Lebanese Tension, Egyptian Chaos, Iraqi Memories... and all the news from Syria - Syria Comment

Lebanese Tension, Egyptian Chaos, Iraqi Memories… and all the news from Syria

Posted by Matthew Barber
 

Recent Highlights

Landis on Al-Jazeera

“Damascus could very well look like Aleppo in a year’s time.” — J. Landis

“I think when you discuss the Syrian crisis now … in terms of violence, there is a balanced playing field. The violence which is being perpetrated by the opposition groups, the rebels, is almost on the same scale. There is an element of strategic parity on the ground. I’d just like to say that Damascus is not going to turn into Aleppo … Damascus is actually relatively safe, internally speaking, there’s conflict on the outskirts but the centre of Damascus is relatively safe.” –Danny Makki, the co-founder of the Syrian Youth in Britain

The one moment of agreement between the pro-regime and pro-opposition guests was when they both attacked Dr. Landis’ analysis of the sectarian dimension of the conflict. Both sides continue to maintain either that “Syrians are united with Assad” or “Syrians are united against Assad.”

Syria starts to look like fragmented Libya – “The big regional war that everyone is warning about is already here”

“In its bloodied mud, the struggle is on among the Iranians, the Iraqis, the Russians, Hizbollah, the Al Nusra Front, Ahrar Al Sham, Al Qaeda-linked fighters, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party … as well as the Free Syrian Army – with all its brigades and battalions – Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Jordan. And now Britain and France are about to join the fray.”

… “Unwilling to enter a third war in the Middle East, after defeats in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States has entrusted the Syrian issue and the arming of the opposition to its two allies, France and Britain, just as it did in Libya,” Atwan said.

“That allows Washington to go around talking about a peaceful resolution based on the nebulous Geneva protocol.”

And now for something completely new… Let’s get the drones ready, seeing as how popular they are everywhere:  CIA plans for drone strikes in Syria – LA Times

The CIA has stepped up secret contingency planning to protect the United States and its allies as the turmoil expands in Syria, including collecting intelligence on Islamic extremists for the first time for possible lethal drone strikes, according to current and former U.S. officials.

…or instead of drones just send in the cavalry: Boston Globe: Commander: Contingency plans under way for Syria

The top U.S. military commander in Europe said Tuesday that NATO is conducting contingency planning for possible military involvement in Syria and American forces would be prepared if called upon by the United Nations and member …

Benjamin J. Rhodes, the man in the White House who produces policy on Syria – NYT – by Mark Landler – Worldly at 35, and Shaping Obama’s Voice

As President Obama prepares to visit Israel next week, he is turning, as he often does, to Benjamin J. Rhodes, a 35-year-old deputy national security adviser with a soft voice, strong opinions and a reputation around the White House as the man who channels Mr. Obama on foreign policy.

… Drawing on personal ties and a philosophical kinship with Mr. Obama that go back to the 2008 campaign, Mr. Rhodes helped prod his boss to take a more activist policy toward Egypt and Libya when those countries erupted in 2011.

Now that influence is being put to the test again on the issue of Syria, where the president has so far resisted more than modest American involvement. After two years of civil war that have left 70,000 people dead, Mr. Rhodes, his friends and colleagues said, is deeply frustrated by a policy that is not working, and has become a strong advocate for more aggressive efforts to support the Syrian opposition.

Administration officials note that Mr. Rhodes is not alone in his frustration over Syria, pointing out that Mr. Obama, too, is searching for an American response that ends the humanitarian tragedy, while not enmeshing the United States in a sectarian conflict that many in the White House say bears unsettling similarities to Iraq. Three former officials of the administration — Hillary Rodham Clinton, Robert Gates and David Petraeus — favored arming the opposition, a position Mr. Rhodes did not initially support.

… Two years ago, when protesters thronged Tahrir Square in Cairo, Mr. Rhodes urged Mr. Obama to withdraw three decades of American support for President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt. A few months later, Mr. Rhodes was among those agitating for the president to back a NATO military intervention in Libya to head off a slaughter by Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.

… “The person behind the scenes who played the largest role in the opening to Burma and the engagement with Aung San Suu Kyi was Ben Rhodes,” said Kurt M. Campbell, a former assistant secretary of state who led the negotiations with the Myanmar government.

Engineering a shift in Mr. Obama’s Syria policy is probably more difficult than persuading him to reach out to Myanmar, officials said, given the complexities of Syria, the volatility of its neighborhood, the grinding nature of the conflict, and the president’s deep aversion to getting entangled in another military conflict in the Middle East.

Not only is the United States limiting its support of the Free Syrian Army to food rations and medical supplies, the White House has designated one of the main Sunni insurgent groups, al-Nusra front, as a terrorist organization — a policy that alienated many Syrians because of the group’s effectiveness in fighting President Bashar al-Assad.

Colleagues say Mr. Rhodes opposed that decision, which was pushed by intelligence advisers. He also favors equipping the rebels with more robust nonlethal gear and training that would help them in their fight against Mr. Assad’s government, a position shared by Britain and other allies…

The New Yorker – Two Years Later: What the Syrian War Looks Like by Rania Abouzeid

The Yellow Man of Aleppo

What does the Syrian war look like? It looks like shells that crash and thud and thump into residential streets,  sometimes with little warning. It looks like messy footprints in a pool of blood  on a hospital floor as armed local men, many in mismatched military attire and  civilian clothing, rush in their wounded colleagues, or their neighbors.

… What does the Syrian war look like? It looks like significant number of  people who, for reasons of ideology or patronage or fear, believe that Assad’s  regime the best option. It looks like a growing number of people, even those  within the rebel ranks, who eye the increasing clout of Jihadists and other  Islamists and fear what they may turn Syria into.

… What does the Syrian war sound like? It sounds like the women of an extended  family, aunts and sisters, mothers and grandmothers, sitting in a room where  thin mattresses line the walls, discussing what kind of a Syria they want to  live in. They’re in darkness because there’s no electricity.

Mayada, a young, strong-willed, English-literature major, says that, in her  heart, she wants an Islamic state, but she recognizes that in Syria, a  multi-ethnic and multi-sectarian society, that is unlikely. She says an Islamic  state would be “more just.” Her aunt Sarea, who is just a few years older than  her, snickers at her remarks. She won’t live in an Islamic state, she says.  Unless that state is modelled on Turkey, it’ll be an excuse to lock women up in  their homes.

The two women debate the issue for hours, and others chime in. In the end, they agree that an Islamic state is not the best option—not because Islam  doesn’t grant rights to women but because the male clerics who interpret the  religion cannot be trusted.

What does the Syrian war look like? It looks like armed men with little  accountability. It looks like the amateur video of a local character known as the Yellow Man  of Aleppo, an eccentric older man decked out in yellow, from his ivy cap to his  shoes,  being humiliated by young thugs who belong to a unit of the Free Syrian  Army in the northern city. They accuse him of being a government spy, a  fassfoos, in the local slang.

[Aleppo’s “Yellow Man” is a mysterious celebrity, a kind of a local cultural treasure, a man who for years has gone about his business in the city wearing only yellow, even carrying yellow prayers beads. When he passes, people often stop him and ask for a picture with him.]

They spit on him, tell him to bark like a dog, make him repeat vulgarities  about Assad’s female relatives. “Take a picture of me pulling his mustache,” a  young, smiling, fresh-faced rebel tells the camera. They take turns plucking out  hairs from his graying blond mustache. “Are you Sunni?” the cameraman asks the  Yellow Man. “Do you like Alawites or do you hate them?” he asks, referring to  the sect that Assad belongs to. “I hate them,” the Yellow Man replies. “Liar!”  one of the young men says as he slaps the old man’s face. Some men may become what they are fighting.

What does the Syrian war look like? It looks like another amateur video, taken from the other side of this  increasingly intractable divide. A man, bloodied and beaten, hands tied behind  his back, is dragged along the gritty asphalt by uniformed, armed government  soldiers. He’s wearing nothing but his white underwear. He cannot even lift his  head, which scrapes along the street. He turns onto his back. “Where are your  wife and children?” one of his tormentors asks, stepping on the man’s face with  his black boot. Somebody asks for a piece of glass to cut the man’s tongue out.  They curse him, mock him, and laugh as they torment him.

“For God’s sake, please, just let me say goodbye to my children,” the man  says, knowing that his end is near. His face is swollen, bloodied. “Will you let  me fuck your wife?” one of his tormentors asks, mockingly. “If you let me, you can see your children.” “No,” the man says, “my wife is my soul, my children are  my soul. My wife is the crown on my head.”

“The crown on your head?” He kicks the man’s head. Others laugh as they  continue dragging him along the street, trying to decide where to dump him.

This is what the Syrian war looks like. Every man with a gun is an authority,  and for some the enemy—who was once their neighbor—is no longer a person. How  can a man who has inflicted such harm, and become used to that sort of power,  let it go and step back—especially if others do not?

 

Iraq on the Anniversary of the War

 

Reuters – New Study Details Costs of Iraq War

The U.S. war in Iraq has cost $1.7 trillion with an additional $490 billion in benefits owed to war veterans, expenses that could grow to more than $6 trillion over the next four decades counting interest, a study released on Thursday said.

The war has killed at least 134,000 Iraqi civilians and may have contributed to the deaths of as many as four times that number… When security forces, insurgents, journalists and humanitarian workers were included, the war’s death toll rose to an estimated 176,000 to 189,000, the study said.

… It was also an update of a 2011 report the Watson Institute produced ahead of the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks that assessed the cost in dollars and lives from the resulting wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. The 2011 study said the combined cost of the wars was at least $3.7 trillion… That estimate climbed to nearly $4 trillion in the update.

The estimated death toll from the three wars, previously at 224,000 to 258,000, increased to a range of 272,000 to 329,000 two years later.

Excluded were indirect deaths caused by the mass exodus of doctors and a devastated infrastructure, for example, while the costs left out trillions of dollars in interest the United States could pay over the next 40 years.

The report also examined the burden on U.S. veterans and their families, showing a deep social cost as well as an increase in spending on veterans. The 2011 study found U.S. medical and disability claims for veterans after a decade of war totaled $33 billion. Two years later, that number had risen to $134.7 billion.

FEW GAINS

The report concluded the United States gained little from the war while Iraq was traumatized by it. The war reinvigorated radical Islamist militants in the region, set back women’s rights, and weakened an already precarious healthcare system, the report said. Meanwhile, the $212 billion reconstruction effort was largely a failure with most of that money spent on security or lost to waste and fraud, it said.

… “If we had had the foresight to see how long it would last and even if it would have cost half the lives, we would not have gone in,” Bucci said.

Bucci said the toppling of Saddam and the results of an unforeseen conflict between U.S.-led forces and al Qaeda militants drawn to Iraq were positive outcomes of the war. “It was really in Iraq that ‘al Qaeda central’ died,” Bucci said. “They got waxed.”

Iraq War was a terrible mistake and violation of U.N. charter – by Hans Blix for CNN

Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq have been long and costly engagements with very mixed results. Since then prudence has held the U.S. back in the case of Libya and so far in Syria.

Christian Science Monitor – Terrorism and freedom fighting along the Syria-Iraq border

When some rebel groups kill Syrian government soldiers, the US applauds. When others do the killing, it’s ‘terrorism.’ Why?  — By Dan Murphy

War is hell, right? Soldiers do whatever they can to win and survive. Officers do whatever they can to shape engagements so that superior numbers and firepower are rained down on an outnumbered enemy. Boobytraps, killing the other guy while he sleeps in his bed, and dropping artillery on his head from a safe distance are all part of a day’s work.

So why did US State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland label the killing of 46 Syrian troops in Iraq last week an act of “terrorism” on Monday?

Aside from the fact that the word “terrorism” has been tortured beyond all semblance of its conventional meaning in the past decade, it’s a comment – deliberate or not – that illuminates the strange, dangerous, and contradictory waters the US is wading into in Syria.

… Syria has been under US sanctions for decades and President George W. Bush’s most hawkish advisers, like Dick Cheney, were eager to invade Syria on the heels of Iraq in 2003.

So the killing of Syrian soldiers by rebels is good, right? Well, not exactly. Depending on who does the killing it can be labelled as terrorism or the actions of a people striving to be free.

…In fact, killing enemy soldiers returning to the battlefield is something the US, like most militaries, has done in all of its conflicts.

… Notice that Iraq is providing at least passive assistance to Assad’s military. It has good reason to, notwithstanding that puts it at odds with US policy. The Shiite-dominated Iraq the US helped create is hated by both homegrown jihadis and their friends across the border. A defeat for Assad would lead to a Sunni-dominated neighbor, certain to be more hostile to Iraq’s interests and potentially a supporter of a reignited Sunni insurgency.

… it’s the US position that looks strange. It spent billions of dollars and the lives of nearly 4,500 soldiers in Iraq, fighting to put down a Sunni insurgency that was described as a grave threat to American interests. Today, the US government policy is assisting a Sunni insurgency in Syria that is not only similar in character to the one put down in Iraq, but has surviving Iraqi veterans of the war serving in it.

MI6 and CIA were told before invasion that Iraq had no active WMD – Tony Blair’s claims about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction are challenged again: BBC’s Panorama reveals fresh evidence that agencies dismissed intelligence from Iraqi foreign minister and spy chief

Fresh evidence is revealed today about how MI6 and the CIA were told through secret channels by Saddam Hussein’s foreign minister and his head of intelligence that Iraq had no active weapons of mass destruction.

Tony Blair told parliament before the war that intelligence showed Iraq’s nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons programme was “active”, “growing” and “up and running”.

A special BBC Panorama programme tonight will reveal how British and US intelligence agencies were informed by top sources months before the invasion that Iraq had no active WMD programme, and that the information was not passed to subsequent inquiries.

It describes how Naji Sabri, Saddam’s foreign minister, told the CIA’s station chief in Paris at the time, Bill Murray, through an intermediary that Iraq had “virtually nothing” in terms of WMD.

Sabri said in a statement that the Panorama story was “totally fabricated”.

However, Panorama confirms that three months before the war an MI6 officer met Iraq’s head of intelligence, Tahir Habbush al-Tikriti, who also said that Saddam had no active WMD. The meeting in the Jordanian capital, Amman, took place days before the British government published its now widely discredited Iraqi weapons dossier in September 2002.

Lord Butler, the former cabinet secretary who led an inquiry into the use of intelligence in the runup to the invasion of Iraq, tells the programme that he was not told about Sabri’s comments, and that he should have been.

Butler says of the use of intelligence: “There were ways in which people were misled or misled themselves at all stages.”…

Tony Blair Says Iraq Would Be ‘Worse Than Syria’ Now, if Antiwar Critics Had Prevailed

“And if you look at what’s happening in the Arab Spring today, and you examine what’s happening in Syria — just reflect on what Bashar Assad, who is a twentieth as bad as Saddam, is doing to his people today, and the number of lives already lost, just ask yourself, ‘What would be happening in Iraq now if he had been left in power?’ ”

Mr. Blair also told the BBC, “If things continue as they are in Syria today, within a few months — proportionate to the size of the population — more people will have died in Syria than in the whole of the conflict since 2003 in Iraq.”

Time Is Right for Gulf States to Rethink Approach to Iraq By Hassan Hassan | The National

For the Arab Gulf states, the war that began in 2003 was the herald of a new  relationship with Iraq, a country that had long been ruled by a hostile regime,  threatened its neighbours and had briefly subjugated one of them – Kuwait.

But 10 years after the US-led invasion, the picture in Baghdad looks  extremely bleak from this side of the Gulf. An Iraq dominated by the pro-Iranian  Shia is seen as just as threatening as an Iraq led by the Sunni Saddam  Hussein.The mantra in the Gulf is that Baghdad has been handed over to the  Iranians on a golden plate. Some even perceive Baghdad’s special relationship  with Iran as part of a US grand strategy to pit the countries of the region  against each other. Such self-defeating thinking is one reason why Baghdad has  been drifting towards Tehran. It is time for the Gulf states to revisit their  approach to Iraq.

Gulf states do not welcome the fact that Baghdad will probably always be  dominated by Shia politicians. For them, the question is how to subdue Iraq,  rather than how to work with it. They also tend to view Iraq’s relationship with  Iran through a zero-sum mindset: Baghdad can either be an ally against Iran, or  it can be an enemy.

Riyadh does not have meaningful diplomatic representation in Baghdad, despite  repeated Iraqi attempts to improve relations with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf at  large. For example, at the beginning of trouble in Syria, Iraq supported almost  all Gulf-led Arab resolutions against the Syrian regime; it began to show  opposition after the Arab Summit in Baghdad in March of last year, to which few  Gulf states sent high-level representation. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have not  tried hard enough to resolve outstanding disputes with Iraq, involving borders  and prisoners. The Arar border crossing between Saudi Arabia and Iraq is still  closed, although Riyadh promised last year to open it for trade.

The key to better relationships is, counterintuitively, a stronger and more  stable Iraq. Saudi Arabia, in particular, has long sought to weaken Iraq to  ensure its own regional standing. Since the Iraq war, Riyadh’s policy has  evolved into attempts to contain Baghdad and push it away from Tehran.

Iraq-Syria Overland Supply Routes – ISW

 

Serious Events in Lebanon: Airstrikes, Sectarian Attacks, Refugee Dilemmas

 

Sheikh Assir Tests Supporters’ Loyalty and Lebanese Security

Salafi Sheikh Ahmad al-Assir tested his supporters on the night of 13 March by sending out messages that the army was about to breach his mosque, prompting hundreds of Salafis to block roads in Tripoli, Beirut, and Saida.

It all started when soldiers at an army checkpoint in east Saida stopped one Ahmad al-Assir’s supporters, Sheikh Assem al-Arifi, after discovering that his car papers were forged.

Arifi’s driver refused to abide by the army’s orders and fled to Assir’s mosque nearby. In what may have been an attempt to test the readiness of his supporters, Assir fired off text messages and posts on his Facebook page claiming that the army was preparing to assault the mosque.

Despite the small number of people who took to the streets, the incident nevertheless rattled the uneasy peace prevalent in a number of cities, particularly in Saida and Tripoli, where Assir’s supporters and allies tend to be concentrated.

According to army sources, several hundred young men responded to Assir’s call, blocking roads in Saida, Beirut, and Tripoli for a short period of time before being reopened by security forces.

… It is worth noting that the army had begun to implement a security plan at noon the same day, which included establishing permanent checkpoints around the mosque to search all vehicles exiting and entering the area under Assir’s control.

In the northern city of Tripoli, the response to Assir’s call was surprisingly fast as Salafis and groups of armed men descended on Nour Square, threatening to declare jihad against the army if Assir’s mosque was breached.

Notably, the protesters ripped down pictures of Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz and replaced them with al-Qaeda banners.

… It is clear that Assir is ratcheting up the pressure on the army as it tightens security measures around his mosque by resorting to panicked text and Internet messages, one of which called on Muslims around the world to picket Lebanese embassies in their respective countries.

Syrian jets hit targets in Lebanon; 4 Sunni clerics attacked and beaten by groups of Shiites

On Sunday night, Mazen Hariri and Ahmad Fekhran, two Sunni Muslim sheikhs at Dar al-Fatwa, Lebanon’s highest Sunni religious authority, were attacked by a group of Shiite men shortly after leaving a mosque in downtown Beirut. They were beaten up by Shiites in the predominantly Shiite neighborhood of Khandak al-Ghamik. Two other Sunni sheikhs were assaulted in another Shiite neighborhood of Beirut in a separate incident. As news of the incidents spread, dozens of people took to the streets, blocking roads in the capital and in the predominantly Sunni cities of Sidon and Tripoli in southern and northern Lebanon.

Trying to contain the fallout, Interior Minister Marwan Charbel said those responsible for the attacks were not affiliated with any party. But many Sunnis quickly direct their anger at Hezbollah and Amal, the two main Shiite groups in Lebanon.

Lebanon’s Grand Mufti, Mohammed Rashid Kabbani said the attacks were “not a coincidence.” “I’m not accusing any specific faction, but Shiite leaderships in Hezbollah and Amal … must lift the cover on the perpetrators,” he said Monday.

Hezbollah was quick to condemn the attacks and assisted in handing over the suspects to security forces.

Demonstrations had a clearly sectarian tone. “The turban of the Sunnis is stronger than attempts at sedition,” read a poster held up by protesters at a rally in the mainly Sunni Tarik al-Jdideh district in Beirut.

On Monday, Syrian warplanes hit targets along Syria’s border with Lebanon. The state-run National News Agency said the attack hit a remote area near the town of Arsal. The shelling came just days after Damascus warned Beirut to stop militants from crossing the border to fight with rebels. A senior Lebanese official confirmed the fighter jets’ activity along the frontier, but said it was not clear if targets inside Lebanese territory were hit.

Seven suspects were detained Tuesday over the recent attacks on four Muslim scholars, the state prosecutor told The Daily Star, as Shiite and Sunni  religious leaders met to avert further tensions in the country over the affair.

Syrian aircraft target sites in east Lebanon: Arsal official
March 18, 2013, The Daily Star

A recent Syrian threat to target rebels in Lebanon came in response to a French decision to arm those seeking to topple President Bashar Assad, the media coordinator for the Free Syrian Army said in remarks published Sunday. Damascus, in a letter sent to Lebanon’s Foreign Ministry Thursday, warned Beirut it would attack Syrian rebels in Lebanon, reiterating its claims that arms and gunmen were being smuggled from the poorly delineated border. The FSA official also told An-Nahar that Syrian rebels would withdraw from border towns in Lebanon and return to Syria if the Lebanese Army could ensure proper control of the shared border.

Phalange Party calls for help in confronting Syria threats

The Phalange Party called on the cabinet on  Monday  to reach out to the international community  for help in responding  to Syria’s threats, following the  bombing of Lebanese territories by the Syrian air force. … The warplanes entered 1 kilometer into Lebanese airspace and struck the town of Kerbet Younan in the Wadi al-Khayl region of Arsal, where the majority of Sunni Muslim residents support Syrian rebels fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad, and fired four rockets at a remote section of the border with Lebanon, according to Reuters.

Flood of Syria refugees tries patience of the Lebanese

Many in Lebanon who oppose Bashar Assad at first welcomed the influx, but now say the newcomers are taking their jobs and driving up prices. … Each day, as many as 1,000 Syrians enter Lebanon, a nation of 4.5 million people wedged between Syria, Israel and the Mediterranean Sea. Lebanon, about a quarter the size of Switzerland, sits astride some of the Middle East’s most volatile sectarian and ethnic fault lines.

