Criticism - Syria Comment

Criticism

I received many responses to my post on Sunday evening recommending that the US play a larger role by insisting that Assad carry out talks with the opposition. The threat would be to supply anti-aircraft missiles to the opposition. Here are a few replies.

Nir Rosen writes

Lets leave aside issues of right and wrong, right to intervene, all that moral and political stuff for now and focus on the practical issue. Your proposal does not make much of a difference, removing the ability of the air-force to operate in one part of the country alone does not solve the problem. It only creates more space for the groups in the north, it would do nothing to stop regime infantry, tanks and artillery in the north let alone in the rest of the country.

The security forces are not all Alawite, nor are their leaders, and they are not all fighting as alawites (though some are), many are fighting as the army, or as the state (in their view), they have a strong esprit de corps now since they feel like they have had some victories, their brothers in arms have been killed, and also the regime media has been embedding journalists with them and focusing on the war instead of denying it like it used to the problem is western journalists are only operating in northern Syria, parts of Aleppo and idlib, where the regime is using its airforce because it cant use its ground elements as easily, so it creates the impression that the airforce is more important to the regime than it actually is. Only a fraction of civilians killed by the regime have been killed by its airforce anyway your proposal does not force assad into the alawite mountains, that would take ethnic cleansing, sunni militias would have to decide to attack alawite neighborhoods in Damascus and homs, which they have not yet decided to do and which they might not even have the strength to do. Regardless, they would need a lot more than anti aircraft missiles, they would even need more manpower and of course a lot of anti armor rockets.

The regime has those areas under pretty tight control these days and while you are correct that in the short term the regime lacks the troops to retake much of the country, the opposition also lacks the troops to hold much of the places where it operates, hence the stalemate. It would take a lot more than anti aircraft rockets to change the balance one way or the other (incidentally, the media being mostly limited to Aleppo and some villages in idlib is a problem in many other ways because its difficult to extrapolate lessons from one part of the country and apply them to the Syrian conflict as a whole, or even to Aleppo as a whole. for example most journalists have access only to rural Aleppo, the most conservative poor salafi part of the country, so the groups there might not resemble the groups in daraa or hama or elsewhere.

Few conflicts in recent years have taken place in a greater media blackout and with so much rumor and so little fact as Syria’s uprising. With almost no independent journalists on the ground, no NGOs and with little freedom of movement for foreign diplomats, policy makers have little information about what is actually happening inside Syria. On the other hand there is a flood of “information” coming out of Syria. Knowledge is being produced but it explains nothing and only obfuscates. This is because journalists reporting from Syria often rely on local activists who have an agenda that is not accurate reporting but the overthrow of the regime with international assistance. Those journalists who do go in stay for very little time and see very little (its not their fault of course) or they have to embed with the regime and provide an even more skewed and silly version of events (one particular british journalist comes to mind here). They either receive a one week visa from the regime, in which case their movement is limited, or they go in for a similarly short time with the opposition armed groups in a remote town either in Idlib, Halab or in the Homs countryside close to the Turkish or Lebanese border (thats where they all go). As a result all we see is villagers fighting an invisible an enemy and we dont really know whats going on

A Syrian friend writes to my wife

Do you think this is the best way to have a better Syria? We all supported Josh during the past few years, and we believed in him and his thoughts. It hurts me and […..] and many people to Syria. Josh is spreading hatred and he is tolerant towards terrorists and Jihadists. I feel ashamed to have known him wallahi. I am sorry to say that, but he should have uncovered his face looooong time ago. Did Prof. Landis think for a second how many jihadists and salafists are NOW slaughtering and raping our Alawite and christian daughters? or he supports this too? I lost 14 relatives during this nasty war, while Prof. Landis is agitating for more killings and hatred. Shame!
M Kamal Haykal writes on Facebook
The man is the biggest two-faced hypocrite I know. Clearly the man doesn’t want to be on the losing side. Clearly he doesn’t [want] him and his wife to be banned from entering Syria for being a proponent of Bashar through out the revolution…..
Congrats Landis if you’re trying to establish a reputation as a chameleon that shape shifts based on the winning side you’ve done that or at best a professor with a high level of cognitive dissonance.

Don’t be happy if a few disconnected individuals praise you for your article. The majority have already seen through what you stand for and where your support lies. So you can go back to whitewashing for the Assads and go back to glamorizing they’re so called “resistance to Israel.

No true Syrian revolutionary wants your counsel, and if they do don’t expect theirs to be wanted by democratic citizens in Syria. No Syrian that has read your comments and seeks democracy is going to be ok with your justification of continuing the status qou due to the lack of sophistication and maturity of the Syrian people. “You’re unsophisticated, sectarian, and too young therefore Bashar is good for you” was your dogma/identity. Or did you forget?

You think intelligent people are going to buy that new garbage???
Written to a friend and passed to me
Joshua’s criticizers’ logic is warped.  Who sent the tanks immediately to crush peaceful demonstrators chanting silmiyyeh silmiyyeh? Was it not the regime who drove the demonstrators to bear arms, small arms at that?
Then, the Qaeda and other thugs infiltrated. Even if terrorists hide in a building, is it right to demolish buildings over the heads of their inhabitants? The country is ruined mainly because of the pig pigheadedness of the Assad mafia.

From an expat Aleppine

I still think Aleppo is a stalemate. I conclude from reading various reports that the Free Syrian Army does not control more than one third of the neighborhoods. I read that one third of Aleppo is contested with changes here and there. And, there is little support for the FSA among the population even in the areas they have “liberated”. Aleppo neighborhoods have few barricades and stops and thus small armed bands
can still infiltrate everywhere giving the impression of control. Control is a different matter. Aleppo is critical for the Syrian State and the Syrian Regime. Losing Aleppo is not fatal to the Syrian regime. To the Syrian Regime and the Free Syrian Army, the fight for Aleppo is the fight for the support of or control of the 25 percent moderate Sunni block, a huge block needed for any one wanting to control Syria. Also, Aleppo is too close for comfort to the mountains along the Syrian coast.

The Syrian Army can still control parts of Hasakeh, Raqqa, and Deir Azzor using the direct road between Damascus and Deir Azzor. The Syrian regime is fighting intensely to control Deir Azzor and will fight hard for Raqqa. The fight for Jezzera is for agriculture and oil revenues. Deir Azzor is closer to Iraq (60 percent Shiite) and the Kurds and farther away from Turkey and thus I think the Syrian Army have a fair chance of holding up there. The nearby Sunni of Iraq are pre-occupied by their own enemies to the east, north, and south and thus have not been able to assist the FSA.

I think that Damascus will not be taken from the Syrian Regime due to its special ethnic mix, its proximity to Lebanon where half the population supports it, and its backing to Israel. Damascus is critical
for the Syrian State and the Syrian Regime. Losing Damascus is fatal to the Syrian Regime for prestige and also due to the stretch between Damascus and Homs is where the north-south Sunni line (the old hajj road to Mecca) intersects the east-west Shiite line (the road to Kharasan). These are the two major land routes of Islam. The Syrian Army is firmly in control of the road between Damascus and Homs.
Backing to Israel and Lebanon compared to backing to Turkey makes all the difference in the world for the Syrian Army and also for the Free Syrian Army.

News Round Up

Massacre at Syrian Bakery Dims Hopes for a Holiday Truce
By RICK GLADSTONE

Syrian artillery gunners shelled a bread bakery full of workers and customers on Tuesday in an insurgent-held neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, killing at least 20 people and wounding more than 30 in what activists and videographers described as a sudden and devastating attack.

The shelling at Al Zura Bakery was among the more graphic episodes of violence to hit Aleppo and the capital, Damascus, on Tuesday, casting further doubts on the already dim prospects of a nationwide cease-fire for the coming Id al-Adha holiday, which the newly appointed peace envoy from the United Nations and Arab League, Lakhdar Brahimi, has been trying to negotiate for the past week.

Disturbing video uploaded to the Internet, which appeared genuine but could not be corroborated independently, showed what was described as the aftermath of the bakery shelling in Aleppo’s Hanano district, with mangled bodies interspersed with upended loaves of freshly baked pita on the bakery’s bloodied floor, as screaming rescue workers hauled the dead and wounded to waiting pickup trucks and taxicabs. Some of the victims were children, including a girl who was decapitated.

Abu al-Hasan, an activist from the Aleppo suburb of Maree, said in a Skype interview that most of the dead were bakery workers. He said it was unclear whether the attackers had been aiming for the bakery, located in a large warehouse. “The problem is those kinds of missiles are not guided to their intended targets,” he said. “They’re not precise. They fall on random buildings.”

He said the shelling came as residents of the neighborhood, who had been too afraid to venture outside for the past few days, finally took the risk in order to buy food for Id al-Adha, a widely celebrated Muslim holiday that starts on Friday.

Aleppo, near Syria’s northern border with Turkey, has been under siege for three months and has become a focal point of the insurgency against President Bashar al-Assad. Rebels have frustrated attempts by Syrian forces to retake the entire city and have threatened to cut off the military’s supply lines there.

At the same time, bakeries in rebel-held areas of Aleppo have emerged as vitally important resources that are clearly potential targets for Syrian forces seeking to starve insurgents and their sympathizers into submission. Many of the bakeries are run by the insurgents, who have learned how to bake bread as part of the war effort…..

Insight: Village cafe shootout spells trouble for Assad
By Khaled Yacoub Oweis
AMMAN | Tue Oct 23, 2012

…..LOYALTY IN QUESTION?

Recent events around Qardaha, however, suggest to some observers, including Western diplomats, that clan rivalries, thousands of deaths among Alawite fighters and economic crisis could break the loyalty of leading Alawite commanders, even as the community finds itself increasingly a target of rebel anger.

With the government severely restricting media access, there is a lack of independent information within Syria but several residents of Latakia region gave similar accounts of events.

One Alawite who has joined the opposition to Assad, Majd Arafat, said there was growing resentment at the suffering of the local population while elite families remained aloof: “The talk all over the mountains is that Alawites are being killed in droves, but none of them are called Assad, Makhlouf or Shalish.”

The latter two families are closely related to the Assads.

A Western diplomat, noting the failure of defections by Sunni generals to sap the strength of Assad’s forces, speculated that were even a less senior Alawite to break ranks, it might raise expectations of a more damaging split: “The defection of one, even a colonel, would be significant,” he said.

Estimates of casualties are hard to establish in Syria. One activist group which compiles reports has said some 7,300 Assad loyalists have been killed, out of a total of 30,000 war dead.

But many believe the overall toll is higher. One who thinks so is a Syrian businessman, not himself an Alawite, who says he funds units of the mostly Alawite “shabbiha” militia, partly to protect his businesses in the area. Speaking to Reuters anonymously, he reckoned the Alawite community in the coastal mountains alone might have lost 15,000 fighters since last year.

In the immediate area of Qardaha, residents estimated that as many as 300 men may have died in the past year, either in battles with rebels or in sectarian ambushes and assassinations.

UNEQUAL DIVISIONS

But the burden, as the riches of the past 40 years, has not been shared equally among the Alawite clans.

The likes of the Makhlouf and Shalish families are cousins of the Assads, and rose from humble beginnings to make fortunes by virtue of winning government tenders – much to the chagrin of more established Alawites sidelined by Assad and his father.

Now those divisions seem to be resurfacing in an environment where the wealth some Alawite mountain leaders have built up through officially sanctioned smuggling and other illicit trades is being threatened by the anti-Assad uprising – and now that many Alawites fear collective retribution from Assad’s enemies.

“Qardaha and its mountains used to be an incubator for regime support. But Assad’s relatives may now have to think twice before walking in the streets,” said the Alawite opposition activist Arafat. “The Alawites are starting to ask themselves ‘why we should back the Assads?’.”

The non-Alawite businessman who funds some loyalist militia said abuses in the clandestine economy run by shabbiha chiefs was turning other Alawites against their rulers: “The regime has been turning a blind eye to the criminality of the shabbiha,” the businessman said. “And it is beginning to hurt it.”

Nonetheless, many Alawites, whose religion is an offshoot of the Shi’ite Islam practiced in Assad’s ally Iran, still support the armed forces and the militia units blamed for sectarian atrocities. Many see them as a bulwark for self-preservation:

“They are afraid of the other side, which has also proved capable of massacres,” Arafat said. “They still see the Assad regime as providing them with a sort of immunity.”

Details of the cafe shootout at Qardaha on September 29, show internal strains are surfacing as the community suffers losses.

The man killed in the gunfight was Sakher Othman. Among prominent members of his family was Isper Othman, a cleric killed in a crackdown by the elder Assad in the 1970s. At Sakher Othman’s funeral, a mourner shouted a demand that Assad quit, prompting loyalist gunmen to open fire, killing four people.

Alawite opposition activists said several pro-Assad fighters were also killed and wounded as fighting spread.

Since then thousands of shabbiha loyal to the president and commanded by Assad relatives have imposed their order on Qardaha and surrounding villages, but anger and disputes have continued.

Activists list members of a number of prominent families which now oppose Assad, including from the Othman, Qouzi, Muhalla, Iskandar, Issa, Khayyer and al-Jadid clans. Homes have been ransacked and several shops owned by anti-Assad Alawites in Qardaha were torched this month, local residents said.

Among notable clan hostilities is that opposing the Khayyers to the Assads. Abdelaziz al-Khayyer, a doctor from Qardaha, spent 12 years as a political prisoner under Hafez al-Assad. He was detained again in September and has not been heard of since.

A delegation arrived from Damascus to try calm passions. It was headed by another prominent Alawite, Walid Othman, father-in-law of Assad’s cousin and Syria’s richest man Rami Makhlouf.

Yet within days there was further trouble, with local people saying youths from rival Alawite families clashed in Qardaha.

RECRUITMENT PROBLEMS?

These tensions may spell problems ahead for the unity of the Alawite officer corps. And Assad’s forces may also be finding difficulties recruiting in their Alawite heartland – opposition activists say more young Alawites are evading conscription.

“They are seeing that the rebels are getting stronger and that their friends are getting killed,” said activist Lubna Merei, from the coastal town of Jableh, south of Latakia.

However, for all that Alawite communal cohesion may face problems, some believe that the way the civil war has taken on such a bitter sectarian dimension – helped in part by the way Assad himself treated his opponents – may mean the moment has passed when many Alawites might side with the rebels.

Munther Bakhos, a veteran Alawite member of the exile Syrian opposition in France, said the rebels lost an opportunity to make allies in the Alawite heartlands in the early stages of the conflict and he believed that it would now be harder for the mainly Sunni opposition to benefit from the in-fighting there.

“It is naive to think the regime is protecting the Alawites. They are hostage. The regime is using them to defend itself,” Bakhos said. But the sectarian bitterness of the war had made it harder to persuade Alawites to ditch Assad:

“There was an opportunity to pull the rug from under its feet in the first few months of the revolution,” he said. “But now the picture has gotten complicated.”

Losing Syria (And How to Avoid It)
Brookings

In light of the Syrian regime’s continued campaign of violence on its own people and the opposition’s inability to unify its ranks, is the collapse of Syrian society approaching a point of no return? Is there a way to hold Syria and its people together and, in doing so, prevent the spread of sectarianism across the Middle East?

In a new paper from the Brookings Doha Center, Losing Syria (And How to Avoid It), Salman Shaikh proposes a path forward for addressing Syria’s spiraling crisis.

Based on months of first-hand interviews with opposition leaders, activists, and rebel commanders, Shaikh provides new insights into the current state of fragmentation within Syria’s opposition. He offers a set of five policy principles for the international community – with the leadership of the United States – to help unify the political opposition, reassure minority communities, and coordinate the flow of arms. Shaikh argues that the actions – or inaction – of Syria’s international partners will have critical consequences for the viability of the post-Assad order, and urges immediate planning for the “day after.”

Download » (PDF)

“This Is Not a Revolution,” by Agha and Robert Malley’s in the New York Review of Books.

Darkness descends upon the Arab world. Waste, death, and destruction attend a fight for a better life. Outsiders compete for influence and settle accounts. The peaceful demonstrations with which this began, the lofty values that inspired them, become distant memories. Elections are festive occasions where political visions are an afterthought. The only consistent program is religious and is stirred by the past. A scramble for power is unleashed, without clear rules, values, or endpoint. It will not stop with regime change or survival. History does not move forward. It slips sideways.

By Andrew J. Tabler and Jeffrey White – WINEP
Determining the suitability of armed opposition elements as potential recipients of military assistance is complex and challenging. In Syria, such groups are numerous, rapidly evolving, and highly varied in ideology. Nevertheless, they do not pose an impenetrable mystery. Some are longstanding actors in the rebellion and currently hold or are contesting important areas of the country; a number of Free Syrian Army commanders are public personalities and can be contacted with relative ease. Vetting such actors is a critical prerequisite to providing military assistance, based on the recognition that not all armed elements should receive aid, and that some units are more worthy of aid than others.
Moreover, vetting must not be done just in terms of outcomes on the battlefield — equal consideration must be given to the roles that armed units will play after the regime falls. Given the fragmented nature of the Syrian opposition to date, and the lack of Western intervention to support the protest movement, those who are taking literal shots at Bashar al-Assad now are almost certain to be calling the shots as the regime gives way.

Comments (187)


Tara said:

Josh

Of course you will be criticized. After all those slaughtered children are dime a dozen to your Christian or Alawite friends from Damascus. God forbidden it was a non Sunni child whose throat was slashed or who was tortured to death. The only hypocrites are those subhumans who only believe in selective humanity. Entitled and vocal…their hatred will consume them and will burn their existannce. They are hiding under the fear of Salafists or Jihadists to maintain their disgusting privileges. Privileges that will only curse them as it is made of the blood of their fellow Syrians.

October 23rd, 2012, 6:07 pm

 

Mjabali said:

Promoting violence is wrong any way you turn it. The only solution is political.

October 23rd, 2012, 7:36 pm

 

Tara said:

Red carpet for Hamad and Moza.

Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani entered the Gaza Strip from Egypt at the border crossing of Rafah, which is also the headquarters of illegal trading through a vast network of tunnels which flourished after Israel tightened its blockade on Gaza in 2007. He was given a red-carpet welcome by Hamas officials.

The emir was due to inaugurate a $254m (£160m) investment programme in Gaza by the Sunni Gulf state. Among the projects funded by the Qataris is a new housing development on the site of a former Israeli settlement, evacuated in 2005, and several new roads through the territory.

Qatari flags and posters expressing thanks were strung along streets as a 30-vehicle convoy, filled with Qatari security forces, made advance preparations for the visit.

