Ghalioun Resigns; Can the SNC Recapture Center Stage; Is Shawkat Dead? No Cooking Gas

Bourhan Ghalioun has officially resigned from his post, a statement issued by the Syrian National Council said Thursday after a two-day meeting in Istanbul. The SNC “office decided to accept the resignation and to ask the council president to pursue his work until the election of a new president at a meeting on June 9-10,” it said. If the SNC can establish a mechanism for transparent and regular elections, it will have done Syrians a great favor.

Ghalioun has been a success. He represents the best that Syrians living abroad have to offer. He is a deeply cultured and honest man, who could not put his heart into the military option that the opposition is now pursuing. However, he was able to give an inspiring and intelligent face to the Syrian revolution, one that the West and many Syrians living in the West needed to see  in order to get organized and throw their weight behind the international effort to condemn the Assad regime and make the decision to isolate and sanction it. He played a tremendously important role in mobilizing international opinion behind the revolutionary effort. No one can minimize the importance of that achievement.

The fact that Syrians inside distrust those outside the country is perhaps natural, but it is also a product of years of indoctrination, xenophobia and anti-Westernism that has been preached by the Baath Party. It is unfair to blame only the Baath. Arab nationalism as a movement has preached distrust of the West and those Arabs who have lived in the West for decades. That ideology is coming back to haunt the revolutionary movement today.  It will be very hard for Syrians living in the West to gain the trust of those inside the country. The Assad regime has driven or expelled many of the best and brightest from the country. It has then denigrated them as traitors and agents of the West.

The center of gravity of the opposition has now moved to the fighters and coordinators inside Syria. The SNC needs a major overhaul to preserve its usefulness and regain its public support. By stepping down, Burhan Ghalioun is demonstrating that not all Syrian leaders must cling to power in the face of opposition. He should be championed for what he is: a man who has sought to do the best he could in an extremely difficult situation. He has been a beacon of reason and champion of democracy for decades and his is living by his word.

The Assef Shawkat controversy continues to gain traction. Was he assassinated? Not since JR of Dallas fame, has murder been so mysterious and talked about. Chances are, however, that he is alive and kicking. Assef Shawkat’s town-folks deny that he is dead, according to the on-line news site, “Syria Politic.” When their journalist, called people in the town, townfolks laughed at the news, claiming that they don’t even have a tradition of raising a black flag for the dead. Opposition sources claimed that the people of Madhale had raised a black flag for him. The townsfolk interviewed by Syria Politic say the news about his death is bunkum. This doesn’t prove much, but it does suggest that opposition members who write about the assassination are making parts of the story up.

Those who argue that the fact that he hasn’t come on TV to denounce the story is proof of his death forget that the last time there were rumors about Shawkat’s demise – that he was under house arrest and that this wife had fled to Dubai – the rumors were false, but Assef never went on TV to denounce the rumors. The rumors persisted from February to August of 2008. Friends of mine had a chalet on the beach next to his, where he was frequently seen swimming with his wife and children.

Cooking gas is just not available in Aleppo, as I reported a few days ago. The energy minister is finally admitting that sanctions are killing them. For the longest time, they blustered about finding other buyers and sources.

 Antoine writes in the comment section of my commentary of the SNC and external opposition:

Nothing can be more insulting to the “real” Syrian opposition, Dr. Landis. The Syrian opposition, unlike the oppositions of someother authoritarian regimes, is almost totally locally based, with a very, very strong grassroots presence.

The Syrian opposition is NOT the SNC, the Syrian opposition is certainly not the NCB, the Syrian opposition is not some Ahmad Chalabi-like scam artists, the Syrian opposition is not a Masoud Rajavi’s MKO or PLO / PFLP -like external terrorist group.

The Syrian opposition is Abdel Razzaq Tlass, it is Khaled Abu Salah, it is Abdel baset Sarout, Captain Qais Qataaneh, and Lieutenant Khabir. It is the people who bring out every week’s edition of Oxygen ( in Zabadani. It is the thousands of young men and women who chant in Aleppo University, and the millions of faceless individuals who bare their chests to bullets every day. It is the people Martin Chulov writes about in Guardian.

The Syrian Revolution is NOT SNC. Let me say this on record, and this the view of 90 % of the people in FSA and the LCCs. The Syrian Revolution is not even Riad al Asaad and other officers cooling their heels in Turkey.

Dr. Landis pretends as if the LCCs don’t even exist. He only sees suited individuals like Ghalioun and Kodmani and Manaa and Abdulhamid and some other names as “the Opposition.” and most of his posts on SC have a strong bias in showing these individuals as “Opposition” and ignoring to a very large extent the Local Coordination Comittee activists and the FSA foot-soldiers.

Fortunately, the Western media has focused on the grassroots local opposition and not these external non-oppositions….

Subject: (NS8) Ya Libnan: Assad’s brother-in-law Assef Shawkat
Ya Libnan: Assad’s brother-in-law Assef Shawkat buried, report

According to anti-Syrian regime activists, President Bashar al-Assad’s brother-in-law Assef Shawkat who was Syria’s deputy defense minister was buried on Wednesday in his hometown, which they identified as Madhale, near the …

قرية “المدحلة” تنفي وفاة آصف شوكت..وتسخر من قصة رفع الأعلام السوداء
23 مايو 2012 –  PM : سيريا بوليتيك

آصف شوكت في مدارس أبناء الشهداء عام 2010

نفى أهالي قرية “المدحلة” في “ريف طرطوس” رفعهم الأعلام السوداء، كما نفوا وفاة العماد آصف شوكت نائب وزير الدفاع، بحسب عدد من مراسلي “سيريا بوليتيك” الذين اتصلوا ببعض أبناء القرية. وكانت مواقع معارضة، إضافة إلى مواقع إخبارية عربية، زعمت أن قرية المدحلة، التي ينحدر منها شوكت، رفعت الأعلام السوداء حدادا على وفاته بعد أن وصل من دمشق بحوامة إلى طرطوس، حيث تم إفراغ مشفى الباسل من المرضى بالكامل

Foreign Policy: Wednesday

Up to 25 people were killed across Syria on Tuesday. Government troops bombarded the central city of Rastan on Wednesday, shelling at the rate of “one shell a minute.” Additionally, a bombing in Damascus killed five people. According to Syrian authorities, the bomb hit a police station. However photos indicate that in fact a restaurant was targeted. Meanwhile, the kidnapping of 11 to 13 Lebanese Shiite pilgrims near Aleppo has raised fears that the Syrian conflict is spreading into Lebanon, and has aggravated sectarian tensions in Beirut. The Lebanese pilgrims were traveling from Iran when their bus was intercepted. The Syrian government and opposition have traded accusations over the abductions. Hezbollah has said that it has been in communication with a Syrian fundamentalist group that has promised the release of the pilgrims.

A bomb planted under a military bus exploded Wednesday near the Damascus airport, killing one soldier and wounding 23 others, a military official at the site said on condition of anonymity under army rules. Anti-regime activist reported government rocket attacks on parts of the central city of Homs and clashes between rebels and government troops in the central town of Rastan, outside of Damascus and elsewhere.

Egypt holds elections today. Many voters say the election is not about religion or politics, but rather “who can put food on the table.” Egyptians must count themselves lucky to be settling their disputes in the fairer manner.

Fox News: Sanctions on Syria have cost country $4 billion, oil minister says

DAMASCUS, Syria – Syria’s oil minister acknowledged the heavy toll international sanctions have taken on the country’s oil sector, saying Wednesday that they had sucked about $4 billion from the economy.

Sufian Allaw said the sanctions levied by the United States and the European Union to put pressure on President Bashar Assad were to blame for the shortages that have left Syrians across the country standing in long lines to pay inflated prices for cooking gas and other products.

Allaw’s comments are part of a delicate rhetorical balancing act by the Damascus regime 14 months into the crisis that has posed the biggest threat to Assad family rule in four decades. The regime must acknowledge that international measures are squeezing the populace while denying that Assad’s control of the country has been shaken.

Before the Syrian uprising began in March 2011, the oil sector was a pillar of Syria’s economy, with oil exports — mostly to Europe — bringing in $7-8 million per day, according to David Schenker of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. This income was key to maintaining the $17 billion in foreign reserves that the government had at the start of the uprising.

Speaking to reporters in Damascus Wednesday, Allaw said sanctions had cost Syria’s oil sector about $4 billion. Prices for a tank of cooking gas have more than quadrupled as shortages have spread across the country, and Allaw said Syria’s gas production covers only half of the country’s needs.

To fill the gap, officials are seeking imports from countries not party to the sanctions. A Venezuelan tanker carrying 35,000 tons of fuel docked in Syria on Tuesday, Allaw said. Another is supposed to follow. He said officials were seeking to arrange further gas imports from Algeria and Iran..

أثرياء حلب يواجهون أزمة الغاز بالوجبات السريعة والفقراء بالكاز وسرقة الكهرباء

تاريخ المقال: 2012-05-23

واجه سكان مدينة حلب من الأثرياء أزمة الغاز بالاعتماد على الوجبات السريعة الجاهزة، التي زاد الطلب عليها بمقدار الضعف، في حين اعتمد الفقراء على الكاز والتيار الكهربائي «المسروق» للحد من اتكالهم على المادة في المطبخ المنزلي لقناعتهم بأن الأزمة آخذة بالتصاعد مستشهدين بقول أحد المسؤولين المعنيين «دبروا راسكم



Feltman Leaving Key Post

Yesterday, Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman, the top U.S. diplomat for the Middle East was reported to be stepping down from his post to take on a senior role at the United Nations (potentially as deputy to UN chief Ban Ki-moon). It is unclear when Feltman will step down or who will replace him, but with Hillary Clinton also leaving the administration at the end of this term, it looks like U.S. policy toward the Middle East will undergo a significant change next year, regardless of who wins the election.

Syria’s downtrodden flock to Lebanon for work By Erika Solomon and Laila Bassam
BEIRUT | Wed May 23, 2012

(Reuters) – Huddled under Beirut’s concrete bridges and around street corners are thousands of Syrian men who have left home and crossed the border in recent months in the hope of finding work as day laborers.

From 13-year-old schoolboys to limping elderly men, most of them represent impoverished families from Syria’s rural regions who are suffering the brunt of a deepening economic crisis as a 14-month-old revolt against President Bashar al-Assad drags on.

“We could barely buy a pack of bread. We’re suffering from hunger, so I had to come here and do whatever I can,” said Mohammed Mahou, 23, a father of three from an eastern farming town called al-Qamishli.

Syrians who once headed for day work in Aleppo and Damascus have found construction projects halted. Farmers like Mahou say they are unable to work their fields because prices of fertilizer have risen sharply and some areas are unsafe to farm. Meanwhile, prices for basic food staples in Syria have nearly tripled, they say….

Analysis: Rifts widen in Syrian opposition
By Khaled Yacoub Oweis

AMMAN | Mon May 21, 2012 6:56pm EDT
(Reuters) – A power struggle within Syria’s main opposition group is pitting Islamists against secular politicians and exiled leaders against activists at home, further undermining its claim to be an alternative to President Bashar al-Assad.

Fourteen months into an uprising, the squabbling in the Syrian National Council makes it even less likely to be able to win international recognition or to get more than half-hearted foreign support against Assad. On the ground, the council shows no sign of exerting control as grassroots activists organize protests themselves and rebel fighters operate under nobody’s orders but their own.

More than anything, critics say, the disarray within the opposition mirrors the chaos of Syria itself. “You have a classic situation in the SNC, not much different from the four-decade old totalitarian Assad family rule the uprising aims to topple,” said veteran opposition figure Fawaz Tello.

The internal conflicts have come to a head over the position of Burhan Ghalioun, who offered to step down as leader of the 313-member council last week if a replacement can be found – not that there is guarantee one will be. Some critics brand the 67-year-old liberal sociologist a stooge of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood and say he was chosen because he would attract Western support.

Some criticize him for monopolizing the position of council leader, which is meant to rotate every three months. Others fault him for failing to back the armed rebellion against Assad.


“Burhan Ghalioun: the Syrian National Council is dying… We accept your resignation,” read placards at an anti-Assad rally in the eastern city of Deir al-Zor on Friday. There are signs that foreign patience with the council is running thin too. That does not bode well for the opposition’s chances of getting diplomatic or military support. The Western and Arab countries which recognized Libyan rebels within weeks of them taking up arms against Muammar Gaddafi are still holding back when it comes to Syria.

A military source in France, one of Assad’s most vocal opponents, said the opposition needed to be better organized. “We don’t have that and now it’s playing into the hands of Islamist groups and making it even more difficult for the opposition to organize itself,” the French source said.

The first step is sorting out the leadership position and the Islamists who dominate the council say they are trying to convince Ghalioun to stay on. “If he insists on leaving it will be time to convene the whole council and choose a new leadership on every level,” said Mulhem Droubi, a high-level Muslim Brotherhood official.

Ghalioun is well-connected with France and with Qatar so may still be as close as possible to a consensus figure. But counting against Ghalioun is opposition from inside Syria because of his skepticism over armed resistance by majority Sunni Muslims to the rule of Assad, who is from the minority Alawite sect.

“The rift between the SNC and those inside is growing,” said Yasser Saadeldine, an opposition leaning commentator living in the Gulf. “Ghalioun lacks charisma and he has not embraced armed struggle after Assad killed thousands of his peaceful opponents.”

A senior member of the Free Syrian Army rebel group said Ghalioun was not even “in the equation” but did acknowledge that the Islamists who support him were trying to build serious links with the rebels.

Another candidate for leader could be George Sabra, who came second to Ghalioun in the last leadership vote. Sabra is an ally of Syria’s top dissident Riad al-Turk, an 81-year-old former leftist who spent 25 years as a political prisoner and operates underground inside Syria. The Islamists might also put forward another candidate of their own.


But demands are growing for a more radical change than simply a new leader. “There is an elite in the SNC who have brought their own cohorts into the council. They will essentially re-elect themselves unless the SNC is seriously restructured,” said Tello, jailed for five years after a brief period of openness in 200, when Assad inherited power from his father.

Critics say the council needs to better articulate its policy on a U.N. and Arab League peace plan that envisages talks with the authorities on a transition, but not removing Assad’s family or dismantling the police state. Some believe the council will fall apart if it does not undergo a radical overhaul.

“The SNC is on the verge of collapse unless it becomes representative of the whole opposition,” said Rima Fleihan, a human rights campaigner who quit the SNC last year. “It needs to become democratic from A to Z. What is needed now is a broad opposition meeting to escape the vicious cycle of infighting and division.”

How Washington Lost Syria
By Gary C. Gambill
Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI) E-note, May 2012

With the failure of former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to broker a ceasefire in Syria, Western policymakers and pundits are increasingly coming to acknowledge that the country’s descent into civil war is all but inevitable. But this begs the question of when and why it became so. Was it a foregone conclusion when the uprising against President Bashar Assad began last year?

Civil war was always the most likely end to the saga. Syria is the only majority Sunni Muslim country of the modern era to be governed by a largely heterodox Muslim elite, a peculiar historical anomaly that Daniel Pipes likens to “an untouchable becoming maharajah in India or a Jew becoming Tsar in Russia.”[1] The Alawite-dominated Assad regime survived for over four decades in the heart of the Sunni Arab Levant in much the same way that Saddam Hussein’s Sunni-led government endured in the heart of the Shiite Crescent—through brute force. As Iraq’s recent history illustrates, minoritarian autocracies cannot be peacefully unmade.

If there was a window of opportunity for avoiding a full-blown civil war, it came early in the uprising,….

Palestinian writer describes Syrian prisons as ‘slaughterhouses’
Associated Press – May 23, 2012

AMMAN // A prominent Palestinian writer who spent nearly three weeks in jail in Syria described the prisons as “human slaughterhouses”, saying security agents beat detainees with batons, crammed them into stinking cells and tied them to beds at night.

World not doing enough for Syria, says Turkey’s president
22 May 2012

AFP reports: The international community is not doing enough to help resolve the Syrian crisis, Turkish President Abdullah Gul said Tuesday as he urged an orderly transition to democracy. “The international community as whole has so far performed poorly in providing an effective response to the crisis at hand,” Gul said in a public address […]

UN Observers Concede Presence of Terrorist Groups in Syria

UN peacekeeping observers have acknowledged the presence of terrorist groups in Syria, which are hindering the peace process between the government and the opposition, China’s Xinhua agency has reported, quoting UN peacekeeping head Herve Ladsous.

“We know that there are … a third party (of the conflict), terrorist groups, who are trying to gain advantage for themselves… but we have to see this as an issue within Syria, between the Syrians,” Ladsous said at a news conference held in Damascus.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said that foreign fighters, some of them Al-Qaeda members, are fighting in extremist groups operating in Syria. Ladsous added that 270 observers are working in six cities across Syria. According to him, observers will arrive in four more cities. {…}

Why Assad shouldn’t worry about NATO
By Elise Labott

As NATO leaders discuss the winding down of its 10-year war in Afghanistan and pat themselves on the back for helping in the bloody ouster of Moammar Gadhafi in Libya, there is one increasingly deadly conflict that is taboo for the alliance to even think about wading into: Syria.

Practically every NATO leader has publicly condemned the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and called for him to step down and make way for a democratic transition in Syria. Yet U.S. ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder said Sunday that not one leader even raised the issue of Syria during the opening day of the summit.

While saying NATO is “very much concerned about the situation of Syria,” NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen made clear the alliance has “no intention whatsoever to intervene.”

NATO’s radio silence has prompted criticism among human rights groups and on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers for question why the alliance supported military intervention in Libya but has ruled out similar action in Syria. One congressional source called the refusal to even talk about the issue “pretty shocking.”…

Comments (190)

ann said:


Syrian rebel chief formally resigns – Thu May 24 2012

The head of Syria’s main opposition bloc, Burhan Ghalioun, formally resigned from his post, a statement issued by the Syrian National Council (SNC) said after a two-day meeting in Istanbul.

