Interventionists Versus Non-Interventionists

Interventionists Versus Non-Interventionists
Two distinct camps are forming to battle over Syria policy in Washington.

[This article was picked up by CNN as Washington’s battle over Syria]

The first is made up of the neocons, who are busy fitting the Arab Spring into US strategic interests as they see them. Bolton, Doran, and Abrams have been leading the charge in articulating this argument. (Bolton and Doran articles are copied below)

The second group are the “realists,” with a liberal coating. Anthony Cordesman of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies has articulated a “don’t get involved” argument in the article copied below.

The first want to take down Assad’s Syria and the second do not.  The first group believe that flipping Syria’s orientation from being pro-Iran and anti-Israel to inverse is as a vital US strategic goal, the second do not. The first see it as part of a broader effort to help friends and hurt enemies. They see Israel and Saudi Arabia as America’s main allies in the region and want to build them up. They want to crush, Iran, Syria, Hizbullah, and Hamas. Syria is important because of Iran, America’s number one enemy. They tend to depict the battle in the Middle East as a struggle between good and evil, and freedom versus tyranny. The second see shades of gray. They see an ugly civil war lurking behind the surface of democracy promotion and are not sure Washington would be wise to get sucked into further expensive commitments that have more to do with messy emerging national identities and less to do with US interests.

The neocons have a number of strengths. Clarity is first among them. Second is the nature of the Assad regime, which is oppressive and run by a family surrounded by a narrow elite, dominated by Alawis, a minority community unpopular among a broad section of the Sunni population. The regime has failed to deliver sufficient economic growth to reverse the growing pool of unemployed youth and to raise the standard of living for most Syrians. The country is suffering from all the ills of a growing income gap, drought and bad policies. Reform has been too slow and many believe it will never come because of the vested interests of the narrow and highly corrupt elite at the top. A growing number of Syrians argue that the entire system must be destroyed and Syria must rebuild itself. Increasingly, leaders of the Syrian uprising are beginning to embrace the ideas being put forward by the neocons. In order to win full US backing, they are pushing for acceptance of a complete strategic reversal of Syria’s foreign policy goals.

The neocons are not advocating direct US military involvement in Syria today. They understand this is not politically feasible. But they are preparing the grounds for a much higher level of military commitment in the future. They understand full well that in order to take down the Assad regime and counter the force of the Syrian military, the Syrian opposition will need to develop a full military option. To do so, it will need major US and NATO backing. This will not be a fight for the feint of heart.

Their strategy for angling the US toward making such a commitment in the future is economic sanctions. Broad economic sanctions imposed on Syria by the EU would have major moral implications down the road. Should Syrians start to starve, as they surely would if real sanctions are imposed, the moral argument for intervention and military escalation would improve. Should the poorest and most vulnerable Syrians begin to expire, as happened in Iraq in the 1990s, military intervention would become necessary to end the suffering and starvation. Liberals would have to support the military option in such a case. Today, most do not. Sanctions imposed now will make military intervention in the future imperative. Liberals embraced the invasion of Iraq in large part because of the moral argument. Saddam was starving his people. It would be hard to resist such an argument.

Europeans governments have so far resisted imposing blanket trade sanctions on Syria for this exact reason. Once we see European governments impose devastating sanctions on Damascus, we may safely assume that they have accepted the notion of greater military involvement down the line in order to solve the humanitarian problem that sanctions will create. Perhaps they will not support a ground invasion as was done in Iraq, but they could support establishing a no-fly-zone and arming and training a proper Syrian insurgency, as was done in Libya. Of course, in Syria it will be a much bigger and more expensive operation as Syria has no frozen assets that can be diverted to fund the opposition. They Syrian army is much tougher than Libya’s was.

The realists argue that the US should not get militarily involved. They argue that Assad is too strong, and that the US is trying to prune its military commitments rather than grow them. The Assad regime still has the support of important sections of the population. It is not a clear question of good versus evil in Syria; rather, the struggle for power reflects deeper civil and sectarian divisions in Syria. The Syrian opposition is hopelessly divided. Perhaps it will develop a leadership, but that will take time and must be left to emerge organically. The US should not tie its cart so closely to Israel and Saudi Arabia because both countries are pursuing policies which are not good for US interests in the long run. What is more, the realists do not believe that the US should take sides in the broader religious war being fought between Shiites and Sunnis in the Middle East. The US wants to check Iranian power and dissuade it from going nuclear, but it does not want to enter into the religious war. Most importantly, the US has too many military commitments in the Middle East, a region that has sucked up far too much of Washington’s time and money over the last decade. Greater involvement in Syria is not popular. In the end, this is a Syrian battle and the US cannot decide it’s outcome.

[End of Landis Commentary]

From the Comment Section: Should the Opposition go Military?

Tara writes:

Time may have come for the revolution to change course.  I am specifically worried about what I read in 190.  Selmiayh my not work anymore.  Armed resistance with no fly zone and a buffer zone near the northern border might be the way to go.  The buffer zone will be the safe haven for the defectors and I am sure most Sunnis in the army will defect.  I am not afraid of civil war.  Alawites who support the regime are already in the army or security forces or are Sabbihas.  They are already bearing arms.  Intellectual Alawites and others who do not currently support the regime will not support it either in case of armed resistance.  I doubt Christians civilians will bear arms and die for the regime as deep down their support is pseudo-support stemming dorm minority’s complex disorder.

We started hearing some demonstrators on the ground asking for international protection.  I am sure this is a growing feeling but people have not freely expressed it for fear of being labeled traitors.  External opposition needs to pay attention to these subtleties.  We can waste 2200 lives in vain.

I personally am struggling with this.  Is armed resistance justified? absolutely. 2200 killed in cold blood including 100 infants and small children, more than 10000 arrested, and thousands forced into refugee camps or exile.  Is it moral? Absolutely.  One could argue that allowing the killings to happen without fighting back is not moral.  Armed resistance is not romantic but I am afraid that it might be the only way to a happy ending.

After all in the fairy tales that I like to read, evil must be fought.  It never surrenders out of benevolence.  Bashar speech might be the turning point.  It is clear that he wouldn’t hesitate to unleash all his evil against the people and you may just not be able to win over that evil with non violent means.

sheila writes:

Dear Tara, Even though I usually agree with you on almost everything, I would like to vehemently disagree with you on the call for armed resistance.  I totally understand where you are coming from.  On an emotional level, it is very hard for any decent human being to watch what is going on in Syria and not feel that something drastic needs to be done to stop the blood shed, however, the day the demonstrators carry arms will be the start of the real massacres.  Today, the regime has  no “legitimate” reason to kill massive numbers of protestors because no one believes the “armed gangs” fantasy, even though the regime has exhausted all efforts to cement the theory.  When the peaceful resistance becomes armed resistance, then the regime will have the “legitimacy” to kill en mass.  Also, to have enough arms to fight the regime, you will definitely need outside support to pay for and smuggle the equipment.  This is not what we are looking for.  As hard as it is on an emotional level to let people die without putting up a fight, it is ultimately the strongest weapon that we have to fight the regime with.  Remember that were it not for NATO, Gadaffi would have exterminated all the “rats” of Libya,  A state army versus armed demonstrates is never a fair match or a winning match for the demonstrators. Hang in there.  The days of this regime are numbered.

Revlon writes:

Due to the mounting loss of human lives, imprisonment, and torture amongst street demonstrators, activists and their families, Youth Syria For Freedom website has issued a statement revising its recommendations on the issue of armed resistence.

– The statement stresses the importance of maintining peaceful demonstrations and the speedy formation of a representative national councuil.

– In addition to encouraging army defection, the statement sanctions operations by the FSA against Shabbee7a and Asad’s forces in defense of civilians.

– It also acknowledges, that the time might come when Libya style foreign military assistance would be needed!

Abu Ammar writes:

When your regime is dominated by Alawis and it cracks down with its armed forces and mukhabarat, dominated by Alawis, and slaughters, expels, jails tens of thousands of Syrian Sunnis so that it can maintain its Alawi grip on power, do you honestly expect that there won’t be sectarian hatred, bearing in mind that these actions are supported by the overwhelming majority of Alawis, something proved by the facts on the ground? And the deranged menhebeks have the audacity to talk about sectarianism, when they are the biggest benefactors of it?

Why do you expect the people to go to their graves like sheep and for them to smile at you when you kill them? They demand you be pacifists while they slaughter you. They are no different than their Zionist cousins who are outraged that the Palestinians refused to become refugees in their own land.

majedkhaldoon writes:


I have been an advocate of arming the people all along,I feel that a brutal dictator will not go unless he is faced with arm protestors, loosing 6000 martyrs between those who were killed,and those who diappeared, and there are more than 20,000 arrest this regime is not going to leave out of embarassment, we just saw two states one in Yemen,it was so far peaceful revolution, and is still going on, and one in Libya, that has just won because it was armed one.

It is not going to be a civil war, it is national uprising, all syrian will join in, even Alawite,and yes Christians, all against the Assad clan, It is wrong to call it civil war,What is called syrian army is not syrian army , it is assad protection army, and yes we have 17 security forces,all with arms, and the Shabiha(Lijan Sha3bieh),how can a peaceful young men prevail,this is big prison,and surrounded by all kind of weapons….

It pains me a lot to see thousand of young men and kids dye this way, in the long run we will loose more people ,killed by Assad clan, than what we would have lost if we use the armed revolution. and with peacefull revolution we may end up getting humilliated and forced to go back to become slaves again.
Syria will not get divided,and under democracy,we will not be sectarian,those who fight for freedom,will respect freedom.

Fred Writes:

Perhaps the best military option is to reform the army so that it operates like Hizballah? The current system of conscription with corruption can be devastating for poor families, and is an unnecessary waste of the young men’s time and the state’s resources. Hizballah fighters seem to have very high morale, unlike the starving wretches the government is throwing at the people. I’ve been told of residents in both Hama and Daraa feeding the soldiers that surround them. Also in Deir Ezzor soldiers from Aleppo were breaking into homes simply to steal food. An acquaintance of mine was recently re-drafted into the military and retrained as an intelligence officer. He paid a lot of bribes in order to be relieved of his duties and he is now a civilian again. While he was there he paid from his own pocket to keep 5 conscripts in food and provisions.

To Tara and Aboud – I understand your point about soldiers’ loyalty to the people but please don’t forget that many of them are terrified, hungry and exhausted and are in some respects the people most abused by the system.

Military question:

How do we get Syria’s arsenal of rockets out of the hands of Assad and Company and into the hands of the new state without losing them to other countries’ intelligence services????

Strategic positions:

I like the idea of keeping both Iran and Turkey happy at the same time without needing the current Assad mafia. I don’t understand why we should throw away a valuable relationship with Iran, simply because it supported Assad. What do you expect it to do? If we get the support of Iran and Turkey, then we can get rid of Assad very quickly, because they can guarantee a way out for him.

News Round Up

US, allies all but rule out Syria military intervention – News agencies

The United States and its allies have all but ruled out military action against Damascus despite their success in Libya because Syria’s opposition is less organised and faces a much stronger regime.

Analysts said the situation is far less conducive to foreign intervention in Syria, despite the success of the NATO air campaign that weakened Muammar Gaddafi’s defences and helped Libyan rebels to reach the heart of Tripoli.

One analyst said that unlike in Libya, the allies would also face Arab opposition to military strikes in Syria, and warned that intervention carried the risk of triggering a broader regional conflict.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland all but ruled out allied military intervention in Syria if sanctions and diplomatic pressure fail to stop President Bashar al-Assad from using deadly force to crush protests.

The Syrian people “have chosen peaceful means to make their views known to their own government,” Nuland told reporters last week, adding they were following the paths of Gandhi and Martin Luther King.”So military action is not the preferred course of anyone, not the Syrian people, not the Arab or European or American members of the international community,” she said.

Nuland reiterated the US stance when asked whether rebel successes in Libya since the weekend would increase the pressure for intervention in Syria.

In France, which led the charge for military action in Libya, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said there would be no such intervention in Syria even if the rebel advances had what he called “significant consequences” for Damascus.

Anthony Cordesman, a security analyst with the Centre for Strategic and International Studies think tank, said the United States and its allies did not have much of a military option in Syria.

“There’s no overt uprising to back, there’s no momentum behind the uprising. Your are talking about a country (Syria) with a real military machine, with a serious military capability, unlike Libya which is largely a facade,” he said.

“Until you see a real opposition develop in Syria, some kind of movement that has some credible reason to be backed, you can’t simply out of context attack Assad’s regime because it’s repressive,” Cordesman said.

“The scale of military operations that would be required (would be much higher than in Libya) and present far more risks of civilian casualties and collateral damage,” he said.

Radwan Ziadeh, a US-based Syrian dissident who has met US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, said the rebel successes in Libya will spur more calls within Syria for arming the opposition against Assad.

The Nexus and the Olive Tree
The White House needs to tune out the dramatic events of Syria and Libya and focus on America’s strategic goals in the region.

At the heart of Obama’s grand strategy was a mistaken definition of the strategic challenge. Now that the Arab uprisings have dragged the United States through a crash course on Middle Eastern realities, U.S. policymakers can more easily recognize the deepest drivers of politics in the region — namely, the vast number of severe conflicts that set Muslims against Muslims. From a practical strategic point of view, there is no such thing as “the Muslim world.” Any effort to write a narrative of cooperation with a thing that does not actually exist is bound to encounter severe difficulties.

The United States must therefore dispense entirely with grand strategies that seek to foster a conciliatory image of the United States and to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict. Instead, it should focus on the key challenge posed by the Arab uprisings: managing intra-Muslim conflict.

This requires returning to the question that Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah first posed to Obama: What is the strategy of the United States toward Iran? At stake in Syria today is nothing less than the future of the Iranian regional security system. It should not escape notice that the Saudis, though hostile to the populist wave in general, have now aligned themselves against Assad. As much as they fear revolution, the Saudis fear the Islamic Republic of Iran even more, and they see the Syrian crisis as an opportunity to deal a severe blow to it. The United States should adopt a similar view.

The contest on the ground in Syria, obviously, has profoundly local causes. Nevertheless, the regional struggle between Iran and its rivals will play a significant role in shaping it. After Assad falls, a proxy war will erupt, with outside powers seeking to cultivate Syrian clients. Iran and Hezbollah will use the covert and brutal methods that they have honed in Lebanon and Iraq. They will preserve what they can from the remnants of Assad’s security services, while simultaneously arming and training new proxies. They will kill off and intimidate those Syrians who get in their way.

The United States has a vital interest in thwarting Iran. To do so effectively, however, it must develop a serious and sustained regional containment strategy. The process of writing the new strategy begins, like before, in Riyadh and Ankara. This time, however, Obama should reverse his attitude toward the preferences of King Abdullah and Prime Minister Erdogan. The Syrian crisis offers a new opportunity to reach a strategic accommodation with the Saudis. At the same time, it should also force Washington to re-evaluate the Turks’ no-problems policy. To date, this policy has worked to the net benefit of Iran and Syria and to the detriment of the United States. There is no reason to believe that it will produce a different result in the future.

Writing a new grand strategy is important, but not urgent. It can always be put off until tomorrow, “when things calm down.” In the meantime, the phone is ringing. The world was treated to images of cheering Libyans retaking their capital on Aug. 21; the United States will surely be called upon to play a role in the messy political transition that will follow. The Aug. 18 terrorist attack in Israel has raised the specter of another Gaza war, while also escalating tensions with Egypt. And next month, the question of Palestinian statehood may well be taken up by the United Nations.

These and many other matters will soon fill up the calendar of U.S. officials. But if Washington is not careful, all these urgent issues will push aside consideration of grand strategy, precisely when it is needed most.

Only 12% Americans Think U.S. Should Step Up Involvement in Syria
Monday, August 22, 2011

The Obama administration has increased its criticism of Syria’s violent response to anti-government protests, and both President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are now calling for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down. But most U.S. voters continue to think America should mind its own business when it comes to Syria. Just 12% of Likely U.S. Voters believe the United States should get more directly involved in the Syrian crisis, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Sixty-six percent (66%) think the United States should leave the Syrian situation alone. Twenty-two percent (22%) are not sure which course is better.

New York Post: Facing facts on O’s Syria miscues

2011-08-24 John Bolton

The end of the Khadafy regime in Libya has focused new attention on the rebels in Syria — as has last week’s belated call by President Obama for the ouster of Bashar al-Assad. But it will take a more radical Obama course correction to make a real …

we should have pursued regime change, aiding legitimate opposition groups and thereby empowering responsible Syrian believers in a free and open society. Instead, we face an environment today where radical Islamists are potential successors to the Ba’athists.

Third, Obama has never understood Iran’s domineering role in Syria. Beyond the Ba’ath Party’s historical propensity for brutality and repression, long ago perfected by Bashar’s father, Iran’s increasingly hegemonic position has virtually ensured that he will not contravene Tehran’s will.

Given Iran’s use of Syria to fund and arm Hezbollah, Hamas and other terrorist groups, and its likely use of Syria to hide aspects of its nuclear-weapons program, Iran was never going to permit “reform.”

Indeed, the administration needs to face Iran’s influence across the region. Syria’s and Hezbollah’s murderous intervention has rendered Lebanon virtually prostrate yet again. Hamas’s indiscriminate terrorism against Israel has destroyed the prospects for Palestinian unity and a responsible path to statehood and representative government. Now, with Mubarak’s fall in Egypt, Hamas can conspire in public with its parent organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, to radicalize Egyptians as well as Palestinians.

Obama either didn’t comprehend this relationship, or was simply unwilling to cross the Iranians because of his ethereal hopes to negotiate with Tehran to end its nuclear-weapons program. White House mistakes continue to allow Iran to prevail in Syria.

Fourth, calling for regime change isn’t just a question of timing but also of leadership. The administration waited far too long, thus minimizing the impact of its rhetoric, which is all that its policy really amounts to.

Moreover, prior sanctions, and those just announced by Obama and being discussed in Europe, haven’t squeezed Syria’s regime, nor are they likely to. Sanctions targeting particular institutions and individuals can almost never be effective because they are so susceptible to evasion. Only sweeping sanctions, swiftly and decisively applied and effectively enforced, have a chance of real effect. That is a far cry from what Obama and the European Union have actually done.

Fifth, Assad’s departure alone doesn’t mean broader change. For example, Alawite and Sunni generals may ditch him but maintain a military dictatorship, quite possibly leaving Iran in a dominant role. Or, absent a deal, Sunnis may use force to exact a heavy, bloody price from Alawites for the long Assad dictatorships. Moreover, Sunni Arab governments certainly want to diminish Iran’s influence in Syria, which means it may simply become another front in the Iranian-Saudi battle for dominance within Islam and in the Middle East, already reflected in Bahrain. That is hardly good news for Syria’s civilian population.

Obama has thus far grievously mishandled Syria, as he has an increasingly long list of other crisis spots. Americans will soon have to decide if they can do better, with a president who remembers that true leaders lead from the front.

John Bolton is a former US ambassador to the UN. His latest book is “Surrender Is Not an Option.”

‘New Sun’ by Sinan Antoon translated to English for your blog. You can view it also on youtube and enjoy the music by Malek Jandali, 23 July 2011

Moscow urges world community to bolster all-Syrian dialogue
MOSCOW, August 23 (RIA Novosti)

The international community should bolster a dialogue between all of the parties of the Syrian conflict, Valery Loshchinin, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations Office in Geneva said on Tuesday.

“Russia believes that Syrians themselves should settle the situation in their country through an all-Syrian dialogue,” the diplomat said at a UN Human Rights Council special session on the situation of human rights in Syria.

The diplomat emphasized that the global community should assist the Syrian opposition and government to come to terms on necessary reforms.

“The Russian leadership is ready to take additional energetic measures to push forward the process of political and socio-economical reforms,” Loshchinin added.

Syria has been rocked by mass protests demanding reforms and the resignation of President Bashar Assad for almost six months. Pressure from international powers has mounted to end the crackdown.

According to UN investigators, some 2,200 civilians are thought to have been killed since protests began in the southern city of Deraa in mid-March.

The Syrian government says over 500 servicemen and security officers were also killed.

The UN Human Rights Council is drafting a resolution that “deplores the continuing indiscriminate attacks on its [Syrian] population” and seeks an immediate stop to “all acts of violence,” the BBC reported on Monday.

“People are just beginning to form an opposition and so they are treading carefully. This is understandable,” said Mahmud Osman, an opposition member at the meeting in Turkey. “We don’t claim to represent the whole of Syria. But we are talking to everyone and we are trying to build a consensus.”

Syrian opposition moves towards setting up national council – Guardian

Splits remain in opposition fragmented by sectarian and ideological tensions, with no clear next steps beyond demands for more freedom

Syria’s fragmented opposition took steps towards forming a national council on Tuesday, but serious divisions and mistrust among the members prevented them from presenting a unified front against president Bashar al-Assad’s regime more than five months into the country’s uprising, participants said.

The opposition, fragmented by years of sectarian and ideological tensions, has made unprecedented gains against the regime, but there is no clear leadership or platform beyond the demands for more freedom and for Assad to step down.

With Assad’s forces cracking down on the protests, the overall death toll has reached 2,200, the United Nations said this week.

Opposition members have been meeting in neighbouring Turkey in recent days, but there were conflicting reports about exactly what emerged. Obeida al-Nahhas told the Associated Press that a council had been formed but the details were still being completed; others said there was no council to speak of yet.

The Libya lesson

Kadafi may fall, but that doesn’t mean the U.S. should pursue the same strategy in, say, Syria.

August 23, 2011,0,5149844.story

The international campaign against Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi is on the verge of a historic achievement: The judicious use of force by Western nations has given that nation’s rebellion the opportunity to eliminate a longtime scourge. And yet the experience of Libya, though it ushers out an unstable ruler, offers an uncertain model for U.S. foreign policy.

The use of force to address the internal abominations of other nations raises profoundly difficult questions for American policymakers. Eager not to serve as the world’s police force and yet determined to support democratic values and human rights, the United States often finds itself facing limited, unpalatable options. It may stand aside and allow rulers to abuse their people, or it may intervene, risking American lives and reinforcing the international impression that this nation is entitled to govern others.

In Libya, the Obama administration chose a middle course. The U.S. provided limited air and drone support to rebels who might well have been defeated without it. It declined to act unilaterally but rather played a supporting role in an effort led by European nations that have a greater stake in Libya’s stability. And though there were signs of mission creep, of deepening embroilment in Libya’s civil war, the U.S. largely resisted those temptations. Not one American soldier set foot in Libya.

Success should not breed complacency, however. What caused Kadafi to lose control of the country was less the pressure of outsiders than the fundamental weakness of his hollow regime. It would be foolish to assume that other governments, even in the region, are as susceptible to challenge. In Syria, for instance, the government of Bashar Assad retains, at least for the moment, the support of a formidable army and continues to pummel its people into submission; the death toll there is thought to exceed 2,200. Last week, the Obama administration, in conjunction with U.S. allies, called for Assad to step down and imposed sanctions on Syrian oil and American investment in Syria. Those were wise and measured steps, calibrated to the specifics of that situation.

Some will see in the crumbling of Kadafi’s regime a template for action in Syria. That’s the wrong lesson. Instead, the apparent success of the Libyan rebels is a reminder that every crisis is unique, and that each calls for the nuanced application of leverage in defense of American values and interests. Force is sometimes justified, but it should only be deployed when other methods have failed, when it can serve a vital end and when it can be effective in securing that result….

US ambassador visits southern Syria
(AFP) – 23 aug 2011

WASHINGTON — The US ambassador to Damascus on Tuesday visited, without Syrian permission, a town in the south of the country and met with members of the opposition there, US officials said.

Officials said Robert Ford made the visit to Jassem, which they conceded lies beyond a 25-kilometer (15-mile) limit from Damascus that the Syrians set after they were angered by a visit he made last month to the city of Hama.

Beyond that limit, permission is required.

In Washington, US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Ford informed the Syrian Foreign Ministry only after he returned to Damascus because three of his previous requests to travel beyond the limit were denied.

“He made clear to them that the reason that he didn’t inform them before the visit was because they haven’t been approving any visits, by anybody, anywhere,” Nuland told reporters.

Nuland said Ford went to Jassem, some 65 kilometers (42 miles) south of Damascus, because there had been peaceful protests there.

“He had a chance there to talk to a number of Syrians, including those in the opposition. And then he drove back to Damascus,” Nuland said.

A large number of security forces accompanied him and the Syrian Foreign Ministry was not surprised to learn of his visit, she said.

An embassy spokesman in Damascus who asked not to be named said Ford visited Jassem “as part of his routine diplomatic duties.” Jassem is in southern Daraa province, epicenter of anti-regime protests that broke out in mid-March, where according to activists 15 people were killed on Friday by security forces when they opened fire to crush a demonstration.

Gulfsands Petrol: Syria Sanctions and Commercial Relationships with Makhlouf Interests, 2011-08-24

London, 24th August, 2011: Gulfsands Petroleum plc (“Gulfsands”, the “Group” or the “Company” – AIM: GPX), the oil and gas production, exploration and development company with activities in Syria, Iraq, Tunisia, Italy and the U.S.A., wish to provide … Gulfsands Petroleum in oil payments to Assad cousin

By Lina Saigol and Sylvia Pfeifer in London

Gulfsands Petroleum, the London-listed oil and gas company, agreed to give a share of profits from its production activities in Syria to a company controlled by Rami Makhlouf, the first cousin of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

The company has also paid more than $1m in fees to Ramak, the Makhlouf family’s holding company, for services connected with its operations in the country.

The revelations show that the links between Gulfsands and Mr Makhlouf, who is closely associated with the Syrian regime and is estimated to control up to 60 per cent of the Syrian economy, go much further than previously thought. The Al Mashreq Investment Fund, which is majority controlled by Mr Makhlouf, owns a 5.7 per cent stake in Gulfsands.

Mr Makhlouf has been put under sanctions by both the US and the European Union for his links to the Syrian regime, which has been accused of killing 2,400 protestors since uprisings began in March. However, the EU has not yet imposed any sanctions on Gulfsands.

Gulfsands and its 50:50 joint venture partner at the time, Ocean Energy, were awarded an interest in Block 26, Syria’s biggest oil producing area, in an open tender in 2000. Under an agreement Gulfsands and Ocean agreed to give Ramak a 2.5 per cent net profit interest in Block 26.

Here is an interesting report on Alevis of Trkey by the Turkish Government’s Washington think tank SETA.



The “Alevi Issue” is one of the most complicated and, at the same time, largely misunderstood problems in Turkey. Conflicts, resentments, grievances, and perpetual fears about Alevis that have existed for centuries have been publicly voiced through different mechanisms; yet, the message had never been understood thoroughly by the interlocutors of the Alevis. The discussions on the issue in various social and political contexts have often revolved around a rather limited list of Alevi identity-based claims…..

