Will Turkey Invade Syria? Can the West Find a New Calculus for Intervention?

Will Turkey Invade Syria? Can the West find a new calculus for the Syria dilemma?
By Joshua Landis

Syrian Refugees in Turkey

Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Naci Koru’s remarked yesterday that tomorrow “a new period will begin” in Turkey’s Syria policy. Is this rhetorical bluster? Turkish officials say that they are seriously contemplating imposing a humanitarian corridor inside Syria, but will not “invade” Syria. The difference between imposing a corridor and invasion my only be academic, however.

Turkish statesmen, no doubt, feel great pressure to take action in Syria. Who would not be outraged by the Syrian attack on refugees and Turkish workers inside Turkey? The humanitarian crisis is appalling. The refugee problem is going from bad to worse. Syria is a mess. Syrian soldiers are neither restrained by Damascus nor discouraged from using the most inhuman methods to regain control of rebel towns. The central state seems to be in decline as the army lashes out without restraint and the economy withers.

All the same, I find it hard to imagine that Turkey will invade.  Perhaps Turkey will up the ante in some way to hurt Syria in an effort to dissuade it from allowing its soldiers to act so disrespectfully. Something must be done. But Syria is a swamp. Its Kurdish region could secede to join Iraq. And the US does not want to get in the middle of a civil war. The Turkish government seems loath to take decisive action against Syria without firm US and European guarantees of partnership and commitment. The costs of stabilizing and rebuilding Syria will be immense.

I cannot see Turkish officials allowing their fit of peek to overtake their national interest. Turkey can only lose if it invades alone. In all probability, should Ankara invade, it would not be able to extract itself from Syria until the Syria regime was toppled, Alawite power destroyed, and a substitute government put in place. That is a very tall order. The US has attempted it twice in Iraq and Afghanistan and failed. Libya, where western governments brought down the government but refused the task of nation-building is becoming a failed state beset by too many militias.

The problem with Syria is that if one regards it with nothing but cold calculation, Assad remains the lesser of possible evils, which could be chaos, lawlessness, or militia infighting. The opposition has shown no capacity for united leadership. It cannot impose order on itself let alone on fractious Syria.

The US, equally, can count few substantial benefits from intervention in Syria. Pundits claim that the present situation presents a once in a life time opportunity to hurt Iran, help Israel, and change the balance of power in the region. But Iran is already hurt by Assad’s weakness. The Iranian economy is weak and the government throw good money after bad at Syria. Syria cannot harm its neighbors. It is a moral and military liability for Hizbullah. Hamas has decamped from Damascus already. The Assad regime as it stands today is a threat to no one save Syrians.

Syria is a moral and humanitarian disaster. It begs for a humanitarian solution. But it is not a grave security threat. It will only become a security threat if the regime falls and there is no authority to take its place. I suspect regional statesmen are imagining all sorts of worst case scenarios should the regime fall: the spread of jihadism and al-Qaida, civil war, the possible break up of Syria, a rising death toll, and increased refugee outflows. Who can assure them that these nightmares would not become real? Assad has always insisted that without him Syria would fall apart and the region would face chaos or worse. He once threatened that should foreign powers intervene, Syria would be worse than a hundred Afghanistans. He is still making that calculation and few want to call his bluff. It is possible that world leaders are adding up the numbers in the same way that Assad is; although they struggling to find a new calculus for the Syria dilemma.

[End of Landis article]

The article is in today’s Zaman. Here are the relevant excerpts:

“What will happen if the UN cannot get its act together, and Russia and China end up using their veto powers for the third time? Ankara will probably invoke the 1998 Adana agreement with Syria to justify the military interference while calling on NATO members for the application of the Article 5 of the NATO Charter…

On Oct. 20, 1998, both Turkey and Syria signed the Adana Agreement, which set out very explicit terms for preventing PKK activities in Syria. It squarely puts all the responsibility on the Syrian government in this matter. For example, Article 1 of the Adana Agreement states that Syria will not permit any activity on its territory aimed at jeopardizing the “security and stability of Turkey.” Be it PKK terrorism or a crackdown on the opposition, both would be considered threats that seriously jeopardize the “security and stability of Turkey” — in which case Turkey reserves the right to take necessary measures for self-defense, including armed interference into Syrian territory to contain the threat…

Syria has bowed to Turkish pressure before. In the late 1990s, Bashar’s father Hafez al-Assad caved under the pressure mounted by Turkey, and finally stopped harboring the fugitive PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan and expelled him from Damascus

But the most comprehensive deal came in 2010 when the two sides inked a significant agreement on cooperation against terror. It was signed on Dec. 21, 2010 by Davutoğlu and Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Mouallem and ratified by the Turkish Parliament on April 6, 2011. This agreement has 23 articles, which have important implications for Turkey. For example, Article 7 of the agreement gives both parties the right to conduct joint operations in each other’s territory. If Turkey officially recognizes the Syrian National Council (SNC) as the only legitimate government of Syria, which is likely to happen in the upcoming Paris meeting of the Friends of Syria if Assad fails to follow through on the Annan plan, it can very well secure the consent of the SNC to launch joint operations with the Free Syrian Army against Assad’s forces.

All in all, the urgency to act against the Assad regime’s aggression on its own citizens, in order to stabilize the country as soon as possible, is a sensitive issue for the national security of Turkey. For that Ankara is willing, even determined, according to some officials, to invoke unilateral or multilateral legal remedies at its disposal. It clearly prefers the multilateral approach for the time being. But when push comes to shove, Turkey will not hesitate to act alone, as it did in 1998 in Syria or in 1975 in Cyprus. Watch out for the signal that will indicate that Turkey is ready to act: When the government decides to seek a mandate from the Turkish Parliament for troop deployment in a foreign country, as it must according to the Constitution, it will mean the real warning shot for military incursion into Syria has already been fired.”

Annan’s Letter to UNSC – last two paragraphs

…..But recent events are deeply concerning. The prevailing security and human rights situation is unacceptable. This crisis has lasted for more than one year, has produced an intolerably heavy death toll and is now triggering increased flows of refugees throughout the region. Earlier this morning, I saw. with my own eyes the devastating impact of the crisis in a refugee camp in Turkey, close to the border with Syria. The scale of the suffering of the Syrian people is clear. A cessation of violence is urgent.

