Stay Out of Syria - Syria Comment

Stay Out of Syria

The US, Europe and the Gulf states want regime change in Syria so they are starving the regime and feeding the opposition. They have sanctioned Syria to a fare-thee-well and are busy shoveling money and arms to the rebels. This will change the balance of power in favor of the revolution. Crudely put, the US is pursuing regime-change by civil-war. This is the most it can and should do.

President Obama does not want to intervene directly in Syria for obvious reasons. The US has failed at nation-building twice before in the Middle East. Some suggest that the “third time is a charm,” but Americans should not risk it. Voodoo policy analysis is not what the US needs today. Arguing that if only the US had done things differently in Iraq, Iraqis would not have radicalized or fallen into emulous factionalism is hokum. We must not allow ourselves to be talked into direct intervention in Syria today. Every student of the Middle East knows that Iraq had little sense of national political community to hold it together. The fact that it fell apart when the US Roto-Rootered Saddam’s regime should have been expected. The same thing is likely in Syria. Civil war and radicalization may not be avoidable. Syrians have many hard choices to make about their future. The chances that they will make them peacefully are small.

With America’s economy in the dumps, its military badly bruised, its reputation among Muslims in tatters, and its people fatigued by nation-building gone awry, this is no time to launch an intervention in Syria.

Military intervention would undoubtedly be expensive and dangerous. In all likelihood it would back-fire, leaving the US in possession of a broken Syria in desperate need of rebuilding. Syria is a nation the size of Iraq with insufficient sources of revenue. It produces little the world wants to buy. It hardly produces enough electricity for three hours of coverage a day. The school system is in a shambles. Government institutions will fall apart once the revolution wins. They are staffed by Baathists, recruited for loyalty to the regime and the Assad family. No revolutionary government will rehire them. They will purge them from top to bottom and employ the hundreds of thousands of jobless Syrians who have sacrificed for the revolution, lost family and struggled in the face of tyranny. Anyone who believes that Syria will avoid the excesses of Iraq, where the military, government ministries, and Baath Party were dissolved and criminalized is dreaming.  If the US becomes militarily involved by destroying the presidential palace and military installations, it will own Syria.There will be no military to keep order and stop potential looting. If disorder and civil strife breaks out when the regime is destroyed, will the US feel obliged to step in? Will it discipline the 60 militias that now claim to represent the revolutionary forces? If the death toll rises after the regime falls, will the US surge its forces to stop the killing?

Already the Syrian opposition has asked for 12 billion dollars in start up money for the first six months when they come to power. This is chicken feed. Anyone who knows anything about Syria’s 24 million inhabitants, knows that they will need a lot more than 12 billion to stabilize and help rebuild Syria. The US spends 12 billion dollars every three months in Afghanistan. In 2010, the US was spending $6.7 billion in Afghanistan every month compared with $5.5 billion in Iraq.  Few Americans believe this money was well spent. To believe that Syria would cost less is rash.

The US has been down the road of nation-building in the Middle East before. It is not good at it. The US wants regime-change without the responsibilities. Many pundits argue that the US must dive into Syria directly rather than build up the opposition slowly, but that would be a fool’s errand. If the US has learned anything, it is that it cannot sort out issues of power-sharing and national identity for Middle Eastern countries. The road to national unity cannot be paved in Washington. In the end, Syrians must find their own way and choose their own national leaders. Ahmad Chalabi and Hamid Karzai seemed like good choices when they were first held up. They had many winning qualities and looked better than the alternatives. But they turned out not to be the right leaders for Iraq and Afghanistan. There is no indication that the US could do a better job of picking winners in Syria. Burhan Ghalioun, the leader of the Syrian National Council, seemed to have all the qualities of a future Syrian president: he is Sunni, French educated, and has a long history of espousing liberalism, moderation, and democracy.  But it only took months before leaders in his own party attacked him for treason, dictatorship and dishonesty and forced him to resign. Today, the Syrian opposition is leaderless. Over sixty militias are competing on the ground for cash and Kalashnikovs.

Already, we are being told that if we had only intervened earlier with our military, Syrians would have been unified, liberal and moderate. Only because we have delayed, they are becoming radical and and Islamized.  This is not a convincing argument. Syrians are divided because they have no tradition of unity and the Baath has destroyed politics for 50 years. Nothing America can do will erase that legacy of political underdevelopment.

It seems heartless to stand by and do so little as massacres such as that carried out at Houla continue. More than 13 thousand Syrians have been killed in the last 14 months of revolution. All the same US intervention is not the solution. American troops killed over 10 thousand Iraqis in the first month of invasion in 2003. They killed a further 120,000 Iraqis in anger by the time the country was stabilized and safe to leave – and even then Iraq remains in turmoil and a new dictatorship seems to be taking shape. Car bombs are a daily occurrence in Baghdad.

In all likelihood, the Syrian revolution will be less bloody if Syrians carry it out for themselves. A new generation of national leaders will emerge from the struggle. They will not emerge with any legitimacy if America hands them Syria as a gift. How will they claim that they won the struggle for dignity, freedom and democracy? America cannot give these things. Syrians must take them. America can play a role with aid, arms and intelligence, but it cannot and should not try to decide Syria’s future, determine winners, and take charge of Syria. If Syrians want to own Syria in the future, they must own the revolution and find their own way to winning it. It is better for Syria and it is better for America.

[End]

News Round Up follows

The Assads – What keeps them together?

Syria’s Bashar Assad Hangs Onto Power Despite Turmoil
hereandnow.wbur.org
Despite the rising death toll in Syria, inlcuding the reported massacre this week of more than 100 civilians in

The problem with the Annan plan, as I see it, is that it is viewed as a Russian plan. If both sides stop fighting today, Assad wins because he owns the country. The rebels have little to negotiate with and no leverage save the threat of their growing power, numbers, and foreign backing. They need time – and the Annan plan can, in theory, buy them some time. [Josh L.]

Rami G. Khouri on how to save the Annan Plan

If Russia, the United States, China and Iran can agree on a minimum level of steps to bring Syria back from the brink of an all-out civil war, then it might be possible to contemplate establishing some sort of contact group-like mechanism of concerned states that also includes players like Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iraq and the European Union.

It is impossible now to get the Syrian government and opposition groups to meet and talk, due to a lack of trust and lack of clarity on whether they each want to negotiate at all. So the most feasible strategy in this case is to focus on getting regional and international parties that play a direct role in Syria to do four things: agree on their common interests, prevent all-out war in Syria, pressure both sides in the conflict to implement the Annan Plan, and ultimately create transitional mechanisms that protect the interests of all groups and perhaps point the way forward to a stable and peaceful Syria.

Serious talks are underway to explore if regional and global actors might be able to agree on such a mechanism. Annan is said to be encouraged by private conversations he has had with key players, and is not deterred by the fact that these same countries’ public pronouncements can differ. For progress to be achieved I am told, the Annan team feels that “harmony and logic” must be achieved among the three rings of this conflict — domestically, regionally, and internationally.

Syria Says Houla Massacre Victims Wouldn’t Cooperate With Rebels
By Henry Meyer and Stepan Kravchenko on June 02, 2012

Syria’s ambassador to Russia said terrorists targeted families that refused to follow their orders during the massacre of more than 100 people, including dozens of children, in Houla last week.

“These families were killed because they refused to cooperate with these terrorist groups,” Riad Haddad said in an interview at the Syrian embassy in Moscow yesterday. “When the parliamentary elections were held in Syria, these terrorist groups went to villages and towns and stopped people from voting and demanded candidates withdraw.”

The killings in Houla led to new calls for Russia to stop supplying arms to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Russian President Vladimir Putin said he doesn’t support either side in the Syrian conflict. The United Nations Human Rights Council called for a probe into the massacre, which it said was carried out by “pro-regime elements” and government forces.

Among the dead in Houla was the family of a lawmaker who refused to withdraw his name from the parliamentary vote, Haddad said. Several hundred militants carried out the killings in Houla, General Qassem Jamal Suleiman, who heads the Syrian investigation into the killings, said May 31.

The rebel attack on Houla came after they fired two anti- tank missiles at Syrian security forces gathering outside the city, killing 31 troops, Haddad said. Among the civilian casualties in Houla were three families from nearby Shomaliya, whom the rebels killed there, he said, citing his government’s preliminary investigation.
Povoking Interference

Syria has found evidence that fighters from Libya and Tunisia with ties to al-Qaeda are “already among the rebels,” Haddad said, adding that some of the massacre was filmed. “The main aim is to cause failure of the Annan plan and to provoke foreign military interference.”

Putin, speaking at a press conference in Paris yesterday, said additional pressure on Assad’s government risks radicalizing the country. He called for more time to allow UN envoy Kofi Annan’s peace plan to work.

“We want to achieve the situation where the violence ends and there won’t be large-scale civil war,” Putin said.

Guardian (GB): The Houla massacre: reconstructing the events of 25 May
2012-06-01

Martin Chulov in Beirut and Mona Mahmood guardian.co.uk, Friday 1 June 2012 12.09 EDT A photo taken by Syrian activists is said to show Houla residents fleeing shelling. Photograph: AP Friday 25 May began like any other Friday in the Syrian …

U.S. publishes satellite images of Syria
Sat, Jun 02 02:25
By Mark Hosenball

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. government website on Friday published what it said was photographic evidence of mass graves and attacks on civilian areas by Syrian government forces.

The website, operated by a bureau of the State Department, published a series of overhead photos, said to be taken earlier this week by commercial satellite, showing what it said were mass graves dug following a massacre near the town of Houla.

They also showed apparent artillery impact craters near civilian areas of a town called Atarib.

Included on the web page, which can be viewed at http://www.humanrights.gov/2012/03/05/situation-in-syria/, are pictures which apparently show artillery deployed as of May 31 – Thursday – near three Syrian towns and attack helicopters allegedly deployed near the towns of Shayrat and Homs….

CNN: Is Syria unsolvable?
2012-06-01

Aaron David Miller is a distinguished scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and served as a Middle East negotiator in Democratic and Republican administrations. He is the author of the forthcoming book “Can …

Independent: ‘Mr Obama, it’s time to keep your word and end this slaughter’
2012-06-01

Exclusive interview: The leader of Syria’s rebel forces tells Loveday Morris why the West must watch no longer

Speaking to The Independent from an undisclosed location in the Homs Governorate, Colonel Qassim Saadeddine – who this week laid bare the rifts in the rebel forces as he denounced the leadership of the exiled Colonel Riad al-Asaad – declared the Annan peace plan “dead and buried”.

In a message to the US President, Barack Obama, and the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, he said: “You said that [President] Assad must go, you said his days are numbered. Words should be matched by deeds. You cannot wait until after the American elections for action. The regime hasn’t stopped the killing, hasn’t stopped the shelling – you cannot stand still.”….

U.S. Team and Israel Developed Iran Worm
By SIOBHAN GORMAN

WASHINGTON—The U.S. is pursuing a wide-ranging, high-tech campaign against Iran’s nuclear program that includes the cybersabotage project known as Stuxnet, which was developed by the Central Intelligence Agency in conjunction with Idaho National Laboratory, the Israeli government, and other U.S. agencies, according to people familiar with the efforts.

The covert CIA effort also includes persistent drone surveillance and cyberspying on Iranian scientists, they said. The U.S. strategy to use technologically advanced measures against Iran illustrates how the Internet and other remote-access capabilities are facilitating spy operations deep inside denied territories.

“It’s part of a larger campaign,” said a former U.S. official familiar with the efforts. “It’s a preferable alternative to airstrikes.”

Nick Heras & Carole A. O’Leary, “Syrian Tribal Networks and Their Implications for the Syrian Uprising.” – Jamestown Foundation Terrorism Monitor

…The Syrian Ba’ath Party has traditionally sought to undermine the independence of the country’s tribes through intimidation, infiltration, and dependence. These aggressive policies continued under the Assad government and were exacerbated by decades of economic stagnation and the near total collapse of the rural economy of regions in southern and eastern Syria due to drought, corrupt use of water resources and mismanagement of croplands where many tribesmen resided (Jadaliyya, February 16). In spite of these severe difficulties, tribal networks in Syria are, ironically, better equipped at present to influence the opposition against the Assad government than at any other point in Syria’s modern history.

Over the last several decades, relationships between different tribes have been strengthened by the mutual difficulties that all Syrian tribesmen face, and by a shared bond of kinship and a common Arab-Bedouin heritage that differentiates tribesmen from the ruling Assad family that usurped the power of the Syrian Ba’ath Party. [1] The economic disaster facing tribal youth, combined with the political pressure that is constantly applied by the Assad government, caused Syrian tribes to look to each other for mutual help and support. The traditional vertical authority of the shaykhs over the rest of their tribesmen weakened over time, causing decision-making authority to extend beyond one person (or family) in a specific tribal lineage to mutually supporting individuals in a wider network of tribes. [2] Under coercion from the state, many tribal shaykhs were forced to leave their traditional areas to live quietly in Damascus or Aleppo, or left Syria entirely, becoming remote figures from the perspective of their tribesmen. Without revenues, they became unable to provide for the essential needs of their tribes, particularly during the most recent drought that began in 2003 and lasted through the rest of the decade.

The result is a series of horizontal, activist networks of mainly young and economically displaced tribesmen residing in Syria’s most restive cities who have adopted an inter-tribal identity that champions the importance of their shared tribal cultural background and dissatisfaction with their economic and political marginalization in what they view as a corrupt, repressive state. …

the first “Day of Rage” demonstration against the Syrian government in the ethnically mixed, heavily tribal eastern city of Hasakah on February 5, 2011, was conducted by networks of tribesmen from the Jabbour, Ta’i, and the Ounaiza tribal confederations. [4] The “Union of Arab Syrian Clans and Tribes,” an Aleppo-based opposition group claiming to represent more than 50 percent of Syria’s tribal population, announced its existence via YouTube on March 11, 2011. [5] One of the first nationwide Friday demonstrations organized by opposition groups inside of Syria, held on June 10, 2011, was called the “Friday of the Tribes” in recognition of the role that tribesmen played in leading resistance to the Syrian government (al-Jazeera, June 10, 2011). Many Syrian tribal leaders, such as Shaykh Nawwaf al-Bashir, an important leader of the large Baggara tribe and a former member of the Syrian Parliament, are active members of the opposition Syrian National Council (SNC) (al-Jazeera, January 16). Recently, a group of Syrian tribesmen and shaykhs in exile in Istanbul created the “Assembly of Tribes,” claiming to represent 40 percent of Syrian tribesmen (al-Arabiyya, April 16).

In addition to their political role in the Syrian opposition, Syrian tribesmen also participate in the armed groups that fight the Assad government, particularly the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and its affiliates. These tribesmen predominately fight the Syrian military on the local level, in the areas where they reside, relying on young tribesmen who defected from the Syrian military for materiel and tactical advice. [6] Further, the tribes of northeastern and eastern Syria, such as the Shammar, Baggara, Jabbour, Dulaim, and Ougaidat, have close and enduring relationships with their tribal kin in Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Anti-Assad regime states such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar are reported to be using tribal networks to move materiel and weapons into Syria, though this is officially denied (al-Arabiya, March 4). There is also strong evidence that Iraqi tribesmen in particular are moving arms and material as well as fighting alongside their tribal kinsmen against the Assad government in small but growing numbers.[7] The shared cross-border kinship ties possessed by Syrian tribes and networks of tribal youth in Gulf Arab countries present a regional geopolitical complication to the uprising.

Syrian Tribalism and the Assad Government

Although Syrian tribes are well represented in the internal opposition, some tribal shaykhs and tribesmen continue to cooperate with the government. Like the opposition, the government has been aggressive in attempting to secure the support of the tribes. Since the beginning of the uprising, the government has sponsored a series of conferences called the “Syrian and Arab Tribes and Clans Forum,” which emphasize the role of Syrian tribesmen in resisting foreign intervention and ensuring Syria’s sovereignty (Syrian Arab News Agency, May 5). Under regime pressure, Syrian tribal shaykhs were forced to meet the Russian Ambassador to Syria and present him with gifts after Russia’s veto of a February UN Security Council resolution that would have demanded political transition in the country (Syrian Arab News Agency, February 22).

Since the start of the uprising, many Syrian tribesmen have supported the state’s security apparatus, controlled by the Assad family. This is not a new practice, and Syrian tribes have been used as enforcers for the Syrian government for decades. In many restive regions of Syria, tribesmen are deployed by the Syrian military as paramilitary forces called shabiha (literally “ghosts” with the connotation of “thugs”), although interviewees referred to them as jahaaz, which means “apparatus,” as in a security apparatus, but has the connotation of “political tools.” [8] There is evidence that affiliation with the Syrian government or the armed opposition in these areas is splitting the loyalty of tribesmen and fraying relationships between tribal shaykhs asked to choose a side. In Deir al-Zor, tribal loyalties are reportedly being put to the test even within families, as youth join the opposition against the wishes of their more cautious parents, family elders, and shaykhs (The National [Abu Dhabi], January 16). These reports correspond with the authors’ field research on developments in the Jazirah region, indicating that members of the Jabbour tribe in and around al-Hasakah, and the Ta’i tribe in and around Qamishli have been organized and deployed by the regime against restive Kurds and tribal opposition members in these cities. [9] Both of these tribes, in a precarious position in their respective cities, were susceptible to the coercion and manipulation of the Syrian government, which desires to keep its “Kurdish problem” cost effectively managed through the arming of tribal militias and cash “gifts.” Divided loyalties and conflicting networks of mobilization both for and against the opposition add another element of potentially severe instability to the current uprising.

Implications for Regime Change and Stability in a Post-Assad Syria

Interview data collected since the uprisings began in 2011 indicates that without clear guarantees from the United States, leading shaykhs across Syria will not put their tribesmen and women at risk by openly siding with the opposition. At the same time, shaykhs of large tribes located along Syria’s strategic border areas are pursuing quiet but active dialogue with U.S., Turkish, Saudi, and Qatari officials about how they can support the opposition without putting their tribes in danger….

…Syrians will need time to organize new political parties capable of competing with Islamic parties and groups linked to mosque networks in the critical first cycle of post-Assad regime national elections. Syria’s Arab tribes represent an alternative bloc of millions of votes across the country that can rapidly organize and turn out for elections and thus become strong political powerbrokers in a post-Assad Syria.

Comments (231)


Ghufran said:

Replacing Bashar is a necessity but will not be enough to reduce violence, there has to be a consensus against armed groups,regardless of their allegiance, that consensus requires a regional agreement backed by Russia and the US.

June 2nd, 2012, 10:38 am

 

norman said:

The only way to solve the Syrian crises is for giving the full cover for the Syrian army to get rid of the armed militants and in the same time guaranteeing that president Assad will not be party in the presidential election of 2014 and that all elections in Syria will be under international supervision, That is if the West really wants democracy in Syria, If the goal is to control the well of Syria on foreign policy then the solution is outside Syria and a solution will be imposed, I fear that what the Syria want of democracy changed to a war of Sunni against Shia and if that is the case we are at just the beginning and ice tip of what is going to come.

For the Christians in the Mideast they should decide to either train and fight or leave, the area is facing significant change in my opinion.

June 2nd, 2012, 10:42 am

 

Altair said:

It’s not very likely that a George Washington will emerge in this climate. But on the other hand, an Abe Lincoln, someone who will keep the country together, doesn’t seem to be in the cards either. And the level of violence is getting worse and worse. If only there were cooler heads calming the situation, not putting fuel on the fire.

June 2nd, 2012, 11:05 am

 

Afram said:

Henry Kissinger thinks the US and the world should slow down any movement toward military intervention in Syria.I agree

He raises a series of questions about this type of “humanitarian intervention,” a doctrine he says has emerged in the wake of the Arab Spring movement. “Does America consider itself obliged to support every popular uprising against any non-democratic government,including those heretofore considered important in sustaining the international system?” he asks, using Saudi Arabia as a potential example.

Any military intervention, whether for humanitarian or more traditional “strategic” reasons, needs two things: a consensus on what government replaces the one being deposed and an “explicit and achievable” political objective. “I doubt that the Syrian issue meets these tests,” writes Kissinger. “In the absence of a clearly articulated strategic concept, a world order that erodes borders and merges international and civil wars can never catch its breath.” Read his full essay……

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/syrian-intervention-risks-upsetting-global-order/2012/06/01/gJQA9fGr7U_story.html

June 2nd, 2012, 12:13 pm

 

yqxo said:

CNN’s Mr. Thomson visited Al Houla. Some serious sectarian rhetoric in his interviewees:

UNIDENTIIFED MALE: Shia and Alawites — Shia and Alawites want to kill all Sunni people. Shia and Alawites, I promise you when the regime will fall we want to kill them.

THOMSON: You want to kill them?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. No. No.

THOMSON: No. No more killing. No more killing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. They kill us every day.

THOMSON: No more killing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

THOMSON: You want to kill them?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I hurt them. And we all — of all Houla people hurt them.

http://edition.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1206/01/nwsm.01.html – I watched the interview live, couldn’t find the video but transcript instead.

June 2nd, 2012, 1:04 pm

 

zoo said:

Iran’s wrath on display. How will “zero problem” Turkey react?

Iran blasts Turkey, Saudi, Qatar over ally Syria
AFP – 1 hr 29 mins ago

http://news.yahoo.com/iran-blasts-turkey-saudi-qatar-over-ally-syria-153429473.html

A top military aide to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Saturday accused Ankara, Riyadh and Doha of serving US and Israeli interests in Syria, in a veiled warning to Turkey of worsening ties.

“The Americans, Israelis, and some European and Persian Gulf nations, in particular Qatar and Saudi Arabia, have delegated to Turkey the task of achieving their goal to weaken or topple Bashar al-Assad’s government or make it surrender,” Fars news agency reported General Yahya Rahim Safavi as saying.

“Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey are acting in the interests of the US and the Zionists to weaken the resistance axis comprising Iran, Syria and Hezbollah,” said the former Revolutionary Guards commander.

June 2nd, 2012, 1:08 pm

 

zoo said:

Qatar singing the same old song: empty threats of UNSC Chapter 7
The AL trying to show some relevance with old ideas.
Ghaliun ex-SNC “leader” last attempts to stay in board

http://news.yahoo.com/ap-interview-un-official-says-no-syria-amnesty-092655174.html

Qatar’s prime minister Sheik Hamid bin Jassim Al Thani urged the U.N. to set a deadline for Annan’s peace efforts and warn Assad that failure could mean invoking Chapter 7 of the U.N. charter, which allows for possible military action.

