Who is Ghassn Hitto? Why Was He backed to be Prime Minister of an Interim Gov by Mustafa Sabbagh?

Ghassan Hitto was elected to be Prime Minister of an interim opposition government by a vote of 35 Syrian Opposition Coalition executives out of 45 who voted in Istanbul. There are 63 active members of which 48 voted and of which 4 cast blank ballots. Hitto received 35 of the remaining votes.

Hitto  is a Texas based Syrian, married to an American school teacher, Suzanne. They have four children, all born in the United States, where Mr. Hitto advocated for Muslim Americans after 9/11 as a representative of the Council on American-Islamic Relations or CAIR. Born into a Kurdish family in Damascus, Mr. Hitto left Syria in the early 1980s and received an M.B.A. at Indiana Wesleyan University.

He was pushed forward for the position of interim Prime Minister of the opposition by Mustafa Sabbagh, who is Secretary General of the Opposition Coalition. Sabbagh is an Erdogan style Islamist, known to be close to the Qataris. He lives in Jeddah and was originally from Latakia, Syria. He was an important voice in the original construction of the Opposition Coalition back in December of 2012.

According to Amr al-`Azm, Sabbagh made a deal with the Muslim brotherhood delegates in the SOC to back Hitto. The MB had been advocating Osama Kadi as interim PM, but they agreed to drop him and back Hitto in a move to sideline Moaz al-Khatib. Other than the question of who would run day to day affairs in the interim government, one of the larger disputes between the Moaz al-Khatib and Sabbagh factions was the question over talking to the Assad regime. Khatib had pleased the Americans by agreeing to the Geneva parameters, which call for forming a joint government with Assad remnants. Mustafa Sabbagh, Yasser Tabbara, Wael Mirza, and George Sabra wanted an end to this initiative, which some in the opposition view a tantamount to treason, as well as to outflank Khatib. To this end, Hitto’s first words were that he would not negotiate with the Assad regime.

The Saudis are evidently upset that Hitto was elected. Al-Arabia hardly reported on the news and only after some delay. The Turks, according to Azm, did not want an interim “government” to be formed at all, but only some sort of leadership. In short, the maneuvering has been intense. The process will leave some with a queasy feeling. Sabbagh and Qatar outmaneuvered their competitors for influence in the interim government.

One can defend the process by claiming that this is the way politics works. Qatar is putting up the money so why shouldn’t they get an important voice in the process? Anyway, if you head a government like this, you need money. Where are they going to get it? Only the Qataris are willing to put up some money. The US is not laying out cash. If Hitto can spend 100 million in Aleppo and the East, he can show the local population that the opposition coalition can bring good news and real benefits. They must bring money into the liberated area in order to build some credibility. Most importantly, no one seems to have a better plan. The opposition needs to get the ball rolling. Hitto seems like someone who has a can-do mentality and some experience as an executive.


A special word from Ghassan Hitto .. Walk for the Children of Syria

This is a New York Times story about Hitto’s son, Obaida.

Westerners With Roots in Syria Trickle In to Help Rebels
By J. DAVID GOODMAN
Published: October 8, 2012

The night before leaving his parents’ home in Wayne, Tex., to join the rebels trying to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad in Syria, Obaida Hitto left a bouquet of white roses for his mother, with a sterling silver locket and a note: “You’ve made me what I am. But now I need to go and do what I need to do.” Courtesy Obaida Hitto

Obaida Hitto of Texas went to Deir al-Zour in Syria to help in the fight against President Bashar al-Assad. Mr. Hitto, 25, a former high school football player, deferred his plans for law school to sneak into Syria to assist the rebels by making videos and spreading information on the Internet to help their cause. “I’m one of them,” Mr. Hitto said proudly during a recent telephone interview. …Ghassan Hitto, 50, an information technology executive who lived in Texas until recently, the Syrian opposition coalition concluded months of contentious efforts to unite behind a leader, under pressure from the United States and its allies, which demanded that the opposition set up clear chains of command as a condition of increasing aid to the rebels.

Mr. Hitto, a relative unknown in opposition politics who rose to prominence recently through efforts to improve the delivery of humanitarian aid, was far from a unanimous choice. After a day of maneuvering and voting on Monday that lasted into early Tuesday, he won 35 votes, just three more than Assad Mustafa, a former agricultural minister under Mr. Assad’s father and predecessor, Hafez al-Assad…. Even opposition leaders outside Syria are divided on whether an interim government makes sense. Fahed al-Masri, a spokesman for the rebel Free Syrian Army’s unified command, questioned how a government could function when it controlled little territory or money yet would be held responsible for the fate of more than one million Syrian refugees and several times that number displaced inside the country.

“Welcome, government,” Mr. Masri said sardonically.

Mr. Hitto — who ruled out negotiations with Mr. Assad, another blow to wavering efforts to find a political solution — has argued that forming a government would help keep Syria from slipping further into chaos.

“There is always a possibility that this regime might fall suddenly,” he said, in a video posted on YouTube to announce his candidacy. “And we can’t avoid a political vacuum in the country and the ensuing chaos unless there is a transitional government.”

He called for “a government of institutions and law” that would be accountable and transparent.

