“As Protests Mount, Is There a Soft Landing for Syria?” by Joshua Landis

As Protests Mount, Is There a Soft Landing for Syria?
Joshua Landis in Time
March 25, 2011

The regime has been rocked by protests and is offering to make changes even as it clings to power. But divisions of sect and social class mean that its fate may rest with the choices of the Sunni social elite

The Baathist regime that has ruled Syria for 48 years is on the ropes. Even President Bashar al-Assad himself seems to have been shocked by the level of violence used by Syria’s security forces to suppress demonstrations that began a week ago, and on Thursday afternoon his office announced unprecedented concessions to popular demands. But the question of whether those concessions assuage protesters’ concerns or prove to be too little too late may be answered on the streets after Friday prayers.

The protests began a week ago in the dusty agricultural town of Dara’a, near the border with Jordan, over the arrests of high school students for scrawling antigovernment graffiti. Those demonstrations quickly spun out of control, with thousands joining in, inspired by the wave of revolutions that have rocked the Arab world, to demand political freedoms and an end to emergency rule and corruption. The government responded brutally, killing over 30 demonstrators and wounding many more, according to activists. Gruesome videos of the crackdown, disseminated via the Internet in recent days, have enraged Syrians from one end of the country to the other.

On Thursday, the regime began to try a different tack, with Assad’s spokeswoman Buthaina Shaaban offering the President’s condolences to the people of Dara’a and acknowledging their “legitimate” demands, even as she insisted that reports of the scale of protests and the number of casualties had been exaggerated. Oddly, the President has himself not appeared on TV since Syria’s political troubles began, apparently hoping to protect himself from criticism. But Shaaban insisted that Assad was completely against the use of live fire in suppressing the demonstrations. She emphasized that she had been present in the room when the President ordered the security agencies to refrain from shooting at protesters — “not one bullet.”

But the only promised concessions that can be taken to the bank are pay rises for state employees of up to 30%, and the release of all activists arrested in the past weeks. Other reforms, which the regime undertook to study, are job creation, press freedom, permitting the formation of opposition parties and lifting emergency law. Should they be implemented, those changes would be nothing short of revolutionary. But many activists have already dismissed Assad’s offer as a stalling tactic to make it through the next few days of funerals and, most importantly, Friday prayers. The opposition has called for Syrians to assemble in large numbers in mosques for a day of “dignity” and demonstrations.

In order to mount a serious challenge to the regime’s iron grip on power, opposition activists will have to move their protest actions beyond Dara’a and its surrounding villages, and extend it to the major cities. Their attempt to do so presents the country with a choice of great consequence: they must decide if Syria is more like Egypt and Tunisia, where the people achieved sufficient unity to peacefully oust their rulers, or whether Syria is more like Iraq and Lebanon, which slipped into civil war and endless factionalism. (See TIME’s interactive map “Rage across the Region.”)

Like its neighbors Iraq and Lebanon, Syria is a multireligious and ethnically diverse society. President Assad belongs to the Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shi’ite Islam of which adherents comprise just 12% of Syria’s population. The Dara’a protests prompted Alawites in the coastal city of Latakia to gather in large numbers in a central square, Dawwar az-Ziraa, to show support for their embattled President. Many have changed their Facebook profile images to a picture of Bashar. Syrian Christians and other religious minorities that together make up a further 13% of the Syrian population have also shown broad support for Assad, who has defended secularism. Many have worked themselves into a panic about the possibility that political upheaval will empower Islamists, as happened in Iraq. Almost 1 million Iraqi refugees live in Syria, their presence a cautionary tale of regime change that has gone wrong.

Key to a successful revolution is splitting Syria’s elites, which comprise the Alawite officer class of the security forces and the great Sunni merchant and industrial families, who preside over the economy as well as Syria’s moral and cultural universe. If those elites stick together, it is difficult to envisage widespread but scattered popular revolts overturning the regime. But an Alawite-Sunni split within the elites would doom the regime. The cohesion of those elites, though, is a question of social class as much as of confession.

The centrality of Dara’a in the uprising may have limited its appeal to the urban elites. The dusty border city marked by tribal loyalties, poverty and Islamic conservatism may inspire Syria’s rural masses who suffer from poverty, a prolonged drought and joblessness, but mass demonstrations there have frightened Syria’s urban elites. Even those who share anger at repressions and hope for liberation with their rural counterparts still fear the poor and the threat of disorder.

The urban elites, in fact, see the regime itself as a dictatorship of countryfolk. The Baath Party that took power in 1963 was dominated by young military officers and rural elements that had little more than high school education and a mishmash of socialism and Arabism to guide them. Their meager education combined with resentment at the wealth and privilege of Syria’s urban elites provided a lethal brew, prompting nationalization of land and businesses.

Having been brought up in privilege in Damascus, the President has more in common with the capital’s elite than he does with the Alawites of the coastal mountains who brought his father to power. When Bashar al-Assad took over after his father’s death in 2000, he began liberalizing the economy and society. High culture has boomed. Foreign imports, tourism and arts are being revived. Today, Syria is a wonderful place to be wealthy; life is fun and vibrant for the well-heeled.

For the impoverished majority, however, the picture is grim. One-third of the population lives on $2 a day or less. Unemployment is rampant, and four years of drought have reduced Syria’s eastern countryside to a wasteland of dusty and destitute towns and cities like Dara’a. The last thing wealthy Aleppines, Homsis and Damascenes want is a revolution that brings to power a new political class based in the rural poor, or for the country to slip into chaos and possible civil war.

The Arab rebellion is sorting out the countries of the Middle East, distinguishing those that have become true nations, with a cohesive political community and an ability to leave behind the postcolonial era of dictatorship and repression, from those doomed to struggle by divisions of ethnicity, sect and tribe. Lebanon and Iraq have both stumbled. Libya is crashing before our eyes, and Yemen may also follow in a downward spiral.

In all likelihood, there is no soft landing for the Syrian regime, whether it comes sooner or later. Fearful of being pushed from power and persecuted, Alawite military leaders are likely to stick by the President. What remains to be seen is whether the Sunni elite, which has stood by the Assad family for over four decades in the name of security and stability, will continue to do so — or whether President Assad is willing to risk making profound and risky changes.

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2061364,00.html#ixzz1HlkLDFLO

Joshua Landis is the director of Center for Middle East Studies, University of Oklahoma and author of the blog http://www.syriacomment.com

[End of story]

Live updates on towns in which demonstrations are taking place. (Lebanon Now)

Al-Arabiya reports demonstrations in Damascus, Duma, Latakia, Homs and Reka.

To read more: http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=253828#ixzz1HcGpgvIa
Only 25% of a given NOW Lebanon article can be republished. For information on republishing rights from NOW Lebanon: http://www.nowlebanon.com/Sub.aspx?ID=125478

Additional comments by readers

By the way, just now BBC and aljazeera reporters asked to leave Daraa just before prayers.

On a separate note, strange things happened today. Aljazeera usually broadcasts part of Qaradawi’s sermon every Friday during the revolutions. Today it didn’t. While Orient TV for the first time had his sermon live from Doha. And surprise surprise Qaradawi called on the Syrian people to revolt and that Gaddafi, Saleh and Bashar are the same, and the need for Muslims everywhere to support Syrian brothers! Meanwhile, Al-Bouti [most popular and senior Imam in Syria] sermon was about the need to give the promises by the government a chance and the need of calm.

How did Orient know that Qaradawi would be supporting Syria demonstrations today? Interesting. There seems to be some coordination taking place between Islamists everywhere and Syrian opposition outside. Qaradawi praised Bashar as a young educated open-minded doctor who he met during the war on Gaza. Then he followed it with “Syrians view him as a Sunni”!!! And that he is surrounded by corrupt and brutal men.