The overall objectives of the Alevi identity struggle fall under four major categories that are closely related to each other:19 i) maintenance of the Alevi identity in modern, urban social contexts, ii) recognition of Alevi identity as an equal and legitimate element of Turkish society, iii) allocation of material resources for the Alevi identity-based institutions, iv) acknowledgement of the historical traumas and victimhood of Alevis and certain guarantees that would prevent the possible recurrence of traumatic experiences. …

Islamic Evolution: How Turkey taught the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood to reconcile faith and democracy.
BY PIOTR ZALEWSKI | AUGUST 11, 2011 in Foreign Policy

ISTANBUL — Fawaz Zakri was 17 years old when his father told him to pack his bags, bid goodbye to his family, and cross the border into Turkey. The year was 1981, and the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, where Zakri had grown up, was in the throes of a violent anti-government insurgency led by the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood.

Zakri’s father feared that his son’s links with the Brothers would be enough to land him in jail, or worse. “I was a sympathizer,” Zakri qualifies, “but not a member.” Two years earlier, the Brotherhood had attacked a local military academy, killing dozens of cadets in an assault that marked the beginning of an all-out war between the Sunni Islamist group and the Alawite regime of Syrian President Hafez al-Assad.

Protests, assassinations, and terrorist attacks, many carried out by the Brotherhood, had since become routine. Syrian troops and security forces responded with a ruthless crackdown, at times employing artillery fire against neighborhoods in Aleppo. The war culminated in 1982, when, in the wake of another Brotherhood uprising, Assad’s troops killed tens of thousands of people in the city of Hama. The massacre crushed the Brotherhood’s Syrian wing, and its surviving activists scattered — many eventually settling across the border in Turkey.

Zakri’s escape placed him beyond not only the reach of the Syrian regime, but also the militant ideology of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood of that era. Thirty years removed from his flight, Zakri is a graduate of one of Turkey’s finest universities, an iPhone-toting businessman with a trade in grains and heavy machinery, and a fluent English speaker. He is also, at least to some extent, a changed man — a committed Islamist, to be sure, but one of a different hue. “After we came to Turkey,” he says, “people like me, we faced a revolution in our thoughts.”

While many in Europe and the United States fear that Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has introduced a dangerous Islamist influence into the country’s traditionally secular and Western-oriented stance, religious groups struggling to overthrow stagnant autocracies across the Arab world take a different lesson from the party’s success. Particularly in Syria, where President Bashar al-Assad’s crackdown on a domestic uprising has become increasingly brutal during the holy month of Ramadan, pious activists have looked to Turkey as a model for reconciling their faith with the democratic hopes of the Arab Spring.

But Turkish politicians steer clear of the “M” word. “We do not use that language because we do not want to patronize anyone,” Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s chief foreign-policy adviser, Ibrahim Kalin, told me this spring. “We do not want to impose our experience on others.” There is more to this, of course. The days when the Arab world suspected Turkey of being a U.S. “Trojan horse” in the Middle East might be long gone, but the Turks, who remember President George W. Bush’s repeated references to the “Turkish model,” remain wary of being seen as doing the West’s bidding.

As Syrians continue to risk their lives to call for an end to the Assad regime, however, the impact of the Turkish experience on the Brotherhood’s political evolution is coming into clearer focus. In 2002, under the leadership of Ali al-Bayanouni, the Brotherhood publicly disavowed violence and embraced parliamentary democracy. In the years that followed, it called for free elections in Syria and announced its support for women’s rights. This April, during the early days of the Syrian uprising, Brotherhood leaders held a news conference in Istanbul in which they denounced the Assad regime. And then in June, at a Syrian opposition conference held in the Turkish city of Antalya, Brotherhood members put their signatures on a declaration that called for “the freedom of belief, expression and practice of religion, under a civil state.”

Bayanouni, who headed the group from 1996 to 2010, continues to strike notes that place him more in line with today’s pious Turkish politicians than the hard-edged Brotherhood leaders of days past. “Firstly, we believe that the state in Islam is a civil state, not a state ruled by any religious leaders or clerics,” he told me, speaking from London. “Secondly, we cannot impose any particular way of dressing on citizens…. We do call for and encourage [women] to wear the hijab and to follow Islamic behavior and action, but individuals must be free to choose what they want.”

Although the Brotherhood isn’t new to parliamentary democracy, said Bayanouni, citing the group’s participation in Syria’s 1961 elections, the AKP has provided it with a blueprint for reform. “The AKP is neutral in the area of religion — neither does it impose religion upon Turkish citizens nor does it seek to fight religion,” Bayanouni noted, “and for this reason we find [it] to be an excellent model.”….

“I think [the Brothers] themselves know that the very strong fundamentalist positions are impossible to apply these days in Syria,” says Rime Allaf, a Syrian researcher at Chatham House. “Twenty or 30 years ago, they were a force that would have presented a lot of question marks for the rest of society.” Today, however, “speaking as somebody who is secular … I can give them the benefit of the doubt.”…

The AKP’s success in bridging the gap between Islamist principles and Western norms attracted the admiration of Brotherhood sympathizers such as Khaled Khoja, head of the Turkish chapter of the Damascus Declaration committee, an umbrella group of the Syrian opposition. Khoja spent two years in a Syrian jail between 1980 and 1982, he says, on account of his father’s affiliation with the Brotherhood. Following his release, Khoja left Syria and arrived, via Libya, in Turkey. He was only 17 years old.

“[Abul Ala] Maududi, [Ruhollah] Khomeini, Sayyid Qutb,” he says, listing the names of the Islamist firebrands from years past. “Their manner was not successful for Islamic communities, producing division and conflict. The Turkish manner has showed us a different [way].”….

The AKP’s success in bridging the gap between Islamist principles and Western norms attracted the admiration of Brotherhood sympathizers such as Khaled Khoja, head of the Turkish chapter of the Damascus Declaration committee, an umbrella group of the Syrian opposition. Khoja spent two years in a Syrian jail between 1980 and 1982, he says, on account of his father’s affiliation with the Brotherhood. Following his release, Khoja left Syria and arrived, via Libya, in Turkey. He was only 17 years old.

“[Abul Ala] Maududi, [Ruhollah] Khomeini, Sayyid Qutb,” he says, listing the names of the Islamist firebrands from years past. “Their manner was not successful for Islamic communities, producing division and conflict. The Turkish manner has showed us a different [way].”…

But first, activists like Nahas may need to break ranks with their own leaders, they say. The story of the AKP’s rise — Erdogan’s break with Erbakan, his former mentor, and his subsequent embrace of a more inclusionary type of politics — has not gone unnoticed among the Syrian Brotherhood’s younger members. The AKP’s success, says Nahas, “made people feel that they could do a revolution inside their organization and get somewhere.” Groups like the Brotherhood were designed as secretive, underground organizations to escape the reach of hostile security forces. “This means that now, with the openness, they have to change.”

Is Turkey shutting its doors to Syrians?

by Burcu Gültekin Punsmann*

Are we on the verge of losing Syria? This idea fills me with bitterness and frustration since Syria is facing what may be its greatest isolation in more than four decades of rule by the al-Assad family. Turkey was on its way to helping Syrians win…

…There was much hope that in the case of Syria, economic interdependence could have been converted into political convergence, that it was possible to tame the other side’s behavior with our force of traction. Turkey has become the country that enjoys the most leverage in Syria. Syria could be managed as long as the regime felt comfortable of its survival. Today Damascus and Aleppo remain calm as the economic elite are fearful of a chaotic aftermath to Mr. Assad’s government. No one can wish to see Damascus and Aleppo go up in flames. The Syrian government should return to rationality.

There will be no going back to the ’90s in Turkish-Syrian relations. Turkey will not become the enemy of yesterday again. A total of 7,239 Syrians escaping from their own government found shelter in Turkey, while some 17,000 more are said to be on their way. This refugee flow was boosted the public’s sympathy for the plight of their persecuted neighbors.

No one had ever pursued any democratization agenda in Syria. That can’t be a ground to put Turkey’s engagement policy on trial. According to the data of the Turkish National Police, entries from Syria to Turkey have increased by 635 percent in the last 10 years, the fastest growth registered from countries in the Middle East. Syria ranks second after Iran in terms of visitors, which equaled 899,494 in 2010. Over holiday periods, hotels in Mersin were full of Syrian tourists, mainly middle class families. By opening its gates, Turkey has had the most powerful effect, demonstrating the benefits of democracy, and has directly supported the social transformation process across the border.

Are we going to shut our doors to Syrians today? Will this be the best way to stand by the Syrian people?

Comments (169)

Tara said:

Dear Ammar Shami

No need to forward any info.

Some Guy in Damascus said

“Submitted on 2011/08/24 at 4:15am
i’ve never heard of that church shooting in Damascus, but i fancy a walk in bab tuma, might check it out.
early in the days of the revolution my friends in told me that they saw an armed man with a huge beard waiting outside the church. his weapons were easily viewable, and his intention( judging by the beard) was to create a massacre. i concluded that he was either the dumbest terrorist in the world( he should be more stealthy) or it was pure theater, nevertheless this is the only incident that transcends sectarian divisions in Damascus”

He can check it out when convenient. Thank you.

August 24th, 2011, 1:16 pm


Afram said:

“Islamic Evolution: How Turkey taught the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood to reconcile faith and democracy”??!!

Islamic democracy goes like this,five islamic wolves invite a secular lamb/kharoof to vote on that nights dinner,traumatic experience for that baby lamb,dont you all think so?to become lamb chops for the salivating islamic wolves!
that is exactly what the southern sudanese people said to the Northern part of islamic sharia law wolves
take your sharia and shove it,we can do without,wolves are not nice,their IQ is less than a cube of ice!

August 24th, 2011, 1:41 pm



من عاشر قوم ..
قصف مدفعي و قنابل مولوتوف و مسمارية .. قناصة على الأسطح .. هدم بيوت على رؤوس سكانها .. إنزال جوي .. إطلاق رصاص على الجنازات و المشيعين و في المقابر .. إحراق المحاصيل الزراعية و البساتين .. تهجير و ترويع السكان .. اعتقال عشوائي .. تنكيل بالمعتقلين و تعذيبهم .. مقابر جماعية .. تشويه للجثث .. دخول للجامع حسب العمر .. قصف مأذن الجوامع .. تعتيم إعلامي .. ملاحقة الناشطين في مجال حقوق الإنسان .. قطع الكهرباء و الماء و الاتصالات .. حصار للمدن .. حصار غذائي .. سرقة و نهب للمحلات و البيوت .. قوائم بالأسماء و حواجز عسكرية .. تعنت في التعامل مع الدول .. رفض التراجع عن العنف و إراقة الدماء .. قتل الجرحى و ملاحقة الأطباء .. هل نحن نعيش في فلسطين المحتلة ؟؟؟؟؟؟؟؟؟؟؟؟
بقلم : ساميخريطة-سورية.html

August 24th, 2011, 2:10 pm



خريطة سورية
في عام63استلم النظام خريطة سوريةبحدودها آنذاك فحولها مكتبا عقاريا.. الجولان اصبحت مسرحا كوميديا للعراضات والدبكة التحريرية..والقنيطرة مركزا عالميا لسياحة الأنقاض والتسول.. وتبخرت اسكندرون وانطاكية من على الخريطة..ايها المنحبكجية(انظروا شكل الخريطتين سابقا ولاحقا..ونحن بانتظار فبركة الرد !؟خريطة-سورية.html

August 24th, 2011, 2:11 pm


NK said:

This guy was obviously armed, that’s why the APC started shooting at him.

Now watch as a brainless menhebakite claims it’s the armed gangs who were shooting at him, they have APCs now!.

And here’s another, notice the large amount of weapons those terrorists have

Anyways to all of you who are wondering what’s next, and how long will we keep going … enjoy

August 24th, 2011, 2:15 pm


Mina said:

Foreign analysts should have a look at any prime time newshour of the Gulf state TV-s to see in what some are putting their (paid?) trust. Dismantling the few Arab republics to give more power to the wealthy slave traders of the Gulf is certainly no option. Why isn’t “wait and see” part of the Arab dictionary of proverbs these days? Syria was pushed for by the Egyptian events by activists who tried to impose a momentum with the help of a few unreliable extremists of whom they have no idea what to do if ever they come to the next phase. Now we are suppose to move fast forward because of Lybia. Poor thinking.

August 24th, 2011, 2:21 pm


Samir K. said:

Tara you finally showed your cards and it was clear since the beginning: you will follow what your zionist masters in Saudi “Arabia” tell you to do blindly no matter the cost. Your fellow zionist Madeleine Albright once said:

On May 12, 1996, Madeleine Albright (then U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations) appeared on a 60 Minutes segment in which Lesley Stahl asked her “We have heard that half a million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?” and Albright replied “we think the price is worth it.” She later complained that she had been sand-bagged by the question and did not mean it!

Tara says:”Armed resistance with no fly zone and a buffer zone near the northern border might be the way to go. The buffer zone will be the safe haven for the defectors and I am sure most Sunnis in the army will defect. I am not afraid of civil war.”

August 24th, 2011, 2:24 pm


Aboud said:

Thanks NK, those were some of the most illuminating videos I’ve seen all week, and the last one was very powerful.

When the end comes, it is going to come very, very quick, like all conflicts.

“Why isn’t “wait and see” part of the Arab dictionary of proverbs these days?”

What, you want eleven more years to rob the country? After over 2,200 deaths and 15,000 prisoners, we’ve seen enough to know what kind of a person junior is. He is a Papa Athad wannabe. He even fails at that.

August 24th, 2011, 2:25 pm



Joke of the day:

“أكد نائب وزير الخارجية السوري فيصل المقداد أن تدخل الجيش في عدد من المناطق جاء ردا على مجموعات مسلحة مدعومة من تنظيم القاعدة، لافتا إلى أن الإستراتيجية التي رسمها الرئيس بشار الأسد للخروج من الأزمة الحالية، تقوم على الاستجابة لمطالب الشعب من خلال القيام بإصلاحات واسعة.”

August 24th, 2011, 2:36 pm



“Syria was pushed for by the Egyptian events by activists who tried to impose a momentum with the help of a few unreliable extremists of whom they have no idea what to do if ever they come to the next phase. Now we are suppose to move fast forward because of Lybia. Poor thinking.”

The bright thinking is to take our time and let his Royal Highness Bashar I and his mafia take their time to give us the illusion of reforms. However, if after 20 or 30 years things get a lot worse, then we can move fast and furious.

August 24th, 2011, 2:45 pm


Aboud said:


So, after six months they discovered its that old bogey man – Al Qaeeda! *facepalm*

August 24th, 2011, 2:58 pm


Revlon said:

Martyr soldier Bassam Alhalqi’s body: Marks of vicious lethal torture; a dead example of Jr’s security accomplishments!

By his martyrdom, Bassam died faithful to his military oath, saving the lives of fellow citizens.

AlFati7a upon his soul.
May God bless his family with solace, and empower them with patience.

24 8 Jasim, Daraa أوغاريت جاسم حوران تعذيب المجند الشهيد بسام الحلقي على أيدي عصابات الأسد لرفضه اطلاق النار على المتظاهرين في الضمير

August 24th, 2011, 3:08 pm


Observer said:

I have a few questions especially for those that tend to want to give the regime some time and room.
1. If the use of force is the exclusive privy of the security services in a modern country then what form of control should one have over these security forces to insure that they do not abuse that power?
2. If one’s home is being invaded and one’s family is being attacked isn’t there a right for self defense?
3. If a branch of the regime is above the law as the constitution stipulates with regard to the security services then what recourse do the people have to redress wrongs?
Now some more serious questions:
1. Intervention is ongoing in Syria at this moment; we have an Israeli intervention and occupation since 67. We have Turkish businesses that have established a significant presence at the expense of Syrian ones. We have Iranian influence that goes from renovation of religious sites to financial and military help. The very location and nature of Syria’s regime is a condition for intervention.
2. Intervention will occur the question is how and when. There is hard neocolonialsim as we saw in Iraq and there is humanitarian imperialism as we saw in Libya.
3. Intervention will happen because the world needs stability and cannot tolerate any longer these pariah states holding events hostage to remain in an archaic form of power. The days of single person/family rule are long gone. Some may have a respite but all will have to change sooner rather than later.
4. The Syrian youth are already beyond the point of no return. The regime has made the fatal mistake of forcing the situation to one where the people have nothing to lose and everything to gain for even if the regime survives the country will be so isolated and battered as to be useless to them.

One final comment; it is interesting to read Samara’s reasons for supporting Junior. It seems that there is a confustion with the importation of ATMs and the ability to have foreign currency with real foundations of a modern society based on the rule of law, equal opportunity, transparency, accountability, change and renewal. I am guessing that there is a hint of nouveau riche here and a deep complex of inferiority towards the real modern world.

May I remind the pro regime that to this day Syria imports sewing needles and light bulbs and batteries.

August 24th, 2011, 3:11 pm


Aboud said:

Allah erhamo. With what courage and determination could he have fought on the Golan if given the chance. He loved his people more than he feared the Baathist thugs.

May he rest in peace, and God give solace and comfort to his family. A true hero of Syria.

August 24th, 2011, 3:12 pm


abughassan said:

Good people can disagree. I believe that turning this uprising into an armed struggle is an invitation for another Iraq. The Libyan model is only convincing for those who chose not to look at the MidEast map lately. An internal armed uprising will soon become a regional war and a playground for thugs and terrorists from a number of countries not to mention a resurgence of a Kurdish separatist movement. Syria’s unique location and composition is the reason why Asad was able to get away with unacceptable human right violations.
A win in Libya is morally helpful but the Libyan story is far more simple that the Syrian one,and many of us are eager to see how the new regime in Libya will deal with Libya’s problems and how it will be received by Libyans including those who still support the old regime.The Arab Spring is a story in the making and it is too early to write the end.

August 24th, 2011, 3:13 pm


Aboud said:

“May I remind the pro regime that to this day Syria imports sewing needles and light bulbs and batteries.”

And matches. I’ve been using the same yellow boxed matches that were made in Pakistan since I can remember.

August 24th, 2011, 3:14 pm




Times have changed. Had they made that claim about al-Qaida five or six years ago, it may have worked. Now it’s too late.

What’s is funny is that the Syrian intelligence boasted about its ability to infiltrate the al-Qaeda and how they saved many American lives by providing crucial intelligence to their US counterparts. So how come Alqeda is all over the place and they don’t know about it?

August 24th, 2011, 3:16 pm


Haytham Khoury said:

Dear Dr. Landis:

The “Neocons” should stay away from Syria, because they will destroy our beautiful country like they did in Iraq. We can manage our country by ourselves.

This is a message that I sent to a friend of mine today (I will translate it to English in the evening):

مؤتمر استانبول الأخير فشل فشلاً ذريعاً بالرغم من تمديده يومين إضافيين، هذا الفشل كان لأن المجتمعين ليس لهم أي فهم للسياسة أو كيفية بناء التحالفات السياسية أو كيفية عقد الؤتمرات أوتنظيمها. المؤتمر كان من المقرر عقده في الولايات المتحدة، ولكن الولايات المتحدة دفعت ليعقد في تركيا لتشرف عليه هذه الأخيرة. أيضاً لم يكن على أجندة هذا الؤتمر تشكيل أي مجلس، لكن الولايات المتحدة هي التي دفعت لهذا. كل هذه الأخبار ليست بحسنة، لأن هذا يعني أن الولايات ستتابع تدخلها في العملية السياسية في سوريا ، وسيكون ذلك لحساب طرف على حساب أطرافٍ أخرى، بالتحديد لحساب الأطراف المحافظة، وذلك لأن هذه الأطراف وعدت بعقد سلام سريع مع اسرائيل. ليس لدي اعتراض على السلام مع اسرائيل، ولكن اعتراضي هو على التدخل في المسيرة السياسية السورية، فهذا سيضع على سوريا طريق اللاستقرار لسنوات عديدة، مشابه لعدم الاستقرار الذي شهدته سوريا بعد التدخل الأمريكي الأول في الأمور الداخلية السورية،أعني بهذا انقلاب حسني الزعيم. كما ترين فإن الموضوع خطير جداً، فالثورة لن تكون ناجحة بمجرد سقوط النظام، فبعد انهيار النظام هناك معركة أخرى تحتاج ليقظة و حنكة كبيرتين لتصل مكاسب الثورة إلى أصحابها الحقيقيين أعني المواطنين السوريين. أرجوا أن تخبري كل الأشخاص المعنيين بذلك

August 24th, 2011, 3:25 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Aboud #136 previous thread,

“…AIG, every treaty Israel signed was with dictatorships. Basher Gemayel was the only (sort of) elected leader to make an agreement with Israel. Neither him nor the treaty lasted a year”.

This is the second time you bring this issue. What is your point? What is your conclusion and/or in light of it, your recommendations for the future? Thanks!

August 24th, 2011, 3:29 pm


Badr said:


Thank you for the reply. From your original comment, I actually got the impression that you thought Bashar tried to initiate a genuine political reform (Damascus Spring), but was forced by the system guards to abandon any idea of a Syrian political “Perestroika”.

If it is the case that Bashar had the intention to become Syria’s Gorbachev, but couldn’t do so due to his inability to overcome the obstacle of his inner circle, he should still not be considered as blameless. This is so because then, he should have done the honorable thing of quitting office a long time ago.

August 24th, 2011, 3:31 pm


ann said:

Iran and Syria: World government pursues Lebensraum – 24 August 2011

Upon the dissolution of USSR in 1991, the CIA, as per their conspiracy, has gone ahead with tracking the “other enemy” of US imperialism and capitalism – Islam. There are at present four distinct war “theatres“: Afghanistan-Pakistan, Iraq, Palestine and Libya. A war on Syria would lead to military escalation. An attack on Syria would lead to the integration of these separate war theatres, eventually leading towards a broader Middle East-Central Asian war, engulfing an entire region from North Africa and the Mediterranean to Afghanistan and Pakistan. USA has failed dot destabilize Islamic Iran but it h as not given up the devilish ambition.

Destabilization of sovereign states through “regime change” is closely coordinated with US military planning. An extended Middle East Central Asian war has been on the Pentagon’s drawing board since the mid-1990s. As part of this extended war scenario, the US-NATO alliance plans to wage a military campaign against Syria under a UN sponsored “humanitarian mandate”.

Upon the dissolution of USSR in 1991, the CIA, as per their conspiracy, has gone ahead with tracking the “other enemy” of US imperialism and capitalism – Islam. There are at present four distinct war theatre: Afghanistan-Pakistan, Iraq, Palestine and Libya. A war on Syria would lead to military escalation. An attack on Syria would lead to the integration of these separate war theatre, eventually leading towards a broader Middle East-Central Asian war, engulfing an entire region from North Africa and the Mediterranean to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

From Afghanistan to Syria, the USA has unleashed a serial attack to make energy rich Muslim nations the US puppets to serve CIA interests. The entire Mideast region as a result of CIA conspiracy is too volatile and fragile. Any NATO/Turkey attack would antagonize Russia, which maintains close economic and strategic ties to Syria, while straining the resources of NATO members already fighting against Libya. The western terrocracies do not want to offer extra bargain chips to Moscow. The Western powers could not rely on a local proxy force in Syria to fight on their behalf, as NATO has done with the Transitional National Council in eastern Libya.

CIA is trying to terror-cash in the fact that Syria has no defence against Western systems. With a view to get maximum benefits form the Mideast region, the US and European powers are preparing for an intervention in Syria and they want Turkey to be on their side. NATO terror forces could destroy much of Syria’s air defences within 48 hours, before starting an “open-ended bombardment of Syrian tanks and ground troops. The joint notorious NATO forces are looking to fashion a regime—with or without Assad—to serve their predatory economic and strategic interests.

War preparations to attack Syria and Iran have been in “an advanced state of readiness” for several years. The global dictator US-CIA categorizes Syria along with Iran as a “rogue state” and escalation is an integral part of the military agenda. A war on Syria is viewed by the Pentagon as part of the broader war directed against Iran. There is a clear-cut military roadmap characterized by a sequence of US-NATO war theatres. This broader military agenda is intimately related to strategic oil reserves and pipeline routes. It is supported by the Anglo-American oil giants.

Although neither a terror attack on Syria nor economic terrorism in the form of sanctions is seriously contemplated by CIA, none can guarantee a peaceful solution by USA to crises in Mideast. Russia says sanctions against the government of Bashar Al- Assad are not a panacea and will not promote stability in Syria. Any possible UN Security Council decisions on Syria would lead to a repetition of the Libyan scenario complicating an already fragile Mideast terrorized jointly by NATO- and Israel.

The road to Tehran goes through Damascus. A US-NATO sponsored war on Iran would involve, as a first step, a destabilization campaign (“regime change”) including covert intelligence operations in support of rebel forces directed against the Syrian government.

The July 2006 bombing of Lebanon by the Zionist regime backed by USA-UK terror twins, was part of a carefully planned “military road map”. Israel’s July 2006 war on Lebanon also sought to establish Israeli control over the North Eastern Mediterranean coastline including offshore oil and gas reserves in Lebanese and Palestinian territorial waters. The extension of “The July War” on Lebanon into Syria had been contemplated by US and Israeli military planners. It was abandoned upon the defeat of Israeli ground forces by Hizbollah.

In February, the US-backed Iraqi regime violently suppressed protests inspired by the working class uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt. Military intervention in Syria also carries the threat of renewed conflict in Iraq. Syria shares a long border with US-occupied Iraq, including Iraq’s autonomous majority-Kurdish region. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees live in Syria, often in squalid conditions, having escaped the devastation of the US invasion and occupation of their country.

NATO terror syndicate is still harping on the idea of attacking Iran and Syria. The road to Tehran goes through Damascus. A US-NATO sponsored war on Iran would involve, as a first step, a destabilization campaign (“regime change”) including covert intelligence operations in support of rebel forces directed against the Syrian government.

It is not entirely clear if the USA is eager to attack Iran and Syria in order to appease the resourceful Sunni Arab League for favorable oil prices or USA is targeting these two essentially Shiite nations on requests from Saudi Arabia led Arab League as part of their historic links since World War-1. However, one fact is clear that Islam is the target of all anti-Islamic nations for which Sunni Arabs also shamelessly lend support, legitimizing all NATO massacres and destructions in Islamic world.

It is unfortunate that the Western terror agenda against Iran and Syria is also the common agenda of Saudi led Sunni Arab nations- even during the Holy Ramadan month. That is the level of faith among Muslims in today’s anti-Islamic era!

August 24th, 2011, 3:42 pm


Haytham Khoury said:


Wishes are not enough. Without a personality that have deep vision, charisma and understanding of the reality no reform is possible. Bashar might have good wishes when he started his presidency, but have had no personal assets to achieve them. For this reason, Bashar deficiency is entrenched in his character.

August 24th, 2011, 3:45 pm


Evan said:

To the people who claim that if Bashar goes down, civil war will follow: You do realize that Bashar no longer has popular support. Whether you believe it is because the shabiha are killing peaceful protestors or because Bashar has failed to secure the population from random gang/Qaeda attacks, Syrians don’t like him and are protesting his rule. It is now a matter of how long he hangs on, and that can be a long time, a year at least. But what’s the endgame for when the people rise up or others invade to stop the killing? I have a serious question for the Syrians in Syria to answer if they would. Is Syrian social fabric so weak that civil war, even possibly leading to mini-states for the Assadis and Alawis, is unavoidable, as pro-regime narratives suggest? I honestly find it hard to believe that the majority Alawi communities would remain pro-regime unless they are secretly being intimidated more than all other sects or their true endgoal was a separate mini-state a la what they asked for in 1936. The questions Syrians need to ask themselves is if the majority of Alawites truly feel like separatists at heart. If so, the opposition should form unified plans for an Alawi regional govt as part of the new Syria, otherwise I don’t see how to move on from the status quo.