… Gangs of frustrated Lebanese sometimes curse at Syrian street vendors, accusing them of taking away jobs, says Abu Mohammad, who asked to be identified by his nickname, fearing retribution. Abu Mohammad, who arrived two months ago from war-ravaged Idlib province in northern Syria, hawks oranges along Maarad Street, in a well-off area of Tripoli. He earns about $12 a day, he says, hardly enough to feed his family…

War in Syria Hurts Lebanese Tourism Sector

Lebanon’s tourist industry declined by as much as 15 percent in 2012. … Visitors from the Persian Gulf states, who makeup approximately a third of Lebanon’s tourists, but account for about 60 percent of the tourism spending, have stopped coming. Some are worried about the security situation, others are boycotting Lebanon for political reasons.

 

Weapons

 

BBC – Syria arms ban debate intensifies in Europe, France and Britain call for ending embargo:

… France seems to have made up its mind. “Lifting the embargo is one of the only means left to make things move politically,” Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius declared last week.

UK Foreign Secretary William Hague reiterated that call on Sunday, arguing that there was “a strong case” for lifting the embargo when it comes under review in May.

Germany, on the other hand, is digging in its heels on this issue, but the BBC doesn’t seem to mention that… If you want to know about “Germany’s host of reservations,” you have to read the Der Spiegel article:

…The EU has banned all weapons exports to Syria, whether to the rebels or government forces. The embargo is up for renewal in May, giving EU leaders a swiftly-approaching chance to let it expire. One EU diplomat told news agency Reuters that “nobody really is interested” in ending the embargo, and that “there is no prospect of change any time soon.” Non-lethal military assistance is still permitted.

…German Chanceller Angela Merkel said she had “a whole host of reservations” over ending the arms embargo, adding that her “opinion-making process is not yet complete.” Her foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, sounded slightly more receptive to the idea on Thursday…

Austria, whose troops make up part of the UN peacekeeping force in the disputed Golan Heights, has come out against any weapons deliveries to Syrian rebels. Last week rebels briefly kidnapped 21 Filipino members of the UN force, raising concerns about the safety of the 1,000 troops in the region. “One can never rule out whose hands more weapons will end up in, and that’s why I am against this suggestion,” Austrian Defense Minister Gerald Klug told public broadcaster ORF.

US won’t oppose France and Britain’s plans to arm Syrian rebels

The Obama administration lent its support Monday to British and French plans to arm Syria’s rebels, saying it wouldn’t stand in the way of any country seeking to rebalance the fight against an Assad regime supported by Russia, Iran and Hezbollah.

Rebels and regime trade blame for alleged chemical attack in northern Syria, the first such attack in the conflict, if confirmed.

… No Western governments or international organisations confirmed a chemical attack in Syria, but Russia, an ally of Damascus, accused rebels of carrying out such a strike. The United States said it had no evidence to substantiate charges that the rebels had used chemical weapons.

Human Rights Watch reports Syria using more cluster bombs

New York-based Human Rights Watch said Syrian forces have dropped at least 156 cluster bombs in 119 locations across the country in the past six months, causing mounting civilian casualties.

Syria Rebels Appear to Make Big Weapons Seizure near Aleppo

 

Life for Arab Christians Post-Arab Spring

 

Egyptian Christians say they were tortured in Libya

Dozens of Coptic Christians were tortured inside a detention center run by a powerful militia in eastern Libya, two of the recently released detainees told The Associated Press on Friday amid a wave of assaults targeting Christians in Benghazi and the latest instance of alleged abuse by Libyan security forces. … “They first checked our wrists searching for the crosses and if they found them, we (had to) get into their cars,” said 26-year-old Amgad Zaki… Zaki said a group of men – some in uniform and some in civilian clothes – rounded up Egyptians selling clothes in a market called el-Jareed in Benghazi on February 26. He and other Christians climbed into SUVs that he said carried the sign of Libya Shield One, one of the most powerful militias in Benghazi that is under the command of Islamist and ex-rebel Wassam Bin Hemad.

“They shaved our heads. They threatened to sever our heads in implementation of Islamic Shariah (law) while showing us swords,” said Zaki, who was interviewed on the telephone from his home after returning to Egypt earlier this month. “They dealt with us in a very brutal way, including forcing us to insult our Pope Shenouda,” Zaki said, referring to the former Coptic pontiff who died last year.

He said that during four days of detention they were flogged, forced to take off their clothes in cold weather and stand at 3 a.m. outdoors on floor covered with stones. “I was taken to clean a bathroom, and the man pushed my head inside the toilet and sat on me,” he said. “I was dying every day, and at one point I thought death is better than this.”

Militias have been targeting Christians, women, journalists, refugees and those considered former loyalists of Moammar Gadhafi, who was toppled and killed in Libya’s 2011 civil war. The state relies on the militias to serve as security forces since Libya’s police and military remain in shambles.

Libya Persecutes Copts, Closes Embassy in Egypt

The Maspero Youth Union (MYU) confirmed on Saturday that four Egyptian Copts were detained at a checkpoint on Friday in the Libyan city of Misrata. MYU claims that those detained are being held because they are Christians.

… The Libyan embassy in Cairo, meanwhile, has announced it is suspending all services indefinitely but has not provided a reason.

Islam or death? Egypt’s Christians targeted by new terror group

“It’s not the first time. This is happening every day,” said Adel Guindy,  president of Coptic Solidarity and a member of Egypt’s Coptic community who  travels between Paris and Cairo. “This one incident caught the attention of the  news agencies, but there are worse things happening to the Christians every day  in Egypt,” he said.

Christians have felt increasingly at risk since the fall of former President  Hosni Mubarak in 2011, which resulted in the rise of President Mohammed Morsi  and the Muslim Brotherhood movement.

“It has definitely worsened under the revolution. Once the worst part of the  society surfaced — the Islamists — the Copts are paying a heavy price. The  West doesn’t really feel our pain. It’s a war of attrition,” Guindy said.

… Extremists over the weekend set fire to a Christian Church in the Province of  Fayoum, the second such assault against the town’s Coptic population in a month.  The attackers ripped down the church’s cross and hurled rocks at church members,  injuring four people including the priest…

Family given prison sentence of 15 years for converting from Islam to Christianity

A mother and her seven children have been  jailed for 15 years for converting back to Christianity from Islam in  Egypt. Nadia Mohamed Ali was raised a Christian but  converted to Islam 23 years ago when she married Mohamed Abdel-Wahhab  Mustafa. Following his death, she planned to convert  back to her original faith, along with the rest of her family.

But a criminal court in Beni Suef, in central  Egypt, sentenced them to jail for 15 years last week, according to  reports. Seven other people, who were involved in the case, were also sentenced to five years in jail.

A scared Egyptian Christian friend writes [3/17]: “We know at least one Egyptian minister who got martyred there [Libya] this week. It’s coming to Egypt too. The Muslim Government here has released a new law that enables regular people (that mean Muslim Brotherhood) to form Militias, carry guns, apply law and arresting others on streets. Attached Photo is from an incident that happened in Egypt TODAY. We have been told that people caught two thieves and killed them that way. It’s chaos. A Failed State. Anyone can do anything.

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Another incident also took place today here where they applied hand-cut on street on another place in Cairo. [A large demonstration] is happening RIGHT NOW, here in Mokatam (my neighborhood), 1 mile from my place, where the headquarter of the MB is. Demonstration is very big here now after some young men & women (and even journalists) have been beaten by MB guards. Police alongside with MB Militia are harshly firing tear gas in our area now and also using gun machine. Our office secretary could not make it to office this week due to some sort of civil disobedience on streets. We expect that streets will get to be totally dysfunctional soon.”

The next day (3/18) he wrote: “S. Medhat is 18 years old boy from the Presbyterian church that is located two blocks after where I live, has been taken yesterday along with hundreds protests who were on last night demonstration on my neighborhood, close to MB headquarter. This boy had nothing to do with the demonstration, as well as many others, I believe. He was just coming back home. His family knows nothing about him till now. It’s very common that people disappear in such hot locations and they never return back alive.

American-imported tear gas bombs & gun shooting kept horribly running until 15 minutes to 6 am this morning. Our neighborhood entered the war zone. Children are terrified. We are expecting a climax of this here next Friday.”  Video of the vigilantism in this area

The next day (3/19) he wrote: “Last night a flame of a street war has begun in Shoubra, the 5 million populated district. hundreds of people with guns & swords started killing each other and destroying shops. Do not ask why this is happening. It happens everyday, but media are not allowed to cover the truth. I believe that the west is not really aware of the reality of the situation here, because the US & England want to carry on with supporting the MB regime. I’m so mad with this evil and can not understand why Obama is supporting this. It seems like a plan to destroy the whole area and make other Iraqs. This what already happened in Lybia, Syria and here so far. Personally, between Mokatam (my neighborhood that exploded 2 days ago) and Shoubra, I feel the box is getting squeezed more and more.”

 

al-Raqqa

 

What kind of new structures of authority are developing in Raqqa? According to the following article, the rebels who took the town are implementing security measures and services for the local population, as well as an Islamist justice framework.

The Opposition Takeover in al-Raqqa – By Joseph Holliday and Elizabeth O’Bagy

On March 4, 2013, rebel groups overran government forces in al-Raqqa city, the first provincial capital and only urban center to fall to rebel hands since the start of the uprising. Spearheaded by powerful Salafist groups, including Jabhat al-Wahdet al-Tahrir al-Islamiyya and Ahrar al-Sham, the offensive illustrates the growing strength of Islamists within the rebels’ ranks. The fall of al-Raqqa has reduced regime positions in eastern Syria to the military airbase outside Deir ez-Zour city and a handful of isolated outposts in northeastern Kurdish areas. As the regime’s reach continues to contract, al-Raqqa serves as an important test case for how the opposition will administer territory that they seize from Assad.

As the first Syrian city to fall under rebel control, al-Raqqa poses a major test for opposition governance. Since the rebels seized the city, they have posted guards at state buildings to prevent looting and destruction, returned bread prices to pre-war levels, and opened a hotline that residents can phone to report security issues. Rebel groups are working closely with the local civilian councils to ensure the provision of basics such as food, water, and oil and are working with tribal authorities to maintain electricity and trash collection. They have also established sharia courts to mete out justice and provide a framework for transitional authority.

Loyalists will watch these sharia courts closely and with apprehension to see how the opposition treats former pro-regime elements and minority populations in the city. A video posted after the rebels gained control showed al-Raqqa’s governor and the local Baath party leader praising Jabhat al-Wahdet al-Tahrir al-Islamiyya, the rebel group responsible for al-Raqqa’s capture. Governor Hassan Saleh Jalali stated, “They are fair to those that seek their protection and they safeguard properties and defend civilians.”…On the other hand, several videos posted on YouTube show rebel groups capturing security forces, executing them in public squares, and dragging their dead bodies through the streets in images reminiscent of Qaddafi’s bloody demise. Rebel groups have also attacked several Shi‘a holy sites, including the bombing of the important Shi‘a shrine of Ammar ibn Yassir in northern al-Raqqa city.

These conflicting accounts demonstrate the divisions that continue to hamper the development of the armed opposition and reveal the difficulties rebels face in attempting to govern…the rebel capture of al-Raqqa is largely due to the shifting loyalty of tribal leaders and minimal Syrian military presence, rather than a rebel military victory per se….

Amidst the developing system following the rebel victory, it appears that at least some rebels are leaving. Here’s an interview with Jabhat al-Wahdet al-Tahrir al-Islamiyye, the group that an earlier video showed holding the muhafiz and Ba’ath party leader. In this video, the leader mentions meeting with the city council to collaborate on “civil life.” But he also claims that they are about to move on to fight elsewhere مقابلة مع أمير جبهة الوحدة والتحرير الاسلامية:

This raises another question: If the rebels themselves are implementing “Islamic courts,” how do they decide who stays and who goes on to the next front? Even if this group is leaving for the next battle, another source says that there are over 30 different rebel groups operating just within Raqqa.

In addition to discussing the vulnerability of the dam, the following article claims that tribal approval was not a factor in the takeover of al-Raqqa:

Raqqa: The Potential Disaster On the Euphrates

Raqqa was completely absent from the news concerning the demonstrations and subsequent daily battles that raged in Syria beginning in the spring of 2011. The city lived in a relative state of calm even as neighboring cities Hasaka and Deir al-Zour became engaged in the popular movement…

Raqqa’s calm may have been what brought hundreds of thousands of people fleeing battle zones to take refuge in the city. Many came from Homs and Deir al-Zour. The influx constituted an enormous humanitarian and economic drain on this city in the poorest of Syrian provinces.

Raqqa, the hometown of the late short-story writer Abd al-Salam al-Ujaily, had suffered from years of extreme drought. This was exacerbated by the economic policies of the government, and resulted in an unprecedented migration from the countryside around Raqqa to slum neighborhoods on the fringes of major cities. The severity of the crisis in Syria’s Upper Mesopotamia region grew to a point that it drew the attention of the United Nations, while the regime turned a blind eye to events and revoked previously adopted subsidies on fuel prices.

Raqqa, with a pre-conflict estimated population of 220,000, underwent large-scale growth half a century ago; this growth was further enhanced by the 1968-1873 building of the Euphrates Dam 50 kilometers northwest of the city. Lake Assad was thus created behind the dam, close to the ancient Jaabar Castle…

…many of its rural inhabitants and youth migrated elsewhere before it fell under the control of armed opposition groups, specifically Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham, who had previously stated that they would not enter the city for fear that doing so would endanger the lives of its inhabitants and displaced people living there. But the groups later changed their minds and entered Raqqa, declaring it under their control … They also announced that Islamic brigades would patrol the city streets in order to protect property from gangs of looters.

It was very interesting to see many of the city’s inhabitants cleaning its streets, and reopening their shops, while adamantly maintaining that no public institutions were ransacked. This came at a time when all activity ceased at governmental institutions which had become the target of regime airstrikes.

The issue of clans and the Euphrates

Raqqa is perhaps one the main areas in which the regime wagered on tribes and clan alliances for protection, while the opposition bet on provoking tribal sensitivities and driving clans into taking part in the armed conflict to overthrow the regime. But both sides failed to realize that the reality on the ground was far different than what they expected. All information coming out of Raqqa points to tribal authority being completely absent and ineffective; this appears to be an effect of there being a large number of clan members and divisions between different clans either supporting or opposing the regime.

Clans therefore did not play any role at all in the opposition takeover. On the contrary, the armed opposition’s military operations to take control of Raqqa began in Aleppo and its eastern countryside, passed through the Tel Abyad border crossing with Turkey, and reached the Tishrin Dam and then the Euphrates Dam. They quickly and easily took control of these sites, until the central prison was encircled and they entered the city.

Throughout these events, tribalism was nonexistent or severely muted when compared with what took place in Hasakeh in the north or in Deir al-Zour. The lack of tribalism occurred despite a series of meetings held by the regime with clansmen aimed at mobilizing them in its favor, and despite early opposition efforts to drum up tribal grievances.

In addition to the tribal issue, Raqqa’s importance lies in its location along the course of the Euphrates River. The region is also home to three dams: the Baath Dam, the Tishrin Dam and the Euphrates Dam. The latter was considered one of the most important state-run projects of the 1970s, when it was erected using Soviet expertise in order to regulate water flow and generate electricity for the surrounding area, all the way to Aleppo. Its electricity-generating capacity is 824 megawatts. The dam is the largest of its kind in the country, measuring 60 meters in height and extending for 4.5 kilometers. Its artificial lake, Lake Assad, contains 11.7 billion cubic meters of water.

The real problem lies in the dam’s weak internal structure; as a result, any missile launched by either belligerent party could destroy or damage it, if the Baath or Tishrin dams were also hit. Such an eventuality would lead to a flood that would drown a large portion of the surrounding countryside, in addition to an electricity shortage that no one in the area wishes.

 

Opposition

 

A Syrian Opposition Voice Says Country is Victim of a Global Proxy War – Watch video here: Democracy Now speaks with Rim Turkmani, an astrophysicist and member of the Syrian Civil Democratic Alliance who is meeting with Security Council members about possible political solutions to the conflict.

“There is a systematic effort to marginalize people like us inside Syria and focus only on the armed rebels — they are the ones stealing all the headlines,” Turkmani says. “There are certain actors, regional and international, who see this as proxy wars … It’s a struggle over Syria, over power, and the Syrians are falling victims to that.”

We continue our discussion with Turkmani and are also joined by Reese Erlich, freelance foreign correspondent who discusses Saudi Arabia’s  involvement in the Syrian conflict. The Saudi monarchy is involved in arming “the most ultra-conservative, ultra religious” Syrian rebel groups, Erlich says.

The National – America’s “Shift” Towards Syria’s Rebels is a Dangerous Illusion

This “shift” would be laughable if it weren’t so tragic. This change in position  will do nothing to accomplish the original goal for which the Friends of Syria  group was formed: hasten the end of the Syria conflict. Rather, it will only  serve to maintain the horrible, bloody stalemate already established across the  country.

Moaz al-Khatib, head of the Syrian National Coalition (SNC), is once again in the spotlight. It appears that the Syrian cleric turned opposition leader has become a bigger annoyance to his allies than his foes.

… the Syrian opposition coalition, as an heir to the Syrian National Council, seems to be carrying the same problems as its forerunner: an excess of divergent attitudes and expectations.

Syrian rebel official backs an interim government – AP

…In Istanbul, Gen. Salim Idris, head of the rebels’ Supreme Military Council, told reporters that the rebel fighters with the Free Syrian Army will work under the umbrella of an interim government and protect its members.

“We recognize the coalition as our political umbrella and we hope this government can be formed unanimously and that this government will exercise its powers in all of Syria,” he said. “We consider it the only legal government in the country.”

…Idris’ comments also sought to portray his group, the Office of the Chief of Staff of the Free Syrian Army, as the most widespread, powerful and organized rebel formation in Syria. It remains unclear, however, how many of the hundreds of rebel brigades fighting Assad’s forces follow Idris’ commands or receive support from his group.

Some of the most effective rebel groups are Islamic extremists who have developed their own support networks. One of them, Jabhat al-Nusra, has been designated a terrorist group by the United States and is said to be linked to al-Qaida…

High-ranking Syrian general defects from army

Maj. Gen. Mohammed Ezz al-Din Khalouf announced his defection from Assad’s regime in a video aired Saturday on the Al-Arabiya satellite channel. It showed him sitting next to his son, Capt. Ezz al-Din Khalouf, who defected with him.

The elder Khalouf said that many of those with Assad’s regime have lost faith in it, yet continue to do their jobs, allowing Assad to demonstrate broad support. “It’s not an issue of belief or practicing one’s role,” he said. “It’s for appearance’s sake, for the regime to present an image to the international community that it pulls together all parts of Syrian society under this regime.”

 

Rebels

 

Attempted estimate of boundaries of control (NYT):

NYT – It is impossible to determine precisely where the boundaries of control lie in Syria. But an analysis of news reports and videos posted online indicates that rebels are stronger in the north and northeast, while the government holds the center of most of Syria’s largest cities and the west.

 Click on the map to expand for detail and description

Rebel forces overtook a Syrian military intelligence complex in the south near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

…On Sunday battles broke out in the southern Damascus suburb of Sbeineh, a residential area on the main road leading south into Hauran after opposition fighters stormed a compound housing shabbiha militia, activists in the capital said.

Dozens of people were killed and wounded in the fighting and in ensuing army shelling in the town, they added. Rebel brigades overran last week a missile squadron in Khan Sheihoun, a town southwest of Damascus on the road to the Golan, and seized an army barracks.

Further south, in the old centre of Deraa, Hauran’s main city, situated at the border with Jordan, rebels were trying to take the Omari mosque, scene of killings at a pro-democracy demonstration on March 18, 2011 that sparked the national revolt, but security forces positioned at a nearby post office were fighting back, activist Thaer al-Abdallah said from Deraa.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague interview with Sky News, said on Sunday that Britain has “taken no decision at the moment to send arms to anybody in Syria”. He said sending arms to the opposition had to be weighed against the risks of “international terrorism and extremism taking root in Syria, the risks of Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan being destabilised, and the risks of extreme humanitarian distress.”

A Glimpse of Post-Assad Syria: Inside Aleppo’s New Islamic Justice Committees

For nearly three months, a rumor has been spreading through Aleppo: whoever faces hardship, however small, can go to a hearing of the “Committee for the promotion of good deeds and support of the oppressed.”

There, in this northern neighborhood of the country’s largest city, members of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) are “enforcing justice” and “asserting the rights” of the ever growing number of people who are deeply distressed… It’s not quite a courthouse, but almost. It’s not quite social services either. It’s not even a political space – the only thing it is is religious. … In this administrative desert, it takes pragmatism, improvisation and incredible willpower to launch initiatives. The day after the Bab Salama customs office was taken over by the FSA in Aug. 2012, a new customs stamp was already in effect, stamping documents with “Syrian Arab Democracy.” You would think a brand new regime – even temporary – would choose a truly symbolic name, the fruit of much debating, brawling or even quick brainstorming. Think again. “The group who had the stamp made in Turkey came up with it,” says an official at the border’s press office.

A member of the committee announces that the candidates have to go through a selection process. “You mean we need connections, just like before?” shouts a barber. The committee member adds that there are
criteria and a test. “What kind of test?” asks the pastry seller. “You will be questioned on religion: what are alms, what is purification,” the man answers. Silence.

…It is the turn of a woman. She stands, smiles cheekily. She doesn’t overdo it, because just like everyone else, she has come to ask something. “Look at you, you can’t even wear your veil right, your hair is showing,” says the president of the committee. Abu Souleyman, 50, is one of the people who became famous during the revolution. Here, everyone knows Souleyman, an educated man from a poor but charitable family. In the 1980s, his father and brother were arrested and tortured – they were accused of belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood party… The sheik sighs and says what really peeves him are the Western journalists who ask the same questions over again: “Will you be cutting hands off? Will you be stoning women?” He says he is for a softer Islam.

A Chinese jihadist in Syria – FP

In… “A message of victory to the people of China from the Mujahidin Brigade Front,” a Chinese man talks about his conversion to Islam. He introduces himself as Yusuf (the subtitles say Bo Wang) and says that he studied in Libya and helped the Libyans fight their “revolutionary” war. “Now I’m in Syria,” he says, as a song that imagines global Islamic dominion plays in the background.

Rival Islamists Loom Large Over Syria

After the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, Assad’s regime recruited around 3,000 religious Sunnis to organize jihadi militias and take their fight to the embattled country. When they returned, many were imprisoned in the suburban Damascus  Sednaya Prison.

It was in these jail cells, where the regime violently put down a summer 2008 rebellion, that five groups combined under the name of the Syrian Liberation Front.

