News Round Up (22 May 2011)

48% of syria’s population is under age of 19 (table 11) – Almost half the Syrian population is high school age or younger.
Interview with Joshua Landis conducted by Scott Harris, here. Historical background to the present conflict.
One of the underlying causes for conflict in Syrian society is the enormous power held by al-Assad and others in his minority Alawite religious community – a branch of Shiite Islam, comprising only 12 percent of the population. The 74 percent of the Sunni Muslim majority in Syria complain bitterly of deep-rooted discrimination. Between The Lines’ Scott Harris Spoke with Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, and editor of the online newsletter Syria Comment. Landis discusses the religious divisions in Syria which present a major obstacle to ending the violence and negotiating political and economic reforms.
Elias Muhanna and Camille Otrakji debate on Bloggingheads about the situation in Syria:

From the streets of Syria, a British student reports on the propaganda campaign waged by the government to convince people that all is OK and that the West is to blame—and it’s working.

Tribal Justice Blamed for Deaths of 120 Syrian police and soldiers
by Phil Sands in The National, May 17, 2011

In the two months since an anti-government uprising began in Syria, more than 120 police officers and soldiers have been killed, authorities say.

If that number is correct, then the Syrian government has lost as many members of its security forces since March as the US military has lost in Afghanistan since the start of the year – 127 killed in action – and more than the British army has lost in any single year during the decade-long Afghan war.

Government officials argue that the scale of the violence is clear evidence that Syria is facing an insurgency by Islamist terrorists.

Instead, the reality may be far more mundane – especially in the tribal regions of the country where many of the attacks against government forces appear to have taken place.

Rather than a conspiracy of Islamist fundamentalists supplied with weapons and cash by Syria’s enemies, tribe members and other residents of these areas say many of those shooting at the security services are motivated by traditions of tribal justice and dignity, self-defence, a sense of powerlessness and years of pent-up anger and frustration.

For all its hallmarks as a modern secular state, Syria remains a complex mosaic of tribes, sects and powerful extended families. Loyalty to clan often supersedes allegiance to country and tribal justice regularly supplants civil law.

Rural Syria, where this hierarchy of loyalties is most prevalent, is home to most of the country’s 22 million people. Nevertheless, large-scale migration means tribal influences have reached into the teeming working-class suburbs of Damascus, Aleppo, Homs and other major cities.

This clash of tribal identity with state authority is woven into the violence that has swept the country since protests began two months ago this week. The absence of any credible prosecution of those responsible for excessive violence against unarmed protesters has given way to more traditional ways of holding people to account.

“If you kill someone from a tribe and the government doesn’t deliver justice, then the tribe will see justice is done in its own way, which means blood-for-blood,” a member of one of Syria’s major clans said.

“My people believe in revenge. If one of the tribe is shot by a member of the security services and the killer is not properly punished by the government, then another security man will be killed to settle the score. It’s simple: an eye for an eye.”

That reaction to what many viewed as official impunity took root on March 18 during the first rally in Deraa, the crucible of the uprising, when four people were shot dead as they demanded the release of 15 local schoolchildren who had been arrested and abused by the security forces for writing political graffiti on a wall.

The powerful tribal families in the southern Houran region, which has Deraa as its capital, asked the authorities to discipline security personnel involved in killings, particularly the senior officers who gave orders to open fire on unarmed protesters during the first demonstration.

Seeking to Disrupt Protesters, Syria Cracks Down on Social Media
By JENNIFER PRESTON, May 22, 2011, New York Times

The Syrian government is cracking down on protesters’ use of social media and the Internet to promote their rebellion just three months after allowing citizens to have open access to Facebook and YouTube, according to Syrian activists and digital privacy experts.

Security officials are moving on multiple fronts — demanding dissidents turn over their Facebook passwords and switching off the 3G mobile network at times, sharply limiting the ability of dissidents to upload videos of protests to YouTube, according to several activists in Syria. And supporters of President Bashar al-Assad, calling themselves the Syrian Electronic Army, are using the same tools to try to discredit dissidents. ….

There are about 580,000 Facebook users in Syria, a 105 percent increase since the government lifted its four-year ban on Feb. 9, according to Fadi Salem, director of the Governance and Innovation Program at the Dubai School of Government.

Though Syrian officials sought to portray the decision as a sign of openness, human right advocates warned that the government could use Facebook to closely monitor regime criticism and ferret out dissidents as nearby countries erupted in revolt.

A man in his 20s living in Syria said that the police demanded his Facebook password late last month after arresting him where he worked and taking his laptop. “I told him, at first, I didn’t have a Facebook account, but he told me, after he punched me in the face, that he knew I had one because they were watching my ‘bad comments’ on it,” he said. “I knew then that they were monitoring me.”…

For now, activists in Syria said they would not know whether using Facebook had helped or hurt them until the revolt came to an end…. “It may be effective if the regime that you are campaigning against is insufficiently ruthless or powerful. If you win quickly, Facebook is the right tool to use. If not, it becomes much more dangerous.”

Wikileaks: US Cable: “Saudi Arabia & UAE sent $100 Million annually to fund ‘Islamic extremists'” Cable referenced: # 178082.

KARACHI: A US official in a cable sent to the State Department stated that “financial support estimated at nearly 100 million USD annually was making its way to Deobandi and Ahl-i-Hadith clerics in south Punjab from organisations in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates ostensibly with the direct support of those governments.” The cable sent in November 2008 by Bryan Hunt, the then Principal Officer at the US Consulate in Lahore, was based on information from discussions with local government and non-governmental sources during his trips to the cities of Multan and Bahawalpur… …

Brotherhood Raises Syria Profile
Islamist Group Tries to Organize Opposition to Assad Regime, as Protests Waver

Syrian families fleeing violence in their country arrived in Wadi Khaled, in northern Lebanon, near the Syrian border Monday.

The exiled Muslim Brotherhood of Syria, the only antiretime group to ever seriously challenge the Assad government, said it was trying to take a larger role in organizing the disparate opposition as Syria’s street protests appear to wane.

The move from the banned and exiled group could capitalize on an apparent deadlock between protesters and President Bashar al-Assad’s government, as opposition activists fail to coalesce into a solid front.

Despite years of shifting alliances and a recent internal struggle for leadership, the Syria Brotherhood’s role as one of the oldest organized antigovernment movements could prove effective amid the power void of Syria’s opposition.

Israel fortifies borders and Jerusalem after protests on Nakba Day, killing 15. Video courtesy of Reuters.

“We have a desire to coordinate the position of the opposition,” said Zuhair Salim, a spokesman for Syria’s Brotherhood based in London, which is loosely affiliated with other Arab Muslim Brotherhood movements. “We are supporters, and not creators. The voice of the street is a spokesperson for itself.”

His comments reflect a cautious position calibrated to avoid claiming leadership of a protest movement Mr. Assad’s government has characterized as run by armed, extremist Islamist groups. The Brotherhood poses a particular problem for some of the antiregime activists trying to forge secular coalitions more in line with the street movement.

Mr. Salim has become increasingly vocal since the Brotherhood in late April backed the protest movement, appearing on Arabic-language television programs to support what the group has called a “peaceful, popular intifada,” or resistance…….

….Last summer, Muhammad Riad al-Shakfa succeeded Ali Bayanouni as the Syrian Brotherhood’s leader, raising concerns that gains made under Mr. Bayanouni to shift the movement to the center would be reversed. The party under Mr. Shakfa, seen as taking a harder line, found itself “sitting on the sidelines of history” as the Arab Spring swept into Syria, one opposition member described. “It found a chance to reinvent itself in the street movement,” the person said.Mr. Shafka has gathered a group of younger Turkey-based activists that are now trying to help activists inside Syria to coordinate, people close to the party said.

Mr. Salim said the group has engaged in talks with a group of activists—minus a handful of figures who the Brotherhood had broke alliances with in the past— who have tried, but failed, for two months to form a broad enough coalition to represent Syria’s opposition abroad.

“Our efforts are ongoing and we hope that in no more than a month you will hear of an organized front,” he said.

The Brotherhood continues to communicate, indirectly, with members of its earlier alliance, the Damascus Declaration, including veteran dissident Michel Kilo, who met with Assad advisor, Bouthaina Shaaban, last week. But Syria’s opposition has rejected outreach attempts by the government, calling any initiative including the “national dialogue,” a nonstarter before tanks withdraw from the street and security forces stop shooting protesters.

The Brotherhood would consider dialogue with the Assad government, under certain conditions, if the violence against protesters were to stop, Mr. Salim said.

Syria’s protests have been largely free of Islamist overtones. Protesters gather in public squares outside of mosques on Fridays, the day of the Islamic prayer. But over recent years, Islam has grown its profile in Syrian society, even under Mr. Assad’s staunchly secular rule. Mr. Salim said the group is in touch with religious leaders, mosque imams, and their students in and outside Syria.

“Religion is the most important aspect in my life,” said one conservative, Sunni landowner in Damascus. “But we do not like Salafism—we all want to live in a moderate community in peace,” he said, addressing the government line that the hard-line Islamist movement has stoked the protests.

….Failed alliances, including abandoning in 2009 a coalition with former vice president Abdul Halim Khaddam after he turned against the regime and brief overtures to the regime itself cast doubt over the Brotherhood’s ability to command leadership of even the anti-regime movement abroad.

“Those 30 years destroyed their organization, and they lost their legitimacy because they changed positions so much without explanation over the past five years,” said Burhan Ghalioun, an opposition member who is a scholar of contemporary oriental studies at the Sorbonne in Paris.

But the longer the protesters’ stalemate with tanks and troops stretches out, the more appealing the group’s organizational advantage will likely appear.

“People on the street are getting tired, they’re running out of resources, and they don’t have that much experience,” said one protest coordinator outside Syria. “They recognize, and we have to recognize, that the Brothers are better organized and better funded.”

The Brotherhood, in the meantime, will continue to walk a cautious line. “The plan for now is, we say we are in cohesion with the protesters, and that means we will monitor the movement of the Syrian street,” Mr. Salim said. “We’re not in a position to approach them with something that they can’t take on, and yet we can’t abandon them so they feel they’re on their own.”

Syria ‘offended’ by Turkish PM’s statement, envoy says

….The envoy suggested that the upcoming elections in Turkey might have impacted Turkey’s attitude on the uprisings in Syria, which turned from support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad at first to criticism of the regime’s bloody crackdown on protesters.

“We understand there has been a change [in Turkey’s approach to the Syrian turmoil] mainly for some local considerations. The elections are a key factor and it is putting everybody in an awkward position,” he said…..

….Kabalan said.

“For us, the Muslim Brotherhood is like the PKK is for Turkey,” he said, referring to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK. “The Muslim Brotherhood has been attacking the army. You have to understand that sensitivity.”

Kabalan said the political wing of Muslim Brotherhood had been engaged in dialogue with the Syrian government, but added that he was talking about the military wing of the group.

Independent: Damascus souk yearns for tourists

Hani Abou al-Nasser rolls his eyes, shrugs and lets out a worried sigh as he gestures toward his empty store in the old souk of Damascus. “I haven’t made a penny in four days,” laments the 64-year-old. “There is no work. The tourists are gone.” His …

Growing Calls For Assad Dialogue With Syrian Protesters 2011-05-22, WASHINGTON (AFP)–

Jordan’s King Abdullah II urged Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday to reach out to protesters amid a brutal crackdown by the Syrian government that has killed at least 900 people.  His call was echoed by Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa, an Egyptian presidential candidate, who called on Assad to accelerate socioeconomic and political reforms, as well as provide more freedoms and set new elections.  “To turn things around and bring calm and stability, dialogue, national reconciliation, outreach is the only way that you can do so,” Abdullah II told ABC television’s “This Week” in noting that Assad has yet to bring all parties to the table to reach a peaceful solution.  “I think Bashar needs to reach out to the people and get people around the table,” the Jordanian monarch added, noting his own father, the late King Hussein, had advised him to “keep as close to the people as possible.”  Western-educated Assad, once seen as a reformist, should “accelerate, do the reform, quickly, quickly,” Moussa warned……

‘Damascus Hailstorm’ by Layla

There were many heated discussions flying about in Syria during my recent visit there. One expressed the most vehement support of the President and the bloody crackdown on the perceived ‘ignorant’ and ‘treacherous’ protestors. Whilst not a universally held view, it appears to be held by much of the country’s moneyed and empowered.

As is always the case in a potential uprising, it quickly becomes a fight for power and those for and against the current rules become demarcated. Recent demands for political freedom from a regime that has wrapped itself like tree around the spine of the country for forty years have been resolutely resisted. This is largely because the Baathist trunk carries many branches on which sit the army, an enormous security apparatus, the rich elite, and the ruling Assad family. This tree does not intend to lose any leaves this spring.

As the situation develops ominously and with increasing isolationism, everyone is watching and waiting to see if Syria will witness a mass uprising or mass repression. The course of events thus far suggests further oppression looms.

However, in marked contrast to the other towns and cities, the centre of the capital, Damascus, remains relatively calm and unaffected. After one particularly bloody day with protestors there were rumours of a large Damascus protest but instead that day witnessed a torrent of hailstones the size of cherries gushing out of the skies. Perhaps this ‘Damascus Hailstorm’ foreshadowed more foreboding prospects than the sought-after ‘Damascus Spring’.

Syria’s state TV continues to report of ‘armed gangs’ and ‘infiltrators’ using violence against security forces. Though wrought with the stench of propaganda, a surprising number of Syrians believe what they hear. This, as it was undoubtedly intended to, has weakened support for protesters, viewed by some with anger or mistrust.

Additionally, some middle class moderates say that Syrian society is not ready for big change and that there is no credible and strong alternative to the current President. Syria is surrounded by instability and threat – intransigent Israel; post-war Iraq; factitious Lebanon, and the American ‘enemy’ Iran. Significant political reform would be both a blessing and a curse for many on the international stage, but I believe it has the even greater possibility of bettering Syria if the right players got behind it.

In addition, Syria’s middle-classes however do not believe in the possibility of an alternative reality. Too often have I heard the pro-regime defence of “we are different here”, “our mentality is too backward to absorb democracy” and “we do not understand freedom”. While the experience of neighbouring Iraq and its process of ‘democratisation’ are enough to worry Syrians, the irony is that a lot of these same doubters are examples of the educated, travelled and well-read Syrians the country needs to be able to take it into a more developed and universally positive era. However, they too need a coherent, planned and safe rallying point.

These ‘moderates’ may feel sympathetic towards the protestors but they are not yet willing to wholeheartedly take to the pages or the streets with their views.  They have worked long and hard at adapting themselves to the regime’s mechanics and are not suffering enough as a result of its existence to risk being shot of imprisoned for the sake of a vague notion of political freedom.

Syria’s is a society that has been born and raised in fear of both the known and the unknown. Consequently, Syria’s wealthier merchants would have to see their interests really hit hard before deciding to join the fray and risk what it entails. This may happen as a result of the impending EU and US sanctions. Conversely, foreign interference may actually affirm the regime’s accusation of Western intransigence and bolster its internal support.

This is why political and social discourse in Syria right now is so fundamentally necessary and yet gravely lacking. Such discourse needs to present and analyse the concepts of individual transparency, responsibility, accountability and basic human rights and to show how these concepts can ultimately lead to a better society for all.

Just because some Syrians have resigned themselves to paying their way out of trouble or into business does not absolve them from the need to be involved. Better it be a willing and thoughtful act now than a desperate one later. It would be more challenging yet far more progressive to believe in Syria as a country that can be prosperously governed in a non-dogmatic and non-authoritarian way.

Hind Aboud Kabawat – Peaceful change to save Syria

Burning HIzbullah’s flag in Homs yesterday – youtube increasing signs of the growing sectarian lines that are being drawn. This is probably inevitable. Everyone is being forced to take sides. As we have seen elsewhere in the region, the fastest avenue to mobilization of the masses is through the use of sectarian symbols. The blowing up of the Hassan al-Askari mosque in Iraq by Sunni extremists in February 2006 was the final trigger to outright sectarian war. Whether something similar will happen in Syria, one cannot say. But why burn Hizbullah’s flag in Homs?

Comments (227)

jad said:

مجلة فرنسية تلتقي محرضي «الثورة».. و«الجزيرة» تنظم زيارة سرية لفداء السيد إلى الدوحة…دورات تدريبية في الأردن وتركيا وأميركا ومئات معدات الاتصالات دخلت سورية سراً

