“It seems they got better in tracking satellite mobiles”

Communications have been key to the Arab Spring. The Syrian uprising is no exception. Facebook, Youtube and Twitter have been huge. The Syrian crackdown is compromising many of those medium. As more activists are arrested, passwords will be revealed and opposition networks exposed, allowing the government to arrest leaders of the uprising and track down opposition cells. Anthony Shadid reports that the satellite phones that provided the main secure link between activists and journalists in Beirut and those leading the revolution inside Syria are now falling quite.

Syria Broadens Deadly Military Crackdown on Protesters
Published: May 8, 2011

BEIRUT — A military crackdown on Syria’s seven-week uprising broadened Sunday, with reinforcements sent to two cities under siege and more forces deployed in a town in a restive region in the south of the country, activists and human rights groups said. Fourteen were killed in Homs, the groups said, and hundreds reported arrested.

The crackdown — from the Mediterranean coast to the poor steppe of southern Syria — seemed to mark a decisive turn in an uprising that has posed the gravest challenge to the 11-year rule of President Bashar al-Assad. Even though government officials have continued to hint at reforms, and even gingerly reached out to some dissidents last week, the crackdown seemed to signal the government’s intent to end the uprising by force.

At least 30 tanks were said to be inside Baniyas, one of Syria’s most restive locales, where the military entered Saturday. Activists and human rights groups said they had almost no information about the coastal town of 50,000, but one activist said at least six people were killed and 250 arrested since the operation began.

Fighting was also reported in Homs, Syria’s third-largest city, where tanks entered Friday. Wissam Tarif, the executive director of Insan, a Syrian human rights group, said that 14 people had been killed there, but he could not confirm the casualties in Baniyas. He said that the military had also entered Tafas, a town in southern Syria.

“This is a campaign that’s going to more cities,” he said. “It’s escalating and it’s very worrying because they’re also getting better at isolating these places.”

He said that his group had documented the arrest of 750 people, most of them in the suburbs of Damascus, but he had no precise figures for Homs and Baniyas.

Since the beginning of the uprising, Syria has barred most foreign journalists, and many accounts have relied on groups like Mr. Tarif’s and networks of activists inside the country. But Mr. Tarif complained that his group was almost entirely unable to speak with people in both Homs and Baniyas. Even satellite phones that protest organizers had sought to smuggle into towns and cities across Syria were not working, he said.

“It seems they got better in tracking satellite mobiles,” he said.

The uprising began last month with protests in Dara’a, a town near the border with Jordan. The protesters gathered after security forces had arrested and mistreated high school students for scrawling anti-government graffiti on walls. The protests soon spread across the country, with successive Fridays witnessing thousands in the streets in dozens of towns.

فعل بناء المواطنة وعدم حتمية انتصار الثورة السورية
التحدي الأكبر الذي تواجهه الثورة السورية هو عدم انضمام الطوائف الأخرى الأقل عدداً إلى صفوف المنادين بالحرية. ولنكن صريحين مع أنفسنا، ما زال الطابع السني يطغى على هذا الحراك (يوجد الكثير من الطوائف والأديان الأخرى منخرطة بالانتفاضة لكنهم لا يمثلون نسبة معتبرة من طوائفهم)، هذا لا يعني أنه يجب على كل ملايين الشعب السوري أن تخرج إلى الشوارع وتنادي بالحرية. ومهما ازداد عدد المتظاهرين تبقى الانتفاضة منقوصة في حال عدم تلونها بألوان الطيف السوري كله ويصبح هناك خطر حقيقي على انتصارها. هل قلنا مواطنة؟

Comments (146)

Sophia said:

Prof. Landis and family,

Happy mother’s day.

May 8th, 2011, 2:56 pm


محمود said:

السياسة الكبيرة لها موازينها و لا يمكن أن تفصل فيها مسطرة تفصيل واحدة لكل مقاسات دول المنطقة ! ان الجهات التي أدارت الموضوع تدرك التدني الفائق لنسبة نجاح مخططها بالنسبة لسورية ! حشرت نفسها في القائمة المبتورة مستقبلا ! عاشت سورية بقيادة شعبها الأبي و قائدها المفدى بشار الأسد!

May 8th, 2011, 3:36 pm


Observer said:

WD and Souri333 claim that there is compelling reason for one sect to cling to power. I propose that each sect create their own country. The Alawites in the north with parts of Syria and Turkey, the Kurds definitely should have their unified state. The Druze in the South can also have theirs. I have no problem with each community wishing to have its self determination. In the meantime spare me the BS about the Arab Nationalism of the Baath party, the Pan Arab role of Syria in confronting the Zionist Saudi American European Turkish Sunni Wahabi Minestrone soup conspiracy.

Force will not solve anything. It will only deepen the problem.

In reality the regime is finished one way or the other.

May 8th, 2011, 4:04 pm


Observer said:

I do have a challenge to the regime and all its supporters:

Allow for multiparty elections, allow for multiple candidate presidential elections, allow for free and fair elections with international observers.

If the President is re elected and the Baath party is re elected then so be it.

If not then pass the baton to someone else and allow the Baath party to become an opposition party like any modern and civilized country.

Parties can be of any affiliation and any ideology as long as they respect the method of the ballot box, the will of the people, and the guarantees that the opposition is not excluded from the political economical and cultural life of the country.

The rest is pure and simple BS.

May 8th, 2011, 4:34 pm


daleandersen said:

It’s over and the regime-changers have lost.

And for the foreseeable future, there will be a nasty, low-level conflict fought mostly on the streets and over the Internet.

The principle loser is Hezbollah. Bashar, going forward, understands he needs a certain amount of goodwill from the US, which is still pretending, as a matter of policy, to view him as a “reformer,” this despite the fact of additional sanctions.

As an aside, there’s no difficulty jettisoning Hezbollah. Hassan Nasrallah and the cabal of dreary little men around him would eat their young if it advanced their agenda. At best, they’re viewed as subhumans…

May 8th, 2011, 4:50 pm


S.S said:

مفاجآت الساعات الأخيرة…القبض على ضباط استخبارات اسرائيلية وعضو برلمان لبناني عن كتلة المستقبل وضباط أمن داخلي لبناني في بانياس


They still say SELMIA. It is really a ******* revolution

May 8th, 2011, 4:54 pm


edward said:

#6 S.S stop with your jadbaneh and hablaneh already, also you smell bad.
did they find Godzilla and the Loch ness monster there too? or did they save those for the next episode of Syrian X-factor, sorry I mean state news.

May 8th, 2011, 5:40 pm


why-discuss said:

I feel you are in a state of impatience and confusion…
No one wants to split the country according to religions, that is exactly the point. They need a way to stick to each other as they are all Syrians and want to stay so. ( obviously Arab nationalism has become an insufficient glue)
Your magic recipee is the multi party and election NOW the same way the cancellation of the Emergency law was supposed to stop the demonstrations. You are putting the chariot before the beef.
The country must go through a period of reflexion, reconciliation, exchange, dialog, before jumping into the arena of democracy. Any otherway is bound to fail as the matter is very complex.

You waited 40 years for democracy to burgeon, can’t you wait a few months without becoming fidgety?

May 8th, 2011, 5:43 pm


S.S said:

We got this Bin Laden-Like terrorist

قوات الامن احتجزت الشيخ انس عيروط


May 8th, 2011, 5:49 pm


why-discuss said:


The US sanctions are insignficant. They are just symbolic to appease the anti-regime lobby in the US.
The US has grand plan for Syria. You are right, Hezbollah may be left on the side in company of Iran, except if a peace process between Israel and Syria, that would include Lebanon, is started before September.
There are many parameters, the most important are Egypt,Iraq and Libya new directions vis a vis Israel. This will take time to settle, so we just have to wait.

May 8th, 2011, 5:50 pm


why-discuss said:


Contradictions in Syria’s uprising

Inside Story, with presenter Nick Clark, discusses with Marwa Daoudy, lecturer at Oxford University’s Department of Politics and International Relations; Murhaf Jouejati, Professor of Middle East Studies at George Washington University and former political advisor to Hafez al-Assad’s government; and Haitham Manna, spokesperson for the Arab Commission for Human Rights.


May 8th, 2011, 5:58 pm


S.S said:


Man I am sorry for your feeling. It must be hard. I appreciate your nice words to me. It is really difficult time for you and your revolution. I know it is now the cleaning phase where the Army is taking no chance to capture and arrest people like yourself and bring them to justice. After the operation in Deraa, the army left and look at Deraa now. The same will happen to Homs and Banias. Its just a matter of time. We are doing that with the full support of the international community……Sanctions is a jock. I recall we have been in Sanctions forever…..What you and your smelly peers wanted is to drag the country to more blood in order to bring the west in….go and play with your *********. Happy mothers day

May 8th, 2011, 5:59 pm


Abughassan said:

Syria’s spring is finally coming to an end after the protests were infiltrated by armed thugs and terrorists who used the youth legitimate need for freedom and jobs to inflame sectarian tension and bring Syria closer to civil war than democracy. Armed groups in Banyas used military grade weapons and some attacked outside villages for one reason: spreading terror. It is depressing that what started as a civil uprising for freedom is ending as an alqaida-style operation. After the defeat of those groups they may start using old tactics borrowed from the 80s to revenge their failure but their victims will be mostly innocent Syrians.economic hardship which will mostly affect the poor is likely to slow down progress and investments. Syrians are the victims of a corrupt government and a vicious backward armed rebellion.

May 8th, 2011, 6:11 pm


jad said:

Message from “Bassam Al Kadi” to the embassies: America, Great Britain, France in Syria

الكاتب Bassam AlKAdi
Thursday, 05 May 2011
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Diplomats in the embassies of America, Great Britain, France:
You know that I have been detained three times (a total of seven and a half years) because of my opposition to the Syrian regime. I have been banned from traveling for 24 years, and I have been deprived of any political or civil rights in my country for seventeen years for the same reasons. I did not stop one day from working for a democratic civil society free of violence and discrimination.
Over the past two years, my small chaotic room was open to you to discuss many issues without restrictions and without any interest in the results that emerged. My freedom was and will remain stronger than any restrictions.
These discussions created a good opportunity for me to develop my thoughts on one hand and also to present my ideas around these issues.
However, your governments have preferred to disregard my people for their own interests that are no longer in doubt due to the recent histories of Somalia, Iraq, Libya, and others
I have always condemned and worked against the violence perpetrated by the Syrian regime, as well as against violence perpetrated by some fundamentalist groups, I now strongly condemn the behavior of your governments which demonstrates that the mentality of colonialism is a mentality only you can understand. Everything you say about human rights appears to be the opposite of that which we see.
We have seen how you intervened first with words, then with governmental decisions, and finally with military force in Somalia, Libya, and Iraq. At the same time you have not done anything against Israel with all its human rights violations over the past decades.

From here, let me announce the following:
– I will take up weapons and I will consider your troops, and all the people that support, help, and make excuses for you, an enemy to me personally. If any soldier thinks to point a gun at my country, I will kill him.
– Any civil foreigner in Syria is as safe and comfortable as any other Syrian. The calls for your nationals to leave Syria is nothing but the start of your war against Syria.
– My small house is no longer welcome to you, and my door is closed in your face.
– I stand against your intervention in the affairs of my country no matter what excuses you use.
– The Syrian people will pay the price for the sanctions administered, whether they are administered against the state or an individual.
– The Syrian people reject your intervention altogether. The voices that speak in the name of Syrians and ask for your intervention only speak for themselves individually.
– The price of the sanctions imposed against Syria, whether against the state or against individuals, will be paid for by the Syrian people themselves. Therefore, any sanctions imposed on Syria are sanctions against the Syrian people directly.

Respectfully, Bassam Al Kadi, Syrian citizen, May 3, 2011

رسالة من بسام القاضي إلى السفارات: الأمريكية، الإنكليزية، الفرنسية في سورية..

السيدات والسادة الدبلوماسيين في السفارات الأمريكية، الانكليزية، الفرنسية:

أنتم تعرفون أنني معتقل 3 مرات (بمجموع 7 سنوات ونصف) بسبب معارضتي النظام السوري، ومازلت ممنوعا من السفر منذ 24 سنة، ومحروم من أية حقوق سياسية أو مدنية في بلدي منذ 17 عاما، للأسباب نفسها. ولم أتوقف يوما عن العمل من أجل مجتمع مدني ديمقراطي خال من العنف والتمييز.

وطوال السنوات الماضية كانت غرفتي الصغيرة الفوضوية تستقبلكم بصدر رحب لنناقش العديد من القضايا دون قيود، غير مهتم بأية نتائج تترتب على ذلك، فحريتي كانت وستبقى أقوى من أية قيود.

وشكلت هذه النقاشات فرصة طيبة لكي أطور أفكاري من جهة، ولكي أقدم ما لدي من أفكار حول تلك القضايا.

إلا أن حكوماتكم فضلت أن تضرب بشعبي عرض الحائط من أجل مصالحها التي لم يعد هناك شك فيها، عبر تجارب كثيرة من الصومال إلى العراق، مرورا بليبيا وغيرها..
ومثلما أدنت دائما، وعملت، ضد العنف الذي يمارسه النظام السوري، وكذلك ضد العنف الذي تمارسه بعض المجموعات الأصولية، فإنني الآن أدين بشدة سلوك حكوماتكم التي تبرهن أن عقلية الاستعمار هي العقلية الوحيدة التي تفهمها، وأن كل ما تقوله حول حقوق الإنسان يسقط كليا أمام الواقع الذي نراه.

وقد رأينا كيف بدأ التدخل بالكلمات، ثم بالقرارات، وانتهى بالقوة العسكرية في الصومال وليبيا والعراق، فيما لم تفعلوا شيئا ضد إسرائيل التي تنتهك كل حقوق الإنسان منذ عقود.

من هنا، اسمحوا لي بالإعلان عما يلي:

– سوف أحمل السلاح شخصيا، وأعتبر جيوشكم عدوا شخصيا لي هي وكل من يؤيدها أو يساعدها أو يبرر لها، إذا فكر جندي واحد من بلادكم أن يوجه سلاحه نحو بلادي.

– كل أجنبي في سورية هو آمن مطمئن مثلما أي سوري آخر. ودعواتكم لرعاياكم بمغادرة سورية ليست إلا جزءا من الحرب التي تشنوها على سورية.

– إن بيتي الصغير لم يعد مكانا يرحب بكم، بل صار مكانا مغلقا بوجوهكم.

– إنني أقف ضد تدخلكم في شؤون بلادي مهما كانت الذرائع التي تستخدمونها.

– إن الشعب السوري يرفض تدخلكم جملة وتفصيلا. والأصوت التي تتحدث باسم السوريين وتطلب تدخلكم لا تتحدث إلا باسمها الشخصي.