The front included: Fajr al-Islam, led by a doctor who fought in Iraq; Kataeb al-Haq, headed by a blind fighter named Abu al-Farouq; Suqour al-Sham, commanded by a man known as Abu Issa; Ahrar  al-Sham, whose leadership is unknown; and Al-Tawhid Battalion, the military arm of the Muslim Brotherhood  led by Abdel-Qader Saleh.

Assad ordered the release of the Islamist prisoners some two years ago, shortly after the uprising in Deraa, and the Syrian Liberation Front  took to the battlefield, believing peaceful demonstrations would not be enough.

… The Nusra Front, with its much discussed ties to Al-Qaeda, was formed from the Syrian Liberation Front’s Ahrar al-Sham, as well as the Al-Ouma Brigades and the Ahrar Deir al-Zor Battalions. It is led by Abu Mohammad al-Julani, who some have said is a Jordanian related to the slain senior Al-Qaeda  figure Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Others claim he is a Syrian Salafist from Damascus.

Top general urges caution on Syria options, rebels By Phil Stewart, WASHINGTON | Mon Mar 18, 2013

(Reuters) – The United States has a less clear understanding of Syria’s opposition than it did last year, the top U.S. military officer said on Monday, in comments likely to disappoint rebels hoping that America might be inching toward a decision to arm them.

“About six months ago, we had a very opaque understanding of the opposition and now I would say it’s even more opaque,” said General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Dempsey, who is President Barack Obama’s top uniformed military adviser, said he would also advise extreme caution when deliberating any military options in Syria – saying the conflict posed “the most complex set of issues that anyone could ever conceive, literally.”

“I don’t think at this point I can see a military option that would create an understandable outcome,” Dempsey told the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank. “And until I do, it would be my advice to proceed cautiously.”

Tabler (WINEP)

More assertive action is needed to cultivate influence with armed groups. There is still time to provide lethal and nonlethal U.S. assistance directly to the rebels — the sooner this happens, the better Washington’s chances of containing the crisis and shaping a better future for the Syrian people.

Jeffery White (WINEP)

There is no visible indication that the Supreme Military Council exercises any command on the ground.”…one analyst studying funeral data for regime soldiers calculated that an average of forty are killed per day, with two to three times that number wounded and unable to return to duty. In short, the regime is slowly exhausting itself, while the rebels, like rising water, are gradually shrinking its islands of control.

 In Syrian Clash Over ‘Death Highway,’ a Bitterly Personal War By C. J. CHIVERS, March 14, 2013

It is a bitterly personal war, in which Islamic and more secular fighters share an immediate goal: to protect their own families, an ambition they accuse the West of not adequately supporting….In all, 50 rebels have been wounded and 20 killed in the contest for this tiny place in the past six weeks, according to Fadi Yasin, a spokesman for one of Soqour al-Sham’s battalions….“Out of my experience in 18 months of constant battles and fighting, I have seen that bravery arrives at a specific point in some fighters, for those who are well connected to God,” he said. “They believe in their fates, and that everything comes from God.”

Islamic law comes to rebel-held Syria – Washington Post – The Washington Post’s Liz Sly and David Ignatius look back at bloody war in Syria. As the conflict rages on, in the rebel-held areas of Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra is widely identified as the leading force behind Islamic laws.

The evidence was incontrovertible, captured on video and posted on YouTube for all the world to see. During a demonstration against the Syrian regime, Wael Ibrahim, a veteran activist, had tossed aside a banner inscribed with the Muslim declaration of faith.

And that, decreed the officers of the newly established Sharia Authority set up to administer rebel-held Aleppo, constitutes a crime under Islamic law, punishable in this instance by 10 strokes of a metal pipe.

The beating administered last month offered a vivid illustration of the extent to which the Syrian revolution has strayed from its roots as a largely spontaneous uprising against four decades of Assad family rule. After mutating last year into a full-scale war, it is moving toward what appears to be an organized effort to institute Islamic law in areas that have fallen under rebel control.

Building on the reputation they have earned in recent months as the rebellion’s most accomplished fighters, Islamist units are seeking to assert their authority over civilian life, imposing Islamic codes and punishments and administering day-to-day matters such as divorce, marriage and vehicle licensing.

Numerous Islamist groups are involved, representing a wide spectrum of views. But, increasingly, the dominant role is falling to Jabhat al-Nusra, also known as the al-Nusra Front. The group has been designated a terrorist organization by the United States for suspected ties to al-Qaeda but is widely respected by many ordinary Syrians for its battlefield prowess and the assistance it has provided to needy civilians.

Across the northeastern provinces of Deir al-Zour and Raqqah, where the rebels have been making rapid advances in recent weeks, Jabhat al-Nusra has taken the lead both in the fighting and in setting out to replace toppled administrations. It has assumed control of bakeries and the distribution of flour and fuel, and in some instances it has sparked tensions with local fighters by trying to stop people from smoking in the streets.

Islamic administration

These days, the bomb-scarred former hospital has taken on the semblance of a wartime city hall, with people milling in and out seeking permits to carry a gun or transport fuel through checkpoints, complaining about neighbors, reporting thefts and informing on people suspected to be regime loyalists.

At the gate, a guard dressed in a black shalwar kameez, the tunic-and-pants outfit traditionally worn in Pakistan but alien to Syria, refuses admittance to women unless they are clad in an abaya, a full-length cloak, something that is common in conservative Syrian communities but is far from ubiquitous.

Inside, in a sparse, dingy office, a burly man who identified himself as the head of the authority and gave his name as Abu Hafs, received what he said was the first journalist to be admitted to the facility. Seated beside him was a slight, heavily bearded man with a scholarly air who did most of the talking but who refused to give his name because, he said, he was speaking on behalf of Abu Hafs.

…The codes applied are “derived from the Islamic religion,” the spokesman said, but the most extreme Islamic punishments, such as cutting off the hands of thieves, are not imposed because Islamic law requires that they be suspended during war.

Instead, he said, sentences of five to 40 lashes for offenses such as drug abuse, adultery and theft are handed down, so that wrongdoers can return to their families, which otherwise might be deprived of wage earners if they were kept in prison. “It is not a big punishment, and we don’t use heavy pipes — they are small pipes — to tell him off,” the spokesman said.

Rival activists vexed

Inevitably, however, the assertion of Islamic laws is sparking tensions with the more secular opposition activists, who look askance at the creeping Islamization of the revolution that they say they started…

 

Israel & Iran

 

Obama’s first visit to Israel: Israel will ask Obama during his upcoming visit to use airstrikes on Syria in the event that Syrian missiles are transferred to Hezbollah

“What I hear over and over again from Israeli generals is that another war with Hezbollah is inevitable,” a western diplomat said…

The Israeli perspective

Israel, apparently following notification to the Obama administration, bombed a shipment of “game-changing” missiles earlier this year before they could cross the Syrian-Lebanese border. The Soviet-made advanced missiles could cripple Israel’s ability to carry our surveillance flights over Lebanon to spot terrorist activity. Worse, the Israel Air Force would be at a serious disadvantage if Hizbullah were to start bombing northern Israel again, as it did in the Second Lebanon War in 2006.

… “These missiles are not just a problem for Israel,” a senior Israeli official told the London newspaper. “They include [anti-ship] missiles, and who has the biggest navy in the Mediterranean?” – a reference to the US. Israeli military…

Jewish Student at Hebrew University visits Jabhat al-Nusra: In Syria I learned that Jews must support the opposition

“Nusra is being funded by Sunni Muslim millionaires in the Gulf states that want to hijack our struggle for democracy and turn it into a Sunni-Shia battle for power” one Syrian pro-secular advocate explains. The lack of secular support is so evident that “secular militias will pretend to be extremists just to gain funding from a Gulf backer. They will post YouTube videos saying and doing jihadist actions even if they don’t hold these beliefs.”

In the town of Kfar Nabul, the battle of ideology is particularly evident. The al-Nusra Front is attempting to wrest control from the newly established civilian councils, however they are meeting resistance. Pro-secular activists held an anti-Nusra rally in the town square, with one banner reading:

“WORLD! YOUR CARELESSNESS PRODUCED EXTREMISTS LIKE ASSAD. NOW WE NEED EXTREMISTS TO GET RID OF YOUR PRODUCTS.”

Where do Jews stand in all of this? Since the birth of Israel, Syria has been the most virulent enemy and detractor of the Jewish state. The Syrian people have been indoctrinated by an intensive anti-Israel propaganda campaign leading them to hugely distrust Israeli government and to a lesser extent the Jewish People. But now is an extremely important time in the Syrian mindset. For Syrians, everything they have been taught by the Assad regime is in question. In essence they are in a state of limbo. Consequently, the secularism that Assad’s Ba’ath party instilled is also in question.

The Jewish and Israeli people must show that they support the Syrian people; that they are not alone and that even in the supposed “Little Satan,” we hear their cries and feel their pain.

Iran and Hezbollah ‘have built 50,000-strong force to help Syrian regime’ Says Israeli

Major General Aviv Kochavi said Iran intended to double the size of this Syrian “people’s army”, which he claimed was being trained by Hezbollah fighters and funded by Tehran,…He said the Syrian regular army was crumbling, claiming that several successive recruitment drives had failed, realising only 20% of their targets as young men had fled rather than join up. The International Institute of Strategic Studies yesterday reported that from a notional strength of 220,000, the army had withered to a core of about 50,000 the regime could rely on. The Institute for the Study of War in Washington estimated the loyal core at 65,000.

Israel has warned the UK and France against arming Syrian rebels, arguing there will be no guarantees that sophisticated weapons such as portable anti-aircraft missiles will not ultimately find their way to al-Qaida affiliates and other extremist groups, and be turned against Israel.

Israeli military intelligence chief says Iran hopes to prolong life of Assad regime and maintain influence after his fall

Iran states that “differences over Syria” shouldn’t harm its regional ties and relations with other states

U.S. and Saudi Arabia present united front on Syria and Iran

 

Women

 

al-Jazeera – The Story of Um Jaafar: female sharpshooter (Arabic) – أم جعفر من صاحبة صالون تجميل الى قناصة ثائرة

Syria’s women refugees market handicrafts

 CNN – Asma al-Assad makes rare public appearance to attend “Mother’s Ralley”

The event was a fundraiser for mothers of “martyrs,” or government soldiers, killed in the two-year war… “The regime is trying to telegraph that it’s business as usual and she is a way to do that,” said Andrew Tabler, an American expert on Syria who once lived in the country and interacted with the first family.
“Not only is this a sign that she’s standing by her man, but that the core of the regime is not cracking.” “This stunt shouldn’t disguise the fact that the regime is firing missiles in Damascus at their own population,” Tabler added. “The photos are a gesture of confidence that the international community will not crush them and that (the Assads) will be able to keep hold of some level of control of the country.”

 

Jordan

 

Anxious over al-Qaeda in Syria, Jordan remains neutral

Jordan’s official position towards the revolution in Syria used to be more daring in the beginning, leaning more to the opposition and declaring support for the Syrians’ legitimate demands of freedom and
democracy but, though no official statements have been made that say otherwise, the kingdom insistently advocates a political solution to the crisis.

Jordan, a home for thousands of jihadists Salafis with open borders with Syria extending to more than 400 kilometers, is concerned mostly about Syria fundamentalist groups growing into a large and highly trained fighting and ideological force, fearing that Jordanian Salafis, Syrians and Arabs with past jihadists leanings may extend the Islamist militants’ so-called “holy war” to other countries.

News reports carried by local and international news agencies have cited Syrian jihadist Salafi groups as pushing to carry out military acts in Jordan and other countries and this, coupled with the belief that the Jordanian jihadist Salafi movement is now the largest foreign contributor of militants to Syria, stands behind the kingdom’s concerns about the Syrian revolution and its neutral position.

Jordan’s King Finds Fault With Everyone Concerned

President Mohamed Morsi of Egypt has “no depth,” … Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey is an authoritarian who views democracy as a “bus ride,” as in, “Once I get to my stop, I am getting off,” … And he said President Bashar al-Assad of Syria is so provincial that at a social dinner he once asked the monarchs of Jordan and Morocco to explain jet lag. “He never heard of jet lag,” King Abdullah said…

The era of Arab monarchies is passing, King Abdullah said. “Where are monarchies in 50 years?” he asked. … Stopping the Islamists from winning power was now “our major fight” across the region, he said. …

And he accused American diplomats of naïveté about their intentions. “When you go to the State Department and talk about this, they’re like, ‘This is just the liberals talking, this is the monarch saying that the Muslim Brotherhood is deep-rooted and sinister,’ ” King Abdullah said. His job, he said, is to dissuade Westerners from the view that “the only way you can have democracy is through the Muslim Brotherhood.”

The war in Syria: Can Jordan keep out of it for ever? The civil war is hotting up on Syria’s southern front Mar 16th 2013 | RAMTHA |Economist

….They say the fighting in the south is becoming more intense because of the acquisition of captured weapons and an increase of military defections from the regime. But outside backing, though still limited, is helping, too. Jordan and Israel, wary of turmoil spreading into their countries, have sought to prevent their borders from becoming conduits for weapons and fighters, as has happened with Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq. But it is being whispered that late last year Saudi Arabia, one of the Gulf states that backs the rebels, moved its operations from Turkey to Jordan, annoyed with Qatar’s and Turkey’s enthusiasm for Muslim Brotherhood-minded groups. Since then, say the rebels, Jordan has covertly let through the occasional limited but well-directed shipment of weapons, including anti-tank missiles. There are reports of training on Jordanian soil. Jordanian officials deny any such involvement.

By funnelling aid—including $60m from America and clothes, phones and food from Britain—directly through the Supreme Military Council, which liaises with local military councils, the rebels’ backers hope to keep their favoured groups under control. Deraa’s rebels are banded into numerous battalions but are less fractious than their peers in the north. The rebel leadership was able to secure the release of the UN hostages within a week. “The fight has been more contained,” explains Ahmed Naama, who heads Deraa’s rebel military council. The southern rebels are generally more moderate, too. Though some Jordanian extremists have travelled north to fight, Jabhat al-Nusra, the most devout and fiercest Islamist group, which may have as many as 10,000 men in the north, still has only a small presence in the south…..

 

Human Interest

 

al-Jazeera: Turkey’s Alawites sympathize with the Syrian regime, distrust Turkey

 

A journalist takes a road from Damascus after five years by Phil Sands

…My friend explained what had happened. His ID card had the name of his home village, a community in Sweida province inhabited exclusively by members of the Druze minority.

The army officer, an Alawite – another of Syria’s minority groups, from which the regime’s ruling clique is drawn – liked the Druze and saw them as allies in a battle against Sunni Muslim rebels, who in his view are terrorists. That interpretation of wartime alliances in Syria saved us.

“We were lucky. We got through because I’m Druze,” my friend said. “Everything is sectarian now. If I were Sunni, I’d be in jail and you’d be in trouble.”

The sectarian divisions that are ubiquitous in Syria now extend even to the roads. The road into Damascus is partitioned by concrete blast barriers, with the right-hand lane officially designated for civilian traffic and the left-hand lane for military and government traffic. But Alawites always travel on the left, regardless of their job, and so it has been universally dubbed the “Alawite lane” by locals. It’s a sadly tidy metaphor for an evolving conflict that has destroyed so many lives, and that will destroy so many more.

The Prophet of Aleppo” – a profile and interview with novelist Nihad Sirees, on his recent English translation of The Silence and the Roar, Aleppo, and his view of literature and the revolution – from Newsweek

 

Still More

 

Syria Is Melting Away By Nicholas Burns | The Boston Globe

…Why, then, is Washington hesitating? One reason is that the options are all bad. But at the very least, the United States could lean on other countries to match US economic assistance and ensure more gets to rebel-held areas where suffering is greatest. France and Britain want to arm moderate rebel groups to accelerate Assad’s departure and gain influence with the people most likely to replace him. This will force the Obama team to think again about the wisdom of staying on the sidelines and failing to lead on a major international crisis. And, if Washington does not join Europe, Turkey, and the Arabs in supplying more decisive military aid to the rebels, it will leave us with the unpalatable option of trying once again to negotiate with a cynical Russian government for a political deal that might end up favoring Assad.

The failure of the United States to move resolutely down either path is striking. Sometime soon, the United States will have to choose, especially as the death toll mounts and the moral imperative of action overwhelms our caution….

Few protests on 2nd anniversary of Syrian uprising

Shahad, a teenager from Zabadani, a battered Damascus suburb that witnesses daily shelling, recalled that she used to memorize the Qashoush songs and eagerly await the town’s protests, where up to 5,000 people would take part every Friday. “They were nice days,” she said, declining to give her full name for security reasons. “Now there are no protests and no school, just shelling.”

Pro-regime “Syrian Electronic Army” hacks into Human Rights Watch’s Twitter feed and website

Young Syrians who fled to Cairo struggling to remain engaged with the Syrian uprising from Egypt

British charities launch first joint Syria appeal

Four British charities have publicly admitted for the first time that they are operating inside Syria on the eve of a major appeal for the stricken Middle Eastern nation which is being launched tomorrow by the Disaster Emergency Committee.

Jerusalem Post: Report: Defected Syrian officer seeks to auction archives 2013-03-18

Sources in the Syrian opposition claim that a defecting former Syrian intelligence officer is seeking to auction the intelligence archives of the former Deputy Defense Minister Assef Shawkat, according to a report published Saturday …

 

New Resources

 

Time: The Destruction of a Nation: Syria’s War Revealed in Satellite Imagery

Report by Joseph Holliday – The Assad Regime: From Counterinsurgency To Civil War

The conflict in Syria transitioned from an insurgency to a civil war during the summer of 2012. For the first year of the conflict, Bashar al-Assad relied on his father’s counterinsurgency approach; however, Bashar al-Assad’s campaign failed to put down the 2011 revolution and accelerated the descent into civil war. This report seeks to explain how the Assad regime lost its counterinsurgency campaign, but remains well situated to fight a protracted civil war against Syria’s opposition.

Short paper by Professor Edith Szanto (American University of Iraq) on sectarianism in Syria and the Twelver shi’a community at the shrine of Sayyida Zaynab

Under the Ba’ath, post 1963, Hafez al-Asad promoted both ethnic and religious minorities. For instance, he instituted Ahmad Kuftaro, a Kurd, as the grand mufti of Syria… This alliance between Kuftaro and Asad complicates the presumption of simplistic Alawi-Sunni cleavages.

In 1974, the Lebanese Shi‘i cleric Musa al-Sadr gave a fatwa which declared Alawis Shi‘is. This fatwa marked the beginning of the alliance between Twelver Shi‘is and Alawis. At the same time, it positioned Isma‘ilis in opposition to Alawis and aligned Isma‘ilis with Sunnis. Again,this complicates the assumption that all minorities back the Alawi Syrian regime.

…In 1973, the exiled Iraqi Ayatollah Hasan Shirazi built the first Shi‘i seminary roughly 200 meters north of the shrine. When the Syrian Uprising intensified in Sayyida Zaynab in 2012, the first cleric who was shot and killed was the representative of Hasan Shirazi’s seminary…

The Syrian Uprising: Two Years On – Jadaliyya – Excellent collection of articles this week.

Ways you can help Syrian refugees: Australian site has compiled list of organizations working with refugees

Comments (203)


Citizen said:

US Commander: Working on Plans for Syria Intervention
NATO Nations Looking at Libya-Style ‘No Fly Zone’
http://news.antiwar.com/2013/03/19/us-commander-working-on-plans-for-syria-intervention/

NATO! Open your eyes! Russian Military № 1 going to fall you down in a pile of scrap !
More than 70 aircraft and some 1,000 troops will be deployed in a series of tactical drills in preparation for a large-scale exercise next week in northwest Russia, military officials said on Tuesday.
Preparations for the exercise, codenamed Ladoga-2013, have begun in the Republic of Karelia, and the Leningrad, Smolensk and Tver regions with tactical drills by fighters, bombers and army aviation.
Aviation to be used includes MiG-31 Foxhound and Su-27 Flanker fighters, MiG-25RB Foxbat interceptors, Su-24M Fencer attack aircraft, Su24MR reconnaissance aircraft and Mi-8 Hip multirole helicopters and Mi-24 Hind attack helicopters.
Ladoga-2013 will start next week over Lake Ladoga in Karelia, which borders Finland, the Western Military District operation command said.

March 20th, 2013, 10:19 pm

 

Visitor said:

MajedK @7:29PM from previous thread,

I will start first by observing that George clarified himself without need for any explanations from me.  And I understood him excatly as he explained himself in comment @9:34PM.  

I was making the point about legitimacy, here, for quite sometime even before anyone raised the issue.  I brought it up first when Moaz was chosen.  You cannot fudge this issue.  You are dealing a whole nation and a country.  Legitimate representation cannot be gained the way these guys (NCs) have been going about it even for a temporary period of time as George put it.  They can call themselves anything but government.  Take the Jewish lobby operating in the US, for example.  Does any member or group of this lobby ever claims to represent the Israelis or act as a government of Israel?  In fact, they all speak of themselves as Americans first and foremost.  But they never fail to provide support for Israel.

Likewise, the SNC or NC or whatever they choose to call themselves, the label they choose for themselves should never imply they are claiming to be a government or representatives of the Syrians.  They can call themselves Syria Support Diaspora for example or whatever comes to mind.  Then they can elect an executive committe with President, secretaries, assisstants etc…; they can then operate within this framework and proceed into doing whatever they can do to provide whatever help they can provide.  They can under no circumstances be referred to as government of Syria because they will always fail.  People on the ground will not listen to them. It is as simple as that.  

On the other hand, submitting to western and US agendas by forming such joke of a government under the pretext that promised help will follow is self defeating for the simple fact that such imaginary help is tied and conditinal to dubious agendas which we all know by now what they are.  No Syrian, with a shred of dignity or honor will acquiesce to the demands of such agendas even if the most sophiticated weapons in the universe are on the table.  The SNC or NC will only succeed, under which ever platform it chooses to operate, if and only if any help it can secure from western governments is given completely free of ANY CONDITIONS transparently for every Syrian to know about.  Otherwise, they should just go back to practicing their careers and leave those fighting in Syria to continue doing what they are doing and determine the outcome.  In my opinion, the fighters are doing great.  I remember when the FSA first came into being it was a disparate group of poorly trained, poorly equiped, disgorganized and honestly it is a miracle it has grown to what it has become.  The only thing which kept them in the fight was good intentions, determination and motivation.  They will conrinue to grow and continue to score victory after victory until the regime of thuggocracy is demolished and blown to dust.

Regarding Mana’a, I believe he cannot be part of the revolution simply because he is against the FSA.  We must remember, and try never to fool ourselves, that Syria NEVER had a NATIONAL army.  It only had a security apparati to protect the regime (please see Kilo’s article which I linked earlier in this thread).  Mana’a opposition to the FSA stands in the way of creating such an army which will be the product of this revolution.  The SAA must be dismantled and/or absorbed into the FSA and rehabilitated to become the people’s army and NOT the regime’s protector and the people’s killer.