The stakes are high. Many nations have recognized the coalition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people, meaning that if Mr. Hitto is able to form a cabinet, which is far from certain given the group’s fractiousness, his government could try to claim Syria’s frozen state assets and other levers of power.

With his many years in Texas, Mr. Hitto may seem like an unusual selection to lead a government struggling to establish street credibility with rebels — or an uprising facing allegations from Mr. Assad’s supporters that it is an American creation.

But he said he could not resist getting involved, especially after his son Obaida, 25, sneaked off to Syria and joined rebel fighters to shoot videos, deliver humanitarian aid and spread word of their struggle.

Mr. Hitto and his wife, Suzanne, an American schoolteacher, have four children, all born in the United States, where Mr. Hitto advocated for Muslim Americans after 9/11 as a representative of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

He traveled to the Middle East last fall to learn more and never went back. “I have a career back home that I’m in the process of destroying,” he said jovially over lunch recently in Istanbul.

In his role heading the humanitarian aid arm of the coalition under Suhair Atassi, a coalition vice president and respected activist from Damascus, Mr. Hitto quickly came into close contact with American and other foreign officials. Frustrated with what he saw as anemic and disorganized international efforts to aid displaced Syrians, he hired internationally known aid consultants to do a survey that found that the number of needy people in six Syrian provinces was more than 50 percent higher than United Nations estimates. …. Born in Damascus, Mr. Hitto left Syria in the early 1980s and received an M.B.A. at Indiana Wesleyan University. He is of Kurdish descent, which the council may have seen as a plus since it has been criticized for not reaching out more to Syria’s minorities.

Some council members said Mr. Hitto was the choice of Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood, a group that has long been banned and persecuted under the Assad family’s government and that plays a powerful role in the coalition. That could give him credibility among some in the Sunni Muslim-dominated uprising, but it also concerns some opposition members who feel the Brotherhood already wields disproportionate sway. Brotherhood leaders say they seek a civil, not an Islamic, state, but some in the opposition worry that it will impose a religious agenda.

One activist from Mr. Assad’s minority Alawite sect said the Brotherhood was “trying to stab the revolution once more.”

Another, Yamen Hseen, said that an interim government running northern Syria smacked of dividing the country.

“A government formed abroad, consisting of people we don’t know, nor the mechanism by which they were picked, it just makes me worry,” he said. “I think it is a result of other countries’ demands and not the demands and needs of the people and the revolution.”

There has been a rise in the number of foreign fighters, many of them Islamist extremists. But there has also been a small, though noticeable, number of men like Mr. Hitto, of Syrian descent and with Western passports, who have made the journey to join the Free Syrian Army. Experts estimate they number roughly a hundred and come from the United States, Britain, France and Canada.

Their presence is not enough to shift the tide of the battle, but they add another element of determination and complexity to a bloody landscape where loyalties and ambitions are often unclear.

“Even though he’s not fighting on the front lines, I would consider him a foreign fighter,” Aaron Y. Zelin, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said of Mr. Hitto. Mr. Zelin keeps a rough tally of foreign fighters in Syria based on news reports and Islamist postings and said the two groups together number in the thousands.

Mr. Hitto, who has extended family in Damascus, has spent five months posting videos and photographs from Deir al-Zour, sometimes very near the fighting, many marked by billowing plumes of thick smoke, the clack of gunfire and narrations that shake with an activist’s conviction and anger, delivered in an American accent. “All around us there is shooting,” he said in an Aug. 1 clip of a burning building. “The world seems to not care.”

Few in Mr. Hitto’s position have made the decision to stay as long as he has, especially as residents have fled areas of fighting.

“Eighty-five percent of the civilian population has left the city,” Mr. Hitto said in a Skype interview last month from Deir al-Zour. “If people only saw what was really happening to the people here they might do the same thing I did.”….

Syrian Rebels Pick U.S. Citizen to Lead Interim Government
By ANNE BARNARD
Published: March 18, 2013

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Syria’s main exile opposition coalition elected a naturalized Syrian-born American citizen early Tuesday to be the first prime minister of an interim Syrian government, charged with funneling aid to rebels inside Syria and offering an alternative to the government of President Bashar al-Assad…. Born in Damascus, Mr. Hitto left Syria in the early 1980s and received an M.B.A. at Indiana Wesleyan University. He is of Kurdish descent, which the council may have seen as a plus since it has been criticized for not reaching out more to Syria’s minorities…..

By choosing Ghassan Hitto, 50, an information technology executive who lived in Texas until recently, the Syrian opposition coalition concluded months of contentious efforts to unite behind a leader, under pressure from the United States and its allies, which demanded that the opposition set up clear chains of command as a condition of increasing aid to the rebels.

Mr. Hitto, a relative unknown in opposition politics who rose to prominence recently through efforts to improve the delivery of humanitarian aid, was far from a unanimous choice. After a day of maneuvering and voting on Monday that lasted into early Tuesday, he won 35 votes, just three more than Assad Mustafa, a former agricultural minister under Mr. Assad’s father and predecessor, Hafez al-Assad.

Mr. Hitto faces formidable challenges in his quest to to establish administrative authority over areas of northern Syria that have been secured by the rebels….

