Deraa: The Government Takes off its Gloves: 15 Killed

The government is cracking down on the people of Deraa. The gloves are off. 15 killed.

Deraa is very poor and Islamic – it optimizes everything that troubles Syria – a failed economy, the population explosion, a bad governor and overbearing security forces. It is an explosive brew. Even if the government can contain violence to Deraa for the time-being, protests will spread. The wall of fear has broken. Apathy of the young has turned to anger. Youtube, Aljazeera and cellphones have changed the game and given the people a powerful weapon to fight authority. The country is under intense pressure and ready to explode. There is too much unemployment and too little freedom.

We saw the first direct sectarian slogans yesterday among the opposition that until now has stuck to a moderate message of dismantling emergency law, promulgating a new party law, and winning freedom. But on Thursday, the demonstrators abandoned their gentler slogans and chanted: “No Iran. No Hizbullah. We want a Muslim who fears God.”

لا ايران ولا حزب الله بدنا مسلم يخاف الله
See the video on Youtube

This slogan invokes the Muslim Brotherhood complaint of the 1970s and 1980s, when extremists called for an end to Alawite rule and accused Syria’s Alawites of being unbelievers and non-Arabs or Chrypto-Iranians – “Shu’ubiyyun,” – a term originally applied to non-Arab Muslims, mainly Persians, who resisted Arab claims to be the prime inheritors of the prophet. It was used by the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1970s to discredit the Syrian regime and by Saddam Hussein against Iraqi Shiites. Saddam demanded that Iraqi Shi‘ites abandon their shu‘ubi tendencies and reverence for Iranian religious leaders and embrace an authentically Arab Islam. By claiming that “We want a Muslim who fears in God” and “No Iran.”

The use of this slogan by protesters reawakened all the old fears of the regime. The government in taking the Omari mosque in Deraa and placing the claimed cache of captured arms on display – is hitting back and accusing the opposition of being driven by al-Qaida and the Taliban who take orders from America.

Addendum: (Wednesday evening March 23) Several people have written to correct me on interpreting this phrase and the level of sectarianism:

1. The correct translation is “No Iran. No Hizbullah. We want a Muslim who is afraid of God.” Someone who is said to be “afraid of God” in the wider context of Syrian society means someone who is virtuous and morally righteous, not necessarily religious. This phrase is quite often used in marriage context, i.e “I would like to find my daughter a young man who is afraid of God”. The underlying logic behind this meaning stems from the belief that anyone who fears God, will not be able to commit the sins that evoke his wrath, hence will always be morally righteous. On a related note, there is widespread support across a vast swathe of Syrian society for any sort of movement which can bring about much needed political reform and basic freedoms, but whether there will be the same level of support for a revolution or an uprising is a different matter. Many wealthier urbanites are at best apathetic and would prefer stability to freedom, which may explain why the uprising have been largely a rural affair thus far.

2. Sir, They are looking after a trusted Muslim human being who fears God and willing to protect them from the killers !! They meant a SYRIAN ruler that disallows the killing of his own unarmed civilian because of his fear of God , and It has nothing to do with the long gone MB…

3.What is shocking Josh is that you say the demos turned sectarian because in one demo you heard some people Chanting sectarian slogans. This is ridiculous. It is obvious that there is sectarianism in Syria and you are going to hear that type of slogans from time to time. But what is obvious is that the vast majority of the slogans are actually NOT sectarian. You are very good at communication and you know very well the impact of your blog. It is a pity you do not make more serious efforts at portraying a picture as close as possible to the truth.

Farouk al Sharaa, the Vice President, has made the strategy clear. He stated:

وفي سؤال عن الموقف من امتداد التيار الإسلامي السياسي في ضوء التطورات الإقليمية أكد الشرع «نحن لسنا أعداء التيار الإسلامي العاقل المنفتح العروبي الذي يفهم جذوره الحقيقية، أما القاعدة وطالبان والجهات الأخرى التي تتلقى تعليماتها من أميركا
وتدعي أنها ضدها فهذه مرفوضة».

As for the question about our position on the spread of Islamic political currents in the light of regional development, Sharaa stated, “We are not opposed to the Islamic currents that are rational and broadminded which understand their true roots, but as for al-Qaida and the Taliban which take their instructions from America, and pretend that they are against it, they are condemnable.”

The gloves are coming off on both sides and things will become much more sectarian and violent.

The government will stress its slogan of the last 30 years: “Stability and Security.” Implicite will be the question: “Do Syrians want to become like Iraq? Do they want their country to be torn by civil war and religious strife?”

The opposition says that Syria is different from Lebanon and Iraq and will not crumble along religious or regional lines. They insist the regime is offering the Syrian people a false choice between chaos and dictatorship. They argue that allegations of Islamism and religious intolerance are invented. They insist the government will destabilize Syria to make it’s predictions come true.

Video of Syrian mukhabarat making arrests in Daraa

In war, truth is the first casualty. Or as Sun Tzu’s wrote, “All warfare is based on deception”.

Key to a successful revolution in Syria must be the splitting of Syria’s elite. This is made up of the Alawis officers, who dominate the security forces and military, and the great Sunni merchant and industrial families, who dominate the economy as well as Syria’s moral and cultural universe.  If the Alawi and Sunni elites stick together, it is difficult to imagine how widespread but scattered popular revolts can overturn the state.

News Summary Follows:

Wednesday, March 23, 2011 زياد حيدر  – الوطن

فاروق الشرع يتحدث عن اتخاذ قرارات مريحة قريباً
قال نائب رئيس الجمهورية فاروق الشرع: إن لدى «السلطة والناس هاجس إصلاح واحداً» في الوقت الحالي، في الوقت الذي أكد فيه مصدر مسؤول أن قرارات مريحة للمواطن ستصدر قريباً وأن مسائل كثيرة قيد الدراسة في الوقت الحالي
وفي سؤال عن الموقف من امتداد التيار الإسلامي السياسي في ضوء التطورات الإقليمية أكد الشرع «نحن لسنا أعداء التيار الإسلامي العاقل المنفتح العروبي الذي يفهم جذوره الحقيقية، أما القاعدة وطالبان والجهات الأخرى التي تتلقى تعليماتها من أميركا
وتدعي أنها ضدها فهذه مرفوضة».

Syrian forces kill 6 in mosque attack: residents
Protesters gather near the Omari Mosque in the southern old city of Deraa Reuters
By Khaled Yacoub Oweis Khaled Yacoub Oweis – 1 hr 57 mins ago

DAMASCUS (Reuters) – Syrian forces killed at least six people on Wednesday in an attack on a mosque in the southern city of Deraa, site of unprecedented protests challenging President Bashar al-Assad’s Baathist rule, residents said.

Assad, a close ally of Iran, key player in neighboring Lebanon and supporter of militant groups opposed to Israel, has dismissed rising demands for fundamental reform in Syria where his Baath Party has held a monopoly on power for 48 years.

Those killed included Ali Ghassab al-Mahamid, a doctor from a prominent Deraa family who went to the Omari mosque in the city’s old quarter to help victims of the attack, which occurred just after midnight, said the residents, declining to be named.

YouTube footage showed what purported to be the street in front of the mosque before the attack, with the sound of gunfire audible and a person inside the mosque grounds yelling: “Brother don’t shoot. This country is big enough for me and you.”

Before security forces attacked the mosque, the focal point of the Deraa protests, electricity was cut off and telephone services were severed. Cries of “Allah Akbar (God is the greatest)” erupted across neighborhoods as the shooting began.

“Syrian authorities think they can kill non-violent democratic protesters with impunity,” exiled Syrian rights defender Haitham al-Manna told BBC television from Paris.

An official Syrian statement said: “Outside parties are transmitting lies about the situation in Deraa,” blaming what it described as armed gangs for the violence.

The statement said doctor Mahamid, who was killed while he was in an ambulance that had arrived at the scene to rescue the injured, was “assaulted by an armed gang.”

“Security forces confronted the armed gang near the Omari mosque, shooting several of its members and arresting others. A member of the security forces was killed,” the statement said.

It said the armed gang “stocked weapons and ammunition in the mosque and kidnapped children and used them as human shields.” State television showed guns, grenades and ammunition it said were found in the mosque, but activists said the protest was peaceful and there had been no weapons.

The attack brought to 10 the number of civilians killed by Syrian forces during six days of demonstrations for political freedoms and an end to corruption in the country of 20 million.

Based on reports from Syrian human rights organizations and relatives, Amnesty Internationalhas compiled the names of 93 people who were arrested between 8 and 23 March in Damascus, Aleppo, Banias, Dera’a, Douma, Hama, Homs, Latakia, Ma’aratan Nu’man and al-Malkiyah and remain detained in unknown locations. The real number of those arrested is likely to be considerably higher. According to one Syrian human rights organization, around 300 people had been arrested in Dera’a in the five days before last night’s attack.

Government statement

العصابات المسلحة في درعا قامت بتخزين أسلحة و ذخيرة داخل الجامع العمري و استخدمت أطفالا اختطفتهم من أهاليهم كدروع بشرية
The armed gangs in Daraa stored weapons and ammunition inside the Omari mosque and they used children whom they kidnapped from their parents as human shields.

Jerusalem Post: For all his faults, Assad is the devil we know, 2011-03-23

Since the Yom Kippur War of 1973, one of the strongest arguments some Israelis make against withdrawing from the Golan Heights and making peace with Syria is basically, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Of all of Israel’s borders including, the so-called peaceful ones with Jordan and Egypt, the border with Syria has always been the quietest. Yes, Israel fought a major war there in 1973, but since then, the border has been peaceful, with only a rare terror or criminal infiltration.

As Israel watches the ongoing demonstrations in Syria against President Bashar Assad, its greatest concern for the moment is the uncertainty that change in Syria would bring to the region. Israel has gotten used to Assad and he is almost predictable. A new regime, led by a new actor, would likely be unpredictable and when considering the large arsenal of long-range Scud missiles Syria has stockpiled over the years and the accompanying chemical warheads, Israel needs to be considered.

In recent weeks, since the ongoing upheaval began in the Middle East, starting with Tunisia and Egypt and carrying on to Libya, Yemen, Bahrain and now Syria, Israel has found itself in a new reality in which uncertainty prevails. Who will take over in Egypt as the new president and what will happen to the peace treaty? What will happen in Bahrain, and will Iran continue to solidify its grip over the Gulf states? With regards to Syria, the Israeli defense establishment cannot say that the writing was not on the wall.

It is no secret that Syria is in an economic crisis, lacking basic resources such as water, oil and produce. Assad has for years rejected opportunities to do business with the West – particularly Europe – and with runaway inflation and high unemployment he is now paying the price. But when Israel looks at Syria it also sees the possible development of a new enemy, far more radical and extreme than the Assad they are familiar with.

Haaretz: IDF: Syria may provoke Israel to distract from domestic unrest

The Israel Defense Forces is readying for the possibility that Syria might create a provocation along the northern border to divert attention from the growing protests against President Bashar Assad’s regime. Nevertheless, the defense establishment …

Protesters march in south Syria for fifth day
By Khaled al-Hariri

DERAA, Syria, March 22 (Reuters) – Hundreds of people marched in southern Syria for a fifth straight day on Tuesday, protesting against the government of President Bashar al-Assad and shouting “Freedom, freedom. Peaceful, peaceful.” Protesters gathered near the Old Omari mosque in Deraa and in the nearby town of Nawa in the strategic Hauran plateau, close to the border with Jordan, catching a wave of Arab unrest that has toppled leaders in Tunisia and Egypt.

“We want bread, but also freedom,” said a resident of Deraa, where wheat yields fell by a quarter last year due to a drought that has hit the rest of the country of 20 million people. Security forces killed four protesters when the demonstrations erupted in Deraa on Friday, and an 11-year-old child died after inhaling tear gas. ….

PBS News: News Wrap: At Least 7 Killed in Syria as Army Deploys to Stop Unrest

Protest Spreads in Syria Despite Firing of Governor of Restive Southern Province
2011-03-22, By Associated Press

Protest Spreads in Syria Despite Firing of Governor of Restive Southern Province

March 22 (Washington Post) — DAMASCUS, Syria — Protests spread in southern Syria Tuesday as hundreds of people marched to demand reforms in a previously peaceful village, witnesses and activists said.
Troops and protesters faced off in a nearby city outside a mosque where demonstrators have taken shelter.

The government sought to contain the first serious intrusion of the Arab world’s political unrest by firing the governor of the southern province of Daraa, where security forces killed seven protesters in the main city of Daraa over the weekend.

The governor’s dismissal failed to quell popular anger and the protests reached the village of Nawa, where hundreds of people marched demanding reforms, an activist told The AssociatedPress.

Smaller protests have been held in Jasim and Inkhil, near Daraa, and other Syrian cities including the capital, Damascus, and the Kurdish city of Qamishli.

Fear barrier crumbles in Syrian “kingdom of silence”
22 March 2011
Reuters News, By Khaled Yacoub Oweis

DAMASCUS, March 22 (Reuters) – The preacher of the Saladin Mosque was reflecting on the joys of Mother’s Day, his sermon straying far from dramatic protests now gripping Syria, when a young man jumped up to the pulpit and grabbed the microphone.

“Why are you talking about this in these circumstances? Tell us about the political situation!” shouted the youth, before secret police arrested him and hurried him away.

The scene at the mosque in the lower income Damascus district of Ruknaldin, recounted to Reuters by worshippers who witnessed it on Friday, was striking in a country where pliant citizens have endured government-dictated sermons for decades. In Damascus, as in the provinces, a barrier of fear which had blocked dissent is breaking down. Uprisings across the Arab world have not stopped at the door of one of its most hardline administrations.

For the first time, placards other than those glorifying Syria’s ruling elite and the “historic achievements” of the Baath Party are being raised in the towns of the strategic Hauran plain south of Damascus. A single word is etched on them — “Freedom”…..

Economist: The Arab Awakening Reaches Syria

There are signs the crisis in Deraa could be solved. A group of prominent locals has presented a list of demands to the government. These include the end to emergency law and the dismantling of the local security office, but not the removal of Mr Assad. Friday’s protesters had different motives in different parts of the country. In other areas, such as quiet Damascus, many disbelieve the news leaking out or prefer to turn a blind eye. Some activists want to pull back, viewing the situation as a dangerously unarticulated barrage of anger. Dormant opposition figures are complicating matters by trying to enter the fray. …

In Daraa today: Youtube, Shouting freedom freedom and turning the secret service vehicle upside down.

