Ceasefire Efforts Unlikely to Work; Government Pursues Rebels; Muslim Brotherhood’s New Convenant

A mass grave for the dozens killed in today’s regime raid and bombardment on Taftnaz, Idlib. Over 2000 refugees walked to Turkey Thursday.

The Assad government on Sunday April 8 set new conditions for the April 10 cease-fire. It won’t withdraw troops from civilian areas unless all rebel groups provide written guarantees they will lay down their weapons, a further blow to efforts to arrange a cease-fire and implement a peace plan backed by the United Nations.

A reporter asked me these questions the other day:

(1) Do you really think Assad is in the “mopping-up stage” or do you think he is being overconfident?

Landis: I believe that Syria is in the midst of a broad based revolution and Assad will not be able to destroy it. The revolutionary forces have suffered a grave defeat in facing the full force of the Assad army, but I also suspect that they will regroup and devise new tactics. Much of the international community has dedicated itself to their success, the Gulf states have promised to finance and arm them. The US and Europe have place crushing sanctions on Syria and are promising non-lethal aid with the promise that they are considering new methods of aid. This makes any efforts by the Assad regime to put Syria back together again impossible. Syria is likely to become a North Korea of sorts – cut off from the world, with lots of hungry people and repression.

(2) What do you think Assad envisions as the “end game”? In other words, when will he stop military operations? Once all dissent is quelled, nearly every last protester shot?

Landis: Assad, I suspect, understands what is going on in Syria even if he paints the opposition as an externally driven conspiracy. I doubt he and his commanders are stupid; although, they are probably lying to themselves about the extent of Salafist influence and the army’s ability to quell descent. I imagine he understands that he is facing a real revolt that will require the Syrian security forces to carry out counter-insurgency operations for a long time. Isn’t the common wisdom of “coin” that it takes 10 years or so to defeat an insurgency? Someone in Syria must be reading the handbooks and wisdom published by the US during its efforts to quell insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Do I personally think he can succeed? No. I don’t. I doubt he will have a lot more success than the US has had in Iraq or Afghanistan, although, his army probably understands Syrians a lot better than US troops and commanders did Iraqis. But they will likely be provoked into over-reacting to terrorism, road-side bombs and demonstrations as they have already been. They can only lose the battle for hearts and minds. The Alawites cannot regain the battle for hearts and minds. They can only instill fear and play on Syrian anxieties about turning into a failed state, such as exists in Iraq. That is what worked in the past for the Assad regime. The regime has no new tricks up its sleeve. Syrian State TV is now trying to demonize the Saudi monarchy for being descended from Jews and backwards.  That says a lot about the regime’s tactics.

Hafiz al-Assad was able to isolate the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1980s because they were extremist and violent. Most Sunnis remained on the sidelines, if they didn’t actually support the suppression of the MB. Today, Bashar faces a much broader movement. His effort to depict the activists as terrorists motivated by a foreign hand has not succeeded. The Saudi remarks that they would pay opposition militants salaries did not help the propaganda war very much and the growing violence on both sides is turning the battle much uglier, which may help the regime in the short run. Economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation make the task of returning Syria to normalcy impossible. As the economic situation grows more desperate so will increasing numbers of Syrians.

All the same, for the opposition to win will be very difficult and require much more unity than it can muster today. This will be a long and bloody contest.

The Muslim Brotherhood

When the Muslim Brotherhood published their latest covenant a week ago, I suggested that it was new. Two friends wrote to correct me and point out that in fact the new covenant does not say much that is new. Here is what they wrote:

The first friend wished to remain anonymous.

Hi Josh,

Thank you for your post today.  I appreciate your posts, as always.  I wanted to check with you to see where you got the “and not from  God” part of this sentence: “They say that the Muslim Brotherhood has now embraced the notion that political authority emanates from the people and not from God.”  Based on the Arabic, they don’t so much eliminate God from the equation in this statement; in fact, they make the point in the first paragraph of their statement to say that freedom, justice, tolerance, and openness stem from the principles of Islam ( منطلقين من مبادئ ديننا الإسلامي الحنيف، القائمة على الحرية والعدل والتسامح والانفتاح  http://goo.gl/Jn8OV), although Google translate translates mintalqiin as “departing from” which is incorrect in this context, it’s more like “stemming from” or “emanating from”).  They do make room for pluralism and governing by the will of the people and they affirm political rights for everyone irrespective of religion.  These values can coexist with Islam and other religions as opposed to these values supplanting them and likewise, the religions would co-exist with the will of the people.  Otherwise I don’t think they would have made the point of linking the values to Islam in the first paragraph.
As I’ve heard several say before, the MB is very practical in Syria and open to dialogue.  This statement supports that view. There was also coverage here as well: “Muslim Brotherhood says it will not monopolize power”: http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=380002

The second friend is Thomas Pierret, who has written intelligently about Islam in Syria for some time.

Pierret has a new interview posted, here in La revue Politique étrangère intitulé L’islam dans la révolution syrienne : 3 questions à Thomas Pierret.

This is what he says about the MB covenant:

“The MB covenant formally states a position that was first formulated by Mustafa al-Siba’i in 1950. It’s been reiterated by MB officials since the 1990s.

On the issue of equality between citizens. This is not new since it was actually part of the draft constitution proposed by the MB in 1950, but it is stated more clearly here than in their last political platforms.

However, when I read the Arabic text, it is not clear to me that the MB endorses the principle of human law vs. divine law. It says that the constitution emanates from the will of the people (which is obvious since it has to be written by an elected constituent assembly), but it seems to me that the covenant does not say anything about law as such. I should re-read the text after sleeping, but I think there isn’t anything new by comparison with their 2004 platform. Do you know the attached article of mine on that text? It shows that the MB acknowledge the fact that political authority emanates from the people, but it is part of a hierarchy of sovereignties:  (God/Law/the Umma):

  • الحاكمية فيها الله
  • السيادة للقانون
  • السلطان للأمة
Concerning the MB’s covenant, I don’t think they’re being dishonest. They’re simply formulating a set of basic principles on which everybody can agree. As a party, they would still have the right to promote sharia-inspired legislation through democratic means.
MEMRI has recently published a translation of the new Covenant.

Syrian Muslim Brotherhood: We Will Establish a Democratic, Civil, Egalitarian State once Assad Is Ousted
Special Dispatch No. 4631. Memri

On March 25, 2012, the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood (MB) published a document titled “A Pledge and Charter by the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood,” which details the movement’s views regarding the character of post-Assad Syria. In the document, the movement committed to strive for a modern civil state with a civil constitution and a parliamentary republican regime, chosen in free elections; a state that practices civil, religious, denominational, and gender equality and in which every citizen has the right to reach the highest positions; and a state based on dialogue, partnership, commitment to human rights, and combating terrorism, which will become a source of regional stability.

Following is a translation of the document:

“For the sake of a free homeland and a free and dignified life for every citizen, and at this crucial moment in Syrian history, in which dawn is delivered from the womb of suffering and pain by the heroic people of Syria – men and women, young and old – in a national revolution that encompasses all sectors of our nation; for the sake of all Syrians, we, the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, based on the tenets of our faith, Islam, which are anchored [in the principles of] freedom, justice, tolerance, and openness, present to all of our people this pledge and charter, and commit to it, in letter and spirit. This pledge [aims to] protect rights, to allay concerns, and to [guarantee] security and satisfaction.

“This pledge and charter represents a national view and the common denominators espoused by the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, and is submitted as the basis for a new social contract that will lay the foundations for a stable, modern, national bond between the elements of Syrian society, including all religious and ethnic [groups], and all [Islamic] schools and streams of thought and political [orientations].”….

News Round Up

Syria: As his adversaries scramble for a strategy, Assad sets his terms,  03 Apr 2012

Tony Karon writes: That which has not been achieved on the battlefield can rarely be achieved at the negotiation table, and the harsh reality facing Syria’s opposition is that the regime of President Bashar al-Assad has not been defeated, nor is it in danger of imminent collapse. Assad has promised, former U.N. Secretary General Kofi […]

It is worth keeping your eye on the 50 or so militias that have taken shape in response to the Syrian revolt. This website of the Free Syrian Army of Maarat al-Numaan and its countryside is representative of the fundraising efforts of the militias:  http://almaara.com/

This is a broad based social uprising that the Assad regime will not be able to destroy, particularly if Gulf Arabs and wealthy Sunnis will provide large amounts of financial aid, or as the Saudis explained at the Friends of the Syria meeting, pay the salaries of the rebel fighters.

The New Mastermind of Jihad – Wall Street Journal by David Samuels

A recently freed Islamist thinker has long advocated small-scale, independent acts of anti-Western terror….

What is perhaps more disturbing, Mr. al-Suri was recently set free from prison in Damascus, Syria, and his current whereabouts are unknown. Turned over to Syria after his capture by the CIA in late 2005, Mr. al-Suri was released sometime in December (according to intelligence sources and jihadist websites) by the regime of President Bashar al-Assad—a move apparently intended to warn the West of the consequences for opposing his rule.

Barely noticed in the midst of Mr. Assad’s own brutal assaults on civilians, Mr. al-Suri’s release may well contribute to the emergence of more attackers like Mr. Merah in the West. “His videos are already being reuploaded. His audios, reposted,” wrote Jarret Brachman, a former CIA analyst and the former director of West Point’s Center for Combating Terrorism,….

 A few recent Landis appearances

Current Events in Syria, Illinois Public Radio – NPR
Thursday March 29, 2012,  Host: David Inge w. Joshua Landis

Why Religion is Fueling the Conflict in Syria: President Assad’s Religion Problem – Listen – NPR Interfaith Voices with Joshua Landis – Date: 29 March 2012

In Syria, Alawite Muslims are kind of like the Mormons of Christianity: they’re a branch Islam, but many Muslims, especially the Sunni majority, don’t consider them legitimate. That’s always been a problem for Alawite president Bashar al-Assad. Now that more than 9,000 are dead in a revolt against the Assad regime, we explore why theological differences are playing a huge role.

Syria’s sole fuel supplier halts deliveries over sanctions
PanARMENIAN: , 2012-04-02

Syria’s sole supplier of heating fuel has halted deliveries due to European Union sanctions, making it difficult for Syrians to cook and hear their homes and potentially widening opposition to the government of President Bashar al …

Syria Dismisses Notions of Foreign Intervention

ISTANBUL — The United States and dozens of other countries moved closer on Sunday to direct intervention in the fighting in Syria, with Arab nations pledging $100 million to pay opposition fighters and the Obama administration agreeing to send communications equipment to help rebels organize and evade Syria’s military, according to participants gathered here….

The moves reflected a growing consensus, at least among the officials who met here this weekend under the rubric “Friends of Syria,” that mediation efforts by the United Nations peace envoy, Kofi Annan, were failing to halt the violence that is heading into its second year in Syria and that more forceful action was needed…..

“We would like to see a stronger Free Syrian Army,” Burhan Ghalioun, the leader of the Syrian National Council, a loose affiliation of exiled opposition leaders, told hundreds of world leaders and other officials gathered here. “All of these responsibilities should be borne by the international community.”

Mr. Ghalioun did not directly address the financial assistance from the Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, but he added, “This is high noon for action.”

But for some inside Syria, the absence of promises of arms far overshadowed the financial and communications aid. Mohamed Moaz, an activist in the Damascus suburbs who coordinates with rebel fighters, held Mr. Ghalioun responsible for failing to unify the gathered nations on sending arms, calling him “a partner with the regime in these crimes.”

“I’m the only one who watched this conference in our neighborhood, because there was no electricity and people don’t care,” he said. “I only watched it because Al Jazeera wanted my comment.”

At the conference, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said that Mr. Assad had defied Mr. Annan’s efforts to broker an end to the fighting and begin a political transition. She said that new assaults had begun in Idlib and Aleppo Provinces in the week since Mr. Assad publicly accepted the plan. It does not call for him to step down, but rather for an immediate cease-fire followed by negotiations with the opposition.

“The world must judge Assad by what he does, not by what he says,” Mrs. Clinton said …

Molham al-Drobi, a member of the Syrian National Council, said that the opposition had pledges of $176 million in humanitarian assistance and $100 million in salaries over three months for the fighters inside Syria. Some money was already flowing to the fighters, he said, including $500,000 last week through “a mechanism that I cannot disclose now.”

He expressed dismay on the lack of more material help in halting the onslaught by Syrian security forces. “Our people are killed in the streets,” he said on the sidelines of the conference. “If the international community prefers not to do it themselves, they should at least help us doing it by giving us the green light, by providing us the arms, or anything else that needs to be done.”

Mrs. Clinton announced an additional $12 million in humanitarian assistance for international organizations aiding the Syrians, bringing the American total so far to $25 million, according to the State Department. She also confirmed for the first time that the United States was providing satellite communications equipment to help those inside Syria “organize, evade attacks by the regime,” and stay in contact with the outside world. And according to the Syrian National Council, the American assistance will include night-vision goggles.

“We are discussing with our international partners how best to expand this support,” Mrs. Clinton said.

The countries providing most of the money for salaries — Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates — have long been the fiercest opponents of Mr. Assad’s rule, reflecting the sectarian split ….

Mr. Erdogan emphasized that Turkey, once Syria’s close ally, had no intention of interfering there, but that the world could not stand idle as the opposition withered in a lopsided confrontation with the government’s modern weaponry. “They are not alone,” he thundered. “They will never be alone.”

A final statement from Sunday’s meeting called on Mr. Annan to “determine a timeline” for the next steps in Syria. What those steps might be remains as uncertain as it has been since Mr. Assad’s government began its crackdown on popular dissent early last year.

Violence continued on Sunday, with shelling of the Khalidiyeh neighborhood in Homs and other areas of the city for what activists said was the 21st consecutive day. Clashes were reported in many areas of the Damascus suburbs, and activists reported government troops firing with heavy machine guns on several areas of the southern province of Dara’a. …

The United States and other nations agreed Sunday to set up a “working group” within the nations gathered here to monitor countries that continue to arm or otherwise support Mr. Assad’s government — “to basically name and shame those entities, individuals, countries, who are evading the sanctions,” as a senior American official put it. They also agreed to support efforts to document acts of violence by Syrian forces that could later be used as evidence in prosecutions if Mr. Assad’s government ultimately falls.

Syria Agrees to Troop Withdrawal, Annan Says

Syria’s government has promised that its armed forces would withdraw from population centers by April 10 and stop shooting within 48 hours after that date if rebels also stop, the special emissary attempting to end the violent year-old uprising in Syria told the United Nations Security Council on Monday….

Hassan Abdul Azim, the leader of the group, did not comment directly on the Istanbul meeting but warned that foreign countries should not accept the Syrian National Council as the lone representative of the opposition. He also said the Free Syrian Army should not be armed by foreign countries because such a step risked “militarizing the Syrian revolution and changing it into armed violence.”..

A new doctrine of intervention?
By Henry A. Kissinger, Published: March 30

Not the least significant aspect of the Arab Spring is the redefinition of heretofore prevalent principles of foreign policy. As the United States is withdrawing from military efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan undertaken on the basis (however disputed) of American national security, it is reengaging in several other states in the region (albeit uncertainly) in the name of humanitarian intervention. Will democratic reconstruction replace national interest as the lodestar of Middle East policy? Is democratic reconstruction what the Arab Spring in fact represents?

The evolving consensus is that the United States is morally obliged to align with revolutionary movements in the Middle East as a kind of compensation for Cold War policies — invariably described as “misguided” — in which it cooperated with non-democratic governments in the region for security objectives. Then, it is alleged, supporting fragile governments in the name of international stability generated long-term instability. Even granting that some of those policies were continued beyond their utility, the Cold War structure lasted 30 years and induced decisive strategic transformations, such as Egypt’s abandonment of its alliance with the Soviet Union and the signing of the Camp David accords. The pattern now emerging, if it fails to establish an appropriate relationship to its proclaimed goals, risks being inherently unstable from inception, which could submerge the values it proclaimed.

The Arab Spring is widely presented as a regional, youth-led revolution on behalf of liberal democratic principles. Yet Libya is not ruled by such forces; it hardly continues as a state. Neither is Egypt, whose electoral majority (possibly permanent) is overwhelmingly Islamist. Nor do democrats seem to predominate in the Syrian opposition. The Arab League consensus on Syria is not shaped by countries previously distinguished by the practice or advocacy of democracy. Rather, it largely reflects the millennium-old conflict between Shiite and Sunni and an attempt to reclaim Sunni dominance from a Shiite minority. It is also precisely why so many minority groups, such as Druzes, Kurds and Christians, are uneasy about regime change in Syria.

The confluence of many disparate grievances avowing general slogans is not yet a democratic outcome. With victory comes the need to distill a democratic evolution and establish a new locus of authority. The more sweeping the destruction of the existing order, the more difficult establishment of domestic authority is likely to prove and the more likely is the resort to force or the imposition of a universal ideology. The more fragmented a society grows, the greater the temptation to foster unity by appeals to a vision of a merged nationalism and Islamism targeting Western values.

We must take care lest, in an era of shortened attention spans, revolutions turn, for the outside world, into a transitory Internet experience — watched intently for a few key moments, then tuned out once the main event is deemed over. The revolution will have to be judged by its destination, not its origin; its outcome, not its proclamations.

For the United States, a doctrine of general humanitarian intervention in Middle East revolutions will prove unsustainable unless linked to a concept of American national security. Intervention needs to consider the strategic significance and social cohesion of a country (including the possibility of fracturing its complex sectarian makeup) and evaluate what can plausibly be constructed in place of the old regime. At this writing, traditional fundamentalist political forces, reinforced by alliance with radical revolutionaries, threaten to dominate the process while the social-network elements that shaped the beginning are being marginalized.

U.S. public opinion has already recoiled from the scope of the efforts required to transform Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. Do we believe that a less explicitly strategic involvement disclaiming a U.S. national interest will make nation-buildingless complex? Do we have a preference as to which groups come to power? Or are we agnostic so long as the mechanisms are electoral? If the latter, how do we avoid fostering a new absolutism legitimized by managed plebiscites and sect-based permanent majorities? What outcomes are compatible with America’s core strategic interests in the region? Will it be possible to combine strategic withdrawal from key countries and reduced military expenditures with doctrines of universal humanitarian intervention? Discussion of these issues has been largely absent from the debate over U.S. foreign policy regarding the Arab Spring.

For more than half a century, U.S. policy in the Middle East has been guided by several core security objectives: preventing any power in the region from emerging as a hegemon; ensuring the free flow of energy resources, still vital to the operation of the world economy; and attempting to broker a durable peace between Israel and its neighbors, including a settlement with the Palestinian Arabs. In the past decade, Iran has emerged as the principal challenge to all three. A process that ends with regional governments either too weak or too anti-Western in their orientation to lend support to these outcomes, and in which U.S. partnerships are no longer welcomed, must evoke U.S. strategic concerns — regardless of the electoral mechanisms by which these governments come to power. Within the framework of these general limits, U.S. policy has significant scope for creativity in promoting humanitarian and democratic values.

The United States should be prepared to deal with democratically elected Islamist governments. But it is also free to pursue a standard principle of traditional foreign policy — to condition its stance on the alignment of its interests with the actions of the government in question.

U.S. conduct during the Arab upheavals has so far avoided making America an obstacle to the revolutionary transformations. This is not a minor achievement. But it is one component of a successful approach. U.S. policy will, in the end, also be judged by whether what emerges from the Arab Spring improves the reformed states’ responsibility toward the international order and humane institutions.

Charlie Rose Show with Former U.S Secretary of State James Baker

3/ Re the future of Syria

“Jim Baker: I think whatever we do, they’re now talking about provisioning nonlethal aid to the opposition. But I think we ought to think about several things, number one, don’t —

Charlie Rose: This is the recommendation of —

Jim Baker: Yes.

Charlie Rose: Even the Chinese may be involved in —

Jim Baker: Might. They might.

Charlie Rose: Might, yes.

Jim Baker: But my view is we ought to have a broad based multilateral coalition to do it. Don’t do it unilaterally or with just one or two. We ought to know a little more about who we’re going to give it to.

Charlie Rose: Right.

Jim Baker: We don’t know these people. Look what — you know, I’ve got to tell you, I’m not a big fan of what we did in Libya even though I’m glad to see Qaddafi gone. What do we got there? What — these — the people we helped are now fighting each other. We have a civil war. We don’t know who these people are, the free Syrian army and these other people. We don’t really know who they are. And Syria is a hell of a lot different case than Libya. Syria is at the crossroads there of Turkey, Iran, Israel… I think we just need to proceed very cautiously. We don’t — look, we’re broke. We don’t need another major engagement. We really don’t need that, that we can’t fund right now and can’t pay for. They’re not talking about military aid, and I think that’s good. But provisioning nonlethal assistance, humanitarian assistance is something that might. But we ought not to do it alone. And we ought to think too. You know, Assad has lost legitimacy. He’s — you can’t — you can’t murder your own people and expect to survive for very long. And when he goes, in my view, ultimately, he will go. That’s not all bad for us from the standpoint of the situation with Iran.”

Dawn (PK): As Syria’s currency devalues, locals shed some pounds

With heavy steps, 45-year-old Ghada walks to her kitchen to prepare breakfast before her children wake up. She has nothing interesting to offer though. For weeks, she has been presenting olives, cheese and bread. Along with her husband Wael (49), …

Arab Spring Turns to Economic Winter as Unemployment Grows
Mariam Fam and Alaa Shahine, ©2012 Bloomberg News
Wednesday, March 28, 2012

March 28 (Bloomberg) — Amir Mohammed has been sleeping outside the Libyan Embassy in Cairo awaiting a visa for a week, his bed a layer of cardboard on the sidewalk. He has given up on finding a job in Egypt and is looking for a way out.

“I’m trying to just eke out an existence in my own country, but I can’t,” the 30-year-old hairdresser said. “There’s no work. Why did we have a revolution? We wanted better living standards, social justice and freedom. Instead, we’re suffering.”

The world’s highest youth jobless rate left the Middle East vulnerable to the uprisings that ousted Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak and three other leaders in the past year. It has got worse since then. About 1 million Egyptians lost their jobs in 2011 as the economy shrank for the first time in decades. Unemployment in Tunisia, where the revolts began, climbed above 18 percent, the central bank said in January. It was 13 percent in 2010, International Monetary Fund data show.

Finding work for people like Mohammed will be the biggest challenge for newly elected governments, highlighting the rift between soaring expectations unleashed by the revolts and the reality of economies struggling to escape recession. Failure risks another wave of unrest in a region that holds more than half the world’s oil.

‘High Hopes’

“The advent of democracy brought with it high, high hopes,” said Raza Agha, London-based senior economist at the Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc. “Expectations are that new governments will bring prosperity, but when you look at the fundamentals, this does not appear to be the case.”

Tunisia’s gross domestic product shrank 1.8 percent last year, and the government this month lowered its growth forecast for 2012 by one percentage point to 3.5 percent. Tunisia’s economy hasn’t contracted since 1986, according to IMF data.

Egypt’s economy shrank 0.8 percent in 2011. The government pays almost 16 percent for one-year borrowing in pounds, up from less than 11 percent at the end of 2010, after four ratings cuts by Moody’s Investors Service effectively shut the country out of international debt markets. While the benchmark stock index has rebounded this year, it’s still almost a third below pre-revolt levels. The EGX 30 Index declined 6.6 percent this month.

The Egyptian Co. for Mobile Services, or Mobinil, the country’s second-largest and oldest mobile phone operator, posted its first loss for more than a decade last year, according to data copiled by Bloomberg, as customers cut spending. Profit at Talaat Moustafa Group Holding, Egypt’s biggest publicly traded real-estate developer, dropped 39 percent.

‘Extremely Difficult’

“Egypt needs growth, needs jobs, needs tourists and needs investment,” said Simon Williams, chief economist at HSBC Middle East. “This is an extremely difficult set of economic challenges for anyone to manage, let alone a newly-elected post- revolutionary government facing high expectations.”

Labor unions, which helped precipitate the overthrow of Mubarak and Tunisia’s Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, are pushing successor governments to improve conditions and wages. The result in both countries has been a surge in strikes as tourism and investment decline.

Egyptians and Tunisians expecting more jobs a year from now outnumber those predicting a decline by almost four to one, according to a Middle East survey released this month by YouGov Plc and Bayt.com, a Dubai-based employment website. The only places with comparable levels of confidence were Qatar and Saudi Arabia, respectively the world’s richest country and its biggest oil exporter.

No Quick Fix

Public expectations pose “a communication challenge more than anything else,” said Ann Wyman, managing director at Tunis-based investment bank Maxula Bourse. “We know in economic terms you can’t solve unemployment that quickly.”

BY JAY SOLOMON – WASHINGTON—The Obama administration sanctioned an Iranian airline for allegedly ferrying machine guns and munitions into Syria to help President Bashar al-Assad put down a rebellion against his rule.

The shipments, according to U.S. officials, are part of an operation headed by Iran’s elite military unit, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, to help bolster the Syrian regime.

Iranian and Syrian officials have repeatedly denied that Tehran is supplying arms to the Assad regime. They have also accused the U.S. and its Arab allies of fomenting the revolution against the Syrian government.

The Treasury on Tuesday also sanctioned three commanders from the …

Farid Ghadry on the Free Syrian Army:

The FSA does not have any Islamist elements amongst its ranks because it would have never reached this leadership position under any Assad army.
How did the FSA respond to this pressure? In a very astute way.

First, a new three-star General named Adnan al-Ahmad defected few days ago to join the FSA (Video); but unlike the one-star General Mustapha al-Sheikh, al-Ahmad is asking for military intervention. This move by the FSA turns the tables on Erdogan because this is the highest ranking officer yet to oppose the Erdogan plans and because it keeps the FSA’s popularity intact inside Syria.

The other astute move the Free Syrian Army achieved was to create Military Councils inside Syria in every major city or town that has been hit hard by the Assad army (Video). These councils were announced just two days ago and their intended purpose is to free the FSA from any outside pressures or other councils the SNC may have planned.

The FSA is the legitimate defender of Syria’s interests. It has developed organically as a result of difficult circumstances rather than being manufactured by outside foreign governments. Although it is a paramilitary organization fighting a guerilla warfare, a new civilian leadership is forming inside Syria to be supported by the FSA as the legitimate new government. These civilians happen also to be doctors, lawyers, smugglers, and bureaucrats who have supported the Revolution by providing the FSA with services and intelligence information to better fight the Assad regime.

Follow Reuters

Fragmented Syria opposition emboldens Assad
* Opposition quarrelling ahead of vital talks
* Assad profiting from opposition disunity
* Dissidents criticise Muslim Brotherhood role
By Samia Nakhoul – Reuters

“We are doing everything to try to unite the opposition around the Syrian National Council and to convince them to be more inclusive, to welcome Alawites, Christians,” he said. “They are not doing well enough.

Amid this jostling, most Western and Arab nations fear the bloody stalemate in Syria is opening up space for jihadis such as al-Qaeda, sidelined by the last 15 months of Arab revolution but now presented with an opportunity to re-enter the fray.