Reports on small demos in idleb and its villages. Orient reporting about a demo in Halab.

I think things will calm down later this afternoon.

If the government didn’t act yesterday with these “promises” the situation today would have been much worse.

Any indication of Syrians being tricked again with promises will be the final straw. I’ve been angry for 2 months because I was seeing this happening. The government didn’t act. If it did it would have been looking as the strongest in the region. The reaction (with same concessions) makes the gov look weak true. But at this point looking weak and giving the people their demands is much better than looking like Gaddafi….

Rula Amin from Aljazeera English in Damascus: “this is a new Syria. Not clear if people are emboldened by government concessions or because of Daraa but everyone is openly speaking up everywhere in Syria. This is a new Syria”

Syria’s Bashar Al-Assad Faces Most Serious Unrest of His Tenure
By: Leila Fadel | The Washington Post

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was facing the most serious unrest of his 11-year tenure Thursday as anti-government protests in a southwestern city threatened to escalate after a deadly crackdown….

“Every Syrian is frightened, and they don’t want to be Iraq. That’s the cautionary tale — and the government has raised the banner of security and stability for the last 40 years,” said Joshua Landis, a Syria expert and director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma. “They’re hesitating, but it seems like there is a big hole in the dike here, and the fear factor is collapsing. The latest videos streaming out are horrifying; they’re very gruesome.”

The people will either react to the violence perpetrated by security forces in Daraa or submit to the fear, Landis said.

“The government is gambling that the people will be horrified by the prospect of Iraq, and the opposition hopes that the people will be emboldened and angered and go out Friday and demand change,” he said…..

Abd el-Karim Rihawi, of the Syrian Human Rights League, said most Syrians sympathize with Assad and would prefer him to be the agent of change.

“They don’t want to destroy their country,” Rihawi said. But, he added, referring to the government, “if they insist on dealing with this movement with an iron fist, I think maybe the situation will blow up — and we can’t imagine what that will look like.”….

Peter Harling at International Crisis Group

“… A window of opportunity still exists to change these dynamics, although it is fast closing. Unlike most of his peers in the region, President Bashar Assad has accumulated significant political capital, and many Syrians are willing, for now, to give him the benefit of the doubt. In fact, a broad range of citizens – including members of the security apparatus – are desperately waiting for him to take the lead and to propose, before it is too late, an alternative to spiraling confrontation. Although he has held numerous consultations and sent some signals of impending reform through the foreign media and other officials, he has yet to assume clear and palpable leadership.

Instead, faced with an unprecedented, multi-faceted, fast-paced and critical challenge, the power apparatus at best is implementing chaotic steps that convey a sense of confusion, at worst is reacting according to well-ingrained habits. Left to its own devices, it will send precisely the wrong messages to a population that will not wait much longer for the regime to get its act together and to put forward a comprehensive and credible vision. At this point, only one thing can change swiftly, dramatically and effectively for the better, and that is the president’s own attitude…..

President Assad must show visible leadership and do so now. His political capital today depends less on his past foreign policy successes than on his ability to live up to popular expectations at a time of dangerous domestic crisis. Meanwhile, repression perpetrated under his responsibility is costing him dearly. He alone can prove that change is possible and already in the making, restore some sense of clarity and direction to a bewildered power apparatus and put forward a detailed framework for structural change. This should include several steps:

Hizbullah Member Accuses Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel and America of Conspiring to Bring Down Syria and of Sending Arms into Syria

Tayyar, Lebanon
وحول أحداث درعا في سوريا إعتبر نصرالله أنّ فريق الحريري السياسي وملحقاته يلعبون بالأمن القومي اللبناني لتحقيق مصالحهم “سنردّ عليهم في الوقت المناسب، وليرقص سعد الحريري قدر ما يستطيع في البقاع خروجه من لبنان حتمي، الحريرية السياسية في لبنان إنتهت، اللعبة اصبحت مكشوفة أولى تداعيات ضرب المقاومة وحزب الله توطين الفلسطينيين كما ستكشفه وثائق “ويكيلكس” بتوطين 50 ألف في صيدا وشرقها، و50 الف أخرى في البقاع الغربي و50 الف فلسطيني في دوائر بيروت و50 الف في طرابلس أيضاً”.
وإعتبر نصرالله انّ احداث سوريا الأخيرة سكشفت المتورطين الفعليين خلال ساعات قليلة “هناك 3 جهات متورطة في احداث درعا. أميركا وإسرائيل يسعدان برؤية سوريا منقسمة ويعمّها الفوضى، فريق 13 آذار متورّط وستكشف اسماؤهم في الإعترافات بعد عدة أيام… احد النواب و 5 رجال من البقاع الغربي والشمال هم وراء إفتعال المشاكل في سوريا، وللأسف أحدهم كان من أبرز اصدقاء أجهزة المخابرات السورية”.

يكمل نصرالله حديثه: “الجزء المكمّل للمتورطين في احداث سوريا هي الأردن والسعودية.. وقد تمّ القبض على شاحنات مليئة بالذخائر آتية من الأردن الى سوريا. العملية كلّها منظمّة، والأيام ستكشف البروباغاندا الكاذبة”.

يضيف نصرالله: “سوريا خلال السنوات الأخيرة تشهد نمواً وإصلاحاً كبيرين دون وجود دين خارجي على الإطلاق، والقطاع العام في سوريا نجح بعكس مصر ودول الخليج.. في النهاية من يراهن على

Is There a Soft Landing for Syria?

The regime has been rocked by protests and is offering to make changes even as it clings to power. But divisions of sect and social class mean that its fate may rest with the choices of the Sunni social elite