Standing up to the west isn’t enough to save Assad

David Hirst in the Guardian: Standing up to the west isn’t enough to save Assad

There is a growing feeling that it could escalate into something much bigger and more decisive, with the regime’s own reactions – now consisting of the usual brute force with a novel, nervous admixture of conciliation – constituting the key factor as to whether it does or not.

A note from a Syrian friend visiting Damascus over the weekend

I took a day trip from Beirut to Damascus, had lunch and dinner there and just got back to Beirut. I will rush you some quick observations as I am a bit tired and haven’t yet caught up with the 2M+ email I got since I was gone.

– My overall impression: I am a bit concerned but not worried at all.

When I left Beirut, I was expecting the worse. Since I can only travel as a US citizen, I was bit concerned that with a last name of Atassi (with the stupid Atassi declaration that included all Atassis inside and outside Syria without my consent), the worries of some strangers coming to Syria as agitators, that I might be subjected to some not so easy time.

Nothing. It was the smoothest trip I ever had. The border guards were the most courteous, no-question-asked officers I have ever seen.

* There were no patrols, troop movements, security check points, or anything, I repeat, anything that might tell me there is a crises in Syria anywhere. Absolutely positively everything looked normal and very calm. This is from the Syrian Borders to the Mazze, to the Four Seasons Hotel.

* Along the Mazzeh autostrad, traffic was busy, coffee shops and restaurants were busy, and buses were full of people. Life couldn’t look more normal. It was the Damascus I knew.

* At the end of the Mazzeh Autostrad, I was expecting to see people with families chillaxing on the grassy areas, like they always do during the summer. They were actually there, chillaxing, may with arjile and children were playing.

* Unlike what I read in some reports before I left today, the Government did not give the people two days off to sort through the issues of Daraa. So let me get you the scoop on this. The 21st of March, Mother’d Day has always bee an official holiday in Syria since the days of the father. So Monday is off. They gave the people, Sunday (today) off to make it a long weekend (with the weekend in Syria being Friday and Saturday.) By the way, today’s off is what we call in the US administrative leave (Ijazeh Idarieh) – meaning employees will have to take today off and will be deducted from their annual leave time.

* The Four Seasons Hotel was full of people, but not packed as in the summer days. Being a Holiday and tomorrow being Mother’s Day, many people did nt venture outside to party as they usually do, I was told.

* I asked the local about the latest events. No one is worried my all had the attitude of why-are-you surprised. I was shocked. Everyone I talked to seems to have been expecting this Daraa events all along. The reason? I did not know that the Daraa issue was festering for a while now – even before Egypt. Apparently many Wahhabis have infiltrated the city – especially from Jordan and have been preaching hatred against the Alawites (here we go again, Alawites vs a group of Syrians) and in the last month or so there have been some arrests, beating, and you-know-what-they-do when they catch these salafis.

* So people in Damascus (and only those I talked to) wish that the government finally crush them once and for all. One friend told me (not sure how true) that Bashar got the told-you-so from some senior intelligence officers when he insisted early on to treat the Salafis with utmost caring under the circumstances. Apparently they wanted to deal with them in their usual ways and he overruled them. Not sure how true this is, but it is what I heard.

* So I asked about the demonstration in Damascus and Banyas and elsewhere. Apparently few are concerned with those and they considered them “no big deal” مو كتير مهمين.

So, life is normal and the Syrians I met with did not seem to be concerned that things will get worse. I did hear, though, and repeatedly that Bashar needs to change. ANd in fact, I did her exactly what Mouris said earlier that Bashar needs to announce term limit, and that he will not run for re-election, and that he needs to rescind the emergency law, allow other parties to participate and he needs to let loosen teh terrible laws against the private market.

Whether Bashar will head the advice or not is unknown. But all of the people I talked to seem to think this this is not as big as we think.

WIKILEAKS- thanks to FLC
S E C R E T TEL AVIV 003079


3. (S) With media representatives present, FM Livni opened the meeting by cautioning everyone not to believe what the newspapers write: “Israel is not satisfied with the draft UN resolution (1559) as it stands.” After the media reps departed the room, Livni reiterated to the Assistant Secretary that Israel — like Lebanon — does not approve of the current draft of the resolution. Over the next hour and a half, FM Livni made repeated, impassioned appeals to the Assistant Secretary not to allow the draft UN resolution to address the long-standing Shebaa Farms territorial dispute. First, she argued that Shebaa Farms is a territorial dispute between Lebanon and Syria. As such, Israel has no right to be involved in it, and does not wish to have it placed on its bilateral agenda with Lebanon. She argued that IF/IF Shebaa Farms were returned to Lebanon in any kind of post-conflict resolution — and Israel were implicated in the return — then Syria might attack Israel, arguing that Israel had no right to hand the territory over to Lebanon. 4. (S) FM Livni also returned to what she said were the GOI’s initial objections to addressing the Shebaa Farms issue in the first place — that return of any disputed territory as part of a resolution to the current conflict would be tantamount to rewarding aggression. Hizballah, she claimed, would grow stronger,… Asking for five minutes to lay out the Israeli position on Shebaa Farms, Livni continued: “In past discussions between Israel and the U.S., it was clear that Shebaa Farms would be the end of a process — full implementation of (UNSCR) 1559. Now, it is being put as something to start with! I am so fed up with weak leaders who want to get something good without implementing their deals.” She wondered aloud what would happen next — perhaps Hizballah would press for return of the West Bank? Pounding the table, Livni said, “Surely the U.S. and other Western governments are not naive enough to believe Hizballah’s statements that it exists because of Shebaa Farms. Iran is the reason why Hizballah exists. Iran, Syria, the Palestinians and Hamas are watching us. We will be sending the wrong message. They will see that they get something by killing Israelis. I do not care about Siniora’s ‘blah blah’ about how this is something for him. If Shebaa Farms are returned to Lebanon, Hizballah will merely take up another cause. It exists solely to advocate for and execute the destruction of Israel….” One could, she said, imagine a scenario in which Shebaa Farms were returned, and then the weak Siniora government decides not to take action on any of its “obligations,” including complete execution of UNSCR 1559. 6. (S) Livni stressed that prior to the outbreak of the fighting, there was a series of UNSCRs that concerned Lebanon: 425 (Israel’s withdrawal behind a UN-mandated line), 1559 (disarmament of militias) and 1680 (calling on Syria to delimit its borders with Lebanon). Accepting Assistant Secretary Welch’s clarification that expectations laid out in 1559 were not “obligations” set on Lebanon’s government, Livni nonetheless argued that .. Shebaa Farms will be dealt with only after 1559 is fully implemented.”….

9. (S) The Assistant Secretary shared with Livni the results of his August 4-5 meetings in Lebanon Specifically, he told FM Livni that: — Berri sees himself as able to represent Shia interests, and is willing, but does not feel obligated, to do so. He is providing considerable help to PM Siniora, who relies upon him to keep the Shia in line with the GOL. Berri indicated his willingness to be an intermediary to Hizballah … — Jumblat claimed that the IDF is not making much headway against Hizballah and needs to keep up pressure on the group. All of the Assistant Secretary’s interlocutors understood that it is helpful to have Hizballah “militarily pressured.”… — Like the Israelis, the Lebanese are not happy with the lead role France has appointed itself in organizing the MNF. — All said that they cannot ask for or approve a multinational force under a Chapter 7 mandate, but can accept one if it is imposed on Lebanon. They are planning for the deployment of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) immediately upon withdrawal of the IDF — even if the MNF is not yet in place. Berri implied that Hizballah would agree, and volunteered to personally lead a vanguard of 10,000-15,000 troops into the south. …. PM Siniora and wants the bulk of Muslim MNF troops to be Sunni. — All accept that there should be no arms in the area of operations except those held by the LAF and MNF. .. — All agreed that Iran and Syria want to continue the fight.

Costa Coffee Closes Most Outlets in Syria: Costa Coffee, a global chain of cafés, has closed most of its outlets in Damascus, citing operational losses.

U.S. Reacts to Fear of Iran’s Rising Clout

White House Eyes Islamist State While Strategizing in Libya, Bahrain, Yemen and Syria; But Its Approach Could Backfire
WASHINGTON—White House concerns that Iran’s hand is being strengthened by recent events in the Middle East is central to its response to the turmoil, say U.S., European, and Arab officials.

President Barack Obama’s decision last week to use military force against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s forces was made in part by his administration’s fear that Western inaction could further embolden Tehran, these officials say.

Sunni-majority Saudi Arabia and Iran’s Shiite government are locked in a battle for regional influence.

U.S. military planners are also concerned Iran could benefit from an overthrow of the monarchy in Bahrain, home to U.S. naval operations that help control the Persian Gulf’s oil flow.

In Yemen, too, Washington’s closest Arab allies, in particular Saudi Arabia, are worried the potential overthrow of President Ali Abdullah Saleh could strengthen Iran in the region.

Riyadh briefly invaded Yemen last year to contain a rebel movement, known as the Houthis, which shares Tehran’s Shiite faith and Arab states allege has received funding and arms from Iran.

“Everything the U.S. is doing to respond in the Middle East is colored by how this could hurt or help Iran,” said a European official who has met with senior U.S. officials in recent weeks. “This might be an overreaction, but it’s how people are viewing things.”

Many Middle East analysts warn that Washington’s Iran strategy could backfire. Tehran and its allies have been saying the Obama administration’s varying approach to each uprising in the region is hypocritical, in particular its lukewarm condemnation of the Bahrain government’s recent crackdown on a largely Shiite protest movement.

An overthrow of Bahrain’s Sunni monarchy would likely produce a government more aligned with Tehran’s interests.

“I ask some in the Arab and Islamic worlds: Why have you remained mum over the tyranny against our people in Bahrain,” Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Lebanon’s Hezbollah party and a close Iran ally, said on Saturday. “Is it only because they are Shiites?”

Iran’s leadership has sought to cast the Middle East’s democratic wave as one that targets pro-American governments. But the turmoil has also rekindled a protest movement in Iran—the antithesis of a pro-U.S. government—that flared in 2009 following allegations that national elections were rigged. The White House has sought to cast Tehran as hypocritical—urging on protests in Arab nations, but suppressing them at home.

Over the weekend, Mr. Obama offered his strongest rhetorical support yet for Iran’s youthful opposition movement.

“So far, the Iranian government has responded by demonstrating that it cares more about preserving its own power than respecting the rights of the Iranian people,” Mr. Obama said in a video message that was beamed into Iran and translated into Persian to commemorate Nowruz, the Persian New Year. “These choices do not demonstrate strength, they show fear.”

The U.S. Treasury Department last month for the first time imposed sanctions on Iranian officials solely for their alleged role in human-rights abuses and for playing a role in the crackdown on political dissidents.

The Obama administration is pushing the United Nations’ Human Rights Council in Geneva to censure Iran for its alleged abuses and establish the first U.N. human rights investigator for the Islamic republic in a decade.

Another front in the U.S.’s Middle East approach is Syria, which has been engulfed by political protests in recent days. The Obama administration has aggressively sought to split Syrian President Bashar al-Assad away from his longstanding alliance with Tehran. And it has sought to rekindle peace talks between Syria and Israel over the disputed Golan Heights territory, so far with little luck.

U.S. officials said they are now closely tracking a growing protest movement that has focused on the southern Syrian city of Deraa, which is now viewed as the greatest political challenge to Mr. Assad’s 11-year rule. Human rights-groups said at least half a dozen activists have been killed since Friday. And U.S. officials, while cautious in predicting Mr. Assad will fall, believe the protests could force the 46-year-old leader to limit his cooperation with Tehran.

On Sunday, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem broke with Iran and formally supported Saudi Arabia’s role in quelling the unrest in Bahrain. Riyadh is seen as the principal Arab power capable of providing Syria with crucial economic and political support if Syria’s protest movement swells.

The Persian Gulf remains the most important flash point in the proxy battle between the U.S. and Iran. “We do expect Iran will attempt to take advantage of events for its own purposes,” said Ben Rhodes, U.S. deputy national-security adviser for strategic communications. “Iran has a long history of attempting to meddle in the affairs of other countries.”

The Obama administration has faced criticism for not more forcefully condemning the move by Bahrain’s ruling Khalifa family and Saudi Arabia to deploy troops against largely Shiite protestors.

Saudi Arabia’s monarchs have told the U.S. they won’t accept a new government in Bahrain that could fall under Iran’s sway.

On Monday, Bahrain’s foreign minister threatened to cut ties with Lebanon over the Hezbollah leader’s criticism of the recent military operations. And Bahrain’s leaders have intensified their claims that Iran is trying to topple their government.

“Iran’s behavior and contacts with some nations and organization about the international affairs of the Kingdom of Bahrain is a clear intervention,” Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa told reporters Friday. “I’d like to remind all of you of the incident that had taken place in Iran last year or even before that,” referring to the 2009 protests.

Demands of the Deraa Leaders includes:
Release of those imprisoned, replacement of the Governor and security, investigation and punishment of those who shot demonstrators, end emergency law, free market in land sales, without intelligence oversight.

Comments (126)

SOURI said:

You are somewhat neutral Dr. Landis but I don’t know why you insist on portraying these events as taking place outside Deraa, whereas in fact there was nothing significant that happened outside Deraa after Friday. You labeled the following video as happening in Damascus:

This was a mistake because the video title says اعتقالات قوات الأمن بملابس مدنية في درعا. This video is from Deraa, not Damascus.

The problem was a local problem in Deraa, and it is now almost over.

Also if you want to see the real sectarian slogans just read through the comments on the facebook revolution page. The revolutionists are using the sentence “إذا كان للشعوب المنتفضة الجزيرة فللشعب السوري رب الجزيرة”. The original author of this sentence is Ali al-Ahmad and you can find it on his website as an article title. I am a good follower of Ali al-Ahmad’s website and I am 100% sure that those revolutionists are directly connected to him. The next thing they will do after the fall of the regime is to go up to the Alawi Mountain and kill every human being there like Ali al-Ahmad once prayed to God for. Also Ali al-Ahmad demands the killing of some of his fellows in إعلان دمشق because they “offended Islam.” Anybody who wants to understand the goals of the current revolution in Syria should read Ali al-Ahmad’s articles.

March 23rd, 2011, 2:35 pm


Shami said:

Shame on you Dr Landis ,you surpassed regime’s arrogance.

Anyway ,the peaceful non sectarian protests will continue till the end of Bashar’s dictatorship.Bashar,Maher and Rami and their Baath cover is not the end of the history in Syria.

As for attacking Hezbollah and Iran ,it’s very understandable and was not a sectarian stance ,explained by the strong ties that bound the mini sectarian asad regime to the iranian theocrats.
So no need to make all this literature in order to give corpse to the regime’s lies.

