Lesch, Tabler and Harling

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INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP – NEW MEDIA RELEASE Conflict Risk Alert: Syria Damascus/Brussels, 25 March 2011:

Syria is at what is rapidly becoming a defining moment for its leadership. There are only two options. One involves an immediate and inevitably risky political initiative that might convince the Syrian people that the regime is willing to undertake dramatic change. The other entails escalating repression, which has every chance of leading to a bloody and ignominious end. Already, the unfolding confrontation in the southern city of Deraa gives no sign of quieting, despite some regime concessions, forceful security measures and mounting casualties. For now, this remains a geographically isolated tragedy. But it also constitutes an ominous precedent with widespread popular resonance that could soon be repeated elsewhere. The regime faces three inter-related challenges. First is a diffuse but deep sense of fatigue within society at large, combined with a new unwillingness to tolerate what Syrians had long grown accustomed to — namely the arrogance of power in its many forms, including brutal suppression of any dissent, the official media’s crude propaganda and vague promises of future reform. As a result of events elsewhere in the region, a new awareness and audacity have materialised over the past several weeks in myriad forms of rebelliousness, large and small, throughout the country.

Secondly, at the heart of virtually any locality in the nation is a long list of specific grievances. These typically involve a combination: rising cost of living, failing state services, unemployment, corruption and a legacy of abuse by security services. In a number of places, religious fundamentalism, sectarianism or Kurdish nationalism also form an integral part of the mix. In others, the depletion of water resources and devastation of the agriculture sector add to the tensions. The third challenge relates to the regime’s many genuine enemies, all of whom undoubtedly will seek to seize this rare opportunity to precipitate its demise…..

Ahead of the Curve in Syria by David W. Lesch

If former Egyptian leader Husni Mubarak had announced six months before he was forced out of power that he would not run for re-election or, even more dramatically, set presidential term limits, he would have been hailed as a visionary reformer.  Instead, he waited until popular protests by thousands of Egyptians had reached a critical mass before making concessions.  It was a classic case of too little, too late…and of the hubris of power.

There have been, by comparison, smallish but growing protests—and associated violence—in recent days in Syria, a country many thought was immune to the wave of mass protests that have hit a number of Arab countries.  Most feel that if there is a domino effect of revolutionary change in the region, the Syrian leadership would probably be one of the last to fall.

There is good reason for Syrian President Bashar al-Asad to believe that his regime is safe and secure.  Because of Syria’s turbulent political development following independence after WWII, most Syrians willingly accepted the Faustian bargain offered—or demanded—at first by Bashar’s father, Hafiz al-Asad, of less freedom and liberty in return for more political stability.  Syrians generally have a disdain for engaging in activities that could produce instability and chaos.  They only have to look across their borders on either side toward Lebanon and Iraq, two countries, like Syria, that are ethnically and religiously sectarian, to see how political disorder can violently rip apart the fabric of society.

In addition, the fate of the Syrian military and security services are closely tied with the fate of the regime, so unlike in Egypt, these institutions will not be as prone to separation from the political leadership; on the contrary, they will more likely than not aggressively fight to survive.  The historical memory of Syrian military actions to brutally quash a violent Islamist uprising in the early 1980s certainly weighs heavily on the mind of any Syrian contemplating active opposition today.

And maybe most importantly, the president himself is generally well-liked in the country—or at least not generally reviled.  He lives and acts humbly, i.e. you will not find any Wikileaks reports detailing the extravagant lifestyle of Bashar al-Asad.  He is a good family man with a beautiful, cosmopolitan, and civically active wife. Despite the fissiparous pressures both in and outside of his country, he has kept it together, and there has even been some economic growth, fiscal and administrative reform, and educational development. He has also not given into what in much of the region are thought to be perfidious American or Israeli designs—and this wins points on the Arab street.

In the end this may not be enough.  One thing we have learned over the past few months is that one incident, such as the self-immolation of a young man in Tunisia, can snowball into bringing down a regime.  There is no indication that the protests in several Syrian cities over the past few days are coordinated. There is even less evidence of a legitimate opposition group capable of leading.  Syrian regimes have been good at making sure this is the case.  Having said this, imprudence, complacency, and/or hubris can quickly—and unintentionally—add fuel to the fire.  In fact, the most intense protests, in the city of Deraa, seem to have emerged after some rather questionable decision-making on the part of local authorities, a trend that apparently has continued as violence has escalated.  Protests in other cities seem to be based on different sets of grievances, but if they are transformed by a singular event or even a mistake into a more broad-based opposition that is able to tap into growing frustration with the government, then no matter how much Bashar is liked, he may have a heap of trouble on his hands. This is one of the problems of a mukhabarat state, i.e. the institutional mechanisms by which internal stability is achieved and external intrigue is thwarted cannot adequately, rationally, and calmly adjust to the current circumstances.  The mukhabarat and associated security forces have been given so much leeway in the past that they may be difficult to rein in, much less control, regardless of the good intentions of Bashar al-Asad.

But there is still time, however much it is shrinking, for Bashar to move forward in a positive way that does not result in the dangerous collapse of another Middle Eastern country.  Rather than trying to muddle his way through, he should consider measures of true political reform rather than bits and pieces of co-optation masquerading as reform.  Actually implement reform, do not sanction studies to do something that may or may not lead to actual reform. Bashar needs to seriously think about setting presidential term limits, establishing real political parties, holding elections subject to independent judicial review and international observers, and a follow through with the long-promised end to almost 50 years of emergency rule.  Bashar can establish a lasting legacy that is in tune with the changing political landscape in and the future of the Middle East.  There are now other ways to be a hero in Syria without securing the return of the Golan Heights.  Unfortunately, Syrian leaders—indeed, the Syrian system—tend to convulsively recoil from reform of this magnitude. These days in the Middle East, however, getting ahead of the curve rather than behind it is much more conducive to one’s political health.