Sheikh Hamad was expected to address a rally at a stadium in Gaza City later on Tuesday.

Hamas welcomed the emir’s visit. “It is the first visit by an Arab leader at this level to Gaza,” it said in a statement. “This breaks the political isolation of the government and opens the door to break the siege.”

Hamas welcomed the emir’s visit. “It is the first visit by an Arab leader at this level to Gaza,” it said in a statement. “This breaks the political isolation of the government and opens the door to break the siege.”

Despite winning democratic elections in 2006, Hamas has been largely isolated by the international community since it took control of Gaza in a bloody battle with its rival faction, Fatah. However, some European governments are believed to maintain back-channel contacts with the Islamist party.

Iran, which had been a key patron of Hamas, has withheld funding for the faction since its refusal to back the Syrian regime in its civil war.
,,,,

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/oct/23/qatari-emir-historic-gaza-visit

October 23rd, 2012, 7:36 pm

 

Tara said:

Romney gaffe: ‘Syria is Iran’s route to the sea’
During Monday night’s presidential debate, Mitt Romney repeated a gaffe he has already made at least five times before

Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in Florida. Photograph: Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Mitt Romney is not particularly new to gaffes but when it comes to one about the relationship between Syria and Iran, he has shown extraordinary courage in repeating it at least six times just in the past year.

During last night’s foreign policy debate, Romney said: “Syria is Iran’s only ally in the Arab world. It’s their route to the sea.”

In fact, Iran, a close ally of Bashar al-Assad’s regime, has direct access to international waters through its large coastline on the Gulf and is not even a neighbour to Syria in order to rely on it as a route to the sea.
(…)

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/iran-blog/2012/oct/23/romney-gaffe-syria-iran-route-to-sea

October 23rd, 2012, 7:43 pm

 

Sheila said:

Dear Dr. Landis,
I was very pleased to read your previous post that was so heavily criticized. You finally saw the light. I agree with the bulk of your assessment and find those who are critiquing you lacking in logic and/or moral standing. I still find the labeling of the Syrian conflict as a civil war very misleading and inaccurate. What is going on in Syria is a revolution that started peaceful and is now armed. It is people fighting against an oppressive government. Each side contains all elements of the society. I also find the insistence of the US administration on not allowing the flow of arms to Syria, a terrible mistake. Even if nobody received new arms in Syria, the regime still owns enough lethal weapons to kill as many as it pleases, so the only one affected by this prohibition is the already defenceless people. I do not understand the logic or lack there of.

October 23rd, 2012, 7:44 pm

 

Sheila said:

Dear Mjabali,
Solving Syria’s problem politically is almost everybody’s dream. My question is how do you suppose this is going to be achieved? It has been very clear right from the start that our regime has no interest in relinquishing power. Those who took the president at his word and attended the “national dialogue” meetings are either dead, in prison or out of the country having to run for the lives.
Why would the man abdicate? He and his entourage own 60 to 70% of Syria’s assets, according to some estimates.

October 23rd, 2012, 7:51 pm

 

Uzair8 said:

The fiercely contested battle for Maarat al-Numan is significant. Rebels believe they may have located a fuel depot at besieged base Wadi al-Daif.

Rebels battle Assad’s forces for gateway to north Syria

Tue Oct 23, 2012

“The battle started 11 days ago. At first we sent small groups to liberate (the base) and we were surprised by the resistance the regime forces showed,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Khaled Hmood, a former army officer who defected to fight Assad.

“The regime is fighting fiercely. It seems that it doesn’t care if it loses thousands of troops in order to keep its control over the compound.”

[…]

The base may also be an important fuel depot, holding at least five million litres of kerosene in five underground bunkers, according to Hmood..

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/10/23/uk-syria-crisis-idUKBRE89L0Z420121023

October 23rd, 2012, 8:19 pm

 

Aldendeshe said:

Do you think this is the best way to have a better Syria? We all supported Josh during the past few years, and we believed in him and his thoughts. It hurts me and […..] and many people to Syria. Josh is spreading hatred and he is tolerant towards terrorists and Jihadists. I feel ashamed to have known him wallahi. I am sorry to say that, but he should have uncovered his face looooong time ago. Did Prof. Landis think for a second how many jihadists and salafists are NOW slaughtering and raping our alawite and chirstians daughters? or he supports this too?
_________________________________________________________________

Landis just got frustrated over the ugly images he is seeing and lost his cool. It happened to many at one point of times during this conflict. I am always consciously reminding myself to stay cool headed. Landis, never was pro regime per say, and neither his wife whose family members incarcerated by the Assad’s. He always looked and wrote as he supporting Assad before, because he knew the practical alternatives, which is clear today. I campaigned all my life against the regime until the classified news started leaking to me, it sounded horrific and dead end, so my language changed in opposite to Landis again, reversed positions.

“…..Joshua’s criticizers’ logic is warped. Who sent the tanks immediately to crush peaceful demonstrators chanting silmiyyeh silmiyyeh?….”

That is a crack pot crap….shouting silmiyyeh (peaceful demo) on street levels, but having Zionist/Mossad/ALCIADA trained sharp shooters and Salafis on roof top shooting both demonstrators and security/army men to instigate violence and turn the Silmiyye to revolution. It was all by design, smart people did not buy it, knew the plan and its worst outcome. Did you forget the fake minarets attacks, placing explosive within and shouting at mosques and making fake videos to demonstrate regime brutality.

It was never Silmiyye for a minutes, it was planned by Ziothugs to be bloody as hell. That is why they hired Genocidal Islamist to lead the SILMIYYE revolution huh. The same genocidal war criminals that brought the destruction of Hama and 30,000 dead Syrians just couple decades ago. Who you trying to fool?

“….Aleppo neighborhoods have few barricades and stops and thus small armed bandscan still infiltrate everywhere giving the impression of control….”

Yes that is the other part of the “pig pigheadedness of the Assad” .He should declared State of War and 22 Hour Nationwide Curfew when he failed to contain the conflict, mainly out of his failure to lead and initiate serious reforms quickly as Jordan did. Instead, he let the enemies of Syria lose, Mossad and other Intel Agencies can roam free in the streets covered by women Islamic garbs ad bearded men sporting Arab head gear.

October 23rd, 2012, 8:22 pm

 

Mjabali said:

السيده Sheila :

In my humble opinion, the political solution is very possible if parties have unconditional love for Syria and Syrians and want to save lives.

If the parties really love Syria they will find a way.

Our country is getting ripped apart and torched. Our people are getting killed. Our heritage is getting destroyed, and we are increasingly hating each other. So, for the love of Syria help end this nightmare.

Those who call for the escalation of violence do not care about Syria.

October 23rd, 2012, 8:28 pm

 

Uzair8 said:

Good to see Qatar helping out Gaza.

I’m off to see any response from George Galloway, Yvonne Ridley, Lauren Booth, Viva Palestina etc.

October 23rd, 2012, 8:29 pm

 

Aldendeshe said:

“….I agree with the bulk of your assessment and find those who are critiquing you lacking in logic and/or moral standing…”

It has been very clear right from the start that our regime has no interest in relinquishing power”
_________________________________________________________________

@SHEILA
What are your rates per hour?

You want the Syrian Majority to surrender to ALCIADA/MOSSAD mercenaries? We want Assad to stay and fight. The problem he is a wimp. He is not declaring State of War and not using any Chemical or Biological weapons, not sending this conflict to the enemies in Arabia.

October 23rd, 2012, 8:36 pm

 

Ghufran said:

Yes,Syria is being lost because thugs with guns from different sects and backgrounds are now deciding the future of Syria along with foreign nations who do not,and are not required to, care about average Syrians. This is happening while most of us can only write a line or two or copy an article or two as if that is going to make any difference.
I resigned to the bitter fact that most Arabs and Muslims are toys that move by toy masters,the only relief I get today is through spreading a message of tolerance and non violence among the people I know and continue my charity work that helps people I do not know.good luck,this is becoming a drag and a waste of time.

October 23rd, 2012, 8:45 pm

 

Syrian Natonalist Party said:

Those who took the president at his word and attended the “national dialogue” meetings are either dead, in prison or out of the country having to run for the lives.
________________________________________________________________

The true Syrians, the Nationalists who did not sell out to the Devil and his horned and tailed agents in NAJD are already holding ministerial portfolios. The traitors are in prison, sacrficed by the occult Wahabis/Zionist Satanist, or living in 5 stars hotels getting whores and booze compliment of Sheikha Moza Husband.

October 23rd, 2012, 8:47 pm

 

Visitor said:

Coming from Nir Rosen is not much of a critique. I wouldn’t lose much sleep over it, but will definitely nauseate. The guy is well known apologist and very cheap one for that matter.

The only two things Dr. Landis can be criticized about are:

1) What took him so long to endorse arming the FSA?

2) His endorsement of arming the FSA is laced with a sinister design to divide Syria by portraying Assad as a so-called Alawite protector, implicitly endorsing an Alawistan with undefined borders on the coast where the majority of the population of the cities is Sunni.

————————–

There are good news about FSA gaining full control of Salahedin in Aleppo. Salahedin is vital for control of the city.

October 23rd, 2012, 8:54 pm

 

Sheila said:

Dear Mjabali,
I met a gentleman from Damascus a few weeks ago. He left Damascus recently. He told me that he is baffled at the reaction of people over the destruction of Syria. He said: Syria has been systematically destroyed by this regime long time ago. The country has lost all its functioning institutions and was reduced to a sorry state, however, it still had a sparkly shell. Now we are losing that shiny shell to reveal the rot inside. Our country has been ripped apart long before this revolution started, our young men have been dragged to prisons and our heritage has been sold to increase the wealth of our commander in thief. If we truly love our country, we should do all that it takes to rid it of this cancer that has taken hold.

October 23rd, 2012, 8:59 pm

 

Sheila said:

@Aldendeshe,
What do you mean by asking me about my rates per hour? I am hoping that you are just on some kind of drug and did not mean to sound so malicious.
Please do not address me anymore.

October 23rd, 2012, 9:09 pm

 

Visitor said:

Here’s a confirmation of the good news about Salahedin,

http://www.nowlebanon.com/Arabic/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=450259

FSA heroes turned Assad thugs into frightened hyenas.

October 23rd, 2012, 9:13 pm

 

Aldendeshe said:

…..bla,bla,bla….and don’t be surprised if Sheila is in fact either a hardent x baathist who stood or 22 years every day started her day with this chant:

اهدافنا امة عربية واحدة ذات رسالة خالدة – وحدة حرية اشتراكية – بعثيّة بعثيّة بعثيّة بعثيّة بعثيّة

Or a Mossad agent who spent 33 years providing desk service to Israeli Presidents in her youth, and chanting daily:

“By way of Deception, thou shalt do war”
“בדרך של הונאה, תתן לעשות מלחמה”

October 23rd, 2012, 9:18 pm

 

Observer said:

So Majbali wants a political solution.

Let me propose the following essential steps in my opinion for such a solution;
1. The regime at the highest public figure goes on national TV announcing a cease fire for all the troops under its command and
2. Announces that the solution has to come from within the country will ask all the Syrians of whatever stripe and affiliation to stop all hostilities.
3. Knowing that there are elements on either side that would not listen and would want to torpedo the cease fire, the regime announces that it will do all it can to enforce discipline in its ranks and likewise asks the FSA to insure that the same applies to the groups on their side that may not observe the cease fire. In particular any Shabiha still roaming the streets will be dealt with forthwith by the army.
4. If the cease fire holds for three days, the regime will remove tanks and armored personnel carriers from the streets province by province starting in Idlib, Aleppo, Homs, Deir Ezzor, and Dera’a, and so on. This is to be done over two days in each province.
5. Reciprocally, the FSA removes from the front line 25% of its troops every two days with a slower pace for the FSA as they are less organized and do not have heavy weapons.
6. As soon as 50% of the FSA are withdrawn the regime removes all army men from the field and replace the barriers by police.
7. Knowing that regional players are interfering the regime announces that it has asked all “advisors” from friendly regimes to return home over a period of 2-4 weeks and likewise all arms supplying the rebels will need to be stopped by those providing weapons.
8. The air force will be grounded except in the case of an Israeli attack.
9. The ICRC will work full time with the Syrian counterpart to care for the displaced.
10. Liaison officers from both sides will monitor the cease fire

Now the political work:
1. The President announces that he will relinquish his position as commander in chief of the armed forces and will delegate the position to a committee of leaders of the armed forces and the FSA.
2. The President announces that he will relinquish his position as leader of the Supreme Court and announces a committee from the Free Syrian Justice and from uncorrupted judges from within Syria to re organize the Supreme Court into a functioning entity in preparation for a new constitution
3. Organization of the Majlis into a truly representative body by having the head of all the committees meet with representatives of the FSA and the opposition to create committees to oversee the various branches of government and from these committees elect a group that will work with the Supreme Court to formulate a new constitution.
4. Creation of a truth and reconciliation commission with the help of the South Africans to guide in the formation of such a body.
5. Request for massive observer mission from India, Brazil, New Zealand, Norway, Moroccan, Austrian, Danish, Nepalese, Pakistani troops and officers.
6. Creation of a commission for the reconstruction of Syria with subcommittees for transparency, environmental, judicial, financial, oversight to name a few.
7. Immunity from prosecution of any accused of crimes for a period of three months and pending the formation of the truth and reconciliation commission.
8. Abolishing the death penalty immediately

Now this is not thoroughly researched, it is based on my view that for the hard core elements on either side to be sidelined they each have to have the majority within their ranks do several things
a) threaten them with a split from the group if they do not comply
b) offer them a carrot and face saving way out without fear that they will be sacrifices.
c) a way to distance them from their sponsors on both sides.
d) eliminate revenge as a way to solve the problem.

I confess that I am biased against this regime, and I do still believe that it will be uprooted fully for the country and the people to move forward. I also show my bias by ignoring the SNC as they are irrelevant and I do insist that the fighters on the ground should not have even a hint that they may betrayed.

Now as the Russians say: Trust but Verified.

How do you do this with just observers?

The next step therefore would be to have the two powers that can bring all the regional players together and butt their heads together are the US and Russia. The two powers will make it cleat first and foremost to the regime that if it breaches this it will be finished and both powers will come hard on it like a ton of bricks.

Likewise, the support from Iran Turkey KSA Qatar etc… will need to understand that this now the end of the game.

Finally instead of having Syria become a tug of war for influence, the country should be declared formally by all parties to be neutral.

This last is most difficult to do in the absence of a ME Arab Israeli solution on the horizon.

So let me be the devil’s advocate and propose this beginning of a political solution that aims to
save the Alawi from certain slaughter if the regime continues its war on the people and save the Sunnis from a chemical attack that I am nearly certain will be used by the regime in its madness.

Let me be the devi’s advocate and state clearly here that the regime will not opt for any solution that means its dismantling even if it is done slowly and peacefully.

I would like Norman to tell us what he thinks for he posted before it will not be solved without it becoming much bigger and nastier.

October 23rd, 2012, 9:30 pm

 

Syrialover said:

MJABALI (#9),

You wrote a comment that made me feel a wave of despair and depression.

You said:

“In my humble opinion, the political solution is very possible if parties have unconditional love for Syria and Syrians and want to save lives. If the parties really love Syria they will find a way”

The guts of this whole catastrophe is that Bashar Assad & associates do NOT love Syria. At best they had indifference and contempt which has flipped into murderous hatred.

You would have to change their DNA, give them lobotomies and rear them on a different planet to have them show even a passing interest in and liking for Syria.

What they love is the sick delusionary 42-year trip they have had with their finger on the trigger and the keys to the country’s resources jangling in their pockets.

You love Syria, I love Syria. Twenty million+ Syrians inside love Syria. That’s why it is beyond comprehension to the rest of the world that the regime could so spitefully trash the country rather than just take their stolen millions and clear off.

There was never any love for Syria by the main character in this drama, and now we are witnessing Assad’s out of control hatred and anger against Syria for “betraying” him.

October 23rd, 2012, 9:31 pm

 

Observer said:

A few explanations:

The joint armed forces commission will include leaders from both sides that are actually either former generals or technocratic in nature.

The majority of the current leadership of the regime will have to understand that the best they can do is exile and it should be clear that the office of the presidency will be immediately stripped of its concentration of power and therefore the current leader should understand that he will be a figure head like a constitutional monarchy and I do believe that he cannot be allowed to even consider running for re election as he has become a polarizing figure.

By striping the powers he may yet save Syria, but the hour is late.

I also do not know how to alleviate the fear of the minorities from retaliation on the long run. Knowing how strongly fiercely independent and opinionated the common Syrian is this is going to be interesting to watch.

Perhaps we should limit the age of the participants to a maximum of 45 years.

” The Old do two things to the Young they either Corrupt them or they Prevent them from Doing Good”
Bertrand Russell

October 23rd, 2012, 9:44 pm

 

Aldendeshe said:

@GHUFRAN
Don’t give up it is not a waste of time. SNP will “pull” it in the end. Let the crazies go at it now exterminating each other and demolishing the horrible Baathist-Islamists landscape, socio-economic and society in Syria. As far as I am concerned, will breed prettier Syrian women with real godly conciseness marrying into Russians and Swedes “A” females, and build the best of towns with the genocidal criminal culprit’s money. It is a great opportunity for Syria, the way I look at it. We need to rebuild Syria into something like this, and that will not pass until we exterminate the “filth of humanity” first, do like Ataturk did to Turkey, move away from the “S” culture and leave it to rot like filth for what it is. Hey Shrek, add this to my lingo list please.

October 23rd, 2012, 9:56 pm

 

Syrialover said:

Dear JOSHUA,

The people angrily accusing and abusing you obviously don’t know much about you (even though Friend in Damascus claims to have supported you for years).

The way you have accepted and shared criticism of what you wrote is typical of your openness, tolerance and lack of game playing.

Your views may not always match mine (in fact they have occasionally made me see red), but over the years I have built a strong respect for the fact that you are willing to be open about your thinking, accept alternative views and are capable of changing your mind.

What you say is based on your best information and experience; to me you are seeking the truth and trying to make sense of it. Just like what I say and what everybody else says – we are all speaking from what we know and our own belief systems.

Your character has enabled SyriaComment to be liked and valued and survive a lot of controversial issues where you have been the butt of insults and outrage, which you are always willing to accept and publish without complaint and counter-attack.

I know you have a strong personal family stake in Syria and you have centred your professional life on it.

You are equally – in some cases more – entitled and qualified to express sincere and hard-won views than those who are attacking you.