March 23rd, 2011, 2:52 pm


Atassi said:

درعا .. بلطجية النظام وهذا شاهد من اهلها

March 23rd, 2011, 2:54 pm


JH said:

The change of tone over the last fortnight in both the blogposts themselves on Syria Comment, as well as the change in tone of the comments pages themselves, suggests that the situation in Syria is much more serious than Souri @1 suggests.

While I have no doubt that many people in Deraa are indeed Muslims, and may very well have views on politics and society that I do not share, and most likely envision a future community in which I would not want my baby daughter to grow up, I am uncomfortable with the use of the label “Islamists/Islamic” for whole communities.

In the light of the events taking place across the Middle East at the moment, it might be more appropriate to call them Syrians (cf. Egyptians / Tunisians) or civilians (cf. Libyan civilians). Naming is a political choice, and coming as I do from a small village in the countryside that is often described by outsiders and urbanites as backward, I am not keen on seeing the suffering, sacrifices, and most importantly the political actions of the communities in Deraa devalued by analysis that considers them first and foremost as Islamic.

My fear, shared I am sure by many, is that Hama is remembered in some circles as a success that could be repeated in extremis. I once attended a business school lecture in the heart of the prosperous and well-educated West in which the vast majority of the American students were convinced that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were just that; a necessary evil that was morally justifiable in extremis. This is wrong; that bombing in WW2 was a terrible crime, and Hama was a terrible crime.

It is incumbent upon those of us who are not members of the regime to do everything, speech acts of description included, to ensure that nothing like Hama happens again in Syria. The people do not deserve it.

March 23rd, 2011, 3:04 pm


Umar said:

And the Syrian regime isn’t sectarian?! How come it has allowed the Shi’ites freedom to spread their sect, but squelched any “Sunni” opposition to this. One of the Shi’ite clerics backed by the Syrian regime, Hisham Aal-Qutayt, mentions in his book, Al-Mutahawilloon, that Umar ibn al-Khattab, is responsible for the establishment of Israel!

March 23rd, 2011, 3:13 pm


Joshua said:

Thanks Souri, I just corrected the video mistake, The title started with the “Sham” and I went with it. The street also looked fancier than I imagined Deraa to look.

Shami – What do you make of the “We want a Muslim who fears God” chant? When I heard this, I immediately thought of the MB in the 1980s. Given the context, isn’t it impossible not to?

And even if it was meant innocently, the regime undoubtedly read it as a head on attack on the most basic strategy and policies of the government and Syrian state. It is far beyond ending emergency rule or demanding a new party law and freedom.

March 23rd, 2011, 3:18 pm


majedkhaldoon said:

when syrian demonstrate they say Allhu Akbar,this does not mean they are MB.Communist say that too,when they demonstrate.
BTW the picture are not Deraa

Self defense is a right, I hope in your comment you are not against self defense,I did not expect that humiliating the syrian people is O.K. to you. I expected you to denounce the brutality the regime did.
While the demonstrators are peacefull, the Regime is spreading lies, and resorting to unacceptable gun use,result in killing.

March 23rd, 2011, 4:07 pm


Atassi said:

They are asking for a human being who fears God and can protect them from the killers !! They meant a SYRIAIN ruler that disallows the killing of his own unarmed civilian because he fears GOD. It has nothing to do with the long gone MB…

March 23rd, 2011, 4:09 pm


Jihad said:

What is shocking Josh is that you say the demos turned sectarian because in one demo you heard some people Chanting sectarian slogans. This is ridiculous. It is obvious that there is sectarianism in Syria and you are going to hear that type of slogans from time to time. But what is obvious is that the vast majority of the slogans are actually NOT sectarian. You are very good at communication and you know very well the impact of your blog. It is a pity you do not make more serious efforts at portraying a picture as close as possible to the truth.

March 23rd, 2011, 4:11 pm


Atassi said:

They are looking after a trusted Muslim human being who fears God and willing to protect them from the killers !! They meant a SYRIAIN ruler that disallows the killing of his own unarmed civilian because of his fear of God , and It has nothing to do with the long gone MB…

March 23rd, 2011, 4:44 pm


Nour said:

Umar said:

“And the Syrian regime isn’t sectarian?! How come it has allowed the Shi’ites freedom to spread their sect, but squelched any “Sunni” opposition to this. One of the Shi’ite clerics backed by the Syrian regime, Hisham Aal-Qutayt, mentions in his book, Al-Mutahawilloon, that Umar ibn al-Khattab, is responsible for the establishment of Israel!”

All the sectarian faces are coming out full force today. What kind of nonsense is this? So anything that is non-Sunni is sectarian? That is sectarianism in itself. So for the regime to not be “sectarian” they have to suppress the right of Shiites to practice their religion? It’s funny that you think they are sectarian because they “squelched any ‘Sunni’ opposition to this,” as if the regime, on order to prove their non-sectarianism, should allow the “Sunnis” to forbid the Shiites from practicing in Syria. How utterly nonsensical and vulgarly sectarian is this?

March 23rd, 2011, 4:53 pm


Nour said:


That is nonsense and you know it. They didn’t simply say we want a Muslim who fears God, but they preceded it with No Iran, No Hizballah, which suggests a clear sectarian political agenda. This has nothing to do with demands for freedom and reform.

March 23rd, 2011, 4:55 pm


majedkhaldoon said:

Nor Iran ,nor HA of lebanon are sects in syria,how could such statement be interpreted as sectarian?

March 23rd, 2011, 5:05 pm


Umar said:

I admit I’m a Sunni sectarian. It’s the hypocritical pro-Syrian regime adn its’ backers here who ridiculously deny that they are sectarian, even the sectarian nature of the regime is known. The regime is openly supporting this Shi’itetaztion in Syria to further entrench it’s hold on power. What I meant by “squelching any Sunni opposition to it” is allowing Sunni shuyookh to speak against this and many of these so-called Mustabsireen(Sunnis who become Shi’ite) declare Abu Bakr and Umar heretics as taught by their masters. So spare me your ridiculous and vulgar sectarianism and if you want to see that, look at Iraq, where we see the Shi’ite leaders there smiling and laughing with Bush and Wolfowitz while attacking Abu Bakr and Umar!

March 23rd, 2011, 5:19 pm


Vedat The Turk said:

A Question To The Group

The real question that is to be determined is whether Bashar Assad will stand and fight or flee? If he fights, how much force will he exert? If he flees will it be orderly (with power left to the army) or hastily (to save his own skin).

I would love to know what everyone in this group thinks. This could be an interesting test to determine commentators comments turn out to be correct (and worthy of praise) and whose are just dead wrong.

March 23rd, 2011, 5:32 pm


jad said:

Don’t you or anybody on SC ever think to use this naive game on me, we all are judged by what we wrote and we’ve been on SC long enough to know what each one of us is and what he represent.

Here is what you wrote in your last comment (you actually wrote the same comment before promoting for arming people and I told you the same thing at that time),
“When the regime use weapons to subdue people,the people must carry arms and defend themselves.
If the people have arms,this will guarrantee will be all out war.this the only language the regime understands.”

Every sentence in that crappy comment of yours need an explanation, what ‘self defense’ are you calling for when you are asking for people to get arms and use it in an ‘all out war’?
What you wrote is nonsense, there is nothing about self defense in your comment, there is nothing showing your sympathy of any kind to the people who died in Daraa, you have nothing in that stupid comment you wrote but stupid blunt call of ‘all out war’ and violence. Show me one comment you wrote that give any sympathy to any of the people who died in Daraa, NONE.

I write whatever I want whenever I want, nobody here is asking from anybody a prove of anything, we are not in a competition of proving who we are.

March 23rd, 2011, 5:35 pm


Ziadsoury said:

Prof Joshua, Souri
Let’s assume they are chanting for the MB which I am against and would not vote for. Let’s assume they are calling Bashar a non believer. What is wrong with that? Do they deserve to die? Do they deserve to be attacked like there is tomorrow? By the same logic, anyone who is in the opposition to the ruling party deserves to die.

I went out during the run to the Iraq war and called Bush so many things and no one bothered me. The guy was talking to god for advice. Do you guys believe that every Syrian has the right to assemble and free speech?

March 23rd, 2011, 5:59 pm


majedkhaldoon said:

when security forces use guns to kill unarmed people, dont you think that they need self defence,is it hard for you to comprehend that, you said my comment is crappy and nonesense, look at yourself in the mirror, who is crappy and talking nonesense.
we have enough brutality and tyrany from this regime,put people in jail for expressing their idea.
You said;
I write whatever I want whenever I want
Is it O.K. for you and not O.K. for us

March 23rd, 2011, 6:13 pm


trustquest said:
real account of what happened today from the guy who witnessed the Tunisian and the Egyptian revolutions.

March 23rd, 2011, 6:23 pm


NK said:

Dr Landis

You wrote “slogans and chanted: “No Iran. No Hizbullah. We want a Muslim who believes in God.”” and then in the comment you wrote “We want a Muslim who fears God”.
There’s a big difference between believes and fears, fears being the correct translation.

As for the slogan being sectarian, there might be some truth in that, but when you look at everything that happened in the past week, the rumors of 1500 Hizb Allah fighters entering Syria to protect the regime, the rumors of Iranian troops arriving at Daraa and participating in hunting down protesters and the fact that over 10 people died so far, it’s not that impossible to believe that the people would chant slogans against HA, Iran and Bashar who failed to protect his own citizens over the past few days. It’s pretty common to call somebody “does not fear god” ” ما بيخاف الله” when he does something despicable regardless of his religious affiliation, I think what happened in Daraa qualifies as despicable.

Regardless whether the slogans were sectarian or not, I agree that the gloves are off, and now it really depends on what will happen the following few days. Will the crackdown re install the fear of the regime and it’s security forces, and stop the demonstrations from spreading ?.

March 23rd, 2011, 6:24 pm


trustquest said:
Dr. Landis, please speak up, it is a massacre

March 23rd, 2011, 6:31 pm


aboali said:

ok, your translation of the slogan is incorrect and changes the meaning a great deal, but I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt here. The correct translation is “No Iran. No Hizbullah. We want a Muslim who is afraid of God.” Someone who is said to be “afraid of God” in the wider context of Syrian society means someone who is virtuous and morally righteous, not necessarily religious. This phrase is quite often used in marriage context, i.e “I would like to find my daughter a young man who is afraid of God”. The underlying logic behind this meaning stems from the belief that anyone who fears God, will not be able to commit the sins that evoke his wrath, hence will always be morally righteous. On a related note, there is widespread support across a vast swathe of Syrian society for any sort of movement which can bring about much needed political reform and basic freedoms, but whether there will be the same level of support for a revolution or an uprising is a different matter. Many wealthier urbanites are at best apathetic and would prefer stability to freedom, which may explain why the uprising have been largely a rural affair thus far.

March 23rd, 2011, 6:34 pm


Souri said:

The regime now is trying to contain the situation so that we don’t slip into civil war, but if things deteriorate and the Islamists throw all their weight in the fray, the regime must adopt a strategy to win the civil war and control all of Syria (like late Assad did) and not try to escape to the Alawi mountain and fight from their as an Alawi sect defending itself. That would be a disaster for Syria.

The regime can win a full-scale civil war if it knows how to play its cards right and avoid Qaddafi’s stupid mistakes. If a war with the Islamists becomes inevitable, the Baath must convene and declare a new constitution for Syria that accepts multi-party democracy but stresses the secular nature of the political process and the Syrian state.

This way the regime will be able achieve two main goals:

1-It will isolate the Islamist Sunnis from the non-Islamist Sunnis. The Sunnis all together form around 70% of the Syrian population as it is commonly stated, but the Islamists, I believe, can in no way be more than half of the Syrian population (they might be even be less). So if the Baath declares a secular democratic constitution it will manage to break up the large Sunni block and weaken the Islamists.

2-The second goal is no less important, which is to reveal the true nature of the Islamists to the global media. The Wahhabi thugs are now claiming that they are revolting for democracy, so by declaring a secular democracy the regime can take that shell off them.

If the regime achieves these two things, it will be in a good place to fight in the civil war and win all of Syria.

The Wahhabis will probably easily control the Euphrates basin and Hauran. The coastal area should be guaranteed for the regime. Damascus region is mainly Sunni, but some of the Sunnis in Damascus will abandon the Islamists if the regime convinces them that it is serious in its democratic reform. The same applies to Aleppo and Homs.

The point is that the regime can fight and win a civil war if one is imposed on it. I hope that they consider fighting to the end and not resort to sectarian solutions that would cut Syria into pieces.

March 23rd, 2011, 6:35 pm


extra said:

Demanding freedom from corruption and freedom to express political views is entirely reasonable, but when the freedom groups demand amounts to the freedom to impose their religious views on others, I cannot, in all conscience, support them. Sectarian disputation will only weaken Syria, both internally and externally. Only Syria’s enemies will benefit, and its long-suffering people will be on the receiving end- again.

March 23rd, 2011, 6:55 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Ziadsoury said:

Let’s assume they are chanting for the MB which I am against and would not vote for. Let’s assume they are calling Bashar a non believer. What is wrong with that? Do they deserve to die? Do they deserve to be attacked like there is tomorrow?

The simple answer is no. Not in a free country.

But Syria isn’t free. Nor is the judicial system. Good luck.

What do you make of the “We want a Muslim who fears God” chant? When I heard this, I immediately thought of the MB in the 1980s.

Professor Josh,

So what?? Some republicans say the same thing about Obama.

I thought you academics were FOR freedom of speech??

I guess it’s hard seeing your beloved President-for-Life sweat…

Good luck to the Syrian people. They deserve better. I hope they achieve it.

Souri said:

the regime must adopt a strategy to win the civil war and control all of Syria (like late Assad did)

You’ve got to be kidding, right?

(Ziad, no “disgust” exhibited here)

March 23rd, 2011, 7:10 pm


majedkhaldoon said:

Stock market in Syria went down
Gold is more than 1900 lira for one gram of gold.
one dollar is more than 48 lira.and you can not find it anymore,not in the banks nor the private sector.
it is expected that tourism will suffer a lot

March 23rd, 2011, 7:14 pm


SOURI said:

I don’t think that anybody believes that Bashar Assad rules Syria as a person. Bashar is a great guy, but if things deteriorate, the Alawis must know how to sacrifice Bashar or some of his powers to save the unity of Syria.

The Alawis must concentrate on keeping hold on the military and security branches of the government, but they should sacrifice the other branches to a freely elected government.

