Landis and Seale on Prosepects for a Government Comeback

Antigovernment protesters gathered Friday after noon prayer in the coastal town of Baniyas, Syria, in a cellphone photo provided by an onlooker.
Anthony Shadid gives the best assessment today
Protests Across Syria Despite Military Presence
May 6, 2011 New York Times

The worst violence was reported in Homs, Syria’s third largest city, where activists described a chaotic, bloody day, as tanks entered the town. The government said 10 soldiers had been killed there by what it described as “terrorists,” while activists said at least 9 soldiers had defected to their side. Sixteen protesters were killed, they said.

“We answered the call to protest today, but the intelligence forces attacked us right away by opening fire on us,” said a resident in Homs, reached by telephone.

Another resident there said the security forces fired without provocation.

“They took us by surprise,” he said by phone, over the sound of gunfire.

Both sides in the seven-week struggle claimed victories of sorts on Friday. Thousands of demonstrators gathered again in dozens of towns and cities, despite the government’s deployment of security and military forces from the Mediterranean coast to the steppe in southern Syria. But the crackdown seemed to have slowed the force of the protests, and even some of the government’s opponents acknowledged that crowds may have been smaller than on past Fridays.

“The protests can’t get the momentum to increase the numbers on the ground, as we saw in Egypt and Tunisia,” said Radwan Ziadeh, a Syrian human rights advocate and visiting scholar at George Washington University in Washington. “The collective punishment of cities, mass arrests and the tactics of snipers have created some fear.”

President Bashar al-Assad, who inherited power from his father, Hafez, in 2000, initially claimed that Syria was immune to the tumult sweeping the Arab world. When the uprising erupted in Dara’a, a poor town near the Jordanian border, he initially responded with a mix of crackdown and concessions that proved largely rhetorical. For the past two weeks, the government has relied almost entirely on force to crush dissent, and there appears to be a sense in official circles that the government has gained the upper hand.

Over the past week, opposition figures said, Butheina Shaaban, an adviser to Mr. Assad, has reached out to some dissidents. One of them, Michel Kilo, said he met with Ms. Shaaban on Thursday and insisted that a dialogue could begin only after an end to the crackdown, recognition of the right to protest and agreement on a political solution to the crisis.

“I didn’t go to hold dialogue,” he said. “I went to express my opinion.”

Other opposition figures dismissed the tentative outreach and pointed to the arrests of two government opponents — Riad al-Seif, a former member of Parliament ailing with prostate cancer who was jailed twice in 2002, and Mouaz al-Khatib, a prominent Muslim cleric. Mr. Khatib was arrested Thursday, and Mr. Seif on Friday, after attending a small protest in the capital, Damascus, outside the Hassan Mosque that was quickly dispersed.

“These are maneuvers,” said Burhan Ghalioun, a Syrian scholar and director of the Center for Contemporary Oriental Studies at the Sorbonne in Paris. “They are maneuvering, and they are playing with the opposition to try to break its ranks.”

Obama administration officials say that while some figures in the Syrian leadership, Ms. Shaaban and Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa among them, seem to favor at least some reform, hard-liners in the leadership are ascendant. In the past two weeks, the military has been deployed in force to Dara’a, Baniyas on the Mediterranean coast and Rastan, a town near Homs. Thousands have been arrested, particularly in Dara’a and towns on the capital’s outskirts.

But officials say the ire of France and, in particular, Turkey, which had emerged as one of Syria’s closest allies, has worried the Syrian leadership. So has the threat of international action. On Friday, the European Union decided to impose a travel ban and a freeze of assets of 14 Syrian officials, though Mr. Assad was excluded.

“The government has been saying this will be over in two to three weeks,” an administration official said in Washington. “They seem to think they have control over the situation, that it’s dying down, but we don’t really understand why they think that.”

The toll on Friday paled before that of past weeks, especially April 22, when more than 100 people were killed as security forces opened fire on demonstrations across the country…..

With the Western media focused on bin Laden, the situation in Syria has been deteriorating
Justin Elliott of

While the U.S. media has been focused on Libya, the president’s birth certificate and Osama bin Laden, a dramatic and brutal showdown has been unfolding between the government of Syria and opposition protesters.

An estimated 500 to 600 civilians have been killed in the 50-day uprising, and forces of the Bashar al-Assad regime have repeatedly opened fire on protesters. Part of the reason for the lack of American media coverage is that Western reporters were expelled from the country early on, and most are now covering the situation from neighboring Lebanon.

For an update on the uprising and a take on the Obama administration’s Syria policy, I spoke to Joshua Landis, a professor at the University of Oklahoma and the proprietor of the well-respected blog Syria Comment.

Who makes up the opposition?

Well we know a certain sliver of the opposition well because there are a number of activists who have been supported by U.S. pro-democracy money for five years now. They’ve been working away developing websites and expertise on democratic transformation. They are very liberal, pro-American — everything that America likes. But we don’t know how big or important that group of liberals is. Civil society in Syria has been so severely restricted. Not as much as it had been in Iraq, but it’s not far from that scale. So we don’t know how powerful various parties would become if we take a lid off.

The strength of the opposition is that has no leadership, and therefore the leadership cannot be easily snuffed out. It is led by young activists in their 20s and early 30s who are determined and who have until very recently been able to keep the opposition focused on liberal slogans about freedom, unity, peace, anti-corruption, and regime change. They’ve shown great courage in the face of a very tough repression. But the great weakness of the opposition is that they have no leadership. There are no faces that people can identify with, and no personalities to reassure the silent majority that the future is going to be handled in a way that they would find acceptable.

Describe the new sanctions on Syria imposed by the Obama administration.

Well America already has several sets of sanctions. Sanctions because it is a terror-supporting state, according to the U.S. Primarily because it supports Hezbollah and Hamas. Sanctions placed by President Bush against people who interfere in Lebanon and people who are corrupt. And now Obama has added another lawyer, against the leaders of Syria’s security state, who are most directly responsible for clamping down on the protests. The effect of the sanctions overall has been to slow down the Syrian economy and to put the Syrians on a diet, to reduce their incomes. Sanctions scare away foreign investment. But the new sanctions so far are more symbolic than they are meaningful.

So has the administration had a consistent policy throughout this crisis?

The policy has been to show horror at the brutal treatment of the protesters, to denounce Syria’s actions, but not to do anything that would make it incumbent on the U.S. to intervene militarily as it did in Libya. There, Obama said that Gadhafi had to go. And once he said that, the pressure mounted quickly for the U.S. to do something. But Libya is 6 million people. Syria is 22 million. It is an ethnically and religiously divided society, like in Iraq. If the regime is toppled, it’s quite likely there would be a civil war. And if that happens, the calls for intervention will be very hard to resist.

There have been more and more criticisms from Republican leaders that the Obama administration has been too soft on Syria. Where is this coming from? Is this all about Israel?

It is largely about Israel. U.S. interest in Syria has almost always been a subset of the U.S.-Israel relationship. We have sanctions on Syria because it is part of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and they are trying to get their occupied territory — the Golan Heights — back. So they look for allies in the fight against Israel, and this makes them our enemy.

You mentioned the courage the protesters have shown. The numbers of dead seem quite high. How bad has the crackdown been?

There’s been 500 and 600 dead. The Syrian government has shot at people. They haven’t let the demonstrations grow. If you adjust for population, in Bahrain, the government killed twice as many of its citizens. They were given a pass, their ambassador was invited to the royal wedding in London. That’s because America has oil interests in the Gulf and wants to please Saudi Arabia, and America doesn’t care as much about Shiite dead because it doesn’t like Iran.

Have the demonstrations been entirely non-violent?

No. There have been about 80 Syrian soldiers that have been shot. The opposition claims that Syrian soldiers were shot by other government forces. But this has never been proven and is unlikely. The government is saying they are being shot by armed elements — either Salafists or Al Qaeda-type people, or just those that want to destabilize Syria. That argument wins sympathy from many Syrians. But many others want to see revolution. The country is split down the middle, along religious lines — like Iraq was.

Which side has the momentum right now?

The state. The chances are quite high that the Syrian government will be able to beat back the opposition because the government has a monopoly of power. The army and the security forces have remained loyal to the president. They have not split as they did in Libya. They have not turned on the president as they did in Egypt.

But if the regime does collapse, the state institutions will collapse, as they did in Iraq. Syria is a one-party state, which is the Baath Party. If the opposition takes over the government, the Baath Party will be purged. The state institutions like the military, the intelligence forces, and the Republican Guard will all be disbanded and perhaps some of the leadership will be tried. One can expect close to 2 million people losing their jobs or being affected directly by this. They’re going to fight to keep their privileges and their position, just as the Sunnis in Iraq fought. This would turn into a sectarian war. The slogans of freedom, although important, conceal a sectarian split in the country.

That scenario seems grim. Is there a possible positive outcome and what would it look like?

There is a possible positive outcome, which is that Bashar al-Assad remains in power and yet carries out deep reforms. That’s what a number of people are hoping for, that he will become humble and realize that in order to bring peace to Syria he’s going to have to enact deep reforms.

But based on what he’s doing right now, it would seem like things are going in the opposition direction.

Is This the End of the Assad Dynasty?
By Patrick SealeGreat clamour for change has arisen in more than a dozen Syrian cities in recent weeks. Has the time come for President Bashar al-Assad to give way to pressure from the street and perhaps even to bow out altogether? Asks Patrick Seale.

….The difficult and perilous task Bashar now faces is nothing less than the profound restructuring — under great popular pressure — of a fossilised system of governance inherited from his father, but which is no longer appropriate to the modern age, and no longer tolerated by the bulk of the population. Like other Arabs, 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 the cancellation of article 8 of the constitution which enshrines the Ba’ath Party as “the leader of state and society”), and an end, once and for all, to arbitrary arrest, police brutality and torture.

Can Bashar meet these demands? Does he have the will and ability to do so? Can he hope to prevail over the entrenched interests of his extended family, of his intelligence and army chiefs, of powerful figures in his Alawite community, of rich Sunni merchants of Damascus traditionally allied to the Assad family, and of the small but powerful “new bourgeoisie,” made rich by the transition from a state-controlled to a market-oriented economy, over which he has himself presided in the past decade? All these disparate forces want no change in a system which has brought them privilege and wealth. Above all, can Bashar change the brutal methods of his police and security forces? Could anyone in just a few weeks hope to change habits of repression ingrained over half a century, and indeed far longer? (For autocracy is not an Assad invention.)

The Bashar years

Until the outbreak of the crisis, Bashar al-Assad had little or nothing of the menacing pose of a traditional Arab dictator. His manner was modest and, at 45, he looked astonishingly young. His tall willowy frame has none of the robustness of a fighter, while his gaze, questioning and often perplexed, has none of the certainties of a man born to power. He was a young doctor studying ophthalmology in London when the accidental death in 1994 of his elder brother, Basil, an altogether tougher character who was being groomed for the succession, propelled him somewhat reluctantly onto the political scene.

The country he came to rule in 2000 seemed backward in an increasingly globalised and technologically advanced world. His first reforms were therefore financial and commercial. Mobile phones and the internet were introduced. Private schools and universities proliferated. In 2004 private banks and insurance companies were allowed to operate for the first time, and a stock exchange was opened in March 2009. A political and economic alliance was forged with Turkey (and visas abolished), which allowed trade to grow along that border, benefiting Aleppo. The Old City of Damascus was revitalised, ancient courtyard houses restored and hotels and restaurants opened to cater for the growing number of tourists. Before the crisis erupted, Syria was negotiating to join the World Trade Organisation and conclude an association agreement with the European Union.

But Bashar’s years in power seem to have hardened him. He developed a taste for control — control over the media, over the university, over the economy (through cronies such as his exorbitantly rich cousin Rami Makhlouf), control over society at large. Free expression is not allowed. Political decision-making is restricted to a tight circle around the president and security services. Like his father, Bashar clearly does not like to be pushed around or to seem to yield to pressure. Even so, many Syrians still support him in the belief that, as an educated, modern and secular ruler, he is better placed than most to bring about necessary change.

At the time of writing, Bashar still seems to have a chance, if a slim one, of stabilising the situation and perhaps earning a further spell in power — but only if he calls a halt to the killing of protesters and takes the lead of the reform movement, and in effect carries out a silent coup against the hardliners.

But it may well be too late for that. Indeed, Bashar may already have lost authority to men like his brother, Maher al-Assad, commander of the regime’s Republican Guard, who seems to advocate crushing the protests by force. If the army and the security services remain loyal, it will be difficult for the opposition to unseat the regime. But there have been ominous rumours of army defections as well as reports that some members of the Ba’ath Party have resigned…..

some Islamists still dream of revenge, while minorities such as the Alawites fear that if the regime were to fall, they would be massacred in turn. Emerging from underground, the Muslim Brothers have now called on the people to join the protests. The cry for freedom risks being drowned by sectarian strife.

Such has been Bashar al-Assad’s harsh apprenticeship. He has had to surmount a series of regime-threatening crises much like those his father confronted in his time. Both Assads felt some satisfaction at managing to survive them and thus provide Syria with a measure of stability and security, especially compared with Iraq and Lebanon. There was, however, a price to pay. Having to live and survive in a hostile environment inevitably conferred great powers on the security services, guardians of the regime — to the increasing resentment of ordinary Syrians. A dialogue of the deaf ensued. The Assads’ intense preoccupation with external crises led them to neglect the internal scene. Who would need political freedoms, they no doubt thought, if given the benefits of security and stability? As the regime’s official daily newspaper Tishrin wrote on 25 April: “The most sublime form of freedom is the security of the nation.”

The recent explosion of popular anger has evidently taken Bashar by surprise, as it did other Arab autocrats. He has had to wrench his attention away from the perils and excitements of foreign policy to urgent challenges at home. To devise and implement far-reaching domestic reforms, as the present situation urgently demands, will require a radical change of focus. It will not be easy, and a favourable outcome is far from certain. Bashar now faces an internal threat to his regime at least as dangerous as any of the external threats he and his father confronted so successfully.

Yes, it does seem that way. And in order to enforce his control, he’s going to resort to greater sectarian divide-and-rule, which will ultimately weaken Syria and eliminate the possibility of deep reforms. So this looks like a lose-lose situation.

Comments (137)

Akbar Palace said:

For all those conspiracy theorists out there, does anyone know what is strange about the now famous, situation room photo?

May 7th, 2011, 1:53 pm


Souri333 (formerly Souri) said:

I was led to believe by Nizar Nayyouf (who is a big idiot liar) that Assad was going to allow the MB to work again in Syria as a party similar to the Turkish ruling party. However, this is obviously not the case. The regime strongly refuses to allow any Islamist or even Sunni political power to emerge in Syria. This is in short what I wanted to say by my long post in the previous entry.

The Alawis do not trust the Sunnis at all, because Sunni politicians have always resorted to the sectarian weapon since 1963 until now. Even Baathists like Salah Bitar and Ahmad abu Salih used sectarian incitement as a political weapon against the Alawis (also the Druze Salim Hatoum famously launched a campaign of sectarian incitement against the Alawis before they killed him in 1967). Syrian politicians from all backgrounds have used sectarian incitement as a political weapon; even communist politicians have done so.

There is no national political culture in Syria. Very few politicians proved to be true nationalists (an example is former president Amin Hafez who refused to attack the Alawis or use seatrain language in politics until he died).

This culture scares the Alawis. For them, attacking the ‘Alawis’ as a sect is not a joke. They feel very threatened by any reference to them as a sect. Since that sectarian language is still commonly used by Sunni politicians, the Alawis do not trust them at all, and they will never hand power to them. This is the reality.

The regime will not allow any window for a ‘Sunni’ political power to emerge from, even if such power claims to be secular.

May 7th, 2011, 2:11 pm


jad said:

شـبـكـة أخـبـار حـمـاه | H.N.N
تقرير – حماه -7-5-2011 || مظاهرة حاشدة بعد تشييع جنازة (عدد المشيعيين حوالي 2000شخص)، مشت من خلال الحاضر والمدينة ووسط السوق.

بعدها حاول المخربون وعددهم حوالي 1000 شخص بإحراق مبنى المحافظة، وقامو بالتخريب في المركز الإذاعي، ثم أحرقو كبينة على باب السرايا، من ثم دخلو السرايا وعاثو فسادآ ودمارآ وتكسيرآ بالداخل

6 minutes ago

Older video showing how the security are actually attacked and tempted in Hama, now wonder the peaceful protesters are killed.

May 7th, 2011, 2:38 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:

With hammer, with axe, we’ll knock you off – Ya Bashar..


May 7th, 2011, 3:24 pm


democracynow said:

An estimated 500 to 600 civilians have been killed in the 50-day uprising

When I mentioned the 600 figure in the comments section of the last post, someone rebuffed it as Al Jazeera fabrication.

Well, I guess Justin Elliot, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International are all under the spill of Al Jazeera.

May 7th, 2011, 3:31 pm


daleandersen said:

Syria forbids foreign journalist­s from going out to report on the protests, so it’s turned into a cyberwar on YouTube between pro- and anti-gover­nment forces. The Bashar bashers post videos of funerals of “dead” protestors­. The Bashar supporters post videos of funerals where “dead men” rise out of coffins to join the angry mob.

Just goes to show you how the camera ALMOST ALWAYS lies…

May 7th, 2011, 3:40 pm


Mina said:

Very clear here in the 2nd video posted by Jad, the bearded guy, first leading the crowd and facing the policers who are trying to protect the official building and then moving away. Crowd composed of very young men and a lot of kids (who are the ones who actually burn the building after the amn has left, in the 1st video).
It reminds me of the beginning of the spreading of the Yemen demos out of Sanaa, with very young kids composing the main of the crowd (and it was all day long on al Jazeera, no matter how old was the demo). Same for the beginning of the events in Banyas and Daraa with a striking pictures of a wall of kids with posters (can’t find it and can’t remember if it was Banyas or Daraa).
Then not only they should do political parties and quickly, but they should also put the voting age at 15, like it was for a while in Iran… Because otherwise I wonder how ANY government will keep them busy.