David W. Lesch is Professor of Middle East History at Trinity University in San Antonio, TX.  His most recent books include The Arab-Israeli Conflict: A History (Oxford University Press, 2008) and The New Lion of Damascus: Bashar al-Asad and Modern Syria (Yale University Press, 2005).

WINEP – Tabler: “US Should Pursue Sanctions and Peace with Syria at Same Time”

“… Escalating protests could weaken the Asad regime’s stability, though raging protests may not bring it down altogether. Unlike in Egypt and Tunisia, where the militaries have some degree of independence from the regime, the minority networks around the Asad regime overlap between the military and the security bodies. A number of Syrian military officers hail from the Houran region, which could threaten Sunni representation in the military. But the fear by Alawites and other minorities that a fall of the Asad regime would lead to a massacre by vengeful Sunnis could protect the Asad regime from military defections that were necessary to ending regime rule in Tunisia and Egypt.

The unrest has deep implications for U.S. policy. The Obama administration has based its Syria policy on facilitating peace talks between Syria and Israel. A major cog in that premise was that a large part of Asad’s legitimacy rested on his piecemeal effort to “reform” Syria. This week’s protests have called that legitimacy into serious question. The question now remains as to how — or whether — a minority leader with a narrowing domestic base and severely compromised domestic legitimacy rooted in a proven inability to launch real reforms will be able to abandon Syria’s state of war with Israel.

Over the last two years, the Obama administration has kept U.S. sanctions on Syria in place, but has not introduced new “negative incentives” or pressures to cajole Asad into changing his policies. The hope behind this position has been that peace talks between Syria and Israel were imminent. So far, those efforts, however sincere, have not borne fruit. While attempts to focus on the Syria track should not be abandoned, the time has come for Washington to develop a hybrid policy in two senses: first, by denouncing human rights abuses in Syria as well as promoting the peace process, and second, by introducing negative incentives into the mix of engaging Syria. More than anything, this week’s protests show that Asad only truly changes tack when he is under pressure and facing dilemmas.

…. Washington’s best means to pressure Damascus are U.S. sanctions , specifically Treasury department designations of regime members found responsible for human rights abuses during the regime’s crackdown. It should also work with Western allies and Turkey to pressure Asad diplomatically to institute domestic reforms with clear benchmarks and timetables as a peaceful path out of the crisis. By holding the Asad regime accountable for its commitments, Washington has the best hope for influencing Asad’s domestic policies for the better, avoiding further bloodshed, and fostering a real peace between Syria and Israel….”

Comments (50)

Mali Majnoon said:

Sins of the father….

What ever happened to “not one bullet”? There have been many since this statement.

This is either indicative of:
1 – That Bashar really holds no power or sway among the upper echelon of the government. His position is ceremonial.
2 – He’s talking out of both sides of his mouth, a la Hafez. In which case, we have come full circle (See refrain above).

March 26th, 2011, 9:15 am


Norman said:

السلطات السورية تفرج عن 260 معتقلا سياسيا بينهم إسلاميون

March 26th, 2011, 9:58 am


Syria1 said:

There are unconfirmed reports that Farouk Sharaa was shot by Maher and that Megdad is under arrest. And government insiders are claiming that there is an attempt at a Coup d’Etat against Bashar from his cousin and brother. It keeps getting curiouser and curiouser….

March 26th, 2011, 10:11 am


Shami said:

Be careful ,SYRIA1,such kind of rumors are propagated by the regime itself.
The narcissistic hypocrit Bashar is more pervert than Maher.
The final lethal shot is now in the hand of the people of Aleppo,Hama and Damascus.
I dont believe that our alawite soldiers in the Syrian army will obey the orders when they will be asked to repress the massive revolts that could happen in the next days in the these large cities.
I would like to thank our alawite brothers who took part into the protests in decent numbers.They are among the most brave Syrians.

March 26th, 2011, 10:15 am


nafdik said:

Does anybody know if this video is authentic? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dgZENo3Rs7Q

I suspect it is fabricated but would like your comments.


Since the demonstrations are still small and the protesters are peaceful it takes only a few 3naser with AK47 to kill a 100 demonstrators. So the army does not need to fire any bullets. As long as it is silent the assads can do what they want.

The army can provide the regime with logistical support while the killing is done by thugs.

March 26th, 2011, 10:32 am


SOORAY said:


March 26th, 2011, 10:33 am


Norman said:

Shami said,

((((The narcissistic hypocrit Bashar is more pervert than Maher.
The final lethal shot is now in the hand of the people of Aleppo,Hama and Damascus.)))

Does anybody consider what Shami said a peaceful and genuine call for reform??

I like to see what you think

March 26th, 2011, 10:47 am


Vedat The Turk said:

Todays featured comments on the home page are very one sided and utter rubbish. Let us not forget that just two weeks ago the featured comments asserted that the Baathist regine was safe from revolt. Two weeks before that, it was that the US was too weakend to have any impact on the region — events in Libya and Bahrain showed how wrong that was.

Today, the headlines read that Bashar is safe and the US should mend its differeneces with Damascus for Washingtons own good. This is laughable.

What is in tne best iunterest of the US and the rest of the countries in the region is to see the corrupt Assad dictorship to fall. Such a collapse would solve many problems for everyone.