May 23rd, 2012, 10:34 pm


omen said:

sanctions seem to be the meme of the week.


Syria’s oil minister blamed international sanctions Wednesday for shortages of cooking gas and other basic goods, saying the measures have bled $4 billion from the nation’s ailing economy.


Sufian Allaw said the punitive measures were to blame for the shortages that have left Syrians across the country standing in long lines to pay inflated prices for cooking gas, fuel, sugar and other staples.

The U.S. ambassador to Damascus denied that the international sanctions are to blame for the shortages facing Syrians.

“Our sanctions purposefully do not target oil and diesel imports, because we know that the Syrian people need both for their day-to-day lives,” Ambassador Robert Ford wrote on the embassy’s Facebook page.

Ford said the government is using fuel imports for its tanks.

May 23rd, 2012, 10:36 pm


Ghufran said:

Lebanese sources said that one woman who was released by the kidnappers of Lebanese pilgrims identified one of the kidnappers: Ammar Alwawi of the FSA.

May 23rd, 2012, 11:16 pm


Ghufran said:

Google announced that its mapping software and other products would be available in Syria after getting export approval by the US government.

May 23rd, 2012, 11:23 pm


Ghufran said:

What is different about these videos from street battles in Beirut is that fighting forces on both sides are Sunni, not your typical Sunni against Shia.

May 23rd, 2012, 11:33 pm


omen said:

dawoud on another thread pointed to this earlier high level kill.

Top Assad intelligence official said killed
march 27th:

Opposition sources said Col. Iyad Mando was killed in an ambush by Sunni rebels on March 26 near Damascus International Airport. They said Mando, identified as commander of a key unit in Air Force Intelligence, was shot to death after a rebel search that lasted several months […]
Reports of Mando’s death were published on several opposition web sites. The Assad regime did not confirm the reports.

was this later denied or disproven?

how many more need to be killed for the regime to be toppled?

May 24th, 2012, 12:02 am


Jad said:

Bronco, Zoo
FSA have no control of anything, all the lines are in the hands of the Ottomans now, FSA militias are nothing but mercenaries paid by the khalayjeh and controlled by the Ottomans, they can’t clean their own tents to clean their salafi infested gangs.
Here is an article by the devil himself, أعوذ بالله!

Syrian rebels say Turkey is arming and training them

The weekend before last I was in Hatay province, in southern Turkey, interviewing Syrian rebels and activists, who all complained of the lack of foreign assistance in toppling the Assad regime. Even the “non-lethal” aid that the Obama administration had promised hadn’t seemed to make it through to these fighters, many of whom had spent as much as $6,000 of their own money to buy black-market Kalashnikovs.
A lot’s changed in a week.
Rebel sources in Hatay told me last night that not only is Turkey supplying light arms to select battalion commanders, it is also training Syrians in Istanbul. Men from the unit I was embedded with were vetted and called up by Turkish intelligence in the last few days and large consignments of AK-47s are being delivered by the Turkish military to the Syrian-Turkish border. No one knows where the guns came from originally, but no one much cares.
This news, which has provided a much-needed morale boost to Syria’s embattled opposition, does appear to corroborate a recent report by the Washington Post that the United States has been facilitating the transfer of Gulf-purchased weapons to the rebels:
The U.S. contacts with the rebel military and the information-sharing with gulf nations mark a shift in Obama administration policy as hopes dim for a political solution to the Syrian crisis. Many officials now consider an expanding military confrontation to be inevitable.
Material is being stockpiled in Damascus, in Idlib near the Turkish border and in Zabadani on the Lebanese border. Opposition activists who two months ago said the rebels were running out of ammunition said this week that the flow of weapons — most still bought on the black market in neighboring countries or from elements of the Syrian military — has significantly increased after a decision by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other gulf states to provide millions of dollars in funding each month.

May 24th, 2012, 12:21 am


Jad said:

So it’s OK for you to write yours asking of how many of our army and people to be killed and celebrate it and it’s offensive for us to wish you the same?

Wish no ill to Syrians and nobody will bother reply to your offensive and I’ll wishing comments.

Are you threatening me now publicly?

May 24th, 2012, 12:24 am


Aldendeshe said:

“…It will be very hard for Syrians living in the West to gain the trust of those inside the country…”

The right people and campaign can easily win Syrian hearts. After all, you are fighting a regime that can be removed by a flick of a finger, a hated one by almost all Syrians. No Syrian is proud of the lowly state the nation is now driven to by the Alawi regime.

“……..The Assad regime has driven or expelled many of the best and brightest from the country. It has then denigrated them as traitors and agents of the West….”

We gained a lot of experiences, work ethics, know how in Sciences, technologies, and free working economy. Skills, not only needed in Syria, but it is essential to re-build the country after we send the Baathists to the State Owned Agriculture Communes.

“…..The center of gravity of the opposition has now moved to the fighters and coordinators inside Syria……”

That is a long way to the finish line, they need help, a plan, a winning strategy. The Shia regime will collapse economically before it does militarily

May 24th, 2012, 12:25 am


omen said:

i want to know what the number is that constitutes the leadership of the regime. the sooner they are ousted, the sooner civilians stop being killed.

no, jad. i’m not threatening you. it was just a word of advice. if i wished you ill, i wouldn’t have bothered to offer caution.

p.s. by list i mean fbi who keep an eye out on threats. it’s your post that could be conceived as a threatening.

May 24th, 2012, 12:31 am


Jad said:

This is absolutly the first time on SC that someone write such threatening messege to other commentators.

Dear Moderator,
Could you please check this threatening message by Omen @ #8
” i wouldn’t want you to end up on a list.”

May 24th, 2012, 12:37 am


b said:

The hagiography of Ghalioun is ridiculous.

For a long time the man covered up the killing the rebels were doing. He changed his mind on weaponizing the resistance only to keep his (certainly lucrative) post. He had to be forced to “resign”.

He is a deeply cultured and honest man, who could not put his heart into the military option that the opposition is now pursuing.

He certainly liked his little dictator job playing front man for the MB. And he did put his heart into the military option when he felt that he would otherwise lose his job.

/quote/Dropping his past reluctance to support the militarization of the movement to end four decades of Assad family rule – and breaking with the caution favored by Western powers – Ghalioun said he now supported arming the rebel Free Syrian Army and voiced impatience with some of the Council’s foreign backers.

“We do not deal weapons but we will make some agreements and some countries promised us that they would provide the Free Syrian Army with weapons,” he said./endquote/

May 24th, 2012, 12:41 am


Ghufran said:

Nayef,crown prince of KSA is in serious health condition now,he is likely to be replaced by Salman ibn abdelaziz,the 25th son of king abdelaziz (abboudeh was a busy man).Salman is a favorite for the US and less conservative than Nayef,if chosen,he may soon become king,and that is relevant in the Middle East and beyond.Salman’s last decision was to spend $ 3 billion on British training jet fighters. KSA defense spending is largely seen as a payback to western governments. We are talking about a country that has no intention or ability to fight a war .
Average income in KSA is less than that of Israel despite being the largest exporter of crude oil in the world. Women in KSA may finally be able to vote ,but not run, in 2015,they still need a shauffeur to drive them to polling stations unless the religious establishment discovers that it is Halal for a woman to drive.
Excuse the subtle sarcasm in the post,but KSA is an easy target ,you have to it is time for somebody to hit me with a competing post mocking the Syrian regime.

May 24th, 2012, 1:25 am


ann said:

Syria’s Counter Terrorism dilemma – 2012-05-24

Ruan Zongze, deputy director of the China Institute of International Studies, said the Syrian government is now in a dilemma over counter terrorism, although the United Nations has acknowledged the presence of terrorism in the country.

“It’s a highly sensitive period. Once it takes military action to target ‘terrorist’ attacks, it breaks the ceasefire agreement, which creates more difficulties to ease the current crisis,” he said. “So it’s quite important to ask the international community for help, especially through UN channels.”

On Monday, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Herve Ladsous warned of the presence of terrorists inside Syria whose aim is to achieve their own agenda and not that of the Syrian people.

“We know that there are … terrorist groups which are trying to gain advantage for themselves … but we have to see this as an issue within Syria, between the Syrians,” he said, during his visit to assess the current deployment of UN military observers.

“We do know that there were terrorist attacks and bombings, and that is something to be taken very seriously,” he said. “Any further militarization of the crisis is not to be accepted … It’s a crisis between the Syrians and there is no justification in fueling the fire.”

“There was no soil for terrorism in Syria previously,” he said. “Terrorist groups like al-Qaida have a global appeal, but their approach is to localize their aim, using people’s grievances to facilitate their ‘justice’ movements.” He said the desperate determination by Western countries and some Arab countries to end President Bashar Assad’s government accelerated the process.

“Syria was a highly modernized, secularized and educated country, in which there were no prominent conflicts among religions or ethnicities,” he said, adding that the terrorist attacks were more likely “transplanted”.

“Western countries hesitated to acknowledge the presence of terrorism inside Syria. To combat it, Syrian governmental forces would need to be reinforced and fight back, which is not what they wanted. They needed a weaker government and an immediate stepdown by Assad,” he said.


May 24th, 2012, 2:44 am


Uzair8 said:

The morale of the regime troops must be deteriorating by the day.

Running around in the scorching summer heat endlessly chasing ghosts (elusive rebels) only to have to curb their instincts as UN monitors pass by.

Watching their colleagues defect and having to chase them too. On top of that they will be hearing from their families complaints of food and fuel shortages.

Add to this the nervous edginess due to the constant threat of guerrilla hit-and-run and IED attacks.

It’s gonna be a long summer for Assad troops.

May 24th, 2012, 4:08 am


ann said:

Out goes Humpty Dumpty in comes Bugs Bunny 😀

Divided Syrian opposition to choose new leader – Thu May 24, 2012

A new leader could be key to winning international recognition for the council and allaying Western concerns about the rise of Islamists as the main force in the 14-month popular uprising. The Islamists already dominate the council but are divided between the Muslim Brotherhood and other factions.

“Ghalioun’s chances of remaining president after June 12 have now diminished. It would have been almost impossible to find a consensus candidate other than him if the whole council convened,” a Ghalioun supporter on the general secretariat said.

“The Brotherhood pushed so the whole council meets, but did not get its way,” another council source said.


May 24th, 2012, 4:17 am


ann said:

Minorities at risk following Arab Spring – rights group – 24 May 2012

“The huge changes taking place across the Middle East and North Africa, while increasing hopes for democratisation, represent for both religious and ethnic minorities perhaps the most dangerous episode since the violent break-up of the Soviet Union and the former Yugoslavia.”

In Syria, members of the president’s minority Alawite sect fear for their fate if the conflict intensifies. Syriac Christians are also worried about the possibility of attacks from Sunni militants, MRG said.

“Differences between Sunni and Shia, Muslims and non-Muslims, Arabs and non-Arabs, are all expressions of an internal diversity in the Arab world that is often under-estimated and which depends on mutual respect. These differences must not become fault lines for mass killing,” Lattimer added.

The top 10 risers this year are: South Sudan, Iran, Yemen, Syria, Kyrgyzstan, Thailand, Libya, Kosovo, Mali and Egypt.


May 24th, 2012, 4:35 am


Uzair8 said:

The Islamic month of Rajab has begun. The first thursday night (tonight) of the month is known amongst the angels as the ‘Night of [the Granting of] Wishes [Lailat ar-Ragha’ib]’.

An opportunity for revolutionaries, their supporters and in fact all syrians to supplicate for a better situation.

May 24th, 2012, 5:38 am


omen said:

there has been noises being made about syria’s chemical stockpile. and then talk about alqaeda has been ratcheting up.

A senior Jordanian official tells CNN that there are nearly 1,500 al Qaeda members and sympathizer in Syria.

i didn’t like this story. i don’t want to see boots on the ground.

US troops train on Syria’s border in Jordan

please tell me u.s. troops aren’t going to mistake fsa rebels or even civilians for alqaeda.

what does this all mean?

May 24th, 2012, 5:47 am


Uzair8 said:

18. Ann

Carrot & Stick

Between the Rabbit of Golan (RoG) and Bugs Bunny (BB) I know who I back to come out on top in a battle of wits.

BB will get the carrot.
I’m afraid it’s the stick for RoG.

“What’s up, (eye)Doc?”

May 24th, 2012, 5:51 am


Uzair8 said:

Lebanon on the verge of a disaster
23 May 2012

Abdel Bari Atwan

[Selected quote]

This is not the time for recriminations, nor controversies about the responsible party, given that we totally believe that the Syrian regime, which did not initiate democratic reforms nor offered concessions to its people is the one who bears the greatest responsibility. This is the time for preventing the expected bloodshed, or at least reduce the losses to a minimum, if avoiding them is not possible.

May 24th, 2012, 6:39 am


Tara said:


The summary you have written in regard to Ghalioun is right on the spot.  Although I was one of those who called for Ghalioun to resign in the face of the SNC continued failure to unit the opposition under it’s umbrella,  Ghalioun has had many accomplishments and credits are to be given when credits are due.  Ghalioun indeed did the best he could do in this extremely difficult situation and all Syrians owe him.  His resignation in the face of the opposition to his continued presidency of the SNC is something Bashar al Assad and his thugs would never entertain. 

By resigning power now, Ghalioun secured himself a good chance of winning Syria’s presidency if he to run for election in the liberated democratic Syria.      

May 24th, 2012, 7:26 am


Uzair8 said:

Why has the regime been complaining lately about economic troubles?

Previously it remained defiant and didn’t give anything away. This attitude only provoked its opponents to look to increase pressure thus making further sanctions more likely.

The sanctions must be hurting for the regime to change it’s approach, risking looking weak. It may be desperately hoping this new approach will slow the rush for more feared sanctions.

Moreover, in anticipation of discontent from it’s population the regime is already laying the blame and hoping to direct the discontent towards the sanctioning powers.

May 24th, 2012, 7:39 am


Dawoud said:

The fact that you are still asking “is Shawkat dead” increases chances that he is. GOOD RIDDANCE to war criminals!


May 24th, 2012, 7:49 am


annie said:

14:13 Syria’s embattled President Bashar al-Assad said on Thursday his government is capable of finding a way out of the crisis gripping his country, as he met with a visiting Iranian government minister.

14:07 Mohammad Jihad al-Laham was elected as new chief of the Syrian People’s Council with a majority of 225 votes, Al-Jadeed television station reported.

13:26 Security forces killed a mother and her five children in Hama, Al-Jazeera quoted activists as saying.

13:25 Syria’s Thursday death toll rose to 23 people, most of them killed in Edleb, Hama and Homs, activists were quoted by Al-Jazeera as saying.

11:25 The Syrian forces killed 11 people on Thursday, Al-Arabiya TV quoted activists as saying.

11:23 Syrian regime forces pounded the town of Rastan in central Homs province on Thursday, killing three civilians, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

11:03 The Syrian army and security forces have been responsible for the majority of the serious rights abuses committed since March this year as they hunt down defectors and opponents, UN-appointed investigators said on Thursday.

9:18 MORNING LEADER: Syrian forces tried to storm the rebel bastion of Rastan Wednesday under cover of gunfire and shelling, reports said, as Damascus admitted sanctions were biting and the head of the main opposition bloc resigned.

To read more:

May 24th, 2012, 8:08 am


Amir in Tel Aviv said:

2 cents.

Cent 1: Who says that the Syrian opposition should be united? Tyrants and despots are united. Democratic institutions are characterized by disunity. I prefer the dis-unified Syrian opposition over the unified Syrian junta. The SNC should change it’s name to, Syria’s National Congress. Congress is better than Council in describing the nature of this body: an umbrella.

Cent 2: Those who limited the SNC’s presidency to 3 months, intended to sabotage the SNC. A leadership, any leadership, is unable to establish itself within the impossible period of 3 months. This is a recipe for failure. I believe that this was their intention in the first place.

May 24th, 2012, 9:46 am


Tara said:


Smart 2 cents. Yet, don’t you think that the “un-united” opposition was the reason for the international community not going in full force supporting regime change in actions? Wasn’t that a failure of the SNC ?

I agree that the 3 month period is a recipe for disaster.

May 24th, 2012, 10:04 am


bronco said:

Ghaliun, a hero or a puppet ?

I find it amazing that the lamentable failure of getting a legitimacy of the main opposition group within Syria and outside Syria does not reflect on the ‘achievements’ of the one who lead them for a year.
Borhan Ghaliun is an intellectual, a theorician, not a political man. He is not corrupted like most of the members of the SNC, this is why he was put on the front to convince the western powers that the SNC was a viable alternative to Bashar’s regime.
Nevertheless, he should have left a long time ago instead of erring in the awkward strategies the SNC followed, like announcing that the relation with Iran and Hezbolah will be curbed, the love and hate relation with the FSA and the pathetic attempts to get the help of Qatar, Turkey and France to ‘force’ the West to nominate them the “exclusive legitimate representative of the Syrians’ during these ridiculous Friends of Syria meetings.

I am sorry, I disagree totally with Landis about Ghaliun’s intellectual honesty. He was not at his place and he should have realized earlier that he was used to give a ‘clean’ look to a greedy and polluted bunch of expats.
But following them blindly in their arrogant plots, he has failed to rally any of the local opposition, any of the local Syrian and he now represents the sad image of the transformation of the revolution into a sinister chaos.
Because of his passive attitude I also hold him an accomplice to the killings and the excesses that were done under his leadership.
He has deceived profoundly the believers of a peaceful revolution. I think he should never return to politics, he is burnt.