May 7th, 2011, 3:41 pm


NK said:


Everyone not buying the lies of the regime is under the influence of Al Jazeera hallucinogens.

Good thing we have brave Syrian women like this mom who turned her son in because he was calling for Jihad while under the influence of these drugs, according the her, her son will be more safe in the hands on mukhabarat than in her lap.

P.S notice the official Al Jazeera logo on the bags …

May 7th, 2011, 4:13 pm


Mina said:

Niqash hadd on a UK channel (?)

May 7th, 2011, 4:36 pm


why-discuss said:

The Islamic Republic’s Emerging Cyber War

“Against a backdrop of international internet freedom initiatives, and plans to create a “halal Internet,” the Islamic Republic is doubling down on its efforts to use computers and the Internet to beat back pressure from critics at home and abroad.”

May 7th, 2011, 4:50 pm


NAJIB said:

Who makes up the opposition?

“we know a certain sliver of the opposition … who have been supported by U.S. pro-democracy money.”

if you add the sliver of the opposition who have been supported by European “human-rights” money.

and the sliver of the opposition who have been supported by Saudi pro-da’wa money.

you get a bigger picture of the various slivers of the so called ‘opposition’.

May 7th, 2011, 5:12 pm


jad said:

حمص: في الشارع دم ورعب وأمل

حمصي لبنان بطل نكات البساطة والتهكم، أما حمصي سوريا فهو من بين حملة أعلى الشهادات واكثر شباب سوريا تفوقا. حمصي «الانتفاضة السورية» هو من بين الشهداء الشباب الذين شيّعتهم مدينتهم في أيام الجمعة المتسلسلة في الشهر الأخير لأنهم صرخوا للحرية. أما حمصي «المؤامرة على سوريا»، فهو العالم عيسى عبود صاحب عشرات براءات الاختراع الذي استشهد يوم عيد الجلاء في «حي النزهة» مودّعاً أعوامه السبعة وعشرين. وهو ايضا العميد المتقاعد عبدو التلاوي الذي قتل وتم التنكيل بجثته هو وجاره وابنيه وابن عمّهما، لمجرد «ذنب» انهم كانوا يستقلّون سيارة عسكرية في منطقة تطرّف مذهبي. وهم أبناء المذهب ذاته لكنهم قتلوا…
ظهراً في حمص، تحاول الشوارع أن تستعيد نبضها القديم، ولكن كل الوجوه والمفترقات تصرخ بالفاجعة. يعجّ رمز المدينة التقليدي مطعم «كريش»، بالطلاب والعمال المسرعين. نساء سافرات ومنقبات، بالجملة والمفرّق، ينتظرن «الشيش» بينما ينظر كل وجه إلى الوجه الآخر بعيون فيها قلق، وفيها ايضا غضب. في وسط المدينة، وتحديداً على تقاطع سوق «الدبلان»، يقاوم التجار كساد شهر بسبب الدماء والأزمة ومحاولات الفتنة بين أهل المدينة. برغم تعاطفهم مع الدماء، يغضبهم كل حراك يطيل مدة إغلاق المحال ويكثر من الدماء البريئة، فيصرخون للأمن أولاً ومن ثم للحرية. أما في الساحة القريبة، ساحة «الساعة الجديدة»، فللمشهد الكلام: مصارف حجبت واجهاتها الزجاجية بألواح خشبية لحمايتها من الرصاص، سيارات قليلة جداً، ورجال أمن بالعشرات يتجمعون زمراً على العشب الأخضر، ويجلس سلاح كل واحد في حضنه… هكذا كان وسط المدينة عصر الخميس. ”

“يزَن: سلفي لا يعرف نفسه
في شارع الحميدية الحمصي حيث تخرج التظاهرات أيام الجمعة، تبدو الحركة بطيئة والمحال مغلقة باستثناء قلة قليلة. من بين هذه القلة، وكر احتجاج نواته ثلاثة رجال ومراهق. الرجال الثلاثة يسخرون من الدولة وينتقدون الفساد بمزحة وضحك. اما المراهق، «يزن لابيد، فغضبه أكثر عنفاً وكلامه أشد حدة، وهو الوحيد الذي أقر بمشاركته في كل المسيرات في منطقة «باب السباع». ترتفع صفارات الإنذار في أحاديثهم جميعاً: يدافعون عن القرضاوي، وحتى عن بن لادن، لأنهم رموز دينية. اما شيوخ الطرف الآخر كالشيخ البوطي، فهم برأيهم خاضعون للتهديد ولذلك يقفون مع الدولة. في كل ما يقولون، يبدو حديثهم خطيرا، وتتعارض مواقفهم وأجوبتهم، وتدل على عدم دراية كاملة بالأفق. لا يعرفون ما يريدون، يعرفون فقط من لا يريدونه. ينطقون بالكفر: «خلصونا من فزاعة إسرائيل وعملوا سلام»… لكنهم ليسوا اصحاب لحى طويلة او ذقون متدينة، ولا ثيابهم توحي بالسلفية، وكذلك، لا توحي نظرات عيونهم إلى الأنثى السافرة ومزاحهم بالشر أو التطرف. كل ما فيهم غير سلفي، مطالبهم فيها الكثير من الحق عندما ينتقدون المسؤول الفاسد وانعدام الوظائف وقانون الطوارئ.
احدهم مثلاً يعمل خبازا، محكوم بثلاثة أشهر غيابياً ولكن لماذا؟ يعرض لنا محضر الضبط الأخضر ومفاده: عاينت الخبز الذي تبيعه هيئة من وزارة الصحّة، فاكتشفت أنه يشكو من الرطوبة لأنه يصنع العجين بعشوائية من دون الاستعانة بالآلات المخصصة لفحصه. لا حكم على الورقة، لكنه يصر على انه محكوم بسبب الخبز، ويكمل الحديث «لو أنني قدمت رشوة للقاضي أو الهيئة، كما فعل صديقي بائع الفرّوج، لمرّت قضيتي من دون رقابة، وانا لا املك أن اشتري الآلة لانها باهظة الثمن».
لا تعرف الحق من الباطل في حديثهم. ما هو واضح أنهم ليسوا خطرين، ولكن ربما هناك تعبئة خطيرة يتعرضون لها، وربما هناك تقصير من الدولة العلمانية الحاكمة، ولد تطرّفاً وغياباً للوعي الوطني المطلوب. وربما لهم قريب أو صديق قتل، فازداد موقفهم حدةً… المراهق أكثر صدقاً من الرجال. وفي حديثه، يبرز كره يزن الواضح لطائفة أخرى. ويتّهم الطائفة كلّها بإطلاق النار على التظاهرة، ويصف تظاهرات التأييد بانها مدفوعة بالخوف أو بالمال، ويقول واضحاً وللعلن أنه يريد السلاح ليقاتلهم لأنهم يقتلوه، ولأن كل رجال الأمن «منهم». يصوّر عدوّه في المكان الخطأ، عندما يستشهد بالحديث النبوي «لا فضل لعربي على أعجمي إلا بالتقوى»، لتبرير عدم ممانعته للسلام مع ….اسرائيل !.
بعد الزيارة المقلقة ، نغادر إلى الجهة الاكثر «اعتدالا» من المدينة، بينما يهم يزن بالرحيل للمشاركة في تظاهرة ما بعد صلاة المغرب في منطقة «باب سباع». يصلّي، يسمع خطبة شيخه، ثم يخرج في التظاهرة السلمية. يصرخ «الشعب يريد إسقاط النظام» ثم يعود إلى بيته آمناً من دون طلقة رصاص واحدة. فمساء أمس، خرج مئات في باب السباع وهتفوا أمام عيون الأمن، ثم تفرق الجمع بعد نصف ساعة. ”

“يعارض الجهتين ويتمسّك
بالرئيس خشبة خلاص
«بصراحة لا أثق بأحد»…هذا حال طالب السنة الثالثة هندسة ميكانيك لقمان خضور. يهوى الصحافة لكنه لن يمتهنها في ظل الإعلام السوري الذي يصفه على الشكل التالي: «سخيف، غبي، متخلّف»، ولذلك يكتفي بإعطاء الصحف السورية لوالدته كي تمسح الزجاج، ويتابع الصحافة اللبنانية. يعرف اسماء معظم الكتّاب اللبنانيين ويواكب الحدث. وكل يوم جمعة، يتنقّل من جامع إلى جامع ليرى الأحداث عن كثب. ترتجف يديه كثيراً «انا عصبي». تفيض عيونه وكلماته بالقلق وبكثير من الغضب من طريقة تعامل النظام مع الاحتجاجات الأولى ويحمّل الفاسدين مسؤولية ما يحدث. لكنه يتمسّك بالرئيس، لا لشيء سوى لحكمته، «أثق به هو فقط، هو وحده». المحافظ القديم كان «أسوأ ما يمكن» والمحافظ الجديد «سكّر». «نعم أنتقد النظام، أريد مزيدا من الحريات العامة، والحريّات السياسية، ولكن هذا الحراك واضح إلى أين سيذهب، أنا أراهم، وأسمع هتافهم، وأعرف طبيعة ذهنيتهم، فهم أولاد مدينتي، بسطاء، أخاف عليهم، لا منهم، أخاف على ما يمكن ان يحاك لسوريا بيديهم».
ويضيف «لم أتوقع ابداً أن تنتقل عدوى إلى سوريا، فللرئيس شعبية واضحة حقيقية في الشارع والشعب، غير أنها انتقلت ولكن بشكل خطير وغير واضح وغير منظم ولا برنامج لها، وهناك من يعمل على الحقد وهذا واضح من خلال هتافات الدعوة للجهاد التي ظهرت في المسيرة فأرعبت أهل حمص وسمّرتهم في بيوتهم خلف الستائر المغلقة». لقمان يعيش يوماً بيوم مع القلق. قلق على سلامة مدينته وأهلها، لا على سلامة الفاسدين من النظام، وعلى سلامة الجيش السوري، لا على حزب البعث.
اما الكاتب المسرحي الشاب أحمد محمد، فمتفائل. يرى أن الحل الوحيد هو «القوة». هذا التطرف ليس جديدا، وحله وحيد: القوة، ومن ثم الإصلاح والتغيير الحقيقي في بنية النظام، على يد «السيّد الرئيس».”

May 7th, 2011, 5:26 pm


Sophia said:

Muslims in the UK stage protests against Assad

May 7th, 2011, 5:27 pm


why-discuss said:


Weird… these were among the protesters in London a group asking for a return to a Caliphate? Very promising perspective for Syria!

“Taji Mustafa, a marcher from the Muslim political group Hizb ut-Tahrir, called for a caliphate – a single state for Muslims – to be installed in the liberated countries. He said: “People are here from all over the UK to show solidarity and support to those who are bravely standing up against tyrants across the Muslim world.”

May 7th, 2011, 5:36 pm


jad said:

تلفزيون الدنيا – اعترافات أعضاء خلية إرهابية بدرعا

“They were planning to take the women and children of the military in Daraa after killing the men as ‘prizes’ and the sheikh told them it’s HALAL to rape those women?!” WTF, do they live 3000 years ago!!

تلفزيون الدنيا – التضليل الإعلامي

May 7th, 2011, 5:36 pm


jad said:

Could this news be true?
The militia element of this uprising are going crazy, they are preparing for rocket attack (maybe Katusha) on the oil refinery in Banyas, and they have 46 RPG, why do they need RPG in the city?

شبكه أخبار جبله JABLEH CITY
عاجل من بانياس:
مصادرة أكثر من 156 جهاز ثريا وإعطاب عمل 6 صواريخ كانت معدة للإطلاق على المصفاة
ومصادرة 8 رشاش بي كي سي و 46 أر بي جي حتى الآن و الجيش يتابع عمليات مطاردة الفلول المتبقية من الفئات الضالة . و إلقاء القبض على أكثر من 10 أشخاص من جنسيات مختلفة في بانياس…. وفقكم الله يا جيشنا الباسل

May 7th, 2011, 5:54 pm


Abughassan said:

More syrians now want an end to violence before they are willing to talk about democracy. Asad holds most of the strings and if he acts properly he will get out of this mess looking taller, not that he needs more height. Syrians however are not willing to live as if march 18th never happened.

May 7th, 2011, 6:01 pm


syau said:

Jad, #17,

It looks like these so called ‘sheikhs’ have a vary broad way of viewing the word halal, it’s halal to rape the women and children of the military, it’s halal to murder and mutilate, halal to destroy government buildings and infrastructure. I wonder what their next take on halal would be.

I always thought religious leaders were supposed to understand what the true meanings of words were, not make up their own meanings to words and use it as a cover to commit crimes.

Previously these gangs were targeting certain areas in Tartous, now as I understand it, they have been terrorising residents in Christian villiages on the outskirts of Tartous, shooting randomly at houses, cars and aiming at any movement seen through windows as was one residents recollection of the terror filled night they endoured.

May 7th, 2011, 6:07 pm


Sophia said:

Jad, WD,

All along, I was willing to give the opposition the benefit of doubt. But they are behaving in a very irresponsible way. Their strategy is a strategy of violence from the beginning, they don’t even want to win the public opinion. They are behaving more and more like the Lybian rebels but there will not be a UN backed NATO intervention in Syria.

Moreover, I spent a big chunk of the day looking at the videos on youtube. They are pure chaos, and too much information kills the information. The youtube videos coming out from Syria are useless to rally public opinion worldwide. Clearly the program financed by the US to give technology to opposition groups and to train them is not functioning well in Syria, probably because the elements using these tools and means know only how to fight and nothing else beside…

May 7th, 2011, 6:08 pm


NK said:


Considering we Syria is ruled by a king right now, who inherited the throne after his father’s death, it wouldn’t be much different if we get a caliphate instead, now would it ?

Hizb Al idiots, has been calling for the return of caliphate for about 50 years now, there was similar calls in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Yemen, Jordan, and even Lebanon. It’ll have as much success in Syria as it had in Egypt and Tunisia. (it got banned in both after the revolution!!!). But please keep on enforcing your paranoia.


Maybe people believing these outrageous “confessions” are the ones living in the 1980s ?!!!.

Dear Off The Wall

Since it’s been awhile since you last posted on this blog I like to bring this to your attention, just so you don’t miss out on this “golden opportunity”

لحق حالك أخي المواطن

خبر اليوم بقول: وصل عدد من سلموا أنفسهم من المغرر بهم خمسئة و ثلاث و خمسون و مازال التوافد مستمرا الى مراكز الأمن في مختلف المحافظات

لذلك أخي المواطن أنا بشوف أنو تلحق حالك و تروح تصف بالدور على فرع فلسطين… لأنو العرض مغري و لفترة محدودة جدا… فاذا كان لا سمح الله عندك أفكار اندساسية… أو اصتغفر الله بدك حرية… أو هيك يعني عم يحكك جلدك لتنزل تتظاهر يوم الجمعة و تطلب يفكوا الحصار عن درعا…. فالحكومة عنا الله يخليلنا اياها… و بمكرمة جديدة من القائد المفدى… رح تفسح المجال لألك أنو تسلم نفسك لحالك… و مندون شحط و عفط و دعس على راسك… منك لحالك و بشكل حضاري بتصف عالدور متل الزلم… و بتفوت عالفرع لحالك… و بتعترف باندساسك لحالك… و هنين بقيموا وضعك و بشوفوا شو لازمك علاج… و ممكن تكون محظوظ أخي المواطن و تطلع على تلفزيون الدنيا و تحكي عن كم خيط من خيوط المؤامرة

خليك حضاري أخي المواطن…. و بادر الى تسليم نفسك

May 7th, 2011, 6:13 pm


why-discuss said:


I am not paranoid but if these people are the majority of people who are demonstrating in London in support of the opposition, the opposition must be really depressed…

By the way, it is not banned in the land of freedom, Tripoli, Lebanon as they demonstrated 2 weeks ago in support of the Syrian opposition and calling for a caliphate ( a new one with a sunni caliph)
With friends like this, who needs enemies?

May 7th, 2011, 6:21 pm


Sophia said:

I think countries like Iraq, Lebanon and Syria are paying the price of the war the US waged on Muslims since 9/11.

This is how it works: they radicalize muslims, they ask leaders of countries who have Muslim majorities to crackdown on Islamist extremism, and when this extremism becomes too unbearable, they leave those same countries to deal with it.

Saudi Arabia exported its own brand, which led to 9/11 and two wars , and then when this brand started to knock on their door recently, they fomented trouble in Lybia, Yemen, Bahrain and Syria, to keep their blood thirsty domestic elements calm and distracted. This has been going on for long now and it is not the first cycle.

As long as we have an influential regime like Saudi Arabia in the ME, who finances and supports islamist extremism in order to legitimate its own role as leader of sunni Islam, we cannot aspire to freedom and democracy. Saudi Arabia behaves very much like Israel: these countries are unnatural in the 21st century world and their current power structure is intolerant but to renew their legitimacy without changing their only option is to foment both extremism and wars.

The Israeli example is telling, since they totally abandoned any idea of a peace process, their only goal became focused on radicalizing Palestinians, therefore finding a new legitimacy that was to be gone without any peace plan. It is the same with Saudis, they cannot change, so they try to change people around by way of wars. I say the ‘head of the snake’, to borrow the expression of the king of SA in Wikileaks, is Saudi Arabia itself, a backward and intolerant kingdom and our own regional eternal problem.

If one cannot make peace with himself then it has to make wars to others.