March 20th, 2013, 10:29 pm

 

ghufran said:

There will not be a NATO attack on Syria, but I expect an influx of weapons and a new attempt to control more Syrian cities and probably a high profile assassination attempt that may or may not succeed. If Assad gets out of this war alive and in power he will definitely seek to return the favor to HBJ and Erdu, that is why the two are not willing to support any solution that does not remove Assad from power, I tend to believe that Assad should leave but for different reasons.
Another issue,not talked about enough, is why the MB and islamists do not want a peace force and free elections, the answer is simple, any election will show them, and show the regime, their true size, that size is big enough for me but islamists want total dominance and do not want a partnership. in that sense they are different from the regime.

March 20th, 2013, 10:33 pm

 

Syrian said:

As long ZOO liked what king Abuallh said about Erdogan, here is what he said about Bashar
“And he said President Bashar al-Assad of Syria is so provincial that at a social dinner he once asked the monarchs of Jordan and Morocco to explain jet lag. “He never heard of jet lag,” King Abdullah said…”

Provincial
1 : of, relating to, or coming from a province 2 a : limited in outlook : narrow b : lacking the polish of urban society : unsophisticated 3 : of or relating to a decorative style (as in furniture) marked by simplicity, informality, and relative plainness ;

March 20th, 2013, 10:43 pm

 

Citizen said:

Why simmered Kerry allies in the region?
Why Obama inspects Israeli Iron Dome? What symbolic of landing in Jerusalem?

 The plague of terrorists entering Syria via Turkey is a threat not just to the Syrian people but the wider region, Too.

President Obama said the use of chemical weapons in Syria would be a “red line”. What now given reports of the militants having done so?

American COOKED rotten repulsive!

March 20th, 2013, 10:54 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

Dear Visitor
You said

” The SNC or NC will only succeed, under which ever platform it chooses to operate, if and only if any help it can secure from western governments is given completely free of ANY CONDITIONS transparently for every Syrian to know about.”
The SNC said it ,as quoted by Mr. hito speech,and by Mr. Khatib interview today, that any help has to be WITHOUT ANY CONDITION
For that I think we have to give them chance, we should not judge them ahead. they know they don’t have complete legitimacy,and the people of Syria will watch them carefully.

March 20th, 2013, 11:06 pm

 

Marigoldran said:

If the war takes several years, then it takes several years. Let’s see how long Iran intends to pour its resources into a conflict it cannot win.

As I’ve said before, no one’s planning to talk to Assad or his inner circle.

March 20th, 2013, 11:10 pm

 

Citizen said:

Syria war – Russian analysis
http://youtu.be/pwyJu_I28yQ?t=2m38s

March 20th, 2013, 11:14 pm

 

Marigoldran said:

Silliness.

Most of Raqqa and Deir El Ezzor are under rebel control.

As is Daraa for that matter.

March 20th, 2013, 11:18 pm

 

Visitor said:

Dear Majed @11:06PM,

Thanks for the information. I don’t think anyone can deny them the chance if they want to do something based on what they said.

There should be no illusions, however, that they can never be called a government.

Look Majed. The problem is: will it succeed? I mean a so-called government created under such circumstances will have not one, not ten but millions of Syrians who will question its authority. So they should come out clean and say it up front: we are not government. We are just doing our duty towards Syria from the position we happen to be in based on a call of conscious. It is as simple as that. Let the fighters do their job and let the people decide. Now, if other governments want to help they should also know up front such help will ONLY be accepted unconditionally. Otherwise, leave us alone.

March 20th, 2013, 11:22 pm

 

Citizen said:

After a 10 year war/occupation in Iraq, the death of over a million people including thousands of US soldiers, all based on patently false claims of the nation possessing “weapons of mass destruction,” (WMDs), it is outrageous hypocrisy to see the West arming, funding, and politically backing terrorists in Syria who in fact both possess, and are now using such weapons against the Syrian people.

At least 25 are reported dead after a chemical weapons attack targeting Syrian soldiers was carried out by NATO-backed terrorists in the northern city of Aleppo. While NATO-backed terrorists claim they lack the “expertise” to even use chemical weapons, it was reported by CNN in their December 2012 article, “Sources: U.S. helping underwrite Syrian rebel training on securing chemical weapons,” that:
The United States and some European allies are using defense contractors to train Syrian rebels on how to secure chemical weapons stockpiles in Syria, a senior U.S. official and several senior diplomats told CNN Sunday.
And while some are attempting to suggest the use of chemical weapons by either side indicates “unsecured stockpiles” and a “security risk,” the weapons could have just as likely come from Libya. Aleppo is located near the Syrian-Turkish border. Had Libya’s looted stockpiles of chemical weapons been shipped to Syria, they would have passed through Turkey along with weapons sent from Libya by the US and thousands of Libyan terrorists who are admittedly operating inside Syria, and would most likely be used to target cities like Aleppo.

Worse yet, any chemical weapons imported into the country would implicate NATO either directly or through gross negligence, as the weapons would have passed through NATO-member Turkey, past US CIA agents admittedly operating along the border and along side Western-backed terrorists inside Syria.
LD

March 20th, 2013, 11:25 pm

 

Johannes de Silentio said:

11. CITIZEN

“After a 10 year war/occupation in Iraq, the death of over a million people including thousands of US soldiers”

The problem with fools like you, citizen boy, is you never check for the numbers. Numbers don’t lie.

Here are the numbers:

American military deaths = 4409 – That boils down to 441 per year. Not bad at all. The low number is due to two things: (1) American military professionalism and (2) poor Iraqi military skills. Throughout the ten year “war,” the Iraqi rebels (mostly sunni baathist holdouts and al Qaeda islamists), could never organize to take on the US Forces militarily. If they had, US casualties would have been much higher and there would have been US POWs.

Iraqi Deaths = 150,000 – This figure is the estimate by the Iraqi government.

The next time you say “a million,” you need to be able to say where you got your numbers from.

March 21st, 2013, 2:25 am

 

Mina said:

About the street fights in Shubra, mentioned in the post above, here is a link with details about the situation there
http://www.egyptindependent.com/news/public-prosecutor-orders-probe-deadly-shubra-clashes-0

March 21st, 2013, 2:39 am

 

Juergen said:

Happy Mother Day! The story is mentioned that Hafez choose to implement a day celebrating the women and mothers on 21st of March, instead of the international day of women on march 8th because the Kurdish celebrate Nowrooz on the 21st.

Here is Obamas view on Syria usage of chemical weapons

March 21st, 2013, 2:50 am

 

Juergen said:

Viva Mama

March 21st, 2013, 4:29 am

 

Jasmine said:

ORB Survey of Iraq casualties shows that the number could be easily 1.446.063 and this is without counting the on going daily massacres as the result of destabilising this country,and without mentioning the half millions children who died as a result of sanctions for nearly 10 years due to lack of medicine .http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ORB_survey_of_Iraq_War_casualties

Two of these people who died were far relatives of mine.

March 21st, 2013, 5:21 am

 

Badr said:

Ref. Observer’s comment
To me this is a cop-out solution, and I don’t believe it will happen.

Time to put an Alawite state on the map
Obama’s visit is an important opportunity for Israel to lobby for a grand agreement between the U.S. and Russia to protect and disarm the Alawite minority in Syria after the fall of Bashar Assad’s regime.

By Ely Karmon
Haaretz

Over 80,000 people have been killed since the beginning of the civil war in Syria, tens or hundreds of thousands have been wounded and more than a million Syrians have become refugees, most of them Sunnis. The implosion of the Syrian state and the formation of a separate Alawite mini-state, a possibility entertained by very few observers when the civil war began two years ago, is now, in the eyes of the majority of analysts, the most plausible outcome of the conflict.

The almost inevitable collapse of the Assad regime is likely to provoke tremendous acts of revenge by Sunnis against their former rulers, the Alawites, with massacres that will put the comprehensive violence that has already happened in the shade. The open and growing threats by Sunni Islamist opposition leaders are a prelude to the coming catastrophe.

The Alawite leadership is aware of this impending threat, and has prepared for a retreat to an “Alawite Fortress” in the Mediterranean coast region and the Alawite Mountains; to create a neutral “buffer zone,” the regime has already ethnically cleansed the Sunni rural areas near the big cities bordering their enclave.

Lebanese observers have mentioned a plan to build a territorial corridor between the Alawite statelet and the Shia regions in Lebanon that are controlled by Hezbollah and by sympathetic Christians, who fear a radicalization of the Lebanese Sunnis more than all else. It is possible to see the battles that some 1500 Hezbollah fighters are waging in Syria, near the north-eastern border with Lebanon, as contributing to this plan.

It appears that Iran, too, is becoming involved in the Alawite Fortress project. Iran’s active involvement in Syria is intended not only to defend the Assad regime but also aimed at bringing this future Alawite mini-state under Iran’s protection. The Assad government could transfer its huge non-conventional weapons arsenal to this territory to serve as an ultimate insurance policy against a massacre of the Alawites.

A radical Alawite state with non-conventional capabilities, with the presence of an Iranian expeditionary force, a territorial link to Hezbollah strongholds in Lebanon, plus a Russian strategic military umbrella in Tartous is a recipe for a permanent threat to the rest of Syria, Israel, Lebanon and Turkey and for continuing instability in the region and beyond.

Many pundits, including American officials, are aware that a solution to the Syrian quagmire implies close cooperation with Russia. The two powers are already discussing the best approach to avoid chaos in Syria, emphasizing possible loss of control over the Syrian chemical arsenal.

To hamper the formation of such a clearly dangerous Alawite entity, the United States and Russia need to agree a “grand bargain”. Such an agreement would need to include the following:

The U.S. and Russia guarantee the security of an Alawite statelet as well as the safety of the Alawites elsewhere in Syria;

The two powers guarantee Lebanese territorial integrity;

No Iranian/Hezbollah military or para-military presence would be allowed within this statelet;

All Syrian non-conventional weapons (chemical, nuclear and biological) that may have been transferred to this statelet will be removed and destroyed under international supervision (in the same manner as the Gadhafi regime’s chemical weapons were destroyed after the regime’s fall);

The United States and NATO will recognize the legitimacy of the Russian military presence within the future Alawite territory;

As a quid pro quo, Russia will recognize the independence of Kosovo, already recognized by most Western powers.

What are the clear advantages of this agreement for both the U.S. and Russia as well as other countries in the region?

Such an agreement will strategically weaken Iran and Hezbollah. The agreement could go some way toward improving the atmosphere of cooperation between Russia and the United States concerning the Iranian nuclear project and could help coordinate the necessary political and operational measures to hamper the formation of jihadist enclaves in Syrian territory.

Turkey is likely to strongly oppose the formation of an independent Alawite state, because of the possibility that the Syrian Kurds will form an additional autonomous entity, thus influencing the Kurds in Turkey and threatening Turkey’s internal stability. But Turkey must take in consideration that – in any case – it will probably not be able to prevent the formation of this Alawite entity. Moreover, Ankara has to consider that the Alawites in Turkey (some 500,000 people) and the Alevis (more than 15 percent of the population), who even now are opposed to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s policy on Syria, would blame him for grievous inaction if he blocked the formation of enclaves now and stood by while their Alawite brethren were massacred.

Israel also has an interest in opposing the formation of a radical Alawite mini-state under Iranian protection, but Jerusalem would still benefit from the neutralization of the non-conventional weapons that threatened it under the Assad regime.

U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit is an important opportunity for Israel to lobby for a grand agreement that would save many lives in the region, while advancing critical multilateral cooperation.

March 21st, 2013, 5:28 am

 
 

majedkhaldoun said:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjdW3Dje0ZA&feature=youtu.be
Ryad Al Asaad against the coalition,however his role as a leader is diminishing,as the number of defectors became huge

March 21st, 2013, 7:00 am

 

revenire said:

Iron Dome success rate near 0 says Israeli rocket scientist

Mordechai Shefer, an Israeli rocket scientist formerly with Rafael, Iron Dome’s maker, studied about two dozen videos and, in a study published last month, “concluded that the kill rate was zero.”

Meanwhile, the paper underlines, Iron Dome’s performance is the key to a potential Israeli decision whether to take military action against the Islamic Republic as it has repeatedly threatened, hinging on its estimate of possible retaliatory costs, “including damage inflicted by rockets fired from southern Lebanon and the Gaza Strip,” not to mention Iran’s own long-range ballistic missiles.

March 21st, 2013, 7:21 am

 

majedkhaldoun said:

Suhair Atassi changed her mind and decided to stay in the coalition, and all the others seem to do the same

March 21st, 2013, 8:35 am

 

Tara said:

Visitor

I never bother responding to you because I was taught:

ودارو سفهاؤكم

You do not offer argument when challenged. You offer a barrage of insults then you call an argument.

It is in your wildest dream that Syrians will follow the hateful version of Islam that you submit to.

Now enjoy your day.

March 21st, 2013, 8:38 am

 

revenire said:

“20. MAJEDKHALDOUN said:
Suhair Atassi changed her mind and decided to stay in the coalition, and all the others seem to do the same”

All the dead Syrians want to thank all of the Western puppets for doing so much to stop the bloodshed.

How can they ever repay you all?

March 21st, 2013, 9:12 am

 

Sami said:

Ja’afari claims to have asked the UN for an investigation, did he lose the papers on his way?

Asked about the possibility of a neutral technical mission to look into chemical weapons use in Syria, the Spokesperson said that he had informed the Secretary-General of the recent remarks by Syria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations concerning that matter.
No formal request has been received on that issue so far, he added.

http://www.un.org/sg/spokesperson/highlights/index.asp

March 21st, 2013, 9:31 am

 

revenire said:

Sami yeah he lost the papers on the way to the UN. Brilliant.

March 21st, 2013, 9:35 am

 

zoo said:

FSA commanders: No consensus, no Hitto

FSA Commanders Oppose Hitto Appointment
FSA command baffled with Hitto’s appointment as Syria’s interim prime minister

http://www.aawsat.net/2013/03/article55296466

Istanbul, Asharq Al-Awsat—Members of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) have voiced their dismay at the appointment of Ghassan Hitto as Syria’s interim prime minister.

Commanders from the FSA inside Syria told Asharq Al-Awsat that they have only been familiar with Hitto for a few days and are baffled at his appointment, adding that they have informed the general staff of their objection.

Luay al-Miqdad, the FSA’s political and media coordinator, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the FSA was clear in declaring its support for any provisional government on condition that it is a consensual one and has the support of the revolution forces and opposition inside and abroad.
He added that the FSA was holding consultations inside the general staff with the military councils’ commanders and the revolution forces about Ghassan Hitto’s appointment, in an effort to announce its official stance in the near future.

March 21st, 2013, 9:35 am

 

AIG said:

Zoo,

For some reason you forgot to post this:
http://www.naharnet.com/stories/en/76493-pkk-leader-ocalan-calls-for-ceasefire

Erdogan is slowly but surely getting his house in order while Assad is wrecking his.

March 21st, 2013, 9:42 am

 

zoo said:

It looks like Russia is either confident that the rebels are the culprit, or just pressuring the UN to add to its confusion, especially that Lakhdar Ibrahimi is persona non grata in Damascus

Russia calls for UN inquiry into Syria chemical weapons reports
March 21, 2013 – 11:05 AMT

PanARMENIAN.Net – Russia hopes the United Nations will respond to Syria’s request to look into allegations of the use of chemical weapons during fighting between rebels and government forces, a senior Foreign Ministry official said on Thursday, March 21, according to RIA Novosti.

“We expect that the UN secretary general will promptly react to Syria’s request to investigate the use of chemical weapons on March 19,” Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said on his Twitter account.

March 21st, 2013, 9:43 am

 

revenire said:

Strategic analyst Sami FYI: Russia accused the West of stalling on an investigation. What else is new?

We’re headed toward thermonuclear war. The good part of that is Israel will be vaporized in the first few moments of that war.

March 21st, 2013, 9:46 am

 

majedkhaldoun said:

Mr Hito is not pure Kurd,he is i/8 kurd, and 7/8 Arab,his mother is arab,his grand mother is Arab and his grand grand mother is Arab. his last name is kurd,but he has more arab blood than kurd.

March 21st, 2013, 9:59 am

 
 

AIG said:

“The good part of that is Israel will be vaporized in the first few moments of that war.”

So when you said you were not firing rockets at Israel because you do not want to hit Palestinians you were lying. It seems that you do not mind that Palestinians die, it is “good news” for you. Typical of regime supporters, talking out of both sides of their mouth about the Palestinians about which they really don’t give a damn.

So what is your excuse now for only shooting rockets at your own people and cities and not at Israel, except cowardice which is a given? What is your excuse for neither Assad of Hezbollah firing ONE rocket at Israel in the last 6 years but also not shooting at ONE Israeli soldier?

March 21st, 2013, 10:07 am

 

revenire said:

Gaza resistance fighters fired rockets at the Zionist entity today – none were intercepted.

March 21st, 2013, 10:08 am

 

revenire said:

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says Iran will raze Tel Aviv to the ground if Israel launches a military strike against the Islamic Republic.

March 21st, 2013, 10:12 am

 

revenire said:

Terrorists admit using chemical weapons against Syrian civilians:

TERRORISTS CONFESS IN THEIR OWN WRITINGS THEIR USE OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS ON SYRIAN CIVILIANS; PROOF POSITIVE AND WAR CRIMES EVIDENCE NOW UNAVOIDABLE AGAINST OBAMA, ROBERT FORD, PRINCE PEDOPHILE, SAUDI ARABIA AND ALL NATO

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-FKz9G68SmTo/UUogQFYVX9I/AAAAAAAAQCA/6g67SLNFCHY/s640/adoption-716372.jpg

The Arabic document you see here herein-above is proof-positive that the terrorists, promoted and supplied by the U.S., Qatar, Saudi Arabia and NATO, are using chemical weapons on Syria’s civilian population. This shocking communication tells it all about Robert Ford’s war crimes. Your editor has confirmed that this document was found after MI rifled through captured terrorist papers in a den outside Damascus. This is why the U.S. is stalling on a United Nations investigation. If Obama says a “red line” is use of chemical weapons, does he mean that he will strike the same terrorists he is supporting? Read this translation by Ziad Abu Fadel, Esq., Michigan Supreme Court certified interpreter and translator of Arabic and English:

“COORDINATION UNIT FOR THE SUBURB OF HARASTA
SYRIAN REVOLUTION IN THE DAMASCUS COUNTRYSIDE

IN THE NAME OF ALLAH, THE COMPASSIONATE, THE MERCIFUL

‘A faithful (Muslim) does not kill another faithful (Muslim) except by mistake’
For the Great Allah has told the truth. Chapter of “Al-Nisaa’ (Women)

After our fighters (mujaahideen) in the Reef Sarsar (violent, cold wind) Brigade was able to prepare the necessary chemical substances for missile warheads, we learned from a source in the Liwaa’ Al-Islam in Douma, who also fights in Aleppo’s countryside, about our heroic fighters from the Islamic Front, with the cooperation of the Jabhat Al-Nusra, undertaking the bombing of a checkpoint manned by Assad’s brigades in the area of Khan Al-‘Asal in the.Aleppo countryside with a ground-to-ground missile whose warhead was filled with the toxic substances in response to the “regime’s” occupation of Khan Al-‘Asal the week before. Our heroic fighters massacred the dogs of that checkpoint such that not one was able to emerge alive (by the will of God). But, unfortunately, a number of innocent martyrs were civilians. Therefore, our brotherly fighters will undertake to direct the missiles at the Nusayri (Alawi) and Christian settlements.

And with the permission of Allah there will be an imminent victory and clear conquest over this sect of infidels. Kh.N.”

Well, Obama, how do you like them apples? How about you, Cameron? Et toi, Monsieur Hollande? How do you like it when your heroes are villains who slaughter innocent people with chemical gases? You are all complicit in this war crime and you will pay for it.

March 21st, 2013, 10:15 am

 

revenire said:

HOMS: The FSA is champing at the bit to get into Syria because their fellow rats are desperately in need of reinforcements and weapons. Sad to say, General Al-Fureij, Defense Minister, has shown no inclination to cooperate as the number of rodents in Syria plummets thanks to new technology and techniques. At Al-Qusayr, 34 snakes were killed while riding on motorbikes from Lebanon into Syria. This new style of infiltration reflects the frustration of the rodents in Lebanon. All routes have been closed to them across from Tal-Kalakh and Al-Qusayr. The only way in is by motorbike across some pretty rough terrain. But that can’t work well when the entire area is honeycombed with SAA and militia snipers and spotters. Wael says that yesterday was a pathetic day for the rats. Of the 34 killed, some were found to be as young as 15 years old. I have not received any list of names as the bodies are being sorted out.

At Baab Houd in Homs, we have the following dead filth:

Mustafa Hassan Maadhi
Abdul-Sattar Shakeeb Al-Hallaab
Another 3 were not identified.

At Al-Buwaidha Al-Sharqiyya in rural Homs, 4 rats were invited by Lucipher for a seance in Hell. No details.

At Al-Rastan, this sectarian town of thugs, 11 were killed in three separate operations. No details.

March 21st, 2013, 10:17 am

 

AIG said:

“Gaza resistance fighters fired rockets at the Zionist entity today – none were intercepted.”

Just shows more than ever what a bunch of cowards you and Hezbollah are. If we can’t intercept the missiles, why haven’t you fired ONE in the last 6 years? I still get no answer. Why do you prefer to shoot missiles at your own people?

As for Iron Dome, you really do not understand how it works and how it chooses what to intercept. But that is ok, it is your idiocy and backwardness that has brought the regime and unfortunately Syria to its current situation.

March 21st, 2013, 10:25 am

 

Visitor said:

“@ 8:38AM said,

Visitor

I never bother responding to you because I was taught:
……”

On the contrary, you seem to be doing exactly that even when unsolicited.

There is a very good description for this behaviour: Uncontrolled Spiteful Vengeance Syndrome, carried over from previous thread, characteristic of sophistry infected bloggers. It is almost the opposite syndrome of the ego inflating tricks syndrome some found you a good candidate to play them on.

Syria is OURS. Like it or hate it. Tant pis!! Your first introduction to Quebecois French.

My day is always great and enjoyable especially when it is free of sophist would-be ‘argumantaire(s)’. On parle Francais ici aussi!!

What a fake pretender to so-called modernity you truly are. I am now looking for louboutin brand so-called secularists to converse with you in order to keep you ultra modern. I just cannot handle the flood of sophistry that you are capable of throwing at us.