The Syrian leadership should now seize the opportunity to make a fundamental change of course. It is essential that the next 48 hours bring visible signs of immediate and indisputable change in the military posture of the Government forces throughout the country, as called upon by the six point plan, and that items (a), (b) and (e) of paragraph 2 of the six point plan are fully implemented, to enable a cessation of armed violence on 12 April. We urge the opposition also to fulfill their commitments to the six-point plan and give no excuse for the government to renege on its commitments. The clear declarations coming from the opposition are encouraging in this respect.

Susan Rice (@AmbassadorRice) 4/9/12: “After all this time & bloodshed–after all the commitments made & promises broken–we are facing a moment of truth. #Syria”…. If #Syria refuses to implement Annan’s plan despite its commitments, then Russia/China have to be prepared to follow their words w/actions.”

Saudi Defense Minister Salman also in DC tomorrow, coinciding w mtg of Quartet principles – Clinton, Lavrov, Ban Ki-moon & Ashton #syria

Syrian military vengeance on Anadaan: the following video shows footage of the poor town that makes up part of Aleppo’s norther suburbs. It was opposition turf for some months before recent military operations in the area – part of the regime’s “clear and hold” counter-insurgency strategy.

Syria: Bashar al-Assad ‘will pay’ for breaking peace pledge
By Richard Spencer, 10 Apr 2012

President Bashar al-Assad of Syria fell under renewed threat of international action today after peace negotiator Kofi Annan said his regime had broken its promises to embrace a ceasefire.

Mr Annan, the former United Nations secretary-general who has tried to broker an accord, told the Security Council that the regime had not pulled its troops and heavy equipment out of towns and cities by today, as demanded.

“It is essential that the next 48 hours bring visible signs of immediate and indisputable change in the military posture of the government forces throughout the country, as called upon by the six-point plan,” a letter read to the council said. He added that Syria was demanding a guarantee that the rebels lay down their arms and disband, and a commitment by regional nations not to arm them….

Syria threatens pullout from ceasefire deal unless given ‘written guarantees’ – 08 April, 2012

….Syria has learnt a “very hard lesson from the Arab League observer saga” and does not want the same thing to happen again, a former Syrian ambassador to Turkey, Dr. Nidal Kabalan, told RT.

“[Rebels] fostered in Syrian cities and towns, and it has cost extra hundreds of innocent lives of civilians and army soldiers to get rid of some of those armed gangs,” Kabalan said.

At least two large militant bases have been found and secured on Saturday, Syrian authorities reported. One was located in the city of Douma, just 12 kilometers north of Damascus, and the other in Yabrud, 80 kilometers north of the capital. Government news agency Sana said loyalist troops discovered large caches of weapons and arrested a number of people suspected of kidnappings and murders. Smaller scale operations are taking place in other parts of the country….

Britain and other Western powers called for Mr Assad to be censured by the UN. William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, said he wanted the Security Council to refer Mr Assad to the International Criminal Court.

“President Assad and his closest cronies should be under no doubt that they will be held to account for their actions,” he said. The Security Council called for the Syrian government to make a “fundamental change of course” to end hostilities by 6am Damascus time Thursday.

But with Russia and China still likely to veto any Western action, the more significant response came from Turkey and Saudi Arabia, which have emerged as Mr Assad’s leading Middle Eastern critics.

The Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, announced he was to visit Saudi Arabia on Friday to discuss the crisis and though neither side gave details of any new proposals, reports from Ankara said Mr Erdogan would call for concerted action.

Analysts say Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations are likely to begin the promised release of hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the rebels, while Turkey’s threatened buffer zone came much closer to reality after Syrian troops fired over the border on Monday.

Extrajudicial Executions: The 25-page report,

“In Cold Blood: Summary Executions by Syrian Security Forces and Pro-Government Militias,” documents more than a dozen incidents involving at least 101 victims since late 2011, many of them in March 2012. Human Rights Watch documented the involvement of Syrian forces and pro-government shabeeha militias in summary and extrajudicial executions in the governorates of Idlib and Homs. Government and pro-government forces not only executed opposition fighters they had captured, or who had otherwise stopped fighting and posed no threat, but also civilians who likewise posed no threat to the security forces.

Turkish Defense Minister adopts provocative stance on Syria Press TV, Iran

Turkish Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz has adopted a provocative position regarding Syria, saying that Ankara is prepared for any development on the Syrian situation, including war.

Yilmaz, however, noted that Ankara is “not calling for war,” but that it will be prepared just in case.

Russia-China victory in Syria a sign of declining US power – 9 April 2012

It sets an important precedent in international relations, and is perhaps the clearest sign of declining US power in the Middle East.

For the first time since the end of the Cold War, Russia and China have effectively thwarted the United States and its allies from pursuing its interests in a fiery Middle Eastern flashpoint, Syria.

The Russian-Chinese double veto at the UN Security Council – the last in February – signalled to the West that the two powers were drawing a red line on Syria. Notably, China’s second veto on Syria was only its eighth in history, highlighting the importance of the matter to Beijing. The message was clear: UN-sponsored regime change, military intervention, or arming of Syrian rebels – as seen in Libya – would never pass…..

Turkey also hedged its bets on a quick Assad downfall, a strategic blunder that is now under sharp criticism from leading Turkish commentators and opposition leaders as the Syrian dictator appears to have held sway. Although it still hosts Syrian opposition groups and armed rebels, Turkey has notably toned down its harsh rhetoric of Assad in recent weeks. …

Turkey Crisis Planning Includes Soldiers in Syria, Milliyet Says – Apr 9, 2012 Bloomberg

Turkish soldiers may establish buffer zones in Syria by the end of the month to protect civilians, Milliyet newspaper reported, citing interviews with unidentified officials.

U.S. senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman are expected to meet President Abdullah Gul today in Istanbul, and may also travel to refugee camps near Turkey’s border with Syria, Milliyet said.