October 23rd, 2012, 10:11 pm

 

Syrialover said:

Thanks for publishing those thoughtful and well-informed comments by NIR ROSEN and EXPAT ALEPPINE (main post above).

They add to the picture we are struggling to comprehend.

I will be circulating them.

October 23rd, 2012, 10:18 pm

 

MM said:

Nir Rosen is wrong. He has been wrong on many things. I do not believe he is neutral in the conflict — while he is careful in his spin, I can see straight through it.

When it comes to the impact of grounding Assad’s Air Power in this conflict, he does not understand the importance of it.

He states: “Removing the ability of the air-force to operate in one part of the country alone does not solve the problem. It only creates more space for the groups in the north, it would do nothing to stop regime infantry, tanks and artillery in the north let alone in the rest of the country.” And then goes on to state that in Northern Syria “the regime is using its airforce because it cant use its ground elements as easily, so it creates the impression that the airforce is more important to the regime than it actually is.”

The important element where the Regime cannot function on the ground, it uses its Air Force (for which he is right). He then significantly understates the territory in which the Army can operate (this is where he goes wrong). This is a factual matter, I don’t care to debate it.

What Nir Rosen also neglects that many parts throughout the country, bases are being supplied by Helicopter because it is far too dangerous to do so by road. Think – long stretches of highway, do you think they can guard every km of it? Helicopters have been the only way, supplying food and ammunition (sometimes dumping it from way high – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fgOUEYAFFU). Without this, the Regime would have had to abandon many bases in Aleppo Province and throughout the country.

The psychological impact is also important to note. When helicopters and planes start falling in numbers, the morale of the FSA will run high and help them advance.

Finally, the amount of mortars and artillery that has fallen in Syria recently has decreased in comparison to its height about 6 months ago. There is a very good reason for this – the Army is out of shells to fire. That is why the number of air operations have increased – they simply had an inventory of bombs that can be used instead. So they may not be able to fall back on other ground weapons.

But otherwise, I agree with Mr. Rosen. If you want to do this right, throw in a lot of anti-tank missiles, armor and equipment as well.

October 23rd, 2012, 10:22 pm

 

Sami said:

In the past I have defended Nir Rosen for his style of trench reporting which is second to non, but sadly like many pundits and journalists that were seen as staunch pro-Arab in the past have been exposed for the bitter hypocrites they are, and their lack of journalistic integrity is bringing their past work into question…

Rosen’s critique of Landis is just plain and simple trumpeting in defence of the regime, and here is why:

Your proposal does not make much of a difference, removing the ability of the air-force to operate in one part of the country alone does not solve the problem. It only creates more space for the groups in the north, it would do nothing to stop regime infantry, tanks and artillery in the north let alone in the rest of the country.

This is absolutely false, the regime having lost most of Idlib except for a few FOB (Forward Operating Bases) is increasingly using helicopters to replenish those bases, without a proper source of ammo the regime can’t defend those bases for long, and their bases in Aleppo will be virtually cut off. Having MANPADS will make the regime think twice before flying there, and so far the rebels especially in Idlib have been quite adept at destroying tanks, especially in conveys because they are pretty much lame ducks waiting for an ambush and without airpower to clear the road or even do reconnaissance would make the job so much easier for a lighter and smaller force to attack a big behemoth of a convey. Tanks and artillery are not made to be driven for long distances, they need to be transported on trucks.

western journalists are only operating in northern Syria, parts of Aleppo and idlib, where the regime is using its airforce because it cant use its ground elements as easily, so it creates the impression that the airforce is more important to the regime than it actually is.

Maybe Western Journalists are only operating in Aleppo and Idlib but to assume that the Assadi army is only using its airpower there is another false assertion. Airpower is being used on a regular basis in Homs, Damascus, Deraa and Deir Al-Zour as well. Several MiGs have been shot down in Deir Al-Zour, several helicopters have been shot down in Damascus and the regime has been documented using cluster bombs in Homs, Qusair, Irbeen and many other places. Last I checked you need airpower in order to deploy them…

Brown_Moses and HRW have documented their use quite extensively:

http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/10/23/syria-despite-denials-more-cluster-bomb-attacks

http://brown-moses.blogspot.ca/2012/10/selected-cluster-bomb-videos-october.html

Only a fraction of civilians killed by the regime have been killed by its airforce

That maybe true now, but if Assad’s militia continues to bomb form the sky unabated that will change very quickly. A single OFAB bomb can wipe out an entire neighbourhood with one bomb that would take artillery months to accomplish. Just look at the level of destruction caused to Baba Amr and compare it to Maarat Al-Numaan… Also Assad did not utilize his airforce until over a year into the revolution, to compare the death ratio based on the number of the fallen alone without comparing the time frame is just short sighted and a callous attempt at playing with numbers that are actual lives that have been lost.

It is funny Nir brings up a “particular British journalist” in a veiled attack on his journalistic integrity, at least in my eyes it is a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

October 23rd, 2012, 10:28 pm

 

Sami said:

I did not see MM’s comment about Nir Rosen before posting my reply. Sorry if they both seem similar, but glad that I am not alone in seeing through his callous rhetoric.

____________________

FYI I until recently posted under the moniker of Son of Damascus. I choose to write under my own given name now not to deceive anyone on the number of pro-revolution commentators on here, or to squirrel away from something I might have written under SoD.

I am just sick and tired of hiding behind a mask that was imposed on me in order to protect my family back home. Well like most Syrian families we did not escape from the barbaric reach of this brutal regime.

October 23rd, 2012, 10:52 pm

 

Syrian Natonalist Party said:

I am just sick and tired of hiding behind a mask that was imposed on me in order to protect my family back home. Well like most Syrian families we did not escape from the barbaric reach of this brutal regime.
_________________________________________________________________

Stop hiding behind the mask Jew-Khazar man. Drop this daily chant the Rothschilds told you to recite daily.

“By way of Deception, thou shalt do war”
“בדרך של הונאה, תתן לעשות מלחמה”

Real Syrians are sick and tired of masked warriors, masked posters and imposters, claiming deceptively just for the ignorant to believe them; my business, my wealth in Syria, my family back under butcher Assad thumb. Why Khaddam still collect revenue from his restaurant, why no SNC members or FSA leader ever assassinated. Why x prime ministers, x ambassadors, x vice Presidents, x commanders are showing their faces in public and yet the nobodies are afraid. Why don’t you admit the truth, if you are Syrian, you are afraid back home for your loved one being kidnapped for ransom from the very same people you are supporting and promoting.

October 23rd, 2012, 11:09 pm

 

Visitor said:

“Well like most Syrian families we did not escape from the barbaric reach of this brutal regime.”

Sami (SoD),

Apologies for the past, and deeply sorry for your family.

October 23rd, 2012, 11:11 pm

 

Syrialover said:

SHEILA #15

That is a true perspective your friend gave.

People forget, people don’t understand, people simply don’t know.

I was recently re-reading this piece about the Tadmor prison massacre by a survivor (link below).

Add that to the accounts of the Hama massacre and it hits home that Bashar Assad, in accepting that unearned position he was unqualified for, would know only to grab the same steering wheel and clamp his foot on the accelerator even more clumsily than his evil murderous father and uncle.

His “rule” was never going to be sustainable. It was pre-programmed to end in massacres, mass destruction and flames – Tadmor and Hama enlarged and extended.

As the article says, under Bashar Assad the whole of Syria has now become what Tadmor prison was.

http://middleeastvoices.voanews.com/2012/06/syrias-tadmor-prison-massacre-reliving-horrors-of-32-years-past-81070/

October 23rd, 2012, 11:26 pm

 

Amjad of Arabia said:

Nir Rosen is wrong. It is not lack of troops that have stopped the rebels from sweeping the north of the country, but lack of weapons. There are far more people who want to fight for the FSA then there are guns and ammunition to go around. The rebels are not short of volunteers. In contrast, the regime has had to resort to dragging young men off the streets of Damascus and press-ganging them into uniform.

How can Rosen possibly explain the fact that the rebels, armed with little more than AK-47s and RPGs, have managed to fight the region’s biggest military into a bloody stalemate in Aleppo, a city the regime *must* hold on to at all costs. Back In February, two months was all it took for the regime to take half of Homs and all of Idlib. Now, they can’t even regain control of Aleppo, much less the Aleppan countryside.

Such a degradation in fighting capabilities can easily be explained when one takes into account the utter lack of fighting spirit and moral among the regime’s troops. It does not take much bravery to drop cluster bombs, especially when you know that no one else is going to be firing back. It takes a different sort of stiff resolve to actually engage in house to house and street fighting.

Anti-aircraft weapons would tilt the balance of power. I am astonished at how Rosen underestimates what the loss of the north of the country will mean to the regime. A safe haven will have effectively been carved out, a place for the rebels to organize, train, set up self rule, and all neighboring Turkey. Politically, the regime could not survive such a catastrophe. Ruling elites fall when they lose their belief in their own ability to rule and maintain their power, and the loss of the north of the country would be a calamity that not even the most ardent media shabih could gloss over.

It is to be expected that Professor Landis is going to be the target of anguished shrieks of betrayal from the pro-regimists. Let us not forget how Azmi Ebshara overnight became a “stooge and tool of Zionism”, after having for years been welcomed in Damascus as a hero.

Professor Landis is a good, decent individual. He is one of the few people who took a serious interest in Syria long before the revolution, unlike the overnight “experts” who jumped on the Syria-punditry bandwagon in search of fame and notoriety such as Narwine Sharmini (alas, her dreams of striking it rich with her articles in the Hizbollah newspaper Al-Akhbar failed to come to pass, poor thing).

October 23rd, 2012, 11:31 pm

 

Syrialover said:

SAMI,

Your courage and sanity shines through.

I liked the name “Son of Damascus” because it spoke of pride and love for Syria and Damascus.

I will always think of you as that.

October 23rd, 2012, 11:33 pm

 

zoo said:

#4. Tara said:

“Romney gaffe: ‘Syria is Iran’s route to the sea’
During Monday night’s presidential debate, Mitt Romney repeated a gaffe he has already made at least five times before”

Is the Guardian dumb or what? Of course Syria is Iran’s route to the Mediterranean SEA where it would have direct access to Israel, Lebanon, Spain, Italy, France etc…
Iran has only access to the Indian OCEAN, not the SEA and could be a direct maritime threat to Gulf countries but not to Israel or the EU.

The stupidity is not Romney’s, it is the Guardian’s

October 23rd, 2012, 11:50 pm

 

zoo said:

Guess who is lying?
Nir Rosen, an experienced journalist with a large network of contacts on the ground or some biased amateur bloggers reporting what the friend of the friend told the neighbors.
Accidentally the whole of the network of their “friends” happen to hate Bashar al Assad.

October 23rd, 2012, 11:58 pm

 

Syrialover said:

ALDENDESHE/SNP

Back again, hacking this site and giving yourself instant 27 votes.

To rephrase your crude insult to Sheila – how much an hour are you paying yourself?

October 24th, 2012, 12:15 am

 

Syrian said:

Tara 4
Romney was right , with Iraq under the influence of Iran, Syria is what Iran need to have its influence from the border of Afghanistan all the way to Beirut , but luckly the revlution happened just 8 months before the last American soldier left Iraq ,which would have been the crowning achivment of 40 years of miticluas planing by Iran the 2 Assads And Nasar Allah to form the Shia crescent
That’s why Iran and the rest are fighting tooth and nail to keep that plans alive

October 24th, 2012, 12:15 am

 

zoo said:

Russia will not budge. Erdogan is pressed to modify his initial declaration to the media.

Russia calls on Turkey to declare no weapon found in intercepted plane

http://en.trend.az/regions/met/turkey/2080144.html

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has called on Turkey to announce that there were no weapons on the Syrian plane heading from Moscow to Damascus that was forced to land in Ankara by Turkey on suspicions of carrying non-civilian cargo earlier this month, Todays Zaman reported.

Speaking to Rossiyskaya Gazeta on Tuesday, Lavrov said Turkish officials had delivered contradictory information on the issue.

“We demand information from our Turkish counterparts over the details of the issue. They say electronics, technical equipment was found there (on the plane). In this regard we expect from them to declare that there were no weapons or ammunition on the intercepted plane,” the Russian foreign minister told the Russian daily.

He said the Turkish side rejected the pilot’s request for a copy of the documents the Turkish side prepared on what it had confiscated from the plane’s cargo.

October 24th, 2012, 12:18 am

 

zoo said:

Israel thanks Qatar for its visit to Gaza. Is Qatar going to deliver anti-aircraft weapons to Gazaeans to defend themselves?

Israel kills three Hamas militants after Qatari emir leaves Gaza
Reuters –

http://news.yahoo.com/qatars-emir-heads-gaza-historic-trip-072713874.html

GAZA (Reuters) – Israel killed three Hamas gunmen in Gaza Strip air strikes on Tuesday which the military said targeted squads preparing to launch rockets into the Jewish state.

The air force operations followed other Palestinian attacks, including a bomb blast that wounded an Israeli army officer patrolling the Gaza border, on a day that saw the isolated, Hamas-governed enclave receive its first foreign head of state, the emir of Qatar.

October 24th, 2012, 12:24 am

 

Syrialover said:

AMJAD OF ARABIA #31

Good comment – agree, agree.

It reminded me, someone sent me a link a couple of weeks ago to an excellent blog piece by you.

You drew attention to the revealing results of a poll of the Opposition.

I hadn’t seen the subject covered here and meant to post it.

Here it is for others who missed it to appreciate:

http://amjadofarabia.wordpress.com/2012/09/23/iri-syria-poll/

October 24th, 2012, 12:46 am

 

Mjabali said:

Observer:

As usual: long repeated response that does not crystalize to make a whole rational solution for the Syrian current quagmire.

October 24th, 2012, 1:01 am

 

SYR.EXPAT said:

It seems that Prof. Landis has touched a nerve with the Basharites. These people want to hear one thing: Bashar for eternity. That’s their vision for Syria.

Prof. Landis has pointed out the obvious. Bashar has adopted a scorched earth policy to punish those who descent. He is willing to burn Syria, but won’t give up power. It’s high time to stop him. He is a mad man. The FSA, with or without outside support, has no other option but to fight. The regime had many opportunities to correct its actions early on, but barbarity and stupidity go hand in hand as someone said. The regime pushed people’s backs to the wall and forced them to arm themselves. Now, there is no going back.

The regime cannot be trusted. A few weeks ago, an Alawite member member of the regime-sanctioned opposition was arrested by the security thugs upon returning from Moscow. If this is what happens to the peaceful opposition that is operating under the watchful eyes of the Syrian mukhabarat, what do you think will happen to those to took up arms?

Thank you Prof. Landis for having the courage to say what needed to be said. We don’t want fighting and we do not want violence, but sometimes, that is the only way out when you are dealing with crazed psychopaths (Bashar and company).

October 24th, 2012, 1:02 am

 

Norino said:

Syria is gone beyond repair, this country will never be at peace again, there is too much hate, anger, mistrust, corruption, and most of all too much blood, nobody can save this country anymore, not the United States or anybody else.
As long as there is something called religion exist, then peace and logic will disappear. Dr. Landis knows more about this country than most Syrians, but the fact of the matter is Arab don’t like each other, they don’t support each other, it is part of the complexity of this society, it is a rotten society that needs to be dismantled and replaced by a new one…….Assad might go, but whoever come after him will be worse than this dictator, look it next door Iraq, look it Egypt, they are all the same, no vision, no plan, no hope…….

October 24th, 2012, 1:17 am

 

Syrialover said:

SYR. EXPAT,

You said: “It’s high time to stop {Bashar Assad]. He is a mad man.”

Correction. He is not a man by any definition. He is a rabid dog, foaming at the mouth, biting and killing in all directions.

The rabies could account for the shrunken head and strange eye movements.

October 24th, 2012, 2:12 am

 

SYR.EXPAT said:

42. SYRIALOVER,

Correction accepted, but in the process, you have insulted rabid dogs.
They have ten times more decency than Bashar and his ilk.

October 24th, 2012, 2:21 am

 

abbas said:

Is there a forensic expert on this site who can please explain to me how come there is half bodies of victims and yet the bags of bread still stacked nicely on carts in the video of the bakery bombing?

October 24th, 2012, 2:27 am

 

Michal said:

Mr. Landis, I hope you’re reading this. I’d just like to express my support to you in spite of the attacks on your decency and basic humanity. They are nevertheless baseless precisely because they are merely unfounded attacks on your character.

Some of which seem to have been even propped up by nonexistent thumbs in comment sections. How fortunate it is, that those abusing the system and you have been kind enough to discredit themselves with foaming at the mouth about Mossad and ALCIADA, whatever that is.

I’d just like to thank you for your analytical distance despite the circumstances, for your continued erudite comments as well as for your personal honesty and integrity.

October 24th, 2012, 3:45 am

 

Mina said:

I am sure the West would like the Arab revolutions to be a success, as long as no “neo-communist workers party” takes control. It is difficult though to take the responsibility to put more weapons on the ground, in a region which is already full of them.
When people see that even the Tunisians, who have no minorities and have enjoyed a non-discriminatory obligatory education until the age of 16, have been unable to achieve their agenda of delivering a constitution for the 23rd october, they are worried of what will come next.
Is there more freedom in Tunisia, Egypt or Yemen since the revolution? No. Rather less. Curfews here and there, emergency laws here and there, women out of the picture partly because of increasing poverty and mainly because increasing violence.
What is the solution? The end of political Islam and the Gulf accepting to take a moral lead in this matter.

October 24th, 2012, 4:08 am

 

annie said:

Syria – Kafrebel 22 10 2012
“Bomb us with Nuclear so
we all die and the world
will relax and don’t hear our screaming,
don’t see our bodies
don’t smell our blood”

PEOPLE, You don’t care!!! Killing becomes a normal behavior in your Market!!!!! Until when “I don’t care”

see image here :
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stop-World-War-III-in-Syria/489005137809173

October 24th, 2012, 4:15 am

 

Syrialover said:

That’s it MINA (#46)

Sock it to those hopeless, wretched Tunisians, Egyptians and Yemenis. They’ll never ever get there. Write them off and watch them go up in flames like they deserve. It’s not even worth expecting them to try – they haven’t got the right, I don’t know, genes?

That’s the message you relentlessly chant about the Arab world. It never varies.

I am honestly mystified about what dog you have in this fight. And why you choose to stage it on SyriaComment.

What would drive someone to focus on the Middle East despite the fact they apparently see the region and its people as a waste of space.