نشرت أسبوعية «نوفل اوبزرفاتور» الفرنسية تحقيقاً مطولاً بعنوان: «سورية الشبكات السرية للمقاومة الإلكترونية»
يبدأ بلقاء مع فداء السيد المقيم في السويد وتصفه المجلة بـ«المسلم الورع»، والموهوب بالمعلوماتية، وهو مدير موقع «الثورة السورية» على الإنترنت.
وتنقل المجلة عنه أن «المخابرات السورية هددته مرات عدة، حتى في السويد، لأنه ينشر صوراً عن الثورة ويوزعها على كل قنوات العالم»، وذكرت الأسبوعية أن سوريين مغتربين مثل فداء السيد أقاموا شبكات سرية داخل سورية وخارجها لتوزيع صور وأفلام التظاهرات.
وتتحدث الأسبوعية مع رامي نخلة الناشط الإلكتروني السوري، إذ تصفه بـ«الثائر ابن الثماني وعشرين سنة»، وتذكر أنه يقيم في حي الأشرفية في بيروت في شقة أعيرت له (لا تذكر الأسبوعية من أعاره الشقة)، وتنقل عنه «إن ثورة سلمية لا يمكن أن تنجح إلا إذا انتشرت المعلومة بين الناس، ويجب أن يعرف المتظاهرون أن آخرين يتعاطفون معهم، ويتظاهرون مثلهم في كل أرجاء البلاد، وهكذا يسقط جدار الخوف وهو الحليف الأساسي للديكتاتوريات، ويسقط معه النظام»، حسب تصريحات نخلة للمجلة.
وأوضحت الأسبوعية في تحقيقها أن أسامة المنجد هو أول من نظم دخول معدات اتصال بشكل سري إلى سورية، وذكرت أنه يعيش في لندن منذ عام 2005 ودرس «تكتيك الكفاح السلمي»، ونظم ندوات لعشرات السوريين في الداخل السوري حول هذا الموضوع خلال الأشهر التي سبقت التحركات، وكشفت المجلة أن الدورات التدريبية هذه تمت سراً في عدة دول يمكن أن يدخلها السوريون من دون تأشيرة وخاصة تركيا والأردن، وقالت إن معظم المتدربين، وهم ممن يعتبرون أنفسهم من المدافعين عن حقوق الإنسان، تلقوا معدات اتصال متطورة في فترة مبكرة وقبل أسابيع من اندلاع الأحداث في سورية.
ونقلت عن المنجد قوله: «بدأت مع أصدقائي بإدخال أجهزة اتصال عبر الأقمار الاصطناعية وهواتف صغيرة الحجم (سمارت فون) وأجهزة كمبيوتر محمولة منذ شهر شباط بعد سقوط بن علي في تونس مباشرة، وكنا نشعر أن السوريين سيتحركون بدورهم». ويؤكد المنجد أن «شبكة شام» التي تتخذ من الولايات المتحدة مقراً لها «أنشئت نهاية شباط، أي قبل بداية التحركات بثلاثة أسابيع» وأدخلت مئات الأجهزة إلى سورية، وذكر أن التمويل جاء من رجال أعمال مغتربين وليس من الخارجية الأميركية، وأن المعدات أدخلت سراً عبر المطارات وعبر الحدود مع الأردن ولبنان وتركيا، وقال: «إن الأمور لم تكن معقدة كثيراً».
وأوضحت المجلة الفرنسية أن عدداً كبيراً من السوريين المغتربين أقاموا شبكات مثل المنجد، ونقلوا معدات اتصال إلى سورية وخاصة أجهزة مودم موصولة بالأقمار الاصطناعية. ونوهت أن فراس الأتاسي المقيم في الرياض تكفل بمدينة حمص، في حين تولى عمار عبد الحميد، المقيم في الولايات المتحدة، مدينة دمشق، حيث لديه أصدقاء كثر. وأشارت المجلة إلى وجود ناشطين كهؤلاء في عدد كبير من الدول مثل تركيا ولبنان والكويت وأستراليا.
وفي فرنسا تحدثت الأسبوعية الفرنسية مع طالب سوري اسمه عمرو (اسم مستعار) يقيم في إحدى الضواحي الباريسية ويرفض الكشف عن هويته، ويقول إنه على اتصال مع فداء السيد في استوكهلم، وذكرت أن عمرو ينظم عملية النقل المباشر لـ«الجزيرة» من شقته المتواضعة في باريس، حيث ينتظر الأخبار من المتعاونين معه في بانياس بعد صلاة الجمعة في يوم «جمعة الغضب»، وقد زود هؤلاء بهواتف فضائية دفع ثمنها طبيب ثري. ونسبت المجلة للشاب السوري قوله: «أمضيت الليلة أشرح لأحد شبابنا كيف يستخدم بامبوسير»، وهو برنامج يتيح نقل صور بشكل مباشر عبر الهاتف.
وتصف المجلة المشهد في شقة عمرو كالتالي: «اتصال من بانياس عبر سكايب، أسامة على الخط، التظاهرة ستبدأ، سيصورها»، وعمرو يتصل بالدوحة ويقول لـ«الجزيرة» إن «كل شيء جاهز»، وتصل أولى صور الحشود إلى حاسبه الشخصي وبعد ثلاث ثوان تظهر على شاشة «الجزيرة».
وتنقل المجلة الفرنسية عن فداء السيد في استوكهلم قوله: «إن (الجزيرة) كانت مترددة في نقل أخبار سورية في البداية وكانت ترفض الصور الحية من سورية»، وتفسر المجلة الأمر بأن القناة القطرية كانت تريد تحييد سورية نظراً لعلاقات الأمير الشخصية مع الرئيس الأسد، وتذكر أن تغطية «الجزيرة» تغيرت فجأة منتصف الشهر الماضي، وتعمل القناة الآن مع شبكة المغتربين للحصول على أفضل الصور بشكل حصري.
وحسب المجلة فقد ذهب فداء السيد في 28 نيسان إلى الدوحة للقاء المديرين في «الجزيرة»، وأحيطت رحلته بسرية كبيرة لإبعاد نظر أجهزة المخابرات عنه، حيث حلق لحيته وذهب قبل يوم من الموعد المقرر ولم ينزل في الفندق المحجوز له. وتشير الصحيفة إلى أن «الجزيرة» فرشت له السجاد الأحمر، ويقول السيد: «قالوا لي إن البث سيكون مفتوحاً لنا ابتداءً من الآن، وتمنوا أن نخصهم (الجزيرة) بأفلامنا القوية وألا نعطيها للقنوات المنافسة مثل «العربية» والـ«بي. بي. سي»، إلا أن فداء السيد رفض منح حصرية الصور لــ«الجزيرة» ونصحته الفضائية الإخبارية القطرية، أنه من الضروري للدفاع عن قضيته، التركيز في التصوير على النساء والأطفال وعلى الشعارات السلمية لأن ذلك يدغدغ مشاعر الناس.
وبالعودة إلى الناشط المقيم في باريس عمرو، تذكر المجلة أنه يأخذ كل الاحتياطات ولا يرسل هواتف ثريا لأنه بات «من الممكن التنصت عليها»، ويفضل هواتف الإيريديوم (Iridium)، وهو أغلى ثمناً لكنه أكثر أماناً ويعمل أيضاً من خلال الاتصال المباشر بالأقمار الصناعية.
وتشير الأسبوعية إلى الحرب التي تشنها الدولة عبر أجهزة الأمن لملاحقة من يرسل صوراً، وتوضح أن النشطاء يعرفون كيف يحبطون الأفخاخ وقد تم تأهيلهم في ذلك، وتكشفت أنه في السنوات الأخيرة تم تدريب عشرات النشطاء على كيفية حماية المعلومات في الخارج، وأن عدداً من المؤسسات الغربية نظمت لهم دورات تدريبية بشكل سري في دول مجاورة. ففي الأردن مثلاً دربتهم منظمة «فرونت أونلاين» الايرلندية وهي منظمة غير حكومية، على كيفية حذف المعطيات عن بعد، وتبادل رسائل الكترونية بالسر، وتذكر المجلة أن رامي نخلة تابع دورة تدريبية في هذا المجال في الولايات المتحدة خلال شهر شباط 2010.
وتختم المجلة تحقيقها بأمنية هؤلاء الموجودين في الخارج بأن يروا يوماً ساحة سورية يتم احتلالها من قبل مئات الآلاف من المتظاهرين وآنذاك يكونوا قد حققوا أمنيتهم في تنظيم «ثورة حقيقة»، لكن ما لم تنشره المجلة أن هؤلاء الذين عملوا من خارج سورية وعلى الرغم من التكنولوجيا المتطورة وعمليات التزييف التي مارسوها في بث أفلام مفبركة وشائعات وأكاذيب جالت كل العالم، أخفقوا في إخراج السوريين إلى الشارع والقيام بـ«ثورة مستوردة» وذلك نتيجة وعيهم وعلمهم المسبق بأن ما يحصل في سورية يدار من الخارج ولأهداف سياسية معروفة وبتمويل معروف أيضاً قد لا يكون مباشرة من الخارجية الأميركية كما يقول التحقيق المنشور في المجلة الفرنسية، لكن بكل تأكيد من أشخاص لهم مصلحة في تدمير سورية وإخضاعها للشروط السياسية الأميركية والإسرائيلية.
واللافت أنه بعد أن فشلت كل محاولات تحريك السوريين خرج السلاح وبدأ التمرد العسكري ما يؤكد إخفاق مشروع «الثورة الشعبية» واللجوء من خلال مجموعات دينية متطرفة إلى العمل العسكري وقتل واغتيال أكبر عدد ممكن من السوريين والمطالبة بالتدخل الأجنبي على غرار ما حصل في ليبيا، وهذا ما سمعناه مباشرة من عدة أسماء وردت في التقرير ناشدت واشنطن بالتدخل عسكرياً في سورية وهذا دليل آخر على إفلاس تلك المجموعات وخيبة أملهم في إحداث «ثورة» لا مكان لها في سورية.

May 23rd, 2011, 12:01 am


abbas said:

All what you’ve posted might be true, but that does not mean that people are not protesting for real issues and against great injustice and trigger happy mukhabarat that does not have any regard for human life, Syrians need to change the culture of death to every one who disagree with me and understand that demonstrators are not traitors but more patriots than the criminals who shoot at them

May 23rd, 2011, 12:35 am


Shami said:

But why burn Hizbullah’s flag in Homs?

There are two reasons one political and the other religious: the mistrust towards extremist shias has increased as result of Iran and Hizbollah anti syrian revolution compaign.
Also,Hizbolla and Iranian regime media are becoming the first source for the syrian media dominated by makhlouf that the syrian revolution’s aim is to creat salafi emirates in Syria and that Bashar ,Maher and Rami are struggling against a salafi american zionist plot.(the syrian revolution).It’s seen as an invitation to kill the syrian people under the pretext of sruggle against salafism.
Also prior to this date , Asad approval to extremist mollah to spread their ideology in Syrian towns and cities that resulted by the destruction of historical buildings in the intra muros damascene urban fabric,it fueled an anti iranian theocracy sentiment.The regime has been warned 5 years ago by Bouti and other soft clerics from this mukhabarati-theocratic attempt in a signed letter.

May 23rd, 2011, 12:40 am


darryl said:

There has been comments about the issue in Telkalakh and the syrian army. I am from the area although I have been living outside of syria for more than 40 years. Telkalakh has always been a hotbed for smugllers and people who are very conservative by nature. I would like to share with you some things from close family members:

1. My brother was last week stopped by the syrian army (who have always done the best job knowing they are under-equiped) on his way to work in Telkalakh (as he did not know it was closed off). They were good enough that they drove him to the closest safe town and told him to go home. 3 of my brothers served as Leutanents in the army and one was in the 73 war commanding a special forces unit.

2. We have a large Lebanese group in Australia who come from across the border from Telkalakh, they are claiming that Hariri clan is smuggling arms into syria through agents in telkalakh and how Hariri and his associates are behind may “dangerous sectarian” operations in that part of syria and lebanon. They are being told by their lebanese relatives.

3. My inlaws who also live there are reporting that armed groups are certainly behind alot of sectarian violence because the location of our town being surrounded by other town that are christian, sunni muslims and Alawites who have always lived in harmony and respected each other. My mother was a godmother to two sunni muslims from a nearby town and they always used to come visit her and say hello to their godmother. Hence, there is apprehension now and apparently they were told that some of these gangs have called on certain towns to attack each other. This cannot be the work the government.

In conclusion it appears that there is a a lot of mis-information and perhaps the trueth is the true victim in syria now. I just hope syrians will not pay with blood for failed american policies in the middle east and for syria to become a battlefield for the US, KSA and Gulf states as they struggle to contain Iran by resorting to a war between Sunni Syria and Shia Iraq.

May 23rd, 2011, 1:04 am


jad said:

listening to Elias Muhanna and Camille Otrakji discussing the Syrian conflict and how Elias is talking with fond of how Lebanon is more ‘mosaic’* than Syria I couldn’t help but to think of how backward, lost and tasteless our countries are after thousands of years of existence, for me Ziad Rahbani’s Nazl Assorour song is the best reflect of the ‘ambiance’** of Syria today:
زياد الرحباني نزل السرور

*Mosaic = Sectarian
**civil war scary and disgusting feeling

May 23rd, 2011, 1:08 am


syau said:

Why burn the HizbAllah flag?

The same reason they burn the fire stations, houses, government cars, destroy infrastructure and murder. Because they are nothing but violent gangs acting out what they are told, which inturn, enables them to reap the financial benefits of their destruction.

At least thats what the ‘peaceful protesters’ do it for, as for an indepth look at the reason behind burning the flag, ask Hariri.

May 23rd, 2011, 1:18 am


Shami said:

Syau,by feigning that you swallowed the ubvious mukhabarati-hezbollah lie of the story of the israeli flag in Homs ,it shows how much far can be your adherence to this batini culture of deception and hypocrisy.
Know yourself better !

May 23rd, 2011, 1:29 am


syau said:


Regarding the flag raising in Homs, you need to stop denying it. They killed a man who was trying to bring it down. Why is it that you people never recognise the killings by your ‘peaceful protesters’, but are so quick to believe the falsified videos and eyewitnesses?

Why are you so quick to believe the Syrian revolutions stories of the death of a man who is actually alive and well? And when undeniable evidence is presented too refute claims of his death, some still deny that he wasn’t harmed.

The apparent death of Ahmad Albiasi is the second time they claimed someone died at the hands of the government who actually went on air to prove otherwise, do you forget the soldier that supposedly died a few weeks back?

You deny their use of weapons, murders, mutilations, violence and destruction, but when the evidence is presented, you blame it on the regime.

This denial has gone on far too long now and its about time you woke up and saw the chaos this revolution has caused throughout the country.
Its about time Syrian people’s right to live in peace was not denied.

May 23rd, 2011, 1:46 am


Usama said:

I personally doubt the Israeli flag story because where would you get one in Syria? Unless it’s hand made. Still it’s a suspect story like 95% of the oppositions’ stories, and I am not willing to believe it blindly.

But about the Hezbollah flag, I would like to repeat what I said in my earlier post. I apologize for the repetition, but I think I made a good point and would like to build up on it some more.

“…there is never an excuse to burn Hezbollah flags.. NEVER. Nor Iranian. They have never hurt us, never attacked us, never killed us, never sanctioned us, never expressed hate towards us as a people, never backstabbed us, never conspired against us, never used us, never pressured us into something we don’t want, never never never. I don’t know if you realize this, but Hezbollah is not just Lebanon’s first line of defense against the Zionist entity, but also Syria’s due to the geographic and topographically strategic nature of the region.”

The fact that Hezbollah is Shi`a shouldn’t matter unless the haters are sectarian-minded, but of course those flag-burning protesters are not sectarian, right? I’m not sure how one can even call Hezbollah Shi`a “extremist” since they don’t insult Sunnis and Christians, they don’t call Sunnis “kafir” and they don’t talk about cleansing the Muslim world of Sunnis, like those Sunni extremists do (about Shi`as and Christians) on TV channels like Wisal, Safa, Khalijiya, and so on. They don’t even talk about applying Islamic rule on people whether they like it or not.

Also Hezbollah welcomes people of all faiths into its organization without discrimination and pays respect to all faiths. Just because an organization has a religious base does not make it extremist. That would be like saying every preacher at every mosque is an extremist because he preaches his convictions of Islam. It becomes extremist when it preaches hate against its fellow citizens.

You don’t like their coverage against your rebellion? Tough, because the majority of Syrians don’t like your rebellion either.

May 23rd, 2011, 1:56 am


Shami said:

SYAU,on the contrary,it exposed the lie of the regime and the regime in fact felt in the trap (it was Syria,not kurdistan) ,for the well being of Ahmed who is now save from reprisal.

May 23rd, 2011, 2:09 am


Usama said:

How did Biasi explain the US soldiers that could be CLEARLY seen in the background of that video? I’m really intrigued.

Do you really think that the regime “fell in a trap”? What about the other supposed 8000 prisoners? It just never ends with these criminals. Even when they get caught lying and fabricating, they blame it on the regime.

May 23rd, 2011, 2:13 am


Shami said:

Now he should appear amongst his people and familly ,in his village.

May 23rd, 2011, 2:15 am


Shami said:

Sah enome USAMA ,it seems that you are not Syrian.

May 23rd, 2011, 2:21 am


Syria no kandahar said:

Talking to family members back home they keep insisting on few facts:

1-This is not mor than a storm in a cup.
2-life in most of the cities in Syria is normal.
3-Most of the Syrian citizens hate the revolutionists.
4-Those revolutionists represent very small percentage of the over all population
5-The more this goes on,the more the Syria main stream hate these outlawers.
6-There is -except Kurdish demonstrations-no other peaceful demonstrations in Syria.
7-This revolution is historical in the since that it is the number one in using lies,fake videos ,fake witnesses like no other movement human being has ever known.
8-Most of the lay syrians don’t see any opportunity that these bunch of liars ,haters,manipulators has any chance of getting there trust.
9-Syrian main stream is starting to hate Fridays,these thugs have transformed this day from a precious rest and special day , to a day of blood , deaths,fires, road blocks,stone throughing.
10-The economy game can burn the hands of the thugs in the streets more than the government.Syrians will not blame there government for this economical melt down because they know that it is caused by these criminals.
11-when all this is over ,syrians will know there enemies and friends perfectly.
12-Taking the religion and sectarian card from these thugs will leave them empty.

May 23rd, 2011, 2:25 am


Usama said:

Sa7 enom 7abibi.

I just watched Biasi’s video again. How do you know he appears among his people and family? Do you know his people and family?

Just listen to his story. “They insulted our women, shot at our mosque, ripped the Qur’an, looted houses, looted shops, took the gold off women’s arms and necks.” And just for good measure, “they shot in the air.” This is all similar to old lies told. He was struggling to think about what to say. I don’t trust anything he says. In the video, one of the armed people even poses for the camera. It’s all so questionable and you guys have lied so much. Until someone explains the US soldiers in the background, that video is fake.

May 23rd, 2011, 2:30 am


syau said:


That’s rich comming from someone who supports the revolutions constant use of fake video’s and lies and deny the killings endorsed by the revoltuion and their die hard imams.

The organisers of the revolution have been caught out time and time again with their falsified claims and fabrications of events.
They have been falsifying facts from day 1.

Initially with their actors using fake blood, people being given their last rights, then miraculously wake up from the dead when they think they are not being filmed. Videos from other countries being used to portray masses of protests that didnt happen, fake eyewitnesses, false republican guard stories – when one was exposed as a lie, they tried again, through the use of Al Jazeera of all networks…..The list can go on forever, and I have no doubt they are still continuing on with their fabrications, but if I was to continue on, I would be typing for days.

Do not deny the killings at the hands of the ‘revolutionists’ which were endorsed by their Islamist imams, that’s insulting to the ones accusing the government of fabrications.

The article you linked also talks about genital mutilation. The evil murders that slaughtered and mutilated innocent civilians and army personnel, cut off their genitals and shoved them into the mouths of their victims among other discusting mutilations of their bodies, not to mention the beheading of a soldier. Stop denying.

May 23rd, 2011, 2:44 am


Usama said:

Hey Shami, I do believe the video now. After seeing some videos of the environment and then comparing them with the original, it does seem legit. It is a little odd with the soldiers in the background though, especially since Biasi said in his video that the soldiers left before the security forces and mukhabarat came, so I still don’t believe Biasi’s story. It is also odd that this original video got to the hands of SNN. The original video doesn’t show what happened before, so we don’t see the cause. Fact remains he’s alive, and for some reason the Independent article calls it “forced confession” and is using it against the regime?

May 23rd, 2011, 2:49 am


Syria no kandahar said:

الشيخ: يا بني لقد دقت الساعة وكتب عليك الجهاد
المغرر به:ولكن الجهاد ضد من ياشيخي
الشيخ:الجهاد ضد هذه الطغمه النصيريه الجالسه فوق صدور المومنين
المغرر به:ولكن يا شيخي ماذا استطيع عمله
الشيخ:ما أتاح الله لك:القتل لهم حلال
المغرر به:وماذا لو قتلت غير نصيري
الشيخ:لا تجادل يا هذا فذاك كفر الم تسمع كيف حلل شيخ المومنين القرضاوي الجهاد ضد النصيرين
المغرر به:ولكن ياشيخي عندي اصدقا منهم
الشيخ:ان مالهم و عرضهم حلال لكم
المغرر به:هل استطيع الخروج للتظاهر فقط الشيخ:لا يا بني ان ذلك ليس بجهاد ولن يفتح لك ابواب الجنه
المغرر به:وماذا عن التظاهر السلمي اللذي يتحدثون عنه
الشيخ:يا بني هذه حنكه

May 23rd, 2011, 3:32 am


Mina said:

Dear Mr Phil Sands,

Thank you very much for this article in The National. It is a perfect description of what has been going on in Syria according to my personal feeling and the people I talk to there every day.
I wish you will write an article on the tribal networks who have been agitating the ‘virtual’ revolution on the internet. It would be fascinating to know more about the MB in Qatar, some half-employed students and assistant professors in the US, bored frozen devoted muslims in Sweden and a colored group of leftist users of twitter in Cairo, who got all heated up at the prospect of a regime change in one of the neocons’ arch enemy.

For a broader picture, I have found a lot in this interview of Heikal

May 23rd, 2011, 3:37 am


democracynow said:

Assad’s propaganda:

The Syrian state media is engaged in a no-holds barred propaganda campaign, described here by this rare report from inside Syria by a foreigner. It reminds me of the insanity on Egyptian TV during the 18 days of the revolution. From the Beast:

The protests in Syria have caused the world’s media to focus on this autocratic state and its brutal response to the latest development in the Arab Spring. Foreign journalists are not being allowed into Syria. As a result, conspicuously lacking from international coverage is the response of Syrians themselves to the protests. And key in understanding this response is the “media war” that the Syrian regime has openly declared.

The extent of distortion and disinformation, of efforts to control Syrians’ opinions, is mind-boggling, and terrifying. Here is a brief sample:
Armed terrorist groups are trying to destabilize Syria. Televised confessions and discoveries of weapons caches prove this.
Syrian citizens welcome the arrival of the army into their cities to protect them from these armed groups. Scenes of women throwing flowers over advancing tanks prove this.
Foreign satellite news channels—Al-Jazeera, Al-Arabiya, and BBC Arabic chief among them—are involved in deception and distortion in order to destabilize Syria. Detailed “refutations” of their reports prove this.
Under the pretense of democracy promotion, the United States is providing funds to groups whose aim is in fact to spread discord. A montage of bombardments from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, along with footage of maimed children and women, proves this. The clip finishes with the words ‘Made in the USA’ filling the screen.
On Fridays, the day on which the biggest protests have traditionally happened, looping scenes of “calm and peace and stability” in Syria’s cities are broadcast.
And now, ringing condemnations of the Israelis’ use of force against peaceful demonstrators in the occupied Golan Heights—presented without a shred of irony—eclipse all else in the Syrian news.

“It makes me want to laugh and cry at the same time. I simply can’t watch it,” says Mona, a Ph.D. student at Aleppo University, who participated in an anti-regime protest on Eid al-Jelaa, Syria’s independence day, last month.

May 23rd, 2011, 3:45 am


Syria no kandahar said:

Dear democracy now:

May be you also want to laugh and cry on these:

-Albiase coming back from dead.
-The Alawi commander speaking to aljazera yesterday telling them that he was shot in the neck and taken from Dara to kamishli in a refrigerator ,speaking to them in kamishli accent.
-flying coffins during Dara demonstrations
-burning abokamal prison and releasing criminals by PHD peaceful demonstrators.
-killing Syrian hero trying to bring down Israeli flag in Kandahar of Homs(bab alsba)
-Reuters ,ABC and France channels declaring that videos passed to them as being in Syria were actually in Lebanon 2008.