May 24th, 2012, 10:07 am


zoo said:

The Bad-Good Idea of Removing Assad
The advantages may not merit action.

By Victor Davis Hanson

Who could not despise the tottering Bashar Assad dictatorship?

The Syrian strongman has killed some 10,000 protesters over the last year; thousands of Syrians are now refugees.

The autocracy arms and aids the terrorist organization Hezbollah. It targets democratic Israel with thousands of missiles and still does its best to ruin neighboring Lebanon.

Theocratic and terrorist-sponsoring Iran has few allies — but Syria remains its staunchest. Almost no other country over the last half-century has proved more hostile to the United States than has Syria.

With sanctions not working, and with the Chinese, Iranians, and Russians not eager to see Assad go, there is lots of talk that the United States and its allies must intervene to help the outmanned and outgunned Syrian opposition — with either arms supplies, training for insurgent groups, or air cover.

At first glance, such a humanitarian intervention seems a good idea. A well-armed insurgency might fight its way to Damascus. Or we could bomb Assad out of power the way we did Slobodan Milosevic in Serbia, or Moammar Qaddafi in Libya — and without the use of ground troops or loss of American life.
These cautionary tales do not necessarily mean that we should not help the Syrian dissidents, only that we must ask ourselves: Who exactly are these guys, how much will it cost to see them win, and when it is over, will our new friends rule any more humanely and competently than the monsters that we removed?

And one final consideration: If intervening in Syria is to be a humanitarian venture, why would saving lives there be any more important than saving far more lives from far more dictators in Africa?

May 24th, 2012, 10:17 am


zoo said:

May 24, 2012
Syria Needs an Economic Revolution
By Jihad Yazigi

The geography of the Syrian uprising is a reflection of the significant economic and social crisis faced by large segments of the Syrian population since the early 1980s. While the essence of the revolution is largely political, in the sense that its backers are overwhelmingly demanding “freedom and dignity”, there are also strong underlying economic factors that are determining its dynamic and will weigh on the post-revolution period.

It is, indeed, in the areas that historically formed the core constituency of the Baath party that the protests have been strongest, in particular the southern city of Daraa that sits at the heart of an agricultural plateau, the cities and rural areas of Homs and Hama, and the suburbs of Damascus.

May 24th, 2012, 10:18 am


Jad said:

Whoever the MBs put as the head of SNC will be a pupppet for the American, ottomans, KSA, they can’t be free since their salaries are paid by the enemies of the Syrians.

May 24th, 2012, 10:27 am


jad said:

Feltman on it again, calling to burn more Russian flags and making ‘jokes’ of how to push Jumbatt and Mikati to fail the Lebanese Gov.:

Jeffrey Feltman Leaks Again

During his last visit to Beirut on 3 May 2012, the US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman met with former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, former finance minister Mohamad Chatah, Future Movement leader Nader Hariri, and a number of Future Bloc MPs at Saad Hariri’s residence in Beirut’s city center.

The meeting included discussions on many issues, mostly regarding the way forward in Syria and Lebanon, among others. Al-Akhbar was able to obtain a partial transcript of the meeting’s minutes.

Unidentified speaker : …There is no stomach for military action and we don’t have a stomach for that at all either. We don’t think this [military action] is wise because it will play in the hands of the Syrian regime and the Iranian regime and they will be able to bring you their battlefield.
Now, aiding the Syrians in providing necessary support, this is something else! (Implying that more can be done). Whether in terms of humanitarian aid or certain equipment – if you want to call it non lethal – I don’t know! But you have to be a bit more liberal in the definition of non-lethal and you should talk more to the countries that could put more pressure on the Syrian regime and Iran on one hand and on Russia and China on the other
With regards to the Chinese, pressure can be exercised either through Arab or Gulf countries, because there are energy need and market needs. So one should continue pressure. I sense that the Chinese are more ready to accept.

Jeffrey Feltman (JF): That’s how they [the Chinese] at least posture. Secretary Clinton in there now and Syria is on her agenda. They are not as forceful as the Russians. But what is your advise [sic] on our approach on Russia? They say they don’t care about Bashar but rather about their interests. I see we should make Russia part of the solution rather than problem.


May 24th, 2012, 10:42 am


bronco said:


The SNC is dead unless they find a charismatic leader. Looking at the bunch, I doubt there is any. Bashar al Assad has not found his match in the opposition.

May 24th, 2012, 10:50 am


jad said:

I think I saw the same scenario somewhere else, where the Americans create, finance, support and gave weapons to terrorists before they attack them in 9/11, and they are doing the exact same thing again in Syria..Here is the new Tunisia:

Thousands of Salafis in Tunisia: Obama, We Are All Osama

May 24th, 2012, 10:55 am


Uzair8 said:

The people of the region and by extention their governments will not be able to stomach watching another Ramadan and Eid of continued slaughter.

After Ramadan (mid August) things may get moving. Don’t be surprised if shortly after, Assad flees to Tehran. He isn’t leadership material and will crumble as the pressure sky-rockets.

“According to the state news agency, SANA, Taqipour handed over to Assad an invitation from his Iranian counterpart, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to attend a meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement to be held in Tehran in September.”

May 24th, 2012, 11:00 am


jad said:

Welcome to the new Syrian Alqaeda ‘song’ and ‘media’!
The ‘video clip’ includes many of the terrorist attacks.
Please don’t watch if you have high blood pressure, it’ll make you sick:

الجيش الحر-سوريا للإسلام جودي.

May 24th, 2012, 11:11 am


Tara said:

Moderator NoteComment was flagged as spam mistakenly, I updated the time stamp.

SC Moderator

I hope they elect George Sabra to lead the SNC. Would be interesting to see what the Syrian Christians will have to say then…

They would need to think very hard then as not so careful statements would sound very idiotic.

May 24th, 2012, 11:29 am


Uzair8 said:

Just watched a video. It’s in arabic. SC users may understand it and hopefully explain it’s meaning and significance:

Muslim Scholars resign over Assad crimes

May 24th, 2012, 12:13 pm


Student said:

The link I post is really interesting for anyone who can read french

It is the story of Pierre Piccinin. He a professor in Belgium, of history and political science. Since the beggining of the uprising, he was claiming that the revolution was exagerated, that only jihadis are willing to topple Assad, ect… He went on a first trip last year, and went to Hama nd minimize the size of the revolt there.
Then a second trip, with an invitation from the regime. He was able to travel in Homs, where he claimed the rebel where killing alawis, without any proof.
He went for a third trip this month. While he was going in a village near Idleb, he was arrested by mukhabarat. He was taken into custody and was accused of spying. He spent a week inside syrians interrogations center. There, he discovered the thruth about the events in Syria : the brutality of the regime !
He manage to contact his embassy in Jordan who successfully brought him home. He’s now recongnizing his mistake. He needed 14 months to really understand Syria, and finally did it. Congrats to him.

Do this mean that every people defending Assad’s regime needs to be arrested in Syria to understand that the Syrian people is in its right to demand the fall of this dictatorship ? I hope not.

Btw, my anti-spam word for the comment is unity : wahed wahed wahed, al sha3b souri wahed !!!

May 24th, 2012, 12:30 pm


Uzair8 said:

Sorry, last post for today.

I thought the video in #38 was new as it was posted on a forum today. Checked it on youtube and it is from February. Nevermind.

Also found another statement by Sheikh Yaqoubi but I’ll leave that for tomorrow.

May 24th, 2012, 12:35 pm


jad said:

More realistic view of Ghalyoun and the MBs Council:

SNC and Muslim Brotherhood figure Ghalioun has resigned – Sabra the next leader?

The controversial leader of the external Syrian opposition council, the “Syrian National Council” (SNC), based in Istanbul, Burhan Ghalioun has resigned amid the attacks which are carried out by armed groups within Syria.

According to reports by news agencies, the “Syrian National Council” (SNC) has finally accepted the resignation of Burhan Ghalioun as leader. The Turkey-based “Syrian National Council” (SNC) has released a statement yesterday, saying that it had accepted the resignation of Burhan Ghalioun, who was “elected” for this job by the Muslim Brotherhood last year.

Ghalioun has been surprisingly re-elected some days ago. By his resignation and the acceptation of the Turkey-based “Syrian National Council” (SNC), Sabra could become the next leader of this dubious “Council”, which has never proved that it cares about the welfare of the Syrian people.

The members are divided in their opinions and the presentation to the outside was never the best. In addition, a lot of statements of higher members of this “council” in Turkey have proven that it seems to be not really interested in a peaceful solution for Syria. Not to mention that some still support a military intervention in Syria.

In addition, there was the meeting between the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and some members of the “Syrian National Council” (SNC) and the calls for more weapons to fight the regular Syrian army. After the recent weeks, it is not only clear that Ghalioun was never able to unite a real “opposition”, not to mention that the democratic character was always missing, but also that some Gulf States like Qatar and Saudi Arabia do support this council.

Some would even go so far to say that Israel is a huge fan of this “council” in Turkey and that a lot of members are willing to do what the Israeli government says, just to gain more power and influence in Syria. Also, the Kurdish people were “misused” by this “Syrian National Council” (SNC), which has never really shown that it cares about the minorities in Syria.

The resignation of Burhan Ghalioun as leader of the questionable and presumably not very peaceful “Syrian National Council” (SNC) comes at a time when the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has stated that the Syrian opposition groups are harming the six-point peace plan of the UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan by continuously violations of this plan to decrease the violence and chaos in Syria.

A real ceasefire with the following democratic talks between all sides is not in the interests of some Syrian (external) opposition groups. Another sign, that these sides do not really care about the welfare of the Syrian people and that they are not really interested to decrease the violence and bloodshed in Syria.
Also the U.S. leadership and some other member states of the UNSC (United Nations Security Council) are not really interested in a peaceful solution for Syria. Their aim is still the overthrow of the Syrian President al-Assad and the Syrian government in the capital Damascus. They want to break the so-called “Axis of Evil” and to pave the path to Iran.

The support by some Gulf States like Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which also violate the peace plan for Syria, has indeed not only this reasons, but also some more reasons like, for example, “religious” interests. Although it is truly questionable if these interests can be really called “religious”.

May 24th, 2012, 12:36 pm


bronco said:


Sabra’s election will mean the end of the Salafi-Wahhabi-MB-Turkey financing. I don’t see these deeply moslem Sunnis supporting actively a christian. On the other hand he may get the support of …. Iran. If it is without money, the SNC may not survive.
Yet a weaken SNC may accept a dialog with the regime that it has refused until now. That could give them a new boost. But I doubt the hardliners within the SNC will accept such huge concession and it will continue to appear against Annan Peace plan and therefore against the UN plan.
In my view the next actor moving on the stage is the FSA. All the western eyes are turned toward it. If it plays well the game of pro-UN, pro-Syrians, anti Al Qaeda and anti-sectarian, it has a chance to move forward and get some applaudes.
In the next weeks it need to prove that not by words by by deeds.

May 24th, 2012, 1:31 pm


Mawal95 said:

Commenter ‘B’ at #12 said Joshua’s “hagiography of Ghalioun is ridiculous”. I fully agree. I’ll add one item. Joshua said Burhan Ghalioun “has been a beacon of reason.”

On 15 May 2012 the Syrian National Council under Ghalioun’s leadership repeated ”in clear and determined way” that there will be ”no dialogue with the regime of Bashar Al Assad” and an SNC spokesperson said: ”As far as we are concerned there will be no dialogue, only talks aimed at ending Assad’s power. We will sit at the table only to discuss how and when Assad’s regime will stand aside.” — Ref.
That, as we all know, has been Ghalioun’s core position since the formation of the Cavemen’s Council in Turkey last summer. When one considers all the circumstances surrounding that core position, including the quite broad and quite deep popularity the Assad government has with the Syrian population, and the relative sparseness of the support that the protesters and rebels were actually getting on the ground in Syria, and when one bears in mind the stipulations in the Arab League’s and the Annan’s plan that any solution to Syria’s political difficulties must come through a Syria-led dialog, then it is nutty for anyone to think that Ghalioun behaved as a “beacon of reason”.

May 24th, 2012, 1:35 pm


zoo said:

Syria’s neighbors are growing restless
By David Ignatius, Published: May 23
The Middle East sometimes resembles a string of detonators wired to explode together — and this seems especially true now of Syria and its neighbors.

There is political instability nearby in Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon, as the Arab uprising moves through its second year. In each of these countries, the leadership maintains power in a balancing act. Only Turkey, with its triad of a strong economy, army and political leadership, seems genuinely stable.

Fear of blowing up the region — and spawning even more Sunni-Shiite sectarian war — is one reason the Obama administration has refused to arm the Syrian opposition. Officials fear that militarizing the conflict, without reliable Syrian allies or a clear endgame strategy, could produce unintended consequences much like those of the Iraq war.

Administration officials expect Kofi Annan’s peace plan will fail, but they don’t want to give up on the former U.N. secretary general’s effort yet. Better to let the planned 300 U.N. observers travel in Syria, they reason, and perhaps encourage a new round of protest that would show that President Bashar al-Assad’s rule is doomed.


May 24th, 2012, 1:39 pm


Mawal95 said:

@ JAD #7: You are incurably a believer in idea the Ottomans are malicious and devious. You give credence to every unreliable story that supports the idea. I say this story too you posted at #7 is bogus. Time will tell you whether you’re wrong again or not. Please don’t fail to learn from your mistakes, my friend.

But it’s nice to have you back, giving other good info, JAD.

May 24th, 2012, 1:54 pm


omen said:

44. Mawal95 said:
Commenter ‘B’ at #12 said Joshua’s “hagiography of Ghalioun is ridiculous”. I fully agree. I’ll add one item. Joshua said Burhan Ghalioun “has been a beacon of reason.”

mawal, not that i agree with you, but your acerbic alternative view woke me up and reminded me of this statement:

Ghalioun says Kurds will enjoy their rights in a future democratic system in Syria, but that there is no such thing as Syrian Kurdistan.

a statement that other members of the snc had to walk back and make reconciliatory noises in an attempt to soothe things over.

did ghalioun even try to lobby for a kurdish alliance? that’s got to be his biggest failing. my god, what a blown opportunity.

he failed to unite the opposition, mawal. that should make ghalioun a freaking hero to you. no wonder the professor is hailing him.

May 24th, 2012, 2:20 pm


omen said:

4. Mawal95 said:
On 15 May 2012 the Syrian National Council under Ghalioun’s leadership repeated ”in clear and determined way” that there will be ”no dialogue with the regime of Bashar Al Assad” 1:35 pm


zoo pointed to a story that showed qatar tried to set up a meeting to hold discussions with the regime and assad refused. it’s not only the opposition who has refused dialogue.

besides, how does one dialogue with bullets and tank shells aimed at your head?

May 24th, 2012, 2:51 pm


Juergen said:

“Assad’s days are numbered
Assassination plot against closest ally shows that the tide is turning

Flags at half-mast on the Syrian town of al-Madehleh near Tartus Mediterranean. It is the birthplace of Assef Shaukat, the most important and powerful ally of President Bashar al-Assad. While the regime in Damascus is still trying to dispel rumors about the poisoning of the General and at least three other people from the innermost circle of power, the husband of the sister Bushra Assad is apparently already under ground.”

May 24th, 2012, 3:11 pm


Mawal95 said:

“He failed to unite the opposition, that should make ghalioun a freaking hero to you. no wonder the professor is hailing him.” — says Omen #46.

I concede I’m disappointed to see Ghalioun get fired, because it opens up the possibility that his successor won’t be as incompetent as he was. But no mortal human could’ve united the opposition. Commenter “Hans” said it right on this board on 18 May 2012: “SNC is failing because it is not and was never a representative of the Syrian people.” In the same vein I say the SNC cannot impose unity or order on itself let alone bring it to Syria because the opposition isn’t trying to be with the people, isn’t trying to win the people. To aim to win the masses would’ve been the only pathway or framework for imposing unity and order on itself. Instead, the SNC aimed to win foreign intervention.

May 24th, 2012, 3:19 pm


Mawal95 said:

Security forces deaths over the last two weeks have been about as high as in any two week period over the past year.

24 May 2012. 16 dead soldiers and police men were buried (18).

23 May 2012. 14 dead soldiers and police men were buried (16).

22 May 2012. 13 dead soldiers and police men were buried (14).

21 May 2012. 16 dead soldiers and police men were buried.

20 May 2012. 15 dead soldiers and police men were buried (18).

19 May 2012. 12 dead soldiers and police men were buried (13).

18 May 2012 (Friday). No record.

17 May 2012. 13 dead soldiers and police men were buried.

16 May 2012. 11 dead soldiers and police men were buried.

15 May 2012. 17 dead soldiers and police men were buried.

14 May 2012. 11 dead soldiers and police men were buried.

13 May 2012. 12 dead soldiers and police men were buried.

12 May 2012. 20 dead soldiers and police men were buried (22).

11 May 2012 (Friday). 1 dead law enforcement member was buried.

10 May 2012. 13 dead soldiers and police men were buried.

Monthly average number of security forces burials per day:
November: 8 per day
December: 10 per day
January: 9.5 per day
February: 13 per day
March: 9.5 per day
April: 10.5 per day

May 24th, 2012, 3:28 pm


Tara said:


Bushra must be heart broken. She loved the man.

May 24th, 2012, 3:36 pm


omen said:

50. Mawal95 said:
But no mortal human could’ve united the opposition.
3:19 pm

true when you consider the snc is likely chock full of regime moles.

forget the snc. what was crucial was to get the kurds onboard.

instead, it looks like ghalioun went out of his way to alienate the kurds!

now why would he do that?