May 7th, 2011, 6:27 pm


syau said:


You think the confessions are outrageous, I think the acts they commited are outrageous. And for you to call them outrageous, shows that you either endorse their actions and covering up for their them or that you are so clouded by your hate for the Syrian government that you want to make yourself believe the ‘revolutionists’ are a bunch of misunderstood freedom fighters after real democracy in Syria.

By the way, as I have previously stated, Khaddam was once OFFICIAL president of Syria (after the death of the late Hafez Al Assad). Inheriting means no one else having that title in the meantime. That wasn’t the case in Syria.

May 7th, 2011, 6:34 pm


Tarek said:

to Souri333: Is the Alawite plan to govern Syria for ever and ever. This just defies logic. The Alawite will have to accept the fact that they are a minority and they should be asking for their full rights as full citizens and not monopolizing power on the premises that they don’t trust the Sunnis. The only way for Syria out of this mess is to agree to a democracy where the Sunni will probably have to be fairly represented and at the same token the Sunnis wil have to recognize full rights of other minority groups. This is how all democracies function. The old days are gone, and will never go back.

May 7th, 2011, 6:34 pm


NAJIB said:

But if the regime does collapse, the state institutions will collapse, as they did in Iraq.

this is a hasty generalization, as if Syria did not learn from the tragic destruction of Iraq.

the Syrian army and Security forces are capable of transforming themselves and quickly into 4GW entities if need be. a sort of 2 million man Hezbolla.

this was one of the lessons learned from American invasion of Iraq,
and the 2006 war in Lebanon.

this is the worst case scenario. and it requires a foreign invasion.

the hordes of hooligans will not collapse anything other than basic services in their own localities.

May 7th, 2011, 6:38 pm


jad said:

What I fail to understand is that every person of us has his own brain to use, and naturally when we hear or see something that doesn’t fit in our morals we immediately refuse regardless of how much someone is trying to convince us with, don’t those guys, including this man who is actually educated and have a diploma in Shariaa knows that raping, steeling and killing is HARAM SHAR3AN?
Why to accept to be part of something you know deep in your heart that Allah forbid and obviously wrong.

“probably because the elements using these tools and means know only how to fight and nothing else beside…” EXACTLY! didn’t you read their mantra? ننتصر أو نموت
There is no other alternative which give me an idea of the mentality of those who want to change the existing dictatorship with another one that is even worse with its no negotiation ideology.
As you already know, to have democracy you need people who are democrats in their behavior, democracy doesn’t only means election it also means a balanced power between every element of the society without letting any one of those elements to take over, but when we don’t have anything close to that, then chaos is the natural outcome, and that what those ‘freedom’ caller are looking for.

May 7th, 2011, 6:40 pm


Tarek said:

Dear Josh
How can you ask a dictator to reform. If Bachar initiates any political reforms he will be cooked in no time. The best he could have done was to modernize and then, I think he tried, but Iran was his wrong partner. Iran is not the good example nor a good partner for an economic reform and you know that. He played cat and mouth with the Arab world for a long time, and now he is paying the price. I think his prospects to save his regime are diminishing daily and he is taking his comrades the Alawites with him to a hell of a future. I am afraid it is too late for him to reform, it is too late to modernize. He is done, even if he wins this uprising. The moment a leader starts shooting at his own people, he should know the end is near, even if it is in the Arab world.

May 7th, 2011, 6:55 pm


why-discuss said:


The Alawites are similar to the Copts in Egypt and the Maronites christian in Lebanon. In Egypt while the succession of dictators in Egypt protected the Copts, now they are very worried that they will be exposed to persecution ( and it is starting) and many are leaving.
In Lebanon the Maronites made sure they kept the reins of power, as they hold the presidency and other christians, key posts.
They must be some garantees given to the Alawites and the other minorities feeling threatened in the hierarchy of power, otherwise they will not cede anything. Like Turkey, Islam should not be the State religion, it should be a secular country.
While Sunnis claim they are tolerant to minorities, examples like Saudi Arabia that will certainly impose its will ( through money) on a poor sunni-lead country, shows a repulsive a model of intolerance, not only to minorities but also to women !
I also believe that many Sunnis prefer to see the power in the hand of Alawites who have always shown their tolerance to other sects, than an all-Sunni power that would be lenient to Islamic extremism and may slide into intolerance.

May 7th, 2011, 6:56 pm


why-discuss said:


While you believe it is too late, many analysts, not only Joshua, disagree with you.
No one can forecast for sure the dynamics and the outcome of a war.

May 7th, 2011, 7:07 pm


Puca said:

I think that Bashar Assad will have to resign….He has no power to stop his brother Maher who might be the cause of all what is going on ….and other people in his family. He might be threatened by them also and this is the reason that he is not resigning. It will be much more logical he goes back to London with his wife and kids, where he was working or studying as an ophtalmologist; he will be better off and safer!
I just hope that a nationalist will take over and not a sectarian person!

May 7th, 2011, 7:08 pm


why-discuss said:

Arab Spring, Turkish Fall

…..Turkey seems to be engaged in a similar diplomatic dance with regard to Syria. At one time, Ankara and Damascus were hostile neighbors in conflict over the downstream flow of the Euphrates river and Syrian support for the terrorists of the Kurdistan Workers Party, which targeted the Turkish state in a quixotic campaign of Kurdish independence. During AKP’s tenure, however, relations between the two countries warmed considerably. Syrians and Turks no longer require visas for travel between each country and Turkey has become Syria’s largest trading partner. Although there has been precious little talk of foreign intervention in Syria, just to be sure, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu warned that “internationalization” of the unrest there could lead to “undesired outcomes.” Chief among them, from the Turkish perspective, would be the downfall of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his regime. The Turks have much to be worried about when it comes to a destabilized Syria — in particular a restive Kurdish region just to Turkey’s south. It would also be a setback for Ankara’s Middle East strategy, of which warm relations with Damascus have been central. Given those interests, it is unlikely that the Turks will break with Assad in the way they have now abandoned Qaddafi.

Instead, the Turks have indulged in cynical posturing. As Assad deploys troops and tanks against peaceful protestors, the Turkish foreign ministry counseled the Syrian leader to “implement [reforms] without further delay” and subsequently expressed satisfaction with Assad’s efforts. To which the only reasonable reply is, “What democratic reforms?” The Turkish position on Syria has not yet placed Ankara at odds with Washington or Brussels. But should the United States or Europe shift on Assad — a distinct possibility — then Turkey would find itself supporting a dictator against the will of its two most important allies, as well as the will of the Syrian people.

May 7th, 2011, 7:19 pm


NK said:


Out of respect for this blog, its readers and myself I’ll refrain from replying to your “intelligent” comment, instead I’ll just show you a few of the “confessions” of “mislead Salafi terrorists” on Libyan State TV, feel free to draw your own conclusions …


The way you analyze the situation in Egypt is very odd, while what’s happening is sad a) it’s not as tragic as you’re trying to portray. b) you’re totally ignoring the reason why such events are talking place.
Some Copts in Egypt are as sectarian as the Wahhabi Saudis, they imprisoned a girl who chose to become Muslim because they can’t tolerate that, the government even asked the church to allow the girl to testify in front of a judge so they can diffuse the situation and “shockingly” they refused to allow it, the extremists here are the Copts not the other way around.

By the way, the MB in Egypt formed a political party “Freedom and Justice Party”, membership is open to all Egyptians regardless of religion, they also announced they’re only competing for 40% of the seats of the parliament. But of course such announcements won’t deceive anyone, they clearly want to turn Egypt into a theocracy.

May 7th, 2011, 7:34 pm


why-discuss said:


I really like the way you distort and caricature the events to make them look insignificant, please read the report

Muslim-Christian clashes kill 5 in west Cairo

The Associated Press

Saturday, May 7, 2011 | 1:58 p.m.

Christians and Muslims fought in the streets of western Cairo on Saturday in violence triggered by word of a mixed romance, Egypt’s official news agency reported. At least five people were killed.

The clashes marked an escalation in tension between Egypt’s Muslims and its Coptic Christian minority that has coincided with uncertainty surrounding the country’s path after President Hosni Mubarak’s ouster in February.

Ultraconservative Muslims have renewed protests in recent days accusing the church of abducting the wife of a Coptic priest who the protesters believe converted to Islam. Copts answered back by holding their own rally Friday outside the Orthodox Church to protest what they said was the “targeting of the church.”

The news agency said the violence Saturday broke out in the Imbaba neighborhood after word spread that a Christian woman had married a Muslim and was being held in a church against her will.

Hundreds of Muslims converged on the church to demand the woman be released, witnesses said. Copts stood outside the church protecting it. The witnesses said gunfire was exchanged in the melee, including from people shooting from rooftops.

Islamists threw firebombs at the church, leaving the facade burning. Firefighters battled with the fire in the church as violence extended to nearby streets. Fire also hit homes near the church, the witnesses said. Crowds chanted, “With our souls and our blood we defend you, Islam.”

May 7th, 2011, 7:46 pm


Norman said:

In a democracy or a republic, ones religion should have and does not have any bearing on ones chance all what he can be , set a side and quotas are not helpful.

May 7th, 2011, 7:50 pm


jad said:

Why Turkey doesn’t play the median role between the regime and the oppositions instead of giving orders, it’s so loved by the protesters and they keep holding the Turkish flags lately in the demonstrations, so they trust it and the regime is not in hate mood to turkey yet, so it might be the best choice for both sides at the moment.
Besides, solving the Syrian conflict is in the national best interest of Turkey and the Syrian oppositions keeps holding their meetings in Ankara and refuse the regime offers to talk, maybe Turkey needs to help solving the issue instead of preaching every couple days.

May 7th, 2011, 7:55 pm


jad said:

What the business of anybody in the ‘democratic’ and ‘free’ Egypt of anybody else religion or believes?
Tomorrow they will start checking on women’s virginity on TV just because some Egyptian maniacs want to be sure and make the public calm….what kind of stupid society and country is that?
I’m sure Egypt will get better with time, I give it 423-598 years min.

May 7th, 2011, 8:05 pm


jad said:

المعارضين السوريون في لندن

May 7th, 2011, 8:19 pm


NK said:


Please google how many demonstrations against Islam/Muslims were held in the U.S over the past 10 years. or how many mosques were burned/bombed or attacked one way or another. While these events are sad, they’re insignificant. To say that Muslims in the U.S are being mistreated badly, are in danger, and should flee the country is crazy.
According to your logic, Muslims should be guaranteed key positions in the U.S army and U.S government because they “feel threatened”!!!.
The ultra stupid will always be present in every society and events such as that clash are really inevitable especially if said society has been repressed and religiously charged over a number of decades, just chill and allow the police to bring the criminals to justice, making a big deal out of every little incident is a recipe for civil war.

May 7th, 2011, 8:50 pm


Norman said:


You are right but in the US the government and the constitution protect minority rights against the, as you said, the stupid and ignorant and fascists, We are all equal in rights and obligations in the US, In Syria the opposition so far have not showed or provided comfort and protection for the minorities,
Until they do that, they are hostages to their hardliners that i do not think that you are one of.

They have no chance as long as they do not have the trust of the silent majority of Syrians, i believe that if they do that they will lose the most militant in their mix,

May 7th, 2011, 9:40 pm


why-discuss said:


In the US, the example of democracy, minorities have always had a hard time, women, black, gays, latinos, moslems. Racism is latent and it is a societal problems no one denies. All of these minorities had to fight, sometimes with violence to get their rights recognized.

This is why the US government came up with laws to punish and avoid discrimination and racism. What about the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, what does it do? And all the anti-racist organizations?

Imagine what the discrimination would be in a country where the democratic ideals are hardly present. How would these minorities defend their rights and fight discrimination, don’t you think they may resort to violence?
Nothing is rosy when it comes to democracy in a country with so many ethnic and religious differences. Yougoslavia broke because of that. Soudan too, aren’t you worried it happens to Syria?

May 7th, 2011, 9:52 pm


why-discuss said:

For those who believe that islamism is not a political power

Violence and censorship fuel Tunisia tensions

“Tensions have risen after a former interior minister said that Ben Ali loyalists might seize power in a coup if Islamists won elections scheduled in July to pick a government that will write a new constitution.”

May 7th, 2011, 10:03 pm


vlad-the-syrian said:

maybe this one was posted by the regime ?

May 7th, 2011, 10:09 pm


jad said:

This is the full article that you put part of it earlier
Isn’t it Haytham Manna3 who said that the revolution is not going well? Why he declined to show his name? what is he afraid of?

Opposition eyes Syria polls as regime resists revolt
7 May 2011
DAMASCUS – A call by regime opponents for free elections in Syria as a way out of more than seven weeks of bloody unrest came after protests failed to reach the level of a revolution, analysts said Saturday.
Addressing President Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian Revolution 2011 said in a statement posted on its Facebook page: “You will be the pride of contemporary Syria if you can transform Syria from a dictatorship into a democracy.

“Syrians would be grateful for that, and it is possible to do,” said the Internet-based group, a motor of the unprecedented anti-regime protests that erupted in mid-March.

“The solution is simple: Stop shooting at demonstrators, allow peaceful demonstrations, remove all your photos and those of your father, release all political prisoners, allow political pluralism and free elections in six months.”

The proposal was the first issued by detractors of the regime to spell out demands in seven weeks of protests in which 708 people have been killed, according to the Committee of the Martyrs of the 15 March Revolution.

“This statement shows that the flame is flickering,” the head of a Syrian human rights organisation, who declined to be named for security reasons, told AFP.

“We have not reached the level of a (real) popular revolution and there is no agreement so far on the means necessary to change things,” he said.

Protest organisers have only succeeded in mobilising tens of thousands of people across the country since the first protest of March 15 in Damascus when dozens of people demonstrated for liberty and political reforms.

In a country of around 22 million people, tens of thousands of protesters can seem for some a drop in the bucket.

“The number of protesters is not very impressive, but calm has not returned to any of the regions where demonstrations took place,” said Thomas Pierret, a researcher at the Zentrum Moderner Orient in Berlin.

“The revolution will be successful only if it can mobilise a critical masse in strategic areas across the country, but so far we are still far from that (goal),” he added.

A Western diplomat based in Damascus told AFP that the protest movement has “popular support” but the element of fear prevents people from taking to the streets.

“Many people are afraid of taking that step (and joining the protests) when they hear of the bad treatment which those who have been arrested were subjected to,” said the diplomat.

Syria has faced a chorus of international condemnation over its bloody response to protesters calling for democratic reform.

Human rights groups say that 8,000 people have been jailed or have gone missing in the crackdown.

Authorities blame “criminals” and “terrorists” of fueling the unrest and have pointed an accusing finger at armed Salafists — who espouse an austere form of Sunni Islam — of being the real instigators.

The regime has counter-attacked at these “armed gangs” by sending in the army into protest hubs such as the southern town of Daraa, which soldiers backed by tanks locked down for 10 days until Thursday.

On Saturday the flashpoint port of Banias on the Mediterranean coast was overrun by tanks and some activists believe that the industrial, central city of Homs, another protest hub, will be next in line.

Analysts also noted the profile of demonstrators changed since the first protest of March 15, taking a toll on efforts to build a significant revolution.

“Educated people who took part in the early demonstrations felt sidelined when they saw the demonstrations overtaken by people, marginalised by the regime, who only wanted to rebel and let off steam,” said the head of the human rights organisation.

“Those who wanted only changes in the regime, not regime change, pulled out when demonstrators began chanting the slogan ‘the people want the fall of the regime’,” he added.

Nevertheless he said he expected the dissent to continue because “a half revolution is like digging your own grave.”

May 7th, 2011, 10:10 pm


Observer said:

Force has never solved anything on the long run. Hitler unified Europe by force and only through dialogue and mutual respect the Europeans have forged a union, banned warfare from the continent, and despite numerous differences have established a unified structure and framework for all.
The use of force by the regime will not insure its survival likewise the use of force by the MB in the 80’s brought them almost complete destruction. There are deep structural defects in the Syrian regime that are eating away at its core and it will collapse eventually, whether by popular revolt or by internal decay is a semantic question.

Fear has never allowed anyone to progress. Hope does and so far one can see the example of the Maronite minority in Lebanon. Fearful of the changing demographics and the tipping of the balance towards the Muslims with the arrival of Palestinians in the 70’s it actually plunged head long in the civil war and the community came out decimated and divided. Fear provokes a desire for immobility lest the change bring disaster; whereas hope brings change for the better. Minorities in the region fear the loss of privilege and status and they rightfully realize that the current nation states are figments of the imagination. There is always a return to the sect and the tribe because there is no such thing as a Syrian or Lebanese or Iraqi or Omani or Saudi or Emiraty or Qatari nations. There are only three nations Turkey Iran and Egypt and the rest are tribes and sects and families with flags, honor guards and ruthless thugs to keep them in power.

The situation is clearly not in total control in the country and there is an inexorable move towards a civil war. The civil war may erupt as a hot hard and fast moving or more likely will smolder for years and be chronic and endemic. It will explode again and once that happens God help us all, if He exists; ( I am doubtful that he intervenes at all in human affairs).

May 7th, 2011, 10:13 pm


why-discuss said:

Opposition eyes Syria polls as regime resists revolt (7may 2011)

….“This statement shows that the flame is flickering,” the head of a Syrian human rights organisation, who declined to be named for security reasons, told AFP.

“We have not reached the level of a (real) popular revolution and there is no agreement so far on the means necessary to change things,” he said.

Protest organisers have only succeeded in mobilising tens of thousands of people across the country since the first protest of March 15 in Damascus when dozens of people demonstrated for liberty and political reforms.

In a country of around 22 million people, tens of thousands of protesters can seem for some a drop in the bucket.

“The number of protesters is not very impressive, but calm has not returned to any of the regions where demonstrations took place,” said Thomas Pierret, a researcher at the Zentrum Moderner Orient in Berlin.

