Wikileaks, Assad and Syria Comment – The Dispute about Tlas – Assad Interview

Repercussions from the Tlass defection are still echoing. Sharmine Narwani claims his departure was not that important. Michel Kilo has recommended him as the transition leader of Syria. Others say it signifies the beginning of the end. Many opposition activists detest everything he stands for. I have tried to collect a cross-section of views on him.

The Wikileak articles are beginning to come out in greater numbers. At least one of the president’s emails discussed articles published on Syria Comment. – this one, for example, is a comment by Elie Elhadj, who wrote about Syria’s very serious water crisis on the pages of SC – here and here.This is a small bit of the original article:

“Investment in irrigation agriculture, which uses huge volumes of Syria’s finite water resources should be shifted to investing in low water using manufacturing industries based on rate of return criterion instead of political convenience or personal interest. Foreign currencies generated from exporting manufactured products, or from reducing the importation of manufactured goods, would be used to import foodstuffs. Agriculture in arid/semi arid Syria should be left to rain fed lands, with investment in modern technology to improve the yield and quality of rain fed produce. It should be remembered that irrigation schemes have left the water balance in five of Syria’s seven basins negative. In addition to the billions of dollars wasted on white elephant irrigation schemes, what a terrible loss of water that is!

This is his comment that Bashar picked up on – It came from an email that Elie sent to me and a few friends, including Camille Otrakji, who forwarded it to a friend who sent it to President Assad. The email was sent Feb 11, 2011 at 9:05 AM. President Assad was not upset by the insults to his father, as some journalists have suggested. He picked up on it because Syria was in the midst of its five year drought. He knew what a disastrous water crisis Syria faced and was trying to figure out how to reverse course – but of course – like so many of Syria’s problems, he failed to deal with it because it would have meant breaking too many eggs and potentially unraveling his regime and control.

Water resources and cotton plantation SCARY NUMBERS (from a discussion)

Email-ID 2105484
Date 2011-02-12 04:19:25

Check زراعة و ري

All of Syria’s cotton production is done on irrigated lands, not rain fed. Of Syria’s estimated 13 billion m3 of irrigation water more than 4 billion m3 is used to grow cotton. A cotton t-shirt requires about 2.7 tons of water to produce. Cotton requires four times as much water to grow as wheat.

Syria’s emphasis on irrigation has been wrong. Syria should invest in improving the yield of rain fed lands. There was a threefold increase in the productivity of water in rain fed wheat production in north-west Europe between 1800 and 1950. And a further trebling by 1990.

The Tabqa Dam is an economic disaster. The yes-men around Hafiz Asad lacked the balls to stop an ignorant military officer from wasting billions of dollars on a white elephant, made by his propagandist to be one genius of a project.

The World Bank concluded that Syria’s government will need to recognize that achieving food security with respect to wheat and other cereals in the short-term as well as the encouragement of water-intensive cotton appear to be undermining Syria’s security over the long-term by depleting available groundwater resources.

Another discusses, which was a major effort led by Camille Otrakji to get Israelis and Syrians discussing the Golan and avenues to peace. I participated in the project and pushed it on SC. Unfortunately it was seen in Damascus as a breach of security and law. He asked Syria’s head of the National Security Council to look into it. According to an article in al-Akhbar English:

A story published by The Guardian in 2010 about Syrian and Israeli bloggers interacting with each other on the website, perked his interest, and he requested that it be translated and sent to an individual named “bekhtiar.” (doc-id 2095860)

Manaf Tlass as taciturn rebel?

EXTRA: Opposition proposes top Syrian defector for president

Moscow (DPA) — Representatives of the Syrian opposition on Monday put forward Brigadier General Manaf Tlass, who defected earlier this month, to succeed President Bashar al-Assad. At a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, the opposition continued to insist that al-Assad must step down before a political dialogue can take place, according to the news agency Interfax.

Russia to suspend new arms to Syria: agencies
By Thomas Grove, MOSCOW | Mon Jul 9, 2012

(Reuters) – Russia will not deliver fighter planes or other new weapons to Syria while the situation there remains unresolved, the deputy director of a body that supervises Moscow’s arms trade was quoted as saying on Monday.

Davutoğlu says Turkey got Syria wrong in Hurriyet

” … Unfortunately, Turkey made a very serious mistake in Syria. It thought that, as in Libya the regime would collapse quickly and would be replaced with the AKP’s “brothers” the Muslim Brotherhood.

In search of peace: Annan arrives in Iran from Damascus

UN peace envoy Kofi Annan is in Iran after finishing a round of talks with Syrian authorities in Damascus. The trip reinforces Annan’s belief that Tehran is one of the key players in finding a solution to the conflict in Syria.

Annan described his talks in Damascus as constructive, saying the sides agreed to move ahead with implementing a peace plan proposed by the envoy.

“We agreed to an approach which I will share with the opposition,” he told reporters.

During his visit, Annan met with both Syrian President Bashar Assad as well as the country’s Foreign Minister Walid Muallem.

Damascus reiterated their commitment to Annan`s peace plan.

“In both meetings we reassured Annan of Syria’s commitment to implement the six-point plan and hope the other side is mutually committed,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi wrote on Twitter.

Meanwhile, the UN and Arab League special envoy has arrived in Iran, Syria’s main ally in the region.

On Saturday Annan said that Iran should be involved in the resolution of the crisis, because it is an “actor” in the situation whose participation is necessary.

Speaking to Le Monde, the envoy stressed the role of Moscow and Teheran in dealing with the conflict in Syria, saying that there is “no alternative” to Russia’s participation in a diplomatic solution and that Iran also “cannot be ignored.”

While Annan was holding talks with Syrian authorities in Damascus, Moscow has conducted a round of negotiations with the Syrian opposition. Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met with a Syrian delegation led by Michel Kilo on Monday.

The opposition delegation stated that the question of removing President Bashar Assad from power is secondary, while their primary goal is the transition from violence to democracy.

Following the talks, Lavrov pointed out to the importance of the Syrian opposition having a unified platform. The foundation of this platform should be an inclusive dialogue between the authorities and the opposition, the Minister said.

Moscow has also invited another prominent opposition group, the Syrian National Council (SNC), to come to Russia for talks. The delegation is expected to visit after July 10, the Foreign Ministry said, though no exact dates were announced.

The SNC has repeatedly said that it sees a solution for Syrian crisis only in the ouster of President Assad. The majority of Western countries consider the group to be the only “official” opposition. In April, Friends of Syria recognized the SNC as the “legitimate representative” of all Syrians.