U.S. intelligence officials have linked al-Qaeda to recent bombings against regime targets in Damascus and Aleppo.

“The main worry in the west is the infiltration of Islamist jihadis, including possibly al-Qaeda coming over the border from Iraq”, said Syrian expert Patrick Seale, biographer of Bashar’s father, the late President Hafez al-Assad. “The people carrying out these suicide attacks … are almost certainly al-Qaeda”, he said.

“The United States, Britain and France are having doubts about the opposition because they don’t want to be allied with al-Qaeda,” Seale said.

Ultimately, Seale argues, even though the Assad regime is under siege it is in a better position than it should be because the opposition is in such disarray, and the West and most Arab countries are reluctant to help it with arms.

“The Brotherhood have penetrated the SNC and the Free Syrian Army” made up largely of army defectors, he said. “They have taken Islam as their rallying cry and that is why the minorities are frightened.”

While the opposition may have fatally destabilised the Assad government, it seems unable to overthrow it.

“The economy is collapsing. The image of Bashar has been destroyed. He is seen as a brutal dictator and his legitimacy has gone down the drain”, said Seale. But he added: “In the opposition it is chaotic and they are squabbling. The problem is everyone wants to be Number One”.




Iranian suspicion grows over Turkey’s regional role
Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi addresses the main U.N. Disarmament conference at the end of his two-day visit at the United Nations in Geneva, February 28, 2012. REUTERS/Valentin Flauraud
By Marcus George,  DUBAI | Tue Apr 3, 2012

(Reuters) – A senior Iranian political figure has spoken out against Turkey hosting Iran’s next talks with world powers on its disputed nuclear program, in the latest anti-Turkish broadside from politicians in Tehran, Fars news agency reported late on Monday.

Illinois Public Radio – NPR

Thursday March 29, 2012, 10:06 AM

Current Events in Syria

Joshua M. Landis, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Middle East Studies and Associate Professor of Middle Eastern Studies, University of Oklahoma

Host: David Inge


The ‘sheik’ of Syria’s rebellion ponders its obstacles

Yassin Haj Saleh sees outdated thinking and a lack of unity among the opposition factions as hindering the overthrow of President Bashar Assad


Slate: A Secret Plot in Syria, 2012-04-04

Syrian violence: Was the CIA involved in the 1949 coup that plunged the country into decades of turmoil?

The UK And Syria – An Absence Of Statesmanship?
Paul Smyth, http://www.r3iconsulting.com/

…There are two strategic imperatives which should drive and constrain UK foreign policy on Syria.  First, nothing must be done that would create a greater catastrophe in which many more people would suffer and regional states would be effected; second, Syria must not become a state ruled by an extreme Islamic regime, sympathetic to Al Qaeda and actively hostile to it’s neighbours and the West; and, if they exist, Syria’s Chemical and Biological weapon arsenals must remain secure and unused.  That these imperatives rarely feature in official statements on the crisis should set alarms ringing.

Many of the calls for foreign military intervention in Syria or arming of the rebels seem oblivious to the potential disaster that could erupt there.  It is unpalatable, but the government’s primary concern should not be to deal with the current violence in Syria but to prevent a more terrible calamity from taking place…..

Allah permitted the purchase and sale of slaves
Dr. Saud Al-Fanisan –

“Allah permitted the purchase and sale of slaves. Slaves are the property of their owners. This is slavery in the shari’a, yet a slave enjoys a great deal of freedom. The only thing he is deprived of is the right to own [himself].”…

The real Bashar Al-Assad
Monday, April 2nd, 2012 | A post by Camille Otrakji

…The real Bashar Al Assad is the central figure that will likely influence the outcome of the crisis more than anyone else. You really need to try to form a new, calm and impartial, assessment of the Syrian President…..

Hala Jaber who won this year’s best foreign journalist award again in the UK, likes the article:

The Stalled Revolution: Ten days with Syria’s besieged protesters.
James Harkin, March 29, 2012

….Three out of five Syrians are under 25, and, beyond the lazy clichés about a new “Facebook generation,” there’s little understanding in the West of who they are and what they might want. And so I came back to Syria for ten days, not as an officially sanctioned journalist but as a civilian—living in ordinary Damascus hotels and meeting as many Syrian activists as I could….

The men said they only took orders from the officers who’d defected with them, but, when communications permitted, they were in touch with similar groups around the country. As their numbers increased, the FSA grew bolder—they’d lay ambushes and booby traps to meet the army when it showed up to quash demonstrations. The regular Syrian army retreated, and for a brief time the FSA was able to move freely around the towns and countryside surrounding Damascus. I asked if they’d killed shabiha, and both said they had.

But, at the end of January, the Arab League monitoring mission was suspended because of the increasing violence, and the regime made its move. The Syrian army shelled Kafr Batna and then followed up with a ground assault. Both men had been on the run for a month, moving between safe houses to avoid detection. If apprehended, they faced execution. The economic sanctions against the Syrian government, they believed, were worse than useless—they took a long time to work and only hurt ordinary people. The soldiers claimed that the FSA was 20,000 strong in the countryside around Damascus—but was badly in need of heavier weaponry than Kalashnikovs and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs).

Right now, the men admitted, they weren’t capable of taking and holding territory from the regular Syrian army. As things stood, they weren’t even sure they should be going on the offensive: After all, they’d defected to defend their families and communities from injustice, not to launch a civil war. “We have many chances to attack,” said one, “but we won’t do it: The reaction would be harsh and terrible.” If anything, it was now the people who were protecting the soldiers, rather than the other way around. “People have been arrested just for making us a cup of tea,” one told me. One of the soldiers said 13 members of his family had been arrested because of his activities; anyone with his surname, he added, would automatically be arrested at a checkpoint. At least for the time being, these soldiers were emissaries of a temporarily defeated guerrilla force…..

For the last few years, Mohammed had been working for most of the week in Damascus for the government. The pay was lousy, but he counted himself lucky to have work at all. His friends and family are scattered over both sides of the conflict. His girlfriend is a government supporter, he said, from an area where almost everyone is pro-government. I asked if he told her about his opposition activities. “Most of them,” he said with his laid-back smile. Things were easiest in Dara’a, where everybody knows everyone. In Damascus and Aleppo, the population is more transient and thus more paranoid: No one trusts anyone. His mother was a staunch supporter of the Assad regime; Mohammed warned her that she’d only change her mind when the trouble arrived in her own house.

I told Mohammed about a trip I’d recently taken to Douma, a populous commuter town outside Damascus. Douma had effectively been taken over by its residents late last year, but, in January, the Syrian army stormed in, and, when I visited, the area was clearly back under government control. The mobile phone network was still cut off, and, on a balmy Saturday afternoon, in a town with over 100,000 people, there were more soldiers than civilians on the main thoroughfares. The only visible sign of the uprising was the graffiti: “GET OUT, WE DON’T WANT YOU HERE BASHAR” and “BASHAR IS A BABY KILLER.” To my surprise, however, Mohammed chuckled at my bleak description. “Bashar treats us like a chicken farmer, you know. He thinks he can pen us in, turn the electricity back on, and we’ll keep laying eggs.” Even though the opposition was suffering, the regime was losing its power to cow people, he said. Once, he and his fellow activists would lower their voices as they walked past government informants. Now they talk louder, to show they are no longer afraid.

Mohammed could be critical of his own side, too. “This movement likes to talk big,” he said. Referring to the funeral procession we’d attended earlier, he observed: “There are three people being buried today, but, by the time the news reaches Al Jazeera and YouTube, it will be hundreds. In Dara’a the government switched the electricity off for a week and everyone was saying it lasted thirty days. It doesn’t help.” Nor did he have a very high opinion of the FSA. “Look at the pictures of the demonstrations,” he said. “It’s the people who usually are in the first line, with the Free Syrian Army behind them. When the army attacks, they have to run away and leave the people behind. It’s dangerous.”

As we chatted, Nadia texted to make sure that I was safe. I invited her to come and meet my new friend. “Be careful,” she replied. “Spies are everywhere. Don’t trust anyone.” When she arrived, she and Mohammed began an animated but friendly discussion on the state of the revolution, occasionally breaking off to translate the highlights into English. Nadia favored arming the rebellion by any means necessary. “Who cares about the agenda of the Saudis or the Qataris?” she demanded. “We just need the weapons.” Mohammed, however, was suspicious of armies of any kind and of outside intervention: He didn’t want to see one armed gang replaced by another. He seemed more like an old-fashioned community activist: His goal was to help build up an indigenous opposition large enough to sustain a revolution. For now, neither had thought much about what a post-Baathist Syria might look like…..

THE SYRIAN REGIME is winning every battle it picks with the armed opposition. Two days after my trip to Homs, the FSA in Baba Amr announced it would “strategically withdraw” from the neighborhood: It was running low on weapons, it said, and wanted to spare what remained of the civilian population. The army is now trying to clear Homs of what it calls “armed gangs,” just as it did in Douma, Kafr Batna, and Harasta. After that, it will likely turn its attention to other pockets of resistance farther afield. According to the United Nations, about 9,000 people have been killed so far, and, according to the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, 230,000 have been displaced from their homes; 18,000 are thought to be detained in government prisons.

Like Nadia, an increasing proportion of Syrians feel that the only way to overcome the government is to meet force with military force. But many others, like Mohammed, fear Syria might degenerate into another Iraq—a virulent hotbed of sectarian fiefdoms and armed gangs. Some older activists I met, rendered powerless by the daily catalogue of death and suffering, have become depressed and fatalistic.

And yet, despite the increasingly grim situation, I was struck by the optimism of Syria’s new opposition. …

WSJ [Reg]: Iran’s Spymaster Counters U.S. Moves in the Mideast

BY JAY SOLOMON AND SIOBHAN GORMAN In the smoldering geopolitical feud between the U.S. and Iran, spymaster Major-General Qasem Soleimani is emerging as director of the Islamic Republic’s effort to spread its influence abroad and bedevil the West. In …


The Free Syrian Army vs. the Syrian National Council — Which Should We Support?

By David Schenker

New Republic, March 31, 2012


A year into the Syrian uprising against Bashar Al-Assad, the dysfunctional nature of Syrian opposition politics isn’t exactly news. But the resignation last month of Syrian dissident Kamal Labwani from the Syrian National Council (SNC) — which he accused not only of being “undemocratic” and incompetent, but intent on undermining the secular basis of the revolution — is an especially troubling indictment of the opposition’s hapless government in exile. The Obama administration should heed Labwani’s testimony, and reassess its diplomacy accordingly. Indeed, taking a cue from Labwani’s experience, Washington should refocus its attention away from the SNC, in favor of providing more active support for the less centralized, but potentially more effective Free Syrian Army (FSA). ….


t would be so much easier for Washington if the Syrian opposition was disciplined and united like the Libyan Transitional National Council was, at least before they took power. Alas, a truly cohesive Syrian political and military opposition is not on the horizon. Instead of spending months trying to integrate these disparate groups, Washington would be better advised to lower the bar and err on the side of action.


As it is, when it comes to the Free Syrian Army, the administration is letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. The FSA is not perfect — it may not even be good. But the alternative — a diminished and increasingly Islamist opposition facing a resurgent Assad regime — is much worse.


Loyalty to Syrian President Could Isolate Hezbollah
By ANNE BARNARD, April 5, 2012 NYTimes

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Mazen, a carpenter who organizes protests against President Bashar al-Assad in a suburb of Damascus, Syria, has torn down the posters of Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, that once decorated his car and shop.

Like many Syrians, Mazen, 35, revered Mr. Nasrallah for his confrontational stance with Israel. He considered Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group and political party, as an Arab champion of the dispossessed, not just for its Shiite Muslim base but for Sunnis like himself. But now that Hezbollah has stood by Mr. Assad during his deadly yearlong crackdown on the uprising against his rule, Mazen sees Hezbollah as a sectarian party that supports Mr. Assad because his opponents are mainly Sunnis.

“Now, I hate Hezbollah,” he said. “Nasrallah should stand with the people’s revolution if he believes in God.”

Mr. Nasrallah’s decision to maintain his critical alliance with Syria has risked Hezbollah’s standing and its attempts to build pan-Islamic ties in Lebanon and the wider Arab world.

Though Hezbollah’s base in Lebanon remains strong, it runs an increasing risk of finding itself isolated, possibly caught up in a sectarian war between its patron, Iran, the region’s Shiite power, and Saudi Arabia, a protector of Sunni interests in the Middle East. Its longtime ally, Hamas, the Palestinian militant group, has distanced itself from the Assad government, moving its headquarters out of Damascus, and Sunni revolutionaries in Syria have explicitly denounced Hezbollah as an enemy. At home, its Lebanese rivals sense a rare opportunity to erode its power.

In a delicate adjustment in the face of these new realities — and the resilience of the uprising — Hezbollah has shifted its tone. In carefully calibrated speeches last month, Mr. Nasrallah gently but firmly signaled that Mr. Assad could not crush the uprising by force and must lay down arms and seek a political settlement. He implicitly acknowledged the growing moral outrage in the wider Muslim world at the mounting death toll, obliquely noted that the Syrian government was accused of “targeting civilians” and urged Mr. Assad to “present the facts to the people.” ….

Interview with Col As`ad, the leader of the Free Syrian Army, a Sunni from the village of Abdita, Jabal al-Zawiyah (January 1, 2012)

(الجزيرة) التقت قياداته.. يزيد عدده على 25000 ويدير عملياته من الحدود السورية التركية عبر كتائب منتشرة في أنحاء البلاد

الجزيرة – خاص – الحدود السورية التركية

للمرة الأولى لوسيلة إعلامية أدلت قيادة الجيش السوري الحر مجتمعة بحوار موسع لصحيفة( الجزيرة) حول عدد من القضايا والمحاور المتعلقة بالثورة السورية وعدد من الموضوعات ذات الصلة بالجيش السوري الحر. وهم العقيد رياض موسى الأسعد قائد الجيش السوري الحر، والرائد مظلي ماهر الرحمون النعيمي الناطق الرسمي باسم المجلس العسكري للجيش السوري الحر وقائد كتيبة معاوية بن أبي سفيان، والنقيب مظلي عمار عبدالله الواوي أمين سر المجلس العسكري للجيش السوري الحر وقائد كتيبة أبابيل. وأول محاور هذا الحديث كان مع العقيد رياض الأسعد قائد الجيش السوري الحر:

العقيد رياض موسى الأسعد من مواليد 1961م في قرية ابديتا بجبل الزاوية من محافظة إدلب. ….

 He denies that any Libyans or foreign fighters are on Syrian ground. The Syrian people reject foreign fighters, he argues. But there are fighters from Hizbullah and Iran helping the Syrian forces and sharpshooters from both of these Shiite lands helping the Syrian Army kill innocent Syrians.


An appeal to the international community – The legitimate rights of Kurds in Syria must not be ignored
By Kurdish Centre for Legal Studies & Consultancy

The recent events in the Syrian National Council are concerning, where the majority of the Kurd members have withdrew from the Council as their demands were ignored. The Kurdish demands in Syria after the fall of Assad’s regime are the following:

1-Reforms to ensure equality between all the national and religious components of the Syrian people.

2- Permitting political pluralism.

3- Formation of a national assembly and a commission for all the Syrian components to participate in drafting a new constitution for the country on a democratic basis, to guarantee the recognition of the multi-nationality and multi-religion; and ensuring public freedoms, particularly freedom of opinion, expression and media. Moreover, ensuring the practice of the political pluralism, separation of powers, and the development of a modern law for elections and political parties…..

French diplomat: “we underestimated the regime … because we wanted to underestimate it. We should never be surprised at its capacity to resist.”   “La diplomatie française a sous estimé le régime syrien parce qu’on a bien voulu le sous estimer. On ne devait pas être surpris par sa capacité de résistance.”

New al-Qaeda Strategist al-Suri Emerges With Plan: WSJ Link, 2012-04-07

Mohamed Merah, the 23-year-old Islamist gunman who hunted down three Jewish children and a rabbi after murdering three French paratroopers in Toulouse last month, didn’t act alone. In his journey from the slums of Toulouse, to the local mosques, to …

Comments (170)

ann said:

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


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

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

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

Understanding the regional and global battle over Syria is to recognise that no external power in the world has Syrian democracy or human rights as the fundamental drive behind its policies on the crisis. Despite the fluff coming from Western capitals, no leader among them is truly concerned for the welfare of the Syrian people, as noted by the West’s double standard silence to Bahrain’s ongoing revolution. Likewise, calls for Syrian democracy emanating from the most repressive regime in the world in Saudi Arabia are laughable to say the least. And as we are so regularly told, Russia, China and Iran are the antithesis to the liberal democratic values the West espouses to represent.

What the West and its Gulf Arab proxies saw in Syria was an opportunity to either snatch the Arab world’s influential outpost for Iran and Russia, or destroy its regional power altogether by way of a destructive civil war. The former seemed almost completely out of reach short of US military intervention. After spending his entire first term disengaging from wars in the Middle East, the last move president Barack Obama would make in an election year is committing a broke United States to yet another Middle East war.

Delegating intervention to its NATO allies was always going to be an unlikely option. Despite French and British eagerness to strike Moamar Gaddafi’s forces in Libya last year, the US once again eventually assumed the bulk of the workload.

The threat of a civil war still beckons, as oil-rich Gulf states ponder arming rebels, but decisive military victories by the Syrian army in recent months have made it increasingly unlikely that president Bashar al-Assad will be dislodged by force, either from within or beyond.

The international wrangling does not delegitimise the legitimate demands of the Syrian people for democracy and an open society ruled by fairness and equal treatment. Rather, it highlights that for the majority of the Syrian revolution thus far, the battle for Syria has been mostly waged beyond its borders.

The Syrian revolution became no longer a question of the inalienable rights of the Syrian people, but – as so often in the Middle East – a pretence for an intense struggle for regional supremacy. The Saudis and Qataris threw all gloves off when Saudi King Abdullah openly declared his support for the revolt in August 2011. The king’s call was not one of solidarity with the Syrian people, but a declaration of proxy war against its regional nemesis, Iran. Riyadh and Doha saw an opportunity to gain a strategic Arab ally on the simple calculation that the majority of Syrians are Sunni Muslims, and thus Assad – member of the minority Alawi sect – would meet the same fate of the fallen Arab dictators before him.

Turkey also hedged its bets on a quick Assad downfall, a strategic blunder that is now under sharp criticism from leading Turkish commentators and opposition leaders as the Syrian dictator appears to have held sway. Although it still hosts Syrian opposition groups and armed rebels, Turkey has notably toned down its harsh rhetoric of Assad in recent weeks. The US and Europe have also moved away from explicit calls for regime change, to endorsing – alongside Russia and China – UN envoy Kofi Annan’s six-point plan for a political solution.

Annan’s plan is a clear victory for Russia and China, as it reinforces their position on what it considers to be the sensible approach to resolving the Syrian crisis. Annan’s peace plan suggests a “Syrian-led political process” echoing Moscow and Beijing’s repeated calls for dialogue among Syrian parties and without external interference. It also calls for a cessation of violence “by all parties” without apportioning blame to either the regime or the opposition. Russia had previously drafted a UN Security Council resolution blaming both sides for the crisis, a move rejected at the time by France as “unacceptable” as it could not equate the crimes of rebels to the regime. And the only hint of foreign intervention in Annan’s plan is a UN monitoring team to oversee a ceasefire.

This contrasts sharply with the two previous Western-backed UN resolutions that suggested a regime change via transition, and opened the door for further action without compliance, or as Russia and China interpreted, military action. Moscow and Beijing got the Annan plan they wanted, denying the West its traditional position of decision-maker in the Middle East.

Last week’s “Friends of Syria” summit in Turkey, a gathering of Western and Arab states alongside a number of Syrian opposition groups, revealed only the lack of options available. The summit’s pledge to aid the opposition was as hollow as the rhetorical statements issued in support of the revolution. The US promised communications equipment – certain to defeat a heavily-equipped and trained Syrian army – while Saudi Arabia and Qatar would use its oil-wealth to entice Syrian generals to defect – a strategy it has deployed largely unsuccessfully since mid-2011.


April 9th, 2012, 12:12 am


ann said:

Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s deputy appears in first video since Iraq’s – 2012-04-08


BAGHDAD, April 8 (Xinhua) — Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s top aide Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri appeared in a video posted on internet, for the first time since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, and called on Iraqis to resist the country’s Shi’ ite-dominated government.

“Our Baath Party in Iraq, on its 65th anniversary, is leading a major and a historic war. Baath is struggling and will continue resistance to change the current regime,” Douri, the former vice chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council under Saddam’s regime, said in his speech posted on internet late on Saturday.

As for the Syrian crisis, Douri criticized the stance of Arab states against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“We are with the Syrian people and their legitimate rights, and with their peaceful uprising,” said Douri, who was showed in the video taking Saddam’s positions of the secretary general of Iraq’s Baath Party and wearing his military rank Staff Field Marshal.

He also criticized the Arab states which demanded foreign intervention in Syria “what’s wrong with you? You reached the point that you call for (foreign) armies to invade Syria and erase its people, like what happened in Iraq and Libya.”

The authenticity and the date of Douri’s video could not be immediately verified.

Douri, who believed to be one of the major funders for Sunni Arab insurgency against the U.S.-led coalition force after 2003, threatened to continue resistance against the Shi’ite-led government which he said “turned Iraq into an easy prey for Safavids,” referring to the Iranian dynasty (1499-1736) that established Shi’ite Islam in Iran as an official state religion and frequently fought the Islamic Sunni world.

Iraqi and U.S. officials believe that Douri played a key role in organizing resistance that erupted in 2003 against the U.S.-led coalition and was instrumental in forging links between remnants of the ousted regime and Sunni Islamic militant groups.

As the Sunni insurgency spread following 2003 invasion, the United States and its allies offered a 10 million U.S. dollars reward for information leading to Douri’s capture.


April 9th, 2012, 12:19 am


ann said:

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


“To say that Syria will pull back its forces from towns on April 10 is inaccurate, Kofi Annan having not yet presented written guarantees on the acceptance by armed terrorist groups of a halt to all violence,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdessi said Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Free Syrian Army has rejected the government’s request for guarantees on the ceasefire and demanded that government withdraw its forces back to military bases and remove checkpoints from streets.

The FSA does not recognize the regime “and for that reason we will not give guarantees,” the commander of the FSA, Riad al-Asaad, told the Associated Press.

Also on Sunday there were controversial reports saying that one of the representatives of the Syrian opposition, Kassem Saad al Dine, has stated that the Syrian Free Army is ready to cease fire on April 10 even though government troops will remain in populated areas.

He added, however, that in the event of further conflict, opposition forces would retain their weapons and continue their resistance.

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

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

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

Also on Saturday, armed rebels attacked a government-controlled checkpoint in the town of Jusiyeh near the border with Lebanon. A bus carrying Lebanese nationals was fired upon in the shootout, with dozens of passengers wounded and at least one killed. The passengers are reportedly pilgrims, who were traveling from Lebanon to holy sites in Iraq.


April 9th, 2012, 12:26 am


Uzair8 said:

The revolutionaries have the best slogans

In an article posted earlier we came across an impressive slogan from the Latakian Allawite Assad supporters, directing their frustration at the elite, over the loss of family members in the army.

“For them the palaces, for us the coffins.”

The opposition response:

“For them the palaces, for you the coffins, for us the mass graves.”

April 9th, 2012, 12:32 am


ann said:

Israeli Report: Russia Taking Preemptive Steps to Block Possible Strike on Iran

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Israeli media said Russia has made a series of rather preemptive moves to block a possible US-Israeli strike on Iran from the North.


Israel’s debkafile said in a report that after blocking the way to direct Western and Arab military intervention in Syria through the Mediterranean, Russia sent its Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov last week on a round trip to the capitals of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan – an expedition designed to secure Iran against a potential US/Israeli attack via its Northern and Eastern neighbors.

On his return to Moscow, April 6, the Russian army let it be known that highly-advanced mobile S-400 surface-to-air missiles had been moved into Kaliningrad, the Baltic enclave bordered by Poland and Lithuania, its response to US plans for an anti-Iran missile shield system in Europe and the Middle East.
In Yerevan, the Russian minister finalized a deal for the establishment of an advanced Russian radar station in the Armenian mountains to counter the US radar set up at the Turkish Kurecik air base, the Israeli website said quoting military sources.

Just as the Turkish station (notwithstanding Ankara’s denials) will trade data on incoming Iranian missiles with the US station in the Israeli Negev, the Russian station in Armenia will share input with Tehran, it said.


April 9th, 2012, 12:35 am


b said:

Landis writes:

The Assad government on Sunday April 8 set new conditions for the April 10 cease-fire. It won’t withdraw troops from civilian areas unless all rebel groups provide written guarantees they will lay down their weapons, a further blow to efforts to arrange a cease-fire and implement a peace plan backed by the United Nations.

This is factually wrong or rather propaganda.

These conditions are NOT NEW. They were in the letter sent on March 25 to Kofi Annan in which the Syrian government accepted his mission.

The Syrian ambassador to the UN Bashar Ja’afari explained these guarantees and why they are needed in a UN press conference several days ago.


see at 0:33, again at 0:44 again at 1:00 min

April 9th, 2012, 1:10 am


Uzair8 said:


About the video of Sheikh Nazim in #1201 in previous post (see above) I should have watched it before posting. It was close to midnight and I hadn’t eaten etc.

I would have saved people a lot of time by suggesting they skip to 32 minutes, to the meat of the subject. I was hoping for some ‘spiritual revelations’, perhaps revealing some insight into Assad’s thinking or other information.

As it happens the talk was more about King Abdullah of Jordan and him being ‘identified’ as a Caliph to ‘whom belongs the throne of Syria’. That is an intriguing topic for elsewhere and not as relevant on SC unless the issue develops further as it may well do.

Why is it intriguing? Well Sheikh Nazim is highly regarded by many and believed to be capable of recieving inspiration. However it is possible such ‘inspiration’ can be misinterpreted (by the Sheikh).

On the other hand there are also those, from a certain sect, that identify King Abdullah as the possible end time tyrant (sufyani).

This fatwa from Sheikh Nazim is really gonna put the cat amongst the pigeons.

If anyone is interested in following this issue:


April 9th, 2012, 1:13 am


ann said:

Associated Press (AP) is putting words in the Pope Benedict’s mouth!!