“The revolution will be successful only if it can mobilise a critical masse in strategic areas across the country, but so far we are still far from that (goal),” he added.

…Analysts also noted the profile of demonstrators changed since the first protest of March 15, taking a toll on efforts to build a significant revolution.

“Educated people who took part in the early demonstrations felt sidelined when they saw the demonstrations overtaken by people, marginalised by the regime, who only wanted to rebel and let off steam,” said the head of the human rights organisation.

“Those who wanted only changes in the regime, not regime change, pulled out when demonstrators began chanting the slogan ‘the people want the fall of the regime’,” he added.

Nevertheless he said he expected the dissent to continue because “a half revolution is like digging your own grave.”

May 7th, 2011, 10:15 pm


Norman said:


I see no chance for the government to move to the next step of reform and that is the party law and free election as long as the opposition continue to call for more protest, I believe that the government plan is to get rid of the protesters and the opposition by jailing them and killing the instigators then provide the reform that all Syrians deserve, moving now to a new party law will only embolden the opposition and make them more dangerous and scare the minorities to fact that the government lost it’s resolve.

May 7th, 2011, 10:21 pm


why-discuss said:


Yes, It is Haytham Manna3… He said it on Al Jazeera english 2 days ago during a special program on Syria with 2 others thinkers, one lady with an arabic name from Oxford University and a former Baath person who is now a teacher. I can’t recall their names. They were much less radical than the Al Jazeera journalist who was cutting them when they were saying negative things or expressive doubts about the opposition.

May 7th, 2011, 10:26 pm


why-discuss said:


I agree. The opposition has reached a dead end. They can’t admit it and adjust their strategy. That is the price to pay of having a facebook page controlling a revolution, there is no coordination possible or a reflexion on the situation. It just went out of hand and leaves no choice for the government than to use full force to stop the demonstrations so they can implement at least the reforms they have announced.
The opposition facebook came up with a conciliation gesture but nothing tangible on the ground. Obviously they are confused. As the analysts are saying in the article above:
“Nevertheless he said he expected the dissent to continue because “a half revolution is like digging your own grave”

May 7th, 2011, 10:39 pm


vlad-the-syrian said:

or maybe this one too ?

what do the syria experts here think of these edifying demonstrations ? i am curious to know their point of view when they watch and hear these peaceful protesters (allah wa akbar … practically nothing else, in other words “islam is the solution” ! –
MB or wahabis whatever ,ZOMBIES is the word

do you think that these protesters really represent Syria ? you are taking syrian people for idiots !

no no ! no doubt these vids where posted by the regime agents 🙂

May 7th, 2011, 10:40 pm


jad said:

Vlad the Syrian
UgaritNEWS is the latest creation of Tharwa, Ammar AbdAl7ameed, it appeared after the ‘revolution’ started, it seems that he is giving HD cameras for protesters and asking them to take videos for the ‘project’. Obviously those poor guys taking the footage are more worried about the fancy cameras than their lives, how sad, in short Ammar is using other people’s kids lives to give his ‘rebellion’ ‘channel’ movies while he revolt from the USA.

Nothing annoy me more than using the independence flag A La Lybia.

May 7th, 2011, 10:53 pm


Lysander said:

Regarding points made by why-Discuss and Jad,

I’m an Egyptian-American and non-practicing Sunni Muslim. I’m very happy to see Mubarak fall and hope someday the Assad regime will fall as well.

That said, we cannot pretend Wahhabism and Sunni extremism (exported from KSA, but with a very willing audience) is not a problem, when in fact it is the greatest threat to Egypt’s prospects for democracy, and would certainly be a threat in a post-Assad Syria. Even if only 5% of the population, they can cause enormous damage. I’m not sure what the solution to the problem is, but it sure wasn’t Mubarak. It’s not like Muslim-Coptic relations were just fine during his rule. Just 25 days before the start of the revolution the Church in Alexandria was bombed and 25 killed.

The take home lesson of these recent events is that dictatorial rule is inherently unstable, whether it is Alawites ruling Sunnis or Sunnis ruling Sunnis, or Shiites ruling Shiites.

May 7th, 2011, 10:57 pm


jad said:

I agree with your point that dictatorship is not the solution for anything, it’s our destiny.
I know for sure that any regime in the world is going to end sooner or later, however, democracy as we practice it in the west wont happen in our Arab societies anytime soon, with or without a revolution, democracy evolve with the society and our societies wont adopt it as is because the culture of power balance and dialog doesn’t exist.
We the Arab world are going back to the 50th of the last century maybe before, we are going back to the golden age of empty revolutions, and after couple years from now, Egyptians and their Arab brothers* will manage to create new generation of more advanced dictatorships, don’t worry 🙂

* I didn’t write sisters because our Arab machos wont let their women/sisters to be be equal to them any time soon.

May 7th, 2011, 11:14 pm


Lysander said:


we will and indeed need not create democracy precisely like in the west. Let us try for some sort of representative government with the handicaps we face. If we don’t have the needed experience, then we had better start learning fast. And what better way than by doing. Certainly, Mubarak and Assad will not shepherd us there.

The single key element in democracy is an activist population, rather than a passive and obedient one. I did not think Egypt had such a population until I saw it with my own eyes. It appears Syria has one too. The other things will come with time, trial and error, and trying again. Sooner or later, we will get it right.

But I agree the biggest threat to our chances is indeed Wahhabism and KSA.

May 7th, 2011, 11:29 pm


jad said:

The news from Homs doesn’t sound good, on FB they are asking Homsi students who are studying out of Homs not to return or even visit until it’s safer. Some families from Aleppo are offering the university students to stay with them instead.
How sad!

May 7th, 2011, 11:30 pm


NK said:


I agree with you and Norman, the U.S constitution/laws protects minorities, but it took many amendments to reach it’s current form, as you said, all minorities had to fight for their rights at some point, I believe the same process is inevitable in middle eastern countries, I don’t wish for it, I just don’t see any other way to achieve true democracy. And while I hope it won’t be bloody elsewhere, in Syria, I know for sure that’s the least probable outcome.
I’m not going to put words in your mouth, so correct me if I’m wrong, but you seem to think that (in Syria), the current regime, given enough time, will be able to achieve democracy and by then the Syrians won’t have to go through the minority struggle that other societies went/go through. Personally I can’t imagine how this can ever happen. The current tension proves that after almost 50 years, the Baath secular rule failed to diffuse the tension among the different sects of Syrian society, it actually made it worse (intentionally or unintentionally), however while the tension is there, the current events proved that Syrians have no appetite for a civil war, hence why we don’t have a Libyan style uprising, if there was a real threat that a civil war would break out, the situation would have been a lot worse by now. Also we would have heard horrific stories about mini sectarian battles. In a country of 23 millions, if 0.1% of Syrian Sunnis were indeed Salafis and took up arms that’s about 15,000 insurgents, the death toll would be in the thousands even with the heavy military crack down.

Norman, You want proof and assurances from the opposition, I’m not sure what the opposition can offer, as we say in Arabic, (طلع على لسينون شعر) yelling national unity slogans
اسلام و مسيحية, سنة درز و علوية, نحن بدنا الحرية
لا للطائفية
واحد واحد واحد الشعب السوري واحد
You can hear these in almost all the videos posted on youtube, and while the regime/junta accused the protesters of shouting sectarian slogans, other than لا ايران و لا حزب الله (which isn’t really sectarian since these two entities are supporting the regime’s campaign to slaughter its own people), they presented absolutely no evidence that people shouted such things. Of course as we all know only the opposition have cell phones!, plus they don’t need to prove anything, we should just trust everything they say.
As for assurances, what do you have in mind ? the revolution is faceless, they have no leaders and no powers whatsoever, I’m not sure what kind of guarantees they can offer other than their shouts.

Finally, we’ve been hearing about the armed thugs/insurgents since this whole thing started, as Nizar Nayouf asked once, are these insurgents invisible ? or vampires maybe ? because otherwise the army could have easily video taped them firing at it, Hizb Allah filmed his operations against Israel, which is a lot more difficult, why hasn’t the Syrian army filmed any of his operations ? Ok the army have better things to do, what about the people of Daraa (who requested the interference of the army, don’t they have cell phones ? why didn’t they film any of these insurgents firing at the army ? or at demonstrators ? or at anything for that matter ? Ok forget about filming the insurgents, they’ve been showing grenades, explosives and talking about RBGs, how come the insurgents haven’t used any of these, they’re clearly plentiful. The whole Salafi insurgents story just doesn’t add up!.

May 7th, 2011, 11:40 pm


why-discuss said:


There are very few small countries in the world with such a diversity of religions and ethnicity than Syria and Lebanon.
Under the ottoman empire, these minorities were left with a relative freedom as long as they did not plot against the Sunni central power.
The desintegration of the ottoman empire left a very complex mixture of religions, ethnicities to be managed ( badly) by European powers.
Independance is recent and these countries are trying, by trial and errors, to find the right way to live together without killing each other.
Lebanon has guaranteed a political role to its minorities in a non written deal. This has drawbacks but has ensured the minorities stay in the country. When this deal was threatened, many lebanese christians left during the cvil war 1975-1990 but still they hold the reins of power in Lebanon.
In Syria, a tolerant authoritarian system made of one the minority (The Alawites) was the solution. It protected the other minorities and allow freedom of cult and speech in all areas except political. It punished any one wanting to use the religion to make political changes.
The trouble is that system generated abuses, excesses, corruption as it was during he ottoman empire and also resentment among the majority at the privileges given to the minority in power..
Now any removal of this authoritarian system would need a new deal to preserve the rights of the minorities, who, because of history, are suspicious and feel threatened by the possible discrimination if the majority takes the power.
We have seen countries who split in pieces because they could not agree on a deal to share power among the religious or ethnical communities: Yougoslavia, Soudan and many others. Lebanon was about to be split several times in recent history.
That is the most difficult question any leader taking over the country toward democracy will have to tackle.

This is why , in my opinion, the Baath party under the Alawites will retain power for a agreed period of time, until a new deal can be put in place through dialog with the communities. Then a transition to a multi party will happen. I know the reservations many Sunnis have about the ability of the failed Baath party to conduct this transition, but I really don’t see any other solution.

May 7th, 2011, 11:55 pm


William Scott Scherk said:

Re comment #33, NK addresses Why-discuss (#30) and the allegations that an Egyptian lady had been kidnapped and imprisoned by the Coptic church.

I don’t understand either of these gentlemen’s points on Coptic Christians in Egypt and how this might pertain to Syria, as they seem to carry arguments beyond established fact.

NK: [Copts] imprisoned a girl who chose to become Muslim because they can’t tolerate that, the government even asked the church to allow the girl to testify in front of a judge so they can diffuse the situation and “shockingly” they refused to allow it, the extremists here are the Copts not the other way around.

— Is there truth in these statements?

According to yesterday’s Al-Masri Al-Youm, the story is not as told by NK:

See also:

See also a video that features Camelia Shehata:

Perhaps once both NK and WD do some independent research, they can return to this issue — and then let us know how it impacts Syria.

May 8th, 2011, 12:04 am


Norman said:

2011-05-08 05:01:13

اعترافات لـ “مجموعة ارهابية” يمولها سعودي بتنفيذ هجمات في درعا

ملاحقة مسلحين في بانياس وانباء عن اطلاق نار في حمص

عرض التلفزيون الرسمي اعترافات لافراد “مجموعة ارهابية مسلحة” اعترف اعضائها بانهم قاموا بتنفيذ هجوم على المساكن العسكرية في صيدا بهدف “القتل وسرقة السلاح واغتصاب النساء واختطاف الأطفال وارتكاب مجزرة حقيقية فيها”.

واعترف رئيس المجموعة احمد عياش بانه جند من قبل شخص سعودي في مدينة الرياض يدعى “سعود العتيبي ” لمهاجمة مساكن ضباط صيدا في منطقة درعا ، وقام هو وبعض المجموعات الاخرى من ضمنها اثنين تم تجنيدهما من قبل رجال دين بتنفيذ الاعتداء في يوم الجمعة قبل الماضي.

وكان التلفزيون السوري قد عرض قبلا اعترافات لافراد اشاروا الى ارتباطهم ايضا مع جهات خارجية منها عضو في تيار المستقبل اللبناني الذي يرأسه سعد الحريري ، وجماعة الاخوان المسلمين.

واعلن رسميا في اكثر من مرة عن تعرض وحدات للجيش ونقاط امنية لاعتداءات من قبل عناصر مسلحة في درعا من قبل مسلحين مجهولين ، مما دعا الى دخول الجيش الى المدينة.

وتزامن دخول الجيش الى مدينة درعا وانتشاره في العديد من مناطقها الى انقطاع الاتصال بالمحافظة منذ نحو اسبوعين وتقييد الحركة منها واليها.

وبحسب احد السكان في المحافظة التقيناه في زيارة له لدمشق ، فان درعا لم تشهد حوادث احتكاك واطلاق نار الجمعة الماضية رغم خروج اكثر من تظاهرة في عدة قرى ومناطق ولم يكن هناك تواجد امني فيما عدا بعض المناطق في مدينة درعا.

وامتد نشاط “العصابات المسلحة ” لاكثر من منطقة في سوريا حيث اعلن رسميا عن وجود هذه العصابات في مدن مثل بانياس وحمص واللاذقية بالاضافة الى درعا.

وفي هذا السياق اصيب 10 عناصر في وحدات الجيش بينهم ضابط جراء قيامها بملاحقة العناصر المسلحة في مدينة بانياس السبت, وقال مراسلنا هناك انه “تم اعتقال العشرات من افراد تلك المجموعات وان عملية المطاردة والملاحقة التي تقوم بها تلك الوحدات لا تزال مستمرة”.

وتواردت انباء عبر وسائل اعلام في ساعة متأخرة من ليل السبت عن سماع اطلاق نار في حمص لم يتسنى التأكد منها من مصدر مستقل.

وكانت المدينة قد شيعت جثامين 11 شهيدا من الجيش والشرطة سقطوا وخمسة مدنيين على الاقل بنيران المجموعات المسلحة في مناطق متفرقة من المحافظة يوم الجمعة .


copy rights © syria-news 2010

May 8th, 2011, 12:25 am


NK said:

William Scott Scherk

Thank you for posting these links, my information was from articles I read 2 or 3 days ago about and earlier incident regarding this same lady.
here’s one of them (this was posted almost a year ago)

As to what this have to do with Syria, it really doesn’t, which was the whole point of what I said in #33. You can’t take this story and say such will be the fate of Alawaites (or other minorities) in Syria should Assad fall.

May 8th, 2011, 12:51 am


jad said:

Keep denying the obvious about the sectarian spirit of many elements of this revolution wont make you look slicker, just accept it, it’s already out there in the streets, you hear it by everybody and you see it by the hideous crimes committed.
0.1% criminals in a vulnerable society like Syria today is more than enough to make lots of harm, do you think that those crazy guys in the street charged with rage and sectarian feeling will listen to our lecture about unity and rejecting sectarianism? They will shoot both of us and mutilate our bodies.
I have no idea why you deny the only fact of all this ugly vague situation Syria is in today.

One more thing about “growing hair on you tongs” note, shouting “Muslims and Christians are one” followed by the ‘religion of God is Islam and the only law is The Qur’an’ doesn’t make sense.
Shouting “one one one, Syrian citizens are one’ followed by ‘Alawite in the coffin and Christians to Beirut’ f*** the first sentence and one one one become dots.
Shouting “no Iran, no HA, we want a Muslim who fear Allah” is SOOOOOO FREAKING sectarian and believe me, those who shout it, they don’t give a damn of how me or you translate it.

I apologize from everybody on SC to bring such ugly sectarian full of hatred words from the street to the discussion, but we have SECTARIAN elements in our society that we need to expose them instead of cover them to become a better society, hiding every negative bit of our society is our biggest problem these days.

May 8th, 2011, 12:53 am


Revlon said:

17 and 58 Dears jad and Norman; a man confesses to committing a massacre would be
– insane, and thus his testimony would be inadmissible
– under the influence of Al Jazeera hallucinogen, and his testimony would be inadmissabel,
– or confessing while a security officer holding his balls, and his testimony would also be inadmissable.

To make it more personal, lets assume the opposite scenario;
You Guys, Jad and Norman, have been arrested by Jihadists and were asked to provide a similar yet anti-islamist plot scenario
Would you rather have your balls squeezed, your son killed, or your wife raped, or would you just plain read from the offered text, next to the camera.

The only value of this clip is that it documents the presence of the people shown, in the custody of the security forces. They can no longer claim ignorance of their whereabouts.

تلفزيون الدنيا – اعترافات أعضاء خلية إرهابية بدرعا

May 8th, 2011, 1:14 am


NK said:

Dear Jad

As I said many many times on this blog, please provide one video, just one where these ugly sectarian slogans are being shouted and I will change my position, just one. Of course I’m not talking about (No Iran No HA) here, but the other ugly slogans.

May 8th, 2011, 1:21 am


democracynow said:

نداء 4/أيار- مايو/2011
أمام المنزلق الخطير الذي يبدو أن سورية الآن على هاويته، يدفعنا حرصنا وخوفنا على بلادنا إلى توجيه هذا
النداء إلى أبناء سورية الحبيبة، شعباً وحكاماً.

تسبّبت السلطة القائمة في سورية، من خلال تعاملها الأمني مع المواطنين، واعتمادها لتنمية غير متوازنة في البلاد، وإضعاف مؤسسات الدولة ونشر الفساد فيها، وعدم استجابتها للمطالب السياسية والاجتماعية العادلة مؤخّراً، بأزمةٍ كان يمكن تجنّبها. بذا عرّضت الوطن للخطر، ممّا أفسح المجال لاستخدام القبضة الأمنية ولمن يريد أن يستغلّ ورقة التوتّر الطائفي للحفاظ على السلطة أو للوصول إليها على حساب سلامة الوطن والمواطن.