First and foremost it would stop Iranian encroachment in the region. It would also tip the balance of power in Lebanon in favor of the US, Saudi, Egypt, Jordan alliance. The Hezbollah threat would be forever weakened by a Sunni government in Damascus…. just to name a few.

And what are the draw backs? Temporary secterian violence? Big deal! The non-Alawite people of Syria have been suffering such violence for 40 years! What about the people of Hamma where 20,000 were brutally murdered. Today the people in Daraa are suffering the same sectarian violence. The present order in the country with a greedy and corrput Alawite minority is not accepted by the populace. Something has to change for a more equal distribution. To the Sunnis, Druze, Christians and even some of the poor Alawites the present order is unfair and crushing them. To argue that thye should accept the present status quo for the stability of the few in power is disingenuous. The Assad regime has done nothing to address these grievances for over 10 years! All the while they and there cronies has grown fat and rich.

The only solution is a revolution that throws the despots out of power and then holds them to account!

Au revoire Bashar!

March 26th, 2011, 11:32 am


AIG said:

The Syrian regime is losing a lot of its confidence. On Friday evening, the bureau chief for Reuters in Damascus was deported according to this WSJ article:

I posted the same on QN’s blog. I think this is important because actions speak stronger than words. A country serious about attracting tourism cannot do such things. It is a sign of panic.

March 26th, 2011, 12:23 pm


Shami said:

Norman ,there is no more hope with Asad gang,did you listen to the witch’s interview Sha3ban with BBC arabic ?

March 26th, 2011, 12:24 pm


Shami said:

Vedat ,there will be no sectarian government,Syria is for all Syrians,there are two sects in Syria ,the sect of the braves and the sect of the corrupts and crimials.

March 26th, 2011, 12:27 pm


Revlon said:

Al Jazeera Mobile is circulating news that M Asad Shot dead The vice president of Syria Mr Farouq Al Share3
Can any one confirm this?
I do not see it on Al Jazeera.net website!

March 26th, 2011, 12:28 pm


Ziad said:


March 26th, 2011, 1:21 pm


Syrian Nationalist Party said:

Very little native town people showed up in all those demonstrations. Daraa was the only town having natives demonstrate. It was a local issue.

@ Norman
They will fail, they will not succeed in dividing the country up or making Civil War, the whole effort is in vain, the majority of Syrian Natives and notables are with the Government. It is only a matter of time before the 300,000 loyal forces moves in in full force.

Your ploy failed in the past, and it will not get that far anyway. We never once called for killing Moslems, don’t confuse us with that robot-poster SOURI affiliated with your treasonous act against Syrians. Point out which comment posted by SNP called for hurting Moslems or using violence against anyone.

@ Jad said:
“…..Not sure who start this but there is a rumour that Maher and Asef did a coup against the President and this is the reason that the President hasn’t been around for the last couple days….”
Bashar cannot over rule Maher and Asef combined, and he should not do so at this point when Syria is under the foreign and non-Syrians guns- Maher is cocky enough to have shot Asef in the stomach years ago. If this treasonous foreign agents plot don’t stop and give reform promises a chance, Maher and Asef will take charge and put an end to it at any cost. The native people of Syria are with them. Arabs and Bedouins have no support and in the end they will suffer, be stripped of their Syrian Citizenship, as happened to Kurds before them, they will be kicked out to the desert of Arabia. Whoever trickle survive of them.

@Revlon said:
“…. Al Dandashi Talkalakh: Yesterday, you had demonstrations in your backyard buddy!…”

You are not any buddy of us; and you will never will, we are a Syrian nationalist. Syria have no place for people like you and you will never ever have position of power in Syria. You should be Asef Shawkat buddy. Not one Aldandashi was in the demo; in fact they fired machine guns in the air in support of Bashar. The thugs in the demo were local Kurds, Arabs brought from Arida area and other non-notable. All supported by a traitor Hariri, who financed a gang of his own in the country. 2 months ago, Maher moved in and arrested, killed a bunch of them after notable in Tel Kalakh complained about them and their militancy. Why notable of Tal Kalakh are not part of the demo or against Assad, because these same thugs making mayhem are the kids of the ones marched in the streets in the past and demanded Nationalization, land confiscations and others. BANADIK, paid agents, no one trust them.

SNP never once called for violence against anyone, unlike other posters who are in fact in violation of U.S. laws. The U.S. Government is maintaining Diplomatic Relations with Syria and maintains an embassy and ambassador in the country. It is a violation of international Law and U.S. Laws to allow militant insurgents operates and maintain offices or otherwise means to promote militant sectarian uprising in Syria.

Our allies are the Shia of Iran and Lebanon and are devout Moslems, not fake ones like Saudi and Gulf Arabs, they understand the spout of anger sometime we manifest out of frustration at Moslem treasonous acts against all Moslems. At any rates, we have not yet burned Qurans ourselves, but may shove one up the camel ass should these Bedouins manage to hurt Syria any more. Sorry for offending them out of anger, but having Moslems evolve in plot to divide Libya to 3 parts, Lebanon to 2 parts, Syria to five parts and do they know, do they have the map that we got last year and it shows Saudi Arabia division into 3 states, will support that division when it comes their turn.

March 26th, 2011, 1:31 pm


SOURI said:

The regime has agreed today to release Wahhabi terrorists from prisons.

I don’t know what is the difference between the fall of the regime and all the political concessions the regime is giving now. In either way, we are heading to Islamist rule, that is, we are heading 50 years back in time.

The regime looks much more fragile than I expected. They are willing to give everything to the Islamists just to save their necks. They have no desire to fight or resist at all.

