In Mezzeh, Wealthy Sunnis Begin to Demonstrate; Washington Unlikely to Arm Syrians Soon; Friends of Syria to Meetin in Tunis

The demonstrations in Mezzeh, Damascus, as shown above, suggest that the revolt has spread to the heart of bourgeois Damascus, an area many said would not be affected. The Homs repression is spreading revolt to new areas. The opposition is not being cowed. In this video police shoot into the air in order to frighten the women of Mezzeh, Damascus. It does not seem that security shot into the crowd, but the fear and anger is all too clear. It will grow.

[Correction] (A Friend wrote to say: “the demonstration was in old mazzeh, not the wealthy part, the part near the old hospital, the poor part.)

The Syrian opposition is gaining strength and spreading to new areas of Syria with each passing weak. Government action makes it stronger, as does government inaction. Assad faces a catch 22. He has no way forward. The opposition, despite its multitude of jostling leaders is developing new communication and activist networks all the time. The destruction of Sunni neighborhoods in Homs has outraged Syrians across the country. Growing lawlessness has dispirited those who would support the government. Inflation and economic hardship is overtaking everyone in a constant reminder that things will get worse and that Assad is leading the country off a cliff.

The “Friends of Syria” conference will be held in Tunis on Friday. It is still unclear which countries will be represented. One can assume that the Gulf countries, Egypt, Turkey, Europeans, and the US will be there, as well as the SNC. Will the Free Syrian Army be invited to send representatives? Will other military leaders turn up?

US General Dempsey said that it was “premature” to arm the opposition. In all likelihood, Washington will want to go slow on supplying weapons to opposition leaders – after all, whom would it give them to? The SNC seems too divided and too weak. Also, Saudi, Turkey and the US are unlikely to agree on whom to arm. Most importantly, however, the US has been unable to control events in the Middle Easter countries that have gone through regime-change. Washington’s record of picking winners is dismal. Ahmad Chalabi and the Iraqi National Congress did not work out. Hamid Karzai? Few give him long odds of surviving US withdrawal. Bashir Gemayyel did not do well in Lebanon, if one goes back a few decades.

Washington may be well advised to hang back from supplying more than humanitarian and communications assistance for the time being. It will get a better sense of which leaders are able to speak for most Syrians in the future. If it backs one leader or party today, others may emerge tomorrow only to feel slighted or to turn for help from America’s competitors. Washington will not be able to change boats in mid-stream. What is more, the success and growing strength of the Syrian revolution suggests that Assad is unlikely to win. Support for the Syrian opposition is a humanitarian issue but not a strategic issue, if one calculates in a heartless fashion. The revolution will win on its own. Who knows, Syrians may even be the better for it?

العقوبات وحدها لن تُجدي by Nikolaos van Dam in All4Syria.

معظم الدول الغربية تفكّر من منظور العدالة وهي محقة في ذلك لأن هناك أشياء فظيعة تحدث في سوريا ولكن يجب عليهم أن يفكروا بطريقة للحل وهذا مالم يحدث على الأقل حتى الان.

– اختار الغرب العقوبات فهل ترى أن ذلك مجدٍ ؟
أنا أتفهم فرض العقوبات ولكنني أخشى أن تكون هذه العقوبات بدون النتائج المأمولة، إذا كنت ترغب بالسيطرة على الموقف فعليك أن لا تقطع التواصل المباشر لأنّ العقوبات بمفردها لن تكون مجدية.

– هل استخدمت روسيا الفيتو اذاً من أجل الحفاظ على القنوات مفتوحة مع النظام في سوريا ؟
يعتقد الروس أنه من المبكر اجراء التصويت على قرار في مجلس الأمن، وكانوا يعتزمون إجراء حوار مع الأسد في نفس الاسبوع كما كان لديهم مشاكل مع هذا القرار والذي يشير الى ضرورة تنحي الأسد لأن أي شيء يدعوا الى تغيير النظام هو قرارمشبوه بالنسبة لموسكو.

– هل للسيناريو الليبي حيث وافقت روسيا على التدخل تأثير عن موقف روسيا الحالي ؟
نعم بكل تأكيد ..فقد شاهدت روسيا كيف تم تحوير وتفسير قرار مجلس الأمن، فالقرار بدأ بمنطقة حظر طيران وانتهى بتغيير النظام من خلال الدعم العسكري لحلف الأطلسي، كما يعتقد الروس أنّ على الأمم المتحدة أن تدين العنف من قبل جميع الأطراف وليس من طرف النظام فقط…..

Ehsani on Aleppo:

Schools in Aleppo have been receiving bomb threats. Some have closed till march 6 (french school and Icarda). My sister pulled her kids out of the school on Thursday. Aleppo has lots of streets closed. Military and security everywhere. Ugly stuff. Just heart breaking.

Basma Qudmani speaks with 5 Israeli authors on French TV – this video has been circulating heavily on activist networks. Rumor is that it has been put out by Islamists within the SNC to delegitimize her and the liberals in the SNC.

She says approvingly that Egypt has an emerging civil society that has nothing to do with Islam. She says that Arabs need Israel’s existance.

This video is another expression of the tense battle being waged between the two wings of the SNC: Islamists and liberals. On Feb 15, Burhan Ghalioun’s term as leader of the SNC was extended by two months. He is a noted liberal, who like Qudmani has lived some three decades in Paris. It is noteworthy that the executive council of the SNC could agree to extend his term by only two months. Mechanisms for deciding on leadership are yet to be completely worked out. In the meantime, the liberals of the SNC seem to have the upper hand. Islamists put forward Haytham Maleh as their candidate. He is a human rights lawyer who has had a storied career defending activists in Syria. He has spend decades in prison himself and is fearless. He is in his 80s.

بسمة قضماني: العرب “بح اجة” لوجود “اسرائيل”!! ( فيديو)

Syrian opposition invited to Tunis conference

Syrian opposition groups will take part in an international conference on the crisis in Syria on Friday, Tunisian Foreign Minister Rafik Abdessalem said, warning against an “Iraqi scenario”.

Abdessalem said participants at the Rome meeting of the so-called “5+5” states had agreed on the need to defend Syria’s territorial unity: “We don’t want an Iraqi scenario… We have to preserve the integrity of Syria.”

“I don’t think any Arab country is going to ask for military intervention (in Syria). European countries don’t want it either,” he said.

Referring to the “Friends of Syria” conference on Friday, he added: “We believe that on the 24th of this month, we shall send a strong message to the Syrian government.”

Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi said of the meeting: “It has to be inclusive. Of course the opposition has to be present.”

Abdessalem had said in Tunis on Friday that the SNC, the largest opposition group in strife-ridden Syria, would not be officially represented at the conference.

Trade with the US Falls 31 Percent over Sanctions – Syria Report

Syria’s Inflation Rate Doubled in December, 13-02-2012 Syria Report

Syria’s official inflation rate almost doubled in December, partially reflecting the steep increase in prices witnessed in the local market in recent weeks.

The Syrian Pound has remained stable since the beginning of February, trading at around 72 pounds per US Dollar in black market dealings.

Syria’s private banking sector saw a decline of some 13.5 percent in total assets last year although it managed to increase revenues and profits, largely on the back of foreign currency revaluations.

Poultry Farming Impacted by Revolution– Syria Report

…steep increase in the prices of eggs and chicken in the local market. Input prices, in particular for corn and soybean, which are used as feed for chicken, have risen. So has increased the cost of petroleum coke used for heating. One other factor that has impacted the industry is the current unrest. Indeed, most poultry farms are located in the Governorates of Homs, Hama and Rural Damascus, which are the hotbeds of the current popular revolt gripping Syria. …

According to some estimates, the number of people whose livelihood depends on the sector is around 1 million. The FCA estimates the average annual growth of the sector in the last decade at 15 percent. Last year, exports stood at around 1.24 billion eggs, or 35 percent of total production; Iraq is Syria’s main export market, the FCA report said.

2 judicial officials assassinated in Syria – LA Times

A judge and lawyer, along with their driver, are reportedly killed in Idlib. Across Syria, at least 20 are slain, including nine in Homs, the opposition says.

Syrian troops have massed around Homs as top US Officer says Arming Opposition Premature

The top US military officer, General Martin Dempsey, said any intervention in Syria would be “very difficult” and that it was “premature” to arm the unrest-swept country’s opposition movement.

And China’s influential People’s Daily warned any Western support for Syria’s rebels would lead to a “large-scale civil war”.

Activists and Syrian state media reported at least 14 people were killed on Sunday, adding to the more than 6000 people who have died in President Bashar al-Assad’s 11-month crackdown on dissent.

“Infantry troops arrived yesterday (Sunday) in Homs,” Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said by phone on Monday.

A Homs-based activist voiced fears of an imminent attack on Baba Amr, the main rebel stronghold in the central city, speaking of “unprecedented military reinforcements coming from Damascus”….

Tribal bonds strengthen the Gulf’s hand in a new Syria – The National
by Hassan Hassan,

Will the “tribal crescent” that extends from northern Syria to western Iraq and Jordan down to the Gulf, replace the Shia crescent? Underlying all the other complexities of Syria, ancient tribal allegiances that pre-date national boundaries add an additional layer of motivations…

details about the protest movement in Al Jazira show that the hold of the tribes remains strong. In the early months of protests, there was friction among the tribes on how to react. Al Jarrah, one of the powerful clans in the city of Al Bukamal, and a part of the Egaidat confederation, is led by a government official, who even armed some of the clan’s members to quell protests. This pushed another prominent tribe in the confederation, Al Dandal, to mediate between the government and young protesters, in an effort that failed. By then, some protesters had begun arming themselves and shooting at security forces

The chief of the Egaidat, who has influence across the tribes in the confederation, asked the pro-government leader to disarm his people and stop working with the security forces. Finally, tribal leaders on all sides agreed to prevent clashes with the security forces and to not interfere in the protests.

Other leaders have refused to take part in the protest movement because they feel it is their responsibility to protect their clan. Abdullah Ghadawi, a political editor for the Saudi newspaper Okaz who is from Al Bukamal, told me one tribal leader had said that he was against the regime but he could not endanger his tribe by fighting. For the same reason, heads of families say they stand by President Bashar Al Assad only to discourage their children from taking part in protests. A similar scenario plays out in Suwaida and Raqqa, where there have been few protests.

This influence will remain strong for the foreseeable future. Politicians may be drawn from the ranks of the educated younger generation, unlike in the past when members of parliament were almost all tribal leaders, but the latter will still be respected

Another possible trend that favours Gulf influence in Syria is the growing prominence of Salafism (as opposed to the Muslim Brotherhood, which has strong links to Turkey). Salafism is increasing especially in tribal areas, partly because of the return of Syrians who have worked in the Gulf.

How the Gulf states will use these levers of influence remains to be seen, however. “Saudi Arabia has a limited understanding of the nature and diversity of the Syrian opposition,” said Emile Hokayem, a Middle East analyst at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, “and risks espousing too closely the perspective of its tribal and Wahhabi interlocutors.” Riyadh risks overreliance on the tribes, which remain largely divided

But if these links are harnessed, the Gulf states’ influence will extend from the north of Syria to western Iraq and Jordan, creating a “tribal crescent” in place of Iran’s “Shia crescent” that today extends from Iran to Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.

Video: ‘No NATO military action in Syria’

Syria ‘disintegrating under crippling sanctions’
19 February 2012

Free Syrian Army members in Idlib, 18 FebOne of Syria’s leading businessmen says its economy is being crippled by foreign sanctions and that the government is slowly disintegrating.

Faisal al-Qudsi, the son of a former Syrian president, told the BBC the military action could only last six months and then there would be “millions of people on the streets”.

But he said President Bashar al-Assad’s government would fight to the end.

The 11-month uprising against Mr Assad has claimed thousands of lives.

Human rights groups have put the figure at more than 7,000, while the government says at least 2,000 members of the security forces have been killed combating “armed gangs and terrorists”.

The violence continued on Saturday, when Syrian troops fired on mourners during a funeral that turned into a mass demonstration in Damascus. Activists say at least one person was killed there and some 20 across the country.

‘Catch 22’:  Speaking to the BBC’s Weekend World Today programme, Mr Qudsi said the economy had been crippled by sanctions and that although Iran was sending money, it was not enough.

An Iraqi fighter in Syria’s civil war – Independent

In Syria, Opposition Struggles To Gain Foreign Support
February 20, 2012 – Stratfor

Despite several efforts to come together, Syria’s opposition groups remain fractured. There are two viable groups that the West could work with, the Syrian National Council and the National Coordination Committee, but they have incompatible views on how to oust the regime and neither has the clear support of Syria’s protesters. Unless they can overcome their differences, the opposition groups are unlikely to receive the international support they need to overthrow the regime in Damascus.


Since the beginning of the unrest in Syria, a propaganda war has raged between the regime of President Bashar al Assad and the various opposition groups. The Syrian regime has portrayed itself as united and strong and the opposition as radical terrorists. Meanwhile, the opposition has claimed that the regime is splintering and that the opposition is strong and capable of replacing it. Perception is important because the Syrian opposition cannot succeed in ousting the al Assad regime without the support of the Syrian people and foreign governments.

But the reality is that despite extensive efforts to unite, Syria’s opposition groups remain fractured. Of the 14 or more opposition groups in the country, only two, the Syrian National Council (SNC) and the National Coordination Committee (NCC), are being considered by the West as feasible groups to work with to bring about democratic change inside Syria.

Comments (379)

Areal said:

The title ” Wealthy Sunnis begin to demonstrate” is very misleading.
Wealthy people don’t demonstrate in the streets.

The demonstrators are poor people from the suburbs of Damascus.
Four protesters and two security persons were killed .
So you have the choice between
– the fairy tale of unarmed protesters protected by the Free Syrian Army
– the reality of OTAN’s countries armed MB thugs manipulating crowds

By the way , where are the links to Syria Report articles ?

February 20th, 2012, 3:05 pm


areal said:

Syria ‘disintegrating under crippling sanctions’

‘Catch 22′: Speaking to the BBC’s Weekend World Today programme, Mr Qudsi said the economy had been crippled by sanctions and that although Iran was sending money, it was not enough.

The word Iran does not appear in the crippled BBC voice recording of Mr Qudsi which appears on the BBC webpage.
Syria ‘disintegrating under crippling sanctions’

February 20th, 2012, 3:28 pm


ghufran said:

I have to agree with Areal on the myth that rich Sunnis are demonstrating in Damascus. Rich Damascenes are either abroad or staying home watching demonstrations on TV.
In very revolution,poor people provide the fuel and others harvest the fruits.
A cease fire will be attempted in Homs to allow food and medicine to get to the needy but that is not going to happen until the fighting parties allow it at the expense of their pride,this is exactly when pride should take the back seat.

February 20th, 2012, 3:31 pm


Alan said:

اذا حذفنا صوت معلق الفيديو من مجلس الشيخ سعد ( الحريري ) المنشور أعلاه ذو اللهجة الحمصية و ليست الدمشقية ، فاننا
1- لانشاهد تشييعا أو صورا لتابوت محمول.
2- نرى في وسط التجمع البشري عدد ليس بقليل من النساء .
3- لاشيء في الموقع يدل على أنه في المزة بدمشق
4- عند (اطلاق النار المفترض) لم تخلى النسوة المكان غريزيا و بسرعة و قام المصور بهز كامرته عوضا عن تركيزها في محاولة لتغطية الحدث.
5- هناك سماع لاطلاق نار لم تخيف المصور، المتمركز على سطح المبنى و لم يحاول تصوير مطلقها .
6- هناك طلقة دخانية واضحة لتفريق التحشد وقف عندها المصور كونها حدث هام.
7- بقيت النسوة اللواتي من المزة الى نهاية الفيديو في الساحة .
8- قطع الفيديو في الدقيقة 2 و لم يكتمل منطقيا .

February 20th, 2012, 3:44 pm


Antoine said:


I don’t think either the FSA or the LCC will agree to a ceasefire in Homs and allow the ICRC to get in after what happened in Zabadani. Until and unless there are strong safeguards against arbitrary arrests and detentions by the regime, there simply can be no trust, and trust is essential. The regime cannot be trusted to keep its word and thats is what is making the rebels to keep on fighting. Don’t you think so ?

Many of the FSA in Homs have killed many security officers and it is naive to think the regime will let them go if they can get their hands on them.

February 20th, 2012, 3:47 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Do “Arabs need Israel’s existence” ?
I rather not answer.

But definitely, the Arabs discover that Israel is a stabilizing agent in the Middle East. And I’m sure that in light of the recent events, the Arabs are reevaluating many of the “truths” they are being taught from childhood about Israel.

February 20th, 2012, 4:25 pm


Areal said:

Free “Syrian” Army stronghold equipped with Milan missiles

Voltaire Network | 16 February 2012

The Battle of Homs was particularly deadly for the belligerents on both sides, as well as for civilians. During the first three days, the Syrian Arab Army was warded off by the rebels that blocked all entry points to their neighborhood. They destroyed all approaching armored vehicles using Milan missiles. Ultimately, the Syrian Arab Army had to resort to multiple rocket launchers to bombard the Milan firing posts, at the risk of causing heavy civilian casualties.

Each Milan shooting station, located on every street going into Bab Amr costs 100,000 euros, and each missile about 12,000 euros. The missiles were fired at a rate two to three rounds per minute. This equipment is manufactured by North Aviation (France) and MBB (Germany). It is supposed to have been given to the Free “Syrian” Army by the United Kingdom and Germany.

In April 2011, Doha officials acknowledged that Qatar had delivered Milan missiles to Libyan insurgents from Benghazi to help overthrow the Arab Jamahiriya, by way of the UN resolution that allowed the delivery of “defensive weapons ” (sic) to the Libyan opposition.


My comment

Who is funding so heavily the “rebels” ?
Who has trained the rebels ?

February 20th, 2012, 4:27 pm


Son of Damascus said:

So all those people that were protesting in Mazzeh are not from Mazzeh but from the suburbs?

Which means they all had to coordinate together for transportation, logistics, crowd control, getting through numerous army check points to get to Mazzeh, preform a “make belief” funereal for a boy murdered by the regime all to deceive the world.
As oppose to the people of Mazzeh demonstrating because they have had enough of this dictatorship.

Does everything need to be a conspiracy, logic be damned? Why can’t you just recognize the tremendous gumption of the people of Mazzeh to come out in numbers after all that is being done by this criminal regime to suppress their demand, and right for freedom?

February 20th, 2012, 4:29 pm


Areal said:

Policy of targeted killings in Damascus
Voltaire Network | 17 February 2012

Sheikh Mohammed Ahmad Sadeq, Imam of the Anas Bin Malek mosque in the al-Midane neighborhood of Damascus, was shot dead by an armed terrorist group on Thursday, February 16.

In a recent sermon, the Sunni cleric condemned calls by the opposition to sabotage Syria.

He had urged the Ulama of Damascus to sit around the same table to issue a statement appealing for an end violence, regardless of the source.

Sheikh Sadeq, who held a doctorate in Islamic law, was married and had four children, one girl and three boys.

On Saturday, February 11, unidentified gunmen had assassinated brigadier general and doctor Issa al-Khawli, director of Hamich hospital, outside his home in the northeast of the capital. The general was the father of three girls and a boy.

A report, published 3 March 2009, by the U.S. State Department’s human rights section gave a small glimpse of the practice of targeted killings in Muslim countries.

According to the document, Israeli and foreign agents sent by Mossad, in cooperation with the United States, have killed at least 350 Iraqi scientists and more than 200 academic figures and university professors, in addition to hundreds of pilots, officers and engineers.

The principal mission of these “death squads”, which have operated in Iraq since 2003, was to bribe Iraqi specialists and, in case of refusal, to eliminate them.

As we had anticipated in December, while it had originally applied the humanitarian military intervention scenario that had worked in Libya and Yugoslavia, NATO must review its script for Syria in the face of the double veto. Now, it’s a question of applying the same strategy which used in Iraq, i.e. weakening the country until the next opportunity to attack crops up.

Article licensed under Creative Commons

My comment:
Who can believe that secret services from democratic countries ever killed people in foreign countries or even lied to their government ?

February 20th, 2012, 4:47 pm


Darryl said:


Amir, Israel is needed to keep the peace in the Arab Islamic world, otherwise major strife will start among all the clans in the tents and will quickly spread everywhere like wild fires.

In the past they succeeded in focusing on Israel as the enemy and were distant pals, now the west has managed to brain wash the Bedouins in thinking that Syria is the real enemy and Israel has a free hand to eliminate more Palestinians and breath a bit easier.

Look at what is happening now, all of the Arab Islamic states are in a low level fight among each other. Since when is Syria and Egypt have become enemies? There is definitely smoldering logs and smoke in the tents.

February 20th, 2012, 4:48 pm


Ghufran said:

This sounds like a statement from SANA,but it is not:
الرياض- (يو بي اي): وصفت السعودية الاثنين، ما يحدث في محافظة القطيف بأنه “إرهاب جديد”، واتهمت جهات خارجية بتحريكه، مؤكدة أن رجال الأمن سيواجهونه “بيد من حديد”.
This is the link:

February 20th, 2012, 5:08 pm


jna said:

Asharq Al-Awsat Interview: US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford

Read all:

… In the end, it is up to the Syrian people themselves to put the details in place regarding how power is transferred. This is an issue that we, and other friends of Syria, have discussed with the Syrian opposition. The Arab League has provided the general framework, and it is up to the Syrians themselves to put the details in place.

… Our message is the same: violence will make finding a political solution more difficult, whilst there is no security solution [to the Syrian crisis]; for suppression is not a solution, neither is civil war. Therefore the opposition must know how to coordinate alliances, and convince the al-Assad regime that it must step down to allow the peaceful transition of power. This is in the interests of all Syrians, whether Alawites or Christians or Sunnis or Druze or businessmen or military…all segments of Syrian society have an interest in ensuring peaceful transition of power.

…However the unity of the Syrian army at the present time makes it difficult to think that it is within the capabilities of the FSA or any other armed opposition group – even if they are provided with more weapons – to overthrow the Syrian regime by force. In fact, this will only result in more violence. Instead of this, we must focus our efforts to push the Syrian government, via political, diplomatic and economic pressure, to stop its attacks on civilians. With concerted and intense efforts in this regard, we can make President al-Assad understand that he is not in a position to continue to rule, and that he cannot return to the embrace of the international community, and so it would be better for himself and his family to leave now and let others in the Syrian government negotiate over the transition of power.

February 20th, 2012, 5:20 pm



Does anybody know what happened in Zabadani from ¨ceasefire¨? How many were arrested? How many killed? Anybody can provide a link? Communications have been cut one moth ago and it is impossible for me to contact anyone there.

February 20th, 2012, 5:23 pm


Antoine said:


Are you from that area ? Apparently the FSA withdrew to Bloudan and some escaped to Lebanon – with their weapons – and most key LCC activists escaped as well. Out of frustration, the regime forces started arresting many young people, perhaps as many as 50 to 60, nobody knows where they are. The soldiers also vandalised the rich villas owned by the rich Damascenes and even carried off the doors of the houses, hehe. The sad thing is that the regime succeeded in deploying snipers on government buildings in Zabadani and some people have been shot recently.

February 20th, 2012, 5:30 pm


Mina said:

After the “friends of Lybia”, the “friends of Syria”… and with such friends they don’t need enemies.
Look at their old friends the Egyptians, not even able to run elections properly. After the threat of the 500 LE was dismissed by many (since the Western press did not mention it, it shouldn’t be true!), the majlis al shura election saw only 15 PERCENT PARTICIPATION! Absolute record!
And as if it was not enough, the election of the majlis al shaab might be canceled.

February 20th, 2012, 5:37 pm


zoo said:

Iran to supply electricity to Iraq, Syria, Lebanon
February 20, 2012 01:21 AM
The Daily Star

BEIRUT: Iran is to supply Lebanon, Syria and Iraq with electricity in accordance with an economic protocol of understanding signed over the weekend, the National News Agency reported Sunday.

Iranian Energy Ministry official Muhammad Bahzad said of a total of 1,200-1,300 megawatts, Iraq would get 1,000 megawatts while Syria and Lebanon would share the remaining amount “within a couple of months.”

Read more:
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News ::

February 20th, 2012, 5:39 pm


zoo said:

To avoid upheaval, “Qatar, with probably fewer than 250,000 citizens, passed an $8 billion pay raise for public sector employees, representing a hike of between 50 and 120 percent”

Slippery Choices for the Gulf States
By Jon Alterman. February 20, 2012

The Gulf Arab States have a dilemma. One reason that they have been able to avoid upheaval over the last tumultuous year in the Middle East is because they have made their already generous public subsidies even more generous. But within the short-term fix is a set of longer-term problems that could profoundly affect regional stability.

In the most basic sense, wealthy Arab governments increased their spending last year in order to improve internal security. Saudi Arabia, for example, announced plans to spend an additional $130 billion, representing approximately 30 percent of GDP. Much of the money is targeted at housing, salaries, and unemployment benefits-all essentially public subsidies. Qatar, with probably fewer than 250,000 citizens, passed an $8 billion pay raise for public sector employees, representing a hike of between 50 and 120 percent. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) gave $10 billion each to member states Oman and Bahrain to improve housing and infrastructure, spreading the wealth, and stemming the protests. The governments are using plentiful oil money to buy internal peace.

However, that strategy brings with it a high cost, which influences regional as well as domestic politics. When oil prices have been low, the government of Iran has sought regional stability through less aggressive regional policies. When they have been high, the government of Iran has sought to enhance its regional influence. When oil prices dipped in the mid-1990s, for example, President Mohammed Khatami initiated a rapprochement with Iran’s Arab neighbors, strengthening ties and lowering the rhetoric that had reached a fever pitch in the years immediately after the 1979 Iranian revolution

February 20th, 2012, 5:45 pm



I remember being in Damascus the first week of last March, when someone who I think has connections with security services told me that the following week Syria was going to begin having troubles and demostrations. The following week began the revolution. After this many minhebbaks I met in Damascus told me during April, May and June the same story: ¨It seems Assad is taking control of the situation and in two or three weeks the whole thing will be over¨. Even during summer and autumn every minhebbak I met in Damascus told me that the President was ready to make amendments and solve the quiz. But at the same time, from the first week of this revolution, through eleven months, month after month, until today every oppositor (from indisde and outside Syria) has declared to me the same story: ¨That the president is going to be done in two or three weeks, one month maximum¨.

So it seems that the sense or reality about balance of powers, and specially about the power of the opponent side, in both cases, in simply unexistent. I can understand that a mass of people without a clear leadership has no strategy and cannot control their moves, that are based on basic needs, dignity, revenge and hatred for the regime abuses. But when it comes to the ¨elected¨ President-King of a country it is simply UNFORGIVABLE to ignore the nature of his opponent.

In this argument I do not judge who is right or wrong in their demands, although of course I consider the regime to be a gang of mafias and criminals.

February 20th, 2012, 5:47 pm




Thanks a lot for your help information. Now that comunnications are cut, it is much easier to find detailed information about Homs (due to the presence of some press correspondants) than about areas that are suffering a lot like Daraa area, Zabadani area or Idlib region. My direct contacts in Zabadani informed me that the overwhelming majority in Madaya and Zabadani (Bloudan only partially) where massively against the regime, and had purchased arms for self-defence from June and July. All regime informers (moukhbireen) where killed or thrown out of the town. They were very optimistic too about Assad falling long time ago. But as logics teaches it will take long until Assads fly away.

Regarding the stolen doors I guess the new owners will suply the sentence ¨This is from the grace of God¨ by this one: ¨This is from the grace of Bashar¨.

February 20th, 2012, 6:01 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Hollywood Paliwood now Homsiwood

February 20th, 2012, 6:10 pm


Anton said:

Dear Mr. Joshua Landis

As today post is going very fast, below is copy of my earlier question, not to be missed:

Can you please explain to me/us why you are labeling/labeled President Assed as dictator from your point of view?

Thanks in Advance.

PS: I just re-post, as I am really interested to hear your argument

February 20th, 2012, 6:24 pm


Syria no Kandahar said:

So you are linking a clip to support that you,israel ,
Europe and Arabs are supporting terrorists liars.

February 20th, 2012, 6:29 pm


DAWOUD said:

# 6 Mr. Amir

Please seek the folks in this video because they are the most qualified persons to answer your question. Also, please enjoy the music. If you don’t understand Arabic, please go to Nazerath and ask any Arab to translate to you what their city’s daughter, Rim Banna, has sung:
“The night has fallen down – Rim Banna”

February 20th, 2012, 6:33 pm


Tara said:

“Homs, city of torture” is the title of the article and I add “Syria, country of sadism”. I don’t believe I have lived with and was related to monsters…. 

Author Jonathan Littell tells how Assad’s security forces target medical personnel and how he was smuggled to the heart of the Syrian conflict

Jonathan Littell
Monday 20 February 2012 14.59 EST

Such practices are in no way isolated cases, individual initiatives fuelled by sadism or overzealousness, outside of any control. On the contrary, they are codified and regulated by a set of procedures far older than the current uprising, as Abu Salim, a military doctor who served for two years in the mukhabarat, the Department of Military Intelligence, before defecting to the opposition to run a makeshift clinic in Homs, testifies: “What is the mission of a mukhabarat medical doctor?” he calmly asks as my tape recorder runs. “I will explain it to you. Firstly: to keep alive the people subjected to torture so that they can be interrogated for as long as possible. Secondly: in case the person being interrogated loses consciousness, to attend to him so that the interrogation can continue. Thirdly: to supervise the use of psychotropic drugs during the interrogation. We used chlorpromazine [an anti-psychotic drug prescribed, usually, for schizophrenia], valium, and rubbing alcohol – for instance, by pouring a litre into the nose, or else by subcutaneous injection. Fourthly: if the person being tortured has reached his threshold of resistance and is in danger of death, the doctor can request his hospitalisation. However, the doctor cannot make the decision: he must write a report and the officer in charge of the interrogation then decides whether or not to grant the transfer. Before the revolution, almost everyone was transferred; now, it’s only the important prisoners. The others are left to die.”

Everything happens as if, faced with the police and security grid of the Ba’ath party and the mukhabarats – a grid that has dominated the life of the country for decades – society had in these past few months put in place a counter-grid, almost as effective, made of civilian activists, notables, religious figures, and, more and more, armed forces – the deserters who form the FSA. This counter-grid resists the other one, circumvents it, and is even starting to absorb it in part. When you travel between the Lebanese border and Homs, it becomes visible. There has, of course, always been a passive resistance to the regime’s grid, but now this second grid has completely broken away from its ties to the former. As if Syrian society, since the spring, had split in two, and as if both parallel societies were coexisting in the country

February 20th, 2012, 6:38 pm




Just check up any dictionary:

An individual who, in apparent time of national crisis, assumes all law-making authority; who “dictates” the law; who assumes power not because of any constitutional process but by force, by virtue of his person and not any legal right.

Franz Neumann wrote:

“By dictatorship, we understand the rule of a person or a group of persons who arrogate to themselves and monopolize power in the state, exercising it without restraint.”

In ancient Rome, dictatorship was anticipated and planned out as a response to national crisis or menace such as war or famine. In those short-term dictatorship, law-authority, with the law-enforcement machinery of the army behind it, vested in a single person in order that decisions could be made quickly, responsive to the crisis at hand. In this sense, the dictator in Rome was a constitutional dictator as his tenure was provided for in the Roman edicts of government.

Oliver Cromwell became dictator in England circa 1653 and others have been wrongfully labeled such by their political enemies.

Jeffrey Archer once wrote:

“Democracy takes time. Dictatorship is quicker but too many people get shot.”

February 20th, 2012, 6:41 pm




If not enough pls check this:

Noun 1. dictatorship – a form of government in which the ruler is an absolute dictator (not restricted by a constitution or laws or opposition etc.)

Also see:
Police state – a country that maintains repressive control over the people by means of police (especially secret police).
Monocracy, One-man rule, Shogunate, Stalinism, Totalitarianism, Tyranny, Authoritarianism, Caesarism, Despotism, Absolutism
Autocracy, Autarchy – a political system governed by a single individual

February 20th, 2012, 6:44 pm




Definition of police state:

Noun 1. Police state – a country that maintains repressive control over the people by means of police (especially secret police).

Also see:

dictatorship, monocracy, one-man rule, shogunate, Stalinism, totalitarianism, tyranny, authoritarianism, Caesarism, despotism, absolutism – a form of government in which the ruler is an absolute dictator (not restricted by a constitution or laws or opposition etc.)

February 20th, 2012, 6:45 pm




If not enough:

According to ¨YOUR DICTIANORY, THE DICTIONARY YOU CAN UNDERSTAND¨, definition for children:

A dictator is a ruler with total power or is someone who rules by force regardless of what others want or need. (noun)
An example of a dictator is someone who rules a country by force and who cares only about his own needs and not the desires of the people.

February 20th, 2012, 6:50 pm


zoo said:

Pro-Bashar demonstrations in Hatay, Turkey

سود سوريا في انطاكيا: الله سوريا بشار و بس

February 20th, 2012, 6:52 pm


irritated said:

#28 Sandro Loewe

“If not enough”
“By dictatorship, we understand the rule of a person or a group of persons who arrogate to themselves and monopolize power in the state, exercising it without restraint.”

Yes, it is enough. I am now convinced that the King of Saudi Arabia and the King of Bahrain are dictators. Thank you

February 20th, 2012, 6:58 pm




Who said Saudi Arabia was not a dictatorship? Most arab countries in the Arab League are dictatorships. But syrians must fight first of all for their rights in Syria. When we enjoy freedom then we will be free to help others or not (saudis, iranians, etc.). If you wanna be controlled by I dictatorship it is up to you. Most people who are given the right to chose do not desire dictatorships.

February 20th, 2012, 7:04 pm


DAWOUD said:


Thanks Prof. Landis, et al. for posting this video. It answers the question of whether Bashar is a murderous DICTATOR. It also shows the courage of my fellow Syrians, who face with their bare chests al-Assad’s bullets. We, Syrians, owe them a lot because they are fighting for our freedom, dignity, and justice.
Finally, this video explains my anger whenever I see anybody apologizing on behalf of Syria’s genocidal dictatorship.
Whether Ms. Qadamani spoke with Israelis is irrelevant. The Syrian Revolution is neither about her nor about Ghalion. One day Syrians would choose their leaders in true elections. Figures who support Zionists’ agenda would find their popularity numbers in Syria similar to tonight’s temperature in the NY State region where I live (15F, -9.44C). It is preposterous for Bashar’s apologists to think that what Ms. Qadamani said in 2008 would de-legitimize the entire Syrian Revolution. Rami Makhlouf’s kind words about Israel security didn’t slow the Syrian Revolution. Neither would Qadamani’s 2008 appearance.