– إن العقوبات التي تفرضونها، سواء كانت ضد الدولة أو ضد الشخصيات، سيدفع ثمنها الشعب السوري نفسه، وليس هذا الشخص أو ذاك. لذلك فإن أية عقوبات تفرض على سورية هي عقوبات ضد الشعب السوري مباشرة.

بكل احترام

بسام القاضي، مواطن سوري، دمشق في 3 نيسان 2011

May 8th, 2011, 6:19 pm


jad said:

Regarding Anas 3erou6 capture great news #9, it’s funny how Reuters choose to call him a democracy supporter, “القت القبض يوم الاحد على زعيمين مؤيدين للديمقراطية في بانياس”,
Someone needs to tell them that this guy is nothing but a radical figure. Democracy supporters won’t call for sectarian crimes, they don’t use arms and they defiantly don’t call for Jihad and violence against their own neighbors.

“مؤيدين للديمقراطية في بانياس” what a bad joke!

#6, S.S. the news although it sounds surreal but it seems true regarding the busting of a high-tech communication operation room in Banyas, this is why all the communications and spreading news to those fake ‘human right’ ‘reporters’ are cut. They are going absolutely blind and mad for this find.
Thank you for the link

“After the defeat of those groups they may start using old tactics borrowed from the 80s to revenge their failure but their victims will be mostly innocent Syrians.”
It’s already happening:
استشهاد 10 عمال وإصابة 3 بنيران مجموعة إرهابية استهدفتهم في سرفيس للنقل العام على جسر مصفاة حمص خلال عودتهم من لبنان
09 أيار , 2011

May 8th, 2011, 6:30 pm


Sophia said:

#14, Jad

Mr AlKadi is a true patriot. I epxected such a move from those in the opposition who are truly in for reforms and not for the kill.

May 8th, 2011, 6:43 pm


Sophia said:

Alarming news from NATO ‘democratisation’ mission in the ME:

NATO left a migrant boat to drift in the mediterranean with 61 on board to die from hunger and thirst.

Arab exodus:

May 8th, 2011, 6:49 pm


jad said:

5 كشف غرفة عمليات الفتنة ضد سوريا على البالتوك

May 8th, 2011, 6:52 pm


S.S said:

الأنباء الكويتية
اعتقال ضباط من الاستخبارات الإسرائيلية والأمن الداخلي اللبناني في بانياس

May 8th, 2011, 7:00 pm


why-discuss said:


I wonder why the Nato and the EU do not ask its partner in the Libyan war, Qatar, the only moslem country in the coalition, to offer to host these poor co-religion souls

May 8th, 2011, 7:03 pm


jad said:

Mr. Bassam Alkadi is my Syrian hero, I can’t tell you how much I respect him and his work.
The tragedy is how the regime is treating many Syrian gems like Mr. Kadi. Instead of partnering with them and having those smart, respected and honest Syrians to lead the Syrian civil society to a safer and more sustainable future the regime insist on either ignore them and their profound works, or fight them until they give up or put them in prison.

May 8th, 2011, 7:05 pm


S.S said:

القبض على ” جنرالين ” عربيين متنكرين بأزياء نسائية في أرواد


May 8th, 2011, 7:06 pm



It seems everybody here prefers civil war to leaving power in the hands of free elections.

May 8th, 2011, 7:25 pm


NK said:

Thank god everything in Aleppo is calm, guess we can thank the security forces for the extra security


and before some confused idiot jumps on this, no those are not protesters, those are thugs who were given the green light to “maintain the peace”.

May 8th, 2011, 7:35 pm


why-discuss said:

Tunisia reinstates curfew after protests


I am surprised that the curfew was never instated in Syria, why?

May 8th, 2011, 7:39 pm


S.S said:


Will leave the free election to the Islamist of Egypt and Tunisia

12 dead in Muslim-Christian clashes in Egypt

Islamist restoring calm and order in Tunisia (LOL)

May 8th, 2011, 7:41 pm


Edward said:

protesters in AlHara refute the claim that was announced on state t.v that they called for help from the army, and also renounce sectarianism and violence. Now do you people see the lies and plots by the Syrian regime against it’s own people? There are hundreds of videos like these, refuting government claims and reiterating the peaceful non-sectarian nature of the protests.

May 8th, 2011, 7:44 pm


S.S said:


I know it is hard time for you. The army everywhere in Syria. The Xfactor as one of your peers just said, is working well for the Syrian people and the international community. Your thugs are on the run. Your idols are being captured on daily basis. I mean that breaks the heart and brings tears to the eyes. Hang in their. You have seen nothing yet. Your abdulhameed whatever the heck his name….your leader who was interviewed with Prof. Landis few weeks ago stated that the OPPOSITION IS IN ITS SECOND PHASE….I wonder how many phases he had in his head. I guess there is one phase now. The army phase to clean the streets of syria from criminals and their supporters.

May 8th, 2011, 7:49 pm


edward said:

and another one, apparently the people of Nimr also refute government claims and renounce violence and sectarianism … my my the Syrian regime turned out to be a bunch of liars and crooks? whoda thunk it eh?

May 8th, 2011, 7:57 pm


Revlon said:

The revolution will adapt to the crackdown.

Demonstrators and activists may no longer afford to act as peaceful and passive sitting ducks for the power-hungry Jr and his serial killer brother.

The scene of soldier carriers, tanks, and sworms of security officers meandring, undeterred in city streets may gradually become a thing from the past.

The regime’s response to the civil uprising was to start a one-sided, government-sponsered sectarian war.

– All commanding politicians and officers of attacking para-militias, security and military forces have been 3alawis, and

– All of civilians killed, arrested, tortured, and their houses ram-sacked have been sunnis!

May 8th, 2011, 8:07 pm


edward said:

oh my yet another glaring example of how people reject the lies of the state and it’s media. Funeral of soldier Khaleel el kriesh in AlRaqa as people drive away Syrian T.V and officers.

May 8th, 2011, 8:10 pm


jad said:

Actually those two videos of #27 and #29 prove the story of the regime that when there are no arms, no shooting and no violence the security and the police don’t even bother them and they let them protest freely and without the need of any permission.

May 8th, 2011, 8:14 pm


edward said:

yeah sure Jad, and those 800 dead Syrians committed suicide did they? just Like Ghazi Kanan and el Zobi right? Seriously man, pathetic, the regime spin doctors are failing hard.

May 8th, 2011, 8:26 pm


S.S said:

Comment 33

The 800 dead syrians were victims of the agenda you support. Syria itself was going to be a victim of your evil people who lives abroad, headed by MB and other Islamist organization to use innocent people as woods for their fire. You already used them when they are alive and now you want to use them in their death……shame on you

May 8th, 2011, 8:39 pm


jad said:

#30, Why don’t you ya ba6l ab6al al6a2fiye go to Syria and go on the street with a gun and fight the 100% alawites military men instead of asking from your house thousands of miles away from Syria for people to carry guns and start shooting and killing according to sects.

Today in Homs, a 14 years old kid died while he was shooting at the army, I guess the one responsible for his death is someone like who gave him the gun and brainwashed with all kinds of garbage sectarian ideas to use his soul, you ugly people you don’t spare anything of your tainted hatred ideas, even children.

Correction to your 100% Sunni victim propaganda, not all those martyrs who killed by the security were Sunnis, they include few Christians and I’m sure that some Alawite victims are there too.

One very important note, all these sectarian language and calls for violence you are promoting are not allowed on Syria Comment pages, you need to filter your comments before you publish them otherwise you may be banned from the forum.

May 8th, 2011, 8:43 pm


why-discuss said:


Like any war, there are lies on both side. Pinpointing the lies the government will trigger a pinpoint to the lies of the opposition. There is no surprise there.
Yet it looks that the media war is waning for the opposition who has been able to start the revolution but was unable to sustain it. They could not prevent sectarians and thugs to infiltrate it and discourage any new protester to join. That was the failure. Egyptian organizers on Tahrir square did a body search on anyone joining the protests to prevent violence. The Syria revolution organizers have let the whole thing ‘spontaneous’ and ‘organic’ and they lost the control.
Now I am curious to see if they would show some more rigor in terminating it.

May 8th, 2011, 8:45 pm


edward said:

either you guys are very naive, or are just trying to lie and cover up for the murderous Assad regime. As far as I’m concerned, I found out the truth, undisputed, for myself. Previously I might have believed some of the nonsense state media was spewing out, if only out of a desperate desire to disbelief that the regime could be capable of such barbarity. But when a member of the Taqem family in Hama, a crane driver I knew, told me how he saw his injured cousin dragged into a building by the Mukhabarat, and executed by being shot point blank in the head, then I knew the truth. This regime you love so much is murdering it’s own people, simply for having the audacity to speak out and demand their freedom and dignity after 40 years of being humiliated, impoverished and de-humanized by a thuggish cruel self serving collection of tyrants and thieves that you people seem to worship and admire so much. The lines are clearly drawn mate, be on the side of evil and tyranny, or on the side of your people struggling for justice and freedom.

May 8th, 2011, 8:56 pm


jad said:

– Technically speaking, Yes, the 800 victims did commit suicide when they faced the security people’s warning and threats to use guns with neglect and as a result of their actions they got killed.
– Morally and personally speaking, NO, they didn’t commit suicide they’v been unlawfully and brutally killed by a ruthless regime and those who killed them shall pay.

However, when the nation is at this choice between going to chaos and civil war or a try of the dialog solution even with +800 victims and bleeding wounds, I’ll choose the later instead of loosing all.

May 8th, 2011, 8:59 pm


Norman said:


There is no chance in a multi party system to have Ethnic or religous parties, all parties have to be open to everybody and i think that the Baath party should drop from it’s name the Arabic socialist and be only the Baath party to attract Kurds, Sharkas and Armenians and Assyrians and others .but no Armenian, Assyrian ,Kurdish,Muslim, christian or Druz parties, we saw Iraq and Lebanon , these are not examples to follow.

May 8th, 2011, 9:02 pm


jad said:

This is for you #30, I’m sure you love the accent:

أنيس وبدر يتحدثان بلسان السوريين الشرفاء

May 8th, 2011, 9:08 pm


why-discuss said:


That is very very tough challenge. If Bashar succeeds he will be forgiven for all his mistakes, and all the people who died will be honored as martyrs.

May 8th, 2011, 9:21 pm


Norman said:

To all of you,

Do you think with what is going on in Syria that it is time for Syria to have Visa requirement for all people from Arab and foreign countries.

May 8th, 2011, 9:24 pm


Observer said:

I am willing to give the regime six month; as the opposition suggested and here are some of the concrete steps that are needed to allow for restoration of trust between the various protagonists:
1. Remove the Republican Guards from the streets and put them back in the barracks
2. Remove the army from the streets
3. Remove the secret police from the street
4. Allow the demonstrations with police escort to prevent any act of violence or vandalism or mob rule as it should happen in any respected modern state
5. Abrogate the 8th section of the constitution
6. Separate the Presidency from the position of the Supreme Court immediately.
7. Call for the formation of political parties and allow for free and fair elections
This is not a country this is a farm run as the novel Animal Farm and this is a parody for a state where corruption is so pervasive and endemic and the brutality of the regime is truly medieval.
As for those that talk of a Syrian national identity there is no such thing it is a figment of the imagination of the delusional on this blog.
There is the various sects, then the various tribes, then the various ethnic groups, then the various families, then the urban and the rural, the super rich and the rest, and yes the incredibly sectarian ruling sect and the incredibly fanatic salafis and takfiris.
There is no such thing as a Syrian national identity.
People are classified when they talk, when their family names are identified, which government position they hold, which army rank they have as being IN or OUT. No one thinks this is a fellow Syrian when they meet people; they ask are you from Damascus Aleppo etc.. and from your accent and your name classify you one way or the other. I see on this blog that the regime supporters do not even think and blog as Syrians but have the discourse of sectarian and ethnic rivalry and tension.
“Reforms” as ther regime readily admits means that either the situation is currently not the right one or that mistakes were made in the past or both. Otherwise there would be no need for reform talk.
Giving time to the regime when it has been promising 10 years of coming reforms is like waiting for Godot. The ten years of so called coming reforms were used to entrench the regime and create the ultimate Animal Farm.
So what if the country breaks apart; what possible terrible thing could happen? Could be it worse than having a country with no future, no hope, no job, no security, no dignity? This country as Andrew Bacevich correctly described has been a brutal dictatorship while being Israel’s punching bag for decades now. The regime has failed to defend the country, liberate the occupied land, bring progress and prosperity, and advance the unity of the Arab nation. I recall a time when visiting my relatives in Lebanon was not tainted by the abomination that the Syrian security forces and the Syrian troops were doing to the average Lebanese.
The regime may very well stay in power presiding over a rotten and decaying garbage dump that they call Syria Alassad.

May 8th, 2011, 9:35 pm


Norman said:

what happened in the late seventies in Syria and Lebanon made me determent to come to the US with a goal not to return, i saw no future in Syria, My family did and their advice to me was not to marry an American as that will make it difficult for me to return, I saw no future for me in Syria and married an American, now i am vindicated and they are happy for me and if president Assad does not see that history is repeating itself and a different path is needed so Syria will not face the same problems 20 or 30 years from now ,Syria needs to change and plan for the future when it is calm, a new Syria with real secular constitution that will open opportunities to all Syrians is needed. the educated should be able to take care of themselves and others, the future should be bright for the hard working and the educated.

May 8th, 2011, 9:37 pm


Abughassan said:

I know for sure that demonstrators had many supporters inside and outside Syria who are not Sunni, after all,who would be able to denounce a group of young people demonstrating for freedom and better life. Things changed when protesters started to burn buildings and kill people,especially the army. You can argue that peaceful demonstrators were infiltrated by thugs and terrorists but the end result is the same. Another serious problem was the sectarian face of those protests in Banyas and Homs and the public calls of some religious leaders to their followers to carry guns and declare Jihad. A country like Syria is going nowhere if it falls in the hands of salafis and MB with more than 30% of the population being either non Arab or non Sunni and a sizable Sunni population,especially in large cities and in the business class being very suspicious of the twisted pseudo Islamic agenda of some in the opposition. The difficult task ahead will be to push for reform without allowing Syrian Talibans to hijack the opposition.