August 24th, 2011, 3:52 pm



With Libya changing hands, it would be interesting to see what the new government will do to protect the sovereignty of the country. After all, NATO, and especially France, don’t have the best interest of the Libyans at heart. They want Libya’s oil and want Libya to be a client state.

This is why we should not want foreign military intervention.

It’s important to note that under Gaddafi, Libyans didn’t benefit from the riches of the country. Gaddafi and his family used the money to live like kings while he majority of Libyans remained poor. They also used the money to fund terrorism and regional conflicts. A lot of money was spent on Gaddafi’s mad plans to be become the king of Africa. In a way, the Libyans had no other choice in the face of this devil. I just hope they don’t sell the country to the West.

August 24th, 2011, 3:53 pm


Majed97 said:

RE: How Turkey taught the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood to reconcile faith and democracy.

I love all that singing and dancing around Islamism to sugar coat the religion in order to make it relevant to today’s reality; an indirect acknowledgement of its obsoleteness as a political system. We all know the so called “Turkish model” of Islamism is hardly Islamic in its practice, as it violates just about every Sharea law and teaching of Mohamed. Turkey is acting more and more European on all fronts (economic, social, political, legal, etc…) as it is desperately trying to join the EU; yet somehow they still claim to be Islamists. By what measures, I like to know…how hypocrite! Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad Islamists are finally re-inventing themselves to become more civilized, but why not just admit that Islam, just like all religions, has no place in politics and should just be a spiritual affair?!

If the MB is so eager to change and become tolerant of all beliefs (including atheism) why not change their charter to a secular one, and change their name to a more inclusive one, like the Syrian Brotherhood (SB)?! After all, what’s the point of keeping the word Moslem in their title, if Islamic law is not their ultimate destination?!

August 24th, 2011, 3:57 pm


mjabali said:

Prof. Landis:

The quote you have up is written by Abu Ummar and Not Abu Ammar so please fix it so people know and follow what this great thinker say. ماذا يجود علينا من ماعنده

Also, You took out from the same quote the name he gives the Alawis thinking he is degrading them.

He says that the Alawis real name is Nusayriyah. Abu Ummar thinks that he is putting the Alawis in the right place by calling them Nusayriyah.

Ibn Nusayer was the Bab/deputy of the 11th and 12th Imams and with others he was responsible for the missionaries that converted people into the Alawi interpretation of things.
أبو شعيب محمد بن نصير

Still Abu Ummar thinks it is a diss to call the Alawis, Nusayriyah.

يظن أبو عمر بأنه يطعن بالعلوية إذا سماهم بالنصيرية. السؤال هنا: من المعروف أن للإمام النصير من الاتباع الملايين ،فماهو محل أبو عمر من الإعراب؟

Please Dr. Landis put the complete rant of this man.

August 24th, 2011, 4:07 pm



“من رضع ثدي الذل دهرا رأى في الحرية خرابا و شرا”
محمود درويش

August 24th, 2011, 4:09 pm



“مطالب الشعب معروفة وما تحقق منها شي للان
اسلوب تنظيم القاعدة معروف ولحد الان ولله الحمد ما صار ولا تفجير انتحاري وما اسمعنا اي تبني من تنظيم القاعدة لاي عمل مسلح والحاصل الان من عنف اما هو عنف مضاد نتج عن القمع الدموي للانتفاضة واما هو عنف محسوب لاستغلاله من طرف النظام للتغطية على المشكلة السياسية بمشكلة امنية وبالطريق يتم سحق المحتجين والاخير يوجد دلائل على استخدامه كاستراتيجية لكبح جماح الحراك الشعبي لانه الى حد الان لم نعرف الدوافع الحقيقية للعنف ضد الجيش والامن والناس وما نسمعه هو بربرة للتعمية على الحقائق وهذا مصدر اطمئنان البعض”

August 24th, 2011, 4:11 pm


Aboud said:


“Is Syrian social fabric so weak that civil war, even possibly leading to mini-states for the Assadis and Alawis, is unavoidable, as pro-regime narratives suggest”

Commentators the world over have expressed their amazement that despite the barbaric provocations by the regime, the revolution has not become sectarian.

There was a brief moment in Homs some weeks ago when some thought that Syria was descending into a sectarian conflict. These people betrayed the fact that they did not have accurate information on events there. Three shabihas were killed. Between them they were responsible for over a dozen deaths. Their fellow shabihas went on a rampage in the Sunni areas. It blew over, the Sunnis did not retaliate against Alawite areas in Homs, nor in the rest of the country.

Throughout this revolution, the Syrian people have demonstrated an amazing resilience and patience. Any people who can lose so many, and still remain non violent, can be trusted to run a non-sectarian country after junior is overthrown. Syria will be a lesson in tolerance to other countries in the region.

If it were up to me, the revolution would have been armed long ago, and retribution exacted on the bastards who have killed and tortured so many Syrians. But more patient heads than mine are *currently* prevailing.

@26 And now you complain when someone you don’t like has their comments highlighted? When will you people learn that Internet websites are under no obligation to be sycophantic Besho worshipers like Al-Dunya.

MLK Quote;

“The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict. ”

Are you paying attention, all you “neutrals” still bent on saving your own skins?

August 24th, 2011, 4:34 pm


Abu Umar said:

” 26. mjabali said:

Prof. Landis:

The quote you have up is written by Abu Ummar and Not Abu Ammar so please fix it so people know and follow what this great thinker say. ماذا يجود علينا من ماعنده”

At least I admit my Sunni sectarianism, unlike an extreme “Alawi” sectarian like yourself who pretends that he is non-religious. If that was the case, then you would have no problem calling the so-called Alawis, who have nothing to do with Ali ibn Abi Talib, by their rightful names, Nusayris.

Also, look at your hypocrisy of calling out Aboud for violence, but silent on the menhebeks who were calling for killing and scorched-earth policy and why do you demand that thousands of Syrians go their graves smiling at their executors?

“He says that the Alawis real name is Nusayriyah. Abu Ummar thinks that he is putting the Alawis in the right place by calling them Nusayriyah.”

Yes, I am using that term as an insult just like many of your menhebeks are using the language of the Neocons against Muslims.

“Ibn Nusayer was the Bab/deputy of the 11th and 12th Imams and with others he was responsible for the missionaries that converted people into the Alawi interpretation of things.
أبو شعيب محمد بن نصير”

So what does he or the Alawis have to with Ali when it is known what he did to their ancestors?

“Still Abu Ummar thinks it is a diss to call the Alawis, Nusayriyah.”

You’re damn right I do.

يظن أبو عمر بأنه يطعن بالعلوية إذا سماهم بالنصيرية. السؤال هنا: من “المعروف أن للإمام النصير من الاتباع الملايين ،فماهو محل أبو عمر من الإعراب؟

نعم أقوم بذلك لأستخف بهم لكن الطائفة المسميى “بالعلوية” لا علاقة لها بتاتا بعلي إبن أبي طالب و هو بريء منها برائة الذئب من دم يوسف.

“Please Dr. Landis put the complete rant of this man.”

Please do. The same ridiculous Zionist mentality permeates the propaganda of the menhebek lunatics. Just like the Zionists are outraged to this very day that the Palestinians refused to roll over and surrender, the Asad mafia is outraged that Syrians refuse their rule after what they have done and demand that the protesters go to their graves smiling. Hafez al-Asad didn’t come to power with a bouquet of flowers, but the sword. It’s time to end this silmiyyah nonsense, which will eventually lead to Western intervention, giving the Syrian regime the moral high ground.

August 24th, 2011, 5:24 pm


Khalid Tlass said:

Aboud, is it true that the 3 Shabbiha killed in Homs were killed by the people ? If thats true, then a cause to celebrate !!!

Pour l’Menhebakistes, nous arrivons pour vous, nous venons pour vous.

August 24th, 2011, 5:28 pm


Sahar said:

Many of you posters on this blog are responding to fecticious SYOP ID names/characters. These so called posters are all one and the same. They originate from boiler rooms in Israel, Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and possibly Iraq. Their sole agenda is the protection of Israel no matter what the cost is.

Here are some of their aliases:


Notice how they pretend they are chatting each others to justify posting their propaganda


Ramadan Kareem

August 24th, 2011, 5:34 pm


Khalid Tlass said:

Abu Umar, you are a right-thinking guy, it is indeed time to stop the Silmiyyah nonsense. If eventually Western intervention comes, you can expect some stupid Muslims from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh (and most of the Muslim population is concentrated on those 3 countries) to jump up and down and some ignorant Imams rallying to support Assad.

Anyway its all an Iranian conspiracy, NATO is in it, why else did they topple a great leader like Saddam, the only guy who could make both the Majoosis and the Zionists shake in their boots at the same time ? Nouri al Maliki is a damn Majoosi who is ruling Iraq becoz of USA’s grace, and now he is supporting Bashar contraveneing the “official stance” of USA. USA is learning a lesson, that the loyalty of these Majoosis is always to Iran, and to their “Imam al Masumeen”. Their behaviour is itself a justification for Saddam’s policies. Abu Umar, clever people like you, me, Aboud have realized that our real enemy is that heresy, Zionsist are merely side-shows. It is high time we prepared oursleves for the coming World War 3.

August 24th, 2011, 5:36 pm


Aboud said:

Khalid, yes it is true. Those three shabihas were responsible for over a dozen deaths among the demonstrators. The people have a right to defend themselves in the face of the regime’s barbaric crackdown.

“Abu Umar, clever people like you, me, Aboud have realized that our real enemy is that heresy”

Which heresy? My enemy is the Baathist regime and whoever supports and sustains it, regardless of sect or religion. And I wish the Iranian Ayatollahs would get their nose out of our business.

August 24th, 2011, 5:52 pm


ann said:

New Ads on BART, Muni, and Cable Cars Call for End to US Military Aid to Israel

Submitted by Rod Driver for – Aug-24-2011 13:40

Commuters in Oakland, Berkeley, and San Francisco stations will see Israeli and Palestinian grandfathers urging aid cut-off for the sake of peace and justice.

(BERKELEY, Calif.) – Eye-catching ads calling for an end to United States military aid to Israel will greet travelers on Bay Area transit systems beginning today.

Part of a year-old national campaign, the ads depict Israeli and Palestinian grandfathers, each holding a grandchild, calling for an end to the military assistance in the interest of building “peace with equality and justice.” They went up today in three of the busiest stations on the Bay Area Rapid Transit system – 12th St. Oakland, Downtown Berkeley, and Civic Center San Francisco – as well as on the Muni level of the Embarcadero station in San Francisco and on a Powell Street cable car. Next week the same ad will be posted in the 16th St./ Mission station in San Francisco.

Chief sponsor of the local ad campaign is Northern California Friends of Sabeel, the local affiliate of an international peace movement initiated by Palestinian Christians to bring justice and peace to the Holy Land through non-violence and education. Co-sponsors include Jewish Voice for Peace, American Muslims for Palestine, the Middle East Children’s Alliance, and Bay Area Women in Black.

The U.S. currently provides Israel with $3 billion in military assistance annually – more than $340,000 per hour – despite Israel’s open defiance of stated U.S. policy, United Nations resolutions, and international law. Cumulatively, Israel is the largest recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War II, having received more than $112 billion in aid since 1949, according to the Congressional Research Service. Today Israel ranks second only to Iraq among recipients of U.S. funding, even though Israel’s gross domestic product per capita is higher than, for example, Italy’s.

“Israel is one the wealthiest countries in the world. American aid encourages its violation of international law and moral conventions and creates serious problems for us around the world,” said Hassan Fouda, a member of Northern California Friends of Sabeel and one of the organizers of the ad campaign. “Congress is planning deep cuts in social security, unemployment compensation, educational grants and other programs that help vulnerable Americans. Transferring billions of taxpayers’ money to Israel now is immoral. Americans need to speak up and be heard.”

The ads are part of an initiative launched in October 2010, by a Chicago-area community group called the Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine. NorCal Sabeel followed with ads in several BART stations last December. Since then similar ads have appeared in transit stations, on buses, or on billboards in Washington, DC; Boston, MA; Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ; and Albuquerque, NM. More cities are planning their own campaigns soon.

The previous round of ads in BART stations not only garnered considerable coverage in the local media, but also provoked a series of counter-ads sponsored by an Israel Lobby organization called Stand With Us. In response to complaints about those ads, BART removed them on the grounds that they appeared “disparaging or demeaning to Palestinians as a whole” and violated the district’s advertising standards; they were then replaced with new ads accusing the Palestinian leadership of “teaching hate and violence.”

The new ads now appearing in the Bay Area feature photos of Jeff Halper, a Minnesota-born Israeli professor, and Salim Shawamreh, a Palestinian construction supervisor born in Jerusalem, and a grandchild of each. Halper is co-founder and coordinator of the Israel Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD); Shawamreh’s Jerusalem home has been destroyed by Israeli wrecking crews, then rebuilt by volunteers organized by ICAHD, four times since 1998. The two men and their families have become close friends. They have toured the U.S., Canada, and the United Kingdom, speaking out against Israel’s 44-year occupation of the Palestinian territories.

For more information on the overall campaign, see on the Bay Area campaign, see on Friends of Sabeel-North America, see on American Muslims for Palestine, see on Jewish Voice for Peace, see on Bay Area Women in Black, see

August 24th, 2011, 6:16 pm


sheila said:

Dear Samara,
I know that you have visited Syria many times, however, you do understand fully well that visiting a country is different from living in it. If you try to live in Syria, and this will include: going to school, driving, working, starting a business, etc…, then you can understand the barrage of discontent caused by your comments about how many “improvements” Bashar Alassad made in Syria.
Syria, my dear Samara, is in a very sorry state. I lived in Syria for many years and believe me when I tell you that every year that is passing by, Syria is moving steadily backwards. I do not care whether the president is Sunni, Alawii, Christian, Kurd or anything else. In my view, his or her religion does not make any difference, it is his love for the country and his relentless effort to make every Syrian’s life better, that I care about. The changes that happened or are happening in Syria are not meant for the improvement of the country, rather the enrichment of the Assad clan and their entourage. Now, you have to realize that the clan is not pure Alawii. Both the wives of Bashar and Maher are Sunni, also, Bashar’s aunt is married to a Sunni and the list goes on. Also, please note that not all the entourage is Alawii. As a matter of fact, if you watch the scene closely, you will discover that the Alawiis (other than the direct family members of the Assads) are the people who are given the orders. They are the vast majority of the workers. Bashar and Maher’s milieu is made of the upper class Sunnis and Christians.
Lebanon, a country that went through a bloody civil war, is much better than Syria. Jordan, a country that has very little in terms of resources, is much better than Syria. Both countries have literacy rates in the upper 90s, versus Syria’s that is in the lower 70s. Both countries have a much higher per capita income. And both countries have first class schools and universities, versus Syria that can claim neither. As a matter of fact, our educational system has been in decline for a very long time to the point where US universities are considering not accepting Syrian degrees anymore.
I do not know what else to say. Please open your mind and your eyes and try to see the truth.

August 24th, 2011, 6:17 pm


syau said:

Khalid Tlass #31,

“Aboud, is it true that the 3 Shabbiha killed in Homs were killed by the people ? If thats true, then a cause to celebrate !!!
Pour l’Menhebakistes, nous arrivons pour vous, nous venons pour vous.”

Your comment, which highlights the true nature of this terrorist revolution, is absolutely disgraceful.

Your threat highlights your fundamentalist nature. While you are referring to ‘Menhebakistes’, I am a supporter of President Bashar Al Assad and a ‘menhebak’ to the core. Your threat is a joke and will not change my position in the slightest.

Aboud, stop lying. They were murdered purely out of hate and sectarianism. You are views are just as disgraceful as Khalid Tlass and Abu Umar.

August 24th, 2011, 6:20 pm


SyriaLover said:

Thank you Fred (main section) for your comments on the Syrian army and other matters. One of the more realistic, sane and humane comments that have appeared lately.

To those who are pushing for armed resistance, military help from the west etc: please stay in your comfortable armchairs, but exert yourselves more mentally to think things through.

For example, think Iraq, think what a field day Iran, Saudi Arabia (they were putting big $$$s into factional strife) and al Qaeda have had. Suicide bombers will be queuing up to inflict cruel havoc in Syrian markets, job recruitment centres and mosques.

Syrians might have a dysfunctional state with a past-expiry date on the regime. But at least they still have a state – not the terrifying abyss of a failed state.

August 24th, 2011, 6:24 pm



اسرائيل والرضوخ للتهديد المصري
رأي القدس

الثورات الشعبية العربية، والحكومات التي تنبثق من رحمها، تظل افضل عشرات المرات من الانظمة الديكتاتورية القمعية التي جاءت للاطاحة بها، وانهاء فترات حكمها القمعي الفاسد حتى لو رافق بعضها، او ترتب عليها، بعض السلبيات، واعمال الفوضى والفلتان الامني. فالثورتان التونسية والمصرية ادلة ساطعة عما نقول.
فيوم امس كشفت صحف اسرائيلية عن قيام النظام الانتقالي في مصر بتوجيه تهديد صارم الى الحكومة الاسرائيلية بقطع العلاقات وتجميد اتفاقات كامب ديفيد اذا ما اقدمت القوات الاسرائيلية على اجتياح قطاع غزة، وارتكاب مجازر فيه على غرار ما حدث في عملية مماثلة اطلق عليها اسم ‘الرصاص المصبوب’ في اواخر عام 2008 واستمرت لاكثر من ثلاثة اسابيع استشهد خلالها اكثر من 1400 شخص نصفهم من الاطفال تقريباً.
هذه اللغة غابت من القاموس المصري الرسمي لاكثر من اربعين عاماً، اطمأنت خلالها اسرائيل على امنها واستقرارها، وغياب اي رد فعل مصري غاضب، ولهذا اطلقت العنان لقواتها لكي تعتدي على لبنان عدة مرات كان آخرها عام 2006، وتجتاح قطاع غزة وقتما تشاء، وتقتل ما طاب لها من رجال المقاومتين اللبنانية والفلسطينية.
النظام المصري الجديد يستمد قوته من دعم الشعب المصري وثورته، ومن معايير المحاسبة والشفافية، والتزامه بالقيم العربية والاسلامية، وسقوط ثقافة الخوف من اسرائيل والدول الغربية الداعمة لها، والولايات المتحدة الامريكية على وجه الخصوص.
فعندما يكون رئيس مصر، الدولة الاقليمية العظمى، مرتشياً، ونظامه يعتمد على مافيا رجال الاعمال الفاسدة، ونجلاه لم يتفوقا الا في ميادين الطمع ونهب المال العام والتربح من مركز والدهما في قمة السلطة، وبيع الغاز المصري بسعر التكلفة لاسرائيل مقابل عمولات ضخمة، عندما يكون هذا هو حال الطبقة الحاكمة في مصر في العهد السابق، فانها لا تستطيع ان تهدد اسرائيل، او تعارض حروبها على العرب والمسلمين في لبنان وقطاع غزة، بل تفعل عكس ذلك تماما، اي تأييد مثل هذا العدوان بطرق غير علنية وغير مباشرة.
مصر الثورة تستعيد مكانتها، مثلما تستعيد دورها بشكل تدريجي، ولكن بوتيرة متسارعة، ويتمحور التحول الجديد في مواقفها حول العداء لاسرائيل، والرفض المطلق لكل نزعاتها العدوانية ضد العرب والمسلمين، خاصة في قطاع غزة المحاصر.
الشعب المصري يلعب الدور الاكبر في هذا التحول، بل ويدفع باتجاهه بقوة، وما شاهدناه ونشاهده من مظاهرات صاخبة امام السفارة الاسرائيلية في القاهرة وانزال علمها بالقوة وزرع العلم المصري مكانه، والمطالبة باغلاقها فورا، هو الدليل الابرز على هذا الصدد.
القيادة الاسرائيلية بدأت تدرك مدى جدية التحول المصري المذكور، والتهديدات المصرية بقطع العلاقات بالتالي، وهذا ما يفسر ‘تجميدها’ كل خططها العدوانية لاجتياح القطاع، انتقاماً للعملية الفدائية التي ادت الى مقتل ثمانية اسرائيليين قرب ايلات.
اسرائيل التي قتلت السلام، لا تفهم الا لغة واحدة، هي لغة القوة، وهي لغة انقرضت في عرف الحكام العرب منذ اربعين عاما، وجاءت الثورات العربية لتعيدها بقوة وبلغة واضحة.

August 24th, 2011, 6:29 pm


ann said:

U.S. Is Aiding Governments That Persecute Christians

Though most Americans desire peace and freedom in the world, the Founding Fathers consistently stated that wherever the principles of ordered liberty arose among other nations of the world, America would be a friend and a sympathizer, but that it should not attempt to impose these principles politically upon another country.

We are now at the 70th anniversary of Operation Barbarossa — Germany’s invasion of Russia — in which two of the most evil regimes in human history fought each other with a savagery that those in this country can scarcely imagine.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt manipulated opinion and demonized critics of his foreign policy to such an extent that Americans were taught to believe that supplying “Uncle Joe” Stalin with tens of thousands of P-39 Aircobra fighters, Sherman and Grant tanks, “deuce and a half” trucks and jeeps, as well as enormous supplies of almost everything else, would somehow promote peace and freedom in the world.

Never mind that Stalin and Hitler had been virtual allies for almost two years and that the Russian army special forces, or GRU, provided the Luftwaffe with bombing damage and reconnaissance reports during the Battle of Britain, or that Germany and Russia sliced Eastern Europe apart like pie, with even the propaganda of the each of the two brutal regimes supporting the actions of the other. There was nothing America could have done to bring “peace and freedom” to those two realms.

Today’s Pakistan follows a similar path. America’s massive foreign aid to that benighted country — about $3 billion a year — has brought no peace or freedom to Pakistan, where some of the severest religious persecution in the world is practiced. Martin Surridge wrote recently for ReligiousLiberty.TV:

When was the last time you turned on the news and saw a story about Pakistan that was uplifting, encouraging and positive? Really? You can’t remember? Me neither. While the bad news coming out Islamabad typically features either nuclear proliferation, harboring of terrorists, a military coup, or tension with India, let’s not forget that Pakistan is also one of the world’s most egregious violators of religious liberty. Surprised? I didn’t think so.

Surridge noted that all across this large and populous nation Christians are persecuted, often violently attacked. In January, the assassination of Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer ended any hopes of eliminating Pakistan’s severe laws against blasphemy of Mohammed.

Terrorism in Pakistan is directed, often very specifically, against those who “threaten” the Muslim country with the message of Christ, even including discrimination in the midst of a humanitarian disaster zone. Compass Direct News reported of the aftermath of last year’s severe flooding in Pakistan which threatened the population,

Many Christians living in the southern belt of Pakistan’s Punjab Province who lost their houses in last year’s floods remain homeless despite a plan by the Punjab government to allocate land to residents in the area.

Local resident Hameed Masih commented,

[The Islamic government] has not set a quota for granting of land to members of minority communities left homeless by the devastating floods. Several people were allotted land last month, but so far no minority member has been given land. Christians in this area are not rich people. They lost their houses and lands in the floods and should have been given a 5 percent quota in the scheme. Flood victims could have been easily accommodated, but the quota system has not been followed, and thus no minority member has been allotted land.

In a report by the Baptist Press detailing the steep rise in global religious tensions, Pakistan is one of 10 countries named with the most severe hostilities involving religion. The other nine nations are Iraq, India, Afghanistan, Somalia, Indonesia, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Israel, and Egypt — the majority of which receive foreign aid, military support, and other assistance from the United States.

It is now rather widely known that the American invasion of Iraq has led to the practical destruction of the ancient Assyrian Christian community of that land. When Egypt erupted in riots that led to the overthrow of the government of Hosni Mubarak, many Americans were surprised to learn that Egypt was the second or third largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid — aid which had worked in support of the Mubarak dictatorship. Egyptian Muslims practice terrorism against the equally ancient Coptic Christian community there, which despite centuries of second-class citizenship under Muslim rulers had remained about 10 percent of the population.

Increasingly, the message of America’s Founders — a foreign policy of non-interventionism, which included having goodwill to all countries, but making no entangling alliances with any, including foreign aid — is beginning to resonate with the informed portion of the American electorate.

August 24th, 2011, 6:29 pm


Syrialover said:

For the west-helped-Libya-why-not Syria crowd, a lot more thinking needed there too. Western countries have had long-term scores to settle with Gaddafi – they’ve had many, many reasons to view him as a threat to themselves and the rest of the world. All they needed was the go-ahead from the Libyans themselves.

Even if you’ve been following Gaddafi’s antics over the years, it is still staggering to read the roll call of his malicious interference in other countries. Apart from being a busy sponsor of terrorism on European soil in the 1970s and 80s, he has destroyed millions of lives in Africa backing civil wars, running terrorist training camps and arranging assassinations. Egypt and Sudan have also been directly threatened by him.

For reasons above, the west had no fear of any other external powers interfering on Gaddafi’s side.

Some commentators have pointed out too that Libya had very shallow institutions that will be easily replaced without the massive civil disruption and displacement that would happen in Syria.

August 24th, 2011, 6:31 pm


Ali said:

@31. Khalid Tlass said:

“Aboud, is it true that the 3 Shabbiha killed in Homs were killed by the people ? If thats true, then a cause to celebrate !!!”

Pour l’Menhebakistes, nous arrivons pour vous, nous venons pour vous.
(For Menhebakistes we come for you, just for you.)

First of all, They were ordinary men murdered by your thugs.
second, the only thing you will be celebrating is the many more years of Assad ruling you and your haters.

And finally, People like your and your followers are PURE EVIL. You just proved yourself a criminal taking part in these despicable acts against humanity. What was that you said Sheila????