AP opens it’s article saying:

“Pope Benedict XVI implored the Syrian regime Sunday to heed international demands to end the bloodshed”

Pope Benedict said:

“Particularly in Syria, may there be an end to bloodshed and an immediate commitment to the path of respect, dialogue and reconciliation, as called for by the international community,”


April 9th, 2012, 1:20 am


jad said:

The killing of Amjad Al7ameed is growing:

Here is a you tube clip I liked earlier about the issue:
السلفية الجهادية تغتال ضابط منشق كشف اغتصابها للنساء

And here is a full report about the matter, it seems that the different armed militias are starting to attack each-others:

مصدر في الجيش الحر لـ عربي برس : حرب تصفيات بين مجاهدي الثورة السورية

هل بدأت حروب التصفيات بين وهابيي ومدنيي الثورة السورية ؟
العرعور أم الزعبي قتل النقيب أمجد الحميد ؟
حمص خاص عربي برس – ماهر العظمة

“يد النظام لا بد و أنها موجودة في مقتل الشهيد أمجد الحميد لبث الفتنة بين المجاهدين وتشتيت جهودهم ” جملة تصيب الرقيب الفار ” م ” بنوبة هياج عصبي فيقول رداً على قائلها وهو ابن عمه سلفي النهج ” انتم كما وصفكم الشهيد امجد الحميد عالة وعار على الثورة ، أنتم فئة متطرفة تنفذون مخطط وهابي سعودي عرعوري لتدمير سورية، نحن لم ننشق عن الجيش لنقتل في سبيل ثورة فاشلة أصبحت سمعتها في الحضيض ، قتل وخطف واغتصاب للنساء وسلب ونهب باسم الثورة” ويضيف الشاب العشريني الذي يقضي نقاهة لإصابته برصاصة في الساق قبل فراره من حمص إلى الرستن” سنطهر الثورة منكم قبل تطهير سورية من النظام الأسدي،ولن نكون أداة بيد آل سعود في حربهم ضد إيران والشيعة”.
هذا ما قاله الرقيب المنشق ” م ” في حديثه لعربي برس.، وهو شاب من الرستن الفوقاني يمت بصلة قرابة للنقيب أمجد الحميد .

من قتل أمجد الحميد

قتل النقيب المنشق أمجد الحميد وهو زعيم جماعة ” لواء رجال الله ” في الرستن يوم 18 آذار الماضي ، وعلى الفور أذيع نبا مقتله على يد الأمن والشبيحة ولكن بعد أيام فوجئت أوساط المسلحين في حمص والرستن باتهام صريح من قبل جماعة تطلق على نفسها اسم ” لواء رجال الله ” لرجل الدين السلفي الجهادي لؤي الزعبي زعيم جماعة ” المؤمنون يشاركون ” باغتيال النقيب المنشق أمجد الحميد قائد جماعة رجال الله الذي قتل برصاص مسلحين يوم 18 آذار الماضي في الرستن .

بيان ” رجال الله ” وجه اتهاماً صريحاً لجماعة الشيخ لؤي الزعبي الذي يتنقل بين السعودية القاهرة واستنبول وقصور نواب المستقبل في بيروت بقتل زعيمهم .
لماذا قتل أمجد الحميد
قبل أيام من مقتله خطب الحميد في حشد من أنصاره رداً على انتقادات حادة وجهتها إمرأة من الرستن حول قيام مسلحين من الرستن بعمليات إغارة وسلب ونهب وخطف و اغتصاب نساء منطقة سلمية ( تقطنها الطائفة الشيعية الإسماعيلية ) .
أشاد الحميد بكلام المرأة وقال “كلامها مزبوط مليون بالمية ” و شن هجوماً على الشيخ عدنان العرعور وقال ” نحن لا ننتظر لا العرعور ، ولا غيره لإعلان الجهاد لكن فيه عندنا مدنيين شايلين ( حاملين ) السلاح هم عبء على الثورة وهم لصوص ” منتقداً أعمال ” التشليح التي تحدث بمناطق السلمية ( شمال شرق الرستن) واعتقال النساء ”

و أوضح أنه يجب على الثوار أن” يوجهوا سلاحهم للداخل وليسس للخارج ” ويقصد بذلك من تحول عبئاً على الثورة وليس الآمنين في منطقة السلمية التي قدم أهلها الطعام والشراب للرستن كما ذكر الحميد في كلمته .
من هو لؤي الزعبي
الشيخ لؤي الزعبي ذو الباع الطويل في الحروب الجهادية التي تديرها وكالة المخابرات الأمريكية، أوقف مؤخراً في القاهرة التي يتنقل فيها بجواز سفر مزور عندما كان يعتزم السفر من مطار القاهرة إلى استنبول لحضور مؤتمر للمعارضة السورية .
الثورة تأكل أبناءها
مقتل الحميد أحدث دوياً هائلاً في الرستن يقول الرقيب المنشق ” م ” ويتابع ” لم نكن نتوقع رحيله بهذا الشكل وهو الذي كان يتوعد العصابات التي استغلت الثورة للتشليح والسلب والنهب أو لخوض معارك طائفية تخدم محاور إقليمي بعينه ، حكامه أعداء حرية ، وخائفون من الحرية ومن إيران “.
وحول نوايا الجماعة تجاه السلفيين الوهابيين من أتباع الشيخ لؤي الزعبي قال ” نحن مصرون على تسلم القتلة لانزال العقاب الشرعي فيهم أي القصاص الشرعي العادل ، ونعرف أن الأوامر جاءت من لؤي الزعبي شخصياً ويجب أن يحاسب ليكون عبرة لمن يعتبر ، ولا نستبعد ضلوع الشيخ عدنان العرعور الذي ” كبر رأسه ” ويريد أن يحكم سورية بدلاً من بشار الأسد ” .

و يتابع حديثه ” نحن لم نقم بثورة على الطغيان ، و لم نقدم الدماء من اجل شيخ جاهل و أحمق ومهبول كعدنان العرعور ، أو متطرف خادم لآل سعود كلؤي الزعبي ، يتمول منهم باسم الثورة ولا يرس لنا شيئاً، شعبنا ينتظر منا نصراً ودولة للجميع وليس لفئة ، وما فعلوه مع أهل منطقة السلمية من إخوتنا الشيعة الاسماعيلية هو فعل غدر وخسة و فتنة ثورتنا براء منها “..

April 9th, 2012, 1:46 am


ann said:

Happy Easter JAD 🙂

April 9th, 2012, 1:53 am


jad said:

fsa kidnapped and threaten to kill 17 workers in Aleppo suburbs:

مجموعة من شبيحة الأسد بيد كتيبة نور الشهداء

إستياء عارم في ريف حلب من الوهابيين: خطفوا عمالا مسالمين وهددوا بذبحهم مع أنهم من انصار الثورة!!

عصابة مسلحة تخطف مواطنين من نبّل وتهدد بذبحهم خلال 5 ساعات
عربي برس – خاص حلب

أقدمت مجوعة مسلحة تطلق على نفسها اسم كتيبة نور الشهداء على خطف 17 من العمال العائدين إلى منازلهم في بلدة نبل بريف حلب و اقتادتهم إلى مدينة تلرفعت ، وهددت بذبحهم خلال خمس ساعات ما لن تنسحب القوات التي تلاحق المسلحين شمال حلب .

و نشر ناشطو ما يسمى اتحاد تنسيقيات الثورة السورية في حلب فيديو يصور أحد الناشطين برفقة مسلحين ،وهو يتلو تهديداً للسلطات بذبح 1 7شخصاً معصبي الأعين و اجبروا على الاعتراف بأنهم ” شبيحة ” الأسد و السيد حسن نصر الله الذي وصفه الناشط بألفظ مقذعة .

و” الشبيحة ” وهي كلمة يطلقها المعارضون على مؤيدي النظام الذين يقمعون المظاهرات المنادية بالتدخل الدولي و عملية عسكرية لاسقاط النظام في سورية .

وقال أحد أقارب المخطوفين لعربي برس طالباً عدم نشر اسمه خشية انتقام العصابات ” كل من ظهر في الفيديو هم عمال وموظفون في حلب كانوا في طريق عودتهم إلى منازلهم عندما تم خطفهم من قبل المسلحين وهم ، كادحون على باب الله وبعضهم يعمل قوت يومه فقط “.

و أضاف الشخص في اتصال هاتفي ” نناشد كل الشرفاء في تلرفعت أن يوقفوا هؤلاء المجرمين الذين يريدون إيقاع الفتنة بين المسلمين خدمة لمشاريع أمريكا، و أن يمنعوا قتل العمال الأبرياء “.
ولم يصدر أي بيان عن السلطات السورية التي تواصل حملة لضبط الأمن في منطقة شمال حلب، تلاحق فيها الجماعات المسلحة المدعومة من حلف الناتو والتي تقوم بقطع الطرقات وخطف المواطنين” .
ويسود توتر شديد في البلدة على خلفية الحادثة فيما يسعى الوجهاء لضبط انفعالات الشباب فيها و السعي للحوار مع وجهاء تلرفعت لضمان سلامة المخطوفين و إطلاق سراحهم .


April 9th, 2012, 2:02 am


omen said:

I imagine he understands that he is facing a real revolt that will require the Syrian security forces to carry out counter-insurgency operations for a long time. Isn’t the common wisdom of “coin” that it takes 10 years or so to defeat an insurgency?

10 years of sectarian cleansing…but no matter how high the bodies pile up, the u.s. mustn’t intervene?

assad doesn’t have 10 years.

April 9th, 2012, 2:08 am


jad said:

Happy Easter to you too Ann and to all who celebrate it today.

April 9th, 2012, 2:09 am


ann said:

Looks like the Turkey is cruising for a bruising 8)

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


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

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


April 9th, 2012, 2:56 am


Mohamed Kanj said:

For all those wanting to watch SYRIA TV live stream on iPhone here is the link.it is a clear crisp live feed.Thanx to the Syrian government for putting up this site.


April 9th, 2012, 3:06 am


Alan said:


Syrian FM arrives in Moscow for talks

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem is due to arrive in Moscow later today for talks on implementing by Damascus the peace plan by the UN and Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan.
April 10th is the deadline by which the Syrian government is due to withdraw troops and heavy armaments from built-up areas. Under the Annan “road map” settlement plan, all parties to the conflict are due to stop violence within the next two days, that’s by April 12th.

The Command of the military wing of the opposition, also known as the Free Syrian Army, has also said that it is prepared to stop hostilities by April 10th.

April 9th, 2012, 3:22 am


Alan said:

Turkish Defense Minister adopts provocative stance on Syria


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

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

The Turkish defense minister made the remarks in a statement issued on Sunday, when the Syrian Foreign Ministry said UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan has not provided “written guarantees” that the armed opposition groups will also abide by a peace plan to halt all violence in the country.

On April 5, Annan’s spokesperson Ahmad Fawzi said, “What we expect on April 10 is that the Syrian government will have completed its withdrawal from populated centers.”

The withdrawal was part of a six-point plan proposed by Annan to Damascus in March.

The Syrian statement added that Annan “has not submitted written guarantees from the governments of Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey on stopping their funding to terrorist groups.”

Meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday that Ankara will “patiently follow the process (in Syria) until April 10,” but “we will implement steps” if the turmoil in Syria does not stop after the date.

The Turkish premier, however, did not exactly specify the possible measures Ankara would take.

[ … ]

April 9th, 2012, 3:35 am


Khalid Tlass said:

PLease stop spreading disinformation, JAD. Capt. Amjad al Hameed is alive and well, I ask you to show proof that he is dead, show us any video or photo of the dead body.

THe regime spread similar disinformation regarding the death of Abdel Razzaq Tlass in Baba Amr, turns out he is alive and kicking, without a single scratch.

And all the revolution is united, and Islamists are the heart of the revolution, the FSA and the people are one hand, and the people are all Islamists or Salafists, Sheikh Louay Zou3bi is a marginal figure in the revolution, but I can assure you the FSA field commanders, ordinary fighters, civilan sympathizers, and religious clerics are all one and united in perfect love and brotherhood.

This Army and society is like the Sahaba, and everyone knows that Sheikh Adnan al Ar’our is highly popular and respected by all Syrians, especially anti-regime Syrians, and he is very popular in the FSA and he loves the FSA very much.

And another thing : civilan volunteers and defectors in the FSA always work together, the biggest thing about the revolution is the great internal unity and cohesion among the activists and fighters on the ground, and the degree of their support among the population.

April 9th, 2012, 3:44 am


Alan said:


Institute of the Middle East

Strengthening of activity of the Navy of Germany in the Middle East


The first. German politicians are excited with the fact of participation in investigation of a vessel which officially isn’t declared in unique Near-Eastern mission of Germany in Mediterranean sea UNIFIL near the Lebanese coast on purpose to stop contraband by the weapon to extremist groupings in Lebanon for decrease in risk of blows across Israel. Similar participation provokes as mistrust of representatives of the Bundestag to federal defensive department, and suspiciousness of military men of the various countries in east part of Mediterranean sea to not declared German actions.

The second. Command of the Navy of Germany explains privacy of mission by importance of that the event «in flashpoints should be completely presented the federal government how it is actually; about a situation on the big water area in Mediterranean sea it should be known in particulars that will allow to make important political decisions concerning the countries of” the Arabian spring ». The given representation provide ALSTER and other vessels which are, as a matter of fact, perfect technical complexes, allowing in details to trace Near-Eastern conditions on a land, on the sea and in air.

Data of sites of the federal Minister of Defence, the Bundestag, Center for Security Studies (Zurich), SHZ.de, Stern are used.

April 9th, 2012, 3:56 am


Mina said:

Interview of King Saud’s daughter (she’s a great woman!)

Am I wrong or what she says could be counted as apostasy in KSA and she would be condemned to death, if she was not who she is?

“In particular, the constitution should protect every citizen’s basic human rights regardless of their sex, status or sect. Everyone should be equal before the law.”

“The way women today are treated in Saudi Arabia is a direct result of the education our children, boys and girls, receive at school.

The content of the syllabus is extremely dangerous. For one, our young are taught that a woman’s position in society is inferior. Her role is strictly limited to serving her family and raising children. They are actually taught that if a woman has to worship anyone other than God it should be her husband”

“The attitude is that “learning itself, anything other than religion won’t get you into heaven so don’t waste your time”. I would like to see religious teaching limited to the Koran and the Sunna (the way the prophet lived), where the true ethics of Islam lie. The rest is blind rote learning of the most dangerous kind.”

April 9th, 2012, 4:19 am


Mawal95 said:

Joshua put up a photo above which he claims is “a mass grave for the dozens killed in today’s regime raid and bombardment on Taftnaz, Idlib.” ^

Youtube shows that Joshua is misinformed.

First, here’s a video of the dead rebels being buried in the masss grave in Taftnaz. In most cases in this video the dead men are wrapped in cloths that cover the face, and so you can’t assess how long they’re dead: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3HekrhUxsc .

Next, here’s video of the dead men wrapped in the cloths, but with the faces exposed, and with close-ups of some of the faces. We see that many bodies have been dead for a long time and many show signs of having been refrigerated, i.e. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freezer_burn , while other bodies have had a much more recent death: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=2kqNF3brW-0#t=83s.

More footage showing the same dead men arrayed in a large room with their faces observable: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Q7PkksxzrM , http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJMmoRgTPdQ .

Next, notice from time 0:05 to 0:10 that six different live observers in this room are holding their noses to suppress the smell, a good sign that some of the dead bodies are not recently dead: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FJlOxBu1mo

In short, the bodies were collected over time with the intent of doing a mass burial.

April 9th, 2012, 7:33 am


Mawal95 said:

Joshua mentioned above that Colonel Riad Al-Asaad of the FSA is a native of Jabal al-Zawiyah. At the risk of oversimplifying, that hillbilly social background of his can explain a lot.

Riad Al-Asaad says that he takes seriously the reports that soldiers from Hizbullah and Iran are in Syria helping the Syrian Army kill demonstrators.

That goes to show me that he’s still to this day a real hillbilly. http://www.al-jazirah.com.sa/20120101/jo1.htm

April 9th, 2012, 7:39 am


Observer said:

Observation about the 20 or so comments. Not a single idea just cut and paste of various news that are totally immaterial to the post. It is the work of trolls to drown the message.

If Landis thinks that the regime is doomed then this is a turn around indeed.

Observation about the wiggle room of the regime: running out of options and continued use of a single method to survive.

The key word here is survival. It does not matter what form or shape or condition Syria is in or will be as long as the 20 or so power centers remain in place. These are about 20 key figures that are making all the decisions. The troops are cannon fodder and the people are to be crushed without pity or consideration.

I would think that North Korea is one example of world wide isolation, and on the inside I think Somalia is more likely to be the outcome as the institutions of governance have been gutted a long time ago.

Even JAD does not have anything to say, he just cuts and pastes as I imagine he cannot put forth an argument for dialogue and resolution of the crisis in peaceful ways any longer.

Would Dr. Landis enlighten us about the blinders that the pro regime have put just as in my opinion the opposition has thought to wear the bear’s skin before killing it?

April 9th, 2012, 7:46 am


Mawal95 said:

News article at guardian.co.uk, 5 Apr 2012 :

Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been saying they want to supply the Syrian rebels with weapons. “The decision to arm the rebels has been taken in principle, but it has not yet been implemented”, said Mustafa Alani of the Saudi-funded Gulf Institute of Strategic Studies in Dubai. British officials have informed the Guardian they see no evidence that large-scale government weapons transfers to Syrian rebels have taken place.

Arab sources say a bigger effort may be imminent. Last week the Gulf states agreed to fund the SNC to pay wages to FSA rebels. This is seen as providing cover for arms purchases


The situation is complicated by the fact that neither Jordan nor Turkey, which have land borders with Syria, are likely to allow transfers of significant armaments. The logistical difficulties in smuggling any supplies into Syria. …


Syria’s immediate neighbors Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon have laws and policies that prohibit arms and armed men to pass into Syria from their jurisdiction. Those prohibitions are being enforced by Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon (without 100% success of course). I confess less info about Israel but I believe the same is true on the Israeli side of the Golan Heights.

The Syrian navy patrols the sea along Syria’s Mediterranean coast. So, looking all around Syria’s borders, there is no gap were it is legal on the other side of the border to bring weapons and ammunition into Syria. Thus anyone wishing to arm the rebels in Syria has got a difficult implementation problem.

If Saudi Arabia and Qatar follow through on their wish to give cash handouts to the rebels, it will increase the price of weapons but it can’t increase the supply of weapons in a major way because of the logisitical difficulties in smuggling weapons into Syria. For smuggling to be scaled up, you’d need at least one of the bordering countries to remove its prohibition, but the great preponderance of indications are that’s NOT going to happen.

Joshua Landis says above “This is a broad based social uprising that the Assad regime will not be able to destroy, particularly if Gulf Arabs and wealthy Sunnis will provide large amounts of financial aid, or as the Saudis explained at the Friends of the Syria meeting, pay the salaries of the rebel fighters.”

I strongly disagree on the important point that the uprising is broad based. (I’ve given three or four dozen items of evidence that the uprising’s support is not broad based, while the regime’s support is broad based, a couple of dozen of which were collected at http://www.moonofalabama.org/2012/03/open-thread-2012-07.html#c6a00d8341c640e53ef0168e90185c0970c ).

But anyway, large cash handouts are not going to make the rebel fighters a stronger fighting force in the field of fighting. The cash can enable rebels to keep up a fight after repeated losses on the field, but in that scenario they don’t have a means to grow their social support base, and their support base will erorde (as it has done in all other countries with losing violent rebels).

April 9th, 2012, 7:51 am


Mina said:


Alternatively, the cash will help the poors among these people to stay at home and start again a normal life instead of looking for paid hours as a “silhouette” in a FSA video, or from money from unknown terrorist group with changing targets and policies…


Why aren’t you then commenting the bright ideas of some pro-revo in yesterday’s trail, which reached 1000+ comments? They didn’t have any ideas but cut-and-pastes?

April 9th, 2012, 8:20 am


Juergen said:

Brave souls !!! A group of young ladies and gentlemen had a sit-in in front of the Parliament building in DAMSASCUS! On Sunday April 8th,2012.

The young lady lifted a banner that said: “Stop the killing, we want to build a country for all Syrians” She painted her face white and dressed in red. Afterwards some of the protestors were detained by security forces and while using violence in front of the public and obscene language

Let’s pray for their safety, they are bravest of brave to stand in the middle of the capital and protest! We gain our strenght from you guys … please stay safe!

April 9th, 2012, 10:35 am


jad said:

Syrian Peace Deal: UN’s Cloak to NATO’s Dagger
Turkey begins fabricating “cross border” incidents to justify Brookings prescribed “safe havens” inside Syria.
by Tony Cartalucci

April 9, 2012 – From the very beginning, US policy makers admitted that Kofi Annan’s “peace mission” to Syria was nothing more than a rouse to preserve NATO’s proxy forces from total destruction and create “safe havens” from which to prolong the bloodshed. It was hoped that with established “safe havens” in Syria, protected by Turkish military forces (Turkey has been a NATO member since 1952) violence and pressure verses the Syrian government could be perpetually increased until it finally collapsed and the carving up of Syria could commence.

This has been confirmed by Fortune 500-funded, US foreign-policy think-tank, Brookings Institution which has blueprinted designs for regime change in Libya as well as both Syria and Iran. In their latest report, “Assessing Options for Regime Change” it is stated (emphasis added):

“An alternative is for diplomatic efforts to focus first on how to end the violence and how to gain humanitarian access, as is being done under Annan’s leadership. This may lead to the creation of safe-havens and humanitarian corridors, which would have to be backed by limited military power. This would, of course, fall short of U.S. goals for Syria and could preserve Asad in power. From that starting point, however, it is possible that a broad coalition with the appropriate international mandate could add further coercive action to its efforts.” -page 4, Assessing Options for Regime Change, Brookings Institution.
Now, Turkey is fabricating stories involving Syrian troops “firing across” the Turkish-Syrian border. The New York Times published these bold accusations before admitting further down that “it was unclear what kind of weapons caused the injuries on Sunday around six miles inside Turkish territory,” and that “there were conflicting accounts about the incident.” As are all the accusations used by NATO, the UN, and individual member states to justify meddling in Syria’s affairs, these tales involve hear-say from the rebels themselves.
The UN “peace deal” was a rouse from the beginning. The West has no intention of leaving Syria intact and will seek all means by which to prevail in toppling the government, carving up the country along sectarian lines, plunging it into perpetual violence as it has Libya, and moving next toward Iran. While it is essential to expose the truth behind Syria’s unrest, is also important to identify the corporate-financier interests driving this nefarious agenda and boycott them entirely while seeking out viable local solutions to support instead. If none exist, it is our duty to use our time, money, attention, and resources to create such alternatives instead of perpetuating the self-serving agenda unfolding before us.

Ultimately it is “we the people” paying into this current paradigm that allows it to continue moving forward, therefore it by necessity must be “we the people” who undermine and ultimately replace it.

That article may explain the statement of the Belgian who host NATO headquarters about the plan to attack and occupy Syria :

بلجيكا تشير الى احتمال تدخل انساني بحماية عسكرية في سوريا

اشار وزير الخارجية البلجيكي ديدييه ريندرز الى ان تدخلا انسانيا ميدانيا بحماية عسكرية سيكون ضروريا في سوريا اذا استمرت “الممارسات الوحشية لنظام بشار الاسد”.

وقال ريندرز خلال برنامج “دوليات” على شبكة “تي في 5″ التلفزيونية ان “النظام سلك طريق الوحشية وثقتي في نظام الاسد تتراجع”. واشار “هناك خطة مطروحة مع مهلة تنتهي في 10 نيسان”، مضيفاً “اذا لم يتم الالتزام بالخطة فعلينا الانتقال الى المرحلة التالية”.

وشدد ريندرز على ان “تدخلا انسانيا سيصبح ضروريا وسيفترض تواجدا عسكريا مسلحا”. واوضح انه “سيتم التباحث في هذه النقطة خلال الاجتماع المقبل لاصدقاء سوريا المقرر في فرنسا”.

وتابع ريندرز ان “الجميع يقولون انهم يدعمون خطة (موفد الامم المتحدة والجامعة العربية) كوفي انان لكن علينا وضع روسيا والصين امام الامر الواقع”.
(ا ف ب)


April 9th, 2012, 10:40 am


jna said:

23. Observersaid: (…)
If Landis thinks that the regime is doomed then this is a turn around indeed.

Are we reading the same blog? In my memory this has been a Joshua Landis mantra for the last year.

April 9th, 2012, 10:44 am


Uzair8 said:

Heard on the radio earlier Assad’s army fired at and wounded refugees across the Turkish border.

Is Turkey going to tolerate this provocation? Isn’t it time to say enough is enough?

What did the Assad General say to his men recently in Homs? :

“…the issue is that we should get over with Baba Amro and then head to other…(he named some neighborhoods in Homs)…and then towards the refugees,”


April 9th, 2012, 10:45 am


Afram said:

“Allah permitted the purchase and sale of slaves
Dr. Saud Al-Fanisan – MEMRI TV

“Allah permitted the purchase and sale of slaves. Slaves are the property of their owners. This is slavery in the shari’a, yet a slave enjoys a great deal of freedom. The only thing he is deprived of is the right to own [himself].”…
Thanks Dr. Landis for posting – MEMRI TV clip.

With the Stroke of a Pen …..allah orderd banning> Riba (Interest, usury)
but mercyful allah!! kept slavery thriving in islam until the UN forced muslims to quit, thanks UN

Why were Arab Muslim nations the world’s last ones to abolish slavery?

This is a timeline of abolition of slavery, we can see that the Arab Muslim nations, the first ones to convert to Islam, were also the last ones to abolish slavery:

They did it decades after the Un had declared slavery against Human Rights.

1948 UN Article 4 of the Declaration of Human Rights bans slavery globally
1952 Qatar abolishes slavery
1962 Saudi Arabia abolishes slavery
1962 Yemen abolishes slavery
1963 United Arab Emirates abolishes slavery
1970 Oman abolishes slavery
1981 Mauritania abolishes slavery

April 9th, 2012, 11:07 am


jad said:


“I strongly disagree on the important point that the uprising is broad based.”

I agree with your objection on introducing this as a ‘broad based’ uprising, it’s not, especially in the last months, it becomes a military battle between the government and the armed militias funded, supported and trained by khalijis, turks and the EU, while the US is behind the curtain so it wont ‘affect’ the ‘pure’ image of the uprising.

Ref. my earlier comment about the military intervention plan:

McCain meets with ‘istanbul’ council, how ‘patriotic’ of them, this ‘council’ keep going from low to lower every day pass and we shouldn’t call any of them ‘traitor’ they are very ‘patriotic’…Sure!


April 9th, 2012, 11:08 am


jad said:

Didn’t the US had enough of the radicals of Taliban and Alqaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan, why the US tolerate Pakistan and Afghanistan radicalism that much, isn’t it time for the US to deal with more decisive power to solve the radical problem of that region?

I think they should.

April 9th, 2012, 11:15 am


jad said:

استشهاد النقيب امجد محمد الحميد قائد لواء رجال الله


April 9th, 2012, 11:26 am


Hopeful said:

Ignoring the comments on this blog, do people here believe that the posts on SC do in general contain accurate information and facts about what is going on inside Syria?

Thumbs up if you do
Thumbs down if you do not

Do you know of any other web site/news source that reports news/information which, in general, are accepted as facts from both sides of the conflict?

In other words, with so much lies and misinformation on both sides, where would one go to learn the truth?

April 9th, 2012, 12:18 pm


Uzair8 said:


I shared the (see link above) slogans in #4 elsewhere and was told:

“…and there are nearly 6000 alawites killed as shabbiha not yet handed back to their families.”

I wouldn’t be surprised at this. Regime trying to avoid restlessness or backlash from the Allawite base. (?)