May 24th, 2012, 3:44 pm


Alan said:

Moscow calls for investigating arms contraband to Lebanon

MOSCOW, May 24 (Itar-Tass) — Moscow urges the U.N. Security Council to investigate reports on weapons contraband to Lebanon to deploy them to Syria, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Thursday.
“We do not hurry to draw conclusions. But reports should be studied thoroughly, including by the U.N. Security Council, because they tell us about gross violations of Resolution No 1701,” the diplomat stressed.


May 24th, 2012, 3:45 pm


Juergen said:

I bet so, she revolted against her family to marry him. Do you think that there is truth in what some say that he tried to take over power in 2008?

here is an interesting article published today in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung:

“In preparation for the time after a regime change in Syria, meanwhile, in Abu Dhabi for the first time representatives from 60 states and international organizations met in the circle of “friends of Syria” at a meeting of the working group “economic reconstruction and development”. The meeting was regarded as a political signal that the international community preventive am concerned about the future of Syria, it is from Western diplomatic circles. After two preliminary events in Germany, the members of the Friends of Syria in the capital of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi, discussed in a large circle of economic policies for a post-conflict scenario in Syria.

In Abu Dhabi have been within the industry working group four “baskets” was established as a sub-working groups, each of which performs a State or organization. Britain leads the first basket of the immediate action following a change in Damascus. In it is discussed which country will assume after a change in Damascus that measure. In the second basket will take over the EU Commission, the coordination of international donors. First, the mechanisms necessary for the future, donors will be established. Germany is responsible for the third basket of economic policy and economic reforms. It should long-term strategies and measures for the transition from a centrally planned economy into a developed market economy. The United Arab Emirates lead the fourth basket of involving private companies and their preparation for the market economy.”

May 24th, 2012, 3:47 pm


Mawal95 said:

@Omen #53: Although I ain’t knowledgeable about Ghalioun I remember him explaining that the SNC’s position on the Kurdish question was simply the expression of the position of the great majority of the Syrian Arabs on the question, and he mentioned in the same breath that the Syrian Arabs are the overwhelming majority of the voters.

May 24th, 2012, 3:49 pm



Since Assef Shawkat has not appeared on the media I think it is time to assert that one of the main responsible for the syrian mess has already been buried.

The syrian revolution began peacefully but was crushed by Assad to let it be violent. The syrian revolution accepted the challenge and it seems in good health since some of the main members of the repression machine have already been killed.

If this revolution ends the regime it will be one of the most glorious and powerfull revolutions ever seen in history. Without ground support from UN, US and Europe, and against the will and technical support of China, Rusia and Iran, syrians almost alone will have defeated of of the more brutal regimes in the world.

After this revolution ends there will be not enough streets or squares to name all the patriots died in the contest.

I recognize by 2.010 I had lost my faith in the brave syrian people but by now I am very proud of Syria and its people.

May 24th, 2012, 3:51 pm


MICHEL said:

Moderator NoteMichel, many commentators choose to copy different articles so that they can be discussed and commented on.

SC Moderator

The Assadists’ endless copy-paste of articles is very annoying for people who want to read the comments of people. Moderator, please do something about this spamming.

May 24th, 2012, 3:55 pm


Tara said:


No. I believe this was a rumor.

May 24th, 2012, 3:55 pm


Son of Damascus said:

Lets wait and see SANA selectively quote this report as they did with the Human Rights Watch….


Periodic Update

I. Introduction

Independent International Commission of Inquiry established pursuant to resolution A/HRC/S-17/1 and extended through resolution A/HRC/Res/19/22

1. Established pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution S-17/1 and extended through resolution A/HRC/19/22, the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic is requested to periodically update the Council on gross violations of human rights as well as on casualty figures resulting from the conflict. This Update focuses on incidents that have occurred since March 2012 and is based on 214 interviews conducted during two investigative missions, one in March and the other in April 2012, as well as on interviews conducted more recently in Geneva. The Syrian Government has not yet afforded access to the Commission to undertake investigations inside the Syrian Arab Republic.

2. The Commission remains extremely concerned about the human rights situation in the country where gross violations continue unabated in an increasingly militarized context, despite the parties to the conflict having reached agreement on the Joint Special Envoy’s “six-point plan”. Most of the serious human rights violations documented by the Commission in this Update were committed by the Syrian army and security services as part of military or search operations conducted in locations known for hosting defectors and/or armed persons, or perceived as supportive of anti-government armed groups. The army employed the wide range of military means, including heavy shelling of civilian areas. The Commission received several accounts that anti-government armed groups are also committing human rights abuses.

3. A series of explosions that have inflicted a heavy toll on human life in Damascus, Idlib, Aleppo and elsewhere were reported. The Commission condemns the indiscriminate nature of these attacks and deplores the loss of life that has resulted.

4. Also of grave concern are the displacement of civilian populations, both within the Syrian Arab Republic and across its international borders, combined with the widespread pillaging and burning of homes; the tightly controlled security environment resulting in restrictions on the fundamental freedoms of movement, speech and association; and the systematic denial, in some areas, of the basic requirements of human life such as food, water and medical care.

5. The Commission has taken note of the intensity of the violence in the Syrian Arab Republic as well as the increasingly organized nature of armed groups in some areas.


May 24th, 2012, 3:57 pm


son of Damascus said:

Does al-Qaeda have a foothold in Syria?

Amid growing concern among some Western officials about al-Qaeda’s involvement in the Syrian uprising, the BBC’s Paul Wood – who has been back inside Syria – assesses the influence of Islamists in Syria’s anti-government protests.

“People are fed up with journalists,” says the Free Syrian Army’s Lt Col Muleldine al-Zein. “We are not extremists, although you try to portray us as such.”

He adds bitterly: “The West still supports the regime as far as I am concerned. The US could take him out in a week, but they don’t want democracy for us. I don’t know why. They want the country to collapse.”

Outside, in this small Syrian town, the daily pro-democracy protest is going on.

“Men and women together,” the colonel says, presenting the fact as another testament to the group’s moderation. Speakers make the usual calls to remember the revolution’s martyrs.

There are the regular chants against President Bashar al-Assad: “The Assad family are thieves” is always popular.

Despite the colonel’s remarks, the United States does want the Assad regime to fall.

It is one of the small ironies of the Syrian uprising that the US and al-Qaeda are on the same side here.

If al-Qaeda is here, and part of this struggle, the numbers are probably very small. We did not meet their supporters or see their influence in many months of travelling with rebel fighters.

But that could change the longer this goes on. The jihadists thrive on chaos. And they will find plenty of that in Syria.
(Video report included)

May 24th, 2012, 4:01 pm


Son of Damascus said:


Is Alexander Lukashevich suggesting the UNSC to investigate all Arms shipments to Syria, would that include his country’s explicit responsibility in arming, training, and supplying the Assad regime with tools and ammo to suppress the Syrian people?

I wonder what he thinks of Russian made tanks and artillery that are still being used by the Assad Regime in defiance of the Annan 6 point plan that the Russians themselves backed.

May 24th, 2012, 4:08 pm


omen said:


what happened to ghalioun’s eye?

May 24th, 2012, 4:49 pm


jad said:

“Sabra’s election will mean the end of the Salafi-Wahhabi-MB-Turkey”
I kindly disagree, GS, is even more ‘puppet'(La2lou2)material than Ghalyoun, .
He is from a different category than Ghalyoun altogether, he is not really a representative of the Syrian Christians as many SNC members are trying to show in the media since he is a communist that happened to be christian by default.
Many from the opposition leaders are even wishing that a real MB to take over the SNC instead of GS, since they will be less radicals than him (what an irony).
Add to that his aggressive and violence views and his weak personality will make him easy to manipulate and he will be forced to take decisions that will lead to more of what the hawkish side of the MB council want.
Here are couple of my older views of him according to what he said in the media in the past, I think that he is a bad news

“What George Sabra said is ‘disturbing’ and ‘dangerous’ for the future of the Syrian Christian community, he made a huge mistake speaking on behalf of his own faith while he is not even a religious Christian (he is an ex-communist) and not as a politician that the future may depend on his words.
This is why I keep ranting that the SNC members are very dangerous to the future of Syria when they don’t realize what they say.
Identifying himself as a ‘Syrian Christian’, he voluntarily made three deadly mistakes thinking that he is gaining the trust of the MBs to ‘consider’ him as the new head of SNC (I doubt that he will get it):

1- The most humiliating statement is when he ‘consciously’ considered some people to be less Syrians than others because they belong to a religious minority group in the most primitive form of political surrender.

2- Intentionally dismissing the Christian activist sacrifices on the ground for ‘his’ ‘revolution’ which is disgusting.

3- For a pure political reason, attacking Bourhan Ghalyoun that he didn’t do enough while we all know that he did try, my guess is because he wanted to please the hawks in his MB council.

I honestly feel so sorry for the Syrian Christians for having so many ignorant people speaking on their behalf.”

While on it, George Sabra (aka Mr. La2lou2) is begging Clinton to attack Syria and he even gave her the plan:
مصدر معارض: جورج صبرا فضحنا امام كلينتون !
خاص عربي برس
قال مصدر في مجلس المعارضة السورية الخارجية الوطني أن جورج صبرا المعارض المعروف تذلل لهيلاري كلينتون وأذلنا معه !
عربي برس علمت من المصدر بأن سبب هجومه على صبرا يتعلق بإعتقاده بأن المعارضة السورية فشلت في إختبار الكرامة بعد أن فشلت في إقناع الولايات المتحدة بغزو سورية و إنشاء منطقة عازلة وحظر طيران تمهيداً لإسقاط النظام الوطني في دمشق في لقاء سري جرى على هامش مؤتمر أصدقاء سورية 2 الذي عقد يوم أمس في اسطنبول.
وقال معارض سوري ينشط في صفوف حزب الشعب الديمقراطي لعربي برس ” إن الرفيق جورج صبرا استغل الدقائق المعدودة التي التقى فيها وزيرة الخارجية الأمريكية هيلاري كلينتون ليعرض عليها فكرة ضربة عسكرية محدودة لقوات النظام في محافظة إدلب مع غطاء جوي بما يؤدي إلى تشجيع انشقاق الضباط السنة من الجيش ولجوئهم إلى إدلب “.
و أوضح المعارض المقيم في مدينة حمص أن ” طلب الرفيق صبرا قوبل برفض صلب من كلينتون التي أكدت أن الولايات المتحدة ملتزمة بالدعم الإنساني و الإمدادات و الأسلحة النوعية المضادة للدبابات “.
Please check this interview and compare Haytham rational answers to George sabra boring reply that glorify violence as the answer similar to his MBs council along Lama Attassi, B.H. Levy’s favorite and the armed militia ‘face’, those two are the ‘top’ leaders, I wonder about the lower ranks and how ‘smart’ they must sound.

May 24th, 2012, 4:55 pm


Osama said:

The recent fighting in Lebanon clearly shows where the lines are drawn within the Sunni community there, the Salafist led Sunni “nationalists” are fighting for the right to use Lebanon as a staging area for supplying weapons and fighters paid for by GCC money.

The Ba’athi’s or Arab nationalists within the community are at the opposite end – what we saw in Beirut is an attempt to remove any voice within the community that is speaking out against these takfeeri’s.

The Future movement is in a bind, and is unable to lead its constituency so is now being led by them – I blame Hariri Jr., if he was 1/10th the man his father was, he would have managed to find a way to work with his sectarian counterparts to steer Lebanon clear and keep his sponsors in the GCC happy.

May 24th, 2012, 4:55 pm


Antoine said:

Ahmad Shafiq ( former Mubarak PM) was beaten with shoes in his own neighborhood yesterday.

About Egypt elections : Anything other than Ahmad Shafiq or Hamdeen Sabahi will be welome.

The Coptic Church made a big mistake in officially asking Christians to vote for Ahmad Shafiq. That man is openly anti-revolution. So the Church has made it clear that it stands on the side of the Old regime and against the side of the Revolution.

Ordinary Egyptian Christians will only suffer and further marginalized by such disastrous decisions by the Church.

May 24th, 2012, 5:05 pm


jad said:

Dear Mawal,
I’m not incurable regarding my views on Turkey, I’m just sharing what I read out there and the way I see things.
I believe that Turkey is the node of all the lines (Physical lines) they have both the political opposition and the armed militia headquarters, they are in my own view the deal ‘broker’ of all the elements of the Syrian crisis.
The meeting of SNC in qatar last week was meant to take away some of the political powers from turkey toward the gulf, since they are the one paying all the bills.
I disagree that the article in #7 is fully false since the writer is the main planner of the report that outlines how to dismantle the Syrian State. So there must be something behind it and not just an attempt to write.
I’m always open to learn from my mistakes and will always try to do so and listen, so please don’t hesitate to correct any news/information/view I share on SC.
Thank you!

May 24th, 2012, 5:10 pm


Tara said:


Does not look consequential. It is a bleeding under the conjunctiva. It happened spontaneously to someone I know.

May 24th, 2012, 5:16 pm


Alan said:


Let’s not mix а questions!
It is a question about Lebanon and the resolution 1701 UN Security Council which was intended for the decision 2006 the Lebanon-Israeli war
as to the Russian weapon of Syria that everything it is put on the basis of the international rights and laws

May 24th, 2012, 5:17 pm


omen said:

66. jad said:
“Sabra’s election will mean the end of the Salafi-Wahhabi-MB-Turkey”
I kindly disagree, GS, is even more ‘puppet’(La2lou2)material than Ghalyoun, .
He is from a different category than Ghalyoun altogether, he is not really a representative of the Syrian Christians as many SNC members are trying to show in the media since he is a communist that happened to be christian by default.
Many from the opposition leaders are even wishing that a real MB to take over the SNC instead of GS, since they will be less radicals than him (what an irony).
Add to that his aggressive and violence views and his weak personality will make him easy to manipulate and he will be forced to take decisions that will lead to more of what the hawkish side of the MB council want. 4:55 pm


hi jad. forgive me, i’m little slow. can you point me to the members who are mb in the snc?

May 24th, 2012, 5:55 pm


omen said:

49. Juergen said:
Flags at half-mast on the Syrian town of al-Madehleh near Tartus Mediterranean. It is the birthplace of Assef Shaukat, the most important and powerful ally of President Bashar al-Assad. 3:11 pm

i wish it had included a photo.

May 24th, 2012, 6:13 pm


Juergen said:

Samar Yazbeks diary of the syrian revolution will be published in english by July. I just read her book in an german translation and I must say that hardly anything moved me like this memoir. I highly suggest to read this book. The english title will be “A women in the crossfire, diaries of the Syrian revolution”

Here are some excerpts, I am sure they were posted before.

May 24th, 2012, 6:41 pm


Son of Damascus said:


So why would he mention resolution 1701 vis-a-vis Syria when it has to do with Lebanon-Israel conflict from 2006?

Are the Russians trying to grasp at straws to try to pressure the West by using a resolution meant for Lebanon-Israeli conflict from 2006?

Seems rather far fetched.

May 24th, 2012, 6:43 pm


Son of Damascus said:


You will find the breakdown of the membership of the SNC at their official site you can even filter a search by which political block each member is in:

May 24th, 2012, 6:47 pm


omen said:

assef’s obit being plastered all over damascus.

confirmed or not, seeing obits of a defense/security official posted all over the capital, i would find unnerving if i were a member of the regime.

May 24th, 2012, 6:54 pm


omen said:

is this it? 23 men representing the leadership of the regime? 23 war criminals holding 20 million people hostage and subjecting them to their sadism.

May 24th, 2012, 7:28 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:


“…don’t you think that the “un-united” opposition was the reason for the international community not going in full force supporting regime change in actions? Wasn’t that a failure of the SNC ?”.

Let me rephrase Mrs Kodmani’s point, she made during the AJ debate: If the Syrian opposition was united, would it change the support that Russia and China give to the junta?

Russia and China are the only lifeline, and are keeping this dying junta with an artificial respiration. This support has nothing to do with united or not-united Syrian opposition. The SNC (united or not) is a minor player in a larger global power struggle.

May 24th, 2012, 7:35 pm


ann said:

Syria’s Assad confident of his country’s ability to shake off crisis – 2012-05-25

“Syria has succeeded to overcome the pressures and challenges that faced it since years and is able to get out of this crisis thanks to its people’s steadfastness and adherence to its unity and independence,” Assad was quoted by the state media as saying.

On Thursday, armed groups assassinated a lieutenant colonel and his son at a suburban district of the Syrian capital of Damascus, according to state-run SANA news agency.

The gunmen headed off the car of Lt-Col Wafiq Deib at Jdaidet al-Fadel district outside Damascus, while he was driving his 13- year-old son to school, and showered it with bullets, killing the officer and his young son instantly.

Also, SANA said the bodies of a woman and her four children were found dumped at countryside of central Hama province a day after being kidnapped by armed groups.


May 24th, 2012, 8:16 pm


Tara said:

May 24, 2012
Syria Needs an Economic Revolution

While the essence of the revolution is largely political, in the sense that its backers are overwhelmingly demanding “freedom and dignity”, there are also strong underlying economic factors that are determining its dynamic and will weigh on the post-revolution period.

May 24th, 2012, 8:17 pm


jad said:

So according to Elise Labott in the article posted by JL, ‘Why Assad shouldn’t worry about NATO’, it seems that EU is too bankrupt to join the US in a war against Syria so it will be only the Americans with the Gulf money and some logistical help from Turkey (Sorry Mawal 🙂 ), is that the situation at the moment or am I missing something?

May 24th, 2012, 8:19 pm


Norman said:

Radicals are controlling the crises in Syria and the situation is moving toward kill or get killed, The question i have is why we are not seeing anybody in the West encouraging the opposition to sit at the table and present their demands, like in Lebanon in the seventies when my cousins left because they were being drafted in that civil war, The Syrians will find themselves in the same situation, probably soon.

May 24th, 2012, 8:22 pm


Tara said:


I think you are right in term of the effect of the “united or not so united” opposition on global players.