The decision to arm the rebels has not yet been implemented – Guardian.co.uk, 5 Apr 2012 :

Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been saying they want to supply the Syrian rebels with weapons. “The decision to arm the rebels has been taken in principle, but it has not yet been implemented”, said Mustafa Alani of the Saudi-funded Gulf Institute of Strategic Studies in Dubai. British officials have informed the Guardian they see no evidence that large-scale government weapons transfers to Syrian rebels have taken place. Arab sources say a bigger effort may be imminent. Last week the Gulf states agreed to fund the SNC to pay wages to FSA rebels. This is seen as providing cover for arms purchases…. The situation is complicated by the fact that neither Jordan nor Turkey, which have land borders with Syria, are likely to allow transfers of significant armaments. The logistical difficulties in smuggling any supplies into Syria….

US Returning to Security Council To Protect Syrians, Says Burns
By Barbara Slavin

….Al-Monitor: What do you see as the Russian diplomatic role regarding Syria? If their base at Tartous is preserved, can they be convinced to drop Assad?

Burns: Russia’s diplomatic role is important, both as a permanent member of the Security Council and as a country with a longstanding close relationship with Damascus. Secretary Clinton and Foreign Minister Lavrov are in frequent contact to discuss Syria, and Presidents Obama and Medvedev also addressed this key issue during their meeting in Seoul. Obviously we were very disappointed with Russia’s vetoes in the Security Council. Secretary Clinton and Ambassador Rice have been unambiguous on that point. The Secretary has also been absolutely clear in her comments about deliveries of Russian arms to Syria. Russian officials have more recently claimed that they are “no friend” to Assad and have criticized the regime for “making mistakes” and for “reacting incorrectly” to the demonstrations…..

We believe that Russian pressure contributed to Assad’s acceptance of the Annan mission. We would like to see Russia use its influence with Assad to bring an end to the regime’s violence….

Crisisweb: Syria’s Phase of Radicalisation
2012-04-10 – Crisis Group

…Syrians from all walks of life appear dumbfounded by the horrific levels of violence and hatred generated by the crisis…..Full and timely implementation of Annan’s plan almost surely was never in the cards. But that is not a reason to give up on diplomacy in general or the Annan mission in particular. The priority at this stage must be to prevent the conflict’s further, dangerous and irreversible deterioration….

the outside word is caught between four costly postures. The regime’s allies, Iran and Hizbollah, have supported it unconditionally and have every incentive to continue doing so. Russia and China put the onus on regime foes at home and abroad to defuse the situation, expecting the former to lay down their arms and join an ill-defined “dialogue”, and the latter to cease all forms of pressure. The West remains confused and ambivalent, having exhausted all sources of diplomatic and economic leverage, fearful of the future and tiptoeing around the question of military options. Saudi Arabia and Qatar have spoken loudly of their intention to arm the rebellion but, even assuming they demonstrate the commitment and follow-through necessary to establish meaningful supply lines, it is hard to see how such efforts would bring a well-armed regime to its knees. Hamstrung between these conflicting stances, Annan’s mission has yet to achieve much traction other than rhetorical endorsements by all concerned….

As Crisis Group previously argued, the regime will genuinely shift its approach if and only if it faces a different balance of power – politically, through a change in Moscow’s attitude; or militarily, through a change on the ground….

Why Did Anyone Believe Bashar al-Assad’s Promises of a Ceasefire to Begin With?
By Radwan Ziadeh in The New Republic Daily Report, 04/10/12

Comments (150)

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51. Anne said:

Russia pressures Syria to withdraw troops


In a fresh sign of Russia’s increasingly complex strategy regarding Syria, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov put pressure on the Middle Eastern state on Tuesday to withdraw troops from around its towns and cities in accordance with a United Nations peace plan.

Under the plan, brokered by UN and Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan, Syria was to begin withdrawing its troops at 6 a.m. local time (0600 Moscow Time) Tuesday as a first step to ending the ongoing violence, which has claimed some 9,000 lives since protests broke out in March 2011.

“We demand that our Syrian colleagues rigorously implement the Annan plan,” Lavrov told reporters Tuesday after talks in Moscow with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Al-Muallem, Russian media sources reported.

The plan came close to collapse on Sunday when the Syrian government demanded written guarantees that rebel insurgents would stop fighting before it pulled back its troops, a demand that was rejected by the country’s main rebel group, the Free Syrian Army.

The conflict escalated on Monday when Syrian troops opened fire at refugee camp close to the Syrian border in Turkey, killing at least six people. A cameraman for the Al Jadeed television station was also reported killed in Lebanon from cross-border fire.

Muallem said in Moscow on Tuesday that the Syrian government has already withdrawn some forces from Syrian cities and that a cease-fire would begin simultaneously with the deployment of an international observer mission in the country.

“We would like to call on all opposition leaders and all countries that have influence on the political and military opposition to use that influence to bring about an immediate cease-fire as is provided by Kofi Annan’s plan,” Lavrov said in Moscow on Tuesday.

Lavrov’s strict line is symptomatic of a shift in its approach to the Syrian issue. Despite earlier disagreements with the West over how to react to the Syrian regime’s brutal repression of opposition activists, Russia has recently taken on the role of mediator between the two sides.

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April 11th, 2012, 3:20 am


52. Mina said:

Norman 32

The opposition is not asked to reach an agreement, since the FSA and its bailers in the Gulf make everything in their power to make that no meeting is possible. Look at their efforts now to hinder the opposition visit to Moscow. Look at their answer to annan peace plan with the Istanbul meeting: we’ll pay and arm the terrorists.

I.e. just like in Egypt: we hijack any revolution because we have money (thanks to our retrograde and slavery practices) while the US and EU are now in a state of bankruptcy and need oil.

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April 11th, 2012, 3:33 am


53. Anne said:

Vladimir Vladimirovich Suharto


On the night Vladimir Putin was first elected president back in March 2000, a revealing joke made the rounds among Moscow’s chattering classes.

“Putin says Russia’s new model of development will be Korea,” the anecdote began. “He just hasn’t decided whether it’s North Korea or South Korea,” went the punch line.

Following the joke’s logic, it is now clear that South Korea was indeed the model — but not today’s democratic South Korea. Putin’s model of development actually more resembles South Korea under the authoritarian rule of President Park Chung Hee from 1961-79.

Both Park and Putin came to power after a period of political chaos and ushered in an era of stability and prosperity. Both concentrated power in the executive, reduced the legislature to a rubber stamp, and turned elections into decorative affairs. Both politicized the judiciary and law enforcement and cracked down on dissent.