Democracy in Syria can work if it does not affect the military and security forces, so that these can remain in secular hands and watch over the political process and prevent it from slipping into a sectarian process.

This model of Ataturkian military rule can work in Syria, but to get there we need first to win the war against the Islamists if they impose it on Syria.

March 23rd, 2011, 7:14 pm


NK said:

Ya Habibi ya Souri

If the regime did what you suggested, declare new constitution that accepts a multi-party system, the current events will stop right away, there will be no more blood shed let alone civil war.

The facts are (based on current videos) the regime have no real intention of offering any concessions whatsoever, and anyone who opposes its rule can simply just drop dead.

As for your suggestion in #22, there’s a lot of corruption among the high ranking army/security officers that reaches all the way to the top, regardless of their affiliation, those need to be kicked out first then your suggestion might be an acceptable one.

March 23rd, 2011, 7:15 pm


Syrian Nationalist Party said:

@Akbar Palace,
Have you considered running for Israel Prime Minister job! with all those NothinYahoo’s, they could use one with common sence like you.

March 23rd, 2011, 7:17 pm


Umar said:

Souri, you talk as if the Syrian regime isn’t sectarian itself and you’re dreaming if you think that any significant percentage of Sunnis would support the regime in a civil war. And who are these mythical “Wahabis” in Syria when Wahabism is banned by the regime and fought tooth and nail. Name some of these “Wahabis”?
A Syrian college student was disappeared by the mukhabarat because she became “Wahabi” and any religious Sunni who opposes the regime becomes “Wahabi”, even the Sufis who fought the regime like Sa’eed Hawa, Adib al-Kailani, and others.

March 23rd, 2011, 7:18 pm


Umar said:

“the regime must adopt a strategy to win the civil war and control all of Syria (like late Assad did)”

Are you going to be on the frontlines?

“Have you considered running for Israel Prime Minister job! with all those NothinYahoo’s, they could use one with common sence like you.”

SNP, have you? Your beloved regime has colloborated with the West and Israel in the past, and the anti-imperialist credentials of the “Assads” are a myth and their family colloborated with the European colonialists

March 23rd, 2011, 7:23 pm


SOURI said:

This is Wahhabi freedom:\23z493.htm&arc=data\201133-23\23z493.htm

They are trying a man in Egypt because he said “if God wins 70% of popular vote, he should be thankful.”

March 23rd, 2011, 7:29 pm


NK said:

Souri #25

I don’t know what the laws are in Egypt, but notice that it’s (lawyers) filling a (complaint), they didn’t attack his home with torches, if there is laws in Egypt forbidding people from belittling God, then all citizens should abide by those laws. The same thing happens in all western countries, if you break the law there will be consequences.
Does it hurt minorities not to belittle God ? No. Does it affect anyone’s daily life ? No. Egypt have a considerable conservative Muslim community and there’s nothing wrong with respecting/not insulting their believes.

March 23rd, 2011, 7:55 pm


SOURI said:

A commenter on Al-Arabiyya calls for a march on Qardaha:

ازحفوا على القرداحة ياسوريين. واقطعوا كل الطرق المؤدية إليها. لقد طوق درعا فطوقوا القرداحة. عاملوه بالمثل.

Another commenter, “the free Syrian” السوري الحر, explains his grievance against the Alawis:

آن الأوان لنكشف الوجه القبيح لهذا النظام العلوي النصيري الطائفي المجرم وتعالوا نسرد معاناتنا في ظل هذا النظام وسأخص ملاحظاتي بمدينة اللاذقية إحدى أكثر المدن معاناة في ظل هذا النظام المستبد فهل من الطبيعي أننا نعيش في دولة تدعي الاسلام وعندما يأتي شهر رمضان المبارك ترى إخوتنا من المسيحيين يحاولون مراعاة مشاعر الصائمين بينما يجاهر العلويين بفطرهم في منتصف النهار سواء بتدخينهم أو بتناولم المأكولات والمشروبات في كل مكان في الشارع في الجامعة في مكان العمل

He’s angry at the Alawis because they don’t observe the Ramadan fast. He considers this to be an infringement on his freedom. This is something I routinely hear from Islamists in Syria. They believe it is hurtful to them not to observe the fast in Ramadan.

March 23rd, 2011, 7:58 pm


SOURI said:

#26 NK

Well, your laws won’t be applied in Syria. People will have the right to say anything they want.

March 23rd, 2011, 8:01 pm


Norman said:

I want to ask you all,

Should people have the right to change their religion and marry anybody they want from another religion in new democratic Syria, and should anybody be able to be president no matter if he is Kurd, Christian Jewish Atheist or even Alawi in our new Democratic Syria,

March 23rd, 2011, 8:26 pm


NK said:


You misunderstood my position, I’m against all laws that restrict freedom of expression, I was just saying if lawyers are filling a complaint then they’re acting within the boundaries of the law.

In Syria today you can’t say what that guy said because you’ll be thrown in jail for “اثارة النعرات الطائفية” in a martial court, to see lawyers failing a complaint would be a step up for us.

Anyways, it’s common courtesy not to insult others or resort to vulgar language to the sake of using vulgar language and inflict emotional harm on fellow citizens who at the end of the day are your neighbors/teachers/coworkers. And while there shouldn’t be any rules restricting your ability to say whatever you want, you should have a high enough moral not to want to offend other people, I hope you agree.


Absolutely, whoever gets the majority of votes (and hopefully the best man for the job), should have absolute support from all Syrians. By the way, a while back an Egyptian imam was asked this same question about Egypt

Back to discussing what’s taking place in Syria
People are dying on the streets of Daraa and one video suggests the use of explosive bullets

March 23rd, 2011, 8:32 pm


Shami said:

Sectarianism with big S is Bashar and Hafez.
Sectarianism has never been practiced by Dr Nazim Qudsi ,Quwatli ,Brahim Hanano,Saleh al Ali,Fares al Khoury,Al Atrach…
Your paranoia Souri is killing innocent syrians nowadays and killed more than 40 000 syrians in the 80’s.
Those dying are civilians ,not wahhabies as were not the victims of the regime 30 years ago.The wahhabies are those agents of the regime who exported death to Iraq and Lebanon through manipulation of weak minds and drug addicts and could used against innocent alawites by the regime itself.
Who was behind the appeareance and then killing of Abu al Qaaqa?
These tools were used to kill Sheikh al Khaznawi and could be used to creat scare scenario against innocent syrian civilians in the future.
The syrian people are not coward like you and Bashar ,despite all what you have done ,the syrian victims of 40 years of this crazy rule will not attack innocent alawites.The coward Bashar will be put on trial and will pay for his crimes.
Alawites are our brothers and suffer like any other Syrian from this regime.

March 23rd, 2011, 8:33 pm


SOURI said:


No, what you say is not true. People do curse God publicly in Syria all the time and it is not illegal.

Perhaps this is one of the rights those freedom-seekers want, which is to jail people who criticize God.

March 23rd, 2011, 8:36 pm


Ziadsoury said:


Yes to all. Only god the all mighty passes judgment.

March 23rd, 2011, 9:03 pm


trustquest said:

For a time I believed the regime that those MBs want to kill other sects who they think unbeliever, that was for long time. But today we are witnessing different fact and you can hear it here on this blog. They are saying that if those protesters – peaceful protesters – without arms and without stones, if those are Wahabies or we call them Wahabies then they should be killed. This is an extension to the law of anyone we call MBs he would sentenced to death no need even for court.
If this message is that clear, do they hear themselves these guys. Those protesters are peaceful protesters if the MBs or Wahabies or Shahabie or Mahabie or Katabie or Santabie what ever they are, they are PEACEFUL PROTESTERS they don’t deserved to be wiped out by machine guns in the streets. This open thinking will bring the regime to a bad end because life has its way to find outlet and freedom can not be bottled for ever.

March 23rd, 2011, 9:16 pm


Syrian Nationalist Party said:

UGGGHH, The Langley, VA Sunni Moslems Sectarians still around. 100k from American Taxpayers/ or Afghani opium sale does a lot of Shia-Alawi bashing.

Anyway, Kaddafi & Sons, take our advice, move your tons of hoarded, undeclared gold bars to Syrian safe keeping, we promise to hold it for you and Libya no matter what pressure Assad comes under to handed to RA-KA-Phere-Ra-Shield. Start smuggle it now before the ground invasion comes soon. Move it or lose it.

Landis, should President Assad sign on Political party Law, will credit you and your blog site for that, you will deserve an award for the means you provided Syrians to freely express their dreams and communicate casually online. PROMISE.

March 23rd, 2011, 9:18 pm


atassi said:

This killing of the unarmed protesters will not go unpunished… May God bless their young souls. I curse you and everyone like you for defending this kind of act..

March 23rd, 2011, 9:22 pm


Norman said:

NK, Ziadsouri,
Thank you for answering, any other takers,?

March 23rd, 2011, 9:24 pm


NK said:


You should take a look at SNPs comments #178 #188 and #193 on the previous post so you get a clear idea about how he thinks, he wants to exterminate all Muslims around the globe and the Syrian regime is probably using the likes of him to carry out those atrocities.

I honestly thought Dr. Landis banned him for his comments don’t belong on a such a respected blog.


You shouldn’t blame Bashar for what his father did 30 years ago, and you don’t have to, he just did enough himself. Plus you can not just absolve the MB from any responsibility regarding what happened 30 years ago, both sides did despicable things, so let’s leave the past for the past and focus on the future, it’ll do all of us a lot of good.

March 23rd, 2011, 9:28 pm


matassi said:

You are a strange character…

March 23rd, 2011, 9:31 pm


Atassi said:

Dr. Landis banned him years back..he is a very SICK dude

March 23rd, 2011, 9:34 pm


SOURI said:

The Wahhabis of al-Sharq al-awsat newspaper are so happy and they are talking as if the regime has no future and Wahhabis are going to rule Syria.

Well, I strongly hope that the Baathists will fight to the last man and won’t surrender and accept any sectarian solutions. The Baathists have all what it takes to win a civil war against the Islamists, they just need to know how to use their cards right.

Iraq now is a Shia country. Al-Maliki has no interest in supporting any Wahhabi uprising in eastern Syria. The Kurds of northern Syria cannot depend on help from Turkey, and Turkey is unlikely to support Wahhabi forces. The only external threat will come from the Jordanian border. The Baath forces must seal these borders well in Deraa province. Souida province has a Druze population so there is no danger from there.

After sealing the Deraa borders, the Baath forces can take over the Wahhabi areas by force. The “international community” will not be able to intervene if the Baath declares serious democratic reforms, and preferably if they also elect a new president. President Bashar is great, but when the current situation becomes untenable, it will be better if he goes.

The Baathists can count on no less than 10 million Syrians:

Alawis ~2 millions
Druze ~1 million
Ismailis-Shia 1 million ?
Christians ~2 million
Kurds ~2 millions
Secular Arab Sunnis (at least 2 millions?)

Total: ~10 million
versus ~10 million Sunni Islamists

The Kurds in Syria are generally secular and if they get a good offer from the Baath they will take it.

So the Baath can win a good popular base if they declare democratic reforms quickly and before they engage in bloody battles with the Islamists. The Baathists can have the upper hand popularly and militarily if they know how to react right and fast to any full-scale Islamist insurgency under the name of “freedom revolution.”

March 23rd, 2011, 9:43 pm


Ziad said:

I have the very strong suspicion that Syria Comment has been invaded by a swarm of imposter propagandists. Many new commenters with fancy pseudo names appeared suddenly, and started discussing topics never raised before.

Ein example: the issue if shiitization of Syria under the watching eyes of the Syrian government was never mentioned once by the most ardent enemies of the Syrian regime. I have been an SC junky for at least three years and never missed reading a comment. Presumably they all live outside Syria and out of reach its security apparatus, why haven’t we heard from them and their issues before.

Another example is the issue of Syria’s support to Hezbollah. My impression so far was that there is a universal acceptance to this by Syrians as it strengthens Syria’s position. Anyone who raises an objection should prompt our suspicion towards the commenter and his/her motives.

I assume that other blogs are experiencing the same phenomenon.

March 23rd, 2011, 9:44 pm


Mali Majnoon said:

Joshua –

I understand you are walking a fine line between recognizing the legitimacy of this revolution and keeping your contacts in Damascus talking to you. However, when reporting news from “friends” in Damascus, you should to indicate their partiality to a particular cause. Whether they are influenced by their respective backgrounds (based on their status with the Gov’t) etc. The note you reproduced from the “friend” above includes some indication of bias: phrases such as “I am not worried” and with regards to his not authorizing the “atassi” declaration indicates he stands with the government, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he is a person with some sort of stature with the government, hence why he wasn’t hassled at the border.

March 23rd, 2011, 9:49 pm


SOURI said:

If things come down to a civil war and the Baath wins, the result must be a VERY strict secular rule. Very secular that it will make those Wahhabis regret ever thinking to revolt for freedom.

March 23rd, 2011, 9:51 pm


Revlon said:

Dear Joshua,
You stated “The people of Der3a has turned sectarian and ugly”.
Let me please remind you of the definitions of SECTARIAN and Ugly.

“Sectarian groups are religious, political or ideological organizations whose services are limited to a particular sect or who require recipients to adhere to a specific dogma, political point of view or religious practice in order to receive services”.

The Ruling Clan is a proto-typical example of a sectarian group. It satisfies all of the above.
It is religious: Alawis
It is political: Baath party
And it is ideological: secular (anti-other religions)

It excludes the majority of Syrians.
It requires all of them to
Adhere to a specific dogma: Syrians are not ready for Democracy
Second: Principles and leadership of Baath party are the best way for the future of Syrians.
Religious practice: Anti-other religions.

Ugly: hostile; quarrelsome

Dar3a demonstrations were peaceful and unarmed.
Demonstrators expressed wishes for a different leadership that respects their religious sensitivities, not just the Shiaa minority; This was beautiful
The regime’s response was to kill 6 more civilians: That was ugly

Dar3a people are not and have not turned ugly.
The ruling clan and your characterisation are.

Confrontation has indeed turned sectarian.
Because the ruling clan is.

