“Assad’s Fateful Choice” by David W. Lesch

Assad’s Fateful Choice
by David W. Lesch

This spring marks the fifth year anniversary of the events that launched a civil war in Syria.  Typically, there were some huge miscalculations early on that set the conflict in motion, such as the Syrian opposition’s expectation that the West would militarily intervene to facilitate the overthrow of the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.  And then there was the West’s mistaken assumption that Assad would be the next domino to fall following the exits of dictators elsewhere in the Arab spring. Expecting this led to calls for Assad to step down, thus backing the West into a corner regarding a negotiated settlement once it became clear the Syrian president wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon.  From the regime’s perspective, it made war the only choice.

But it is important to remember that the first—and biggest—mistake occurred at the onset, when Assad made the decision to crackdown harshly on the popular protests rather than offer real concessions. Indicative of this was Assad’s speech to the nation on March 30, 2011, his first to address the rising tensions. This was a seminal moment in modern Syrian history.  The whole country, supporters and opponents, waited with bated breath to hear what he had to say.  Syrians believed this would be the moment when Assad would finally live up to expectations.

From interviews I have conducted with current and former Syrian officials close to Assad and involved in the speech preparation, there were pronounced differences and confusion within the regime inner circle over how to react to the crisis.  Several indicated that talk of internal coup was in the air…and not just potentially against Assad should he make the wrong move.  One recommended that Assad himself should carry out a coup against hard line elements.  Assad’s response was simply, “you are naïve.”  Another former top official blatantly accused Baath party members of being in cahoots with security forces to use the crisis as an opportunity to force out the more reformist elements in the regime.  Clearly there was intrigue at the top during this critical period, and Assad had to navigate his position—and response—very carefully.

As a result, there were different versions of the speech.  One confidante of Assad saw a draft only a couple of hours before the speech was delivered. What he saw was relatively mild, concessionary and pro-reform.  He believed this was what Assad was going to deliver.  He was later shocked when he heard the much harsher version of the speech. Syrian government officials reportedly even sent snippets of the speech to reporters in the West that reflected a more pro-reform platform.

As we know, Assad’s speech was defiant, framing the crisis by blaming the uprising on insidious terrorists supported by Syria’s external enemies.  Asad was taken to task in the international media for what was viewed as a blatant misdirection from the real socio-economic and political factors behind the protests.  Either this or Assad was numb to the real causes of the uprising, blinded by a conceptual paradigm that defined the nature of threat to Syria in a profoundly different way. The speech proved to many Syrians that he was just another dictator. A top pro-Assad Hizbullah figure told me: “Bashar had real popularity in Syria. If he had taken the proper measures…it would have made things better. He had to take the decision to confront some clans inside the leadership…and I think he could have. This would have divided the ranks of the opposition, and he would have had a larger popular base.”

This is perhaps the saddest part of the story.  Instead of resorting to the dictator’s survival handbook and succumbing to the convulsive reaction of the security state, Assad could have avoided civil war. As one former top Syrian official said of Bashar: “He was tilting on both sides. At some point they [the security chiefs] must have told him to just move aside, relax, and we’ll deal with it.”  They figured the protests could be put down in a matter of weeks and then return to the status quo ante. Reality was much more nuanced.

As a result of amped-up Russian support, and as the re-taking of Palmyra from the Islamic State has shown, Assad has now secured his position for the time being. The popular protests that sprang to life recently during the cessation of hostilities, however, suggest that the opposition to Assad has not dissipated despite a half-decade of war. Indeed, the regime grossly underestimates how much the Syrian population has moved on, empowered by living five years without the state.  If the regime wants to start a long healing process, Assad will have to find the courage he lacked in 2011 by accepting a managed transition of governance, which at the very least will significantly reduce his power. To do so he will have to fight against his authoritarian instincts—and possibly against hard liners. If past is prologue, this is wishful thinking.