Park and Putin’s management of their respective economies was also similar. Both brought state-owned companies under tighter control and were not shy about intervening in the private sector. Both also presided over economic booms that led to the development of secure and stable middle classes.

But one of the main similarities of the two regimes has been the concentration of political power and most of the country’s important economic assets in the hands of a cabal of the president’s cronies from the security services.

Put simply, both can be characterized as what UCLA political science professor Daniel Treisman has dubbed “Silovarchies” — oligarchies dominated by siloviki.

Amid the political turbulence in Russia over the past several months, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Treisman’s insightful and much-discussed article “Putin’s Silovarchs,” which was published in the journal “Orbis” in 2007.

Antecedents of Putin’s silovarchy, Treisman wrote, can be found not only in Park’s South Korea but also in Indonesia under Suharto’s authoritarian rule from 1967-98:

Silovarchies — states in which veterans of the security services or the armed forces dominate both politics and big business — have existed in various countries including South Korea and Indonesia. They differ from ordinary oligarchies in that silovarchs can deploy intelligence networks, state prosecutors, and armed force to intimidate or expropriate business rivals. While their economic performance may be either good or bad, the temptation to use secret service tools and techniques predisposes such regimes toward authoritarian politics.

My main takeaways from the article were that silovarchies are deeply resistant to change, but at the same time they contain within themselves the seeds of their own destruction.


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April 11th, 2012, 3:54 am


54. Afram said:

Pajamas Newz…
Fouad Ajami:”the Arab world has terrible rulers and worse oppositionists”

Burhan Ghalioun lied…Syrians died.

Mustapha Akkad: a Syrian-born Hollywood producer,complained in 1998 “in Hollywood, Muslims are only terrorists” “Hollywood Now Plays Cowboys and Arabs- November 1, 1998.

at a hotel in Amman, Jordan, he and his daughter Rina, 33, were killed by Muslim terrorists. November 9, 2005

Hilary Clinton:Democratic candidate for president “As your president,you will not see me holding hands with the Saudis,” a reference to President George W. Bush, was photographed holding the hand of Saudi King Abdullah.

James Woolsey,former Director of Central Intelligence: “Twenty-one Arab nations, plus Iran, have about the same population as the United States and Canada. Other than fossil fuels—mainly oil, of course—they export to the world less than Finland, a country of only 5 million people.

Arabs are special, I like to dedicate April fool as a yearly Arab day…the world laughing at us NOT with us.

[ blue diamond http://www.danielpipes.org/blog/2004/04/caught-my-eye-noteworthy-quotes ]

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April 11th, 2012, 5:57 am


55. b said:

Prof. Landis writes:

“Who would not be outraged by the Syrian attack on refugees and Turkish workers within Turkey? ”

Probably those who read a bit deeper. This wasn’t a one sided shooting across the border. Syrian government positions were attacked by people coming from the Turkish side and fleeing back to it.

AP reported:

The soldiers were believed to be firing at rebels who tried to escape to the refugee camp after ambushing a Syrian military checkpoint, killing six soldiers, according to the Britain-based activist group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.


Hurriyet reported:

Kilis Gov. Yusuf Odabaş said the injuries were caused by bullets from clashes on the other side of the border, which erupted when opposition groups attempted to seize control of the border crossing from regime forces. Turkish security forces in no way intervened or used arms, he said. Twenty-one Syrians wounded in the clashes managed to cross into Turkey through a mine-ridden stretch of land. Three died in hospital and another two in critical condition have been transferred to a hospital in the adjacent province of Gaziantep, Odabaş said


It is quite telling how the media now depict Syria as being guilty for the cross border shooting. It is far from the truth.

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April 11th, 2012, 6:00 am


56. Alan said:


Moscow seeks to end Syrian unrest: Russian diplomat

Russia has charged that some foreign states are fueling violence in Syria by meddling in the country’s political affairs, saying it is cooperating with Syrian authorities to bring an end to the nation’s unrest.

“Attempts to force a solution on Syria from outside will lead only to an escalation of tension. Everything must follow from respect for Syria’s sovereignty, and violence must be stopped,” Itar-Tass news agency quoted Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov as saying on Monday.

Gatilov said that his country is “working actively with Damascus in order to begin a political settlement process in (Syria).”

The Russian diplomat added that as part of a potential UN monitoring mission, Moscow was considering sending observers to Syria to oversee the implementation of the peace plan proposed by the joint UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan.

Gatilov said “there are concrete points in (Annan’s plan), and we fully support this plan.”

Meanwhile, on March 27, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei called on the Syrian government and the foreign-backed opposition groups to honor their commitments to the UN-Arab League peace proposal, adding that Beijing believes the plan needs more time to produce concrete result.

Annan’s six-point plan calls, inter alia, for an end to violence in Syria, a two-hour humanitarian ceasefire every day, media access to troubled spots, and political dialogue between the government and the opposition.

Syria has been experiencing unrest since mid-March and many people, including security forces, have lost their lives in the violence.

[ + …]

Syria War Spills Across Borders into Turkey, Lebanon
Turkey Claims Deliberate Attack on Refugee Camp

As Syrian rebel factions continue to lose ground to the military, fighting increasingly spills over to neighboring countries. This puts civilians on both sides of the border in the line of fire, resulting in deaths in both Turkey and Lebanon.

Two people were killed in Turkey, and four others wounded by Syrian military fire at the border near the Kilis refugee camp. Turkey’s government claims that the attack deliberately targeted the camp, but earlier reports suggested that it was simply fire that strayed across the border.

Meanwhile, Syrian troops attacked and killed a TV cameraman in neighboring Lebanon, firing across the border between the two nations. The incident occurred in Wadi Khaled, an area frequently used by Syrian rebels to hide from Assad’s forces and stage attacks into Syrian territory.

People with the camera crew said they explained to the Syrian troops that they weren’t fighters. Syrian state media reported that a nearby border post had come under attack shortly before the shooting.

Such incidents will surely embarrass the Syrian military, particularly coming just days before a scheduled ceasefire. But as fighting moves out of central cities and into the border regions, Turkey and Lebanon, too, could be dragged into the maelstrom.