March 23rd, 2011, 9:58 pm


atassi said:

I seriously think you are an imposter “ do you work for AP!! ” , We Syrians from all sects WILL NOT kill each other.. STOP the BS

March 23rd, 2011, 9:59 pm


NK said:


What you’re advocating is very extreme, do you expect Syrians to support fighting against HALF THE POPULATION ? if the regime suggested that, they’ll be lucky if the Alawite supported them. I assure you they won’t. The death toll in Libya is what ? 10k, 20k ? and look at all the fuss the world is making about it, you want the regime to fight 10,000,000 and expect the rest of Syria let alone the international community to stand by and watch ?
your theory doesn’t make any sense according to your own numbers, which by the way are waaaaaaaay off.
Plus I find it really odd, that a Syrian would advocate civil war, those you’re calling Wahhabis are UNARMED, they’re being massacred and are not fighting back, and you’re asking the regime to kill even more ? don’t you think that’s a little messed up ?

March 23rd, 2011, 10:13 pm


Akbar Palace said:

SNP asked me:

Have you considered running for Israel Prime Minister job!


No, I’m just an interested American.

BTW – Who will be running for President of Syria?

March 23rd, 2011, 10:17 pm


Norman said:

The opposition does not miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity, with what took place in Tunisia and Egypt, President Assad was probably ripe for a change like multi party system that was approved in 2005 and ending the emergency law and replacing with a national security one ,

president Assad and the Baath party are perceived by all other minorities to be their protectors and as long as the opposition does not try and succeed in winning them over, i see no chance for the opposition to succeed,

March 23rd, 2011, 10:19 pm


Jihad said:

I think you have to be with no brain to accept and peddle the claim that Hizbullah members are helping the Syrian security establishment repress the people in Der’a.

This is the same stupid claim that an ignorant Lebanese professor at the American University of Beirut, Hilal Khashan (a Hariri-Wahhabi clown), made during the clashes in Iran that took place after the presidential elections of June 2009.

What’s funny -but it is not- is that other seemingly educated people, such as Elias Muhanna of the Qifa Nabki blog and who used to blog on this site, took this stupid claim and ran with it.

This is another proof that some people are trying to play the sectarian card and that the Hariri-Wahhabi media are behind such claims.

I would like to remind you that during the Zionist onslaught on Lebanon in July-August 2006, the Syrian people welcomed and opened their houses to close to 400,000 Lebanese, the majority of whom were Muslim Shiites.

PS: there is a new Jihad on this site.

March 23rd, 2011, 10:32 pm


aldendeshe said:

And you want democracy in Syria!!!. Just listen to what these posters here talking about (paid by someone for sure, day and night shifts). Who wants to be even near Syria if these people are allowed to enter the country. Now you know why SNP supports Assad dictatorship with LIMITED, PLEASE MR. PRESIDENT keep it LIMITED. They have no education whatsoever except about sects. They cannot talk economic, foreign policy, education, culture, science, planning, manufacturing, employment programs, Most are kicked out of Syria for being the worst of corrupt Baathists kids. This is the kind of people why Syria is such a garbage bin. Who would want to live among them? You will be depressed just coming to the blog here. If you ever wondered why the Assad’s rule Syria the way they do (and should keep ruling that way with little change to accommodate sane people), just read all their comments in the last six posts and see what their brain is all about. That is why I grew up with such respect to the Alawites in Syria. When you with Sunni’s kids, all you hear is sectarianism, when you with Alawites kids, all you heard is impressive National awareness, serious talks about important issues and positive outlook to progress and excel. Never once you hear them mention sectarian language and I admire Alawite for that. And that is why they successfully Ruled Syria for 42 years, and thank someone for that.

You can bark your life away, learn this, will make sure Assad Jr. is next President. Hezbollah is triple more powerful and Iran Shia build Hussenieh on each corner street. And there is not a damm things you can do about it.

March 23rd, 2011, 10:41 pm


Revlon said:


You said: “President Assad was probably ripe for a change like multi party system that was approved in 2005 and ending the emergency law and replacing with a national security one”

Is that how you read his latest statement:
“Syria will have to wait for the next generation to have democracy”?

March 23rd, 2011, 10:48 pm


SOURI said:


You are right. I am Sunni from Aleppo, and I have known Syrians from all sects. The worst sects at all are the urban sects (Sunnis and Christians). They are very sectarian, arrogant, and intolerant. The rural sects on the other hand (especially Alawis and Ismailis) are very open-minded and tolerant.

The Alawis deserve to rule Syria because they are the least sectarian. Sectarianism among the Alawis is pure reaction to the Sunni ignorant bigotry.

March 23rd, 2011, 10:51 pm


Norman said:

That was before the recent violence, The problem is the opposition do not seem to want certain defined things but seem to change the rules in the middle of the game and seek to kill the keeper instead of sharing the benefits,

With that attitude i do not see any change and i believe that the reform will have a major setback,

March 23rd, 2011, 10:59 pm


aldendeshe said:

@Akbar Palace,

I don’t know anyone around me interested. Personally not interested in Presidential job, I like chairmanship positions, I am used to it, need assignment with possibilities to invent creative solutions, ideas and doing things, big projects, and I hate ceremonies, not even funerals or wedding I attend. We have a fine President in Syria, trust me, you will not find in Syria better educated, mannered and reasonable person than Bashar Al Assad, I doubt he ever said an F word in his life. I never said this before because we supposed to be in “the opposition”, we hate his Baathist regime but WE LOVE HIM. Listen, once he takes the little steps needed to modernize Syria, and SNP gave him the list already, will work on convincing Iran and Israel to sit together along with Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey and iron out a peace deal. The region will explode with Investment and work opportunities; it is going to be incredible period of time for the Levant region, finally, in thousands of years waiting.

Will pipe water from the North and Russia if needed, and this place will be the only blooming economies in the world in the decades afterward. Assad can do it, but hostilities against Lebanon and Iran must end. Israel needs to stop playing spoiler and look for brighter future. Need equally talented and futuristic forward looking leaders, stop playing silly zionism, it served its purpose and now it is passe.

March 23rd, 2011, 11:03 pm


Norman said:

Souri, Dandashi,

There are good and bad people from every sect .

March 23rd, 2011, 11:03 pm


SOURI said:

#53 NK

If the Baath does it right, they can win the war with a little number of casualties. The Baath controls the military, the Wahhabis have nothing.

It probably won’t be hard for the Baath forces to occupy the Wahhabi areas (if they do it right). The bigger problem will be the terrorist attacks that the Wahhabis are going to launch after they are militarily defeated. The Baath will have to deal very radically with them to eradicate their terrorism from its roots. If they are stupid enough, they might try to fight open battles with the Syrian army, which will make it easier to eradicate them.

I am not advocating killing civilians. What I am saying is that the Baath should transform into a secular democracy, and if some people refuse that and don’t recognize the new regime, then those are insurgent terrorists and it is fair to kill them if they refuse to comply.

March 23rd, 2011, 11:03 pm


Majhool said:

Mr Landis,

Every time your beloved regime gets in trouble, your usually delayed post boosts the case of the regime.

I am glad that you changed the title of this pathetic post of yours. I was going to suggest you go teach in Tishreen university and relief Oklahoma University from your academic dishonesty.

You were wrong all along. You used to say that syrians supported the “resistance” bullshit and that it was secular , etc..let me break it down to you. The Syrian people know that the Iranians support their repression and that Hizballah alliance is meant to prolong their rule and not to free Golan.

.. What a waste of talent.


You have been agitating sectarian fears between the segments of the society for some time now.

so Let me break it down to you idxot.

The regime power base is very narrow. High positions in the Army and intelligence are concentrated in the hands of few. This regime has been in power since 63. 57 years and was not able to establish secular society. Why? because it is sectarian. Do you think you idiot that the people of Dar’a are interested in dying in the streets just to teach Alawites a lesson? This is all about freedom.

Shi byerfa3 el dagt

This is the time to call for reform. Not to shoot each other and not to get scared of each other.

March 23rd, 2011, 11:12 pm


SOURI said:

Well, I would like to assure Dr. Landis (in case he got some doubts) that NOBODY inside Syria would say “no Iran, no Hizbullah” except for the Wahhabis, and only the Wahhabis. This is something known to anybody who ever visited Syria. Hizbullah is very popular in Syria and Syrians have nothing at all against the Shia, except for the Wahhabis, and only the Wahhabis.

As for #64, you are just a clown and you don’t deserve a reply.

March 23rd, 2011, 11:25 pm


NK said:

Jihad #56

I agree, it doesn’t mean the rumors are not circulating out there though, and for those under siege in Daraa, there are so much stress and emotions rumors could spread like a wild fire, if I was one of those poor souls in Daraa, it’s much easier for me to believe the guy shooting at me is not a fellow Syrian.
Anyways, I’m not sure how you got the idea that I was promoting those rumors, or giving them any credibility. I’m also not sure why you’re reminding me of Syrian hospitality, but since you mentioned it, I can assure you that when Syrian welcomed their Lebanese brethren they didn’t care or ask about their sects/religion, they welcomed everyone all the same.

March 24th, 2011, 12:19 am


Aldendeshe said:


وليش انتى مجهول, انت صهيوني, ولا اضرب, سعودي. ليش جبان ومتخبئ, مستحي من اسم عاءلتك؟

You said: “Do you think you idiot that the people of Dar’a are interested in dying in the streets just to teach Alawites a lesson? This is all about freedom.”

Freedom for whom, Syrians or the idiots that died in the Omari Mosque? What makes you think that Syrians needs or wants the type of freedom allowed by those Moslems in Daraa, do we must enjoy the type of freedom imposed on us by Bandar. Or is it freedom for themselves, when did the Assad’s denied freedom for Syrian Sunni’s, they built more Mosques in Syria than all the Moslem countries combined, to the distaste of people like me. It is sick to see Google map photos of Syria, and the only thing you see when you click, hoping to see something nice to show your kid about Syria, it is this mosque and that mosque, all grossly designed Architecture, in terrible poor taste, vulgar in design and appearance, an ugly edifice with a phallic symbol called minarets erect, a symbol like a middle finger given to all the nations Islam invaded. Why don’t they live in the freedom of Arabia if they like, who is restricting them as well to leave. They died not for freedom, but because of the poor judgment of their foreign handlers, who treated them as expandable tool, useful idiots.

March 24th, 2011, 12:33 am


Majhool said:

“idiots that died in the Omari Mosqu?!!”

Ya 3eb elshoom

Actually صهيوني ( just to make you happy)

March 24th, 2011, 12:55 am


Aldendeshe said:

@ Majhool

حرام الشوم انه ضيعو حياتهم بلا فائدة.

Hafez Assad killed my first cousin Muthanna and Bashar Assad killed my first cousin Hammodi. Both kids were very nice and played in my childhoods with them every summer visiting Tel Kalakh and Arida. I said idiots as well and never blamed Hafez or Bashar for the killing. They both made own choices, knows the risks and idiots took it anyway. The first was militant member of the MB and the second got involved with smuggling racket of Riffat Assad. Both fought security forces with grenades. Now these men that died in the Mosques have in my opinion taken an idiotic stupid risk. I have always said. IT DOES NOT WORK THAT WAY IN SYRIA. IT WILL ONLY BRING MORE REPRESSION AND FEAR. What are they thinking, who ever instigated this should be held responsible, not Bashar security. Their job is to secure the country and everyone in Syria knows the rule.

March 24th, 2011, 1:47 am


Jad said:

أصدرت بعض الفضائيات الغربية ولاسيما فضائية «بي ي سي»
العربية حكمها وقرارها بأن كل ما تنشره وسائل الإعلام السورية الخاصة والرسمية هو كذب بكذب، وقالت القناة في تقرير خاص بثته أمس إن ما ننشره هو «تسويق» لموقف النظام وتشويه صورة الاحتجاجات، الأمر الذي أدى حسب القناة إلى مناشدة أهالي درعا «للقنوات الشريفة مثل بي بي سي» لتغطي بمهنيتها العالية ومصداقيتها التي لا يمكن لعاقل أن يشكك فيها تفاصيل وحقيقة ما يجري في درعا.

لن نخوض في تفاصيل هذا التقرير والتقارير المماثلة والاتهامات التي سوقتها أيضاً بعض الفضائيات الأخرى المعروفة «بمصداقيتها ومهنيتها العالية جداً»، لكن كم كنا نتمنى على هذه القنوات لو توخت الدقة في بث الأكاذيب، ولا نقول حقيقة ما يجري.
فليل أول من أمس بدأت بعض الفضائيات ببث خبر عاجل أن الجيش السوري يقتحم جامع العمري.. تغير بعد قليل وأصبح «الجيش السوري يهاجم المعتصمين في جامع العمري واستشهاد 5 وإصابة عدد كبير من الجرحى».. «العربية» تمكنت من الاتصال بـ«ناشط حقوقي» الذي أكد بصوته أن الجيش السوري قطع الكهرباء والاتصالات عن المدينة، لكن على ما يبدو -حسب هذا الناشط- هناك ضابط لديه على ما يبدو «ريموت كونترول» يشغل من خلالها الكهرباء لثوان «لتعقب المعتصمين» ويعيد إطفاء الكهرباء سريعاً!

وعلى حين كان كل السوريين يحاولون الاتصال بمن يعرفونهم في درعا للوقوف على حقيقة ما يجري وكنا نحن أيضاً بدورنا نحاول الاتصال بمراسلنا، إلا أن السيد هيثم مناع الموجود في باريس والذي أقلقه الخبر تمكن من هناك -حسب ما قاله لقناة «بي بي سي» بالاتصال بعدد- والرجاء تأكيد كلمة «عدد» من الجرحى -وتأكيد كلمة جرحى- الذين سقطوا بالقرب من جامع العمري، وأكد الجرحى الذين كانوا على ما يبدو قادرين على استخدام هواتفهم النقالة والرد على اتصالات السيد المناع حصراً دون سواه، أكدوا له أن الأوضاع صعبة للغاية وأنهم عزل ويتعرضون لهجوم من القوات الخاصة الذين يطلقون الرصاص على النساء والأطفال ويمنعون سيارات الإسعاف من الوصول إلى محيط الجامع بهدف «قتل أكبر عدد ممكن من المعتصمين» وطالب «الجرحى» المناع بالتحرك فوراً لإنقاذ سكان درعا وقرر الناشط الإنساني أن ما يحصل هو «جريمة ضد الإنسانية»!! ونحمد اللـه أن السيد المناع لم يتمكن من الاتصال بالقتلى وسؤالهم عن أسباب استشهادهم!!