August 24th, 2011, 6:32 pm



رسالة قاطعة من طرابلس الى دمشق
صحف عبرية

المشاركون في المظاهرة الليلية التي انطلقت أول أمس في شوارع مدينة الزبداني في ضواحي العاصمة دمشق، استوعبوا بسرعة الوضع الجديد في ليبيا. ‘سوريا لا تخاف، بشار التالي في الدور’، هتف المتظاهرون.
‘القذافي طار، طار. والان دورك يا بشار’. الشعار الجديد، الذي انتشر في سوريا بسرعة شهد على أن سقوط القذافي يعطي ريح اسناد ايضا لمعارضي نظام الاسد، الذين يأملون في أن تكون بلادهم بالفعل هي التالية في الدور، بعد تونس، مصر وليبيا.
صفحة الفيس بوك الرسمية للمعارضة السورية، التي تنسق مظاهرات الاحتجاج ضد الاسد، هنأت بحرارة الشعب الليبي على اسقاط القذافي.
‘الشعوب العربية حققت نصرا وانجازا جديدا رغم عدم ايمان المشككين’، كتب مدراء الصفحة. ‘الارض الليبية انغمرت بدم شبابها. نحن ندعو شباب الثورة في سوريا الى مواصلة سفك دمائهم. لحظة النصر قريبة. والحسم سيكون لكم’.
الاحتجاج السوري، الذي بدأ بعد نحو شهر من المظاهرات في شوارع ليبيا، جبا منذ الان حياة أكثر من 2000 شخص. قوات الاسد – الجيش، اجهزة المخابرات وميليشيات حزب البعث رفعت بالتدريج مستوى العنف. في الاسابيع الاخيرة يستخدم بشار الدبابات، المروحيات بل وحتى سفن الصواريخ لقمع الثورة ضده. وأمس ايضا قتل ما لا يقل عن سبعة اشخاص في مدينة حمص. ودفاعا عن نفسه يدعي النظام السوري بانه يقاتل ضد عصابات ارهابية مسلحة.
مثل الوضع في ليبيا، بدأت المعارضة السورية ايضا طريقها وهي منقسمة وضعيفة. أمس بذلت محاولة لتعزيز صفوفها وذلك لعرض بديل عن نظام الاسد. بعد ثلاثة ايام من المداولات في اسطنبول، أعلن رجال المعارضة عن تشكيل ‘مجلس انتقالي’. في الهيئة الجديدة ستكون المجموعات السياسية المعارضة للاسد، بمن فيهم الاخوان المسلمون ايضا. ‘هدفنا هو ان نصبح صوت الثورة السورية والمساعدة في تشديد الضغط على نظام الاسد’، قال ياسر طبارة، رجل المعارضة السوري.
من الجهة الاخرى، في اوساط النشطاء الميدانيين، تنطلق اصوات جديدة تنتقد التكتيك غير العنيف الذي اختير لاسقاط سلالة الاسد.
‘القذافي مر من الثوار عندما هاجموا طرابلس’، كتبت احدى المتظاهرات على صفحة فيس بوك للثورة السورية، ‘ولكن ممَ سيهرب بشار؟
من الناس الذين يصفقون وينشدون؟ اذا واصلتم الطرق السلمية، سيبقى بشار في الحكم لعشر سنوات اخرى’.
اما مشارك آخر فأشار الى ان المتظاهرين السوريين لا يمكنهم أن يشبهوا أنفسهم بالثوار الليبيين. فقد كتب يقول: ‘لقد رفعوا سلاحهم وقاتلوا كالرجال. اما أنتم فتصرخون وتتحدثون كالنساء’.
وبالفعل، خلافا لليبيا، حيث تدهورت المظاهرات بسرعة الى حرب أهلية، في سوريا النظام وحده هو الذي يطلق النار. الجيش يصمد ويواصل تنفيذ أوامر بشار. الفرار حتى الان كان طفيفا، ولا يمكن الحديث عن انتقال وحدات عسكرية كاملة الى جانب الثوار، مثلما حصل في ليبيا.
فارق آخر هو في موقف الاسرة الدولية. الدول الغربية، وبعض من دول الخليج وتركيا ايضا انتقدت بشدة الاسد ودعته الى الرحيل. ومع ذلك، فاحد لا يتحدث في هذه اللحظة عن استخدام القوة العسكرية او ادخال الناتو الى المعركة.
ومثل المعارضة الليبية فان المعارضة السورية هي ايضا، كما ينبغي القول، تعارض تماما التدخل الخارجي خشية أن ‘يصمها’ الامر فيخدم مصلحة الاسد. منذ اندلاع المظاهرات ادعى الاسد بان الولايات المتحدة واسرائيل تقفان خلف المؤامرة لاسقاط نظامه.
رغم ذلك، فان سقوط القذافي يبعث الأمل في قلوب السوريين الذين يؤمنون بانه حان الان دور بشار. ‘طالما صمد القذافي، تواسى النظام السوري بفكرة انه يمكن ان يفعل كل ما يروق له، دون أن يخشى الأسرة الدولية التي كانت منشغلة في ليبيا’، يقول مصدر سوري معارض في دمشق.
‘الان، عندما انتهى القذافي، ستكون سوريا في بؤرة ‘الربيع العربي’ والضغط الدولي. اعتبارات النظام السوري ينبغي ان تتغير. وعلى الاسد أن يخشى، فالنهاية آخذة في الاقتراب’.

معاريف 24/8/2011

August 24th, 2011, 6:32 pm



“For example, think Iraq, think what a field day Iran, Saudi Arabia (they were putting big $$$s into factional strife) and al Qaeda have had. Suicide bombers will be queuing up to inflict cruel havoc in Syrian markets, job recruitment centres and mosques.”

Based on the Syrian government accounts of al-Qaida involvement, suicide bombers should have been reaching havoc a long tie ago. But nothing so far. The same in Libya. Let’s hope we don’t see this happen in Syria. In this regard, it’s important to point out that the Assad regime was, it is alleged, facilitating the work of Al-Qaeda in Iraq. I think people remember when the Americans and Iraqis used to send request after request to Syria to prevent Alqaida fighters from streaming into Iraq.

“Syrians might have a dysfunctional state with a past-expiry date on the regime. But at least they still have a state – not the terrifying abyss of a failed state.”

Back to the old and tired concept of “Après moi le déluge.” If you’re so worried about Syrian slipping into the abyss, use your energy to convince the Assad mafia and Baath party to give up power and spare Syria a dark future.

August 24th, 2011, 6:43 pm


Khalid Tlass said:

@ SYAU, Why do you and your lot get so touchy when we use a bit of violent language ? The 3 killed in Homs were rats that were exterminated by the people, period. (edited) you are yet to say anything about the 2,200 deaths, (edited for bad language)

August 24th, 2011, 6:44 pm


Khalid Tlass said:

Aboud, you’re right, (edited for bad language. You are being warned)

August 24th, 2011, 6:50 pm


some guy in damascus said:

in accordance with a previous post of mine, i am here to share with you my recent visit to Bab Tuma which i concluded not a long time ago. i did it to a reply to Ammar shami’s post “…..The same day I was there a group of armed men stopped in front of the church and sprayed it with bullets.”
first let me start by saying there are 7 churches or christian places of worship in Bab Tuma according to the tourist map i viewed. i visited each and every single one of them, i didn’t want to spend a long time writing in front of the tourist post to i hurried when writing their names down
we have the
-the Ananias church
-marmariya church
-st john church
-st paul church
– sarkis church
-the seat of the greek orthodox patriach
-the Zeitoun ( im not sure if it was a church on a cathedral or something else).
6 of these churches, had no evidence of any hole, damage or assault.
however the church near the elissar restaurant( frequented by none other by besho himself), had 2 holes ( which are small enough to be bullet holes). they are both at opposite sides of the entrance and at the same height and could’ve been the a previous light installation or they were executed by a gunman who is trained perfectly in symmetrically aligned shooting.
its a far call from being “sprayed it with bullets”
furthermore, i asked 2 food sellers in bab tuma , i made sure they were christians by looking at the crosses they sported, since Christians would be the first to hear about such events.( i hate labeling people by religion, but i felt this would add further credibility to my investigation). the first one expressed that no such a thing happened, and that syria was fine. he also claimed the foreign media was jewish and lying. the second person also denied such stories and gave me the famous” MA FI SHI!” (nothings going on).
thats all i have to offer,
now its my time to ask, i ask mr. ammar shami to give me the name of the church he reported as being a shooting target. that’s all i request.
hope i helped people 🙂

August 24th, 2011, 6:54 pm


Aboud said:

“I am a supporter of President Bashar Al Assad and a ‘menhebak’ to the core”

Yes, and Qaddafi had about 65,000 so called “hard core” supporters in Tripoli…until the day the rebels took the city, and those 65,000 melted away. Doubtless, we will see a similar scene when junior goes the way of all the other failed despots.

In the immediate aftermath of the shabiha’s rampage, Homs went about its life and lived business as usual…except for Hadara street, which barricaded itself against an expected Sunni backlash that, thanks to the maturity and patience of the people of Homs, never came.

But the Alawite business people who owned the (Sunni run) stores that were smashed up in Hadara street are more than a little peeved at the shabiha. Tsk tsk tsk…..

August 24th, 2011, 6:56 pm


Aboud said:

“hope i helped people ”

My left toe abdicates, and acknowledges the superiority of SGID for presidency of our great country.


August 24th, 2011, 6:58 pm



Great work SGID!

August 24th, 2011, 7:00 pm


Khalid Tlass said:

Ramboud, won’t you rather be the Chief of Army Staff ?

August 24th, 2011, 7:02 pm


syau said:

Khalid Tlass,

The verbal abuse you direct at me really doesn’t bother me, it reflects upon you and your upbringing.

Your endorsement of violence and glee at those who have been murdered by the terrorists affiliated with this revolution serves in making it clear to everyone how disgusting, horrific and sectarian this revolution is.

You just keep making your hateful comments which reflect this revolution. It’s you who will eat your words in the end when H.E President Bashar Al Assad is victorious and this terrorist revolution and those affiliated with it will end up nothing but a bad memory.

Anyway, I will make no further comments to you because conversing with someone who holds your views is degrading.

Aboud #46, your delusion is quite funny.

عاشت سورية وجيشا وشعبا وقائدا المفدى

August 24th, 2011, 7:03 pm


Gus said:

The armed gangs are not a fantasy, today around 64 persons were kidnaped in Homs because they belonged to the wrong group of people, most of them will be found dead and mutilated.
The regime is not perfect but this kind of killing is not their style.
People who support the revolution can deny the obvious but it is still there.
With regards to the interventionists, I think the plan to intervene militarly was always there just waiting for the right time.

August 24th, 2011, 7:03 pm


Tara said:

Ammar Shami

Please see last SGID post and kindly defend your observation.

SGID, thank you for your effort!

August 24th, 2011, 7:11 pm


Aboud said:

“The armed gangs are not a fantasy, today around 64 persons were kidnaped in Homs”

Gus, I’m in Homs. And your comment is complete crap. This isn’t Al-Dunya, where the regime’s rubbish goes unchallenged.

Or do you suppose the massive military presence that’s been in this city for months are going to sit on their butts while “64 people are kidnapped”.

What a load of manure.

August 24th, 2011, 7:11 pm



“The regime is not perfect.”
The regime that killed tens of thousands of people during the last four decades, n times more than the number of Palestinians killed by Israel, not to mention the tens of thousands who tortured in the most vicious manner, is not perfect. Man! That’s a very serious accusation.

“but this kind of killing is not their style.”
So what is their style?

August 24th, 2011, 7:12 pm


beaware said:

The Economic Consequences of Syria’s Social Unrest
Lahcen Achy Los Angeles Times, August 17, 2011
Popular protests in Syria over the last five months have caused a notable decline in the country’s economic indicators. Gross domestic product is expected to contract by 5% for the current year, after International Monetary Fund estimates had originally predicted 3% growth before the protests erupted.

The budget deficit has increased due to expanded social expenditure and shrinking tax revenues. The economic and security situation is expected to deteriorate further as the unrest continues to grow. The international community may resort to additional sanctions affecting the private companies and government institutions that form the backbone of the Syrian economy. This could throw the country into an unprecedented economic and fiscal crisis.

Tourism, which accounts for about 12% of Syria’s GDP and directly contributes more than 10% of total employment, is one of the economic sectors most damaged since the protests began. Over the last three years, Syria has spent huge sums to increase its ability to receive Arab and foreign tourists and improve the quality of services provided to them. Tourist numbers rose from 6 million visitors in 2008 to 8.5 million in 2010, an increase of more than 40%. This activity supplied Syria with about $8 billion of hard currency over the same period.

Although little detailed data exist on the effect of the current social unrest on tourist numbers, most hotels are almost empty now that international tourism trip organizers have stopped proposing Syria as a destination, and most Arab embassies have issued statements urging their citizens to refrain from visiting Syria until further notice.

Recurrent unrest in various Syrian provinces has also driven a number of foreign investors to review their investment programs. Several Persian Gulf and foreign companies have announced plans to stop or cancel huge projects due to the uncertainty that overshadows Syria’s economic future. Some reports indicate that investments are being redirected — probably to Jordan, especially now that it may soon join the Gulf Cooperation Council.

This drop in tourism and the stoppage of large investment projects is worsening the living conditions of many Syrian families. Some of them will see their incomes fall, while others will join the unemployment lines.

To soften the hardship of this crisis and contain popular anger, the Syrian government has increased government salaries and fuel subsidies and reduced taxes on food. In the first few days after the protests started, Syria’s president, Bashar Assad, issued a decree increasing monthly salaries and wages by 1,500 Syrian lira ($30), in addition to a 30% increase for monthly salaries under 10,000 lira ($200) and a 20% increase for salaries at or above 10,000 lira. The government also reduced fuel prices by 25% to aid citizens’ purchasing power and counter negative effects of the inflationary pressures accompanying the protest wave.

The cost of these measures, which were not anticipated in this year’s fiscal law, is estimated at more than 2% of GDP. This means the budget deficit will expand and could surpass 8% of GDP unless tax revenues — and economic activity — rise.

The deteriorating budget situation raises questions about the government’s ability to cover the deficit gap without resorting to foreign loans. Bank deposits have dropped due to an increase in withdrawals after the protests began. To remedy this situation, the central bank has raised interest rates on lira deposits by two points to stimulate savings and stop the depletion of bank deposits. Although this measure may help improve liquidity in the banking sector, it is causing an increase in the cost of funding, especially for the governmental sector, which receives nearly 55% of bank loans.

The Syrian lira has also recorded a drop in its value versus the dollar, falling up to 15% at times. There has also been an increase in currency trading in the unregulated (black) market. The Syrian central bank announced the insurance of foreign currency for individuals and companies as needed in an effort to stop the lira’s devaluation and black market activity.

It is possible that the monetary authorities’ intervention to reduce pressures on the lira could exhaust a significant portion of the central bank’s hard currency reserve. Such fears are reinforced by the drop in tourism revenues and foreign investment, and they may have been the motive behind the central bank’s imposition of a 0.7% charge on dollar cash withdrawals from personal accounts. At the beginning of 2011, foreign exchange reserves were estimated at $17 billion. Under normal conditions, this would be enough to fund seven months of imports.

Implementing credible political and economic reforms was a genuine option in the hands of the regime. Harsh repression and excessive use of force against people killed that option. Today, Syria is facing critical socioeconomic challenges that could lead to an increase in the unrest’s human and financial costs, worsening living conditions for broad sections of the population. This will only further fuel popular anger and likely lead to the regime’s collapse.

August 24th, 2011, 7:15 pm


Gus said:

القافلة تسير مهما عوت الكلاب

August 24th, 2011, 7:20 pm


beaware said:

Mastercard blocked in Syria
20 Aug 2011
In response to these sanctions MasterCard will institute a block of all transactions originating in Syria as of 20 August 2011. This block will be in effect until further notice. A notification will be sent in the event that the block is removed.

August 24th, 2011, 7:25 pm


sheila said:

Dear Khalid Tlass and Abu Umar,
I understand your rage, but I do not understand what you think you can achieve with calling people names and inciting violence. Do you really think that Bashar gives a hoot about religion? Do you really think that Bashar cares about the Alawii community? Do you think that all those benefiting from the regime are Alawiis? Or that all Alawiis are benefiting from the regime? Bashar does not even socialize with the Alawiis. His entourage consists mainly of Sunnis and Christians. When he wanted to get married, he pursued a Sunni girl.
Please stop this attack on the Alawii community. If anything, they deserve our pity and compassion. They are caught between a rock and a hard place, thus feeling that they have no other choice but to defend this regime. Many of them suffered from this regime and many of us cheered this regime on.
Let’s back off and give them some space. They will eventually realize that he is not one of “them”, but rather they are one of us: Syrians.

August 24th, 2011, 7:26 pm


najwa said:

To all of you here who know regime supporters, and to all og you supporters here, Please tell me is Gaetan Vanny a Swiss armed Salafist? And any comments on why all this support by the regime’s media to all ruthless arab dictators challanged by their people like Saleh and especially the buthcher Qaddafi? Or did we get it all wrong and Qaddafi is a poor opressed arab ruler by his people? Details on all that here:

August 24th, 2011, 7:30 pm


True said:

“Al Gaddafi 6ar 6ar wo hala2 doorak ya Bashar”

dammm I love it 🙂

@ Menhebeks, when Besho is kicked out to Iran would worship me instead?

I’ll do my best to keep my boots in your mouths, empty your pockets and most importantly I’ll get my family and mates involved in sucking your blood, howz that? Good deal eh

August 24th, 2011, 7:33 pm


some guy in damascus said:

@ tara, aboud, syr.expat
your support is well received and appreciated.
@ khalid tlass, where do you live?
let me tell everyone that in Syria 2.0 the only tag available is : SYRIAN CITIZEN.
@ beware, yea not only mastercard but also VISA, i think around 30% of syrians have bank accounts and less use mastercard and visa. the few that use visa and mastercard frequently are the upper class business families of Aleppo and Damascus. its a punishment that will hurt them, and bring burst their bubble. im not saying they deserve it, but it will bring them closer to reality.

August 24th, 2011, 7:34 pm


beaware said:

Iraq Adopts Iran’s Backing of Assad
August 24, 2011 | 9:37am
Juan Cole
* What impact will the call by the United States and major European powers for Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down–followed by heightened U.S. and EU sanctions–have on Syria-Iran relations?

They will push Syria even more into the arms of Iran. Syria is being gradually cut off from Western finances and relationships. So if the regime is going to survive, it will want to look east to Iran and perhaps China. Syria seems to also be improving its relationship with Iraq.

* Why has Iraq opted to align with Syria and Iran in backing Assad?

It is not entirely clear. Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki does not state motivations. But it appears that two things are going on. There is a domestic reason; Maliki is worried about Bashar al Assad being overthrown. Assad belongs to the minority Shiite sect of Alawites. Many of Assad’s opponents are Sunnis- some of whom are Sunni fundamentalists. And some of those are the sort of people who were supporting the Sunni insurgency in Iraq. Maliki does not want them to come to power in Damascus and become his neighbors.

Another consideration that has been suggested is that Maliki owes his position as prime minister in this round [of elections held in 2010] to the support of Iran for coalition building of the Iraq Shiites. So he may be paying back a debt.

* Is this a new de facto alliance?

There seems to be a growing Tehran-Baghdad-Damascus axis for certain purposes. Iraq is a very complex place and it still is, in odd ways, an American ally. Though in this particular instance, Baghdad is siding with Iran and Syria against the stated U.S. position. The alliance appears to be over sectarianism and regional politics. There is nothing that Syria can do for Iraq, economically. Syria is potentially a trading partner but there is no economic carrot that Syria can offer Iraq. It is actually the other way around. According to one report-that Maliki has denied-the Iranians had pressured the Iraqi government to donate $ 10 billion to Syria to help Damascus get through its current crisis. The alliance is very much about who you will like to have in the capital of your neighbor.

* What are the factors behind the support of Iran and Iraq for Syria?

Iran is isolated and has very few allies in the Middle East-Lebanon and Syria being the primary ones. So it has every reason to act as patron to Syria. Syria forms a bridge between Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon. So it is a way of protecting Iranian power and influence in the Levant. Iraq is not similarly isolated but it is in some ways being pushed into a Shiite set of alliances, both by the sectarian undertones to the uprising in Syria and by events in Bahrain, where the Shiite majority demanded the Sunni monarchy become a constitutional monarchy. [But the Shiites] were crushed with the help of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, who were essentially acting as Sunni powers in the Gulf. This crushing of Bahrain’s democracy movement by Sunni powers provoked large demonstrations in Iraq and angered a lot of Iraqi Shiites. Of course, Maliki is both the prime minister of Iraq and the main political leader of the Iraqi Shiites. So he is being pushed toward a kind of sectarian politics and a closer alliance with Iran and Damascus by the sectarian character of the Arab Spring in the Gulf region.

* How have Iran and Iraq reacted to unrest in Syria?

The Iranians have jumped up and down and been very vocal about the repression in Bahrain [and] they have [even] supported the Libyan uprising. In fact, they have supported all of the uprisings. They claimed that the uprisings are Islamic in character and inspired by Iran’s revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini. But the Iranians do not say anything about what is going on in Syria. It is just like a blank slate and a point of clear hypocrisy on their part.

Tehran does not admit that there are protestors in Syria. They do not say anything about the movement in Syria. They do not deplore the violence used against peaceful non-combatants in a way that they have in other countries. They just do not talk about it. The Persian press is silent-a big contrast to their vocal position on the other Arab Spring revolts. With regard to Iraq, Nouri al Maliki gave a speech [in late August] in which he warned that too much pressure on the Assad regime could get to a point where Israel would be able to take advantage of the situation. This is a remarkable statement on Maliki’s part. He has not typically talked much about Israel, although he did take a stand for Hezbollah in 2006 and was angry about the Gaza war in 2008-9.

The discourse Maliki used [on Israel] may have well been coming out of Tehran. And it seems to be a sign again that Maliki is being pushed [away] from the kind of American-sponsored states of the eastern Arab world and their discourse-[namely] Jordan and Egypt [which] have peace treaties with Israel. He is starting to sound much more like Iran or Lebanon, even Damascus, when it comes to Israel. It is a new and different discourse for Iraqi politics in the post-Saddam era.

Read Juan Cole’s chapter on Iran and Islam in “The Iran Primer”
Juan Cole is professor of history at the University of Michigan and runs the Informed Comment weblog. He has authored many books on the Middle East. His latest is “Engaging the Muslim World” (2010).

August 24th, 2011, 7:35 pm


sheila said:

Dear all,
To all Alawiis in general, especially those on SC, I would like to apologize for the unwarranted attacks by some participants in this blog. I do not apologize for them, since they are entitled to their opinions, rather, I apologize for myself and on behalf of the majority of Sunni Muslims, because I firmly believe that these people are in the minority. I do not hold you responsible for the atrocities committed by the Syrian regime, nor do I want your demise, because you support this regime. You are among many who, for a variety of reasons, do not want Alassad gone. I do hope and pray that you, along with all the other supporters, will see the light and eventually stand on the right side of history. Meanwhile, To those of you who still stand by this regime, I will fiercely debate you and strongly condemn your arguments, while I keep an open place in my heart for all of my fellow Syrians, with you at the top of the list.

August 24th, 2011, 7:40 pm


beaware said:

Syria economy hit by demos but still standing: experts
August 25, 2011 01:24 AM
By Sammy Ketz
Agence France Presse

DAMASCUS: The Syrian economy, hit hard by five months of anti-government protests, could survive unrest and sanctions into next year but experts and officials warn of a sharp deterioration afterward.

The protests, which have rocked much of the country since mid-March, have dramatically slowed economic activity, with analysts predicting negative economic growth in 2011 as a result of a decline in tourism and investment.

“During the first three months of the revolt, everything stopped because consumers were stunned,” said Abdul Ghani Attar, vice president of Attar Group, a Syrian conglomerate with investments in hotels, finance, pharmaceuticals and office equipment.

“Since June, economic activity has resumed, but is down about 40 percent from a year ago.”

“For the moment, the private sector, which represents 70 percent of GDP, has survived, but if the situation does not improve next year, the economy will really suffer. There is a risk of layoffs,” the 32-year-old continued.

Even now, Syria’s economic indicators paint a grim picture.

The Washington-based International Institute of Finance predicts the country’s economy will contract by 3 percent, and tourism, which accounts for 12 percent of GDP and 11 percent of employment, is sharply down.

The overall number of investment projects, meanwhile, are down 47.84 percent in the first half of 2011 compared to the same period of 2010, according to official figures.

To make matters worse, the population is now only buying the bare necessities because of a fear of the unknown, according to Naji Shawi, who heads the Shawi Group.

The turnover of the Shawi Group, which is involved in food, pharmaceuticals, cleaning products and finance, is down between five and 10 percent compared to last year, he said.

“Until now, the business sector is surviving, but if this crisis continues for more than six months, there will be problems,” he said.

Syria’s main stock market has plunged 40 percent since mid-March and consumption is markedly lower, with clothing and electrical stores in Damascus lying bare.

The country imported just 2,000 cars in May, against 20,000 in March, and overall imports have halved compared to last year, according to a European diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

By contrast, building materials are booming because, with police occupied with protests, unsupervised construction is on the rise. Street vendors are also doing well for similar reasons.

So far, the economic decline has not spread to the currency, as the Syrian pound is down just 8 percent against the U.S. dollar since March.

Syrian central bank Governor Adib Mayalheh last week took increased steps to limit foreign exchange transactions, and the country still has around $17 billion in reserves.

“They are probably lower now but in all cases we have no clear data on that,” said Jihad Yazigi, editor of the Syria Report economic newsletter.

“Also, at least half of the budget goes to investment expenses, so the government could very well decide to skip most investment expenses [actually it has already partly done so] and use that for current expenses, i.e. salaries, running overhead,” he added in an emailed response to questions.

Syria’s 2011 budget amounted to $16.7 billion, 43.4 percent of which was dedicated to investment.

According to Shawi, Mayalheh told him that “during the good times, it [the central bank] held $5 billion to manage the fluctuation of the Syrian pound, and until now, it has injected $2 billion to support the currency.”

The European diplomat, meanwhile, claimed that Iran had recently provided $6 billion to help Damascus manage the currency, but could provide no proof.

“The situation has deteriorated, but it is not desperate,” said Lahcen Achy, a Syria specialist at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut. “The regime can survive this for a long time.”

Achy added: “The economy will not bring down the regime and if it did, it would take a long time. Experience shows that regimes can survive embargos because they can smuggle in goods and money via Turkey and Lebanon.”

“In any case, if he has to make a choice, the security forces will be the last to experience any cuts.”

Shawi concurred, noting that “the West relies on the economic weapon, but one can always adapt. Look at Iraq in the past. Sanctions are good for headlines, but they hurt the people, especially the poor, never the regime.”

A potential European oil embargo could have an impact, however, as 95 percent of Syria’s oil exports go to Europe, amounting to a third of the country’s revenue.

In the absence of a U.N.-backed ban, however, Damascus could still sell its crude to non-European countries.

In any case, according to an economic expert based in Damascus who did not want to be identified, “the 11th five-year plan which called for investment of $100 billion, half of which was to come from the private sector, is now out the window.”

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

August 24th, 2011, 7:43 pm


beaware said:

Syrian opposition sidelining Turkmens, community leader says
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
Turkmens in Syria have been sidelined by the opposition groups who recently formed a national council to represent the uprising in the Arab republic, community representatives have said while also criticizing Turkey for neglecting their plight.

Turkmens have been suppressed by the regime of President of Bashar al-Assad for many years, yet they were not invited to recent opposition meetings in Istanbul, said Ali Öztürkmen, a representative of the community, adding that he could only attend as an “observer” because they became aware of the meetings at the last minute.

Although official numbers indicate there are between 900,000 and 1.5 million Turkmens in Syria, Öztürkmen said there were actually close to 3 million Turkmens in Syria as many of them, like a large number of Syrian Kurds, had been deprived of citizenship by the Syrian regime.