أدّى هذا التوتّر إلى ترويع المواطنين على بلدهم ووحدتهم، في حين أنّ الصراع الداخلي الحقيقي اليوم هو بين “طائفتين”: طائفة المطالبين بالحرية والكرامة والعدالة الاجتماعية إعلاءً لشأن الوطن الموحّد والمواطن، وطائفة المناوئين للحرية والكرامة والعدالة الاجتماعية دفاعاً عن مصالح يرجونها أو يتمسّكون بها. ولكلا الطائفتين امتدادات في كافّة طيوف المجتمع ومكوّناته. فالخيار الحقيقي اليوم لمن شاء تجنّب الكارثة هو في تضافر جهود جميع الوطنيين الشرفاء أنّى كانت مواقعهم لوقف القمع والعنف أوّلاً، ثم الشروع ببناء دولة مؤسّسات حقيقية.

إنّنا نؤكّد أوّلاً وأساساً على أنّ الشعب السوري مصدر كلّ شرعية وله كامل الحق في الحرية والكرامة والمساهمة في النهضة العربية الجديدة التي انطلقت من تونس ومصر. لذا نوجّه تحية احترام وإكبار وتمجيد لكل شّهدائه، مواطنين أم عسكريين أم شرطة، من ضحايا القمع الأمني الشرس أو يد الغدر مهما كانت.

إنّنا نؤكد على ضرورة صيانة الدولة، التي بذل آباؤنا وأجدادنا أرواحهم لبنائها، بما في ذلك جيشنا الباسل، ونصر عّلى دورها الأساسي في حماية الوطن والمواطن وخدمته فوق كافة المصالح الفئوية والحزبية. ونحيّي نضال الشعب السوري عبر تاريخه الطويل وتمسّكه بوحدته الوطنية التي تجمع كل طّوائفه وطيوفه. فهو بلد طالما كان الملجأ لكلّ الأقوام والأديان والمذاهب التي تأثّرت به وأثّرت فيه، وصانته وصان تراثها عبر التاريخ، ويجب أن يبقى دوماً كذلك.

من هذا المنطلق، نتوجّه إلى كل أّخوتنا الذين يخاطرون بأنفسهم وأرواحهم في إثبات حقّهم الإنساني والدستوري للمطالبة بحقوقهم الأساسية والاحتجاج على مصادرتها، ونناشدهم:

• التمسّك بسلمية الاحتجاج وشعارات الوحدة الوطنية، وبإقصاء أيّ جهة تبث الكراهية والطائفية، كي لا تشكّل ترخيصاً لمحاربة حركة الاحتجاج تحت مسمّى السلفية؛
• اختيار سبل الاحتجاج التي تضمن سلمية التظاهر وحماية أرواح المتظاهرين وتمنع أيّ استفزار من أية جهة؛
• رفض أي لجوء إلى السلاح، مهما كانت التضحيات اقتداءً بمسار إخوتنا في تونس ومصر واليمن؛
• التمسك بعلم الجمهورية العربية السورية وحده، ونبذ أيّ علمٍ آخر، حتّى لو كان علم استقلالنا الأول، فلا فائدة من عودة مصطنعة إلى الماضي. لنلتحم حول علمنا، رمز وحدتنا مع مصر، وبها نفتخر جميعاً؛
• تكثيف وتنشيط التواصل بين جميع أبناء الوطن لئلاّ يستسلموا لمشاعر الخوف تأكيداً على أن سورية لجميع طوائفها وأطيافها، فيها عزتهم وفيهم عزّتها؛ وحشر الطائفية في زواياها المظلمة والضيقة وجعلها تعزل نفسها بنفسها؛
• نبذ أيّ مطالبة بتدخّل خارجي، مهما كان نوعه، ورفض توظيف سورية في مشاريع إستراتيجية تستهدف المقاومة وتصبّ في مصلحة إسرائيل ؛
• الإيمان بإن مطالب الحرية والكرامة والمنعة الوطنية هي حقّ الشعب وجميع أبنائه بلا تمييز واستثناء.

ومن منطق إدراكنا العميق لخطورة الأوضاع الحالية وعقم وخطورة الحل اّلأمني نؤكّد من موقعنا كمواطنين أنّ الشعب هو وحده مصدر المنعة الوطنية، فهو صاحب الأرض والوطن، وهو الذي حمى ويحمي من المؤامرات الخارجية، وهو الذي دعم الشعبين اللبناني والعراقي في مقاومتهما ومحنتهما، وهو المرجع الوحيد بكافّة مواطنيه ومكوّناته لأيّ نظامٍ مستقرّ ومنيع في سورية؛ ولذلك يخطئ من يعتقد بإمكانية الانتصار الأمني، إذ لا مكان لأيّ حوار في ظل السلاح؛ والانتصار الحقيقي هو دوماً سياسيّ وسيكون لمصلحة الشعب السوري.

ونؤكّد على:
• أن الإصلاح لا يمكن أن يكون منّة تمنحها أيّة سلطة، وإنما علاقة تتأصّل في وفاء الحاكم لتعهّداته وفي قدرة المحكومين على محاسبة أداء الحاكم؛ وهو يقتضي وضعاً دستورياً جديداً يضمن الحرية والكرامة والتعددية ومبدأ التداول على السلطة واستقلال القضاء؛
• أن المسؤولية في الحكم لا تمنح أحداً الحق في إعطاء أو التغاضي عن امتيازات لأفرادٍ في عائلته أو لمقرّبين منه، والقانون والمحاسبة ينطبقان على الجميع، بمن فيهم وخاصّة من اؤتمنوا على مصلحة الوطن؛
• أن الوطن أكبر من كلّ أفراده، يتواضع الجميع أمام أحداثه الجلل؛
• ضرورة وقف التدهور الحالي فوراً وبداية إرساء عناصر الخروج من الأزمة عبر خطوات ملموسة، تتضمّن:
وقف التدخّل والقمع العسكري والإمني في مناطق الاحتجاج واللجوء إلى منطق الحوار؛
الإفراج الفوري عن جميع المعتقلين السياسيين ومعتقلي الرأي؛
إخضاع كل الأجهزة الأمنية للقيادة العامّة للجيش والقوات المسلّحة وتشكيل لجان مشتركة بين الأهالي والجيش لمعالجة أيّة تداعيات أمنية، خاصّة أي استفزازات من أيّة جهت أتت؛
فتح تحقيق مستقل وعادل، تحت رعاية منظّمات حقوق إنسان عربية ودولية، في الأحداث التي جرت في سورية؛
معاقبة المسؤولين عن سقوط الضحايا، وإنصاف أهاليهم؛
حلّ الحكومة الحالية ودعوة شخصيات من الشرفاء المقبولين من كلّ الأطراف لتشكيل حكومة إنقاذ وطني، تعمل لإرساء تغييرٍ ديموقراطي سلمي، على أساس عقد مؤتمر وطني يضمّ جميع القوى الحيّة من أحزاب وفعاليات وطنية، ينبثق عنه ميثاق وطني وعقد اجتماعي يفضي إلى دستور جديد.

لقد دخلت بلادنا مأزقاً حقيقياً، لكنّنا ما زلنا نأمل أن يتجاوز الوطن هذه المحنة بفضل تضافر جهود كافّة الوطنيين الشرفاء ليسيروا به نحو برّ العزّة والأمان وليبنوا مستقبلاً جديداً لشبيبتنا وشعبنا العريق.

أوّل الموقعين:
• سمير العيطة: رئيس منتدى الاقتصاديين العرب ورئيس تحرير لوموند ديبلوماتيك النشرة العربية
• د. محمد مخلوف: كاتب وصحفي، فرنسا
• د. بطرس حلاق: أستاذ الأدب العربي في جامعة السوربون، فرنسا
• د. الياس ورد: أستاذ الفيزياء في جامعة باريس 11، فرنسا
• رياض ربيع: باحث اقتصادي، فرنسا
• د. منذر محمد إسبر: باحث اجتماعي، فرنسا
• د. جمال باروت: مؤرخ، سورية
• نهاد سيريس: كاتب، سورية
• د. غريغوار مرشو: كاتب وأستاذ جامعي، سورية
• بسام نيربية: خبير معلوماتية، كندا
• سفيان الإسماعيل: باحث جغرافي، الولايات المتحدة.
• باسل حيدر: باحث كيميائي، فرنسا
• ندى شاهين: أستاذة جامعية، فرنسا
• قصي صالح الدرويش: صحفي، فرنسا
• رستم محمود: كاتب وباحث، سورية
• شورش ميرو: باحث، المانيا

May 8th, 2011, 1:22 am


Louai said:

a march for freedom killed and slaughtered NIDAL JANNOOD not only few terrorists as we saw before …every one enjoyed expressing his vision of the future of Syria after the noble revolution wins . one smart peaceful demonstrator wanted him alive as a hostage but who wants to listen to him .

May 8th, 2011, 1:40 am


jad said:

My point wasn’t AT ALL about you to change position, or to convince you in anything, I very much respect your choice.
My point was that sectarian elements does exist and for us to deny its existence we actually help it spread.

I’ll look for the video when I have time for that Tkram!

May 8th, 2011, 2:06 am


John Khouri said:

NK –



May 8th, 2011, 2:40 am


Mina said:

After 7 weeks and a rush to civil war that may just be the smoke screen of the coming partition of Iraq (and weakening HA), it reveals a lot to read the old Tweets of people quoted all along by the Western press in the process of gathering a momentum rather than asking painful questions about the legitimacy of what was going on in Libya.
A bunch og US, UK, and Sweden based Syrian students, with the help of an shady figure called Wissam Tarif have led Syria to civil war. Wissam Tarif is not Syrian, although journalists first believe he was, is not is Syria, contrary to what he told them on several occasions.
One should just see the highly rhetorical use they make of the words “massacre”, “ethnic cleansing”, “hunger”, “corpses in the street” etc. by checking their tweets. This is not possible from Tweeter anymore but it is from Google, try these search
wissamtarif #syria
wissamtarif #syria #March15
RT wissamtarif
RT #March15 wissamtarif

I like this one;!/wissamtarif/statuses/64020521758625792
(doesn’t bother the journalists to present him as being in Syria, it seems)

Or how to attain fame (and civil war), without a single journalist trying to verify if the events he mentioned really happened or if the poor webpage pointing to his NGO in Spain leads to any real structure (funded by…?) Here is what it says on the wiki page,boasting about his lobbying in Europe in the recent months.

Wissam Tarif, however, argued for a wider, more global vision for the Organisation, as a result of which FDPOC took a strategic decision in 2009: to maintain its activists and workers in situ in the Middle East but to shift its centre of operations to the European Union in order to not only increase its operational effectiveness, but to ensure a framework of freedom which would better enable it to ensure human rights in the region were better and more immediately projected. The new organisation,under the name of ‘INSAN’ ( is a fully registered NGO with its headquarters in Spain. INSAN thus builds on the previous work done by FDPOC but,at the same time, expands upon it. INSAN’s work, while focussing on human rights, also covers the broader fields of democracy and development issues across not only the Middle East but also throughout North Africa (MENA). It was in this wider context (and to facilitate its activist and campaigning work), that the Organisation’s offices were transferred to Spain, which is strategically situated to service the logistic and campaigning needs of this already growing but well-established Organisation. This is especially the case with an eye to INSAN’s centre of operations in the MENA region and to the closeness of influential EU institutions and politicians in Brussels.

Wissam Tarif is currently Executive Director of INSAN.

May 8th, 2011, 2:41 am


jad said:

Couple questions:
-Why you are expecting the partition of Iraq and what a civil war in Syria (la sama7 allh) has anything to do with Iraq partition?
-What’s Wissam, the Lebanese, problem, I didn’t understand your point about him.
I checked the link you shared and it seems that he is a fan of Razan Ghazzawi the Palestinian Syrian blogger who lives in Lebanon, I remember reading couple of her earlier posts, and then she became famous when she did a pro-gay campaign against other Syrian bloggers couple years ago I think. I just checked her original blog, it seems that she cleaned it up good and she create a visually busy newer blog with only one subject of her posts, supporting the Syrian mighty ‘revolution’.

May 8th, 2011, 3:26 am


Souri333 (formerly Souri) said:

#26. Tarek,

The Syrian regime does not want to hand power to the Sunnis or any other sect. What it wants is for Syrian politics to become national politics instead of identity politics. Most Sunnis are not ready yet to practice national politics. As long as words like “Alawi” and “Sunni” are part of the political lexicon in Syria, the Syrian regime will never let go of power.

The Alawis will never accept to go back to the way they were before the Baath. They do not want to be a ruling sect, they just don’t want to be persecuted or discriminated against.

May 8th, 2011, 3:56 am


NK said:


On that I agree with you, sectarian trends should be exposed and condemned, most importantly by those protesting in the streets


First off your Caps Lock key seems to be broken 😉
I already explained my position on the Iran/HA slogans, so I’m not going to repeat myself again, no need to talk much about the flying coffin either, since the two important facts are a) people are demonstrating, b) people are getting killed. both facts are confirmed by none other than the Syrian government itself, so whether that coffin was empty or not is rather a moot point really. Nevertheless if you can provide the link for the Talkalakh slogans I’ll be grateful, people have been saying this slogan was shouted in Daraa, then they said Douma, then it was Banyas, then Homs and now it’s Talkalakh, so it’ll be good to finally see some proof.


According to CNN’s AC360, who interviewed Mr.Tarif twice via phone, he was calling from Damascus, a few days later he appeared on CNN calling from I believe the Netherlands and he said he left Syria the previous day, any chance he indeed was in Damascus at the time of the CNN interviews (people do travel you know!!), I think a channel like CNN would check the phone number the guy they’re talking to is calling from, but then I could be wrong. As for no journalist tried to verify the accuracy of his reports, well I wonder who expelled foreign journalists, denied them entry and is trying so hard to restrict the flow of information ? I bet it’s INSAN and its “shady” financiers.
In short, what are you getting at ?

May 8th, 2011, 4:00 am


Revlon said:

Should the use of tank artillary in bombing Homs neighbourhoods last night be confirmed, it would signal both, regime desparation and an ominous turn in the course of events!

حركة سوريا شباب من أجل الحرية Youth Syria For Freedom
شاهد عيان للعربية:
*حملة إعتقالات واسعة في حمص والجيش يصنع حواجز عدة
*قصف متنطقتي بابا عمر و السباع في حمص ليلاً بالدبابات
36 minutes ago

May 8th, 2011, 4:08 am


Mina said:

I was following the events in Egypt by checking Twitter and al Jazeera. When I saw that instead of letting the Tunisian and Egyptian (anti-ultra-liberal) revolutions achieve their goals and work on a third-way, the on-line communities were calling for uprisings everywhere the same week from Morocco to Syria, I thought “these people have no political experience: how can simultaneous revolutions bring anything, one will cover the other” and we were seeing already the events in Libya shading at the developments in Yemen and Bahrein.
Then since Wissam Tarif was the first to be very active in “reporting” about Syria, claiming to be there (i remember some posts where he says he has moved to Tarsus to report on Banyas to some journalists) I noticed that he wrote things he could not have verified or simply that turned out untrue. The rhetoric he used was very high, therefore the examples I give.
Twitter is not used in Syria so much (and even less 6 weeks ago) so the people using it and re-posting the mostly fake informations were in the Gulf and the US (plus Israel, mobilized when anything happens in Syria). Journalists started to focus on Syria because they have been educated to see it as another North Korea (but seeing the number of Syrians who came back in the recent years of B. al Asad “opening the country” policy, I don’t think you can compare Syria to North Korea.)
Coming to Iraq, I think it was planned since day one that at some stage some people would like it (especially in the Gulf, where they fear a big powerful Iraq) with: a Kurdish ruled state in the North, a Sunni state in the centre, and a Shii state in the South.
As the Shii of South Iraq are not from the same schools as the one controling Iran, it would help even a situation such as Bahrein (and protect US interests there); as for the north, it has a lot of the country’s oil.
The civil war situation in Syria just helps getting rid of the Christians, as was implemented in Iraq, and maybe it has something to do with Israel wanting to be a racist “Jewish state”, and Saudi Arabia keeping with not opening temples or churches. Some people like everything black or white: Muslims can’t live with Christians, Muslims can’t have a modern state, etc.
The Christians in Syria have felt in the recent years the increase in the sectarianism from the conservative Sunnis who simply got brainwahshed by satellite TV-s (with Gulf channels you have the choice only between musical channels where half-naked girls are dancing or the cyber-shaykhs: the result is guaranteed, either puritanism or stupidity). Even some Muslims friends from the small towns around Damascus have noticed the apparition of full black women dresses that had never been seen before. We are talking of areas where Muslims used to go to church for Christian feasts and Christians would sometimes fast a few days during ramadan to share it with their friends. This also existed in Iraq, I was told by a Christian friend from Mosul.
The neocon agenda is to destroy any kind of religious plurality and to give some power to religious leaders to arrange some areas they think the state should save money on: education, health (see the result in the US). Apart from transforming the world into Somalia, I don’t see what they head for. I suspect Obama has no hand on that, he is on a back-seat while the old neocon guard is active, because losing the Gulf would mean for them losing a lot of money.

May 8th, 2011, 4:10 am


Mina said:

Here it is plain clear:

See the Wissam Tarif Wikipedia page: FDPOC is the ancient name of Insan. It is simply the anti-Syrian lobby in Brussels, which had prevented the EU to engage into stronger commitment with Syria. I wonder how so-called “journalists” can report on W. Tarif without searching this kind of information. Turkey has been in talks with the EU for 20 years, and it helped it getting a better country, since 20 years ago they would put in jail kids for simply editing a school-newspaper! And they still jail journalists for statements about Armenia and the Kurds. It’s not the place to start speaking of the 2 percent of the black US population who is in jail, but again, who is giving moral lessons?