وبعد ساعات بثت مواقع الانترنت التي تم تأسيسها بأموال -أجزم أنها ليست أموال شباب درعا- مقاطع فيديو قيل إنها من قلب الحدث وخلال هجوم الجيش على المعتصمين، وظهر بشكل واضح في هذه المقاطع إنارة الشوارع التي قيل إنها في درعا وسمع أصوات لعيارات نارية وكان مضمون أحد هذه المقاطع عبارة عن شاب يجول في الشارع يصرخ «يا خونة» ويظهر أمامه عدد من الشباب من غير الواضح ما الذي يفعلونه، لكن المهم أن نصدق أنهم كانوا في قلب الحدث وفي «ميدان المعركة» لكن وللمصادفة كان لديهم كهرباء، وفي أحد المقاطع الذي «أنتج» بسرعة دون معالجته، نسمع صوتاً من شاب يقول لمن يصور: هل صورت هذه؟ فيجيب: لا هذه لا يجب تصويرها.. أي إن الشباب لديهم معلومات واضحة وصارمة عما يجب تصويره أم لا.. وهذه المقاطع أعيد بثها على بعض القنوات الفضائية -وبمهنيتها العالية- كانت الفضائيات تبث المقاطع وتعيد رواية قطع الكهرباء والاتصالات على حين كنا نشاهد الكهرباء على الشاشة ونستمع إلى شهادات من «نشطاء» جميعهم على ما يبدو مثل السيد المناع كانوا على اتصال مباشر مع «الأحرار» في محيط الجامع وكانوا يسمعون «وابلاً من الرصاص ينهمر عليهم»!!
وخلال هذه الأثناء كانت مواقع انترنت وصفحات الفيسبوك تحرض السوريين للنزول إلى الشارع و«مناصرة» إخوانهم في درعا، وبعد قليل ظهرت مذيعة الـ«بي بي سي» لتسأل السيد المناع إن كان لديه أي معلومات حول تحركات ما في حلب، فأجابها في الرابعة فجراً بتوقيت دمشق (الثالثة بتوقيت باريس): تلقيت منذ قليل عدة اتصالات من أصدقاء في حلب تحدثوا من خلال هواتفهم «التركية» وأكدوا لي أنهم يستعدون للنزول إلى الشارع ومناصرة إخوانهم في درعا ووقف «المجزرة». ونترك للقراء أن يحاولوا وهم في حلب الاتصال من خلال الشبكة التركية (رومينغ – تجوال) أو أن يحاول من لديه شريحة تركية أن يشغلها ويؤكد لنا صحة معلومات المناع، لأننا نحن «الكذابون» وللأمانة صدقونا ولو لمرة: لم نتمكن من تشغيلها، ونستغرب كيف تمكن أصدقاء المناع من الاتصال به من حلب بشريحة تركية!.
قناة «العربية» الصادقة جداً ولاسيما في الشأن السعودي، كانت أيضاً على اتصال مع «النشطاء» في محيط جامع العمري، وأكد أحدهم بالصوت أن المعتصمين عددهم عشرون وهم داخل المسجد، فسألته المذيعة بمهنية «أن تعرف أكثر»: هل لديك معلومات عن مصير المعتصمين؟ فأجاب وهو في محيط المسجد وعلى اطلاع مباشر عما يجري في داخله: أصبحوا جثثاً وجرحى ولن يخرج أي منهم حياً..
وبعد دقائق بثت مواقع «الثورة» الافتراضية خبر تمكن المعتصمين في جامع العمري من إغلاق باب الجامع ومنع الجيش من دخوله وعددهم ما بين 250 و300 معتصم داخل المسجد!! خبر سارعت قناة الـ«بي بي سي» إلى بثه قبل أن تتصل بمراسلها في دمشق الزميل عساف عبود «الكذاب بكل تأكيد حسب تصنيف الإعلام والإعلاميين السوريين» الذي أكد لها أنه لا يوجد أي معلومات متوافرة وأن الاتصالات مقطوعة ويجب انتظار الرواية الرسمية لنعرف حقيقة ما جرى»..

لكن الحقيقة عزيزي عساف كانت معروفة منذ الواحدة فجراً، فما يحصل هو هجوم للجيش على معتصمين عزل!! وما يحصل مجزرة!! وكيف لم تتمكن من الاتصال بأحد في درعا على حين تمكن المناع من الاتصال والتحدث مع عدد من الجرحى المصابين وهم لا يزالون في محيط المسجد!! أنت كاذب بكل تأكيد، مع اعتذارنا لاستخدام هذه الكلمة لكنك في النهاية إعلامي سوري وبالتالي أنت كاذب بلا نقاش.. لأن مصداقية المناع لا يمكن التشكيك فيها، فالرجل يحلف بسلمية ما يحصل في درعا، وقرار «شباب الثورة» عدم استخدام حتى الحجارة في احتجاجاتهم لأنهم ينبذون العنف!! وعلى ما يبدو لم يسمع السيد المناع كلام مشايخ ووجهاء درعا الذين أكدوا قبل ساعات من شهادة المناع وجود عناصر أقدمت على التخريب ورجم قوات الأمن بالحجارة، ولا حتى تقارير وكالات الأنباء التي يتبناها حين يشاء عن حرقهم لمقرات مدنية وخاصة والدمار الذي ألحقوه بالمدينة. فالوجهاء مثلنا «كذابون» ومتواطئون مع النظام.. والتقارير التي لا تصب مع توجهه «الإنساني» تتجه تلقائياً لسلة القمامة!

وبما أنه لا يوجد حملة منظمة على سورية، وأن كل ما ندعيه ونكتبه وننشره كذب بكذب، نرجو من هذه القنوات أن تفسر لنا كيف يمكن لـ«شبكة الأخبار» على فيسبوك أقامها أشخاص من تنظيم أصولي متطرف مقيم في السويد، (وقصة هؤلاء تأتي لاحقاً) كيف يمكن لها بث أخبار عاجلة أن السيد المناع سيظهر بعد نصف ساعة على قناة فرنسا 24، ولقاء آخر مع ناشط جديد على قناة صفا الإسلامية، وثالث على قناة بردى للمعارض النظيف اليد عبد الحليم خدام، فإما أن مدير هذه الشبكة منجم، وإما أنه ينسق مع المناع وباقي النشطاء مباشرة، وهذا بالطبع لا يعني أن ما يجري منظم، لأنه حتى لو كان فمن سيصدق كذاباً مثلنا. واللافت أكثر فيما تبثه القنوات الفضائية هو شهادات النشطاء، فتخيل أن هناك ناشطاً مقيماً في شيكاغو (شمال الولايات المتحدة الأميركية لمن لا يعرفها) يملك على ما يبدو قمراً صناعياً خاصاً أو أجهزة اتصال خارقة، فالرجل قادر من شيكاغو على الحصول على كل أخبار درعا من محيط جامع العمري وصولاً إلى أبعد قرية في المحافظة، وطبعاً لا يمكن أن نشكك في معلوماته فهو ناشط حقوقي مقيم في شيكاغو، فهل يمكن تكذيبه وتصديق ما ينشره الإعلام السوري، عيب.. وأيضاً حول ما ينشر من أخبار، بثت بعض الفضائيات أخباراً عاجلة بأن الأمن يمنع تشييع شهداء أمس ويحتفظ بالجثث، لكن بعد قليل تبث الفضائيات ذاتها خبر مقتل شخصين خلال تشييع أحد الشهداء، وبعد التدقيق يتبين أن خبر مقتل شخصين مصدره وكالة الأنباء الفرنسية التي تتراجع بعد قليل وتؤكد إصابة شخصين خلال العزاء وليس التشييع وأنهما لم يقتلا، لكن طبعاً هذا خبر لا يخدم سياسة المحطات، لذلك لا داعي للتصحيح أو النشر!! أما خبر منع التشييع والتحفظ على الجثث فلا يزال في الشريط الإخباري.. طبعاً الحديث هنا عن فضائيات ذات مصداقية عالية!!
لن نطيل أكثر من ذلك في الحديث عن فضائح الفضائيات في تغطيتها لما يحصل في درعا، لكن هناك نقاط ربما يجب أن نذكر بها لكل من يتحدث عن هجوم أو اقتحام «للجيش على المعتصمين العزل»:

– أولاً: عشرون معتصماً أو مئة أو أكثر، وخاصة إذا كانوا عزلاً ومسالمين، كما يؤكد كل النشطاء، لا يحتاجون إلى الجيش للهجوم عليهم وإخراجهم من المسجد وإنهاء اعتصامهم، يكفي عشرون شاباً من الوحدات الخاصة السورية، ولن يستغرق الوقت أكثر من نصف ساعة لإنهاء الاعتصام وإخراج كل من في الداخل، ونقصد طبعاً عشرين شاباً بلا سلاح، وجميعنا يعرف من هم الوحدات الخاصة وما تدريباتهم.

– ثانياً: إذا كان الجيش فعلاً دخل بهدف قتل كل المعتصمين كما قال المناع وغيرهم فلماذا سقط فقط خمسة قتلى وعدد من الجرحى؟ فهل هناك قوة ثالثة واجهت الجيش وأرغمته على توقيف مجزرته والانسحاب من محيط المسجد؟

– ثالثاً: يجب على السيد المناع التأكد من أن الجيش السوري ليس جيش هواة، ولن يسمح للجرحى باستخدام هواتفهم الجوالة ليتحدثوا معه وهو في باريس كما لن يسمحوا لأحد ببث صور على الانترنت الذي عادة ما تقطعه الجيوش قبل اقتحامها أي مدينة أو محيط مسجد.

– رابعاً: إذا صدقنا أن الجيش قرر الهجوم وارتكاب مجزرة في ساعات الفجر الأولى، وصدقنا أيضاً شهادات زملاء المناع بأن وابلاً من الرصاص والقنابل ليس فقط المسيلة للدموع بل السامة أيضاً لكنا استفقنا في الأمس لنرى وسط المدينة مدمراً والجثث في كل مكان «مسممة أو مقتولة» لأن الغازات السامة لا تقتل أشخاصاً محددين بل كل من هو موجود في المحيط!!

– خامساً: نرجو من وكالات الأنباء عدم استخدام كلمة «اشتباك» لأنها تؤكد بذلك أن المتظاهرين والمعتصمين المسالمين ليسوا عزلاً، فكلمة اشتباكات تعني أن الطرفين مسلحان وهذا يخالف روايات الفضائيات والمناع.

– سادساً: ربما لن يفيد، لكن سنذكر وليكذبونا أن أياً من عناصر وأفراد الجيش العربي السوري شارك في الاشتباكات مع المسلحين، عفواً المعتصمين العزل، وأن قوات الحرس الجمهوري لم تتوجه إلى درعا، أما 3000 عنصر من حزب اللـه فلا يزالون في جنوب لبنان على استعداد لمواجهة إسرائيل ولم نشاهد أياً منهم في سورية.

ونترك الرد على المناع وغيره من النشطاء للخبراء العسكريين الذين يعرفون معنى اقتحام المدن من قبل الجيوش لأن كل ما نكتبه نحن لا يفيد، لأنه «كذب» كما حكمت علينا الفضائيات المهنية والموضوعية، ونكتفي بتعليق قاله أحد التجار أمس في حديثه لـ«الوطن»: الشعب السوري شعب مسيس وبإمكانه ببساطة كشف حقيقة ما يحصل في درعا وكشف كذب وتضليل بعض الفضائيات التي باتت أهدافها معروفة

March 24th, 2011, 2:16 am


Avi Salam said:


The following response is triggered by your reaction to Dr. Landis’ article.

You have never ceased to repeat your attempt to utter something that sounds smart, only to end up posting an ultimately naive “treaties”!!!

So you went “out and about”, and found an English dictionary and/or Google definition of sectarianism that fits your sectarian deeds, and you expect intellectual people to simply swallow it as is?!!!

Let me give you a very simple definition of sectarianism: Sectarianism is simply the bigotry one has against people who belong to a different sect!! That simple, get it?

With this simple definition of sectarianism, anyone can understand that it is inherent in the current interpretations/denominations of Islam, without exception. Shiites have bigotry towards Sunnis, and vice versa. The only difference is that Shiites have been brutally persecuted by Sunnis for almost a millennium, and thus WILL NEVER FORGET easily, and it will take miracles to suppress their drives to exact revenge.

I will say it to you again, in hope repetition may help here, if you care for, or want to defend Islam within intellectual circles of civility, humanity, and democracy, why don’t you go ahead and drive/join efforts to modernize the interpretations/practices of Islam into something civil, humanitarian, and democratic. I, the atheist, will even help you here, why don’t you start with the following modifications onto Islam’s interpretation:

1- Jews are not people whom God hates. And Christians are not people who are lost.
3- If a Muslim denounces Islam, he/she should not be killed.
4- If anyone criticizes Islam, he/she should not be killed.
5- Make Islam simply a religion between the person and God, not a Shari’a law of the land. Such that, for example, none Muslims will not have to pay “penalty” for being citizens in a country of Muslim majority.
6- Modify the interpretation of Islam such that women and men will not be killed by stoning if they commit adultery.
7- Put an end to amputation of limbs for theft.
8- Treat women and men alike, in matters of inheritance, marriage/divorce, and legal transactions.
9- Put an end to political Islam.

When there is an Interpretation of Islam that is civil, democratic and humanitarian, and you end up adopting it, then you can comeback and profess onto us your “definitions” of sectarianism.

March 24th, 2011, 2:19 am


Revlon said:

Al Dandashi are 3alawis

That one of your cousins died as MB is a joke.
That the other died as Racket of Jr’s uncle is sect-degrading
Your belligerent Arabic line sums up your demeanor.

Some of my best friends are Alawis!
They are honest about who they are.

March 24th, 2011, 2:43 am


Avi Salam said:

It is not hard to believe that some average people would fall into the fantasy of conspiracy theory, at least for the fun of it. But to hear that a vice president of a country would publicly tout such beliefs is simply unacceptable.

Mr. Al Sharaa, who is the first vice president of Syria, stunningly claimed in public that Taliban and Al Qaeda are puppets of the US and execute its commands!!! These remarks by Mr. Al Sharaa are not only outrageous to every US citizen, but also deeply insulting. Unlike Mr. Al Sharaa and his regime, the government in the US is elected democratically, by the people of the US. And since Taliban and Al Qaeda have been in existence for a period of time during which the US has had several Democratic and Republican administrations, Mr. Al Sharaa’s comment means that the all the spectrum of American citizens are implicated in this filthy plot with Taliban and Al Qaeda.

Mr. Al Sharaa, have you no shame to utter this kind of lies, which insult and injure all Americans, and especially so at this moment of time, considering that you are from Daraa city. I sincerely hope that you, Mr. Al Sharaa, are not a definition of the average citizen in Daraa, otherwise, we cannot believe anything coming out of the citizens of your city!!!

March 24th, 2011, 2:44 am


Zenobia said:

The commentors here sound very sectarian to me, but what do I know.