May 8th, 2011, 9:48 pm


S.S said:

شبكة أخبار حلب A.N.N
من بانياس :تم إلقاء القبض على صافي ياسين أحد أكبر وجوه الإرهاب في بانياس و اللذي قتل الشهيد ياسر قشعور كما تم تنظيف كافة أرجاء بانياس من الخونة و المدسوسين إضافة لتأكيد خبر القبض على الضباط الأجانب و العرب .. “شفيق”

May 8th, 2011, 10:22 pm


why-discuss said:


Many young french people I know who work and live in Damascus tell me that the Syrians are the kindest of all the middle eastern countries, and that Damascus has a charm that no other Arab cities has.
Women feel totally safe and respected. Many lived in Egypt and hated it as Egyptian man don’t stop harassing women, while the syrians are not like that at all.
If one is not involved in politics, life is much more pleasant that any european cities.
Most Syrians they know are not rich but even when they are poor they have links to their villages and the family life is very warm and protective. Overall there is a happier look on the people’s face in the streets that in Amman, Paris or London.
These french friends go to Beirut for short visits for some european air and glamor but they tell me that living in Damascus, with little money is much more pleasant.

Yes, there is corruption, difficulties in getting things done, but in general they say that it is not as disturbing as what they have seen in Morocco and else where in the arab world.

Of course this is a view from an outsider.

I wait with impatience to see what Bashar will do next to reconcile the people and make changes that would make Syria stand again proud and successful, the Syrians deserve it!

May 8th, 2011, 10:31 pm


why-discuss said:

Egypt to Try 190 People for Sectarian Violence



“Witnesses say a group of about 500 conservative Salafist Muslims converged on a Coptic church in response to rumors that a Christian woman was being held there to prevent her from converting to Islam. Other reports said the crowd believed the woman had already converted and was being prevented from marrying a Muslim man.”

May 8th, 2011, 10:42 pm


jad said:

Regarding your note about Syria and Syrians, this is a clip of a European archeologist testimony about working in Almarqab castle near Banyas during the troubles, he sounded very sincere in what he said:
عامل غربي في قلعة المرقب شاهد عيان

May 8th, 2011, 11:00 pm


jad said:

في أيام قليلة “رجال الأعمال السوريين” ينجحون في منع التلاعب بالليرة ويرفعون مؤشر البورصة,ويثبتون مرة أخرى بأن اللعب مع سوريا صعب

بدت إنجازات رجال الأعمال السوريين الوطنيين أو ما بات يعرف بـ”جيش سورية المالي” واضحة للأسبوع الثاني على التوالي من خلال إعادة الثقة للّيرة السورية وتخفيض سعر صرف الدولار في السوق السوداء وتثبيته أسوةً بسعر صرفها في المصارف ومراكز الصرافة المرخصة، وبلغت الإنجازات سوق دمشق المالي الذي قفزت مؤشراته خلال أسبوع وبشكل قياسي.

الحملة الوطنية التي بدأها رجال أعمال وطنيون الخميس قبل الماضي استمرت خلال الأسبوع الماضي ومطلع الأسبوع الحالي، حيث نجحت الحملة ومنذ ساعاتها الأولى في تخفيض سعر صرف الدولار من 54 ليرة سورية لكل دولار إلى ما دون 50 ليرة، وانصبت جهود رجال الأعمال خلال الأسبوع الماضي على التمسك بهذا النجاح خاصة أن رجال أعمال جدد ينضمون في كل يوم إلى “جيش سورية المالي” وهو الأمر الذي لقي ترحيباً من رجال الأعمال المؤسسين لهذه الحملة والذين أكدوا منذ البداية أن الباب مفتوح لكل من يريد أن يخدم وطنه ويساهم في حماية اقتصاد سورية.

ولأن مهمتهم وطنية بحتة كما يصر رجال الأعمال هؤلاء فقد تعهدوا أن يبذلوا كل جهدهم للحفاظ على استقرار الاقتصاد الوطني، وتعهدوا أيضاً بالوقوف في وجه كل من تسول له نفسه التلاعب بالعملة الوطنية على حد تعبير أحد رجال الأعمال هؤلاء والذي شبه العملة الوطنية بـ”العرض”.

وعلى غرار ما قدمه “جيش سورية المالي” لليرة قام أيضاً بدعم الأسهم في سوق دمشق المالي وتمكنوا من رفع مؤشر السوق 79 نقطة خلال أسبوع واحد وهو رقم قياسي يثبت أن المستثمر السوري يثق بسوق الأوراق المالية السورية وهو ما دفعه لدخول السوق وبقوة، حيث شهدت جلسات التداول في سوق دمشق المالي ومنذ منذ منتصف الأسبوع الماضي إقبالاً كبيراً على الشراء، وسجلت طلبات شراء لآلاف الأسهم في السوق.

وما تحمله أرقام ومؤشرات البورصة يشير إلى تفاؤل كبير لدى المستثمرين بسوق دمشق المالي فأسعار الأسهم في الجلسات الماضية كانت تبلغ الحد السعري الأعلى في معظم الأحيان ما يثبت دخول مستثمرين جدد إلى صفوف “جيش دمشق المالي”.

في أربع جلسات خضراء…بورصة دمشق تعوض 10 بالمئة من خسائرها

أثبتت سوق دمشق للأوراق المالية بعد جلسة أمس أن اتجاه تعويض الخسائر ماض بقوة، وأصبح هذه الفترة بمعزل عن الأحداث في البلد، ولاسيما يوم الجمعة، والذي كان منبع تخوف لبعض المراقبين من أن يؤثر سلباً في التداول عبر دعم البيع في السوق. وسيطر الأداء الإيجابي للتداولات بإقبال كبير على الشراء وتراجع البيع، بدعم من عدة عوامل تتنوع بين فنية وأساسية، من حيث مستوى الأسعار المتدنية التي سجلتها الأسهم بعد أربعة أشهر من الاتجاه الهابط، والأساسيات من تصريحات مطمئنة وإجراءات حكومية.
وهكذا أنهت السوق أمس جلسة التداول الافتتاحية للأسبوع الثاني من أيار على ارتفاع مهم بلغت نسبته 1.61 بالمئة بعد أن حقق المؤشر مكاسب بلغت 20.44 نقطة عندما أغلق على مستوى 1287.13 نقطة مقارنة مع 1266.69 نقطة في جلسة الخميس الماضية، وبعد أربع جلسات خضراء ارتفعت مكاسب المؤشر إلى 78.47 نقطة.
وهنا نذكر أن السوق ارتدت في اتجاه هابط من أعلى قمة عند مستوى 1752.50 نقاط في 16 كانون الأول الماضي لتسجل أدنى مستوى في عام عند 1208.66 نقاط في 2 أيار الماضي، وبهذا تكون نسبة التراجع التي حققها المؤشر 72.27 بالمئة على اعتبار صفر المؤشر هو النقطة 1000، وأمس عند المستوى الجديد للمؤشر 1287.13 نقطة يكون معدل التراجع 61.84 بالمئة، أي إن المؤشر تمكن من تعويض أكثر من 10 بالمئة من الخسائر في أربع جلسات من الارتفاع.
من جهة أخرى أثر انسحاب الباعة من السوق سلباً في مستويات السيولة وكميات التداول التي ظلت قريبة من نصف متوسطها اليومي، حيث بلغت قيمة التداول الإجمالية 19.5 مليون ليرة سورية، وحجم التداول 17777 سهماً متداولاً في 72 صفقة عادية.

May 8th, 2011, 11:15 pm


NK said:


I thought they confiscated tons of weapons in Marqab where Salafis setup their HQ, this was a couple weeks ago. Now this guy says everything has been normal. Of course there are also the reports of the major military operation taking place there since yesterday, where an important Israeli intelligence and a Lebanese MP were captured.

Which one of these reports is true ? LOL

May 8th, 2011, 11:47 pm


jad said:

I believe the Marqab village story of finding guns, the story about that is couple days ago not 2 weeks ago, the Israeli story is BS, Lebanese MP, BS, but arresting Lebanese people maybe since they found out that some of the injured are smuggled to Lebanon.

May 9th, 2011, 12:08 am


NK said:


There’s another story about Marqub, I don’t blame you for not remembering. but you’re right it wasn’t 2 weeks ago, it’s been almost a month now.
انطوش راسنا من كتر الخرط


“كما أفادت مصادر مطلعة أن قوات الجيش العربي السوري اقتحمت قلعة المرقب في بانياس إنطلاقا من طائرتي هيلكوبتير واعتقل الجيش الأفراد المسلحين المتوراين فيها بالإضافة للعثور على أسلحة ورشاشات كانت معدة للاستخدام من قبل أفراد العصابة المسلحة.”

May 9th, 2011, 12:39 am


Alex said:


سوريا أمام الجدار: ليتوقّف الجميع
ابراهيم الأمين

الجميع أمام الجدار في سوريا. لا أحد يقدر على مزيد من التقدّم. دوّامة العنف التي انطلقت لامست حدّ الانفجار. واستمرار الوضع على ما هو عليه يعني الانتقال إلى مرحلة خطيرة للغاية من الشحن. واقع سوريا اليوم، بعد نحو شهرين من الاحتجاجات والتحركات الشعبية والأعمال الأمنية وآليات القمع، والخطوات الإصلاحية للنظام، وقلق الأهالي، ونوبات الخارج المستعدّ للتدخل، ينذر بما هو أصعب. وهذا يشرح بعض القلق الذي ينتاب معارضين سوريّين مخلصين، فتراهم يدعون إلى الوقوف لحظة تأمل. كل ذلك يقود إلى نتائج بديهية:
أوّلاً: أن سوريا لا يمكنها العيش خارج سرب الإصلاحات التي يشهدها العالم العربي، وأن أيّ علاج لحركات الاحتجاج لن يقفل هذا الملف.
ثانياً: أن أيّ إصلاحات منتظرة، لم يعد أحد من المعارضين قادراً على أن يضعها في سياق إسقاط النظام. فقد أظهرت 7 أسابيع أن مجموع الذين خرجوا الى الشارع لا يمثّلون أغلبية حقيقية. وهذه حقيقة بمعزل عن الرغبات التي قد تدفع مغالين من المعارضة إلى قول العكس، كما أن شعار إسقاط النظام تحوّل ـــــ بمعزل عمّا أوصل الأمور إلى هنا ـــــ إلى مادة تعبئة وشحن، لها ما يؤثّر سلباً في الكثير من المواجهات الدموية، لكن على النظام أن يدرك أن عدم رفع شعار إسقاطه يعني منحه الفرصة الأكبر للدخول في عملية تنفيذ الإصلاحات بصورة سريعة، شفّافة، وذات نتائج عمليّة.
ثالثاً: أن التعقيدات التي رافقت موجة الاحتجاجات دلّت، مباشرةً، على خطر حقيقي وغير مفتعل، وهو ليس وهماً، يتمثّل في خطر الحرب الأهلية، التي سوف تمزّق سوريا وشعبها، وهي مع الأسف حقيقة أقوى من كل التنظير السياسي وخلافه.
رابعاً: أن حصول تدخّل من الخارج بات أمراً موثّقاً، وأن تورّط مجموعات أردنية وفلسطينية وسعودية وجهات مسلحة تتبع للإخوان المسلمين بات أيضاً حقيقة توجب على السلطات في سوريا حسن تظهيرها. وربما يجب أيضاً على السلطات السورية اللجوء إلى آليّة تتيح لها إقناع شعبها أوّلاً، والعرب ثانياً، وأهل الإقليم والعالم ثالثاً، بأنّ ثمّة أجهزة أمنية عملت على استغلال الاحتجاجات المطلبية، وفتح باب التخريب لجرّ سوريا إلى مستنقع المواجهات، في سياق وهم تكرار تجربة شرق ليبيا. وقد يتطلب الأمر من السلطات حضور لجنة مراقبين من روسيا، تركيا، أو أيّ جهة مستقلّة، موثوق بها من جانب السلطات ومن جانب العالم، لبتّ الأمر وتظهيره للجمهور.
خامساً: أن التعبئة الطائفية والمذهبية التي قامت، سواء بقرار أو برد فعل أو بشعور غرائزي، أدّت إلى نتيجة واحدة، هي اصطفاف قسم كبير من السوريين خلف متاريس تنذر بكوارث سيكون لها آثارها المدمّرة على البلد، وعلى المحيط القريب وحتى البعيد.
سادساً: أن سبعة أسابيع من التحركات الشعبية عكست مرةً جديدة الغياب الواضح لمعارضة منظّمة، وأظهرت قسماً كبيراً من الانتهازيين، من داخل سوريا وخارجها، يقبض بعضهم الأموال من الأميركيين والأوروبيين (آخ لو تنطق ويكيليكس)، ويضم جيش هؤلاء ليبراليين، وإسلاميين، ويساريين ومستقلين، لكن معظم المقيمين منهم في الخارج يطالبون الغرب اليوم بالعمل بكل الطرق لإسقاط النظام في سوريا، وهؤلاء هم أسوأ ما في سوريا. ولا يشبههم سوى بعض الأبواق الذين تطوّعوا لخدمة النظام في سوريا، لكنّهم أساؤوا أكثر ممّا أفادوا، حتى لو حصلوا على الثناء من النظام في دمشق، وإن تدخّل بعض اللبنانيين منهم هو تماماً كأنصار تيار «المستقبل»، الذين تورّطوا في دعم معارضين للنظام.
سابعاً: بما أنّ المبادرة لا تزال، حتى إشعار آخر، بيد النظام، فإنّ على القيادة السورية القيام بخطوات من أجل احتواء الموقف واستيعاب الوضع وتنفيس الاحتقان، وإعطاء الإشارات العملانية إلى الدخول في مرحلة جديدة. وليس أفضل من الدعوة إلى مؤتمر حوار وطني شامل، تكون وظيفته الإعداد لانتخابات نيابية بعد إقرار قوانين جديدة للاقتراع، وللأحزاب والإعلام وللسلطات القضائية المشرفة عليها.
ثامناً: يصعب على أحد التحكّم في الأمور ومآلها، لكن يمكن كثيرين التوقّف عن صبّ الزيت على النار. وهو كلام يخص بدرجة أولى وسائل الإعلام العربية، التي باتت في الآونة الأخيرة محلّ تندُّر لجهة فقدانها الموضوعية والصدقية، كذلك وقف حملات التشهير التي يقوم بها إعلام تابع للدولة السورية أو مناصر لها، وهي حملات تذكّر بمحاكم التفتيش، وخصوصاً عندما يتعلق الأمر بأشخاص ليسوا في المعسكر الآخر.
ما تمرّ به سوريا اليوم، صعب للغاية، ويبدو أنّ خطورته أكبر بكثير ممّا يظنّ كثيرون، وربما يجب فتح الأعين على أشياء كثيرة مقبلة على المنطقة، يمكن أن تُفهم من خلالها أبعاد عمليات التحرش الخارجية بالنظام في سوريا. وأبرز ما يفترض بالمراقب الانتباه إليه الآن، هو أنه يفترض في وقت ليس ببعيد أن تنسحب القوات الأميركية من العراق. وهذا إن حصل في موعده فسوف يجعل المنطقة تنتقل سريعاً الى وضع مختلف جذرياً عمّا هو عليه الآن. فهل يعقل أن يترك الأميركيون المحور المعارض لهم في حاله بعيداً عن الانفجارات التي تصيب دول محورهم؟

May 9th, 2011, 3:24 am


Revlon said:

#35 Dear Jad, Your sarcastic comment is unwelcome, particularly coming from someone who claims ownership to this blog. It is best ignored.