(Jad, I should add, at the beginning of the Syrian events, the other community on Twitter that was pushing it were the Kurds, of course the refugees in Europe and the US, since I don’t think Syrian and Iraqi Kurds spend their days playing with their I-Phones).

May 8th, 2011, 4:21 am


Revlon said:

What is the body count of civilians beyond which, asking demonstrators to remain peaceful, becomes unethical?

Note: The regime and supporters do not need to answer this question, since they already claim that their crackdown is a reaction to militant actions by demonstrators.

May 8th, 2011, 4:26 am


Souri333 (formerly Souri) said:

May 8th, 2011, 4:30 am


NK said:


The demonstrations have to remain peaceful no matter what happens, the minute this uprising turns into and armed one the moment everyone loses. Let’s put the tragic consequences of a full fledged civil war aside, and the high possibility of a foreign intervention where the Syrian army will be destroyed along with most of Syria’s infrastructure. Just put those aside and think what will happen when the Syrian security forces + army estimated at 2.5 million strong start mowing down insurgents+relatives of insurgents+friends of relatives of insurgents+anyone whoever said hello to insurgents, 1980s style.

An armed uprising will bring nothing but destruction to Syria, with zero chances of toppling this regime.

May 8th, 2011, 4:39 am


Mina said:

I have read the few statements of FDPOC and/or Insan available on the internet: nothing on Saudi Arabia. (It present itself as working in Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia).
The statements are mainly on Syria and there is one statement on Iran in 2008.

Strange that an NGO interested in Human rights had nothing to say on Iraq, since 2002 when W. Tarif starts FDPOC. As a nascent democracy, we all know a close motoring of human rights there would be the only way to help this ‘regime change’ become a success and a democratic model.

May 8th, 2011, 5:19 am


Sophia said:

# 73 and 77 Mina,

Thanks for the link. The list of authors they read and the MEMRI feed speak loud on the color of this organization. The problem is that not one western journalist will mention Mr. Tarif’s neocon political affiliations. They probably don’t know about it but they don’t have to, his statements are very partisan.

That’s a neocon ideology to mix human rights with partisanship and political ideology in foreign policy and they are becoming very clever at doing it by hiring people local like Mr. Tarif, but the most local these people could get is to come form a neighboring neocon strain since this strain does not exist ‘yet’ inside Syria. We are ‘very fortunate’ to have it in Lebanon.

And they dare speak for Kilo and the others…

May 8th, 2011, 5:28 am


محمود said:

لن يفيدكم كل هدا الهراء !السيد الرئيس بشار الأسد سيبقى على رأس دولتنا المنيعة ! موسادكم محرك الطائفية عم بيشحط و قواتنا المسلحة ستنال من عملائه ! انظروا الى موسادكم محرك الطائفية كيف يتقهقر تحت ضربات جيشنا ! أما المايسترو الغربي فانه مدرك ان سوريا حليف استراتيجي لروسيا التحادية و هي تعتبر خطا أحمر ! هل يروق لكم دلك؟ كفاكم علاكا سياسيا فارغاأينما كنتم في تل أبيب أم فرنسا أم في وكر الشيطان !

May 8th, 2011, 5:31 am


Revlon said:

76. Dear NK, you have addressed the consequences of a civil war.

Like you, I believe peaceful activism is the ideal way to resolve conflicts.
My question was: When does it become unethical FOR US(virtual supporters)to advocate using passive (peaceful) resistance?
By not offering this advice, I do not mean offering the opposite, ie, urging them to carry arms!
I mean, it might be more ethical to merely leave the decision up to the discretion of demonstrators on the ground!

To put it another way, I already feel that our ethical position has become tenuous, in advocating peaceful means to those who watched their loved ones lawlessly killed; It is something that I honestly do not know whether we would heed, had we been in their positions!

May 8th, 2011, 5:33 am


Mina said:


Can you imagine how the EU-powers and their corrupt politicans are stupid? If a Lebanese makes some anti-Syria lobbying, they believe him! This says a lot on how easily the EU was fooled into G. Bush’s axis of evil and Iraq WMD.
They pay the price: refugees, Islamist associations who want to register for political parties. And they are in a complete economic turmoil with Greece ready to drop the Euro currency and go back to the drachma.
But it seems politicians do not learn from their mistakes.

May 8th, 2011, 5:40 am


louai said:


media is a big factor in this ,here in Euorope you can do any thing in the name of freedom, they really belive that what is going on in Syria is about freedom … its tragic .

May 8th, 2011, 6:04 am


Mina said:

Some examples of the “rhetoric”!/wissamtarif/status/57779949670633472
(does anyone has contacts in al-Bayda to verify if indeed some of the people there were “beaten up to death”?
or this one:!/wissamtarif/status/50972423822127104
(“risk of torture”)
Here is a complete archive
Sometime he can get very inventive or just make generalities:
(wissamtarif: #Damascus and #Aleppo University students call to boycott classes until further notice #Syria )

May 8th, 2011, 6:14 am




Your father is a politician in Syria? Is he stupid and corrupt too? Is this forum a place to insult? Then why are you insulting freely? Your words are almost free of contents.

Regarding the Euro it is right they are in crisis but you may be in a worse crisis. And the Euro is 1.45 Dollar.

May 8th, 2011, 6:17 am


محمود said:

قرأت البعض من التعليقات و لم أتمكن من المزيد انها مقززة ! اليكم فيما ورد فيها :
تقسيم العراق -حرب أهلية في سورية-حثهم على حمل السلاح – «تغيير النظام» يصبح النجاح نموذجا ديمقراطيا-زيادة في الطائفية – الفساد – الدكتاتورية – عصابات مسلحة – السنة – المسيحيون – الاكراد – ايران – اسلاميون – أيديولوجية المحافظين الجدد -لعواقب المأساوية الخ كم هائل من الكلام السلبي
يدكرني بالبروتوكول الثاني لحكماء صهيون !

May 8th, 2011, 6:34 am


Sophia said:

Mina #82,

I think Tarif is partisan enough that we don’t need to mix things up. The first statement you cited is OK for me. Yes, it is his job to verify if people have been beaten up.

However, it is not his job to comment on government policies regarding protests like he was quoted saying the other day that the government was trying to stop protests.

So misjudjing his statements do not serve the purpose of pointing out what is wrong in his position.

May 8th, 2011, 7:18 am


Souri333 (formerly Souri) said:

There is some news from Kurdish sources that make me believe that we may start seeing the Kurdish PKK active again in the Kurdish areas of Syria.

If my hunch is true, this would be the Syrian response to the public presence of the Syrian MB in Turkey. Syrian Kurds are ethnically related to Turkish Kurds (whereas Iraqi Kurds are related to the Iranian ones). The Turkish PKK had a long presence in Syria before the crisis of 1998. If the Syrian regime feels really threatened by Turkey, it will probably use the PKK card against it.

Erdogan made a very hostile comment about Syria last week when he talked about a new Hama massacre. He was setting the ground for a hostile Turkish position that may come later. The Syrian regime must have a way to respond, and the PKK card is the best weapon to use against Turkey.

All of this is just my personal speculation based on nonconfirmed information.

May 8th, 2011, 7:24 am


Revlon said:

Dear Democracy now, thank you for posting the : نداء 4/أيار- مايو/2011. I find much of its content outdated and out of touch

1. التمسّك بسلمية الاحتجاج وشعارات الوحدة الوطنية، وبإقصاء أيّ جهة تبث الكراهية والطائفية، كي لا تشكّل ترخيصاً لمحاربة حركة الاحتجاج تحت مسمّى السلفية؛
This caveat is outdated.
The document is asking demonstrators to remain peaceful to avoid being dubbed by the regime as salfists movement!
Ummm but the regime has been dubbing this movement all kinds of things, including salafists.

2. • اختيار سبل الاحتجاج التي تضمن سلمية التظاهر وحماية أرواح المتظاهرين وتمنع أيّ استفزار من أية جهة؛
This recommendation is out of touch!
The modus operandi, as per new demonstration laws, any demonstrator, without authorisation is a terrorist and will and have been shot at! So, to the regime, there is no so-called peaceful demonstrator!

3. رفض أي لجوء إلى السلاح، مهما كانت التضحيات اقتداءً بمسار إخوتنا في تونس ومصر واليمن؛
This recommendation may not be ethical!
Who is going to defend the children, brothers, sisters, and old folks of these demonstrators from the humiliation, arrest, torture and killing by the lawless house search teams of security forces, thugs, and serial killer M Asad forces?
Do not forget that Tunisia and Egype had no M Asad or similar army crackdown parallels!

May 8th, 2011, 8:27 am


why-discuss said:

SOURI33, Jad

It is clear that Turkey has had a very hesitant atitude towards Syria, knowing very well that a return to bad relations would be detrimental politically because of the Kurds. They also had this vision of Iran-Syria-Turkey commercial axis that would move into a free trade zone. This seems to be, at least for now compromised, as the US is putting pressure to curb its commercial relation with Iran, and Syria is at a crossroad.
Yet, Turkey did not want to appear on the wrong side should Bashar be removed and they were very apprehensive of a MB or sunnis massacre ( Hama like) as this would have created a lot of resentment within religious Turkey and put them in a difficult situation. This statement was very badly received by Syrian authorities. They started to suspect that Turkey was not a real “friend” to Bashar al Assad, that the AKP was tainted with the MB stain, that they were just opportunistic, weak, and ideologically oriented and that they would not support Bashar if he was cornered.
Now that things are turning back, would Bashar retaliate or forgive that and return to a honeymoon with Turkey soon? I doubt. In the Middle east, government don’t forget easily an insult or a lack of support from a friend. They consider that as a treason.
Curiously the only country that kept trusting Bashar al Assad is the US. The absence of critical declaration from the US ambassador in Syria is very significant. Despite the rhetoric and the symbolic sanctions on some persons, I guess the US is well placed to recover some clout in Syria, while France wrote off Bashar too quickly. Iran, the Arabs and the palestinian resistance (Hamas) were almost mute about the uprisings, and the unity deal between Hamas and PLO signed in Egypt has been interpreted by many as if Hamas was distancing itself from Bashar al Assad. Above all, Israel has been indirectly supportive of Bashar al Assad.

Therefore I forecast a cooling of the relation with some Arab countries (in particular Qatar, the Palestinian resistance), also with France, the UK, and Turkey and a warming up with the US in the aftermath of the uprisings.
As for Iran and HA, it will all depend of the evolution of the geopolitical context ( where is Egypt going? How is Iran developing? what move the US will make towards peace after September? etc….)
It is in the adversity that you know who are your friends

May 8th, 2011, 8:29 am


Mina said:

My insults are for the media organization and political bodies, who do not hire enough people who speak Arabic and rely on the news they get from Twitter and FB. My point against Tarif is that if I want to know about the problems of Syria, I am not going to ask someone from the country which has had the more problematic relation with Syria in the last 30 years, and this is what the EU has done in 2008-2009 by trusting Tarif as a reliable source without any inquiry in his background and his claims.
From what I have read on Landis website, it is crystal clear that the Syrian “academics” who have been receiving money since the time of the Bush administration to help with a regime change in Syria knew pretty well that they just needed a spark to get Syria where it is now. And so does Tarif.
And this is where they got after 7 weeks, without ever asking questions about how to solve the Sectarian problem in the two countries which had started this revolutionary process, and which unlike Syria have very homogenous population (Tunisia and Egypt). About radical Islam I suggest this book: G. Kepel, The War for Muslim Minds: Islam and the West, Cambridge, Mass / London, Belknap Press, 2004.

May 8th, 2011, 8:37 am


Sophia said:

#86 Souri,

I really do not adhere to this strategy of playing the extremist card on either side, it always backfire.

#88 WD,

I do not adhere to your analysis. I think Syria’s strength comes from playing well its regional role and it is because it plays well this role that it can have the US on its side.

May 8th, 2011, 8:43 am


majedkhaldoon said:

I believe we should carry arms to defend ourselves from this brutal criminal regime,those who do not believe in freedom and democracy , they do not deserve to have freedom,those who defend this regime ,,do not deserve protection because they are accomplices to the regime crimes.this regime is not peacefull he is brutal ,just like Gaddafi and worse, this regime is acting like Nazi,or communist regimes.
The revolution is not ,I inssist, is not sectarian,the regime is sectarian.
This revolution is about freedom and dignity
This revolution is about panArabism,the people want to unite, they can not unite if dictators continue to exist, those dictators are the main obstacle that prevent unity.those dictators do not , do not have the power of the people.

May 8th, 2011, 8:48 am


S.S said:

TO NK #62. Article by Firas Alsawah. He quoted the same shouting that your beloved people use.

من سيدي خالد للأموي.. يسقط بشار العلوي).