However if the SNC was able to attract the Kurds and have them revolt against the regime, Batta Perhaps would have been in a more difficult position.

May 24th, 2012, 8:22 pm


omen said:

via bbc world news:

a rebel group in syria has told the bbc that alqaeda fighters are active inside the country.

a commander from the free syrian army says opposition forces have been offered money, weapons and other support from the islamic militants but have turned it down.

May 24th, 2012, 9:07 pm


Observer said:

Haaretz has some news
The Israelis usually know what happens at the end of the day

May 24th, 2012, 9:12 pm


Johannes de Silentio said:

Too bad about the poisoning. But the good news is, it was one of the fat pigs’ bodyguards. From now on, Besho and Asma and their little brats will have to worry about ALL THE OTHER BODYGUARDS. As well as the servants, cleaning women, janitors, limo drivers…

Tick tick tick….

May 24th, 2012, 10:34 pm


omen said:

The fact that Syrians inside distrust those outside the country is perhaps natural, but it is also a product of years of indoctrination, xenophobia and anti-Westernism that has been preached by the Baath Party. It is unfair to blame only the Baath. Arab nationalism as a movement has preached distrust of the West and those Arabs who have lived in the West for decades.

the u.s. is xenophobic as hell. outlets like fox news nakedly foster islamophobia. american policy makers exploiting nationalism forged a foreign policy based on hatred. our culture’s constant demonization of arabs have caused americans to give little regard for muslim lives.

when you stack up arab anti western animus vs western islamophobia, american bigotry has killed more muslims.

gee, maybe they have reason to distrust us.

May 24th, 2012, 10:42 pm


DAWOUD said:

Standing alone is a virtue as long as I can simultaneously UPSET Both supporter of Syria’s hereditary/murderous tyrant AND supporters of Israeli occupation.

1) With all due respect to you Observer (and I respect you for being one of the few anti-dictator souls here) it is a myth that the Zionist occupiers “usually know what happens at the end of the day.” Do you remember the October (Yom Kippur) War? The myth that “Israel knows” and “can do what others can’t” is just that-a myth! Israel has been surrounded by dictators-like Bashar al-Assad and Hosni Mubarak-whose main goal was regime survival, not Palestine’s liberation.

2) As to Bashar’s “confidence,” which is advertised in the Xinhaunet article above, Do you guys and gals remember what the dictator had said a only a few weeks before the start of the Revolution, which was that his “resistance” and “Mokawamah” would make him immune to what his fellow Arab dictators were facing? With confidence like that, who needs doubt?

3) It looks that the Iranian government is now trying to transfer Bashar’s Syrian policy of “alliance of the minorities” to Lebanon! All through the Shia the largest sect in Lebanon, Iran is trying to increase their influence through economic hegemony/colonization in the Christian mountains. The NYT has this article on this strategy-which may have Bashar’s likely downfall in hand.
“Iran Is Seeking Lebanon Stake as Syria Totters”

Free Syria, Free Palestine! Bahrain is Arab forever!

May 24th, 2012, 11:16 pm


MICHEL said:

The islamophobes, or should i say, sunniphobes must be reminded that Syria is 80% sunni and NOT 80% shia. The kind of people who despise sunni islamists but fail to see that nasrallat and hzblshetan are as much terrorists as the sunnis they claim to hate.

Here’s what nasrallat has to say about christians in the middle east

Syria for sunnis, christians, and alawites forever, not for shias and their wilayat al faqih.
Free Syria, Free Palestine! Bahrain is Arab forever! Solidarity with the lebanese people, down with the deceiving Hezbullat!

May 24th, 2012, 11:29 pm


MICHEL said:

Faris Al-Khoury, the real symbol of syrian society and tolerance, NOT the fake tolerance shown by the fascist criminal murderous filthy family hereditary dictatorship, which is: I will protect you from civil war and from each other by killing anyone who’s against my throne!

Free Syria, Free Palestine! Bahrain is Arab forever! Solidarity with the lebanese people, down with the deceiving Hezbullat!

May 24th, 2012, 11:41 pm


Tara said:

I read the new post by OTW proudly proclaiming that one of his family member has just became a martyr….and I can’t help but drown in self-pity. I have nothing to be proud of..

May 24th, 2012, 11:44 pm


MICHEL said:

I see great things for Syria when the regime is toppled. The syrian people has shown they are exceptionally mature people. 15 months of ruthless killing by the family regime, and they are still going strong in the uprising for freedom and dignity and trying to limit sectarianism as much as possible despite the obvious sectarian situation. Free Syria will become a leader in the middle east, it will become a country that all arabs would want to take as an example and even live in. Syrian expats would want to come back to rebuild their country, there will be opportunities and equality for everyone.

Free Syria, Free Palestine! Bahrain is Arab forever! Solidarity with the lebanese people, down with the deceiving Hezbullat!

May 24th, 2012, 11:59 pm


zoo said:

Tara #81 = Zoo#30

Never too late…

May 25th, 2012, 12:15 am


Uzair8 said:

A comment by Sheikh Yaqoubi. Came across it on another forum.

What is the Revolution

Shaykh Muhammad al-Ya’qoubi

The Syrian revolution is indeed both an honour and an obligation. It is a responsibility, a need and not a hobby, vacation or trade. The rebels are farmers, teachers, workers, doctors and businessmen. Joining the revolution does not mean that you leave what you do for your family and country but to put your work in service of the revolution in order to save your family and your country from the system and its gangsters.

Revolution means that you take an open stance against the regime, without having fear or being intimidated; for the time of oppression is over. Revolution does not refer solely to demonstrations. However, demonstrations are a means of expressing the call for reform. Hence, adults, children, women and men, can all partake in the revolution according to their ability and field of expertise.

The revolution is to stand up in support of the truth.
The revolution is a sense of brotherhood and expression of love and solidarity with the oppressed.

May 25th, 2012, 12:16 am


bronco said:

#92 Tara
“I have nothing to be proud of..”
Never underestimate the contribution you are doing to a cause you believe in. And anyway I hope you don’t wish that someone of you family dies so you can be proud.
I don’t see any honor in the death of a relative, just pain.

May 25th, 2012, 12:20 am


irritated said:


Oh, they were not killed, but an “attempt” was made and failed.
Oh, in Syria they have good doctors who save lives too
Oh, the media never accepts they were wrong
Oh, Israel always knows better. They have good spies in Syria

May 25th, 2012, 12:31 am


bronco said:

82. Jad

The US is not in a much better economical situation as the EU and they are cutting down on defense expenses. I seriously doubt they will intervene militarily.
They are withdrawing from Afghanistan and soon the whole US army will replaced by DRONES. Drones are the way war will be conducted in the near future. For now the USA, Israel and possibly Iran know how to build them.
As for the “boots” the US is asking Turkey and mercenaries for boots on the ground as the Saudi and Qatar ‘so called’ army is not trained for the mountains of Edlib and the hardship of a war.
To this proposition, Turkey is saying “Yok”
In summary nobody is going to move and Bashar will finish his term in 2014. The opposition has two years to switch from useless demonstrations and poisoning to organizing themselves in serious political parties.

May 25th, 2012, 12:44 am


bronco said:

#7 Jad

Turkey certainly does not want to appear in any way as militarily supporting rebels but it is quite possible that Qatar and KSA have promised Erdogan lucrative investments if he does.
Turkey works well with “show me the money”
So he is possibly training these manipulated Syrian soldiers to fight against their brothers as he has no intention of sending his own troops.

May 25th, 2012, 12:59 am


Uzair8 said:

If Fredo did have a hand in the elimination of Carlo Rizzi (Shawkat) are we going to see Connie (Bushra) confront him?

May 25th, 2012, 1:06 am


zoo said:

Will Egyptian Election results change West attitude toward Syria?

Posted at 09:18 AM ET, 05/24/2012
Egyptian election: Will U.S. lose?
By Scott Clement
A burgeoning democracy movement has energized Egypt, culminating in a landmark presidential election that started on Wednesday. But a poll released this month shows Egyptians are grappling with dual commitments to Islam and basic democratic liberties as the country shifts from decades of autocratic rule.
But in the latest Pew survey, nearly seven in 10 Egyptians now express little confidence in Obama to do the right thing in world affairs.

The widespread dissatisfaction with U.S. aid comes even as Egyptians seek an economic turnaround. More than seven in 10 say Egypt’s economy is in bad shape, a slightly higher percentage than a year ago.

Public opinion is also negative about Israel. By two to one, Egyptians want to nullify their nation’s peace treaty with that country, a number that’s jumped sharply among those under age 30 and those with college educations. That doesn’t necessarily indicate a desire to take up arms, but scuttling the treaty would raise tensions in the region.
Protecting the rights of women and religious minorities is not a key priority for Egyptians right now. Just 41 percent said it was “very important” that women have the same rights as men, and only 38 percent said it was very important that Coptic Christians and other religious minorities can practice their religion freely.

Altogether, democracy may prove far less predictable than dictatorship in Egypt, with still unknown consequences.

May 25th, 2012, 1:12 am



For once, I agree with Bronco on both counts. There is not a touch of pride in my post about losing a member of my family to the Assad-hyenas. There is sadness, and recognition of the enormity of the crimes this regime has exacted on Syria and continues to commit against Syrians. There is however, disgust with those defending this regime. I am not proud of his death, but comforted by the family’s way of dealing with such tragedy. Honorable, dignified, and human. Qualities many regime defenders have abandoned.

May 25th, 2012, 1:14 am


omen said:

i think it was aje who noted assad was absent during the first session of the new parliament when an appearance is usually customary.

where is bashar?

May 25th, 2012, 1:53 am


Juergen said:

May be once he like to give the mhnback show a miss, its boring afterall.

Jaafari is complaining on AJE that the mission does not have an bank account in the US, what a pity…

May 25th, 2012, 1:55 am


Alan said:

yes isn’t present! it investigations on the ship with arms trafficking containers onboard to Lebanon! speak that the weapon should move to Syria further! UN observers knew but eyes closed!

May 25th, 2012, 6:00 am


zoo said:

Will a religious or a military candidate win?

Muslim Brotherhood Candidate to Face Former Prime Minister in Egyptian Runoff
Published: May 25, 2012

CAIRO — The Islamist candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood will face former President Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister in a runoff to become Egypt’s first freely elected president, several independent vote counts concluded Friday morning.

May 25th, 2012, 6:47 am


zoo said:

Turkey’s ‘terrorist’ suicide bombing and PKK kidnapping

Three children were wounded in today’s bomb attack against a police station in Kayseri province, said Turkey’s Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin.

Nineteen people were wounded and a police officer was killed after a suicide bomber detonated an explosive-laden car in front of a police station in Kayseri’s Pınarbaşı district.

“There were two terrorists in the car,” Şahin said. “The intended target was not the police station. They detonated the explosives after police pursued them.”
Three children hurt in Kayseri explosion: Turkish minister

PKK kidnaps 10 people in Turkey’s southeast

Ten people have been abducted by suspected members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır’s Lice district.

The abduction of nine men and one woman occurred May 23, daily Hürriyet reported on its website today.

May 25th, 2012, 7:20 am


zoo said:

Ban tells CNN Annan plan is Syria’s only choice

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says international envoy Kofi Annan’s peace plan is the only option right now for ending the violence in Syria.

Ban said in an interview Thursday with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that “at this time, we don’t have any plan B.”

The former U.N. secretary-general’s plan calls for a complete cessation of violence but Ban said “unfortunately, this has not been implemented.”

He said the deployment of U.N. observers to Syria has had “some dampening effect” but the violence hasn’t stopped. Ban said this requires “strong political will” by Syrian President Bashar Assad and full cooperation by opposition forces.

Ban said he spoke Wednesday to Annan, who said he will be going to Syria soon but no date has been fixed.

May 25th, 2012, 7:27 am


zoo said:

FSA secures defection of entire battalion – FSA

By Suhaib Ayoub

Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat – Free Syrian Army [FSA] spokesman Colonel Khalid al-Hammoud informed Asharq Al-Awsat that “203 soldiers have defected from the regime, including 3 officers from the al-Qatifa area, which is close al-Qalamoun in the Rif Dimashq Governorate.”

He added “these defections took place after this operation was intensively pursued by FSA officers, convincing the entire battalion to leave the al-Assad army.”
FSA Colonel Khalid al-Hammoud also told Asharq Al-Awsat that “the reason behind the failure of our attempts to increase the rate of defections is sectarian loyalty and the sectarianism present in the Syrian army, in addition to fears of criminal prosecution from the al-Assad regime” although he did stress that “defections continue to take place.”

He added “the Syrian regime has committed a grave mistake by involving the army in the killing of protesters, opening fire on the unarmed Syrian people.”

May 25th, 2012, 7:29 am


zoo said:
WE: Washington is playing a double game on Syria. I think they’re trying at this point damage control; they failed massively in an operation they had thought they would succeed in a year ago. The momentum of the so-called Arab spring has screeched to a halt. It’s really turned into a Shiite versus Sunni kind of war throughout the Muslim world, with Saudi and Qatari money financing the Sunni side of it and Iranian money financing the much of the Shiite side of it. But the point is, it’s failed and Obama doesn’t want another military conflict before the November election, so he’s evidently given the order to backtrack significantly on that, as well as Iran.

RT: Is there a danger that the conflict could spread to other countries, such as Lebanon, and engulf the entire region?

WE: I see less of a danger now than perhaps there was six months ago, frankly. I think the situation in Syria is militarily much more stable than it was six months ago, and Syria is in effect – also for Israel – a guarantor of stability in Lebanon. As ironic as that may sound, that is the fact on the ground. If the escalation of the arming of the so-called Syrian opposition, many of whom are not even Syrian nationals, comes to a halt or is significantly downgraded, which Washington is doing right now, then I think the situation in Lebanon is not likely to spin out of control any time soon.

RT: What would happen in Syria, Lebanon or, perhaps elsewhere, if President Assad leaves his post, given the fact that al-Qaeda militants are also on the ground?

WE: You also have the fact that the largest opposition is the Muslim Brotherhood, which is dominating post-Mubarak politics in Egypt as well. If you have that, then you have a situation which is very hostile to the security in Israel. That creates instability there, as you would have the Muslim Brotherhood dominating the governments both in Syria and Egypt. So there’s no stable, secular opposition, which could allow the situation in view that you had for centuries in Syria with Christians, Jews and Muslims, whether Shiite or Sunni or Alawite, living side by side. In fact you would have chaos and anarchy like you have in Libya today.

May 25th, 2012, 7:39 am


Tara said:

Good morning Zoo.

May 25th, 2012, 7:48 am


Tara said:

Families of Syrian rebels killed in their homes, says UN

Government forces executed entire families in their homes as part of the crackdown on the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, UN investigators have found.

Both President Assad’s troops and opposition fighters were committing gross human rights violations despite a six-week-old ceasefire, but the security forces were responsible for most crimes documented since March, the UN report released yesterday said.

Government abuses included the heavy shelling of residential areas, executions and torture. Syrian forces routinely drew lists of wanted persons and their families before blockading and then attacking a village or neighbourhood, the report said. Children were frequently among those killed and wounded during attacks on protests and the bombardment of towns and villages. “Entire families were executed in their homes – usually the family members of those opposing the government such as the family members of Colonel Riad al-Asaad,” it said, referring to the extended family of the head of the Free Syrian Army.

Rebels have executed or tortured captured soldiers and government supporters, it added. They have also abducted civilians in apparent attempts to secure prison exchanges or ransoms.

The team of investigators has not been allowed into Syria but based its report on more than 200 interviews of victims and witnesses. They confirmed 207 deaths during the two-month period.


May 25th, 2012, 7:48 am


Tara said:


Who said pride and pain can’t mix?


I am sorry I assumed a feeling you didn’t explicitly expressed. May be I was reflecting on my own emotions but I stand by my first statement and do feel proud for you. Nothing more noble from risking one’s self for freedom and dignity of the others.

May 25th, 2012, 9:46 am


ann said:

Explosive device goes off in central Syria, killing 6 – 2012-05-25

DAMASCUS, May 25 (Xinhua) — An explosive device went off in Syria’s central Homs province Friday, killing six people of one family, state-TV reported, as activists reported the eruption of anti-government rallies in several Syrian cities.

The device was planted by unidentified gunmen before the family ‘s house in the southern neighborhood of al-Rableh town in Qusair in Homs, said the TV.

The motives behind the attack were not immediately known.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday accused the Syrian opposition of undermining the peace plan implemented by the UN and Arab League joint envoy to Syria Kofi Annan.

He said that the Syrian opposition and their supporting countries have violated relevant UN resolutions.


May 25th, 2012, 9:57 am


ann said:

State of alert imposed on Israeli-Lebanese border – 2012-05-25

MARJEYOUN, Lebanon, May 25 (Xinhua) — A high state of alert has been imposed since the early hours of Friday near the Israeli- Lebanese border as Lebanon celebrates the 12th commemoration of the Israeli withdrawal from its south.

The Israeli forces reinforced their presence on the borders with armored vehicles and Mirkava tanks, while the Lebanese army beefed up their troops along with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in anticipation of any development.

A Lebanese security sources told Xinhua that “the Israeli army reinforced their positions facing the Shebaa Farms with 15 Mirkava tanks while Unmanned Aerial Vehicles were patrolling the area, violating the Lebanese airspace.”

Meanwhile, the UNIFIL was patrolling all the border line known as the “Blue Line” and strengthened their observation points from the Wazzani river to the Shebaa Farms.


May 25th, 2012, 10:01 am


ann said:

Foreign remarks fan Syria opposition’s violence: Russian diplomat – 2012-05-25

MOSCOW, May 25 (Xinhua) — Russian is concerned that remarks made by some Western countries have encouraged the Syrian opposition to continue their violence in the Arab country, a senior Russian diplomat said on Friday.

