Ammar Abdulhamid Emerges as Face of the Syrian Revolution, according to Washington Times - Syria Comment

Ammar Abdulhamid Emerges as Face of the Syrian Revolution, according to Washington Times

Ammar Abdulhamid has emerged as the “unofficial spokesman” and most visible face of the Syrian revolutionary movement.

One of the great weaknesses of the protest movement sweeping Syria has been the absence of any recognizable leadership. Syrians have been asking, “Shoo al-Badiil? – What is the alternative [to Bashar al-Assad]?” Today, one of the faces behind the extraordinary revolutionary movement sweeping the Middle East and driving the social media protest movement has emerged in an extended profile by Eli Lake in the Washington Times.

The Syrian regime has stated that the protest movement centered in Deraa is driven by Islamists, an accusation that scares the moderate middle of Syrian society.  No one in Syria wants to see a return to the dark days of the early 1980s, when the Muslim Brotherhood led an insurgency movement in Syria that nearly dragged the country into civil war and ended with the regime’s brutal suppression of an Islamist uprising centered in the city of Hama. Thousands were killed.

Ammar Abdulhamid is no Islamist. He did flirt with Islam and the notion of going to Afghanistan during a difficult period of introspection after dropping out of  University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, but pulled away from the lures of fundamentalism. “It gave my life structure, but it enslaved the hell out of me,” he told the Washington Post’s Nora Boustany. Eventually he abandoned Islam for atheism and ultimately became an “agnostic.”

The son of Syria’s greatest actress, Mona Wassif, he is secular, liberal, handsome and represents the qualities cherished in the West. He was appointed a visiting fellow at the Saban Center of the Brookings Institute in Washington DC, shortly after he had established the Tharwa Project, which I wrote about on Syria Comment in June 2004. Here is a 2004 bio in the Washington Post by Nora Boustany. He is the author of a prize winning novel, Menstruation: A Novel, that depicts how the culture of Islam in Syria is sexually and morally repressive.

In 2005, Ammar was expelled from Syria for, among other things, calling President Assad a “moron” in a number of interviews nad arguing that he was behind the Harriri assassination in a Daily Star article. He successfully appealed for political refugee status in the US and has become an American citizen along with his wife and two children.

Like a number of other liberal critics of the Syrian regime, Ammar has built up an impressive web presence and has employed a number of researchers and assistants both in and out of Syria to help him.

Following the 2005 defection of Syria’s long time Vice President Abdul Halim Khaddam, who founded the National Salvation Front in cooperation with the long-time leader of Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood, Bayanuni, Ammar decided to join opposition politics directly. Abdulhamid worked to gain the NSF a place in Washington and recognition from the Bush administration. It was successful in opening an office in Washington DC, largely thanks to Ammar’s connections and support, despite considerable reluctance on the part of US lawmakers to support any organization associated to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Ammar quite the National Salvation Front in 2007 shortly before it was dissolved at the time the Obama administration took office. Here is the article by Eli Lake about Ammar and the opposition.

Syrian rebels don’t want U.S. aid, at least for now
By Eli Lake, The Washington Times, Sunday, March 27, 2011

Syrian rebels who have shaken the regime in Damascus do not want U.S. assistance, at least for now, a Syrian dissident in close touch with the network of protesters told The Washington Times on Sunday.

Ammar Abdulhamid, who has emerged as an unofficial spokesman in the West for the activists organizing the Syrian protests, said, however, that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was wrong to refer to Syrian President Bashar Assad as a reformer on CBS News on Sunday.

“It was ridiculous to call Bashar Assad a reformer. She should not have done that,” he said.

Mrs. Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said the United States for now would not come to the aid of Syrians demonstrating against the rule of Mr. Assad.

When asked about Mr. Assad’s now-deceased father’s decision to wipe out Sunni protesters in the city of Hama in 1982, Mrs. Clinton said the current Syrian president was different from his father.

“Many of the members of Congress of both parties who have gone to Syria in recent months have said they believe he’s a reformer,” Mrs. Clinton said of Mr. Assad.

“What’s been happening there the last few weeks is deeply concerning, but there’s a difference between calling out aircraft and indiscriminately strafing and bombing your own cities and then police actions, which, frankly, have exceeded the use of force that any of us would want to see.”

Mrs. Clinton also indicated that the Libyan intervention was backed by several international bodies, while no such international support exists for U.S.-led action in Syria.

“If there were a coalition of the international community, if there were the passage of a Security Council resolution, if there were a call by the Arab League, if there was a condemnation that was universal,” Mrs. Clinton said in response to a question, asking whether the United States would intervene in Syria.

“But that is not going to happen, because I don’t think that it’s yet clear what will occur, what will unfold.”

Mr. Abdulhamid said Mrs. Clinton’s words were “calibrated to different audiences.”

“I don’t think many Syrians wanted to see the Americans taking too strong a line on these developments, because the regime is already saying it’s an American conspiracy,” he added.

“That is important. On the other hand, she did not rule out that there could be assistance in the future if there were more massacres.”

Protests spread over the weekend to the seaside town of Latakia, and on Sunday local press reported that at least 12 people had been killed by pro-government militias. At least 60 demonstrators have been killed in the protests this month.

Buthaina Shaaban, a spokeswoman for the government, said last week that the regime will lift the emergency law that has been in place since 1963, but it was unclear what that would mean. That law gives the government nearly unlimited authority to detain, imprison and interrogate Syrian citizens.

Mr. Abdulhamid said, however, that this step would likely not quiet the protests.

“It’s too little, too late,” he said. “It will frankly not satisfy anybody.”

The Arab cable news network Al Arabiya reported Sunday that the government in Damascus will resign, a move similar to Hosni Mubarak’s last-ditch effort in February to save his regime.

Mr. Abdulhamid said the protests in Syria are organized by a group of social-media-savvy activists inspired and in contact with other Web activists who brought down the Egyptian and Tunisian regimes.

“It’s a diffuse leadership at this stage,” he said. “The people who are leading this uprising are youth activists in their teens and 20s. They have taken to Facebook and are networking with each other and others in the Arab world, asking for advice from others who have had success in other places.”

Mr. Abdulhamid said he initially thought the best time to call for protests would be in the summer, but the date was changed to March 15.

“I was hoping to push this to the summer, but the young people wanted to move now, and we agreed on March 15,” he said. “Lo and behold, this happened, and it is happening.”

One tactic the demonstrators are using is Web-based video. A particularly popular video that was put online late last week claims to show Mr. Assad’s brother, Maher Assad, walking over the corpses of political prisoners who were killed in the 2008 crackdown in the Sednaya prison in Daraa.

“This has made its way throughout the Internet,” Mr. Abdulhamid said. “One of the soldiers who was there took the video. It has been blocked because it is so graphic, so we changed the accounts, and we put it on Facebook, too.”

Mr. Abdulhamid said Mrs. Clinton was correct for now to tone down the uprisings in Syria, but not all observers agreed.

A senior Republican Senate aide said, “This is an opportunity to get rid of an enemy of America. And this administration is playing a repeat of their inaction on Iran in 2009.”

Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union,” cautioned against comparing the uprising in Syria to the anti-government actions in Libya, Tunisia and Egypt.

“Every one of these countries is different,” Mr. McCain said. “Let’s give moral support to these [protesters] in Syria, but let’s not take our eye off Egypt. Egypt is the key.”

Sen. Joe Lieberman, a Connecticut independent, said the events transpiring in Libya should send a strong message to the Syrian dictator.

“If he turns his weapons on his own people, he runs the risk,” Mr. Lieberman said on “Fox News Sunday.”

“There is a precedent now. … We’re not going to allow Assad to slaughter his own people.”

c David Eldridge contributed to this report. © Copyright 2011 The Washington Times

Syrian rebels don’t want U.S. aid, at least for now

A Syrian emerges Sunday from what remains of a shop destroyed during clashes between security forces and anti-government protesters in Latakia, Syria. Latakia is a Mediterranean port once known as a summer tourist attraction. (Associated Press)A Syrian emerges Sunday from what remains of a shop destroyed during clashes between security forces and anti-government protesters in Latakia, Syria. Latakia is a Mediterranean port once known as a summer tourist attraction. (Associated Press)

Syrian rebels who have shaken the regime in Damascus do not want U.S. assistance, at least for now, a Syrian dissident in close touch with the network of protesters told The Washington Times on Sunday.

Ammar Abdulhamid, who has emerged as an unofficial spokesman in the West for the activists organizing the Syrian protests, said, however, that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was wrong to refer to Syrian President Bashar Assad as a reformer on CBS News on Sunday.

“It was ridiculous to call Bashar Assad a reformer. She should not have done that,” he said.

Mrs. Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said the United States for now would not come to the aid of Syrians demonstrating against the rule of Mr. Assad.

When asked about Mr. Assad’s now-deceased father’s decision to wipe out Sunni protesters in the city of Hama in 1982, Mrs. Clinton said the current Syrian president was different from his father.

“Many of the members of Congress of both parties who have gone to Syria in recent months have said they believe he’s a reformer,” Mrs. Clinton said of Mr. Assad.

“What’s been happening there the last few weeks is deeply concerning, but there’s a difference between calling out aircraft and indiscriminately strafing and bombing your own cities and then police actions, which, frankly, have exceeded the use of force that any of us would want to see.”

Mrs. Clinton also indicated that the Libyan intervention was backed by several international bodies, while no such international support exists for U.S.-led action in Syria.

“If there were a coalition of the international community, if there were the passage of a Security Council resolution, if there were a call by the Arab League, if there was a condemnation that was universal,” Mrs. Clinton said in response to a question, asking whether the United States would intervene in Syria.

“But that is not going to happen, because I don’t think that it’s yet clear what will occur, what will unfold.”

Mr. Abdulhamid said Mrs. Clinton’s words were “calibrated to different audiences.”

“I don’t think many Syrians wanted to see the Americans taking too strong a line on these developments, because the regime is already saying it’s an American conspiracy,” he added.

“That is important. On the other hand, she did not rule out that there could be assistance in the future if there were more massacres.”

Protests spread over the weekend to the seaside town of Latakia, and on Sunday local press reported that at least 12 people had been killed by pro-government militias. At least 60 demonstrators have been killed in the protests this month.

Buthaina Shaaban, a spokeswoman for the government, said last week that the regime will lift the emergency law that has been in place since 1963, but it was unclear what that would mean. That law gives the government nearly unlimited authority to detain, imprison and interrogate Syrian citizens.

Mr. Abdulhamid said, however, that this step would likely not quiet the protests.

“It’s too little, too late,” he said. “It will frankly not satisfy anybody.”

The Arab cable news network Al Arabiya reported Sunday that the government in Damascus will resign, a move similar to Hosni Mubarak’s last-ditch effort in February to save his regime.

Mr. Abdulhamid said the protests in Syria are organized by a group of social-media-savvy activists inspired and in contact with other Web activists who brought down the Egyptian and Tunisian regimes.

“It’s a diffuse leadership at this stage,” he said. “The people who are leading this uprising are youth activists in their teens and 20s. They have taken to Facebook and are networking with each other and others in the Arab world, asking for advice from others who have had success in other places.”

Mr. Abdulhamid said he initially thought the best time to call for protests would be in the summer, but the date was changed to March 15.

“I was hoping to push this to the summer, but the young people wanted to move now, and we agreed on March 15,” he said. “Lo and behold, this happened, and it is happening.”

One tactic the demonstrators are using is Web-based video. A particularly popular video that was put online late last week claims to show Mr. Assad’s brother, Maher Assad, walking over the corpses of political prisoners who were killed in the 2008 crackdown in the Sednaya prison in Daraa.

“This has made its way throughout the Internet,” Mr. Abdulhamid said. “One of the soldiers who was there took the video. It has been blocked because it is so graphic, so we changed the accounts, and we put it on Facebook, too.”

Mr. Abdulhamid said Mrs. Clinton was correct for now to tone down the uprisings in Syria, but not all observers agreed.

A senior Republican Senate aide said, “This is an opportunity to get rid of an enemy of America. And this administration is playing a repeat of their inaction on Iran in 2009.”

Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union,” cautioned against comparing the uprising in Syria to the anti-government actions in Libya, Tunisia and Egypt.

“Every one of these countries is different,” Mr. McCain said. “Let’s give moral support to these [protesters] in Syria, but let’s not take our eye off Egypt. Egypt is the key.”

Sen. Joe Lieberman, a Connecticut independent, said the events transpiring in Libya should send a strong message to the Syrian dictator.

“If he turns his weapons on his own people, he runs the risk,” Mr. Lieberman said on “Fox News Sunday.”

“There is a precedent now. … We’re not going to allow Assad to slaughter his own people.”

c David Eldridge contributed to this report.

© Copyright 2011 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Comments (105)


majedkhaldoon said:

Saydnaya prison is not in Deraa

March 29th, 2011, 8:12 am

 

ever said:

“thousands” is a kind of euphemism…
Where does he live, this guy?

March 29th, 2011, 8:17 am

 

Jihad said:

A Syrian version of the racist-Zionist Fouad Ajami. No wonder he got coopted by the Sharon (Saban) Center. He relishes to be a puppet of the White Man.