Joshua Landis

<p> The Ba’athist regime that has ruled Syria for 48 years is on the ropes.  Even President Bashar al-Assad himself seems to have been shocked by the level of violence used by Syria’s security forces to suppress demonstrations that began a week ago, and on Thursday afternoon his office
announced unprecedented concessions to popular demands. But the question of whether those concessions assuage protestors, or prove to be too little too late may be answered on the streets after Friday prayers.
</p>
<p>
The protests began a week ago in the dusty agricultural town of Dera’a, near the border with Jordan, over the arrest of high-school students for scrawling anti-government graffiti. Those demonstrations quickly spun out of control, with thousands joining in, inspired by the wave of revolutions that have rocked the Arab world, to demand political freedoms and an end to emergency rule and corruption. The government responded brutally, killing over 30 demonstrators and wounding many more, according to activists. Gruesome videos of the crackdown, disseminated via the internet in recent days, has  enraged Syrians from one end of the country to the other.
</p>
<p>
On Thursday, the regime began to try a different tack, with Assad’s spokeswoman Buthaina Shaaban offering his condolences to the people of Dara’a and acknowledging their “legitimate” demands, even as she insisted that reports of the scale of protests and the number of casualties had been exaggerated.  Oddly, the President has himself not appeared on TV since Syria’s political troubles began, apparently hoping to protect himself from criticism. But Shaaban insisted that Assad was completely against the use of live fire in suppressing the demonstrations. She emphasized that she had been present in the room when the President ordered the security agencies to refrain from shooting at protesters [EM] “not one bullet.”
</p>
<p>
But the only promised concessions that can be taken to the bank are pay raises for state employees’ of up to 30%, and the release of all activists arrested in the past weeks. Other reforms, which the regime undertook to study, are job creation, press freedoms, permitting the formation of opposition parties, and lifting emergency law. Should they be implemented, those changes would be nothing short of revolutionary. But many activists have already dismissed Assad’s offer as a stalling tactic  to make it through the next few days of funerals and most importantly, Friday prayers. The opposition has called for Syrians to assemble in large numbers in mosques, for a day of “dignity” and demonstrations.
</p>
<p>
In order to mount a serious challenge to the regime’s iron grip on power, opposition activists will have to move their protest actions beyond Dera’a and its surrounding villages, and extend it to the major cities. Their attempt to do so presents the country with a choice of great consequence: They must decide if Syria is more like Egypt and Tunisia, where the people achieved sufficient unity to  peacefully oust their rulers, or whether Syria is more like Iraq and Lebanon, which slipped into civil war and endless factionalism.
</p>
<p>
Like its neighbors Iraq and Lebanon, Syria is a multi-religious and ethnically diverse society. President Assad belongs to the Alawite sect, an off-shoot of Shi’ism whose adherents comprise just 12% of Syria’s population. The Dara’a protests prompted Alawites in the coastal city of Latakia to gather in large numbers in a central square, Dawwar az-ziraa, to show support for their embattled president.  Many have changed their Facebook profile images to a picture of Bashar.  Syrian Christians and other religious minorities that together make up a further 13% of the Syrian population have also shown broad support for Assad, who has defended secularism. Many have worked themselves into a panic about the possibility that political upheaval will empower Islamists, as happened in Iraq.  Almost a million Iraqi refugees live in Syria, their presence a cautionary tale of regime-change gone wrong.
</p>
<p> ?Key to a successful revolution is splitting Syria’s elite, which comprises the Alawite officer class of the security forces, and the great Sunni merchant and industrial families, who preside over the economy as well as Syria’s moral and cultural universe.  If those elites stick together, it is difficult to envisage widespread but scattered popular revolts overturning the regime. But an Alawite-Sunni split within the elite would doom the regime. The cohesion of those elites, though, is a question of social class as much as of confession.
</p>
<p>
The centrality of Dera’a in the uprising may have limited its appeal to the urban elites.  The dusty border city marked by tribal loyalties, poverty, and Islamic conservatism may inspire Syria’s rural masses who suffer from poverty, a prolonged drought, and joblessness, but mass demonstrations there frightened Syria’s urban elite. Even those that share an anger at repression and a hope for liberation with their rural counterparts still fear the poor and the threat of disorder.
</p>
<p>
The urban elites, in fact, see the regime itself as a dictatorship of country folk. The Ba’ath Party that took power in 1963 was dominated by young military officers and rural elements that had little more than high-school educations and a mishmash of socialism and Arabism to guide them. Their meager education combined with resentment at the wealth and privilege of Syria’s urban elites provided a lethal brew, prompting nationalization of land and businesses.
</p>
<p>
Having been brought up in privilege in Damascus, the President has more in common with the capital’s elite than he does with the Alawites of the coastal mountains who brought his father to power. When Bashar al-Assad took over after his father’s death in 2000, he began liberalizing the economy and society. High culture has boomed. Foreign imports, tourism and the arts are being revived. Today, Syria is a wonderful place to be wealthy; life is fun and vibrant for the well-heeled.
</p>
<p>
For the impoverished majority, however, the picture is grim. One third of the population lives on two dollars a day or less. Unemployment is rampant, and four years of drought has reduced Syria’s eastern countryside to a wasteland of dusty and destitute towns and cities like Dera’a. The last thing wealthy Aleppines, Homsis and Damascenes want is a revolution that brings to power a new political class based in the rural poor, or  for the country to slip into chaos and possible civil war.
</p>
<p>
The Arab rebellion is “sorting out” the countries of the Middle East, distinguishing those that have become true nations, with a cohesive political community, and an ability to leave behind the post-colonial era of dictatorship and repression, from those doomed to struggle by divisions of ethnicity, sect and tribe. Lebanon and Iraq have both stumbled. Libya is crashing before our eyes, and Yemen may also follow in a downward spiral.
</p>
<p>
In all likelihood, there is no soft landing for the Syrian regime, whether it comes sooner or later. Fearful of being pushed from power and persecuted, Alawite military leaders are likely to stick by the president. What remains to be seen is whether the Sunni elite, which has stood by the Assad family for over four decades in the name of security and stability, will continue to do so [EM] or whether President Assad is willing to risk making profound and risky changes.
</p>
<p>
<i>Joshua Landis is the director of Center for Middle East Studies, University of Oklahoma and author of the blog [XREF {http://www.syriacomment.com/} {Syria Comment}]</i></p>

Comments (55)


ever said:

In Le Monde(http://www.lemonde.fr/idees/article/2011/03/25/bachar-al-assad-dirige-t-il-encore-la-syrie_1498286_3232.html#ens_id=1481132), Ignace Leverrier, presented as a former diplomat and a researcher, wonders if Bacahr al Bachar still controls Syria. He argues that several decisions and immediate counter decisions (such as give the impression of a war inside the first circle of powethe interdiction and then release of the newspaper Al Watan yesterday) give the impression of a war inside the first circle of power in Syria. What do you think of that?

March 25th, 2011, 9:11 am

 

AIG said:

As I wrote here a couple of weeks ago, it was clear that the revolution in Egypt was bad news for Syria’s regime, especially after Qardawi gave a sermon in Tahrir Square.

The last thing I wish upon the people of Syria is a civil war. And may they never suffer from suicide bombings like we did in Israel and the Iraqis have. But please understand that Assad was acting extremely stupid letting suicide bombers into Iraq and funding Hamas and its suicide bombings in Israel. Assad has nurtured and supported that kind of politics and methods that Qardawi represents. Did he really believe that it will never be directed at him?

March 25th, 2011, 9:50 am

 

nafdik said:

Great article Joshua.

A few comments:

– You say that Bashar is shocked by the level of violence of the security forces. This could have been true for the 1st wave, but how do we explain the second wave? It is clear that calibrating the violence is one the most importance keys to regime survival and it is clearly done at the highest level. Are there some decision centers not under Bashar control? who are they in your opinion?

– Your conclusion that the sorting out of regimes is by true national cohesion vs mosaic states is right in only one sense. It is not a characteristic of the country but more of the sectarian alignment of the armed forces. If Egypt president was Copt and the army officers were Copts the revolution would have turned into Libya style civil war.

– In terms of statistics Syria is a rather uniform nation: 90% Arabs, 75% Sunni. It does not resemble Lebanon and is only half as diverse as Iraq to say the least.

– I am not sure how powerful the fabled Sunni merchant class is. In the last round of revolutions they had little influence on events and their moral, political, cultural and military influence is now much lower than it was 50 years ago.

March 25th, 2011, 9:58 am

 

Revlon said:

Day 11th of The Syrian Peoples Revolution,
Post-Friday demonstrations have grown in size.
Demostrations have spread to 7ama City.
The revolution is in the ascendancy.

The driving force is the disadvantaged :The unemployed, the oppressed, and the neglected.

The elite along social, economic, and miltary lines are anxiously watching.
Jumping the sinking ship should be timed to perfection, else they stand to loose existing or future previliges offered by the victorious.

YouTube, Sednaya prison video clip is being watched by more and more Syrians and Non-Syrians.
I pray that mothers, fathers and family members of those jailed and disappeared in that prison never see the clip.
The clip is bound to heavily impact the course of events in the next few weeks.

Dar3a murders have virtually ended the 40 year long reign of the system.
Sednaya prison clip will pave the way for national and international calls for trials for crimes against humanity.

March 25th, 2011, 10:11 am

 

Christopher Assad said:

I doubt that the profound changes President Assad intends to introduce would pause a risk to his presidency. In fact, such changes would serve to get rid, once and for all, of unnecessary laws that have permitted security authorities to make the mistakes that were made in Daraa.

In my view, time is of the essence. The delay to bring about promised change is not excusable, regardless of the opposition that the President may have faced in the last decade. The issue now is that those who benefit from the status quo must yield their narrow personal interests to the greater national interest. If they don’t, they would place themselves, the regime as well as the state itself in grave danger of descent into open revolt.