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April 11th, 2012, 7:42 am


57. Alan said:



Russia Is Massing Troops On Iran’s Northern Border And Waiting For A Western Attack

ed note–the original source on this is Joseph Farah (worldnetdaily.com) who is too stupid to find his ass even if he used both hands and a map, but is worth looking at nonetheless for what it portends.

The Russian military anticipates that an attack will occur on Iran by the summer and has developed an action plan to move Russian troops through neighboring Georgia to stage in Armenia, which borders on the Islamic republic, according to informed Russian sources.

Russian Security Council head Viktor Ozerov said that Russian General Military Headquarters has prepared an action plan in the event of an attack on Iran.

Dmitry Rogozin, who recently was the Russian ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO, warned against an attack on Iran.

“Iran is our neighbor,” Rogozin said. “If Iran is involved in any military action, it’s a direct threat to our security.” Rogozin now is the deputy Russian prime minister and is regarded as anti-Western. He oversees Russia’s defense sector.

Russian Defense Ministry sources say that the Russian military doesn’t believe that Israel has sufficient military assets to defeat Iranian defenses and further believes that U.S. military action will be necessary.

[ + … ]

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April 11th, 2012, 7:49 am


58. dawoud said:

Will Erdogan’s Turkey LIBERATE Syria?
I hope so!

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April 11th, 2012, 8:00 am


59. Tara said:

Syrian Ambassador to Australia to join his expelled brotherly diplomats.

Australia may expel Syria’s ambassador, says Foreign Minister Bob Carr
BY: LANAI VASEK From: The Australian April 11, 2012 11:43AM

FOREIGN Affairs Minister Bob Carr has signalled Australia may expel Syria’s ambassador after the embattled Arab nation failed to abide by a UN Security Council deadline to begin a full military pullback in urban areas.

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April 11th, 2012, 8:11 am


60. Dawoud said:

It was sad to see the Shia Lebanese family of Ali Shabaan-the cameraman for the pro-dictator\wilayat al-faqih al-Jadid TV who was killed by Bashar’s shabiha- cry for their only son. Allah yarhamou!

However, it was sad to see the picture of the # 1 Lebanese shabih-Hasan Nasrallah-hanging on the wall of Ali Shabaan’s family house! The seemed so scared to say anything bad about Bashar, who killed their son and thousands of Syrians.

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April 11th, 2012, 8:12 am


61. Tara said:


Aljadid TV accused Batta of the murder. Lebanese Shiaa is slowly but surely being disenchanted with Hassan realizing who he really is, a power hungry co-murderer.

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April 11th, 2012, 8:24 am


62. Alan said:

‘West uses Syria to hit China, Russia and Iran’


Syria is nothing but a pawn in a global geopolitical game, set to be sacrificed in order to curb the expansion of China, Russia and Iran, political analyst Jamal Wakim tells RT.

As the international community warily waits to see whether Kofi Annan’s ceasefire plan is going to work in Syria, Lebanese International University professor Jamal Wakim believes the West has still not given up its intention to topple President Bashar Al-Assad.

Reports on clashes between Syrian government troops and rebels on the Turkish border may signal that the Syrian opposition wants to discredit Annan’s initiative. This would allow Washington more freedom from the compromise on Syria it has struck with Moscow, Wakim points out.

Furthermore, a conflict with Turkey would help bypass the UN Security Council, where Russia can block any attempt to intervene into Syria, he notes. NATO principles say that attacking one NATO member means attacking the whole bloc, and retaliation would be proportional to this rule.

But, according to Wakim, the Syrian conflict has more to it than just toppling another “dictator,” who has been running the country for twelve years.

“This is an attempt to take over all of the Middle East and block Russia, China and Iran inside the continent, denying them access to the warm waters of the Mediterranean Sea and Indian Ocean,” Wakim told RT.


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April 11th, 2012, 8:27 am


63. Observer said:

Today as usual I go to Dounia and Cham Press and RT and Press TV and Manar and Sana.
On Dounia TV there was an advertisement for a bank so I clicked on it and on its web site, this Bank in Syria posted the exchange rate to the dollar at 72 while Sana has it at 61. Go figure.

Also the news are about the increased activity of armed gangs in the last few hours.

So we heard that the battle to topple the regime has ended and yet we listen and read that the armed gangs are increasing. Go figure.

Jadid reporter killed by Regime forces, yet we read that there will be some startling revelations by the as yet not formed investigative committee of the Lebanese army into this mess as sent to me by e mail from a friend. So we already know what the committee that has not met is going to find out. Go figure.

This is the exact best example of the incredible stupidity and ineptitude of the regime and we hear also from pro regime supporters on this blog how contemptuous they are of the average Syrian as they look and dress shabby and what have you. I guess that it is better to just forget that we are in Syria and continue surfing the web shopping at Harrod’s and for shoes from Paris. Go figure

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April 11th, 2012, 9:00 am


64. Observer said:

West uses Syria to hit at Russia China Iran.


Let Russia and China have Syria just as China has North Korea and Russia has Chechenya. Who gives a hoot about a stupid backward regime with a collapsing economy, brutal security, gutted institutions, crime infested, corrupt to the core, family ruled garbage dump.

If Russia and China think that Syria is “prize” to be had, they indeed need a basic course of “investing for dummies” by Mike Tyson for $5 on amazon.com.

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April 11th, 2012, 9:05 am


65. Tara said:

Mouallem denied asking for written guarantee.  Lying Sahaf-style all the way through.


Moallem also denied reports that he had asked Annan for “written guarantees from armed groups and countries sponsoring them”:

“I asked Annan to contact the armed groups and the countries supporting them … I asked him to send me a letter on the results of these communications,” he said, affirming that the Syrian government is prepared for national dialogue when all the opposition is ready for it, adding that Syria welcomes Russia’s offer to host a conference to prepare for national dialogue.

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April 11th, 2012, 9:13 am


66. Afram said:

62. Observer said:

“So we heard that the battle to topple the regime has ended and yet we listen and read that the armed gangs are increasing. Go figure.”
topple the regime by military intervention has ended,,Not by kernel Riads rag-tag/armed gangs losers.

Freshly squeezed Carrot Juice is perfect for Observations!

