسان بن جدو‏ 11:05 AM

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11:05 AM
Subject: FW: كتب الاعلامي غسان بن جدو
Date: Sun, 21 Aug 2011 14:28:59 +0000

كتب الاعلامي غسان بن جدو

ان يتكلم أُمي في السياسة ويحلل ما يشاهده بقدر ما يمتلك من معرفة ضئيلة فهذا امر …عادي ولا يؤخذ على محمل الجد الا بما ندر

ولكن ان يتكلم مثقف ويتبنى مواقف واضحة من امر ما فهذا يسمى برأي تحليلي ،

الفرق بين الأمي والمثقف هو ان الاول متلقي غالبا اما الثاني فمُلقن ، هذا المثقف هو دائما محط انظار الجميع وخصوصا لمن امتلك قدرات كاريزمية

قادر من خلالها على تمرير افكاره بيسر للعموم ويطلق على هؤلاء تسمية النخبة وهم يلعبون دورا مهما في صناعة الراي العام .

جرت العادة ان تكون غالبية هؤلاء المثقفين من خلفيات يسارية وقومية وهم كثر في الدول الجمهورية وكانوا فيما مضى

ابواقا لنظمها في الترويج للافكار المعادية للانظمة اليمينية الملكية وشكلوا خطرا شديدا عليها ،

انتبه مشايخ الخليج لاهمية هؤلاء فتم انشاء العديد من المجلات التي صدرت في لندن وغيرها وتم تسليم رئاسة تحرير تلك الصحف للبعض منهم

وخصوصا الاكثر انتقادا لهم وعلى مبدأ طعمي التم بتستحي العين فالتزم هؤلاء الصمت وبلعوا كل ما اتحفونا به من شعارات ضد دول الخليج وشيوخها .

تطور الامر فيما بعد وانتشرت الفضائيات الخليجية فانضم الى هؤلاء العديد من الكتاب والشعراء والممثلين والمطربين وكل من له تاثير

مهما صغر في وعي وذاكرة الشعب العربي فاصبح لديهم جيش قوي وجاهز لنتف كل من يعارض ولي نعمتهم ومصدر رزقهم

مستخدمين نفس الشعارات التي بنوا فيها مصداقيتهم السابقة .

ان ينتفض اخوان وسلفيو الاردن ومصر ولبنان والخليج دعما للشعب السوري وضد نظامه فهذا مفهوم ومبرر بحسب ما يؤمنون ويعتقدون به

ولكن ان تقرا او تسمع لكاتب او مثقف يساري علماني تاييدا للثورة السورية كما يسميها ويبارك لخادم الحرمين الشريفين نصيحته المذهبة

فهذا يثير في نفوسنا الياس من هذا الستربتيز المقرف لاشخاص اعتبرناهم في يوم ما ايقوناتنا الثقافية والفنية والاعلامية في وطننا العربي .

عزمي بشارة وادونيس نموذجين لهذه النوعية ممن يسمون انفسهم بمفكرين وليس هذا بسبب انتقادهم لسوريا او بسبب تبني قطر والسعودية لهم فقط

سبب قرفنا منهم هو تحييدهم لدول الخليج وغض النظر عن انتقاد تلك المشيخات الكرتونية التي هي بعيدة كل البعد عن مصطلح الدولة قرونا ضوئية

واكثر ما يغيظنا حقيقة انهم يعرفون تماما ان ما تواجهه سوريا هو مؤامرة كاملة الاوصاف وان المطلوب اذلالها وتركيعها لاهداف بعيدة تماما

عما يسمى بمطالب شعبية وان كان البعض يتعامى عن رؤية الصورة الحقيقية عندنا فهو لا بد قد شاهد ولمس بنفسه مأساة ليبيا مع ثوارالناتو

وكيف يجري تدجين ثوار مصر وتونس واليمن بما يناسب امريكا فكيف يقبل ان يتكرر نفس الامر في سوريا .

تستطيع قنوات العالم ان تكذب وتنافق وتؤلف الحكايات والرويات ولكنهم اي المثقفون والفلاسفة واليساريون يعرفون حقيقة ما يجري في سوريا

هم شاهدوا ما ارتكبه الثوار من مجازر وهم متاكدون من همجيتهم وخطورتهم وان نموذج دولتهم لن يكون في افضل الاحوال

!! الا شبيها بالصومال او افغانستان وان لا مكان لهم في سوريا في حال انتصر هؤلاء واستلموا السلطة ورقاب الناس .

دعونا نتكلم بصراحة ان سوريا ورغم كل العيوب التي يجدونها في نظامها دولة اقليمية مهمة ومؤثرة دولة علمانية ووطنية

فلمصلحة من اضعافها وترويضها وتحويلها الى دولة فاشلة ، ادونيس يطالب من قطر الرئيس بشار الاسد بالاستقالة

ثم وفي نفس الخطاب يتكلم عن تطرف المعارضة وعدم اهليتها للحكم ولكنه رغم هذا الاستنتاج الرهيب الا انه يصر على رحيل الاسد

هو يتحفنا بهذه المفارقة الغريبة العحيبة بحجة ادعائه الفهم والمعرفة ، يريدنا ان نسير بايدينا الى مجهول معلوم من قبلنا والامثلة كثيرة وواضحة

وهنا يكمن الدجل والنفاق في تصوير نفسه كمفكر وكل ما يفكر به هو انهاء سوريا الدولة والشعب والجيش .

يطالبون النظام بوقف القمع وسحب الجيش الى الثكنات والسماح بحرية التظاهر كلمات براقة ولكن لو سمعت الدولة كلامهم

كيف كان سيكون المشهد في سوريا في حماه وحمص وجسر الشغور ودرعا ودوما وبانياس وتل تلخ وغيرها من المناطق التي راهنوا عليها

لتكون نواة معارضة مسلحة على شاكلة ما حصل في ليبيا .

لو كانوا صادقين ووطنيين لوصفوا بكل صدق وامانة حقيقة ما يجري لقالوا ان الدولة تاخرت في الاصلاحات وان الحراك الشعبي هو نتيجة سنوات من القهر والفساد

ولكن في ظل معرفتنا التامة بالخطط الشيطانية لاعداء سوريا فاننا لا نستطيع كمثقفين الا ان نكون بجانب الدولة ضد كل من يحاول استغلال الموقف لكسر ارادتها

لقالوا انهم يشككون باهداف المعارضة وبعمالتها وارتهانها للخارج وسعيها للاطاحة بالنظام الوطني الذي عرى دول الاعتدال العربي وفضح عمالتهم

وكان دائما الى جانب كل مقاوم شريف وصادق هذا ما كنا ننتظره من هؤلاء لم نطلب منهم ان ينحازوا للنظام بل لسوريا ومصلحة سوريا

وحمايتها من اطماع واحقاد دول تريد تدفيعها ثمنا لمواقفها وكنا ساعتها لرحبنا بكل نقد مهما كان قاسيا لانه صدر من اناس يخافون على سوريا وامنها واستقرارها .

الجيش انقذ سوريا من شر كبير وحمى شرفائها وضبط كل الطوائف في سوريا ومنعهم من الانجرار خلف عصبياتهم الطائفية والقبلية بدماء رجاله الابطال حماة الديار

الذين لن يركعوا الا ل الله حقيقة وليس كما تفعل هذه المعارضة السخيفة الذين ينتظرون الفرج من امريكا واوروبا وتركيا واسرائيل

نحن لا نلوم موتورون حاقدون متعصبون يذبحون وهو يصرخون الله واكبر هؤلاء عاجلا ام آجلا سيعلقون على اعمدة المشانق

وجاري تنظيف البلد منهم في القريب العاجل جدا ولكن ماذا نفعل بنخبنا المثقفة كيف يستطيعون النظر في وجوه الارامل والايتام من ابناء شهدائنا

وان كان من قتل وذبح افرادا من جيشنا او مواطينينا يستحق الاعدام فماذا نفعل بمن حاول ان يقتل وطن وشعب باكمله

اي مصير ارادوا لسوريا هؤلاء ان كانت حجة الجاهل ادعائه الغباء فما هي حجة من يدعي انه مفكر وعبقري زمانه

والله انها لمعضلة لا بد من ايجاد حل لها وحل سريع بعيدا عن شعار الرأي الآخر وحرية التعبير لان كل هذه الشعارات تسقط عندما يكون الوطن في خطر .

نحن في الساعات الاخيرة من الازمة الداخلية ولكن الازمة الخارجية التي ادخل فيها هؤلاء المثقفون الوطن قد تطول وان كان تاثيرها سيكون محدودا جدا

فثقتنا بالقيادة كبيرة جدا وهي تعرف جيدا كيف تعيد تجميع الخيوط واللعب بها في ملاعب الاخرين وتدفيعهم ثمن تطاولهم على سوريا .

سوريا تجاوزت الازمة ولكنها تعلمت درسا لن ينسى ابدا والمؤسف ان انتصارها لم يكن سببه ان الغرب يخاف على اسرائيل من رد فعل سوري

في حال تم الاعتداء على اراضيها الذي اوقف الحرب الخارجية هو التهديد المباشر بان الحرب لن تكون مع اسرائيل ولن توجه الصورايخ لاراضي فلسطين المحتلة بل

للسعودية وقطر وغيرها لان تجربة حرب تموز علمتنا ان ما يؤلم امريكا ليس ضرب اسرائيل بل ضرب قواعدها في المنطقة المسماة دول ومشيخات

لانهم اشد خطرا على الامة العربية من الصهاينة (الأَعْرَابُ أَشَدُّ كُفْراً وَنِفَاقاً {97} التوبة ) فهم بتآمرهم على سوريا وتسخير كل امكانياتهم لتفتيتها

عبر التحريض الطائفي والمذهبي وعبر تصدير هذه النفايات البشرية المسماة وهابية وعادة ذبح البشر وسلخ جلودهم واغتصاب النساء وتقطيع الاطفال

لاستجرار ردات فعل دموية وبث الاشاعات والاكاذيب والبث الاعلامي المتواصل والمباشر كل هذا الحقد فقط لتجري الدماء في انهار سوريا بدل الماء .