Annan and Assad agree political approach for Syria – Reuters

 Putin: West exports ‘airstrike democracy’ to cling to Arab influence

Russian President Vladimir Putin has criticized the West for clinging to its influence in the Arab world under the guise of “humanitarian operations.” He dubbed western involvement in Arab affairs as nothing more than a “rocket and bomb democracy.” At a meeting with top Russian diplomats Putin said that certain countries will do anything to retain the influence they have become accustomed to in the Arab world. He stressed that western nations often adopt a one-sided policy in Arab affairs that violates international law. RT’s Sean Thomas followed the address.

Interview with Assad, just recently conducted by the German publicist Jürgen Todenhöfer. The original English version.

Brig. Tlas Could be consensus solution
by Mohamed H.Hamdan in Damscus
Contributed to Syria Comment

The young Brigadier Tlas stopped wearing his military uniform and opted for civilian clothing months ago. He set up residence in Damascus, where he let his beard and hair grow long. Nobody expected that the aristocratic general with his boyish face and western life style could withstand Assad’s fall.

Gen. Manaf Tlas has let down his childhood friend President Bashar al-Assad. Tlas has forgotten memories which they shared, jokes they laughed at and Syria’s future they have drawn.

Michel kilo, a prominent figure in the Syrian opposition, told Russians in Moscow, ”Manaf Tlas is a good candidate to head a transitional government”. Kilo explained to the Russians that General Manaf Tlas was against “the Military- security solution of the regime.”

Syrian Activists feel worried now, some of them say Tlas’ defection is Plan B designed to protect Assad’s regime.

”Substituting Mr. Assad by Gen. Tlas with his military background and his deep relations can be Assad’s successor for the same Syria which protects the Russian and Iranian interests in the region.” Ahmed al-Khalaf, defected Lieutenant, based in Beirut, said.

Tlas relations with Mr. Assad became irreconcilable after the fierce assault on the Homs district of Bab Amr in February this year according to AFP. He was sidelined more than a year ago, after he was deemed unreliable.

Tlas’ close friends said that he did not like what he saw, and tried to do something to ease the crackdown, friends and opposition sources say. They credit him with intervening to negotiate local ceasefires.

Eyad Issa, close friend to Tlas family said “Manaf has been growing increasingly frustrated for months,” Tlas felt increasing dishonor as his hometown ‘al-Rastan’ /160 kilometers north of Damascus/ was being leveled and hundreds of his relatives fell dead or injured.

“He started to tell people he trusted that he wanted out, and that he has respect among the Free Syrian Army,” Issa said, referring to the rebel force that has attracted many officers and soldiers from Rastan.

Colonel. Adnan Ahmed, who joined Free Syrian Army (FSA), based in Turkey, has defended Brig.Tlass defection on ALJAZEERA TV. He said that al-Rastan with its 1146 officers is supporting Brig. Tlas. ”We know his intention to defect and now he did it.”

Peaceful demonstrations were silenced by the gun, prompting Rastan’s residents, many of whom served in the army and had the patronage of the Tlas family, to take up arms

Abdul-Razzak Tlas, Brig. Manaf’s cousin and a popular commander of the FSA in Homs and a former First Lieutenant in the Syrian army, is commanding the most powerful Brigades of FSA called al-Farouq Brigades which stand for 4 months in face of Syrian army artillery and bombardment in Homs district of Bab Amr.

Two weeks ago, Opposition sources have spoken of senior figures that are under suspicion of being potential defectors being held under virtual house arrest. Assad’s opponents have been trying to encourage as many of his entourage as possible to abandon him.

Munther Khaddam, well-known Assad’s opponent said ”when a cornerstone like Brig. Tlas defects the temple of Assad definitely will crack down’. ”Then a lot of secrets can be revealed”, added.

Syria’s government has lessened the impact of Tlas defection. A Syrian news website ”Syria steps” quoted a Syrian official on Thursday as saying: “His desertion means nothing, If Syrian intelligence had wanted to arrest him it would have.” But “It’s hard blow for the regime,” Abdul basset seida, the president of SNC said during Conference on Syria’s friends last week in Paris.

The French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said the same and confirmed Tlas defection which meant that Assad’s inner circle “is beginning to understand that the regime is unsustainable”. Fabius added.

US secretary of State Mrs. Hilary Clinton said Tlas defection suggests Assad’s insiders, Army are voting with their feet.”

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu of Turkey, Syria’s NATO-member neighbor, agreed: “Every day, generals, colonels, officers are coming, and we have, I think, around 20 generals and maybe 100 high-ranking officers, colonels,” he told France 24 television.

Brigade 105 now according to well-informed source said Brigade 105 has been mixed with Maher al-Assad’s Brigade (Brigade 4) and Brigade 14 for special missions) after defecting 1200 soldier whom run away after their brig has defected between them about 43 high ranked officers – general and colonels

Syrian opposition with its armed wing FSA still looks to hear from the young general. What Kilo has recommended to Russian seems to be the waiting speech they are looking for.

”Brig. Tlas is consensus solution where all parties should agree on,” al-Khalaf said.

A Word on the Tlass Departure – by Maysaloon

Firstly I don’t think the Tlass family are members of any “aristocracy”. ….So why is he now being pushed as a potential successor to Assad?….

This is a particularly devastating and humiliating option for many Syrians… Tlass might be the least worst option, but this still isn’t good enough for a country that has given over fifteen thousand lives for its freedom, and tens of thousands of refugees and prisoners. I doubt that all these people died to replace an Alawite dictator with a Sunni one, but I’m confident about one thing, and that is that Syria’s freshly grown grass roots will now, and should remain, the final line of defence for the Syrian people’s liberties and fight against oppression. It is now more vital than ever that these grass roots groups and coordination committees dig in and consolidate. The hard work really begins once Assad goes.

Manaf Tlass: “Nobody stopped him from leaving and nobody worked on him to stay.”
Syrian General Manaf Tlass: Neither Here Nor There
By Sharmine Narwani – Sun, 2012-07-08 23:47- The Sandbox

Since the news of his departure broke a few days ago, Tlass has stayed quiet. It is unlikely that he has “defected” – that would suggest he is joining the opposition, and it is doubtful that any but the most opportunistic of them would embrace a figure so closely associated with the Assad history in Syria.

But here’s a tidbit that hasn’t made the rounds yet in this well-hyped story: until very recently, Tlass was telling members of Bashar al-Assad’s inner circle that he wanted the post of Minister of Defense.
“He believed he could help push forth a reform agenda, as he had envisioned with his old friend Bassel (al-Assad),” says an acquaintance of Tlass’.