The Alawis, although have been on top of this state for decades, still think of themselves as a little helpless minority. They are cowards. Hafez Assad was an exceptional man and it is sad that the age of men like him is over now.

March 26th, 2011, 1:36 pm


why-discuss said:


This is typical of the hysteria of the news media carrying just any rumor they hear from any ‘eye witness’.
Unfortunately in the middle east, freedom of expression=freedom to say just any garbage, insulting people and instigating hatred among different religions… I think I prefer silence…
In the west, people have learned the meaning of self-censorship and measure… In the middle east they haven’t yet.

March 26th, 2011, 1:43 pm


Ziad said:

“… we have not yet burned Qurans ourselves, but may shove one up the camel ass …”

This and your explicative the other day are not only in bad taste, they go way over the line, and count as hate speech. I am insulted as %90 of Syrians who hear them would be.

“Arabs and Bedouins have no support and in the end they will suffer, be stripped of their Syrian Citizenship, as happened to Kurds before them, they will be kicked out to the desert of Arabia.”

If you kick out all Arabs, how much would be left of your Syrian nation?
Hurling insults like these only invalidate any p.o.v. you express.

March 26th, 2011, 1:57 pm


Nour said:

قالت المستشارة السياسية والإعلامية في الرئاسة السورية بثينة شعبان أن الرئيس بشار الأسد قد يخرج في أي لحظة ويعلن “مواقف”.

March 26th, 2011, 1:57 pm


Aldendeshe said:

”Bashar needs to seriously think about setting presidential term limits”

No, positively we don’t need that now, maybe next decade, we need stable leadership not a traitor elected by foreign cash to serve foreign plots. We need Bashar to take charge of formulating and implementing the reforms, as well as securing the territorial integrity of Syria and Lebanon.

March 26th, 2011, 2:02 pm


Nafdik said:


You seem very surprised by the use of words such as pervert, tyrant, butcher in describing the bashar.

I am not saying these adjectives are true or false. But they are not very far fetched given the events in daraa.

Asking for bashar to leave immediately is the most reasobale demand. Asking for him being brought to justice to answer to curruption, torture and murders done under his rule is very reasonable too.

There is nothing extreme about this. Calling our martyrs foreign collaborators or letting their death go unpunished at the highest level of command is the extreme position.

March 26th, 2011, 2:04 pm


NK said:

Syrian Patriot

Was the Israeli/US/Khadam the ones who killed Syrians in Daraa,Sanamayn,Latakia ? As for pro-regime demonstrators blocking the streets, all it takes is 10 cars to block or cripple traffic in any Syrian street, the demonstrators the State TV showed the last couple days are mostly aerial shots of maybe 100 men jumping up and down, why hasn’t the TV aired the demonstrations in Homs, Latakia, Daraa and elsewhere in Syria ? oh those never took place “Khadam” fabricated them.

Why isn’t the state TV airing this
Was this in London or wherever the regime enemies are plotting against Syria ?


Did you read what the foreign eyewitness said “Obviously it’s orchestrated to some extent, the usual slogans, the usual underclass youths, the usual black leather clad security guys watching from a distance.” …

Look I have no doubt Bashar is still popular, but do you really believe Syrians will take to the streets in support of the president a day after tens of Syrians were killed ? would you take to the streets ?
If I was in charge of the state TV I would have covered those events across Syria and interviewed those demonstrators, they are not calling for the fall of the regime so covering them would have given a HUGE boost to the regime and showed everyone the promised reforms are being implemented, instead the state TV did further damage to its already bad reputation as a pure propaganda machine.
In my opinion a revolution is inevitable now, Bashar can lead it or he can stand in the way. Indications are he’s leaning towards leading.

That being said, I totally agree with what OTW said earlier regarding you, and other SC commentators. Even though we might not agree on certain things, I thank you for your comments and analysis.

March 26th, 2011, 2:41 pm


Revlon said:

We have lift off!

Day 13th; The Syrian People’s revolution is in full swing

Symbols of decades of dictatorship are tumbling

The regime is rocking

Peaceful demonstrations are being met with trade-mark brutality of Asad’s reign.

May God bless the Martyr’s souls in Heavens

March 26th, 2011, 2:43 pm


Jad said:

قتل ثلاث مواطنين اليوم في مدينة اللاذقية اثر خروج مجموعة من الشباب وقيامهم باعمال تخريب واعتداء على المواطنين والمحال.

فيما اكد مصدر من كتيبة حفظ النظام بانه “يوجد في صفوف قواته 10 مصابين بطلقات نارية فيما توفي مساعد اول اسمه علاء سليمان في هذه الاحداث”

ونقل مراسلنا في اللاذقية عن مصدر طبي بانه قتل كل من ” مصطفى بيازيد وعلي جاموس ، حيث اصيب الاول بطعنة سكين واثناء تفتشيه وجدوا زجاجة موليتوف ، اما جاموس فقد اصيب بطبق ناري من اكثر من 150م باتجاه مائل مما يدل ان اطلاق النار من الشرفات”.

وكان مصدر مسؤول قد صرح لوكالة الانباء سانا بأن “مجموعة مسلحة احتلت أسطح أبنية في بعض أحياء مدينة اللاذقية وقامت بإطلاق النار على المارة والمواطنين وقوى الأمن” ، دون ان تشير لهوية هذه المجموعات او خلفياتها.

وشهدت مدينة اللاذقية خروج مجموعات من الشباب قاموا باعمال تخريب واعتداء على المواطنين هناك وصرح مصدر طبي بان عدد الاصابات من رجال الامن اكثر من 70 اصابة.

