News Round Up (1 June 2011)

Hamza al-Khatib’s death has become a rallying point for anti-government protesters. In France philosopher Bernard Henri Levy has written to Le Monde about the need to save Syria. Australia’s foreign Minister is insisting that Assad “should be tried.” In the US, every TV station has taken up the subject of what should be done. Andrew Sullivan posted this story on his blog,
which a Syrian friend studying in Europe sent to me. He writes:
It breaks my heart that so many members of my family back in Syria are pro-regime. As Christians and middle/upper middle class, they have much to lose if the government is destabilized. But how can you sit by when this kind of evil is perpetuated in your name? Its just awful.
The Syrian government has made a half-hearted attempt to defend itself by arguing that there was no torture and that that the mutilated body was a result of natural decomposition because it had been unidentified for a month. “There are no marks on the surface of the body that show violence, resistance or torture,” claimed a state coroner.  State TV said the teenager’s father and family were invited to meet President Assad, and they were quoted as saying he “engulfed us with his kindness and graciousness”. A man who identified himself as Hamza’s father said: “The president considered Hamza his own son and was deeply affected.”
Syria’s problem is that torture has been endemic in its prisons. Who is likely to believe government testimony? Here is the Human rights Watch report on Deraa.

Ali Farzat

“We’ve Never Seen Such Horror”
Crimes against Humanity by Syrian Security Forces
June 1, 2011 This 54-page report is based on more than 50 interviews with victims and witnesses to abuses. The report focuses on violations in Daraa governorate, where some of the worst violence took place after protests seeking greater freedoms began in various parts of the country.

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad ‘should be tried’, Australia’s foreign minister says.

Hamza al-Khatib Hamza al-Khatib’s death has become a rallying point for anti-government protesters. Kevin Rudd said incidents such as the alleged torture and murder of a 13-year-old boy by security forces had robbed Mr Assad of any legitimacy.

President Assad invited the boy’s family to meet him and promised an inquiry, state television said. Hamza is also being called a martyr by the Syrian authorities……

State TV said the teenager’s father and family were invited to meet President Assad, and they were quoted as saying he “engulfed us with his kindness and graciousness”. A man who identified himself as Hamza’s father said: “The president considered Hamza his own son and was deeply affected.”

The boy went missing after a demonstration at an army barracks near Deraa in the south at the end of April. Activists say he was captured and tortured to death, and that his mutilated body was handed back to his family four weeks later.

The government says he received three fatal gunshot wounds during the protest and died on the spot, but there was a delay in handing over his body because he was not identified. Syrian state TV aired a programme about the teenager on Tuesday night in which a judge said death was due to “a number of bullet wounds without any indication of torture or beating on the body”. Coroner Akram al-Shaar blamed the state of the body on decomposition, adding: “There are no marks on the surface of the body that show violence, resistance or torture.”

DJ US Clinton: Syrian Regime ‘Less Tenable’ Every Day

WASHINGTON (AFP)–U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday that Syrian President Bashar al Assad “has not engaged seriously in any kind of reform efforts. Every day that goes by, the position of the government becomes less tenable and the demands of the Syrian people for change only grow stronger,” the chief U.S. diplomat said.

Syrian businessmen back opposition conference: Inclusion of business community at conference in Turkey shows cracks in its support for President Bashar al-Assad
Lauren Williams in Beirut, Monday 30 May 2011 16.30 BST

Opposition figures are gathering in Turkey to debate how they can break the rule of the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad. Photograph: Benoit Tessier/Reuters

Key business figures in Syria are aligning themselves with opposition groups before a conference in Turkey on Tuesday in a sign that Syria’s traditionally pro-regime business elite may be beginning to break ranks with the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

About 300 opposition figures are expected to arrive in Antalya, southern Turkey, for the three-day Syrian Conference for Change, designed to establish dialogue between opposition groups with a view to establishing a transitional council.

However, as a bloody crackdown against anti-regime protests continued, with Syrian activists reporting troops had bombarded a town in the central province of Homs with artillery on Sunday, it is clear sharp divisions exist among the fledgling opposition.

Until now, the Syrian uprising has largely manifested itself at street level with support from activists abroad as disaffected and marginalised classes call for personal freedoms and an end to corruption and poverty at the hands of the elite.

Organised by the Egypt-based National Organisation for Human Rights, the Turkey conference is being privately funded by three Syrian businessmen – Ali and Wassim Sanqar, brothers who are luxury car distributors based in Damascus, and Ammar Qurabi, chairman of the national organisation and UAE-based satellite channel Orient TV.

Orient TV’s Damascus bureau was closed after a bid to forcefully buy out the channel by the president’s cousin Rami Makhlouf, who is on the US sanctions list and controls an estimated 60% of the Syrian economy through stakes in various companies.

The Sanqar brothers also ran up against Makhlouf when a law was changed allowing him to acquire sole distribution rights for their company’s lucrative Mercedes dealership.

The Sanqar brothers declined to comment on their role at the conference, but Ammar Abdulhamid, the exiled Syrian dissident and head of the Washington-based Tharwa Foundation, said the inclusion of business personalities was “a significant development”.

“We have a number of other businessmen and entrepreneurs here. The business community is slowly coming around to realising the need to support the future of Syria,” he said.

On the eve of the conference, divisions were apparent. Organisers admitted they were rushed. Others, while calling for unity, privately complained of inadequate planning and consultation. Kurdish groups are boycotting the conference.

In London, an exiled nephew of the president claimed the conference was a front for Islamist extremism. Ribal al-Assad, head of the London-based Organisation for Democracy and Change, announced he would hold an alternative conference based on “freedom, democracy and religious pluralism”.

The son of Rifat al-Assad, who led the 1982 Hama massacre of up to 20,000 people following an uprising by the Muslim Brotherhood, has attracted the ire of dissidents after failing to acknowledge his father’s role in the siege.

“I can assure you that none of these people represents the Syrian opposition,” he said. “They are individuals that only represent themselves.”

He said some former brotherhood members were posing as moderates.

Long suspected of holding political ambitions, Assad said his only personal role was to “play a small part in bringing freedom, democracy and human rights to my country”.

A pro-democracy activist and organiser, Radwan Ziadeh from the National Initiative for Change, denied the claims, saying the conference represented both secular and moderate Islamic groups.

But he acknowledged the need for religious Syrian society to be present. “We know Syrian society is very conservative. Moderate Muslims must be present.”

He said leadership alternatives in Syria had been repressed. “Everyone knows that the Syrian uprising is leaderless. We need to establish some sort of balance to move ahead.

“The intended outcome is for a united opposition established on the principles of greater co-ordination inside and outside Syria.”

He stressed that although Turkey sanctioned the conference, no state representatives would be present but said that any party formed should seek assistance from the Arab League and other international organisations.

“We can divide the cake later on, for now the focus is on the humanitarian issue in putting pressure on regime that has killed over 1,100 people and detained more than 11,000.”

Turkish policy towards Kurds leads to boycott of Antalya Conference by Kurdish parties in Syria
May 30, 2011 – SKS

Patrick Seal said on BBC today that the conference in Anatalya is to find leaders who can move into discussions with Bashar al-Assad. Watching the hundreds of refugees pouring from Syria across the northern border of Lebanon, the Turkish government is now so fearful of a repeat of the great mass Iraqi Kurdish refugee tide that overwhelmed their border in the aftermath of the 1991 Gulf war that it has drawn up its own secret plans to prevent the Kurds of Syria moving in their thousands into the Kurdish areas of south-eastern Turkey….

In an article published in Asharq al-Awsat, a group comprised of 12 Kurdish political parties in Syria (National Movement of Kurdish Parties in Syria) announced that they intend to boycott the opposition summit. The group stated that ‘any such meeting held in Turkey can only be a detriment to the Kurds in Syria, because Turkey is against the aspirations of the Kurds, not just with regards to northern Kurdistan, but in all four parts of Kurdistan, including the Kurdish region of Syria.’…

Kado stressed that ‘we, the Kurds in Syria, do not trust Turkey or its policies, and that is why we have decided to boycott the summit.’ Kado also said part of the reason for the boycott was the attendance of the Muslim Brotherhood.

But other reasons have also surfaced. Two weeks ago the National Movement of Kurdish Parties in Syria announced its own plan to resolve the current crisis in Syria. The Kurdish initiative, which outlined a comprehensive plan for democratic change and fundamental reform at all levels, was largely ignored by non-Kurdish groups.

Abdul Baqi Youssef, a leading member of the Kurdish Yekîtî Party in Syria, told AKNews that they do not know who supports this conference or what its goals are. Nor, he said, did the conference organisers make any contact with the Kurdish Movement during the preparations for the conference.

This feeling of lack of inclusion in the process and not receiving any support from other opposition groups in Syria on its own proposal could also be contributing factors in the decision not to attend the Antalya summit….

Kurds are not the only ones sceptical of the conference. Ribal al-Assad, the Director of the Organisation for Democracy and Freedom in Syria and cousin of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has criticised some of the ‘Syrian opposition’ involved in the proposed meeting for not being genuine representatives of the Syrian people and called for the ‘evil agenda’ of the conference to be ‘exposed to the international community.’ He says that ‘[a]ny meeting of the Syrian opposition must include a broad coalition of groups that genuinely believe in freedom, democracy, and religious pluralism.’….

Syrian activists said to oppose conference in Turkey – mideastwire

On May 27, the Saudi owned Elaph website carried the following report: “A group of Syrian activists issued a statement where they rejected the conference that the Syrian opposition factions had called for holding in Turkey on May 31. They also rejected that any other conferences that could be held outside Syria in order to discuss the internal situation.

“The statement that was launched by civil activist, Bassam al-Kadi, and that was carried over the Internet read: “Any conference held outside Syria is rejected on our part… It does not represent any one of us and it rather constitutes a violation of the rights of all the Syrian people…” The statement also categorically rejected all the so-called dealers with foreign countries, in addition to rejecting these conferences and their participants…

“The Journalist and Civil Activist, Bassam Al-Kadi, told Elaph that the Syrians who came up with this statement and those who signed it are aspiring for a “free, democratic, safe, and stable” Syria. He added that they oppose the idea of an external interference. He added: “The people are the ones who always pay the price rather than the regimes. We reject the transformation of some well-known figures to “democratic fighters” in the name of the Syrians. We reject all the talk on the presence of some sides that represent the Syrian people or some of them.”