A well-informed source close to the Syrian government tells me that Tlass had tested those waters last Spring before Assad announced a new cabinet in April 2011, from which he was excluded. In the early months of unrest in Syria, he had attempted to stem the crisis by mediating between the government and its opponents in various towns and cities, but had by most accounts not succeeded. Part of the problem appears to be that the Assad establishment did not put its weight behind his efforts after they faltered, choosing to pursue another strategy altogether. By August, as armed clashes and crackdowns escalated, Tlass was effectively sidelined by a regime that refused to entrust in his vision and was mistrustful of his family’s opposition credentials. He then simply stopped working, cut-off many of his ties with close friends and reigned in his legendary social life.

How does one just not go to work one day? A source explains that “Tlass’ military uniform was only 10% of his life anyway. The rest of his time was spent on running around, his social life, some business dealings. He was a privileged son of an important regime figure – that was his life and he had a sense of entitlement as did many others like him.”

But still Tlass apparently did not count himself out – he tried again for the top defense post in the lead-up to the last cabinet reshuffle, and was passed over a second time when Assad announced the new line-up on June 23.

The headlines this week that claim the “defection” of a major Syrian Army commander and a member of Bashar al-Assad’s inner circle lack a great deal of the nuance unique to Manaf Tlass’ case….

Tlass apparently felt snubbed by the president for not being promoted to Major General from his current status as Brigadier General, but importantly, is viewed within the army as a token regime appointment rather than a commander capable of leading his forces.

Is Tlass’ departure significant? Certainly, it has been useful for some perception-creating headlines. But he was neither a pivotal figure within the Syrian Army nor the political establishment. His importance was rather in relation to his father’s standing within the elder Assad’s coterie, and as a member of a leading Sunni family long associated with the regime.

The fact is, after almost a year of inactivity and relative isolation, Manaf was in political no-man’s land in Syria. Scorned by people in Rastan for his continued allegiance to Assad, and marginalized by the regime in both the political and military spheres, Tlass had nothing to gain or lose by sitting tight.

“I don’t blame him. He had to make a choice,” says a Syrian who knows Tlass. “Nobody stopped him from leaving and nobody worked on him to stay,” says another, who knows the elder Tlass well.

So he went to France. End of story. But that won’t stop the spin.

The final chapter in Syria is being written today – al-Arabiya
By Jihad el-Khazen, Monday, 09 July 2012

What is left for the Syrian regime after Brigadier General Manaf Tlas, commander of Brigade 105 of the Republican Guard, has defected?

There was a time when Manaf was being groomed to become the defence minister, like his father Lt. General Mustafa Tlas before him. Manaf had become eligible owing to his rank in the Republican Guard and the ruling party, and I believe the delay was only because of his young age.

Mustafa Tlas was one of the main pillars of the regime, perhaps even its backbone…..

Today in Syria, the final chapter of a popular uprising is being written, and I insist that the regime could have avoided it, had it not chosen the military-based solution and its stubborn insistence upon it, even when it failed month after month, making the problem worse.

Yet the solution will not come from a meeting in Cairo, Geneva or Paris, but from the heart of Syria itself.

The heart of the Arab needs an urgent heart surgery, but this will only succeed if it is to be performed by Syrians themselves.

From the Comment Section: “Shabih” writes:

What really pisses me off is that way you write about this “Sunni” [Tlas] being in favor of negotiation and dialogue while the “Alawite leadership” was in favor of killing and heavy-handedness. You write this while ignoring that many in your audience know that the “Alawite leadership” you speak of has been following the strategy of “negotiation, flexibility, and compromise” all over Syria. How many times have we heard of the rebels and army agreeing to pull back in cities? How many times have we heard about Bashar al-Asad holding personal dialogue with various delegations from cities and villages from all parts of Syria and beyond?…

The whole point is to paint a picture of Sunni vs Alawite. This whole crisis started because Sunnis wanted freedom and Alawites would prefer to kill them. That is the narrative you want to peddle while carrying the title of Syria expert…. I really can’t stand reading your material anymore. I might as well be reading WINEP’s propaganda.

Deputy PM Says Gas Shortages Structural – Syria Report

There is no structural solution to the domestic gas shortages facing the country as long as sanctions are in place, Qadri Jamil, the new deputy Prime Minister in charge of domestic trade and consumer production said, blaming “sons of b…” for the hike in prices.

Power Cuts Rise as Temperatures Increase – Syria Report

The Ministry of Electricity is raising the daily number of hours of power cuts across Syria as rising temperatures lead to an increase in demand for electricity.

Starting July 2, the Public Establishment for the Distribution and Exploitation of Electrical Energy has increased power outages in Damascus to 3 hours per day from 2 hours previously.

In Aleppo, the country’s second largest city, power cuts are being increased from 3 to 4 hours a day, while in the rest of the country, power cuts are increasing to 5 hours a day. In each case the cuts are broken into two periods, one in the morning and another in the afternoon or evening…..

“No sect’s please; we’re Syrian” – Open Democracy – Syrian opposition activist, Rita, who must remain anonymous for her own safety, tells of a particularly harrowing encounter she had with the Syrian shabiha and how she managed to survive.

Nikolaos van Dam on Aljazeera “Inside Syria” with former General Akil Hashimi and Yasser Tabbara (SNC).

Nikolaos van Dam, How to Solve or Not to Solve the Syrian Crisis?, Orient, III-2012, pp. 31-37

Fear of Iran and Syrian Bloodletting, July 09, 2012
By Meir Javedanfar

Meir Javendanfar looks at how Western sanctions on Iran are enabling violence in Syria to continue.

Egypt: Morsi Moves to Restore Islamist Parliament – By: Steve Hendrix and Ernesto Loñdono | The Washington Post

Election Results in Libya Break an Islamist Wave – By: David D. Kirkpatrick | The New York Times
The post-Arab Spring rise of Islamist leaders appeared to bypass Libya, where a coalition led by a Western-educated political scientist led the early vote count.
By: Susan Crabtree | The Washington Times
A dramatic uptick in violence and political instability in Iraq have raised fears that Baghdad once again is tilting toward civil war. A half-year after the U.S. military left Iraq, the war-weary country is beset by violence as insurgents take advantage of the power struggles between the country’s ethnic and sectarian factions.

Comments (187)

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101. anwar said:

it is well known that the only reason Assad is still in power is Israel. The moment they decide they can do without him he will be dumped.

I actually felt a little bad for the child killer during his interview full of stuttering about lunatic conspiracies. I really think he is nothing more than puppet for the rest of his family, army guys and elite alawites who are all puling the strings.

