Will Sanctions Bring Down the Syrian Regime?

Will Sanctions Bring Down the Syrian Regime?

It is doubtful that sanctions alone will cause regime-change in Syria. Economic deprivation and reduced government spending does not usually lead to regime-change. It is hard to think of a Middle Eastern government that has been brought down by sanctions. Some of the countries that have faced sanctions for decades are Iran, Iraq, Libya, and Sudan. Of course Gaza has faced severe sanctions in an effort to bring down the Hamas government with very little success. What sanctions do very effectively is make people poor and hungry. Governments are good at passing along the pain.  In Gaza there is 80% unemployment and widespread malnutrition but no regime change. The UN estimates that sanctions on Iraq killed over 300,000 Iraqis in the 1990s. Starving Syrians is not the intention of US and European policy makers who imposed the sanctions. They continue to insist that Assad will step down due to sanctions. But what Arab leader has ever stepped down as a result of having his country sanctioned? As Albert Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.”

The good policy makers in Western capitals are not insane, so what are they up to?

  1. Are they simply imposing sanctions because it is a politically inexpensive way to do something? After all, military intervention, which is the tested method to bring about regime change, is unthinkable today.
  2. Could some policy makers be hoping to ratchet up the humanitarian disaster in Syria in order to create an “intervention friendly environment” down the road? This seems far fetched but the humanitarian argument was one of the more persuasive rationals for intervening in Iraq. The more extreme the disaster, the more extreme solutions people are willing to entertain.

The problem with sanctions is that they destroy national institutions, decimate the middle class, and degrade society. We saw this in Iraq. The results are not pretty. They make building democracy all the more difficult when the offending regime is finally overturned. The only thing we know about democracy promotion with any certainty is that its chances of success rise exponentially with greater per capita GDP.  A long sanctions regime can only hurt democracy promotion. We all know about the magic of the middle class. It is hard to do anything constructive in a country without one.

Religion. The Arab League vote split the Arab countries along Shiite-Sunni lines. Countries with large Shiite populations — Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen — voted with Syria or abstained. Another troubling aspect of the Syrian conflict is that the region’s minorities are remaining faithful to Assad and Syria’s Alawi-led regime even as it grows increasingly isolated. The Christian minority in the region has come out fairly solidly behind Assad. Egyptian Copts prayed for Assad in a large stadium the other day (Egyption Christians pray for Syrians And Syrian President 11-12-2011). Syriac Orthodox Archbishop of Aleppo, Yohana Ibrahim, said President Bashar al-Assad was “the best man” to lead reform in Syria. (Syrian archbishop says ‘everyone loves’ Assad). The Maronite Patriarch of Lebanon upset many when he backed Assad and warned against regime-change in Syria. The growing religious divide in the Middle East is not new, but it is troubling. It suggests that Assad will not relinquish power, as King Abdullah of Jordan and other regional leaders are urging him to do. It also suggests that Assad’s base support among minorities will not crumble easily. Religion has a way of making martyrs.

A friend writes that his parents cannot find cooking gas in Aleppo. The replacement bottles for the stove are unavailable in the market. Mazoot, or fuel-oil, which is used to heat homes, power taxis and farm equipment is also absent, or available at high prices. Aleppo authorities also warn that extended electric cuts are coming due to lack of power. Syria is facing a cold winter. Older people are standing in lines to get small containers of mazoot filled.  The Syrian pound has fallen to 54.25 to a dollar.

News Round Up

Pro-Syrian regime protesters, carry a giant Syrian flag during a demonstration against the Arab League decision to suspend Syria, in Damascus, Syria, November 13, 2011. Similar pro-government demonstrations were held in Aleppo and Latakia.

DJ Arab League To Send 500 Observers To Syria, 2011-11-14

 CAIRO (AFP)–The Arab League is preparing to send observers to Syria but needs guarantees from Damascus on their mission and the rights of each side, the organization’s chief, Nabil al-Arabi, said Monday.

Foreign Policy

An estimated 70people have been killed mostly in clashes between Syrian security forces and defectors in the southern city of Dera’a, in what has been the bloodiest day since the start of the uprisings. Meanwhile, crowds angered by comments byJordanian King Abdullah urging President Bashar al-Assad to step down stormed the Jordanian embassy in Damascus, bringing down the country’s flag.

The suspension and imposition of sanctions by the Arab League on Syria that is due to take effect on Wednesday is being met with uproar from the Syrian regime and its supporters. Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem denounced the move as an “illegal” and “dangerous step” saying that “Syria will not budge and will emerge stronger…and plots against Syria will fail.” Regime supporters attacked the Turkish, Saudi Arabian, and Qatari embassies in protest of the suspension.Foreign governments have had varied responses. Russia condemned the suspension accusing Western nations of inciting the opposition. Angered by the attack on its embassy, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davultoglu asserted, “We will take the most resolute stance against these attacks and we will stand by the Syrian people’s rightful struggle.”The European Union reached an agreement to extend sanctions. King Abdullah of Jordan called for Bashar al-Assad to resign stating, “If Bashar has the interest of his country, he would step down, but he would also create an ability to reach out and start a new phase of Syrian political life. Syria has requested an emergency meeting with the Arab League prior to the suspension and said it will meet with representatives from the opposition on Tuesday.

EU Places New Sanctions on Syria – Wall Street Journal

European Union foreign ministers announced new sanctions on Syria even as they insisted that the situation in the country didn’t merit the same military response they mounted in Libya earlier this year.