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April 11th, 2012, 9:46 am


67. Mina said:

Some good news from peaceful protesters today:

“New protests are reported today in Sidi Bouzid, the town where the Arab spring began in December 2010.

The Tunisie Numerique website (in French) says about 3,000 demonstrators marched through the main street chanting slogans which included “Down with the new Trabelsi” and “Ennahda merchants of religion”.”


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April 11th, 2012, 10:14 am


68. Uzair8 said:

Shouldn’t Asma be fattening her duck? It’s gonna be up against the turkey soon.

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April 11th, 2012, 10:25 am


69. ann said:

Syrian army brigadier gunned down by terrorists – 2012-04-11


DAMASCUS, April 11 (Xinhua) — “Armed terrorist groups” assassinated an army brigadier on Wednesday in a suburb of the Syrian capital Damascus, state-run SANA news agency reported.

Gunmen showered the brigadier with bullets while he was on his way to work in the Akraba area early Wednesday. The attack also killed his driver.

The assault, one of a string of recent assassinations targeting Syrian army and security personnel, came just one day before the deadline given by the United Nations for the implementation of a ceasefire brokered by the UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan to solve the Syrian crisis politically and save the country from plunging into an all-out civil war.


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April 11th, 2012, 10:39 am


70. ann said:

Annan warns of ‘disastrous’ effect if Syria conflict continues

The UN and Arab League envoy Kofi Annan has urged Iran to support his peace plan for Syria. “Any further militarization of the conflict would be disastrous,” he said after talks with Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi late Tuesday. Tehran is Syria’s key ally in the region. Annan said Iran agreed on the need to “find a peaceful solution to the crisis,” AP reports. Salehi stressed, however, that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should remain in power to promote “change in Syria.”



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April 11th, 2012, 10:44 am


71. Ghufran said:

It seems like the army will indeed pull its tanks and heavy weapons tomorrow after Russia insisted that the regime takes the first step, in return, Almouallem received verbal assurance that the FSA will stop firing at the army tomorrow too, but that is the easy part, the difficult part is controlling rogue armed groups that have no leadership and no political agenda.

There is also a growing frustration among many pro regime forces that find the regime to be unable to protect their families and towns from armed gangs. Reducing the level of violence is doable but it will be much harder to stop small scale attacks, kidnappings and assassinations. Now,the list of targets on the terrorists agenda will include any politician or individual who participate in future negotiations or settlement with the regime, this is similar to what happened in Iraq where moderate Sunni politicians and tribal leaders were considered traitors and declared as legitimate targets by terror groups.

The regime has an opportunity to isolate militant groups by engaging moderate elements in the opposition and doing what Annan and Russia asked the government to do, resistance to this movement is not limited to the opposition camp, the regime is not unified on whether to accept this initiative or not, some people are just unable to compromise.

Syrians will be better off if they unite against those groups even if they are labelled as traitors by some in their own communities.

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April 11th, 2012, 11:00 am


72. Tara said:


I would never have thought that you like blue.

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April 11th, 2012, 11:01 am


73. Uzair8 said:

Robert Fisk: Shot in the heart – the journalist Assad made into a martyr

Mourners demand answers over fate of cameraman killed on the Lebanese border

Wednesday 11 April 2012


Are the Lebanese beginning to ask question?

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April 11th, 2012, 11:01 am


74. ann said:

Iran says changes in Syria should be under Assad’s leadership – 2012-04-11


TEHRAN, April 11 (Xinhua) — Iranian Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi said Wednesday that changes in Syria should be under the leadership of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The Iranian foreign minister made the remarks in a joint press conference in Tehran with the visiting UN-Arab League (AL) joint special envoy Kofi Annan.

Assad has promised changes in Syria and the Islamic republic believes that these changes should naturally occur inside Syria and under the leadership of the Syrian government and the leadership of Assad, said Salehi.

Tehran is against any foreign intervention in Syria and urges diplomacy, said Salehi.

Annan asked Iran to back his plan for a peaceful resolution of the crisis in Syria, saying that it is important to find a way to end violence in Syria.

Annan also said that militarization of the Syrian situation will lead to a crisis in the region, the consequences of which will be disastrous.

The Iranian foreign minister said that Iran supports Annan’s plan in which there is no demand for a regime change in Syria.


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April 11th, 2012, 11:06 am


75. Alan said:

69. ANN said
It is Correct ! it will escalate to the point of clashes between the major countries! I am sure that Russia will react very seriously to the every not calculated step from forces of the West!

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April 11th, 2012, 11:07 am


76. Uzair8 said:

Kofi Annan is a wily old fox isn’t he? 🙂

Assad and co. were hoping the plan would be derailed (while avoiding outright blame) and we were all certain the plan was doomed.

To my surprise yesterday Mr Annan acted as if everything was fine and there was still time, thus playing down such talk and thwarting any ideas to the contrary.

Check-mate* Mr Assad. LOL.

Assad can of course derail the plan directly and risk outright blame.

*At least ‘check’.

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April 11th, 2012, 11:10 am


77. jad said:


It seems that the Syrian government just gave Erdogan and his warmonger supporters a good kick.

The Syrian government comply with Annan’s plan and will stop all military action as of tomorrow morning, while Annan didn’t get any agreement from any of the armed militia and their supporters, even ksa refused to accept his visit, how is he going to force them to do that?

(Warning, SANA news, for those allergic to reality)

مصدر مسؤول في وزارة الدفاع: وقف مهام قواتنا المسلحة في مكافحة الأعمال الإجرامية للمجموعات الإرهابية المسلحة اعتبارا من صباح غد بعد أن نفذت مهامها بنجاح


صرح مصدر مسؤول في وزارة الدفاع أنه بعد أن نفذت قواتنا المسلحة مهامها الناجحة في مكافحة الأعمال الإجرامية للمجموعات الإرهابية المسلحة وبسط سلطة الدولة على أراضيها تقرر وقف هذه المهام اعتبارا من صباح يوم غد الخميس الموافق في 12-4-2012.

وقال المصدر: ستبقى قواتنا المسلحة الباسلة متأهبة للرد على أي اعتداء تقوم به المجموعات الإرهابية المسلحة ضد المدنيين وعناصر حفظ النظام والقوات المسلحة والممتلكات الخاصة والعامة ولحماية أمن الوطن والمواطن.