“The Turkish government is also not showing any interest in Turkmens in Syria,” he said.

Refuting the claims, a Turkish Foreign Ministry official said the Turkish government had always showed interest in all its kin and living outside Turkey.

The official said the government’s first priority was the integration of these groups in the society in which they live; in cases like Syria, however, the priority is to seek the rights of these groups if there is evidence that they have been treated unjustly, the official

August 24th, 2011, 7:47 pm


Ali said:

Sheila’s attempt to claim they the violent language and attacks come from the anti revolutionists has failed, and failed miserably. I give you the very foul mouthed Khalid Tlass.


Thank you for your very hard work editor!
No one needs your pity. If your so generous with handing it out then give it to the revolutionists. They have proved that they need as much pity as people can give.

August 24th, 2011, 7:52 pm


sheila said:

To dear #61 SGID,
I do not know what to say except that I have a lot of respect for you. Please be careful and stay safe. God knows Syria needs more of your kind.

August 24th, 2011, 7:52 pm


Ali said:

Where are all my comments?

August 24th, 2011, 7:56 pm


Abughassan said:

The invasion of Libya has started. Special covert forces from NATO were present since February but after the impending fall of the regime,this invasion is public now through the use of special forces from the UK,Qatar and Jordan. More forces are likely to join in especially if Libyan tribes from the west and the south decide not to provide unconditional support for the new regime. Keep in mind that this is Libya which has no sectarian divide,over 95% are Sunni Muslims,and limited military significance compared to hot spots in the Middle East. Ladies and Gentlemen,the battle in Libya is far from over,and the fall of Qazzafi is just the first stage.

August 24th, 2011, 8:03 pm


Ali said:


why was this comment posted so late????

I will post again.
@116 Aboud

@70 I’m glad to know that, long after I’ve forgotten them, my posts and comments will live forever in anguished menhebak memory 🙂 I stand by every single edited out insults I made, so kiss my…hehehehe 🙂

Dont flatter yourself… its called comment search Einstein. The only thing I’m going to kiss is Bashar’s portrait that is sitting beside his fathers portrait in my living room.

August 24th, 2011, 8:17 pm


ann said:

Russia hints at veto of UN sanctions on Syria – 2011-08-25 06:26 AM

The U.N. Security Council should use dialogue to persuade Syria to end its violent crackdown on protesters, Russia’s envoy said Wednesday, hinting he may veto a draft resolution being circulated to impose an arms embargo and other measures on President Bashar Assad’s regime.

Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters outside council chambers that instead of punishing Syria, the council should use dialogue and diplomacy to help end the violence.

Churkin said he had registered his country’s opposition on Wednesday to the sanctions proposed by Britain and supported by France, Germany, Portugal and the United States.

The proposal is expected to come up for a vote as early as this week and Russia is among five permanent council members empowered to veto it. Churkin said such sanctions could “encourage further confrontation” and “we need to instead encourage dialogue.”

Asked whether he would register a veto, Churkin said: “I think you can make your conclusion from my words.”

The resolution could also face possible opposition from other council members, including veto-wielding China.

South African Ambassador Baso Sangqu said his country was still studying the proposal, emphasizing that it had chosen “the path of peaceful resolution” in dealing with the situation in Syria. Indian Ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri said his country had “questions and concerns” about the text.

With Assad’s forces continuing to crack down on the protests, the U.N. said this week the overall death toll has reached 2,200.

U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay has asked the Security Council to refer Syria to the International Criminal Court, the permanent war crimes tribunal, based in The Hague, Netherlands.

The draft resolution calls for freezing the assets of 23 key Syrian figures including Assad, his younger brother, Maher, who is believed to be in command of much of the current bloody crackdown, and his millionaire cousin, Rami Makhlouf, who controls the mobile phone network and other lucrative enterprises in Syria and has been the target of many protesters’ rage.

It also calls for an asset freeze against two companies controlled by Makhlouf _ Bena Properties and Al Mashreq Investment _ and the Military Housing Establishment and Syrian General Intelligence Directorate. The resolution would also impose a travel ban on 21 individuals including Makhlouf, but not Assad or his younger brother.

The draft resolution “strongly condemns the continued grave and systematic human rights violations by the Syrian authorities, such as arbitrary executions, excessive use of force and the killing and persecution of protesters and human rights defenders, arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, torture and ill-treatment of detainees, also of children.”

August 24th, 2011, 8:19 pm


Tara said:

16 demonstrators killed in Syria on Wednesday per Aljazeera. The killing machine is still going.

August 24th, 2011, 8:19 pm


Aboud said:

@56 Dear God, THAT’s all you have to say for yourself? You were caught in a blatant, outrageous lie, and that’s all you can come up?

And you people wonder why I don’t give a damn that menhebaks are exiting this website in droves. Oh now, who else will tell us about sectarian slogans in Homs that don’t exist (hint: when someone asks you for proof, saying “go find it yourself” doesn’t do much for your credibility), or mass abductions that never happened.

August 24th, 2011, 8:29 pm


Ali said:

Here is another example of the disgraceful content of the “revolutionists” comments
So lets call it how it is shall we

***“The US Won’t Use Force against Syria,” Chief of Staff Mike Mullen; Armed Gang Controversy

But if they stay with Besho, they must understand there will be consequences. They must understand the protestors are getting guns and will use them.

37. Atheist Syrian Salafist Against Dictatorships (ASSAD) said:
They should have left the bodies at the top of a hill or mountain for the vultures, in the tradition of the Zoroastrians, instead of contaminating the river, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the vultures didn’t touch them, for they had too much poison in them.

Aboali, I absolutely agree with every word of your sentiments. The atrocities of the shabiha scum have long since crossed the line. If some people have the ability to fight back, let them do so as a warning to the next little shit who thinks he and his friends can terrorize Syrians.

@73 ABOUD said
Typical Baathist scum. They cheer tank invasions of population centers, but go crying to junior if someone fights back.

Since the international community have washed their hands of Syria and are unwilling to rein in that murderous little shit, Syrians have every right to defend themselves, and make sure the cost to the shabiha scum is very high indeed.

@81 ABOUD said
Whine @77 Believe it. And remember your bungling president bought the country to this point. I could care less if one hundred shabiha scum had their heads bashed in and their rifles stuck up their asses. People have every right to defend themselves.

***The Armed Gangs Controversy

@36 ABOUD said
The shabiha ekhwat el sharmouta attacking a wake in Sarmen. I want every single (edited for insult) baathist (edited) on this forum to tell me where are the armed gangs in this clip? When all this is over, we will turn Hafez’s grave into a public toilet.

And you pussies whine if someone fires back? To hell with every shabiha scum shit, may they all rot at the bottom of every river in Syria.

@34 I will personally piss on the next shabiha that gets caught, and jam a picture of junior down his throat and up his ass.

@32 May the scum who shot up a funeral burn in the lowest depths of hell, right next to Hafez Al-fassad. Tha tha tha tha.

@39. Aboud said:
“A gruesome video surfaced on YouTube showing the mutilation and beating of an already dead security officer in dayr alzour with insulting slogans in the background and few people saying ”

(edited, you made your point, unnecessary insult)

telling the shabeeha( who are mongrels) that they will be slaughtered offends you? i”ve seen these shabeeha attack innocent protesters in midan, they do deserve to be be punished( not by slaughtering, hmmm maybe by having a discussion with you, thats punishment enough)

August 24th, 2011, 8:29 pm


Ali said:

Khalid Tlass

Pour l’Menhebakistes, nous arrivons pour vous, nous venons pour vous.
Interesting… we’ll be waiting

August 24th, 2011, 8:38 pm


ann said:

Syrian expatriates arrested in Saudi Arabia for staging rally in support of uprising – 24 Aug 2011

Saudi security forces have arrested 164 Syrian expatriates who staged a rally in Riyadh in support of the five-month uprising in their homeland against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad, a Syrian human rights organisation said.

The 164, who were arrested as they marched on Aug. 12, were spurred by a speech by King Abdullah days earlier during which he condemned Assad’s bloody crackdown, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Breaking months of silence by fellow Arab autocrats, King Abdullah had said the killings in Syria were unacceptable and called on Assad to “halt the machine of killing and the spilling of blood and resort to reason before it is too late.”

“After being dumbfounded by Arab silence over the killings and savage repression in their homeland, they went to the streets to express support for the King as the first Arab ruler to express his opinion publicly about the situation in Syria,” Observatory director Rami Abdelrahman said in statement.

“They deserve better treatment even if they have violated Saudi law that bans peaceful protest. They have seen 2,300 of their compatriots become martyrs and tens of thousands arrested since March just because they demanded their legitimate rights of freedom and dignity,” he said.

Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarchy that bans political opposition, has seen small protests in the oil-producing east but nothing on the scale of the mass street upheaval of Bahrain and other countries in the region since Tunisians ousted their president in January.

August 24th, 2011, 8:39 pm


Ali said:

68. Ali said:

Sheila’s attempt to claim they the violent language and attacks come from the anti revolutionists has failed, and failed miserably.

I correct myself. Sheila’s attempt to claim they the violent language and attacks come from the PRO revolutionists has failed, and failed miserably.

August 24th, 2011, 8:43 pm


Ali said:

Sheila said
“God knows Syria needs more of your kind.”

That’s the last thing we need…God knows

August 24th, 2011, 8:45 pm


Aboud said:

Hey menhebak spammer, you forgot my favorite phrase; I will personally boil Cro Magnum Maher in his own urine LOL!

Demented Baathists. They kill their countrymen, and then their feelings get hurt when we insult them. I’m glad our insults leave a very, very lasting impression in their skulls 🙂

August 24th, 2011, 9:05 pm


majedkhaldoon said:

Nizar Al Assad(As3ad) must be included in the sanction.

August 24th, 2011, 9:07 pm


ann said:

*** Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarchy that bans political opposition, has seen small protests in the oil-producing east but nothing on the scale of the mass street upheaval of Bahrain and other countries in the region since Tunisians ousted their president in January. ***

.. is this free elections and democracy?!

August 24th, 2011, 9:14 pm




This is like the Israeli journalist who visited Syria after the strike against the Al-Kubar facility. He went all the way to Deir Azzour and came back to Damascus unnoticed. He visited the synagogue of Damascus and talked to people on the street. He entered Syria as a Canadian citizen. Similarly, Israeli journalist can enter Libya as citizens of Western countries and no one would know.

This is Israeli PR. However, the coming days and moths will reveal the true nature of the new government. Let’s wait and see.

August 24th, 2011, 9:21 pm




Are you sure you’re referring to comment 56?

August 24th, 2011, 9:23 pm



“.. is this free elections and democracy?!”
No it’s not and I hope they’re next after the Assad mafia is uprooted from Syria at the hands of the Syrian people.

August 24th, 2011, 9:26 pm



It’s interesting to see the comments on Mikdad’s claims about al-Kaeda.

The electronic shabiha themselves aren’t buying this nonsense.

August 24th, 2011, 9:32 pm


ann said:

Unified Syrian opposition council hit by delay – Aug 24, 2011 9:04pm

Syrian opposition figures who met in Istanbul to form a broad-based council to represent the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad said on Thursday that they needed more time to consult with activists inside Syria on its composition.

The delay indicates the difficulty in uniting an opposition decimated by decades of Assad family repression, and integrating a generation of younger activists playing a direct role on the ground in street protests facing the brunt of military assaults.

“We need two more weeks to coordinate with the opposition on the inside. All currents need to be represented,” Adib al-Shishakly, whose grandfather was an early president of Syria after independence from France in 1946.

Encouraged by international support for their cause, leading opposition figures held lengthy discussions in Istanbul this week to nominate a council that could help with a transition of power if Assad were to be toppled by the five-month uprising against his rule.

Most delegates had left but a core group remained to continue discussions with opposition figures inside Syria, Shishakly said by phone.

Attendees at the conference included Moulhem Droubi, a high-level member of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood; Sheikh Muteih al-Butain, a leader of the street protests in Deraa that helped ignite the uprising; former political prisoner Khaled al-Haj Saleh, scion of a leftist political family; and writer Hazem Nahar, who was imprisoned during the uprising and managed to leave Syria.


Another delegate said more work was needed to convince skeptical activists inside Syria how the proposed council would further the cause of the uprising and bridge differences over the posts assigned to different groups and how different factions should be represented.

“I think a consensus is developing that a council is needed and its credibility will be boosted by as much support from the inside,” said the young delegate, who recently fled Syria and did not wish to be identified.

A statement by the participants said the proposed council was designed to “be part of a national safety net needed to guarantee civic peace and achieve broad consensus about the process of transition.”

“We affirm the principle of non-violent revolution. The absence of a unified political forum along the revolution … is a dangerous shortcoming of Syria’s march toward a civic democratic state,” the declaration said.

But Ammar Qurabi, a member of a consultative committee that emerged from an earlier opposition conference in the Turkish city of Antalya, said in a statement the group had withdrawn from the Istanbul talks because the meeting did not build on earlier efforts to unite the opposition.

Western governments, which have stepped up sanctions on Assad in reaction to his crackdown on protesters, have privately expressed frustration with opposition’s lack of unity, diplomats say.

At a meeting with anti-Assad Syrian activists in Washington this month, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton encouraged them to work toward a “unified vision” for Syria.

The proposed council aims to speak for dissidents in exile, who are playing a key role in supporting the uprising financially, and activists on the ground.

A number of activists are wary about establishing a linear opposition structure, saying it would make it an easier target for assassinations and arrests by Assad’s forces.

Dissident writer Michel Kilo, a former political prisoner who belongs to an elder generation of dissidents said this week that a transitional council would be of little value before Assad actually falls from power.

August 24th, 2011, 9:40 pm


Ali said:


I believe that comment was adressed to Sheila, not you.

August 24th, 2011, 9:40 pm


Aboud said:

Sorry Syr Expat, I meant #58. The lag in the posting of comments is playing hell with the sequence, it was number 56 before (Gus and his 60+ abductees in Homs).

FYI menhebaks, I live in Homs, so if you try to peddle some BS about events here, be very prepared to back up your crap with proof.

@90 You mention me in a post, don’t cry if I hold you accountable for your words.

August 24th, 2011, 10:04 pm



Many cultures aim high, then fire
“”Celebratory gunfire” is all too common in many parts of the world, predominantly the Middle East, but also in parts of South Asia, the Balkans and Latin America. It’s been done, in some cases, for hundreds of years and has become part of the culture.”

“Celebratory gunfire,” in my opinion, is a sign of stupidity. I have witnessed it in Syria first hand and saw on TV. Several months ago, I told a Libyan person that I met about this stupid practice hoping he can call his relatives and explain why “celebratory gunfire” is not a good idea, but I don’t think he was very bothered about it.

What goes up, comes down. I wonder how many people were killed or injured as a result of celebratory gunfire. I wonder how many cars were damaged. Not to mention the wasted money and ammunition.

If people must celebrate, they can always use fireworks. But to fire their Kalashnikovs and anti-aircraft guns into the air to celebrate is just plain stupid.

August 24th, 2011, 10:05 pm


ann said:


Cheney Says He Urged Bush to Bomb Syria in ’07 – August 24, 2011

WASHINGTON — Former Vice President Dick Cheney says in a new memoir that he urged President George W. Bush to bomb a suspected Syrian nuclear reactor site in June 2007. But, he wrote, Mr. Bush opted for a diplomatic approach after other advisers — still stinging over “the bad intelligence we had received about Iraq’s stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction” — expressed misgivings.

“I again made the case for U.S. military action against the reactor,” Mr. Cheney wrote about a meeting on the issue. “But I was a lone voice. After I finished, the president asked, ‘Does anyone here agree with the vice president?’ Not a single hand went up around the room.”

Mr. Bush chose to try diplomatic pressure to force the Syrians to abandon the secret program, but the Israelis bombed the site in September 2007. Mr. Cheney’s account of the discussion appears in his autobiography, “In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir,” which is to be published by Simon & Schuster next week. A copy was obtained by The New York Times.

Mr. Cheney’s book — which is often pugnacious in tone and in which he expresses little regret about many of the most controversial decisions of the Bush administration — casts him as something of an outlier among top advisers who increasingly took what he saw as a misguided course on national security issues. While he praises Mr. Bush as “an outstanding leader,” Mr. Cheney, who made guarding the secrecy of internal deliberations a hallmark of his time in office, divulges a number of conflicts with others in the inner circle.

He wrote that George J. Tenet, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, resigned in 2004 just “when the going got tough,” a decision he calls “unfair to the president.” He wrote that he believes that Secretary of State Colin L. Powell tried to undermine President Bush by privately expressing doubts about the Iraq war, and he confirms that he pushed to have Mr. Powell removed from the cabinet after the 2004 election. “It was as though he thought the proper way to express his views was by criticizing administration policy to people outside the government,” Mr. Cheney writes. His resignation “was for the best.”

He faults former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for naïveté in the efforts to forge a nuclear weapons agreement with North Korea, and Mr. Cheney reports that he fought with White House advisers over softening the president’s speeches on Iraq.

Mr. Cheney acknowledged that the administration underestimated the challenges in Iraq, but he said the real blame for the violence was with the terrorists.

He also defends the Bush administration’s decision to inflict what he called “tough interrogations” — like the suffocation technique known as waterboarding — on captured terrorism suspects, saying it extracted information that saved lives. He rejects portrayals of such techniques as “torture.”

In discussing the much-disputed “16 words” about Iraq’s supposed hunt for uranium in Niger that were included in President Bush’s 2003 State of the Union address to help justify the eventual invasion, Mr. Cheney said that unlike other aides, he saw no need to apologize for making that claim. He writes that Ms. Rice eventually came around to his view.

“She came into my office, sat down in the chair next to my desk and tearfully admitted I had been right,” he wrote.

The book opens with an account of Mr. Cheney’s experiences during the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, when he essentially commanded the government’s response from a bunker beneath the White House while Mr. Bush — who was away from Washington and hampered by communications breakdowns — played a peripheral role. But Mr. Cheney wrote that he did not want to make any formal statement to the nation that day.

“My past government experience,” he wrote, “had prepared me to manage the crisis during those first few hours on 9/11, but I knew that if I went out and spoke to the press, it would undermine the president, and that would be bad for him and for the country.

“We were at war. Our commander in chief needed to be seen as in charge, strong, and resolute — as George W. Bush was.”

Mr. Cheney appears to relish much of the criticism heaped on him by liberals, but reveals that he had offered to resign several times as President Bush prepared for his re-election in 2004 because he was afraid of becoming a burden on the Republican ticket. After a few days, however, Mr. Cheney said that Mr. Bush said he wanted him to stay.

But in the Bush administration’s second term, Mr. Cheney’s influence waned. When Mr. Bush decided to replace Donald H. Rumsfeld as secretary of defense after the 2006 midterm elections, Mr. Cheney said he was not given a chance to object.

Mr. Cheney praised Barack Obama’s support, as a senator from Illinois, for passing a bank bailout bill at the height of the financial crisis, shortly before the 2008 election. But he criticizes Mr. Obama’s decision to withdraw the 33,000 additional troops he sent to Afghanistan in 2009 by September 2012, and writes that he has been “happy to note” that Mr. Obama has failed to close the prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, as he had pledged.

Mr. Cheney’s long struggle with heart disease is a recurring theme in the book. He discloses that he wrote a letter of resignation, dated March 28, 2001, and told an aide to give it to Mr. Bush if he ever had a heart attack or stroke that left him incapacitated.

And in the epilogue, Mr. Cheney writes that after undergoing heart surgery in 2010, he was unconscious for weeks. During that period, he wrote, he had a prolonged, vivid dream that he was living in an Italian villa, pacing the stone paths to get coffee and newspapers.

*** WHAT A MORON!! ***

August 24th, 2011, 10:06 pm


Revlon said:

18. Dear Haytham Khoury, the Istanbul meeting succeded where it failed!
You said in your letter:
مؤتمر استانبول الأخير فشل فشلاً ذريعاً بالرغم من تمديده يومين إضافيين، هذا الفشل كان لأن المجتمعين ليس لهم أي فهم للسياسة أو كيفية بناء التحالفات السياسية أو كيفية عقد الؤتمرات أوتنظيمها.
فالثورة لن تكون ناجحة بمجرد سقوط النظام، فبعد انهيار النظام هناك معركة أخرى تحتاج ليقظة و حنكة كبيرتين لتصل مكاسب الثورة إلى أصحابها
الحقيقيين أعني المواطنين السوريين. أرجوا أن تخبري كل الأشخاص المعنيين بذلك

– No single group, notwithstanding their best of intentions, was able to force its agenda; this is democracy like most Syrians have never experienced before.
– The point of contention has to do with who, how and what to do during the transitional period, after cleansing the country of Jr and the band.
As you see, this goes to the heart of your second point of concern.
– This point of contention can be resolved by signing a declaration of intentions by all forces of the Syrian opposition. It would amount to a detailed workplan and road map addressed not only to the negotiating forces, but to the Syrian consituency at large, the Syrian people, who are the real source of their legitimacy and authority.
– Once such declaration is adopted, the formation of the legislative and excutive branches of the signatories’ convention can be democratically elected.

August 24th, 2011, 10:08 pm


Ali said:

Aboud said
“FYI menhebaks, I live in Homs”

Homs? Lol.

August 24th, 2011, 10:08 pm


EHSANI2 said:


Nizar Al Assad(As3ad) “IS” included in the sanction.

August 24th, 2011, 10:37 pm



No problem. I knew I wasn’t the intended recipient of your wrath, but wanted to alert you.

Having said that, I really think you should tone down your rhetoric.
If I were to have the honor of capturing Maher Assad, I would do it professionally and according to international laws. I won’t let my emotions control me. I’ll always drive to do what is right.

When Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) entered Makkah, one of his commanders said “today is the day of massacre [he was implying that the Muslims will seek vengence] …” When Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was informed about this statement, he answered by saying “today is the day of compassion [اليوم يوم المرحمة]” despite all the pain the pagans of Makkah had inflicted on him and his followers.

My blood boils when I see the viciousness of the regime, but I don’t let that make me unjust. Some people will have to be tried for their crimes, but mercy should prevail. We need to break the cycle of violence.

هو إذن له موقف وثأر قوي، ولذلك قال هذه العبارة: « الْيَوْمَ يَوْمُ الْمَلْحَمَةِ الْيَوْمَ تُسْتَحَلّ الْحُرْمَةُ، الْيَوْمَ أَذَلّ اللّهُ قُرَيْشًا » ، من شدة الفرح، وهذا التصريح صادر عن أحد قيادات الجيش الكبار.

ولكن القائد الأعلى صلي الله عليه وسلم لا يترك المسألة هكذا، إنما يقيل هذا القائد فوراً ، ويعلن هو «الْيَوْمَ يَوْمُ الْمَرْحَمَةِ، الْيَوْمَ أَعَزّ اللّهُ فِيهِ قُرَيْشًا»
من قال إن النبي صلي الله عليه وسلم يحارب من أجل سفك الدماء، ومن قال إنه في يوم من الأيام دعا أنصاره للخروج من أجل إراقة الدماء؟ إنه ما دعاهم إلا من أجل الحفاظ على كرامات الناس، وأعراض الناس ، لدرجة أنه دعا الله ألا تسمع قريش بخروجه، فقَالَ: «اللّهُمّ خُذْ الْعُيُونَ وَالْأَخْبَارَ عَنْ قُرَيْشٍ حَتّى نَبْغَتَهَا فِي بِلَادِهَا»(4) لأنه يريد ألا تحصل معركة أصلا.

هذه هي حقيقة الرسالة التي جاء بها محمد صلي الله عليه وسلم، وهذه هي طبيعة الدين الذي جاء به، حيث يتواصى المؤمنون بالمرحمة ﴿ ثُمَّ كَانَ مِنَ الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالصَّبْرِ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالْمَرْحَمَةِ (17) أُولَئِكَ أَصْحَابُ الْمَيْمَنَةِ ﴾ [البلد/17، 18]

August 24th, 2011, 10:42 pm


Haytham Khoury said:

Dear Revlon @94:

I hope the problem can be solved. However, the problems are too big.

1) the high commission of the Syrian revolution withdrew its delegates.
2) The Antalya conference people did not agree.
3) There was complete branch of the opposition that did not participate (The expatriates in Europe), because it was not invited.
What remained are the ones that have been living in the United States for long time. How many of those are willing to go to the country as soon as the regime falls.

Really, I hope they can bring wide consensus that could make their initiative viable. If they need may help, I will be more than happy to help them. I am with any initiative that can bring the opposition together.

August 24th, 2011, 10:53 pm


Aboud said:

A speech by an Egyptian officer to his troops. The Egyptian army is a million times more professional than the thugs the Baathists call an army.

Regarding the arrest of the Syrian demonstrators in Saudi, I asked a relative in Jeddah about that. Apparently they were allowed to demonstrate once. Some Syrians seemed to have misunderstood “once” for “anytime the mood takes you” 🙂 But they are all out now.

August 24th, 2011, 11:06 pm


majedkhaldoon said:

Thank you.

August 24th, 2011, 11:06 pm


Norman said:

I wonder how long it is going to take before the regime set time table for the reform and how long will it take for the opposition to have a clear vision to what they really want and how to get there, so far , I see only anarchy.

August 24th, 2011, 11:14 pm


Haytham Khoury said:

@Ann #89 and Revlon#94

I agree fully with Ammar Quorabi’s opinion. Much work had to be done before the conference. In this type of conferences all the work should be done before the conference. Usually all the main decisions should be agreed upon before the conference is held. The conference is just for making the final touches (final wording) and signing the final declaration.

Further, the Syrian opposition are so dispersed in their ideas they needed a lot of bilateral and multilateral talks before holding any meeting (as I mentioned in the road map that I laid out in my response to the National Initiative for Change).

Plus, there is much mistrust between the opposition factions which needed to be solved, too. I told them they need a neutral mediator for that. I told them I can help them in this respect.

Finally, any meeting that does not contain the whole spectrum of the opposition is doomed to failure ( As I mentioned in a previous post, there was a complete faction that was not represented in this conference.

I am very open for further discussions. Also, I am always ready for help.

August 24th, 2011, 11:21 pm


Khalid Tlass said:

@ khalid tlass, where do you live?

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Just look at the Saudis. Silly people don’t know their own silly business. Though I agree with the Law which bans any public demonstration whatpsever, it as mainly designed to thwart attempts at another Ayatollah-backed “thawra islamiya”, but they should not misuse the law against genuine people.

August 24th, 2011, 11:46 pm


Haytham Khoury said:

My impression the opposition inside has better vision. I found the Damascus Declaration statement today that Revlon published earlier was promising.

August 24th, 2011, 11:49 pm


Abughassan said:

I think we should be patient and see what comes after the proposed two weeks the opposition asked for. I am not sure that this two weeks will solve the problem of a divided opposition and I am not even sure that a united opposition is possible,I will accept an opposition that is inclusive to most anti regime forces and not dominated by militant islamists. Keep in mind that secular syrians are not particularly popular nowadays and their influence in Syria is overstated.