(مسيحيي عبيروت.. علويي عالتابوت).
(بدنا نحكي عالمكشوف.. علوي ما بدنا نشوف).
(واحد واحد واحد.. علوي و(كذا) واحد)
-هل ترغب في التظاهر تحت أحد هذه الشعارات التي تُسمع الآن في أكثر من مظاهرة وأكثر من مكان؟
-هل هناك من مشروع سياسي يجمعك إلى أصحاب هذه الشعارات؟
-هل يفهم أولئك معنى للديمقراطية التي تنادي بها، وهم الذين يصدرون في كل يوم فتوى بقتل فلان أو تصفية فلان أو إهدار دم فلان؟
-هل تودّ الانضواء تحت لواء من يسمي نفسه أمير حمص متوهماً أنه شكّل إمارةً إسلامية في هذه المدينة، داعياً لذبح فريق من أهل هذا الوطن تلبيةًَ لواجب الجهاد في سبيل الله؟
-هل حرية القتل التي يعطيها هؤلاء لأنفسهم تلتقي مع الحرية التي تطالب بها؟
لا شكّ أن جوابك على هذه الأسئلة سيكون لا، وألف لا. ومع ذلك فإن خروجك للتظاهر من أجل الإصلاح والحرية في هذا الوقت، وكل ما تطرحه من شعارات نبيلة سوف يصب تلقائياً في تيار هذه الصيغة من الإسلام التي أدعوها بالإسلام الجاهلي، لأنها ما عرفت الإسلام قطّ، وما عرفتها الثقافة الإسلامية عبر تاريخها.
إني إذا أشد على أيديكم وأقف إلى جانبكم، أدعوكم للمرة الثانية إلى العزوف مؤقتاً عن الانضمام إلى المظاهرات لأن انضمامكم إليها من شأنه أن يرفد طيور الظلام بقوةٍ تعينهم على المضي في تحقيق مشروع لا ناقة لكم فيه ولا جمل. لم تعد هذه المعركة معركتكم. اتركوا طيور الظلام وحدهم، والسلطة كفيلة بالتعامل معهم بالطريقة التي تتعامل بها أي سلطة مع من يهدد وحدة المجتمع، وإلا سوف تدهسكم أقدام الطرفين معاً. وعندما تنجلي هذه الغمة ويتبين الخيط الأبيض من الخيط الأسود، سيكون باستطاعتكم العودة إلى التظاهر إذا وجدتم من داعٍ إليه، لا سيما وأن القوانين الجديدة قد كفلت لكم مثل هذا الحق.
إن أركان السلطة والحزب في سورية يدركون الآن وأكثر من أي وقتٍ مضى أن دستور البلاد الذي سنّ إبّان الحرب الباردة على منوال دساتير معمولٍ بها في دول أوروبا الشرقية قد غدا بالياً وغريباً عن روح العصر. ولسوف نشهد تباعاً تعديلاتٍ جذرية عليه. وهذا ما وعد به الرئيس عندما نوه إلى أن الزمرة الأولى من الإصلاحات ليست إلا أول الغيث. وسنكون وإياكم رقباء على هذه المسيرة الهادئة التي ستنتقل بنا على ما نأمل إلى الديمقراطية المنشودة.
وكما قلت في ندائي السابق، فأنا لا أنطلق من مقولات الإعلام الرسمي، ولا أنتمي إلى أي جهاز أو مؤسسة حكومية. وكما عرفتموني وعرفني آباؤكم من قبلكم، كنتُ دوماً حر الفكر والموقف والعقيدة. لم أطلب لنفسي منصباً ولم أسعَ إلى مصلحة شخصية، ووضعت نفسي على مسافة من كل صاحبِ جاهٍ أو سلطان، وليس لأحدٍ من فضلٍ عليّ ولا منّة، ولست مطالباً بأن أرد الجميل إلى أحد.
لقد عشتُ حقبةً من تاريخ سورية لا تعرفون عنها إلا من كتب التاريخ. شاركتُ في أول مظاهرةٍ لي وأنا في سن السابعة وفي الصف الأول الابتدائي، عندما جبنا شوارع المدينة نندد بإعلان دولة إسرائيل عام 1948 بعد خسارة العرب في حرب فلسطين. ومنذ ذلك اليوم لم أترك مظاهرةً وإلا وشاركت فيها أو كنت على رأسها. حاربنا الدكتاتوريات العسكرية في أوائل الخمسينيات، وساندنا كل قضيةٍ وطنيةٍ في العالم العربي. وخلال الفترة الديمقراطية القصيرة التي عرفتها سورية كنا رقباء على أداء الساسة والزعماء والحكومات. وعندما أجهض عبد الناصر ديمقراطيتنا الوليدة وألغى الأحزاب وأوقف الصحف الحرة وأستبدلها بصحف الدولة، كنتُ في مقدمة المعارضين ودخلتُ سجون عبد الناصر الذائعة الصيت حيث كان المعارضون يموتون تحت التعذيب ثم تذاب أجسادهم بعد ذلك بالأسيد وتدفع إلى المجارير.
في صبيحة يوم الثامن والعشرين من أيلول/ سبتمبر عام 1961، أفقت على بلاغ الجيش السوري يعلن الانقلاب على حكم عبد الناصر. وكنت حينها قد أنهيت سنتي الجامعية الأولى في دمشق وأقضي أواخر العطلة الصيفية في حمص. وعقب سماعي الخبر انطلقت لتوّي مع صديقٍ يدعى عبد المعطي الطيارة نحو ثانوية الزهراوي أكبر ثانويات حمص، حيث اقتحمنا الباب الخارجي ودخلنا إلى البهو. كان الطلاب داخل صفوفهم. وقفتُ وأطلقتُ أول صرخةٍ صدرت في سورية بسقوط عبد الناصر. خرج الجميع من صفوفهم وتجمعوا حولي. كررت الهتاف: يسقط الطاغية جمال عبد الناصر. فردده البعض بخوفٍ ووجل. فرحت أعيد الهتاف حتى ردده الجميع ورائي بصوتٍ هادر، وساروا ورائي في مظاهرةٍ عارمة باتجاه المدينة لم يتخلف منهم أحد. وقبل وصولنا إلى الساحة الرئيسية وصلت سيارات الشرطة العسكرية التي قبض عناصرها علينا أنا وعبد المعطي وأودعنا في سجن قيادة الموقع، لأن القطعات العسكرية في حمص لم تكن قد حددت موقفها بعد. وفي المساء أطلقونا بعد البلاغ العسكري التاسع الذي أعلن توافق جميع قادة القطعات العسكرية على الانفصال. وكان والدي قد اتفق مع سائق خبير بتهريب الأفراد إلى لبنان لنقلي سريعاً إلى بيروت في حال حصول تبدلات طارئة قد أجد نفسي معها في سجن عبد الناصر والسكاكين مشهرة لفرمي كما يُفرم الكباب.
عادت الديمقراطية إلى سورية في عهد الانفصال، وعادت معها الصحف الحرة ونشطت الأحزاب وقامت انتخابات حرة لبرلمان جديد، عملنا فيها بكل جد لإدخال المرشحين التقدميين تحت قبة البرلمان. ولكن الانقلاب العسكري على حكومة الانفصال في يوم الثامن من آذار عام 1963 أجهض من جديد هذه الديمقراطية الثانية وجاءنا للمرة الثانية بحكم الحزب الواحد. وسنّ قانون الطوارئ ومنعت الأحزاب وأُقفلت الصحف، ولوحق المعارضون الذين هرب معظمهم إلى بيروت وبينهم والدي الذي كان قد أعاد صحيفته اليومية السياسية التي توقفت في عهد عبد الناصر.
منذ بداية حكم البعث نشأ الكثير من عدم الاستلطاف بيني وبين أجهزة الأمن التي حالت عدة مرات دون حصولي على عمل في أجهزة الدولة. فقد كنتُ معارضاً وأُجهر بمعارضتي في كل مجلس. وقد زاد الطين بلة صلتي الوطيدة بالحزب السوري القومي الاجتماعي المحظور في تلك الأيام، وكذلك صلتي بالجماعات الماركسية الجديدة التي كانت تنشط خارج الحزب الشيوعي الرسمي. وانتهى بي الأمر إلى دخول السجن مجدداً صيف عام 1978. وحينها نشرت جريدة اللوموند الفرنسية خبر اعتقالي وطالبت بالإفراج عنّي. فقد كنت في ذلك الوقت قد تحولت من مثقف مشاغب إلى شخصية عامة بعد صدور كتابي الأول ورواجه المنقطع النظير. بعد خروجي من السجن أصدر رئيس مجلس الوزراء بإيعاز من الجهات الأمنية كتاباً تحت رقم 760/ م خ س، تاريخ 25-7-1978، يقضي بتسريحي من عملي لضرورات الأمن تحت البند 85 من قانون الموظفين. بعد أن علمت بأني صرتُ خطراً على أمن الدولة! (كذا) ركبت طائرةً حطت بي في مطار دبي، وأعطتني دولة الإمارات وطناً بديلاً لا تتمثل فيه سلطة الدولة إلا بشرطي المرور.
لستُ هنا في معرض سرد سيرتي الذاتية، وما سقت هذه النبذة إلا لأقول أمرين، الأول هو أننا السابقون وأنتم اللاحقون، وإذا كنتم قد ناضلتم شهراً فقد ناضلنا عمراً. وهذا ما يجعلنا في موضعٍ يؤهلنا لإسداء المشورة والنصح. والأمر الثاني هو أنني لست هنا في معرض الدفاع عن النظام في سورية، وإنما في معرض الدفاع عن سورية نفسها. إننا الآن على شفا هاوية، ووعيكم وحدكم هو الكفيل بإنقاذنا من السقوط فيها. وإني لأعدكم بأن أكون معكم في أوّل مظاهرةٍ حضاريةٍ لكم بعد الاطمئنان على البلد وقطع رأس أفعى الطائفية وقص أجنحة طيور الظلام.
ولكن إذا أعجبكم قصتي فسأتممها في وقتٍ لاحق. أحبكم جميعاً وأهديكم آخر صورةٍ التقطت لي في الأسبوع الماضي عندما كنتُ أتفقد أحد المواقع الأثرية الجديدة في قلب البادية السورية. وتظهر في الصورة معي الصديقة اليابانية العزيزة يايوئي العاملة في التنقيب الأثري في سورية منذ نحو عشرين سنة.

فراس السوّاح

May 8th, 2011, 9:05 am


Revlon said:

Imad Basil Addalati was released after 1 month of detention and torture and his toes broken. His brother and cousins are still detained.
Husam Abu 3aisheh and brother were released after being tortured. Their father is still detained.

The Syrian Revolution 2011 الثورة السورية ضد بشار الاسد
الثورة السورية .. الزبداني || هام | تم إطلاق سراح الأخ عماد باصيل الدالاتي بعد اعتقال دام حوالي شهر
وقد قام السفاحون بكرم الضيافة وكسروا جميع أصابع قدميه العشرة!
أخو عماد محمد جميل باصيل وأولاد خالته أسامة وعدنان باصيل لا يزالون تحت الاعتقال التعسفي
كما تم الإفراج عن حسام وضياء أبو عيشة، وقد تعرضا لتعذيب وحشي، وهناك العديد من الرضوض والك…دمات الشديدة في مختلف أنحاء الجسم، بينما لا يزال والدهما في المعتقل فك الله أسره وأسر الجميع
هذا، ولا يزال العشرات من الأهالي الذين تم اعتقالهم في المعتقلات، وتبلغ أعدادهم أكثر من مائة شخص
وقد أصدر النظام المجرم إعلانا بأن المطلوبين إما أن يسلموا أنفسهم ويكتبوا التعهدات المطلوبة، وإلا فستتم حملة اعتقالات ومداهمات جديدةSee More
3 hours ago

May 8th, 2011, 9:23 am


Revlon said:

At least 12 martyrs have fallen victims to army tanks invasion of Homs
حركة سوريا شباب من أجل الحرية Youth Syria For Freedom
عاجل : مصادر للجزيرة : مقتل 12 شخصا على الأقل خلال إقتحام الدبابات السورية لمدينة حمص
3 hours ago

May 8th, 2011, 9:35 am


syau said:

Majedkhaldoon #91,

You sound a little desparate. Maybe it’s the desparation that has made you delusional.

The revolution is 100% sectarian. The sheikhs involved with this revolution are endorsing murder and mutilation. violence and rape.
I don’t know if this escaped your memory, but the victims of the murder and mutilation that were sought out were Alawi. Now it seems Christian neighbourhoods are being sourt out.

The victims of these horrendous acts were not slain by rose petals, weapons were used. The ‘revolutionists’ have weapons and plenty of them. The victims are the people who as a result of the Syrian revoltion were ambushed, violated, slain and mutilated. Their families, and friends who have to now live with the memory of their loved ones deaths and mutilations as a result of the weapons the ‘revolutionists’ have and the ‘sheikhs’ who endorsed these acts and advised these criminals it was halal to do so.

If the revolution was about freedom and dignity as you state, then it was hijacked from day 1 by sectarian hate, false media reports, fabricated stories and outright lies. Not to mention destruction of infrastructure. So if you insist the regime is sectarian, I say you are wrong and I will insist the Syrian relvolution and its co conspirators are sectarian.

Regarding unity, Bashar is 1 in very few leaders trying to bring unity in the Arab world.

May 8th, 2011, 9:42 am


why-discuss said:


“I do not adhere to your analysis. I think Syria’s strength comes from playing well its regional role and it is because it plays well this role that it can have the US on its side.”

It is correct that playing well the regional role has helped give Syria an importance in the region. But this has not changed the economical US sanctions on Syria, mostly due to Syria support of Iran and the “hardliners” of the resistance.
With the ‘arab spring’ the regional landscape is rapidly changing. Egypt may be seen as supporting the resistance and opening up to Iran. Syria’s exclusivity as the sole supporter of the resistance may change. Iran is weakened by internal rifts and increased effort by the US and the EU to hamper its economical relation with Turkey.
Turkey’s role in Syria-Israel negotiations has been weaken.
The axis Syria-Iran-Turkey is taking a blow.

US preponderance in the region is increasing as it has supported openly the popular revolution in Egypt and Tunisia, while the EU (especially France) was tepid. Contrary to other countries predicting the end of Bashar al Assad, the US has shown him support saying twice he was a “reformist” ignoring his foreign policies.
This for me shows that the US is shifting into a more flexible attitude toward Syria to encourage it on direct negotiations on the Syria-Israel peace. Syria has now to choose between “trusted” partners who let it down in adversity, or “enemies’ who mean serious business.

May 8th, 2011, 9:43 am


why-discuss said:


“This revolution is about freedom and dignity’

It was probably the intention but it was so badly managed that it went wrong, lasted too long and finally diverted to sectarism and chaos. You may say that the government has managed the crisis better than the opposition. There was a huge volume of anti-regime videos, but some of their contents were so sectarians that it cooled off a lot of potential protesters so ultimately the media weapon turned against the revolution.
The outcome seems that the “total” revolution has failed but has succeeded in forcing the government to make changes that were unthinkable 2 months ago. That is a half victory, but still a victory and people must thank the martyrs for that.

May 8th, 2011, 9:58 am


majedkhaldoon said:

You said
sectarian hate, false media reports, fabricated stories and outright lies.
You must be talking about the regime.

You claim Bashar is for unity. can you prove it?I mean by action.
Did we united with any other country, Am I missing something here, ?which country Syria united with?,please tell the truth

Dictators do not want to loose power,they will not lead us to unity,these revolutions have a great potential to unite us

Show me a video where the demonstrators carry weapons.
Al-Jazeera Video Syrian tanks enter ‘protest hub’ BaniyasOur professor posted above,look at it there was snipers from the goverment ,they are the one killed the nine soldiers in Banyas,they are the thugs from your regime who are doing the killing

May 8th, 2011, 10:01 am


Observer said:

The civil war has already started on this blog. I read the comments and clearly there is a civil war in the minds and the descriptions of the pro and anti regime elements on this blog.

Once again, every minority in the ME would love to have a purely secular nation-state provided it keeps its ethnic and sectarian status intact. This is exactly how the change should happen where the majority does not oppress any minority. The problem is that the minorities would very much like to remain in sole control of power and not really share and be members of the nation-state at large.

Granted that the history of oppression in the past may have caused a great deal of apprehension from a blind and sectarian majority; however, there is no way that this system will continue to remain in place by the use of force.

The regime will fall eventually, it is not sustainable, it has an ever shrinking base of support and is using force in an escalation that is truly self destructive on the long run.

Objective analysis and not preconceived ideas and positions is what we need now.

Finally, this regime does have only one aspect of modernity. The use of the latest technology to control ans suppress and behind this veneer of modernity lies really a very shocking ruthless intoxication with power.

When I return to Syria from time to time, I am always amazed at how the figures of the regime do not seem to notice how ridiculous the posters and slogans are and how bad the country is.

May 8th, 2011, 10:01 am


Souri333 (formerly Souri) said:


I don’t understand what you mean, but if Assad was faced by a Turkish drive to replace him with the MB, he must respond someway. In my humble opinion, it is “extremist” that Turkey interferes in Syria’s delicate internal affairs so brazenly and tries to ignite the sectarian problem rather than help to put it out.

Do you fully understand the situation? What we have is a Sunni Islamist uprising against an ‘Alawi’ ruler, and Erdogan just broke in as the Sunni superman who is going to rescue the Sunni Islamists from Assad. I was watching a show on a Wahhabi channel a few days ago and I heard Erdogan’s name about 50 times. What Erdogan did to Assad was very extreme in the Syrian measures.

May 8th, 2011, 10:10 am


Souri333 (formerly Souri) said:

For the future, Assad must think seriously about organizing the Alawis (Nusayris) in Turkey into a political force and making use of them. It is a shame that Turkey has convinced many of them that they are ethnic Turks, obliterating their true ethnic identity. Hopefully that as Islamism rises in Turkey it will be easier for the Syrian Alawis to reconnect with their fellows in Turkey.

May 8th, 2011, 10:28 am


Revlon said:

The revolution’s adress to Jr, read by Jr himself
Watch and listen

May 8th, 2011, 10:29 am


Sophia said:

#100 Souri,

I think Turkey needs a stable Syria. It is true that Erdogan’s position right now is not clear but let the dust settle and you will see how thinks will turn out to be OK between Turkey and Syria.

In my opinion, the MB are putting a lot of hope in Erdogan but don’t forget that Erdogan comes from a brand of political Islam whose extremism was curbed by a strong secularism in Turkey. If you let the MB run things as they want in Syria, things may get ugly and they might come to threaten Erdogan’s own legitimacy in Turkey.

Erdogan is very nervous right now and it is understandable. I am giving him the benefit of the doubt.

May 8th, 2011, 11:46 am


Mawal95 said:

Patrick Seale was boring, but I think we can all agree with him about this:

“The difficult task Bashar now faces is nothing less than the profound restructuring of a fossilised system of governance which is no longer appropriate to the modern age, and no longer wanted by the bulk of the population. To devise and implement far-reaching domestic reforms, as the present situation demands, will not be easy, and a favourable outcome is far from certain.”

Professor Josh said that “to bring peace to Syria Bashar is going to have to enact deep reforms”. To repeat what Patrick Seale just said: deep, far-reaching reforms can be difficult to design and implement, and can have consequences beyond what they were intended to have. Here’s an example. Souri333 said: “The regime will not allow any window for a ‘Sunni’ political power to emerge from, even if such power claims to be secular.” The problem is that if the regime were to allow competitive elections (as Souri333 wishes), and if an appeal to Islam as some sort of a moral anchor, some moral reference point in this world of ours, is effective in wining voters, then that appeal will happen. In order to disallow it from happening, the regime would have to disallow political parties from talking about moral fundamentals at all, in which case you’d have a sham.

May 8th, 2011, 12:07 pm


Jad said:

Thank you very much for explaining.

May 8th, 2011, 12:40 pm


Souri333 (formerly Souri) said:

I just watched on a Lebanese TV (NBN) a video of the revolutionists in Nawa (in Deraa province) beheading a security man in the street with a knife. It was very disturbing. And people wonder why the Alawis cling to power so much. You don’t know what it is like to be living with those savages. I am Sunni myself but I was threatened before by those extremists and I know how scary it is, because those people can do anything and it is impossible to reach any understanding or compromise with them.

May 8th, 2011, 12:42 pm


Vedat The Turk said:

If anyone wants to know the discussion going on in Turkey vis-a-vis Syria, all they have to do is watch what the Turkish satellite channels.

Without exception, all of the news shows are framing the conflict as a battle that pits a despotic military regime against civilian demonstrators wanting better governance. Countless commentators have noted that in the long term the Batthist \”dictatorship\” (this is the term they use) is incompatible with Turkish values of democracy and justice. On TVT the lead commentator took the time to note that even in Turkeys darkest days of military rule there was never such a wide spread \”slaughter\” of innocent civilians (again these were his words).

The issue of the Muslim Brotherhood has not arisen. Indeed, the demonstrations are being reported as part of the wide spread Arab revolt towards democracy.

For those trying to determine what Turkeys reaction to crackdown in Syria will be should look to Erdogan\’s recent statements on the situation in Libya. The Turkish leader was highly critical of Quadaffi\’s killing of innocent civilians and demanded that he resign. This should not come as a suprise to anyone. After all Turkey is a democracy and views itself as a role model for the Muslim world. If Erdogan had not come down harshly on the Libyan dictator there would have been a high political price to pay from the Turkish electorate. There is nothing to indicate that his response to the Syrian leadership will be any different.

May 8th, 2011, 12:47 pm


why-discuss said:

The Arab world must face its demons
Attacks on Christians are a wake-up call for fragmented Arab societies where disenfranchisement breeds bigotry.
“Islam is being manipulated by bigots and quasi-intellectuals who thrive on feeding hate to a constituency of young people frustrated by foreign domination and social injustice.
….This creeping sectarianism can be found not only in relations between Christians and Muslims but also between Muslims. Colonialism has left Lebanon with a sectarian system that pits Shia and Sunni Muslims against each other as well as against Christians. ”

Scores held in Egypt after sectarian clashes
At least 230 people injured in violence between Muslims and Christians that left 12 people dead in Cairo.

May 8th, 2011, 12:49 pm


Vedat said:

@ Souri

Regarding your statement that Bashar Assad must organize the Alawites in Turkey to make use of them:

The Alawi in Turkey are already very well organized. The leader of the main opposition party in Parliament, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu of the CHP, is an Alawite. As is several senior members of Erdoğans AK Party. Any attempt to appeal to Turkish Alawites for Syria’s benefit would have serious unintended repercussions. This is because such factionalism is highly disrespectful in Turkish society. Turkey is a highly nationalistic culture. It’s nationalism is so strong many commentators have called it racist. Whenever someone makes an appeal to one segment of society a common response is that we are all Turks, indefeasible.