April 9th, 2012, 12:21 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Unbelievable But True: Don’t Humiliate the Syrian President NewZ

Professor Josh’s side kick, co-owner and one-time co-editor of this website, Alex (aka Camille Otrakji) is still pining for the self-appointed Syrian dictator (whose wife is buying European furniture and jewelry while his cities burn).

R U Surprised?

From Professor Josh’s link:

Attempts to find solutions to the crisis in Syria failed in many cases because they implied a humiliation to the President, tried to force him to accept a major role for Islamists in Syrian politics, or relied on pressure with imposed deadlines from outside powers that attempted to treat Syria as a stage and not as a leading actor.

The most constructive, and the only approach today is to forget the past and to cooperate to try to shorten the difficult path to the return of stability to Syria.

April 9th, 2012, 12:28 pm


Hopeful said:

I think the parallel that Josh is drawing between the US approach in Iraq post invasion, and the Syrian’s regime approach against the rebels, is fairly accurate.

In both cases, strong armies are facing popular insurgencies. In both cases, the armies do have support from a segment of the local population. In both cases the insurgencies are supported by a segment of the local population and many regional countries and organizations.

It is true that the Syrian army knows the local population and environment better, but I do not believe this is a factor that can tip the balance. Bottom line is, the US learned the hard fact that a military solution alone cannot solve the problem – in fact, it has caused a civil war in the country.

The Syrian regime is facing similar challenges today. What I observe from comments on SC is the following: the more the violence escalates, the more polarized and extreme the comments become. Violence will only lead to further polarization of the society.

April 9th, 2012, 12:33 pm


bronco said:

27. jad said:

“Syrian Peace Deal: UN’s Cloak to NATO’s Dagger
Turkey begins fabricating “cross border” incidents to justify Brookings prescribed “safe havens” inside Syria.”

There are 2 possibilities:

– Erdogan is preparing the Turkish public opinion (and NATO) to accept the military invasion North Syria under the pretext of ‘protecting civilians’.

– Syria is provoking an escalation with Turkey to oblige it to retaliate with the hopes that this would create an internal political crisis within Turkey. It is also a message of defiance to Turkey and to the armed mutineers conveniently settled near the border. Why are the camps so close to the borders?

April 9th, 2012, 12:44 pm


norman said:


or the FSA is shooting from Syria at the camps to push Turkey to do something.

April 9th, 2012, 1:05 pm


jad said:


I think option one is more realistic than option 2 because of the history of the turkish vocal escalation every couple days for a year now.

If we cross reference what the Belgian announce and of the news of the Syrian-Turkish border clashes this morning, and Erdogan’s last statement that a major ‘steps’ will be taken after the 10th of April, it give option 1 more weight than option 2.

On the other hand, the tragedy death of New TV cameraman 3li Sha3ban in a fire exchange near the Syrian-Lebanese border is now being used by the Lebanese ‘politicians’ for scoring points:

تفاصيل اطلاق النار على فريق قناة الجديد 9-4-2012

Lebanon TV cameraman killed ‘by Syrian army’ on border


مصدر إعلامي: فريق قناة الجديد أصيب أثناء تعرض نقطة لحرس الحدود السورية لإطلاق نار كثيف من قبل مجموعات إرهابية مسلحة


April 9th, 2012, 1:08 pm


bronco said:

#24 Mawal95

I agree with you. The uprising is very narrow based, contrary to what Joshua Landis asserts. In 12 months, many who were for the revolution’ have changed their minds as the alternative to the secular independent ‘dictatorship’ of Bashar Al Assad is a ‘hardline western supported islamocracy’ like Egypt, Libya or Tunisia.

We have seen no evidence that Syrians are accusing Bashar al Assad or the government for the fall of the Syrian pound or the cost of living increase. The fingers are pointed to the Arab League puppets and to KSA and Qatar that all Syrians despise, long before the uprising. Syrians are proud and would rather die of hunger than to beg for any help from these countries. The ones who are begging are desperate, as they have taken the road to exile while it is clear that KSA or Qatar will not accept a single Syrian refugee.

The more the ‘enemies of Syria’ are trying to isolate the Syrian government, the more people are switching to the side of Bashar al Assad. The more aggressive Turkey becomes the more resentment against it is growing.

Many pro-regime Syrians were opposed to Annan Plan because it was calling for the legitimate army to withdraw without the armed mutineers officially agreeing to the plan.

The opposition thought they could fool Annan and Bashar al Assad by vaguely agreeing on the plan, now they must deliver or bear the responsibility of the continuation of the violence.

By forcing the opposition to sign guarantees, Syria is now throwing the ball to Annan. If Annan wants to save his plan, he will have to put pressure on the ‘enemies of Syria’ to commit to the plan.

Turkey is trapped as it will be forced to agree and implement the Annan Plan that keeps Bashar Al Assad in power. So it creates diversions. That may explain the accusations of aggressions on the refugees camps.

April 9th, 2012, 1:13 pm


Juergen said:

DER SPIEGEL quoted turkish officals who call this peace plan “obsolete” after the attacks on turkish grounds and on fleeing syrian refugees.

1 lebanese cameramen was killed while he worked in an neighboring lebanese village, the gunshoots came out of Syria.

Lets see what Annan will say tomorrow, he is scheduled to visit the border from Turkey to Syria.

here is the translated article…


April 9th, 2012, 1:22 pm


Mina said:

It seems the media is just about putting pressure: already thanks to their campaign in the last days, Iran has now accepted to have the talks in Istanbul and even to reduce the quantity of enriched uranium.

It would not make sense that the Syrians decided to shoot on some people just when Annan was touring the refugee camps this afternoon. Or they do shoot at armed people fleeing through the border everyday but the Turks decided to complain only today to embarass Annan.

While in Tunis, demos are forbidden


And in Iraq, universities are anything but “democratic”


And Bahrein..


But that’s the best:

Bahrain rejects Danish request for prisoner transfer (they mention the fact he has Danish citizenship only at the end of the article)

The GOVERNMENT is badly split on what to do, sources in Bahrain have told the BBC’s Bill Law. They say the Foreign Minister, Sheikh Khaled bin AHMAD al-Khalifa, is keen to see a resolution.

However, Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa bin SALMAN al-Khalifa insists he should not be released, the sources told our correspondent.

April 9th, 2012, 1:23 pm


zoo said:

Turkey’s uneasy friendships

It is thought that portraying the al-Assad regime and the PKK as an “axis of evil” is a very good propaganda piece.
But it would be a nightmare for Turkey if the Kurds get some sort of autonomy in the new Syria. Turkey is overeager to organize “the Syrian opposition” so as to ensure that it avoids such an outcome.
Turkey’s eagerness to support the Syrian opposition has been in tune with Western perspectives so far, but I think that the difference of priorities may lead to unexpected disagreements among the friends of the “Friends of Syria.”

April 9th, 2012, 1:26 pm


Juergen said:


Yes but support looks different, nowadays too. I have watched state tv broadcast on the easter celebrations, which JAD posted. No one of the christians were supporting the president ambitiously, at least no one said his name or the obvious expected phrases praising the President. All said basically Syria will be good inshallah and the government must act blabla

April 9th, 2012, 1:27 pm


zoo said:

Number of refugees in Turkey slightly drops

Annan to visit Syrian refugee camps in Turkey

ANKARA, April 9 (Xinhua) — UN-Arab League joint envoy to Syria Kofi Annan is set to visit the camps sheltering Syrian refugees in Turkey’s southern province of Hatay on Tuesday, local media quoted diplomatic sources as saying on Monday.

Hatay, with 7,934 Syrian refugees, is the forefront of Turkish southern provinces in providing shelter for Syrians who were fleeing domestic violence.

In addition, there are 5,504 Syrian refugees staying in Turkey’ s Gaziantep, 9,159 in Kilis and 1,594 in Sanliurfa.

Annan will proceed to Iran after his visit in Turkey, according to the report.

The number of Syrians in Turkey on Monday dropped to 24,246 from a record high number of 24,324 registered on Saturday, marking an end of the ever-expanding trend of refugee influx in the past two months, according to official figures.

April 9th, 2012, 1:32 pm


jad said:

Almoualem in Moscow:

المعلم يزور موسكو لبحث تنفيذ خطة عنان
وصل وليد المعلم، وزير الخارجية السوري يوم 9 ابريل/نيسان إلى موسكو في زيارة رسمية ليطلع الجانب الروسي على تنفيذ دمشق للبنود الستة من خطة كوفي عنان المبعوث العربي والأممي لتسوية الوضع في سورية.

ومن المقرر ان يلتقي المعلم نظيره الروسي سيرغي لافروف يوم 10 ابريل/نيسان، وهو اليوم الذي يتزامن مع انتهاء المدة المحددة للسلطات السورية لسحب قواتها من المدن. وبحسب خطة عنان، فان جميع أطراف النزاع يجب ان توقف اعمال العنف بشكل كامل عقب 48 ساعة بعد ذلك اي بتاريخ 12 ابريل/نيسان.

إلا أن بعض الاطراف المهتمة بحل الأزمة السورية، خاصة واشنطن وباريس، تتجاهل وجوب ان يشمل نداء عنان لوقف العنف المعارضة السورية أيضا. فقد اعلنت كل من واشنطن وباريس عن شكوكهما في أن تقدم دمشق على تنفيذ خطة عنان.

من جانبها قالت وكالة الأنباء السورية (سانا) أن المعلم سيزور روسيا الاتحادية برفقة وفد رسمي، وسيجري مباحثات مع نظيره الروسي سيرغي لافروف حول تعزيز العلاقات الثنائية بين البلدين والتطورات المتعلقة بمهمة كوفي عنان مبعوث الأمم المتحدة والجامعة العربية إلى سورية .

معارض سوري: زيارة المعلم تهدف الى رسم خطة قابلة للتنفيذ

رأى القيادي في الحزب السوري القومي الاجتماعي طارق الأحمد في اتصال مع قناة “روسيا اليوم” أن الحكومة السورية تنتظر من زيارة وليد المعلم الى موسكو الدخول في تفاصيل لرسم خطة قابلة للتنفيذ. وأوضح أنه في حال لم يرض عنان بالذهات الى مبادرة قابلة للتنفيذ ومبادرة يمكن ان تحمل الطرف الذي لا ينفذ المسؤولية فيجب على دول (بريكس) ايجاد شخصية مرموقة بديلة وذات مصداقية لانهاء العنف في سورية.

April 9th, 2012, 1:32 pm


Hopeful said:

Re: Akbar Palace # 36

I, for one, actually enjoyed reading Camille’s post and found it to be very well-written and well-researched (http://creativesyria.com/syriapage/?p=150).

It takes hard work and dedication to write such a post, and Camille should be commended for making a contribution to help Syria in its current crisis, even if you disagree with him.

I think many of his findings are reasonably accurate, although one may disagree with his conclusions and proposals to solve the crisis (for example, I do not believe that Assad is the “only leader” who can lead Syria to free elections, but the guy is entitled to his opinion!).

April 9th, 2012, 1:34 pm


Juergen said:

“Khaled” a 27 year old resident of Kherbet al Jouz. He reports on two killings which government forces have commmitted in his village.


A message from the World to Syria

April 9th, 2012, 1:36 pm


jad said:

هرموزلو: اذا تكرر تصعيد سوريا على حدود تركيا ستكون هناك عواقب وخيمة

أكد مستشار الرئيس التركي ارشاد هرموزلو في حديث لقناة “أخبار المستقبل” أن “التصعيد السوري على الحدود التركية السورية غير مبرر واذا تكررت الاحداث ستكون العواقب وخيمة، ويجب ان تعرف الادارة السورية ما هي الافعال الوخيمة واذا تكررت الافعال ستكون هناك ردود فعل كبيرة”.

Google TranslateTRANS Advisor confirmed Turkish President Ershad Hermozlo in an interview to the channel “Future News” that “the escalation of the Syrian Turkish-Syrian border is unjustified and if repeated events, the consequences will be dire, and must know that the administration Syrian What are the acts of severe and if repeated acts there will be a great feedback.”

April 9th, 2012, 1:38 pm


zoo said:

Are Omar Suleiman or Amr Moussa on the way to Egypt presidency ?

Moslem brotherhood:

The primary nominee of the Islamist group, al-Shater, has a criminal record. In 2006 a military court sentenced him to seven years in prison on charges of terrorism and money laundering. He was released from prison under amnesty last March, after the end of the regime of Hosni Mubarak.


Separately, on Saturday the electoral commission said that Salafist politician Hazem Abu Ismail would probably be disqualified from running because his mother may have held US citizenship and this is contrary to the constitution. According to the law, candidates’ parents and wives must all be Egyptians.

The camp of ousted Hosni Mubarak.

They include Ahmed Shafiq, Mubarak’s ex-prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq, Amr Moussa, former foreign minister and ex-head of the Arab League and Omar Suleiman, Egypt’s head of intelligence for more than 18 years

The Liberals

Supported mostly by young people and the revolutionary-minded.


April 9th, 2012, 1:49 pm


jad said:

ريما دالي: أوقفوا القتل نريد أن نبني وطنا لكل السوريين…قصة مواطنة
بقلم: وسام عبد الله

الساعة 2:00 ليلا تحدثني ريما تطلب مني ان أوعدها بأن أكون أميناً على ما ستخبرني به، فوافقت على طلبها، تخبرني ريما انها ستنزل إلى امام مجلس الشعب وتسكب على نفسها دهان أبيض وترفع لوحة بالأحمر تكتب عليها بالأبيض ” أوقفوا القتل نريد أن نبني وطنا لكل السوريين “، طلبت مني أن أكون على علم بهذا الحدث حتى لا يتم استغلاله لهدف غير الهدف التي تسعى إليه، وافقت على طلبها وتمنيت عليها أن تنتبه على نفسها من أي مكروه وانتهى الحديث هنا. في اليوم التالي تنفذ ريما كلمتها تنزل إلى امام مجلس الشعب وتنفذ وعدها لنفسها، ليتم اعتقالها من قبل الامن. ربما لم يعد مهم التفاصيل أين اعتقلت ومن اعتقلها وما هو مصيرها، فهذا لا تريده ريما، هي تريد التكريز على الرسالة التي رفعتها فقط.

رسالة ريما هي رسالة الكثيرين من السوريين، بعد انتشار خبر اعتقالها ونشر صورها والفيديو الذي تم تصويره وهي تحمل اللوحة بدأت الاصوات المتضامنة معها تتصاعد، الرائع في هذا التضامن انه ضم مختلف الآراء السياسية، موالين ومعارضين، لم يهتموا من هي ريما موالاة ام معارضة، لقد جمعهم الهدف والرسالة، لم ترفع علما ولا شعار سياسيا، رفعت فقط اسم الوطن مطالبة بوقف العنف من مختلف الاطراف.

ربما حاول الكثيرين تشويه ما قامت به ريما، منهم من طلب أن تطالب برفع شعار منع تمويل الجيش الحر والتظاهر امام السفارة الامريكية ومنهم من طالبها بانه كان الاجدر بها أن تطلب بوقف القتل من قبل النظام فقط، ولكنهم لم يعرفوا من هي هذه الفتاة التي استطاعت أن تتخطى هذه التفاصيل القاتلة في وطننا.

والسؤال ماذا بعد؟، هل نكتفي بهذه الحالة فقط، أليس هذه الطلب هو طلب معظم الشعب السوري، أليس هذا التعبير السلمي هو ما نريده من الموالين والمعارضين؟، لم ترفع شعار إلغاء الاخر ولم ترفع شعار ضد أحد ، لقد قالت توقفوا لنبني جميعا دون استثناء.

القتل والعنف النفسي والجسدي الذي يبدأ من إلغاء الاخر فكريا وصولا إلى القتل والثأر لن يصل بنا إلى حل، على الشعب أن يدرك قبل النظام وقبل قادة المعارضة المؤيدين لاستخدام العنف، أن هذه الطريقة لن تصل بنا إلى مكان، انها تذهب بنا إلى المجهول. العنف ليس بالضرورة أن يظهر دفعة واحدة، فما يُحفر في عقول الاطفال سيخرج ويُنتج في المستقبل أجيالاً لديها استعداد للسلوك بطريقة عنفية. على الشعب أن يرمي على نفسه دهان أبيض على قلبه وعقله حتى نتوقف عن العنف، النظام قد يبقى وقد يرحل، المعارضة قد تبقى وقد ترحل، وانا وأنت ونحن لن نبقى وبالتأكيد سنرحل، والباقي الوحيد هو الوطن….

اعتصام أمام مبنى مجلس الشعب في دمشق 8_4_2012

April 9th, 2012, 1:50 pm


zoo said:

Either written guarantees from the opposition or no army withdrawal.
Syria will not allow the AL observers saga to repeat.


Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdessi Sunday cited the negative experience of the Arab League’s observer mission in January, during which the Syrian army withdrew its forces and the armed opposition seized their chance to regroup and take over unguarded cities and towns.

Meanwhile, the Free Syrian Army has rejected the government’s request for guarantees on the ceasefire and demanded that government withdraw its forces back to military bases and remove checkpoints from streets.

The FSA does not recognize the regime “and for that reason we will not give guarantees,” the commander of the FSA, Riad al-Asaad, told the Associated Press.

Also on Sunday there were controversial reports saying that one of the representatives of the Syrian opposition, Kassem Saad al Dine, has stated that the Syrian Free Army is ready to cease fire on April 10 even though government troops will remain in populated areas.

He added, however, that in the event of further conflict, opposition forces would retain their weapons and continue their resistance.

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

April 9th, 2012, 1:57 pm


zoo said:

“The journalist says Qatar authorities actually decided the channel’s agenda and created their own version of the Syrian crisis.”

Ex-employee: Al Jazeera provided Syrian rebels with satphones
Published: 04 April, 2012, 23:38
Al Jazeera has supplied Syrian rebels with satellite communication tools to ensure telephone and Internet connection, claims Ali Hashim, a former correspondent of the Qatar-funded channel. The equipment was smuggled from Lebanon, he told RT.

­The channel paid $50,000 for smuggling phones and other tools across the Syrian border to ensure they would get an inside picture, claims Ali Hashim.

A month ago, Hashim and two other correspondents working for Al Jazeera in Lebanon, stepped down from their jobs over a dispute over how the Arab Spring should be covered. Reporting popular unrest in Bahrain and Syria revealed the acutest differences between the men and their employer.

“The channel was taking a certain stance. It was meddling with each and every detail of reports on the Syrian revolution. At the same time it was almost covering up what was going on in Bahrain,” recalls Hashim.

The journalist says Qatar authorities actually decided the channel’s agenda and created their own version of the Syrian crisis.

“We went to the border between Lebanon and Syria. There it became obvious that militants entered Syria from Lebanon to clash with the Syrian regular army, which was 3 kilometers away from the border,” Hashim told RT.

“We took photos of those people, but the channel declined them. I was asked to forget about the militants and to return to Beirut,” he says.

April 9th, 2012, 2:00 pm


zoo said:

Obama Helps the Muslim Brotherhood’s War on Egyptian Women
By Mark Whittington | Yahoo! Contributor Network – Sun, Apr 8, 2012

In effect, President Obama is paying Islamists in Egypt to degrade and oppress women while pointing fingers at Republicans.


April 9th, 2012, 2:05 pm


ghufran said:

We’ll see if Russia can pressure the regime and restrain Turkey, if that fails, a new round of fighting is coming with the potential of a Turkish involvement and retaliatory strikes through the Lebanese borders, the regime when cornered is likely to try to bring the fight
to other countries in an effort to convince western governments to change their strategy on Syria.

The conflict certainly carry most of the features of a civil war except for the fact that fighting is not all over the state. Syrian sources indicate a high level of impatience by army generals who did not obey orders not to fire inside Turkey, I doubt that the incident was an error, it was a message but it is a risky move.

April 9th, 2012, 2:23 pm


jad said:

Primakov: The civil war in Syria is already started

يفغيني بريماكوف: الحرب الاهلية في سورية قد بدأت

يحاول المبعوث الخاص للامم المتحدة والجامعة العربية تطبيق خطته للتسوية في سورية. وتلعب روسيا دور الوساطة في هذه التسوية. فماذا يمكن ان ننتظره من كوفي عنان؟ ما هي اهداف مهمته؟

تحدث الاكاديمي والمستشرق الروسي يفغيني بريماكوف وزير الخارجية الاسبق ورئيس الوزراء الاسبق في روسيا تحدث في هذا الموضوع يوم 9 ابريل/نيسان الى اذاعة “صوت روسيا”.

هل الجانبان المتناحران مستعدان لتنفيذ شروط الهدنة؟ – سيتضح هذا الامر يوم 10 ابريل/نيسان حين يصل الى موسكو وليد المعلم وزير الخارجية السوري. كما يصل الى روسيا من دمشق بعد اسبوع وفد من المعارضة السورية.

وادلى يفغيني بريماكوف الذي يترأس في الوقت الراهن مركز الدراسات لدى اكاديمية العلوم الروسية ومنتدى “ميركوري” أدلى بحديث لاذاعة “صوت روسيا” تحدث فيه عن مستقبل الشرق الاوسط وسورية واليكم نص حديثه:

س – شكك الكثيرون بنجاج مهمة كوفي عنان. وبالرغم من ان بعثة الوساطة تواجه صعوبات فقد احرزت بعض النجاحات. وعلى سبيل المثال فانه تمكن من وضع خطة التسوية وحمل الحكومة السورية على اتباعها. هل لديكم ثقة بكوفي عنان؟

ج – أعرف كوفي عنان منذ فترة. ويعتبر البعض انه لم ينجح في شيء ابدا؟ والامر ليس كذلك. انا اتذكر الجهود التي بذلها في بغداد حيث كنا نساعده حين زار العراق واتصل بي ليلا من بغداد وقال شكرا بالروسية مشيرا الى انه يشكر فيكتور بوسوفالوك السفير الروسي في بغداد ثم نائب وزير الخارجية. واحبطت تلك الزيارة ضربة كانت الولايات المتحدة تخطط لتوجيهها الى العراق.

كوفي عنان هو رجل ذكي جدا ومتوازن. ولن يقف الى الجانب الذي تقف فيه الولايات المتحدة او الدول الاوروبية. وانه يتخذ موقفا موضوعيا مما يحدث. وانا واثق من ذلك. ويعني هذا الامر بالنسبة الى سورية انه من الضروري تهيئة الظروف لوقف اطلاق النار من كلا الجانبين. ولا يجوز اتهام الحكومة ومطالبتها باتخاذ خطوات احادية الجانب وتحريض المعارضة من وراء الكواليس في الوقت ذاته وتسليمها اسلحة وتشكيل خلفية اعلامية ملائمة لها.

لقد فهمت ان كوفي عنان لن يمارس هذا النهج، وإنه قد اقترح بالفعل خطة وافقت عليها فيما بعد كل من روسيا والصين وغيرها. وتنحصر المشكلة الآن في كيفية تنفيذها. وكان وقف إطلاق النارمن قبل الجانبين شرطا رئيسيا لذلك.

س- ألم توافق الحكومة السورية على ذلك؟

ج – نعم وافقت الحكومة السورية على ذلك، وحتى حددت موعدا. لكن من يسمى باصدقاء سورية اجتمعوا مؤخرا كما تتذكرون وبحثوا مسألة تزويد المعارضة بالاسلحة. واين بعد ذلك ضمانات ان المعارضة لن تبدأ هجوما مسلحا على النظام بعد ان تسحب الحكومة قواتها من المدن؟ ويجب الا يقام التعامل مع الحكومة السورية فقط فحسب بل ومع المعارضة. واننا نقوم بهذا العمل مع الحكومة بالتعاون مع الصينيين. لكننا لا نشهد تعاملا مماثلا مع المعارضة. فعلى العكس يقوم هؤلاء الاصدقاء كثيرا ما بتحريض المعارضة ودعمها وتسليحها.

س- يعني ذلك ان هدف الغرب هو تغيير نظام الاسد في سورية؟

ج- الغرب يرغب في تغيير نظام الاسد. وترغب في ذلك ايضا بعض الدول العربية وقطر والسعودية على سبيل المثال. ولكل واحد منهم سببه لذلك. لكن الاهم من ذلك هو انها لا تريد تشكيل طوق شيعي. والمقصود بالامر هو ايران والعراق حيث يشكل اهل الشيعة غالبية السكان وسورية ولبنان حيث يحظى اهل الشيعة بمواقف قوية. ويخشى ذلك اكثر من اي احد الدول الخليجية حيث توجد اقليات شيعية.

س- ما رأيكم في احتمال نشوب الحرب الاهلية في سورية؟

ج- الحرب الاهلية قد بدأت وستزدادا أبعادا في حال استمر غياب اتفاق. وهناك خطر من ان الحرب ستحمل صبغة دينية وتتحول الى صدام ديني بين العلويين القريبين من اهل الشيعة والسنة. وفي هذه الحال تكون الحرب دامية جدا.

س – اذن هناك هدف آخر هو إضعاف ايران او حتى التهيؤ لتغيير النظام في ايران؟

ج- الامر كذلك الى درجة ما. ومن المعروف ان دمشق وطهران تقاربتا بسبب واضح، اذ ان السوريين يخشون انهم سيواجهون اسرائيل بمفردهم ويحتاجون الى من يقف وراءهم ويدعمهم. وهو ايران.

April 9th, 2012, 2:38 pm


Afram said:

Turkey: Syria Firing Across Our Border, poor cry baby!

Let’s talk turkey, shall we folks?

*”Slick Willie”-Bill Clinton said-“It’s the economy,stupid”.

I’m gonna eat my gardening straw Hat if Sultan Erdogan risks this:

**The value of the Iran-Turkey trade exceeded $16 billion in 2011.
***trade volume with Iraq $12 billion.

Erdogan is working on his legacy:

change photo of Kemal Ataturk with his & to maintain a strong economy

War always causes inflation then stagnation of the local economy which hurts country& consumers, Erdogan is not a fool to sink his country into Syria quagmire.

Eurozone ain’t doing well either, as its economy & debt crisis is on the brink. Erdogan can’t count on them. It couldn’t have happened at a worse time.

Wake me up when this Arab mass chaos ends.