February 20th, 2012, 7:09 pm


Tara said:

EU needs not to worry.  Assad and his thugs will not allow refugees to cross borders.  He will kill them first. 

A refugee crisis caused by the Syrian conflict is threatening to de-stabilise the entire Middle East, the EU’s commissioner for humanitarian affairs warned today, writes Henry McDonald in Dublin.

More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes due to the violence in Syria with those numbers expected to rise according to Kristalina Georgieva.

The EU commissioner for international co-operation humanitarian aid and crisis response also told The Guardian that reports reaching the EU via its sole representative in Damascus indicated that both sides in the armed conflict were firing on ambulances belonging to the International Red Crescent/Red Cross.

Speaking in Dublin today, Georgieva said: “We are operating on the assumption that 70,000 people have been displaced internally and around 30,000 to neighbouring countries like Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan.”

She pointed out that the World Food Programme is planning to import supplies for around 400,000 civilians caught up in the conflict.
…. .

February 20th, 2012, 7:09 pm


Tara said:

Syrian forces mass outside rebel city and Homsis are going to fight until the last person.
21 FEB ‘1210:49AMSOURCE: AAP

Syrian tanks and troops have massed outside the resistance stronghold of Homs for a possible ground assault that one activist warned could unleash a new round of fierce and bloody urban combat even as the Red Cross tried to broker a ceasefire to allow emergency aid in.
…. .
The opposition has lionised it as “Syria’s Misrata” after the Libyan city where rebels fought off a brutal government siege. Assad’s regime wants desperately to erase the embarrassing defiance in Syria’s third-largest city after weeks of shelling, including a barrage of mortars that killed up to 200 people earlier this month. At least nine people were killed in shelling Monday, activists said.
…. .
Syria-based activist Mustafa Osso told The Associated Press that Assad’s military should face strong resistance as residents plan to fight until “the last person”. He added that Homs is facing “savage shelling that does not differentiate between military or civilian targets”.
…. .

February 20th, 2012, 7:53 pm


sheila said:

Dear Son of Damascus,
Through all your indignation, you have to admit that Alan’s shrewd analysis @4 put Sherlock Holmes to shame.
I am still waiting for Dr. Landis to explain to Anton why he called Bashar Al Assad a dictator. That ought to be interesting!

February 20th, 2012, 7:57 pm


Ghufran said:

The dead end this uprising has reached is not just due to a brutal and corrupt regime that failed to adapt but it is also the product of a divided and inflexible opposition,especially the SNC. A major failure was not having a clear and steady position about “arming” the opposition at the beginning then endorsing violence in the name of self defense even after it became evident that most of the armed attacks took the form of revenge,ambushes and even assassinations which did not spare unarmed and non combatant regime supporters and people who are labelled as regime sympathizers. The result was chaos,loss of security and the introduction of alqaida and other terrorist groups that are now fighting under the opposition flag. This changed environment led NATO leaders to the conclusion that their “good” money and resources may actually be used to support “bad” revolutionists. What we have now is a country at the verge of a civil war,an economy in the intensive care,a bigger class of impoverished and helpless citizens and a regime that succeeded in hijacking the minority vote. Go ahead and enjoy those achievements and get ready for a bloodier and more serious phase if no political breakthrough is not achieved in the very near future. For the time being,let us all enjoy exchanging charges of treason when the real treason is selling Syria’s future to keep this criminal regime or bring a new collection of thugs blessed by Goats and War Lords.

February 20th, 2012, 8:00 pm


Ghufran said:

The dead end this uprising has reached is not just due to a brutal and corrupt regime that failed to adapt but it is also the product of a divided and inflexible opposition,especially the SNC. A major failure was not having a clear and steady position about “arming” the opposition at the beginning then endorsing violence in the name of self defense even after it became evident that most of the armed attacks took the form of revenge,ambushes and even assassinations which did not spare unarmed and non combatant regime supporters and people who are labelled as regime sympathizers. The result was chaos,loss of security and the introduction of terrorist groups that are now fighting under the opposition flag. This changed environment led NATO leaders to the conclusion that their “good” money may actually be used to support “bad” revolutionists. What we have now is a country at the verge of a civil war,an economy in the intensive care,a bigger class of impoverished and helpless citizens and a regime that succeeded in hijacking the minority vote. Go ahead and enjoy those achievements and get ready for a bloodier and more serious phase if no political breakthrough is not achieved in the very near future. For the time being,let us all enjoy exchanging charges of treason when the real treason is selling Syria’s future to keep this criminal regime or bring a new collection of thugs blessed by Goats and War Lords.

February 20th, 2012, 8:07 pm


Ghufran said:

For those who are still scratching their head,or any other body part,wondering why the west is taking a second look at the Syrian opposition,the simple answer is the use of violence and the infiltration of opposition ranks by terrorists,domestic and foreign.
Nobody is equating the brutality of the regime with that of the armed revolutionists,and I certainly could not care less about such a conversation,because losing the moral high ground in any conflict means the end of the slogan “good against evil”.
Those who want to save the revolution are those who reject random violence,and those who do not are only interested in a regime change even if the new rulers are a mix of goatanized sheikhs and Hariri-type thugs.

February 20th, 2012, 8:36 pm


Tara said:

Worlds affairs to be handled by the G-20 rather than the UNSC?

Turkish FM favors G-20 over UN on the Syria issue

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said the deadlock in the U.N. Security Council encouraged the Syrian regime to increase its assault on the dissidents, speaking in Los Cabos, Mexico where is he attending the foreign ministers’ meeting of the G-20 states. 

“The Syrian government is holding bloodier operations as it has the impression that the international community will not act following the vetoes of Russia and China to the U.N. Security Council resolution,” he said. Blaming the U.N. for its ineffectiveness in the post-Cold War era because of its dependence on five permanent members’ votes, Davutoğlu praised the G-20 for “having a more embracing character.” 
Speaking to reporters after making a speech in the first G-20 foreign ministers’ meeting on Feb. 19, Davutoğlu also said that the G-20 is more representative than the U.N.
…. . 

February 20th, 2012, 8:37 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

Members of Free syrian army, will be present in Tunis meeting,along with SNC members and hopefuly other opposition members.

February 20th, 2012, 8:38 pm


Tara said:


I share your sentiment. The brilliant analyses like the one in #4 and the inquisitive questions like the one Anton has for Joshua is what makes me completely and totally attached to SC…

I have very soft heart for brilliance and sophistication. Just can’t help it…

February 20th, 2012, 8:44 pm


ann said:

Syria’s Assad stresses accusation of armed groups behind unrest – 2012-02-20

DAMASCUS, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) — Syrian President Bashar al-Assad reiterated Monday that Syria is targeted by armed groups backed by foreign parties in a bid to destabilize Syria and undermine any effort for a solution, state-run SANA news agency reported.

Assad made the remarks during a meeting with Alexei Pushkov, chairman of the International Relations Committee of Russian State Duma.

For his part, the Russian diplomat reasserted his country’s support for the underway reforms in Syria, adding that efforts should be continued to reach a political solution to the crisis.

He said that the solution should be based on dialogues among concerned parties and without foreign interference, underscoring the importance of security and stability in Syria to the Middle East region and the world.

Pushkov also voiced his country’s rejection of any foreign intervention in Syria’s internal affairs, adding that the Russian stance stems from its “keenness to cling fast to the International Law principles and to achieve the interests of the Syrian people.”

The United Nations Security Council should not be biased in favor of any party concerning the Syrian crisis, he noted.


February 20th, 2012, 8:49 pm


Tara said:

The US may help the Syrian opposition to weaken Iran.  Not exactly my fairy tale definition of benevolence!

Two Senators Say U.S. Should Arm Syrian Rebels
Published: February 19, 2012

The senators, John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, both Republicans, laid out a series of diplomatic, humanitarian and military aid proposals that would put the United States squarely behind the effort to topple President Bashar al-Assad of Syria. The senators, both of whom are on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said that rebel fighters deserved to be armed and that helping them take on the Syrian government would aid Washington’s effort to weaken Iran.
…. .
The detail in the American senators’ comments, made at a news conference during their visit to the Afghan capital, Kabul, appeared to signal that these were themes they would address when they arrived in Cairo, their next stop. The senators are leading a bipartisan delegation that stopped in Kabul to meet with military officials, diplomats and President Hamid Karzai.
…. .
Still, the administration has made a point of working through the Arab League and the United Nations rather than giving the appearance that the United States is trying to intervene in Syria, in part to avoid giving Iran any excuse to get involved on behalf of its regional ally, analysts say.

The senators, on the other hand, cited Iran as a major reason for action in Syria, even if only indirectly.

Mr. McCain said the United States would not have to send weapons directly to the opposition but could work through “third-world countries” and the Arab League.

Mr. Graham also endorsed arming those who are fighting Mr. Assad, and he suggested that the Arab League, which has called for Mr. Assad’s departure, could be a conduit. A byproduct of a more interventionist policy would be to weaken Iran.

“Breaking Syria apart from Iran could be as important to containing a nuclear Iran as sanctions,” Mr. Graham said. “If the Syrian regime is replaced with another form of government that doesn’t tie its future to the Iranians, the world is a better place.”
…. .

February 20th, 2012, 8:59 pm


Darryl said:

Tara, I was wondering what is your feeling about the plight of Mr Hamza Kashgari who is facing the Saudi sword man to get the chop for tweeting a few comments and then hunted down?

February 20th, 2012, 9:00 pm


zoo said:

Geopolitics Hijack the Arab Spring –

Lull after the storm
Brahma Chellaney, Hindustan Times
February 19, 2012

A year after the Arab Spring came to symbolise the ascent of people’s power, hope has given way to a bleak sequel. The democratic awakening has fallen prey to international geopolitics that has helped cleave the Arab Spring into two parts, with the America-backed kingdoms escaping change but the non-monarchical republics coming under varying degrees of pressure.

The promise of a new era of democracy has been blighted in much of the region by continuing political repression. Worse, war clouds have appeared on the horizon.

What began as protests against food prices, corrupt leaders and lack of government accountability has assumed ominous dimensions. From the rampant but largely unreported human-rights abuses in post-Muammar Gaddafi Libya to the increasing bloodshed in multi-ethnic Syria, the developments are making the future of the extended region from the Maghreb and the Sahel through the Persian Gulf to the Arabian Sea more volatile and uncertain.

Bahrain stands out for carrying out the region’s most-successful suppression of an Arab Spring movement, thanks to a Saudi-led military intervention and continuing Western backing. Whereas Cairo’s Tahrir Square has come to epitomise the power of ordinary people to rise up against tyranny, Bahrain’s Pearl Roundabout was simply obliterated with bulldozers — an action that was followed up with arrest and torture of activists as well as of the doctors and nurses who treated the injured. Yet a year later, family-run Bahrain’s future looks anything but stable.

February 20th, 2012, 9:03 pm


irritated said:

31. SANDRO LOEWE said:
“Who said Saudi Arabia was not a dictatorship? Most arab countries in the Arab League are dictatorships.”

So you are asking the help the rich dictatorships of the GCC to get rid of Syria’s “dictatorship”?
Do you trust them to bring a democracy in Syria, when they can’t even spell it?
This kind of games is very dangerous it can turn against you unless you prefer a Wahhabi ‘democracy’ to an Alawite ‘dictatorship’

February 20th, 2012, 9:10 pm


ann said:

Bad vibes: Fear of foreign threat soars in Russia – 20 February, 2012

Global upheaval, NATO interventions, US missile defense in Europe or just bad vibes? Whatever it is, a recent poll suggests that Russians are more nervous these days about security. Just two years ago, 47 percent of Russians said they were concerned the country would experience some sort of foreign military incursion; by January 2012, that number soared to 55 percent.

Since 2010, the world has experienced a so-called “Arab Spring,” which saw military intervention courtesy of NATO forces in Libya, where militant opposition forces killed former leader Muammar Gaddafi; Russia, meanwhile, is attempting to prevent another similar type of one-sided intervention in Syria, where President Bashar al-Assad is trying to hold onto power.

The struggle to avoid another full-blown military attack in the Arab world could play some role in Russia’s present attitude toward foreign military adventures, as well as their ultimate objectives.


February 20th, 2012, 9:15 pm


irritated said:


If the wealthy are demonstrating, why none followed the ‘massive’ strike called for by the Opposition on Facebook the next day?

Maybe these wealthy were demonstrating against the 12 hours electricity cut that Damascus is suffering now. I wonder why there is no single interview with one of these wealthy, just a video from a roof? I would have been curious to hear what they say.
Where are the foreign journalist when they are needed?

February 20th, 2012, 9:18 pm


zoo said:

Syria: 14,600,000 Citizens to Participate in Constitution`s Referendum
(Dp-news – Sana)
DAMASCUS- Syrian Deputy Minister of Interior for Civil Affairs, General Hassan Jalali said Saturday that almost 14,600,000 throughout Syrian governorates are eligible to participate in the referendum on the new constitution in Syria.

Gen. Jalali added that 13,835 offices were devoted to the referendum, including offices opened on land borders and at airports to enable all citizens to practice their right to referendum.

He said the referendum will be held under the supervision of a central committee chaired by the interior minister and two of his assistants.

President Bashar al-Assad issued Wednesday the Presidential Decree No. 85 for 2012 stipulating for setting Sunday / 26/2/2012 / as a date for referendum on the draft Constitution of the Syrian Arab Republic.

February 20th, 2012, 9:29 pm


Tara said:


The guy is a jerk for the way he taunted the religious authorities but that does not warrant a capital punishment.  May be a punishment similar to denying the Holocaust in Europe?  KSA has to chose what century it is in.  And if it continued to live  in the 8th century, the Saudi royals are going to be facing an Arabic spring soon.  

February 20th, 2012, 9:30 pm


zoo said:

I would not be surprised that there are Russians military advisors on site in Homs as there are hardly any condamnation from the Russian media about what the western media fed by the opposition are calling “a massacre”.
I think that the international community is expecting Bab Amr to fall just like Zabadani and they are preparing for humanitarian aid.

“Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said Russia will put forward a proposal at the U.N. Security Council in the coming days regarding humanitarian aid to Syria, the Itar-Tass news agency reported.

“Churkin was quoted by the agency as telling Vesti 24 television on Monday that the council “could undertake concrete steps aimed at solving humanitarian issues, relying, among other things, on the fact that Damascus allowed the Red Cross to bring humanitarian aid to some regions.”

Churkin gave no details about the proposal, his spokesman Anton Uspensky told AP. R”
The Baba Amr neighborhood on Homs’ southwest edge has become the centerpiece of the city’s opposition. Hundreds of army defectors are thought to be taking shelter there, clashing with troops in hit-and-run attacks each day.

Amateur videos posted online showed what activists said were shells falling into Baba Amr. Black smoke billowed from residential areas. Phone lines and Internet connections have been cut with the city, making it difficult to get firsthand accounts from Homs residents.

In Geneva, a spokeswoman for the International Committee of the Red Cross said the group has been in talks with Syrian authorities and opposition groups to negotiate a cease-fire in some of the most violence-torn areas.

“We are currently discussing several possibilities with all those concerned, and it includes a cessation of fighting in the most affected areas,” the spokeswoman, Carla Haddad, told the AP.

She said the talks weren’t aimed at resolving any of the entrenched political differences.

“The idea is to be able to facilitate swift access to people in need,” Haddad said


February 20th, 2012, 9:43 pm


Tara said:

Defected Syria general vows return, fight
ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News

Turkmen-origin Syrian Air Force Gen Fayez Amro has defected to Turkey while another Syrian defector, Lt Abdulselam Abdulrezzak, claims chemical weapons were used in the Bab Amr neighborhood of Homs
…. .

Lt. Abdulselam Abdulrezzak, who used to work in the chemical weapons department in the Syrian army and defected to Turkey last week, said chemical weapons were used against civilians during the military offensive of the Syrian security forces in Bab Amr. “BZ-CS, Chlorine Benzilate, which damages people’s nerves and makes them fade away, is being used in Bab Amr. They wanted to also use it in Zabadani [on the Lebanese border] but they made an agreement with the Free Syrian Army forces at the last minute and they backtracked. I couldn’t stand all these and ran away,” Abdulrezzak told the Daily News on Feb. 19.


February 20th, 2012, 9:57 pm


Anton said:


Thanks for your comments, however, without argumenting if you are right or wrong, I believe your definitions could apply to at least 135 countries world wide.

I am really interested to hear Dr Landis point of view

Thanks in advance

February 20th, 2012, 9:59 pm


ann said:

Iraqi gunmen afoot to join Syrian insurgency (PHOTOS) – 20 February, 2012

The Syrian government has long claimed the opposition was being largely helped by foreigners, and the regime is fighting armed insurgents.

Last week the US spy chief told the Congress President Bashar Al-Assad is also fighting against Al-Qaeda of Iraq. James Clapper suggested that Syrian opposition groups, fighting against the existing regime may have been infiltrated by Al-Qaeda.

raqi officials and arms dealers say weapons and Sunni Muslim insurgents were seeping from Iraq into Syria, fuelling violence in the country.

Iraqi security officials confirmed there were signs Sunni insurgents have been crossing the border to join Al-Assad’s opponents. Gun smugglers are cashing in, as prices doubled for weapons they have brought across the border in commercial cargoes.

The Archbishop in the city of Aleppo points out that Christians in Syria currently fear for their safety, and those who are able to afford it, are leaving the country. Several dozen Christians were murdered in the Syrian city of Homs by insurgents “who are in the pay of NATO”, he said in an interview with the Catholic News Agency.

At least 2,000 Syrian civilians, soldiers and policemen became “victims because of the hatred” of radical Islamists, he said. The Archbishop also said that those victims often got “tortured, mutilated” before being murdered.

Archbishop Jean-Clément Jeanbart added that “the [mainstream] media do not report about the fact that extremists and mercenaries from Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, Libya and Pakistan or from Syria infiltrate the country.”


February 20th, 2012, 10:10 pm


anton said:

Dear Mr. Dawoud

I wrote earlier today in response to an earlier comment, please see below. also I would like to add one more notice, in any future election in Syria , each person count as ONE VOTE , yours including. Then what you will do if the actual president , get elected with 51% or more of Syrians vote?

@198. Anton said:

Dear Mr. Dawoud

I believe that any radical view will not be appreciated in the future Syria unless radicals will govern Syria , which I believe 80% of all Syrians are refusing to accept and allowing it to happened.

I believe also that your view on the Syrian president and government is far from facts and one sided, in the actual crises there is no black and white instead there are a lot of gray areas.

I believe also unless you are living in Syria and engaged in a political party with known political program having enough people support and asked to represent them , you need to talk only on behalf of yourself and not of any other Syrian, otherwise you will be seen as another propagandist and losing your argument .

I believe also that Syrians Christians are not afraid but mostly concerned about Syria’s future, in my opinion Syrians Christian are always and will be pro-Syria, from my point of view as long as president Assad or “any other president in his place today” trying to protect the interest of Syria and Syrian people regardless their back ground, will have full support from the majority of Syrians Christian.

Please do not take my above comment as personal, it’s just my opinion


February 20th, 2012, 10:11 pm


Shabbi7 said:

Remember Arwa Damon’s report about a regime mercenary admitting killing 60+ people? Here is her “report”:

It was originally shared with us by Ann (

So it turns out, yet again, it was another kidnapped person–in this case a policeman.

شرطي يروي قصة اختطافه وإجباره على الحديث تحت التهديد مع شبكة سي ان ان

إلى ذلك روى الشرطي ثائر المرجان قصة اختطافه على يد مجموعات إرهابية مسلحة فقال.. خلال عودتي من الدوام يوم السبت تعرضت مجموعة إرهابية للباص الذي ينقلني مع رفاقي في منطقة قارة بريف دمشق وبدؤوا يطلقون النار علينا, فأصبت وبعد عشرين دقيقة جاء أناس على الدراجات النارية وعددها بين 50 و60 دراجة نارية وأخذوني إلى منطقة مجهولة في قارة ليست بعيدة عن الطريق العام وبقيت فيها حتى الساعة 10 ليلاً.

وأضاف المرجان.. إن أفراد المجموعة الإرهابية غطوا عيني واقتادوني إلى منطقة فليطة حسب قولهم وبقيت فيها يومي الأحد والاثنين ويوم الثلاثاء ثم أخذوني إلى مكان ثالث وقالوا لي أنت الآن في بلدة عرسال اللبنانية وهناك جاؤوا بشبكة سي إن إن الأمريكية وكان يوجد رجل يتكلم الإنكليزية بطلاقة ومعه امرأة تترجم لي كلامه.

وقال المرجان لقنني الرجل ماذا أقول عن تهريب السلاح وأني كنت شبيحا وقمعت المظاهرات وذلك تحت الضرب والتعذيب والتنكيل والتهديد.

Scroll to the bottom for this specific reference. Feel free to read the rest to learn more about what the dabbi7a are doing.

Of all the stories on that page, only some western and Gulf media mentioned the killing of the two army officers, but all ignored everything else, including the massacre of 15 health care workers and wounding of 27 others.

EDIT: Although the shabbi7’s face is blurred in the CNN report, it appears consistent with SANA’s photo of the victim. His name is coincidentally also Tha’er.

February 20th, 2012, 10:18 pm


MM said:

“It does not seem that security shot into the crowd”

See 1:02, Gov’t gunman firing horizontally in wanton fashion, subsequent to this, there are people on the ground. Since they were in the front, they were not trampled or injured in any other way.

The government hospitals in the city refused to treat these individuals. I don’t know what happened to them.

February 20th, 2012, 10:37 pm


Ghufran said:

One of my biggest disappointment next to the horrific loss of lives is how this uprising failed to unite Syians and how it polarized syrians in ways I never thought possible.
What I always considered to be moderate and fair minded people were transformed into loyal defenders of one camp or the other. Uniting Syrians will be a daunting task,but there is no way for Syria to be rebuilt if its people stay divided and resentful.
The regime succeeded in scaring minorities,thanks in part to the violent turn events took and the obvious Islamization of this uprising,I am afraid that Basma’s famous video,which I posted before Joshua :),was an inside job,I expect more of that especially that some opposition voices,one at least was linked on this blog,were too quick to condemn her.
The violent attacks coupled with the infiltration of the opposition by terrorist elements is another problem,and one of its immediate results is making western leaders more hesitant about supporting the opposition,all calls about keeping this uprising peaceful and limiting the use of arms to self defense fell on deaf ears. When this is all and done,historians will blame the violent factions for the defeat of the uprising,if it fails,or the civil war that follows,if violence continues,in either way,the dream of a quick change to a civil secular and democratic government will remain as a dream for the near future.
كل ثوره و انتم بخير
غداً الثلاثاء البدينه و بعده الصيام

February 20th, 2012, 10:42 pm


DAWOUD said:

# 51 ANN

With all due respect, can you check and see if Putin’s RT and China’s Xinhuanet have any articles on Moqtadah al-Sadr’s and Hasan Nasrallah’s shia militias entering Syria to aid Bashar’s murderous forces and Shabiha?
Neither this article nor Ms. Qadamani’s flirtation with Zionists would alter the fact that Syrians’ ongoing courageous revolution started spontaneously and is homegrown and domestically-led.

# 52 Mr. Anton
I admit that I did read your earlier reply to my comment, but I decided not to reply to you when I read that you asked Professor Landis to explain why he had labeled Bashar as a dicator. I avoided you because you seem to be a nice person and I didn’t want to be intellectually rude to you. I just couldn’t find words to make me not rude to you when you question if Bashar is a dictator. Asking whether Bashar is a dictator is like asking whether Rick Santorum is religious fundamentalist. It so so obvious that it does not deserve a reply.
Now, if %80 of Syrians wouldn’t accept radicals, then you are validly refuting the Syrian regime’s and its apologists’ argument that the MB and radicals would take over. Bashar has lost his chance to rule after almost 12 years of corruption (Rami Makhlouf is a “businessman”) and after killing thousand of Syrians. You likely agree with me that at least %80 of Syrians want real democracy and reforms. Let’s depose Damascus’ murderer and his thugs and have real free elections. Yes, % 51 is a majority in a parliamentary democracy that utilizes the proportional representation electoral system, as opposed to the “winner-take-all” system that prevails here in the United States.
I still suspect that a future Syrian democratic government would begin by basing itself on consensus, rather than majority, in order to include as much diversity as possible to assure secularists and minorities.
I understand that Syrian Christians have concerns, but they should understand that their interests would be undermined in the long-run if they stick with a murderous dictatorship, which would inevitable fall. Naming Rajha, a Christian, to be minister of defense was Bashar’s foxy way to attach minorities to his regime and take advantage of their anxieties. He may also please the Russian Orthodox church whose figures and frequently seen on Bashar’s media meeting with Damascus’ butcher. Syrian Christians are educated and sophisticated and they would abandon him at the right time and pursue their legitimate path.
In any case, there is no turning back! All Syrians should jump on the train before it leaves the station. Sticking with Bashar is like a deep sleep on the Titanic during its final minutes!

February 20th, 2012, 10:46 pm


Leo Syriacus said:

I have to agree with the comment that “wealthy Damascenes” is inaccurate, wealthy Damascenes who are against the regime would be talking to their fellow wealthy friends in Arabia,Europe, or America about toppling the regime they will never risk their lives in demonstrations faced with the regime’s live bullets
Those who demonstrated in Mezzeh are Syrian middle class educated youth ( my four cousins were there ) ..they are Syria’s future, its brains and its economy, rich and poor, urban and rural, liberal and conservative, Kurd and Arab, Muslim and Christian..they are the ones who matter the most and the ones who will topple the regime and build the future

February 20th, 2012, 10:51 pm


Norman said:


It is not the regime that scared the minorities, it is the oppositions that did that from what they said or did not say and from they did or did not do,

February 20th, 2012, 10:58 pm


Shabbi7 said:

I did a quick scan of previous comments and it seems the following was not shared yet.

If you want a good laugh, here is 6ar6our’s reaction to the Qudmani “scandal”.

My source to the video, along with a well-written article, is from al-7aqiqa

PS: I don’t really think this story is a scandal because us shabbi7a knew from the start that the people in the SNC stink – all of them. On the other hand, the dabbi7a think that the west and Gulf want the best for the Syrian people.

February 20th, 2012, 11:09 pm


ann said:


With all due respect:

– Moqtadah al-Sadr did not illegally invade and destroy Iraq on behalf of israel.

– Hasan Nasrallah is a hero who kicked the israeli occupation forces out of Lebanon.

– The only murderous killers in Syria are NATOs cold blooded islamist terrorist mercenaries.

– There’s nothing courageous or spontaneous or homegrown or domestically led. There’s only NATO paid blood thirsty killers.

February 20th, 2012, 11:20 pm


Shabbi7 said:

In my previous post, I linked to the SANA reporting the assassination of Aleppine businessman Ma7moud Ramadhan by the peaceful dabbi7a (

Here are the dabbi7a announcing the time and location of his upcoming funeral. Expect a bunch of videos of “Aleppo joins the revolution” some time tomorrow and the day after. Either that, or a video of them being chased and beaten by shabbi7a like last time (along with the priceless reaction of Syria Comment’s dabbi7a activists) 😉

February 20th, 2012, 11:26 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

Even Bashar himself admitted in one of the interviews that he is a dictator,yet you see people asking this question.

God bless the FSA

February 20th, 2012, 11:28 pm


syria no kandahar said:

Deep analysis of Chess Geopolitics game in syria,syrians are the pieces of this game,playrs are enjoying drinking syrians blood while the game is going on.when it is time for kishmat,syria will be dead.
كان إسقاط الأسد مخرجاً مهماً لكسر هذا التحالف. الآن تتغير الصورة. يطل شبح السلفية برأسه فتقلق أميركا. يكثر الكلام عن محاولات تقارب جديدة مع الروس، ولا بأس أن يكون الإيرانيون والأتراك حاضرين ومساهمين في إيجاد مخارج.
المعلومات الموثوقة تشير إلى أن رفع منسوب الكلام الأميركي عن «القاعدة» يمهد لشيء آخر. يجري الحديث عن سيناريوهات متعددة، أبرزها أن يجري اتفاق على المرحلة الانتقالية في سوريا بحيث يبقى النظام كما هو ويسلم الرئيس السلطة إلى مسؤول آخر من قلب النظام. ترفض روسيا هذا الاقتراح حتى الآن. وثاني السيناريوهات أن يبقى الرئيس وتتغير طبيعة النظام وتتوسع. يرفض الأميركيون والفرنسيون هذا الاقتراح، ذلك انه بات من الصعب جدا التراجع عن مبدأ تنحي الرئيس. يثار احتمال ثالث يقضي بحوار بين السلطة الحالية بقيادة بشار الأسد والمعارضة يؤدي إلى تفاهم حول حكومة وحدة وطنية ومرحلة انتقالية تتضمن انتخابات وآلية لضمان نزاهة هذه الانتخابات. يعمل الروس والصينيون والإيرانيون على هذا الاحتمال، وتأمل طهران بضم أنقرة إلى هذا الاحتمال.

February 20th, 2012, 11:32 pm


DAWOUD said:

# 61 ANN

Thanks for replying. This is the real Hasan Nasrallah:

Syria’s Sunnis opened their houses and donated their gold to Lebanon’s Shias who fled Israel’s war crimes in 2006. In return, Hasan sided with Bashar! Still, Syrian Sunnis are not sectarian like Hasan and they support Lebanon if it faces another Israeli attack.
[I apologize if you don’t speak Arabic]

I do agree with you that Iraq was invaded and destroyed on behalf of Israel. I mentioned Moqtadah because he is a master of sectarian warfare. He has already voiced his support for Damascus’ murderer.

Hamza al-Khateeb was not killed by NATO. Bashar’s thug mutilated his thugs.
The people in this video in Mezzeh are the most honorable and courageous people on the planet. They are not “Islamist terrorists.”

February 20th, 2012, 11:32 pm


Paul said:

NATO or the U.S. doesn’t have to supply the FSA with anything. Weapons and Sunni fighters are already flooding into Syria from Lebanon, Turkey and the Sunni tribal areas of Iraq. Syria has become the new CAUSE-CELEB of Jihadists around the world. Assad will be swept aside by a tidal wave of Sunni anger.

February 20th, 2012, 11:36 pm


DAWOUD said:

RE: # 65
I meant to say that Bashar’s thugs mutilated Hamza al-Khateeb’s genitals, which is a conduct beyond what super murderers in the Arab World could do.

February 20th, 2012, 11:38 pm


Mezzeh Man said:

I am from Mezzeh and there are plenty of people from Mezzeh who are protesting. The problem is that these boards serve as places where liars can spew their lies, like there are no real protests, or that all the protesters are from the suburbs, ie, not true Damascenes (an ironic rehash of Sunni stereotypes against Alawites).

[Edited. Welcome to Syria Comment. Please don’t use needlessly provocative or discriminatory language]

February 20th, 2012, 11:39 pm


Ghufran said:

Bilal Saab-CNN
You know that something has gone terribly wrong when highly respected, credible, and internationally recognized Syrian opposition figures such as Michel Kilo and Haytham Manna’ refuse to join (and even take issue with) the Istanbul-based Syrian National Council (SNC), an umbrella opposition body that claims to speak for the Syrian people. You also know that big mistakes were made when a year into the uprising, the majority of Syrian elites – the merchant and business class – and several ethnic minorities including the Christians are staying home and watching events from afar.
This is the full article:

February 20th, 2012, 11:46 pm


Ghufran said:

Two of my posts never saw the light for mysterious reasons,this is a test,please excuse my curious aggravation.

[Ghufran, there is a filter on a few words. Will check to see what may have caused moderation.]

February 20th, 2012, 11:48 pm


ann said:


Only blood thirsty cold blooded killers like the saudis who attacked us on 9/11 would mutilate and kill beyond super murderers.

February 20th, 2012, 11:50 pm


ann said:

67. Mezzeh Man!

Whoever you are or are not. Real Syrians call it Mazze NOT Mezzeh.

Have a nice day 😀

February 20th, 2012, 11:56 pm


DAWOUD said:

# 69 ANN

I still respect you, but I can’t engage in any more conversations with you if you engage in PREPOSTEROUS CONSPIRACY THEORIES by claiming that Hamza al-Khateeb was killed in Der’a [sic] by the Saudis!
I am not a fan of the dictatorial Saudi royal family, but I am a realist and I don’t engage in conspiracy theories to defend anybody.

Good Night ANN!

February 20th, 2012, 11:56 pm


ann said:

71. DAWOUD said:

Good Night ANN!

Sweet dreams DAWOUD!

February 21st, 2012, 12:02 am


Ghufran said:

I think you are going too far,mr moderator,there was no obscene words in the posts you deleted and no personal attacks on anybody unless the word “goat” is now similar to “scum” which I never used. Anyway,rules are rules,you just took the humor out of the post which was in my judgement a clean description of the cultural deprivation some middle eastern communities suffer from,too bad,I may now limit the use of goat to refer to my salad trimmings. Would you care to let our readers give their opinion about the posts you deleted? I guess not,I am now wondering if criticizing the Neocons who planned the destruction of Iraq or the Hariri class of politicians seem too “hot” for this blog.
Here is a PC version: tribal societies with little or no history of tolerance or freedom can now use their money to broadcast one sided versions of events that take place in other countries with oppressive regimes but a radically different society and culture !!
You have to admit,there is no “G” word in this version.

February 21st, 2012, 12:10 am


Ghufran said:

I think you are going too far,mr moderator,there was no obscene words in the posts you deleted and no personal attacks on anybody unless the word “goat” is now similar to “scum” which I never used. Anyway,rules are rules,you just took the humor out of the post which was in my judgement a clean description of the cultural deprivation some middle eastern communities suffer from,too bad,I may now limit the use of goat to refer to my salad trimmings. Would you care to let our readers give their opinion about the posts you deleted? I guess not,I am now wondering if criticizing the Neocons who planned the destruction of Iraq or the Hariri class of politicians seem too “hot” for this blog. Here is a PC version: tribal societies with little or no history of tolerance or freedom can now use their money to broadcast one sided versions of events that take place in other countries with oppressive regimes but a radically different society and culture !!
You have to admit,there is no “G” word in this version.

February 21st, 2012, 12:15 am


Ghufran said:

I absolutely resent the fact that our moderator is suggesting that I used inappropriate language in the two posts that he, or they, deleted.
Mr. moderator,let our readers judge if you went too far or not, I think you did.