Turkey May Review Energy Supplies to Syria, Minister Says, 2011-11-15, By Emre Peker

Nov. 15 (Bloomberg) — Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said the government is currently providing power supplies to Syria and may reconsider “all decisions” on the matter if its southern neighbor’s policies don’t change, according to state-run Anatolia news agency…..

Iranian Officials Meet With Syrian Opposition – 2011-11-14, by Richard Spencer in the Telegraph

Iranian officials have held talks with Syrian opposition leaders, in a dramatic sign of the growing isolation of the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. Several separate opposition sources have told The Daily Telegraph that Iran opened a channel to a “moderate” opposition group about a month ago. Officials met Haytham Manna and other members of a group known as the National Coordinating Body for Democratic Change, or the National Coordi

nating Committee. The group is strongly opposed to foreign intervention in Syria, and is likely to be seen as more acceptable to Iran than the largest group, the Syrian National Council, which has argued for “international protection” for civilians…..

هيئة التنسيق ستزور قطر .. والمناع يوضح موقفه ويؤكد : الحل يجب أن يكون عربياً Haytham Manna

هيئة التنسيق ستزور قطر .. والمناع يوضح موقفه ويؤكد : الحل يجب أن يكون عربياً | عكس السير دوت كوم

Syria’s fragmented opposition
As anti-government forces try to develop a united voice, Al Jazeera looks at the disparate groups within.
Roxanne Horesh Last Modified: 10 Nov 2011 13:42

Syria’s economy is key to Assad’s future
By Liz Sly, Monday, November 14

BEIRUT — The dramatic decision by Arab states to turn against President Bashar al-Assad could further damage Syria’s economy at a time when it is already unraveling, posing perhaps a graver challenge to Assad’s survival than the country’s nearly-eight-month-old popular uprising, analysts say.

The broader loss of regional support represents an important psychological blow to a regime that has long prided itself as a champion of Arab nationalist causes. In one indicator of how far Assad’s fortunes have fallen, Jordan’s King Abdullah II suggested Monday that the Syrian president step down, though he hedged that call, telling the BBC that Assad needed to ensure an orderly transition.

It was, nonetheless, the most explicit rejection yet by an Arab leader of Assad’s rule ahead of an Arab League meeting Wednesday to discuss further measures against Syria, including economic sanctions.

They could have a more profound and immediate effect than the withdrawal of political support, given that Western powers are ruling out military intervention and anti-government demonstrations have seen neither the protest movement nor the Syrian security forces gain a decisive advantage. On Monday, the European Union announced that it would expand its sanctions, to include 18 more individuals associated with the Assad regime and denial of access to the European Investment Bank.

“The economy is a trigger of a lot of other issues on a broader level,” said Ayham Kamel, Middle East analyst with the Eurasia Group. The business community has supported Assad so far, he said, “but over a longer period of time, they’re going to reevaluate.”

The extent of the damage is difficult to measure, and Syrian government officials say they don’t have indicators. But they do not play down the gravity of the situation.

Syrian Economy Minister Mohammad Nidal al-Shaar said at a conference last month that the economy is in a “state of emergency,” according to comments quoted by the Damascus-based Syria Report. In a recent interview in Damascus, Adib Mayalah, governor of the Central Bank of Syria, described the situation as “very serious” and ticked off the problems the economy is facing.

“Unemployment is rising, imports are falling, and government income is reduced,” he said. “In areas where there are protests, there is no economic activity — so people aren’t paying tax. Because they aren’t working, they are not repaying their loans — so the banks are in difficulty. And all this is weakening the economy.”

Merchants interviewed recently on the streets of Damascus report a 40 to 50 percent fall in business as consumers hoard cash and cease spending on all but the most essential items. Tourism has skidded to a halt, representing a loss of $2 billion a month to an economy worth $59 billion last year, Mayalah said.

“The whole system has been shrinking — and very fast,” said Rateb Shallah, a prominent Damascus businessman. “The sanctions are squeezing us, and it is definitely affecting us quite a bit.

To what extent the downturn is due to the sanctions isn’t clear, however.

Until now, only the United States, the European Union, Canada and Japan have imposed sanctions on Syria, with relatively limited measures mostly targeting individuals and financial services. The most serious measure, a European embargo on oil purchases imposed in August, goes into effect only on Tuesday because Italy sought to ensure that its existing contracts were honored.

But the experience of the oil embargo illustrates the broader crisis of confidence confronting Syria. European nations, which account for a vast majority of Syrian oil exports, immediately halted their purchases, even though they were not required to do so for three more months. And oil pumped since then has gone unsold, despite Syria’s boasts that it would easily find other customers. Syria has curtailed its oil production by more than 25 percent, Mayalah said.

In a similar fashion, the restrictions on financial services and individuals have had a detrimental effect even on aspects of the economy that aren’t directly connected, by dissuading investors and companies from doing business with Syria. The Central Bank of Syria has not been sanctioned, but many businesses are refusing to engage with it because they fear falling foul of the U.S. prohibition on trade in services with Syria and jeopardizing their interests elsewhere, Mayalah said.

Foreign investment has slowed to a trickle for the same reasons, he said, even though there are no restrictions.

But investors may be equally deterred by Syria’s shaky political future and the escalating violence. The Local Coordination Committees, an opposition group, reported the deaths of 50 people in violence Monday, 28 of them in the southern province of Daraa, where there were unconfirmed reports of major clashes between the Syrian army and defected soldiers. The official Syrian Arab News Agency said two members of the security forces were killed in Daraa.