“…And concerning the expected conference of the opposition in Antalia, Al-Kadi revealed that one of the objectives of this conference is to deal with foreign countries, no matter who these countries are. He added that…the conference organizers are trying to take advantage of the rebelling youths in the streets today. He told Elaph: “We have seen and heard this scenario before and we have witnessed its results in Libya.” …Al-Kadi also spoke about the Syrian media and held it responsible for 60 percent of the problems that are currently taking place on the Syrian arena. He said: “The Syrian media has failed miserably during the past two months.”….

Iraq to help curb threat to Syria from border, AP,  06/01/2011

BAGHDAD—Iraq says it is working to curb weapons smuggling into Syria across the two nations’ border as the Assad regime struggles with violent demonstrations against its government.  Iraq long has accused Syria of turning a blind eye to al-Qaida weapons and fighters streaming across its northern border to assist Iraq’s Sunni-led insurgency. But Syria now says deadly traffic is coming from Iraq. Iraqi spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said Wednesday that security committees are looking to prevent any trafficking of weapons and militants between the two countries. He acknowledged “infiltrators from both sides”—an unusual admission by Baghdad that Iraqi fighters are hurting Syria’s security.

الوطن | على وقع ثلاث ساعات من النقاش الحر والنقد الذاتي مع كوادر جامعة دمشق…بخيتان: آليات الحوار الوطني ستعلن خلال 48 ساعة.. وعفو قريب

Al-Watan writes that  the government has decided to

1. Not remove article #8 (establishing the Baath Party as the ruling party) from the constitution for now, it is up to the next elected parliament to modify the constitution… “if you defeat us during those elections, then go ahead and modify it”

2. The role of the Baath is to monitor not to govern anymore… etc

3. There are 2.8 million Baath party members.

4.  Within 48 hours .. general amnesty!

A Third Way on Syria Is Still Possible
by Nicholas Noe in HuffPost: Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Beirut — In yet another incredibly dangerous turn in the Middle East, “liberal interventionists” are once again joining forces with “hawkish” neoconservative voices to advocate for the collapse of the Syrian regime — sooner rather than later

Unlike in the run-up to the disastrous Iraq War, however, this Neo-LiberalCon consensus is gaining the advantage with seemingly few, if any, credible alternatives posed, save for a weak attempt by the Obama administration to pose a “grand bargain” for the Syrian regime that really boils down to four not-so-grand words: “reform or die fighting.”….

Syrian Army Uses Helicopters in Crackdown Against Protesters, By Massoud A. Derhally May 29 (Bloomberg) —

Syrian army helicopters fired on anti-government demonstrators today as government forces continued a crackdown on protests that began in mid-March. Helicopters fired on people in the towns of Talbiseh and Rastan, injuring at least 16, said Ammar Qurabi, head of Syria’s National Organization for Human Rights. Al Jazeera news channel reported at least two protesters were killed in Rastan. At least seven civilians were killed in the nearby city of Homs, including a woman and a child, Qurabi said. A securityofficer was also killed Homs, where government forces aren’t allowing anyone in or out of the city, Qurabi said.

The endgame for Syria’s bloody junta: Damascus gambles on international vacillation. But the people know their heroism will win the day
Burhan Ghalioun, Monday 30 May 2011

As part of the democratic revolution that has swept the Arab world, Syria’s youth ignited a popular uprising on 15 March that has significantly altered the political landscape. It has also added a bright new page to the history of the Syrian people complementing previous uprisings for national liberation and independence. Events since have revealed two fundamental truths. First, the failure of the current regime to formulate a serious plan for reform that goes beyond a cosmetic overhaul of the existing system; the reinforcement of its self-seclusion and its political and intellectual stagnation. Second, the Syrian people’s intention to persist in their struggle until they achieve their demands for freedom and the establishment of a democratic authority of their choosing – whatever the cost.

One of the characteristics of the regime’s impotence is that it has substituted the necessary discourse on reform with an increasing use of violence, intimidation and torture in areas where the citizens have expressed an undaunted will to continue in their opposition to the existing system….

It is paramount that we act swiftly and decisively to erode and completely isolate the Syrian regime – until it is compelled to lay down the tools of excessive violence it is using against the peaceful protesters and opens up serious channels of negotiation under Arab or international auspices. This must be done with a view to abandoning the current formula for rule that is predicated on the monopolisation of power, corruption and a brutal security apparatus. It must be done with a view to moving towards a multiparty democratic system that guarantees the rights of all Syrians and ensures their freedoms and the future of their children…..

AP: Armed residents put up resistance to Syrian army

Residents armed with automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenades put up fierce resistance, activists said. State media said four soldiers were killed.

Most of the opposition to autocratic President Bashar Assad has taken the form of peaceful protests by unarmed demonstrators, though authorities have claimed throughout the uprising that it was being led by armed gangs and propelled by foreign conspiracies.

Two activists in the area said residents of two towns under attack in central Homs province since Sunday had taken up arms against troops and members of the security forces.

He said many people are armed in Syria and over the past years weapons have been smuggled into the country from Lebanon and Iraq.

Monday’s accounts by the two activists, however, were the first credible reports of serious resistance by people who have taken up arms. It is not clear how widespread such resistance might be elsewhere in the country, but the government has claimed that more than 150 soldiers and policemen have been killed since the unrest began.

Year 2010 was hardest on Christians in Iraq

Food prices ‘will double by 2030’, Oxfam warns

Medvedev: Russia Won’t Support Anti-Syria Resolution at UN

May 18, 2011Here are two interesting articles from Friday’s Arabic papers, via Mideast-wire. I wonder, who are the ‘youths’ that have been meeting Assad and will now organize ‘dialogue conferences’?

There is a growing sense among Syria experts that change is inevitable. At least, that was the mood among analysts gathered for a recent discussion at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Tamara Wittes, the deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, represented the U.S. government there.

The I.A.E.A. and Syria, By BENNETT RAMBERG,  Published: May 31, 2011, NYTimes

At its meeting next week, the I.A.E.A. board of governors must decide whether to formally declare Syria in noncompliance with the nonproliferation treaty. Doing so will place the matter before the U.N. Security Council, opening the way for sanctions.

Change Appears Inevitable In Syria, Analysts Say
by Michele Kelemen

In Washington, there is a growing sense that Assad’s rule is coming to an end.

So far, the U.S. and its partners have been unable to get the Security Council to condemn the violence. The resolution under consideration was drafted by Britain and other countries, but diplomats are trying to persuade Russia not to block it…..

“One way or another, change is coming. And it’s very important for us, all of us, therefore, to focus on how that’s going to happen. Because how it happens is as important — in fact, in some ways at this point, more important — than when. Change is inevitable,” Wittes said.

U.S. Strategy

So the U.S. needs to start making plans, says Andrew Tabler of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

“The U.S. has to think about a strategy for bringing about what kind of government it would like to see in Syria after the Assads go,” Tabler says.

AP Exclusive: Syria Says It Will Cooperate on Nuclear Probe But US Pushes for UN Referral

NEW YORK — In a major turnaround, Syria is pledging full cooperation with U.N. attempts to probe strong evidence that it secretly built a reactor that could have been used to make nuclear arms, according to a confidential document shared with The Associated Press on Sunday.

If Syria fulfills its promise, the move would end three years of stonewalling by Damascus of the International Atomic Energy. Since 2008, the agency has tried in vain to follow up on strong evidence that a target bombed in 2007 by Israeli warplanes was a nearly built nuclear reactor that would have produced plutonium once active.

Syria’s sudden readiness to cooperate seems to be an attempt at derailing U.S.-led attempts to have Damascus referred to the U.N. Security Council amid already strong international pressure on the Syrian leadership to end its crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators.

The gap between the lending rates and the borrowing rates for banks will be compensated by other emergency measures of the Central Bank. I read this in SANA.

‘Perfect storm’ looms for world’s food supplies Posted: 31 May 2011 07:01 AM PDT AFP reports: Oxfam called on Tuesday for an overhaul of the world’s food system, warning that in a couple of decades, millions more people would be gripped by hunger due to population growth and climate-hit harvests. A “broken food system” means that the price of some staples will more than double by 2030, battering the world’s poorest […]

Egyptian general admits ‘virginity checks’ conducted on protesters Posted: 31 May 2011 10:00 AM PDT CNN reports: A senior Egyptian general admits that “virginity checks” were performed on women arrested at a demonstration this spring, the first such admission after previous denials by military authorities. The allegations arose in an Amnesty International report, published weeks after the March 9 protest. It claimed female demonstrators were beaten, given electric shocks, strip-searched, threatened with […]

Walker’s World: Money and the Arab Spring
May 31, 2011By MARTIN WALKER, UPI Editor Emeritus

PARIS, May 31 (UPI) — The Group of Eight summit exposed not only the financial weakness of the old industrial powers when faced with the challenge of the Arab Spring but also the crisis in its Middle Eastern alliances that is forcing the United States to choose between its immediate interests and its values.

On the face of it, all seemed generosity as the G8 leaders announced that some $20 billion would be available over the next three years to support new democratic governments of North Africa. However, the money won’t come directly from the indebted G8 members but from international institutions like the World Bank and the European Investment Bank. And the small print of who was to pay for what and how was left vague.

This sounds like serious money but the International Monetary Fund estimates that eight times as much — some $160 billion — is needed as the fledgling new governments in Egypt and Tunisia grapple with a collapse of their tourist trade, strikes and soaring food and import prices. Egypt’s bread subsidies, which the government cannot afford but dare not remove, could alone swallow the money that G8 mentioned……

There is a kind of collective guilt hanging over the G8, the knowledge that two decades ago their predecessors did a wretched job of helping Mikhail Gorbachev’s perestroika to modernize the old Soviet Union and an even worse one of helping steer Boris Yeltsin’s Russia to prosperity and democratic stability.

That sense of historic guilt is compounded by the worrying suspicion that democracy may not the best route to prosperity for countries emerging from dictatorships. Few say it out loud, but the Chinese example of economic success and political autocracy is a potent one.

And most of the Asian tigers like Taiwan and South Korea went through a phase of dictatorship while building the economic base from which they later introduced democratic reforms. In the case of Egypt and Tunisia, there is the further concern that democracy may well empower Islamic parties.