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July 10th, 2012, 5:06 pm


102. Tara said:


“Yet, there is no eternal love in politics. Things change, opinions evolve, events happen that may unveil sides of a personality no one expected and any government, …”

Beautiful response but so far has had no meaning on the ground.  If true, may I ask, what else could happen that would make you withhold your support?  

Bronco,  haven’t we seen all?  Torture, subjugation, humiliation, beating the elderly, slashing the throat of children, gang rape, beating intellectuals,  burying people alive,  slashing throat of singers and breaking fingers of artists, corruption, using of public funds,  forcing people to kneel to Bashar’s picture, forcing people to say no God except Bashar…using Israel security to persuade the west not go intervene…what else can possibly happen that would change your mind.

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July 10th, 2012, 5:24 pm


103. Uzair8 said:

Forgive me for posting another unverified tweet and I’ll try to avoid doing so, however, this follows the discussion above.

We were talking earlier about the claim the FSA are destroying a hundred tanks/BMP’s a week and whether this was an exaggeration.

Well this latest tweet is an example, if it is to be believed, that gives possibility to such claims which would require an average of ~14 destroyed per day.

Activists reporting #FSA managed to destroy 6 #Assad tanks on Maarin road #Syria

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July 10th, 2012, 5:53 pm


104. bronco said:


If the opposition and their leaders show that they are are free from dubious foreign influences, that they are not motivated by the spirit of personal revenge and most of all that they can show a group of people that Syrians can identify with and trust to make the change worth the pain, then I may reconsider my views.

Until now they just failed in all these points. The SNC turned out to be a paranoiac circus, the FSA is funded and motivated by two undemocratic and revengeful Arab countries, they are supported by Turkey obsessed by spreading their ‘moderate business’ Moslem Brotherhood ideology, and by the USA and its allies who only want to weaken Iran and protect Israel.
How can I trust an opposition that is totally endebted and subjugated to these countries?
Until now, the Syrian government, despite all its excesses, is much more independent and therefore more credible.

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July 10th, 2012, 6:43 pm


105. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

It is becoming increasingly unpleasant to drive tanks in Syria.

Is this tanks convoy projecting power?

Moral boost or eroding moral among the junta loyalists?

Assad to Annan “when we give you our word on a ceasefire we become accountable to you”.

Ceasefire with terrorists and armed foreign gangs? Didn’t Bashar just say he’s at war? Begging for a ceasefire just one week after announcing war?
Does this have to do with the dwindling number of tanks and military equipment?

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July 10th, 2012, 7:22 pm


106. majedkhaldoun said:

The Free Syrian Army declared that his forces are ready to take over Damascus,They have 30,000 soldiers, along with officers and soldiers who are ready to join,and most of Damascus residents, to do the job, The pro Assad troops must prepare themselves, their fate is coming soon, There will be surprises, Assad has to run away, probably outside Syria, but if he decided to stay, we will not bury him there, not in Damascus, not in Qurdaha either,Hopefully I will be there too, I am preparing to go back to Antakia next month,hopefully from there I will,get to Damascus.


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July 10th, 2012, 7:40 pm


107. omen said:

who wants to be a gunner now?

fsa sniper takes one out.

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July 10th, 2012, 7:45 pm


108. anwar said:

so u are willing to side with corrupt criminals because the opposition isn’t to your liking.

Indeed revenge seems like such a strange emotion especially when your house gets bombed, children killed and wife raped. Truly an overreaction. These people should simply go on with their lives. Maybe create a facebook page ? But I think even that is pushing a bit and will not please your master much.

How dare the opposition ask for foreign support? After all they are fighting a very evenly matched battle against the noble syrian army and “friends”. Of course I am referring to Russia and Iran, very dear friends to the Syrian people and a model for democracy and free speech.

And you are definitely right about the lack of structure and organization in the opposition. It is simply too chaotic. One would think that one year of preparation vs a regime that barely had 40 years to settle in would be enough. I don’t know maybe they need more printers ??

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July 10th, 2012, 7:46 pm


109. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Driving a tank in Syria becomes nasty

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July 10th, 2012, 7:54 pm


110. VISITOR said:

Comment # 106 of majedkhaldoun is the best comment I ever read on this blog.

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July 10th, 2012, 7:56 pm


111. bronco said:


so u are willing to side with corrupt criminals because the opposition isn’t to your liking.

If you work with “liking” or not ‘liking’, I don’t. Many in the the opposition have shown that they are greedy for power, confused by religion and ethnicity, hateful and corrupted, even before they had any chance to grab the “throne”.

If, contrary to Tunisia and Egypt who had 40 years of dictatorship, the Syrian opposition need more years to learn fom their ‘friends’ how to get organized, maybe they should postpone their ‘revolution’ until the time they are ready or they get more printers.

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July 10th, 2012, 8:01 pm


112. Ghufran said:

Comment # 106 is a form of black comedy echoed by the cheerleader # 110
it is a sad expression of how messed up the Syrian situation is today. FSA does not have 30,000 soldiers who are ready to take Damascus,most of armed men around Damascus are on the run and should consider giving men with cooler heads a chance to save lives instead of thinking about the best way to kill fellow syrians. Opposing Assad royal family and his regime does not mean starting a blood bath in Damascus,most Damascenes will not take part in the fight,they will stay home and try to keep their kids safe.
Time not Internet jihad will tell if my words,or their words,are right or wrong,Bashar will eventually depart but Damascus and Syria will not,meanwhile,patriotic syrians should work to spare lives not ignite an evil wave of vengeance and violence,you should be ashamed of yourselves.

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July 10th, 2012, 8:12 pm


113. Syrialover said:

Putin, ignoring his own stance that “outsiders should not get involved in Syria’s problems”


Two destroyers and three amphibious landing vessels carrying marines set sail from Russian bases in the Arctic and the Black Sea, according to Russian military sources.

Russia’s defence ministry insisted that the mission was part of a previously scheduled exercise in the Atlantic, Mediterranean and Black Sea and at least one of the vessels in the flotilla has patrolled waters off Syria earlier this year.

But Western diplomats say the purpose of the mission is to show tangible support for Mr Assad, to warn the West against military intervention in Syria and to prepare for the possible evacuation of Russian nationals from the country.

It was unclear whether the ships were carrying weapons supplies or large numbers of marines.

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July 10th, 2012, 8:17 pm


114. omen said:

95. ZOO said: An Alawite State in Syria?

poetic justice would be to resettle regimists to the ruins of homs.

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July 10th, 2012, 8:32 pm


115. Syrialover said:


Aldendeshe will only join the FSA if he can be absolute, absolute boss, and every member swears to spend 3 hours a day listening to all his special beliefs and theories.