But with Russia’s announcement to withdraw some of its forces from Syria, Assad has been put on notice. He is on the diplomatic hot seat, and he must choose how he gets off of it. He can continue to fight armed with the delusion that he can re-conquer all of Syria.  Or maybe those officials who are still in the government who wanted him to deliver a softer version of his 2011 speech, chastened by the reality of what Syria has become, can form a critical mass of pressure on Assad to make the right choice this time around.  They reflect that part of the regime—and Assad—who may be looking for a way out of this, satisfying their Russian patron while holding on to enough power. The West failed to understand the various competing factions inside the Assad regime back in 2011.  Let’s not make that mistake again moving forward with whatever peace process emerges, because I am convinced that given the current state of affairs—and a with a great deal of diplomatic massaging—there is a formula of governance out there to be found and negotiated.

David W. Lesch is the Ewing Halsell Distinguished Professor of History at Trinity University in San Antonio, TX and author of “Syria: The Fall of the House of Assad.” 

Comments (57)


Ghufran said:

Rebels joined al-nusra terrorists in their offense in southern Aleppo. The goal is to reverse gains made by the Syrian army and its supporters in recent months. By doing so, the FSA and Ahrar al-sham have officially breached the cease fire and chosen to work under Al-Qaeda.
The land grab which may or may not last is probably not worth the political cost as Russia and the Syrian army will undoubtedly pound Rebels and Nusra troops and declare the cease fire dead, I believe the patient died already.

April 9th, 2016, 6:36 pm

 

Adam Larson said:

“But it is important to remember that the first—and biggest—mistake occurred at the onset, when Assad made the decision to crackdown harshly on the popular protests rather than offer real concessions.”

As I see it, the government offered a new constitution and presidential elections.

And someone shot at protesters, and police and soldiers, and started kidnapping people, etc. Who? “Activists” said it was “Assad.”

But consider the first violent day in Baniyas for example, April 10. One civilian killed – an Alawite farmer, by a mob of “activists,” and at least 10 soldiers – one related by marriage to Mr. Landis – were killed in an ambush probably launched from the rebel base of Rahman mosque. What did the activists report? Several protesters killed near Rahman mosque. Oh, and one captured soldier on video failing to confirm he was shot in the back for refusing to shoot protesters. What did the news report? Soldiers killed for refusing to shoot protesters. (click my name for the details explained)

Now how many other cases of initial violence in Deraa, Homs, Hama, etc. were similar to this? We don’t really know, most of us.

“the real socio-economic and political factors behind the protests.”

As I see, those were … Alawites were in charge, and their Saudi-inspired religious education told them that was wrong. It was time for a cleansing in their minds. They gave some other excuses, publicly, speaking of freedom and blah blah. Yeah, Saudi-inspired Sunnis extremists care about freedom …

April 9th, 2016, 11:50 pm

 

ALAN said:

Things don’t always go the way you want them to go, and to have an expectation to force against the majority’s wishes reflects a colonial way of thinking. It is also entirely undemocratic.
US administration, blood thirst insistence, Assad must go to end Syrian war, regardless of the heavy price the Syrian People
Assad has more support from his people, than Obama and Cameron have combined from theirs!

Lavrov says Russia working to adjust foreign policy to new reality
https://www.rt.com/news/339082-russia-new-foreign-policy-multipolar/

April 10th, 2016, 2:07 am

 

Robert HARNEIS said:

No doubt there were divisions within the Syrian government but Assad was right that to give in to the activists would be naive and would have meant handing over power, à la Ukraine, to U.S. organised activists. The author writes as if he is unaware of the leaked US diplomatic papers going back to 2007 that clearly indicate that the opposition protests were indeed inspired by Syria’s external enemies.

April 10th, 2016, 2:23 am

 

ALAN said:

A new Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) report circulating in the Kremlin today is expressing alarm after the Obama regime this past week allowed at least 13 top Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL/Daesh) battlefield commanders who fled the Syrian region of the Levant War Zone to enter the United States as immigrants in a move similar to those taken by the US after World War II

Also similar to World War II, the Obama regimes protection of these Islamic State commanders comes on the heels of Russia’s massive defeat of these terror leaders forces in Syria who fled the battlefield before their capture—and what would surely have been their interrogations proving the linkage to their American masters.
In the speeded-up “surge operation” to bring to America these Islamic State commanders, the Obama regime has stated as its goals to have 10,000 of these terrorists on US soil by 30 September.
Western governments and their intelligence services could not be able to campaign against this information and without dubt will alarm american citizens about the many catastrophic Earth changes and events to come.

