“Who Supports the Regime and Why a New Party Law Will Not Include Eliminating the Supremacy of the Baath Party,” by Ehsani2

Who Supports the Regime and Why a New Party Law Will Not Include Eliminating the Supremacy of the Baath Party
by Ehsani2
for Syria Comment
April 22, 2011

Nearly 23 million Syrians are mesmerized by the recent events engulfing their country.  The seemingly boring, predictable and stable Syrian political scene has suddenly suffered its black swan moment.  Once the lid was removed, stability suddenly turned into an explosion.

It is not easy to think of something intelligent to say which has not already been covered by others.  This forum has been one of the many venues where people’s frustrations, passions, fears and beliefs have boiled to the surface. I believe that all of us Syrians are richer for it.  The objective of this note is to summarize where we stand today. I think that there are two central issues that face the country:

1-     What is the real level of support that the opposition enjoys?

2-     Will the leadership explicitly and unequivocally delete article 8 from the constitution?

In order to answer the first question, I have constructed a simple table. Let us try to answer the following set of questions with a simple yes or no:

Are you a Christian or Alawi?

Yes    or No

Do you consider yourself or your family (based in Syria) to be well off economically or “connected”?

Yes    or No

Are you a Sunni Muslim?

Yes    or No

If you answered yes to either of the first two questions, chances are that you are a supporter of the current Syrian leadership.  Stability and the fear of the unknown are your major concerns.  You are likely to support the reform process but be opposed to changing the leadership.

If you answered yes to the third and second question, then you are torn. You may support a change in leadership but not if it breaks the country apart and/or lead to a severe economic contraction.

If you answered yes to the third and no to the second question, chances are that you have turned your back on the leadership.  You are mostly likely to be a supporter and a sympathizer of the opposition.

Is this ridiculously simplistic?

The answer most likely is yes.  It is a generalization to be sure.  However, I think that it accurately describes the broader trend relatively well. The fact is that the Syrian society is divided on religious (sectarian) and socio economic (or level of connections) grounds.  You are for the leadership if are a Christian/Alawi/well off/connected. You are against if you are a Syria based Sunni/not wealthy/not connected.

Will The Syrian leadership do away with article 8 of the constitution?

I believe that the answer is no.  The leadership needs the party’s support on many fronts. Most critical, however, is the way the party helps elect a sitting President every 7 years.  Here is how it works:

The country’s presidential candidate is appointed by the parliament (167 seats of 250 are reserved for the leading party) on suggestion of the Baath Party, and needs to be confirmed for a seven year term in a national single-candidate referendum.

Make no mistakes about it. The party and the palace will take no chances with this requirement.  A new party law may well see the light of day soon.  It is highly unlikely, however, that the Baath party’s Presidential candidate will run in an open debate and election against the candidates of any new parties.

The current fight on the streets of Syrian cities is an implicit (or even explicit) attempt to resolve the answer to the above question.

Nassim Tableb in The Black Swan:

I discussed Saudi Arabia as a prime case of the calm before the storm and the Great Moderation [the perceived end of economic volatility due to the creation of 20th century banking laws] in the same breath. I was comparing Italy with Saudi Arabia. Italy is an example of mild randomness in comparison with Saudi Arabia and Syria, which are examples of wild randomness. Italy has had 60 changes in regime in the post-war era, but they are inconsequential…. It is a prime example of noise. It’s very Italian and so it’s elegant noise, but it’s noise nonetheless. In contrast, Saudi Arabia and Syria have had the same regime in place for 40 some years. You may think it is stability, but it’s not. Once you remove the lid, the thing explodes. The same kind of thing happens in finance. Take the portfolio of banks. The environment seemed very placid — the Great Moderation — and then the thing explodes.

A note about Homs from a reader:

Dear Mr. Joshua, Concerning the “Christian” who was killed yesterday in Homs. It is not a Christian. It is a Alawite, named Iyad Khalifé, whose pseudonym -as Alawite used to endorse through pious vows- is Elias. He is a colonel in the army and has been shot by the intruders. No Christian was ever killed those last days in Homs. I have made a total review in all our communities in Homs.