“We can’t stand any more stalling,” he said after an emergency meeting of Arab League foreign ministers to discuss Syria.

Arab League Secretary General Nabil Elaraby suggested an option could be converting the Arab-led observer mission in Syria into a peacekeeping force.

Earlier in Doha, the head of Syria’s largest exile opposition group said he would welcome Arab military action aimed at ending attacks by Assad’s regime against Syrian rebel forces and civilians, including the massacre of more than 100 people in Houla.

Burhan Ghalioun, head of the Syrian National Council, also held talks with Arab League officials.

More…

June 2nd, 2012, 1:17 pm

 

irritated said:

YqXO

“CNN’s Mr. Thomson visited Al Houla”

The same Thomson who describe the Syrian government preliminary investigation as “laughable” ?

It seems he is the one who is “laughable” in his desperate attempts to prevent the ‘innocent people’ sunnis of Houla from saying on record that they are after a bloody revenge on Alawites and Shias.

June 2nd, 2012, 1:26 pm

 

Tara said:

58% of French citizen backs military intervention in Syria.  Humanity is screaming against Bashar… Navi Pillay warns Bashar that he will NOT have amnesty.  Capital punishment or life in a Syria prison.  

Syrian leaders will not be allowed amnesty, says UN human rights chief
Navi Pillay warns Bashar al-Assad and his supporters: ‘You cannot have amnesty for very serious crimes’
Saturday 2 June 2012 10.43 EDT
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jun/02/syrian-regime-amnesty-un-rights

Navi Pillay, the UN high commissioner for human rights, said peace negotiators seeking to offer amnesties in return for regime change would be acting beyond their powers. “You cannot have amnesty for very serious crimes,” she told the Associated Press, “so my message is very clear – there has to be accountability.”

Pillay’s statement may convince Assad and his supporters that their only option is to crush their opponents as any attempt at compromise or negotiation will ultimately lead to their indictment.
….
A French poll on Saturday showed a strengthening of support for a military intervention in Syria. The Ifop poll – the first since last week’s mass killings in the town of Houla – revealed 58% now backed a military intervention, up from 51% in February, and support for French involvement had surged to 50% from 38%.

Ifop said the increase was “undoubtedly linked to the multiplication of war crimes blamed on Bashar al-Assad’s regime and their recent media coverage”.

More…

June 2nd, 2012, 1:26 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

The Arab league is calling to block syria channels and media

June 2nd, 2012, 1:42 pm

 

Badr said:

MJABALI,

Thank you for the reply, even though it did not include specifically what I was looking for, in regard to the “what salvation for Syria” point, hence I’ll try again.

You wrote:

The solution I envision would entail a speedy end to all forms of violence first while allowing free press to investigate what really happened and will happen.

Stopping violence and sitting on a table is one smart way.

If against all odds, a dialog is initiated, and you were invited to take part, what detailed solution would you propose?

June 2nd, 2012, 2:01 pm

 

Amjad said:

“Government institutions will fall apart once the revolution wins. They are staffed by Baathists, recruited for loyalty to the regime and the Assad family. No revolutionary government will rehire them. They will purge them from top to bottom and employ the hundreds of thousands of jobless Syrians who have sacrificed for the revolution, lost family and struggled in the face of tyranny”

Nothing could be further from the truth. That is complete nonsense. Where did Professor Landis get this from? Is it a stated policy of anyone in the opposition? To think that a country could possible be run by dumping in one stroke all experienced civil servants and replacing them with rookies is preposterous.

The new government will have to fix the roads, improve schools, provide electricity, etc etc etc, and they know they won’t be able to do so with an inefficient and clueless civil service. Does anyone in their right mind really believe that teachers, food inspectors, state nurses and doctors, and all the myriad skills needed to run a state can be found off the street and replaced so easily?

In a post-Assad Syria, the civil service is only likely to grow. And the private sector will no longer be in the suffocating grip of one family. There will be plenty of opportunities to go around once the country *properly* opens up.

If I was an opposition leader, I would get on every satellite station and hammer in the same message; no one will lose their job. In fact, I’d go further and let people who have been in their jobs for a lengthy period of time nominate their replacement.

People want more than just civil servant jobs. In fact, that’s quite a low bar to set one’s ambitions to. The doomsday scenario as presented by Professor Landis shows why, in all frankness academics should not be put in positions of running a country. That was the mistake made in Burhan Ghaliun’s selection as SNC chief. Ghaliun is an honorable man, and well meaning, but he is no politician.

Politics requires someone hungry for power, and knows how to make the best use of people’s skills to achieve goals. A compromiser, negotiator, inspiration. Something Bashar is hopelessly unsuited for.

June 2nd, 2012, 2:13 pm

 

omen said:

george washington = chalabi?

chalabi, a good idea at the time? even before the iraq invasion, he was a well known crook, tried in jordan in absentia for bank fraud.

i don’t know why there is an eagerness to replace one cult of personality with another cult of personality. it’s like inconceivable to some that collective group effort is going to trump hero worship. the priority above all else is the ouster of this regime. after the regime is gone, then people can decide who & what will replace it.

or, at least, that’s how ideally it should go. but vested interests have to keep their filthy hands into everything and try to shape outcomes. like as is being done in egypt. give people the false illusion of choice when in reality, it’s no choice at all.

I’m sure multinationals are eager to know who the one figurehead is going to be so they know who they’ll be doing business with.

June 2nd, 2012, 2:17 pm

 

omen said:

zoo, et al, did you miss amjad’s post? or are you ignoring it?

AMJAD said:

Oh no, what ever happened to the regimists favorite Leftist sell out? Even he can’t defend Bashar’s actions anymore.

http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2012/06/sectarian-affiliation-of-victims-in.html

“I have received information in the last few days that some of the victims in Hula were Shi`ites. That was also reported on New TV and on the Syrian dissident website, Al-Haqiqah. I was told that the victims from the families of `Abdur-Razzaq and As-Sayyid were Sunnis who had converted to Shi`ism in the 1980s. I contacted those who reported that and I contacted people in Hula itself and I can tell you that there is no evidence whatsoever to that claim (which has obvious propaganda value particularly since that Syrian regime media never discuss issues of sects–unlike the Syrian opposition media which are blatant in its sectarianism and sectarian agitation). And if you add this (the story that has not been proven) to the lousy and empty press conference in Damascus yesterday about the Syrian regime investigation of the massacre, I can only conclude that the Syrian regime is looking more and more guilty. We don’t have all the facts as of yet, but this is my feeling now in the absence of evidence to the contrary.

[…] ”

Dear me, all the lies and pakistani shabiha conspiracy theories don’t seem to be able to stop Bashar’s inevitable day in the Hague. If he’s lucky.

June 2nd, 2012, 2:27 pm

 

jna said:

“58% of French citizen backs military intervention in Syria.”

Wonderful. Let them volunteer for combat plus dip into their assets to pay for it all.

June 2nd, 2012, 2:30 pm

 

omen said:

if influential pundits hadn’t earlier in the spring argued against intervention, and if the u.s. had acted sooner in aiding the opposition, the regime might have been ousted already. isn’t it disingenuous to argue for a hands off policy and then carp about sanctions when quick action would have helped avoid prolonging catastrophe.

June 2nd, 2012, 2:50 pm

 

yqxo said:

It seems he is the one who is “laughable” in his desperate attempts to prevent the ‘innocent people’ sunnis of Houla from saying on record that they are after a bloody revenge on Alawites and Shias.

Probably same. Haven’t followed CNN. But in that piece Mr. Thomson seemed like wanting to change the interviewees opinion, I found that inappropriate for journalist.

Still the interview was worth it, in the end it showed the mans opinion.

June 2nd, 2012, 2:55 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

Link Added: http://nebraspress.net/index.php/syria/1020-2012-06-01-22-33-36

القائم بأعمال السفير السوري في اليمن يعلن استقالته من منصبه وتأييده للثورة

June 2nd, 2012, 2:55 pm

 

Ghufran said:

“Crudely put, the US is pursuing regime-change by civil-war. This is the most it can and should do”. I hope the part about “should do” was a typo and does not reflect JL opinion about what the US should do,but a similar line pops up at the end about supplying arms and intelligence to the opposition !!
All of that talk was done in the context of leaving Syrians to decide the future of their country and the type of leaders they want without foreign,including US ,intervention, I do not know anybody who truely believes that this will ever happen.
I am really disappointed at the quality of the main post,it is bad enough that I am still trying to convince myself that it has to be a peron other than JL who wrote the piece.

June 2nd, 2012, 3:05 pm

 

Antoine said:

We ask the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to provide the Free Syrian Army with Anti-Tank missiles.

We ask His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan , in the name of the House of Hashem and all Arabs,to help the Syrian people by arming the Free Syrian Army.

Your Majesty,

Your legitmacy and that of your dynasty is derived from leadership claims of all the Arabs of the World. It is time to fulfil your role.

Help Syria, send the weapons to the rebels in Edleb, Homs, Hama, Daraa.

_________________________________________________________________

June 2nd, 2012, 3:06 pm

 

irritated said:

Has anyone witnessed the “volcano of rage” on Friday in Syria streets?
Or like most calls for massive strikes and massive demonstrations lately, it fell on deaf ears.

“DAMASCUS/GENEVA – Syrian activists threatened a “volcano of rage” Friday over the killing of civilians by government forces as a deadline set by rebel fighters passed for Damascus to honor a UN-backed ceasefire.”

June 2nd, 2012, 3:08 pm

 

Antoine said:

Amjad,

Are you personally happy about Jordan’s approach to Syria ?

I am not. They are being far too soft and accomodating to Assad. In fact it was the King who first asked him to step down but it has been silence since.

The Jordanian Government treats the refugees very badly. They treat the FSA as criminals, in fact once you get into Jordan you have to surrender all your documents and live in buildings under 24 hour surveillance by the Jordanian Police and Mabaheth.

Till now, the King and Queen have not visited the refugees even once.

They are not allowing the FSA to smuggle weapons across the border at all, though sympathetic Jordanian soldiers and offciers are helping in an individual capacity.

I think it is time the Syrian Opposition especially the LCC and FSA makes a high level representation to the King and the Prime Minister Sheikh Fayez al-Tarawneh.

It should be communicated to them that the Syrian people expect better from the Jordanian Government.

What do you think ?

__________________________________________________________________

June 2nd, 2012, 3:14 pm

 

Amjad said:

“I am really disappointed at the quality of the main post,it is bad enough that I am still trying to convince myself that it has to be a peron other than JL who wrote the piece.”

Poor Professor Landis just can’t get a break from anyone. And we wonder why there were so few websites dedicated to Syria. If the main post was filled with nothing but press statements from SANA and Russian media, I’m sure the “quality” of the post would have been quite high in the eyes of the regimists.

Antoine #22, I’m not sure I know the details of how refugees are treated in Jordan, but I know that there have been numerous demonstrations infront of the Syrian consulate. In the end, Jordan wants to join the GCC, and so will do whatever that body decides on.

Quite a spectacular move on the part of the Gulf countries, to include Jordan and Morocco into the club. The GCC’s influence and reach increased at a critical time, while someone else who inherited the presidency can’t even order a crate of Jamaican bananas without getting his butt sanctioned.

June 2nd, 2012, 3:15 pm

 

Tara said:

Link Added: http://the-syrian.com/archives/78932

From the Mundassa

عفافك وطهرك ليس شرف بل قمة العُهر والغباء …..

دمشق يا سيدة النساء
=================
دمشق يا سيدة النساء ….كفاك صمتاً كفاكِ حياء
…إخوتك اليوم غاصت بالدماء
.. انكشفي تعرّي كفاكي حياء .
……فلقد سئمنا الغطاء خلف الغطاء
اظهري عورتك انتفضي بصوتك بجسدك
لا تقفي خائفةً من الخلف فمكانك ليس في الوراء
…دمشق يا سيدة النساء دمشق يا سيدة النساء
.كم جولة خسرتي ولم تستدركي العيوب والأخطاء …
اكسري الوهم حطمي القيد مزقي الرداء
دمشق يا سيدة النساء….دمشق يا سيدة النساء ..
أما سمعتِ مستغيثٍ أما سمعتي النداء ؟؟
لا نريدك بعد اليوم صامتة خانعة وديعة عذراء ….
سترك وصمتك اليوم فضيحة وجريمة نكراء .
..عفافك وطهرك ليس شرف بل قمة العُهر والغباء …..
ذُبحت حمص ودرعا و أدلب العصماء
الحسان جميعهن لبسنا ثوب الخنساء …
وأصواتهن علت عنان السماء
وانت تخافين ،تخجلين تدمدمين بالخفاء
فكفاكي كفاكِ يا سيدة النساء
كفاكِ يا دمشق الفيحاء
…امتنعِي عن الحب والسهر مزقي الياسمين وارفضي الغناء
اقرعي الأجراس كبري في عنان الفضاء
اطردي من حولك كل الجبناء..
اغلقي الأبواب لا تكلمي أحداً من الأصدقاء
اصمتي صومي أَضّربِي عن البيع أَضربي عن الشراء
….دمشق يا سيدة النساء …دمشق يا سيدة النساء …
.كوني مقبرة الأسودِ كوني العز والشموخ والإباء …
حطمي القيود كسّري الحواجز حرري السجناء ..
نريدك عروس بثوب أسود ولتتصدر أبنائك قوائم الشهداء …
فأنت الأمل وأنت الرجاء …..وأنت شرفنا، عزنا والكبرياء
يا سيدة النساء يا دمشق يا سيدة النساء
السورية الأبية
29/05/2012

June 2nd, 2012, 3:16 pm

 

Alan said:

2. NORMAN said:
and that all elections in Syria will be under international supervision, That is if the West really wants democracy in Syria,
Ha ha ha ha ! international supervision ! see this international supervision:
Ten Israeli warplanes have violated Lebanon’s airspace and flown over the country in flagrant violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701, هل هي وصاية غربية على سورية ؟
هل المسماة رقابة دولية أظهرت حيادية في هذا العالم المتوحش؟ يقومون بتبديل الأنظمة بالقوه و نقول لهم تعالوا للرقابة على انتخاباتنا ؟

June 2nd, 2012, 3:16 pm

 

bronco said:

JL: “Syrians are divided because they have no tradition of unity”
“Crudely put, the US is pursuing regime-change by civil-war”

Strangely enough everyone is amazed by the unity and cohesion that the government, the officials and the army showed under the overwhelming assaults, without counting the large number of pro-regime from all classes and sects, still loyal to their ‘isolated dictator’.

It is not because the ‘opposition’ fed by expats and by the enemies of Syria is disunited, that it is acceptable to generalize on all Syrians.
The majority of Syrians are united in refusing a civil war and foreign intervention. Syria is not Libya.

If the US is dreaming of a civil war that would change the regime they are up for another failure in their series of failures of regime changes in the Middle East.
Before weapons gets into the hand of the opposition, there will be no hands to hold them, as the army would have mercilessly destroy them.
The “civil war” called by the US will simply reinforce the regime and its determination to kick the EU and the US out of the region with the help of its allies.

June 2nd, 2012, 3:22 pm

 

omen said:

@2:50 pm

*to coin ghalioun’s phrase.

June 2nd, 2012, 3:26 pm

 

Alan said:

Save Syria: US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia have plotted bloodbath for years
http://www.activistpost.com/2012/06/save-syria-us-israel-and-saudi-arabia.html
../../..
Save Syria Now

The premeditated nature of not only regime change in Syria, but the use of sectarian terrorists to wring such change out of a sea of blood, is clearly and extensively documented. There is nothing that the Syrian government can do, beyond crushing this foreign legion of terrorists and restoring order, that will prevent in any imaginable way the humanitarian crisis that is planned for Syria. As seen in Libya, the torture, atrocities, genocide, and disorder only just begin with the fall of a targeted government. The US means to create a sectarian extremist state with which to array against neighboring Iran../../..
../../..
The Clear Choice

It is clear what must be done to avert a repeat of a Libyan-style genocidal catastrophe and save Syria. The support for sectarian terrorists by the West must end. The weapons and foreign fighters flowing from Libya, Lebanon’s north, Turkey, and the Gulf States must be stopped. The Syrian government must be allowed to quickly restore order and reassert the protection it has provided Syria’s many ethnic minorities for decades against extremists of the Muslim Brotherhood and now Al Qaeda. The political transition the West speaks about as the only “acceptable outcome” for Syria will leave the nation, as it did Libya, under the rule of an ineffectual government hiding in Damascus while the rest of the country is torn apart by genocidal sectarian terrorists flush with NATO and Gulf State weapons and cash.

It is clear what must be done to save Syria, and it is clear that those who ignore this obvious choice are promoting a war of aggression against a nation that posed no threat to their security. This constitutes a crime against world peace and is punishable under the Nuremberg precedent.

Please read through the “Solutions” archive to see ways of exposing, undermining, and replacing the corporate-financier interests driving this global campaign of destabilization and military aggression.

June 2nd, 2012, 3:28 pm

 

omen said:

5. YQXO said: 1:04 pm

you mean to tell me if your entire family was murdered and half the people of your town was slain, you wouldn’t be driven half mad with rage?

people say a lot of things when in shock. doesn’t mean they’ll do it.

June 2nd, 2012, 3:33 pm

 

Son of Damascus said:

Did someone mention that the strikes fell on deaf ears?

Lets examine that for a second, as a Damascene I find that statement to be completely false and heres the proof:

The strike in Damascus this week included:

1] Medhat Basha Souk
2] Al Hareeka
3] Al Souf Souk
4] Al Qumash Souk
5] Al Saroujeh Souk
6] Bab Srejeh
7] Burj Demashq
8] Khaled Bin Waleed street
9] Al Qanawat
10] Al Halbouni (Al Maktabat Souk)
11] Bab Al Basha Al Electroni
12] Al Sen’aeyye area (Hosh Plus)
13] Al Fahhame (Al Mawasem Souk)
14] Al Soukeyyeh
15] Qaber Atakeh
16] Zuqaq Al Jen
17] Bab Musla (Al Tabreed Souk)
18] AlSalheyye (Al Juma’a Souk)
19] Al Mawazeene
20] Al Zuhour district
21] Barneyyeh
22] Al Shagour

A collection of some videos that show the strike:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hr2EWfzH_RU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txYQgtg9o_o
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_iP6l79l2dE
http://youtu.be/6lBlO9WnBTc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hclOZ4Izb18
http://youtu.be/R4Gy6bYLgnU

(I can provide a collection of another 30 videos)

How about some videos with the reaction of the shabeeha to the srike (before some ill-informed commentator claim that it was a religious holiday as they did earlier)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNykGxt6lbs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=It0zm7yd56k
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ytJL0dqRPI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrrujkYAT6E
http://youtu.be/vnlmpqAx2C8

Deaf ears eh?

June 2nd, 2012, 3:36 pm

 

Son of Damascus said:

Oh I forgot to mention in my post above about the protest that supposedly fell on deaf ears as well, here is a spreadsheet with every protest that took place this Friday (it is still being updated so not all the videos are available yet).

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0ApmYuUKngxu9dDlNUHU2V1J1V292MERuTGpuY21mR0E&output=html

Deaf Ears eh?

June 2nd, 2012, 3:45 pm

 

irritated said:

30. Son of Damascus said:

“Did someone mention that the strikes fell on deaf ears?”

I hope your ‘rage’ does not prevent you from reading the post carefully.
The “Volcano of rage” was called for Friday after the deadline of 48 hours given by the FSA spokesmen.

The videos you show are only of closed shops on Thursday. I will not debate why they were closed.

On friday there has been some demonstrations in hundreds. I don’t know if you can qualify that a “volcano”.
Even Al Jazeera failed to report them

June 2nd, 2012, 3:49 pm

 

Tara said:

JL: “Syrians are divided because they have no tradition of unity”

I can’t agree more. The pseudo-unity the regime is demonstration is because of it’s sectarian built and nothing but..

Syrians are just like their Lebanese brethren…all leaders with and no people to lead. We never learned democracy…it is not part of our dictionary. It is either you are with us or..you are a traitor.

June 2nd, 2012, 3:55 pm

 

Alan said:

Nine dead, dozens injured in Lebanon clashes over Syrian conflict (VIDEO)
http://www.rt.com/news/lebanon-clashes-syria-conflict-846/

June 2nd, 2012, 4:00 pm

 

Osama said:

MAJEDKHALDOUN 18.

Can you please provide a link to your news that the Syrian Charge D’affairs in Yemen has defected.

I did a search for the story and I found articles attributing this news to “high ranking sources” within the yemeni Association of Nationalism Press:

http://www.nebraspress.net/

the “high ranking sources” didn’t bother to tell their own website about this news yet, because they have nothing posted referring to this story at their site??

June 2nd, 2012, 4:01 pm

 

Alan said:

Iran preparing a soft landing strip for Syria
http://www.rt.com/news/iran-syria-islamic-reforms-167/
Iranian politicians are watching events in Syria with concern: their view is that the country is being attacked by Saudi Arabia and Israel for its ties with Iran and its support for Palestinians, rather than part of the Arab Spring.
Mohammad Naderi of Iran’s National Security Council believes that “if Syria falls it will be the time to strike on Iran.”
“The United States proceeds from the fact that in the modern world, nobody has the right to resist the global order. Today, Iran is the only country which has the anti-American position, and which politically resists the U.S.’s global hegemony,” says Naderi.
In his view, pressuring Syria is part of the U.S. strategy. “This is why all kinds of forces are working for this strategy. Such groups as Salafis, Wahhabis, and separatist movements, and Saudi Arabia are involved in this Syrian issue.”../../..

June 2nd, 2012, 4:02 pm

 

Antoine said:

If you are a Conscript in the Syrian Arab Army, join the FSA before it is “too late” –




June 2nd, 2012, 4:06 pm

 

Antoine said:

In the end, my main contention is –

people support the Syrian regime either because –

1. They are sectarian

2. They want to eat Lobsters and French wine in some Damascus restaurant.

June 2nd, 2012, 4:10 pm

 

NK said:

A gift from Aleppo to all regime supporters

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42glpF-Z1NE

و عقبال عندكون

June 2nd, 2012, 4:12 pm

 

Antoine said:

Amjad,

The Syrian refugees are being treated very poorly by the Jordanian authorities. FSA are being treated like criminals and they are forced to live under 24 hr surveillance by the Jordanian Police. They don’t allow ANY weapons to get into Daraa from Jordan.

There have been individual acts from Jordanian soldiers and officers to help the FSA, but the Government is totally opposed to even contemplate arming the FSA or even allowing the Saudis to arm them.