April 10th, 2016, 3:08 am

 

Norman said:

What/who will replace Assad if he steps down? Too easy to blame him for the destruction that we see today in Syria, as well as all of those refugees. Obviously, there’s enough blood on the hands to go around for all the players involved, regardless of which side they proclaim to be on. Who ever thought up the Arab Spring as a fix all solution, blew it from the standpoint of results to date.

April 10th, 2016, 8:16 am

 

Majedkhaldoun said:

Assad never wanted true reform , and call for democracy was a serious threat to his regime, he should have known that the Arabs are going through major reform , he did not realize that, it is too late for him to reform after he murdered close to a million and caused a lot of destruction ,misery in Syria ,
We still read comments that blame the opposition ,these comments are pure nonsense Assad is a dictator and the time and future is for democracy , he must be accountable for the huge humanitarian damage he caused in Syria and MUST be punished

April 10th, 2016, 10:22 am

 

SANDRO LOEWE said:

ALAN,

For me your sources of information are pure garbage coming from a decaying mafious monopoly corrupt imperial dictatorship.

April 10th, 2016, 12:57 pm

 

Jasmine said:

This would be a good answer to the article Above:
https://www.rt.com/op-edge/336934-syria-war-conflict-narrative/

April 10th, 2016, 1:23 pm

 

Hopeful said:

#4 Robert

Please go review the wikileaks cables. They do suggest “ways” that the US can take advantage of Assad’s weakness, which is his “overreaction” to “looming” issues. This is precisely what happened. The “looming” issues took place: reforms seekers clashing with corrupt entrenched forces. Assad overreacted poorly. The US was ready to take advantage of the situation to get rid of him (good riddance

The cables in no way ever implied that the revolution itself was directed or even inspired by the US or anyone else. They were all just waiting for it to happen to jump on the bandwagon.

April 10th, 2016, 3:10 pm

 

Hopeful said:

#2 Adam

“we don’t really know, most of us”

Oh but we do. We, who have friends and relatives who were there in the early days, know very well. We, who lived for 50 years with a rotten corrupt brutal security state, know very well. Do your research and you will find the truth. It is all out there online. David is very right – Assad’s decision to choose the headline path was tragic for Syria.

http://youtu.be/n2BWPVK9CjA

April 10th, 2016, 3:20 pm

 

Jasmine said:

Pease release my previous comment.

April 10th, 2016, 4:36 pm

 
 

Norman said:

Any reason that my comment is still awaiting moderation? I see other comments posted after mine, but they’re nor moderated, or am I one of those who don’t belong to the inner circle of commentators?

April 10th, 2016, 9:27 pm

 

Hopeful said:

#10 Akbar Palace

I have always disliked John Bolton and I dislike him even less now, he is one of those I talked about in my post above (waiting on the slideline to jump on the bandwagon and take advantage of the revolution)

Dividing Syria is better than the continued killing – that’s true. But the right outcome for Syria is free and fair elections, no matter who wins. Syria’s strength is in its diversity – take that away, and the country loses its soul. Had Assad organized credible fair elections back in 2011, he actually had a good chance to win it and gain the legitimacy he never had.

April 11th, 2016, 12:17 am

 

Adam Larson said:

#9 Hopeful

wow, got me there. That’s some proven massacre. And no Alawite brigadier general and his son and nephews dragged out of their car and mutilated the day before. Just peaceful protests, met with ruthless dicatorness.

April 11th, 2016, 3:09 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

Hopeful,

Thanks. Not sure why you’re up in arms about Bolton. If anyone is for free and fair elections, it is him. The fact that he is for a Sunni state, is to counter the Shia states Iran is planning for the rest of the ME.

Anyway, I always respect ur opinion.

April 11th, 2016, 9:36 am

 

Adam Larson said:

#9 Hopeful, again …

I meant dictatotrness (not a word).

As for doing my research, thanks for the video. It has massacre in the name, but not in the video. There’s a better video with actual shooting and opposition people and some wounded. I added both to the Homs Massacres page at A Closer Look On Syria – easy to find. Still no video of 200 bodies loaded into dump trucks as alleged.

One who does research might find that page, and check the first two reported massacres listed there and tell me this a good counter to the Baniyas example you glossed over.