So you have a very thinned glass house my friend . Don’t hit others by rocks(like your peaceful friends)

May 23rd, 2011, 4:10 am


democracynow said:

Very reasonable article by Hind Aboud Kabawat… Although a little too optimistic. But at least lays things bare and address the bitter truth: namely the repression and the crimes of the regime.

Probably why this regime sycophants blog chose to link to it at the bottom.

May 23rd, 2011, 4:39 am


Aboud said:

For a bunch of people who claim to be “experts” on Syria, I find the explanations for the burning of the Hizbolah flag so laughable and absurd. Landis can be excused if the only explanation he has is sectarianism, since he isn’t on the ground.

The truth is much more mundane, ladies and gentlemen. Ever since the first demonstrations, people have been hearing consistent rumors of Hizbollah and Iranian commandos helping quell the riots, especially in the south. One rumor making the rounds is that Iranians were captured in Dera’a, which is the reason the 4th Divion invaded it.

Of course, no one offered any solid proof of Hizbollah and Iranian involvement, but thanks to the idiotic government news black outs, rumors such as these are rife and take on a life of their own. That is why the Hizbollah flag was burned; due to Hizbollah’s perceived association with Iran, and the perceived idea that Hizbollah is giving material and manpower to the regime. Any sensationalist notions of sectarian divisions is just the best explanations people who are clueless on whats going on can come up with.

And if events do turn sectarian, the government only has itself to blame. During the recent invasion of Telkelakh, the government gave arms and uniforms to men from the surrounding Alawite villages and bought them in with the army. These militias spent no time fighting “Salafis”, but alot of time looting shops and homes.

May 23rd, 2011, 5:24 am


syau said:

Funny that the people actually living in Tal Kalakh know it was actually the armed gangs, mostly comming in from Wadi Khaled who robbed them, burned down their houses and destroyed their shops.

Firstly there are claims the army is killing eachother, then mukhabarat killing the army, now people looting their own shops and homes. These claims get more ridiculous as days go by.

Sectarianism, I blame the revolutionists and their Islamist imams for that.

May 23rd, 2011, 5:46 am


Atheist /ex Christian Syrian said:

Atheist /ex christian Syrian

I read a lot of the comments here ,and let me say it is sadly mostly pointless , self jerky ,and 4chan reminiscent.
I think the real issues in Syria is the sectarian elephant in the room that most people try to ignore or mask by propaganda ,nobody in Syria really believe the story of the Israeli-salafists united army that emerged out of a extra dimension to try to subjugate Syria and all that crap ,the issues at hand is a sectarian one and i’ll try To explain Syria’s sectarian alignment regarding this ” revolution” from my neutral position(excuse some of the generalizations but i have no time for political correctness) :

############Anti-regime:three categories:
1-the Secular well educated that yearn for a free democratic Syria ,and those are usually upper middle class,and not really affected by the Syrian Mazooot Stock Market(sic).
2-Moderate Muslim those are usually middle class who are slipping because of the current economical situation to lower classes ,they use to be non-political ,anti-regime for the usual Arabic reasons with a pinch of a justified and non justified sectarianism but were not really vocal about it ,and used to live by the rule “El7i6 el7i6 ,w ya rab elsetrah”,they faced for the first time in their lives the loss of dignity in their homes because they could not afford to buy Mazoot to heat their families this winter , and they are the main bulk of the demonstrations.
3-Extremist Muslim :who watches Safa and Alwisal and think that if the Alawites are gone,there will be roses and teddy bears everywhere,like 1, a minority.

1-the 0.1% ultra rich who depend on the regime to provide a “legal” cover for their cartels,usually lives in Malki and Mezzah Autostrad and frequent 500_pounds_for_a_cup_of_coffee cafes and the similar high society hypocrisy centers.
2-the 1% ultra poor who usually are not educated and really buy into Addunia crap about global conspiracy and what not.
||-Christains ,Druzes ,Ismaillis:
They are usually pro-regime not because they benefited from it like Alawis did but because they are afraid of the following:

######1-Losing the liberty to hold their rituals and losing the protection they enjoyed under the regime ,have absolutly no trust in the Muslim brotherhood or any Islamist party ,and don’t believe the meek and mild image they try to mask themselves with ,and believe they are just trying to “ytmaskan 7ata ytmakan”,to impose a shariah law to fight Israel in a some glory Armageddon(despite what you think , what those minorities claim to uphold about Israel publicly is just trying to push and assert their Arabism -they see as a alternative for Islamism- but in reality they don’t give a rat’s a$$)

######2-In the likely event of a civil war ,they are the most likely ones who suffer the most ,because unlike Sunnis and Alawites they are highly decentralized and thus it is impossible for them to form a Beshmerga like protection militia like the former two will likely do,and they saw what happened to the Christian Iraqis ,and they are ready to cooperate with the devil to avoid their fate.

Very very very pro-regime ,ready to follow him to 9th depth of hell,for the following reasons:
######1-Share 1 with Christians.
######2-Religious masked tribalism ,emboldened by centuries of persecution,
######3-Morbidly afraid from a revenge campaign ,like what the Shiite did in post-Saddam Iraq .
######4-Fear of losing their newly founded respect (aka fear),and return to being just backward country peasants , to quote Ibrahim Almakhoos (once a foreign minister)in a conversation with Micheal Kilo :
بدك البنات العلويات يرجعوا يشتغلوا خدامات؟!

#####5-fear of losing -in a lot of cases- the family’s only business and only income and that is :the army ,Mukhabarat,Tashbi7,,,,

May 23rd, 2011, 6:08 am


vlad-the-syrian said:


you omit to add point 13 but maybe it is politically uncorrect :

13. when all this is over, the revenge shall be dreadful and will reach Hariri and other parties in Lebanon or elsewhere because the majority of the syrian people will not forgive and just turn the page. Wait and see.

May 23rd, 2011, 6:21 am


qunfuz said:

at the risk of seeming as if I am persecuting SC, I should draw attention to the following quotes from Camille Otrakji’s interview:

“It’s almost fun on a Friday to go and express your point of view.”

“The fact they don’t want even to lose their job, it shows they’re not that angry with the government.”

This isn’t commentary, it’s obscenity. The person who allows such sentences to squirm out of his mouth is a person who has lost all moral bearings and all pretence at objective analysis.

When I said so on QN’s blog, Mr Otrakji sent me yet another video of a bearded man. I see no difference at all with a Zionist who thinks the Palestinians go to demonstrate in the face of live ammunition because it’s fun, and when you disagree with their idiotic racism they say, yes, but look at this video of them with beards, being brown, shouting Allahu Akbar. I see no difference with a wahhabi who responds to any point you might make about minorities by attaching a video of a drunk Christian or a shabeeha Alawi – look at them, they’re scum, they deserve to die.

The contempt in which Mr Otrakji holds ordinary Syrians, and the propagandising he does on behalf of their murder and humiliation, I no longer have any words for it.

By now most of us know people who have been arrested or killed. Otrakji is insulting these people, the very brightest and best of Syrians. The words of a cheap, hate-filled, ideology-bound propagandist are worth nothing beside one drop of blood spilled by a lover of freedom.

May 23rd, 2011, 7:27 am


Aboud said:


“Funny that the people actually living in Tal Kalakh know it was actually blah blah blah armed gangs blah blah Salafis blah blah”

Funny how people who don’t live in Homs or anywhere near it seem to have the ability to discern what people in the towns around it are thinking. Just like the now absent Christian Homsi who seems to have suddenly disappeared from the forums when challenged to prove he knew anything about Homs.

“Don’t worry the Syrian army will be visiting north Lebanon very soon”

And now the Baathists are talking about invading a neighboring country. I wish every Lebanese journalist who have sold their pens to the regime would read that delightful sentence.

Of course, the Baathists send their tanks everywhere, except the Golan. They may weave fantasies about political realities, but they are quite aware of what 40 years of Baathists mismanagement have done to the Syrian army, and how it is now woefully underpowered against Israel.

May 23rd, 2011, 8:00 am


majedkhaldoon said:

Europe froze the assets of Bashar,he will never see this money he and his father stole from the syrian and deposited them in european banks,nor his kids will ever see them.

May 23rd, 2011, 8:09 am


Mohamed kanj said:

Aboudi –

Such hate and anger coming from u. That Homsi u r referring to, left u a comment 8 hours ago I’n the last post from yesterday. Why do u refer to him as the ” Christian Homsi” ? He is a Homsi. Ur a typical sectarian Lebanese cannibal from tripoli. no syrian will ever say as aboudi stated ” why doesn’t the syrian army send it’s tanks to the golan” . That’s the words of a outdated Lebanese animal from tripoli.

I was just reading ur posts with John khouri. John khouri asked u to prove that ur I’n Homs and wat the name of the shop was u bought ur lock from. The reply u gave John khouri was ” todays advertisement on the front page of the paper is of a samsung tv” . Are u really that stupid . Instead of stating what the front page of the newspaper article states , u mention what advertisement is on the front page? U obviously cannot read Arabic i have discovered Also. So I’n conclusion ,ur an uneducated Lebanese caveman who pretends he is Syrian :-)))))) Goodnite mr aboudi. Whenever u r readi i will book the first flight out of Lebanon to Saudi arabiA.

May 23rd, 2011, 8:42 am


Abughassan said:

Things changed when violence against the army was used and when cold-blood murder was committed against unarmed officers and their kids. We still have to blame the regime first because it was brutal from the beginning and did manage to inflame the public. Shabihas do exist in Syria and I still have not seen any of them going to jail or even exposed. I denounce violence from all sides but I can not deny the fact that the regime has not enough to build trust and help heal the wounds.
As for those sanctions,they are mostly symbolic but they will harden Asad position and empower the hardliners. How can you negotiate with a guy if he can not travel to your country and he is being called a pariah? Cutting شعرة معاويه is only justified when you are willing to go all the way,ie: toppling the regime,but that is not going to happen and it is dangerous for Syria and the region. The sensible thing to do is diplomatic pressure and civil resistance. Do not humiliate the guy then ask him to be nice !!

May 23rd, 2011, 10:29 am


why-discuss said:


Your hysterical and outraged criticism of Camille Otrakji’s comments are totally misplaced. The interview was balanced except that Elias seemed nervous and was very fidgety while Camille was calm and measured. I sense a bit of competitive feeling in your criticism. Anyway If you “have no words for it”, so be it!

May 23rd, 2011, 10:51 am


aboali said:

wow, a new low in Syrian media, a website owned by Sulieman Maroof, the owner of Dunia t.v, claims that an Islamic emirate has been set in in Homs, which raised the Israeli flag ….I mean come on …how stupid is this?

May 23rd, 2011, 11:32 am


Syria no kandahar said:

A revolution which starts from mosqes ,charged by imams,infested by sectarianism,colored by blood,inspired by karadawi,run by MB,supported by aljazera,will end up in Islamic emara

May 23rd, 2011, 12:02 pm


Sophia said:

I think the argument of tribal justice is a very bad, poor, and dangerous argument.
It can be turned the other way. Why some civilians are being killed? Tribal justice.
Some people are willing to go to some questionable lenghts in order to cover up for the violence of the Syrian revolution.

May 23rd, 2011, 12:07 pm


N.Z. said:

Camille, has no spine. He speaks for everybody and nobody.

May 23rd, 2011, 12:24 pm


Aboud said:

A Salafi state, raising the Israeli flag *facepalm*

“Why some civilians are being killed? Tribal justice.”

@36 When you put on the uniform of the state, you leave tribal justice behind, otherwise don’t put it on in the first place.

May 23rd, 2011, 12:39 pm


jad said:

Another horrific sectarian crime in Homs, they slaughter him because of his name:

شبكة أخبار حمص H.N.N
عــلي خـــــضر الرحـــــــال
على يد مجموعة متطرفة وذلك في الطريق الممتد بين دوار 8 آذار ودوار تدمر
حيث كان عائداً من محافظة دمشق ومتجها نحو بيته إلى منطقة الزهراء حي المهاجرين
بعد أن طلبوا هؤلاء الكفرة هويته ليحللوا ذبحــــــــه
وبلغنا أن الشهيد يبلغ من العمر 41 عاماً وأنه يعمل بمهنة مهندس

May 23rd, 2011, 12:40 pm


jad said:

Thank you for the link of the original article

Dear WD,
I agree with you that Qunfuz attack on Camille’s comments is misplaced, I do have lots of respect to Qunfuz and I do understand his position of being a pure humanitarian and rights advocate individual, I wish that he could push his emotion a little bit from the centre of his views and that he can be more politically objective than emotionally charged and an attacker against many of his own friends.
I may disagree with many of his emotional reactions but his morals and human rights standards as well as his obvious respect of every human life and every drop of blood should be acknowledged, encouraged and respected.

Actually, the tribal revenge acts is accurate and it may explain lots of the killing of the Syrian soldiers. It actually makes more sense than the stupid explanation of the ‘revolution’ organizer propaganda that the army is killing it’s own soldiers.

May 23rd, 2011, 1:00 pm


why-discuss said:


Thanks for defending Qunfuz’s excesses, I don’t doubt that he has strong feelings about what it happening but his dismissive and arrogant remarks sound too fascistic for my taste and I believe they fit well with the violent revengeful rhetoric I keep reading from the commenters who defend blindly the hardline opposition, despite the accumulated proofs of their abuse and exploitation of the credulity of people.
In any case the less I see comments with such tone coming from him or others in this site, the better I would concentrate on the ones who at least try to be more objective and constructive.

May 23rd, 2011, 1:11 pm


Sophia said:

#38 Aboud,

You did not read well my comment and you don’t read the article you comment on. The argument of tribal justice is not mine, ad I am actually quite critical of this.

# 40 Jad,

Killing on the basis of the name is a sure sign of a civil war, killing on the basis of tribal revenge is a sign of civil war also. A civil war is a state of chaos when there is no central government and when citizen take their matters, includng justice, in their own hands.

In Lebanon, and most of you are much younger than me to remember, the civil war started by blind killings based on names and religion and individual acts of revenge or personal justice.

May 23rd, 2011, 1:16 pm


Sophia said:

Interesting excerpts from the interview in Spiegel with Emmanuel Todd on the Arab spring

“SPIEGEL: And what is the consequence?

Todd: That this development ends with the transformation of the political system, a spreading wave of democratization and the conversion of subjects into citizens. Although this follows a global trend, it can take some time.

SPIEGEL: The impression we have at the moment is of a breathtaking acceleration of history, similar to the fall of the Berlin Wall, in 1989.

Todd: At this point, no one can say what the liberal movements in these countries will turn into. Revolutions often end up as something different from what their supporters proclaim at the beginning. Democracies are fragile systems that require deep historic roots. It took almost a century from the time of the French Revolution in 1789 until the democratic form of government, in the form of the Third Republic, finally took shape after France had lost a war against the Germans in 1871. In the interim, there was Napoleon, the royalist restoration and the Second Empire under Napoleon III, the “little one,” as Victor Hugo said derisively.

SPIEGEL: Can the crises of transition that usually follow revolutions benefit the Islamists?

Todd: This cannot be completely ruled out when the power lies in the streets. Chaos creates the desire for a return to stability, for a sense of direction. But I don’t believe that will happen. The Islamists did not play a role in Tunisia and in Egypt the course of events seems to have taken the Muslim Brotherhood by surprise. The Islamists are now trying to organize as political parties within a pluralistic system. These freedom movements are not anti-Western. On the contrary, in Libya, the rebels are calling for more support from NATO. The Arab revolution has set aside the cliché of a cultural and religious uniqueness that supposedly makes Islam incompatible with democracy and supposedly destines Muslims to be ruled by at best enlightened despots.”
“SPIEGEL: The statistics reveal considerable differences. Tunisia can’t be compared with Yemen. How is it that the spark of revolution still managed to jump to Yemen?

Todd: There is also an example of that in European history.

SPIEGEL: You mean the revolutions of 1848-49?

Todd: Yes. The Arab Spring resembles the European Spring of 1848 more closely than the fall of 1989, when communism collapsed. The initial spark in France triggered unrest in Prussia, Saxony, Bavaria, Austria, Italy, Spain and Romania — a classic chain reaction, despite major regional differences.

SPIEGEL: If the Arab world now enters the modern age, will the universal Western values — such as freedom, equality, human rights and human dignity — triumph once and for all?

Todd: I would be cautious in that regard. Democratic movements can take on highly different forms, as we can see with the example of Eastern Europe after 1990. (Russian Prime Minister Vladimir) Putin undoubtedly has the support of the majority of the Russian people, but does that make Russia a flawless democracy?”,1518,763537,00.html

May 23rd, 2011, 1:29 pm


jad said:

Dear WD,
I’m not defending Qunfuz, he can talk for himself, I’m trying to explain my take on his comments, I may be wrong but because I read his blog for a while now, I can see his points, he always defend the human side regardless of any political views, so his emotional reactions can’t be taken literally since it wont be objective. Right?

I agree with your view, the more we read about such hate and sectarian crimes the closer we are to the danger zone of civil war.
You can even read the sectarian language by many commentators on SC, the scary thing is that those who are writing on here are supposed to be the well educated bunch who lived in the west long enough to know right from wrong, but can you imagine the situation on ground in Syria and the reaction of many ignorant illiterate people who are filled with hate and charged with sectarian feelings and are used to commit crimes.

An Iranian threat to Turkey on Syria:
ايران: أي تدخل تركي على حدود سوريا هو تدخل على حدود ايران…
Any Turkish intervention on the border of Syria will be regarded and an intervention on the border of Iran.

May 23rd, 2011, 1:35 pm


Sophia said:

#45 Jad,

” You can even read the sectarian language by many commentators on SC, the scary thing is that those who are writing on here are supposed to be the well educated bunch…”

Yes I know, education doesn’t entail necessarily a conscience and a morale, at least not contemporary education. It is the same in Lebanon to the point I do not discuss politics with many of my Lebanese friends who are well educated and ethically and politically blind.

I feel sorry for these people who did not achieve their politial and moral emancipation from their communautarist values. Education is meant to emancipate the individual : “Sapere aude” ( have the courage for knowledge but in fact Kant meant to incite the enlightened individual to have the courage to think by himself outside any external directive) was the maxim of the Enlightenment, and I do not see emancipation of the intellect on this blog, I see only sectarian thinking.

May 23rd, 2011, 1:49 pm


Sophia said:

“Then the other guy: “said Ammar Abudlhamid, a Syrian activist based in Maryland who was one of several Syrian exiles to help organize delivery of satellite phones, cameras and laptops into the country earlier this year.” I have one question: what would happen to an American living in Maryland if he admits to the New York Times that he helped in the “delivery” of satellite phones, cameras, and laptops” into, say, the opposition in Bahrain? Would he not be put on trial on terrorism charges?”

May 23rd, 2011, 1:57 pm


Syria no kandahar said:

Iraqi style democracy and happiness is coming to Syria slowly but karkok s Christian was found decapitated few days after taken Homs Ali alrahal was slaughtered by barbaric salafi. Tow faces for the same evil.This kind of democratic happiness imposed by the west on Syria for political bazar , is similar to have somebody who is straight be happy the gay way.

May 23rd, 2011, 2:18 pm


AIG said:

Sophia, WD and Jad,

You have completely lost your moral compass. Who has the power and holds all the cards in Syria? Who has created the violence by oppressing the Syrian people? Who has not been able to deliver economic prosperity to the majority of the people? There is only one answer: THE SYRIAN REGIME.

There is only one side to blame for what is happening: THE REGIME. Yet you are blaming the victims. Shame on you.

May 23rd, 2011, 2:33 pm


jad said:

This news is related to your linked article couple days ago about Qatar investment in Syria, the government stopped Addiyar from working in Syria

الحكومة تعلن توقيف عمل شركة ” الديار” القطرية في سوريا

أعلنت الحكومة السورية توقيف مشروع شركة “الديار” القطرية الذي كان مزمعاً إنشاؤه في المنطقة الحرة التي تقع في قلب دمشق.

ونقلت جريدة ” الوطن ” عن رئيس اللجنة العليا للمستثمرين في المناطق الحرة فهد درويش ” توقف أعمال البناء والإكساء كنتيجة لدخول شركة الديار القطرية على الخط، تأسيساً على تسليمها المنطقة الحرة بدمشق، ونقل فعاليات المنطقة إلى المنطقة الحرة البديلة المفترضة في منطقة المعضمية بريف دمشق عن طريق محافظة دمشق التي تعود ملكية أرض الحرة البديلة لها”.

وتابع بالقول:” ونتيجة لذلك وجهت مؤسسة المناطق الحرة بوقف أعمال الإكساء والبناء في الحرة بدمشق تأسيساً على كتاب محافظة دمشق بالتريث في هذه الأعمال، على الرغم من أن مؤسسة المناطق الحرة كانت قد وجهت المستثمرين في وقت سابق بتطوير المنطقة الحرة بدمشق إنشائياً من خلال تشييد أبنية لا يقل حدها الأدنى عن خمسة طوابق، ولكن كتاب التريث أوقف كل الأعمال”.