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July 10th, 2012, 8:34 pm


116. zoo said:

There will be hell to pay for NATO’s Holy War
By Pepe Escobar

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is running out of rhetorical ammunition in the US’s Holy War against Syria.

Washington, London and Paris have tried – twice – to twist the UN Security Council into yet another war. They were blocked by Russia and China. So plan B was to bypass the UN and launch a NATO war. Problem is NATO has no stomach – and no funds – for a very risky war with a country that can actually defend itself.

Thus plan C is to bet on a prolonged civil war, using the Far-from-Free Syrian Army (FSA), crammed with mercenaries and jihadists, and the band of opportunistic exiles known as the Syrian National Council (SNC).

The SNC has actually called for a Libya-style no-fly zone over Syria – shorthand for a NATO war. Turkey also formally asked NATO for a no-fly zone. NATO commanders may be inept – but they have a certain amount of experience with major embarrassment (see Afghanistan). They flatly refused it.

The SNC – and the FSA – could not be more un-representative. The “Friends of Syria” – as in Hillary and the Arab stooges – barely acknowledge the existence of the National Coordination Body for Democratic Change (NCB), the main indigenous opposition movement in Syria, composed of 13 political parties, mostly from the Left, Arab nationalists and including one Kurdish party. The NCB firmly denounces any form of militarization and totally dismisses the FSA.
As for China, it’s laughing about Hillary’s desperation all the way to the bank. As the House of Saud becomes ever more paranoid with what it sees as the Obama administration flirting with democracy in the Arab world, Beijing jacked up trade ties by delivering a bunch of new missiles to Riyadh.
In a nutshell; the whole Holy War syndrome is accelerating the end of the US dollar as global reserve currency. And when it happens, will there be an American Spring? Or will US elites – like the Mob – have the guts, and the muscle, to force Russia and China to pay the price?

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July 10th, 2012, 8:39 pm


117. Tara said:

اتفاق الأسد وأنان: هدنة جديدة وعملية سياسيّة

4.16pm: Syria: The Lebanese daily al-Akhbar, regarded as sympathetic to the Assad regime, appears to have been given the Syrian government’s minutes of the Assad-Annan meeting yesterday.

The report is in Arabic, but the ArabSaga blog has an English translation. It adds some detail to Annan’s remark earlier today about “an approach from the ground up in some of the districts where we have extreme violence” (see 1.46pm).

“So let’s try again, let’s agree a mechanism for a ceasefire starting with any one of the (Syrian) hotspots. We can then duplicate it in another,” Annan suggested.

Once again, Assad proved fully amenable before asking his guests: “We are a state, government and official authority, which means when we give you our word on a ceasefire we become accountable to you. But who will you be negotiating with on the other side?”

At this point, Annan began answering together with Gen Mood [head of the UN observer mission, who was also present].

Annan and Mood said, “We at least got to know the major groups. We got to know their chiefs. True, they don’t have a unified command or a clear command structure. Their armed chaos is massive. But we got to know their key figures. That’s why we believe we can work and proceed with them step by step.”

Annan is then quoted as saying:

Let’s try again. Our observers would reach an agreement with the armed groups in the area where we choose to start. At the same time, we would ask for a goodwill gesture on your part in the chosen area. The gesture would see you observe a unilateral ceasefire in the designated area, of say four hours, pending the mutual ceasefire’s entry into force.

Later in the meeting, according to the report, Assad named Dr Ali Haidar, minister of state for national reconciliation affairs, as his nominee for any talks with the opposition.

Annan said he would have preferred “someone closer” to Assad, but Assad is said to have replied:

Dr Haidar and I shared adjoining desks throughout my university years specialising in ophthalmology. Do you want someone closer than that? Anyway, I think your greater difficulty will be on the other side, not on ours. Will you be able to get a name to represent the opposition?

From the Guardian blog

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July 10th, 2012, 8:49 pm


118. irritated said:


Have’nt you yet got used to the regular burst of bloody predictions from our SC hysterical Cassandra?
It usually happens when gloom and despair makes him see the “liberating angels” flying like crows over Syria.

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July 10th, 2012, 8:52 pm


119. zoo said:

ASIA/SYRIA – Towards Reconciliation: more than 300 fighters ready to surrender in Homs
10 July 2012
Homs (Agenzia Fides) – More than 300 fighters in the various armed factions of the Syrian opposition in Homs have agreed to surrender, to come under the protection of the interfaith People’s Committee “Mussalaha” and continue an “unarmed political opposition.” This is the result of a historic agreement promoted by the movement “Mussalaha” (“Reconciliation”), born spontaneously from Syrian civil society, which is gaining the confidence of all the warring parties, families, clans, communities, sectors of the government and armed opposition. The more than 300 armed are mostly young people who are barricaded in several streets in the old town of Homs such as Khalidiye, Jouret al shiyah, Qarabis, Hamidiyah, Bustan Diwan and surrounding areas, still besieged by the forces of the Syrian army. Overall, it is estimated that the armed fighters in that area of the old city are more than 1,000. The Committee of “Mussalaha” in Homs, which includes the Syrian Catholic priest Fr. Michel Naaman, and other Muslim religious leaders and several civil society leaders and community representatives, after a lengthy mediation effort, managed to achieve something unthinkable until yesterday. “The 300 young people ready to lay down arms are young teenagers who had decided to fight, due to the spirit and ideals of the revolution. Among them are relatives, children, friends, people that are part of Mussalaha and this has greatly facilitated dialogue and agreement. They are the children of the Syrian people,” the priest of Homs told Fides. Young people had warranties that the Syrian army, on laying down its arms, will be free and will be able to continue a “non-violent political opposition.” The Committee of “Mussalaha” will be the guarantor of their safety and freedom, in an atmosphere that wants to encourage confrontation, dialogue and reconciliation. It is not excluded, the “Mussalaha” leaders noted, that many other fighters can follow this example and come under the tutelage of the Committee for reconciliation. The main problem, note sources of Fides, is represented now by over 100 armed men who are not Syrian and are present in the area and who have no intention or possibility to qualify for this delicate operation of “internal Syrian dialogue.” They demand the involvement of the Red Cross, so this is why representatives of the CRI are alerted for a possible intervention in the mediation. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 10/7/2012)

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July 10th, 2012, 9:02 pm


120. Tara said:

In regArd to #117

It appears to me that General Mood and the observes mission acted as intelligence agents that gathered information on each rebel groups in different hot spots in Syria and got to know their chiefs and their key figures. This step by step approach is concerning. Annan wants to deal with different groups in isolation which makes them at much weaker position as compared to all of them collectively. The SNC should be alert to this issue, brings it up with Annanand the rebel groups should refuse dialogue in isolation.