March 29th, 2011, 8:39 am

 

Sophia said:

He looks like Saad Hariri…

March 29th, 2011, 8:41 am

 

scooby said:

I’m sorry Josh, but what makes this guy the face of the Syrian “revolution”? He has a few outspoken opinions, he’s liberal, he looks like the poster boy of privileged Syrian elites. This “revolution” is taking place in peripheral boondock towns by marginalized youth that probably care very little for this guy’s politics. It seems like more self-serving nonsense from elites that have nothing to offer. Just a desire to get more and more attention from the regnant powers (the US and media).

March 29th, 2011, 8:51 am

 

why-discuss said:

An atheist as a leader in Syria??? Sounds weird to me. I wonder how much support he expect to get from Syrians who are generally believers!
Too bad for his mother who received the first actress award from the hand of Bashar al Assad last year!

“Eventually he abandoned Islam for atheism and ultimately became an “agnostic.”

March 29th, 2011, 8:53 am

 

why-discuss said:

Syria’s Assad Expected To Offer Concessions, Dissolve His Cabinet
by Mark Memmott (March 29, 2011).

Update at 8:40 a.m. ET: The AP now says that State TV in Syria is reporting that the cabinet has indeed resigned.

This is shaping up to be a critical day in Syria.

The Associated Press says that “hundreds of thousands of supporters of Syria’s hard-line regime poured into the streets of the capital Damascus and at least four other major cities Tuesday, waving pictures of the president and flags as the government tried to show it has mass support in the face of protests demanding more freedoms in this tightly controlled Arab state.”

President Bashar Assad, the AP adds, “is expected to address the nation in the next 24 hours to announce he is lifting a nearly 50-year state of emergency and moving to annul other harsh restrictions on civil liberties and political freedoms.” Also, “Syria’s independent Al-Watan newspaper said the Cabinet was expected to resign during its weekly meeting Tuesday, a move that would be viewed as another concession to the protesters.”

Assad, though, would remain in power.

As the BBC says, “Assad is trying to quell almost two weeks of pro-democracy protests against his regime that human rights groups say has left more than 60 people dead. The unrest has become the biggest threat to the rule of President Assad, 45, who succeeded his father Hafez on his death in 2000.”

Protesters may not object if Assad does stay in office. According to Al-Jazeera, while they have been pushing for reforms in the authoritarian state, most have not been asking that Assad himself step down.

March 29th, 2011, 9:06 am

 

SOURI said:

This is another Ahmed Chalabi. This guy won’t win 1000 votes in Syria.

The Islamists don’t like Bashar who claims to be a sheikh and who has a history in resistance. Do you think they will like this guy?

Anyway, it is obvious that the “revolution” in Syria is too weak to threaten the regime. The Syrian regime is stable.

March 29th, 2011, 9:24 am

 

Revlon said:

“Ammar Abdulhamid has emerged as the “unofficial spokesman” and most visible face of the Syrian revolutionary movement”

He sounds like he supports it!

His claim that he played a role in its timing is probably boastful! Nobody knew when the revolution would start.
The serendipitous standoff of 3. Nassab and friends with 7ariqa police, in late February, was probably the encouraging catalyst for the first, albeit small demonstration on the 15th of March.

The Syrian Peoples revolution does not have and does not need a single leader.
It is the sum of all small networked groups. They comprise the beating heart of the nation’s future.
These groups are not led by leaders. They are guided by the bright sun of freedom that has started to rise.

They do not have or need a spokesman.
Everyone who believes in the goals of the revolution (Alla 7urriyeh Suriya w bas) is indeed an unofficial spokesman, including Mr Abul7amid!(agnnostic theist?!)

“Syrians have been asking, “Shoo al-Badiil?”

This is the regime’s RETORICAL question?
It is not the people’s!
The day a badiil announces his name, it will be his last!
Bada2él abound in Syria!
However,
Their name is not Asad,
They are not 3lawi,
They are not Baathi,
They are not corrupt,
and they welcome the challenge of a fair election.

These are Bada2el the regime can not live with

March 29th, 2011, 9:27 am

 

why-discuss said:

Israel not eager to see Syria’s Assad go

ERUSALEM – Syria has fought three wars with Israel and maintains close ties to its fiercest enemies in the region, including Iran and the Hamas and Hezbollah militant groups.

So it may come as a surprise that many in Israel view the current unrest convulsing Syria with a wary eye, fearful that a collapse of Bashar Assad’s regime might imperil decades of quiet along the shared border.

Israeli leaders, who voiced fears — unfounded so far — that the earlier uprising in Egypt might spell the end of the two countries’ peace agreement, are keeping quiet about the tumult that has spread to Syria.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110329/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_israel_syria

March 29th, 2011, 9:27 am

 

Revlon said:

Please Guys!
Has any one seen or heard Mr Farouq Al Share3 in the media, after Saturday’s rumors?
I have no access to Syrian media myself!

March 29th, 2011, 9:31 am

 

Honest Patriot said:

I take issue with one characterization:
handsome?
sheesh, tell me you’re kidding, please.

March 29th, 2011, 10:00 am

 

Honest Patriot said:

I take issue with one characterization:
handsome?
sheesh, tell me you\’re kidding, please.

March 29th, 2011, 10:03 am

 

nafdik said:

Why are we all railing against Ammar?

Whatever his faults are (not handsome according to Honest Patriot) he can be credited for being one of the early opposition voices that had the courage to speak against the Assads.

I agree however that making him the face of the revolution is missing the center of gravity of the revolution and confusing it with the Egyptian FB revolution.

The Syrian revolution is provincial driven by rural youth. The FB Syrians are still singing menhebbak.

March 29th, 2011, 10:12 am

 

why-discuss said:

REVLON

He is alive and well…. another free press rumor!

Syria update – Monday
March 29th, 2011

As the protests spread from Daraa, in the south, to Lattakia, in the north, here is what’s been happening.

Farouq Al-Sharaa, himself from Daraa, has gone on TV to say that President Bashar Al-Assad will soon make an announcement that will please the Syrian people. Separately, a government spokesperson has revealed that the hated emergency law will be lifted. It is understood that Bashar will appear on TV on Tuesday to announce the end of the emergency law with immediate effect.

The demonstrations are still only occurring in consistently large numbers in Daraa and Lattakia. In Daraa, activists claim Hizbollah and Iranian fighters are acting as snipers, a claim that has been roundly decried as sectarian talk. In Lattakia, residents report Palestinian gunmen firing indiscriminately, and battling with the army. There are also claims of Jordanian cars in the city. An Associated Press photographer says protestors have smashed two police cars and windows on a number of buildings.

It’s not clear whether any of this is true. In the absence of foreign reporters, rumours will continue to spread like wildfire.

And the Syrian authorities are doing all they can to make sure reporters can not do their job. Khaled Yacoub Oweis, a Reuters correspondent in Syria, who has done a fine job for many years, has been expelled. Oweis is now reporting on Syria from…Amman. Meanwhile, two Reuters journalists were detained for a short time.

As journalists find it harder to work in the country, the YouTube brigades will rule supreme, and anyone with access to a telephone will be able to add their commentary on international news channels.

Politically, Hilary Clinton, in an apparent bid to strengthen Syria’s doves in their battle with the militarists, has said that both Democrats and Republicans believe President Bashar Al-Assad is a reformer. (Shame they couldn’t have shown that earlier.)

March 29th, 2011, 10:12 am

 

Syria1 said:

Talk about an opportunistic moment for Mr. Abdulhamid. The pages for the Tharwa Foundation or DarEmar (both of which Abdulhamid founded) are not active and so I cannot read their manifesto or mission statement.

Nafdik is right – We shouldn’t be so hard on him…He’s at least standing up to be counted…

They say pictures are worth a thousand words:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:MunaWassef-BanKiMoon.jpg

Revlon – Sharaa on Monday with Chinese Envoy to the ME but really who cares? – http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/china/2011-03/29/c_13802160.htm

March 29th, 2011, 10:22 am

 

nafdik said:

while anticipating president Assad, here is the marker that will show if he is serious about reforms:

– Allow freedom of press for both local and foreign journalists

If he does just this then Syria is on the way to being a much better country.

If he does not then we can expect nothing has changed and whatever he announced will be totally cosmetic.

March 29th, 2011, 10:28 am

 

trustquest said:

It keeps piling up, till now the regime did not make reasonable steps to curb the his demise, no one blamed or punished to the killing of the Syrian youth all over the country. The regime walking on a thin ice, they have to be responsibility and punishment so they can please populace who will side with the victims. Here is a list of recorded 103 martyrs and been considered martyrs by both sides:
قائمة باسماء الشهداء

عاشت سورية حرة كريمة!

1. الشهيد البطل حسام عبد الوالي عياش – درعا الثورة – 18 أذار 2011م
2. الشهيد البطل محمد الجوابرة – درعا الثورة – 18 اذار 2011م
3. الشهيد البطل ايهم الحريري – درعا الثورة – 18 أذار 2011م
4. الشهيد البطل رائد الكرد – درعا الثورة
5. الشهيد البطل منذر مؤمن المسالمة – درعا الثورة
6. الشهيد البطل بلال ابو نبوت – مجزرة العمري – 23 اذار 2011م
7. – الشهيد البطل محمد أبوعون– مجزرة العمري – 23 أذار 2011م
8. – الشهيد البطل حامد المسالمة– مجزرة العمري – 23 أذار 2011م
9. الشهيد البطل د. علي غصاب المحاميد– مجزرة العمري – 23 اذار 2011م
10. الشهيد البطل طاهر المسالمة – مجزرة العمري – 23 أذار 2011م
11. الشهيد البطل ابراهيم النعسان- – مجزرة العمري – 23 أذار 2011م غسان محاميد
12. الشهيد البطل عباس سعد المحاميد وأبنه- 23 اذار 2011م.
13. الشهيد البطل مالك محمود مفضي الكراد-23 اذار 2011م
14. – الشهيد البطل خالد عبدالله المحاميد-23 اذار 2011م
15. – الشهيد البطل نايف حسين الأبازيد-23 اذار 2011م
16. الشهيد البطل المجند خالد المصري – تلكلخ – حمص. 23 مارس 2011م
17. الشهيد البطل رائد أحمد الحمصي – 23 مارس 2011م
18. الشهيد البطل منذر عمرو 22سنة – الحارة – 23 مارس 2011م
19. الشهيد البطل منذر قنبس – الحارة -23 اذار 2011م
20. الشهيد البطل سمير قنبس– الحارة -23 اذار 2011م
21. الشهيد البطل عبد الله الجراد– الحارة -23 اذار 2011م
22.الشهيدة البطلة إبتسام المسالمة-23 اذار 2011م.
23.الشهيد البطل جمال جربوعي -الحراك – 23 اذار 2011م
24.- الشهيد البطل رامي حسنالحريري- الحراك -23 أذار 2011م
25.الشهيد البطل أشرف احمد المصري – الحراك – 23 أذار 2011م
26. – الشهيد البطل محمد احمد السلامات- الحراك – 23 اذار 2011م
27.الشهيد البطل عمر محمد الحريري – علما – 23 أذار -2011م.
28.الشهيد البطل عمر عبدالوالي – 23 –أذار 2011م
29.- الشهيد البطل محمد أبو نبوت– 23 –أذار 2011م .
30.- الشهيد البطل حميد أبو نبوت– 23 –أذار 2011م .
31.الشهيد البطل المهندس أشرف المسالمة – درعا – 2011م.
32.الشهيد البطل معتز ابو زايد- خربة غزالة – درعا -23 أذار 2011م.
33.- الشهيد البطل فادي المصري- خربة غزالة – درعا -23 أذار 2011م.
34.- الشهيد البطل حيان حاج على- خربة غزالة – درعا -23 أذار 2011م.
35.الشهيد البطل محمود دياب داغر – علما -– درعا -23 أذار 2011م.
36.الشهيد البطل عبد الناصر المسالمة – علما – 23 أذار 2011م
37.البطل المدرس الفاضل محمد رشراش الجراد – الحارة -– درعا -23 أذار 2011م.
38.الشهيد البطل حاتم محاميد -– درعا -23 أذار 2011م.
39.الشهيد البطل أيمن قطيفان-– درعا -23 أذار 2011م.
40.الشهيد البطل محمد مصطفى دلوع – درعا 23 اذار 2011م
41.الشهيد البطل منذر أحمد الحمادي – – درعا 23 اذار 2011م
42. الشهيد البطل وسام الغول – فلسطين / درعا – 23 أذار 2011م
43. البطل الشهيد أحمد فواز أبو صافي – الحراك
44.البطل الشهيد جمال الجربوعي – الحراك
45.البطل الشهيد محمد علي السلامات – الحراك
46.البطل الشهيد محمد أحمد السلامات – الحراك
47. البطل الشهيد غسان المحاميد – درعا
48.البطل الشهيد عزيز أبو نبوت – درعا
49.البطل الشهيد محمد علي أبا زيد – درعا
50.البطل الشهيد مصعب المحاميد – درعا
51.البطل الشهيد ماهر المسالمة – درعا
52. البطل الشهيد يوسف عبد الرؤوف المقداد – درعا
53. البطل الشهيد ثائر يوسف منوخ المقداد – درعا
54. البطل الشهيد نورس صفوان المقداد – درعا
55. البطل الشهيد صلاح عبد الرحمن الحريري – قرية الصورة
56. البطل الشهيد محمد عبد الرحمن الحريري – قرية الصورة
57. البطل الشهيد عيسى محمد الكردي
58. البطل الشهيد معاذ نايف الأبازيد- قرية الصورة
59. البطل الشهيد مهاب نايف أبازيد
60. البطل الشهيد نضال فارس- خربة غزالة – درعا -23 أذار 2011م.
61. البطل الشهيد زكريا الحميدي – خربة غزالة – درعا -23 أذار 2011م..
62. البطل الشهيد طلال الفاضل – الحراك
63. البطل الشهيد الشيخ وهيب العدوي – الحراك
64. البطل الشهيد عبدالغني الأكراد
65.البطل الشهيدعلي الرواشدة – طفس
66.البطل الشهيد عبدالناصر مسلماني – قرية علما
67.الشهيد عيسى حجازي – تل منين – ريف دمشق جمعة العزة 25 أذار 2011م
68. الشهيد ياسر الرفاعي – الزبداني – ريف دمشق –جمعة العزة 25 أذار 2011م
69. الشهيد …….. البرهان – الزبداني – ريف دمشق –جمعة العزة 25 أذار 2011م
70. الشهيد قاسم محمد العتمة – الصنمين – درعا – جمعة العزة 25 اذار 2011م
71. الشهيد محمد جلال الزعبي– الصنمين – درعا – جمعة العزة 25 اذار 2011م
72. الشهيد سمير اللباد– الصنمين – درعا – جمعة العزة 25 اذار 2011م
73. الشهيد مهند ابراهيم الذياب– الصنمين – درعا – جمعة العزة 25 اذار 2011م
74. الشهيد عروة الشريف– الصنمين – درعا – جمعة العزة 25 اذار 2011م
75. الشهيد محمد حسين الشريف– الصنمين – درعا – جمعة العزة 25 اذار 2011م
76. الشهيد محمد معمر الحمودي– الصنمين – درعا – جمعة العزة 25 اذار 2011م
77. الشهيد أحمد الزعبي– الصنمين – درعا – جمعة العزة 25 اذار 2011م
78. الشهيد أنور شتار– الصنمين – درعا
79. الشهيد إبراهيم صقر –دوار الزراعة – اللاذقية– جمعة العزة 25 اذار 2011م
80. الشهيد البطل كمال بردان – طفس –درعا -25 أذار 2011م
81. الشهيد البطل أحمد محمد ديب أندرون -24 عاماً- المارونيات – اللاذقية -27 اذار 2011م
82. الشهيد البطل محمد ياسين إسفنجة – 21 عاماً – طريق الحرش – اللاذقية -26 أذار 2011م
83. الشهيد البطل وائل عبد القادر العك -28 عاماً – مشروع القلعة – اللاذقية -26 أذار 2011م
84. الشهيد البطل موفق طالب بارود – 25 عاماً– بستان الصيداوي – اللاذقية – 27 أذار 2011م
85. الشهيد البطل علاء نافذ سلمان – اللاذقية -26 أذار 2011م
86. الشهيد البطل جمال محمد علي – الحراك – درعا.
87. الشهيد البطل مجدي راكان التركماني – الحراك – درعا
88. الشهيد البطل إياد علي الرشيدات – درعا.
89. الشهيد البطل فادي يوسف الذياب – الصنمين
90. الشهيد البطل ناظم مجاريش – محجة – درعا
91. الشهيد البطل شادي نهار مسلماني – درعا.
92. الشهيد البطل محمود حسين عيشات – درعا.
93. الشهيد البطل محمود الحشار – الصنمين – درعا.
94. الشهيد البطل طلال الحشار – الصنمين – درعا.
95. الشهيد البطل ياسر الفروح – الصنمين – درعا.
96. الشهيد البطل محمد حسني الأسعد – الصنمين – درعا.
97. الشهيد البطل علي الكسواني – الصنمين – درعا
98. الشهيد البطل …. تيزيني – الطابيات – اللاذقية – 26 أذار 2011م
99. الشهيد البطل …… بيا زيد – اللاذقية – 26 اذار 2011م
100. الشهيد البطل أسامة ميهوب – مشروع شريتح – اللاذقية – 26 أذار 2011م
101. الشهيد البطل …. قبارو – مشروع الأشرفية – اللاذقية – 26 اذار 2011م
102. الشهيدة البطلة سبتة أكراد – 17 عاماً – درعا – 25أذار 2011م.
103. الشهيد البطل عادل فندي – حمص 26أذار 2011