And why skip Deraa with its hidden regime snipers in the minaret?

April 11th, 2016, 9:49 am

 

Hopeful said:

#12 Adam

I never claimed and would never claim that there were no massacres against alawis or army generals.

If Assad were the warlord of a sect, then taking revenge against people from the other sects would be an appropriate response for him, especially if they wer out on the streets in masses. Which is exactly hat he did.

But he was supposed to be the president of a country which was quickly spiralling into a civil war.

Which is exactly the point of the article above. Assad did not behave like a president, but as a head of a regime which for 50 years was controlled by a single sect and a small Mafia-like family. So his reaction was appropriate as a party to that civil war. But if we want the war to stop, we ought to look for a different unifying figure. Otherwise, the civil war will go on.

April 11th, 2016, 12:20 pm

 

Juergen said:

Funny video, first time i hear a Syrian speak from his heart. A man is asked wether he will go for vote. The standard and expedted answer would be yes, of course! But this brave man said: No, I dont like the candidates, all of them will disappear after the elections.

Is he naive, brave or an dead man walking?

https://www.facebook.com/rased.tube/videos/228438980856976/

April 11th, 2016, 2:16 pm

 

Observer said:

Well some countries have a mafia and Syria is a mafia that has a country

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/04/18/bashar-al-assads-war-crimes-exposed

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/panama-papers-syria-assad-rami-makhlouf_us_57052790e4b0a506064dbd8b

Of course he used force for he had no choice: how would be it possible for the mafia to lose the country back to the people: this would have meant the end of the mafia and as a mafia it had to protect its turf

The country is finished: a whole generation lost to education, to stability, to decency, to morality, to safety, to honesty, to hard work, to hope, and to freedom and we still have trolls on this blog claiming indignation.

April 11th, 2016, 8:05 pm

 

Hopeful said:

#17 Observer

Thank you for sharing the stories. The New Yorker article is an important development. I hope Adam reads it as he was looking for proofs of Assad’s crimes.

April 12th, 2016, 12:25 am

 

Ghufran said:

Isis is making gains in aleppo province and Nusra is trying to win more territories while the so called moderate rebels are on the verge of collapse. Russia denied sharing a plan with the syrian army to encircle aleppo but that is exactly what is being done. Russia will use the presence of Nusra and isis to justify a new military campaign in aleppo, that campaign is probably ready to launch. There is truth in both sides claims about who did what at the beginning of the war but it is obvious that whoever used the opposition to increase the level of violence was not interested in freedom and democracy, I remain convinced that the opposition gains, and the country’s as a whole, would have been way bigger if the opposition did not try to match the regime violence.

April 12th, 2016, 1:10 am

 

Adam Larson said:

#18 Hopeful

oh yeah, I’ve seen it. Will be explaining why I’m not impressed. The Caesar photos/hospital 601 torture prison part mainly (it takes a little time). Check later for Fail Caesar part 9.

April 12th, 2016, 4:32 am

 

Hopeful said:

#20 Adam

I can see that you are a conspiracy theorist, in which case it is frankly impossible to prove anything to you.

So how about answer my other question – do you believe that Syria can manage to end its civil war with Assad still at the helm (regardless of whether you believe he is guilty on innocent). The answer can help me understand if I am talking to a genuine person who has fair doubts about “western media” propaganda, or another regime supporter who cares less about Syria and more about keeping Assad in power.

April 12th, 2016, 7:58 am

 

Hopeful said:

#19 Ghufran

“I remain convinced that the opposition gains, and the country’s as a whole, would have been way bigger if the opposition did not try to match the regime violence.”

The majority of people would agree with you, including myself. But I believe violence on the part of many in the opposition was inevitable for the following reasons:

1. At some point, people feel justified to defend themselves, their families and their neighborhoods, which is what happened in places like Daraya and others.

2. Assad regional enemies would surely find a way to influence the agenda by buying loyalties and providing weapons and money. This happens in ANY civil war.

3. The Islamists, which were supported and used by Assad in Iraq, were surely going to take advantage of the situation, especially when the regime itself enabled them to. Remember that Assad released Islamists from prison and he handed Raqqa to them without a fight.