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July 10th, 2012, 9:06 pm


121. Syrialover said:


Good post. I loved your list of Assad regime “accomplishments”.

You said: “I have lived in both Syria and the US and can tell the difference”.

Some commentators here can’t. They are living in the west and enjoy telling us how sinister, brutal, undemocratic, doomed and corrupt it is.

It’s a shame they are too busy with this to go back to help preserve the Assad paradise. They should blame themselves later for not acting.

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July 10th, 2012, 9:14 pm


122. Tara said:


“If, contrary to Tunisia and Egypt who had 40 years of dictatorship, the Syrian opposition need more years to learn…”

It is not a fair comparison. The regime in Tunis and Egypt were proven not to be as ruthless and as brutal as the Syrian regime. The motto of “Assad or we will burn the country” is a Syrian invention that has no parallel in any other country.

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July 10th, 2012, 9:45 pm


123. jna said:

The opposition (the armed part at least) and their supporters appear relentlessly adverse to every plan for a ceasefire and a democratic transition. It does not appear that the countries generally supporting the opposition have the desire or the courage to pressure the opposition to comply with the Annan plan.

One can only hope that the people of Syria will have the good sense to reject the destructiveness of the course the armed opposition is taking and begin to actively reject the insurgents presence in their midst until a mature opposition arises.

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July 10th, 2012, 9:58 pm


124. ghufran said:

Bashar and his family are quickly becoming the main obstacle in starting a political process that may help end bloodshed in Syria,what has been missing so far is taking steps and providing guarantees to top officers and community leaders that ensure the safety and the rights of syria’s minorities if an internal coup is to be supported by those officers and leaders.
Annan will try to convince rebels to lower their demands in return for a withdrawal of the army and the appointment of a moderate regime figure to represent the regime. This plan will certainly meet stiff resistance from hardliners who want to win the fight with bullets and blood,I do not see a chance for success if Bashar stays in his position in full capacity,he needs to go in a way or the other.

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July 10th, 2012, 10:53 pm


125. Halabi said:

The news from Saudi reads a lot like Sana in the early days (ma fi shi, khilsit and other BS). The mentality of oppression is the same in the kingdom and Assad’s Syria, but there is no comparing the brutality.

National unity is red line, say residents of Al-Qatif

AL-NAIRIYAH – The residents of Al-Qatif Governorate reiterated that the governorate is part of the Kingdom and that national unity is off-limits to all and no one can disrupt and tamper with the social fabric of society. They said those who attempt to do so will fail.

Resident Muhammad Salim described the situation as stable and said stores are open late at night and residents feel secure and go about their daily lives as usual. Mansour Salman said the people of the governorate stand united against any attempts to undermine national unity and citizenship of residents. “The people of Al-Qatif have proven their unshakable loyalty to the country and leadership.”

Resident Wesam Zaki said the people of Al-Qatif are no different from residents of other regions. They always denounce actions which seek to cause sedition and weaken society. Moreover, they are always ready to protect the country against any foreign threats and dangers.

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July 10th, 2012, 11:06 pm


126. bronco said:

#123 JNA

The opposition is far from being in a position to dictate its conditions to Russia, China and the UN, just because they are backed by the rich undemocratic Arab countries who call for blood and revenge to their wounded ego.

In addition, a large part of the population will not accept the removal of Bashar Al Assad without any consultation and just on a diktat from foreign countries. This population will transform itself into an armed opposition to the opposition. It can turn very angry and violent and could cause the dismembering of the country on ethnic and religious lines. Obviously this is what some on SC and the opposition are counting on, dismembering Syria so it become a vassal to the foreign powers and they can continue being their puppet.
Because of fear that the chaos will spill over to allies, Israel and Jordan, the West will never allow this to happen until they have a clear picture of who will take over the security of the country and what the army will do. And that is very very far in the horizon…

The only short term solution I can see is a deal about an early presidential election while the ceasefire is consolidated gradually.

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July 10th, 2012, 11:31 pm


127. Syrialover said:

Venezuelan Shipments to Syria Fuel Controversy

The South American country’s state-run oil company has sent large diesel shipments to Syria, despite international sanctions.

In recent months, Venezuela supplied Syria with at least three shipments of diesel fuel in exchange for Syrian naphtha, a refined petroleum product, according to a May report from the U.S. Congressional Research Service.

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July 10th, 2012, 11:36 pm


128. bronco said:

Bashar hinting at elections…

“If saving my people and my country depends on my staying or leaving, then why should I hang on?” he told Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet. “I would not stay even a day longer. But if the opposite were true; if the people do not want me then they have elections. If the people so choose they can send me packing.”

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July 10th, 2012, 11:40 pm


129. Syrialover said:

Critical issues and strategies for recovery we need to be thinking and planning for NOW, not later.

“Anticipating the Syria of Tomorrow”

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July 10th, 2012, 11:44 pm


130. zoo said:

Erdogan to Moscow on the 18th july, just after the planned Syrian opposition visit in Moscow.
After the disastrous FOS in Paris that he boycotted, Annan is moving on the Russian side calling for a meeting including Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will pay a one-day working visit to Russia on July 18, the prime ministry announced yesterday in a brief statement.

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July 10th, 2012, 11:54 pm


131. Syrialover said:

128. Bronco

When Bashar says things like that in his limp, babyish voice he turns it into a comedy.

(Which is what it is, a bizarre joke)

Why don’t they feed him some steroids and testosterone like his loyal helpers out there?

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July 10th, 2012, 11:55 pm


132. zoo said:

Following his step by step strategy, Annan is using Russia to push his peace plan to become a UNSC resolution therefore biding the UN members. This way, Qatar, KSA, Turkey and other countries supplying arms to the rebels will be obliged to abide and will be rendered accountable if they don’t. They will be forced to pressure the opposition to the dialog that is part of the resolution. Russia and China will commit to do the same with the Syrian government. Will it pass?

Russia proposes UN resolution on Syria without sanctions
Wednesday, Jul 11, 2012
UNITED NATIONS – Russia on Tuesday proposed a UN Security Council resolution on Syria that would extend the UN mission in the conflict-stricken country without any threat of sanctions, diplomats said.

The resolution was sent to the council’s other 14 members ahead of a briefing on Wednesday by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan on efforts to revive his peace plan, Russia’s deputy UN envoy Igor Pankin told reporters.

Russia’s move is the opening round in a potentially tense diplomatic battle at the Security Council that must decide the future of the UN observer mission in Syria by July 20.