Jordan with the GCC, are u serious ?

Haven;t you heard of the diplomatic wrangling they are having with the S’udis over sending weapons to FSA ? Saudis are prepared but Jordan is not allowing to do so.

Are you against foreign arming of the FSA ?

June 2nd, 2012, 4:15 pm

 

Osama said:

Omen 14. (Amjad)

Unfortunately you will know that if you read Angry Arab (Asad Abukhalil) regularly he disagree’s and criticizes everyone and everything, no wonder he’s angry.

Here is a post from today:

http://angryarab.net/2012/06/02/torches-of-victory/

“Torches of Victory”
There are so many ugly and disgusting aspects of the Syrian political movement of the Ikhwan, Syrian National Council, and Free Syrian Army (just as the Syrian regime is an epitome of ugliness). They produce such ugly propaganda. They give a name to every Friday in the hope that it will rally the Syrian public behind their agenda. Do you know what they called yesterday? The trio of the exile opposition called yesterday: “The Friday of ‘Children of Hula are the Torches of Victory’ “. This ugly slogan only shows you the extent to which they are willing to disregard an decency or humanitarian standards in their obsession with propaganda (funded by the oil and gas regimes). The murdered children are “torches of victory”??? Can you imagine somebody milking such a heinous crime for political purposes?

[…]

June 2nd, 2012, 4:24 pm

 

Son of Damascus said:

Irritated,

“On friday there has been some demonstrations in hundreds. I don’t know if you can qualify that a “volcano”.”

In Damascus proper alone there was 85 demonstrations (of that 37 are documented on video), Halab 130 Demonstrations (63 documented on video), 171 in Idlib, 134 Hama …

Every province in Syria saw protests and none supporting the regime, 955 protests across Syria all demanding the fall of this regime (381 of those so far uploaded on the internet). What deaf ears are you talking about exactly?

“I will not debate why they were closed.”

Will you debate why the shabeeha forced open those shops? Or is that part of Bashars reforms hiring thugs to open shop for the merchants?

June 2nd, 2012, 4:24 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

Irritated
If you keep your eyes closed , and your fingers in your ears, you are right you see nothing ,and you hear nothing, don’t open your eyes please
AlRasafi said
Wada3o al tafahuma janiban falkhayro alla tafhamo
You are doing good job in that.

JL said
This is the most it can and should do.

most it can do, I think you are refering to Russia position in the UN.
Most it should do, I think you meant now.

June 2nd, 2012, 4:42 pm

 

Syrialover said:

“Syrians are divided because they have no tradition of unity and the Baath has destroyed politics for 50 years. Nothing America can do will erase that legacy of political underdevelopment.” (Joshua Landis, above).

It’s not comfortable reading, but this statement and the rest of his post above would not be comfortable writing for Joshua Landis, either. He’s not making wishful, speculative comments, he’s examining current reality.

I respect him for facing up to what is happening to Syria, and acknowledging the massive economic, infrastructure and skills deficits Assad rule has inflicted. All the crippling distortions, backward steps, waste, destruction and lost opportunities of the past 40 years.

This sort of discussion by those who care about Syria is essential to any hope of Syrians building a workable future.

June 2nd, 2012, 5:00 pm

 

irritated said:

$43 SOD

Amazing, so many places and not many deaths and wounded reported?
So it means that the regime is actually abiding to the peace plan by allowing peaceful demonstrations. That’s a real achievement.

The trouble is that, as there are no death and they stay within hundreds of protesters, no media bother to report them. Or if they would, the media would be have to recognize that the regime is not ‘repressing with violence’ these peaceful demonstrations. Something they prefer to avoid recognizing.

June 2nd, 2012, 5:01 pm

 

Syrialover said:

I wish I could believe and look forward to Amjad’s scenario above in #12. But it does not take into account the fact that the Syrian civil service is massively overstaffed and underpowered, dominated by people who have no relevant training or qualifications for their role and have never seen it modelled.

The ideal scenario (and the only alternative to a failed state) is to keep essential services intact, but bring in all the professional help they can to re-build these mouldy, empty institutions, establish systems and training and get the civil service running to standards the country needs to survive.

That will take a massive amount of hard slog and sacrifice – and vision and integrity and energy by those who take power after Assad. And guts. Iron will and personal courage and the qualities to make people trust and follow.

It’s not a Syrian dilemma – it’s a human one. Look at Greece for a simple blueprint of what NOT to do in a democratic system post-civil war and military dictatorship. Many people felt after all that suffering that it was their right, and their turn, to get something out of the state. And Greece’s politicians recklessly indulged, built and fed these expectations to personally keep in power through the ballot box.

June 2nd, 2012, 5:08 pm

 

Son of Damascus said:

Irritated,

“Amazing, so many places and not many deaths and wounded reported?
So it means that the regime is actually abiding to the peace plan by allowing peaceful demonstrations. That’s a real achievement.”


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_T28OcV80ps&feature=player_embedded


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5tK-dW1FdU&feature=player_embedded

43 dead Syrians is not an achievement, it is a crying shame!

June 2nd, 2012, 5:19 pm

 

Antoine said:

I saw massacre of children, says defecting Syrian air force officer

As UN envoy warns of all-out war, a major has provided crucial evidence on the Houla killings

Martin Chulov
guardian.co.uk, Saturday 2 June 2012 20.59 BST

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jun/02/massacre-children-syrian-officer
___________________________________________________________________

A senior Syrian military officer has described how he defected to opposition forces after witnessing hundreds of pro-regime militiamen carry out the now infamous massacre of more than 100 civilians in the town of Houla one week ago.

The account of Major Jihad Raslan comes as the United Nations’ special envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan, yesterday warned of an increasing risk of imminent war in Syria. “The spectre of an all-out war with an alarming sectarian dimension grows by the day,” Annan told an Arab League gathering.

His concerns follow warnings delivered on Friday by the United States, Britain and the UN Human Rights Council, which voted overwhelmingly to condemn the Syrian regime for the Houla killings.

The killing of so many civilians, among them 49 children and at least 20 women, continues to galvanise international anger against regime officials and their loyalist militias, which have widely been blamed for what took place.

Raslan served until last Saturday in the Syrian Air Force in the strategically vital port city of Tartous. He had been in Houla on leave when the town was shelled just after 1pm last Friday, then invaded by a civilian militia, known as the Shabiha, in the worst single atrocity of the Syrian uprising.

The officer’s account to the Observer of what took place is among the most important of the testimonies to have emerged since the massacre, the aftermath of which appears to be causing fresh turmoil inside Syria 16 months after the first stirrings of revolt inspired by the Arab spring.

Raslan said he was in his house, around 300 metres from the site of the first massacre in the village of Taldous, when several hundred men whom he knew to be Shabiha members rode into town in cars and army trucks and on motorbikes.

“A lot of them were bald and many had beards,” he said. “Many wore white sports shoes and army pants. They were shouting: ‘Shabiha forever, for your eyes, Assad.’ It was very obvious who they were.

“We used to be told that armed groups killed people and the Free Syria Army burned down houses,” he said. “They lied to us. Now I saw what they did with my own eyes.”

He said the killings in his area were over in around 15 minutes. However, the rampage in other parts of Houla continued until the early hours of Saturday, according to eye-witnesses and survivors.

“Those victims who were slaughtered are people that I knew well,” Raslan said. “These children I knew well, personally. I ate with their families. I had social ties with them. The regime cannot lie about these people, who they were and what they did to them. It was a brutal act by the regime against people who were with the revolution,” he said.

Raslan said that he served on a missile base in Tartous, removed from the grinding everyday savagery of Syria’s uprising. “I knew they had been lying, but I had not been exposed to the effects of it. This was the first time I had seen anything like this.”

He said defections had increased sharply in the days following the massacre and he claimed to know of five defectors who were shot dead as they tried to flee through olive groves not far from Houla the day after the killings.

“Many more want to leave,” he said, “but they can’t. All holidays have been cancelled by the military. It is a very serious risk if anyone tries to flee now. I was only allowed to go on leave because of exceptional family circumstances.”

A second defector from Houla, a first lieutenant who was serving in nearby Homs city last weekend, said that Houla had changed the thinking of soldiers and officers like him who did not support the regime crackdown on dissent but had been too afraid to leave.

[…]
___________________________________________________________________

June 2nd, 2012, 5:25 pm

 

zoo said:

The USA is finally coming to its senses about Syria:
Work with Russia, not against.

Humiliated and revengeful, the Arab League calls for crippling Syria satellite news broadcasting so Qatar and KSA can control the information Syrians have access to.

http://news.yahoo.com/us-reaches-syrias-allies-russia-190154701.html

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton discussed the situation with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in a telephone call on Saturday, a senior State Department official said.

“They both agreed that we have to work together,” said the official, who provided details of the private discussion on condition of anonymity. “Her message to him was that we have to start working together to help Syrians with a serious political transition strategy.”

Clinton said U.S. and Russian officials should engage diplomatically to come up with ideas in Moscow, Washington, New York and “wherever we need to,” according to the official.”

Russia has refused to support any move that could lead to foreign intervention in Syria, Moscow’s last significant ally in the Middle East. Russia, along with China, has twice used its veto power to shield Syria from U.N. sanctions.
….
After the meeting, the ministers issued a statement calling on the Arab world’s two main satellite operators, Saudi Arabia-hosted Arabsat and Egypt’s Nilesat, to suspend the broadcasting of Syria’s state-run and private television stations.

The move, which would block the regime’s ability to push its version of the uprising, is seen as another step by the Arab League to pressure Damascus, which was suspended from the 22-member bloc last year.

Syrian state TV quickly responded, saying the move is “part of the aggression against Syria and aims to silence the voice of its people.” It added that the decision aims to “conceal the facts of what is going on in Syria.”

June 2nd, 2012, 5:25 pm

 

Syrialover said:

One more stark failure scenario for Syrians to study and learn from – post-liberation Afghanistan.

Countless highly skilled and hugely motivated Afghani expatriates around the world were prepared to quit their jobs and sell their businesses in the west – and many did – to come back and help re-build their country.

I remember watching it at the time. There was so much optimism and energy, can-do and constructive thinking. So many showed they were prepared to make personal leaps of faith and sacrifices to be part of a dream.

But it tragically soured and was violently washed away by small cliques of stupidity and evil. The tribal warlords and old corrupt power networks won, and preferred to keep fighting over empty expanses of dust and desperate peasantry, looting and crushing everything intended and offered for the people of Afghanistan.

Joshua Landis mentions the seeds for that scenario for Syria in his post above in the rejection of the Burhan Ghalioun type of leader.

Those who lead and win a revolution by force may have an essential role, but then they need to acknowledge their job is done and allow a different set of skills and approach to rebuild and run the country.

June 2nd, 2012, 5:34 pm

 

irritated said:

#48. Son of Damascus

Could you post the link to the independent information about 43 dead on Friday, I have not see this reported.

June 2nd, 2012, 5:36 pm

 

Antoine said:

Assad is finished….

June 2nd, 2012, 6:13 pm

 

Son of Damascus said:

Irritated,

“Could you post the link to the independent information about 43 dead on Friday, I have not see this reported.”

The Local Coordination Committees:
43 martyrs have fallen thus far in Syria: 13 martyrs were reported in the Damascus Suburbs (6 in Daraya, 4 summary field executions in Hammourieh, 2 in Heran Awameed and 1 in Sayeda Zainab), 8 in Homs, 9 in Aleppo (the city and Atareb), 3 in Idlib, 3 in Hama, 2 in the Saliba Projects in Lattakia, 2 in Mazzeh in Damascus, 2 in Deir Ezzor and 1 in Daraa

Names, age, location, civilian or not…, published by the VDC-SY.

Of the 43 deaths I can currently link 17 videos either showing the near moment of death or the corpses of the fallen, if you would like I can link them here.

June 2nd, 2012, 6:14 pm

 

Antoine said:

Antoine please don’t copy entire articles, and please refrain from posting them twice.

SC Moderator

I saw massacre of children, says defecting Syrian air force officer

As UN envoy warns of all-out war, a major has provided crucial evidence on the Houla killings

Martin Chulov
guardian.co.uk, Saturday 2 June 2012 20.59 BST

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jun/02/massacre-children-syrian-officer
__________________________________________

Most eyewitnesses agree that the regular Army did not carry out the actual massacre, but the coordination between shabbiha and the Army is evident.

And the fact that all the shabbiha were bearded and bald, and some of the victims were relatives of serving and retired Military personell, all point to the fact of an “attempted” false flag operation.

June 2nd, 2012, 6:17 pm

 

Antoine said:

S.O.D,

Can you link me the google map which shows all the locations where protests have occurred on Friday and also has videos embedded in the map ?

June 2nd, 2012, 6:21 pm

 

Syrialover said:

Moderator or poster Antoine, please remove the first long posting by Antoine of the Guardian story on Houla (#48), which was then re-posted and expanded (#53).

It is a worthwhile article, but you are stirring bad menories and setting a poor precedent here for some compulsive cutters and posters who almost destroyed the SC comments section.

June 2nd, 2012, 6:40 pm

 

irritated said:

#53 SOD

Sorry the LCC is not what I call an ‘independent source’.
The LCC facebook page does not even specify the date and I have not seen any media corroborating this toll on Friday.

Unless you find that information, whether you like it or not, I am still considering that it has not been a “volcano” Friday, in the contrary it’s been fairly peaceful Friday compared to previous weeks.

June 2nd, 2012, 7:18 pm

 

Observer said:

I do not think that the US is interested in Syria, the fate of Syria, the fate of Syrians, or the fate of the ME.

Events on the ground are beyond the control of the local regimes and are beyond the ability of the US or anyone else to influence SIGNIFICANTLY.

There is no strategic imperative for the US to intervene. There is nothing that would make Syria a strategic threat or a strategic asset to the US or for that matter to anyone else including Russia. Russia is playing “I am big boy on the block “and is holding a bag of garbage that is becoming more rotten and stinky by the day.

There will be no US military intervention in Syria. If the regime uses ballistic missiles or chemical weapons it will bring the entire world on its head. These weapons are useful only as deterrents not as weapons to be used. Now stupidity and brutality in the current mind set of the regime are not impossible of course.

If a third party were to intervene or create a humanitarian corridor namely Turkey and Syria tries to prevent it, the US will help lobbing a few cruise missiles. IF and IF this happens the cohesion of the regime will disintegrate.

In the meantime there will be arming of the rebels and more defections and more bloodshed.

In contrast to Iraq, the mosaic of Syria is not geographically contiguous and as in Lebanon there is no possibility of a break up UNLESS mass movements of people will happen. This means that the Alawi community will be along the coast in a narrow band. The Kurds will join Iraqi Kurdistan. The rest will have to live together. I call for a federation and a bill or rights to protect civil and minority rights even if it means international supervision.

Now where did the 60 militias number come from? How does Landis know this? Where are his sources? How is it possible for information to arrive to Oklahoma about what is happening in Syria with this kind of detail? I think there are local free army and local people who have taken up arms. They are not hierarchical for it would mean their destruction. It is precisely because of the brutality of the regime that they are diffuse and non centralized and local.

Norman says that the army should be given free reign to crush the rebellion. I do not agree that this is possible and if it means a comparison to the rebellion of the 80’s it does not fit at all. In the 80’s it was a narrow urban rebellion with some sympathy from the population but without a broad support from the base of the regime on the one hand or from the merchant class on the other. Also the father was much more astute and cunning in isolating and crushing the rebellion. The son and that is why he is Fredo no Vito is plain stupid stubborn and incompetent. This rebellion comes from the very base of the regime and is not religious as the rural parts of Syria are not fanatical at all about religion.

Also, the army that Norman refers to does not exist anymore; for many units are not fully armed, many soldiers are not trained, many more have defected, a whole generation has refused to be conscripted, and there is 23 million people to control. So logistically speaking the security services are not meant to crush a rebellion of such magnitude, they are meant to terrorize and hence prevent any rebellion. As it gets exhausted ever more, those sitting on the fence as exemplified by the strikes in Damascus and Aleppo are jumping ship.

Now from very reliable source that just left Damascus, I can say that the situation is chaotic, there is a breakdown of law and order on a very large scale, and there is banditry gallor. Taxis work with two people to prevent kidnapping and car jacking with the second person armed. Armed men are asking in a variety of neighborhoods the people to leave food and clothing on the doors with a promise that nothing will happen to them they will be collected at night. No one knows who and what and for whom.

The Syrian regime is furious at the request to ban their satellite TV stations and I saw a clip of a Syrian reporter being slapped with a shoe with the aggressor calling on the Syrian TV as liars. It was on All4Syria web site.

Again predictions please.

June 2nd, 2012, 7:25 pm

 

zoo said:

Proposed solution by this FP writer: Arms the villages with anti-tanks weapons and prepare drones attacks on Syrian army. No need for an UNSC resolution, the Friends of Syria will do the job.

Foreign Policy: Syria Is Not Unsolvable

by Anne-Marie Slaughter
June 1, 2012
http://www.npr.org/2012/06/01/154131748/foreign-policy-syria-is-not-unsolvable


An alternative exists, one that grows clearer and nearer every day. Three months ago, I proposed in the New York Times that the Arab League and Turkey, backed by NATO members, should provide a limited number of specialized anti-tank and anti-mortar weapons to Syrian towns willing to declare “no kill zones” — call them NKZs — in their towns, meaning no attacks by the Syrian army, sectarian shabbiha militias, the FSA, or anyone else. Public safety, including for peaceful protesters, would be paramount. I suggested the United States provide communications and intelligence to enable the town authorities and any members of any military willing to enforce the NKZ to allow them to track the movements of Syrian government troops. And I suggested that drones from Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United States could fire on Syrian government tanks approaching NKZs.

This proposal was widely met with derision, particularly in the security community. But three months later, the United States has announced that it is providing intelligence and communication support to the FSA and openly countenancing the provision of arms by Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

June 2nd, 2012, 7:33 pm

 

omen said:

7:18 – irritated,

0300 GMT: Syria. Yesterday was one of the most impressive protest days in the 15 1/2-month conflict’ many activists are calling it the most impressive showing for peaceful demonstrations in Syrian history, with rallies in more than 600 unique locations. Protests crossed ethnic, sectarian, and religious lines. Some were very large, particularly in Aleppo and Damascus, two key cities over which the Assad regime must maintain control to survive.

Beyond the impressive videos of protests that we posted yesterday, activists collected over 900 clips which they have put on a spreadsheet and will locate on a map later today. Here are three more examples: one from the north, one from the south, and one in the centre of Syria, to give a flavour of the day’s gatherings.

June 2nd, 2012, 7:34 pm

 

MICHEL said:

One question that I have been asking myself, why is the revolution still leaderless?

June 2nd, 2012, 7:38 pm

 

irritated said:

Omen #60

Thanks, this confirms to me that there was no death reported by the media.
So it looks that the regime is allowing peaceful demonstrations. That was one of the request, now fulfilled of the Annan Plan, but ignored by the media.

June 2nd, 2012, 7:47 pm

 

omen said:

41. OSAMA said:
Omen 14.
The murdered children are “torches of victory”??? Can you imagine somebody milking such a heinous crime for political purposes?

.

what is offensive is not demanding justice for the martyrs.

but this is an entirely different topic than the one amjad pointed to.

do the loyalists not care to address or refute it?

June 2nd, 2012, 7:47 pm

 

irritated said:

#61 Michel

What do you mean leaderless? There is Ghaliun, Assaad and Facebook.

June 2nd, 2012, 7:48 pm

 

norman said:

Alan,

For the crises to end the opposition needs to be assured that they have an fair chance in an election,

June 2nd, 2012, 7:50 pm

 

omen said:

irritated, media has reported deaths. cnn & aje.

June 2nd, 2012, 7:54 pm

 

Son of Damascus said:

Antoine,

I don’t believe the map has been uploaded yet, I just have access to the spreadsheet that I linked earlier.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0ApmYuUKngxu9dDlNUHU2V1J1V292MERuTGpuY21mR0E&output=html

Once the map is uploaded I will link it here for you

June 2nd, 2012, 8:00 pm

 

irritated said:

66 Omen

I have not seen any for Friday, please provide independent media links.

June 2nd, 2012, 8:08 pm

 

Son of Damascus said:

Irritated,

The second link in my response (VDC-SY) provides all the info you asked for, date, location, sex/age group, name, civilian or not.

In case you missed it:
http://vdc-sy.org/index.php/ar/martyrs/1/c29ydGJ5PWEua2lsbGVkX2RhdGV8c29ydGRpcj1ERVNDfHNob3c9dmlzaWJsZXxzdGFydERhdGU9MjAxMi0wNi0xfGVuZERhdGU9MjAxMi0wNi0xfA==

Also may I ask how exactly do you wish for “independent” verification when the regime won’t even allow an independent team from the UN to investigate the crimes committed at Houla?

June 2nd, 2012, 8:10 pm

 

irritated said:

#65 Norman

With the way they behaved and still behave, they have no chance whatoever. That’s why they reject the dialog, they know that they won’t get much voices in their favor.

June 2nd, 2012, 8:10 pm

 

irritated said:

#69 SOD

The Independent Guardian who has reported the large number of demonstrations, posted by omen, has not reported any death or use of fire during these demonstrations.
It usually does when there are casualties. This time it didn’t.

Your source of the spreadsheet is very far from reliable.

June 2nd, 2012, 8:16 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

Once civil war starts in Syria, it will not be confined to Syria, it will quickly spread to Lebanon, and the Jordanian people will force their king to help the Syrian rebels, ,then the foreign intervention will not be a choice, it will be imperative.Russian interests will be affected, as the people in many Arabic country will force their governments to boycot Russia,massive refugee to Turkey will force Turkey to act.
The people in Syria are fed up they are angry, they are talking openly, it will get worse before it get better.

June 2nd, 2012, 8:18 pm

 

Son of Damascus said:

Irritated,

Here is the BBC talking about the efforts the VDC and other organizations in Syria do to document the deaths in Syria. Since you know the regime won’t allow independent investigators to investigate and document the atrocities happening in Syria caused by the regime.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-18093967

If the regime has nothing to hide why not allow international Human Rights Organizations (Such as the UNCHR) to come to Syria and investigate?

“Your source of the spreadsheet is very far from reliable.”

Why not? care to share with us the reason why they are not reliable when the OHCHR found them reliable:

Two of the organisations that the OHCHR had used were the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) and the Violations Documentation Center (VDC). Those behind these sites say they run verification on reports of casualties.