وأضاف درويش بالقول “وافق وزير الاقتصاد محمد نضال الشعار على إبقاء المنطقة الحرة على ما هي عليه قبل كتاب التريث، ولاسيما أن شركة الديار القطرية قد رحلت ومشروعها في خبر كان”.

ووعد وزير الاقتصاد والتجارة بإصدار قرار سريع خلال أيام لمعالجة مشكلة ما يقارب 50 ألف شاحنة وآلية ثقيلة مملوكة لسوريين ومسجلة بأسماء خليجية لعدم إمكانية تسجيلها بأسماء ملاكها.

May 23rd, 2011, 2:33 pm


qunfuz said:

protestors ask for freedom and dignty. the regime shoots them, women and children too, in the head and chest. Otrakji talks about fun, and sneers at these victims. I express outrage. Then others accuse me of being the fascist. These others seem to think that the ‘they can’t be angry if they’re not prepared to lose their job’ is somehow reasonable comment. I would like to gve these people a family and ask them to feed the family on a few thousand lira a month. I would like to inject them with the poisonous mix of economic, political and social humiliation that runs in the blood of very many Syrians. But that’s because I’m a fascist. I would say I give up on you people still defending a regime which murders and tortures, lies and slanders, and which is steadily pushing the country towards civil war – but I’ve already given up.

May 23rd, 2011, 2:40 pm


Sophia said:

# 49 AIG,

I am tired of these non specific attacks. Can you be more specific please to explain how did I lost my moral compass?


May 23rd, 2011, 2:45 pm


jad said:

Just ignore that person, he was banned many times from SC, he doesn’t deserve any reply.

From the Syrian TV interview with Mr. Waleed Almoualem the foreign minister:

وزير الخارجية السوري | وليد المعلم على الفضائية السورية

المعلم : أوروبا تحتاج إلينا كما نحتاج إليها
المعلم : الأوروبيون أخطأوا عندما استهدفوا الشعب السوري
المعلم: يؤكد توجه حكومة سفر الاقتصادية نحو اسواق روسيا وشرق آسيا و أمريكا الجنوبية
المعلم : إسرائيل هي المستفيد الأول مما يجري الآن
المعلم : نحن نعول على الموقف الروسي
المعلم : الإجراءات الأوربية ستضر بمصالح أوروبا وسورية لن تسكت عن هذه الإجراءات
المعلم: يستبعد التدخل الخارجي العسكري في سورية
المعلم : السيناريو الليبي لن يتكرر في سوريا
المعلم : العدوان الخارجي يوحد الشعب السوري وهم لا يريدون أن يتوحد الشعب
المعلم : انا أقول إن ما يحاولونه هو فرض إرادتهم على القرار السوري وسورية لا تسير بالضغوط .. سورية عصية على الضغط
المعلم : المطلوب من سورية أن تكون ضعيفة وأن تكون مستنزفة
المعلم : دائماً هم يحاربون العرب في محافلهم الدولية
المعلم : لدينا إشارات استفهام كبيرة حول الهيمنة الغربية على مجلس الأمن
المعلم : الأوربيون سيخسرون الموقع الجيوسياسي السوري الذي اعترفوا به
المعلم : سوريا تدعم المقاومة لأن أرضها تحت الاحتلال
المعلم : كولن باول زار سوريا بعد احتلال العراق وجاء بستة شروط وقال للرئيس الأسد إما ان ترضخ سوريا أو يمتد الاجتياح فتم رفض الشروط ففرضت القطيعة على سوريا
المعلم : مع الأسف .. هناك فئة قليلة من الشعب تعتقد أن الغرب تقف إلى جانبها
المعلم : دعونا نبني سوريا القوية معاً
المعلم : أتوقع المزيد من الاجراءات الغربية ضد سوريا .. وأعول على وعي شعبنا فكلنا نتضرر مما يجري
المعلم : لماذا لانعود إلى وحدتنا الوطنية التي نفتخر بها .. وأنا أراهن على وعي شعبنا
المعلم : عندما يريدون اتخاذ اجراء عسكري يحسبون تكلفته بالدولار واليورو وماهي المكاسب، ففي كل مكان دمروه أعادوا بناءه معتمدين على موارد النفط، وسوريا ليست مغرية لهم
المعلم : علمت من بعض السفراء الغربيين ان بعض السوريين يزورونهم والغرب يحرضون هؤلاء على الاستمرار في التظاهر، وهذا خطا في حق الوطن وما نريده متابعة برنامج الاصلاح لتصبح سوريا اقوى وتواجه هذا التحدي
المعلم : الغرب يسمع الخبر من طرف واحد والحقيقة ليست كذلك
المعلم : الغرب يحاول التأثير على الاقتصاد السوري
المعلم : قدموا لنا مغريات للابتعاد عن المقاومة
المعلم : مهما كان لبنان هامة لأمريكا فإسرائيل أهم بالنسبة لهم، وقطعاً لن يستفيد بعض اللبنانيين من الأزمة في سوريا
المعلم : لا أحد يستطيع إبعاد سوريا عن القضية الفلسطينية

May 23rd, 2011, 2:56 pm


Usama said:

I refuse to believe that a pre-prepared network of people all around the country with intelligence-grade satellite communications popped up spontaneously as part of tribal revenge. I refuse to believe that people planting explosives on pipelines and threatening to attack refineries and other integral economic establishments is also tribal revenge. I do believe that tribal revenge may have been responsible for some deaths, and there are a few references to it in a detailed breakdown of the plot against Syria that was published back in March 28.

May 23rd, 2011, 3:27 pm


democracynow said:

Bad news for the regime: there’s a steady increase in the momentum of protests in Aleppo.

This is today:

الموت و لا المذلة
رامي مخلوف حرامي

May 23rd, 2011, 3:54 pm


Syria no kandahar said:

Democracy now
Halab is 4.5 millions.if a sexy girl walks in a street you will see more young men following her than this.stop acting like a rat having orgasm for every little piece of cheese .

May 23rd, 2011, 4:11 pm


Usama said:

Assuming all is legit in the description of the video, 200 people is an increase in momentum? Didn’t they claim 1000 before? Either way I bet the regime is shaking in their pants. I’m interested in seeing how far demonizing Rami Makhluf will go because he is also known for covering the costs of expensive necessary surgeries for poor families, and not to mention that SyriaTel created thousands of good-paying and respectable jobs. MTN is now in the market and a third carrier will join soon so you can stop complaining about the “monopoly” but fact is no matter what happens, some people will keep complaining. Go chant against Jamil, or against his son Fawwaz, since those criminals actually deserve it.

May 23rd, 2011, 4:11 pm


Alex said:


Unlike you, I actually make use of my memory. I will therefore agree with Jad without hesitation that you have been consistently showing your compassion with those you identified as the victims and underdogs everywhere in the Middle East.

But I also agree with Why Discuss that your outraged criticism of my comments is not exactly fair or balanced.

You have every right to question me based on everything I stand for, but to actually pick a few words here and there and deliberately take them out of context then to call me “a cheap, hate-filled, ideology-bound propagandist”

Although I’ll keep admitting that my English is barely good enough to communicate my opinion about the complex issues we are facing these days, you still seem to be too eager to misunderstand me.

I’ll explain again what I meant in those two sentences you misunderstood:

1) I mentioned that a general strike was called by the opposition on Wednesday but the country (except some neighborhoods in Homs) showed up to work, stores opened, restaurants had clients …

Elias suggested that maybe some people would have liked to not go to work on that day, but they did not fearing they might lose their jobs.

I AGREED … “yes, absolutely, if they were not afraid to lose their jobs, many would have participated in that call for a general strike or in Friday demonstrations” and tried to explain (and this is a part you do not want to get) that had things been more pleasant (ie, not the case in Syria, as I agreed already with Elias) more people would join the 1% who demonstrated so far, since I am making the point that a) 15% absolutely hate the regime and b) the rest of the country have “many things they hate about the Syrian regime”

So, the fun to demonstrate comment is not in reference to what we have in Syria, it is a general statement that demonstrations are often fun … elsewhere in Europe for example.

2) I stand by the second statement “The fact they don’t want even to lose their job, it shows they’re not that angry with the government.”

That’s a fact .. they are not THAT angry .. “THAT” means there are different levels of anger … “THAT” is a level high enough for some to demonstrate in the street … for others it is even higher .. they attacked and burned government buildings knowing the police often shoot at those who do that … yet, for others their anger was below “THAT” level necessary to say “I will not show up to work on Wednesday even if I might risk it in case my boss decided to report me to the authorities.”

Robin … I did not claim that the protestors do not have supporters … there are various degrees of support … I am partially a supporter since I support many of their demands. But if you are offended with someone like me who is trying to explain that Syria is not a black and white case, then at least let me freely express my opinion without your bullying.

You know that I sharply disagree with your opinion, but I don’t think I (being the cheap propagandist that you called me) tried to publicly score points at the expense of your character. I delivered my criticism to you privately in an email… a propagandist is someone who does what you tried to do in comment #28.

I tried twice to offer to call you and talk about our differences. You never answered.

Finally, the “hate filled” accusation:

1) Those who do have functional memory on this blog, I often made it clear I am against religious extremists everywhere and I am against mixing religion with politics … Zionist Christians in the US are dangerous because they might succeed in delivering a solid 2 or 3 percent to some Republican candidate to their liking. Wahhabis and Salafists are dangerous and Jewish settlers are dangerous … Some in Iran are dangerous …

I never generalize and I was clearly saying in my interview that protesters also include idealists and communists …etc.

Here are two comments from before if you need a reminder of my opinion about extremists:

And finally, Qunfuz, I think for someone who hates, I must have been out of my mind when I spent hundreds of hours working on my

You on the other hand, refused to even spend 2 hours writing one article there when I invited you. You said you need to concentrate on work.

When this Christian hater of Islam spends hundreds of hours (and a lot of money) to do that site, and you did not manage two hours … isn’t it “cheap” of you to accuse me of hate?

May 23rd, 2011, 4:16 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Angry Sophia,

Every person with a conscience and with a moral compass, and most of those who support the Syrian uprise, would also support the Bahraini rebellion. If I want the Syrian junta to go, why should I want the Bahraini autocracy / monarchy to stay? Both places – same logic.

Notice that unlike you and your reactionary comrades here, Angry AbuKhalil is very critical of the Syrian regime.

May 23rd, 2011, 4:22 pm


vlad-the-syrian said:

#49 AI(r)G

(r) stands for racist

so now you’ve become the attorney general for the syrian people and you imagine you can deliver certficate of morality

maybe you hope to be paid twice ?

keep lying 🙂

May 23rd, 2011, 4:43 pm


why-discuss said:


How can can Israeli from a country that have displaced 700,000 people to occupy their land, who have a raged a war on destituted civilians in Gaza using highest war technology, how can you pronounce the word “morals”?
Please spare your cries for the oppressed palestinians under your brutal dictatorship and for your own guilt

May 23rd, 2011, 4:44 pm


jad said:

Dear Alex,
You did lots of great works online and I think many on SC are grateful for your work, and it was unfair for anybody to attack you for the simple reason of not fully agreeing with their views.
I also find it odd the way some people want to force their views on others either by personal attacks or by threats, forgetting that we all are entitled to our own views.

May 23rd, 2011, 4:45 pm


vlad-the-syrian said:

an interesting comment in le Figaro french daily paper
the article

and the comment as it is :

Je trouves incroyable la réaction de certaines personnes,en effet laissons le gouvernement syrien regler ses propres soucis,j’entends des personnes dire que la Syrie devrait laisser les médias rentrer pour se rendre compte de la situation,mais quand on voit que les médias occidentaux trient les infos en provenance de là bas,comment voulez vous que la Syrie leur fasse confiance,je vais donner un exemple précis qui vous permettra peut etre de juger autrement :
la semaine derniere,on a tous entendus que l’armée était entrée à tel kalakh faisant 9 morts dont 5 soldats,parmi ses 5 soldats se trouvait un officier connu meme en France qui s’appelait Mr Ibrahim Abdallah ( paix à son ame),
pour cause il était l’attaché militaire de l’ambassade syrienne à Paris pendant 12 ans et est rentré en Syrie y’a 2 ou 3 ans,cet homme est mort en mission, apres qu’ils aient encerclés un immeuble dans lequel se cachait des insurgés à Tel Kalakh,une grenade fut lancée par un terroriste sur lui et ses soldats( eh oui,il y’a des manifestants pacifiques mais il y’en a qui ne le sont pas du tout) ,
vous vous doutez bien que comme tous les diplomates étrangers en France,les RG avaient un suivi de ses activités,tout comme l’ambassade francaise en Syrie à son réseau de contacts en Syrie pour savoir ce qu’il se passe et surtout que la chaine syrienne a diffusée ses obseques qui se trouvent également sur youtube,de plus cet homme était mis sur la black list ( dont aucun média veut parler )de la page officielle Syrian Revolution 2011 sur facebook,pour ceux qui doutent il est sur le lien ci dessous en numéro 46 ( c’est en arabe,mais vous pouvez faire traduire la page avec google en un Clic )

Pour un réseau soit disant pacifique,je penses que n’importe quelle personne ayant un minimum de matiere grise comprend quel est le but de diffuser ce genre de listes,et c’est exactement le meme procédé mais non viruel que les freres musulmans utilisaient à l’époque pendant les années 80 en Syrie.

Donc si les médias diffusaient un peu plus ce genre d’infos et était moins parti pris,peut etre que l’état syrien changerait d’attitude,mais je penses que dans l’état actuel des choses,ils font bien de ne pas les autoriser

May 23rd, 2011, 4:45 pm


Syria no kandahar said:

Since you are so good in morals,I suggest you open a Corp and name it (Moral vitamins Incorp).you will have so many customers from your will go out of business though because being so cheep they will only use once a month and when they visit DC

May 23rd, 2011, 4:46 pm


vlad-the-syrian said:

to #26

ex Syrian or ex Christian Syrian

anyway it is not because you’re saying

ytmaskan 7ata ytmakan


بدك البنات العلويات يرجعوا يشتغلوا خدامات؟!

that we should believe you are syrian

regarding the alawites minority, you look very well informed
with this conversation between the (idiot) Kilo and Makhos

really interesting this conversation ! Can you give us some hints about your source ?

i think that this conversation you heard rather it in a lebanese bar near Mazraah

besides the way you are portraying alawites would categorize you either under the 1% of salafists you mentioned in your brilliant comment either in the 14th march Mustaqbal

May 23rd, 2011, 5:01 pm


vlad-the-syrian said:


Mohamed kanj

Nice comment . Right words

May 23rd, 2011, 5:12 pm


Nafdik said:


While i disagree with many of alex conclusions i agree with jad that he has been a voice for dialogue and moderation.

His has actually contributed to the revolution by participating in and creating forums of dicsussion when all syrians were too fearful to talk about their country.

May 23rd, 2011, 5:15 pm


Sophia said:

# 59, Amir In Tel Aviv,

Many people who comment here and whom you label as pro-regime are very critical of the regime. And it is not because we do not espouse strictly your views on what is happening in Syria that we are pro-regime.
Your attacks show that you cannot see nuances in the positions people take and that you are dogmatic. It is impossible to discuss with extremists because they want to force a certain thinking on you and if we refuse we are considered against.

I can think for myself without your guidance.

May 23rd, 2011, 5:17 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Angry Sophia,

Thank you for opening my eyes. I wasn’t aware of my problem that you so skillfully diagnosed: “cannot see nuances in the positions people take”, and “dogmatic”.

So bear with me a moment while I practice my nuances distinguishing: most of you fear and hate Wahhabis. Another nuance: some of you fear and hate Salafists. One more; most of you fear and hate Islamists. And just another tiny, some of you fear and hate MBs.

Did I pass my test in nuances observation ?
I wasn’t even dreaming about guide you how to think. You think Angry Arab. Dogmatically.

May 23rd, 2011, 5:47 pm


Sophia said:

# 28, 51 Qunfuz,

If I may. Between people who already interacted with each other at lenght and who seem to know each other, unlike many who comment on this blog, you are not giving Alex the benefit of the doubt.

But again a crisis like the current one in Syria defies our moral character and often reveals our true nature. These are trying times.

May 23rd, 2011, 5:55 pm


Sophia said:

#69 Amir In tel Aviv,

You still think that I cannot think by myself and that I have to think like somebody as if I needed moral and intellectual guidance. This is very condescending and an insult to my personhood and intelligence.

Most of those who interacted with me in this comment section turned out to be misogynistic and being condescending is their last resort against someone whose name is Sophia.

May 23rd, 2011, 5:58 pm


vlad-the-syrian said:


are you expert in syrian nunances ? so you are better than a syrian …

for i myself dont claim to be an expert in israeli nuances . I dont see the diffrence between the thug Liberman and the thug Netanyahoo. A question of nuances maybe ? I don see much difference between the international mafia weapon sellers and your techno-military something establishment (jewish perhaps ?) 🙂

May 23rd, 2011, 6:01 pm


AIG said:


You forgot that Sophia is for democracy but not in Syria.
She is against firing at peaceful protesters, but it is ok in Syria.
She is for freedom of the press, but not in Syria.
She does not support dictators but supports the Assad regime. So how can you call her a regime supporter?

Don’t you get the “nuance”? I think she just doesn’t understand what it means to hold a coherent position. She calls supporting an outright contradiction “nuance”.

May 23rd, 2011, 6:26 pm


Alex said:

Thank you Jad, Sohpia and especially Nafdik.

May 23rd, 2011, 6:43 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:


Me misogynistic? ..any way.
I’m sorry for my #69. Didn’t have to go personal. I don’t know you to tell. For some reason, your comments annoy me. But this is my issue. So sorry for being to person rather than to subject. Trying times indeed, and every body is itchy.

Now about substance. In your blog you posted a video from the ‘Shovrim Shtika’ organization. I’m very proud that Israelis are involved in an activity like this, exposing embarrassing truths. This is the fruit of democracy, and is possible because of the Israeli democracy. A democracy you so passionately want to deny the Syrians.

I agree with you. You’re no expert in Israeli nuances.

Every thing you stated is right. She is emotionally unstable. This is because she’s a woman 🙂 (Kidding…).

May 23rd, 2011, 6:50 pm


vlad-the-syrian said:


keep your fake weapon seller democracy 30% religious for you and leave us in peace

May 23rd, 2011, 6:59 pm


Sophia said:

# 75 Amir in Tel Aviv,

To me:
“For some reason, your comments annoy me. But this is my issue. So sorry for being to person rather than to subject. Trying times indeed, and every body is itchy.”


To “AIG,
Every thing you stated is right. She is emotionally unstable. This is because she’s a woman (Kidding…).”

So you are sorry when adressing me but you trash me when you address AIG. And this is in the same comment.

What kind of person are you?

May 23rd, 2011, 7:20 pm


Syria no kandahar said:

AIG =Amir

May 23rd, 2011, 7:25 pm


vlad-the-syrian said:



you are not mysoginistic no you are no doubt a womanizer

the israeli way LOWEST CLASS

genre bar à putes minable de tel aviv


May 23rd, 2011, 7:34 pm


why-discuss said:

Amir In tel Aviv

Your humor and allusions are beyond disrespect and stupidity. By doing so, you represent very well how I perceive Israelis, bully, arrogant and self-righteous!
Please go on… you appear more and more like a caricature. Note that there are other forums when you can meet the ones of you kind and use your brilliant humor and brain.

May 23rd, 2011, 7:42 pm


Sophia said:

AIG, Amir in Tel Aviv,

This is for you: Cloistered shame in Israel,9171,1809880,00.html

May 23rd, 2011, 7:44 pm


vlad-the-syrian said:



this is altogether true and it is the great syrian muqawama (resistance , the specific syrian one) against this 3 heads satanic monster KSA-US-ISRAEL

those who are really interested in syrian history should acknowledge why and how this conspiracy has been constant and has been continually targeting syria for more than 30 years

May 23rd, 2011, 7:44 pm


Louai said:


i value your comments and it adds a lot to my knowledge ,why waste your time and energy to reply on Amir’s comments?

Sophia i noticed that he is picking on you long time ago , do you care about his opinion or comments ? he seem to be in a big harmony with ‘the revolutionists’ and they seem to like his comments ,great just ignore him please as you said you will do ones.

SYRIA NOT KANDHAR , no more news from AL SAHWA AL SOURIA 2012?

May 23rd, 2011, 7:52 pm


why-discuss said:

Egypt post revolution: A “million” demonstrators next friday. Why the US and EU do not ask Egypt to release 10,000 jailed?