Even opposition leaders outside Syria are divided on whether an interim government makes sense. Fahed al-Masri, a spokesman for the rebel Free Syrian Army’s unified command, questioned how a government could function when it controlled little territory or money yet would be held responsible for the fate of more than one million Syrian refugees and several times that number displaced inside the country.

“Welcome, government,” Mr. Masri said sardonically.

Mr. Hitto — who ruled out negotiations with Mr. Assad, another blow to wavering efforts to find a political solution — has argued that forming a government would help keep Syria from slipping further into chaos.

“There is always a possibility that this regime might fall suddenly,” he said, in a video posted on YouTube to announce his candidacy. “And we can’t avoid a political vacuum in the country and the ensuing chaos unless there is a transitional government.”

He called for “a government of institutions and law” that would be accountable and transparent.

The stakes are high. Many nations have recognized the coalition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people, meaning that if Mr. Hitto is able to form a cabinet, which is far from certain given the group’s fractiousness, his government could try to claim Syria’s frozen state assets and other levers of power.

With his many years in Texas, Mr. Hitto may seem like an unusual selection to lead a government struggling to establish street credibility with rebels — or an uprising facing allegations from Mr. Assad’s supporters that it is an American creation.

But he said he could not resist getting involved, especially after his son Obaida, 25, sneaked off to Syria and joined rebel fighters to shoot videos, deliver humanitarian aid and spread word of their struggle.

Mr. Hitto and his wife, Suzanne, an American schoolteacher, have four children, all born in the United States, where Mr. Hitto advocated for Muslim Americans after 9/11 as a representative of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

He traveled to the Middle East last fall to learn more and never went back. “I have a career back home that I’m in the process of destroying,” he said jovially over lunch recently in Istanbul.

In his role heading the humanitarian aid arm of the coalition under Suhair Atassi, a coalition vice president and respected activist from Damascus, Mr. Hitto quickly came into close contact with American and other foreign officials. Frustrated with what he saw as anemic and disorganized international efforts to aid displaced Syrians, he hired internationally known aid consultants to do a survey that found that the number of needy people in six Syrian provinces was more than 50 percent higher than United Nations estimates.

Some council members said Mr. Hitto was the choice of Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood, a group that has long been banned and persecuted under the Assad family’s government and that plays a powerful role in the coalition. That could give him credibility among some in the Sunni Muslim-dominated uprising, but it also concerns some opposition members who feel the Brotherhood already wields disproportionate sway. Brotherhood leaders say they seek a civil, not an Islamic, state, but some in the opposition worry that it will impose a religious agenda.

One activist from Mr. Assad’s minority Alawite sect said the Brotherhood was “trying to stab the revolution once more.”

Another, Yamen Hseen, said that an interim government running northern Syria smacked of dividing the country.

“A government formed abroad, consisting of people we don’t know, nor the mechanism by which they were picked, it just makes me worry,” he said. “I think it is a result of other countries’ demands and not the demands and needs of the people and the revolution.”

Comments (56)


zoo said:

In any “democratic” government, there is an “opposition party. Now that the NC have elected a government, will the coalition allow an “opposition” party to emerge?
If it does not , then it would mean that this government is a one party authoritarian government.

http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/2005-2013-syrian-oppositions-many-faces

Indicators show that the Syrian National Coalition is headed the same way as the SNC, following the crisis between the Brotherhood and the Damascus Declaration, on one hand, and Moaz al-Khatib, who agreed on a political settlement. The new formation does not seem suitable nor capable of serving US demands in the arena of the US-Russian settlement.

This could lead to a split in the Coalition, with the wing accepting the settlement getting closer to the NCC, and a new map of the Syrian opposition, based on two sides: those who accept a political solution against those who want a military solution. But the new international atmosphere, with John Kerry as the new US secretary of state, signals that the US-Russian consensus has matured.

March 19th, 2013, 12:39 pm

 

zoo said:

It is even clearer now that Hitto is Turkey and Qatar’s candidate.
His first priority task is to make sure the Syrian PKK fighters will not hinder Erdogan’s presidential election in 2014.
Second to make sure the money Qatar is sending to pay the rebels does not fall in the regime’s hand.

Like his naive puppet colleagues before him, brought in it by foreign countries like Ghaliun and Sia, I wish him a safe return to his beloved family in Texas very soon.

March 19th, 2013, 12:48 pm

 

Dolly Buster said:

So Zoo, are you planning to apologize when the criminal KGB-backed Shiite tyrant of Syria is finally killed?

March 19th, 2013, 1:09 pm

 

Dolly Buster said:

Striking sentence from Washington Post today:

Russia has a vested interest in Cyprus not collapsing in on itself. For one thing, the Russian government relies on it as a means of funneling arms to Syria to help it kill its citizens, a project that most governments understandably shy away from.

March 19th, 2013, 1:11 pm

 

Observer said:

So the Russian foreign ministry has decided that the rebels have chemical weapons and are capable of delivering them with accuracy killing 16 soldiers and several more civilians.

Next the foreign ministry is going to tell us that the rebels have also an air force and are dropping cluster munitions on populated areas.

Mayadden and ALALAM and Manar and SANA and Cham Press and Addounia have all now accused the rebels of a sophisticated chemical weapons missile strike and are also accusing Turkey and Qatar of supplying the rebels with such weapons and expertise.