June 2nd, 2012, 8:35 pm

 

omen said:

44. SYRIALOVER said:
“Syrians are divided because they have no tradition of unity and the Baath has destroyed politics for 50 years. Nothing America can do will erase that legacy of political underdevelopment.” (Joshua Landis, above).

I respect him for facing up to what is happening to Syria, and acknowledging the massive economic, infrastructure and skills deficits Assad rule has inflicted. All the crippling distortions, backward steps, waste, destruction and lost opportunities of the past 40 years.
5:00 pm

but he makes these points to argue that democracy is not possible in syria. do you buy that too? is syria and syrians undeserving of the right to self determination? are they incapable of self rule? are they destined to be ruled by a despot forever?

June 2nd, 2012, 8:38 pm

 

omen said:

Already, we are being told that if we had only intervened earlier with our military, Syrians would have been unified, liberal and moderate. Only because we have delayed, they are becoming radical and and Islamized.

who is saying this?

i don’t recall anybody arguing aiding the rebels would have produced shangri la.

early intervention to help topple assad would have put an end to the regime’s campaign of sectarian cleansing. what syrians put up to replace it is a different and separate question altogether from military aid.

June 2nd, 2012, 8:49 pm

 

norman said:

Irritated,

The only way for the crises to end is to give the Syrian army the cover it needs to restore peace, that can be done by the promise of free elections, that is if democracy what they want, and i personally doubt that , It is what happened in Iraq, free election and a fight against the terror of AL Qaeda,

June 2nd, 2012, 8:50 pm

 

Tara said:

HBJ back under the lime light again

‘Audacious steps’ needed in Syria, Arab diplomats say
By Joe Sterling, CNN
updated 7:53 PM EDT, Sat June 2, 2012

(CNN) — As a U.N.-backed peace initiative founders in Syria, Arab leaders signaled the need Saturday for more robust measures to end the violence there.
Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor Al Thani said envoy Kofi Annan’s peace initiative should be placed under Chapter VII of the U.N. charter, Qatar’s news agency reported. Such a move would allow the U.N. Security Council to take action that can include the use of military force.
He spoke before Arab League foreign ministers in the Qatari capital of Doha. Meeting a week after a massacre in the city of Houla sparked global outrage, they discussed ways to keep the conflict from deteriorating into a full-fledged civil war.
More…
http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/02/world/meast/syria-unrest/index.html?section=cnn_latest

June 2nd, 2012, 9:23 pm

 

Tara said:

Hatred in those who committed the Houla massacre is a process that has been started at birth.  Welcome to this fake country called Syria…whereالغلّ والحقد was taught at a very early age.  Read on:
—–   

It is a mistake, however, to believe that people can be persuaded to commit crimes against humanity by a short-term exposure to the rhetoric of hate. In massacres with a sectarian component, – which appear, at first sight at least, to have been a component in what occurred in Taldou, regardless of what orders were given by officials of the regime – the process of dehumanisation is likely to have been the slow work of a lifetime.

The Houla massacre shows how killing can become normal
 Peter Beaumont
Tuesday 29 May 2012 12.30 EDT

….in these circumstances people kill because they can; because they believe they can act with impunity; because they have been asked to and rationalised the utility of the act; and because they have persuaded themselves that their victims’ humanity is of lesser value than their own.

What I am talking about is something more commonplace than Hannah Arendt’s notion of the “banality of evil”; something summed up for me in a remarkable picture taken by my friend Ron Haviv when he photographed the Serb militia of “Arkan” Ražnatovic and his men-murdering civilians. In that picture, one of Arkan’s “Tigers” is seen “dead checking” a Bosnian Muslim woman they have shot by kicking her, a cigarette held insouciantly aloft. Not banal, but casual.

That is the real question: how is it that killing civilians can come to be normal for those who are doing it.

In Rwanda during the Hutu interahamwe killing, as Philip Gourevitch, author of We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families, documented, gangs had been primed by hate radio with the notion that their victims were “cockroaches”…..

Paul Connolly, a Northern Irish academic, established in a piece of seminal research on sectarian attitudes conducted at the end of the Troubles that such a process begins very young indeed, formed by family, community and culture. He discovered that by the age of three, children from Catholic communities were already twice as likely to be hostile to a police force regarded as pro-British as Protestant children; by six, a third of children strongly identified with their community, while a significant minority were already making sectarian statements.

Similar research, conducted by Daniel Bar-Tal at Tel Aviv University, asked Israeli children to explain what “Arab” meant to them, identifying similar negative connotations becoming established in early years by the same social mechanisms. In peacetime, these tensions between groups are manageable, to a degree. But when conflict comes, it imposes its own explicit values – a “conflict culture” that values in-group cohesion and out-group hostility, which not only plays on these existing tensions, (from negative stereotyping to the dehumanisation of the other), but actually ascribes to them a positive value.

In these kind of conflicts, those who display the fiercest loyalty to their own group and fiercest hatred of the “other” have a special usefulness – providing not only the most ruthless killers because they are challenged the least by the morality of what they are doing, but often also acting as examples of what the new culture of conflict “requires” of all members of the group.

More….
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/may/29/houla-massacre-killing-normal

June 2nd, 2012, 9:55 pm

 

omen said:

7:25 observer, thank you (though i disagree about syria not having strategic interest for the u.s.)

June 2nd, 2012, 9:58 pm

 

Syrialover said:

Omen #74, I don’t think Joshua Landis is out to argue that democracy is not possible.

He is pointing out what a massive challenge it will be to successfully install and maintain democratic systems in Syria, building on rotted beams and bare earth.

And he’s right. I gave the example of Greece, which some now warn could be under threat of a return to dictatorship. And democratic Afghanistan and Iraq are hardly models. The current events in Egypt show what overwhelming tasks lie there. My hopes and heart are with Tunisia, though they are still circling the starting blocks.

The world community has still not come up with a clear answer to the complex puzzle: in what sequence do you need to achieve security, institution building and economic advancement to move a country forward in a post-dictatorship situation.

Move those 3 interlinked elements around and you get different perspectives and priorities which can paralyse reform. Fail with any one of them and you risk a return to hell and chaos. Africa is bursting with democratic examples of this.

Listen to what is being said by Suu Kyi of Burma about what needs to happen there, and you are hearing a voice of deep thinking about these issues, not someone only focussed on how to get and stay in power.

It’s desperately important that such voices and vision are heard and heeded in post-Assad Syria.

June 2nd, 2012, 10:00 pm

 

zoo said:

Leading article: It is time for Turkey to take the lead on Syria

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/leading-articles/leading-article-it-is-time-for-turkey-to-take-the-lead-on-syria-7811654.html

Here was Ankara’s first serious test as a regional power: it is a test that it has so far failed

It would have been preferable if Turkey had not broken so wholly with the Syrian regime. As a result of Mr Erdogan’s mis-playing of his cards, it is not the Turks but the Russians who have ended up as the one country with pivotal influence in Damascus. But there is still time to take back the initiative. And if there is to be regional action, it would be better led by Turkey than Saudi Arabia and Qatar – not least to avoid the absurd hypocrisy of pretending that two of the last absolute monarchies on earth are trying to overthrow Mr Assad because of their concern for the democratic and civil rights of the Syrian people.
….
But there is much else that the international community can do, including the establishment of humanitarian corridors to ease the appalling suffering of Syria’s civilian population. It is up to Ankara to take a lead.

June 2nd, 2012, 11:43 pm

 

Ghufran said:

In a number of places in syria,it is already a civil war,and new rules govern the behavior of people in such a war,expect many more alhoulas to come if a third armed force does not separate mad Syrian men with guns.
نضال بكور ، الذي ذاع اسمه مؤخرا بوصفه أحد “أبطال” مجزرة الحولة ، أقدم مع حوالي عشرة مسلحين آخرين على مهاجمة منزل الصيدلاني مصطفى الحجو وجره أمام أفراد أسرته قبل تعريضه لتعذيب وحشي ثم شنقه على جذع شجرة أمام المنزل
Mustafa was killed one week before alhoula massacre for refusing to pay “khuwwah” to armed rebels, if you are waiting for western press to publish mustafa’s story you have a better chance seeing a Ghuraab’s hair turning grey first.
Nobody seems to be interested in hearing about 17 teachers in alhasakah,all alawis,who were kidnapped and five of them were found dead,those five were from Homs.
The government guys lost the media war about alhoula especially that they are speaking to a crowd that is already programmed to hear half the truth ,this reminds me with the barrage of lies and false info that flooded the airwaves about Iraq prior to the 2003 invasion except that an invasion ,if it happens, will wait until there is no actual army to stop or resist the invaders since army officers,if the state collapses,are more likely to join a militia or go back to their towns to protect their families.
It is not a war between a ruling regime and its opponents any more,it is civil war in different shades and degrees with only few areas being spared,this reality requires a different approach from Russia and the US if they are actually interested in saving lives.
Whoever captures the throne in Damascus after Assad will inherit a disaster and will not be able to please his own supporters who may think money grows on trees or that the west can not wait to send billions to the new regime, the shortsightedness and ignorance of some of my fellow Syrians is astounding,some people do not understand that at this rate Syria will never rise again and many will regret taking part in the destruction of the state and the society in the name of regime change,the battle for higher moral ground,which is essential for any revolution,is being lost,it is now a fight about who will own the ruins.

June 3rd, 2012, 12:10 am

 

Ghufran said:

CSM from Lebanon on why this is not a Syrian conflict any more:
http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2012/0530/Exclusive-Veteran-Lebanese-fighter-trains-new-generation-of-jihadis-for-Syria
I am on record stating my support and appreciation for JL work on Syria,that does not mean I have to agree with everything he writes,he is able ,like all of us ,to make a mistake,Syria’s crisis is not Syrian any more,a regional approach is needed,I am still waiting for a clarification about the line regarding US support for a civil war in Syria.

June 3rd, 2012, 12:53 am

 

Ghufran said:

I do not know if I understood Norman or not,Iraq is not a model Syria should follow,its elections are not free,Sunnis who were labelled as Saddam supporters could not run,and Baathists were prohibited from taking part in new Iraq,also,300,000 soldiers were sent home only to join a new insurgency.
Starting from scratch and excluding any section of the society in Syria will not bring peace or security,it will deepen divisions and creates a counter insurgency. An inclusive political plan does not mean keeping people like Bashar and Makhlouf or any major symbol of the Assad era,but that plan must not treat any ethnic or religious group as unfit for citizenry .
The army will not be able to return calm to all,or even most,of Syria as some of you wish,the Syrian army is seen as a tool for the regime by many Syrians and those Syrians would rather deal with jihadists or armed rebels than dealing with the army,I fault the regime for this outcome, a neutral army would have removed Assad a long time ago and would have made any defection unnecessary, the survival of a country is far more important than the survival of a ruling family or a president,Syrians also must love their country more than they hate their government,violence is not an expression of love,but violence is now the only game in town.

June 3rd, 2012, 1:22 am

 

Son of Damascus said:

Antoine,

Re: Google maps with the geo-tagging of the protests across Syria this last Friday.

https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=204850002589583490946.0004c159b97cd298a27c4&msa=0&ll=34.802075,38.996815&spn=5.384153,9.876709

June 3rd, 2012, 1:41 am

 

Neil M said:

With due respect, this reads like a preferentially naiive perspective in that it overlooks the fact that most of the funds the US spends on so-called Nation-Building in Iraq and Afghanistan goes directly and indirectly into the pockets of US corporations and local interests friendly to the US. It’s exactly the same financial equation as the one which ensures that all of the money the US spends on waging war goes straight into the pockets of the employees and shareholders of the Military-Industrial Complex. It is, after all, only taxpayer money is it not?

Direct military intervention by US and/or NATO isn’t an option. Mr Putin wasn’t joking when he issued his veiled warning that “The weapons Russia is supplying to Syria can’t be used in a civil war.” What he didn’t need to say, to the obvious chagrin of Mrs Clinton, was that those weapons can be used to trump any attempt by US-NATO to set up an R2P no-fly zone in Syria.

Until cracks appear in the loyalty uniting the Government, a majority of Syrians, and the Syrian military and intelligence services, Corporate America’s regime-change daydream will remain an elusive fantasy.

Another factor your analysis overlooked was the growing impatience of Russia and China with America’s encirclement policies. The simple fact is that neither Russia no China can afford to allow US interventionism and interference to proceed any farther than it did when Libya was “liberated” or to put it more accurately, Libyans were violently disenfranchised from Libyan resources in favour of US, French and British corporate interests – much to the (private) chagrin of China.

The sun is setting on the cowardly, mendacious and risk-averse, American Empire and while Syria will bear many scars, pro-US regime-change is both unlikely and improbable.

June 3rd, 2012, 2:12 am

 

Alan said:

Moscow, Washington should pool efforts on Syria, diplomat says
http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c154/436928.html
STOCKHOLM, June 2 (Itar-Tass) —— Moscow and Washington should pool efforts in order to settle the situation in Syria, an American diplomat said after a telephone conversation between U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
The diplomat said the United States wants the two countries to work together — in Moscow, Europe and Washington, wherever necessary — on possible solutions in Syria../../..

June 3rd, 2012, 2:23 am

 

Alan said:

Syria Hula Massacre, A CIA Death Squads False Flag Attack
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aul3hiJxtAA
Exploiting the Houla massacre as Syrian-Lebanese lines are being blurred
http://uprootedpalestinians.blogspot.com/2012/05/exploiting-houla-massacre-as-syrian.html
Despite more information slowly being made public about the Houla massacre in central Syria last week, a criminal carnage that slaughtered 110 civilians, including 49 women and children, the less it is clear who was responsible. But what is apparent is that the American government and its NATO allies have seized tightly upon the horror at Houla in order to justify yet more sanctions against Syria and also to generate international pressure for military action to achieve its original and continuing goal, regime change.

June 3rd, 2012, 2:37 am

 

Amjad said:

Osama #41 Angry Arab whining about what we called the last Friday is immaterial. But his contention that he made his own investigation of the regime’s claims of what happened at Al-Houlla is shocking and astounding and very much relevant. I don’t blame the regimists for wanting to stay away from this one.

Antoine, the anti-tank weapons Jordan has isn’t theirs to give away. Any country that buys weapons from another one, does so under the condition that those weapons not be transfered to a third party without permission. Neither the USA nor the Gulf have taken a firm decision to arm the FSA despite the hysterical conspiracy theories we have been hearing from the regime for over a year, and Jordan isn’t about to go out alone on a limb and take on what’s left of the regime, Russia, Iran and Hizbollah.

Unfortunately, things like these take time to develop, but once the decision is made Jordan isn’t going to stand in the way of a united GCC. King Abdullah (the Jordanian one) isn’t going to risk membership in the GCC club for the sake of Mr Dead Man Walking up north, and whose father repeatedly tried and failed to do unto Jordan what he did unto Lebanon.

June 3rd, 2012, 2:47 am

 

Amjad said:

“Nobody seems to be interested in hearing about 17 teachers in alhasakah,all alawis,who were kidnapped and five of them were found dead,those five were from Homs.”

On the contrary, I’m very much interested, and shocked and horrified that such a thing could happen. But instead of waiting on the Western media to stumble across such terrible incidents, you should get in contact with them. All the major news organizations maintain Twitter accounts whose sole purpose is to see who has information on happenings in Syria, and they can be contacted if you have any information which their reporters can investigate. And I credit you with more intelligence than to dismiss out of hand the possibility that the BBC or CNN will fairly report on a massacre of Alawites.

Unfortunately, all too often we hear of “massacres of Alawites”, only for many of those incidents to turn out to be the executions of shabihas. I am not saying this was the case in the incident you mentioned, but the regime shot itself in its own foot when it put such ridiculous restrictions on reporting in the country. No regime can be considered legitimate when it feels the need to cut the Internet from large swathes of the country.

June 3rd, 2012, 2:54 am

 

Alan said:

http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2012/05/30/sentenced-to-extermination.html
Sentenced to Extermination
../../..
The US leading think tanks had spent a number of years to come up with the plan. The goal of the Greater Middle East concept is creating chaos in the region that would make appear an axis of instability from Lebanon, Palestine to Syria, Iraq, the Persian Gulf states, Iran up to the border with Afghanistan. Besides the Anglo-Saxon military “road map” appears to encompass the whole post Soviet Central Asia, a region to link the unstable Middle East with even more unstable Afghanistan and Pakistan.

A relatively little known map of the Middle East, Afghanistan and Pakistan started to go around in US government and military circles since the middle of 2006. It was prepared by Lieutenant Colonel Ralf Peters from the National Defense University. His last active service assignment was to the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence. He is one of the most well known strategy experts with military background. The Map of the Middle East with his notes saw light in June 2006 in the Armed Forces Journal, that is right on the eve of the loud statements by Condoleezza Rice. The article was called Blood borders: How a better Middle East would look. Never Quit the Fight, the main book by the author that was published in July 2006, was based on the same Map. The US media reported that the four previous books by the author were popular among US government and military circles.

As Ralph Peters saw it, a part of Syria was to be taken away to join “Free Kurdistan”and Sunni Iraq, the Syrian sea shore areas were to become part of Lebanon. Syria was to terminate its existence as a state.

There was an alternative map by prepared by a US Pentagon associated professor Michael F. Davie from Université François-Rabelais. In his work on the reconstruction of Middle East he mentioned the “axis of evil”, formally recognized by the USA, including Sudan, Iraq and Syria. The Michael Davie’s map doesn’t include the territory of Syria in its present day borders: instead there is a small state of Alawites at the sea shore, while Syria itself becomes part of a “new entity” formed together with the Iraqi Sunni. As Davie sees it, the Golan heights would become part of Israel as a result of liquidation of Syria as a sovereign state. Besides a new Palestinian state is going to become established on the territory of contemporary Jordan in exchange for Israel’s refusal to claim East Jerusalem. Lebanon is to be divided into two states: one belonging to the Shiites, another to the Maronites.

There is one more Middle and Near East division map published by the Vanity Fair magazine. It reflects the views of four experts: Dennis Ross, a diplomat with Middle East experience, David Fromkin, a historian, political scholars Kenneth Pollak and Daniel Byman. The idea is as follows. First: The division of Saudi Arabia and Iraq is a must. Second: Egypt is to be divided into two states – an urban area in the Nile delta and the western tribal area. Third, Kuwait and Qatar to be part of the United Arab Emirates to establish a new liberal state on the territory. At last, fourth, the Levant in the eastern part of the Mediterranean is to be a zone belonging to no nation.
../../..

June 3rd, 2012, 3:27 am

 

Juergen said:

NK 39

Aleppo seems not the best place nowadays for the courtmedia of the Assads… I remember this hilarious women in the car saying halweh when asked what she thinks of the FSA formation…

June 3rd, 2012, 3:45 am

 

Juergen said:

Israeli comedy show on Syria and Assad:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mbTmFfxbOKc&feature=plcp

watch from minute 2:55

June 3rd, 2012, 3:59 am

 

Antoine said:

S.O.D,

Thank you.

AMJAD,

I am not talking about giving away weapons from Jordanian Armouries. I am talking about Jordan allowing its territory to be used for smuggling such weapons bought from black market and international arms dealers, and paid for by Saudi money.

Anyway what I was also hoping that the people of Daraa send out an appeal to the Tribes of Jordan to come to their help ( In the same way Deirezzor activists made such an appeal last Ramadan when their City was invaded)

GHUFRAN,

The incident you mentioned about the kidnapping of 17 Alawi teachers in Al Hasakah, was it in a Kurdish region or Arab region ? Because Sunni vs Alawi feelings are not too dominant in Hasakah, it is Kurd vs Arab . And Kurds are highly unlikely to engage in anti-Alawite violence ( Al Hasakah is almost 60 % Kurd )

June 3rd, 2012, 7:12 am

 

Tara said:

Link Added: http://www.afp.fr/afpcom/en/taglibrary/activity/web/text

The embattled leader giving a stupid speech again.  More of the same.  Why did he speak if he said nothing new?

Assad says foreigners plotting to destroy Syria
AFP – 55 mins ago

President Bashar al-Assad said Sunday that his government faces a foreign plot to destroy Syria, and blamed “monsters” for the Houla massacre, in a rare televised speech delivered in parliament.
Assad’s accusations came as Arab leaders called on the United Nations to act to stop bloodshed in Syria and France raised the prospect of military action against Damascus under a UN mandate.
“The masks have fallen and the international role in the Syrian events is now obvious,” Assad said in his first address to the assembly since a May 7 parliamentary election, adding the polls were the perfect response “to the criminal killers and those who finance them”.
The embattled leader, who was greeted with warm applause from lawmakers, said actrocities like the May 25-26 massacre of at least 108 people near the town of Houla, in central Syria, were committed by “monsters”.
“What happened in Houla and elsewhere (in Syria) are brutal massacres which even monsters would not have carried out,” he said.

On Saturday, violence in Syria killed 89 people, including 57 soldiers, the largest number of casualties the military has suffered in a single day since an uprising began in March 2011, a watchdog said.

Because of the worsening violence and Assad’s failure to meet commitments under an agreed peace plan, the United States has warned that it may not agree to renew the UN observer mission when its mandate expires on July 20.
…more

June 3rd, 2012, 7:25 am

 

Tara said:

Clashes are escalating and the regime does not publicize the army casualties to not demoralize the troops.  Thousands of Shabeehat al Assad have been killed and they do not even make it to the numbers reported.  

Syria violence kills 89, including 57 troops
Agence France-Presse
Posted at 06/03/2012

 BEIRUT – Violence in Syria killed 89 people on Saturday, including 57 soldiers, the largest number of casualties the military has suffered in a single since an uprising began in March 2011, a watchdog said.

The casualties also included 29 civilians and three army defectors killed in various regions of the country in shelling by regime forces or in clashes or gunfire, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Asked about the high number of troops killed in recent days, the Observatory’s Rami Abdel-Rahman told AFP: “This relates to the sharp increase in clashes across the country. Troops are vulnerable to heavy losses because they are not trained for street battles and are therefore exposed to attacks.”

“What exacerbates those losses is that the army is fighting locals of those towns and villages, whether military defectors or civilians who took up arms against the regime, who know the area inside and out and enjoy public support.”

Opposition fighters are defending their towns by targeting approaching military vehicles with automatic weapons or grenades, which has taken a heavy toll on the army and security forces, said Abdel Rahman.

He added that the figures “do not include armed groups supported by the shabiha (pro-regime militia), of which thousands have been killed since the start of the clashes — only the regular military troops.”

“The official Syrian media has ignored these figures so as not to demoralise the troops,” he added.