[Note to Ghufran, this may have been some time ago. The only reason your posts would be held up is by a filter. You may have reposted an edited version in which case the two posts would be seen as duplicates and one deleted. Thanks for the note.]

February 21st, 2012, 12:25 am


Syria no Kandahar said:

MB did not learn from the 80s .Terrorism runs in MB blood.

[Edited. Please do not personalize discussion] removing not only the genitalia but the whole body;

February 21st, 2012, 12:58 am


jad said:

Dear SNK
Here is the right link of the article you are referring to

أميركا اعترفت بـ«القاعدة» في سوريا… هل يرتاح النظام؟
سامي كليب
لو أن وزير الداخلية السوري أراد توصيف السلاح والمسلحين في سوريا لما تحدث بأفضل مما قاله مدير الاستخبارات القومية الأميركية جيمس كلابر آخر الأسبوع الماضي. أكد جيمس كلابر أن «تفجيرات حلب ودمشق تحمل بصمات القاعدة، وان القاعدة اخترقت المعارضة السورية المنقسمة، وان النظام قادر على الاحتفاظ بالسلطة في الوقت الحالي».

Dear Shabbi7
Great catch in 53, thank you!

Dear Ann
I’m back!
It’s accepted to write Mazzeh, Mazze, Mezzeh or Mezeh all sound close to the real name, so it should be ok, don’t be too tough on the newbie 🙂

Talking of Mazzeh, couple very important points the summary didn’t mention and the clip showed clearly but everybody insist to ignore:
People went out in the streets with the support, encouragement and organization of Tanasiquiyat Dareya and Almazzeh, after getting a permission from the security itself the night before, the agreement between the two was very clear, activists who wanted to organize the ceremony shall not under any circumstances to come close to the Syrian Flag, the Syrian Army and Assad in any slogan and the Tansiqyat accepted that and told all their activists and supporters that only three things should never be out, the three stars flag, shouting down to the regime and the mention of the terrorist fsa.
Everything was going as planned, they let the youth to stop people in the streets and ask them to join in while the police and the security kept their distance away from them.
However, some idiots destroy it to all, they didn’t stick to the agreement and made after some sign they put out the three stars flag, saluting the terrorists fsa and cursing Bashar all three at the same time, which triggered the reaction of the security shooting up in the air with tear gas at the group in the middle who were standing next to the ’14th’ (bnayat alarbata3sh)
At that point people went in chaos and fear and they fall on each others, while some men started to help evacuate the women as we can see in the clip.
The victim who died is Samer Alkha6eeb, it said that he came from Alsal7yet and not from Almazzeh, and he was hit while he was at the cemetery after the group he was next too start shoouting slogans against Bashar and Hafez (the usual, ‘Bashar the dog’ and ‘Yel3an ro7ak ya 7afez’ there was other guys who were hit too but I didn’t read about any fatal case but Samer.

The same evening, couple activists from tansiquyet Daraya (not Almazzeh) went to ‘Alkha6eeb’ family asking them to let them organize their son’s funeral, but the family refused and they decided to make the funeral early in the morning 6am.
Few activists form The tansiqyat came to the ceremony anyway at 6:30am but they didn’t make any dramatic scenes at the request of the family and there wasn’t a single security or police anywhere near them..
Doing this funeral so early in the morning and the parents being understandable as well as populating the whole area with soldiers and amn saved the Sunday, otherwise, it was going to be bloody..

February 21st, 2012, 1:21 am


Syria no kandahar said:

Aljazera:Israeli-Qatari invention,planted many years ago to be used now:

February 21st, 2012, 1:40 am


Syria no kandahar said:

What kind of personal attack is to say: [Edited] friends.if someone supports revolutionists then they are his friends,right?why do you allow any word of evil description to any one who is pro-
Nonviolence and peace and you act to separate
Pro-revolutionists from the evil acts done by jihadists.

[Warning: please do not personalize discussion — this means attaching names of SC commentators to events or atrocities such as ‘_____’s friends removing not only the genitalia‘ as well as open insults. Please do not name other commentators in this manner. ]

February 21st, 2012, 1:49 am


jad said:

Repeat of the 80s MB’s ‘6ali3a’ militia organisation on the terrorist fsa, nothing new!

قطر تستنسخ “الطليعة الإسلامية المقاتلة” في “الجيش السوري الحر” وتعين رجال دين في قيادته!؟

خالد هنداوي “مشرفا سياسيا وعقائديا وضابط ارتباط مع قطر”، و لؤي الزعبي “رئيسا لأركانه” و الشيخ زهير عمر عباسي “للإمداد والتموين” وأيمن الحريري “للعمليات” !؟

بيروت ، استانبول ـ الحقيقة ( خاص من : مازن ابراهيم): في تطور تنظيمي لافت يؤكد ما كانت ذهبت إليه “الحقيقة” قبل أشهر، لجهة أن “الجيش السوري الحر” ليس سوى اسم حركي للمنظمات السلفية والتكفيرية التي تحمل السلاح في سوريا ، عينت الجهات الوصائية المالية والأيديولوجية والسياسية على “الجيش” المذكور، وبشكل خاص قطر والسعودية وتركيا، عددا من مشايخ “الأخوان المسلمين” ورموز “القاعدة” في قيادته و / أو مشرفين على أنشطته المختلفة. فقد علمت”الحقيقة” من مصادر مقربة من قيادة”الجيش” في أنطاكيا بلواء اسكندرونة المحتل أن قطر عينت الشيخ خالد هنداوي “موجها سياسا وعقائديا” أعلى له و “ضابط الارتباط” بينه وبين الحكومة القطرية ، بينما عينت الشيخ زهير عمر عباسي مسؤولا عن”الإمداد والتموين”. وكشف ضابط مقرب من العقيد رياض الأسعد لـ”الحقيقة” أن الشيخ السلفي لؤي الزعبي ، وهو أحد أبرز رفاق أسامة بن لادن خلال حياته في السودان، أصبح بمثابة “رئيس لأركان الجيش” بينما أصبح الشيخ أيمن الحريري بمثابة “مسؤول العمليات” ، يساعده في ذلك ـ من بين آخرين ـ النصاب الدولي الشهير زهير الصديق!. وقال المصدر ” إن العقيد الأسعد أصبح مع هذه التعيينات مجرد صورة شكلية وطلاء خارجي للجيش السوري الحر ، الغاية منها إضفاء ملامح منظمة عسكرية وطنية على هذا الأخير والحيلولة دون ترك انطباع لدى الرأي العام بأنه مجرد ميليشيا إسلامية تكفيرية”، كاشفا عن أن هذه التعيينات جرت عمليا الشهر الماضي ، إلا أنه لم يجر الإعلان عنها رسميا ، ولن يجري ذلك على الأقل في المستقبل المنظور ، للسبب المذكور نفسه.

Mr. Moderator,
could you please release my previous comment, I think it went into the spam for some reason other than ‘cursing’, it’s important, Thank you!

February 21st, 2012, 1:57 am


jad said:

How are you my friend SNK?

February 21st, 2012, 2:06 am


Alan said:

79. JAD
hello Jad !
I am glad sees you again!

February 21st, 2012, 2:24 am


jad said:

The coming Sunday is the referendum on the constitution for Syrians:

Here is a good legal analysis of the Constitution draft:

المحامي موسى خليل متري يفند الثغرات القانونية في الدستور السوري الجديد

“بعد أن مرَّر لي أحد المعارف من الصحفيين المسودّة الأوّلية للدستور، تبيَّن لي ضرورة الإسهام في المناقشة العامة، وإبداء بعض الملاحظات (أهمها وليس كلها)، وذلك كمواطن عربي سوري، وكرجل قانون. وأرجو أن تتمَّ دراسة هذه الملاحظات (التي أوردها بحسب تسلسل أرقام موادها وليس حسب أهميتها)، كما أرجو أن يعرض الدستور للنقاش العام قبل عرضه على الاستفتاء.”


An article in Alakhbar about it:

استفتاء الأحد في سوريا: أول مرة بلا 99.98%

حت مظلة حسم أمني متفاقم، دُعي السوريون إلى استفتاء عام على الدستور الجديد نهاية الأسبوع. أول امتحان مباشر يختبر به الرئيس بشّار الأسد شعبيته خارج التظاهرات المؤيدة له، كي يستلخص من اقتراع الناخبين: هل يريدونه على رأس الانتقال بسوريا من حقبة إلى أخرى؟

نقولا ناصيف
“.لا الحسم الأمني وحده يعيد إليه سوريا النظام والحزب التي فقدها نهائياً في 15 آذار الماضي، ولا الإصلاح وحده يكفل استعادته الاستقرار والأمن. وهو بذلك يعوّل على معطيات منها:”

Hi Alan,
Thank you so much for your kind words 🙂

February 21st, 2012, 2:28 am


jad said:

Al6ar6our attacks the MBs council and asks the terrorist militias to make up a ‘political’ council that he personally will support…
Man, this 6ar6our is loosing it!

هاااااام جدا الشيخ عدنان العرعور يطلب من الشعب السوري الترحم على المجلس الوطني ويدعو لدخول المجلس العسكري في السياسة

February 21st, 2012, 2:45 am


jad said:

Not sure if anybody linked the latest ‘achievements’ of the Neocon’s Syrian slaves, ponytail, ponytail’s wife and Zibaleh along other warmonger trash signed a letter to their master Obama to bombard the hell out of Syria asap:

Conservatives call for Obama to intervene in Syria
‘”Unless the United States takes the lead and acts, either individually or in concert with like-minded nations, thousands of additional Syrian civilians will likely die, and the emerging civil war in Syria will likely ignite wider instability in the Middle East.”

The letter was organized jointly by the Foreign Policy Initiative and the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, both conservative policy organizations in Washington, D.C. Signees included Max Boot, Paul Bremer, Elizabeth Cheney, Eric Edelman, Jamie Fly, John Hannah, William Inboden, William Kristol, Michael Ledeen, Clifford May, Robert McFarlane, Martin Peretz, Danielle Pletka, John Podhoretz, Stephen Rademaker, Karl Rove, Randy Scheunemann, Dan Senor, James Woolsey, Dov Zakheim, and Radwan Ziadeh, a member of the Syrian National Council.
The letter calls on Obama to immediately establish safe zones within Syrian territory, establish contacts with and provide assistance to the Free Syrian Army (FSA), give communications and logistical assistance to the Syrian opposition, and enact further sanctions on the Syrian regime and its leaders.’

One day before the mentioned ‘achievement’ the same Zibaleh wrote this ‘plea’ about the same ‘request’ I guess he doesn’t have anything else to call for, well, he is paid for that:

A Plea For U.S. Intervention From a Syrian Activist

February 21st, 2012, 3:01 am



74. ANN,

It is clear you have never been in ¨real Syria¨ and you ignore trasliteration rules. All around Damascus indications are written with ¨MEZZEH¨. Not MAZZE. You are not syrian, you live outside Syria and you probably do not speak even arabic. If all your argumentations are so mistaken ….

February 21st, 2012, 3:41 am


annie said:

We owe the Syrian people an apology for every day that they were slaughtered before our eyes during the past eleven months. The Arab people have let them down and have watched on from the side-lines as if the “the heart of Arabism” has become surrounded by Arabs with no hearts.

and OTH the Homsi Rooster is still crowing

February 21st, 2012, 4:51 am


Syria no Kandahar said:

Hi jad
Good to see you back
How was the experience ?i am trying to see how much short tempered is the moderator here. it looks like he really is.going to the banning prison is really simple.i am staying away completely from religious discussions because I have learned that you almost have to تنطق الشهادتين to make the moderator happy here,and it is very easy for me to stay away from religious or political discussions because that
Is what we were taught to do in Syria any way.
Banning prison doors are wide open….it reminds me with a story which happened with my brother when he was serving his military service:
A case of scabies (جرب)was found in his قطعه,so the عميد asked for any one who is itching to يرفع ايدو so half of the soldiers did that thinking that they will be sent home,they were all put in prison to be separated!!he spent 5 days in the prison playing chess .
So if the moderator here ask who is itching think twice…


February 21st, 2012, 5:08 am


majedkhaldoun said:

Several members of NCB has abandoned Haytham Manna3 and joined the SNC

I challenge Haytham Manna3 to show the skin of his abdomen

I am Syrian and I write Mezzeh,not mazze

February 21st, 2012, 5:26 am


Syria no Kandahar said:

القطر الروسي الشقيق يرفض المشاركه في مهزلة تونس
Dr Majeed
Why do want him to do that,are you going to take his kidney and blame the regime?

February 21st, 2012, 5:31 am


VOLK said:

MOSCOW: Russia said Tuesday it will not attend an international conference in Tunis this week aimed at seeking political change in Syria because the meeting only supported the opposition’s cause.
The meeting was called “for the purpose of supporting one side against another in an internal conflict,” the foreign ministry said in a statement. “We cannot accept the offer to attend this meeting.”
The Friends of Syria group will meet for the first time Friday after being created in a reponse to a joint veto by Russia and China of a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning President Bashar Assad for the violence.
The group is backed by members of the European Union as well as some Arab nations and the United States.
Russia’s statement said the meeting would be unable to improve dialogue between Assad’s government and the opposition on ways of ending 11 months of violence that opposition sources say have killed more than 6,000 people.
“The invitations to attend the Tunis meeting were issued to some parts of the opposition, but representatives of the Syrian government were not invited,” the statement said.
“This means that the interests of the majority of the Syrian population, which supports the authorities, will not be represented.”

February 21st, 2012, 5:38 am


bronco said:

95. VOLK

As expected, the Russia announced they were boycotting the meeting as soon as Tunis, under pressure from Qatar, changed its mind and invited the opposition and not any representative of 50% of the Syrians. By not allowing all Syrian voices to exert their right to express themselves, this meeting is flawed and will be another slap to Qatar. I think they won’t be able to come out with anything more than condemnations and nothing constructive.
If the Syrian local opposition will be present, the only positive issue that can come out is the highly demanded “unification” of the opposition. Yet I have serious doubt it will be happen as I have doubts the SNC will be recognized as the sole representative of the Syrian people
After announcing it was ready to “make concessions”, Russia and China are now even more convinced that that ‘the friends of Syria’ want nothing else than a ‘change of regime’ and they are more determined than ever to prevent it.
Unfortunately, the Syrians will be paying a dear price for this big power confrontation.

February 21st, 2012, 7:43 am


Norman said:

I think that Syria has more freedom than SC these days, any thoughts?

February 21st, 2012, 7:48 am


irritated said:

Sandro Loewe, Majedlalkhaldoon

“You are not syrian, you live outside Syria and you probably do not speak even arabic. If all your argumentations are so mistaken ….”

Now you can sleep in peace, you found the “alien”!
Syrians are dying in Syria but its’ Mezzeh, not ‘Mazze! “educated” expats dixit.

February 21st, 2012, 7:50 am


bronco said:

#86 Jad

This referendum’s value is more in the turnout than the final result.

While the final result can be controversial and accused of being rigged, the turnout of the population cannot be hidden.
Of course there will accusations that people were obliged to vote or paid to vote, but if the turnout is large, despite the boycott ordered by the opposition, it will be a vote of confidence to the peaceful resolution through a democratic process under the present regime.
Thus, I expect more attacks and provocation from the opposition, worried that this referendum takes place as they know it may change the game against them. Therefore they will make an all out effort to create enough violence and threats in Damascus and Aleppo to frighten off the potential voters.
It is yet to see if the Syrians will defy these threats and go to the polling stations.
Now that the Russians won’t be present, the “friends’ meeting in Tunisia will attempt to ask for the deligitimization of the Syrian government by giving the recognition to the SNC as representing the Syrians so as to prevent the referendum to happen.
It is not obvious they would succeed either because some Arab and foreign countries will object or because the Syrian local opposition will object. Yet, with bullies like money dispenser machine Qatar, it is possible they can force it through the throats of the hesitant attendants.
If they succeed, there will be a full scale civil war as the pro-regime civilians will ultimately arm themselves and fight back for their rights to choose.

This week is the most crucial moment yet in the war between the two parties.

February 21st, 2012, 8:15 am


zoo said:

In the Islamic dominated new Arab democracies: Freedom of expression, yes, but for men only

The Arab Spring’s misogynist winter
Women across the Middle East have been deprived of rights

By Deborah Scroggins / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Tuesday, February 21, 2012, 4:18 AM

A year after they marched alongside men to topple regimes in the Arab Spring, Arab women are facing a wall of misogyny.

In Tunisia, Salafist vigilantes have been attacking unveiled women and occupying universities that do not allow the face veil. In Egypt, only eight out of 508 newly elected parliamentarians are female, and the country’s Islamists are threatening to repeal laws making it easier for women to divorce and to gain custody of their children. The head of Libya’s transitional government has promised to bring back polygamy.

Read more:

Read more:

February 21st, 2012, 8:25 am


zoo said:

Rise in crime intensifies unease in once-safe Egypt

Egyptians say they don’t recognize the country now, a place with carjackings, soccer melees and brazen bank robberies.

By Jeffrey Fleishman and Amro Hassan, Los Angeles Times

February 20, 2012, 6:46 p.m.
Reporting from Cairo—
The headlines reflect a previously unknown cruelty: a woman gunned down in a rich Cairo neighborhood, a rash of carjackings, a deadly soccer riot, a stream of smuggled arms that have given muscle to criminal gangs once easily outgunned by police.

The revolution that inspired this country one year ago has set loose a menacing air that Egyptians find unfamiliar. Bristling beneath the political battle for power against the ruling generals is an insecurity over crime and a bitterness that has darkened Egypt’s congenial nature.

Soldiers guard streets but few people feel safe.,0,4205913.story

February 21st, 2012, 8:28 am


irritated said:


Why waste your time trying to argument with pseudo intellectual fanatics playing ‘civilized’?
These kind of people just deserves an angry grin, nothing else, but besides thumbs down, SC does not provide such often useful icon.

February 21st, 2012, 8:43 am


zoo said:

A thorough analysis of the relation between the media ‘objectivity’, money and politics in today’s media landscape.

Samir Aita is an economist and editor-in-chief of the Arabic edition of “Le Monde Diplomatique”.

A talk with Le Monde Diplomatique’s Samir Aita
By Hussein Idrissi

Aita] Generally speaking, we should regard the Syrian spring – with its own characteristics – as the crossroads of the Arab Spring.

[Asharq al-Awsat] Why is that?

[Aita] If the Syrian spring succeeds in instilling humanistic values, the Syrians will be able to build a state of citizenship for all; a state of freedoms, justice and dignity for everyone, including the freedom of thought and belief. However, if the Syrian spring fails, autumn shall prevail over the entire region.

[Asharq al-Awsat] Let us return to media outlets in the Arab world…what is your opinion on the current state of affairs?

[Aita] In some Arab countries, there are a greater number of newspapers, but they all belong to giant financial groups and are directly financed by them. This is because the economic model of these papers does not allow them to cover their costs. The source of such funding then determines the orientation of these media outlets and their approach. This does not only apply to newspapers, but also to radio stations and television channels – especially satellite channels, as well as the internet
[Aita] The media’s problem lies in its funding. Where does it come from and why? Funding raises another question relating to the objectivity of media outlets, if we assume that their role is to convey information to the people.

February 21st, 2012, 8:59 am


bronco said:

#71 Ghufran

I appreciate his down to earth conclusion that we have reached a long time ago: Contrary to Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, there is no acceptable alternative to a regime that, pressed by its powerful allies, is ready to evolve democratically. The “regime change” in short term aimed by the opposition and its western allies is simply doomed.

“It may be only a matter of time before Syrian rebels reach central Damascus, but until the Syrian opposition truly unifies, gains some credibility in the eyes of the Syrian people, and effectively coordinates with the armed rebels, the Syrian uprising is not likely to go very far.”

February 21st, 2012, 9:11 am


zoo said:

One candidate? the VP of the “dictator”? His sons still in power? That’s a “quickfix democracy”, inspired by Saudi Arabia’s undemocratic system.

Yemen vote ensures Saleh’s exit after 33 years
By Mohammed Mukhashaf and Joseph Logan | Reuters – 36 mins ago
Vice President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, the sole, consensus candidate, billed the vote as a way to move on after months of protests against Saleh’s rule, but the president’s sons and nephews still command key army units and security agencies.

February 21st, 2012, 9:35 am


ann said:

Russia not to take part in “Friends of Syria” meeting: FM – 2012-02-21

“Most importantly, the real aim of the meeting is not clear. According to reports, the separate opposition groups have been invited to Tunisia but no representatives of the Syrian government. That means, the interests of the majority of the Syrian population which supports the authorities, will not be represented,” Lukashevich said.

Lukashevich said Moscow had an impression that the “Friends of Syria” meeting resembles “the Libya Contact Group,” which has the aim to support only one side of the internal conflict.

“According to reports, the final document of the meeting has already been drafted by a narrow group of countries while other participants would be asked just to rubber-stamp it,” Lukashevich said.


February 21st, 2012, 10:31 am


ann said:

U.S. in no position to complain about U.N. vetoes: columnist – 2012-02-21

In a signed article titled “42 reasons why Susan Rice’s anger is unconvincing”, which was published by Jordan Times on Feb. 17-18, Khouri said he could not take Rice and the United States seriously here, “because the U.S. has set the world’s gold standard on using vetoes in the Security Council to shield criminal activity — by Israel in particular.”

“We can pretty much ignore her (Rice) and her government’s public display of anger because they lack that essential combination of consistency, sincerity and credibility that are so vital for those who wish to be taken seriously,” he said.

“If she is so disgusted by this veto episode, can she imagine how it feels to be at the receiving end of such actions by her government 42 times over the past four decades?” he asked.

“Rice’s anger and disgust at the Russian-Chinese veto at the U.N. last week loom largely hollow and meaningless, because, in reality, that are a reflection more of American hubris and pride than of any credible diplomacy,” he said.


February 21st, 2012, 10:36 am


ann said:

FM spokesman says China’s stance on Syria remains consistent, clear – 2012-02-21

“We’ve been closely following the developments of the situation, and we are deeply worried about the escalating crisis that has caused civilian casualties and affected peace and stability in the region,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said.

Hong said China holds the view that the international community should fully respect Syria’s sovereignty, independence, unity, territorial integrity and the independent choice of the Syrian people, as well as the results of the political dialogue among various parties in Syria.

“We do not approve an armed intervention or forcing a so-called ‘regime change’ in Syria,” the spokesman reiterated.

“China welcomes all efforts that will be conducive to a peaceful resolution to the Syria issue,” Hong said, noting that the purpose and mechanism of the “Friends of Syria” meeting requires further examination.


February 21st, 2012, 10:43 am


ann said:

West chooses economy as “suitable entrance” to deepen Syrian crisis: expert – 2012-02-21

The Western countries have tried many scenarios in Syria to deepen the crisis, Abdul-Razzak said, and the last-ditch attempt was to throttle the country’s economy.

However, the expert predicted that their attempts would not work. “They tried to test Syria through many aspects. They tried the social gate and tried to foment sectarian rifts. But all their attempts were to no avail,” he said.

“They even tried the UN Security Council, but they also reached a deadlock… Now there is nothing left other than the economic door to knock on given its unparalleled significance,” he added.

Abdul-Razzak slammed the sanctions as “immoral,” saying that the biggest victims of the sanctions are the Syrian citizens, as the prices of basic foodstuff have skyrocketed while some other goods have become unavailable in the market.

However, Abdul-Razzak showed an upbeat mood about the future, saying that the Syrian economy is still vigorous and trustworthy and there are some alternative markets for the Syrian products.

The central bank of Syria has a sufficient reserve of foreign currency and gold, which would appease concerns about a possible economic collapse in the country, Abdul-Razzak said.

“The Syrian economy would not collapse in the foreseeable future,” he said, calling on the Syrian government to take rigorous and rational measures to protect the economy


February 21st, 2012, 10:53 am


ann said:

Russia offers to send UN aid envoy to Syria – 2012-02-21

“After stopping violence, it will be possible to provide humanitarian aid urgently for all who need it. We suggest the UN Security Council instruct the UN secretary general to sent over to Syria an envoy to agree on security and delivery of humanitarian aid,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexandr Lukashevich said.

“Russia is ready for the honest collective work in the UN in this direction,” he added.


February 21st, 2012, 10:59 am


Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Dear Dawoud,

There were more Jewish refugees than Arab. The reason you do not hear of them, is because they were successfully absorbed into Israel, while Arab refugees were cynically used as a political tool.

For you to watch
The Forgotten Refugees – 1,000,000 Jews Expelled (Part 1) (rest parts there)

And: The Truth About the Refugees: Israel Palestinian Conflict

February 21st, 2012, 11:04 am


ann said:

Made in Jordan: Thousands of gunmen preparing to enter Syria? – 21 February, 2012

Over 10,000 Libyans are reportedly being trained in a closed-off zone in Jordan, before being snuck into Syria to fight for the opposition. These men are allegedly paid around US$1,000 a month, funded by Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

­Jordan-based AlBawaba news website says most of the gunmen who are being trained are actually part of the Libyan armed opposition, who have not had the chance to lay down arms following the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.

The allegations of funding from Riyadh and Doha were not attributed to anyone, but AlBawaba did draw attention to the fact that both Saudi Arabia and Qatar actively support the Syrian opposition.

At the same time, several Iranian news sources report that some 50 Turkish officers arrested in Syria last week have confirmed that they were trained by the Israeli Special Forces to carry out insurgent acts against the Syrian government and President Bashar al-Assad.

The arrested officers also, according to Iran’s Fars news agency, admitted to initiating contact with Qatar and Saudi Arabia, inadvertently lending support to the countries’ involvement in the ongoing conflict in Syria.


February 21st, 2012, 11:07 am




¨Now you can sleep in peace, you found the “alien”! Syrians are dying in Syria but its’ Mezzeh, not ‘Mazze! “educated” expats dixit.¨

Well, sorry to defraud your expectations but I am not an expat.

Also I celebrate you can sleep in peace defending your King Refomer ¨The Criminal¨ The Second as many innocent people is getting killed in both sides, because the fXXXX Assad secret services did not accept any peacefull demostration from the beginning.

February 21st, 2012, 11:15 am


ann said:

America’s crusade ‘utterly utopian’ – Pat Buchanan – 21 February, 2012

­US has no vital interests in Syria

Pat Buchanan believes no American wants to intervene in Syria “they don’t understand anything about.”

Speaking about the deadlock situation in Syria, the author shared that since President Bashar Assad was ruthless in suppressing the uprising in the country – he had better go and let the country have a more democratic government.

Actually, the US does not have vital interests in Syria, Pat Buchanan told RT.

The real Syrian question is: if the Assad regime is overthrown, “who comes to power in Damascus?” questions Buchanan.

The Muslim Brotherhood and Al-Qaeda that are infiltrating into Syria will bring nothing good in the region for the US.

“We’ve got to ask ourselves: is the devil we know preferable to the devil we don’t know?”

Al-Qaeda is doing its best and it always finds ‘failed states’ like Yemen, Somalia and Afghanistan under the Taliban to prey on it and civil war in Syria seems to be a good environment for terrorists.

According to Buchanan, Syria is a potential disaster where the world might have a proxy war between Sunni and Shia Muslims, with ethnic conflicts Kurds and Druze on the way.

“This is why I’m against putting weapons and aiding the anti-Assad resistance” Buchanan said, explaining that taking sides in the conflict might end up with failed state in Syria.


February 21st, 2012, 11:20 am


ann said:

Foreign conspiracy melting-pot – 21 February, 2012^%

Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, post-war Libya, Turkey, Israel – this list of countries drawn into conspiracy media speculation would be incomplete without recent remarks from the Russian Foreign Ministry.

British MI6 agents have entered the Syrian ground, the Ministry said on Friday.

This is the first time such a declaration has come from a ministry. The media have been boiling with reports on foreign Special Forces training the Syrian opposition since November.

Thus, the Israeli DEBKAfile reported that British and Qatari commandos are instructing the Syrian opposition and supplying them with arms. The French weekly Le Canard Enchaine and Turkish daily Milliyet revealed the presence of French intelligence in the region, also instructing the Free Syrian Army in urban guerrilla techniques. These camps were located in Libya’s Tripoli, southern Turkey and northern Lebanon, read the reports.

The Syrian government has also to deal with Jihadists flocking to the country from neighboring Iraq. According to the Iraqi Interior Ministry, the insurgents are smuggling weaponry across the border to support anti-Assad movement.

The foreign assistance has every chance of going beyond supply and training, analysts say. The Arab League has blocked the initiative that would be most productive to resolve the Syrian crisis peacefully. The League has suspended the observing mission even despite Assad’s approval to extend it. Many connect the League’s decision with the final report provided by the mission head, Sudanese General Mohammed al-Dabi. Al-Dabi dubbed the events in Syria as “violence on both sides” and “active insurgency” instead of “a popular anti-regime uprising.” This might have struck Qatar, which is currently chairing the League, as a bit too pro-Assad.

The UN, facing a fail with a Syrian resolution in the Security Council, passed the condemnation of Assad’s crackdown on the opposition through the General Assembly on February 16. The resolution has no executive power, but Washington is already calling for a contact group “Friends of a Democratic Syria.” Now the Syrians are left to wonder what is better: the 40-year-old dictatorship or imported freedom, a kind of which has left Libya in ruins.


February 21st, 2012, 11:41 am


Jad said:

I agree with your comment regarding the referendum the coming Sunday, the armed militias at the order of the usual criminals will make this week as much bloody as they could and the enemies of Syria meeting will help them do a perfect job on the expense of Syrian lives.

Please check this excellent interview

News About Syria: Information or Propaganda?

Sharmine Narwani: Many opposition leaders want end to militarization on both sides as GCC and US neo-cons call for arming opposition

February 21st, 2012, 11:53 am


jad said:

I forgot to put the link from the original site with the text:

News About Syria: Information or Propaganda?

February 21st, 2012, 12:22 pm


Ghufran said:

Alarabiya lost many of its viewers,a poll on the first page attracted less than 200 voters,here are the results:

الأزمة السورية ستنتهي إلى:
تاريخ الاستفتاء 21-02-2012 | مجموع الأصوات 167
إسقاط النظام بقوة أجنبية.
32% | 54 صوت
حرب أهلية بدعم إقليمي.
54% | 91 صوت
حل على الطريقة اليمنية.
13% | 22 صوت
العودة إلى الاستفتاء

February 21st, 2012, 12:26 pm


Ghufran said:

Tried twice to post the results of a poll at alarabiya website,the post never came out of the moderation cage!!
صار الموقع متل وزارة الاعلام عنا

February 21st, 2012, 12:28 pm


ann said:

Don’t arm the Syrian opposition, say U.S. officials – 1 hr 55 mins ago

“We are currently discussing several possibilities with all those concerned, and it includes a cessation of fighting in the most affected areas,” the ICRC’s spokesman Carla Haddad told the Associated Press from Geneva on Monday. “The idea is to be able to facilitate swift access to people in need.”

“I think it’s premature to take a decision to arm the opposition movement in Syria because I would challenge anyone to clearly identify for me the opposition movement in Syria at this point,” Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria in an interview broadcast Sunday. “There are indications that al Qaeda is involved and that they’re interested in supporting the opposition. … And until we’re a lot clearer about, you know, who they are and what they are, I think it would be premature to talk about arming them.”

“Unleashing even more violence without a realistic prospect of changing the regime’s behavior or improving security,” wrote Lynch, director of George Washington University’s Institute of Middle East studies, in the CNAS report, “is neither just nor wise.”


February 21st, 2012, 12:48 pm


Ghufran said:

State media is allowing people to criticize the const. draft and giving interviews to politicians who oppose article-3,this business was a waste of time.

February 21st, 2012, 12:52 pm


Ghufran said:

أدركوا الأمر قبل أن يدرككم!

“ادركوا الأمر قبل أن يدرككم!”، صرخة مدوّية أطلقها الأديب والكاتب السعودي زهير كتبي عبر قناة “دليل” الفضائية، محذّراً قادة المملكة من “ثورة الجياع” إن لم تعالج مشكلة الفقر في بلد يمتلك أكبر احتياطي نفطي في العالم.

[Link added]

February 21st, 2012, 1:01 pm


irritated said:


“Assad will be swept aside by a tidal wave of Sunni anger”.

Only Assad? I guess all Syria will be swept aside with the amount of weapons and sectarian hatred these extremists are carrying.

It may become Syriastan unless this “wave” is stopped.

February 21st, 2012, 2:10 pm



Assads had the wrong illusion that the country had become their property. This idea was tested many times and it always seemed to be true that all lands, properties and people belonged to the Assads. The police state seemed to be an unbreakable weapon as well as the support of all suckxxx bussiness and corrupt classes from Damascus and Aleppo. But unexpected developments happened in Tunis and the tsunami swallowed Syria into a civil war while reduced the efforts and beneffits of private and public sectors to nothing, and soon or later will swallow the Assads too. This time we are near to real chaos, unprecedented chaos, as Assad predicted and expected. We can suffer civil war, international war, chemical war or even nuclear war. Reality is dealing with a monster regime, one of the more complicated history has ever seen.

February 21st, 2012, 2:42 pm


Ghufran said:

What westerners say in public may not match what they say “off the camera and the mic”.
The dilemma facing decision makers in NATO countries is how to come up with a regime in Syria that is hostile or neutral to Iran,friendly or neutral to Israel,but still helpful to western interests in the region and not dominated by militant Muslims who are the natural enemies of anything western. Egypt is making a lot of people in the west nervous and it is even worse when it comes to Libya and even Tunisia. As an American friend told me,the republican leadership likes to talk tough on Syria while they tend to speak a different language behind close doors,the trend today is to take a cautious approach and make sure that the new devil is not worse than the old one. Only national dialogue can satisfy the majority of Syrians and reduce the anxiety of its neighbors and reassure the big players. The conference in Tunisia will be a stillbirth because it is not done to find a solution,it is a continuum of a limpy Qatari approach to a country that needs two legs to walk,one leg and a stick is not good enough.

February 21st, 2012, 2:42 pm


Ghufran said:

This is becoming a waste of time,I got kicked out three times for no obvious reason,my posts had no G words or any reference to any person,blogger,etc.
Mr moderator,fix this darn filter or risk filtering out all of your good posters.

February 21st, 2012, 2:45 pm


Ghufran said:

I have to leave this blog until the filter is reset,this is a waste of time.