4. The regime was provoking violent response, and the regime is much more sophisticated and smart than the ad-hoc opposition groups which emerged in the scene in 2011.

In other words, we wish it never happened but it is just that – wishful thinking.

April 12th, 2016, 1:19 pm

 

ghufran said:

Good post, Hopeful. I “hope” others can follow your line
of thinking and accept al-ghufran instead of vengeance.
Thanks

April 12th, 2016, 1:25 pm

 

Hopeful said:

#23 Ghufran

Like

April 12th, 2016, 1:32 pm

 

ghufran said:

Where is the hypocrites among thawrajiyyeh and western politicians when chemical weapons were used by Jaysh al-islam (jaish alloush) against Kurds ?

April 12th, 2016, 3:50 pm

 

Ghufran said:

named in the “Panama Papers,” the trove of more than 11 million leaked financial and legal documents made public over the weekend, is the richest man in Syria, Rami Makhlouf, The WorldPost reports.
Makhlouf, 46, is a cousin and close friend of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. He’s also one of the most hated men in the country. His flagrant corruption helped spark Syria’s 2011 uprising, when protesters attacked his businesses and chanted “Rami Makhlouf is robbing us.”
He sure was. Makhlouf exploited his close connections to the Assad regime to amass a fortune of some $5 billion and control of nearly 60 percent of the Syrian economy. In 2011, Reuters reported that Makhlouf had total or partial monopolies in Syria’s telecommunications, real estate, oil, airline, duty free, construction and import sectors. Any foreigner who wanted to do business in Syria had to go through Makhlouf, analysts say.

April 12th, 2016, 10:58 pm

 

ALAN said:

4. ROBERT HARNEIS
/US diplomatic papers going back to 2007 that clearly indicate that the opposition protests were indeed inspired by Syria’s external enemies./
France’s Former Foreign Minister: UK Government Prepared War in Syria Two Years Before 2011 Protests
https://youtu.be/Kz-s2AAh06I

April 13th, 2016, 12:31 am

 

Majedkhaldoun said:

Wall Street Journal said today that US has plan B in case the negotiations in Vienna failed , and US may provide the Rebels with special weapons .
I found it hard to believe that , but there may be pressure on Putin to make sure that Vienna negotiations must succeed, Lavrove statement about the cool support of Assad plan for elections , supports the idea that Putin will put pressure on Assad to agree to transitional government.

As for the rumors that the rebels has used chemical weapons it is a lie, and it is nonsense talk, it started the Rebels said one commander was fired as he used undeclared and unauthorized weapons, this was translated by PYD , a lier source , that it was chemical weapons , and guess who likes such story that is obvious lie , the truth the Rebels never used Chemical weapons

April 13th, 2016, 6:58 pm

 

Adam Larson said:

#21 Hopeful

Huh, my not being convinced by – what research shows to be – transparent rebel lies = I couldn’t be convinced by anything.

In answer to Ben Taub’s article: http://libyancivilwar.blogspot.com/2016/04/regarding-those-assad-files.html
A little sloppy still, but points out what remains missing in the paid and delivered product Taub wrote this advertisement for – the “Assad files” (smuggled documents) to me sound legit and it seems they FAIL to connect the visual evidence of hideous (likely terrorist) crimes in the Caesar photos to anything the government ordered. That’s still down to the verbal blah blah strings of words they collected from people who SAY they were prisoners there.

It’s a big re-mix job. The alleged prisoners SAY that’s the stuff that happened there, melting off faces, gouging out eyes, etc. – at Mukhabarat prisons, NOT in a Jaish al-Islam extermination center. I’m not impressed.

In answer to your question, IMO, Syria’s BEST way to peace is to get back to where it was in 2010, with Assad at the helm, and no active, armed proxy-army regime-bleed campaign. If the US and its allies called that off, peace could be easily restored. But that hasn’t happened in years, as they buy each accusation as reason they have to insist on the impossible (Assad step down!). So, we’re trying to achieve the Libya scenario again, but in slow-motion. No one even went back and fact-checked that first.

Half a million probably dead now, and there’s ISIS, etc. 🙁 But it’s a blow to Iran. 🙂

I’m sure you disagree, but I’m just agreeing to disagree with that.