April 9th, 2012, 2:40 pm


jad said:

I don’t know the origin or the accuracy of this disturbing news, but I won’t be surprised if they did it:

معلومات استخباراتية روسية عن نية تركيا الثلاثاء او الاربعاء بالقيام بعملية عسكرية على الحدود السورية وانشاء منطقة عازلة مع حملة اعلامية شرسة

[ + Google Translate TRANS Russian intelligence about the intention of Turkey, Tuesday or Wednesday to carry out a military operation on the Syrian border and the establishment of a buffer zone with a fierce media campaign ]

April 9th, 2012, 2:46 pm


omen said:

there is something weird going on. i tried to pull up a cnn segment from jan 24th where anderson cooper interviewed former cia agent bob baer. mr. baer said he talks to the syrian faction of muslim brotherhood all the time. they questioned him why doesn’t the u.s. do more to help. mr. baer asked in return what the brothers planned to do with bashar assad? the syrian brothers said they would kill him.

but that’s not what the transcript says. (the original video i tried to pull has been “expired” when other videos in a similar timeline are still active.)

cnn jan 24 transcript:

BAER: Absolutely. Well, you know, I talk to the Muslim brotherhood a lot. And I ask — and they ask me. They say why doesn’t the United States do something? And I said, they’re worried about the sectarian problems. And I said for instance, what are you going to do about the — and the Syrian brothers say we’re going to kill them. What do you think? And I said, well, what do you expect?

see the dash in the paragraph? baer said what are you going to do about “assad” in the live segment but in the transcript, bashar’s name got blanked out. i know baer said assad and that the brotherhood would “kill him” because i was skeptical of the claim at the time and tweeted about it.

a few days later, in a separate abc write up, this baer account of promised brotherhood reprisal against a singular figure turns plural:

Baer says the situation in Syria can be illustrated by a conversation he had recently with a Syrian Muslim brother who wanted to know why the U.S. won’t do more to help. Baer told him it was because the U.S. fears a civil war in Syria.

“And he said, ‘Well you know just get rid of the regime and everything will be OK,’ and I said, ‘What are you going to do with the minority ruling sect,’ and he said, half jokingly, ‘We’re going to kill them,’” Baer said.

April 9th, 2012, 3:05 pm


omen said:

also interesting from the abc piece cited above was this admission from bob baer:

“Let me put this very cynically, it’s probably in America’s interest that the current [assad] government subdues a rebellion and a civil war,” Baer said.

It’s not at all like Libya, where most Libyans are Sunni Muslims and getting rid of Muammar Gaddafi didn’t lead to a Sunni-Shia divide.

how many articles have you run across that discuss what is in america’s interest re the syria conflict?

April 9th, 2012, 3:09 pm


omen said:

here is a reuters video report:

UN peacekeepers in Syria see tensions rise in buffer zone

A UN foothold in Syria. United Nations peacekeeping troops patrol a slice of Syrian territory to maintain a ceasefire with Israel. They now face new risks as violence between Syrian government loyalists and rebels comes closer.

describes how fleeing syrians nearby were gunned down by assad military but UN peacekeepers were order to remain in their bunks and not to interfere! by whose orders? ban ki moon or the US?

the refugees were probably running towards the UN base in hopes of finding sanctuary.

both the UN and israel opted not to publicize the killings.

April 9th, 2012, 3:12 pm


Mina said:


Thanks for the Primakov interview. Worth reading. Turkey is falling in the Qatari trap and does not speak of Gaza flotillas anymore.

Or they flipped out that they have legally to take the refugees and let “Hatay” be Syrian again.

April 9th, 2012, 3:40 pm


Mina said:


Did you see a Western media reporting that Turkey does not warrant a refugee status? I have read it only in SC comment, and I believe it is true and from direct sources. But it says all of the darkness of Western media, just as the piece you pointed at.

It looks like the Bahraini activists are now taking lessons from the FSA and Libyans. Just a little more and we’ll get the Palestinians to join the chorus.


(hmm, another case, interesting how the url has nothing to do with the actual article:)
Bahrain: Explosion injures 7 policemen in restive area; UN chief seeks aid for hunger striker

By Associated Press, Updated: Monday, April 9, 9:05 PM

MANAMA, Bahrain — An explosion injured at least seven Bahraini policemen Monday in an area hit by frequent clashes between security forces and anti-government protesters in the Gulf kingdom, officials said.

Although street battles pitting the Sunni monarchy’s security forces against rock- or firebomb-throwing protesters demanding greater rights for the Shiite majority are an everyday occurrence, targeted attacks with guns or bombs are a rarity.

The country’s Interior Ministry said that explosion occurred in Ekar, a mostly rural area south of the capital Manama. At least three of the policemen received critical injuries, it said.

Nearly 50 people have died in Bahrain’s unrest since February 2011.

Bahrain is also facing mounting pressure to accept Denmark’s demand to release a jailed hunger striker who is facing a life sentence for links to the uprising.

At the United Nations, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Bahrain should consider transferring Abdulhadi al-Khawaja — who is also a Danish citizen — for medical treatment in Denmark on humanitarian grounds.

A statement by Bahrain’s government described al-Khawaja’s condition as “stable” after nearly two months on a hunger strike. On Sunday, Bahrain’s top judicial panel rejected a request by Denmark to gain custody of al-Khawaja, who is also a Danish citizen.


Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

April 9th, 2012, 3:47 pm


bronco said:

#63 Omen

If Syria decides to spill the conflicts on the neighbors, it won’t hesitate to encourage unrests on the Syria-Israeli borders as well as on the Syria-Turkey borders.

I am not sure Western countries want to see Islamist extremists or Turkish mercenaries on the border between Syria and Israel.

The neighbors of Syria may pay dearly the confrontations some remote Arab hardliners and the West are encouraging

April 9th, 2012, 3:47 pm


Son of Damascus said:

HRW has compiled some of the recent atrocities being committed by the criminal regime, as well as some of its recommendations.

In Cold Blood

Summary Executions by Syrian Security Forces and Pro-Government Militias


I. Executions in Idlib Governorate
Execution of Fighters in First Defense Line, March 11, 2012
Mass Executions at the Bilal Mosque, March 11, 2012
Executions of Four Residents in Ayn Larouz Village, Mid-March 2012
Execution of Two Opposition Fighters in Kherbet al-Jouz, March 18, 2012
Execution of at Least Seven People in Wadi Bedmaya, December 20, 2012
Other Incidents of Executions in Idlib Governorate
Dabbit Square, Idlib city, March 11, 2012
Kafr Rouma, March 6 or 7, 2012
Ablin, December 15, 2011
Attempted Execution in Taftanaz

II. Executions in Homs Governorate
Mass Execution in Sultaniya, Homs, March 3, 2012
Mass Killing in the `Adwiyya, Karm al-Zaytoun, and Refa`i Neighborhoods, Homs, March 11-12, 2012
Execution of Five Men in Baba Amr, Homs, March 2, 2012

To the UN Security Council
To All Countries
To the Arab League
To Russia and China
To the Syrian Government


April 9th, 2012, 4:09 pm


Son of Damascus said:

Zero Hour doctrine:


(a very interesting read, this is gaining a lot of momentum among many of the activists on the ground)

April 9th, 2012, 4:12 pm


omen said:

mina, i cannot stand all the subterfuge. why can’t governments just lay out all of their cards on the table? we’re going to find out eventually anyways. it’s a sign of corruption when governments try to hide their dealings.

sonofdamascus, so that’s what zero hour is. i kept running across references in twitter.

April 9th, 2012, 4:36 pm


Jad said:

Son of Damascus

Is the Zero hour the same as when the first NATO/turkey missile will hit Syria that will become Iraq/Afghanistan occupied land.

I hope that those ‘rebels’ will enjoy the county they destroy to rule over the people they will kill.

Let me know how the plans go!

April 9th, 2012, 4:38 pm


Son of Damascus said:

160 people were butchered by this regime on the eve of the of the cease fire.

When will this collective madness end, when will the root of this insanity face justice for his and his families hand at the callous bestial barbarity inflicted upon the Syrian people?

I read comments from people blindly following this regime’s rhetoric, commenting about the “virtuous” army of murderers circling the dead like hunters posing around their kill, callously calling out for the “cleanup and disinfection” of Syrian lives as if the murder of people will ever erase the simple desire for freedom.

Generations past were willing to be subdued by fear, this generation will never be subdued for children are growing up learning and witnessing the truth of this heartless regime.

April 9th, 2012, 4:40 pm


Jad said:

I really feel sorry for those naive Syrians who believe that they are the real players not just means for the world’s powers to get to their goals, here we go Radwan Ziadeh talking again one day before the deadline:

[blue diamond + http://www.elnashra.com/news/show/460430/زيادة-التدخل-العسكري-بسوريا-أصبح-الخيار-الوحيد-أما ]

إعتبر مدير مكتب العلاقات الخارجية في المجلس الوطني السوري رضوان زيادة في حديث لقناة “اخبار المستقبل” أن التدخل العسكري في سوريا أصبح الخيار الوحيد امام المجتمع الدولي، لافتاً إلى أن النظام السوري يعتمد نظرية الأرض المحروقة.

وأعتبر أنه “اذا لم يلتزم على النظام السوري بالمهلة التي نصت عليه مبادرة مبعوث الأمم المتحدة والجامعة العربية إلى سوريا كوفي أنان على مجلس الامن اتخاذ اجراءات اضافية”، لكنه تساءل عن الموقف الروسي والصيني في مجلس الامن من هذا الموضوع.

April 9th, 2012, 4:43 pm


Son of Damascus said:


I think you and I read completely different Zero hour Doctrines for the one I linked mentions not a single word about NATO or even hint at a foreign intervention.

While you are so preoccupied with what the opposition may or may not do to Syria, I think you are missing what this criminal regime is doing to Syria.

Not a single person in the opposition has sworn to scorch Syria, while the Assadi army proudly proclaim : ” Al Assad aw Nehrek El Balad” (Assad or we scorch the country).

April 9th, 2012, 4:49 pm


Son of Damascus said:

A residential building was targeted by the regime shells today in Latamna (close to Hama). The building collapsed killing 29 people from the same family, below is a video of the frantic scene of locals trying to dig out the wounded and dead with their bare hands.


(Warning: Assad crimes exposed)

April 9th, 2012, 4:57 pm


omen said:

i didn’t know what mina was referencing so i googled. apparently turkey has an illegal immigration problem outside of, and on top of, syrian refugees:

Omid Perviz, a 29-year-old Afghan immigrant living in Izmir, felt outraged when he found out that one of his relatives died alongside seven others in a house fire in the Sultangazi suburb of Istanbul earlier this month.

According to the Istanbul police, all of the male victims found dead in the Sultangazi incident were Afghans who entered Turkey illegally. “They were not able to escape the fire because the door was locked from outside,” Perviz says, citing news reports.

“This is very dangerous … No one in our country knows that there is almost no way to get legal refugee status in Turkey for Afghans or other Asians,” he says. “There is no guarantee of life and rights for the illegal immigrants here. They will either die from living under the hard circumstances, or be locked into guesthouses where life is worse and no one from outside can visit them.”

Istanbul-based Human Rights Association Chairman Ozturk Turkdogan explained that as one of the three countries that introduced geographical limitations to the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, Turkey doesn’t grant “refugee” status to those coming from countries outside Europe.

p.s. i tried to post the url but i think it was blocking me from posting.

[blue diamond + http://turkey.setimes.com ]

April 9th, 2012, 5:20 pm


jad said:

[blue diamond + URL ]

About our BRAVE and HONORABLE Syrian woman, Rima Dali:

Nizar Sabbagh
ريما …
قد تكون فعلت ما شعرت به واجبا، حقا لها ولسوريا وطنها.
قد تكون بعيدة عن السياسة، وقد تكون العكس.
قد تكون دعوتها بريئة تماما، عفوية، انسانية بالمطلق.
قد تكون خططت بمفردها لما ستفعله، قبل ساعة، ساعات أم يوم ثم نفذّت … لكن الوقائع تدل عن أنها بمفردها.
قد تكون اختارت التوقيت بسبب مظهر، مشهد رأته على شاشات التلفزة، مقال قرأته اوجعها، بكاء ام أو طفلة.
قد لا تكون على اطلاع بما يجري في السياسة إن في اخبارها أو كواليسها أو أبوابها الخلفية.
قد …. وقد….
لكنها فعلت، وطالبت بوقف الدم .
حق لها التعبير عن رأيها، وحق لها استخدام الوسيلة التي تراها مناسبة…
لكن “قد” في اللغة العربية، تحتمل الكثير الكثير،
والأهم … انها تحتمل العكس.
لعينة هي “قد”
اوقفت “ريما”.
ستخرج عما قريب كما اعتقد، بعد سين وجيم .
لكن، لنحاول التساؤل بعض الشيء عمّن اقتطف دعوتها ؟ عمّن عمل ليقوم بتجييرها لمصلحة سياسية، وفي هذا الوقت بالذات الذي تتلاحق فيه “التكتيكات” السياسية.
سوء حظ “ربما” … قد يكون وقد لا يكون، لكن ما حصل قد حصل.
سوء حظ “ربما” … أن الانسانية أصبحت حجة متلاعب بها في السياسة والمصالح .
سوء حظ “ربما” … أن ما يحصل أعاد إلى الذاكرة قصة رفع المصاحف على أسنّة الرماح.
سوء حظ “ربما” … أن الكثير من كلام الحق الذي يقال، يراد منه الباطل.
لعينة هي “قد” .
بالرغم عما حصل، يجب أن تخرج ريما، ليس لأنها فتاة فقط بل لوجود الحق بجانبها كما يضمنه الدستور في التعبير عن رأيها وبخاصة أنها لم تتسبب بخرق حريات الآخرين .
والأهم، لمنع “تجيير” الحدث بحجة الانسانية، كما تم “تجيير” القول لغرض قد يكون بعيدا عن الهدف الحقيقي الذي رمت إليه “ريما” بعملها.
قد تخرج اليوم، وقد تخرج يوم غد.
قد تخرج بعد ساعة، او ساعات، او نصف ساعة.
لعينة هي “قد” .

April 9th, 2012, 5:21 pm


Jad said:

Son of Damascus

I agree, we both have different views and different priorities, we did clear that couple weeks ago, while you concentrate on the small picture forgetting the larger frame, I’m trying to point out the danger that is beyond the frame.

(Not a single person in the opposition has sworn to scorch Syria)

Sure! I guess that you didn’t meet any of the holy opposition members, or you just ignore they even exist.

Could you please think of these questions:

What does occupied Syria mean?
What does Assadi army mean?

Anyway, you keep doing what you think is right and I’ll do the same, one day one of us will see reality.

April 9th, 2012, 5:41 pm


Uzair8 said:

On the fate of the Annan plan.

The regime doesn’t care less.

The opposition and the friends of Syria cannot do much to persuade the regime.

What to look out for here is how Russia reacts to the imminent failure of the Annan plan. Who will Russia blame?


Just heard a news programme on BBC radio 4 in which they covered Syria at length. They looked at where the revolution can go from here and in the end the question was asked which past revolution can the opposition look to for inspiration. One guest suggested the Algerian struggle against French rule.

It should be available to listen to shortly (see link) and I’ll put it up.



April 9th, 2012, 5:55 pm


Mawal95 said:

A comment by a Syrian dissident on the Internet: “We are struggling to end our dictatorship. If Annan comes to Syria just for a cease-fire and to deliver some aid I am sure the protesters will not accept this plan.” I agree: the plan is doomed because most of the Syrian rebels won’t accept it, nor will they accept any other plan that doesn’t involve the capitulation of the government.

The government’s position is that disputes must be decided at the ballot box — and the government’s position is truly as simple as that.

There is no hope of a negotiated solution here because, on the one hand, the government’s unshakeable position is that any solution must begin with whatever’s popular with the people of Syria as expressed in the results of competitive elections; and on the other hand most of the rebels have the unshakeable position that any solution must begin with the unconstitutional downfall of the government (and they refuse to compete against the government in the elections).

Thus the regime must fight the rebels with blazing guns, and the rebels must fight the regime with blazing guns.

The following is a repeat of a handful of quotes from Syrian government spokespeople to demonstrate what is the core of the government’s position.

I’m repeating unabashedly because I see clearly that many anti-government commenters still don’t know it. In these quotes, the term “ballot box” refers the 12 Dec 2011 Local Council Elections, the 26 Feb 2012 Constitutional Referendum, the 7 May 2012 Parliamentary Elections, the 2014 Presidential Election, and subsequent elections.

Those elections are fully free and fair, except that religious and tribal parties banned.

From an interview dated 7 Dec 2011:

Bashar Assad: “The election, the ballot box, this is the only way.”

Barbara Walters: “If you have elections, will they be elections for president?”

Assad: We are going to have first of all the local administration election this month.

Walters: Local administration, but what about the president?

Assad: Yeah, after that, we are going to have the parliamentarian election, which is the most important. Talking about presidential election, it’s going to be in 2014.

Walters: People don’t want to wait that long, till 2014.

Assad: Which people?

Walters: The people who are protesting.

Assad: How much, how many, are they majority or not? — that’s why you need to wait first of all for the parliamentarian elections. These elections will tell you are you going to have majority or minority. Then you can think about presidential election, but not before. Before that you don’t have a clear indication.

….Later In The Interview:

Walters: You are still having protests and now your military is involved and there are armed people on the other side. There is turmoil in your country. But you are saying that in general you have the support of your people?

Assad: Yeah but let’s wait for the elections to be clear.

Walters: But that’s, that’s, this is 2011 we are talking, this can’t go on for two years.

Assad: No, no, I am talking now about these next elections. We are going to have the parliamentary elections.

Walters: And?

Assad: I belong to the Baath Party. We will see what the position of our party is. Because this is an indication. It’s important. It’s not only the person [of president]. You [the president] are part of another party, of another identity.

Walters: Yeah but your party is not going to want to give up power?

Assad: Why give up if the party has the right like any other party to compete and win the elections. But through the election we will find out do we still have support as a party.

Walters: And your parliamentary elections, they will be open enough so that people can vote against the party?

Assad: Of course. Anyone.

Walters: And that would be the end of the Baath Party and you in terms of leadership?

Assad: If the people said no to the Baath Party, if they [the Baath] lost, you can say this is the end.

Walters: Is there an opposition that they can go to?

Assad: We have opposition. But it takes time to have strong opposition. You have so many figures now if they unified themselves and go to the election, you can have one strong election. That depends on the tactic that they are going to adopt. I cannot tell you they are going to be strong or not. I don’t know. And I don’t know about how much support among the people they have. How much support they have among the people I cannot tell you.


In a speech on 10 Jan 2012 Bashar Assad said that since the Parties and Elections Laws were enacted in August 2011 any politician who has an idea should go with it “to the ballot box, which is the voice of law for everything in this country; this is the core of the issue…. When we differ, we go to the ballot box.”


14 Mar 2012: Syria’s foreign ministry spokesman Jihad Maqdisi said Syria seeks a political solution to the crisis. Regarding the form of any proposed political solution, Maqdisi said that a political solution means the ballot box will be the decisive criterion for all. http://www.sana.sy/eng/21/2012/03/14/406166.htm

10 Feb 2012: Syria’s deputy foreign minister Faisal Mikdad said that the ballot boxes are to decide who will lead the Syrian State. (He also said that a national dialog conference among government and opposition is valuable as a process for helping get out of the current crisis, but I say it’s fair to add that any such a dialog must be largely inconsequential because what’s decisive is the results at the ballot boxes). http://www.sana.sy/eng/337/2012/02/10/399591.htm

14 Feb 2012: Syria’s Ambassador to China Imad Moustapha said the Syrian people will decide what they want for Syria through the ballot box in the forthcoming elections. The government and opposition must listen to the people’s demands. This can only take place through free elections, he said. Only when the Syrian people say their word, then we can move forward, he said.

In an interview on 19 Nov 2011 Bashar Assad was asked:

A sector of the community is opposed to the regime. Even if it’s a minority, it exists. Do they not have the right to their say?

Bashar’s answer: “They have the right, but through the elections. We are going to have elections…. We will have a new parliament. After that we’re going to have a new government.

We’re going to have a new Constitution. That Constitution will set the basis for electing a President. The ballot boxes will decide who should be the President.”


April 9th, 2012, 5:57 pm


Tara said:

Let them have their independent creepy state. The do not deserve to be called Syrians.

Amid widening Syria violence, a new war-crimes charge

Syrian refugees say Assad’s soldiers are forcing women and children to march in front of advancing tanks to prevent rebels from opening fire. International law forbids the use of human shields.

By Rolla Scolari, Correspondent / April 9, 2012


In its report, Human Rights Watch said the Syrian regime’s use of human shields “is yet another reason why the UN Security Council should refer Syria to the International Criminal Court.”

April 9th, 2012, 6:04 pm


jad said:

As usual of Helena Cobban, excellent piece:

Tragedies of liberal interventionist thinking in Syria and elsewhere
Posted by Helena Cobban

Where to start? Maybe with this piece by Le Monde Diplo’s Alain Gresh today (or anyway, recently.) In it, he writes:
The opposition cannot bring down the government, and the government cannot put down an uprising that has a surprising determination and courage…
I was writing the exact same thing more than a year ago.
Who listened then? And here we are, one year later. And yes, there is still deadlock.

In the intervening twelve months, there have been several periods when the well-rewarded people sitting in comfy think-tanks in Washington DC, and their allies, were absolutely convinced that Pres. Bashar al-Asad was “just on the point of leaving office.” I recall one phone call three months or so ago with someone who’d recently left Thinktankistan for (equally nicely paid) “service” in the U.S. government when he said, “Yes, we in [this branch of the US government] have all been amazed that Bashar did not do as we thought he would, and take this opportunity to take Asma and the children on a lovely long vacation somewhere.”
But I truly do not understand how liberal universalists in the west, whose views, representations, and analyses of what is happening in Myanmar/Burma in these months are so uniformly calm and supportive of the wrenchingly negotiated transition to greater democracy there absolutely never stop to ask whether a similar process may not also be the best thing for Syria today (as it was for South Africa, 20 years ago.)

Why is Syria’s current government uniquely picked out by these so-called liberals as worthy of their rage, anger, and militarized “intervention” when those other authoritarian regimes, actually, committed far worse abuses against their citizens over the course of many decades?

Why the racism that is deeply embedded in these kinds of judgments?

And yes, “Avaaz”, I am speaking about you, too.
“But really, why should anyone who is not a Syrian claim to have any kind of a right to speak about what should happen in that beleaguered country– now, or at any other point?”
This intense partisanship and Asad-hatred of the liberals in the west have had real conseuqneces, too. Among other things, they have helped strengthen the hand of the really nasty, neoconservative and neo-colonial interventionists within our respective western societies. And they have held out false hopes of significant western-government and western-society support to those among the oppositionists in Syria who have been open to the idea of exploiting western backing (including military backing) for their own gain.

As I tweeted a few weeks back: This has many of the same aspects of tragedy as Hungary 1956 and Basra 1991. Almost criminally irresponsible, I would say.

It’s been hard, sitting on the relative sidelines over recent months, seeing so many of my longstanding warnings go unheeded– regarding Syria, as regarding Palestine, Iraq, U.S. militarism in general, and a number of other issues. But I fought the good (rhetorical) fight here at JWN and in other forums of public discourse, for so many years. Completely, I should note, unpaid by anyone; but that’s okay. Now, I am more in a phase of building up this institution that is my publishing company, Just World Books. It’s a different set of challenges, but also over the long haul extremely worthwhile and, I hope, transformative of the discourse. I am, it should go without saying, really proud of the publishing we’ve done so far, and excited about the projects we have immediately ahead.

(I really appreciate all support JWN readers can give to the publishing house. Check out our list of great titles– and buy profligately from among them!– at the JWB webstore, here.)

So here, anyway is a thought for Easter/Passover. Let’s work for a lot less militarism and lot fewer calls for “liberal interventionism” (which only too often ends up meaning only war), from everyone in the disproportionately powerful west… And let’s have a lot more focusing on how conflicts can be resolved in ways other than escalation and war; in ways, that is, that aim specifically at the de-escalation of tensions, an end to finger-pointing, and the knowingly partisan treatment of claims about each side’s commission of atrocities. Let’s remember that Syria is a complex, sizeable country that is the homeland of its own people. It is not, and should not be turned into, a playground for other countries’ grudge matches and competitions (as happened, only too tragically, to the citizenries of Lebanon and Iraq.) Let’s look at other examples around the world where peoples won expanded rights and empowerment through negotiated transitions. And let’s, honestly, forget all this misguided and misapplied business about outsiders having any pre-ordained “responsibility” or even, heaven forbid, “duty” to intervene.

I’m sorry, Alain Gresh. I don’t mean to take after you in person. I know you’re a smart, sensitive, and concerned analyst. But there was just something about that “we” you used in that article that seemed badly out of place…


April 9th, 2012, 6:18 pm


Uzair8 said:

Kofi Annan should confront junior and seek a face to face explanation for his aboutface.

If the Annan plan fails what remaining cards does the world hold?

Other than sending Muhammed Ali to Damascus, and a final throw of the dice reluctantly requesting an elderly and frail Nelson Mandela to help seek a solution what more can the world do.

Perhaps it is time for Prime Minister Erdogan to don his military uniform. Also if things get worse keep an eye on King Abdullah of Jordan.

April 9th, 2012, 6:20 pm


Uzair8 said:

As mentioned in #77.

The BBC Radio 4 programme is available to listen.

The World Tonight

Listen from 7 min 50 seconds.


April 9th, 2012, 6:25 pm


omen said:

wow, googling trying to find article, ran across a tweet then video that suggests gaddafi was sodomized and castrated before he was executed.

i really don’t know why bashar is sticking around. get out while the getting’s good. dégage!

April 9th, 2012, 6:27 pm


Uzair8 said:

#79 TARA

What a dastardly, cowardly regime.

I wouldn’t be surprised if they dress civilians in army uniform along with an empty weapon, forced to lead the way, in the hope of attracting rebel fire, or tricking the rebels to reveal their positions etc.

It wont save them. No way.

April 9th, 2012, 6:33 pm


Antoine said:

81 UZAIR8 said :

“If the Annan plan fails what remaining cards does the world hold?”

1. Directly ask FSA to surrender, failing which International community gives green light to Assad to go all out to “finish it”.

2. Give green light to KSA and ask Jordan and Turkey to allow thousands upon thousands of infantry weapons and ammunition to flow to Hatay, Iskanderun.

Either way Syria will never be the same again. If first option is taken, more than half of Syria’s population will be permanently alinetaed, destituted, and economy of northern amd central Syria will collapse. Plus no less than 10 million Syrians will be either refugees or internally displaced.

April 9th, 2012, 6:35 pm


Antoine said:

^ Economy of northern and central Syria will not only collapse, it will be destroyed. Food shortage will be a perennial problem throughout Syria. Syria itself will be crippled, though the regime may bring in people from the Coast and from Jazira region to work in Northern Syria’s economy.

basically all the problems that will come through killing of 100,000 ppl and displacement of 10 million.

April 9th, 2012, 6:41 pm


Uzair8 said:


When Algeria had its crisis in the 90’s at least they had oil wealth. Perhaps we can say the same for Iraq (?)

What does Syria have to help the regime see out a lengthy struggle?
Can Iran keep helping financially?

Btw just came across a tweet about Zimbabwe’s Mugabe being seriously ill and security services being on high alert. (55 minutes ago).

April 9th, 2012, 6:54 pm


omen said:

6:18 – jad,

wrong analogy. because of the minority rule that constitutes assad and his thugs, it’s the regime who are acting as colonialists. it’s only a matter of time before the oppressive ruling elite are run over by the majority. see india, see south africa.

you’ve mocked before the pundits’ (as of now) failed predictions of the regime being toppled. allow me to remind you of gandhi’s dictum:

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.