I am sure you’re getting the lesson of your life here, and I don’t mean in French. Otherwise, the clear symptoms of the syndrome could not have been detected.

Glad to have been of assistance.

March 21st, 2013, 10:25 am

 

AIG said:

Visitor,

Are you for implementing Sharia law in the US?

March 21st, 2013, 10:31 am

 

revenire said:

Some very nice photos and to Tara Happy Mother’s Day from Syria!

Syria Celebrates Mother’s Day (Photo Report)
http://sana.sy/eng/21/2013/03/21/473707.htm

DAMASCUS,(SANA)- Mother is a great word that embraces the meanings of love, tenderness and warmth…Happy Mother’s Day for the great Syrian mothers.

March 21st, 2013, 10:36 am

 
 

Visitor said:

@10:31am

if the people vote for it, then the people vote for it.

Fair enough?

March 21st, 2013, 10:37 am

 

revenire said:

Tel Aviv razed to the ground. Please Israel attack Iran. When you do it will be your last attack on anyone. No more shooting women and children throwing rocks at your racist soldiers. It will be all over with a giant mushroom cloud.

March 21st, 2013, 10:38 am

 

revenire said:

HAPPY NEW YEAR IRAN!

Iran will destroy Israeli cities if attacked: Khamenei

(Reuters) – Iran’s clerical supreme leader said on Thursday the Islamic Republic would destroy the Israeli cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa if it came under attack from the Jewish state.

“At times the officials of the Zionist regime (Israel) threaten to launch a military invasion but they themselves know that if they make the slightest mistake the Islamic Republic will raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in an address to mark the Iranian new year.

Israel has threatened military action against Iran unless it abandons nuclear activities which the West suspects are intended to develop nuclear weapons. Tehran denies this, saying it wants nuclear energy only for civilian purposes.

Khamenei said Iran’s struggles over the past year against international sanctions imposed over its disputed nuclear program resembled a battle and its enemies had confessed to trying to “cripple the Iranian nation”.

“What happened last year we need to learn a lesson,” he said, alluding to what he described as Iran’s significant scientific and military advances. “This vibrant nation will never be brought to its knees.”

Talks between Iran and six world powers – the United States, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany – are to resume early next month in a further attempt to strike a deal on Iranian nuclear aspirations.

March 21st, 2013, 10:40 am

 

Tara said:

ودارو سفهاؤكم

You are a Lebanese not Syrian. Not that there is anything wrong with that, Mr. Lebanese in Canada.

Every time you respond to me, I will simply use the Arabic phrase. Enjoy!

March 21st, 2013, 10:40 am

 

AIG said:

“if the people vote for it, then the people vote for it.

Fair enough?”

And let’s say they vote for it, can they change their minds after a few years and vote it away?

Would you vote for Sharia law?

March 21st, 2013, 10:42 am

 

AIG said:

“Tel Aviv razed to the ground. Please Israel attack Iran.”

What is the problem? If Iran can “raze Tel-Aviv” why aren’t they doing it? Why do they need to be attacked first? And you do understand that Jaffa is part of Tel-Aviv and that many Arabs live there? Shows how much you really care about other Arabs and Palestinians.

I still got no explanation why neither Syria nor Hezbollah has fired ONE rocket at Israel in the last 6 years. Where is the “resistance”? Why are the Lebanese border and the Golan so peaceful and quiet?

March 21st, 2013, 10:46 am

 
 

Visitor said:

@10:42am

I have to give it some thinking but I will answer you.

Don’t you see that you’re making hypothetical scenarios?

If they put it to a vote, then I may vote for it, pending additional thinking as indicated above.

Further exchanges will have to wait for later in the day, due to matters of more importance. Just a pre-warning in order to avoid your habitual haphazardly-arrived-at conclusions.

March 21st, 2013, 10:51 am

 

zoo said:

#30 Mahe

What percentage of Alawi, Shia, Sunni, Iranian, Christian, Turkish blood Hitto has.. It makes the whole difference. He should make a DNA test.
He has Kurdish blood and a Kurdish name and a Kurdish face. Point.

March 21st, 2013, 10:59 am

 

ghufran said:

Tara,
you brought back memories of my mom with your “daru sufaha’akom” proverb, she gave me this advice when I was frustrated with people who have no manners, I am not saying anything about your age, I just love the proverb.
On the subject of Hitto, his Kurdish credentials,or lack of, is irrelevant, it is his message and the way he was appointed that raises flags.
This is from Labwani, a man in good standing among many Syrians:
أشار عضو الائتلاف الوطني لقوى المعارضة السورية كمال اللبواني إلى أن “الائتلاف هيئة غير منتخبة وطريقة عمله غير شرعية، إضافة إلى أن تشكيله جرى بنفوذ دولة عربية”.
واعتبر في حديث صحفي ان “انتخاب رئيس حكومة انتقالية غير معروف هو إهانة للسوريين وللثورة وتضحياتها”
It should concern all of you,not just me, that Qatar pushed for a US citizen that most Syrians never heard off to head a transitional government and that the MB seems to be in charge of the NC, any Syrian who ignores this reality is in bed with the ikhwanjiyyeh plain and simple.
This is Suhair:
“بناء على حوارات عميقة وجدية جرت بخصوص افتقار روح الفريق في العمل، حيث تم الحديث عن حصول نقلة حقيقية أطالب بها، فإنني ألغي قرار تجميد عضويتي في الائتلاف الوطني، وأعلن العودة إلى ممارسة مهامي كاملة”
the last time I tried this technique to get a raise when I was young I was told that the company does not reward employees who think they are too important to get fired, I hope Suhair got the raise she wants from Uncle HBJ, I’d rather see a Syrian spend the money on shoes and makeup than see HBJ buy more sport clubs and prostitutes.

March 21st, 2013, 11:03 am

 

GEORGES said:

I am sure this syrian fighter and his group are ready to cooperate with western funded self-proclaimed transitional government and sole legit representative of the syrian people and its prime minister US citizen Mr.Hitto

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kr5iiU6FFe4

This is the basic legitimacy issue, whether we personally like Jabhat Al-Nusra or not, it is irrelevant.

March 21st, 2013, 11:07 am

 

Visitor said:

@10:40 AM

ودارو سفهاؤكم

حديث موضوع عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم اي كذب

Now here’s what you need to know and learn,

أخبر الرسول – صلى الله عليه وسلم – عن المنافقين بخصال حذرنا منها حتى نبتعد عنها يقول – صلى الله عليه وسلم -: (آية المنافق ثلاث: إذا حدث كذب وإذا وعد أخلف وإذا اؤتمن خان)

وليكن معلوما ان ليس هناك كذب اكبر من الكذب عن الرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم٠

You can now see from the above which category you belong to, or which category whoever taught you that saying belongs to.

“You are a Lebanese not Syrian….”

Of course, and I say, you’re from Planet Mars. I bet you know zilch about Zabadani in which I have a huge clan of relatives. Who are you fooling??

I am from Tartous on the sea. My clan descends from Aleppo from one of the most prominent families in that city. If I mention the name of the clan, your partner (Zoo) and the rest of lov-u-gang on this blog will transform me to a Mullah and start worshiping me. You know what that means?

What do you have in Syria? It is YOU who is not Syrian.

March 21st, 2013, 11:08 am

 

zoo said:

Syrian

The reason is simple. Contrary to Baby Abdullah who keeps going to North America to beg for protection, Bashar al Assad does not have that need.

Baby Abdullah is just babbling nonsense. He is playing with toys too big for him.

March 21st, 2013, 11:16 am

 

Citizen said:

Nothing could more graphically expose the real nature of the so-called “Syrian revolution,” whose leadership is being shaped directly by the US State Department.

It also lays bare the reactionary role played by a coterie of pseudo-left groups ranging from the New Anti-Capitalist Party in France to the Socialist Workers Party in Britain, the Left Party in Germany and the International Socialist Organization in the United States. All of them have sought to cast these sordid maneuvers and the bloody sectarian war for regime change as a social revolution, in which imperialist intervention can serve to further human rights and social progress.

Bill Van Auken

March 21st, 2013, 11:24 am

 

zoo said:

UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said the United Nations had received Ja’afari’s written request for an investigation and it was being studied.

UN to Probe Claims Chemical Weapons Were Used in Syria

The United Nations said today it will investigate Syrian government claims that rebels used a chemical weapon, a day after U.S. President Barack Obama said proven use of a deadly gas would be a “game-changer.”

The probe will focus on allegations by Syrian authorities that opposition forces killed 25 people in Aleppo province by launching a rocket laden with chemicals on March 19. Obama said yesterday he was “deeply skeptical” of the regime’s charges while emphasizing the need to gather facts about the claim.

Ban today showed he has some power to work around the impasse over Syria at the UN Security Council by dispatching a fact-finding mission. The most pertinent parallel goes back to the 1980s during the Iran-Iraq war.

In 1984, UN chemical warfare experts went to look into Iranian claims that Iraq had used chemical weapons in the conflict. Ban has repeatedly said the use of chemical weapons under any circumstances would constitute an “outrageous crime.”

March 21st, 2013, 11:26 am

 

zoo said:

UK, France and the SNC seem very worried about the UN investigation on the use of chemicals weapons by the rebels in Aleppo, as they try to muddle the investigation by bringing in other unreported chemical attacks into the picture.

http://www.todayszaman.com/news-310355-opposition-takes-towns-near-cease-fire-line-with-israel.html

The Security Council discussed the issue on Wednesday, Russian ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters after the closed-door session. He complained that Britain and France wanted to focus on two alleged chemical weapons attacks rather than the one in Aleppo, which he said was a delaying tactic and unnecessary.
‘Facts are not clear

British Deputy Ambassador Philip Parham and French ambassador Gerard Araud said their position, and that of the majority of council members, was that the UN must investigate both alleged chemical weapon attacks.

“The [Syrian] National Coalition issued a statement today saying that there had been two cases of chemical weapons being used in Syria yesterday, one in the Damascus area and one in the Aleppo area,” Parham said.

March 21st, 2013, 11:37 am

 

Ziad said:

انقلاب قطري على السعودية: انفراد بقرار «الائتلاف» السوري

http://www.assafir.com/Article.aspx?EditionId=2417&ChannelId=58155&ArticleId=2250&Author=%D9%85%D8%AD%D9%85%D8%AF%20%D8%A8%D9%84%D9%88%D8%B7

March 21st, 2013, 11:41 am

 

zoo said:

This rushed and fraudulent ‘election’ has clearly showed that the actors of this revolution are not the Syrian but Qatar, Turkey, the USA, France and the UK.

Qatar wanted this election to happen before the AL meeting on the 26 march to push the AL to give Damas’s seat to this ‘government’, thus deligitimazing totally Bashar’s government. That is the first step toward a deligitimization at the UN.

That’s why it was rushed and forced in the throat of the opposition.

If this fake government takes over the seat of Syria, Lakhdar Ibrahimi’s job is over. The UN will be put in an new more embarrassing situation.
That’s Qatar’s sneaky game after the repeated failure at the UNSC to deligitimize Bashar Al Assad.

A new round of confrontation Syria vs Qaturkey is starting.

March 21st, 2013, 11:48 am

 
 

zoo said:

What weighted most on the Hitto election? His connection to the Moslem Brotherhood

Hitto is considered a moderate Islamist and, while independent of party affiliations, according to opposition activists he has historical links to the Muslim Brotherhood from his days as a student in Damascus.

Those links were apparently crucial in gaining him the support needed to be chosen as prime minister – 35 of 49 votes among opposition delegates – but they were also a key reason some opposition figures, including the powerful Syrian National Council, refused to back him.

Competing against Mr Hitto, the SNC offered up its own candidate, Assad Mustafa, a former Syrian government minister and, like Mr Hitto, a technocrat but with a crucial difference: he is a secular leftist.

“The reality is that most of the opposition on the ground, certainly the armed groups, are Islamists so it was agreed that there was no way they would follow a secular man,” said a well-connected opposition activist familiar with the election process.

Just as it remains to be seen if Mr Hitto will be able to deliver competent governance inside a war zone, it is unclear if the new interim prime minister will act as a unifying force within the opposition, able to mediate any contest between secular and Islamist trends.

Answers may emerge quickly, as Mr Hitto names his ministers. Will he get he mix right? Will he be able to balance the competing demands for position, power and influence within his own government? Will public squabbling further erode the already dubious standing of the opposition in the eyes of the Syrian public?

Read more: http://www.thenational.ae/news/world/middle-east/risks-lurk-in-shadows-for-syrias-interim-pm#ixzz2OBvpWRAn
Follow us: @TheNationalUAE on Twitter | thenational.ae on Facebook

March 21st, 2013, 12:15 pm

 

Tara said:

Visitor,

Your last post was semi-polite.

I have always tried to maintain politeness with you and ignore your insults hoping you can understand the message. You did not. I had to teach you a lesson to return to your senses hence the use of the insulting Arabic phrase. And It worked.

It is a pity that you did not respond to الكلمة الطيبة.

Any way. I will end this unpleasant exchange now.

March 21st, 2013, 12:17 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

For those interested, here’s an example of why I say, “No Good Deed Goes Unpunished in the Middle East”:

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4359592,00.html

March 21st, 2013, 12:36 pm

 

Visitor said:

“62. Tara said:

Visitor,

Your last post was semi-polite.

I have always tried to maintain politeness with you and ignore your insults hoping you can understand the message. You did not. I had to teach you a lesson to return to your senses hence the use of the insulting Arabic phrase. And It worked.

It is a pity that you did not respond to الكلمة الطيبة.

Any way. I will end this unpleasant exchange now.”

Oh No! You cannot have the last word and pretend you are an aggrieved party, teaching, in a psychotic hypnotic state, somebody a lesson. No you haven’t done any of that. It is only a sick mind that can imagine that a ridiculous saying such as yours, which I utterly demolished by the quoted hadith, had any effect. On the contrary, you should learn from the hadith I quoted as to what kind of individual you really are, and which you may not be aware of, in the eyes of millions and millions of Muslims who can easily identify munafiqeen. We have been taught by the Master of Humanity not by some Louboutin salesman.

Here’s a reminder. If you go back in the archives, which I am sure you have lots of time on your hands to do, you will find out who started the impolite/semi-polite exchanges. It was YOU, have no doubts about it.

My policy is clear: I never initiate aggression. But one way or another, I will respond, or not respond, to aggressions in any way I see fit.

Now, you want to end exchanges. I wouldn’t care less. As far as I am concerned it ended eons ago since you have been completely ignored by me until you popped suddenly yesterday. If you want to behave yourself, make a clear apology for the very first original ‘sin’ you slipped into and that is what I call الكلمة الطيبة

ONLY at that time you will find out if your actions have effects or not.

FOOL NOT YOURSELF. And always be clear as to what you are up to.

March 21st, 2013, 12:43 pm

 

Ziad said:

King Abdullah II gave an interview to Jeffrey Goldberg that was published in the Atlantic

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/04/monarch-in-the-middle/309270/

He lashed out at every thing that moves around him, at the leaders in the Middle East, at members of his own family, his security apparatus, the sheikhs of Jordanian tribes, and also at American diplomats. He then tried unsuccessfully to distance him self from this interview.

It seems to me that he is having a nervous breakdown.

March 21st, 2013, 12:49 pm

 

Ghat Al Bird said:

It looks like the pro and con Syrians will have little say in settling their Syrian issue according to news reports.

That will be decided by Benjamin J. Rhodes according to The New York Times which published a rather revealing article the other day titled Worldly at 35, and Shaping Obama’s Voice, highlighting yet another major Jewish power broker operating in the federal government wielding enormous influence on the President Obama.

From the article we learn:

As President Obama prepares to visit Israel next week, he is turning, as he often does, to Benjamin J. Rhodes, a 35-year-old deputy national security adviser with a soft voice, strong opinions and a reputation around the White House as the man who channels Mr. Obama on foreign policy.

Mr. Rhodes is drafting the address to the Israeli people the president plans to give in Jerusalem, but his influence extends beyond what either his title or speechwriting duties suggest. Drawing on personal ties and a philosophical kinship with Mr. Obama that go back to the 2008 campaign,Mr. Rhodes helped prod his boss to take a more activist policy toward Egypt and Libya when those countries erupted in 2011.

Now that influence is being put to the test again on the issue of Syria, where the president has so far resisted more than modest American involvement. After two years of civil war that has left 70,000 people dead. Mr. Rhodes, his friends and colleagues said, is deeply frustrated by a policy that is not working, and has become a strong advocate for more aggressive efforts to support the Syrian opposition.

March 21st, 2013, 12:52 pm

 

Observer said:

I remember one of my children jealous of the birth of a sibling pointed out that “her baby brother is not toilet trained” as she was now. This is typical of ZOO comments where he laments the rushed elections and fraudulent nature of the revolution leadership in exile.

Mr. ZOO since when did Thouria enjoy honest open supervised non fraudulent elections? Certainly not under the illegitimate regime whereby the constitution was changed in 15 minutes to allow the boy dumb ass to run as the sole candidate and he was likewise elevated to Marshall of the Syrian Armed Forces and Secretary General of the Baath Party and he had another stupid diaper constitution fabricated in a tailor shop to fit his and his regime’s requirements.

The regime wanted it sectarian and it got it, it wanted it violent and it got, it wanted it regional and it got, and now it is whining and complaining.

Russia is against the request to investigate chemical attacks except in Khan alasal whereas the opposition is requesting that as well as in Ghouta and Homs.

So far so good, once the seat of the Arab league is out, the embassies will be replaced and then we will have a UN general assembly requesting the seat to be given to the opposition and then we will have individual countries starting to replace the regime infested embassies with opposition members and God knows we have enough refugees to fill those posts with people.

Where is ALI please. Please tell us what your father is saying and what information he has for us on the great victories of the regime.

March 21st, 2013, 1:06 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

It looks like the pro and con Syrians will have little say in settling their Syrian issue according to news reports.

Ghat,

They had “little to say” for the past 50 years because there was no freedom of speech.

Now they’re having their say, no thanks to Baathist ideology.

March 21st, 2013, 1:08 pm

 

mjabali said:

Tara:

You should stand up for yourself. If this imposter would have said the same things to a “peasant” woman she would slap him silly with his سفسطة spilling out of him.

You, as a woman who works, should not let a freak like this talk to you like that. Do not tuck your tail between your legs when coming across religious freaks like this dude.

March 21st, 2013, 1:09 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

Zoo said
He has Kurdish blood and a Kurdish name and a Kurdish face. Point.

No he does not have kurdish face, if you know Hito,they all very white ,blond hair,blue eyes, very good looking men,tall generally skinny,only few ,and because of the mix with arab, some became dark hair his son Obeida is more hito looking than his father

March 21st, 2013, 1:22 pm

 

mjabali said:

Visitor

Reading your language makes me laugh a lot. You are trying hard to write like someone who knows about a lot of things. But your texts are showing nothing but shallow interpretation of events.

I saw you mentioned al-Druz the other day and claimed something made my dog bark in disbelief. The good old dog told me that you probably do not know what you are talking about.

March 21st, 2013, 1:23 pm

 

revenire said:

Abdullah has the eyes of a mad man.

March 21st, 2013, 1:23 pm

 

revenire said:

“Very good looking men”? Majed? Ha ha where is Bill Scherk when we need him?

Hitto looks like a small gibbon monkey. I am not sure who would find him handsome but such is life.

March 21st, 2013, 1:26 pm

 

mjabali said:

A suicide bomber killed al-Buti in al-Iman mosque in al-Mazra’ah in Damascus. Many were killed with him.

محمد سعيد رمضان البوطي

March 21st, 2013, 1:36 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

enough of this man lies about Islam,I wonder who are the rest who died with him,and who will replace him,he had many followers

March 21st, 2013, 1:54 pm

 

revenire said:

He was Sunni. Good job terrorists.

March 21st, 2013, 2:06 pm

 

Visitor said:

Al-Buti killing possibly an inside job,

http://www.aljazeera.net/news/pages/e8e7fe88-658b-4588-87e1-5b3894c813f4?GoogleStatID=1

———————-

MJabali,

Make sure you feed your dog properly.

March 21st, 2013, 2:22 pm

 

AIG said:

“He was Sunni. Good job terrorists.”

Why do you have a problem with that? Assad targets Syrian people and cities even though he is Syrian. Wait a moment, you approve of that, so why wouldn’t you approve of a Sunni killing another Sunni?

March 21st, 2013, 2:28 pm

 

revenire said:

Visitor of course, Assad had him killed. That’s the answer. Assad is behind every death. I am finally seeing the light.

Suicide bombers targeting Sunni preachers. That’s freedom.

March 21st, 2013, 2:33 pm

 

mjabali said:

Visitor AKA the LAST WORD aka the thumbs ups down clow…

I see that you are back at fixing the thumbs up and down, why? you have no trust with your own logic, even with all of those “words” you are using?

My dog is waiting for your response for some historical questions…

March 21st, 2013, 2:41 pm

 

Visitor said:

Mjabali @2:41PM,

I hope your dog is helping you in your revisionist approach to ‘our distorted’ history. We can hardly wait for the first edition of the doggy caninical (from canine or ‘canonical’ with a vowel twisted intentionally) review. We’ll call it The Year of the Dog!! How is that for a title?

What is it with your popularity here that your dog cannot help you fix? I am getting more thumbs down than you. People seem not to like me anymore. I am thinking of buying a dog. may be ‘he’ can help.

Honestly, with a dog like yours why would you want to check with anybody about ‘historical facts’? You and ‘him’ (or is it a ‘she’?) have it all figured out. Right?

March 21st, 2013, 3:00 pm

 

Johannes de Silentio said:

68. AKBARIO PALAZZO

“Syrians had “little to say” for the past 50 years because there was no freedom of speech. Now they’re having their say, no thanks to Baathist ideology”

Exactly. And they have no one to blame but themselves for not killing the Assads when they had the chance. Like sheep, like fools, they bought into all that BS about being THE RESISTANCE STATE against the Zionists. It was a lie. It wasn’t about Israel. It was about turning Syria into a Mafia state. And now, as the Assad house of cards collapses, the poor dumb Syrians are paying the price.

A New Bashar Cartoon:

http://www.usnews.com/usnews/php/galleries/image.php/731/9/9.jpg

March 21st, 2013, 3:22 pm

 

Johannes de Silentio said:

60. JASMINE

“Is Islam a religion of peace?”

Absolutely. And the last Muslim died in 632 AD. There have been no Muslims since that year. There have many who have CLAIMED to be Muslims, but they are all frauds, fakes and liars…

March 21st, 2013, 3:29 pm

 

Uzair8 said:

When my eyes fell on the headline about Shaykh Ramadan al-Buti a short time ago my heart sank. There was an instinctive cry of ‘no..no..’ , not wanting to believe the headline. Very sad. Very very sad.