This is the argument that Saudi officials have been making for years, long before the revolution in Tunisia. They tried to warn U.S. President Barack Obama’s predecessor, George W Bush, that the neo-con “democratization” project for the Middle East after the invasion of Iraq would either fail, empower Iran or breed the wrong kind of Islamic governments.

Comments (40)

Souri-Amreki said:

A Lebanese friend told me that what Al-Mukabarat is doing in Syria is less than 50% of what they did in Lebanon! He mentioned to me how several people were “taken away” and if their parents will dare to go the Syrian checkpoint to ask about them, they will be humiliated and sent back to their homes with a warning: “If you open your mouth, you will not know what will happen to you!” If they want to arrest someone and they cannot find him, they will take his parents or they will camp in front of the house until he will show up! And yes, several women were raped!!! The Mukhabarat used to interfere in almost every matter!

When I heard that, I said to myself: “I don’t think the Syrian Al-mukhabarat will do that to fellow Syrians” but when I saw on youtube what is happening in my beloved Syria, I believed him! The Lebanese were under the control of the Syrian “shabiha” for more than 25 years and the “Shabiha” got the experience and are practicing it on my fellow Syrian citizens!

The Lebanese finally got rid of them after the assassination of Rafic Hariri and I hope that we will get rid of them from Syria and probably Hamza al-Khatib’s death will be the trigger to do that and get rid of the dictator and his family too!

June 1st, 2011, 12:25 pm


Observer said:

My questions that I posted before remain the same:
Is there a discernible strategy in the regime’s handling of the unrest?
Are there any real economic measures that the regime can resort to to prevent a complete collapse of the economy?
Are there any diplomatic venues the regime can rely on besides Iran and the lukewarm support of Russia ( bound to be coerced or bribed into abstention )?
Does any one have an idea of who is really in charge; is Bashar just a figure head or is he a willing member of the repression? Does his decrees have any power or meaning?

Thank you for your responses in advance and I am hoping the comments would remain as objective and dispassionate as possible

June 1st, 2011, 12:29 pm


Nour said:

It has been pretty convincingly established that Hamza Al Khatib was not tortured before he died as a result of gunshot wounds. It is therefore unfortunate that someone like Prof Landis would continue to peddle this criminal propaganda, when he knows full well that this is nothing but cheap propaganda aimed at garnering support for increased “international” pressure on Syria.

June 1st, 2011, 12:34 pm


Solitarius said:

So pardon me but I haven’t been able to follow up with the events lately, but what is the official Syrian position on AlKhatib? How did you establish that he wasn’t tortured and who mutilated his body then?

June 1st, 2011, 12:39 pm


why-discuss said:

Syrian Kurdish Parties Boycott Syrian Opposition Conference in Antalya, Turkey

“Inclusion of business community at conference in Turkey shows cracks in its support for President Bashar al-Assad” Guardian

What about the opposition cracks…
Human rights includes Syrian ‘businessmen’ hyenas… The aftermath of Bashar Al Assad sound promising..

June 1st, 2011, 12:40 pm


why-discuss said:


I don’t know why you ask these questions when you already know the answers: No, No, No

The governement has announced the release of the political prisonners in a whim, or because as Shami mentions it , because Bashar has ran out of pocket money.

The economical venues are not yet as dire as the US governement billions of debts, or Lebanon 40 billions, so no rush

There is no country openly supporting Syria struggle now, but I am sure there are many that are silent now and not opening their cards yet, waiting to see how the west will handle the mess of Libya, Yemen and the looming ones in Egypt. It does not look it will be soon though.

June 1st, 2011, 12:51 pm


jad said:

Dear Dr. Landis,
I’m going to ask you again because I believe the amnesty is a good step forward as was the removing of the emergency state as well as removing the special courts, those steps are not ‘NOTHING’ they are the base of ‘SOMETHING’, releasing thousands of political prisoners to their families after years in prison for stating their opinion shouldn’t be thrown out the window and dismissed like that, it’s about helping to close part of this sad page of our history, I don’t care about those oppositions living at large in the west and mumbling whatever they want without thinking of the people in the streets of Syria, releasing thousands of political prisoners who many of them did nothing is a good move and whoever ignore it, is blind.

“Dr. Landis,
“This move isn’t really designed to impress the opposition as much as it’s designed to impress regime loyalists.”

Actually it didn’t at all, the hardcore Asad loyalist as well as Baathists and many average Syrians on FB are so angry over this decision, could you please explain where did you get this impression from?

“Almost everyone believes reform is impossible”
Who do you mean when you use everyone? Without any hope as you imply, we should go directly to ‘Iraq’ like state why to even bother trying.

I’m surprised of this extremely negative reaction from you Dr. Landis.”

Please give these two articles some attention:

Thank you.

June 1st, 2011, 1:09 pm


jad said:

Are those Syrians going out of prison also ‘NOTHING’ and MEANINGLESS”:

السلطات السورية تفرج عن مجموعة من المعتقلين السياسيين
(AFP) – ٢٨‏/٠٩‏/٢٠١٠
دمشق (ا ف ب) – افادت منظمات حقوقية سورية في بيان الثلاثاء بان السلطات السورية افرجت في اليومين الماضيين عن مجموعة من المعتقين السياسيين من سجن صيدنايا العسكري، بينهم ماهر احمد خرنبيق الذي امضى 27 عاما في السجن.
وذكر البيان ان “السلطات السورية قامت في اليومين الماضيين بالافراج عن مجموعة من المعتقلين السياسيين من سجن صيدنايا العسكري والذين امضى معظمهم سنوات طويلة في السجون السورية”.
واشار البيان الى ان مصادر هذه المنظمات “لم تتمكن من معرفة اسماء المفرج عنهم وعددهم باستثناء المواطن السوري ماهر احمد خرنبيق الذي امضى 27 عاما في السجن”.
وطالبت هذه المنظمات التي عبرت عن “ارتياحها لهذه الخطوة”, السلطات السورية القيام “بالمزيد من الاجراءات باتجاه احترام وتعزيز حقوق الانسان في سوريا عبر الافراج عن كافة المعتقلين السياسيين …والعمل على كشف مصير العديد من المعتقلين”.
والمنظمات الموقعة هي الرابطة السورية للدفاع عن حقوق الانسان والمرصد السوري لحقوق الانسان والمنظمة العربية للاصلاح الجنائي في سوريا والمركز السوري لمساعدة السجناء.
وفي هذا السياق، جددت المنظمات في البيان “مطالبتها للحكومة السورية بضرورة الكشف عن مصير المهندس نزار رستناوي الذي لا يزال ضحية للاختفاء القسري مع مجموعة من المعتقلين بعد الاحداث الدامية التي شهدها سجن صيدنايا”.
وشهد سجن صيدنايا العسكري (شمال دمشق) الذي يعد من اكبر السجون في سوريا ومخصص لايواء السجناء السياسيين بالاضافة الى سجناء الحق العام، عصيانا بتاريخ 5 تموز/يوليو 2008 قتل فيه 25 سجينا على الاقل، بحسب المرصد السوري لحقوق الانسان.
واكدت السلطات التي لم تفصح عن المحصلة النهائية للضحايا، حينها ان “عددا من المساجين المحكومين بجرائم التطرف والارهاب اقدموا على اثارة الفوضى والاخلال بالنظام العام واعتدوا على زملائهم”.
وكانت اللجنة السورية لحقوق الانسان اصدرت بيانا في شباط/فبراير 2010 اعلنت فيه ان رستناوي (50 سنة) “اعتقل في نيسان/ابريل 2005 لدى عودته بسيارته الخاصة الى منزله في قرية مورك (محافظة حماة)”
وتابع البيان ان حكما بالسجن لمدة اربع سنوات صدر بحق رستناوي في نيسان/ابريل 2006، بتهم نشر اخبار كاذبة وتحقير رئيس الجمهورية، ونقل إلى سجن صيدنايا العسكري. وعندما انتهت فترة اعتقاله في 18/4/2009 لم يفرج عنه ولم تعلم أسرته بمصيره”.

June 1st, 2011, 1:27 pm


jad said:

الأحزاب الكردية السورية للشباب الكردي لا تخرجوا في التظاهرات تجاوزتم الخطوط الحمراء

كشف مصدر كردي سوري لصحيفة الراية القطرية أن عددا من الأحزاب الكردية السورية عقدت اجتماعا قبيل تنظيم مظاهرات، جمعة حماة الديار، وطلبت من أعضائها ومؤيديها عدم الخروج في تلك المظاهرات، محذرة الشباب الكردي بأنهم تجاوزوا الخطوط الحمراء.
ولفت المصدر إلى أن الاجتماع عقد في الساعة 11 قبل ظهر الخميس الماضي بين عدد من الأحزاب الكردية والشباب الكردي في قاعة نور الدين ظاظا مكتب عبد الحميد درويش في مدينة القامشلي، مشيراً الى أن تلك الأحزاب أبلغت الشباب الكردي بشكل حازم بعدم الخروج في مظاهرة يوم الجمعة والتي سميت جمعة حماة الديار وطالبتهم بعدم رفع شعارات إسقاط النظام، واختيار يوم آخر غير يوم الجمعة لتنظيم المظاهرات الكردية.
ولفت المصدر إلى أن “موقف هذه الأحزاب من مؤتمر أنطالية وكذلك من تهدئة الشارع الكردي يبدو أنه جاء بعد تلقيهم لبعض التجاوب من قبل السلطة مع بعض القيادات الكردية فيما يخص مبادرتهم”، لافتاً الى أن “الحركة الكردية منعت ممثليها من حضور مؤتمر أنطالية، وكذلك دعت الشباب بعدم الخروج في جمعة حماة الديار .

June 1st, 2011, 1:48 pm


jad said:

The anti-conference Syrians protesting is Antalya

السوريون يتوافدون الى أنطالية

June 1st, 2011, 2:19 pm


Observer said:

I do not know the answers and there may be new elements that people know and can contribute to.

I am very very pessimistic for Syria on the short term and when I notice that some on this blog have adopted the narrative of the regime regarding the young boy killed recently even before a local or an international board of inquiry has any conclusions; and with reports of the President offering condolences without assuming responsibility for what is happening is really saddening and discouraging as I see no real dialogue.