Thanking you in advance


As the events of the Arab Spring continue to unfold, three key lessons emerge from Lebanon’s experience, especially as it relates to Syria. First, foreign intervention is often necessary for liberation movements to achieve their goals. Taking the historical long view, even the American and Russian revolutionaries did not succeed without outside assistance. The events in Lebanon in 2005 may have reflected an emancipation rather than a revolution, but foreign intervention played a role all the same, just as it did in removing Saddam Hussein and stopping Muammar Qadhafi at the gates of Benghazi.

In 2004 and 2005, Lebanese opposed to the Syrian occupation drew on international legal and political frameworks to sustain their domestic revolt. They helped spur the creation, for example, of UN Security Council Resolution 1559, which called for Syria’s withdrawal from Lebanon and the disarmament of nonstate actors such as Hizballah and Palestinian militias. And through Security Council Resolution 1595, they helped establish an independent investigation into the Hariri assassination. Although the U.S. invasion of Iraq had no direct impact on the spread of freedom in Lebanon, the U.S. military presence on Syria’s eastern border reminded Lebanese citizens of their neighbor’s vulnerability.

LA Times [Reg]: Loyal, secretive security forces keep Syria leader in power

Reporting from Beirut— Unable to stem a growing popular uprising with promises of reform, ceaseless propaganda and restrictions on the news media, Syria’s government still retains one powerful weapon: the solid support of a secretive web of …

Comments (119)

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101. syau said:

off the wall,

Not only do I find myself thinking aloud like revlon does, I also find myself laughing aloud at you. It’s true, you should think about quitting your day job and being a comedian, or better yet a leading activist like Ammar Abdulhamid. The list could go on and include people in some parts of the middle east, but I think you get the picture.

Stay positive now, wont you.

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April 23rd, 2011, 6:48 am


102. Australian-Syrian-Al Assad said:

Off the wall,
Thank you so much for your suggestion as to what i should be named. I am proud to be Australian-Syrian-Al Assad!! I am glad that you see the honour in me being called so. Thank you.
I also thank you for taking the time to look into Australias political history. Although, you forgot Whitlam as one of our beloved P.Ms.
Now to be fair to your ignorance, i will tell you that Australias prime minsiter does have a time limit. You did not research well. Australias PM is in office for 4 years. As you would have known if you did your homework well.
And you are right. I profess pride and love for Australia. As it too is my county. And i am definatelly one of those peopel who shouts Syria-Al Assad.

And i will continue having fun on your account.

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April 23rd, 2011, 8:28 am


103. why-discuss said:


How you ever read the horrors of Lebanese civil war where people were killed depending on their religion or their ethnicity?
It lasted 15 years. Many thousands of people were killed or disappeared. The country was brought to its knees. It was ended by the Syrian army coming in and separating the different parties. ( I know that later on they tried to control politically but they did save thousands of Lebanese and Palestinians from sure slaughter).
I just wonder whose army will come in when the current ineffective strategy of more deaths, no leader, no negotiation of the Syrian “rebels” will fail from preventing the sectarian fears to grow and end up in a real bloodbath? Then you will stop counting the dead.
Don’t be naive, sectarian fears are already emerging, and they may increase if the situation is in a stalemate. The rebels have been unable to bring more than a few thousands in the street. Now they have no other intelligent choice than to call from an external help to move into negotiations under the auspices of that country or countries.
Yet, I doubt they’ll do that: They have no leader and they seem to be completely stuck in the cycle of violence with the illusion that the government will simply move out because of the growing number of deaths. Obviously they haven’t learned the ruthless determination of this government to stay. The ‘rebels’ are not be up to it, alone.
It is time they move to a different strategy or they will loose the momentum and the death of these martyrs would have be in vain.

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April 23rd, 2011, 8:34 am


104. why-discuss said:

Al-Jazeera Beirut bureau chief resigns

“The Tunisian journalist said the Qatari-based satellite channel has launched a smear campaign against the Syrian government and has turned into “a propaganda outlet,” the report added.”

Have Oman and Qatar escaped the Arab revolts?

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April 23rd, 2011, 8:51 am


105. Norman said:

What happened to the last thread,

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April 23rd, 2011, 9:44 am


107. Norman said:

This is what the Saudi want, a Sunni/ Shia war, is it clear now?.