ادونيس وبشارة انتم الوجه الاخر للعرعور اهدافكم واحدة الفرق انكم في حال فشلتم وستفشلون فستعودون الى سباتكم الشتوي

وان انتصرتم ولن تنتصروا فعندها ستتباكون في منافيكم الفاخرة والجميلة

ولا باس بين الفينة والاخرى من ظهور تلفزيوني تتْلون فيه فعل الندامة والحسرة على وطن اضعتموه بكم ريال

او بجائزة نوبل لم يفز بها الا مجرم او عميل او خائن لبلده .

مارسيل خليفة كم كنت بشعا وانت تحمل هذه الشمعة في ساحة الشهداء في بيروت تريد الحرية للشعب السوري

هل سالت نفسك مرة واحدة قبل ان تحمل هذه الشمعة لماذا سوريا فقط يراد لشعبها الحرية ان كنت تدعي انك مناضل

فيا ليتك بدات بالنضال لتحرير شعب الجزيرة العربية وعندما يصبح له حرية بالقدر نفسه الذي في سوريا عندها يحق لك ان تطالب بحرية اكبر

لكل الشعب العربي وعندها سنحمل الشموع معك ولكن ان تقبل ان يوزع عليك غلمان السعودية في لبنان شموع الحرية في بيروت

فهذا لا نستيطع ان نفهمه من فنان ملتزم مثلك ويساري وعلماني

هل نقول انها جاذبية المال دفعتك ان تتحامل على وطن وشعب صفقوا طويلا لاغانيك

اما من تتباكى عليهم فاول ما سيفعلونه سيكون منعك واغانيك من دخول سوريا كما في السعودية التي كعادتها

تسمح لجيشها الاعلامي والفني ان ينتقد كل الدول العربية باستثناء وحيد هو السعودية نفسها .

الدين افيون الشعوب قلتم ونقول لكم ايها المثقفون المتسعودون

ان المال هو افيونكم وحشيشكم وحبوبكم المخدرة

مع الامل الكبير بجرعة زائدة تريحنا منكم

August 24th, 2011, 11:20 am

 

Atassi said:

LIBYAN RATS LEAD WHERE SYRIAN GERMS WOULD FOLLOW
GREG SHERIDAN, FOREIGN EDITOR
25 August 2011
The Australian

Gaddafi’s downfall pressures Assad, whose demise would be strategically important

THE Germs of Syria would like to congratulate the Rats of Libya.

This, surely, is one of the most splendid and brilliant expressions of solidarity among rebels in the course, so far, of the Arab Spring. It reflects the justifiable pride of the rebels in the labels their dictators have given them.

The Libyan revolution could still end a thousand different ways. But the Germs and the Rats are intensely connected. The biggest strategic question posed by the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya is what does it mean for the future of the Syrian dictator, Bashar al-Assad? Libya is important but Syria could be critical. Its population is three times as big as Libya’s, it is located in the strategic pivot of the Middle East and it is Iran’s most important ally.

The events in Libya help the rebels in Syria. The Middle East revolutions are spreading by contagion. Young people watch the demonstrations in each others’ cities and take inspiration from each others’ courage.

This even had an echo in Israel, which of course is a stable democracy and had orderly demonstrations about normal political issues, and in Britain, which experienced nihilist street looting. But without equating the motives or behaviour of the different demonstrators, for countless young people there was a feeling that the street was the place to be.

Some Western analysts believe the demise of Gaddafi’s rule may encourage Assad to embrace a grand bargain, encompassing his resignation. If he does not, he will likely be indicted eventually by the International Criminal Court. Then he would have nowhere to go, trapped inside his nation, and not very secure there. If he leaves before that he could negotiate no prosecution and affluent exile.

The European Union is moving to ratchet up sanctions against Syria’s already crippled economy. Assad has lost the support, critically, of his giant neighbour, Turkey, which is concerned with the public relations disaster of Assad’s crackdowns, the outflow of refugees from Syria to Turkey and the potential for Syria’s substantial Kurdish minority to hook up with their Turkish cousins.

On the other hand, Assad is in some ways in an inherently stronger position than Gaddafi. It is highly unlikely that NATO would risk another military intervention in an Arab country and Assad, like everyone else, knows the Libyan rebels would not have prevailed without NATO airpower.

Moreover, Assad remains tight with Iran, so he will never be wholly isolated.

Partisans of Barack Obama are praising his masterful inactivity on both Libya and Syria. In truth, the US President has looked irrelevant and more or less impotent in the whole drama of the Arab Spring, but nonetheless he probably took the right policy options on Libya. He did enough to support the British and French desire, with strong backing from Australia’s Kevin Rudd, to intervene in Libya, but made sure there was no suggestion of Western troops on the ground.

The Libyans will own the outcome in their own country. The most important consideration for the West, in Syria and Libya, and indeed in Egypt and Tunisia, is not that these countries become pro-Western, which, given the paranoia that characterises all Arab political culture, is pretty much inconceivable. It is rather that they become successful, peaceful, self-directed societies, pursuing economic development, at peace with their neighbours and not actively at war with the West. If that means that their local leaders engage in a bit of Islamo-waffle and even rhetorical US-bashing, so long as it’s relatively moderate, that would be a reasonable outcome.

One of the many problems with Iraq and Afghanistan was that their governments owed everything, even their existence, to Washington. This provided a political equation almost impossible for them to manage.

Obama has been even more cautious about Syria than he was about Libya, or indeed Egypt or Tunisia. It took him months to finally come to the conclusion that he should call for Assad to step down as Syria’s leader, yet he reached that position about Hosni Mubarak, a much more liberal, less bloody and US-friendly dictator, within weeks.

Why were the Americans so cautious about Syria?

Well informed sources suggest several reasons. One was the understandable if extreme caution about becoming too involved in too many conflicts in the Middle East. Another was a very serious concern about the influence of Al-Qa’ida affiliates and more general Islamist extremists in the Syrian opposition.

This was a worry in Libya, too. Western intelligence analysts believe al-Qa’ida affiliates are pretty marginal in the Libyan opposition. However, historically al-Qa’ida did have significant success in recruiting, especially from eastern Libya. Broader-based Islamist extremists, the Muslim Brotherhood and others, are a bigger problem in Libya. Israeli sources suggest that some of the advanced weaponry flooding into the Gaza Strip recently has come from Libyan sources, which would be an extreme concern for Western policy-makers.

Within Syria, the al-Qa’ida-linked element is greater and the strength of the Muslim Brotherhood is also greater. The risks and uncertainties of a post-Assad Syria are very troublesome.

And Assad, for all his brutality, and all the trouble he has caused in Lebanon, has kept his border with Israel essentially stable. But it would be utterly wrong for the West to take the view that the stability of dictatorship is all that can ever be hoped for.

Further, there are potentially serious strategic gains from toppling Assad.

It would be a huge blow to Iran’s position in the region. Syria is ruled by the minority Alawite sect, which is a branch of Shia Islam. A post-Assad Syria would almost certainly reflect the dominance of its Sunni majority. This would make it unlikely to re-enter an alliance with Iran. It would also make it less likely to continue sponsoring the Shia terrorist group Hezbollah, which has effectively taken a dominant position in the Lebanese government and which, with its massive missile stockpile, is always threatening renewed conflict with Israel.

The Alawite dominance of the Syrian army would surely disappear and this would make that army less effective, and less of a regional threat, at least for a time.

While there are immense risks, it’s in the West’s interests for Assad to go.

Gaddafi’s going makes that more likely.

August 24th, 2011, 11:26 am

 

Abu Umar said:

“140. norman said: ”

Ghassan Bin Jiddu, is right on the hypocrisy of the pro-Saudi axis and it’s allies, yet he is silent on those Arab leftists who support Hezbollah and Iran. And Bin Jiddu never uttered a word against the Iraqis who rode in on American tanks, typical of the fake “mumaana” of the likes of Bin Jiddu.

August 24th, 2011, 11:31 am

 

Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Aboud #136,

“…AIG, every treaty Israel signed was with dictatorships. Basher Gemayel was the only (sort of) elected leader to make an agreement with Israel. Neither him nor the treaty lasted a year”.

This is the second time you bring this issue. What is your point? What is your conclusion and/or in light of it, your recommendations for the future?
.

August 24th, 2011, 11:32 am

 

Haytham Khoury said:

Dear mjabali:

I am writing to support your post #131. I wish from all the ma-menhebik people to pay attention to the language that they use. This wish is not because I have authority over anybody in this forum, but because it is a personal wish. I always hope people can transcend the reality. Evil is so dominant in this world, for this reason I hope all people within this forum and outside this forum can work diligently to reduce evil. I know the most comments that appears to be inflammatory in SC are not intended to be. However, it is not intention what counts, but real life consequence what is important. Therefore, I understand and support “mjabali” emotional post @131.

August 24th, 2011, 11:43 am

 

ann said:

Local Travel in Syria by Donkey, Tirtera and Scania Bus
Posted for The Travel Word by Ethan Gelber on August 24th 2011

http://www.newsbycompany.com/post/view/7880/Local-Travel-in-Syria-by-Donkey–Tirtera-and-Scania-Bus/

Transport in Syria is always an adventure requiring improvisation and spontaneity. High gas prices are the main reason why local transport is what it is today in all its living and very vivid colour. If the movie Planes, Trains & Automobiles were set in Syria, it would have been a completely different (but equally comic) film! On this virtual tour of Syrian modes of transport, you get a taste of the wide variety of unusual options on offer in our country.

Transport in Syria is always an adventure requiring improvisation and spontaneity. High gas prices are the main reason why local transport is what it is today in all its living and very vivid colour. If the movie Planes, Trains & Automobiles were set in Syria, it would have been a completely different (but equally comic) film!