I can’t believe the lame explanations provided by the “Syrian official” as to the conflict/ uprising in Deraa. Could the security people come up with a better sounding whitewash – that actually washes something? instead of an absurdist explanation…about “armed gangs” who killed the doctor in the ambulance… and others. Is that actually the translation? It sounds ludicrous. And even more ludicrous –
Someone needs to explain to me where this stuff comes from (similar to what was spouted by Qaddafi’s officials)about Americans being in league with Al Qaeda and the Taliban?? !! who manufactures this?….does it actually go over somewhere?
It is completely bizarre.
Did they get that from when the Americans tried to portray every resistance fighter in Iraq as Al Qaeda… they obviously thought that worked pretty well…
but it didn’t.

Meanwhile, I am very confused by the account presented that somehow Syria is being infiltrated by Wahabists. In fact according to “Souri”- Syria could have a civil war with wahabists representing a large percentage of the country? Even in the original post with the commentary by Joshua’s ‘friend’ the American Atassi traveling over the border and quoting from his informal pole – one person speaks as if the entire city of Deraa… is Wahabist/salafists and so on…who in his opinion should be killed by the government, or in Souri’s view killed in a civil war!..

American Atassi’s account in the original post sounds completely naive. Everything looked NORMAL. hmmm. LOOKS. (and I might add that normal is not that great)… but really… all was well at the Four Seasons Hotel? It seems to me that if you are looking to detect some revolutionaries amidst – you aren’t going to find them at the Four Seasons, but maybe there is something I don’t know about. Is this an indicator of anything.
All is fine apparently, but the thing that amused me most was at the end of the account when he adds that it is especially fine if Bashar Assad will –
“announce term limits, and that he will not run for re-election, and that he needs to rescind the emergency law, allow other parties to participate and he needs to let loosen the terrible laws against the private market”.
Really? THAT’S IT?!…. well then, we should heave a sigh of relief…lol… everything is clearly going to be FINE.

March 24th, 2011, 3:15 am


Aldendeshe said:


Actually nobility like Alawis, Jewish, the descendant of the tribe of DAN.

You got it right, I have no respect for you, people like you and what you say. I despise coward who hides behind fake names. Real men put own name on the line. Pussycats hide. Who the hell are you? You could be Charles Manson, Michael Harari, Madam Heidi Flice… Are you ashamed of who you are, or afraid people find out you are a garbage collector. You want to address me give your real name. Who are you, ashamed of your family and heritage? Or Just your typical average Moslem coward named Abdul always at the service of the Crusaders.

March 24th, 2011, 3:22 am


Shami said:

Souri and SNP sound very false ,they seem very anxious at the idea of Hezbollah and the theocracy that stones to death women being targeted by criticism from the arab people and in the same time they call for a stalinian or mao’s style policy of secularisation in Syria that could kill their parents,mistreat their sisters and eradicate their brothers .
Hezbollah has only been unveiled during these last years by the masses as a mere follower of the iranian theocrats ,i’m sure that these syrians who are chanting anti hezbollah slogans ,hailed it few years ago taken by their innocent emotions,but now the image of this militia is changing quickly in the minds of the syrians and arabs.
As for the tactic adopted by crazy Gaddhafi and the other family regime in Syria,in portraying the opposition as inspired by Qaida’ism or Talibanism only proves the banckruptcy of their dictatorships,after decades of totalitarian one party system control.
Dandashe or SNP ,could you tell me the names of the asadian great thinkers,scientists,philosophers and economists ?they can be found in asad’s jails.
At least ,the other dictatorships had some…. here they are mostly caracterized by mediocrity .

March 24th, 2011, 6:17 am


Akbar Palace said:

aldendeshe said:

I never said this before because we supposed to be in “the opposition”, we hate his Baathist regime but WE LOVE HIM.


You have the right to support anyone you want. The people of Syria have to determine their own future, I’m just an outside observer. I am fascinated how many Syrians cannot criticize the leader of the country when things are not going well. After all, isn’t any president/king/self-appointed despot responsible for the direction of the country?

(Ziad, you can add another participant who isn’t “disgusted” with the Syrian leadership)

Listen, once he takes the little steps needed to modernize Syria, and SNP gave him the list already, will work on convincing Iran and Israel to sit together along with Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey and iron out a peace deal. The region will explode with Investment and work opportunities; it is going to be incredible period of time for the Levant region, finally, in thousands of years waiting.

I’m glad you are so optimistic. I wish it were true, but there hasn’t been any sign that any of this will take place or that it is even being considered.




Your post #64….ouch! And all this time, I thought I was the only one who believed the owners here schilled for the Asad family.

March 24th, 2011, 6:45 am


Norman said:


Don’t you prescribe to (( When your enemies are tearing each other, let them and do not interfere.))

March 24th, 2011, 7:43 am


majedkhaldoon said:

French news said ,around 100 dead, and it was done by soldiers they were at least 3000 soldier, it is A Massacre,it is a major crime by Bashar and his people, In yemen over a month of demonstrations and we did not loose 100 dead,the scope of this crime should call on UN security council to do something,the one who kills his people is a traitor,he does not deserve to rule them,syrian must get arms,our enemy is the one who kill our kids ,my heart goes to the families of martyrs.

March 24th, 2011, 8:06 am


Shai said:


You said: “I am fascinated how many Syrians cannot criticize the leader of the country when things are not going well.”

Why, do Israelis blame Netanyahu when things aren’t going well for Israel? No, they’re blaming Barak for not approving faster settlement building, The Left and various “anti-Zionist” organizations that criticize Israeli government policy, the Arabs for dating Jewish girls, and just about anyone and anything EXCEPT for Bibi Netanyahu, leader of the State of Israel.

March 24th, 2011, 8:19 am


norman said:

This is from Syria news , SASA ,by an opposition member

11 Ezzat // Mar 24, 2011 at 1.01 am

I commented on this blog a while back (Syria Almighty might still remember the heated debate we had back then) so if people remeber what I wrote they must remember how much I hate this government.


From what I’ve seen on the “Syria revolution facebook page”, the protests are really headed by salafist and wahabies. In fact one of them was asking for the destrcution of the huseiniyat (shia mosques) and another one insulting Hizballah for no reason. Another video showed a list of demands where the very first was to ban mixity in schools. Ya3ni bsharafkon 41 years of corruption, theft, and brutal dictatoship, and you’re firt demand is to ban mixity in schools? I’m afraid the country isn’t facing a popular uprising, but rather a wahabi coup.
We have two choice “a7lahuma murr”: Support a new wahabi state, of hope that the current corrupt baathis stay. As bitter as it is for me to say it, but I choose the second option.
12 Ezzat // Mar 24, 2011 at 1.08 am

Another thing that came to my mind: Why the hell are protesters burning cars and trashing buildings? In Egypt when the filthy cops were murdering the crowd, no one did anything violent. In dar3a they’re trashing buildings without provocation. Why?!

Are we seeing level headed in the opposition who want change but do not want to kill the country, I hope so .

March 24th, 2011, 8:32 am


Akbar Palace said:

Shai states:

Why, do Israelis blame Netanyahu when things aren’t going well for Israel?

I’ve heard lots of criticism of BB, especially from the Left. Are you surprised that not everyone is critical of BB? Israel has been relatively safe while BB has been in office, and the economy has faired OK under the continued world economic crisis.

Also, and Israeli Arabs can gather on a street corner and hold a placard saying “BB Sucks” or “Peace Now”.

I guess the big difference between Israel and Syria, Shai, is that Israelis can vote for whomever they think is best for their country. I thought you knew this.


My observations here should not be considered “interference”. I hope the Syrians can settle their differences w/o resorting to violence, and my belief is that the more the Syrians gain, the harder it will be to subject them to war.

March 24th, 2011, 8:38 am


Shami said:


This source is known for its pro-mukhabarat stance.
When the regime killed shaykh al Khaznawi using its wahhabi mukhabarati cover,it also spread the obvious regime’s lies on this event.

As for the propaganda iranian theocracy buildings established by the clerical regime under the supervision of the mukhabarat , they are useless and they failed in their mission but the aim is evil ,this fact,unveil the sectarian pact ,between the asad and the mollahs of Qom,Bashar’s gang have resumed the policy of the ignorant Jamil Asad ,the brother of Hafez who got a clerical rank from Qom ,the target are the poor people.The brother of Rustom Ghazaleh,is the moukhabarat agent who is in charge of this iranian theocray-asadian policy in Howran.
For sure ,post-Asad syria will not be a playground for the iranian theocracy ,if it still exist.

March 24th, 2011, 9:33 am


Revlon said:

Day 10 of the Syrian People’s Revolution.

Freedom Martyrs count has yet to be confirmed. Wednesdays estimate is in the hundreds. 30 were received in the hospital on Wednesday. Bodies are still on the streets, according to some witnesses.

Murdered included a doctor, a woman, a child, and a soldier (Khaled Al masri) who refused to partake in the takeover of Al 3omari Mosque

My condolences to their families and all peace and freedom seekers of the nation.

Their sacrifice shall never be in vein.
May God bless them in Heavens.

March 24th, 2011, 9:39 am


norman said:

I only put what the opposition member wrote,

March 24th, 2011, 9:43 am


Ziad said:

You conveniently skipped over my yesterday’s main question to you. When it comes to responding to comments, or to talk about Israel or Syria you pick and choose to your convenience. It seems to me that you feel good about yourself thinking that you are winning arguments. I am here to tell you that you have yet to flip a single meme on this blog. Your style is too transparent. Everyone knows you are no friend of Syria and you don’t have the well-being of the Syrian people on your mind. You see Syrians only as enemies of your favorite country. You spend a lot of time and are probably the most frequent commenter on SC. I hope it is rewarding to you.

No Syrian claims that Syria the country or the people are perfect, far from it, but it is our identity and belonging. We feel happy when something good happens and worry when something bad happens. Until recently the debate on SC has been civil, analytical, and informative. Both supporters and opponents of the Syrian government were present. Insulting comments and name calling were mainly done by you, AIG, and Amir. There was a true feeling of community. When someone poses a comment after a lengthy quite period (s)he was greeted with a welcome back, independent where (s)he stood on the issues.

In the last few days this blog has been invaded by a large number of new commenters. It is very obvious that most if not all of them are neither Syrians, nor know anything about the country and the people. The quality of the content and the civility has declined. Nonsensical extremist issues are raised with the clear intention to incite and seed division. Most definitely, this is part of the cyber warfare that is also vigorous on the social media.

March 24th, 2011, 10:10 am


norman said:

According to Al Arabia,
Important decisions are coming from the Syrian government and the Baath party central committee.

March 24th, 2011, 10:15 am


Aatssi said:

Your Syrian government and Your Baath party central committee has NO Credibility, they are a rubberstamp for the killers and the security apparatus… tools ONLY..

March 24th, 2011, 10:40 am


Akbar Palace said:


I purposefully left alone the issue of killing, murder, intent, civilian casulties and the rules of war. I have a different view than most on this blog regarding this.

Other than that, I’m not going to disagree with your last post. I am pro-Israel, and what is going on in the ME today should benefit Israel as well as the Arab nation.

As you can see the past few days, my initial point to you about the level of “disgust” against the despots who “lead” in the ME is really nothing compared to the hate focused on that evil zionist entity to the southwest. Just stating my observation.

March 24th, 2011, 10:48 am


Revlon said:

#86, Dear Norman: This is another capricious, public relations maneuver from the Syrian regime.

We witnessed a similar one few days earlier, when the regime apologised for the kilings and promised to punish the perpetrators.
Shortly after, at dawn, when people were least expecting, armed troopes ambushed the mosque and killed more.

The statement that you quoted aims at taking some of the steam off the public zeal for demonstrations, ahead of tomorrow’s Friday prayer.

March 24th, 2011, 10:50 am


norman said:

I do not see how the Syrian government can deal with people like Attassi,if the opposition refuse what the government is offering or to reach agreement , that i expect, then Syria is in big trouble .We have to remember that the Syrian government and the Baath party are proud of their security and safety for the Syrian people and if they can not provide that then they have nothing.

March 24th, 2011, 10:52 am


Shami said:

Norman ,in Egypt,Tunisia,Libya and Yemen ,we dont saw security breaches when the moukhabarati apparatuses were weakened.
Prior to Baath ,Syria enjoyed ,fruitful inter-sectarian collaboration ,cooperation,security and freedom ,even during the putschs era.
And what kind of security it is,when someone who say his opposition to the dictator,his mafia and injustice in the most peaceful way is systematically suppressed by force ,by blood or send to jail.
This situation can not remain.

March 24th, 2011, 11:20 am


Jad said:

Norman, what did they offer?

March 24th, 2011, 11:20 am


Ziad said:


The only thing I can infer from your response is that it does not disgust or even bother you when Israelis kill Arabs, or when they oppress, dispossess, demolish their houses, uproot their trees, or humiliate them, but you expect Syrians to express their disgust about the dead and injured. I expressed my utter disgust in one message, but obviously that was not enough to you. How often do expect me to repeat it, every 30 minutes? I have work to do beyond posting comments, and your opinion is not relevant to me.

As Shai reminded you; you always compare what is bad about the Arabs with what is good about Israel, and think you are making a sensible argument. If you add what is ugly about Israel to your recipe, the picture will look differently.

It is very evident that you view Arabs as much inferior kind to your own race. This is Antisemitism of the worst kind. You are not alone in this, many Israelis and Israel’s friends have this attribute. I suspect that this is above all a sign of insecurity.

March 24th, 2011, 11:25 am


norman said:

Not out yet .
and i remember how most domestic workers were Alawat and most villages without clean water or electricity or schools and where most Syrians were illiterate and when we were told to TOREK in the streets of Hama and that means to get off the sidewalk to the Muddy street so our superior fellow Muslim Syrian can keep his shoes clean .

Yes we remember and will never let that happen again .

March 24th, 2011, 11:44 am


Ghat Al Bird said:


Came across this statement the other day and thought you might find it interesting

“One million Arabs are not worth a Jewish fingernail.”

“One million Arabs are not worth a Jewish fingernail.” –Rabbi Ya’acov Perin in his eulogy at the funeral of mass murderer Dr. Baruch Goldstein.

March 24th, 2011, 11:49 am


Andalus said:

The protesters have shot them selfs in the foot with the anti-Iranian, anti-Hezbollah chants. Are they interested in democracy or in furthering the political objectives of Saudi/America/Israel. Based on their chants it seems to be the later.

As a Syrian as soon as I heard theses slogans I knew that I will never support them. What sort of creature chants against people who died defending their country and gave the Arabs a sliver of honor again by defeating Israel?