Inna lillahi wa inna illahi raji’un.

=======

The Syrian Regime kills Dr. Bouti

A Statement from Sh. Muhammad Al-Yaqoubi

We have sadly received the news that the great Allamah Dr. Sa’eed Ramadan Bouti was martyrred today in car bomb in Damascus.

It is a big calamity for Muslims in loosing such a great figure who was a Mujaddid for the deen and who defended Islam and the doctrine of Ahlusunnah for several decades.

We have had news that he was planning to move outside Syria and that he began to understand the atrocities of the regime there the regime decided to get rid of him. He was srounded by heavy security who limited his movement. However, we denounce his killing whether the regime did it or the takfiri groups. People should not killed in such a political struggle because of their opinions.

We offer our condolences to his family, his students, and to the people of Damascus and we pray for him and for all who were killed with him (21 people) that Allah grant him and them the highest ranks in al-Firdous.

March 21st, 2013, 3:34 pm

 

Juergen said:

its either grease or blood which the Syrian statetv loves to spread

March 21st, 2013, 3:42 pm

 

Johannes de Silentio said:

Where’s Ali?

March 21st, 2013, 3:45 pm

 

ALI said:

Sheik Ramadan al-Buti RIP may Allah have the ultimate mercy on you. You did not run away, you did not defect for $500, you did not change your faith to please terrorists. You were the man.

اغتالوا عمر بن الخطاب في المسجد
اغتالوا عثمان بن عفان في المسجد
اغتالوا علي بن أبي طالب في المسجد
اغتالوا أحمد ياسين في المسجد
اغتالوا الشيخ البوطي في المسجد..
ياأنذل الأمم….
أمة تقتل شيوخها وعلمائها وقياداتها وبلادها.. الإسلام بريء منكم ياأنذال…..

March 21st, 2013, 3:45 pm

 

revenire said:

We can only hope and pray a dog like Al-Yaqoubi is next to die. To Hell.

March 21st, 2013, 3:46 pm

 

Juergen said:

Uzair

lets hope those rumors are true and he intended to abondon this regime. rumors spread that he ordered his familiy to leave the country to Turkey this morning, and the family has left the country.

In this khutbah he called for Muslims to join Jihad on behalf of Al Wahash

March 21st, 2013, 3:47 pm

 

ALI said:

I’m grieving for the loss of Sheik Ramadan al-Buti and for his sake and out of respect to his memory I will NOT insult or badmouth anybody on this forum till the end of the day.

I’ll be accepting condolences at the same time

March 21st, 2013, 3:51 pm

 

5 dancing shlomos said:

a backer of the slaughter in libya and a firm believer in more violent aggression against the syrian govt and people

also palestinians, hezbullah,

and

certainly iran

would

benjamin j. rhodes be a jew?

yep.

March 21st, 2013, 3:58 pm

 

Uzair8 said:

A selection of social media reaction I came across and made note of:

THE_47th
Syrian Center 4 Verification & Documentation has screenshots of State TV changing Eman Mosque attck headline 3-times http://t.co/uAIyOruZUp

hhassan140
See the two previous tweets. I’ll add if rebels can act this way in area around Al Iman mosque, then they could reach everywhere. Open & key

Reports tell that Al Bouti has asked his family to leave to Turkey today in the morning; @MahmoudZaibak – YS

THE_47th
Apparently, Bouti holds regular classes in Eman Mosque, some reporting suicide bomber ws 1 of the students. Catch is: students get searched.

HasanSari7
#BreakingNews : FSA denies responsibility of suicide bomb which killed Al Bouti and 20 others saying they don’t attack mosques.#Syria

MahirZeynalov
Killing a civilian cleric for his political views is exactly what Syrian rebels accuse the Assad regime of doing.

SimaDiab 41 s
Killing innocents because you want to get one guy is not collateral damage,it’s murder. Shameful if anyone celebrates this. #Damascus #Syria

freeCritic2000
Few weeks ago #Bouti called for Jihad in support of #Assad. Was that the last task regime wanted him to do??? Did his use expire? #Syria

hhassan140
Fact: so many Syrians stood by the regime BECAUSE of Sheikh Mohammed Saeed Ramadan al-Bouti.

abuhatem
Sheikh Bouti spent much of his life arguing for moderate but traditional Islam against Wahhabism but erred supporting Assad dad and son.

March 21st, 2013, 4:03 pm

 

5 dancing shlomos said:

for the perpetrators of murder look to the murderers: amurderka, israel(synagogue of satan), england, france, gulf puppets, rats.

March 21st, 2013, 4:17 pm

 

revenire said:

Uzair you are quoting pigs. We hope the hand of justice reaches out to Hassan Hassan (sitting in the UAE calling for death to rain down on Syria) and 47th too.

An eye for an eye.

March 21st, 2013, 4:18 pm

 

Uzair8 said:

Test

I included all links (text-link code) in previous post but they didn’t appear. Tried editing a few times. The links were to Yalla Souriya posts.

Just testing:

THE_47th
Syrian Center 4 Verification & Documentation has screenshots of State TV changing Eman Mosque attck headline 3-times http://t.co/uAIyOruZUp

Reports tell that Al Bouti has asked his family to leave to Turkey today in the morning; @MahmoudZaibak – YS

PS Idiot. Just realised I put the’=’ and “” in each others place.

Correct code:

March 21st, 2013, 4:20 pm

 

Uzair8 said:

Akif عاكف ‏@akif171 53m
@edwardedark Turkish journo @Turankislakci says Bouti had recently sent his family to Turkey and was making preparations for leaving Syria.

March 21st, 2013, 4:59 pm

 

Tara said:

The assassination of Al Buti is criminal. He has no blood on his hands. I am afraid that it is the Takfiri groups. I doubt the regime is the culprit. I do not buy the story that Buti has suddenly seen he light and discovered the criminality of the regime and therefore was assassinated by the regime. This does not makes sense. Syrians need to pause and reflect..

March 21st, 2013, 5:10 pm

 

revenire said:

Mufti Hassoun: to whom ever assassinated Sheikh alBouti, I say that I am waiting for you and Syria will not bow down.

March 21st, 2013, 5:10 pm

 

revenire said:

أخر مقابلات العلامة الشيخ الشهيد الدكتور محمد سعيد رمضان البوطي
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=445630208863006

HNN Homs News Network
The last interview with our beloved Martyr Sheikh Shaheed Dr. Muhammad Sa’id Ramadan Al-bouti .. Mercy on his soul … – J

March 21st, 2013, 5:20 pm

 

Visitor said:

Hitto is Kurdish……………………Al-Buti is Kurdish.

Use your brain……….connect the dots.

March 21st, 2013, 5:22 pm

 

revenire said:

Obama’s speech in Israel: Rabiyah Aid, a 24-year-old Arab-Israeli student from Haifa, told Ynet, an Israeli news site, that he had been removed from the hall after shouting, “Are you really here to promote the peace process or are you here to give Israel more weapons to kill the Palestinian people with?”

March 21st, 2013, 5:28 pm

 

ALI said:

Evidence of the culprit

To those who are accusing Damascus of killing Sheik Buti, this is a coordination group stating clearing that it was an attack by FSA and attached is a screenshot from Aljazeera declaring clearly that it’s an “attack” not just an “explosion”

Sham shame shame on you flexing your muscles on this poor respected old man

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=353535334764127&set=a.167177443399918.34680.166226196828376&type=1

March 21st, 2013, 5:49 pm

 

ALI said:

Long live Palestine

From the river to the sea, free free Palestine

March 21st, 2013, 5:50 pm

 

revenire said:

SECOND POST – MARCH 21, 2013 – TERRORISM AND VIDEO TUBES; PLANET OF THE APES: ARABIAN STYLE

http://syrianperspective.blogspot.com/2013/03/second-post-march-21-2013-terrorism-and.html?showComment=1363902026741#c1903674121783029495

You have probably been wondering why all the videos of terrorists in Syria blowing themselves up with RPGs; getting ambushed by Syrian infantrymen; getting sniped by snipers; made to look like something out of a Road Runner cartoon; teaching a child how to behead a captive Alawi man; shouting “Allahu Akbar” whenever a bird drops guano on their faces. If you wonder why they subject themselves to this kind of humiliation, read this little memorandum.

There used to be over 50,000 terrorists arrayed against the Syrian Army inside Syria itself and in neighboring countries.

http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/02462/terrorists-Irfan-N_2462694b.jpg

No, they’re not some Islamist comedy team. And they’re not more fun than a barrel of monkeys. This is what you pay for when you send simian excrement to fight your wars.

If the Saudis pay $500.00 (arguendo) per month for each terrorist sub-specie in Syria, you can figure the total monthly outlay at $25,000,000. Over a period of a year, they would have paid $300,000,000. But that’s not all. What if they also promised to pay the families of dead terrorists $100,000.00 upon proof their beloved rodent was killed! Since the Syrian Army has made mincemeat of this pod of slugs to the tune of 20,000 dead, the Saudis will have shelled out for carcasses alone the amount of 2,000,000,000. That’s 2 billion! Leave aside the cost of weapons in an unforgiving market, shipping and smuggling of weapons, briberies and legal consultations concerning war crimes, and all the other blandishments only fatuous Arabians can mindlessly dole out, the project of financing a terrorist war is one bottomless pit.

What if you sent all this money to these faceless, bearded fatheads and found out they took it to Brazil and are living in an apartment on the Copa Cabana drinking Caipirinhas with a photo of Bashar Al-Assad hanging in the living room? No! You need proof you’re getting your money’s worth. The proof can’t be written on paper by some sleazy Lebanese lawyer. They want to see action! They want blood. They want cinema verite, documentary style. They want to smell the rotting corpses in Odorama!

Every wealthy family in Saudi Arabia, which considers killing a holy obligation, will insist on seeing that their investments are worth the risk. Enter the tube.

All terrorist mercenaries want to collect on their own investment. If he is going to risk his life to please some hirsute ape in Arabia, he will demand payment…and he’d better get it. And if he dies, he will expect his loved ones to benefit from his body, whether its on a slab in some anatomy class in Damascus or ground up into Spam and sold in Hawaii or South Korea. This is business.

When the buffoons finish filming and someone yells: “It’s a wrap!”, the tapes are sent to the executive producers who must then arrange for compensation. If they like what they see, they pay. Whether the terrorists win or lose, it’s a financial bonanza for them. The Arabian Wahhabist grubs cannot put conditions, like victory, on the contract – that would be a non-starter.

When we see videos posted on the Internet which are intercepted by our great Electronic Army, these are the invoices the terrorists send to their Wahhabist masters. Note how some will be complete. A narrator with the criminals will describe how “…we are the Ahab the Arab Brigades in Aleppo facing a unit of Assad’s devils….blah…blah…blah.” And that’s how it has to work. And that’s why these useless balls of tissue disgrace themselves every day with scenes reminiscent of the Best of Wile E. Coyote. Acme. Acme. ZAF

March 21st, 2013, 5:52 pm

 

ALI said:

97. Tara:

“The assassination of Al Buti is criminal. He has no blood on his hands. I am afraid that it is the Takfiri groups. I doubt the regime is the culprit. I do not buy the story that Buti has suddenly seen he light and discovered the criminality of the regime and therefore was assassinated by the regime. This does not makes sense. Syrians need to pause and reflect..”

Apologies for the rude comments yesterday

and

Thanks for starting seeing what we have been warning about since day one of this Takafiri Jihadi fake revolution.

If your revolutionists are planning to kill/torture/imprison/kidnap .. everybody that voices against them, then let me assure you that you have replaced one tyrant with thousands else.

March 21st, 2013, 5:55 pm

 

ALI said:

“ستشهد إمام الشام الأكبر الشيخ محمد سعيد رمضام البوطي وأكثر من 30 من المصلين في جامع “الإيمان”في حي المزرعة بدمشق مساء اليوم على أيدي أحد الانتحاريين من أتباع الإسلام الوهابي ـ التلمودي (من عصابة “جبهة النصرة”على نحو شبه مؤكد). وجاء في المعلومات الأولية المتوفرة أن أحد الإرهابيين المندسين بين المصلين الذين كانوا يحضرون درسه الإسبوعي ،والذي يحضره المئات من الناس مساء كل اثنين وخميس في جامع”الإيمان”، نهض وكبر ثلاث مرات وهو يتوجه صوب المنبر قبل أن يضغط على الحزام الناسف الذي كان يزنر به نفسه. وقد أدى التفجير الجبان إلى استشهاد الشيخ البوطي وأكثر من 25 مصليا في الحال”

March 21st, 2013, 6:04 pm

 

Tara said:

I spoke to people from Damascus and they told me that Buti’s preaches in Al Iman mosque only to KNOWN old followers and that that particular mosque is under heavy guard by the regime and off limit to the general public. If that is the case, then Al Buti’s session can not be accessed by a suicide bomber unless the bomber is planted by the regime.

Could it be the regime to induce sedition? Any thing possible. Assad or wil, burn the country. Congratulation to Assad for a job well done: Syria is burning!

March 21st, 2013, 6:20 pm

 

ALI said:

“كان عفيف النفس، وصاحب كرامة شخصية، وزاهدا زهد الصوفيين الحقيقيين، ولم يستفد من أعطيات السلطان الأسدي المادية. كما وكان خصما عنيدا لنا نحن الشيوعيين والملحدين، لكنه لم يكن تكفيريا في أي يوم من الأيام. ولهذا فإن اغتياله لا يشكل طعنة لنا فقط، بل وفي المقام الأول لـ”الإسلام الشامي” و المدرسة الفكرية التي يمثلها هذا الإسلام ، الحصن الأخير والقلعة الأخيرة في وجه برابرة و وحوش وذئاب الإسلام الوهابي ـ التلمودي الذي يريد أن يستولي على سوريا ويحولها إلى إمارة سعودية ـ قطرية”

March 21st, 2013, 6:21 pm

 

ALI said:

107. Tara:

“I spoke to people from Damascus and they told me that Buti’s preaches in Al Iman mosque only to KNOWN old followers and that that particular mosque is under heavy guard by the regime and off limit to the general public. If that is the case, then Al Buti’s session can not be accessed by a suicide bomber unless the bomber is planted by the regime”

With all my due respect you’re back to lies

Buti’s preaching sessions are never been exclusively for his followers, this is just very low quality lie. I’ve been to his sessions many times and the vast majority of his students are normal people those who bike and walk to their 12-14 hours work days.

Feel free to join Majed’d club of liars

March 21st, 2013, 6:25 pm

 

Ziad said:

Dr. Khaldoun #75

What kind of Islam do you follow?

An assassination inside a house of God, killing a cleric you despise, but also kills 30 innocent people leaves totally unmoved, more; you seem to approve.

Would you kindly give some details about the lies Bouti was spreading about Islam?

March 21st, 2013, 7:03 pm

 

revenire said:

Of course an animal like Tara blames the Syrian government for the death of al-Bouti. What a pig. What an immoral pig.

March 21st, 2013, 7:19 pm

 

Syria no kandahar said:

Stupid terrorists supporters will say snow is black to convince themselves that Assad is
Behind every thing …Jabhat Alnusra to them is never bad always good.Lying is the oxygen
Of this terrorists revolution .What have the suicide bomber today done wrong? Isn’t he doing exactly what the wahabist shieks are telling him to do? Isn’t he a victim of this fashion of Islam which is the 21 edition of Islam supported by many idiots on this forum?
What is the difference between a killer of shiek Albuti or a suicide bomber in Jaramana or
A suicide bomber in Saad Allah Aljabri in Aleppo? Moslems are shamefully supporting blindly this transforming movement of Islam into wahabist Alqaeda rodent poison which
Is destructing all Islamic countries one by one.Assad and Syria are just a small clip of this
Tragic movie going on in all Islamic countries.The enemies of Sunni are Shia and the enemies of Shia are Sunni and the race is going on on who is going to get the virgins first by killing the claimed enemy!!
Syria is a big Zoo now.The revolution is cursed by most Syrians most of the day.2 years ago you could have travelled by your car all across syria at midnight with 2 millions in your
Pocket.2 years ago you could have had a very nutritious meal for less than 25 cents.2 years ago people woul be up all night in Damascus having seran on the road to the airport
Instead of getting killed or kidnapped on the same road.2 years ago syria had 10 million tourists instead of terrorists.2 years ago all Syrian heads were attached and no Syrian
Head was ever detached by Saudi and Qatari paid head cutters.2 years ago Syrian kids will all go back and forth to schools walking and the chance of them getting in trouble was
Like the chance of Aljazera being honest.2 years ago Syria was 100 billion dollars richer.
2 years ago 23 million Syrians were warm and sleeping with stomachs rarely empty.2 years ago millions of Syrian youths were going to universities to fill their brains with knowledge ,same brains now are filled fith hate,fear and depression .

March 21st, 2013, 7:26 pm

 

Uzair8 said:

107 Tara:

At the moment we don’t know who did it and one can envisage motives/benefits for either side (regime or extremists).

For the regime:

– Sh. Buti may have served his usefulness particularly having declared Jihad (on behalf of the regime) the previous week.

– The possibility of him defecting would be much more harmful than any further use he could be to the regime.

– In a sign of desperation, fearing the endgame is closing in, is the regime wanting to provoke outrage in the Sunni community in the hope they can get them to fight for the regime?

– While pursuing an immoral campaign, the regime, every now and then may engineer events/incidents in order to create some ‘manufactured’ moral high-ground. Perhaps some Iranian agents did this for this purpose (as one tweeter put it)?

– If we are heading for an end game and a Lebanonization (ie regime falling back to the coast/loyal areas and possibly with a tentative hold on Damascus) of the situation then the Shaykh wouldn’t be of much use anymore.

March 21st, 2013, 7:28 pm

 
 

Syria no Kandahar said:

For UZ boy if it was his bodies shieks Yakoubi or Arouri he would have swallowed all his
Prozac bottle at once.But for shiek Albuti he is going to stop his Prozac altogether …He is
Actually going to go out tonight for celebration at his local bar.

March 21st, 2013, 7:46 pm

 

revenire said:

Along comes the German swine lying about everything he can, covering murder in the name of God.

To Hell.

March 21st, 2013, 7:50 pm

 

ALI said:

113. Uzi (Tezi) boy:

“- Sh. Buti may have served his usefulness particularly having declared Jihad (on behalf of the regime) the previous week.”

You don’t know Hassoun from Buti so how about you chuck 60 size shoe in your mouth and shut up for good

March 21st, 2013, 7:53 pm

 

ALI said:

SNK:

Welcome back brother thanks for coming back at this critical time, we need every honest voice at this stage.

i here call for Jad, Homsi, Syrian Commando and all other pro-Damascus bloggers to come and join

March 21st, 2013, 7:56 pm

 

Juergen said:

once a landmark to Aleppo, Khan al Wazir lies in ruins

March 21st, 2013, 7:56 pm

 

ALI said:

Rev:

“Of course an animal like Tara blames the Syrian government for the death of al-Bouti. What a pig. What an immoral pig”

Nicely said.

Can’t wait to read her comments “against Nusra and Islam” if God forbid we lose the battle. Or hang on a second she’s not even a Syrian according to the Jihadi online Visitor

March 21st, 2013, 7:58 pm

 

revenire said:

Tara is one of the worst Ali. You have to think what sort of human being sits doing her nails on the US East Coast as Syrians burn alive.

I will tell you what kind: an evil one.

There are some real snakes on this forum. Most belong in Hell and no one would cry if our army put them there.

Juergen is pure rat. I’ve caught him in many lies – as a matter of fact most of what he posts in the way of videos and other nonsense is either Zionist or terrorist propaganda.

March 21st, 2013, 8:08 pm

 

AIG said:

The hypocrisy of the regime supporters stinks to high heaven. When Hariri was murdered also by a suicide bombing and it was clear that Syria and Hezbollah did it, the regime idiots spun it every which way. Now they want to pin the blame without any physical evidence despite the fact that they criticized this in the Hariri case!!! Shameless idiots. As usual, they are whining about terrorism when they and Assad used terrorism for years.

I suggest waiting for the results of the investigation.

March 21st, 2013, 8:11 pm

 

AIG said:

“thanks for coming back at this critical time”

What “critical time”, I thought you were “winning”? Pathetic loser.
Stop whining about suicide bombings and suck it up. You funded and hosted Hamas and Hezbollah who used these methods for years. You funded the Iraqi suicide bombers. What are you complaining about?

March 21st, 2013, 8:15 pm

 

ALI said:

and her comes the filthy Zionist to plea for his lady

I’m becoming more convinced that this ‘Tara’ character whether a boy or a girl is just Hasbara or one of these American students who used to come and study Arabic and teach at the MIDEAST center in Damascus. Most of these young Americans are Zionist and actually they were sent there as assignments in their CIA or Mossad careers.

March 21st, 2013, 8:16 pm

 

AIG said:

Just think about it not as a “suicide bombing” but as a “martyrdom operation”. Feeling better now? Shameless hypocrites.

March 21st, 2013, 8:18 pm

 

revenire said:

Look at Landis. He is one of the most sectarian of all.

March 21st, 2013, 8:19 pm

 

AIG said:

So much whining from the regime cry babies. For people who are “winning” you sound like huge whining losers. By the way, the Golan and Lebanese border were also very quiet today. What gives? Six years neither you or Hezbollah have fired ONE rocket or shot ONE bullet. We are feeling neglected. Why do you insist just killing your own people? Aren’t we good enough for you?

March 21st, 2013, 8:22 pm

 

Juergen said:

Reve

to get that straight, its a mischievous crime to kill in an mosque, in any house of God. period. There are more questions than answers. If Assad had the guts he would allow lets say Swiss investigators to find the answers. Until then we have to ask some questions here, why do youngsters with tattoos and which arent properly dressed for an pious visit to this devoted Sheikh pose in front of state tv and claim they were following his sermon? I may repeat myself but if the opposition did this, how did they manage to get through all the checkpoints and strike in a mosque so central, next to the russian embassy? If that was the work of the opposition, Assads bedroom could be the next target.

Here is a great article to read:

Karl Sharro: A Human Flood from the Baath State

http://beta.syriadeeply.org/op-eds/2013/03/karl-sharro-human-flood-baath-state/#.UUuhvzeoCJF

March 21st, 2013, 8:24 pm

 

AIG said:

If you think this is the last suicide bombing, you are gravely mistaken. These deplorable things come in waves. But having funded so many suicide bombers you should be well placed to take care of this problem, not. You have nothing to complain about. These are the methods you and Assad used against Lebanese, Iraqis and Israelis. Suck it up and continue “winning”.