A trade embargo would be difficult to enforce. Syria can still count on two key neighbors with which it shares long and porous borders: Lebanon, one of only two countries that voted against the Arab League’s resolutions censuring Syria, and Iraq, which abstained.

Yet even trade with Iraq, which has been seeking to boost business ties with Syria as the region tilts against it, has fallen because of the indirect effect of sanctions, said Syria’s deputy economy minister, Khaled Mahmoud Saloutah. The two trading companies that handle most cross-border trade are based in Europe and have been forced to curtail their transactions, reducing the value of Syria’s exports to Iraq by 10 percent, he said.

“The economy is not going to collapse overnight,” Kamel said. “But it is definitely taking Syria down a risky path.”

The newly sanctioned Syrians — other than military and intelligence people — include 3 young members of the Syrian Electronic Army, Rami makhlouf’s lawyer – actually one of his good friends called me today to explain that he had not taken a case for Makhlouf in four years. Another is the head of Berri clan shabbiha in Aleppo. #13 on the list is the most interesting. He is simply named Maj General Nazih. No last name is given. So any one with the name Nazih will have to think twice about a trip to Athens.

Qatar Presses Decisive Shift in Arab Politics – by Anthony Shadid in NYTimes

The tiny emirate’s intentions remain murky to its neighbors and even allies — some see a Napoleon complex, others an Islamist agenda….

“Do they fill a void? Yes,” said Bassma Koudmani, a Syrian opposition leader who credited the Qataris with a key role in the Arab League’s startling decision Saturday to suspend Syria and isolate a government at the pivot of the region’s relations. “They are filling a space and a role that is not being taken up by other countries.” … American diplomatic cables in 2009, released by WikiLeaks, claim that Qatar has occasionally offered Al Jazeera’s coverage as a bargaining tool. A senior journalist there said while no order was given, the network’s reporting on Syria changed sharply in April.

“We could feel the change in atmosphere,” the journalist said.

Syria: It’s the Economy Stupid
by Armand Hurault, Arab Insurrection Analyst, Transnational Crisis Project

The Syrian economic policies over the past 25 years have underpinned the current uprising. I argue that the economy may well be the Achilles’ heel of Assad’s grip on power…..

Dr Emad Mustafa NBN 11 11 11 02

Syria’s neighbors helping shape its fate LA Times

Syria’s embattled government must face the changing dynamics of the region as old alliances fade and new brokers emerge, most notably Qatar….

عشاء المعارضة السورية مع اللجنة العربية حسم الموقف من نظام الأسد
Ash-Sharq al-Awsat
بسمة قضماني لـ «الشرق الأوسط»: الجامعة استجابت لمطالب المجلس الوطني

How Syrian Authorities can Hurt Ex-pats – (in French)

Maidhc Ó Cathail The ‘Humanitarian’ Road to Damascus: Pro-Israel Groups Outline U.S. Options to Assist Syrian Opposition -mForeign Policy Journal

عاجل : اقالة الأمين القطري المساعد لحزب البعث العربي الاشتراكي محمد سعيد بخيتان
وتنصيب وزير الدفاع السابق حسن تركماني

Arab leaders shouldn’t kill their people?
Posted By Marc Lynch

I am an Alawi from Antioch. I have many relatives in the alawite communities of Turkey including those in Mersin, Tarsus, Iskenderun (Alexandretta), Arsuz and Samandag, many of whom I do not know personally. I also visited Syria and am told I have relatives in Latakia, Homs, Damascus, and Aleppo. I am responding to Ms. Kahf and Mr. Landis’ claims regarding Alawite tribes. The truth is as far as I know, there is no such a thing as an Alawite tribe. This is just simply a reflection of modernization, educational attainment, and the prevalence of an urban lifestyle which weakened the traditional intra-communal links. I am about 50 yrs of age and never heard of “tribes”. Even close family relationships are non-existent. I have many relatives that I do not know and could not recognize even if I saw them on the street. I live in the USA and some of my relatives are scattered in Europe including Norway, France, Holland, Germany, Sweden, and the Middle East including Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. So much for the “tribes”!

Human Rights Watch accuses Syrian government of “crimes against humanity”- The human-rights group, Human Rights Watch, released a 63-page report accusing the Syriangovernment of “crimesagainst humanity.” The report reflects the accounts of 110 victims andwitnesses who claim Syrian forces killed at least 587 civilians since the startof the uprisings in March. It also references the tortureof political prisoners and unarmed civilians, including the elderly and children.

Turkey deputy: weapons being smuggled to Syria
The National
Thomas Seibert Nov 11, 2011

ISTANBUL // Many firearms from Turkey have entered Syria, and the Turkish government has stopped alleged arms-smuggling activities at a border post between the two countries, a Turkish opposition deputy said yesterday.

“You see many Turkish-made firearms in Syria,” Mehmet Ali Ediboglu, a deputy from the province of Hatay, which borders Syria, said in a telephone interview. “I don’t know how they got into the country.”