March 29th, 2011, 10:46 am

 

Vedat The Turk said:

I agree with NAFDIK. Instead of criticizing Ammar Abdulhamid, lets give him a chance. At the very least he had the courage to stand up against the Assad regime while in Syria which is more than I can say about many of his critics on this thread.

As an aside: This is the first time I can remember Josh ever quoting the Washington Times as an authorative source on Syria. The papers bias is well known but they do have serious journalists working for them. Only time will tell.

On another subject: spoke with friends and family in Alep and boy is everyone stressed. The biggest source of fear seems to be the uncertainty. But everyone seems well informed about what is going on. Stay strong people of Syria and hopefully one day you will have a functioning democracy like Turkey rather than a corrupt dictatorship lead by a fool like Assad’s Syria!

March 29th, 2011, 10:52 am

 

Atassi said:

trustquest
Thank you for the martyrs list
عاشت سورية حرة كريمة

March 29th, 2011, 10:57 am

 

Baher said:

Yea its good for him, he is the spokesman of himself. frankly better for Mr.Ammar not to show up in Syria cause people here do not like those who talk badly against them abroad. those who “demonstrated” in Dr3a did not hear about the things this guy is talking about and here in Lattakia mostly are bunch of hooligans.
am not defender for the regime and the people in power here move very very slowly but i somehow see such events like(2001, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008…) are enough to slow once motion and make him think ten more times before allowing such personals to enter political life here.
so comrade Ammar we do not want one more Galabi or karadie

March 29th, 2011, 11:03 am

 

najib said:

game is over boys:

the syrian people would be conned into chaos.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrPalDDLRsc

March 29th, 2011, 11:05 am

 

Atassi said:

Did the security forces shoot at the pro Assad rally today? I did not hear of any incident !!

March 29th, 2011, 11:06 am

 

Atassi said:

From: Homs Chamber of Commerce – ITC
Date: 2011/3/28
Subject: دعوة للمشاركة في المسيرة الجماهيرية

السادة الزملاء أعضاء الهيئة العامة المحترمين

أطيب تحية وبعد :
نهدي إليكم خالص تقديرنا ، و نود دعوتكم للمشاركة في المسيرة الجماهيرية التي ستقام غداً الثلاثاء الواقع بتاريخ 29/3/2011م، الساعة الحادية عشرة ظهراً، تأييداً من أصحاب الفعاليات الاقتصادية التجارية لسيادة الرئيس المفدى الدكتور بشار الأسد رئيس الجمهورية العربية السورية، عرفاناً ووفاءً وتعبيراً عن المحبة الخالصة لشخصه الكريم ، و ليكون أبناء الوطن صفاً واحداً خلف قيادته الحكيمة .

يرجى الاطلاع والتجمع في الغرفة للانطلاق في الساعة المحددة إلى ساحة الساعة الجديدة .

وتفضلوا بقبول أخلص التمنيات بالتوفيق

رئيـس غرفة تجارة حمص

المهندس محمد عادل الطيارة

March 29th, 2011, 11:10 am

 

Mohamad Ahmad said:

to Souri (8)
“The Islamists don’t like Bashar who claims to be a sheikh and who has a history in resistance. Do you think they will like this guy?”
Since when did Bashar claim to be a sheikh> and what kind of history did he have in the resistance? and what kind of resistance?
Muna’s son will not be liked because he is an opportunistic, as you pointed out.
I agree with you that the revolution is still pre-mature but it is a start that is showing people that there is nothing to fear, we are already in prison! No more Hama will be coming forth, I hope.

March 29th, 2011, 11:11 am

 

NK said:

Anyone watching “الفضائية السورية” ?. According to one “caller” Syrian-Americans are gathering in New york for a rally to support our prisedent, Norman might know something about this 😉

P.S Jad, Tylenol, and lots of it.

March 29th, 2011, 11:11 am

 

norman said:

NK,
I have not gotten the Talking points and the program, You seem more informed, LOl

March 29th, 2011, 11:38 am

 

jad said:

NK,
Not even Wildnil 😉
In general: Wildnil…used for tranquilizing large animals (elephants, rhinos, etc.) One drop can kill a human.

March 29th, 2011, 11:39 am

 

gk said:

It is a good article to distract people from the real issues: freedom and end of corruption! Also, when people know that he is behind the uprising, they will say “we told you so” he is a “US or worse Israeli” tool!!!

March 29th, 2011, 11:54 am

 

jad said:

مثقفون سوريون يوقعون «العهد الوطني»: السعي لبناء دولة ديموقراطية مدنية

وقّع عشرات المثقفين السوريين على بيان أطلقوا عليه اسم «العهد الوطني» شددوا فيه على «السعي لبناء الدولة الديموقراطية المدنية الحديثة»، و«عدم استخدام العنف أو القبول باستخدامه تحت أي ظرف كان، الآن ومستقبلاً»، و«مقاطعة وإدانة كل جهة تساهم سواء بالكلام أو الفعل في بث الفرقة وافتعال التناقضات بين السوريين».
وتعهد الموقِّعون على «العهد الوطني» بالاتي:
– السعي المشترك لبناء الدولة الوطنية الديموقراطية المدنية الحديثة، التي تضمن المساواة التامة بين المواطنين في الحقوق والواجبات وحرية الأفراد، انطلاقاً من الإقرار بمبدأ المواطنة الذي ينظر لجميع المواطنين بشكل متساوٍ، بغض النظر عن انتماءاتهم المختلفة.
– احترام التنوع المجتمعي ومعتقدات ومصالح وخصوصيات كل أطياف الشعب السوري، وعدم السماح تحت أي ظرف ولأي كان بالإساءة إليها أو بانتهاكها أو بتقييد دورها في الحياة العامة، والإقرار بحقها في التطور والرعاية، كونها جزءاً أصيلاً لا غنى عنه في جسد الشعب السوري الموحَّد.
– التشجيع بالقول والفعل على التواصل والتفاعل الودي والإيجابي، السلمي والأخوي، بين جميع ألوان وأطياف الشعب السوري بلا استثناء، وعدم السماح بما من شأنه إثارة الفرقة أو الخلاف أو التوتر أو البغضاء بينها، وعدم ممارسة أو القبول بممارسة أية سياسات تمييزية أو إقصائية مجحفة ضد أي طائفة أو جماعة إثنية سورية.
– عدم استخدام العنف أو القبول باستخدامه تحت أي ظرف كان، الآن ومستقبلاً، وعدم التعامل بغير سياسات اليد الممدودة والقلب المفتوح، والحفاظ على أمن وكرامة وحرية كل أطياف الشعب السوري، وعدم القبول بالاعتداء على أي جزء من أجزائه أو انتقاص حقوقه، وعلى رأسها حقه في الشراكة الوطنية بجميع مستوياتها السياسية والاقتصادية والاجتماعية والثقافية.
– العمل المشترك لإزالة كل ما هو غريب عن تاريخ وممارسات جميع أطياف الشعب السوري، الطائفية والإثنية، التي كانت دائماً موحَّدة ومنفتحة بعضها على بعض، مؤتلفة ومتعايشة تحت سقف الأخوة والعيش المشترك، ومتكاملة المشاعر والأفكار والمعتقدات، وهو ما جعل بلادنا واحة سلام وأمن أهلي ومدني.
– مقاطعة وإدانة كل جهة تساهم سواء بالكلام أو الفعل في بث الفرقة وافتعال التناقضات بين المواطنين في المجتمع السوري الذين يتعرضون جميعاً بلا استثناء للقمع والحرمان.
– الامتناع عن وإدانة كافة الأعمال والممارسات غير القانونية التي تثير المواطنين ضد بعضهم البعض وتسبب الأذى للأشخاص والممتلكات العامة والخاصة، ودعوة جميع المواطنين إلى نبذ القائمين بها كائناً من كانوا.
وعاهد الموقِّعون على هذا «العهد الله والوطن والشعب على الالتزام به، قولاً وعملاً. المجد للشعب السوري موحَّداً، حراً، أبياًً، كريما».
ووقع على «العهد الوطني» كل من: الشيخ جودت سعيد، حبيب عيسى، عبد الرزاق زريق، عارف دليلة، هيثم مناع، عبد الكريم ريحاوي، عبد الهادي عباس، محمود جيوش، حسين العودات، ميشال كيلو، الشيخ معاذ الخطيب، عبد الحميد درويش، هيثم المالح، حسن عبد العظيم، أديب الأمير، فداء أكرم الحوراني، ناصر غزالي، محمد ملص، سمير ذكرى، غسان نجار، دعد موسى، رياض سيف، مازن عدي، عبد المجيد منجونة، وليد البني، عبد الكريم أبا زيد، رزان زيتونة، احمد طعمة، منير الخطيب، جاد الكريم الجباعي، حازم نهار، نبيل مرزوق، رزق الله هيلان، نادر جبيلي، فايز سارة، أكرم البني، ياسر العيتي، قاسم عزاوي، سليم حجار، عبد الرحيم غمازي، وهيب السوقي، طارق حوكان، محمد عادل خالدي، نجيب ددم، عبد المجيد حمو، زينب نطفجي، محمد العمار، منير بيطار، ابراهيم الحكيم، فؤاد عبد الأحد إيليا، مصطفى ظلقوط، سيرين خوري، ابراهيم ملكي، فراس سعد، خلدون الأسود، مي الرحبي، منتهى سلطان الأطرش، نجاتي طيارة، ماجد حبو، منير شحود، منذر خدام، عدنان حمدون، علي فرزات، صبحي حديدي، فاروق مردم بك، محمد علي الأتاسي، وديع هيلان، علي العمر، ندى الخش، سمير نشار، الشيخ يوسف ديب الحمود، صادق جلال العظم، برهان غليون، فؤاد حرب، عبود الحاج هزاع، فوزي الحمادي، عبد العزيز الهايف، عبد الله ماضي، عادل حفية، جاك عبد الله، علي العزاوي، عبد الفتاح حميدة، ماجدة كدو، عبد الفتاح حميدة، إياس عبد الغني عياش، مصطفى زلقوط، بشير السعدي، جمانة سيف، مرح بقاعي، الشيخ حسن كفتارو، الشيخ محمود كفتارو، سمر يزبك، سعد طعمة الخضر، الحاج محمد الهزاع، الشيخ أحمد الرمح، قاسم فتوح، محمد رشيد الغبير، محمد حاج عبيد، غنام جابر الحمد، محمد بهان حنيش، غسان العرفي، كبرئيل كورية، كرم دولـة، وعبد الكريم اضحاك.
(«السفير»)

http://www.assafir.com/Article.aspx?EditionId=1808&ChannelId=42506&ArticleId=3049&Author=

March 29th, 2011, 12:09 pm

 

Alia said:

Comic relief …

March 29th, 2011, 12:16 pm

 

nafdik said:

Trustquest,

Thank you for the martyr list. I hope we honour them by building a better Syria.