You said: Why don’t you ya ba6l ab6al al6a2fiye go to Syria and go on the street with a gun and fight the 100% alawites military men instead of asking from your house thousands of miles away from Syria for people to carry guns and start shooting and killing according to sects.

I say: I have never invited or called people to demonstrate, not on this blog and not on any other forum, let alone asking to people to carry arms!
I wholeheartedly support their choice to demonstrate and their just cause.
At best you have misunderstood some of my posts.

You said: “ Today in Homs, a 14 years old kid died while he was shooting at the army”

I say: And who told the story? The army who killed him?
Umm how about any independent accounts by witnesses or independent reporters?

I said in my note #30
“ The regime’s response to the civil uprising was to start a one-sided, government-sponsered sectarian war.
– All commanding politicians and officers of attacking para-militias, security and military forces have been 3alawis, and
– All of civilians killed, arrested, tortured, and their houses ram-sacked have been sunnis!”

You commented
Correction to your 100% Sunni victim propaganda, not all those martyrs who killed by the security were Sunnis, they include few Christians and I’m sure that some Alawite victims are there too.

I say: Thank you for correcting my estimated figure on the sects of civilians killed by the regime. So the ratio becomes ( a few out of 800) 99% for killed civilians, and remains as is for the commanders! I still pass, with honour!

And you are threatening to ban me from this blog for being so accurate! Go ahead! Make my day!

May 9th, 2011, 5:02 am


Souri333 (formerly Souri) said:

LOL. I am gald they called أنس عيروط a pro-democracy figure. This explains what Reuters means when it uses the term “pro-democracy.”

May 9th, 2011, 5:32 am


Mina said:

Thanks Jad for posting Bassam Kadi’s letter.

Sophia, this Guardian article you gave the link of is about such an horrible event that it is hard to read.

This says it all about “democracy” in Europe (especially if you are black).

May 9th, 2011, 5:32 am


S.S said:

Aljazeera like many in the opposition are puzzled why the west did not yet attack Syria. Aljazeera is trying hard to bring some news and explanations to its supporters

لماذا يعامل الغرب الأسد بخصوصية؟
موقف غربي لين تجاه سوريا



May 9th, 2011, 7:11 am


محمود said:

ها ها ها ! تسألون لمادا لايمكن للغرب التعامل بقسوة مع سورية ! لأن المصالح الجيوسياسية لروسيا الاتحادية تجعلها في وجه اي احتمال يتعارض مع مصالحها حتى لو وصل الامر الى الخيارات العسكرية ثم أن روسيا الاتحادية تملك قاعدة عسكرية مهمة في طرطوس السورية ! يعني الفشل الزريع في خطة الريجيم تشينج ! ماظبت معكم هال مرة ! أما عن عقوبات اقتصادية ! نحن معتمدين على الدات مند زمن طويل و لا تهمنا اقتصادياتكم ! و لدينا من الأصدقاء ما يكفي للتعاون ! هل حفظتم الدرس ؟

May 9th, 2011, 7:59 am


Revlon said:

Parliament member Naser al 7ariri, who resigned and then rescnided his rersignation shortly after, is missing.
He was arrested at the end of last parliamentary session by security agents.
His whereabouts is unknown!
حركة سوريا شباب من أجل الحرية Youth Syria For Freedom
كلنا شهداء حوران : عاجل : الشيخ مسكين :
أكدت لنا مصارد موثوقة مقربة من عائلة النائب ناصر الحريري بأنه وفي يوم الجلسة الختامية لمجلس الشعب جاء مجموعة من ضباط وعناصر المخابرات الجبانة بسياريتن إلى منزله في قرية الشيخ مسكين حيث تم اقتياده من منزله إلى دمشق عنوةً واجبر على التراجع عن الأستقالة تحت التهديد……وإلى الآن مصيره مجهول ولا أحد يعلم مكانه
36 minutes ago

May 9th, 2011, 8:10 am


Sophia said:

# 55 Alex,

Thanks for the link to the article by Ibrahim El Amine. This is the most thorough assessment I read about the current events in Syria, up to date . I advise everybody to read it. It is a pity western news outlets invite only analysts who will tell them what they want to hear, and do not listen to dissident and independent voices like Amin’s. We use to dream that Al-Jazeera was our voice (Arabs) worldwide, but it is not. One can fairly say that it is the voice of the Gulf monarchies.

May 9th, 2011, 8:18 am


Mina said:

Saudi Arabia: no right to protest (40′), raped women condemned to lashes by religious scholars (44′).
A suggestion for revolutionaries: start by the beginning, Saudi Arabia, because of its symbolic authority on the Arab world, and engage in a Christian-Muslim dialogue.

Where is Faruq al-Shara’ ?

May 9th, 2011, 9:05 am


Revlon said:

A security unit besieged in their post by protestors.
Apparently the building was set on fire and agentys took refuge on the roof

May 9th, 2011, 9:29 am


N.Z. said:

They neither believe in reform nor power sharing, a couple of youth shook the balance of power that ruled for Syria for 40 years!!!! !

The parable of dictators who take protectors other than people, is that of the spider which builds itself a weak house by its spinning. This house does not protect the spider from the hot or cold weather, nor from the rain in times of danger.

It is pathetic how the commentators are blaming all except the regime. By doing so apologists are encouraging this mafia to take us back to the dark ages.

Let us keep perspective. Graffiti by youngsters the ruling party did not like. They wanted to remind them who dictates their thoughts! Is that an excuse? Would it not have been better to apologize and bring those responsible to justice?

The way things went off hand is telling. The lessons we are reminded, that the Assads’ are in control and you the people will have to pay a heavy price for your freedom. Divisiveness, you are either with us ( safe ) or face THE CONSEQUENCES, the first speech laid the ground and showed the real Bashar that was hiding behind the masque. We knew then, but the majority were wishful thinker.

Bullshit is, anyone who mimic this brutal, deceptive and useless regime. Blaming all, including Aljazeera but not once the brutality in handling our brethren. Blood is still spilling and the apprehended are in the thousands.

Is this the way we like to be treated?

Ruling with an iron fist in the 21st century!

May 9th, 2011, 9:52 am


Jad said:

Farouq Alshar3 was on tv with the president on Martyrs Day, may 6th.

Very Simple report about Daraa:
الهلال الاحمر و الصليب الأحمر الدولي في درعا 2

May 9th, 2011, 10:27 am


atassi said:

Syria will change – with or without Assad
Brian Whitaker
9 May 2011
Guardian Unlimited
Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2011. All rights reserved

Brian Whitaker: Even if Syria’s president manages to quell the current uprising, it doesn’t mean he has won

At what is clearly a critical stage in the Syrian uprising, it is increasingly difficult to find out what is really happening on the ground. Media access has been heavily restricted from the beginning but other sources of information are becoming more erratic too. Many of the activists who were posting on the internet appear to have been arrested or scared into silence. Contact has also been lost with some who had satellite phones.

What we do know for sure is that at the weekend the regime extended its military crackdown in the southern city of Deraa – the original seat of the uprising – to the cities of Homs and Banias in the north. Details are scarce, but in Homs water and electricity were cut off on Sunday – along with almost all forms of communication.

Iran, which suppressed a popular rebellion of its own after the 2009 presidential election, is reportedly helping the Syrian regime, though the nature and extent of any help is still uncertain.

There is also little doubt that thousands have been arrested since the protests broke out in mid-March, and hundreds killed.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing, though, in the light of the crackdown, is that demonstrations are still continuing. But they are – in various parts of the country, despite the new law which makes them illegal.

However, in comparison with other protests in Egypt and Yemen, the numbers in Syria are still small. Reports typically speak of a few thousand at the most, rather than tens or hundreds of thousands. There has also been no focal point like Tahrir Square in Egypt, since the Syrian authorities have been making determined efforts to ensure that nothing of the kind can happen in Damascus.

While it’s clear that for significant numbers the fear barrier ruthlessly established by Bashar al-Assad’s police state has now been broken, for many more it has not. Some, no doubt, still believe the official line that the protests are the work of “armed groups” supported by foreigners. Others want change but are reluctant to put their lives and liberty at risk for a struggle that so far shows little sign of succeeding.

In an interview last week, Camille Otrakji, a Syrian political blogger based in Canada, said:

“There is no doubt that many Syrians are dissatisfied with many aspects of the current regime. But most Syrians would much rather see some meaningful reforms undertaken in a peaceful fashion over the next five years under the current regime, instead of trying to sweep the regime away and dealing with the prospect of sectarian civil war.

If Bashar [President Assad] were to sign several laws: (1) permitting the formation of political parties; (2) lifting the tight censorship in the press; (3) and modernising and limiting the role of the mukhabarat (intelligence services), I believe that 80% of the Syrian people would be fully on board with that.

They would say to the opposition: ‘Thank you very much for your courage. You did a valuable service by giving the regime a cold shower. But now we’ve had enough of the protests and we want to go back to work. We will give Bashar the benefit of the doubt, until the next presidential election.'”

If the protests are not succeeding, it doesn’t necessarily mean that Assad is winning. Even if he manages to quell the current uprising, prospects for a return to the previous status quo are virtually nil and at some point radical change will have to come in Syria – with or without Assad.

As Patrick Seale, a longstanding expert on Syria points out, Assad inherited “a fossilised system of governance” from his father.

“Like other Arabs,” Seale says, “Syrians want real political freedoms, the release of political prisoners, an independent judiciary, the punishment of corrupt bigwigs, a free press, a new law on political parties allowing for genuine pluralism … and an end, once and for all, to arbitrary arrest, police brutality and torture.”

The regime keeps hinting that such reforms are on the cards – but only after tranquillity has been restored. If that is the intention, though, mass arrests and the killing of demonstrators seem an odd way to go about convincing people of it.

Seale, who has been more inclined than many to give Assad the benefit of the doubt when it comes to reformist intentions, now acknowledges that his chances of stabilising the situation are slim. To do so, he would have to call a halt to the killing of protesters, take the lead towards reform and in effect carry out “a silent coup against the hardliners”.

That all looks very doubtful, not least because the hardliners, as well as the “corrupt bigwigs” include members of his own family. Had he been seriously planning to take on the hardliners, he might also have distanced himself from the brutality of the crackdown on protesters. Instead, he has done the opposite by appearing in photographs dressed in military garb – a sudden change from his more usual appearance in suit and tie.

May 9th, 2011, 10:31 am


atassi said:

I am sure the Al Dounia TV “ Syrian station” will say..
They are NOT being arrested, They are ONLY being recruited as a possible Soccer players for the Syrian national team … most likely to play in Qatar in 2022 ==
Syrian forces use soccer stadiums as prisons, human rights groups say
9 May 2011
CNN Wire
(CNN) — Syrian security forces were using soccer stadiums as makeshift prisons Monday after raiding homes and arresting hundreds of residents in at least two cities, the directors of two human rights organizations said.

In addition, security forces were raiding homes and arresting residents in the Damascus suburb of Modemiyah, where there were reports of gunfire Monday, said Rami Abdul-Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

More than 400 people have been arrested in the Mediterranean city of Banias since Saturday, he said.

In the southern city of Daraa, the hub of Syria’s six-week uprising, another human rights organization observed a similar situation.

“In Daraa, there have been so many arbitrary arrests in recent days that the army and security forces are using schools and the city’s soccer stadium as makeshift prison facilities,” said Ammar Qurabi, chairman of the National Organization for Human Rights in Syria.

CNN could not independently confirm the reports. The heads of both organizations are not in Syria but remain in close contact with activists and protesters there.

The state-run Syrian news agency said Sunday that security forces were continuing pursuit of “members of the terrorist groups” in both cities.

”A number of wanted terrorist members were arrested and weapons and ammunition used by these groups in attacks against the army and citizens and in terrorizing people were seized,” the news agency reported.

The latest wave of arrests started as Syrian tanks and troops stormed a village near Banias on Saturday, killing at least four women and injuring several others, witnesses said.

Residents of Marquab formed a human chain to thwart the military, but soldiers raided homes and opened fire, said witnesses who were not identified for security reasons.

Witnesses said the army then rolled into Banias. They reported heavy gunfire and severe damage to the city.

CNN has not been granted access into Syria and is unable to independently verify witness accounts.

But CNN has spoken with witnesses, some of whom have posted homemade videos online and reported what they have seen via social networking sites. Human rights organizations have also compiled reports.

Demonstrations against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime have broken out across the country over the past six weeks, with security forces relying heavily on the army and the regime’s guard to disperse demonstrations.

Amnesty International said Friday that more than 540 people have been killed by Syrian security forces and that many activists in pro-reform protests “have been forced into hiding after receiving threats from Syrian authorities

May 9th, 2011, 10:52 am


Jad said:

It’s actually a good idea to put protesters in stadiums, they are among friends, the can freely shout whatever they want without the fear of being shot at by foreign snipers or get arrested, they wouldn’t vandalize anything and they are already protected by the security, not to forget the healthy benefits of sport the free 3 meals a day and the free staying over with bed, even the Swiss regime doesn’t have such luxury for it’s oppositions.

May 9th, 2011, 11:13 am


Souri333 (formerly Souri) said:

Poor thing. I could feel the despair between the lines of Brian Whitaker’s article. We told you from the beginning not to raise your hopes.

Assad is not going to give any political concessions that were not planned ahead of the uprising. This uprising has not forced Assad to cede anything on the political level, neither will it force him to cede anything later.

The only benefit that we got from this uprising is that it allowed us to get rid of many Wahhabis. The Wahhabi power in Syria has been decimated. Assad must not stop until he plucks them out of every city and town in Syria. After he is done, Assad must also make sure to deal with the Wahhabis in northern Lebanon, either by throwing them in prisons or at least putting them in serious check, because that region proved to be a major source of the Wahhabi contamination that spread through Syria.

After breaking the Wahhabi’s back, Assad must be no longer afraid of the rest of the Islamists who proved to be all talk but no action. He must continue what he started last year or otherwise Wahhabism will spread again and we will have to deal with a new revolution 20 years later.