The US should have attacked the source of all evil in the Mideast, The KSA and the Wahhabi teaching.


عضو هيئة كبار العلماء السعودية يصف سورية بالخبيثة الخطيرة ويدعو للجهاد لإسقاط الرئيس الأسد

الرياض- يو بي اي: وصف عضو هيئة كبار العلماء السعودية الشيخ صالح اللحيدان الدولة السورية بـ”الفاجرة الخبيثة الخطيرة الملحدة” ودعا “للجهاد” بإسقاط الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد داعيا إلى تنحي الرئيس اليمني علي عبد الله صالح وتسليم سلطاته.
وقال اللحيدان في تسجيل صوتي نشر على موقع (يوتيوب) إن حزب البعث حزب فاشي خبيث، يزعم أنه يبعث العرب من جديد، ماجاء العرب من بعدهم منه العرب إلا الشر”.

ووصف الرئيس السوري بأنه نصيري “الرجل هذا نصيري.. بشار .. وأبوه أخبث منه قبله، وجناية أبيه خطيرة قتل فيها عدد كبير في لحظة واحدة في سوريا”.

في حين أرجع اللحيدان الفرقة النصيرية إلى الفاطميين “النصيرية جزء من الفاطميين الذين تقوضتهم دولتهم في مصر، حتى مضت قرون لايوجد في مصر من يقال إنه شيعي، لا إثني عشري ولاباطني، إلا في منتصف القرن الماضي الرابع عشر فتح إيران مكتباً للتقريب ثم فشل”.

وأضاف “النصيرية هؤلاء يقولون العلماء عن مذهبهم الأساسي إن الله يروه الرفض، يعني أنهم رافضة. في الفقه يرجعون لفقه الاثنا عشرية، الفاطميون في مصر يعتمدون في كثر من أمورهم الفقه الاثني عشري”.

وتابع “هؤلاء النصيرية في سوريا ،هم من هذه الفرقة،شيخ الإسلام بن تيمية قال: هؤلاء أولى بالجهاد أن نجاهدهم..لما كانت الوحدة التي صارت بين مصر وسوريا في القرن الماضي ،ثم ما صلحت الوحدة بعدها تسلم حزب البعث الخبيث وكان حافظ الأسد من الضباط ثم صار ماصار”.

ودعا اللحيدان “الشعب السوري للجد والاجتهاد في مقاومة النظام السوري حتى لو ذهب ضحايا” أرجو الله إن يوفق السوريين إلى أن يجّدوا ويجتهدوا في مقاومة هذه الدولة الفاجرة الخبيثة الخطيرة الملحدة، أن يباغته ولو هلك من هلك منهم”.

وأضاف”يرى في مذهب مالك انه يجوز قتل الثلث ليسعد الثلثان، فلن يقتل من سوريا ثلثها إن شاء الله”.

وقال “نسأل الله إن يعاجل الفاجر بعقوبة ماحقة، وان تتشفى صدور المسلمين هناك وأن يكون ذلك سبب صلاح أهل سوريا جميعاً”.

ورأى عضو هيئة كبار العلماء السعودية “أن الشعب السوري شعب خير وكانت سوريا لعهد قريب أقرب شبهاً في العادات والتقاليد من عادات الجزيرة من حجاب ونحوه”.

ودعا اللحيدان الرئيس اليمني للتنحي وتسليم سلطاته، محذراً من سيطرة الحوثيين على السلطة في اليمن.

كما دعا في ختام كلمته بـ”التوفيق لمن يجاهدون الطغاة في سوريا”، معتبراً” من يموت منهم شهيداً في سبيل الله ،كونهم يقاتلون لإعلاء كلمة الله”.

وجدير بالذكر أن مظاهرات اندلعت منذ أسابيع في عدد من المدن السورية للمطالبة بإصلاح النظام وتطورت في الأيام الأخيرة للمطالبة بإسقاط النظام ذهب ضحيتها أكثر من 270 قتيلا ومئات الجرحى، وعدد من الضبط والعسكريين ورجال الأمن.

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April 23rd, 2011, 9:56 am


108. Australian-Syrian said:

The worlds youngest and most intellegent inventor was murdered 2 days ago, along with his cousin. They were Syrian. He drove the world crazy due to his unprecedented intellegence. He and his cousin were murdered by anti- government conspitators.
Al Fatiha on their souls. Join me in prayer for our brothers.