“In the months since Mubarak stepped down, activists say the military has illegally arrested, imprisoned and tried as many as 10,000 civilians, without providing access to lawyers or family members. The army has been criticised for routinely breaking up demonstrations with violence, not bringing enough former regime officials to trial, and not moving quickly to transfer power to a civilian government.

May 23rd, 2011, 7:58 pm


aboali said:

an ominous warning from shaikh Ibrahim Salkini, the respected mufti of Aleppo:

May 23rd, 2011, 8:01 pm


vlad-the-syrian said:


you could have mentioned this vid on the same page

gorgeous zombie ladies advocating for freedom

enjoy 🙂


May 23rd, 2011, 8:10 pm


aboali said:

Vlad were you dropped on your head as a baby? could you try to make sense in at least one post per day? or is that asking too much?

May 23rd, 2011, 8:14 pm


vlad-the-syrian said:


no SIR i may be a misogynistic but in my conscience i cannot bear a 109999999 second in my mind that those creatures would suggest anything in commom with freedom but i wonder are these women ? 🙂

May 23rd, 2011, 8:17 pm


aboali said:

#88 dude seriously, apart from your overt racism and Islamophobia, I can’t understand what you’re trying to say ….

May 23rd, 2011, 8:24 pm


Sophia said:

# 83 Louai,

Thanks for your comment. I won’t be wasting my time on them in the future but it is important to point out, for the general readership, to their biases, their character, and what they really stand for.

Israel has a paid army of cyberactivists who defend its interests on the web and try to influence debate. I am under no illusion that they have no shame and that every one of them is not actually one person but different persons under the same identity. I have a blog and I now know the tactics of zionist cyberactivists. Now that they have been shown as msysoginistic and ill fated they will disappear for few minutes or hours from the blog and be back again to comment as if nothing has happened or as if people here have short memory.

The reason why I do not trust the actual Syrian revolution is because of their supposed friends, zionists and March 14 with their ‘democracy lovers’ UAE and KSA backers. A French wisdom says: show me your friends and I can tell you who you are.

May 23rd, 2011, 8:25 pm


vlad-the-syrian said:

this respectable man says (smart rhetoric isnt it ?)

– الدكتور إبراهيم: أشيع بين الناس أن ذلك اللقاء تم بطلب من القيادة، وأحب أن أوضح أنني طلبت هذا اللقاء وسعيت إليه منذ فترة ومن قبل اندلاع الأحداث، ولم يتم آنذاك. وكان الهدف من اللقاء النصح أولاً ونقل الصورة الصحيحة عما ينبض به الشارع ثانيا وذلك من باب الغيرة على الوطن ووحدته وصيانته من كل سوء والشعور بالمسوؤلية الملقاة على عاتقنا تجاه أمتنا ومجتمعنا قيادة وأفراد ومؤسسات، وقد بدأت حديثي

please translate or aske some your friends Abadayate of Hama do it in english for the people here to understand

May 23rd, 2011, 8:25 pm


vlad-the-syrian said:


i am anti-monotheistic (islameic jewish christian whatever)

if these “womem” inspire you freedom then i really pity you 🙂

May 23rd, 2011, 8:28 pm


vlad-the-syrian said:


racist no

i dont like zombies . Is this racism ?


May 23rd, 2011, 8:29 pm


Shami said:

Alex,I dont believe that you will mourn the death of makhlouf-asad system.
Aboali,this is significant,unlike Hassoun and Chami who are hated by the aleppines ,Sheikh Al Salkini is the most respected figure in Aleppo.

May 23rd, 2011, 8:42 pm


aboali said:

Syria is fast turning into an Orwelian nightmare. Not content with all those cynical ads on the streets, the army is now being handed leaflets that say BBC AlJazeera and AlArabiya are “mind” weapons aimed at invading Syria. I mean I honestly thought Libyan media was a joke, but Syrians take the bloody biscuit.

May 23rd, 2011, 8:45 pm


vlad-the-syrian said:

#94 Shami

your respectable Sheikh is simple feeling that his is loosing his influence hence his lie about the meeting. A big lier .He never asked for this meeting before

وأحب أن أوضح أنني طلبت هذا اللقاء وسعيت إليه منذ فترة ومن قبل اندلاع الأحداث، ولم يتم آنذاك. وكان الهدف من اللقاء النصح أولاً ونقل الصورة الصحيحة عما ينبض به الشارع

for “conveying the rightful image” he says

ونقل الصورة الصحيحة

another lie

May 23rd, 2011, 8:53 pm


Sophia said:

Lebanese Pro-Syria revolution’s racism against Syrians, again.

“When asked about those protesting in support of Assad’s regime, an activist standing next to Carmen said that it is “sad that Syrian laborers are being abused by elements of the Syrian regime in Lebanon.”

May 23rd, 2011, 8:57 pm


aboali said:

#94 That is correct Shami, hence the reason I posted the link, for it’s significance. Shiek Salkini is very well respected, and comes from a long line of very respected men. His words are very important, and he has thus far distanced himself from the protests, preferring to keep his opinions to himself.

May 23rd, 2011, 8:57 pm


majedkhaldoon said:

First they said there will be demonstration,to mourn the martyrs,
then they changed the place of meeting, then they did not dare allow it,so they canceled it,

I believe the money that Assad had in Europe,and got frozen,can be sent to the syrian,to better defend themselves.

Aleppo,will join the revolution,and the christians ,not the crusaders,will join their fellow muslems,this is not religious fight, it is a fight for freedom, christians believe in freedom,as much as Muslems.
I am sorry that Off The Wall,quit commenting.a lot of nonsense comments stay,and the good one quit.

May 23rd, 2011, 9:07 pm


Norman said:

What do you think?,

وزير سوري من ‘صقور’ حكومة عطري أحيل للتحقيق بتهم فساد

دمشق ـ ‘القدس العربي’ ـ من كامل صقر: فيما تسير القيادة السورية في خطوات إصلاحية سياسية واقتصادية تمتص بعضاً من الاحتجاجات والمطالب الشعبية التي اندلعت فصولها منذ أكثر من شهرين، يبدو الحديث عن مكافحة حقيقية لأوجه الفساد المستشري في سورية خافتاً من حيث الإعلان عن إجراءات في هذا المجال.
لكن مصادر سورية واسعة الاطلاع تتحدث عن إحالة أحد الوزراء في الحكومة السابقة التي أقالها الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد وكان يرأسها ناجي عطري، إلى هيئة الرقابة والتفتيش برفقة أحد أبرز موظفي وزارته، بتهمة هدر المال العام وبمبالغ كبيرة.
وطلبت المصادر السورية التي تحدثت إلى ‘القدس العربي’ عدم الكشف عن اسم الوزير السوري، الا انها وصفته بأحد صقور الحكومة السابقة ومن الوزراء المقربين في سلطة القرار السوري، وأكدت المصادر أن الوزير ‘الصقري’ وأحد كبار موظفي وزارته أحيل للرقابة والمساءلة بتهمة الاختلاس لمبالغ تقدر بعشرات الملايين وأنه مُنع من السفر لاستكمال التحقيقات.
المصادر ذاتها لم تستبعد ان تطال إجراءات المساءلة والمحاسبة تلك وزراء ومسؤولين سوريين رفيعين وقد تطال أعمدة الحكومة السابقة، التي كما تقول المصادر فإن سياساتها الاقتصادية أذكت مشاعر السخط لدى الكثير من السوريين بسبب أحوالهم المعيشية.
ويتهم خبراء اقتصاديون موالون للنظام الحاكم في سورية حكومة ناجي عطري التي قادت الاقتصاد السوري منذ العام 2003 بأنها أضاعت المكتسبات الاقتصادية التي حققها حكم حزب البعث بغض النظر عن الأخطاء الاقتصادية للحزب الحاكم ذاته، ويسوق هؤلاء الخبراء أمثلة من قبيل أن حكومة عطري قدمت برامج جديدة بعناوين براقة مثل ‘اقتصاد السوق الاجتماعي’ في حين أن ما قامت به تلك الحكومة على أرض الواقع هو مجرد تحرير الاستيراد والتصدير وتحرير أسعار السلع الأساسية وإلغاء الدعم عن المواطنين ورفع أسعار المحروقات وتضاؤل فرص العمل ورفع نسبة البطالة.
ويشكل الفساد أكبر تحد للمجتمع السوري ويستنزف مبالغ كبيرة من الدخل الوطني السوري تقدر بعشرات المليارات، التي من المفترض أن توزع بشكل عادل على مختلف الشرائح السورية.

May 23rd, 2011, 9:11 pm


EHSANI2 said:

ويتهم خبراء اقتصاديون موالون للنظام الحاكم في سورية حكومة ناجي عطري التي قادت الاقتصاد السوري منذ العام 2003 بأنها أضاعت المكتسبات الاقتصادية التي حققها حكم حزب البعث

I would love to know what these Baath-led “economic benefits” were exactly

May 23rd, 2011, 9:30 pm


jad said:

The title of that article is racist enough, the usual Lebanese attitude toward the Syrians:
“Carmen the Lebanese humanist versus ignorant Syrian laborers!”

Why didn’t you translate the second line of the same flyer, it doesn’t suite your cause well does it?
The first line can be translated that those channels are propaganda, which is true and not as crazy as you claim.
The second line you ignored reads:
“All the soldiers in the Syrian army have ONE sect called SYRIA, entitled the Homeland love and to sacrifice our souls for its sovereignty and dignity with the leadership of the president Bashar Alasad.”

May 23rd, 2011, 9:36 pm


Norman said:


I knew that this will bring you back,

The Baath party economics made everybody poor so no rich and poor while the last government had good intention in freeing the economy they were wrong in not providing safety tent for the poor and not having a tax system that redistribute wealth so the poor will not riot as we see now which seems to be a riot of the poor more than anybody else.The rich who became richer with the new system but did not try to help the poor with jobs access to health care are to blame too, so there a lot of blame to go around .

May 23rd, 2011, 9:43 pm


why-discuss said:


I am not surprised of these accusations. I believe that the main trigger to the uprising has been the gap ever wider between the one who have benefited largely for the ‘import’ of expensive cars and items far beyond the buying capabilities of the large majority of the Syrians. There has not been much ‘exports’.
Many poor Syrians trying to survive with their meager salaries were encouraged by banks to take loans and buy one of these Coreen or Iranian imported cars and possibly work (illegally) as taxis.
The car companies were sometimes not asking any interest while making large gains on the back of these poor people.
Just a year ago you could see a huge increase of cars in the streets among them many Mercedes, Audi, Bmw that you would not have seen 2 years ago. It was really shocking and I was wondering if this open market was finally a good idea as it was increasingly making the class differences apparent. These new riches were also becoming more obvious in the display of their wealth.
I have seen flats in a huge mall on the seashore of Tartous that were selling between 500,000 and a million dollars!!
This opening up has been too brutal and has created subtil resentments that exploded when the demonstrations have started.
There is corruption because the laws are full of intentional loopholes. I think it exists within the majority of the sunnis and alawites tradesmen. In my view these uprisings are more a class discontent than sectarian: Riches vs Poor.
It is not a coincidence that the worst demonstrations were in poor towns, villages and suburbs.
The Baath has been lured into the “free market” world without much planning and much respect for the poor class.
Will it return to a closed market? I think it is probably considering a return to a more socialist internal policy.

May 23rd, 2011, 9:47 pm


Alex said:

I like how Alquds tries to sneak the punch line of the whole story at the end:

ويشكل الفساد أكبر تحد للمجتمع السوري ويستنزف مبالغ كبيرة من الدخل الوطني السوري تقدر بعشرات المليارات، التي من المفترض أن توزع بشكل عادل على مختلف الشرائح السورية

Tens of billions of dollars are stolen annually!

Can they publish that excel sheet they used to add up the reliable data they got from their reliable sources?

May 23rd, 2011, 9:50 pm


atassi said:

Total BS.. sorry man, When we see Mkhlouf, Shalish, ..and others like them in court for corruptions charges, Assad may have my vote…

May 23rd, 2011, 9:51 pm


Yazan said:

“gorgeous zombie ladies advocating for freedom”

This is a fantastic level of discourse.

Maybe Alex (whom I like very much, and respect very much as well), could bring that up next time? Maybe he could mention that some people simply do not like Muslims, some people think that the poorest people of Syria (those who have nothing to lose, and thus are still marching in the streets, certainly, not because it is a “seiran”) are not “cool” enough for the slogans they raise. Seriously, how can you understand freedom if you’re not wearing a polo shirt!

I mean, you can’t have it both ways, if you’re gonna pick and choose and selectively extract comments from that ugly Syrian Revolution page, while completely ignoring the bigoted discourse in your own backyard, you’re gonna be called many things, not the least of them, biased.

However, there is a higher-level discourse happening as we speak; on newspaper pages, as well as on the internet and even on facebook. One would’ve hoped Syria Comment could be a part of that, but alas. And while Alex, couldn’t be held responsible for what people choose to post here (nor for the editorial policy of SyriaComment, which has thus far largely ignored the conversation happening through Arabic newspapers, as I have pointed out to prof. Landis recently), he is responsible for which part he chooses to amplify, when he speaks for himself. Unfortunately, he feels that he needs to amplify the most extreme, and fringe voices, and even then, he chooses to present them in a very one sided manner. Not very prudent of our dear Alex.

May 23rd, 2011, 9:52 pm


Norman said:


I agree, i just hope that they will try to lift the poor more than close the free market,we need more opportunity to all not less.

May 23rd, 2011, 9:54 pm



Tens of billions of LIRA NOT Tens of billions of dollars…

May 23rd, 2011, 9:55 pm


ATASSI said:

Tens of billions of LIRA NOT Tens of billions of dollars

May 23rd, 2011, 9:56 pm


why-discuss said:


They must regulate and tax the business companies and not only rejoice that they are investing in Syria!
Just one month before the uprisings I read in the syrian press that there were many misgivings about the uncontrollable course this ‘free market’ was taking. I guess the uprising was a confirmation of this wrong path. They have to find a way to keep the country as a socialist country and reject investments that are just triggering the consumption of the ‘imported’ items and encourage more industrialization to provide jobs.
I think they have followed the failed model of Lebanon that has become a paradise of speculation on real estate and consumptions and a cemetery for its industries.
Lebanon survives with its strong bank system, tourism and the money coming for the workers in the Gulf.
Syria can’t afford that. It must industrialize before becoming an open market.

May 23rd, 2011, 10:08 pm


Norman said:


They said billions not dollars, could be Syrian pounds,

The problem with Syria is not that some people are rich it is that some people are rich and do not care about their poor neighbour, and most of all because the poor neighbours think that he got rich not from hard work but from knowing somebody or paying off somebody else.

Transparency in contracts and equal opportunity to all is a must if Syria wants to move forward.

May 23rd, 2011, 10:12 pm


Sophia said:

# 110 WD,

“Lebanon survives with its strong bank system, tourism and the money coming for the workers in the Gulf.”

Barely. People are much more impoverished that 10 years ago and this is a major factor why many were against Siniora and Hariri. There is a real estate buble created by a demand stemming from upheavals in the region since the Iraq war. But salaries are low for educated people and job opportunities for young people are scarce. Young people are helpless and they are fed up having to work in the gulf to sustain their families. A revolution in the waiting…

May 23rd, 2011, 10:31 pm


why-discuss said:

‘Shariah in Egypt is enough for us,’ Muslim Brotherhood leader says

…If the Muslim Brotherhood came to power, however, it would only support tourism that does not come “at the cost of the beliefs of the Egyptian people,” he said.

“Egyptian people are religious people, whether Muslim or Christian; we cannot let things happen like people hanging around without clothes in a village or gambling in casinos,” Abdel Ghaffar said. “But anyone who would like to come to Egypt in order to visit the pyramids or Alexandria is more than welcome.”…

…Abdel Ghaffar also said the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood has had good relations for a long time with people from Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, ever since they were members of the former Welfare Party led by the late Necmettin Erbakan.

“Turkey is a good model for us, but with some changes. The community here is different from the Egyptian community. For example you don’t have shariah in your Constitution, and no one can put it there, but in Egypt we have shariah and it will remain in our constitution,” he said.

May 23rd, 2011, 10:34 pm


why-discuss said:

Syria’s 1st government-authorized sit-in canceled
I had trouble finding the details on internet. Links point to Huff post where there is just a title and an article that talks about something else.. conspiracy?

BEIRUT (AP) — Activists canceled the first government-approved demonstration in the capital since the government lifted a 48-year-old state of emergency last month, a Syrian official said Monday.

The silent candlelight vigil in a Damascus public garden was to have honored some 900 people who have been killed since the uprising against President Bashar Assad’s rule began in mid-March. Some opponents of Assad have been saying in recent days that they planned to continue the vigil until the regime fell.

All demonstrations had been banned in Syria under state of emergency laws that were abolished last month. Now, organizers must get official permission.

But human rights activists have scoffed at the rule, saying they would be targeted for reprisals if they tried to organize an anti-government demonstration.

The Syrian official said Monday’s vigil was canceled on the request of its organizers. He asked that his name not be used because he was not allowed to speak publicly.

Further details were not immediately released.

The empty article:

May 23rd, 2011, 11:12 pm


Averroes said:

Qunfuz @ 28,

Wow, I really used to like a lot of your previous writings, but your comments here are hateful and outright hysterical.

Alex has a point of view that he is offering in a civilized and peaceful way. He is not shy to criticize the regime when he sees fit, and I think that his posts and interview have been as informative and balanced as one can hope any person to be.

Taking things out of contest and chasing every letter and every pause and every gesture Alex makes with severe and savage attack like what you’ve been lately doing can only mean that you have no real argument. People with rational and meaningful arguments to make do not need all that steam to cover up for the lack of substance.

I’ve been getting similar attacks that use guilt, shame, and utter rage for daring to voice my opinion (which is similar in many ways to that of Alex). The “democratic,” “peaceful,” “civilized,” and “non sectarian” “revolutionists” (yes, all in quotation marks) all seem to want nothing more than to shut us up. I received an email from a friend saying that “95% of Sunnis want the regime toppled”. I asked him well why isn’t Halab and Damascus rising with you then, and he said that they were “cowards”. Well, sorry, you are delusional when you can clearly see that the two largest cities in the country, both predominantly Sunni are not buying into your “revolution” and then you claim to be talking on behalf of the Syrian People.
I think you should calm down, Qunfuz, and let’s all keep to our sanity and rationality. We have a lot at stake and a lot in common so let’s not blow it all up.

May 23rd, 2011, 11:19 pm


Averroes said:

I talked to a relative in Aleppo today. He said that people with Aleppo license plates are being harassed by some angry youth on the highway to Damascus and in some other cities. People are calling them “cowards” and “women” and are making nasty jokes about them because Aleppo has just refused to revolt. He told me that people are nervous and are avoiding to travel unless necessary.

Another friend told me that these “revolutionists” have been trying to ship bus loads of young people from other provinces into Aleppo to artificially ignite the city. So far they have not succeeded (also, police check points on the entrance to Aleppo is checking for that).

May 23rd, 2011, 11:26 pm


why-discuss said:

More on the cancelled authorized demonstration
First protest “licensed” by Syrian government canceled

May 23, 2011, 16:27 GMT

Cairo/Damascus – Hours before it was scheduled to begin on Monday, the first demonstration granted government permission to take place since massive unrest began in March was canceled by Syrian protesters.

Activists announced the cancellation on the Facebook page called ‘A stand for the lives of Syria’s martyrs,’ saying they would explain the reasons behind the cancellation at a later time.

Earlier, activists had said online that the protest’s location would be changed due to ‘security concerns.’

The silent protest was scheduled to be held on Monday afternoon in Damascus, and called on protesters to hold candles to pay tribute to those killed over the past two months.

According to rights groups, almost 1,000 people have been killed since the demonstrations calling for greater freedoms, political reforms and the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad began.

The licensed demonstration had divided protesters in the country.

‘This is the first licensed protest to mourn the martyrs,’ one activist said. ‘We need unprecedented participation from you.’

However, others objected and called on Syrians not to take part and described it as a ‘trap.’

Syrian security forces launched a new wave of arrests on Monday in the town of Tafs in the southern Hauran Plain, activists said.

The European Union passed new sanctions against al-Assad at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels, extending a travel ban and asset freeze against the president and nine other individuals.

Al-Assad took office in 2000, following the death of his father, president Hafiz al-Assad.

May 23rd, 2011, 11:32 pm


Alex said:

Thanks Atassi, Norman, true .. although for the Arab readers when they hear “tens of billions” many will assume dollars, not liras.