A friend Writes: Friday, November 11, 2011

This is the most inept group of people to govern. The article talks about inability of anyone to pinpoint what the population figure is. One group thinks Syria’s population increases by 670,000 a year. Another thinks its 500,000 and a third believes its 440,000. As for unemployment, the government continues to think its 8% (joke?) while some think its 30%. How can you run a country with such variations? Bashar should have stopped everything in 2000 and did one thing. call the international organizations with expertise in this field and get help in finding out population levels and growth rates in every city and district and make sure each household has an income/asset bracket that qualifies it as poor/middle/wealthy. Only then, subsidies can go to who deserves it and policies can be implemented given actual population trends and where. Instead………………………enough to make want to cry http://www.syriasteps.com/?d=127&id=77652&in_main_page=1

Syria stopped paying oil companies
2011-11-11 15:28:06.43 GMT

LONDON, Nov. 11 (UPI) — Though oil production in Syria is ongoing, sources close to the government said Damascus stopped paying supermajors Royal Dutch Shell and Total. Sources familiar with the Syrian energy sector told the Financial Times that major energy companies working in Syria were getting paid by the government until a few weeks ago. Payments slowed and eventually stopped as European governments put more pressure on Damascus for its crackdown on opposition protesters. “Payments have been delayed and some are outstanding,” said one industry insider who spoke to the Financial Times on condition of anonymity. “My sense is the government has no cash.”

Syria Regime’s Likely Collapse Requires U.S. Planning: Analyst
2011-11-10, By Peter S. Green

Nov. 10 (Bloomberg) — U.S. needs to plan for all contingencies, bring about demise of Assad regime, as long-lasting conflict will become bloodier, more sectarian, spread to neighboring countries, Andrew Tabler, fellow at Washington Institute for Near East Policy, says in testimony to Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Six-point plan needed:
* Form Syria contact group for coordinated pressure on Assad
* Peel away Assad supporters, especially Christians, Sunnis
* Aid opposition to develop peaceful strategy of strikes, boycotts
* Push for international human rights monitors to enter Syria
* Prepare for militarization of conflict – no-fly zone, buffer zones to keep protesters safe from Assad military
* Push for UN Security Council action on sanctions,
potential use of force

Comments (527)

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501. majedkhaldoun said:

Bassam Al Kadi is safe , he will come back home soon, with bags of money.

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November 18th, 2011, 12:48 pm


502. 5 dancing shlomos said:

Sanctioning Syria: The Long Road to Damascus

By Maidhc Ó Cathail


November 17, 2011 “Information Clearing House” — In 1996, an Israeli think tank, the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies, prepared “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm” for incoming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In that seminal report, the Richard Perle-led study group suggested that Israel could “shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria.” Comprised mainly of American-based pro-Israel advocates, the group stressed, “Most important, it is understandable that Israel has an interest supporting diplomatically, militarily and operationally Turkey’s and Jordan’s actions against Syria, such as securing tribal alliances with Arab tribes that cross into Syrian territory and are hostile to the Syrian ruling elite.”
Although Netanyahu didn’t act on their advice at the time, Perle and two of his co-authors, Douglas Feith and David Wurmser, found George W. Bush more receptive to “securing the realm” – for Israel – after September 11, 2001. Nine days after that “catastrophic and catalyzing event,” Perle signed a Project for a New American Century letter to President Bush, urging the United States to “consider appropriate measures of retaliation” against Iran and Syria if they didn’t “immediately cease all military, financial, and political support for Hezbollah” – whose presumably unforgivable crime was that it had “humiliated Israel by driving its army out of Lebanon.” Explaining the Bush administration’s subsequent decision to invade Iraq in 2003, Patrick Buchanan famously wrote in The American Conservative, “In the Perle-Feith-Wurmser strategy, Israel’s enemy remains Syria, but the road to Damascus runs through Baghdad.”

Notwithstanding Syria’s initial cooperation with the Israeli-inspired but American-fought “war on terror,” the Israel lobby ensured that there would be no long-term rapprochement between Washington and Damascus. A September 5, 2002 document, “Working to Secure Israel: The Pro-Israel Community’s Legislative Goals,” declared AIPAC’s intention to “sanction Syria for its continuing support of terrorism” by working “with Congress to pass the Syria Accountability Act.”

In October 2003, Representative Eliot Engel, who sponsored the legislation, proudly reported the bill’s imminent passage to the inaugural Jerusalem Summit, organized by Ariel Sharon’s government and its diehard American supporters (including the ubiquitous Perle) “to work out a joint strategy of resistance to the Totalitarianism of the Radical Islam, and to the moral relativism which in vain tries to placate this Totalitarianism by sacrificing Israel.” Confusing the ultimate target of the AIPAC-crafted legislation with Israel’s more southerly bête noire, the Jewish Democrat from New York informed the summit, “It’s no secret that the people on Lebanon’s southern border, the terrorists, Hamas, are wrecking [sic] havoc and causing all kinds of destruction and could be stopped tomorrow if Syria wanted it. This is Hamas, the group which blew up over 200 US marines. This is the group that goes out not only to destroy Israel, but would destroy the United States as well.”

With Iraq proving to be less of a “cakewalk” than America’s pro-Israel warmongers had breezily predicted, Syria managed to survive two Bush terms. The failure of Israel’s 2006 invasion of Lebanon to dislodge Hezbollah, however, added significantly to the impetus for regime change in Damascus. When Israel’s friends in Washington concluded that the Syrian corridor to Iran was “Hezbollah’s Achilles heel,” Bashar al-Assad’s days were increasingly numbered. The Arab uprisings of 2011 provided them with their long-sought opportunity for “rolling back Syria.”

Writing in the Guardian, Alistair Crooke describes how the “great game” of “losing Syria” is currently being played out with the cooperation of the absolute monarchies of Saudi Arabia and Qatar; the also predominantly Sunni secular Republic of Turkey; and France, arch-promoters of Libya’s NATO-backed “revolution” and Syria’s short-lived former colonial rulers, i.e. “set up a hurried transitional council as sole representative of the Syrian people, irrespective of whether it has any real legs inside Syria; feed in armed insurgents from neighbouring states; impose sanctions that will hurt the middle classes; mount a media campaign to denigrate any Syrian efforts at reform; try to instigate divisions within the army and the elite; and ultimately President Assad will fall.”