…more
http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/global-filipino/world/06/03/12/syria-violence-kills-89-including-57-troops-ngo

June 3rd, 2012, 7:47 am

 

majedkhaldoun said:

To justify murdering 108 in Houleh, and this include 49 children and 20 women, by saying one shabih(Mustafa) was killed by Nidhal) is absurd and criminal
To fabricate unverified story about hasakeh is absurd
Assad said one man mistake does not mean the regime is making mistakes,it is stupid by Assad, he did not admit numerous mistakes by his Alawi supporters, who has been committing crimes for 15 months.
Assad speech and the way he presented it showed how depressed he is,as if he received bad news from Russia, he admitted however that the demonstrators were peaceful for at least six months while his security forces were killing them. even while he talks,his shabihas has been killing more Syrian citizens

June 3rd, 2012, 8:12 am

 

Tara said:

Basel Shehada, a self proclaimed “Christian salafi” filmmaker from Syria.  I always thought there is something mysterious about filmmakers… Some like doctors, feel until the end.. 
—-
Al Shahade, a Syrian filmmaker taking a leave from from a fine arts degree program at Syracuse University, was killed in Homs, Syria.
http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/30/syracuse-university-filmmaker-reportedly-killed-in-syria/

A Syrian filmmaker, who took a leave of absence from a fine arts degree program at Syracuse University to cover the carnage in his native country, was killed while filming in the war-ravaged city of Homs, the university’s chancellor said in a statement on Tuesday.

The chancellor said that the filmmaker, Bassel Al Shahade, died on Monday “while working as a citizen journalist and filming the attacks against the Syrian people by the government security forces there.”

Mr. Shahade, 28, was different from most in that he could have easily stayed safely out of reach of the rockets and bullets that daily pound rebellious Syrian cities. He was a Fulbright scholar pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree in film at the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University.

But as protests broke out in the spring of 2011, he felt compelled to join them, according to those who knew him.

“He told me, ‘I couldn’t be away when the revolution is happening. I needed to come back. You can always study later,’” Rima Marrouch, a correspondent for NPR who interviewed Mr. Shahade reported on Tuesday.
….
Even before the uprising in Syria, he tended to train his camera on the small victims of injustice, as in an artfully produced film called “Saturday Morning Gift,” about a boy who survived the 2006 war between Israel and Lebanon.
….
“Saturday Morning Gift,” a short film by Bassel Al Shahade posted on his YouTube channel in 2010.
…more?

June 3rd, 2012, 8:23 am

 

Afram said:

Assad Warns:’We Will Not Be Lenient’ About time,MR.?
get the job done

Assad spoke today,and his message wasn’t one of peace TO MR.ZIFT

The Syrian president warned that his country is facing a “real war,” and said he will not be lenient with the terrorists who are behind the country’s uprising.”We have to fight terrorism for the country to heal,” Assad told parliament.”We will not be lenient.you go man!!! We will be forgiving only for those who renounce terrorism.”

Assad’s remarks defied mounting international condemnation of his crackdown on the opposition terror,He blamed the crisis on outside forces and said the country is passing through its most critical stage since the end of colonialism.he blamed terrorists and foreign extremists for the uprising and vowed to protect national security.”A battle was forced on us, and the result was this bloodshed that we are seeing,” Assad said.

June 3rd, 2012, 8:33 am

 

Observer said:

Here again some news
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/03/world/middleeast/crude-oil-output-is-soaring-in-iraq-easing-markets.html?_r=1&hp

Iraq is pumping ever more oil. This will put pressure on Iran but much more importantly on Russia which relies on oil revenues to fuel and fund its “come back”. If the price of oil continues to go down, Russia is in trouble. Then we will see how Putin will react on the world stage.

June 3rd, 2012, 8:39 am

 

majedkhaldoun said:

Assad said he wants dialogue but he will not have dialogue with who,Assad said, does not represent the Syrian will, to him this exclude all his true opposers,and includes only what (HE) considers represent the people will.such as the Shabih Sharif Shehadeh,and Shabih Anas Shami.

June 3rd, 2012, 8:43 am

 

mjabali said:

Badr:

If you are interested in “my” detailed plan for Syria, you can ask the moderation of this board for my e mail.

June 3rd, 2012, 8:51 am

 

b said:

Landis writes: “Crudely put, the US is pursuing regime-change by civil-war. This is the most it can and should do.”

Why should the US do that Mr. Landis? Why? To whose benefit?

And why do you recommend that? One of your own relatives was killed by the terrorists on April 10, 2011. You reported that on this very blog. You now wish the same to happen to more relatives of yours? Why?

June 3rd, 2012, 9:57 am

 

bronco said:

Afram #98

This speech is a maybe a preparation for just that. If Annan is not able to stop threats and more crippling sanctions on the country and he is allowing weapons to go to the rebels, then the choice for Bashra is clear: war.

June 3rd, 2012, 10:00 am

 

Amir in Tel Aviv said:

June 3rd, 2012, 10:03 am

 

Syrialover said:

WARNING The following will provoke nausea. (Same insult-to-the-world, cowardly, moronic script his PR chicks gave him last time)

Syria’s president denies role in Houla massacre

Syrian President Bashar Assad denied Sunday that his government had anything to do with last week’s gruesome Houla massacre, saying not even “monsters” would carry out such an ugly crime.
….

“If we don’t feel the pain that squeezes our hearts, as I felt it, for the cruel scenes — especially the children — then we are not human beings,” Assad said. His last public address was in January.

Assad, 46, denies that there is any popular will behind the uprising, saying foreign extremists and terrorists are driving the revolt

“Not even monsters would carry out (the crimes) that we have seen, especially the Houla massacre. … There are no Arabic or even human words to describe it,” he said.

http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/TopStories/20120603/syria-president-comment-houla-massacre-120603/#ixzz1wjrI9Y9K

June 3rd, 2012, 10:07 am

 

Tara said:

Mr. b

Has it occurred to you that arming the rebels to save what remains of Syria from those relentless children killers is called humanity? You are personalizing the discussion with JL and in this post only, I will personalize the discussion with you. How many slaughtered children your conscious can bear?

June 3rd, 2012, 10:10 am

 

Syrialover said:

Yawn. The pro-regime block voters have been on duty again, giving sudden spurts of 10-20 red thumbs down to anyone who criticizes Assad, and the same number of green thumbs up for those who defend him.

Son of Damascus, Tara, Omen, Antoine, Observer and others, smile and feel pride in your red thumb badges of honor!

June 3rd, 2012, 10:27 am

 

Syrialover said:

There is something powerfully obscene and creepy about Assad’s “denials” (above).

He is so weak, so cowardly. So stupid.

He must be an embarrassment to his mother.

(Quick, block voters get busy running between computers to give me 20 red thumbs down!)

June 3rd, 2012, 10:41 am

 

Tara said:

What does this mean? “”But as is required of a U.S. diplomat, he does not change his personality. He is unmistakably American in culture and outlook even as he interacts in a warm manner with those who are very different.” 

Ford remains an influential figure in the region, despite the unraveling of diplomatic relations — and he remains busy. He continues to meet with opposition leaders, sometimes overseas, and helps the Treasury Department manage sanctions against Syrian banks and individuals. He is building a diplomatic team to engage Syria when the conflict is resolved.

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/bs-md-robert-ford-20120602,0,7253850.story

Ambassador to Syria keeps profile low in Bolton Hill
Recalled last fall, Ford remains engaged in crisis from afar

….
“The last thing we wanted was for this whole thing to turn violent, which is exactly what happened. But at the time there was hope that it could stay peaceful,” Ford said. “So, I went [to Hama] personally to say with my physical presence that we’re watching this very carefully and these people have a right to demonstrate peacefully.
….
“A lot of times, diplomats tend to be diplomatic,” said Sen. Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat and member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “He made it very clear to the international community where America stood. He is carrying out the direction set by the president, but he did it in a way that really took courage and took tremendous skill.”

Ford has been successful because he is comfortable engaging in the Arab world, friends and experts say…. Part of his ease is based on his skill with the language, but some of it comes from a genuine curiosity in other people, friends said.

“He is simply more comfortable in various Arab societies — and at all levels of those societies — than virtually anybody else I know,” said Nathan J. Brown, a political science professor at George Washington University who studied Arabic with Ford in Cairo, Egypt, in the 1980s. “But as is required of a U.S. diplomat, he does not change his personality. He is unmistakably American in culture and outlook even as he interacts in a warm manner with those who are very different.”

More..

June 3rd, 2012, 11:12 am

 

jna said:

I’d like to thank Joshua Landis for persevering in maintaining this comment blog as a civil site for all opinions on the developments in Syria. I know at times it must be worrisome to his reputation as a scholar and it must be a real pain to work through the mechanics of moderation. As far as I can see, so far the results have been excellent–good exchange of opinions without falling into the usual cesspool of insults, threats and foul language. Job well done, Joshua, and thank you very much for providing me with a open exchange of opinion which so stimulates my interest.

June 3rd, 2012, 11:15 am

 

majedkhaldoun said:

American ambassador to Syria: Bashar al-Assad is evil

June 3rd, 2012, 11:20 am

 

MICHEL said:

I am going to syria (damascus) in 1 month with my simple point and shoot camera to participate in the uprising for freedom and dignity in any way I can. Anyone who can provide some guidance to me is welcome to do so.

June 3rd, 2012, 12:07 pm

 

Juergen said:

So Assad said today only monsters can do such massacres, well how about his steroid drugged monsters?

I saw massacre of children, says defecting Syrian air force officer
As UN envoy warns of all-out war, a major has provided crucial evidence on the Houla killings

“A lot of them were bald and many had beards,” he said. “Many wore white sports shoes and army pants. They were shouting: ‘Shabiha forever, for your eyes, Assad.’ It was very obvious who they were.

“We used to be told that armed groups killed people and the Free Syria Army burned down houses,” he said. “They lied to us. Now I saw what they did with my own eyes.”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jun/02/massacre-children-syrian-officer?INTCMP=SRCH

The Shabiha: Inside Assad’s death squads

“”They were like monsters,” said Dr Azzawi, who worked in Latakia. “They had huge muscles, big bellies, big beards. They were all very tall and frightening, and took steroids to pump up their bodies.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/9307411/The-Shabiha-Inside-Assads-death-squads.html

Here is the shoeattack already an theme…

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=422637334433344&set=a.212310645466015.59034.212308762132870&type=1&theater

June 3rd, 2012, 12:16 pm

 

Tara said:

Michel

We will pray for your safety. Allah yahmeek!

June 3rd, 2012, 12:16 pm

 

Tara said:

Jeurgen

I never heard of any Islamist mujahed taking steroids to beef up. Have you?

June 3rd, 2012, 12:20 pm

 

Juergen said:

Tara

Probably they will find steroids bottles all over Syria… I liked this part of the doctors statement very much:

“I had to talk to them like children, because the Shabiha likes people with low intelligence. But that is what makes them so terrifying – the combination of brute strength and blind allegiance to the regime.”

The Nazis used to give their elite army sections androids and steroids, the feared SS divisions carried out the killings, and doctors helped them to recover from less sleep and from pain.

Michel

Be careful!

June 3rd, 2012, 12:29 pm

 

Observer said:

Once again we have another speech.

He is either delusional and detached from reality or he is crazy or he is believing fully his own propaganda.

I read the speech at Cham Press I would encourage everyone to read it actually.

Just like the Rat exterminator in Tripoli it seems the family can even fathom that there may be dissent and disagreement.

Who are you? this the question the encapsulated the mind of the Rat exterminator in Tripoli.

I think he is going to leave feet first. There is also many indications for a plea to support the regime and to support the armed forces as they become exhausted and depleted.

This is my prediction, I hope I am wrong for two reasons, one is that I do not like revenge and two I would love to have a trial.

June 3rd, 2012, 12:31 pm

 

Tara said:

Juergen

And the dream of every girl shabeeha is to marry a boy shabeeh..and live happily ever after killing children and adoring the toes of Bashar al Assad..

Munzir and Fawaz al Assad manage the shabeeha . They too should never be offered amnesty. Life in Syrian prison or capital punishment.

June 3rd, 2012, 12:40 pm

 

Stick to the truth said:

113. Juergen said:

“….drugged monsters”

Are you copying the same expressions used in R. Fisk artikle?

He meant by “drugged” the thugs of Mubarak, who used to be Germanys best friend in MEA.

June 3rd, 2012, 12:51 pm

 

Tara said:

JL

I like your brain.

“stay out of Syria” is brilliantly written. In Tara’s opinion, it is the best you have written. It demonstrate a great understanding of our psych. “Syrians must find a way to own the revolution and win it”, with aids that is. “America can’t give freedom and dignity” . Syrian must find them on their own. Thank you.

June 3rd, 2012, 1:27 pm

 

Juergen said:

Stick to the Truth

I was referring to the supreme leaders speech today, again he has caught my breath, first he said last year only crazy leaders kill their own people, now he says only monsters could have done this massacre in Houla. I think its just to question whos mosters did it, and for me and others its crystal clear who has the potential to act like monsters.

Tara

Couldnt agree more, brilliant analysis by JL.

June 3rd, 2012, 1:34 pm

 

Badr said:

MJABALI,

I may do so. Am I right to assume that you don’t want any discussion of “your” plan on this or other forum?

June 3rd, 2012, 1:40 pm

 

Norman said:

Ghufran,

You misunderstood me, I want two tracks, a reform track full speed with international monitoring and a security track that will restore peace and security, the reform track will give the Syrian army as it did the Iraqi and the American army the right to fight back, that is if we believe that reform and democracy is the goal, after what happened in Iraq to the Baath party and the army, there is no chance for giving up by the regime on the same track as in Iraq.

June 3rd, 2012, 1:44 pm

 

Uzair8 said:

Latest tweet from Sh. Yaqoubi. It doesn’t translate well on Google.
Perhaps an SC user can kindly help out:

قالوا خطب السفاح قلنا ليته سكت إذ لم يزد على أن هدد بالفتنة ولوح بالتقسيم ، خون الشعب، واستخف بالدماء، عمق الصراع وحكم على نفسه بالإعدام.

6h

http://twitter.com/#!/Shaykhabulhuda

June 3rd, 2012, 2:16 pm

 

Aldendeshe said:

Anyone who can provide some guidance to me is welcome to do so.

_________________________________________________________________

I do, the best wise guidance for you Michel, leave it the Emir and King, they know what they are doing with their middle finger. Take your simple point and shoot camera and come here:

http://www.montagelagunabeach.com/

Or go there:

http://www.citycenter.com/

June 3rd, 2012, 2:24 pm

 

SALAH ADDIN said:

MICHEL
It has been one month since I came back from a trip to Syria. I spent three weeks in Damascus. The one thing I regret, is that I did not take any pictures. I stayed with relatives in Reef Dimashq and drove to town almost everyday. Some days I would stay in town past midnight, visiting with friends or relatives, before I head back for the night. The first few days you might feel slightly out of place, but you soon feel at home again, especially when you see how normal life seems and how people are dealing with day to day life. One thing I noticed, officials at government agencies are friendlier than the past and were trying to help me with any paper work, without the usual attitude. Good luck and have a safe trip.

June 3rd, 2012, 3:25 pm

 

zoo said:

After repeatedly accusing Bashar of being a “dictator” with fate like Qaddafi and repeating that Turkey has lots hopes that he will change, now he is accusing him of having an ‘autocratic behavior’ and seem to ask him to change his ‘approach’.
Is Erdogan trying to go back into a dialog mode with Bashar?

PM accuses Assad of ‘autocratic’ behaviour
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-pm-accuses-assad-of-autocratic-behaviour-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=22258&NewsCatID=338
ANKARA – Agence France- Presse

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Sunday accused his one-time ally Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of autocratic behavior, saying that such an approach would not serve peace.

“So far, I haven’t seen him approach reforms with a democratic understanding. He is still approaching issues with … an autocratic approach,” Erdoğan told reporters in televised remarks.

“I believe that it is very hard to achieve peace in Syria as long as this approach continues,” he added.

June 3rd, 2012, 3:32 pm

 

irritated said:

#112 Majed

Ford sounds very much like Bush. Is USA good?

“American ambassador to Syria: Bashar al-Assad is evil”

June 3rd, 2012, 3:36 pm

 

Mina said:

Zoo
When will we see rulers in the Middle East who don’t have an autocratic behaviour?

June 3rd, 2012, 4:13 pm

 

bronco said:

Bashar’s speech shows that he is far above any of the opposition ‘leaders’ in term of coherence and continuity.
When one recalls the pathetic declarations of Ghaliun or Assaad or any wannabe leaders, the gap is enormous.

Except for some lunatics, no Syrians will accept a civil war or a foreign intervention that may destroy the country and kill hundred of thousands of syrians.
Many rather see an all out war from the regular united Syrian army to prevent the armed gangs to destabilize the country with their violence and their own divided and messy agendas.
The message is clear: The clock is not ticking for Bashar but for the ones who prefer confrontations to dialog.

June 3rd, 2012, 4:15 pm

 

Tara said:

Bronco

You still defend Bashar after his shabeeha committed the Houla Massacre? Bashar is a war criminal. The only coherence he is displaying is that of murdering civilians. Despite the fact that Syrians are against foreign boots, most anslysts agree that Bashar is a dead man walking …sooner or later. I see only one clock ticking…the clock of his miserable life. War? We are in a war already. How can it get any worse?

June 3rd, 2012, 4:26 pm

 

SANDRO LOEWE said:

Assad is not a real syrian, not arab, not nationalist. He is a war criminal. US will succeed in helping syrians get what they deserve. Time will come when all mercenary dogs in the parliament will regret having been ¨democratically¨elected.

June 3rd, 2012, 5:03 pm

 

bronco said:

Tara #134

Sorry, I don’t parrot news that are not confirmed by serious investigations.

For years the media have repeated that Syria was responsible for Hariri’s murder and Syria has been ostracized and under economical sanctions before any proof was made. Then 5 years later the investigation proved that it was not the case. How many media and countries have apologized for the harm done to Syrians to its economy? None.
Why not? Just because Syria is a staunch and persistent enemy of Israel and has supported and helped the resistance for years while Qatar and KSA were enjoying buying hotels in Paris and covering their women with black veils and jewelry.
Bashar, if he was a coward, could have signed a peace treaty like Egypt and Jordan did and be granted billions of dollars from happy USA and EU. He didn’t. He kept his head high above. He has been an example for the whole Arab countries before the smearing campaign against him started initiated by the jealous and frustrated rich “half-men” dictators of the region and Israel’s allies .

After failing in all ways to tame him, the West is using a ‘massacre’ whose responsibilities are still not clearly identified,, since the UN asked for an investigation. By using sectarian hatred and frustrations within uneducated and poor people, they are trying try to break the amazing resilience of the army, the officials, the business community and a large number of Syrians. The saddest of all is that many educated Syrians, especially the expats are encouraging the escalation of violence in the name of some ideals of a perfect arab society mimicking the USA.

To all these, Bashar is saying NO, we will not bow to what the West wants. That is why you see Erdogan, after barking loud, going back on his attacks and the Gulf autocratic, sectarian and misogynous regimes barking again of rage in front of the proud determination of a country.
If Syria is destroyed, it would not be the fault of Bashar who protected this country for years when it was targeted by the USA and its allies to follow the track of Iraq in their ‘new middle east’ agenda.
The Syrians who call for a civil war and foreign intervention because they failed to unite and to attract more on their side, are nothing else that traitors.

June 3rd, 2012, 5:04 pm

 

omen said:

funny to see the white sneakers debate play out on the blog and then the next day, read it in the papers.

somebody owes amjad an apology.

June 3rd, 2012, 5:06 pm

 

Alan said:

dear moderator ! are you delete the latest my comment ? please messege me ! Alan

June 3rd, 2012, 5:09 pm

 

Norman said:

The only way out as i see it is for president Assad to answer a question about his plans for 2014 election by saying that the new constitution does not allow more than two terms and we have to abide by the new constitution and it is up to the Syrian people to chose the next president, with that declaration the UN security council and the world leaders should applaud that decision and call for everybody to join the political debate and prepare for the elections,

president Assad does not represent himself he represent the people who are fearful of a civil war that will make them homeless and country less, any push to push out of power by force will lead to civil war as his supporters do not trust the opposition to spare their lives.

June 3rd, 2012, 5:16 pm

 

omen said:

this doesn’t look like the call to strike fell on deaf ears:

Damascus merchants strike over Houla killings

(Reuters) – Sunni Muslim businesses closed in Old Damascus on Monday in the biggest act of civil disobedience by the capital’s merchant class, a backbone of support for President Bashar al-Assad during Syria’s 14-month revolt, activists said.

The show of defiance was in protest against the massacre of at least 108 civilians in the town of Houla in central Syria, [ID:nL5E8GSF7O] and follows strikes elsewhere over the previous two days, they said.

“More than 80 percent of shops have closed in some areas. The army and police are going around the old city with microphones shouting orders for merchants to re-open their shops,” an activist called Nader said by phone from the area.

Syrians are divided because they have no tradition of unity

doesn’t 80% of merchants striking indicate unity? certainly the majority are opposed to the regime’s rampaging campaign of cold blooded murder.

June 3rd, 2012, 5:16 pm

 

Stick to the Truth said:

Please check your email

138. zoo

Thanks for reposting the link.
SC moderater just deleted my posting on this topic.

June 3rd, 2012, 5:20 pm

 

zoo said:

Which identity? The ones the West prefer to hear or this one of two FSA commandos?

http://timeglobalspin.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/syria_01.jpg?w=576

In Syria, shoes give clue to identity of Houla assailants

Analysts say the white shoes are one of several indicators that the slaughter of more than 100 people in this central Syrian cluster of villages was more than just another killing spree by the army of President Bashar al-Assad. More…

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/shoes-give-clue-to-identity-of-houla-assailants-in-syria/2012/05/30/gJQANVrI2U_story.html

June 3rd, 2012, 5:24 pm

 

omen said:

another profile of the filmmaker:

Shahade didn’t fit the Syrian revolutionary profile. He possessed a precious U.S. visa, an escape route available to the privileged few. Moreover, he was a well-educated Damascus Christian in a rebellion that has taken deep root among alienated Sunni Muslim masses away from the capital. A Christian minority terrified of an Islamist takeover remains a pillar of support for President Bashar Assad.

Many observers see Syria headed inexorably down an Iraq-style path of sectarian mayhem and slaughter. But Shahade often told people of how Muslim activists not only accepted him, but sought to afford him special treatment.

At raucous and volatile street demonstrations, he confided to one friend, Muslim protesters would form a circle to protect him and his Christian co-participants, evidence that the revolution was not about sects and ancient enmities.