This is a balloon to test the US response to such an attack and to see if there any military moves. If the response is muted expect to see more of these attacks and blaming on rebels.

The problem is that the missiles are inaccurate and reports are that the target was supposed to be the Police Academy but the missile landed in the pro regime area killing its own soldiers.

Competent Duck firing Thkuds indeed.

March 19th, 2013, 1:20 pm

 

Observer said:

I quote Ghufran now
“there is no doubt that Syria is now a playground for thugs and terrorists, enjoy.”

This is what we had for more than forty years; did you forget the rampages of Rifaat and the sons of every mafiosi that the regime represents?

Are you on some planet where there is no Makhlouf monopoly on the economy?

Didn’t you see the video of Maher walking among the dead of Sednaya prison?

Man, your schizophrenia needs serious treatment.

March 19th, 2013, 1:25 pm

 

Who is Ghassn Hitto? Why Was He backed to be Prime Minister of an Interim Gov by Mustafa Sabbagh? | YALLA SOURIYA said:

[…] Who is Ghassn Hitto? Why Was He backed to be Prime Minister of an Interim Gov by Mustafa Sabbagh? […]

March 19th, 2013, 1:26 pm

 

Juergen said:

Dolly

I am sure Putin fears that a bankcrupt Cyprus would backfire on his standing, its no secret that Cyprus is to Russia what Dubai is for Assad, a big money laundry.

March 19th, 2013, 1:31 pm

 

Visitor said:

“Second to make sure the money Qatar is sending to pay the rebels does not fall in the regime’s hand.”

Zoo,

I thought that HBJ’s money is ‘dirty’ and polluted with environmentally unfriendly dirty gas and oil. Does your idol still want this dirty money?

Listen idiot. Your like-minded idiot idol made a stupid threat to HBJ early on in the revolution telling him that Qatar has $2 Billion dollars invested in Syria that may get lost if HBJ continues supporting the holy demonstartors. Your stupid idol didn’t know that $2 Billion dollars is just a drop in the bucket for a country like Qatar. And that’s what HBJ told your stupid Bathar straight in the face at the time.

Nevertheless, your stupid idiot idol will pay a heavy price for staring with his stupid eyes higher than his brows would allow. You know what that means?

Beggar? And with conditions?!!!

March 19th, 2013, 1:36 pm

 

AIG said:

So Assad is shooting SCUDs with chemical warheads at Aleppo? I am not surprised. And the SCUDs are hitting his supporters? I am again not surprised at all. Really, how dumb can you be to shoot SCUDs at your own cities and people and not even ONE at your enemies? It seems that Assad’s policy is to make the Golan the most peaceful “part” of Syria. One has to admire this “genius” policy.

March 19th, 2013, 2:03 pm

 

Visitor said:

AIG @9,

You should know now why Assad does not shoot SCUDS with chemicals at Israel. It is ‘obvious’ that he is ‘concerned’ that he may hit Palestinians. Shouldn’t that ‘answer’ all your questions from previous threads?

————————————————

On the other hand, here’s the first report from inside Dera’a since it was occupied about two years ago,

http://www.alarabiya.net/ar/arab-and-world/syria/2013/03/19/العربية-اول-فريق-صحفي-غير-سوري-تدخل-درعا-مع-الجيش-الحر.html#

Dera’a is the first and last lines of defense for Damascus. If Dera’a gets liberated, no more ‘bread’ for thugs in Damascus.

March 19th, 2013, 2:10 pm

 

revenire said:

LOL what kind of an idiot would fire chemical weapon tipped Scuds at Palestine? If we could guarantee only Jews would die sure I can see doing it but if even one Palestinian “bought the farm” it is not worth it. Regular rockets sent the Jews into their shelters crying and screaming.

March 19th, 2013, 2:45 pm

 
 

Akbar Palace said:

Some People are Just Better than Others

If I were a Syrian, I’d be pissed that Palestinian lives are more valuable than Syrian lives.

But that’s how it’s been from time immemorial…

March 19th, 2013, 2:55 pm

 

Visitor said:

OK AIG @10. Now you see (Reverse Logic @12) how competent these retards are.

He bought into it. It is irresistable for their ‘tastes’!!

March 19th, 2013, 2:56 pm

 

revenire said:

Akbar you’re a Zionist and have no say in anything.

March 19th, 2013, 2:57 pm

 

revenire said:

‎شبكة اخبار ادلب الخضراء المؤيدة
كون النتيجة اليوم كانت ناجحة في قتل السوريين من قبل الاجرام الاخواني بالسلاح الكيمياوي

خلينا بعد كم يوم نسمع ضرب صاروخ (كيميائي) على مدينة ادلب و على مدينة الفوعة و على قرية كفريا و على مدينة جسر الشغور و على جميع المناطق الآمنة و المسيطر عليها و فيها عشرات الالاف المؤيدين للدولة في ادلب و ريفها و نبل و الزهراء و مدينة حلب و طريق السفيرة و غيرها … غير حارات دمشق !!