I am a big proponent of any resistance to ME hegemony by the Zionist ideology but I am also convinced more than ever that the greatest asset that the region has and in far more importance and wealth than all of the resources and the ideologies and the rethoric is the talent and resilience and perserverance and entrepreunership of the people of the region whon continue to amaze and inspire. It is a huge shame that the last 50 years have seen the squandering of two generations of talent and potential.
The hole is huge but the people will dig themselves out of it certainly without these sclerotic and archaic regimes.


June 1st, 2011, 2:23 pm


democracynow said:

Bassam Al Kadi is a hypocrite. His selective sense of human rights is one that suits the regime and doesn’t acknowledge the existence of any real opposition.

What’s his problem with the location of the conference? Does he really not know what would be the fate of the participants should they decide to hold the conference in Damascus?

Why doesn’t he initiate a parallel conference that reflects the aspirations of the protesting masses instead of whining about the exploitation of the events in Syria etc?

You know… lighting a candle is better and all that.

June 1st, 2011, 3:07 pm


Sophia said:

# 13 Democracy now,

Mr. El Kadi knows best. Have you been in Syrian prisons as a political prisoner? NO. I think that gives him moral authority over anybody who criticises him on this specific subject.

June 1st, 2011, 3:39 pm


daleandersen said:

“Saudi officials, long before the revolution in Tunisia, tried to warn U.S. President Barack Obama’s predecessor, George W Bush, that the neo-con “democratization” project for the Middle East after the invasion of Iraq would either fail, empower Iran or breed the wrong kind of Islamic governments…”

Well, of course the Saudis did. What do you expect from the fattest pigs at the trough? The last thing those creaky old men in Riyadh want is “democracy” in the region or the “wrong kind” of Islamic governments.

As for Iran, the returns aren’t in yet, but all in all, it looks like a rough road ahead. In the immediate past, Iran has used diplomacy, espionage and proxy wars (Hamas and Hizbollah) to promote its agenda. Now, with this Syrian thing, Iran may have to send in the troops to prop up a tottering regime, just like the USSR did in 1979. Syria could be Iran’s Afghanistan.

So strap yourselves in, boys and girls. Looks like it might be a wild ride.

June 1st, 2011, 3:50 pm


Sophia said:

# 15 Daleandersen,

“Syria could be Iran’s Afghanistan.

So strap yourselves in, boys and girls. Looks like it might be a wild ride.”

I am sure Syrians on this blog will love you for this. How contemptuous the west is when it comes to Arab lives.

June 1st, 2011, 3:55 pm


AIG said:


Are you for a UN inquiry into what happened in Daraa?
Why are you evading this simple question?

June 1st, 2011, 4:07 pm


Observer said:

I have heard from two different sources that there are significant dissensions within the ranks of the regime. One is that many of the Alawi community want to dissociate themselves from the Assad clan as they feel that in this day and age of wide open documentation of what is happening they will be lumped together with the regime and end up losing big time. The other is that there are very hard core elements that want to carry the repression much further and wider and deeper and they are immune to discussion or reason and therein lies the shifting right and left of the regime in its chaotic response.

I am sorry that the emotions on this blog seem to be so high that I only read attacks and counterattacks without real substance.

June 1st, 2011, 4:14 pm


jad said:

“How contemptuous the west is when it comes to Arab lives.”
Isn’t that the norm for the last 100s of years…nothing good can come from the political/military west toward any ‘colored’ society.
The west since Rome’s times proved to be the ultimate killer of humanity, even the west religious conversion to Christianity was for political reasons, mark my word the political west will sooner or later convert to Islam not out of believes but out of political gains and as a way to revive it’s culture. God for the political west is nothing but a mean to rule.

Tell us what you personally did to Syria comparing to Mr. Alkadi before you calling him a hypocrite.
I liked this sentence from you “lighting a candle is better and all that.” especially after all your negativity about everything and refusal of anything that can lead to some solutions instead of the continuous of this destructive events, why don’t you do what you preach of, ‘Light a candle’.

June 1st, 2011, 4:22 pm


Nour said:


Western nations do what is in their interest. They couldn’t care less about the welfare of other peoples. It is up to us to do what is in our interest; otherwise, blaming the west will not do us any good. I am not as upset by the positions and policies of western nations as I am about our own people’s parroting of these positions and policies and demand for their interference. So long as we lack national consciousness and are willing to allow foreign nations to destroy our country so that we can settle political scores and satisfy grudges we will continue to be in the situation we are in now. It’s about time that we wake up and start realizing that our destiny is in our own hands.

June 1st, 2011, 4:31 pm


jad said:

I agree with you and I wrote that many times before; We are the biggest enemy of ourselves nobody else.
I’m not blaming anybody but our political class for all the disgusting state we are in today, since day one of all this I wrote that the deterioration of the situation is in the hands of the regime and they must fix what they destroy themselves as quickly as possible, the time is against Syria as a whole, they have to fix things not for the sake of them but for the sake of all of the Syrians whatever their political orientations are, it’s brave to acknowledge your mistake and fix them and face your people with the truth than making more mistakes to hide your failure.
Almost three months past and we didn’t see neither ex Dar’a mayor nor the Security guy in court facing charges for the crimes they committed, what is the regime waiting for?

June 1st, 2011, 4:50 pm


Alex said:

DemocracyNOW, Bassam AL-kadi is one of the most respected Syrian activists today… despite the years he spent in jail, he is not vindictive.

He is balanced and honest. You are looking for the generic propagandists to suit your ideology. Bassam does not work for a right wing Washington Think Tank like your preferred types.

Joshua, I agree with Jad. Your statements imply that none of us here is a Syrian .. only the opposition are?

Writer and activist Louay Hussein was arrested last March after a raid on his home in the Damascus district of Sahnaya. A political prisoner from 1984 to 1991, Hussein had issued a call on the Internet for solidarity with the demonstrators in Deraa who were the victims of a heavy-handed crackdown last weekend.

He just posted this on his facebook wall:

تم رفع منع السفر عن الجميع، هذا المنع الذي استخدم للضغط والتضييق على المثقفين والناشطين السياسيين والحقوقيين والمدنيين.

تم إبلاغي عن هذا الأمر كاستجابة لمقترحات كنا قدمناها إلى الدكتورة بثينة شعبان عندي لقائي معها.

ولا بد من التأكيد ثانية أن العفو العام ورفع منع السفر لا يشكلان إلا جزءا من مؤشر نرجو أن يكتمل فورا بإطلاق حرية الرأي والتعبير وعدم ملاحقة أو اعتقال أي مواطن سوري بسبب رأيه أو موقفه السلمي، والسماح لكل السوريين بممارسة جميع أشكال الاحتجاج السلمي بما في ذلك التظاهر السلمي والمنظم

All political activists who were previously banned from traveling are now free to travel. He said this was achieved as part of his dialogue with Buthaina Shaaban.

He sounds optimistic and positive enough.

June 1st, 2011, 4:53 pm


majedkhaldoon said:

Those pro regime who went to Antalya,they are there as trouble makers,Turkey is a free country, they will not be able to cause trouble there , they will be thrown out of Turkey immidiately.
The torture and killing of Hamza AlKhatib is going to be a major trouble to Syrian regime,I have no doubt they , the Mukhabarat, tortured him and killed him, he was arrested alive ,several people witnessed his arrest,denying that is another proof that they are willing to lie and lie,The false Dr.akram Sha33ar,he can not stand a try in America,he is very incompetant,those who believe him are gullible or arrogant.
I undertand that Tal Mallouhi was not released, and neither Dr. Labwani or Muhannad Hassani,,this amnesty is a farce.We will never know what happened to the other 25 kids who were arrested,what happened to them,The list of this regime crimes is long.

This crisis is causing a lot of high emotion,The period of post Assad will help us get rid of so many pro assad, the world will be more peacefull then.No longer will have Shabiha,evil cmmenters ,torture and oppression forces and corrupt Assad clan, it will be close to heaven.

June 1st, 2011, 5:11 pm


ziadsoury said:


You are right on. People on this blog are not interested in real issues. Pro bashar and his thugs are on repetitive mode.
Nour wants Dr Landis to conform to the regime’s story lines regarding many issues including Hamza. How dare Dr. Landis?
Norman tells us the Assads never stole, the Baath never abused their power and people need to stop so master bashar can bestow on us some refoms and grant us some dignity.
Sophia wonders if they had killed an ugly child would there be uproar.
WD is sounding more and more like AIG.
Alex believes any story the Syrian media puts out and pushes that into us as a final say.
And the list goes on….
None of them have come out to question any thing or condemn any atrocities done in their name. I consider them accomplices to these crimes.

June 1st, 2011, 5:20 pm


Majhool said:

Hi Alex,

I am positive too. However don’t mistake positiveness with approval. Louay Hussein, also said just yesterday

خشى أن يخرج علينا السيد وزير الإعلام ليخبرنا أن ما قاله السيد بخيتان لا يعبر عن رأي السلطة، كما حال رامي مخلوف. لأنني أخبره منذ الآن أنه لن يجد من يحاوره خلال 48 ساعة ولا 48 يوم قبل أن يتم الافراج عن جميع المعتقلين وإطلاق حرية جميع الحريات العامة وإعادة هيكلة الأجهزة الأمنية وتحديد مهامها ومرجعيتها وانضوائها تحت سقف القانون وليس تحت سقف الوطن كما يطيب له ولهم أن يقولوا. ولن يكون هناك أي كلام سياسي قبل أن يتاح لجميع المتظاهرين والمحتجين والمعارضين السلميين إحياء الحياة العامة والمجال السياسي حينها سيكون بيننا وبينه كلاما عن المادة الثامنة وعن طريقة تعديل الدستور وعن كيفية الانتخابات وكيف يكون البرلمان وصلاحياته.
أما عن عدد المتظاهرين الذي يسخر من قلتهم فلا حديث بيننا عن هذا الأمر قبل أن تتوقف المخابرات والأجهزة الأمنية عن إطلاق النار على المتظاهرين واعتقالهم وتعذيبهم والتضييق عليهم، حينها سنرى من سيسخر من عديدهم.
ختاما، لا أرى ما قاله بخيتان سوى تعبير واضح عن تصور السلطة السورية ورؤيتها لآفاق الحلول التي ما زالت تقوم على عدم اعتراف بوجود آخر سياسي في البلاد كان له الحق والآن لديه المقدرة على المشاركة الحقيقية في الحياة السياسية والعامة وفي المشاركة في القرار السياسي بما في ذلك صياغة القوانين وليس استمزاجها فيه

June 1st, 2011, 5:25 pm


mjabali said:


Of course emotions run high on this board. What do you expect? let us look at your words: you said :

“I am a big proponent of any resistance to ME hegemony by the Zionist ideology but I am also convinced more than ever that the greatest asset that the region has and in far more importance and wealth than all of the resources and the ideologies and the rethoric is the talent and resilience and perserverance and entrepreunership of the people of the region whon continue to amaze and inspire. It is a huge shame that the last 50 years have seen the squandering of two generations of talent and potential.
The hole is huge but the people will dig themselves out of it certainly without these sclerotic and archaic regimes.