The gap between Russia and Britain toward addressing the situation in Syria is narrowing, Russian Ambassador to Britain Alexander Yakovenko told local media.

However, Russia was still concerned that “London and some other Western capitals” are making public statements to encourage the Syria opposition to “continue the violence instead of taking part in political dialogue,” the diplomat was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague, who is to visit Moscow soon, had mentioned earlier that the Syria topic would be a major topic for discussion during his talks in Moscow, Yakovenko said, adding Russia hopes to “take advantage of this meeting” and work with Britain toward finding a peaceful solution to the Syria crisis.


May 25th, 2012, 10:06 am


ann said:

Syria asserts economy still solid amid sanctions despite price soaring – 2012-05-25

A vigorous government’s intervention revived the Syrian pound, which lost 50 percent of its value against U.S. dollars at the beginning of the crisis, sending thus the prices of all commodities skyrocketing. Now the pound has regained part of its value but prices are still high, prompting families to tighten their budgets.

In an interview with Russia Today Channel, the minister said the crisis has led to the suspension of some economic establishments’ work, especially in the private sector, due to difficulties in securing supplies of imported production and low rate of economic growth.

He stressed that the Syrian economy along with some of its neighboring countries have been affected by the sanctions, however, he asserted that Syria was able to open new markets other than the European’s and the American’s.

The minister added that Syria depends on its own potentials, brushing aside claims that the country is receiving financial aids from friendly countries.

He also ruled out any decline in the country’s foreign exchange reserves, stressing that they remain intact.

Jlailati indicated that there has been a stable exchange rate of the pound against the dollar for a month, saying rumors about Syria’s selling some of its gold reserves was “absolutely untrue.” “There is no country in the world that relies on its gold reserves only… we have basically an amount of gold along with other foreign currencies in savings, and they haven’t been touched at all and we have not sold 1 g of gold,” he said.


May 25th, 2012, 10:18 am


Halabi said:

No U.N. report or confessions from Assad’s henchmen will convince the we-love-you crowd that they are supporting pure evil. Executing families of protesters and alleged criminals will be justified as the only way to avert future attacks, and through that sick logic the pro-Assad hate mongers end up supporting genocide to prop up a government that has usurped a nation’s wealth and potential for two generations and slaughtered tens of thousands of people.

But what about Al Qaeda, Bandar, Hamad and the Ottomans they will ask? All those 3ara3eer with scary beards would surely do worse. Look at Egypt and Tunisia – minorities there are being massacred by the hundred every day. And women can’t drive in Saudi. And Bahrain, U.S.A., Afghanistan…

In the end, people who support Assad or don’t want to see him go believe the Syrian state should be dominated by an unaccountable security and military apparatus that can terminate entire families to send a message that any opposition will be futile. They support a government that is no better than the worst terrorists it cultivated and claims to fight. And their biggest fear is that a new political order will govern the country in the same way, but with their families on the receiving end of the violence.

سوريا بخير وخلصت

May 25th, 2012, 10:23 am


ann said:

Newly-elected Syria parliament holds first session – 2012-05-25

BEIJING, May 25 (Xinhuanet) — Syria’s newly-elected parliament has held its first session on Thursday. The main task of the meeting was the election of a speaker and members of the parliament’s office. The head of the Damascus lawyers’ syndicate becomes the new speaker of the Syrian parliament.

Mohammed Jihad al-Laham is a member of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s Baath party. The party has a large majority of seats in the 250-member parliament.

The Assembly’s members were sworn-in at the first meeting of the newly elected body. On May 7, parliamentarian elections were carried out under a new constitution that allows a multi-party system and ends the monopoly of power by the ruling Baath party. The electoral process was supervised by an independent judicial committee.

One of the biggest changes in the new parliament is the arrival of opposition figures for the first time. The Syrian Foreign Ministry has called the vote a new experience for Syria. But opposition parties say they still want to improve the situation and are not satisfied by the election.


May 25th, 2012, 10:25 am


Syria no Kandahar said:

So after all Turkey turned out to be kidnappers friend,supporter,financier and pro-terrorists deal breaker:

تركيا تبلغ لبنان أن المختطفين بخير وطائرتهم ستصل بيروت مساء اليوم
كشف وزير الخارجية والمغتربين عدنان منصور أنه تلقى اتصالاً من وزير الخارجية التركي أحمد داوود اوغلو أبلغه فيه بأن المخطتفين الـ 11 بخير وحالتهم سليمة وأن طائرتهم سوف تصل الى بيروت مساء هذا اليوم، ورجح الوزير منصور أن تصل الطائرة بين الساعة السابعة والثامنة مساء.

بدوره أشار وزير الصحة اللبناني علي حسن خليل وفقاً لموقع «الانتقاد» إلى أن موعد وصول اللبنانيين المخطتفين إلى لبنان لم يحدد بعد، مرجحاً أن يتم وصولهم إلى مطار بيروت الدولي اليوم قبل الغد.


May 25th, 2012, 10:53 am


Mawal95 said:

Bronco #97 said:

“Bashar will finish his term in 2014. The opposition has two years to switch from useless demonstrations and poisoning to organizing themselves in serious political parties.

Under Article 85 of Syria’s Constitution, to be a candidate for president you must have the endorsements of at least 35 members of parliament. In the parliamentary elections on 7 May 2012 only 5 members of opposition parties were elected. The winning candidates in the election are almost entirely people who are on record supporting national unity under the leadership of Assad. When you look at the composition of today’s parliament it looks likely that any aspiring candiate for president other than Assad won’t be able to get the required 35 endorsements from members of parliament in 2014. And surely it looks a certainty that Assad will win the 2014 presidential election.

The next parliamentary elections are in 2016. The opposition has four years to prepare themselves for those elections. I see every reason to expect the opposition to get trounced again in 2016. It will take many election cycles to build enough support for an opposition to be capable of wining a majority of seats. I will not be in the slightest bit surprised if it doesn’t happen before the parliamentary elections in year 2036. A generation away. It’s fine for the opposition to be “organizing themselves in serious political parties” today, as Bronco suggests, but the first step in getting serious is to realize that the Baath Party is a proven, serious formidible competitor in election contests.

Here’s related comment:

The Baath Party is a failure because, after 49 years in power, the party put itself to the test of the will of the people of Syria in free and fair parliamentary elections this year and only won approximately 160 of the 250 seats in the new parliament. Sami Moubayed says: “In looking back at the reasons for this failure, it is safe to say that the Baath party affiliated itself with the wrong people, the wrong parties, and the wrong allies for over four decades.” —

Speaking as a firm supporter of the Syrian Baath Party, I say there’s no reason for complacency in the elections results, my friends. We need to keep on sharpening our competitive advantages and aim to win more than 160 seats in the 2016 parliamentary elections. We need to do this not merely for ourselves but for the people of Syria who will benefit from having a Baath Party in top-notch competitive form.

والله محيي سوريا الاسد

May 25th, 2012, 10:53 am


Mawal95 said:

From Reuters yesterday:

Both President Assad’s troops and opposition fighters were committing gross human rights violations despite a six-week-old ceasefire, but the security forces were responsible for most crimes documented since March, a UN report released yesterday said. Government forces executed entire families in their homes as part of the crackdown on the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, UN investigators have found.

None of those UN “investigators” have been in Syria at all. They merely collected testimonies from among Syria’s flakey dissident liars outside Syria. The testimonies are unverified and unverifiable. The UN’s report is as false and worthless as the testimonies of their sources.

On the other hand, there’s a UN observer mission on the ground in Syria today that is observing and seeking to verify by actually seeing what’s actually there, and going beyond the mere testimonies of the fake revolutionaries. Their report is one that we should pay attention to, when it comes out.

May 25th, 2012, 11:22 am


bronco said:

#121 Mawal95

It is up to the opposition to lure some of the Baath party members to endorse another potential non-Baath candidate who is a figure acceptable to the Baath. As there are divisions within the Baath, it is quite possible that such situation occurs before 2014.
Bashar repeated that he’ll leave once he has secured what comes after him but I think he would prefer not to represent himself again in 2014.

May 25th, 2012, 11:23 am


Mawal95 said:

@ Bronco: I can assure you that Bashar will be running for president in 2014. I know enough about Bashar to know that. I can see it in the way he shakes hands with people — I’m not joking. I can see that he’s still very popular, he likes his job, and he agrees with his many supporters that he does his job well.

The Baath Party and the Baath’s members of parliament subscribe to the doctrine of national unity. So do the bulk of the independents that were elected to the new parliament. This doctrine effectively implies they’ll all be supporting Bashar for president in 2014.

May 25th, 2012, 11:33 am


bronco said:

#122 Mawal95

The UN observers are very quiet and their reports to Annan seem to remain secret.
For example in the bomb attack in Khan Shaykhoun, it was reported that the observers who were present there in unclear circumstances, witnessed the ‘massacre’ during the funerals. Yet there had been no leaks about what really happened.
It is possible that these reports are kept aside to be used by Annan in due time in UNSC meeting where he would uncover officially the real actors behind the rebels. These are possibly countries who are contravening the USNC resolution that required full cooperation of the international community to the peaceful and political solution of the Syrian crisis.

May 25th, 2012, 11:34 am


Pirouz said:

109. ZOO said:

If they can provide evidence of an entire unit crossing over (images of vehicles and heavy weapons they took with them), this could be significant. But in the past the FSyA has made so many bogus claims, we’ll just have to wait and see actual evidence to back up the claim.

May 25th, 2012, 11:49 am


Mawal95 said:

@ Bronco #125: I don’t believe in a foreign conspiracy, I have not ever believed in one, and I’ve given the reasons repeatedly over the past year. The real actors behind the rebels are real Syrians. The foreigers have given moral and rhetorical support to the rebels, of course. But on the question of material support, there’s no evidence, just rumours, and the foreigners themselves deny giving material support. Their denials place the burden on the rumour-mongers to show us material evidence in Syria that the foreigners are lying. On the evidence, the foreigners are telling the truth. If there are a few lies in the mix from the foreigners, they can’t be big lies, because big lies would’ve been found out on the ground in Syria. The government of Syria, as part of its efforts to undermine the respectability of the uprising in Syrian eyes, has consistently and repeatedly said the uprising is foreign supported. But if you carefully read what the government says, it has very little to offer in the way of hard evidence to support this line of propaganda, beyond the fact that the foreigners have indeed given moral and rhetorical support.

Regarding the influence of moral and rhetorical support from foreigners:

In a sitution of civil disturbances in any country, if moral and rhetorical support is given to the protesters|rebels by the Western powers and the international community, it weakens the established government’s position and it elevates the expectations of the protesters|rebels in their battle against the government. Foreign interventions of this rhetorical kind can make a conflict harder to resolve because they distort the domestic political landscape and the mechanisms which exist inside any country for resolving the conflict. Sergei Lavrov said last October: “If the international community promotes the theory that “the government is so bad it cannot orchestrate a National Dialog and it should resign from office no matter what the consequences”, of course, that would be incitement to violence and unrest in Syria.” The Western powers are not aiming at helping the Syrians to resolve their problems on their own. They are aiming at supporting the rebellion against the government.

However, when the Syrian protesters|rebels accept moral and rhetorical support from longstanding enemies of Syria, especially the USA, it also works to undermine the respectability of the protesters|rebels in the eyes of the generality of the Syrian people, which weakens the political position of the protesters|rebels.

So it cuts two ways at once.

والله محيي سوريا الاسد

May 25th, 2012, 12:19 pm


bronco said:

Mawal95 #127

I agree that there are probably very few or no foreign boots in Syria, like they were none in Lebanon during the civil war, in Libya and they aren’t any in Iraq now behind the bomb attacks.
The rebels are mostly nationals.
Yet, I don’t think that the SNC was financed solely by Syrians expats, but by foreign countries, namely Turkey, Qatar and others. The FSA is hosted by Turkey. It may not be a concerted ‘conspiracy’ but it is an illegal interference in country sovereignty to change the regime and as such can been seen as a ‘conspiracy’.
The Friends of Syria was a proof of a foreign conspiracy as it was done “privately’ outside UN
In adition some Syrians rebels and criminals are also financed and supported by foreign countries that supply them with weapons as ways to disrupt the Syrian government.
I am sure they are plenty of Syrians who would accept money to perpetrate any acts of terrorism, so mercenaries or foreigners are not in real need, except in training them.
By financing these elements, the countries in question are contravening the UNSC resolution and could be held accountable and blamed officially if uncovered.
Why is the UN withholding the proofs they must have gathered about the reponsibilities in the bomb attacks? Is it to use them later at the right time? or they have another agenda?

May 25th, 2012, 12:38 pm


Mawal95 said:

@ Bronco #128: When I was saying at #127 the governments are telling the truth when they deny material support, I was talking about weapons, financing for weapons, and facilitating smuggling in of weapons. I deny that the rebels have received weapons from any foreign government source whatsoever, and I deny they’ve received financing from any government except as indicated by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. If you think I’m mistaken, I reply simply that you don’t have the evidence.

“It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.”

I find I have sufficient evidence from inside Syria itself to believe the foreign governments are telling the truth.

As an example of evidence see what Riad Asaad says the rebels’ fighting strategy is at :

The FSA commander asserted that “we have today, thanks to God, reached a stage where the FSA is in a strong position, after we have arranged and strengthened our affairs and ranks from the previous stage, and we have implemented a new plan of action for the forthcoming phase that will witness a systematic change in our military operations.” Al-Asaad told Asharq Al-Awsat that “Our goal is to target military vehicles and rely solely on explosive devices.” He also stressed that the FSA has not received any financial or material assistance from any foreign countries, and that any assistance or aid they have received has been from Syrian citizens. He added that “we have developed our military capabilities through the correct investment of our funds and manufacturing certain types of weaponry locally…this will be reflected in the FSA operations in the forthcoming period, and despite the fact that we do not possess vast military capabilities we have elements who are capable of carrying out high-quality operations.”

May 25th, 2012, 12:44 pm


Mawal95 said:

Weapons and ammunition are expensive and scarce among the Syrian rebels. That’s well-documented and it’s a powerful counterfactual against the rumour that the rebels are getting material support from foreign governments.

May 25th, 2012, 12:59 pm


bronco said:


Do you mean that Qatar and Saudi Arabia are providing the money and the Syrians are able to buy the weapons and introduce them in Syria without any complicity from the neighboring countries?

I disagree with that. Of course Turkey never admitted facilitating the passing of weapons in the border, but who are they fooling? They have a huge number of secret agents within their army just doing that ‘unofficially’.
Yet, recently Turkey has seen an increase in PKK violent confrontations and they are starting to worry that these weapons they are allowing to pass in Syria are ending up in the hands of the PKK.

The same applies to Lebanon and we know very well who is the faction of Lebanese who are helping the smuggling of the weapons that often end up in the wrong hands.

If you try to clear the West from actively supplying weapons, I agree with you. The western countries are terrified to see these weapons ending up in Hezbollah’s hands and against Israel or in Al Qaeeda hands.

This is why the situation is impossible to solve militarily. The regime knows it and have become even bolder in the crackdown on the rebels.
The West is paralyzed, both militarily and politically. The situation may drag as it is on for a long time.

May 25th, 2012, 1:07 pm


bronco said:


Rebel face control: US ‘to screen Syrian opposition for arms supply’

Published: 25 May, 2012, 12:47

Washington is an inch from starting shipping arms to the opposition in Syria, anonymous US officials say. The biggest hitch is that it wants to be sure American guns will be pointed in the right direction and won’t end up in the hands of Al Qaeda.

­The US is already transferring “non-lethal” material, including medical supplies and communication equipment to forces fighting the Syrian government. But it has been hesitant to provide arms to the disparate opposition, fearing they might end up in the hands of militants linked to Al Qaeda or Hezbollah, AP reports.

A vetting plan to separate the groups actually interested in fighting Bashar al-Assad’s government from those profiteering from the armed conflict is yet to be finalized, the news agency says, citing unnamed US officials.

Some US allies, including Saudi Arabia and Qatar, have been less hesitant and openly said they would fund the purchase of arms for the Syrian opposition. The weapons may even be directly supplied by the Gulf monarchies’ governments rather than bought on the black market, recent media reports imply.

May 25th, 2012, 1:11 pm


ann said:

Qatari ammo found in Syria-bound arms – Friday May 25, 2012

Ammunition boxes labeled “Qatari Army” have been found among other Syria-bound arms on the Lutfullah II ship, which was intercepted in the Mediterranean by the Lebanese Army last month, Lebanese sources say.


May 25th, 2012, 1:23 pm


Mawal95 said:

@ Bronco #131: This is recycled from me from elsewhere:

The Turkish government allows the Syrian refugees in Turkey to freely return to Syria, and possibly return back to Turkey again. But under Turkish law it is illegal for them to carry weapons in Turkey and it is illegal for any weapons to pass the border from Turkey into Syria. The Syrian refugees in Turkey are required to reside in concentration camps where they’re under the surveillance and monitoring of Turkish security personnel. That makes it much harder for these refugees to violate the Turkish law.

There is no evidence of any covert activity by Turkey to arm, train or directly faciliate the Syrian rebels (except for rumours and testimonies from highly unreliable sources who don’t even establish their own credentials reliably, never mind the reliability of what they’re saying). The hypothetical covert activity would be illegal under Turkish law. If the Turkish government were covertly aiding the Syrian rebels, while overtly disavowing it, it would never be possible to keep it a secret, because too many people would be involved, and too many of the Turks involved would see the policy as immoral as well as illegal. Furthermore if it were happening we’d see the evidences of it on the Syrian side of the border. I don’t see such evidence in Syria today.