نرجوا سحق القرى الحاضنة للارهاب و ليذهبو الى مخيمات السكس عند اردوغان و قطر

March 19th, 2013, 3:00 pm

 

AIG said:

Let’s not forget, in late February Assad also fired SCUDs into Aleppo killing 141 half of which were children:
http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworld/2020434194_apmlsyriamissiles.html

Naturally, he continues firing SCUDs at his own people because well, he is completely crazy. SCUDs are not guided and are inaccurate. Only especially dumb people fire them at their own cities and kill their own children. How anyone wants Assad to stay is beyond me. He has fired many SCUDs at his own people and cities and not ONE at Israel. What to make of this stupidity and cowardice on a grand scale?

March 19th, 2013, 3:03 pm

 

AIG said:

AP,

You have to understand, the reason Assad does not shoot any SCUDs at the Golan is that he is afraid to damage Syrian earth when the SCUD hits. It is clear since there are no Palestinians on the Golan. Assad though is worried about hurting the land.

The only problem I have with this theory though is that he is not afraid to hurt the land in Aleppo and Homs. Apparently the ground there is not Syrian any more. Oh, I know. The Syrian children stop the SCUDs before they hit the ground. In this way no Palestinian is hurt and no Syria ground is hurt. Unfortunately, some Syrian kids need to die. But that is ok with Assad as Palestinians and Syrian ground are unharmed.

There, that all fits nicely together.

March 19th, 2013, 3:10 pm

 

Dolly Buster said:

 
This is going to be the end of Shi’ism.

After Syria falls, the Crescent is cut. Both Hezbollat and Iran will fade away.

Shiites began with Abdullah ibn Saba in 632, and ended in 2013.
 

March 19th, 2013, 3:47 pm

 

Syrialover said:

Good comment on Hitto by a leading observer of the Syrian MB, Syrian journalist Hassan Hassan:

Article: “About Ghassan Hitto appointment as PM for opposition interim government”

Ghassan Hitto, shockingly little known among Syrians, has become Syrian opposition’s interim government PM after he was endorsed by the Muslim Brotherhood and Qatar (through Mustafa Sabbagh and other Islamists in the National Coalition).

Ghassan Hitto is not known as a member of the Muslim Brotherhood but he’s ideologically very close to it; he was involved in the US’ CAIR Muslim organisation (which many consider it an ideologically Brotherhood organisation). See Joshua Landis’ piece on this.

Someone who’s apparently close to Hitto told me he’s not an MB member but very close to them and he’s 100% supported and trusted by the Brotherhood. His brother is a Brotherhood member and was jailed for many years, which is why Hitto fled Syria. The person close to him put Hitto between Moaz Khatib and the Brotherhood, in terms of independence – meaning he is now an ally but can be independent from them if there is an issue. In terms of where he stands between the MB and Al Khatib, again in terms of independence, his friend says he’s closer to Al Khatib.

Because he wasn’t the Brotherhood’s first choice (Osama Kadi was MB’s first choice) and Mustafa Sabbag along with Qatar pushed for him, then he’s probably not a Brotherhood guy but someone they can trust and work with. Qatar and the Brotherhood certainly made sure the Al-Khatib’s episode does not happen again, that he’ll speak against the MB’s agendas.

The whole idea of an interim government makes no sense for so many within the opposition but it’s been formed for the Brotherhood and its allies to regain full control over the opposition’s political bodies.

The move is dangerous. Forming a government is the opposition’s last card – after forming a council and a coalition. Some regard the formation of councils, then replacing them with others and then forming a government, and then hopefully a civilian government and then a conference … is healthy and experimental. Wrong. Every time a political entity is formed and then fails, Syria lapses one level deeper into the abyss. Legitimacy is cruicial for credibility and ability to lead.

http://www.facebook.com/notes/hassan-i-hassan/about-ghassan-hitto-appointment-as-pm-for-opposition-interim-government/10151385052309092

Important recent articles on the MB by Hassan:

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/03/13/how_the_muslim_brotherhood_hijacked_syria_s_revolution?page=0,2

and followup to this:

https://www.facebook.com/notes/hassan-i-hassan/response-to-some-comments-re-my-article-about-syrias-brotherhood-influence/10151376862069092
.

March 19th, 2013, 4:02 pm

 

Syrialover said:

One of Hassan’s excellent pieces on the Muslim Brotherhood (“How the Muslim Brothergood hijacked Syria’s revolution”) translated into Arabic:

http://www.24.ae/print-article.aspx?ArticleId=10131

March 19th, 2013, 4:06 pm

 

Syrialover said:

Interesting the apparent lack of viewpoints and interest in Kitto’s appointment by forum participants here. Credit to Joshua Landis for giving it prominence.

An example of what sets the current SyriaComment forum apart from (or should I say below) other discussion sites on Syria?

March 19th, 2013, 4:26 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Living & Dying for The Poster-Child God

Akbar you’re a Zionist and have no say in anything.

Reverse,

Sorry, I don’t listen to primitive idiots. Did you say something?

But that is ok with Assad as Palestinians and Syrian ground are unharmed.

AIG,

All nonsense aside, why the hell doesn’t Obama fire a laser guided missile up Bashar’s ass? Obama and the Israelis employ these methods for other trouble-makers.

Without Betho, the idiots will start bumping into walls and their life will have no meaning.