August 25th, 2011, 12:01 am


Abughassan said:

اسمع كلامك يعجبني
أشوف فعايلك استعجب

August 25th, 2011, 12:09 am


Haytham Khoury said:

Dear Aboughassan:
I should agree and disagree with you that secularism is not so dominant in Syria.
Indeed, when I started to discuss with people on Facebook regarding the revolution, I was so surprised how many people accept secularism.
On the other hand, when they start to discuss among themselves, they change with the minimal attack from the other side.

Indeed, it seems secularism could be entertained in the mind of Syrians. However, the believe in it is not so deep.

Of course, some people are not helping, too. I beg you, guys, stop attacking each other beliefs.

Finally, the regime also has big interest in inciting sectrianism.

August 25th, 2011, 12:13 am




Assad Jr. is a deceiver. He’ll let hear what you like, but he’ll do what he wants.
He needs to become an anesthesiologist. He has a natural talent for that.

Actions speak louder than words.

August 25th, 2011, 12:23 am


Dale Andersen said:

I can’t wait for Besho’s next speech! It should be riveting. Let’s see, I’ll need a bowl of popcorn. And a Snicker’s bar. And a large Coke…

August 25th, 2011, 12:40 am



Dear Aboud,

A gift of you and the brave people of Homs. It’s actually a gift to all Syrian cities, towns, and villages. It’s also a gift for you SGID and others in Syria who want to see Syria become a better place.

This is a must watch for the opposition.

المقاومة المدنية خلال 11 دقيقة

August 25th, 2011, 12:53 am



القذافي المعزول اكثر خطورة
عبد الباري عطوان

من المؤكد ان حكم العقيد معمر القذافي قد انتهى وربما الى غير رجعة، بعد اكثر من اربعين عاما من الطغيان، ولكن معمر القذافي كشخص وظاهرة وخطر لم ينته، ولذلك من السابق لأوانه الاغراق في الاحتفالات، او المبالغة فيها، لانه من الصعب التكهن بما يمكن ان تحمله الايام والاشهر المقبلة من مفاجآت سارة او مزعجة، فلا بد من التريث، ولا بد من الحذر في الوقت نفسه.
لم يتوقع احد ان ينهار حكم الرئيس المصري حسني مبارك بعد 19 يوما من اندلاع شرارة الثورة، ولم يخطر في بال احد ان الرئيس التونسي زين العابدين بن علي سيهرب الى المملكة العربية السعودية، مكب الديكتاتوريين، بعد اربعة اسابيع من استشهاد محمد البوعزيزي.
بالعودة الى الشأن الليبي، وفي السياق نفسه، نقول ان الحرب في ليبيا طالت اكثر من المتوقع (ستة اشهر)، وسقوط مدينة طرابلس العاصمة جاء اقصر واسرع مما حلم به الكثيرون، سواء في غرف عمليات حلف الناتو العسكرية، او في اوساط رئيس واعضاء المجلس الوطني الانتقالي الليبي في بنغازي.
ليبيا تشهد الآن عملية تبادل سريع ومفاجئ للأدوار. المعارضة اصبحت السلطة، والسلطة اخذت مقاعد المعارضة، بمعنى آخر يتحول معمر القذافي وانصاره الى ثوار يحاربون الناتو وحلفاءه، مثلما اعلن يوم امس في بيان اذاعي بثته محطة تلفزة مغمورة، والثوار تحولوا الى اصحاب سلطة بات عليهم الدفاع عنها، والحفاظ عليها وتحمل تبعات مسؤولياتها.
‘ ‘ ‘
العقيد القذافي بات اخطر في نظرنا مما كان عليه قبل ايام معدودة، وبالتحديد قبل سقوط واجتياح منزله في قاعدة باب العزيزية، ويمكن ان يهدم المعبد الليبي فوق رأسه ورؤوس الآخرين اذا كتبت له الحياة لفترة اطول، او لم يتم القبض عليه بسرعة، فالرجل ليس مجنونا مثلما يحلو لبعض المحللين والخبراء العرب وصفه، والا لما حكم ليبيا وشعبها الطيب اكثر من 42 عاما. وكان طوالها لاعبا رئيسيا على الساحة الدولية. انه ثعلب عجوز، ماكر وداهية في استخدام ما لديه من اوراق.
اولا: العقيد الليبي تحلل كليا من كل اعباء الدولة، ولم يعد يملك مقرات او قواعد او منازل تشكل اهدافا لطائرات حلف الناتو وصواريخه، مثلما كان عليه الحال في السابق. اي انه حيّد اكبر خطر عجّل بسقوطه ونظامه، ولم يعد تدخل هذا الحلف فاعلاً، بل قد يتحول الى لعنة على الدول التي تقف خلفه، وعلى الحكم الجديد .
ثانيا: العقيد القذافي يجلس على جبل من العملات الصعبة، استطاع تخزين المليارات منها نقدا، تحت ‘مخدته’ في مكان ما في ليبيا، وهذه المليارات لن تصرف على دفع رواتب موظفين بيروقراطيين، او جيش مترهل او لشراء ادوية ومعدات طبية، وانما على عمليات التخريب الداخلي والخارجي التي قد ينخرط في تنفيذها.
ثالثا: هذا الرجل يملك خبرة عريقة في الارهاب وشبكاته العربية والدولية، مثلما يملك مخزونا ضخما من الحقد والكراهية لخصومه، وعلينا ان نتذكر انه احتضن منظمة ‘ابو نضال’ واستخدمها بفاعلية في تصفية خصومه او ‘الكلاب الضالة’، مثلما كان يطلق عليهم،
وموّل الجيش الجمهوري الايرلندي وسلحه، والقائمة تطول، وافضل لقب له هو ‘ملك الارهاب’ وليس ملك الملوك، فهو فاشل في البناء، ومتفوق في الهدم!
رابعاً: هناك مؤشرات واضحة على اعداده خطة محكمة لمرحلة ما بعد سقوط نظامه وانهيار قواته، واختفاء حرسه فجأة، وذوبان انصاره في غابة طرابلس الاسمنتية، وكذلك اطلاق محطات تلفزية واذاعية فور السيطرة على محطاته الرسمية من قبل قوات المعارضة، وما محطة ‘العروبة’ التلفزيونية او ‘الرأي’ التي بث عبرهما خطابه فجر امس الا احد الادلة، هذه محطات ليست سورية كما يزعم، لان النظام في سورية اذكى من ان يتبنى نظاماً منهاراً يلفظ انفاسه الاخيرة.
نجاح العقيد القذافي في افساد احتفالات الشعب الليبي بانهيار نظامه، وتحويل طرابلس الى نموذج للفوضى وانعدام الامن، ولو لفترة محدودة، خطوة مدروسة من قبله وانصاره، ويمكن ان تمتد الى مدن اخرى اذا لم يلجأ الطرف الآخر الى تطويقها واحباطها فوراً وفي اسرع وقت ممكن.
لا نستغرب ان يكون هدف الزعيم الليبي (سابقاً) هو جرّ حلف الناتو ودوله الى مصيدة اخرى، ربما تكون اكثر خطورة اي ارسال قوات جيش لحفظ الامن في المدن الليبية لوضع حد لحالة الفوضى هذه، وتمكين الحكم الجديد من ترسيخ سيطرته، والبدء في بناء ليبيا الجديدة.
العقيد القذافي يراهن على افراد قبيلته والقبائل الاخرى المتحالفة معها، مثلما يراهن على القادة والشعوب الافريقية التي اعلن انتماءه اليها بعد ان خذله نظراؤه العرب اثناء الحصار، ولا نستطيع ان نحكم بمدى صحة هذا الرهان من عدمها، ولكن ما نراه ان معظم الدول الافريقية رفضت حتى الآن الاعتراف بالمجلس الانتقالي.
ويظل الرهان الاكبر للعقيد هو اتساع شرخ الانقسامات في صفوف المعارضة لنظامه، وتحول ليبيا الى دولة فاشلة، وضخامة الثمن الذي يمكن ان يطالب به حلف الناتو وفرنسا وبريطانيا بالذات، مقابل دعم مخططات اطاحة نظامه.
‘ ‘ ‘
السوابق في العراق وافغانستان قد تكون مغرية بالنسبة الى العقيد القذافي، فأخطاء المحتل الامريكي في العراق مثل حل الجيش العراقي واجتثاث حزب البعث، وتكريس حكم طائفي في بغداد ادت الى نشوء مقاومة مسلحة شرسة، وتأسيس قاعدة راسخة لتنظيم القاعدة. العراقيون كانوا سعداء، وربما ما زالوا، لسقوط صدام حسين ونظامه، ولكنهم وجدوا بلدهم مدمراً بالكامل ومقطع الاوصال، ومحكوماً بنظام يحتل المرتبة الاعلى على سلم الفساد في العالم. اما في افغانستان فأعداء طالبان وبدعم امريكي، حققوا نصراً عسكرياً سريعاً، واطاحوا بحكمها، ولكنهم وجدوا حلفاءهم الامريكان والبريطانيين يتفاوضون علناً وسراً، لإعادة طالبان الى الحكم بعد عشر سنوات تكبدوا خلالها مئات المليارات من الدولارات كخسائر مادية.
لا نقول ان هذه السوابق ممكن ان تتكرر في ليبيا، بل لا يجب ان تتكرر، لان في ليبيا ثورة شعب اطاحت بنظام ديكتاتوري فاسد، ولكن عدم تكرار هذه السوابق مرهون بأداء المجلس الانتقالي الليبي الممثل الابرز للمعارضة، ومدى قدرته على قيادة البلاد الى بر الامان، وبناء الدولة الجديدة على اسس الديمقراطية والعدالة.
نعترف ان لدينا شكوكا كبيرة في هذا الصدد، وهي شكوك مشروعة وتأتي من منطلق الحرص على نجاح العهد الجديد الذي يطل برأسه وسط حقل من الالغام. وما يعزز هذه الشكوك ما قراناه بالأمس عن رصد المجلس الوطني الانتقالي ما يقرب من المليوني دولار لمن يقتل القذافي ويأتي برأسه مضرجاً بالدماء، وكذلك اصدار مرسوم بعدم ملاحقة كل من يقدم على هذه الخطوة قضائياً.
هذه المكافأة تتناقض كلياً مع كل وعود المجلس الوطني الانتقالي وحلفائه الغربيين في فرنسا وبريطانيا باقامة نظام العدل والمساواة وحكم القانون في ليبيا الجديدة. مثلما تتناقض مع كل المواعظ لليبيين بالتخلي عن النزعات الانتقامية والثأرية التي كانت من ابرز اخلاقيات النظام الديكتاتوري السابق.

August 25th, 2011, 1:39 am


Khalid Tlass said:

Dear AbuGhasan,

The secular credentials of the regime are not too good either. Do you know how many Maronites and Druze were killed by Assad senior in Lebanon between 1976 and 2005 ?

Do you know how many Maronite and Druze leaders were assassinated by the Syrian Mukhabarat and their lap dogs Hizbulah, Amal and SSNP) ?

August 25th, 2011, 1:58 am


some guy in damascus said:

@ ALI,
im assuming you don’t know who the shabeeha are, or what they do. you maybe never inhaled their tear gas or got hit by their batons.
this video illustrates what the shabeeha do to peaceful protesters
it was taken in midan about 2 months ago, when a demonstration gathered outside the hasan mosque. i want you to notice how no protesters is holding a weapon of any kind and many are begging for mercy from their oppressors.
btw what do you think of prof.Joshua’s most recent post regarding rami makhlouf?

August 25th, 2011, 3:29 am



To the pathetic gang trailing the assad hyena pack:

Why was Ali Farzat kidnapped, assaulted, tortured, and left near death on the airport highway earlier today?

August 25th, 2011, 3:39 am


Leo said:

Very glad to see your posts Off The Wall. I am deeply saddened at this cowardly attack against an artist like Ali Ferzat. Apparently he was found in dire conditions and was taken to the hospital after being assaulted. His hand was broken and it seems like it was done intentionally because of his drawings.

When Bashar was earlier asked about Ali Ferzat, he said that Ali Ferzat was his friend but that he stabbed him from the back. In our country, the pen that one holds is considered to be their dagger.

May all the victims of this fascist regime rest in peace and those who are injured recover to see the end of this gang very soon.

August 25th, 2011, 3:51 am


some guy in damascus said:

@ ali,
also please show me how this comment can be disgraceful?
“telling the shabeeha( who are mongrels) that they will be slaughtered offends you? i”ve seen these shabeeha attack innocent protesters in midan, they do deserve to be be punished( not by slaughtering, hmmm maybe by having a discussion with you, thats punishment enough)”
i called for punishment, because they are violating MY human rights .i want judicial punishment exercised by a court. sadly no such a court exists in Syria. which brings me back to step 1, i want change.
@ off the wall
OMG, they ripped out kashoush’s vocal cords, and now they’ve done this!?!?!? theres no justice in this country.

August 25th, 2011, 3:51 am



114. OFF THE WALL said:

“To the pathetic gang trailing the assad hyena pack:

Why was Ali Farzat kidnapped, assaulted, tortured, and left near death on the airport highway earlier today?”

Because they want to show the world the great reforms they have in store for the Syrian people, especially when it comes to the free press.

According to the article below, he was viciously beaten all over his body, but that wasn’t enough. They broke his hands, hit him on his eye, and shaved his beard.

I am not an advocate for revenge, but when it happens, when the Shabiha or mukhabarat are lynched, the pro-tyranny crowd should not complain. Not all people can control their emotions.

I am waiting for confirmation on his website. So far, understandably, nothing about this on his website.

خطف رسام الكاريكاتير العالمي علي فرزات وكسر يديه وحلق ذقنه

اعداد موقع اف ام سورية

أختطف صباح اليوم الخميس رسام الكاريكاتير العالمي علي فرزات من ساحة الأمويين قرب مبنى الهيئة العامة للإذاعة والتلفزيون ومكتبة الأسد وسط العاصمة دمشق

وفي التفاصيل تم خطفه في تمام الساعة الرابعة و النصف من قبل أربعة ملثمين بعد أن تمّ تكسير زجاج سيارته بالكامل ،ووضعوه في سيارة و أوسعوه ضرباً ، ومن ثم رموه على الأرض على طريق مطار دمشق الدولي، حيث أسعفه بعض المارة إلى مشفى الرازي .

وكانت الدماء تسيل منه بشدة و الكدمات نالت كامل جسده…

وقال مهند فرزات ابن الفنان علي فرزات : بأن والده خطف وضرب بالعصي والحديدعلى صدره و بطنه و كسروا يديه ، و حلقوا له ذقنه عنوة ، وضربوه على عينه حتى تورمت، و تقىء وأصابه الدوار .

وأضاف مهند فرزات والذي يعمل مخرجاً سينمائياً وقد استغرب من كلام رجل الشرطة الذي تولج التحقيق في حادثة الإعتداء على والده حيث قال الشرطي للعائلة ونحن على هذه الحالة ( يعني لسا ما مات ) .

و يشار أن رسام الكاريكاتير على فرزات نشر رسوماً عن الأزمة السورية وقد ظهر الفنان فرزات في برنامج استديو بيروت بقناة العربية منذ اسبوعين مكذباً الرواية الرسمية للأحداث السورية بعدم وجود مسلحين و أن النظام سقط في حفرة يصعب عليه الخروج منها وأفاد حينها أنه من أصدقاء الرئيس الأسد.

يذكر أن الفنان علي فرزات هو رسام كاريكاتير عالمي ولد في حماة عام 1946 ونال جوائز عالمية في فن الكاريكاتير منها جائزة الأمير كلاوس، و رسم في صحف سورية وعربية و عالمية ،وقد أصدر عام 2001 صحيفة الدومري الناقدة الساخرة وأغلقت عام 2004.

August 25th, 2011, 4:08 am


Mina said:

I have no doubt the regime is finished and finally conscious of the problems of the country, but let it assume the transition. Killers and shabeehas should be judged and this needs to accumulate pictures and proofs, not to incite for more sectarian violence. Those who think suicide bombers from abroad won’t be queuing in Syria to get their share in paradise should simply have a look at Pakistan. For the sake of the US war aginst the secular communist in Afghanistan, the US helped the Gulfed training and brain-washing generations of Muslims who ended up blowing themselves mainly in Shiite crowds in Pakistan. Read about the history of Islam in Pakistan, of how the local lore and even some elements of Hinduism were integrated by the people with no problem whatsoever, and think about the religious mosaic in Syria. The US Neocons are dangerous fundamentalists of the same kind as Ahmadinajad, praying for the Messiah to show up after a lot of crimes and horrors. These guys are all psychotic and it is obvious why only the secular Arab/Islamic states are their target now.

(For Observer: the world needs stability? like in South Sudan? Somalia? Iraq? Ask the people who manufacture and sell weapons if they want stablility.)

August 25th, 2011, 4:15 am



Photos of Ali Ferzat in the hospital

He might not be able to draw for several weeks, but many new Frzats will take his place.

August 25th, 2011, 4:58 am


ann said:

Syria is “problem” of the West in region, Assad says – 2011-08-25

DAMASCUS, Aug. 25 (Xinhua) — Syrian President Bashar al-Assad reasserted Wednesday evening that his country is subject to foreign conspiracy, saying that foreign pressures are building up on Syria because it is the “problem” of the West in the region.

During an Iftar banquet held in honor of clergymen late Wednesday, al-Assad said international pressures on Syria are mounting “not because the West is keen about the Syrian people or reforms, as they claim, but because Syria is the West’s problem in the region and they want Syria to submit concessions.”

“This would never happen because the Syrian people have chosen to have its independent will and sovereignty.”

He said that bypassing these events needs the cooperation of all people and a lot of “reason and wisdom instead of emotions and passions,” stressing that the role of clergymen was still essential in preserving the homeland and raising awareness among citizens.

Al-Assad said the cause of a significant part of the crisis was “ethical” either from the “official or the citizen,” adding that the solution could be by devoting the ethics.

He also said that religion should not be exploited for targets that have nothing to do with it, urging all Syrians to shoulder their responsibilities in closing ranks and participating in the process of reform.

He said a difference of opinion is “healthy so long as the target is building up the homeland.”

Al-Assad reasserted that Syria is moving on steadily with the process of reforms, which he said “did not contradict with efforts carried out by the state to restore security and stability to citizens,” but noted that reform should be carefully studied.

U.S. President Barak Obama called explicitly last week for the first time al-Assad to step aside, underscoring the tough talk with new sanctions and lobbied other nations to follow suit, a move which was brushed off by Syria as a flagrant intervention in Syria’s internal affairs.

The Syrian leadership blamed the five-month-old unrest on armed groups and extremists backed by a foreign conspiracy that aim at toppling al-Assad’s leadership and replace it with an Islamic emirate instead.

August 25th, 2011, 5:17 am


some guy in damascus said:

are you a first generation syrian expatriate?
the attack on the artist is appalling but not alien to this regime, it sickens me very much, to harm such an intellectual that contributes to syria’s talent pool. i wonder how people like Samara and Ali support such regimes.
by harming such a talented man, the Syrian authorities have assured us, Syria is the grave yard of talent.

August 25th, 2011, 5:21 am



I wonder if this will make it to Ali Farzat’s Section in Creative Syria . …

Look at it, and enjoy the handy work of your regime….

To those who say they are against this regime, but do not approve of this revolution for one reason or another, and use this excuse to attack it, to further confuse and conflate reality, and to provide the regime a much needed reprieve I say, If you have a spine, and you are a true secular syrian, whose words honestly reflect their feelings, then then the only decent thing you can do is to make this revolution yours and to try to influence it in the direction you believe is the correct direction, and not to saw confusion and division. Otherwise, step aside, and stop aiding and abetting the goals of the hyena pack through added confusion and obfuscation,it is less decent, but it is not immoral.

To those who find my words too harsh, get used to it, I have no sympathy, empathy, or even pittance, to those who support a gang like the one enslaving Syrians, and your comments show me that you are members of the hyena pack ….you will fall with it, and you will be held accountable for your support of this regime. We have legal precedents stretching over 55 years that will hold to task each and every one of you who support this regime and find excuses for its psychopathic head to task. To you, i have nothing but what my syrian brothers and sisters afforded your pack, cold contempt.

Just noticed SYR.EXPAT post of the photos. Let me conclude by addressing this poem to our beloved Ali Farzat,

يادامي العينين والكفين إن الليل زائل
لاغرفة التوقيف باقية ولا زرد السلاسل
نيرون مات ولم تمت روما بعينيها تقاتل
وحبوب سنبلة تجف ستملأ الوادي سنابل

August 25th, 2011, 5:33 am


Aboud said:

Why was Ali Farzat severely beaten up and left on the side of the road?

Assad Hyena Pack…that’s a good name for these SCUM

August 25th, 2011, 5:38 am


syau said:

To the pathetic gang supporting the revolution of terror

Why were fourteen civilians kidnapped, murdered and mutilated in Homs at the hands of the fundamentalist terrorist gangs affiliated with this revolution of terror?

August 25th, 2011, 5:43 am


ann said:

Syria-Russian Venture to Build Oil Rigs From 2016, Watan Says

The Syrian-European Group for Heavy Industries plans to build a plant that will produce oil rigs from 2016, Al Watan reported, citing a government official.

The company is partnering with Russia’s Uralmash Machine Building Corp. to produce the country’s first drilling rig by early 2016 from the plant that will cost at least 250 million euros ($362 million), the newspaper said, citing Syrian Deputy Oil Minister Hassan Zainab. The factory will manufacture about 10 rigs a year and export some of them to Middle Eastern markets, according to the newspaper.

Syrian-European, established in Syria in 2007 and located in an industrial compound near the central city of Homs, will also produce the nation’s first locally made wind turbine to generate electricity in early 2012, Zainab said.

August 25th, 2011, 5:57 am


some guy in damascus said:

its a tragedy, and im going to assume these people were murdered by terrorists, which makes me even angrier at the regime for this:!/event.php?eid=203229526391477
all this requires state sanctioning, planning and support. it’s obviously organized by official sources. as an Syrian that has dignity, now is not the time for celebration. this goes to show the personality cult here in Syria, where the death of 300+ civilians and soldiers( as the regime claims) will be answered with massive orgies of festivals.
if you’re trying to make us think people died at least act like they died, jam some onions up your nose and cry, don’t skip around in joy!

August 25th, 2011, 5:59 am


ann said:

Syria wants own Al Jazeera – Aug 25, 2011 12:56

The leading Western media are purposefully spreading disinformation about developments in Syria, according to that country’s Information Minister Adnan Mahmoud. He said Syria is living through a large-scale democratic change which is being persistently ignored by both Western media and politicians.

The Syrian minister met with a group of Russian public figures, scientists and journalists who were for the first time allowed to travel around the country since the beginning of disorders. A delegation from Russia which, among others, included Voice of Russia correspondents visited both Damascus and Hama. This city located 200 km north of the capital had been controlled by the armed opposition for several weeks, before militants were forced out in the first half of August. The Russian guests made sure that the city is back to a normal peaceful life.

However, Syria paid a very high price for operations to cleanse Hama, Latakia, Dera’a and settlements near the border with Turkey. Our correspondents stopped at a hospital providing treatment for injured Syrian servicemen. One of them, named Muhammad Ati Saleh, said the following:

“We ran into an ambush when moving along a rural road. The rebels opened fire on us, killing many of my brothers-in-arms. I was severely injured but will soon recover,” Muhammad Ati Saleh said.

Syria itself has also started recovering from damage inflicted by the armed opposition, Information Minister Adnan Mahmoud pointed out, expressing his regret that the leading world media keep fiercely ignoring this for some reason. The West is not in a hurry to highlight the process of democratic reforms and the adoption of new laws on elections and political parties. In other words, the minister says, there is sort of an information war unleashed against his country. In response, Damascus will seek to create its own international TV channel, similar to the Qatar-based Al Jazeera whose broadcasts are equally available to both the West and Syria’s neighboring Arab countries, Adnan Mahmoud stressed.

“There are some 500 internationally broadcasting TV companies presenting a particular information picture, not always impartial. Serving as an example is the coverage of our country’s situation. We plan to set up several new channels in Syria and simultaneously develop other media types like radio broadcasting. The implementation of these plans will contribute a lot to the overall development of Syrian media, enabling the country’s authorities to carry out counter-propaganda campaigns both domestically and abroad,” says Adnan Mahmoud.

The official seems to be more determined than ever, even though the creation of new globally competitive media will require much time and money. He also found it difficult to pinpoint when exactly Damascus is going to gain enough strength to switch from defense to offence on the airwaves.

August 25th, 2011, 6:01 am


Badr said:

Syria’s Bloody Ramadan

Part 1: Running from the Ghosts of Damascus,1518,781904,00.html
Part 2: The Helplessness of Assad,1518,781904-2,00.html

August 25th, 2011, 6:04 am


ann said:

From Arab hero to zero – Sami Moubayed – Aug 26, 2011

DAMASCUS – I never got the chance to meet Muammar Gaddafi in person, although I applied for an interview in 2009 when invited to Tripoli to attend the 40th anniversary of the September coup that had catapulted him to power. Gaddafi did not commit to a time schedule, and I ended up not going. I was later told that the colonel had presented all media guests with a golden Rolex embedded with his photograph.

A friend chuckled, “It wasn’t a bribe for us to write something good about the man. Rather, it was a bribe for us to say nothing bad about him! Keeping quiet is one thing, but saying good things about Gaddafi is a completely different story.” I ended up with no interview, no expensive watch and by all means, nothing good to say about Gaddafi.

I had actually first seen the Libyan leader in person one year

earlier when he came to Damascus to attend the annual Arab summit in March 2008. After neatly setting up his tent in the heart of the capital, the Libyan leader took a pedestrian tour through the city, visiting old friends. Smiling, Gaddafi waved to locals on balconies, taking photos of him with their mobile phones.

He was obviously enjoying the scene he was creating with his outrageous purple attire. Gaddafi had dinner at the posh Orient Club behind the Four Seasons Hotel, ate Damascene sugar dumplings in the Shaalan neighborhood, then “dropped in” on Syria’s veteran comedian, Duraid Lahham.

During the Arab League meeting, Gaddafi jeered at all of his colleagues, pointing his finger at them and prophetically saying, “It will be your turn, one-by-one, after Saddam Hussein!” referring to the deposed and then hung former Iraqi president.

They all laughed – the colonel always said funny things at Arab summits, and they thought that this was just another one of his comical stunts.

During his tour of the Syrian capital, Gaddafi never imagined that one day only three years later his entire embassy staff in Damascus, along with the Libyan ambassador, would defect from his regime and turn against him. He never imagined that one day angry Libyan students studying in Damascus would try and bring down his green flag and replace it with an old black, green, red one dating back to the Libyan monarchy that he toppled in September 1969.

Gaddafi always looked up to Syria – even before coming to power – given his commitment, at a fairly young age, to Arab nationalism. While at school he was an admirer of former Syrian president Shukri al-Quwatli, who stepped down from office in 1958 to create union between his country and Egypt.