We want a more open society in Syria and less corruption but not at the price of becoming traitors to honor and the nation.

March 24th, 2011, 11:56 am


cprincess said:

I spent 10 years living in the Middle East during the 80’s and 90s and I have to say that of all countries I lived in and visited Syria was scary simply because there was such silence….the fear was palpable..admittedly it was just after the Hama ‘incident’…..
I do not believe that democracy and freedom should be forced on anyone and I can believe that Bashir would like to open up a little but he will not get the chance as long as the old guard are still around from his fathers time.
Reading some of the comments here on this blog with all the talk of ‘sectarianism’ convinces me that even if there were free elections tomorrow in Syria,people wouldn’t know what to do with them-as long as there is still talk of alawites, the crusades and zionism and how the wahabi’s infiltrated Deera (surely the regime doesn’t expect anyone to believe that) then the situation will not change….
Yes,I believe Israel should return the Golan to Syria but that also means that the regime stop jerking around and make peace with Israel -it will be beneficial to you if only you can get past this evil zionism crap-you truly could become a great modern arab state -funny thing is that of all the countries in the region you and Israel are really alike in so many ways-I mean WHAT do you have in common with Iran????? absolutely nothing-you are aligning yourself with the wrong country!
These violent crackdowns on dissent are not the way forward and its about time the regime realized that…..

March 24th, 2011, 11:57 am


Ghat Al Bird said:

More or urgent problems for Syria?

Avigdor Lieberman wants Syria and Iran bombed.

Iran and Syria pose a greater security threat than Libya and the West should treat those countries in the same way as it has Muammar Gadhafi’s government, Israel’s foreign minister said on Thursday.

In a brief interview with Reuters after meeting his French counterpart, Alain Juppe, Avigdor Lieberman also said a recent upsurge of violence on the Gaza border and Wednesday’s bomb attack in Jerusalem were “incitement” by the Palestinians.

Western warplanes hit Libyan tanks during a fifth night of air strikes as they enforced a UN resolution aimed at stopping Gadhafi’s counter-offensive against rebels seeking an end to his rule.

Lieberman did not explicitly call for military action against Syria and Iran, but he said: “I think that the same principles, activities the Western world (has taken) in Libya … I hope to see those regarding the Iranian regime and the Syrian regime.”

March 24th, 2011, 12:06 pm


AIG said:

Updates at the NY times:

In my opinion, if the demonstrations stay localized to Deraa, Assad has a good chance of controlling them. Apparently there are no demonstrations outside the city so far which is in the regimes favor.

March 24th, 2011, 12:12 pm


norman said:

The new proposals seem to be very good,
May GOD Save Syria .

March 24th, 2011, 12:29 pm


jad said:

THE EMERGENCY LAW will be off!!!
and all of this will happen immediately!!!

March 24th, 2011, 12:36 pm


Akbar Palace said:

I Hate Israel More than You Do NewZ

The only thing I can infer from your response is that it does not disgust or even bother you when Israelis kill Arabs, or when they oppress, dispossess, demolish their houses, uproot their trees, or humiliate them, but you expect Syrians to express their disgust about the dead and injured.


I never said that. I said the loss of life on both sides saddens me, especially when they are non-combatants.

That being said, I believe Israel has MORE of a right to defend herself from missiles and mortars than NATO does against Gad-fly. Moreover, Israel has the right to return fire from where it eminates. Here’s an article describing the issue.

I don’t know to what extent Israelis “oppress, dispossess, demolish their houses, uproot their trees, or humiliate them”, especially now that the PA is responsible for Palestinians under them. Israeli Arabs have the same rights as Jewish Israelis, and so anything illegal according to Israeli law should be prosecuted. As I’ve stated many times, although living as an Arab in Israel isn’t perfect, it is better than most Arab countries, including Syria. That notion, apparently, falls on deaf ears as witnessed on this blog.

Some pro-Arab; pro-peace Israeli organizations:

I expressed my utter disgust in one message, but obviously that was not enough to you. How often do expect me to repeat it, every 30 minutes? I have work to do beyond posting comments, and your opinion is not relevant to me.

Your “disgust” at the Assad regime is duly noted. You needn’t repeat it unless you want to. If my opinion doesn’t matter to you, I won’t lose sleep over it. As I said, I’m just a pro-Israel observer.

As Shai reminded you; you always compare what is bad about the Arabs with what is good about Israel, and think you are making a sensible argument.

Maybe. I sometimes feel I’m the lone defender of Israel’s POV on this blog. Who else is?

If you add what is ugly about Israel to your recipe, the picture will look differently.

Israel sucks!! Happy now?

It is very evident that you view Arabs as much inferior kind to your own race.

I believe all men are created equal. I believe Jews have created their state due to “the lack thereof”. I believe all human have the right to live in peace and safety and afforded basic human rights such as freedom of speech, religion, media, and the right to assemble. Among others.

This is Antisemitism of the worst kind. You are not alone in this, many Israelis and Israel’s friends have this attribute. I suspect that this is above all a sign of insecurity.

I apologize if I have given you the impression that Israelis, in any way, are “better” than anyone else. They are not. Perhaps I show a sense of pride that my people’s state is something that is working relatively well considering the neighborhood.

March 24th, 2011, 12:37 pm


Ziad said:

From AlWatan

أصدرت القيادة القطرية لحزب البعث قرارات هامة ، بين أهمها قرار بتحسين الوضع المعاشي عبر رفع الرواتب سيعلن عنه قريبا، و وضع آلية جديدة لمكافحة الفساد، كما وضع دراسة لإنهاء العمل بقانون الطوارئ بالسرعة القصوى، وإصدار قانون جديد للإعلام ومشروع قانون للأحزاب ، وصدر قرار ايضا بتعزيز سلطة القضاء ومنع الاعتقال التعسفي كما تعديل القانون 49 القاضي بالعمل بإجراءات بيع الأراضي الحدودية وهو أحد أبرز مطالب أهالي درعا في احتجاجات الأحد الماضي. كما شكلت القيادة لجنة منها للتحقيق في أحداث درعا ومحاسبة المسؤولين والمقصرين، وقالت المصادر أنه سيتم الإفراج عن مجموعة كبيرة من المعتقلين ممن ثبتت براءتهم من أعمال الشغب الأخيرة

If they follow through they are smart. If not they deserve to perish.

March 24th, 2011, 12:37 pm


Solitarius said:

Surprising and excellent move! who expected all of these at the same time? i think just acknowledging that there exists an issue with Emerg Law and having parties is a big step.. Implementation is key now

anybody has a video of that press release or a link?

March 24th, 2011, 12:42 pm


majedkhaldoon said:

Buthaina Shaaban did not say anything about releasing prisoners, there was only promises to study to discuss emergency law.
this come extremely short of what the people want.
Her explanation why Deraa was the reason for the begining of revolution seems to be satisfactory.
there was nothing about guarranteeing transparancy in the investigation.

March 24th, 2011, 12:46 pm


jad said:

You can watch it online from Norman link

March 24th, 2011, 12:46 pm


Ziad said:


“I don’t know to what extent Israelis “oppress, dispossess, demolish their houses, uproot their trees, or humiliate them”, especially now that the PA is responsible for Palestinians under them. Israeli Arabs have the same rights as Jewish Israelis, and so anything illegal according to Israeli law should be prosecuted.”

You live on Alpha Centauri.

“I believe Israel has MORE of a right to defend herself from missiles and mortars than NATO does against Gad-fly.”

I believe that Palestinians have the right to fight their oppressors, occupiers, jailers and thieves by the only weapons they got.

March 24th, 2011, 12:50 pm


Majhool said:

Encouraging but could be a maneuver, plus what about political prisoners. Time will tell

SHA’BAN performance was pretty good.

March 24th, 2011, 12:50 pm


jad said:

Whatever the government do they are going to be short for many and for those people who are just looking for violence and chaos.

March 24th, 2011, 12:53 pm


Nour said:

Great news. I hope the implementation is sincere and swift. This is exactly what we were all asking for.

March 24th, 2011, 12:56 pm


Nour said:

You’re right Jad. Some people actually are going to be very upset. This was an extremely smart move by the regime because it will uncover the true face of those supposedly supporting freedom and democracy.

March 24th, 2011, 1:00 pm


SOURI said:

My biggest fear now is that the regime may try to contain the situation by giving more concessions to the Islamists. The regime has a very bad record in this regard; since 1982, the regime has always favored concession to confrontation with the Islamists.

Any political concessions now will be a huge gain for the Islamists. If the regime has no other choice but giving political concessions, then it should at least try to take something in exchange from the Islamists.

There are only two domains in which the Islamists can be seriously hurt if they lose influence:

-religious education in schools.
-the family and marriage law.

Can the regime take anything from the Islamists in these two domains? I don’t think so, because it would make things only worse and infuriate those Islamists who are still calm now.

The regime must choose between giving free concessions to the Islamists and between going to a bloodier and larger confrontation with them. What will the regime choose? If the regime is really looking for the long-term interest of Syria and the Allawi community, they must choose confrontation now when there is still a chance of winning.

The Baath must pull itself together and fight this war against the bloody Islamists. Free concessions mean suicide.

March 24th, 2011, 1:06 pm


norman said:

Opposition leaders refused the government initiatives.
They want to destroy Syria,

March 24th, 2011, 1:20 pm


Averroes said:


I am really glad you are agreeing to give them a chance. Anyone who says there has been “nothing” done in the last 11 years is not being fair.

They’ve now made an official declaration that they will have to stick to. This is good.

We may have had our differences in the past, but I would buy you and Shami lunch any time if we can turn the page and start working together for Syria.

I’ll buy you lunch with no commitments 🙂

March 24th, 2011, 1:23 pm


Averroes said:


What are they saying? any links?

March 24th, 2011, 1:29 pm


Badr said:

Professor Landis,

I was planning to quote you on something I read earlier, and ask you about it, but you’ve erased it from your main post. I’m sorry to miss the opportunity. 😉

March 24th, 2011, 1:46 pm


norman said:

It was news flash on AL Arabia

March 24th, 2011, 1:46 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:

This recent maneuver reminds me of the DDR (former East Germany) the night that a state minister announced that it was OK to travel to West Berlin. 2 and a half weeks later there was no DDR.

If lifting of the emergency law and allowing political parties is the right thing to do (I agree), then why do it after 100 deaths in Daraa, and not before? Today, Do you trust the Asad junta more than you trusted them yesterday ?

March 24th, 2011, 2:00 pm


Majhool said:


Thank you for the offer. One day we will lose our fake names and will have lunch, maybe a dinner. After all, i want to make sure that your bill be to the north of $50 per person, hehe

I don’t give a damn who is in power as long checks and balances are put in balance to curb abuse and corruption.

Alex could testify that i have been fearful of what’s to come (several years ago) and that all along i wanted reforms.

Friday prayers would have been detrimental to the regime so I salute their quickness to act.

All said, don’t mistaken the continuous demands for chaos. I still want

Prisoners to be released
Equality in the Armed forces and security apparatus including presidential guard
change the constitution ( Eliminate the monopoly of Baath)
Parliament to choose president in multi-candidate elections.

March 24th, 2011, 2:18 pm


Ziadsoury said:

How long should we give the committees to come up with answers? When will these committees be formed?

Notice Buthaina promised to form committees to LOOK into removing the emergency law. It took 24 hours to put the law in place. Why not announce that it will be lifted by the end of the month. I am sure the regime has been looking at it for the last 2 months. All these are smoke screens designed to calm people down. They already lifted the emergency law in Algeria. It took them a couple of months. They announced a date and delivered on it.

In 2005 the regime made similar promises about forming political parties. What happened? Six years later we still have a monopoly on power by one obsolete party.

Why not free all political prisoners? How about the massacres in the past few days? If the president did not order the firing, who did? Any accountability or justice on behaves of the people that lost their lives?

Do not blame the people that are suffering. They want dignity and they offered them a bribe instead.

March 24th, 2011, 3:08 pm


norman said:

The opposition should show grace and accept and be complementary and give them a months or two in their announcement to see result, then wait and see .if they are genuine they will move fast .You can test them as they are testing you .investigation in what happen in Daraa is needed.and expected ,

March 24th, 2011, 3:40 pm


cprincess said:

“I don’t know to what extent Israelis “oppress, dispossess, demolish their houses, uproot their trees, or humiliate them”, especially now that the PA is responsible for Palestinians under them. Israeli Arabs have the same rights as Jewish Israelis, and so anything illegal according to Israeli law should be prosecuted. As I’ve stated many times, although living as an Arab in Israel isn’t perfect, it is better than most Arab countries, including Syria. That notion, apparently, falls on deaf ears as witnessed on this blog”
Yes -whilst I agree that living as an Israeli arab is better than living in the majority of arab countries to say that the Palestinians are no longer humiliated and mistreated by the Israeli government is not true….
If seeing a Palestinian families home being demolished or another settlers development being built is not mistreatment and humiliation then what is?
However ,I feel we are getting away from the issue here because this has absolutely nothing to do with what is happening in Syria right now….
It is unfortunate that consistently arab governments will use the same old tired argument-blame the zionists for everything and my view is that if arab governments care soooo much about the Palestinians then come and help them.
In the meantime-stop blaming ‘outsiders’ and give the people what they want….

March 24th, 2011, 3:53 pm


Shai said:


“Israel has been relatively safe while BB has been in office…”

Really? Funny when Kadima is in office, and tens and hundreds of missiles rain down on Sderot, Ashkelon, and Ashdod, you’re the first to blame the PM. In fact, Netanyahu HIMSELF was first to blame the PM’s at the time (Sharon and Olmert).

Even today you refuse to blame “our leader” for our situation, and instead suddenly adopt a new phrase – “relatively safe” – which is of course quite convenient since it fits essentially ALL situations past, present, and future.

But be honest – if some liberal leftist was in power at this very moment, wouldn’t you go on and on blaming him (or her) for all the missiles being launched at Israel right now? And, to remind you, Bibi’s been in power now for 2 years. Why aren’t you yelling at him to go blow Gaza to high heaven? Or to build a thousand more units in the West Bank for each Grad that lands on Ashdod? Come on, is it really that difficult for you to blame Bibi for anything, or do you still need “The Left” (the nonexistent Left) to throw the responsibility on?

Actually, in that sense, you DO sound like a Syrian official trying to blame Al Qaeda for what is happening in Syria. (I made it easier for you – “The Israeli Left” = “Al Qaeda”)

March 24th, 2011, 4:05 pm


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