June 3rd, 2012, 5:27 pm

 

bronco said:

Norman #138

“The only way out as i see it is for president Assad to answer a question about his plans for 2014 election by saying that the new constitution does not allow more than two terms”

It’s too late. Any such declaration will be taxed as ‘lies’, ‘false promises’ etc..
I see that the only way is to have the Syrians in Syria organize demonstrations to say that they reject foreign intervention and the civil war and that they want a stop to violence and the beginning of a dialog with the regime. I wish I could see that in large cities.
The sunni business people are the first to loose if the country falls in civil war.
They should speak up.

June 3rd, 2012, 5:37 pm

 

omen said:

zoo, explain to me how fsa managed to commit a massacre under the cover of regime military tanks shelling.

June 3rd, 2012, 5:38 pm

 

Osama said:

Moderator NoteComment was held up in spam filter mistakenly, time stamp updated.

SC Moderator

I watched the the speech on youtube and I was surprised that he was relaxed and confident. The speech was reasonably well delivered and balanced in content and tone.

Compare him to Ghalion, who always appears stiff and unsure of himself and you would not think his whole regime is on the verge on sudden and catastrophic collapse. Compare him to even other Arab dictators/kings who always have an over bearing air about them or worse having all of the above negative traits and unable to even string a single sentence together without sounding like a goat with a bad case of the hiccups.

Not enough detail for my liking, and I was not able to get a feel for what his intentions/plans are, beyond the fact that he is not intending on departing any time soon.

The most negative thing were the few people who stood up during the speech in order to say a few words of support (which was cringe worthy) and took away significantly from his own performance. Nevertheless, supporters will be reassured and dissenters will be dissappointed he did not do a Mubarak or a Binali performance. Choosing the parliament and have an audience was a good idea to try to show he is in touch with the people, not sure if he pulled it off in that sense, but it worked well enough in my view.

Please don’t be offended if your a diehard revolutionary, but it is my assessment of the speech and his delivery, and I make no apologies.

June 3rd, 2012, 5:41 pm

 

irritated said:

#148 Omen

“Sunni Muslim businesses closed in Old Damascus ”

That’s an activist reporting. There are many journalists in Damascus now, have you read any corroboration?
Showing closed shops on video is unconvincing as it could have been taken on any friday.

June 3rd, 2012, 5:41 pm

 

Tara said:

Bronco #134

شو بدي أحكي واللهِ انت عم توجعلي قلبي

The problem is for myterios reason I do believe that your agenda is not based on sectarian or religious hatred, greed, or wanting to maintain a privileged status. And that is where my heartache comes from. Your defense of what in my opinion is indefensible is based on real true admiration of Arab nationalistic pride that you think is embodied in Bashar al Assad and I differ with you on two counts.

The first is I do not buy the resistance stand anymore. It was a facade to maintaining a master power broker status and to build a net of regional allies. The second is, assuming Bashar is the god of resistance; I can’t let myself be enslaved to a dogma and sacrifice people for that dogma… He committed crimes and massacres happened under his watch. He massacred people from day one. Day one that is.., before any foreign power wanted to dabble with the Syrian crisis. Do human lives mean nothing?

June 3rd, 2012, 5:41 pm

 

zoo said:

#143 Omen

I don’t have the pretention of being a military expert, some do.

I prefer to wait for the investigation, not rely on assumptions, before I can judge.

June 3rd, 2012, 5:44 pm

 

omen said:

the professor’s shift in position should have been acknowledged:

from april:

Despite the humanitarian situation Landis does not believe the international community should intervene militarily because toppling Assad without having a viable alternative will lead to chaos and civil war.
The Syrian people must go through the process of building a nation on their own, Landis asserted, as opposed to having some regime dropped in by foreign powers. The Syrians should look at places like Turkey for examples of how to erect a stable country from the ground up. The Syrians need a George Washington-type who can win long hard-fought battles and unify disparate interests while forging a genuine national identity. As Landis said during the Wright interview:

“Syria needs a George Washington, but Americans cannot invent one for them.”
In the long run, nonintervention will result in less killing, as the Syrians themselves build and establish a legitimate government, as opposed to outsiders intervening and attempting to do it for them.

current one:

They have sanctioned Syria to a fare-thee-well and are busy shoveling money and arms to the rebels. This will change the balance of power in favor of the revolution. Crudely put, the US is pursuing regime-change by civil-war. This is the most it can and should do.

what caused the shift? the houla massacre?

June 3rd, 2012, 5:59 pm

 

Alan said:

MEDIA DISINFORMATION: West Desperately Attempts to Spin Syrian Crisis
Latest fabrications includes defected “air force officer” with “super human” hearing and sight, and miraculous satellite imaging
http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=31212

June 3rd, 2012, 6:02 pm

 

Norman said:

Bronco,

I would not expect that, what you said any time soon not for fear from the government but for fear from the opposition that wants a total collapse of the regime.

June 3rd, 2012, 6:02 pm

 

bronco said:

Tara #146

You say you stopped believing in what you believed a year ago. I am quite sure that you never liked Bashar and was never proud of him like millions of Arab were a year ago. So I guess you did not really change your mind, you were just relieved that others were starting to share your rejection for the guy.
Many mistakes were done at the beginning of this crisis and unfortunately they were not corrected on time and created a cycle of violence. The mistakes were very bad but they were not intentionally lethal. It was a sense of panic that took these ill equipped soldiers and security agents in front of the aggressivity of the protesters that was turning increasingly bloody.
The problem that there were organized people behind these first demonstrations that have been prepared for a long time and waiting for this moment and supported by a network of opposition abroad with totally different agendas. They took advantages of these mistakes to create a cycle of violence whose aim was not reforms but the desintegration of the regime with the intention of bringing a new group to rule the country.
We know the rest, the regime reacted, the opposition failed in uniting and the West, invoking the ‘humanitarian’ trojan horse were eager to finish with a staunch enemy of Israel and an ally of their biggest enemy Iran.
The resilience of the Syrian government, the unity of its army, the support of the sunni business community and of large number of Syrians, despite the crippling sanctions has been a wall that all the assaults have not be able to break.
I know you have a different vision: Against the ‘diabolical’ and bloodthirsty regime’, stand the ‘peaceful’ opposition supported by the well intentioned USA and EU and the white dressed generous Qatar and KSA who want to save the Syrians from the ‘evil’.
You keep your version, I keep mine.

June 3rd, 2012, 6:06 pm

 

SALAH ADDIN said:

TARA#146
Salamet qalbek wa nshallah ma tshoufi waja3 qalb.

In your comment: “Day one that is.., before any foreign power wanted to dabble with the Syrian crisis.”

Foreign powers have more than dabbled in Syria’s internal affairs and exerted their influence on the country’s course, way before day one of the Syrian crisis. Ambassador Maura Connelly, who used to be in charge in Damascus, before moving to Beirut, is on the record with her concern about exposing the Syrian dissidents, who were collaborating with the western plots, and were receiving money and training from the west. An example is the Barada TV broadcasting, that was funded way before day one of the Syrian crisis.

June 3rd, 2012, 6:06 pm

 

omen said:

re the earlier postings of news coverage of the shabiha.

i don’t agree with it but i can sorta? understand people remaining loyal to the regime. but why would supporters squander loyalty on the shabiha when they’re nothing more than brutish, half ape, torturous, criminal thugs?

do the shabiha, like hamas, perform some sort of charity social work i am unaware of? can loyalists name one thing redeeming about them?

June 3rd, 2012, 6:12 pm

 

SANDRO LOEWE said:

Shabbiha mercenaries are reaching their climax these days. Getting money for killing sunnis and rural miserable people like them who own a different religion. And this for the eternal leader of their islamic heresy. Poor prostectives for Syria indeed.

Once in Damascus I met a taxi driver who called himself an Assad Soldier (Junud al Assad). He was a very simple and ignorant boy aged no more than 18-20 years. He was speaking of any syrian against the regime as a dog and a sionist. This is how their minds work.

June 3rd, 2012, 6:17 pm

 

Uzair8 said:

The Beastmen who cried ‘Monsters’

Assad speech reveals desperation. In one Al Jazeera report a syrian responding to the speech described Assad as becoming flamboyant.

In anticipation of public discontent due to depletion of assets (as he admitted), Assad sent a message to the people that their concerns would be secondary to the war effort. How convenient. So he isn’t gonna entertain or tolerate such discontent even from supporters.

I suspect Iran would see it worth it’s while supporting Assad financially. Perhaps upto lets say $5 billion a year (?) It may see this as a war/conflict directly affecting Iran’s interests and fate. Direct wars are much more expensive than $5 billion so Iran would have no qualms in commiting such money to this cause . Iran could be next if Assad falls so it is in Iran’s interests to go the extra mile to try to save Assad or at the very least drag out the syrian situation for as long as possible to buy itself more time and possibly reduce the likelihood of an eventual attack on Iran by reducing the West’s appetite for confrontation.

A prediction.

If Assad escalates this then the FSA may decide to accelerate Assad’s fall. It may identify and destroy military fuel and ammunition storage sites. Attack fuel supplies from Venezuela. It may have to speed up the fall of Assad especially in the light of possible Iranian financial support.

Destroying a few major military fuel storage sites could end this by starving the military machine of it’s lifeblood.

June 3rd, 2012, 6:32 pm

 

SANDRO LOEWE said:

Talking to a syrian living under siege in Rif Dimashq he told me today that the rumors is widely accepted that Maher Al Assad and Assef Shawqat are already dead. And probably foreign affairs ministry maybe dead too.

June 3rd, 2012, 6:47 pm

 

Tara said:

Bronco @151

“So I guess you did not really change your mind, you were just relieved that others were starting to share your rejection for the guy.”

So, I start my post telling you that I believe your are genuine in everything you say and you start your post telling me that I am not saying the truth. This is not fair and weaken the argument tremendously. I always thought I am way too honest in expressing my emotion..Am I not?

Bronco, We don’t know each other, so it should be obvious that I am not trying to influence your personal opinion about me, nor am I discussing this matter to influence the “public opinion”. I am still not past the first paragraph yet and really want go know why would I reject the guy out of the blue. A bad personal or family experience for instance? A genetic despise towards his blue eyes? What is it? What is your theory?

June 3rd, 2012, 7:18 pm

 

SANDRO LOEWE said:

Something I simply CANNOT UNDERSTAND is why almost all news agencies, newspapers and ¨informers¨ report 10.000 dead when talking about Syria.

By December 2011 it was asumed by UN that 10.000 people had died in Syria when we know number could be much higher by then. How in hell can still be talking about the same numbers they used 6 months ago?

June 3rd, 2012, 7:30 pm

 

bronco said:

#157 Tara

I have no idea whether or why you hated the guy before the crisis started, but from day one you were stauncher against him that any of his old time haters.
I would have liked you to say that you were a big fan of Bashar and then changed your mind the same way you changed your mind about Nasrallah, but you never express disappointment, just deep hatred.

In any case, the choice of people you admire and the ones you hate is your personal choice.
I just worry that Damascus and its people will be submitted to the barbarians acts of armed gangs who would gladly destroy the city as they couldn’t care less about it in their frenzy for revenge.

We have seen that in Beirut, totally destroyed by people who thought they could win.
I wonder what the word ‘freedom’ will mean on ruins and anarchy.

June 3rd, 2012, 7:41 pm

 

Uzair8 said:

Aww how cute! The Assad’s waving at SANA media crew (main post).

June 3rd, 2012, 7:45 pm

 

irritated said:

158. SANDRO LOEWE

Simply because they came to realize that the numbers were fake as they were given by dubious ‘activists’ and largely exaggerated. They decided not to count anymore.

June 3rd, 2012, 7:46 pm

 

Uzair8 said:

The people who have stood up against Assad will not submit to or hesitate to stand up against any uncontrollable ‘armed gangs’ or ‘barbarians’ post-Assad.

June 3rd, 2012, 7:50 pm

 

Syrialover said:

Alan #149

You seem to be concerned by “miraculous satellite imaging”

Yes it is miraculous isn’t it.

Bad luck for the Assads that it’s 2012 and they are so easily incriminated with the help of technology.

June 3rd, 2012, 7:50 pm

 

Observer said:

Norman

The Syrian army you talk about is a figment of your imagination. It does not exist anymore.

Conscripts do not server. If they serve they do not get training. Formations that are not loyal or controlled by regime cadres are not deployed. If it is a war that he is talking about why not call in the reserves? He has not been able to put down the rebellion and he does not have enough troops to subdue the revolution. The Americans in Iraq subdued the insurgency with money mainly while concentrating military effort on the extreme elements that already alienated the population.

Also, it is precisely because the regime has played the sectarian card that you believe that if the opposition wins it will end in the massacre of whole communities. People revolted for economic freedom and political participation and for an independent judiciary. In Deraa the decree preventing the sale of land without a permission from the security services was one of the major grievances and had to be rescinded for example.

The speech was not meant for the people of Syria but for the shrinking base of the regime. It is for those that still think it can survive or whose fate is intimately tied to the regime. The Damascenes have stayed on the fence because they want
Stability
Preserved interests
Order
All of these elements the regime told them is yours as the slogan was and is either the regime or chaos. Now the regime is the origin of chaos and the fence sitters are smelling the imbalance clearly.

Douma is being shelled, Homs is still being shelled for the regime cannot take and hold.

June 3rd, 2012, 7:53 pm

 

SANDRO LOEWE said:

161. IRRITATED

Or maybe because the main official source which happens to be UN prefers the official number to be as low as possible to avoid pressure, shame and responsabilities.

Did you finally accept that your president is simply ridiculous in the eyes of the world ? By trying to transmit syrians suport for the mafious leader you simply transmit the idea of a syrian ignorant paranoic people.

June 3rd, 2012, 7:53 pm

 

Amjad said:

Was there some sort of speech? I turned on the TV and thought I was listening to the exact same speech as the one before. And the one before that. Bashar’s speeches and ideas are as original as sequels to The Hang Over. Copy/paste….copy/paste….

Of course, Bashar has to keep pushing the “cosmic conspiracy” line. It’s no good letting his supporters know that all the death and destruction in Syria and the regime’s political isolation, is a direct result of Bashar lacking the testicular fortitude to hold his cousin Atif Najib accountable for torturing some Dar’a teens. Wimp.

June 3rd, 2012, 7:57 pm

 

zoo said:

Arab League Nabil ElAraby: “The opposition will not win the battle with the regime no matter how much it is armed.”

http://www.asharq-e.com/news.asp?section=3&id=29857

[Elaraby] If anyone of us was in the Syrian Foreign Ministry and sat to think and ask himself do we change the regime or not, then the answer would be why the change when I have protection from Russia, NATO has announced it would not intervene militarily, and there is veto at the UNSC from Russia and maybe China? The opposition will not win the battle with the regime no matter how much it is armed.

[Asharq Al-Awsat] You mean because of the political disagreements?

[Elaraby] Yes, they have many disagreements and the balance of power is not in its favour. We are talking here about a group of militias. There is a professional and large army in Syria that has strong weapons and already took part in wars before.

[Asharq Al-Awsat] But the extent of the destruction has reached everything…

[Elaraby] The destruction is terrible and harmed the entire Syrian people. The killings and violence are going to affect the people for years.

[Asharq Al-Awsat] What about the opposition and the proposed dates for their meeting?

[Elaraby] They asked for the postponement despite the consultations held with them over eight months. The meeting was supposed to be held in January. I talked to Burhan Ghalyun at the end of February and we agreed to hold the conference in the middle of March. Importantly, it is obvious that they have internal problems. I advised them to agree on the interest of Syria, its people, and its future. There was agreement on 9 July so that we can tell who will continue and who will not and the inclination is to form a preparatory committee.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] From whom will the committee be formed?

[Elaraby] The Syrian opposition will meet to form the committee and this could be within one week.

[Asharq Al-Awsat] Is the aim from the unity of the opposition ranks to enter into a dialogue with the regime?

[Elaraby] The opposition rejects the dialogue with the regime but has no objection to a dialogue for the purpose of transferring power. We have not reached this stage.

[Asharq Al-Awsat] The political solution is stalled. Will the situation continue as it is?

[Elaraby] Every problem has a political solution. Even wars end with the political solution.

[Asharq Al-Awsat] What is your personal vision for ending the Syrian people’s tragedy and sparing the region’s countries the repercussions of the crisis?

[Elaraby] I announced that the crisis would affect the entire region and everyone agrees with me. We hope we will not reach this stage. I do not want to forestall events because Kofi Annan must surely come out from his visit to Syria with good results

June 3rd, 2012, 8:07 pm

 

Norman said:

Observor,

I think that the Syrian army is stronger than you give it credit, and the lack of mass defection indicate to me that the people and the army believe what the government is saying about foreign interference, i am not sure about the land in Daraa, but there are laws to prevent sale of land to foreigners and to prevent mass accumulation of land to fear of monopoly on agriculture land, that could be the cause, the land in south Syria close to the Jordanian border is sensitive because of the water supply.

June 3rd, 2012, 8:27 pm

 

Tara said:

Bronco

Let us put this question to rest.  Yes, I was never impressed by Bashar (as a man) in the past.  I know the guy personally when he was a teenage and when he was a very young adult (Damascus is a small city and everyone knows everyone), and let me just stop at saying that at a personal leve, I  have my own very different taste….  (exquisite taste that is 😉 ). The only thing that I liked about him was that he married Asma.  I thought she was a very good choice for the nation.  Little that I know….  That doesn’t mean I carried deep-seated hate towards Bashar al Assad way in advance to the crimes he has committed.  I just could not give him extra credit for his resistance stand because resistance was and always is a national Syrian sentiment, a sentiment that was only shared but NOT MADE by Al Assad clan.

The truth is I left Damascus at age 21 and something in me held me back from visiting for quite some time.  Pride and Kharama means a lot to me.  Dignity in my views comes from humility..  And I just can’t imagine life without Karamah.  This is in my genetic make-up that I can’t help, and Damascus pride was raped in front of my very eyes on daily basis, and I always always wondered, why a city like Damascus, the cradle of many civilizations, does not revolt against her rapists,  the regime in general that is..yet despite all that, I was a BIG supporter of Syria’s Arab and foreign policy.  So yes, I held seeds of resentment all along…

Nasrallah was a different story.   His legacy was different.  His life story and what I thought was his aspiration was different.  He at that time embodied what I liked to see in a man.  Strength, power, Karamah, dignity, and feelings for the downtrodden and the underdog.  I use to always tease my husband that if Nasrallah wanted to marry me as the 4th wife, I won’t say no.  Very silly, I know…  I really loved that guy..like many other Arab women did.. 

In any case, can you promise that if the UN investigations implicated the regime in the Houla massacre, you would stop defending Bashar?       

June 3rd, 2012, 8:30 pm

 

omen said:

151. BRONCO said:The problem that there were organized people behind these first demonstrations that have been prepared for a long time and waiting for this moment and supported by a network of opposition abroad with totally different agendas. … We know the rest, the regime reacted, the opposition failed in uniting

.

so the opposition is organized but disorganized at the same time because they lack unity?

June 3rd, 2012, 8:33 pm

 

SANDRO LOEWE said:

168. Norman

Do you have an idea of what´s going on inside Syria? Lands are sold in massive amounts only to Rami Makhlouf Co. to convert it later from rural to urban. Makhlouf and Assad have been buying incredible amounts of lands all around Syria to build after issued a decree to let them build on them. In the meanwhile people in the areas targeted by Assads Mafia were forbidden to build to help them sell to the Mafia. This includes Daraa, Zabadani, Homs, etc.

June 3rd, 2012, 8:36 pm

 

omen said:

sandro – i bet the tracts of land being bought up corresponds with the gas/oil transit pipeline hub that was proposed to be build. multinationals need that land before they can build one.

June 3rd, 2012, 8:39 pm

 

omen said:

110. TARA said:
What does this mean? “”But as is required of a U.S. diplomat, he does not change his personality. He is unmistakably American in culture and outlook even as he interacts in a warm manner with those who are very different.”

.

it means ambassador ford has integrity. because he doesn’t change his persona or values in pursuit of an hidden agenda as the corrupt so often do.

i wouldn’t put that same faith in other diplomats though.

June 3rd, 2012, 8:52 pm

 

Norman said:

I do not know specifics about deals in Syria, probably what we see here in the US..

June 3rd, 2012, 8:55 pm

 

omen said:

171. SANDRO LOEWE said:
168. Norman
Do you have an idea of what´s going on inside Syria? Lands are sold in massive amounts only to Rami Makhlouf Co. to convert it later from rural to urban. Makhlouf and Assad have been buying incredible amounts of lands all around Syria to build after issued a decree to let them build on them. In the meanwhile people in the areas targeted by Assads Mafia were forbidden to build to help them sell to the Mafia. This includes Daraa, Zabadani, Homs, etc.
8:36 pm

.

antoine earlier kept asking why did the unrest first bubble up in daraa and homs when these are conservative regions not prone to radical thinking.

the usual answers were discontent brought on by poverty and drought. but dispossession of land isn’t one i’ve seen before. i can see how the regime squeezing people out of very home could be the last straw that set the region on fire.

the professor cites fear from damascus elites losing everything they own to the poor in the countryside – when it’s been the other way around this entire time. it’s the regime who’ve pushed the non-elites off their property!

June 3rd, 2012, 9:28 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

Saud Al Feisal said he supports safe area,safe area means practically war, civil war,civil war requires arming the FSA and the people of Syria against bashar.
Why Bashar has not used the airforce yet?Qaddafi was unable to use the military planes,because of the no fly zone.
Bashar is using tanks and artillaries,these can easily be made useless by simple weapons.
Civil war,the sooner it starts the sooner bashar will leave,civil war means the majority will win,once there is civil war we can say with certainty that Bashar will be history in less than three months, it is going to be very destructive to Syria,with many much more casualties, but as a bitter medicine, it may be necessary,it will not get better till it get worse.
There are people who says that Bashar will use chemical warfare, this can be used against him too, I don’t think he is that stupid.

June 3rd, 2012, 10:17 pm

 

Syrialover said:

#167 Interview with Arab League Secretary-General Nabil ElAraby.

Ah yes, Mr Elraby,77, who enjoyed a distinguished career bowing and scraping in Mubarak’s team. Now dumping on the Syrian Opposition and boasting of his advice to them.

A perfect poster boy for the stale, brain dead, corrupt generation who are still lingering onstage in the Arab world.

When is the Arab League going to have its Arab Spring to clean it out and put some qualified, competent, untainted people into key roles there? It’s becoming urgent.