April 14th, 2016, 4:32 am

 

Adam Larson said:

#28 Majed

JaI says a local commander of theirs fired his CWs in an unauthorized way (isn’t that about it?) and now it’s a lie to say rebels used CW? Are you calling JaI liars for agreeing with the Kurds that this event happened, and was caused by one of their men?

And WHO do you really think gassed nearby Khan al-Assal back in March, 2013?

April 14th, 2016, 4:38 am

 

Hopeful said:

#29 Adam Larson

You are right. We disagree. But if you’ve never lived in Syria, and you are not directly benefiting from the Assad’s regime and his mafia, then I can still have an open and honest debate with you. It would be worthwhile for both of us. You get to be open to hearing what Syrians lived through under the “pre-2011” phase you advocate getting back to, and I learn why there is so much skepticism from outsiders regrading the Syrians plight.

For anyone who lived in Syria between 1963 and 2011, and is not directly benefiting from the regime, the Assad files and Caesar photos were facts of life. It behooves us to make sure we do all we can to help those who are trying to gather evidence that is as clear as sunlight.

April 14th, 2016, 5:11 am

 

Adam Larson said:

#31 Hopeful

I will just note this – the dressing on your word salad is running thinner and thinner.

April 14th, 2016, 5:54 am

 
 

Tony Backhouse said:

Prem Shankar Jha – A Different Take on Syria

April 14th, 2016, 8:39 am

 

Sami said:

Great… Yet another guy living in the west that has done his “research” in defence of the indefensible.

If Assad is so great, leave your comfort in the west and go fight for the monster. Spare the Internet with yet another conspiracy nut.

April 14th, 2016, 11:52 am

 

Hopeful said:

#32 Adam Larson

Meaning what? Sorry but I do not understand your comment.

April 14th, 2016, 3:10 pm

 

Majedkhaldoun said:

Putin said ,all Syrians must participate in the election , he said Syrians must get new constitution , through parlimentary and presidential election
Assad said a joint government works under the current constitution , not including presidential election , , and not all Syrians have the right of voting only those inside , and those outside can only vote if they exit legally
Clearly there is difference between the two

April 14th, 2016, 6:25 pm

 

Sami said:

Syria war: The Afghans sent by Iran to fight for Assad
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-36035095

April 15th, 2016, 9:30 am

 

Adam Larson said:

#34 Hopeful

fair enuff, not my best comment. I’ve looked at these photos and they show insane abuses like terrorists might do, at a rate of about 1,000 bodies a month for the last few months. It’s seriously not the kind of thing Syria has gone through non-stop since the Assads have been president, or the country would be empty long ago. It’s gone on since this regime-bleed campaign started, since there have been armed Islamist freaks out on the field as well – small crimes at first but as rebel capabilities grew, alleged Assad crimes only expanded to the Houla Massacre, then the Ghouta massacre, etc. – and the murky prison system that yielded these photos seems like it grew the same basic way …

And since you mention both Assads, obviously you might point to another period of brutality in the 70s-80s – that ALSO coincided with a foreign-backed Muslim Brotherhood organized Islamist uprising… and pretend this is all continuous and leaves the Caesar photos as ‘just a snapshot’.

Taking that as your gist and intent, compared to common sense and what I know … your comment seemed to lack all sense and meaning, and so it was word salad.

April 15th, 2016, 10:20 am

 

abd said:

Assad wel mak isos mor strong

April 15th, 2016, 11:46 am

 

Hopeful said:

#32 Adam Larson

I am no fan of the Muslim brotherhood – or any organization that uses terror to achieve its means. Read my blog posts – I consider Alnusrah and ISIS enemeies of the Syrian Revolution – as much as I consider Assad and his mafia its enemies – if not even more.

Again, if you’ve never lived in Syria (which I suspect is the case), I do not blame you for not believing that a regime can be so brutal towards its citizens. The reason its crimes escalated in the 70-80 and again in 2011 and after is because of the rise of dissident among the people. I lived in Syria in the 70-80’s and I know what it was like. I have witnessed many members of my extended family and neighborhood disappear because someone had written a “report” declaring them enemeies and traitors. The ones who made it back all told tales of terror. Whenever I had friends over, my own mother would kick them out of the house if she heard us talk about politics. Everyone lived in fear. The common saying of the day was “the walls have ears”. I personally was taken in and beaten for trying to run away from a demonstration which was organized out of our schools (as kids) to glorify the president. Anyone who lived in Syria knows all of this.