It is a reminder that Syria is not only Damascus and Aleppo and that the desire of freedom is not a luxury that can only be asked after we have fixed our economic problems but a fundamental desire of all humans.

March 29th, 2011, 12:17 pm

 

Ziad said:

It seems to me that the fakes on this blog are at it spinning for Ammar Abdulhamid, a man that neocons have been grooming for 5 years. He did not emerge, neocons are trying to emerge him as a focal point to the revolution hoping to aggregate regime opponents who are not Islamic around him.
Most non Islamist liberals in Syria are either not calling for regime change or will refuse to follow a man too close to neocons. The revolution so far has been conducted by sectarian Sunnis. If he manages to garner some followers, he will only splinter an already fractured movement. He and his followers can be discredited in the eyes of the Syrians with a single word “mulhid”.

March 29th, 2011, 12:23 pm

 

abraham said:

He was appointed a visiting fellow at the Saban Center of the Brookings Institute in Washington DC

That’s all you need to know about this pony-tailed fraud.

Is this supposed to be serious journalism, what they publish in the Washington Times? Why are you even bothering to present this, Josh?

March 29th, 2011, 12:23 pm

 

MONTAGNARD said:

Dear JAD, NK
In case your headaches are not throbbing enough, here is a dose!! Sorry my friends, but I thought you might like to see.. AL MUDHEK AL MUBKY

http://www.almanar.com.lb/adetails.php?eid=26503&cid=21&fromval=1&frid=21&seccatid=23&s1=1

March 29th, 2011, 12:33 pm

 

Alex said:

Atassi, no one fired at anti regime demonstrators in Lattakia yesterday either:

Here is today’s highlights:

March 29th, 2011, 12:35 pm

 

Mich said:

Let me comment on what fires the Syrian revolution, they are arresting 15 years old children who wrote some statements on walls against the regime inspired by Arabs revolutions (see previous posts by Josh), along with arresting a 17 years old activist girl from Aljawabra tribe in Daraa.

These two events made the Syrians feel extreme humiliation and wanted to have their dignity back, demonstrating in Daraa, during demonstrations people refused to end or call desired statements by regime, they faced the armed forces and some were killed.

This birth of the Syrian revolution made it naturally without a leader, Syrians need facilitators for democratic elections, and protection for the process, Unfortunately normally there is no free lunch, they wish Bashar is the one to reform and make these changes possible. Some comment that having no alternative to Bashar will lead Syria to unknown future of chaos and crimes, instability for all neighbors, however having tried regime for 10 years and expecting something else is also doubtful, a regime that has grown/ tolerated wealthy illegal armed forces, suppress anyone who would participate in real political activities or establish a distinguished party, made the defense forces with loyalties to regime not to the country, is not likely to protect the leap to democracy, yet giving it a second chance will only make it stronger and getting rid of it will only cost more.

Syrians currently are preferring to live on leftovers, instead of dying hungry for unknown future!

March 29th, 2011, 12:39 pm

 

NK said:

Alex

I would like to hear your take on the demonstrations today.

My take is, today’s demonstrations proved that millions of Syrians are slaves to the regime, they’re nothing more than mindless zombies, with no soul, dignity, or an opinion of their own.

If this demonstration took place after Bashar’s speech and after the reforms were announced this wouldn’t be the case, but to anyone with a grain of intelligence this right now doesn’t make any sense, we don’t know what the reforms are yet, and the security forces abuse is still rampant. What are those millions cheering for ? the fact that Syria was under a “terrorist attack” (according to the official story)?, or the fact that tens of Syrians died not a couple days ago ?, just give me a reason that makes any sense.

If I were Bashar I wouldn’t give them jack tomorrow, if the millions are this happy right now, there is really no need for any changes, actually it might bring joy to those millions if he announced tomorrow “قائدنا الى الأبد, بشار حافظ الأسد”

March 29th, 2011, 12:59 pm

 

Atassi said:

ALEX
good to know that no one fired at anti regime demonstrators in Lattakia yesterday … Maybe be they will stop firing forever and load their guns with LOVE and Freedom ammunitions and I hope this scenario below will not occur !!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DnmwOtPY4k

Ps. Are you actually taking this staged pro-regime rally at a face value !.. give me a break please !!

March 29th, 2011, 1:00 pm

 

louai said:

this guy is an ignorant,full of heatred and dose not represent ANY one but himself

March 29th, 2011, 1:06 pm

 

MONTAGNARD said:

ZIAD @#33
I agree with your above assessment of Ammar. I enjoyed reading Ammar’s blog “Ammarji” when it was up years ago, as he wrote about many provocative issues in a provocative style, including about the many sects in his family of relatives and their contradicting stands, and his struggle with depression, his personal family issues… I always thought his colorful style, rebellious thoughts and provocative stands, made him a very interesting Avand-guarde writer. His mood swings affected his writing, as it was obvious in his emotions.
Martin Indik helped introduce him into the Neoconservative circles, as he was his boss and mentor when he arrived in DC, and became a fellow at the Saban center. I watched a few of his talk/debate panel participation. Although he is an outspoken critic of Bashar Asad and his regime, I felt that he pandered to the Neconservatives, AIPAC and the Bush administration with whom he had good relations.

March 29th, 2011, 1:07 pm

 

jad said:

نورت سيرياكومنت اليكس
🙂

March 29th, 2011, 1:11 pm

 

5 dancing shlomos said:

Media Disinformation: The Protest Movement in Syria
Western Media Coverage of the Events in Daraa

by Michel Chossudovsky

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=24016

March 29th, 2011, 1:26 pm

 

5 dancing shlomos said:

Ammar Abdulhamid: empty, pointless, stooge/puppet.
(2nd post attemp. 1st apparently no stick)

another fool and stooge coming to the “rescue”. taken from angry arb:

Top dissident: Syrians don’t want war with Israel
Syrian exile Farid Ghadry tells Ynet young Syrians care about improving economic state

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4049064,00.html

March 29th, 2011, 1:40 pm

 

Septimius said:

‘One of the great weaknesses of the protest movement sweeping Syria has been the absence of any recognizable leadership’

Is this neccessarily a bad thing? It didn’t do any harm to the Egyptian uprising.

Surely better a leaderless revolution than this pony-tailed dude, who as others have said is clearly the wannabe Syrian Ahmed Chalabi. A US-based ‘agnostic’ who writes books on how repressive Islam is? Doesn’t sound like someone who too many Syrians would identify with. I’m willing to bet he’s better known among Washington ‘think tank’ circles than he is in Syria.

March 29th, 2011, 2:12 pm

 

CC said:

Eli Lake? In the Washington Times? That would only confirm that the young man featured is somehow connected to neo-con circles in the US.

March 29th, 2011, 2:25 pm

 

MONTAGNARD said:

5 DANCING SHLOMOS
Farid Ghadry was stripped of his Syrian citizenship after his visit to Israel and his address to the Israeli Knesset, attacking the Syrian government and praising Israel in that infamous address. He is an AIPAC card carrying member and supporter. He used to get financial support from the Bush administration, as did Ammar, when the administration was supporting their anti Syrian regime activities in DC, when the grand plan was to turn to Syria after Iraq, and they were considered the “Syrian Shalabis” by the Bush-Chenney administration planners.

March 29th, 2011, 2:36 pm

 
 

Ziad said:

Good article and an interesting collection of wide spectrum comments.

سوريا: السباق بين الفتنة والإصلاح
ابراهيم الأمين

http://www.al-akhbar.com/node/7706

March 29th, 2011, 3:07 pm

 

atassi said:

Bashar al-Assad’s day of reckoning
Simon Tisdall
guardian.co.uk
30 March 2011
Guardian Unlimited
GRULTD
English
Simon Tisdall: The Syrian president’s televised address to the nation could be a moment of opportunity or a fatal step in his fall from grace
Bashar al-Assad’s address to the nation is easily the biggest moment of his young political life. Syria has faced multiple crises during the president’s 11-year rule, including a massive refugee influx after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the 2004 Kurdish uprising, a rift with Lebanon after the Hariri assassination in 2005 and Israel’s bombing of a supposed nuclear reactor in 2007. But none seriously threatened the 45-year-old Assad’s grip on power, nor the survival of the regime. This is different.
The protests that have shaken Syrian towns and cities in recent days are unprecedented in both scale and character. In many ways, they resemble the Egyptian and other Arab revolts – a roar of rage against lack of economic opportunity, a youthful population’s limited life chances, the lack of personal and social freedoms and the dead weight of official corruption. But there are differences, too. Syria’s regime, more than most, has relied on absolute obedience, enforced by a terrifying security apparatus. Dissent was not tolerated. The change now is that dissent has become open, pervasive and unquenchable. Dissent is a firestorm, burning up all Syria’s old certainties in its path.
“What we have in Syria is not yet a revolution. It is unrest in pursuit of legitimate reform,” a Syrian official said. “Assad is a popular president. If there was a vote tomorrow, I think he would win 60% or maybe more. We have the problem of economic corruption but not political corruption. Assad has a lot of credit in the bank. He needs to cash it in or else we are heading for the unknown … Whatever happens, Syria has changed. The wall of fear for expressing your views has collapsed.”
It’s certainly true Assad is no Hosni Mubarak, the octogenarian Egyptian president who came to symbolise a nation’s ossification. He has often spoken of reform and, briefly, during the so-called Damascus spring of 2000-01 following the death of his ultra-authoritarian father, Hafez, Syrian society seemed ready to break free from its historical and geographical shackles. The fact it did not was attributable in part to the baleful influence of the old guard inherited from his father.
All the same, Assad’s failure to bring about change was ultimately his own, raising doubts about his political courage and judgment. His apparent inability to modernise Syria’s economy, his continued reliance on emergency laws enacted by the Ba’ath party after the 1963 coup and the ongoing lack of political pluralism and media freedom poses the question: why should anyone believe him now when, back to the wall, he once again promises reforms? Has he left it too late?
Assad’s decision to sack his cabinet, even as pro-regime protesters filled the streets of many cities, may help answer these doubts – and help him achieve a clean break with Assad Sr’s era. But in his televised speech he will need to go further. His task is to convince the majority of Syrians who, if officials are to be believed, want reform rather than regime change, that the country can make a new beginning, that a new order is finally replacing the old.
“The security forces made great mistakes in Deraa [the southern city where the unrest began and more than 60 protesters were killed]. Instead of trying to find a solution, they were shooting in the square. For that reason, the president has ordered a halt to all violence by the security forces,” said Sami Khiyami, Syria’s ambassador in London. “The president intends to rectify these mistakes.”
His speech would include repeal of the emergency law, a stepped-up campaign against corruption and orders to the security forces “not to harm people freely expressing their views”, he said. Other reports suggest curbs on opposition political parties and media will be relaxed and political prisoners freed.
Khiyami insisted there was substance to regime claims that small groups of agitators, mostly foreign-backed, were responsible for provoking the most serious clashes. These groups included Islamist extremists from the indigenous Sunni majority, Syrian Kurds, and Iraqi, Lebanese and Algerian immigrants whose “agenda” was stirring up sectarian tension, he said. Their activities lay behind the recent violence in Latakia where 10 police were killed and 300 people arrested. Khiyami added that Syria remained the most secular, multi-ethnic and religiously tolerant country in the Middle East – and that outside powers were intent on undermining it.
Assad’s failure so far to pursue a reform agenda, and the crisis confronting him now, could be laid in part at the door of the US, Israel and European countries that were hostile to Syria and had weakened it through economic sanctions and trade embargoes, Khiyami said. Syria was a proud, dignified country that was “difficult to tame”. Despite what they claimed, the great powers would actually prefer the Middle East to remain a “buffer zone” between the west and Asia, an excluded, unrepresented, under-performing, second-class region with no real say in international affairs, he said.
Whatever the reasons, and they are many, Assad faces a great reckoning when he steps up to speak. It could be a moment of unparalleled opportunity. Or it could prove to be a fatal next phase in his inexorable fall from grace.