February 21st, 2012, 2:47 pm


Ghufran said:

أصلحوا الفلتر او سامحونا

February 21st, 2012, 2:48 pm


bronco said:

117. Jad

Jad, as you heard on the interview you posted, the pro-regime civilians are about to take arms on the side of the government. When armed civilians decide to fight against other armed civilians, it is a civil war.
If the “Friends of Syria” recognize the SNC as the representative of the Syrians, there is no doubt that for around 50% of the Syrians who do not recognize the SNC, this is a serious injustice and a provocation. Most young men will not sit quiet, they’ll find a way to take arms to protect themselves and to help the army in the fights against undefined and leaderless gunmen.
Qatar and KSA are so humiliated by the relentless defiance of Bashar al Assad and by the failure of all their scenarios that either they will back down or they will escalate the support of the armed gunmen. It will snowball and soon Turkey and Jordan will become subject to Islamic extremists attacks.
In my view Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon will plead for a negotiated agreement with Bashar as they are the next target of the Islamic extremists.
The GCC is playing a childish and vicious game of power and they will bear the consequences sooner or later.

February 21st, 2012, 3:09 pm


irritated said:

#122 Sandro Loewe

“We can suffer civil war, international war, chemical war or even nuclear war.”

No one living in Syria now would say something like that.

February 21st, 2012, 3:13 pm


zoo said:

In Egypt, hopes of a true revolution fade
By Oren Dorell, USA TODAY
A year after the revolution, many Egyptians — already suffering under the weight of a wretched economy — see an undemocratic society where the military and Islamic ideologues are hoarding power while changing nothing. Though some are pleased that a form of law shaped by the Quran is coming to Egypt, others wonder whether they have swapped one corrupt and suppressing dictatorship for another.

The hated laws enforced by Mubarak that permitted police to imprison people without trial remain in effect. (Incidentally, Mubarak is now facing his own form of Egyptian justice — and possibly the death penalty — in an ongoing trial over the killing of demonstrators during last year’s uprising. His two sons also face trial on corruptions charges.)

February 21st, 2012, 3:18 pm


zoo said:

Iran warns: No to US adventurism in Syria
Warships sail to Syria
By M K Bhadrakumar
A flotilla of Iranian warships crossed the Suez Canal and docked at the Syrian port of Tartus on Saturday. Iran’s Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi said the mission displays Iran’s “might” despite 30 years of relentless sanctions.

The flotilla comprised the 18th Fleet of the Iranian navy. The warships would hold exercises and will “train Syrian naval forces under an agreement signed between Tehran and Damascus one year ago”.

The influential cleric and deputy chairman of the Majlis’ (parliament’s” National Security and Foreign Policy
Committee, Hossein Ebrahimi said:

“The presence of Iran and Russia’s flotillas along the Syrian coasts has a clear message against the United States’ possible adventurism. In case of any US strategic mistake in Syria, there is a possibility that Iran, Russia and a number of other countries will give a crushing response to the US.”


February 21st, 2012, 3:21 pm


Jerusalem said:

Dear Irritated,

You wrote: It may become Syriastan unless this “wave” is stopped.

I completely agree with you. The question is how can we stop it?
What- we- who are writing comments can do??
We read information, we reply to information, we manage information and we drink up news.
Let’s brainstorm …see how can we coordinates our thoughts/acts to prevent Syria from becoming Syriastan. Let’s look at it as if it’s a business case and try to come up with possible processes.

February 21st, 2012, 3:45 pm


Tara said:

Rambling and incoherent draft constitution, this document makes the president more powerful and the state apparatus more pervasive.  It is indeed laughable.

Tuesday 21 February 2012 10.05 EST
…. .
The constitution itself, available in English, starts off with a particularly long preamble that is as boring as it is irrelevant. Jumbled and inconclusive, it affirms the country’s “Arab” identity and rants about the dangers and obstacles of colonialism and imperialism, as well as the Zionist enemy. Furthermore, not once, unlike the 1950 Syrian constitution’s preamble, does it ever say “we the representatives of the Syrian people”. The preamble lectures the Syrian people, and it speaks at them, but it never states by what authority this document is coming into existence.
…. .
The body of the constitution is a rambling and long list of articles – 157 to be precise. Frustratingly, it again insists that the president should be “part of the Muslim faith”. Furthermore, one theme running throughout it is that the lines between the branches of government are blurred, and it is much later in the document that the nature of the relationship is spoken of. Clearly it seems far more important for the framers to lecture on Syria’s Arab identity and imperialism first, as if the people demonstrating on the streets in Syria are doing so for that reason primarily. Throughout the document, rights are not inherent for the citizens, to be protected and enshrined by the constitution, but guaranteed and granted by the state. This is a curious nuance that deserves contemplation.

There are also bizarre articles enshrining physical education, the sacredness of marriage and protection of the environment, while article 40 says that the state undertakes to provide employment for all citizens – I’m not sure why or how a “state” can do that. If the only fault with this draft was that it was poorly written and structured then perhaps Assad could be forgiven. But the most important parts of it, those related to the governing of the country, show us an extremely powerful role for the presidency and a pervasive state apparatus, which is something that many Syrians should be very wary of after 40 years of dictatorship.
…. .
In article 55 the legislative authority is placed with a people’s assembly, and while article 100 says that the president must issue laws passed by the people’s assembly, article 111 says that he can also dismiss the people’s assembly for “a reasoned decision issued by him” – so basically because he says so. Article 116 appears to allow for a form of Syrian populism, as the president can appeal to the citizenry through referendums, to pass laws that are immediately binding and that bypass the people’s assembly, which contradicts article 55. Article 117 says that the president cannot be held responsible for what he does in the line of his duties, apart from high treason, in which case he will be tried before a supreme constitutional court. But article 141 states that the president is a member of this same supreme constitutional court, and in fact it also states that he appoints each and every member of it. The supreme constitutional court has no right to question the constitutionality of laws passed by the president of the republic through public referendum, Article 148, and can only scrutinise the people’s assembly in the laws it passes. This jumble of articles appears to enshrine populism, which is deeply worrying.

In article 132 we are told that the judiciary is independent, but that the president and a higher council of judiciary guarantee that independence. Oh, and he presides over this council, too, by the way.
…. .

February 21st, 2012, 4:00 pm


Jerusalem said:

بعد استلام الاخونجية الوزارة في المغرب فتوى لاحد مشايخ الاخونجية تبيح للرجل ممارسة الجنس مع زوجته الميتة

وقال في فتواه الدين الإسلامي يبيح ممارسة الجنس على الجثث، بشرط وجود عقد قران بين الطرفين قبل الموت

[Link added: ]


February 21st, 2012, 4:01 pm


Alan said:

Made in Jordan: Thousands of gunmen preparing to enter Syria?

February 21st, 2012, 4:38 pm


Equus said:

“Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have chosen sides in the Washington-backed belligerency – the side of Empire.” Syria has no choice but to secure every square foot of its territory. “Faced with the certainty of superpower-backed attack under the guise of ‘protecting’ civilians in “liberated” territory, Syria cannot afford to cede even one neighborhood of a single city – not one block! – or of any rural or border enclave, to armed rebels and foreign jihadis.”

by Glen Ford

February 21st, 2012, 4:49 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:

The Iraqization of Syria

February 21st, 2012, 6:02 pm


Tara said:

حمص وشوارع الموت
Free press at work describes what goes on.     

The corpse, already waxy, wrapped in its shroud, a crown of plastic flowers around its head, lies in a corner of the mosque. Kneeling next to the coffin, a boy in tears, his brother, strokes his face with infinite tenderness. The dead boy was 13. The night before, around 11 o’clock, he was breaking wood in front of his doorstep. His father, eyes swollen, but upright and dignified among his friends and relatives, tells me what happened: “He probably shone his mobile phone to see what he was doing. And the sniper killed him.”

I wanted to attend the funeral of the little boy, whose name was Taha, but it couldn’t be held before I left: the mukhabarat security forces who control the morgue were refusing to release his body unless his father signed a paper certifying his son had been killed by “terrorists”, meaning the FSA, of course. There is worse. Later on the day of the killings in Karam al-Zeytoun, the activists learn that an entire family has been murdered at home, in a neighbourhood called Nasihine: 11 people, including five children, three with their throats cut. It was a Sunni family that lived at the edge of a neighbourhood dominated by the Alaouite community (the dissident Shiite sect of President Bashar al-Assad’s clan and of the leaders of the security forces); testimonies gathered from the scene suggest a sectarian provocation.

This brings back bad old memories. Between 1993 and 1995, when I was in Bosnia, more than 80,000 people were killed in front of the eyes of journalists and aid workers from around the world, and of UN peacekeepers whose mandate allowed them only to shoot rabid dogs. If we have nothing better to offer the Syrian people, we might as well leave them to their fate. It would at least have the virtue of honesty.

• First published in Le Monde. Translated by Charlotte Mandell. (c) Jonathan Littell

February 21st, 2012, 6:20 pm


Tara said:

Syria’s Druze community: A silent minority in no rush to take sides
Phil Sands

About 500,000 in number and concentrated in the rocky mountainscape of the Jabal Al Arab, the Druze are among the smallest of Syria’s minority groups, fewer than the Alawites, Kurds or Christians.

But their reputation for rebellion against central authority and for wielding an influence in Syrian political life disproportionate to their numbers means their support is avidly sought by both Bashar Al Assad and the president’s opponents.

Druze activists and political figures are playing a prominent role in the uprising as members of the two major opposition political blocs, the Syrian National Council and the National Coordination Committees. Druze dissidents have also been instrumental in leading anti-regime demonstrations.

However, in the struggle for Druze support, it is the regime that for the moment remains on top, according to both critics and supporters of the government in the Druze community. Sweida is still seen as a bastion of at least tacit support for Mr Al Assad’s regime, 11 months into an uprising against his rule.

“When it comes to organising big protests, we’ve failed,” said one Druze activist from Sweida. “The uprising here is limited to the intellectuals. We’ve not been successful in getting it out into the wider community.”

Sweida’s silence, according to activists, analysts and Syrian Druze on both sides of the political divide, is the result of a variety of factors, from mundane practical problems to the long-harboured fears of a minority terrified by the prospect of rule by Syria’s Sunni Muslim majority.

Druze are quick to mention Adib Al Shishakli when explaining their support for Mr Al Assad. Shishakli, a Sunni from the central city of Hama, ruled Syria in the early 1950s and sent the military to bombard the Jebel Al Arab and assert central control over the newly independent country.

Druze religious leaders have refused to back protesters. They side with Mr Al Assad and, like him, give warning of a “foreign conspiracy”. Early in the uprising, activists in Sweida held meetings with Druze sheikhs including the three most powerful, Hamoud Al Hinnawi, Hussein Jabour and Ahmed Hajari, to solicit their support.

“One day the shabbiheh or security will kill someone here and then the place will explode in their faces,” said one local opposition figure. “The pressure is building all the time, they cannot keep Sweida or the Druze out of the uprising for ever.

…read more

February 21st, 2012, 6:32 pm


Tara said:

Beirut farewell for reporter Shadid, writer of ‘poetry on deadline’


BEIRUT // Friends, colleagues and family gathered in Beirut on Tuesday to celebrate the life of Anthony Shadid, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and one of the preeminent Middle East correspondents of his generation.

Shadid, The New York Times’ Beirut bureau chief, died on Thursday from an asthma attack while on assignment in Syria.

Yesterday, his life and work were remembered at a poignant memorial service at the American University of Beirut, not far from the shore of the Mediterranean.

His death at the age of 43 triggered an outpouring of tribute and praise for a man who was able to produce “poetry on deadline”, as one colleague, Steve Fainaru, recently wrote in The Washington Post.

Speaker after speaker paid similar tributes at the memorial ceremony in the university’s sand-coloured brick assembly hall. No music was played. Candles flickered outside.

Shadid’s wife, Nada Bakri, also a New York Times correspondent read from one of his books.

His father Buddy, and Tyler Hicks, The New York Times photographer who was on assignment with Shadid in Syria when he died, also spoke.

Mr Hicks told the packed, cathedral-like hall of the way Shadid “looked people in the eyes and they knew he really cared what they had to say”.

“If they told him their story, he would relay that honestly and truthfully,” he said.


February 21st, 2012, 6:40 pm


Tara said:

Bashar al Assad kills 107 people today.

February 21st, 2012, 6:50 pm


Tara said:

Russia boosts arms sales to Syria despite world pressure
By Thomas Grove and Erika Solomon | Reuters – 2 hrs 12 mins ago

February 21st, 2012, 7:18 pm


MM said:

Mezzeh is the spelling used on all street signs in Damascus…. Pronunciation does not come out in spelling.

February 21st, 2012, 7:36 pm


ann said:

*** israel – mossad are proud of blood thirsty murderous islamist
*** terrorist mercenary killers in Syria.

Ex-Mossad chief sees opportunity in Syrian crisis – 02/22/2012

How does Israel ensure that Iran is defeated in Syria? Wouldn’t it backfire if Israel were seen to be involved?

Israel shouldn’t be directly involved for obvious reasons.

Once Israel enters the fray, this becomes an Israeli-Arab or Israeli-Muslim confrontation, which deflects attention from the main issues of Sunni- Shi’ite, and the Shi’ite repression of a majority in a foreign country. Israel should promote through its channels with major powers in the world a dialogue between leaders in Western nations and Russia to try to forge a common policy on Syria, which would entail mutual concessions at the American and Russian level.


February 21st, 2012, 8:30 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

It seems that Bashar is getting ready to destroy Homs, at least in Baba Amro,by doing that he have to commit a massacre.

[Edited for typos and discriminatory language — please take care with group references, avoid linking groups to possible retribution]

This constitution Bashar is recommending is a replica of the old constitution, with minor modification, it will not be accepted in a free and honest referendum., it is not a reform.

The pro regime are already armed,they are the shabbiha. Bashar has to realize that a revolution with this magnitude ,no one can end and suppress it,He has committed too many crimes,that to escape like Yemen Saleh is not possible anymore.

AlArabi said that there are signs that China wants to change their mind, it is too late,Nabil Al Arabi must stay quiet,he better resign,

February 21st, 2012, 8:37 pm


Tara said:

Syrian dissidents establish new bloc


Prominent Syrian dissidents have formed a new opposition bloc called the “National Change Movement,” as an alternative to Syrian National Council, or SNC. 

The leader of the movement, a prominent human rights activist and former Chairman of the National Organization of Human Rights in Syria, Dr. Ommar Qurabi, said the new bloc represented the true revolutionary forces, and that their aim was to rebuild Syria after the Assad regime is toppled.
“Like many other dissidents, I am not in the SNC. SNC is not the only group that represents the opposition. If somebody says ‘I am the only representative of the Syrian people’ they would be no different from al-Assad’s Baath Party,” Qurabi, who left Syria last April, told Hürriyet Daily News in a recent interview. 

Qurabi said they represented all the religious and ethnic groups in Syria and all the minority groups such as Turkmens, Yezidis and Durzis, who couldn’t find a place in the SNC.

“We support the revolution. Our mission is going to start when the al-Assad regime is toppled. We will rebuild the country from the beginning. We are the first Syrian opposition party that is not Islamist,” Qurabi said. 

Qurabi also said there was a risk of a civil war in Syria if the current chaotic situation continues. “We haven’t seen truly strong support from the Arab League, the UN, or Turkey until now. We want the international community to create a buffer zone in Syria,” Qurabi said. 

The vice chairman of the group is a Syrian Alevi dissident, Vahid Saqir, who has been living in London since 1996. 

Saqir claimed there were many Alevis in Syria who want a change in the country, but who are afraid to raise their voices. “We have 80 founders, 400 members, and offices in nine different countries. We will be opening an office in Istanbul soon,” Saqir said. 

Bekir Atacan, one of the founders of the movement and a Syrian Turkmen, said: “The SNC has not accepted us as Syrian Turkmen. However, we are highly represented in the Change Movement, just like the other ethnic groups in Syria.”


February 21st, 2012, 8:58 pm


ann said:

US hints at possibility of arming Syrian rebels – 02/22/2012

Washington, which is preparing for a “Friends of Syria” meeting of Western and Arab states opposing President Bashar Assad, declined to rule out eventually providing arms to rebels seeking to overthrow him.

Asked about the prospect of arming the rebels, US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said: “We don’t believe that it makes sense to contribute now to the further militarization of Syria.”

But she added: “That said… if we can’t get Assad to yield to the pressure that we are all bringing to bear, we may have to consider additional measures.”


February 21st, 2012, 9:07 pm


Hans said:

the Americans are arming the radicals Islamists now in Syria exactly the same way they armed the Taliban and Isreal armed Hamas in the past only to attack them later.
If the administration continues to support the Islamists in Syria and elsewhere it is going to get what they wished for, A radicalized middle east which will cause more trouble for Israel than Iran is at the current time.
Although the MB are well known to eat off the Israeli table but time will come when America and Israel will be hunting down these MB leaders one way or another, it is a cat and mouse game same like the one USA is playing with Assad, at once Assad was helping USA to hunt Alqaida all over the world, now Assad role is over and Alqaida is helping the USA to hunt Assad. Ironic or weird but it is true.
the only losers are the ones who emotionally get involved in such conflict under different slogans or rhetoric.
It is clear that USA is retracing on arming the the opposition and more the foreign fighters enter Syria the more the public is going to get armed and kill these mercenaries.
showing foreigners fighting on the street will back fire against the opposition and will make every Syrian fight to have Assad stay in power.
in spite of lies fabrication of the biased western media the Syrians know well that in spite of the corrupt regime that Assad was not a true dictator as others trying to label him.
he had long patience before he ordered the army to destroy the rebels area.
I am sure many of the Syrians are thankful that the Army went to Homs and is working on clearing the caves of the terrorists.
I am hoping Syrian can hunt down one or more of the Americans drones then i will be such an embarrassment to this administration.
obviously USA has no biz in being in the Syrian skies.
i wonder how many Israeli drones over the Syrian skies as well.
Thanks to Ghalioun et al.

February 21st, 2012, 9:11 pm


Son of Damascus said:

“it may become Syriastan unless this “wave” is stopped.”

As opposed to Assadistan which is what Syria IS now.

By the way who appointed you judge and jury on SC so that you can pass judgment on who is in Syria and who is not? Or are you self appointed like your failed leader Bashar?

[Note from Moderator: Irritated and Son of Damascus, please avoid personalizing discussion going forward. Criticizing another commentator’s argument is encouraged. Usage like “your killer/terrorist friends” or “your killer/criminal leader” is not encouraged. It can be interpreted as a personal attack.]

February 21st, 2012, 9:22 pm


irritated said:

#127 SOD

“By the way who appointed you judge and jury on SC so that you can pass judgment on who is in Syria and who is not?”

Did I?

February 21st, 2012, 9:26 pm


Syria no kandahar said:

Listen to Alfarook terrorists claiming to be soldiers, one is telling the others:
بحياتون ماشايفين دبابه
Tomorrow when the Syrian army eliminate these
Terrorists, they will cry:
وينكن يامسلمين

[Edited for link typo]

February 21st, 2012, 9:26 pm


Dawoud said:

136. Tara, 141. majedkhaldoun

TARA: The article you are linking to from UAE’s “The National” (I have read it all) provides one of the best analytical posts that I have seen on SC.
Love him or hate hime, Lebanon’s Druze leader Walid Jumblatt has been a serial political defector/alliance shifter because of his impressive political instincts. Those who know him believe that his changing attitudes/alliances are designed to ensure the survival of his tiny Druze sect and maximize its political influence. He would not be advising the Druze of Syria NOT to participate in Bashar (Murderer) al-Assad’s war crimes had he not been convinced that Damascus’ tyrant’s days or months are numbered. He, like # 141. majedkhaldoun, knows that in Syria and the Arab World revenge is a strong custom (although a very bad one). He knows that Sunni Muslims would not forgive the Druze and Christians for playing a disproportionate role in enabling and executing al-Assad clan’s wanton murder and war crimes.
I am against revenge and I wish that violence would stop on all sides, but this is the unfortunate reality of Syria. One person to blame for corrupting and radicalizing Syrians: Bashar (War Criminal) al-Assad.
Christian leaders in the Middle East (excluding those in Lebanon [Edited for discriminatory language] should follow Walid Jumblatt’s advise To Syria’s Druze and advise/warn Syrian Christians NOT to actively enable Bashar’s war crimes. Talking about this is more important than talking about the fate of Iraqi Christians. In fact, it is essential to prevent what happened in Iraq to happen in Syria (although, as I previously said, Shias and Sunnis also suffered in Iraq-not just Christians, whose tiny percentage of Iraq’s population might made their plight look bigger).

February 21st, 2012, 9:37 pm


Hans said:


all read this, if it is true then the time will tell, how many foreign troops can enter Syria.
too bad the GCC didn’t send their mighty soldiers to fight in Syria.
it would definitely been their end the minute they get close to the borders.
by the way the GCC are drinking alcohol and sleeping with virgins all over the world, the Syrian army would have made it much easier for them to make it to the promised “HEAVEN” I guess HBG or Al2 can come to syria and will have a similar fate to this mercenaries they are paying for.

[Link repaired: صيد “فرنسي” ثمين في قبضة دمشق.. إلقاء القبض على 120 عسكري فرنسي في الزبداني!! (Syrian captures 120 French soldiers near Zabadani)

Hans, please help us keep Syria Comment civil. Avoid provocative, hateful or discriminatory language.]

February 21st, 2012, 9:37 pm


zoo said:

Analysis by panelist Buck Sexton (video)

Sanctions, arming the opposition, no fly zone

February 21st, 2012, 9:40 pm


zoo said:

The Arab Spring’s misogynist winter
Women across the Middle East have been deprived of rights

By Deborah Scroggins / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Tuesday, February 21, 2012, 4:18 AM

Read more:

February 21st, 2012, 10:03 pm


zoo said:

Libya clashes continue with hundreds killed

Published Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Violence in Libya’s remote southeastern region intensified on Tuesday, with the government promising to intervene if the clashes between rival tribes continue.

Fighting broke out about 10 days ago in the city of Al Kufra over control of the region, highlighting the challenge of policing the sparsely populated desert.
Over 100 people have been killed, tribal leaders and NGOs estimate.

February 21st, 2012, 10:05 pm


zoo said:

Damascus Focuses on Containing Foreign Intervention
By: Ibrahim al-Amin

Published Monday, February 20, 2012

The Syrian regime’s military crackdown against armed rebel groups clearly enjoys Russian support. Moscow believes that President Bashar Assad is obliged to carry out this crackdown for a number of reasons, not least to reduce his foreign enemies’ room to maneuver.

The focus is currently on Homs, but that does not mean that there are no plans by the military to extend it to other areas.

The strength of the armed groups in some areas is not the main difficulty facing this campaign. Nor is a lack of local public support, other than in areas such as Zabadani, some villages in the province of Damascus Countryside, and Hama. It is that the Syrian leadership wants the task accomplished with the minimum number of casualties.

That means two types of casualties.

First, the civilians who get caught up in such battles, whatever their politics.

Not that the regime is solely to blame for civilian deaths – which is the impression given by the Arab and Western media outlets engaged in the war to topple the regime. The armed groups have caused the deaths of many civilians as well as military and security personnel. Some have committed atrocities.

The armed groups have become the new regime in some areas where they have succeeding is asserting their control, forcing out all agencies of the state – whether traffic police, security personnel, or public officials. They have violently enforced their dictates, whether for general closures at times of their choosing, or for contributions to the revolution’s coffers.

These demands are presented as religious strictures. One prominent Idlib clergyman tells of being question by locals about their religious obligation to pay money to the armed groups.

It believes, on the basis of its intelligence assessments, that only about 30 percent of its armed opponents are ideologically-motivated. They appear prepared to fight it to the death, along with their supporters among the population.

The remaining 70 percent are thought to be anti-regime protesters who took up arms, but without training or organization. Some high level officials believe such people acted “impulsively” and can be dissuaded. They favor mediation via their families or other go-betweens, to urge them to surrender themselves and their arms, and benefit from a general amnesty that will be issued as soon as security is restored.

February 21st, 2012, 10:10 pm


ann said:

‘Part of Syrian opposition wants violence to continue’ – 22 February, 2012

“There is an element within the opposition that wants, essentially, that kind of violence, and that element is being funded and armed largely from the outside, largely from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf,” he told RT. “To a certain extent you’ve got the infiltration of mercenaries into Syria from the northern part of Lebanon.”

“What they want is a change, an evolutionary change, in the regime,” he said. “I think that Assad is trying to sort of walk a middle line, saying ‘Look, we can evolve this regime, but you have to do it in a constitutional way. We are going to have this referendum’.”

“We can’t know that until it’s tried,” Davidson says. “However, it’s not going to be tried, because these outside-funded groups are not going to put down the gun.”


February 21st, 2012, 10:21 pm


Equus said:

US helicopters fired flares to try to break up the demonstration in Afghanistan. These people are in their own country and they have the right to protest, no? That what Hillary was saying to Assad, your people have the right to protest.

I only saw the firing part on Euro news:

February 21st, 2012, 10:30 pm


ann said:

How STUPID can you be?! I mean how really STUPID can you really be to burn Korans?!!!

Especially right before this big Let’s Destroy Syria shin ding in Tunisia on Friday!!!

February 21st, 2012, 10:41 pm


ann said:

*** Chinese VP Tell The Otomans To Mind Their Own Business ***

Chinese VP discusses bilateral ties, regional situation with Turkish leaders – 2012-02-22

Speaking of the situation in Syria, Xi said China supports all diplomatic mediation efforts that are conducive to restoring stability in West Asia and North Africa.

He also said China supports countries in the region to deal with their domestic affairs independently, adding the international community and regional countries should respect the UN Charter and basic norms of the international law and work actively and constructively to help ease tensions there.


February 21st, 2012, 11:06 pm


Norman said:

Syria needs to finish the militants ASAP, at any cost, people can not take the anarchy any more and Syria is risking people fighting for thier own neighborhoods,

February 21st, 2012, 11:09 pm


ann said:

Mass rally against article No.3 of new draft consitution in Syria

February 21st, 2012, 11:11 pm


ann said:

UN chief “liaising closely” to choose new envoy to Syria: spokesperson – 2012-02-22

“The secretary-general has been liaising closely with a number of interlocutors on this question, including Secretary-General El- Araby of the League of Arab States over the weekend, and is scheduled to meet Mr. El-Araby tomorrow in London,”said Martin Nesirky at a daily noon briefing.

Nesirky said “it would be incumbent for all parties to cooperate” with the new envoy for Syria.


February 21st, 2012, 11:17 pm


Norman said:


The best thing about the demonstration is that they applied for a permit and got it then they went out, they said that to me on FB , it is nice that when people play by the rule, nobody gets hurt, I hope others can learn,

February 21st, 2012, 11:21 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

You said
US hints at possibility of arming Syrian rebels #142

Don’t arm the Syrian opposition, say U.S. officials #119

I see contradiction between the two statements, don’t you?

February 21st, 2012, 11:23 pm


ann said:

Lots of contradictions on this board. Like people who claim to be religiously inspired Syrians wishing the destruction of their own country based on their religious beliefs.

February 21st, 2012, 11:29 pm


ann said:

Makes you wonder how madam secretary Hillary Clinton will explain the wisdom of burning Korans to the OIC (Organization Of Islamic States) participating in the conference in Tunisia 8)

Hillary Clinton to attend meetings on Somalia and Syria – 2012-02-22

On Friday and Saturday, Clinton will participate in the first meeting of the “Friends of Syria” group in Tunisia, as part of the ongoing efforts with U.S. allies and the Syrian opposition to “crystallize next steps to halt the slaughter of the Syrian people and pursue a transition to democracy in Syria,” the State Department said.


February 21st, 2012, 11:43 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

I sense a feeling of hatred from Bashar and his supporters toward the Homsi demonstrating against Bashar, this hatred is so severe, they bombarded Homs with artillaries day and night, and they want to annhiliate Homs and murder over 100,000 ,they have been depriving Homs of food , electricity and heat in this winter,depriving them from communications, they are so cruels,they are worse than animals, worse than Nazi,worse than Israel,
Do you blame the homsi to act in revenge,once it is all over?
Druze are not acting with hatred, but a lot of christians are supporting Assad, they have to be accountable along with Alawis for their murders, certainly not all, but those who committed murder should never be allowed to escape justice, they will never know when the power tilt toward the other side, they should have the brain to think what if, I am disappointed with the christians, , the regime obfiscate the Alawis and christians too much, but they must have brain to say what if,things do not go one way always.

February 21st, 2012, 11:46 pm


ann said:

163. Equus said:

CNN’s Arwa Damon is at it Again – Filing Fake Reports About Syria
You see Equus, Arwa’s grand father on her mother’s side was one of the presidents of Syria in the 1950s

February 21st, 2012, 11:50 pm


Syria no Kandahar said:

Crimes of friends of Syria:

February 21st, 2012, 11:50 pm


William Scott Scherk said:

Some things get talked about and some things don’t. In the mix go hurt, pain, fear and anger. In Syrian terms right now, how one deals with fear, pain, anger and residual hurts is fraught, heavy with further emotion. It must be draining, soul-sapping for a Syrian, wherever he or she may be. As I have come to know more and more Syrian hearts since I first started reading this blog a year ago, my empathy increases.

How does one talk about torture, exile, fear of detention, fear of disappearance? How does one talk about threats and hideous rhetoric and atrocious media and a stew of propaganda?

Sometimes even important things get talked about too little, in my opinion. Love and redemption and forgiveness.

But for now I can only offer further talk of the constitution. Other talk here seems to be poised on a knife edge, at times with tones of repressed hatred.

The Constitution/Referendum:

— who will trust the numbers?
— What if we read that 77% of the eligible voters marked ballots?
— What if we are told that 14% were illegible, blank or invalid, that 69% of voters voted Yes.

I don’t know if I will believe the vote totals, whatever they are. Canada has had exactly two national referenda, in 1898 and in 1942. One brought in prohibition of alcohol, the other brought in mandatory military service (the referendum failed in Quebec). Quebec has had four of its own. BC, my province has had six.

In Canada citizens never voted on our new (1982) Constitution and Charter of Rights, just premiers (9 against Quebec) and the prime minister (after years and years of conferences and failures to amend or repatriate Canada’s founding document from Britain). So, I do not have any good advice for Syria’s referendum except to count carefully, exactly, and publish each poll total if possible. That is how elections are done in the rest of the world.

That Qadri Jamil (who was on the committee, and assumed by some to be security-approved as a senior power on that committee) can lead a licenced demonstration for a No vote is very interesting. Also to watch for is the Syrian media coverage. Will there be the usual stale Cuban-style coverage, or will ‘opposition’ be invited for commentary on the vote and what it may mean?

Did anyone note interesting discussion of the vote/draft on Syrian official media today? One question I still have unanswered: do Syrians abroad have the right to vote on the draft?

Beyond the probity and mechanics of the referendum in Syria, the new Constitution seems expressly designed to maintain an autocracy. Every article of the Constitution that seems to fully guarantee freedoms (such as association, speech, movement) is marked by a proviso: according to law.

The catch-22s in Syria’s penal codes mean corresponding law may absolve specific parties (the government, the army, the President, the Justice system, contractors, militias, designated parties, secret police, security personnel, etc) from legal accountability. Catch-22s in law may further prohibit what the constitution allows, in short. And at the head of the pyramid of law/justice/power remains one man … the same man as in the chair today.

Examples abound of such catches/traps, as I noted in an earlier post on the Penal Code, but here is another.

A right to associate or demonstrate is curbed by severe sanctions on anti-state communications in the Syrian Penal Code, over and above MOI permissions given under the new Demonstration Law. What one hand giveth, the other hand taketh away.

Why do most western nations separate the judiciary from the legislative/executive functions of government — and put the arbiter at hands-length from the lawgivers? Because, I would argue, these countries want to limit power at the top from the clutches of an absolutist ruler. Thus no nation in the EU lets its executive rule by decree in absence of a legislature.

But look — in Syria’s new draft (like Assad senior’s 1973 revisions, unlike Syria’s democracy-era constitution), one person retains authority as lawgiver, supreme commander, and judicial arbiter in the office of President.

To underline the distinction again, UNLIKE Canada with its Charter or the USA with its constitutional Bill of Rights regnant over law, in Syria law will remain precedent over rights embedded in the constitution. Do Syrians really want that kind of constitutional order, what seems like an imperial hangover, Belarus, autocracy?

In Syria, can human rights case go to a Supreme Court, who can strike down law?

These defects of the new constitution in Syria are serious and put it out of the running as anything but a stopgap. This constitution cannot contain the state-led violence, nor can it contain revolutionary violence. Nothing in the constitution even foresees a situation that Syria is currently in.

To my eyes this is stark evidence that the Syrian power structure is not reforming, and that any talk of ceasefire, talks, meetings, credible elections are not going to come from the government as it conducts military/media/security/militia operations against segments of its own population.

That’s enough on the topic that is on some Syrian and non-Syrian minds. It seems as usual there are two narratives battling for domination here at Syria Comment — and on the ground in Syria.


In my year here, I have learned a lot from Syrians inside and out, of different ages and professions and politics. I have learned from friends of Syria (and in some cases, its ‘enemies’). I mostly have come to treasure the Syria-lovers I have met whatever their stripe. I wish them only peace and only reconciliation after the fall of Assad. My sharpest emotion comes when Syrians and friends of Syria either gloss over or fail to empathize with the enormous suffering of the people this year, when they turn their hearts aside from brutality and criminality.

Some of this suffering must be laid at the hands of a system that no one seriously wants anymore.

If anything could unify Syrians and Syria friends it may be in hopes for ‘after,’ for a peaceful day after, an accord, a pact of reconciliation and reform, when Syria frees up its borders to its own sons and daughters.

Some may flock to rebuild and volunteer their time, some more may return for broad-based political conclaves.

In my heart I think the Syrian plan is pretty clear accross the spectrum of opinion. In my heart I think Syrians agree on some basics: The oppressive one-party state and the enormous security apparatus will have to be partially dismantled before the Syrian dream takes hold again, before everyone can live that dream of many living in harmony, in a single nation, with a free, creative citizenry travelling easily between home and abroad, with a duty of care for each other.

In my heart too, of course, remains the angst at the loss of Syrian empathy for each other and each others’ stories that I note in the last months here. I hope Syria will pull through after this year of pain and sadness and anger and fear and suspicion.

February 21st, 2012, 11:51 pm


Syria no Kandahar said:

سياحه جهاديه جهنميه

February 22nd, 2012, 12:02 am


Syria no Kandahar said:

God blessed Damascus with this historical terrorists revolution :
We will cut water and electricity from the city!!!
That is Syrians are in love with Alaaroor.