March 21st, 2013, 8:26 pm

 

Juergen said:

Syria Is Already More Violent Than Iraq
And its destruction will define the Middle East for years to come.

by David Kenner

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/03/20/syria_is_already_more_violent_than_iraq#.UUtzsen-I3A.twitter

The new Fisk:

Robert Fisk: The cost of war must be measured by human tragedy, not artefacts

What does heritage matter in the face of such tragic desolation?

What is a child’s life worth against all the antiquities of Syria?

Any reflection of Syria’s architectural disasters must include this question. The child, a humanitarian must say, is worth all the columns of Palmyra and mosques of Damascus. The child, a cold-hearted historian might suggest, could be sacrificed for the heritage of all future children. The pragmatist must announce that both the child and the heritage should be saved. Alas, both are being destroyed in Syria.”

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/robert-fisk-the-cost-of-war-must-be-measured-by-human-tragedy-not-artefacts-8537986.html

March 21st, 2013, 8:30 pm

 
 

revenire said:

Juergen if these Wahabi pedophile apes you love so much killed your own mother in front of you the first words out of your mouth would be “Assad did it”.

And Juergen, for the record, I would read nothing from Syria Deeply. It is a heavily censored site. I’ve spoken to the owners before.

You are an immoral swine.

March 21st, 2013, 8:49 pm

 

AIG said:

Assad and Hezbollah killed Hariri in front of all the world and you idiots said that “the Mossad did it” after blaming Hariri before of being a “Mossad agent”. Who is going to believe anything you say? Suck it up and give us proof that the rebels did it. If you can’t give us proof at least to the standard you demanded in the Hariri murder, you can go jump in a lake. No one likes vile hypocrites and the hypocrisy is so clear you stink of it.

March 21st, 2013, 8:58 pm

 

Juergen said:

Reve

If you would read what I write you would know that I see Wahabism the cancer of todays Islam. By the way Assad has problems supporting the MB but no problem of hosting and strenghten the MB offshoot Hamas, which is yet just an other face of modern salafi thinking, but that might be too complicated for folks like you right?

By the way, what is this lust of some arabs to call each other animal names? What would be yours?

March 21st, 2013, 9:12 pm

 

Syrialover said:

TARA, JUERGEN

Giggle, giggle, what childish names and insults are being handed out to you now by jokester REVENIRE?

Oh aren’t they just too outlandish, too shocking, the comments he tosses in here. And so much silly fun for him.

He gives the image of yelling out naughty things in the school playground then hysterically giggling behind his hands and running away when he hears the teacher coming.

In fact, REVENIRE enjoys himself so much here he should be paying a fee to post.

If you don’t take the situation in Syria seriously, it’s so easy. Who else ever had so much fun online in a job?

March 21st, 2013, 9:14 pm

 

Hanzala said:

Something was not right when we heard the regime talking about jihad a few days ago. Then we heard the regime is desperately trying to pick up more conscripts into the army, and now we hear about Buti being killed. You cannot make this stuff up, Allah yir7amo.

March 21st, 2013, 9:20 pm

 

zoo said:

This killing is a clear message to the Syrian Sunnis that support Assad: We will kill you all, unless you join us.

They murdered a defenseless old religious men of their own religion and in a sacred place. It is a despicable act against God and against Islam. All Sunnis should stand up and condemn that cowardly killing.

The FSA is now scrambling to deny their involvement while they praise themselves to be allied to Al Nusra terrorists that have claimed many suicide bombings before..

By continuing to put conditions to dialog and insisting on military confrontation, the SNS bears the responsibility of the escalation of violence and the death of innocents..

And that’s a sample of the sickening reactions we are getting:

“The regime eliminated Buti,” said Leena al-Shami, a Damascus activist speaking on Skype.

“I don’t think Buti could have done more, his role was over. Now the regime wanted to make a martyr of him”

March 21st, 2013, 9:31 pm

 

AIG said:

What are you whining about Zoo? You cheered the murder of Hariri and plenty of other Lebanese leaders. Did you then castigate the Assad regime for that? Of course not. Why the change of heart? Suddenly you do not like suicide bombings that kill many innocent people? Please explain to us why you changed your mind.

You know, Hariri was a Sunni too. Actually, the leader of the Sunnis in Lebanon you can say. You had no problem murdering him. So save your crocodile tears about a Sunni being murdered. You are a vile hypocrite.

March 21st, 2013, 9:38 pm

 

AIG said:

Oh, and the message Assad sent to the Sunnis of Lebanon by murdering Hariri was that they all will be killed unless they bow down to Assad. You didn’t have a problem with that did you? Vile hypocrite.

March 21st, 2013, 9:40 pm

 

revenire said:

Keep laughing rats – we will be laughing when our Scuds hit your nests. Please have a laugh at my expense.

Those of you in Syria who murder 83 year old Sunni clerics you should know you are all walking dead men and when you’re killed by a Scud or a SAA sniper or a tank or a MiG or a barrel bomb or a cluster bomb we will be laughing.

March 21st, 2013, 9:45 pm

 

apple_mini said:

The opposition and the rebels have sunk to new low today. FSA denied their responsibility to the mosque attack. But pro-opposition tweets on Twitter have shown great deal of gloating over the death of al-Bouti and branded him as “the Mufti of Assad.”

We already get it: after killing actors, professors, lawyers and prominent figures who openly supported the regime, we understand those opposition and rebels are down and dirty.

Now they blew up a mosque with scores killed. This is very strategic blunter. We know Syrians are divided. You basically cannot expect pro or anti-regime people to switch sides. But majority of Syrians do not have their likings, especially those Sunni.

One thing for sure, after this terrorist attack, there will be more Sunni come out and stand behind the regime.

At the international PR front, the rebels and the opposition have to face the fallout of this terrorist attack.

March 21st, 2013, 9:50 pm

 

AIG said:

Right, let’s see you find the people responsible and bring them to a fair trial. Of course, you are so primitive, that will never happen. Instead you will indiscriminately kill people in revenge by bombing using inaccurate weapons. Vile hypocrites.

March 21st, 2013, 9:51 pm

 

zoo said:

To Majed, and others who rejoice at the death of Al Buti.

If this is the Islam you are promoting, applauding the murder of a 80 years old Sunni preacher in the house of God, then you are in no doubt the worst enemies of Islam and you deserve to burn in hell.

March 21st, 2013, 9:55 pm

 

AIG said:

“One thing for sure, after this terrorist attack, there will be more Sunni come out and stand behind the regime.”

Not at all. The fence sitting Sunnis (who are on the fence because they are afraid) will only be more afraid to support Assad. They will understand that Assad cannot or won’t protect them either because the rebels killed Buti or Assad killed Buti. The rich Sunnis will leave Syria if they haven’t already, and the less affluent ones will hunker even deeper in their corner. Thank Assad again for supporting and hosting suicide bombers and allowing this despicable act to flourish.

March 21st, 2013, 9:56 pm

 

AIG said:

Zoo,

Did you tell Assad to burn in hell for killing Hariri? Vile hypocrite. Enough with the crocodile tears. You don’t care at all about the life of Al-Buti, you are just trying to use his death for propaganda purposes.

March 21st, 2013, 9:59 pm

 

zoo said:

AIG

You are sticky as a jellyfish…

March 21st, 2013, 9:59 pm

 

AIG said:

Zoo,

You are vile as a Sunni murdering regime supporter. The Lebanese say thank you for murdering Hariri and so many other Sunnis. 21 other people also died when you murdered Hariri. That is why you and what you represent must go.

March 21st, 2013, 10:05 pm

 

Marigoldran said:

And you, Zoo, are slimy like an eel.

What comes around, goes around.

March 21st, 2013, 10:05 pm

 

ghufran said:

The murder of Sheikh Bouti with more than 40 worshippers leaves little doubt about the nature of the islamists who want Syrians to trust them with their lives, or rather taking their lives away,and the ridiculous claims that the expolsion was executed by the regime is a reflection of how lost and at times embarassed some of you have become. Why it is so hard to admit that terrorists do exist among rebels and that killing the Sheikh was a crime rehardless of his political views?
You want to know how westerners now think of your “revolution”, that is how the common person thinks of your “heroes” :

“J Fearing at 3:57 PM March 21, 2013 (NY Times)
The opposition is dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood (if Hitto and Khatib are moderates, I’m the new Pope). The rebels are dominated by al Nusra, the SIF and other mujahedeen crazies. For heaven’s sake, did you really buy Khatib trying to explain that (after the FSA had kidnapped UN peacekeepers at gunpoint AND made a ransom demand) that the FSA had invited them (at gunpoint) for their protection from the big, mean Assad? Anyone who supports the rebels and opposition in Syria will be supporting an Islamic fundamentalist revolution that will lead to Syria being an Islamic nation (not secular as it is now), under Sharia law. It happened in ’79 and it’s happening all over thanks to the Arab “spring”. It will be a wonderful, nurturing incubator for the Muslim Brotherhood to export jihad to Africa and Europe. The reason the opposition will not sit down and negotiate with Assad is that the leaders of the opposition know he’s the only one strong enough to put a stop to their takeover. We need to support ASSAD not the rebels/opposition”
(take out the line about supporting Assad and you will “discover” how the majority of outsiders see this “revolution”)

here is another from CNN arabic:
Baseem Al-Quraini · الأكثر تعليقا
نصيحتي لكل ضحايا السعودية وقطر أن ينقلوا السيارات المفخخة والاحزمة الناسفة لهذه الدول ونشر الموت والفوضى بينهم كما نشروها بين بلاد المسلمين ثم جلسوا على التلة يتفرجون. يجب قطع دابر هؤلاء الاعراب الخليجيين الاشد كفرا ونفاقاً والذين كل ولائهم لامريكا وبريطانية. لو فتشت التاريخ فلن ترى ملة تتآمر مع الصليبيين ضد المسلمين كما يفعل الخليجيين حُماة المصالح والقواعد والاساطيل الامريكية في المنطقة. يجب وضع حد لخبث ومؤامرات هؤلاء الشياطين أصحاب الكروش الذي لايعرفون غير الذلة والعبودية والتبعية للغرب. يجب على شعوب المنطقة ان تثور ضدهم وتكشف للعالم حجم هؤلاء الاقزام والذين لحد الان لايعرفون حتى كيف يصنعوا سجادة للصلاة فكل شيء عندهم مستورد ولايعرفون غير الاكل والشرب والنكاح كالبهائم تماما. على الشعوب العربية ان تدرك حجم ما يُحاك ضدهم في قطر والسعودية وهي دول تحوي أكبر قواعد امريكية في العالم.

March 21st, 2013, 10:12 pm

 

revenire said:

And you, Marigoldran my dog eating son, are greasy like an pig.

March 21st, 2013, 10:13 pm

 

apple_mini said:

#137 I really do not fathom the stupidity coming out from the opposition. Only those diehard anti-regime people would believe those dirty lie that the killing was done by regime. Hence their spin is of no use to convince anyone else.

On the contrary, people with ouch of intelligence can make their conclusion, therefore those blunt lie and manipulation will only backfire on the opposition.

I cannot put my finger on what the consequence of this event. But I have a feeling this might be a game changer for the regime to gain more supports. Let us face it, the regime could use more men on the battle ground. Growing and broader supports from Syrians can help on that.

On the other hand, there must be a significant Sunni who were leaning towards the opposition got so shocked and dismayed by this terrorist attack. The opposition just lost them for good.

March 21st, 2013, 10:14 pm

 

revenire said:

Anyone saying al-Bouti was blown up by the government is a pig who deserves the firing squad.

March 21st, 2013, 10:15 pm

 

Johannes de Silentio said:

Question: What will Mossie and Ali and ZooZoo do when Bashar is dead?

Answer: they’ll go back to watching Seinfeld reruns

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnKRbEPbItE

A New Bashar Cartoon:

http://www.usnews.com/usnews/php/galleries/image.php/731/12/12.jpg

March 21st, 2013, 10:17 pm

 

AIG said:

Anyone who denied Hariri was killed by Assad is a vile hypocrite that deserves to shut up about the Al-Buti murder.

Furthermore, all those criticizing the opposition for not being in control of the fighters on the ground are just hypocrites blaming the opposition. If they do not control some units, how are they responsible for what they do? Get your story straight and get used to more suicide bombings or “martyrdom operations” as you call them. Assad opened the gates of hell and you are now falling through them.

March 21st, 2013, 10:20 pm

 

AIG said:

And again, I will not form ANY opinion and neither should serious people until the regime provides us with incontrovertible proof who did this. I demand the same level of proof you vile hypocrites demanded in the Hariri murder. Not one iota less. Otherwise, go jump in a lake. And stop whining already. It is too pathetic.

March 21st, 2013, 10:23 pm

 

AIG said:

So, tell us regime idiots, who murdered Hariri? And Gemayel? And Tueini? What is your theory? We would like to compare notes so we know what to say in the Al-Buti case. Vile hypocrites.

March 21st, 2013, 10:25 pm

 

ghufran said:

Remember Sahaf of Iraq, the man who was for years the target of jokes and comic comments?
According to CNN he was more reliable and accurate in his predictions than the “masters” who sold the war on Iraq to US citizens:
THE PREDICTION:

“The crook Rumsfeld said yesterday that they are hunting mass destruction weapons in Baghdad and Tikrit, and yesterday I replied to that cheap lie.”
“I assure you that those villains will recognize, will discover in appropriate time in the future how stupid they are and how they are pretending things which have never taken place.”

THE REALITY

As a 2012 CIA study concluded definitively, Saddam Hussein didn’t have weapons of mass destruction. Nor did Iraq have 18 mobile laboratories for making anthrax and botulism, as Secretary of State Colin Powell claimed before the United Nations in February 2003, nor had Saddam Hussein recently tried to buy large quantities of uranium from Africa, as President Bush asserted in his 2003 State of the Union address. A decade of war was based on things that had never taken place.

THE PREDICTION

“They are trying to say that the Iraqi is easy to capture, in order to deceive the world that it is a picnic… One day, they [will] start facing bitter facts.”
“The decisive battle is throughout Iraq. They do not know in what mud they are wading.”

THE REALITY

In 2002, Kenneth Adelman, a member of the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board, wrote in the Washington Post, “I believe demolishing Hussein’s military power and liberating Iraq would be a cakewalk. Let me give simple, responsible reasons: (1) It was a cakewalk last time; (2) they’ve become much weaker; (3) we’ve become much stronger; and (4) now we’re playing for keeps.”
Wars are serious, and this guy was adorable.
Adelman was right that beating Hussein’s military power would be easy-ish, though it took longer than George Bush Sr.’s 100-hour incursion in 1991. What Adelman didn’t realize–and Sahaf did–was that occupation, not invasion, would be the bitter pill. Result: not a picnic.

THE PREDICTION

“How can you lay siege to a whole country? …We are in our country, among our kith and kin. …Faltering forces of infidels cannot just enter a country of 26 million people and lay besiege to them! They are the ones who will find themselves under siege.”
“Are they not going to find themselves besieged by the people of the countryside which they have to cross in order to reach Baghdad? Civilians will be busy. The grassroots of the Ba’ath Party will be busy attacking them.
He wasn’t just right that Iraqis would reject the American invasion. He was also right about how that rejection would manifest itself.
“The simple fact is this: they are foreigners inside a country which has rejected them. Therefore, these foreigners, wherever they go or travel, they will be rained down with bullets from everyone. Attacks by members of the resistance will only go up.”

THE REALITY

Sahaf wasn’t just right about the fact that Iraqis would reject American invasion. He was right about how. As predicted, troops were most vulnerable when in transit, especially from “the people of the countryside,” thanks to improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Of the more than 6,600 soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, almost exactly as many were killed by IEDs as by firefights. “After a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan costing more than $1 trillion, U.S. troops continue to die and be maimed by a weapon that can be cobbled together with spare parts costing less than $30,” journalist William Levesque wrote in the Tampa Bay Times in 2012.
And the warning that resistance attacks would “only go up”? Well, they came down eventually–about five years later. But in 2003, the year “major combat operations” officially began and ended in Iraq, 486 American servicemen and women died there. By the time the last U.S. tanks rolled out of Iraq in 2011, the grassroots resistance Sahaf predicted had taken 4,474 American lives.

THE PREDICTION

“This stooge, Blair… Fantastic, this man, really. I think the British nation have never been faced with a tragedy like this fellow.”
“Blair, you are a war criminal. You should be tried because you told the British public lies.”

THE REALITY

Blair’s international stature certainly declined after his decision to enter the war.
In August of last year, Archbishop Desmond Tutu pulled out of a conference on leadership after he learned former British Prime Minister Tony Blair would be attending. “The immorality of the United States and Great Britain’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003, premised on the lie that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, has destabilized and polarized the world to a greater extent than any other conflict in history,” Tutu wrote in a piece for The Observer explaining his decision.

THE PREDICTION

“The infidels are committing suicide by the hundreds on the gates of Baghdad.”

THE REALITY

In 2003, this was probably Sahaf’s most quoted line. It was so conveniently ludicrous, so patently untrue, that commentators didn’t have to do any research or devote any column inches to disproving it.
A decade later, nobody jokes about military suicide. The Department of Veteran Affairs recently published the most comprehensive study of veteran suicides ever conducted, revealing that about 22 American vets committed suicide every day in 2010, the most recent year for which data was available. That’s up from 18 per day in 2008.
So Sahaf was actually slightly wrong on this one. The United States really loses their servicemen and women to suicide not by the hundreds, but by the thousands. And not at the gates of Baghdad, but at home.

March 21st, 2013, 10:40 pm

 

ghufran said:

Jim Muir
BBC News, Beirut

In the two years that the Syrian crisis has been raging, no single event has been treated with such magnitude by the regime as the killing of Sheikh Muhammad al-Buti.
Unprecedentedly, the evening news bulletin on state TV ran for more than three hours, entirely devoted to the cleric’s death. Newsreaders and interviewees were visibly shaken by the event.
His face would have been more familiar to Syrian TV viewers than any other except President Bashar al-Assad’s, as he appeared on the national channel for many hours every week with his sermon and his own religious programme.
That made him both a very high-profile symbol of the regime and a target for the rebels, whom he lambasted as “s.um” and “mercenaries”.
Their hatred of him would have been made all the stronger by the fact that he came from the majority Sunni community in which the opposition to the minority Alawite-dominated regime is rooted.
The fact that he could be struck down in the heart of Damascus makes it a chilling psychological blow to the regime.

March 21st, 2013, 10:48 pm

 

Johannes de Silentio said:

158. GHUFFIE

“Sheikh Muhammad al-Buti. Unprecedentedly, the evening news bulletin on state TV ran for more than three hours, entirely devoted to the cleric’s death. Newsreaders and interviewees were visibly shaken by the event”

The message here is a very simple one: “Bashar al-Assad. You’re next”

March 21st, 2013, 11:06 pm

 

AIG said:

Ghufran,

Seriously, trying to rehabilitate Baghdad Bob? The idiot who said the Americans were defeated as they were driving through Baghdad? On the one hand you criticize Arab regimes for not being transparent and attentive to their people and then you support an ode to the exact opposite, a person who constantly lied and deceived the Iraqi people?

March 21st, 2013, 11:07 pm

 

Johannes de Silentio said:

160. AIG

“Ghuffie tries to rehabilitate Baghdad Bob”

March 21st, 2013, 11:19 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

5 Dancing Resistance Professionals NewZ

Answer: they’ll go back to watching Seinfeld reruns

Johannes de Silentio,

Wouldn’t that be nice. No, I just think they’ll go back to murdering OTHER people instead of their arab brothers.

AIG is spot on. He knows the politics, he knows the players, and he knows the region. Obviously, Israelis require this knowledge.

This is why the US was so happy Iran and Iraq went to war. No skyscrapers were falling in those years.

March 21st, 2013, 11:24 pm

 

ghufran said:

few notes on al-Bouti:

كان البوطي من أبرز المعارضين للوهابية، لدرجة أنه كان يرفض أي تمويل سعودي قطري، لأي مجموعة خيرية، معتبراً ان في “الشام”، أي سوريا، رجال أعمال وممولين قادرين على تمويل العمل الخيري.
رفضه للتمويل القطري والسعودي لم يكن عن عبث أو عنصرية “شامية”، فرجل الدين السوري، كان واعياً للمخطط الوهابي الذي تسعى كل من الدولتين العربيتين إلى نشره في منطقة الشرق الأوسط، بعدما نجحت في نشره في شمال افريقيا وجنوب شرق آسيا، معتبراً أنها حرب وهابية على الإسلام السني.
للشيخ البوطي أتباع في مختلف دول العالم الإسلامي، إن كان في السعودية، التي يعانون من اضطهادها الأمرين، من جهة قمعهم واعتقالهم، أو حتى في العراق، وهم الذين نقلوا إليه كيف تحولت الأنبار من مذهب أهل السنة إلى الوهابية المتطرفة، وكذلك الأمر في السودان ومصر واليمن
يعد البوطي من علماء الدين السنة المتخصصين في العقائد والفلسفات المادية وقد ألف كتاباٌ في نقد المادية الجدلية، لكنه من الناحية الفقهية يعتبر مدافعاً عن الفقه الإسلامي المذهبي والعقيدة السنية الأشعرية في وجه الآراء السلفية، له كتاب في ذلك بعنوان “اللامذهبية أكبر بدعة تهدد الشريعة الإسلامية”، وآخر بعنوان “السلفية مرحلة زمنية مباركة وليست مذهب إسلامي”، ولم تكن علاقته أيضا بجماعة الإخوان المسلمين التي كانت تعتبره مرجعا دينياً لها في فترة سابقة بالجيدة، كما كان من نابذي التوجهات السياسية والعنف المسلح، وقد سبّب ظهور كتابه “الجهاد في الإسلام” عام ١٩٩٣، في إعادة الجدل القائم بينه وبين بعض التيارات السياسية ذات التوجهات الإسلامية.
يعتبر ابنه توفيق وريثه الفقهي، وله ايضاً انصار واتباع كثر مثل والده وهو يشغل موقعاً هاماً على الصعيد الشعبي في دمشق وعموم سوريا.
وفي حين تبرأ المعارضون من قضية اغتياله، الا ان الطريقة التي قتل فيها تشير إلى أن مرتكبي فعل الاغتيال هم من التنظيمات السلفية المقاتلة، فقد قال شهود عيان، ” إن الانتحاري الذي فجر نفسه وسط مريدي الشيخ البوطي في مسجد الايمان في حي المزرعة الدمشقي”، صرخ مكبراً ثلاث مرات قبل ان يضغط على زر التفجير ويقتل نفسه ومن حوله.
(Asia News)
Sheikh al-Bouti was murdered by terrorists who do not accept diversity or freedom of speech, the same way they killed hundred of Iraqi sunni Sheikhs who refused to accept Wahhabism, in that sense al-Bouti’s murder was indeed an “inside job”, it is one episode of an internal war inside Sunni communities about the identity of Sunni Muslims and who has the right to speak for Sunnis, this war is already being waged in Iraq, Lebanon, Tunisia and Egypt.