When I read this I see nothing but emotions behind you writing this kind of logic. The realities are not like anything you said yourself. Your emotions brought the “Zionist hegemony” theory into this. I personally, consider anyone who talks about any “Zionist conspiracy” and “hegemony” an emotional freak that is brain washed. This is the logic of al-Baath for example, to insert the word “Zionist” in any discussion, even when talking about music or the weather.

As for your optimist look at the people of the region; you see them as skilled artisan and able to pull out. Great, but, this is an emotional look at things, because the reality says that these masses you are talking about are brain washed by religion, sectarian and anti-progress.

Before labeling others’ words as emotional with no substance, let us all set out some scientific rules for this discussion because there is no one immune here from that emotional drive.

June 1st, 2011, 5:25 pm


Sophia said:

# 17 AIG,

I answered this question at lenght in the past comment section. I am not going to start again.

Now tell me: are you ready to sacrifice 2-3 million of Syrians in order to achieve the revolution’s only goal which is to topple BEA?

Because, in my opinion, they won’t be able to get rid of the regime, they will replace it by something similar.

June 1st, 2011, 5:43 pm


Jihad said:

Who is this silly racist and rabid Zionist Bernard-Henry Levy to post about him?

Here is the quick answer he got from three Syrian intellectuals (Burhan Ghalioun, Subhi Hadidi, Farouk Mardam Bey) residing in Paris. They titled it:

Bernard-Henry Lévy, spare the Syrians your help!

Bernard-Henri Lévy, épargnez aux Syriens votre soutien !
publié le lundi 30 mai 2011

June 1st, 2011, 5:58 pm


jad said:

Another good article by Mr. Alkadi, long but worth reading, hopefully it will be translated soon:

ما بين معارضة مسخرة، ونظام أحمق.. هل سيعلو صوت الناس ضدهما؟!

حقائق الوضع في سورية معقدة بكل تأكيد. خاصة في ظل فشل إعلامي سوري من مستوى قياسي، ونجاح إعلامي فبركي من قبل المعارضة من مستوى قياسي أيضا. تضافرا ليذهبا بالناس بعيدا عن الحقائق التي بات من الصعب الوصول إليها قبل أن تفلتر في غرف مونتاج الفيدو والأخبار في لبنان وأمستردام وميريلاند وغيرها، أو في غرفة مونتاج الفيديو والأخبار في معرض دمشق الدولي.. إلا أن أمرا إيجابيا في هذا، هو أنه كشف حقيقية العقول التي تدعي أنها تقود سورية اليوم إلى الديمقراطية، أو تلك التي تدعي أنها تحافظ عليها آمنة مستقرة…

لم يعد محل شك ولا نقاش مدى بؤس وضحالة، بل حتى سخافة المعارضة السورية بجل وجوهها، داخلا وخارجا، بعد أن تكشفت الشهور الماضية العصيبة عن فشلها الذريع ليس في صياغة خطاب معقول ومنطقي، بل حتى في تمكنها من الرد على التغيرات الواقعية بطريقة تنم عن أدنى قدر من العقلانية. وهذه فقط بعض المحطات الصغيرة من هذا الواقع البائس:
1- ركزت هذه الأصوات على حالة الطوارئ التي، أصلا، بدأ النضال ضدها قبل عشرات السنين، وحين أعلن رفع حالة الطوارئ، وأضيف إليها إلغاء محكمة أمن الدولة العليا، ردت هذه الأصوات مباشرة بتسخيف هذه الخطوة واعتبارها بلا قيمة، مستندة على سقوط ضحايا في النزاع المسلح بين النظام السوري والمجموعات المسلحة (أصولية وإجرامية)، واعتقال النظام للمئات من المتظاهرين والناشطين.

ولم ترى هذه الأصوات أن دولة في العالم لا تستطيع إلغاء آثار حالة طوارئ فرضت لعقود، فكيف إذا كانت الدولة كلها مؤسسة في قلب حالة الطوارئ وبناء عليها؟ وهي الحالة السورية؟ ولو كان بالإمكان فعل ذلك لماذا لم ترفع حالة الطوارئ حتى اليوم في مصر، ولماذا تأخر رفعها في تركيا سنوات بعد موت الجنرال الذي فرضها (ويعترف الأتراك نفسهم أنهم لم يتخلصوا من آثارها بعد رغم مرور نحو عقد من رفعها)؟

ولم تر طبعا حقائق بسيطة من نوع أن الحالة التي تعيشها سورية اليوم تستدعي فعلا فرض حالة الطوارئ، بكل المقاييس الدولية لضرورات فرض هذه الحالة. وهو ما أشار إليه بعض غلاة الموالاة وطالبوا به نظرا للحالة الواقعية في سورية. وهو مطلب مرفوض طبعا. لكنه محق من الناحية النظرية.

كما لم ترى هذه الأصوات، بل لم ترد أن ترى، أن جل المعتقلين بعد رفع حالة الطوارئ لا يمضون إلا وقتا قصيرا في الاعتقال قبل تحويلهم إلى المحكمة أو إطلاق سراحهم. وهذا بحد ذاته يتجاوز كثيرا مما حلم به أي من أولئك “الديمقراطيين الجدد” البائسين.

2- لم تتوقف هذه الأصوات النشاز عن تكذيب عيونها وكل السوريين والسوريات الذين شهدوا العنف من المجرمين أصوليين وغيرهم بأعينهم، أو كان أقاربهم ضحايا له، مفضلة التحول إلى حالة من العداء الحاقد المتأصل لكل من هو ليس معهم. وعكس هذا نفسه ليس في التكذيب العلني فحسب، بل في دعوة بعض هذه الاصوات أشخاصا متظاهرين سلميين ذهبوا إليهم ليقولوا لهم ما شاهدوه، دعوتهم إلى “التخلص من الخوف الذي يصنع لهم أوهاما”!

ونسيت هذه المعارضة نفسها ما كانت تعرفه لسنوات، ونشر في الإعلام السوري وغيره، عن معارك ومواجهات عدة خاضها النظام السوري ضد هذه المجموعات خلال السنوات الماضية. إذ يعرف الجميع أن اشتباكات مثل هذه جرت في دف الشوك (أطراف دمشق)، والخط الحدودي الشمالي – الشرقي مع لبنان (تلكلخ والعريضة)، وخط البادية بين حلب وحمص، ومناطق أخرى. من أشهرها ما نشره الإعلام قبل سنوات (ربما سنتين) عن مواجهات على الحدود مع لبنان استخدمت فيه الطائرات المروحية للتمكن من حسمها عسكريا. هذا من سنوات.

وهذا النسيان دفع الأمور في سورية إلى المزيد من التأزم (مسؤولية مشتركة بينها وبين النظام)، إذ دفع الناس للتصديق أن كل الحديث عن المجموعات المسلحة هو مجرد دعاية كاذبة من النظام. وبالتالي للمزيد من الاحتقان ضد هذا النظام الذي يقتل “المدنيين العزل” وفق ديباجة المعارضة.

وحتى اليوم، ترفض المعارضة إدراج أسماء ضحايا الجيش والشرطة والآمن ضمن “قوائهما” لضحايا العنف في سورية، وترفض أية إشارة إلى العصابات الإجرامية التي شاركت بعض اجهزة النظام في القتل، كما ترفض الحقائق التي باتت مكشوفة حول النقود التي دفعت لزعران كي يتظاهروا في أكثر من مدينة، وترفض حقيقة أن تشكيل “أرض محررة” كان هو الهدف من إغلاق المدن بوجه الدولة كلها في أكثر من منطقة (ضمنها درعا)، وبالتأكيد: ترفض حقيقة أن استديوهات “الثورة” فلترت وزيفت الحقائق بأضعاف ما فعلت استوديوهات النظام نفسه (ولا أدل على ذلك من ملاحظة أن عدد الفيديوهات المنشور نزل إلى أقل من 15% بمجرد بدء المتظاهرين بحمل لافتات تثبت مكان الحدث وتاريخه!). والكثير مثل هذا…

3- لعقود طويلة ناضل عشرات آلاف السوريين والسوريات لأجل إطلاق سراح المعتقلين السياسيين، وناضل كثير منهم لأجل إغلاق ملف “الإخوان المسلمين”، وما إن صدر مرسوم العفو (31/أيار/2011)، الذي أعفى (والعفو هنا مصطلح يدل على آلية قانونية، وليس على مكرمة من شخص أيا كان) عن نصف العقوبة في الجنايات السياسية، وأطلق سراح كل المعتقلين وفق القانون 49 الخاص بالإخوان المسلمين في سورية، حتى خرج انطلق سيل الحقد “الثوري” الأعمى ليتفه كل شيء، جاعلا من هذه الخطوة الكبيرة في تاريخ سورية مجرد تفاهة لا قيمة لها. مدللا بذلك، دون أي لبس، أن المعتقلين السياسيين، وأهاليهم الذين عانوا الأمرين، ليسوا إلا جنودا حمقى في نظر هذه المعارضة التافهة. وبالتالي فحتى فرحتهم بانتهاء هذه المأساة طويلة الأمد، يريد تجار حقوق الإنسان هؤلاء أن يفرغوها من قيمتها، في هدف واضح وصريح هو المزيد من التجييش نحو تدمير سورية. فقد باتوا واثقين أنهم لن يجلسوا على كراسي السلطة ما لم يمكنوا من تدمير سورية أولا. ومن الواضح أنه لا مانع لديهم من ذلك. فحكم ربع سكان سورية كاف لصغارهم وتفاهتهم، حتى إن كانت الأرباع الثلاثة الأخرى قد قضت وانتهت.