On this virtual tour of Syrian modes of transport, you get a taste of the wide variety of unusual options on offer in our country.
Public Transport in the City

In Syria, we have numerous public transit systems that make the country ideal for budget travel. Instead of taking a relatively expensive taxi (a trip of six kilometres costs 75 Syrian pounds, or US$1.50), you can cover the same ground within a city on a minibus, called a ‘micro’, for a mere 10 pounds! ‘Micro’ buses are not very eco-friendly – they burn diesel and can only carry a maximum of 14 passengers – however, they get the job done.

Syria transport micro bus

At this central ‘micro’ hub under President Bridge in Damascus, Syria, travellers can find convenient transport to anywhere in the city. Photo courtesy of Flickr/xophe_g

Nowadays, large buses with a passenger capacity of about 90 people (30 sitting and 60 standing) are being introduced. These buses obviously burn more diesel than ‘micro’ buses; however, they get a lot more people to work while using less fuel per capita. That’s a Syrian carpool.

As an alternative to both, you are sure to spot the famous scania buses. These old vehicles have been roaming the roads since the 1960s and are still going strong today. Very powerful and colourful, scania buses are a sort of self-portrait of their owners, who put their own special touches into the wildly flashy decoration. I always love hopping on and enjoying the detail of each one!
Syria transport scania buses

The author, pictured here, can’t get enough of the flashy decorations that makes each ‘scania’ bus unique in Syria. Photo courtesy of Flickr/alazaat
Tirtera: A Syrian Invention

A terizena in Aleppine dialect (or a tirtera in Damascene dialect) is what we call a roofed metal cart with a small engine of very low horsepower fuelled by the butane gas that is usually used for ovens! Newer ones are painted with elaborate polychromatic designs and beautiful decorations similar to the scania buses, while old ones are less-glamorous heaps of rusting metal. This is the transportation of choice for the masses in Syria. It is called a ‘tirtera’ because it makes a churning ‘tir tir tir’ sound. I can only imagine what a rap star like Xzibit could do to pimp this ride!
Suzuki

A well-rounded pickup truck, the Suzuki is the utility vehicle of choice in Syria, a lower-carbon-emissions version of a Toyota Hilux pickup, but with much less horsepower of course. Families use them on moving day to load fridges and heavy wooden beds. For kicks on weekends, Suzuki owners love to load their kids in the back and take them for a ride. You can find whole families seated in them in a circle as if they were at a picnic, especially in larger pickups. Truly a versatile, small Titan of a vehicle!
Syria transport Tirtera

‘Tir tir tir’ goes the motor of these micro-vehicles that serve as common transport in Syria, which is why they are called ‘tirteras’. Photo courtesy of Flickr/Trilli Bagus
The Donkey Wheel Cart

Endearing and powered on 100-percent vegetables or overripe fruit, these carts are often loaded with 50-100 watermelons and pulled by hardworking donkeys or mules in the heat of the summer. Souped up with amplifiers vendors use to wake up sleeping housewives at midday, these carts save time and effort for people wanting watermelons but don’t want to make a trip to the grocery store. These carts, just like tirteras, are occasionally decorated to taste, but not so cute when the donkey needs to make a pit stop in the middle of the street.
Diesel Tankers

Harsher than the donkey cart amplifiers are the horns of the diesel vendors when they honk at midday. Their tankers roam about in the winter to provide diesel to residents for their central heaters. Some people living on the 8th or 9th floors require a special extension to get their fuel; vendors use a hoist to lift the tank up to the balcony and drag it to the attic where it is attached to the pump. The hoist saves time and effort, as household-heater diesel tanks usually hold about 60 litres or more and manually lifting them is no small task. Vendors would only cover one third of the clients’ houses in a 10-hour day without this new accessory. Still, the life of a diesel tank vendor doesn’t require a gym membership!
Syria transport motor bicycle

Be careful rounding the corners on a motorized bicycle like this one in Damascus, Syria. Delivery boys use these to get you your goods in record time. Photo courtesy of Flickr/Paul Keller
Delivery Buggies and Bicycles

Here in Syria, we don’t have Domino’s Pizza delivery service, but we have lovely buggies that bring meals on wheels much more efficiently than a sedan. As for shop delivery bicycles, most are thin-wheeled Indian-made machines that handle corners horribly (but that doesn’t seem to slow down the drivers!). When I was a kid, I tried driving one and crashed on a sharp turn. According to a documentary I saw, these are the second-most-dangerous means of transport possible, beaten only by cars without brakes in Vietnam.
Taxis

Taxis in Syria are painted the universal egg-yolk yellow-orange. Here’s the best tip I can give you: As a tourist, always tell the driver to turn on his meter before taking off. Never accept a ride in a taxi with no meter turned on or you will end up paying 250 Syrian pounds (about US$5) instead of the local price of 40 or 60 pounds (US$1). It’s always a good idea to tip the driver a little bit, especially after a long trip.
Syria transport camel

A bus races a camel along a rural highway in Syria. Both buses and camels are viable modes of transport from one city to another. Photo courtesy of Flickr/loufi
Trains, Boats and Camels

We have inter-city trains from Aleppo to Damascus and vice versa, and trains connecting other cities as well. I personally suggest that you opt first for a bus between cities for three reasons. First, our trains are not the high-speed bullet variety, so buses will actually get you from A to B faster. Secondly, local trains don’t operate on a 24/7 basis like taxis and buses. Third reason: noise. Trust me on this one.

We have a nice selection of boats in coastal Lattakia and Tartous. You can even find jet skiers!

As for the camels in the Palmyran desert, they are nicknamed safinat al sahraa, or in Arabic ‘the boat of the desert,’ due to their endurance over long distances. Hop aboard for the ride of your life.

August 24th, 2011, 12:01 pm

 

Revlon said:

Calls for enforcement of a no-fly zone from coordination Committees of Syrian revolution are on the rise:

حركة سوريا شباب من أجل الحرية Youth Syria For Freedom
أموي مباشر #syria ◄ خاص أموي :: تطور لافت ومهم اليوم , بدأت تنسيقيات الثورة السورية واتحاد تنسيقيات الثورة السورية بالمطالبة ولأول مرة بالتدخل العسكري الدولي لفرض حظر جوي لطيران الاحتلال الاسدي الذي بدأ بقصف المدن السورية , وطالبت اغلب التنسيقية برفع شعارات للمطالبة بالحماية الدولية للمتظاهرين السلميين , بالتدخل العسكري غير المباشر , بفرض منطقة حظر جوي , ولاحقا دعم حركة الضباط الاحرار

10 hours ago

August 24th, 2011, 12:10 pm

 

Haytham Khoury said:

@ Norman #140

-ان تقرا او تسمع لكاتب او مثقف يساري علماني تاييدا للثورة السورية كما يسميها
I am an educated man and a liberal and I say to Ben jedou “I support fully the Syrian Revolution”. I have nothing to do with “petro dollar”, because I do not need them. I say to Ben Jedou “please go away. You do not know what you are talking about. You are labelling the Syrian revolution with the label that helps your own purposes and your own interest. I hope you will go to more desperation and hopelessness, because this the only fate that the people who support dictators merit.

-دعونا نتكلم بصراحة ان سوريا ورغم كل العيوب التي يجدونها في نظامها دولة اقليمية مهمة ومؤثرة دولة علمانية ووطنية

Syria is not a secular state. Syria is one the most sectarian states in the world. Hafez al-Assad used his sect to consolidate his power. He offered them a deal that was not a good deal. In order to support his reign, he offered them some candies. However, that was at the expense of them. At the expense of their feeling of stability and security. The fear that the Alawite community is living in now is what Hafez Assad brought to them. Further, I am not sure how Ben jedou understand nationalism. Is nationalism is empty slogans for him. was losing the Golan Heights nationalism? Was killing the Palestinians in Lebanon nationalism? was destroying Lebanon nationalism? was destroying Hama nationalism? Is destroying the Syrian economy Nationalism?

I think Ben jedou needs to review his concepts of many words.

August 24th, 2011, 12:12 pm

 

Haytham Khoury said:

@ Revlon (#146).

Full support.

August 24th, 2011, 12:17 pm

 

Evan said:

Aboud, No, I’m not asking you to dismiss Dayan completely, I’m asking you not to rely completely on his testimony. For 1948-1967 I go with Mati Peled’s assessment (similar to Dayan’s but a little less extreme), and when you get a chance ask an old Israeli from Hula valley about ’67. The two months from April 7 1967 to June 7 1967 there was random Syrian shelling on Israeli border towns, and that’s what led the Israelis to decide to take it. Dayan was against taking the Golan, as I’m sure you know, because he saw this as a lash-out measure by the Syrians, not as a true security threat. But the Israeli mantra is and has been that they will protect their own, and the only way they felt they could truly protect their citizens and their water resources (the unspoken resource that everyone was fighting over) was through occupation. I’d say it worked, but almost 50 years on I think we can end it and come to a real agreement. If Syria becomes a state that represents the will of its people, that is.

August 24th, 2011, 12:20 pm

 

Ghat Al Bird said:

By joining Abrams, Doren and Bolton obviously sympathise with the beliefs Abrams mentioned in his book Faith or Fear: How Jews Can Survive in Christian America.

He writes: “Outside the land of Israel, there can be no doubt that Jews, faithful to the covenant between God and Abraham, are to stand apart from the nations in which they live.

It is the very nature of being Jewish to be apart — except in Israel — from the rest of the population.” Judaism and the Jewish way of life,” writes Abrams, is not “entirely voluntary, for the Jew is born into a covenantal community with obligations to God.” Jews, he goes on, “are in a permanent covenant with God and with the land of Israel and its people.

In essence then Bolton, Doren and Abrams are articulating their loyalties to Israel and Jewish interests over their loyalties to the US.

** submitted as comment to “Intervensionist versus non-interventionist”.

August 24th, 2011, 12:21 pm

 

ann said:

Schism In Syrian Opposition Over Establishment of Syrian National Council – August 23, 2011

http://www.thememriblog.org/blog_personal/en/40277.htm

On August 23, Syrian oppositionists in Istanbul declared the establishment of the Syrian National Council, which is supposed to represent the Syrian opposition in the international arena and include 120 members – half from Syria, and half from abroad. The decision sparked disagreements in the Syrian opposition in and out of Syria.