March 19th, 2013, 4:33 pm

 

Syrialover said:

Moaz al-Khatib’s inspiring latest speech.

Syria’s best current hope!

And the stupid power-crazed MB think they can do better?

March 19th, 2013, 4:33 pm

 

Tara said:

Was the use of chemical weapons today a test dose of how the international community would react to a widespread attack?

March 19th, 2013, 4:34 pm

 

revenire said:

Hassan Hassan? LOL oh God you clowns just read the same idiots day after day and them come here and repeat the babbling.

Hassan is a joke.

March 19th, 2013, 4:37 pm

 

zoo said:

Opinion: ‘Assad Must Go’ Is the Wrong Solution

By Susanne Koelbl
Der Spiegel

The West insists that for any negotiations on an end to the Syrian civil war to happen, President Bashar Assad must first step down. The demand is fatal and only prolongs the bloodletting, allowing Syria to slip into anarchy while radical Islamists slowly hijack the revolution.

The Syrian people are fighting desperately for freedom against a dictator. The war has cost nearly 70,000 lives. At least a million have fled their homes and face an uncertain future.

But that is only half the truth.

World powers are also fighting over who is to have influence in the region. It’s the West and its allies against the old allies of the regime. No one is openly getting involved in the conflict, and no one is sending soldiers to Damascus — the West appears to have had enough of an all-out policy of invasion. Still, the United States, Europe, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have interests in Syria.

March 19th, 2013, 4:47 pm

 

Tara said:

Now that the interim government PM was chosen, what is the next step? Is he going to choose his cabinets or are the other key figures going to be elected?

And now that Idriss pledges to protect the interim government in the heart of Damascus and pledges the FSA’s allegiance to the new government, shouldn’t the EU reconvene and lift the arms embargo? Why the wait until May?

We have an interim government. We have an army. The army is backing the interim government. We only need to enter Damascus and this can only be achieved with “designer” weapons. Any other conditions to be met before we get what is equivalent to Christian Louboutin’s designer label in weapons?

March 19th, 2013, 4:50 pm

 

zoo said:

#21 SL

Thanks for this post. It is clear that the opposition has been taken over by the Moslem Brotherhood in a ‘coup’ by Qatar and Turkey.
My only hope is that some in the coalition finally realize that they are been manipulated under the pretext of ‘saving the unity of the opposition’ and that they should split and form an ‘opposition’ to the ‘opposition’ to counter the MB hegemony on Syria.

Ny second hope is that Erdogan never be elected president.

March 19th, 2013, 4:50 pm

 

ALI said:

I think testing the water process went really well, it’s the first time we openly fire Chemicals “crossing all the red virtual lines” and nothing happened. So now we will keep doing it in a small scale here and there till people and the world accept the idea of being killed with chemicals similar to jets, tanks, missiles, scuds …etc

I can’t wait for this Kurd-Non Arab to open his shop so we could sort him out.

March 19th, 2013, 4:51 pm

 

ALI said:

I will repeat my challenge

Alawi Shiek “Yousef Rab’o Abu Taqa (يوسف ربعو ابو طاقة) and his shrine is in Mesyaf next to Hama.

This Sheik is still alive in his grave and people hear him reciting our readings every night. Another miracle is that there’s a hatch in one of the shrine’s wall which leads to the outer yard, it’s a small size hatch but with God’s power it becomes elastic so either it enlarges letting big fat people passing through or shrinks to squeeze even skinny tinny people. It all depends on the truth and honest of the person who’s trying to pass through.

So if there’s a problem of any sort (like people accused of stealing or adultery) they bring the accused to this shrine to give the submission to Sheik Abu Taqa, making the oath then try to pass through. It the person passes through then he’s saying the truth otherwise if he’s a liar the hatch will squeeze him for the whole night.

The challenge is:

I challenge your opposition leaders to go through this hatch to show their honesty and truth and if any of them passes through I’ll side next to the revolution and convert to be a Sunni.

Miracles of Sheik Abu Taqa

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Epc1lIZu3c)

March 19th, 2013, 4:55 pm

 

ALI said:

26. Tara:

“Was the use of chemical weapons today a test dose of how the international community would react to a widespread attack?”

Finally you’re using your brain

March 19th, 2013, 4:56 pm

 

zoo said:

Tara

General Sheikh said : We need a professional army. We don’t have it!

A US citizen now the PM of Syria… A army made of civilians and terrorists.

These ‘army’ and ‘government’ are Qatar and Turkey made houses of cards.
Wait that the first wind blows and we’ll see what will happen.

March 19th, 2013, 4:57 pm

 

Tara said:

Ali @33

“finally you’re using your brain”

And you are using what?

March 19th, 2013, 5:00 pm

 

Tara said:

Zoo,

Did not have acess to all the post earlier. Do you know if the PM’s American wife cover her hair?

March 19th, 2013, 5:03 pm

 

AIG said:

“All nonsense aside, why the hell doesn’t Obama fire a laser guided missile up Bashar’s ass? Obama and the Israelis employ these methods for other trouble-makers.”

Perhaps if the war continues much longer the US will give the rebels the ability to do this, though it is not that simple. You need good intelligence to know where Assad is exactly and to make sure there is not too much collateral damage.