April 9th, 2012, 6:59 pm


Son of Damascus said:

Earlier I posted a video of a residential building that was targeted by the regime shells today in Latmana (close to Hama).

The building collapsed and killed 29 members of the same family, including toddlers and children.

Below is more evidence of the frantic scene where locals are doing their best with their bare hands to dig people out of the rubble.

(Warning: Assad Crimes Exposed)

April 9th, 2012, 7:06 pm


Son of Damascus said:


“What does occupied Syria mean?
What does Assadi army mean?”

Two loaded questions that I am more than happy to answer:

Occupied Syria: Is what is currently happening, the Assad Army is going into Syrian cities and towns bombarding them, killing, torturing, raping, lighting on fire the inhabitants of said towns and cities. All being done by an army once thought by many Syrians as their own Army.

Assadi Army: Is the army and militia being used to try to drown out the voices for freedom with their guns and bombs. The same Army that see’s Assad as Syria, when he is nothing but a traitorous killer out to kill and maim Syrians for his family’s illegitimate throne.

I was once an Assadi, now I am proud to call myself a Souri.

“Sure! I guess that you didn’t meet any of the holy opposition members, or you just ignore they even exist.”

Please provide me with one official from the SNC, LCC, or the FSA that has sworn to burn Syria like the Assadi army has. Until then excuse me if I don’t believe this regime spin…

I am sorry that you feel the death of over 11 thousand people at the hands of the Assadi army as the small picture. You are all worried about the fate of Syria, while forgetting that without Syrians themselves there is nothing to call Syria. It is not our borders or leaders that define us, it is our people.

And as the man tortured, burned, and then butchered said: “I salute the Syrian people”….

“Anyway, you keep doing what you think is right and I’ll do the same, one day one of us will see reality.”

Reality is right in front of us, there are those that accept it and try to change it, and those that try to deflect it, or deny its very existence.

April 9th, 2012, 7:23 pm


ann said:

On Syria SC Diplomat Tells ICP of “Kofi Letter,” Tuesday Briefing, Slams Banning

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, April 9 — The UN Security Council may be briefed Tuesday about Syria, a Security Council Permanent Representative told Inner City Press on Monday night, referring to a “letter from Kofi… we need clarification on the ceasefire deadline.”

This diplomat, contrary to others’ defense of cutting off UN Television coverage on April 5 before Syria could responded to Annan’s and others’ speeches, told Inner City Press that the cut-off was “not the standard process,” and made the UN look bad.

Another Council diplomat, also present, wondered by Inner City Press hadn’t yet in April writing about what he called the “lack of productivity under the US presidency” of the Council. He hearkened back to CNN using the need to “check in with Atlanta” as excuse for cutting off Omar Abdel-Rahman when accused in the (first) World Trade Center bombing, as he mentioned the US’ support for Hosni Mubarak.

Earlier on Monday, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon’s spokesman Martin Nesirky for Ban’s position on Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the country of the President of the General Assembly who determined to cut UN TV on Syria’s defense, funding the salaries of Syrian rebels:

Spokesperson Nesirky: The Secretary-General has wide-ranging contacts, and I would simply remind you that he has said repeatedly, including in his remarks to the General Assembly, that militarization, further militarization of what is happening is really not desirable. Yes, Matthew?

Inner City Press: I wanted to ask, what does he think of this as opposed to militarization the idea of paying the salaries of the Free Syrian Army, which is something that Saudi Arabia and Qatar are now saying at the Friends of Syria meeting that they would begin to provide funds for either the opposition or armed rebels, is that… does that fall into his idea of militarization or is that okay?

Spokesperson Nesirky: I would simply say that militarization is not desirable.



April 9th, 2012, 8:22 pm


mjabali said:


Instead of talking about Mugabe and Zimbabwe, dates or perfume, this article say that hundreds of Pakistani Salafi militants are fighting in Hims, did you have any tweets to confirm or deny this? This article claims that these Pakistanis came from England which constitutes, according to the article, a fertile ground to recruit militant Islamists.


April 9th, 2012, 8:43 pm


Afram said:

Regime strategy worked in Baba Amr they stopped the angry symphony of suicide bombers.

castro was in cuba during the cuban revolution
Yaser Arafat was in beirut during the Israeli seige

where in the world is popcorn kernel riad al-as’ad?
I think riad should be promoted to B.General,his rag-tag fake syrian army did syria great,Not.

April 9th, 2012, 8:45 pm


mjabali said:


Yesterday you quoted Ibn Taymiyah, one of the most violent people in humanity, and today you quote Ghandi how come?

April 9th, 2012, 8:46 pm


zoo said:

After the Istanbul meeting, did the Kurds signed a agreement with the SNC or it is “invalid”?

Syria peace plan is ‘invalid’ as violence spills over Turkish border

Thomas Seibert
Apr 10, 2012


“Turkish government sources and members of the Syrian opposition say the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a rebel group based in northern Iraq and fighting for Kurdish self-rule in Turkey since 1984, has sent militants into Syria with the consent of authorities in Damascus. The PKK’s reported move comes 14 years after Damascus ended the group’s presence in Syria under Turkish pressure.”
“Assad wants to use the PKK against Turkey,” Samir Nashar, a member of the Syrian National Council (SNC), an opposition umbrella group, told The National in Istanbul last week. “It is one of his cards in rising tensions with Turkey.”

Mahmut Osman, the Turkey representative of the SNC, said the Al Assad regime was using the PKK to prevent unrest in parts of Syria’s Kurdish regions in order to free up government forces for operations elsewhere in the country.

“It’s like a sub-contractor,” Mr Osman said. “The PKK is putting pressure on the people so they do not take part in protests. The PKK threatens people and also beats them.”

Oytun Orhan, an analyst at the Centre for Middle Eastern Strategic Studies, a think tank in Ankara, said there was a “tactical cooperation” between the Al Assad regime and the PKK.

April 9th, 2012, 8:47 pm


zoo said:

The USA and KSA sigh of relief while Qatar grumbles: Would Omar Suleiman become a favorite in the Egyptian election?

Former Mubarak spy chief defends Egypt presidential candidacy

Associated Press
Apr 10, 2012

The 75-year-old Suleiman said he has received death threats from “elements” of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups since he announced his candidacy on Friday. “Those who think that these threats will make me change my position or force me to abandon my candidacy for the presidency are deluding themselves,” he said.

April 9th, 2012, 8:53 pm


mjabali said:

Another sectarian outburst:

April 9th, 2012, 8:55 pm


zoo said:

Tunisia post peaceful revolution: Defying ban on demonstrations and calling for the fall of the “Anahda’ regime

Tunis police clash with protesters trying to storm street that was at heart of revolution
Apr 10, 2012
TUNIS // Police clashed with thousands of anti-government protesters who tried to storm Habib Bourguiba Avenue in Tunis yesterday, defying a ban on demonstrations in the area – a focal point of the revolt that ousted Zine Al Abidine Ben Ali over a year ago.
About 2,000 protesters marching from the nearby headquarters of the main labour union, that has been at the forefront of opposition to the Islamist-led government, were met by riot police at the interior ministry on Bourguiba Avenue.

Police beat back protesters with batons and fired tear gas to break up the crowd, chasing stone-throwing demonstrators down side streets in scenes reminiscent of the tactics used during Mr Ben Ali’s 23 years as president, when Tunisia was a police state and freedoms severely restricted.

“The people want the fall of the regime,” protesters chanted, echoing the demand that was coined in Tunisia during last year’s revolution and sparked the Arab Spring uprisings.

“No fear, no terror, the street belongs to the people,” the crowds chanted as they confronted po

April 9th, 2012, 8:59 pm


zoo said:

Turkey land of religious tolerance?

Christian clerics alarmed at growing threats, persecution in Turkey
ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
In the wake of an attack against an Istanbul Protestant Pastor, Christian Clerics in Turkey say they feel alarmed at the accelerating number of such incidents and even hesitate to open their doors to people

Christian clerics in Turkey have expressed their anxiety regarding the growing threats they face in wake of an attack against Pastor Semih Serkek of the Protestant “Lütuf” (“Grace”) Church in Istanbul’s Bahçelievler district on April 7.

“Attacks against Christian clerics drop off for a while, then they begin to re-energize. [Such attacks] have begun to accelerate again in recent days. We hesitate when opening our doors and welcoming the faithful inside,” Pastor Krikor Ağabaloğlu of the Gedikpaşa Armenian Protestant Church in Istanbul told the Hürriyet Daily News.

Attack on Easter

Three unidentified individuals attacked and beat Serkek on the night of April 7, immediately after an Easter service. “They were three people around the age of 18. They wore [prayer caps] on their heads. They forced the door open and said they were going to kill me unless I recited the ‘Kelime-i Şahadet’ [Islamic confession of faith]. I received a severe blow to my chest,” Serkek told the Daily News. The attacks were not coincidental, according to Serkek, who had also served as a mentor to the three victims slain in the Malatya Zirve Publishing House incident in eastern Turkey.


April 9th, 2012, 9:02 pm


Norman said:

He sounds like some people on this Blog,

April 9th, 2012, 9:06 pm


zoo said:

The Kilis killing explanation: opposition groups provoked the deadly incident. The dead syrians were opposition fighters.


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

In the neighboring province of Hatay, police stopped about 300 Syrians when they attempted to march to the border and stage an anti-al-Assad protest.

April 9th, 2012, 9:09 pm


zoo said:

Tariq al-Hashemi continues his tour to Sunni countries to get their support against the Iraq government accusations that he is a criminal.
After KSA, Qatar, Turkey, where is the next stop? Morroco, Libya, Malaysia?

Iraq’s fugitive Sunni VP arrives in Istanbul

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News

April 9th, 2012, 9:19 pm


mjabali said:

The battle for Syria is going to continue strong for a while unless something out of the ordinary happens to change the outcomes and force a settlement. The result is going to be the division of Syria as could be taken out of what everyone is saying and doing. The attitude is very hostile and no way logic could show up.

The death toll is rising from both sides, with the rebels getting frustrated from the results so far. al-Assad is intent to use the strength of his troops and gear.

The outside pressure is mounting, but, what is going to stop the violence? We know that al-Assad is stubborn and the opposition are stubborn too, so who is going to solve this for us?

Turkey want to do something but the consequences are unknown, but for sure it is going to be involving violence. Qatar and Saudi Arabia are going to put in money plus the media support they are offering. Iran and Hizballah support al-Assad but to what extent, I for sure do not believe the lunacy the rebels been saying all along about Iran and Hizballah. To me the opposition discourse regarding Iran and Hizballah borders lunacy and hallucination too. But it is no secret that Iran supports al-Assad. So what is the solution?

April 9th, 2012, 9:25 pm


Norman said:

It is becoming more and more a Shia/ Sunni war,

We complain about people in power getting away with murder and ask that everybody faces the law, then when somebody in power is wanted by the Iraqi judiciary we try to have a way for him not to be prosecuted, Arabs are not ready for an important part of democracy, Independent Judiciary, We will always have nepetism and bribery.

April 9th, 2012, 9:32 pm


Norman said:


If we want to solve the crises in Syria we have to define the objective, if the goal is political reform, the guarantee reform by the Syrian government under international monitoring and a cut off all support for the opposition , on the other hand ,if the goal is to destroy the secular nature of Syria and the Syrian army and Baath party, so they can move and overturn the Iraqi government and then Hezbollah, then we are in for a long war and probably the divission of Syria,

By the way i heard that kidnapping for money reached the Christian areas of wadi al Nasara.

April 9th, 2012, 9:50 pm


Tara said:

Turkey issues stern warning to Syria
Published: April 9, 2012 at 7:51 PM


DAMASCUS, Syria, April 9 (UPI) — Turkey demanded Monday Syria halt shooting at the border after two Turks and four Syrians in a Turkey refugee camp were injured by bullets fired from Syria.

The camp in the town of Kilis is occupied by thousands of people who fled to escape the continuing violence in Syria.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement Syrians who seek shelter in Turkey would receive the country’s “full protection” and said “the necessary measures will be implemented if such incidents [cross-border shootings] are repeated,” the Hurriyet Daily News reported.

The statement called the gunfire a “grave” development.
Security agreements over the past decade allow Turkey to intervene in Syria if the security situation in that country threatens Turkey’s national security. Today’s Zaman said Turkey could invoke the NATO charter, which says an attack on any member would be considered an attack on all members.

The Assad regime allows the Kurdistan Workers’ Party and its affiliates to carry out attacks on Turkish soil and about 1,500-2,000 PKK militants are in Syria near the Turkey border. Thus, Turkey could intervene based on the NATO charter as a “last resort,” Today’s Zaman said.

Annan misread Syria’s pledge to remove troops Tuesday, a regime spokesman declared, saying rebels and their backers must halt first.

“To say that Syria will pull back its forces from towns on April 10 is inaccurate,” the Syrian Foreign Ministry said in a statement Sunday.
Some Syrian activists blamed the former U.N. secretary-general for being gullible enough to believe President Bashar Assad had any intention of compromising.
Video posted on YouTube Sunday purported to show MiG-29 jet fighters flying over Syria’s largest city, Aleppo, as well as military helicopters firing rockets and alleged members of the notorious civilian-clothed shabiha paramilitary gangs in the southwestern city of Daraa, near Jordan, cursing and manhandling the bodies of dead rebels.

None of the information and video about the fighting could be independently confirmed because the Assad regime has severely restricted access to international media.

April 9th, 2012, 9:57 pm


Observer said:

So there are pro regime loyalists that see only a conspiracy against Syria.

It reminds of the declaration by Noureddine Atassi in 1967 when he declared that Israel lost as it failed to topple the regime of the great Baath party.
Therefore, there is this interesting phenomenon where by Syria is defined only in terms of its adherence to the ideology of the Baath; to its so called resistance stance (resistance my foot); and to a Machinean world view of dark against light and a dichotomy of truth and falsehood. This cannot be defended any longer. For people on this blog to quote SANA as source of information is mind boggling. It is as if they have never lived in Syria before where the statistics were manufactured to fit the regime’s declarations. Are they from Mars or from the ex Soviet Union who do not believe that it disappeared forever? Do they think Stalin still lives?

I also notice something quite interesting in the declaration of Maliki that is in support of the regime staying in power in Syria. In this he clearly is showing that he is essentially sectarian in nature. He does not mind the sect to rule Syria hiding behind the pan Arab slogans and mantra of the Baath party while his D’awa party worked feverishly and relentlessly to try to topple the pan Arab Baath regime in Iraq. It so happens that in Iraq the Sunnis and more importantly just like in Syria the Takritis have used the facade of pan Arabism to seize and hold on to power and suppress the others. So when it comes to sectarian power, the Baath is OK by Maliki for it is held by an offshoot of his sectarian world view. In Iraq it is now banned and its members have been persecuted relentlessly.

Therefore this mantra of a conspiracy is exactly the same talk that we have heard by the Saddams and Ghadafis with each bunching together the Salafists with the Zionists and the Imperialists and the MB and the communists. So the regime in Syria paints a picture of a world wide conspiracy in which the invisible hand of the US and others has been able to put together the enemies to the death on the same page and directed them to destroy the regime in Syria.
At the same time we hear the regime supporters make fun of the opposition as people who cannot keep their ranks in order and seem to be disunited and to have already started infighting about the spoils to be had.

You cannot have the cake and eat it too.

Either the opposition is fragmented and disorganized or the US in its great superpower ability has been able to accomplish something far more important than winning WWII, the cold war, coming back after Vietnam, invading Iraq, and even bombing Hiroshima. Being able to put a coalition of Salafist Zionist Imperialist Communist Mercenary rag tag together is the best thing Americans have done since sliced bread and apple pie. Or even perhaps the invention of the wheel or domesticating crops and animals. Wow Obama must be a demi god to have created such a wonderful conspiracy and all of this to topple Fredo.

The US does not give a damn about Syria or who rules it or what position it takes and how many arson fires it starts and whether HA has missiles or not.
So far the 2006 war resulted in Israel losing the battle and winning the war and doubly so for the northern border is quiet and the HA is now another power hungry entity that is willing to sacrifice its principles and its gains for the sake of a slice of the Lebanon that is worth nothing except that it is a way for the few in power to enrich themselves at the expense of the many. So now Israel is basking in the sun watching HA become just another corrupt political movement and its northern border is quiet.
As for Syria, it does not matter anymore. The regime has gutted the garbage dump it calls Syria for more than 40 years and now is in the process of transforming it into a pre eminent failed state.

I am sorry to say that the latest moves by the regime are leaving even those that want to have something to hold on to defending it breathless and speechless at the brutality and ineptitude and mediocrity.

The coming 25 years will see the dismantling of the artificial borders created by the colonials just as Mali is breaking apart and the Sudan has split and Iraq is on its way to three entities with the Kurds asking for more autonomy we will see the end of Jordan and the break up of Saudi Arabia and wars of water and other resources start here and there just as Ethiopia is diverting the Nile Egypt will respond with an invasion and so on and so forth.

This is because the people have not been allowed to have a say in their lives. Autocratic rule is obsolete and dinosaurs are extinct and so will these stupid inconsequential artificial humpty dumpty countries.

Syria Alassad my foot. It is a joke in bad taste, a bloody bad taste.

April 9th, 2012, 9:57 pm


mjabali said:


Yes that man from the FSA sounds like some on this blog. But, the interesting thing is how al-Jazeera aired that sectarian rant. Probably he was live. For al-Jazeera to air something like this without clarifying their position on that sectarian issue is notable.

As for the objectives of any dialogue: the word political reforms are not on the table. No one is buying what the other party is saying. Each insists on their own version and objectives. In my humble opinion, no one is ready to give any concessions. The language is escalating to full on sectarian. al-Assad media talks about Salafis and 3ara3eer, and the other party talks about Iran and al-majus. We have a catastrophic situation here.

About the kidnapping of Christians in Wadi al-Nasara I have no first hand information. But, for sure I can tell you that large parts of rural Syria is very dangerous, where people are getting killed, or kidnapped. The situation is getting really beyond any repair with each sect locked in their area scared from the violence that may come knocking on their door.

The situation is really bad as I can tell from what I read and the videos I see.

April 9th, 2012, 10:07 pm


omen said:

70. Son of Damascus said:

160 people were butchered by this regime on the eve of the of the cease fire.

if you ever wondered why the death toll consistently hovers between a little over or under a 100?

By keeping daily death tolls on average below a few dozen a day, Assad has yet to trip alarms that would garner international intervention.

it’s a slow motion sectarian cleansing.

April 10th, 2012, 12:51 am


Ghufran said:

The attack near the Lebanese borders and the one inside Turkey are not similar even if it turns out that the Syrian army did the shooting in both. In Lebanon, the camera man was probably caught in the cross fire, his tv station is sympathetic to the regime and he died in an area that has been a theatre of frequent gun fire battles, nothing will come out of his tragic death. The incident in Turkey is different, it shows the impatience of Syrian generals and a new level of risk-taking that may not be helpful to both the Syrian and Turkish sides.

If the reports that the Syrian army acted without orders from high commands are true, it indicates a new level of frustration and lack of discipline, but if you believe some Turkish sources, the attack was planned and it aims at sending a message to the Turkish leadership that harboring armed rebels on Turkish territories can not continue forever, the Turks may finally have to back their threats with actions, and please many in the opposition, or back off and risk looking like a paper tiger again, a lot of people believe that Turkey can not afford to back off but the options if Turkey decides to respond are still limited by regional and international obstacles.

Russia seems to be sending mixed messages about the regime’s new tactic of supporting Annan on paper but doing what they want in reality, it looks like Russia is not too upset about the regime’s campaign in north Syria, I personally still believe that the army will not stop until the north becomes unusable militarily for the purpose of establishing a safe zone.

More violence according to a number of observers but the question is for how long and what is the end game?

April 10th, 2012, 12:54 am


omen said:

78. Mawal95 said: The government’s position is that disputes must be decided at the ballot box

live free or dieBOLD!

April 10th, 2012, 12:57 am


omen said:

94. mjabali said: Yesterday you quoted Ibn Taymiyah, one of the most violent people in humanity, and today you quote Ghandi how come?

got to know when to pick the right tool for the right job. there is an array to chose from in the revolutionary’s toolbox.

but just to be clear, i used a non-violent quote yesterday.

April 10th, 2012, 1:10 am


Halabi said:

Here’s an eyewitness account of Ali Shaaban’s death in Lebanon yesterday. http://youtu.be/VQ9mCgQkvlg

The story is different according to the unnamed media source cited by SANA. Who to believe… RIP Ali.

April 10th, 2012, 1:30 am


Shami said:

Halabi ,since the begining of the uprising, New tv used to use the jadian, shahadian, addounia nusayri mukhabarat lies.

The hypocrit tahsin khayat (the owner of new tv) has just discovered yesterday that the syrian regime is killing innocent civilians under false pretexts that his channel used to repercute for months (the cameraman that they killed was their tool).

April 10th, 2012, 1:41 am


Juergen said:

“To say a picture paints a thousand words bears plenty of truth here.

If you were to know that the painting featured in this article depicts a siege in an ancient Syrian city, then reverberating implications would not be lost if one were to make the connection with the ongoing blood battles in present-day Syria.”


April 10th, 2012, 2:27 am


Tara said:

What happen to your conscience?  You were born with one.  What did you do to it?  What kind of hatred you have grown in your heart to not feel the pain?  We are eventually people just like you.  Yes, we are labeled different but we eat, sleep, and feel just like you.  Do you not see the killing?  Do you not see the burning alive?  Do you not see the torture?  Have we fabricated the death of 500 children?  The beating of the elderly?  Do you not see the humiliation?  Do you skip all this and just read about resisting the evil west?  Where are you?   And why (the hell) do I still care?  Am I losing my conscience too?

As Syria killings rise, a plea for world conscience  


Listen carefully to world leaders talk about the violence in Syria and one word keeps coming up: conscience. How many killings of protesters will it take, these leaders ask, to rouse the world’s conscience into action?

Conscience, of course, is individual, not collective. That’s what makes it so inviolable and powerful. But with Syria’s regime defiant toward a UN cease-fire effort and the massacres continuing, something like a mass conscience may now be developing.

A global appeal to conscience was certainly evoked a year ago in the case of Libya. President Obama justified the air attacks on Muammar Qaddafi’s regime as necessary to prevent a massacre that would have “stained the conscience of the world.” The UN Security Council had adopted a unanimous resolution against Mr. Qaddafi in response to cries for safety from Libyans.

This year, the council was also unanimous in backing a cease-fire effort in Syria led by former UN chief Kofi Annan. Achieving that consensus was made possible after Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said that Syria’s “horrific campaign of violence” had “shocked the conscience of the world.” France’s foreign minister, Alain Juppé, was even more direct by appealing to Russia and China to note the “world conscience” and not veto the resolution.

Nations ruled by authoritarian leaders often don’t seem to have much of a conscience. They pursue hard interests, such as Russia’s desire to retain access to a naval port in Syria. China, which claims it has no self-interests in Syria, has at least given $2 million to the International Committee for the Red Cross for humanitarian aid in Syria.

Syria’s neighbor Turkey, for example, has turned sharply against the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Last month, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for “moral intervention” in Syria. “We must ensure our consciences prevail. No other concerns, no other interests must interfere,” he told a Friends of the Syria conference last month.

April 10th, 2012, 7:32 am


Uzair8 said:

92. mjabali

Ajwa Dates

That was initially intended to be for ‘The Walls’ blog in response to a user who mentioned shortage of food and water in Jabal Alzawieh.

I thought it was a good suggestion. When Bab Amr was under siege we heard about food shortages and how some brave people risked their lives to smuggle in bread. Ajwa dates would be easier to move around and store.



It was a decent joke and summed up the Shabeeha well.


Foreign fighters

Syria Truth? Isn’t that a propagandist source? It would be easier for arab volunteers from neighbouring countries to help out against Assad than to need for Pakistani fighters from England.(?)

Anyway what’s that got to do with me? Lol. I’m against extremists.
Anyway I hope you support us when the revolution comes to Pakistan.


Lord of the Rings (LOTR)

Came across a LOTR reference yesterday and nearly shared it here. Glad I didn’t. It would’ve given more ammunition to MJABALI, adding to his list of objections.



Nothing wrong with a brief mention of this breaking story to bring to people’s attention. It isn’t entirely irrelevant either.

April 10th, 2012, 8:05 am


Uzair8 said:

Early on in the uprising we saw people singing and dancing at pro-regime rally concerts while in other parts of Syria, syrians were being slaughtered by regime forces.

I hope that these same people, in a shift in tactic, haven’t been accusing others of being indifferent to the prospect of spilling of more Syrian blood.

April 10th, 2012, 8:13 am


Tara said:


You don’t need permission or approval to say anything you want.

April 10th, 2012, 8:17 am


Uzair8 said:

118 Tara.


You’re right. It’s a sensitive situation so one doesn’t want to be misunderstood or mis-interpreted.

April 10th, 2012, 8:24 am


zoo said:

Syria calls for deployment of int’l monitors
Associated Press

MOSCOW (AP) — Syria’s foreign minister said Tuesday the government has already withdrawn some forces from some Syrian cities and that the U.N.-brokered cease-fire must start simultaneously with the deployment of the international observer mission.

“We have already withdrawn forces and army units from several Syrian provinces,” Walid Muallem said, following talks in Moscow with his Russian counterpart.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says it saw no signs of large-scale troop pullback Tuesday and that most areas of Syria appeared calm. This is a sharp contrast to heavy attacks by Syrian forces on restive towns in recent days.

Russia on Tuesday called on the opposition as well as countries that “influence them” to use their powers to bring about the cease-fire.

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

Lavrov also said after the meeting with Muallem that Syria’s government “could have been more active and decisive” in implementing the peace plan.

April 10th, 2012, 8:42 am


zoo said:

That’s maybe why Turkey does not want the UNHCR to get involved with refugees camps and no journalist is allowed in the camps.

Syrian rebels ‘using Turkish refugee camps as base’
Published: 10 April, 2012, 14:59

The Syrian army’s pursuit of rebels across the Turkish border has shed light on claims of rebel groups using refugee camps as safe havens. Reports suggest the Free Syrian Army could be treating them as springboards to launch incursions into Syria.

RT correspondent Sara Firth interviewed an anonymous source on the Syrian-Turkish border following the incident, who said that members of the Free Syrian Army were operating in the border region.

“They [Syrian rebels] cross the border, then they walk back again. Maybe the Turkish army finds some and takes them back to the camp, others just come by themselves. A lot of these people work with the Free Syrian Army,” he said.

He added that the Turkish government turns a blind eye to their movements and “lets them go back to fight.”

RT also spoke to a member of the Free Syrian Army operating in the area, who told her the opposition wanted to pressure the Turkish government into providing “arms and equipment from NATO.”

According to media reports, Syrian regime troops who were pursuing insurgents after they attacked a military checkpoint opened fire across the border, killing one and injuring several people.

April 10th, 2012, 8:49 am


Uzair8 said:

Just seen an Al Arabiya opinion piece by a familiar face from the UK anti-war movement alongside people like with George Galloway. Anas Altikriti.