The Supreme Body of the Syrian Revolution, which coordinates protests throughout Syria, requested to postpone the establishment of the opposition council and to focus on supporting the revolution itself.

The Syrian Committee for Change, which was established in an oppositionist conference in Antalya, Turkey in March, withdrew from the debates, claiming they were undemocratic.

It should be mentioned that this is not the first attempt to establish a unifying body for the Syrian opposition.

Source: Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), August 24, 2011; Sooryoon.net, August 21, 2011; All4syria.info, August 23, 2011.

August 24th, 2011, 12:36 pm

 

jad said:

الطابور السادس في انتظار الأسطول السادس
by بقلم: نارام سرجون

التاريخ ليس دائما عن حكايات الهزائم والانتصارات وقصص الموت والحياة ..فالتاريخ وهو يروي لنا الحكايا يستريح أيضا من حديث أهوال الحروب والانقلابات والهزات، ويجلس ليحدثنا في استراحاته عن كاريكاتيرات تاريخية ومهرجين لايتخلى عنهم التاريخ فبدونهم لاتحلو الحكايات ولايتبدد سواد الأحداث ..ولعل أكثر مايجعل التاريخ يضحك بصوت عال هو أولئك الذين يحبون أن يلعبوا دور الأساتذة والوعاظ الناصحين وهم دراويش أميون ..ولكنه يضحك أكثر حتى تحمرّ وجنتاه وتنفخ عروق وجهه عندما يحدثنا عن أولئك الذين يعانون من العنانة وهم يريدون اظهار فحولتهم فيبعثون زوجاتهم الى فراش الباشا..ليحملن لهم منه..كي يبدو للناس أنهم فحول ورجال وتحبل منهم النساء ..وهنا يقصد التاريخ بالقول “المستأسدين علينا بالناتو” ..ثوار عنينون يريد أن يظهروا لنا فحولتهم فيتباهون بفحولة سيدهم وخصيتيه ..والتاريخ يتوقف عن الضحك لحظات ليقول: من كان فحلا فليظهر فحولته في فراشه ..ففحولة الناتو له وليست لكم…وأبناء ثورتكم “زوجتكم” التي شهدت فحولته هم أبناؤه ..ثم يغرق التاريخ في نوبة ضحك لاتنتهي..
منذ أن بدأت أحداث الشرق الأوسط والنزاع العربي الاسرائيلي في بدايات القرن الماضي ظهر لدينا الى جانب مآسيه وهزائمه هذا الخليط والفئة التي حدثنا عنها التاريخ من الوعاظ الأميين وعشاق دور الأستاذ الى جانب فريق العنينين ..هؤلاء يظهرون فجأة بعد الكوارث والملمات لأنهم يدعون أنهم يرون مالانراه .. ويكون نصحهم غالبا محشوا بالوعيد والتهديد والتخويف وغايته انتزاع شأفة العنفوان فينا..هؤلاء ليسوا الطابور الخامس بل هم الطابور السادس لأن الخامس هو الذي يتولى كل المهمات القذرة السرية التي تهيء للعدو الاختراق على الأرض أما هم فيتولون مهمة لاتشبهها الا مهمة الزبالين الذين على عكس زبالي العالم يقومون بجلب القمامة وتوزيعها على الاحياء والمنازل لجعل السكن فيها لايطاق وهؤلاء لايشبهون الا الدود الذي يأكل الموتى ..لاينشط الا على الجثث ..والجيف …لا لشيء الا ليذكرنا بحكمة أن كل نفس ذائقة الموت..
فعندما هزم المشروع القومي للرئيس عبد الناصر عام 67 نهض هذا الدود على جثث الجيوش العربية المهزومة وجثث السلاح العربي المقتول ..هؤلاء أعادوا على الأمة الدروس وذكروها بالعبر التي تستنبط من هزيمة عبد الناصر..القومجي وصاحب الخطابات الذي كلفتنا خطاباته وعنترياته الكثير.. وكانت هذه الديدان تتلوى في شماتة لاتوصف على جثة مشروع قتلوه طفلا يحبو..وقالت هذه الديدان: ان عبد الناصر لم يستمع لنصح الناصحين بأن أمريكا هي المحور الكوني ..فلقي جزاءه ..فاتعظوا ياأولي الألباب..واتعظ السادات فورا..
وعندما سقطت بغداد وهزم الرئيس العراقي صدام حسين أعاد هؤلاء ظهورهم كما توقعنا وسمعنا هسهسات الدود الذي يقتتل على وجه بغداد وفحوا فحيحهم لاضعاف هممنا ووعدونا أننا سنشرب من نفس الكأس الذي تجرعه نظام الحكم العراقي ..كيف لا ونحن النصف الآخر من البعث (في سوريا)..ولم يكن الرئيس بشار الأسد بحاجة آنذاك الى كولن باول ليأتي الى دمشق لابتزازه وتهديده وعرض خرائط الأهداف التي ستهاجم في سوريا -كما كشف مؤخرا- في المرحلة الثانية من اجتياح الشرق الأوسط لأن رسالة باول وصلت بسرعة قبله وبأمانة عبر الكاتب الكويتي أحمد الجار الله عندما كتب مقالا قال فيه: ان على طبيب العيون في دمشق أن يتبصر ويرى مصير نظام الحكم العراقي ..انها موعظة لمن يتعظ !! وبالطبع كان فريق الانشاد الصحفي العربي يردد ذلك بنشوة وشماتة..واتعظوا ياأولي الألباب..انها الأيام الأخيرة لسوريا..
وعندما اغتيل رفيق الحريري شمر القبضايات اللبنانيون عن سواعدهم ثم …توعدوا وهددوا بأنها الأيام الأخيرة لدمشق …ثم …أنزلوا سروال جورج بوش ليظهروا لنا “فحولتهم”..ولم يعرفوا أن بوش ترك فحولته معلقة في العراق .
وهكذا كلما وقع حدث جلل نظر الينا القبضايات مبتهجين بعيون تقول ..الآن جاء دوركم ..وانها أيامكم الأخيرة …واليوم وفي الهجوم الغربي على ليبيا يرقص فريق الانشاد ذاته بنفس ديدانه التي تقتات على جثث الليبيين وعيونه تنظر الى سوريا علها تتعلم الدرس .. وتتلوى هذه الديدان وهي تتوتر وتتحرك بحركات مقوسة سريعة نحو الجسد الليبي وهي تنظر الينا جذلى علّنا ندرك حكمتها وبعد نظرتها..ومن جديد أهل العنانة يباهون بفحولة سيدهم ..
مشكلتنا مع هؤلاء أنهم يعتقدون أننا نفكر مثلهم وهم يفكرون على طريقة حمار الوحش الحائر في ألوانه فلا هو أبيض مخطط بالأسود ولاهو أسود مخطط بالأبيض فان انتصرت رايات اللون الأبيض قال أن لونه أبيض مخطط بالأسود وان انتصرت رايات اللون الأسود قال ان لونه أسود مخطط بالأبيض ..هؤلاء انتهازيون لايستطيعون أن يقودوا قطيعا من حمير الوحش ولاأن يديروا محمية طبيعية في تنزانيا فما بالك بقيادة أمم وأجيال وانهاض المشاريع الكبرى التي تحتاج همما عذارى محرّمة على الهمم الكسالى ..
ومع هذا سننفق بضع دقائق نتحدث مع عرب ومعارضين “مخططين بالأبيض والأسود !! ” ويرتدون كوفيات بيضاء مخططة بخطين أزرقين وبينهما نجمة سداسية زرقاء (!) .. وسنقول لهذه المخلوقات الوديعة:
ماحدث في ليبيا لم يفاجئ أحدا.. فالعقيد لم يكن لديه جيش جرار ليحارب به جيش اسرائيل والعقيد لم يكن في منظومة دولية متماسكة .. بل ان خطأ العقيد أنه مد يده الى الغرب ووثق به آملا أنه يتجنب شروره وأصعد ساركوزي وتبرع بمفاعلاته النووية ولزم جانب الهدوء وابتعد عن الدب الروسي .. وتخلى العقيد كذلك عن تكوين منظوماته القوية بعد أن خذله العرب وبالطبع ليست المنظومة الافريقية بالتي يعتمد عليها لضعفها كما أن منظومة أميريكا اللاتينية لاتستطيع مساعدته لبعدها الجغرافي..أصدقاء العقيد مشتتون .. وأصدقاؤه الجدد مثل بلير وساركوزي وبيريسكوني دخلوا بيته عندما فتحه لهم ..وهؤلاء لصوص ومحتالون دوليون سرقوا مفاتيح خزائنه وأسراره..
ودخول المعارك الى طرابلس لم يكن ببطولة ثوارها بل بقصف الناتو العنيف لقوات القذافي..بطولة الثوار تشبه بطولة العنين بفحولة سيده التي حدثنا عنها التاريخ ..وتشبه كذلك فروسية أحد شيوخ العرب الذي توّج بطلا في الفروسية ورفع الكأس عند اعلان الفوز لأن حصانه الذي اشتراه هو من فاز بالسباق الدولي علما أن الحصان انكليزي والفارس الذي ركب الحصان في السباق كان انكليزيا (واسألوا أسامة فوزي عن هذا السباق وهذا الفارس …لأن فوزي سخر من هذا النصر وفش قلبنا اذ أنهى تعليقه على هذه النتيجة وهذه الفروسية في أحد مقالاته وقال بالحرف: **** على هيك بطولة وهيك بطل !!)..
وبالمقارنة تمكن النظام السوري من بناء منظومة متماسكة للغاية مبنية على التحالف والتخادم الاستراتيجي فلم يتخل عن الروس ولم يتخلوا عنه يوما رغم فترات فتور قصيرة متقطعة لم تصل الى حد التضحية بالحليف ..أما الغرب فلم نثق به مطلقا ولم نسمح له بدخول حديقتنا ناهيك عن بيتنا .. والتحالف القوي الآخر هو التحالف مع ايران .. أما التحالف مع تركيا الذي سقط بالطبع تبين أنه لم يكن تحالفا بل كان هناك حفلة تعارف ..وخطوبة .. وقد تعارفنا وكفى الله المؤمنين شر المعرفة..وشرالزواج من “أم صخر”..
لاأدري ماهي الحكمة من اضاعة الوقت مع هؤلاء الذين لايزالون يعتقدون أن الغرب آت الى ضفة البحر المتوسط الشرقية وأن الساعة السورية آتية لاريب فيها لأن مهمة القضاء على القذافي أنجزت وقد تفرغ الحلف كليا للوضع السوري..وكأن حلف الناتو كان قد زج بكل قواه لقتال القذافي ولم يكن لديه فائض لتوزيع الموت على السوريين..
العارفون بطبيعة التدخل العسكري في ليبيا يعرفون أن الناتو لم يخصص للقتال في ليبيا الا بضع قطع حربية تولى عملياتها -بشكل مباشر- بضع مئات من العسكريين..ولم يتورط الناتو أو يغامر في النزول على الأرض الليبية وترك مهمة الاحتكاك والموت لليبيين الذين تقاتلوا كما تقاتلت القبائل العربية في الجاهلية..بشكل لايصدق ..باسم الحرية والثورة