April 15th, 2016, 2:44 pm

 

Ghufran said:

The Syrian army has entered Salaheddin district in Aleppo. If the new military offensive in Aleppo succeeds the city will be encircled from 3 directions with isis pushing from the east and trying to gain grounds from two other directions that are now controlled by rebels and the syrian army. Not sure if Erdogan is still willing to send troops since the situation in Aleppo is likely to determine the fate of any regional deal and any direct intervention by Turkey will be very costly. There are over 20,000 rebels in Aleppo not including Nusra and isis.

April 16th, 2016, 4:42 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Hopeful,

Thank you for sharing your story. In the West and in Israel, you get “extra credit” in school if you criticize the President, and an A+ if he’s a conservative.

April 16th, 2016, 10:09 pm

 

Hopeful said:

#40 Akbar Palace

“… And and A+ if he’s conservative”

As they should! Haha! (Sorry could not help it – you know I am a democrat)

On a more serious note – it may take one ore two generations, but one day Arab countries will be the same. People will be free to speak their minds and election boxes, not tanks, will be the way for leaders to assume power.

April 17th, 2016, 12:16 am

 

ALAN said:

Bipartisan Bill In US Senate To Restrict US Arms Sales To Saudi Arabia Introduced
https://youtu.be/IMGIJcacmqc

April 17th, 2016, 7:32 am

 

Majedkhaldoun said:

Putin is testing the weakness of Obama, repeatedly flying his military jets within feet of US military ships, , Putin actions in Ukraine , Georgia , Syria has seen no response from Obama, when we close democrat to become American president US looks weak ,weakness followed by lack of respect ,
We in US are stronger that Russia , no question it is Obama who is weak not US,

April 17th, 2016, 1:29 pm

 

Ghufran said:

Syria’s independence day is April 17th. France was forced out of Syria in 1946 after 26 years of occupation. Syria today is worse than Syria in 1946, there are tens of thousands of foreign fighters from more than 40 countries, another independnce day is needed and a third one when Syrians vote in clean or semi clean elections to chose their government.

April 17th, 2016, 7:20 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Hopeful,

Yes, I hope you’re right.

Anyway, we already have a democrat as POTUS. And you want another one???

Einstein said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different outcome!

April 17th, 2016, 8:40 pm

 

Ghufran said:

A(s)hrar Al-sham and the FSA are fighting alongside Nusra in northeastern Latakia. That means the cease fire in at least 3 provinces has ended. Alloush of Jaish Al- Islam is eating Swiss chocolate in Geneva and asking rebels to hit the Syrian army “above the neck” while negotiating a cease fire and a “political” solution !!
أمه فاشله من الألف للياء

April 17th, 2016, 9:16 pm

 

Ghufran said:

Emotions are high on all sides of this dirty war but the truth is that what is best for all is to put an end to this senseless Iran-Saudi conflict, the rest is details.

April 17th, 2016, 11:05 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Ghufran,

Yes emotions are high.

That causes the electorate in the US to get people like Donald Trump nominated.

In the ME, high emotions don’t affect the self-appointed leaders nor do these “leaders” care if the people they are supposed to serve get wiped out in civil wars. The squeaky wheel gets the grease in most societies; not in the ME, unfortunately. The people have no say.

April 18th, 2016, 11:14 am

 

ALAN said:

Jurgen
listen to the original JURGEN TODENHOFER with a duty of respect

https://www.rt.com/shows/going-underground/340028-uk-muslim-mp-isis/

April 18th, 2016, 4:18 pm

 

Ghufran said:

US Army Col. Steve Warren, the spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq, was asked whether Russian airstrikes on Aleppo, the current epicenter of the war, meant that Moscow was preparing to end the cessation of hostilities (CoH) agreement between government forces and the opposition signed on February 29.
Warren responded that it was “complicated” because al-Nusra “holds Aleppo” and is not party to the agreement.

April 30th, 2016, 12:58 am

 

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