4- وفي مفاصل حساسة مثل المؤتمر المؤامرة في إنطاليا، أثبتت هذه الأصوات أنها ليست إلا طبولا جوفاء. فهي رفضت التعليق أو اتخاذ موقف علني من المؤتمر، وناورت وداورت مرة بذريعة أنها لا تريد خوض هذا السجال، ومرة بذريعة حق السوريين في الخارج بمناقشة أوضاع بلدهم، ومرة بتفاهة أن ينتظروا لينتهي المؤتمر قبل أن يقولوا شيئا.. وفي كل المرات هم لا يفعلون سوى أنهم يبرهنون على قدرتهم على التلاعب بكل شيء لمصالحهم الخاصة. تماما مثلما جرى حين عبر بعض الأشخاص “الكبار” في لقاء مصغر عن رفضهم التام لأي حوار أو نقاش مع أي من اطراف النظام، ثم نفاجئ بأنهم دخلوا “نقاشات” (حسب تعبيرهم) مع د. بثينة شعبان! وآخرون ممن رفضوا أن يظهروا في الإعلام السوري بكل أنواعه، فيما هم يدينون هذا الإعلام لعدم فتح الباب لهم (وربما الحقيقة أن الإعلام غير السوري قد يدفع مقابل كل مقابلة بالدولار، بينما الإعلام السوري الرسمي قد يدفع 2000 ليرة، أما الخاص مثل إذاعات اف ام، فهي لا تدفع شيئا)!

5- وبكل الأحوال، تكفي نظرة واحدة على “برامج ومبادرات” هذه الأصوات لنعرف جيدا أنها حقا لا تعرف ما تريد، أو أنها لا تريد أن تقول ما تريد. وبما أننا نعرف قدراتهم الخاصة، فإن الاحتمال الأول غير وارد. الحقيقة أنها لا تريد أن تقول ما تريد. لأنها تعرف أن ما تريده يرفضه جل السوريين. فهدفها الحقيقي ليس الديمقراطية ولا حقوق الإنسان ولا الحرية (وبالمناسبة: 95 منهم يرفضون إدراج نصا واضحا في دستور جديد ينص على أنه النساء والرجال متساويين في الحقوق والواجبات! ويرفضون قانون أحوال شخصية مدني يقوم على أساس المواطنة فقط دون أي اعتبار آخر)، هدفها الحقيقي هو السلطة.
وما الصفحات التي أنشؤوها على الانترنت للتشهير بمن لم يخضع لميليشاتهم، أو التهديدات العلنية وغير العلنية لكل من لا يخضع لبسطارهم، إلا دليلا آخر على “الحرية” التي يدعونها. فإذا كانوا قادرين اليوم على فعل ذلك ولم يمتلكوا السلطة بعد، فما الذي يفعلونه بالرأي الآخر حين تتوفر لديهم سلة بكل أجهزة مخابراتها وقوانينها وزنازينها؟!

6- أما من جهة من هي هذه المعارضة، من هم أشخاصها، وما هو تاريخهم، وكيف تحولوا من معنفين ضد زوجاتهم يعيشون على حسابهن، أو متعيشين على التمويل الخارجي، أو ثرثرية في المقاهي.. إلى مناضلين أشاوس بمجرد ضمان حياتهم خارج سورية، فهو أمر بات من الضروري كشفه فعلا، وهو ما سأتناوله في مقالة لاحقة. فحق الناس جميعا أن تعرف من هؤلاء الذين يتجارون بدمها ويريدون أن يقودوها نحو الموت الأسود باسم الحرية والديمقراطية..

أما من جهة النظام:
لا يحتاج الأمر إلى باتريك سيل ليكتب تاريخ هذه الشهور الصعبة كيف يصل إلى نتيجة واضحة وصريحة أن هذا النظام يستحق بجدار جائزة غينيس لأسوأ إدارة أزمة سياسية-مجتمعية في تاريخ العالم الحديث. فوقائع كل يوم تدل على ذلك بكل وضوح.

1- ما الذي منع هذا النظام من أن يقوم فورا بالإجراءات التي يعرف أنه سيقوم بها غدا؟ لا شيء سوى حماقته واعتقاده السلطوي بأن العالم كله ما يزال تحت تحكمه. فهو لم يتعلم من تجربة الأنظمة الأخرى أن سياسة القطارة قد تؤدي إلى اختراق العيون وإعمائها. ولم يتعلم أن القطرات التي تأتي متأخرة قد تكون فسدت بحكم انتهاء الصلاحية. وما كان يجب أن يفعله خلال الأسابيع الأولى، لم يفعل منه حتى اليوم إلا أقل القليل. فرفع حالة الطوارئ وإلغاء محكمة أمن الدولة هي خطوة صحيحة (وسبق وكتبت علنا عن الترحيب بها)، إلا أن استكمال هذه الخطوة بإنهاء بعض آثارهما ما زال يمشي مشي السلحفاة، وبالتالي فهو لا يعطي الأثر المباشر نظرا لأنه يبدو كما لو أنه نوع من المناورة وليس تغيرا حقيقيا (ومن الصحيح أنه يتضمن نوعا من المناورة، ولكنه أيضا تغيرا حقيقيا).

فكيف يمكن تفسير أن يفصل شهر ونيف بين قرار رفع حالة الطوارئ، وبين مرسوم العفو الذي كان يجب أن يكون مترافقا مع رفع حالة الطوارئ؟ وكيف يمكن تفسير أن قانون الأحزاب لم يطرح للنقاش حتى اليوم رغم التأكيدات أن مسودته جاهزة أصلا؟ والأمر نفسه مع قوانين الجمعيات والإعلام؟
وكيف يمكن فهم استمرار السلطة الأمنية بمنع السفر عن آلاف السوريين والسوريات؟ وهي ممارسة قامت وما زالت تقوم بسلطة حصرية من حالة الطوارئ التي ألغيت. فكيف يستمر سلوك ما بعد أن “تلغى” السلطة القانونية التي تسمح بهذا السلوك؟
وكيف لم يع هذا النظام أن من يريد السفر لكي يتحول إلى عدو لسورية لا يستطيع النظام، بكل عدته وعتاده، أن يمنعه؟ وأن من هو ممنوع من السفر لا يريد السفر بأي طريقة أخرى غير قانونية لأنه يريد بلده؟ (قبيل نشر هذا الخبر، تم تداول معلومات عن رفع منع السفر عن جميع الممنوعين منه في سورية)..

2- باتت مسخرة اللجنة الخاصة بالتحقيق بمن ارتكب عنفا ضد المدنيين، مسخرة لا تثير الضحك بقدر ما تثير البكاء، وخاصة بقدر ما تثير الشك!
اللجنة لم تكشف عن أيا من نتائج أعمالها حتى اليوم! في الوقت الذي يعرف القاصي والداني أن بعض المجرمين (عاطف نجيب مثلا) لا يحتاج إلى لجنة تحقيق ولا حتى إلى “المساعد جميل” لإثبات الجرائم التي ارتكبها بحق المدنيين في درعا، بل بحق سورية ككل بصفته أحد المسؤولين المباشرين عن تفاقم الأزمة من مشكلة محلية محدودة إلى مشكلة وطنية عامة. فأين هي لجنة التحقيق من هذا الأمر؟ أين هو عاطف نجيب وغيره؟ لماذا لم يقدموا إلى المحكمة حتى الآن؟ لماذا لا تكون المحاكمة علنية وعاجلة ليرى الناس أن من يرتكب العنف بحقهم سوف يحاكم محاكمة عادلة حتى إن كانت “ضابط أمن”، وحتى إن كانت تربطه صلات بفلان أو فلان؟!

إن التأخير في دفع هؤلاء إلى محاكمة علنية يساهم مساهمة مباشرة في تدمير الثقة المختلفة أصلا بين الناس والدولة. كما أنه (وهذا هو الأخطر) يوصل رسالة مباشرة أن المجرمين يمكن أن تمتعوا بحصانة مطلقة حتى حين تصل جرائمهم إلى مستوى اللعب بمصير البلد! وبما أننا نتكلم عن نظام، وليس عن “شلة من الأصدقاء”، أو شركة صغيرة ما، فإن خطر مثل هذه الرسائل يتضاعف مرات عدة.

3- ما زال النظام السوري يلعب بقضية “الحوار الوطني”. فمن شكل إلى شكل آخر يبدو أنه يحاول جاهدا المناورة في مساحة ضيقة ليفرغ هذا الهدف من مضمونه. ومن الواضح أنه سعيد جدا لاتفاق المعارضة معه في هذا اللعب.
فكيف يمكن أن يكون الحوار وطنيا حين ليس لدى المواطنين/ات الآليات المناسبة لكي يناقشوا ويبلوروا أفكارهم، ومن ثم يجسدوها بأحزاب أو تيارات تفرز ممثليها للدخول في الحوار الوطني؟!
وتعكس الاسماء التي نشرت على أنها أعضاء في لجنة الحوار، حقيقية المأساة التي تعكس العقل الأمني المغلق للنظام السوري. فهي لا تعدوا أن تكون الأسماء نفسها للنظام، ولبعض حاشيته المدللة، وبعض الأسماء الأخرى التي لا تقل موالاة. فهل يمكن للجنة مثل هذه أن تعي ماذا يعني حوار؟ وهل لها أن تعرف كيف تفعل ذلك وهي لم تخضه أصلا في أحزابها وقواها السياسية؟!
يعرف النظام (مثلما تعرف المعارضة)، أن أي حوار وطني لا يبنى على قواعد ديمقراطية هو تبويس لحى وتقاسم مغانم (مهما بدت تافهة). وإذا كانت مصلحة النظام في هذا بادية للعيان، فإن مصلحة المعارضة باتت أيضا بادية للعيان. إذ أن قواعد وآليات ديمقراطية حقيقية سوف ترمي جميع هؤلاء إلى مكانهم الطبيعي بصفتهم مثقفين هامشيين لا قيمة لهم، وتفرز قيادات شابة جديدة بكل معنى الكلمة.
إلا أن المشكلة الآن أن “مصلحة النظام” البادية للعيان هذه، تدل مباشرة على أن هذا النظام فشل هنا أيضا في وعي ما كان يجب أن يعيد منذ عقد من الزمن (على الأقل): لا يحمي هذا النظام، ولا أي نظام آخر، إلا التفاف الشعب الحقيقي حوله. والشعب لا يلتف، أو لا يبقى ملتفا حول من يستخدمه ورقة لألعابه ومصالحه. ولم يعد هذا الكلام نظريا بعد اليوم. فالواقع السوري يثبت ذلك كل لحظة.
من هنا، فإن مصلحة النظام في مثل هذا الحوار ليست إلا “حفرة الفيل”. أي حفرة مغطاة بالأعشاب التي ما أن يدوس عليها النظام حتى يفاجئ بالفخ الذي وقع فيه. سوى أنه، في هذه الحالة، هو شريط في نصب الفخ، وهو سيقع فيه.