Enforcing those AIPAC-endorsed sanctions has been the happy task of the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. Created in early 2004 after intensive lobbying by AIPAC and its associated think tank, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the TFI unit has been aptly described as “a sharp-edged tool forged principally to serve the Israel lobby.” With David S. Cohen succeeding Stuart Levey as Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence in January 2011, a leading journalist on the Middle East was later prompted to call the position “a job which seems reserved for pro-Israeli neo-cons to wage economic warfare against Tehran.”

In recent days, Cohen’s TFI unit has been eagerly waging economic warfare against Damascus. Daniel L. Glaser, the Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing, has just completed a tour of Lebanon and Jordan to secure their compliance with economic sanctions against the Assad government. In Beirut, the U.S. Embassy announced that Glaser was pressing the authorities to “remain vigilant against attempts by the Syrian regime to evade U.S. and EU sanctions.”

In a recent policy alert, WINEP’s executive director, Robert Satloff, urged that “with the strategic opportunity of contributing to the demise of Iran’s premier Arab ally, Washington should be working overtime to act in defense of the Syrian people.” Considering the long road to Damascus pursued by Satloff’s fellow-travellers, it should be clear for which country regime change in Syria presents a “strategic opportunity

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November 18th, 2011, 1:28 pm


503. Mango said:

483. MAJED97
شكرا !!! سوريا هي جزء من منظومة دولية! أما عن زيارة أوباما لأستراليا و اقتراحه تعزيز القدرة العسكرية لهذة الدولة ذات الوظيفة الجديدة فانه ببساطة سيحرض الصين و روسيا على تعزيز القدرات العسكرية لدولا في القارات الأمريكية!

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November 18th, 2011, 1:36 pm


504. Mango said:


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November 18th, 2011, 1:40 pm


506. Tara said:

Syria wants amendments to Arab monitoring plan
Reuters – 1 hr 19 mins ago….

(Reuters) – Syria has asked for amendments to a plan to send Arab League observers to Syria to assess the situation there where troops are cracking down on anti-government protests, the League chief said on Friday.

The Syrian request is being studied, the League said.

The pan-Arab body based in Cairo has demanded an end to bloodshed and called for monitors to be sent to Syria as part of an Arab initiative aimed at ending the violence and starting talks between the government and the Syrian opposition.

The League suspended Syria this week. It has also drawn up a plan with civil society groups for a 500-strong fact-finding team that will include military personnel. Damascus had said it welcomed a League-backed mission whatever the make-up.

League chief Nabil Elaraby said in a statement he had received a letter from Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem “including amendments to the draft protocol regarding the legal status and duties of the monitoring mission of the Arab League to Syria” agreed by a League ministerial council on Wednesday.

“These amendments are now under study,” the statement quoted Elaraby as saying.

He said the Syrian request was made in a letter received on Thursday evening.


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November 18th, 2011, 2:39 pm


507. mjabali said:

America gives some money to support democracy and the Sunni Arabs give way more money to promote Salafi/conservative thought in the same place….democracy needs better help than this…


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November 18th, 2011, 3:02 pm


508. Ya Mara Ghalba said:

William Blum is an American who’s a longtime critic of American foreign policies. Here he is talking about the early propaganda involved in the Libyan obscenity. You’ll see counterparts or parallels with Syria.

Libya’s tragedy was the culmination of a series of falsehoods spread by the Libyan rebels, the Western powers, and Qatar (through its television station, al-Jazeera) — from the declared imminence of a “bloodbath” in rebel-held Benghazi if the West didn’t intervene to stories of government helicopter-gunships and airplanes spraying gunfire onto large numbers of civilians…. The New York Times observed on 22 Mar 2011: “The rebels feel no loyalty to the truth in shaping their propaganda, claiming nonexistent battlefield victories, asserting they were still fighting in a key city days after it fell to Qaddafi forces, and making vastly inflated claims of his barbaric behavior.” The Los Angeles Times on 7 Apr 2011 added that the rebels’ news media operations… have [false-propaganda] editorial rules including the rule “No mention of a civil war: The Libyan people, east and west, are unified in a war against a totalitarian regime.” http://killinghope.org/bblum6/aer99.html

That false-propaganda editorial rule of the Libyan rebels now has a counterpart in Syria:

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said a couple of days ago that a recent attack on a military intelligence base near Damascus showed that the Syrian situation had some of the makings of “civil war”. USA foreign ministry spokesman Mark Toner in response said on 17 Nov 2011: “We think that’s an incorrect assessment. If it [Russia] characterizes it as a civil war, we view that it is very much the Assad regime carrying out a campaign of violence, intimidation and repression against innocent protesters.” He continued: “We don’t view it as a civil war…. [Viewing it as a civil war] just plays in the Syrian government’s hands that this is some terrorist movement against the government, and that’s just not the case. It’s been from the very inception a peaceful movement…. We have seen violence, and we do believe it takes the country down a dangerous path, but the Syrian regime’s oppression, repression and killing of innocent civilians has exacerbated the situation and led to this.” (Source: AFP). Also on 17 Nov 2011 a Syrian dissident, Haithem al-Maleh, on Al-Jazeera television took issue with Russia’s characterizing the attack on the intelligence base as a portend of “civil war”. Al-Maleh said the intelligence base, where a number of detainees were being held, was a legitimate target in the protection of civilians. “This attack on one of the worst departments of the security services does not mean a civil war. This army of defectors is protecting civilians, no more, no less,” Al-Maleh told Al-Jazeera. (Source: AFP).