Quwatli was a respected nationalist in the Arab world, hailed as hero of his country’s liberation from French colonial rule. Gaddafi was reportedly mesmerized by Quwatli’s resignation – an Arab leader stepping down in favor of another Arab leader was, and still is – an unheard of act.

The Libyan leader actually tried to copy Quwatli, staging his own coup 11 years later, inviting Egyptian president Gamal Abdul Nasser to take over power in Libya and merge it with Egypt. Nasser gently turned down Gaddafi’s offer – perhaps having learned his lesson well from his ill-fated union with the Syrians – which fell apart only three years after its creation.

Gaddafi (middle) with Syria’s president Nur al-Din al-Atasi (left) and Egyptian president Gamal Abdul Nasser in 1969.

Nasser remained Gaddafi’s life-long role model. The Egyptian president was clearly amused by Gaddafi’s enthusiasm during the late 1960s, often telling him, “Muammar; you remind me of my youth!” Gaddafi after all was only 27, whereas Nasser had reached the wise age of 51.

Nasser, Gaddafi and Syria’s then-president Nur al-Din al-Atasi worked together to end violence in Jordan when the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) clashed with King Hussein’s army in September 1970. All three of them stood by Yasser Arafat in face of the pro-Western King of Jordan.

At an Arab summit in Cairo, Gaddafi even proposed to create a volunteer Arab army to invade Jordan, “handcuff the king, put him in a straightjacket, and take him to a mental asylum” because he was killing the Palestinians, who Gaddafi always described as the “sacred cow” of Arab nationalism.

Twenty-five years later, Gaddafi did something just as bad to the Palestinians, expelling approximately 30,000 of them from Libya – sending them into oblivion where no Arab country would take them. Gaddafi made that announcement on September 1, 1995, at a public rally celebrating his 26 years in power, calling on other Arab countries to do the same in order to “punish” Arafat for making peace with Israel.

Gaddafi created a strong friendship with Syrian president Hafez al-Assad, who staged a coup and came to power in Syria 13 months after Gaddafi rose to power in Tripoli.

Actually, so interested was he in Syrian affairs and so strong was his appetite for political drama that Gaddafi flew to Damascus on the day of the coup, being November 16, 1970, to “see for himself” what was happening in Syria. He showed up at Damascus airport with nobody to pick him up, walking into the VIP lounge waiting for somebody of suitable rank to welcome him.
In 1971-1972, he became a Damascus regular with Anwar al-Sadat, where along with Assad, the three leaders created the ill-fated Union of Arab Republics. Although they trusted him, Assad and Sadat kept him out of their war plans against Israel in 1973, believing he was both indiscrete and intemperate.

Gaddafi (middle) with Egyptian president Anwar Sadat (left) and Syria’s Syrian president Hafez al-Assad.

In 1978, Assad and Gaddafi joined ranks, yet again, to stand up to Sadat’s peace with Israel, this time co-forming the “Steadfastness Front” between Libya, Syria, South Yemen, Algeria, and the PLO. The relationship continued with Assad well into the 1980s, despite occasional strains over positions vis-a-vis the Lebanese civil war.

After Bashar al-Assad came to power in 2000, Libya and Syria found plenty to unite them facing US president George W Bush’s policies as a result of the September 11 attacks and the invasion of Iraq. Gaddafi’s life changed completely, according to those who knew him, when Saddam was captured in December 2003.

He reportedly taped the Saddam arrest and watched it all alone in awe at what had become of his life-long friend, deciding right there and then to avoid such a similar fate by getting rid of his arsenal and ending 33 years of animosity with the Americans.

Now, the uprising against his rule that started in February has seen the rebels take control of most of Tripoli and overrun his Bab al-Aziziya compound. Gaddafi’s whereabouts are still unknown and a US$2 million bounty has been placed on his head. Deals involving a negotiated settlement or safe passage appear less likely by the minute.

Gaddafi invests in media and the arts
When carrying out his putsch in September 1969, Gaddafi chose a Syrian journalist, Yasser Abd Rabbo, to write about him. Abd Rabbo was actually the first journalist ever to interview the 27-year-old colonel after he overthrew the aged King Idriss.

After a 10-year friendship, the two men parted ways and Abd Rabbo wrote a sharp critique of the Libyan leader called, “Where have your masses become, O’ Brother Muammar?”.

In the 1970s, Gaddafi bankrolled the Hollywood-based Syrian director Mustapha al-Akkad, who produced a film about Libya’s resistance leader Omar al-Mukhtar called Lion of the Desert, starring Anthony Quinn. The film was a thundering success and an overnight classic, prompting Gaddafi to toy with the idea of financing a new film about the Muslim Sultan Saladin, also directed by Akkad.

It never saw the light, however, because Akkad was killed by an al-Qaeda terrorist attack in Amman back in November 2005.

Gaddafi also developed a passion for the Syrian comedies of Duraid Lahham, inviting him to stage plays in Tripoli and booking the entire theater once to attend an entire show, all by himself. In the pre-satellite era, he would order Libyan TV to air one of Lahham’s works, a political satire about corruption called Wadi al-Misk.

Gaddafi would call up Libyan TV to ask them to “omit” an episode he did not like, for example, or repeat a particular one that made him roll over laughing. Whether the millions of other Libyans watching TV that evening wanted to see reruns of Wadi al-Misk was completely beside the point, so long as it made “Brother Muammar” happy.

Sami Moubayed is a university professor, political analyst and Editor-in-Chief of Forward Magazine in Syria.

August 25th, 2011, 6:19 am


mjabali said:


al-Assad and his people were pissed, as obvious, from the cartoons and attitude of Ali Farzat. (That if it is proven beyond doubt that they did this)

But, you, why change your mind again and say that you are not against heresy?

Why you denounce heresy and say that you do not care about people’s religion and sect then go on to attack the Ayatollah of Iran and accuse them with interfering with the events in Syria?

Why to single out the Iranians? What is your beef with the Iranians?

You would rather your Salafi Saudis I see, who are from your sect. Iranians are from a different sect I see, so, why deny your obvious sectarianism? You are in the same trench with Abu Ummar. You like his ideas, so why deny your sectarianism?

Your “scholar” friend Khaled Tlass calls the Iranians Majoos, thinking like the other “scholar” Abu Ummar that he is degrading them. Notice the slander here General.

Do you know how much Sunnis of the world think that the Iranians are Majoos and trying to spread a Majoosi religion?

Do you believe that the Iranians are Majoos and trying to make Syrians Majoos like them, as Abu Umar and Khaled Tlass repeat over and over?

Did you say to me that I am not allowed in your revolution because of my criticism to Islam? So are you a hypocrite or not in this case?

Why did you claim today that you are in Homs while strong evidence points that you are in the West, I wish Dr. Landis confirm this point? If you were in Homs, did you participate in demos and have witnessed the street justice episodes we are hearing about here?

Why do you ally yourself with the likes of Khaled Tlass and Abu Ummar if you were not a sectarian and look from that same sectarian perspective only?

Why did you condone the killing of these three people in Homs?

Why are you here condoning street justice? Did these three dead men receive a fair trial?

Why you are denying the sectarian nature of things in Homs? I gathered it is in the open.

Is this the type of assurances and attitude you want to show the minorities in Syria?

Now, to work letting YOU General Blitzkrieg SPAM the hell out of this great website, while enjoying the company of the great “Scholar” Abu Umar. Funny you accuse others of spamming this space….

Let them speak, I though you are for the freedom of speech. Everyone has the right to speak.

Again, you made me laugh this morning Video Game Supreme Commander who dreams now to add boiling people in urine to his video game options.

August 25th, 2011, 6:28 am


hsyrian said:

Dear Joshua,

My little academic question :

How many INNOCENT people have been killed by terrorists from the Muslim Brotherhood between 1976 and 1982 in SYRIA ?

Including the slaughter of ( > 80 ) cadets at the Aleppo Artillery School in 16 June 1979.
Including the murder of the rector of Damascus University, Dr. Muhammad al-Fadl, killed in February 1977


14 Citizens Kidnapped, Killed, Mutilated by Armed Terrorist Groups, Law Enforcement Member, Citizen Martyred in Homs

SANA: 8 Syrian soldiers killed in attacks

Passengers of Bus Assaulted by Terrorist Group Relate Details of Attack

August 25th, 2011, 6:28 am



Inspiration إلهام

August 25th, 2011, 6:33 am



Humanity انسانيه

August 25th, 2011, 6:34 am



Creativity ابداع

August 25th, 2011, 6:35 am



Liberty حرية

August 25th, 2011, 6:36 am



Rule of Law سيادة القانون

August 25th, 2011, 6:38 am


ann said:

Eight soilders killed by armed gumen in central Syria – 2011-08-25

DAMASCUS, Aug. 25 (Xinhua) — A total of eight Syrian soldiers were killed in two attacks by armed fighters in Syria’s central province of Homs, the official SANA news agency quoted a military source as saying on Thursday.

The source said gunmen ambushed a military vehicle in the Talbiseh town in Homs and opened fire on the troops, killing three of them, including an officer, and wounding five others.

In a separate incident, gunmen ambushed another military vehicle in al-Rasten town, killing five soldiers, according to the source, adding the groups were chased and confronted by the army, a number of whom were injured.

Earlier on Wednesday, SANA said around 14 people from the central province of Homs were kidnapped and brutally killed by ” terrorist” groups over the last few days. The corpses were moved to the National Hospital in Homs, which were tortured and mutilated.

Syria’s third-largest city Homs has spearheaded rallies against the Syrian president since protests erupted on March 15.

Syria has been in unrest since mid-March when anti-government protests broke out in the southern province of Daraa and spread to other cities.

The Syrian authorities blamed the unrest on “armed groups and foreign conspiracy,” and stressed that it would track down gunmen who have intimidated the people and damaged public and private properties.

August 25th, 2011, 6:40 am



Oppression ظلم

August 25th, 2011, 6:41 am



Treacherousness خيانة

August 25th, 2011, 6:42 am



Violence عنف

August 25th, 2011, 6:43 am



Torture تعذيب

August 25th, 2011, 6:45 am



Intimidation تهديد, تخويف

August 25th, 2011, 6:47 am


ann said:

Moderator: posts 132, 133, 134, 135 and 136 are an attempt at stuffing the blog queue. They don’t present the readers with information, knowledge or value!

Thank you

August 25th, 2011, 6:51 am


Syrialover said:

Will the SYRIAN SPAMSTER please get a life, a job, some friends or something to keep it occupied instead of childishly wasting so much space and bandwidth here.

If it’s that needy, maybe it should start its own blog to play mindless games on.

August 25th, 2011, 6:52 am


some guy in damascus said:

no ann, posts 132, 133, 134, 135 and 136 are things we desperately need in Syria.

August 25th, 2011, 7:04 am


ann said:


SYRIAN HAMSTER is not playing childish games. It’s an old trick to stuff the blog with nonsense posts to force a new front page forcing back all posts he/she does not agree with.


August 25th, 2011, 7:06 am


ss said:

Whats up revolutionists,
Ramadan is going to be over soon. I though you were planing the fall of Assad on the 10the of Ramadan. What happended??? I do not want to go back to your posts and pull it back. Few days left and you gotta respect your deadline otherwise we will be calling you a failure.

After Ramadan you are left with one Friday every week where you will be able to lunch your attacks. Everybody in the world knows by now where these attacks starts; unfortunately, from the mosques.

Syrians will manage to survive the sanction as they did in the past. You will become a black dot in the Syrian history, hopefully soon. I am not sure the regime will be able to heal the sectarian damage you left inside us, but it will be left for time to provide the healing.

August 25th, 2011, 7:07 am


Aboud said:

As far as Internet meltdowns are concerned, I have yet to see anything that surpasses the one at 130. This Iranian is obsessed with Aboud 🙂

Yes, I have been to demonstrations. I have seen first hand the brutality of the regime’s thugs. Such brutality is now beyond dispute, and still menhebaks like you worship this disgraceful pack of hyenas.

“Why did you condone the killing of these three people in Homs? ”

Between them, they were responsible for over a dozen murders of demonstrator. I wish them a very uncomfortable stay in hell.

“Why are you here condoning street justice? Did these three dead men receive a fair trial?”

I have yet to see you yap about a fair trial for the 15,000 prisoners, or the more than 2,200 killed. People have a right to defend themselves, and if someone decides to avenge the death of a brother or relative, good for them! You menhebaks should have thought of that before invading Syrian cities and shelling mosques.

“Did you say to me that I am not allowed in your revolution because of my criticism to Islam? ”

By all means, come to the revolution. You will of course come late, like the Qadafi dogs who turned tail when Tripoli fell. But like I said before, I don’t hate you. I pity you, and your chauvinistic attitude towards people from a conservative and underprivileged background, and your general hatred for all things Islamic (read, Sunni) Not to mention your 24 hours a day obsession with me 🙂

“Why to single out the Iranians? What is your beef with the Iranians? ”

That was wrong, as I said before. Hey, we are all human *shrug* But I do have a beef with the Ayatollah Donkeys whose turbans probably are there to hide their lobotomies 🙂

Once here, here is a video of the blatant way in which the Syrian army turds fire on civilian houses. Notice how not once is anyone firing back at him. Notice how the menhebak hyena pack followers dare not mention or discuss this video

MLK quote;

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. ”

Once more, a call for action on the part of the “silent majority”. It is not enough that they not join the shabiha, they must go out and loudly condemn these turds and their paymasters.

August 25th, 2011, 7:10 am


Syrialover said:

ANN #146,

You’re probably correct. However, that motive doesn’t change the fact it’s childish, mindless and a way to fill the Syrian Spamster’s boredom and loneliness.

August 25th, 2011, 7:14 am


Aboud said:

“Why do you ally yourself with the likes of Khaled Tlass and Abu Ummar if you were not a sectarian and look from that same sectarian perspective only?”

I wasn’t aware that me, Khaled and Abu Ummar had made a sort of grand alliance. When they say things I approve of, I commend them. When they say things I disapprove of, I voice my disapproval. You’d have seen that if your turban wasn’t covering your eyes 🙂

“. Few days left and you gotta respect your deadline otherwise we will be calling you a failure.”

You’ve been calling this revolution a failure since its first week. I can’t count the number of times the menhebaks have patted themselves on the back and told each other that the revolution is on its last legs.

This revolution will go on as long as it has to. Unlike junior, we can keep this up forever 🙂

MLK quote;

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope. ”

It is indeed disappointing that the Syria army has turned out to be an unprofessional gang of thugs, and the only one in the region that would murder its own people.

August 25th, 2011, 7:27 am


ann said:

The US’ war of words against Syria – 25 Aug 2011

The US war of words against Syria is marred by hypocrisy and a lack of realism.

You’d need a team of linguists to tease out the internal contradictions, brazen hypocrisies and verbal contortions in President Barack Obama’s call for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to relinquish power.

“The future of Syria must be determined by its people, but …”

The “but” belies the preceding phrase – particularly since its speaker controls the ability and possible willingness to enforce his desires at the point of a depleted uranium warhead.

“The future of Syria must be determined by its people, but President Bashar al-Assad is standing in their way. His calls for dialogue and reform have rung hollow while he is imprisoning, torturing and slaughtering his own people,” Obama continued. One might say the same thing of Obama’s own calls for dialogue and reform in Iraq and Afghanistan. Except, perhaps, for the fact that the Iraqis and Afghans being killed are not Obama’s “own people”. As you no doubt remember from Bush’s statements about Saddam Hussein, American leaders keep returning to that phrase: “killing his own people”.

Now the Euros are doing it. “Our three countries believe that President Assad, who is resorting to brutal military force against his own people and who is responsible for the situation, has lost all legitimacy and can no longer claim to lead the country,” British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a joint statement.

If you think about this phrase, it doesn’t make sense. Who are “your” own people? Was Hitler exempt because he didn’t consider his victims to be “his” people? Surely Saddam shed few tears for those gassed Kurds. Anyway, it must have focus-grouped well back in 2002.

“We have consistently said that President Assad must lead a democratic transition or get out of the way,” Obama went on. “He has not led. For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside.” Here is US foreign policy summed up in 39 words: demanding the improbable and the impossible, followed by the arrogant presumption that the president of the United States has the right to demand regime change in a nation other than the United States.

US hypocrisy on Syria

Assad deserves no pity. He has killed tens of thousands even during his tenure. Political prisoners in Syria languish in secret prisons. But the same is true in Obama’s American gulags, which span the globe from Guantanamo to Bagram to Diego Garcia to the Californian state prison system, where inmates go insane after years in solitary confinement. Where is Obama’s moral standing? Who tells Obama it’s his time to scoot?

Assad is a dictator, and always has been, as was his father. As Obama knows, Assad’s regime was once convenient, not least for Israel, which appreciated the fact that Assad’s primary motivation was not the retrieval of the Golan Heights but rather the suppression of internal dissent. Obama’s phony request that Assad lead Syria to democracy is like asking a tiger to lead a lamb to safety. It’s nothing but bluster that reflects the simple fact that this Syrian thug has outlived his usefulness to the US and its allies.

What’s interesting about the US war of words against Assad is its “here we go again” quality. No matter which side of the Rubik’s cube of regime change one examines, the United States repeatedly deploys tactics without strategy – tactics proven counterproductive time after time after time.

In a world with one superpower, it’s almost as though, in order to guarantee order in the universe, the gods have given the United States one undefeatable enemy: its own incompetence.

The “global squeeze play” against Assad, as the Associated Press wire service characterised it, marks Obama’s fifth-and-a-halfth war (in addition to Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and Somalia) – a conflict of words and economic sanctions rather than the usual drone planes and missiles. (As Obama and his European puppets have made clear, there will be no hot war against Syria. The US is too overextended, not to mention broke. Besides, there’s an election next year – and the old wars are unpopular enough as it is.) In other respects, however, this is a dismal reprise of many of the same screw-ups the Bush Administration committed during the (lack of) planning for and subsequent occupation of Iraq.

So many questions remain unanswered. They all boil down to: What next?

Ex-dictators need a way out

In the good old days of American regime change (Duvalier, Ferdinand Marcos, etc.) a dictator past his expiration date could count on a military chopper on the roof of the presidential palace, an expansive villa on the French Riviera and a generous Swiss bank account full of looted retirement funds. It was corrupt arrangement to be sure, but it had two advantages from the American perspective: it was easier to convince tyrants to go and it made it easier for the CIA to recruit client states in the future.

Such sweet deals are no longer to be had in a world where all worker bees, even those wearing medals and epaulettes, with secret police at their disposal, get discarded like used tissue paper after their cost-benefit balance tips to the former. Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega languished in an American prison on trumped-up drug charges for 20 years before being extradited to France; Saddam got dropped down a trap door to the howling jeers of his rivals.

One can easily imagine a call from North Korean tyrant Kim Jung-Il to Libya’s Colonel Gadhafi a few years back: “Don’t disarm, Muammar. Just you wait! The second you give up your nukes the Americans will take you out. Saddam disarmed in 1991; now he’s in a tacky grave in Tikrit. What did Milosevic get for attending the Dayton peace conference? A war crimes trial. Look at me. I don’t cooperate. I don’t give in. Sure, they hate me. But I’m holding tight. Living large. Cooperation with the Americans is a mug’s game!”

Assad is brutal. Assad is tyrannical. Politicians follow their Machiavellian political imperatives, the first of these being survival and keeping power.

Leftist American political activists plan to recreate Egypt’s Tahrir Square in Washington, DC this coming September and October. They plan to occupy downtown Washington until their demands, including immediate withdrawal from the wars in the Middle East, are met. How long before Obama’s patience wears thin? How many protesters will get shot or beaten by security forces? National Public Radio paraphrases a cynical retired Lebanese general, Amin Hotait: “He says it’s no surprise that Syria is using tanks against its own people, saying that’s how forces around the world deal with terrorists and other armed opponents.”

Bush demanded that Saddam leave Iraq before the 2003 invasion. The big question was: where would he have gone? Bush wanted war more than regime change so he never offered Saddam the old-fashioned cushy exile – or any escape at all. When Obama went to war against Libya earlier this year, he followed the same policy vis-a-vis Gadhafi: he asked him to leave without leaving him a way out.

For beleaguered dictators, the choice is clear: killing “your own people” makes good sense. Surely as he watches his trial through the bars enclosing his courtroom hospital bed Hosni Mubarak rues not the hundreds who died during the Arab Spring but rather the thousands he should have killed to remain in power.

Now the what-next question pertains to Bashar al-Assad. “Where does the Syrian leader go?” asked CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. Machiavelli advised his patron to allow his enemies a graceful exit strategy. Like his illiterate predecessor, Obama prefers to box them in. “I have no doubt that both Gadhafi and Assad will do whatever they can to make sure they don’t wind up like Mubarak or Milosevic. That means many more people will die,” predicts Blitzer.

Exit plans

In 2003 skeptics asked Bush’s neoconservatives: Who would run Iraq after deposing Saddam? If you’re going to remove a nation’s government by force, providing for a successor regime seems like the least you should do. A year and a half earlier in Afghanistan, the Bushists had a ready (though deeply flawed) answer in the form of Hamid Karzai. Not so much in Iraq, where major opposition figures had lived in exile for decades and thus were virtually unknown.

Like Bush, Obama is winging it in Libya. He is calling for President Assad to step down without having a clear (US-friendly, naturally) successor in mind. “It’s hard to argue with President Obama’s call for Bashar al-Assad, the bloodthirsty Syrian dictator, to step down. But it’s also hard to discern any logic or consistency in the administration’s handling of the ongoing tumult in the Arab world,” writes the liberal Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post.

As a right-winger David Ignatius, also a columnist for The Washington Post, reflects a more influential faction, the consensus view of most big-media print and broadcast outlets. Like Robinson, he acknowledges the incoherence of Obama’s policy. “This is a movement without clear leadership or an agenda beyond toppling Assad,” he wrote about the Syrian opposition. “It could bend toward the hard-line Sunni fundamentalists who have led the street fighting in Deraa and Homs, or to the sophisticated pro-democracy activists of Damascus.”

But Ignatius is a pro-war neo-con, whether his president is a Republican or Democrat.

“Despite these uncertainties, Obama is right to demand that Assad must go. Some commentators have chided the White House’s hyper-caution … But I think Obama has been wise to move carefully and avoid the facile embrace of a rebel movement whose trajectory is unknown.”

A big mistake in 2003, one rarely if ever debated in the US, is the United States’ tendency to overpersonalise its regional rivalries and military conflicts. In 2003 political cartoonists propagandised Saddam as a neo-Hitler complete with SS-style skull-and-crossbones badge on his black army beret. Dwelling on Saddam’s personality made it easy for the Americans to miss the fact that the Iraqi dictator had remained in power for decades because he represented a distinct political constituency dominated by Sunnis, embracing a post-socialist semi-secular brand of Islam embodied by the Baath Party. (Direct arms sales from the United States didn’t hurt either.) To Bush’s surprise, those disenfranchised constituencies, including many soldiers fired by proconsul Paul Bremer, took up arms and launched the first wave of the ongoing insurgency.

Here too, the age of Obama is much like that of Bush.

“Syria protesters defy Bashar Assad; Troops Kill 22” reported the Los Angeles Times. Most demonstrators quoted in such accounts took pains to say that they opposed the regime, not just the man. But the US media avoided such subtleties.

Cutting the head off Syria’s Baathist snake can no more create meaningful change within Syria’s political system than hanging Saddam did in Iraq or jailing Mubarak in Egypt. The underlying ideology remains in place, reinforced by years of propaganda in the schools and the media. The power brokers in the military, government ministries and major companies tend to retain their sinecures long after figureheads are removed. The Arab Spring has led to personnel changes in Tunisia and Egypt, not revolution. Revolution is the radical reallocation of power and wealth from one whole class of elites to another class or classes. Anything short of revolution is reform; reform isn’t enough to fix a broken government.

Finally, Obama is repeating yet another classic characteristic of US foreign policy, one we saw in sharp relief during the Bush era: militant ambivalence toward potential future successors. Despite having the set the stage for the ascension of, for example, the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, the US refuses to provide enough support to guarantee close ties down the road.

After the US-led call for Assad’s resignation the UK Guardian reported: “One veteran dissident in Damascus said: ‘I am jubilant. This came at the right time for the street.’ He said protesters were telling him they wanted to dance in the streets. A middle-aged woman in Homs said: ‘More protesters will go out now.'”

If so, they will learn what right-wing Cuban exiles learned when the CIA promised them air support for the Bay of Pigs invasion: US words aren’t always backed up by arms or money. If and when they come to power, the Syrian resistance won’t owe the US

Which, in the greater scheme of things, makes the gods happy.

August 25th, 2011, 7:28 am


some guy in damascus said:

you make me..

……….*,………`-,…)-,…………..,-* `…,-*….(`-,…

first it was syria is immune to demonstrations, then it was these demonstration wont spread, then it was, they wont last till june, and now its they wont topple bashar……

August 25th, 2011, 7:39 am


syau said:


Although you can’t see anyone firing back as the camera is aimed at the soldiers, it doesn’t mean there wasn’t an exchange of gunfire.

At minute 0:21 & 0:37 you can clearly hear gun fire prior to the soldier taking aim. At minute 0:42 one soldier has his gun positioned downwards and the other is taking aim, but there is also gunfire that can be clearly heard. The rest of the video is basically the same.

Some guy in Damascus,

I don’t think any country is in need of rats. And I think Ann is spot with the Syrian spamsters (thanks Syrialover) silly posts.

August 25th, 2011, 7:39 am


Tara said:

Syrian Hamster and all

What is the word in English for غلّ و حقد

The kind of غلّ و حقد that fill the heart of the Shabeehas and security forces and render them capable of committing these atrocious acts of humiliation and torture.

Grudges and hatred do not appear to be an adequate translation.

August 25th, 2011, 7:48 am


beaware said:

Unified Syrian opposition council hit by delay
AMMAN (Reuters) – Syrian opposition figures who met in Istanbul to form a broad-based council to represent the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad said on Thursday that they needed more time to consult with activists inside Syria on its composition.

The delay indicates the difficulty in uniting an opposition decimated by decades of Assad family repression, and integrating a generation of younger activists playing a direct role on the ground in street protests facing the brunt of military assaults.

“We need two more weeks to coordinate with the opposition on the inside. All currents need to be represented,” Adib al-Shishakly, whose grandfather was an early president of Syria after independence from France in 1946.

Encouraged by international support for their cause, leading opposition figures held lengthy discussions in Istanbul this week to nominate a council that could help with a transition of power if Assad were to be toppled by the five-month uprising against his rule.

Most delegates had left but a core group remained to continue discussions with opposition figures inside Syria, Shishakly said by phone.

Attendees at the conference included Moulhem Droubi, a high-level member of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood; Sheikh Muteih al-Butain, a leader of the street protests in Deraa that helped ignite the uprising; former political prisoner Khaled al-Haj Saleh, scion of a leftist political family; and writer Hazem Nahar, who was imprisoned during the uprising and managed to leave Syria.


Another delegate said more work was needed to convince skeptical activists inside Syria how the proposed council would further the cause of the uprising and bridge differences over the posts assigned to different groups and how different factions should be represented.