4- من الواضح أن عقلية البسطار التي تتحكم بالسياسة الإعلامية السورية (رسمية وغير رسمية) قد اختلت قليلا. فقد تغيرت بعض التفاصيل في كيفية أداء التلفزيون السوري بقناتيه الرئيسيتين (الفضائية والأرضية)، خاصة بعد أن تم تغيير إدارتيهما، وتغيرت أكثر لغة ومواضيع العديد من إذاعات اف ام في سورية التي تحظى، مجتمعة، بمئات الآلاف من المستمعين/ات داخل سورية. وتمكنت بعضها من الإمساك جيدا بالدور الوطني المسؤول لما يجب أن يكون عليه الإعلام.
إلا أن هذه العقلية ما تزال تسيطر بشكل عام. ففضائية “الدنيا” تستحق دراسة خاصة في كيف يمكن أن يكون الإعلام شريكا كامل الشراكة في جريمة ما. وكيف يمكن أن يغادر “الإعلام” منصته الإعلامية ليتحول إلى جنديا أعمى وأطرش!
إلا أن همنا الرئيسي هنا هو اتباع سياسة النعامة حتى اللحظة في تغطية الواقع السوري. فغياب الكاميرات عن واقع الحدث كما هو، في أي مكان من سورية، سواء كانت مظاهرات سلمية، أو مواجهات مسلحة، أو مناوشات وتخريب.. لا يفعل إلا أن يثبت ما تفعله بعض المحطات التي تستحق وصف قذرة بكل جدارة (مثل الأورينت والجزيرة)، ويعطيها كل المساحة ليس لتزور وتزيف فحسب، بل حتى لتفرغ كل حقدها على سورية في ساحة شبه فارغة! فمن المسؤول عن تفريغ هذه الساحة لتلك العقارب؟
إنها هذه العقلية ولا أحد غيرها. فسواء كان قرار منع المحطات الأجنبية من تغطية الحدث السوري صائبا أم لا (وهو أمر قابل للمناقشة)، فإن منع الإعلام السوري من تغطية حية مباشرة لكل مساحة الحدث، قد تعدى أن يكون خطأ، ليدخل في إطار أنه جريمة. جريمة لأنه يحرم الناس من معرفة الحقيقة أولا، ولأنه يترك الساحة لأولئك الحاقدين ثانيا.

وبعض الحجج التي تساق مثل عدم وجود كفاءات كافية، هي حجج مثيرة للضحك. فبعيدا عن بعض الوجوه المستهلكة القميئة التي ما تزال تحتل الشاشة السورية بكل غبائها المدقع وابتساماتها الصفراء، يحفل التلفزيون بمعدين/ات ومخرجين/ات ومقدمي برامج قادرون على نقل الإعلام إلى مستوى المسؤولية المناسبة بين ليلة وضحاها. وما يمنعهم ليس إلا تلك العقلية البسطارية التي ما تزال تعتقد ان عماءها الخاص يعني أن أحدا آخر لا يستطيع أن يرى.

5- ما تزال مشكلة قانون التظاهر قائمة. ومع أن النظام السوري لمس بيديه القاسيتين أن هذا القانون لن يكون له نصيب من احترام الناس له، ببساطة لأنه قانوني قراقوشي لا يستحق أي احترام. بل قانون طوارئي يعطي السلطة التنفيذية كل الحق لتدمر أي احتمال بالتظاهر. وتحمل الناس مسؤولية هي مسؤوليتها بالأصل.

ومع تبين كل هذه الحقائق، وتبين أن الحاجة ماسة إلى قانون تظاهر محترم يمكن للناس الالتزام به، وهذا لم يكن مطلبا نخبويا ولا مطلب معارضة، بل مطلب مئات الاف الشباب والشابات (خاصة في الجامعات) ممن يريدون فعلا المضي نحو سورية ديمقراطية وآمنة ومستقرة، ولكنهم يواجهون بجدار أسود يشكل قانون التظاهر الآن أحد أهم علائمه، مع تبين كل ذلك، ما يزال النظام السوري يدافع عن هذا القانون الجائر، ويستمر بالعمل به، ويرفض أية مشاريع درست بعناية وملائمة كليا للواقع السوري اليوم. وكلمة ملائمة تعني هنا، دون لبس: ملائمة للنظام واحتياجاته الأمنية اليوم، وملائمة للحركة المدنية الراغبة بتظاهر سلمي فعلا من أجل قضايا تراها محقة.

فما الذي يمنع هذا النظام من القيام بتعديل ذلك القانون فورا؟ في الواقع لا يوجد أي سبب. فالتظاهرات مستمرة شاءت القيادات الأمنية أم لا. والناس ينزلون وسينزلون إلى الشوارع بوجود الأصولية المسلحة والمجرمين، وبوجود الجيش والأمن، أو بدون وجود كل هؤلاء. وبالتالي فالقانون قد سقط موضوعيا.
إنها العقلية الأمنية نفسها هي المانع الوحيد من التصرف بسرعة وحكمة. وتتلخص في هذا البند بـ”قررنا قرارا ولن نتراجع عنه”! حتى لو تبين فشله، بل وضرره، بعد دقائق فقط من إصداره!

6- وتتعلق هذه النقطة بالنقطة السابقة: لا يفهم أحد كيف تستمر الاعتقالات العشوائية، خاصة بين طلبة الجامعات، بدون أي مبرر من أي نوع؟! ولا يفهم أحد أية مصلحة يجد النظام في ذلك وهو يعرف معرفة يقينية أن هؤلاء سيعودون غدا إلى التظاهر أيا كانت التعهدات الأمنية التي يضطرون إلى توقيعها في أفرع المخابرات؟!

لكن النظام يعتقد أنه يفهم ذلك جيدا، إنما بطريقة ماتت وتفسخت جثتها! فهو يعتقد أن الخوف الذي كانت تسببه الاعتقالات، والتعهدات خلال العقود الماضية، ما زال ساري المفعول! ولا يريد أن يرى بعينه أنه لم يعد كذلك. وبالتالي فهو يراهن على المزيد من الخوف، المزيد من القلق.. بدلا من مراهنته على أن هؤلاء الشباب والشابات، هم من يحمون وطنهم من كل تدمير له (سواء كان من تجار معارضة في الخارج، أو مجرمين من داخل النظام، أو أصولية مسلحة مجرمة، أو…). وهذه المراهنة الأخيرة لا تكون بالنوايا الحسنة، ولا بالتصريحات الصحفية الخلبية. بل تكون حصرا بإجراءات ملموسة على الأرض لا يمكن أن تتحقق قبل تعديل قانون التظاهر، لكي يتمكن هؤلاء من التعبير عن آرائهم، وهمومهم وهواجسهم، بطريقة حضارية منظمة وآمنة..

7- في سياق رفض مؤتمر التأمر في إنطاليا، وجميع المتأمرين المشاركين فيه، تم توجيه أسئلة حقيقية لا مهرب من الإجابة عنها: هل بالإمكان عقد مؤتمرات في سورية؟ وبالطبع، يعرف الجميع أن الجواب هو: لا!!
فلماذا لا؟ لماذا ما زال النظام السوري، كلي القدرة، يخاف من قاعة اجتماعات تتسع لمئتي شخص مثل قاعة اجتماعات فندق أمية مثلا؟! لماذا ما زال يرتعب من أن يكون هناك نقاش مفتوح بين السوريين حول هذه القضية أو تلك، بل ويخرج هذا النقاش بتوصيات ملموسة؟! ألم يتعلم بعد ثلاثة أشهر من الخراب أن السوريين والسوريات أحرص من كثيرين داخله على هذا البلد ومصيره وتطوره وأمنه؟! ألم يتعلم بعد أن هؤلاء الذين سيتكلمون في مثل هذه المؤتمرات، أنفسهم، سوف يستخدمون لغة أخف وأهدأ حتى مما يستخدمونه الآن، لأنهم يشعرون بالمسؤولية التامة إزاء كلامهم في “مؤتمر” أو اجتماع؟!

وهذه المؤتمرات والاجتماعات علنية بالمطلق، ولا يحق لأحد من منظميها عقد أية لقاءات سرية أو مغلقة. وبالتالي، فلا مبرر أبدا لخوف أحد، ضمنا النظام، من مؤامرات تحاك داخل هذه الاجتماعات (بفرض قبول وجود متآمرين في هذه المحافل، وهو فرض غير صحيح).

والواقع أن انعدام هذه الإمكانية هو ما يفتح الباب إلى المؤتمرات الخارجية. فكم من السوريين والسوريات، داخل وخارج سورية، سوف يهتمون بثلة من التافهين المتآمرين مثل جماعة مؤتمر إنطاليا، حين يمكنهم عقد مؤتمر أو اجتماع في حلب أو دمشق، في حمص أو اللاذقية، على مرأى ومسمع من العالم كله؟!

أخيرا: إن واقع النظام والمعارضة اليوم، يثير تساؤلا حرجا فعلا: أيهما أكثر حماقة ومسخرة وتفاهة من الآخر؟ وأيهما أقل ثقة بالناس؟ وأيهما أكثر استهتارا بهم وبمصالحهم الحقيقية؟!