وبحسب مراسلنا في اللاذقية فقد خرج شباب تتراوح اعمارهم بين الـ 14 و الـ 18 عام في بعض الطرقات وقاموا بقطعها وبدؤوا بالقاء الحجارة على المارين والمتاجر مما اثار رعب السكان وقاموا باغلاق المحلات والذهاب الى منازلهم.

وقال مصدر من كتيبة حفظ النظام بانه “تلقى معلومات مشددة بعدم الرد على الاعتداءات ومنع رجال الامن من الاشتباك مع المعتدين”.


March 26th, 2011, 2:51 pm


Revlon said:

#21 NK, Thank you for the Facebook link.

Demonstrators in Latakia city are sending SOS messages.

One Imam spoke on the phone with Al Jazeera. He was asking for government and human rights groups to protect the civilians.
He said that security forces and heavily armed militia from the villages are firing indiscriminately on people in the streets

An urgent message from a resident, relayed through a friend on facebook, spoke of a serious situation.

March 26th, 2011, 3:04 pm


Nafdik said:

Jad, I that the regime is not resorting to the trick of creating insecurity by having teams of provocateurs killing innocents as a devise to justify using extreme violence to stop the protestors.

March 26th, 2011, 3:05 pm


Jad said:

Very important development;
Alarabiya and BBC are following Aljazeera in being cautious today of spreading any news without any proves which is a big blow of the credibility of the revolution facebook resources and after them bashing Aljazeera for tha last couple weeks now they are bashing Alarabiya.

March 26th, 2011, 3:05 pm


Norman said:

I hate to sound paranoid, But whenever the opposition and the supporters compliment each other and try to reach a solution, the instigaters (( Revlon,Souri )) show up to entice conflict, can i be right,

I saw the demonstrations supporting the president on a Lebanese TV.


some people were calling him that before Daraa, and even in Daraa, we should look into things before we throw blames around.don’t you think ?.

March 26th, 2011, 3:09 pm


Norman said:

It looks like they are review the leading rule for the Baath Party,


القيادة السورية تستعد لإصدار حزمة قرارات بينها تعديل وزاري

القاهرة- قالت مصادر رسمية سورية لوكالة الأنباء الألمانية (د.ب.أ) إن القيادة السورية تستعد لإصدار حزمة قرارات بينها تعديل وزاري يطال عددا من الوزراء وربما رئيس الحكومة حسب تلك المصادر.
وأضافت المصادر إن من بين الأسماء التي جرى التداول في إقالتها وزير الإعلام محسن بلال، كما إن القيادة ستصدر قريبا قرارات تخص دور حزب “البعث” الحاكم في حياة السوريين.

ويحكم حزب البعث سورية منذ حوالي نصف قرن متفردا بموجب المادة الثامنة من الدستور التي تخوله قيادة الدولة والمجتمع.

March 26th, 2011, 3:12 pm


Ziad said:


You are absolutely right.

March 26th, 2011, 3:13 pm


Ziad said:


“But you are not moved, hurt, even offended, but rather cheering the shoving of a whole country of Syria, its history and natives up the camel ass?”

Which comment I posted that made you think I am cheering?

FYI I am an atheist, but still feel Muslim by identity and affiliation, and I am proud of it and get insulted by your explicative.

There are commenters on SC who want reform within the current system, others who want its fall. They are getting at each others with arguments, citations & video links.

There are also the agitators spewing venomous hatred. Those are fakes and part of the information warfare and best be ignored.

March 26th, 2011, 3:36 pm


NK said:


Wasn’t this the same square where we saw pro Bashar demonstrations yesterday on Syrian State TV ?

The exact same square …

And here’s Hassoun, you should go to Aleppo and ask about his reputation, I knew him since he was a small time Imam and it’s a known fact he has very close ties to (Mukhabarat), anyways listen to this

And of course
Syria has withdrawn the accreditation of a Reuters correspondent, saying he had filed “unprofessional and false” coverage of events in Syria. Senior Correspondent Khaled Yacoub Oweis, who had been based in Damascus since February 2006, was told to leave Syria late on Friday. Oweis, a Jordanian national, was the first foreign correspondent to be accredited for Reuters in Damascus. He has also reported from Baghdad, Beirut, Amman and London.

A senior Information Ministry official told him: “Youraccreditation has been withdrawn and you are being expelled because of your unprofessional and false news. You have to leave immediately.”

Syrian Information Ministry officials were not available to offer clarification.

“We regret the decision by the Syrian government to exclude our correspondent. We stand by our coverage and are committed to continuing our accurate and impartial reporting about Syria,” Reuters Editor-in-Chief Stephen Adler said.

March 26th, 2011, 3:50 pm


Akbar Palace said:

To those Syrians fighting for their basic human rights and freedoms.

Good luck. You have my support.

March 26th, 2011, 4:04 pm


shafeeq said:

as much as the young faces and spokepersons of the tunisian and egyptian revolutions inspired us with their civility and provoked the sense trust and confidence in the future for the majority of tunisians & egyptians, and arabs.

None of the faces or voices of the syrian protests inspire any confidence , especially for minorities. on the opposite they are scary. many of them look indeed like vengefull hanbalis & wahabis.

i dun’t like the system in Syria, and desperately want change , progress & prosperity.

but i will not put my future and that of my family in the hands of the revolutionaries i could see thus far.

don’t trust them. don’t trust intellectuals, don’t trust the ‘international community’. The Hamburger you get never resembles the one on the photo.

so if push comes to shove, i will only trust my gun.

March 26th, 2011, 4:13 pm


Shami said:

NK,Hassoun is the most hated hypocrit in Aleppo,aleppines always use bad words against him when he is mentioned,his instrumentalization by the regime is a good thing for the sake of change.