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April 23rd, 2011, 10:00 am


109. syau said:


What an evil discusting excuse for a religious leader.
This evil man is promoting sectarianism and accusing women of other sects of being prostitutes.

He is saying that he was spared death 4 times during the protests, that would be because the people he is affiliated with would have agreements to shoot around him. After all, who would shoot at one of their own when they can shoot at actual legitimate demonstrators or more likely the security forces to escalate violence.

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April 23rd, 2011, 10:14 am


110. syau said:

# 107,

The supposed Sheikh quoted in this article – Sheikh Saleh Al haydan

The surname Al 7ayawan is better suited to him. The only Khabiss is him. Calling for Jihad against the Syrian government and using sectarianism to do it. Religious leaders are supposed to know the true meaning of Jihad. Not take it out of context and use it to incite further hate and violence and causing further death and destruction. His comments are as sectarian as they come. He needs to shut up and stay out of Syria’s business.

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April 23rd, 2011, 10:35 am


111. Nafdik said:


Why do you have little trust in the syrian army?

Why do you think it is incompatible with democracy and that we will need a foreigarmy to protect us from civil war?

How about a much more simple solution, democratic elections are called and you can support a baath candidate and getbhim elected if the silent majority is indeed happy with baath rule.

The army remains as it is and protects the new government baath or no baath. Or is our army the private militia of the assad family?

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April 23rd, 2011, 4:58 pm


112. Norman said:


I agree, now can you convince the opposition to accept being giving the chance not taking over by violence, I doubt it , they have not shown maturity.

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April 23rd, 2011, 5:20 pm


113. Nafdik said:

Norman, i am not sure that the opposition as a block exists.

There is no clear vision beyond the demand for freedom and dignity. It is now the time for various ideas to be presented to the syrian people. My bet is that most syrians are truly behind unity, security and mutual respect as long as they do not have to sacrifice freedom and self determination.

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April 23rd, 2011, 8:08 pm


114. Off the Wall said:

Australian Syrian
Nonsense, Term limit is not term duration , Constitutionally, Australia is similar to many Prime Minister- Parliamentary System, which have no fixed tenure to the prime minister. The prime minister is not elected directly by the people of Australia, but usually appointed by the Governor General, and most often would be the leader of the winning party in the Federal Election (every three years). Governor Generals can dismiss a prime minister as happened with Gough Whitlam, who was dismissed by Governor General Kerr in 1975 to end the constitutional crisis known as the Dismissal. But still, there is no fixed tenure for the PM. A few of Australia’s prime ministers had to relinquish office to new party leaders.

Term limit on the other hands is a fixed number of the maximum length of years, or the number of consecutive terms a politician can serve in office. This is more common in presidential systems. In the united states it is now two 4 years terms for the president, In mexico, it is a one term. I suggest that you get back and repeat 7th, or is it 6th grade and learn your Australian civics. It is probably because of your lack of understanding of your civics that you are willing to advocate despotism in Syria.

In my post I talked about the past 30 years of your happy life, 2011-30=1981 , Whitlam served in the 1970s, actually 72-75, and Fraser served from 1975-1983, so the start of his service was further from the start of the past thirty years of your happy life than that of his successor, Hawke, hence the start of the series with Hawke. In conclusion, You can’t calculate 30 years back from 2011. Go back to second grade and learn subtraction.

The rest of your post qualifies you for pre-school….

Syrians are being murdered and I will afford you no more time.

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April 23rd, 2011, 8:59 pm


115. Australian-Syrian said:

Off the wall,
i love it when idiots like you think they know my country more than i know it. I will tell you that in the 6th and 7th grade they didnt teach us about our countys history. We were too buisy studying the savagery of your country, the US. Before you go and say that i know nothing of my political history, you should know that i have been majoring in Politics for 4 years. I have known about the GGs power in dismissing PMs but what you dont even know is that power has been in reserve since whitlam. The GG does not hold all that authority…i will not bother to explain as you have proven too stupid to understand. Go do proper research. You sound really dumb.