February 22nd, 2012, 12:17 am


ann said:

On Syria, Russia Will Raise Its Envoy Request in UNSC on Wednesday, Paying Non-Voter in GA Mulls Al Qaeda

UNITED NATIONS, February 21 — In front of the UN Security Council Tuesday morning, the Permanent Representatives of the UK and Morocco were asked about Russia’s public statements that it was asking for a UN envoy or representative to Syria, on humanitarian issues. Both said they hadn’t heard of it, at least in the Council.

A Russian diplomat scoffed to Inner City Press that the statement had been put on the Internet and Twitter, and pushed out by ambassadors in Lebanon and elsewhere. We all read these things, he said. But anyway we will raise it tomorrow in consultations, after the piracy briefing.

A usually well informed diplomat, after attending Brazil’s “Responsibility While Protecting” event at the UN Tuesday afternoon, told Inner City Press he at least wasn’t aware of Russia’s proposal. He added, perhaps joking, that “the Russian who works for OCHA in Geneva” was perhaps the envoy “they have in mind.”

Inside the Responsibility while Protecting meeting, Inner City Press asked Saudi Arabia’s Permanent Representative, “any envoy?” We’re working on it, he replied. But Ban Ki-moon was setting off, later that day, on yet another trip, this time for a week including to Zambia and Angola.

The Permanent Representative of one of the countries which chose not to vote on the Syria resolution in the General Assembly on February 16 told Inner City Press his reason: a concerns about the role of Al Qaeda, and who would take control from Bashar al Assad. The country is a US ally.


February 22nd, 2012, 12:50 am


Leo Syriacus said:

Now that the obituaries of the Baath regime are being drafted and its multiple foes from Syrians to Martians are determining how to slay this are some scenarios awaiting some of the components of the regime and its followers:
1-The Dabihah/The Slayers : every one with blood on his hand will face the courts and is likely to be executed
2-The Shabiha/The Thugs: Those who did not kill Syrians yet involoved in less violent regime sponsored crimes will be imprisoned or better housed in cages in the Damascus zoo since they are an endangered species
3-The Nabihah/The Barking Mouthpieces: The likes of Taleb Ibrahim, Sharif Shehadeh…etc ..well having been the laughing stock of the Arab world for almost a further punishment required, psychiatric evaluation? To be disucssed
4-Menhabekjieh/Basharophiles : See Number three
5-Makhloufjieh/Rami Makhlouf’s partners in gouging Syrians: Confiscation of their assets and possible jail time
The fat lady will be singing very soon…cherioo folks!

February 22nd, 2012, 1:30 am


Leo Syriacus said:

For those who love math:

Pol Pot + Pinochet -Qaddafi+Saddam = Bashar Alassad

Intellectual expats + persecuted middle class+ Muslim Brotherhood – Salafist groups= Opposition

Army deserters + Freedom fighters + delusional youth= Free Syrian Army

The West + Turkey+ Arab League + Majority of Syrians+ AlQaeda+ Facebook + Youtube +Swine Flu+ Bernard Levi+ God The Almighty+ Playboy Magazine Miss February+ the Martians+ the UN + Coca Cola+ Arguileh smokers + Marsupial Mammals= Cosmic Conspiracy

Iran+ Maliki+Nassrallah+Russia+China= On the wrong side of history

Butahina Shabaan= ????!!!!

Rami Makhlouf = $100,000,000,000,000 of Your money

Bashar = 7,000 dead and counting

Syria’s intelligent and unified youth= Future

February 22nd, 2012, 1:50 am


Syria no Kandahar said:

You don’t need a math to define opposition,all you need is a tree and gangs:

February 22nd, 2012, 2:18 am


Syria no Kandahar said:

And you can define the opposition if you have a pick up and a river :

February 22nd, 2012, 2:22 am


Revlon said:

157. Normansaid:
((Syria needs to finish the militants ASAP, at any cost, people can not take the anarchy any more and Syria is risking people fighting for thier own neighborhoods))

Does “AT ANY COST” include the prospects of losing the battle to the revolution and vengeful retaliation against perpetrating rgime forces and their families, including supportive minorities, AT ANY COAST?

February 22nd, 2012, 2:33 am


Alan said:

SYRIA: “Human Rights” Warriors for Empire
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have chosen the side of Empire in the Washington-backed belligerency

February 22nd, 2012, 2:34 am


Syria no Kandahar said:

عراعير free community:

That is in complete freedom,the actual freedom
Is the one exported by SA:

February 22nd, 2012, 2:37 am


Leo Syriacus said:

Syria No Kandahar, Syria No Kansas either ..Syria is Syria with its wonderful diverse people and its bright post-Baath future
The opposition is not thugs and gangs…it is the regime who is operating gangs and shabiha
As for the is a better piece of math for you:
Opposition+youth= Future government

February 22nd, 2012, 2:48 am


Syria no Kandahar said:

Now that Syrians know the devil they know,and the devil they didn’t know,it turned out that the devil they knew is thousand times better than the devil they didn’t know,which they now know.

February 22nd, 2012, 3:09 am


Mawal95 said:

Shabbi7 #56 has a good anecdote about bias in the foreign news media. On 14 Feb 2012, CNN news, using as its source a CNN reporter embedded with the rebels inside Syria, published a video of a Syrian policeman being held captive and blindfolded by the rebels. The captive policeman told the CNN reporter that he used to fire on unarmed protesters, and had killed as many as 70 people. CNN’s report included the disclaimer: “CNN could not independently confirm the man’s story, nor was it possible to know whether he had been coerced into telling it.” . Subsequently the policeman somehow escaped his captivity alive. SANA on 20 Feb 2012 has the policeman reporting to the Syrian authorities that he was forced by his captors to say to CNN’s reporter that he had killed unarmed protesters. He also said that the location where he was filmed in captivity by CNN’s reporter was in “Irsal town in Lebanon”. . Both SANA and CNN say that the policeman was captured by the armed rebels when a bus he was on was ambushed. According to CNN, the man’s captivity had caused him to become “a changed man”. CNN’s story is headlined: “A paid killer in Syria describes his work”. Don’t forget that for all these past eleven months it is contrary to Syrian security policy to fire on unarmed protesters (and also in Syria it is not normal for a policeman to carry a deadly weapon).

February 22nd, 2012, 3:25 am


Revlon said:

The largest defection on record: Colonel Afif Sulaiman defect, along with 500 of Syrian Assad forces and announce the formation of the Forces of the Northern Shield under the command of the FSA.
Uploaded by AljizahNews on Feb 21, 2012
انشقاق اكثر من 500 عسكري وضابط وتشكيل كتيبة درع الشمال21-2
J.N.N | شبكة الجيزة الاخبارية
الله اكبر انشقاق اكثر من 500 عسكري وضابط – ادلب ريف معرة النعمان تشكيل كتيبة درع الشمال 21-2-2012 المؤلفة من عدة سرايا بقيادة العقيد الركن عفيف محمود سليمان
الله محيي الجيش الحر

February 22nd, 2012, 3:29 am


Mawal95 said:

It started with a Lie – Nato Aggression against Serbia in 1999. In German language with English subtitles. At Youtube in Five Parts:

February 22nd, 2012, 3:29 am


Revlon said:

أكبر المنشقين عن الجيش السوري رتبة:
الأسد يريد تدمير حمص لإعلانها عاصمة لدولته الطائفية

الشرق الأوسط
– الجيش في حال يرثى لها. كل قائد كتيبة دبابات، يوجد إلى جانبه الآن وفي مقر قيادته 3 أو 4 من أفراد الأمن الموثوقين من قبل النظام. هناك بعض الضباط من الطائفة العلوية كانوا على وشك الانشقاق لكن هذه المخاوف منعتهم. الأمن أصبح موزعا على كل تشكيلات الجيش إلى حد أنه لم يعد هناك من عناصر كافية لقمع المتظاهرين، فحتى كل مفرزة فيها عناصر من الأمن، وكل منطقة يقود العمليات فيها ضابط أمن عسكري أو ضابط أمن جوي.

النظام يعيش المرحلة قبل الأخيرة، وهو مستعد لقتل 20 مليون سوري على أمل الاستمرار. قوته العسكرية منتشرة في كل أنحاء سوريا، لم تتبق وحدة عسكرية لم تتحرك، بما فيها وحدات التدريب الجامعي، وفي معسكر الضمير الجامعي تمت تصفية ضباط وجنود رفضوا المشاركة في قمع المظاهرات. الدفاع المدني استخدم، وكذلك الجيش الشعبي. والنظام يسحب قوات كبيرة نحو الساحل وفي رأسه شيء ما، ومعلوماتي شبه المؤكدة أنه يتجه لإعلان قيام دولة طائفية لا أريد أن أسميها.

* ومن «القاعدة»؟
– أعوذ بالله.
ملف «القاعدة» المسؤول عنه في سوريا اللواء أديب نمر سلامة من أيام الغزو الأميركي للعراق، هو يؤمن سفرهم إلى هناك وعودتهم إلى سوريا.

* هل صحيح ما يقال عن وجود مستشارين روس وإيرانيين في سوريا؟
* هل من دور مباشر لهم؟

– قطعا، خصوصا في التعذيب. لقد استوردنا 3 أنواع من التعذيب منهم ككسر الرقاب والحرق والمساكب

February 22nd, 2012, 3:44 am


Mawal95 said:

I feel the Syrian army is not being brought to bear aggressively enough against the rebels. Forceful counterinsurgency right now would make the remaining fighting easier later; whereas mildness now would make the fighting harder later. Where is the “iron fist” that Bashar promised last month? I don’t see enough of it. Three army soliders were buried yesterday. With stuff like what Revlon just posted at #182, I feel that more than three men need to die every day under the present circumstances.

February 22nd, 2012, 3:47 am


Revlon said:

Live shelling of Baba Amr, today.
Each perpetrator shall be respossible for the loss of life and property of civilians.

As part of the national reconciliation in post-Asad Syria, those who participated in the shaelling should bear the responsibility for finding decent temporary residence for the victims, even if takes sharing their family’s rsidence.

They shall also bear the responsibility for repairing all of the damage, even it entails selling their families residence and splitting its price.

Those who were also responsible for life loss shall be liable to either capital punishment, or pay compensation should the victims’survivor’s choose to forgive!

Responsibility for the atrocities shall be with the perpetrating individuals,not their communities.

حمص_حي باباعمرو تحت القصف العنيف لليوم 19 / 22-2-2012

حمص حي الإنشاءات 22 2 2012 احتراق أحد المنازل نتيجة سقوط صاورخ عليه

February 22nd, 2012, 4:12 am


Mawal95 said:

Revlon #186 links to videos which according to Revlon depict the results of artillery shelling in Homs City. Artillery shelling makes absolutely no sense in context from a tactical military point of view, and the videos contain absolutely no evidence that artillery shelling is the thing that caused what is depicted. Rather, what’s depicted is, or appears to be, explosions set off by rebels. I’ve seen many such explosions at youtube by this point.

I have no objections to the Syrian Army using artillery if and when they judge it to do more good than harm in the contexts where they use it. They haven’t used it anywhere so far. To say that the above videos depict the results of artillery shelling is to say that the government is lying when it denies the use of artillery shelling. The government tells the truth.

SANA said on 14 Feb 2012 “Armed terrorist groups on Tuesday [14 Feb] detonated some citizens’ houses in different neighborhoods of Homs City to spread panic, film the explosions and send the footage to some satellite channels to accuse the Syrian army and law-enforcement members of committing such crimes.”

The fact is that the likes of Revlon can’t link to any video that shows actual artillery fire coming out of the sky. That tells you who’s telling the truth.

February 22nd, 2012, 5:33 am


Uzair8 said:

157. Norman said:

“Syria needs to finish the militants ASAP, at any cost, people can not take the anarchy any more and Syria is risking people fighting for thier own neighborhoods,”

Let me get this right. Regime supporters like yourself have been complaining about the uprising and saying that this isn’t the way to bring about change (‘chaos’, ‘anarchy’ etc). You expect people who are fed up with 40 years of oppression under a police state to bring about change the ‘right way’ (whatever that is) and yet here you are already fed up after just one year of protests and calling for a quick finishing off of the militants (I suspect this includes the protests too).

February 22nd, 2012, 6:17 am


Uzair8 said:

[Note: I’ve come across the following fatwa in a few places online without source. It isn’t on the Sheikhs facebook yet. I’ll post it anyway.

The Sheikh has been quiet on Syria for a while. After the Russian veto and the subsequent lull and loss of revolutionary momentum I felt a little disheartened and felt the need for leadership. For someone (SNC, FSA, a scholar etc) to come out and rally the revolution, lift the morale and show us some guidance. If this statement is authentic then this may be what is needed.]

The Syrian Shaykh, Muhammad Abu’l Huda al Ya’qoubi has issued a fatwa in which he calls the people to uptake arms and volunteer in the Syrian Free Army. He also appealed to the peoples of Damascus and Aleppo to join the revolution and to the preachers that they declare, in their coming Friday sermons, a general call to arms & revolution and that they establish absent funeral prayers.

Furthermore he urged diplomats and politicians to leave their governmental positions. Shaykh Muhammad al Yaqoubi was a teacher at the Grand Umayyad Mosque. He was removed from his position as preacher and prohibited from teaching as a result of his supporting the revolution from its initiation. After prosecution he was forced to leave the country. Thereafter he issued his famous edict on the programme Shari’a & Life, regarding the overthrowing of the present government. The following is the text of the edict:

Shaykh Muhammad al-Yaqoubi – Issues Fatwa to take up arms against Asad

O people of Syria! The government commits new massacres daily in Homs and other besieged cities. The issue has reached such limits that remaining silent and not taking action has become impermissible. Due to this, we issue this edict based on the rulings related to helping the weak, forbidding aid to killers and the rights of people to defend their lives, family and wealth. This edict necessitates the uptake of arms in order to rid these criminals of their killings and save the lives of innocent men, women, children and the elderly in Homs, Zabadani, Ghouta, Deir Al Zour, Lattakia, the rural regions of Aleppo and all the cities of Syria. People have been killed, houses bombed by Braszmat missiles and executions conducted by firing squads. Hence this edict has been given:

Firstly, it is obligatory upon all the officers and soldiers of the government army to defy their senior commanders.

Secondly, it is necessary for the reserves to join the Free Army in order to defend the people and protect their dignities and honour. Additionally, it is not permissible for any one to join the government army. The people must, according to their abilities, provide amenities, support, shelter, and aid to the personnel of the Free Army.

Thirdly, business people and other who are able to do so must collect monetary funds, medicines and food to aid the effected regions. We must also host those who have been displaced in our homes for they are our brothers and honour.

Fourthly, the scholars and preachers must call to the revolution and general call to arms during the Friday sermons. Moreover, they must establish the absent funeral prayer for the martyrs.

Fifthly, we call the people of Damascus and Aleppo to join the revolution and descend upon the squares and streets. We urge the rural population to move to the cities in order to start the revolution in them.

Sixthly, we urge the staff, politicians and honourable diplomats to leave the criminal government.

The issue is not of groups or terrorism; rather it is an issue of an afflicted people because it is a rebellion against injustice and slavery to oppressive governments. Regardless of how long, the days of the regime are numbered. The principles of faith, honour, pride, chivalry, magnanimity urge you all to aid your brothers. Soon every one of us will stand in front of the Best of Judges; on that day you will face the answer. Verily, assisting the inflicted & affected, defending the cities & neighbourhoods, and deterring the tyranny of the governmental henchmen, is compulsory in the religion and an act of worship which draws one closer to the Lord of the Worlds. A man entered paradise for watering a dog, whilst a woman entered the Hellfire for confining a cat. Then what about the person who is killed, and the one who is prevented from food or medicine? They are in much dire need of help.

The path to paradise and the door to Allah’s pleasure has been opened for you through the means of helping the grieved, safeguarding the dignity of freedom, saving the lives of children and treating the wounded. Allah continues to help His slave whilst the slave continues to help his brother. The tyrants have circles around them and soon the oppressors shall know to which end they will be overthrown.

February 22nd, 2012, 6:53 am


Syrialover said:

The nightmare of loss and shock continues.

Marie Colvin was an exceptional foreign correspondent for the London Times and BBC. For decades she has been a brilliant front-line reporter, and like Anthony Shadid, was highly respected, trusted, and admired by both her peers and readers.


Two Western journalists have been killed in the Syrian city of Homs when shells hit the building they were staying in, opposition activists say.

France named them as Marie Colvin, an American Sunday Times reporter, and Remi Ochlik, a French photographer.

Several other people were reportedly killed when the shell hit the makeshift media centre in the Baba Amr area. and

February 22nd, 2012, 7:33 am


Uzair8 said:

Law Issued on Compelling Parents of Children Aged 6 to 15 to Send them to Basic Education Schools

Feb 22, 2012

DAMASCUS, (SANA) – President Bashar al-Assad issued on Wednesday law No.7 for 2012 stipulating for compelling parents of Syrian children ageing from 6 to 15 years old to send their children to basic education schools.

In case parents do not send their children to school after 10 days of notification, the parents will be fined up to SYP 15.000 (USD 255).


[Sounds like a cheap trick to raise much needed finance to fund the brutal crackdown. Perhaps Im cynical?]

February 22nd, 2012, 7:49 am


DAWOUD said:

RE: Editing my earlier comment # 147 for “discriminatory language”

If my side here is not fully published, I will send an email to Professor Landis explaining my side of the story.
I didn’t name anybody nor used a any racial/ethnic/religious/gender slur. All I did is that I used the “sectarian chauvinism” to describe sectarian leaders, WHOM I DID NOT NAME!

Editing me while I am posting an anti-Bashar comment that criticizes his war crimes against SUNNI MUSLIM SYRIANS is the reason why SC needs “AFFIRMATIVE ACTION.”
I say it again, this blog is SLANTED against the Syrian Revolution and against SUNNI MUSLIMS IN SYRIA.
This is not “another blog” because Professor Landis is well-recognized and well-quoted on Syria. If his blog is slanted, it could affect the general perception on the ongoing events in Syria.

PS, I do type my comments in MS Word, and I save them in case I need to defend myself against any accusations!

February 22nd, 2012, 7:52 am


Norman said:

Two western journalists are killed in Homs/Syria,

February 22nd, 2012, 7:58 am


DAWOUD said:

Thanks to our brothers and sisters in Palestine for supporting our revolution against Bashar’s bloody dictatorship. Below are the last three paragraphs from an article in today’s New York Tims, which also talks about the three Western journalists murdered by Bashar and his Shabiha:


“Meanwhile, the Hamas authorities in the Gaza Strip allowed Palestinians to demonstrate against Mr. Assad for the first time, a move that came weeks after the top Hamas leadership abandoned its longtime base in Damascus. The unusual rally was organized by a group called the Palestinian Gathering to Support Syrian People, a new body run by the sons of late Hamas leaders from Gaza.

About 200 students rallied at Islamic University before marching with Palestinian and Syrian flags to downtown Gaza. There, about 100 more Palestinians, including women, joined the rally. The protesters burned posters of Mr. Assad and carried banners bearing slogans like “Allah, Syria and freedom,” and “Shame on child murderers.”

The Hamas leadership has refused to express support for Mr. Assad despite pressure from Iran, a main backer of Hamas. But with about 650,000 Palestinian refugees living in Syria, Hamas officials are unlikely to draw Syrian ire by openly criticizing the leadership.”

February 22nd, 2012, 8:00 am


Syrialover said:

#160 Norman

“it is nice that when people play by the rule, nobody gets hurt, I hope others can learn”

What rules? The vicious terrorist state “rules” of the Assad regime. Thousands of innocent, decent people have been brutally hurt by the State for decades in Syria. This is sickening fact, not a debating point.

February 22nd, 2012, 8:01 am


Tara said:


Moderated or not, the bare truth is Alawis in Syria are killing Sunnis while Christians clapping and cheering under a pretext of imaginery fear of persecution should Sunnis come to power. It is to say the least a selfish and coward attitude if not criminal.

In the same time, I do acknowledge the fact that some Alawis and some Christians are with the revolution, but the vast majority are not while some Sunnis are criminal too.

February 22nd, 2012, 8:16 am



Assad should be executed soon. Extra judicial execution is needed as soon as possible to avoid more suffering. It seems there is no militar or security service brave enough to do this act of patriotism.

February 22nd, 2012, 8:17 am


Syrialover said:

#192. DAWOUD

You are upset and frustrated, but I do not agree that this blog is biased in favour of the regime and against the Sunni. Some of the commentators are, yes for sure, but others like you balance them out.

People can see from what Joshua Landis has been writing here that the bias you describe is not true of him.

February 22nd, 2012, 8:18 am



It looks real brave men are on the opposition side while are men serving to the official army and security services have become mercenaries, paid androids or simply cowards hidden in the army dress.

February 22nd, 2012, 8:20 am


Syrialover said:

# 185. Mawal95

“I feel the Syrian army is not being brought to bear aggressively enough against the rebels… Where is the “iron fist” that Bashar promised last month? I don’t see enough of it.”

So you are disillusioned. Sorry, but what makes you expect the regime to do ANYTHING competently (even by your alarming standards). Now they are being exposed as incompetent and self-destructing failures even at the one thing they pride themselves on, crushing the Syrian people. Thank God.

February 22nd, 2012, 8:34 am


majedkhaldoun said:

Why I support the president to be true Muslem
Many reasons, but the most important is what we see today, the christians instead of supporting freedom and dignity, instead of supporting justice and equality, they support a brutal evil dictator who is killing his people, how can we trust them to be president when they betray the syrian and support such murderous dictator.
They themslves proved their unelligebilty to be president, they ruined our trust in them, and they showed us how much they hate us,the word hate may not be desciptive of their acts, they abominate and abhore us,they are not trustworthy.

the moderator is strongly tilted toward the supporters of Assad, .

February 22nd, 2012, 8:47 am


Syria no Kandahar said:

Every free Syrian is clapping for the great Syrian army now:

الجيش يدخل “بابا عمرو” بحمص و يحكم الطوق عليه
أفاد مراسل العالم في سوريا أن الجيش السوري دخل حي بابا عمرو في مدينة حمص من اربع جهات وأحكم الطوق عليه. … التفاصيل

February 22nd, 2012, 9:21 am


Tara said:


This will go down in history as a shameful episode for Syrian Christians.

SL and Haytham, I am sorry. You should know you are noble in my book, having been able to see through and not getting herded. I am not generalizing this to all, but one can’t ignore the facts on the grounds.

February 22nd, 2012, 9:22 am


Jerusalem said:

رسالة من قاريء سعودي … مجرد سؤال لمحطة العربية حول الممثلة السورية مي سكاف

قرأت في موقعكم الخبر الخاص بالممثلة السورية مي سكاف والذي تبنته محطة العربية للتشهير بسوريا وحزب الله … المحطة ذكرت صراحة ان مي سكاف موجودة في دمشق وانها اعلنت عن موقفها المعارض للنظام السوري من منزلها في دمشق ولم يتم اعتقالها او منعها من الحديث او حتى اغلاق موقعها على الانترنيت والا لذكرت العربية ذلك
وسؤالي لمحطة العربية … هل يستطيع مدير المحطة نفسه عبد الرحمن الراشد ان ينطق بكلمة واحدة ضد نظام الحكم في السعودية

February 22nd, 2012, 9:42 am




I do not consider myself a member of a Christian Community that needs dictatorship and criminal police state to survive. If this is the Christian Community I do not belong to them. But do not be mistaken by religious christian authorities declarations. Religious authorities always support dictatorships and thus the best way for conservation of a religious community is beginning by beheading their corrupt political-religious leaders. I can affirm many christians support democracy and freedom, detest Assad and hope this revolution does not become an islamist one.

February 22nd, 2012, 9:53 am


Tara said:

Dear Sandro

I hear you. The problem may be them, that the pro- regime Christian expats have louder and very annoying voice. I guess the relative silence of anti-regime Christians inside Syria is understandable in a country like ours, the republic of fear.

February 22nd, 2012, 10:04 am


DAWOUD said:

I agree that the moderator/moderators is/are BIASED against anti-Bashar comments like mine.

I understand that Professor Landis is no longer moderating his own blog because he is writing a book. See “New Era for Syria Comment: Ehsani and Camille Otrakji take the Helm,”

If you doubt that this blog is SLANTED AGAINST Sunni Muslim Syrians and the Syrian Revolution, please see this video from Putin’s Russia Today:

If this blog is not slanted in favor of Bashar’s dictatorship, how else could anti-Bashar comments get a couple of thumbs down as soon as they get posted?!

Professor Landis needs to take his blog back (maybe by hiring a University of Oklahoma graduate assistant)!

February 22nd, 2012, 10:36 am


Tara said:


The moderator is not pro- regime. I see through things sometimes. Please take my word for it.

February 22nd, 2012, 10:45 am


ann said:

A campaign to silence the TRUTH on Syria Comment by the propaganda artists is in full swing 8)

February 22nd, 2012, 10:48 am


jad said:

It’s funny that every ‘newbie’ comes over to SC thinks that he/she is the ‘king’ and after 3 comments he starts ordering Dr. Landis, the moderator and all other commentators to write as he/she pleases, otherwise he will declare ‘holy’ war on SC…’Touche’

February 22nd, 2012, 11:17 am


majedkhaldoun said:

I missed Haytham Khoury,and syrian hamster,they both are good people

February 22nd, 2012, 11:21 am


norman said:

Majed, Tara,

In Saddam Hussein Iraq, The Christians stood with the secular Saddam and the Baath party, you could expect to be safe from Sunni attacks , that was not the Case, The Shia of Iraq did not blow up Churches and push the Christians out of Iraq, it was the Sunni extremists, there is something wrong about the way the Sunni understand Islam and until that is changed the Christians in Syria will always side with the secular party, I understand you concern Majed about a Christian president in Syria so please do not complain when the Americans don’t trust Muslims.

February 22nd, 2012, 11:32 am


jad said:

Sad news about the death of two journalists in Homs, but why they didn’t inform the Syrian government or get in the country properly with journalist permission? Usually the government send some army with them for protection, the victims didn’t do any of that.
Even if they did come in without a permission, why they didn’t leave after many repeated ultimatums given by the Syrian Army and instead they stay with the armed militia?

As a journalist you can’t live with ‘Taliban’ 24/7 and expect the US army not to hit you because you are a journalists, the US killed 186 Journalists in Iraq

On CNN one of the victim journalist said that she is staying with the Free Syrian Army fighters and they ‘only’ have kalshinkovs and RPGs!?
Here is an report from Syriatruth about one of the fighters’ battle with ‘ONLY’ klashinkoves and RPGs attacking a clinic in Homs couple weeks ago
شريط يظهر هجوم مسلحي”كتيبة الفاروق” على مستوصف “باب الدريب” في حمص ومقتل قائد الهجوم عبد الحميد الأبرش
and here

The decision to stand next to an outlaw armed person in front of an army is suicidal and the results are deadly.

February 22nd, 2012, 11:52 am


zoo said:

There are at least four journalists in Homs.
Two of them were killed by a bombshell that fell in the garden of a house “used by journalists and activists in besieged Bab Amr.”
The other two are wounded.

“spokeswoman Valerie Pecresse identified those killed as French photojournalist Remi Ochlik, 28, and American reporter Marie Colvin, who was working for Britain’s Sunday Times.

Syrian activists said at least two other Western journalists — French reporter Edith Bouvier of Le Figaro and British photographer Paul Conroy of the Sunday Times — were wounded in Wednesday’s shelling, which claimed at least 13 lives.

A Homs-based activist, Omar Shaker, said the journalists were killed when several rockets hit a garden of a house used by activists and journalists in the besieged Homs neighborhood of Baba Amr,

Marie Colvin (very short) phone report from Homs a day before she was killed

February 22nd, 2012, 12:01 pm


Tara said:


And the Sunnis you were exposed to while living in Syria were radical Islamist? Is your fear based on a personal experience with fellow Syrians or imaginary one from the Iraq experience?

February 22nd, 2012, 12:11 pm


Son of Damascus said:

Dear Jad,

Journalists are restricted to enter Syria, and when they do get the permission they are followed by government minders that impede their ability to do their jobs. Blaming the victims (in this case the Journalists) that have risked their lives to get our peoples voice heard around the world is wrong.

If the government gave unfettered access, and respected international laws and freedoms none of these Journalists would have died.

May I ask you since you brought up Iraq, how many international journalist are embedded with the Syrian Army? If the government is not lying and they are really facing profound immoral criminal gangs why not publicize it, the journalist are obviously willing to risk their lives to be in the front line? Or even why won’t the government put a Go-Pro camera on one of their tanks and film these supposed roving criminal gangs that has all of Homs held hostage?

February 22nd, 2012, 12:16 pm


norman said:

personal experience in the late seventies, during the MB uprising, and recent experience in Iraq, and signs of the same in Egypt, please don’t say that Syrians are better , they are not.

February 22nd, 2012, 12:28 pm



Alive and kicking. Busy as one little rat among millions on the inside and outside bringing down a foolish blood thirsty monster with his gangs and fangs. Little or no time to write responses to sectarian comments and reactionary nonsense from masochists who enjoy being beaten if not by their foes, then by their foolish subject of adoration (hint, the used t-rag they now call recycled constitution).

Welcome. trust TARA. She has a good sense of people. I mean if you just observe how kind is she in her graceful responses to arrogance, you can tell that she is the real McCoy when it comes to being a kindred spirit.

Also, yes there is a slant, but let me tell you one thing, the comment section and the stupid “fraud-vulnerable” like-dislike poll have become irrelevant to policy makers. Heck, most of them have staff that can summarize most of the menhebbakjis cuts and pastes in few words not to mention that their staff already summarizes TASS, SANA, and XINHUA far more effectively than the snide “introductory” headings given by the cut-paste artists around here. As for other cuts and pastes from some deranged Canadian professors’ site, or a Mukhabarat outfits such as SYRIATRUTH, or some web page of a blood thirsty half-wit Syrian who can not write a couple of sentences without calling for someones execution, this junk doesn’t even register on policy makers’ Radar.

What matters are only articles by Joshua, and EHSANI, and intelligent comments. Don’t let the Giant Oldies intimidate you. I was harassed by them constantly, and drove them to insanity (pretty easy stuff by the way).

Hang in there buddy, hang in there. You have logic, intellect, and honesty. All are needed now and in the future.

How are you, and how is your kid, have you been smiling to her?
Please lighten up on the Alawi killing sunnies thing. This is what the regime wants us all to believe intentionally. Did you read the current post on 7ee6an by OTW. If not, please read it. Sectarianism is the regime’s card. It plays this card very bluntly, and it seems to have been successful on those who are intrinsically sectarian and in making them afraid of participating in making their own future and forced them into swallowing one insult from their master after another. Just think of the lousy responses to the fraud called constitution around here, and you will see what I mean.

I feel sad that Joshua can not get out of his comfort zone which focuses on sectarian classification. It is quit sexy to write about and talk about to western media, but I wish he starts looking deeper than the sectarian crack on the surface to find the real fault-line. It can make a good career become a brilliant one.

I have good wishes to the all good people on this blog.

Darn it before I forget. Million likes to the moderator, you rock. Please feel free to edit my comment.

red is dislike, it is on the right side

February 22nd, 2012, 12:33 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

Since Christian Tosheh(chriatian upheaval) in 1860,through the french occupation and going through the lebanese civil war, and now the siding with Assad, the christian have no sensitivity to the feeling of their fellow citizen ,the Sunni, and sided on the wrong side of history, Christians have many very good people, like you Haytham Khoury,and Ehsani,Michel Kilo Fares Khoury,george Sabra, but those are few,and the majority making mistakes,I think this will count negative to them.

Syrian Hamster ,Thank you you made my day.

February 22nd, 2012, 12:53 pm



Norman, this is the wrong way to look at things. Only a naive person would think that a country would emerge better after a tyrant has destroyed it and after a long period of blasting cities with the “Biggest” cannons on earth (240 mm Tulip weapon), and after the tyrant and his gang encourage lawlessness and fostered it.

Syria will not emerge better off than March 15, 2011, but what it will emerge with after deposing the mafia gang, who brought this disaster on the country, is a country that can make itself far better than the sad pathetic state the gang drove it to over 40 years, if it wants.

Syria will emerge with Choice after 40 years of no choice. And NO, keeping the thugs and their beloved blue eye murderer cum laud is not an available choice

February 22nd, 2012, 12:59 pm


jna said:

Syrian opposition appears to be dragging its feet on the ICRC proposed safe passage ceasefire in Homs. SNC demands foreign intervention instead or together. Figures.

“”I’m not sure without those passages the ICRC alone will be able to respond to the needs on the ground,” she (Bassma Kodmani) said.

February 22nd, 2012, 1:22 pm


Syrialover said:

Syrian Hamster for king!

(To work alongside a properly elected representational government, of course)

February 22nd, 2012, 1:36 pm


Syrialover said:

When people get education, economic opportunities, rule of law and freedom, then religious extremism and savage sectarian politics die a natural death.

Under Baathists these didn’t die a natural death, they emerged in the minds of the dictators and their opponents as the main known alternative way of organising to change things and making sure that those pushing their side got any chance of ever being empowered and protected.

February 22nd, 2012, 2:00 pm


zoo said:

Why Syria’s Minorities Will Fight to the End
Syria’s Civil War Rages, as Alawites Press On
By Daniel Brodie

Syria’s military is escalating its offensive on the country’s Sunni rebels; however, the violence in Syria is not likely to end in the near future, even if the Assad regime is ousted. To this point, Damascus has been unable to implement a strategy capable of ending the eleven-month Sunni uprising, likewise the opposition has yet to oust the regime from power.

Syria’s sectarian fault lines have been drawn for centuries and the opposition has been unsuccessful in diminishing the importance of such divisions. Most importantly, they failed to convince Assad’s forces to defect en mass, thus Syria’s military remains a cohesive, effective and motivated fighting force. Meanwhile, al-Qaida’s recent call for jihad against the Alawite regime will not help in persuading many minorities to abandon it.

Furthermore, Damascus has prepared for an internal Sunni uprising for over four decades and while many are quick to predict Assad’s demise, his ouster would not end the sectarian conflict in Syria. Ultimately, the conflict’s sectarian character along with several other important factors will lead to a long and bloody civil war in Syria.
The Alawites – a distinct religious sect – are the backbone of the Assad regime. As a consequence of various historical and political factors, they along with Syria’s other minorities determined that influence in the military offered the most favorable course to enhance their overall wellbeing in the country. Direct political and military influence is seen as the best way to offset the Sunni Arab majority. Some 80 percent of the officer positions in the military are held by Alawites, although they make up just 10% of the general population. The Sunnis, on the other hand, have been largely marginalized or absent from important positions within the armed forces and the government.