ولأن مصطلح “هذه الدولة ليست كتلك” أي سوريا ليست ليبيا يثير حفيظة الآخرين وسخرية العنينين فسنقول شيئا آخر أكثر دقة قد يفهمه الأساتذة الناصحون،وهو ما يقول الفيلسوف هيراقليطس:.لاجديد تحت الشمس ولكن لايمكنك أن تقفز في النهر الواحد مرتين …والشاطر يفهم مقصد هيراقليطس
ولعلم العنينين الذين يباهون بفحولة الناتو نقول ان تحطيم القوة العسكرية السورية سيحتاج حجم قوات يعادل ضعف حجم قوات غزو العراق لاحداث هزيمة محققة …علما أن فاعلية سلاح الجو الأطلسية ستكون أمام امتحان صعب أمام بطاريات صواريخ س 300 التي يعتقد على نطاق واسع أن الروس زودوا السوريين بها … والناتو يعلم ماذا يعني للطيار أن يعلم أنه قريب من مجال رادارات س 300 .. والناتوكذلك تذوق طعم الصواريخ البحرية على جسد المدمرة الاسرائيلية ساعر وهو يعلم أن صواريخ ياخونت الروسية ستكون بانتظار بوارجهم على الضفة الشرقية للمتوسط بمدى 300 كم والتي يمكن أن تزود به طائرات من طراز ” ميغ – 29″..صاروخ لا يتوقع الخبراء ان يشهد العالم مثيلا له خلال السنوات العشر القادمة على اقل تقدير..الصاروخ الذي تتعوذ من سماع اسمه كل قطعة بحرية وكل بحّار….ولذلك سينتظر الطابور السادس السوري كثيرا ولن يصل اليه الاسطول السادس

على كل حال ان كان هناك من درس نتعلمه من أعدائنا هو أنهم يعملون بجد ليل نهار وبلا كلل وبلا يأس فلا يكاد يمضي عام الا ولديهم أفكار جديدة ومشاريع ..وجهدهم في مؤسسات البحث ومراكز أبحاث السياسات يستحق الاعجاب والثناء…عمل متواصل لايهدأ ولايعرف له قرارا ولااستقرارا ..عقول تعمل دون توقف وبلا استراحات ..هم نظفوا بلدانهم من الأساتذة والناصحين الدراويش وأبقوا على الأساتذة ذوي العقول ونظفوا ثقافتهم من ثقافة العنانة ودود الأموات…ولذلك يستحق منا هذا الاعداد أن نعد أنفسنا جيدا ..وأن نعمل ليل نهار وبشكل متواصل لايكل ولايعرف اليأس ..وأن نضع أمامنا أن من هزم في أحد لم يهزم في الخندق…وأن الموسوسين في صدورنا حاولوا كثيرا اثناء الرعيل الأول عن مهمته لكنهم لم يوقفوا صوت “اذا جاء نصر الله والفتح”..من أن يهدر في مكة بالأمس..وأن يهدر في القدس غدا

August 24th, 2011, 12:38 pm

 

Averroes said:

Ammar Shami,

Ammar, great piece up there. I really appreciate your honesty and analysis.

I would urge you, however, NOT to identify your dentist in Bab Touma. This forum is read by many people including fanatics on both sides. Some revolution fanatics have committed crimes and can indeed identify your friend as a target. Please do not make this mistake.

August 24th, 2011, 12:47 pm

 

ann said:

U.S. believes its ties to Iraq are stronger than Iran’s – August 24, 2011

http://www.stripes.com/news/u-s-believes-its-ties-to-iraq-are-stronger-than-iran-s-1.153122

BAGHDAD — The U.S. ambassador to Iraq said Sunday that the U.S. maintains stronger relations with Iraq than does Iran, despite recent media reports that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s statements about the unrest in Syria were soft and indicated a philosophical shift toward Iran.

“No other country has the depth and breadth of relationships with Iraq that we do,” U.S. Ambassador to Iraq James Jeffrey said in an interview with Stars and Stripes.

Jeffrey said that Iraq’s trade and religious ties with Iran are strong, but that is normal and expected because of their geographic location and historical links.

“Our concern specifically with Iran is that it sometimes uses illegitimate means, like arming of militias and pressure on the Iraqi political system, and uses all of its various tools to steer Iraq in various directions.”

Syria’s use of military force on political protesters has led to condemnation from much of the world and a call from President Barack Obama for Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad to step aside. Maliki’s call for Syrian protesters to use the democratic process to pursue change — in a country that doesn’t have one — disappointed some international observers who had hoped for a hard-line approach.

University of Michigan professor and Middle East expert Juan Cole told Bloomberg news service that Baghdad’s response shows a government that “tilts to Tehran.”

“It is embarrassing for Washington in general for the Iraqi executive to be taking a soft line on Syrian repression,” Cole said.

Jeffrey said the Iraqi government understands political change will occur in Syria.
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Iraq is very nervous that instability in Syria will result in trouble along their shared western border, Jeffrey said.

“Syria has been a highway for foreign fighters to come into this country, and these foreign fighters have made up the vast majority of all suicide bombers,” he said.

“Our argument is that the change is coming. It’s better first to acknowledge that and prepare for it.”

As the chief of mission for the United States in Iraq, Jeffrey will be in charge of efforts to assist and train Iraq’s government and security forces following the drawdown of U.S. forces at the end of this year.

Following testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in February, Jeffrey said the number of embassy staff and private contractors would have to rise from 8,000 to 17,000 by 2012 to continue the training and development mission in Iraq.

Jeffrey declined to update those figures Sunday, but said he expected the final figure to be “somewhat below” 17,000 workers.

The largest portion of those workers will be devoted to security and support. A contingent made up mainly of contractors will train Iraqis on the billions of dollars worth of weapons Iraq is purchasing from U.S. companies.

The State Department’s International Bureau of Narcotics and Law Enforcement will take over the advising of Iraq’s police forces from the military. However, there could still be a police advisory role for the military if a new security agreement is negotiated that would allow up to 10,000 troops in Iraq next year. The current agreement allowing U.S. troops to remain in Iraq expires Dec. 31.

Jeffrey said that whether the military stays will not fundamentally change his plans, though he sees benefits in having the military remain.

“We would like an agreement … that provides the kind of training support the Iraqis have told us they need and that our military assessment [says] that they do need,” Jeffrey said.

If the Iraqis reject a continued U.S. military presence in 2012, the U.S. would likely negotiate a separate agreement that would allow the private security contractors who have sold Iraq military equipment to work in Iraq, Jeffrey said.

August 24th, 2011, 12:49 pm

 

ann said:

Democracy, stability or just opportunity? Washington chooses which dictators to embrace – August 24, 2011

http://www.stripes.com/blogs/stripes-central/stripes-central-1.8040/democracy-stability-or-just-opportunity-washington-chooses-which-dictators-to-embrace-1.153121

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama praised Libyans this week for being the latest Middle Easterners to prove that “the universal pursuit of dignity and freedom is far stronger than the iron fist of a dictator.”

It helps when the Washington does not support the dictator. First, the U.S. backed the downfall of Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak, then Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi and now Syria’s President Bashar Assad. So, why not more?

In the name of “stability,” U.S. military leaders since the start of the Arab Spring have continued unapologetically backing undemocratic regimes in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Yemen, Qatar and United Arab Emirates.

It’s tradition. Since the early 20th Century, America has embraced autocrats who permitted a strategic foothold in the region. The U.S. military, coldly, must deal with the foreign leaders and military officers they are dealt, officials say.

Look to Bahrain, where the royal family tolerated protestors until the day after former Defense Secretary Robert Gates visited the al-Khalifa regime in Manama. Then that regime’s iron fist turned deadly, firing military-grade weaponry on peaceful protestors and imprisoning human rights activists.

Bahrain is home thousands of Americans and the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet. Last November, the U.S. established a new forward-deployed headquarters for Marines in Central Command. And Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is already telling troops he expects a high-tempo of counterterrorism operations requiring the U.S. to maintain a forward-deployed presence across the region.

So, while rebels in Tripoli have received four-months of legitimizing U.S. rhetoric and thousands of NATO sorties overhead, protestors in other countries fend largely unaided.

“To me, opportunism is a good word in foreign policy, not a bad word,” said Greg Gause, Middle East professor and chairman of the political science department at the University of Vermont. “I want my foreign policy to be opportunistic.”

The White House was right, Gause said, to wait before jumping on the Arab Spring bandwagon until oppositions in some countries showed they had gained a foothold, instead of trying to lead revolutionary change. He disagreed with Obama’s decision to involve the U.S. military in Libya.

“I don’t think we should lead on Syria, I think we should follow,” he said. “And if the regime collapses, it collapses and we’ll deal with what comes next. … But I don’t think that it’s worth spending any of our capital and certainly no military force to push a political change in Syria.”