========================================================================
Syrian cabinet dissolved as thousands demonstrate; Region in Revolt
BY THE NEW YORK TIMES
30 March 2011
International Herald Tribune
INHT
7
English
President Bashar al-Assad accepted the resignation of his cabinet Tuesday as thousands of government supporters took to the streets of Damascus, the capital, in an effort to counter a rising tide of democracy protests in several cities, news agencies reported.
The cabinet resignation, announced on state television, appeared to be a concession to protesters and came as the political crisis in Syria deepened, with the armed forces in the restive southern city of Dara’a on Monday firing live ammunition in the air to disperse hundreds of demonstrators.
The unrest poses a serious challenge to Mr. Assad and his Baath Party. Mr. Assad had been expected to announce as early as Tuesday the repeal of the country’s emergency law, in place since 1963, which effectively allows the security forces to detain citizens without charges. Whether the repeal — or the cabinet resignations — would quell the protests remains unclear. Other laws restrict freedoms and give immunity to the secret police.
The mixed signals sent by the government — promises of reforms that would have been unthinkable months ago, coupled with heavy-handed repression — may be indicative of deeper tensions, analysts said. Mr. Assad, 45, a British-educated eye doctor who was often described as a reformer early in his 11-year rule, relies on a largely Alawite state apparatus that has been resistant to reform and whose survival depends on the Assad family.
‘‘There must be a very harsh debate going on’’ around the president, said Elizabeth Picard, a political science professor and expert on Syria who is based in based in Aix-en-Provence, France. ‘‘We’re nearing a zero-sum game. Once you let go a little, you take the risk of losing everything. Some people are going to cling to power.
On Monday, marchers gathered in the city’s main square, chanting ‘‘Not Sunnis, not Alawis, we all want freedom’’ and ‘‘God, Syria and freedom only.’’ By late afternoon, hundreds of people had staged a sit-in, uncertain whether the army would try to disperse them during the night. More than 60 people have been killed since March 18, human rights groups say. It was unclear if there were any casualties Monday.
‘‘They were marching peacefully, asking for their rights, when the army opened fire at them,’’ said one witness who declined to be identified for fear of reprisals. ‘‘But this is not the end.’’
The armed forces had retreated from the city’s main arteries over the past few days, giving residents an uneasy sense of being in a standoff. The Associated Press reported that security forces were surrounding the city on Monday afternoon. The army also was still deployed in the northwestern city of Latakia, which had seen several days of violence.
The situation in Latakia is symbolic of the challenge facing the government. A traditionally Christian and Sunni coastal area north of Damascus, the town has seen an increase in its population of Alawites, a religious sect, since the 1960s, and resentment between the groups runs deep.
Latakia itself still has a Sunni and Christian majority, but the villages surrounding it are mostly Alawite and are considered a government stronghold. It was no accident that the offices of SyriaTel, a telephone company owned by an Assad cousin, Rami Makhlouf, who is widely perceived by demonstrators as a symbol of corruption, were burned down during protests Saturday, when 12 people were killed.
Latakia was calm Monday, but despite the army’s presence in and around the city, a resident who declined to be identified said he witnessed sporadic violence overnight.
He described civilians carrying rifles or knives, creating their own makeshift checkpoints. ‘‘Pro- and anti-government groups’’ fought, the witness said, ‘‘and tension was fueled by reports of foreigners bringing instability to the city.’’
The state news media have largely blamed foreigners and residents of a Palestinian camp near the city for the unrest in Latakia.
On Sunday, state radio reported multiple sightings of foreigners in the coastal town, including ‘‘a group of Lebanese women who said they wanted to rent an apartment but ran away when asked for identification.’’
============================================================================

British dictatorship’ in Damascus the next diplomatic crisis for London
MICHAEL BINYON, DAVID BROWN, GRAHAM KEELEY
THE TIMES
30 March 2011
The Australian
Unrest in Syria adds to Britain’s Middle Eastern problems
WHEN Bashar Assad was joined by his glamorous British bride in Syria’s presidential palace, there were hopes they would bring a breath of freedom for a country long oppressed by the rule of his father.
After a decade of power, during which the couple were wooed by Tony Blair and received by the Queen at Buckingham Palace, their very British dictatorship is becoming Westminster’s next diplomatic crisis.
Syrian security forces fired teargas on protesters yesterday; by coincidence, Asma Assad, the London schoolgirl who became Damascus’s first lady, appears in this month’s US edition of Vogue extolling the virtues of “empowerment in civil society”.
Britain had attempted to exert its influence over the new Assad regime within months of the President’s marriage. In November 2001, Tony Blair became the first British prime minister to visit Damascus. The following year, Mr Assad, who trained to be an eye surgeon in London, became the first Syrian leader to meet the Queen and was later accompanied by his wife for a visit to Prince Charles at St James’s Palace.
London has also been at the heart of Syria’s attempts to shed its reputation as a pariah state linked to international terrorism.
Mrs Assad’s father, Fawaz Akhras, 64, a consultant cardiologist, last year founded a British charity to promote his daughter’s vision of preserving Syria’s heritage for future generations. She is president of the Syria Heritage Foundation. Its trustees include her father, Wafic Said, the Syrian-born billionaire arms dealer, and Lord Powell of Bayswater, a foreign policy adviser to Margaret Thatcher and John Major.
Mrs Assad was born in London, the first child of Fawaz and his wife Sahar, a diplomat at the Syrian embassy. The family still live in the terrace house in Acton, West London, where she grew up. She called herself Emma while a pupil at Twyford Church of England High School in Acton.
She met her future husband during childhood holidays in Syria but became better acquainted when he moved to London to train as an ophthalmologist.
Mr Assad was suddenly recalled to Syria after the death of his elder brother, Basil, in a car crash in 1994. When Hafez al-Assad died in June 2000, the dictatorship duly passed to the son.
Most voters seemed ready to forgive the nepotism and the lack of the son’s political experience — even if the margin of support, at 97 per cent, pointed to a rigged ballot.
The new President promised so much: an opening-up of the economy, press freedom, political reform, warmer relations with the West, an end to the repression of his father’s one-party Baathist state.
When the Assads married on New Year’s Day 2001, the relationship was seen as further portent of a more tolerant regime. The President hails from the Alawite minority, an offshoot of Shia Islam, and his wife is a Sunni. She soon threw herself into a her role as an international stateswoman, travelling the world to promote women’s rights and literacy as well as raising three children.
Hollywood couple Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were guests in Damascus in 2009 and in December Mrs Assad attended a lunch in Paris with Carla Bruni.
As recently as two months ago, her husband felt confident enough to boast that while Egypt and Tunisia were convulsed by popular revolts, Syria was stable and would bring in reform. Instead, protest is sweeping the country and the regime is adopting the Gaddafi response to the Arab Spring.
The Vogue issue featuring Mrs Assad already appears historic. It describes the first lady as “a desert rose” and a “long-limbed beauty with a trained analytic mind”.
Her husband has floundered as the political initiative has slipped away. King Abdullah of Jordan, a former friend, once told The Times: “He is a prisoner in his father’s own prison.”

March 29th, 2011, 3:26 pm

 

SOURI said:

Today’s demonstrations show that the Wahhabi revolution has no chance of winning and that the regime will not fall.

Now let’s calculate the losses. The new media and party laws were already scheduled before the revolution and they were expected to be announced during the Baath convention. The lifting of emergency law will not necessarily change the way security is handled in Syria. So these reformative measures are not really losses for the regime.

The real loss is that the regime now “owes” the Islamists a favor because they did not turn against it. Another more significant loss is the damage to the regime’s image as a strong and non-challengeable regime. Hafez Assad built a thick wall of fear around the Islamists. This wall now has been damaged. It will be harder for the regime now to challenge the Islamists again or force anything on them. The Islamists will be emboldened to resist the regime and try to impose their views on it. This is the most grave loss for the regime during this revolution.

The regime can reduce the losses. It is good that Bashar pulled himself together and didn’t rush to the TV to address the people while the Wahhabi demonstrators were in the streets. That would have been very bad for the regime’s image. Bashar now is waiting until everything calms down and until his supporters finish their huge support demonstrations. After that he should appear quietly and address the People’s Assembly (not the people directly, because that is unusual in Syria except during wars). Bashar must seem confident and defiant. He must attack those Wahhabi demonstrators and explain that the reforms were scheduled ahead and were not because of the Wahhabi demonstrations. Bashar must use his speech to build a momentum that will enable the regime to launch a security campaign against the Wahhabis. The only way the regime can restore some of its image in front of the Islamists is by launching a strong eradicative campaign against the Wahhabis like the campaign against the Ikwan in the 1980’s. Of course, Bashar will not call them “Wahhabis” by name, but the campaign will target the Wahhabis specifically.

بالعربي الفصيح، بشار يجب أن يربي الإسلاميين بالوهابية.

March 29th, 2011, 3:34 pm

 

SALAH ADDIN said:

Ammar Abdulhamid aka Syrian Che Guevara/Don Quishote

March 29th, 2011, 3:46 pm

 

norman said:

I just hope that president Assad does not misunderstand the support he is getting and do nothing , the time to act is now and the time for complacency is gone, Now with people behind him or in front of him the old guard that are worry can not and should not be able to stand in his way.

The people are giving him another chance and want him to lead them, so time to show your intention,

March 29th, 2011, 3:51 pm

 

SOURI said:

Bashar Assad has been reforming the economy and administrations. Reform was going on and things were not stagnant.

As for political reform, Syria is not ready for a vast political reform and such reform shouldn’t be undertaken now.

If Bashar finds no escape from political reform, he must make it so slow that it doesn’t complete until 2050 or later.

The real problem in Syria now is not political reform. The problem is how to contain the Islamists and prevent them from exploiting the current events in the Arab World. We must concentrate on how to avoid an Egyptian/Iranian scenario in Syria. An Islamist revolution in Syria will make democracy 50 years further away. With Bashar, we can reach reach democracy by 2050. With the Islamists, there is no democracy before 2100.

March 29th, 2011, 4:13 pm

 

NK said:

This was an interesting tweet

اليوم تغيبت العصابات المدسوسه المنتميه الى جنسيات مختلفة والتي تتبع مخطط خارجي عن القتل بسبب مشاركتها في المسيرات المليونية المعروفة

and here’s one of those “مندسين” in Sanamayn, who according to Buthiana Shabaan attacked a military base to steal more weapons, careful it’s really graphic

March 29th, 2011, 5:03 pm

 

Nour said:

NK:

Actually the tweet is not that interesting and doesn’t really make very much sense at all.

As for the video, we have no clue where, when, why, or how this video was taken, and its only purpose is to show a graphic image that can stir people’s emotions. This sort of propaganda is cheap and disgraceful, and people engaging in it only intend to incite people, rather than to arrive at changes and reforms for the betterment of Syria.

March 29th, 2011, 5:23 pm

 

jad said:

NK, what were you thinking? Seriously guys, show some sensitivity with posting something horrific as the one you just did, these pictures are doing nothing, respect the souls of those guys and their families.

You want some fun news, here you go:
بشارالاسد يصيب قادة الوحدة الاسرائيلية (ملاط מל”ת ) بالاكتئاب
http://filkkaisrael.blogspot.com/2011/03/blog-post_7100.html#more

One more interesting to those who think so high about the west political morality, It’s ok for the Arabs to revolt and that must be supported but for the Palestinians to think about it its’ forbidden:

تحمل عنوان: الانتفاضة الفلسطينية الثالثة
فيسبوك يغلق صفحة ضد إسرائيل
http://aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/E9983CB8-0868-4F61-915C-B78714CAA85A.htm?GoogleStatID=1

March 29th, 2011, 5:25 pm

 

Syrian revolution — War in Context said:

[…] Joshua Landis writes: Ammar Abdulhamid has emerged as the “unofficial spokesman” and most visible face of the Syrian revolutionary movement. […]

March 29th, 2011, 5:31 pm

 

NK said:

Jad

I’m sorry, you’re right, my emotions got to me because whenever I see such videos all I can think of is this

Nour, are you suggesting this video was staged ? they have the name of the poor guy in the title.
Anyways, I guess I’m annoyed but the demonstrations today, I never expected Syrians to be so careless about the emotions of the families of those who died in the past week, holding a grand celebration not even a week after their death … what a shame.

Here’s what one مفزلك said
” هدول اللي عم يطالبو بالحرية الأحسن انو يطالبو اسرائيل بالغاء قانون الطوارئ اللي عم تحكم فيو الفلسطينيين”
really !!!

March 29th, 2011, 5:42 pm

 

NK said:

http://bit.ly/hZ37MR

Syrian activists say contact with government over reforms has started
By the CNN Wire Staff
March 29, 2011 6:01 p.m. EDT

(CNN) — Syrian opposition activists have told CNN that contacts have begun with the government to try to agree on drastic reforms in Syria. They say the contacts are being made through mediators within and outside Syria.