History in the making; as written by the youth
By Anas Altikriti

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

[Selected quote]

Among the factors that led to the world-wide audience being captivated by the performance of the Tunisians, Egyptians, Libyans, Yemenis, Syrians and others is that this revolution was a 100% non-political movement in terms of the real actors on the ground. It was purely political of course in its remit, mandate and objectives, but no political party or political grouping could claim ownership or directorship of the movement on the streets. What this presented was a unique opportunity for everyone concerned. Those who had long given up on corrupt, malfunctioning, sub-standard political entities, all of a sudden were presented with an opportunity to induce change themselves. Further, the regimes who once felt that matters had gone out of control and began making unprecedented concessions, found that there wasn’t a particular party or body with whom they could negotiate, offer political gains or even bribe, into stopping the popular movement. If the regimes wanted to talk, they had to talk with the people on the street, and they often had to do so ‘on the street;’ literally.

Most importantly, the youth decided that with this movement, they wouldn’t just topple the corrupt dictatorships, but they would also topple aged myths and counter many lies dispersed for political opportunism. Therefore, despite the streets of many Arab cities and towns being virtually inundated with protestors and out of the establishments’ control, there was no anarchy, no violence, no sectarian clashes, no attacks on churches, synagogues or mosques and no destruction of public property. The youth proved that change and revolution does not have to mean misery, pain and suffering.

Read more:


April 10th, 2012, 9:06 am


Mawal95 said:

@ Khalid Tlass: This is for specially you because I know you’re a strong Sunni in your politics and religion. It’s a political speech today Tuesday to a large gathering of Syrian muftis in Damascus: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=i6o52gRm3hw#t=62s

April 10th, 2012, 10:29 am


zoo said:

In a news conference in Hatay, Turkey, Annan insisted that his plan has not failed and that Syria still had time to comply.

“We still have time between now and the 12th (Thursday) to stop violence,” he said. “I appeal to all, the government in the first place …” to halt fighting. He also said that violence must stop without conditions.

Annan said the U.N. Security Council would take up the issue later Tuesday.

April 10th, 2012, 10:47 am


zoo said:

Syria accuses Turkey of arming militants, helping rebels cross border

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem on Tuesday accused Turkey of undermining the peace plan of UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan by arming Syria’s rebels and helping them cross the border.

“Turkey… supports illegal Syrian militant groups, supplies them with weapons… and lets them illegally cross into Syria,” Muallem said in a press conference with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov. “How can we (fulfill the plan) if there are still illegal arm deliveries and moving of militants from Turkey?”


April 10th, 2012, 10:51 am


jad said:

We can add this to the list of the ‘revo’ achievements:

تاريخ سوريا يندثر.. التدمير والنهب يأتيان على الآثار المتبقية

المتاحف ومواقع الحفريات في المناطق الساخنة تتعرض لـ’نهب منظم’، وخبراء الاثار يقرعون جرس الانذار.

ميدل ايست أونلاين

الآثار آخر ‘ضحايا’ الثورة السورية..

بيروت – يحذر خبراء الاثار من مخاطر التدمير والنهب المحدقة بالكنوز الاثرية في سوريا، بما فيها اثار مدينة تدمر والاثار اليونانية والرومانية في افاميا، بسبب الاضطرابات التي تشهدها البلاد منذ اندلاع الحركة الاحتجاجية فيها قبل اكثر من عام.

واكثر الاثار تعرضا للخطر، هي تلك الواقعة في مناطق ساخنة خرجت من سيطرة القوات النظامية، ونشطت فيها حركة سرقة القطع الاثرية من المتاحف ومواقع الحفريات.

وتقول مديرة المتاحف في سوريا هبة الساخل “في الاشهر الثلاثة او الاربعة المنصرمة، سجلت الكثير من عمليات النهب”.
(وتختم هبة الساخل “هذا التراث ليس ملكا لا لحكومة ولا لرئيس، انه ملك لكل السوريين، وملك ايضا للبشرية جمعاء، فلا يجب ان يتعرض للتدمير حتى وان كان البعض يطالب بالحرية”)


April 10th, 2012, 11:20 am


jad said:

المعلّم: بدء سحب القوات من بعض المحافظات

بالتزامن مع زيارة المبعوث الخاص للأمم المتحدة والجامعة العربية إلى سوريا، كوفي أنان، لتركيا اليوم لتفقد اللاجئين السوريين، أكد وزير الخارجية السوري، وليد المعلم، أن سلطات بلاده سحبت قواتها من بعض المحافظات السورية، فيما رأى وزير الخارجية الروسي، سيرغي لافروف، أن بإمكان دمشق بذل المزيد من أجل تطبيق خطة أنان.

أكد وزير الخارجية السوري، وليد المعلم، أن سلطات بلاده سحبت قواتها من بعض المحافظات السورية، مشدداً على أن سوريا ستواصل خطوات حسن النية تجاه مبعوث الأمم المتحدة وجامعة الدول العربية، كوفي أنان، فيما رأى وزير الخارجية الروسية سيرغي لافروف أن بإمكان دمشق بذل المزيد من أجل تطبيق خطة أنان.

ونقلت وسائل إعلام روسية عن المعلّم قوله في مؤتمر صحافي مشترك مع لافروف في موسكو، اليوم، أن دمشق «ستواصل خطوات حسن النية تجاه أنان، وستبذل كل جهد لإنجاح محادثات مع وفده الفني للوصول إلى بروتوكول»، معرباً عن أمل بلاده «في التمكّن من تشكيل فريق للمراقبين توافق سوريا على الدول الممثلة به»، ومشيراً إلى ترحيب دمشق «سلفاً بالمراقبين الروس».

بدوره، قال وزير الخارجية الروسي، سيرغي لافروف، إن السلطات السورية أعلمت الجانب الروسي بشأن شروعها في تنفيذ خطة أنان في ما يخص وقف إطلاق النار، مضيفاً إنه «تباحثنا مع الوزير المعلم بشأن تنفيذ هذه الخطة. ونشير إلى أن القيادة السورية أكدت لنا تمسكها بجميع التزاماتها، وأوردت معلومات عن بدء تنفيذ بنود الخطة الخاصة في ما يتعلق بوجود الجيش والعتاد العسكري الثقيل في المدن».

وعن تقويمه لعمل السلطات السورية على تنفيذ خطة أنان لإيجاد حل سلمي للأزمة السورية، أوضح لافروف أنه «أعربنا للزملاء السوريين عن تقويمنا للوضع. ونرى أن من الممكن أن تكون أعمالهم أكثر فعالية وأكثر حزماً لتنفيذ البنود المناسبة للخطة».

Syrian govt: ‘We have begun troop withdrawal’

The Syrian foreign minister says the Assad regime has withdrawn troops from several provinces. The president has until the end of Tuesday to pull out all forces ahead of a planned ceasefire between the conflicting sides.
“We have already withdrawn some military forces from several Syrian provinces,” declared Walid al-Moualem, following a meeting with Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow.

He also says some of the government’s forces has pulled out from Homs, as the Russian Foreign Ministry cites him.
The Syrian FM demanded a guarantee from UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan that opposition forces would stand down and that a deployment of international monitors would coincide with the ceasefire.

Lavrov for his part said that he was convinced of the Syrian leadership’s commitment to the UN-brokered peace plan. He also called on Kofi Annan and the global powers to try bring the Syrian opposition to their senses:

“The US and other countries which have influence over the Syrian opposition had better stop pointing the finger at China and Russia all the time, but rather use their leverage to convince everyone to stop shooting,” he said.
President Assad has until midnight Syrian time (21:00 GMT) to implement a full troop withdrawal. This will pave the way for Thursday’s planned ceasefire.

Meanwhile, the Syrian opposition leadership has voiced their commitment to the ceasefire, reports Al-Arabiya. But if the government’s forces fail to withdraw by Thursday, the rebels will resume fighting and will want Kofi Annan to take the crisis to the UN Security Council, the activists said on Tuesday.

April 10th, 2012, 11:27 am


Juergen said:

CNN’s Becky Anderson talks to British Ambassador to Syria Simon Collis about the policy goal in Syria.


April 10th, 2012, 11:32 am


jad said:

Stealing weapons from the Lebanese army and selling them to the armed militias in Syria:

سرقة أسلحة من الجيش اللبناني لبيعها إلــى المعارضة السورية

حسن عليق

في النشرة التوجيهية التي أصدرتها قيادة الجيش للعسكريين في التاسع من آذار الماضي، حذّرت القيادة بلهجة غير معهودة من اختراق المؤسسة العسكرية. ما هي إلا أيام قليلة، حتى بان سبب هذه اللهجة: شبكة وصِفَت بالسلفية، وبأنها تابعة لكتائب عبد الله عزام، كانت تسعى لتجنيد عسكريين في الجيش، بهدف تفجير بعض ثُكَنه. وبعيداً عن الدور الذي أداه العسكريان اللذان استهدفتهما الكتائب بالتجنيد، وبغض النظر عمّا إذا كانا فعلاً قد تورّطا مع من كان يتصل بهما، فإنه لا أحد من الأمنيين الجديين ينكر وجود حالة كانت تسعى لاختراق الجيش. وبعد إماطة اللثام عن «الشبكة التكفيرية»، اكتشفت المؤسسة العسكرية اختراقاً من نوع آخر كان كامناً في داخلها: عسكريون يسرقون أسلحة أميرية، ويبيعونها إلى تجّار سلاح ينقلونها بدورهم إلى مناطق في بيروت، وفي الشمال، ومنها إلى سوريا. وهناك، يستفيد منها رجال الجيش السوري الحر. حتى يوم أمس، كان المعنيون في المؤسسة العسكرية يتكتّمون على ما يجري، لكن البحث يؤدي إلى تأكيد عدد من الوقائع، أبرزها الآتي:

أوقفت مديرية استخبارات الجيش رتيباً يعمل أمين مستودع في واحدة من كتائب اللواء الثامن. والعسكري الموقوف يُدعى خ. ح، من بلدة عرسال البقاعية. وجرى توقيفه بعد الاشتباه في سرقته عدداً كبيراً من الأسلحة والذخائر من مستودع الكتيبة، ثم بيعها. كذلك أوقفت الاستخبارات رتيباً آخر من الكتيبة ذاتها، للاشتباه في كونه تستّر على زميله في العملية ذاتها.

ويتداول أمنيون على نطاق واسع في أن تحقيقات الجيش أفضت إلى الاشتباه في عسكري آخر في اللواء اللوجستي. لكن المسروق من «اللوجستي» ليس من العتاد الأميري، بل من الأسلحة والذخائر التي تصادرها القطعات العسكرية من المطلوبين والمطاردين ومن مطلقي النار، أو ممن يحملون أسلحة من دون ترخيص.

وبيّنت التحقيقات أن البنادق الرشاشة المسروقة من مستودع الجيش يفوق عددها تسعين بندقية، إضافة إلى كمية كبيرة من الذخائر. وبناءً على التحقيقات التي أجريت، أوقفت استخبارات الجيش أكثر من عشرة أشخاص، في البقاع وفي منطقة الطريق الجديدة، إذ تبيّن أن مجموعة كبيرة من الأشخاص يشترون الأسلحة الأميرية، وتلك التي في عهدة الجيش، ثم ينقلونها إلى منطقة البقاع، حيث يجري تهريبها إلى الداخل السوري لتصبح في حوزة مسلّحي المعارضة السورية.

April 10th, 2012, 11:44 am


NASA said:

107. Observer said:
“So there are pro regime loyalists that see only a conspiracy against Syria.”

It is an opinion worth to read, but:

* Why we keep comparing w/past & other countries/ leaders? similarities could touch base to some elements but not all.

* Majority of Syrian disagree on the comparison between Saddam or Qadhafi with President Bashar.

* If you can’t see conspiracy; you must be blind or you prefer Syria as follower to the best interest of others; similar to most Arabic leaders .. in the name of freedom.

* Syrian people only can cook their own cake as on what could suite them. They can eat it too …. Not others poison cooking!!!

* It doesn’t have to be an Autocratic rule … yes Syria needs to change, has to change, but not thru this ugly, western, Ethnic, killing and chaotic way.

* Whom do you expect to role? or in which way the country is heading if you think the oppositions and/ or SC are heading the right direction since one year till date?

* It is not accurate to say that US Gov. don’t care on who is ruling Syria and in which way… as long as the M.E. is full of oil and Israel has not accomplished all submissions from neighboring countries in addition to world economic cake share struggle with the east, diffidently US Gov. cares and it is on top priority of its’ foreign affairs.


April 10th, 2012, 11:55 am


Jad said:

The first attack of the armed militias of fsa in this area, slaughtering 18 policemen while sleeping.
The Syrian Kurds are furious that the armed gangs are ‘working’ in their region, that will affect the non-violent movement they’ve been conducting from the start and the agreement they had with fsa not to come to their areas.

عصابات “الجيش الحر” تقترف مجزرة بحق عناصر مخفر شرطة “مركدة” في الحسكة وتذبح 18 شرطيا وهم نيام

الحسكة ، الحقيقة ( خاص) : اقترفت عصابات “الجيش السوري الحر” الأصولية مجزرة مروعة الليلة الماضية في مخفر شرطة بلدة “مركدة” بمحافظة الحسكة (شمال شرق سوريا) أسفرت عن استشهاد 18 شرطيا وجرح شرطي واحد. وعلمت “الحقيقة” من نشطاء محليين في ” تنسيقية الحسكة” أن بضع عشرات من مسلحي العصابات المذكورة هاجموا مخفر البلدة ، وهو مخفر للشرطة المدنية، وقتلت 18 من عناصر الشرطة بينما كان معظمهم نياما في المفرزة ، قبل أن يمثلوا وينكلوا بجثثهم بطريقة وحشية ويسرقوا الأسلحة الفردية في المخفر ويفروا من المنطقة . وقالت هذه المصادر إن جميع الشرطة الشهداء هم من مدينة ديرالزور باستثناء واحد من محافظة اللاذقية.

يشار إلى أن بلدة”مركدة” تقع في منتصف الطريق تقريبا بين الحسكة ودير الزور ، لكنها تتبع إداريا لمحافظة الحسكة. وهذه أول عملية إجرامية من نوعها في المنطقة منذ بداية الأحداث في سوريا قبل أكثر من عام من اليوم.


April 10th, 2012, 12:14 pm


zoo said:

Was Turkey rebuffed by the Chinese and now sulking, or over-reacting to Syria’s tit-for-tat border violations?

Turkey’s Davutoğlu cuts short China trip over Syria crisis

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu will cut short an official trip to China and fly home today after Syrian forces fired shots into a refugee camp across the border, a report said.

Davutoğlu, who was accompanying Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, will not join the Shanghai leg of the trip and instead return to Turkey later in the day, reported the Anatolia news agency.

Erdogan said he did not agree with those who said Turkey was being singled out, with China, Russia and Iran refusing to act against the Syrian regime.

“The world does not consist of those three countries alone,” Erdoğan said, adding that China’s perception of the incidents in Syria had changed since violence erupted in the country, and Russia was becoming more inclined to cooperate to end civilian deaths.

April 10th, 2012, 12:15 pm


zoo said:

Is Turkey trying to rally its public opinion to the possibility of an invasion of Syria?

Adana agreement paves legal path for Turkish intervention in Syria


Using the provisions of the Adana agreement, signed between Turkey and Syria on Oct. 20, 1998, Turkey has the ability to classify the violent crackdown on the opposition by the Bashar al-Assad government and the ensuing refugee crisis as a threat to the “security and stability of Turkey.”

Article 1 of the Adana agreement states that “Syria, on the basis of the principle of reciprocity, will not permit any activity that emanates from its territory aimed at jeopardizing the security and stability of Turkey.” The bloody crackdown on the opposition that has entered its second year has destabilized the country, with over 1 million Syrians internally displaced and nearly 25,000 Syrian refugees having fled to Turkey.

April 10th, 2012, 12:23 pm


bronco said:

#131 Jad

The prospect of Turkey invading Syria is already disturbing greatly the Kurds. I will not be surprised that, after these abuses by the FSA, the major Kurds political organizations will make a clear statement of support to the Syrian government and a clear opposition to any Turkish military intervention.

April 10th, 2012, 12:28 pm


zoo said:

Post-revolution Yemen

More than 120 killed in 2 days of clashes in southern Yemen

Clashes overnight between Al-Qaeda-linked militants and the Yemeni military in the south have killed 63 people, army officials said on Tuesday. This brings the two-day death toll to 127. The fighting broke out in the town of Lawder in Abyan province early Monday and spilled over into Tuesday. The military say 56 militants, four soldiers and three tribal fighters were killed overnight and early on Tuesday, AP reports.

April 10th, 2012, 12:35 pm


Hopeful said:

Re: NASA # 130

I have lived in the US for almost 25 years now and I find its behavior to be very predictable:

The Gulf countries, Israel, and Turkey are friends of the US, so if you cross them, you are subject to the US’s wrath; UNLESS it is election year, in which case the administration does not give a damn about foreign affairs and will not help its friends unless the circumstances are truly dire. This is more true this year than it has ever been as the US economy continues to struggle, unemployment is at record high, and the US politics is more partisan than ever.

This means that unless 1) the regime and the opposition figure out a way out of this mess; 2) the regime figures out a way to crush the rebels; or 3) Turkey finds the guts to intervene strongly against the regime, the current situation may continue until after the US elections in November.

April 10th, 2012, 12:59 pm


zoo said:

Iran Exploits American Paralysis in the Mideast
By George Friedman, April 10, 2012
Syria’s Importance to Iran

As we have written, if the Syrian regime survives, this in part would be due to Iranian support. Isolated from the rest of the world, Syria would become dependent on Iran. If that were to happen, an Iranian sphere of influence would stretch from western Afghanistan to Beirut. This in turn would fundamentally shift the balance of power in the Middle East, fulfilling Iran’s dream of becoming a dominant regional power in the Persian Gulf and beyond. This was the shah’s and the ayatollah’s dream. And this is why the United States is currently obsessing over Syria.

What would such a sphere of influence give the Iranians? Three things. First, it would force the global power, the United States, to abandon ideas of destroying Iran, as the breadth of its influence would produce dangerously unpredictable results. Second, it would legitimize the regime inside Iran and in the region beyond any legitimacy it currently has. Third, with proxies along Saudi Arabia’s northern border in Iraq and Shia along the western coast of the Persian Gulf, Iran could force shifts in the financial distribution of revenues from oil. Faced with regime preservation, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states would have to be flexible on Iranian demands, to say the least. Diverting that money to Iran would strengthen it greatly.

April 10th, 2012, 1:00 pm


Observer said:

Let me clarify

Have a cake and eat it too as aphorism about someone wanting to have both sides of the argument on his side.

The leadership in Syria used the Baath party with its original lofty ideals to create a single party rule. In contrast to the father who understood the various components of Syrian society and the need for a minimum of plurality the current regime gutted the Baath and used it only as a facade to rule with about 20 core personalities in charge.

Likewise the Baath party hegemony over life in Syria enshrined in the constitution permitted for loyalists to fill in the posts and allowed only for certain sects and clans to advance their lot at the expense of the many. It is the same tactic used by the Takritis in Iraq to consolidate power and to deny any venue for an alternative political discourse.

Since this is a sectarian based political system and everyone is ignoring this elephant in the room we see sectarian lines being drawn across the region with Maliki in Iraq supporting Syria’s Baath party its archenemy simply because in Syria it is the vehicle for one sect to rule over the others.

The uprising in Syria was genuine and local and peaceful and legitimate and asked for redress of major issues and problems. It asked for an end to the one way extractive type of economic reforms that resulted in the immense wealth in the few who were busy essentially acquiring state institutions such as the phone service and soon the electricity to continue to suck the blood of the majority of the people WITHOUT putting any investment back into the country.
This led after the drought in the NE to mass migration to all places in Deraa and that is why the situation exploded there.

It is good to remind people that the recruits to the Baath party in the 70’s were from Deraa as the VP is one; from Deir, the villages around Damascus; the villages around Hama that never helped when they were crushed in 82; Idlib province and so on and so forth. This revolt started from the very base of the old regime and that is why the regime does not seem to understand the extent and dimensions of this revolt. The people have nothing to lose and everything to gain from this revolt.

The opposition made up of intellectuals in exile was just like the Egyptian MB caught napping with the Arab revolt. They are and still are behind the events on the ground and these are now taking a life of their own.

The regime also just as it used the Baath party to shield its naked grab of power has also taken a few minorities hostage as the prospect of its defeat seems to spell disaster for them; not least of whom are the Alawi who are being used unfortunately as cannon fodder. Some are truly still angry at the oppression they received in the 19th century and the memory of bad times outlasts by far the memory of good times. They see that it is that it is only fair that they are in power to compensate for the losses they suffered. This is the same psyche as that of the Israelis who show no mercy towards the Palestinians even though it was the Nazis that massacred them. It is a state of mind of such deep wounds that one is blinded to the suffering of others.

Now there is no conspiracy that was hatched somewhere and ignited by Hamza Alkhatib the 13 year old tortured to death to try to topple the regime. It was kids writing on the wall slogans that they saw on TV. I am not even sure that it was a political movement.

But the regime in its complete ineptitude and brutality created the revolution by using violence from the outset. Atif Najib humiliated and degraded the elders of Deraa who asked for the release of their sons. Likewise it refused to work with any of the outside powers that were friendly to it and wanted it to lead the reforms and bring a solution to the crisis; however, like the teenager that would like to cut his nose to spite his face the regime opted to “screw” the others. Now Russia is trying to bring the clock back and save the teenager from his reckless behavior.

If it is a foreign conspiracy it is monumental on the part of the US to have been able to get Syrians to agree on it. If it is a conspiracy then the regime has taken more than a year and continues to have it grow rather than decrease. If it is a bunch of inept coffee drinkers in Europe then there is no threat to the regime from that side and the internal opposition is real and genuine.

It is the stupidity and brutality of the regime that is fueling the cisis. It is neither Salafi MB lunatics who are out to impose Sharia nor Western backed mercenaries nor Zionists aiming to destroy the resistance. Wake up and smell the roses, the resistance has been emptied of its meaning with a 6 year period of complete quiet on the Northern Border of Israel.

Heck even Russia is finding it difficult to support such stupidity.

Did the CIA create the 13 century old Shia Sunni divide? Did MI6 cause the exodus of Armenians from Turkey? Did Mossad cause the gasing of Halabja by Saddam? Did Skull and Bones create the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq? Did Carter cause Khomeini to topple the Shah? Did Bryzinski revive the Muslim awakening to destroy and surround the Soviet Union and Russia? Did they do all of that with troops and people from Mars or Venus?

Anything that is happening to us is because of us. There may be regional influences and back door deals and under the table understandings but in the end we are responsible for the type of governing institutions we have. If they are strong and responsive and inclusive and prosperous we will be independent and cooperative and prosperous and innovative and if not we will be ruled by Fredo, Mugabe, Kim Jong, Stalin, Ghadafi, Saddam, Abdallah, etc…….

April 10th, 2012, 1:53 pm


Observer said:

By the way I have checked daily Sana for the following information

Syrian Air flights: only 5 per day outside of the country and a total of only 9 with the other four to local internal cities.

Also the price of the dollar to the pound has stayed the same for more than 2 weeks around 60.

Draw your own conclusions.

April 10th, 2012, 2:12 pm


Mawal95 said:

Here’s how I understand yesterday’s incident at the Syrian-Turkish border in Turkey’s Kilis province, based on the Turkish sources at



A camp for refugees from Syria is located right on the border in Kilis. It is close to a border transit post named Öncüpınar in Turkish. The Kilis security authorities say that Syrian opposition fighters attacked the Syrian side of the Öncüpınar border transit post at 3:00 a.m. on Monday 9 Apr 2012 and that some people from the refugee camp crossed the border to the Syrian side to help the fighters. More clashes took place at this border post later the same day. The Governor of Kilis province, Yusuf Odabaş, said twenty-one Syrian opposition fighters who were wounded in the clashes managed to cross into Turkey. Their injuries were from bullets received when they were in clashes on the Syrian side of the border. Three died in hospital and another two are in critical condition, governor Odabaş said.

As part of the fighting, Syrian troops continued to fire as they pursued the fleeing opposition fighters who were escaping to the Kilis camp across the border. This sent bullets whizzing across the border line at the Kilis camp. Four or five Syrians may have been wounded on Turkish soil. In the Kilis camp, Turkish police officer Ali Kaplan and translator Sevgi Topal were slightly injured — but were not shot, I gather. Turkish security forces in no way intervened or used arms, he said.

Crossings from Turkey to Syria were suspended as a security measure on Monday but the border post was reopened for business today Tuesday.

In a written statement of concern about the incident, the Turkish foreign ministry said all Syrians who take refuge in Turkey were under Turkey’s “full protection” and warned that “the necessary measures will be implemented if such incidents are repeated.” The statement condemned the incident as a “grave” development. “The Syrian administration must stop violence against civilians as soon as possible and the international community should take immediate action to secure that,” the Turkish foreign ministry statement said.

According to a Syrian rebel source, six Syrian soliders were killed in the attack.

It is illegal under Turkish law for arms or armed men to pass from Turkey into Syria.

PS:A commenter somewhere on the Internet said: “The Syrian rebels are too committed to regime change to give up now. If you have a cease-fire where they say “we’re no longer going to engage in violence against the regime”, then what was the point of starting the rebellion in the first place?” The only realistic thing that can subdue the rebellion is the “iron fist” of the Syrian army.

April 10th, 2012, 2:28 pm


jad said:

If anyone of you Syrians is looking for a very well paid business, JOIN the oppositions…10000 Euro for the average member and 15000 Euro for the ‘chosen’ ones and of course much more for the ‘leaders’, no words of where the money is coming from or how much the same leaders will get if they become employers of the Democratic Syrian Government….

I think it’s time for me to resign and work for the opposition:

“عضو المكتب التنفيذي يستلم شهريا مبلغا وقدره خمسة عشرة يورو عدا ونقدا
وبزيادة عما يستلمه الاعضاء الحاليين وهو عشرة آلاف يورو بخمسة آلاف ولكن طبعا الزيادة ستعم الجميع فالعشرين سوف يتسلمون من المجلس المعطوب وباشراف مدير الكتب السيد نذير الحكيم خمسة عشر ألف يورو…يورو ينطح يورو…..!!!!!! طبعا هذا بالإضافة الى اي مصروف للسفر أو للفنادق…الخ…الخ…الخ”

فضيحة مجلجلة: الصفقة التي وافقت عليها لجنة الحوارمع المجلس الوطني السوري
by Ashraf Almoukdad

April 10th, 2012, 2:40 pm


Mawal95 said:

In the last two days 58 Syrian soliders and policemen were buried. That is the second-highest two-day total since the rebellion began. (The highest was on 11 + 12 February). 24 of the martyrs were conscripts. http://www.sana.sy/eng/337/2012/04/9/411527.htm , http://www.sana.sy/eng/337/2012/04/10/411741.htm

April 10th, 2012, 2:43 pm


jad said:

Here is a clip of the incident from inside the camp, the refugee captured the Turkish police reaction…they did hide in the corner while Syrians are walking around

انظروا ماذا حل بالدجاج التركي بعد سماعه رصاص الاسود

Bronco, Zoo,

I think Turkey is planning for an aggression act against Syria in the coming days.