Pankin said the Russian resolution “is aimed at providing further support to the efforts of Kofi Annan and the implementation of his plan.”

The draft, obtained by AFP, proposes extending the UN Supervision Mission in Syria for another three months. The UNSMIS mandate ends on July 20.

It also backs a proposal by UN leader Ban Ki-moon that the UN operation take on a more political mission and cut back the number of military observers.

The draft “strongly urges” all sides to immediately cease violence and calls for “urgent” and “immediate” implementation of Annan’s plan.

But there is no threat of action against Assad and the Syrian opposition, even though Annan has said there should be “consequences” for not carrying out his plan.

The Russian draft commits the Security Council “to assess the implementation of this resolution and to consider further steps as appropriate.”
Western nations have been demanding pressure on Assad to carry out Annan’s peace plan and are likely to reject the Russian text.

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July 11th, 2012, 12:08 am


134. Halabi said:

Sheikh Nimr Al-Nimr, a Shiite cleric who was shot and arrested by the Saudi regime, says Bashar is an oppressor and Shiites shouldn’t defend him. He probably would be arrested in Iran as well, while Assad would shell his town and slaughter his family and neighbors.

It’s going to be hard for the sectarian Assad supporters to back this man. I don’t know much about him, but I hope he gets well soon and inspires his people to demand their rights and end the reign of the Sauds.

Another note, Asaad Abu Khalil, aka Abu Khar*, my favorite warrior for Palestine who spends all his time and money in California, has admitted that he was wrong about doubting the Assad emails after Al Akhbar got their share. Like other posters here, he has been wrong about so much, yet nothing changes his preconceived opinion, that every non-Shiite uprising in the Arab world is Al Qaeda in disguise, pro-West and anti-Palestinian. And his smug comments about Anthony Shadid and nastiness toward his widow can never be forgiven.

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July 11th, 2012, 12:32 am


135. Son of Damascus said:


“Aldendeshe will only join the FSA if he can be absolute, absolute boss, and every member swears to spend 3 hours a day listening to all his special beliefs and theories.”

Thats when the FSA members would say screw it and defect back…

Dendeshe is scary enough armed with a keyboard, imagine with a gun!

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July 11th, 2012, 12:48 am


136. Son of Damascus said:


You are absolutely right regarding the rhetoric coming out of the Saudi regime, the similarities in the language that the royals are using is eerily familiar to what the Assadist have been using for the past 15 months.

Even more similar is the fact many of the protesters although Shia they reject the notion that Iran is “controlling” them to try and spread discord in the region. I have a friend that works in Jubail (Eastern Saudi) he tells me many of the Shia had no love for the late crown prince (former interior minister) Nayef but many still respect the King, and feel as though some princes around him are corrupt and greedy not letting the King to modernize and give more rights. (sounds familiar doesn’t it)

The only difference between Saudi and Syria is that the Saudis have the decency to actually say they are a kingdom, while in Syria we have our psycho calling himself president for life over the republic, becuth he hath thupport from the people Shabeeha.

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July 11th, 2012, 1:08 am


137. Halabi said:

Assad’s criminal army in action. These killers are under no threat, just relaxing and talking about how many children they killed, squeezing out rounds in a residential neighborhood.

Imagine if this were your neighborhood, would you want to continue to be under the occupation of these thugs or would you gather your family and friends and figure out a way to dislodge them? No, that would mean falling into the trap set by Israel. Villagers should take the punishment, because when Hafez the second is in charge all will be well.

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July 11th, 2012, 1:09 am


138. Halabi said:

Son of Damascus,

Al Jazeera had a segment on Bahrain a couple of months ago and Buthaina Shaaban’s Bahraini twin used identical language to diminish the protest movement and the host called her out on it. The minhibaks will loathe the similarities, but it’s just true.

Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain, are complex societies just like Syria and there is no easy way to gauge support in the kingdoms. I have a Bahraini friend who is shiite and couldn’t get a job in his country due to discrimination even though he is smart, handsome and well educated, and yet him and his family don’t support the revolution there. I tried to convince him otherwise (foreign intervention!) but he wouldn’t budge.

On the other hand, he supports our revolution because of the level of violence unleashed by the government. He could be self-hating shiite, or just a normal person who doesn’t base his identity on an imagined community.

I’ve spent a few years in Saudi and constantly harassed the Saudis about accepting a king. Most Saudis I met liked Abdullah, kind of like a benevolent grandfather, and had mixed feelings about other institutions and the monarchy. I think the fact that the kings die and are changed reduces the population’s fatigue with the rulers. Saudi has seen four or five kings in the past four decades, two in the last ten years, while we get Hafez, curse his soul, and Bashar, may he rot in hell.

Of course the Gulf countries have oil which helps. And they don’t shell cities and massacre prisoners by the thousands.

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July 11th, 2012, 1:30 am


139. Halabi said:

Again, I don’t understand what the minorities need in terms of guarantees. Freedom, justice and rule of law for all, no discrimination. There isn’t a single credible opposition group that is against these principles.

A guarantee against revenge killings or terrorism? No government can do that. A government can uphold the law, conduct investigations, target and capture criminals, and should do all these things. Assad’s government, which according to many minhebaks is widely popular among minorities, does none of these things yet they support it.

But if the guarantees are that the military will continue in its sectarian makeup, that all the torturers and informants will stay on the public payroll, that entire cities can be destroyed if the president’s seat is threatened, that all the thieves and crooks can continue to fleece the country, that Alawites will be allowed to loot homes and sell the bounty in Sunni markets, well I don’t think that’s reasonable.

Actually, I think the majority needs assurances from the minorities that this kind of behavior will not continue. And by majority here I mean all peace loving Syrians from all sects who want to be free and live in a democracy. And by minority I mean all those who oppose a better future for Syria and want to cleanse and kill in order to stay in power indefinitely.

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July 11th, 2012, 1:44 am


140. Syrialover said:

# 137. Halabi

Those bored young men are employees of the Syrian state, Syrian citizens, members of Syrian families, residents of Syrian communities, graduates of Syrian schools and so on, whose lives have been derailed and debased by a nightmare.

What are they going to do afterwards – that is, if they remain alive and uninjured?

Blame Assad and see themselves as victims. Which I guess they are.

A tragedy all round.

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July 11th, 2012, 5:10 am


141. Karabennemsi said:

@106 majedhkhaldoun

“Hopefully I will be there too, I am preparing to go back to Antakia next month,hopefully from there I will,get to Damascus.


Well, Mr Khaldoun, you made the decision to stand up for your beliefs, and I respect that.