Syria is too important for regional peace and stability that it be allowed to disintegrate into chaos. The president’s promised reforms as articulated by Minister Shaaban, must be implemented immediately and urgently.

March 25th, 2011, 10:15 am

 

FreeSoldier said:

Looks like they are again gunning down the civilian in Deraa.

Reuters report “Heavy gunfire heard from Deraa square where thousands of Syrian protesters gathered”.

Good to see you are finally in touch with reality Prof. Landis.
No single country in the Arab world will by-pass the current revolutions. And to our neighboor the Israelis: Wake up and smell the coffee. Your will witness the same upheaval unless you grant the Palestine the same right your citizen have.

Good luck to all.

March 25th, 2011, 10:29 am

 

SOURI said:

The demonstrations are still too small to do anything.

Anyway, like I have already said, the only way the regime can land safely is through the use of military force, like in the 1980’s.

There is no place for cowardice here. Either fight to the end or surrender to the terrorist Islamists. If I were in charge, I would hit them with WMD’s before I surrender. These are vicious killers and if they rule, millions of people will die.

March 25th, 2011, 10:29 am

 

norman said:

Intruder alert!!.

March 25th, 2011, 10:40 am

 

majedkhaldoon said:

Huge demonstrations all over Syria
This remind me of the end of Adib Shishekly time
Shaaban erased her credibility when she said angrily that only syrian news agency can tell the truth.

March 25th, 2011, 10:40 am

 

Amir in Tel Aviv said:

I have this feeling that Asma’s parents in London are now preparing the guests room in their home. Just in case…

They might even bought new bed-linen, the same linen they saw in Vogue-magazine not long ago.
.

March 25th, 2011, 10:42 am

 

AIG said:

Amir,

Maybe only for Asma and the kids. In my opinion Bashar will attempt to fight back and may even win this round. However it will be a Pyhrric victory since what he needs to stop another round in the near future is economic growth, and how is he going to get that having alienated both the Gulf Arabs and and the West? Where is the foreign investment going to come from? As I have been saying all along, “resistance” does not create jobs.

March 25th, 2011, 10:49 am

 

Amir in Tel Aviv said:

AIG,

Soon in a theater near you: No-Fly-Zone over Syria.
This is not 1982.
.

March 25th, 2011, 10:53 am

 

Syrian Nationalist Party said:

“………Shaaban erased her credibility when she said angrily that only syrian news agency can tell the truth…”

It depends on your level of education or who paying you to say things. Shaaban gained additional credibility with many Syrians for saying that. I don’t know of anyone around that watches CNN or read New York Times. That is why professionals the worlds over come to syriacomment to get the news about Syria.

@Souri,
HABIBI, your wish comes true. Will do, Assad had OK use of WMD, sorry could not figure out if he meant using it on Israel or Saudi Arabia when he handed it a billion gallons to SNP agents. I guess will use it on both to be on the safe side and not get in trouble.

Now what else do you want to use, let us know fast. Are you done fabricating another video yet, I guess you are making good use of the old 911 video production factory. Why keep studio idle huh. Ohh… Kudos man, you are the dude for that latest Maher Sednaya video. Our digital team thought you deserved an “F” in terms of quality though. Let me give you a hint buddy, a professional tip, use fractal to add some dirt, smudges and blood stain on the Quran crisp clean white pages next time, don’t use royalty free stock photos, and don’t keep pages face up. Our DMP (Digital Manipulation Professional) team thought of this as a reminder when they found Mohammad Atta passport face up and spanking clean in the heap of nuked particle of WTC. I mean, you know it flew out of Atta pocket, thru the airplane out the closed window and landed clean open face up on the heap in the same way the Quran landed on all that rubble and explosion. So yeh, they give you an “F”, that is not grade, that for F*****g Stupid.

@Demos in Mosques of Syria.

Hehehehe, the lowlifes are out in force. Too good there is 3 mukhabrat to watches each demo/ Zionist agent. Now we can keep track of the enemies of the Syrian Nations, those that are linked with cellphones to Israel Herzalia management team. Don’t cry mommy when you get arrested for espionage when you get your next order.

The idiots defeated. They just set us back, hope not, hope Bashar comes through in some reforms.

March 25th, 2011, 11:24 am

 

norman said:

We have been saying for the last 2 to 3 years that taxation and redistribution of wealth is needed in Syria to prevent a revolution , Are we seeing that today ? could be .
another thought is that what we are seeing is the peaceful takeover of Al Qaeda and the overturning of the all the Arab regimes that they despise, with the help of the West ,

March 25th, 2011, 11:24 am

 

AIG said:

Amir,

It would be much more difficult to implement a no fly zone over Syria. You would need permission from Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Iraq or Israel. Neither one is likely to give Nato or the US permission to do so using its air space. For all practical purposes, you need Turkish permission. What are the chances of them agreeing?

March 25th, 2011, 11:29 am

 

Simon said:

I think Assad survives these protests. However, Syria must change or it will fracture into pieces; secular against the Sunni Islamists.

I bet Nasrallah and Khameni are shaking in their boots. If Assad goes, the dynamic in Lebanon changes with the Shiites and Hizbullah trapped between Israel and the empowered Sunnis.

I read the Lebanon diplomatic cables. The extent of the treachery in Lebanese politics is astounding.

March 25th, 2011, 11:31 am

 

AIG said:

Norman,

You have been saying for many years what a genius Assad is in foreign policy and how he is loved by most of the population.

March 25th, 2011, 11:32 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

another thought is that what we are seeing is the peaceful takeover of Al Qaeda and the overturning of the all the Arab regimes that they despise, with the help of the West

Norman,

Do you have any evidence to back this up, or is this out of the Juan Cole Conspiracy Handbook.

March 25th, 2011, 11:32 am

 

SOURI said:

There is nothing surprising in what happened in Syria. Bashar is indeed popular and people like him, but we never said that Wahhabis like him. We have always said that the Islamists, especially the Wahhabis, don’t like the regime. What happened in Deraa was caused by Wahhabis. Nobody in Syria would chant against Hizbullah except the Wahhabis. The Abazid family (the so-called freedom-seeker school kids) are Wahhabis. Whether you like it or not, this is a Wahhabi revolution, and it is a very meager and lousy revolution. The numbers of demonstrators outside Deraa are too small to even mention. Aleppo, which teems with Islamists, has not seen a single anti-regime demonstration.

What we have been seeing is a tribal Wahhabi revolution restricted to Deraa only. Syrians have not revolted against the regime. They did not abandon Bashar. Syria is still very stable and the regime not in any serious danger. When I was talking about a civil war, I was talking about the scenario when all the Islamists in Syria (that is, millions of people) go down to the streets. This has not happened and does not look like it is going to happen soon.

March 25th, 2011, 11:54 am

 

GK said:

TO: “4. SOURI said: The demonstrations are still too small to do anything. Anyway, like I have already said, the only way the regime can land safely is through the use of military force, like in the 1980’s”

The Hama massacre in the 1980s will not be allowed to be repeated in the age of cellphone cameras and TV reporters from all over the world! The people had enough!!!!!!!!!!! The Asad regime must listen to the people!

March 25th, 2011, 11:54 am

 

Aldendeshe said:

مظاهرات مضحكة, ولا سوري ابن عائلة بتحترم حالها بتأيد هاالحنشل. عملاء استعمار.مرتزقة رخيصة. بعد هيك فصل , اللي بقدمو بشار منقبلو. هاذا الفصل الاستعماري الموأمرة الجديدة ضد سورية عطتنا درس وتحزير كبير.

SNP, not only that, I been told the scale and axis of sight of the quran is off in relation to the scene pasted on.