June 3rd, 2012, 10:31 pm

 

Tara said:

Syrialover

I too share your view in regard to Nabil al Arabi and the AL

With the way it is going, I am afraid that I would die of old age before finishing all the revolutions I want to see in the Arab world.

June 3rd, 2012, 10:54 pm

 

Halabi said:

174. NORMAN said:

I do not know specifics about deals in Syria, probably what we see here in the US..

There is a different world out there, where Assad gives great speeches, the Syrian military is loved by all Syrians and has, along with the mukhabarat and shabi7a, practiced the utmost restraint, and where Barack Obama’s immediate family owns AT&T, ExxonMobil, half the banks and factories in the U.S., and periodically receive millions of acres of land from the state.

There is a reason why most countries are distancing themselves from this regime, and it’s simply because they don’t believe the fiction coming from Assad and his supporters, but they do believe the documented cases of murder and oppression. (Curiously, the only countries that support Assad are the ones which Assad worshipers here would never live in.)

I attended a couple of fundraisers for Syria this weekend and had an interesting thought. Syrians who support the revolution from outside the country spend time and effort raising money to feed families, treat the injured, organize protests and some try to support the FSA. Yet for all their griping about sanctions hurting the poorest Syrians, I have never seen an event from a pro-Assad group to raise money to help Syrians in need.

Why is that? Why can’t mnhbaks do something that actually helps people, rather than waste time in rallies in tiny towns in Pennsylvania and New Jersey which have no impact on anyone that matters. I guess it’s futile to help poor Syrians deal with sanctions when the only solution that Assad supporters can live with is the slaughter of these poor people by the hands of their beloved, angelic military.

June 3rd, 2012, 11:04 pm

 

Syrialover said:

#178

Tara,

But the Arab League is a crucial one to sort out right now. They are wasting vital funds and air space and presenting a weak, corrupt and inept image of the Arab World.

The ElAraby types have always been damaging and obstructive to the Arab cause, but in 2012 they are sinking it below the water line.

Time that protected species of noxious weed got cleared out and intellectually vigorous new growth planted in their place.

I know, I know, we have to wait for new era Arab governments to get their act together. But it’s a problem that needs a circuit breaker.

June 3rd, 2012, 11:11 pm

 

bronco said:

169. Tara said:

If an unbiased investigation implicates Bashar beyond reasonable doubt, not only me but lots of Syrians will change their mind.

While it is highly probable that the desperate armed opposition would do any lie and witness manipulation, like they did in Khan Shaykhoun to protect the criminals among them and incriminate the regime, I can’t believe that Bashar would lie in front of the whole country to cover up elements within the regime.

Now if he lied and he knew who were the criminals, then he certainly does not deserve to stay in power.

June 3rd, 2012, 11:24 pm

 

bronco said:

#178. Tara

“I too share your view in regard to Nabil al Arabi and the AL”

Bashar, the whole Syrian governement and all the pro-regime agree with you and share your view.

The irony is that you admire HBJ and it is well known that the Arab League is manipulated by HBJ and KSA.

June 3rd, 2012, 11:31 pm

 

zoo said:

Houla massacre: deja vu

http://www.rt.com/news/west-syria-russia-firmer-891/

Neil Clark, a contributor to Britain’s Guardian newspaper, says Western states are using the recent tragedy in Houla as a pretext for a possible intervention – as they did in 1999 in Yugoslavia and in 2011 in Libya.

RT: Moscow says there are attempts by several countries to use the Houla tragedy to further their own interests and undermine Kofi Annan’s peace plan. What do you think about that statement?

Neil Clark: I think it is absolutely correct. I think what we have got here on the agenda is pretty obvious. For the last 15 months there’s been an attempt by Western powers, backed by Arab Gulf states, to topple the regime in Damascus.

And this reminds me – and I’m sure it reminds a lot of people too about what happened back in the late 1990s in Yugoslavia – a situation where the Milosevic government there was under enormous pressure as well. What we had then was Western forces backing rebels against that regime. We had so-called massacres taking place which were then used as a pretext for military intervention, which has caused what we’ve got in a NATO bombardment in Yugoslavia.

And 12 months ago we had exactly the same thing again with Libya. We had atrocity stories come out of Libya. America and Britain were at the forefront of saying “look, we’ve got to intervene” – which is what happened in the end of course. And so, it’s déjà vu, it’s like 1999 and 2011 all over again.

NC: Let’s face it, the US, Britain, France, Saudi Arabia and Qatar do not want Kofi Annan’s plan to succeed. It’s the Syrian government that wants it to succeed – and Russia and China.

I think it was on Friday that the Qatari prime minister said that Kofi Annan should put an absolute deadline for his plan to work. It’s not helpful. I mean, why is the plan not working so far in bringing peace? Because the rebels are still fighting, they are still using arms, terrorist attacks are taking place in Syria. And what is the Syrian government supposed to do in response?

RT: Why do you think a significant body like the UN Human Rights Council has already apportioned blame before the results of the international probe?

NC: I think this is due to Western pressure, because if you think back seven days ago, right from the very first time we heard about this massacre, the lie from the US and Britain was the Syrian government was responsible – before any evidence had appeared. And I’m afraid that there’s been a lot of pressure put on the UNHRC this week. And that is behind that statement which is not very helpful at all.

June 3rd, 2012, 11:49 pm

 

zoo said:

Second revolution in Egypt

http://gulfnews.com/news/region/egypt/second-revolution-in-egypt-1.1031412
Legal experts scotced rumours that Mubarak will be released in three months
By Ramadan Al Sherbini, Correspondent and Habiba Abdelazez,
Published: 00:00 June 4, 2012
Gulf News

Dubai: Thousands of Egyptians returned to the iconic Tahrir Square on Sunday after a night of rage, as the state prosecutor said he would appeal sentences handed down to Hosni Mubarak and his security chiefs.

“This is the next wave of the revolution … we must make the best of this opportunity and call for a revolutionary trial, Mohammad Abbas, founding member of The Youth Coalition, told Gulf News. This would essentially mean a trial that does not pay heed to lack of evidence or follows the rules of the legal system. He said: “The people will rise,” he added.

Reacting to the verdict, Muslim Brotherhood’s presidential contender Mohammad Mursi vowed to order a retrial if he wins in this month’s run-off vote.

more..

June 3rd, 2012, 11:56 pm

 

SALAH ADDIN said:

NORMAN #168
Here are some facts and history to answer part of your question, about the land and other laws and how they affected Daraa.
About four or five years ago, a decree was issued, ecompassing all counties that are adjacent to the international border with Jordan, Lebanon and the occupied Jolan Hights. That decree introduced a new burden on any real estate transaction in those counties, whereby any sale contract, rental contract or building permit must have prior approvals by many authorities including the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Agriculture, and the Al-Amn Al-Seyasee. This decree caused major delays in transactions in the affected counties, in addition to increasing the cost of such transactions, due to the added graft paid to corrupt employees in the process of securing the approval of their respective departments.
Daraa, having a border area with Jordan to the south and the occupied Jolan to the east resulted in it having more counties affected than the other border provinces. Also Daraa has a higher density of villages and towns in the affected counties than the other border provinces.
With Aatef Najib being the head of the Al-Amn Al-Seyasee in Daraa and his reputation of brutality, corruption and incompetence, the approval process became a nightmare for the majority of the people seeking such an approval in the affected counties in the province of Daraa.
Another major issue that affected Daraa, was the strict enforcement of the ban on drilling any new water wells or the deepening of existing wells. With the drought and the excessive use of ground water, most existing water wells were exhausted and became dry. A water well permit became another nightmare both in the approval process and the amount of graft paid. You add to that the other endemic problems that most rural provinces suffer from, and you can see how much Daraa was primed for a revolt.

June 4th, 2012, 12:01 am

 

omen said:

176. MAJEDKHALDOUN said:
Saud Al Feisal said he supports safe area,safe area means practically war, civil war,civil war requires arming the FSA and the people of Syria against bashar.
10:17 pm

.

what do you mean by civil war? when people fight against a regime, that is a revolution.

do you expect masses of average alawites, non military people, to take up arms to fight the fsa?

Why Bashar has not used the airforce yet?

is he waiting to use it as a last resort? nato would be compelled to act then if he did, i think.

June 4th, 2012, 12:30 am

 

Juergen said:

When I see these writings about the love for Bashar, I come to the conclusion that dictatorships like these dont just get relaxed whan they reached their summit of power, no they want the love and the total admiration of their flock. Its a sick mentality. I saw Bashar twice in Damascus, and there was not a moment of normal reactions, women groups were waiting for minutes before his arrival, they would sing a song in his praise, childrens were passed to him to be kissed, all followed a well orchestrated script. I am not sure that this scipt included me and some a jewish friend though…

When Bronco wrote that many Syrians might change their view upon the regime after the atrocities will come out, well that sounds like history is repeating itself. Germans could have known by 1925 what Hitler was up to, his media outlets made it no secret what awaited political opponents and jews in the concentration camps. Any German who wanted to know was able to know, but only few dared to question Hitler and the regime, and many profited though from the sudden disappearance of jews. I make the estimation that in every 10th german household people posess things until now which were confiscated, sold under price from their real owners.

Bronco wrote that mistakes were done by security forces and commanders in the beginning of the revolt. Well thats a nice vison to have, the supreme ruler in his palace kept busy with meaningless work and visits while his cousin and brother kill the people. Sounds to me like an too good to be true picture. I believe the more coherent view would be that the eyedoctor just followed the path of his father. Well if only Bashar would know…

Bronco was also writing of the continuity in his speech. Well you got that right. Not a moment of self reflection, remourse or giving in the demands of the people rebelling against his rule. A friend wrote me that to him it seemed like that his fathers speechwriter was still doing his job.

The only issue is that Assad and his gang wont allow the UN to issue such an report which would blame the regime for this massacre, many efforts are on their way, such as bombing the remains of witnesses so they can not verify what many already know.

June 4th, 2012, 1:13 am

 

SALAH ADDIN said:

MAJEDKHALDOUN#176
“Bashar is using tanks and artillaries, these can easily be made useless by simple weapons.”

The simple weapons you are thinking of will never be supplied to the rebels in Syria, for the simple reason that: Turkey does not want them to fall into the hands of the PKK guerrillas fighting the Turkish Army. The US does not want them to fall into the hands of any of the jihadi radical militants among the FSA, who might use them against the Lebanese Army in northern Lebanon, or in Iraq against the training contingent the US has kept in Iraq.
So you might appreciate why, when the grownups discuss their options in dealing with the Syrian crisis, they draw on their experiences from Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq (the insurgency and not necessarily crushing Saddam), where they could not impose or enforce a safe zone. And when strategists and decision makers in the grownup circles look at the big picture, they don’t necessarily pay a lot of attention to what Faisal says or asks, and for a good reason.

June 4th, 2012, 1:22 am

 

Son of Damascus said:

Dr. Landis,

“Syrians are divided because they have no tradition of unity and the Baath has destroyed politics for 50 years. Nothing America can do will erase that legacy of political underdevelopment.”

I strongly disagree with the notion that Syrians do not having a tradition of unity.

The concept of Syria as a nation was born when King Faisal overthrew the Ottoman and Arab armies entered Damascus on October 1st, 1918. King Faisal lasted all of 22 months before the battle of Maysaloon. Damascus (and Syria by extension) fell to the powers of the French Mandate led by General Gouroud — who went to Saladin’s tomb and kicked it, proclaiming, “Awake Saladin, we have returned! My presence here consecrates the victory of the Cross over the Crescent.” But even in the wake of this humiliating defeat and the heroic sacrifice of Yousef Al Azmeh, the foundation for an independent and democratic Syria was established.

Syrian nationalism was born then, and the founding fathers of Syria proved that there is a Syrian identity worth fighting for. Hashem Atassi,Dr.Rahman Shahbandar, Jamil Mardam bey, Ibrahim Hanano,Fares Khoury, Saleh Al Ali and other great Syrian leaders all spent most of their lives fighting tooth and nail for this ideal.

And unlike Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Egypt and Tunisia, Syria actually had a democratically-elected parliament and president.

Syrians have a foundation to build upon: a history in an actual democracy which the regime tried in vain to eradicate and erase. I say in vain because these past 15 months have proven that the spirit for dignity and democracy has not subsided, and is growing in numbers, even in the face of such horrors and terror. Syrians came out this past Friday, with over 950 unique protests across the country; all of this in spite of the gruesome barbarity that has been inflicted upon them by the regime’s killing machine.

The magnitude of organizing these protests, all carrying the same message — the production of banners, the audio visual equipment, the musicians and dancers, the videos and pictures taken and uploaded — these are all concrete signs of democracy at the grass root level throughout Syria. All of this is accomplished by a network of activists who remain nameless and faceless, because if their identity is unmasked, they face at best, a quick death by the butchers and at worst, a slow and horrific death by the torturers. These activists defend their unifying theme every week in the harshest and one of the most dangerous climates of fear in the world. To disregard their Herculean and arduous accomplishments is an injustice that must be corrected. The fact that peaceful protests are still springing up challenges the notion that the revolution has been hijacked. It is a testament of the will and unity that the Syrian people have shown and will continue to show, and it is also a testament for the level of coordination and communication that the activists have with each other under such brutal circumstances.

And this unity and determination does not end within Syria’s borders. Syrian expats in turn track and geo-tag the protests by uploading them onto spreadsheets and on Google maps for the world to see and use, spreading the message on Twitter, Facebook and various blogs (such as this one).

The failings of the SNC, or the rise of the FSA should not in anyway overshadow the protestors’ daily accomplishments; for without the protestors neither the SNC nor the FSA would ever exist.

The Syrian people are already building upon the true traditions of self-governance we had before, which Assadism and Ba’athism failed in eradicating. Because we Syrians will always by united by our rich history, traditions, and sense of community.

“Leaders come and go, but this country will forever remain.”

Syrian Prime MinisterAta Al-Ayoubi

June 4th, 2012, 1:28 am

 

omen said:

189. SALAH ADDIN said:
MAJEDKHALDOUN#176
“Bashar is using tanks and artillaries, these can easily be made useless by simple weapons.”

The simple weapons you are thinking of will never be supplied to the rebels in Syria, for the simple reason that: Turkey does not want them to fall into the hands of the PKK guerrillas fighting the Turkish Army. The US does not want them to fall into the hands of any of the jihadi radical militants among the FSA, who might use them against the Lebanese Army in northern Lebanon, or in Iraq against the training contingent the US has kept in Iraq.

.

salah, i appreciate your superior knowledge on syria, but, on this one, you are wrong and khaldoun is right.

i used to think the smuggling routes were stymied and the borders were too tight, but then last night i stumbled across a collected trove and sat through video after video after video of regime tanks blown to smithereens. i meant to post them earlier but got called away.

June 4th, 2012, 1:29 am

 

SALAH ADDIN said:

OMEN #191
The RPG and the crude IED can affect the APC, but are limited when it comes to tanks that have heavy armor and/or reactive armor, and the Syrian Army can learn and develop countermeasures to deal with them like Israel and the US did. The effective and lethal antitank weapons, such as the short and medium range guided missiles, with armor piercing and dual timed explosive heads capability, have tightly controlled supply protocols, and are difficult if not impossible to get from the black market. So the issue is not the porosity of the border, which I agree with you that it can’t be tightly controlled, but the availability from the supply sources.
Without access to such weapons, a safe or forbidden zone, will be next to impossible to establish against an Army such as the Syrian Army. Now you can have skirmishes and destroy some APCs and a few tanks, but a forbidden zone is something else. The US will not repeat the mistake it did, when it supplied the Mujahedin fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan, with Stinger shoulder fired missiles, and worry about their proliferation later.

June 4th, 2012, 2:05 am

 

Osama said:

18. MAJEDKHALDOUN

Thanks for adding the link, although you should know that Mr. Saud Abbas, the Syrian Charge D’affairs in Yemen, and the Syrian Embassy in Sana’a both deny the veracity of the claim made by the Yemeni website:

http://alwatan.sy/newsd.php?idn=123841

June 4th, 2012, 5:51 am

 

Observer said:

Here is a strong arabist voice on the speech

http://www.alquds.co.uk/index.asp?fname=today3z999.htm&arc=data\201266-033z999.htm

Even he believes that the massacre happened at the hands of pro regime supporters.

Norman
More than a 150 000 have defected and less than 15% of conscripts showed up for recruitment. This is why there were more than one decree giving amnesty to those that failed to show up for conscription.

I can assure you from my family members that they never got any training on the weapons that they were supposed to be using in their units in the two years of military service. One of them in the air defense unit studied the ZIS-24 in a book and never used it or sat in the tank or understood how it operates.

Only loyal units and soldiers got the training. This is why and objectively speaking the use of force is not going to work.

June 4th, 2012, 7:43 am

 
 

Dawoud said:

These below are Syrian Arabic cynical humor ideas regarding Bashar (War Criminal) al-Assad’s absurd claim yesterday that the Revolution and its violence (although all terror and most of the violence today are caused by the regime)are motivated by 2000 Syrian Liras paid to unemployed protesters 🙂 Please laugh at the dictator and his fraudulent parliament! Why did he instruct MPs NOT to applaud him so much and recite poems pertinent to his cult of personality?:-)
Free Syria, Free Palestine, Bahrain is Arab forever!

http://www.watan.com/news/politics/2012-06-03/10108

المصدر: سكاي نيوز عربية

أثار حديث الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد عن وجود جهات تدفع 2000 ليرة سورية (الدولار يعادل حوالي 70 ليرة) العديد من التعليقات الطريفة على صفحات المواقع الاجتماعية، لاسيما من قبل الجهات المعارضة لنظام الحكم في دمشق.

وجاء في إحدى الصفحات المعارضة على موقع فيسبوك: “امبراطور الممانعة! لو أعطيتنا 3000 ليرة عوضاً عن 2000 كنا ذهبنا لقتال الجيش الإسرائيلي وامتنعنا عن ذبح أهلنا السوريين”.

وكان الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد ذكر في خطابه أمام مجلس الشعب الأحد أن هناك من يدفع للعاطلين عن العمل لكي يخرجوا في مظاهرات، وأن بعضهم يقتل من أجل 2000 ليرة سورية.

ونشر في تعليق ساخر آخر: “هناك من يسرقنا، فعلى حد علمنا أن التسعيرة هي 500 ليرة سورية و(سندويتش فلافل) للخروج في مظاهرة وقتل الناس”.
[…]

June 4th, 2012, 8:43 am

 

Osama said:

Bronco/Tara,

I have been following your back and forth discussion, which I found to be both informative, positive and generally adding value to the comments section.

In my view, Bashar Alassad is representing the establishment or elite that are running the country, and he is not “in-charge” and giving commands left and right and executing people who fail him in the style of Stalin or Saddam or Pol pot (or a bad Hollywood movie).

Still, many people will probably say that he only represents his sect or clan and that he is a despot of Saddam’s level, but I disagree. In any case, we can argue about this, but without a first hand account of the interactions at the very top level of the regime it would be hard to determine the reality.

My point is that this sort of relationship exists in all countries, in the west “the establishment” is where the “democratic” leaders are drawn from. Yes, technically “anyone” can become president, but the reality is that you need money, and lots of it, and who has money to burn on an election campaign?

President Obama is perfect proof of this reality, he talked a lot about change, but in the end he has only been able to work within the narrow range and is beholden to the interest groups which helped him get to his position.

Interesting to note that nearly 50% of US Congress are millionaires:

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2011/11/47-of-congress-members-millionaires-a-status-shared-by-only-1-of-americans/

and in India it is much worse (I would hardly call representative democracy):

http://www.geo.tv/5-19-2009/42392.htm

Anyway, when/if Alassad is removed, and the witch hunt and de-baathification is complete, you will simply have removed one elite establishment and another will have replaced with no real improvement for the poor guy at the bottom. The mathematics don’t change, just because the top tier is removed to be replaced by the one just below it. And the process of change being violent and uncontrolled, just like an explosion, will result in unknown outcome. Change for changes sake is a dangerous thing.

The opposition keeps parroting the Western Media and Officials in saying that Bashar Alassad must go for something to happen. It is clear that the Wests is employing this to weaken Syria as a whole as their will result a long period of infighting until a leader comes out on top. Looking at Iraq we saw this in the past ten years until now we have Nouri Almalki, who is being accused of having dictatorial tendencies. Then we look at Libya, where we are at the beginning of the process and we a have a very weak central government more concerned about how it will remain in place to “guide” the post revolutionary period and armed militia’s with their own local, and even regional, agendas.

The purpose here, is that the US still has intention to dominate this region to guard against expanding Russian and Chinese interests and an effort to isolate Iran to prevent it from being able to give Russia or China access or to even play a regional role counter to western interests. Obviously there are no vital interests for any of these countries, but it seems at this stage to be a test of wills, no body should be under the illusion that the west is interested in anything beyond its own well-being.

Daily they are killing people wherever their forces are deployed, many of them completely innocent and the only news we here, is that 10 or 20 people were killed in a drone strike. Who are these 10 to 20 people and what their suspected crimes were… nobody will ever know. A US soldier in Afghanistan kills 16 women and children and then burned their bodies – we know his name, his wifes name and his childrens names, we know that the “poor” man was stressed and he was probably mentally ill, temporarily, when he committed the crime because we all know that in the end, he will probably get a few months in a mental institution for it, where is Obama’s accountability in this crime?

In 2004, the US attacked Fallujah, killed hundreds if not thousands, used White Phosphorus and Depleted Uranium and Cluster munitions, but that was somehow not a war crime or crime against humanity?

Please read Robert Fisk’s series after his recent visit to Fallujah:
http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-the-children-of-fallujah–the-hospital-of-horrors-7679168.html

These are but a few of the many crimes they have committed against the people of this region (I include Israel in the “West”), and anybody who wants me to believe that the West wants to “help us” is talking crazy (istihbal).

So please spare me that argument – I don’t listen to any Western leader without being highly suspicious of their intentions. As the now mostly massacred american indian – white man speak with fork tongue.

As for the GCC, they are afraid of everyone and so they try to buy their way into the hearts of their western masters. They buy planes they can’t fly, factories they can’t operate, and cars they can’t drive….

The truth of the matter is that Iran is not an existential threat to them or their regimes, but the thought of Iran being a power broker in their area, is frightening to the GCC’s wahhabi constiuency, and using others to fight their battles has always been their style, and also directing the energies of the young and frustrated to go and kill themselves in other countries keeps things quite at home.