Just look at the Bush administration, he said, which pushed for Palestinian democracy in Gaza only to legitimize a Hamas electoral victory.

Obama seems content avoiding a one-size-fits-all approach. Bahrain’s protestors have never shown serious signs of toppling the royal family, which has agreed to some reforms.

Saudi Arabia’s rulers prevented the Arab Spring from awakening there by promising a bloodbath on demonstrators should Saudis get any ideas about self-determination. Still, both Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen made it a point to stop in Riyadh this year before retiring.

Further south, in Yemen last year, Gen. David Petraeus publicly courted President Ali Abdullah Saleh with millions in military aid and counterterrorism forces after discovering the attempted Christmas “underwear bomber” went through that country. Critics were glad the U.S. gave more attention to Yemen’s fomenting extremism. But they questioned Petraeus’ hasty visit that put the U.S. on the same side with a deeply unpopular autocrat, stirring anti-U.S. sentiment where none previously existed.

Saleh on Tuesday returned to Sanaa for the first time since a June bombing, Yemen is flailing, and the U.S. remains a marginal player.

“There’s always going to be complaints about double-standards in U.S. foreign policy,” Gause said, “because liberals in the Arab world want us to force governments to be more liberal. On the other hand, nobody in the Arab world wants to be seen as a client of the United States.”

Andrew Cordesman, the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ prolific Middle East security expert, warned this week: “We need to consider the very real risk – and probability – of elections [in Libya] that trigger deep political divisions and elect leaders with little real political experience and no experience in governance.”

In other words: instability.

August 24th, 2011, 12:57 pm

 

Revlon said:

Statement by the Antalya conference group on their withdrawal from current consultations in Istanbul.

http://all4syria.info/web/archives/24402
بيان خاص بالاجتماع التشاوري لتجميع المعارضة وإعلان مجلس وطني سوري

– 2011/08/24نشر فى: أخبار محلية

يعلن المؤتمر السوري للتغيير (أنطاليا)، انسحابه من المشاورات التي ضمت عدداً من الجهات السورية المعارضة في الاجتماع التشاوري الذي عقد في مدينة اسطنبول التركية. ومع إعلانه هذا، يرغب “المؤتمر” توضيح مجموعة من الأمور، التي أحدثت إرباكاً والتباساً، لا وقت لهما، في ظل العمل من أجل إنهاء نظام بشار الأسد الوحشي والفاقد للشرعية الوطنية، خصوصاً محاولات زج اسم المؤتمر السوري للتغيير، من قبل جهات محسوبة على المعارضة السورية، في اتفاقات وهمية، عبر تصريحات غير مسؤولة، تضمنت معلومات غير صحيحة.
والمؤتمر السوري للتغيير، الذي يؤكد نهجه المُعلَن، بأهمية التواصل مع كل أطياف المعارضة السورية، لتحقيق الهدف المنشود بالتخلص النهائي من نظام الأسد، ورص صفوف هذه المعارضة للهدف نفسه، يؤكد على أن المشاورات التي أجراها عدد من أعضائه المكلفين، لم تتضمن أية اتفاقات مسبقة، حول أية قضية كانت، بما في ذلك إعلان المجلس الوطني السوري. كما يؤكد أيضاً، التزامه بالنهج العملي والعلمي، لا الارتجالي، ويلتزم بثوابته الديمقراطية، التي تحتم العودة إلى الهيئة الاستشارية المنبثقة عنه، في القضايا المحورية التي تشكل تحولات وانعطافات في مسيرة عمله.
ويشدد المؤتمر السوري للتغيير، على أنه يؤيد الخطوات والجهود والاتصالات، الرامية إلى توحيد مواقف المعارضة السورية، بصورة مقبولة للأطراف الرئيسية، وفي مقدمتها أهلنا في سوريا، الذين يواجهون حرب إبادة على أيدي نظام الأسد وعصاباته المحلية والخارجية، ويشدد في الوقت نفسه، على أنه لن ينخرط في أية خطوات وجهود واتصالات، لا تستند إلى أرضية صلبة، ولا تأخذ في الاعتبار المعايير الديمقراطية، بما في ذلك تشكيل مجلس وطني. وقد اشترك المؤتمر السوري للتغيير، في الاجتماع التشاوري في اسطنبول، بدافع من هذه الثوابت-المنطلقات، وقدم اقتراحاته على أساسها.
ويستنكر المؤتمر السوري للتغيير، الذي يضم غالبية أطياف المعارضة، التصريحات الصحافية غير المسؤولة، لاسيما تلك التي تضمنت موافقته على إنشاء المجلس الوطني السوري. ويؤكد بأنه لن يتسامح مع أي فرد (أو جهة) يقوم بإطلاق مثل هذه التصريحات في المستقبل. فـ “المؤتمر”، لا يعمل بذهنية الأمر الواقع، لأنه هو الذي يساهم في صناعة الواقع، مستنداً إلى مكوناته السياسية المتناغمة، التي تجمعت تحت مظلة واحدة، وفق المبادئ الديمقراطية، ومفهوم الإشراك. وعلى هذا الأساس، كان حراكه، وسيكون في المستقبل أيضاً.
خلفية:
يذكر أن المؤتمر السوري للتغيير، عُقد في أنطاليا بتركيا في الفترة الواقعة ما بين 31 أيار/ مايو و3 حزيران/ يونيو، بمشاركة أغلب القوى والأحزاب السياسية والشعبية، فضلاً عن مشاركة عدد كبير من الشخصيات الوطنية السورية المستقلة. وبلغ عدد المشاركين 420 شخصاً، انتخبوا في نهاية المؤتمر، هيئة استشارية مكونة من 31 شخصاً، تم تفويضها بالعمل على الوقوف إلى جانب الثورة الشعبية العارمة في سوريا ودعمها. وكانت الهيئة الاستشارية قد انتخبت بدورها مكتبها التنفيذي المكون من 10 أعضاء. وقد طالب المؤتمر السوري للتغيير في بيانه الختامي، باستقالة رئيس النظام السوري بشار الأسد من كل مناصبه، ونقل السلطات وفق الأطر الدستورية، إلى أن يتم تشكيل مجلس انتقالي، يقوم بوضع دستور جديد، والتحضير لانتخابات حرة تقود إلى قيام دولة ديمقراطية مدنية في البلاد، بعد أن شدد المؤتمر على أن الشعب السوري يتكون من قوميات عديدة، عربية وكردية وآشورية وسريان وتركمان وشركس وأرمن وسواهم.

August 24th, 2011, 1:07 pm

 

Averroes said:

Norma @ 140

This piece is not by Ghassan bin Jeddo. This is by Ali Salman. I agree to most of its content, but I just needed to correct an error in citation.

August 24th, 2011, 1:11 pm

 

ann said:

The crisis in Syria is leading the Middle East into uncharted territory

Olivier Roy

Published 24 August 2011

http://www.newstatesman.com/middle-east/2011/08/syria-iran-turkey-regime-assad

The war by Bashar al-Assad on the people of Syria has created a civil impasse, and could lead to all-out conflict between Damacus’s Shia ally Iran and a modern, self-democratising Turkey.

Syria is undoubtedly the country in which the Arab spring has the most profound geostrategic implications. The fall of Bashar al-Assad’s government would change the situation in the Middle East entirely. Indeed, even the impasse that appears to prevail today has accentuated the polarisation of regional actors, between those who are for Assad and those who are against him, with the risk that any internal escalation in Syria will have wider repercussions. As for the western powers, they are out of the game for the moment. The Libyan adventure makes intervention almost impossible. Nato doesn’t have the resources to act and a US intervention on the scale that would be required is highly unlikely, even though the stakes in Syria are infinitely higher than they are in Libya.

The novelty – and the great danger – is that the Syrian crisis brings into conflict two states that, until now, have coexisted peacefully despite belonging to opposing camps, namely Iran and Turkey. Both are directly implicated in what is happening in the country.

Turkey is involved not as a member of Nato, but in its new role as a major regional power. For the Iranians, the fall of the regime in Damascus would be a catastrophe. Syria is Iran’s only Arab ally and a vital link with Hezbollah in Lebanon, which is the spearhead of Iranian influence in the Middle East. Without Syria, Iran’s foreign policy in the region – in which it positions itself as the last remaining bulwark against Israel and as the defender of an Arab nationalism betrayed by the regimes (and, although this is not said explicitly, abandoned by the new democratic movements) – would fall apart. Were Assad’s clan to be ousted, the replacement would be Sunni and anti-Iranian, whatever its other political affinities. For this reason, Iran has sent money, military advisers and arms to Syria. And it would not hesitate to go further in order to save Hezbollah.
Behind red lines

The Turkish position is harder to read. It has moved from compliance to a hostility that stops just short of intervention. Turkey is amassing troops on the Syrian border, trying to organise Syria’s internal opposition and calling overtly for the overthrow of the regime. This stance is unprecedented in the history of the modern Turkish state – until now, it has used military force in the Middle East only when dealing with the intermittent threat of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). It has never called for regime change – not even when the Islamic Republic of Iran openly contested the legitimacy of Kemalism. Not only has it never sent troops into the Middle East (one recalls Turkey’s refusal to enter Iraq in 2003, despite a request from the US to do so), but it has not allowed its territory to be used as a base for any Middle Eastern opposition movement. And with good reason: as long as it was preoccupied with entry into the European Union, Turkey remained very prudent where the Middle East was concerned. Today, however, its proactive foreign policy compels it to take sides in local conflicts even if it would prefer to play the role of mediator.

A dangerous and unexpected scenario looms: a confrontation, through intermediaries, between Iran and Turkey, while the usual arbiters, Israel and the US, keep their powder dry. The Syrian regime represents all that Israel detests, but it has always respected “red lines”. Syria is an adversary but one that can be managed. Unless Iranian troops set foot on Syrian soil, it is highly improbable that the Israelis will act.