March 25th, 2011, 11:56 am

 

norman said:

AP,
Aren’t you surprised about the silence of AL Qaida with Western interference in an Arab and Islamic state, Libya,

March 25th, 2011, 12:00 pm

 

Yasser said:

I have not read all your post because I was so digusted by your post.
It is not “The End of Story” Mr.Joshua.
I am writing a refuting post of your thoughts, and will link to soon.

March 25th, 2011, 12:00 pm

 

norman said:

One dead in Amman, Jordon

March 25th, 2011, 12:50 pm

 

Aldendeshe said:

They are already singing,تصفية العملاء في خارج سوريا بلشت
This Syrian Revolution 2011 ending today, reminds me with the Disney flick Finding Nemo ending. The fishies made it to the ocean after so much ordeal, but they all ended floating tied up in air tight plastic bags, with ending voice quitely mumbling “NOW WHAT”

March 25th, 2011, 1:13 pm

 

Ziad said:

The video posted yesterday by Revlon #109 is a fake collage. Here is the proof from a frame at 45 sec. Two crops magnified 800% one for the Koran and one for the paper scrolls slightly up from the Koran. You can easily see that the shadow of the Koran is on the left indicating lighting from the right side, while the shadow on the paper scrolls is on right side. The Koran has been definitely added to the original frame. I would like to show you the pictures but I am not succeeding in adding them to this post. What else is faked in this video, the sound of gun shots?!!

March 25th, 2011, 1:21 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Aren’t you surprised about the silence of AL Qaida with Western interference in an Arab and Islamic state, Libya

Norman,

All of al-Queda’s speeches have been virulently anti-Western. All of his bombs and bomb attempts have been against Western targets, including 9-11, the Madrid train station and the London subway bombs.

It’s a shame that you rely on conspiracies. Part of the awakening in the ME, is a whole world of cause and effect that doesn’t rely on conspiracies for the failure of our leaders and our societies.

March 25th, 2011, 1:21 pm

 

jad said:

Aldendeshe
“They are already singing,تصفية العملاء في خارج سوريا بلشت”
What are you referring to?

March 25th, 2011, 1:24 pm

 

Ziadsoury said:

From today. Due to national security, all these people had to die.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V06cWrAHdmQ

Ziad,
Tell us if this is fake too?

ED,

Agree with your proposal. I like the US constitution but I would modify it to “freedom of and from religion”

March 25th, 2011, 1:41 pm

 

Syrian Nationalist Party said:

The whole scene is cut and paste collage, it was so obvious we did not want to take time to do lighting and other analysis, the Quran exposure and light intensity does not match the F stop for the scene in general, way too bright. Poor digital manipulation only seen in the past by the fake 911 airplane attack videos done by Michael Hezarkhani, and the various digital fake of Bin Ladin, Zawahiri, Zerkawi and others. Which points to the same modus opry of the group that carried out 911 is possibly behind it all, a Bandar-Neocon-Mossad-secret U.S. government or rouge elements within operation, a continuing one perhaps.

Concern now is that Israeli feels such a defeat they are teething for U.S. attack on Syria and Lebanon Hezbollah, possibly NATO strike. Doubtful they will just lay-down with this unfinished plot. The big war is still on the horizon for sure, especially when the Dollar/bond market tumbles in the next few months, Silver shoot to $50/ Gold 2000 perhaps when QE3 introduced.

See they are not after peace in the region they are after looting the Middle East. Why not support a coalition of oppositions to negotiate reforms in Syria and support Assad in signing a peace deal with Israel along with the other region countries, a regional peace treaty that includes Iran and Lebanon for example. They don’t, because, under this arrangement their perception is that Israel will have a disadvantages position and they (the conspirators) will not loot and profit as when wars are waged.

Instead their plan A suffered defeat, now plan B will be on activation stand, not sure if the U.S. backing off somehow from Libya is to free assets to the east Mediterranean operation or otherwise.

March 25th, 2011, 1:51 pm

 

Ziad said:

ZiadSouri

This video is really disturbing. Police officers and any others carrying guns, including rebels, are quite capable of committing heinous crimes and justify them as self-defense. My thoughts drift to the Mavi Maramara incident.

The video I referred to is different. It is historical and broadcast by a TV channel for the soul purpose of agitation and incitement. Due it its very graphic content no respectable TV station would broadcast it. Additionally this station committed forgery to enhance the visual impact. From some of yesterday’s comments it seems that they were effective.

I just wanted draw attention to this forgery.

March 25th, 2011, 2:07 pm

 

SOURI said:

I have a gut feeling that this thing won’t end until either the regime or the Islamists win decisively. The Islamists are going to abandon the regime at some point and join the Wahhabis if the Wahhabis continue with their protests, which they seem determined to.

The Baathists should calculate very good, because mistakes now are not allowed. They have the military power, and if they do some reforms they can win at least half the population like I explained before.

Damascus and Aleppo are not purely Islamist cities, and they can remain under the Baath control if the Baath knows how to isolate the Islamists in these cities and how to exert the right amount of force in them.

As long as the Baath holds Damascus and Aleppo, it will be in a comfortable position to eradicate the Wahhabis by force, no matter how many cities they occupy.

The regime is strong. The Wahhabis have no chance of winning. The only way Wahhabis can win is if the regime defeats itself by not knowing how to act.

March 25th, 2011, 2:10 pm

 

NK said:

I think this is the best analysis I have read yet

http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/publication-type/media-releases/2011/conflict-risk-alert-syria.aspx

Thank you Dr. Landis for making the link available

March 25th, 2011, 2:36 pm

 

Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Souri,

Your parroting “Islamist Islamist Wahhabi Wahhabi” doesn’t make your hysteria, true.

I’m sure there are Islamists and Wahhabis in Syria, but this present uprising isn’t Islamist in nature. Same thing could be said about Egypt Tunisia and Libya. In all three states, the Islamists didn’t play any role. The titles “Islamists, Al-Qaeda and terrorists” were used by the despotic dictators and their followers to discredit those who protested against them. Even in Yemen, the unrest isn’t Islamist related. There are Islamists in Saleh’s side and there are Islamists belonging with the Yemeni opposition. The only Arab state that has a reason to be worried about Islamists is Jordan.

In Syria, it’s about people who are sick and tired about all the things we already know: Tyranny corruption mismanagement lack of freedoms.

Norman,
Why is Al Qaeda quite? Because they are in a state of shock. Not to say in a state of trauma. All of this happening in Arabia, and nothing was initiated by them or connected to them. They were sidelined by the brave and desperate Arab youth, that (it looks like) has no sympathy for, or affiliation with Islamists.
.

March 25th, 2011, 3:16 pm

 

jad said:

http://filkkaisrael.blogspot.com/2011/03/blog-post_24.html

هل تنقذ قرارت الاسد الاصلاحية سورية من براثن خطة بندر – فيلتمان
لتحويلها إلى صومال جديد؟؟

تقول مصادر مطلعة في العاصمة السورية بان الرئيس الاسد يعمل بجدية مطلقة على اصدار مجموعة كبيرة من القرارات الاصلاحية للنظام السياسي في بلاده سعيا منه إلى استباق تصعيد متوقع في الاحداث على إعتبار ان صدور القرارات الاصلاحية في هذه الفترة لا يمثل تنازلا للمتظاهرين في درعا بل هي قرارات وعد بها الرئيس الشعب السوري منذ فترة طويلة وبالتالي يتم ضرب الخطة التي وضعها كل من بندر بن سلطان وجيفري فيلتمان الاول مسؤول عن تلك الخطة ماليا وامنيا وعملانيا والثاني مسؤول عن تشغيل القدرات الاعلامية الكاسحة لجمعياته الخيرية المتمثلة بعشرات القنوات الفضائية والصحف والمجلات وخاصة وسائل الاعلام اللبنانية والسعودية التابعتين لمحور قوى الرابع عشر من اذار اللبناني والعربي.