The REAL secular opposition in Syria will not be in a hurry for political reform if they see that Assad is serious in fighting sectarianism and Islamism in particular. Those who want immediate political reform are generally the Islamists and the colonialist powers who would like to see Syria weak and divided. They would like to do in Syria what they did in Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine.

May 9th, 2011, 11:37 am


Sophia said:

There is a contradiction in Brian Whitaker’s analysis. In the first part he seems to think that Assad will stay in control while after quoting Patrick seal, as to console himself, he seems to suggest that Assad will never be able to be in control. So which is which?

And I have never seen Brian Whitaker, who is a good analyst of the middle east, so one sided in his analysis of a situation in the middle east. At The Guardian headquarters, to say the least, there is a real hatred of Bashar El Assad.

May 9th, 2011, 11:41 am


Mina said:

No one seems to ask how come the “foreign activists” or the “activists abroad” have the numbers of the satellite phones that went silent.
Do we have to believe that some people happened to have satellite phones and started calling satellite channels and activists of whom they had gathered the numbers on the internet??

May 9th, 2011, 11:55 am


Souri333 (formerly Souri) said:

Nobody in Syria is “pro-regime” except perhaps for few people from Assad’s clan. Almost every Syrian opposes the current regime, even the Baath and Assad himself admit that the whole regime structure must be changed.

What Syrians differ about is how to change the regime and to what kind of regime?

Assad and his supporters (who represent about half the population according to my rough estimation) want to change the regime to a strictly secular democracy. In order to get there, we need to do so much on the social level. In order to create a secular democratic state, we need first to create a secular democratic society. This is what Assad and his supporters believe.

The anti-Assad opposition is two factions: the Wahhabis and the Americans (who are revolting now) want immediate change to a sectarianist state a la Iraq and Lebanon. Those people are clearly a minority in Syria. The other faction of the anti-Assad opposition are the passive Islamists and the conservative Muslims (represented by e.g. al-Bouti). Those people do not like Assad and do not like his plans, but they don’t know what they want. They are just not into politics.

May 9th, 2011, 12:03 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Some thoughts after 7 weeks (mid term) of the Syrian uprise:

1) The protest is unyielding.

2) The regime is silent. Unlike in Yemen, for example, where Mr Saleh go out publicly and speaks to the people during pro-regime demonstrations, the Syrian junta does not speak. The gun and tank are speaking for this junta.

3) The protesters, very wisely, try to avoid direct contact with the army. This is a Guerrilla practice. Where ever the army enters, protest temporarily ceases. When the army leaves, the protest resumes.

4) This Syrian junta is more brutal (and probably more desperate) then any other Arab junta out-there. Even the Yemeni is more careful in using force. Who would believe!!!

5) The army tries to be everywhere anytime. But it’s base of support is limited, and this method can not work. Too little Alawis; Too many Sunnis.

6) Contrary to what some reactionaries here say, the protesters don’t resort to armed means. For the time being… If this continues, more and more Syrians will leave the comfort of sitting on the fence, and will join the protest. The true face of this junta regime is being exposed daily. I’m sure many Syrians, neutral so far, do not like to discover those true faces.

7) The Syrian (scattered ; decentralized) opposition is alive and kicking asses.

8.) The reactionaries panic.

May 9th, 2011, 12:12 pm


edward said:

anyone who thinks the regime can crush this uprising using brute military force is delusional. The genie is out of the bottle and is never going back in. The only thing a violent crackdown will do is drive the rebellion underground, possibly forming into a fully fledged resistance movement like the French used against the Nazis. With a command structure, logistics, a media wing and armed operations targeting the regime’s men and security officers. A war of attrition if you like. In any case, the regime in it’s current form and as it has been for the last 40 years is finished. What will emerge in it’s place is anyone’s guess at this time. A reformed version of the old regime perhaps, or a full blown overthrow, that’s what the coming weeks and months will reveal.

May 9th, 2011, 12:19 pm


Nour said:

مسودة مشروع قانون الإدارة المحلية على موقع سورية التشاركية والأمانة العامة لمجلس الوزراء تدعو لإبداء المقترحات والملاحظات عليه لإغنائه
مسودة مشروع قانون الإدارة المحلية على موقع سورية التشاركية والأمانة العامة لمجلس الوزراء تدعو لإبداء المقترحات والملاحظات عليه لإغنائه

تعمل وزارة الإدارة المحلية على تعديل قانون الإدارة المحلية رقم 15 لعام 1971 وذلك في إطار تعزيز اللامركزية ووضع إدارة الشؤون المحلية في أيدي المواطنين أصحاب المصلحة الحقيقية والمباشرة في ذلك وترسيخ مبدأ الديمقراطية والمشاركة الجماعية في الحكم عن طريق التمثيل في المجالس المحلية.
وعرضت الأمانة العامة لرئاسة مجلس الوزراء مشروع القانون الجديد على موقع سورية التشاركية بغية اطلاع المواطنين والمعنيين عليه لإبداء المقترحات والملاحظات من أجل الأخذ بها حين إعداد المشروع في صيغته النهائية وذلك خلال 15 يوماً.
ويهدف مشروع القانون الجديد إلى خلق وحدات إدارية قادرة على عمليات التخطيط والتنفيذ ووضع الاستراتيجيات التنموية الخاصة بالمجتمع المحلي وتنفيذ المشاريع الخاصة بها بكفاءة وفعالية من خلال تعديل مستويات الوحدات الإدارية وتعزيز اللامركزية عبر توسيع وتوضيح صلاحيات رؤساء مجالس الوحدات الإدارية المنتخبين والمجالس المحلية وإلزامها بتأدية اختصاصاتها ومهامها التي تؤدي إلى تطوير الوحدة الإدارية اقتصادياً واجتماعياً وثقافياً وعمرانياً بما يتماشى مع التنمية المستدامة والمتوازنة.
ويتضمن مشروع القانون تعديل الهيكلية والبنية المؤسساتية للوحدات الإدارية عبر إضافة عدد من الوظائف النوعية كأمين عام محافظة ومدير عام للوحدة الإدارية على أن يتمتع شاغلها بكفاءة وخبرة إدارية وفنية لضمان حسن سير العمل واستمراريته وعدم حدوث فراغ بين دورة انتخابية وأخرى وتعزيز الإيرادات المالية للوحدات الإدارية من خلال تأمين الموارد المالية والانتقال من الدور الخدمي إلى الدور التنموي.
ويعزز المشروع مبدأ التعاون المشترك بين الوحدات الإدارية بما يحقق التكامل بين الدور الخدمي والتنموي لها عبر إحداث إدارات مشتركة مؤقتة وتحسين المستوى المعيشي للمواطنين من خلال دور اقتصادي وتنموي وخدمي فاعل وخلق فرص عمل وجعل هذه الوحدات في كل المستويات مسؤولة مباشرة عن الخدمات والاقتصاد والثقافة وكافة الشؤون التي تهم المواطنين بها وذلك في نطاق التخطيط العام والقوانين والأنظمة التي تقرها الدولة للنهوض بالشؤون العامة والمحلية للمجتمع وممارسة الاختصاصات المتعلقة بهذه الشؤون من قبل السلطات المحلية على أن تقتصر مهمة السلطات المركزية على التخطيط والتشريع والتنظيم وإدخال أساليب التقنية الحديثة وتنفيذ المشروعات الكبرى التي تعجز عن تنفيذها الوحدات الإدارية.
ويركز المشروع على جعل الخدمات المحلية قريبة ممن يحتاجون إليها وخلق حالة من التكامل بين الدور الخدمي والدور التنموي للوحدات الإدارية وتأمين مساهمة حقيقية ومجدية في الجهود المبذولة لتحقيق النهوض بالمجتمع في إطاره المحلي من قبل ذوي الكفاءات القادرين على تقديم مثل هذه المساهمة البناءة إضافة إلى تسليم السلطات لهيئات تنبثق عن إرادة المواطنين يجري اختيارها بأسلوب ديمقراطي من خلال الاقتراع العام والسري والمباشر والمتساوي.
وأكد المهندس صادق أبو وطفة معاون وزير الإدارة المحلية في تصريح لوكالة سانا أهمية المشاركة وإبداء الرأي لإدخال التعديلات المطلوبة على هذا المشروع ولاسيما أن مسودته الأولية تختلف جذرياً عن القانون المعمول به حاليا كونها تركز على الدور التنموي أكثر من الخدمي وذلك تعزيزا لمبدأ اللامركزية من خلال مسؤولية العمل بين طرفي العلاقة وهم أصحاب المسؤولية من جهة والمواطن من جهة أخرى.
وأوضح معاون الوزير إن مسودة القانون ركزت على تطوير المجالس المحلية تعزيزا لدورها في دعم الاقتصاد المحلي ورفع قدراته الأساسية من خلال تحسين الأوضاع المالية والاعتمادات المباشرة لهذه المجالس وإعطاء الصلاحيات الأكبر لها على صعيد نظام التعيين وتطوير العمل واعتبارها وحدة إدارية قادرة على أن تخطط وتضع الاستراتيجيات وتنفذ وتقيم تنفيذ المشروعات وتصحح الخلل إن وجد.
وأشار إلى إفراد المشروع لفصل كامل لموضوع الخدمات وتقديمها من خلال اعتماد مبدأ التعاون بين البلديات كتنفيذ محطة لمعالجة الصرف الصحي والعمل على إنجازها في وقتها الزمني المحدد وذلك لإعطاء هذا الأمر بعدا استراتيجيا واضحا وخاصة أن موضوع الرقابة على الأداء أخذ حيزا مهما في المشروع الجديد.
وقال أبو وطفة إن مشروع القانون يضع الرقابة الموجودة في القانون النافذ حاليا من الأعلى إلى الأدنى على أكثر من مستوى وبصلاحيات أوسع وأسهل من خلال إحداث مجلس للمحاسبة تكون مهمته متابعة وتفسير أسباب التقصير في إنجاز أي مشروع وتحديد المسؤول عن ذلك.
وأبدى أبو وطفة استعداد الوزارة من خلال عرضها لمشروع القانون على موقع التشاركية لاستقبال أي اقتراح بناء يساهم في تطوير مسودة المشروع وذلك على مدى 15 يوماً اعتبارا من 9 أيار الجاري وذلك من خلال وضع محاور المسودة الثلاثة الهيكلي وصلاحيات البلديات والدور المالي بين أيدي المواطن أولا والمحافظين والمعنيين ثانيا وتقديم كل ما يرد وأخذه بعين الاعتبار ولاسيما أن هناك تفاصيل جديرة بالنقاش ستطرح من خلال العرض على موقع التشاركية كدمج البلديات الصغيرة مع بعضها البعض واعتماد مدينة وبلدة فقط والانتهاء من اعتماد مدينة وبلدة وبلدية وقرية ومزرعة وغير ذلك منوها بأهمية هذه الطروحات التي ستعطي مفاصل العمل كيانات كبيرة وموازنات مستقلة واعتمادات قادرة على التنفيذ انطلاقاً من مبدأ تعزيز اللامركزية والاتجاه نحو الدور التنموي للمجالس المحلية بدلا من الدور الخدمي.
ودعا أبو وطفة كل المهتمين بالشأن العام إلى الاطلاع على هذه المسودة وتقديم ارائهم ومقترحاتهم البناءة حوله بهدف إصداره بالصيغة الأفضل.
موقع سورية التشاركية http://www.youropinion.gov.sy

May 9th, 2011, 12:29 pm


Shami said:

Souri33,almost all of the shouyoukh who oppose the regime are from the sufi trend.
Corrupt hypocrites like Hassoun and Soheib Shami are insulted by all,even by your alikes.
I think that you are under the influence of the iranian regime backed media,watan,baath,syrianews and teshrine ,or worse, aoun media.(according your links).
As for Israel,USA and Saudies ,we all know that they are against democratic change,asad protects the israeli borders better than anybody and the fall of an arab dictatorship is always bad news for the saudi regime.
But despite all this tacit support or not ,only the people remain,they will have the last word.

May 9th, 2011, 12:38 pm


Jad said:

This is the joyful future Edward is writimg about:

مجزرة على تحويلة مصفاة حمص

May 9th, 2011, 12:44 pm


edward said:

#79 yes that’s an interesting point Shami raises. The overwhelming majority of Syria’s Sunnis are of the Sufi school of Islam and it’s subsets. Wahabi’s and Salafi’s are a very tiny minority, who command very little influence or support amongst the faithful. But then again, the regime claiming there was an armed Sufi plot against Syria would have sounded quite ridiculous wouldn’t it? Oh well, facts were never really a big impediment to this regime’s fabrications in the first place.

May 9th, 2011, 12:47 pm


Mina said:

Thanks a lot for posting this. Could someone here translate it into English? I doubt the newspapers have journalists who can understand “legal Arabic” and neither do I fully!

May 9th, 2011, 1:02 pm


democracynow said:

It shouldn’t be forgotten that the root of the protests that ignited in Daraa was the heavy-handedness of the security forces when they arrested teenagers for mere graffiti.

Buthayna Sha’ban had then showed up and told us that the demands of the people of Daraa were rightful (apparently, Atef Najeeb, the head of political security in Daraa, had told a bunch of notable people who visited him to mediate the release of the kids that he’d arrest their women as well- a capital insult in any culture let alone an arabic one), and that those who’d caused this humiliation will be held accountable.

So it’s fair to assume the heavy handedness and inhumane methods of the security apparatus had caused the people to get angry and go out to protest, right? simple formula: security forces humiliate people collectively, ergo they have legitimate cause to protest in mass…

Now… after the army lead by the security forces had waged a campaign of collective punishment against the people of Daraa, Baniyas and Homs, after over 700 civilian martyrs; don’t you think that people have more legitimate reasons to protest?

May 9th, 2011, 1:21 pm


jad said:

#77 “armed operations targeting the regime’s men and security officers”
#80 “Wahabi’s and Salafi’s are a very tiny minority, who command very little influence or support amongst the faithful.”

Which means that those who are/will be using arms can’t be from the majority of the Syrian tolerant ‘Sufis’ they must be from this new ‘tiny’ ‘Wahabis’.

Since you are against the ‘tiny’ ruling over the ‘majority’ why then you are supporting this new ‘tiny’ by violence deciding everybody’s future and taking over your cause? is it only because the old ‘tiny’ are not from the same sect as the new ‘tiny’? You want to go from brutal dictatorship to another hell of a dictatorship.
The majority Syrian ‘Sufis’ wont join the new ‘tiny’ calls, they know very well what is there for them, nothing less of what the new ‘tiny’ is planning for the old ‘tiny’.

“don’t you think that people have more legitimate reasons to protest?”
No, I think it’s time to involve in negotiation using logic, not to protest, not to kill, not to burn and not to destroy. Enough violence.