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April 11th, 2012, 11:16 am


78. ann said:

Russia says Syria ceasefire success in opposition’s hands – 11 Apr 2012


MOSCOW, April 11 (Reuters) – The Syrian government’s pledge to stop army operations on Thursday morning means the opposition must now also honour the ceasefire, Russia’s deputy foreign minister said on Wednesday.

“The Syrian government has declared it will cease fire as of 6 a.m. on April 12. Now it’s up to the armed opposition,” Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said on Twitter. “Those are the conditions of the Annan plan.”


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April 11th, 2012, 11:21 am


79. Ghufran said:

A Harvard professor trying to explain the democracy deficit in most Arab and Muslim countries,his short answer: blame the Arabs:


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April 11th, 2012, 11:21 am


80. Juergen said:


I think its time for an revival of the old family name dont you think al-Wahsh suits the ambitions and the family business much better?

Here is an gruesome video of his thugs enjoying their vision of necrophilia.


Annan has failed as an mediator

DER SPIEGEL just published that in their view the process of an cease fire starting tomorrow is very unlikely and that Kofi Annan has failed to pursue in this matter.


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April 11th, 2012, 11:22 am


81. Observer said:

I am sorry to disapoint but the foreign intervention is not off the table. My preference would be for the members of the armed services to refuse to kill and destroy and for the people to express themselves peacefully and through honest fair and monitored ballot box.

The essence of this regime’s mantra is encapsulated in this picture

Assad aou nouhrouk albalad
Assad or we burn the land.

How can anyone support such regime?

I challenge anyone to explain to me how they can continue to support such regime and how they can defend this slogan.

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April 11th, 2012, 11:25 am


82. ann said:

78. Ghufran said:

A Harvard professor trying to explain the democracy deficit in most Arab and Muslim countries,his short answer: blame the Arabs
I blame it on 400 years of ottoman religious slavery

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April 11th, 2012, 11:27 am


83. Juergen said:


nice comment in the fisk article:

“We are with the Hezbollah when they fight Israel,” one villager said, “but we are not with the Syrians when they kill their people.”


I bet Hans would love to read what that Harvard professor has written.

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April 11th, 2012, 11:28 am


84. Hopeful said:

Re: Uzair8 #72

Isn’t Aljadeed TV owned by Nabih Berri? Why does the Syrian regime insist on losing its friends one after another? First Turkey, then Qatar, and now Berri? Who is next?

I really don’t get it. Would it be so hard to issue a sincere condolence and an apology, promise a true investigation, and work hard on keeping the few friends you have? What kind of advisers do these guys have?

They did not even bother to get the reporter’s name correct on Al-Dounia TV! How incompetent!

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April 11th, 2012, 11:29 am


85. jad said:

Simple answer:

Nothing but an ugly, corrupt, sectarian, bloody, unpopular and filled with treason movement can make Syrians stick to the existing brutal regime.

Go figure!

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April 11th, 2012, 11:33 am


86. Mina said:

Can anyone explain was The Guardian reports on a press conference IN MOSCOW through Syrian press agency SANA??


They don’t have correspondents in Moscow? They don´t have Arabic-speaking and Russian-speaking journalists to send to this press conference? It’s not important enough? I thought they had been milking the Syrian cow and Arab Spring enough for a year that they could afford such a correspondent, no? Isn’t the UK making business with Russia that it cannot send someone there?

The Old Continent has reached the bottom. They should not bother trying to build the EU when they cannot have proper multilingual professionals.

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April 11th, 2012, 11:42 am


88. jna said:

70. Ghufransaid:

It seems like the army will indeed pull its tanks and heavy weapons tomorrow after Russia insisted that the regime takes the first step,in return,Almouallem received verbal assurance that the FSA will stop firing at the army tomorrow

Very good.

79. Juergensaid: Annan has failed as an mediator

DER SPIEGEL just published that in their view the process of an cease fire starting tomorrow is very unlikely and that Kofi Annan has failed to pursue in this matter.


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April 11th, 2012, 11:54 am


89. Hopeful said:

Re: Ghufran #78

Democracy works in societies that encourage critical thought and analysis, where every individual has free access to information, and is fully exposed to debate and argument of various points of view.

In the Arab world, we are faced by, not one, but three factors that discourage critical thought, stifle debate and instill submissiveness:

1. The traditional family/tribal structure (my older brother is always right)
2. The authoritarian state/government (my beloved president is always right)
3. The dogmatism of religion (my Shaikh/imam is always right)

Until these factors are eased and/or removed, it will be difficult to see true democracy flourish in our land.

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April 11th, 2012, 11:55 am


90. Alan said:

52. ANNE said:

Vladimir Vladimirovich Suharto

it is dark lexicon!

Such as Anastasio Somosa Obama

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April 11th, 2012, 11:55 am


91. Afram said:

80. Observer said:

“I am sorry to disapoint but the foreign intervention is not off the table.
How can anyone support such regime?”
Mahatma Gandhi:”An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind”.

First remove the beam from your own eye, and then you’ll see clearly Observer.

I & many others support syria the country Not the regime, full stop.

speaking for myself, inventing SNC was a sham for the cameras.

the islamists agenda from the get go was to abduct not to adopt the uprising, to many syrians are already 6 feet under, so spare us your bleeding heart!!.

you want to play war games(?!)I stop now..Scissorhands is watching

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April 11th, 2012, 12:11 pm


92. Alan said:

Syria: Kofi Annan Seeks Iran’s Help In Solving The Crisis; Fresh Violence Reported (VIDEO)

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April 11th, 2012, 12:20 pm


93. Uzair8 said:

Just discovered from his FB page that Shaykh Yaqoubi can now be followed on twitter.

This is a welcome move and I hope we get regular statements and updates. The Shaykh hasn’t updated FB on syria for a while. I for one, along with possibly many others, have sought guidance on this crisis by regularly checking the Shaykhs FB page.

Keep an eye on the Shaykh’s twitter.

A recent tweet:

“Are the Syrian people ready to loose hopes in the world and rely only on Allah? Then and only then triumph should come.”