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November 18th, 2011, 3:19 pm


509. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Looks and sounds as it was a stormy Friday across Syria, and not because of the weather. Did I say already that this junta is doomed?

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November 18th, 2011, 3:54 pm


510. zoo said:

Turkey determined to end the stalemate and unseat Bashar Al Assad quickly at any cost before it spills over to Turkey. The Moslem Brotherhood calls for a military intervention from Turkey.

Ankara pressures Assad, fearing war in Syria will hurt Turkey
Thomas Seibert
Nov 19, 2011

“With a 900-kilometre border with Turkey and Syria’s geographical position as a “door to the Middle East” for Turkey’s economy, Ankara concluded that long-term instability in Syria had to be avoided, Mr Ayhan said.

“If Assad had been able to bring the situation under control by May, neither Turkey nor the Arabs would have done anything,” Mr Veysel said. But the prolonged violence in Syria drove the neighbours into action, he added. “Turkey wants this to be over as quickly as possible.”

Arab and Turkish sanctions against Syria are set to take effect today. There has been no official statement about what Turkish sanctions would be, but government ministers have talked about a possible cut of Turkish power and water supplies to Syria.

“The Turkish government now is positioned at the sharp end of the sword that dangles over Damascus, lending full support to Syrian opposition groups and urging other nations to ‘join the struggle’,” Taylan Bilgic, the managing editor of the Hurriyet Daily News, an English language newspaper, wrote in a column yesterday”

The leader of Syria’s exiled Muslim Brotherhood said on Thursday that Syrians would accept Turkish intervention in the country. “The Syrian people would accept intervention coming from Turkey, rather than from the West, if its goal was to protect the people,” the Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammad Riad Shakfa said in Istanbul. “We may ask more from Turkey as a neighbour.”

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November 18th, 2011, 4:03 pm


511. jna said:

Louay Hussein

This man seems more and more seems to be emerging as a opposition spokesman, at least in the media. He seems willing to dialog for/during democratic transition.

“”We have warned in the past and we warn again that these are the methods of the regime to waste time,” said Omar Idilbi, a Beirut-based member of the Syrian National Council, an umbrella group of regime opponents.

But Louay Hussein, a prominent dissident based in Damascus, said allowing observers in was “a small step that can be built on and developed.”

“The presence of observers constitutes a protection, however small, for civilians,” he said. Their presence, he said, can help “expose the regime’s lies.”

What do the commentators here think of Louay Hussein?

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November 18th, 2011, 4:04 pm


512. irritated said:

WMD was the Trojan horse for regime change in “rogue state” now it is the POC (protection of civilians)

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November 18th, 2011, 4:07 pm


514. N.Z. said:

“We don’t have a Tahrir square, instead we have 210 mini Tahrir protests in 1 one day. Each with tens of thousands.”

The bravery of these Syrian protesters is legendary, taking in account the brutality of the regime “insecurity forces”.

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November 18th, 2011, 4:39 pm


515. zoo said:

Egypt: SCAF likely to delay presidential elections until 2013

Egypt fills Tahrir Square, this time with Islamists in lead

In a rally called by the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups, one of the largest protests since the fall of Hosni Mubarak demanded a quick end to the military’s rule of Egypt.

By Kristen Chick, Correspondent / November 18, 2011


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November 18th, 2011, 4:43 pm


516. irritated said:

# N.Z

210 mini Tahrir with each 10,000 equal more than 2 millions!

Strange! No media reported that astounding number.

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November 18th, 2011, 4:49 pm


517. zoo said:

Can Syria’s president survive?
By Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
November 18, 2011 — Updated 1550 GMT (2350 HKT)

Nonetheless, Joshi cautioned against thinking the 46-year-old’s grip on power will be loosened immediately, pointing to the example of Iraq’s former dictator, Saddam Hussein.

In 1991, he said, Hussein had just lost a major war, had two no-fly zones, U.N. sanctions and an oil embargo imposed on his country, was facing an enormous Shia uprising in the south, and endured overwhelming diplomatic isolation.

“And yet he survived for 12 years,” Joshi said. “Regimes that are used to being isolated, that are used to being under sanctions and under pressure, can be extremely resilient.”

Joshi also points out that while al-Assad may well be forced out, that doesn’t necessarily mean the regime will fall with him.
Perhaps the biggest danger ahead, the analysts say, is that whether al-Assad goes or not, Syria is teetering on the brink of civil war, as opposition elements such as the Free Syrian army turn to arms to combat pro-government forces.

Such violence lessens the chance of a peaceful resolution to the uprising and smooth shift to democracy — and will undoubtedly lead to greater loss of life.


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November 18th, 2011, 4:55 pm


518. Ya Mara Ghalba said:

#511 JNA asks “What do the commentators here think of Louay Hussein?” I believe the regime tells the truth, whereas Louay Hussien believes the regime tells lies. With regard to Louay Hussein’s policy agenda, I have several comments in the comment section at http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/?p=12507 the summary of which is that Louay Hussein has an extremely impoverished policy agenda that doesn’t go beyond “we want to overthrow the regime’s personnel and put Louay Hussein and friends in their stead.” He supports the reforms that the people of Syria want, which are the reforms that are being introduced by the regime, but he’d like to usurp the regime as champion of those reforms.