March 21st, 2013, 11:25 pm

 

apple_mini said:

I disagree that the murder of Sheikh Muhammad al-Buti is a psychological blow to the regime. Then I realized it was on BBC, that explains it.

If the regime had psychological shock by the killing, they would not have spent hours on news channel.

Sheikh Muhammad al-Buti preached to an open mosque. Everyone was welcomed. They were not prepare to scrutinize everyone coming in. Nor did any body search. The open house did more than just open to everyone, also it showed the nature of spiritual practice: people were all free in the mind.

Terrorists took advantage of it and launched this horrific attack. It only showed they are truly the enemy to humanity. I believe there are quite a few opposition supporters feeling disgusted by the killing.

I would believe people are feeling more dismayed, betrayed, outraged and determinant rather than feeling terrified.

This event might be a turning point to the conflict ahead.

March 21st, 2013, 11:31 pm

 

Ziad said:

المطران لوقا الخوري بطريركية الروم الأرثذوكس ستقام الصلوات مع المسلمين تحت سقف الوطن الغالي على روح الشهيد العلامة محمد سعيد رمضان البوطي

March 21st, 2013, 11:35 pm

 

AIG said:

Ghufran,

Where is your evidence who killed him?

How about using the ridiculous “who benefits” analysis that is so popular in the Arab world? Since the regime benefits from making the opposition look bad, isn’t clear that Assad killed Al-Buti?

And by the way, what happened to the all time favorite “the Mossad did it”? Isn’t it clear that Israel benefits from the internal strife in Syria? Wasn’t that the excuse used by many Syrians to deny Syria is responsible for Hariri’s murder?

Why is it that when a murder is close to home then suddenly all the ridiculous theories that usually infest the Arab discourse are discounted?

March 21st, 2013, 11:37 pm

 

Johannes de Silentio said:

163. GHUFFIE

“Sheikh al-Bouti’s murder is one episode of an internal war inside Sunni communities about the identity of Sunni Muslims and who has the right to speak for Sunnis”

Nope. Sorry, Ghuffie, but you are dead wrong. The Sheikh was killed because he was a Regime Stooge…

March 21st, 2013, 11:37 pm

 

AIG said:

“This event might be a turning point to the conflict ahead.”

There you go, the regime benefited and therefore they did it. Since this is what I heard from regime supporters for years, it must make sense to them.

March 21st, 2013, 11:40 pm

 

AIG said:

Hey Ziad,

Are you now going to denounce suicide bombings or do you still approve of them when used against Lebanese, Iraqi and Israeli civilians? Vile hypocrite.

March 21st, 2013, 11:42 pm

 

revenire said:

The posters against the government on this forum are pathetic. If you read their posts it is a sad collection of hate-filled animals with no saving human qualities.

They’re cowed today because of the irony of murdering Sunni clerics to free Sunnis from “Alawi oppression”.

I have to laugh at the Baghdad Bob jokes. They aren’t really funny due to the loss of Iraqi lives but when you look back Bob was no worse than CNN or the Jews. Bob didn’t make up the lies that murdered the Iraqis – CNN and the Jews did. As Iraqis were being bombed the Jews were laughing.

The Zionists are tools of empire. They make the right noises when puppet Obama comes. They grunt about Hezbollah and Iran as they squeeze the Palestinians to death.

Baghdad Bob was a paragon of truth compared to the Western press.

March 21st, 2013, 11:45 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=2Hso12Y9UYk#!
This is Iman Mosque,

لقد ثبت بالدليل القاطع أنه لم يكن هناك تفجير انتحاري في مسجد الإي…مان بدمشق!، فجميع القتلى قد سقطوا بعيارات نارية على الرأس أو الصدر. أي تفجير هذا الذي لا يحرق سجادة، ولا يفحّم جثة، ولا يقطّع ملابس القتلى، ولا يخلّف حفرة، ولا يصدر دخاناً!
(لو شعلوا أركيلة في مكان مغلق لخلّف دخاناً أكثر من هذا التفجير الذي أودى بحياة العشرات دون أي دخان يذكر!)

March 21st, 2013, 11:58 pm

 

revenire said:

Syriangirl Partisan
https://www.facebook.com/partisangirl

What kind of a Muslim suicide bombs a mosque and a head sheikh? A kwharij/Wahabi/Salafi. Who think anyone who deviates from their version of islam deserves death. No one is safe, not Shia nor Sunni. Al Bouti was regarded as one of the greatest authorities on Islam having studied Islam in university and achieved Dean hood and professorship at . Even though the FSA hated his words against them, they had to publicly show respect for the man. Killing this frail 85 year old man, who was loved by Muslim and non Muslim alike him, was the equivalent of killing Syria’s pope. He was so frail he had to hang on to the benches of the podium to preach. They took along with him his grandson, and 40 innocent people who were there to pray. And why did they kill him? He preached against terror and wahabism
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0d3QcQZxIE And he supported the army http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TqtkTc49Y0c

March 21st, 2013, 11:59 pm

 

revenire said:

You can see why they murdered him. His words scared them. They hated him. The freedom fighters were terrified of an 83 year old man because he spoke the truth.

March 21st, 2013, 11:59 pm

 

AIG said:

Whining about the Western press now are we? “Winners” do not whine which shows quite handily that the regime supporters are pathetic losers. And please, continue with your antisemitic rants and then tell us also how you are “secular” and “non-sectarian”.

How can we be “tools of empire” if Obama is our puppet? We are the rulers of the empire and everyone else is our puppet, it even says so in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a very popular book in Syria. So I am amazed you got this wrong.

As for who are animals, it was obvious already after the Hariri murder. All the “animals” denied it was Syria even when it was completely obvious. Now they are trying to tell us what constitutes good evidence or not. Go jump in a lake.

March 22nd, 2013, 12:04 am

 

AIG said:

“What kind of a Muslim suicide bombs a mosque and a head sheikh?”

No Muslim would do it and therefore it is clear that Jews did it. We had also the most to gain. Go Mossad!

Since this explanation was good for the Hariri murder, why is it not good for the Al-Buti murder? Just because you are on the other side? Vile hypocrites.

March 22nd, 2013, 12:07 am

 

Johannes de Silentio said:

172. BOSSY MOSSIE

“Killing this frail 85 year old man, who was loved by Muslim and non-Muslim alike him”

He was not loved. He was a pawn, pimp and puppet for the Regime”

March 22nd, 2013, 12:27 am

 

AIG said:

Aren’t the regime supporters saying that there is a “Zionist Conspiracy” against Syria? How then is Israel not responsible for this crime? Why blame the opposition when it is clear Israel did it? We practiced on Hariri and many other Lebanese and then committed the attack on Al-Buti.

March 22nd, 2013, 12:28 am

 

Hopeful said:

Who killed Al-bouti?

Is it the Syrian opposition?

No. All organized oppositions groups have condemned the killing, and none of them ever condoned these kinds of crimes. An exception is perhaps Al-nusrah, but they typically claim responsibility for their attacks, so we can wait and see.

Is it Al-Qaeda?

Al-Qaeda is an ideology and not an organized group. Much like neo-nazism. It can surface in any environment where there are chaos and security gaps, and a well-defined enemy. Assad’s regime is a well-defined enemy for Al-Qaeda (and so are Israel and the US). It is not unlikely that there are many Al-Qaeda inspired groups in Syria today, and their ideology justifies terror actions like the one committed yesterday.

Whom do I blame for the rise of Al-Qaeda in Syria? The Syrian regime who supported and funded them in Iraq, who for two years unleashed terror on anyone demanding freedom, and who is incapable today of providing security in the areas it controls. Exactly the same way we all blamed the American occupation forces in Iraq for the rise of Al-Qaeda in Iraq (they supported and funded them in Afghanistan, they unleashed terror on freedom fighters, and they could not provide security in areas they controlled).

Is it the regime?

The Syrian mukhabarat are fully capable of imagining, plotting, and committing actions like this. They have done worst in the past and I would not put it past them. The benefits are clear to the regime, so they could very well be the culprit.

March 22nd, 2013, 12:44 am

 

revenire said:

Hopeful go find a tall building, tie a rope around your neck and jump. You worthless dog.

March 22nd, 2013, 12:52 am

 

Visitor said:

Evil usually consumes itself. We have seen that happening at different times in history. Few examples are Nazism, Communism, Bolshevism, Baathism, etc…..

Al-Buti was what is usually referred to among Muslims as the ‘scholar’ of debauchery or as we say in Arabic عالم السوء. We have been warned about these individuals by our Holy Prophet (PBUH).

Al-Buti sold himself to evil then evil came and took what was sold to it.

It is a simple losing bargain. And the losing party is of course none but Al-Buti himself, who is now facing eternal punishment based on the evil misuse of ‘knowledge’ that he could have benefited from at a time like this but instead chose to sell himself short.

Evil represented by Assad took away the life of what it considered its ‘rightful end’ of the bargain. The key words here are ‘rightful end’. Because, they explain the mentality of murder with impunity which Assad has grown accustomed to when he found out he can do it with no punishment and with no accountability.

March 22nd, 2013, 1:06 am

 

Syrian Atheist Against Dictatorships said:

Does this look like the results of a suicide bombing operation?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ppKC3BuCJfA

Pools of blood concentrated under people’s heads, clean carpet, hardly any smoke or physical destruction to surroundings…

March 22nd, 2013, 2:45 am

 

Juergen said:

The video Ghufran posted shows not only the driveway to the mosque but also the barricades for the Al Baath party building in Damascus. Anyone could enter on his feet the mosque,people in Damascus told me.

This curse of this mother may had an affect:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=232487046897319&set=vb.172364466225809&type=2&theater

Syrian Atheist

I had the same thinking, and also its strange that only the heads are injured, but then I thought usually such sermon lectures are enjoyed in a sitting circle around the Sheikh, so any bomb detonates in such height might cause such wounds, but the site itself, the culpit was only damaged on a small degree. I hear that Ban had offered his help to investigate the claim of the regime that rebels have launched chemical attacks, i doubt the lionkind will allow them to work in his Zoo.

March 22nd, 2013, 3:15 am

 

Syrian Atheist Against Dictatorships said:

In my heart and mind there is no doubt whatsoever that every single “terrorist explosion” of any sort has been perpetrated by the regime. Their history of killing even those who were part of them worked with them is long and well documented. They continue to live up to their name Assadist Mafiosi and Associates.

March 22nd, 2013, 4:03 am

 

Juergen said:

Syria’s economy pays the price for the on-going conflict

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-21881395

March 22nd, 2013, 4:08 am

 

majedkhaldoun said:

Juergen and SAAD
Read my comment in 171
There is no burnes on the shirts of victims,and no damage to the carpet, plus the security around the mosque was very heavy, only HA or Shabbiha could have done it,

March 22nd, 2013, 5:55 am

 
 

apple_mini said:

Disgusting! Not only because those heartless opposition supporters here willfully ignore facts and deny the obvious culprit: Islamic radicals committing the suicide attack in the mosque, but also the way those people are displaying their lower than average intelligence.

They try to be forensic experts to explain the bomb was set by the regime. Then they emphasize the area is heavily guarded but ignoring the circumstance that people dressing in robe and going to mosque were not subjected to body search.

Allow me ask one question to those IQ challenged opposition supporters: if the regime were behind it, they must have put up a big scheme to conduct this murder in order to get rid of one of the last prominent secular Sunni supporter of the regime who was so important to the regime, plus very personal relationship to Assad who considers al-Buti as his spiritual father. Yet, they had had left so many evidences according to you people to lead to their exposure.

Gee, I thought those opposition people are nasty, not realizing how laughably they are. Too bad the whole country has been wasted by their collective dimwit mind and their ignorant countrymen.

March 22nd, 2013, 6:27 am

 

Syrialover said:

How Brown Moses exposed Syrian arms trafficking from his front room

Leicester-based blogger’s monitoring of weapons used in conflict has been taken up by media and human rights groups

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/mar/21/frontroom-blogger-analyses-weapons-syria-frontline

March 22nd, 2013, 7:05 am

 

Syrialover said:

Article: How Brown Moses exposed Syrian arms trafficking from his front room

Leicester-based blogger’s monitoring of weapons used in conflict has been taken up by media and human rights groups

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/mar/21/frontroom-blogger-analyses-weapons-syria-frontline

March 22nd, 2013, 7:07 am

 
 

Citizen said:

Responsibility for today’s murder of Islamic cleric al-Bouti lies not just with the SNC/FSA but with the West, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar.

March 22nd, 2013, 8:20 am

 

Citizen said:

Do not be surprised! U.S. has many faces and colors!
The U.S. State Department acknowledged Islamist group “Ansar al-Din”, operating in Mali, a foreign terrorist organization ! LOL

March 22nd, 2013, 8:26 am

 

Tara said:

We all know that supposedly pious Sunnis do not have tattoos and do not wear gold necklaces especially when attending religious sermons. Who are these people being interviewed on Syrian TV as al Buti’s followers? Are they his murderers? Those people need to be interrogated to expose the perpetrators.

March 22nd, 2013, 8:26 am

 

zoo said:

It is not anymore the Alawites that are killing the Sunnis as the Sunnis have claimed , it is now Sunnis openly killing other Sunnis.
There were no Alawites in this mosque. The attack was intended to specifically kill Sunnis..
This event may have deep consequences. Finally the Sunnis will have to face their own internal divisions instead of putting the blames on other sects.

Each Sunni should now wonder on which side of Sunnism he/she is: the Sunnism that uses violence against its fellow Sunnis because he/she disagrees with their political position, or the Sunnism that bases itself on the teaching of the Koran and calls for dialog and tolerance.

Sunnis in the Arab world are in the midst of a identity crisis and these events in Syria should open their eyes and oblige them to make difficult choices.
I trust most Syrian Sunnis will recall Cain killing his brother Abel in the Bible and the curse that he incurred from God. They will reject the sacrilegious call for an escalation to violence against each other and opt for reconciliation and dialog.

Syrian Sunnis.. Let Al Buti’s martyr be the trigger to act to rehabilitate the real image of Sunni Islam that has been tarnished so much by your own kin in the last years.

March 22nd, 2013, 8:56 am

 

Visitor said:

Zoo @8:56AM is now putting the Warren hat on.

How is Toronto weather these days Warrenzoo?

March 22nd, 2013, 9:01 am

 

ghufran said:

I am not surprised a bit that some of you are in denial about the murder of Sheikh al-Bouti, after all, denial is a powerful and natural tool that helps many to deal with stress and disappointments,it is indeed tragic that an uprising that was once about freedom is now a mere terrorist campaign that does not spare even an 84 year old prominent peaceful, like his views or not, religious leader. Here is a sample of how opposition dudes responded to this crime:
سارع موقع الإخوان المسلمين إلى تسريب خبر عبر صفحته على تويتر مفاده أن الشيخ محمد سعيد رمضان البوطي قد أخرج كافة أعضاء عائلته إلى تركيا صباح هذا اليوم وأنه كان ينتظر اللحظة المناسبة للحاق بهم، في محاولة من جماعة الإخوان المسلمين للقول بأن النظام قد قتل البوطي لأنه أراد الانشقاق عنه وعقاباً له على تهريب عائلته. ليتبين لاحقاً كذب هذه الرواية من خلال ثبوت أن أحد ضحايا التفجير الارهابي الذي ضرب جامع الايمان كان أحد أحفاد الشيخ البوطي.
بينما ذهب فريق آخر إلى إدعاء أن النظام قد قتل البوطي بالرصاص بعد انتهاء دوره بحسب هؤلاء وأنه – أي النظام- جاء بعد ذلك بجثته وجثث قتلى آخرين ليستعرض مسرحية التفجير الارهابي في جامع الايمان أمام وسائل الإعلام، حتى أن أحد هؤلاء شدد على أن المخابرات السورية رأت الفرصة سانحة لتنفيذ عملية اغتيال البوطي بعد صدور التصريحات النارية ضده من قبل الشيخ يوسف القرضاوي في برنامجه على فضائية الجزيرة.
وفي سياق هذه الروايات قال المعارض السوري هيثم المالح أن أبناء المنطقة – حي المزرعة الذي وقع فيه التفجير – لم يسمعوا اصوات أي تفجيرات، وقد فات هؤلاء المعارضين أن صفحاتهم كانت السبّاقة إلى نقل خبر قصف جامع الايمان بالقذائف الصاروخية حتى قبل أن تذكر وسائل الإعلام السورية شيئاً عن الحادثة وقبل أن يتبين أن البوطي كان أحد ضحايا التفجير، وكأنهم أرادوا الانسحاب والتنصل من رواياتهم السابقة بعد أن انكشف الغبار وظهرت الحقيقة وتبين أن ما قصف ليس مجرد جامع وإنما ركن من أركان الفقه الاسلامي ووجه ناصع من وجوه الثقافة الاسلامية وأحد أهم المرجعيات الدينية في العالم كله. علاوة على أن ادعائهم السابق من شأنه أن يؤيد التفسير الذي ذهب إلى أن تصريحات القرضاوي بلغت من الخطورة حداً قريباً من إصدار فتوى بإهدار دم الشيخ البوطي.
وقد اشار أحد النشطاء ويدعى (أحمد البوادي) إلى زملائه المعارضين بأن لا يضخموا مقتل البوطي واتهام النظام به لأنه بحسب قوله “إذا ثبت أن المجاهدين من فعل ذلك غدا الأمر وكأنه حقا جريمة”. وهذه الإشارة تكفي لتوضيح الكثير من التناقضات التي تعتمل في نفوس المعارضين والحيرة التي تسيطر عليهم في تحديد موقف واضح من عملية الاغتيال.
من جهة أخرى وبعيداً عن نسج الروايات السابقة التي شغلت المعارضين، كان (أبو سلمان العطواني) يكتب على صفحته في تويتر قبل ساعة واحدة فقط من خبر اغتيال البوطي: “قريباً سوف تسمعون خبراً يدخل الفرح على قلوبكم” وأبو سلمان هذا هو جهادي يقاتل في صفوف جبهة النصرة ويعتقد أنه من قادتها الميدانيين، ولا يخفى أن جبهة النصرة وأنصارها كانوا يجاهرون بتكفير الشيخ البوطي ويتوعدونه بمصير أسود ويصفونه في أحاديثهم بـ “الهالك البوطي”
toz feekom wa bihalthawra

March 22nd, 2013, 9:08 am

 

AIG said:

Zoo,

Your whole post is self serving drivel.
The regime you support systematically targeted the Sunnis and their leadership in Lebanon. It used suicide bombers to assassinate Hariri and other Sunnis while also murdering many other bystanders.
If someone has to reflect strong and hard about killing Sunnis it is you and your vile regime. How about the tens of thousands of Sunnis that your hero Hafez killed in Hama and the tens of thousands that Assad killed in tortured during his reign and over the last 2 years?

One group of the fragmented opposition perhaps was response for what happened. All the rest have nothing to do with this.

March 22nd, 2013, 9:22 am

 

Ziad said:

43 people died yesterday. Do you think none of their families receiving their bodies for burial will not recognize the cause of death being a gun shot or an explosion? Will all of them remain silent if it were a gun shot?

March 22nd, 2013, 9:40 am

 

Observer said:

Let us assume for a minute that the opposition killed Bouti
Is this not a failure of the regime to secure places of worship
Is this not a failure of the 17 branches of security services to prevent it
Is this not a failure outright in the heart of Damascus

There is clearly an element of a campaign to deny legitimacy to the opposition in preparation for the posts and embassies around the world to be handed to the government in exile.

If the opposition is using “chemical” weapons and sending “suicide” bombers clearly it cannot kick out J’amuse Jaffaari from the UN post right?

Not only it is the Duck that could not shoot a Scud but it is the Duck that could not see the Light.

March 22nd, 2013, 9:40 am

 

Jasmine said:

This is very sad day for Syria,sheikh Al-bouti presented the reasonable and tolerant face of Islam,this is a great loss for all Syrians.
Syria is loosing the Armenians now,this is a community of hard working people,very talented,artistic and brilliant in commerce,they were the throbbing heart of Aleppo,soon they will be replaced by these vulgar looking people from the gulf,god help Syria.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-21844351

March 22nd, 2013, 9:43 am

 

AIG said:

“43 people died yesterday. Do you think none of their families receiving their bodies for burial will not recognize the cause of death being a gun shot or an explosion? Will all of them remain silent if it were a gun shot?”

Yes, because they do not want to end up like their relatives. Assad’s regime has terrorized the Syrian people and is continuing to do so. I am sure that if these people were killed with a shot to the had, their families were given a comprehensive “talk” before they got back the bodies.

On the flip side, if ONE family says that their member was shot to death, would that be enough for you to admit that the regime did it? Or will you say they were influenced by the opposition to lie? We know the answer, don’t bother.

March 22nd, 2013, 9:51 am

 

Hopeful said:

#195 Ghufran

The people in denial are those who keep blaming others for the problems they created themselves. The mess in Syria is created by Syrians through decades of brutal dictatorship, hollow slogans and ideologies, and backward educational systems (especially religious education: hiding the fact that Islam has many flavors and sects only encourages extremism on all sides)

I am glad the various Syrian opposition factions are distancing themselves from this hideous murder. It shows that they are against these kinds of acts, and for that, they deserve my respect. I do hope that they continue to speak forcefully in the future against these kinds of acts. I have yet to hear a single person within the regime structure criticize the excessive use of force by the regime against rebels and civilians alike.

Ghufran, revolutions are never clean. You have the right to “not like” the Syrian revolution, but you, and no one else, could have prevented it. Syrians of all stripes should now unite to conclude this terrible period in our history as soon as possible, by working on removing the two diseases from our society: dictatorship and sectarianism.

March 22nd, 2013, 9:52 am

 

AIG said:

“43 people died yesterday. Do you think none of their families receiving their bodies for burial will not recognize the cause of death being a gun shot or an explosion? Will all of them remain silent if it were a gun shot?”

Yes, because they do not want to end up like their relatives. Assad’s regime has terrorized the Syrian people and is continuing to do so. I am sure that if these people were killed with a shot to the had, their families were given a comprehensive “talk” before they got back the bodies.

On the flip side, if ONE family says that their member was shot to death, would that be enough for you to admit that the regime did it? Or will you say they were influenced by the opposition to lie? We know the answer, don’t bother.

March 22nd, 2013, 9:52 am

 

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