March 26th, 2011, 4:16 pm


Shami said:

Bashar fumé :

March 26th, 2011, 4:23 pm


Vedat The Turk said:

@Syrian National Party

When Bashar Assad flees tSyria, what other nation in the world aside from Iran would offer him exile?

I challenge you to name one.

Now do you understand how isolated and alone he is? Really no different than Quadaffi in Libya.

March 26th, 2011, 4:36 pm


SOURI said:

The Baath regime is over.

They have already agreed to grant political freedoms now, while the Islamists are still the most powerful in Syria and while secular Syrians still don’t have the freedom to fully express their views or criticize the Islamists.

Very soon we will see in Syria an Egyptian situation– a regime supported by a little secular minortiy that doesn’t dare to challenge the Islamists intellectually, and a large and expanding Ikhwan-Wahhabi majority that will eventually overthrow the regime like what happened in Egypt.

We are moving from the Baath secular dictatorship into the Islamist dictatorship, which is far worse than the Baath dictatorship. The Baath dictatorship was progressive, and it respected some of the people’s personal freedoms. However, the Islamist dictatorship will draw us back 100 years and it will take away from us much of the personal freedoms we currently have in Syria. People like Nabil Fayyad will definitely have no place in Syria anymore. I don’t like him, but I also don’t like that the Islamists jail him because of what he writes.

Bashar Assad now is politically dead. I wish that those Wahhabis carry on to the end. The civil war scenario is much less disastrous than the Egyptian scenario. Syria must be divided. An Alawi dominated state can have some alleviating influence over an Islamist Syria. The worst imaginable scenario for me is to have an “Egyptian democracy” in Syria. This will kill everything good left in Syria.

March 26th, 2011, 4:36 pm


Nafdik said:


I agree that we should not throw blame before investigating the facts.

However, since the regime has blocked journalists from reaching daraa and is imprisoning citizen who speak to journalists we have to go a level of common sense and we cannot wait until proof is established when accusing the regime.

The same could have been said for hama. Should we wait until there is absolute proof to prevent massacres where we are 99% sure that they are regime made against civilians?

If the regime has nothing to hide then let the journalists in.

March 26th, 2011, 4:38 pm


Solitarius said:

From some youtube clip, demonstrators in downtown Homs: “Freedom Freedom Muslims and Christians”.. followed by “Our constitution is the Quran” when some bearded guy is up on shoulders lifting up the Quran… I didn’t see a single Syrian flag lifted by these demonstrators neither in that clip nor another.. I guess it hinders their freedom march.

March 26th, 2011, 4:46 pm


Syria1 said:

Still no confirmation of the Sharaa story. Time will tell. Absolute power absolutely corrupts.

Souri – please stop with the insane Sectarian rhetoric.

Considering this has all been handled by the security appatstis

March 26th, 2011, 4:59 pm


SOURI said:

#38 Solitarius

All this does not matter anymore. Bashar has just gave up everything to the Islamists. Forget the old Syria.

Now it is Islamic Syria. You can’t eat in Ramadan. You can’t drink alcohol. You can’t “offend Islam” (for example, by saying that women should have equal rights to men, or by saying that evolution is not a wrong theory).


I always thought seriously about living and working in Syria. It is too sad to see your future plans crumble.

March 26th, 2011, 4:59 pm


Solitarius said:

#40 Souri

Pathetic.. probably time you moved on to another website

March 26th, 2011, 5:04 pm


Norman said:

Do you remember the car filled with weapons coming from Iraq, here is more,

القبض على سيارتين محملتين بالاسلحة في اللاذقية

تم القبض الان على سيارتين فان رماديتان في منطقة عند مفرق طريق صلنفة محملتان بالاسلحة ، وتم القبض ايضا الان على صاحب السيارة الذي كان يقوم باطلاق الرصاص في منطقة حي السجن ما ادى لحدوث اشكال كبير في المنطقة.

This is more,

القصة الكاملة لاحداث مدينة اللاذقية .. الاخبار المحلية

مقتل ثلاثة اشخاص على الاقل وسيارات تطوف المدينة وتبث الفتنة

تواردت الاخبار بتواتر سريع من اللاذقية بعد ان تأكد مقتل ثلاث اشخاص على الاقل وقيام البعض باعمال حرق وتخريب وانباء عن ترديد بعض الهتافات الطائفية .

بدأت الاحداث بحسب مراسلنا هناك يوم الجمعة بعد الصلاة حيث خرج مجموعة من المواطنين في شارع القوتلي وسط المدينة يرددون هتافات مؤيدة لدرعا وبعض المطالب المتعلقة بالحريات العامة ، لتلتقي هذه المجموعة مع تجمع اخر مؤيد للرئيس بشار الاسد والقرارات التي صدرت عنه مؤخرا، وحصل اشتباك بين الطرفين مع غياب للتواجد الامني”.

محاولة بث شائعات تحمل نفسا طائفيا

وبحسب مراسلنا هناك فقد انطلقت في هذه الاثناء شائعات تحمل نفساً طائفياً ، جعلت الكثيرين يتخوفون من حصول صدامات طائفية في المدينة.

وترافقت هذه الاحداث بأعمال “حرق لسيارتي شرطة وتكسير واجهة المصرف التجاري السوري رقم\3\مع ثلاث صرافات آلية وتكسير واجهة وسيارة مصرف التسليف الشعبي في حي القلعة”.

وافاد المراسل بان “عدد من التجار قام بحراسة محلاتهم تجنباً لاي عملية اختلاس في ظل الفوضى التي حصلت، وتكسير البنك العقاري، وعدد من زجاج السيارات، وثلاث “كولبات” في شارع ميسلون.