I can trust the Turkish government to comply with Turkish law for more than one reason. One reason is that they’d get clobbered in the next parliamentary election in Turkey if they got caught lying and law-breaking. Covert material support by Turkey to the Syrian rebels would also be in contradiction with what the top government officials of Turkey have been saying, when you listen closely to them. I’m confident that what they say is pretty much what they think.

Syria’s immediate neighbors Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon have laws and policies that prohibit arms and armed men to pass into Syria from their jurisdiction. Those prohibitions are being enforced by Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon (without 100% success of course). I believe the same is true on the Israeli side of the Golan Heights. The Syrian navy patrols the sea along Syria’s Mediterranean coast. So, looking all around Syria’s borders, there is no gap whatsoever were it is legal on the other side of the border to bring weapons and ammunition into Syria. Thus anyone wishing to arm the rebels in Syria has got a difficult implementation problem.

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

Saudi Arabia and Qatar have said they think the international community should supply weapons to the Syrian rebels. But they deny that they have actually done so themselves, so far. Supplying weapons to the rebels may contravene United Nations anti-terrorism resolutions (e.g. ). Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been urged not to arm the Syrian rebels by the US, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon and Algeria (and probably others). I believe Saudi Arabia and Qatar are highly unlikely to try to arm the rebels for so long as the broad international community disapproves of it, and for so long as it continues to be impossible to do it legally under the laws of all of Syria’s neighbors. Anyone who aims to arm the rebels from outside Syria is also necessarily aiming to violate the laws of Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, Israel, and/or Lebanon.

May 25th, 2012, 1:31 pm


jad said:

Going Rogue: America’s Unconventional Warfare in the Mideast

The intent of U.S. [Unconventional Warfare] UW efforts is to exploit a hostile power’s political, military, economic, and psychological vulnerabilities by developing and sustaining resistance forces to accomplish U.S. strategic objectives…For the foreseeable future, U.S. forces will predominantly engage in irregular warfare (IW) operations.

So begins the 2010 Unconventional Warfare (UW) Manual of the US Military’s Special Forces. The manual attached here (TC 18-01) is an interim publication, developed to address the definition of Unconventional Warfare and some other inconsistencies in UW Doctrine. The new UW document (ATP 3-05.1) is in the initial draft and not yet available, though sources tell me it is unlikely to differ much from TC 18-01.

But most of us have not had the pleasure of leafing through this truly revelatory blueprint that shows how America wages its dirty wars. These are the secret wars that have neither been approved by Congress, nor by the inhabitants of nations whose lives – if not bodies – are mauled by the directives on these pages.

A quote from President John F. Kennedy in 1962 opens the document. These few lines illustrate a core Washington belief that US forces have the right to destabilize, infiltrate, assassinate, subvert – all in service of questionable foreign policy objectives, with no evident consideration of a sovereign state’s preparedness or desire for change:

There is another type of warfare—new in its intensity, ancient in its origin—war by guerrillas, subversives, insurgents, assassins; war by ambush instead of by combat, by infiltration instead of aggression, seeking victory by eroding and exhausting the enemy instead of engaging him. It preys on unrest.

Target: Middle East

The Bush Doctrine paved the way for the mainstreaming of unconventional warfare by establishing the principle of pre-emptive actions against a state that may one day pose a threat to American interests. It didn’t offer any specific criteria to gauge those threats, nor did it attempt to explain why anyone outside the United States should be held accountable for US “interests” – be they commercial, security or political.

Target: Regime Change in Syria

In Syria, the UW task would have been a mix of the two. Because of the domestic popularity and strength of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad revealed here in a 2006 Wikileaks Cable, UW activities would necessarily need to start with some subversion of the population before graduating to a Libyan-style scenario.

Just as the Wikileaks cable recommends identifying “opportunities” to expose “vulnerabilities” in the Syrian regime and cause sectarian/ethnic division, discord within the military/security apparatus and economic hardship, the UW manual also instructs special forces to “exploit a hostile power’s political, military, economic, and psychological vulnerabilities.”

The Syrian demographic landscape is reflected in the UW manual: “In almost every scenario, resistance movements face a population with an active minority supporting the government and an equally small militant faction supporting the resistance movement. For the resistance to succeed, it must convince the uncommitted middle population…to accept it as a legitimate entity. A passive population is sometimes all a well-supported insurgency needs to seize political power.”

To turn the “uncommitted middle population” into supporting insurgency, UW recommends the “creation of atmosphere of wider discontent through propaganda and political and psychological efforts to discredit the government.”

As conflict escalates, so should the “intensification of propaganda; psychological preparation of the population for rebellion.”

First, there should be local and national “agitation” – the organization of boycotts, strikes, and other efforts to suggest public discontent. Then, the “infiltration of foreign organizers and advisors and foreign propaganda, material, money, weapons and equipment.”

The next level of operations would be to establish “national front organizations [i.e. the Syrian National Council] and liberation movements [i.e. the Free Syrian Army]” that would move larger segments of the population toward accepting “increased political violence and sabotage” – and encourage the mentoring of “individuals or groups that conduct acts of sabotage in urban centers.”

Now, how and why would an uncommitted – and ostensibly peaceful – majority of the population respond to the introduction of violence by opposition groups? The UW manual tells us there is an easy way to spin this one:

If retaliation [by the target government] occurs, the resistance can exploit the negative consequences to garner more sympathy and support from the population by emphasizing the sacrifices and hardship the resistance is enduring on behalf of “the people.” If retaliation is ineffective or does not occur, the resistance can use this as proof of its ability to wage effect combat against the enemy. In addition, the resistance can portray the inability or reluctance of the enemy to retaliate as a weakness, which will demoralize enemy forces and instill a belief in their eventual defeat.
And so on, and so forth.

May 25th, 2012, 2:09 pm


bronco said:


I still suspect that individuals groups in neighboring countries are ignoring the law and that weapons reach armed groups.

Yet let’s supposed it is true that neighboring countries apply their laws and no weapons is smuggled, then the FSA has no or scarce weapons and no ammunitions.
Then why is the Syrian army having such difficulties in entering Rastan etc.., is the Syrian army so bad that they can’t crush unarmed groups of rebels after months of siege?
It is also the reason why the FSA is resorting to bomb attacks as this only needs rudimentary supplies?

May 25th, 2012, 2:22 pm


jad said:

Dear OTW,
للفقيد الرحمة ولكم من بعده طول البقاء
Please accept my heartfelt sympathy on your tragic loss, may God rest his soul in peace.

May 25th, 2012, 2:30 pm


jna said:

86. Observersaid: Haaretz has some news
The Israelis usually know what happens at the end of the day

However, what they publicise is often not congruent with what they know.

May 25th, 2012, 2:38 pm


jad said:

To #10
‘Facebook terrorism’ fuels murder mafia in Syria

‘Social media is playing a vital role in Syria’s conflict, as both sides try to shape domestic and international opinion in their favour. Chilling videos of acts of brutality have the power to go viral and be broadcast on global TV networks – but sometimes, the pictures aren’t everything they appear to be.’

May 25th, 2012, 2:48 pm


Alan said:
U.S. to consider sending weapons to opposition fighters in Syria
As one diplomatic effort after another fails to end more than a year of brutal violence in Syria, the Obama administration is preparing a plan that would essentially give U.S. nods of approval to arms transfers from Arab nations to some Syrian opposition fighters.
The US has been caught sending weapons to the “opposition” (actually a coup d’etat) all along. This is just propaganda to try and sell the lie that the US is responding to a crisis not of their own making.
Russia: Forces Unable to Destabilize Syria Turn to Lebanon
Forces which have failed to implement their plans to destabilize Syria have turned to Lebanon, Russian’s foreign ministry said on Monday.
“Moscow is seriously concerned by growing internal tensions in Lebanon. It appears that the forces that have failed to realize their plans to destabilize Syria have turned to neighboring Lebanon,” the ministry said on its website.
“They clearly dislike this country’s government course aimed at preventing foreign intervention in Syrian affairs and facilitating a swift peaceful settlement in Syria on the basis of Kofi Annan’s plan approved by the United Nations Security Council, and the actions of military and security agencies opposing arms smuggling attempts and the trafficking of militants,” the ministry said.
To attain their goals these forces are trying to stoke tensions among various Lebanese political and sectarian forces, the ministry added.
It called on Lebanese politicians to show restraint and “high patriotic responsibility at this difficult moment for the country and the region.”
Winds from Syria unrest blow into Lebanon: Clashes spark fears of another war
On Wednesday night, a gunbattle broke out in the Caracas district of west Beirut, followed by a clash that lasted several hours and left two dead, according to security officials.
The spark for the clash, during which gunmen used hand grenades against the Lebanese security forces, was a “personal dispute” between at least one of the men and a woman in her early 20s

May 25th, 2012, 3:02 pm


Hopeful said:

I am wondering what people on the forum think about the Egyptian elections. What are your thoughts regarding the “Eqyptian Model”?

May 25th, 2012, 3:26 pm


Antoine said:

Man…..Syria Comment has been so boring for today. No interesting commentators like Ghufran, SNP, Juergen, Aldendeshe etc. Just boring superficial back and forth between MAWAL, BRONCO, ANN and JAD.

Where are the all rest ? Surely nobody can be sooo busy in one’s life so as not be able to spend a few minutes on Syria Comment.

May 25th, 2012, 3:28 pm


Antoine said:

141. Hopeful said:

“I am wondering what people on the forum think about the Egyptian election. What are your thoughts regarding the “Eqyptian Model”?”


The Egyptian case confirms our best hopes and arguments. It rests our case against those who argue against us on the basis that we have not been able to gather sufficient numbers in a demonstration in Damascus ( i.e a “Tahrir Square moment”).

The Syrian revolution hasn’t had a Tahrir Square moment but has wide and vigorous grassroots support in a all 4 corners of the country. This not only confirms that the Syrian revolution enjoys the support of the majority of the Syrian citizens living inside Syria, but also in a Free Liberated Syria, in future parliamentary or Presidential elections, the Local Coordination Committees will be the real king-maker.

May 25th, 2012, 3:43 pm


Mawal95 said:

Bronco at #136 said:

“I still suspect that individuals groups in neighboring countries are ignoring the law and that weapons reach armed groups.”

Okay, Bronco, you’re being respectable when you “suspect”. But if you take the further step and “believe” then you’re going beyond the bounds of the available evidence.

Let’s supposed it is true that neighboring countries apply their laws and no weapons is smuggled, then the FSA has… scarce weapons.

That’s right. Over the past few months, there have been many reports in the newspapers, from a diversity of reporters on the ground, that (a) the rebels are saying weapons and ammunition are scarce and (b) weapons and ammunition are in fact scarce. In March, I posted links to a bunch of such news stories. In May, in videos of groups of rebels on the streets in Rastan and in towns in Idlib over the past month at Youtube, I noticed in the videos that the groups consisted of a mixture of armed and unarmed men. I infer the ones that are unarmed are so because of the expensiveness and scarcity of the arms and ammo.

Then why is the Syrian army having such difficulties in entering Rastan etc.

As I understand what the Syrian government agreed to under the Annan plan, the army is not allowed to enter Rastan fullstop. Instead, the government is supposed to maintain law and order in Rastan with other kinds of security forces. The government can use armoured vehicles such as tanks but only as armour. It can’t fire wide-caliber projectiles. “The Syrian government on Friday [20 Apr 2012] informed Annan that it carried out the second article of his [six-point] plan completely, saying that police and law-enforcement forces will be charged with keeping peace and order and will show the utmost self-restraint while remaining ready to confront armed terrorist groups should they continue to breach the cessation of violence, while the Syrian Arab Army will remain prepared to defend Syria from any attack [upon][,] and [to] secure[,] strategic sites.”

It is also the reason why the FSA is resorting to bomb attacks as this only needs rudimentary supplies?


May 25th, 2012, 3:54 pm


Observer said:

The elections in Egypt have given Shafiq 23% of the vote more than expected and the MB candidate got 25% only indicating the appeal of a hard line Islamist agenda is weak in Egypt.

The name of the game is economic freedom from corruption and graft first then freedom from oppression afterwards.

Now for the SNC. It is irrelevant to what is happening on the ground. It is local activists who have concluded some time ago that they are alone and that they will do the heavy lifting of removing the Corleone family.

At least Ghalioun resigned and is candid about the performance of the SNC. Not so with Fredo who calls for the Majlis to meet. He nominated the members of the supreme court.

So the Majlis and the Supreme Court of Syria along with the glorious head of the Executive the Marshall Commander In Chief of the Armed Forces and the Secretary General of the Baath Party will meet.

Like the muscles of the pelvic floor they will meet only to produce garbage; while slapping each other on the back.

Meanwhile, should we be terrified from the spam cut and paste we see from pro regime commentators about : OMG monstrous Qatar, horrific KSA, blood thirsty Salafists, CIA_MOSSAD-ALQAEDA- OTTOMAN conspiracy to dethrone Fredo?

Somaria is less than a footnote in history and less of an afterthought in the current ME change we are witnessing and the utter failure of the regime in either protecting the country from this supposed evil or the inability to adapt and perform real reforms are an eternal testimony to the failed state called Somaria Alassad.

May 25th, 2012, 4:32 pm


Tara said:

SNC expanding it’s horizon into economic reconstruction after the fall of the blue-eyed graduated med student.  

Syria would need $11.5 billion quickly post-Assad
Reuters – 14 hrs ago–finance.html

ABU DHABI (Reuters) – Syria would need $11.5 billion in reconstruction funds in the first six months after the collapse of President Bashar al-Assad’s rule, mainly to support its currency and pay public sector wages, the main Syrian opposition said on Thursday.

The Syrian National Council, whose international support has been undermined by internal squabbling and power struggles, presented an economic reconstruction plan at a meeting of the Friends of Syria working group for economic recovery and development in the United Arab Emirates.

May 25th, 2012, 5:16 pm


Mawal95 said:

Here are links to news stories dating from mid-March that say weapons are expensive and scarce among the Syrian rebels. I collected these at the time in March. Then I quit collecting any more.

12 Mar 2012: An Al-Jazeera reporter on the ground in Idlib province in Syria says guns and bullets are expensive:

14 mar 2012: Report by Associated Press that weapons are scarce among rebels:

18 Mar 2012: LA Times reports “Black market for weapons nearly depleted, smugglers to Syria say”:,0,3916276,full.story

20 Mar 2012: Associated Press says weapons are scarce among the rebels:

22 Mar 2012: Washington Post says “Syrian rebels running out of ammunition”:

I’ve not seen any good evidence that the weapons supply situation has changed substantially since mid-March (and that includes the news story at #7 above).

May 25th, 2012, 5:42 pm


Antoine said:

About Egypt elections, Hamdeen Sabahi, a Nasserite Leftist candidate, who was endorsed by one of the commentators on SC, is offically out of the race. His hypocritical supporters were seen crying and chanting against USA and Saudi Arabia.

What is more important is that Al Jazeera team was pushed out of his Campiagn headquarters by his supporters.

That just shows the kind of cheap and biased mentality these people have.

They will disappear into oblivion and so will the things they hold dear to their heart.

They are secretly supporting Assad regime.

They will never be able to set foot inside Syria after liberation.

It should be noted that Hamadeen Sabahi during his campaign had stressed that were he to become President, he will make a “strategic alliance” with IRAN, to “defend Egyptian interests”.

May 25th, 2012, 5:45 pm


Bronco said:

#146 Tara

SNC sponsored reconstruction plans date? 2014, 2015 or more?

May 25th, 2012, 5:47 pm


irritated said:

Antoine #148

“His hypocritical supporters were seen crying and chanting against USA and Saudi Arabia.

OMG, they deserve to be hanged for high treason.

May 25th, 2012, 5:49 pm


zoo said:

Brotherhood man promises Islamic law in Egypt
By Tom Perry
CAIRO | Fri May 25, 2012 4:23am EDT

CAIRO (Reuters) – When he joined the race for Egypt’s presidency just five weeks ago, Mohamed Mursi was mocked as the Muslim Brotherhood’s uncharismatic “spare tyre” after its first-choice candidate was disqualified.

But the 60-year-old engineer came first in the opening round, according to a Brotherhood tally after most votes were counted, thanks to a campaign that showed off the unequalled political muscle of Egypt’s oldest Islamist movement.

The run-off on June 16 and 17 with second-placed Ahmed Shafiq, who served as deposed leader Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister, gives Egyptians a stark choice between a military man linked to the past and an Islamist whose conservative message appeals to some and alarms others in this nation of 82 million.
He has promised to implement Islamic sharia during rallies peppered with references to the Koran, God and the Prophet Mohammad and occasionally interrupted by pauses for mass prayer.

But he has seldom spelt out what that would mean for Egypt, where piety runs deep and the constitution already defines the principles of Islamic law as the main source of legislation.

Mursi has called for a review of Cairo’s 1979 peace treaty with Israel, saying Egypt’s neighbor has not respected the agreement, a line mirroring that of most of the other candidates in the race. The group has said it will not tear up the deal.

May 25th, 2012, 5:53 pm


Tara said:

Bronco @149

Jan 2013. I want to visit my town Bronco. I missed her. I want to smell Yasmeen, ear fatayer in Shaalan, swim at the Sheraton, chat with Muna Wassif at the pool side, go to Bloudan, eat late dinner in the old city, watch some good looking women dancing on Seeret hub of Um Kalthoum, she can’t be fat though, and look for someone in the Hamidieh…I want to see no pictures of anyone (don’t mind handsome actors) and read no mnhebak banners.

May 25th, 2012, 6:04 pm


zoo said:

The elections in Egypt may sign the failure of the revolution’s ideals as a new fascist regime may emerge that may snowball in the region.

“The worst possible scenario,” said Ahmed Khairy, spokesman for the Free Egyptians Party, one of the secular, liberal parties that emerged last year. Speaking to the Al-Ahram daily, he described Morsi as an “Islamic fascist” and Shafiq as a “military fascist.”