May 9th, 2011, 1:33 pm


democracynow said:

Brilliant comment by comrade Jad at #70, gives George Orwell a run for his money:

“It’s actually a good idea to put protesters in stadiums, they are among friends, the can freely shout whatever they want without the fear of being shot at by foreign snipers or get arrested, they wouldn’t vandalize anything and they are already protected by the security, not to forget the healthy benefits of sport the free 3 meals a day and the free staying over with bed, even the Swiss regime doesn’t have such luxury for it’s oppositions.”

Guess it’s time for a little education on articles 9, 11 and 13 of the international declaration of human rights…

May 9th, 2011, 1:49 pm


vlad-the-syrian said:

here is a true eye-witness from damascus


no lies here

May 9th, 2011, 1:53 pm


democracynow said:

No, I think it’s time to involve in negotiation using logic, not to protest, not to kill, not to burn and not to destroy. Enough violence.

Of course, it was a rhetorical question asked based on the reasoning of the regime itself.

It’s not up to you or me to decide whether people should stop protesting or not. The following link will help you understand why:


Nice try, though, to lump protesting along with killing and destruction. As if one thing would invariably lead to or become associated with the other…

May 9th, 2011, 1:56 pm


Mina said:

Instead of preaching about UN rules that are never applied in the Arab world and Africa, could you comment on the proposition of the government (posted by Nour, above 78) about the participation to local councils in order to start a dialogue and offer ideas and initiatives?

May 9th, 2011, 2:16 pm


jad said:

First, I’m flattered that you called me a ‘comrade’, I take it as comrade in Syrian citizenship, right? Personally I prefer to be called a partner or a fellow, it sounds more genuine, nevertheless, Thank you!

Second, Negotiation is the best strategy for any conflict on personal level as well as national and even international scale; when you don’t negotiate you are choosing either to ‘avoid’ which is a loose-loose strategy or ‘confrontation’ which is a loose-win strategy on the expense of many innocent lives without a secure outcome.
For people who are against violence in all its forms and with little logic the answer is collaboration and negotiation because the results are almost always a win-win case with min loss for both sides, this is why I support the negotiation solution over any others and I believe that any human with heart and brain should.

No to violence in any form by all sides because only the innocent and the poor among use are the one paying the highest price.

May 9th, 2011, 2:43 pm


N.Z. said:

There are no armed protesters. The Assad mafia run regime is solely responsible for all the killings and destruction, to state otherwise is to lie to yourselves.

Massacring 30,000 Syrians, and jailing thousands of our youths in the 80’s in the name of what? till this day hundreds are languishing in Syrian jails, many of them, no one knows if they are alive or dead.

What did the country benefited from all those senseless killings?

The father’s legacy was the Hama massacre, what a legacy!

And the ducklings will enter history, as the ones that continued with dad’s massacre, preceded by a siege, this time in Der’a, Banias, Almuadamiah, Homs… on a people that want change, they are simply saying:

Those installed dictators have no shame. Saleh, Quadaffi, the Bahraini Emir…

May 9th, 2011, 3:11 pm



It is amazing that even plain syrians defend the idea of dealing with syrian people like cattle driving them to stadiums. It would be so humiliating for a modern society with a minimum sense of honour.
I wonder if next step is gas room and mass incineration. Please do not give more ideas to jews in Israel.

May 9th, 2011, 3:11 pm


atassi said:


The only visible violence and criminal acts against humanity carried out by the regime and it oppressions tools, Sir… it’s clearly the regime versa the civilized world .. “the 2011 criminals”

May 9th, 2011, 3:13 pm


Sophia said:

Over there at The Guardian, they are mourning. Their hatred of Bashar goes to such an extent that they are publishing great distortions of reality:

Speaking of Bashar, Simon Tisdall writes:
“unlike Hosni Mubarak (whose response to Egypt’s uprising was infinitely more restrained)”.

When I read I thought that I was hallucinating…Mubarak was restrained it seems…


May 9th, 2011, 3:21 pm


N.Z. said:

Sophia you are hallucinating! is this news to you?

Do you really care who is more restrained Hosni or Bashar, or who is more hated by a British journalist?

If your answer is yes, I pity you.

You should be asking yourself, how can we save a people from a senseless dictator.

May 9th, 2011, 3:52 pm


why-discuss said:


By dialog and negotiations… If he was the monster you claim he is, why would his army of Sunnis, Alawites, Druzes, Palestinians, Christians ( still united because, unlike you, they are either cowards or morons) arrest the protesters and send them to jail? They should just shoot them as vulgar terrorists ( some democratic countries do that) and finish with them. Anyway the so called human rights activist are already crying about crime against humanity, so what the heck!.
Come on, your demonization is going beyond limit. You sound like Condoleeza Rice and the whole neocons lobby about Saddam Hossein or Hitler.

May 9th, 2011, 4:11 pm


abughassan said:

i am disappointed to see people on this blog who refuse to accept or recognize the legitimate grievances of the other side. the regime has been and continues to be brutal and corrupt but what those armed thugs in Banyas and Homs did was criminal and so was those idiotic calls for Jihad against other syrians. the army must restore order before any dialogue begins. syrians should not accept the old system and the domination of albaath or any other party or family after today, however, the alternative is certainly not the MB and those pseudo islamist thugs but a secular government that respects its own people.

May 9th, 2011, 4:31 pm


democracynow said:


Negotiations usually take place on equal footings; who is the regime gonna be negotiating with when it’s actively eradicating all dissent through arrests, cut off of services and intimidation?

We read about meetings Dr. Bashar is holding with dignitaries from Daraa and Damascus suburbs and aleppo and youth delegates but we never get to see what’s being said and discussed: did anybody of those delegates raise the issue of the heavy handedness and impunity of the security forces? or were they too scared? if so, what’s been the answer?

I condemn all acts of violence and vandalism, even those by the protesters. But to refuse protests categorically, even the peaceful ones, is a violation of a basic right. It’s an exercise in false equivalence to argue that stopping the protests is a requisite for dialog. Pragmatically speaking: the regime is doing exactly that: confronting protests of all kinds with brutality, so that the brutality will only stop when protests stop (and even then, mind you, there’s no guarantee). It seems to me that many decent pro-regime folks like yourself and Mr. Camille believe that this (cessation of protests) should happen in order for the reform and dialog to commence and be fruitful. I fail to see the logic here.

In fact, the only guarantee that the reforms are going to be genuine- that Syria will usher into an era where justice and dignity for the citizens will prevail- is if the protests are allowed to continue peacefully.

May 9th, 2011, 4:33 pm


NK said:

Thanks for the link Nour

Everyone please take a look at the new and improved Local Administration law


After years of studying/preparing this law, and after 7 weeks of deadly protests and even though they declared this law as an “important step away from central governance”

1- The Mayor is still appointed by the prisedent and not elected (Article 35)
2- The Mayor is still relieved by the prisedent and there’s no terms, so a corrupt one may stay in power for decades. (Article 35)
3- For the executive office, Only 50% of the office is elected, while the other 50% is appointed by the Mayor who is (TA DA) the CEO … so the Appointed Mayor and the Appointed 50% of the executive office have an absolute majority to do as they please regardless of what the “elected” members might think!. (Article 18)
4- The new Secretary-general position is basically a big joke, he’s appointed by the prime minister and he has no powers! (Article 54, 55)

Those are but the highlights of this new law, but how am I kidding, it’s a MAJOR REFORM.

May 9th, 2011, 4:47 pm


N.Z. said:


Your criminal mindset is crystal clear, “They should just shoot them as vulgar terrorists ( some democratic countries do that) and finish with them.” If anyone should have been brought to justice is his criminal cousin, as well, compensating the victims at once.

However, after a decade of deceit the president was exposed with his own words. His actions were a mere replica of his first speech, shame on you for your blind support, idolizing a person is an act of vulgarity, indeed.

There are many unanswered questions, those innocent civilians and army personnel that are dying daily without any independent journalist reminds me of a systematic massacre that took place in the 80s.

Speaking of the army, they are neither cowards nor morons, they are mere numbers that the higher ranking officer take advantage of, and try to humiliate them on a regular basis. The army is a product of a corrupted regime.

I always make the comparison between the Baath and Hizbullah, two marginalized people, the first corrupted the Allawis and the country, While Hizbullah took their people, their country and the Arab nation to place where we all feel proud, to say loudly and clearly, we are Arabs, 2000 brave young men brought the third strongest army to its knees, these men are Hizbullah’s men. The Shiites of Southern Lebanon.

I will like to know how did each and every Syrian died and why, an act that will never be forgotten nor forgiven, including Professor Joshua’s relative.

The truth will surface, till then spare us your wrath.

May 9th, 2011, 4:49 pm


jad said:

It’s a DRAFT and they are asking you and everybody else to write your opinion. Did you?
Why don’t you point out the exact points you disagree with and write it on that website.
Be active! 🙂

May 9th, 2011, 4:59 pm


why-discuss said:


I know you can’t concentrate these days, but please read my post carefully before extracting pieces of a sentence to accuse me of a criminal mind set. Or maybe it is intentional to distort what I wrote to serve your demonization strategy

You call the army soldiers “mere numbers” … Do you realize that this is condescending and that you are insulting these young syrians who are the future of your country. You really have a low opinion of them and a high of you.. That’s maybe your problem, you need to feel superior.

“Speaking of the army, they are neither cowards nor morons, they are mere numbers that the higher ranking officer take advantage of, and try to humiliate them on a regular basis.”

With all the admiration you have for Hezbollah, first please give some credit to Syria for helping them and supply them with weapons (while the democracies of the world and the Sunni Arab countries were hoping they would be crushed) otherwise they would not be here for you to praise them
Second aren’t you surprised that the Hezbollah ( and all Lebanese Shia) are is in full support of Bashar Al Assad and his current policy?

Sorry, despite your convictions, try humility for a change, you are not the only one who knows what is best for Syria.

May 9th, 2011, 5:15 pm


NK said:


Oh I will, and I’m pretty sure my comment won’t be censored, deleted or ignored!. I want to read the law thoroughly first though, trust me, there are many more outargues stuff in there, like these pearls for instance
الفصل الثاني – اختصاصات المحافظ
المادة 39
12- اقتراح الاستيلاء على المواد الاستهلاكية والمواد المنقولة ووسائط النقل والعقارات والمحلات والمنشآت التجارية والصناعية لضرورات التموين وإبداء الرأي بعد الاستيلاء حول ضرورة الاستمرار به أو عدمه مع الأسباب المبررة ورفعه إلى الجهات المختصة
17- القيام بوظيفة الضابطة العدلية فيما يتعلق بالجرم المشهود كما هو منصوص عليه في قانون أصول المحاكمات الجزائية ، وله أن يأمر بإجراء التحقيق في الجرم غير المشهود عند الاقتضاء . وهو يؤدي وظيفته المتعلقة بالضابطة الإدارية بواسطة موظفي الإدارة العامة وقوى الأمن الداخلي , على ألا يؤدي ذلك إلى مخالفة تعليمات الجهة المركزية المختصة
ثالثاً : في عقود الأجهزة المحلية والمركزية :
5- حرمان المتعهد من التعاقد مع الإدارة واقتراح حرمانه من التعاقد مع الجهات العامة وإعادة النظر في هذا الحرمان .
6- اعتبار المناقصة محصورة بمن تتوافر فيهم شروط وكفاءة مادية ومعنوية .
8- سحب تنفيذ التعهد والرجوع عن هذا السحب .
9- فسخ العقد والأمر بوقف تنفيذ الأعمال .


The point Jad, those coming up with such preposterous laws and propositions are clearly not keen on letting go of their powers, or at least are clueless to how democracy works. Regardless such people are not fit to lead the reform process in Syria.

Dear Why-Discuss

Glasses bro, thick ones !!! 😉

May 9th, 2011, 5:24 pm


TM said:

Like the regime that accuses , arrests and tortures and frequently kills any and every Syrian that dares to appose the criminal regime ; some people on this blog also accuse the protestors as salafis and wahabies etccc . I participated in several protests in person, Iam not even a Muslim, we dont know each others religion, we dont even care.

Defending the criminal regime and discounting our aspiration for basic human rights and basic citizen rights is one thing. But defending the regime’ crimes and flipping reality on its head and accusing the unarmed protestors of being terrorists, that is another level of ignorance, that is pretty low.

We all know who is armed and criminal is Syria, they are the Mukhabarat and Assad’s thugs, period. TheAssad Mafia emptied the country from journalists so they can unleash the criminal mukhabarats to conduct an orgy of murders on their fellow citizens. If they dare, allow journalist, Reuters, AP or any independent news organization into Syria, but they cannt , the regime has something to hide, murder.

May 9th, 2011, 5:57 pm


edward said:

Habeebatey, Syrians on the inside, expats and international spectators you’ve all been asking an important question of late. So in answer to all that assorted tomfoolery, buffoonery and general nonsense about the fate of Syria if the great chosen one should fall, heavens forbid of course, as such horrible notions can only be found in the twisted minds of people who’ve been spending most their lives living in the Salafi’s paradise.
Let me just state, unequivocally and on the record that If Satan himself took over after the Assads, it would be a step up for Syrians. I don’t see how, in the worst case scenario where let’s say the Muslim Brothers take over, any extreme measures being imposed other than shutting down a few bars and imposing a few archaic morality laws (I’m thinking Sharjha Emirates here). On the other hand, currently we’re stuck with a regime which has no problems murdering unarmed protesters on the streets, torturing children for writing graffiti on walls, imprisoning teenage bloggers, or starting a sectarian war so that it stays in power. Easy choice peeps, easy choice.

May 9th, 2011, 6:17 pm


jad said:

1-“It seems to me that many decent pro-regime folks like yourself”
It’s not pro-regime to ask for protesters to go off the street and leave space for dialog instead of the language of violence.
Please respect people’s intelligence, talk to me with the language of reason and logic not the language of accusations, I fed up of this nonsense accusations whenever I state my opinion. Oh, your opinion doesn’t count because you are pro-regime. Well even pro-regime have the right to say what they want as much as pro-protests, it’s a matter of power balance and freedom of speech.
Regardless of all that and to make my position clear so neither you nor anybody else will try these nonsense accusations with me to shut me up again I state:

-I believe the regime did commit crimes against protesters, the regime is brutal and in some cases it used lethal power against peaceful protesters that I strongly condemn, the regime has no respect for human rights or for freedom, and the regime treat Syrians like sheep and all these crimes should be judged and paid for.

-I believe that many armed militia are hiding between the protesters and using them to promote violence and the killing of innocent military men during duty for no reason and those militia members are thugs, criminals and demons in human shape and everybody need to condemn and not to hide behind freedom or false story that the army killed them, it’s shameful that nobody mention those victims as if they never exist as human.