Here’s your chance: tell us who or what you DO approve of and support.

October 24th, 2012, 4:33 am

 

anita said:

dear mr. landis
thank you for publishing the ‘criticism’ your last post was earning – It’s very good to see that, even in the dense surrounding of the situation in syria, there is still the possibility of debating differences and different stands. or at least the attempt to give it a try.

(a syrian friend on the subject (concerning differences and criticism in another debate but nevertheless):
أعتقد أن الثورة قامت كي نحكي ونقول ونكتب بحرية. وليس كل ما يقوله أحدنا كلام لا يأتيه الباطل من أمامه أو خلفه.. من حق البشر أن يقولوا كلاماً خاطئاً. من حق البشر أن يقولوا أراءاً إنطباعية أو إعتباطية أو حتى كيدية.. ونجد من يرد عليهم ويقول رأيا مخالفاً.. آو يصحح لهم أو حتى يشتمهم.. هذه حياة. حياة غير معقمة.. حياة غير محسوبة بمسطرة الربح والخسارة والشائع…

October 24th, 2012, 5:24 am

 

Mina said:

SL,
You are the best weapon of the Asads. If you cannot see the relation between countries sharing borders, history, people and a religion, and reduce a revolution to “we poor Sunnis badly treated by bad bad Alawis and hypocrite Christians”, you’ll get nowhere.
For 18 months, you guys argue that Syria has no borders with Iraq, no common features with Lebanon, no similar problems as the Gulf half-citizens, and no political Islam as Egypt. You try to believe Syria is on another planet, and that the West does not have its own financial problems and agendas. Just keep believing.

October 24th, 2012, 5:34 am

 

Sisyphus said:

Hello Joshua,

Just a few words of support from someone who has been reading this blog for many years. Thank you for being interested in Syria long before anyone else was. I learned things about my country from this blog that many local people did not know. I have stopped commenting here over the past year or so because it has become a shouting match.

Regarding your post about arming the rebels properly, I agree that there is no way to negotiate with the regime from a position of weakness. Anyone who opposes the regime is in danger. Many will complain that the rebellion was armed from the start. Not true and also irrelevant; the people who participated in the ‘loyal opposition’ meetings were eventually silenced in one way or another. Unfortunately, we still have the mentality of rule by patronage rather than rule of law. While I understand that we are never going to learn democracy or the rule of law from Qatar or Saudi Arabia, we will also never have it in Syria, or in any country, unless the powers that be are challenged until they share power.

The problem with arming the rebels with anti-aircraft missiles is that they could sell or lose them to the PKK for example. What happens to Turkey’s tourist season when passenger jets are being shot at? Turkey is understandably wary, particularly as they don’t have any substantial international support for serious intervention.

Also, the population in Syria have yet to see in practical terms what the opposition are offering them. Iraqi Kurdistan, for example is a democracy run by gangsters. They have oil revenue, but it doesn’t change the fundamentals. Would the democracy gang in Syria be any better once they are in power? Even with the best of intentions, would democrats in power be able to uproot the tyranny of petty officials any more than Bashar can control his security men??

A social change is sorely needed. Something to underwrite the years of rebuilding ahead. While both sides believe they must have an absolute win, nothing will change. On the other hand, Lebanon is a bad example of power sharing. I always used to enjoy the freedom in the air every time I went to Beirut because it was such a change from the stuffy dictatorship at home. However, Lebanon is still unstable; a toy in other countries’ hands and in the clutches of its own sectarian gangsters.

No one, to my knowledge, has been able to show practically how Syria can move forward. The regime has no excuses. It has been in power long enough to prove itself. It is simply a den of thieves. I pity those government employees who are honest. The state has been gutted for many years now, and there is very little left. To those who want their stability back, I would say that you have spent years ignoring the state of your country. Every time you pay a bribe you destroy a small part of it. Don’t complain when it collapses, because the schools are rubbish, the public hospitals are rubbish, government jobs are all about taking bribes and avoiding work, corruption is everywhere and the ‘system’ is not delivering anything for the majority of the population. How can we fix the country without rule of law? If the rule of law applies to everyone, the president will be in jail. If the president doesn’t go to jail for all the crimes he has committed, then why should a traffic policeman be prosecuted for taking small bribes?
A taxi driver can not stand up to a traffic policeman’s tyranny any more than a peaceful protester can demand that the president should be impeached. But if the taxi driver and the protester carry arms in order to protect themselves from tyranny, where does that leave us? Is it better to have a broken, failing system than no system at all? How could any new system start to form without the weapons to protect itself from all who prefer the status quo?

Does anyone have any ideas about how to solve this riddle? Are there any credible examples of self-government in Syria today? Are the autonomous Kurdish areas democratic or gangsterships? Are there any Islamic movements that openly pronounce the rule of law over theocratic dictat?

October 24th, 2012, 5:35 am

 

habib said:

49. Mina

Well said.

As with those other “revolutions”, the leftists (who I would had supported to this day had they not been sidelined by Islamists) would probably have been able to make a nice democracy out of Syria.

They’re just too few and too irrelevant. Bashar al-Assad is closer to their views than whatever is fighting the regime right now.

October 24th, 2012, 6:13 am

 

Syrialover said:

MINA #49,

I can’t connect with what you are talking about.

Except you want me to agree that Syrians must be classified as hopeless and doomed just like you classify the rest of (your version of) the Arab world.

And nobody who has actually been following the situation in Syria would buy or sell your caricaturing of Syrians opposing the Assad regime as sectarian self-pitying Sunnis.

That is a cheap lightweight mantra straight out of the Assad propadanda kit. For a look at the reality I recommend the article on Syrian opposition attitudes via the link posted in #39.

Still puzzled as to what dog you have in this fight except seeking a chance to bark and bite at Arabs and snarl at whatever they do.

October 24th, 2012, 6:21 am

 

Citizen said:

Russian Foreign Minister: U.S. Playing “Geopolitical Game in the Middle East”
http://12160.info/page/2649739:Page:1023044

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has told the daily newspaper Rossiiskaya that the United States is playing a geopolitical game in the Middle East. Lavrov said accusations against al-Assad “are only a camouflage to cover a big geopolitical game. Another round is playing now, aimed at re-making the Middle East geopolitically. And players are taking pains to secure their geopolitical positions.”

October 24th, 2012, 6:51 am

 

Michal said:

@ 46. Quote: “Is there more freedom in Tunisia, Egypt or Yemen since the revolution? No. Rather less.”

Hey Mina, have you noticed the egyptian presidential pardon for people arrested during the revolution?
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-19877428

What about outlawing detention of people held in press crimes?
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/24/world/middleeast/morsi-move-ends-detention-of-a-critic.html?_r=0

Can you imagine Al Ahram criticising Mubarak’s government for its deficiencies in the same way they criticise Morsi now?

What about freedom of assembly, widely practiced by the Egyptians?

The Egyptian transition has a long way to go, but one would have to be completely and totally ignorant of the changes made to claim that there is “less freedom” in Egypt. I don’t know how much about Tunisia, because I don’t watch it, but one would have to wonder just what is worse about it. Going by wiki, it has dissolved political police, political prisoners have been freed. And of course, in all those countries people had the liberty to choose their representatives – especially in Tunisia, where they have chosen their assembly that drafts the new constitution.

There can be no denial of progress from dictatorship, no matter how slight, and there is no doubt that each of those countries is more free, not less. I am a little bit shocked to find anyone claiming the opposite.

October 24th, 2012, 7:44 am

 

Citizen said:

Syrian rebels armed with foreign-made SAMs – Russian chief of staff
Syrian insurgents have shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles, ‘MANPADs,’ in their arsenal that were produced in other countries, including the US, Russian armed forces Chief of Staff General Nikolay Makarov told reporters on Wednesday. “The Russian General Staff has information that the militants fighting against Syrian government forces have MANPADs produced in various countries, including US-made ‘Stingers,’” Interfax quoted Makarov as saying. The US claims “they did not ship anything to the militants,” he said, adding that there should be an investigation into how they acquired American-made MANPADs. “All kinds of transport vehicles could be used for this, including civilian aircraft,” he said.
http://rt.com/news/line/

October 24th, 2012, 7:49 am

 

Observer said:

Well well

Majbali has graced me with a response. But oh wait, there is a glimmer of a hint of a thought going through his head.

I think this is because he has no political solution.

Political solution my foot with the likes of this regime.

But hey what do you expect from those in this regime that gained their post and influence by sectarian means who have no clue of what a meritocracy means and who as evidenced by the example of their so called First Lady KNOW THE PRICE OF EVERYTHING AND THE VALUE OF NOTHING.

Maybe Freddo and Athma can go on line shopping for a political solution.

October 24th, 2012, 7:53 am

 
 
 

Warren said:

Egyptian President Morsi Joins Preacher in Prayer for the Dispersal of the Jews

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AuMCvi-_u0c&feature=g-all-u

__________________________________________________________________

Classic Ikhwan taqqiyya. Honour Sadat one day, the next day pray alongside radical preachers calling for Israel’s destruction.

October 24th, 2012, 8:10 am

 

Warren said:

Qatari Emir warmly received by Hamas leadership

The Qatari Emir has made the first-ever visit by a head of state to the Gaza Strip since Islamist militant group Hamas seized control of the territory five years ago.

October 24th, 2012, 8:13 am

 

Mina said:

Michal: Just read the archive of “al Ahram weekly”, in English, for the same amount of criticism. The MBs have other ways to manipulate polls and elections, but the landscape is just the same.
Actually if you want to read criticism of Morsi, tune to http://www.egyptindependent.com, because Ahram journalists just know exactly jow to keep their seats.

SL
The self-pitying Sunnis are only commenting on this forum. The solution will come from the local opposition, not from Syrian expats with US passports who know mainly the Damascus 4 seasons.

October 24th, 2012, 8:15 am

 

Warren said:

Foreign fighters bolster Taliban

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jldW2biiAGI&feature=relmfu

Listen to to Paki English accent 00:25, these same Pakis are now fighting in Syria and spewing propaganda on this site.

October 24th, 2012, 8:17 am

 

Warren said:

Russian Church Highlights Persecution of Christians in Syria

The Russian Orthodox Church is worried about the persecution of Christians in Syria and other Arab countries where regimes changed rapidly, a top Church official said.

“We are deeply worried by what is going on in Syria, where radical forces are trying to come to power with the help of Western powers,” Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Russian Church’s Department of External Church Relations, told journalists.

“Where they come to power, Christian communities become the first victims,” he said.

Metropolitan Hilarion on Tuesday spoke at the UN General Assembly’s social and humanitarian affairs committee and met with UN chief Ban Ki-moon.

He also cited Iraq as an example, saying that 1.5 million Christians lived in the country 10 years ago, and adding that the number has significantly decreased since. Many have been killed or forced to escape to other countries, the metropolitan said.

The current number of Christians, a minority in mainly Muslim Iraq, does not exceed 350,000, and it was above 1 million before the Gulf War in 1991, according to human rights watchdog Open Doors USA.

Metropolitan Hilarion said the topic of the persecution of Christians is being hushed up by Western press and is not on the UN or other international organizations’ agenda.

“The talk is not about insufficient tolerance, but about a real full-scale persecution of Christians that embraces different countries and whose victims are tens and hundreds of thousands of Christians,” he said.

http://en.ria.ru/art_living/20121024/176870732.html

October 24th, 2012, 8:21 am

 

Warren said:

Damascus car bomb kills 13 in Christian quarter of old city

A CAR bomb has killed 13 people and injured 29 near a police station in the Christian St Thomas’s Gate quarter of Damascus’s old city.

The blast occurred as UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi discussed a ceasefire yesterday with Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the explosion, the first bombing in this location, although a majority of Syrian Christians have backed the government since the rebellion erupted 19 months ago.

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/world/2012/1022/1224325543674.html

October 24th, 2012, 8:23 am

 

Warren said:

Syrian bishop: ‘all the churches desecrated’ in Homs

The Chaldean Catholic bishop of Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, told an audience at Parliament in London that the city is in “chaos.”

Christians “have fled their homes because of the threat of bombs, they have lost their livelihoods; schools, hospitals and other public services do not function,” said Bishop Antoine Audo, a Jesuit who has led his eparchy (Eastern-rite diocese) of 35,000 Chaldean Catholics since 1992.

“80% of people have no job and have no option but to stay at home,” he added. “Poverty is getting very serious, especially with rising prices and no salaries. The face of the city has changed. There is no security, everything is dirty, there are difficulties in basic travel, no taxis, no buses.”

“In the city of Homs, home to what was the country’s second-largest Christian community, all but a few of the faithful were forced to leave after a wave of persecution—all the churches desecrated,” he continued.

http://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=15985

__________________________________________________________________

Desecrating churches and persecuting Christians, Sunnis once more reverting to type. This is the Sunni default behavior, destroy anything or kill anyone who is different. Yet these same arrogant tayyiqqa Sunnis come on here spout their self-serving and delusional sob stories.

Sunnis think they can cower the Christians of Syria, little do they know them. Christians have been living in Syria long before these Sunni invaders from Arabia came, and Christians will forever remain in Syria.

Christians support a secular system, because that is the only way all ethnic & religious groups can be protected. Christians will not pay Jizya or accept Dhimmi status to these barbaric Sunnis.

October 24th, 2012, 8:34 am

 

Warren said:

Egyptian Cleric Alaa Said Ridicules Christianity and Vows to Instate Islamic Law in Egypt

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzcorxbktLM&feature=g-all-u

__________________________________________________________________

More Sunni bigotry and barbarism, this is what awaits Syria if the Sunni insurgency succeeds.

October 24th, 2012, 8:43 am

 

Dawoud said:

Joshou Landis:

Thanks for for your opinion that the opposition needs anti-aircraft missiles to stop Bashar’s, Khameini’s, and Hasan’s war crimes.
It would be nice to give me a little credit because, as readers of this blog and its commentators know, I have been advocating for this defensive weapon for a long time. In fact, my whole peace plan-which is the quickest way to end Bashar’s war crimes and his long tyranny-has been based on anti-aircraft (anti-MIG) weapons for Syria’s freedom fighters.

Free Syria and Palestine!

October 24th, 2012, 8:47 am

 

Tara said:

• The emir of Qatar’s visit to Gaza has provided “a stunning boost” for Hamas, Ian Black and Harriet Sherwood write in an article for the Guardian.

Qatar, whose per-capita income is now the highest in the world, is in effect using its enormous oil and gas riches and close ties to Islamist organisations to expand its regional influence in the wake of its involvement in the uprisings against Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi and Bashar al-Assad in Syria …

Observers in the region also see the visit in part as a reward to Hamas for ending its support for Assad. Until a few months ago, the movement’s exiled leadership was based in Damascus, helping bolster Syria’s credentials as a key member of the “axis of resistance” confronting Israel, along with Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/oct/23/qatari-emir-welcome-gaza-visit

October 24th, 2012, 8:49 am

 

Dawoud said:

67. TARA

Palestinians are now saying “Thanks Qatar,” which is what Hasan Nasrillat and his clones said when the Qatari Amir visited Hizbistan and gave money to rebuild Nasrillat’s infrastructure.

Unlike Nasrillat and Hizbistan’s folks, however, Palestinians are GRACIOUS people and will always say: “Thank you Qatar!”

Free Syria, Free Palestine, Thank You Qatar!

October 24th, 2012, 8:54 am

 

Warren said:

Israel kills three Hamas militants after Qatari emir leaves Gaza

Israel killed three Hamas gunmen in Gaza Strip air strikes on Tuesday which the military said targeted squads preparing to launch rockets into the Jewish state.

The air force operations followed other Palestinian attacks, including a bomb blast that wounded an Israeli army officer patrolling the Gaza border, on a day that saw the isolated, Hamas-governed enclave receive its first foreign head of state, the emir of Qatar.

Israeli leaders had vowed retaliation for the morning bombing on Gaza’s boundary fence, but Israeli television said military actions were put on hold until Qatar’s Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani had left.

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/10/23/uk-palestinians-israel-violence-idUKBRE89M1GF20121023

October 24th, 2012, 8:56 am

 

AIG said:

I am getting confused.
Are Islamists good or bad?

From the regime supporter’s side:
Hamas (the Muslim Brotherhood) are great when hosted by Assad. Bad when they are not. Or when they are supported by Qatar. They are also good when sent to Iraq, but bad when they come to Syria. Hezbollah and Iran, the ultimate Isalmists are still good even though they are Islamists and believe in theocracy, though regime supporters insist on a secular Syria but support a theocracy in Iran and Lebanon.

From the opposition’s side:
Hamas was bad while it supported the regime, now is it good? Is the model for Syria Gaza? Hezbollah was great in the past but is now not. Is it because of their ideology or because who they support? How about the Islamists coming into Syria to help fight Assad? Good or bad?

Just make up your minds and let us know where you stand. Because even if you are confused, the Islamists are not, and they will eat your lunch and prey on your indecisiveness and muddled thinking.

October 24th, 2012, 10:39 am

 

Tara said:

Zoo

Where are you?

October 24th, 2012, 10:57 am

 
 

Tara said:

Thank you Syrian

October 24th, 2012, 11:31 am

 

Mjabali said:

So called “observer”

If you really love Syria you will echo any call that calls for peaceful solutions instead of giving us your vision of how change should be implemented.

As for political solutions contrary to your normal angry rant yes it is possible to reach a political solution. If there is a will there is a way.

October 24th, 2012, 11:32 am

 

Mjabali said:

Islamic parties should be countered with the establishment an encouragement of parties with other agendas .

There is and was and will be no good of any party that has religion as its backbone .

October 24th, 2012, 11:36 am

 

Mina said:

AIG,
Hamas came to power thanks to the first free election in the Arab world, according to all the international observers. So what is your take?

(Chomsky at AUC yesterday, listen to 47′)
http://youtu.be/C2P6HSRLZgQ

October 24th, 2012, 11:48 am

 

Michal said:

@ 57. I’m not saying the police and the army suddenly started being angelic, Habib. I’m saying there’s more freedom. Which there undoubtedly is, unless you can show me something that was possible under Mubarak but isn’t any more.

Also I note the source which you quote is Al Akhbar, a notoriously pro-Assad publication so vile that its own staff has embarked on a mass exodus from the publication.

October 24th, 2012, 12:01 pm

 

Citizen said:

66. DAWOUD:
Enough rant!

What do you think Mr. Joshua to become the phenomenon of widespread anti-aircraft missiles carried on the shoulder around the world is easy for anyone who wishes and become Practice? Ding the door in Syria hear the answer across the world

October 24th, 2012, 12:02 pm

 

Visitor said:

Citizen 78,

This is the first time you write with your own words, i.e other than quoting sources.