عقاب صقر النائب اللبناني الذي يعتقد على نطاق واسع بانه احد اركان جهاز امن حزب الله الذين يخترقون محيط سعد الحريري سرب خطة بندر يوم امس الى الاعلام بعد ان وصلته كعضو في فريق تنفيذه العملاني من ناحية اعلامية
فما هو مرسوم يقضي بان يحول الاعلام اللبناني والعربي الموالي للاميركيين يوم جمعة الغد إلى مجازر متنقلة ولكن عبر وسائل الاعلام حتى يظن القاطن في دمشق ان مجاز ترتكب اينما كان في سوريا والعكس صحيح بينما الواقع لن يكون مطابقا ولكن مع التهييج الذي ستمارسه القنوات الفضائية لتحريض المصلين السوريين على الخروج في تظاهرات بحجة الاحتجاج على المجازر في ظل ارتباك اعلامي سوري وتعاطي قنوات فضائية سورية مع الموضوع المحلي بكثير من التناقض كل هذا يجعل ساحة الاعلام مفتوحة للاميركيين ولانصار بندر الذي جند آلاف السوريين العاملين في السعودية والمجنسين في البحرين من اصول سورية ارسلهم الى سوريا منذ اسابيع ليتواصلوا مع ائمة المسجد ويدفعوا الاموال ويحرضوا وجهاء المدن والطوائف بعضها على بعض وليبثوا الشائعات خاصة تلك المتعلقة بـ..البمحيطين بالرئيس الاسد مثل ماهر الاسد و رامي مخلوف والتركيز عليهم وتحميلهم وزر كل المصائب حتى يصبحوا اهدافا لاي تحرك شعبي ضد النظام في سوريا
ومن تفاصيل الخطة التي وضعها بندر وفيلتمان والتي سربها عقاب صقر إلى جهات اعلامية نذكر ما يلي

يقول عقاب في تقريره الذي ارسله لاصدقاء صحافيين واعلاميين

تعتمد الخطة “استراتيجيا” على استغلال رغبة الناس المشروعة في الحرية والكرامة والتخلص من الفساد وتحويل رغبات
الناس الى ثورة على النظام عبر اقناع الناس ان طريق الاصلاح من داخل النظام مغلق وان الحل هو ثورة شاملة

واستخدام كلمات براقة ومحببة للناس وترمز الى ما لا يختلف عليه اثنان فالكل يحب الحرية ويكره الظلم ويحب العدل ويكره الفساد ويحب الكرامة ويكره الذل ويحب الربيع ويكره الشتاء والقاعدة الذهبية هي “فرق تسد” والقاعدة الفضية هي “كلمة حق يراد بها باطل”

تعتمد الخطة “تكتيكيا” على النقاط التالية:

– تقسيم البلد الى مناطق مدن كبرى ومدن صغرى وقرى انشاء خمسة انواع من الشبكات
–شبكة”الوقود” من شباب متعلم وعاطل عن العمل ثم ربطهم بطريقة غير مركزية
–شبكة”البلطجية” من خارجين عن القانون واصحاب جرائم كبيرة من المناطق النائية ويفضل غير السوريين
–شبكة”الطائفيين العرقيين” من شباب تعليمه محدود من كل طائفة أو عرقية مع أو ضد الرئيس تحت سن 22 سنة
–شبكة”الإعلاميين” من قادة مؤسسات المجتمع المدني الممولة اوروبيا وليس امريكيا حسني المظهر ومثقفين
–شبكة”رأس المال” من التجار واصحاب الشركات والبنوك والمراكز التجارية في دمشق وحلب وحمص فقط

استغلال طموح الشباب في الشبكة الاولى عبر عبارات جذابة مثل:
–يجب ان يكون لك صوت
–التغيير لا يمكن تحققه الا بالقوة
–انت الذي بيدك مستقبلك
–صمتك هو السبب ، وهكذا

استغلال قدرات أعضاء الشبكة الثانية عبر:
–التدريب على اعمال القتل المحترفة كالقنص من بعد والقتل بدم بارد
–التدريب على احراق الابنية العامة بشكل سريع وباستخدام مواد سريعة الاشتعال
–التدريب على اختراق السجون والمراكز الشرطية وابنية الامن

استغلال اعضاء الشبكة الثالثة عبر:
–شحن مشاعرهم لتأييد أو معارضة الرئيس بقوة
–اشعارهم ان طوائفهم مهددة في كل الاحوال
–زرع مفاهيم استخدام القوة المفرطة ضد الآخرين
–اقناعهم بخيانية كل من يعارضهم في أي شيئ حتى لو كان حقا
–ايصالهم الى حالة عمى الالوان بحيث لا يرون سوى ابيض واسود
–استغلال صغر سنهم وقلة معرفتهم بالتاريخ والجغرافيا وايصالهم الى حافة الاستعداد لاي شيئ

توظيف وتطوير قدرات الشبكة الرابعة على قيادة الناس عبر:
–تمكينهم من التواصل مع اجهزة الاعلام بواسطة هواتف فضائية لا يمكن رصدها او قطعها
–تسويقهم كاشخاص وطنيين لا يعارضون النظام ويدعون الى المجتمع المدني
–اعداد كوادر مدربة على التقنيات الاعلامية الحديثة كالمدونات والانترنت تخدم هؤلاء في التواصل مع الجمهور
–عقد اجتماعات معهم بشكل دوري وتوحيد جهدهم بحيث لا يعارض احد الآخر

استغلال خوف اصحاب رؤوس المال على مالهم وكونهم من اهالي المدينة يجب تثبيت ما يلي:
–ربط التجار بمسؤولين تجاريين في السفارات الاوروبية تحت ستار العلاقات التجارية
–اقامة حفلات وبمستويات راقية يحضرها رجال الأعمال تتم فيها صفقات وتوكيلات واستثمارات خليجية حصرا
–اختراقهم بواسطة علاقات جنسية يتم تصويرها لابتزازهم بها لاحقا
–اثارتهم ضمن الاجتماعات ضد نظام الحكم وتسريب ما يلي:
—البلد بلدكم والأغراب تتحكم بكم
—نظام الحكم يصنع اثرياء لحسابه على حسابكم
—انتم الذين تبنون البلد وغيركم يحكمه

—بشار الاسد يسرقكم بالضرائب واعوانه يستمتعون بها
رامي مخلوف هدف يجب التخلص منه لانه قوة النظام الاقتصادية
—كل مشاريعكم التجارية خاسرة بسبب الرشوة والفساد
—ثرواتكم مهددة ويجب تحويلها الى خارج سوريا لان النظام سينهار
—سنجعلكم تحكمون البلد بعد انهيار النظام

تعتمد الخطة “تنفيذيا” على المراحل التالية:

بالنسبة للشبكة الاولى شبكة “الوقود”

-اذا تجاوب الشخص المستهدف ننتقل الى مرحلة استغلال حاجته للمال فيتم:
–تزويده بكميات صغيرة من المال
–تامين سيارة مستاجرة وخليوي وانترنت
–الطلب اليه بالبحث عن اشخاص آخرين وبنفس الطريقة عندما يصل عدد الشباب الى 5000 شخص في المدن الكبرى و1500 في الصغرى و500 في القرى الكبرى يبدأون في التعبير عن رغبتهم في التغيير والاصلاح وفي هذه المرحلة يجب تجنب اي كلام يستعدي اي طرف في الناس فلا كلام طائفي ولا حزبي ولا يميني ولا يساري هذه المرحلة ستاتي لاحقا ويتم تنسيق مجموعة من الردود المناسبة لكل اعتراض من قبل غير المتحمسين مثل:

–اذا قال احد ما هناك تغيير فالرد “لا في تغيير ولا زفت كله كذب بكذب”
–اذا قال احد نحن التغيير قادم فالرد “صارلنا بنسمع هالحكي من 40 سنة”
–اذا قال احد ان المرحلة غير مناسبة فالرد “وايمتا لازم نتحرك بعد شي 100 سنة”
–اذا قال احد كرامتنا في مقاومة امريكا فالرد “انا شو دخلني بالمقاومة انا بدي عيش” وهكذا

-التحرك في الشارع داخل تجمعات موجودة اصلا كالاسواق المزدحمة والمساجد بعد الصلاة والازقة الضيقة وتقسيم المجموعة المتحركة الى ثلاثة حلقات الهاتفين والمصورين والمختفين حيث يتجمع الهاتفين في مركز الدائرة ويبدأون داخل التجمع بالصراخ يحيط بهم المختفون ويحيط المصورون بالجميع واذا حاول احد تفريق الهاتفين يدافع عنهم المختفين بدعوى “يااخي خليه يحكي” واذا لم يحاول تفريقهم احد يقوم المختفون بالتعدي عليهم وتفريقهم وفي الحالتين نحصل على صورة ممتازة كمادة اعلامية

———————————-
قناة العالم الايرانية تكشف عن سر استهداف بندر بن سلطان – جيفري
فيلتمان
لرامي مخلوف

ايلي خوري ومروان حمادة يطلبان من عملاء بندر بن سلطان في سوريا التركيز على تبعية قوات الامن في درعا لماهر الاسد هدفه تحميل وزر سقوط ضحايا إلى الرئيس السوري

والتركيز على رامي مخلوف لاستغلال صعوبة الدفاع عن رجل له سبعين شريك ولكن
كل الاشاعات توجه إليه فقط ويحيد شركاءه الباقون !!ن
هاني حمود لوسام الحسن المشارك في جهاز بندر فيلتمان لاثارة الاضطرابات في سوريا :
ركزوا الشائعات على رامي مخلوف وتناسوا سبعين شريكا من مالكي الاسهم في شركاته
بندر بن سلطان لضباطه :

سأعيد سوريا الى العصر الحجري وسأجعل من الصومال جنة مقارنة بها

http://filkkaisrael.blogspot.com/2011/03/blog-post_3979.html

March 25th, 2011, 3:27 pm

 

freedomrock said:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hea2s2IfsFc&feature=player_embedded
Taken from El Pais website. Shows people running away today
from heavy gunfire in Syria.

March 25th, 2011, 4:15 pm

 

nafdik said:

Jad, I am sure you posted this as comic relief in these dark hours where the regime is killing the people of Daraa.

March 25th, 2011, 4:19 pm

 

Moe said:

I laughed when I read “Souri’s” propositions especially the 10 million against the ten million war and I don’t believe he is serious.
To the others who are using slogans like 11th day of freedom revolution etc, I say: really?? Is this the best you can come up with? Please respect the minds of the readers and don’t think that by repeating something it becomes true or even believable.

Daraa events in my humble opinion is about poverty, young hopeless people who want to have life prospectives and hope for the future and it is also about external plans such as the the ousted old guard who want to come back into power and by agencies and countries with their own agendas.

To the commenters on this site please take it easy because normal angry Syrians don’t read your comments or know you exist and anonymous comments have no value anymore (including mine) thanks to the Americans and others who have invested heavily in faking comments to spread their own agendas. Enjoy this http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/mar/17/us-spy-operation-social-networks

March 25th, 2011, 4:29 pm

 

qunfuz said:

http://qunfuz.com/2011/03/25/syrian-bloodbath/

this is so painful. i had hoped so much the regime would have shown some brains and humanity. part of me still hopes against hope. this is a disaster.

March 25th, 2011, 4:38 pm

 

Jad said:

Reading lots of commic crap by everybody allover the net, nothing wrong of adding another crap to the mess, besides, a failed country with failed society and failed citizens run by failed regime won’t be affected much by this article what worse can happen? Civil war, well, let them go crazy for it, those people deserve each other.
I’m so very sad for what I see and I gave up being A Syrian I reject all of you.

March 25th, 2011, 4:38 pm

 

Jad said:

Reading lots of commic crap by everybody allover the net, nothing wrong of adding another crap to the mess, besides, a failed country with failed society and failed citizens run by failed regime won’t be affected much by this article what worse can happen? Civil war, well, let them go crazy for it, those people deserve each other.
I’m so very sad for what I see and I gave up being A Syrian, I reject all of you.

March 25th, 2011, 4:40 pm

 

Badr said:

Professor Landis,

What exactly do you mean by “the great Sunni merchant and industrial families presiding over Syria’s moral and cultural universe”?

March 25th, 2011, 4:46 pm

 

Ziadsoury said:

NK,

I second your comment. The Tsunami wave of change is at the shore right now. Hope the president rides the wave and be the leader of change or he will be swept away.

March 25th, 2011, 4:47 pm

 

nafdik said:

thank you Qunfuz for the article I agree with all you said.

March 25th, 2011, 5:04 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

“Brains & Humanity”: You Decide

Qunfuz,

AI is saying at least 55 Syrians have been killed by the Syrian government thus far.

Just to be clear, do you think Bashar Assad should step down as President-for-Life in light of this tragedy, or do you think he should stay?

http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/syria-2011-03-25

And just an observation on my part, but I found the following statement in your linked article:

Because Syria borders (and is partially occupied by) the Zionist state, because the regime (to its great credit) aids Hizbullah and Hamas, foreign intervention would be fraught with much more danger than in the case of Libya. But who will protect the Syrians?

No one with “Brains & Humanity” would support Hamas and Hezbollah to the extent you do.

March 25th, 2011, 5:07 pm

 

aron said:

About the Seidnaia video again: That the Quran was somehow edited in digitally is truly the silliest idea that I’ve heard so far.

First of all, it looks just as real as the rest of the tape — although I admit that it is odd to find it lying there after a bloodbath, explosions, etc (but the prisoners were Islamists, on the other hand, so I suppose they could have had a Quran around at the moment of death). Shadows and light fall differently everywhere, check any normal photograph.

Second, if you’ve actually got a *real* video of Maher el-Assad at the scene of a massacre, why would you compromise it by editing something in? Why would you even need to add anything?

And third, if we instead assume you’ve staged the whole thing with actors and special effects or whatever, and it’s not really Maher, then why on earth would you edit a Quran in afterwards instead of just placing it there as a prop from the beginning? It makes absolutely no sense.

And fourth, and finally, if there was no Quran on the “real” tape, why would the guy holding the camera specifically walk up to it and film it?

I mean really… Better conspiracy theories, please.

March 25th, 2011, 5:33 pm

 

Syrian Nationalist Party said:

@Aron,

With all the crap you said, god you dumb, how much did yo get paid to make this lousy fake video? I am not going to tell you how and why, I am not going to teach you how to make professional video collage fakery. Keep doing the same crap, so we could find out which SH****t hole amature computer animator it came from.

March 25th, 2011, 6:04 pm

 

Leo said:

This is getting very shitty. Could someone ban SNP and Souri from this forum.. I mean, is it freedom of speech to call for the murder of millions of religious Syrians based on their religious sect?

March 25th, 2011, 7:22 pm

 

Daniel said:

“the only way the regime can land safely is through the use of military force, like in the 1980’s.”

This statement is so barbaric it’s shocking.

For those that don’t believe that this will be a revolution, I wonder how long till you realise Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Libya… is not just some fantasy. People are realising that they have more power than their regimes. Even in Britain, protesters at tax cuts for the rich and state cuts for the rest are talking about occupying Trafalgar Square in the Egyptian style.