I hope that you will survive the war, and that you will be able to live a normal life again after the war is over.

When I was 10 years old, i told my grandfather, who was a much honoured soldier, that one day I wanted to be a soldier too. He gave me hardest slap i have ever felt in my live, and told me that he only ever fought so that his family could live in peace, and that experiencing a real war is nothing he would wish upon his greatest enemies.

I sincerely hope that one day you will be able to tell your grandchildren the same.

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July 11th, 2012, 5:13 am


142. Syrialover said:

# 141. Karabennemsi

What would your grandfather think of being a soldier in Assad’s ranks, killing ordinary fellow citizens and smashing up their homes and schools?

At least he fought in a war against a real enemy and with a purpose. Not like the army veterans forced into this shameful ugly mess.

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July 11th, 2012, 5:33 am


143. Alan said:

خبير عسكري: الطائرة التركية كانت تتجسس على مواقع مهمة

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July 11th, 2012, 5:51 am


144. Karabennemsi said:

142 Syrialover

Well I guess he would be disgusted to hear such things.

One of the enemies he fought was Soviet Russia btw, and to be honest he was serving in the Reichswehr. He was not a Nazi, but he had heard such a lot of propaganda during his whole life that it was an absolutely logical decision of him to -for the second time- become a soldier in the time of crisis.

I think the real question at hand is not how to militarily end the regime, but rather how to recreate Syria, to promote massive amnesia programs, to promote a feeling of unity, of econmical rise, of cultural rise and of a brighter future.
And it will be very hard to do so if one gets killed in some insignificant battle in the middle of nowhere due to a horrible misunderstanding.

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July 11th, 2012, 5:54 am


145. Syrialover said:


Syrians pulling together to recover in the aftermath of this is the subject of the article I posted earlier:

So many people will have to have to overcome so much. I don’t think any other country in modern times has been torn apart as badly Syria. Certainly never by its own army.

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July 11th, 2012, 6:47 am


146. Tara said:

Why “almost”?  In my opinion, Annan should be fired.  First, he came up with a plan that has utterly failed.  Not a single point has been achieved.  Then, he cane up with a ridiculous plan meant to kill the revolution by isolating each hot spot and negotiate with them in separation from the collective.  He is making ridiculous statement insinuating that the rebels are as culprit as the regime.  He  wants to bring Iran in,  a self-declared enemy of the Syrian people.  Annan must go home and find himself another Rawanda to meddle with and achieve nothing.  
McCain on Syria envoy Kofi Annan: ‘Almost ludicrous’

As several Middle Eastern countries work through the fallout of the Arab Spring, US Senator John McCain has returned from a trip to Libya to observe the elections there.

Sen McCain says the situation in Egypt is “very fragile” and that Libya’s elections made him feel “guardedly optimistic” about the country’s future hopes.

But the Republican senator says the US should be “ashamed and embarrassed we’re not helping” in Syria, and is doubtful about UN envoy Kofi Annan saying Iran could play a “positive role” in ending the bloodshed.

“Mr Annan is more and more desperate,” Senator McCain said. “It’s becoming almost ludicrous, the statements he makes.”

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July 11th, 2012, 7:07 am


147. ghufran said:

SNC and Russia failed to agree on how to solve the Syrian crisis.

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July 11th, 2012, 7:27 am


148. Karabennemsi said:

144 Syrialover

Well, you know, Mr Gopin was not all that an anti-regime activist a couple of years ago, i know quite a few people who did courses and worked with him, and i really can assure you, that what he says here

“My experience working on the ground in Syria for the past seven years across religious lines and across class lines suggests to me that there is a large nucleus of Syrian people, majorities and minorities, who are ready to build a democracy together.”

comes as a huge surprise to me, from my understanding where was not exactly a lot of work with, lets be clear, poor or non-privileged classes.

Across the NGO-landscape he was known particularly as a friend of cadres, so i must say i really distrust him.
Maybe he has changed though, and maybe his bad reputation was based on envy or whatnot, but I gotta say if the people he coached read his article, i guess his fb-friendlist would be reduced by 80-90%.
Also before giving such good advices, he maybe should learn Arabic. But then again – maybe he has by now.

Nonetheless it is good to read solution-oriented articles from time to time, but to make sure one will actually be implemented, it should come from prominent opposition figures, preferably from inside Syria.

Since as long as people like جورج وسوف are the loudest callers for the rebuilding of Syria, there will never be change nor peace.

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July 11th, 2012, 7:34 am


149. Amjad said:

“Until now, the Syrian government, despite all its excesses, is much more independent and therefore more credible.”

Dear me, that’s quite a narrow basis for supporting a regime. Bashar is independent? As if all the support the Iranians and Russians are giving hasn’t come at a price. The eye doctor has bought more Russian weaponry in the past year than he did in the five years before.

But let’s just say, for argument’s sake, that the regime really is one of those until-now-unheard of entities that can use a critical lifeline from outside powers with no strings attached (geesh, even Churchill had to give up the most important assets of the British Empire in exchange for Roosevelt’s Lend-Lease). Is “independence” really enough to base one’s support on, regardless of everything else?

Well, let’s examine the case of arguably the most independent Arab head of state ever, Yasser Arafat. Despite the billions lavished on the PLO by the Gulf, despite the sanctuary afforded to him by Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Tunisia, Arafat never allowed any outside power to dominate or dictate Palestinian policy. He succeeded in maintaining the PLO as an independent body.

Which is about all that can be said for the man Mustapha Tlass infamously described as a strip tease artist. Arafat was so independent he tried to set up a state within a state in Jordan and Lebanon, causing wars in those two countries. Never mind, he was independent.

Arafat never managed to earn the repatriation of a single Palestinian. Never mind, he was independent.

Arafat never managed to get back a square inch of Jerusalem as the “Cabital of the Beoble of Balestine”. Never mind, he was indebendent.

Arafat never managed to get a single settlement removed from the West Bank. Never mind, he was independent.

The area the PA rules over is a fraction of the West Bank, and still those areas are dominated by Israeli checkpoints and the border wall. Never mind, he was independent.

So, Arafat’s reign as Palestinian warlord was a fiasco. He alienated his main backers with his disastrous backing of Saddam, and as a result more Palestinians were expelled from Arab countries than Israel due to his failed policies, and in the end he died, poisoned by, not the Israelis, but his own people. Never mind, he was independent.

(seriously Professor Landis, for comments of this quality, my name should be at the footer of the website. Hehehe)

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July 11th, 2012, 8:16 am


150. Expatriate said:

Syria opposition tries in vain to win over Russia

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July 11th, 2012, 8:40 am


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