I wasn’t able to make out what you’re trying to say.

Care to elaborate?

October 24th, 2012, 12:08 pm

 

Michal said:

Why is the comments page being swamped by news of anything but Syria?

@ 70. AIG: Islamism is such a wide category that you may want to specify whom concretely are you talking about, to decide whether they’re good or bad. Also, Muslim Brotherhood is a widely branched organisation whose Syrian branch may be completely different from the Egyptian one, which is different from Hamas in Gaza yet. You can’t just say “Make up your mind whether islamists are good or bad”, it’s like saying: “Hey you, European! Make up your mind: conservatism. Good or bad?”

October 24th, 2012, 12:09 pm

 

AIG said:

Mina,

My take is that any accountable government is good and that “one person one vote, one time” is not. Since Hamas do not plan to face another free election in Gaza, how they came to power is meaningless and irrelevant. If they claim to represent the people, let them allow real freedom of speech and let them put their record on the line in free elections every few years. Otherwise, they are just dictators. Democracy is a ongoing process, not a one time event.

And as usual, your position is inconsistent and unprincipled. If the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria wins the election will you accept it? Wait, will you even accept religious parties to run? Why don’t you ask your Syrian friends. The position of Alex for example is against religious parties and that is what is currently written in the new Syrian constitution. So if the Palestinians adopted a similar constitution, Hamas would not have been able to run. But that does not stop you from giving Hamas as an example does it?

October 24th, 2012, 12:11 pm

 

AIG said:

Michal,

Just go ahead and answer the question in a nuanced way instead of saying that the answer should be nuanced. It will at least lead to a more in depth discussion.

October 24th, 2012, 12:18 pm

 

Michal said:

@ 82. Well as I said, it’s such a muddled question that I don’t even know how to respond to it. “Are islamists good or bad”? Are conservatives good or bad? Some are good and some are bad. It all comes down to a party’s willingness to hand over the power, should it lose the election, doesn’t it? We don’t know how will the newly elected islamist parties stand in that test, but overall I guess they’re alright in as far as they’re willing to permit a democratic society to exist and indeed hand over the power.

As I wrote, it appears that Tunisia and Egypt are more free following a year of islamist governance and not less, which encourages me to think of them as capable of joining in democratic process.

The sheer power of islamists in the region, and Syria specifically, and their place on what could be imagined as scales of power, make it impossible to close them out of the political process anyway. If they’re going to be closed out, then all Syria is left with is Bashar al Assad, whom we all KNOW is the losing variant, without even a shadow of a doubt.

So even if democracy should fail in Syria and some sort of other system should be put in place, it would seem to me quite likely it is poised to be more humane than the standing regime.

“Just make up your minds and let us know where you stand. Because even if you are confused, the Islamists are not, and they will eat your lunch and prey on your indecisiveness and muddled thinking.”

This assumes that islamists want to eat our lunches and prey on us. You’re trying to insert your point behind a seemingly innocuous question, and I disagree with your point. 😉

October 24th, 2012, 12:30 pm

 

Michal said:

@ 82. But if your question was whether islamism, as broadly defined as it is, happens to be somehow inherently opposed to goals of the revolution, as broadly defined as they are in terms of dignity, justice and liberty, I would have to say no.

October 24th, 2012, 12:42 pm

 

Tara said:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/middle-east-live/2012/oct/23/syria-un-peacekeepers-ceasefire-hopes-fade-live#block-5086a57cc0e343ef1abc7f54

The leading Syrian grassroots activist group has rejected Lakhdar Brahimi’s ceasefire plans and revealed that the international envoy lost his temper with the group when it rejected negotiation with the Assad regime.

Rafif Jouejati, spokeswoman for the Local Co-ordination Committees of Syria, said Brahimi’s call for a truce was a “waste of time”.

During a meeting in New York last month she claimed Brahimi reacted angrily to the LCC’s rejection of talks with the Syrian government, and refused to continue discussion with them.

Speaking to the Guardian she said:

We have tried to communicate with him [Brahimi] on numerous occasions. I tried to relay the voices of activists on the ground and he immediately dismissed me, and in fact lost his temper with me. He did not want to hear bad news from activists on the ground. I felt that as an allegedly neutral party, and one who should be a negotiator, he had an obligation to listen to what the people on the streets are saying, and he flatly refused.

Asked if she ruled out future negotiations with Brahimi, she said:

Of course we should always pursue discussions and dialogue, but it has to lead to concrete results. We can’t come out with soft plans that do not address the fact that there is something approaching genocide taking place in Syria. We cannot discuss in diplomatic or political terms any sort of a solution that does not include the removal of Bashar al-Assad and his regime apparatus.

She roundly rejected Brahimi’s idea of a truce over the Eid al-Adha holiday.

The Brahimi ceasefire proposal is really dead on arrival. To us it is nothing more than version three of the Annan plan. It is a sign that the United Nations wants to beat its head against the wall again and again and expect a different outcome. Assad has demonstrated through the Kofi Annan plan, and before that the Arab League initiative, that he has no intention of pulling back tanks, or allowing unfettered access to media, or allowing peaceful protests to continue.

A call for a ceasefire now that has no teeth, no consequences, and no real timetable is just a waste of time. Brahimi has requested a ceasefire during the Eid holidays. That implies that it is OK to kill up until the holidays begin, and it implies that post holidays there is no restriction on killing.

Jouejati said last night’s US presidential debate suggested there was unlikely to be any increase in US support for rebel groups in Syria after the election.

“If Romney were to be elected I would not expect air strikes against Syria. I believe it’s just campaign rhetoric,” she said.

Asked about human rights abuses by rebel fighters, Jouejati said 40 rebel units had now signed up to human rights charter. But she added:

After four decades of Assad rule, there is no such thing as human rights in Syria. The defected soldiers who belong to the Free Syrian Army have the same level of education as the regular regime soldiers. So it’s a process of educating, dialogue and showing them that there is a way to win this and be better than the Assad regime …

If members of the Free Syrian Army are committing atrocities, of course they need to be held accountable. They need to be educated in terms of human rights. We are looking to transition into a state that respects human rights and international laws. So it begins with us.

She said the opposition Syrian National Council, of which the LCC is a member, was preparing to announce “indications” of a possible transitional government over the next few days.

The LCC has withdrawn its threat to pull out of the SNC ..

October 24th, 2012, 12:47 pm

 

Tara said:

Brahimi is illusioned if he thinks he can cower to the “powerful” and dismiss “the weak”. He should go home and stop wasting the UN money and our time reading his news. He is an old man and appears grumpy. Did he show the same grumpiness with Besho? I just can imagine the personality..

October 24th, 2012, 12:53 pm

 

AIG said:

Michal,

“This assumes that islamists want to eat our lunches and prey on us. You’re trying to insert your point behind a seemingly innocuous question, and I disagree with your point.”

All we have to do is look at history. The Iranian Islamists murdered tens of thousands of their leftist supporters after they came into power. Hamas does not plan to relinquish power. In Lebanon, Hezbollah has created a state within a state and has its own militia. In Egypt, the left and secularists were no match for the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis. Let’s see if they remain accountable.

You dismiss and ignore these past warning signs at your peril. It is not my opinion, it is just historical fact. Of course, things can turn out differently in Syria, but for that to happen there has to be an organized front that can stand up to the Islamists.

October 24th, 2012, 12:53 pm

 

Michal said:

@ 87. But that’s precisely defying the point I was trying to make. You can’t compare islamists around the region to each other, because they’re all so different. Muslim brotherhood in Egypt is not Hamas, and Iranians 1979 are not Tunisians 2012.

That is my core disagreement with your predictions and assertions.

I am aware of the history, but I am also aware of the present. As I said, there are other signs in Tunisia and Egypt, which are encouraging to me.

October 24th, 2012, 12:57 pm

 

sf94123 said:

“Endless discord and sectarian violence” This is Syria today! I doubt it that a political solution is possible at the moment or a victory by either side is near. Nothing left but more death and more destruction. The worst is yet to come! Evil prevailed in Syria (the cradle of 10,000 years of civilization) –Shame on everyone who participated directly or indirectly in this barbaric acts!

October 24th, 2012, 12:57 pm

 

Tara said:

Today’s main news is that international envoy Lakhdar Brahimi says he has agreement from the Syrian government on a ceasefire for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha which begins on Friday.

Brahimi also says “most” of the anti-Assad fighting groups that he has been able to contact agree on “the principle” of a ceasefire.

The Syrian government has yet to confirm its agreement, and there have been widespread doubts as to whether a ceasefire can take hold or be sustained.

The rebels’ Joint Military Command says it is waiting for an announcement from the Syrian government (expected tomorrow) before making its own announcement.

Jabhat al-Nusra, the jihadist group, has reportedly said it rejects a ceasefire.

Meanwhile, Brahimi has briefed the UN security council and called for its support.

The Guardian

October 24th, 2012, 12:57 pm

 

Uzair8 said:

#81 AIG

‘The position of Alex for example is against religious parties and that is what is currently written in the new Syrian constitution.’

‘So if the Palestinians adopted a similar constitution, Hamas could not have been able to run.’

_____________________________________________________________

As long as people are included in the process of deciding future direction, or banning anyone.

It seems previously many were excluded from such decisions as dictators decided matters and then imposed it on the population.

Going by wiki, the syrian MB was banned after the baathist coup of 1963.

Anyway, I just wanted to point out that people may not have had a say in previous decisions.

October 24th, 2012, 12:59 pm

 

Tara said:

Rebels ‘awaiting regime announcement’ on truce
The opposition Joint Military Command says it is waiting for the Syrian government’s announcement before making its own decision regarding a ceasefire.

Zaid Benjamin of Radio Sawa interviewed JMC spokesman Fahd al-Misri in Arabic (audio here). Our colleague Mona Mahmood has been listening to it and picked out these quotes:

Up till now the Syrian regime did not declare its position explicitly. We, the joint command, are waiting for a declared explicit position by the Syrian regime and after that we will take our decision regarding the truce.

We confirm if the truce happened it won’t mean lifting the siege on areas where the regime’s forces are surrounded or risking the lives of the Syrian people and we won’t allow the regime to catch its breath and commit more massacres after the truce.

We also confirm that we won’t accept any regional settlement that allow Bashar to stay in power, yet, any truce or negotiations should be conditioned with Bashar’s and his gangs departure.

We hope there will be no trick by Bashar [al-Assad] or a regional power behind the truce proposal.

There is no retreat in our positions but we want to protect the lives of the Syrian people.

The Guardian

October 24th, 2012, 1:07 pm

 

Aldendeshe said:

Looks like Jews/Zionists and low end Islamist servants taken over this blog, this is a sign of desperation, they finaly can see defeat coming. Assad my have not win Syrians any victory but for sure he defeated the Jewish-NWO

October 24th, 2012, 1:08 pm

 

alepoinmyheart said:

To be more contextual, Mr Landis should have mentionned that the journalist Nir Rosen is a shia from Iranian origin.
He has always been a media covert support for the shia alawi regime.

October 24th, 2012, 1:10 pm

 

Syrian Natonalist Party said:

Jabhat al-Nusra, the jihadist group, has reportedly said it rejects a ceasefire.
_________________________________________________________________
Mossad wants the extra time to kill more Syrians. Jewish terrorist website SITE, which promotes fake Mossad controlled Jihadist fronts said no Islamic Holiday acceptable to the front, agreed to stop for Yom Kippur and other Jewish High Days.

October 24th, 2012, 1:20 pm

 

AIG said:

Michal,

It is better to plan ahead than be optimistic. If you just put your faith in the goodwill of the Islamists, you are courting disaster and repeating the exact same mistakes of the past. The Islamists have an important part to play in Syria’s future, but without an organized secular counter force, the results will not be good.

October 24th, 2012, 1:27 pm

 

Michal said:

@ 95. You are again trying to steer the rhetoric in a particular direction. Are you sure secular forces should be a counter-force, ie. in conflict with islamists by default? I believe that when it comes to establishing democratic governance, they can co-opt each other.

It is not a matter of faith, it is a matter of reasonable extrapolation from behaviour of islamists elsewhere in the region, Tunisia or Egypt, where they do continue to liberalise the society.

I for one am an atheist. And a secularist. I would like to see Syria as secular as possible. But this does not mean that I will discount the liberal potential within some islamist movements, where the government has none.

October 24th, 2012, 1:37 pm

 

Mina said:

The Islamists in Mali: alive and kicking. 6 months for these neo-Talibans to be in power, ‘oh tragic’, as many Guardian commenters put it.
500,000 refugees so far.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/oct/23/mali-militants-declare-war-music

Michal
In Tunisia and Egypt?? Could you give a single example of what you are stating. Has life in villages changed an inch? Just check Yuri Nasrallah’s last film, or the news about Tunisia in the last 7 days.

October 24th, 2012, 1:39 pm

 

Citizen said:

79. VISITOR
This is an international responsibility which must be taken by the United States into account! What I meant is encrypted to the words of the Russian Chief of Staff Markov!

October 24th, 2012, 1:40 pm

 

Michal said:

@ 97. And this is what I’m talking about. Shifting the focus to Mali. That’s apparently really great place to compare to Syria. How is this even related? If this were relevant, why haven’t we heard of islamists in Syria banning music or pictures?

That’s right, because it’s not happening, and so your story is not relevant.

Do me a favour and read the following: http://www.understandingwar.org/report/jihad-syria

October 24th, 2012, 1:42 pm

 

Mina said:

AIG
You condemn Hamas for the way it has ruled, i.e. no freedom of speech and no elections. But Israel and US declared the election void as quickly as it happened, and didn’t let them rule before condemning them. As far as I am concerned, I am against any religious and/or ethnic parties, since almost every religion is based on some discrimination towards other believers and/or women.

October 24th, 2012, 1:44 pm

 

Mina said:

Michal
It is relevant in the fact that the West will not intervene in Syria. And it has been so for 18 months (before Mali it was Libya, the financial crisis, etc).
The people on the ground have been manipulated by people abroad promessing them “milk and honey” while the real revolution is to transform the minds.

October 24th, 2012, 1:46 pm

 

AIG said:

Michal,

Of course the secularists should be a political counter force to the Islamists.

Though you would not discount the liberal potential in Islamist parties you do seem to discount the dictatorial potential in these parties despite recent and past history. What you are doing is called wishful thinking. You are discounting the evidence you don’t like and emphasizing the evidence you do. I cannot recall one example of an Islamist party that has relinquished power peacefully through elections. Do you have an example of that?

I am not pushing a point of view. I wish just like you that the Islamists were really liberals. But the facts just don’t support that. Calling facts a point of view won’t help.

And don’t get me wrong, I am for Assad going in spite of the Islamists. He is a complete dead end for Syria. But to not acknowledge the threat that Islamists pose is ridiculous.

October 24th, 2012, 1:50 pm

 

AIG said:

Mina,

If you are against religious parties, why did you even bring Hamas as an example? If you could, you would have not even let them run! So why are you blaming the US and Israel for being against them? That is exactly your position.

Israel was against Hamas running because of their military arm. Political parties don’t have armies, because then you get exactly what happened in Gaza “one person, one vote, one time”. I have nothing against religious parties as long as they are willing to play according to democratic rules, and that goes for Hamas also.

The whole world turned against Hamas after the elections because they were not willing to respect the agreements that the Palestinians previously signed. You see, they got elected based on these agreements and the system created based on them, and then they disowned them.

October 24th, 2012, 1:59 pm

 

Michal said:

@ 102. Now you’re sliding downright into a demagogy area.

“I cannot recall one example of an Islamist party that has relinquished power peacefully through elections. Do you have an example of that?”

Considering that no islamic party has ever held on power long enough to relinquish it – save for the aforementioned Iranians, it’s a bit of a poorly supported thesis. I guess there’s AKP, but that’s the thing, they didn’t lose the elections.

“Though you would not discount the liberal potential in Islamist parties you do seem to discount the dictatorial potential in these parties despite recent and past history. What you are doing is called wishful thinking. ”

I’m not discounting dictatorial potential, it’s just that there’s been little evidence of it demonstrated so far in the countries affected by Arab Spring. MINA was trying some of that earlier, but didn’t get very far with it. What more do the islamist parties need to do, if not only to win the elections, but also to relax press laws, disband political police in Tunisia, give out amnesty to dissidents, permit assembly of citizens and so on? Are these countries /less/ free than under their respective dictators? Judging by the progress made, I am forced to conclude that no, they’re not. Egypt for it’s part is not a completely democratic country, but it’s not the dictatorship that it was either.
I don’t watch Tunis, but from what I see it is no longer a dictatorship, it does look free as it can be. If it’s not, why not? Why is it less free or just as oppressive as under Ben Ali? I for one haven’t noticed En Nahda implementing censorship, stuffing the prisons with political prisoners or anything like that.

October 24th, 2012, 2:03 pm

 

Syrialover said:

MINA,

Always so sour. Making more random assertions and assumptions to support your God-knows-what case.

Incidentally, sources in Cairo and Tunis say the new intellectual and artistic freedoms and political debates there are in dizzying contrast to the past. They are now living in another solar system from Assadist Syria and Iran.

Tunisians, for example, will tell you of the joy of seeing newspapers without large photographs of Ben Ali and insultingly dumb propaganda dumps dominating the front page every day.

These new freedoms are the important fuel of political development, but are still fresh in the pipelines. They will also show up the limitations and lack of modern competence of the Islamists.

Just imagine the same in Syria!

October 24th, 2012, 2:05 pm

 

zoo said:

The powerless Syrian opposition leaders trapped by their Islamists extremists allies?

Islamic militant group in Syria rejects truce
By BARBARA SURK | Associated Press – 2 hrs 6 mins ago

BEIRUT (AP) — The current international peace plan seeking to stop Syria’s civil war suffered a major setback Wednesday when an al-Qaida-inspired militant group rejected a cease-fire proposed by the international envoy.

Lakhdar Brahimi, the U.N.-Arab League envoy for Syria, said the government in Damascus and some rebel leaders had agreed to a four-day truce during the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday, which starts Friday.