Opposing the regime is the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) which is composed of recent defectors from the country’s armed forces. However, most defectors are Sunnis who held lower-ranking positions or served in non-elite units. Their numbers are growing, but they are outgunned, outnumbered, decentralized and becoming increasingly divided. They have seized a few small and isolated cities, yet they mostly remain on the defensive.

The second major factor leading to a prolonged war of attrition is the government’s hesitance to use its entire arsenal

On the other side, being an unprotected minority in the Middle East is often a painful reality which the Alawites, Druse, Christians and Kurds know all too well. These groups have been protected by the Assad regime for decades and this is not something they take for granted. With that being considered, Alawites have legitimate fears that their entire existence is in jeopardy, and will continue their fight to protect it. With neither side willing to give in, Syrians are entrenching for a long and bloody civil war.

February 22nd, 2012, 2:06 pm


zoo said:

The road to Damascus goes through Moscow
lewis mackenzie
Published Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012 2:00AM EST
Perhaps it would be a good idea to first determine who we are dealing with in the opposition. It was supposed to be “doctors, lawyers and business people” making up the opposition in Libya – that turned out to be wishful thinking, which should be a red flag as we line up with al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria.

Six weeks ago, the Arab League marched into this melee, anxious to show some muscle after the North Atlantic Treaty Organization did the heavy lifting for it during last year’s uprising in Libya. The Arab League called for Mr. Assad to step down, for the imposition of limited sanctions and for a naive deployment by an unarmed observer mission.
The observer mission deployed by the Arab League, on the other hand, was a joke from the start. With both sides continuing to fight and having no intention to stop, it became a “show and tell” exercise for Mr. Assad’s forces, which actually escorted the observers to see and hear what they wanted them to see and hear

So what was the Arab League’s next brilliant idea? To get the UN to deploy a joint unarmed observer mission. Was no one in authority, anywhere, paying attention to the fate of the first mission

The only solution to the Syrian conflict goes through Moscow. When NATO bombing failed to force an end to the conflict in Kosovo 13 years ago, it was Russian diplomacy that convinced Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic to withdraw his little-damaged security forces from the region. Mr. Assad doesn’t have many supporters these days – it would be wise for Western governments, including Canada, to redirect our efforts from sabre-rattling to coming up with some carrots to convince Vladimir Putin to visit Damascus.

February 22nd, 2012, 2:12 pm


Tara said:

I love you too SYRIAN HAMSTER.

I am trying, and very hard, to keep the psyche TARA used to have but there are boiling emotions in my blood vessels that are sometimes difficult to overcome.

February 22nd, 2012, 2:18 pm


zoo said:

In Gaza, for the first time, 200 Palestinians are allowed to demonstrate against Bashar al Assad

Meanwhile, the Hamas authorities in the Gaza Strip allowed Palestinians to demonstrate against Mr. Assad for the first time, a move that came weeks after the top Hamas leadership abandoned its longtime base in Damascus.

About 200 students rallied at Islamic University before marching with Palestinian and Syrian flags to downtown Gaza. There, about 100 more Palestinians, including women, joined the rally. The protesters burned posters of Mr. Assad and carried banners bearing slogans like “Allah, Syria and freedom,” and “Shame on child murderers.”

The Hamas leadership has refused to express support for Mr. Assad despite pressure from Iran, a main backer of Hamas. But with about 650,000 Palestinian refugees living in Syria, Hamas officials are unlikely to draw Syrian ire by openly criticizing the leadership.

February 22nd, 2012, 2:39 pm


Mina said:

“When people get education, economic opportunities, rule of law and freedom, then religious extremism and savage sectarian politics die a natural death.”
As you see in Saudi Arabia and Israel?

February 22nd, 2012, 2:55 pm


zoo said:

“Friends of Syria” Conference

The “Friends of Syria” conference will gather top diplomats from the Arab League, Europe and the United States, but will be marked by the absence of Russia, which denounced the meeting as one-sided and refused to attend.

China, which has joined Russia in vetoing UN Security Council resolutions on Syria, has also refused to commit itself to attend.

Representatives from the Syrian National Council (SNC) and other opposition groups will be at the meeting and are expected to come under pressure to work for the creation of a united group to represent opponents of the regime.
The meeting in Tunisia on February 24, is also expected to be divided over whether and how much to support an armed opposition.

Members of the so-called Friends of Syria group—including foreign ministers from the U.S., France, U.K., and European Union—are set to meet for the first time on Friday in Tunis.

The U.S. has described the Friends of Syria group as a route around the U.N. to pressure the Assad regime that will discuss sanctions, humanitarian support and support for a democratic transition in Syria.

Complicating matters is the fact Russia and China have indicated they may not attend the Friends of Syria meeting. The division between these two permanent UN Security Council members — who have refused to approve any international intervention in Syria — and the West appears to be increasing and their absence will negatively affect the chances a real solution to the crisis in Syria can be achieved.

Arab League chief Nabil el-Araby said Monday there were signs that China and Russia could be shifting their stance on Syria, calling the Tunis meeting a way to “put extra pressure on Syria,” Reuters reported.
Alexander Lukashevich, a spokesperson for Russia’s foreign ministry, said on February 21 that Moscow’s representatives would not attend the conference because all parties involved in the conflict will not be present – a reference to the fact that the Syrian government would not be represented.

Lebanese Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour.. indicated that he received an invitation from his Tunisian counterpart Rafiq Abdul Salam, and stated that “our decision not to interfere in the Syrian internal affairs is clear”…
and will not attend the “Friends of Syria” conference in Tunisia.

Canada announced officially that Canadian Foreign Minister will jet to Tunis to attend Friday’s Friends of Syria meeting

Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nikolai Mladenov is also to attend the February 24 2012 meeting in Tunisia .. according to Sofia-echo report on Wednesday.

In Tunis, Arab and Western states are expected to focus on ways to provide emergency humanitarian aid into Syria, starting with Homs. The inclusion of those parties could determine, to a large degree, whether the group comes down on the side of providing military aid to Syria’s rebels.

France has pushed for the U.N. Security Council to support its plan for “humanitarian corridors” into Syria, from bordering Turkey, Lebanon, or Jordan.

US secretary of state Hillary Clinton says there are a range of options under consideration, VOA said.
“We will strengthen our targeted sanctions; bring the international community together in condemnation of the actions of the Assad regime. We will increase our outreach to opposition both inside and outside of Syria,” Clinton said.

In turn, Victoria Nuland, spokesperson for the United States state department, said on February 21 that the best outcome for Syria would be a political solution, but that if al-Assad refuses to yield to diplomatic pressure, “we may have to consider additional measures”.

February 22nd, 2012, 2:55 pm


zoo said:

Insurgent group chief arrested on Syria-Iraq border
AFP – 45 mins ago

Iraqi security forces on Wednesday arrested the head of Ansar al-Sunna, a Sunni insurgent group said to be linked to Al-Qaeda, the counter-terrorism chief for Anbar province said.

“Iraqi forces today arrested the leader of Ansar al-Sunna, Walid Khaled Ali, as he tried to illegally infiltrate into Iraqi territory from Syria,” Brigadier General Khaled al-Dulaimi told AFP.

He “tried to cross on foot near Al-Walid border post” into Anbar province in western Iraq, Dulaimi said.

He “was one of the most prominent suspects for terrorism cases,” Dulaimi said, adding that “he killed many of the sons of Anbar and fled to Syria after the announcement of the tribal fight against Al-Qaeda in 2007.”

February 22nd, 2012, 2:58 pm


zoo said:

Analysis: Inside and out, divisions keep Syria in stalemate
By Alastair Macdonald | Reuters – 25 mins ago
LONDON (Reuters) – “World, please help us!” has been a refrain of Syrians under siege by their own government in Homs, Deraa and other cities.

So far, though, it is probably President Bashar al-Assad who has had more outside assistance, highlighting how a complex web of regional and global interests is stalemated over Syria, where a complex social mix is shaping up for a long confrontation.

So when Syrians appeal to “the world” for help, they must know that world appears as divided as Syria itself. Assad can go on using those divisions – at home and across the Middle East and globally – to hold his ground, at least for now.

February 22nd, 2012, 3:01 pm


Observer said:

The reason the press enters Syria wihout a permission is because otherwise they cannot report freely with minders and security personel interfering with their work.
The reason they died is because the Assadist troops are shelling Homs from 7-10 kilometers away for the FSA does not have any weapons that they can retaliate with to that distance. They only have small arms weapons and the cowardly thugs do not dare enter into a street fight with the people of Baba Amr.
This mantra of armed gangs is pure B—-S—-. Any respectable government would have resigned long ago if the country were in the grip of armed gangs that it cannot subdue in one year of relentless war and bombings and killings.

The fact of the matter is that the rebellion is being fed by the regime’s stupidity and brutality. People are fed up with Fredo Corleone.
He is a criminal failure.
The regime supporters who think of themselves as defending stability and civilization turned out to be and on this blog and while living under the great bill of rights in the West nothing more than barbarians in Armani suites.

There is not a single ounce of civilization or humanity or nationalism in those that continue to spew sectarian thinking in the 21st century. It is their sectarian thinking that is destroying Syria. It is the same sectarian thinking that is hindering the emergence of a true Arab Syrian identity that is above all the pettiness of the local and sect and clan.

This regime is finished the germs are multiplying and daily defections are increasing; even Alwite officers are defecting when they discovered that they were given defective gas masks and some of them while handling chemcial weapons became ill. Only the closest members of the regime inner circle and the high ranking officers are getting proper protection. This is how criminal this regime is.

February 22nd, 2012, 3:02 pm


zoo said:

No Surprise.

Tunisia, Egypt Islamists signal bigger religion role
By Tom Heneghan, Religion Editor | Reuters – 3 hrs ago

PARIS (Reuters)- After months of reassuring secularist critics, Islamist politicians in Tunisia and Egypt have begun to lay down markers about how Muslim their states should be — and first signs show they want more religion than previously admitted.

February 22nd, 2012, 3:05 pm


irritated said:

232 Obs

“People are fed up with Fredo Corleone”

I doubt more the .0005% of the Syrians in Syria know who is Fredo Corleone. Expats probably heard the name before. I guess that’s your target audience.

February 22nd, 2012, 3:12 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Dear Hamster,

Good to see you!

“…I feel sad that Joshua can not get out of his comfort zone which focuses on sectarian classification. It is quit sexy to write about and talk about to western media, but I wish he starts looking deeper than the sectarian crack on the surface to find the real fault-line”.

If you may, what are the real fault-lines in your eyes?

February 22nd, 2012, 3:12 pm


Phares said:

I am a sunni. I have friends from all sects. some are with, some against. But people like MajedKH. try to stir up secterianism based on who is for/against the president. I am for reform, but vehemently against this armed aggression. What freedom is this. I will stand with christians, as like many other sunnis in syria, against people like Majedkh, Farfoor/Barboor, the salafis and the like that generalize or show aggresion in this way based on religion. People like you have ruined the reputaion of Islam. The stance of the Mufti, Bouti, and many others are not with this, as they have been threatened from people against the govt. If you are against the president, fine, but you are imposing your views with force, which is the supposed reason you want this govt. to stand down. If you think this is Islamic, then re-read. Unfortunatly, one will see an issue the way he wants, and convincing one of another way is futile. Just know that you will be held responsible for this aggression( this goes for anyone of any religion, as there are extremist views held by many frrom whatever background). The poor will become poorer. The rich will still still live through this. A lot of you live outside of Syria and don’t really grasp what people may be going through now. Before this people had some opportunity/hope. This now decreasing. Will it be sunny skies and rainbows if the govt. is toppled? Is anarchy the way? Remember, those of you who say you are muslim- is anarchy the way. You point fingers thinking you are better. There are good people of the govt. and bad. But these people repreent you. They are Syrians not from other countries. I hope you would all pray for the betterment, from whichever religion you are from.

February 22nd, 2012, 3:20 pm


zoo said:

Two journalists killed in Homs “went independently”: Syrian information ministry source 2012-02-22

DAMASCUS, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) — A source from the Syrian Information Ministry told Xinhua Wednesday that the two Western journalists reportedly killed earlier in the day in the central Homs province “went there independently.”

The source, on condition of anonymity, said that the two journalists did not have any coordination with the Information Ministry before setting for the restive region in Homs.

February 22nd, 2012, 3:26 pm


Alan said:

Salute Jad ! nice to see you again

US to pump weapons into Syrian warzone?

Excellent interview with Mr. Buchanan
Pat Buchanan: 300 nukes in Israel yet Iran a threat?

February 22nd, 2012, 3:28 pm


Jad said:

Regarding the referendum, 2 new political parties and the SSNP are calling their supporters to vote for YES.
As you wrote before, the VOTING itself is what matters at this stage and escalation of violence is the keyword for this week.
There is a news of a two bombs exploded in Aleppo.

February 22nd, 2012, 3:34 pm


Antoine said:

It seems the Anbar Awakening ( Sunni Awakening / Sons of Iraq ) have thrown their weight behind the Uprising and the FSA. So don’t be surprised to hear about “Iraqi insurgents” inside Syria because a lot of these Awakening guys were originally insurgents in Iraq.

February 22nd, 2012, 3:52 pm


Antoine said:

228. ZOO said:

“In Gaza, for the first time, 200 Palestinians are allowed to demonstrate against Bashar al Assad

Meanwhile, the Hamas authorities in the Gaza Strip allowed Palestinians to demonstrate against Mr. Assad for the first time, a move that came weeks after the top Hamas leadership abandoned its longtime base in Damascus”

So, Amir in TLV, are you withdrawing your support for the Syrian Intifada ?

February 22nd, 2012, 3:54 pm


Syrialover said:

#229. Mina

???! Read up on Saudi Arabia.

And while I have really big problems with Israel, it doesn’t match what we’re talking about here.

February 22nd, 2012, 4:04 pm


Antoine said:

212. NORMAN said :

“The Shia of Iraq did not blow up Churches and push the Christians out of Iraq, it was the Sunni extremists, ”

Actually it was the Shia militias who were mainly behind the organised attacks and intimidations against Christians, especially in and around Baghdad. It was the Sunni Iraqis who helped the refugee Christians and it was the Sunni militias and the Kyrdish Sunni Peshmerga who protected Christain neighborhoods from organized attacks and mob violence and looting after Saddam’s fall.

Only Al-Qaida was the “Sunni” group which targeted Christians, and most of the AQ in Iraq were not even Iraqis, so it is very unreasonable to suggest that Syrian Sunnis will persecute Christians, especially since they do not have a history of doing so ( except in 1860)

Note – I got the above information abt Iraq from an Iraqi Chaldean Christian family who were driven out of their home in 2006 by organized intimidation from the Mahdi Army, which as you know is a Shia militia supported by Iran.

February 22nd, 2012, 4:06 pm


Antoine said:


“Many reasons, but the most important is what we see today, the christians instead of supporting freedom and dignity, instead of supporting justice and equality, they support a brutal evil dictator who is killing his people, how can we trust them to be president when they betray the syrian and support such murderous dictator.”

Majed Khaldoun, a President is one individual person, how can you judge him by the perceived collective actions of the sect to which he belongs ? And this deep-rooted “hatred” against Muslims is confined to the Orthidox Churches and the Orthodox clergy, Maronites have nothing to do with it.

February 22nd, 2012, 4:13 pm


jad said:

“So don’t be surprised to hear about “Iraqi insurgents” inside Syria”
The already existing libyan, lebanese, khaligi and stani trash terrorists in Syria defiantly need more trash to help them doing their bloody work…

Today the MBs council members mantra is ‘WE WANT KOSOVO’, every one of those dogs is barking with the exact same line, from Ramadan who his ‘shabbi7’ brother was assassinated by the terrorist ‘armed gangs’ of fsa to Yousef Nashaz, Bassma alhabla and Ghalyoun…they all want KOSOVO.

Thank you for your comment, it’s very true.

Alheen Alan.

February 22nd, 2012, 4:23 pm


Tara said:


Can you please elaborate on the Christians orthodox’ s deep seated hatred towards Sunnis. I am interested in the subject.

February 22nd, 2012, 4:40 pm



It seems day after day very clear that Assads are playing their last card: sectarian hatred and killings. The same they helped to develop in Irak and Lebanon. This is their speciality. The chief´s dish. I am really surprised when I read christians in Lebanon support Assad. Only Aoun supporters (decreasing day after day)stand by Assad today as they fight against him in the past. Aounism is not a political option but a senseless tribe.

The Assads created a status quo based on fear and repression. Instead of promoting national diallogue with civil society about religion freedoms, rights and limitations (the only possible way
to create a free, secular and democratic Syria) he denied reality (destroying civil society and crushing religious expressions) so religion remained a potential danger for a free Syria. This potential danger has always been used by the regime to justify
why they are remaining in power.

Any scholar studying Syria always begins with the sectarian issue. But those who develop and get to know on the ground realities easily realize that sectarian expressions are simply a way of poor intellectual level populations to fight status quo unbalances.

Assad destroyed all intellectual circles and left Syria on the ground so they would face to competition. Those who deared defying
power where murdered or sent to jail and tortures. Fear destroys the human being as it has almost destroyed the Syrian spirit.

Thanks God syrian people has reacted in time to topple this great falacy. Assad will do his best for the sectarian contest to take place but finally truth and freedom will prevail over mafia regimes.

February 22nd, 2012, 5:04 pm


Tara said:


I hate it when the moderator edits my post and replace our brackets with the ugly ones. I’d like the moderator to respect my choice of dots and brackets. It means a lot to me. 😉

February 22nd, 2012, 5:08 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Now communication between Syrian Army officers intercepted by Lebanese intelligence staff has revealed that direct orders were issued to target the makeshift press centre in which Colvin had been broadcasting.

February 22nd, 2012, 6:45 pm


Tara said:

There are reports that Criminal the Second, king of reform Bashar al Assad and his thugs intentially targeted the residence of the American journalist and the French photographer to terrorize future journalists from coming to Syria and exposing the truth.

The truth as reported by the free press is loud and clear and will never be hidden: Assad is slaughtering the Syrians into submission.

The problem is he miscalculated. A day will come when he begs for forgiveness just like his Quaddafi ancestor…

February 22nd, 2012, 6:48 pm


Leo Syriacus said:

Martin Luther King JR said what can be summarized as : The darkest corner of Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral during great ethical struggles
This speaks volumes of the current stance of certain groups of Syrians, those who do not share our struggle and pain can not expect a share of power when the Baath dictatorship is defeated
And you would be really naive to believe that this regime will defeat its greatest majority of people along all their “Cosmic Conspirators”
C’mon now..even rats are intelligent enough to flee a sinking ship

February 22nd, 2012, 7:12 pm


ann said:

228. zoo said:

In Gaza, for the first time, 200 Palestinians are allowed to demonstrate against Bashar al Assad

200 people demonstrations against the Syrian government are front page material in the new york times.

February 22nd, 2012, 7:13 pm


annie said:

True heroes from the Revolution speaking from the heart

May God protect you

February 22nd, 2012, 7:17 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

Leo Syriacus

إذاكنت ذا رأين فكن ذا عزيمةٍ فإن فساد الرأي أن تترددا

Those who oscillate and zigzag,they ruin their opinion, I have no respect for them, no one has.

February 22nd, 2012, 7:31 pm


Tara said:
…. .
The international gathering in Tunis is likely to see further calls for financial and technical assistance to be provided to the armed Syrian resistance, if not yet for outright intervention from either Nato or Arab League forces.

However, Bassma Kodmani, a senior figure in the SNC, on Wednesday suggested her group was close to abandoning its opposition to such action.
“We are really close to seeing this military intervention as the only solution. There are two evils, military intervention or protracted civil war,” she told a press conference.
Without progress on the political front, she said the Friends of Syria should allow individual members to support the opposition logistically, technically or militarily.

“There is a humanitarian emergency,” she said. “The world has not responded to this emergency adequately. The people in Syria feel abandoned. They feel they are being let down by the world.”
Washington has already hinted that it may be willing to pursue such an option, though it has been ruled out by William Hague, the Foreign Secretary.
On Wednesday Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad discussed the crisis in a telephone call, but agreed to reject foreign intervention in Syria.
…. .
The SNC, the largest opposition group, will ask the conference to support a seven-point plan for establishing “humanitarian corridors” to cities and surrounding areas under sustained assault by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces where food, water and electricity are becoming scarce.
It proposes establishing safe passages from Lebanon to the besieged city of Homs, from Turkey to Idlib and from Jordan to Deraa.
Russia, one of the regime’s few remaining allies, said it now supported a Red Cross proposal to allow limited daily access for aid convoys, though not fully fledged “corridors”.
“Our initiative is aimed at providing safety of humanitarian cargo deliveries. We are actively working with Syria and countries around it,” said Alexander Lukashevich, a foreign ministry spokesman.
Gennady Gatilov, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, was however quick to underline his government’s hostility towards the Friends of Syria meeting, which Russia will not attend, for failing to invite representatives of the Syrian government.


February 22nd, 2012, 7:36 pm


jna said:

55% of Syrians want Assad to stay (as of December 2011)

This article by Jonathan Steele got me curious again about the YouGovSiraj poll on Arab and Syrian opinion on whether Bashar Assad should leave or stay in office.

When coverage of an unfolding drama ceases to be fair and turns into a propaganda weapon, inconvenient facts get suppressed. So it is with the results of a recent YouGov Siraj poll on Syria commissioned by The Doha Debates, funded by the Qatar Foundation. Qatar’s royal family has taken one of the most hawkish lines against Assad – the emir has just called for Arab troops to intervene – so it was good that The Doha Debates published the poll on its website. The pity is that it was ignored by almost all media outlets in every western country whose government has called for Assad to go.
The key finding was that while most Arabs outside Syria feel the president should resign, attitudes in the country are different. Some 55% of Syrians want Assad to stay, motivated by fear of civil war – a spectre that is not theoretical as it is for those who live outside Syria’s borders. What is less good news for the Assad regime is that the poll also found that half the Syrians who accept him staying in power believe he must usher in free elections in the near future. Assad claims he is about to do that, a point he has repeated in his latest speeches. But it is vital that he publishes the election law as soon as possible, permits political parties and makes a commitment to allow independent monitors to watch the poll.

However, many in the Syrian opposition pointed to this blog post by Brian Whitaker to rebut Jonathan Steele :

While it is undoubtedly true that the Assad regime still has a measure of support within Syria, no one can sensibly put a figure on it or claim that Assad’s supporters form a majority.

The 55% figure comes from an internet survey by YouGov Siraj for al-Jazeera’s Doha Debates. Just over 1,000 people across the Arab countries were asked their opinion of Assad and an overwhelming majority – 81% – thought he should step down.

However, al-Jazeera says the picture inside Syria is different: “Syrians are more supportive of their president with 55% not wanting him to resign.”

What is the basis for this statement? A look at the methodology of the survey shows that 211 of the respondents were in Levantine countries and that 46% of those were in Syria. In other words, the finding is based on a sample of just 97 internet users in Syria among a population of more than 20 million. It’s not a meaningful result and certainly not adequate grounds for such sweeping conclusions about national opinion in Syria.

So what kind of polling organization, YouGovSiraj, would publish a poll which had “not a meaningful result”? I took a look:

YouGov, formerly known as Polimetrix in the United States, is an international internet-based market research firm launched in the UK in May 2000 by Stephan Shakespeare, now Chief Executive Officer, and Nadhim Zahawi. In 2005 the company opened an office in the Middle East, YouGovSiraj, and in 2007 it further expanded by acquiring market research firms in the USA (YouGov Polimetrix), Germany (YouGov Psychonomics) and Scandinavia (YouGov Zapera), which are now part of the YouGov Group.[1] YouGov is a member of the British Polling Council.

…YouGov’s methodology is to obtain responses from an invited group of Internet users, and then to weight these responses in line with demographic information. It draws these demographically-representative samples from a panel of about 350,000 people in the UK.

… In the UK, YouGov media clients include The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Times, The Economist and Sky News.

…YouGov has contended that its opinion polls in recent UK elections, e.g. the 2001 general election, have been consistently more accurate than traditional opinion pollsters who repeatedly over-estimated the Labour vote.

…Critics argue that, as not all of the public have access to the Internet, its samples cannot accurately reflect the views of the population as a whole. YouGov counters that they have a representative panel and they are able to weight their polls/surveys appropriately to reflect the national audience that they are aiming to poll.

…YouGov also makes predictions about the outcomes of popular culture events based on their internet surveys. This work is usually commissioned by newspapers who publish the results immediately prior to the events. This has included predictions about the winner of the 2001/2 UK Pop Idol contest, and the last three X-Factor winners. In each case, the YouGov prediction has been correct. The first of these, which saw YouGov predict victory for Will Young, gave YouGov its first major media attention having been the only research organization to get this one right. For the most recent X-Factor contest, YouGov correctly placed the final 4 contestants in order.

I would summarize the Wikipedia information to say that YouGov is a reputable polling organization with some proven track record for a decade or so.

But what about Brian Whitaker’s point that the polling sample of 97 Syrians is “not a meaningful result and certainly not adequate grounds for such sweeping conclusions about national opinion in Syria.” Not being an expert on polling, I took a look at polling samples for a famous American polling organization, Gallup Polls:

One key question faced by Gallup statisticians: how many interviews does it take to provide an adequate cross-section of Americans? The answer is, not many — that is, if the respondents to be interviewed are selected entirely at random, giving every adult American an equal probability of falling into the sample. The current US adult population in the continental United States is 187 million. The typical sample size for a Gallup poll which is designed to represent this general population is 1,000 national adults.

If we make a high estimate of the adult population of Syria as 18.7 million out of a total population of 22-25 million then the ratio of the YouGovSiraj poll sample is approximately the same ratio as the Gallup polling organization uses.

Charges of willful bias in the poll are countered by the reputation of the polling organization and the contracting party, the Doha Debates of Qatar.

My conclusion is that, unless some other flaw is found in the polling method, the results of the YouGovSiraj poll are credible and in all likelihood about 55% of Syrians feel (as of December) that Bashar Assad should stay in office until free and fair elections are held .

February 22nd, 2012, 7:36 pm


Syrialover said:

A brave and honest woman murdered by lying cowards and criminals. But there’s useful evidence for future war crime trials.

Media report:

“Now communication between Syrian Army officers intercepted by Lebanese intelligence staff has revealed that direct orders were issued to target the makeshift press centre in which Sunday Times war correspondent Marie Colvin had been broadcasting.

If journalists were successfully killed, then the Syrians were told to make out that they had died accidentally in firefights with terrorist groups, the radio traffic revealed.

Britain has summoned the Syrian ambassador, Dr Sami Khiyami, to the Foreign Office to lodge a protest over the killing of Colvin.”

February 22nd, 2012, 7:39 pm


habib said:

The hypocrisy regarding those killed journalists in Homs is astounding.

The Americans have killed scores of journalists in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the FSA killed a journalist weeks ago, which was quickly ignored by the media once it was clear the Syrian government didn’t do it. But now a couple of journalists sneak in among armed insurgents without notifying the government and somehow expect they’ll magically miss them when shooting?

And spare me of the “poor journalists can’t go anywhere without the government”, that doesn’t keep them from notifying the government of their presence, duh.

Can the media bias be any clearer?

February 22nd, 2012, 7:43 pm


ann said:

256. JNA said:

55% of Syrians want Assad to stay (as of December 2011)

Unfortunately JNA the west and islamic countries don’t care about the results of polls one way or the other.

They’re dead set on destroying Syria as soon as possible.

February 22nd, 2012, 7:50 pm


Tara said:


The poor journalists who were killed by Criminal, the second, couldn’t go anywhere without a government minder. That what kept them from notifying the government of their presence.

February 22nd, 2012, 7:52 pm


habib said:

257. Syrialover

“intercepted by Lebanese intelligence staff”

Which is what? Hariri’s personal “Internal Security Forces”?

February 22nd, 2012, 7:55 pm


habib said:

260. Tara

So how is this different from the French journalist killed by the FSA? Is it somehow worse because the government did it?

February 22nd, 2012, 7:56 pm


Tara said:


The other journalist was also killed by Criminal, the Second.

Don’t you like Bashar’s new title. I stole it from SL.

February 22nd, 2012, 8:01 pm


Tara said:

In the snow-covered villages of this strategic highland, Druse are quietly breaking a long-standing code of silence and — for the first time since Israel captured the Golan from Syria in 1967 — holding protests against the Syrian government for its brutal crackdown on opponents. Anti-Syria graffiti has sprouted up, and hundreds of people have joined a Golan-linked Facebook group critical of Assad.
…. .
In the early weeks of the uprising against Assad last March, they lined up staunchly behind him, at least publicly. There were no demonstrations backing his opponents, and those who would express concern over Syria’s problems would often attribute them to the coterie around Assad and not the Syria leader himself.
…. .
But there are also signs of cracking support.
In addition to the public protests, activists have scrawled graffiti, or carried balloons reading “Freedom,” ”Democracy” and, “Mass murder is a war crime.” In one case, they hoisted on a mountaintop the red, white, green and black flag of the 20th-century Arab revolt against Ottoman rule, they said.
While dissident graffiti has been painted over, Twitter and Facebook groups have offered other vehicles for protest.


February 22nd, 2012, 8:19 pm



JNA, you do realize your analysis doesn’t have any foundation in statistics? Honestly, no poll coming out of Syria is in any way meaningful. But, if we were to assume that the polls coming out of Syria aren’t affected by bias, a sample size of 98 in a country with a population of 24,000,000 probably results in a margin of error of around 12/13%, while a sample of 1000 out of a population of 187,000,000 leads to a margin of error of roughly 4%. The numbers were done off the top of my head, but they shouldn’t be far off. The larger the population, the smaller the sample size needs to be relative to the population. There are a million and one other flaws with the poll, but even if we were to go with it, Assad is well within the margin of error.

Anyways, who knows? Maybe the principles of statistical analysis were created as part of a massive Western Salafist Zionist conspiracy. That’s why Bashar al Wahish wouldn’t let pollsters and academics study political phenomena in the country, even prior to the uprising; because surveys and statistics about how his constituents feel about their government are a part of this imperialist plot.

February 22nd, 2012, 8:26 pm


habib said:

263. Tara

As for the name, well, calling the name “Besho” more creative would be a stretch, but in this case it is almost warranted.

February 22nd, 2012, 8:31 pm


Leo Syriacus said:

No one wants to destroy Syria ..everybody wants to destroy the children-killing regime..remember Cosmic Conspiracy

February 22nd, 2012, 8:32 pm


ann said:

251. Leo Syriacus said:

Martin Luther King JR said …


What did Martin Luther King Jr. say about depleted uranium and phosphorus bombs?

February 22nd, 2012, 8:40 pm



Just to note, the margin of error for a sample size of 97 should be roughly 10%. I counted the youth population in the original estimate.

February 22nd, 2012, 8:50 pm


Syrialover said:

Oh please, pleeease. Spend mental energy reading Marie Helvin’s sympathetic and courageous eyewitness reports from Syria instead of huffing and puffing about whether her death is getting more coverage than others. That is, if you care and want to face what’s actually happening inside Syria.

Rather than silly conspiracy theories, maybe the volume of comments by her fellow journalists could have something to do with her 30 years in the front line as a very well-known and respected, quality international journalist. Most recently as a truthful voice from Homs speaking to the world on the BBC.

The following comment on her and all other deaths in Homs summarises the current situation:

“As the Arab Spring unfolds, the regime is screaming a hideous death-cry not just for its own rule, but for an ideology of dictatorship.

Here is a species on the verge of extinction, lashing out as it sinks into prehistory.”

Worth reading:

February 22nd, 2012, 9:02 pm


bronco said:

#258 Habib

War journalists who sneak in battlefields are playing Russia roulette, either they make a scoop and get a Pulizter award or they are wounded or die.
It was reported they were in a ‘makeshift press center’ together with activists supporters of the armed mutineers of the FSA.
This “media center’ may have also been a communication center for the armed mutineers, therefore a potential target of attacks.
That the army targeted that house is not a surprise, but what is surprising is that these journalists naively thought they were safe and did not even bother stay in shelters, despite the reporting by Colvin a day before she was killed of the ‘merciless pounding of Bab Amr’.
As they didn’t notify the Syrian government of their presence, the responsibility of their safety was on the FSA and the rebels who sheltered them in Bab Amr, and the newspaper who send them.

Of course, the events will be reported as a deliberate attack on the journalists, as it was presented, with no reasonable proofs, for Gilles Jacquier.

February 22nd, 2012, 9:16 pm


jna said:

Just to note, the margin of error for a sample size of 97 should be roughly 10%. I counted the youth population in the original estimate.,

So if everything else is ok about the poll, we could say that between 45% and 65% of Syrian feel Assad should remain in office until elections, based on this poll? Does that reflect what you’re saying?

February 22nd, 2012, 9:22 pm


Tara said:


Marie Colvin had reported from war zones for decades, but in one of her last calls out, she said she had never seen anything to compare.

“Sickening, cannot understand how the world can stand by and I should be hardened by now,” she wrote

I wonder…  Can you still defend the regime reading what Marie Colvin said yesterday?

February 22nd, 2012, 9:25 pm


Ghufran said:

رامي السيد
Who said death is the great equator?
Regime heads, corrupt merchants and everyone with an extra buck is either safe or has an exit plan. Most of those who are dying are ordinary syrians who are sidelined today and will continue to be sidelined in any future regime in Syria and other Arab countries.
It is funny that filtration and moderation allowed posts insulting Syrian Christians to appear unedited while main steam polite posts are very hard to post.

February 22nd, 2012, 9:29 pm


bronco said:

Tara #255

As a Syrian women who support the SNC, are you proud of Basma Kodmani?

February 22nd, 2012, 9:33 pm


Tara said:


What do you expect my answer to be?

February 22nd, 2012, 9:40 pm


Anton said:

Dears @ 244 , 246

I just want to say referring to what Jesus said on the cross while he was dying:

God, please forgive them , because they do not know what they are talking about !!

February 22nd, 2012, 9:53 pm


bronco said:

273. Tara

I have no doubt that this war is escalating and becoming increasingly ruthless. The civilians caught in the middle are the ones paying the price of the insistence of the Arab and the western countries that any political solution should be exclusively under their terms and deliberately discarding any consultation with the other Syrians to determine what they really want.

The Friends of Syria’s exclusion of any representative of Syrians other than the opposition is a flagrant confirmation of their unilateral and non-democratic dictating approach. It will harm Syria more than it would help. No Syrian should accept an imposed solution coming from a conference not including ALL the Syrians.