وتشهد المدن السورية خروج مجموعات من المواطنين في مظاهرات محدودة يرددون هتافات تتعلق بحياتهم المعاشية وقضية الحريات العامة ، قال اكثر من مسؤول سوري بانه “يتم استغلالها” ( التظاهرات ) للقيام باعمال تحريض وقتل وبث الفتنة بين المواطنين.

وقالت المستشارة الاعلامية والسياسية للرئيس بشار الاسد في لقاء متلفز ، بان حق التظاهر السلمي مكفول في الدستور السوري ولكن ليس من المسموح القيام باعمال اطلاق النار والحرق و التخريب للمباني العامة والخاصة.

يوم السبت .. ثلاثة قتلى

وبحسب مراسلنا في اللاذقية فان “مظاهرة محدودة لاتتجاوز 300 شخص خرجت السبت في حي الصليبة ، تم استغلالها من قبل البعض الذين قاموا بالانتقال الى الاحياء التي تسكنها طوائف مختلفة واخبار كل طرف ان الطرف الاخر قادم لقتله “..

الامر الذي “اثار الفزع” ، بحسب ما اشار مراسلنا ، في المدينة وتجلى هذا “بمظاهر اغلاق كافة المحال التجارية والتزام جميع المواطنين منازلهم”.

وكان مصدر من كتيبة حفظ النظام قد اكد لنا في وقت سابق بانه “اصيب في صفوف عناصره عشرة اشخاص بطلقات نارية فيما توفي مساعد اول اسمه علاء سليمان في هذه الاحداث”

واكد المصدر بانه “تلقى معلومات مشددة بعدم الرد على الاعتداءات ومنع رجال الامن من الاشتباك مع المعتدين”.

و صرح مصدر طبي بانه قتل مواطنين هما ” مصطفى بيازيد وعلي جاموس ، حيث اصيب الاول بطعنة سكين واثناء تفتشيه وجدوا زجاجة موليتوف ، اما جاموس فقد اصيب بطبق ناري من اكثر من 150م باتجاه مائل مما يدل ان اطلاق النار من الشرفات ” ، فيما اشار الى اصابة اكثر من 70 عنصر من الشرطة بجراح”

وكان مصدر مسؤول قد صرح لوكالة الانباء سانا بأن “مجموعة مسلحة احتلت أسطح أبنية في بعض أحياء مدينة اللاذقية وقامت بإطلاق النار على المارة والمواطنين وقوى الأمن” ، دون ان تشير لهوية هذه المجموعات او خلفياتها.

سيارات غريبة تجوب الشوارع وتقوم ببث الشائعات واطلاق الرصاص

وفي مشهد اخر قال مراسلنا في اللاذقية بانه “تواجد في الشوارع عشرات من الشباب دون ال 20 من العمر وقاموا بحرق الحاويات والدواليب وحرق مركز سيرتيل في منطقة الشيخضاهر وحرق باص للشرطة

واكد المراسل بانه بعد ان تم بث الكثير من الشائعات التي تحمل تحريضاً طائفياً ، فان “عدد من الشبان المدنيين يقومون حاليا بتطمين الاهالي بانه لن يتم اي اشتباك بين الاهالي” وان كل هذا “هو عبارة عن اشاعات باشاعات”

واشار المراسل بان كثير من اهالي اللاذقية الذين التقاهم من كل الطوائف يؤكدون “وجود اشخاص غرباء عن المدينة يقومون بعملية التحريض والتخريب”.

واضاف المراسل بانه ” تم القبض على اكثر من سيارة كانت تجول في المدينة وتحاول بث الفتنة واطلاق الرصاص في المدينة ، كما تم القبض على سيارتين (فان) رماديتان في منطقة معمل المعاكس محملتان بالاسلحة ” ..

ونفى المراسل ان يكون مقر حزب البعث في اللاذقية تعرض للحرق واكد بان الحركة مستقرة هناك”


2011-03-26 22:20:31
شاركنا على مواقع التواصل الاجتماعي:

March 26th, 2011, 5:08 pm


Jad said:

That is an interesting slogan.

March 26th, 2011, 5:11 pm


Syrian Nationalist Party said:

He is not going anywhere. We love him to make the changes to Syria. At worst, if foreign aided Moslems theoretically, and it is just that, because Assad can manage much more Sunni support, perhaps 80% of Sunni will be with the government. But just for intellectual exercise, will split Syria the way the Israeli-American-Saudi wanted into parts and we all brainy people will move to the coast State, the new Syria.

The rest can go to hell, gives them couple of years and they will eliminate each other when they graduate from Islamic Schools with nothing more knowledge gained than what they read in the only book they studied. In the means time, guess where all those idiots initially will be coming for Job opportunities, and weekend vacation. Later for seeking refugees status. Man, it is going to be sick watching these rag heads, men and women, polluting our café’s, museums, parks and walking only streets (no Donkey and Camel carts allowed). The good news for many is that no minarets will be in sight, just gleaming glass buildings and skin tight, spaghetti strap clad ladies attending our science and technologies based Universities, life in beautiful new Syria.

Man, it is not a bad idea come to think about it. Maybe we should stop fighting it. Maybe we are making the gravest mistake now.