On top of that, they have no democratic credentials to be able to even remotely claim they are helping the people anywhere else in the world to achieve their aspirations. Their intentions should be clear to everyone involved.

To me and in this regional/Arab context, Bashar looks the least evil of all of them parties involved. So to me, peaceful reform looks like a very attractive option – although having said all of the above, it is clear that none of the parties will allow this to happen…. I am so sure that I would even go far as to say that if any leader within the opposition were to change his mind and accept the idea of dialogue, I wouldn’t be surprised if he were assassinated the next day (and of course blame the regime after that)…

Sorry for the long post 🙂

June 4th, 2012, 8:55 am

 

bronco said:

#198 Osama

Thanks for the post. It’s very comprehensive and it matches exactly what I have been trying to convey.
The “ideals” of justice and honesty that the West think they project are not fooling everybody, thank God.

June 4th, 2012, 9:02 am

 

irritated said:

#193 majed

“the Syrian Charge D’affairs in Yemen, and the Syrian Embassy in Sana’a both deny the veracity of the claim made by the Yemeni website”

Off you go with another of your failed prediction and information.

The Syrian army is composed of Syrians of all sects and ethnicities and does not included Libyans, Iraqis and Tunisians paid by the rich Gulf countries and supported by Turkey. The traitor is the one who bring in foreign powers to solve country problems. Undoubtedly you fit the bill.

June 4th, 2012, 9:08 am

 

Alan said:

http://www.rt.com/news/west-syria-russia-firmer-891/
‘West won’t back down in Syria, Russia and China must be firmer’
../../..
Push for military intervention ‘enormous’
There is growing rhetoric from the international community pushing for military intervention in Syria. John Laughland from Paris-based think tank The Institute of Democracy and Cooperation, told RT that the push for military interference was “enormous, with France and the US leading the race.”
“Of course it’s used as a pretext to start intervention,” said Laughland. He added that the West is repeating its condemnation of the Assad regime “obsessively, so that eventually everybody will take it for truth.”
Speaking to RT, historian and author Nebojsa Malic again cited the example of the international community’s intervention in Serbia in 1999. He said that US condemnation of the Houla Massacre in Syria just over a week ago was a precursor to military intervention.
“Interestingly enough Syrian rebels have been mentioning they are learning democracy from the Kosovo Liberation Army, while it’s obvious the only thing these guys can teach is how to use massacre to start war. And this is exactly what’s happening,” stressed Malic.

June 4th, 2012, 9:14 am

 

irritated said:

#196 Majed

“Israel used tanks in the war against HA,they were able to destroy the Israeli tanks”

Are you comparing the messy and disorganized ragtag of the FSA to HA? Not in a million years.

June 4th, 2012, 9:20 am

 

Alan said:

Flame virus infects Middle East computer networks
http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_06_04/76973905/
The Flame virus, an unusually powerful malware, has afflicted computer networks in Iran and the Middle East. The virus is comparable to Stuxnet, however the Flame virus is thought to be even more dangerous../../,..

Syria’s opposition rejects Assad’s proposal
http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_06_04/76976915/
The Syrian web is getting more tangled. Damascus is now accusing the West of attempts to colonize the country while the opposition has rejected Bashar Assad’s dialogue proposals. The UN and Arab League envoy Kofi Annan, in his turn, stated that Syria is on the verge of a “civil war”.
On June 3, Kofi Annan talked Syria with Russia’s Foreign Minster Sergey Lavrov. The latter said that Kofi Annan’s peace strategy is the only possible way to solve the conflict and pledged support from Russia. Moscow also wants to coordinate global efforts to boost the process../../…

June 4th, 2012, 9:20 am

 

Alan said:

for peace on the earth ! Glory for Syria !

June 4th, 2012, 10:08 am

 

irritated said:

Irritated Please tone down the rhetoric with MajedKhaldoun.

SC Moderator

#202 Majed

Thanks, but you beat us all by also supplying false information.

June 4th, 2012, 10:09 am

 

zoo said:

The war in now engaged.

80 Syrian soldiers killed over weekend: activists

BEIRUT – Reuters
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/80-syrian-soldiers-killed-over-weekend-activists.aspx?pageID=238&nID=22339&NewsCatID=352

A handout picture released by official the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) shows the funeral procession of soldiers reportedly killed in ongoing fighting across the country outside the Tishreen military hospital in Damascus on May 22, 2012. AFP photo
Syrian rebels killed at least 80 government soldiers over the weekend in intensified attacks on army checkpoints and clashes with forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, a pro-opposition rights group said today.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said rebels had told it that units from the capital Damascus to the opposition stronghold province of Idlib had destroyed tanks and killed more than 100 soldiers. It was able to confirm the names of 80 through local doctors.

more…

June 4th, 2012, 10:11 am

 

zoo said:

Or the other way around?

EU to pressure Russia on Syria at summit
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/eu-to-pressure-russia-on-syria-at-summit.aspx?pageID=238&nID=22334&NewsCatID=359

SAINT PETERSBURG – Agence France-Presse

EU leaders on Monday were set to pressure Russian President Vladimir Putin to harden his line against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime despite little sign of flexibility from Moscow.

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June 4th, 2012, 10:14 am

 

AIG said:

About 100 soldiers killed in one day. That is all Hezbollah could manage over the entire war of several weeks with Israel.

June 4th, 2012, 10:16 am

 

zoo said:

UN mission in Syria, far from being useless, is essential

Hassan Hassan
Jun 5, 2012
http://www.thenational.ae/thenationalconversation/comment/un-mission-in-syria-far-from-being-useless-is-essential

Rising voices from within the Syrian opposition are calling for an end to the peace mission led by former UN chief Kofi Annan, and are declaring the failure of diplomacy.

On Thursday Colonel Riad Al Asaad, the chief of the Free Syrian Army, invited Mr Annan to declare that the UN-Arab League mission is a failure. Some military leaders on the ground threatened to end their ceasefire if the regime would not stop using violence.

These calls have been matched by similar comments from many activists and leaders in the political opposition. There is also a prevailing media narrative that diplomacy has failed and that it is time for Mr Annan to get out of the way.

These calls are misguided, perhaps cynical. They threaten to disrupt a process that, while not deterring the regime from killing people, is essential in building an international consensus to exert more pressure on Damascus.

The mission is also important to document the regime’s violations, for the purposes of any future legal action or a truth and reconciliation process.
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June 4th, 2012, 10:29 am

 

majedkhaldoun said:

MajedKhaldoun Please tone down the rhetoric with Irritated.

SC Moderator

The Christians are supporting Ahmad Shafiq in Egypt, and some Christians are supporting Bashar in Syria, This reminds me of Shoshet Al Nasara in 1860, when yo don’t side on the right side, you end up losing.

Mr. Nonsense Irritated,
FSA is more than 25000, and HA army was 11000, HA was about to lose the war as over 4500 of them died during the war with Israel, the Israeli army is much more powerful than Assad army.stop closing your eyes and putting fingers in your ear,deaf and blind always say Nonsense.

June 4th, 2012, 10:29 am

 

SALAH ADDIN said:

MAJEDKHALDOUN#196
“Israel used tanks in the war against HA, HA did not have tanks,…”

Majed
HA did not have tanks but had short to medium range guided missiles with the advanced and lethal armor piercing munition. While having this type of weapons is crucial for HA to neutralize Israel’s tanks, they could only be effective to the degree demonstrated by HA, when they are integrated in an array of weapons and tactics, developed by HA, that took Israel by surprise.
If the FSA can develop the structure of command and control, the training and discipline, and the continuously evolving tactics that HA is known for, then they could become a real threat to the Syrian Army. But then we are back to who is going to supply them the guided missiles, when they show no cohesion and control of these weapons, like HA does.
Now as to your point that other countries can become directly involved, the above argument becomes redundant, and a whole new set of circumstances would apply, that is only if and when other countries take that step.

June 4th, 2012, 10:58 am

 
 

Tara said:

# 211

Please note that Butchers IQ is around 100 as opposed to Doctors IQ around 130.  So called doctors who passed the baccalaureate and earned their MD degree via Wasta and by virtue of having papa Hafiz as a dad are not really doctors.  Tara thinks that Filmmakers also average 130. 

iQs and jobs

Top civil servants, Professors and Scientists – 140
Surgeons, Lawyers and Architects/ Engineers – 130
School teachers, Pharmacists, Accountants, Nurses, and Managers – 120.
Foremen, Clerks, Salesmen, Policemen and Electricians – 110
Machine operators, Welders, and Butchers – 100
Laborers, Gardeners, Miners, Sorters and Factory packers – 90

http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com/iqs-and-jobs/

June 4th, 2012, 11:27 am

 

Alan said:

212. JNA
On SC I there are informations on it nearly one year ago!other readers badly understood the comment then!
Juergen told that doesn’t know precisely a detail of confidential military contracts between Israel and Germany and avoided to make comments!

June 4th, 2012, 12:34 pm

 

Alan said:

212. JNA

“Our armed forces are not the thirteenth strongest in the world, but rather the second or third…We possess several hundred atomic warheads and rockets and can launch them at targets in all directions, perhaps even at Rome. Most European capitals are targets for our air force…We have the capability to take the world down with us, and I can assure you that that will happen before Israel goes under.”

–—Martin Van Creveld, a professor of military history at Israel’s Hebrew University.

June 4th, 2012, 12:37 pm

 

SALAH ADDIN said:

OBSERVER#194.
“I can assure you from my family members that they never got any training on the weapons that they were supposed to be using in their units in the two years of military service. One of them in the air defense unit studied the ZIS-24 in a book and never used it or sat in the tank or understood how it operates.”

OBSERVER
If your relative was assigned to an anti-aircraft tank unit, then it was probably a ZSU-23-4 Shilka and not a ZIS-24 self propelled field artillery tank.
I am not surprised that your relative never went on a training deployment mission, where he will have to actually shoot the weapons and operate the tank carrier, and will have to live in a tent, during the whole period of the war games.
Your relative is probably a college graduate, and hence was assigned a certain rank and therefore studied the book to pass the exam with a minimum effort. He is probably a member of the middle class with connections, that would allow him to skip the hardship of serving in a combat unit, and spent most of his compulsory service time away from his unit. The volunteers and career Army soldiers and officers, would be the ones who would operate that Shilka in time of war, and your relative will probably never be recalled for reserve duty.
That is why you can not, based on your relative’s military service experience, judge the performance of the professional members of the Army in the field.
There must a compelling reason why many countries think that Syria and its Army is not Libya.

June 4th, 2012, 12:47 pm

 

Antoine said:

@ SNP and ALDENDESHE :

The Free Syrian Army has declared “Total War” on the Syrian Arab Army, and the Local Opposition totally supports it.

The Free Syrian Army asks all conscripts in the Syrian Arab Army to join the FSA , otherwise they are legitimate targets of lethal force.

Now SNP chew on this, FSA isn’ about to ceasefire ever nor about to lose, they have declared total war on Syrian Army , gameplan is in 3 to 4 years assemble about 200,000 strong force throughout length and breadth of the country, composed primarily of Syrian Army conscripts and officers and also large numbers of Volunteers, and start TOTAL WAR against whatever is left of the Syrian Arab Army.

It is very difficult decision to split the Syrian Arab Army, but SNP should step in and give the “flick of the finger” which they have been claiming for some time, if they want to avert this unfortunate consequence. Otherwise how are they different from Emir and King ? And by the way, this thing has passed beyond the scope of the Emir and King or anybody in the World, to control.

June 4th, 2012, 12:49 pm

 

Antoine said:

SALAH ADDIN,

Close to 50 % of the Syrian population is against the Syrian Arab Army and totally supportive if the Free Syrian Army,

Now calculate, what percentage of Syrian military personell belong to this 50 % social group.

And then think of the ZSU-23/24, on which by the way, the scruffy kid from Al-Atareb, Aleppo, already has his RPG sights locked on.

June 4th, 2012, 12:54 pm

 

Antoine said:

We ask His Hashemite Majesty, King Abdullah II of Jordan, to give us at least 100 peices of anti-tank Guided missile Luanchers and 5000 missiles. We will pay for it with profit, what FSA will pay for it will be enough to pay salaries of 12,000 Jordanian Civil Servants in 1 month.

June 4th, 2012, 12:57 pm

 

Antoine said:

The strategy of the FSA for defeating the regime is not by entering into a direct confrontation, but by weakening and eroding the regime by defections from all its institutions. The basic line ios that Sunnis and Christians should not serve a regime which does not represent them , in fact does not represent Syrians, but Iran.

The basic idea is to create a psychological hatred in the minds of many Syrians against the regime, mainly based on social identity.

June 4th, 2012, 1:05 pm

 

Osama said:

206. AIG

Can you please clarify what you mean when you say:

“About 100 soldiers killed in one day. That is all Hezbollah could manage over the entire war of several weeks with Israel”

Because it’s sounds like your cheering the death of 100 Syrians, or at least very impressed the FSA ability to cause carnage…

June 4th, 2012, 2:39 pm

 

AIG said:

Osama,

There was some discussion about the abilities of the FSA relative to Hezbollah. I just made a factual statement.

But if you ask, it is quite impressive that the FSA could cause so many casualties in one day. In the Second Lebanon war Israel lost 121 soldiers in 4 weeks fighting Hezbollah.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2006_Lebanon_War

In the Gaza operation, Cast Lead (about 3 weeks) Israel lost 10 soldiers, 4 which were from friendly fire.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaza_War

So at first blush, the FSA looks much better than Hezbollah and Hamas.

June 4th, 2012, 3:11 pm

 

irritated said:

#219 Antoine

You’re right.
“The strategy of the FSA for defeating the regime is not by entering into a direct confrontation, but” .. by using civilians as human shields, putting booby trap car bombs to kill civilians and perpetrate as many massacres as possible using their gangs so as to trigger the ‘outraged’ international community to intervene militarily.

And keep sending emails to King Abdallah of Jordan about your bright ideas:
” create a psychological hatred in the minds of many Syrians”

June 4th, 2012, 3:27 pm

 

irritated said:

#221

“the FSA looks much better than Hezbollah and Hamas.”

and bloodier, because they kill as many civilians as soldiers.

In any case Syrian soldiers and civilians dead make less enemies to Israel.

June 4th, 2012, 3:29 pm

 

AIG said:

#223

“and bloodier, because they kill as many civilians as soldiers.”

It is not clear you are right. Hezbollah and Hamas regularly shelled citizens in Israel. Just in the Lebanon war they killed 44 civilians. Hamas killed hundreds of Israeli civilians in suicide bombings and they killed very few Israeli soldiers. They are much bloodier than the FSA for certain.

“In any case Syrian soldiers and civilians dead make less enemies to Israel.”

What are you talking about? The Assads did not use their army against Israel since 1973, almost 40 years. In fact they went out of their way to keep the Golan border quiet. The army was kept to use against the Syrian population, not Israel.

June 4th, 2012, 3:45 pm

 

SALAH ADDIN said:

Antoine
The total war was announced from the first days of the revolution by the peaceful protesters, by the local coordinating committees, by the expat dissident activists, by the so-called tribal council representatives, by the Facebook warriors, and later on by the SNC and FSA when they were born on the revolution’s stage right in front of our eyes. Add to that the different religious affiliated and motivated groups, such as MB, Salafists, Takferees, Al-Qaeda, Jabhet Al-Nusrah, Jund Al-Sham, Fath Al-Islam, Huzb Al-Tawheed, Huzb Al-Tahrir. Add to them the many local militias such as Al-Farouq Batalion in Hims and Al-Qaaqaa Brigade in Deir Al-Zor.
So your declaration of total war now is kind of either misleading, or an attempt to jump on the bandwagon.
Now you go on and tell us that, your message to the Sunni, the Christian (and I assume all other communities), is that the regime does not represent them, whereas the above rebels and revolutionaries and their leaders are the true representatives of these communities.
That is why the revolution is bogged down. The Syrian communities would have rallied, in a heart beat, around a truly representative and semi competent opposition.
What the current opposition is offering Syrians, is to jump from the frying pan into the fire.
And you come along and tell us that your strategy is to create a psychological hatred in the minds of Syrians against the regime. Well I have news for you, except for the diehard supporters, which are a minority, there is no love lost between the majority of Syrians and the regime, regardless of their sect or ethnic background and makeup.
This revolution has managed to turn off the majority of Syrians and has not been able to gain their trust or support, therefore trying to summon foreign support.
The only option left for the rebels is a military victory, in order to gain control and take over the country, regardless of how the majority may feel.
Now regarding military strategy, the rebels have not been able to impress anyone either, not that the regime’s performance have been brilliant either.
You say that it will take a few years to achieve your plan. I say the jury is out, and good luck with your plans.
And that scruffy kid from Al-Atareb, Aleppo, better have a good aim, for his own sake, as that Shilka can prove to be deadly.
I guess it is a fight to the end, and the price will be paid by all of Syria, regardless of the result.

June 4th, 2012, 4:12 pm

 

SALAH ADDIN said:

AIG#206
OSAMA#219

Hizbillah’s mission in 2006, was to capture Israeli soldiers, in order to negotiate the release of Lebanese POWs.
That mission was achieved in the first few hours, of what became a war of a few weeks in 2006.
Hizbillah’s mission was never a daily body count. AIG’s use of one day’s body count, in the 2006 war, has no correlation in comparing the FSA’s performance, mission and objective to Hizbillah’s in 2006.
Even after the second day, when it was clear to Hizballah that Israel’s mission, after it failed to free the POWs, was changed to a mission to destroy Hizbillah and erode its support with its base, it never had a body count as a goal, a mission or a strategy.
After several weeks of arduous fighting and attacks, Israel failed in all of its objectives.
So for AIG to use a body count of one day is meaningless, when at the end Hizbillah succeeded in realizing its objectives, where Israel failed dismally, by not being able to free the POWs, not being able to destroy Hizbillah, not being able to capture and hold any Lebanese territory, having to agree on a ceasefire, and to trade live POWS and remains of Lebanese and Arab fighters for the remains of the two Israeli soldiers.

June 4th, 2012, 5:10 pm

 

AIG said:

Do you really want us to believe that Hezbollah was not trying to kill as many Israeli soldiers as they can? Of course they were. And they succeeded over three weeks in killing 121 while the FSA killed 100 Syrian soldiers in only ONE day. The FSA, look much better.

June 4th, 2012, 6:39 pm

 

omen said:

why does the professor keep pointing to iraq as an object lesson when the better lesson is libya?

libya too had sanctions but they were short lived. the price of gas too shot up but only for a little while. no boots on the ground, nato took out military or command and control targets (where, contrary to critics’ hyperbole, they took great care and civilian casualties that resulted were very low) while rebels took up the bulk of the fighting. what’s wrong with that?

June 4th, 2012, 6:58 pm

 

SALAH ADDIN said:

AIG#226
“Do you really want us to believe…”

No, I really do not want you to believe anything, or care what you believe.
I am just stating the facts, that Hizbillah had a clear mission, which they accomplished, the first few hours of the first day, and then after the second day, that mission changed in accordance with their enemy’s mission, which they managed to scuttle.
Israeli infantry incursions unto Lebanese territory held and defended by Hizbillah, was limited to a few attempts, and soldiers of those units were either killed, wounded or were forced to withdraw.
The tanks that crossed unto Lebanese territory, were trapped into kill zones and were forced to withdraw, after failing to achieve their objectives and mission.
If Hizbillah were to loose their focus from their mission and objectives, and instead get distracted by focusing on body count, the outcome would have been different, and maybe not in Hizbillah’s favor.
Now you go ahead and believe whatever you want to believe, including that the FSA can kill more Syrian Army soldiers than Hizbillah killed Israeli soldiers, with a body count of over 3000 compared to 121. I see how you came to the conclusion that the FSA is better. Who are you fooling, but yourself?
Does comparing apples to oranges mean anything to you?
Can you think in terms of achieving a mission in a few hours, compared with a mission that at best might be achieved in a few years?

June 4th, 2012, 8:40 pm

 

omen said:

113. MICHEL said:
I am going to syria (damascus) in 1 month with my simple point and shoot camera to participate in the uprising for freedom and dignity in any way I can. Anyone who can provide some guidance to me is welcome to do so.
12:07 pm

.

don’t go?

June 4th, 2012, 11:49 pm

 

Osama said:

220. AIG

I take exception to your way of measuring the performance of the FSA or any other fighting force. The Syrian Army is a conscript force, and not very well trained, they only have a few formations with the necessary skill to carry out complex operations, but as you pointed out they have not been truly tested since 1973 (actually 1982 in Lebanon).

I take exception to your contention that 100 dead Syrian can in any way be a good thing to show anything. The conscripts were victims, ill equiped and badly trained, I am surprised they fought at all – historically, conscript forces are little more than canon fodder.

I take exception to the way you are cherry picking the examples you want to use and then taking those items out of context.

The the technological show-case that is the IDF did not hold back in either Lebanon or Gaza, they bomb the infrastructure, destroyed hundreds of homes, fired on cars and ambulances or anything that moved, and ended up killing thousands of civilians during the month long onslaught, all from a safe distance. Once they did cross the border, they did it in tanks and when they did engage they had massive air and artillery support, not to mention western political support (“birth of a new middle east”).

By the same token, if we wanted to “measure” the Syrian army’s performance by your exacting standard, the world should look away for a few weeks and let the Syrian Army use all its force and then we can “measure” the FSA.

but we both know that’s not gonna happen…

The FSA is nothing more than a proxy force, bought and paid for by Nato/GCC, it is a mixture of criminals looking to make quick buck smuggling the weapons and “fighters”, wahabi/salafi nut jobs and frustrated young men who don’t know any better, they are hardly up to the standard of Hizballah in either organization or tactics, but any short comings are more than made-up for by the slick PR campaign organized and directed by NATO/GCC.

June 5th, 2012, 3:26 am

 

AIG said:

Osama,

The Israeli army is also a conscript army, so I don’t see how this point is relevant in any way.

And of course Israel held back both in Lebanon and Gaza. That was not one tenth of the fire power of the IDF.

If the Syrian army is as useless as you say, why does the regime fund it? Again it strengthens my point that it is only to be used against Syria’s citizens. If the conscripts are useless, why are they there? Isn’t the regime that sent them irresponsible?

As much as you may want to sweep the objective data under the rug, the numbers speak for themselves. The FSA’s accomplishment is impressive. It has nothing to do with NATO/GCC PR. 100 dead soldiers in one day is 100 dead soldiers in one day. It is more than Hezbollah was ever able to accomplish and certainly much more than Hamas was ever able to accomplish.

June 5th, 2012, 12:05 pm

 

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