-I also believe that many faceless protest organizers are hiding behind false façade of freedom and they are using blood, sectarian and unethical techniques to convince people of their message just to get to power and they keep pushing young Syrians to go in the street therefore they are morally responsible for the killing of many innocent people as well.

-Syria unity, its independence, its army and the safety of each and every Syrian are untouchable and when any of these elements get threatened by whoever and whatever, I have no choice but to stand against and fight without the need to be rational.

This is where I stand, if you disagree with me, it’s your own problem not mine and I appreciate if you don’t use any term on me since I’m not pro-anything but dialog, peace and Syria.

2-“is if the protests are allowed to continue peacefully.”
In fact many protests did happen without any casualties when they were peaceful, YouTube is full of examples for peaceful protests with no casualties so the regime is actually did allow them to happen with no interference, why not use those as example of success and build something meaningful and some trust upon as a base for negotiations.
When there is a will to solve a conflict any conflict the solution are there, but when we are not looking for any solution then there is no way out of the cycle of violence we all stuck in.
Start the negotiations.

One last word, I wish you Mr. Democracy and all of the pro-protests to have the courage and the dignity to admit and condemn the horrific crimes done and still happening in your names hiding behind your banners of freedom by thugs and criminals against the Syrian army and against many innocent people before you go yelling ‘freedom’ and the regime is the only criminal.

May 9th, 2011, 6:20 pm


N.Z. said:

If you are asking for humility, then show me your humanity.

The credit is theirs, Hizbullah’s alone.

Who killed Mughniyeh in Damascus?

Assad the father sent a message to Emile Lahoud then Chief of staff in the army, to find those who successfully ambushed Israeli soldiers, he refused. No one knew, then who this resistant party is.

In fact, if anything, Hizbullah highlighted the treachery of all the Arab regimes combined. So your ruling party in Damascus owes nothing to anyone.

Bashar is an Alawite whom the majority liked before his infamous speech. Syrians are not sectarian they are first and foremost nationalistic, peaceful and unwilling to start a fight. The oldest city in the world is for a reason.

Humiliating a people for 40 years is enough. Constant lies, corruption and indiscriminate killings had reached a threshold level.

When the chief of staff points his guns inwards and subjugate his army and population to terror he has no ones respect. Questions are awaiting answers, these soldiers are shot to die, not one wounded soldier, WHY?

The declared enemy for this mafia is Israel, not the Arab Syrians.
The guns must point outward not INWARD.

May 9th, 2011, 6:28 pm


Akbar Palace said:

The Criminality of Speaking your Mind NewZ

TM, Edward,

If you’re with the protestors and against regime (for some strange reason because Assad is a wonderful leader and your president-for-Life), does that make you:

a.) A Zionist

b.) A Salafi

c.) A Wahhabi

d.) An “armed gang” member

e.) A “terrorist”

f.) A Saudi

g.) A Muslim Brotherhood Member or Jihadist like Hezbollah

h.) All of the Above?

May 9th, 2011, 6:28 pm


edward said:

#107 wallah ya Habeeby I’m agnostic by “faith”, ultra liberal by politics (yes, gay rights and minority campaigner) western educated, upper middle class well connected urbanite currently living in rich-fat-merchant-i-don’t-give-a-flying-f**k-sunni-heartland-Aleppo, and I’m firmly against the regime and with the protesters. If I don’t fit into any of your convenient ready-made labels it’s because this uprising is broad based and popular, and a lot of people with differing convictions support it.

May 9th, 2011, 7:05 pm


Abughassan said:

In the interest of Syria, calm and security must be restored, then citizens can and should hold the regime accountable. If we do not see the promised reform measures and if nobody is taken to court for breaking the law in the last 2 months,then we will have nothing to say to those who accuse the regime of buying time and playing games. Any effort to keep things the same is an insult to those who died during peaceful demonstrations. As for those thugs who killed soldiers and innocent syrians, hell is big enough for them.

May 9th, 2011, 7:26 pm


jad said:

I agree with you.

May 9th, 2011, 7:50 pm


Norman said:

NK ,

Can you please tell them not to reinvent the wheel and just adopt the American system.

May 9th, 2011, 8:32 pm


edward said:

#109 AbuGhassan and #100 JAD, do you honestly think that if the protests stopped today, there won’t be a massive campaign to punish everyone who protested and all the towns and cities that rebelled? Do you have any doubt that the regime would use this period of calm to crackdown ruthlessly on all it’s opponents, including many activists being disappeared forever? Do you honestly think a regime that bases and enforces it’s authority on violence and intimidation would put it’s own enforcers and henchmen on trial? If you still believe this regime can implement meaningful reforms then you’re very naive and simple. It’s the same tactic used by all the Arab regimes at times of revolution, Egypt, Tunis, Libya, Bahrain , Yemen etc etc …. and in the words of one prominent Egyptian activist, if we had stopped our revolution then we really would have all been Khalid Said …. literally …i.e: DEAD

There is no negotiation with this regime, no compromise and no second chances. Either it enacts deep reforms immediately and creases to kill and arrest protesters, or it will be overthrown, probably violently and chaotically.

May 9th, 2011, 8:47 pm


Norman said:


They can do all what you fear now so what is the harm of showing that they care about the country because of all the violence and see what happens in few weeks ,

May 9th, 2011, 8:56 pm


Abughassan said:

More people now are coming out and admitting that violence in Syria is not only due to security forces. This includes a known anti regime journalist in alsharq alawsat. Violence needs to end and security needs to be restored. The regime does not have many friends and will not be able to keep 23 million Syrians in a cage regardless of how many activists it arrests. A climate of violence is actually helping hardliners in the regime more than the opposition. Syrians need to understand that the regime learned a valuable lesson and many lives from all sides were lost and the price must be a better government not chaos.
Those who think it is ok to allow thugs to use demonstrators are wrong.no more blood shed.

May 9th, 2011, 9:03 pm


Norman said:

This copy is for your personal, noncommercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers here or use the “Reprints” tool that appears next to any article. Visit http://www.nytreprints.com for samples and additional information. Order a reprint of this article now.


May 9, 2011
Syria Proclaims It Now Has Upper Hand Over Uprising
DAMASCUS, Syria — The Syrian government has gained the upper hand over a seven-week uprising against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad, a senior official declared Monday, in the clearest sign yet that the leadership believes its crackdown will crush protests that have begun to falter in the face of hundreds of deaths and mass arrests.

The remarks by Bouthaina Shaaban, an adviser to Mr. Assad who often serves as an official spokeswoman, suggested that a government accustomed to adapting in the face of crises was prepared to weather international condemnation and sanctions. Her confidence came in stark contrast to appearances just two weeks ago, when the government seemed to stagger before the breadth and resilience of protests in dozens of towns and cities.

“I hope we are witnessing the end of the story,” she said in an hourlong interview, for which a reporter was allowed in Syria for only a few hours. “I think now we’ve passed the most dangerous moment. I hope so, I think so.”

Her comments were a rare window on the thinking of a government that has barred most foreign journalists from Syria since the start of the uprising, which has threatened 40 years of rule by the Assad family. While much of the world has viewed the unrest as a popular demand for sweeping change in one of the region’s most authoritarian countries, Ms. Shaaban cast it as an armed uprising, a characterization the government has relied on to justify a ferocious crackdown.

That crackdown intensified Monday on the outskirts of Damascus, and in three other towns and cities across the country, with security forces raiding hundreds of houses and arresting men between the ages of 18 and 45, human rights groups and activists said. The military has deployed tanks in Baniyas, on the Mediterranean coast; Homs in central Syria, near the Lebanese border; and Tafas, in a restive region in the south, they said.

Baniyas has emerged as a focus of the crackdown. Amnesty International said Monday that more than 350 people, including 48 women and a 10-year-old child, were arrested there over the previous three days, with scores detained in a soccer field. More raids were carried out in Homs, a city that has proved among the most restive. At least nine soldiers were said to have defected there, though the reports could not be confirmed.

“They want to finish everything this week,” a human rights advocate in the city, Syria’s third largest, said by telephone. “No one in the regime has a clear policy. They cannot keep this strategy for a long time. We need political solutions, not more tanks.”

The tumult in parts of the country that have long been neglected by a government short of cash and beholden to unaccountable security forces contrasted with the scenes Monday in Damascus. There were few signs in the capital of a military buildup, except a few extra guards at some embassies and government buildings. Posters echoed the government’s contention that the uprising threatened Syria’s fragile mosaic of a Sunni Muslim majority and minorities of Christians, Kurds and heterodox Muslim sects, a theme often repeated by officials seeking to rally popular support for the broadening crackdown.

“No to discord,” one poster proclaimed. “Freedom doesn’t begin with ignorance, it begins with awareness,” another read.

Amnesty International said it had documented the names of 580 people killed since the uprising began in mid-March. Ms. Shaaban said nearly 100 soldiers and members of security forces were also killed by armed militants, whom she accused of manipulating “the legitimate demands of the people.” While administration officials in the United States and even some activists have acknowledged that some protesters have resorted to arms, they call them a minority.

Ms. Shaaban said, “We think these people are a combination of fundamentalists, extremists, smugglers, people who are ex-convicts and are being used to make trouble.”

She added later, “You can’t be very nice to people who are leading an armed rebellion, in a sense,” while acknowledging they were not the only factor in the tumult. In a sign that the government remained uncertain over the nature of the uprising, she declined to specify who was behind them, saying only that officials were still investigating.

Administration officials have said that Ms. Shaaban and Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa have seemed more receptive to calls for reform, though their influence appears to pale before more aggressive voices in the ruling elite, particularly Mr. Assad’s brother Maher, who heads the elite Republican Guard and Fourth Division.

Ms. Shaaban said she had been asked to open talks with dissidents. Last week, she said, she met with Michel Kilo, Aref Dalila, Salim Kheirbek and Louay Hussein, all veteran activists, and held out the prospect of a freer press, political parties and an electoral law.

She called it the start of a national dialogue, although some in the opposition have branded it an insincere effort to simply co-opt as many of them as possible. “In the next week or so, we will broaden it,” Ms. Shaaban said.

“We want to use what happened to Syria as an opportunity,” she added. “We see it as an opportunity to try to move forward on many levels, especially the political level.”

President Assad has long frustrated allies and even foes by promising reforms, then seeming unable or unwilling to carry them out. Despite Ms. Shaaban’s promises, one administration official contended that the government was still fighting for its survival. Even if it wins the upper hand, the official suggested, any change would prove limited.

“Assad is not capable of implementing these reforms,” the official said. “He’s not capable. He knows that if he did, it would be the end of him. He would fall.”

But in contrast to Libya, where the United States insists that Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi step down, American officials have simply repeated calls for Mr. Assad to meet popular demands, and Ms. Shaaban’s outreach seemed aimed at addressing some calls for change. But even if the government fails to placate the opposition, she suggested that international condemnation had so far been muted.

She described the statements from President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton as “not too bad” and said that the sanctions themselves — imposed by the United States last month and the European Union this week — were manageable.

“This is a weapon used against us many times,” she said. “Once security is back, everything can be arranged. We’re not going to live in this crisis forever.”

Employees of The New York Times in Beirut, Lebanon, and Damascus contributed reporting.

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May 9th, 2011, 9:31 pm


Sophia said:

Excellent journalism by Anthony Shadid, as always…

May 9th, 2011, 9:44 pm


NK said:


I would tell them not to reinvent the wheel, but I doubt any of them can read one sentence in English, actually I’ll be surprised if they can read at all. LOL
One more gem in the “new & improved” law

Article 53
يختص مجلس القضاء الأعلى بمحاكمة المحافظ من الناحية المسلكية بعد إحالته إليه بمرسوم بناءً على اقتراح الوزير ولا تحرك الدعوى العامة عليه لجرم ناشئ عن الوظيفة إلا بقرار من مجلس القضاء الأعلى .

Just to remind everyone, the prisedent is the head of the Supreme Judiciary Council. So to sum things up, the prisedent is the only one who can appoint, relieve and punish … Long live the king.

May 9th, 2011, 9:45 pm


why-discuss said:


The opposition used the “arab spring” to ask for reforms, but the real aim of many was a coup d’etat , a revolution, a complete destruction of the present system and building a new system from scratch.
Now, despite the crackdown, they just can’t accept to stop because they believe that, if they do, the momentum will be lost and all will return as it was before and there will never be another such opportunity.
I understand their concern but I just don’t see how they thought the system can be torn down and started from zero when there is no real consensus in the population and no leadership in the opposition except a Facebook page calling for more and more demonstrations and counting the dead but proposing nothing in exchange. Obviously it was very badly planned and managed and they lost the control.
This is why I believe they will be ultimately totally silenced. Perhaps they have missed a slight chance that maybe the regime was going to listen to them and make the necessary reforms. Now, as there won’t be any internal pressures on it, the government would have free hand to do what it wants and it may or may nor make the requested reforms.
The error of the opposition has been to miss the moments when they should have called off the demonstrations to show they were in control and threatened to restart them if they saw that nothing was happening. They got carried away by hardliners and anarchists who lead them to believe that, like Egypt, tBashar al Assad would resign and the army would take over! They had a surprisingly poor understanding of the present government determination. It did not happen.
Yes, it was an opportunity for major reforms if the opposition had played it well. Unfortunately they didn’t and now they are offering the country on a golden plate to the current government.

May 9th, 2011, 10:02 pm


edward said:

There are no armed gangs, salafist terrorists or foreign infiltrators in Syria, these are all regime lies to justify a brutal crackdown. When violence has occurred, it has been in retaliation for security forces killing protesters, especially in tribal places where blood feuds and honor killings are common. Relatives out seeking revenge make little distinction between mukhabarat, the army or the police force, as far as they’re concerned they’re all part of the same regime and valid targets. These cases remain isolated and rare, the overwhelming nature of the uprising in Syria has been peaceful in nature. Stop being mislead by a regime who’s modus operandi for decades has been murder and torture. What makes you think the boy that cried wolf is telling the truth this time?

May 9th, 2011, 10:10 pm


why-discuss said:

Why the world is quiet as Syria crackdown continues (The US is stating its conditions to Syria)


Washington – The United States on Monday suggested it is using the current weak position of the Syrian government on the world stage to try to pressure it into dropping its support for Hezbollah, the extremist organization in Lebanon.

In an interview with the US-funded Radio Sawa, US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford said the US is demanding from the Syrian government that it immediately cease its assistance to Hezbollah and treat Lebanon as a friendly and sovereign country.

Aside from that development, however, the US – like much of the international community – appears to have adopted a muted response to Syria in the wake of its continuing crackdown on dissidents.