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April 11th, 2012, 12:23 pm


94. Halabi said:

Cease-fire. Great. Of course protests are considered a major threat to أمن الوطن so crushing the peaceful opposition will continue. I hope there will be peace, but how can we stop Assad’s soldiers who want to annihilate the followers of Mohammed, as the sniper in this video says. Nothing sectarian here.


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April 11th, 2012, 12:29 pm


95. Tara said:


Batta Alwahsh? Sounds very good to me.

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April 11th, 2012, 12:30 pm


96. ann said:

Syria promises to follow ceasefire – unless it faces new ‘aggression’ – April 11, 2012


Syria has promised to stop fighting in time for the deadline for a ceasefire brokered by special envoy Kofi Annan.

However, Syria reserved the right to respond to any aggression, a significant hedge against any end in the fighting that has convulsed the nation for more than a year.

The statement came as Mr Annan was in Tehran to seek support for his faltering plan to stop the country’s slide toward civil war. Iran is one of Syria’s most powerful allies.


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April 11th, 2012, 12:32 pm


97. jad said:

Alan, Naza3ta, allah ysam7ak 😉

Great! Chef Yaquobi is on twitter! Yeah~~~~
Back to reality:

It seems that Annan warning to the khalayjeh not to arm the militias in Syria is the reason why ksa don’t want to accept his visit, too peaceful for their bloody views:

Annan warns Gulf on arming Syrian rebels

UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan warned Gulf Arab states on Wednesday that arming Syrian rebels would be “disastrous” and undermine peace efforts as an extended deadline for a ceasefire approaches.

Speaking at a news conference in Tehran – the capital of Syria’s principal ally Iran – Annan said that if both sides in the Syrian conflict respected his plan, “I think by six o’clock on Thursday the 12th…we should see a much improved situation on the ground.”

He said that a proposal by Saudi Arabia and Qatar to give weapons to outgunned Syrian rebels would worsen matters.

“I’ve always said the militarization of the conflict will be disastrous,” he said.

He stressed that a new conflict could not be tolerated in the Middle East.

Annan’s visit to Iran was seen as an appeal to the Islamic republic’s influence over Syria as the clock ticked down to the deadline of 6:00am Damascus time on Thursday, by which time all combat is meant to cease.

Prospects of Annan’s plan succeeding, though, were dealt a blow on Tuesday when the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad failed to fulfill a commitment to withdraw forces from populated areas.

Annan accused Damascus of moving its troops from some areas and moving them elsewhere during a visit he made on Tuesday to Turkey, an erstwhile Syrian ally now seeking Assad’s resignation.

But on Wednesday, Annan said he had received assurances from Damascus that they would adhere to the Thursday deadline.

“I have received government assurances they will respect the ceasefire.”

In a televised news conference, Annan said it was important that regional governments work with Syria to resolve the crisis, adding that Iran could be part of the solution.

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April 11th, 2012, 12:35 pm


98. 5 dancing shlomos said:

democracy (a western propaganda term) deficit in arab/muslim world as analyzed by an imperialist tool.

western greed/imperialism has the greater ownership of blame.

syrian government do what is necessary to defend syrian independence.

syrian govt do not trust kofi annan – a u.s. puppet.

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April 11th, 2012, 1:06 pm


99. jna said:

Iranian Commandos in action

Off topic but interesting.

“The war on piracy in the Horn of Africa has received a major boost following the capture of one of the world’s most wanted Somali pirate leaders, Mohamed Garad.

Garad, a former British soldier, is said to have been arrested together with 12 other suspected pirates on April 4 by Iranian commandos after they hijacked a Chinese cargo ship.

The co-ordinator of the East African Seafarers Association, Mr Andrew Mwangura, said Garad was captured after the seizure of the Chinese vessel, Xianghuamen, last week.”


“Reports reaching Somalia Report on Monday evening indicate that the Bolivian flagged Eglantine is no longer under pirate’s control. Military sources told Somalia Report that Iranian commandos stormed the bulker today,” the Somalia Report said.


“Iran’s semi-official news agency says Iranian navy commandos opened fire on suspected Somali pirates attempting to hijack a supertanker.

The Fars news agency says the Iranian Voyager 1 tanker came under attack off Pakistan’s south-western coast on Sunday .

The report says commandos repelled pirates who were approaching the vessel with two speedboats in an apparent attempt to hijack it.”


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April 11th, 2012, 1:17 pm


100. jad said:

وزير الاعلام عدنان حمود يرسل برقية تعزية لاهل المصور علي شعبان

[blue diamond http://www.nna-leb.gov.lb/newsDetail.aspx?id=398086 ]

وجاء في نص البرقية “نتقدم منكم بإسمي وبإسم وزارة الاعلام في الجمهورية العربية السورية بأحر التعازي وأصدق مشاعر المواساة لفقدان المصور علي شعبان. الذي استشهد اثناء قيامه بمهمة اعلامية كان دائما حريصا على رسالتها الموضوعية والوطنية.وقد حملنا عن الشهيد علي شعبان صورة ناصعة خلال زيارته لنا في دمشق مع فريق قناة الجديد في كانون الثاني الماضي لتغطية الاحداث في سوريا. وكان مثالا للاخلاقية العالية والانتماء الوطني الذي لطالما تمتع به شباب لبنان المقاوم. ونؤكد ان خسارة الاعلام السوري بفقيدكم الغالي لا تقل عن خسارتكم بهذا الشاب الذي اظهر في عمله عمق انتمائه لخط المقاومة والعروبة ونهجها الراسخ الذي نتشارك فيه وسيبقى في صميم رسالة إعلامنا الوطني.
نعبر لجميع افراد العائلة واحبائه وزملائه عن عميق مشاعر المواساة والعزاء ونسأل الله ان يلهمكم الصبر والسلوان ويتغمد الفقيد بواسع رحمته”.

وعبر والد الشهيد عن تقديره العميق للمبادرة الانسانية لوزير الاعلام السوري شاكرا له اهتمامه باستشهاد نجله مؤكدا “ان الشهيد علي هو ابن سوريا كما هو ابن الجنوب اللبناني”.

وحضر اللقاء بين وفد وكالة “سانا” وعائلة الشهيد مسؤولون من حزب الله وحركة امل.

مقدمة أخبار الدنيا هنا دمشق 11-4-2012

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April 11th, 2012, 1:52 pm


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