As for my comments sounding though i am a pre schooler, than i am glad. I must be the most intellegent pre schooler there is. You are a pathetic moron. If someone is loyal to their leader you call them a child. Well then to i call you a bloody idiot. And you are not worth the dust on Bashars shoes. You are not worth my time. You say you will not bother anymore because you know you are wrong in all that you have just said. Thats funny 😛

I thank you for your suggestion, i will pass on learning my subtraction. I have always hated math.

Yes people are dying. But thanks to you and people like you who support such horrific demonstrations.

I still cant get over how dumb you are. If you would like to know all about australias political history let me know. As i said, i am studying australian politics. And would love to make you feel like an idiot again. P.S dont trust internet sources for things like that, they tend to ne wrong. At least thats what they have been teaching us since prep. They must have missed thay in your education. That explains so much.

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April 23rd, 2011, 9:32 pm


116. N.Z. said:

Seems they are many comments inciting a bleak future for Syria.
Is this our Syria that Norman is talking about, or one from his imagination.

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April 24th, 2011, 6:39 pm


117. Australian said:

Dear Syrian-Australian,

I fear the future of Australian politics if people so narrow minded as yourself are interested in future change. I am doing my Masters in Australian and Middle Eastern politics and your views really shock me! I will not waste my time quoting and referencing books and politics.
Australian politics and history are not difficult to regurgitate. You can pick up many books and spit them out. The care for positive change and interest in humanity..you can not learn in a book, or in a course…I encourage you to question and look deep into the reason why these people are demonstrating, and changes that can be made. I have seen many demos in Canberra and in Melbourne, where people are allowed to voice concerns on many issues and are protected by local police. If I was to go to the Syrian Embassy with an entourage to show my outrage on recent events, do you think, anyone would shoot me? and if they did get away with it?
A good friend of mine whom I spoke to yesterday in Damascus has been left beaten and his friends family home covered in bullet holes. These are average people, living and working as you and I. The conversation shocked me as I saw that in the past 6 months, how much he has changed: the conversation went like this:
what do u know (name removed)?
I already got beating marks on my back
my friend is arrested
my other friends house
has more than 50 bullet holes
the fuck do you know!
the fuck do you care!
for fucks sakes (name removed)
u dont give me shit for what i do
or why i do
or when i do things

i care…because i have many friends there..my partner is there..a friend of mne has vanished after a demo.i care because…
when i read things…i hear things…it upsets me…

because shu?
coming back for what?
we fucking dont need someone’s shit

and to be with my partner

to hypocricize over our blood

because he cant come to australia

2inno go be with ur partner somewhere else

..he cant leave syria

who the fuck cares
people care about here
because they’re fucking nulled out of existance
no one is out there for an ideology
nor cause
no purpose
their out
for the moral nullness
this regime
has reduced them to
ive been out to the country
for that same very reason
not to ejaculate words
for the purpose
of fetishing a country
im there because I, too, have been nulled
by a regime
that is the root reason
for all miseries
and u shitting me just cuz ur with a guy who happened to live here

go to human rights watch and amnesty international and lodge a report for ur friend that got arrested. if you havent already.

2eri bil human rights watch
we’re going to the jail to get him out ourselves
just like we’re getting everyone else out

yea whatever
fiki w fi

A good friend turned cold. An average guy, who has lost motivation and purpose because a regime controls his movements and opinions. This is not a demonstrator, a spy, or a pro or anti Assad guy. He just wants to get on with his life and live.

Again I encourage you to open your eyes, mate!


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April 25th, 2011, 12:46 am


118. why-discuss said:


Norman is talking about what he and many others dread to see happening: A revolution turning a non-sectarian country protecting the minorities into a Sunni theocracy a la Saudi Arabia, with the predictable religion intolerance. Goodbye Syria, Welcome to Syrianistan!
Egypt is gradually moving in that direction. Many copts are leaving, they believe no one will be able to go against the massive islamist wave that will soon cover Egypt.

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April 25th, 2011, 1:14 am


119. Alex said:

Why Discuss

Number 2 in Egypt’s Muslim brotherhood said “we are preparing for the Islamic government and our goal is to rule the world


«الشاطر»: نستعد للحكومة الإسلامية.. وهدفنا الوصول إلى سيادة العالم

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April 25th, 2011, 1:44 am


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