“As a first step, we want the regime to dissolve the security apparatus, amend the constitution and form committees to investigate corruption and the killing of protesters,” one of the activists said.

He described changes made so far by the regime, such as the resignation of the prime minister and his cabinet Tuesday, as “superficial.”

He said President Bashar al-Assad was expected to make the following announcements when he addresses the nation Wednesday:

— Lifting the emergency law that’s been in place since 1963;

— Changing the political parties law to allow opposition parties and end one-party rule in Syria;

— Establishing committees to investigate deaths during recent unrest;

— Other constitutional reforms.

In return, the activist said, the government wanted the opposition to withdraw from the streets and give the new government six months to implement reforms. But such demands were unacceptable, he said.

The opposition activist said he was authorized by others in Syria’s emerging but largely anonymous opposition movement to talk with the media. CNN was unable to confirm immediately with the government whether the contacts described were taking place.

But another opposition figure said the core issue was the security apparatus. “We want the regime to dissolve this apparatus and create a new security system,” he told CNN. “High-ranking security generals have terrorized, tortured and killed Syrian civilians …We want these people to go.”

He added: “I am, like the March 18th opposition, keen on making this work … We do not want bloodshed and we are honest about negotiation attempts with the regime.”

The March 18th movement was a spontaneous one “representing liberals, conservatives, Christians, Sunnis, Alawites,” he said, and was “not related to Muslim Brotherhood nor the traditional Syrian opposition in any way.”

Some opposition activists use nicknames, non-Syrian phones and move in and out of the country to avoid Syrian security services. CNN is unable to confirm whether the activists’ comments are representative of other opposition figures.

One of the activists contacted by CNN said the opposition did not trust the regime to deliver on its promises. He said it suspected the government would replace the emergency law with terrorism law.

“The word terrorism covers a very wide range of topics that allows the security forces to arrest anyone, including opinion leaders and opposition members,” he said.

March 29th, 2011, 6:24 pm

 

Alex said:

Teslam ya Jad : )

My friend Atassi, everyone is massaging the truth one way or another. Buthaina often annoys all of us with the way she casually generalizes about those who she does not approve of.

Having said that, here is what I want to ask you about today’s demonstrations:

Today millions, not “tens of thousands” and not “thousands” demonstrated all over Syria. Surely many are government employees or students who were given a day off and were encouraged to take part in the demonstrations, but very simply … Mubarak tried to but only managed about 10,000 of his supporters in Cairo to show up… not a million… and Egypt’s population is four times Syria’s population. Assad’s supporters today translate into four million compare it to four millions in Cairo terms… much more impressive than any Egyptian revolution participation.

Didn’t everyone say that now the fear barrier has been shattered in Syria and that it is impossible for “the Syrian regime” to silence or control the Syrian people? … in that case the million+ who demonstrated today did it because they wanted to … Surely if the regime was not confident of the popular support they have, they would not have been willing to risk allowing such a huge gathering to take place. The main “revolution” page on Facebook (the one Ammar is claiming credit for) was in fact calling on its supporters to join the crowd, pretend they are pro Bashar, and then to switch to chanting anti Bashar slogans.

None of that took place … What kind of serious revolt by the Syrian people produces less than 1000 demonstrators in Damascus while the president can enjoy a million?

As for the many friends who ridiculed the regime for not worrying about el-moundasseen (the outsiders)… remember that they did indeed worry about them whent they asked their supporters in Lattakia (where tons of Alawites and Christians live) to not demonstrate for fear the outsiders/trouble makers would do nasty things.

NK,

My opinion of the demonstrators? … can you entertain the thought that perhaps they trust and Like Bashar and that they are now even more convinced that outside powers wanted to force him out? … did you see how BBC Arabic covers the events in Syria? … 95% propaganda. If I were in Syria I would have participated in my first demonstration today just to take part in this collective middle finger to the BBC and Al-Arabia.

And more importantly … Bashar’s reforms would have a better chance of working if the world understands that his people are solidly behind him and not if he is scared as they described Mubarak …

The Syrian people are very wise NK .. they want a central authority, led by someone they trust, to lead them towards reform … much wiser than the wild revolutionaries out there.

March 29th, 2011, 6:35 pm

 

Furious said:

Extremely surprised by Joshua Landis, who seems no better than his government in backing their own people (in other words the people carrying the american agenda).
I though professor Landis was more of an independent analyst.
As a Syrian, and for many I know I am speaking, Mr.Abdel Hamid is no better than any traitor adopting the unpatriotic agenda. He is not a respected figure in Syria and I am talking even, if not mainly, from the opposition.
This is not the right timing for you americans to show your true color and to start advertising for your people.
I can tell you, you have certainly lost at least one reader. And I am certain, the respect of many

March 29th, 2011, 6:42 pm

 

Alex said:

as for “belro7 beldam …” … I would chant it these days and later advocate that people stop those old chants and switch to chanting for specific issues. SImilarly for anything that says “for ever” … no one Should be President for life.

Bottom line … for now, it is an emotional issue for me. ANYTHING but chaos and although I thank the courageous Syrian who demonstrated so far and forced a faster adoption of reforms, I do not want more speed … time to give the President a chance.

March 29th, 2011, 6:46 pm

 

SALAH ADDIN said:

Here is an Arab hero who was also honored by Syria with medals after the 1973 war. President Asad should include in his reforms, a serious and ambitious upgrade of the Syrian armed forces, in order for Israel and the west to take Syria seriously and return the Jolan.

http://www.akherakhbar.info/showarticle.asp?id=2365

March 29th, 2011, 7:06 pm

 

Nour said:

NK:

No, I didn’t say the video was staged. I said I don’t know anything about the video. It’s just a graphic video of person who appears to have been shot. We don’t know who shot him, how he was shot, what were the circumstances, where it took place, etc. What I’m saying is such videos do nothing but stir up emotions.

As for the demos today, no one is being “so careless about the emotions of the families of those who died.” Remember that the security forces and police who died also have families, and they weren’t killed by freedom loving peaceful protesters. The idea of the demonstrations today was to put an end to the attempt to cause sectarian rifts in Syria. I personally don’t like the attachments to individuals that we tend to display in our society and I believe such chants should definitely be eliminated from our demonstrations. But I do like the fact that Syrians showed the entire world that they would remain united and no attempts at sowing internal discord would be successful in Syria. I also definitely feel the anger of Syrians toward media outlets and certain individuals that were clearly using sectarian language to create divisions in society. I thought the way the Syrian people handled the entire episode was admirable and something to be proud of. They showed a real consciousness and awareness of surrounding issues and made it clear that they view each other as only Syrians, and not members of different sects.

March 29th, 2011, 7:09 pm

 

NK said:

Alex

I have no doubts Bashar is liked and even loved by many Syrians, my problem with the demonstrations today was purely based on the timing, last week was very tough for many Syrians, a lot of Syrians died regardless of who killed them be it “عصابات مسلحة” or “قوات أمن”, Syrians did die, I find it odd that the nation would be in the mood for celebration rather than mourning. The other thing I don’t get is why are the demonstrators being so thankful to the “gifts the eternal leader” gave them, before he actually announce what those “gifts” are.

Please don’t mistake my emotions, I’m not angry because I hate Bashar, I’m outraged because people today were talking like slaves, I’m shocked by the ignominy of those who called State TV to pledge eternal allegiance to the one and only true leader. They were chanting “اذا الشعب يوما أراد الحياة فلابد ان تكون تحت قيادة الدكتور بشار الأسد” this is beyond love, this is prostration.

Anyways, we’ll see what reform he’ll announce tomorrow, I fear there won’t be any.

March 29th, 2011, 7:11 pm

 

SOURI said:

#57

This news can be significant if we know who are exactly the “activists” the regime is talking to.

Are they Islamist? Which would mean that the regime plans to surrender some of its power to the Islamists, and ultimately surrender power completely to them.

Are they from the fake secular opposition which has zero public support on the ground? This would mean that the regime plans indeed to follow the Egyptian/Tunisian model and establish some puppet opposition that represents nothing on the ground while giving the chance to the Islamists to organize themselves and become more powerful.

Any easing of political restrictions now in Syria will lead to more public support for the Islamists and less for the Baath. There is no way around this fact under the current circumstances.

If I were Bashar and I had to do some political reforms now, I wouldn’t follow the Egyptian/Tunisian model because that is a proven failure. I would rather try to somehow emulate the Turkish model. For example, I would allow some moderate Islamists whom I trust to establish a secular political party. I then would forge some alliance with this party and support it so that it draws some of the Islamists away from the more extreme factions (such as the MB, Wahhabis, etc.). This way, I would have divided the Islamists into moderates and extremists, which means that the Islamists in general will be weaker because they are more divided.

Actually if this works, I would license tens of secular Islamist parties. The more we divide the Islamists the less dangerous they become.

I just hope that Bashar does not do something stupid and emulate the Mubarak regime. He must allow some secular political outlet for the Islamists. He must even create one himself if nobody forms such an outlet. Keeping the Islamists under half-pressure won’t work. Either you suppress them completely (like under Hafez Assad) or you are allow them to have a moderate political outlet. The Egyptian model is a recipe for disaster.

March 29th, 2011, 7:19 pm

 

nafdik said:

Alex,

Your opinion seems to be the same regarding of the situation: give assad MORE time.

You thanked the Syrians who gave their life so that assad can hurry up a bit. But you suggest they should stop now.

Since you had the same advise before; and the demonstrations have proven successful in accelerating the changes you were advocating. Isn’t it time to revise your view?

As for calling the BBC (probably the most professional news organisation in history) a propaganda organ. Really, this is beneath you.

March 29th, 2011, 7:37 pm

 

NK said:

Alex, Nour

Thanks for your replies, you shed some light on facts I over looked.

Here’s a questions for you (Others feel free to chip in), we seem to agree that no one should be president for life,
– Do you think Bashar will take steps that eventually lead to free elections and if he’s going to, what do you think a reasonable time frame/scenario might look like ? (he’s already been president for 11 years)
– Do you think the Syrians in general are interested in free elections, and if so who do you think will dominate the political arena if such elections are to take place now versus say in 5 years?.

March 29th, 2011, 7:45 pm

 

jad said:

NK,
Thank you for #56 and explaining your self.
Nour is right to question the video, it is fact that many of the videos and pictures we saw lately are either fake, manipulated or staged.
Check out these two pictures of the same kid and how it was used:
http://www.syria-news.com/readnews.php?sy_seq=118910
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=124523627624755&set=a.103652329711885.5178.103622369714881&ref=nf%D9%88
check this report too:
http://www.youtube.com/user/SameehDerawan#p/u/7/i2J4FiE7Nsw

Alex,
I agree with you about BBC and Alarbiya coverage, it was pathetic and unprofessional on all levels, read this:
أطلقت القوات السورية النار في الهواء يوم الاثنين لتفريق احتجاج مؤيد للديمقراطية في مدينة درعا الجنوبية حيث يريد الاصلاحيون الاطاحة بحكم عائلة الاسد المستمر منذ 41 عاما.
and this about today:
Aljazeera wrote hundreds of thousands and BBC wrote this:
وكانت قد خرجت اليوم مسيرات في العاصمة السورية دمشق ومدن كبيرة أخرى مظاهرات شارك فيها الآلاف تأييدا للرئيس بشار الأسد الذي واجه أقوى أزمة محلية منذ تولى منصب الرئاسة في سوريا خلفا لوالده الذي توفي عام 2000.

March 29th, 2011, 7:48 pm

 

Ziadsoury said:

Alex,

These demos remind of the days when we were teenagers and the Muajeh comes and tells us we have to or we will fail and have to repeat it the whole year. At that time we wanted to do that because it meant no school, go out there, chant few slogans that meant nothing to us, mingle with the girls and skip to the club and play ball. Did any of us really believe in the cause we were there for? Not what so ever. But we had to do it just like everyone out there.

I think it is tasteless to hold these demos. I believe the regime wants people chanting for Bashar when he speaks tomorrow instead of throwing their shoes at him.

Does anyone here believe that this regime will let people demonstrate freely? Give me a break? Just use logic. They have not allowed that for 50 years. If they do, then you will have Egypt like demos. Look at what happen in Tripoli. The first few days the people were out in the streets then came the clamp down and all of sudden everyone in Tripoli loves Qaddafi. Who are they fooling? There is so much money on the line. If a new government comes to Syria, I am sure they will investigate the Asad regimes (father and son). Then and only then we would know how much money have stolen from us.

BTW, I believe we are 25 years behind Egypt economically and few years as far as the fear is concerned.

This is good news. We can just skip these cycles and move ahead. In order to do our leaders need to remove the shackles of the past and have guts to implement immediate change.

If Bashar implements immediate change, I am ready to roll up my sleeves and help. If his going to ask for six months, then he is just buying time.