May 25th, 2012, 6:12 pm


Antoine said:

The high votes for Ahmad Shafiq should not be misinterpreted as a vote against the revolution, or even a vote for Mubarak.

That said, Egypt was doing quite well under Mubarak than Syria was doing under Bashar before 2011.

There is credible evidence that conservative Muslims who voted for Islamists in Parliament, shifted their vote to Shafiq, Moussa, and Sabbahi.

On the other hand a sizable chunk of secular votes went to the “moderate Islamist” Abul Fotouh.

Another interesting phenomenon is that the Nasserist, Hamadeen Sabahi, won most of his votes from heavily urban industrial big cities like Cairo, Giza, Alexandria, Suez.

Whereas the Brotherhood won decisively in rural Upper Egypt.

It seems the secular Left’s break with the countryside has been completed,

In the 1960s it was the other way round, Nasserists/Baathists could count on the countryside while the Islamist support was concentrated in the City.

This signals a significant demographic change in Arab countries over the last 40 years.

May 25th, 2012, 6:14 pm


bronco said:

152. Tara

Maybe if the SNC takes over the reconstruction, these places will be gone. Hamidieh souk would be transformed into Hamidieh Tower with Baskin and Robbins instead of Bekdash, Sheraton swimming only twice a week for women and curfew at 8 p.m.

No pictures except Erdogan’s and a veiled Lady Gaga’s.

May 25th, 2012, 6:19 pm


Antoine said:

155. BRONCO said:

“Maybe if the SNC takes over”


SNC won’t take over. The Local Coordination Comittees and the FSA will take over.

And you can bet they will impose Homsi Law on Damascus.

May 25th, 2012, 6:52 pm


Tara said:


What is the Homsi law?

May 25th, 2012, 6:55 pm


Antoine said:

Today for the first time in 14 months, Tanks were deployed in Aleppo City.

The regime has lost one of its main weapons, namely that if deterrence through extreme violence. The people no longer are afraid of any level of violence.

While USA, Jordan, Turkey, et. al are still afraid of his stupid Trochka missiles.

May 25th, 2012, 6:56 pm


zoo said:

The Qatari charged for the unrest in North Lebanon was discreetly released on bail and swiftly sent home. His identity has not been revealed. Did Al Jazeera mentioned him?.

Judicial sources said Moulawi – who still faces charges despite his release on bail – was one of six accused people including a relative of a senior official from the Gulf state of Qatar, which has called for arming Syria’s rebels.

They said the Qatari was allowed to leave Lebanon with his charge still pending. Moulawi denied any relationship with that person, saying: “From the very beginning of the interrogation this name was never mentioned to me, at all.”

May 25th, 2012, 7:52 pm


bronco said:

#156 Antoine

Great! another military regime but this time made of defectors who in 3 years would have had the time to learn turkish and developed a devotion for Ataturk.

May 25th, 2012, 8:01 pm


Tara said:

Turkey foils Syrian plot to kidnap rebel leader Riad al-Assad

Turkish security forces have foiled a plot to kidnap Syrian rebel commander Riad al-Assad from his headquarters in a refugee camp along the Turkish-Syrian border.

Authorities arrested three men in Turkey’s southern Hatay province – one Syrian intelligence operative and two Turkish citizens – after the attempted attack last week and charged them with spying for Syria.

Turkey is hosting officers from the Free Syrian Army (FSA) – a loose collection of armed rebels factions – as the Syrian regime continues its 15-month crackdown on dissent. Around 10,000 people have died so far, according to estimates from the United Nations. Turkey has gone to great lengths to show it is protecting Riad al-Assad – a former colonel in the Syrian army who emerged as the head of the FSA in October – after corrupt Turkish intelligence agents who were apparently collaborating with the Syrian regime kidnapped his predecessor, a defected Syrian officer named Hussein Harmoush, from Turkey in August.

May 25th, 2012, 8:06 pm


bronco said:

#163 Tara

I guess Riad Al Assad should be careful about his cook in the turkish camps. The alleged attempt by the FSA to use poison to kill its enemies could give ideas to some that are easier and more radical than kidnapping.

May 25th, 2012, 8:16 pm


Ghufran said:

I say Bravo to our Egyptian friends,I hope to see this day coming to Syria by next year inshallah . Egyptian gave 53% of their votes to secular candidates,this makes it fairly possible that Egypt’s next president will not be from the MB. Even if an Islamist wins,it is obvious that the mood in Egypt is changing and that is a healthy sign. Sabahi,my guy,had a strong showing but he may not become president,however,his success is the biggest surprise to observers,sorry Antoine.
This election was also an opportunity to feel sorry at the status in Syria where a similar political revolution is still more of a hope than a reality.

May 25th, 2012, 8:26 pm


Tara said:


The poison story is difficult to believe and sounds medieval. I think it was a psych op. Stories that are coming from Syria are freaky.. The scariest one was the hospitals becoming torture centers and nurses and doctors taking part in torturing patients. I would have a panic attack if I need to be hospitalized in Syria. I would travel to Lebanon instead.

May 25th, 2012, 8:28 pm


Juergen said:


We should say, Next year in Damascus!

Here is an nice documentary by a german filmaker who interviewed Syrians in Germany about what happens in Syria, 7 parts all on youtube. Its all in German except for an interesting young couple who speak in English. Especially the second part has much of their interview, but in all parts they speak up.

The women said in it that as a joke the regime probably by now wish they would have a time mashine to go back in time and just use paint to cover up the graffiti of those students in Darraa which started the whole revolution in Syria.

1st part

2nd part:

all other parts:

May 25th, 2012, 8:38 pm


Juergen said:

Horrifying images appeared tonight of Al Houla, I could not watch all of what was shared. Like Samar Yazbek wrote it I see it: how can those killers sleep at night, how can they love their own children when they do their dirty work and slaughter the children of others.

May 25th, 2012, 9:06 pm


Son of Damascus said:

Where are the UN observers? Where is the world?
How can they let this mad man keep killing our children? What posses a psychopath to do these horrible acts against defenceless CHILDREN?

Souria Al Assad and its sick and backwards mentality did this!!!!


May 25th, 2012, 9:15 pm


Tara said:


Please tell me when did this happen? Is it new or old footage?

There shall be no reconciliation ever, never.

May 25th, 2012, 9:27 pm


Son of Damascus said:


It happened today in Houla Homs, regime forces massacred at least 50 civilians of those 13 children. Same sick method of operation that was done in Karam El Zeitoun, Idlib and else where, shell the town and massacre any one leaving.

May 25th, 2012, 9:32 pm


Son of Damascus said:

One of the injured survivors recounts what he witnessed in Houla.

(Graphic Content)

May 25th, 2012, 9:35 pm


Tara said:

Qatar and Turkey should ask the Security Council to meet urgently and declare Annan mission a failure and pull the observers. FOS must provide unlimited supply of weapons to the FSA to topple the regime. There is no watt out. The UN should feel ashamed that the massacre of the children is happening under it’s watch. Has Israelis bludgeoned Palestinian children to death?

May 25th, 2012, 9:44 pm


Son of Damascus said:

Injured baby receiving treatment at a field hospital, this baby should be at a real hospital but in Souria Al Assad this baby does not deserve to live, ya heef.

A room full of corpses in shrouds.

A video with about a dozen fallen children and women

Video of a man that lost ihs arm because of the indiscriminate shelling

All the videos above are graphic evidence of Assad’s crimes!

May 25th, 2012, 9:49 pm


Son of Damascus said:


I read on twitter that Hadi Abdallah (an activist in Homs) called the UN monitors to come and witness the massacres and crimes being committed, the monitors replied him “the regime does not allow us to travel at night”.

This massacre happened under the watchful eyes of the international community, and they can’t even be bothered to go witness it.

May 25th, 2012, 9:55 pm


Juergen said:


the other day i saw a pic of an observer holding happily smiling an picture of Assad, cant find that anymore on FB. May be an exception, but who knows, it was Assad who choosed the nationalities.

Ban said today that he does not have an plan B for Syria, well lets have an other Bosnia, an other Rwanda.

May 25th, 2012, 9:59 pm


Tara said:


Where are you? Please come and watch the link SOD provided and say something..anything that may make these images disappear. The image of bludgeoned children in tens is unbearable. I am afraid it will etch in my memory. When did this ever happen in history? Children? In Bosnia? In Nazi Germany? Aren’t these animals afraid of divine intervention? Are Fawaz, Sahar, and Asma watching? And where is God?

May 25th, 2012, 10:06 pm


Son of Damascus said:


The worlds and UN reaction so far is deplorable, and I hold the UNSC responsible for this massacre this happened under their watchful eye, their presence in Syria is no longer valid if these kinds of massacres are happening.

Not only have they not been able to make Bashar and the regime adhere to a single point of the Annan plan, they have failed to stop them from committing horrendous acts of barbarity.

This massacre and this regime is the epitome of evil.

May 25th, 2012, 10:08 pm


Syrialover said:

Tara – Devastating,and terrifying to think that Syria and the world has come to this.

But if you want a precedent, I am still haunted by similar images of dead children after Israeli actions against Palestinians and southern Lebanese.

May 25th, 2012, 10:14 pm


Tara said:


It would have been easier if the regime just shelled them to death.

Murder is murder however the style is but again I can’t even begin to imagine the look on the face if a child or how a child feels while being slaughtered like this, or watching his brothers or sisters being slaughtered in front of him.

May 25th, 2012, 10:21 pm


Tara said:

This footage should be sent to Kofi Annan. This has occurred under his watch. If he continues to endorse the sixth points plan after this massacre, he should be declared an accomplice. Annan must declare the mission a failure to prompt the UNSC to live up to it’s expectation.

On the other hand, the FSA must announce the ceasefire null and void.

May 25th, 2012, 10:37 pm


bronco said:

#163 Ghufran

“Egyptian gave 53% of their votes to secular candidates”

The ‘secular’ candidate is also a military candidate, the same line of Nasser, Sadat, Mobarak. And also an ex-Mobarak actor. Nothing new.

The Moslem Brotherhood still have chances if Qatar puts enough money to get more votes in the second round.

In any case the divide is clear between the large cities and the rural areas. Large cities voted Shafiq , i.e secular, most rural areas voted Morsy, islamist.
The same divide exists in Syria.

May 25th, 2012, 10:38 pm


zoo said:

Is the FSA protecting the civilians as they claim or simply exposing them to violence by hiding among them. Houla, a replica of Bab Amr?

A report by current UN leader by Ban Ki-moon said meanwhile that groups fighting President Bashar al-Assad now control “significant” parts of some cities and there is “considerable physical destruction” across the country.

“There is a continuing crisis on the ground, characterized by regular violence, deteriorating humanitarian conditions, human rights violations and continued political confrontation,” said the report, obtained by AFP on Friday. It is to be debated by the UN Security Council next week.

More than 50 civilians, including 13 children, were killed in army shelling of Houla, a town in the central province of Homs, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

May 25th, 2012, 10:50 pm


omen said:


A Syrian from Dara`a burned himself in front of the Syrian embassy in London in protest of the HoulaMassacre. He is in critical condition.

May 25th, 2012, 10:55 pm


zoo said:

Inside Jordan, worries about Iran and Syria

Editor’s note: CNN’s Barbara Starr is covering the Eager Lion military exercise in Jordan.
By Barbara Starr

The tiny nation of Jordan may be one of the most important U.S. allies in the Middle East, but these days trouble is brewing from growing al Qaeda threats in the region.

In several days of talking here with senior U.S. military, diplomatic and Jordanian officials, the word most often heard is “instability.” What worries Jordan is that regional stability could be shaken even more by unrest in neighboring Syria and also by Iran’s nuclear intentions.

And the Syria and Iran problems increasingly may be linked.

These officials also informally believe that the Syrian crisis now essentially has distracted the Iranian leadership so much it may be lessening the immediacy of a nuclear weapons threat from Teheran. Up until a few months ago Jordanian leaders privately believed Israel was likely close to striking Iranian nuclear sites, but now they say, that seems to have eased.

But they also warn the Arab world sees the new Israeli government as a “war cabinet,” and Iran could make the decision yet to proceed with a nuclear agenda.

Still, the worries Jordan feels from Iran are significant.

“Iran is a problem for the whole region,” one official here said. Hezbollah ties to the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) are now virtually complete, Jordan feels, with the Iranian regime providing the group weapons and full financial and other support.

Jordan is in fact worried Hezbollah operations could target it.

But for the United States, the most direct worry still comes from al Quaeda in Yemen, also known as al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). The Jordanian assessment is that some Jordanian fighters have traveled to Yemen to join the group as well as fighters from the Palestinian territory, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE and Libya

May 25th, 2012, 10:56 pm


Son of Damascus said:


“Is the FSA protecting the civilians as they claim or simply exposing them to violence by hiding among them. Houla, a replica of Bab Amr?”

The better question you should be asking Zoo is why is the regime and its security forces that swore to protect Syria committing such horrendous actions, it is the REGIME that killed those innocent children, NOT the FSA.

BTW the neighbourhood is called Baba Amr, since it has two doors leading into it, Bab would signify a single entrance.

May 25th, 2012, 11:10 pm


zoo said:

Israeli extremists go on anti-African pogrom

Published Thursday, May 24, 2012

There were few black faces in HaTikva market in south Tel Aviv on Thursday, after a night of violence in which hordes of Israelis went on the rampage, smashing shops and property owned by Africans.

Wednesday night’s pogroms are a sign of growing racism among sections of Israelis towards rising numbers of African immigrants.

May 25th, 2012, 11:12 pm


zoo said:

Official: 50% turnout through final day of Egypt’s historic presidential vote

May 25th, 2012, 11:17 pm


Ghufran said:

Kidnapping Lebanese pilgrims,even though they were released,and the growing influence of anti regime forces in N.Lebanon along with the embarrassing details about arms shipments to Syrian rebels through Lebanon are raising alarms in Lebanon,the simple reason is the realization that fighting parties want to use Lebanon to advance their influence. This is what Sulaiman said:
“إذا كان قائد الجيش السوري الحر رياض الأسعد متواجد على الأراضي اللبنانية، فسنقوم بإعتقاله”
A friend from northern Lebanon confirmed that the situation in that area is ready to explode to the dismay of most Lebanese who do not want another civil war even at a smaller scale.
The point is: only a regional agreement can stop the bleeding and prevent a catastrophe in Lebanon,forget about those little deals that act like a bandage.
Within 3 weeks,Egypt will have a new president,and that person may not be an MB but an ex official from Mubarak era,if this happens,Egypt will become a pioneer in revolting against a dictator ,then bringing one of his friends to replace him,this model may find its way to other countries if people starts to believe that security and stability are prerequisites for democracy,the trouble in Syria is that,unlike Egypt,the regime has not moved an inch closer to allowing people to vote freely but chose to let people “discover ” how much they are likely to lose if they chose a regime change. If Shafiq wins,that will be a vote for security and experience over the slogans of freedom and political renewal. This formula may work in Egypt as long as no party has an absolute power over national affairs,remember that the era when Egypt’s president can rely on the PA blind support is over,this new relatively balanced political reality has not found its path to Syria yet,accepting the “other” is still a foreign concept in the Syrian political dictionary.

May 26th, 2012, 12:33 am


Uzair8 said:

177. Tara said:

Aren’t these animals afraid of divine intervention? Are Fawaz, Sahar, and Asma watching? And where is God?


I heard about this in the radio headlines last night and was reminded of a warning from Sheikh Nazim a couple of days ago. I decided not to share that warning video at the time as I want to post sparingly and selectively from religious scholars.

I dare not watch the images or videos of these massacres and reading the comments on here from #166 onwards I can feel the horror. I feel nauseous and trembling within.

Sheikh Nazim warning after the arrival of the month of Rajab (See video or see extracts from the transcript below):

Indeed, The Vengeance of your Lord Is Severe
May 21 2012


Extracts from transcript:

It arrived this month, it is blessed with Glory! Divine Glory. Not just any Glory but this year the month of Rajab arrived with a Glory a Divine Glory! And if a month starts with Divine Glory it means that The Lord of Heavens & Earth Will take His (swt) Vengeance from those who kill the servants of Allah (swt) with no.. with no reason, with no rights! The Lord of Majesty Will take His Vengeance on these people. He (swt) gave an order the first order from the beginning of this blessed month.

The Heavenly order to the people of the earth and especially to the Muslim world, an addressing.. A Heavenly addressing – »Stop killing! Otherwise »Inna Batsha Rabbika Lashadidun« (85:12) He (swt) Will take Vengeance! Those who do not stop killing Allah (awj) Will take revenge. This is the first order that was given the evening of the blessed month of Rajab Al Murajjab. O people stop killing in general and especially to the Muslim people. O Muslims stop the killing! Otherwise The Lord of Heavens Will take His revenge on you.

..Stop, put an end to killing immediately before there comes on you a vengeance – a severe vengeance from Heavens on all the nations. He (swt) Will take vengeance! Subhana Allah!

…Support us with Heavenly Support, O Lord of Heavens & earths. O our Lord for the sake of Your generous Prophet (saws) Sayyidi Al Awwalin wa Al Akhirin. Support us with Heavenly support. If they do not stop, these tyrants of the earth, tyrant people, If they do not stop a severe vengeance will come on them.

…Stop the killing & correct the situation between you. O Muslims this is the Order of Allah (swt).

…If you stop & leave the killing for the sake of Allah›s (swt) order, you will be saved. Otherwise »Indeed, The Vengeance of Your Lord Is Severe« (85:12) A strike will come that cannot be taken back, ever! Allah (swt) Will take His Vengeance.

May 26th, 2012, 3:50 am


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