Dear Yazan,

Thank you for your support (at first), as for the rest:

When we spoke 24 hours ago, you asked me the same question and my answer was that I am not here often enough. I know that Robin and you and others would love to see some conspiracy in Syria Comment where Alex and maybe Joshua agreed to play the sectarian game, but I hate to tell you again and again, that I am not here except maybe once a week (check the comments) and Joshua is probably spending his day doing interviews. So you have a largely non moderated comments section.

There is this “Alex” who took my name while I am not here.
So Trust me, I have not been reading most of what is here the past few months.

And I want to point out another thing to you … When I criticize the admin of the revolution’s Facebook page, I am using his own posts! not comments by others on his page…

Check again … I only used his own posts:

If I were to use content of comments on their page … you would have seen much more colorful examples of the madness over there.

May 23rd, 2011, 11:35 pm


Shami said:

A ,dont worry ,the aleppines will destroy your menhebak asad idols .And they will burn the flags of the iranian mollargic regime and tools and other favourites of your mukhabarat.
asad-makhlouf can not reduce Aleppo to such as bet Berri ,Hamida ,Mustafa al Tajer ,Hassoun,Chami and other corrupt people …

Wait and See.

May 23rd, 2011, 11:40 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:


“also, police check points on the entrance to Aleppo is checking for that”.


May 24th, 2011, 12:04 am


N.Z. said:

برلسكوني يحذر من تحوّل ميلانو إلى مدينة إسلامية إذا فاز يساري بمنصب عمدة فيها

Looks like Muslims are unwanted not only in Syria, as well in Milan.

May 24th, 2011, 12:19 am


Abughassan said:

The prediction that Aleppo and Damascus will move in masses has not materialized for obvious reasons. Whether the opposition will succeed in adding these two cities to their success list remains to be seen. The ball is in the regime’s field,if positive steps are taken to pacify and satisfy the opposition,Damascus and Aleppo will stay quiet for the most part and the dream
of a million man march will never come true.The challenge for the regime is to take measures that may undermine its own interests,and the two major challenges facing the opposition is to isolate violent elements and come up with a group of leaders who are seen as moderates and win the trust of the public which
may not like the regime but is still unwilling to support the unknown. Many Syrians abroad are changing their mind and making reservations to visit Syria this summer after finding out that the unrest is not as broad as reported. Others are still waiting. Most want to see meaningful steps by Asad that may help them believe that their hopes were not completely unfounded.For the life of me,I do
not know what Asad is waiting for.His silence,praised by some,does not radiate confidence at a time when psychological relief can go a long way.Whether he chooses to speak or not,his actions will speak louder,and the first thing he should do is release all political prisoners. Media leaks about foreign fighters are not reducing suspicion and mistrust,people want substance and they want it now.

May 24th, 2011, 12:26 am


Averroes said:


The only idols I see, are those of Ibn Taimiiya, Ibn Abdelwahhab, and Al Saud, and you will see those shattered pretty soon, have no doubt.

May 24th, 2011, 12:31 am


AIG said:

There are some people like Averroes and Sophia and WD who are for freedom of speech but not in Syria. Can any of you give a simple explanation why you DEMAND freedom of speech in your own countries but think it is not needed in Syria? And please, not the racist comment that “Syrians are not ready for democracy”.
Same for the right to protest.
Same for the right to organize.
In short, could you explain why you are a bunch of hypocrites and support an oppressive regime?

May 24th, 2011, 12:43 am


Averroes said:

I don’t know where you’re getting your info from. Who ever said not in Syria? What we don’t want is armed violence. Quite loud and clear.

May 24th, 2011, 12:50 am


AIG said:


You are clearly lying.
Are you for or against the regime allowing the free press to cover what is happening in Syria?

May 24th, 2011, 12:56 am


Amir in Tel Aviv said:


Did you hear Bibi’s speech at AIPAC? Not bad at all, and with some pearls. Mr. Buazizi (RIP) did not set himself on fire because of Israel. That’s true. Israel is not the main problem in the neighborhood. We knew that, but recent events highlight this fact. And his call to Arabs to follow Israel by establishing democracies. We knew that as well, but some reactionaries here insist that Israel wants friendship with dictatorships. Now, what we want is clear. No to dictators, no to monarchs, no to emirs, no to sultans, no to house-of-this and house-of-that, and no to juntas.

What did you think of it?

May 24th, 2011, 12:58 am


AIG said:


At last the message is clear. I totally agree and cannot say it better than you:
No to dictators, no to monarchs, no to emirs, no to sultans and no to juntas.

May 24th, 2011, 1:04 am


AIG said:


In Syria the “conservatives” have been in power for 40 years. They are so conservative that they have in fact limited drastically the human rights of Syrians.

I cannot understand you sometimes. You fret over conservatives in the West but are happy with the most oppressive and right wing regime in Syria. What gives???

May 24th, 2011, 1:08 am


Amir in Tel Aviv said:


“the MB’s and Salafists are” losing power on a daily basis, and become unpopular and irrelevant on an hourly basis. Visit Angry Arab to see the latest poll from Tunisia.

The only thing that can possibly strengthen them is more oppression and more suppression. Which Syria now is pioneering at.

May 24th, 2011, 1:10 am


Shami said:

A,no need of such paranoia,the names you cited are unknown in Syria, they are death people and belong to the past…our aim today is that of Democratization ,Freedom and developpment not that of the cult of persons ,that cult of persons is yours and i invite you to free yourself from it .

Abughassan,the needed reforms are impossible with Rami/Ihab/Hafez/Mohamed Makhlouf,Shaleesh,Asef ,Bushra and Maher Asad.Bashar has no power to remove them because he is himself member of the family mafia (he is the zahir ,they are the batin),their fate is bound till their end.

They are stuggling in order to stop history of Syria ,to Syria as a family ownership(as like to repeat their islamist extremist allies in Lebanon),but this is impossible.
Political Change over is an inescapable fact in history.

May 24th, 2011, 1:10 am


Shami said:

This is very true :“the MB’s and Salafists are” losing power on a daily basis, and become unpopular and irrelevant on an hourly basis. Visit Angry Arab to see the latest poll from Tunisia.

The only thing that can possibly strengthen them is more oppression and more suppression. Which Syria now is pioneering at.

BUT I WOULD ADD : you forgot the Israeli factor !

Free yourself from your extremists Amir. !!!

May 24th, 2011, 1:14 am


syau said:

Aig/Amir in Tel Aviv,

Is that a “yes” to aid from American tax payers money?

“Tempers flared at the prestigious National Press Club in Washington, DC”.

May 24th, 2011, 1:19 am


AIG said:


What a hypocrite. You are against islamic parties but support an Iranian theocracy and quote Iranian propaganda. Just shows your true colors. You are not worthy of the rights given to you by the West since you deny them to YOUR OWN people in syria.

May 24th, 2011, 1:23 am


jad said:

خبير: سقوط 28ألف قتيل مصري منذ ثورة 25يناير

ألقى خبير أمني مصري بمفاجأة مدوية بإعلانه سقوط 28 ألف قتيل في مصر منذ ثورة 25 كانون الثاني، وحتى 31 آذار 2011م، لكنه رفض الكشف عن المصادر التي أمدته بتلك الأرقام المفزعة.

وقال اللواء سامح سيف اليزل، رئيس مركز الجمهورية للدراسات والأبحاث السياسية والأمنية، “هناك 430 قتيلا في مصر يوميًا، سواء في حوادث مرور أم حالات بلطجة أم حوادث فتنة طائفية أم كوارث، مثل: وقوع المنازل، أو حالات غرق، أو غير ذلك”.

وأضاف سيف اليزل “بالتأكيد هذا الرقم مخيف جدا، وكبير إذا قورن بمثيله في الفترة نفسها من العام الماضي”، مرجعًا ذلك إلى حالة الانفلات الأمني التي تعيشها مصر منذ اختفاء جهاز الشرطة يوم 28 يناير، وتبعه هروب المساجين من السجون ومراكز وأقسام الشرطة”.

ورفض سيف اليزل الإفصاح عن الجهة التي رصدت هذا الإحصاء قائلا: “إنها مصادر خاصة بي، ولن أكشف عنها لأحد”.

ورغم أن الفترة التي أشار لها سيف اليزل غابت فيها الأجهزة الأمنية الشرطية التي تقوم بإحصاء مثل الأرقام، فإن الخبير الأمني رد على ذلك، قائلا إن هناك أجهزة أمنية أخرى في مصر تقوم بهذا الدور.

وحذر اليزل من تحول أعمال البلطجة إلى فتنة طائفية، معتبرًا أن الانفلات الأمني تحول إلى ظاهرة يجب مواجهتها بحزم؛ سعيًا لتحقيق معادلة “الأمن والاستقرار والاقتصاد” في مصر، مشيرًا إلى عدد من العوامل التي ساعدت على “الانفلات الأمني”، وتضم نقصان الثقة بين الشعب والشرطة وانعدام سيطرة الدولة على العشوائيات، وشيوع الفوضى المرورية في الشوارع وعلى الأرصفة.

May 24th, 2011, 1:47 am


syau said:


I do not deny rights to the Syrian people, I believe in reforms to better the country, I believe in the right to voice your opinion and I am against corruption – world wide.

I am absolutely against this revolutions violent streak. I am against sectarianism and against an Islamist movement which will look to deny Syrians the diversity they enjoy.

Bashar Assad put forward reforms, these reforms are for the better of the country. This violence needs to stop and reforms given a chance to be implemented positively. The country will grow and prosper once these reforms kick in, anyway, I don’t expect you to understand this as its comming from someone who actually loves and wants the best for Syria.

This sinister plot to topple Bashar Assads government will not succeed, its based on violence and fabrications, rather than actual reform for the country and its citizens, which is what Bashar is looking to with the reforms he has put forward.
By the way, a whole lot of ‘no’s’ and no yes, is that common in Israel?

May 24th, 2011, 1:53 am


Alex said:


Are you trying hard to make me ask you to be polite so that you can reply “but why are you allowing others to be rude”?

You just called Averroes a liar and then you called SYAU a hypocrite.

If anyone is offended by a rude comment or by a pattern of abusive language, please write an email to Joshua or to me.

May 24th, 2011, 2:00 am


Alex said:

Jad what is the source of that article?

Probably true that the real (high) numbers are not published but this officer needs to present his sources to be more convincing.

… Michel Kilo is impressive, here is his latest:

هل توجد طريقة يمكن من خلالها إقناع النظام بتلبية مطلب الحرية، أي بالتغيير الهيكلي، في إطار يتعاون داخله مع قوى المجتمع السوري ويتخطى الإصلاح التقنوي؟. وهل توجد طريقة يمكن من خلالها إقناع الناس بقبول أو بوجود طريقة تقنوية يطبقها النظام تحقق مطلب الحرية؟. أعتقد أن مستقبل البلد والصراع الحالي يتوقف، بين أشياء أخرى، على نوع الإجابة على هذين السؤالين الجوهريين، اللذين أظنهما سؤالا واحدا، منظورا إليه من جهتين!.
وأعتقد أن أية حلول تسعى إلى الخلط بين الإصلاح الهيكلي والإصلاح التقنوي لن تنجح على المدى البعيد وستؤدي إلى انطلاق الأزمة من جديد، في مدى قريب، لأن الإصلاح التقنوي سيظهر الحاجة إلى إصلاح هيكلي كامل وناضج، مثلما حدث في تجارب الدول الاشتراكية السابقة، التي لعب هذا الضرب من الإصلاح دورا مهما في انهيارها وقيام إطار هيكلي مختلف هو الإطار الرأسمالي.
ولعله ليس سرا أن الإصلاح التقنوي الأول، الذي أخذ شكل انتقال إلى اقتصاد السوق، قد أسهم كثيرا في نشوب حركة الاحتجاج الراهنة، وأنه هو الذي فتح لأول مرة خلال خمسين عاما ونيف أعين قطاعات واسعة من أبناء الأرياف وفقراء المدن على ضرورة الإصلاح الهيكلي، الذي عبر عن نفسه في مطالبتهم العفوية والجماعية بالحرية، مع أنها كانت على مر التاريخ مطلبا مدينيا صرفا!.
هل سيجد السوريون جوابا صحيحا على هذه المعضلة، بعد توقف أعمال العنف وإطلاق سراح المساجين والموقوفين، وتأسيس بيئة حوارية من شأن توفرها تطبيع العلاقات بين المتحاورين وبالتالي إنجاح الحوار؟. هذا هو السؤال، الذي لا بد أن نجد جوابا عليه، مع أنه يبدو اليوم كأحجية لا حل لها، إلا إذا تغير الوضع، ووجد أحد الطرفين نفسه مجبرا على أو راغبا في قبول ما يقترحه الطرف الآخر. عندئذ، سيكون الإصلاح التقنوي ردا مأزوما وناقصا على الأزمة، التي ستتفاقم من خلال أشكاله الجديدة، والهيكلي ضرورة لن ينجح أحد في تحاشيها، أقله إلى أمد طويل!.
سورية على مفترق طرق سيقرر مصيرها، قد تكون تكلفته قاتلة في حال فشلنا كسوريين في الارتقاء إلى ما يفرضه الواقع والعقل علينا جميعا من خيارات مؤلمة!.

May 24th, 2011, 2:03 am


Shami said:

This sinister plot to topple Bashar Assads government will not succeed

SYAU ,may i ask you who are the members of this government ?
Because the previous governments have been toppled by Bashar himself.
Do you mean asad regime instead ?

May 24th, 2011, 2:17 am


syau said:


That’s a massive amount of deaths, do you know if there is an internal/external investigation into the amount of deaths in Egypt since the revolution?

May 24th, 2011, 2:21 am


syau said:


I dont like the word regime much, most of the time, I tend to use government and assume people would know what I am talking about.

May 24th, 2011, 2:25 am


Shami said:

SYAU,it’s necessary regarding the course of events to be accurate and rational.
You are against political change over for sectarian reason,as most regime supporters.It’s not wise stance at all.

May 24th, 2011, 3:14 am


Amir in Tel Aviv said:


Bashar did not put any reforms. If I’m wrong, plz post a link, so I can see and read the Bashar reforms you’re talking about.
The junta abolished the Emergency Law, and the oppression worsened. Is this the reform?

This uprise is not violent, no mater what you say. The only violent party here, is the junta. The demonstrators respond to the violence that the junta subject them to.

Now let’s examine the story about who came first, the egg or the chicken (the reform or the uprise). If not the demonstrations and the uprise, would this junta present any change? they are here for more than 40 years, and didn’t change the tiniest bit. The only thing that forced them to do something, is the demonstrating Syrian people.

Now you ask the Syrians to stop what seems to be working, and successful. For what? for zero reform? for continuation of Feb 2011? Does this sound reasonable to you to stop something so beautiful empowering and inspiring?

This will never stop, and I believe that the junta realizes it. The defections and resignations of Baath dignitaries are around the corner. It’s either the junta or the Syrian people now.

May 24th, 2011, 3:14 am


Averroes said:


You say I’m lying? You are the obvious liar when you pretend to care for what the Syrian people want. Have no mistake, you’re not going to be a spectator for long.


Yes, they are dead people, but there are many zombies that belong to the “revolution” that have little else in their minds, so they do matter. The picture you are painting is an illusion.

May 24th, 2011, 3:41 am


Mina said:

WD, #119
If the government wants to win, it should organize two sit-ins:
one in the Abbasiyyin with the Facebook activists (who will have to meet the people from the suburbs coming in microbuses, it will be an interesting encounter for them… i mean, those who have not already left for Lebanon, like the so-called ‘gay girl’), and a bigger one on Umawiyyin with two simple slogans:
لا لبخل الشوام
لا للنظام الأب
I really think the so-called activists pulling the threads abroad have played on the revenge feeling that was necessarily going to grow from a few clashes and the wahshiyya of some mukhabaraat who believe that they are the kings and can always do whatever they want.
Now if you have 1/2 the population under the age of 19, living with another half who has received a 19th century education where fathers decide who their daughters AND sons have to marry, what they are going to do for a living, etc, there is a break in the society, and it has nothing to do with the anti-Baath feeling. The anti-Baath focus is only for the internet users abroad and most people in Syria don’t give a damn about the Baath.
It is a young/old, poor/rich, rural/urban uprising. Its causes are shared in most places in Europe and the US, but the little difference is that Syria did not have a 1968 yet and still have to deal with anachronic patriarchy. The fact that Bashar himself is a victim of patriarchy too should help him chose side!

Now the problem is, with one or two demo on these huge squares, how are they going to have the police do its job of keeping private and public properties? The police is certainly not sufficient in number and not trained. Plus you have the Egyptian experience: the police may empathize and join the sit-in to ask for better wages and as a result you have no functioning police since 2 months in Egypt (so people have started to build again like crazy: an extra floor on every house! the cement market must be the only one booming.)

May 24th, 2011, 4:23 am


syau said:


Accurate and rational is something missing from the equation of the Syrian revolution. I am against political change over in Syrian because I think Bashar is a sophisticated and brilliant leader. Syria has progressed and prospered, and Bashar will foresee further growth and prosperity in the country. I do not think demanding ‘toppling of the regime’ is a reasonable or rational way to request reforms for the country.

Amir in Tel Aviv,

Reforms were put forward, there needs to be an end to the violence and the sectarianism for the reforms to be implemented positively. Do your homework and read up on the reforms that were presented.

Violence is a large element in this uprising and that is definite. Bashar had reforms in the works prior to the recent uprisings. He is a man of action, not of reaction.

You think this uprising is successful? What is your definition of success, death, destruction, threats of violence if a person doesn’t close his shop for the planned strike or financial incentives for protesting?

What sounds reasonable is prevention of any further violence and destabilisation so the country can begin the process of reform.

As the saying goes, a man who stands for nothing will fall for anything. If you believe this uprising is just about reform, then I rest my case.

Now I would like to ask you what you think is reasonable, take a look at the following link and let me know if you think that is reasonable to you. The graphs are even in colour to help you see the differences clearly.

May 24th, 2011, 5:30 am


Revlon said:

I hereby tend my resignation,as president, to the honourable Syrian people, with best wishes.

Shukri AlQuwatli
6 April 1949!/photo.php?fbid=10150645841910727&set=a.10150397575815727.619133.420796315726&type=1&theater

Jr’s father was probably amongst the demonstrators, that forced Mr Quwatli’s resignation.
There was no shooting, and no casualties.
It was an honourable example that Jr. could have followed.

Instead, Jr. has chosen to go down, and more fittingly I should say, Qidaffi’s style

May 24th, 2011, 7:35 am


Revlon said:

Facebook page has urged demonstrators to partly cover their face, to avoid identification by security forces.
The latter use high definmition cameras to video demonstrators. Further identification is achieved by the help of Mukhtar of the neighbourhood, who usually recognises residents by face.

3al fayneh mafi ashtar min halnizam!

The Syrian Revolution 2011 الثورة السورية ضد بشار الاسد
هام جدا .. تأكيدا على دعواتنا السابقة نكرر الدعوة لجميع الشباب الأبطال أن يقوموا بإخفاء وجوههم عند التظاهر (التلثم) وذلك لإن النظام يستخدم كاميرات فيديو بدقة عالية توجه إلى وجوه المتظاهريين ومن ثم فوراً يتوجهمون إلى مختار المنطقة ويفتحون السجلات ويبحثون عنهم واحد واحد ومن ثم يتم ملاحقتهم في بيوتهم وعلى وجه السرعة ويتم إعتقالهم وتعذيبهم وترهيبهم


11 hours ago

May 24th, 2011, 8:12 am


Mina said:

Really peaceful guys, Revlon. Several European states have passed laws to forbid demonstrators to hide their faces. Are suicide bombers in winter coats allowed? They do a hell of a business in Shii celebrations in Iraq, you know?
So leaders are anonymous, meetings abroad are secrets, and demonstrators should cover. At that rate the whole planet will soon be on strike.

May 24th, 2011, 8:29 am


why-discuss said:


“In short, could you explain why you are a bunch of hypocrites and support an oppressive regime?”

Why you are a bunch of hypocrites and support the state of Israel that oppressed the Palestinians and killed innocents civilians in Lebanon and Gaza?

May 24th, 2011, 8:38 am


Sophia said:

What’s in a name?

The Syrian revolution 2011 call themselves in Arabic ‘The Syrian revolution against Bashar El Assad’. So what are they going to do if Bashar steps down and the Baath names someone else? Are they going to end their revolution? I don’t think so. However, their name in Arabic translates well what is the main motive behind this revolution.
As the hatred and the anger seems to be very personal it highlights the imprimatur of the Saudi-Hariri-Khaddam-MB axis in this ‘revolution’.