As for Bab Amr, it reminds me when loyalists of Qaddafi were besieged by the rebels in the towns of Bani Walid and Sirte for over a month. The number of casualties among the citizens of these towns was never reported because the international press was in favor of the fall of the towns. No journalist was interested to sneak in these towns to report the horrors the civilians were enduring from the bombs of NATO and the anti-Qaddafi troops. The reputation of the NATO and the anti-Qaddafi had to be preserved. So let me have some doubts about the integrity and independence of journalists.

Even though it is said that Marie Colvin reported to CNN, BBC etc.. I have not seen any of her reports.
Read the whole story “in memoriam” of Marie Colvin and the circumstances of her death. It’s depressing and make one wonder what is the mind of these journalists to take such risks and play with death.

February 22nd, 2012, 10:18 pm


bronco said:

#275 Tara

I am expecting you to be proud of her, aren’t you? She stands strong against someone you hate and want to defend the Syrians from his tyranny in any ways possible.
She is Syrian, she is a highly educated women, she is Sunni Moslem (I think), liberal and sophisticated. Even though she left Syria 44 years ago, she claims to still be aware of the aspirations of the common Syrian.
Do you have any hesitation to applaude her for what she stands for and what he is doing? If so why?
Basma Kodmani (L), a senior SNC official, and Ausama Monajed, SNC adviser, speak during a news conference in Paris February 22, 2012. The opposition Syrian National Council (SNC) said on Wednesday it was coming to the view that military intervention was the only solution to the nearly year-old crisis that has killed thousands in Syria. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer (FRANCE – Tags: POLITICS)

February 22nd, 2012, 10:33 pm


Equus said:

Rupert Murdoch, the head of News Corporation and the owner of The Sunday Times, saluted Ms. Colvin as “one of the most outstanding foreign correspondents of her generation,” and said in an e-mail to the paper’s staff she “was a victim of a shell attack by the Syrian Army on a building that had been turned into an impromptu press center by the rebels.
So basically this tells us that the Official Syrian Army is not targeting civilians randomly. There are specific locations that they are after.

February 22nd, 2012, 10:40 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

There is beautiful article by Suhail Kiwan in AlQuds
حوار مع السيد حسن نصر الله..

The fire that killed the two journalists were Assad army fire, the regime accepted to withdraw all military elements from the cities,yet the regime did not respect his words,to blame the FSA for the death of the journalists is ludicrous.

To blame Basma Qudmani for talking with Jewish ,,,remind me of Bashar Assad when he shaked hands with Shimon Perez when he was sitting next to him.He shook his hands and greeted him with a smile and nice words.

February 22nd, 2012, 10:57 pm



JNA, Yes, if it were a random sample, which it is not. I’d have to look closer at their specific methodology, response rate among Syrians, weights, etc. to know how to analyze their results. There are a million problems with conducting surveys in Syria, particularly now, and any competent academic or pollster looking at the results would take any results with a few grains of salt. When you add to it the inherent problems with their basic methodology, no matter where the study is conducted, you have a serious problem. I don’t think anybody can get accurate polling data right now, it was hard to poll before the uprising, and little can be gleaned from the results presented by YouGov or anybody else.

February 22nd, 2012, 11:00 pm


Mariam said:

Any idea how people in Syria will get out of their misery?

February 22nd, 2012, 11:19 pm


Hans said:

The Syrian radical Muslim Brotherhood run human watch based in London, can lie, fabricate, make up stories, numbers, statistic with the support of the CIA, England M6 and the French and all the GCC dogs, it would not change anything on the ground.
the people are fed up with the terrorists and the armed groups.
the legit peaceful revolution was hijacked by the MB, Israelis and the American supported liars in DC.
money was given to the MB in Syria by the CIA since Bush was in power to topple Assad
the miscalculation was that the inside Syrian people don’t want anything to do with the MB and therefore the Syrians have not joined the up rise in droves anymore.
either a free Syria from the radicals and the terrorists or no support and Assad is staying pick your enemies and the Syrians still support Assad as the less enemy than the outside traitors.
add to this Russia calculation that Syria is not going to fall in the hands of the Americans and you have the current situation that Assad is trying to finish the terrorists all over the country.
Turkey front is very quiet for the last few weeks since the secret deal of returning its officers back.
If truly french officers are in captivity in Syrian than will see France becoming as quiet as a pussy cat. Time will tell, but for now, the Russian is asking Assad to finish the cleaning operation as soon as possible, though Russian are never in hurry to finish anything fast therefore Assad has plenty of time on his hands.

February 22nd, 2012, 11:21 pm


Ghufran said:

بغداد ـ من سؤدد الصالحي ـ (رويترز) – رفضت جماعتان عراقيتان متشددتان دعوة من تنظيم القاعدة لمساعدة المعارضة المسلحة في سوريا في مواجهة الرئيس بشار الأسد وقالتا إن إرسال السلاح والمقاتلين عبر الحدود ليس من شأنه سوى زيادة الصراع تدهورا.
وأيد زعيم تنظيم القاعدة ايمن الظواهري الانتفاضة التي تزداد عنفا ضد الأسد الذي يقاتل لابقاء قبضته على السلطة في سوريا التي يحكمها منذ نحو 12 عاما.

February 22nd, 2012, 11:33 pm


Ghufran said:

بغداد ـ من سؤدد الصالحي ـ (رويترز) – رفضت جماعتان عراقيتان متشددتان دعوة من تنظيم القاعدة لمساعدة المعارضة المسلحة في سوريا في مواجهة الرئيس بشار الأسد وقالتا إن إرسال السلاح والمقاتلين عبر الحدود ليس من شأنه سوى زيادة الصراع تدهورا.

February 22nd, 2012, 11:35 pm


Ghufran said:

Regime mouth pieces are asking Syrian Christians to get over article-3, albouti Et al wanted that exclusionary item to please their base.

February 22nd, 2012, 11:39 pm


Syrialover said:

# 271. BRONCO

Those journalists who risk their lives and sneak in to witness and tell the world what’s happening inside Syria are evil pests aren’t they.

It was much better 30 years ago when they didn’t work like that and interfere with Hama. Much more convenient.

# 279. EQUUS
“the Official Syrian Army is not targeting civilians randomly. There are specific locations that they are after.”

Yes, whole towns, villages and suburbs. Complete with housewives, children and elderly. And then journalists as extra, for special sport.

February 22nd, 2012, 11:46 pm


ghufran said:

is it just me or it is a case of a moderator going wild?
5 posts today,none with any banned words never saw the light,
this is the fifth ip adddress I am trying.
can you imagine SC without Ghufran?
it will be like falafel made with good and clean oil: tasteless 🙂

February 22nd, 2012, 11:47 pm


mariam said:

will the people of baba amr have a chance to vote on the constitution?

February 22nd, 2012, 11:53 pm


bronco said:

#283 Syrialover

Nobody doing his job honestly is an evil pest.
I regret they had to pay with their life while performing their job as much as I regret the death of the Syrian soldiers dying doing their job to protect their country against its enemies and the Syrian civilians caught in the fights.
While there are big headlines for the ‘heroic’ foreign journalists, there are no big headlines for the Syrian journalists, these anonymous civilians and soldiers who died too.

February 23rd, 2012, 1:10 am


zoo said:

Turkish main opposition party CHP leader opposes intervention in Syria
ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu agrees with the need for democratic reform in Syria, but cast doubt on whether the toppling of dictators is really the way to bring democracy to Arab nations

Main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has warned that a foreign intervention in Syria may spark unrest in Turkey as well, while stressing that Arab Spring is failing to bring democracy to the region.

February 23rd, 2012, 1:14 am


zoo said:

NATO , Come back!

Libya ruler admits impotency

Libya’s leader admits his transitional government, fails to control militias who do not lay down arms and commit to central governments, as more than 100 people are reportedly killed in tribal clashes in past 10 days

Libya’s leader has admitted that his transitional government is powerless to control militias that are refusing to lay down their arms after ousting Moammar Gadhafi, as fierce clashes between two tribes in Libya’s remote southeastern desert have killed more than 100 people over the past 10 days.

Libya’s leader Mustafa Abdul Jalil also warned that remnants of the former regime still pose a threat, and that it will take years for Libya’s new leaders to overcome the “heavy heritage” of corruption and distrust after more than four decades of Gadhafi’s rule

February 23rd, 2012, 1:18 am


zoo said:

Beijing’s Finely Balanced Syrian Strategy
Richard Weitz
February 21, 2012

Chinese officials profess to see the events in Syria as a civil war between armed factions rather than a popular revolution by an oppressed people against a brutal dictator. “Currently, the situation in Syria is extremely complex,” observes the authoritative commentary published in The People’s Daily after China’s UN vote. “Simplistically supporting one side and suppressing the other might seem a helpful way of turning things around, but in fact it would be sowing fresh seeds of disaster.”

And from this perspective, if the current regime collapses, the result is less likely to be a gentle transition to a liberal democracy than fighting among the elements of the winning coalition over their division of the spoils, with the most ruthless factions, which are often Islamist extremists, having the best shot at victory. A China Daily editorial noted that the Libyan example showed how Muammar Qaddafi’s overthrow did not bring “democracy and freedom” to Libyans, but led to that country’s “falling into a sectarian civil war.” PRC officials claim to have learned from the Libyan experience that they cannot offer the Western powers anything that could justify armed intervention.

Ideally, Beijing would clearly like Assad either to make sufficient concessions to win over his opponents or voluntarily step aside and let someone else do so

In the end, China may need to agree to at least some punitive measures or other UN action just to keep the Security Council the main institutional player in the Syrian issue

Having seen how the United States and Britain acted unilaterally against Kosovo in 1998 and Iraq in 2003 after they could not secure UNSC authorization to use force, PRC policy makers are presumably aware that, If Beijing were to attempt to block all UNSC sanctions, than the Council (and China) would lose influence as Assad’s opponents proceeded to act without UNSC approval. Western governments are already seeking to impose more unilateral sanctions and are considering forming a “Friends of Syria” Group to organize joint actions against them.

February 23rd, 2012, 1:28 am


ann said:

UN Asks Amos to Go to Syria, Russia Says Not Opposing Since No Aid Militarization

UNITED NATIONS, February 22 — At the February 21 luncheon of UN Security Council members and Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Russia’s Deputy Permanent Representative Pankin brought up what was earlier tweeted from Moscow: that there should be a humanitarian envoy to Syria.

France, participants in the closed door luncheon tell Inner City Press, was particularly dismissive.

On February 22, Ban’s Deputy Spokesman announced that Ban will be “meeting Nabil Elaraby to discuss the appointment of a special envoy to handle the crisis. In the meantime, the Secretary-General has asked Valerie Amos, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, to visit Syria.”

During this announcement, Inner City Press was being told where to go and not go by UN Security. From where it was confined, Inner City Press asked Amos’ Deputy Catherine Bragg if there was any indication that Syria’s Bashar al Assad would allow Amos into the country. We really don’t know, Bragg told Inner City Press.

Back at the Security Council, closed door consultations were postponed until late on Tuesday after a long meeting about Timor Leste. Some wondered, how could Russia oppose Amos going? And after the meeting, Russian Deputy Pankin told Inner City Press, “he is dispatching her. We are not opposing it. She is the chief humanitarian in this organization. She is fully aware of the challenges and fully rejects the militarization of aid, armed convoys, and protecting by force. So she will engage in seeking some arrangements, windows, openings.”


February 23rd, 2012, 1:36 am


ann said:

Russia rejects Syria settlements without Damascus’ participation – 2012-02-22

“(This narrow group’s meeting) supposingly will prepare some final document to be submitted to the wider meeting in Tunisia and the participants of that meeting would simply rubber-stamp the decision,” Gatilov said.

“We consider such an approach absolutely unacceptable,” he said, adding that no Syrian officials have been invited to Tunisia.

“That is, the discussion of the acute crisis situation in Syria is to be held without one of the key players, Syrian government,” Gatilov said.


February 23rd, 2012, 1:41 am


ann said:

Syria races to restore security as int’l community ramps up pressure – 2012-02-23

Over the past two weeks, Syria stepped up its crackdown on what it calls armed groups. The government accuses these groups of spreading anarchy, committing murders and intimidating civilians.

Meanwhile, unconfirmed reports suggested that Qatar and Saudi Arabia had urged Jordan to set up camps for gunmen, most likely al- Qaida militants fleeing Iraq.

“Is it by arming the opposition groups that the Syrian crisis would be put to an end?” asked Muneir al-Hamwi, a university student. “We have had enough violence, tension and apprehension… we want to come out of this but of course not through sending more weapons into the country.”

Another Syrian man, Mohammad Abbas, said his countrymen “would rather pressure the opposition groups to engage in a dialogue with the government for a peaceful solution.”

Some countries have expressed reservations on the Tunisia meeting that would receive representatives of the Arab League, the United Nations, the European Union and the United States. Russia and Lebanon have officially said they will not attend the meeting.

The Russian foreign ministry said the “one-sided” meeting would not help to solve the Syrian crisis when the government is not participating.


February 23rd, 2012, 1:52 am


ann said:

Russia doubts loyalty of ‘Friends of Syria’ – 22 February, 2012

The Russian parliamentarian said his task in Syria is to “conduct negotiations with representatives of the authorities and the opposition, get a clearer picture of the situation and give a report to the chairman and deputies of the State Duma.”

“Despite all the heated arguments in view of the upcoming election, United Russia and the opposition spoke in unison on this matter,” Pushkov told RT.

“The Syrian government should not be the only side obliged to lay down their weapons,” he said. “The armed groups opposing the government should be required to do the same.”

Meanwhile, the head of the Duma Foreign Affairs Committee said the Russian delegation will “continue its attempts to persuade the [President Bashar al-Assad] government to adjust their approach with respect to the use of military force when dispersing opposition groups.” At the same, he expressed hope that “those with the ability to influence the armed groups should use it to ensure that violence is not regarded as the only way out of the conflict.”

Pushkov summed up the slippery nature of the situation: “If…the Assad government decides to restrict the use of force, the other side should not be able to use it to their advantage. This has happened before. When the government troops were ordered back to the barracks at the request of the Arab League, during the work of its mission here, the rebel groups used the opportunity to mount an offensive.”

“I have met with Mr. Assad himself, the foreign minister, the parliamentary speaker and with representatives of two opposition organizations. I have to say that I did not get the impression that it is “the people versus Assad” in this conflict. The situation is different.”

“A faction of the people is indeed opposing the regime while another part supports Mr. Assad – some quite actively – while yet another faction does not want Syria to fall into chaos. They support the regime passively, but they are clearly not on the armed insurgents’ side and they do not support the idea of outside interference.”


February 23rd, 2012, 2:01 am


zoo said:

The USA doesn’t expect recognition of the SNC at the “Friends”
in Tunis

‘Friends’ of Syria Expected to Spar Over Arming Rebels
By Nour Malas

The meeting of the “Friends of Syria” in Tunis is not likely to produce decisions on military aid or even recognition of Syria’s disparate opposition groups, according to U.S. officials. But countries are considering creating large stockpiles of humanitarian aid along Syria’s borders, the officials said.

U.S. officials stressed that discussion of military assistance is still preliminary. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the diplomacy. To maintain the pressure against Assad, Washington is trying to keep as many countries as possible involved in the international coordination against Syria’s government — even if there is no consensus strategy on arming the rebels.

This week’s talks will seek to clarify some of the confusion. The U.S. is trying to get a clearer picture of what promises countries such as Syria’s Arab neighbors are making to elements of the opposition; which rebels each government might support; and some agreement on what types of assistance would be helpful or damaging.

Read more:

February 23rd, 2012, 2:13 am


annie said:

from Democracy Now

KARAM NACHAR: Well, Amy, I think it’s very easy to show how many imperfections the situation on the ground right now has. Obviously, the situation is very far from ideal, especially when it comes to the political opposition. I am just a little wary that this overemphasis on how leaderless the Syrian opposition is is actually a tactic being used of people who actually do not want the regime to be overthrown and who have always actually defended the legitimacy of the Syrian regime, and especially of Bashar al-Assad.

I think the opposition is not that leaderless. I think it’s a sign of political health that are these several political groups. There are the Islamists. There are also the moderate Islamists. There are liberals. There are people inside. There are people outside. It’s a little—it’s a little strange that while this is a democratic revolution, we expect all these political groups to basically all stand behind one strong man, whereas the entire revolution is predicated against the theory of the one strong man. And this is, for instance, why the people, the different political groups that constitute the Syrian National Council, wanted the leader or the president, the chairperson of the Syrian National Council to be a rotating position for every three months, so as to underemphasize this need for the one strong historic leader. This is a political fascination that has unfortunately taken root in the Arab world for too long, and it’s time that we move beyond that.

I also think that, whereas the situation in Iraq was obviously catastrophic on all different accounts, the Syrian opposition, the old one, the new one—most Syrians, in fact—have opposed the war in Iraq. And as I said, what they’re asking for, this intervention that they’re asking for, [inaudible] they realize it’s not perfect. But I think we can learn from the lessons of the past. The vast—the biggest reason, the most important reason why there was civil war in Iraq was because the Americans listened to these exiled figures outside Iraq and implemented a completely foolish policy of de-Baathification, and so basically collective punishment of the entire state structure in Iraq. And that basically created a group of people that were disenfranchised, basically.
for more with Joshua here :

February 23rd, 2012, 2:15 am


ann said:

SYRIA: Syrian army ready to launch ‘final offensive’ on Homs – 23 February 2012

An excerpt from the article, “SYRIA: Syrian army ready to launch ‘final offensive’ on Homs” can be found below. Please read the entire article at this link: SYRIA: Syrian army ready to launch ‘final offensive’ on Homs.

“The regime is preparing to launch its final offensive in order to crush the rebels in Baba Amr,” Fabrice Balanche, director of the Lyon-based Group for Research and Study of the Mediterranean and Middle East, explains. “The district is one of the strongest forces of resistance.” Balanche says that once the civilians have fled the district, the army will be able to more easily target the rebels.

Some two thirds of the inhabitants have already fled the district according to local residents. Among those who remain are hundreds of deserters who have quit the regime forces to join the rebels. “Almost 70% of the district has been destroyed”

“There is a comparison to be drawn between Homs and Hama,” Balanche argues. He says the army strategy in the two towns, 30 years apart, is the same. “They allow the rebels to regroup then take position accordingly. They then shoot at inhabitants who don’t overtly support them, provoking the rebels to shoot back in the same violent manner, which in turn loses them support among the local population. It’s at that point that the army sweeps in and crushes the rebellion.

“The army has already employed this tactic in other towns,” Balanche goes on. “Notably in Rankus in the north-east of the country, and Idler in the south.” Balanche believes that the regime will manage to take back control of the country, in military terms, in the coming months. “The country is going to be split in half between those for and against the Assad regime”, he explains.

“The authorities want to be in a strong enough position so that they have the upper hand when it comes to negotiating with the rebels. But the civil war will go on no matter what happens. The public no longer believe in the reforms promised by Assad.”


February 23rd, 2012, 2:16 am


annie said:

More from the debate on Democracy Now

KARAM NACHAR: I think it’s very unfortunate that a lot of experts on Syria have tried to package what is going on now as a regional and international confrontation between the United States and its allies and Iran and the enemies of the state of Israel, because, in a way, this pushes the liberals and the progressive voices of the West to not want to get involved and to think of this as an imperialist ploy. I think this is a moral fiasco on the part of these liberal and progressive intellectuals.

This is a democratic struggle that started on March 15 of 2011. Of course, a year after, it’s going to get very complicated. But ultimately, ultimately—and it’s, for me, it’s a little strange that I find myself agreeing with Senator McCain, that report that you guys started with, because really the situation right now in Syria is one of a humanitarian—the proportions of a humanitarian disaster, and there’s a need for help given to the Syrian protesters and the Syrian demonstrators. It goes without saying that the United States of America and the Europeans, when they want to get involved in this, they are concerned about the regional implications, the regional repercussions. So are the Turks, and so are the members of the GCC and the Arab League. But ultimately, this is not about the—

February 23rd, 2012, 2:17 am


zoo said:

Pre-empting the “Friends of Syria” humanitarian requests…
Russia Proposes Sending UN Envoy to Syria

MOSCOW February 21, 2012 (AP)

Russia on Tuesday urged the United Nations to send a special envoy to Syria to help coordinate security issues and the delivery of humanitarian assistance.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Twitter Tuesday that it’s proposing that the U.N. Security Council ask the U.N. Secretary General to send the envoy.

On Monday Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said the world body should help solve humanitarian issues in Syria, after Damascus allowed the Red Cross to bring humanitarian aid to some regions.

February 23rd, 2012, 2:23 am


Syrialover said:

See this stunning 8 minute report on Homs. Brilliant and clear, from a French jourmalist inside.

Just after the 6 minute point on the report you see a big crowd defiant and dancing, the young and old. They are joyful in cursing Bashar Assad. Incredible moving human spirit.

February 23rd, 2012, 2:34 am


Antoine said:

246. Tara said:


Can you please elaborate on the Christians orthodox’ s deep seated hatred towards Sunnis. I am interested in the subject.”

Tara, The Orthodox Church was in control of vast swathes of the Middle East and the Balkans in the 7th century, under the Byzantine Empire ( Eastern Roman Empire), which was Orthodox Church. Islam turned it upside-down, now do you get it ?

( I’m not even mentioning the frequent run-ins between the Ottoman State and the Orthodox clergy between 1860-1918)

February 23rd, 2012, 2:51 am


Syrialover said:

#284. Bronco

“no headlines for the Syrian journalists killed”

Yes, Assad has made sure of that. But it’s harder for him to sweep those well known reporters from other countries under the carpet, especially when they are killed on his orders.

To me the death of every Syrian to keep Assad in power is heartbreaking and shocking.

But without foreign reporters and media that use the work of Syrian journalists the world would know and understand a lot less about Syrians’courage and suffering. Like back in the Hama days.

After watching that report on Homs(above)my heart was with the people but I felt sorrow also for the government snipers who were surrounded. What a tragedy to live in a country where that is a way to earn a living – to shoot citizens to help keep a dictator in power.

Every government killer and torturer has had their lives wasted and debased and made ugly by this regime. They are losers in this one life they have, permanent outsiders. Their souls will never know the strength and spirit to dance for freedom like the people of Homs.

February 23rd, 2012, 3:10 am


Mina said:

Read up what about Saudi Arabia? I consider extremist or pawns in the hands of extremists, Muslims who believe in fairy tales and do not “ask for ‘ilm until China”. If you want to say that Saudis are educated and not religious extremists, why do they cope with a “government” that does not allow Ethiopian Christians to pray together in an appartment (since no church is allowed) or beheads a 60 year old woman for “sorcery” ?
Since they have to admit they need slaves (contrary to Islamic precepts, in my view) why don’t they allow the slaves to have Hindu temples and Churches to practice their religion? This is what I call religious extremism. And to have satellite TVs lying all day about Islam with cookoo sheykhs, don’t you think it also spread a wrong version of religion? The Saudis spread an Islam which believes in magic much more than they believe in religion, precisely contrarily to what Abd al Wahhab has written. But don’t ask them to understand what they read.

February 23rd, 2012, 3:30 am


Syrialover said:

#299 Antoine

Any orthodox Christian-Sunni dispute you talk about is a minor forgotten playground squabble compared with the massive Sunni-Shia hostilities over the past 1,300 years and now rocking the world.

The Christians have had their own terrible internal religious and civil wars. Any problems with Sunnis hardly make their history books.

February 23rd, 2012, 3:34 am


Syrialover said:

Mina #301

Hang on, the plot’s been lost somewhere.

You responded (#229) “As you see in Saudi Arabia?” to my comment: ““When people get education, economic opportunities, rule of law and freedom, then religious extremism and savage sectarian politics die a natural death.”

I assumed you were stating that people in Saudi Arabia had education, rule of law and freedom etc and yet were still religious extremists.

But in reality they do not have any of these things, their education is non-modern and religious and even economic opportunities for many Saudis are weak. Which is why primitive beliefs and jihadism remain flourishing there.

So I think we don’t disagree after I read your latest comment.

February 23rd, 2012, 3:50 am


Mina said:

Links to the AL report have been posted here before, but here is an interview of one of the observers.
Add that the death of two journalists yesterday has enabled us to know that Skype functions perfectly in Homs. Emails also arrive to and from Syria just as quickly as in any uncensored place (from my experience in the 2 last days).

February 23rd, 2012, 5:42 am


Mina said:

Partition of Libya:

(reminds you of Iraq? of Lebanon?)

February 23rd, 2012, 5:54 am


Revlon said:

Assad army soldier Zakariya Zaibanni, captured by FSA confesses to shooting by Assad forces on civilians in Hama city during Friday demonstration resulting in the killing of over 100 civilians and wounding of many more.
He also confesses to executing over 20 wounded civilians in the streets of Hama city himself!

أوغاريت , اعترافات المجند زكريا بالاعمال الاجرامي للجيش لاسدي في درعا
Uploaded by UgaritNEWSChannel on Feb 20, 2012

February 23rd, 2012, 6:18 am


Inside the anti-uprising movement in Syria | Green Conduct said:

[…] middle-upper classes, with the first mass demonstrations in the wealthy Damascene neighbourhood of Mezzeh on 18 February. As shortages of bread and fuel increase, private bank assets decline, tourism […]

February 23rd, 2012, 6:40 am


Hans said:

Weird that Assad has this much people who hate him.
the corrupt regime is not much different than any other regime in the region. KSA has brutal laws and worse than the secret services in Syria. The USA was handing terrorists to KSA to be tortured there therefore the Syrian prisons are not much different in the region then other.
the only difference here that you have an Alawite president married to an upper class Sunni woman, who most of the Sunni families in Homs support and admire, who the west and the GCC dogs don’t want due to regional politics.
Therefore, at the expense of destroying Syria and killing limitless number of innocent the operation is continuing. The question is whether the regime will go down!!!
It is clear and true that many Sunni have large participation in the regime therefore to call the regime as an alawite regime is a minus statement, many powerful people in the regime are Sunni.
It is more about loyalty to Assad than sectarian issue!!!
There have been some Alawite ( few) who have not been on the side of the regime and their fate have not been better than the opposing Sunni.
If the GCC continues to interfere in the Syrian Affairs as they are doing now then it would not never have a peaceful resolution to the Syrian crisis, I think the Russian and the Americans have to come to an agreement that Assad will go if Russia appoint another dictator who is a Russian follower, it has to be a dictator who either follows the Russian or the Americans, democracy is a phony foreign word in the middle east and if you don’t agree, just look no further than your feet at Iraq, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya etc.
pick your devil and choose between the MB or the secular Russian dictator, Putin, is a well example of my argument, and the choice for many is obvious.
If MB is going to take over Syria than it is going to be another Afghanistan for years to come, especially Syria is a poor country with destroyed resources. People talk about education as the way to free people from radicalization and I totally disagree given many and the most dangerous MB leaders are the ones who are well educated, especially in the west which carries the most danger to the world.
Education should be attached to liberation from a rotten religious believes goes back to stone age associate with many fairy tales, education should be attached to using the human intellectual argument that religion is a reason why people kill each other in the name of god for thousands of year.
It is about time to leave religion at home if people want to believe and have descent life where acceptance of the others is not conditional based on his/her religious affiliation.
many of the educated MB are killers and their hands are deep in the blood of many innocent people all over the world.

February 23rd, 2012, 7:00 am


Tara said:

The veteran French surgeon Dr Jacques Bérès, who has been operating in Homs for three weeks, says he no longer believes he can leave the city, which is being “almost constantly bombarded”.

It’s hard, very tiring. And now I don’t think I’ll be able to leave either that side of the city or the other. We tried yesterday to transfer the whole hospital towards Damascus but we were stopped on the road; there were people killed…I’ve been here now for about three weeks; I am very tired. I thought I was going to go home tomorrow and I had organised a means of transport. But it seems there is no longer a chance of getting out…

It’s starting to look like Beirut during the war. Cars are on fire, buildings on fire, holes in the walls of houses and lots, lots of injured- sometimes Free Syria Army fighters but mainly civilians- men, women and children. They are not managing to evacuate the most vulnerable people…These men are very brave and believe victory is possible. I do too, but it is claiming so many human lives. The neighbourhood is being almost constantly bombarded.

The humanitarian situation, said Bérès, was nearing disaster.

There are not many anaesthetics left and if more don’t arrive secretly from abroad it’s going to get difficult…There is very little left: not much food, not much water, and there is no more electricity to pump. There are generators, but no one has any more fuel to power them.

February 23rd, 2012, 7:07 am


mjabali said:

Well said Hans.

Hans said:

“Education should be attached to liberation from a rotten religious believes goes back to stone age associate with many fairy tales, education should be attached to using the human intellectual argument that religion is a reason why people kill each other in the name of god for thousands of year.
It is about time to leave religion at home if people want to believe and have descent life where acceptance of the others is not conditional based on his/her religious affiliation. “

February 23rd, 2012, 7:19 am


Tara said:


The besiege of Homs reminds you of the besiege of Bani Walid and Sirte,and does nor remind you at all with bombardment of Misrata?

Do you also wonder what is in the mind of people like Rachel Courie to flagrantly play with death? I actually don’t.

You are faulting the Arab and western countries for wanting Bashar to resign. Is it too outrageous for me to ever wonder if you have ever fault Bashar for burning Syria to preserve his throne. Moubarak , Zein Abdeen, and even Yaman’s Saleh resigned to preserve their country. Didn’t they?

February 23rd, 2012, 7:53 am


DAWOUD said:

RE: My earlier Comment # 207

These are general replies to some of your earlier comments regarding my # 207.

We Syrians are proud/honored if our revolution against Bashar the Murderer is called “intifada.” You seem to side with the Zionist occupier in this comment. Being a Christian should make you ask: “what would Jesus have done?” Do you thing that Jesus عليه السلام would have sided with Bashar the Muderer agains the innocents of Baba Amr, Der’a, Hama, etc.?
As Tara said earlier, the majority of Syria’s Christians are cheering for Alawi terrorists killing Sunni Muslims! There are aslo Christian radical terrorists like Defense Minister Rajha! The term “terrorist” should not only be used to describe Muslims. There are Christian “terrorists, ” Jewish “terrorists,” Alawi “terrorists,” etc.
It happens to be the case now that most terror is committed in Syria AGAINST SUNNI MULSIMS by Alawis and Christians (Rajha), etc.

I don’t blieve in censorship and I don’t believe that any blog should be SHUT DOWN. I was just EXPRESSING MY OPINION that this blog is SLANTED against SUNNI MUSLIM SYRIANS, who are NOT represented on its editorial “BOARD.” It’s funny how Bashar’s apologists/supporters on this blog complain about “silencing,” “shutting,” etc. Your idol, Bashar, and his murderous thugs are the masters of shutting and silencing. Heck! Many Syrian bloggers would be happy if they only get shut down and silenced without their fingers broken (eg., Ali Farzat) or their eyes carved out of their faces, or their sisters and wives raped in front of them, etc…. I admire Ehsani for not providing his real last name because, even as a minor critic of the regime, he knows that this is not enough. One has to sing Bashar’s songs day and night to survive as a blogger in dictatorial Syira!

What “TRUTH” that somebody who replied to my comment was talking about? Does it include the conspiracy theory that Hamza al-Khateeb was killed by Saudis? Please open your eyes and stop supporting a dictator only because he is killing Sunni Muslim Syrians. We are, as Professor Landis said in his reply to my earlier comment, %80 of Syria’s population.
Saying that the Gulf Arab states began to intervene in Syria when the number of killed “was only 200” is troubling. Why? 1) it minimizes the importance of Syrian life. We in Syria say “الدم غالي” or “bood is Expensive,” which means any life lost is a big deal. 200 lives are REALLY, REALLY a big deal. We CAN’T forgive those who killed thousands of us, and those who cheered for their killing. I just hope that we PURSUE LEGAL “REVENGE” THROUGH FAIR TRIALS. I AM NOT IN FAVOR OF VIGILANTE JUSTICE. To borrow from the Sectarian Nuri al-Maliki (who first complained about “Ba’athists” and now, not to anger Bashar, talks about “Saddamists”), a democratic Syria may exclude “Basharists” from government. Sorry to say it, most Syrian Christians, including those on this blog, are “BASHARISTS.”
2) Talking about outside intervention, particularly that from the Arab Gulf States, gives the false impression that the ongoing Syrian Revolution is a “conspiracy.” NO, it is a legitimate spontaneous revolution whether one or more editors on this blog admits it.

PS#1, I don’t care to see that my comments receive 2-1 thumbs down. I think of it positively: that at least half of my thumbs down are moderator-generated. I AM JUST JOCKING!

PS # 2, if I any part of this comment is not published, I will email this entire comment to Professor Landis to make him the final arbiter whether I should be censured or banned! This is a free platform. It is not part of Bashar’s and Rami Makhlouf’s media empire!

PS # 3, Bashar’s supports should find this skillful person very helpful
فضيحة قناة الدنيا::: الشبيح المتعدد المواهب (صوت وصورة)

February 23rd, 2012, 8:44 am


SC Moderation said:

[NOTE to Dawoud. Your posts badgering the moderator are under review. They will be released with comment later today. Thanks for your patience. Please observe the letter and intent of Syria Comment Rules and Regulations, and address your complaints directly to the Moderator email address provided. ]

February 23rd, 2012, 12:14 pm


Jerusalem said:

صحفي سوري من لوس انجلوس ( عمره 22 سنة ) اصبح من المعارضة الغليونية رغم ان صوره كانت تملأ الصحف وهو ينط ويرقص ويدبك في حفلات القنصلية السورية السنوية ( التي لا تدعى اليها عرب تايمز لانها من المغضوب عليهم ) بعث الينا بشتيمة ضمنها درسا في الوطنية ( وليس في فنون النط والرقص والدبكة ) وختمها بوعيد وتهديد … فرد عليه رئيس التحرير : اسمع عموه … عمرك كما تقول 22 سنة اي انك من مواليد عام 1990 ونحن نكتب وننشر مقالات ضد نظام البعث في سوريا منذ عام 1982 اي قبل ان ينط ابوك على امك بثماني سنوات كاملة .. فلا تزاود علينا انت وغليونك .. عموه… وخيطوا بغير هذه الابرة … عموه
نحن لسنا من فسطاط بشار .. ولا من فسطاط غليون … نحن من فسطاط سوريا وهو فسطاط يمثل الملايين من العرب والسوريين الذين يرون المؤامرة ويستشعرون ابعادها التي لا تستهدف بشار او نظام حكمه او حزب البعث … وانما تستهدف الوطن العربي الكبير … وبالتحديد المقاومتين اللبنانية والفلسطينية ومن لا يرى هذا سواء كان من الفسطاط نمبر ون او من الفسطاط نمبر تو يكون حمارا … بقرنين
مثلك تماما .. عموه

February 23rd, 2012, 9:49 am


Tara said:

The writer of the above article posted by Jerusalem is vulgar and should consider putting a halt on his writing carrier. He is not worth the honor of carrying a pen to write. He is what I consider a peasant. No offense to real peasants.