While this mobilisation takes place on Syria’s borders, it is hard to identify the political forces at work in the country. Beyond the knowledge that the regime is primarily the mouthpiece of an Alawite minority, even if it has some support among Sunnis, we can be sure of very little. How united are the Alawites? What role is the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) playing in opposition? Even the local population seems to be largely in the dark: everyone fears a civil war, but at the same time denies the reality of sectarian tensions today. It is clear that Assad is playing on this fear of sectarian conflict; he reminds the Sunnis of the Hama massacre in 1982 and the Alawites that power can only be maintained through force. To the Christians, the regime appears to be the best protection against the kind of anti-Christian violence that erupted in Iraq after the invasion in 2003.
Choosing sides

What of the Kurds (who number well over a million)? The borders with Turkey and Iraq are open and arms are passing back and forth. The PKK has a presence in Syria and the Kurds are taking against a regime that has marginalised them. In this, they join with the Sunni majority against the government.

The MB no doubt failed to construct a clandestine activist network after the repression of 1982-83. Yet the policies that were designed to counter the MB have had perverse effects – they have given carte blanche to Sunni religious conservatives who, although they appear to be apolitical, regard the Alawites as heretics and believe that Shia Iran has no business in Syria. Where are they going to stand? In my view, against the regime.

The Syrian internal situation will continue to escalate, causing a further rise in tensions between Turkey and Iran. And all this at a time when no one really knows how the political forces inside Syria are distributed and when there is no precedent for the confrontation between Ankara and Tehran – and thus no guide for preventing the situation from spiralling out of control.

August 24th, 2011, 1:12 pm

 

ann said:

CHINA ON SYRIA (Part II) – August 24, 2011

http://the-diplomat.com/flashpoints-blog/2011/08/24/china-in-syria-series-ii/

The Diplomat speaks with Prof. Eyal Zisser of Tel Aviv University about sanctions against Syria.

This week, The Diplomat has been providing coverage of the Syrian crisis from an Asia-Pacific perspective. China has featured prominently, as any escalation against the Assad regime could threaten Chinese national interests. Given the country’s powerful voice within the United Nations, and its ability to undermine the effectiveness of US-led energy sanctions, The Diplomat’s Eddie Walsh is conducting a series of interviews with thought leaders from US and regional think tanks looking at how recent events affect the position of China and other Asia-Pacific. In this second interview in the series, Walsh speaks with Prof. Eyal Zisser, Head of Middle Eastern and African History at Tel Aviv University and Senior Research Fellow at the Moshe Dayan Center.

Commentators have expressed doubts as to whether the United States and its European partners can secure support for regime change in Syria from rising Asian powers (China and India) or Russia. Without this support, some analysts doubt the US and EU can achieve regime change through the current round of energy sanctions. What’s your view?

Unless there is a military intervention, and I doubt if there will be such intervention, sanctions won’t change the reality on the ground. Thus, the fate of Syria is clearly in the hands of the Syrians, and if they continue in their protest they might bring, at the end of a bloody and long struggle, the collapse of the regime.

Israel has important relations with China and Russia. Can you please describe how these two powers are engaging the current Israeli administration on the Syrian crisis, and vice versa?

Israel has close relations with both China and Russia. But they do separate between these economic and cultural relations, and between the political aspects. So China and Russia have their interests in maintaining their relations with Iran and Syria, and Israel maintains strong relations with the United States. I don’t see any signs for any dialogue with China or Russia on these issues.

Iran, one of Syria’s closest allies, has important relations with China, India, and Russia. Given the economic importance of those relationships, how does Iranian support for Syria affect the positioning of these three powers on Syria?

Iran has nothing to do with these countries’ approach to the Syrian crisis. These countries have a traditional position against any interference in any given country’s domestic affairs. In addition, Russia has strong historical relations with Syria that started long before Iran became an intimate ally of the Syrian regime.

Israel has long-standing ties with the United States and EU. However, its ties with Turkey also have been particularly strong, although strained as of late. How has the reluctance of Turkey and other Arab countries affected Israeli calculations on Syria?

Israel looks at (Syrian President Bashar al-Assad) as the devil she knows. This is why, regardless of any other consideration, it prefers stability and a quiet border over a regime change. So clearly, Israel’s approach is different than that of the US or other countries in the region.

Some regional experts suggest that Turkey is constrained in part by its reluctance to have Syria turn completely to Iran as this could have long-term consequences for Turkish power in the region. Do you see Iran exploiting this concern and how would such a turn affect Chinese, Indian, and Russian interests in the region?

Once again, if Assad falls, Iran will be the great loser because the Syrians in the street will not forget its support for the Assad regime. Turkey may benefit because the alternative to Assad might be a Sunni Muslin government. Russia, China and India won’t be affected. These countries are far away and not too identified with Assad.

Lebanon, a member of the UN Security Council, represents a particular challenge for the United States and EU as the country is composed of both elements sympathetic to the opposition and to the Assad regime. Is there any possibility of the US and EU getting Lebanon on-board with energy sanctions against Syria? How are China, India, and Russia leveraging their influence in Lebanon on this issue?

China, Russia and India have no influence over Lebanon. Lebanon will try its best to get away from any direct involvement in any move against Syria. But Lebanon isn’t important when it comes to sanctions and, in any case, will not violate any UN decision on Syria.

Does Israel foresee any risk in supporting regime change in Syria for its economic interests?

Yes, Israel prefers stability. The Assad regime kept the border along the Golan Heights quiet. The fall of this regime may bring with it chaos and a lack of stability in Syria and the activity of terrorist cells that might carry out terrorist attacks along the border.

Does Israel believe that the Arab Spring is redistributing global power?

No, Israel is very sceptical and thinks that it might bring lack of stability, but not more than that.

August 24th, 2011, 1:19 pm

 

ann said:

Turkey mulls cutting economic ties with Israel

Israel’s refusal to apologize for the Marmara incident seems final.

Turkey has informed the US that Israel’s refusal to apologize for the IDF operation to thwart last year’s Turkish flotilla bringing supplies to the Gaza Strip will not go unpunished. The flotilla was attempting to break the naval blockade that Israel has imposed on the territory. Eight Turkish citizens and one US-Turkish citizen aboard one of the vessels, the Mavi Marmara, were killed in the operation when, according to the IDF, militants assaulted Israeli commandos taking over the ship. The Turkish government says that Israel’s refusal to accede to Turkish demands for an apology will naturally lead to further deterioration in relations between the two countries. Among other things, Turkey is examining the possibility of cutting off economic ties with Israel completely, according to a report in Turkish newspaper Hürriyet.

Sources inform “Globes” that, despite the Turkish threat, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision not to issue an apology is final. Jerusalem believes that such an apology will not lead to an improvement in relations with Ankara, and will only strengthen the political standing of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Turkey and Israel have made attempts to meet each other halfway in the past few months, but the perception grew in Jerusalem that Erdoğan was constantly upping the ante. His behavior on the international stage, not just on the narrow question of Israel-Turkish relations, indicates that he suffers from megalomania, according to Israeli assessments. Because of this, decision makers in Jerusalem came to the conclusion that an Israeli apology would fail to damp down the flames of the dispute with Ankara, and would instead give Erdoğan more mileage without Israel deriving any benefit.

According to reports in Washington, the US pressured Israel to try to reach agreement with Turkey on a formula for an apology, but so far, Netanyahu has refused to concede on the matter. However, in response to a US request, Israel has asked UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to defer the release of the Palmer Commission report on the Mavi Marmara incident, to enable further negotiations with Turkey to take place. The report is due to be published tomorrow (Tuesday). Turkey earlier made its own approach to the Secretary General to defer publication, but he has decided to reject both requests and to release the report as planned.

According to reports in the press, the commission recognizes Israel’s right to act against those who threaten its stability and security, even in international waters, but severely criticizes the IDF for use of excessive force against civilians.

According to Hürriyet, among the reprisals being considered by Turkey if Israel does not apologize are the downgrading of diplomatic relations between the two countries to the level of second secretary, suspension of all economic and political ties, and an older threat: a visit by Erdoğan to the Gaza Strip. There is also no doubt that Turkey will be an enthusiastic supporter of the Palestinians’ initiative to win UN recognition of a Palestinian state.

Despite the tension between Jerusalem and Ankara, economic activity between Israel and Turkey has carried on almost as normal. Professor Mehmet Seyfettin Erol, associate professor of international relations at Ankara’s Gazi University, described relations between the two countries to Turkish newspaper Zaman: “The relationship between Turkey and Israel has deteriorated somewhat on the surface, but deep underneath there really is no change in the relationship. Economically, we have seen some decrease in tourism, but the red lines have not been crossed and the US will not let two of its most important allies in the Middle East cross those lines.”

August 24th, 2011, 1:24 pm

 

Revlon said:

Security Council economic black list of 24 Syrian officials

The offer by Antalya conference group for Mr F. Sahre3 to head the transitional government has become void.

http://all4syria.info/web/archives/24409
عقوبات دولية تطول أكثر من 24 شخصية سورية نافذة بينهم 4 من عائلة الأسد

2011/08/24نشر فى: أخبار محلية

دبي – العربية.نت، وكالات
قرر مجلس الأمن الدولي تطبيق عقوبات اقتصادية تطول أكثر من 24 شخصية سورية نافذة، في بادرة كبرى للضغط على النظام السوري باتجاه التعامل الإنساني مع التظاهرات التي أصبحت تخرج بسكل يومي في البلاد.
وتشمل العقوبات الاقتصادية على سوريا تجميد أرصدة وممتلكات أربع وعشرين شخصية سورية تشمل

الرئيس بشار الاسد
وأخوه ماهر الاسد،
وعلى مملوك
وأصف شوكت
، و حسن جميل
وعبد الفتاح قدسية،
ومحمد ديب زيتون،
ومحمد نصيف خيربك
وهشام إختيار،
وحافظ مخلوف،
وعاطف نجيب،
ورستم غزالة،
وإياد مخلوف،
وعلى حبيب محمود،
داود راجحة،
توفيق يونس،
ومحمد أحمد المفلح،
وأمجد العباس،
وفواز الاسد،
ومنذر الاسد،
وأيمن جابر،
ومحمد إبراهيم الشعار،
وفاروق الشرع
ورامي مخلوف.