May 24th, 2011, 8:39 am


why-discuss said:

I would suggest they wear masks and false beards instead, even though Halloween is a bit far… Any way the nerd in Sweden does not need a Halloween mask.
They could also ask Revlon to provide them with makeup made in Israel, kasher.

May 24th, 2011, 8:40 am


majedkhaldoon said:

The problem with the pro regime commentors, is the same as the regime, they do not recognize that we are in major ,major crisis,procrastination is not the answer, surgical action is needed,things are not minor trouble,and things can not go back to the old way of doing things,people demands of get rid of oppression forces, sectarianism(alawite rule) must end,corruptions must end.

May 24th, 2011, 8:59 am


Mina said:

“surgical action is needed” you would gain credibility if you could stop using phrases we have heard in the news and in the mouths of no-less corrupte politicians over and over.

You should ask the thousands of homeless people on the streets of the richest capitals of the world if they do not wish corruption to come to an end. There are many around actively trying to push for a global movement (read Toni Negri’s Empire, which has been translated in Arabic and is available in good libraries in Damascus), because the Syrian activists alone are not going to be able to solve the flight of bank-assets and the housing bubble. Everywhere in the world, emerging countries have seen a lot of money being rapatriated by wealthy exiles because of the crisis since 2008 and the prospect of the local currency sliding down. As a result, the housing prices are far too high for the locals who didn’t have a chance to emigrate and work abroad for ‘real money.’ It has nothing to do with the Baath, sorry. At the same time, some very well intentioned people have speculated on commodities and caused food price volatility and this has been particularly harsh for the poorer countries. Many say it is time to ban speculation on these.

May 24th, 2011, 9:10 am


why-discuss said:


What kind of audience does Kilo has? Can these people have any effect on the course of the events?
His views is very realistic and the structural changes are certainly the answer. This is very true for most Arab countries. People in arab countries accept the inertia and lack of vision of their government as they are busy making the meets end for the poor and becoming richer for the wealthy one.
The changes in the demography as explained thoroughly in the interview in Der Spiegel with Emmanuel Todd, I posted earlier had made more people aware, asking questions and comparing. The economical crisis has triggered even more questions and discontent.,1518,763537-2,00.html
In western democracies, the answer is just a switch between socialists and conservators or vice-versa. Structural changes are impossible for countries with such rigid constitutions and depending on the capitalistic system. Therefore I won’t be surprised to have more discontent in the next few years in Europe.
As for Syria, it is a crucial time but the task is urgent and overwhelming. It requires not only intelligence but imagination and the support of all the layers of the syrian society. When Bashar was not under scrutinity, it could have began but it started on the wrong foot with the deregulation of the market that contributed to precipitate the uprisings.
How would it be under a weaken Bashar?
I don’t believe any one in Syria would be able to make these changes. Facing this immense task without a strong legitimacy will be impossible and the country may fall behind and end up either in destructive civil war or a catastrophic economical crisis. The future does look gloomy, unless there is a real u-turn and Bashar gets back the confidence of the majority of people. Can it be?

May 24th, 2011, 9:14 am


syau said:


I agree, surgery is needed, cut out the tumor which is the violent Syrian revolution, allow reforms to be implemented and let the healing process begin.

Legitimate protestors can protest legally…. No one needs masked psycho’s running around causing chaos.

May 24th, 2011, 9:22 am


atassi said:

Syrian capital’s residents on edge

Jocelyne Zablit

24 May 2011

Agence France Presse

Damascus remains relatively untouched by the pro-democracy protests roiling Syria, but even supporters of the regime in the capital are becoming edgy about the mounting death toll and wondering where the country is headed.

While on the surface all appears normal in the city, with shops open, traffic jams and crowded sidewalks, it is clear that the unrest is on everyone’s mind and that with each new demonstration, casualty and sanction the tension rises a notch.

Many hunker down in their homes at night instead of socialising, while some evening events are being cancelled or moved up so that residents can rush home early.

“Two weeks ago we still believed the government’s assertion that everything was under control and that the crisis was over,” said one local resident, traditionally a supporter of President Bashar al-Assad.

“But the future suddenly looks dark and I wonder down what path the regime is taking us,” added the woman, who like others mentioned in this article refused to be named.

Many people in the metropolis of some four million — where the Alawite-controlled authoritarian regime has a strong base of support among minority Christians and members of the Sunni bourgeoisie — seem baffled by the turn of events.

“It is beginning to sink in that this is not going to be over soon and that the country is undergoing major change,” said one businessman. “Nothing will be the same as before anymore.”

Assad still enjoys strong support in the capital but there are growing fears that the situation is spiralling out of control and that the unrest could eventually hit Damascus and Aleppo, the two major power centres largely spared the violence so far.

According to rights groups, more than 900 people have been killed and thousands more detained by security forces since the protests broke out mid-March with a small demonstration in Damascus that was quickly dispersed.

“I think the day those kids in Daraa were arrested and tortured was really a turning point for all the pent-up anger over widespread corruption among people in the south,” said one Damascus resident, referring to the arrest of teenagers caught scrawling anti-government graffiti in the southern town of Daraa as the protests began spreading.

“The pot just blew up.”

Reflecting a widespread view, one hotel owner said that with businesses beginning to feel the pinch and a promising tourist season now shattered, a stark reality is settling in.

“People are realising that this might last many more months and are looking to the government for answers but they’re not getting any,” he said. “We’re offering cut-down prices, we’re laying off employees and some of us have been forced to shut down to minimise our losses.

“But then what?”

Hesitant to act at first, Washington and the European Union have slapped Assad and top aides with punitive sanctions amid a chorus of mounting international condemnation.

The regime has responded to the violence by offering some concessions while at the same time launching a fierce crackdown to crush the unrest.

It has also remained defiant in the face of criticism, accusing the United States and European Union of meddling in its internal affairs and incitement.

But some here believe that Assad has all but lost his chance at redressing the situation and fear a long drawn-out crisis.

“It’s like an oil stain that keeps getting larger,” said one merchant. “I think we are going to see many more dead and the regime could collapse.”

Another businessman said that playing against the government was the protesters’ use of social media and the Internet to spread their message and reach the outside world.

“When Assad’s father Hafez crushed the revolt in Hama in 1982, killing thousands, the massacre went largely unnoticed outside Syria,” he said. “But this time they won’t be able to hush things up.”

The fear factor among the population is also diminishing.

“The majority of revolutions in the world went forth after the wall of fear came crumbling down,” said one woman. “And this is what has happened in Syria.

“There is no turning back now.”

Still, there are those who insist that Assad is genuinely committed to reforms but needs to be given a chance to implement them. Many are also convinced that foreign agitators, notably from Saudi Arabia and neighbouring Lebanon, are feeding the unrest.

“Everyone agrees there is corruption but you can’t get rid of it overnight,” said one man. “If you uproot this rotten tree too quickly you will take down with it half the country

May 24th, 2011, 9:34 am


majedkhaldoon said:

The tumor you are talking about is not tumor, it is crisis it is legitimate demands.
Reform you said we should allow it, does not exist Bashar had 11 years he did nothing, and that is why we have this revolution, Bashar has had more than two months in this crisis, and he did nothing, not even talk to the people directly.

You need lessons in credibility,yourself, supporting lying regime ,dictator, corrupt ,you have no credibility.

May 24th, 2011, 9:35 am


syau said:


There are two ways to have a revolution, 1- Civil, non violent protests which are free of hate and destruction, where voices are heard with the respect they demand, or,

2- They Syrian revolution, a chaotic, hate filled, violent, murderous revolution, filled with fabrications and outright lies, endorsing masked vandals (posing as protesters)and one that calls for outside intervention in their own country – this one demands no respect, and cannot be heard until it is civil, which doesn’t look likely to happen.

It is a tumor, and needs to be rid of so legitimate voices can be heard and the country can move forward.

And as for your comments to Mina, you, a Syrian revolution supporter fully knowing all the violent elements it involves, to call someone not credible is laughable, and very predictable of someone affiliated with a violent lie of a revolution.

May 24th, 2011, 9:47 am


atassi said:

US ex-general predicts Syria intervention
24 May 2011
APA News Service

Vienna – Former supreme NATO commander in Europe, General Wesley Clark, said in a weekend interview in Vienna he believes there will soon be an intervention by the US and European countries in Syria.

No-one in the United States wanted to intervene, but if Syria continued to threaten its own citizens’ lives, it would be treated exactly like Libya, said Clark, who was in Vienna for a conference of the “Center for Global Dialogue and Cooperation”. Other participants included ex-president Bill Clinton.

The United States would not act unilaterally against Syria, Clark said in his interview with the Austria Press Agency. There was no basis for that under international law. But in the case of Libya, the UN Security Council had agreed on a procedure, and that would also be the case for Sryia.

The actions of Syrian ruler Bashar al-Assad had made an intervention legitimate. Assad must understand that he could not get away with killing people just because Syria had a strong army. Assad was violating the UN Charta, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and committing war crimes.

In the case of Libya, the International Criminal Court in the Hague had already indicted ruler Muammar Gaddafi. Clark asked how long Assad would be able to disregard international law.

Clark said the Libya mission was of such significance to Washington because it was important for the NATO partnership. The United States had no fundamental interest in Libya, but it did in NATO.

That was already the case during Serbian troops’ march into Kosovo and the subsequent NATO bombardments in 1999, said Clark, who was supreme commander at the time.

Now, the mission of the Alliance in North Africa was “a logical step”. He believed the actions of NATO in the region put it in line with the efforts of the people there for freedom. (Schluss) qu

Austria Presse Agentur

May 24th, 2011, 9:51 am


majedkhaldoon said:

The first is not possible, because thr regime is doing severe brutal oppression,the second is not true since the violent and murderous acts were thr regime action, the people were very armless

May 24th, 2011, 10:06 am


AIG said:

I asked a simple question but got no answer:
Are Alex, Averroes, WD, Sophia, SYUA etc. for freedom of speech in Syria? Are you for letting the press freely cover what is going on?

Well, what is the answer?
Why are you ashamed to give it?
Why are you for freedom of speech in the countries you live but not in Syria?

May 24th, 2011, 10:07 am


Sophia said:

#165 Atassi,

I have googled The Austrian Press Agency, googled parts of what you published in your comment, googled the whole thing and I am not finding a trace of what you published on the web.

These are very strong statements and if true must be everywhere on the web by now.

Can you provide the source, please?

May 24th, 2011, 10:11 am


syau said:


da2 al mai w heye mai. Open your eyes and stop stating they dont have arms and are not violent, its getting old now.

May 24th, 2011, 10:14 am


AIG said:

In regarding to the Palestinian issue raised by regime supporters, how is it relevant? Assad is shooting HIS OWN PEOPLE. Don’t you see the huge difference?

Assad’s best allies are Hezbollah and Iran, two clearly Islamic entities. Furthermore, he hosts Hamas, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood! How can you guys with a straight face be against religious parties if these are your best allies? Who are you fooling? Why are religious parties ok in Iran, Lebanon and Palestine but not in Syria??? How is this not hypocrisy?

May 24th, 2011, 10:20 am


AIG said:


It is so simple. Why are you against letting the foreign free press cover what is happening freely? Why is the regime against it? Because it has something to hide. The protesters are for coverage, they have nothing to hide. The party you support could easily makes things clear by allowing coverage, but they won’t because they are guilty as sin. It is you that is blind.

May 24th, 2011, 10:23 am


syau said:


Why are you so interested in Syria’s business? It’s definately not because you care about the country.

I ask you why is there since September 2000 to date, 1,452 Palestinian children killed in Israel, by the Israeli forces?

Why is there 6,430 Palestinians killed overall, 45,041 injured Palestinians, why has Obama requested $3 billion in foreign military financing for Israel in the fiscal year 2011 and $0 for Palestinians?

Cure Israel of its atrocities, then you might be able to criticize other governments.

May 24th, 2011, 10:42 am


aboali said:

From a Syrian Armenian, who happens to be raised as Christian in Syria

May 24th, 2011, 10:44 am


why-discuss said:


re: Wesley Clark’s declarations.
What would be the effect on Syrians if the US and its ‘willing coalition’ were to announce an invasion or bombing by NATO of Syria to ‘protect the demonstrators’ the same way it did in Libya with the destructive results we know. How would the opposition reacts and how the indecided syrian will react?

May 24th, 2011, 10:49 am


Anton said:

Dear Sophia and Atassi

its not important if its true or not , please read my comment on last Sunday, I copied here below again, Syrian FM confirmed the same yesterday.

to know what will happen to Syria next just go and look at what they planned for it between 1910-1920 , they have the same plan ready as the one then, the revolution today is the same as the one they run by Laurence of Arabia ,and behind the seen they cooked something else , the same as the Sikes-Pico one .. and then you know what happened later to Syria, has been divided into pieces …and more….

Mr. the president Assad knew it and he is preparing for something???? hope it will be good for Syria

History will tell

Dear Syrians and friends of Syria

As you know Syria is under heavy pressures, but that is not new to Syria, it was always like that through out history, I tried to think about for how long was, I thought maybe for the last 100 years?… 500 years? , with some little research and understanding history I found out that, since 5000 years … as said, history repeating its self, Presedent Hafez Alsaad used to spend the first 3 hours of his meeting with world leader lecturing them , on Syria’s history … he was doing that for a lot of good reasons .. one of the reason was to remind them that Syria is the heart of the ME you can go around it but it can not be ignored .. that’s why through history Syria was targeted…I believe, who control Syria.. control the whole ME…these days events remind me with 1910-1920 events of Syria history, the end of the Ottoman Empire and dividing Syria, by implementing a master plan designed around 1900 when Mr. Herzl want to buy small land in Palestrina from the Sultan Abdulhamid II ( exchange deal) to create a home land for our cousins without success… I believe a 4 phase master plan has been designed and put in execution since then. Please just observe the following events…

-Phase one colonization regimes and division 1900-1950 (petrol discovered, part of the plan was Laurence of Arabia , Sharif Hussein of Mecca, Sikes-Pico , Al-saoud )
-phase two dictatorial regimes 1950-2000 in particularly the 1970
-phase three democratic regimes 2000-2050
-phase four 2050 and beyond (petrol is over).. leaving the region for its lot

I believe President B. Assad is knowing all that as his father was part of phase #2, and knows what is cooking for him and Syria as he is part of phase #3

my believe is that, all those democratic slogans / revolutions only designed to implement phase #3 of the plan using old strategy of divide and concur put forward by the Britain, its the same slogans used in earlier phases, part of that design is to keep people busy to find out a new so called “prosperity/surviving” and forget every thing else.

This time Syrians need to be more intelligent and thoughtful about what design for us, and how we can use it for our own benefits and destiny to become great again as we use to be through history. We should work and come together to create our great Syria again.

I hope from the bottom of my heart that President Assad pulls all the people in this region together to be part of a great and prosper Syria, he is our only hope, otherwise we are back to 1920.

Syrians deserve it


May 24th, 2011, 10:50 am


Mina said:

Majed, here is a quote from an article in the Financial Times today. I try to stay on the optimist side, but people like you don’t help. It’s not like in movies, where the bad guy is total bad and the good guy total good. I often wondered what was going to be the result of whole generations raised in front of a tv-set, now i have the answer.

“The other day, I bumped into a friend from my days at The Economist. Why are your columns so depressing, he asked me? I began to deny the charge until it was pointed out that I had recently published a book with the doom-laden title Zero-Sum Future.

So instead of denial, I went for explanation. The western world is in serious economic and political trouble, I argued. Europe is ensnared in a debt crisis that threatens the future of its single currency, and the social stability of the European Union. The US cannot control its budget deficit and must contend with infantile politics and a palpable sense of national decline.

It is true that there are still plenty of reasons for optimism in the rising powers of Asia, in particular China and India. But the flow of political and economic power from west to east is raising international tensions. The relationship between the US and China is becoming more openly adversarial. As a result, it is becoming harder to find co-operative solutions to the big international problems – from climate change to failed states and global economic imbalances.”

May 24th, 2011, 10:51 am


Sophia said:

# 170 Jad,

Both sources are unreliable. We should be able to view the same info on the official website of APA.

On the other hand, if the source is reliable and the statements didn’t make the headlines in the mainstream press, it means that Clarke is speaking for himself.

May 24th, 2011, 10:51 am


why-discuss said:


Instead of being obsessed by freedom of press in Arab countries, start to be obsessed by the freedom of existence of the Palestinians trapped in your destructive spider web.

May 24th, 2011, 10:52 am


why-discuss said:

Atasi, Sophia

A clearer picture of Wesley Clark and the neocon plan for Syria through wikileaks

…The Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003 was part of the effort to demonize the country and its leader, Bashar al-Assad.

In 2006, while speaking in Alabama, Gen. Wesley Clark recounted his conversation with a general at the Pentagon in November, 2001.

Gary Leupp quotes Clark:

I said, “Are we still going to invade Iraq?” “Yes, Sir,” he said, “but it’s worse than that.” I said, “How do you mean?” He held up this piece of paper. He said, “I just got this memo today or yesterday from the office of the Secretary of Defense upstairs. It’s a, it’s a five-year plan. We’re going to take down seven countries in five years. We’re going to start with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, then Libya, Somalia, Sudan, we’re going to come back and get Iran in five years. I said, “Is that classified, that paper?” He said, “Yes Sir.” I said, “Well, don’t show it to me, because I want to be able to talk about it.”

The Bush neocon clique considered the overthrow of Syria an important element in its war against Muslims and Arabs in the Middle East….

May 24th, 2011, 10:57 am


AIG said:

SYAU and WD,

This blog is to discuss Syria. If you want to discuss the Palestinian issue, there are plenty of blogs for that.

You again did not answer my very simple question: Why are you for freedom of speech in your own countries and against freedom of speech in Syria? How can you say with a straight face that the protesters are lying when it is the REGIME that does not allow free press??? Isn’t it clear that the regime is a murderous one and is trying to hide its crimes?

May 24th, 2011, 10:59 am


AIG said:

What is happening in Syria is part of the Arab Spring, not some planned US action. Enough with the conspiracy theories. You were happy when Egyptians were demonstrating. Now tell your regime to let Syrians demonstrate freely also without sending tanks after them.

May 24th, 2011, 11:03 am


norman said:

As you all know that i do not agree with Majid and Atassi on much , but this time i am with them , can somebody tell me why the government and the president are not moving on political reform now things seems to be better , that move will put the ball in the opposition corner and we all will see if they seek reform or destruction of the country, it is time to multitask , reform and safety.

May 24th, 2011, 11:04 am


aboali said:

Note to regime loyalist: you’re doing it wrong. Attempts to deflect the Syrian revolution by talking about Israel and Palestine just won’t work anymore. Just like your cynical and orchestrated border breach in which you sacrificed hapless Palestinian refugees in a pathetic attempt to garner sympathy from the Arab world, well that backfired spectacularly didn’t it? People can see through your lies.

The Syrian people see through your manipulation of the Palestinian issue and your usage of it for 40 years to justify your repressive police state rule over the population as a “necessary sacrifice for the cause”. It just doesn’t work anymore , try something else ….oh wait you already tried Salafi kingdoms right? I dunno, how about try something out of this dimension of reality, maybe genuine dialogue and reform?

May 24th, 2011, 11:09 am


why-discuss said:

AIG, Amir in Tel Aviv

The lure of money…Welcome to the club!

The Obama administration on Tuesday hit seven foreign companies, including Venezuela’ state-owned oil company and an Israeli shipping firm, with sanctions for doing business with Iran that helps fund its nuclear program.

May 24th, 2011, 11:16 am


Anton said:

Dear Norman @ 182

Please read my comment @175, maybe it has some true .. also reading between the lines of what the president of Russia is said of not supporting using the force with Syria , means he knew also what cocked for Syria

maybe that why Mr. Assad is doing nothing.. its useless ….

Hope all this things are not true!!!

May 24th, 2011, 11:18 am


jad said:

Footage of a battle between the ‘peaceful’ of Banyas and the army proving that the army is killing its own people and everybody else using the revolution is innocent and peaceful.

I think we are going to see lots of these footages in the coming days.

May 24th, 2011, 11:30 am


Sophia said:

Lebanese pro-saudi shia cleric arrested on charges of spying for Israel.

May 24th, 2011, 11:31 am


why-discuss said:


“Why are you for freedom of speech in your own countries
I thought you wanted to talk about Syria only not any other country!
So please stick to Syria, otherwise you will get remarks about your own country
BTW what are the blogs that discuss your treatments of the arab palestinians. Please note that Syrians are also arabs.

May 24th, 2011, 11:33 am


why-discuss said:

24 mai 2011

In summary a stalemate…

May 24th, 2011, 11:40 am


norman said:


if you know that your enemy is hiding a gun and is willing to shoot at you, do you start a fight with a sling shot, the lack of political reform is the excuse they are using, so take it away from them.