October 24th, 2012, 2:15 pm

 

Citizen said:

Obama said that would be an exaggeration!!!!!
In the final televised debate between the two candidates for president of the United States, both agreed to work to achieve the ouster of Bashar Al Assad of Syria. Romney said he would give heavy weapons to rebels, while Obama said that would be an exaggeration. The U.S. president said his country would continue to support the opposition in Syri
http://english.pravda.ru/world/americas/24-10-2012/122550-obama_romney-0/

October 24th, 2012, 2:22 pm

 

Warren said:

Allowing women drivers in Saudi Arabia will be ‘end of virginity’

Allowing women drivers in Saudi Arabia will tempt them into sex, promote pornography and create more homosexuals, according to some conservative Muslim scholars.

Academics at the Majlis al-Ifta’ al-A’ala, which is Saudi Arabia’s highest religious council, said the relaxation of the rules would inevitably lead to “no more virgins”.

Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world where women are banned from driving.

The academics, working in conjunction with Kamal Subhi, a former professor at the conservative King Fahd University, produced the conclusions in a report for the country’s legislative assembly, the Shura Council.

It warned that allowing women to drive would “provoke a surge in prostitution, pornography, homosexuality and divorce”.

Within 10 years of the ban being lifted, it claimed, there would be “no more virgins” in the Islamic kingdom.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/news/8930168/Allowing-women-drivers-in-Saudi-Arabia-will-be-end-of-virginity.html

__________________________________________________________________

Yet this same vile backward sewer of a country has the nerve to interfere in Syrian affairs and assume it knows what is best for the people of Syria. The people of Syria must resist the backwardness and barbarism that Wahhabistan and its minions are promoting. Syria must remain secular and plural; Syria’s ethnic and religious diversity must not be destroyed by the false religion of Riyadh.

October 24th, 2012, 2:27 pm

 

AIG said:

Michal,

And there is Hamas of course who have been in power since 2006 and Hezbollah who have not relinquished their weapons. All examples of Islamists not playing by the democratic rules. Again, evidence you discount.

No one is arguing against changing the previous regimes. The Islamists are an improvement over them. But all the arguments you make about Tunisia you could first make about Hamas in Gaza. It is when they feel the public turning on them and criticizing them, that they “forget” the rules.

A man jumps from the 100th floor of a building. As he passes the 40th floor someone asks him: How are you doing? He answers: So far so good.

October 24th, 2012, 2:29 pm

 

MarigoldRan said:

The regime already understands it’s lost the north, which is why it’s doing these bombing raids. What it doesn’t understand is that no one in the opposition or in the international scene will negotiate with it, until Assad leaves. He’s trying to do what the US did in Vietnam and the Russians did in Afghanistan. With similar levels of success. There is no possibility of a political endgame with him in power.

Assad’s still making these idiotic pledges of amnesty and what-not. Wishful thinking. He doesn’t understand how silly he sounds.

October 24th, 2012, 2:30 pm

 

Syrialover said:

WARREN (and MINA?),

If you are representing a “Christian” viewpoint I suspect you would be told by genuine mainstream Christians to go to your room and read the bible to get a sense of what that religion teaches its followers.

Tolerance, love for all mankind and respect for others who are different, empathy, compassion, forgiveness and self-awareness are just a few starting points.

I think you would be confused to see how many Christian churches in the west are praying for the people of Syria (not just the Christians there) and will support aid to them post-Assad.

Likewise, every word of support for Syrians and condemnation of Assad that is coming from the west is coming out of Christian-based culture and institutions.

But if you are just “political Christians” you have defined yourself by placing yourself at odds with anyone who is a Muslim – ie most of the population of the Middle East.

As I have said here before, I have been dismayed to hear Middle Eastern Christians in the west aggressively parrot Assad’s lines.

Instead, they could find plenty of moderate Muslims to share their concerns about Islamists.

And let some mainstream Christians demonstrate to them how to care about ALL the victims of the nightmare in Syria, not just “political Christians”.

October 24th, 2012, 2:40 pm

 

MarigoldRan said:

Though this may sound odd to Western ears, in the Middle East Islamist governments are an improvement over their secular counterparts. These governments at least have a certain measure of genuine popular support because MOST OF THE PEOPLE IN THE MIDDLE EAST ARE MUSLIM.

A secular government in the Middle East will ALWAYS transform into an authoritarian/totalitarian regime because it is not representative of the population at large. Imposing a non-religious government on a highly religious population is a recipe for disaster.

October 24th, 2012, 2:41 pm

 

Michal said:

@ 109. True, I did forget Hezbollah and Hamas, and I guess you make a valid point. So from me, +1. They’re both relatively minor though, and they’re ideologically highly different from the En Nahda mentioned earlier or, again, Egypt. Hezbollah for it’s part is fashioned to Iranian image. I don’t think we ought to draw definitive lessons from these particular examples.

I guess it’s wait and see. I for one believe islamism, although certainly not all of it, can be compatible with democracy.

October 24th, 2012, 3:12 pm

 

Syrian Natonalist Party said:

Learn who Zionist Jews really are:

AMOS 5:26

New International
You have lifted up the shrine of your king, the pedestal of your idols, the star of your god–which you made for yourselves.

New American Standard Bible
“You also carried along Sikkuth your king and Kiyyun, your images, the star of your gods which you made for yourselves.

King James Bible
But ye have borne the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves.

October 24th, 2012, 3:12 pm

 

Joshua said:

Many thanks to those of you who had some kind words and to those who disagreed politely. Merci, it means a lot. Joshua

October 24th, 2012, 3:12 pm

 

Citizen said:

pre-planned attack on Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan,Iran
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtUfYGBlYSw

Sudan blames Israeli air strike hit for munitions plant blasts
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/24/us-sudan-planes-idUSBRE89N0WU20121024

October 24th, 2012, 3:14 pm

 

Aldendeshe said:

Hey Rothschild dude, let me know when you need help, we just need 500 billion for Syria rebuilding into Greco-Roman State again,the rest you can have, all Arabia oil can be yours, send the Bishop to firm the deal.

October 24th, 2012, 3:26 pm

 

Syrialover said:

ALDENDESHE/SNP

It must be exhausting and distressing to live with all those extremist obsessions and conspiracy theories buzzing around in your brain.

Have you ever tried to get help for it?

We occasionally see glimpses of rational thinking and ideas, but then the buzzing takes over and away you go, swamping it with all that other stuff.

It’s a shame and a waste.

October 24th, 2012, 3:36 pm

 

Roland said:

Foreigners should stay out of Syria’s civil war. The Syrian land, the Syrian government, and most of all, Syrian sovereignty, all belong to Syrians. The civil war, too, must belong to Syrians and as far as possible, only to Syrians.

Syrians must decide for themselves when and under which conditions they will stop fighting.

The acceptable roles for foreigners are simple: receive and host the refugees, accept the exiles, sponsor peace talks, and offer amnesty to any who request it.

October 24th, 2012, 3:51 pm

 

Aldendeshe said:

It must be exhausting and distressing to live with all those extremist
_______________________________________________________________________

No, I love teaching people true history of humanity and a way of life, away from worshiping evil Jews and their Rep*t*ilia*ns(Devil)gods. It is pure JOY and satisfaction. As you read, I enjoy it and do it for free, I am not a mercenary, and I am a missionary.

October 24th, 2012, 3:54 pm

 

Mina said:

105 SL
Could you provide a single article?
Incidentally, you and Mishal fail to mention the scandal about Ghannouchi’s video linked by Zoo a few days ago, as well as the news about fightings, killing of a political activist, curfew in the city of Gabes and riots, which I posted yesterday.
http://www.lexpress.mu/story/43845-tunisie-anniversaire-morose-des-premieres-elections-libres.html
http://www.northafricaunited.com/Video-shows-Tunisia-s-Ghannouchi-backing-Salafists_a2423.html

October 24th, 2012, 4:00 pm

 

Juergen said:

Dylan Connor has released an other song: Feza Feza

October 24th, 2012, 4:05 pm

 

Citizen said:

117
Is not the moral task of developed countries not to exercise collective punishment of the Syrian people through the unjust siege? Was not better to train Syrian opposition on political action and care about it practice instead of pouring oil on the fire? We have all sinned!!!!

October 24th, 2012, 4:17 pm

 

Syrialover said:

ALDENDESHE/SNP,

You are not doing it for free – it would be costing you dearly in terms of alientation, isolation and respect from everyone who encounters you.

And if you aspire to be a “missionary” you desperately need training in how to communicate your ideas to others. What you present here is an indecipherable buzz of bizarre beliefs, violent and sometimes sordid images and explosive suspicion and anger at the world.

As I said, it must be exhausting and distressing to live with a such a jangling cacaphony of obsessions and conspiracy theories in your brain.

But I think you know it and have been kindly (and not so kindly) advised many times by many people to get some help with it.

October 24th, 2012, 4:25 pm

 

Syrialover said:

MINA #119 said:

“Could you provide a single article?” [about the new intellectual and cultural freedoms and political debates being enjoyed in Cairo and Tunis]

There have been countless articles, TV and radio programs and all the rest – but you could easily find them yourself if you wanted to bother to look.

But the quickest check would be to look at the local newspapers and open forums and accounts of public debate there.

I have also had delighted first-hand accounts from people there of how different things are. Surely you have contacts who could provide you with the same.

We know you are very committed and caught up with your obsessive mission of negativity and fault-finding with the Arab world, but checking this out wouldn’t take you long.

Don’t be lazy.

October 24th, 2012, 4:39 pm

 

Aldendeshe said:

You are not doing it for free – it would be costing you dearly in terms of alientation, isolation and respect from everyone who encounters you.
_________________________________________________________________

Why,so I meet more human garbage like you. Don’t worry about me. I have already answered this in the past low life:

“…I am the Howard Hughes type. I have isolated myself years ago and use surrogates and aid to do all what is needed. Have very little respect to society and what human fancy. I traveled to over 20 countries, married to four different nationalities and have over 120 girlfriends in my life from thirty some nationalities. I been there done that. I watch no T.V., read no newspapers (just daily Intel report). I have my team and I am set plotting from behind. My personal interests are only women, cats, science, ancient history, art, nature and I am surrounded by it. I am anti social by choice, people waste my time and brains, devaluate my intellect, therefore, I do not socialize unless there is an interest for me. I am not a materialistic person, have no value for money, to me, it is a tool to do things with it, not end means, Beauty in everything, deeds and appearance is of value to me. I wear no jewelry and decorate my home with field grasses and handmade baskets from all over the world. …..”

Now could you F******k off, go get a life, will ya dim witted Jew, hiding as Syrian.

October 24th, 2012, 5:04 pm

 

Syrialover said:

ALDENDESHE/SNP

I see you are only giving yourself 13 instant votes (and me thumbs down).

I suppose the rest will be added in a moment.

Why do you need to do that? Is that stunt part of your program of “missionaryizing”?

And having just noted your anti-social manifesto in #124 above it is 100% incompatible with trying to get your word out there to the world.

And why tell us that you have allowed so many internet scamster “girlfriends” to take your money and have had a series of wives who fled for their lives.

Bottom line: You are obviously intelligent with some good ideas and a lot of experience. But you are trapped in a dark self-created blizzard of serious nonesense.

I think you know it.

October 24th, 2012, 5:06 pm

 

Aldendeshe said:

You know sometime I try to wear a necktie and my cat meow loudly objecting, do I have to agree with her! Likewise, I do not have to listen to your barking. Bark on your own like a street dog. You obviously have no dignity. You have been told off many times. Keep barking this, apparently, that is all Mossad trained you is one stupid dog trick, and we seen the dog trick training in Dubai in action.

בדרך של הונאה, תתן לעשות מלחמה”

October 24th, 2012, 5:18 pm

 

Syrialover said:

Hey, look at this. An extremely interesting article pointing out that the Lebanese security chief Wissam-alHassan was a puzzling candidate for assassination.

It looks at his complex career and role in Lebanon, exploring a number of reasons why he would be killed and killed at this particular time.

It then concludes:

“It seems reasonable that the answer to this question may have something to do with Hassan’s final accomplishment before his death. In August, the I.S.F. moved to arrest Michel Samaha, a former Lebanese minister with close ties to the Syrian regime. Hassan accused Samaha of smuggling explosives into Lebanon in order to carry out assassinations and drag the country into sectarian strife.

“There was something surreal about the Samaha arrest: A high-profile political figure had been caught by a Lebanese police unit with evidence so compelling — reportedly even extensive video and audio footage and witness testimony — that none of Samaha’s pro-Syrian allies came to his defense. The highly public nature of the scandal and the brazen use of the media to air details of the alleged plot seemed to suggest defiance on Hassan’s part in the face of a weakened Syrian regime.”

http://latitude.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/22/the-many-faces-of-wissam-al-hassan/

COMMENT: Quick, scorching spotlight onto evil witch Bouthaina Shabaan. She’s the key Assad crony who was implicated by phone recordings in the planning and organizing of Samaha’s terrorist plots for Lebanon.

It’s hugely damning for her that her recorded conversations will be played in court. There will be no mistaking that ugly croaking sound.

October 24th, 2012, 5:51 pm

 

zoo said:

Why Syria’s Fragmentation Is Turkey’s Opportunity
By Soner Cagaptay and Parag Khanna

Oct 24 2012, 9:57 AM ET 3

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/10/why-syrias-fragmentation-is-turkeys-opportunity/263890/#

One-and-a-half years into Syria’s civil war, the latest chapter is the armed hostility between Syria and Turkey, once a friend of the Assad regime. A century ago, it was Western powers that dismantled and carved up the Ottoman Empire after World War I. Today, Turkey can place itself in the driver’s seat of shaping the borders of the emerging Near East map.

Syria’s slide into ungovernability suggests that, unlike Libya at the moment, splintering and partition are increasingly likely outcomes, unless the Assad regime falls. If the conflict in Syria continues unabated, leading to full-blown sectarian war between Alawites and Sunnis, and violent ethnic tensions between Arabs and Kurds, the scenario that is more likely to unfold now is more along the Iraq model of de facto zones of semi-independent control.

October 24th, 2012, 6:02 pm

 

zoo said:

Will King of Jordan be toppled before or after Bashar al Assad?

Jordan’s king steers Arab nation through Mideast turbulence, hoping to survive


There are, however, signs of increasing opposition. Street protests in Jordan have remained largely peaceful, but recent slogans have begun pointing to the king, breaking a longstanding taboo against criticizing him.

“Abdullah, listen well, your reforms are cosmetic. The Arab Spring’s next stop is Amman,” chanted 7,000 Islamist opposition and youth movements during a recent protest in the Jordanian capital — the largest gathering in months.

Even the king’s traditional supporters have started to voice unheard of criticism, with young Bedouins staging small rallies to rebuke the monarch, although their families still form the bedrock of support for Abdullah’s Hashemite monarchy.

“He gave us nothing. In fact, he made us poorer and without jobs,” lamented Yazan, 26, a high school teacher who earns $300 a month. He declined to give his last name fearing government reprisal.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/10/24/jordan-king-steers-arab-nation-through-mideast-turbulence-hoping-to-survive/#ixzz2AFz3UA00

October 24th, 2012, 6:08 pm

 

Citizen said:

Russian foreign minister to meet his Swiss counterpart
MOSCOW, October 25 (Itar-Tass) —— Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will meet here on Thursday with his Swiss counterpart Didier Burkhalter to discuss such problems as the situation in Syria and the euro-zone, and Switzerland’s presidency in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in 2014.
According to political observers, the Syrian crisis still dominates the international agenda, especially now that the situation in that country is in the focus of the United Nations Security Council.
In view of preparations for Switzerland’s presidency in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the two foreign ministers are expected to discuss key aspects of the activities of that organization, and the agenda of the Dublin meeting of the Council of OSCE Foreign Ministers due in December. The side will also touch upon the problem of “protracted conflicts” within the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Iranian nuclear dossier.
Along with international issues, Lavrov and Burkhalter will discuss the schedule of future political contacts, including within the framework of the financial dialogue, and Russian-Swiss economic relations.

October 24th, 2012, 6:09 pm

 

zoo said:

USA to Turkey: No US boots and no rolling sleeves for a safe haven or a military intervention. You want to do it, do it yourself with your Arab allies.

US cool on military options against Syria

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/us-cool-on-military-options-against-syria.aspx?pageID=238&nID=33201&NewsCatID=359

ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News
Washington will not roll up its sleeves and get involved in a military action against the al-Assad regime, a US general reportedly tells a Turkish audience
When participants raised the issue of establishing a safe haven in Syria, the admiral indicated the unwillingness of Washington as he listed difficulties preventing such a move, saying it would require military intervention, which could also lead to clashes with Syrian security forces.

October 24th, 2012, 6:13 pm

 

Syrialover said:

Yes, yes, yes ZOO. We know you don’t like us focusing on Bouthaina Shabaan’s evil deeds and worries in #127.

Much better we gazed off into the distance at Turkey and Jordan and anything else you can find to wave as a distraction.

ZOO, I think I recall you suggesting earlier that Dr B.S. was too high up in the regime to be getting involved in dirty little projects like assassinations.

On the contrary, as Assad’s circle of trusted apparatchiks shrinks and sneaks out the back door, she is actually being elevated to tasks like sorting out Lebanon for bossboy Bashar.

And what a mess she is making! Using tapped telephones and we’ll see what else.

October 24th, 2012, 6:21 pm

 

zoo said:

A Turkish dilemma.
Prospects for federalism in Syria and for Kurds

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/prospects-for-federalism-in-syria-and-for-kurds.aspx?pageID=449&nID=33186&NewsCatID=419

The political situation in Syria is changing. Bashar al-Assad’s army maintains operational capacity, but it has lost most of northern Syria. There are two reasons for this: First, there is a vast geography defined by sporadic settlements that needs to be controlled. Second: there is a shortage of foot soldiers, and as a result al-Assad designed his strategy to focus his army on the big cities in the southeastern part of the country.

As the conflict continued, different rebel groups gained de facto control of settlements in northern Syria. They need to defend this bridgehead and spread their influence. This primarily depends on popular support, without which the rebel movement cannot grow or develop.

Therefore, the basic question is how to gain popular support. This is not provided only by military force. You must also improve the political, economic and administrative capacities of the opposition. As the state lost its legitimacy in northern Syria and the conflict turned more violent, the basic infrastructure simply collapsed. In the days ahead, life will get worse. Understandably, the people will be less interested in political/ideological promises and more attentive to needs related to security, food, electricity, water and shelter. If the opposition fails to effectively respond to these demands, things will get more complicated. In order to avoid this outcome, it is important to help the opposition build up its managerial capacity.

On the other hand, such an effort would mean laying the groundwork for a federal structure in Syria. The fact that Syrian Kurds under the PKK’s control form one of the most important parts of a prospective federal structure to which they aspire creates a further complication. This issue, which has been ignored by Turkey and its allies so far, is bound to cause problems for Turkey’s Syria policy and Turkey’s relations with its allies.