Also, an attempt by a foreign leader to organize a religious minority in Turkey would cause significant problems for the countries Alawites. If anything, it would force them to act contrary to Syria’s request so as to prove that they place Turkeys interests ahead of any tribal consideration. Moreover it would be viewed as a very hostile move by the countries military.

May 8th, 2011, 12:50 pm


NK said:


“Semper necessitas probandi incumbit ei qui agit”
The necessity of proof always lies with the person who lays charges.


In that case, we shouldn’t be telling people to demonstrate to begin with. Personally, while I support those who do go out, I don’t think I will be able to sleep at night knowing somebody died because I told them to demonstrate while I’m sitting at the comfort of my home thousands of miles away. Supporting is one thing instigating is another.

May 8th, 2011, 12:51 pm


Jad said:

This video is from Iraq, it was an excustion of Almahdi Army.
It’s horrible that NBN show such thing, these lies are the reasons people get killed .

A better and apearantly true news: the army arrested Anas 3erou6 of Banyas, it said that he is leading them to where hi stock arms and in Homs people saying that the security arrested someone calling himself Amir Homs, and they walled around in Homs streets in a public show.

May 8th, 2011, 12:55 pm


Solitarius said:

It seems that indeed neighborhoods in Homs were bombed with artillery or tanks last night. It seems that today it’s only gun fire. I don’t understand what warrants such use of force. Are they really bombing residential areas or is this just a scare tactic? I find it difficult to swallow that they would bomb houses just like that unless they prove to be packed with armed opposition firing at them. Still, this is not going to go well with the Homsis who are already pissed off.

Also we are hearing about the events in Hama.. the attack on a few government buildings etc.

the rhetoric on the syrian street seems extremely intolerant to the other now. Some of those that admit that there are deaths amongst the army are saying so what? these are infidels.. Even a girl that i know is an extremely moderate girl (in Damascus) now thinks that it’s fine for the opposition to pick up arms.. People are forgetting the sequence of events. We have to be clear on one thing, even if the regime committed atrocities in Daraa, and they did indeed, but the demonstrators on the street are the ones who can escalate and who keep pushing further and further and cornering the regime into using force. They definitely succeeded in allowing the regime to use force.. they left no room for doubt with any of us that extreme violence and systematic lies/media campaign have been used against the Syrian government.. So whatever their goal is.. the end result is that now the Syrian government is using full force.. and it seems that people cannot see this sequence of events.. and are picturing the issue as if the Syrian regime has been doing all the killing for the longest time.. and thus now the opposition has the right to bear arms. While in reality, it was from the first day after the regime committed the crime in Daraa that people picked up weapons against them down there.. and they also did unprovoked in Banyas, Douma and Homs (multiple early incidents)

Anyhow I feel like this discussion is now worthless and redundant.. We have a serious problem of Syrians reverting to their basic instinctive allegiances to their sects and you can see this in the real world as well as on facebook.

Unfortunately it’s also meaningless to discuss options and ideas.. because it’s all in the hands of two parties now.. the regime, and the furious people on the street..

Regarding Turkey.. I don’t believe that they care that much about the stability of Syria. Turks protect their borders well. Violence in Syria will not spread to Turkey but it can spread to Jordan and Lebanon. Turkey’s Kurdish problem will hardly be affected much.. I mean there is already a semi-independent Kurdish state in Iraq.. It’s not like the Syrian kurds are going to be the tipping point. At least that’s my understanding of how serious of a problem are the Syrian kurds to Turkey.

May 8th, 2011, 12:56 pm


S.S said:

الفكر الوهابي القذر

May 8th, 2011, 1:02 pm


S.S said:


You need videos. i will provide you with many
This is **** sectarian revolution

May 8th, 2011, 1:06 pm


Sophia said:

Read this article by Anthony Shadid. I may be wrong but in two weeks form now the uprising would be nearly over.

May 8th, 2011, 1:07 pm


Akbar Palace said:


Yes, our ideological mentor here on Syria Comment”, who we also warmingly refer to as “Professor Josh”, is now reluctantly admitting that Bashar Assad an

d his Baathist allies are not up to the job.

You may not know this, but all the years preceeding these spontaneous demonstrations, Professor Josh was the strongest supporter of Assad on this website.
The claim being that alth

ough Syria was an economic, social, political, and humanitarian back-water, Assad was the “best alternative” to ensure Syrian “security”.

That longstanding hypothesis has now been broken. The government doing the killing as they’ve done in the recent past.

What to do? Well, that’s easy: blame all the murders on this made up phenomenon called “salafis” and “Wahabis” (aka “terrorists”).

Well, is seems like every day a few dozen “terrorists” get killed. We can thank Bashar Assad for keeping Syria safe and keeping the poor Syrian citizen away from evils like freedom and prosperity.

As an American Jew, we thank Bashar Assad for keeping the Middle East safe from terrorism.

May 8th, 2011, 1:16 pm


AIG said:

In order to for a regime to rule a country it must either have the consent of the people or the people must fear the regime. Both are not applicable anymore in Syria. The regime in its actions is bringing Syria to the edge of the abyss. Yes they can stay in power, like Mugabe did in Zimbabwe. They can drag Syria down with them, and perhaps that is what they will do.

May 8th, 2011, 1:27 pm


Norman said:


As long as being a majority or a minority is dependent on one religion that he or she inherited from their father, i see that it will be very hard for Syria to have a real democracy, as EHSANI once said , Syria needs an Ataturk , he is right, the way that Hafiz Assad appeased the fanatics by pushing for their agenda is not working, a full separation of religion and state has to be the next plan to build a modern state.

In other news, It looks like Egypt is moving toward civil war sooner or later.

May 8th, 2011, 1:35 pm


William Scott Scherk said:

Thank you, NK, for the answer to my puzzlement in post #59. What I still wonder about is this statement: Some Copts in Egypt are as sectarian as the Wahhabi Saudis, they imprisoned a girl who chose to become Muslim

Three points I wish to make.

— even though information on events in Syria is hobbled by the lack of a free media, it is still possible to get closer to the truth of any individual report. With some investigation, one can discard information that is unreliable.

— rumours can feed hysteria and underlie bad decisions and bad interpretations and bad arguments

— your confident statement that “they” (Copts) imprisoned a girl who chose to become Muslim is not true. The ‘girl’ spoke on television yesterday to an Egyptian audience. She denied any imprisonment. She denied having converted to Islam (see

It is very difficult to understand the values of people commenting in this forum. Some have declared their citizenship, their location, their interests, but most have not. NK, I have no idea where you live, how old you are, if you are a Syrian citizen, where you hail from, where you lived/live in Syria, whether or not you live under a western democratic regime. I have no idea how you have formed your political opinions or what kind of party you might support if Syria were free and you could participate in political life there.

Of course it is your choice to use a pseudonym — that does not bear any weight in discussion — but I am curious about your values and your commitments. Can you tell us a bit about yourself, and tell us what are your hopes for Syria? If outside Syria, will you return?

If there is a chance for a dialogue between camps/interests, how can you contribute to understanding, mutual respect, and a peaceful outcome in Syria?

Finally, what sources of information on Syria can you recommend — how do you form your impressions of reality on the ground?

Me, I am fifty-three, am bilingual French/English, Canadian, live in the suburbs of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. I have no religious affiliations whatsoever, am a ‘centrist’ (in the politics of Canada). I do not see ‘plots’ and conspiracies but rather ‘interests.’ My country has a polity that does not expect unanimity, but rather tries to manage competing interests under common goals.

As an aside, readers here may not know, but we recently had an election. Among other interesting notes, we elected several new folk to our House of Commons from communities of interest. Although their religious affiliations were not and will not be noted, we now have three Algerian-Canadians (two women), and a Tunisian (woman).

In my heart of hearts, I believe that Syrians will come through the present unrest, if somehow a majority can emerge that agrees upon a framework, a basic law for all. I would very much like to see where the common ground is here on Syria Comment. I believe there are many points of agreement between folks who seem utterly opposed to each other. I would urge the ‘off-site’ folks who have no desire to live and work in Syria — please identify what you have in common with your interlocutors. Imagine, if you would, that folks who know Syria intimately as a homeland and/or home were pressed to find their commonalities and agree a way forward.

I would very much like to see folks speaking in their own voices about what they can do together — less talk of ‘the other’ and his or her failings and more talk of a basic plan each feels can surmount the present crisis. What say Mouna, Jad, Michel Nahas, Why-Discuss, Shami, Mina, Montagnard, N.Z., Revlon, Solitarius, Qunfuz, Majedkhaldoon, Real Syrian, Tarek, Ziadsoury, Najib, Qifa Nabki? Is there a common ground at all? Is Syrian doomed to fail?

May 8th, 2011, 1:44 pm


NK said:


Just because the title of a video on youtube says something, doesn’t mean the content supports the title. Listen to what these guys say at the very beginning,
لا سنية, لا علوية , بل سلمية
they then say بل اسلامية which is not all that bad considering this was shouted in front of a mosque after Friday prayer. And while I don’t agree with such shouts and while such shouts might be inconsiderate towards our Christian brethren, it’s far far from calling for sectarianism and advocating murder. Keep in mind that the “sectarian” slogans everyone is talking about are against Alawites who are Muslims too, so these slogans do not offend them at all!.

Where are the calls for murder and the ugly sectarian slogans ?

May 8th, 2011, 2:04 pm


Shami said:

William ,some are not stired when the regime kills thousands of Syrians and they accept any excuse coming from the regime.
They see everything through their minority sectarian prisma,but dont worry on Syria ,what you see on this pro regime blog is not representative of the majority ,but it gives an idea of the sectarian minority syndrom of many alawites and islamophobic christians.They fear change because the regime told them that we are extremist salafis.
Syria,Tunisia,Egypt as Turkey will prove that Islam and liberal democracy are compatible.
Their views towards the muslims are not very different from the extremist zionists and necons.

May 8th, 2011, 2:09 pm


Souri333 (formerly Souri) said:

The uprising may be over soon but the clashes between the government and the Wahhabis will continue for months. What the government is doing now is that they are trying to arrest every Wahhabi in Syria. This is a huge task that will take long months. It took them 10 days to clear Deraa alone, without its surrounding countryside.

Eventually they will go into Aleppo and Damascus to clear them too. At that stage, however, the Wahhabis will have lost the ability to mobilize the street and the media, so there should not be a big problem.

After clearing the country from the Wahhabis and other radical Islamists, Bashar will have to choose between either going into history as Syria’s Ataturk or imitating his father and going into the cesspool of history.

May 8th, 2011, 2:20 pm


Mawal95 said:

For those who don’t have access to Syrian State TV and haven’t visited SANA.SY today, here are two news stories that deliver good anecdotal evidence of where some of the violence has been coming from in Syria:
I presume those stories are true.

May 8th, 2011, 2:29 pm


Mouna said:

See national unity and justice at its best:

Everyone can see themselves in the list, be they Salafis, MBs, commies, Sunnis, Alawis, Druze, Shiite, Kurds … paranoids.

May 8th, 2011, 2:38 pm


William Scott Scherk said:

Shami: William ,some are not stired when the regime kills thousands of Syrians and they accept any excuse coming from the regime.

I will be frank, Shami. If you cannot declare your interests and your location and your relation to Syria, I have no way of interpreting your comments. On the face of it, your use of ‘some’ and ‘they’ and ‘islamophic christians’ and ‘pro-regime blog’ are murky and unproductive.

How old are you? Where do you live? What languages do you speak and read? What is your connection to Syria? If you cannot identify yourself and otherwise not speak in terms of ‘THEM’ — I get no traction on your remarks.

They see everything through their sectarian prisma,so dont worry on Syria ,what you see on this pro regime blog is not representative of the majority ,but it gives an idea of the sectarian minority syndrom of many alawites and islamophobic christians.

I don’t care if this forum is representative. I don’t care what folks say about ‘them.’ I care what folks say in their own voices, declaring their interests and speaking for themselves in clear, intelligent, well-founded arguments — I care about opinions and proposals from those who can listen to and understand other voices without sorting the voices into general categories. You apparently have written off all ‘others’ and responded in no way to my appeals and thoughts.

Seriously, all I get from this comment is that you disdain (if not hate) a whole bunch of ‘Them.’

Declare yourself. Propose something concrete or thoughtful or tied to reality, or be part of the barking noise that I will ignore.

May 8th, 2011, 2:46 pm


Shami said:

William no need to make a scandal ,”them” concern paranoid minority’s members who cultivate hatred and paranoia towards their environment.
They exist!.
It explains the killing of more than 20.000 civilians in Hama in few days.
Normal syrians dont kill 20.000 in few days.

May 8th, 2011, 3:34 pm


Badr said:

Professor Landis,

I find your answer to Justin Elliott’s last question, which you left out from the main post, very revealing:

But based on what he’s doing right now, it would seem like things are going in the opposite direction.

Yes, it does seem that way. And in order to enforce his control, he’s going to resort to greater sectarian divide-and-rule, which will ultimately weaken Syria and eliminate the possibility of deep reforms. So this looks like a lose-lose situation.

May 8th, 2011, 3:35 pm


Norman said:

Are you from Syria,

The problem is never Islam otherwise we would not find Christians in Syria,and Islam would not have spread to Asia and the EU, The problem is people like you who think that Islam and specifically Sunni Islam is essential for full citizenship. you and Majid are the enemies of real Islam.

May 8th, 2011, 4:07 pm


Shami said:

Norman ,from where did you get that i’m for an islamic state,i’m for a civilian state which allow equality to all regardless religions and ethnicities.
And you are not among those that i called paranoid sectarian.

May 8th, 2011, 4:32 pm


Shami said:

or civil state.

May 8th, 2011, 4:35 pm


NK said:

William Scott Scherk

I don’t feel comfortable disclosing personal information because it might put my family back home in harms way. But I’ll try to give you a general idea about me and my background.
I’m Syrian from Aleppo, I’m in my early thirties, I moved to the U.S a few years back, I’m a non-practicing Sunni, I was born into relative wealth and privilege, I speak 3 languages Arabic, English and Turkish, I took German lessons for about a year and currently trying to learn Spanish, I’m a liberal, I refuse to restrict my choices by supporting any one party, because I simply believe almost all of them hide behind their ideologies while rarely practicing what they preach, thus I prefer to remain an independent.

For me the ideal Syria is one that adapts the U.S constitution or something very similar to it (building an 18 feet wall between religion and government), and of course dismantles the security apparatus and combines all the branches into one CIA-type branch that rarely interferes in day to day affairs of Syrians and focuses on protecting Syria from external threats/espionage.

Of course that’s too black&white, the Situation in Syria right now is all gray, Syria is governed by the security/army, the Syrian ministers hold no actual powers, the parliament is a joke, and the judicial system is non existent. The security personnel are above the law, so any meaningful reform will require reining in those corrupt and very powerful heads of security branches, I doubt Bashar has the power to strip those of their powers and influence (regardless of whether he wants to or not), you’re talking about national dialogue and finding common ground, what common grounds can the Syrian intellectuals find in their jail cells ? they were all arrested recently. meanwhile you hear everyday that the prisedent is meeting with the elders and notables from each Syrian city, but when you look closely, those notables are the same corrupt figures that the people are rising against, what kind of message is that ?

As for the talk of a basic plan for us here on SC, we actually agree on a lot of things, however the ball is not in our court, the regime has the initiative, they chose to crush the opposition and declared war on the Syrian protesters, so until the shooting stops, and a clear plan for reforms is laid out, there’s very little we can discuss.

May 8th, 2011, 5:50 pm


Norman said:

Good to know,

NK, You do not have to be embarrassed to say that you are a doctor,
I like what you wrote but what about the 18 security agencies that we have in the US in addition to the CIA, including but not limited to FBI, ATF, National security agency Home land security and many others

so let us have in Syria what we have in the US, All of it and most importantly are the anti discrimination laws in housing and employment.

May 8th, 2011, 8:33 pm


Revlon said:

Dear Mr. Scherk,
Thank you for sharing your personal background and views on Syria’s plight.
Common ground, as you have correctly noted is there.
I read it in the posts of names, that you listed.
I know first hand that it exists from being borne, raised, educated and lived / living in Syria and with family and Syrian friends from all walks of life.
Alas, bridges of trust that guide to these common grounds, have long, been broken.

As you may know, the newly introduced demonstrations laws consider supporters of demonstrations terrorists!
I would rather keep the regime security agents, on this blog guessing where I live or work, in or outside Syria.
Therefore, I hope you understand whey, I and other “terrorists” on this blog are not keen on sharing any, even remotely, personal information.

Whether commentors on this blog, including me, have or can reach a common ground serves only to pacify our minds, by obliging to our sense of duty to God, Conscience, or any morals we may hold.

The common ground that people, on this blog and on the ground agree upon, and strive for, are reforms that have been amply expressed by all good-will wishers.

My personal view is this:
– The time was ideal, at the beginning of this revolution, before any blood was shed, for the regime to call for transitional government to spear head reforms,
It could have been comprised of representatives from the regime, well known pro-reform figures, and revolution activists.
– The regime, with all of this blood on their hands, have become a problem in itself.
– Demonstrators who lost their loved ones and their surviving comrades, as I read on the facebook pages of the Syrian revolution and hear and see on YouTube videoclips, can not live with the notion of negotiating with them. To them, the ruling clan are wanted for justice, in Free Syria.

May 8th, 2011, 9:55 pm


William Scott Scherk said:

Thanks to NK and Revlon for your responses — for the notes on identity and the notes on ‘common ground’ and the notes on the possible ways forward for Syria. Much appreciated, much to think about. I very much like your honesty and your humour, especially from the ‘terrorist’ Revlon.

May 9th, 2011, 12:32 am


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