I don’t think that killing Assad will change anything much though. There will be some Alawite general or some other Assad family member that will replace him and he will be idolized by the regime idiots. This has become a sectarian/religious war to a large extent and it will remain so with or without Assad.

March 19th, 2013, 5:04 pm

 

zoo said:

Is the US ready to start another one?

The Iraq war
Anniversary of a mass delusion
Mar 18th 2013, 16:41 by M.S.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2013/03/iraq-war

..
Thousands of American soldiers died in a war in Iraq that only exacerbated the danger of anti-American terrorism. Thousands of Iraqi soldiers died as well, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians died in the resulting civil war, most killed by the Iraqi militias who emerged in the power vacuum the US invasion created, but many killed by US armed forces themselves. In the name of pre-empting a non-existent threat, America killed tens of thousands of people and turned Iraq into a breeding ground for terrorism. And we spent a trillion dollars to do it.

March 19th, 2013, 5:05 pm

 

AIG said:

Tara,

I just don’t see how this new government matters much. The fighters on the ground will not take orders from it. And when Assad and his lackeys are swept away, the men with the guns on the ground will be calling the shots, not the exile government, just as in the case of Raqqa.

March 19th, 2013, 5:09 pm

 

Uzair8 said:

The FSA, having had their existence questioned, will have a point to prove. They’ll be desperate to prove people wrong.

Expect the regime to face the additional burden of new fronts and challenges in the coming days.

I suspect the rejoicing at the Aron Lund article will be short-lived and they’ll come to curse the article.

March 19th, 2013, 5:09 pm

 

ALI said:

35. Tara :

“And you are using what?”

Chemical weapons

March 19th, 2013, 5:15 pm

 

revenire said:

There is no FSA. There is no new government. It is all a media side show.

What is real is Assad and his soldiers that are grinding rats to pieces.

March 19th, 2013, 5:16 pm

 

zoo said:

Tara

I don’t know, I am not even sure she is moslem. Her name is Suzanne.

I asked our specialist in these matter, Majed, who personnaly know the Hittos. He wrote a comment where he said the Hitto’s don’t pray regularly so I doubt that Suzanne Hitto wears a veil. Majed did not confirm it.

The guy is ‘smart and shrewd’ according to Majed, therefore I guess his references to “God is on our side” and his public ‘takbir” could be just for the show.
His son, Obeida, an ex-FSA has mysteriously disappeared from the news.
We’ll see what comes next. Will he will bring his 4 kids and wife to live in Azaz or Minbaj or maybe Raqqa with him?
That would be an exotic change from Texas, no?
I can’t wait to see that.

March 19th, 2013, 5:18 pm

 

zoo said:

True or not, the chemical weapons are the “nightmare scenario” of the West

Is chemical warfare being waged in Syria?

http://news.yahoo.com/chemical-warfare-being-waged-syria-144900347.html

The uncertainty could create a “grave dilemma” for the U.S. and other Western governments that back the rebels, says Damien McElroy in Britain’s Telegraph.
Obama has made it clear, McElroy says, “that use of chemical weapons by the regime is a ‘red line’ that would trigger outside intervention.”
But the attack occurred on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq invasion, which the U.S. justified as necessary to stop Saddam Hussein from using weapons of mass destruction that did not materialize. “The evidence must be clear cut and unambiguous before any action is ordered” in Syria because foreign intervention without “convincing proof that the regime — not the rebels — was responsible would divide the world.”

If either side’s version of events is confirmed, it would be the realization of “one of the nightmare scenarios for this conflict,” say Albert Aji and Zeina Karam at The Associated Press.
“One of the international community’s top concerns since fighting began is that Syria’s vast arsenal of chemical weapons could be used by one side or the other or could fall into the hands of foreign jihadi fighters among the rebels or the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, which is allied with the regime.”

March 19th, 2013, 5:27 pm

 

ALI said:

Guys, do you have the link for tonight’s episode of the opposite direction on Aljazeera (الإتجاه المعاكس الجزيرة)?

They say Joesph Abu Fadel did an amazing job and paralyzed the opposition horn

March 19th, 2013, 5:33 pm

 

Tara said:

AIG,

I think it matters. Quality help is not going to be provided to amorphous faceless and disunited opposition. Now the opposition is morphing into a valid elected interim government.

The interim government will also be the government taking over once Bashar is vanished to prevent chaos until a real elected government takes over.

The disunity of the opposition and the fear of chaos during the day after Basho were the most important reasons cited by the Western government and… the so called fence sitter to not support the revolution.

Would the inn-Islamic fighters on the ground disregard the interim government? Idriss pledged allegiance to it and the PM’s own son is part of the FSA so I think they will. Most of them after all are defected conscripts and civilians who took up arms to defend their own. They will be happy to return to normal life after the fall of Bashar.

March 19th, 2013, 5:33 pm

 

revenire said:

Oh geez, anyone could have given the rats chemical weapons. Israel could have. The US could have. What would the media know about any of it? The same media who lied about Iraq right? The same media that takes photos of terrorists playing with kittens?

March 19th, 2013, 5:36 pm

 

ALI said:

That’s amazing Basel’s voice is almost the same like Bashar, God bless their father.