March 29th, 2011, 8:12 pm

 

Ziadsoury said:

NK,

We will have more promises tomorrow and new laws will be implemented to nullify the changes. To me here are the steps that Syria should take:

1- Immediate removal of the Emergency law
2- Dismantle the Mukhabarat
3- Start an independent investigations regarding last week’s event
4- Declare all the dead as Martyrs
5- Grant freedom of speech
6- Allow the formation of free political parties
7- Appoint an independent committee to recommend changes to the constitution within 3 months to make Syria a true secular democracy
8- Appoint an independent committee to recommend changes to the Judicial system within 3 months
9- Appoint an independent committee to recommend changes to the educational system within 3 months
10- Appoint ministers from all aspects of Syrian backgrounds.
11- Release all political prisoners
12- Declare the state a haven for intellectual expats. We need these brains in Syria
13- Declare regional elections in six months and presidential elections in 12 months to allow the parties to form and campaign
14- Start a heavy dose education regarding elections and democracy

March 29th, 2011, 8:30 pm

 

jad said:

Ziadsoury,
“Does anyone here believe that this regime will let people demonstrate freely? Give me a break? Just use logic. They have not allowed that for 50 years.”

Here are tow demonstrations happened today according to the revolutionists, one in Daraa and one in Douma, in both of them not even one amn talked or try to bother them
فاجاؤكون موووو 😉

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_05tfAjD8U&feature=player_embedded

In the last couple of days the revolutionists are so desperate for some blood to show. This is why they are bringing back every couple hours some bloody graphics to aggravate people. They are acting like a fire that always needs violence to survive, how low is that to use this method.

March 29th, 2011, 8:34 pm

 

Ziad said:

Today’s demos were largely ignored by the world media including Aljazeera. They prove beyond the shred of a doubt that the overwhelming majority of Syrians do not want the fall of Bashar.

Although they have grievances and wish them resolved, they are too smart to venture into an unknown future that will quite possibly render Syria a failed state like Iraq and Lebanon, or turn Syria into a vassal state to USA/KSA. They are smart and I feel proud and happy.

The delay of Bashar’s speech and the mass demonstration before, instead of after the speech, is keeping the tension high and raising the expectation. Only a great speech, with really major reforms will satisfy the people now.

In my opinion, there were significant struggles internally within the system between the power centers who feel comfortable with the old way and Bashar the reformer. The protests helped him to get his way. If that is true then the departed did not die in vain. I hope the situations of their death will be thoroughly and neutrally investigated, their families compensated and the wrong doers prosecuted so no feeling of revenge persists and we get some closure.

March 29th, 2011, 8:38 pm

 

Ziad said:

Does any one know who publish Flikka Israel site? It contains good analytic reports, but seem too detailed and informed for me to trust them.

March 29th, 2011, 8:45 pm

 

Revlon said:

THE SPEECH: Destructive Ambiguity VS Constructive Simplicity

Timing, stage, attitude and objective contents of impending speech by B Asad will be under scrutiny by the resolute and highly alert Syrian people.

Timing: Delaying the speech until late Thursday, will have negative consequences:
– It will signal an intent to manipulate and foil Friday prayer demonstrations!
-It will leave little time for the people probe its devious crevices.

The Stage: H. Asad, to my knowledge, never addressed the nation, directly that is.
He used to address his Baath party, the parliament, unions, etc.
The exception was, when he lost the Golan heights: He did not feel safe to walk down Sali7iyeh then!
Jr. has not yet broken Dad’s tradition.

Attitude and undertones:
– Unrepentant vs. apologetic
– Defiant vs. Compliant
– Straightforward vs. convoluted.
– Time frame vs. we will do / study!

Objective contents:
1.Unconditional and immediate release of all political prisoners
2.Unconditional annulment of the Emergency laws:
-To be Replaced by existing Civil laws.
-Not by the devious “Anti-terrorism laws”!
3.Amendment of the constitution: The presidency clause/s
4.Revision of laws governing press and media, parties ..
5.Time frame and work-plan to surrender all presidential powers to an interim, mutually agreed, coalition government.
It could include:
-Representative elements of the revolution, on the ground and in exile.
-Revolution-approved elements, from current government
-Neither Jr. nor members of his family to be included.

Irrespective of all of the above, The coming Friday will witness larger scale, country-wide demonstrations.
Reactions of the People to the speech, and of security forces on the ground, will determine the tones and chants of demonstratrors:
-Content and hopeful
vs.
-Frustrated and Manipulated.

March 29th, 2011, 8:52 pm

 

MONTAGNARD said:

JAD
Here is another article
http://www.tayyar.org/Tayyar/News/PoliticalNews/ar-LB/syria-manar-sham-pb-51783280.htm

NK
After watching that gory tape I tend to think that it was staged, but like NOUR and JAD said, you can’t tell for sure.

We need to stick to the issues. What will the final reforms package consist of, time frame, the process that will be followed to implement the reforms, the teams who will be empowered to carry out the reforms…
We will see in a matter of days I hope.

JAD, NK how is that headache?

March 29th, 2011, 8:55 pm

 

jad said:

Ziadsoury,
This is my prediction answers from the regime to your list:
1- Yes
2- Yes and No (we will have too many unemployed people in the streets and then you will get another revolt, I think that they might decide to put all of them under one administration)
3- Yes
4- Yes (already done)
5- Yes with limits
6- Yes with limits
7- (a true secular democracy)طولي بالك أتاتورك وين رايح بهلعجة؟ المحافظين مستحيل يوافئو
8- Yes more time than 6months
9- they just changed the curriculum last summer
10- they already have that established under the table, it should be easy thing to deliver though
11- Yes
12- Why? are we better than the local in anything to be treated differently? It may sound unjust to many locals
13- “Declare regional elections” YES “presidential elections in 12 months” NO WAY (too early, be realistic)
14- Yes (need time)

March 29th, 2011, 9:01 pm

 

jad said:

Montagnard
الله يسامحو NK
على هلفيدو يلي حطو راسي راح يفج على قول زياد رحباني

March 29th, 2011, 9:13 pm

 

Ziadsoury said:

Jad,

Why? are we better than the local in anything to be treated differently? It may sound unjust to many locals

Because Syria needs them for many reasons. We are not better people than the locals but our expertise and know how are needed very badly. How many of us will go back if things stay the same? Would you? Would Norman go back and open his own hospital? Would OTW go back to teach at the University of Damascus? We all need to know if we go back we will be allowed to do what we know and do best. In general, our expertise is not available in the country.

The most important skills we can bring to the country are critical thinking and team work.
You agreed a couple of days ago that all Syrians are backward and ignorant. Well let’s help them.

March 29th, 2011, 9:43 pm

 

NK said:

Jad

سلامة راسك I already apologized 🙁

Montagnard I’m starting my day with 2 tylenol, just in case lol

Ziadsoury

10- Appoint ministers from all aspects of Syrian backgrounds.
I heard it’s already done (Al 3alam – an Iranian channel said the new government have 3 christian ministers), I’m not sure how true this is, but if true it’s really bad news.
a- this means the regime already cut a deal with all sects and we won’t see any meaningful reform
b- it means we officially took a step towards sectarianism.

The ministers should be the best (Syrian)s for the job regardless of religion/sect, if we’re choosing a minister because s/he belongs to this group or that Syria is indeed doomed.

P.S These days I can’t get this song out of my head

March 29th, 2011, 9:47 pm

 

jad said:

Ziadsoury,
I stand corrected, I have no clue why I read it in different context as that the government should treat the expats differently, my mistake.
I totally agree with you that Syria need everybody’s help to grow and progress.

“all Syrians are backward and ignorant” Yes, and I include myself too when I write about Syrians. I’m Syrian 🙂

March 29th, 2011, 9:54 pm

 

nafdik said:

Revlon, Ziadsoury,

My expectations are much more modest.

– Release prisoners
– Allow freedom of the press

If we can reach these milestones I will actually cheer for Bashar.

March 29th, 2011, 9:58 pm

 

jad said:

NK,
Didn’t you know that the government in Syria is formed according to the political quota, every party has specific numbers in the government and it has nothing to do with the religion or sect.
I’m not sure why Al3alam mentioned the religion of the ministers, we never heard of that before.

March 29th, 2011, 10:01 pm

 

NK said:

Jad

I’m not sure about the channel, all I know is that it’s an Iranian propaganda machine.
As for the government I know there’s some type of an agreement to appease political parties, although I admit I was never interested in the fine details. This rumor however suggests the new government will have a couple seats for kurds, druze, christians, shiites each. which -if true- is very alarming.

nafdik

In my opinion if Bashar doesn’t go all the way with reforms tomorrow, Syria will be where Egypt was a few years ago, and we’ll find ourselves facing another revolution in a couple years max.

I personally think he will talk about future plans to implement reform, nothing more.

March 29th, 2011, 10:14 pm

 

Syriana said:

Many demonstrators have nothing to do with the wahabis but some were common criminals and others carry militant views,but most Syrians agree that the time for serious reform is now. There is noway for Syria to prosper if corruption at the highest level is not eradicated or greatly reduced. Syrians deserve to live in peace without the fear of getting arrested for speaking out,however,nobody should be allowed to use violence to make a point,and we can not afford repeating other countries mistakes especially in a country where more than a third of the population do not consider themselves Sunni Arabs .
The regime as is today must be changed gradually but decisively without following the Lebanese or Iraqi model. As for islamists,they can live the way they want without trying to take over the government or force their views on the society as a whole. President Asad has another chance but he needs to act NOW.

March 29th, 2011, 10:15 pm

 

jad said:

NK,
Check out how bankrupt the revolutionists are on their site now cursing Mm. Shaabn and calling her the Devil, I thought they called themselve the revolution against Bashar Asad, now it turns to be against Bouthaina Shaaban! and posting a 100% staged clips, one of them is of two idiots hitting the President’s picture by shoes and surrounded by 20 people recording that on their mobiles while many people walking by without even bothering to look or to participate and they call it AHALI DAR3A…
The other one is so staged it make you sick, proclaiming that the revolutionists are giving water to the police and they start taking the video the moment when one guy start giving couple bottles of water to the police….
Seriously, how PATHETIC is that and how stupid do they think Syrians are? Does any Syrian want any of those organizers to be his or her representative?

March 29th, 2011, 10:22 pm

 

majedkhaldoon said:

Those who demonstrated against the regime , they risk their life and everything.
Those who demonstrated today they risk nothing,
I wonder who deserve respect more?

March 29th, 2011, 10:39 pm

 

extra said:

Norman, I agree. The situation has become so serious that any claims by the old guard that they should try to tough it out are clearly ludicrous. If the old guard wants to stay anywhere near the center of power (or even in Syria itself) it will have to be prepared to accept fundamental changes- changes that will diminish its ability to profit at the expense of the nation at large.

March 29th, 2011, 10:50 pm

 

Ziad said:

Majed

Those who want to keep Syria safe and in one piece for all Syrians deserve our respect.

March 29th, 2011, 10:51 pm

 

NK said:

Jad

lol, They’re regurgitating old videos, they’ve been doing that for awhile. I don’t think we’ll see anymore demonstrations (at least nothing big) until next Friday, and it all depends on the speech the prisedent will give tomorrow.

http://www.alquds.co.uk/
So many articles about Syria today, please take a look and share your thoughts

March 29th, 2011, 10:53 pm

 

majedkhaldoon said:

Ziad
Safe with tyrany,is only temporary safe
Life without freedom and dignity does not worth living
Rasafi said;
Sleep and do not wake up, those who sleep win
leave understanding aside, it is better not to understand.

March 29th, 2011, 10:58 pm

 

jad said:

Thank you NK for the link, I’ll try to read some of them.
I’m feeling that the Syrians will become more big mouth (3lakeen) and more argumentative over every little thing than the Lebanese…the time of one story, one opinion, one subject is over, The Lebanese news papers and writers will have lost of competition now 😉

March 29th, 2011, 11:05 pm

 

Ziad said:

Majed

I agree with you. Freedom is coming while maintaining Syria intact.

It was obvious today that this is what most Syrians want.

March 29th, 2011, 11:07 pm

 

Shami said:

Ammar Abdulhamid is a nice person ,he is doing his best ,but he lives outside Syria.More and more new faces are going to emerge from inward.

Azmi Beshara’s interview on Syria -Al Jazeera.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFL52mIvUS0&feature=BF&playnext=1&list=QL&index=1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0M88RTT9bkE&feature=BF&list=QL&index=2

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUyMkRn6EHs&feature=BF&list=QL&index=3

March 29th, 2011, 11:19 pm

 

MONTAGNARD said:

Majed
You are right in that demonstrators in support of the regime bear no risk as opposed to demonstrators protesting the regime carry a big risk, especially when the protesters, the authorities and law enforcers on the ground, are not used to disciplined and peaceful protests.
This lack of experience and discipline on both sides, is turning the protests into riots.
The worst part is when protests are turning to riots sometimes, even when they are not faced by law enforcement.
So my answer to your question is that, I would respect the most, the protesters that can keep control of their march and protest, with discipline and respect for the public and its property, while conveying their message with confidence and dignity.
There is no excuse to not be able to look the regime in the eye without rioting and terrorizing the population, and without fighting and antagonizing law enforcement.

March 29th, 2011, 11:21 pm

 

NK said:

Thanks for the links Shami, that was a great interview

speaking of Azmi Beshara, you might want to take a look at this

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/citizenship-law-makes-israel-an-apartheid-state-1.248635

March 29th, 2011, 11:49 pm

 

Ziad said:

SHAMI

The best analysis about the situation in Syria I heard so far. Azmi Bishara is great. Thank you Shami for the link.