I think this is the start of a new dawn where people rediscover that democracy isn’t about voting for one puppet of big business or another every couple of years, but actually standing up to injustice and working to create a brighter future. Westerners are not very bright, so it may take them a bit longer than everyone else to work it out. But they’ll get there…

March 25th, 2011, 8:02 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

The Untouchable

Just my observation.

About 50 posts, about 40 from Arabs.

Of those 40, not ONE was critical of the head of the Syrian government, Bashar Assad.

I think that’s incredible.

In the West, specifically the US, if a country was to experience a meltdown where government forces have killed dozens of innocent people, the president would be called every curse word in the book.

OTOH, Assad gets a “Get out of Jail Free” card:

1 – Ever: wonders if Bashar still in control
2 – AIG: doesn’t count
3 – Nafdik: Bashar in control?
4 – Revlon: “calls for trials for crimes against humanity
5 – Christopher Assad: “greater national interest”
6 – Freesoldier: “reality”, “same upheaval” in Israel
7 – Souri: recommends WMD against the “vicious killers”
8 – Norman: “Intruder Alert”
9 – Majedkhaldoon: Shaaban/truth
10 – Amir in Tel Aviv: Jew, doesn’t count;
11 – AIG: see above
12 – Amir: ditto
13 – SNP: lowlifes out in force, Zionist agent, hope Bashar reforms
14 – Norman: al-Queda
15 – AIG: N/A
16 – Simon: “I think Assad survives”
17 – AIG: N/A
18 – AP: moi
19 – Souri: “Bashar is indeed popular and people like him”
20 – GK: “Asad regime must listen to the people”
21 – Aldendeshe: quran
22 – Norman: al-Queda and Libya
23 – Yasser: “disgusted” (my new favorite word) by Prof. Josh’s post
24 – Norman: one dead Jordan
25 – Aldendeshe: “Syrian Revolution 2011 ending today”
26 – Ziad: video fake
27 – AP: Evil Zionist Jew, otherwise a nice guy
28 – JAD: huh?
29 – Ziadsoury: video of dead, modify “freedom of and from religion”
30 – SNP: cut and pasting collage, Zionist defeat, Bandar-Neocon-Mossad thing
31 – Ziad: disturbing video, graphic
32 – Souri: “thing won’t end”, regime, Islamist, baathist, wahhabi war
33 – NK: best analysis (link to article)
34 – Amir: sorry Joo, you don’t count
35 – JAD: arabic? link to Filkkaisrael (anti-israel website, surprise!)
36 – Freedomrock: people running away from heavy gunfire
37 – Nafdik: “regime is killing the people of Daraa”
38 – Moe: Daraa about poverty, Souri serious?, faking comments, US spy operation
39 – Qunfuz: painful, disaster, article in support of Hamas and Hezbollah
40 – JAD: failed country, society, regime
41 – JAD: repeat post
42 – BADR: question to Professor Josh
43 – Ziadsoury: “Hope the president rides the wave and be the leader of change”
44 – Nafdik: thank you to Qunfuz
45 – AP – N/A
46 – Aron: video edited, conspiracy theories
47 – SNP: crp, dumb, sh***thole (no surprise)
48 – LEO: getting shitty, ban Souri and SNP
49 –
50

March 25th, 2011, 8:30 pm

 

Zenobia said:

Akbar Palace,
LOL nice synopsis.
I think we are waiting. I think we are waiting to see what will happen next.
The time is drawing very near that Bashar Assad will be forced to reveal his true colors.
Either he proves that he is a coward standing behind his security forces, or he must speak face to face to his people and show that he is what he has claimed to be – loyal to ALL his people and willing to stand up against his own security apparatus and forces and restrain them. He will have to prove that he is willing and able to put into action the concessions that were voiced – and put them into action imminently.
the hour is coming fast for decision, and it seems like there can be no more avoidance of the inevitable crossroads.
He is looking kind of cowardly in these first days, but perhaps we are withholding judgment and holding our breath, some people hoping their belief in his total badness or inadequacy is proven right, and some are hoping that he is what we hope – better than we are so far justified in claiming… better than our resigned opinions that he is merely slightly preferable to some other alternatives.
We are waiting to see….
So it is quite suspenseful.

March 25th, 2011, 11:41 pm

 

Yasersham said:

I doubt there will ever be a civil war in Syria. You presented the country as a mixed bag of sects and ethnicities but it’s not. when 76% are Muslim Sunni and about 90% are Arab, it’s really hard for me to believe the mixed bag theory. If any war is to happen it will not be like Lebanon or Iraq where there is no dominant sect or ethnicity but it will be like Libya; beneficiaries of the regime against the people oppressed by the regime. It will cross the sectarian and ethnic lines.

Accepting your theory means that Alwites are in a good shape in Syria but we know not all of them is. A lot of the political prisoners are of the Alwaites, whether Salah Jdid followers, Iraqi Baath or Communists.

Syria has a long record of coup d’états and in spite of that there was never a civil war until 1960s and 80s under the brutality of the baath regime.

Now, Bashar is really in a tough position. People would’ve been fine with reasonable set of demands but now that there is blood on his hands (I don’t buy that he didn’t approve it; he is still the president and the on in charge) the situation is really complex. The other mistake in dealing with the situation is that he over killed in a tribal society where revenge and honor concepts are extremely important. I don’t think a nice speech will mind anything with people of Daraa. He messed up with the wrong people and before that he messed up with the people in the northeast who are also tribal. Big mistakes that tell me that he doesn’t know the Syrian social fabric.

What Bothaina Shaaban said couple days ago is the same exact thing he promised in 2001 and here we are 10 yeas later with no even one thing happened. Why should we believe them? their records are full of lies. To change the Constitution to fit his age in 2000, it took the Parliament 30 mins so why do we need a “committee” to “study” the “possibility” to end the Emergency Laws? he can easily with his magic power abandon the Emergency Laws and give a road map for a law to liberate the political life in Syria and eliminate the 8th article of the Syrian Constitution (it says that Baath is the leader political force of the society and state which means political monopoly).
If he does
1- Liberate the political life in Syria
2- Downsize the Syrian intelligence and police forces
3- Eliminate the exceptional courts
4- Release all the prisoners of conscience
5- Fight the corruption, especially the economic one led by the Mafia of his cousin
6- Establish a professional army that doesn’t interfere with the political life
7- Enhance the role of institutions in Syria so the ruling will be based on institutions instead of persons.
8- and the most important is to accept the peaceful change of power every 4 years.

If he has the guts to do that then he will lose the presidency but he will enter the history as the Ataturk of the new Syrian republic, the father of the Syrians in their third or fourth republic whatever number it is.

He will not do any of the above. Even if he wants, the military part of the ruling family won’t allow that to happen because everyone knows that this will be the first step of the journey of the Assad’s ear of the Syrian history.

He, Bashar, is really in a tough position. Doomed if he does and doomed if he doesn’t. I don’t know why, I always remember the kid’s story “if you give a mouse a cookie” when I look at the Syrian issue. His “Majesty” Bashar is afraid that this cookie will end up with him giving up the presidency “thrown” at the end.

March 25th, 2011, 11:47 pm

 

munzer said:

Dear Professor Landis,
It is very good article, thank you
It is very unlikely to have a civil war in Syria because there is a clear majority of Sunnis, it not like Iraq or Lebanon where there is no overwhelming majority. Sunnis comprise almost 74% of the population which makes no fruitful ground for civil war and if it happened it will be for short time.
The fate of Syria now is I think in the hands of the opposition, they have to be strong and united and to show some cohesion and clear demands. More importantly opposition must know seize the opportunity and build strong alliance with the Damascene and Aleppines elites; big merchant and industrial figure, if they done it, the game is over

March 26th, 2011, 12:42 pm

 

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