In this video Basel is encouraging the nation to practice horse riding and he’s ready to provide horses for free for those who don’t have one. Amazing just amazing how they care about the well-being of the nation.

March 19th, 2013, 5:37 pm

 

revenire said:

FSA REFUSES REPORTING FROM BATTERED POSITIONS IN NORTHERN LEBANON; HUNDRED OF BOKO HARAM RATS KILLED; AMERICAN HYPOCRISY ON DISPLAY AT HIGHEST LEVEL; PUNISHING BLOWS TO TERRORIST RATS IN DAMASCUS; PROPAGANDA LEVEL AT “HILARIOUS”; RUSSIA TOTALLY ON BOARD

We at SyrPer are delighted to report that the rat-command of the Fake Syrian Army is refusing requests by independent news sources to visit the scene where Syrian Air Force MiG23s pummeled FSA concentrations around ‘Arsal. Even Lebanese government representatives are not being permitted to see the level of damage done to FSA organization after no less than 70 missiles fired from jets and Hind helicopters shattered the bones of the terrorist vermin.

I received reports last night from Monzer in Damascus, Wael in Latakia and Radhwan in Beirut. According to Radhwan, the Lebanese press is being distanced from the area on order of President Sulayman whose situation is becoming increasingly tenuous. His fear of losing Gulf-Arabian-Wahhabist lucre; his fear of a violent reaction from Hizbollah; his fear of being sucked into the Syrian conflict; his Right-wing-Maronite-French-based-treason on full display; this man can only stick his head in some hole and hope it all just goes away. It won’t, of course.

Radhwan is from Tripoli, originally, and has relatives in the Seer-Al-Dhanniyya area. According to them, ambulances have not stopped going back and forth from the northern and north-eastern borders which were struck last evening. Radhwan says the sirens continued to blare as of 3:00 a.m. Michigan time.

Monzer, monitoring SAA advances on all fronts in the Damascus countryside against traitors and dung-rats is fully aware of the size of the operation. He says that drone surveillance for the last 3 weeks showed larger than normal concentrations of rodents on both the Tal-Kalakh and Al-Qusayr theaters. He says you can see the rodents scurrying about from any position 7 kms west of Homs with good binoculars. The Lebanese regime was warned publicly about this infestation but did nothing – literally “nothing” to stop the menacing build-up of these gangs.

Wael agrees with Monzer about the visually obvious build-up across from Tal-Kalakh. For him, the Lebanese government is complicit with the Saudi-Wahhabist-simian excrement regime in promoting devastation in Syria. Wael also tells us that Russian warships have reached over 25 off the coast. He also says that submarines have been seen by citizens of Tartous, but he’s not sure about it himself.

Wael estimates the losses to the rats during this sudden attack at “in-the-hundreds” of dead and wounded. Radhwan says that Syrian warplanes were cautious about entering Lebanese airspace as they fired at targets in Lebanon while sweeping northward from the Hermel area and then across Latakia Governorate in a circle back to their Homs airbases.

March 19th, 2013, 5:38 pm

 

ALI said:

Even the stars saying we’re staying for good and Bashar is going nowhere

March 19th, 2013, 5:40 pm

 

zoo said:

#46 Tara

“They will be happy to return to normal life after the fall of Bashar.”

Your naivety and happy ending is touching.
Unfortunately in war and politics there are never happy endings.
Once an equilibrium has been broken, problems linger for decades, sometime centuries before they melt away in a new found equilibrium.
The stains always remain for generations to come.

For once AIG is realistic.

March 19th, 2013, 5:45 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

Zoo said he has hope
1- the opposition divide
2- Erdogan will not get elected
Zoo quit predicting,he ,now hopes,since his predictions failed, he is entering the desperate stage.

in other comment he describe the defected soldiers as terrorists,and says Sunnis are his enemy.
in other comment he said,how do you know God does not like infidel and liers?
Zoo is losing it,does not realize what he is saying.
Zoo may be if you slow down you will say something that is rational and make sense.

There is difference between Mr.Khatib,and Mr. Hito, Khatib speaks directly , not reading paper, his words are full of emotion,and has strong voice, Mr. Hito reads from prepared paper and does not look to his listeners directly, eye contact is important it helps people who are listening to stay connected ,Hito needs to learn to to talk directly. when you read from a paper,,listeners lose this contact

March 19th, 2013, 5:45 pm

 

ALI said:

One of the history changing moments, please see at 1:55 when Hafez delivers the news of Basel’s death.

It’s a heart breaking video but it’s ok another evidence of the greatness of Hafez, he sacrificed his own son at 32 years old for Syria and its people

March 19th, 2013, 5:50 pm

 
 

Tara said:

Zoo,

Yes Zoo, I only want a happy ending where evil is defeated and lovers marry at the end. Can’t help it..

A new post is up.

March 19th, 2013, 5:58 pm

 

Iran War Weekly | Eslkevin's Blog said:

[…] to be Prime Minister of an Interim Gov by Mustafa Sabbagh?” Syria Comment [March 19, 2013]http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/?p=18160; Franklin Lamb, “Could the White House Have Dreamt for More?” Counterpunch [March 22, […]

March 26th, 2013, 1:55 am

 

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