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November 18th, 2011, 4:59 pm


519. jad said:

لماذا دعت قطر هيئة التنسيق السورية المعارضة إلى الدوحة وماذا حصل هناك؟
نضال حمادة

لم تكن مشيخة قطر على استعداد لسماع اسم هيئة سورية معارضة غير المجلس الوطني السوري الذي أنشأته بالتعاون مع تركيا وفرنسا من مجموعات هجينة من المعارضة السورية لم تجتمع يوما كما اجتمعت هذه الأيام بفضل المال القطري والوعود السياسية الغربية والتركية والخليجية بالفرصة الذهبية لإسقاط النظام في دمشق.

وقد اتخذت المشيخة، سياسيا وإعلاميا، موقفا معاديا حتى التخوين لهيئة التنسيق الوطني، وبرز ذلك في الحملة الإعلامية التي شنتها قناة الجزيرة على الهيئة وبيانات التنديد بها وبشخصياتها فضلا عن المقاطعة الإعلامية من قبل قناة الجزيرة لرموز الهيئة الذين لم يسمح لبعضهم بالظهور على قناة إمارة قطر خلال ثمانية أشهر منصرمة، هي عمر الأزمة الحالية التي تمر بها الجمهورية العربية السورية.

ويعود هذا الموقف القطري من الهيئة إلى كونها تضم كبار الشخصيات السورية المعارضة تاريخيا وهي ترفض بشكل قاطع التدخل الخارجي على الطريقة الليبية الذي تسعى إليه قطر بالتحالف مع فرنسا وتركيا، ما جعل الهيئة عقبة أساسية في وجه السياسة القطرية. وقد أعطت الهيئة حججا كبيرة لروسيا لرفض المشاريع الغربية في مجلس الأمن فضلا عن أن المسؤولين الروس استضافوا شخصيات من الهيئة قبل استضافة برهان غليون ومن معه بأكثر من شهرين.

وقد زاد من حدة العداء القطري للهيئة العلاقات غير الجيدة بين بعض رموز الهيئة والأميرة موزة زوجة أمير قطر حمد بن خليفة آل ثاني. ويعود هذا الخلاف إلى سنوات مضت وفي أكثر من مرحلة منها اللجنة الدولية لإغلاق سجن غوانتانامو حيث حاولت قطر عبر الأميرة إنشاء لجنة تبتلع اللجنة المذكورة وفشلت. وأتت الحرب على غزة لتعزز الخلاف عندما حاولت الأميرة مرة أخرى ابتلاع اللجنة الدولية لمحاسبة مجرمي الحرب في غزة عبر إنشاء لجنة موازية، وقد دعت يومها اللجنة للانضمام تحت لوائها ونجحت بشراء احد كبار محامي هذه اللجنة الدولية قبل أن ينقلب ويترك قطر. ومن ثم يتهم القطريون شخصيات في الهيئة بتحريض الفرنسي (روبير مينار) الرئيس السابق لمنظمة صحافيين بلا حدود على دولة قطر بعد أن أنشأ له القطريون اللجنة الدولية للدفاع عن الصحفيين، فالرجل، وبعد أن أخذ الأموال، انقلب على القطريين وعاد إلى فرنسا ليروي عن ديكتاتورية حكام قطر وعدم احترامهم للإنسان وعن اعتقادهم بالقدرة على شراء البشرية جمعاء عبر أموالهم الوفيرة. وفي هذه القضية بالتحديد يتهم القطريون شخصيات منضوية حاليا في هيئة التنسيق السورية المعارضة بالوقوف يومها وراء كلام (روبير مينار).

حسابات الحقل القطري لم تنطبق على حسابات البيدر السوري. فبعد أن ثبت فشل المجلس الوطني في استقطاب كافة أطياف المعارضة رغم الدعم الدولي والخليجي له، وبعد الموقف الروسي الحاد من المجلس والكلام الذي سرّب عن عدم رضا موسكو عن رئيس المجلس بسبب ارتهاناته الفرنسية، اضطرت قطر إلى الاتصال بهيئة التنسيق “بناء على نصيحة مباشرة من عزمي بشارة ومن نبيل العربي” حسب مصادر في المعارضة السورية.

وقد أتت الدعوة القطرية للهيئة ممثلة بشخصيات من الداخل السوري والمقيمين في الخارج أثناء تواجد هذه الشخصيات في القاهرة وبعد الاعتداء الذي تعرضوا له من قبل مناصرين للمجلس الوطني أمام مقر الجامعة العربية والذي انعكس سلبا على صورة المجلس وعلى القيمين الخليجيين والدوليين عليه. وكان برنامج الدعوة يشمل لقاء مع ولي العهد، غير أن الوفد الزائر استبقي لعقد لقاءات مع شخصيات أخرى في قطر لم تفصح مصادرنا عن هويتها، ولكن يعتقد أنها الأمير. وقد أبلغ المسؤولون في قطر الوفد السوري أنهم يطمحون في هذه المرحلة لتوحيد صفوف المعارضة السورية تحت لواء المجلس الوطني من اجل نجاح المسعى الدولي في تقوية الضغط على سورية حتى يتنحى الرئيس بشار الأسد أو يتم الاستعانة بمجلس الأمن لتنفيذ هذه المهمة. وأبلغ القطريون ضيوفهم أن هذه فرصتكم للتخلص من النظام التي لن تتكرر لوقت طويل. وحسب المعلومات التي تسرّبت، فقد فوجئ بعض أعضاء الوفد السوري أن عروضا مالية قدمت للبعض الآخر للانسحاب من الهيئة غير أن هذا الأمر لم ينجح، كما أن وفد الهيئة أصر على أن لا يكون المجلس هو الوصي على المعارضة.