The allies face a dilemma: preparing for the transition to federalism, on the one hand, and preparing Turkey for this transition, on the other hand. The only way to overcome the obstacles in the way of this process is to get Turkey’s consent as soon as possible.

However, it would be naive to assume that Turkey, a country dealing with the PKK problem, will express no objection to the creation of an autonomous region controlled by the PKK in Syria.

October 24th, 2012, 6:21 pm

 

Citizen said:

http://www.themoscowtimes.com/mobile/article/470360.html
Syria is prepared informal truce
Yesterday the UN Security Council on the proposal of Russia held consultations on Libya and Syria. Moscow made three project applications – on the terrorist attack in Damascus, Lakhdar Brahimi, the proposal to reach a cease-fire during the celebration of Eid al-Adha (Kurban Bairam) and the siege of Bani Walid. At the same time the UN is developing plans to send peacekeepers to Syria.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad yesterday announced a general amnesty except for terrorism charges. It is not clear whether the release of regime opponents, as terrorists armed opposition.
Meanwhile, Russia has proposed to the UN Security Council to support the “important and timely initiative,” UN special envoy on Syria and the Arab League, Lakhdar Brahimi, who was in Moscow on a visit expected on October 29. On Friday, he urged the parties to the conflict to cease fire at the three-or four-day period of the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha, which begins on October 26. “The Secretary General of the United Nations and the Arab asked all parties involved in Syria to take into consideration the call … Brahimi for a ceasefire and halt all violence in all forms for the period of Eid al-Adha, which will give the Syrian people the opportunity to celebrate this great religious holiday in peace and security, “- said in a joint statement then the two organizations…….

October 24th, 2012, 6:24 pm

 

Tara said:

Recep Tayyip Erdogan: Turkey’s elected sultan or an Islamic democrat?

For more than two hours Erdogan pounded out his message, made self-serving comparisons with the past, and listed his achievements. According to Erdogan, echoing the former British prime minister Harold Macmillan, Turks have never had it so good.

“Before we came to power [in 2002], there was no economic stability, no safety, no democracy in this country,” Erdogan said. “The era of coups in this country will never return again … In a country where the majority is Muslim, we let democracy rule in its most advanced form and became an example for all Muslim countries.”

“We are witnessing the creation of a cult of personality,” said Milliyet columnist and media activist Kadri Gürsel. “Erdogan is becoming an elected sultan. The party congress was a one-man
show … He thinks he is the only person who can design Turkey’s destiny. He suffers from a hubris syndrome.”

Not so, said Nursuna Memecan, an AKP MP and Erdogan friend. “Erdogan is not authoritarian. He is detail-oriented, a micro-manager … In our part
of the world, you can’t rely on delegating. So he delegates, then he oversees,” she said. “In a period of reform, you have to take the lead. He makes decisions – and he get things done.”

Like him or loathe him, both supporters and detractors agree Erdogan dominates Turkey’s political scene. To his fans, he is a dynamic,
modernising force. To opponents, he is divisive, even threatening. “The AKP is not a party any more. It is Erdogan’s apparatus. There is huge polarisation in this country,” said journalist and writer Cengiz 


http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/oct/24/recep-tayyip-erdogan-turkey

October 24th, 2012, 6:34 pm

 

zoo said:

Who is the mysterious female journalist who was with Wissam Al Hassan in the “secret office” in Achrafieh and who left shortly before Wissam Al Hassan was killed in the blast?

http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/achrafieh-bombing-lines-inquiry


The judicial authorities overseeing the investigation have been informed in this regard that Hassan was in contact with a female Lebanese journalist, and arranged a meeting with her at the secret Achrafieh office on the day of the blast. It is believed that an examination of the journalist’s phone would be able to show how the call was made and its timing and duration, and possibly reveal its substance too, as well as that of any text messages the pair may have exchanged.

The judiciary will ask investigators to interview the journalist, who was a source of information for Hassan, to determine a number of things, including:

Whether she communicated with him using any means other than mobile phone, or used phones with different numbers to those known to be theirs?

Was the contact between them made before or after Hassan’s arrival in Lebanon? This is significant, as it appears that Hassan travelled from the airport to the Achrafieh apartment using a procedure he normally employs to ensure that it is known to only one or two other people.

Did the journalist inform anyone else, either verbally, by phone or electronically, about her appointment with Hassan, or mention the Achrafieh office – which Hassan used for meetings with contacts who prefer not to meet at his regular office or in public places?

Has she ever told friends about previous meetings with Hassan either at his regular office or the Achrafieh one, or alluded to them in phone calls or electronic messages?

Did the journalist make any calls after she left the Achrafieh apartment, shortly before Hassan did and the bomb was detonated? Could she be sure she was not under surveillance by the bombers?

The judiciary wants answers to the above questions, in order to either pursue this line of inquiry further, or close it.

October 24th, 2012, 6:37 pm

 

zoo said:

#135 Tara

Thanks for the article.
Erdogan is doing all he can to become the next Turkish president after pushing for the modification of the Constitution to give much more power to the president,

I hope the Turks, blinded by the claims that their country is a economical success, will wake up on time to prevent the slide to an Islamic autocratic country.

October 24th, 2012, 6:44 pm

 

Citizen said:

اعلنت وزيرة الخارجية الامريكية هيلاري كلينتون ان الولايات المتحدة تعول على ظهور قيادة في المعارضة السورية تحظى بثقة كل الشعب السوري.

وقالت كلينتون عقب لقاء نظيرها البرازيلي انطونيو باتريوتا يوم الاربعاء 24 اكتوبر/تشرين الاول: “نحن ندعم المعارضة السورية عبر تقديم مساعدة غير عسكرية لها والعمل مع المجالس المحلية من خلال مساعدتهم في تحديد ما هو الطريق الافضل لتوفير احتياجات السكان”.

واعربت عن املها في انشاء “هيكلية قيادية تدعم العملية الديمقراطية والانتقال السلمي للسلطة وتستطيع اقناع جميع السوريين، وخصوصا الاقليات المختلفة، في صحة نهجها”.

كما اعربت الوزيرة الامريكية عن تأييدها لفكرة وقف اطلاق النار خلال عيد الاضحى الواقع من 26 الى 28 الشهر الجاري ليستطيع السوريون “الاحتفال بالعيد في ظروف سلمية”.

وكانت وزارة الخارجية السورية قد اعلنت في وقت سابق من الاربعاء أن “القرار النهائي بخصوص إعلان هدنة بمناسبة عيد الأضحى سيصدر غدا الخميس”.
http://arabic.rt.com/news_all_news/news/597965/
كل سنة و سورية و السوريون بألف خير !

October 24th, 2012, 6:57 pm

 

Syrialover said:

ZOO asks:

“Who is the mysterious female journalist who was with Wissam Al Hassan in the “secret office” in Achrafieh and who left shortly before Wissam Al Hassan was killed in the blast?”

Handy clue, thanks ZOO.

It points to somebody that has a likelihood of being linked with Syrian regime media liaison chief Bouthaina Shabaan.

October 24th, 2012, 6:58 pm

 

Tara said:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/24/syria-field-hospital-video_n_2007190.html

Syria Crisis: Horrific Scenes In Al Qusayr Field Hospital

Reasonable to watch

October 24th, 2012, 6:59 pm

 

Citizen said:

لم تشترِ لي دمشق هذا العام …
كما كل عام ….ثياب العيدِ
ولم تصنع الحلوى …
ولم تنتظرني آتي إليها من البلد البعيدِ ..
لم أجد شيئا من مراجيح طفولتي …
أدنو إليه كما الأمس السعيدِ
دمشق لم تأكل الخبز منذ تركتها ..
وتعيش على شعري
يأتي إليها في مكاتيب البريدِ ..
ما عدّتُ أهتم بحلوى
ولا أهتم بالزّي الجديدِ …
أضعتُ مصروف عيدي يادمشق …
وبدأتُ أنفقُ من دماء وريدي …
……………………………

October 24th, 2012, 7:05 pm

 

zoo said:

Coincidence?
Russia: Syrian Rebels Have US-Made Anti-Aircraft Weapons

October 24, 2012
MOSCOW — Russia’s senior general says that rebels in Syria have acquired shoulder-mounted surface-to-air missiles, including a model made in the United States.

http://www.voanews.com/content/russia-syrian-rebels-have-us-made-anti-aircraft-weapons/1532365.html

Syrian anti-aircraft shell hits Turkey

October 23, 2012

Ankara: An anti-aircraft shell from Syria hit an empty room of a health centre inside Turkey, a private news agency reported Tuesday. No injuries were reported.

http://gulfnews.com/news/region/syria/syrian-anti-aircraft-shell-hits-turkey-1.1093054

October 24th, 2012, 7:14 pm

 
 

Citizen said:

Weapon supplies
“We have reliable information that Syrian militants have foreign portable anti-aircraft missile systems, including those made in the USA… it should be cleared up who delivered them,” Gen Makarov told journalists in Russia.

There have been earlier unconfirmed reports of the Syrian opposition having shoulder-mounted missiles, but the West has been reluctant to openly arm the rebels.

In August, Syrian rebels said they had shot down a fighter jet near the border with Iraq.

Syrian warplanes have stepped up their bombardments of rebel-dominated areas in recent months, particularly in the north of the country. Deadly air raids are now daily events in towns around the city of Aleppo.

Recent footage has emerged of Syrian opposition fighters using old Soviet SA-7 heat-seeking missiles, which can destroy a plane flying at up to 14,000ft.

US-made Stinger missiles are shoulder-mounted anti-aircraft weapons designed to target low-flying planes and helicopters.

October 24th, 2012, 7:28 pm

 

zoo said:

TARA

My innocent reply was held by the filter.

October 24th, 2012, 7:47 pm

 

Citizen said:

There’s a whole slew of foreign policy F*ckery afoot…!
http://my.firedoglake.com/ctuttle/

Isn’t it interesting how another Security Chief was assassinated in a car bombing…?

As the Angry Arab noted…

…It has been confirmed that Hariri security chief (and coordinator of Saudi intelligence work in Lebanon), Wisam Al-Hasan has been targeted in Beirut explosion. A reporter on the scene reports that Hasan has been seriously injured. Al-Hasan has been tasked with Saudi intelligence of facilitating arming and funding of Free Syrian Army from Lebanon. His name has been linked with the ship, Lutfallah II, which was intercepted as it carried arms to Syrian rebels in Lebanon. This former bodyguard of Rafiq Hariri quickly rose in rank and became the head of a predominantly Sunni security apparatus (Shu`bat Al-Ma`lumat, or Intelligence Branch) which has received tens of millions in US covert funding. Hasan was first suspected in the Hariri assassination because he was absent that day and because he had long-standing ties with Syrian intelligence. He told the Hariri investigators that he was studying for an exam that day.

PS Western media will NOT report another angle to the story: that Hasan’s Intelligence branch has been responsible for catching scores of Israeli spies and terrorists in Lebanon.

PPS This is the third assassination (or attempt) to target chiefs of the Intelligence Branch.

Now, I was stunned at how quickly War Inc. had rolled out the Political PR heavy artillery… Anti-Syria Bloc Calls for ‘Day of Rage’ in Lebanon Over Bombing…

…The unrest has prompted concern that Syria’s civil war may spill over the border. March 14 politicians including former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Rafiq’s son, were quick to accuse Syria of carrying out the killing.

Hariri urged supporters yesterday to join the rally to honor al-Hassan as a man “who protected Lebanon from dangers and exposed himself to an explosion so that you won’t explode and so Lebanon won’t explode.”

Al-Hassan’s investigations included the Hariri assassination. The security official also was instrumental in the probe that led to the August arrest of former Information Minister Michel Samaha, an Assad ally who has been charged with plotting to assassinate religious and political figures. More than 20 bombs found with Samaha were prepared by Syrian security agents, NNA said at the time.
Resignation Offer

Mikati said yesterday that al-Hassan’s assassination was linked to his exposure of the Samaha plot. He said that he had offered to resign so that a national unity government could be formed in the aftermath of the bombing. President Michel Suleiman urged him to stay on while he consults the country’s top officials about the attack and so the country won’t slip into political vacuum, Mikati said.

As the WaPoo ramped up their War rhetoric…U.S. steps up support of Turkey amid Syrian conflict…

The U.S. government is intensifying its intelligence sharing and military consultations with Turkey behind the scenes as both countries confront the possibility that Syria’s civil conflict could escalate into a regional war, according to U.S. and NATO officials. {…}

…In recent weeks, military officials from both countries have met to make contingency plans to impose no-fly zones over Syrian territory or seize Syria’s stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, U.S. officials said…

Behind the scenes, however, the border clashes have changed the strategic calculus and led U.S. military and intelligence officials in particular to collaborate more closely with Turkey.

“I can certainly assure you that our militaries, our military officers, are in contact,” Francis J. Ricciardone Jr. , the U.S. ambassador to Turkey, told journalists in Ankara on Tuesday. “This week I know there is a special focus of our military experts talking about Syria. And what militaries do well is plan for every contingency and every eventuality.”

Ricciardone said “no political decision has been made” regarding whether to support or impose a no-fly zone in Syrian territory to protect civilians or opponents of the government of Bashar al-Assad in Damascus, but he acknowledged that U.S., Turkish and NATO officials were discussing options.

“Will we consider it?” he said. “We consider everything.” {…}

“NATO is the new U.N. for Ankara when it comes to Syria,” he said.

…But he said one alternative would be for select NATO members — such as the United States, France and Britain — to assist Turkey with a military intervention, while other allies remain on the sidelines.

“It could be a ‘coalition of the fighting’ within NATO,” Cagaptay said. That was the approach NATO took last year when it ousted Libya’s former ruler, Moammar Gaddafi…

Now, I’m not sure what to make of this bombshell, but, here ya go…

How US Ambassador Chris Stevens May Have Been Linked To Jihadist Rebels In Syria

The official position is that the US has refused to allow heavy weapons into Syria.

But there’s growing evidence that U.S. agents—particularly murdered ambassador Chris Stevens—were at least aware of heavy weapons moving from Libya to jihadist Syrian rebels.

In March 2011 Stevens became the official U.S. liaison to the al-Qaeda-linked Libyan opposition, working directly with Abdelhakim Belhadj of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group—a group that has now disbanded, with some fighters reportedly participating in the attack that took Stevens’ life…

…Last month The Times of London reported that a Libyan ship “carrying the largest consignment of weapons for Syria … has docked in Turkey.” The shipment reportedly weighed 400 tons and included SA-7 surface-to-air anti-craft missiles and rocket-propelled grenades.

Those heavy weapons are most likely from Muammar Gaddafi’s stock of about 20,000 portable heat-seeking missiles—the bulk of them SA-7s—that the Libyan leader obtained from the former Eastern bloc. Reuters reports that Syrian rebels have been using those heavy weapons to shoot down Syrian helicopters and fighter jets.

The ship’s captain was “a Libyan from Benghazi and the head of an organization called the Libyan National Council for Relief and Support,” which was presumably established by the new government.

That means that Ambassador Stevens had only one person—Belhadj—between himself and the Benghazi man who brought heavy weapons to Syria.

Last week The Telegraph reported that a FSA commander called them “Libyans” when he explained that the FSA doesn’t “want these extremist people here.”

And if the new Libyan government was sending seasoned Islamic fighters and 400 tons of heavy weapons to Syria through a port in southern Turkey—a deal brokered by Stevens’ primary Libyan contact during the Libyan revolution—then the governments of Turkey and the U.S. surely knew about it.

Furthermore there was a CIA post in Benghazi, located 1.2 miles from the U.S. consulate, used as “a base for, among other things, collecting information on the proliferation of weaponry looted from Libyan government arsenals, including surface-to-air missiles” … and that its security features “were more advanced than those at rented villa where Stevens died.”

And we know that the CIA has been funneling weapons to the rebels in southern Turkey. The question is whether the CIA has been involved in handing out the heavy weapons from Libya.

In any case, the connection between Benghazi and the rise of jihadists in Syria is stronger than has been officially acknowledged.

Interestingly, Emptywheel notes that there were probably 25 CIA agents in Benghazi at the time of Amb. Steven’s demise…!

Now, I did derive a chuckle or two, today, over the Grey Lady’s ostrich-sized egg on their face… NYT: Iran agrees to one-on-one nuclear talks, US sources say…

Psych…! White House Denies Report That U.S. Has Agreed to Iran Talks…! One would suppose that AIPAC and the Boca Raton Yacht Club, would’ve been most displeased with the Oily Bomber, on Monday night, eh…?

*gah*

October 24th, 2012, 7:58 pm

 

Syrian Natonalist Party said:

Mikati said yesterday that al-Hassan’s assassination was linked to his exposure of the Samaha plot..
________________________________________________________________

Has nothing to do with it, SNP suspect Lebanese Forces behind it, proxy for outside interests.

October 24th, 2012, 8:09 pm

 

Tara said:

Zoo

Held in the filter?

Were you returning the favor with another “glamorous” picture?

Are they an album now? 😉

I used to have a relative who would send my mom all those glossy glamorous pictures of Athma and hubby. They all went to my kitchen garbage..

October 24th, 2012, 8:11 pm

 

Tara said:

Hama has cursed al Assad family for generations to come.  The docile generation of our parents was to blame.  They were domesticated slaves that could not say one.

Syria activists record all they can for history’s sake
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/middleeast/la-fg-syria-documentation-20121025,0,282686.story?page=2

The detailed chronicling is more than just a manifestation of revolutions in a time of social media saturation. In a country still living in the shadow of a brutal government crackdown 30 years ago that left tens of thousands of civilians dead, but that is not spoken of publicly, it is a response to a hole in Syria’s history books, and a means of ensuring that it will not happen again.

For decades the Muslim Brotherhood uprising that began in the late 1970s was referred to simply as “the events.” Even in vague terms, it was rarely discussed, and children grew up without knowing the history that plunged their country into such scared silence.

“The regime … bulldozed over the buildings and covered the mass graves, then said we don’t ever talk about this,” said Amr Azm, a professor of Middle East history and onetime member of the Syrian National Council. “There was also the sense of this as an unspoken horror, this thing that everyone knew about and no one talked about.”
…..
“Moaz used to say we are traitors, because we didn’t speak up in the ’80s,” Shami’s mother said recently, sitting in the garden of her childhood home. “I told him we couldn’t. It was different back then. We didn’t have the technology, the Facebook and the YouTube that they have now.”