كما شملت العقوبات فرض حظر على سفر نفس الشخصيات وهي نحو اربع شخصية وجمدت ممتلكاتها وارصدتها.
كذلك فإن العقوبات تتضمن تجميد أموال وأرصدة اربع مؤسسات أيضا وهي شركة بنا العقارية التي يقول الملحق يتحكم بها رامي مخلوف، و شركة استثمارات المشرق، وهي أيضا وفقا للملحق يتحكم بها رامي مخلوف، و المؤسسة العسكرية للاسكان وهي وفقا للملحق يتحكم بها رياض شليش، ومديرية الاستخبارات العامة التي تشرف ايضا على الاستخبارات المدنية السورية.

August 24th, 2011, 1:32 pm

 

ann said:

Egyptians plan million-man rally against Israel – 08.24.11, 19:36

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4113501,00.html

Facebook groups call for mass protest outside Israeli embassy in Cairo, as protesters demand ambassador be expelled, embassy be closed.

Egyptian daily al-Youm al-Saba’a reported Wednesday that Egyptian citizens have created groups on Facebook and other social networks calling for “a million-man protest” outside the Israeli embassy in Cairo on Friday.

The protesters say the focus of the demonstration will be the demand to have the Israeli ambassador expelled from Egypt and Israel’s embassy in the capital closed.

Meanwhile, protesters continue to demonstrate outside the embassy for the fifth day in a row. They called out “Expel the ambassador immediately”. Others gathered outside the ambassador’s Cairo residence and called fellow citizens to join them in order to “force the ambassador to leave Egypt”.

The anti-Israel protests erupted in Cairo last weekend following reports that six Egyptian security officers were killed by the IDF during fire exchanges with the terrorists who carried out the terror attack near Eilat last Thursday. The demonstrations were further inflamed by Israel Air Force strikes in Gaza.

The protesters burnt Israeli flags, and even threw fire crackers at the embassy building in a bid to burn an Israeli flag on a flagpole at the embassy. An Egyptian youth later climbed the building, took the Israeli flag down and became a national hero.

The incident on the border stirred a diplomatic crisis between Jerusalem and Cairo. Egypt’s cabinet said on Sunday that an Israeli statement expressing regret for the border deaths was not enough, but it stopped short of saying if it would recall its Tel Aviv envoy.

The embassy protesters are demanding that the peace treaty with Israel be altered, especially with regards to military presence in Sinai, or completely abolished.

August 24th, 2011, 1:36 pm

 

Revlon said:

Declaration of Damascus Opposition group:
Change can neither be implemented nor mediated by the regime.

اعلان دمشق المعارض: التغيير لن يكون بوساطة النظام الحالي ولا من خلاله
2011/08/24نشر فى: أخبار محلية
كمال شيخو_ كلنا شركاء
http://all4syria.info/web/archives/24405

ناقش اجتماع مكتب الامانة لإعلان دمشق في اجتماعه الاخير, الذي عقد يوم امس في العاصمة السورية دمشق, المبادرة المطروحة من شخصيات معارضة والتي اطلق عليها ( نداء الى احرار السوريين في كل مكان) كما ناقش المجتمعون تطورات الثورة السورية ودراسة اخر المستجدات السياسية والميدانية.
وحضر الاجتماع اعضاء من المكتب الرئاسي من المجلس الوطني لإعلان دمشق, كما حضره اعضاء مكتب الامانة, ورئاسة الامانة العامة لإعلان دمشق. وقالت مصادر مطلعة لكلنا شركاء” ناقش المجلس المبادرة المطروحة, وابدا تأييديه من حيث المبدأ لأي فكرة جامعة للمعارضة الوطنية الديمقراطية في الداخل السوري, وحتى في الخارج. ولكن كل ذلك مرهون برؤية سياسية واضحة حول اهداف التغيير المنشود, وتفسير معنى هذا التغيير, لأنه في الكثير من الحالات يكون هناك التباس حول معنى التغيير. بالنسبة لإعلان دمشق: فان التغيير يعني تغيير النظام السياسي القائم بأشخاصه ومؤسساته ومنظومته الأمنة والسياسية السائدة منذ اربعة عقود من عمر الاستبداد, وهذا يعني ان التغيير لن يكون بوساطة النظام الحالي ولا من خلاله”
وأعلن رئيس مكتب الأمانة العامة لإعلان دمشق المعارض سمير نشار, نية إعلان دمشق عقد مؤتمرا لمجلسه الوطني خلال الفترة القادمة, وسيناقش المؤتمر الاستحقاق التنظيمي وضرورة عقد اجتماع للمجلس الوطني, لانتخاب أمانة عامة جديدة من جهة. وسناقش الاعلان من جهة ثانية كيفية دعم الثورة التي تمر بها سورية منذ ما يزيد عن الخمس اشهر, وتداعياتها الداخلية والخارجية. واتخاذ الموقف السياسي الذي يلاءم تطلعات الشعب السوري والمؤتمرين والتي بالضرورة ستكون عاملا مشتركا مع اهتمامات السوريين, تجاه ما يحصل وكيفية مساندة الانتفاضة السورية.
وقالت المصادر المطلعة” ان اعلان دمشق من خلال رؤيته السياسية يرى انه من خلال التغيير الذي ينشده الشعب السوري منذ انتفاضته في اواسط شهر اذار الماضي, والذي يتمثل بأسقاط النظام, يمكن ان تتحول سوريا من دولة استبدادية شمولية, الى دولة ديمقراطية تعددية مدنية. تكون موطنا لجميع ابناء سوريا”
وعن الحوار الذي اجراه التلفزيون السوري مؤخرا مع الرئيس السوري بشار الاسد في مطلع الاسبوع الجاري, قالت المصادر” ان الخطاب لم يتضمن اي شيء جديد وزاد من خيبات الامل لكل مواطن سوري, والتي تراكمت عبر الخطابات الثلاث السابقة. ولازال الرئيس الاسد يردد المزاعم عن وجود عصابات مسلحة ولم يشر في حواره المتلفز مؤخرا, لا من قريب ولا من بعيد الى الاحتجاجات الشعبية التي خرجت اليها مئات الالوف في بعض المدن السورية ( كما حدثت في كلا من دير الزور ومدينة حماة) واكتفا الرئيس بالتأكيد على ان الحل الامني هو خياره الوحيد”
وحدد إعلان دمشق مجموعة نقاط للمرحلة الانتقالية لسوريا والتي تمثلت بتشكل مجلس وطني في المرحلة الانتقالية، من ممثلي الشباب الثائر وممثلي المجتمع السوري بكل أطيافه وممثلي المعارضة، مع قادة الجيش وأهل النظام ممن يقبلون عملية الانتقال ولم تتلوث أيديهم بدماء المواطنين أو ثروتهم الوطنية.
كما دعا اعلان دمشق الى تشكيل المجلس الانتقالي حكومة من ذوي الكفاءات لتسيير أمور البلاد في هذه المرحلة. كما ستجري تحت إشراف الحكومة الانتقالية انتخابات حرة وبضمانات كافية لجمعية تأسيسية تقر دستورا جديدا ومعاصرا، يقرّه استفتاء شعبي.
من جانبها اضافت المصادر المطلعة” اعتمد النظام السوري على شرعيته من الشعب على الرغم من ان الجميع يعرف ان الرئيس السوري جاء عن طريق التوريث, فقد ورثه والده الرئيس السوري السابق حافظ الاسد النظام والسلطة, ولكنه لم يورثه الشعب” على حد وصف تلك المصادر.

August 24th, 2011, 1:38 pm

 

abughassan said:

Politicians in the west will repeat the same mistakes again and again when it comes to the Middle East as long as they depend on a tribe of advisers who share two things in common: a stubborn support for Israel and an astonishing lack of understanding of The Middle East.The feverish move by some NATO governments to appease Islamists while giving their back to secular movements is in defiance of common sense and will not serve either side,the middle east or the west.
Islamists,who hate the west more than anybody else, may be playing nice now but that won’t last,and Al-Qaida founding fathers who were praised by Reagan are a shining example,another example is the back and forth alliances the US made with both Shia and Sunni groups in Iraq. The truth is,political Islamists can not be trusted and should not be allowed to dominate governments in the Middle East.
The old say that we have to choose between existing corrupt regimes and political Islamists is mostly circulated by militants on both sides,especially existing regimes,to rally support and silence people who believe in a third option,the one that Syria needs. I yet have to see any INCLUSIVE list of leaders that came out of any opposition meeting,tell me about it when you see it,
I support a regime change (even though I think you guys are too optimistic about a quick fall of the regime), but I want to see the faces of Syria’s proposed new leaders,some western diplomats are already sending opinions about a possible hybrid government in Syria that may provide a face-saving solution to many,however,I do not believe that will be acceptable to the Syrian youth in the streets.

August 24th, 2011, 2:00 pm

 

Revlon said:

تداعيات الزلزال السوري
فهمي هويدي
23/8/2011
http://www.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/92528629-2ACB-44C5-8841-99761A3546B8.htm?GoogleStatID=2

…النظام السوري مضطر لاستخدام السياسة فقط في الخارج لأن ثمة طرفا آخر ينبغي مخاطبته والتعامل معه. وهو ليس مضطرا إلى ذلك في الداخل لأن المجتمع ملغى من المعادلة. والتعامل معه يتم على قاعدة الإخضاع وليس الحوار…..More

August 24th, 2011, 2:03 pm

 

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August 24th, 2011, 2:46 pm

 
 

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Articles sur l’opposition syrienne et diverses opinions tirés du blog Syria comment | syriafrance said:

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August 31st, 2011, 2:19 pm

 

En Passant » Where is Syria’s revolution going? said:

[…] the U.S. and NATO should be welcomed. Indeed, the Libya developments are sparking intense debates, as Joshua Landis explains on his Syria Comment blog: The Facebook [Syrian] Revolution Page reveals the “Libya effect” on the Syrian […]

September 5th, 2011, 6:47 am

 

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