ولذلك، ومهما كان الجواب، فقد حان الوقت للسوريين والسوريات أن يتخلوا عن صمتهم/ن. أن يواجهوا علنا كل أسلحة القمع من المخابرات والمعارضة، كل التشهير والتخوين من كلاهما، كل الاستهتار بدمائهم وحياتهم وحياة أطفالهم ومستقبلهم..
حان الوقت لكي يقولوا كلمتهم المواجهة والرافضة للعنف من أي مصدر كان. وليقولوا للمجرمين (سواء كانوا داخل السلطة أو خارجها، من الأصولية المسلحة أو العصابات الإجرامية، من المعارضة التي تتاجر بهم وبدمائهم وبحقوقهم أو من مثقفين سخيفين يلجؤون إلى الكلام العاطفي ويتهربون من أي كلام محدد مسؤول..)، ليقولوا للجميع: نحن هنا. سوريتنا التي نريدها هي سورية الديمقراطية الآمنة. هي سورية الخالية من القمع والديكتاتورية من كل شكل، وليست سورية التي تستبدل قمعا بقمع، ديكتاتورية بديكتاتورية، وإتجارا بحقوقنا بإتجار آخر بحقوقنا.. وخاصة: ليست سورية التي تقبل أي نوع من التستر على المجرمين مهما كانت صفاتهم، وليست سورية التي تسلم لأي جهة أجنبية مهما كانت الذريعة.

وبالتالي أوجه دعوة إلى كل السوريين والسوريات ممن يرون سورية المستقبل على هذا النحو، إلى تنظيم أنفسهم في تجمعات تحمل أسماء محددة وأهداف محددة، لكي يكون لهم صوت حقيقي بمواجهة الماكينة الإعلامية النشطة التي تبث السم باسم الأمن مرة، وباسم الحرية مرة أخرى. فلا شيء سيجبر هؤلاء وهولاء على العودة إلى أوكارهم إلا صوت الشعب السوري الحقيقي، الصوت الذي يرفض فعلا كل أشكال العنف والطائفية والتمزيق والمتاجرة باسمه وبحقوقه.

إن إطلاق مثل هذه التجمعات (دون تعقيدات ودون انتظار) سيكون له دور حاسم في إجبار أمراء الحرب جميعا، من كل الأطراف، على سماع صوتها أعجبها ذلك أم لم يعجبها.

June 1st, 2011, 6:02 pm


Jihad said:

To Sophia,

Do you think that the rabid Zionist you answered cares about what’s happening in Syria or any other Arab country for that matter?

This coward and rabid Zionist, who feigns human solidarity with the Syrian people, ought to ask himself: Does he support a full international inquiry (coupled with severe retributions) into the crimes committed by Zionist terrorist that came from the racist West since the beginning of the colonization of Palestine?

June 1st, 2011, 6:04 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Jihad and Observer,

Could you explain to me your Zionism onomatomania ? I find it hard to understand this psychiatric phenomenon.

June 1st, 2011, 6:32 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Sophie’s love affair with Junior’s Stability NewZ

Sophia opines:

How contemptuous the west is when it comes to Arab lives.


You support a government that is directly responsible for killing more Syrians than the west and Israel combined. You’re one to talk.

Sophia asks:

Is it because they don’t love Assad that they are ready to ruin Syria and bring instability in the region?

What a stupid question. 40+ years of Assad rule hasn’t brought stability, hasn’t brought opportunity, hasn’t brought basic human rights, and this woman has the audacity to ask this question.

Here’s the answer if you really care to digest it (?):

“We will keep our demonstrations until we get our rights,” said one protester in Medan, a neighborhood in Damascus that has seen small demonstrations in past weeks. Like others, he refused to give his name, fearing reprisals. “We want freedom and democracy. No dialogue with Assad’s regime. He should leave or change completely his regime.”

June 1st, 2011, 6:35 pm


why-discuss said:


Do I sense some misogyny?

“and this woman has the audacity to ask this question.”

June 1st, 2011, 7:12 pm


why-discuss said:



I guess you and you countrymen are far too mentally and psychologically brainwashed to understand, so stop trying.
You are wasting your valuable time. Try instead to understand the people you kicked out to create your little ‘free speech’ Californian paranocracy!

June 1st, 2011, 7:18 pm


why-discuss said:


Turkish workers in Israel to protest over visa problem

Freedom of expression = you are kicked out of the country!

June 1st, 2011, 7:53 pm


tara said:


Why are you so concerned about Dr. Landis opinion? Let the man thinks what he wants and instead work on us: Your fellow citizens.

I once had no political opinion in regard to the Al-Assad family. I lived in a bubble. I rationalized Hama’ massacre as a direct result of evil MB. The 10,000 or 20,000 killed as collateral damage were not filmed and therefore their murders did not happen. It was too long ago and somehow this was erased from our collective memory. I accepted Assad family as Syria’s fate. No freedom of speech, Al baath is the leader the state and the society, corruption, arbitrary arrest, Mukhabarat, torture, disappearances, corrupt judiciary system, Ya moukhalef ya Makhlouf, and everything was just fine. Somehow you learn to accept and live with your disability.

When Arab spring hit Egypt, I refused to watch. I was trying to shelter myself from a huge disappointment. How can an Arab country get rid of its dictator? I would tell myself. Dictators are our fate forever. It is Hafez then Bashar (in lieu of Basel) them Hafez Jr. then Bashar Jr. etc.

One Sunday afternoon, I was googling an article about Asma Assad and I came across a clip from Syria. A clip showing beating up a university professor by the Shabbiha somewhere in Syria. It hit me hard. Not so much the beating itself but the humiliation that came with it. The Shabbiha were kicking the man with their legs and shouting how dare he challenged his masters (Al- Alassad’ family). The first demonstration erupted in Hamidia in Damascus. I did not tune in. I am very much afraid of hopes and dreams as they will never come true. In my mind then, a revolution in Syria will have no chance…The regime is not few people to topple. It is a way of life for many…Then I heard people were demonstrating everywhere. I continued to distract myself…They are crazy I thought. It is hopeless. The regime is brutal and Hama is unfolding again. Slowly but surely however, I started watching. The news about torturing the school-aged children horrified me. I watched more. Trail of bodies on the street in Daraa. Izraa massacre. Tanks surrounding Daraa. No food, water, or electricity. Hungry infants. Monstrous government. Children killers. Where is GOD?

Hizboulla? Hasan Nasrallah? Gaza, Palestine? Resistance? I am torn. The regime has blood on his hand and those martyrs should not die in vein but I am concerned about the Palestinian cause. Needless to say, how all Syrians carry the Palestinian cause in their mind and soul. When I was pregnant few years ago, everyone told me to ask god for something during labor as labor is perceived in my family as a time where you are close to god. I remember praying for liberation of the Palestinian people as I was giving the last push before the birth of my child.

Few weeks ago, I came to realize that the regime thinks of the Syrian people as slaves. The crimes committed by “the masters” horrified me. I stayed in shock for nearly 2 months literally unable to function. A friend of mine called me once inviting me to participate in a demonstration. Wait a second. I can not do it. I am scared. My wall of fear is not shattered. It is still intact. I never had heroic courage in my life. I am not even capable of watching suspense or terror movies. What if Mukhabarats were there? I am not really afraid of being killed but I am terrified by physical torture. I told my friend I will be there but never went. Tara I tell myself: “You made the right decision. They are Monsters. They will know who you are. You will be tortured. Your participation is not going to make a difference”. I stayed home hating myself. People are dying and I am afraid. I am so disgusted by my fear. I called my family trying to get the courage I lack. No interest. All my family members flat out refused. We are indeed the silent majority!

Jad: You may want to influence Dr. Landis opinion because his page is well visited and you probably think people like Mr. Landis can influence the international public opinion. In this case, I think the jury is out!

June 1st, 2011, 9:23 pm


Akbar Palace said:

WD’s Turkish Worker Crisis! (OMG!)

Freedom of expression = you are kicked out of the country!


I didn’t realize Turkish Workers were Israeli citizens? So what, are you now saying Turkish workers have some sort of “right” to stay in Israel for as long as they like?

Just a suggestion, but I would focus on how to keep Syrian protestors alive in Syria. Another 50 died today, or maybe you didn’t hear about it.

June 1st, 2011, 9:32 pm


Sophia said:

# 32 Akbar Palace,

First citation: I was commenting on a declaration of a Syrian activist in Beirut who said that they are ready to sacrifice 2 to 3 million lives in order to achieve their goals. And how are they going to achieve these goals if their demands are extreme? Maybe in a protracted civil war…

I was right because today Russia asked NATO countries not to promise military intervention to Syrian acitvists:”It is not in the interests of anyone to send messages to the opposition in Syria or elsewhere that if you reject all reasonable offers we will come and help you as we did in Libya,” Lavrov, 61, said yesterday during an interview in Moscow. “It’s a very dangerous position.”

Second citation: this part of my comment was on a poster held by Syrian activists in Istanbul that said: “We don’t love you Bashar, we don’t love you, go, go” My point was that these are demands born out of resentment and you cannot do a revolution only with resentment. The real issue is not they love Bashar or not. The real issue is: Do these protesters love Syria and their countrymen and women?

Besides, I want to make clear one thing: It is not because I do not approve of this revolution that I am pro-regime. I am against both, but you cannot understand this…

Again, I am asking you not to attack me personally and insult me.


# 33 WD,

It is not the first time the ‘revolutionaries’ on this blog address me like this. There is definitely a misogynistic trend there…

June 1st, 2011, 10:18 pm


Alex said:

More messed up minds in the Middle East:,7340,L-4077292,00.html

Dozens of right-wing activists marching through Jerusalem Wednesday were filmed chanting inflammatory messages and singing provocative songs in the capital, including “Muhammad is dead,” “May your village burn,” “Death to leftists,” and “Butcher the Arabs.”

The disturbing utterances were made during the traditional “Flag Dance” on the occasion of Jerusalem Day, which drew tens of thousands of Israelis to the capital to celebrate its unification following the 1967 Six-Day War.

The offensive chants and songs can be clearly heard in the video, filmed by members of the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement. Elsewhere, Arab residents hurled stones at Jewish protestors during the tense day. The Jerusalem Police deployed in the city in force ahead of time in a bid to prevent friction between Jews and Arabs.

During Wednesday’s violent clashes, police detained at least 15 rioters, both Jewish and Arab. A focal point of tension was the Old City’s Damascus Gate, where Jewish marchers and Arab business owners hurled stones and fruit at each other. Some Jews entered the Muslim market in the area and chanted “Death to the Arabs” and “Muhammad is dead.”

June 2nd, 2011, 1:48 am


Sophia said:

Egypt’s food supply in danger of land grab by foreigners to the south to secure their national needs in grains (China and Saudi Arabia buying huge agricultural land in Sudan and Ethiopia) and subsequent Nile’s dry up.

June 2nd, 2011, 7:54 am


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