March 26th, 2011, 5:24 pm


Norman said:

Does anybody here think that having Visa requirement to inter Syria for Arabs from the Gulf and other states is something Syria should seek,

March 26th, 2011, 5:38 pm


Norman said:

The first thing I would do If i were president Assad is to remove all statue of president Hafiz Assad from the streets, have a presidential library in Latakia with all the thing that were done while in office, i would also remove all the pictures of president Assad in that are in the street and keep the pictures only in the official offices,

These pictures and statues are targets in any discontent and can inflame the emotions ,

March 26th, 2011, 5:45 pm


trustquest said:

I saw this on one facebook page regarding what Ms Shaaban said today:

بيان الاستاذ هيثم المالح رقم 1 – رد على بيان بثينة شعبان Statment No 1 from Haitham Maleh in responce to Buthaina Shaaban
English Translation is available at the bottom قول على قول استمعت إلى السيدة بثينة شعبان وهي تتلو بيانا حكوميا في مؤتمرها الصحفي. ما ورد في البيان الحكومي غير زيادة الرواتب (وهي غير ذات قيمة)إنما هو ما سوف تفعله السلطة في المستقبل. بعد خمسين عاما من الأنظمة الاستبدادية الشمولية آن الأوان لاتخاذ قرارات حاسمة ،ومن هنا فأننا لم نسمع في بيان السيدة شعبان أي كلام حول إلغاء القانون 49 لعام 1980 والمخالف للدستور ولقانون العقوبات والذي أسس لارتكاب مجازر ،وكذلك المادة 16 من المرسوم 14 لعام 1969 والذي يحّصن العاملين في أجهزة أمن الدولة من المساءلة القانونية حين ارتكابهم جرائم . كما لم نسمع أي قول حول طي الملفات العالقة منذ حكم الرئيس الراحل حافظ الأسد في ثمانينات القرن الماضي منها ملف المفقودين في أحداث حماه وحلب وتدمر ،وملف الدور المصادرة وهي بالآلاف ،وملف السوريين الموجودين خارج سوريا والممنوعين من العودة إليها. إن الحالة القائمة في سوريا تقتضي من الرئيس نفسه أن يظهر على شاشة التلفاز وأن يخاطب الشعب خطابا شفافا وواضحا ويقدم لهم القرارات التي تلبي مطالبهم التي قدمت منها مثالا إضافة إلى إلغاء حالة الطوارئ والتي تدخل في صلاحيتها بمقتضى الدستور وأن يقدم مشروعاً مستعجلا إلى مجلس الشعب لتعديل الدستور وإلغاء المادة الثامنة منه كما إلغاء القوانين المخافة له والتي ذكرتها آنفا. إن الظروف التي تم فيها بلادنا تقتضي منا جميعا من كان في السلطة أو معها أو كان من معارضيها أن لا نلجأ إلى الاستفزاز واستعمال أساليب البلطجة أو إثارة النعرات الأثنية أو الطائفية ومن هنا فأنني أهيب بالجميع أن يكونوا منضبطين سواء في حالة المطالبة بالإصلاحات أو في حالة محاولة السلطة كبح جماح المتظاهرين . إن الزمن عمل حاسم في تهدئة الأوضاع أو جعلها تنفجر ومن هنا فأن مسؤولية السلطة مسؤولية كبيرة تدفعها لإنفاذ القرارات الحاسمة إشعارا للمواطنين بمصداقيتها. والله أسأل أن يسدد خطانا جميعا لما فيه خير البلاد والعباد وإلى لقاء آخر . المحامي هيثم المالح دمشق 26 اذار 2011 A few words about what was said: I listened to Ms. Shaaban reading out a government statement at a press conference. Other than announcing a paltry increase in salaries, the government’s statement contains little else but more promises of what the authorities would like to do in the future. After fifty years of totalitarian dictatorship regime, it is time to take critical decisions. We do not hear, in the statement read by Ms. Shaaban, any talk about the abolition of Law 49 of 1980. This law contradicts the Constitution and the Penal Code, and was established to commit massacres. Nor do we hear anything about repealing Article 16 of Decree 14 of 1969, which protects officers in the organs of the state security from any legal liability when committing crimes. We also hear not a word about the closure of outstanding issues since the reign of the late President Hafez al-Assad in the eighties of the last century. Nothing about the cases of those disappeared since the events of Hama, Aleppo and Palmyra; the issue of thousands of properties’ confiscated; and the problem of exiled Syrians outside Syria who are barred from returning to it. The situation in Syria requires the President himself to appear on the screen of the television and to address the people clearly and transparently with a speech that provides them with decisions addressing their pressing demands. These are: lifting the state of emergency, and to submit quickly to the Parliament constitutional amendments, which should include the abolition of Article VIII, and the repeal of all laws in contradiction of the constitution, as the ones I mentioned earlier. The circumstances which our country faces require all of us, those who are in power and those who are in the opposition, not to resort to provocation and to the use of thuggery, not to incite ethnic or sectarian division. Here I urge everyone to be disciplined both in the case of those demanding reforms and in the case of those in the authorities attempting to rein over the protesters. We are in a decisive moment, a moment that could calm the situation or make it explode. Hence there is heavy responsibility on the authorities for the enforcement of critical resolutions to restore its credibility before the citizens. We ask God to guide our steps all for the good of the country and people until we meet again. Lawyer Haitham Maleh Damascus, March 26th, 2011
Haitham Maleh

March 26th, 2011, 6:03 pm


NK said:

I’m not sure about the visas, Syria was always proud of this law, and such a change will surely have an effect on tourism, and it requires a prolonged study as it will entail an overhaul to the immigration law, it’s for sure not the time for such reform though.

March 26th, 2011, 6:11 pm


Norman said:

Syria does not have to change immigration this is just administrative The Gulf state require Visas from Syrians , Syria can treat them the same way.

March 26th, 2011, 7:55 pm


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