Some Syrians need a manners revolution.

February 23rd, 2012, 10:02 am


Revlon said:

Scores of of soldiers, including colonels defect from Assad army, across Syria yesterday and announce their joinong of the FSA.

The following is a recorded sammples from daraa, Damascus Countryside, and Rastan of Hama Governorate.

ريف دمشق انشقاق العقيد خالد محمد الحمود 22/2/2012

Uploaded by yil3anbashar on Feb 22, 2012
ريف دمشق انشقاق العقيد خالد محمد الحمود وانضمامه الى الجيش الحر22/2/2012

الرستن إنشقاق المقدم محمود محمد الحبوس 2012 22 20

درعا:النعيمة:أداء قسم لواء أبو بكر الصديق 22 2 2012

Uploaded by horanmartyrs2 on Feb 22, 2012
درعا : النعيمة: اداء القسم لقائد لواء ابو بكر الصديق في حوران مع عدد من قادة الكتائب 22 2 2012

February 23rd, 2012, 10:20 am


Ghufran said:

1.24pm: A US official has confirmed that tomorrow’s Friends of Syria meeting will try to set a deadline for a ceasefire in Syria, according to Reuters.

February 23rd, 2012, 10:26 am


ann said:

China not to attend Friends of Syria conference – 2012-02-23

BEIJING, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) — Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Thursday that China will not attend the Friends of Syria conference Friday in Tunisia.

February 23rd, 2012, 10:26 am


Ghufran said:

This post may never get through the new firewall of the moderator. Blocking the ip adresses of any poster without a reason is unacceptable. Joshua was notified.

February 23rd, 2012, 10:37 am


Revlon said:

The potential for success of the Friends of Syria conference has received a major boost by the unwitting, self exclusion of the detracting superpowers, Russia and China.

The more abstentions from supporters of the regime the better the chances for effective, tangible achievements in the conference of Friends of Syria.

February 23rd, 2012, 10:39 am


ann said:

Russia welcomes UN envoy’s planned trip to Syria – 2012-02-23

“Moscow supports the decision of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to send Valery Amos, the envoy for humanitarian issues, to Syria urgently,” the ministry said in a statement.

“Politicization in that sensitive sphere is unacceptable. Delivery of the aid must be conducted without military escorting,” Moscow said, urging Amos to act in an unbiased, objective and non-political manner.


February 23rd, 2012, 10:39 am


ann said:

Syria asks foreign journalists to respect regulations – 2012-02-23

After the journalists’ death, Syrian Information Minister Adnan Mahmoud said he was not aware of their presence in Syria and urged journalists who had entered the country illegally to “go to the nearest center… to regularize their status.”

Meanwhile, Makdissi said that respecting Syrian laws would allow visiting journalists to get facilities and recommendations from the Information Ministry over the situation on the ground, adding that the ministry was exerting all-out efforts and had granted licenses to around 200 media delegations over the past two months.

The spokesman said the ministry offered its condolences to the families of journalists who were killed on the Syrian territories, while rejecting statements that held Syria responsible for the death of journalists who sneaked into the country without the notifying the Syrian authorities.


February 23rd, 2012, 10:45 am


Tara said:

China should be disinvited. There should be a price tag for supporting a mass killer. Isolation and contempt should be the price tag. Unfortunately, it will not happen.

February 23rd, 2012, 10:47 am


ghufran said:

testing SC new selective firewall

February 23rd, 2012, 10:47 am


mariam said:

trying to get through the firewall

February 23rd, 2012, 10:49 am


Revlon said:

رمضان لـ «الراي»: من أمَر باغتيال شقيقي يرتبط مباشرة بأحد مسؤولي النظام الكبار وسنكشف اسمه قريبا
Ahmad Ramadan, member of the SNC’s Executive Council to AlRai Newspaper: My brother was assassinated at the order of a high regime official.
The field order was communicated by a high official in Assad military security forces. Both of their names shall be revealed soon.

بيروت – من ريتا فرج |
Thursday 23/02/2012
حمّل عضو المكتب التنفيذي في المجلس الوطني السوري أحمد رمضان النظام السوري «مسؤولية» اغتيال شقيقه رجل الأعمال محمود عبدالقادر رمضان الذي تم اغتياله أمام منزله في منطقة جمعية الصيادلة في حيّ حلب الجديدة أول من أمس.
وأكد لـ «الراي» أن «من أعطى الأمر الميداني لتنفيذ العملية هو ضابط رفيع المستوى في الاسخبارات العسكرية»، مشيرا الى الاعلان «عن اسمه قريباً جدا»، ومشددا على أن شقيقه البالغ من العمر 42 عاما وله 4 أطفال تلقى «تهديدا بالقتل من الأجهزة الأمنية السورية» وأن والدته «جرى تهديدها بشكل يومي من الأمن السوري وهددوها بالانتقام من أبنائها».
واكد ان «الجهة المسؤولة عن اغتيال شقيقي هي النظام ونحن نتحقق من هذا الموضوع عبر مساعدة شباب الثورة في الداخل. وقد استطعنا حتى الآن أن نصل الى مَن أعطى الأمر الميداني لتنفيذ العملية وهو ضابط رفيع المستوى في الاسخبارات العسكرية وسنعلن عن اسمه قريبا جدا وهو يرتبط مباشرة بأحد مسؤولي النظام الكبار
…………. More

February 23rd, 2012, 10:50 am


ann said:

Five law-enforcement officials killed in northern Syria – 2012-02-23

DAMASCUS, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) — Five law-enforcement officials were killed and seven others wounded on Thursday by an explosive device planted by “armed terrorist group” at the southern entrance of the northern province of Idlib, state-run SANA news agency reported.

Another three explosive devices were dismantled by engineering units at Jasr al-Shoughour area in Idlib, said SANA.

Also in Idlib, seven Syrians who were kidnapped by “armed terrorists groups” were set free on Thursday by specialized authorities in a “qualitative operation” in the Maaret al-Numan city.

SANA said two terrorists were killed and 12 others were wounded during the release operation.

A day earlier, border guards foiled an attempt by an armed group to sneak into Syria via Turkish territories near al-Nasra area in Idlib suburb. A number of the group members were killed or wounded while some others ran away into Turkey.


February 23rd, 2012, 10:51 am


Equus said:

Dear Hans,

You wrote:
People talk about education as the way to free people from radicalization and I totally disagree given many and the most dangerous MB leaders are the ones who are well educated, especially in the west which carries the most danger to the world.

Last week, I was asking myself this question, could educated people be MB?
I consulted a Dr. in Cleveland about a week ago and he is a fellow from this …and on the board of that…I asked him how come he is practicing again in the US (because he left for 10 years). He said him and his comrades were instructed to leave Syria prior the incident in Daraa to avoid the big mayhem and not to become an easy target since he is MB….I was appalled by such response. A very educated man could be fanatic.

The second thought I had, why these Doctors of Muslim Brothers are not volunteering in Homs….the least they could do if they are so humanitarians? On the other hand, you have French surgeon like Dr Jacques Bérès who is Christian doing their jobs. Instead, (my doctor) and his comrades opted to flee the country.

February 23rd, 2012, 10:53 am


ghufran said:

I agree that a negotiated settlement is unlikely now,one party has to emerge as a stronger force before such a settlement is possible.

February 23rd, 2012, 10:54 am


Ghufran said:

اتهمت الأمم المتحدة اليوم الخميس القوات السورية بارتكاب ما أسمته عمليات قمع وعنف بحق المدنيين في البلاد, وذلك تنفيذا “لأوامر عليا”, فيما أشارت إلى أن قوات المعارضة التي يقودها ما يسمى “الجيش الحر” ارتكبت أيضا انتهاكات شملت القتل والخطف.
ونقلت وكالة الأنباء “رويترز” عن لجنة تحقيق تابعة للأمم المتحدة قولها إن ” القوات السورية ارتكبت “جرائم ” بحق المواطنين, بناء على أوامر من “أعلى المستويات” في الجيش والحكومة”.
ووجدت لجنة تحقيق تابعة للأمم المتحدة يرأسها البرازيلي باولو بينهيرو أن قوات المعارضة التي يقودها ما يسمى “الجيش السوري الحر” ارتكبت أيضا انتهاكات شملت القتل والخطف “.

[Link added by Moderator:

February 23rd, 2012, 10:59 am


jad said:

[Note from Moderator – please do not personalize discussion. Avoid accusations against individual commentators.

I urge all commentators to be responsible and civil when addressing other commentator’s arguments or claims.

Marked are phrases that could tend to escalate.

Please, everyone, do not edge into personal provocation or imputations of personal guilt or responsibility. Do not associate commentators with crimes because of presumed membership or support of any group — be the group political, activist, religious, national or ethnic.

I ask everyone to refrain from escalating any disagreements they may have.] Attack an argument or claim, not the person.]

حاجة تنظير!
What we should put a halt on is the pathetic ugly sectarian language you and your new entourage are writing on SC against every sect and religion other than yours, you started with Alawites then Shia then Christians then Druz, apearantly non of the Kiffar is good enough for the ‘mighty’ ‘bloody’ ‘revolution’ of yours.

Calling people ‘peasants’ when you used it as a ‘curse’ toward Alawites, is way more vulgar than any cursing word anybody used on SC, so you better start cleaning your vocabulary before giving people lesson in values you obviously don’t have.

I’m glad that now we have KT2 and KT3 added to the group of the sectarian crows.

Our reporter of the defected news forgot to link this important one, Alqaeda is in the open in Homs, working with the fsa armed militias:
تشكيل كتيبة للقاعدة في حمص وظهورها وطلبها الدعم

February 23rd, 2012, 11:00 am


ann said:

Frontier front: Syrian rebels trapped near Turkey – 23 February, 2012

Syrian frontier guards are battling militants who have infiltrated from Turkey, as the army deploys troops to quash hostile forces trapped in the mountains. The clashes highlight claims outside forces are actively fueling the conflict in Syria.

­North to the Syrian city of Aleppo (340 kilometers from Damascus) frontier guards have eliminated several subversives, captured some and sent others fleeing when a group of militants made an attempt to infiltrate the country from Turkey, reports ITAR-TASS news agency.

Troop reinforcements are being brought to Idlib province on the Syrian-Turkish border to crush rebels from the so-called Free Syrian Army located in El Baida settlement, some 30 kilometers from the Turkish border. Syrian Arab news agency (SANA) reports that servicemen captured five dangerous terrorists, including one high on the wanted list, Muhammed Suleiman.

These bandits were known for their brazen crimes, the report says. They blocked roads to kill soldiers and officers of Syrian army, kidnapped people for ransom, and attacked food and fuel convoys.

The latest assault by insurgents who have crossed the border from Turkey follows a litany of accusations directed at several foreign powers, specifically Ankara, in arming and directing the Syrian opposition.

On Tuesday, Jordan-based AlBawaba news website reported over 10,000 Libyans were being trained in a closed-off zone in Jordan before being sent off to Syria to fight alongside the opposition.

The site also claimed Saudi Arabia and Qatar were paying the anti-Gaddafi mercenaries US$1,000 a month to take up arms against Assad.

Concurrently, some 50 Turkish officers detained in Syria admitted to being trained by Israeli Special Forces to help destabilize the Syrian regime.

In December, FBI whistle blower Sibel Edmonds said American and NATO forces had been training Syrian rebels in southeastern Turkish city of Hakkari since May of last year.

Edmonds further stated US was actively smuggling arms into Syria from Incirlik military base in Turkey, as well as financing Syrian rebels.

The previous month, Russia’s Kommersant daily had also reported on operations being directed from Turkish territory.

The Syrian National Council (SNC) was itself formed in Istanbul in August of last year only highlights Turkey’s role in the conflict.

Dr. Marcus Papadopoulos, a political analyst from Britain’s Politics First online magazine, told RT how the Western interests are executed via the SNC.

“They [the SNC] supply the Western governments and media with information – damning information, in their opinion, – on President Assad and his government. The Western objective is the regime change and that is the main role of the SNC. A lot of caution should be attached to them.”


February 23rd, 2012, 11:08 am


jna said: Portions pasted below…

(CNN) — “Widespread, systematic and gross human rights violations” amounting to crimes against humanity in Syria have been conducted with the “apparent knowledge and consent” of the country’s “highest levels,” a U.N. commission said Thursday.

The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic said U.N. bodies probing the crimes should identify perpetrators and hold them accountable. It also stressed that “urgent, inclusive political dialogue” is needed to end the crisis.

“The government has manifestly failed in its responsibility to protect the population,” the report said. “Anti-government armed groups have also committed abuses, although not comparable in scale and organization with those carried out by the state.”

The commission, which has issued other reports, says it has documented “crimes against humanity and other gross violations.”

…”The commission remains convinced that the only possible solution to end the violence is an inclusive dialogue leading to a negotiated settlement that effectively ensures the human rights of all people in the country,” it said.

The report calls for the government, opposition and anti-government groups “to negotiate an end to the violence, to ensure respect for human rights and to address the legitimate demands of the Syrian people.

February 23rd, 2012, 11:10 am


Revlon said:

Referendum on the “Draft Constitution” has begun in earnest amongst units of Assad Armed Forces in Damascus.
Staff of the Command and Control Headquarter in Damascus were summoned and ordered to vote by “Yes”.
The voting was carried out openly, and each voting was followed by hand clapping.
No restriction on the type of identification document was placed; any ID was accepted. The same leniency shall apply to the voting amongst civilians planned for 26 Feb 2012.

2012/02/22 نشر فى: أخبار محلية
مراسل المحليات : كلنا شركاء

صباح اليوم الساعة العاشرة تم جمع كافة العناصر المجندين والمتطوعين والضباط في مقر قيادة الاركان بدمشق جانب الميريديان ليتم الاستفتاء على الدستور وبشكل الزامي وحصرا بالموافقة على الدستور الجديد ب (نعم )وكل مجند يضع ورقة التصويت في الصندوق يقابل بالتصفيق الحار من كل الحاضرين ,وجهزوا صندوقا خاصا ضخما ليتسع لكل الاصوات المفبركة .
أي دولة تحترم نفسها وفي هكذا ظروف صعبة والعين الدولية عليها عشرة عشرة تقوم بالاستفتاء على الدستور قبل موعده , في مخالفة دستورية فظيعة ؟؟
كما أن الجدير بالذكر أن عملية الاستفتاء التي ستتم في 26/2/2012 لايشترط فيهل وجود الهوية الشخصية كوثيقة اثبات بل يكفي أن يكون الشخص لديه أي وثيقة شخصية مثل (جواز السفر – دفتر العائلة –شهادة السواقة –بطاقة نقابية – بطاقة جامعية ..) وبهذا الشكل يستطيع الشخص الواحد أن يصوت عدة مرات عبر الانتقال الى صناديق اخرى ..
وهذه لم تحدث في اتعس دول العالم ولكنها تحدث في سوريا , تحت قيادة رئيس جامعي يدعي أنه تخرج من أرقى جامعات أوربا

February 23rd, 2012, 11:17 am


Jad said:

Nice try, but it won’t work, so don’t hide behind the usual ‘personal attack’ cause it’s lame, especially after you insulted every Kafer with your comments.
Instead of crying wolf face the sectarian nature of your comments and stop the provocations. Period.

February 23rd, 2012, 11:19 am


ghawar said:


Christians are taking part in this revolution! GOD DAMNIT! In villages of reef Homs, and elsewhere.

I have seen statistics that around 700 Christians have been killed by the regime. IS 700 GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOU?

If there are 9000 total Martyrs that would be 8% of the Martyrs.

80-90% of Christians I know in Damascus hate the killing and this regime. One can ask why the Christians do not come out in Damascus, in the Qasaa and Bab Touma.

But the same can be asked of Kurds in Rukn al deen. There is alot of fear! It isn’t complicity.

Just because your SECTARIAN MINDS SEARCH FOR CO-CONSPIRATORS, doesn’t mean they exist.

February 23rd, 2012, 11:27 am


ann said:

Destroying Syria is more important than creating jobs at home and the US economy!

GOP debate features Syria over jobs – 02/23/2012

The Post’s nifty Debate Tracker has some interesting statistics on last night’s GOP gabfest. According to the analysis of the most-uttered words during the debate, “Syria” came up more often than “jobs” or “economy,” which didn’t break into the top 25 words. (“Voted” was the most used word; conservative was second—and just for reference, “children” was 15th.)


February 23rd, 2012, 11:35 am



A new more than brilliant post by Amal Hanano on Jadaliyya.

The Real me and the Hypothetical Syrian Revolution Part I. by Amal Hanano

Excerpts (hardly sufficient…..)

Supporters of the regime like to demeaningly describe the Syrian revolution as iftiraadiyyeh, hypothetical, “a virtual revolution,” fueled by outside forces far from Syrian streets (thus, Syrian interests). They mark the protesters as traitors falling prey to a “universal conspiracy” against Syria’s sovereignty……..[read more]

The YouTube clips are described as “pictures” by some journalists like Robert Fisk and Patrick Cockburn. “Pictures,” a carefully chosen, archaic term that alludes slyly to the reel not the real; directed, acted, cinematic. Were they not real even when these videos were made in front of the Arab League monitors? Were they not real even when filmed by independent journalists who have finally entered Syria (albeit on extremely short visas and even shorter government-controlled leashes)?…….[read more]

For some, the “conspiracy” also threatens to kill what is called the last vestige of Arab “resistance.” Resistance against what? Most Syrians would say the Assad regime has never resisted anything but the Syrian people’s aspirations. (But most Syrians never understood or appreciated their country’s all-important “regional” political role. They were too busy enduring Assad & son’s domestic policies.) …… [read more]

Syrian supporters of the regime know very well what it feels like to play pretend. It’s apparent in the new, popular chant, “We will be your shabbiha forever, ya Assad.” For decades, Syrians chanted “We sacrifice our souls and our blood for you, ya Assad.” I never thought I would feel nostalgic for that chant, but I am. As insincere it as it was, it meant that we were willing to sacrifice what we were, as we were, our souls and blood, for the leader. This new chant viciously takes subserviency to another level. It expresses the willingness of the people to become something criminal—the despised, ruthless thugs for the regime. To become something they are not…..[read more]

February 23rd, 2012, 11:45 am


Revlon said:

Injured Journalist Paul Conry speakes from underground place in Baba Amr, Homs.
He pleads for medical assistance from the outside world.

الصحفي بول كونري يتكلم عن وضعه داخل باباعمرو
Uploaded by syriapioneer on Feb 23, 2012
دعواتكم بالمغفرة والرحمة للشهيد رامي السيد مؤسس القناة والشبكة
شبكة أخبار الثورة في باباعمرو

February 23rd, 2012, 11:46 am


ghufran said:

تونس ـ قالت مصادر تونسية مطّلعة إنّ القصر الرئاسي بسيدي الظريف إحدى الضواحي الشمالية لتونس العاصمة، قد يتم بيعه الى زوجة أمير قطر الشيخة موزة، على ما نقلت صحيفة “الشروق” التونسية.

February 23rd, 2012, 11:48 am


Mina said:

Thursday, February 23, 2012
A poet arrested in Saudi Arabia
Saudi government arrested Saudi poet and photographer, Habib Al-Ma`atiq. No reason was given. I received the information from Saudi opposition sources inside the kingdom. Please spread the news.

By the way, Qatar is no better: it is still forbidden to import books in your suitcase or in boxes when you move in, unless thoroughly inspected. Materials on marxism, history of religions, comparative religions, are forbidden. Having very high connections could probably help.

February 23rd, 2012, 11:53 am



GHAWAR @ 326
You revived my spirit with your post. Thank you. I will cut and paste your post on 7ee6an.

February 23rd, 2012, 11:54 am


Revlon said:

Local Coordination Committees in Syria
46 minutes ago

The number of Syrian martyrs today has risen to 61 martyrs, including 17 unidentified corpses,10 children, a media activist, and a defected soldier. 24 martyrs in Hama 18 martyrs in Idlib, 9 martyrs in Deir Ezzor,2 in Homs, 3 martyrs from Qonaiterah, 2 martyrs from Raqqah,2 martyrs in Daraa and one martyr in each of Douma in Damascus Suburbs and Aleppo.

February 23rd, 2012, 11:54 am


ghufran said:

yes,many christians were killed since March,2011 and yes most Christians do not like the regime,that is probably true for most Syrians,however,the answer whether that is enough for those people to back the SNC and the militia has been NO so far. Only a dialogue with a compromise from all parties can end this crisis.
Article-3 in the draft does not reassure christians,it actually confirms their fear that they will be second class citizens in the new Syria.

February 23rd, 2012, 12:03 pm


Revlon said:

Syrian Revolution Coordinators Union
about an hour ago

احصائية رسمية صادرة عن اتحاد تنسيقيات الثورة السوري
The official, total count of martyrs of the Syrian revolution as of today is 9073.

بلغ عدد شهداء ثورة الكرامة في سوريا حتى تاريخ 23-2-2012 حوالي 9073 شهيد موزعين على المحافظات السورية كالتالي:
3712 حمص
1392 إدلب
1046 درعا
935 حماة
837 ريف دمشق
372 دير الزور
230 اللاذقية
202 دمشق
152 حلب
62 طرطوس
57 القنيطرة
48 الحسكة
22 الرقة
6 السويداء

رابط الأحصائية بصيغة بي دي اف​open?id=0B309uNBjvGnkZmM2Mz​UzYjktMGY3Mi00YjI2LThmN2Yt​YmVkNGFlYmNjZDNh

February 23rd, 2012, 12:07 pm


Revlon said:

340. ghufran
((Article-3 in the draft does not reassure christians,it actually confirms their fear that they will be second class citizens in the new Syria.)).

Excuse me!
But that is not in the draft constitution of “new Syria”
It is in the draft consstitution of the dead Assad, and the dying Jr’s regime. No!

February 23rd, 2012, 12:14 pm


irritated said:

#307 Tara

“We tried yesterday to transfer the whole hospital towards Damascus but we were stopped on the road;”

Who stopped them? Why is he so vague?

February 23rd, 2012, 12:18 pm


jad said:

Moderator, do your job right before asking others to not to reply to sectarian provocation:

192. DAWOUD said:

RE: Editing my earlier comment # 147 for “discriminatory language”

If my side here is not fully published, I will send an email to Professor Landis explaining my side of the story.
I didn’t name anybody nor used a any racial/ethnic/religious/gender slur. All I did is that I used the “sectarian chauvinism” to describe sectarian leaders, WHOM I DID NOT NAME!

Editing me while I am posting an anti-Bashar comment that criticizes his war crimes against SUNNI MUSLIM SYRIANS is the reason why SC needs “AFFIRMATIVE ACTION.”
I say it again, this blog is SLANTED against the Syrian Revolution and against SUNNI MUSLIMS IN SYRIA.
This is not “another blog” because Professor Landis is well-recognized and well-quoted on Syria. If his blog is slanted, it could affect the general perception on the ongoing events in Syria.

PS, I do type my comments in MS Word, and I save them in case I need to defend myself against any accusations!

10 17

196. TARA said:


Moderated or not, the bare truth is Alawis in Syria are killing Sunnis while Christians clapping and cheering under a pretext of imaginery fear of persecution should Sunnis come to power. It is to say the least a selfish and coward attitude if not criminal.

In the same time, I do acknowledge the fact that some Alawis and some Christians are with the revolution, but the vast majority are not while some Sunnis are criminal too.

12 22

203. TARA said:


This will go down in history as a shameful episode for Syrian Christians.

SL and Haytham, I am sorry. You should know you are noble in my book, having been able to see through and not getting herded. I am not generalizing this to all, but one can’t ignore the facts on the grounds.

16 28

310. DAWOUD said:

RE: My earlier Comment # 207

These are general replies to some of your earlier comments regarding my # 207.

We Syrians are proud/honored if our revolution against Bashar the Murderer is called “intifada.” You seem to side with the Zionist occupier in this comment. Being a Christian should make you ask: “what would Jesus have done?” Do you thing that Jesus عليه السلام would have sided with Bashar the Muderer agains the innocents of Baba Amr, Der’a, Hama, etc.?
As Tara said earlier, the majority of Syria’s Christians are cheering for Alawi terrorists killing Sunni Muslims! There are aslo Christian radical terrorists like Defense Minister Rajha! The term “terrorist” should not only be used to describe Muslims. There are Christian “terrorists, ” Jewish “terrorists,” Alawi “terrorists,” etc.
It happens to be the case now that most terror is committed in Syria AGAINST SUNNI MULSIMS by Alawis and Christians (Rajha), etc.

February 23rd, 2012, 12:21 pm


jad said:

More about the ‘forced’ defected play of ‘kidnapped’ Syrian army officer and some vague news about Adnan Bakour:

قصة الطيار واصل أيوب : شريط جديد يكشف الجانب الخفي للعديد من عمليات “الإنشقاق” المزعومة في الجيش السوري

حمص ، الحقيقة (خاص): كشف شريط جديد نشر يوم أمس على شبكة “يوتيوب” جانبا مهما من عمليات “الانشقاق “المزعومة التي يعلن عنها ما يسمى”الجيش السوري الحر” بين وقت وآخر. ففي الشريط ( المنشور جانبا) يظهر النقيب الطيار واصل محمد أيوب وهو يقرأ بيان “انشقاقه” من كومبيوتر ـ لابتوب كما أملي عليه . وحين يصل إلى عبارة ” وهذه هويتي” ، تمتد يد شخص آخر لتظهر هويته أمام عدسة الكاميرا! للوهلة الأولى يحار المرء لماذا يقوم شخص آخر بهذه الحركة ، وليس الطيار نفسه! ولكن حين يدقق المشاهد في الصورة يكتشف أن الطيار مقيّد اليدين بـ”كلبشة” بلاستيكية بيضاء ، ويضعهما في حضنه!
الطيار ، وببساطة شديدة ، جرى اختطافه وإرغامه على الإدلاء ببيان “انشقاقه” رغما عنه! وهذا ما حصل مع العشرات من العسكريين والمدنيين الذين جرى اختطافهم وإرغامهم على قراءة بيانات” انشقاق” ليعثر عليهم بعد يوم أو يومين مقتولين على قارعة الطريق أو في مكبات النفايات بعد التمثيل بجثثهم ! ونأمل أن لا يكون مصير المغدور واصل أيوب عل هذا النحو.

على صعيد متصل ، تمكنت “الحقيقة” بعد عدة أشهر من ” المطاردة الإلكترونية” من الكشف عن مصير المحامي (النائب) العام في محافظة حماة عدنان بكور ، الذي كان آخر ظهور له في تشرين الأول / أكتوبر الماضي من خلال شريط مقتضب لا يتجاوز طوله بضع ثوان! كما وتمكنت”الحقيقة” من تحديد أكثر من جهة ، شخصية واعتبارية، متورطة في عملية اختطافه . وستنشر”الحقيقة” خلاصة تحقيقها والأدلة التي حصلت عليها قريبا . وهي إذ تمتنع عن نشر التحقيق الآن ، فلأسباب أمنية تتعلق به وبالخاطفين!

February 23rd, 2012, 12:36 pm


jad said:

Rebel forces armed by wealthy exiles

As Syria slides towards a civil war, a wealthy Syrian exile is racing to provide additional arms and ammunition to the loosely organised bands of rebels fighting under the umbrella of the Free Syrian Army (FSA).

Abu Qotaiba, a nom de guerre, has lived for the past 19 years in a wealthy Gulf country. He told The Independent he was buying weapons from arms dealers in Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan and sending them into Syria, despite the cost of an AK-47 rising from about $300 to about $1,500. “Now is a chance for [dealers] to sell them at a high price,” Abu Qotaiba said.

Earlier this week, US Senator John McCain told reporters that there were ways to get weapons to the Syrian opposition without direct US involvement. “People that are being massacred deserve to have the ability to defend themselves,” he said.

Others have cautioned that providing arms risks fanning the flames of civil war. Yet, Abu Qotaiba says the time for only peaceful protests is over. A few weeks ago, he and a group of Syrians travelled to Libya and secured a large cache of assault rifles, ammunition, some rockets and body armour. “Wherever there are the weapons we can use to defend ourselves, we will use them,” he said. “If no one helps us we will try to overthrow him [Assad] no matter how much it costs. We will defend ourselves.”

February 23rd, 2012, 12:59 pm


Ghufran said:

Dear moderator,
I am glad some of my posts are out of jail,I actually posted more than half a dozen posts that never saw the light, the ones without a link were just for testing purposes.
Revlon, who are you kidding?
Do you really believe an Islamist regime will abolish article-3? Please respect our intelligence.

February 23rd, 2012, 1:04 pm


bronco said:

#309 Tara

“Moubarak , Zein Abdeen, and even Yaman’s Saleh resigned to preserve their country. Didn’t they?”

None of these had around 50% of the country supporting them, the largest cities in the country on their side, a cohesive army still on their side and facing a disunited opposition infiltrated by islamic terrorists. In addition they were strong ally to the USA that is supporting Israel expansion on Arab lands.

There is no comparison possible.

February 23rd, 2012, 1:31 pm


DAWOUD said:

# 342 SC Moderators

I will send an email as soon as I have more time (maybe tomorrow morning US EST) to Professor Landis and CC it to Ehsani and Mr. Okraji. It will explain my perceived “provocative” tone. For now, please keep in mind the following points:
– Everything I say is my opinion, which does not mean that anybody has to believe in it. Does it mean that Prof. Landis has to have an “affirmative action” policy? Of course not! But, it’s my right to voice my opinion against any slant when there are those on this blog who question whether Bashar is a dictator. And others who claim that Hamza al-Khateeb was killed by Saudi terrorists!
-I don’t care what anybody’s religion/sect is, but both factors have unfortunately become relevant to the ongoing Syrian revolt. When Prof. Fawaz Gergis on CNN’s GPS describes that on his recent visit to Syria he found Syrian Christians loyal to Bashar, we need to discuss it here. Surely, it has to be done without generalizations and threats of violence and racism. I have always done this discussion in a responsible manner.
-MORE will be said in the email

PS., thanks to our brother sisters in occupied/besieged Gaza for their anti -Bashar rally:
انشودة يلا ارحل يا بشار بنسخة غزاوية

February 23rd, 2012, 4:52 pm


Mina said:

Ali Abdallah Saleh did not exactly resign: his sons are still in charge of the security apparatuses and he threatens to come back for the passation with his own former vice president, a military just like him who has been in charge since 1994. Saleh still had a huge capacity of nuisance which he demonstrates daily in the south after the army has passed weapons to the local islamists.
Neither Mubarak nor Ben Ali resigned “self-willingly”: they were trapped by people close to them, so you can rather speak of a coup in both case.

February 23rd, 2012, 5:00 pm


ghufran said:

نتائج الاستفتاء
هل انتهى عهد الديكتاتوريات في العالم العربي؟





عدد الأصوات 1323


النتائج تعكس آراء المشاركين فقط وليست قياسا للرأي العام

[Please supply links to offsite material]

February 23rd, 2012, 9:26 pm


Leo Syriacus said:

Hi Ann..#251 I guess,
Martin Luther King Jr may have not known of depleted uranium nor phosphorus bombs..yet I think he would have loved using them if they would have brought equality and freedom to his enslaved African American community in the early 60’s
Since you have a Xinhua Fetish with its GREAT and accurate reporting how would his Holiness the Dalai Lama think of these weapons? I am sure the communist Chinese have used them in Tibet
Freedom For Tibetans..Freedom For Syrians..Freedom For All Humans

February 23rd, 2012, 9:45 pm


Mariam said:

Any idea why Ghufran is unable to post?

[Moderator Note – Apologies to Ghufran Two of his posts were put to moderation to add missing URL references, but the links were not immediately added at the time. This put subsequent posts under moderation also. We regret the error.

Please bear in mind that no moderator can work 24 hours.]

February 23rd, 2012, 9:46 pm


Tara said:

[Edited provocative remarks. Note from Moderator – please do not personalize discussion. Avoid accusations against individual commentators.

I urge all commentators to be responsible and civil when addressing other commentator’s arguments or claims.

Please, everyone, do not edge into personal provocation or imputations of personal guilt or responsibility. Do not associate commentators with crimes because of presumed membership or support of any group — be the group political, activist, religious, national or ethnic.

I ask everyone to refrain from escalating any disagreements they may have. Attack an argument or claim, not the person.]

February 23rd, 2012, 9:46 pm


admir said:

[Edited for namecalling, personal attack.]

@ Ghawar #332

take off the 2 zeros off of the ‘700’ number and you have an actual number of christian martyrs to this revolution (who are in opposition).

the 700 numbers is made up and if there were a list of the 700 most of it would be christians who died serving in the army or government (i.e. WITH assad).

and 7 out of the total 7000 martyrs (removing the minimum number of martyrs from the government side) gives 0.1% of christians martyred for the revolution (on the rebel/salafist side)

you say ’80-90% of Christians I know in Damascus hate the killing and this regime’, how many christians do you know out of the total population of christians in damascus? 0.1%?

February 23rd, 2012, 9:47 pm


Leo Syriacus said:

Observer and Irritated
On Fredo Corleone
Irritated..every male friend I had while attending Damascus University 88-94 knew of Fredo Corleone and the Godfather..I would like to think that our percentage was more than 0.0005% of Syrians yet this is difficult to quantify.
The simplified guide for the Godfather Syrian Mafia:
Hafez-Yelaan Rohak-Assad = Vito Corleone
Bassel-99 Names-Assad = Sonny Corleone
Bashar-Baby Killer-Assad = Fredo Corleone
Maher-Super Shabih-Assad = Michael Corleone * apologies to Pacino*
Bushra Assad = Connie Corleone

February 23rd, 2012, 10:08 pm


The fearful Syria: collecting accounts in some Alawi villages during the revolution | mabisir ما بيصير said:

[…] middle-upper classes, with the first mass demonstrations in the wealthy Damascene neighbourhood of Mezzeh on 18 February. As shortages of bread and fuel increase, private bank assets decline, tourism […]

April 4th, 2013, 6:41 pm


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