May 9th, 2011, 10:21 pm


NAJIB said:


If you’re with the protestors and against regime (for some strange reason because Assad is a wonderful leader and your president-for-Life), does that make you:

a.) A Zionist

b.) A Salafi

c.) A Wahhabi

d.) An “armed gang” member

e.) A “terrorist”

f.) A Saudi

g.) A Muslim Brotherhood Member or Jihadist like Hezbollah

h.) All of the Above?

ANSWER : Amongst all of the above, you look like an idiot.

May 9th, 2011, 10:21 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:

See you on Friday, Bouthaina, et al.

May 9th, 2011, 10:28 pm


Norman said:

I do think that this is the right time for a major reform now that the government seems to have the upper hand, Reform done under duress by the government will only lead to more demands by the protesters, I always said that the Baath party and the Syrian army will never surrender after what they saw happened in Iraq, i join your fear that the reform will be patches and will be short lived and Syria will be back to a future of civil war, a real reform that is secured by the secular army and Syria that has the laws of the West is the only way to save Syria, the minorities and the Baath party, I hope that the government and the leadership do not think that they can do half reform ,

May 9th, 2011, 10:38 pm


Observer said:

There is an incredible group on this blog that are asking for “calm and quiet for now and ultimately the regime will be held accountable”. Pray tell me if the regime is going to be accountable would this mean an impeachment of the President? If not a court martial of the responsible officers who shot people at random? An open inquiry by the UN of crimes committed against civilians? Of the use of the armed forces to crush peaceful demonstrators?

I just checked Cham Press and the official SANA is claiming that the authorities arrested the “Amir of Homs and his Minister of Defense” referring to a Salafist Emirate being established in the city of Homs.

Grouchot himself and the three stooges could not come up with such fantastic tall tales!!!

How on earth can anyone continue to support such garbage; is it not telling that the Ghadafi regime came to the rescue of the Assad regime today?

May 9th, 2011, 10:43 pm


why-discuss said:


By allowing the demonstrations to go wild and relentless, the leaders of the opposition triggered a more systematic crackdown and
therefore have lost any leverage they may have had on the reforms.
What pressure are there on the government to make significant reforms now that there won’t be any opposition left?

May 9th, 2011, 10:53 pm


anton said:

Dear NK, Norman , Jad

I would like to debate with you and others in this form and provide a positives remarks to the new administartion law ( important milestone) , here my first observations :

First the ( muhafez ) is not a mayer ,he is the Governor , a mayer is the head of the ( city board of directories ) or the head of the “baladia” board of directors

Second you should start with art # 8 electing the city board, assume the province of Damascus will elect 100 board members, then those board members will be elected from the people and by the people, art # 13 . I suggest the art # 11 to limit the board term to 2 years rather than 4 ( as they will be very exposed/sensitive to the public )

then you need to jump to art # 18 appointing the Board of directors ( executives ) , half will be elected from the already elected board , and the other half will be appointed by the governor , if those second half are members of the board as well that will be great , if not then its not perfect but should be OK

then Jumping to art #35 appointing the Governor by the President should be OK that’s happened in a lot of western countries ( see Netherlands ) , and I agree it should be limited to 2 terms of 4 years.

I do not see how the mayors being elected / appointed .. do you ? as they are as much important as the Governors. I would like to see the same things as the ones for the Provinces ( muhafazat),with proper elected bodies by the people

All executive boards in all over the world are subjects to be corrupted nothing unusual, only we need to assume that the new communication law and free press, will be in place at the same time to guaranty proper accountability. ( do not forget the boards will be elected from the people and by the people )

May 9th, 2011, 11:08 pm


Revlon said:

Human rights organizations regard many Syrian regime’s practices as, CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY..
Compiled evidene shall be presented to the United Nations next week.

رضوان زيادة : نعمل على اعداد ادلة للمحمكمة الدوليةا
about an hour ago

May 9th, 2011, 11:08 pm


Abughassan said:

A goat even if it flies. That is what some bloggers are saying when they insist that all of the 500+ killed in Syria were slaughtered by the government. This denial and the failure of the opposition to isolate the violent elements are two reasons,among others,to why this uprising is getting weaker and coming to an end. I sadly suspect that armed thugs will not accept defeat and will take their anger at the people,like what they did in the 80s,and blame the government for every security breach and crime that take place. One size does not fit all,and what worked in Egypt and Tunisia did not work in Syria especially that no Syrian wants another Iraq or Libya. Pity the people who had to choose between brutal security forces and thuggish terrorists while we obviously had a third choice: a secular non violent opposition.

May 9th, 2011, 11:09 pm


syria no kandahar said:

get a logical and realize that this is syria and not switzerland.this so called revolution has been hijaked by terrorist and is taking syria into a suicide cliff which ordinary syrians dislike.if in your imagination you feel that this is a pure revolution with all good intentions for every one riding it you must be blind or may be just opening one eye.iraq is a life example of where people like you are driving syria to.

May 9th, 2011, 11:12 pm


Norman said:

The government and the president should not move on reform for the sake and the demands of the opposition, they should do that because it is the right thing to do for Syria, yes events showed that many used violence, but does not say that there are many bad things going on in Syria from corruption to the heavy hand that the security services have and their control on people’s lives, it so so difficult to get ahead in Syria as if you are not connected you have no chance for a better life no matter how smart or educated you are , these are things which made people angry not at the president but the System that he promised to change but apparently has not be able to do for 11 years, I hope that demonstrations that Syria saw will give him the excuse to push the people who are against the reform aside and move forward to build a modern, secular and Western style state where the rule of laws and opportunity for all are common and the way of life.

May 9th, 2011, 11:12 pm


why-discuss said:

Brotherhood enlists Salafists to do its ‘dirty work’ in Egypt



One of the Salafi sect Hizb ut Tahrir, present in North Lebanon, calls for a reinstatement of the Islamic Caliphate. They recently made a demonstration calling for the fall of the Syrian government
as too ‘pro western’. It is not a tale from Grouch Marx.


May 9th, 2011, 11:15 pm


why-discuss said:


I hope he has the right strength to do that. I still wish there was some kind of relentless pressure, internal or external, to push these reforms forward and fast as I expect a lot of resistance from the insiders who want to keep their privileges intact and may become malevolent.

May 9th, 2011, 11:21 pm


edward said:

hmmmm, y’all seem to be suffering amnesia and short term memory loss. Cast your minds back to March 30, when Bashar came out laughing in his clapping and poetic puppet parliament and proclaimed that there was no more corruption in Syria, the corrupt elements had all gone, and that there was no one in his regime holding him back from making reforms, on the contrary, he was stalling them!

Do you seriously expect this guy to bring about meaningful change? No way in hell, he and his regime must go. Sooner or later, peacefully or by force, they’re history.

May 9th, 2011, 11:39 pm


Abughassan said:

Many understood from the beginning that the regime can not be toppled by force,those who thought otherwise either knew nothing about Syria or were driven by their emotions. I support keeping pressure on the regime but not through armed resistance,terrorism or international sanctions. Syrians are fully able to change the regime without firing a single bullet. The rules have changed, this is not 1982. If you think albaath can continue to dominate political life in Syria for another 48 years think again. As for Bashar,all bets are off. Those who support him think he will move faster on reform,and those who do not believe he is too weak to rule over his family and the security hawks around him. The next few weeks or months will tell. Damascus and Aleppo, for the most part,ignored calls for a regime change for obvious reasons and so did most Syrians.

May 9th, 2011, 11:46 pm


jad said:

WD #118 I agree with your conclusion that the opposition lost their chance to come out as champions, I think they got carried away by two things; the wrong ideology of (win or die) (leaving no space for any solution) and by the international vocal support which led them to believe that the world will come to their rescue in no time, while many news channels helped exaggerating the situation by falling for many false stories and in some times loosing credibility.

May 9th, 2011, 11:58 pm


Mina said:

Edward #108
Are you claiming you are currently living in Aleppo?
How funny!

WD #130
MB and Salafists want to be rewarded for the support they gave to the Tahrir movement (at least in the last 10 days). In Egypt you can’t deny their role and existence, but it is much more constructive than in Syria: they were taking care of inexistent social services for 2 decades in some poor areas.
So this is one of the big problems of these revolutions: as in any political process, every player want a slice of the cake, and without the pious masses, you don’t achieve a critical number, but then what ministry can you offer them? Defense? Education? LOL
Another problem I can identify is the necessity before we can talk broadly of human rights to speak of man/woman equality.
The only role I see for foreign activists and NGO is to collect names and cases and to fill up for cases with the international court and local courts in the West: this is how Israeli politicians are now scared to visit the UK or Belgium.
But that they think their role is to decide on the social media that “it is too little too late” or that you need to give gay rights by next week, is just a recipe for more chaos, and the people who play with that know it well.
The third problem again is that without adressing the symbolic influence of Saudi Arabia on the “pious masses” in every detail: equality, freedom of religion, representation (!), you cannot expect the conservative segments of the society to move forward and accept reforms or “freedom.” Therefore human rights are to be questioned in a regional and global context.

May 10th, 2011, 12:06 am


Revlon said:

The “Interim Syrian Transitional National Council” has been formed. Here is the name list as per its facebook page:
المجلس الوطني الانتقالي السوري المؤقت
1. Lawyer: Mohammad Tayyeb Tizini
2. Doctor/Preacher: Munir AlGhadban
3. Sheikh (Asheera): Abudlilah AlMilhem
4. Lawyer: Abdallah Khalil
5. Activist: Khaled Saleh AlKhalaf
6. Activist: Akram Wajih AlBunni
7. Activist: Ms Nahed badawiyyeh
8. Artist: Hakam AlBaba
9. Activist Writer: Husein AlOwidat
10. Activist: Waleed Saffoor
11. Politician: Waheed saqr
12. Lawyer: Mohammad najati Tayyarah
13. Sheikh (Preacher): Mutazz AlKhateeb
14. Islam Religon Scholar: Mahmood Assayed Adghaim
15. Lawyer: Mohammad AlHasani
16. Activist: Mohammad Ali AlAbdallah
17. Activist: Mohammad Rasem Assayyed SSlaiman AlAtasi
18. Journalist: Ms. Razan Zaitooneh
19. Journalist: Muntaha AlAtrash
20. Sheikh (Preacher) Adnan AlAroor
21. Activist: Michel Kilo
22. Sheikh (Asheera) Nawwaf ragheb AlBasheer
23. Lawyer: Wael AlHafez
24. Dr Qasem Azzawi


May 10th, 2011, 12:10 am


jad said:

I wonder what ministry Adnan AlAroor can fit in? I suggest him to be the sewerage minister.

May 10th, 2011, 12:36 am


NK said:


You’re right, I meant governor and mistakenly typed mayor instead. Anyways, the governor has to be elected, it’s a must.
Right now the Governor of say Damascus could be someone from Hasakah, how do you expect this guy to understand the problems of the province?, what the people of the province complained about over the years ?. How will this guy ever be better than a resident from Damascus ?.
Also how would the prisedent know if this guy is even fit to be governor ? trail&error, personal relationship, or a recommendation from security agencies … all of these methods are equally bad. Plus notice how the law is being promoted as a major step away from central governance, appointing the most important figure in the province by the central government is exactly we have right now.

The second point about the board of directors. As I said in a previous post, when the mayor appoints 50% of the board members, he effectively guarantees the majority on his side, which makes the whole election rather pointless. Can you please elaborate on the benefits of such restrictions ? I mean why not elect 100% of the board. The way I see it, the whole point is to keep a monopoly on power.

About the third point, again appointed the governor makes him a representative of the prisedent and not of the people, so even with a term limit, it doesn’t really matters, since he’ll just be replaced by another guy/gal that doesn’t represent the people.

As for the Mayors, it’s better to have them elected every 4 years as well, the more the people represent themselves the better they’re equipped to solve their own problems, the key here is term limits to ensure no body has an absolute monopoly on power.

As for corruption, free press is useless on it’s own and won’t solve a thing, people have been talking about such corruption for years in newspapers and online websites like Syria-news and the like. The problem is the judicial system that is non existent, this law for instant gives the governor the powers of the district attorney. Art #39.17
It also renders him practically immune against prosecution for (literally) crimes he commits while in office, Art #53

The entire legal system in Syria needs to be thrown in the trash can and rebuilt from the ground up, as it’s common practice in Syria from a transgressor to tell his victim (روح اشتكي) go file a claim, but this is another topic all together.

May 10th, 2011, 1:01 am


NK said:


Your comment is very insulting to Syrian scholars, painting them as subservient to Saudi Arabia, it’s also insulting to ordinary Muslims as apparently a devout Muslim is automatically too bloodthirsty or unpatriotic to be able to handle the responsibility of the defense ministry, and too ignorant and backward to know anything about education. Your language is disgusting to say the least.

May 10th, 2011, 1:31 am


jad said:

Regarding Egypt sectarian issue;
The contrast of those two clips between the Egyptians and the American is way too painful:


May 10th, 2011, 1:35 am


Revlon said:

Correction: I feel bad about this Guys! The list that I provided earlier, and this list are the proposed candidates for the council.
They have been neither approached nor selected yet.
There will be a web based voting followed by selection.
My sincere apologies.

Here is the rest of the names:

25. Dr Mohammad Kamal
26. Engineer Ghassan AlNajjar
27. Lawyer Hasan AbdulAzeem
28. Preacher Issam AlAttar
29. Businessman Maoon AlHomsi
30. Politician Riyad AlTurk
31. Preacher Mohammad Rateb AlNabulsi
32. Writer Jaber AlShoofi
33. Activist Ammar AlQurabi
34. Researcher Mohammad Rahhal
35. Activist Radwan Ziyadeh
36. Lawyer Mutaz AlSulaiman
37. Kurdish Activist: AbdulBaset Hamo
38. Dr Fida AlHorani
39. Reasearcher AbdulRazzaq Eed
40. Dr Aref Daleeleh
41. Engineer Muhammad Riyad AlShaqfeh
42. Activist Ms Suhair Atasi
43. Lawyer Haytham AlMaleh
44. Activist Haytham AlMannaa
45. Professor Burhan Ghalyoon

May 10th, 2011, 1:48 am


Hashashji said:

Here is some Salafis in Damascus yesterday chanting the national anthem and some security personnel beating and packing them in vans…


Long live the king of reform!

May 10th, 2011, 2:30 am


Muftah » Crawling Towards the Rubicon: Syria’s Growing Uprising – Part 4 said:

[…] of refugees into Turkey and Lebanon, arrests have increased, and the security forces have begun tracking and working against activists online. As of this writing, more than 1,400 people have been killed and thousands have been arrested. Yet, […]

August 1st, 2011, 8:39 am