“I think a consensus is developing that a council is needed and its credibility will be boosted by as much support from the inside,” said the young delegate, who recently fled Syria and did not wish to be identified.

A statement by the participants said the proposed council was designed to “be part of a national safety net needed to guarantee civic peace and achieve broad consensus about the process of transition.”

“We affirm the principle of non-violent revolution. The absence of a unified political forum along the revolution … is a dangerous shortcoming of Syria’s march toward a civic democratic state,” the declaration said.

But Ammar Qurabi, a member of a consultative committee that emerged from an earlier opposition conference in the Turkish city of Antalya, said in a statement the group had withdrawn from the Istanbul talks because the meeting did not build on earlier efforts to unite the opposition.

Western governments, which have stepped up sanctions on Assad in reaction to his crackdown on protesters, have privately expressed frustration with opposition’s lack of unity, diplomats say.

At a meeting with anti-Assad Syrian activists in Washington this month, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton encouraged them to work toward a “unified vision” for Syria.

The proposed council aims to speak for dissidents in exile, who are playing a key role in supporting the uprising financially, and activists on the ground.

A number of activists are wary about establishing a linear opposition structure, saying it would make it an easier target for assassinations and arrests by Assad’s forces.

Dissident writer Michel Kilo, a former political prisoner who belongs to an elder generation of dissidents said this week that a transitional council would be of little value before Assad actually falls from power.

August 25th, 2011, 7:56 am


beaware said:

US lawmaker: Aid to Egypt depends on peace with Israel
08/23/2011 00:47
Kay Granger tells ‘Post’ that level of Muslim Brotherhood involvement in new Egyptian government will impact US assistance.

Washington’s $2 billion in annual aid to Egypt will be cut off if Cairo backs out of the peace treaty with Israel, Congresswoman Kay Granger – whose job as chairwoman of the US House appropriations foreign operations subcommittee means she literally writes America’s annual foreign aid bill – told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.

August 25th, 2011, 8:03 am


Aboud said:

“Although you can’t see anyone firing back as the camera is aimed at the soldiers, it doesn’t mean there wasn’t an exchange of gunfire. ”

The only sounds of gunfire we hear are the ones being fired by the army men or the APC by the checkpoint. Every single sound of gunfire coincides with bursts from their guns. When they stop, the sound stops.

“t minute 0:42 one soldier has his gun positioned downwards and the other is taking aim, but there is also gunfire that can be clearly heard”

And the camera man obligingly points the camera towards the source of the fire…the APC by the checkpoint. The gunfire heard is from a much, much heavier caliber than an AK-47, and is very close to the cameraman. It is impossible for the source to be the direction the turds are firing at.

Also, nowhere do we see bullets hitting their tanks or anywhere else near them.

And in addition, they are not taking cover, especially the idiot standing on the tank. When someone is under fire, they duck, they hide. These turds don’t even pause long enough to cover themselves from an attack.

And their friends up at the roadblock are completely unconcerned about any possible attack. They are standing about, and making no effort to take cover.

Real soldiers would have disarmed those turds, and shoved their AK-47s up their butts. But the Syrian army is lacking in real soldiers.

Yet again, the menhebaks defending the indefensible. But they know their leader is a murderer. They know their regime is one that will willingly murder tens of thousands of Syrians. They know, and they approve. Goebbels did not kill a single person, but had he lived he would have been hung at Nuremberg. Those defending war crimes, are no less complicit in them.

What do people here suppose the menhebaks are doing when they see demonstrators shot at? They cheer, they high five each other. I’m so glad I’ve made so many of them disappear from this website.

MLK quote;

“When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. ”

Junior should have learned the power of oratory from people like MLK, instead of droning on like a bureaucrat.

August 25th, 2011, 8:05 am


ann said:

Saudi Arabia Forging a New Sunni State? – August 24, 2011

Is Saudi Arabia conniving with the United States to unseat the Assad regime in Syria? The possible smuggling of satellite phones into the country suggests so but the kingdom’s ultimate aim may not necessarily align with American policy in the region—the creation of a new Sunni state between Syria and Iraq.

Iranian intelligence experts in Damascus attempted to disrupt the Syrian opposition’s telephone and Internet connections in recent weeks, making it all the more difficult for news of the uprising to reach the outside world. To help the rebels, Saudi Arabia and the United States reportedly smuggled thousands of satellite phones into Syria. Other than that, there’s little the Americans can do short of military intervention. President Bashar al-Assad may have lost the “legitimacy to lead” but he doesn’t need Washington for anything, rendering sanctions virtually useless.

Protests erupted in Syria in March after the “Arab spring” deposed veteran dictators in Tunisia and Egypt. In Bahrain, Shī’ah Muslims also took to the streets to pressure their largely Sunni government into enacting reforms but Saudi troops quelled the uprising before it could pose a serious threat to the small Arab Gulf state’s monarchy.

The oil kingdom is now rooting for the protesters in Syria, or at least some of them. Besides supposedly supplying the anti-government forces with satellite phones in conjunctions with the Americans, Saudi Arabia privately and clandestinely poured money and arms into the country in the hopes of stiffening the resistance and buying the loyalty of desert tribes.

The ultimate aim could be the erection of a new state encompassing not only the Euphrates’ river valley in Syria roughly corresponding with the southeastern Deir ez-Zor Governorate but Iraq’s central Al Anbar province as well. Both are overwhelmingly Sunni and home to more than a couple of million people. Such a country would put a natural geostrategic ally of Saudi Arabia’s in the heart of the Arab world—a “forward operating base” for Riyadh from where to watch Syria, Turkey and Iraq, three Middle Eastern states that are increasingly assertive, and from where to counter Iranian influence.

Riyadh blamed Tehran for stirring the uprising in Bahrain even if there was little evidence of Iranian involvement. The accusation and Saudi led military action nevertheless demonstrated just how worried the Saudis were about Iran extending its influence in the region.

They have ample reason to be concerned. The Saudi backed government in Lebanon was undermined by Iranian ally Hezbollah earlier this year while two of the kingdom’s allies in containing the Islamic Republic, Egypt and Iraq, have been rocked by internal unrest. With Iraq now a democracy—ruled by a Shiite prime minister—and Hosni Mubarak out of office and facing trial, Saudi Arabia and Iran are the only two powers still standing in the Middle East.

A political disintegration of Iraq and Syria, prompted by the creation of another Saudi client state, would weaken both a friend of Iran’s and one of its traditional foes. The United States, after spending considerable blood and treasure stabilizing Iraq, might rather not see its experiment in multiethnic Arab democracy fall apart. It’s anyone’s guess what will happen to Syria after Assad moreover. But the development could bolster the club of pro-Western regimes in the region.

Neighboring Jordan conveniently joined the Gulf Cooperation Council two months ago which formally sanctioned March’s intervention in Bahrain. Whether Morocco also joins the organization or not, it is a moderate Islamist bulwark against Iranian encroachment in West Asia, providing Saudi foreign policy with extra legitimacy and sometimes an alternative to dollar diplomacy. Whatever the emirates contribute in funding, the Saudis are obviously in the lead. And they’re disappointed about their American ally’s reluctance to support them.

The Saudis didn’t particularly care for President Barack Obama’s championing of human rights and reform in the face of the Arab spring and blamed him for forcing Mubarak out of power.

From Washington’s perspective, the alliance with the Wahhabi kingdom is one of convenience. It regards its religious intolerance and backwardness as an embarrassment even if the two countries share interests in the region. Both want to keep the oil flowing, the Gulf free of Iranian influence and neither wants the ayatollahs to go nuclear and embolden their terrorist proxies in the Levant. The clear strategic rationale of the relationship tends to be overshadowed by moral objections on America’s part however. Saudi nation building abroad is likely to raise more than a few eyebrows in the State Department therefore.

Actually, sponsoring the foundation of a brand new republic (presumably) in the Middle East wouldn’t be such a stretch for the United States ideologically. It’s not as though today’s national boundaries in the Middle East necessarily reflect cultural and religious divides—let alone encompass specific peoples or nations. Rather, a Sunni polity separate of multicultural Syria and Shī’ah majority Iraq conforms much better to notions of sovereignty and self determination than the status quo.

It’s not often that American interests and ideology coincide in the Middle East. The risks of too overtly endorsing the Saudi effort—if it is a serious effort to begin with—are clear. America could be perceived as once again meddling in the internal affairs of Arab states. Success, on the other hand, could leave Iraq, then virtually a Shiite homeland, much stabler and Saudi Arabia, a pivotal Western ally, in an enhanced position to balance against Iranian intrigue. Now Washington has only to recognize the opportunity.

August 25th, 2011, 8:10 am


some guy in damascus said:

my text input is jammed, i apologize for any weird posts.

August 25th, 2011, 8:10 am


EHSANI2 said:

I think its that beard. They must have confused Farzat for a salafi

August 25th, 2011, 8:12 am


beaware said:

Ambassador Ford flees angry Syrians in Damascus center
23 August 2011

August 25th, 2011, 8:18 am


beaware said:

Experts Offer Guidance for President on Syria
4:57 PM, Aug 19, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
In a letter being circulated by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, conservative foreign policy experts, including Bill Kristol and Lee Smith, urge President Obama take a series of actions that will hasten the fall of Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad. The letter follows President Obama’s statement yesterday that “the time has come for [Syrian] President Assad to step aside.”

The primary recommendation in the letter is that the U.S., together with our European allies, should sanction Syria’s energy (especially oil) and financial sectors, as well as those individuals who are committing human right abuses and promoting terrorism. The experts also argue that the U.S. should “Engage Syrian opposition figures outside the country and ensure that all available aid and assistance, including secure communications and Internet circumvention technology is being made available to these groups” and recall Ambassador Robert Ford from Syria.

Here’s the full text of the letter:

August 19, 2011

The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
Washington, DC

Dear President Obama:

We commend you for your administration’s statement that “the future of Syria must be determined by its people, but President Bashar al-Assad is standing in their way… For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside.”
We are concerned, however, that unless urgent actions are taken by the United States and its allies, the Assad regime’s use of force against the Syrian people will only increase and the already significant death toll will mount.

As you have stated previously, the Arab Spring presents an opportunity to “pursue the world as it should be” rather than continuing to “accept the world as it is.” There is perhaps no place where this is truer than Syria.

The regime of Bashar al-Assad and that of his father which preceded him, have brutally repressed the Syrian people for decades, imprisoning, torturing, and killing those who attempted dissent. In recent years, Syria has formed increasingly close ties with Iran, jointly supporting terrorist groups with funds and weaponry used to terrorize American allies in the region. For years, the Assad regime pursued a covert nuclear program with North Korean assistance, which could have led to a disastrous cascade of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East. Finally, by facilitating foreign fighters’ transit through Syrian territory, the Assad regime contributed to the death and injury of thousands of American troops serving in Iraq over the last eight years.

The tactics used by the current regime make clear now more than ever that a post-Assad Syria is in America’s interest. We commend you for adding your uniquely powerful voice to the chorus of foreign leaders in calling for Assad’s departure. We appreciate the executive order issued today that freezes Syrian government assets in the U.S.’s jurisdiction and prohibits new investment in Syria by U.S. persons or the exportation or sale of any services to Syria by U.S. persons. We commend you for freezing imports of Syrian petroleum products and prohibiting U.S. persons from transacting business related to Syrian-origin petroleum products. The actions send a strong message of support to the Syrian people in their quest for freedom.

We believe there is more than can be done. Specifically, we urge you to:

• Work with our European allies to tighten the sanctions regime against Syria. Particular attention should be paid to potential multilateral energy sector sanctions as well as the passage of energy sanctions bills recently introduced in the House of Representatives and Senate.

• Encourage Germany, Italy, and France, which are the main buyers of Syrian oil, to terminate their purchases of Syrian crude; forcefully urge energy trading firms from Switzerland, Holland, and elsewhere to stop their sales of refined petroleum products to Syria; and pressure European, Russian, Chinese, and Indian companies to freeze their investments in Syria’s energy sector and the transfer of any energy-related technology, goods, and services.
• Sanction any person assisting Syria in the development of energy pipelines as well as insurance firms, shipping companies, financing entities, ports managers, and other persons active in supporting Syria’s energy sector.

• Implement measures against Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps individuals and entities doing business in Syria. Expand sanctions against Syrian persons who are involved in human rights abuses, support for terrorism, and supporting Syria’s proliferation activities. Sanction those international companies doing business with these designated Iranian and Syrian individuals and entities.

• Sanction the Syrian Central Bank in order to freeze the Assad regime out of the global financial system and inhibit the ability of the regime to settle oil sales and other financial transactions. It is important to ensure that the Central Bank of Syria does not facilitate trade for any sanctioned Syrian banks, businesses and persons.

• Work with our European allies to follow your lead in sanctioning the Commercial Bank of Syria and the Syrian Lebanese Commercial Bank.

• Sanction international persons involved in the purchase, issuance, financing or the facilitation of Syrian sovereign debt, including energy bonds, which the Assad regime may use to circumvent investment-related sanctions in order to raise capital for its energy sector.

• Engage Syrian opposition figures outside the country and ensure that all available aid and assistance, including secure communications and Internet circumvention technology is being made available to these groups.

• Leverage the International Atomic Energy Agency’s referral of Syria to the United Nations Security Council for its violation of its nonproliferation obligations to press for additional sanctions against Damascus.

• Recall Ambassador Robert Ford from Damascus unless he is clearly charged with aiding the transition to democracy in Syria.

Mr. President, the opportunity presented by recent developments in Syria and the broader region is momentous. As you said in May, “we cannot hesitate to stand squarely on the side of those who are reaching for their rights, knowing that their success will bring about a world that is more peaceful, more stable, and more just.” Supporting Syrians to rid themselves of Assad’s yoke would also have broader game-changing implications on peace and stability in the Middle East. It would deny Iran the use of its major ally as a proxy for terrorism, stem the flow of Syrian arms to Hezbollah, reduce instability in Lebanon, and lessen tensions on Israel’s northern border.

This is a significant moment where many of our allies and partners in Europe and the region are in agreement that the Assad atrocities must stop now. They are poised to act. Now is the time to continue placing the United States firmly on the side of the Syrian people. We urge you to grasp this opportunity and increase your administration’s efforts to ensure that the brave people taking to the streets in Syria are soon able to enjoy the fruits of freedom that we in the West hold so dear.


August 25th, 2011, 8:29 am


norman said:

Cheney says he pushed to bomb Syria
By: Maggie Haberman
August 25, 2011 07:12 AM EDT

From the Dick Cheney memoir, the former Vice President says he pressed President George W. Bush to bomb Syria in June 2007, but he was outnumbered by other advisers who were snakebit over the “bad intelligence” about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction:

“I again made the case for U.S. military action against the reactor,” Mr. Cheney wrote about a meeting on the issue. “But I was a lone voice. After I finished, the president asked, ‘Does anyone here agree with the vice president?’ Not a single hand went up around the room.”

Cheney has some less-than-kind words about his fellow administration members: George Tenet quit in the CIA “when the going got tough,” Colin Powell tried to undermine the president, and Condaleeza Rice “tearfully” admitted he was right about not apologizing for why the U.S. invaded Iraq.

And there was this view on President Obama:

Mr. Cheney praised Barack Obama’s support, as a senator from Illinois, for passing a bank bailout bill at the height of the financial crisis, shortly before the 2008 election. But he criticizes Mr. Obama’s decision to withdraw the 33,000 additional troops he sent to Afghanistan in 2009 by September 2012, and writes that he has been “happy to note” that Mr. Obama has failed to close the prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, as he had pledged.



August 25th, 2011, 8:37 am


ann said:

Syrian army pushes into dissident areas, activists say – Aug 25, 2011

Cairo/Damascus – Syrian troops pushed into the dissident areas of Deir al-Zour and Homs Thursday in a fresh clampdown on pro-democracy protests, according to activists.

Dozens of armed vehicles stormed the town of Sheheel in the north-eastern region of Deir al-Zour, activists told broadcaster Al Jazeera.

Gunboats shelled towns in Deir al-Zour, which have been a focal point for the protests against the government of President Bashar al-Assad since March.

Security forces supported by al-Shabeeha militia fired indiscriminately and raided houses in the town of Al-Basir in Deir al-Zour, the Federation of the Coordination Committees of the Syrian Revolution, an opposition group, said.

On Thursday, army tanks shelled the town of Al-Rastan near Homs, another dissident region in central Syria, said the group.

State news agency SANA reported that eight Syrian soldiers had been killed in separate attacks in Homs, in an ambush Wednesday when ‘terrorists’ fired at a military bus.

In Al-Rastan, ‘a terrorist group’ fired at a military vehicle killing five soldiers, an official told SANA.

Early Thursday, prominent cartoonist Ali Ferzat was attacked by masked gunmen in Damascus, activists based in Lebanon said.

‘Masked Syrian security force members stopped the car of Ferzat while he was passing through Ummayad Square, grabbed him out of the vehicle and beat him up,’ the spokesman for the opposition Local Coordination Committees, Omar Idlibi, told the German Press Agency dpa.

‘The attackers also stole the contents of his briefcase, including his drawings,’ Idlibi said.

‘He was beaten hard, notably on his hands. Passersby found him on the road to the airport and took him to the hospital,’ Idlibi added.

Since the start of the anti-government demonstrations, Ferzat has published cartoons very critical of the regime’s brutal crackdown on protesters.

Activists said troops killed 16 people Wednesday in Homs, Deir al-Zour, the port city of Latakia, central Damascus and Idlib near the border with Turkey.

President al-Assad remains defiant in the face of demands by world leaders for him to step down.

He told clergymen at a ceremony in Damascus late Wednesday: ‘We should be aware of the foreign conspiracy being promoted against Syria especially by aiming at the national role played by the army that is protecting citizens and public and private properties.’

His government was going ahead with reforms ‘with firm steps,’ SANA quoted al-Assad as saying.

An estimated 2,200 people have been killed since March, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said this week, adding that 350 of them had died since the onset of the holy month of Ramadan on August 1.

Al-Assad’s regime was ‘condemned,’ French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Wednesday after meeting with the second-in-command of Libya’s rebel Transitional National Council, Mahmoud Jibril, in Paris.

While assuring that France would not intervene militarily in Syria without a United Nations resolution, Sarkozy said: ‘Everyone must understand that dictators can no longer count on international passivity.’

August 25th, 2011, 8:44 am



Number of posts in this thread: 16,
Approximate number of words: 10908 (If you do not believe, count them).
Status: Unhappy and Angry, demands hamster shut up

Syrian Hamster
Number of posts in this thread: 9
Total number of words: 18 (half are translation)
Status: Content to say the least and thankful for the ability to be concise.

Hamster Personal Profile
Job: very gainful employment
Life: one that most of the men7ebbakites would kill their mothers for.
Posting strategy: post as little as possible, parrot none, and think….

August 25th, 2011, 9:34 am


Akbar Palace said:

Syrian Hamster,

Cutting and pasting articles from obscure periodicals and websites is an art.

August 25th, 2011, 9:50 am


beaware said:

August 24, 2011
After Arab Revolts, Reigns of Uncertainty
DJERBA, Tunisia — The idealism of the revolts in Egypt and Tunisia, where the power of the street revealed the frailty of authority, revived an Arab world anticipating change. But Libya’s unfinished revolution, as inspiring as it is unsettling, illustrates how perilous that change has become as it unfolds in this phase of the Arab Spring.

Though the rebels’ flag has gone up in Tripoli, their leadership is fractured and opaque; the intentions and influence of Islamists in their ranks are uncertain; Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi remains at large in a flight reminiscent of Saddam Hussein’s; and foreigners have been involved in the fight in the kind of intervention that has long been toxic to the Arab world.

Not to mention, of course, that a lot of young men have a lot of guns.

No uprising is alike, but Libya’s complexities echo in the revolts in Bahrain, Syria and, most of all, Yemen, suggesting that the prolonged transition of Arab countries to a new order may prove as tumultuous to the region as Egypt’s moment was stirring.

Unlike at the start of the year, when the revolutionary momentum seemed unstoppable, uncertainty is far more pronounced today, as several countries face the prospect of stalemate, sustained conflict or power vacuums that may render them ungovernable. Already in Yemen, militant Islamists have found a haven. Across the region, the repercussions of the uprisings are colliding with the assumptions of the older, American-backed system: control of oil, the influence of a reactionary Saudi Arabia, an Arab-Israeli truce, and the maintenance of order at the expense of freedom in a region that for decades has been, at least superficially, one of the world’s most stable.

In just the past week, Colonel Qaddafi lost his capital, Tripoli; the United States and European countries called on President Bashar al-Assad of Syria to step down; the president of Yemen, still recovering from burns suffered in an attack, has promised to return; and the relationship between Egypt and Israel descended into crisis, to the jubilation of many Egyptians who saw a more assertive government as a windfall of Mr. Mubarak’s fall.

“There is going to be a transfer of power in our societies, and a new order has begun to take shape in the region,” said Michel Kilo, an opposition figure in Damascus, Syria.

Already, Israel has begun to face what it feared the revolts might unleash: foreign policies in the Arab world that reflect deep popular resentment over the plight of Palestinians. The most puritanical Islamists, known by their shorthand as Salafists, have emerged as a force in Egypt, Libya, Syria and elsewhere, with suspicions that Saudi Arabia has encouraged and financed them. Alliances have begun to be redrawn: Turkey and Syria’s growing partnership ruptured over Mr. Assad’s ferocious crackdown, which has provoked international condemnation but shows no signs of ending.

As with all the revolutions, the fall of the leaders will be seen as the easiest step in a long, rocky and wrenching struggle to build anew.

“The question of the successor government in Libya is going to prove far more difficult than ousting the old government,” said M. Cherif Bassiouni, an expert in international law who has led human rights commissions in Bahrain and Libya.

Nothing feels certain these days, not least in Egypt and Tunisia, and conversations about the uprisings often mention the French Revolution, which required long years to usher in a new order. No one talks in terms of months about these revolts, given the seismic forces at play, from the empowerment of Islamists to the economic trauma.

“We’re heading toward the unknown,” said Talal Atrissi, a political analyst in Lebanon. “The next era will witness battles and conflicts between actors inside countries bent on crushing each other and proving their existence on the political scene.”

“It will be full of challenges, large and severe,” he added.

As unpredictable as Libya’s revolution may prove, it still unleashed jubilation across the region. Yemen’s beleaguered government flooded the capital with troops over the weekend to stanch more demonstrations inspired by Colonel Qaddafi’s fall. On Al Jazeera, images of the Libyan leader were interspersed with lines from a song played during Egypt and Tunisia’s revolts: “I am the people, the people of honor and struggle,” sang Um Kalthoum, an Egyptian diva of another era. In Damascus, an activist saw the intertwined fates of Mr. Assad and Colonel Qaddafi, who in a defiant message broadcast Wednesday called the people who overthrew him rats and traitors.

“We don’t want a merciful end for Qaddafi and his sons,” said Aziz al-Arabi, a 30-year-old Syrian. “Please keep him alive. We’d love to see them humiliated.”

Across the region, young people who have driven the revolts have shared vocabulary as well as tactics. “Irhal,” or leave, has skipped from Egypt to Yemen and Bahrain, where in the streets of Sitra, strewn with rocks from nightly clashes with the police, protesters have made it plural — not only must the king go, but his family as well. Walls there read “silmiya,” or peaceful, recalling similar slogans in Syria. Residents there have imported the Egyptian term “baltagiya” to describe the state-sponsored thugs they face.

Iran’s revolution a generation ago was followed by a grinding war with Iraq, the birth of Hezbollah in Lebanon and the politicization of Shiite Muslims across the Persian Gulf. The Arab world is now embroiled in three revolutions (Tunisia, Egypt, Libya) and three full-fledged revolts (Syria, Yemen, Bahrain).

“Sometimes instability is a necessary evil, and you need it to have stability,” said Shadi Hamid, director of research at the Brookings Doha Center, a project of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution and that is based in Qatar. “To dislodge a brutal dictator is going to require bloodshed.”

So far, Libya’s revolution seems the most uncertain. Even now, parallels are being drawn to the fall of Mr. Hussein, who cast a long shadow before he was captured over a country whose divisions deepened, then erupted into civil war. The remnants of his regime were long underestimated, by Americans and others, until they contributed to an insurgency that remains a searing lesson in imperial folly.

“Some compare post-Qaddafi Libya to post-Saddam Iraq,” wrote Bashir al-Bakr in the leftist Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar. “The Libyans, according to that view, will not be in charge of their own decisions. They will find themselves shackled by heavy commitments, and they will lack the ability to escape them at the present.”

For many in the region, foreign intervention has deprived Libya’s revolt of the luster enjoyed by Egypt and Tunisia, inspiring suspicions, as in Iraq, that the West simply covets its oil. As Sateh Noureddine, a columnist, put it in another Lebanese newspaper, Al-Safir, NATO’s support “will not be for free, and Libya will pay for it.”

In that, he captured the ambiguity over what represents opposition these days in the Arab world, old labels defying their old assumptions. Syrian rebels denounce Hezbollah, which prides itself on its resistance to Israel. Bahrain withdrew its ambassador from Damascus as it carried out a crackdown on its Shiite majority that smacks of apartheid. And Colonel Qaddafi, in his message, praised his loyalists as revolutionary youths.

“Forward, forward,” he cried, his trademark refrain for never-ending struggle.

August 25th, 2011, 9:59 am


Aboud said:

“Cutting and pasting articles from obscure periodicals and websites is an art.”

Indeed, most of the menhebaks post articles from websites that get a miniscule number of visitors, if any.

August 25th, 2011, 10:24 am


Syrian Citizen said:

“Their strategy for angling the US toward making such a commitment in the future is economic sanctions.”

Is what happened yesterday the start of this?

Yesterday saw the start of the actual implementation of the latest round of US sanctions against Syria. A number of USD wire transfers into and out of Syria have been blocked. VISA credit cards stopped working with Master Cards soon to follow as I am told.

I am by no means and expert in law or in sanctions, but looking at the latest exc. order dated Aug 18 (order no. 13582 I think this relates to the following parts of it:

Section 2 states that the following is prohibited:

“(b) the exportation, reexportation, sale, or supply, directly or indirectly, from the United States, or by a United States person, wherever located, of any services to Syria;
(e) any approval, financing, facilitation, or guarantee by a United States person, wherever located, of a transaction by a foreign person where the transaction by that foreign person would be prohibited by this section if performed by a United States person or within the United States.”

“.. any services to Syria”! No targeting of main government officials or bodies here.

In addition, looking at other treasury general licenses relating to this order we can see that Syrians can no longer make several general transactions such as get internet services from the US such as web hosting, sat links, domain name registration (

So much for the sanctions being targeted and carefully measured so they will only effect the regime and not the people! What a big bag of BS! This looks like it is just the beginning and I am afraid that things will only get worse!

If this is the kind of support the west is bragging about giving the Syrian people, which will not help with anything but turn Syria into the type of country Iraq was under the UN sanctions before the US invasion, then no thanks we Syrians do not want that!!! Leave us alone, let people deal with the regime without your so called ‘help’.

August 25th, 2011, 10:45 am


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