May 24th, 2011, 11:41 am


Mina said:

Free press, free speech, freedom fries.
When did the free press visit occupied Palestine lately? Guantanamo? Russian and Iraqi prisons? Zimbabwe? It would be quicker for the blog’s ‘freedom fighters’ to tell us where there should NOT be a war and an ‘external’ intervention. If only the Martians could come to the rescue, it would sound better than old-tried UN.
If Syria if the Assad kingdom of fear you describe, why haven’t we seen people trying to emigrate drifting to Cyprus? Every year you have Moroccans dying in the straight of Gibraltar, every month you have them shot at the Egypt-Israeli border , every day you have people trying to cross from Tunisia and Libya to Italy. So where are the statistics? When did we see Syrian boat-people? I don’t say there is no illegal emigration out of Syria, but if the country was a some people try to describe it, the illegal emigration to Turkey and through sea would be easy to prove.
Again, that’s not to say that reforms, elections, and perestroika are not needed. But to think it can happen with a sit-in, some looting and degradations, and the toppling of an already weak regime, is simply the same as believing in al mahdi al muntazar.
It is great that every website on the internet functions in Syria since December and that people start to talk and express what they want, but chaos is no solution.

May 24th, 2011, 11:41 am


Anton said:


what I mean is , regardless what he will do, they will create new issue to find an excuse … really it dose not matter any more … the cooked new Sikes-Pico plan is in the execution mode ….

what you think will happen next ?

May 24th, 2011, 12:08 pm


Mina said:

Rabbis in Israel are getting triple-pay, against all the social workers who need more funds! An ideal world for neocons and a certain trend of the MB? As usual, the “Jewish Brotherhood” is tracing the way.

May 24th, 2011, 12:08 pm


norman said:


Syria survived in 2003 after the invasion of Iraq because president Assad rightly read the feeling of the Syrian people and stood against the invasion of Iraq, he needs to move on reform so he can galvanized the people around him and stand up to the plan of destroying Syria as we know it , time is running out and any delay will not help.

May 24th, 2011, 12:15 pm


Alex said:

Reforms are happening, but the President needs to speak to his people …

Kuwaiti Investors Acquire Syria Duty Free’s Border Outlets
2011-05-24 16:18:53.655 GMT

By Lina Ibrahim
May 24 (Bloomberg) — Kuwaiti investors acquired duty-free
shops operated at airports, ports and border crossings in Syria,
according to a statement posted on the website of Syria Duty
Free Ltd.
The previous owners included the Makhlouf family, whose
members were covered by recent U.S. and European Union asset
sanctions related to human-rights abuses in Syria.
The investors, who were not identified, bought all the
shares in the company including those held by Sunset Ltd. and
Dawn Ltd. and plan to disclose more information about the
transaction, Syria Duty Free said in the statement dated May 20.

May 24th, 2011, 12:29 pm


norman said:

Then let him speak, why are they dragging their feats ,

On the economic front, The Syrian government should be careful not sell the country for cheap because of the sanction , move on reform and open the economy to expatriate to invest in Syria with good terms that are not available to others, with no outside debt and expat who have done well , we can build the country and create jobs without outside help that will be used to control Syria.

May 24th, 2011, 12:40 pm


JAD said:

That’s interesting piece of news, it sounds that the regime is planning to slowly take Mr. Makhloof’s shares in many companies away from him without any need of public humiliation.
I think his luck started to go down hill the moment his disastrous interview with Mr. Shadid went public, the exact next day the regime tried to push him aside by disregarding his political statement and denying the financial propaganda that he helped stabilized the Syrian pound.
Is it possible that we will read more similar news to the one you posted about his other companies soon? Syriatel and Sham Holdings for example? I wont be surprised.

Very bold speech by Bibi:

Netanyahu Repeats Stiff Criteria for Peace


May 24th, 2011, 12:48 pm


Nour said:

I agree with Norman that reforms need to happen sooner than later, and I agree with earlier posts by Abughassan that the regime bears a lot of responsibility for what happened, even if the presence of armed elements is now indisputable. The fact that they continued to refuse to change their behavior and allow for meaningful reforms has led to the current scenario in the country. This is not to diminish the impact of the foreign conspiracy against Syria, but to underscore the fact that the behavior of the regime helped in the implementation of this conspiracy.

The problem I see is that Bashar al Assad is facing a lot of resistance from inside the regime against these reforms. There are powerful figures inside the regime who are totally opposed to reforms and would like to maintain the current situation as they continue to benefit from it. This is the time for President Bashar al Assad to take a heroic stance against these elements in the regime if he is serious about reforms and about serving the interest of his people. Difficult decisions are going to have to be made, but if they are not, the consequences are going to be much more detrimental to the country and to the regime. This regime has to either come to grips with the fact that they cannot go on forever imposing their rule on the people, or it is going to pay a heavy price for its continued intransigence. The Syrian people will not forever accept this situation and I believe President Bashar al Assad knows it. It remains to be seen what kinds of steps he is prepared to take. I am hopeful that we will indeed see serious and important reforms take place in the near future.

May 24th, 2011, 12:54 pm


norman said:

I agree with you,
The hard line Baathist who think that they are protecting Syria and the Baath party are to blame for the crises that Syria and the Baath party in ,
President Assad need to jump and lead the change and the revolution instead of trying to catch it’s tail.


I would rather have a Syrian no matter how corrupt as an owner of Syrian companies than strangers and if he did wrong then he should accountable without trying to sell of these companies to foreigners.

May 24th, 2011, 1:06 pm


AIG said:


The Kuwaiti company purchase of the duty free franchise is probably just a ruse. They probably have problems doing business with Machlouf as a part owner and so he “sold” his ownership to the Kuwaiti company. I would not be surprised if Machlouf owns directly or indirectly parts of the Kuwaiti company. Just shows that Machlouf is not very smart. Who in his right mind would invest now in Syrian duty free? So it is obvious that this is just a tactic to evade sanctions.

May 24th, 2011, 1:13 pm


AIG said:

WD and others,

The question is not why I am interested in freedom of speech in Syria. The question is why YOU are not. What are you afraid of if not the truth? If you are so sure that the protesters are lying why are you and the regime so afraid of freedom of speech?

May 24th, 2011, 1:15 pm


JAD said:

Dear Norman,
The Baath party is already dead, it doesn’t have any real power on anything to do the changes people are asking for.

Regarding the changes, I agree with Nour, changes, especially political ones must be announced and start immediately and the parliament must resume its work instead of being in ‘vacation’ it’s ridiculous to close the parliament when it’s needed the most.

I also agree with you that only Syrians should have the upper hand in any of the Syrian companies.

May 24th, 2011, 1:17 pm


why-discuss said:

Nour, Alex

Do you really believe that announcing reforms now will get a positive result? I tend to think that this will be seen as yielding to the EU and US sanctions and threats and could very well embolden even more the hardliners.
My view is that Bashar should announce a referendum about his leadership and possibly basic reforms. He should ask for international observers (Turkey, or UN) to legitimize it.
The announcement cannot have a negative effect, it could stop the protests as opposition will campaign to get the votes they wish for.
The outcome of the referendum will be decisive. If Bashar gets the OK, and I am sure he will, then he can claim to have the majority and announce any other reforms.

If he does not get the vote, then he will announce his withdrawal and pass on the power to the army or an interim governemnt

That’s what the Syrian needs to do now: A vote of confidence or distrust to Bashar Al Assad, I don’t see any other way out.

May 24th, 2011, 1:21 pm


Atheist Syrian said:

@vlad the Syrian
للكاتب “ابي حسن”

هويتي..من أكون؟..فى الطائفة والاثنية السوريتين

May 24th, 2011, 1:26 pm


norman said:


Don’t you think that any referendum that president Assad wins will be called a fabrication by the West and the opposition, he needs party laws and associate his reform by majority for his party ,

The death of the Baath party is highly exaggerated.

May 24th, 2011, 1:31 pm


Nour said:


There’s going to come a time when reforms are going to have to be announced. Syria will always be under US/EU pressure, so do we just refrain from reforming the system because we are worried that it will look like we succumbed to outside pressure? The Syrian people know this is not the case and they will welcome these reforms with open arms and open hearts. President Bashar al Assad’s popularity will increase dramatically as he will be seen as the leader who led a transformative government in Syria.

Regarding your proposed solution, I don’t think it is something that is feasible at this point in time. Bashar al Assad is the only person, at the moment, that can effectively confront certain regime elements and impose changes they don’t like. If he allows himself to step down or give any signal that he is weak, the challenging of these regime elements will become much more difficult. If he passes power to an “interim government” who do you think will control this government? This is bound to make the situation in Syria much worse. I think the best course of action is for President Assad to take a courageous stance and begin to implement serious reforms that will eventually transform the state into one where all the people feel they have a stake in it. Because the way the regime functions now, over 90% of the people feel that they have no role in the political process of the country.

May 24th, 2011, 1:33 pm


Nour said:


I believe Jad means that the Baath Party as a party doesn’t really rule or have a say. The regime is made up of a few people who make all decisions that even the Baath Party has no control over.

May 24th, 2011, 1:35 pm


why-discuss said:


The only Arab country where there is freedom of speech is Lebanon, and the country is in a mess. The press have been mostly used to insult, accuse and create more tensions that it solved.
The freedom of press in developing countries may give the illusion of democracy but in view of how polluted the press is, it is no guarantee of progress.
The press in the US has triggered wars like Iraq because of its manipulation by money and politics.
Read this. Do you think press is free in the US?
“In 2004, Bagdikian’s revised and expanded book, The New Media Monopoly, shows that only 5 huge corporations — Time Warner, Disney, Murdoch’s News Corporation, Bertelsmann of Germany, and Viacom (formerly CBS) — now control most of the media industry in the U.S. General Electric’s NBC is a close sixth.
The only free press is blogs on Internet and this is available in Syria.

May 24th, 2011, 1:35 pm


JAD said:

🙂 I’m very sorry to be the one to give you the bad news of the death of the Baath party, it happened while ago, I understand your feeling, you are in the denial phase, but soon enough with my propaganda campaign you will accept reality 😉

Nour, Thank you for explaining my point to my dear friend Norman.

May 24th, 2011, 1:39 pm


Sisyphus said:

@203 why-discuss

A referendum seems like a good idea to me. We need something dramatic to break this downward spiral.

It’s good for the reason that you mentioned and also because he’s got to stamp his authority on the hard-liners around him. He’ll never be able to do that the way his dad did. But he can do it in a way that his dad never could. He can deliver a genuine public mandate for change, under his leadership. I believe he still has time but he has to act quickly and express himself in very clear terms.

In the previous two speeches, he gave advice to the representatives and the cabinet. His third speech must be about what he will change, in his capacity as president of the republic. No more advice to anyone. Time to make history.

May 24th, 2011, 1:40 pm


AIG said:


Wow, you are a dictator at heart. You are bold enough to argue that freedom of speech and the press is bad. Unbelievable.

It is quite simple. Without freedom of speech and the press, there is no accountable government. Full stop.

May 24th, 2011, 1:53 pm


JAD said:

“We need something dramatic to break this downward spiral.”
The only dramatic act that can change this situation even without any reforms at all is to bring to justice the main two figures Syrians hate the most at the moment and the oppositions are using them extensively in their propaganda to motivate people, we all know who those two men are.
Regardless if they are innocent or not, the amount of hatred they have form the Syrians in the streets are too high to avoid, they are already damaged goods and the survivor of the regime depends on taking them out of the picture soon.
The question to ask is the regime is willing to do such sacrifice as the Late president Hafez did before or not?


China after Russia to stand against any intervention in Syria by the international community.

ونقلت وكالة الأنباء الصينية شينخوا عن المتحدثة باسم وزارة الخارجية الصينية جيانغ يوي قولها في مؤتمر صحفي دوري إن الصين تعارض التدخل الخارجي في الشؤون الداخلية لسورية وتتوقع من المجتمع الدولي لعب دور بناء في هذا الخصوص.
وأضافت المتحدثة أن مستقبل سورية يقرره شعبها وحده.

May 24th, 2011, 1:54 pm


why-discuss said:

Norman, Nour

If the “referendum and vote of confidence” is supervised by the Turkey and/or South Africa , there will be no constestation.

I strongly believe that any announced reforms now will be received with claims that Bashar is announcing this just to save his skin and that they will never be implemented.
What was the result of the cancellation of the emergency law? And that was at a time where the opposition had not yet asked for Bashar’s head.

The reforms are not they key, confidence in Bashar is the key.
If the Syrians still believe he will lead the reforms, the reforms will happen in due time. If they don’t believe he can, than announcement of any reform will sound empty and protests will continue.

The Syrians must have a way to give/refuse Bashar a vote of confidence.
Huge demonstrations of support to Bashar will be labeled ‘arranged by the government’. How do you think this can be done other than by a referendum or any other valid form of direct expression from the Syrians?
The referendum could be announced in such a way that Syrians are asked to vote for some basic reforms. By doing so, they would indirectly legitimize Bashar Al Assad and give him the green light to implement them.

A good example is the ‘canceled’ authorized demonstration. The hardliners knew that if they accept this authorized demonstration it meant that they are giving legitimacy to the government.
This is why they have canceled it. It is clear they refuse any move that would legitimize the authority thy want to overthrow. The official announcement of a referendum with observers from Turkey and/or South Africa may leave no choice to the opposition then to accept it and its outcome, otherwise they would be perceived as anarchists.
The question is : Will Bashar al Assad puts his pride aside to call for external observers?

May 24th, 2011, 2:03 pm


JAD said:

الحكومة تقرر تخفض سعر ليتر مادة المازوت من “20 ليرة إلى 15 ليرة ”

أصدرت رئاسة مجلس الوزراء، يوم الثلاثاء، قرارا بتخفيض سعر ليتر مادة المازوت من (20 ليرة سورية) إلى (15 ليرة سورية)، وذلك بعد قيامها بتخفيض سعره في العام 2009 من (25 ليرة) إلى (20 ليرة).

وكانت وزارة المالية كشفت، في شهر نيسان الماضي، عن إمكانية تخفيض سعر ليتر المازوت بمقدار 5 ليرات سورية وما يمكن أن ينتج عن هذا الأمر على جميع مناحي الحياة، مؤكدة على وجود عدة سيناريوهات للإصلاح ستصب جميعها في مصلحة المواطن وتلبية احتياجاته الأساسية.

وتقوم الحكومة السورية بتوزيع دعم على مادة المازوت سنويا, وذلك بعد قيامها برفع سعر اللتر منه من 7 ليرات إلى 25 ليرة في أيار عام 2008, ثم قامت بتخفيضه عام 2009 إلى 20 ليرة، الأمر الذي أدى إلى انخفاض استهلاك هذه المادة في العديد من القطاعات وعلى رأسها المنزلي والزراعي.

وصدر في الفترة الأخيرة العديد من القرارات والمراسيم التي تضمنت عددا من التغييرات، التي تصب في خانة القرارات، التي صدرت على القيادة القطرية والخطة التي أعلن عنها الرئيس بشار الأسد في خطابه الأخير مؤخرا في استئناف وتفعيل عملية الإصلاح في سورية.

May 24th, 2011, 2:04 pm


why-discuss said:


\” is to bring to justice the main two figures Syrians hate the most\”

Any such moves will be labeled: \”Bashar al Assad is designating two scapegoats to save his head\”
As long as Bashar al Assad does not get back the confidence not only of the Syrians but of the international community, any announcement will be rejected as mere manipulation.

May 24th, 2011, 2:43 pm


norman said:


I am willing to take a chance that the Baath party might lose and a new government without the control of the Baath party comes to Syria , but i am not willing to take a chance with the president or the army, monitors can be used for the parliamentary elections .

We ca not leave Syria leaderless .

May 24th, 2011, 2:45 pm


Mina said:

Only the tea party will benefit of this demonstration of force by Israel’s dictator (elected by elderlies carrying 2 passports and an extra 1 million Russians brought in the last 15 years to make the balance in favour of the right wing parties). I quote a comment on Foreign policy:
“The grand Snake-oil salesman, Netanyahu, stood in front of his captive minions in Congress to deliver a litany of uncontested lies. It was a carnival of standing ovations under the watchful eyes of AIPAC’s agents, who carefully scanned the hall for any sign of dissenters. Not unlike Bin Laden, Netanyahu spoke at length on how his God commanded him to cannibalize Palestinian land, pushing six million Palestinians to refugee camps around the globe. And that God issued him Carte Blanche to steal 80% of Palestinian water on the West Bank to fill the Sparkling swimming pools of the Jewish settlers, who were trucked in from Brooklyn and Warsaw. He condemned Arab Dictators who brutalized there citizens, but no mention of the 2 Million Palestinians under the occupation boots of Israel for the last 43 years. No mention of the 15 unarmed Palestinians shot by Israel last week for daring to demand the right to return to their stolen homes. Netanyahu went on his uncontested lies, knowing darn well that no one in the American media will dare contest his deception.

At the end of the speech, and in shameful sign of the Israeli domination of our Congress, Netanyahu dragged out the entire leadership of Congress to a Kiss-and-Tell conference. The benevolent Minions, from Boehner to Pelosi, Reid to McConnell, took turn to pledge allegiance to Netanyahu and Israel, and thus, earning the blessing of AIPAC and the Zionists.

Netanyahu said that he will never return to pre-1967 borders, will never allow Palestinian refugees to go back home, will keep major Jewish settlements in the West bank, will keep Arab East Jerusalem annexed by Israel, and will keep permanent Israeli military presence in the Jordan Valley, but beyond that he is willing to make painful concessions. Many in the Israeli Knesset would have disagreed with this hallucination, but the Israeli-Occupied US Congress gave it standing ovation.”

So they have a religious Brotherhood, they enjoy standing ovations (in what should simply be an ‘allied country’… doesn’t sound too democratic to me.)

May 24th, 2011, 3:01 pm


why-discuss said:


If the Syrians don’t trust that Bashar al Assad can lead the country then he has lost his legitimacy and no reforms will be accepted and the country will move to a deeper crisis.
In view of possible void that you mention, I am totally sure that the majority of Syrians will vote in favor of Bashar. Then the international community will be obliged to recognize his democratic legitimacy. Thus not only his announcement of reforms will be heard and accepted but the opposition will not be able to call for his removal anymore.

This is a win win situation. He should take the chance.

May 24th, 2011, 3:12 pm


why-discuss said:



May 24th, 2011, 3:19 pm


norman said:


and what is your plan B if he does not win and tell all Syria BY , take care of yourselves .I am sick of you all for your lack of gratitude .

Syria will plunge in a civil war .

May 24th, 2011, 3:58 pm


Abughassan said:

A vote to keep or remove Bashar is the last item on my personal wish list. I want to see all political prisoners free,corrupt officials and semi-officials brought to justice,the abolishment of article 8 and free parliamentary elections. When Syrians feel comfortable that their suffering and sacrifices did not go in vain,then we can talk about presidential elections. Challenging Asad now is the wrong thing to do,and I am one of those who did not approve of his appointment in 2000 and never supported the regime,but I see why he needs to stay as president until we are ready for a new president,I suggested a time frame for up to 2014 (the end of his third term). Some people may want him to run again,but I think he is ready to leave,and I agree.

May 24th, 2011, 9:25 pm


ashley said:

*he not she for clinton lol!

May 24th, 2011, 11:45 pm


ashley said:

BTW Please feel free to argue with me if im wrong I would really like to see both sides of the argument thank u =)

May 24th, 2011, 11:46 pm


Jihad said:

To the British Student (?) on the streets of Syria: It is as if the UK government and different Western governments do not resort to “propaganda” and with lethal consequences as was shown to be in Iraq among other places!

May 25th, 2011, 12:50 am


why-discuss said:

Abughassan, Norman

If Bashar does not indict his own family members who are corrupted, he will have no credibility. Can he do that?
He has to rebuild his credibility that was damaged by the deaths and by the sanction of the international community. That is not an easy task. One is asking for a vote of confidence from the Syrians. Yet there is an alternative: In Egypt and Tunisia, the hatred of the people were directed to Mobarak and Ben Ali personnaly and in second to the party.
In Syria it is the other way around.
So if Bashar announces the dismembering of the Baath party and the permission to have other parties competing, he may get the personal support he needs to lead the transition. Jumblatt has also said that the Baath party was paralyzed and needs to be overhauled.
I don’t know how easy is that, but it is a choice that may make the whole difference.

May 25th, 2011, 8:26 am


norman said:

In the middle of a snow storm, it is hard to ask a man to change and get rid of his cloths even if they are dirty and junkie , it has to warm up and things improve to give him a courage to get rid of theses clothes.

May 25th, 2011, 8:47 am


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