وتقول مصادرنا إن الهيئة أعدت لائحة شروط أشبه بورقة عمل سوف تعرضها على المجلس خلال الحوار بين أطياف المعارضة السورية، الذي دعت إليه الجامعة العربية في القاهرة. وتضيف مصادرنا أن اجتماعات غير رسمية عقدت خلال اليومين الماضيين بين أعضاء الهيئة المتواجدين في القاهرة حاليا وبسمة قضماني، من المجلس الوطني، بسبب وجود برهان غليون في موسكو، نوقش خلالها كيفية تقريب وجهات النظر بين الطرفين، غير أن الموقف الروسي الرافض لشرط تنحي الرئيس الأسد قبل المفاوضات أعطى الهيئة دفعا قويا للتشبث بشروطها بعد أن تبين عدم جدوى الدعم الغربي للمجلس في جعله في المقدمة، وبعد أن تناهي لسمع الجميع أن مفكراً عربياً معروفاً نصح القطريين باستبدال برهان غليون بعد أن فشل في جمع المعارضة السورية ولمّ شملها.


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November 18th, 2011, 4:59 pm


520. zoo said:

“In light of the new move by the Arab League, the US, and Europe, the struggle to overthrow Asad may very well succeed, but the struggle to bring about a democratic regime in Syria has been thoroughly defeated.

It was the United States that destroyed Syrian democracy in 1949 when the CIA sponsored the first coup d’état in the country ending democratic rule. It is again the United States that has destroyed the possibility of a democratic outcome of the current popular uprising. My deep condolences to the Syrian people. ”

The struggle for Syria
The Syrian people are being sacrificed at the altar of US imperialism, says author.
Joseph Massad Last Modified: 15 Nov 2011 09:13


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November 18th, 2011, 5:19 pm


521. jna said:

518. Ya Mara Ghalbasaid:

#511 JNA asks “What do the commentators here think of Louay Hussein?” I believe the regime tells the truth, whereas Louay Hussien believes the regime tells lies. With regard to Louay Hussein’s policy agenda, I have several comments in the comment section at http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/?p=12507 the summary of which is that Louay Hussein has an extremely impoverished policy agenda that doesn’t go beyond “we want to overthrow the regime’s personnel and put Louay Hussein and friends in their stead.” He supports the reforms that the people of Syria want, which are the reforms that are being introduced by the regime, but he’d like to usurp the regime as champion of those reforms.

Ya Mara Ghalba….thanks for your evaluation.

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November 18th, 2011, 5:20 pm



WHERE IS NAJATI TAYYARA, He did not call for anyone’s murder

Ok, this time I am ahead of the Fans

خاص قاسيون/ تم مساء اليوم الجمعة 18 تشرين الثاني إطلاق سراح الشخصية السورية البارزة بسام القاضي الذي بين في تصريح هاتفي لـ”قاسيون” أن توقيفه الذي استمر 48 ساعة تقريباً لم يأت على خلفية مواقفه السياسية أبداً، وإنما جاء على خلفية “موضوع أمني حساس” فضل القاضي عدم ذكره مبيّناً أنه اقتنع بحقيقة أهمية وحساسية “موضوع التوقيف” بمجرد اطلاعه عليه داخل مقر الجهاز الأمني.
كما أكد القاضي لـ”قاسيون” أنه تلقى معاملة حسنةً جداً خلال مدة التوقيف، وأنه لم يتعرض لأية إزعاجات تذكر، وأشار إلى أن التوقيف جرى في ساعات الصباح الأولى من فجر الخميس، حيث اقتيد بشكل لائق من منزله.

وكان أُعلن في دمشق يوم الخميس عن اختفاء القاضي في ظروف غامضة، كما كانت اللجنة الوطنية لوحدة الشيوعيين السوريين قد طالبت على لسان ناطق رسمي بإطلاق سراحه فوراً، معتبرةً أن اعتقاله “موجه ضد كل العقلاء في المعارضة الذين يطالبون بوقف العنف وإطلاق الحوار والبدء بالإصلاحات الجذرية، والذين لهم موقف لا لبس فيه ضد التدخل الخارجي”.

You now judge if he is a ….. or not

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November 18th, 2011, 5:55 pm


523. Atheist Syrian Salafist Against Dictatorships said:

Seif-el-Ijram al-Qaddaffi has been caught, according to AJA and a press conference by The Free Libyan Forces, but details are sketchy.

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November 19th, 2011, 6:21 am


524. Atheist Syrian Salafist Against Dictatorships said:

Very interesting that the battalion who caught Seif-al-Ijram was the Khalid-ibn-al-Walid Battalion. Is this a premonition of Homsis being the ones who will get Basshar, Maher and the other criminals?

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November 19th, 2011, 6:31 am


525. Shami said:

Nabil Fayyad,Basam Qadi,Nidal Naisa are of the same kind,these mediocrities belong to bashshar mukhabarat.

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November 19th, 2011, 7:12 am


526. ترجمة: هل ستسقط العقوبات النظام السوري؟ | خارج السرب رؤية . سورية . شبابية . مستقلة said:

[…] فريق خارج السرب للترجمة -كيفورك ألماسيان- مصدر المقال: Syria Comment من المشكوك فيه ان العقوبات وحدها قد تتسبب في تغيير […]

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November 20th, 2011, 1:17 pm


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