“بدو أنقرة على سباق مع الوقت من أجل التدخل عسكرياً في الشأن السوري، فقد نشرت صحيفة “ميللييت” التركية أمس معلومات، نقلاً عن مصادر مطلعة مدنية وعسكرية، تفيد أن تركيا تخلت عن اشتراطها قراراً من مجلس الأمن الدولي للتدخل العسكري في سوريا.”

“ميللييت”: تدخل تركيا في سوريا ممكن من دون تفويض دولي


April 10th, 2012, 2:56 pm


jad said:


For some, the Syrian Soldiers casualties doesn’t count, they were killed by ‘flowers’ since rebels are pure, heroes and angels they are unable to hurt anything……besides, Sana is also not worth reading, it’s all lies and propaganda, nothing is real but khalyjeh and the rest of the ‘honest’, ‘brave’ and ‘professional’ western media outlet.

Syria – Daraa Revolution was Armed

April 10th, 2012, 3:02 pm


Mawal95 said:

The British ambassador to Damascus is in an alternate universe that is spherically parallel to Joshua Landis’s. He says: “This is a regime that has become quite fragile. Its support has eroded from the inside.” His offered evidence is one solitary traitor who worked for the Oil Ministry. (Linked to at #129 Juergen)

April 10th, 2012, 3:17 pm


omen said:

i beg to differ, mawal. if this regime had any confidence, it wouldn’t be so desperately demolishing syria.

April 10th, 2012, 3:25 pm


omen said:

remember riverbend? last she was heard from, she had arrived in syria.

April 10th, 2012, 3:53 pm


omen said:

from aje:

Fighting back against Assad’s forces

The day before I arrived, activists told me several tanks had been blown up by the FSA using anti-tank missiles. Such weapons are their only hope for survival at the minute…

i hadn’t heard of this before, but then i remembered seeing video, a few weeks ago, of a tank that the rebels had captured and destroyed.

The area can survive the onslaught of tank shells from afar, but if Assad decides on an aerial bombardment, the resistance will be destroyed, he told me.

Such stories across the country are common. Both sides of this conflict know that if one wins, the other will not survive.

what is the “other”? the regime or innocent alawites?

i’m not naive. i know there will be inevitable incidents of counter reprisal. but to what extent?

i had wondered at the time if rebels blowing up the tank was a big mistake. imagine how it could be used to target security/police offices.

but then i wondered…the rebels blowing up tank when it’s such a valuable piece of equipment as a means of survival…were they sending a message that’s saying they aren’t going to be as hellbent in being as bloodthirsty as the regime when it comes to collective punishment?

p.s. the regime deserves to get whatever is coming to them.

April 10th, 2012, 4:13 pm


Tara said:

The US isn’t in a mood for anything except weak rhetoric here and there.  Is Turkey going to do anything alone?  The Turkish public opinion seems to be half way through.  It may take a massacre or two to get them there.  

Turkey warns Syria over border
Tuesday 10 April 2012 

Violence in Syria threatened to escalate into a regional war on Tuesday as Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the country of violating its border.

Mr Erdogan told reporters in Beijing, where he is visiting Chinese leaders, that Turkey was considering how to respond, including “measures we don’t want to think about.”

Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay added that the UN security council should “intervene” if the violence continued.

This has increased fears of a Western-led Libya-style campaign which could dismember the country.

US ambassador to the UN Susan Rice said she still hoped for a negotiated solution to the bloodshed but was “not particularly optimistic.”

Russia and China reiterated pleas for all sides to stop fighting.

Syrian troops are believed to have fired on a Turkish refugee camp for Syrians who have fled the escalating violence in the country, killing two, after armed rebels apparently retreated to it on Monday.

On the same day the Syrian army fired across the Lebanese border, killing a journalist. The motivation for that attack is unclear.

Lebanese security officials said that television cameraman Ali Shaaban was “shot through the chest as he sat in a car.”

Mr Shaaban is the ninth journalist to have been killed whilst covering the armed uprising in Syria.

The Committee to Protect Journalists said on Tuesday that the country is now the most dangerous in the world to be a journalist.

The self-styled Syrian National Council – an assembly of exiles which hopes to install itself as a government to replace President Bashar al-Assad despite its weak links to rebels on the ground – said on Tuesday that despite promises of a ceasefire “1,000 people have been killed by government forces in the last eight days.”

April 10th, 2012, 5:01 pm


bronco said:

#144 Jad

In the Killis incident, the international media skipped the attack by the FSA and the ‘peaceful and unarmed’ refugees on the Syrian border outpost. The media as well as the “friends of Syria’ want Annan’s plan to fail so they can come back with their old song of ‘regime change’ through military intervention.

I doubt Russia and China will yield. I think they will push Annan to bring up the issues to the UNSC on Tursday at the planned UNSC meeting. The refusal of the opposition to formally accept the peace plan as well as the financial support by the hysterical KSA and Qatar to armed rebellion or pay rebels are in total breach of the UN supported Annan plan.

Annan may try to push the UN statement to become a UNSC binding resolution so all countries will be obliged to comply.

Turkey is certainly adamant to prevent this from happening, as a binding UNSC resolution will ensure that Bashar remain in power and would be the ultimate humiliation for Erdogan.

Therefore it is quite possible that Turkey will try to create a new event that would complicate Annan’s strategy.
Yet the time until Thursday is short and Annan may be able to corner the UN to vote for a UNSC resolution based on the UN statement very soon.

Time is running out for Erdogan, so he may do play ba dangerous card immediately. If Turkey attacks, the refugees camp “intelligently” set near the border will be used as human shields by the Turkish military.

The Turks will then accuse Syria of bombing the ‘peaceful civilian refugee’ camps and call for the greenlight of the UN to invade Syria to ‘protect’ them.

The question is: Whose plan will the UN buy on Thursday, Annan’s plan or Erdogan’s aggressive stance?

April 10th, 2012, 5:07 pm


ann said:

Shock and Awe: See what the Syrian terrorists are doing –


Below are graphic images, in the form of films, of atrocities carried out by the western-backed Syrian terrorists. For all those who have aided, financed or supported this filth against the Syrian government, I would urge you to watch these movies from beginning to end and then reconsider very carefully what you have started.

For all those western politicians, particularly those from the FUKUS-Axis (France, UK, US and Israel) who have been supporting or financing or arming the Syrian “opposition” “activists”, for all those media professionals who have been misguiding their readers or viewers by showing only one side of the story, selling the notion that the Syrian government is brutal and is carrying out a unilateral war against repressed civilians, then here is something very unpleasant for you to see: the atrocities carried out by the terrorists you have supported, aided or armed.

I would issue a word of warning first: these videos are absolutely horrific to watch, they are highly disturbing and extremely distasteful and should not be viewed by those who have any physical or mental disability. They have been smuggled out of Syria and made available to this column. They are the atrocities perpetrated against innocent civilians or members of the Syrian security forces by terrorists backed by the west.

Deir ez-Sor. A city in Eastern Syria on the Euphrates. Watch these terrorist pigs desecrating the body of a security officer.


In Hama, “innocent civilians” throwing bodies of security officers in the Orontes.


Here, a young Syrian civilian man was captured by the Syrian terrorists and beheaded. This happens every day across Syria, atrocities perpetrated by the terrorists who the west is backing, as they did in Syria.



Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

April 10th, 2012, 5:20 pm


zoo said:

Can the opposition be trusted that it would respect the ceasefire AND then whole plan?

Annan urges Syria to halt violence in 48 hours
By EDITH M. LEDERER | Associated Press – 4 hrs ago


Annan said he had been advised by Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov following his meeting in Moscow with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem “that the Syrian government is no longer insisting on written guarantees, but would need me to assure that the other parties and governments also accept the plan.”

Annan said his team has been in close contact with “the whole spectrum of the opposition” including the leadership of the Syrian National Council, the Free Syrian Army, local coordination committees and other groups, to explain what is required of them alongside the government’s obligations.

April 10th, 2012, 5:24 pm


Hopeful said:

Re: Observer # 139

“Anything that is happening to us is because of us”

Very well said. I could not agree more.

April 10th, 2012, 5:24 pm


zoo said:

It’s Time to Add Syria to Kofi Annan’s Long List of Failures


It should have raised red flags when both Syria and Russia approved of Kofi Annan’s February 23 appointment as the United Nations-Arab League Joint Special Envoy (JSE) to Syria. But after bickering world powers repeatedly failed to agree on an emissary to broker an end to the killing spree in which Bashar al-Assad has killed more than 9,000 people, the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Susan Rice, was content to laud Annan as “an outstanding choice.”

Certainly the Ghana-born Annan comes loaded with credentials: former U.N. secretary general, winner of the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize, and recipient of a host of other awards, positions, and honorary degrees. But a closer look at Annan’s record reveals that he has often exacerbated crises, rather than solving them. We can now add Syria to this list.

April 10th, 2012, 5:32 pm


Tara said:

I am surprised with Annan’s position so far.  He still wants to give BashAr 2 more days of killing.  What happened to the April 10 deadline?  Miraculously changed to April 12.   Doesn’t he realize that:  

“The Syrian regime has just given Annan the finger,” said one.


Syrian forces fire on Turkish refugee camp
Ian Black, Middle East editor
Monday 9 April 2012 06.19 EDT
Annan had called for a pullout to be completed by Tuesday morning with a ceasefire taking effect 48 hours later as the first stage in a six-point international plan for political negotiations between the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and its opponents.
Opposition activists poured scorn on Assad’s demand for guarantees and said it was consistent with his strategy of buying time and exploiting the divisions between opponents at home and abroad. But many also blamed Annan for being naive to believe Assad had any intention of compromising. “The Syrian regime has just given Annan the finger,” said one.

April 10th, 2012, 5:36 pm


jad said:


Check out who is visiting the Syrians in Turkey, yet some called ‘Syrians’ are still believing in this filth called ‘revolution’ to bring them anything but Iraq/Afghanistan reality, seriously, is there any international thug didn’t support this criminal revo yet? And they get sensitive if we call them traitors!


Interesting, I read Kofi Anna letter to the UN he sent today, but 5min later they removed it:

Here is the plan to invae and occupy Syria as they did to Iraq, that will make the terrorist and their supporters happy of destroying Syria and killing more Syrians:

The Coming U.S. and NATO Occupation of Northern Syria: Iraq Redux

There is one thing certain about U.S. Pentagon strategy: it’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks. And using an old trick from Operation Desert Storm, establishing a humanitarian, NATO-protected no-fly salient in northern Iraq’s Kurdish area, appears to be the same strategy envisioned for northern Syria. There is much in common between the U.S.-led NATO planning for a northern Syria occupation zone and the no-fly zone established in 1992 for Iraq.
Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has decided that it was better for Turkey to flip its previous support for Assad to the Syrian rebels and take the same side as that of NATO, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Israel. For Erdogan, that decision may not only prove fateful for continued Turkish control over Turkey’s own eastern Kurdish territories but the entire map of the Middle East.


April 10th, 2012, 5:55 pm


ann said:

157. jad said:

Interesting, I read Kofi Anna letter to the UN he sent today, but 5min later they removed it:
This is why we copy and paste JAD 😉

April 10th, 2012, 6:07 pm


ann said:

On Syria, Annan’s Technical Mission Stalls on Preconditions, Rice Says, Qatar & Saudi Funding Not Discussed

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 10 — After Kofi Annan’s letter was distributed to Security Council members by the US, this month’s Council president, Annan’s deputy Jean-Marie Guehenno was asked questions and so-called “elements to the press” were agreed to, and enunciated later by US Ambassador Susan Rice.

Inner City Press asked Rice about two points in Annan’s letter, which Inner City Press obtained and put online at 12:28 pm while the meeting was still underway. Annan recounts that Assad on April 8 set pre-conditions including that regional countries not fund the opposition. Was there any discussion?

Rice replied that there was discussion of Assad’s proposed pre-conditions, but only in order to reject them. She said there was no specific discussion of the “no outside funding of the opposition” pre-condition.

Inner City Press what “substantial differences emerged” between General Mood of Annan’s team and the Assad government. Rice replied that in Mood’s discussions, the same pre-conditions reared their head, and said that Annan should be able to say more when he briefs the Council himself on April 12.

A well placed regional source told Inner City Press on April 9, “Kofi has mediator’s disease — he’ll never want to admit that he’s failed, that he’s been played. But when will he lose all credibility?”

Another source on April 9 told Inner City Press the buzz is that the Kofi Annan Foundation has been raising money “for Syria work.” Inner City Press submitted this as a question to Annan’s spokesman Ahmad Fawzi, who replied that he will look into it and response on Friday — that is, the day AFTER Annan’s briefing of the Council.

While Assad has asked Annan to stop countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar from funding the opposition, some wonder if there is other funding in play. Where, Inner City Press has asked Annan’s spokesman, is his Arab League nominated deputy Nassar El-Kidwa? The spokesman, admittedly busy and traveling to Iran, replied that he doesn’t know.



April 10th, 2012, 6:13 pm


ann said:

On Syria, Annan to Give Assad an Extension, Guehenno to Brief SC, -ICP Sources

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, April 9, updated — Kofi Annan is moving to give Syria’s Assad an extention to the supposed April 10 deadline, sources exclusively tell Inner City Press.

In the hours after reporting on Monday that the UN Security Council would Tuesday get a briefing on Syria and a letter from Kofi Annan, Inner City Press learned more. Sources specify to Inner City Press that the Tuesday video availability will be by Jean Marie Guehenno, Annan’s non-Arab League deputy and former head of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations.

Update of 5:30 am April 10: Annan spokesman Fawzi has replied to Inner City Press that “Mr Annan is sending a leter to the Council today, with an update on developments in the Syria crisis, Mr Guehenno will be on stand-by by VCR from Geneva to answer any questions the Council members may have.”

More explosively, the sources tell Inner City Press that Annan will be granting Syria’s Bashar al Assad an extension to meet his previous commitment to Annan’s Six Point plan, including the supposed April 10 deadline — it will, the sources told Inner City Press, be extended, probably to April 12.



April 10th, 2012, 6:21 pm


ann said:

Here’s Annan’s Letter:

Kofi Annan’s April 10, 2012 Letter: Inner City Press must-credit exclusive as of 12:28 pm April 10

10 April 2012


I would like to update the Council on my mission,as Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States for Syria. I do so in the context of the 10 and 12 April timeline. We enter a critical moment in the implementation of the six-point plan, and I am gravely concerned at the course of events. I would be grateful if you could bring this letter to the attention of the members of the Security Council.

As I reported to the Security Council on 2 April, the Syrian Government had informed me the previous day that it would implement a plan for withdrawing its military units from populated zones and surrounding areas to take effect from 1 April up until 10 April 2012, with no new deployments to population centres. I subsequently relayed to all sides that upon the completion by the Government of its commitments under item 2 of the plan by Tuesday, 10 April, all parties should immediately cease all forms of violence, so that a complete cessation is in place by 0600 hours Damascus time on Thursday, 12 April. I appreciated the Security Council’s support for this timeline in its Presidential Statement of 5 April, further to its support for the six-point plan in its presidential statement of 21 March.

In this regard, the days before 10 April should have been an opportunity for the Government of Syria to send a powerful political signal of peace, with action on all aspects of the six-point plan, in particular through the urgent and visible implementation of ts commitments under item 2 of the plan, namely, to cease troop movements towards population centres, to cease all use of heavy weapons in such centres, and to begin pullback of military concentrations in and around population centres. In the last 5 days it has become clear that such a signal has yet to be issued.

With respect to humanitarian access, discussions are ongoing regarding an expansion of humanitarian access and capacity to reach the estimated one million people in need of humanitarian assistance. Following participation in the Government-led humanitarian assessment mission in March, the United Nations, in coordination with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, is now delivering assistance to displaced persons in Tartous Governorate..

With respect to detainees, on 5 April the ICRC announced that they had agreed to procedures with the Government for visits to. places of detention, including an immediate visit to Aleppo Central Prison. In a letter dated 8 April, the Government of Syria informed me of the release of 97 people detained for participating in opposition activities. The Syrian Government has also informed me of the pardon of 211 individuals who had surrendered.

With respect to journalists, the Syrian Government has sent men letter, informing me of the attribution of visas to journalists from 21 international news organisations.

With respect to the military provisions of the six-point plan, the Syrian Government has underlined security issues in several letters detailing actions by armed groups against government forces, civilians and property. As for its own commitments, it has informed me of some military movements. According to the communications addressed to me, Syrian Armed Forces withdrew some units from the city of Idlib, the Zabadani area as well as from positions in the governorates of Dar’a on 5 and 6 April and from Dayr al-Zawr on 7 and 8 April.

Despite these assurances from the Syrian Government, credible reports indicate that during that same period, the Syrian armed forces have conducted rolling military operations in population centers, characterized by troop movements into towns supported by artillery fire. While some troops and heavy weapons have been withdrawn from some localities, this appears to be often limited to a repositioning of heavy weapons that keeps cities within firing range. Furthermore, several new localities also appear to have been subject to military operations, including the use of heavy weapons on population centres.

While the absence of UN observers makes it difficult to fully ascertain the situation on file ground, the rapid increase of refugee flows into Turkey gives a strong indication of a, surge in violence. Between 15 December 2011 and 31 March 2012, the average rate of refugees entering Turkey from Syria was 96 persons per day. By contrast, the average rate of incoming refugees in the last 9 days has been 707 persons per day. The spike is unquestionable, and of the greatest concern, given the implications for the situation inside Syria.

Finally, in a letter of 8 April, the Syrian Government then introduced new conditions for any full implementation of the plan: (a) written assurances that armed opposition groups are prepared to cease all violence, (b) immediate disarmament of armed groups and (c) commitment by regional countries that they would not finance or arm opposition groups.

These new Syrian requests constitute ex post facto requirements that are not part of the six-point plan which they agreed to implement. This puts at risk the cessation of violence in all its forms that is so urgently needed and which must take place on 12 April at 0600. I have however been advised by Foreign Minister Lavrov, following his meeting with Foreign Minister Al-Moallem, that the Syrian Government is no longer insisting on written guarantees, but would need me to assure that the other parties and governments also accept the plan.

I remain of the view that every effort must be made to achieve a cessation of violence in all its forms on 12 April at 0600am. We have been in close contact with the leaderships of the Syrian National- Council, the Free Syrian Army, local coordination committees and other groups. We have engaged the whole spectrum of the opposition to explain what is required of them alongside the Government’s implementation of its obligations. Members of the opposition have indicated to us and publicly that they would observe a cessation of all forms of violence provided Syrian forces withdraw from cities.

Meanwhile, the UN team led by General Mood has worked closely with Syrian military authorities to start technical preparations for the potential deployment of observers to supervise and monitor a cessation of mined violence. Progress on technical issues appeared to have been made but substantive differences emerged. General Mood is returning to Geneva to report on his mission, and I should be in a position to provide the Council with more information on 12 April.

If the required political will is present and the implementation of the six-point plan can proceed as agreed, the cessation of violence on 12 April will need to be followed in short order by the deployment of an effective international monitoring mechanism. This will require quick action from the Security Council. This could then create the necessary conditions for an inclusive political solution that meets the democratic aspirations of the Syrian people.

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

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



April 10th, 2012, 6:24 pm


omen said:

jad, differentiating and separating the poor in this sect, how long has the ruling minority hated the majority? only hatred can explain turning a blind eye to the regime committing atrocities of fellow syrians, most of whom are innocent civilians whom you slander in calling traitors. isn’t 40 years of enjoying privilege enough? how long do elites expect to hang onto power? a thousands years? time for delusions is over. it’s time to let go.

April 10th, 2012, 6:26 pm


omen said:

23. Observer 7:46 am

It does not matter what form or shape or condition Syria is in or will be as long as the 20 or so power centers remain in place. These are about 20 key figures that are making all the decisions.

then what is needed are not anti tank weapons but special forces sniper teams. somebody prevail for turkey or qatar to please send some over.

April 10th, 2012, 6:37 pm


Equus said:

Bernard Henry Levy is at it again, enticing religious war and deciding the next country on his list.
(BHL: Bad Horrible Liaison)

Algérie, un os dans la gorge de BHL ?

Ce faux chef de la diplomatie française durant la crise libyenne vient de déclarer lors du colloque tenu à Marseille intitulé « La guerre d’Algérie…cinquante après » : « L’Algérie n’est pas un pays arabe ni islamique mais un pays juif et français, sur un plan culturel » et il ajouta « que l’Algérie connaîtra elle aussi un printemps arabe ».

Georges Malbrunot reporter of le Figaro ”The trap of Annan’s plan”
Syrie : le piège du plan Annan


What more interesting is people’s comments underneath the article.

April 10th, 2012, 6:50 pm


Jerusalem said:

الافتتاحية … جريدة عربية في لندن تؤكد خبر اعتقال ابنة رئيس الوزراء القطري في بيت للدعارة في لندن .. ومحطة الجزيرة لا تزال تلتزم الصمت

اليس من العجيب المريب ان يلتزم حكام قطر الصمت وتغلق محطة الجزيرة ( بوزها ) عن هكذا خبر .. بينما تفلقنا كل يوم بخبر شراء السيدة اسماء الاخرس ( صرماية ) من لندن

هل شراء ( صرماية ) من قبل زوجة رئيس عربي امر معيب .. واكثر ( اعابة ) من اعتقال ابنة صاحب محطة الجزيرة في بيت دعارة انجليزي

لماذا لا ( يطسنا ) فيصل القاسم بحلقة خاصة عن مغزى صمت الاعلام العربي عن فضائح الحكام العرب وبناتهم ونسوانهم … ولماذا لا يظهر المحلل السياسي عزمي بشارة ليفند هذا الخبر … الذي قطعا لا يمس قطر وحدها وانما يمس العرب والمسلمين لان الصبية المتهمة شابة عربية مسلمة .. وابوها احد صناع الربيع العربي الناتاوي ومحطته هلكتنا منذ شهر ببرامج عن الشذوذ الجنسي للقذافي واولاده

على الاقل .. لم نسمع يوما ان السيدة عائشة ابنة القذافي ضبطت ليس في محل دعارة انجليزي .. وانما على مقربة من شارع انجليزي تقع فيه خمارة

وعلى الاقل .. لم نسمع يوم ان السيدة اسماء الاخرس شربت حتى زجاجة ( بيرة ) مع انها فتاة انجليزية المولد والنشأة … بينما نقرأ ونسمع اخبارا عن بنات وشيخات واميرات عربيات يشيب لها الولدان مثل هذا الخبر عن ابنة صاحب محطة الجزيرة

فهل سننتظر طويلا قبل ان يصلنا نفي رسمي قطري لهذا الخبر ( الكاذب ) ام ان صاحب محطة الجزيرة ووالد المحروسة اصيب هو الاخر – مثل القرضاوي – بالطرش … ولم يعد يسمع او يقرأ الاخبار عن ابنته ربما لانه مشغول باخر اخبار صرماية اسماء الاسد التي تقول محطة الجزيرة انها اشترتها من لندن بينما كان الواجب ان تشتريها من سوق الحميدي


April 10th, 2012, 6:56 pm


Halabi said:

The regime can only survive if it continues to crush everyone who opposes it. Dr. Landis, who was wary of the revolution from day one, has consistently spoke the truth about Assad’s soldiers, that they would brutalize the people into submission.

Rami Makhlouf said it clearly in May in his interview with Anthony Shadid, may he rest in peace. “The decision of the government now is that they decided to fight” … “We will not go out, leave on our boat, go gambling, you know,” he said at his plush, wood-paneled headquarters in Damascus. “We will sit here. We call it a fight until the end.” He added later, “They should know when we suffer, we will not suffer alone.”

Bashar later warned of the earthquake that would happen in the region if he’s challenged.

Spilling blood across the borders on the eve of the cease-fire is a clear signal from the regime of the chaos it can cause. It might even be effective in delaying actions against Assad, giving his henchmen more time to kill Syrians.

But all these tactics won’t work because a very large portion of the Syrian population has decided that freedom is a cause worth dying for. Men7ebaks have been repeating خلصت for more than a year and it’s clear that the end is nowhere in sight. Bashar al-Assad and the police state supporting him aren’t acceptable locally, regionally and internationally. The longer he stays in power the more innocent people will die.

April 10th, 2012, 7:00 pm


Son of Damascus said:

The Options in Syria
Bashar al-Assad said he’d stop shooting on April 10. He lied. So what now?


The April 10 deadline for Syrian forces to withdraw from major cities set by Kofi Annan, the United Nations and Arab League special envoy for Syria, appears to have come and gone with little change on the ground. Thursday’s deadline for a complete ceasefire looks set to pass as well. For now, Annan rightly insists the plan is still on the table. But Syria’s last best chance for a diplomatic solution is dying.

If Annan’s plan is likely dead, the coroner won’t pronounce it for a few more days. Deadlines like these are sometimes rescued in diplomatic overtime. Russian prestige is now on the line, and we may see a last-ditch effort from Moscow to get Assad to comply. The upcoming G8 foreign ministers’ meeting in Washington on April 12, where Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will confront an irate Hillary Clinton, might provide an opportunity to break the deadlock between the United States and Russia.



April 10th, 2012, 7:10 pm


ann said:

‘West uses Syria to hit China, Russia and Iran’ – 11 April, 2012


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

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

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

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

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

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

“There is an alliance between so-called maritime powers: the US, the Western Europe and Turkey. They are trying to hold back Russia, China and Iran off international trade routes and thus get better bargaining positions. This would also hamper the economic growth of the three countries and affect their role in global politics,” adds the professor.

With the Arab Spring advance, Moscow, Beijing and Tehran have lost their access to Mediterranean waters through Libya and Yemen and other places, says Wakim. “Syria is all that is left for them. That is how the ferocity of the US attack on the country can be explained.”


April 10th, 2012, 8:14 pm


Sunny said:

The states that are leading the attack on Syrians in the name of freedom and democracy, these states are based on one religion, greed, and have no constitution !! I found these documentaries interesting.



April 10th, 2012, 10:59 pm


jna said:

The right decision.


4.04pm: Syria: Kofi Annan’s spokesman Ahmad Fawzi said in a statement that a letter from Syria’s foreign ministry said that the government agrees “to cease all military fighting throughout Syrian territory as of 6am (4am BST) tomorrow, Thursday, 12 April 2012, while reserving the right to respond proportionately to any attacks carried out by armed terrorist groups against civilians, government forces or public and private property”.

Syrian state television quoted a defence ministry source as saying:

“After our armed forces carried out successful missions in combatting the criminal acts of terrorist groups and imposed the authority of the state on its land, (it has been) decided to end operations starting tomorrow morning. Our armed forces remain on alert to confront any assault by armed groups against civilians and the security and armed forces.”

In response, Reuters reports that Russian deputy foreign minister Gennady Gatilov said on Twitter that the onus is now on the opposition:

April 11th, 2012, 11:24 am


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