March 30th, 2011, 12:06 am

 

NK said:

http://bit.ly/f4qlun

قوات التحالف الإعلامي السوري تفتك بشعبها
محمد منصور

الإعلام السوري لا يحترم جمهوره ولا يحترم قضايا ناسه، ولذلك فالمسؤولون السوريون لا يحترمونه، بل يعاملونه كتابع ومستخدم… بالأمس وضعت قناة الإخبارية السورية خبرا عاجلا نقلا عن وكالة (إ.ف.ب) هو إعلان رفع قانون الطوارئ.
الفضائية التي أنشئت بأموال السوريين وقال لنا مديرها د. فؤاد شربجي انها (مستقلة يمولها المجتمع السوري) حرمها المسؤولون السوريون (بمن فيهم بثينة شعبان التي تربطها صداقة شخصية مع مدير القناة) من الانفراد بأهم خبر سياسي وحقوقي صدر في سورية منذ أكثر من أربعة عقود، الا وهو رفع العمل بقانون الطوارئ، الذي نشرته الإخبارية نقلاً عن وكالة أجنبية!
ليس هذا فقط، فتسريب الخبر الذي لم يوضع قيد التنفيذ بعد، لوكالة الأنباء الفرنسية، يعبر حقيقة عن تعالي السلطات السورية على مواطنيها، وكأنها تقول ان الخبر موجه للخارج وليس إلى الداخل، ولذلك لم تنفرد به (وسائل إعلامه) مع أن بثينة ردت بعنف أثناء حديثها مع قناة بي بي سي على مفوضية حقوق الإنسان، التي انتقدت في وقت سابق التناقض بين الأقوال والأفعال في حديثها عن الإصلاحات، ثم ضرب المحتجين وقتلهم واعتقالهم، وقالت إننا لا نعمل لدى مفوضية حقوق الإنسان..
لا أريد العودة للحديث عن هذا القرار الملتبس الذي تم اتخاذه، لكن السيدة شعبان قالت (إنها لا تعرف متى يفعّل) فهذا أمر مفهوم بالنسبة لغالبية الشعب السوري، الذين عاشوا على الوعود والتسويفات الإصلاحية منذ عقد ونيف، لكنني أريد أن أعود للحديث عن هذا الإعلام السوري الذي يدق بغبائه أسافين في نعش الاستقرار والنهوض من الازمة… مستخدماً كل الحجج والذرائع التي استخدمها نظيره المصري بلا أي تعديل، وأدت إلى سقوطه وسقوط النظام الذي كان يدافع عنه، شر سقطة!
حين يظهر وزير الإعلام السوري محسن بلال ليقول إنه لا شيء يجري، وان الهدوء يسود سورية، وانهم قبضوا فقط على بعض الإرهابيين والمخربين، فيما الناس ترى على المحطات الأخرى صوراً تقلع العين للمظاهرات والاحتجاجات في درعا ودمشق واللاذقية وحمص وحماه ودوما والمعضمية، فإنه لن يقول للشعب السوري بأكمله وبصريح العبارة: (أنا أكذب عليكم… فلا تصدقوني ولا تثقوا بإعلامي بعد ذلك) وحين تظهر بثينة شعبان لتقول على قناة (بي بي سي) إن هؤلاء مجموعات صغيرة جداً يظهرون في مدن كثيرة فيما الصور تكذبها، وتسحب منها أي رصيد للمصداقية يمكن الوثوق به، فإنها تقول للشعب السوري أيضاً نفس الكلام!
وحين يتهم التلفزيون السوري في سيناريو مكرر اعتاد عليه السوريون ردحاً طويلاً، عناصر خارجية مندسة، ويظهر اعترافات شاب مصري كل تهمته، حسب التلفزيون السوري، أنه (تلقى أموالا لقاء التقاط صور) فإن السوريين الذين يعيشون عصر الفيسبوك واليوتيوب وكاميرات الهواتف النقالة وكاميرات الديجتال، سيضحكون ملء أشداقهم من هذا الغباء الإعلامي الذي لا يصدق… فمواقع اليوتيوب باتت تحوي أطناناً من مقاطع الفيديو، التي يصورها مواطنون سوريون، ولا تحتاج لدس عميل مصري بهذه الطريقة الساذجة ودفع (مئة جنيه مصري) عن كل صورة!
الإعلام السوري يتعامل مع السوريين على أنهم مجموعة من الأغبياء والمعاقين الذين يصدقون أتفه السيناريوهات، والذين يعيشون تحت الأرض في ملاجئ ليس فيها فضائيات ولا انترنت ولا فيسبوك، ويرون شاشة التلفزيون السوري من خلال هوائي محلي من عصر الانفرادات الحصرية للتلفزيون اليتيم!
لقد اعتاد وزير الإعلام السوري أن يتحدث بنفس الصلف والعنهجية والإنكار الاستعلائي، الذي ظل يمارسه طيلة سنوات توليه الوزارة، من دون أن يقول له أحد من العقلاء والحكماء الذين يدعون الناس إلى التعقل والحكمة الآن: (عيب عليك… استح… كفى) واعتاد أن يخرج شهادات الوطنية والتخوين من جيبه المملوء بالعار المهني… من دون أن يقول له أحد قبل أن تخوّن الآخرين أصلح هذا الإعلام المنهار الذي تقوده منذ سنوات إلى قعر الهاوية!
لا نريد الآن أن نفتح سجل وزير الإعلام الحافل بقرارات المنع والمصادرة وإيقاف البرامج، وتعطيل المحطات، ومنع توزيع أعداد بعض الصحف الخاصة، وهواتف الاستعداء الأمني على الصحافيين والتنكيل بهم… فهذه محفوظة في سجله، والصحافيون الذين يوثقون هذا كله، لن ينسوا ولن يسامحوا ولن يغفروا أنه حول حياتهم إلى جحيم وعشقهم لمهنتهم إلى محنة… لكننا نريد أن نتأمل هذا الأداء الإعلامي المهين للشعب السوري، والمسيء للنظام القائم في واحدة من أصعب اللحظات التي تمر بها سورية… لقد جعل السيد الوزير من الإعلام، الذي يمثل صوت بلدي، سخرية القاصي والداني… وهو يضيف إلى تلك السخرية الآن، حالة التخريب التي يمارسها هذا الإعلام الكاذب والمزور، الذي يعطي صورة سوداء عن النظام الذي يمثله معه كل أسف!
في درعا هتف الناس ضد الإعلام السوري ورفعوا لافتات تندد به كما، نقلت صور إحدى المحطات… لقد تحول إعلام الكذب والسيناريوهات الغبية والاعترافات المصورة كاريكاتورياً، إلى رمز من رموز الكراهية، وإلى سلاح من أسلحة الاستفزاز، في الوقت الذي تتحدث بعض الأصوات عن تهدئة الخواطر واحتواء التوتر… وقد جر السيد الوزير ومعه الكتيبة الأمنية التي لا ترى في الإعلام سوى حالة ولاء أعمى وهتاف يلغي العقل والمنطق، القنوات والصحف والمواقع الإلكترونية المسماة (خاصة) إلى نفس الدرك، فجعلوا منها قوات تحالف تنكل بالحقيقة وتستفز المشاعر… وقد اتصل بي أحد العاملين في قناة (الدنيا) السورية وهو يبكي ويقول إنه يشعر بالألم أن لقمة العيش تضطره أن يستمر في العمل في هذه القناة، التي وصفها أوصافا أربأ عن ذكرها، وهو يرى من داخل المطبخ كيف تزوّر الأخبار وتفبرك الاتصالات، وتقلب الحقائق… ثم يتهمون الآخرين بذلك، وهم يعلمون بينهم وبين أنفسهم أن التهم مردودة إلى نحورهم!
الخاسر الأكبر من هذا الإعلام الكاذب هو الوطن الذي يمر بهذه اللحظات العصيبة… ثم النظام الذي سكت عن حال الإعلام وعن بقاء وزيره متفرعناً كل هذا السنوات، وهو يصم أذنيه عما يكتب عنه من انتقادات مرة، ويستدعي من يقع تحت طائلة يديه إلى فروع الأمن ليجبرهم على كتابات تعهدات قسرية بالصمت وبلع الغصة والألم، من أجل أن ينعم السيد الوزير ومحظيوه بالمنصب والجاه والمكتسبات، فيما يشقى الإعلام بمزيد من الفشل المهني والعجز عن إيصال أية رسائل عادلة أو محقة إلى شعبه… لقد خسر الناس في وقت أحوج ما يكونون فيه إلى إعلام وطني صادق، خسروا صوتهم وصورتهم وألمهم، وصاروا مشردين بين المحطات يبحثون عن تأكيد الخبر أو نفيه من هنا وهناك، ويستجدون (الجزيرة) أو (العربية) أن تقف معهم كي تبدد سحب الكذب والتزوير التي تملأ سماء إعلام الوطن… فهل سأكون خائناً وعميلاً ومدسوساً إذا تجرأت على كتابة هذا الكلام، في هذه اللحظات التي ما عاد مقبولاً فيها السكوت على ما وصلنا إليه؟!
د. جورج جبور: الفرضية البريئة!
خلال مشاركته في برنامج (أجندة مفتوحة) على قناة (بي بي سي) عبر هيثم مناع عن ألمه من أن يدافع د. جورج جبور عن قتل شبان أكبرهم في سن أحفاده، وهو الذي كان مرشحاً لرئاسة مفوضية حقوق الإنسان، حين قال هل الذين قتلوا في الصنمين بعد هجومهم على مقر الجيش الشعبي كانوا يحملون حجارة ام يطلقون النار؟! إذا كانوا يطلقون النار على الجنود… فهل على من يحمل سلاحاً في الطرف الآخر ألا يطلق النار وينتظر حتى يموت؟!
سؤال يلقيه الدكتور جبور ببرود أكاديمي رصين، معتمداً على فرضية مدروسة، فهو لا يؤكد ان المتظاهرين مسلحون ولا ينفي… لكن هذه الفرضية (البريئة) تسمح له بأن يجد منفذاٌ للتشكيك، ولوضع الضحية والجلاد في مقام واحد… ما هذه اللعبة المكشوفة التي لا تنطلي حتى على ضمير د. جبور نفسه؟ ما هذه المراوغة التي تليق بشخص يظهر بالصوت والصورة من استوديو التبادل الإخباري في التلفزيون السوري، حيث يخلع الداخلون إلى هذا المبنى مصداقيتهم وولاءهم الأخلاقي لدم الشهداء عند مفزرة الأمن التي تحرس هذه المؤسسة الإعلامية… على من يضحك الدكتور جورج جبور، في هذه اللحظات التي يعيش فيها الشعب السوري ملحمة الحرية والحق والعدالة، بعد سنوات من الإذلال وامتهان الكرامة والفساد، الذي نأسف عميق الأسف، أن محاربته طيلة سنوات مجرد حبر على ورق؟! هل الأمر مجرد وجهة نظر؟! هل ستكون هذه هي وجهة نظر الدكتور جبور لو أن أحد أولاده أو أحفاده قتل على يد أجهزة الأمن وهو يخرج في تظاهرة سلمية (مندسة) للمطالبة بالحرية!
نعم… أضم صوتي إلى صوتك يا هيثم مناع الذي يشعر بالألم من أن يكون د. جبور، هو نفسه المرشح لرئاسة مفوضية حقوق الإنسان، لكن الألم لا يكفيني هنا… فأنا أشعر بالعار من أن يكون دم السوريين رخيصاً عند رجل كان عضوا في مجلس الشعب… الشعب الذي لم يحصد من أعضاء المجلس المؤتمن على مصالحه… سوى مثل هذه المكافآت من قبل ومن بعد!
ناقد فني من سورية
mansoursham@hotmail.com

March 30th, 2011, 12:14 am

 

why-discuss said:

Maybe this is giving Bashar al Assad the pretext he always needed to make a real overhaul of the system he has inherited from his father…

March 30th, 2011, 2:55 am

 

qunfuz said:

Ammar Abdulhamid is brave, but has made so many political mistakes – such as befriending Khaddam. His literary endeavours are embarrassing, and so much of what he says is orientalist, superficial, self-obsessed and clearly designed for a Western audience. A pity to see his importance so overblown on Syria Comment.

March 30th, 2011, 5:02 am

 

Baher said:

All people here know that martyr “100. الشهيد البطل أسامة ميهوب – مشروع شريتح – اللاذقية – 26 أذار 2011”
was killed by the armed gang which is still horrifying Lattakia while he was helping a lonely woman called TV channel asking for help because some of the gang members entered her building and people gathered to help her…..the call we heard on TV and the fact that he was killed by the gang said it his mother on TV also and you can ask anyone about this.
CHECK THE LIST!

March 30th, 2011, 1:51 pm

 

Syria4Syrians said:

Ammar Abdul Hamid is a cruel joke as a reformist, let alone as a face for the “Syrian Revolution”! Syrians have not forgotten the annual funding he used to receive from the Bush Administration. Thank God Obama has more sense than to continue with this charade. The faces of the revolution, sirs, are those on the streets bleeding and dying for what they believe in, not those who receive millions to open up an office in D.C., attend banquettes and get ill-deserved donations for Monday-morning-quarterbacking. In short, he will be received with flying sandals should he think about coming back to Syria to “lead”. What a cruel joke indeed.

March 30th, 2011, 7:22 pm

 
 
 

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