“They are traitors,” the 28-year-old Shami said. “They didn’t say anything.”

“What did you want us to do?” his mother said. “They took your uncles away.”

Shami bit his lip as he thought about his mother’s words. He didn’t seem convinced.

October 24th, 2012, 8:13 pm

 

Visitor said:

Citizen 102,

So, that’s what you meant? Thanks for the clarification.

Truly, however, Lavrov has been barking for quite sometime. We, will hear him and Markov barking more often from now on.

Nothing to worry about. Missiles will come and Russian tanks, fighter jets and helicopters will be destroyed in droves, and that’s too bad for the Russia arms industry. Who will buy from them after the Syrian Revolution triumphs?

October 24th, 2012, 8:13 pm

 

habib said:

80. Michal

Al-Akhbar is quoting an Egyptian report, so your criticism is irrelevant.

As for more freedoms in Egypt, which exactly? It has become harder for women to go outside unveiled, just to mention one thing.

October 24th, 2012, 8:22 pm

 

Syrialover said:

CITIZEN #152

“Angry Arab” has his own bile-fuelled blog. No justification for you reproducing 40 paragraph slabs of his content here, even if you are worried about lack of visitors to AA’s blog.

In fact it’s rude and ridiculous to do that on another forum. Very “Ann”-like, in fact.

Unless of course you’re also posting Joshua Landis’ statements on Angry Arab’s blog?

October 24th, 2012, 8:22 pm

 

Citizen said:

I expected from you better answers! Unfortunately you write nonsense!

October 24th, 2012, 8:29 pm

 

Syrialover said:

CITIZEN, ZOO

It’s no good, you can’t distract us from Bouthaina Shaaban’s mounting problems. You know that endless stuff your’re blizzarding this forum with doesn’t work.

I was just reading this interesting tidbit about the wicked witch:

“Her rise within the Syrian regime is due to her close friendship with Bushra Al-Assad. Sometime in the late 1980s, Shaaban also introduced Bushra to her future husband Assef Shawkat.”

COMMENT: Poor old mashed-faced Dr B.S, she sure is having her wig knocked off by events!

October 24th, 2012, 8:41 pm

 

Syrialover said:

CITIZEN

You will not get anyone responding to a 40-paragraph cut-paste data dump (most of it nothing new, and worse, quoting Angry Arab).

Exception: unless it’s a court transcript of Bouthaina Shaaban’s phone tapped conversations with Samaha!

October 24th, 2012, 8:51 pm

 

Tara said:

Gold travels to Iran via Dubai in hand luggage
DUBAI / ISTANBUL – Reuters
Passenger planes form Istanbul to Dubai are reportedly carrying large amounts of gold bound for Iran, a country hit by sanction. Gold means value without identity, says a trader close to the matter
….
The sanctions, imposed over Iran’s disputed nuclear program, have largely frozen it out of the global banking system, making it hard for it to conduct international money transfers.

“Every currency in the world has an identity, but gold means value without identity. The value is absolute wherever you go,” said a trader in Dubai with knowledge of the gold trade between Turkey and Iran.

The identity of the ultimate destination of the gold in Iran is not known. But the scale of the operation through Dubai and its sudden growth suggest the Iranian government plays a role.

Iran sells oil and gas to Turkey, with payments made to state Iranian institutions. U.S. and European banking sanctions ban payments in U.S. dollars or euros so Iran gets paid in Turkish lira. Lira is of limited value for buying goods on international markets but ideal for a gold buying spree in Turkey.

The Dubai-based trader said that from August, direct shipments to Iran were largely replaced by indirect ones through Dubai, apparently because Tehran wanted to avoid publicity.
….
“The trade from Turkey directly to Iran has stopped because there was just too much publicity around it,” said the trader.

Dealers, jewelers and analysts in Dubai said they had not noticed any large, sudden increase of supply in the local gold market during August. They said that suggested the increased shipments to the UAE were sent straight on to Iran.

A trader in Turkey said Tehran had shifted to indirect imports because the direct shipments were widely reported in Turkish and international media earlier this year. “Now on paper it looks like the gold is going to Dubai, not to Iran,” he said.

Iranian gold buyers may want to conceal their Turkish gold deliveries for fear of attracting attention from the United States, which is pressing countries around the world to shrink their economic ties with Iran.
….
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/gold-travels-to-iran-via-dubai-in-hand-luggage.aspx?pageID=238&nID=33194&NewsCatID=344

October 24th, 2012, 9:47 pm

 

Norman said:

The case in Syria is the same as it was in Iraq with it’s war with Iran, and as in that war, the West goal as stated on TV was for both to lose, in Syria is for both to lose, for the regime to lose, the country to be destroyed and to kill the jihadists and the potential jihadists, it is just for Syria , Islamic radicals and Arab Nationalism to lose and kill each other,

October 24th, 2012, 9:48 pm

 

Syrialover said:

NORMAN,

Stop it – you’re sounding like MINA.

I don’t know where in the west you’ve come across official policy statements wanting all the Syrian people to lose and the country to be destroyed.

Let us know who has cooked up such policies so we can expose and disgrace them to all the western world’s governments and citizens whose wishes and standards they are contradicting.

October 24th, 2012, 11:13 pm

 

Johannes de Silentio said:

163 NORMAN

“The West’s goal is for Syria, Islamic radicals and Arab Nationalists to lose and kill each other”

Norm, the so-called West has no stated goal, other than (1) to stay out of Syria and (2) for the killing to stop.

It’s too bad that in-country Syrians are killing and brutalizing each other. It’s a shame that overseas Syrians are choosing sides and egging the combatants on.

But none of this would be happening if Syrians had not been such cowards 40 years ago. If one brave soul back then had taken a machine gun and slaughtered the entire al-Assad clan, the tragedy today would not be happening.

The Assads are not the fault of the West. We can only blame Syrians for this. But most Syrians haven’t the honesty or integrity to admit it. So they blame the West, the Jews, the Turks, the weather, God, the Devil, anybody but themselves.

October 24th, 2012, 11:17 pm

 

Aldendeshe said:

The Assads are not the fault of the West. We can only blame Syrians for this.
_________________________________________________________________

Sure, that is why several U.S. Presidents** kissed the Assad’s hands after Hama massacre and sheltered Riffat and his cronies. The U.N. action the day after is also noted NOT.

( ** Just to mention few, will leave the Sunni Moslem Leaders out. )

I know people back in my early 20’s who were knocking on CIA door for help and got a solid “BEHAVE or ELSE” back. Even SNP members who were barely freshman in college got upset at the lack of support and gave Ronald Regan a run for his money for that failure. At any rate, Syrian, especially Sunni Majority was the ones that brought the Baathist Garbage in and supported them for 5 decades, so I and many in my generation really have no sympathy to their misery whatsoever, rather total apathy, this is the expected end of a Baathist regime. The only concern now is where to get the cash when it is all over and time to rebuild. The obvious answer is not borrowing and placing Syrians in National debt (will assassinate anyone for that). Money will have to be coughed up by the genocidal perpetrators gratis, grants and compensations, or they and the world will starve. Right now the standing balance is at $400 billion and we are adding $10 billion monthly to that, so we are estimating about 500-600 billions in the end.

October 25th, 2012, 12:38 am

 

zoo said:

#Tara

I was just saying the this photo would have been better without the hypocritical smily s.u.ltan and his laughing hanum.

The people who emptied your kitchen garbage have now collection items.

October 25th, 2012, 12:42 am

 

zoo said:

#157. Habib

These were the good old days, just a year ago. They have been all closed now.

Belly Dancing Television Takes Off in Egypt
Published Monday, November 14, 2011
http://english.al-akhbar.com/node/1456

Cairo – In one week the number of Arab channels broadcasting uninterrupted belly dancing performances shot up to ten, indicating a new trend in the Egypt’s TV landscape.

These channels include Sharqiyat, Farah, Moulad, Shaabiyat, and Darbaka.

These channels are viewed by Egyptians and Arabs through the Nilesat media service and hence are not registered with the Egyptian Ministry of Information. Egypt’s information minister Osama Heikal is thus spared the blame placed on him by critics of this new trend.

October 25th, 2012, 12:49 am

 

ann said:

As UNSC Speaks on Ceasefire But Not Terrorism, Al Qaeda OK in Some Places?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 24 — After envoy Lakhdar Brahimi told the UN Security Council by video to await an official Eid ceasefire response from the Syrian government tomorrow, the Council agreed on a press statement directed particularly at the government, as the stronger party.

After the statement was read out, Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin was asked of the reported rejection in advance of the ceasefire by the Al Nusra Front, which claimed credit for deadly bombings in, among other places, Aleppo in an attack the Council condemned in a statement.

Churkin said those with influence should speak with such groups. Inner City Press asked Churkin about his other draft Council statement on “Terrorism in Damascus,” which the Council did not agree to.

Churkin said there is a trend of not denouncing some acts of terrorism. He said some find attacks by Al Qaeda OK in some places but not in others: there is, “say that Al Qaeda cannot do certain things in one place but is welcome to do them in another place.” Transcript below.

Minutes later, Syria’s Permanent Representative Bashar Ja’afari told the press, “There will be an official statement tomorrow” – that is, the day before the Eid holiday begins. Watch this site.

Footnote: Inner City Press exclusively reported on and put online a list Syrian Mission filed with the Security Council of 108 “foreign nationals” arrested in Syria. Click here for that.

Wednesday the Mission said nothing had been done on the list; it filed a letter about the killing of some 25 civilians in Douma, in an area it says there is no government army presence. Don’t expect a press statement any time soon.

A friend on Inner City Press prepared this transcript:

Inner City Press: What about [the rejection of] your other press statement on terrorist attacks in Damascus, there was one I think had been pending, and I know that Syria’s put in a letter on Douma, where 25 civilians were killed. Do you still have hope of passing those? Were they shot down?

Ambassador Churkin: We have some objections, and in fact, we need to have, I think, discussion in the Security Council about that, because lately, we have seen a certain erosion of what used to be the rock bottom and sort of principal and fundamental position of the Security Council rejecting all forms of violence, whatever the pretext or the motives and whatever the reasons which may be given for such acts of terrorism. Laterly we have a had a situation where some of our colleagues in the Security Council were saying: “Well, we have all this violence, so maybe it’s not proper to make statement condemning a certain terrorist attack.”

We do not accept that logic. Their idea is that, well, the government has sort of a predominant forces, asymmetrical situation, so under those circumstances, maybe we should not condemn certain terrorist attacks. We believe that this is wrong, because there are other situations after all, where we have nice symmetrical conflict, and where one of the sides has predominant military force, but that does not prevent us from condemning acts of terrorism. I mean, you cannot say that Al Qaeda cannot do certain things in one place but is welcome to do them in another place.

[…]

http://www.innercitypress.com/syria2eid102412.html

October 25th, 2012, 12:51 am

 

Syrian Natonalist Party said:

That compensation amount covers the Civilian and infrastructure damages only, does not include damages to Syria’s military, which also must be paid by the criminals, estimated at 40 billion Dollar.

October 25th, 2012, 1:07 am

 

zoo said:

Charlie Rose’s guests discussion on on Syria

Oct. 24 (Bloomberg) — A discussion on the future of foreign policy with former U.S. National Security Advisors Zbigniew Brzezinski and General Jim Jones, David Ignatius of The Washington Post, and Michael Mazarr of the US National War College

http://www.bloomberg.com/video/charlie-rose-the-future-of-foreign-policy-OejxnLFqTXm3r8iXpWcyqQ.html

October 25th, 2012, 1:16 am

 

admir said:

#14 @Visitor

‘…implicitly endorsing an Alawistan with undefined borders on the coast where the majority of the population of the cities is Sunni.’

sorry to inform you but the claim of the cities being majority sunni is based on census data from the 40s and 60s (when alawites lived mostly in the rural areas). These days most of those cities are alawite majority towns. the exception would be latakia which has a slight sunni majority because of the large palestinian refugee camp (if we only consider syrians it would be equal numbers on both sides or even alawites being largest group in the city although not majority).

October 25th, 2012, 3:12 am

 

Mina said:

Why Mali is relevant?
http://www.egyptindependent.com/news/intellectuals-denounce-preacher-s-call-destroying-statues
“Intellectuals and writers have lashed out at Islamic preacher Youssef al-Badry’s call to destroy statues because he considers them idols.”

Why Libya is relevant?
http://www.egyptindependent.com/news/interior-ministry-suspect-libya-us-consulate-attack-killed-cairo
“Suspect in Libya US consulate attack killed in Cairo”

Now that there is a free press (free to bully, attack without proofs and call for more discrimination) but not an inch of difference for the poors/the workers/the women in villages,
the fundamentalists are FREE to do their slow job. Just as the Wahhabis have done theirs for 30 years on the Muslim communities abroad (“translation of the Coran is forbidden”, etc.). No doubt: Ataturk would be in jail.

DIscussion on Syria and Darfur at AUC (5 parts)
http://youtu.be/lF8AOOmMh3o

October 25th, 2012, 4:48 am

 

Citizen said:

Damascus car blast kills six despite proposed ceasefire (PHOTOS)
http://rt.com/news/damascus-blast-truce-rebels-176/

Armed Forces Eliminate Scores of Terrorists in Several Provinces
http://sana.sy/eng/337/2012/10/24/448836.htm

October 25th, 2012, 6:43 am

 

Hanzala said:

Nir Rosen articles have always leaned more in the governments favor. He says that the “Sunni” militias might not have attacked Alawite neighborhoods because they lack the strength to do so. The FSA has shown they are capable of setting off explosions in the general headquarters of the Syrian military in Damascus, in one of the most guarded areas of the city. If attacking Alawites was truly what they had in mind you would have seen attacks targeting Alawite civilians by now.

October 25th, 2012, 7:12 am

 

Tara said:

Zoo,

Asma and hubby’s photos collectible items?

Our garbage man is not a mnhebak.

October 25th, 2012, 8:09 am

 

zoo said:

#175 Tara

Collectible items are items of historical values. They could be sold at Christies’s in a few decades. It has nothing to do with love or hate.
You may have made the garbage man’s children rich, that was a generous act of you.

By the way..

Turkey: Another emerging Islamist autocracy
By ISI LEIBLER
10/24/2012 22:45
Candidly Speaking: Bernard Lewis predicted that Turkey would evolve into an aggressive Islamist dictatorship and could become the greatest threat to Israel. Alas, his prediction about Turkey is being realized.
http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/Article.aspx?id=289170

October 25th, 2012, 8:25 am

 

zoo said:

Iran, Syria gave Hezbollah order to kill Hasan: Geagea

October 25, 2012

BEIRUT: Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea launched a vehement attack on the country’s security authorities, accusing them of following Syrian-Iranian schemes being implemented by Hezbollah.

“Lebanese security services and security officials are going along with Syrian-Iranian plots that are being implemented by Hezbollah,” Geagea said in remarks published Thursday by the Saudi newspaper Al-Watan

Read more: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Politics/2012/Oct-25/192678-iran-syria-gave-hezbollah-order-to-kill-hasan-geagea.ashx#ixzz2AJTuzhXN

October 25th, 2012, 8:30 am

 

zoo said:

A rare report on the National Syrian Army in Homs by a foreign journalist.

Bleary-Eyed Syrian Troops Fight a Building at a Time

By JANINE DI GIOVANNI
Published: October 24, 2012 2
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/25/world/middleeast/syrian-soldiers-fight-rebels-and-fatigue-in-homs.html?_r=0

HOMS, Syria — For more than 24 hours, President Bashar al-Assad’s soldiers fought their way through this city, bleary-eyed men, worn down by months of combat. Afraid to go into the streets, where snipers pick their targets, the government men snaked their way through “mouse holes” punched in walls of blown-out buildings. Their goal was to retake one building, just one, a former school controlled by the rebel Free Syrian Army.

The Syrian government has grown frustrated with its inability to crush the opposition forces, so it has adopted an unforgiving strategy of using tanks, artillery and aircraft to bomb and blast them into submission. That has worked in smaller places, like the village of Maarat al-Noaman, obliterated last week just after the opposition declared it “liberated.”

“We will eventually get this school,” said Rifaf, part of a small group of soldiers on the mission. “But it’s a matter of time.”

October 25th, 2012, 8:36 am

 

Tara said:

Zoo,

Aren’t you inflating their importance a bit? Christie’s ?!

Their historical value will sell as much as Quaddafi’s robes will sell for…

October 25th, 2012, 8:46 am

 

zoo said:

That’s the biggest mistake the armed opposition did. By selling their souls to Al Qaeeda to get the help the West refused them, it gave them just the illusion of a possible “victory”.
The reality is that it has irreversibly discredited them in the mind of Syrians and the West.
The consequences will be tragic:
It will never be possible to buy they souls back except with more blood where they would become the target of their one time allies.

Syrian rebels warily accept foreign fighters’ help

By HAMZA HENDAWI | Associated Press – 11 hrs ago
http://news.yahoo.com/syrian-rebels-warily-accept-foreign-fighters-help-013959431.html

ALEPPO, Syria (AP) — The presence of foreign Islamic militants battling Syria’s regime is raising concerns over the possible injection of al-Qaida’s influence into the country’s civil war.

Syria’s rebels share some of those misgivings. But they also see in the foreign extremists a welcome boost: experienced, disciplined fighters whose battlefield valor against the better-armed troops of President Bashar Assad is legendary.

October 25th, 2012, 8:51 am

 

zoo said:

#179 Tara

Ok, not at Christies’, at Souk al Harami’s.

October 25th, 2012, 8:53 am

 

Tara said:

Zoo

What is Souk al Harami’s?

October 25th, 2012, 8:57 am

 

Syrialover said:

New thread started – dramatic news on Aleppo

October 25th, 2012, 9:09 am

 

zoo said:

Tara

Oh, you don’t know it. Well in view of what you said about your knowledge of Damascus limited to fancy areas, I am not surprised.

It’s Damascus low income flea market…

October 25th, 2012, 9:14 am

 

Tara said:

Zoo

Does it make you feel good to portray me in a certain light? Not knowing what souk al Harami’s is does not mount to a conspiracy. I have not misrepresented myself in the past. There are lots of area in Damascus I never been to before such as Zaynab shrine, etc. sorry but that doesn’t make me a sinister or even unaware.

October 25th, 2012, 9:49 am

 

zoo said:

Tara

I know that, I am just teasing you. You’re certainly not sinister and it could be a good opportunity for you to discover the real popular life of Damascus.

October 25th, 2012, 10:57 am

 

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